In the Enterprise sick bay Dr. Mwanji worked Enid walked straight to the 'room' that the nuns had given for her to use during her stay. She knew everyone could see her through the curtains so she really couldn't relax. It was A'den who approached her first.
"Little Bee," he said tentatively.
"Don't call me that!" she spat bitterly, "Never call me that again!" She couldn't be fierce with such a nickname.
"As you wish," he said, "Enid, we need to talk about what happens now."
"You want me to go live at the vineyard," she said.
"It is a generous offer," A'den said, "You would be safe."
"I'm not a dog," she said, "I don't need to be rehomed after my owner dies." A'den sighed. This was not going to be easy but he didn't feel he had the luxury of time.
"Maybe try it for a while," he bargained, "If you don't like it, we can find you someplace else."
"No!" she spun to leave. A'den reached out to hold her which was a mistake. He found himself thrown several meters taking the curtains from several rooms with him as he fell. The Romulans exchanged knowing looks. The young Vulcan made the mistake of trying to handle a cornered sand devil. Picard helped that man up, realizing that he was going to have to come up with something more enticing if he was going to convince Enid to stay with the Federation. Enid stayed in the room although it could barely be called that now.
Zani took Enid some fresh clothes, "Is it safe?" she asked with a warm smile.
"Sorry," Enid looked at the damage she caused. The nuns were already rehanging the curtains.
"You have had a rough few days," Zani said dismissively. Enid stepped behind the modesty screen, activated the sonic shower, then changed into the new outfit. She was thrilled that the length had been shortened and expressed gratitude to Zani for the kindness. Zani explained that the nuns had not been sure how long Enid would be staying with them. She also extended an invitation for her to stay as long as she needed. A few nuns brought Enid the soup from yesterday and a crusty bread.
"I want this recipe," Enid smiled and ate up. Zani reminded her of Muriel and Raelyn and she liked her. Staying here might be nice for a while but she didn't think the men waiting for her would allow it. Also, her presence would endanger the nuns. "You knew my father," she realized.
"You want people to keep your secrets yet you pluck what you need out of people's minds?" Zani admonished.
"He told?" Enid looked towards Elnor.
"No," Zani said, "But I raised Elnor. I can tell when something is weighing on his mind. You would be his jailer."
"He agreed," she argued, "You're telepathic."
"No," Zani told her. The two women sat quietly for a time.
"I can't always help it," she said, needing to break the quiet. She didn't want Zani to think badly of her, "Information just jumps out. Please tell me what you know about my father. Narek was vague…"
"Narek is Tal Shiar. That is their way," Zani said. She told her about the young man she knew but then warned her, "I have not spoken with your father in many decades. He could be different."
"What do you think I should do?" Enid asked.
"If I gave you advice," Zani told her, "I would incur a responsibility. I will not do this. You are responsible for your destiny now." Zani excused herself leaving Enid to finish her soup.
Enid let her mind wander. The tides had retreated from the beach which was eroded and rocky. Something caught the sunlight and Enid went to investigate. It was part of the sparkly hull of her ark. It wasn't heavy so she picked it up. She tucked it under her arm while she walked. How far up the beach did the damage go? Enid left the beach. Her tree had withstood the storm and the fire untouched. She propped the glittery plank against it then climbed into its branches. If Boo were alive, she could easily survey the damage. Boo would help her make a decision.
Zani offered her guests refreshments and invited them to take a seat. It was an awkward assembly. A'den was physically unhurt from his encounter with his foster sister but the encounter left him with little hope.
"What now?" Picard asked Zani when she came back from talking with Enid.
"We wait," she said, "I have offered her sanctuary here for as long as she needs."
"That is kind," Ni'ael said.
Narek glanced at him, it was still difficult to tell if Ni'ael was being sardonic. He was seated on a cushion in an area he guessed would be where the nuns took their meals. Just for a moment he closed his eyes. When he opened them he intuitively put his arms out to steady himself. He was in a tree. Enid was on a branch near him. In the burnt out meadow below him he could see hundreds of shadows in a line that stretched to the horizon.
"What are they?" he asked Enid.
"They came out of the ocean to help me defeat Rynar," Enid said.
"Romulans?" Narek did not take his eyes off the shadows.
"Yes," Enid studied Narek. He didn't look well and she was worried. She had better get to the point. "I asked them if they knew my father."
"And?" Narek found this fascinating.
"They did. At first they all wanted to tell me their story at once," Enid shuddered, "I managed to get them to take turns but...There are so many of them." She looked discouraged.
Narek was impressed she managed to organize so many minds but listening to the individual stories of so many would take days or weeks depending on how long winded they were. "Can you have them maybe sort themselves into groups?"
"To what end?"
"You want to determine if you can trust your father," Narek knew this was a gamble that could backfire but proceeded anyway, "Have them line up in categories, pros and cons." What would he do if the cons outnumbered the pros? The shadows assembled shuffled and reassembled themselves back into one line. "What does that mean?" Narek held his chin, his index finger resting on his upper lip.
