The Essence of Anger Part 5

The Essence of Anger Part 5

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 5

Author Chapter Note

Same as Pt 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

Reads: 280

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: July 03, 2013

A A A

A A A

“Fair enough.” Said Deanna.

“The first male I will tell you about was convicted of what you would call rape. It began with his bond mate. His choice was unusual from the start as he made his interest in her obvious before she’d reach cell.

“So she was still...”

“Undeveloped, Counsellor, a child.” When Erebans reach the first cell or seed, over a very short time, it’s an average of fourteen months they grow and develop. From being gangly thin unimpressive little things, not much taller than your Commander Riker they emerge from their growth as a fully formed Ereban. Bones, muscles, brain, blood supply, even the heart develops two extra chambers to accommodate the massive body it must now serve. For an adult to show any interest in a pre-cell or seed individual is...odd, but having said that, it does occur, but it is rare. Whether or not the adult is willing to wait until the pre-adult develops depends on the amount of attraction between them and in his case, his chosen female was as interested in him as he was in her.

“Now, it is very important for males to wait until females have gone through at least two cells before they can bond, then lie. They are also taught that during the act of lying, they must be gentle. This is because the penis, as you refer to it, is so large the female has to be able to alter herself internally to accommodate it. And she is unable to do that until her third cell. That is because the last thing to fully develop in a female is her reproductive tube and the ability to form a mature bulb.

“I do not know how he did it, but he managed to get permission from both his family and hers to bond. By the time the applications were approved and the permission for a brood with the accompanying gender type and quotient, the female had reached cell and was nearly fully developed.

“The bonding took place but soon after they moved into their new apartment, the male insisted they lie together. The female, although not completely averse, knew she could not accommodate him. She suggested the visit a pleasure centre instead. Only adults can visit pleasure centres and although it is not law, it is generally understood that it is for couples, preferably bonded. That means that any given group has a shared commitment.

“Unfortunately her suggestion only made her bond mate angry and he insisted on lying with her. Feeling she had no choice she consented. Her resulting injuries were serious and her mate took her to hospital where she was repaired, although he somehow avoided answering the obvious questions of the surgeons as to how the injuries were acquired.

“Nothing happened for a few months, then he insisted again. This time she was almost in cell. Her second. She resisted and he overpowered her. Again she was badly injured but somehow a bulb had formed and it resulted in a brood. The Doctors managed to not only repair her, but they saved the brood, although she required constant medical observation throughout the gestation to guard against complications. This time the female confessed to her father what her bond mate had done. The father confronted the male and very strong words, even some threats were made, and the male eventually gave his oath that he would not force himself inappropriately on his mate again. Satisfied that the problem had been rectified, the bond continued. The brood was delivered healthy and their lives seemed to become normal. That was until the male decided he wanted to lie with his mate again when she was not in cell. Again she resisted and this time they fought until he rendered her unconscious. Their offspring were at the time in the care of her family as she was having trouble producing enough breast paste to feed them, no doubt because she was not yet fully developed. He forced himself inside her, deposited his seed, but what he did next was shocking. As if to insult her father he forced his reproductive organ into her waste passage and deposited more seed.

“This was an atrocity of tremendous proportions. He fled, leaving his mate terribly injured and bleeding heavily. She was found soon after and taken to hospital, but she was so badly injured her reproductive organs could not be saved and her waste tube had to be removed. The bond was immediately dissolved and the authorities alerted.  The female now lives with her family and as she is now sterile and has a false waste tube extending outside her body she does not leave her home. Her offspring are tainted by their father’s actions and it is unlikely they will find any female or male who would wish to soil their family’s blood with that of a deviant criminal. So his actions have had serious repercussions for both families.

“The male went on a rampage. He hid in the wilderness reserve on the outskirts of the city, coming into the inner parks at night and preying on any adult female he came across. It soon became obvious through DNA testing that the same male was responsible for all the attacks as well as the fact that he most often forced himself in both the reproductive tube and the waste tube.

