The Essence of Anger Part 11

The Essence of Anger Part 11

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fan Fiction

Summary

Same as Pt 1

Summary

Same as Pt 1

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Essence of Anger Part 11

Author Chapter Note

Same as Pt 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

Reads: 320

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

A A A

A A A

 

David knew his mother was regaining consciousness. She took a deep breath and smiled, but just as quickly as the smile had emerged, it vanished to be replaced with a grimace. Her eyes opened then and she sought her son, who’d been sitting on her bed, holding her hand. The restraining field had been removed.

“Hello, Maman, how do you feel?”

Sitting up, Beverly put her free hand over her shoulder and rotated her head. Her frown was a deep one and her tone angry.

“A nerve pinch.” Lifting her head, she called,

“Doctor Selar, this is Doctor Crusher. I would like to see you. Now.”

There was no reply, further angering Beverly, but Selar’s appearance at her bedside mollified Beverly somewhat. “You’ve given me a nerve pinch. Why?”

With typical Vulcan emotionless delivery, Selar said quietly, “You were irrational, Doctor and considered a danger to yourself and those around you.”

“Nonsense!” Beverly spat. “How could you make such a fatuous claim?!”

Calmly, Selar said, “You struck your son, Doctor.”

Beverly gaped, her eyes travelling to David who had lowered his head. “What? I hit my son?”

Gently lifting his chin, he kept his gaze lowered. Beverly’s voice clearly carried her distress. “David? Is it true? Did I hit you?”

All he could do was nod, but in a small voice he said, “It wasn’t your fault, Maman. You couldn’t find a safe place and you got confused.”

Before Beverly could say anything further, Selar asked, “What do you remember, Doctor Crusher?”

“Remember?” Her eyes narrowed. “About what?”

Deanna, having sensed the strong, turbulent emotion surging through her best friend, arrived at the bed and said, “Where is Monique right now?”

As soon as Deanna saw Beverly’s eyes fill with tears she knew the Doctor remembered her four year old daughter was dead. Now she had to ask if Beverly remembered anything of her recent delusional behaviour.

“Do you remember hitting David?”

Mouth ajar, Beverly was shaking her head when she suddenly gasped and brought her hand to cover her mouth.

“No! Oh, my God, no!” Turning to her son, she wrapped him in her arms, sobbing, “Oh, David...I’m so sorry...so very sorry!”

It took some time for Beverly to calm and it was David who helped her to regain her composure. While she sobbed he talked to her softly and in French. When she was finally able to look him in the eye, she smiled tenderly and gently stroked his hair.

“So like your Papa.”

Selar moved a little closer and said quietly, “Would you both like to transport down to the planet to see Captain Picard?”

Beverly’s lower lip trembled, but she managed to say in a very small voice, “Yes. We would.” David merely nodded. Only Deanna knew he was so frightened he didn’t really want to go.

“I will contact the medical facility and arrange a time.”

Nodding her thanks to the Vulcan, Beverly looked at her son and smiled. “It’ll be good to see Papa, won’t it.”

Again, all David did was nod, his head lowered. Deanna stepped closer and gently took his arm, saying to Beverly, “I just want to have a chat with David. He’ll be back soon.”

Beverly was annoyed, she’d yet to find out if she’d hurt her son, certainly she knew she’d hurt him emotionally and wanted time to try and heal the damage she’d caused. She couldn’t do that if the boy was off with Deanna, but she had no option but to agree. Besides she thought it most likely their ‘chat’ would be about what she’d done anyway. She was wrong.

Ushering David into the Sick Bay Observation lounge, Deanna sat them together and said quietly, “Why are you so frightened about seeing your father?”

At first David, keeping his head lowered just shrugged, but it was a token show of resistance. He knew his Aunt wouldn’t let the matter rest until she had a satisfactory answer.

“I just don’t want to see him. Not down there.”

“Why?”

He became very angry. His hold on his emotions was tenuous and he felt tears threatening, but the last thing he wanted to do right then was cry. So instead he shot to his feet, fisted his hands and beat them on the tabletop, shouting, “Because I said so!”

Deanna, calm as always simply waited. David began to stalk around the room, shoving chairs out of his way and kicking anything within reach. When the storm finally abated, he collapsed to the floor, curled up in a ball and wept, quietly and forlornly.

