Reflections of the Day
An Earth - Final Conflict story by Tina Price

Preview: Sometimes memories of the events of a day can prove more than their owner can contain. They seem to take on a life of their own...swirling about the mind, depriving it of rest or peace...demanding that the one who keeps them, copy them in some fashion, so that perhaps one day, when their keeper is gone... they will live on.

!Content Warning!: I rate this story PG-13, because sexuality is briefly touched upon.

Disclaimer: Earth - Final Conflict and all characters therein are the property of the Tribune Entertainment Company.

Authors note: This story occurs sometime after the events which unfold in the episode, "Wrath of Achilles". My other stories, "Striving to Become", "The Lesser of Two Evils" and "The Outsiders" should be read first. This story is based upon my own idea of what is happening in the EFC universe. I am in no way receiving 'privileged information'. As always, advice, criticism and kudos are always welcomed. Please contact me at the above e-mail address.

Reflections of the Day

By Tina Price

William Boone - Disk 1, Year 1
Private journal entry number three hundred thirty-five.

I add this very personal entry to my private diary for two reasons.
The first is for myself, in the event that, should I lose some memory when my CVI fails, I shall not completely lose everything this day has held for me.
Secondly, I write this for those who may come after me, so that they might understand... When my time has passed, I wish my fellow humans to know why it is that I risked life and limb in the pursuit of understanding between our species and the Taelons. I ask only that those who read this keep an open mind and try to think of themselves, not as human beings, but as impartial observers of the conflict taking place between two different species of sentient creatures.

How can I begin this narration? I see it so clearly in my head...but I've never been the most articulate of men.
Let me relate the key points of my servitude to the Taelons up to now, as a summation for those who haven't the patience to read the rest of my journals.
I was hand-picked by the North American Companion, Da'an, to be his second implant and the head of Security and Interspecies Relations.
I turned him down.
My wife (then unknown to me) was killed by Da'an's other implant, Agent Ronald Sandoval of the FBI.
Da'an once again offered me the position. With nothing left to look forward to, and because Kate herself had asked me to reconsider, I accepted Da'an's offer.
Before I could be fitted with my electronic collar and leash - the cyber viral implant, I was approached by the Liberation Movement, which was then headed up by billionaire Jonathan Doors. I agreed to be their spy in exchange for their help in bypassing the motivational imperative of my CVI.
Essentially, I received free will in exchange for servitude to both sides. Da'an was never to know that his head of security was not a true implant, and I was never to betray my role in the resistance - on penalty of death.

Funny how things end up working out...
Da'an quickly ferreted out my secret. He is after all, one of the most intelligent of a very intelligent and advanced race - It was foolish for us to think that we could keep my condition from him for long. Also...I had a hand in revealing myself, so to speak.
You see, a funny thing happened to the phony servant - he came to respect and actually like his would-be master.
By the time that Da'an was replaced by Zo'or, I ...felt for him.
I felt very strongly for him.
I empathized with him.
I could not help but confess this to him and promise him that I would do whatever it took to get him his position back.
I know that when I fulfilled my promise, he knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I was no slave to his people - and that he was glad of it.
Thus began an extraordinary and unusual friendship and collaboration.
I serve Da'an in ways which promotes respect for our race amongst the Taelon Synod and minimizes the curtailing of our activities. Da'an goes out of his way to help prevent his race from taking advantage of us.
I work for the human race - not for the Taelons or the Resistance. My goal is to help us survive the danger which is yet to come - a danger posed, not by the Taelons, but by an as-yet-unknown third race. Our best chance of survival is to work with the Taelons against this common foe.
Da'an works toward this same goal. Our two races must be united.
He and I have strived to better understanding each other, for we know that if a Taelon and a Human can be friends - if they can work together and respect each other, that there is hope for both our peoples.

