Chapter  9

    Finding a mirror to check herself in was always the first thing Evalynn did whenever she sensed Perry needed comforting and help in understanding a situation.  But when she opened her eyes, it took several seconds for her to realize that "she" wasn't in the house at 261 Liberty Street.  Looking down at the form fitting white jump suit she wore confirmed that thought.  "Where am I?" she murmured as she sat up.

    *I'm afraid.*

    **It's alright, Perry,* she thought soothingly.

    *What is this place?  It's a hospital, isn't it?  That's what
the black lady said.*

    **No,* she thought to him.  **I was listening to your conversation.  She said it had been referred to as a hospital.  She never actually said it was a hospital.**

    There was a moment of inner quiet. Then, *Is Aaron here?*

    Closing "her" grayish blue eyes, Evalynn searched the darkness.  Then, **No, he isn't.**

    *Where is he?*

    **I'm not sure.**

    Getting up, Evalynn stretched and yawned, glad of the refreshment of the few hours of absolutely quiet repose Perry had enjoyed.  Then seeing the table, the only other object of furniture in the room, she went to it.  But instead of finding something with a name or other identification on the table, she'd seen the reflection that wasn't Perry's, and let out a small scream and backed up until "she" collided with the wall.

    "Where am I?" she said out loud even as she moved along the wall, keeping her back to it until she reached the corner, and positioned herself against the wall.  Across the wide room, was the only set of doors into the room, and she wanted to keep them in full view.

    "Where you are is not as important as the fact that you are safe," a low, clear voice said. "What is your name?"

    Evalynn looked up and around, searching for the person who had spoken. 

    "Evalynn," she said after a second's hesitation. "Who are you? Where am I?"

    "Someone who can better explain is on the way here, as we speak," the bodiless voice said.

    Then a couple of minutes later there was a whooshing sound, the doors slid open and a black woman and man dressed in the loudest, tomato red suit she'd ever seen ran in, then froze in their steps when they saw her.

    Verbena watched as "Sam", or more specifically the person wearing his aura, straightened up to his full height, his back
still to the corner.  There was keen alertness and wariness in the eyes.

     "Perry?" Verbena asked cautiously, moving forward very, very slowly.  "Are you alright?"

     "Perry is safe."

     The slightly higher voice pitch coupled with the suggestion of an older woman's Southern accent made Al's eye widen.  Hearing a feminine voice coming from the mouth of an obviously young man gave Al the shivers.  Unconsciously he took a half step sideways, hiding behind the slender chief psychiatrist, but keeping an eye on the visitor across the Waiting Room.

    "What's going on, 'Bena?" he whispered.  "That doesn't sound like Perry."

    "That's because I'm not Perry, sir," Evalynn replied clearly. I am Evalynn. Well?"

    "Well...what?" Al managed to get the words out, still peering over Verbena's shoulder as she continued to move with studied care toward the figure in the corner.

    "Obviously you were not taught proper manners as a child," Evalynn said with a sniff. "What is your name, sir?  You do have a name, don't you?" 

    The combination of "Sam's" gently raised eyebrows, the arch smirk on "his" lips and the lady-like way his hands were clasped had it's desired effect.  Al stepped around Verbena, and if she hadn't grabbed his arm, he would have marched across the Waiting Room to go toe to toe with "Evalynn".

    "No," she whispered sharply.

    The look on her face told him she wasn't about to discuss her reasons in the Waiting Room, and he jerked his head toward the door.

    "Let's talk," he said tersely, and left the Waiting Room.  He waited barely long enough for the double doors to seal behind Verbena, before he was almost in her face.

    "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't go back in there ..."Al began, his tone sharp and demanding, but the steely look in Verbena's eyes hauled him up short.

"I'll give you two," she began, the tensile strength of her tone matching the look in her eyes. "For one thing, if you go charging back in there and start barking and trying to intimidate "Evalynn", it could seriously aggravate Sam's situation.  And two, you're not talking to a real person."  She nodded at Al's look of surprise at her last sentence.

    "The voice and the mannerisms may say 'female'," Verbena continued, "but this visitor is most definitely male."

    "Then explain exactly what the hell is going on?"

    "I believe we're dealing with a case of D.I.D.," she replied.  "You're probably more familiar with the term M.P.D."

    "Stop talking alphabet soup," Al snapped, "and speak English."

    "In layman's terms," Verbena said, "I believe Perry suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder..." Seeing Al's still irritated blank look she said, "..your probably more familiar with the term Multiple Personality Disorder.  Evalynn is obviously one of Perry's alternate personalities."

    Another cold shiver ran down Al's spine.  Having been Sam's Observer for better than five years, he had learned to reassess situations with lightning speed when new information was brought to light that might have an effect on Sam's ability to successfully complete a Leap, or affect his safety in a given situation.

