Chapter 9:

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Celebrities and Fan Fiction  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

Reads: 340

 

Jean-Luc sat very still staring at his afflicted leg. With absent movements, his rubbed his hands over his left thigh a frown creasing his forehead.

“This can’t be happening! Surely they’re wrong? I can’t go through the rest of my life dragging this useless fucking leg behind me! How the hell am I supposed to captain my ship like this? What do they think I’m going to do…Command from a wheelchair? Dammit! Shit! Fuck!”

He savagely punched his thigh and tried to choke the sob that tore from his throat.

“NO! This is intolerable!”

He covered his face with his hands and gasped, ultimately failing to stop the sobs that wracked him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will stood in front of the mirror and tugged at his uniform tunic, earning a chuckle from his lover.

“Do you realise you’ve picked that up from the Captain?”

Will huffed and repeated the manoeuvre.

“They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

The petite woman sidled up behind the big man and slipped her hands over his shoulders.

“You don’t need to imitate the Captain Will…you’re in a class of your own.”

He turned in her arms and rested his hands on her trim waist.

“Thank you, but you must admit if one has to imitate anyone, one could do no better than to choose Captain Picard.”

He bent and kissed the Counsellor, savouring their closeness.

“Have you contacted Beverly?”

“Uh huh. She said we’re expected but warned me about the Captain’s demeanour. Since he was told about his prognosis he’s been sullen and withdrawn. Beverly’s hoping our visit will cheer him up.”

Will’s eyes travelled to the ceiling and he sighed.

“It’s so unfair Dee. Imagine what he must be feeling…to be told that he’ll be permanently disabled…dammit I feel so bloody helpless about this.”

“I know Will it must be very hard for him but I think with time he’ll come to terms with what’s happened. He’ll be ok, you’ll see.”

The big man kissed the top of Deanna’s head.

“It’s not like he has a choice Dee. Still, I suppose he has Beverly. At least he’s not alone.”

Deanna stood back and cast an appraising eye over her lover. Nodding with satisfaction, she pointed to the door.

“We’d best be going.”

 

 

 

Beverly escorted Will and Deanna into Jean-Luc’s room and cleared her throat. The Captain was reading, something he’d been working on. When he first attempted to read he found it almost impossible to concentrate on the words but over the weeks he’d persisted and gradually improved until he was able to settle with a book for some hours.

He glanced up and Deanna frowned at the emptiness in his eyes.

“Hello Captain.”

He nodded, his eyes giving the Counsellor a cursory glance then settling on Will. He nodded to his Exec and closed the book. Will stepped closer and gestured to the chairs.

“Hello Sir. Mind if we sit?”

His only reply was a silent wave of Jean-Luc’s hand.

The officers sat somewhat nervously and Beverly said softly,

“I’ll be in the office. Call if you want anything.”

Not sure to whom she was addressing, Will turned to thank her only to see her departing form. He turned back to his CO to find him staring into his eyes. Jean-Luc’s deep voice was deceptively quiet.

“What do you want Will?”

Summoning a bright smile, Will shook his head.

“Nothing Sir other than to see you. I must say you look well.”

As Jean-Luc continued to stare Deanna attempted to discern his emotions. Always very adept and shielding himself from her empathic senses, she frowned at the tight rein he was keeping on himself. His glittering dark eyes suddenly shifted to her and he shook his head.

“No Counsellor. I have endured enough violations of my privacy. Kindly desist.”

Deanna bowed her head and clasped her hands in her lap.

“Very well Captain. However may I ask…how are you feeling?”

He gave her a tight smile that failed to reach his eyes.

“I’m fine.”

Not the least convinced, Deanna pressed on.

“Beverly has told us of your prognosis. Would you like to talk about it?”

Jean-Luc sighed theatrically then said succinctly,

“No.”

Will, growing uncomfortable in the tense atmosphere, attempted to change the subject.

“Did you hear of our latest mission Sir?”

Focusing his unwavering attention on Will, Jean-Luc nodded.

“Yes. You escorted a Cardassian ship to Earth, bringing a contingent of dignitaries to the Marcus conventions.”

