Heart Song

Heart Song

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

Picard and Crusher are injured and marooned on an alien planet. A young alien boy helps them.

Summary

Picard and Crusher are injured and marooned on an alien planet. A young alien boy helps them.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Heart Song

Author Chapter Note

Picard and Crusher are injured and marooned on an alien planet. A young alien boy helps them.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

Reads: 523

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 18, 2012

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Heart Song.

The Starship Enterprise entered geostationary orbit of Burras II at 0800 hours and the senior staff met in the observation room for a briefing.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard looked over his fellow officers with satisfaction. They were, he knew, the best in the fleet. With but a look he garnered their attention.

“As you know, Starfleet has had a secret outpost on Burras II for two years now. We have been observing the cultural ramifications of the inhabitants developing projectile weapons. At present, there are three scientists down on the planet, secreted in a holographic blind. We received word…via Star Base 182 that they need to be evacuated. Apparently the replicators are off line and they are suffering some form of illness.”

Turning to Lieutenant Commander Geordie LaForge, the Captain outlaid his plans.

“Commander I want you to repair the replicators and provide any Engineering help they might need. Will, due to the ionising radiation we can’t use the transporter. You will have to pilot a shuttle and put down in a secluded spot.”
Commander Will Riker, First Officer of the ship nodded to his Captain.

“Yes Sir. We’ve got a place in mind.”

“Good. Data I want you to establish a reliable communication method with them. Until recently they have been unable to transmit. Their last message was to a passing ship by short wave radio. Not very efficient and dangerous. The inhabitants have a communication system of their own. It would be disastrous if they picked up a stray transmission.”
The android second officer accepted his Captain’s bidding.

“Sir it may take some time to devise a system strong enough to punch through the interference without alerting the population. I would envisage it may take some days.”

“Well get on it Mr.Data. We need to be able to communicate with them. Beverly apparently one of the team members has been unwell. When we bring them aboard she will need medical attention.”
Beverly Crusher, Chief Medical Officer consulted her PADD.

“Yes. With the replicators down they have been eating the local food. Gastroenteritis seems to be the culprit.”

“Of course and crew who go down to the planet will have to be surgically altered to match the native population. We can’t risk falling into the hands of any factions”

Beverly frowned and asked,

“So does it look like conflict is brewing?”

“Unfortunately yes. Both sides have perfected projectile weapons and there is a push for the northern clans to take the fertile lands from the southern clans. Apparently arbitration has failed and war seems to be the impending outcome.”

Beverly sighed, the physician in her hating the thought of the horrors of war.

“And we can’t intervene…?”
No. The Prime Directive is quite clear. We can’t…”

“So we just sit back and watch while they annihilate each other.”

“Doctor…”

“I know…I know, just don’t expect me to like it!”

Jean-Luc drew himself up and surveyed his staff.

“Well you have your assignments. Report to me when you’re ready. Dismissed.”

The assembled officers stood and filed from the room. Jean-Luc stayed behind, watching the green planet turning lazily through the viewport.

 

 

 

 

 

Some time later Will, Geordie and Data stood in the Shuttle Bay feeling somewhat ridiculous. Their skin had been given a light bluish tinge, their hair turned purple and long and heavy brow ridges complimented a deeply clefted chin. Their eyes were encased in bright orange contact lenses that covered the entire eye, the pupil elongated.

The Captain looked them over and nodded his appreciation.

“You’ve done a good job Doctor…even their own mothers wouldn’t know them. Will when you land, deploy the mirror netting and make sure the shuttle remains invisible. It should take you about an hour to reach the blind and, bearing in mind the sick scientist, another hour and a half to get back. I’ll expect you back on board at approximately 1230 hours. Now remember there is to be no contact whatsoever with the indigenous population. Is that clear?”

“Aye Sir.”

“Very well…Good luck.”

The three officers entered the shuttle and powered up. Jean-Luc and Beverly stepped back as the warp nacelles came on line and the little ship rose from the deck. The blast doors opened and the craft slowly penetrated the force field, entering the vast cold blackness of space.

Having witnessed the departure, Captain Picard left for the Bridge, Beverly to her Sick Bay.

 

 

 

 

Will had already inputted the coordinates for the landing. It was in a forest clearing deep enough into the bush to discourage the most intrepid explorer. They touched down undetected and deployed the mirror netting. Will set the coordinates into his tricorder so as to be able to find it again, then re-inputted the directions for the blind. They struck off quietly, conversation non-existent. True to the Captain’s predictions, they came across the blind; the only clue as to its presence was the elevated energy readings coming from the tricorder. Finding the entrance, Will entered the pre-arranged code and stepped into the building. With the subdued lighting it took a minute for his eyes to adjust. When he could, he looked for the inhabitants, finding the first lying on a cot in the corner of the first room.

Data knelt and scanned the woman while Will and Geordie continued to look for the remaining two scientists, eventually finding one of them in the forward observation room.

“Professor Duron?”

A tall thin grey-headed man turned and regarded Will.

“I’m Duron. Who are you?”

“Commander Will Riker from the Enterprise. We’ve come to evacuate you and repair your facility.”

Evacuate me? I don’t think so Commander! You may take Ellis and Frankum, but I’m staying.”

“Sir, with all due respect, the situation on this planet is becoming untenable. My Captain has ordered me to evacuate you all to the Enterprise to re-evaluate your mission.”

“Is that right? Well I don’t recognise your Captain’s authority here. It’s my decision to make and I’ve decided to stay. Take the others…they need medical help.”

“Are both of them sick? Our reports said only Ellis was ill.”

“That report is weeks old. We had to send radio signals to a passing ship and they had to get to a Star Base, and then relay the message. Time goes by Commander.”

The professor rose to his feet and suddenly bent over, clutching his stomach.
”Sir! You’re ill.”

Duron waved Will away and sat back down.

“Nonsense…it’s just a cramp.”

