This takes place during the early second season.
Paramount: I know you lurk, so enjoy reading this one. I'm using
your characters, your universe, and your "money machine" with no
permission (or shame) whatsoever. Ha! Ha! Ha!
"I have come to look upon Time as a companion...
that teaches us to treasure every moment..."
- Captain Picard, Star Trek: Generations
It was a routine exploration mission. The *Rio Grande* was
charting the Wormhole. Even after a little over a year of studying it,
there were still more questions than answers about why it was stable,
and its unique temporal properties.
Ben Sisko always thought the Wormhole was a beautiful place, and
ever since his encounter with the Beings inside it, half of him was
eager to have those questions answered while the other part of him
hoped that the Wormhole's mystery would last forever. His science
officer, Jadzia Dax, who was sitting next to him, seemed more eager to
uncover the secrets of the universe while he station's Chief Medical
Officer, Julian Bashir, was sitting quietly (a bit of a feat for the
young doctor) at the third seat, monitoring a console of his own.
Ben's terminal chattered a little bit. He looked down. "Hey,
what's that?" he asked, checking his readings. "Looks like we've picked
up something unusual. Could it be a temporal abnormality?"
"I don't know," Jadzia said, eyes locked on her console. "Could
be. I'll deploy a high-frequency scanning beam to find out." She
pressed a series of panels on her controls. "There. Just let it scan
for a little while. I'll go to the back. You guys want something to
eat? I'm starving."
"Sure, Dax," said Ben. "Just grab a ham sandwich."
"Make that two ham sandwiches," Julian said. "And thank you in
Jadzia disappeared into the back. Julian slid into her seat and
monitored the controls.
"So, Commander," asked Julian. "Looking forward to your class
"How's you know about that?" Ben asked.
"Dax has been talking about it a lot. She's wondering how you're
handling the fact that it's been twenty years since your graduated the
"I'm not looking forward to it," said Ben. "There will be all
those captains and commanders on these prestigious assignments, rubbing
it in my face. I'm not sure I want to put up with all of it."
"Well, then," said the young doctor, brown eyes glistening like
polished tiger's eye. "I suppose I should be glad. After all, I've got
my whole future ahead. This post is just for starters."
"For starters?" asked Ben. "What do you mean, for starters?"
"I had a bet going with my classmates in medical school. I was
neck and neck with the class star, Elizabeth Lense. She didn't even
know I existed, but I had a picture of her that I copied from the
campus news service. I would stare at it for hours on end, envisioning
myself beating her out."
"Didn't happen, did it?"
"Not since I botched that question on the final. Gods, it was
such a stupid question. I still wonder why I blew it." He flashed a
huge grin. "I'll beat her to the admiral's bars, though."
"Planning on staying in the fleet that long, huh?"
"Count on it. I'm getting as far as I can get from Earth; new
beginnings, lots of adventure...Couldn't ask for more."
"I hear that you put in for that post on the *Thompson.* Full
lieutenant and chief medical officer to boot. I'll bet you're looking
forward to it."
"Honestly, I'm going to miss this place," Julian said. "But well,
I have to keep going. Don't ever look back. Something might be gaining
"I recognize that quote!" said Ben with a laugh. "Famous
twentieth-century baseball player named -"
Suddenly, the cockpit of the runabout started to buck and quake.
Julian looked down at his controls. "The beam has caused a temporal
distortion inside the Wormhole!"
"Shutting down the beam," said Ben. "You back us out of here."
"Commander, I don't know if I can. We're already halfway in the
"Engines at full."
"Engines at ninety...ninety-five...Full!"
"We're beginning to clear the rupture. Hold on!"
The cabin jerked and rocked like a rodeo bull. A green-white
light filled the cabin, then subsided as they pulled out of the
"All systems read normal."
"What was that light?"
"Unknown. We almost didn't pull out. The ship was half inside the
Suddenly, the men heard a woman's surprised shriek from the back.
They both ran back there to find Jadzia in the doorway, looking over
the runabout dining table. Two people were slowly forming...slowly
coming into phase.
Finally, the images solidified. Two men, both unconscious. The
younger one wore a Starfleet uniform in service about twenty years ago.
The older man wore a jumpsuit of a design that none of the officers
Jadzia looked at them in wonder. Running over to one of them, a
young man with very dark skin, Jadzia shook her head. "It's amazing..."
She locked eyes with Ben. "It's you!"
"It can't be," said Ben, running over to get a better look.
The other figure, a middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair,
groaned as he came awake. The first person he saw was Ben. "What
the...? Where am I?"
He looked to Jadzia and smiled wide. "I must be dead. This has
got to be heaven..."
He turned his head, and locked eyes with Julian. Uttering a
groan, he said. "Scratch that. I'm in hell."
Julian had finished running his tricorder over the older man. "I
can assure you..."
It was at that point that Julian got a good look at this man. He
peered at Julian through a set of brown eyes...familiar brown eyes.
"What are you..." the man said belligerently.
Julian stepped back. Even the voice!
"I'm...I must be you?" Julian breathed.
The computer droned. "Radiation Alert. Lethal dose in two
Jadzia shook off the shock and ran into the cockpit. Ben and
"This doesn't look good," she said. "We have a full blown
temporal disturbance, and the Wormhole's filling up with Arion
Radiation. We've got to back out of here until I can come up with a way
to seal the disturbance."
"What about them?" asked Julian, gesturing to the back room of
Jadzia sighed. "They'll have to come with us."
Ben nodded. "Take us back home, Dax."
The runabout turned around and bolted out of the Wormhole.
In the back, the younger of the men rubbed his jaw. "Man...when
that old fart said he'd knock me into the middle of next week, he
Older Julian shook his head. "I think...that for you, it's a
little later than next week."
"Says who?" the young man barked.
Older Julian got off the table and looked down at his companion.
"Benjamin Sisko, correct?"
"Yeah. Ensign Ben Sisko," Younger Ben looked over Older Julian's
uniform. "Who are you, sir?"
Older Julian helped Younger Ben to his feet. "Admiral Julian
Bashir. You don't have to call me 'sir.' I think serve under you
"I don't get it," Younger Ben said. "How can you be under my
"Long story, and I don't want to tell it right now. What's the
last thing you remember?"
Younger Ben had to think. "I was with this old fart Trill
Ambassador. He insulted my girlfriend, and I lost my cool. Last thing I
remember is the old man giving me a right hook." He rubbed his jaw
again. "Great hit for an old fart."
"Let me guess. This old man's name was Curzon?"
Younger Ben looked puzzled. "How would you know?"
Older Julian glanced back to the cockpit, then back to Younger
Ben. "Call it a wild guess."
Younger Ben glanced out a window. "Wow! This sure don't look like
Dallios Station. Looks more like a Cardassian scrap heap."
Older Julian looked out the window. The old station...He sighed
and looked at Younger Ben. "For once, you're right."
The *Rio Grande* eased into the shuttlebay.
Ben looked at the back. "One question. What do we do about them?"
Julian shrugged. "I haven't the foggiest notion what to do with
them except explain the situation."
"Won't that be polluting the timeline?" asked Ben.
Jadzia frowned. "Ben, I don't suppose you've traveled in this
runabout about twenty years ago?"
