<USS Banshee> "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <groundzero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 19:23:03 -0700

“One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”
by Lt. Commander Joshua Asper
& Lieutenant Coren Terje

Coren looked around the Shuttle Bay, taking it all in. It looked a little different from what he remembered; then again his memory of it was a little fuzzy. Coren walked out of the Shuttle Bay and into the hall. He saw a few crewmen walking down the hall, and he followed one into the turbolift.

"Deck 7," said the other crewman.

"Deck 2," Coren told the Computer. The turbolift rode up a level to Deck 2 and Coren walked off and into the hallway. He looked around, unsure of which way to turn. He knew that his quarters were on this Deck, but he couldn’t remember exactly where. He decided to turn left and walk down the hall to see if anything triggered his memory. As he was walking he saw Josh up ahead of him.

He called out to him, "Hey Josh."

Stopping and turning on his heel, Josh stared into a face from his past. Coren? Josh tried to put some reason and information behind the face, but couldn't manage to put two and two together. Extending his hand out and smiling slightly, Josh welcomed his friend back to the ship, "Long time no see. How does it feel to be back on board? I don't know what you've been doing, man, but Sara outranks you now."

Coren shook his hand. "Well, I don’t think it’s been all that long since we last talked. Plus I wouldn’t know how it feels to be back on board, being that I never left the ship. Also, how did Sara get promoted so quickly?"

Coren thought to himself: Think about what he’s saying. Long time no see? That’s really implying that we haven’t spoken in a while, but it’s only been a couple of hours, hasn’t it? I mean it makes no sense, Sara outranks me? How could she go from an Ensign, to at least Lieutenant SG in only a couple of hours? Why is Josh now a Lieutenant Commander? Think Coren, think.

He couldn't help but perk an eyebrow at him. Josh was glad, for the first time in a while, that he didn't have empathic powers or the ability to read people's minds. "Coren, Sara got promoted to Lieutenant after you were transferred away by Starfleet Medical and then after about another year and a half she was up to Lieutenant SG. Are you all right, man?"

"A year and a half? No, that can’t be," Coren thought.

"A year and a half? Is your time off? I was going to leave for my transfer about an hour ago, but the pilot told me that they had chosen another Doctor, and that I was staying on Banshee. Morrigan should’ve received something. She was quick on promoting Sara up, huh? Maybe she didn’t receive anything, I should go talk to her." Coren began to turn to walk back toward the turbo lift.

"Coren!" Josh stepped up in front of his deranged friend, "have you some screws loose? Morrigan is on Betazed with D'nalls and Andros was promoted to Captain almost a month ago. We should get you to sickbay, man, I don't think that everything is all right." Josh took him by the arm and started for the turbolift thinking absurdities about being abducted or something, but he quickly pushed them from his thoughts.

Coren looked around. Where am I? OK, I’m on a ship, probably Banshee, don’t know what deck this is. Who the hell is grabbing my arm? Coren jerked his arm loose, "What’s the big idea?" He saw it was Josh. "Oh hey Josh. What’s going on?"

His jaw would've dropped through the deck, "Coren, stop messing around. It's Josh. We've been chatting for about ten minutes now and all of a sudden you freak out - what is your problem man?" Josh was genuinely concerned for his friend and pushed him down the hallway towards sickbay. "We're going to go say hello to Doctor Kaelyre."

"10 minutes?" Coren asked. The last thing Coren could remember was tripping in the Shuttle Bay. "I’m not messing around, I want to know what the hell is going on? And since when is Cy a Doctor?"

Exhaling heavily, Josh looked at Coren, "It's not Cy, it's Sara. Sara and Cy got married a couple of weeks back during shore leave. Where are you, Coren?" This isn't what he needed. What he wanted was to go to his quarters and sleep off whatever mental ailment was hurting him - not worrying about Coren's ‘loss’ of memory. Then again, as Josh was well aware, Coren could be joking. "Do I need to zap you with Trexahilyne?"

It dawned on Coren. "Ah. Good one, good one," Coren laughed. "Morrigan probably received a letter from Starfleet informing her that I’m staying on the ship. So this is your way of saying ‘I’m glad you’re staying on the ship Coren’ – by playing a joke on me. Man, that is just like you. Speaking of which, I should probably go talk to Morrigan."

"Coren, you're playing the joke here. Morrigan hasn't been on Banshee for nearly six months."

"Oh, don’t play dumb. I found your little joke out. You’ve had your fun, now come on, cut it out. I’ve got to go talk to the Captain. Why don’t you come with me? We can discuss an ‘I’m staying’ party."

This was getting him no where. "I have to stop by my quarters, Tel and Cameron are in the holodeck I believe. I just need to change my shirt." It was more of a lure to get him somewhere disclosed. Josh had a plan to bring the strikingly true reality that he'd already laid down and smash it into Coren's head. This was no joke, but Coren didn't get it. Shaking his head, Josh continued walking towards his quarters hoping Coren would follow.