“Still Sir it wouldn’t do any harm to come aboard and be checked out by our CMO.”

“NO! My work here is too important. You don’t realise…we’ve been here four years Commander and I’m not about to let your Captain or anyone else ruin my work. Take the others and go…leave me in peace.”

Will ran his hands though his purple hair.

“Well at least let my Chief Engineer repair the replicators and establish a reliable means of communication with the ship.”

“That’s an unnecessary encumbrance Commander. I can get on just fine. Please…leave.”

Will looked at Geordie and at Data who had just entered the room.

“How are they?”

“They both require medical assistance. Sir. I found Doctor Frankum collapsed in the toilet. It will be difficult indeed to get them back to the shuttle.”

Will cast one final look at the recalcitrant professor and came to a decision.

“Well we’d better get going then. Data you carry Frankum and Geordie and I will carry Ellis. Let’s go.”

They left the blind with their burdens and twice had to hide from native patrols before arriving back at the shuttle. They entered the craft, checked that there were no inhabitants close by and took off bound for the Enterprise.

Upon their arrival, they handed over their passengers to the medical staff then made their way to the Bridge.

Jean-Luc directed them into the Ready Room.

“How did it go?”

Will puffed out a breath and frowned.

“Only partially successful I’m afraid Sir. We evacuated Ellis and Frankum, but Duron refused to leave. He refutes your authority and insists his work is too important to abandon. And captain, I think he’s sick too.”

“How so?”

“At one stage he doubled over in pain, clutching his stomach.”

“What about the repairs, the communication systems?”

“No luck I’m afraid Sir. He all but ordered us of the planet.”

“Damn! All right Number One, thank you. Report to Sick Bay and have yourselves restored to normal. I’ll contact Starfleet.”

“Aye Sir.”

The three men left and Jean-Luc put in a request via sub-space to Starfleet. He had a three-hour wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly frowned as she read the monitors.

“This doesn’t look like any gastroenteritis I’ve ever seen. Look at the white cell count! Something’s going on here. Alyssa, draw some blood and run a spectral analysis. I’ve got a hunch.”

Twenty minutes later, Alyssa called Beverly.

“You were right…it’s a parasite…a very virulent one. It attacks the mucous linings of the organs and compromises their functions.”

Beverly walked over to her patients.

“So a parasite eh? Now the question is…how do we kill it? Alyssa can we isolate the organisms?”

“I think so Doctor. We successfully separated them in the blood sample.”

“Let me see the sample.”

The two women went to the monitor and stared at their nemesis.

“Introduce Epicast…ten cc’s.”

Alyssa did her superior’s bidding. They watched, as the parasite remained unaffected by the drug.

“Ok…try Omniprom, again ten cc’s.”

They watched again as the parasite wavered then fought back.

“Right we seem to be on the right track. Go with the Omniprom again and add ten cc’s of Tetrahydra.”

This time the organism was overcome. The cell walls broke down and dissipated leaving healthy blood behind. Beverly entered some calculations into the computer and waited as the machine calibrated a dose of the drugs for her patients. In due course, she injected them and watched the terminal as the parasite was eradicated.

“”We’d better put them under a full regen field for a while. Their organs will need time to recuperate…a few days at least.”

“Aye Doctor.”

Beverly went to her office, replicated a cup of chamomile tea and seated herself at her desk. She tapped her combadge.

“Crusher to Picard.”

“Picard here.”

“I just thought you’d like to know that our guests have been treated and are on the mend.”

“Excellent Doctor, well done. As a matter of fact I was going to call you…could you come to the Ready Room?”

“Yes Captain, on my way.”

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc was seated at his desk when Beverly arrived. To the chiming door he said,

“Come.”

Beverly breezed in and took a seat before her Captain and best friend. She took a moment to cast her eyes over him, noting the lines of tiredness that dogged his handsome features.

“What can I do for you Jean-Luc?”

“We’ve got a problem. Apparently professor Duron won’t leave, he insists his work is too important and he’s refuting my authority to make him comply. Added to that, Will is under the impression he’s ill.”

Beverly brushed her hair back.

“That would be in concurrence with what we found in the others. It’s a parasite Jean-Luc picked up from eating the local food. I don’t see how he could’ve avoided it.”

“Life threatening?”

“Most assuredly. It attacks the lining of the internal organs and compromises their ability to function.”

“Can it be treated planet side?”

“Not really. Apart from the drug regimen, they require full regen treatments for a few days.”

“Very well that leaves us with only one option. I suggest you and I go down there and…request…forcibly…that he come back with us.”

“What if he won’t?”

Jean-Luc sighed and drew his hand across his pate.

“We’ll cross that particular bridge when we come to it. For now…I will have a reluctant First Officer to deal with.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“No Sir I’m not questioning your judgement I just don’t think…”

“Will my mind is made up. Duron won’t listen to you…only I have the authority to compel him. Beverly will accompany me to add her weight as CMO.”

“But Sir…at least have a sub-dermal translator inserted.”

The Captain shook his head decisively.

“No Will it’s just not necessary and time is of the essence.”

Jean-Luc sighed and grabbed Will’s shoulder.

“Number One…please…just acquiesce.”

Will straightened and tucked in his chin.

“As you wish Sir but I still don’t like it.”

The Captain nodded and called Beverly.

“Picard to Crusher.”

“Crusher here.”

“Are you ready for me?”

“Yes Captain come down.”

He turned to Will and tugged down on his uniform, a gesture not necessary with the new garments, but one Will found somehow reassuring.

‘You have the ship Number One.”

“Aye Sir…good luck.”

Jean-Luc smiled and nodded before leaving the Bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

In all it took Beverly two hours to transform Jean-Luc into a Burran. Her prosthetics already in place, Jean-Luc found it hard not to stare at her as she worked. Eventually she stepped back and nodded in satisfaction. Handing him the container with the contact lenses, she waited as he inserted them. He blinked a few times then smiled at his friend. She left him briefly and returned with a hand mirror.

