I can sort of understand how Ben’s dream, vision, hallucination — whatever it was — about Benny Russell would have affected him so much. Suddenly finding himself back in the barbaric past, among caste-conscious savages who treated him as something less than human, must have been a ghastly experience. It’s not surprising that he would be upset about it for some time afterward, I’ve been reminding myself. I just need to be patient with him for a little while longer, and he’ll get over it. Maybe.

When he put away the collection of twenty-first-century baseball memorabilia in his office and replaced it with Negro League posters and photographs from the early twentieth century, I really didn’t notice at first. One long-dead baseball player is as good as another, from my point of view. It was a bit more unsettling when Ben started to collect squat, grinning mammy dolls and vacant-eyed statues of uniformed Negro footmen. Such things are an informative part of the history of our people, he told me earnestly.

I really wish he would quit saying “our people.”

My ancestors came from many parts of Earth, but the American continent wasn’t one of them. I got my dark skin from Fijian farmers who never heard of a Negro. Of course, Ben Sisko isn’t the only American in Starfleet who has an exaggerated sense of his country’s historical importance. Even though North America never had much more than five percent of the world’s population, Americans have been dominant in science and industry for several centuries now, and they tend to behave as if they own Earth. They’re so disproportionately represented in Starfleet that many of the rest of us don’t even bother applying to the Academy. Which is how I ended up as the captain of a creaky but serviceable freighter, instead of a shiny new Starfleet battle cruiser.

And Ben Sisko goes around whining about the misery of his oppressed ancestors, half a millennium ago. Believe me, there are days when I’m seriously tempted to punch him, right in his snotty privileged American nose.

I don’t, though. I know that I’m going to have to break up with him, one way or another, for the sake of my own sanity, but Ben is so sweet on the rare occasions when he’s rational, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

I’ve hinted quite strongly to Doctor Bashir that it might be prudent to consider giving Ben some medication for his obsessiveness, not to mention those recurring hallucinations. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ben Sisko dearly, but there are times when it’s obvious he’s not exactly the Federation’s mental health poster boy.

I thought that I could live with Ben’s weird obsessions and those manic-depressive mood swings, but I’ve just about reached the limit of my patience. If I have to look once more at what he’s done with his hair, so help me, I’m going to scream. Ben says it’s called an Afro and it’s a symbol of black pride. He regularly oils it and combs it out with a pick. Frankly, I think a shovel would be more appropriate. For the last few weeks, his head has resembled a tribble carcass that washed up on a riverbank.

Jake has been making himself scarce lately. Can’t say I blame him. Worf and the other Klingons have made quite a few admiring comments, telling Ben that he now has a mane of hair that’s truly fit for a warrior. One of these days I’m going to dump a bucket of prune juice over their pointy warrior heads.

I know that Ben is just trying to get in touch with his Afro-American roots, but let me tell you, I’m about ready to yank that dreadful hair out by the roots. Maybe I should sneak a depilatory into Ben’s shampoo bottle. Or some weed killer. Ordinarily I’m a very patient woman, and I’ve put up with a lot already, but I really would prefer not to have a boyfriend who looks like he has a drowned tribble on his head.

Is that too much to ask?