Deanna went to him, sat and gathered him into her arms. “It’s all right to be frightened, David, you know that. But why don’t you want to see your father?”

Barely audible, he said through hiccupping breaths, “I don’t want to see him in that place. The skin on his face is all disgusting and he has to wear clothes that don’t fit and the people in that place want to kill him and there’s nothing I can do! I can’t help him and I can’t stop them! And they killed Monique and the baby and everything is gone. I want it back like it was, Aunt Deanna, why can’t I make it all go back the way it was? We were so happy. If they kill Papa, no one will ever be happy again...not ever.”

Struck by the prophetic nature of David’s heartbreaking words, Deanna was speechless. All she could do was hold the poor boy and rock him.

 

 

 

 

Beverly and David waited outside while Selar washed, shaved and assisted in redressing her captain. It was only through her Vulcan stoicism that allowed her to show no emotion as she exited the cell and gestured for mother and son to enter.

As soon as they did, Selar said to the guard, “I wish to speak with the Administrator.”

“I will advise Administrator Cerran of your request. Please wait.”

Nodding her acceptance, Selar watched as the guard summoned another to take her place while she went to deliver the request.

Jean-Luc was seated on the bench not knowing quite what to do. He wanted to hug his wife and son, he wanted to weep and shout out the injustice of his situation, he wanted to take their faces in his hands and kiss them with all the tenderness he could summon, but he did none of these things. He just sat, staring up at them while they, just as confused and paralysed, stood inside the closed metal door.

It was Jean-Luc who broke the impasse by saying something so inane it made both Beverly and David laugh.

“I’m sorry I can’t offer you any refreshments.”

Their laughter caused Jean-Luc to begin to laugh too, but all three quickly descended into chocking sobs. Taking their places, one each side of him, they gathered in each other’s arms and wept brokenheartedly.

It was some minutes before Jean-Luc lifted his head and said, not bothering to even try to stop crying, “I’m so sorry.”

Lifting her head from his shoulder, Beverly hiccupped, “You don’t...you don’t have to...Jean-Luc...don’t...please...don’t...”

He held her tighter, aware that David too was hugging him fiercely. “I must, Beverly. My oath compels me to...”

Wrenching free of her partner, Beverly shouted, “I don’t care about your fucking oath! We never married, we didn’t need to, so we never proclaimed our promises, our vows to anyone but to each other! What about those vows, Jean-Luc? Do they mean nothing? Are you saying your oath to Starfleet is more important than your vows spoken to me?”

His head bowed, Jean-Luc’s voice was low and rough with emotion. “You know that’s not true!”

“Then why are you doing this? Aren’t David and I more important to you than any fucking oath you gave as a seventeen year old?”

He looked up, his eyes showing his anger. “Do you not know me at all? Beverly, you know I love you...” He brought David even closer to him. “...and David more than my own life, but I’ve spent my life, at least my entire adult life living it with integrity, honour and honesty. Isn’t that the man you know and love?”

“Yes! But...”

He held up his free hand. “Then what would it make me if I chose to throw away all that I have been, all that I have striven to convey and inspire in others just to preserve my life? I would be a hypocrite! I cannot put forth personal reasons as motive for violating my oath. Beverly...” He let go of David and rose to take his partner’s hands. “The plain fact is I broke Ereban law and I must face the consequences of that. I don’t want to die! My God...” He momentarily lost the ability to speak. Several long seconds passed before he said brokenly, “I want nothing more than to live out the rest of my days with you and David, but fate has dictated otherwise.”

“I can’t go on without you, Jean-Luc.” Beverly whispered, tears streaming down her face.

“You must, my love. David needs you and you need him.” He led her back to the bench. “After I’m...afterwards, leave Starfleet, Beverly...I want you to...”

She frowned, confused. “Leave Starfleet?”

“Yes!” Jean-Luc said vehemently. “Beverly, my love, Starfleet, Command, the Federation Council...it’s not all that it seems. Things...things I can’t tell you about have been happening...are still happening and once you get wind of it you’re not going to want to stay. In fact no one with any conscience or integrity is going to stay, believe me. Will, Deanna, Selar...I’ve no doubt they’ll resign. Walk away, Beverly, walk away and don’t look back!”

