"Three Girls, a Ship, and a Deity"
(Previous Post: "Who" by the inspirational Sabrina)

"Stories can be whimsical... or frightening... or melancholy... or many other things. But noble stories... are the ones that most affect our lives."
Eudana to Kim, VGR, "Prime Factors"

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 63073.1048

Ensign Eve Dalziel counted down a break in the Morse Code pattern. She needed to give whoever was watching time to respond, or at the very least time to see the console was not malfunctioning, that there was a methodical rhythm to the blinking lights.

The empty Bridge had a cold, impersonal feeling, like a museum display. If anyone doubted that it was the crew of a Starship that made her tick, and not necessarily its warp nacelles, this was an irrefutable example.

It was unfortunate that Eve had nobody to share this tidbit of wisdom with. Even though Amanda Lopez had not been completely cooperative, she was someone else to talk to. A kindred sprit. Someone or something with a story to tell. Most of all, Amanda was a reminder of the extreme need for a Counsellor aboard the ANUBIS. It felt nice to be needed.

Eve, noticing her break was over, leaned over the console again, once more telegraphing her cryptic message along the illuminated display.

Suddenly, but without a commotion, The Kzinti assistant Sec/Tac officer appeared on the Bridge as if out of thin air. She looked disoriented, but otherwise unharmed. As Ensign Fanggot's felinoid gaze fell upon the ship's Counsellor, an expression of elation formed on her childlike face.

Ensign Dalziel mirrored the younger officer's relief. "Hex- it's good to see you. Are you alright?"

Hex didn't seem sure how to answer that question, but finally managed. "Yes." Her insides were crawling with everything she had seen and experienced. This wasn't the time or the place to discuss it, and if the petite furball had her way, it would never cross her lips to Eve or anyone else.

The taller woman nodded. "I'm glad to hear it... how did you find me?"

"I don't know," Hex began, trying not to give anything away. "I was thinking about the crew, seeing their faces in my mind, seeing the Bridge of the ANUBIS, and I just... *arrived*."

Even though it wasn't time to stop yet, Eve's hand paused in the middle of her Morse Code message. Amanda's words about Adriana echoed in her mind. [[Everyone is free to think what they wish, experience what they want, with no boundaries.]] "Could it really be *that* simple?" she said.

"Could *what* be that simple?" the Kzinti female said, approaching Eve near the science station.

Eve paused before trying to explain. This was getting way too complicated. "Based on my limited understanding, and certain events that have taken place, it appears the anomaly that separated us can be modified by our own thoughts. In other words, what you think, what you imagine, comes to pass. The thoughts of those inside each temporal bubble create the existence that is experienced."

A look of realization came over Hex's visage. That explained a lot. "So when I thought of returning to the ship, I returned to the ship."

"Yes. With that proof that the hypothesis is correct, I have a concern."

The knot in Hex's stomach resurfaced. "Which is?"

"I am worried that the experiences being crafted by each member of the crew are so distinctive, so vivid, that they may feel as though they *are* reality. That they may not choose to return, or choose to forget their previous lives aboard the ANUBIS." That possibility was overwhelming.

Hex winced. For once she was grateful her childhood had been such a horror. It made her think of her new life, and had brought her back to the here and now.

Dalziel realized she hadn't explained to Ensign Fanggot what she was doing at the console. "I'm sending a message via Morse Code by making the lights turn on and off. I'm guessing that someone is still on the Bridge within another temporal space, and that they may see this message and try to communicate with us. The ship, as well as any other mechanical material, was unaffected by the event."

Hex resisted the urge to check the weapons display. She knew the arsenal was still there, waiting to be used. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Actually, you helped me immensely by coming back to the ship. I have another idea. We both need to think of whomever can see this message, and imagine ourselves being able to join with them. If someone has noticed it, this should cause a reunion. Two minds thinking the same thing have to be more powerful than one."

"Okay," the Kzinti woman answered gamely, trying to focus her mind on the console and whomever would be observing it.

Eve closed her eyes, placing all her energy on the console and imagining someone was seeing her message and that they were trying to find the source. [[By the Prophets, let this work,]] she thought, still transmitting her information to whoever would notice it.