“He was eventually caught when a victim’s calls for help were heard and he was subdued and brought here. After two years of extensive therapy he was taken, without trial to the correctional centre for a long custodial sentence. He only avoided execution because he had not killed. What happened to all of his victims, I do not know, but I would hazard a guess their lives would be ruined.”

Selar asked softly, “Was it ever determined why he was...deviant in his behaviour?”

Shaking her head, Absum shrugged.

“No, in fact there are no adequate reasons, for his behaviour.” She sighed heavily. “I have been studying the medical records going back several generations and it seems a very disturbing change is in process. Erebans are undergoing some kind of physical alteration and it is my belief, and I stress this is only my opinion, within as little as four, or perhaps five generations, we will not be the people we are now.

“Take males born to lurin. We know that females born to lurin are themselves lurin, but until recently, males have been normal, although treated as outcasts. Now we’re finding males born to lurin have either two pleasure organs, or their pleasure organ is incorporated in the reproductive organ! I have witnessed such a specimen here, in this very facility demonstrating how he could stimulate his reproductive organ...with his hands and produce a seed deposit! And not just the normal amount but far too much, way above what anyone could possibly consider normal. AND he then proceeded to repeat the entire procedure until, like the human males you described, Doctor Selar, he was unable to deposit any more seed and yet, he still attempted to stimulate his reproductive organ! Simply because it felt nice! If this trend continues, that of female lurin being constantly in cell and with the advent of the newly discovered pleasure organ within the reproductive tube and the constantly over seeded males and the propensity for these...creatures to frequently lie together, we will soon be overrun by lurin! They will eventually outnumber normal Ereban.

“Obviously something has to be done, Somehow we have to find a way to make the lurin, male and female sterile.”

“Why? Asked Deanna softly. “It may be nothing more than evolution at work.”

“I doubt it.” Absum said dismissively. “Besides, from what I know of evolution it is unproven science and again from what I know of it, it is supposed to take a very long time!”


“True,” Remarked Selar, “But with Ereban life spans being so short, perhaps there has emerged some kind of acceleratory imperative for these changes? Your planet, your way of life may be under threat from outside sources. Maybe this is your species’ way of countering that threat?”

Laying her hands palm upwards on the tabletop, the Enterprise women could see the Doctor’s anguish.

“But what of the blood! Indiscriminate breeding does not take into account the importance of blood ties. That has always been our strength. How can we become stronger as a species simply by developing the ability to breed more prolifically and with pleasure? How does that help? It makes no scientific sense!”

“I do not know, Doctor, but I agree with you that whatever these changes are, they are happening at a phenomenal rate. But what I do know of evolution is that it is rarely for the detriment of a species. In the information package I will send you about human reproduction, I will include information about human evolution. I choose human because it is so well documented and you might find the writings of a very enlightened man, for his time, called Charles Darwin. What he theorised at first outraged humankind, but ultimately, even now centuries later, he continues to be proven correct and not just in human evolution but other species as well.”

Gently tapping her index finger on the table top, Deanna said quietly, “We digress.”

Sighing Absum nodded.

“The second male had a very specific deviancy. He became addicted to pleasuring. I have already told you that pleasure groups are customarily made up of bonded couples in groups of usually ten people. Unaccompanied individuals or unbonded couples are not usually tolerated, but the male involved was particularly...engaging. He was outwardly friendly and his demeanour made it easy for people to feel at ease with him. So, using these...talents, which I must point out are a little unusual in Erebans, we tend to be somewhat reserved, he inveigled himself into a pleasure group. A pleasure group that is unbalanced can sometimes have difficulty in reaching flood.”

Deanna held up her hand. “Flood?”