“But where should we go? The chateau?”

Jean-Luc frowned and rubbed his fingers over his lower lip, something he could now do again. “Perhaps Earth might not be the best place. Caldos maybe?”

“What is it you can’t tell me, Jean-Luc? What the hell’s going on?”

“I can’t tell you, Beverly, it would put you in danger. Once the...execution has taken place, retrieve my remains and get back to Earth ASAP. Have me cremated along with Charlotte and our little girl and inter us in my family’s plot at the chateau. Then you and David leave!”

“Jean-Luc...” Beverly was barely able to even whisper. “I don’t think I can do it...”

He squeezed her hands and looked deeply into her eyes. “You must, Beverly, mon coeur. Think of it as my dying wish. You can’t refuse.”

Her mouth slightly ajar and tears running freely down her face, all Beverly could do was nod. Jean-Luc let go of Beverly’s hands and turned to his son. He picked the unprotesting boy up and placed him on his lap. “David, my sweet son...I know you don’t understand why I’m doing this, I can only hope that with time you will come to terms with my decision. It is my hope, that with your mother’s help, you will learn more about me and in doing so realise that sometimes there are situations when the greater good must take precedence over personal concerns. In any event, I can only hope you can find it in yourself to forgive me for what you must feel is my betrayal. But for now I beseech you, take care of your Maman. In the coming days, weeks and months she is going to need you. Help her to move forwards, make a new life for yourselves and my dear son, live your life to the full! Be the good man I know you will grow to be!” Jean-Luc took his son’s face in his hands and kissed first his brow, then each cheek, then gently on his lips. He then turned to Beverly and embraced the quietly weeping woman.

“Never forget how much I loved you, my sweet Beverly. Our time together has been the happiest of my life and if I can, I will watch over you...both of you. Our love is eternal, it will not cease with my death.”

He released her then and stood. “You must go now and not return until you’re required. At that time, be brave and say nothing. All you need to know is that my last thoughts will be of you both. I love you.”

Mutely, Beverly stood and took David’s hand. They left in a daze, shocked and already grief-stricken.

 

Administer Cerran smiled down at Selar, offering the Vulcan a seat at her desk. Selar declined with a respectful bow. “I will not take much of your time, Administrator. I am here to state officially that Captain Picard has recovered from the nematode infestation.”

The large tan woman’s face fell. “Oh. I see. Well, thank you, Doctor Selar, I will inform the relevant authorities.”

“May I enquire,” said Selar. “When will the trial begin?”

“Well now that patient...sorry, Captain Picard, has been deemed fit and well, probably as soon as tomorrow.”

Bowing her head, Selar turned to leave but faltered ever-so-slightly as Cerran muttered, “I’ll have to collect the biological samples from him. I take it his seed with survive in stasis?”

“Yes.” Selar answered flatly.

“Good. It would be a pity if our...efforts to afford him this...privilege failed because of insufficient technology.”

Selar left without acknowledging the remark.

 

 

 

 

The message that summoned Jeran to the ‘meeting’ had been so subtly embedded in her usual comm. traffic she’d only just found it. She had been instructed to come alone, but she had told Murr too much already, she knew he’d been compromised so, feeling if she was to be eliminated, at least they would die together, Murr had insisted on accompanying her.

The home was on the outskirts of the city, in one of the new ‘satellite’ suburbs that were springing up to accommodate the sudden upsurge in the Ereban population. During their drive through this new area, Jeran counted fifteen newly opened pleasure centres. And they were large complexes, easily able to service many groups at once. Her unease grew as they entered a sparsely populated area and drew up outside a stylish and obviously new home. It was dark, the street lighting not yet installed. No one saw the group of five enter.

The window coverings had been drawn and the lighting was soft. The interior of the house was unfurnished with the exception of a large, long conference-type table. Jeran came to a halt as Absum caught her eye and sent a frightened smile. Sitting next to the doctor was a male she had only seen once and then as a holoimage. It was Absum’s bond mate, Gerron. The four, Absum, Gerron, Jeran and Murr nodded to each other as the advocate and her mate took their seats. The others, including the three who had arrived in the same ground vehicle as Jeran and Murr exchanged quiet greetings, but it was soon obvious the male at the head of the table was the leader.

He focused his attention on the four and offered a tight smile.

