Chapter 13

Melanie and I walked down the corridor towards the lift. For someone who traveled 352 years into the future she was really calm.

"How old are you?"

"I don't think that you would believe me if I told you."

"Try me."

I sighed. "You have to promise me not to freak out."

"I won't."

"Are you sure?"

She grabbed my shoulders. It was nice to see that I was taller than someone for once.

"Just tell me!"

"I am… 370 years old, Melli." She looked me up and down.

"You are not human, are you?"

"Not really. And I don't believe you want to know what I am."

"You're wrong. I want to know."

Another sigh. "I just don't want to frighten you."

"That scary?"

I grinned, my fangs flashing in the light. "Isn't it obvious? What do you think I am?"

She looked at me again, this time paying more attention to my almost white skin and pointed teeth.

"You look like a vampire, but they aren't real, are they?"

I laughed. Most people asked that question, when I told them my species.

We went into the lift. Melanie looked around. I knew she was looking for buttons.

"Deck eight." The cabin went upwards.

"They have to be real, or I wouldn't be here."

We reached my doors and stepped in. "The Counselor is on her way and after the talk you have to rest. I have a senior staff meeting. We will see what we do with you. For now you can use my bed. Counselor Troi will explain the rest. I will see you in the morning, because I have bridge duty."

Deanna arrived, I said goodnight and left to the lounge with a large bag draped over my shoulder.

"The girl could be dangerous." I heard Lt. Yar say when I entered.

I shook my head. "I don't think so. Melanie Kampen is just an ordinary human 16-year-old teenage girl. What could she possibly do to be a danger for the ship?"

"Besides she's pretty exhausted and needs to sleep. She is completely sleep deprived." said Beverly. I grinned. "I guess none of the students could sleep that night. We were all pretty nervous and exited."

"Why? What was so special about it?" Tasha sometimes really had more problems to understand certain things than Data.

"The next day was July 31st 2012. It was the last day of school before six weeks of summer vacation, the day we got our report cards of the 11th grade. We were supposed to do our Abitur the next year and graduate, go to university, well, you get the point."

Deanna entered the room. "How's our guest, Counselor?" Picard asked.

"Tired, confused but really calm. She is sleeping now."

"Can we find a way to get her back to her own time?"

"That is not possible, sir." Data had understood a while ago that humans didn't always want a complete analyzes of a situation.

"She doesn't even want to. She told me that she would rather stay over 300 years away from home with 'Kathi' than to go home to her father."

All gave me puzzled looks. "Do you know what that meant, Cmdr.?"

"Well, let's just say their relationship isn't that great. I know her father. He was a successful public prosecutor. I had to deal with him in a couple of trials. He was not the nicest person and a really uncaring father. Melanie told me that he considered her mother just a cheap

one-night stand. After her death he was nearly forced to raise a daughter he had no knowledge of. He wasn't really concerned when he was told that she was missing."

"How did she disappear in the first place?" asked Riker.

"We went down into the basement after school to catch our suitcases. I suppose there was some kind of time-space anomaly enhanced by the veil, the barrier between the magical and not-magical world. The soul of Puvlagon prevented me to go after her. I had a feeling that she was alright so I concentrated on an explanation without revealing myself. I told everyone I wouldn't know what happened, that she just disappeared when my back was turned. They assumed she ran away from her father. That's all I know."

"How well do you know her?"

"We were classmates and good friends. We spent a lot of time together although she didn't know what I was."

Beverly glanced at me. "Somehow I can't imagine you in that uniform."

I smirked and opened my bag. I pulled out the dark blue skirt and blazer, the white blouse and knee-length socks, the dark blue-red striped tie and the black shoes. I found an old photo album and showed them a picture of Melli, Caro, Verena, Sorena, Lola and me, standing in the day room still all dressed in uniform. It had been taken after we had gotten our reports.

I could see them comparing the girl on the photo with me.

"You didn't change much. Only your height and the length of your hair are different. And you have colored strands sometimes."

I rolled my eyes. "I was 18 at the time and I was 20 when I became a vampire. I don't age anymore. Of course I don't look that different."

"I'm glad about that. I don't want to know what someone looks like at your age." I tried to shot Will an angry glare, which isn't easy when you are suppressing a grin. The officers chuckled except for Data.

"Alright. I think it's the best to leave Ms. Kampen in your care, Cmdr.. Dismissed."

The staff left the room. I packed my stuff back into the bag. Only Data remained. He was running the tie through his fingers. "I cannot understand how you tied it around your neck."

I came closer and took the tie. After a short time it was bound in a neat knot around my neck.

I pulled it over my head and then over his. I tugged at the end and pulled him close for a kiss.

"Do you still want me to visit you after my checkup with Geordi?"

"Of course. If Melli wants to stay with me she has to deal with me having a boyfriend. And if you are referring to you being an android, well she has to get over it. Caro thought I lost my mind at first, too, but she learned to accept you. And so will Melanie." I gave him an encouraging smile. "And even if she can't deal with it, I love you too much to let it interfere with our relationship."

He smiled slightly. *Oh, I love that smile!* "Thank you."

I smiled back and we left the lounge. Before we separated I turned and said: You're more than welcome, hon."

I went into my quarters. Melanie was asleep and I had a couple of hours left 'till I had to go on duty. I wrote a note, to tell Melli that she could watch some movies when she woke up and thought of the best way to tell her about Data in the morning.