Will nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes Sir. Actually the Enterprise was requested and you in particular. Apparently one of the delegation knows you and wanted to renew your acquaintance.”

That piqued Jean-Luc’s curiosity.

“Indeed? Do you have a name?”

“No Captain I’m sorry I don’t.”

Jean-Luc shrugged and sighed.

“It’s probably not important Will. How is the ship?”

Deanna noticed he didn’t say, “my ship.”

“She’s just fine Sir…just as you left her. The big chair is still there waiting for your return.”

Jean-Luc bowed his head and his voice held a note of resignation.

“I think we both know that’s not going to happen Commander.”

Will leaned forward and rested his hand on Jean-Luc’s knee. He earned a glacial glare causing him to quickly pull his hand back. Regrouping, Will sighed.

“Captain don’t think like that…of course you’ll be back.”

His eyes cold and hard, Jean-Luc’s voice became sarcastic.

“And just how do you envisage me on the Bridge Number One? On crutches? In a wheelchair perhaps? Grow up Commander! I cannot…I will not command the Enterprise as a cripple!”

Deanna sought to diffuse the growing anger in the man.

“Captain…”

He dropped his eyes to his lap and said in a flat voice,

“It was nice of you both to drop by. Thank you for coming.”

Hearing the implicit dismissal, the ingrained response to an order had both officers on their feet and moving to the door. Deanna hesitated and turned back.

“Captain if you want…”

His eyes still downcast, the Captain said softly,

“Goodbye Counsellor.”

Outside his room, Will looked down at Deanna and scowled.

“We need to talk to Beverly.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her frustration was clear in her voice.

“I don’t know what to do! So far I can’t get through to him. He’s built a wall around himself and I can’t breach it.”

Will sat back in his chair and ran a hand through his hair.

“I’ve rarely seen him so bloody minded Beverly. It’s as if he wants to cut himself off from all of us…as if he’s trying to deny his previous life existed.”

Deanna placed her hands on the desk and entwined her fingers.

“It’s not uncommon for people in his situation to hide in denial. If he can subjugate his past experiences he may fool himself into believing it never happened. A simple case of what you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

Beverly stood and went to the replicator.

“No Dee I can’t agree with that. He’s not hiding, he’s trying to figure out a way to beat this and it’s making him angry to realise he can’t. One of the things he cannot abide is loss of control, either of himself or his situation. There’s nothing he can do about this and it’s driving him crazy.”

Will studied his cup and sighed.

“And Hulm is absolutely certain the leg won’t recover?”

Beverly sat and sipped her tea.

“Uh huh. The nanites have done all the major work they can. What we’ve got is what we’re stuck with.”

Scratching his beard, the big man nodded.

“OK what about ongoing research? Anything on the horizon?”

The Doctor pushed a PADD across the desk and pointed at it.

“I’ve been scouring the databanks. All I could find is there.”

Will picked the device up and scrolled through the information. With his eyes on the screen he asked,

“Bottom line?”

Beverly sighed.

“Nothing much. There’s some promising work being done in Australia but it’s years away from completion.”

Deanna let out a deep breath.

“And in the meantime?”

“We continue with therapy and try to make the best with what we’ve got.”

Will snorted.

“How long do you think he’ll put up with that?”

Beverly rubbed her forehead, her eyes hardening.

“As long as I say! He’s not due for release for another two months and I intend him to do everything he needs to.”

Deanna’s voice was soft.

“Beverly you can’t force him to comply.”

The Doctor’s shoulders slumped in defeat.

“I know Dee but what else can I do? He’s virtually shut me out.”
The pain in her best friend’s voice reached into Deanna’s heart. Leaving her seat, she rounded the desk and took Beverly in her arms.

“Give him time Beverly…let him come to terms with what’s happened. I’m sure he’ll come back to you.”

Sniffing wetly, Beverly wiped at her tears.

“I hope so Dee, God I hope so.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An hour after Will and Deanna left, Beverly went to Jean-Luc’s room to find him in a wheelchair in the bathroom. He was washing his hands and a nurse stood at his side. Softly dismissing the aide, Beverly went back into his room and waited for him. She was reading some information on the computer when he entered, her back to him. When she heard his quiet deep voice she was shocked by the raw anger prevalent.