Absum closed her eyes and sighed. “Although it does not seem to be as powerful or necessary as a human orgasm, at least from what you’ve described, flood, what was once called resolution, is the culmination of pleasuring. It comes after perhaps an hours’ pleasuring and consists of a surge of emotional release. First, there is a blankness....a disconnection of thought, followed almost immediately by a feeling of intense well being. For some time afterwards, fifteen minutes perhaps, the members of the group stay together, enjoying the collective sensation of peace.

“The male in question began to frequent the pleasure centre more and more often and joined in increasing numbers of groups. He was accepted and eventually trusted, but the owner of the centre slowly became worried as the male spent so much of his time there, it became obvious he was sometimes forgoing his daily meal and sometimes his sleep cycle. Pleasure centres are open thirty hours a day, they do not close. Eventually the owner spoke to the male but he used his unusual charm to allay the owner’s concerns. He carried on as usual, but one day, during a pleasure session, his reproductive organ attained a state of readiness. This is considered very distasteful and the individual involved must leave the group immediately and go to the calming room until he, or she is no longer in a state of breeding readiness.”

Deanna frowned.

“There are outward signs of female readiness?”

“Yes. Her skin darkens and her breast feeding portals enlarge.”

“What happened then?”

“To the male?”

Deanna nodded.

“Once he returned to a normal state he rejoined the group, but it kept happening. And eventually, group after group asked him to leave. The last group, a rather naive group of young, just bonded couples were more tolerant and allowed him to stay within their group despite his unsavoury physical habit. But what happened next even the inexperienced youngsters could not tolerate. During pleasuring he would deposit seed. And to make matters worse, he did not care where it landed. Ereban do not remove their clothing when pleasuring, only that which covers the pleasure organ. So to have one’s clothing soiled by a deposit of seed is quite disgusting.

“No one would forgive such a socially disgraceful act and he was summarily banned from the centre. Now you must understand there are literally hundreds of pleasure centres. It seems to be part of the changes that are happening to Erebans. Preoccupation with pleasure is becoming more and more common and to meet demand more and more centres are being built. So, the male simply moved on to a new centre, but of course his deviancy was growing and the same thing happened, only much sooner. Again he was banned and again he simply moved on, but gradually word got around and one sensible owner scanned the male’s sub dermal identification chip and sent his details, which included an image of his features and his DNA onto the data stream.

“Finding himself excluded from all the capital’s pleasure centres, in desperation he moved out to the satellite cites only to find the same thing as the data stream connects every public building.

“With his need growing, he moved back to the capital and began to prey on unsuspecting victims, mainly in secluded areas of our larger parks. It seems he required a long period of time with his victims and they included male and female.”

Selar frowned. “How was he able to overcome his victims? Your species is very strong and quite capable of defending themselves.”

Absum frowned, obviously concerned. “I should probably not tell you this, but at the base of our skull there is a small, circular area, when struck in precisely the correct way will render an Ereban senseless for a matter of a few seconds. Apparently the male knew exactly how to do this and, attacking silently from behind, once his victims went down he would then choke them, only allowing enough air to maintain a state of semi consciousness. If an Ereban is fully unconscious, the pleasure organ will not emerge, but in semi consciousness, it can be stimulated into a state where it can be used. Not by the owner, they would feel nothing, but by the assailant.”

Deanna tilted her head and said,

“Excuse me, Doctor, but is it possible for a normal Ereban to pleasure themselves?”

Her face distorted with distaste at the very thought, Absum shook her head.

“Oh no! It requires at least two separate organs. Each organ exudes a very subtle chemical, when mixed with the others’ excites the nerves that lie just under the quite thin skin of the organ. The skin that covers the organ is also very sensitive.”

“And when it emerges, does it change?”

“Not exactly. The organ will emerge ready to use, but as flood approaches it grows a small amount and becomes more sensitive.”

Selar tilted her head. “It would seem to share some characteristics with the human penis.”

Raising her pale eyebrows, Absum nodded. “You may be right, I hadn’t thought about it.”

