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[JGL] Capt. Irelle, Cmdr. Grant | "Paradox of Similarities"

Posted on Mon Mar 6th, 2023 @ 12:31am by Captain Eirlys Irelle & Commander Logan Grant, PhD.

1,815 words; about a 9 minute read

Mission: Genesis

Light was a strange thing. It could so easily be duplicated, but never really mastered, in an artificial setting. The color was always… Off. Too white, too blue, too yellow, too red… Always too something - or not enough of another. Even in the holodecks, where things were supposed to be relatively seamless. Then again, the same could be said about sound. There were no replacements for certain sounds, something was always off and different compared to the real thing. Loved ones' voices immediately sprung to mind, but Eirlys had never really known loss. At least not true loss. Sort of loss. Maybe loss? Her weight shifted in her seat as she semi-pondered it.

“You seem distant today.” The words seemed odd coming from the man sat across the coffee table from her. He was always one that could easily have been branded as aloof and ‘distant’ even at the best of times. A watcher and a listener more than an engager and speaker.. Regardless, the Counselor was always pleasant and now sat, expecting an answer and Eirlys knew that engaging in the same song and dance was only for the better.

She nodded, “Maybe a little.” She admitted with a small, apologetic smile, “I was thinking about the definition of loss, actually.” Honesty first, that had always made more sense to her and always been what her guardians had instilled from the jump.

The Counselor nodded almost empathetically and set the pad he was holding in his lap, “In regards to your parents?” he softly asked, tilting his head ever so gently as if to coax an expected answer.

Again, Eirlys nodded, “On the one hand I still have my parents, albeit the younger and alive versions of them. On the other, I no longer have the people that raised me - except I do, but…” The redhead paused, searching for the words to complete her thought, “The memories are missing and we can’t exactly force or forge those. They aren’t really the same people” She explained, twisting her mouth at the thought. It was truly perplexing and not something anyone ‘normal’ would likely experience.

“But, it’s better than death, is it not?” The Counselor responded, gently prompting for further discussion.

She knew the game, played it well. Maybe Dani, Tristan, and Andrea would have been proud of her continued cooperation, something that neither her father nor mother were especially fond of or good at. “You’re right,” She sighed, and it turned into a light chuckle and shake of her head, “In some ways, yes… In others… No.”

‘How do you figure?” The man’s eyebrows knit tightly in confusion.

She could see the emotion spread out across his face, painted brightly and without anything to muddy the lines. It was almost cartoonish. “By the time I came through, they’d already figured it all out on their own and somehow changed the course of history. It’s why Ravnsson is gone, my family is alive, the Stackers, Archers,you and Dahe’el aren’t slaves or in prison…. And… I’m stuck.” She blinked, “Because my version of the future no longer exists. I, in theory, no longer exist.” She explained, trying not to show any hint of her amusement.

Her flippant and almost ambivalent nature to the situation had been one of the hardest pills to swallow about the whole damn thing. MacLeod had experienced something similar. His words and his counselings had been the most beneficial as she navigated through her past becoming her present. Granted, family gatherings were still rather interesting. Being sat across from the 6 year old version of yourself would never get old. She should have been devastated and a babbling shell held in some sort of asylum, instead she was downright… Puckish and amused.

“But in your timeline you are likely a hero, Eirlys.” Logan countered, ready to dissect her response when it came.

Her eyes closed at the mention of something that seemed so off base and silly, but correct, “Yes.” She finally replied, nodding her head and wringing her hands in her lap, “I suppose I am. But what if my actions had created something different? What if being thrown to this timeline and this universe caused something horrible to transpire?”

“Something like a grandfather paradox?” The Counselor’s eyebrow was high. It was so easy to see himself going through every bit of his teaching, experience, and knowledge banks in his attempt to try to come up with something to keep it a step ahead of her in this rather unique situation.

Regardless of timeline or universe, Captain Logan Grant was someone even her mother and Dani looked up to and he was, afterall, family. She was partially named after his wife… Albeit a wife that had been murdered long before Eirlys’ birth in the universe that had spawned her. Sometimes it was hard for her to face him, too. She knew Logan. Had grown up with Logan. This was a different Logan.

“Sort of like this is a conflict of interest?” She asked, leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees as she looked at him.

He snorted and rolled his eyes in a manner most undignified, “Please. We both know that these sessions aren’t a conflict of interest.” A hand went up and ran through his short, dark hair in mild frustration.