"I should go talk with Morrigan. Ah, hell, who am I kidding? I work enough; I need some time off. I’ll report back to her later." Coren began following Josh. "So who’s Tel and Cameron? Friends of yours?"

A smirk tugged at his lips, "Telsia is my fiancee and Cameron is my son." Josh turned slightly and waited for a reaction as he rounded another corner. Tapping the chime, Josh watched the door slide open. "You've been gone for a while, dude, and whether you care to admit it or not it's been over a year. Now, back to your life. An assistant under Doctor Kaelyre."

"Man I told you cut the crap. You don’t have a fiancee, or a son. Sara’s not married; hell you’re going out with her. It’s only been a couple of hours since I was informed I was staying here, and I am not an Assistant. I’m Chief, Sara’s an Assistant to me, not vice-versa." Coren saw a crewman walk by him. There goes Mike, or was it Matt? Mick perhaps?

Gryphon2: Coren turned back to Josh. "Hey Josh! I’m glad I ran into you. Guess what? I’m staying on Banshee, I’m not being transferred." He walked into Josh’s quarters. "This is great, I get to stay on board, I keep my post, I don’t have to worry about missing you, or Sara, or DV."

All of a sudden Josh felt the compulsory need to slam his face into the door. "Coren, we've been talking for a half an hour." Where is this going, Josh thought. It seemed to him that there was a loop on a musical file that just kept playing the same section over and over again. "You just wait here in the living room and I'll be right back, all right?" Shaking his head, Josh disappeared into the bedroom.

"Yeah, all right." Coren replied. What did he mean by we’ve been talking for a half an hour? Coren looked around the room. Hmm, it’s changed a bit. Some women’s clothes: Josh and Sara. Who’s this baby?

Emerging a few seconds later without a shirt on, Josh crossed over to his computer console and grabbed a fresh shirt off the table next to it. Smiling, Josh pulled it on and cracked his neck. "Computer, what's the current stardate?" Josh leaned against the oak-like table and stared at Coren.

"The stardate is 237804.07."


"What the?!? Your computer having problems lately? That’s not the stardate."

"Yes, it is."

"I’m afraid it isn’t. Computer, check system for malfunctions and errors."

"Acknowledged," after a short while the computer responded with an answer Josh knew that Coren didn't want to hear, "all systems integrated into these quarters are working at full capacity. No reports of problems or errors have been reported or detected."

Josh folded his arms; "Still think I'm lying?"

"Impossible. Maybe there was a virus when we last upgraded. Computer, check system for any virus or worms."

"Coren," Josh said as he drown out the computer's dry and typical response, "there won't be any. Here, I've got another idea." Josh slid into a chair and tapped the console and brought up Starfleet personnel records for himself. He pointed to his recent promotion. "There. Stardare 238003.18. I was promoted to Lt. Commander. And a week before that to Second Officer. No joke. Got it?"

Coren took a step back. "This can’t be right." said aloud, "Why can’t I remember?" Coren thought hard, really hard.

Josh put an arm on his shoulder, "That's why I wanted to get you to sickbay. Come on, let's go. It's down and around the hallway." With that, Josh led his friend - thought completely mentally absent - out of his quarters. "Time to join the rest of us in the future."

"About an hour ago I went to the shuttle bay," Coren began. "I was ready to go, but a part of me wanted to stay behind. The pilot approached me and told me that I wasn’t going to leave. Starfleet found another Doctor to take my place. I was glad that I didn’t have to leave. I thanked the pilot, and turned back towards the hall. I was so excited, that I lost my footing and tripped. The next thing I remember was standing in front of your door a few minutes ago. I don’t know how I got there, though."

"Yeah, I tripped."

"Maybe you just need some sleep. Why don't you head back to your quarters and I'll see you tomorrow." Josh knew that something was up. Coren had been gone for nearly two years and then all of a sudden pops back up with the memories of never leaving. Yes, suffice it to say Josh was a tad bit suspicious. However, he'd have to go talk to someone first. Grabbing a tricorder from his desk drawer, Josh started to scan Coren. "We'll see if this can be analyzed or something."

Coren’s eyes followed the tricorder. A tricorder? Why am I being scanned with a tricorder? He saw Josh standing in front of him holding the tricorder. "Josh? What are you doing?"

Josh pushed Coren into the hallway. Leading him down the corridor Josh put him in Telsia's old quarters. Being as how he'd been gone so long, his quarters had long since been reassigned to someone else. "You stay right here. And, please, don't make me have to come down here and bathe you, feed you, or sing you to sleep. You took a fall. Have a good one, Coren." With that, Josh exited his friend's temporary corridors and headed for sickbay.

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