"It means they wish me to go with my father," she said, "It's a powerful pull. They want me to do something for them." Narek opened his eyes and rubbed between his brows. Ni'ael watched him with concern but Narek tilted his head and smiled. Ni'ael took that as a positive sign.
Enid decided to take a walk but did not want to be followed. While she couldn't make herself invisible she knew how to cloak herself from other minds. She watched the assembled company and wished she hadn't used the snakeleaf. Never again, would have such a chorus of minds. At some point Elnor and Narek started bickering. That would have been something to hear!
Picard watched Enid as she observed the group. She was sitting on the garden fence outside the structure looking in through the open doorway. Given that no one reacted to her departure, Picard determined that she must be telepathically shielding herself. That would explain her talent for escapes. Even if she could hear synthetic minds, maybe she couldn't manipulate them? This would explain how he could see her. He slowly made his way to the wall where she sat. He stood next to her and looked out to the mountains.
"Are you planning to bolt again?" he mumbled. He didn't want to blow her cover. Picard wanted her to trust him.
"I was just regretting using the snakeleaf," Enid answered dreamily, "The disparity in melodies is….Narek's words take such," she giggled, "mental gymnastics…"
Picard thought that as a gymnast, Enid would probably be attracted to that.
"Then there is Elnor," her eyes widened, "He has a righteous melody."
"I suppose he would," Picard agreed.
"The two men are so different." She sighed.
"It would make an interesting ballet," Picard suggested. He could imagine that.
"I'll never have this opportunity again, " she mused, "It seems a waste."
"Have you made a decision?" Picard felt that she had but couldn't discern what conclusion she reached.
"I should have invited someone from the Orions," she replied coyly.
"That is not who you are," Picard replied.
"Oh but I could be…" She would be a master thief but not an assassin. Enid regarded Picard soberly, "Papa loved me. I felt it as sure as I can feel my own heart beat but he hurt me and it wasn't by accident. He used me." Rynar had been brutal but the betrayal from the man who was supposed to be her father had been devastating, "I don't understand." Maybe this very old man with the synthetic brain could explain it?
"Enid," Picard replied with equal seriousness, "What you endured should have never been. Nothing can change that. I do know a good therapist though." Enid would need comprehensive therapy to overcome being raised by the radical Vulcans. He was convinced she wouldn't get this from the Romulans.
"What kind of life would I have on Earth?" Enid asked, "I don't belong there."
"Enid, you were raised by a group of radical Vulcans. If you leave with the Tal Shiar you will be choosing another group of radicals."
"You don't understand the pull..." she said.
"The supernova? The minds you absorbed?" Picard asked, "I'm sure the pull is strong. Give yourself some time though. Laris is a wise woman. She and Zaban can help you understand what you'd be choosing. Narek has a mission. They do not."
"I've made up my mind," Enid said.
"You're not going to tell me, are you?" Enid shook her head. He reasoned there was a very good chance that she intended to go with the Romulans. She may have described Ni'ael as disturbing, but she had not expressed any fear of him. Narek did not appear to set off alarm bells for her either. In fact she seemed a bit infatuated with the dashing Tal Shiar officer. He had so many questions but felt the window was closing. After a long pause he asked, "Not all the problems at the mine were maintenance issues, did you have something to do with that?"
"No!" This was a wholly unexpected question, "Rone's father died in one of those accidents! No!" Picard apologized for the question. Her reaction ruled out any purposeful intent although he wasn't sure if this was good news or not.
"My offer stands," he assured her, "No matter what decision you make today. I will give you sanctuary if you need it." He rejoined the group.
Enid's appearance in the doorway startled the group. The men stood expectantly. "I will meet my father," she announced. A'den accused Zani of coloring her decision towards the Romulans. Picard jumped to Zani's defence arguing that the Qowat Milat was the sworn enemy of the Tal Shiar. Prompting Enid to question why any Romulan should be the sworn enemy of another given how reduced their numbers were now.
"You are your father's daughter," Ni'ael observed.
"Enid, please reconsider," A'den reached towards her face. Enid looked at him with horror but she knew it was a distraction. His other hand held a knife which he planted in her side. Her momentary awareness of his intent allowed her to move just enough so that he missed his intended mark but the wound was still serious. She staggered pulling the blade out to look at it. He lunged forward before his head dropped at her feet. As she fell Narek planned to scoop her up but his own wounds prevented him. They both fell.
"They need to be in a sick bay," the doctor said urgently. Fank took Enid and ran as smoothly as he could to the transport coordinates. Ni'ael and the doctor carried Narek between them. Worf sent five of his men and notified the Enterprise what was headed for them.
"Elnor," Worf turned to the young man, "Explain yourself!" Elnor had used, in Worf's estimation, excessive force to subdue the Vulcan. Elnor turned A'den's body over with his foot to reveal a disruptor. Having failed in inflicting a fatal wound with the knife he was going to finish the job with the disruptor.
"If he had a disruptor," Worf asked, "Why would he not just use that? Why the knife?"
