Thursday, July 26, 2012

Star Trek '12: 3012 AD - Daniels

He forgot to study for the test, and so he traveled back in time to make up for his lapse of judgment.  Actually, it should be noted that young Daniels did not always cheat like that, but every now and again, it was worth the risk.  These days they didn’t monitor activity like that too closely.

There was much to be taken for granted, even though there were many more complications to life these days, at least so it may have seemed had Daniels reached the higher grades already, where he might be asked to write a paper on the comparative analysis of millennia.  These days, history was arguably the primary subject each student studied.  It dominated everyone’s interests.  For Daniels, it had always been a boring necessity, something so commonplace that he took no real pleasure in it.  It was this detached attitude that would eventually make him a perfect candidate to become an agent of the Temporal Cold War.  He would not lose his head at the first meeting with some long-dead celebrity.

It should be noted that for most people these days this was an entirely common temperament, but there was now such a high degree of accessibility that there was a very serious and sober physiological monitor that reported the exact level of stimulation to a given experience.  It was not one of the cooler toys, but it was most effective.  You couldn’t very well let someone go off and affect the past because they couldn’t keep a level head.  In a time where travel had become less than linear, very few mistakes happened.

Young Daniels didn’t tend to appreciate much of this, however, and so maybe that’s why his older self tended to visit him on a fairly regular basis.  This did not on a whole affect his opinions, but it gave comfort to the older Daniels that he was at least thinking about it, because while you may retain a certain amount of opinions as you grow older, you don’t retain specific thoughts, and neither Daniels liked to keep a record of those, even though these days virtually everything was marked down in some sort of ledger.

Upon every visit, the young Daniels would ask the older Daniels if there was something important that was about to happen.  The young Daniels already knew the answer, as it had been the same every time he asked this question, but the only amusement he gained from these visits was all the squirming his older counterpart exhibited.  Young Daniels knew that he would never be comfortable explaining himself, both from himself and from these visits, and it was almost comforting to know that it would never change.  Repeating the exercise was the only sense of control he had over the visits, which never ceased, and wouldn’t until it was him on the other end.  This was another way in which Daniels learned temperance.  These days there were very interesting lessons to learn.

If Daniels were interested in his studies, he might have concentrated a little more, and yet it was all so boring, so routine, that he struggled mightily.  He understood it well enough, but he wanted to be surprised, and didn’t consider that these days it was meant for life to have anything but occur until he had in fact become his older self.  That was when he discovered the real reason for the visits, undertaken between trips to the distant past, nearly a millennium ago, during which he was meant to ensure the foundation of his present reality, with identically similar visits to a man he was very distantly related to, but who for all intents and purposes was both a father and child figure for him.

It was during these days that Daniels finally knew the thoughts he himself was having during the visits to his younger self, trying to imagine what that man really thought of him, if he shared the same opinions as the young Daniels, baffled and annoyed and probably mystified, too, but knowing that they would continue to happen.  The older Daniels was almost pleased to know that there was a connection between these two distant figures, and wondered if that was something he was meant to have learned in school.  He asked his younger self this question, each and every visit, and received the same response he was himself forced to give whenever the young Daniels asked if there was a specific reason for the visit.  He had to give the man an answer each time, and he didn’t like that one bit.  Maybe the man felt the same way, and maybe he should have been formulating a question for the man.  Maybe that was the whole point of their relationship, of his whole life, and he’d just never realized it before.

Well, these days it was hard to tell.

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