Ben shook his head. "No. Maybe they aren't even what they look
"I doubt that very seriously." A clear voice, tinted with a thick
British accent, called from the back of the cabin. "And I don't
remember running into myself, either."
Julian blinked owlishly as he looked at the older man. Getting a
good look at the neck insignia, Julian could see admiral's bars.
Involuntarily, he reached up to his own collar, and felt the two pips
of a Junior Grade Lieutenant. This was his future?
"I've been talking to Ben Sisko in the dining room. Ensign
Benjamin Sisko," Older Julian walked up and got face-to-face with his
younger self. "And congratulations, Doctor. You get to be me in twenty
Jadzia frowned. "This is more serious than I thought. If none of
you remembers being here, we could have a temporal paradox on our
hands. That rupture needs to be sealed before it gets too large to
Older Julian sighed. "Wonderful. One minute, I doze off at my
desk, the next, I'm in the past." He shook his head. "I'll find Ensign
Sisko some quarters and keep him out of trouble."
"Do that," said Ben. "We can't have him running around the
Older Julian nodded. "I'll also put myself out of action for
Julian held up his hand. "Excuse me, Commander. I'd like to take
them both to the Infirmary first. The time displacement might have
affected them, and might give us a clue as to how to send them back."
"Agreed," said Ben. "But don't use the scenic route."
"We're here," Julian said as the door opened.
Younger Ben looked around the place. "Wow. So this is what a
Cardassian Infirmary looks like."
"Who told you this station was Cardassian?" Julian asked, feeling
a little odd. This man certainly didn't seem to act like the restrained
commander he had come to know.
"The Admiral did," Younger Ben said, walking over to a biobed and
sitting down. "Do your worst."
Older Julian walked in the door and eyed the Infirmary. "Hard to
believe I worked here."
"Must bring back a lot of good memories for you," Julian said
proudly. "I'm quite fond of this place."
"We wasted our life here," Older Julian said.
Julian staggered back. "What?"
"You heard me well enough. Look at this Infirmary. It's a piece
of garbage. I'm surprised I even took this blasted assignment. The
equipment never worked. I was sorely understaffed..."
"I think I...we did all right."
Older Julian grunted. "I was more of a fool than I ever realized.
I'm so glad I'm away from this trash heap," he said.
"I don't think it's too bad, Admiral," Younger Ben said. "This
looks at least ten years ahead of what I've seen at Dallios."
"You're twenty years ahead," Older Julian grumbled. "Really. I'm
glad I took a research assignment after the *Nagasaki.*"
Julian frowned. "You? Me? On a research base?"
"I head it now. That's all I'm going to say. And I'm glad I don't
have any more patients or adventures to deal with." Older Julian
shuffled to a biobed. "Okay. Try to find something."
Julian was shocked. A research base? No adventure? He hated desk
jobs with a passion. Why would he take one? Could things have changed
that drastically? How could they?
No time to ask that. Besides, knowledge of the future could only
compound the problem. He started his scans.
Ben and Jadzia came into his office later. Julian handed them a
PADD and shared the results.
"They have some Arion radiation in their bloodstreams, and some
other physiological effects of a time-shift, but otherwise, both of
them are fine. I asked them the date they left. It's the same day,
nineteen-point-seven years ago in Ensign Sisko's case, and
nineteen-point-seven years in the future in my case," Julian said.
"I was in the runabout with the two of you," said Jadzia,
studying the readout. "Why wasn't I affected?"
Julian shook his head and gestured to the screen. "Looks like we
were only half-way in the rift. According to this, the tail section,
where you were, was not inside the disturbance."
"Good thing, too," said Ben. "Twenty years ago, you were two
people. Twenty years from now, who knows?"
"I'll agree with that," said Jadzia.
"Now, I think it's time we assigned them some quarters until this
is over," said Julian.
They walked out in the Infirmary to see Younger Ben talking to
"Those were Bajoran nurses! And what is this Wormhole they're
"All you need to know is that you are in the future, and I'm from
even further in the future," Older Julian said. "Now, please. Don't ask
any more questions. You'll make matters worse."
"Can't I ask you about that bar near here?"
"Quark's?" sniffed the Older Julian. "Don't bother. The food was
lousy, and it attracted a bad clientele. Better off just drinking in
the privacy of your own quarters."
Ben and Julian looked at them and shrugged. Julian approached
them. "Excuse me, gentlemen."
"Can we leave?" asked Older Julian.
"You can. We will escort you to some quarters until we can find a
way to restore you to the correct time frame," said Julian.
"The sooner the better," muttered Older Julian, sliding off the
biobed. "The sooner I leave here, the better."
From netcom.com!ix.netcom.com!netnews Thu Jan 18 16:27:34 1996
Xref: netcom.com alt.startrek.creative:33167 alt.fan.jadzia.dax.slug.slug.slug:1035
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Jessica Krucek )
Subject: REPOST: "Hindsight" (B,J,J) 2/4
Date: 18 Jan 1996 05:03:21 GMT
X-NETCOM-Date: Wed Jan 17 9:03:21 PM PST 1996
"So, this is mine?" asked Younger Ben as he sat on the firm
"These are your assigned quarters," said Ben, smiling just as
wide as his younger counterpart. "Mine are a level up from yours."
Younger Ben was delighted. "I'm liking this place," he said with
a laugh. "Admiral Bashir told me you're in charge here."
Ben nodded and hummed an affirmative. "I am. Can't tell you too
much. There is a protocol to follow with temporal displacement."
"I get it," Younger Ben said. "Well, I don't mind too much. Beats
shuttling that old fart on Dallios around. This could make up for it."
Bonelessly, he lay back on the bed. "Yes sir, out in the middle of the
action. Bet you love it."
"It has its good days and bad days," Ben admitted, smiling at the
infectious cheeriness of his younger self. How easily he smiled! He had
all but lost that ability after Jennifer died, and it was only recently
that he was able to find it in him again.
"Well, now that you're getting settled, I'll get back to OPS and
work on a way to send you back to your time."
Just as Ben was leaving, his younger self called after him.
"Don't hurry on my account!"
The commander chuckled as he slipped out the door.
"Well, here we are," Julian said cheerfully as he pointed out the
quarters, across the hall and two doors down from Younger Ben's.
The door slid open. Older Julian just appraised them neutrally.
"I remember these. Standard guest quarters. Yes, I remember them quite
well, I'm afraid."
"We could transfer you to high-level guest quarters if you like,"
Julian said uncomfortably.
"No, this will do," the admiral said, finding a place to sit.
Julian was very uncomfortable. "Well, Jadzia, if the admiral is
settled, I'd like to meet you later to discuss the situation..."
"Don't mind him," Older Julian said, a snide tone in his voice.
"He thinks he's in love with you. I'm apologizing in advance for all
the stupid things he'll say and do, as well as for his behavior in the
Julian's jaw hit the floor, and his tan skin went ashen. He
flinched as if he had been hit. He started to say something, but no
sound came out of his open mouth - he was simply too shocked to speak.
"Oh, grow up, Julian. I can't believe I was you. Get out of
With as much dignity as he could muster, he nodded and left.
Jadzia stayed, icy blue eyes focused on this stranger.
"That was the most ice-hearted thing I've heard in a long time,"
she said. "I'd never say that to someone..."
