A Knowing Hand

A Knowing Hand

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

After crash-landing on a planet, Picard is left paralysed. Crusher has to help heal him and in the meantime, assist him in coping with his difficult recovery.

Summary

After crash-landing on a planet, Picard is left paralysed. Crusher has to help heal him and in the meantime, assist him in coping with his difficult recovery.

Chapter1 (v.1) - A Knowing Hand

Author Chapter Note

After crash-landing on a planet, Picard is left paralysed. Crusher has to help heal him and in the meantime, assist him in coping with his difficult recovery.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

Reads: 815

Comments: 1

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

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A Knowing Hand.

 

“I don’t like it Sir, it’s too dangerous.”

Commander William Riker, First Officer of the Starship Enterprise sat back in his chair, frowning deeply at his Captain.

Jean-Luc Picard smiled inwardly at his officer’s displeasure, but outwardly showed nothing but his command persona.

“That may be Number One, but we will go, nonetheless. You know as well as I that the Enterprise is needed at Rullum IV and you’re also aware that I must go to the Thillus sector to secure the needed participants for the resolution talks. They won’t deal with anyone else and I see no need to put them off. Doctor Crusher and I will leave at 1400 hours and I expect you to carry on as normal.”

Lifting his chin, Riker tried one more time.

“Yes Sir. Of course I will see to my duties, but I can’t help but be concerned. The rebels are serious about disrupting the talks and I just think we’re providing them with too good an opportunity! You will have to travel by shuttle to starbase 215, pick up the vaccines, then make your way unescorted to Thillus. You must admit, Sir, it’s a terrible risk to take.”

Pursing his lips, the Captain cast a glance at his Chief Medical Officer. To her credit, although she saw his look, Beverly Crusher kept her opinions to herself. Sighing, he looked around the briefing table.

“Does anyone else have an opinion?”

The rest of the attending officers, Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge, Counsellor Deanna Troi and Lieutenant Commander Data looked at their Captain in exasperation.

It was Geordi who spoke. “It’s a no win situation. You’re both right and I can’t see a way out of this. We have to go to Rullum IV and the Captain has to go to Thillus.”

Deanna raised her obsidian eyes to her commanding officer. “Sir, could you take a security detail with you? At least they could be on hand if you encounter any trouble.”

That idea seemed to brighten the participants’ demeanour until the Captain started shaking his head.

“No, I don’t think so. Look, we’ll be gone less than ten days and our stay on Thillus will be, hopefully, brief and I’m sure their security will be adequate for the duration of our stay. I really don’t see the point in any further discussion. Dismissed.”

Will Riker rose from his seat slowly and looked down at his Captain. “Sir…”

Shaking his head once more, Jean-Luc grimaced. “That will be all Number One.”

As the last of his officers left the room, Jean-Luc looked at his best friend and, recently, lover. Smiling, he took her hand. “Well, that went well, don’t you think?”

Beverly smiled that special smile she reserved for him only and sighed.

“If you think so Jean-Luc. They weren’t very happy…and Will…”

“Will is never happy when I leave the ship Beverly, you know that. He’ll just have to get used to the idea.”

She shook her head and chuckled. “And what about me? You don’t really need me on hand to take delivery of those vaccines. You’re quite capable of doing that yourself and you know it. Do I detect an ulterior motive?”

The colour rose softly over his skin and he smiled lopsidedly. “Guilty. Look, I know there’s unrest with the rebels and a slight, but real danger, but I don’t think we’ll meet with anything remotely hazardous. We will be travelling in Federation space the whole time and we’ll have the added bonus of security at starbase 215. What do you think? Is the slight risk worth a few days off on Thillus? It’s a beautiful place Beverly and I was sort of hoping I could show you the falls at Sett. They’re magnificent.”

Beverly looked deep into his sparkling hazel eyes and capitulated. It was never in question anyway; she would follow him anywhere, the added incentive of being able to keep an eye on him pleasing her.

“I’ll go and pack then. Shuttle bay…?

“Three.”

“Shuttle bay three at 1350.”

He smiled and sighed his satisfaction as she gracefully rose and left the room

*This will be fine, just fine.*

 

 

 

Captain Jean-Luc Picard looked out at the wondrous sight of his ship as she jumped to warp and disappeared in a flash of blue light. He never tired of seeing the sight and smiled as he felt Beverly’s arms snake around his neck.

“So…it’s just us now huh?”

He took the time to set the course and speed and watched as the runabout made her own jump to warp speed. Leaning back in his seat, he took her hands in his and raised them to his lips, kissing them softly.

“We’ve two days to starbase 215, a lay over of four hours, then another day and a half to Thillus. Whatever shall we do with the time?”

Beverly laughed outright and kissed his neck. “Well, I’ve brought a stack of reports to catch up on and then there’s all those journals…you know how the Captain is about keeping up to date…”

He chuckled softly and nodded. “Yes, I know. I happen to have brought along quite a lot of my own work. Wouldn’t do to upset the old man.”

Beverly nuzzled into his neck and face.

“Old man? Who, the Captain? That’s not been my experience…”

Jean-Luc loosened her hold and turned the chair to face her. Standing slowly, he wound his arms around her and kissed her softly, imparting his love, his desire, They soon made their way to the sleeping quarters at the rear of the runabout and spent the rest of the ships afternoon making love, their work forgotten.

 

 

 

 

“Starbase 215 is coming up on scanners now. ETA, 15 minutes.”

“Thank you Beverly. Drop to full impulse and hail them.”

The formalities taken care of, the couple relaxed and watched the starbase emerge on the viewscreen.

Beverly watched her companion as he watched the screen. Smiling at his concentration, she asked, “Do you want me to be there for the vaccine transfer?”

He nodded. “It’s not strictly necessary, but I would appreciate your input. The stasis units are already replicated and I don’t foresee any trouble, but you can never be too careful.”

“No problem.”

Soon after that, docking instructions were received and the runabout entered starbase 215.

 

 

Captain Barry Hall was on hand to greet the officers as they disembarked. Pleasantries out of the way, the couple were led to the medical facility where Beverly checked the vaccines and caught up on old times with a colleague she hadn’t seen for a number of years.

