"More Than One"
(Previous Post: "Perceptions of Innocence or Insights of Madness")

Living by day, dying at night
Living alone, living a lie
Living apart, playing by heart
All the time

Waiting for words, hoping for dreams
Waiting too long, or so it seems
Waiting apart, wish life would start
Here tonight
Your love's an uphill battle
I see the summit; I can't stop climbing
Can't fight the urge to look back
All I see is the tide is rising

Can't guarantee a happy ending
All I know is it's been real fun
Always carrying a part of you with me
Feel like I'm more than one

--Yours truly, unfinished song lyrics

Setting: USS HATHOR, Sickbay
Stardate: 63077.0715

Eve hadn't wasted much time deciding to check on the injured Commanding Officer in Sickbay. The woman's steps into the room were light but her heart and mind were weighed down with the burden of the aftermath of their experiences. With many of the crew in an emotionally wounded state, her next steps were mapped out for her. But it did not change the restlessness in her heart and the intense desire to do better.

The situation on the VALLA ROYAL had been an utter debacle. If Maya hadn't shown up when she did, they would probably all be dead. Despite the overall outcome, Eve considered it a personal failure. No matter how many bad guys one came across, there was always someone or something bigger and badder waiting in the wings.

"Everything will be alright," Eve said, grasping the woman's hand reassuringly. Ensign Dalziel fully believed her words; it was how she was going to make it happen that gave her problems.

Shortly thereafter, slowly, carefully, and hesitantly, the CO of the ANUBIS started coming to. Rikar studied the strangely familiar face. The pale woman had long, almost black hair, left loose to fall down her back in a heavy curtain. Her gray eyes looked intent. Somehow Rikar remembered them as being some sort of brown, and the hair being different, but she was not exactly surprised at the woman in front of her. Concern and apprehension were apparent in the woman's visage, as well as compassion. Rikar opened her mouth to greet the woman, but there was some uncertainly as to what exactly was the right name; June? Dulcinea? Eve?

"Where am I?" the redhead asked instead, her pale blue eyes still focusing on what surrounded her.

Eve allowed herself to smile with relief. "Someplace safe." Baby steps.

The injured woman could feel the unmistakable hum of a warp core, the nearly imperceptible movement of a vessel. All of these things were second nature. Even as her mind escaped, her mind remembered. "What is the name of this ship?"

"The USS HATHOR," Dalziel answered plainly.

"Where's Trodat?" Traces of fear laced Rikar's voice.

"Incapacitated," the Ensign said with unexpected residual anger. "He won't be laying a hand on you, ever again."

"You came for me?"

Eve looked down, embarrassed by the violent feelings the Pythron man's name stirred within her. "Yes... among many others."

"Thank you," the injured woman said. "You saved my life."

Dalziel tugged at her uniform. "I don't deserve your gratitude... I deserve a reprimand."

"All I can offer right now is my thanks," she answered. "Any pending disciplinary action will have to wait." The words rolled off her tongue even though handing out discipline to anyone seemed like a faraway idea.

"Not to worry- I'm sure Koniki will take care of it in due time," Eve said quietly. Maybe by the time they finished the upcoming mission some of the sting would be gone.

"Are you... Intel?" It was as if the word itself brought her intense physical pain.

"Not exactly... Counsellor. Some say it's more dangerous," Eve added, trying to keep the mood light.

"I used to be one of those," the other woman replied, parts of her past washing over her in a melange of random memories.

"I know... I've been doing my homework."

"Am I going to be okay?"

"Your physical wounds have already come a long way," Eve said truthfully. Despite the bruises and lacerations she looked so much better than she had in the presence of Trodat's death grasp. The image of her so gravely injured was not something the Cardassian born woman would ever forget. "I'm sure the nurses will have you up and walking around soon."

"No... I mean am I going to be *okay*?" she said, gesturing to her forehead. "Inside."

"You already are," The taller woman answered without hesitation.

"I'm confused."

"It's okay. You have a right to be. Let me see if I can explain. When bad things happen, it's natural to compartmentalize things, to lessen the feelings you are having. Self preservation sometimes requires this. We distance ourselves from our emotions. Unfortunately, that distance can grow very large, swallowing an entire existence within its boundaries. A whole new persona is created that has very scant connections to the original being."

"Is that what has happened to me?" the woman asked, already knowing the answer.

"Yes. There's Sabrina, a Starship Captain, and Samantha, a Dabo Girl. Both headstrong. Both intelligent. Both passionate. Both decisive. Both dwell within you."

"Which one should I be?"

Eve shook her head, a bemused look creeping into the corners of her mouth. "That's not my decision to make. Besides, I'm a little biased. Samantha might be fun, but I miss my Captain. We've suffered enough losses. But ideally blending the two identities into one person, that would be the ultimate goal. Each of them has important things to offer you."

"Coexistence." The redhead took a labored breath. It was nearing time to sleep again. "Right now it feels like I am ready for retirement, from both professions."

"You will get stronger...that should make whatever transition you need to make easier. There is no question you have gone above and beyond the call of duty countless times- you wouldn't be in the big chair if you hadn't. It would be your right to retire. But regardless, if you need to leave you must do it as a whole person, not two personalities jockeying for position."

Rikar squeezed Eve's hand and let go. Even as her mind swam with the possibilities, exhaustion began to overtake her. "Sounds like a big job- are you sure you're up for it?"

"Every step you make I will match it. I promise."

"I'm counting on it..." Rikars voice drifted and so did her thoughts as she succumbed to a well deserved sleep.

Susan M Ledbetter
Ensign Eve Dalziel