He held it up and grimaced, running his fingers through the long purple hair that cascaded down his back.

“I never did care for long hair on Human men.”

“Jealous?”

“Probably.”

The two friends shared a companionable laugh before Jean-Luc brought them back to their mission.

Has Stores replicated the clothing?”

Beverly nodded, gesturing with her thumb.

“Yep, they’re in my office. We decided farmer’s garb would be best…non aligned and peaceful.”

“Good. Well we’d best get changed, we have a shuttle to catch.”

They went to separate cubicles and changed into their native clothing. They re-emerged smiling ruefully.

Beverly’s sense of humour came to the fore.

“Well it could’ve been worse…”

Jean-Luc stared down at himself. His tunic of soft brown cloth was all right, but the ballooning pants did nothing for his trim form.

“I look a little…lost in these.”

“At least the boots are sturdy.

Beverly stamped her feet and nodded as her feet spread the pliable leather.

Jean-Luc sighed and gestured to the purple haired Doctor.

“Come on, let’s go.”

 

 

 

 

They garnered some stares as they walked through the ship, arriving at the Shuttle Bay to find Will and Deanna Troi, the ship’s Counsellor, waiting for them.

“Sir! You look…”

“Don’t Will. Let’s just put it down to experience. Doctor?”

“Ready Jean-Luc.”

They entered the shuttlecraft and soon they were headed for the planet. Consulting the computer, they found that a group of heavily armed local inhabitants was in the forest logging and it was decided to put the craft down on a small secluded lake. They would be able to sink the airtight ship, thus keeping it safe from prying eyes. Jean-Luc made sure he had the remote control before they left. They stepped from the ship onto the bank of the lake. Jean-Luc then remotely piloted the craft out into deeper water, then sank it. Noting the exact location on his tricorder, they struck out for the blind wary of the gunshots they could hear in the distance.
 

 

 

 

 

 

In all it took them three hours to reach the blind. They had to wait almost half and hour, crouched in a hollowed out tree as armed fighters patrolled the bush. They nearly walked head long into a party of fighters, cooking over an open fire. Going around them had taken precious time.

They reached the blind and inputted the code, but it didn’t work. Jean-Luc grunted with annoyance and dug in his pocket for an instrument.

“I thought he might do this. He’s changed the code.”

The Captain attached the device and waited as it permutated a series of numbers. There was a decisive click as the new code was breached.

They entered cautiously, their eyes slowly adjusting to the dim lighting.

“Stay where you are!”

The quiet voice was determined. Jean-Luc turned to its source.

“Professor Duron?”

He stepped out of the shadows and came fully into view. He was brandishing a Starfleet phaser. Jean-Luc held up his hands in a gesture of peace.

“I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard from the Enterprise. Professor there’s no need for weapons. We have come…”
”I don’t care who you are or why you’ve come! I want you to leave…NOW!”

Beverly noted his grey pallor and the sweat running freely down his face.

“Professor you’re sick I’m Doctor Crusher and we’ve identified a parasite that…”

“Shut up! I’m not interested in your meaningless drivel! Go away!”

His voice screeched and Jean-Luc took a step towards him.

“Professor…”

The glow of the phaser momentarily blinded Beverly. She whirled around to see Jean-Luc hurled backwards and pinned against the wall by the power of the beam. It ceased and he fell to the floor and lay in a crumpled heap.

“NO!”

She raced to him and felt for his carotid pulse. It was erratic. She turned on their assailant.

“Why the hell did you do that for? He wasn’t going to hurt you.”

“Shut up! Gather all your equipment and put it on the floor.”

He pointed the phaser at Beverly, his eyes wild and staring. She retrieved the tricorder, the remote and their comm. Badges and put them on the floor. She kept the code breaker hidden, hoping he wouldn’t search them. He altered the setting on the phaser and fired at the instruments, vaporising them.

Jean-Luc groaned and tried to lift his hand to his chest.

“Lie still Jean-Luc, the effect will pass.”

He groaned again and spat out some blood. Beverly noted this and gently cupped his chin.

“Let me see…you must’ve bitten your tongue.”

He sluggishly opened his mouth, showing a badly gouged muscle.

“Yep.”

With nothing to treat it with, she rubbed his shoulder as he slowly recovered from the blast. Some minutes passed before he could sit up. He took a large breath and opened his eyes for the first time since he was hit.

Duron was leaning against the wall, still pointing the phaser at them. His trembling hand wavered as he spoke.

“I want you to leave…now.”

Beverly shook her head in disgust.

“The Captain can’t travel. It will take hours for the effect of…”

“I told you to shut up! I don’t care about your Captain…just get out!”

Jean-Luc sought Beverly’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze.

“I’m all right Beverly. Help me up.”

With the Doctor’s help, Jean-Luc got to his feet, his legs quaking with the effort.

“That’s it…now get out.”

Beverly ran concerned eyes over her best friend and placed her shoulder under his arm. Together they made their way to the door. Turning her head, she tried one last time to reason with the agitated man.

“Duron you don’t have to do this…”

He screamed, spittle wetting his chin.

“GET OUT!”

The two officers staggered out of the blind, the door hissing shut behind them. Beverly hefted Jean-Luc and dipped her head to look at his grey sweating face.

“Can you walk?”

He nodded taking a painful breath. Ordering his legs on line he took one step at a time, gradually gaining his equilibrium.

They walked slowly for half a kilometre when Beverly stopped them by a large tree.

“Come on we can rest here.”

Jean-Luc sat heavily and took a look around him.

“Is that a road over there?”
”Yes. We can’t go back the way we came…you wouldn’t make it and I can’t carry you. I thought we could travel by road for most of the time.”

Jean-Luc thought about that and asked what was on his mind.

“What about the checkpoints? We don’t have any documents…”

“I know. We’ll have to think of something.”