 

 

 

In the shadows of a cavernous cargo bay of the starbase, a figure dressed in black and holding two small parcels, surreptitiously crept up onto the transporter pad and entered the co-ordinates of the runabout. Re-materialising inside the runabout, the figure wasted no time in accessing the small tubes either side of the warp nacelles, fixing the parcels on each plasma relay. His work complete, he regained the transporter pad and beamed back to the cargo bay where he expertly erased any trace of his actions.

 

 

 

 

Three hours later, with promises to keep in touch, the Captain and the Doctor left the starbase and once again found themselves in the blackness of space. As the stars streaked by, Beverly brought the last items of their meal to the table.

“So anyway, I realised I’d not seen her for 20 years! Can you imagine how surprised I was?”

Jean-Luc chuckled and shook his head. “Twenty years. Did she know Jack? Does she know about Wesley?”

Beverly shot him a wry look. “Yes, she knew Jack… and Wesley? She knows now.”

They ate in companionable silence, read and worked for some hours before tiring and going to bed.

Beverly was dreaming about her late husband Jack, when a sudden explosion sent them both onto the deck.

 “What the hell was that?”

Jean-Luc recovered first. “Go forward and check our status. Find out where that blast came from. I’ll see if I can pinpoint from here.”

As Beverly moved forward another sickening explosion rocked the runabout, knocking them both off their feet. With the interior filled with smoke and lighting reduced to almost nothing, Jean-Luc realised the inertial dampeners were off line. Shaking his head, his ears buzzing, he wiped at the blood streaming down his face and tried to find Beverly. A sharp pain in his side slowed his movements and he coughed as he called her name.

“Beverly! Where are you?”

He heard coughing then a groan and made his way towards the sounds, coming across Beverly suddenly.

“Are you alright?”

She groaned again and gripped his shoulder. “Oh God, my leg…”

Using his hands, Jean-Luc gently ran his fingers down Beverly’s thigh until he encountered a jagged piece of metal embedded in the tight muscle.

“Beverly, wait here. I’ll try and gain environmental control and get rid of this smoke.”

He didn’t see her nod as he staggered to his feet on the canting deck and made his way forward.

Most of the controls were off line and life support was failing, but he did manage to instigate an air cleansing cycle. Though incomplete, it cleared the air enough for them to breathe easier and see. Jean-Luc then tried and failed to gain axial control. Moving back to the groaning Doctor, he knelt by her side.

“What do I do? How do I stop the bleeding?”

Beverly gritted her teeth and gasped, “Get a med kit, quickly.”

He was back in moments.

“Alright, now what.”

She took the kit and selected a vial to load into a hypospray. Jean-Luc took it and injected her, watching as the pain melted from her face.

“It’s ok Jean-Luc, I can see to myself now.”

She took a tricorder and scanned herself, then selected another vial. Seeing that she seemed to be functioning all right, Jean-Luc went forward and attempted to send a distress signal. When that failed, he tried, with limited success, to ascertain their heading and speed. By now well off course, they were still travelling at sub-light speed. Both warp nacelles had been blown off the runabout, the damage to the hull offset by emergency force fields. Had the shielding not been recently upgraded, they would not have survived the double blast. They had two intermittently working thrusters and failing life support.

He had to find somewhere to put down…and soon.

With barely functioning sensors, he found a planet that was within reach and class M, but only just. The oxygen content of the atmosphere was at the extreme limit for human habitation but, having no choice, he coaxed the runabout into a lopsided turn and made ready as best he could.

Wincing in pain, he made his way back to Beverly to see her tying off a bandage around her thigh. With the metal still obviously embedded in her leg, he asked, “You won’t take it out?”

She shook her head tiredly and sighed. “No. There’s probably quite a bit of damage to the muscle and blood vessels. It’s safer if I leave it there. With the pain killer and antibiotics, it should be ok for a while.”

She looked up at her lover and scowled.

“Jean-Luc, you’re bleeding everywhere. Here let me have a look.”
He took her hands in his and shook his head. “No time, Beverly. We’re about to try and land…and it’s going to be a little rough. I want you strapped in. Come on, let me help you.”

With that he gently eased Beverly down to a seat that was still bolted to the sloping deck.

Having secured her, he went back to the cockpit in time to see the planet looming up through the screen. Gritting his teeth and saying a silent prayer, he called back to the Doctor.

“Descending now.”

The plume of fire around the runabout grew in intensity as he tried to control their descent. Time and time again he fired the weakening thrusters, only barely keeping them under terminal velocity. When they broke through the sullen green clouds, he knew the ground was coming up far too quickly. With one last prolonged burst from the thrusters, he got the nose up and managed to ease them into a rapid glide. Still too fast, but better than before.

“Beverly, brace for impact!”

It was the last thing he said for a long while.

 

 

 

The runabout struck an outcropping of rock, slewed sideways and clipped the top of some trees, spinning sickeningly. Another rock massif collided with them, sending them plummeting to the trees below. Fortunately, the trees arrested their speed and they came to a bouncing, grinding halt, the runabout on its side, wedged between to enormous trunks.

 

 

 

 For some time, it was silent in the wreckage as leaves and bark, small branches and

twigs rained down. Then, with a muffled whoosh, fire appeared at the rear and slowly gained a hold. Inside it was dark and smoky, the two occupants unconscious as the fire increased and inched towards them.

Beverly woke first, confused and in pain. Her hands went to her head, the throbbing telling her of injury. As she raised her arms, her broken ribs became evident and she gasped, a wave of dizziness overcoming her. A shallow calming breath, then her hands began to undo the harness that held her suspended in the seat, two metres above what was now the floor. Beverly knew she would fall and that it would hurt, but she was unprepared for the impact and again lost consciousness momentarily. The heat from the fire awoke her and, groaning, she started to look for her Captain. She dragged herself forward, keeping low under the smoke and came across his body lying face down at the entrance to the cockpit.

