A/N: I have made very minor changes to chapters 1 – 5. I'm still not entirely pleased with chapters 1 – 3 as I feel I'm missing something but they'll work for now. Chapter 6 has some significant changes. Thank you for all the wonderful reviews and know that I'm going through several changes in my life, I am re-working some aspects of chapters 7 and 8 as well as working on chapter 9.
Chapter 1 – In Dreams
Sleep was elusive again tonight. The events of the past year and, more specifically, the last seven months seemed to invade every unoccupied moment she spent awake. It felt like she stared at the darkness in her mind for an eternity but in an instant she could smell hay and feel a light breeze. She opened her eyes to a large field. She was surrounded by knee-high grass that flowed with the light wind over rolling hills as if she moved the grass with her own hand. Tall, leafy trees surrounded the field and made the expansive piece of land seem secluded. As the wind blew past her nose she smiled. The alfalfa smelled so real and fresh. She turned around to survey the rest of her surroundings but stopped when she saw a tall, stocky horse. Beverly watched the animal for a moment; it paid her no attention. It lifted its head and seemed to check something by its front leg then went back to grazing. She saw something move but couldn't tell what it was. She slowly walked closer to the horse and saw the object of the animal's occasional attention: a little girl with dark blonde hair. The girl's eyes slowly drifted over the tall stalks that surrounded her and up to Beverly's face. The little girl looked to be about six years old with her legs drawn up under her chin. She was twisting stalks of grass in one hand and had her other arm wrapped around her legs. The girl continued to look at Beverly but she didn't seem alarmed.
"Hello." Beverly said to the little girl with a small smile.
The girl's gaze felt penetrating as she considered Beverly. She braced herself against the horse's leg as she stood up and ducked under the horse's neck as it continued to graze to stand on the other side of the horse to face Beverly. The girl leaned against the horse as she continued her study of Beverly, her eyes never left the woman's face. After a moment, her blue-gray eyes stopped scanning and seemed to come to a decision.
"I think you can help me." The child said.
Beverly stared at the girl. "How?" Beverly asked tentatively.
"I feel like I don't belong here. I want to go where I fit in." She pushed away from the horse and took a step forward.
"You feel like you don't belong where?" Beverly asked.
"In my time." The girl responded.
"In your time?"
The girl took another step forward and pointed to Beverly. Beverly looked down and saw she was in her uniform. "That looks like some kind of uniform but I don't recognize it." The girl paused. "It feels like you're very far away."
"What is your time?"
Beverly furrowed her brow. "The year 2012?" She said, rhetorically, as she looked at the ground before the girl. When she looked at the girl again, the girl smiled in affirmation.
'This dream is off to an interesting start…' Beverly thought. 'Just play along, it'll be morning before I know it!' The girl smiled.
"What is your name?" Beverly asked.
"Virginia." Beverly repeated. "Are you telepathic?"
"Among other things, yes. Beverly, do you know what an anachronism is?"
Beverly opened her mouth to ask how the girl knew her name but quickly reminded herself why: she was dreaming about a telepathic child. "No."
"An anachronism is something that is out of place historically. I think that's what I am."
"What makes you think that?"
"I have unique abilities that many claim to have but none are like me – at least, not any more."
"What kind of abilities?" Beverly asked.
"I'm telepathic and empathic. That's how I contacted you. I felt a connection but I didn't know to whom so I reached out." As Beverly continued to look at her, the girl's face seemed to age, almost imperceptibly at first. "There are many humans who claim to be one or both and a few have some abilities but none are at my level."
"Not any more?" Beverly echoed the girl's words.
Virginia's expression fell as her eyes fell to the tall grass in front of her. "My mother passed away a few months ago." She swallowed and looked to the sky over Beverly's left shoulder. "We were the same." She added quietly. As the girl's face continued to age, her body followed. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath then exhaled slowly and opened her eyes. "What year is it where you are?"
"2370." Beverly responded.
The little girl was gone and a woman stood in her place with an expression that was one of surprise but quickly turned pensive. She now looked to be in her late-twenties. Her long, dark-blonde hair and steel-blue eyes remained vivid but her childish facial features were replaced with experience and wisdom. "That's 358 years." Virginia's response was calm. A calm smile spread across her face and she exhaled aloud. "This really is incredible."
Something in her smile caught Beverly's attention. Virginia's canine teeth elongated. She was sure of it. She watched Virginia critically throughout their conversation and until now, her teeth looked perfectly normal. Virginia's eyes seemed to brighten unnaturally as Beverly came to this realization.
Virginia interrupted Beverly's scrutiny. "My teeth, as you've noticed, lengthen and my eyes change color. Two more reasons that make me think – believe I don't belong here." Virginia hesitated for a split-second and took a deep breath before she continued. "I never knew my father but my mother said he had the same abilities she and I do." She inhaled deeply and looked up at the sky with only her eyes. She took one more deep breath then looked at Beverly again. "I have no family left here. I love my friends but I can't tell them about me and without my mother I feel completely alone."