The Captain shifted his weight and shook his head.

“It won’t work Beverly. As soon as someone sees you helping me…they’re bound to ask questions and without our comm. badges, we’ve got no universal translator.”

“Well what do you think we should do?”

He frowned, still looking at the road.

“Perhaps we should follow the road from this distance and seize on whatever chances present themselves. We keep out of sight and see what happens.”

Beverly thought for a while, eventually agreeing with her commanding officer.

“Ok, I can go with that. We’ve got about eleven kilometres to cover before we cut off towards the lake. How are you feeling now?”

He took a large breath and winced.

“Better…I think my strength is returning.”

“All right then on your feet.”

He slowly stood and spent several moments bent over, his hands on his thighs. When he felt able he nodded to his companion and they set off once again.

 

 

 

 

 

Together, with Beverly’s help, they travelled a couple of kilometres before seeing a building of sorts through the trees. Around the out buildings were wagons, drawn by large docile beasts, similar to an Earth ox. They quietly approached the carts, pleased when the animals paid them no heed. One dray was filled with hay like material and Beverly saw the gleam in Jean-Luc’s eye.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“We could secrete ourselves in that and get through the checkpoints. Let’s just hope it’s going our way.”

Smiling, they neared the wagon and could smell the sweet aroma of freshly cut fodder.

Beverly offered her hand as she said,

“You first.”

Jean-Luc hoisted himself up onto the pile of hay and turned to help Beverly. Once they were both secured, they buried themselves deeply in the warm silage and settled down to wait. Fortunately, within the hour, the driver came out and climbed up onto the front seat. Calling to his animals in his native tongue, the wagon slowly turned and rumbled down the road, heading in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc was dozing. In the warmth of their hiding place, his recent injury robbed him of his usual stamina and with the lulling movement of the wagon, combined with the warm hay, he slipped into sleep without acknowledgement. Beverly checked on him frequently and, on discovering his somnolent condition, decided to let him sleep. A phaser strike such as he’d suffered had lingering side effects, most of which were debilitating, but worried her most was his artificial heart. It had taken the brunt of the blast and she feared its malfunction. Every so often she would gently take his wrist to check his pulse. Although slightly erratic, it continued on and she was mollified.

She watched him sleep. Even through the prosthetics on his face she noted how the lines of worry and care evened out as he relaxed. Gone were the stern lines around his mouth and the creases between his eyebrows. She reflected on their association and on the relationship she still denied them.

“Why am I scared? He would never hurt me.”

She was still pondering this when her own eyes began to droop and she slipped into sleep.

 

 

 

 

It was the groaning of the dray that woke her. They had come to a stop and the wagon was settling. Gruff voices could be heard as she made out at least five people.

Her hand crept across Jean-Luc’s mouth bringing him instantly awake, his eyes wide and questioning. Mouthing ‘checkpoint’ to him, he lay still, listening.

Suddenly a spike of sharpened metal sliced through the hay. The pike was roughly inserted randomly and all the two friends could do was keep still and silent.

The weapon abruptly burst through, grazing Beverly’s cheek. She quickly raised her hand to stem the bleeding when the pike was rammed down again this time straight through Jean-Luc’s stomach. Beverly clearly heard the point hit the boards beneath him as he jack-knifed in agony. The spike was roughly withdrawn and plunged again, spearing him through the foot and hyper-extending his ankle. He twisted in silent torment, his hand to his mouth, blood appearing around his lips.

Then it was over. The voices grew friendly and the wagon began to move. Beverly was desperate. Jean-Luc was bleeding heavily from his stomach wound and was in agony.

While he lay on his side, she pulled up his clothes to see the exit wound. It was bleeding freely but thankfully had missed his spine. She rolled him from his side and made him uncurl. Pulling up his tunic and shirt, she beheld a neat puncture wound approximately two point five centimetres across just to the right and above his navel.

His foot she could do nothing about. Still encased in the boot, she decided to treat his stomach wound first.

Whispering close to his ear, she said,

“Jean-Luc we have to get out of this wagon. I’m going to move down and undo the tailgate. When the time comes we’ll have to drop onto the road. Do you think you can do it?”

He released his bloodied hand and nodded, his eyes screwed shut.

Beverly scuttled down the dray and soon had the tailgate undone. She made her way back to Jean-Luc and helped him to shimmy the length of the cart. With their legs dangling out of the hay, Beverly gripped his hand and jumped, pulling him with her.

They struck the road and rolled. Beverly got to her feet and dragged Jean-Luc up into a crouching stance.

“We have to get off the road! Just hang on a little longer…there’s some trees nearby.”

Half carrying him, Beverly crabbed her way off the road and into the shelter of the shrubs. The wagon proceeded down the road, the driver unaware.

 

 

 

Once concealed by the foliage, Beverly lowered Jean-Luc to the ground and watched dismayed as he curled onto his side, groaning. She took her tunic off and managed to tear some strips from the bottom hem. Making two wads, she placed them over the wounds and wrapped another strip around his middle, stemming the flow of blood. She moved to his foot, only to be halted by his roughened voice.

“Leave it. There’s nothing you can do for it and the boot will support it.”

“Jean-Luc I have to get help.”

He shook his head.

“The only place you can go is back to the blind. Duron has radio equipment…you could contact the Enterprise…get help.”

“But what about you? I can’t just leave you here.”

“Find somewhere to hide me and come back when you’ve contacted the ship.”

“What about Duron?”

“You’ll have to deal with him…somehow. Do we still have the code breaker?”

Beverly gently patted his pocket, locating the device.

“Yes.”

“Good. Leave me now and find somewhere for me to hide.”

“But…”

“Go Beverly for God’s sake…go!”

She stood and looked doubtfully down at her friend. She looked around her seeing only open land, dotted here and there with trees and shrubs, nothing substantial enough to hide Jean-Luc. She noted the trees thickened somewhat in a twisting line some three hundred metres away and guessed a watercourse wound it’s way along the tree line.

