"Lost Souls"
[Previous Post: "Motives"]

"As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster."
-Thomas Guthrie

Setting: NEW ALEXANDRIA, Section C, Level 3, Dalziel's Temporary Quarters
Stardate: 63075.0745

"Coffee, double strong, double everything," Ensign Eve Dalziel said as she watched the rich mixture appear.

The tall woman turned her attention to a small altar in the corner of the living area. She lit a candle, then uttered an oath in accented broken Bajoran. It was something her mother had taught her, something to do with honoring the soul or 'pagh'. A miniature bell was laying next to the candle, and Eve rang it, a high pitched ching temporarily filling the room.

The ship's Counsellor took a quick breath, almost a sigh, and sank into the sofa, cradling the warm mug in her hands. Although at the moment, technically speaking, she was without a ship. The ANUBIS was undergoing extensive repair and refit after what it had been through.

It was the first full week since they had returned that there hadn't been a mission debriefing or psychological evaluation scheduled. Eve couldn't help but wonder how the others had fared, or how many of them would be able to once again serve aboard the ANUBIS. She'd taken the option to request another tour of duty, but still wondered if her choice had been the right one. In her mind, it was all about the people, and the thought of being among strangers again was not comforting. Teamwork was not instant chemistry; it was time, thought, and effort.

The Cardassian born Ensign had sailed through the required meetings, her renounced heritage ironically giving her a certain analytical coldness and precision when it was required. Her detailed mission logs had also helped piece together much of what they had witnessed.

Eve took a sip of coffee, knowing that she needed to rest; she had earned that right. They all had. But her mind was already curious with what the next mission might hold or who might be brought to this distant horizon. There had been a veritable parade of Ambassadors, Commodores, Admirals, and various other higher-ups trying to learn what they could learn and see what they could see. They'd had more traffic within a few weeks than they usually had in  years... after all the base was supposed to be a secret. Most of the gawkers had left but there were still a few interested parties remaining. Admiral Koniki, who had a reputation of keeping to himself, had managed to make himself even more scarce by being in his office, keeping the visitors at bay.

Eve made it known that she wanted to help with the ANUBIS in any way she could, but Engineering was not one of her specialties. Still, she made sure she wore her comm badge at all times in case she was needed. Regardless of the doubts others seemed to have regarding the mental fitness of those who had returned with the ship, Eve truly felt the worst was behind them.

Susan M Ledbetter
Ensign Eve Dalziel