"Never A Good Time"
(Continued from "When you wish upon a star.")


"Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting."
-Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance


Location: USS ANUBIS
SD: 30150.1845
Scene: Deck 2, Corridor Near Senior Officers' Quarters

The door to Ensign Ya'Han's quarters opened and she stepped out, somehow thinking a little distance from her decision, maybe a short walk, would magically make everything better. Everyone's attendance tomorrow night was expected and mandatory, so time was not on her side. If she had waited until the last minute for such an event on NYLA IV, the wrath of her family would have been brought upon her.

What she hadn't expected was the appearance of the ship's Counsellor walking down the corridor with long, purposeful strides. The expression on her face was far from neutral.

And, she was still wearing her uniform. "Lieutenant," Ya'Han said a bit too cheerfully. "Little help?"

Eve stared at the Sec/Tac, or maybe it was more of a glare. Ya'Han still couldn't read the Cns that well. Her expression softened upon realizing who was speaking to her.

"Good day, Ensign," she responded hesitantly.
"How can I help?

"I'm not ready for the ball. As I would guess neither are you," the woman of royal lineage pointed out to the other woman. "I require help picking a proper dress."

Eve bit her lip thoughtfully. "I need to have a word with Captain Morningstar first, then I'd be happy to help. In fact, would you care to join me?"

"But... of what use would I be there?"

"Let's call it moral support," Dalziel said, practically pulling her along. "I could use some."


Scene: CO's Ready Room
Time Index: Maybe ten minutes later

Originally, it had been the Counsellor's intent to discuss the sudden transport of both Shar'El and Doctor Doyanne from the ship. But, seeing as the information on that was scarce, and cloaked in the secrecy that only an Intel ship could have, the talk quickly segued into the handling of the Ullian's condition.

"I'm not taking it personally," Eve interjected. "I believe that both of us have Shar'El's well-being in mind. The problem is we apparently disagree on what actions should have been taken to keep her safe."

"Then we don't have anything to talk about," Erik said affably. He was mired in paperwork and preparations to have the crew attend the Ball, but he had been completely waylaid by the unexpected visit from his Counsellor and Security Officer, neither of which looked in the proper state of readiness.

"But we do," Eve insisted. "I'm running out of ideas with regard to Doctor Mizore's professional attitude, or lack thereof."

Morningstar sighed. He glanced over to Ensign Ya'Han, who looked nearly as uncomfortable as he felt. The Sec/Tac had provided unexpected support to Eve's side of things in the beginning of the discussion, but had been more of a bystander as things got a little heated.

"That's not like you, to give up," Morningstar said with a bit of surprise.

"I'm not. But I am deferring to a higher authority. I refuse to spend the majority of my time explaining my actions as an Officer when they could be much better spent in the actual performance of my duties."

Morningstar regarded the Junior Lieutenant. Like any of his senior staff, he'd seen her at her best, and at her worst. But rarely had he seen her this irritated. She was an astute judge of character and very empathetic to almost anyone. The fact that there was friction between she and another Officer was rare and unwelcome.

"Look, I don't even expect her to like me. I'm Cardassian, and no amount of plastic surgery or time passing since the occupation of Bajor is going to change that in her heart. But as a Starfleet Officer, I shouldn't have to constantly rebuild trust with her every time she disagrees with a decision I've made or an order I've given."

Ya'Han tried not to react to what the Counsellor had said, even though the revelation of her heritage was news to the Sec/Tac.

Morningstar agreed in principle that the trust between officers should be implicit, but having actually spoken to the CMO he remembered she had made an objection, but had followed instructions. He was not convinced the rift between them was as large as Dalziel thought he was. "You're lying to yourself, Eve," Erik said with the slightest trace of a smirk. "You do want her to like you."

She evaded responding to his discerning opinion for a multitude of reasons, the first of which was that he was right. "What I want isn't as important as what is good for the ship and its crew. I just wanted you to know where I stood on things."

Erik silently wished for a new ExO to appear before him, to help deal with this situation, but when they didn't, he tried to draw things to a close, standing up and shepherding them all out. "I appreciate your honesty. I can't speak for either of you, But I have somewhere else to be, actually five minutes ago, and both of you still need to finish preparations for tomorrow, correct?"

"One more thing," Eve blurted out as they were all headed towards the exit.

"Yes?" Morningstar said in his best attempt
to sound calm.

"I know this isn't a good time, but I wanted to request to take the training required for the Bridge Officer's Test."

Erik smiled much wider this time. Maybe their unexpected adventure got them all thinking a little more about the future. "Granted," he responded without hesitation. "Although your timing could use some work."


Scene: Ya'Han's Quarters
Time Index: a few minutes later

As she promised, Lieutenant JG Dalziel was in the throes of assisting with the Sec/Tac and her as yet undecided dress for the Black and White Ball.

"I apologize for 'kidnapping' you," she said as they looked at different designs.

Ya'Han wasn't sure how to respond. The Cardassian born woman was a great deal more relaxed than she had been prior  "No need. I guess you're not the type to rush into things?

Eve sat back and thought for a moment. She'd been spontaneous about throwing a party or a holodeck experience at a moment's notice. But her career was another story entirely. "Not when it comes to my job."

Through a series of questions they had managed to narrow the choices down to the top two dresses. One was a very structured, clean-lined gown, the other a soft, frilly princess dress. "Those couldn't be more different. No wonder it's been so hard to choose."

"I know, right?" Ya'Han said. Even though they were one step closer, the same inner argument remained. One was too military and severe, the other too frivolous.

Eve tossed her nearly black hair over one shoulder. There had to be a compromise. "Computer, switch the bodices and skirts of the two dresses."

"Wow. You balanced them out."

Eve looked very pleased with herself. "I'm not done. Add a long silver sash to dress A, and a metallic belt to dress B."

There were still two choices in front of them, but they had been remade. The first dress had an embroidered and embellished bodice, a straight satiny skirt, and a silver chiffon sash that draped and flowed in the back. The second dress had a top with almost origami like pleating in the crepe material, a hammered metallic belt that reinforced the geometric look, and a romantic ball skirt with layers of tulle and chiffon.

The Cns smiled and folded her arms at a task well executed. "Okay, I don't know about you, but I love them both. I'm going to leave the final choice up to you."

Ya'Han stifled a sigh. This would almost be as hard as the original search. "Surely you have an opinion on which one is best."

Eve, who had been near the door, turned and regarded both designs again. "I'm a sucker for a full skirt. It's more fun when you're dancing. But that's why I added the sash to the first design, for movement. Let me know if you want to meet tomorrow night and head to the ball together. Thanks again."

Susan Ledbetter

Lieutenant JG Eve Dalziel