Time went by. Our understanding of each other deepened. He saved my life by hiding my nature from his commonality, at the risk of his own peace of mind. For my sake, he risked alienation and censure. For both our sakes he risked forging a bond with me - a mental tie which has joined us so that we dream together...and even feel each other's emotions. The bond has continued to deepen and grow and will continue to do so until it has been "completed" - whatever that means.
He also took steps to help ensure that my assistant, Lili Marquette, who is in truth my Resistance watch-dog, would come to know and respect him. After she disobeyed my orders and helped Jonathan by slipping one of Augur's special viruses into the Companion systems, she found herself marooned in the middle of the Appalachians with my companion.
Da'an saved her life, at great risk to himself and continued to care for her throughout their ordeal. Once they had arrived safely back in DC, he "shared " himself with her.
That is to say that he opened his mind to her and she to him, each learning who the other was and what they wished. Call it a crash course in friendship. When all was said and done, they were like human friends who have known each other for years. Da'an had procured Lili's respect and support.
It wasn't long before Lili realized that Da'an had learned much more from her than she had ever counted on. She had passed along information about the resistance and...well, she wasn't very pleased about that. She gave Da'an a hard time about it too, but in the end, he again gained her trust and the two of them are now good friends.
I hate to admit this, but when I finally found out about their "sharing" and what it entailed, I was...curious.
Curious and jealous.
Wasn't I supposedly his confidant?
With Beckette's help, I came to realize that Da'an was intentionally avoiding such a "sharing " with me because of the danger it posed. Such an event was sure to boost our bond, strengthening it to the point where my own thoughts might be broadcast to the rest of his commonality. Suffice it to say that such an event would be bad...
I'm glad that he was able to gain Lili's trust. She's no longer entirely sure that the Liberation is always in the right...

