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Travis Kroells

Lay Down Your Burdens

“Lay Down Your Burdens” Part II


“Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.” - Jim Bishop


The Colonel tried desperately so to keep his jaw from falling open. “What did you just say?”


“You heard me. It’s the only explanation. Two of us here, living completely different lives. We’re from two different timelines. Your Federation has been at war for over a century with the Klingons and itself, mine hasn’t.”


As ridiculous as it sounded, he actually made a little bit of sense... “Ok, let’s go with your theory here for a second. Why are we here? What is...here?”


Travis thought for a moment, but could only come up with one explanation. “It has to have something to do with that explosion you mentioned. What was going on again?”


River sighed, and crossed his arms. “Duren was building...something. Our best guess is that he was going to use this device to be able to control the timeline. Alter the past to suit himself.”


“Was this...Duren man in charge of the Federation during the Praxis incident?”


River shook his head. “No. The President and Chancellor Gorkon were...Killed during a summit after the destruction of Praxis. A Federation fleet admiral took control of fleet operations, following the proper chain of command. Duren would not gain control of the Federation until years later, when that said admiral died in office.”


Travis furrowed his brow as he scratched his chin. “Well, then that can’t be it...”




He blinked, and turned his eyes to his counterpart. “I’m just trying to figure out this mans reasoning for something so insane. Time isn’t something that should be tampered with. You and me standing here discussing this is a perfect example.”


River frowned slightly and nodded. “I suppose your right...But are you sure that’s what we should be focusing on? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on how to fix this?”


Travis gave the man a slight shrug. “I’m not sure we can. There really isn’t anything here; all we can do is let it run its course.”


River let a healthy scowl escape him. “And what would that be Mr. Scientist man?”


“Well, considering that the act that brought us here originated in your time line, and that everyone around you disappeared before you showed up here, my best guess is that your being erased...or something to that extent.”


The Colonel tried, and again failed miserably to keep his jaw from falling open. “What!?”


“Well, my best theory would be your timeline is being erased, or changed...or whatever proper word it is, into my time line. You’re being erased, and I’m stepping in.”


For being such a reserved man, River was truly letting his panic show. “No...no, we have to stop this!”


Travis blinked, and looked over to him. “Like I said, I’m positive we can’t do anything. Besides, do you think I would help you anyway? I’m not that eager to turn the tables on our predicament.”


River quickly rushed in, grabbing Travis by the neck throwing him to the ground. “You will! Or God Help me I will-”


“Will what!? Kill yourself!? Because that’s what you’re about to do!”


River paused, his hand cocked back, ready to strike at himself as Kroells’s words ran through his head. “Well then...what do we do?”


“Nothing. There’s nothing we can do. Just sit back and let it happen I guess...”


Minutes or hours past, neither could really tell the difference, just sitting there waiting for River to ‘Die’ if the word was appropriate. But eventually, Travis got enough courage to speak. “So who is it that you’re afraid to leave behind?”


River blinked in surprise. “Huh?”


“Well...If we’re any bit alike, you’re not afraid of death, but how death will separate you from the ones you love. So who was it?”


The Colonel sighed and looked over to him. “What does it matter to you?”


“Well, more I think about it, you’ve been given something most men don’t have, the knowledge of when he’s going to ‘Die’. I was just thinking you might want to reminisce, come to terms...all that good jazz.”


River pondered for a moment, and after a bit of awkward silence, he spoke. “Kestra. Her name was Kestra.”


Travis looked over to him. “What was she like?”


“If perfection needed a picture...”


The two of them shot wicked grins at each other followed by small sigh by River. If the two weren’t already on their backs looking up at the not so blue sky, he would have had to sit down. He could feel it, creeping up on him ever so slowly. He could feel the icy cold claws on his back as he opened his mouth again. “So...if I’m just going to disappear...are you going to remember any of this?”


“Probably not. Then again, I’m exactly a scholar of temporal mechanics either so who knows.”


River let out a slow breath as things started to get colder on him. “Well...that’s disappointing.”


Travis moved over, and knelt beside him. “Don’t worry about it. I’d like to think that part of you would go on loving her, even if I don’t know about it. That part of you...that part of her can’t be erased.”


River smiled, as his eyes slowly closed, and let himself succumb. “That's...a little less disappointing.”




Travis’s eyes shot open, as he flung forward out of his small bed, promptly onto the floor. After several minutes of cursing, and fumbling for the lights, he stood and looked around his small quarters in the back of the small ship he “borrowed” after his stint on the Reaent. An undignified end, yes...but it was also a chance to start over, which was what he needed the most right now.


He walked past the faulty replicator which he was positive had gave him that disturbing dream, even if he couldn’t remember any of it. He stumbled into the cockpit area, and looked out at the stars flying by at low warp. He looked down to make sure he was still on course, and then settled into his chair. It was 0300, and he knew that he wouldn’t be able to get to sleep anytime soon.


He let his mind drift on its own. It settled on some usual memories: Kayla, Kansas, the Cairo... He’d been letting himself brood on these thoughts lately, hoping to come to terms with them. However, different images popped into his head. Fighters...war...Colonel McLean?


Travis was now positive that these were the result of half rotted food, and chucked a shoe at his replicator in frustration. He passed most of it off as useless and they quickly drifted from his mind. But one thought...one name stuck with him, and would haunt him for the rest his days, never able to find the meaning behind it.




But I’m on the outside

And I’m looking in

I can see through you

See your true colors

‘Cause inside your ugly

You’re ugly like me

I can see through you

See to the real you...


~ Staind - “Outside”

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