“Amputate it.”

She turned and cocked her head.

“I beg your pardon?”

He poked at his left leg disdainfully.

“Amputate it…cut it off. It’s nothing but a useless mass of flesh and bone. I’d be better off without it at least then I could have a working prothesis.”

Biting back her own anger, Beverly strove to keep calm.

“Don’t be ridiculous Jean-Luc. I’m not going to amputate a perfectly good limb.”

His head snapped up and he growled,

“Perfectly good limb? Have you been absent these last weeks? The bloody thing is useless!”

Pursing her lips, Beverly leaned against his bed and folded her arms.

“And just what do we do when technology provides a treatment that will give you back the use of that leg? Hmm? Sew it back on and hope for the best?”

He savagely poked his leg again and scowled.

“A prothesis will allow me mobility. I demand…”

“You can shove your demand! I will not condone such an outrageous suggestion Jean-Luc.”

“How dare you! I order you…”

Beverly’s tired chuckle halted him abruptly.

“You can’t order me about in this situation Jean-Luc…not over a medical matter.”

His jaw muscles flexed as he clenched his teeth. In a quieter tone he said,

“Then I want to see Doctor Hulm.”

Beverly nodded and loosened her arms to grip the edge of the bed.

“Well that’s predictable. You know I can section you…report you as being psychologically unstable?”

His eyes squinted and his breath hissed between his teeth.

“You wouldn’t! You have no grounds.”

“Don’t I? Let me run this by you and then you can tell me what you think. Here we have Captain Jean-Luc Picard, victim of an over enthusiastic people who managed, through ignorance, to inflict a severe brain injury. Said captain has undergone several surgeries and has, in the main, made a remarkable recovery. However…being left with an afflicted limb, he expresses a desire to have said limb amputated against the express objections of his Doctor. It is this Doctor’s opinion that his request is grounded more on an inability to accept his disability than any other reason. How am I doing so far?”

Jean-Luc grunted and waved his hand.

“I disagree. I have accepted my…disability Beverly, you forget I am reminded of it every time I look at my leg…and I admit my suggestion may seem a little extreme, but surely you can see the benefit of a prothesis? If I can regain my mobility I might retain my Captaincy.”

Beverly frowned and rubbed her face.

“All right I agree you may have a point, but I want you to think about this. Would you rather stand on your own two feet, or on one leg, the other a foreign piece of machinery? If you give up your own flesh and blood, you’re also giving up on the medical profession and any chance of staying whole.”

She stood away from the bed and looked at her hands.

“I’ll see you at dinner.”

With that she left and Jean-Luc stared down at his leg.

“Shit!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the following month Jean-Luc regained the strength in his left arm and hand and took to visiting the gym, working hard with weights to build up his upper body strength. Now very proficient with the wheelchair, he would, when not required for therapy or scans, roam about the facility and its gardens, spending a lot of time alone and in deep thought. The subject of the amputation was not raised again, although it sat just beneath the surface, unresolved and festering.

Beverly spent her days split between spending time with Jean-Luc and scouring the medical databanks. She made sure they had breakfast and dinner together and their relationship stayed strong.

One afternoon, while Beverly was in conference with Hulm, a Cardassian from the delegation arrived at Jean-Luc’s ward. He was greeted by the duty nurse and, after a brief conversation, was led to the Captain’s room. Jean-Luc had just been visited by the barber and was in the bathroom washing his face. The nurse called,

“Captain Picard? You have a visitor Sir.”

“I’ll be right out.”

The nurse smiled at the imposing Cardassian and left. Jean-Luc dried his face then wheeled himself out into the main body of his room. His smile died on his lips and his face paled.

“Hello Jean-Luc. How nice to see you again.”

Jean-Luc’s heart began to hammer in his chest and his mouth gaped. He attempted to speak but his voice failed him.

The Cardassian smiled and moved to stand over the shocked man.

“Come now Jean-Luc…haven’t you anything to say?”

The Captain’s lips opened and closed twice before he managed to make a sound. It was one word.

“Madred.”

The Cardassian beamed.

“Ah! There, I knew you remembered me. When people share each other’s company as we did I suppose the memories are indelible.”