“You will not be told our names, it is not necessary for you to know and in the long run, it may save your lives if you remain ignorant of some information.”

With typical advocate chutzpah, Jeran swallowed her fear to ask boldly, “What are we doing here? Who are you?”

The male’s smile grew, but his pale gold eyes were cold. “As to who we are, you know that already, Advocate. We are patriots and by extension, so are you. And that is why you’re here.”

Absum shook her head, her face creased in a frown. “That doesn’t answer the question.”

The male sighed. “You...” he gestured to all four, but his eyes flicked between Jeran and Absum, “...have been asking questions...digging in places you really shouldn’t have and generally sticking your noses where they don’t belong. Now that in itself isn’t too bad, in fact we commend you, if more true Ereban started to ask the questions they should, perhaps what we plan wouldn’t be so very necessary.”

“And just what is it your plan?” Jeran said belligerently. The male’s smile became indulgent.

“This is not a courtroom, Advocate. You cannot cross examine me.” His eyes lost some of their coldness and he sat back, taking a piece of dried fruit from a pocket of his sarong and tearing off a bite. He chewed thoughtfully before he spoke again.

“Doctor Absum. The body you dissected. You told one of our operatives that in your opinion it...he...was capable of breeding with true Ereban.”

The doctor frowned. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean by ‘true’ Ereban.”

Giving Absum a look of tired boredom, the male sighed. “You know exactly what I mean, doctor. Don’t be so disingenuous.”

Flushing and quelling the urge to bite back with a sarcastic reply, Absum softly cleared her throat and said mildly, “You are referring to lurin.”

“Yes!” the male sat forward, his eyes piercing. “You know full well that within a little as the next two generations, lurin with be by far the dominant example of the Ereban species. You and your ilk, doctor, will die out!”

“Then I can only surmise that you don’t consider me or my bond mate to be Ereban.” Absum did her best to keep her anger and deep offence at bay.

“Oh, quite the contrary, doctor. There is absolutely no doubt you’re both Ereban, but...how should I put it? A soon to be outmoded model?”

Absum and Gerron shared a tender look and the mate gave a surreptitious nod. Emboldened, Absum said quietly, “One doesn’t have to be lurin to have changed.”

His eyes narrowing, the male said softly, “What is that supposed to mean?”

Again the bonded pair shared a long look. “We discovered some time ago that we could lie without creating a brood and we found intense pleasure in the process.”

Waving his hand dismissively, the male said derisively, “Then you are lurin...lurin in denial!”

“No.” Absum said quietly and with great dignity. “You forget I am a doctor. We are not lurin. When we found we possessed this...ability, my first reaction was to examine both of us. Yes, we have developed pleasure organs where you would expect to find them in male and female lurin, but we no longer produce cell or seed. And these changes are recent; at least they have occurred within the last five years. We have been covertly ‘monitoring’ our offspring to see if they’ve begun to exhibit the same changes. As you’d imagine, they are very reluctant to speak of things so personal, but being in the medical community, they have a vested interest in their society. Of the thirty-eight children we have produced every single one is beginning to change. The eldest have completed the change, the youngest are just now showing the beginnings. Whatever it is that’s producing more and more lurin is affecting we...outmoded models. In effect it seems as a trade off because we can no longer breed, we can now indulge in the reproductive act with intense pleasure.”

There were dark murmurings around the table until the male slapped his hand down hard, the loud crack bringing silence. “The duplicity!”

“Who is being duplicitous?” Jeran almost shouted. “When are you going to tell us what’s going on?”

“Our own government is in collusion with the Federation and our unhappy neighbours. It’s been going on for more than a century. Ereban was earmarked as a potential ally a very long time ago, but with the Federation’s troubles with the Dominion War, then the Borg incursion, things were brought forward. But still, they had the luxury of time. Or so they thought. That was until our neighbours almost annihilated themselves in their damned war. That set in motion a little plan of theirs involving seeding our atmosphere with a new genetic message. Over the last four generations we have begun a false, vastly accelerated genetic evolution.”

“But why?” said a clearly confused Absum. “What possible motive would they have?”

“How does a new species on a lovely clean, mostly underpopulated planet, rich in minerals and resources sound?”

“By the All Seeing One...you mean Ereban!”