“Ok Jean-Luc I think I’ve found something. We have to cover about three hundred metres. Do you think you can do it?”

He opened his eyes and squinted up at his companion.

“Only one way to find out.”

Beverly squatted and helped him to his feet. Keeping his injured foot in the air, he bent double in pain as they struck out.

It took a long time. All Jean-Luc could do was hop and pause as the pain surged then abated. They rested often and had to duck behind the sparse shrubs as traffic moved slowly along the road.

Eventually they made it to the tree line. Moving amongst the towering timbers, Beverly heard the rushing of water.

“Hang on Jean-Luc we’re nearly there. I’m sure we can find somewhere to hide you here.”

By now, sweating profusely and gasping for breath, all he could do was nod. His grip on Beverly was weakening and he began to slide to the ground.

She tightened her grip and scrabbled towards the bank almost sobbing with relief as she saw what she needed.

During a previous flood, the river had swept around the bend, carving and gouging from the bank and exposing tree roots and boulders. There, where a large rock had come away, was a small cave the roof of which was the root system of a huge old tree.

“Ok Jean-Luc I’ve found somewhere but we have to climb down…not far…just a few metres.”

He didn’t respond, but started to move forward. Together they negotiated the rocks and detritus and soon Beverly was easing Jean-Luc down onto the ground.

He was ashen and gasping for breath. Beverly was shocked at the amount of blood he’d lost. Re-applying the bandage, she left him long enough to wet a strip of cloth in the river then wipe his sweating face.

When he’d recovered somewhat he took Beverly’s hand and squeezed it weakly.

“Jean-Luc I really don’t think I should leave you…”

“You must my love. Go now…hurry…”

She took the code breaker and stepped out into the sunshine.

She had gone several hundred metres when his words registered.

“My love! He called me my love.”

She stopped and looked back at the trees.

“I’ll be back soon…my love.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc found that if he kept very still, the pain became tolerable. The throbbing of his midriff was in synch with the throbbing of his foot but as long as he remained motionless, he could cope. Lying on his side, he opened his eyes and looked about his cave. Across the floor were twigs, sticks and leaves. He noticed one stick, larger and longer than the rest leaning against the wall and realised it had a fine wire attached to it. With horror he realised it was a fishing rod. Beverly had hidden him in someone’s fishing spot. He raised his head and gasped as a wave of agony shot through his stomach. Abruptly he vomited, the contents of his stomach mixed with a large quantity of bright blood. He choked and spat clearing his mouth and throat as best he could. The effort of vomiting made the pain intensify and he sobbed as he lay helplessly on the ground. His slip into unconsciousness came unnoticed.

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly followed the road back the way they had come. When she noticed more people than usual, she realised she was nearing the checkpoint. Cutting back into the trees, she crept along stealthily going from tree to tree, keeping the road within sight. She was waiting by the trunk of a big tree when a hand gripped her around the mouth.

The man holding her spoke gutturally in her ear but she didn’t understand his words. His hands however made his intentions known. He mauled her breasts and made to rip her shirt off. Beverly turned around and lifted her hand and put it to his lips. Summoning her most seductive look, she ran her fingers down his chin and further, down his chest and stomach. He grinned evilly and licked his peeling lips, his hands falling to his sides.

She dallied at the closure of his trousers, noting the straining bulge. She undid his pants and he lowered his head to watch. She reached up and wound her hands around his head and leaned in, feigning to kiss him. He closed his eyes and Beverly snapped his neck. He was dead before his body met the ground. She arranged the cadaver to look as if he was asleep against the tree and found his rifle nearby. She found an ammunition pack on the body and also took a knife from his belt. So armed she continued on her way.

Having successfully negotiated the checkpoint, she followed the road for many kilometres eventually reaching the same point that she and Jean-Luc had found earlier that day. Striking off into the bush, she remembered her way and finally found the area of the blind. Picking up small stones, she threw them about her watching for the telltale shimmer of a hologram. When she found it, she rushed forward and located the entry computer. Using the code breaker, she gained access and crouched low, ready for Duron.

Nothing happened. She spoke in a low voice.

“Computer raise illumination to full.”

The lights came on fully and, still crouched, she looked around the room she was in. Ensuring she was alone, she cautiously entered the next room and saw a body lying against the viewport. She moved slowly to it and turned it over. It was Duron and he was dead. She stood and allowed a moment’s sadness. Although clearly unhinged, the Federation had lost a brilliant mind. Raising her voice, she addressed the computer once again.

“Computer, create uplink with ship in orbit.”

“Unable to comply.”

“Why?”

“Local interference has made communication unstable.”

“Can you boost the signal?”

“Negative.”

Beverly thought a moment then spoke again.

“Computer did Professor Duron make a radio?”

“Affirmative.”

“Considering the equipment he had to use, what would such a device look like?”

“It would consist of a tricorder, attached to a metal aerial. There would be two wires connecting it to a small power cell.”

Beverly began her search eventually finding the gadget in Duron’s private quarters. She carried it gingerly back into the main room and set it on the table.

“Computer how do I activate the radio?”

“Turn on the tricorder and, whilst turning the aerial, broadcast your message.”

She looked down at the device and sighed.

“Well here goes. Enterprise this is Crusher. Do you read?”

Nothing just static. She tried again.

“Enterprise respond please. This is Crusher calling the Enterprise. Do you read me Enterprise?”

Suddenly the device burst into life. A loud voice shouted an unintelligible message then abruptly stopped. Throwing caution to the wind, Beverly turned up the volume and again turned the aerial.

“Enterprise! Can you hear me?”

At last they responded. Weakly, and clouded with static, she received her reply.

“This is the Enterprise. We read you faintly. Can you increase the gain?”

“No…no Enterprise I can’t. We need help! The Captain’s been severely injured.”

