Confessions From The Edge Chapter 3

Confessions From The Edge Chapter 3

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

Same as chapter 1

Summary

Same as chapter 1

Chapter1 (v.1) - Confessions From The Edge Chapter 3

Author Chapter Note

Same as chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

Reads: 227

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

A A A

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Despite thinking the journey may have been boring; Beverly found it was quite the opposite. The computer turned out to be a good companion, once she found it was willing to engage in non-consequential conversation. She arrived on Gault in the early afternoon and was met at the landing point by a young man in his early twenties.

“Doctor McFadden?”

Beverly smiled warmly, noting that a light rain was falling.

“Yes, I’m Cheryl McFadden.”

The young man offered his hand.

“Doctor Marcus Key. I hope you had a pleasant journey.”

He gestured to a small building and together they went inside.

“Just a routine quarantine check, Doctor. This is a farming colony and we are very careful to make sure no dangerous pathogens make their way here.”

Smiling and giving a nod, Beverly stood still while she and her carry case were scanned. Receiving a smile of acceptance from Marcus, Beverly asked,

“Are you a medical Doctor?”

The young man nodded.

“Yes I am and I must say I am pleased you are here. Helen Parker is progressing, albeit slowly, but unfortunately I can’t afford the time she needs for me to be with her as much as I should. Our colony has grown a lot these past five years and I find my services are in constant demand.”

Beverly nodded thoughtfully.

“So I take it not only am I to be her physician, but I am also to augment your services.”

Marcus offered a rakish grin and nodded.

“If you don’t mind.”

His boyish charm amused Beverly and she chuckled.

“Well I don’t see why not.”

Waving his hand towards the door, Marcus led Beverly outside.

“You will have the use of this flitter. I’ll take you to your accommodation first, then I’ll take you to the Parker residence.”

Beverly nodded her acceptance and the both got into the flitter. Like the shuttle, it was fully automated.

Beverly liked her accommodation. It consisted of four rooms, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and dining room, but what really pleased her was the balcony at the rear. It overlooked a vista of rolling hills and, in the light of late afternoon, the scent of flowering plants wafted in. Marcus could see his colleague liked what she saw. He waited while Beverly put her case in the bedroom then, armed with a med kit, she left her new abode and got back into the flitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helen Parker was tall for a human woman. Beverly had to look up to see into her dark green eyes, even though Grave’s disease had made the woman stoop. Beverly and Marcus were invited in and shown to seats in the living area. Helen’s gaze was a penetrating one and Beverly knew she was being appraised. Her voice deep for a woman, Helen asked,

“How long have you been in medicine, Doctor McFadden?”

Offering what she hoped was a confident smile; Beverly recalled what she had learned about her new identity.

“Actually, not that long. I had originally been a pharmaceutical scientist, my change to medicine occurred only about five years ago.”

Helen nodded thoughtfully, then asked,

“May I know why you changed?”

Beverly smiled warmly.

“Of course. I just felt I was isolating myself too much, spending too much time on research and losing touch with people. I gave it a lot of thought and decided I could use my knowledge in medicine…and re-integrate myself into the population”

Helen smiled, but remained somewhat wary. Beverly maintained her air of quiet friendliness and asked,

“I have read your notes. I see that you had a long-term physician before Marcus.”

The wariness increased.

“Yes.”

Beverly made a show of retrieving a PADD and looking at it.

“That would be…Doctor Beverly Crusher?”

All Helen did was nod. Sensing she was becoming closed, Beverly looked up and smiled.

“Well I’m sure Marcus can fill in the blanks. Would you like to sort out your treatment schedule now?”

The woman shrugged.

“Tomorrow would be better, I’m rather tired now.”

Beverly nodded.

“All right, I’ll come back tomorrow, say ten?”

Helen nodded.

“Yes, that would be fine.”

Beverly left the house with the distinct impression she was going to have to work hard to gain Helen’s trust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus was able to tell Beverly all she needed to know as he took her back to her lodgings. They agreed she could do with a quiet evening, so Marcus arranged to meet with her the next morning. He would bring her flitter at the same time. Beverly waved as the little craft left the ground and went off up the road, the hum of its engine barely disturbing the peace. Sighing wistfully, Beverly went inside and made her way into the bedroom. On the wall next to the bathroom door was a full length mirror. Beverly stood in front of it and grimaced. Gone was the shoulder length red hair, in its place short cropped dark brown hair, greying slightly at the temples. Her cheek bones had been flattened a little and her lips thinned. She now possessed green hazel eyes and her chin was less pronounced. Even her breasts had been altered, now somewhat larger than they had been before. Extra fat had been added subcutaneously, giving her a slightly dumpy appearance with a thickened waist and a slight tummy bulge. Integrated into the skin of her hands was a film giving her new fingerprints. Her superiors had told her they didn’t think she’d be fingerprinted, but they wanted to err on the side of caution.

