Lisa didn’t know how long she sat in the Jeffries tube. The moment Commander Riker had reported that Data was gone, everything kind of went hazy for a while. She became aware of someone calling to her. No one was in the tube with her and it took her a moment to realize it was Jamie’s voice.
Lisa, are you all right?
Data’s gone… Her hearts twisted painfully and hot tears burned her eyes. I didn’t even get to tell him I –
Stop. Calm down. Come back.
She felt him tug at her mind, anchoring her. Shutting her eyes, she concentrated on her flit and she disappeared from the tube in a flash of light and crackle of energy…
…and appeared in a heap on the floor. Jamie immediately glided over to her and nuzzled her. Now, come on. His head was found in San Francisco, right? Five hundred years ago? That’s probably where he ended up.
That’s where he’ll die…
Stop it, he said again, more firmly this time. You know that the crew will do all they can to make this right. They’ll save him.
Lisa wiped her eyes. “I’m not so sure…they have a mission, after all…they won’t make him a priority…”
What’s more important than Data?
“To me, maybe…”
Annoyed, Jamie slashed at her with his claw. The scrape he left on her hand was small and healed within seconds but the shock that he would actually scratch her brought her back to reality.
Now. He fixed his green eyes on her. What are you going to do about it?
She was silent for a moment, then her eyes grew hard. “Lisa to Captain Picard.”
There was a very long pause, then, “Picard here.”
“I need to see you immediately.” Her tone of voice left no room for argument and the Captain knew it.
“Very well. Come to the Observation Lounge.”
“On my way.”
Jamie looked proud of her. You take care of what you have to take care of. I’ll stay here.
She kissed his head and walked determinately out of her quarters, spending the journey to the Bridge rehearsing what she was going to say to the Captain. She highly doubted “I love him, please let me find him” would suffice.
When she emerged on the Bridge, the supernumeraries glanced at her with curiosity followed by understanding. They knew Data was missing and they knew of her feelings for him so they rightly concluded that she’d want to do something about it.
She marched herself to the Observation Lounge where the senior staff were in the middle of a meeting. Part of her felt bad for interrupting it but the other part of her felt that it was necessary; she could sense that she wasn’t the only one in pain after the loss of Data. Geordi was talking.
“I should be able to create a subspace field large enough to encompass everyone. Adjusting the phase inside the field will be the hard part.”
“Let me come.”
The crew turned at the sound of her voice. Captain Picard straightened his uniform and looked at her. Clearing his throat, he started to speak but she cut him off quickly.
“Captain, please,” she implored. “I can’t sit idly by knowing he’s in the past and do nothing. I want to help.”
“Lisa, I’m not entirely sure what you could do.” Picard said honestly.
“The Captain is right,” said Deanna Troi gently. “You don’t have any technical knowledge that could be a help with the mission. You’d be a liability.”
Her eyes blazed, the tips of her wings turning red. “Are you going?” Before the Counselor could answer, Lisa continued, “There are two differences between you and me: you’re an officer and I’m not and you can be injured and I can’t. I think that balances things out.” Once it was out of her mouth she realized that that was only partially true; Lisa could be injured, but her healing rate was twice as fast as a human and so minor things – like Jamie’s scratch – would hurt but not be of any significance. Still, she remained firm.
The Captain looked at her with sympathy and put a gentle hand on her shoulder. “Lisa, we all know how you feel about him, but I can’t in good conscience let you join the away team. I’m sorry.”
She looked down at the floor, then back at the crew. When she spoke again, she chose her words very, very carefully. “If I just…happened to decide that I wanted to do a…little research about the time period those artifacts were left in the cave…that’s harmless, right?”
The look in his eyes told her clearly that he had an idea of what she was getting at. He, too, used very precise wording in his answer. “There’s no harm in an…archeological study of the nineteenth century, no…”
“And what I do with that information is kind of up to me, right?”
“What you do with your findings is your own business, yes,” he allowed.
Captain Picard knew very well that Lisa was free to leave the ship under her own power anytime she wanted. There was no way of keeping her on the Enterprise save for somehow dampening her powers and creating something like that would take time and resources that they just did not have at the moment. He also knew that she possessed the ability to time travel and he had to have guessed that she was going to use it to find Data in the past. However, as she didn’t state that that was her intention, he could feign ignorance to her real plan.
She nodded curtly, gave her thanks, turned on her heel and left the Observation Lounge. While the rest of the crew discussed that, wherever Data was, he was trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the connection between twenty-fourth century Devidia II and nineteenth century San Francisco, Lisa went to Ten-Forward. It was after hours, the lights were dim and there were only a few customers present. She found Guinan setting up some different sized and shaped glassware containing liquids and solid crystals of many hues. It kind of looked like a chemistry set blew up on the bar.
“What do you know?” Lisa demanded by way of greeting.
The woman looked up, undisturbed by the outburst. “Hello, Lisa.”
“Guinan, what do you know? You can’t hide everything from me…I know you know something.” She eyed the other woman. “Do you know when he is?”
Guinan smiled at her wording. “What if I do?”
