Character codes: G
Guinan was deep in contemplation, buried in that portion of her psyche that was most fragile, when it happened. The initial jolt nearly succeeded in dislodging her from her seat. The subsequent ones did.
When the ship had settled to something more normal, she opened one eye and looked around. A tiny emergency light inset in a ceiling too far away to shed much illumination on the subject glowed red like a single-eyed devil dog.
"Obviously," she commented to no one at all, "the architect was a man," She picked herself up as gracefully as the situation would allow. "Who never intended to find himself here in an emergency situation." She struggled for a moment with her undergarments, and then smoothed her dress over them in some semblance of decorum.
There were already cries of pain and panic coming from the other side of the door. She could only imagine what lay in wait for her. Focusing herself mentally and emotionally, Guinan placed a single finger on the keypad and pressed.
Nothing at all.
She tried several more sequences. Still nothing. "Computer," she demanded politely. "Release door 6AF33X."
Nothing at all.
For a long moment, Guinan did nothing as well. Finally, folding her hands together and pressing them against her stomach, she turned in the small room and stared at her surroundings. "This is not funny," she commented. "This is not funny at all."
The single sonic hand basin and the streamlined white porcelain toilet stared back at her from the far wall with nothing to say.
The water was up to her ankles, and the hem of her iridescent green gown floated on the surface of it like expensive, glittering pond scum. Guinan pounded on the door again, taking great pains to keep her already damp shoulder out of the bombastic eruption of water that spewed from the fractured porcelain commode. Had things been different, the two meter high fountain might have made an interesting centerpiece. Under current conditions, however, the unsolicited shower was merely serving to make her crabby.
"Can anybody hear me?" she demanded loudly.
Obviously not. Though the small room shouted an echo of her words back at her, none of the muffled noisemakers on the far side of the door seemed to take notice. From what she could gather of Worf's booming commands (why was it that she could hear him so well, when he could not hear her at all? There were times, she thought grudgingly, when Klingon heritage could be an advantage.) Ten Forward was being renovated into a temporary sickbay. The hustle and bustle of moving furniture, combined with the low moans of the wounded (which she felt, more than heard) was a formidable sound barrier to breach with nothing more than a mere Human voice.
Guinan sighed and rubbed at the sore spot on her right buttock. Whatever had hit them, hit them twice. The first time, she'd had the good fortune to be already sitting. The second she'd not been so lucky. She sat down very hard with very little grace on something with very little give.
And then the pipes burst. Water, of course, bubbled forth from the fractured commode like the proverbial fountain of youth, sometimes spewing grandly in the air; others, merely belching over the porcelain bowl's rim like a witches brew with indigestion.
Thanks be to Those Who Preside Over the Eternal Time Continuum that she'd not had the time to become fully attuned to her inner self, and thus was spared the indignity of sharing her damp digs with excess bodily matter.
The water was up to her shins.
It occurred to her that this room, being intended for staff use and thus only a one-person unit, was far too small for the likes of a time and space spanning entity such as herself. Not only that, but it was really even a little too small for the adult Human female as which she was currently masquerading. Her Human heart skipped a beat. She wondered idly where all the air that was presently being replaced by water was going.
"Everybody keep calm!" Worf shouted from the other side of the door. His excessive Klingon voice sheared through the barrier like it was paper rather than metal, reminding her that she was alone by only a matter of millimeters.
Guinan's lips pursed into a small smile. "So like you, my Klingon friend," she observed wryly. "Always the right words at the right time." Her eyes traced the perimeter of her small world, searching for anything at all that might make an impressive noise when beat against a metal bulkhead.
The water was well past her knees. Her dress kept bubbling up, catching air whenever she moved and ballooning around her like a big, green circus tent. She imagined she looked somewhat ridiculous.
"They will have missed you by now," she told herself. "They'll be asking, 'Where's Guinan? Has anyone seen Guinan?' And then, of course, they will understand that this rhythmically sophisticated tapping is far more than the ship's noise they currently take it for."
She slapped the bulkhead again with her shoe. The soft, pliable leather sole smacked wetly against metal.
Thwack, thwack, thwack.
It was a far cry from impressive, but it was the best she could do with what she had. To say the bathroom was Spartan would have been an understatement. To say it was bare-assed naked might have been more in keeping with the truth. Guinan was outraged.
Thwack, thwack, thwack.
This was a spiritual place, a place of catharsis. Such places deserved the best the Human mind and soul could provide. Canvases of inspirational genius should adorn its walls, masterpieces to move the spirit.
Masterpieces in metal frames.
She would see to it, if she ever got out of here alive.
Thwack, thwack, thwack.