With one hand on her hip, Beverly scowled at herself, muttering wryly,

“You’ve let yourself go, woman.”

Deciding to take a shower, she undressed, but avoided looking in the mirror once she was nude. Twenty minutes later she was sitting on a lounge on the back deck, taking advantage of the last of the light. Soon after she went inside, ate a light meal and went to bed.

She was up early and ready when Marcus came by. He was with a friend who was driving the spare flitter. Once they arrived at Beverly’s home, she was given the chip to her own craft.

The days passed quickly. At ten o’clock each day, Beverly would spend two hours with Helen, administering her treatment, then for the rest of the day she helped Marcus with his practice. She saw a wide variety of cases, from farming accidents to childbirth, but what she really devoted herself to, was befriending Helen Parker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day, a month after Beverly had begun her tenure on Gault, she arrived at Helen’s home at the appointed time to find the front door open. Wafting outside was the sound of someone trying to play the piano. Silently, Beverly entered and stood just inside the living room, watching as Helen tried in vain to play. As yet another note was played badly, Helen let out a yell of frustration as she slammed the key cover down. Beverly went to her, saying quietly,

“I may be able to help.”

Helen’s head snapped around, her blue eyes flashing.

“How did you get in here?”

Pointing over her shoulder, Beverly said softly,

“The front door was open.”

Realising her mistake, Helen flushed.

“Oh…sorry.”

Beverly shrugged and went to the piano.

“Don’t be.”

She pointed to Helen’s hands.

“I think I can help.”

Holding up her twisted and gnarled hands, Helen snorted.

“What…cut them off and give me prostheses?”

Beverly chuckled quietly and shook her head.

“No, although that’s not a bad idea. However I think we can do quite a bit with what you have.”

Curious now, Helen tilted her head and for the first time, looked at Beverly with something other than wariness.

“How?”

Gently taking one of Helen’s hands, Beverly traced her forefinger over one of the contorted tendons.

“I can cut and regenerate these. It would take about two months to successfully treat both hands, but when finished, you would have regained the ability to manipulate your fingers.”

Helen looked down at her hands and sighed.

“But would I be able to play?”

It was Beverly’s turn to sigh.

“I’m not sure you would be able to play as you once did, but you most certainly would be able to play proficiently.”

Looking into Beverly’s eyes, Helen said softly,

“When can we start?”

Beverly grinned and took out a PADD from her med kit.

“I’ll just check my schedule.”

There was a momentary silence, broken when Beverly looked up and smiled.

“Marcus can do without me today. Would you like to begin immediately?”

Helen’s eyes danced.

“Yes!”

With a chuckle, Beverly gave a nod.

“Then I need to set up. Give me ten minutes.”

Helen laughed and looked incredulously at her hands.

“I can’t believe it. I thought I was going to be stuck with these for the rest of my life.”

As Beverly went about her work, she chatted.

“Grave’s disease attacks the sinews and tendons as well as the muscles, but the treatment to repair the damage has only recently become available. I was going to discuss it with you; I was just waiting for the opportune time.”

Helen laughed.

“And hearing my pathetic efforts on the piano opened the window?”

Beverly grinned lopsidedly.

“Well it did seem like an ideal way to broach the subject.”

Helen’s smile faded and she gave Beverly a speculative look.

“You know…you’re a lot like my last Doctor.”

Beverly’s heart accelerated, but outwardly she didn’t miss a beat.

“Oh really? In what way?”

Helen shrugged.

“Oh lots of ways. You’re very direct, you have a wicked sense of humour and you’re very compassionate.”

Beverly looked up and grinned.

“All good qualities of being a reasonable Doctor.”

With a thoughtful nod, Helen went to Beverly as she beckoned to her. Sitting at her dining room table, she lay her forearms on the sterile sheet Beverly had laid out. Beverly activated the sterile field and administered a nerve block to both arms.

“Now this will take a while so I will need you to keep absolutely still. Okay?”

Helen nodded and Beverly began her work, noticing that the woman’s eyes never left her.

Almost an hour later, Beverly straightened then stretched.

“There, I’ve finished this treatment.”

Helen looked down at her hands and smiled.

“I can’t feel them.”

Beverly returned the smile.

“I know. The nerve block will take about two hours to wear off, then I expect you will need some analgesics, but not for long. By tomorrow you should begin to feel the benefits of what I did today.”

Helen nodded, then asked,

“Why does the treatment take two months?”

“Because I have to wait for you to heal before I can do more.”