Zani picked up the knife used in the attack. It looked ancient and ornate. She handed it to Picard. "This looks like a ceremonial blade," he remarked. The radical order probably had rules for murder. A'den had been victimized by the same order that terrorized her foster sister and he was sorry that he had met this fate. Elnor had been the only one who had seen the events unfold and he had acted as conscience dictated. Picard only hoped Enid's wounds were not fatal.
on Enid while the Romulan doctor tended to Narek. He had developed an infection and was bleeding internally. When Dr. Mwanji stabilized Enid, the Romulan doctor called him over. He needed Dr. Wanji to monitor Narek's condition while he repaired the damage to Narek's liver. Enid sat up to watch.
"You need to rest," the EMH stated from behind her.
"Deactivate EMH!" Enid called.
"Unable to comply, verbal authorizations have been suspended," the computer responded, attracting attention from Dr. Mwanji. He hadn't activated the holographic medic.
"Computer who activated the EMH?" Dr. Mwanji asked.
"Unable to respond. Insufficient information on file," the computer responded amicably. Dr. Mwanji watched in horror as the EMH circled its hands around Enid's throat. The girl failed her arms and kicked her feet.
"Security!" the doctor called, "Deactivate sick bay hollow emitters!"
"Unable to isolate the medical hollow emitters," security responded, "Shutting down all hollow emitters!" The ENH vanished releasing Enid who gasped for breath. Narek began to convulse.
"Dr. Jurati to sick bay STAT!" Dr. Mwanji ordered as he examined Enid. She was breathing rapidly and her eyes were wide. The EMH crushed her windpipe. He tried to repair the damage but the girl was fighting him. He thought given the girl's recent history that a female doctor would have better luck, "Over here!" he called as Agnes entered the room.
"Crushed windpipe!" Dr. Mwanji passed off Enid and returned to assisting the Romulan doctor with Narek's deteriorating condition.
"It's ok sweetheart," Anges took a page from Raffe's book, "I just need you to hold still and I can fix this." She tried not to think of the twisted heads of Klingons or Nausicaans. Agnes wasn't quite motherly but Enid believed she wanted to help so she complied.
"We're losing him!" The Romulan doctor was annoyed. These humans and their artificial intelligence!
Enid studied the shadows assembled below the tree. Surely there were some that could be helpful. Rone had been dead, she couldn't reverse dead no matter how much she wanted to. Narek was hurt but it wasn't a broken bone or simple gash. She didn't know what to do. Several shadows swirled around Enid before shooting out from her body.
"You owe me," Enid told Narek.
"Double now," he replied. It was just he and Enid in the sick bay.
"I will help you." Narek assured her.
"You've said that before," Enid reminded him. Narek knew she was referring to the synthetic woman, Soji.
"I actually thought that I was helping her." He had thought it was better for Soji to be destroyed than to live with the truth that she wasn't real.
"You have a nimble morality, Mister Narek," Enid told him. He gave her a self deprecating shrug. He knew this time was vastly different but there were no words what would convince Enid of that right now. She would just have to learn it for herself.
Agnes saw the shadows leave Enid, zip about the sick bay, and hover over Narek. More shadows left Enid entering the walls and enveloping the room which was suddenly filled with blinding light. Narek's condition improved. His vitals continued to strengthen. He was no longer in danger. For a moment Agnes thought she saw the shapes of Enid and Narek standing as if talking. She recounted her impressions to Rios aboard La Serina. The couple was getting ready for bed.
"I wouldn't tell this to Elnor or Soji," she told Cris pulling down the comforter, "but Narek is not a danger to Enid."
"All that power in the hands of the Tal Shiar?" Cris slipped into bed, "That could be very bad I think."
"You don't believe all that stuff she said about thrones of skulls?" Agnes asked.
"No," Cris smiled, "That was bluster." He couldn't blame the young woman. He knew what it felt like to want to scare people off. Despite the synthetic heads and blood stained hair she still reminded him of a pissed off duck in her too large sandals.
"Then?" Anges nestled in against his shoulder. Cris responded by placing his arm around her pulling her in close.
"She's a powder keg," he shifted so his face rested above her's, "But right now I want to talk about other things."
Ni'ael was also in the sick bay. He'd seen the same events that Agnes did. He concluded that Narek had bonded with Enid. Narek could be trusted. Ni'ael was going to bring his wife, her dear lost cousin. All was right in his world.
La Serina left the Enterprise which continued on to rendezvous with a warbird. Plutarch had been alarmed at the report of the EMH attack on his daughter. The Romulans accused Soji of hijacking the EMH but the investigation revealed it to have been A'den. He had done it even before Enid escaped from the sick bay. Before she went to Vashti. Plutarch insisted on using Romulan transporters to convey the party to the Warbird and Captain Worf agreed. Three cloaked ships accompanied the Warbird in case there were other unforeseen events. The Enterprise likewise had a compliment of secret escorts. Fortunately, the transport went smoothly and the Romulans left without firing a shot.