"Reality Check"
[Previous post: "The Lesser of Two Evils"]

Setting: USS LANCELOT, Sickbay
Stardate: 63072.1400

Images of her parents filled Adriana's thoughts and reflected off the near perfect darkness around her.  She had joined Starfleet to travel the universe and seek clues as to her past, to search for hints as to her sister's present, but never had she expected to be made to face the final chapter of her own future so quickly.

The inexperienced Ensign had done everything that her training had prepared her for, but it had been much too little to be of any significant help to the members of her crew.  The attack had been too quick, too vicious to truly give the LANCELOT any real hope of survival, and now the aCMO struggled to remain calm and not give into her fears.

Adriana forced her eyes closed in a futile attempt to ignore the countless white sheets that had been draped over those who had not been as fortunate as she, not that the Ensign currently considered herself lucky.  So far her efforts to find another living soul had been met with no success, the aCMO having taken upon herself the unpleasant task to bring all of her fallen comrades back to a more suitable and final resting place.

"You have to keep your wits about you," the Ensign told herself in an effort to calm herself and ward off her growing fears.  After graduation she had listed her choices for duties as having been in the medical field despite her training which had been in Counseling, this because Adriana had wanted to make her parents proud, especially her mother.  There would have been ample opportunities after this first mission to request a transfer to the Counseling staff, but for her maiden adventure Ensign Lopez had wanted to be a little closer to the action.  A desire, a wish that she now could not help but regret.

Maybe if she had selected Counseling as her preferred field right from the start she would not have been selected by Captain Morningstar to be part of the LANCELOT's crew.  Maybe if she had not so desperately wished to make her mother happy the Ensign would have been in another section of the ship, instead of here in Sickbay.  Maybe if she had done all of these things, the aCMO would have been beneath one of these white sheets instead of sitting on a bed, her knees held tightly against her chest, and her mind filled with unanswerable questions.

"Snap out of it," Adriana scolded herself.  "What would father say if he saw you like this?"

"He'd probably think that you're a disgrace to the family name."

Adriana's head snapped up to see an unclear image of someone she had not seen in so very long, something that she had missed for what had felt to be even longer, someone who could not have been there in front of her.

"Amanda?  That's impossible, you can't be here."

"I'm not," the vision replied in an amused way.  "You're the Counselor, figure it out."

Ensign Lopez stepped off the bed and moved closer to the hallucination of her sister.  "My mind," Adriana said, "My subconscious, it's trying to have me focus on something else, something important to me."

"Because if you give up on yourself, you also give up on me, and that's just not the way you are."

The Ensign stood in front of the sister that only she could see and hear, wishing with all of her heart that the two of them could lose themselves in the type of hug they used to share when one was in pain.  Many times they had felt this connection between them, something that went beyond biology, something that allowed one to know that the other had been in need.

"I won't give up," Lopez said before she turned around and picked up the medical kits she had used in her earlier searches of the ship. When the Ensign turned back her sister had vanished, not that she had ever been there in the first place.  "I promise, I won't give up, but I'm going to need to see a Counselor once this is all done and over with."

Marissa Montonera-Lombardi {mmlm24@gmail.com}

Ensign Adriana Lopez
Assistant Chief Medical Officer