"Sisters And Friends"

Author: Lieutenant JG Tricia McMillan
Date: April 16, 2384
Location: Starfleet Medical, Earth

Ryan sat in one of the room of the medical centre as he had done for the past week. This room was much larger than most he'd seen over the past week and was equipped with various pieces of exercise equipment.

During his time as a 'guest' there (as the doctor who had greeted him when he'd first arrived put it.) he'd been prodded, poked and analysed more times than he cared to remember. He'd spent endless hours being psycho-analysed by various counsellors until his voice and ears became sore.

Today was going to be easier than most, all that was planned was a physical examination and fitness test. Ryan knew that normally he would pass this day with flying colours, he'd always been one to keep healthy, eating right and taking regular exercise.

Unfortunately, this regime was sometime hard to follow when you were in the 'heat of battle' and given the fact that the Ronin had done virtually nothing but fight since she was launched four months ago, he'd let things slip.

The door opened and a young female Trill doctor walked in, data padd in hand. There was something odd about this girl Ryan couldn't quite his finger on it, but it was like he'd seen her somewhere before or someone very similar. Maybe it was the unusual redness of her 'spots' that had caught his eye, most Trill having dark brown spots. Or it could have been the fact that her eyes were as black as the night.

"Mister Evans ?" The young doctor enquired.

"Yes Ensign, but please call me Ryan, we're all 'friends' here." He replied, still finding it hard not to be addressed by his former rank of Captain.

"OK. I'm Samiz by the way, Samiz Barker." The Ensign said.

It was then everything fitted into place. Samiz had been checking over the running machine, but she suddenly turned around to look directly at Ryan as if she knew what he was thinking.

"Are you related to Lieutenant Commander Chu Barker of the Leviathan ?" Ryan enquired.

"Actually Yes, I'm his sister." Samiz replied. "So my big brother's a Lieutenant Commander now, last I heard he was only a Lieutenant. How do you know my brother ?" Samiz asked. "Do you know where he is ?. I've tried numerous times to get any information about his whereabouts, but Starfleet just keep saying that he's uncontactable."

"I am or rather was Captain of the USS Ronin. After the Barien war, the Leviathan and the Ronin were transported by the Q-continuum to the Andromeda Cirrus galaxy. As far as I'm aware they are still there, obviously Starfleet don't want the information made public. From what I can gather we were there by accident, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Leviathan and more precisely Captain Devore had been the target of the Q who transported us. Eventually, the Ronin was transported back to our galaxy, but not before we got ourselves caught up in the middle of a war. Both ships lost a great many of their crew, infact apart from myself there's only one member of the originally assigned crew left, our helm officer Lieutenant McMillan. Even then she was temporarily assigned to the Leviathan for a while." Ryan explained. "She could possibly tell you more than I can about your brother, having been aboard the Leviathan far longer. I only met him a couple of times in person. All I can tell you is that when we left, your brother was safe and well."

"Thank you, it's been hard not being in contact with each other for so long. After our mother died, we grew very close." Samiz thanked Ryan.

"That's OK, he's a fine officer and a credit to his captain." Ryan remarked.

Just then Samiz asked a question.

"Escuse me Ryan but Lieutenant McMillan, would that be Lieutenant Tricia McMillan ?" She asked.

"Yes." Ryan said cautiously.

"Would you like to know how she's doing ?" Samiz asked.

"What do you mean how she's doing ? Are you saying that she's here ?" Ryan exclaimed.

"Yes, in isolation ward three I think. She was sent back to Earth from Deep Space 11, after suffering a severe head injury during combat. From what I can gather, she arrived back at DS 11 in an escape pod and after initial treatment, she was transported back here. She arrived here in stasis around the same time as you did, on the USS Kohlinar I think." Samiz explained.

"That's the same ship I came back on, all that time and no-one even had the courtesy to inform me that she was aboard or even injured." Ryan replied in a frustrated voice. "What is her condition ?"

"No-one can explain what's happening to her, all the medical staff can do is keep her sedated." Samiz remarked, "Let me see if I can access her medical files."

Samiz walked across to the main computer console and started hitting keys.

"Let's see." Samiz said quickly scanning all the information passing before her eyes. "Yes, they're keeping her sedated using high doses of nytoline. That's a pretty powerful neural suppressant, it appears that she has abnormal brain activity. The doctor's think that the head injury damaged part of her central brain stem and she's just receiving random nerve signals, that's what's causing all the brain activity. That's odd, there are several mentions of Tricia waking from her sedation and repeatedly saying the same name over and over again."

"What name ?" Ryan asked.

"Klara." Samiz replied.

"Klara, are you sure ?" Ryan asked.

"Yes, do you know who she is ?" Samiz asked.

"We rescued three people during our visit to the Andromeda Cirrus Galaxy, two Vulcans and a human female. She was called Klara." Ryan said. "Yes, it could be that."

"Could be what ?" Samiz replied, nervous about the change in Ryan's mood.

"Tell me, are there any indications of telepathic abilities in Tricia's medical records." Ryan enquired.

"Not whilst she's been here. There is a mention of it from the Doctor that treated her on DS 11. She said that the area of the brain where the activity was concentrated almost matched the area of the Vulcan brain which controlled their telepathic abilities." Samiz replied.

"Whilst we were lost, Klara and Tricia mind-melded. It was the only way to escape to Proletarian ship." Ryan explained.

"A mind-meld, I thought you said this Klara was human." Samiz remarked.

"She is, but she was also a genetic experiment by the Proletarians one of the races we encountered. At first we thought they would become our allies, but they were only interested in the crews of the Ronin and Leviathan and turning us into slaves. They were a highly advanced telepathic race, but like the Son'a incapable of reproducing naturally. If I had to give a comparison, I'd say they were as bad as the Borg, possible worse. From what I can gather, they 'created' Klara to enable them to read the minds of the two Vulcans we rescued." Ryan explained his face turning white and his breathing becoming erratic.

"Are you OK ?" Samiz asked.

Ryan took a deep breath and calmed himself back down. As his breathing came back to normal, he continued his conversation.

"Yes, I'm fine. It's just talking about Klara and the Proletarians again. I had to watch them torture and murder one of my finest officers. They wanted me to surrender the Ronin and her crew. I refused of course, but that refusal cost Lieutenant Benosk his life. I'll never forgive myself for that." Ryan said with a sigh.

"Have you spoken to a councillor about all this." Samiz asked, "Even I can see that this incident has an emotional effect on you."

"No. Up until now the memory's been too painful to drag up. It's only because Tricia is now in danger that I've been able to speak about it. She is a good officer and a friend, without her and the crew of the Ronin, I wouldn't be here now." Ryan replied.

"Maybe now you can. You've done it once that's the hardest part. Next time it should be easier." Samiz remarked.

"Maybe. I need to see the senior doctor in charge of Tricia." Ryan stated.

"I'll see what I can do." Samiz replied.

"I need to see them NOW." Ryan said sternly.

Samiz stepped back frightened by Ryan's sudden outburst.

"I'm sorry Samiz." Ryan apologised. "Can I at least see Tricia ?"

Samiz thought for a moment.

"OK, Let's go." Samiz said with a smile and heading for the door.

Ryan rose from his seat and headed after her. For the first time in weeks, he felt that he had a purpose. One of his crew was in trouble and he maybe the only person with the knowledge to help her. He may have been 'stripped' of his rank, but Trica was still one of his officers and he was going to make sure he didn't lose her.