Older Julian just waved her off and sat in his chair, avoiding
eye contact with her. "Oh, please. It's the truth. He does believe he's
in love with you, but it's just an illusion. As empty as his delusion
that he's some sort of hero, saving the universe..."
"Julian's a dreamer, but I won't fault him for it. I think the
universe needs more dreamers like him."
Older Julian chuckled humorlessly. "Oh, come on. I know all those
dreams he had. They were mine. I dreamed of coming here, and saving the
universe. Those days are long gone, and so are those dreams. I've grown
up, and I'm seeing the universe for how things really are. You know
what I found out?"
"What?" she asked.
"I found out that dreams aren't worth it. Dreams die." He
gestured around the room. "I realized after a long time that the
universe can't be saved. All you can do is accept it." His cruel voice
echoed in the room. "Look at this piece of junk. I thought I was some
frontier hero. In reality, I was only a foolish young man on a piece of
Cardassian scrap metal. No one gave a damn that I was here. I'm glad my
dreams are gone."
"I'm not," Jadzia said. "And I actually like the dreamer you were
a lot better than what you are now."
Older Julian's expression was unreadable as he turned to address
her. "Thank you for the escort, Lieutenant. You can leave anytime."
Jadzia felt cold as she left his quarters.
* * * *
"According to the Rio Grande's sensor logs," Jadzia said, trying
to focus on the readout. "The beam has caused the temporal abnormality
"So why have these shadows of the Commander and me materialized?"
"Unfortunately, they aren't shadows, Julian. They are as real as
you are. You see, a wormhole is, in and of itself, compressed time.
It's a shortcut that allows us to travel years of distances in what we
perceive to be only a matter of seconds. It is time displacement. I
think the older version of you -" she pointed to the display.
"Materialized when you first entered the rupture. By going forward in
the Wormhole, we were actually going forward in time." Pointing out
another spot on the readout of the display, she looked at Ben. "And
when we were pulling away from it..."
"We were pulling toward the past," Ben said. "And that light that
flashed through the cockpit..."
"Any disruption of the space-time continuum is a confusion of the
way space-time normally works. I think when you were pulling out of it,
the abnormality was trying to put you in its time frame, but instead
pulled your other selves out of their proper place in time."
"Well," said Ben, rubbing his forehead. "I certainly don't
remember being here when I was an ensign."
"I know," said Jadzia. "Which means that we could be dealing with
a temporal paradox." She shook her head. "and those, unfortunately,
have only existed in theory."
"Until now," said Julian.
"This has to be corrected as soon as possible. Theoretically, a
paradox can completely destroy normal space-time. I think the time
displacing properties of the Wormhole are keeping it under control, but
if the abnormality grows beyond the Wormhole, we could have a real mess
on our hands."
"What about sealing the rupture?" asked Julian. "Any way we can
"Well, I'll have to review the logs to see what was the most
likely cause if the rift. It could be the energy used in the scanning
beam, our proximity to it, even the frequency of it could have caused
the rupture to expand."
"If the rift is sealed?"
"Well, if we can put your time-displaced counterparts near enough
to the rupture, an then seal it, then they'll just go back to their
place in time."
"What about the radiation?" Julian asked. "And what's to prevent
this from occurring to anyone else piloting through the Wormhole?"
"I'll tell you those answers as soon as I figure out the cause,"
Jadzia said, turning back to her terminal.
Younger Ben paced his quarters. These were nice, but it was a bit
claustrophobic to be here alone. The doorchime sounded. "Come in."
Older Julian walked in the room. "I'm just seeing how you are.
Making sure you don't get into any trouble."
"Me? Trouble? You worry too much, Admiral." Younger Ben went to
the replicator. "Breaded shrimp. Extra spicy."
It materialized. Ben popped one into his mouth. Around a mouthful
of shrimp, he said. "Not as good as Dad's, but it beats the Academy
Older Julian shook his head. "I can't believe this..."
"Yeah, I can't believe life's gonna treat me this good." Younger
Ben grinned as he settled back in a chair. "Sure, the decor sucks, but
hey, who cares about decor when you're the man in charge?"
"Thrilling." Older Julian was underwhelmed.
"Hey, don't get too down on this place. You've got your own
"That wreck of an infirmary? I'm glad to be rid of it."
"You know what, Admiral?"
"I'm gonna enjoy bossing you around." Younger Ben immediately
rushed to the door, and stepped out of his quarters. Older Julian got
up and tried to follow, but Younger Ben had already gotten into a
turbolift and it started moving, leaving Older Julian to wait for the
"Damn him!" Older Julian said, pounding his hand fruitlessly
against the door to the lift.
Younger Ben entered the bar. The flashing lights, the pretty
women gathered around, serving drinks and manning the Dabo tables. A
gorgeous brunette sauntered up to him. "Welcome to Quark's. First time
"Yes. It's the first time I've even see this place."
"Well, here are your five free tokens for the Dabo wheel. Enjoy
The tokens were blown in a matter of minutes. Younger Ben decided
to find a place to sit and order a drink. Spotting a pretty woman at
the next table, he ran his fingers through his short hair and adjusted
his uniform before moving in for the kill.
"What's a beautiful woman like you doing on a Cardassian
She didn't look up. "Quit joking around, Ben. Just sit down..."
However, when Jadzia looked up, she didn't see the station's
"What makes you think I'm joking? You know, the food here doesn't
compare with the recipes my dad taught me. Gourmet restaurant in New
Orleans. Best crayfish you'll ever eat. Come to my place, and I'll cook
some up for you."
"No thanks," Jadzia said. What in hell was he doing at Quark's?
"Hey, you're the pilot of that ship..."
Jadzia nodded. "And you shouldn't be here."
"But I am. Let's talk for a while."
"Talk..." She gestured to the waiter to bring two synthales to
keep the younger Ben here until she could figure out what to do with
him. "So," said Jadzia casually, trying to keep this younger version of
Ben from wandering around and seeing any more of the station. "Where
are you stationed?"
Younger Ben flashed her a charming smile. "Dallios Station. My
first assignment." He shook his head and started to mutter. "My friends
are out doing things in space, and I'm stuck playing chauffeur to this
old fart of a Trill ambassador."
Jadzia had to suppress a smile. "Tell me about him," she said,
trying to maintain the conversation.
Younger Ben took a long drink of synthale and looked up. "That's
not the conversation I'm interested in. I'm more interested in you."
Jadzia couldn't suppress the smile this time. *You wouldn't be if
you knew who I was!* Aloud, all she said was, "Oh, really?"
Younger Ben took her chin in his large hand and turned her face
around. "You have the same markings as that old ambassador. You another
*Yes and no*...She nodded.
"Is it a racial trait to be a pain in the ass, or is that just
Jadzia raised her eyebrows. Younger Ben just sat back in his
"Depends on what you consider to be a 'pain in the ass,'" Jadzia
Younger Ben just waved her off. "You seem good enough. That
Ambassador, though. He insults me. When my mom was visiting me, he
tells this dirty joke right to her face! When I'm shuttling him, he's
making jokes about what I'm doing. Not my fault that he's got a problem
"It happens about half the time," Jadzia explained. "Has he told
you that he's Joined?"
