DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cindy DeVoe and is copyright (c) 2004 by Cindy DeVoe. Rated G.

Searching for Camelot

(Where No Man Has Gone Before)

Cindy DeVoe

First in the

"Letters from Avalon" Series

My Dearest Roger,

There are things about space they don't teach you in Star Fleet Academy and things about death you never learn in Medical school. Space kills in ways no sentient being can ever imagine, indiscriminately and mercilessly. In an instant lives are lost and those that are left behind are forced to ask: why? Kathleen Durant, Manulett Koniteg, Andrew Delong, Martian Shulock, Patrick McConnor, Margaret Andrews, Linda Keller, Joseph Thompson, Annabella Andowi, Lee Kelso, Gary Mitchell, and Elizabeth Dehner, twelve people who will be missed and mourned.

None of them did anything to precipitate the disaster that took their lives, nor could they have done anything to prevent it. They each did their duty, nothing more and certainly never anything less.

We encountered a probe; it was badly damaged but we were able to retrieve enough information to send us to the Galactic Barrier at the edge of the Milky Way. Did you know that this demonic phenomenon existed? I wish I could explain to you exactly what happened next but information is scarce and classified. All I can say is that in an instant nine of my shipmates were dead and the other three lost soon after in an equally senseless manner. As a scientist I can study the anomalies that caused their deaths; research and record my findings. As a nurse I assisted Mark (Doctor Piper) in most of the autopsies and can resign myself to a small amount of closure. Yet, as a person, I am left with an emptiness and doubts about what we do. Is our desire to understand and explore truly worth the sacrifices?

Then, I think of you, my darling, your insatiable hunger for understanding and knowledge -- the lives you have saved through your exploration and research. In these recollections I find my answers and know that we must continue to reach out into this vast unknown. Some of those we lost were friends and perhaps it is to honor their memory that I must find the courage to continue to pursue my own dreams.

When I first came aboard the Enterprise my only goal was to find you, Roger. I know you will understand, knowing me as you do, that this alone could not remain my soul motivation. The awe, as I gazed out into the stars, the longing to understand and learn rang true in my spirit just as it does yours I found myself striving for answers to the mysteries that unfold before me each day I remain onboard this amazing ship and work with the incredibly talented people aboard.

Annabella Andowi was one of those people. God, how I will miss her. She was our head nurse and my friend. When I came aboard with Captain Kirk and Company, it was Bella who took me under her wing. She was part of the "Old Guard" that would remain aboard during the transition of commanders. It was she who made sure I was settled into my quarters and my duties in Sick Bay. When she learned about my degrees she was the first to suggest to Mark that I would be equally adept in the labs as in medical. I never had the heart to tell her that Mark was my sponsor to the academy and an old friend of yours. When I was holed up in my quarters on a night off, it was Bella who would Drag my skinny butt" down to the rec room to "hang with the girls". She was part mother, part camp counselor to not just me but everyone on board. I'll never understand how she managed to keep up with all of us but she did. I couldn't begin to count the times one of us had pulled a double shifts to meet a project deadline and were comforted with a heaping portion of some of her Home Cookin when we returned, exhausted beyond reason to our quarters. That was Bella's way, she knew what we needed and reasoned that since she knew, she should take care of it.

Now I sit and wonder how I will ever fill her shoes. Yes, fill her shoes. Mark has offered me the position of Head Nurse and the rank promotion that goes with it. I would be promoted to Full Lieutenant, if the Captain approves of course. My duties would be more involved but the challenge would be a welcome distraction, I think. How I wish you were here to talk this out with. Then again, if you were here I wouldn't be, now would I. I know I'm capable of the duty part but I feel equally insecure about that part that regulations don't cover. The human factor, you might say. I know I'll never be Bella but to not try to continue in her honor seems wrong to me. I've told Mark my concerns and he continues to assure me that he knows full well I'm up to the challenge on all counts. He smiles that knowing smile of his and tells me that I will make the job my own in no time. I suppose that should be enough for me but...

If you were here I'm sure you would have me weighing the pros and cons logically. "Write them down, Christine and measure the totals." I can hear your voice as clearly as I heard Mister Spock's yesterday telling me almost the same thing. Yes. I sought the advice of our Exec. Officer, he is also the Science Officer and a Vulcan, well half Vulcan. The promotion would effect the amount of time I would be able to devote to lab work and I thought it only reasonable to consult him since it would effect his departments. He is an amazing man, Roger, I think you would like him. Anyway he assured me that he would be willing to adjust the lab rotation to accommodate my new duties and that if I had any real trepidation concerning the responsibilities that I should consider the positives and negatives of the given situation and weigh the factors in a logical manner just as I would any other equation. Leave it to Spock to break down everything I'm feeling into a math problem analogy. I suppose, in a way, that's what I've been doing, as I write these words to you. I only wish that the resonance of your voice was more substantial within my mind's ear. Would you also encourage me? I have to believe that you would.

Rest assured, my love, no matter what I decide I will remain aboard the Enterprise and continue to search for you. That I promise with all of my heart, without reservation.

Until we are together once again,