“Indeed I do! And just to keep their foot in the door...and our neighbours on the right side, the Federation has helped them! In order to keep them out of the Typhon Pact, the Federation was willing to get into bed with their scientists...offer assistance...in order to manufacture not only a willing ally, but a species of powerful, prolifically breeding males and females with which to bolster their thinning ranks!

“War with the Typhon Pact is inevitable and the Federation had always thought our neighbours would side with the Pact, but the carrot dangled by the Federation was enough to sway our neighbours. In return for saving what little remains of their now joined species, they get Ereban! And that means they get us!”

Jeran shook her head. “And not a drop of blood spilt! They’ll do it with a stroke of a pen. By the time our people work out what’s happening, it’ll be too late.”

Absum sat forward, asking urgently “Is there any way we can identify the aliens? Stop them from breeding with us?”

The male laughed coldly. “Even if there was a way to identify them, do you think lurin would refuse? Why do you think lurin were developed in the first place? It is imperative for them to lie! Male and female...they don’t care with whom.”

Seeing the outraged looks on Jeran and Murr, the male held up his hand. “I apologise. I should have clarified. Non-bonded lurin will lie as often as they can and with whomever they can find. I didn’t mean to imply bonded lurin were not faithful to each other.”

Mollified, Jeran sat back and rubbed her brow. “All right, so what is your plan?”

“This entire plot was uncovered seven generations ago, but back then, all we knew for certain was that we carried within us human DNA. We didn’t know how it got there, but as it seemed to be doing no harm, the discovery was quietly buried. Years...generations passed and things began to change. Then three generations ago, the first lurin appeared. Those of us who knew began to dig. It took a further two generations, but the whole picture began to emerge, but we were powerless to do anything about it! As long as we Ereban relied on our familial ties for everything, we were never going to be able to defend ourselves, either militaristically or scientifically. So a decision was made...a very risky one. We knew of the Federation’s involvement but our then government thought if we aligned ourselves with the very people who were so hell-bent on taking us anyway, perhaps we might be able to effect a double-cross. Use our new allies to protect us from our nefarious neighbours.

“Well on the face of it, that seemed to be a reasonably sound idea. But the government had not considered the populations’ rejection. It took until the current generation before the citizenry finally conceded. And so a formal petition was made to join the Federation.”

The people sat in stunned silence. The male said almost off-handedly, “You know, Doctor, those changes you described? I am no scientist, but I would wager it’s happening simply because you carry within you DNA of four species and they’ve each begun to wish to assert dominance.”

“That is absurd!” Absum blurted. “That kind of DNA selection; that being which DNA has dominance occurs at fertilisation, not in grown, mature adults.”

“Really?” said the male sarcastically. “Then explain to me the occurrence of sexually deviant behaviour in otherwise normal Ereban adults? People who had up until they changed, had been absolutely normal? And your changes, Doctor. Can you explain them?”

Jeran waved her hand. “This is irrelevant! Again I ask, what is your plan?”

“We have put in place people who have influence. When the time comes, and I stress it won’t be in our lifetime, but sooner rather than later, going by the latest statistics, when the ‘invasion’ begins, we will be ready. That double-cross I mentioned. It’s not exclusively aimed at our neighbours, but at the Federation as well. If they want is so badly, they’re going to have to take us...and we’ll resist with the very weapons and ships they themselves will supply. We will of course up until then be the perfect lap dogs! But by the time everything happens there will be many, many Ereban. More, we think, than the Federation realises.”

“And what of the human, Picard? What has he to do with all this?” Jeran was partly curious and partly dreading the answer

The male sighed and actually looked sad. “It is regretful. Our government, again in collusion with an entity within the Federation Council sent Picard as a sacrificial lamb...a lamb to be slaughtered. They knew a man like Picard, possessed with integrity and honour would at least try to do what he’d been sent to do, that is assess Ereban for admission into the Federation and of course he quickly found we were nowhere near suitable as candidates. But he was also supposed to meet with what he’d been told were a clandestine group who wished to elicit Federation assistance with our little ‘evolution’ problem. He was set up from the very beginning. Even his selection as a man with a family but who had not bonded was taken into account. And as for the three deviants who raped, beat and murdered his family? Hand-picked by our government.”