Less than a week ago, Zo'or sought to overpower Da'an and invade that portion of his mind which he has cut off from his fellows - the portion which contains his knowledge of me and my associations. In a last effort to shield me and himself from the power-hungry UN Representative, Da'an cut himself completely off from the commonality. Zo'or was forced to back down...temporarily, and he instead turned his attentions towards having me killed.
Da'an, overwhelmed by the anger I was unintentionally broadcasting through our link, lost control of himself once Zo'or let on that he had set me up. In a display of anger not seen in a Taelon in millennia, he overpowered Zo'or both physically and mentally, wresting from him all the dirty little secrets he had in turn been keeping from the commonality.
That was several days ago.
When I finally arrived home yesterday afternoon, it was to an uncharacteristically warm welcome from my friend, who, I had been told by Lili, had not yet rejoined the commonality. The reason for this was soon made clear to me.
He had borne the continued isolation from his people - a state which Taelons find nearly unbearable - for three additional, and quite unnecessary days, in the hopes that he and I could finally take our relationship a step further upon my return from Ireland.
I never hesitated in my acceptance of his offer. It was the right time - perhaps the only time - for us to finally have that long 'Taelon talk', and... he had endured so much in the hopes that I would accept.
What happened next seems almost to be a dream - a strange psychedelic trip through someone else's alien life. Even now, hours later, my CVI struggles to translate much of what I experienced so that I can better understand it.
In an effort to show how willing I was to meet him in this endeavor, I put an arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer. It's a strange thing to hold a Taelon...Da'an's form seemed to remain quite solid for the most part, but now and then it would suddenly seem insubstantial - almost liquid. Believe me when I say that having one's arm suddenly begin to sink down into one's companion...can be very disconcerting.
The last thing I remember of the real world was Da'an's soothing voice telling me not to fear him and then suddenly I found myself living a different life, with different senses...inside the confines of a radically different society.
I've managed to make sense of some of what he showed me;
He is in his early prime by Taelon standards - which is to say that he is centuries old in human terms. He was still very young when Ma'el's first observations of our world made it back to the Taelon home world. He relished every facet of that account in a way in which few of his peers could understand.
It turns out that Ma'el is in fact his parent, 'parent' being the definition for the Taelon who renders up a large portion of his own essence in order to form a new individual whose features seem to be a copy of his own. Apparently a second Taelon is necessary in beginning this process, with each Taelon giving rise to their own offspring.
I guess I shouldn't be so surprised at this revelation. I've seen the data stream of Ma'el's last communication. He and Da'an do appear to be virtually identical. They even sound identical, not to mention the similarities in their view of humanity. If only Ma'el had had the time to 'birth' more offspring... perhaps we wouldn't be having quite so much trouble with our visitors. As it is, it seems to me that he chose to reproduce at the last moment only because he knew it would be his final chance.
Ma'el completed the 'birthing' - that word being a very loose term referring to the final severing off of the new individual from it's parent's essence - of Da'an shortly before beginning his one-way trip to our world. Fortunately for the infant, he was 'raised' by the Taelon who had begun the reproductive process with Ma'el, alongside his own offspring from that union. It turns out that he and Ma'el were more than just ships passing in the night. They were what we humans would consider to be best friends and they shared many of the same strong traits... including a sense of individuality.
My curiosity about this Taelon is greatly aroused, most especially by the effort that Da'an took in hiding his name from me. In light of all that he was sharing with me, I was surprised that he would withhold this, but I was not about to push the issue. Even if I could, what would be the point? I suppose that I will learn more about Da'an's family when he is ready to share again.
Even from the beginning, Da'an followed his parent's progress with something akin to pride and he became determined to work his way through the ranks of his fellows so that he might win a place as part of the expedition which would surely one day be launched to the planet called Earth.
Da'an's curiosity about the human race knew no bounds. He wished to become a key element in the interaction between his own people and us. His own natural abilities in this area quickly served to land him as a member of the diplomatic cast.
One of the strongest memories which Da'an shared with me - I believe that he was intentionally emphasizing it - involved the day that he became aware of his parent's passage into the void.
Ma'el had not sent any information back to his people in quite a long while and Da'an's thoughts had been turned toward his parent for much of the day. Even as he contemplated the chance of perhaps making it to Earth before his parent's demise, he felt the final touch of Ma'el's mind - a farewell which he alone could comprehend. Born of the same substance as his parent, he was able to pick up several images very clearly as Ma'el's death rocked the commonality.
One such image was of a human male.
The amazement that such a thing could occur centuries before my birth...was so shocking to me, that much of what followed was but a blur. I understand that Da'an himself was surprised by the image. He could not understand why his parent would show him a human who would be long dead before his arrival on our planet.
I missed a great deal of what came next, but I didn't miss the next important memory concerning myself.
Da'an was on our planet for over two years when he began preparations for the announcement of the Taelon joint venture with Doors International. Sandoval was filling him in on the key security personnel in the area, when my image came up as the number one choice as consultant for the security preparations.
Taelons are every bit as capable of feeling shock as we humans are.
Within moments, Da'an had asked for and memorized every bit of information available concerning me.
By the time he had actually laid eyes upon me at the conference, he knew that he would have me as his implant...but he had reservations about the motivational imperative. He felt certain that it was not what his parent would have wished. Still, there was no way around it - it was, for the moment, the only way to secure me. Perhaps later he might be able to free my mind...
His frustration at my refusal of his offer was minimal. He believed in his parent's vision - so much so, that he knew we would be thrown in together sooner or later. He had waited centuries - what was a few more months or even years?
Sandoval made sure that I would reappear on his doorstep within just a few short days.
Da'an did come to realize that his other implant had killed my Kate, but his horror at this turn of events was such that I can no longer hold him accountable for it in any way. He was truly grieved by my loss and the fact that he might have prevented it, had he only realized Sandoval's zeal when it came to pleasing him.
Much of the rest of the sharing dealt with events I already knew of - only from his point of view. The pressure the Synod places upon him as far as succeeding in their long term enormous.
For now, he does not share these goals with me. It's his absolute conviction that to do so now would drive a wedge between us and also leave me vulnerable to betrayal...although by whom, he won't say.
He has made it clearer to me, what it was that the human volunteers in Dublin were a part of; Experimentation into the manipulation of human intelligence and selective control via CVI. Genetic manipulation and engineering of fetuses as well as implantation within the bodies of those women who were having trouble conceiving...
The whole scheme is the brainchild of Zo'or.
Despite Zo'or's removal from the Synod, the operation is about to be stepped up, even against Da'an's most fervent warnings about the dangers of such manipulation. He fears greatly the permanent injury this will deal to the relationship between our races, should it become known to the general public.
I can't blame him.
After hearing this, I doubt that I'll ever sleep soundly again...