Jean-Luc swallowed struggling for control.

“What…what are you doing here?”

“Why I came to see you! When I heard you’d been injured I was concerned.”

The Captain closed his eyes and frowned, attempting to quell the fear and dread this man elicited in him. Taking a deep breath and fisting his trembling hands, Jean-Luc strove to keep his voice from breaking.

“What are you doing here on Earth?”

Madred waved his hand dismissively.

“Oh that. I am an advisor to the delegation. It seems my previous job afforded me the position of expert in Human behaviour. We Cardassians know so little about your species Jean-Luc. I was considered one of only a very few with any real knowledge of you at all.”

Anger burned brightly in Jean-Luc and he spat,

“This is an outrage! You are a torturer…a murderer…how can you go unpunished for what you did? How the hell can you walk free within the Federation let alone be a member of a delegation devoted to peace between our peoples?”

Madred grinned at the incensed man and folded his arms across his broad chest.

“You forget Jean-Luc a lot has changed. Since the end of the Dominion war there have been several changes of governments on Cardassia. Now that the military is no longer in power I and many like me had to diversify to survive. In exchange for offering information about things deemed secret and bearing in mind my extensive knowledge of Humans and their organisations, I was fortunate to be considered valuable to my superiors. Generally speaking I was lucky. I kept my wife and daughter…oh I have a son now too…and I’ve been granted diplomatic immunity for any past…unpleasantness.”
His smile widened and he chuckled.

“I’m what you would call ‘a survivor’.”

Jean-Luc shook his head brusquely, baring his teeth.

“You’re not a survivor Madred, you’re a cruel, sadistic, reprehensible being who’s very existence is an affront to civilised people everywhere! You disgust me.”

The Cardassian sighed and spread his hands.

“Understandable I suppose but very short sighted. I don’t regret what I did to you Jean-Luc…you and all the others who found themselves in my company were there because they were enemies of my people. I did my duty and I slept very well at night. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do anything to protect your family…your way of life?”

Jean-Luc’s clenched fist hammered the arm of his chair.

“I would never torture an innocent being! What you suggest is unconscionable...”

“Innocent Jean-Luc? Are you sure?”

The Captain gritted his teeth and fought to control his surging anger.

“I see no reason to continue this pointless discussion. Get out!”

The Cardassian smiled patiently down at the livid man and shook his head.

“I don’t think so.”

With deliberate slowness, Madred turned a chair to face Jean-Luc and sat, spearing the Captain with a cold gaze.

“What do you want Madred?”

Brushing at a speck on his dark trousers, the Cardassian tilted his head.

“Actually Jean-Luc it’s not what I want…it’s what you want.”

Jean-Luc was in no mood for riddles.

“What the hell does that mean?”

“From what I hear your injuries have left you with a permanent disability…specifically your left leg is virtually useless. Is that so?”

“Yes. What of it?”

Madred’s eyes settled on the leg, his look speculative.

“I take it you can’t walk.”

Jean-Luc growled,

“Get to the point damn you.”

The Cardassian steepled his fingers under his chin.

“Tell me Jean-Luc…do you remember the device you were implanted with during your visit with me?”

Unwilling to recall the memories, Jean-Luc nodded, his voice ragged.

“The torture device…the pain inducer…yes Madred I remember.”

The large grey man sighed.

“A remarkable piece of technology.”
The Captain shook his head.

“No Madred it was a thing unworthy of your people. It was…”

“Hush Jean-Luc. I understand you rather jaundiced view but it’s misguided. That device was the first of many, each one better than the last. Our scientists were diligent Jean-Luc…they worked hard and with each device came greater knowledge and in our efforts to perfect the technology, we discovered that the device would be more proficient if it were situated in the brain of the subject. We found that stimulating the nervous system through the body was inefficient. Direct interface with the pain receptors within the brain delivered a much better result and afforded the user greater control. Unfortunately early trials had some…unfortunate results…but in endeavouring to remedy the faults came a truly stunning discovery. Our scientists found that with careful administration, the device was capable of reversing brain damage. Even tissue thought to be too severely damaged to be viable was healed.”