Suddenly on her feet, Jeran slammed her fist down on the tabletop. “What about Article 225.1? I can use it to...”

“NO!” the male calmed himself and motioned for Jeran to regain her seat. “No, Advocate, you can’t use it. It will make no difference anyway. The Presider is in the pocket of the Chief Seer. Picard’s trial is nothing but a sham. He was doomed even before his ship left orbit to make the journey to Ereban. If the situation with the deviants had failed, something else would’ve been made available, something that would bring about his execution and if all else failed, he would’ve been quietly....eliminated.”

“Then why bother with a trial and execution at all? Jeran was disgusted and confused.

“Because,” the male said patiently, “the government wants the people to see how seriously the Federation is taking our petition. If they’re willing to sit idly by and allow our law to run its course and do nothing to protect one of their most illustrious Captains, then surely they can be trusted?”

Absum closed her eyes and shook her head. “And the people will feel justified in aligning themselves with an alien power.”

“Exactly.”

Jeran sighed, her broad shoulders slumping. “So Picard dies needlessly and in one, perhaps two generations, we will be plunged into war with the Federation.”

“Yes. If we win, we win more than a war, Advocate. We win the right to be ourselves...whatever that eventually is.” The male stared intently. “And, Advocate. Picard’s death will not be needless. He serves a purpose. His death will not be forgotten, not by us or by those to come. He will be forever remembered for what the Federation once was and what we hope to be ourselves, one day.”

 

 

 

Administrator Cerran stood outside Jean-Luc’s cell, staring at the special container in her hand. It was the standard size for an Ereban male, but she knew it was going to be too large for her ‘patient’, but it was a specially engineered container, specifically designed for its job, so it wasn’t as if she had a choice. Yet somehow she felt this situation was different and it made her feel decidedly uncomfortable.

She’d not had a lot to do with her ‘patient’ but from what little contact she’d had, she’d found him to be intelligent and inherently gentle. How he could’ve found the excessive violence in him to murder three adult Ereban males...she sighed and shook her head. “He was trying to protect his family...even though he wasn’t bonded.” She thought sadly.

“Oh well, no time like the present.” She muttered. To the guard she nodded towards the cell door and instructed, “Open it.”

Jean-Luc was sitting on the bench, staring at his hands which dangled between his thighs. Cerran had to clear her throat loudly to gain his attention.

“Patient Picard, number 55839, as a gesture of good will, we, the staff here at the hospital are affording you a singular privilege. I am going to leave this...” she held up the container. “I will return in three of your hours to collect it.”

Confused, Jean-Luc asked quietly, “What is it?”

Flushing slightly, the administrator said curtly, “It is a seed collector.”

“Pardon? A what?”

Through gritted teeth, Cerran hissed, “A seed collector!”

“Seed? What kind of seed?” Jean-Luc was growing more confused by the second. Throwing her hands up, Cerran spat it out.

“You are to...stimulate yourself and produce three...samples of your seed!”

Realisation made Jean-Luc gape. “Why?” he asked, aghast.

“Because that is what we wish you to do!”

“And if I refuse?”

Shock, anger and outrage made the usually pleasant face of the administrator darken. “If you refuse, we will take the samples by force and believe me, it is NOT a pleasant or comfortable procedure. Now I am offering you the opportunity to do it in privacy at your own pace and as long as you fulfil your obligation within the allotted time, we will leave you alone. But hear me 55839. Failure to comply will not be tolerated!”

She shoved the largish sealed container at Jean-Luc and he took it, his expression one of distaste.

“You are going to comply?” Cerran said with a trace of threat.

“Yes.” Agreed Jean-Luc softly.

“Then I will be back in three hours!”

The door clanged shut leaving an embarrassed and bewildered Jean-Luc still sitting, only now he was staring at the container, wondering just how he was going to be able to ‘produce the goods’.

 

 

 

It was typical of Geordi to keep working well after his shift had ended. He’d dismissed the young ensign, preferring to study the enigma on his own. Engineering, like all the other crucial departments of the ship was staffed at all times, but the beta shift...the night shift as some liked to call it...was slightly smaller than the ‘day’ shift, so it was a more subdued environment that afforded Geordi more time to devote to the problem.