Terrified at what she would find, she gingerly felt his neck and nearly sobbed with relief when she felt the faint throb of life beating within him. Waving her hands in front of her face, she tried to get a better look at his injuries, but it was impossible, the smoke was too thick and getting worse. With no other choice, she gripped him under his shoulders and tugged. Nothing happened.

*He must be snagged somehow. *

Feeling along his back, she found a shard of metal protruding across his waist and traced it to find it connected to the back of the upturned chair. With no time for finesse, she braced her hands against the chair and pushed, seeing dark blood ooze out as the metal left the flesh of his back. Again grasping his shoulders, and grunting in pain, Beverly dragged her lover to the hatch on the runabout roof and hit the emergency release. With a noisy explosion and a rushing exchange of atmosphere, the hatch blew off and Beverly was able to drag Jean-Luc out and to safety. She realised the fire was worsening and moved as quickly as she could behind another huge tree just as the runabout exploded in a ball of eerie green flames. She covered Jean-Luc with her own body as bits of the runabout rained down, igniting some of the plant debris around them. The resulting fires were desultory the green flames guttering quickly. Beverly had little time to ponder this as she bent to examine her Captain.

He was badly injured. The tibia of his left leg was protruding through the material of his trousers and his left arm was obviously broken. Ghastly burns ran up his legs and back, the blood still flowed sluggishly from the terrible wound in his lower back and his head was lacerated in several places. Gingerly turning him over, Beverly could see bad facial tears and a broken nose, his eyes already swollen shut. With gentle hands, she felt his chest, feeling the telltale grinding of broken ribs. And what of his internal organs? She’d been unable to salvage anything from the runabout and without a tricorder she couldn’t scan him. She was working with her hands and eyes only and she knew it wouldn’t be enough. Her own injuries were debilitating, she doubted she could care for them both much longer. The pain she’d been ignoring was building and her headache was beginning to make her dizzy. She recognised the symptoms of concussion and shock, but there was nothing she could do about it. As the sky darkened, she rested her head beside her lover and softly cried until she lost consciousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two young lads had heard the explosion, but waited until daybreak to investigate. On their initiation hunt, the twins ate a light meal before leaving their camp and struck out for the forest at a quick pace. Barrel-chested, stocky and immensely powerful, their skin tinged with a bluish tint, the teenagers soon found the wreckage of the runabout and stood completely non-plussed by what they saw. Using their spears, they were poking about in the now cold ruin when their acute hearing picked up the sound of soft groaning coming from nearby. With caution, they approached a large tree and behind it, discovered the injured officers. At first they stood silently watching as a female with vibrant red hair slowly raised herself onto shaky arms and felt the neck of the male who lay inert beside her. Brushing a tear from her face, she tried to wipe the dried blood from his cheek and sighed gently when he moaned.

At the sound, one of the boys grunted, startling Beverly. She looked up and froze.

They were dressed in tanned skins and carried short spears with wicked barbed tips. Over their shoulders were slung shields. Their heads were shaved, except for a ponytail that hung plaited to their shoulders. On their feet were sturdy sandals and each had a belt with a knife in a scabbard around their waists.

They stepped forward together and, after quiet consultation, one of them poked Jean-Luc gently with the butt of his spear.

“Don’t! He’s badly injured. Can you help us?”

At the sound of her voice, the brothers started and stepped backwards. Beverly slowly sat up and beckoned to them.

“It’s ok, I won’t bite. Come closer…it’s ok.”

Slowly, the tension left their faces and curiosity took over. Moving in unison, they came forward and squatted close by. Pointing back towards the wrecked runabout, Beverly spoke slowly. “We crashed in that and were injured. I need to get help for my friend. Can you take me to your village?”

As she said this, she made gestures with her hands, hoping against hope that they would understand. They stood together and moved away, murmuring to each other. They left suddenly and Beverly groaned her frustration, once again alone with her injured companion.

Throughout the long day she tended to her unconscious lover. Occasionally he would moan or softly whimper, but he would not awaken. Beverly had rolled him over to try and keep the burns free of dirt and she had straightened his broken arm and leg as best she could but she was greatly frustrated by her inability to help him in a meaningful manner. Without instruments or drugs she was helpless.

It was late afternoon when she detected their approach. With remarkable suddenness, six beings appeared out of the forest and surrounded her. She would have been alarmed, except she saw they were carrying two litters.

Laying the stretchers on the ground, the four obviously older beings gently placed Jean-Luc face down one then gestured to Beverly to lie upon the other. In silence, they hefted the litters and followed the twins back the way they had come.

Beverly had noticed that any exertion on her part made her breathless and light headed but the natives seemed to be unaffected as they made a swift pace through the forest. Darkness gathered, and then fell, but still they pressed on. Beverly knew they had left the forest only when she realised she could see the stars in the night sky. The gentle movement of their gait lulled her into a light sleep and she was startled when they finally stopped. Moving through some large gates, Beverly could see by flaming torches that they had indeed reached a village. They entered a hut and were placed on beds next to each other, Beverly keen to see that Jean-Luc was kept face down. Beverly had barely begun to look around when two women entered and set about gently removing first Jean-Luc’s, then her clothing. Having achieved this, the women bathed them both, covered them with woven blankets, then left. Beverly once again examined Jean-Luc. Without the nuisance of dried blood in the way, she could get a better look at his injuries. His face was a mess. He’d obviously smashed his face on the console; she could see some pieces of clear aluminium embedded in the cuts. By the light of the flames she picked some out which started some of the cuts bleeding again. She was wiping away the blood when she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder. Looking up she was greeted by a pair of bright, intelligent eyes. This being was dressed differently to the others. In addition to a cloak and a sash about his waist, he had a full head of hair, which hung down free to below his hips and wore a brightly coloured headband to keep the hair from his eyes. Motioning to Beverly to sit on her cot, the being examined Jean-Luc, frowning and tut-tutting as he did. When he finished, he approached Beverly and she let him gently run his knowing hands over her; hands she recognised as a healers. He left soon after, but returned bearing a cup filled with a warm, slightly bitter liquid. Reluctant to drink, Beverly tried to forestall him, but he quietly insisted until Beverly felt she had no option but to drink. He then bade her to lie down and he stayed with her until she drifted off to sleep.