Helen nodded slowly, then frowned.

“What about regen therapy?”

With her eyebrows raised, Beverly smiled wryly.

“Trying to tell me how to do my job?”

Helen flushed and shook her head.

“Not at all, I just thought it might speed things up, that’s all.”

Offering a conciliatory smile, Beverly shook her head.

“Regen therapy won’t help. There’s nothing wrong with your tissues per se, we just have to wait while your body reassesses what it now has. You have to remember, you’ve been debilitated by Grave’s disease for over seven years, the damage that’s caused can’t be eradicated overnight. What I’ve done today is to free up and lengthen the sinews and tendons in your fingers. We have yet to do the palms and thumbs and I can’t even attempt those jobs until your fingers have completely healed.”

Helen looked down at her now straight fingers and smiled. It was with gratitude that she said softly,

“Well I just want you to know I’m very happy with what you’ve already done…Cheryl.”

It was the first time Helen had referred to Beverly by her new name and the Doctor was inordinately pleased. She grinned up at her patient and winked.

“Just as long as you invite me to your first concert.”

Helen chuckled and nodded.

“You’re on!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next few weeks Beverly and Helen grew closer. Now much more relaxed with each other, Helen would often invite Beverly to stay for a cup of tea before she left. In the heat of the morning sun and in the leafy shade of the arbour on the back balcony, Beverly sipped her tea, watching Helen over the rim of her cup. Judging her moment carefully, Beverly put her cup down and ran her fingers around the rim.

“You know, it would help me a lot if I could talk to your previous physician.”

Helen looked up and frowned.

“But I thought you got all you needed from Marcus?”

With a shrug, Beverly picked up a biscuit and nibbled it.

“I got a complete update of your current treatment, but we are dealing with the after effects of Grave’s. Doctor Crusher treated you through the disease’s active phase. I haven’t ever had a patient in the active phase of Grave’s and it would help me a great deal if I could talk to Doctor Crusher about your case.”

Helen’s face hardened and her eyes glittered.

“Professional concerns…or morbid curiosity?”

Beverly pursed her lips.

“That’s not fair.”

They held each other’s gaze for a few seconds before Helen lowered her head and sighed.

“You’re right, it’s not. Sorry, Cheryl…I just feel very protective towards Doctor Crusher, she’d been through a lot before she came to Gault.”

Beverly picked up her biscuit and dunked before quickly lifting it to her mouth to bite. She chewed thoughtfully for a few seconds then sighed.

“I’ve always felt that a burden shared is a burden halved. Want to talk about it?”

Helen shrugged.

“I’m not sure if I should.”

Beverly offered her most winning smile.

“I’m a Doctor; I know how to keep a confidence.”

Helen hesitated, then sighed.

“Doctor Crusher was a very sad person. She never told me the entire story, but from what I could gather, she was responsible for the death of someone she loved...a man.”

Beverly’s mind reeled.

“Jean-Luc!”

Outwardly she remained calm and asked,

“Did she ever tell you who it was?”

With another sigh, Helen shook her head.

“No. I kinda worked out…from bits and pieces she told me that she was once in Starfleet. I think this person was too…or maybe not. I once heard her refer to him as an Ambassador. In any case, his death had a terrible effect on her. She became really bitter; she lost interest in being a Doctor and eventually left Gault. In fact, I think she left medicine all together.”

Taking a risk, Beverly asked softly,

“Do you know where she went?”

Helen’s eyes sharpened, then her face softened.

“Not really. I think she went initially to Harrun, but I got the impression she wasn’t going to stay there.”

She sighed pensively, then quickly lifted her head.

“One thing though…she was obsessed with a person called Loran…a Keloran, I think. Beverly once told me she really needed to find this woman, though I don’t know why. She spent endless hours trawling through the data base looking for her. I don’t know if she ever found her.”

Beverly drained her tea and smiled.

“Well I suppose we’ll never know. I will make a few enquiries…see if I can track down Doctor Crusher.”

Helen smiled wanly.

“If you do find her, tell her I’m thinking of her will you? We were quite close.”

Coming to her feet, Beverly nodded.

“Of course. Now I’d best be going, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Helen went to rise, but Beverly waved her back to her seat.

“I can see myself out, thanks.”

Instead of going to Marcus’s clinic, Beverly drove to the hanger at the space port. Once inside her shuttle she said quietly,

“Computer, access the personnel file for the station on Harrun.”

The wait was only a few seconds.

“Accessed.”

“Is there any record of Doctor Beverly Crusher visiting the station?”

“Yes. On Stardate 8429.21”

Beverly thought for a few seconds, then asked,

“How long did she stay?”

“Five days.”

