Planes of time – Part 3 By Anna Lena Bäuschlein
Chapter Three: :
Elis Lesa and secrets
The room was bigger on the inside than it seemed from the outside. Well, actually, as the room was holographic, it was the other way around; the room seemed bigger than it actually was. But either way, for it’s inhabitant, it didn’t really matter.
The Bajoran didn’t use it in the way most others would, at least not anymore. Of course at first she had tried out each and every preset program, and also programmed a little herself, but after some time she had got bored with that, and found another occupation.
She had created a rather simple program that only contained a color, which she would modify according to her mood, and which made the room seem rather endless. Then she had switched off the gravity so she could just lie floating wherever she wanted. And in this environment she lay, not knowing how long she had been there, or how long she would stay. She had lost all sense of time.
In fact she didn’t even know why she was there, at least not exactly. But she did know that she wasn’t a prisoner, or at least she didn’t feel like one, not completely. She could go everywhere she wanted to, at least virtually. She had access to all common databanks, and even some uncommon ones.
No, she really wasn’t a prisoner, even though she couldn’t leave the room, not really at least. She only felt a little lonely, now and then.
The problem with that was only that every time she felt really alone, someone tended to turn up to ask her stupid questions. Then she didn’t feel lonely anymore; instead she wished that person would get lost, even more than she had wished to have someone to talk to before.
This time however, she really didn’t feel like having company. The color of her room was switched to a soothing blue that was a little bit of a contrast to the rather happy, but still epic music that seemed to float through the room, just like she did.
It was several consecutive pieces in a marching rhythm, each belonging to one of her favorite 20th or 21st century movies. She had gone to some effort to splice many tracks together into several infinite loops. The clips were of happy, sad, floating or other kinds of music that somehow belonged together, or just sounded good one after the other. This one she was especially proud of, because she had managed to take the recurring overall themes and create soft transitions between the different parts.
And although there was a little bit of contrast between the calming lighting and the exciting music, both were equally adequate for the report she was reading. The text was not too heavy, still interesting with a touch of unintentional humor, and made her smile every now and then, occasionally even laugh. Subconsciously she hummed the melody of the music at her favorite parts and thought that her situation wasn’t that bad, when the door opened and a man stepped in.
From her perspective he was standing in the middle of nothingness, somewhat angled underneath her left shoulder, right beside her head, as if standing on a wall running diagonally beneath her right ear.
More likely there was a surface running along there, and most likely it was actually the floor of the room, but since she kept her personal gravity off, and tended to turn in her sleep, she had programmed the computer to adjust the interface to her current position, so she never had any sense of where anything actually was in that room.
She twisted around to face the man who had broken into her refuge. “What do you want now?” she asked, a little irritated. Bad enough that they came when she started to feel lonely. Then at least she didn’t feel lonely anymore afterward. But now they were even coming when she was feeling great, and ruining her good mood.
The man twisted his head to look into her face. “Can’t you come down here, so we can talk?” he asked.
For a moment she was about to say: “Come up here!”, but then she sighed and, with a soft motion over the holographic interface panel that had moved to the right side of her field of vision, increased her personal gravity a little, so she now stood facing the man, although not exactly standing on what he was standing on. She also switched the lighting to an angry red that, as a side effect, lit up the room a little more than the soft blue.
“So,” she finally said. “Now tell me what you want!” The way she said it, it sounded more like: Get lost, or I’ll eat you.
The man didn’t care about the implication in her voice. He had to obey his orders no matter what. Besides, he was used to having bad timing, although this was a little paradox. “I have a job for you.” he said.
“A job.” the woman snorted sarcastically. “What is it this time?” she asked. “Another test to determine if I really am who I say I am? Or another round of tell-me-all-you-know?”
The man smiled. “None of that.”
The man, an Admiral by rank, decided to take the direct approach. “They want to have you on a ship.”
The admiral’s tactic worked. Clearly not having anticipated that, the Bajoran hesitated. Then she called up the interface, centered the gravity to a common spot and replicated two chairs. “Who is they?” she finally asked, switching the lighting to a grumpy orange.
“People in high places,” he said.
“Aren’t you one of them too?” she asked on, with a nod toward the stripes on his collar that marked his admiral’s rank.
He grimaced. “I’m just a lowly admiral, and not even happy with it. I’m talking about the ones in very high places. Or do you really think I could get you onto a ship just because I wanted to?”
Sighing, she thought for a moment. “Do I have a choice?” she finally said.
The man shrugged. “You can always stay here, but this may be your only chance to get out.”
For a few seconds they just sat there in silence. It was as if he could even see her thinking. “What kind of ship is it?” He heard more curiosity in her voice than caution.
“It’s a small ship.” he replied. “But from what I’ve heard it’s going to be rather important.”
The Bajorans face brightened, and more subconsciously than on purpose she turned the lighting to a soft yellow, when suddenly the caution returned to her face, reducing her eyes to slits. “How long will I stay there?”
“I don’t know,” he answered truthfully. “But you’ll not return here, if that’s your question.” For a moment he thought about how much he should tell her, but she saw his undecided expression and took the decision out of his hands. “What are the conditions?”
The man took a deep breath before he started: “You’ll not be part of the normal fleet. You’ll not be allowed to have contact with anyone apart from your superiors,
those who serve with you on your ship, and those your superiors allow you to meet. You’ll serve on the ship as tactical and security officer; your rank will be that of Lt. Commander.”
At this point the Bajoran grimaced, but the man ignored it. “From now on your name will be Elis Lesa, we will also provide a background story for you. If you have objections to it, you can tell them to me. And…”
The Admiral thought a moment to choose the right words, but the woman was getting a little impatient. “And..?”
“And,” he started again, “there is another one like you, but she doesn’t know yet. She still has her original name, and her story is a little… different.” he said, and paused. When he continued, his voice was a little lower, yet harsher, and carried a hint of pleading. “Most likely she will not recognize you, but you’ll surely recognize her. You are not to tell her anything about what happened. You are not to tell anyone, in fact. For my sake, the crew’s sake, the ship’s sake, and your own.”
The Bajoran, thought for a second, then she asked: “And if I’m asked about it? I mean directly, so I can’t just give some bio-based answer.”
The man sighed. “That would be my problem then.”
Finally the woman nodded. “OK,” she said, and behind the admiral, Elis Lesa left the room.