 

 

 

 

It was s shaft of sunlight that eventually broke through the haze of her drugged rest. She had no idea how much time had passed. She knew two things. She must examine Jean-Luc and she was hungry. Her hunger caught her by surprise. She wasn’t just hungry she was ravenous. As she slowly sat up, her elbow bumped a platter set beside her on a small stool. On it was what she guessed were a selection of fruits and what appeared to be a cup of water. Slowly at first she tasted the fruit and, finding it palatable, quickly downed all she could find, finishing it all off with the water. Although slightly brackish, it quenched her thirst and she smacked her lips when she finished. Now to Jean-Luc. He was still unconscious, still face down, his head turned towards her. She pulled the blanket back to find the burns of his back and legs swathed in a sticky brown goo that smelled slightly of vanilla. His arm and leg had been splinted. Looking closely at his wound across his lower back, she found it had been closed with the heads of an insect with large nippers. They had been encouraged to bite the wound and, once the mandibles were closed, the body was removed. All his lacerations on his back, face and leg had been similarly treated and Beverly smiled at their ingenuity. She wasn’t so pleased when she saw the reddened area around his leg wound. Infection was a danger she knew dogged them and with that in mind, she uncovered the wound in her leg to find it too was showing the first signs of putrification. The metal shard was still there but, oddly, she felt no pain. In fact, she felt no pain from any of her injuries. She was pondering this when the healer entered the hut.

He bowed his head slightly and moved to Jean-Luc, placing his hand on Jean-Luc’s forehead. Frowning and shaking his head he sighed and looked up at Beverly, speaking in a soft voice.

“I don’t understand. Are you telling me something about Jean-Luc?”

At the sound of her voice, the healer frowned again and shook his head. Undaunted, Beverly was determined to communicate. Tapping her chest, she said in a firm voice, “My name is Beverly. Beverly.”

She pointed at the healer. “You? What is your name?”

He though for a moment then uttered softly, “Issar.”

Beverly pointed at him and said, “Issar.” Then pointed to herself and said, “Beverly.”

Smiling, the healer pointed to her and slurred, “Beverly.”

She grinned broadly and pointed to the Captain. “He’s Jean-Luc… Jean-Luc.”

Again he said, with a slight slur, “Jean-Luc.”

Using her hands to gesture, Beverly asked, “How long have I been asleep?”

He seemed to know instinctively what she asked and made an arc with his fist twice.

“Two days? Can he mean two days? That means Jean-Luc’s head injuries are worse than I thought!” To Issar she said, “Has he woken up?” She pantomimed waking and he shook his head. She was about to ask more questions when he left her and went to the entrance to gently call out. Within moments, two women entered and moved to Jean-Luc. Gently raising his hips, they withdrew a soiled fleece pelt. After cleaning him, they replaced it with a clean one, and then drew the blanket up to his waist before leaving. Beverly looked at her bed and saw a similar piece of pelt and reddened when she realised its purpose. She picked it up and shook her head at Issar who had stood silently by as the women had tended to Jean-Luc. Smiling, he moved away and returned with a pot and placed it beside Beverly’s bed. She sighed. “Oh well, better than nothing.” She muttered.

Looking up at her benefactor, Beverly smiled and said, “He has broken ribs. We need to turn him over.” She made the appropriate hand movements and Issar understood.

He gently turned the comatose Captain and winced at the bruising evident on his chest and stomach.

Beverly picked up a cup and motioned, “He needs water.”

Nodding, Issar filled a cup and, with infinite care, lifted Jean-Luc’s head and managed to slowly dribble half of the contents into the Captain’s mouth. He swallowed convulsively, but most of the water went down. Unfortunately, it also started him coughing and Beverly was panicked when, along with some water, he brought up some bright blood.

“Oh God, lungs, stomach or both? Issar, has he done this before?” It took many gestures before Issar could make out what she asked. He nodded and drew three strokes into the dirt floor.

“He’ll dehydrate! Issar, we must keep giving him water in small doses. Like this.” To demonstrate, Beverly dipped her fingers into the water and held them above Jean-Luc’s lips. The falling drips made their way into his mouth and he swallowed. Nodding, Issar softly called and a woman came in. He spoke to her at length and she seated herself beside Jean-Luc, slowly administering water to him as Beverly had shown.

Satisfied momentarily, Beverly smiled her gratitude and tried to rise from her cot. She swayed and would have fallen but for Issar’s strong hands. He guided her back to her bed and pressed another cup of liquid into her hand. She shook her head and tried to tell him she didn’t want to sleep anymore, but he insisted. As soon as she tasted the liquid, she knew it was different. He gently touched her injuries and smiled, although he lingered over her swollen thigh. Since undoing the bandage, the muscle had distended with angry red flesh surrounding the shard of metal. Infection had obviously taken hold and Issar was taking a closer look when Jean-Luc croaked Beverly’s name.

She was immediately at his side. “Jean-Luc, can you hear me?”

He groaned and slowly lifted his hand to his head. “Jean-Luc, try not to move too much. We crashed the runabout and you’ve been injured. Just lie still.”

He tried again. “Beverly?”

“I’m here Jean-Luc.”

“Beverly…pain…”

“I know. You have head injuries, broken ribs, burns to your back and legs and a badly broken leg. I know you’re…”

He turned his head and tried to open his eyes. “Broken leg? Burnt legs? Beverly, I can’t feel my legs. There’s no pain there at all.”

Beverly suddenly felt very cold. Casting about, she found a twig on the floor and moved to his feet. She dragged the twig end up the sole of first one foot, then the other with no reaction. Next she squeezed the twig hard across his toenails and again there was no reaction. “Jean-Luc, can you feel this?” She reached up and squeezed his broken leg and felt sick when his quiet voice said, “No.”

“Beverly, what is it? Why can’t I feel my legs?”

Instead of answering, Beverly gently stroked his face.

“Jean-Luc, we’re going to turn you onto your side. We’ll be as gentle as we can.”

Gesturing to Issar, the two healers rolled Jean-Luc onto his side where Issar held him.

The action wakened his pain. Jean-Luc was gasping in agony, but said nothing.