“So how was he caught?” Asked Deanna.

“Well his victims were linked by his DNA, so the authorities knew who they were looking for. But this male was very wily, however the longer he went without capture he became more and more brazen. One thing that had become apparent was that he was depositing more and more seed. That indicated he was spending a lot of time with his victims. In their statements, those who could remember anything, reported this male actually vocalising his pleasure, something a normal Ereban would never do! It seems that he would hold one hand around the victim’s throat, regulating their breathing to keep them semi conscious, while his other hand stimulated his reproductive organ. Now we had no proof of this until his capture, when we witnessed him doing just that. Because he was leaving so much seed, we knew he was emptying his testes. That seemed to be when the attack would cease. But with his two final victims he was brazen enough to not only attack in broad daylight, but stay with them, continuing to pleasure himself while he waited until his testes made more seed!”

“And how long would that take?” Asked Selar.

“It depends on the individual male, the young tend to be able to replenish faster than older males, but the average time would be about three hours.”

“And how much would be made?”

“Usually, only enough to serve a maximum brood. Twelve seeds. Six in each pair of testes of opposite gender of course, three in each individual teste. The last two of his victims paid dearly for his perversion. The skin covering their pleasure organs were rubbed raw; in places the skin was missing and the underlying delicate tissue exposed and bleeding. The surgeons did their best, taking grafts and shaving the skin to its thinnest, but they could not regenerate the nerves. I know the two victims, both males and they have told me although they can still gain some pleasure, but it is insufficient to achieve flood.  A very sad state of affairs.”

Deanna sighed.

“And so how was he captured?”

“He had decided to keep his last victim and was caught dragging him towards a hidden ground vehicle. Only the All Seeing One knows what would have eventually happened to that poor male. It was while he was being processed for admission that it was discovered that he possessed two pleasure organs. One in its proper place, the other incorporated in his reproductive organ. Like the young male lurin we were just beginning to discover, this male has the dubious honour of being the oldest we know of and perhaps the first...and of course he was lurin.”

Sear leaned forward. “That he was lurin did not show up on his DNA?”

Absum shrugged. “No. None of them do. It is only their behaviour that gives them away and only upon apprehension are the internal differences noted. That is what makes it so very difficult to find them! Where once lurin were rare and exclusively female, it was easy, but now they blend in with society and unless they display abhorrent behaviour, we have no idea they live among us.”

Deanna sighed. “I sense there is more about these changes you’re not telling us and it feels to me as if it is intensely personal.”

“By the God!’ Absum spat. “Is there nothing you will spare me?”

To Deanna’s steady gaze, the Ereban female lowered her head and sighed.

“It has become very popular, although I must stress this is not something one would talk about with others, I know only because of my position in this facility, in older bonded couples, upon the deposit of seed, the addition of cell and the sealing of the bulb, the process of reproduction is supposed to end. By that, I mean the male is meant to remove his reproductive organ from within his mate and although they may continue to lie together, enjoying the closeness and intimacy, there is no more sexual contact. However, more and more couples are not stopping. The male is leaving his organ inside and sometimes the couple will move again to bring about another deposit. This also makes his pleasure organ emerge. While moving the male will stimulate his mate in such a way as to encourage her pleasure organ to emerge and with practice the flood will occur at the same time as the subsequent deposit. Now, while this is not as yet against any law, be it secular or spiritual (only because few people admit to doing it) it is becoming wide spread.”

Even though the admission had been difficult for the Doctor, Deanna sensed there was more. And she thought she knew what it was.

“That’s why you were so reluctant to agree with this meeting. You wanted time with your bond mate.”

“Yes. My bond mate and I had scheduled time for...I don’t believe it has a name yet.”

Deanna smiled kindly. “Making love.”

Absum’s smile was sheepish. “Perhaps.”

There was a companionable silence before Deanna said quietly,

“The third male?”

Absum’s face screwed up in obvious distress.

