"The debonair bald gentleman," she said, tapping her finger on the monitor, "is General Hammond, whom I clearly recall pointing a zat at on the bridge of the Prometheus before I ringed him to the al'kesh I'd appropriated. Although he bears an uncanny resemblance to Agent Scully's father from The X-Files."
"And are there any recent negative associations tied to this memory, as with your observation that Colonel Carter looks like another X-Files character who was murdered?" Carolyn kept her face neutral while inwardly resolving to re-watch the relevant homemade VHS tapes of episodes she'd recorded during her fellowship at the CDC.
"Oh no, Scully's father wasn't murdered; he was a dedicated, attentive parent." Vala's brow furrowed at a deeper, more personal memory she seemed to withhold from telling the doctor. "However, can you imagine the scandal if Colonel Caldwell—who's the very likeness of Scully's boss—of the Daedalus were to actually wake up in a hotel room with a tall, gorgeous, but dead blonde whose head was wrenched one hundred eighty degrees 'round on her neck—"
Vala's look of surprise gave way to a wince of contrition. "May I invoke doctor-patient confidentiality on this?"
"Vala, I'm filling out a psych evaluation to determine your fitness to return to active duty. You waived that confidentiality from my superiors in the form's disclaimer."
"Hmm. So I did. Well, my restored memory includes how to access mission files."
Carolyn let her direct gaze answer Vala's answer.
"Right, then. Cameron's passwords are easy to guess, unlike Daniel's foreign-language ciphers; they're NFL mascots."
"I trust you'll be advising Colonel Mitchell to abandon his password creation system."
"Of course, but to his credit he spells them backwards. I can also advise Security to adjust certain camera angles to cover the more egregious blind spots in their surveillance sweeps."
Either lock this woman in the brig forever or let her work as a consultant, thought Carolyn. She knows how to know too much.
"And as long as I'm confessing to seeing files they haven't yet authorized me to access, I must say that the Prior whom Cameron shot…" (Carolyn began writing on the form before Vala finished her statement.) "…looked like the Cigarette Smoking Man."
"From The X-Files. I'm sensing a pattern here." She tried keeping the sarcasm from her voice. Really tried.
"Those reruns were among the few reasons along with Sal and Bonnie that kept me from running away from the diner," Vala said quietly. "Something resonated inside me watching a strong, intelligent woman working side-by-side with a brilliant but tortured man on the noble quest for truth."
Carolyn set down her pen and looked—really looked—at the woman, not the subject, and saw a lost daughter in search of somewhere to belong. Maybe they did have something in common, but she refrained from speaking on the subject of fathers. "Agent Mulder is easy on the eye," she offered with a small quirk of her mouth.
"Well, so is Agent Scully." Vala cocked her head at Carolyn with a playful wink. "And do you know, I threatened to kill Weaver—the Trust operative who tortured me with that memory device—in the most painful way possible, but I swear I saw him shot to death as Agent Pendrell in the episode where that informant levitates out of an airplane." She absently rubbed the spot on her arm where a new transponder had been implanted. "Doctor, am I wonko?"
Carolyn, her face carefully placid as she signed the evaluation form, almost regretted the end of her hour-long evaluation of the pig-tailed off-worlder. "Creative cognitive association actually indicates functioning problem-solving skills and healthy pattern recognition. In other words, you and your… unique thought processes seem back to normal again. It's what makes you a valuable asset to the SGC."
The worry lines around Vala's mouth deepened into a luminous grin. "So, then, I'm…?"
"Yes, Vala, you're cleared for active duty." Although the CMO wasn't prepared for an enthusiastic embrace, she wasn't reticent in returning it. "It's good to have you back. I prefer delivering good news."
"And I do enjoy receiving it," Vala sighed, bouncing out of her chair. "Thank you, Doctor."
She was almost out of earshot by the time Carolyn called out, "Vala, don't forget your jacket!"