Month 6, Day 11
When the lift doors opened, Smitty checked his phazer, made sure it was set on the lowest setting. He hadn't wanted to come alone, but Ensign Jones wasn't his first-choice companion. There was only Jones and Adams to choose from. Better to leave Adams in charge and bring Jones, rather than the other.
"What makes you think she's in the auxiliary bridge?" Jones asked, startling him.
"Just a... hunch," Smitty muttered, then remembered she was apparently deaf. "We'll go in together. You step to the right, I'll go left. Don't know her location in there, or what she's doing, but don't let her get out this door."
"Computer, change the lighting in Deck 10 Transverse Hallway East to match the auxiliary bridge."
Jones gasped as the hallway went dark. "Mr Smythe, if the lights aren't on inside, she probably isn't in there."
By now, Smitty's eyes had begun to adjust to the ruddy glow that barely illuminated his underling's form. "She's using a different spectrum these days," he stated. "Have your eyes adjusted yet?"
"This is as dark as space," Jones complained.
"If it were any brighter, she'd know as soon as we opened the door. Are you ready?"
"I don't understand how anybody can see in this dimness, but yes, I'm ready."
"Computer, open the door to the auxiliary bridge."
"Access denied," said the neutral mechanical voice.
What the-? "For what reason?" he asked testily.
"I am to deny access to the auxiliary bridge until Lt MacDowell has completed her assignment."
"Still think she's not inside?" Smitty mumbled.
"Guess so," Jones stated. "What assignment?"
"Computer, Lt MacDowell doesn't have the authority to shut off the door to the auxiliary bridge."
"Her assignment came from a higher rank. She is not to be disturbed."
I really don't like the sounds of this. "Computer, who gave her this assignment?"
"Lt Cmdr Smythe," the voice stated.
"Computer, I am Lt Cmdr Smythe, serial number 10-31-20-15-92-5. I did not give Lt MacDowell any assignment, and I want this door opened now!"
The door slid open almost silently. Smitty and Jones walked inside, separated as they stepped to either side. Smitty saw her right away, despite the lack of lighting. She stood between the communications and engineering consoles, working on something. Her tool sparked, and he glimpsed a circuit board she was connecting in a web of wires strung between the consoles.
He didn't have time to wonder what she was doing, for Jones boldly walked halfway to her, his phazer steadily pointed. "Stop what you're doing, Mac!" he instructed loudly. "Get your hands up!"
She ignored him, of course. I told him she was deaf! I should have-
Jones' phazer emitted a hot pink line of power that was not lowest setting, and the circuit board shattered, making her jump back. Temporarily blinded, Smitty heard Jones moan, his body hit the floor, and something hard skittered for several feet.
What in space-? I can't see- "Computer, normal lighting."
Smitty blinked in the brightness. Colleen groaned and hid her eyes. After several steps, Smitty saw Jones sprawled on the floor, his forehead gashed, an electrical joining tool on the floor beside him. His phazer had skittered away, now rested against the bulkhead.
He turned to Colleen, his gaze flickered for half a second at the web of wiring - half of it broken and sagging, now. What was she doing? He studied her suspiciously, the oddly-colored hair and eyes, the face even whiter than normal. And somehow, he knew this was not - exactly - Colleen anymore.
"You've been studying. Human biochemistry, history, even transporter theory." But not communications. He pushed the stray thought aside. "You're not Colleen anymore. Someone, something has gotten hold of you." He pointed to the web of wiring. "Trying to take over the ship. I can't let that happen."
She cocked her head to one side, then inched forward. I can't let her shock me! Smitty raised his weapon a centimeter, and she stopped. Watching her, he moved toward an intercom.
She turned gray and leaned against the engineering console as a blue glow engulfed her. Eyes closed, her lips moved. At first, Smitty didn't hear anything, then he caught a whisper of... She opened her eyes. "S'thym."
She frowned as the glow faded and her dark eyes turned a more familiar shade of green. "Smythe!" she insisted, and staggered, apparently off balance.
She recognized me. "Maybe there is a piece of Colleen left inside. Maybe you don't have total control. Colleen, don't do this. Don't betray your own people!"
"I'm not!" she declared, but it was hardly more than a whisper. "Help call a-! She's only..." The voice faded into nothingness as the green faded from her eyes. Realizing she could no longer communicate, tears rolled from her eyes, and she lowered her head.
She answered me. She must have heard me. "You're not yourself, Colleen, I can see that. Just go to sickbay and let the medics take care of you!"
She didn't answer, but she did raise her head, wipe moisture from her cheeks and regard him thoughtfully. What's she up to now? After a nerve-racking moment, she gave a sad look at the destroyed web of wiring. He saw her sigh in frustration, then her gaze veered toward the door. When she stepped in that direction, Smitty hurriedly placed himself in front her, his phazer ready. "The only place you're going is sick bay."
She looked at him in confusion, gave her head a toss that made her pony tail sway. Relaxing her stance, she smiled, lowered her chin an inch and gave him an extremely enticing look. Didn't know real women ever gave that look. Thought it was only in the streams. And I'm not sure the actresses in the streams ever did it justice. I feel just as loopy as the actors pretend to be. The promises that look makes...
Smitty wiped sweat from his brow and realized Colleen was 2 feet closer. She's trying to shock me unconscious so she can get away. He quickly stepped back, trying to keep a safe distance between them, remembered he still had his phazer. He wriggled the weapon. "Don't make me do this, Colleen."
Her lips parted and the tip of her tongue peeked out, as erotic as any of the dreams he'd ever had about her. This is no dream. But it can't be real!
His back found a bulkhead. Smitty's mind frantically snatched at any thought that might break her hold on him, although his body was eagerly reacting to the promises her eyes made. Finally, his mind found the answer. She's Bugalu's girl, just waiting for him to wake up and realize it. She has no interest in me. She's only teasing, using my weakness to make a fool of me. If I let her.
"It won't work," he told her as firmly as he could. "I have my orders."
She suddenly lunged sideways and raced down the darkened corridor. His efforts to keep distance between them had him back out the door to the opposite side of the corridor! "Blast!" He raised the phazer, but she turned into the cross corridor before he could aim. He ran after her, but by the time he got around the corner, she was gone.
Well, she did it. Winthrop will definitely have something to say about my having let her escape again! And probably the captain, too.