“Do you know what her purpose for being there was?”

“She searched the data base, secured some supplies and hired a small spacecraft.”

Clenching her jaw, Beverly asked the most crucial question.

“When she left, did she file a flight plan?”

“Yes, but only as far as her next destination.”

“And that was?”

“Starbase Lindbergh.”

Sitting back, Beverly took a deep breath and then sighed, rubbing her eyes.

“Computer, contact Starbase Lindbergh and ask if they have any record of Doctor Crusher’s visit. I want to know how long she stayed and where she went when she left.”

“Acknowledged. There will be a wait of several hours”

“ Also, scan the data base again at Harrun and see if you can find anything pertaining to a Keloran national named Loren.”

“Acknowledged.”

There was a wait of a few seconds.

“The Keloran national named Loren is deceased. She was found, presumably murdered on Stardate 8436.89 on the planet designated 668K by a survey team led by…”

“Enough. Was the murderer ever found?”

“No, the investigation is ongoing.”

Beverly frowned and chewed her lower lip.

“Who is leading the investigation?”

“That information is unavailable. The Keloran authorities do not share their investigation notes with the Federation.”

Sighing, Beverly sat back and stared at her hands. There were some questions she wanted to ask about Jean-Luc, but she dreaded the answers. Taking a large breath, Beverly cleared her throat and tried to steady her voice.

“Computer, what are the details of the death of Jean-Luc Picard?”

“Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard’s body was discovered by Lieutenant Francis Jones on Stardate 8421.01. When the Ambassador had not contacted or returned to his ship, a party was sent to find him. He was eventually found in a subterranean room beneath a merchant’s store on Dereena II. He had been there to negotiate the admittance of the Dereen into the Federation. It was evident by his injuries that he had been tortured. Death was due to lack of blood and oxygen to the brain. His heart had been vaporised.”

Wiping at her tears, Beverly asked shakily,

“Was the murderer ever found?”

“No. The investigation bogged down due to lack of evidence and witnesses. During the course of the investigation, it became clear that the chief negotiator for the Keloran, an individual by the name of Loran, made it abundantly clear she had a grudge against Ambassador Picard, the root of which seemed to stem from other situations the two individuals had met over. However the Keloran delegation left Dereena before they could be questioned and, to date, have refused all requests for interview. Loran remained the chief suspect in the Ambassador’s murder until her death on Stardate, 8436.89.”

Bowing her head, Beverly took a deep, shaky breath and closed her eyes.

“Computer, on what date did Jean-Luc Picard resign the captaincy of the USS Enterprise?”

“That occurred on Stardate 8419.07.”

She sighed and whispered,

“He lasted just on a year after I left.”

She sighed again.

“Computer, where are Jean-Luc Picard’s remains?”

“Ambassador Jean-Luc Picard was cremated and his ashes interred in the family plot in LaBarre, France.”

“And was there a memorial?”

“Yes. There was a formal memorial, hosted by the Federation Council in collaboration with Starfleet. That was followed by a private ceremony for family and friends at his home in LaBarre.”

Sniffing softly, Beverly asked gently,

“Do you have any images or vids of his memorial?”

“Yes.”

Beverly lifted her head and turned the nearby monitor until it faced her.

“Display all images and vids on this terminal.”

“Acknowledged.”

 An hour later she was openly weeping. Sobbing quietly she managed,

“Oh Jean-Luc…what have I done?”

She slowly regained control and lifted her head to stare at the ceiling. Her blue eyes glittered and she felt a strange quiet fill her soul. With resolute determination she whispered,

“I am going to put this right…somehow I am going to stop this.”

She swallowed and took a deep breath.

“Computer encrypt all evidence of my recent enquiries.”

“Acknowledged, however such encryption will not preclude investigation by your superiors.”

“Understood. I will return tomorrow.”

“Acknowledged.”

Beverly travelled to her lodgings and spent the rest of the day in deep contemplation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As it turned out, Beverly’s prediction of two months to repair Helen’s hands proved to be wrong. Being an exceptional healer, Helen recovered much quicker from each treatment than anyone could have hoped for. So it was that a mere five weeks passed before the treatment came to its end.

Beverly smiled with quiet pride as Helen sat at her piano and played Beverly’s favourite piece. As the exquisite strains of Debussy’s Claire DeLune drifted through the rooms, Beverly could not help but quietly weep. Engrossed in her playing, it was not until Helen finished that she looked up to see Beverly’s emotions laid bare. Immediately concerned, Helen left the piano and went to Beverly, taking her hands and leading her to the sofa. Once both woman were seated she asked gently,

“Are you all right?”

The Doctor raised a wobbly smile and nodded, but the tears kept flowing. Wishing to ease her pain, Helen smiled wryly and snorted.

