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Dopa System: Republic of Cardassia

Stardate: 53382.5

"We'll be headed back to Earth soon," Tigranian said to Kirby as they walked into the transporter room. Annabeth and Yuvich followed a few steps behind. "Are you sure you don't want to hitch a ride with us?"

"Why, Captain Tigranian," Kirby said with a grin as she adjusted the bag hanging from her shoulder. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say that you were trying to keep on board longer."

"Merely trying to extend a little hospitality, Doctor," he replied with a grin. She smiled and shook his hand before leaning forward and whispering in his ear.

"You've made a tremendous amount of progress. You are so much stronger than you think you are. Remember that."

She leaned back. Tigranian only responded with a grateful nod.

"Unfortunately, Captain," Kirby said hopping up onto the transporter pad, "I've got a few more stops before I head home. The Tenjitsen will be taking me Deep Space Nine, and then onto Starbase 375."

"We wish you only the best of the luck, Commander," Annabeth said with a slight bow of her head. "I just hope that our stories can help you with your research."

"Thank you, Captain Geist," Kirby said returning her bow. "They certainly will, but more importantly, I hope I helped you all."

"Goodbye, Ma'am," Yuvich said. "It was wonderful to see you work again, even if my office smells like an ashtray now."

"Don't be a stranger now, Olga," Kirby said with a smirk. "And if you need any dry cleaning, don't hesitate to send me the bill."

"Believe me, I won't," Yuvich said with a laugh.

The doors opened and Katie walked in.

"Lieutenant Stone," Tigranian said slightly surprised. "Is something wrong?"

"No, Sir," she said shaking her head, "I just wanted to ensure that Doctor Kirby had everything she needed before departing," Katie said trying to come up with an excuse. It was obvious she didn't expect anyone else to be there.

"I think we have things under control," Tigranian replied. "However, maybe we should ask Doctor Kirby?"

The psychiatrist laughed and shook her head.

"This crew has given me far more than I needed, Katie, especially you."

Stone looked a bit embarrassed.

"Do me a favor, Katie," Kirby asked, "don't ever let that fire I see inside you burn out. Also, Drop me an invite to that wedding of yours. I mean, I always love a chance to get away from the office to spend a little time with friends."

"I'll see what I can do, Doc," Katie replied with a smile.

"Sir," Chief Carter said from his station. "Tenjitsen is signaling they're ready for transport."

"Alright folks," Kirby said steadying herself on the platform. "Gotta go. My ride is here."

"We'll catch you again somewhere in this galaxy, Commander," Annabeth said, "We'll keep a guest quarters open."

"When you're on DS9, try the Klingon restaurant. It's one of my favorite spots," Tigranian added.

"Oh, was never much for Klingon food, Sir," Kirby quipped. "All that blood doesn't agree with my stomach, but I'll tell them you say 'nuqneH.' Energize, Chief."

Kirby disappeared.

"That was certainly one of the more interesting visits we've ever had," Annabeth said turning to leave the transporter room.

"She certainly had a way of making you talk about things you never thought you would," Tigranian mused.

"Or could…" Katie said staring off towards the bulkhead.

"Meaningful talk with the counselor, Katie?" Tigranian asked.

"More than just a talk with a counselor, Sir," Stone replied. "She listened."


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