Using her hands, Beverly gently pressed around the worst of the burns across his back. “Can you feel that?”

“Yes.”

“And that?”

“Yes.”

She had made her way to the deep laceration in the small of his back. She touched it. He didn’t react. She touched his buttocks and thighs…nothing.

With great care, they rolled him onto his back and Beverly sat beside him.

“Jean-Luc, when I found you in the runabout, you had a piece of metal embedded in your lower back. I had to free it to get you out. I think the shard has damaged your spinal cord. That’s why you have no feeling below that injury.”

He drew a ragged breath and groped for her hand. “I’m paralysed?”

Tears welled in her eyes as she nodded. “For now, yes. I’ll know more when we get you back to the Enterprise.”

They were silent for a time, Beverly began to think he drifted off, when he suddenly rasped, “How long?”

“How long what?”

“How long have we been here?”

Sighing, she answered, “Three days, I think.”

He was quiet again for a while.

“Should be about three or four more days then.”

She frowned, not understanding him.

“Until what?”

“The Enterprise misses us. When we don’t show up at the rendezvous point, they will initiate a search, starting from starbase 215. They’ll retrace our flight path and hopefully pick up the debris field and follow our plasma trail to here, wherever here is. Where are we, by the way?”

Beverly smiled to herself. Although badly injured, paralysed and in considerable pain, he still thought as a Starship Captain.

“Well, as far as I can figure, we’re in a village. So far the natives have been friendly, in fact they’ve been very helpful. They’re intelligent and resourceful; their healer has quite a knowledge of the pharmacology of plants. Here, drink this.”

Beverly had taken the cup from the woman and dribbled a little water into his mouth.

He grimaced and turned his head. “No more, I feel nauseous.”

Beverly frowned and shook her head. “Jean-Luc you really need to drink. It’s important. You already have a fever and you’ve been vomiting.”

He sighed shallowly. “Later Beverly, maybe later.”

He seemed to settle then, but he squeezed her hand to get her attention.

“Can you do anything for the pain? It’s very bad in my head and chest and my back.”

Beverly knew that for him to ask, it must be very severe. She motioned to Issar and picked up her drink. “Can he have this painkiller?”

Sadly he shook his head and placed his hands on his head and winced.

“What? Will it increase cranial pressure?” She thought hard for a few minutes. “If he has a skull fracture…”

She looked up at the healer and nodded her understanding. To Jean-Luc she said, “We can’t give you anything Jean-Luc because of you head injuries. I don’t know what it is and I don’t really know what it could do to you. I have to be guided by the healer.”

He nodded and she saw the muscles of his jaw clench.

Issar gave Beverly a strip of wet pelt and she gently wiped it over Jean-Luc’s brow. He sighed and slowly drifted off to sleep. She stayed by his side for the remainder of the day, feeding him water at regular intervals and applying the wet pelt to his fevered body.

Early in the evening, two women came in and gently lifted Jean-Luc’s hips, waking him.

“What?”

“Easy Jean-Luc, they’re just changing the bed.”

“Why?”

“It’s …soiled.”

“Soiled? How?”

Beverly gritted her teeth. “Jean-Luc, you have no feeling below the waist. You have no control…over…”

“Oh God.”

“Hey, it’s ok…perfectly normal in the circumst…”

“It’s not ok, it’s bloody not OK!”

Suddenly he started to cough and retch. Beverly rolled him onto his side and he coughed and vomited up blood and water. Gasping for breath and groaning in pain he gripped her arms and tried to recover himself.

“Can’t breathe!” he gasped.

“Steady…just slow down and take it slow…you’re ok, it’s ok now.”

Slowly he regained his breath and gingerly settled on his back. When he could, he spoke.

“Low oxygen.”

“What?”

“This planet. Barely M class. Low oxygen content.”

A light went on in Beverly’s head. “Well that explains a few things. The people here have huge chests, much larger lung capacity than us and the have a bluish tinge to their skin. Yes! The fire at the runabout crash was green and soon went out and every time I exert myself I get breathless. I bet…” Beverly looked closely at her hands. “Uh huh, cyanosis.” She checked Jean-Luc’s hands and looked carefully at his face. “You’ve got blue lips too. You know this isn’t going to help with healing. With less oxygen in our blood, the cells won’t regenerate so quickly. I’ll have to see if Issar can help.”

“Beverly…”

“If we can…”

“Beverly…”

“What?”

“What if you can’t repair my spine?”

Her mind stopped dead in its tracks. “Jean-Luc, you know better than to cross bridges before we get to them. I don’t even know how deep it is. Let’s just leave the conjecture and concentrate on the now. Ok?”

He nodded reluctantly and sighed. “I wish I could open my eyes.”

“You will, my love, you will.”

The night and the day that followed were long and painful for Jean-Luc. Unable to keep any water down and still coughing up blood, he slowly deteriorated until he began to drift in and out of consciousness. His temperature continued to rise, defeating all Issar’s efforts and making Beverly frantic with worry. The burns over his body suppurated, oozing serum and pus. Unless help arrived soon, he would die.

 

 

 

As the Captain had predicted, the Enterprise was indeed on their trail, albeit a little earlier than he presaged. Their business concluded sooner than expected, they had re-entered Federation space only to receive an urgent subspace message to the effect that the Captain and CMO had not reached Thillus. They warped directly to starbase 215 and set out on the flight path to Thillus. Eight hours into their journey they encountered the debris from the nacelles. Picking up the vented plasma, they entered orbit around planet 44G and began to search for human life signs.

Will shifted in his seat and glanced worriedly at Deanna.

“Anything yet Mr.Data?”

Shaking his head, the android turned from his console.

“No Sir. Since the discovery of the remains of the runabout, we have been unable to define any human life signs. The closest habitation is nine point two kilometres from the crash site and there are forty-three native bio signatures. If the Captain and Doctor Crusher are with them, we can not tell them from the natives.”

Again Will look at the Counsellor.

“They’re there Will. I can sense them.”

Nodding, the Commander glanced up at the ceiling. “Geordi, can you enhance the sensors? We need to pick two needles from a haystack.”