“It can’t have been my playing; I’m not that good…yet.”

Beverly chuckled sadly and shook her head. She recovered enough to sigh and explain.

“That piece is a favourite of mine.”

Helen nodded, but remained sceptical.

“But you didn’t appear to be taken by the music, Cheryl. Yours were tears of sadness.”

Her eyes filled again, but Beverly wiped at them.

“It was also the favourite piece of someone very dear to me; in fact it was he who introduced me to it in the first place.”

Her frown deepening, Helen said warily,

“Okay, but why does it make you so sad.”

Barely whispering, Beverly said shakily,

“Because he died.”

Helen’s eyes fell.

“Oh.”

Knowing she had to move on with her investigation, Beverly took a shaky breath and squeezed Helen’s hands.

“Helen, there’s not much more I can do for you now. Your treatment for Grave’s disease is almost complete and I feel I have to move on.”

The words didn’t come as a surprise to Helen, she had suspected Beverly was becoming restless, but her face fell and she sighed.

“I thought we had become friends.”

Closing her eyes briefly, Beverly tried to ease the woman’s pain.

“We have, but there’s something I have to do. I can’t stay.”

Helen looked into Beverly’s eyes and whispered,

“It was the music, wasn’t it.”

Beverly smiled and lowered her head.

“It reminded me of what I have to do.”

“Because of him…the one who died?”

Shocked that she should be so transparent, Beverly momentarily contemplated lying, but just as quickly dismissed the idea. She looked into Helen’s eyes and nodded.

“Yes. I loved him and I never told him. I owe him.”

Confused, Helen said quietly,

“But he’s dead.”

Her eyes filling with fresh tears, Beverly smiled lopsidedly.

“Yes, that’s the point.”

The two women held each other’s gaze for a few minutes, then Helen took her hands out of Beverly’s gentle grip and sighed.

“I won’t pretend I understand, Cheryl, but if you have something you must do to find inner peace, then do it.”

Her glittering eyes clearly showing her gratitude, Beverly nodded.

“Marcus will be able to oversee what little remains of your treatment.”

With a wave of her hand, Helen dismissed the words.

“Don’t worry about me, Cheryl. You go and do what it is you must, I’ll be fine.”

Beverly stood and smiled down at her friend and patient.

“Thank you.”

She was almost at the door when she heard Helen’s gentle voice for the final time.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for, Cheryl.”

Beverly looked over her shoulder, smiled then left the house.

Beverly spent the remainder of the day with only half her mind on her job. Who was Loran and what did Beverly want with her? How did she die…and who killed her?

And did this Loran person kill Jean-Luc? One thing was certain…she had to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly left Gault two days later. Marcus was sad to see her go, the colonists had warmed to her and Marcus had found he was learning a lot by simply watching her work, but after he quickly discovered she would not yield to his pleas for her to stay, he gave up trying and wished her well.

Her journey to Harrun was uncomplicated, if a little boring. She stayed only long enough to learn if Beverly had told anyone of either her eventual destination or her intentions.

She was back underway in less than three hours, knowing little more than she already did. Starbase Lindbergh was only two days travel, so Beverly spent her time going over the files pertaining to Jean-Luc’s missions as an Ambassador. She had only been reading for ten minutes when it became patently obvious that a pattern of reckless behaviour was becoming evident. It seemed Jean-Luc was undertaking ever more dangerous missions and Beverly was quickly overcome by a wave of guilt. The more she read the more she realised that Jean-Luc was deliberately putting himself in dangerous situations…and Beverly thought she knew why. She thought back to their acrimonious parting, how his pain and sorrow had shown so clearly in his eyes. Then, with a stab in her heart, she recalled how desperately he had wanted to be able to love her, to show his love…to make love to her…and she had forbidden him.

Beverly sat back and squeezed her fingers into her eyes, hoping the pain would overcome her guilt. She had thought she knew what she was doing, that the relationship she had demanded from him was right…at least for her, but was it? Really?

How long had she denied her feelings for Jean-Luc? Months? Years? Yes, dammit, she knew she loved him, but she thought a romantic relationship would be too…what? Binding? Confining?...Wonderful? She sighed and realised she was crying. In denying her true feelings for Jean-Luc what had she set in motion? Rising from her seat, she stalked around the interior of the shuttle, seething with too many emotions. Why had she not returned to the Enterprise? Why had she allowed Jean-Luc to virtually kill himself? She must have known what he was doing, must have known what was in his heart.