Jean-Luc closed his eyes and shook his head.

“How many poor souls died in this quest for a better torture instrument?”

Madred waved his hand.

“Don’t trouble yourself Jean-Luc their deaths served a higher purpose.”

Jean-Luc bowed his head and rubbed his forehead.

“You have no remorse, no guilt…my God what a monster you are.”

Madred’s voice was cutting.

“You flatter me. Listen to me Jean-Luc…don’t you understand what I’m offering?”

The Captain looked up and frowned.

“No I don’t.”

Sighing, Madred closed his eyes and shook his head.

“So stubborn. I have it within my power to provide one of the devices Jean-Luc. With careful use, you could regain the use of your leg.”

Jean-Luc gasped and sat back, recoiling from the barbaric Cardassian.

“You think I would…”

Madred sneered.

“What is it you most want Captain? To retain your command…your precious ship? You can have it Jean-Luc.”

They sat in silence, Jean-Luc’s mind racing.

“Why? Why would you do this for me?”

Madred shrugged.

“You will no doubt not believe me, but I am not the same man who tortured you all those years ago Jean-Luc. I changed…I had to and over these past years I have listened closely to those who speak of peace. For the past month I have sat beside the delegates as they forge an alliance between the Federation and Cardassia and for the first time in my memory I can see a future for my people. As I said, I have no regrets about my past, but I would be pleased if you would consider my offer as a token of peace between us.”

He stood and placed the chair against the wall.

“No doubt you would like to think, I will leave you now. You can tell your doctors we have in the delegation a physician well trained in the device’s uses…including how it applies to Humans.”

He turned and left, leaving Jean-Luc stunned and shaken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three and a half hours later Beverly found the Captain out in the garden. A light rain was falling and judging by his wet clothes, he’d been out in it for some time.

“Jean-Luc you’re soaking! Why didn’t you seek shelter?”

The pensive man sighed, his eyes never leaving the horizon.

“Hmm?”

Beverly frowned and came to stand in front of him, effectively blocking his view. His unfocused eyes cleared and he looked up into Beverly’s face.

“Beverly? What are you doing here, I thought you were in conference with Doctor Hulm?”

Placing her hands on her hips, the Doctor huffed.

“That was hours ago. Have you been sitting here in the rain all this time?”

Jean-Luc frowned and looked up, blinking as the gentle drops hit his face.

“It’s raining?”

Exasperated and annoyed, Beverly went behind him and began to turn his chair. His hands went to the wheels, preventing any further movement.

“No…I want to stay here.”

Sighing and shaking her head, Beverly once again came around to face him.

“Jean-Luc you’re wet. Let me take you inside and get you into some dry clothes.”

The Captain shook his head and lifted one hand to rub his fingers over his lower lip.

“No…I…”

Seeing his very distracted state, Beverly squatted in front of him and took his hands.

“What is it Jean-Luc?”

Jean-Luc’s distant eyes settled on Beverly’s and he stared vacantly. The Doctor gently stroked his face and he sighed.

“I…I had a visitor today…a Cardassian visitor.”

Beverly’s eyebrows rose and she smiled.

“Was it the one who had asked for you?”

Jean-Luc frowned and his eyes clouded.

“I don’t know…perhaps.”

Beverly was troubled by the Captain’s vague answer and sought more information.

“OK…did your visitor have a name?”

Jean-Luc’s dark hazel eyes suddenly cleared.

“Oh yes he had a name.”

Smiling, Beverly asked gently,

“And what was it?”

The preoccupied man’s voice dropped to a whisper.

“Madred.”

Beverly jerked back in shock so violently she lost her balance and fell on her behind.

“What?”

Jean-Luc looked down at her and absently rubbed his eyes.

“It was Madred.”

Immediately back on her feet, Beverly gripped his arms.

“What is he doing here?”

His eyes fixed on his knees, Jean-Luc shrugged tiredly.

“He says he’s part of the delegation…the Human expert on the team.”

Beverly gritted her teeth.

“Well we’ll see about that! That sadistic bastard should be facing a trial for what he’s done…not swanning around with a bunch of diplomats. Come on Jean-Luc, we’re going to make some very loud noises about this!”