It was just on oh four hundred when his head snapped up and he pushed his wheeled chair back from the console in an involuntary gesture. He’d slapped his comm. badge before he even knew he’d done it.

“LaForge to Riker!”

Will had been sleeping so restlessly that Deanna had taken to sleeping on the sofa, but both occupants of Will’s quarters woke immediately to the urgency of Geordi’s voice.

“Riker here. What is it, Geordi?”

“Sir, I’ve found something I think you should see. Right now, Commander.”

“Acknowledged! I take it you’re in engineering?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Right, I’ll be there shortly. Riker out.”

Deanna waited in silence as Will quickly dressed. He was striding to the doors when he hesitated and turned to his lover. She held up her hand and offered a small smile.

“Go. I’ll see you later.”

He gave a curt nod and was gone.

Geordi had brought up a large image of the area of space on their port side on the main screen in engineering. Will found him peering at one section he’d magnified. Nodding his acknowledgment of Will’s arrival, Geordi used the knuckle of his right index finger to lightly tap the highlighted area.

“What is it?” Will asked brusquely.

“A ship, no doubt about, sir. They’re using a very sophisticated cloaking device, in fact I’ve never seen anything like it, but whatever it is, they can’t prevent the subspace interphase pocket. It’s bulging just like we thought.”

“Can you tell what kind of ship? Romulan...Klingon maybe?”

Shaking his head, Geordi grimaced. “I doubt it’s either, sir. I don’t even think it’s any of the Typhon Pact’s either.”

“Why?”

“Because of its size. I can’t be completely accurate, but the readings I’m getting seem to suggest the ship’s about a ‘Defiant’ size. Now if the Typhon Pact had sent a spy ship, surely it would be something much more discreet, smaller and much harder to detect??”

‘Yeah, maybe, but a Defiant class can pack quite a punch, Geordi.”

“If it’s a Defiant class, Commander. I didn’t say it was, just that whatever’s out there is about the same size, that’s all.”

Will thought for only a few seconds before saying curtly, “Route that...” he jabbed his finger at the image on the screen. “...to the bridge. You’re with me, Mr. LaForge.”

Within scant minutes both men exited the lift and strode on to the command centre of the ship. The night shift immediately shoved aside their boredom and listlessness and snapped into ready mode.

“Computer,” intoned Will. “I want a full, high-intensity sensor sweep and scan of these coordinates.”
 He nodded to Geordi who inputted the information. “Activate forward viewscreen and display.”

Of course there was nothing to see but the edge of the planet below and above...empty space.

“I don’t buy it. Tactical,” said Will sharply. “There’s a ship sitting cloaked at those coordinates. I want you to send a standard hail, but direct it specifically at those coordinates. I want that ship to know not only do we know it’s there, but that we know exactly where.”

“Aye, Commander.”

Seconds of tense silence was followed by a quiet, “No response, sir.”

Will was just about to curse when Geordi shouted, “Whoa!”

Spinning around, Will barked, “What is it?”

“Look, I can’t be certain, but I’m pretty sure that ship just armed itself and by the sharp jump in the EM band, I’d say they also raised some very heavy-duty shields.”

“Not very friendly then.” Remarked Will drolly. “Okay, let’s reciprocate. Red alert! Shields up to full intensity and bring all weapons online!” He turned back to the viewscreen and said with some satisfaction, “And tactical, lock onto the target.”

“Yes, sir!”

On the cloaked ship the captain was swearing with vulgarity his crew had rarely ever heard. Once his expletive ridden tirade, in several languages had ended, he glared at the image of the Enterprise and hissed, “That fucker Riker! Who the hell does he think he is?”

“Shall we deploy the thaleron emitter?”

“No you idiot!”

“But it’ll vaporise the Enterprise. Problem solved.”

“Listen to me shit-for-brains. If we destroy the fucking flagship, just how do you think we’re going to explain it? Hmm? If we blame the Typhon Pact it’ll begin the war too soon! And besides, the fucking fallout from the thaleron radiation would annihilate everything on the fucking planet! For Christ’s sake, think before you open your stupid fucking mouth!”

No one dared speak while the captain ground his teeth. Eventually he threw his hands up and said, “Right! We bug out! Take us out of the Enterprise’s sensor range and keep watching. In the meantime, connect me with the section. Things have just taken a u-turn.”