Beverly simply couldn’t believe that her future self would have severed all contact with Jean-Luc. If nothing else they had been best friends for thirty years. No, something had changed, if not with their relationship, then with Beverly herself. The only way she would ever find answers to her questions was to find Beverly…find herself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Had it not been for her mission, Beverly would have enjoyed a protracted stay at Starbase Lindbergh. It was one of the older stations, but had undergone several extensive refits. It now boasted one of the most sophisticated laboratories devoted to the pharmacological benefits of plant life. In their vast arboretum grew specimens from all over the quadrant, many very rare. Given time, Beverly would have happily immersed herself in research, expanding her already prodigious knowledge of medicinal plants.

However, she was on a mission and time was of the essence. And, as luck would have it, fortune smiled on her. She found very little of Beverly’s plans in the database, but a seemingly innocuous comment had the recipient directing her to a small cabin, situated on level nineteen. Not knowing quite what to expect, Beverly arrived at the quarters and pressed the chime.

The door opened to reveal an elderly woman. Somewhat taken aback, Beverly struggled to introduce herself.

“Oh, I beg your pardon…ah; my name is…ah…Cheryl McFadden. I was told you might be able to tell me something of the plans of…Beverly Crusher.”

With very bright, knowing, pale blue eyes, the old woman smiled, but it didn’t quite reach her eyes. When she spoke, Beverly was surprised by the strength and timbre of her voice.

“Do you know Doctor Crusher?”

Beverly smiled, feeling confident again.

“Yes, actually I know her quite well.”

Still barring the door, the old woman slowly looked Beverly up and down and sighed.

“I never heard her mention you.”

Suspicious, Beverly said firmly,

“If I may ask, just what is your function on this base?”

The smile widened and Beverly could plainly see amusement in the woman’s eyes.

“What you mean to ask is…What is an ancient old crone like me doing in space?”

Letting out a soft chuckle, Beverly nodded.

“Okay, what are you doing here?”

Instead of answering, the old woman turned and beckoned Beverly inside by crooking her gnarled fingers. The Doctor followed her inside and came to a halt, her mouth agape. Everywhere, upon each and every surface, shelf, table and chair sat small pots bearing seedlings. Some were several centimetres tall, but most consisted of just a little sprig.

The old woman turned to Beverly and folded her hands.

“I seem to have a knack with these.”

She swept her arm, making Beverly laugh delightedly.

“You also have a gift for understatement! My God, how many plants are here?”

Shrugging, the woman went to the kitchenette and retrieved an atomiser. As she walked among the seedlings she sprayed water.

“I lost count a long time ago. The head botanist comes and goes…he takes what he wants and gives me seeds or cuttings in return.”

While the old woman was busy, Beverly took the time to have a good look at her. She frowned and said hesitatingly,

“Forgive me for asking, but are you…fully human?”

Smiling mysteriously, the old woman tilted her head.

“I will tell you if you answer a question for me.”

Beverly shrugged.

“Fair enough.”

“Are you a medical doctor?”

Beverly nodded.

“Yes, as a matter of fact I am.”

With a thoughtful nod, the old woman smiled.

“Very well, I will answer your question. No, I am not fully human. I am a hybrid. Half human, half Deltan.”

Beverly gasped.

“I didn’t think such a mixture was possible.”

The old woman chuckled and gestured to her plants.

“Like most of my children. Many of them are cross breeds, but under my care, they flourish.”

Still stunned, Beverly asked quietly,

“How old are you?”

Turning to face Beverly, there was a mysterious glint in her pale eyes.

“In your terms, one hundred and eighty seven Terran years…and before you ask, yes, I produce the sexual pheromones so prized by my Deltan forebears. I have five lovers amongst the crew of this station and they are well pleased. I, on the other hand, am barely satisfied.”

She moved closer to Beverly and placed the atomiser at her dainty feet.

“Now, Cheryl McFadden, just what is it you wish to know about Beverly Crusher? And why do you want to know it?”

Sensing that nothing but honesty would be acceptable; Beverly took a large breath and steadied herself. Looking into the fathomless eyes of the old woman, Beverly said softly,

“It is very important that I find her. The life of someone I love…someone we both love is in the balance.”

The old woman’s eye’s softened and she lowered her head, shocking Beverly by muttering softly,

“Jean-Luc Picard.”

Beverly almost stumbled backwards. The old woman looked up into her eyes and smiled sadly.

“Yes, Cheryl McFadden, I know about Jean-Luc Picard.”

Recovering slightly, the rattled Doctor gathered her wits and summoned a steady voice.

“What do you know?”

Beckoning Beverly to an overstuffed sofa, the old woman moved some plants to allow them both to sit. Once settled, she sighed and stared at her wizened hands.

