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The Enemy Within

Posted on Mar 25, 2019 @ 4:20pm by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Edited on on Mar 25, 2019 @ 4:22pm

Mission: The Uncertainty Principle

“The Enemy Within”

(Continued from “Desperate Times And Measures”)


Scene: Malin-Argo’s Office
SD: [2.19]0310.2233

Eve held her breath involuntarily as the computer console flickered to life with the stream of information that Ensign Ryan had managed to gather from the probe. Time had grown impossibly short, and yet dragged on under the weight of their task. They were trapped in an infinite hell. Death, while highly unpalatable, would almost be a relief.

However, that was not the stuff that the crew was made of; they were made of resilience and defiance. The dead personnel and their sacrifices only served to stoke the fires of survival. But they were also tired, at the precise moment when weariness could give way to mistakes. The Counselor quietly worried, all the while knowing it was pointless to do so.

Doctor Eden had an intense, wizened look as her eyes pored over the data. “This is incredible…” she murmured. “It’s as you said, like someone unlocked my thoughts.”

“I hope it proves as useful as everyone believes it to be,” Eve replied, still thinking about Lynette.

The Scientist only managed a curt nod in reply as her eyes never left the display. She was too engrossed in the material to engage in more small talk, especially as the minutes ticked down to the warp core failure.

The younger woman clasped her hands behind her back, taking in the bleak but orderly view of Engineering. The remaining staff were working, maintaining as much semblance of order as they could muster, while on alert for any forthcoming orders. Two Marines entered, quietly taking the places of the ones who had been standing sentinel since the probe had appeared. Then, two more Marines filed in, smoother than transparent aluminum. The new and expanded Marine contingent looked sharp and and ready to fight. The question was, why?

The exchange was so low key that nobody had paid particular attention it, except for the Cardassian-born Counselor. She needed to talk to Kass, stat. Not wanting to upset the Doctor, Eve stepped outside the office. “Kassandra Thytos, what are you trying to pull?”

[[What’cha talkin’ about?]]

Eve rolled her eyes, even though the Major wasn't there to witness it. “With under an hour before we’re officially screwed, why is it so damned important to switch out your personnel for additional fresh grunts in Engineering, unless you’re plotting something?”

[[It’s not a plot... if I’m followin’ orders.]] If Kassandra had been belligerent before, she sounded downright coy now.

It didn’t take long for Eve to see the writing on the wall. Despite her steadfast belief that both ships were essentially “good” and not of the “evil mirror” variety that she’d read about in temporal incident reports while she was still at Intel, Eve could see where Kass was coming from. And she must have been able to get the Captain to see her side of things. But that didn’t stop her from being pissed. “Then what was the point of asking Malin-Argo to get the info off of that probe, if Kane wasn’t going to let Eden at least *try* a Hail Mary? This is putting us in an impossible situation.”

[[We passed impossible ‘bout tha time that wormhole opened up and sucked us into a dang paradox. You can’t pin that on me.]]

“Okay, you've made a point. But that still leaves only three options: we survive, the other PHOENIX survives, or we’re both destroyed.”

[[‘Xactly.]] Kass answered as if she had won the argument, which really was only a forceful disagreement if she had been asked to define it.

“I understand the first would be in our best interest. But who says *we* get to make that decision?”

[[Heh. I’ve got some high quality explosive that’ll do tha talkin’ for us.]]

“Why don’t you trust the other ship?”

[[I dunno, it’s somethin’ in mah gut. Let’s talk about that probe. If they were on our side, why’d it give off that radiation? Wasn’t there another way to send it here that didn’t pose another threat ta us?]]

“If they were going to send something to destroy us, why make it a probe? Why not just get rid of all the pretense and bring over a bomb to send us into oblivion?”

It was Kass’ turn to hedge a little. [[Maybe they wan’ their hands ta stay clean, if ya catch my drift.]]

“So they have morals enough to irradiate us but not outright slaughter us? Maybe they need us to survive to keep themselves alive. We don't know if this field we’re trapped in is linear or alternate. Maybe the only options are we all make it out, or none of us do.”

Kass sighed. [[Why ya gotta keep makin’ things complicated?]]

“You said it yourself- things got complicated the moment Eden’s experiment went haywire. We're just along for the ride.” Eve paused. “How much time before Kane lets you pull the trigger?”

[[Yer not tryin’ to change our minds?]] The way she worded it, it sounded like Kass was speaking with the Captain about this right now.

Eve thought about satisfying her curiosity, but simply didn’t feel like taking the bait. She shrugged instead. “My opinion is irrelevant. The last time I checked, I wasn’t in command of this ship. And I wasn’t your conscience. And I'm no scientist. All I have are theories. I do strongly suggest you and Kane consider Doctor Eden’s conclusion regarding the probe contents before finalizing your plans, but beyond that, I'm not going to stand in anyone's way.”

There was a pause. Eve wasn’t sure if Kass was hesitant because of her plan, or if she was relaying this info back to the Captain. Finally, Kassandra’s voice answered. [[Let the Doc know she’s got ten minutes.]]

Eve tried not to let her frustration show; they had done everything they could. One way or another, it would end. “Dalziel out.”

Lorraine Eden raised her head for a few seconds, watching as the Lieutenant walked back inside Malin-Argo’s office. “You look positively vexed, Counselor,” she commented plainly. “Bad news?”

“I wouldn’t say that exactly.” She leaned against the wall and crossed her arms.

The Doctor put her head back down, making the data review a priority, but continued to prod. “Well, what *would* you say, dear?”

“The Major is working on a plan B and has the Captain’s ear on the matter. I need you to present your hypothesis to Captain Kane in about ten minutes.”

Eden snorted. “What’s ‘plan B’? I shudder to think! That Marine friend of yours isn’t subtle.”

Eve allowed herself a grin of acknowledgement. “She wants to send an incendiary device to the other ship, presumably through the same means we transported Lieutenant Yu.”

The old scientist made a clicking noise with her tongue. Eve had been expecting some sort of overblown reaction, and when that didn’t happen, the Counselor began to question if she herself was not in some alternate reality on some alternate vessel. Eventually, Eden broke her silence. “I can’t say I’m surprised.”

“But can that idea actually work?”

“Nothing is off the table,” Doctor Eden admitted, her brow furrowing with the concept. “Our greatest weakness with any plan that I devise is the damage that already exists to our version of the PHOENIX. A projectile explosive does mitigate some of the work we’d have to do on our part.”

“So do you believe that the other ship is not a phased version of ourselves, that it is an independent ship in its own right? Because otherwise, we’re not getting rid of an enemy- we’re killing ourselves.”

Eden took a cleansing breath, then turned back to the probe’s data in earnest. “I know one thing for certain- I’ve got about nine minutes to figure that out and speak to the Captain.”

NRPG: Apologies for the delay.

Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


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