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Identity Crisis

Posted on Jul 01, 2017 @ 6:34am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Ensign Sofia Andersson
Edited on on Jul 01, 2017 @ 6:34am

Mission: The Romulan Way

“Identity Crisis”
(Continued from “Analytical Observations”)

=/\=

Location: USS PHOENIX
SD: [2.17]0629.2042
Scene: The Vulgar Tribble

“Lieutenant, you must pass along compliments to the officer responsible for this evening’s entertainment. It was… avant garde. I am not certain that even adequately describes it.”

Eve smiled and nodded her head politely. Centurion Herut had turned his attention to her during the dinner, and his curiosity seemed piqued by the tall, pale woman. She suspected the main reason for that is he hadn’t taken the opportunity yet to pick her brain for information. Likewise, she had moved about the room, with the old adage that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one. Luckily, his enjoyment of the libations seemed to have dulled his senses by a slight but crucial amount. “His talent was striking and surprising,” she agreed, so far successfully keeping the discussion light and non-classified.

Herut grabbed two glasses of champagne from a passing server and gave one to Eve. “Here is to a negotiation as peaceful as this evening has been thus far,” as he held the crystal flute so that it clinked against hers.

“It is an honor, Centurion,” she replied in return, and took a healthy sip of the bubbly to show her intent, her eyes locked on Herut’s in a further sign of respect. While she still held her beverage, she then scanned the room for any odd events, violence, or any of the dozens of other mishaps she was on guard to expect.

Herut laughed. “If I didn’t know better I’d say you had sensors built in.” He eyed the teal trim on her dress uniform. “Are you worried about injuries? Perhaps having to heal someone who accidentally fell into someone else’s fist?”

“Not at all,” she answered confidently. “I’m the ship’s Counselor, not the Doctor.” She glanced across the room and saw a blonde woman nervously inching towards the door. It appeared to be the new aCMO, another member of the crew Eve hadn’t had the time to properly greet since they found out they were. She looked like a proverbial deer in the headlights and furtively looked to her right and left before hightailing it outside the VT.

“Ah, so you are expecting an emotional outburst?”

Eve wasn’t going to take the bait. “No, I am trying to make myself available to everyone to ensure they feel welcomed and relaxed. If you will excuse me, Centurion, I need to do some more of that. Thank you for the company.” She bowed slightly, then made a careful (not panicked) beeline towards the exit.


=/\=

Scene: Corridor

“Doctor Andersson? Doctor?” The tall woman called after Sofia, who was standing still, leaning against the wall of the hallway, not being responsive to Eve’s query.

Soon, the Counsellor was facing her, gently touching her shoulders. “Doctor?” she said again, this time more softly.

“Oh. Yes?” Her brown eyes began to focus on Eve.

“Are you alright?”

Sofia seemed to bristle, stand a little straighter. “Yes, thank you Lieutenant.”

“It’s Eve, please. I’m the ship’s Counsellor. I’d like to apologize for this being our first ‘real’ introduction but we truly need a full complement of officers at the dinner. Including you. Did you have an anxiety attack or something?”

“No,” she replied, unsure, “It’s just that the Romulans- they’re *here*. Never been up close and personal with them before.”

“Neither have I,” Eve mused. “But it’s sort of like we’re all playing a game in there.”

“A game? At a serious military function?”

“Maybe that wasn’t the best analogy,” Eve answered, noticing it hadn’t done much to allay Sofia’s concerns. “It might be more honest to call it an exploratory meeting.”

“What are we exploring? How not to get killed without the safety of Federation space around us?”

Eve shook her head. “We’re exploring each other’s personalities. Our differences. Our similarities. And yes, perhaps each other’s penchant to make war over peace. Our superiors want peace. And unless I’m reading things wrong, I think the Romulans do as well. But neither of us are letting our guards down, and I guarantee that both sides are preparing for the worst as they continue to work for the best. But these choices, as daunting and ponderous as they are, are not *your* responsibility. Your goal is to make small talk, discover things about our guests, pretend to be enjoying yourself, and representing Starfleet to the best of your ability. You simply can’t do that from the corridor.”

“I have fears. They may not be real to you but they are to me.”

“Sofia, I know your experiences up until this point have not been easy. But you have to believe that not every paradigm of fundamental disagreement ends up the way it did with the Neo-Essentialists. Not everything ends up like Paris.”

The memories she had tried to push away and move through had come back, though not as strong as during those weeks of labor at the boundaries of the damage site. Sofia’s eyes filled with unfallen tears. “How can I trust that they won’t? Because no matter what you say, Paris *happened*. It can’t be undone.”

“You know, that’s a question only you can answer. But for now, can you trust me? Go back in there, and stick to my side like glue for the rest of the night. I was Intel once, so I can fight. Maybe not with finesse, but with force.”

Sofia still looked unsure.

Eve’s gray eyes stared Doctor Andersson down nearly as hard as she had acknowledged Herut earlier. “Fear has two meanings, you know.”

“What?”

“Fear- it has two meanings. ‘Forget Everything And Run’, or ‘Face Everything And Rise’. Which one are you going to choose?”


=/\=

Scene: The Vulgar Tribble

Eve and Sofia walked back into the Vulgar Tribble, the two women walking as one as if they had been joined at the hip. The discussion between them had created a larger, deeper gap in the Ensign's take on the situation. She had not thought about Paris, at least not actively but now the aCMO wondered if her dealings with the Neo-Essentialists had not been part of the reason for her distrusting the Romulans. As a Starfleet Officer, she needed to face her fears and rise to meet the situation, but she found herself even less willing to trust their guests.

Richard Edgerton and the other high ranking members of the Neo-Essentialist movement had all been charming in their own ways, very much like the Romulans currently scattered around the spacious room. Kind and polite words were used to create a false sense of decorum which itself hid the darker purposes of the individuals and organization. No one had expected things to lead to what had happened to Paris, but as Sofia had pointed out to Eve, it had happened and there was nothing they could do about it. What would the Romulans do if they were given the chance?

"See," the grey-eyed Counsellor whispered with a smile. "No one is trying to kill anyone else. This is an exploration of peace."

"Peace," Doctor Andersson repeated ever so quietly. "Isn't that what we all want?" She mused to herself. "What if they truly wanted peace, and not just an excuse to see our guards down and our backs turned?"

"That's the spirit," Eve said, glad to see that the blonde-haired woman glued to her side seemed to be accepting the possibility if nothing else.

"Spirit," Sofia said, seemingly having fallen into a habit of repeating the last word spoken by the Counsellor. "How many have passed into the *spirit* world while hoping or working for peace? History if filled with such accounts. True peace is not achieved by people taking. For peace to be truly considered and accepted, one side has to be in a situation that leaves them no choice. The question is, are we the ones desperate for peace or are they, and if so why?"

Eve stopped and looked at Sofia, realizing that the scars left by her involvement with the neo-Essentialists ran deep, much deeper than she would be able to address here and now.


=/\=

A Joint Post By

Susan Ledbetter

Writing for

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Cns
USS PHOENIX

and

Tiffany Reeve

Ensign Sofia Andersson
Assistant Chief Medical Officer
USS PHOENIX

 

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