    Now, his mind went back about an hour to Verbena's report and the conversation that had followed it. Then, as he met her eyes again, he remembered something she had said. "...Guess however I got here took a lot out of me...", and his mind shifted into overdrive.   The cold shiver coupled with the way his 'Nam sixth sense was kicking up told him his friend had Leaped into a potential very dangerous situation.  The look on Verbena's face confirmed it. 

    "This is what you were driving at when you said you got 'bad vibes', isn't it?" he demanded.

    "Yes," the psychiatrist said. She searched Al's craggy face a moment then said, "I believe there's a very real probability that when Sam leaped into Perry, one of his alternate personalities remained in 1963 with Sam."

    "You mean there's something "her"," Al stabbed a finger at the Waiting Room doors, "crawling around inside Sam's head?" he demanded.

    The chief psychiatrist nodded.  "And, based on something else Perry told me, I think the headaches are a sort of transitional phase during which the personalities emerge. His blacking out during those transitions is probably another method his mind is using to protect itself."

    "What do you mean?"

    Al paced up and down the hall.  Listening carefully to every word Verbena was saying, he was also remembering the look on Howard Kirkwood's face as he'd left the bedroom after Sam had fallen asleep. A look of sad resignation, like that of a man at the end of his rope, and not liking what he knew had to be done.

    "When Ziggy initially told me you wanted any information about headache medication the new visitor might be taking, I went back and talked to Perry.  He told me that the headaches he gets are sometimes so bad that he has to lay down in a darkened room and be absolutely still until they pass.  Sometimes they cause him to pass out for several hours."  She paused. "He also told me, that his father told him that on at least one occasion he was out for four days."

    Al's guts twisted like a knot of snakes as every survival instinct that had gotten him through Vietnam continued to increase in intensity with every word that came out of Verbena's mouth.

    "How many personalities does this kid have?  And for that matter, what brought them about?" he asked.

    "M.P.D. is a classic protection mechanism in cases of abuse," Verbena replied. "The most common form of abuse that causes it, is sexual abuse that begins in childhood. But...." she continued sharply, cutting off the interruption she saw in the Observer's dark eyes, " can also occur in cases of mental and emotional abuse as well. But no matter how it occurs, the subject diagnosed as suffering M.P.D. has to be treated very carefully if there's to be an eventual successful cohesion of the personalities into one."

    "So how many personalities does Perry have?" Al asked.

    Verbena pushed her hands into the pockets of her lab coat, her expression reflecting the depth of her concern.

    "As far as I know at this moment, only one," she said carefully.


    "Yes.  And from her attitude and the way she talks, she seems to be the protective personality.  I think she will probably know how many other personalities exist."

    "How many could there be?"

    Verbena answered his question with one of her own.  "You remember the movie "Sybil"?"  The way Al's face paled suddenly made her rush to reassure him, "Of course, there could just be one or two.  It's all dependent upon the form and severity of the abuse to which Perry was subjected."

    Ziggy's quiet voice speaking in the midst of the tense conversation made psychiatrist and admiral visibly jump.

    "Doctor Beeks?"

    "Dammit, Ziggy!" Al yelled.  "Stop sneaking up like that!  Geez Louise, give us a little warning next time, will ya!  What is it?"

    "First of all, Admiral," the computer said, completely unruffled by Al's reaction. "I am incapable of sneaking up on anyone. But more importantly, I believe Mr. Kirkwood has previously mentioned a second personality.  Albeit, one he is unaware of, but, I believe, a second personality nonetheless."

    "Aaron!" Verbena exclaimed, her mind racing back over the first few minutes of her interview with Perry.

    "Who's 'Aaron'," Al asked, not really sure he wanted to know.

    "When Perry told me about the headaches, he said that his father had mentioned that sometimes a cousin of his would come to visit during his black out headaches.  A cousin he had never met.  His father had also told him, that if the headaches didn't get better, he was going to put him in the hospital..."

    "Yeah, so?"

    Verbena fixed Al with a pointed look.  "He was talking about a 'state' hospital in a town not far from Willandale."  

    "You mean a nut house?"

    She nodded. "Perry called it a hospital for the retarded and those who "aren't all there".  And, the last thing he said was "maybe Aaron will come visit me.""

    At those words, an ominous note sounded in the back of Al's mind, and he turned and started for the Control Room at a fast clip, obeying his instincts.

    "Where are you going?" Verbena called, hurrying after him.

    "To check on Sam," Al said, as he turned left and entered the Control Room.

    "Handlink," he barked, catching it as Gooshie tossed it to him in an almost knee-jerk response.  "Put me in Sam's back pocket.  Now, Gooshie!" Al ordered, and entered the Imaging Chamber.