Beverly knew how she felt all too well. The sky darkened quickly and in the split second Beverly blinked then opened her eyes, Virginia, the horse, and the field was gone. She opened her eyes to her bedroom and stared at the ceiling as she ran the events of her dream repeatedly through her mind. Without fail, without mercy, her mind drifted toward the inevitable. Frustrated, she rose quickly from her bed and went her computer console. With nothing to lose, she searched for Virginia. In short order, Beverly found her.
At breakfast, Beverly mulled over how to approach the subject of Virginia to Jean-Luc. Her preoccupation didn't go unnoticed by her breakfast partner. He was about to say something when she beat him to it.
"Jean-Luc," He looked at her as if to say 'go on.' "Do you know what an anachronism is?"
He finished his bite and looked at her, "No. Why do you ask?"
"I believe I had an encounter with one this morning." He looked at her over his cup of tea and waited for her to continue. "An anachronism is something that doesn't belong where it is, usually historically or chronologically. In this case, it was a young woman. I was lying awake in bed and the next thing I knew I was in a field. It was so real. I could smell the alfalfa and feel the breeze blowing through my hair and across my face. It was incredible!" He could feel her excitement as she described her encounter. "She appeared to me as a little girl with a large reddish-brown horse…"
"Sorrel." He interrupted her as he placed his cup on the table in front of him.
"The reddish-brown color of the horse. The name of the color is sorrel." He said then ate the last bite of his croissant.
"Oh. Thank you." She said as she thought of the vivid color of the horse, now with a name. She paused a moment then remembered where she left off. "I just can't believe how real it felt." She stood up and put her dishes in the replicator then turned around, walked casually to her chair and rested against it. She looked at nothing in particular then said, "At moments I still think it was a dream but I researched the girl and she existed. Virginia Marie Smith was born in Flint, Michigan, on June 12th, 1979." She pulled out her chair and sat down again. "Her mother's name was Sue Marie Smith. There was no information on her father." He focused on a point on the wall behind her as he digested the information. "She's telepathic and empathic. She also possesses traits unique to a little-known species called the Myslians."
"Yes. I do recall reading about the Myslians some time ago. They resemble humans in nearly every way physically." He paused while searching his memory then continued. "Nothing is known about their origin or home world. They seem to be quite adept at blending in with other humanoid species because the handful of times they had been encountered was on various planets. From what you've said, it sounds like they could possibly be the most powerful telepathic species known to the Federation with the apparent ability to project through time." He sat for a few seconds longer then looked at her. "Was she the only one?"
"No, her father died before she was born and her mother passed away recently. She has no other family." He pursed his lips then stood up and took his dishes to the replicator for disposal. As he turned around to face her, he tugged on his tunic and rested his hands on the back of his chair.
"Is she in any danger?" It was his way of asking if time was of the essence.
"No." Beverly looked at her hands where they rested on the table, her mood became grim. He didn't need to look at her face to see it, he could feel the change in the air. "But she feels very alone and out of place. I can feel that from her." Jean-Luc contemplated the situation then spoke.
"I will bring the situation to Starfleet's attention. So little is known about the Myslians. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that they have had time travel capabilities for some time." She smiled at him. "But first, we will both see Counselor Troi." The more proof they had that Beverly was being contacted by someone who existed more than three-hundred years ago, the better chance they had convincing Starfleet. "Picard to Counselor Troi."
"Troi here, Captain." Deanna responded.
"Counselor, do you have some time free this morning?"
"Yes, Sir. Now, as a matter of fact. I'm in my office."
"We'll be there shortly." He tapped his communications badge. "Shall we?" He gestured toward the door. They walked to Deanna's office in silence and were granted entrance immediately.
"Good morning, Captain. Doctor." She said as she stood up and gestured for them to enter and sit. 'It's a shame you're not here for personal reasons.' She thought.
"Good morning." Each of her guests responded as they sat on the sofa.
"What can I do for you?" Deanna said.
"I would like to get your opinion on something odd that happened to me this morning." Beverly said to Deanna.
"I was contacted this morning by a young woman from the past. She came to me in what seemed to be a dream and claimed to be from the year 2012." She almost expected to see a look of surprise or shock from Deanna but received neither, so she continued. "Based on the information from the dream and my research, she did exist in 2012 and I believe she's a Myslian."
Deanna considered the information. "It is known that Myslians are a telepathic race but, so little is known about them to include the depth of their abilities. Did she say how she was able to contact you?"
"She said she felt a connection and reached out." Beverly said.
"That's incredible. There are no known species with telepathic abilities strong enough to reach through time. How do you know how to contact her?" Deanna asked.
"I haven't tried yet..." Beverly responded.
'I'm here.' Virginia said. Beverly jumped and clapped a hand over her rapidly beating heart. 'Sorry…' Virginia whispered.
"Beverly?" Deanna said as she reached over and put her hand on Beverly's hand resting on her leg.