Geordi’s chuckle filtered through the speakers. “I’m working on it. Give me half an hour. Engineering out.”

The half hour passed slowly.

“Engineering to Bridge…the sensors are as sharp as we can make them. Good luck.”

Will turned to the second officer. “Mr.Data?”

“Scanning now Sir.”

Tense minutes followed.

“I have then Sir. They are both injured. The Captain…”

“Right. Beam them…”

Deanna rose to her feet. “Wait Will! We can’t just beam them up. Think of the Prime Directive. If they de-materialise it could cause chaos if someone sees it. We have to wait until they’re alone.”

Data quietly interrupted the officers. “I would point out Counsellor that Captain Picard’s life signs are weakening. I believe he is close to death.”

Will stood motionless for a moment. Then came to a decision. “Data, what time is it on the planet?”

Checking the panel, Data rested his golden eyes on his Commander. “Early evening Sir.”

“Right. We wait until the village falls asleep, then we beam them up. Agreed?”

The three officers stared at the viewscreen, each lost in their own thoughts.

 

Beverly was dozing when she heard an odd gurgling sound. Night had fallen, darkening their hut. Focussing on the sound, she rolled out of bed and was at Jean-Luc’s side instantly. He was choking. Whilst lying on his back, he’d vomited and inhaled the vomit into his lungs. Unconscious and unable to move, he would have choked to death if not for the quick intervention of his best friend. Beverly quickly rolled him onto his side and was clearing his mouth when she felt the familiar tingle of the transporter.

 

 

 

Re-materialising in Sickbay, Beverly spoke without looking at her fellow Doctor. “Selar, he’s aspirated his vomit. We need to clear his airway!”

Gently pushing her boss aside, Selar and two med techs lifted Jean-Luc onto a bio bed and began to work on him. After a few tense moments, Selar nodded to Beverly to let her know they had established a clear airway. It was then that Dr. Johnson began to scan Beverly. Trying to brush him aside, Beverly was forestalled by Will Riker. “Oh no you don’t Beverly. You’re obviously injured and need treatment. Dr.Selar will take care of the Captain for now. You let Mike do his job and we’ll talk when he’s finished with you.”

“Now you look here Will…”

“That’s an order, Doctor.”

Beverly was so incensed she never heard the hiss of the hypospray.

 

 

 

 

As it turned out, they kept her sedated for two days. The surgery to remove the metal shard was successful as was the treatment for the broken bones and infections. What she needed most now was rest and her staff was determined to grant it. In a room on her own, she was allowed to regain consciousness naturally. It took her a few moments to remember where she was and what had happened. Only the regen field on her leg stopped her from leaping out of bed.

“Selar!”

After a moment, the graceful Vulcan entered Beverly’s room.

“How is Captain Picard?”

Showing not a trace of emotion, the Doctor said in a measured voice, “He is seriously ill Doctor Crusher, but we expect him to recover.”

“And his spine? What’s the prognosis? What of his other injuries?”

“The spinal cord was partially severed at the second lumbar vertebrae. He has no sensation below the injury. His skull was fractured in two places, with resulting damage to the meninges. His left radius was fractured and he sustained a compound fracture of the left tibia. He had three broken ribs, which lacerated his right lung and an abdominal rupture, leading to haemorrhage into the abdomen. His nose and both eye sockets were fractured. His soft tissue injuries include several severe facial lacerations and moderate to severe burns to the back and legs and significant contusions to most of his upper body.

With the exception of the spinal injury, all his injuries have been successfully treated. We are at present having difficulties eradicating the infection, which has infiltrated the bone in several places. He is at present under a full body regen field and is heavily sedated. Would you like to see him?”

Sighing, Beverly controlled her voice. “Yes Selar, I would like very much to see him.”

After turning off the regen field and procuring a robe, the two Doctors entered the Captain’s private room.

“Oh God Jean-Luc.”

Under the blue light of the regen field, his body suspended above the bed by an anti-grav beam, he looked gaunt. A bio-waste unit was connected to his lower body and a re-hydration tube snaked into his right arm. Beverly closed her eyes.

“How much weight has he lost?”

Selar picked up a PADD and consulted it. “Seven point two kilos.”

“He can’t spare it. What was the latest cystology? Is he passing any flora?”

Again looking at the PADD, “None that we can identify.”

Beverly brushed an errant hair from her face. “We’re sure its bacterial right? I mean if it’s viral…”

“No Doctor, its bacterial. Just very elusive. His temperature continues to hover at 41C degrees. His body is fighting it, we just have to find a way to help him.”

“He must be very weak by now.”

It was Selar’s turn to sigh.

“That is a problem. He’s been through a severe trauma and he needs strength to recover. Hopefully we will solve this enigma soon.”

Beverly squared her shoulders and faced her colleague. “Well let me help. I’ve got to do something!”

Selar shook her head. “I’m sorry Doctor. You’re off duty until further notice. My orders are to confine you to your quarters if necessary and to sedate you if you resist.”

“Oh really? And who gave those orders?”

“Commander Riker.”

The famed Howard temper was in full swing. “Well last time I looked I was still CMO on this ship! As far as I know, he has no medical degree and if he thinks he can…”

“Doctor Crusher…please. As your physician I agree with Commander Riker and I do have the requisite degree. Please report to you cabin and rest. Don’t make me order you.”

Beverly’s mouth snapped shut as she glared at her fellow Doctor. Part of her knew Selar was right, but the greater part wanted desperately to stay with Jean-Luc. Fortunately, common sense prevailed. Turning on her heel, Beverly stalked out of Sickbay and marched straight to her billet. She’d only been there ten minutes when she was hailed by Will. “Beverly I know you’re mad at me, but we need to talk.”

Taking a deep breath, Beverly answered him.

“Acknowledged Commander.”

He was there within minutes.

Frostily, Beverly greeted him. “What can I do for you Commander?”

“Beverly…”

She seated herself by the viewports and tried to maintain her anger. “I’ve been ordered to my quarters to rest. I would appreciate it if you would be brief.”

“Beverly! It’s me, Will Riker. Stop the bullshit and talk to me.”

