A Frontier Story
Posted on Tue Jul 31st, 2018 @ 11:47pm by Ensign Daniel Sheridan
Edited on on Sun Oct 14th, 2018 @ 10:38pm
Episode 02: "The Telling"
Location: Library (Public Access), USS Thames
Timeline: Mission Day 02, 0340 Hours
ON: [[Library (Public Access), USS Thames, Mission Day 02, 0340 Hours]]
Ordinarily, the ship's library wasn't the most popular of hangouts. Even on a good day, one would have been hard pressed to find more than half-a-dozen people coming through. The fact that there were computer access terminals in nearly every compartment aboard ship including the personnel quarters meant people could get just about anything they needed at the mere touch of a button. For those who preferred something a little more substantive, however, the library was still a place one could go to find a modest collection of physical books and other resources.
The room was dark, empty except for the lone figure seated at one of the workstations. Daniel had come, not for the books, but for someplace other than his own room where he could work relatively undisturbed. He had found such a place here in the library.
“Despite high winds that tear at the planet’s relatively barren surface and electrical storms that send millions of volts arcing across the sky, the people here have already started to call this place home,” a voice said, audio narrative coming from the video that was playing on the terminal.
“We’ve been waiting eighteen years for this,” another voice chimed in.
“The Dominion left us with nothing,” a third voice added, “Most of us bounced around awhile. This place...it’s a dream come true.”
Daniel watched as footage he had taken played on the screen - a few shots of the surface above the crater’s edge, an electrical storm lighting up the night sky, people going about their business. Each clip had been carefully chosen from hours worth of material Daniel had gathered himself over the past several weeks. Even the audio came from countless interviews he’d conducted and casual conversations he’d had with people.
At the touch of a button, the video sped forward until it reached another series of clips, part of the segment Daniel had added only moments ago. Playback resumed at normal speed. He watched the scene unfold as children from the colony played in a field near the lake. They ran around, chasing one another, giggling and laughing as they did so. One of the younger ones, a girl of no more than five or six, paused nearby and looked up toward the camera. Her face was bright-eyed and curious.
"Are you recording us again," she asked.
"Yes," Daniel's voice replied on the video.
There was a moment of silence. Daniel remembered how the question had been so simple. He had gotten it many times from the people who ended up being part of his films, both children and adults. It didn't matter whether the film was meant to be seen by others or if Daniel was taking footage just because. Trying to come up with an answer that would satisfy could sometimes be difficult. Moreso when it came to answering a child.
"Because I want other people to see how much fun you're having," Daniel's voice finally answered.
"Maybe they can come play with us," the girl suggested.
The display stopped. The children froze midway through whatever game they had been playing. The young girl was still looking up into the camera, looking up at Daniel. He studied the image of her face for several seconds. Then he reached over and entered a few keystrokes, adjusting the clip so that it would line up better with the others. Instead of adding some sort of narration, though, he decided to leave the audio as it was. A plain and simple conversation.
Incorporating his own voice into the video was a relatively new development, actually. When he’d first started making his own films like this, Daniel had relied on the computer to synthesize a voice or asked someone else to narrate the sequences for him. It had been a little strange the first time he’d heard himself narrating one of these videos for real (not just as a placeholder). If he was being honest, he still wasn’t quite sure how he felt about it.
Daniel was about to move on to the next clip when a casual glance toward the chronometer on the far wall caused him to hesitate. According to ship's time, it was almost 0400. His next duty shift was only a couple of hours away. He'd completely lost track of the time...again.
"Computer, save changes to file Sheridan-Echo-Three and return to my personal storage block," he said. There was an affirming chirp and the image of the children playing disappeared from the viewscreen.
Ensign Daniel Sheridan
USS Thames (NCC-80629)