“The death of Jean-Luc Picard destroyed all that Beverly was. All her hopes…dreams, her faith in humanity died with him. In its place came bitterness and a thirst for revenge, the strength of which I’ve never witnessed before. She became utterly consumed with vengeance…but her madness blinded her to the one truth she could never accept. The one truth that might have set her free and eased her troubled soul.”

The old woman looked beseechingly into Beverly’s eyes and the Doctor found herself whispering,

“What was it?”

With a breathy sigh, the old woman shook her head.

“That what happened to Jean-Luc was her fault.”

A wave of crushing guilt surged through Beverly and she briefly closed her eyes, trying to quell it. The old woman went on, seeming to relish in the opportunity to unburden herself.

“Beverly told me about their relationship on the Enterprise and how terribly sad it had made Jean-Luc. She described his efforts to try and initiate a romantic relationship and how she spurned him, how she caused him immeasurable pain and how eventually it tore them apart. She was estranged from him for some months and she ignored how despondent the situation had made him. She was angry with him, she couldn’t…or wouldn’t see that what he had wanted was so much better…so much more true to the way she actually felt about him, but she refused to admit to that. She would rather hide, hide from him and herself.

“Then she accepted a mission and left the Enterprise. Having been briefed, she refused to take the mission, risking a court martial and demotion, but she stuck to her guns and eventually settled for a change of posting and agreed to help section 31 with some clandestine research, provided she could keep her whereabouts secret. She found her time away from the Enterprise…and Jean-Luc, to be a relief and, over a period of time, managed to convince herself it would be better for both of them if she severed all contact with the man. She even managed to delude herself into believing that Jean-Luc would be better off without her in his life, that he would somehow prosper in her absence. She took a posting on a distant world and eschewed all efforts from anyone who tried to contact her. Over time she just faded from everyone’s memory…except Jean-Luc. He kept trying to find her, without success. She did keep tabs on him, however. She was aware when he resigned his captaincy and followed his new career as an Ambassador, but when she found he’d been murdered a part of her died and what emerged from her grief was a different Beverly. She became obsessed with finding his killer. Of course her frequent unauthorised absences from her work soon became a problem and she was brought up on charges. Her response was to resign from Starfleet. She hired a runabout and left everything she’d ever known. For three months she travelled the quadrant, following leads, questioning people until she became certain of whom she sought.

“She tracked her prey to a small world in the Heloran sector. Utilising her Starfleet training, she abducted the suspect and took her to a planet designated 668K where, with the aid of a phaser, she tortured the woman until she confessed to Jean-Luc’s murder. The woman was a Keloran, named Loran.

“Once Beverly had the confession, she killed the woman and left her remains to rot.”

The old woman seemed to need a rest, leaving Beverly to ask breathlessly,

“How do you know all of this?”

Smiling sadly, the old woman sighed.

“Because I was there.”

The two women sat in silence for a few minutes before the old woman sat back, her pale blue eyes watering.

“I first met Beverly when she was working for section 31. You were amazed that I should exist…that a human/Deltan mix was untenable? I have Beverly to thank for my being.”

Beverly shook her head in confusion.

“But you said you were one hundred and eighty seven years old.”

The old woman chuckled.

“I did and I am.”

“Then how…?”

The old woman closed her eyes and sighed.

“For one hundred and eighty five of those years I existed in a state of flux…neither solid nor gaseous. Section 31 had been working diligently for over two hundred years, trying to find a way of allowing corporeal beings to phase into a state of flux, thereby permitting them easier access to alternate universes. One of the things they discovered was that hybrids stand a greater chance of success than full bloods…of any species. They experimented with many mixtures and found a human/Deltan mix was the most sustainable.

“I was created by invitro fertilisation and incubated in a simulated uterus. I never knew the donors whose genetic material was used to create me and, as the experiments on my being began when I was eleven months old, I was never permitted to take corporeal form once my gestation was complete. That was until Beverly discovered my existence during the course of her research. Once she found how long I had been kept in flux, she insisted I be allowed to form into a corporeal being. That occurred on Stardate 4367.28. I consider that date my birth date. I was put under Beverly’s care and we very quickly became inseparable. When she resigned, I insisted on my rights as a Federation citizen and left with her, having undergone a memory wipe, which…”

She chuckled mischievously,

“Failed miserably!”

She sighed again and smiled in a kindly fashion.

“Which brings us to you….Cheryl…or should I call you…Beverly?”

Alarmed and shocked, Beverly swallowed and said weakly,

“I beg your pardon?”

The old woman smiled again and tapped her nose.

“You are forgetting the phenomenal sense of smell the Deltans possess. I knew who you were the minute I opened the door. You may have altered your appearance significantly, but you are Beverly Crusher, I would bet my life on it.”

