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Long Days, Later Nights

Posted on Mon Aug 22nd, 2022 @ 11:48pm by Lieutenant Aemilia "Millie" Stepanova

Mission: Magic Mirror
Location: Brig

Millie walked down the corridor to the brig, the security officer a half-pace behind her. Patricia had left her quarters more than an hour before the next visitor arrived in the middle of the night. She’d initially been barred from the brig, given her connection to the intruder, but now her presence was being requested.

Henry, looking as displeased as possible at being awake at this time of night, leaned against the wall as he had done for years as Security Chief. When the doors swished open he looked up at Millie.

Millie could see the lines of exhaustion on the Captain's face. It had been a harrowing several days for the crew, and she knew Henry always carried the weight of the ship on his shoulders. "Aren't you up past your bedtime, Captain?" she asked, giving a gentle smile.

“Absolutely. I was informed she won’t talk to anyone but you.”

Her brow furrowed as she leaned in just past the doorway, just enough to see the occupied brig cell. “I should have known something was off, Henry. I knew she wasn’t quite herself, and–”

“None of that can be changed. But right now we need answers from her. We’re concerned she still has sleepers on the ship. It’s why I’m down here. I can’t even trust the security officers. She thinks she has leverage. Prove her wrong.”

Millie nodded. “I’ll do what I can.” She stepped forward, pausing next to the chair that had been placed in front of the cell’s force field.

Evelyn, now in a dark blue jumpsuit, sat on the bench. “I wasn’t sure you’d actually do this.”

She sat in the chair, tucking one leg under her. “I think I’ve shown that I will do what is required to keep my ship and my crew safe.” Millie’s hands folded in her lap. “What was it that you wanted to tell me?”

“I guess it’s too late to say sorry, but truthfully I’m not. I did what I had to do. You can’t fathom what it was like watching you literally fall apart and being powerless to stop it. Then I found out that the experiment I had created in my quarters was actually another reality. It gave me a thought. Was there another you out there? I did what I had to, and I would have done more to have you again. But I have to ask you….” she stood and walked to the force field, “do these people know about your little touch trick and how you got it?”

There was a pause as Millie watched the mirror of her partner step to the force field. “The senior staff often jokes about calming my presence can be, but my ability to diffuse emotions is part of my Starfleet training.” Her hands unfolded, pressing out a crease in her tunic. “How many crew members did you bring aboard our ship?”

Evelyn’s head tilted slightly, then a smile formed. “You….you don’t know where you get it from.” She clapped her hands with a laugh. “Oh this is rich. I wonder if your best friend the assassin will react the same way she did in our….my….reality.”

There was another brief pause. “Evelyn, I would much rather talk about the time that you invested in the exchange of our crew. Part of my Starfleet duties are to ensure that our crew can safely operate, and that begins with ensuring that all of your crew members were able to successfully return through the mirrors.”

“They don’t know if I’m still hiding someone, do they?” She sat back on the bench. “Looking over their shoulders?”

The counselor allowed a grin to play across her lips. “The Captain knows what I am capable of. And, now, apparently, so do you, though you’ve just had a brief glimpse. I’ll find them, now that I know what to look for. Henry just hopes to–” she gave a little shrug, “find them before I do.”

“None of them matter…if there are any more of them here, that’s not an admission. What does matter is you, as you always have. So I’m willing to make a trade. The harmonic frequency of my reality and others in exchange for a transfer to Starfleet custody.”

“There is no trade.” Millie’s smile was genuine–or so it seemed. “I have been assigned to handle your rehabilitation, to take place here. I thought it would be far more merciful a punishment than a Starfleet penal colony.” Her hands refolded in her lap.

Evelyn grinned. “Rehabilitation. A noble aim which never hits the mark.”

“You have nothing to offer, Ev.” Her face softened. “Starfleet regulations prevent interdimensional travel and interaction, so what you have to offer is, well– nothing, I’m afraid. And since you’ve offered nothing else, it appears that it will be just you and I for the foreseeable future.” She shifted forward in her chair, as if to stand.

“She starts a war.”

“We’ll begin our sessions in two days time.” Millie stood, dragging the chair back to its normal place along the far wall.

Henry approached Millie, having stayed out of the way. “Well?”

Millie glanced back over her shoulder, still within sight of the cell. “She might be useful. Someday. Right now, she has nothing to offer us.”

“What’s that she said about a war?”

Millie instinctually placed her hand on Henry’s. “Her reality is not ours. Her mistake this entire time is thinking it could be.”

He nodded, feeling a little relieved. “Go on back to bed, I appreciate you coming down here.”

“Hopefully, a few days in the brig will make her talk a little bit more.” She echoed Henry’s soft sigh. “Get some rest yourself.” The counselor made her way back down the corridor, slipping her hands into the pockets of her tunic. Evelyn’s words played in the back of her mind–the “touch trick” and how her “assassin friend” would react. The words made her stomach turn.


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