As the sharing of our memories came full circle, I ceased living Da'an's thoughts and memories from his point of view, and instead found myself once more within my own form. I was once more standing within his chamber in the DC Embassy, my left arm thrown over his shoulders, my right hand clasping his left.
I was looking at him - looking into his incredible electric blue eyes when he dropped the disguise and became the beautiful translucent being that he truly was. Still, those eyes - now large, elongated, phosphorescent blue patches, held my gaze. I seemed to be pulled into them as my senses reeled and I felt Da'an - the real Da'an - in my mind. Communicating to me, by thought alone, how much I had come to be a part of him. He soothed me, calming the turbulent emotion which had been kicked up by the sharing of our lives...and we touched each other...
I cannot even begin to describe it. There is no basis in our human existences for the sensation - the experience. Perhaps once we've died and left our solitary shell behind...I don't know...
All I know is that the touch of his mind was electric - erotic - blissful. And I know that he felt it too, and in the same way.
Da'an is no longer alien. Not to me. I know him as I will never know another. I trust him as I trust myself.
I would gladly give my life to protect him.
As much as I need him - the human race needs him even more.
Our entire existence depends upon him.
Don't ask me how I know this.
I just do.

"End journal entry." Boone removed the disk from the Taelon computer and placed it in his shirt pocket. It would be hidden in the safest place imaginable - Resistance HQ.
By the time anyone found it and decoded it, his life would most likely be over.
He just hoped that there would be a human race left to read it...

The Following passages are translated from Eunoia

Private Memory Sphere 503

Type - Private: Coded to recipient only
Priority - Next available transport to Home world
Origin - Earth
Memory origin - Da'an
Cast - Diplomat
Status - Companion Liaison to North America as of time of recording

Having completed the programming of his sphere - the first one he had yet to send home, Da'an settled himself on the rug in the center of his chamber. Crossing his legs and relaxing his mind, he attempted to order the thoughts he wished to imprint within the translucent sphere which rested upon the cushion before him.
Such a mental discipline was necessary if the message was to be understandable to the one who was to receive it, and yet Da'an found himself struggling to achieve the required calmness and clarity of thought.
Dropping his human guise, he balanced an arm upon each knee and tried again. Anyone watching the Taelon diplomat would have wondered if he was, perhaps, the product of a special effects shop. So still did he remain, that he seemed an inanimate creation, rather than a living being.
Minutes slowly ticked by, until finally, a delicate, blue hand reached out and gently cupping the memory sphere, brought it slowly up to its owners chest, where the other hand helped to enfold it.