Eirlys couldn’t help but smile, “Then we both know this is nothing like a grandfather paradox. I didn’t come back to kill anyone.”

“You came to a place with a similar conflict that may or may not have been resolved at the time you arrived. It’s sort of like a reverse paradox.” Logan countered deftly.

She shrugged, “Grandfather paradoxes are self-contradictory and self limiting. If you go back in time or jump universes to kill yourself, or whatever, you wind up completely altering things to the point where you yourself are never born which means you can’t go back in time or jump universes.” The recitation seemed bland, even for her, “So no. Novikov's self-consistency principle prevents you from altering events.”

“Ah, so you do recognize that there’s infinite timelines with infinite possibilities?”

Another great question, one so apparent that it burnt a bit to formulate an answer to.

“Yeah… I completely ignored that principle… Fact… Thing.” Eirlys conceded to the point he was looking to make. He couldn’t have made that point any more transparent and clear. An uncomfortable shift took her elbows away from her knees and rested her back against the lonely cushions of her seat.

Logan smiled softly, recognizing the win and the dawning of a whole new line of thought within his patient. “You haven’t lost, Eirlys. You’ve gained.” He began, truly studying the young woman in earnest, “And the prize you’ve gained is a whole new universe with a whole new set of rules and experiences to explore.”

“It’s extremely similar to where I came from, Logan.” She interjected.

Holding a hand up, Logan shook his head and took back his chance to speak, “Similar, but not identical. There’s a reason why you’re here and that reason is something that you’ll need to establish or discover for yourself. I have a hard time believing that this is a fruitless endeavor or that you weren’t meant to be here.”

A slender auburn brow rose high, “Hold up… The great Logan Grant believes in fate?”

“Don’t tell my wife, but yes. The great Logan Grant believes in fate and he believes that you were brought here for a reason we have yet to discover. You have your whole life ahead of you, Eirlys, and the gift of your parents and now the chance to take part in their legacy with the Vindicator.”

“... I don’t want to be in anyone's shadow, Logan. I don’t need that kind of pressure. I am not my mother or my father.” Eirlys’ eyes darkened as she spoke and brushed away the discomforting thought along with an imaginary bit of lint from her knee.

Logan nodding in perfect understanding, “Nobody, and I do mean nobody, will ever look at you and try and compare you to your mother or your father, Eirlys.” He offered a small, comforting smile, “Anyone who would make that mistake is a fool and not worthy of your time as a person or as an officer. That won’t stop the thoughts of legacy and nods to the past, but it’s up to you to remind them that you are the future.”

A single tissue was plucked from the ornate little box set on the side table beside Eirlys’ seat. Deft little fingers set about to wadding the billowy soft pit of paper into a wad while she continued to nod and listen along to the deep, philosophic words spilling from the Counselor’s mouth - and with no more fanfare or warning than the sudden twinkle in her eye, the wad was thrown. It sailed, wobbling sadly through the air as the friction and forces of physics generated by its flight set it to unraveling a bit and slowing down just before to uselessly slapped itself against the man’s arm, hung there for a split microsecond, and fell limply into his lap. “We’ll see, won’t we?” She couldn’t help but grin as she found her feet, “Time’s up and I’ve got a ship to run and you have people to shrink.”

“I could say something about how you’re just like your parents, you know.” Logan groaned in response, picking the tissue up between an index finger pad and thumb, “I really could.”

“Legacy and all that, Mr. Grant.” She winked, closing the gap to give the man a brief hug, “We’ll talk later. I’ve got a meeting with Captain Aegnor and I don’t think he’s the type that enjoys being kept waiting.”

Returning the hug, the Counselor nodded, “No. That one is anything but known for his patience. I wish you luck.”

“Noted.” Her fingers wiggled at him in a final farewell before she let herself out of his office and disappeared down the corridor as the door hissed shut.

Left alone, tissue in hand, Logan was left to his own thoughts in summation of their session. Each word he typed seemed to be punctuated with a chuckle and shake of his head as they manifested on the PADD in his hand, the tissue having been re-crumpled up and tucked safely into his palm. “Just like your parents.” He muttered with a quick rise and fall of his eyebrows.

Captain Eirlys A. Irelle
Commanding Officer

Commander Logan Grant
Chief Counselor


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