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Posted on Friday, 22 April 2022 - 7:15pm by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Earth
Timeline: Shore Leave

Time is an illusion...

The words of Albert Einstein, from centuries before she was born, seemed somewhat poetic. Of course many famous scholars in Earth's history had mused about the construct of time and space, attempting to understand the nuances as part of a greater understanding of the wider universe. Yet it was that one particular quote which resonated more strongly because, quite simply, it was staring Alex Kingsley in the face.

In a room almost completely devoid of any personal touches, was an antique clock. A quick inspection and anyone would notice that despite the pristine condition of the polished wood and brass, the clock itself had stopped. And where one might normally find the name of the clock maker, was those four words in perfect calligraphy. It was so unexpected, and seemed so pointless beyond being a decorative piece. And that, in turn, seemed out of character for the man who called this room his office.

Of course, perhaps, it wasn't the clock that was broken. Perhaps it was time, with some temporal anomaly enveloping this small area of the planet to prolong this moment and make it some kind of never ending hell.

It was Starfleet. Anything could be true.

"Lieutenant?" Dr Erikson prompted from his seat in the centre of the room, one of two positioned around a small table. His steel grey eyes were on her, seeming to take in everything in a somewhat unsettling way, as if looking through you and into whatever was underneath. Realising he now had her attention as she looked over her shoulder at him, he gestured to the vacant chair, "unless you intend to stare at the clock for the entire time, shall we?"

Taking a deep breath, leaving her curiosity about the clock and how it came to be in his possession for another time, Alex crossed the room and seated herself. Unlike Commander Samuel Erikson, she was not in uniform which felt strange while on the grounds of Starfleet Medical.

"As I was saying," Erikson said in an irritated tone that made it clear she had completely tuned him out, "I have been sent information from the medical staff who treated you and from Vulcan, as well as the mission report. Before we get into that, lets get to know you a little more, shall we? Tea?"

Alex glanced at a teapot resting in the centre of the table, along with two cups. "I'm not much of a tea drinker but thank you."

He made an almost imperceptible nod, as he set aside the PaDD he had been studying when she arrived and poured himself a cup. "Feel free to replicate something if you wish. Most of my colleagues prefer coffee but I find a calming cup of tea can be a far better option."

"You seem calm enough," Alex observed.

"Indeed. Are you sure you don't want some? You seem tense. I assure you, Lieutenant, I am not here to trick or judge. Just to talk. Observe. But mostly to help you and help you return to duty. If," he added after a brief pause, "that is what you want?"

She felt a flash of anger at his initial comments, wondering what he expected to see when she had been ordered to meet with him. And what was that supposed to mean, if she wanted to go back? Of course she did! Didn't she?

"I... I don't know," she admitted after a long moment. "I honestly don't know."

He regarded her for a long moment, saying nothing before a small smile played at his lips. "Well, honesty is good. And uncertainty is understandable, given the circumstances. I would advice against making any decisions here and now. You have time. And before we speak of more recent events, lets take some time to talk about you and how things were going before the incident with the mirror universe. Tell me about yourself and your personal life."

Alex all but groaned as she sank back into her chair, "you are gonna need a bigger tea pot and probably another PaDD. This gets... complicated."

<< two hours later, Azure Resort, Australia >>

“Sun, sand, sea and all the cocktails a girl could want. I have to admit, this was one of my best ideas,” Laura Kingsley concluded as she set aside her empty glass, stretched out on the lounger and released a contented sigh as she closed her eyes and bathed in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The summer season was almost over, leaving guests at the resort to enjoy the tranquil surroundings without the heat becoming completely insufferable.

It was, in her opinion, the perfect escape.

Which, of course, had been the idea. While Vulcan offered more expertise when it came to helping her daughter and son in law recover, it was quickly obvious how uncomfortable Alex was. From the first possible moment she had insisted on coming to Earth, even against advice, until finally it had been agreed. And, rather than alienate her daughter by fighting her wishes, Laura had stood at her side. It was either join her or try to stop her. And this way she could at least try to ensure her daughter got the rest and relaxation she needed and didn't do anything too stupid.

Stupid, Laura reminded herself with a small chuckle, was subjective. And she had done plenty of ‘stupid’ things over the years. The one thing she knew she had done right was her family. Yes, it wasn’t one forged of flesh and blood but nevertheless…

Lifting her head she pushed down her sunglasses to peer across at her daughter, "as bad as you expected?"

"I guess not," Alex conceded as she tried to get comfortable.

"Did you tell the truth?" Laura pressed.

"Only when we talked about you mother," Alex teased.

Laura laughed aloud at that, glad to see a little more of her daughter coming to the fore. Because sometimes, well... it just didn't seem like she was entirely present. "As long as you told him that I am stunningly beautiful, amazing at karaoke and bake delicious cookies," Laura countered as she settled back.

"And which part of that isn't lying?" Alex asked with a grin before getting back up. "I'm going for a swim."

"Before you do.... You have a few messages," Laura told her, sitting up. "From Vulcan. One is from Severine. Another one I think is from Soral. I'm not sure about the third."

"I'll deal with them later," Alex said after a long moment before striding closer to the pool side and diving into the water, disappearing from sight.

Laura sighed, staring at the empty spot for a long moment before she lay back. She knew Alex would deal with things in her own time, she always had. But dear lord... What an awful mess.


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