Four Doors (original version)

“Perhaps the greatest faculty our minds possess is the ability to cope with pain. Classic thinking teaches us of the four doors of the mind, which everyone moves through according to their need...."  --Patrick Rothfuss, from The Name of the Wind

"Good luck with that qualifying exam, Lieutenant," Paul said in farewell to Carlos Vasquez as the pilot stepped outside of his office.

Vasquez nodded.  "Thanks, brah.  And thanks for talking to me about the band."

Paul smiled.  "Any time, Lieutenant.  Good luck with it."  He stepped back into his office, returned to his desk, and began writing the counseling report for the session.  Vasquez was wrestling with the decision of whether to stay in Starfleet or leave when his current tour ended, so he could pursue the advancement of his heavy metal band, Distortion.  

A small blue light flashed on Paul's computer screen, signaling an incoming message.  Paul set his door to 'Do Not Disturb,' set the message to speakers, and spoke into the microphone pick-up.  "Graves here."

A Scottish-accented voice spoke back at him, one Paul hadn't heard since the man's intake session.  "Commander, this is Lt. Ildaran in Intelligence.  Could you come up to deck 15, please?  I've a situation developing with a suspect who seems to have dissociative identity disorder.  I'm concerned that I'm about to subject her to trauma, and I'd appreciate your being here when I do.  None of the personalities remember this particular event, and one of them ought to, do you ken?"

Paul deciphered the intelligence officer's statement.  "Let's back up a bit, Lieutenant.  Dissociative identity disorder is extremely rare.  Are you certain you're dealing with DID, and how do you know?  Has the patient told you she's been diagnosed with that?"

"She has not," the intelligence officer replied.  "She's introduced herself to me during an interview by two different names, and each time she identified herself with a different name, her behavior was markedly different than before.  Later during the same interview, she identified herself with a third name."

Paul considered that.  "All right.  It sounds at least plausible that she might have DID, then,  I would have to meet her and observe her to corroborate your guess about her diagnosis.  How much do you know about this disorder?"

"I used to know someone who had it, growing up.  I didn't know what was amiss with him, just that he acted bizarre, never consistent.  Couldn't remember on Tuesday what you told him Monday.  I didn't learn the fancy name for it until I took abnormal psych at the Academy.  This is exactly like.  Once I knew that there was such a condition I wanted to understand my friend, so I studied it.  His situation was consistent with what I learned in class.  The class taught me the characteristics of the condition."

Paul winced.  "Very well.  Now, to address your immediate concerns--Are you aware that in such cases, one of the personalities is the memory trace--the one who remembers everything that the so-called waking personality no longer remembers?"

"Yes, sir," Ildaran said.

"So I understand you to be saying that even the memory trace personality doesn't remember whatever it is you're going to make her experience?"

"I don't know which one of the three that is, sir, just that it's a standard feature of the condition.  They've not told me who remembers what.  I can make some educated guesses, but you're the one who's qualified.  If one of these three has all the memories and doesn't remember wearing a ring that she wore for God knows how long and couldn't remove, that's worrisome, aye?"

"Couldn't remove?"  Paul frowned.  "Yes, it is of concern.  Her inability to remember the ring either means you haven't discovered the memory trace, or it means that the memory trace personality has rejected the memory, which would be the trauma you're concerned about.  I would expect an additional personality to have formed, to deal with the trauma that the memory trace couldn't tolerate."  He paused.  "Or it could indicate outside interference purposely concealing the memory.  But, as you've given me no reason to suspect that--"

"It's possible.  She may have had recent contact with an Aenar."

Paul's eyebrows shot up.  "In the words of our CMO, Lieutenant:  'Oh, my, you've brought me a present.'  I'm on my way."

"Thank you, sir.  I'll let them know to expect you at the front desk."


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