Her mind racing to try and make sense of what she’d been told, Beverly asked the first thing that came to mind.

“What do you intend to do?”

The old woman’s almost non-existent eyebrows rose in surprise.

“With you?”

Beverly nodded.

“Yes.”

A kind smile appeared.

“Why nothing my dear, except to help you. You are here to make amends…to set things right?”

Nodded apprehensively, Beverly said softly,

“That is my intention.”

The old woman nodded with determination.

“Then I will do whatever I can to help you.”

Relaxing slightly, Beverly sat back and rubbed her face. She took a deep breath, held it for a few seconds then let it out slowly. Looking into the old woman’s eyes, she said quietly,

“Where can I find her?”

Bending slightly, the old woman patted Beverly’s knee.

“Give me five minutes.”

She got slowly to her feet, leaving Beverly to sit and think.

When the old woman came back, she was carrying a PADD. She sat next to Beverly and offered the device, but before Beverly could take it, the old woman speared her with an uncompromising look.

“I give you this information on one condition.”

Returned her gaze steadily, Beverly said softly,

“And that is?”

“That you let me know what happens. Beverly Crusher means a great deal to me and if this is going to end as I think it will, I feel I have a right to know.”

Beverly sat in silence for a few seconds, considering the request. Eventually she nodded, but her gaze was troubled.

“I will do as you ask, but if you think this is going to end badly, why are you helping me?”

The old woman sighed and dropped her eyes.

“Because I think Beverly’s death is the only thing that is going to stop her…and bring her peace.”

Beverly nodded, guilt once again surging through her. She took the PADD and stood.

“Well thank you, I will leave you now, but before I go…what is your name?”

The old woman chuckled, waving one gnarled hand.

“For over one hundred and eighty years I had no name, just a number, but Beverly named me. My name is Isabelle.”

Beverly smiled.

“A lovely name.”

She held up the PADD.

“Thank you, Isabelle.”

Beverly left the old woman’s quarters and made her way back to her own. There she locked her door and sat in the living area, staring at the PADD and wishing she were back on the Enterprise. It was with great reluctance that she activated the device.

An hour later, Beverly was back in her shuttle, plotting a course that would take her out of Federation space and into the unknown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her journey was not too long, seven weeks at high warp and she found that she could manage the boredom by reading, exercising and talking to the computer, so it was with some pleasant surprise that early one morning the computer woke her to say,

“Doctor McFadden, we are entering the designated system. I am reducing speed to full impulse.”

Sitting up and knuckling her eyes, Beverly said sleepily,

“Thank you. Time to the planet?”

“Fifty-five point six minutes.”

With a small grumble, Beverly slid out of the bed.

“Just enough time for a shower and breakfast.”

Over her morning meal, Beverly once again read the information on the PADD. After resigning from Starfleet, Beverly had pooled her resources and left Federation space to set up a laboratory on a distant planet. It had no name or designation that she knew of, so she called it Destiny. It had taken almost three months to set up her lab and another month to begin her research, but she was well on the way to producing a deadly biological weapon that would be fatal to the Kelorans. What she didn’t know was that the Federation and the Kelorans had recently made overtures of peace and a delegation of Kelorans were on Earth, hammering out a treaty.

The shuttle took up an orbit around Destiny as Beverly used the scanners and sensors to try and locate the facility. She was lucky. With the enhanced technology of the shuttle, she found what she was looking for in under two minutes. She sat back and sighed.

“So, there you are.”

She was about to leave the cockpit when a transmission from the surface reached her.

“Vessel in orbit, identify yourself.”

Frowning, Beverly considered her options, then shrugged.

“My name is Doctor Cheryl McFadden. I come with a message for Doctor Beverly Crusher, from Isabelle.”

The voice, so familiar, responded with an edge to it.

“Is she all right?”

Beverly knew she had to play this right.

“Yes…but she specifically wanted me to see you face to face.”

“That is not possible.”

With a sigh, Beverly pinched the bridge of her nose.

“That may be so, but my instructions were very clear. Isabelle said…”

“I don’t care what she said; no one may beam down to my facility.”

Frowning and chewing her lower lip, Beverly gave some thought to her dilemma.

“Well, what about somewhere else? Would you consider coming up to my vessel?”

“No.”

“All right, how about somewhere else near your facility?”

There was a momentary silence before Beverly heard a very tentative reply.

“Well…all right, I will send coordinates.”

“Acknowledged.”

But before any information came through, Beverly received a warning.

“You will come alone and unarmed.”

With a wry smile, Beverly nodded.

“Understood.”

The necessary information soon came through and Beverly rose to go aft to the transporter pad. As she prepared to beam down, she thought to herself,

“So…now I will see.”

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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