A few minutes later, Eve felt a wash of dizziness overtake her, and opened her eyes reflexively with the discomfort. She saw Ensign Mitshiba at the Engineering station, and Hex was still there on the Bridge also. This was a good sign, probably one of the best signs she could have hoped for. But they were not alone. A rather menacing figure seemed to be tracing their every move with his imposing countenance. It was most definitely *not* one of the crew.

(From Dawn's last post)

"Aki?  Who is your 'tall, dark and furry' friend?" Eve asked while Hex stood unsure if she needed to jump to the aCSciO's defense and rescue or find a corner to hide in.

The Jackal-headed deity turned and growled menacingly towards the two women who had simply appeared out of nowhere as far as it had been concerned.

"That may not be such an easy question to answer," Aki replied, trying to figure out the best way possible to explain the situation.  After a few seconds of deliberation the aCSciO opted for the simplest possible course of action.  "Allow me to introduce to you the physical representation of the Egyptian deity; Anubis."

"You and I are going to have a *very* long chat about this," Eve hissed at Aki before she returned her eyes onto the imposing figure that easily matched the CEO in height and size.

(Back to Mine)

"What is the meaning of your arrival?" Anubis demanded. The thought of three sacrifices made him feel even more superior than he had a few moments ago.

Eve looked to Aki. After all, it was *her* imagination they were all staring at. "I'm busy, and I already told him as much," Mitshiba said under her breath.

"Then why didn't he leave?" Eve thought out loud. She turned to the manifestation and tried to formulate a logical answer. "We are attempting to restore the crew of this ship that has been so honorably named after you," the Counsellor said, attempting to placate the imaginary Deity. "We appreciate your visit, but do not require your assistance. You have already done so much to serve your people."

"Then there will be no ceremony?" the god angrily replied.

"The creation of this ship *was* your ceremony," Eve answered in a level tone, making a mental note to more familiarize herself with Egyptian history. Then once more, she turned to the assistant Science Officer, speaking in a hushed voice. "Just think him away, Aki, that's all you have to do. He *isn't* real. Imagine him going back to the past, back to his people. The only thing that is real is this ship and the predicament we are facing. You have the power here, not him." The counsellor then gazed at Ensign Fanggot, who was staring at the creation with a heightened curiosity. "Don't feed into his energy, Hex. He is a figment of Aki's overactive imagination."

"I just need to find out why the science console is malfunctioning," Aki said, trying to will herself to the task at hand.

"I did that," Dalziel said with perhaps too much excitement. "I was trying to send a message, then Hex and I began to consciously think of whoever was seeing the console, so we could connect with them. And now, here we are." She went over to demonstrate what she had done.

With the confidence that nothing was wrong with the ship, and that what Eve was saying had to be true, Aki's mood brightened considerably. And, as if on cue, Anubis faded into nothingness once again. "Much better," the Asian woman added for good measure.

A more relaxed awareness was palpable as the three women tried to focus their energies on getting back to normal. Hex began running a full systems diagnostic to keep herself occupied. "That was a close call," she admitted, her fur nearly standing on end.

"Everyone has their demons," Aki said, feeling a sense of relief.

Eve grinned at the pun. "I'm pretty well adjusted now... but when I was sixteen, that's another story."

"I don't know anyone who *wasn't* awkward at sixteen," Aki added. Hex silently agreed.

"I'll have to tell you about it sometime," Eve replied. "But you're going to be talking to me first."

"Agreed," Mitshiba reluctantly answered, then realized that the shrewd Counsellor had not given her a specific timetable. It could be months before Eve had an available appointment at this rate. That thought made the assistant Science Officer smile.

"Perhaps you and Ensign Thomas can participate in couples counselling," Eve added softly with a mischevious tone, which caused the smile to fade from Aki's face. Ensign Fanggot stifled a playful giggle.

Eve knew when it was time to change the subject. "Have you had the chance to review the data from Maya's last action before the separate temporal bubbles formed?" she asked hopefully, knowing that Aki would have a much better chance of figuring out what to do than the Counsellor had.

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"