Her anger evaporated, a small smile appearing.

“I’m sorry Will, sit down. What do you want to know?”

Returning her smile with a wide grin of his own, the big man settled on the sofa. “Well for starters, what the hell happened to you two?”

“There was an explosion…in fact there were two explosions on the runabout when we were about eight hours out of starbase 215. Both nacelles were destroyed and we lost most of our power and life support. We were both hurt, but Jean-Luc managed to find that planet and put us down. How we survived I don’t know, it was a pretty rough landing. The villagers found us and they took us in and helped us. Did you recover the runabout remains?”

Will stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Yes we did and we found some interesting things. The explosive used was fairly common, but the detonator was Orion. We’re thinking the Thillus rebels had a hand in it. Starbase 215 is conducting an investigation, but it could take weeks. They see a tremendous amount of traffic through there.”

Beverly nodded then fixed the Commander with an earnest look. “Will, how long will I be off duty? You must know about Jean-Luc. I want to help.”

Will smiled and patted her leg. “Not long. As soon as we know for sure you’ve rested and eaten properly, I’m sure Selar will let you loose. Be patient.”

“Harrumph! Patient indeed.”

Still smiling, the big man stood. “Well, I’ll be off. I’d like your report as soon as you can…and…oh yeah, Deanna will come by later. She wants to talk with you.”

“Bye Will.”

As the doors whispered closed, Beverly went to her terminal and began the report while it was still fresh in her mind. She was nearly finished when her door chimed.

“Come in.”

The doors parted to reveal her friend Deanna Troi.

“Hello Beverly, how are you feeling?”

“You tell me. Hot chocolate?”

Laughing, Deanna sat. “Yes please. If I had to put a finger on it I’d say you were frustrated and slightly angry.”

Placing the drinks on the low table, Beverly smiled ruefully. “Right on both counts, I’m afraid. I’m not where I want to be and I’m not doing what I want to do.”

“You can’t help him right now.” Deanna said softly.

“You don’t know that! With an extra pair of hands who knows what could be achieved?”

“Beverly…you’re tired and run down. Take the time to regain your strength. You’re not helping anyone like this. At least have a decent meal and a complete night’s rest.”

“Alright!…alright. I’ll be a good girl and eat and sleep, but if I’m not allowed back in Sickbay tomorrow…heads will roll!”

Beverly stewed for the remainder of the day, but she did eat a good meal and, not surprisingly, slept the entire night, waking feeling refreshed and ready for work in the morning.

 

 

 

 

Having gained Selar’s permission to return to work, Bevery strode into Sickbay, her blue lab coat flapping around her. Going straight to the Captain’s room, she checked the read-outs and the numerous PADDS before approaching her lover and gently stroking his face.

“Come on Jean-Luc, fight.”

Selar joined her boss and watched silently as Beverly spoke to her best friend. Realising she was no longer alone, Beverly turned to her companion. “I see his temperature has dropped half a degree.”

“Yes Doctor. We administered a derivative of Biatrol. It seemed to help. The infiltration into the bone has been arrested, although it has not retreated.”

“Still no flora in the urine?”

“No.”

“Good. It may be worth adding Tetrahorlon to the drug regime. It had been indicated with Biatrol in the past for stubborn infections. You never know, we may get lucky.”

Selar left to do her superior’s bidding and Beverly was once again alone with her lover.

 

 

 

The added drug did help and over the next seven hours, Jean-Luc’s temperature broke and the infection began to loosen its hold. It was a further two days before he awoke, his mind sluggish to take in his surroundings.

“Hey you. Welcome back.”

“Beverly?”

“Yes. Its ok, you’re on the Enterprise and you’re going to be fine.”

He lay quietly for a while, becoming more aware with each passing second. Suddenly his breathing stopped.

“Jean-Luc?”

“I can’t feel my legs. I’m still paralysed?”

Beverly’s heart sank. “For now, yes. But I have a few ideas…have faith in me.”

He looked sharply at her, his dark hazel eyes burning with indignation. “A few ideas?! I would hope you’d have more than that Doctor!”

She rested her hand on his trembling shoulder. “I’m sorry, that didn’t come out quite as I intended. It’s complicated Jean-Luc. Your spinal cord has been partially severed, but I have been doing some study and there’s been some very good results using nanites. It takes time, but a complete recovery could be achieved.”

“Could be?”

She sighed. “No guarantees I’m afraid.”

“And if it doesn’t work? What then?”

Beverly shook her head. “No. I refuse to entertain such questions. One thing at a time. As soon as you’re strong enough, we’ll begin treatment. Until then only positive thoughts, ok?”

His face fell into a stony mask and he nodded once. Beverly could see he was having trouble controlling himself. To keep herself busy, she started to disconnect the bio waste unit from his lower body.

“What are you doing?”

As Beverly got some swabs and gently cleaned him, she said, “You will have to learn to do without this Jean-Luc.”

He frowned and glared at her.

“And just how am I supposed to do that? I can’t FEEL anything dammit! Do you intend my humiliation to be a learning experience?”

Beverly closed her eyes and took a calming breath.

“Jean-Luc let’s get a few things straight. Yes, you have every right to feel angry, frightened and helpless and, yes, some of the things I’m going to ask you to do will seem impossible, but you have to trust me. I know what I’m doing and your attitude isn’t helping. You have a right to vent your feelings and I know, more than likely, it’s going to be me that cops it and I understand that, but we have to work together on this. It’s going to take time…possibly some months before you’re completely recovered and I can’t do it without your full cooperation. Tell you what. Any time you need to let off steam, tell me and we’ll work something out. Ok? Deal?”

He looked up at the only woman he’d ever truly loved and raised his hand to his face to hide his tears. Softly he said, “I’m sorry Beverly. It’s just so…frightening.”

She sat on the bed with him and gathered him into her arms.

“Together, Jean-Luc, together.”

They stayed like that for some time, until the Captain had regained his composure. Beverly sat up and rubbed his chest. “Now first thing. Patients with injuries like yours learn to control their bodily functions fairly quickly. You have to identify the changes that take place internally and learn how to hold on until we can get you to the toilet. In the interim, and I stress this is only temporary, you’ll be wearing an incontinence undergarment.”

