The temporal research facility hummed along with quiet efficiency. Supervisor Traala looked down over the workers at their stations and nodded to herself. The issues caused by that renegade and Traitor Noye had caused some tensions at home, but here in her domain, all was well. She returned to her office to finish up some reports before her next meeting.
Traala was looking forward to that meeting very much. Her cousin Zidia had requested some time out of her day for a meeting. Normally her younger cousin was much more disruptive and spontaneous. Traala had been working with her to get her to curb her enthusiasm. Perhaps her hard work had paid off.
“Cousin!” Zidia called out as she waltzed into Traala’s office five minutes late and out of uniform. True, her shift was over, but this was a formal meeting! Perhaps Zidia wasn’t quite entirely grown up yet, then.
“Hello, Zidia,” Traala said, rising to embrace her younger cousin and show her to a seat. She resumed her own chair and folded her hands on the desk. “What did you want to talk about? Your work on the sensor array was exemplary so if you have a concern about your performance review-“
“No, nothing like that,” Zidia said, waving a hand dismissing Traala’s concern. “I can’t call on my cousin? You were practically my big sister after all.” Zidia’s often sharp smile softened. “How many times were you there to keep me from trouble?” she wondered aloud, shaking her head. “We’re lucky we have any family, you know. And I have always been glad to have you.”
“Despite my best efforts you always seemed to find so much trouble,” Traala said, shoulders relaxing a little. “You’re a very fine engineer with a bright future I am so glad you’ve been able to calm down and be mature. I just wanted to make sure you were living up to your full potential.”
Zidia smirked. “Yeah in a way that’s kinda why I’m here.”
“Yeah, so I kinda wanted to get your read on something. It’s important to my future. To our future.”
Traala frowned thoughtfully. “I see. What is on your mind?”
“I keep thinking about what happened. How few of us there are now.”
“That again? Don’t worry. We’ll be able to handle the possible genetic bottleneck with modern medical genetics. We survived our trial and we will be fine-“
“That’s not what I meant,” Zidia snapped, cutting her cousin off.
Traala sat back in surprise. “What do you mean?”
“I mean we had the opportunity to restore everything. Don’t you think that we should have taken at least a little bit? Maybe not go as extreme as Noye did, but something? We lost so many people to the Iconains and the Vaadwaur!”
Traala scowled. “Abusing temporal technology is dangerous! Think of all the people who would have died if Noye hadn’t been caught!”
Zidia sat forward on her chair. “I think of all the people who have died. Who never existed.”
“You can’t possibly believe what that traitor Noye has said!”
“What he said makes a lot more sense than some of the other things I’ve heard.”
“Zidia! We could just as easily lose everything!”
“But haven’t we? We lost most of our people. Our colony is all that is left.”
“That is no reason to use this technology recklessly! It’s dangerous!”
“But we could do so much good for ourselves! Wouldn’t it be nice to have more colonies? More than just a handful of facilities we had to rely on outside help to build?”
“We’ll get back to being fully self-sustaining-“
“We’re indebted! How long before we don’t even exist as a people? As a culture? There are people in my department who are already turned on to some human classical music! We hardly have our own music let alone anything we could consider classical!”
“Is that the music that sounds like angry shouting?”
“That isn’t the point! We could change things!” Zidia stood and leaned over the desk. “Traala you’ve always looked out for me. I’m only alive because you got me a job with your team. I didn’t even want to be a colonist but you believed in me so I followed you. But now the rest of our family is dead because of the Vaadwaur. Don’t you think it would be good to bring them back? You know I love you, but you need to wake up and look around! We can be so much more than this!”
“Zidia, we can’t just go changing time like that! It isn’t fair to us and it certainly isn’t fair to the rest of the quadrant. What is done is done!”
“Who cares about being fair!”
“It isn’t right!”
“And the Vaadwaur exterminating us like insects was right?”
“But nothing! We have the means to make it better!”
“Zidia you cannot believe that-“
“Security to Supervisor Traala,” Officer Orndal interrupted.
Traala held up a hand to pause her current conversation as she answered. “I’m a bit busy at the moment, Orndal,” she replied, hoping the strain from shouting at her cousin didn’t show in her voice.
“Ah, yes, sir? You should see this though.”
Traala paused. There was something in the young officer’s voice thatinstantly had her wary. “I’ll be there in a moment.” She cut the connection. “Give me just five minutes? He’s probably overreacting and we were getting a bit… heated.”
Zidia stared at her for a moment then slouched into her seat sullenly. She nodded. “Take ten minutes.”
Traala left her cousin in her office and found Orndal in the security station. “Now what is- Oh.”
The viewscreens in the small security office depicted scenes from their home colony. It was chaos. Buildings burned. There was fighting in the streets. One screen showed a pre-recorded message. The audio was muted but subtitles called for justice for the Krenim people and Noye. They called for embracing temporal technology.
“This is awful,” Traala said, staring at the screen. “Secure the facility! I’m certain this will settle down but let’s not add any extra fuel to the engine matrix.”
“Yes, sir,” Orndal said, fingers flying over the keys.
Traala turned to return to the office and her cousin but found a phaser pointed at her chest. “Zidia?”
“I’d hoped I might be the one to get you out of trouble,” Zidia said with a sad smile. “I thought I could get you to understand and join us. I’m sorry,” she said. She pulled the trigger and Orndal slumped to the floor, stunned.
“He’s just stunned. Last chance, Cousin. You could do a lot for us on the inside.”
Zidia sighed. “Then this is the way it has to be.” She pulled the trigger and Traala slumped to the ground, unconscious.
Zidia checked both life signs then took the station out of security lockdown. She then left the office to complete her mission. It was a shame she hadn’t been able to recruit Traala but then again her cousin had always been by-the-book. She obtained the objective then took a small runabout and left the station. It would be a long time before anyone realized what she’d taken. By then, maybe she’d be able to convince her remaining family that she was right for once.