"Counsellors Don't Go Crazy, Do They?"
(Previous Post: "A Friendly Run-In" from the brilliant Tiffany)

"Time is the fire in which we burn."
Dr. Soran to Picard, "Star Trek: Generations"

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 63073.1030


Time had not always been kind to the Cardassian woman sitting on the Bridge, who was currently alone, except for an unexplained visitor... a woman claiming to be the psychotic vision of the ANUBIS' new Assistant Medical Officer.

Eve's life had been a string of impossibilities. Her immediate family had died in a shuttle mishap, of which she had been the only survivor. If the craft had drifted undiscovered only a few hours longer, even she might have perished. She had been brought aboard the safe haven of a Starship, and fallen into the world of Starfleet, with adoptive parents who had been unlike anything she had experienced in her young life. Their impression on her was so positively overwhelming that as a teenager she renounced her Cardassian nature and adopted as much of a humanoid one as she could. Her desire to pursue a career in Starfleet, and her unique combination of life experiences and skills made her valuable to the Federation, and to Intel. After her training, they sent her into the fire itself of CARDASSIA PRIME for one of her first missions, knowing that if she could live among the people of her birth, if she could face her own history without breaking, then she really was who she claimed to be. Who she *chose* to be.

So, it was with this inner conviction that her mind chose to stay in the here and now, without so much as a conscious thought. The only fantasy she longed for was the mission to the YUDARA asteroid field, and even that was overshadowed by the condundrum presenting itself to her at this moment.

Eve steepled her fingers, eyes closed, thinking. [[What the hell do I do now?]]

A cup of double strong, double sweet, and double cream coffee along with some intense thought had not made the situation any clearer. Ensign Dalziel was not much further along than when she started. Amanda Lopez, while not hindering to the thought process, wasn't much help either.

"There's just one thing I don't understand," Eve said to no one in particular, opening her large gray eyes. They seemed to sparkle with silver and crystalline flecks. Whether that was the glimmer of curiosity or annoyance was anyone's guess.

"What might that be, Eve?" Amanda said playfully.

Eve glared at the woman. "Where did you come from?"

Amanda shrugged. "I told you already, my crazy sister brought me with her. She really should qualify for a Section Eight discharge due to being unfit for active duty."

Eve considered Adriana's sister's words again. Her story had not changed. And, the Counsellor had never met this woman before. So, the chance that this apparition had been of Eve's creation was growing less and less by the minute. But. that still did not explain her origin. Her desire to be with the Counsellor seemed quite strong. In addition, Amanda seemed to be mirroring nearly every movement, finding any way she could to keep the lines of communication open with Eve.

Ensign Dalziel continued her line of prodding, open-ended questions. It was part and parcel of the psychological trade, and highly effective. At least if you knew which questions to ask. "If you were with Adriana all this time, what made you leave? What made you come to see me?"

For the first time since her arrival, Amanda truly looked uncomfortable.

Eve mentally pounced even though her body remained surprisingly still. [[Now we're getting somewhere.]] "If you truly wish to help Adriana, you need to be honest with me, Amanda."

Finally, a more somber mood descended, draping the Bridge in a mist of desperation. Amanda Lopez's pretense began to fall away. "Because she wanted you to know about me.... because she couldn't tell you in words, she was too embarassed and worried. However, her thoughts finally betrayed her."

"Because of the anomaly," Eve stated.

"Yes," Amanda said solemnly. "Everyone is free to think what they wish, experience what they want, with no boundaries. Adriana may not have realized it yet, but there was a part of her that wanted to tell you what has been happening."

Eve nodded. If that theory was true, the Counsellor was secretly surprised that the Bridge had not gotten a whole lot busier. She had a suspicion that the combined neuroses of the ANUBIS could keep her working double shifts for weeks. "I promise I will try to help Adriana. You have my word."

"Thank you," the other woman offered.

Ensign Dalziel stood up, a bit of newfound energy surging through her. Or maybe it was the caffeine. "But if I'm going to help anyone, I need to be able to communicate somehow." Logic indicated that at least some of the Bridge staff, like herself, had remained stationary when the anomaly took hold. But, unbeknownst to the raven-haired woman who was earnestly searching for something to do to reconnect with the crew, a gentle melody began to play in the ears of Amanda Lopez. Amanda's eyes widened as she tried to find the source of the familiar tune.

Eve approached the various consoles, looking at the options in front of her."I need to get to the others. Amanda, do you have any ideas?" Obviously she wasn't hearing the siren's song that had caught Amanda off guard.

"N-No, I really don't," Amanda stammered, the realization of why the tune was so hauntingly comforting slowly hitting her.

"Come on Amanda," Eve cajoled, honing in on the spot where Maya had been sitting. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

"I... I have to go now," Amanda said, blinking back tears. "Adriana needs me."

"No, don't-" the Counsellor said, raising her head to look at Amanda. But the other Lopez sister was no longer there. "I hope she's okay," Dalziel said to the thin air, speaking of Adriana. Whatever Amanda Lopez was, Eve believed there was some kind of connection between the sisters.

Eve began to methodically switch the science console lights off and on in the familiar pattern of Morse Code. Hopefully someone would notice the rhythmically blinking display and answer her call for help.

Susan M Ledbetter (susanmled@earthlink.net)
Ensign Eve Dalziel

"I savored those stories; I read them slowly, one each day. And when I was done, I wished I hadn't read them at all. So I could read them again... like it was the first time."
-Melanie to Old Jake, DS9, "The Visitor"