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Kalin Teser - That, my dear, is love

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((Commercial District – StarBase 118)) 

For as long as Kalin could remember, he had been terribly afraid of dying.

As a scientist, he knew that there was an end to all things. He knew that death was part of life, and that without it, the galaxy would never have evolved to the place he now called his home. While he, in those dark and lonely moments, wished that he did, Kalin held no religious beliefs that offered the promise of life after death in one form or the other. He mostly tried not to remember the fact that he was mortal, aging, and that his time wasn’t unlimied.

He was terrified because, sometimes, Kalin felt that he hadn’t lived yet.

It had taken decades to find someone who got him out of his shell without wanting to change him to suit their vision, and it had been unexpected and wonderful. It had bathed the world in new colours and taught him new melodies. It had been over far too soon.

Perhaps he felt he was owed more time. A second chance. But now that his gaze fell upon the assassin who sought to use him as means to bring war and devastation, he started to understand that his entitlement had been foolish. Because, underneath all that hatred, Kalin could feel loss, and experienced that had irrevocably broken the man in front of them. Why should he be getting a second chance others did not?

Teser: So that’s all there is? 

Kalin’s voice was calm, almost gentle. He didn’t want to feel sympathy, and yet he did. He, too, had experienced loss when the accident had happened.

Nniol: That is all. 

Alora shook her head, and Kalin squeezed her hand. 

DeVeau: It’s not too late.  There’s so much more. 

Nniol: Enough!  ::he stabbed the knife forward, pointing towards Kalin as he advanced.:: Your blood had enough tachyons in it to prompt the rift.  I have been given the ability to use you to travel through it. 

She tugged at Kalin, and both of them backed away from the knife. 

DeVeau: You failed.  Taron’s still alive.  And even if he dies, you can not guarantee that this will end the way you want. 

But Kalin understood. It didn’t matter whether he had failed this time - if he used him to travel through time, and had somehow managed to decide the destination of the jump, he could try again. And again. And again. 

Nniol: It doesn’t matter.  I will keep killing Taron until war is assured.  I will keep killing until war is assured. 

Colour drained from Alora’s face, and Kalin could feel her mind slowly coming the the same conclusion. 

DeVeau: Don’t do this. 

Kalin tried to pull Alora behind him, but of course the stubborn woman wouldn’t have it. 

Teser: Just… let her go.

Not that Kalin wanted to let go off her hand. Not that he ever wanted to let go off her. 

Nniol: I don’t care if you live or die.  You are just a means to an end. 

They continued to back up, but the man, fuelled by the the rage and hatred he felt, lunged at them. Alora darted back, and pushed Kalin with her.  The assassin swept past them as they narrowly managed to avoid the attack.  Immediately, Alora whirled around to face him again. 

DeVeau: You’re not going to win! 

Nniol: response

Teser: Stop this before it is too late!

Then, something shifted. The assassins approach  slowed down. Everything around them seemed to slow, and the sound around them died down. In this moment, there was no approaching security, no scared civilians, no dead bodies left and right of them. It was only the three of them.

To Kalin, it felt surreal. Just as detached from reality as the accident itself had felt. 

DeVeau: Time is not on your side! 

Nniol: response  

DeVeau: No! 

The assassin lunged again and once more, Alora pushed Kalin out of the way. Somewhere in the distance, Kalin heard another roar of the weapon that had taken the lives of several security officers. Another body fell to the floor, and before someone took care of the shooter, security had no chance to aid them.

Nniol: response

Teser: ~ Alora. ~

There was a calm to his thoughts that surprised Kalin, and it took him a moment to realise that he had made his decision, and that he wasn’t scared any more. 

Teser: ~ Give me your hand. ~ 

DeVeau: response

Their eyes met as their fingers touched, and in that one moment, Kalin told her everything. 

Not his plan, no. The things that really mattered.

“What happens to your eyes when there’s a full moon high in the sky?”, he had asked Davis when first discussing Alora DeVeau. “You notice it first.  You can’t help but notice it first.  DeVeau is like that.  She’s the brightest full moon among a sky of stars.  You can’t miss her.  Not only that, she’s attractive.  As a telepath, I want to touch minds with her.  She’s...immediately...comfortable.  Easy.”

He shared his curiosity upon meeting her, and how desirable a connection to her had been to him. How he had refused to acknowledge the appeal until eventually confessing it to Davis.

“It’s okay to eat in the mess hall.” He remembered Alora’s voice, almost concerned. “I know, I just prefer my room”,  had been his reply, and she had had looked at him for a moment before responding. “It sounds lonely.”

How she had cared about him even as he tried to make it as difficult as possible. 

Kalin hadn’t gone to the party - as usual. He had been reading when Alora had knocked at his door. “Alora, hello. Is something the matter?” “Not at all.”  She held up the platter where a piece of cake sat in all its chocolatey splendor. “You didn’t come to the party, so I brought the party to you.”

And how valued it had made him feel to gain her affection regardless. 

Space Race. A Terran Game, if Kalin remembered correctly. Alora had explained him a set of cards that were anomaly decks that could be both useful and harmful. “I have yet to find a useful anomaly”, he had told her. She had giggled. “Just because you think you haven’t found one doesn’t mean that there isn’t one.” “True. You *are* somewhat of an anomaly.”  Alora’s mouth had twisted, her eyes twinkling with mock annoyance.  The smile that she struggled to keep contained peeked out despite herself.  
“But I’m useful!” “My point still stands.”

He shared his appreciation for the times spent together, first as colleagues, then as friends, then as lovers, and finally as husband and wife.

Alora straightened up and cleared her throat, holding up a finger as she spoke. “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.” 

And finally, how he had never regretted saving her by pushing her into the empty storage bin and sacrificing himself. How he didn’t regret saving her now, and allowing her a future. Even if he wasn’t part of it.

His free hand moved into his pocked and wrapped tightly around the small device that would trigger his time jump. And while connected to Alora, he could venture a guess as to where he would end up.

Teser: Come, then.

He spat at the charging assassin, activating the device once the man was only inches away from him. He let go off Alora’s hand and grabbed Nniol’s arm instead, pulling him with him through the temporal rift that opened….

((Classified research facility, Stardate 239703.15))

Alarms blared throughout the facility, piercing the air with their urgent warnings, and the miasmas of smoke made it difficult to see more than a few feet in front of them. The once bright and sterile room was now bathed in a red glow as emergency lights flickered and sputtered overhead, and people were running and shouting, some trying to find their way to safety, others desperate to try and contain whatever had happened.

The console in the middle of the room began to emit a series of high-pitched beeps, indicating that the situation was rapidly deteriorating. And then Kalin saw himself, and he saw Alora, both feverishly, tapping at their displays and trying to reroute power to the failing systems.

But it was no use, and Kalin - past Kalin - realised it first. He looked around in panic, and his eyes found a storage bin. Wordlessly he grabbed Alora's wrist and and shoved her into it. Alora fought back - of course she did.
Kalin's expression softened moments before he slammed the door shut, locking her within, and his future self remembered that there had been no time for a goodbye. He was... grateful that he had gotten it this time around.

Moments later, a blinding flash of light filled the room. The ear-splitting screech that followed reverberated through the walls, shook the very foundations of the facility, and marked the end of Kalin Teser's journey.

[End Scene]

Kalin Teser
Time Traveler

“You are the knife I turn inside myself; that is love. That, my dear, is love." - Franz Kafka


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This was a fantastic end piece to this story arc!  Beautifully written and subtle.  Wonderful work!!

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