Just as she was rising, the Captain grabbed her arm.
“You won’t get anywhere Beverly…he’s been granted diplomatic immunity, he’s out of the reach of the law. And besides these current talks are too important…no one is going to allow past indiscretions by any members of the team to derail the convention. In return for a lasting peace with the Cardassians I’m afraid it will be a case of turning a blind eye.”

The incensed Doctor shook her arm free and stalked in front of the watching man.

“This is…this is…an outrage! Since when did the Federation cast aside its values and tenets…its fundamental principals… to accommodate murders and torturers? It’s obscene!”

Jean-Luc lowered his head and rubbed his forehead tiredly.

“Look I agree with you, but think of the lives that will be saved by a lasting peace. I know the ends don’t justify the means but in the long term some real good may come of this.”

Beverly paced restlessly in silence for a few minutes before halting and spearing Jean-Luc with a hard look.

“What did he want? Did he taunt you? Try any of his sick little mind games?”

The tired man slowly shook his head.

“No…actually he came to make a rather extraordinary offer.”

Her face registering her disbelief, Beverly’s voice was scornful.
“Oh really? And what was this offer Jean-Luc? A promise to behave? To make reparations to all the families he bereaved?”

Jean-Luc’s voice was so soft; Beverly had to move closer to hear him.

“No Beverly…he came to offer a solution to my problem. He told me they have a device that, when implanted in my brain, could be used to rectify the damage the nanites couldn’t repair. In essence he told me I would regain the full use of my leg.”

Beverly’s mouth opened and closed and she shook her head.

“But you know damn well that their scientists test all their technology, especially medical technology, on captives and slaves! How many innocent victims do you think suffered and died for their advances Jean-Luc?”

Anger caused his face to blanch and his eyes to glitter.

“I said much the same thing to him Beverly! Do you think me insensitive to the suffering of others? Especially those who fell into his hands?”

Realising her mistake, Beverly knelt in front of the Captain and shook her head.

“Of course not! Look Jean-Luc I’m sorry but you can’t seriously be considering his offer? It’s an affront to all civilised people, not to say legitimising their methods. And besides…why did he make the offer in the first place? What’s his agenda Jean-Luc? What hasn’t he told you?”

Jean-Luc ran his hands over his thighs and closed his eyes.

“As for his agenda…hidden or not, I don’t know. His explanation was that he wishes peace between us and I am coming to the conclusion that he may well have been telling the truth. A lot has happened on Cardassia Beverly, both to the governments and the people. He says he’s changed, admittedly by virtue of external factors not by choice and he views his past atrocities as that of a loyal servant doing his job for his people, however he seems genuine in his efforts to help me and I must face the fact that I am beginning to lean in favour of his offer.”

Sarcasm coloured her voice.

“Are you so desperate to regain the use of your leg that you’re willing to ignore the known barbarity of these people and then blithely put yourself in debt to a monster like Madred? My God Jean-Luc…how could you?”

The Captain looked up his eyes soft.

“I think you’re forgetting something Beverly. What of the benefits to our people? If this procedure was to take place and succeed, think of all the people that could be spared a lifetime of disability. Surely as a Doctor you can see how this could herald a new era in treating the brain injured?”

Beverly snorted.

“So what…you think of yourself as some kind of pioneer? A hero?”

His reply was filled with anger.

“Of course not! But I am willing to be the first.”

Beverly turned and looked out over the bay, ordering her thoughts. Slowly turning back, she scratched her head.

“And what about compatibility? Humans are fundamentally different to Cardassians.”

“He assured me there is a physician in their group well versed in the use of the device in Humans.”

Beverly sneered.

“And that doesn’t bother you? How do you think they came by that knowledge Jean-Luc?”

The Captain folded his arms and lowered his head.

“I believe we’ve already discussed that. Look you know I’m aware of what they’ve done in the past…the atrocities, the torture and murder of the innocent, but I still believe there can be some good in this.”
He looked resolutely into her eyes.

“At least allow their physician to talk to Doctor Hulm. If he refuses I’ll abide by his decision, but equally, if he agrees with the procedure you will cease your objections and allow me to undergo the surgery.”