"Joined?" Younger Ben didn't understand.
Jadzia just nodded her head. "Never mind. I...He'll tell you
"Finally, he insults this lady I'm seeing. Tells me she's got a
great set of..." Younger Ben shook his head. "And he tells me in exact
detail what he'd do with them. Man, I just lost my cool." Younger Ben
made a fist and hit an imaginary target to the side. "Smack. Old fart
just laughed and decked me right back. Woke up in that runabout."
"I see," said Jadzia.
Younger Ben just smiled. "Who cares about work, though? Let's
talk about you." After a long pause, Younger Ben leaned in close. "Has
anyone ever told you that you have the most beautiful eyes I've ever
A short distance away, Ben saw Older Julian enter the bar. The
commander walked up to the older man.
"What are you doing here?" asked Ben. "I thought I told you..."
"I'm following your younger counterpart. He decided that he would
see the bar whether or not he had permission. Since this is my past, I
decided to make sure he doesn't get into trouble."
"Where is he now?"
Older Julian looked around and saw where the younger Ben was, and
who he was with. Uttering a groan, he said, "Oh, hell. He's being just
as stupid as I was."
Ben looked up, and saw his younger counterpart sitting with
Jadzia at the next table. Watching the body language, Ben could see
that the ensign was trying very hard to turn on the charm with the
pretty science officer.
"You mentioned that you were seeing someone..." Jadzia said,
trying to deflect her friend's younger self. He would have backed off
quite readily if she revealed that she could remember what it was to be
that "old fart," but that would disrupt the timeline.
"Oh? Jennifer? That's not serious. She's seeing other guys, I'm
seeing other ladies..."
The lifeline came from an unusual source.
"Ahem, Ensign," the voice echoed behind her. "You've had enough
here. Let's get back to your quarters."
"I was just about to persuade this lady to come with me..."
The voice was stern. "Not bloody likely. Let's go."
"Now, Ensign. Do I make myself clear?"
Younger Ben sighed. "Sorry, orders are orders."
After Older Julian all but dragged his younger counterpart out of
Quark's, Ben came up to Jadzia's table and sat down.
Absently looking out the door, Jadzia sighed and smiled. "Your
younger self was just talking about Curzon." Turning to Ben, she
flashed a huge grin that looked vaguely like it belonged on the old
man. "I was a real son-of-a-bitch, wasn't I?"
"No comment, Old Man," Ben answered.
From netcom.com!ix.netcom.com!netnews Thu Jan 18 16:27:40 1996
Xref: netcom.com alt.startrek.creative:33168 alt.fan.jadzia.dax.slug.slug.slug:1036
From: email@example.com(Jessica Krucek )
Subject: REPOST: DS9 "Hindsight" 3/4
Date: 18 Jan 1996 05:12:59 GMT
X-NETCOM-Date: Wed Jan 17 9:12:59 PM PST 1996
When they got into Younger Ben's quarters, Older Julian was
furious. "What the hell did you think you were doing back there?"
"Just getting out of my quarters, and enjoying a harmless drink
at the Ferengi's bar. Take it easy, Admiral. I didn't learn the
"That's what you think!" Older Julian shouted. "I don't think you
have the slightest idea who you were talking to!"
"I didn't catch her name," said Younger Ben, raising his voice.
"You interrupted me!"
"Don't you raise your voice to me, Ensign!" Older Julian shouted.
Younger Ben got up and shoved the older man. "And who in hell are
you to be giving me orders? From what I saw, you're under my command!"
"Not for another eighteen years."
Younger Ben crossed his arms indignantly across his chest. "You
know, Admiral, I'm looking forward to being here."
Older Julian sniffed contemptuously. "Why in hell would you?"
Younger Ben stared down the older man. "I've been doing a little
looking into this place, and for being a Cardassian scrapheap, it's
actually pretty good. Rebuilding a planet, discovering the first stable
wormhole...exploring a new Quadrant of space. I'd say this is a good
place to start over."
Older Julian frowned, and said sharply. "Perhaps the Commander
forgot to mention this, but he didn't exactly come here of his own free
will. His wife died in an attack by an enemy you haven't discovered
yet, but will enc
ounter all too soon. Starfleet all but dumped him on this station, and
put me here because I was a young fool. I was stupid to take this
assignment. Stupid to get attached to anything or anyone here..."
Younger Ben groaned and threw up his arms. "Now, you're sounding
just like that drunk old man I'm stuck shuttling around on Dallios.
Tells me never to open yourself up, because you get hurt every time.
Says he's seen more friends leave or die than he can count. His
culture's solution is to stay away from attachments."
"Well then," grumbled Older Julian. "He's got the right idea."
"I don't know about that," Younger Ben said. "Sometimes, all you
have is your friends. Sure, you get a little hurt, but that's nothing
compared to getting lonely. I tell him that he's got a lot to learn
about people. That shuts him up."
"He does, does he?" Older Julian said.
"Yes. Don't know why."
"Maybe..." Older Julian whispered. "Maybe you were the one who
taught her that getting emotionally involved wasn't a bad thing, even
if that person was going to leave. That's what she told me the morning
I had to go..." He shook his head, them looked up at Younger Ben. "If
that's the case, I have you to thank."
"She?" Younger Ben was dubious. "I'm talking about an old man,
not some lady."
No, thought Older Julian. I'm talking about the same
Younger Ben threw up his hands. "I don't know what you're about,
Admiral. I just hope I can get back to where I belong so I don't have
to listen to you for the next decade."
Older Julian nodded and turned to leave. He said quietly. "Just
remember, Benjamin. The longer you look at those eyes of hers, the more
over your head you're getting. I know that all too well..."
* * * *
He was unable to sleep, too acutely aware of his surroundings, of
the feel of the hard, Cardassian bed beneath him, of the coldness of
the sheets. Whenever he closed his eyes, he could see those eyes...her
eyes. Those ice-covered pieces of lapis that held the light of a young
woman and the depth of long centuries of knowledge.
He had been so young, so foolish. It never should have happened.
He should never have that memory, lying in a Cardassian bed, having her
lithe, cool body next to his. It was wrong to feel that way for
her...much less act on those feelings.
Seeing her again...with what he used to be. He couldn't say the
things he wanted to tell her. She'd never understand, and the natural
order of things would be disrupted. In his time, she had been gone for
almost fifteen years...
Older Julian rose out of bed and blearily stumbled to the
bathroom. Splashing some ice-cold water on his face, he looked into the
mirror, and took a look at himself, as if seeing his reflection in a
magic mirror of truth.
The emptiness had weighed on him, stooping his shoulders, and
causing his face to wrinkle much faster that it should have. Hard years
of running away from himself had caused his hair to turn to a dull
gray. His brown eyes were dull and lifeless, lacking all the animation
and life that filled his younger self.
The years of emptiness imprisoned him, chaining him suddenly,
then growing on him slowly. Like a Ruler of the Dead who had slowly
grown into one with his Underworld throne, Older Julian would never
know what it would be like to be alive and free ever again.
*When was the last time you laughed, Julian? Or even shed a tear?