“Understood. Wait.”

Beverly sat and lowered her head into her hands. Fortunately she didn’t have to wait long.

“Beverly? It’s Will.”

“Will! Send help now!”

“We can’t. For a radius of one hundred and fifty-three kilometres from your position, there are native inhabitants on the ground. There seems to have been an escalation in the war. We can’t land a shuttle anywhere near you.”

“Dammit Will, the Captain needs help.”

“I hear you, but the Prime Directive…”

“Bugger the Prime Directive Will. I had to leave the Captain in a cave kilometres away to get here. God knows how he’s coping! We need help!”

“I’m sorry Beverly but until we can land unobserved, we won’t be coming.”

“Fuck! God damn you Will Riker!”

“Beverly…”

His words were cut off by a rough voice. It sounded demanding and shouted several sentences. Beverly rubbed her face and discovered the sliced muscle of her cheek. While the voice kept up its tirade, Beverly found a med kit and a mirror. She carefully auto sutured the wound and used a medicated cloth to clean away the blood and serum. Flexing the muscle she was pleased with the result. The voice on the radio had fallen silent again so she called the Enterprise.

“Will can you hear me?”

“Yes Beverly.”

“I’m going to take a med kit and go back to Jean-Luc. I’ll dismantle the radio and take it with me.”

“Understood. If there’s any change we’ll be right there. Good luck.”

Before dismantling the radio and placing it in a knapsack, she picked up a phaser and stuck it with the knife in the waistband of her pants. She wasn’t going to be caught out again. Prime Directive be damned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc never heard the approaching footsteps. Still unconscious, he lay on his side, his breath rapid and weak, as was his pulse. A young boy, approximately ten years old climbed under the tree roots and stopped dead, his hand reaching for his fishing rod. His first instinct was to run and he did. He got two hundred metres away before reason hit him. His feet slowed and he trotted to a standstill. Turning slowly he retraced his steps and peeked through the roots, spying on the sleeping man in his cave. When the man didn’t move, the boy became braver. With the energy of youth, he nimbly swung his lithe blue body under the roots and crouched down next to Jean-Luc. Hs nose wrinkled when he smelled the vomit and the red blood was a source of curiosity, his own being dark blue. Gathering his courage he reached forward and gently poked Jean-Luc’s shoulder. He groaned and coughed, making him groan louder. The boy spoke. In his own language he said softly…

“What’s the matter with you?”

Jean-Luc’s eyes cracked open and he stared uncomprehendingly at the boy.

“What?”

The lad shook his head and pointed at Jean-Luc’s stomach.

“You’re injured. What happened to you?”

Gritting his teeth, Jean-Luc raised himself up on his elbow and gasped at the wave of agony that shot through him. He waited it out then looked at the boy. Shaking his head, he touched his mouth.

The boy stood and frowned then crouched down and patted Jean-Luc’s shoulder.

“I will get my father. He will know what to do.”

All Jean-Luc could do was shrug, shaking his head. The lad left and the exhausted Captain lowered his battered body down to the cave floor, wondering where Beverly was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Beverly left the blind dusk was falling. The thirty-eight hour day was drawing to a close and she debated staying the night at the blind. Her mind however soon furnished images of Jean-Luc and her feet took her forward even before she’d made a conscious decision.  She knew the bush would thin out as she approached the road and she picked her way carefully in the gathering darkness. The first of the planet’s three moons had already risen, shedding its pale pink light around her, giving her just enough light to see by.

As she approached the road, she heard voices and smelled the smoke of campfires. She could vaguely make out ten people all armed. She doffed the knapsack and placed the phaser in it. She then hid the bundle in a tree. By now ravenously hungry and fully aware of how dangerous the native food was to humans, she nonetheless yearned for something to eat. Not knowing how long it would be until she was rescued, she made a decision to get something to eat. She hefted the rifle and made sure it was loaded. Moving closer to the camp, she took up a vigil near enough to watch their movements. For over two hours she watched, biding her time. Eventually one of the patrol moved away from his companions, carrying something that resembled meat. He moved close to Beverly in the darkness and fumbled with his pants as he ate, intending to relieve himself. She could hear the stream of urine hitting the ground as she stealthily approached him. She pressed the rifle into his back and hissed at him to be quiet. The stream stopped and he froze. He didn’t understand her words but her intention was clear enough. She took the meat from him and made him lie face down on the ground. She then clouted the back of his head with the butt of the gun and took off at a crouching run. Half way to her tree, she stopped and tore into the meat. It was gamy and slimy but she stuffed mouthfuls down resisting the urge to gag. She heard shouting and was dismayed to hear new voices coming from the direction of her tree. She cast aside the meat residue and wiped her mouth on her sleeve. Breaking cover, she ran at a crouch, making for some shrubs off to her left. A shot rang out and the ground puffed at her feet. She swerved and jinked dodging two more haphazard shots. Fearing being surrounded, she straightened up and lengthened her stride. The bolo, when it struck her legs, brought her down in a breathless heap, spilling her rifle off into the night. She rolled onto her side desperately trying to untangle her feet. The barrel of a gun stilled her movements and a hand roughly dragged her to her feet. Seven people encircled her, each angrily shouting at her and gesturing into the darkness in the direction of their unconscious member. One man, bigger than the rest, came forward and pushed her causing her to fall to the ground. He bent over and shouted into her face.

Beverly held up her hands and stood up. With great deliberation she touched her ears and mouth, trying to make them think she could neither speak nor hear.

They quietened somewhat and grumbled amongst themselves for a while. The big man then grabbed Beverly by the arm and the entire group headed back to the fire.