The very tense atmosphere on the Enterprise’s bridge lessened a little when Geordi reported, “Commander? The SIP has just vanished. My guess is our mystery ship has left.”

Will let out a long breath and sat down. “Okay, but I want continuous sensor sweeps and scans right to the very limit of our capacity. I don’t want any more surprises.”

“There was a quiet chorus of, “Yes, sir.”

There was no point in returning to his quarters, his shift was due to start in an hour or two anyway. Will glared balefully at the planet, a very uncharacteristic sneer firmly in place.

 

 

 

Jeran had only been asleep three hours when an intra net call woke her. She answered quickly, hoping to not disturb the sleeping Murr, but he rolled over, grumbling, “Who would call at this hour? Don’t they know it’s our day off?”

Giving him a quiet hush, she answered. “Advocate Jeran.”

“This is Presider Nellar. A situation is developing at the central justice complex. Your attendance is required immediately.”

“I’m on my way, Presider.”

“Quickly, Jeran. Things are rapidly spiralling out of control. Enter by an underground route. Do not, I repeat, do not try to enter through the main entry or the peripheral entryways.”

“I understand, Presider.”

The line went dead and Jeran dressed with haste. Murr said with growing alarm, “Is there anything I can do?”

She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “Until I know what’s going on, it’s best if you stay here. I’ll contact you if I can.”

She was almost out of the bedroom when Murr’s soft, deep voice stopped her in her tracks. “I have never told you, Jeran, but I have always felt it. I love you.”

She turned to face him, her eyes misting with tears. “And I have always loved you, Murr. If I never see you again, I want you to know you have made me happy beyond measure.”

She didn’t give him the opportunity to respond. All he heard was the front door closing softly.

The main city of Ereban was impressive in its own way, mostly because of its size, but that was mostly to accommodate the huge proportions of its citizens, but what the ordinary people didn’t know was that beneath their city was a intricate series of tunnels and complexes, a city beneath a city. The entrances to the access tunnels were very cleverly disguised and, as the average Ereban was both trusting and a little naive, they never saw what was in fact, right under their own noses.

Heeding the presider’s warning, Jeran drove away from her home in the opposite direction to the central justice complex. She parked her ground vehicle at a public transport hub and entered a nondescript office. There, making sure she was unobserved, opened a concealed pad and inputted her secret code. The well hidden door opened and she entered a lift which descended so quickly her ears popped.

As soon as the lift doors opened she exited and began a ground-eating lope. The distance was at least two kilometres but she covered it easily. Another pad, this one openly displayed accepted her code and she found herself in the sub basement of the central justice complex. A guard stepped in front of her and she brandished her wrist so her sub dermal chip could be read. Having verified her identity, the guard bowed and said respectfully, “You are expected, Advocate. Please follow me.”

As they rose in a lift Jeran activated the screen that connected to the security systems surrounding the complex. What she saw made her gape. “What are all those people doing here? By the All Seeing One...are they rioting?”

Her questions went unanswered as the lift stopped and the doors opened. Greeting her was the Chief Presider. Again, Jeran gaped, but quickly recovered. “Oh, I beg your indulgence, Chief Presider. I was expecting Presider Nellar.”

The huge male gave a grim look. “This has gone beyond her purview. I am taking over this case.”

“And which case is that, sir?”

“Come with me, Advocate.”

They walked a short distance to an area Jeran knew well. The door they now faced would lead to a cell where the condemned awaited their execution.

“In there, Advocate, you will find your ‘client’ the human, Picard. Due to the appalling social unrest the news of his impending trail, which was to be held this morning is causing it has been decided to forego the trial completely and proceed with the execution.

Scrambling to regain her wits, Jeran blurted, “I was not informed the trial date had even been set!”

The Chief Presider sighed. “Things have moved quickly, Advocate and as the decision has been made for a summary execution, it was not necessary to inform you. But protocol demands you accompany your client to his execution. That is why you are here now. Kindly perform your duties with respect and decorum as befitting your station.”

“And what of his family? They should be here.”

“They have been summoned, Advocate. While we await their arrival, I suggest you...explain matters to your client.”

Jeran could only watch in stunned silence as the chief presider turned and walked away.

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

Other Content by Heather Smyth

More Great Reading

Popular Tags