Hell, when was the last time you even felt alive?*
No answer. He had shouldered this emptiness for so long, he had
forgotten how much of a burden it was. True, he had a wonderful career,
existed well enough to get by, even tried to drown his sorrows in
But, like an addict, he was always trying to reach that perfect
high, the exhilaration that could never be found again. He was just
existing and getting quick fixes to stop from feeling rotten.
He thought of his younger self, still full of enthusiasm and a
hunger for life. Still "just" friends with her. Still living on this
utterly glorious piece of Cardassian scrap metal. He hoped his younger
self would not leave this station, and never know what it was like to
hear her voice murmuring words of passion in the darkness...
But, time would march on, and he'd walk the same path. In twenty
years, he'd be staring into this same mirror.
Older Julian wanted to curse his fate, but he was too emotionally
barren. Nothing could be done...
* * * *
I'm trying a new setting, 5000 cycles per second," Miles said as
he pressed a few more panels.
Jadzia studied the readout. "I think that's too low. Up that to
about 10000 cycles per second.
"That's maximum output," warned Miles. "It'll burn out the
emitters in less than five minutes. That might not be enough time to
seal the rift."
"If we lower the intensity levels, that might buy us a little
"But what about the radiation?" Miles asked. "A lower intensity
level will mean the pilot has to get closer to the disturbance in order
to seal it. That increases the risk of radiation poisoning..."
"It's just a simulation. Let's try it."
"Okay." Miles said, pressing the keys and monitoring the readout.
"Okay. We've got it. The rift will seal...one minute and thirty seconds
after the pilot dies of radiation poisoning."
"What chance is there that the pilot will be split by the
disturbance?" Jadzia asked.
"About fifty percent."
Jadzia paced. "What about generating the same sensor beam inside
the cabin. Will that protect the pilot from getting split?"
"Yeah, but it will compromise the life support systems a bit. The
radiation protection will be diminished by thirty-four percent."
"If the pilot dies, though, that's not going to be a problem..."
Miles was appalled. "How can you...I can't discuss fatalities
"Chief, what does the readout say the pilot's chances of not
"About twenty-seven percent. Not acceptable if you ask me. I
wouldn't want anyone flying this in..."
"I just sent another probe into the Wormhole this morning. The
anomaly is only one hundred kilometers inside the Wormhole. Within
fifty hours, this station will be gone...within a week, Bajor. One
person is acceptable under the circumstances."
"Where you going to find a pilot willing to accept those kind of
odds?" Miles asked. "They'd have to be crazy."
"Don't worry, Chief. I won't die if I can help it," Jadzia said.
"You?" Chief sniffed. "You're crazy!"
"It's one person now, or hundreds later. I don't think they'll be
any way to stop it once it breeches the Wormhole."
"But sacrificing yourself..."
"As I said, Chief, I have no intention of dying if I can help
it." Jadzia scanned the readout, and adjusted a few variables. "I've
maximized the shield output. The pilot's chances of survival have
jumped another three percent."
"Still, those odds are for a madwoman. I'd not take my chances on
Jadzia frowned. "Someone has to, Chief...someone has to. The
Arion radiation automatically creates interference with the autopilot.
The impulse engines have to be manually adjusted in order to get close
enough to the rupture."
"Get everyone to meet in the conference lounge. Major Kira,
Doctor Bashir, Ben, and the time-displaced counterparts. We'll all
An hour later, Major Kira, the two Bens and the two Julians were
sitting around the table as Jadzia explained the situation.
"The scanning frequency of the probe must have hit a natural
fissure in the Wormhole itself," Jadzia said, pointing to the display
on the screen.
"Almost like playing a certain note can cause fine crystal to
crack," Ben said.
"Exactly," said Jadzia. "I think that I've also found the
solution to the problem."
"Which is?" Older Julian was dubious.
"If a high intensity, low-frequency scanner was able to rupture
to Wormhole, then perhaps another frequency can be used to reverse the
damage. Chief O'Brien and I can modify the Rio Grande's sensor grid to
project the beam into the temporal disturbance."
"What about the radiation?" Julian asked. "Won't that kill
whoever is piloting us in?"
Jadzia nodded. "Arion Radiation can't be shielded by anything
short of a stasis chamber. I've tested various simulations, and there's
a fifty percent chance that the rupture can be sealed before the dose
becomes lethal, but that's not a very good chance."
"How can we prevent the pilot from bringing their past or future
home?" Major Kira said with a frown.
"I think Chief O'Brien has come up with a solution."
All eyes went to the stocky Irishman at the end of the table.
Miles cleared his throat. "The power distribution system can be
modified to set up a steady ion burst that can act as a short-term
shield from the disturbance. It won't hold long, but it will be enough
to engage the low-frequency beam."
Older Julian frowned. "That will increase the risk of radiation
poisoning to seventy-five percent."
"Sorry," said Miles. "That's the best I can do."
Can I look at the specs for the ion burst?" Older Julian asked.
"How it works?"
"Don't see why not," said Miles, handing Older Julian the PADD
with the schematics.
"What if one of us pilots it in?" Younger Ben asked. "I mean, it
would make more sense than risking another person doing it."
"If the radiation is present at deadly levels, you would more
than likely materialize in your time dead," said Jadzia. "That would
only make the situation worse in your case."
"What about me?" Older Julian asked. "I could fly it in."
"Then you run the risk of not returning to your place in time,
and if Ben pilots the ship, his younger self might not go back. That's
why I'm taking the risk of piloting you all in."
Older Julian nearly stood up from his chair. "Why? Any one of us
can pilot that thing, and what good will it do if you're dead?"
Julian and Jadzia were a little surprised. The admiral was acting
not unlike his passionate, young self.
"If you pilot the runabout, there's a chance that you won't
return to your place in time, and frankly, a science officer is more
expendable than a commander or an admiral."
Older Julian frowned and sat back down, looking intently at the
schematics of Miles's shield design.
"Admiral," Ben said. "I'm not comfortable with this arrangement,
either." He looked up at Jadzia. "I don't think you are all that
"Ben, I'm willing to risk it. This station will be destroyed if
that rift keeps growing, and Bajor will folloow in a matter of days. If
this thing breeches the Wormhole, no one's going to be able to stop it,
and since the autopilot won't get us close enough to the rift to seal
it, someone has to fly it in."
"Who's going to fly us home?" Julian asked.
"The autopilot can fly out, it just can't fly in," Jadzia
answered. "Now, our best window of opportunity to seal the rupture is
in three hours."
"In the meantime," Ben said, looking at the younger versions of
himself and Julian. "I think that we should make preparations to erase
the memories of Dr. Bashir and myself."
"Just the younger versions are necessary," Older Julian said,
running his fingers through his graying hair. "Their knowledge of their
older selves can disrupt the natural course of events, and I'll be more
than glad to do the procedure." An almost familiar glitter came to his
jaded brown eyes. "After all, even if it has been twenty years, I still
know that Infirmary like the back of my hand. Afterwards, I recommend,
we put them in stasis chambers in the runabout to protect them from the
Ben nodded. "Agreed." He looked up at Jadzia. "Dax, tell me when
the Chief and you are ready."
