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Nijil tr'Korjata

Et Vero Ferreus


Et Vero Ferreus

by Jylliene Kital and Nijil tr'Korjata


Sky Harbour Aegis is a large space station. As expansive as it is though, there are times the walls can feel as if they are closing in. This happens to everyone from time to time, but no more intensely as it was to Nijil right now. To mitigate the effect he chose a spot in the park level of the station. With the natural grass, running water, and holographic depictions of depth, it was the best place to feel like you were somewhere else.

Nijil, as far as anyone could see, could not be in a more 'else' place. He spread his fingers out and rubbed the grass back and forth between them. It had been some time that something not of a polymer or metal graced his fingertips. Behind him laid a checkered blanket. Atop that was a basket with the brunch he prepared for his e'lev. The powers that be allowed him to take her lunch farther from command than she would typically venture. They knew the reason. So did Nijil.

He really did not know what she would like to eat, pregnancy or not. The combinations he enjoyed involved a fair amount of fish, but those choices were not as plentiful for the people on the station. The chronograph showed a bit past the hour. Perhaps something came up at the command center. No matter, the water presented a calming effect as the waves gently played against the edges of the pond. Perhaps Jylliene got wind of the revelation, spooked, and was in hiding. She did not seem the type, but until recently Nijil had tried to keep a bit of distance. Ha...distance. What an apropos thought now.

Nijil got up to look for her entering from one of the four entrances. The pond was roughly in the center of the complex, so strangely the doors were a bit far away. Plus these eyes were either worn from use or just not adept as distance or movement. "Where was she? Wait, was I early," Nijil asked out loud.

Jylliene entered the park. She recalled picnics she and Nijil had enjoyed there as well as their wedding. She wasn’t sure what had been up with him recently; he had talked about dreaming that he was someone else. That he had been increasingly off had her wondering if the dreams were just dreams, or if there was something else going on. There he is, she thought, as she caught sight of him.

Nijil waved her over, not knowing if she saw or if someone else would come over not knowing. "Over here!" Probably not necessary, but the sight of her was making him nervous. Maybe this is how he felt around her all of the time. She seemed a fine example of her species, the only example of her species on this station. He gestured to the ground where the blanket and basket were. He waved more vigorously.

He was definitely acting...well, not himself and himself at the same time. Jylliene smiled and had a seat at the blanket. “How was your shift?”

"It was very rough. So many repair orders and people to send out and fix. Then there's the followups, the important and less important issues. I am not cut out for this, but it was fine. He sat out tiny food items from the basket onto their plates, meticulously crafted tiny sandwiches of varying types. Sweets, meats, jellies, and veggies. He also poured a container of hot brown liquid into two small cups. "Don't worry, yours only has a smattering of caffeine." Steam drifted off the liquid even in the warmth of the park. "How was your shift?"

“It was good, thank you. The usual tasks. It's a nice change of pace from crisis after crisis,” she replied with a grin.

Nijl simply nodded. "Good good. I was not sure what kind of sandwiches you like, so I gave you one of each." His nerves were in a knot, but tried to keep the conversation light. He ate one of his own sandwiches. 

He was nervous. Jylliene recognized it all from back when he had proposed. Picking up a sandwich, she began to eat, realizing now that she was indeed hungry. “This was a wonderful idea.”

"Really? Oh, I am so relieved. I don't do many picnics...or tiny sandwiches."

“Not anymore, no. We used to do them more often. I suppose we’ve gotten busy.”

"Yes, and really busy now. Station business." Nijil took an abnormally large drink, finishing off his coffee in one swig. "I wish this was something stronger, fermented maybe." He looked into her eyes, those damned eyes.

“What’s wrong, Nijil?”

He chuckled. "I messed up something big. I mean not cosmically big, unless he, well, he probably won't cause a ripple effect." He shook it off.

“...probably won’t? I imagine this has something to do with everyone going to the captain’s office today?” she asked.

"Oh yes, and while they took the news well, there were not the people I worried about." He looked up at her. "Let me guess. I'm not acting like myself, am I?"

“You haven’t quite for a little while now. What’s wrong?”

"More so recently, in the last day or so, but off and on over a few months." Nijl closed his eyes, then sighed. "Do you remember that broadcast that swept through the station a few months ago, the one the could not shut off for a time?"

“Very well,” she replied, nodding.

"The race that created that blast of information, infiltrating the systems here are called the Yith. It was the last call from a dying civilization, but the source of its demise was not discovered."

“...the Yith...I don’t recall finding out what the name of the race was, only the names of the countries.”

"I knew the name right away, but let me back up. About four years prior they had an outpost on a few remote asteroids. Two scientists working on different experiments combined their discoveries. One was working with the creation of artificial wormholes," he laughed, pressing his fingers really close together. "Tiny baby ones, but, they could last for sometimes over a minute. Anyway, the other scientist worked in neurobiology and a technology similar to transporters. Sorry, I am going on and on."

“And the only way you could know all of this…” she prompted, figuring the answer already.

"If I was one of the scientists. Right." He let out a long sigh. "There are two of us: Z'Muuhi'Diniea, and...me. My name is Th'Prani'Liloo. I am the engineer behind the micro-wormhole generator. Before I answer your questions let me extend my sincere apology for all this...mess and confusion." Prani did not want to look at her expression, but had to.

“Why - why do this? And why Nijil?” Her mind was reeling, though in a way, she felt oddly a bit more settled knowing.

"Well, once the wormhole allowed one of us to do a complete mind transfer, with no ill effects mind you, I stumbled upon the broadcast. It was from my people and it matches some of the current events we were hearing about at the outpost. We had to find out what happened. Maybe prevent it." Prani poured more coffee, then drank.

"As for why Nijil, the computer at our outpost mistook it for one of my species. I got, curious after discovering the broadcast in the database. I just could not leave it alone." She fretted a bit. "If I know Muuhi like I do she has woken your mate up from his sedation and he's fully aware of what is going on. He's in my body as I am in his. He is taller, stronger...walks on his toes like a cat. And he's a she, I suppose. Is he a good engineer, a good problem solver when encountering something he's not seen before?"

How to respond…”He thinks on his feet well. He’ll dive into the problem. So… the first time was accidental; but this isn’t the first time. Has he met your partner before?”

"Muuhi? Yes. The one from his dreams."

If he had met Muuhi, then he must have allowed them to continue switching. If he hadn’t - well, this wasn’t the time to argue. They needed to stay on good terms to try to work on anything from this end that could bring Nijil back. “So something has gone wrong - you haven’t been him for this long before.”

"Right, each trip was only ten hours. The time it takes for the generator to spin up. The fault likely lies there." She held onto Jylliene's hand for a moment. "Believe me, Nijil is perfectly fine. I am very healthy for my species, and as long as he does not leap about in my body he will begin to work on the problem."

Now was also probably not the time to tell her about his coordination. “So...Th'Prani'Liloo...you’ve not been inhabiting Nijil when we’ve…”

“Oh no no no. That I can assure you. I mean for a Trill you are on the top of the list and Nijil should count himself very lucky. I was careful not to engage in anything. I worked mostly, long nights, that kind of thing."

Prani thought for a moment, realizing the silence was extra awkward. "Can I make a request?"

Jylliene nodded. 

"I have a lot of work with science, medical, and engineering coming up. If I am to replicate the wormhole generation I will need your help to monitor it."

“You will have it, Th'Prani'Liloo,” Jylliene replied. “Is that what I should call you?”

"Prani is fine, unless I am in trouble."

“Prani, then. Now we just figure out how and what to tell Annisha.” 

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