“How delightful.”

“Yes. Well as I said it’s short term only. Think of the added incentive it will give you. I’ll put one on you now. You know, you’re going to be discovering an awful lot about your body over the next few weeks.”

Beverly left him momentarily and returned with the dreaded undergarment. It took no time to put it on. She then covered him with a blanket and replicated some soup and bread. Raising the back of the bed, she set the tray on his lap. He stared down at the meal and scowled.

“Jean-Luc you’ve lost a lot of weight and muscle. You need to build yourself up. Come on, its not that bad.”

He sighed and picked up the spoon and made a half-hearted attempt at eating, eventually pushing the bowl away after a few mouthfuls.

“I’m sorry Beverly. I still feel slightly nauseous. Maybe later?”

Beverly cocked her head and smiled at her friend. “Ok, later.”

He closed his eyes and rested his head back on the pillows. With his eyes still closed he rumbled, “When will you start…with the nanites?”

“It’ll be a few days yet. I have more study to do and I want you stronger.”

“I see. What about Dr. Russell’s treatment?”

The question was asked innocently enough, but the silence that followed was ominous.

“Beverly?”

“Never! How could you even suggest it! Toby Russell is a charlatan of the highest order. Her ‘treatment’ would most likely kill you!”

“She helped Worf…”

“She nearly killed him! If not for his exceptional Klingon physiology he would have died Jean-Luc! And she would’ve chalked it up as another failed experiment. No! I will not even consider it and neither should you!”

With that, she stormed out leaving a very chastened Captain in her wake.

 

 

 

 

The next three days passed slowly for Jean-Luc. He did indeed learn more about his body than he’d ever wanted to and he knew he still had much to discover. Beverly was his constant companion. With her patient help, he began to listen more carefully to his internal workings and began to understand how he might master the impossible. His lingering illness abated and he started to eat better, though still not to Beverly’s complete satisfaction. Although still confined to bed, he had a constant stream of visitors, something that was making him increasingly uncomfortable. Eventually it was Deanna who confronted him.

“Captain, I sense your growing…unease with our presence. Would you like to talk about it?”

He pursed his lips and frowned. “No, not really. Look…Counsellor…I’m fine. Really.”

She smiled knowingly and shook her head. “No you’re not Sir. For people in your position, it’s not uncommon for feelings of inadequacy or even envy to surface. It’s perfectly understandable.”

“I do not feel inadequate or envious!”

“Don’t you?”

He was silent for a time then sighed. “Counsellor…Deanna…I don’t, that is I…look it’s just…damn!”

“Captain you’ve been through a significant trauma, one which you’re still reminded of every time you look at your legs. You’ve always managed to eventually walk away from your injuries and you will this time too, but you will have to talk to someone about how you feel…and soon. Withdrawing from your friends won’t help, nor will getting angry with them. You are still Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the Enterprise, and…”

“I cannot Captain this ship from a wheelchair.”

“Why not?”

He glared at the Counsellor, but said nothing.

“Captain I think you’re suffering from a crisis of identity. We, that is your senior staff, see you exactly the same as we did before your injury. For us nothing has changed. You are still the Captain of the Federation Flagship. It’s you who has to make the shift. If you believe that commanding this ship from a wheelchair, even temporarily, is not something you can do, then so-be-it. We, however, believe you can. Make sure its not vanity that drives your decision Captain, you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice.”

With that, she left. Jean-Luc brooded for some minutes then picked up his cup and threw it with great force across the room.

 

 

 

 

“Do you think I’m vain?”

Beverly was massaging his thighs after the electrical stimulators had exercised the muscles. “Vain? No, not really. You have a very definite image of yourself…something that keeps you a little aloof perhaps…a little distant, but no I wouldn’t say you’re vain. Why?”

“Nothing.”

Beverly shrugged and continued working on his legs knowing he would come to talk in his own time.

“After the nanites are sited, will I be able to use a wheelchair?”

Pleased he had brought the subject up, Beverly beamed at him.

“Yes! I’ve been wanting to talk to you about it but I wasn’t sure how you’d take the news. After the surgery, we’ll begin a regime of stimulation, using the bands I showed you earlier. You’ll be encouraged to work the muscles but for getting around, there’ll be no alternative except a wheelchair.”

He ran his hands over his head and frowned.

“And how long will all this take? How long would I have to use the chair?”

Beverly stopped her massage and sat on the bed. “My research says all up, about three months. But…I think you may walk before that, perhaps with the use of crutches, so you may be in the chair…two months?”

“I see. Have you scheduled the surgery?”

She nodded and ran her hand down his face. “The computer has finished programming the nanites and you’ve finally started to regain some weight…tomorrow afternoon looks good. What do you think?”

He sighed and gritted his teeth. “Does it matter?”

Beverly leaned forward and kissed him gently. “Yes it does actually. It matters a great deal.”

He reached up a hand and softly brushed the hair from her face. “I love you Beverly.” He whispered.

“I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

She came to see him before the surgery and laughed when he said, “Well, I’m in your hands…again. Do your damnedest!”

“I will. See you soon.”

The surgery was uneventful, taking about two hours. Jean-Luc woke to find himself face down on a bio bed, the gentle sounds of Sickbay reassuring him. Beverly breezed in and took a seat beside his head and lightly rubbed his shoulder.

“How do you feel?” Looking at the pain monitor she could see he was in mild discomfort and produced a hypospray from her pocket and injected him.

“Better now,” he sighed. “Did it go well?”

“Like clockwork. We accessed the damaged area and introduced the nanites in a gel medium. They’ve been programmed to build connective tissue between the specific nerve ends, on a cellular level, to match them perfectly, so the join will take the impulses from your brain. Its incredible Jean-Luc. Even now they have begun their task.”

He sniffed and tried to stretch. “Well I don’t feel anything.”

“In time, in time.”

He was about to say more when he suddenly stilled and closed his eyes.

“Beverly…I think I need to…”

Realising immediately what he wanted, Beve


© Copyright 2018 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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