Beverly took a deep breath. "She's here."
Deanna smiled and contained her giggle then squeezed Beverly's hand before she let go. "I would like her to try to contact me."
"I'll relay that." Beverly responded, clearly annoyed.
"Deanna, I would like you to prepare a report for me, which I will include with my final report for Starfleet." Picard said. "I plan to propose an extraction mission."
"Of course, Captain." Deanna said. "Beverly, will you send me the information you have on Virginia and ask her to attempt to contact me?"
"Yes and thank you, Deanna." Beverly said then smiled and looked at Jean-Luc.
He smiled, "Thank you, Counselor."
"Of course." With that, all three stood and both visitors left for their offices.
After the meeting with Deanna, Beverly immediately went to Sickbay. Nothing needed her immediate attention except some reports so she retired to her office for the remainder of the morning. She transferred her research on Virginia to Deanna and Jean-Luc then began working on her stack of medical reports.
'Beverly.' The feminine voice came from nowhere and again startled her enough to make her drop the padd she was reading. She sat back in her chair, both hands gripped their respective arm rest. She took some deep breaths. 'Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you again.'
'This is going to take some getting used to.' Beverly rolled her eyes and sat forward in her chair again. Virginia easily picked out something residual in Beverly's mind that told her this wasn't the first time Beverly had someone else in her head.
'Are you busy?'
'I'm going to take a wild guess you already know the answer.'
'True. I do but I was trying to be courteous.'
'Well, I appreciate that. It that something that takes work for you?' Beverly responded with a touch of sarcasm.
Virginia laughed. 'You are spicy!' She said fervently then paused. 'Sometimes it does.' She said calmly. 'I've been called insensitive, among other things.' Virginia smiled to herself. She heard 'ice queen' somewhere within Beverly and smiled.
'That doesn't bother you?'
'Does 'ice queen' bother you?' She instantly felt an acrimonious surge from Beverly, then continued. 'No. It doesn't bother me. It isn't always meant to be an insult. Sometimes, I become oblivious when I try to block everyone else out. Other times, I appear to be insensitive compared to most women. I tend to be literal and logical versus…' She searched for the right word. 'Emotional. I believe there is very little need for emotions in my line of work. Emotions tend to complicate situations and being a woman, I don't particularly care to be stereotyped.' Virginia paused again. 'So, when was your first time?'
'What?' Beverly exclaimed, her jaw dropped and her eyes wide.
Virginia smiled to herself. 'Shock value is priceless! Your first telepathic experience, Beverly. This isn't your first time.'
Beverly swallowed as she closed her mouth, thankful no one walked by her office at that moment. She thought about her most recent encounter and her anxiety level began to rise. 'It was some time ago.'
Virginia felt hesitation, excitement, curiosity, pleasure, shock, sadness, fear, and regret from Beverly all at once. The rush of so many emotions would take some time to sort through but one thing stood out whether Beverly wanted it to or not: Jean-Luc. She didn't even consciously think of his name but it was still there. 'Jean-Luc. Is that who was with you and Deanna this morning?' Virginia asked.
The breath left Beverly's body as she felt panicked then angry. 'How?!' She began then paused. Virginia was a telepath. 'Never mind. Yes, he is the captain of the ship.' She answered simply.
Virginia understood the curt answer and moved on. 'Ship? Like a space ship? After all the speculation, movies, TV shows and a failed space program, humans finally acquired space travel. So, you are the doctor of the ship?'
'Yes, I'm the chief medical officer.'
'How long have you been in?' Virginia asked.
'It's not a military. It's called Starfleet. It's an organization dedicated to the exploration of space. Earth no longer has a military but part of Starfleet's duties is to defend Earth.'
'So, I take it war still exists?'
'Unfortunately, yes. With space travel came encounters with some abominable races and species.' Beverly said with a touch of sadness.
'Is it all worth it?'
Beverly paused only a second before she responded. 'Yes.' Virginia could hear the normalcy return in Beverly's voice.
'Do you think you'll be able to help me?'
'I don't know. We're going to try but we'll need your help. Can you try to contact Deanna? She is the ship's counselor.'
'Yes but what for?'
'The more information we have about you and your situation, the better prepared the Captain will be to take your case to Starfleet.' Beverly paused a moment then continued, 'Based on my research this morning, your abilities resemble those of a species called the Myslians. We don't know much about them. We don't know where they come from and there are very few documented interactions with them. The fact that you'll be able to help us learn more about the Myslians will aid him in pleading your case, so to speak.'
'You want to turn me into a guinea pig in exchange for rescuing me?' Virginia asked knowing Beverly couldn't tell she was half joking.
'Yes but, our level of technology would not involve any invasive procedures. Physiological and neurological studies would be completely harmless to you.' Beverly's professional and frank answer put Virginia at ease. 'Now, I have some reports to finish and you need to contact Deanna.'
'Yes, Ma'am!' Virginia replied jokingly.