From netcom.com!ix.netcom.com!netnews Thu Jan 18 16:27:43 1996
Xref: netcom.com alt.startrek.creative:33169 alt.fan.jadzia.dax.slug.slug.slug:1037
From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Jessica Krucek )
Subject: REPOST: DS9 "Hindsight" 4/4
Date: 18 Jan 1996 05:32:39 GMT
X-NETCOM-Date: Wed Jan 17 9:32:39 PM PST 1996
Julian waited nervously in his office. His older self came out of
the wardroom. "The younger version of Commander Sisko is sleeping well.
It's your turn."
Julian got out of the chair. "Good. The sooner I forget you, the
Older Julian stopped him. The look in his eyes was oddly
troubled. "You don't mean that, do you?"
"Of course I mean it," Julian snarled. "Ever since you got here,
you've done nothing but ridicule me. 'This station's a mess,' 'This
Infirmary is a piece of garbage,' 'You wasted your life here...'"
"Julian..." Older Julian was at a loss for words.
The younger man was oblivious to his older self's discomfort.
"You belittle everything about me. You...you even blurt out my private
thoughts in front of Jadzia. Do you know how damned embarrassed I
felt?! Gods, I *am* you! If you are me, you should know how I feel
about her..." Julian was shaking in anger. "But you don't care do you?
You don't give a damn about anyone but yourself. You..." Julian spit
out the worst insult he could think to give himself. "You are just like
Father! Tell me, do you have a son at home you can take your anger out
on? Someone who you can beat with *your* belt?"
Older Julian turned red with rage. "You are such a fool, Julian!
And, no..." His voice became quieter. "No, I don't have anyone. No
children, not even someone I can really call a friend..."
Julian was still enraged, but decided to keep it in for the time
being. "You traded your passion...*my passion* for life...for saving
lives, for a high rank and an empty life." The anger dissolved,
replaced by pity. "What happened to me, Doctor? The man who decided
that the frontier was the best place for him? The person who still can
respect himself when he looks in a mirror? *Remember me?*"
Older Julian's shoulders sagged with the weight of his wasted
life. He looked up at his younger self. "Too well."
"Then," Julian's voice was as quiet as an empty church. "What
happened to me? I liked me..."
Now, it was Older Julian's turn to become angry. "You were
stupid, Julian. Incredibly stupid. I thought that Palis would have
taught us that if life gives you a good thing, you should just pull it
close to you and never let it go - come hell or high water - but no!
No, Julian, we were so dense we let our whole lives go spiraling into
"I don't think I understand," said Julian.
"Of course you don't! You will never know until you wake up one
day and see me in the mirror!" His voice was harsh. "I'll tell you why
I hate you, Julian. I hate you because I had this. I had a beautiful
life and I threw it all away because I was too afraid to start growing
roots, too afraid to call any one place my home."
"I didn't apply for the position on the *Thompson* because I'm
afraid," said Julian. "I'm doing so because they need someone there who
can do the job."
"Don't you think that 'here' needs a good doctor, too?" Older
Julian sighed. "Truth is, I know why we took that position, and why
we've been running our whole careers. You think about staying too long
in any one place, and frankly, it scares the hell out of you. Don't
deny it. You are me. You just don't know it, yet."
"Well, there's nothing we can do about it now," Julian sighed.
"I'm doomed to lose, so I might as well go into it oblivious. Take me
to the wardroom."
Julian started out the door. Older Julian caught his arm.
He turned around. His older self was looking at the floor. His
voice was a whisper. "It doesn't have to be that way."
"I could just give you a sedative, and not do the erasure. I can
even tamper with the records so no one will ever know."
"That's unethical! You'd be disrupting the natural course of
"Damn you, Julian. Time is one of the most flexible things ever
designed. The future is carved one day at a time, each man making his
own mark. I think the Gods might have intended this...a glimpse into
what you could be."
"I suppose you're right," the older Julian said, disgusted. "Just
go out. Go out and be damned. I'll sedate you."
Later, after his younger self was asleep, Jadzia entered the
Infirmary. Seeing the older Julian putting away the memory erasure
device, she asked. "Is everyone ready?"
The Older Julian nodded. "Yes, they're all ready."
Noticing his distant expression, Jadzia asked, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing you should concern yourself with, Jadzia. I'm just
thinking about what's happened to turn him..." He pointed to Julian,
asleep on the biobed. "Into me. All the friends I left behind, all the
things I missed. Hopefully, history isn't going to repeat itself."
"Why?" asked Jadzia. "You have a good post and a good rank.
"Professionally," Older Julian said hollowly. "But I'm not as
lucky as he is. He has people who actually care about him. I pushed
everyone away after..." He turned around, his large brown eyes taking
in every centimeter of her, a horrible sadness echoed within them.
"Don't tell me. You'll only disrupt..."
"Oh, just shut up, Dax! I'm not that 'child' on the biobed that
you can just brush off," Older Julian barked. "Right now, I have so
much to say. What the hell, I might as well say it, since I know you
well enough to know that what I say won't leave this infirmary..."
"Julian, I don't want to hear it..."
"Don't want to hear what? What I'm about to say?" Older Julian
pointed to his younger counterpart. "Fine. Be as stupid as me. Realize
the truth when it's too damn late to do anything about it. I'm not
about to make the same mistake twice!"
Jadzia blurted it out. "You *didn't* erase his memory?"
"And it's not going to be erased. I won't have him walk off a
cliff without giving him a chance to see the edge. I'm not that
"You don't know that," Jadzia argued.
"Neither do you," Older Julian said. "By hell's fire, Jadzia. The
future was never meant to be carved in stone. It was meant to be lived,
and I'm not living. I'm existing. I may have an admiral's bars, but I
don't respect myself when I look in the mirror." He shook his head and
started to talk wildly. "Maybe I was supposed to come here, did you
ever consider that? Did the possibility ever once come to mind that I
might be here to avert a disaster?"
"The timeline must be preserved, Julian. No matter how
detrimental that decision is..."
Older Julian was bitter. "You had better open up those pretty
ears and sit down so you can hear all of it, and I'll make you listen
if I have to." He forced her into a chair. "Listen once, and listen
good. I know that if I let him...let myself run away, he'll never
forgive me...never forgive himself."
Older Julian pulled up a chair for himself and sat down in it.
His eyes were downcast, his voice quiet and choked with emotion. He
didn't even look at her as he spoke. "I did get accepted to the
*Thompson.* Everyone here was so happy to see me take a promotion,
especially you." He shook his head. "That isn't right...it's more
appropriate to call her the Jadzia from my time. Anyway, In the months
that followed, she and I spent a lot of my remaining time on the
station together, and the day before I left..." His eyes became clouded
with inscrutable shadows. "She invited me to a perfectly innocent
dinner in your...I mean, her quarters. We started to talk, listen to
"We were drinking something quite a bit more potent than
synthale. After a few drinks, we started to get up and dance to the
music. Beautiful music...slow, romantic..."
She realized it in a hurry. "It didn't stay innocent, did it?"
"How astute," Older Julian said dryly. "No, it didn't. One thing
lead to another, and the next thing we knew, you were...she was giving
me a rather personal good-bye. It could have been the drinks or the
fact that we didn't have any time left, but that night was the most
memorable night of my life. Everything just seemed to...to *fit.* I
never felt that way before, so at peace. I was terrified of it. Duty on
the *Thompson* gave me reason to forget..."
"And we lost contact," she said.
