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Nijil tr'Korjata

Across Time and Space - Keb and Erich Log

The air grew thinner, and Erich knew his time was running out. The most important thing, if he couldn’t save the ship...he had to tell Keb.


I lo…” he projected as he lost consciousness.




Eight days ago:


Erich had left Earth for Betazed after two days with the Mizu family. He needed a break from the chaotic emotions in the household. Keb had encouraged him to go home, to reassure his family that reports of his death were exaggerated (or perhaps understated).


Three weeks had passed since, though they’d sent regular subspace messages. Keb suggested they try a holographic messaging system she’d heard about. “It’d be like being together, holonovel style.”


Erich made the arrangements, including permission for a personal transmission in the midst of ongoing testing, and stood in the holodeck waiting for the operator to make the connection. After a few minutes the backdrop changed to an early morning meadow.


Light years away on Earth, Keb waited with impatience for the hookup to work. The scenery shifted from the grid to green dandelions and blue sky. Keb adjusted her dress again. It matched her teal hair ribbon. “Erich?” she called out.


"Hello?" A disembodied voice called out. "I can't see you. I'm seeing a field."


“I’m in the field,” she answered. Inches away from her, a flickering image of Erich’s body formed. She couldn’t help reaching for his hand, even knowing it was just a hologram, but the image flickered away before she could take it. “This isn’t working quite as advertised.”


"I thought you'd be in that dress. Can't imagine they're let you in there with no clothes." He stated. His image stabilized.


Keb blushed and shook her head. “Are your parents okay?”


"They had another party for my return. Father is still working in the clock shop, mother still cooking. They wondered why you did not show, and thought something happened to you."


“I’ll come see them next chance I get. I-I just needed to be with my family...so much has happened for them, and so little for me. They insist I haven’t aged a day.”


Erich laughed. "Mine said I look ten years older. I agreed." He paused. "I wanted to mention something, your parents felt cold toward me. I meant to ask about that earlier."


“They can’t help what they’re feeling,” Keb said. “I’m sorry. They don’t hate you...they just spent a year mourning me and...I think they were jealous that you were with me the whole time.” She sat down in the grass, pulling his hand to join her. He didn’t feel quite right--the hologram was good, but it didn’t feel like him. “This is weird,” she murmured.


"You are telling me. You have no depth. An emotional disconnect." He stared and thought a moment about something she said. "Jealous? I thought they'd be grateful. I did not expect jealousy. I am no one to covet, believe me. Being with you was great, but knowing anything I told you washed away like an ocean tide, my life became hard to bear." He squeezed her holographic hands tighter.


She could feel the pressure, but despite the physical accuracy of the hologram, she couldn’t convince herself they were his hands. She could not explain what felt off about it; she closed her eyes and didn’t try. He was too far away for her to think to; while it was still a strange way to communicate, it was also strange not to have Erich aware of her every thought and emotion when he seemed so close.


“I wish I could’ve helped you more,” she said. “But there is something special between us, that anyone would envy. Even my dad’s accepting the fact that....” She shrugged her shoulders as she searched for the words. “I love you.”


"I know. I could sense all that." He felt the image crackle; Keb flickered as if she was nothing but a dream. He stiffened up, then clasped her right hand in both of his. "It's not all bad; I learned some basic Rihan language, got my books read, and learned far more about the crew than I ever wanted. But, more importantly, I have a better control of my overactive mind. I'll show you when we get back." He smiled as his image blurred then cleared up.


She nodded. “I can’t wait till we get back to Manticore. I...wish I could kiss you, but…”


"Oh, come on, let's try." Erich tilted his head as he went in for a holographic kiss. She did as well and...




Both of them were flung backwards. Erich started to laugh hysterically. "I," he gasped, "guess they still have some bugs to work out. I don't think a kiss was in the specifications report." He laid on his back laughing.


Keb caught his infectious laughter and scooted nearer his hologram. “It’s okay. Shore leave’s over in a week.”


He sat up and brushed himself off. "Oh, something for you." He waved his hand and a flat box appeared at their side between them. "The holodeck has replicator technology. I can give you things on your side. These are from Betazed, molecularly encoded, but from here.” He pushed the box towards her.


She opened it, and pulled out a dozen hair ribbons, handwoven with Betazoid patterns. “They’re beautiful; thank you. Kansas will despise them.” A tone rang overhead.


"I think that means…”




"that our time..."




"is almost..."








Keb stood. Everything was gone except for the ribbons in her hand, and she was again surrounded by the holodeck grid. She closed her eyes, reminding herself that she’d see him soon--that they’d have much more time together in only a week.




The air on the bridge was so thin. Keb couldn’t focus; she couldn’t even get to Erich. They’d had so little time together. She slumped over her console.


With her last bit of strength, she thought back to him: I kno…

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This log got diverted to Sky Harbor Aegis and found by an engineer working on the messaging system there. The headers were FUBARed, so he routed this to it's destination instead. Enjoy.

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