“He is the most abhorrent creature I have ever had the displeasure of even knowing about. His crimes were so heinous; I have not been able to find anything like it in our archives. His perversion was to prey on young Ereban and I don’t mean those nearing cell or seed, but very young! Every one of his eight innocent young victims died a gruesome, hideous and agonising death. Operating near nurseries, he would snatch his victims, take them to somewhere secluded and where their screams would not be heard and then rape them so viciously...”

Tears welled in the female’s eyes and she shuddered through a deep sigh. “The little females were so badly damaged by the size of his organ, which was large even for an Ereban; his organ forced itself right through the body so his seed was deposited on their faces. Then, he would force himself into their mouths and back through their ruined insides so that the next deposit was on their thighs. Young boys suffered a similar fate, but he would use their waste passage as well as their mouths. Normally one who kills is tried and executed, but the public were so outraged it was decided to summarily execute him and dispose of everything about him.”

“How was he caught?” Deanna was disgusted and deeply disturbed, but she felt she had to know.

“He had not taken his last victim far enough away and his screams were heard. The searchers found him in the process of raping the boy, but he was already dead. Evidence showed the little one had already been violated three times. This...creature had no physical anomalies and we could find no reason for his perversion, and he is not lurin but the authorities found something that prevented his immediate execution.

“It is illegal to do anything that deliberately causes the extinction of a family, the total loss of the blood line. This...male’s family was very small. It had become so small it was almost unsustainable. This had happened because of three major factors. First, the family had a genetically low fertility rate. Then disease struck, wiping out many relatives leaving only about twenty-five related individuals. To try and find a cause for their impaired fertility rate, the family decided to travel from their satellite city homes into the capital for treatment. They all boarded the same flight craft and tragically it encountered mechanical trouble and crashed. There were only two survivors, both female and both the male’s relatives. So, the authorities had a terrible dilemma. By law they could not execute the male, as his seed was required because the females, although survivors, were left sterile. There followed a great debate, not known by the public who assumed the criminal had been executed. Some officials argued that seed should be taken from him over a period of time until there was enough to produce many offspring, but the counter argument was the danger that his perversion may surface in any offspring created with his seed. Eventually it was decided to take his seed, lots of it, and fertilise volunteer lurin. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but this procedure was to be closely monitored and the offspring carefully watched. Each would have not only the sub dermal chip regularly inserted in every Ereban new born, but a tracking device as well. So far his seed has resulted in the birth of fifty-eight offspring, all lurin of course, but so far, apart from what one would expect from a lurin, no perverted or deviant behaviour has been noted. His family would seem to be extinct, but it is not and if in the future it is needed to be resurrected for whatever reason, we know where the blood relatives are.”

Deanna was both angry and confused.

“All right, so what happened to him and why was he released?”

Again Absum shrugged. “While he was here he was kept sedated. Seed removal is painful as the seed is taken straight from the testes and I don’t know if you’re aware, but Ereban seed is quite large and can be easily seen with the naked eye. It may be that which explains why the male’s reproductive organ is so large. Certainly the inner tube and the opening are suitably big.”

“Does the male pass liquid waste through the inner tube?”

It was as if Selar had slapped Absum’s face.

“What! What kind of question is that? How disgusting!”  Then Absum’s expression went from abhorrence to horror. “Are you telling me that human males pass liquid waste through the same organ that is used for reproduction?”

Instead of answering, Selar, ever unruffled merely said, “Read the information package and watch the vids.”

Deanna gently laid her hand on the Doctor’s huge muscled forearm.

“You were telling us about the male.”

