Wesley sighed deeply. How long had it been since he’d left the Enterprise? It could have been hours or months. The Traveler had shown him new ways to view time, space, thoughts, and travel. It warped his sense of time in the way the Federation viewed it. In some ways, he had begun to forget that time existed at all. If thought was the most powerful thing that existed, what was it really, and was there anything it couldn’t do?
Before Wesley had even entertained the possibility, the Traveler had visited the Enterprise and shown them all that thought was more powerful than anyone had ever dreamed it could be. The Traveler took them to the far side of the M33 Galaxy, a place no Starfleet Officer had ever been before. For Wesley, that was just the beginning of an incredible adventure.
He hadn’t realized it at the time, but the trip to the M33 Galaxy wasn’t just a once in a lifetime event for him. Most people and civilizations couldn’t even hope to travel past the Alpha Quadrant in their lifetime, or the Quadrant they were born in. It was slightly surreal to realize that this made him “special.” If you had talked to him when he was 6, 12, or even 16, he would have told you that he would be a graduate of Starfleet Academy. Now, he was exploring all of time and space with no concept of time or distance.
At first, travel had been difficult, taxing both mentally and physically, but as time wore on it became easier with each passing trip. Jumping forward and backward in time had given perspective to the society he grew up in. He saw the events that shaped his reality and the future that might come to be. The future was still malleable; not yet decided. That comforted him little since many of the futures he saw were bleak and without much home. A few, however, were much more encouraging than the rest. Hope still lived in some of those futures, whilst it had died in many others.
This trip was special. The Traveler had allowed Wes to visit his father this time. At first, it sounded like a blissful idea, but now that it was happening it became a rather surreal notion. He could have visited at any point in his father’s timeline, but he chose a time he thought he could identify with most. Some part of him wanted to be able to see his father grow from a babe in his mother’s arms to a child, to a young man and to the man he became; however, the Traveler would only allow a slice in time.
He explained to Wes that accessing a whole timeline was perilous. One small mishap and a whole timeline could change for better or worse. Part of Wes wished that he could grow up with his father, and learn all the things that he would have told him, had he lived. Wes wanted to be close to his father, know him, and make him proud. He knew this wasn’t possible, therefore he chose his father’s Academy days. Childhood would have been a fun time, but it would have been just a small part of the picture. The early teen years would have been rather tumultuous, but the Academy years would allow him to see how his father developed into the man he became.
This trip was one of self-discovery in many ways. He had never known who his father really was, though he pictured him much like Captain Picard. He was too young to really measure him as a man. Wesley just knew that he was a good dad. He knew he romanticized his father in many ways. He thought of him as the hero, the larger than life man willing to sacrifice himself fearlessly for the greater good.
Like it or not, he was finally going to learn the truth, whatever it may be. He knew that imagination never resembles fact, but the legend Picard and his mother placed in his mindset the stage for what he thought he’d see. Getting to this timeline was one thing, finding a way into his father’s life without changing anything. In some ways, this was nearly impossible but hopefully, a few tiny ripples would not cause any significant changes.
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