"We'd write each other, but our friendship was strained by the
distance and the memory of that night," His voice cracked, and he
buried his face in his hands. "I didn't really know until it was too
late that the night we spent together was no accident...That we
actually felt the same way about each other and were to damn scared or
stupid or stubborn to admit to it."
"But you...he and I are friends. The feelings don't -"
Older Julian let out a humorless laugh. "So you think. So you
convinced yourself that you don't feel anything for him beyond guiding
him. You are a 'proper Joined.'" He spit out the term, his voice full
of acid. "Shutting out every thing inside yourself outside your duties
to guide those in the universe who haven't inherited someone else's
thoughts...You won't admit it to yourself - not right now, but later,
when you invite him over to your quarters for an 'innocent' good-bye,
and wake up the next morning to find yourself -"
"I don't have to listen to this," Jadzia barked, leaping out of
the chair. "You're lying to save yourself."
Older Julian pleaded, in a voice that seemed to be torn from him.
"Jadzia, I've never lied to you, and it's too damn late to start now.
If I were lying, I sure as hell wouldn't be embarrassing you with the
details of something you refuse to acknowledge. There are better ways
to get what I want - namely, knocking you out and erasing your memory.
It's not terribly hard to make both Host and symbiont forget a few
days' worth of memories. I swear, in front of every God, Goddess, and
*Prophet* in this universe, that I'm telling the truth."
Every rational fiber of Jadzia was telling her to ignore this
fool and call Security, but her intuition told her to stay put because
he was telling the hard truth.
For the first time in a long time, she trusted her hunches.
"Suppose you are telling the truth. What happened?"
Older Julian said, in a voice so quiet she had to strain to hear
it, "I killed you."
Older Julian looked at her for the first time since she walked in
the Infirmary. Jadzia could see the tears streaking down the wrinkled
cheeks, and flooding his chocolate-brown eyes.
"Five years later, we met on a Starbase. It was just like old
times and more." His voice was bitter. "Gods above, I was more than
willing to trade every rank pip I had for more time with you, but you
had to leave. I understood, and we kept in much better contact. Two
months later, I was on the *Nagasaki.* You were coming by shuttlecraft
to visit. There was a microscopic defect in the engine, and the shuttle
engine overloaded. You were badly injured. It was up to me to save
"And you didn't?"
"I used an experimental procedure. If it worked, it would have
saved both parts of you. However, it didn't work. You slipped away from
me..." Jadzia got him a cloth to dry off his face, which he gratefully
accepted. "If I had been a little cautious, I would have probably been
able to save Dax, but I took the risky option and I lost. Even though
Sisko and the other people who knew both of us tried to assure me that
I wasn't at fault, I never could shake the feeling that they blamed me.
Hell, I still blame myself." Older Julian surveyed his old home, the
battered infirmary. His voice was distant, not speaking to her, but to
himself, and to the past. "I started to turn away from everyone and
everything pertaining to my life here." He gestured to the Infirmary.
"I transferred to a research base, and dedicated myself to my career.
I'd already destroyed everything else in my life except that. I
dedicated my life not to saving lives, but to pouring over stacks of
someone else's findings. I had my rank and illustrious record, but," He
stared at his younger counterpart on the biobed. "Until I met up with
what I used to be, I never realized that I died, too."
Older Julian got out of his chair and grabbed two forehead
patches. "These are delta-wave inducers, and over there is a free
biobed. Now, Jadzia, I'll put my fate in your hands. You can choose to
have me erase your memory of this conversation and erase the past few
days from Julian's memory, or you can choose to have the two of you
keep your memories. If you decide to forget this, it might not happen
exactly the way I described to you, and if you let him keep his memory,
there's no guarantee that he'll keep history from repeating itself. The
choice is yours. Either way, I'll understand..."
Jadzia stared at the two patches, then up at the older Julian who
was expecting an answer. He had to be lying, lying to keep himself from
ruining his life. After all, she could never feel anything other than a
teacher's detached love for his younger self...And even if she did,
wasn't part of being Joined the discipline not to get attached to any
one person, especially if that person would die before they did? Even
her hell-raising predecessor, Curzon, knew better than to act on
sentiment. He never got too attached to anyone.
Well, he did learn friendship...a long time ago when a certain aide
managed to turn the tables and teach the old man a few lessons in how
to stand by a person, and stay by them.
But love was a different, deeper matter. Could this future image of
her friend and newest life-student be lying to her. Love was nothing.
It was casual affairs based on hormones, or a commitment like a
business arrangement. All of the marriages in her lives had been for
the purpose of producing a better generation of Candidates. Even those
were never based on the foolhardy passions that people like Julian
Or did this human teach her another lesson?
She glanced at the young men on the biobeds. Benjamin and Julian.
Past and present. Future was the two patches in her hand.
*The future was never meant to be carved in stone*...His words
made sense. Wasn't she going to be doing just that by allowing the
memory erasure? Just condemning him to walk that dismal path? But what
about the proper order of things? No easy answers, but one easy
She handed the patches back to Older Julian. "Let him remember. I
don't think he'll cause too much trouble by remembering you. He'll
probably keep his mouth shut about it."
He put the patches back into the cabinet. Jadzia tapped her
badge. "Dax to Sisko. We're all ready. We'll meet you at Runabout pad
Jadzia and Older Julian met Ben at the pad, bringing the antigrav
stretchers containing the unconscious young men.
"The forward phaser has been replaced with the beam," said
O'Brien, wiping his grimy hands on a rag. "It's working, I've already
run all the diagnostics."
"What about the stasis units?" Older Julian asked.
"I rigged four up in the back."
"Thank you, Chief," Ben said. He turned to Older Julian. "You
"As ready as I get," he replied, smiling. "So are our younger
counterparts. Let's load them on as soon as I inspect the stasis
Miles waved Older Julian ahead.
The stasis units were all rigged up to spec, and
radiation-proofed. Perfect. The younger versions of Commander Sisko and
himself were already sleeping in two of them. Older Julian was
concentrating on those long-ago courses in Starfleet Engineering,
courses he had kept himself somewhat up-to-date on. There was something
to be said for knowing simple, yet advanced techniques.
He looked at his younger self, unconscious. Would this be what he
wanted? The shield around the cockpit would prevent him from being
split, but what Jadzia said about radiation...
He smiled. What the hell was he thinking? He *was* that young man
in the stasis chamber. Of course, he'd want this. A chance to set
things right. Wasn't that why he came to this godforsaken place?
*I won't argue with me.* Older Julian thought.
Commander Sisko walked into the room. "You ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be," he said. "Just lie down. I'll follow."
Sisko nodded and lay down in one of the stasis units, leaving the
last one empty. Older Julian shot a strange smile to his former
Commander. "Thank you," Older Julian said.
"For what?" asked Ben.
"For too many things," replied Older Julian before pressing the
hypospray of sedative to Ben's neck.
Ben was out like a light in seconds. Older Julian ran one more
check. Okay, the stasis pods for both Bens were functioning and
unshielded from the disturbance, as was the chamber where his younger
counterpart was resting. Just had to make the modification to the last
one...He took the chip out of his pocket. This should be a shielding
device, to keep the last pod's occupant protected from the disturbance.
Older Julian crossed his fingers until he saw the lights and readings
telling him that his jury-rig was successful.