“Yes...” She took a deep settling breath. “In the four years he was here he was only brought to consciousness  three times and that was to test cognitive ability. The thing was we really didn’t know what to do with him. Keeping him sedated was not helping anyone, certainly not those who had the dubious and unwanted duty of looking after him, so eventually we petitioned the government to have him transferred to the correctional facility. He was not executed, because of the slim chance more seed may one day be required from him. To our knowledge he is unaware he has offspring. For safety’s sake, before he left here, he was implanted with a powerful slow release drug which specifically targeted the pleasure and reproductive centre of his brain effectively castrating him. It was renewed every year of his incarceration and over time tests showed that these centres within his brain had been destroyed. So, after being incarcerated for twenty years and considered an old male, he was released. It was only during the post mortem of his body that we found his brain had rerouted itself and recreated a new pleasure and reproductive centre, and because the drug was so specifically targeted it never affected this new part. That is why he was sexually able when he attacked Doctor Crusher and her daughter.”

With some urgency, Deanna’s hand gripped the Doctor’s forearm.

“This has to be used in Captain Picard’s defence!”

“Why?” Asked an obviously nonplussed Doctor.

Staying patient was difficult. “Because it shows a pattern of behaviour that should have never been allowed to be brought back into society. If your authorities and Doctors had done their job properly none of this with Captain Picard’s family and his subsequent action would’ve taken place!”

As if talking to a child, Absum said slowly,

“None of what I’ve just told you can be admitted as evidence for the defence.”

“Why the hell not!” Snapped Deanna with uncharacteristic anger.

“The males are not on trial, Counsellor. They are the victims here! They are dead! It is not their behaviour in the past or what they did at the apartment that is at issue! The trial is solely to prove Captain Picard’s already established guilt.”

Deanna scratched her scalp in exasperation. “Then why did you tell us!”

Bowing her head, Absum sighed. “Once again I should not be telling you this, but my family was not always devoted exclusively to medical science. One branch was devoted to the law and through my association with my relatives, I know things.”

“Like what?” Asked Deanna with curiosity and hope.

“Like ancient laws that are still in effect but have not been used for so long they have been forgotten about.”

She sighed and briefly closed her eyes.

“Counsellor, the Ereban public, now that they know that Captain Picard’s partner is not lurin, feel a certain sympathy for his position, after all family is what’s important and the general public are as yet unaware of the murdered males’ criminal histories. But...there is no sympathy for murdering helpless individuals. So there is a certain level of disquiet surrounding the upcoming trail of your Captain. The debates are on the rise and it would not surprise me if there were not protests from either side. My advice to you, my only advice to you is to contact Advocate Jeran and tell her to look into Article 225.1 which she will find in the sub-archive at the central law centre.”

The big female rose and stretched as if being seated for so long had stiffened her muscles.

“I wish you well.”

Deanna looked at Selar, saying urgently,

“Where is the nearest public communication hub?”

“Just outside, across the road from the entrance.”

Both women getting to their feet, Deanna tossed over her shoulder,

“Come on, we have to get to see the Advocate, we’ve no time to lose!”

 

 

 

To the women’s impatient irritation all the communication portals were in use. They had to take a place in a line and wait their turn. Thankfully it wasn’t long, but that was not the end of their frustration.

Deanna had no trouble connecting with Advocate Jeran’s assistant, but getting to speak with the Advocate herself was proving almost impossible. It took all of Deanna’s considerable charm and persuasion to finally get the male to agree to ask the Advocate if she would talk to her.

By the curt undisguised irritation in the Advocate’s voice, Deanna knew she had to choose her words carefully.

“Advocate Jeran, thank you so much for taking the call.”

“I am very busy, Counsellor, what is it you want?”

“It is vitally important that Doctor Selar and I speak with you immediately.”

“I’m sorry, Counsellor, I am too busy right now. Perhaps if you made an appointment with my assistant...”

Deanna cut her off.

“We have new evidence that you must hear!”

The sigh was short and angry.

“Counsellor, you have been telling me you have evidence, evidence you claim mitigates the outrageous crimes of your Captain! I have yet to see or hear any such evidence and now you claim you have more? The man is guilty! I do not see how anything you might say can change that. By the All Seeing One, Counsellor, his murderous actions were recorded.”

