"The Pendulum Swings"
(Previous Post: "Time" by Sabrina)

"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe time is a *companion*... who goes with us on the journey, reminds us to cherish every moment... because they'll never come again."

-Picard to Riker, "Generations"

Setting: USS ANUBIS, Sickbay
Stardate: 63073.1527

For the past several minutes, Ensign Dalziel had handled their Klingon guest with both confidence and trepidation. She spoke quietly and respectfully, sensing that the beleaguered man had been through enough in a short span of time.

His large, imposing face was etched with a permanent scowl. And yet, he hadn't tried to tear Drell limb from limb, even though his size and strength indicated he could have easily done so. And Eve wanted to know why.

"I offer an apology on behalf of the ship's crew and Captain Rikar. This is not an example of how we assist those in need." It wasn't the first time the branch of diplomacy had been extended in the name of peace. Although, it was perhaps a small shred of peace compared to what they were all facing once they left the safety of the ANUBIS.

Karg shrugged and let out a noise somewhere between a grunt and a cough. "It seems as though people choose to dislike that which they do not understand," he said harshly.

Eve placed her hands behind her back, steepling her fingers. "A Klingon who abhors violence, it is unique. Surely you can admit this, Karg."

"Admit it? I have *lived* it," he practically roared, nearly taking the Cardassian born Counsellor off her carefully crafted guard.

"It is a narrow path you walk," Eve admitted. It was almost enough to make her feel guilt at the many times she had parlayed physical violence to her advantage. But the satisfaction at using her power for a common good was electrifying. She secretly hoped that Aki and ET had managed to solve their energy problem so they could embark on their mission as planned.

"It is the only path I can follow with a clean conscience. And as much of a burden as it has been, the rewards have outpaced the inconveniences. I am, after all, off that Romulan Warbird." The Klingon seemed to be offering a roundabout 'thank you' for his unconventional rescue.

Eve allowed herself a little smile. "Karg, I want to thank you for speaking with me, as you were under no obligation to do so-"

"NEVER!" Eve's words were interrupted by the strident yell of the aSec/Tac officer.

The pale woman's attention instantly shifted to the Kzinti. Doctor Summers had approached Hex, and she and Ensign Lopez were attending to her even more quickly than the Counsellor could have. Dalziel shared a fleeting glance with the petite furball, a look that was a mix of bewilderment, shame, and sheer terror. It was an active reminder that her work was far from over, mission or no mission.

"It was not my wish to have anyone fight for me," Karg said, also viewing the event with concern. "Although I can say that little one, she has the heart of a warrior."

Setting: USS ANUBIS, CMO's Office
Stardate: 63073.1547 (about 20 minutes later)

Even for someone so entranced by activity, work, and hustle and bustle, the Sickbay proper was getting a little too crowded. So when the ship's Doctor invited Eve into her office, the Counsellor readily accepted.

Eve had felt a kinship to Lieutenant Summers almost instantly, although if someone asked her to explain why, she wouldn't have been able to. It had been said that some Doctors had bedside manner, and some didn't. Lea Summers had the most natural and abundant bedside manner Eve had ever seen. She cared for her patients' physical health as deeply as Dalziel cared for their mental health. The fact that the blonde woman offered her support to the new Counsellor was obvious proof of that.

(From Tiffany's Last Post)

"Before I let you go," Lea said as she lowered herself into her seat. "I wanted to say something. It's about Elan. Actually it would be more accurate to say that it's about me and Elan."

Eve quietly sighed. [[It was too good to last.]]

(Back to Mine)

Ensign Dalziel smiled as she remembered their talk in the Black Hole Lounge. "Obviously the two of you have feelings for each other. It doesn't exactly take a Counsellor to notice that."

Summers' face reddened slightly. "Yes, we have feelings... but we've never really discussed them. I feel like I'm standing on the edge of a precipice, wanting to jump, but unable to take the leap."

"And the Chief?"

"About the same... but there's a small part of him I can't read."

The dark haired woman agreed. "He reminds me of an elderly Vedek my parents hosted aboard the ship they were assigned to when I was a kid," Dalziel began. "Full of honor, calm, faith. He spoke very little but his actions said so much about his life's calling. I am beginning to wonder if Elan was a priest in a past life. His 'pagh' has much dignity in it." Not to mention the man was a master Engineer. It made Eve hold the Oltharian in a reverent light.

"But what should I *do*?" Lea asked plaintively.

Dalziel considered her answer. "It may seem complicated, but there are only three distinct possibilities. One, openly admit your feelings for him. Two, wait for him to reveal his. Three, end the relationship... and I don't think the last one is an option for you... for either of you."

"I don't think either of us want to ruin it," the CMO stated.

"Even if it ended tomorrow, it wouldn't change what you both have shared, would it? Especially when it could be so much more. You can't keep a candle burning forever by placing it in a box. You starve the oxygen and the candle burns out. The only way to keep the candle burning is to use it up, until it dissolves away. Otherwise, never light the candle in the first place. But then, you have no light at all."

Lea agreed. "Nobody can live that way. But this feels so...unsure."

"Love is like a pendulum, but it requires a push of momentum, and then swinging, to feel like you're flying. The two of you are evidently providing some movement or else you wouldn't need the services of the Counsellor. But it sounds like you both are afraid to let go and truly fly. But that's not unusual, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. I haven't... had a close personal relationship yet at all," Eve admitted. "So perhaps I'm not the best one to be asking for advice."

"Why haven't you?" Lea asked.

It was the Counsellor's turn to feel hesitant. "Sometimes I think I am meant to be alone. My light shines brightest in the service of others. Right now, I only have room enough in my heart for the crew and myself. Relationships... make things complicated. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for the Captain and Enaii?"

A slight chill crept down Lea's spine with the mention of the ILO.

Eve mistook the reason for Lea's sudden discomfort. "I'm not saying you should avoid what is happening between you and Elan. But mixing it with duty is not an easy thing. But everything that is worthwhile has an element of risk. Just look at all of us." Eve had finished her coffee several minutes ago, but she finally set the cup down in preparation to leave.

"We're meant to be on the ANUBIS," Doctor Summers said with as much conviction as Ensign Dalziel had asserted.

Eve paused at the office door. "And you have to believe that whatever transpires between you and Elan was destined. Your heart has served as a pretty good guide so far, so why stop trusting it now?"

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"