Once in the light of the fire, Beverly could see there were men and women in the group. All were armed. They pushed Beverly to the ground and a woman gave her a plate with some bread and meat on it. As they watched, she ate the meal, then gulped down a mug of brackish water. The assemblage, now numbering seventeen people split into three groups. Two groups headed out into the night in different directions, leaving five beings by the fire. The remaining few made preparations to bed down. Beverly was thrown a rough blanket and two women made room for her near the fire. It had been a very long day and Beverly was exhausted. She covered herself with the blanket and curled up, wondering how the hell she was going to escape. Sleep eventually claimed her.

 

 

 

 

 

The man grumbled as he followed his scampering son down to the river.

“A strange man…injured with red blood…preposterous!”

He grunted as he negotiated the rocks leading down to the cave. He hadn’t wanted to come. The crops needed harvesting and the local militia had already taken his eldest son.

He was muttering to himself…

“I’ve got far better things to do with my time than…”

He stopped mid-sentence at the sight of Jean-Luc on the cave floor. Going down on one knee, he felt the Captain’s brow and frowned. Turning to his young son he said,

“He’s hot.”

The soft voice registered in Jean-Luc’s mind and he opened his eyes. The man raised his bushy purple eyebrows and gruffly muttered,

“So you’re awake?”

Jean-Luc closed his eyes and moaned piteously. The lad crouched down next to his father and offered his opinion.

“Maybe he’s from the south. They say they speak differently there. Perhaps he’s been shot by one of our militia.”

The man gently lifted Jean-Luc’s clothes and bandage and grunted when he saw the wound.

“That’s no gunshot wound. Look at the bruising.”
”Father why is his blood red?”

The man shook his head.

“I don’t know but he’s badly injured and we should help him. Come on give me a hand, I’m going to take him back to the house.”

The boy straightened, his eyes wide.

“What will Mother say?”

The man sighed.

“Quite a bit, most probably.”

Together the man and the boy carried Jean-Luc out of the cave and struck out on the well-worn path to their home. When they were about two hundred metres from their destination, the lad ran ahead calling for his mother. A small woman appeared, wiping her hands on a cloth. With her long hair braided down her back, she ran out into the yard and put her hand up to shield her eyes from the lowering suns.

The man, by this time puffing under his burden, slowly made his way into the yard and staggered past his wife and entered his home. She bustled in behind him, her words pouring out.

“Who is that? What is he doing here? Where did you find him? What is wrong with him?”

The man gently lowered Jean-Luc onto his eldest son’s bed and straightened up, his hands on his lower back.

“Hush woman! Get some clean bandages, some hot water and that salve we use on the oxen.”

The woman’s mouth snapped shut and she harrumphed at her husband. She did, however, move to do his bidding. With great care, the man undressed Jean-Luc, hissing with worry when he discovered his injured foot. His wife joined him and they set about cleaning the, by now, infected wounds.

Jean-Luc lay quiescently watching but making no acknowledgement of their actions. Too sick to care, he let them treat him, all the while panting and sweating.

The man, having finished dressing Jean-Luc’s wounds, turned to his wife.

“Ellit get me a mug of water. I want to see if he can drink.”

The woman left and soon returned bearing an earthen mug. She gave it to her husband as she watched the distressed man.

“Gods Quentod he’s sick. Did you feel the heat from his skin?”
”I felt it.”

“And what about his blood. It’s red!”

“I saw it.”

“We should tell the Colonel.”

“No! Not yet at least. I don’t trust him…he wants to take the lad to join his brother and him only ten years old! No we wait.”

Quentod gently lifted Jean-Luc’s head and offered the mug. Jean-Luc drank greedily, his thirst a raging one.

“Ellit tie his hair back, it may help to cool him.”

While his wife performed that task, Quentod called for his son.

“Haius!”

The boy wasn’t far away having hung around to watch his parents.

“Yes Father.”

“Tell me more lad. What did he say?”

“I didn’t understand his words Father. He touched his mouth with his hand and shook his head.”

“And there was nobody else…just the man?”

“Yes Father.”

“Did he…”

Ellit’s panicked voice rang out.

“Quentod! Come quickly!”

The man rushed into Jean-Luc’s room to find his wife supporting the Captain as he vomited. The recently drunk water and a quantity of blood was splattering onto the floor.

“Haius go get a bucket and some rags.

“Here Ellit, let me take him.”

Quentod replaced his wife and held Jean-Luc until the spasms stopped. Out of breath and moaning, the Captain was gently lowered to his pillow, Quentod cleaning his mouth with a damp cloth. His wife and son came in and together cleaned up the mess. Quentod stood and looked down at the suffering man.

“He obviously has damaged his internal organs. If he can’t drink he will get sicker. We must cover him with wet cloths, maybe he can ingest fluid that way.”

Ellit soon returned with a bucket full of water and some clean cloths. They saturated the fabric and laid them along the length of Jean-Luc’s body. He started to shiver, despite his elevated temperature and a blanket was draped over him. When they were finished, Quentod turned to his wife.

“Well I have to get back to the harvesting. Can you and Haius care for him?”

Ellit looked lovingly at her young son, ruffling his luxuriant hair.

“I’m sure it’s a duty Haius would undertake with careful attention.”

“Very well. Call me if you need me.”

Quentod left and Ellit sat her son at Jean-Luc’s side.

“I’ll be in the kitchen. If you need help, just call me.”

The boy nodded sternly, thoroughly immersed in his role as care giver.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jean-Luc drifted in and out of sleep. As the shadows crept up the wall and night fell, he tried to gain a perspective on his surroundings. Turning his head slightly, he saw the boy from the cave, watching him intently.

Summoning his voice he said brokenly…

“Where am I?”

The boy jumped and called out.

“Mother!”

 A woman appeared and hurried over to him.

“What is it?”

“He spoke to me.”

“What did he say?”

Haius shrugged his thin shoulders.

“I don’t know.”

Jean-Luc looked up at the woman and repeated his question.

“Where am I?”

Ellit looked at Jean-Luc, then at her son, then back at Jean-Luc. She touched her breast and said “Ellit.” Then gently touched Jean-Luc’s chest, her eyebrows raised.