Lisa’s wings, glowing slightly in the darkness, fluffed up. Normally she found Guinan’s nonchalance charming, but not this time. She spoke in a clipped tone. “I intend to go back in time and find him.” What she was going to say next caused her to look almost embarrassed; even her wings turned pink at the tips. “My time travel power is very touchy…the more information I have, the better chance I have of getting it right on the first try.”
She sighed. “Lisa, you know I can’t tell you.”
Like a snapped string the tears began to flow, her wings beginning to take on a blue hue. She was so desperate she resorted to begging. “Guinan, please. I have to find him. Even if it’s just to ensure he won’t die alone…”
Guinan regarded her for a long moment. “1893. I can’t tell you any more than that. You’ll have to find out exactly when on your own.”
It wasn’t a lot, but it was a start. Lisa wiped her eyes and hugged her. “Thank you.”
She rushed out of Ten-Forward so fast her wing banged the door. Barely registering that she’d passed Captain Picard on the way, she headed back to her quarters and sat down at her computer terminal.
“Computer…do you have any records of…” She thought hard of how to word her request. “News articles from San Francisco in 1893?”
“Accessing…records from the San Francisco Register are available.”
“Show me the headlines from the first six months.” She went to the replicator for a cup of tea for herself and a bowl of fruit for Jamie; when she returned to the terminal, the information she requested was on the screen. She scanned the headlines but didn’t notice anything that would help. Jamie sat behind her as an extra pair of eyes, chewing thoughtfully on a piece of banana.
“Computer, show me the headlines for the next six months.”
She took a sip of her tea and watched the information scroll onto the screen. She scanned the headlines again, again not finding anything even remotely helpful. She grunted in frustration.
Calm down, said Jamie. Maybe you’re looking for the wrong thing.
“What do you mean?”
Well, think of what was going on on Devidia II. These aliens are going to the nineteenth century for a reason.
Lisa thought a moment. “Data said that…the aliens were supplying the ones on Devidia II with…energy fragments for…he said ‘nourishment’…and Deanna and I both sensed humans on the planet, but that’s impossible…”
Maybe those energy fragments came from humans?
“Humans from the nineteenth century…?” Lisa rubbed her chin and looked at the headlines again. “Okay, so…I’m a time traveler…with a taste for human energy…where would I go to get it?” Her eyes scanned the words on the screen and one particular headline caught her eye.
CHOLERA OUTBREAK – HUNDREDS DIE
“Wait a second…cholera wasn’t that bad at that time, was it?” Her eyes grew wide. “They’ve gone to a time where there were plagues and epidemics so they can kill and blame the deaths on the diseases! What’s the date on this thing…?” She found it after a moment. “Sunday, August 13, 1893!” She slapped the desk triumphantly. “Bingo!”
San Francisco is a big place.
Lisa thought about that. “Well, I’ll start with the part of town this article mentions and go from there.”
Are you sure about this?
“Damn right I am.” She stood up, looking at the flit. “Jamie, if I can’t stop his death, I can at least ensure he won’t die alone. No one should have to go through that, not even an android.” She stroked his cheek. “I need you to stay here and be my anchor so I can get back.”
He didn’t like it, but he knew better than to argue with her. He nodded. How will I know when to pull?
Lisa pursed her lips. “Why don’t you try, say, every half hour? If I don’t come back within a minute, try again later.”
He nodded. All right.
She kissed his nose and went to the replicator. “Computer, create clothing appropriate for nineteenth century Earth in summer.” There was a beep and what appeared made her look at the garments in distain. There was an all-in-one (an undergarment that was a sort of combination chemise and drawers), silk stockings, thick-heeled ankle-high shoes, a corset (which elicited a groan), a corset cover, a petticoat, a long skirt (another groan), a type of blouse called a shirtwaist, and a belt. On top were a hat, parasol, handkerchief, purse and gloves.
“I hate dresses…” she muttered as she folded her wings and started to put the things on, pushing the appendages through slits the replicator had automatically worked into the clothes. Once she made her wings invisible, so would be the slits. She pinned her hair into a bun on the top of her head and, using her telekinesis, purposely tied the corset looser than what would be the norm for the time period; there was no need to make herself even more uncomfortable than she already would be in these ridiculous clothes.
Finally, she was ready. She turned to Jamie for his opinion. “How do I look?”
He looked her up and down. With humor in his eyes, he said, You should wear dresses more often.
“I should give you a smack…” She took a deep breath. “Okay. I’m ready. I can’t bring anything with me but what I’m wearing so hopefully I won’t have any trouble finding him once I get there.”
What about your glasses?
He was talking about the fact that her wire frames weren’t exactly indigenous to the nineteenth century. Glasses back then were slightly smaller than what she was wearing. Not worried, she tapped the frames with a far-off smile. “Perception filter. No one will notice.”
Accepting that, he nuzzled her again and said, Good luck.
Lisa nodded and put on a brave smile. Then she closed her eyes and concentrated all of her willpower on being not on the Enterprise but in San Francisco on Sunday, August 13, 1893 early in the morning. She tried to picture the dusty street, feel the heat from the sun. Letting out a breath, she disappeared in a flash of light and crackle of energy.
End chapter three.
Back *~*~* Chapter Two *~*~* Chapter Four