We’re coming to the end of what Story Grid‘s Shawn Coyne calls the Middle Build. After this point, there’s no turning back until we get to the Ending Payoff.
You’ve got to give Jane credit: many who’ve gone before her (e.g., Joe) have not been so willing to go on.
“Ghosts?” Jane says.
“Remember, Jane,” Sergeant First Class (SFC) Chekhov Sr. says, stepping forward, “in a freeze, I don’t pick up my camera, so the events are not recorded as having been completed, as having, in a deeply-felt sense, happened. Plus while the Emotions experience those events, they cannot grab them, mold them into more coherent experiences that can then be moved, as young officers, up into the remainder of the Cortical Ship.”
“Consequently,” says Major (MAJ) Chekhov, approaching her on the Mezzanine, “these experiences fly past me as fragments, invading the cortex and flying through the memory system as haunting, intense emotional responses, not remembered, but rather relived, over and over.”
“Only by their being returned to the Transporter Room,” says Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Spock, “can SFC Chekhov Sr. and his crew of Emotions complete what they were never before able to start.”
“Their being returned?” Jane says. “How? By whom?”
The crews of both Transporter Room and the Mezzanine stand silently, looking directly at her.
“Me?” Jane asks. “Fine, then, tell me how! I don’t want to keep living like this!”
At that, MAJ Uhura appears on the Mezzanine, stepping toward her.
“I’m receiving a communication from the outside,” she says. “It’s the Doc. He sees how distressed you are. He says that even though you can’t do therapy on a plane, he’s more than glad try to help you begin to understand better what you might eventually be able to do to make a difference.”
LTC Troi then steps next to MAJ Uhura.
“Plus, Jane,” she says, “look to your right.”
When Jane does, she sees MAJ Chekhov standing again at the head of the escalator from the subcortex/Transporter Room. Standing next to him is the smiling form of her grandmother.
“Memories are always available to help us, Jane,” Chekhov says. “This wouldn’t be the first time that the memory of your Grandmama will have given you the strength you need to face what you need to face.”
“They are the ones I can use to help you,” says the General, from below. “Through Doc, I can connect you to a present that wants to support you. Through your Grandmama, I can connect you to a past that can still comfort you. When I’m able to do my job, both Kirk, as the conscious “Decider”, and McCoy, as “Survival,” will step back just enough to allow the Transporter Room crew to do theirs. If you let me bring all of them together, we can begin to show you what it takes to get better.” The General then assumes a parade rest. “It’s up to you.”
Kirk moves toward her. “So, Jane, the question is the same: are we done?”
Jane paused only a moment. “I have to know what I need to do. No, we’re not done.”
“All right, then,” Kirk says. “The ghosts are still here in the ship. All you have to do is call them together.”
Jane closes her eyes, breathes in, slowly breathes out, and then looks back at Kirk.
“OK,” she says. “Let’s go.”
“Take a few more deep breaths, Jane, in through your nose, out through your mouth.”
It is Doc’s voice. But as Jane looks down into the subcortex/Transporter Room, she sees that it is coming out of the mouth of the General.
“Focus on my voice,” the General says, “your breathing, your grandmama, on what you know about yourself.”
As Jane does so, the crews of both Transporter Room and Mezzanine step back to create a open area on both levels.
“When you’re ready,” Kirk says, “snap your fingers.”
With a final deep breath, Jane does so.
In an instant, both areas fill with smoke, frantically swirling into a vortex that descends into the Transporter Room and then bursts open.
To reveal the triage area of a Combat Support Hospital.