The Captain understood. In his deep roughened voice he said,

“Jean-Luc.”

The woman smiled and repeated his words.

“Jean-Luc?”

He nodded and frowned as he struggled to breathe. Raising one arm, he held his hand to his chest, feeling a deep ache inside. His fingers found his carotid artery and he felt the erratic pulse, indicating a defective heart. Concentrating, he realised his lungs were congested and tried an experimental cough. Immediately the stab of agony washed over him. He groaned and turned onto his side, gasping.

Ellit grasped his shoulder and wiped his brow with a damp cloth. When the pain settled, he opened his eyes and smiled at his benefactor.

She looked at her son and touched his head.

“Haius.”

Jean-Luc looked at the boy and smiled.

“Hello Haius.”

On hearing his name, the lad’s face split into a grin and he touched the Captain’s shoulder.

“Jean-Luc.”

He nodded and Haius sighed with happiness. Contact had been made.

Ellit left them to return to the kitchen. Haius watched over Jean-Luc for a further hour as the Captain dozed. Upon wakening, he raised his hands and rubbed his eyes, dislodging one of the contact lenses. It lifted, exposing the white sclera and the hazel iris.

Haius gasped and stepped back from his chair, knocking it over. His mother’s voice drifted in from the other room.

“Are you all right in there?”

Not taking his eyes from the Captain, Haius gulped and made a quick decision. He replied,

“Yes Mother.”

Jean-Luc realised what had happened and hurriedly replaced the lens. He looked concernedly at Haius and reached for his hand. The boy was hesitant but allowed the contact.

“You must not be frightened.”

Haius shook his head and pointed at Jean-Luc’s eyes. In a small voice he said,

“What are you?”

Jean-Luc knew instinctively what was being asked. He sighed and momentarily closed his eyes. Summoning his most gentle voice, Jean-Luc implored,

“You must not fear me…I will not harm you.”

The lad heard the sincerity in Jean-Luc’s voice and began to relax. Nodding he said,

“I won’t tell anybody…it will be our secret.”

Jean-Luc felt a bond of sorts was being formed. He smiled at Haius and gently squeezed his small hand. Gesturing to the other room, Jean-Luc put his finger to his lips.

Haius giggled and nodded, winking at the Captain. Relieved that he wasn’t going to be exposed, Jean-Luc let his body sag and wondered how the hell he was going to get out of his situation.

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly dozed. The nights were cold on Burras II and the thin blanket did little to ward off the chill. As the long night crept on, Beverly woke and lay quietly, watching the camp as groups came and went. That the others deemed her to be a low threat was a boon to her. She stood and wrapped the blanket about her willowy form, moving closer to the fire. She watched surreptitiously, noting that nobody seemed to be paying her any attention. Turning from the fire, she faced the darkness, the light of the moons feeble. With a boldness she didn’t feel, she walked towards the darkness, only to be stopped. The rough hand turned her around and an unmistakable question was asked.

“Where are you going?”

Beverly didn’t need to speak Burran to know what he meant. She put one hand between her legs and grimaced. Her captor grunted and let her go, pointing into the night. Beverly started off in that direction, but as the darkness swallowed her, she veered to her right. When no one challenged her, she quickened her pace. She knew she had little time. At a trot, she made her way towards her tree. She met no one else so she increased her step, eventually running flat out. She reached the tree and, panting, felt in the bole for the knapsack. Almost shouting with relief, her hand closed on the stout fabric. She wrenched it free and took off again, angling away from the camp, but keeping the road within her periphery. She ran until she couldn’t run any more. In a group of trees she collapsed to the ground and waited until she’d regained her breath. She opened the rucksack and took out the radio. By the light of the activated tricorder, she assembled the device and spoke softly to it.

“Enterprise this is Crusher. Respond please.”

The reply came faintly.

“Enterprise here.”

“I am…”

Her broadcast was shattered by a snarling voice.

The Enterprise cut in.
“Doctor Crusher the inhabitants have detected your transmission. They want you to stop.”

“Damn them! I’m on my way to collect Captain Picard…there’s ground forces everywhere…I have to be careful. I’ll contact you again in three hours.”

“Doctor this is Data. It is likely the inhabitants will be able to pinpoint your broadcasts. Keep moving and do not stay near where you send from.”
”Understood Data, thank you. Crusher out.”

She deactivated the unit, dismantled it and stored it in the bag. She stood with her burden and wrapped the blanket around her shoulders. She could just see the pinpricks of light that designated the buildings where she and Jean-Luc had hitched the ride in the wagon. Angling towards the lights she moved through the trees, her ears hyperaware. As she neared the outbuildings she could make out several people standing in the soft light cast through the windows. They were drinking.

“It’s a tavern.”

She warily circumvented the sheds, avoiding the main structure and keeping in the darkness. Having successfully negotiated the pub, she picked up the road again and trotted on.

“I’m coming Jean-Luc, hold on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haius sat beside the Captain, a frown upon his blue face. He gestured with the utensil.

“You must eat. Mother says that you will get even more sick if you don’t eat something.”

Jean-Luc looked at the morsel and grimaced. He felt nauseous; the last thing he wanted was food. What he craved was water, but was reluctant to go through the vomiting again.

Again Haius proffered the fork.

“Just chew it, at least you’ll be getting the goodness.”
As he said this, he pantomimed chewing, then spitting. Jean-Luc understood and took the fork from his hand, popping the bit of meat and a few vegetables into his mouth. He chewed until the food was nothing but a paste in his mouth then spat the remains into a bucket. Haius grinned and offered another forkful, but Jean-Luc’s thirst was made worse by his chewing. He motioned drinking and the lad quickly brought him a mug of water. Jean-Luc raised the mug and slowly sipped, cautious of the consequences. When nothing happened, he sipped some more them lay down panting. When he’d regained his breath, he reached for the boy&rsq


© Copyright 2018 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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