Her right buttock wasn't sore any more, it was numb. Whatever kept the computer from functioning and the door release from releasing, was keeping the hot-water heater incapacitated as well. She was waist-deep in ice cold water, and not enjoying it one damned bit.
Guinan slapped her shoe vigorously against the bulkhead for several minutes. As she'd grown to expect, no one answered. She shouted a couple of Klingon obscenities, but there was no response to that either.
Sighing, Guinan leaned back against the wall.
Her feet flung themselves toward the dimming red light on the ceiling and the rest of her went under the water with a splash. She came up spitting and sputtering and spewing sexually-explicit obscenities that hadn't been heard in this portion of the galaxy for a hundred eons.
She snatched her hat up as it floated by.
Just as she was about to explode into a most-probably ineffective, but certainly emotionally healthy, rhetoric of loudly embraced curses and acerbic observances on the galaxy in general, she sensed it.
A new awareness.
A new life.
The O'Brien baby had come.
Cold and wet and utterly miserable, Guinan smiled.
Her feet hadn't touched the deck for some time. They dangled weightless in the water, suspended as was she, by the grip she maintained on her floating hat. It made a good life preserver, she decided, among other things. It had kept her afloat this long, and it would keep her afloat until she reached the ceiling that had --hours ago--been far away, but was now getting distractingly close.
What she intended to do once she reached that point fell under the realm of fate. Being a wise woman, and a philosophical one as well, she chose not to beleaguer the point. Better to enjoy the meter and a half of space that remained.
Something was scratching on the other side of the door. It grunted and scratched and grunted some more.
Suddenly, the door moved. Not much, but enough to break the seal.
A sliver of light knifed between the door and the bulkhead, a crack in the dam. Several hundred gallons of water pushed out that small crack and forced the door the remainder of the way open.
Guinan was swept off her hat, out the bathroom door and into Worf's muscular and somewhat surprised arms.
"Guinan," he observed. One massive hand was clenched onto the door frame, holding him stoically in place against the tidal wave of water that rushed by and spread itself out in a wet blanket over the remainder of Ten Forward.
"Worf," she responded. "Thank you."
Worf set her carefully on her feet. "You are welcome." He looked down at his soaked uniform with obvious irritation. His lip twitched with a small, but heroically contained growl.
Guinan wrung the excess water from each of her dredlocks in turn, and then shook them with the vigorous enthusiasm of a freshly-washed targ. Long black braids danced like a hundred live wires. The resultant spray of residual water showered the already wet Klingon.
He growled again, louder and with more intent.
Guinan glanced at the security chief. "Something wrong?" she asked.
"Klingons do not enjoy being wet," Worf said in his Klingons-enjoy-killing-those who-get-them-wet voice.
"Oh." Guinan shrugged, and then flashed him a toothy smile. "Neither do Guinans," she confided. "And they enjoy drowning even less. Thank you for rescuing me when you did. I owe you a prune juice."
Worf acknowledged the expression of gratitude with a sharp nod. He followed her to the bar and took a seat as she moved soggily behind it. "How is it that you became trapped?" he asked in a Klingon version of polite small talk.
She regarded him with an expressive arch to what would have been her eyebrow, if she'd had any. "How is it that you think I became trapped," she countered dryly.
Worf laughed. The loud bark of sound drew several curious gazes. "Most embarrassing," he observed.
"Better than it could have been," she responded, pulling a flask of well-aged prune juice from under the counter. "Had you not come looking for me when you did." She poured the Klingon a healthy glass and set it to the bar with a tiny clink.
Worf accepted the drink and downed it in one long, sustained draw. He set the glass back in place and dragged his forearm across his lips with a satisfied grunt. "I was not looking for you," he commented as Guinan started to refill his drink.
Guinan paused, the crystalline flask poised at a delicate balance between pouring and not pouring. Only three droplets of violet-black fluid splattered into the empty glass. "You weren't looking for me?" she repeated with a trace of ill-temper.
"I had not noticed you were missing," Worf explained. His eyes were fixed on the glass, waiting.
Guinan glared at the Klingon security chief. Her eyes were blacker than prune juice and colder than space. "You hadn't noticed I was missing?!" she demanded indignantly.
Worf glanced up. "I have been very busy," he stated matter-of-factly.
Guinan set the flask back to the bar, hard. "Then why, pray tell," she demanded tightly, "did you spare the time from your busy schedule to pry open the bathroom door?"
Worf looked from Guinan, to his empty glass, and then back at Guinan. His sweeping eyebrows bunched up a little in confusion. He seemed genuinely perplexed by her sudden display of ill humor.
"Because I needed to..." Worf frowned. "...to go."