Jadzia had already got the launch sequence out of the way. Older
Julian smiled as he felt the vibrations beneath the deckplates that
told him that the ship was moving.
Jadzia came into the room. "Final check of the stasis..." Her
voice caught in her throat as she saw Older Julian still very much
He wasted no time and put his plan into action. He bolted up to
her and discharged a healthy dose of sedative into her arm. He caught
her as she collapsed.
"Sorry, dearheart," he said. "I'm not about to let you die on me
He put her in the last pod and made a final check on all of them.
If she was right, all he had to do was engage the beam and disengage
the shield around the cockpit.
* * * *
Older Julian shuttered as he entered the Wormhole. All the colors
and lights. The Bajorans were right - this was a place befitting the
The disturbance blocked the tunnel like a net. He remembered the
staff meeting. All he had to do was disengage the shielding and fly
He overrode the shield and took her in slowly.
The computer sounded a chime. "Radiation levels beyond safe
levels. Lethal exposure in ten minutes."
He hadn't reached the disturbance yet. He raised the speed to
"Radiation levels beyond safe levels. Lethal exposure in eight
Older Julian ignored the signal. This was how he planned to meet
his makers, anyhow - a meaningful sacrifice for people he cared about.
Jadzia would die if he hadn't put her in stasis. Older Julian laughed.
Maybe he was a paradox. Maybe his younger self wouldn't take this path.
Even if history didn't change, Older Julian still felt strangely
peaceful - as peaceful as he did that morning after "his" timeline's
Jadzia wished him good-bye.
Older Julian looked up. "Computer, how many minutes until I enter
One minute to deploy the beam and set the runabout to autopilot
for home. Perfect. His reaction time would be slowed by the vertigo
that went with severe radiation poisoning.
He was beginning to experience the symptoms. Weakness, increased
heartrate, and the aforementioned dizziness.
He sat back and mentally reviewed his life, lingering over
memories of the station, of the friends he met and the enemies he made.
It hadn't been a bad life until he ran away. Ah, well, that was in the
past, and hopefully not the future.
The runabout bucked. The readouts indicated that he was in the
rift. He wasted no time. He started to enter the sequence to deploy the
"Radiation Alert," droned the computer. "Lethal exposure in
Older Julian noticed that his symptoms were getting worse. Too
late to back out. There. The beam was going.
The rift was beginning to seal. He staggered back to the stasis
units. Younger Ben was already fading from existence, returning to the
Time he came from. Ben was sleeping peacefully. Jadzia still had a very
astonished look on her face.
"Radiation Alert! Lethal exposure in -"
"Shut up, Computer," Older Julian sputtered. He could feel
something else besides the poisoning. Almost like a pull. He looked
down at his shaking fingers. He gasped to find that he could see
straight through them! Not much time left. He staggered to the console
and punched in the sequence to cut the beam and return home in forty
seconds, after the last of the rift would be sealed.
That was his last act. He slumped to the deck, feeling himself
grow weak. He would die. No question about that. He would phase back to
his office dead, or he would just phase out of existence. Older Julian
didn't care which. He closed his eyes and waited...
Seconds after his last breath rattled in his throat, the rift
sealed, and he winked out of this timeline. The unmanned runabout
headed for home.
* * * *
"Major, come here!" Miles shouted. "The runabout's coming back!"
"Scan for lifesigns. Is Dax in there?" Asked Kira anxiously.
Miles looked at his terminal, frowned, then performed the scan
again. He looked up at Nerys sadly. "No. No lifesigns in the cockpit."
Kira felt her insides freeze. The worst had happened. Another
friend gone. "Chief," she whispered. "Secure a tractor beam on the *Rio
Grande* and bring her in."
They rushed down to the runabout and opened the hatch. Kira
closed her eyes before she went in. She would have to face the fact
that her friend was gone, sacrificing herself to seal the rift and
restore the timeline to normal.
Jadzia was such a good person. Why did she have to die? Why did
all good people seem to die too soon? Why...
"What the hell?" She heard Miles say. "There's no one here."
She opened her eyes and looked around the cockpit. Miles was
right. No body. Nothing.
"Was the radiation at fatal levels?"
Miles nodded. "The residual effects are still here. It's been
neutralized for the most part, but it would have killed someone a
minute ago." He punched up the computer logs. "According to this, the
rift was sealed."
Immediately, the two of them rushed over to the stasis pods.
Miles whipped out his tricorder. "What the..." Miles began. He looked
up at Kira. "Three of these are occupied. All of them are alive. One of
them's been rigged with an ion shield."
Kira shook her head and opened the pod Miles had pointed out. The
hatch lifted, and she staggered back in shock.
"By the Prophets!" she breathed. "She's alive!"
Jadzia started to come out of it. She looked up at Kira, shocked.
"What did he do?" She shook her head. "Joined Gods! He must have!"
Jadzia shook her head. "Open the other stasis pods!"
Kira and Miles opened the pods. Ben and Julian were fine, and the
time-displaced counterparts had vanished.
"The three of you seem to be all right."
"He's okay," said Kira. "What happened? You were the one we
thought had died."
Jadzia pinched the bridge of her nose. "Julian's counterpart
knocked me out. He must have piloted the craft in." Miles handed her
the tricorder. As she studied the readouts, Jadzia shook her head. "He
would have been dead by the time the rift sealed..."
The men were coming to. Ben looked up. "Major, did it work?"
Julian shook his head. It felt three meters thick. His dark eyes
widened in shock as he realized that he could still remember everything
that happened with his older counterpart with surprising clarity.
Something hadn't gone right with the memory purge, or maybe... Maybe it
had gone right.
Julian decided to play dumb. "What happened? How'd I get here?"
"Don't ask," said Jadzia. "It's better that way."
Julian had secretly withdrawn his application to the *Thompson.*
No one but him must know that the memory purge failed. He sat back,
trying to find a reason why he still had his memories.
The doorchime sounded. "Come in."
The door slid open. Jadzia entered the room, the door sealing
behind her. "Julian, I probably have the answer you've been looking
Julian looked up. "Since when did Joined Trills have telepathic
abilities? And I don't have any questions, thank you."
"Please, Julian. I know that your older counterpart let you keep
your memory of his visit. I think it's tied into the reason why he...or
you...or whoever decided to sacrifice himself."
Julian turned around. "How...how did you know I didn't forget?"
She looked down at the floor, then back up at him. "Because I
agreed with your older self to keep it that way."
"You? You decided for me?"
"I'm sorry," she said.
"Sorry? Why should you be?" Julian said. "On the contrary, I
should thank you."
"You've given me a very precious glimpse into what I could be if
I'm not careful," he said. "But, aren't you worried about the
"Frankly, Julian, you're not that big of a deal to the universe.
That's why I agreed with him."
"For once, I'm glad I'm small potatoes," Julian said with a
laugh. "Hopefully, you won't mind if I stayed here with those
"What? You aren't going to the *Thompson?*"
"Probably wouldn't have, anyway. I'm beginning to get used to
here," his voice quieted. "And to everyone that's here with me."
Jadzia was stunned. So history wouldn't repeat itself...at least
one aspect of history wouldn't.
Well, then, the future never was meant to be carved in stone...