My step-parent, so much has happened to me within the last few months, that I now find myself compelled to send word back to you. It must amuse you to be the recipient of such a device from the one Taelon who so abhors them, however, I can think of no other way to convey my thoughts to you across so large an expanse of space and time. Not to mention that this device is the only secure way to do so. ("Not-to-mention" is the translation of a phrase which my human friend, William Boone, uses quite often, and which I have come to appreciate.)
You are the only other member of my race whom I feel I can confide in. I know that you will not be shocked by my thoughts concerning the humans, for you have so very much in common with my parent and myself.
As we feared, the Synod now embraces the belief that the human race must be controlled - forced into submission, should they fail to yield themselves to us. The offspring of those who have made so many errors of judgement in dealing with other races, now hold sway over our Synod, ready to repeat the mistakes of their parents.
They do not or cannot see that the humans are not like any race we have met before. These beings are proud, intelligent and every bit as sentient as ourselves. I fear that they shall rise up against us and that not even our superior technology will save us from their wrath.
Your offspring, my brother, has begun to see this as well, however his options are now few, so strong has the power base formed by Zo'or become. Although he has removed that one from his seat, I fear that he shall be reinstated shortly by his peers. Quo'on tries his best to retain control, but he will be ousted himself if he does not act soon. Perhaps you might offer him some advice in this area?
I surmise that Quo'on has informed you of the situation I am in. I therefore will not take up the precious memory of this sphere repeating the obvious. My entire reason for sending this is to share my new insight into humanity with the only other Taelon whom I know will appreciate it.
During my recent withdrawal from the commonality, I did find enlightenment in my solitary state. Never has my mind wandered so far and wide! My thoughts moving from topic to topic randomly, restlessly...freely.
This must be how my parent felt during his long exile. To think whatever one pleases...whenever one pleases. To think thoughts which make no sense, but then after a while...they do... How very strange an existence it is! How very quickly I found myself adjusting to such a state!
How very often I find myself considering withdrawing permanently from our commonality so that I might experience the its entirety...
The most terrifying - and wonderful - sensation of all was the sharing I experienced with my human friend, William Boone. I had begun to fear that we would never get such a chance - that conditions would never favor us, or that he would be killed...
I know that I shall most likely outlive him, and I feel myself grieving already, for he is the key to our survival - to humanity's as well. Ma'el foresaw this and with his passing, he ensured that I would seek out Boone once I had seen him.
Through Boone's eyes, I have touched my parent again.
Ma'el gave humanity the gift of telepathy, that they might one day join with us - as equals. The strongest gift passed down through the ages to a human female named Katya Petrenko. From as far back as she could recall, she felt compelled to seek out an individual, whom she was destined with her dying breath, to pass her ability to.
That human being was William Boone. As Katya completed the transfer of racial memories passed along through the centuries to the one they were destined for, Boone saw Ma'el. He saw that Ma'el had somehow foreseen his existance.
This is a concept which Boone finds almost impossible to comprehend. He has so far managed to block it from his mind, however, our sharing has shown him that I myself had a vision of his life, also given me by Ma'el.
We were destined to meet, to collaborate in the hopes of saving our people.
How we are to achieve this is uncertain at this point. I do, however, know that the bonding of myself and Boone is the first step in the correct direction. The sharing has served to make things so much clearer to me...and to him.
How can I communicate to you through this inadequate sphere what such a sharing was like? To suddenly find oneself living a different life, with different senses...inside the confines of a radically different society...was a revelation.
Human lives are so much shorter than our own, and yet they... feel more...experience more... and do so much more intensely than we. Accelerated senses and accelerated aging. "The candle which glows brightest, burns out soonest" - another phrase learned from Boone.
I have shared in the beauty of his life... and in the grief. I have learned, through his mind, what it is to be united with a human of the opposite sex - to love intensely, both mentally and physically.
I wish that I could unlearn this, for it grieves me to have tasted of that which I will now forever crave and yet, be denied. Such a bittersweet lesson on what it is to be human!
And the grief, my step-parent! The grief! May I never feel such agony again! Boone's loss of his mate can never be fully comprehended by one of us, except through such a sharing as he and I have had. It is the reason our people will be vanquished by the humans in the end.
It is better to die fighting, than to face the loss of one's loved ones.
Thus they believe.
Thus will they act if they discover what the Synod is doing.
The touch of Boone's mind was a bitter reminder of all which our race has lost, and yet I cannot describe to you the abject beauty and love I found within his heart. He encompasses all which is best within the human race. The pleasure I felt in our sharing will be with me always... and I know that he felt it in me, and now understands that I understand.
He is not an alien.
He is William Boone. I know him. I trust him as I trust myself.
I shall protect him from our people.
For, as much as I now need him - the Taelon race needs him even more.
Our entire existence depends upon him.
Don't ask me how I know this.
I just do.

Da'an slowly placed the memory sphere down upon the cushion.
He remained staring at it for some time to come.
"May we find our way..."he whispered.