Beverly clenched her jaw and stared down at her lover.

“Are you aware of the Hippocratic Oath?”

He nodded silently.

“The first rule Jean-Luc…first and foremost, do no harm! You are putting your head in a noose…and you’re placing yourself in debt to one of the most reprehensible beings ever to draw breath. Don’t expect me to condone your decision Jean-Luc, I can’t, but I do recognise your right to choose. If Thomas okays it I won’t stand in your way just don’t look to me for approval. I can’t give it to you. I won’t abandon you…I’ll be by your side but I won’t like it.”

Jean-Luc nodded grimly.

“Agreed. I’ll contact Madred tonight and ask him to arrange a meeting between the Doctors.”

Beverly refrained from replying, instead going to the back of his chair and turning him.
”Now I want you changed out of those wet clothes. If you catch a cold there’ll be hell to pay.”

Nothing more was said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You can’t be serious! Tell me this is some sort of joke Beverly.”

The Doctor sat back and slid her fingers through her hair.

“I wish I could Dee.”

The Counsellor frowned deeply and shook her head.

“But Beverly the Cardassians have always tested their technology on imprisoned beings…people with no say in their destiny. How could Captain Picard even consider this? It tacitly condones their past actions.”

Beverly rubbed her forehead and sighed.

“It’s complicated Deanna. On one hand he desperately wants to regain the use of his leg and on the other Madred is making an irresistible peace offer. Deep down I think Jean-Luc wants to find some sort of closure between him and Madred, I just wish it wasn’t like this.”

Deanna’s fathomless obsidian eyes glittered.

“Do you think Madred has an ulterior motive? Perhaps he’s dangling this miracle cure in front of the Captain to achieve something else…something we’re not yet aware of.”

The Doctor grimaced and shook her head.

“If he’s up to something he’s playing his cards very close to his chest. Over the past two days Jean-Luc has had exhaustive scans and tests to assess his suitability for the procedure. Thomas has been with the Cardassian Doctor for hours discussing the technology and assessing the risks involved. Of course they’re working with a clean slate…Jean-Luc has already given his consent, he’s just waiting for their verdict.”

Deanna nodded.

“And Madred?”

Beverly scowled and sipped her rapidly cooling tea.

“Oh he’s been around. He spent an hour with Jean-Luc yesterday. I asked the Captain about it but he doesn’t want to talk.”

Beverly snorted and sighed.

“This is really bugging me. I understand what he’s going through Dee, but this is so out of character…”

The Counsellor’s eyes pierced Beverly’s, their intensity not the least diminished by the vast distance that separated them.

“Is it Beverly? I know his motivation is probably seventy percent personal, but I also know, with absolute assuredness, that he would also be seeking to help others in some way. If this works it’ll have far reaching effects right throughout the Federation. Once the accords are ratified we’ll be sharing technology with the Cardassians and I’ll tell you now, no one is going to complain about their methods when our people are reaping the benefits.”

Beverly rubbed her face and huffed.

“Jean-Luc said much the same thing and as a Doctor I can see the truth of his words but still…”

Deanna watched the worried woman and said softly,

“How’s your relationship with him?”

Beverly’s smile was tired.

“A little strained at the moment. Of course we’ve not been intimate for so long…I’m hoping we can get through this in one piece. Time will tell I suppose.”

Deanna nodded.

“Maybe, if the procedure works, he can leave the hospital and you can have some time alone together.”

“Beverly bolstered her smile and lifted her chin.

“Maybe. So…what’s the big E up to?”

Deanna flapped a hand and rolled her eyes.

“We’re on a mapping survey out near the rim. Will’s bored and the crew are getting sick of him haunting their departments trying to find something to do.”

The Doctor chuckled, her blue eyes sparkling.

“Ah…the joys of Captaincy.”

She pressed her fingers to the screen and winked.

“Well I have to go Dee. I’ll be in touch.”

The Counsellor mirrored her actions and sighed.

“Tell Captain Picard we’re thinking of him and Beverly…keep your chin up. Troi out.”

Beverly sat back and sighed before tabbing off the terminal and leaving the room.

 

 


Submitted: July 05, 2013

© Copyright 2021 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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