He had to admit that he felt a certain anxiety about transporting over to this unfamiliar Agamemnon and not necessarily because he was worried about his or the away team’s safety. His concerns were much more of a personal nature, considering that he was beaming onto the ship of the woman who in some other reality had been much more to him than just a fellow starship captain. At least that had been the case until she had unexpectedly put their relationship on hold just a few days earlier.
Now he was about to come face to face with a different version of Amaya Donners altogether. He wasn’t sure how many more variations he could stomach. After she had appeared to have gone through a transformation so suddenly, Michael had been inclined to believe that she had been replaced by an alternate version of herself.
Before beaming across to the other ship, Star had made the strong case to take an armed escort with him but Michael had quickly dismissed the idea since it had already become apparent that these people inherently mistrusted their mere presence here, the last thing they needed was to aggravate the situation by showing an unwillingness to trust them. It was the same reason why had also decided against beaming to the Agamemnon armed. Jarik had protested that decision as well but as far as Michael was concerned, if Donners and Edison wanted to harm them while they were guests on the Agamemnon, there was little a few phasers could do to stop them.
Nora Laas, had she been awake, would likely have insisted that she be allowed to accompany him. But since the security chief was among those still unconscious following their harrowing trip, the away team remained limited to just him, Xylion, Bensu, his father and Jarik.
They materialized in Agamemnon’s transporter room were he found Amaya Donners, Arden Texx and Gene Edison waiting for them.
Amaya looked not too dissimilar to his own version except that her naturally curled black hair was straighten and down to her shoulders with a partial bang over the right side of her face. He didn’t know Texx nearly as well but the Bolian first officer looked almost identical to his opposite. The most startling person in the room was Edison, of course. His presence was still quite disconcerting even after people he had thought to be dead had made it their habit to show up alive again as of late.
Edison’s eyes were undeniably the same as the ones belonging to the man who had been his first officer and friend for nearly three years, even if his beard which obscured much of his lower face felt unfamiliar. All three officers, as well as the transporter technician, wore the same uniforms as Michael and Xylion did.
An awkward silence had fallen over the room the moment he and his away team had materialized as the two parties seemed to appraise each other for a moment. Edison was the easiest to read since he made no effort to hide his hostility while Amaya’s expression was near impossible to decipher as her dark eyes regarded him and the others.
Surprisingly, it was Jarik who made the first move as the silence was threatening to drag on. He stepped off the transporter platform and addressed Amaya. “My name is Jarik. With me are Captain Michael Owens, his science officer Commander Xylion, as well as Bensu and Admiral Jonathan Owens.”
Amaya nodded. “I know. I mean I know some of you,” she said and then offered Jarik a smirk. “The two of us went to the Academy together. As far as I know, you’re on Earth working as an administrator within Starfleet Command.”
“Looks as if my career aspirations have remained somewhat consistent,” he said with all the humor of a full-blooded Vulcan.
She looked passed him and considered Michael and the others before her eyes came to rest on Bensu. “I don’t believe I recognize you, however,” she said and then looked to Edison for help.
He shook his head. “This is all just absurd.”
“I’m the bartender,” Bensu said with a smile.
This prompted a quizzical look from Agamemnon’s captain.
“Trust me, if he were just the bartender, I wouldn’t have brought him,” said Michael which quickly invited Amaya to refocus on him with a stare so intense it made him feel slightly uncomfortable in his own skin.
“Not that this isn’t all very fascinating,” said Jon Owens. “But perhaps there is a better-suited place for us to have this conversation.”
Amaya quickly nodded as if only now realizing the awkwardness of this meeting. “Of course. Ard, do you mind escorting our guests as well as Gene to the briefing room?”
“You got it, Cap,” he said and pointed towards the doors.
But before Michael could follow he felt Amaya pin him with another look. “Would you mind staying behind for just a spell?”
Edison didn’t seem to like the sound of that. “Maya?”
“Just … humor me, please,” she said.
Michael exchanged a quick look with Jarik also not quite sure what to make of this request. The other man just shrugged and then followed Texx out of the transporter room along with everyone else and with Edison leaving last and only hesitantly as if uncomfortable with leaving Donners and Owens alone.
Once the doors had closed behind them, Amaya turned towards the transporter tech behind the console. “Ensign, please give us the room.”
The young man nodded and instantly left his post as requested.
“What’s going on?” Michael asked once they were alone.
Amaya turned back around to face him and with three quick steps, she was right inside his personal space. Before he could even try to back away from her, she had grabbed hold of him and pressed her lips hard against his.
Michael’s first instinct had been to fight back after all this was not the woman he knew, but he quickly realized that it didn’t feel like that at all. On the contrary, it felt perfectly right and after just a moment he went along with it, embracing Amaya and kissing her back just as passionately. For a brief moment, all his recent worries and head-spinning revelations simply melted away into nothingness as he lost himself in that kiss. He would have lied to himself if he didn’t admit that this was exactly what he had wanted from her, from his Amaya, for months but which she had refused to give him.
When it was over and she finally took a step back again, Michael felt it had ended too soon.
She looked at him with wide eyes. “It really is you, isn’t it? I can’t believe it.”
“I take it we are on good terms here.”
“We were,” she said and then turned away.
“That sounds familiar. Don’t tell me, I was the one who broke things off. I can’t imagine being that stupid.”
“No, Michael, you didn’t end it. Not on purpose at least,” she said, refusing to look back his way.
He was starting to get a bad feeling about where things were going.
She finally turned to face him again. “You died. Two years ago,” she said and couldn’t quite stop her eyes from getting wet. “A month after our wedding.”