Taking a steadying breath, Deanna said quietly,

“You are Captain Picard’s defence Advocate and you have a sworn duty to do your upmost to defend him, no matter how hopeless his case may appear!” Before Jeran could say anything further, Deanna’s voice softened.

“We have just spent the better part of an hour with Doctor Absum. She told us some things I believe you already know. And before you tell me it is inadmissible, she said her advice to us....her only advice to us, was to see you! Immediately!”

There followed a tense silence. The only thing, apart from the subdued background noise was Jeran’s breathing.

“The office closes at seventh crescent. Come then, but I can’t give you too much time, my bond mate is expecting me at home.”

“Thank you.”

Deanna terminated the call and the two women moved out into the bustling street, feeling very intimidated by the enormous beings around them. Some, casting disapproving looks, made Selar gently take Deanna’s elbow and lead her to a quiet corner between two tall buildings.

The Counsellor looked around to ensure their privacy before asking quietly, “What time is seventh crescent?”

Selar made some quick mental calculations. “About twenty hundred hours.”

“And it’s now?”

“Fifteen forty.”

“So, we’ve got about four hours to kill. I think we should go to the hospital to see the Captain.”

Selar shook her head.

“I cannot comply. I have already visited him and I am not due to see him again until it is time for his evening treatment.”

Deanna gave that some thought, then came to her decision.

“Very well, you go back to the ship. I’ll go to the hospital alone and we will meet later at Jeran’s office.”

“Do you think that wise, Counsellor? Are you armed?”

Nodding, Deanna’s hand went to the hidden pocket in her tunic where her personal phaser was situated.

“I am, but why do you think it unwise?”

Selar sighed and tilted her head, her eyes constantly moving around, ever vigilant.

“Given what we’ve been told about the changes that the Ereban are undergoing, it might not be safe.”

Deanna hadn’t thought of that. She surreptitiously slipped her phaser from its pocket and slid the power setting up to heavy stun. Silently watching, the Vulcan remarked softly,

“We can only hope that will work.”

Determined, Deanna put her weapon away and lifted her chin defiantly. “I intend to see Captain Picard and I do not intend to be intimidated by these people. Yes, they’re huge and yes, there is something very strange happening to them, but right now my Captain and friend needs me.”

Selar bowed her head.

“As you wish, Counsellor, but if you will indulge me, stay away from secluded areas such as parks and deserted streets and make your way to the hospital by the most populated route.”

“Agreed. I will also contact the ship and get them to keep a permanent lock on my communicator.”

“A wise decision.”

They looked at each other but only Deanna smiled. Having called for transport, Selar disappeared in seconds. Now alone, the Counsellor was left with the daunting task of making her way through a population that barely tolerated her.

Being of small stature, even for a hybrid human/Betazoid, Deanna was quite accustomed to being jostled in crowds, but by the time she finally reached the hospital she was actually bruised. Her hair was in disarray and her uniform torn in two places. Although her journey had been harrowing and she’d been left battered she could not honestly say that any of her slight injuries or the damage to her clothing was done deliberately. It seemed that most incidents were caused because the Ereban simply didn’t see her and in almost every instance of collision or contact, a sincere apology was offered.

Taking time to dust herself off, run her fingers through her long curly hair in an effort to tame it, Deanna had to ignore the small rents in her tunic as she gathered herself to enter the foyer of the imposing hospital building.

Although seated at a large desk, the attendant looked down at Deanna from a considerable height, his facial expression was mild, but his slitted pupils narrowed unpleasantly.

“How may I assist you?” No matter how often Deanna heard the deep huskiness of their voices it never ceased to unsettle her, however she sensed nothing that gave her cause for concern.

Summoning a strong voice, Deanna looked up and said,

“I have come to visit Captain Jean-Luc Picard.”

“You mean the human?”

“Yes.”

Turning his head slightly to one side, the male consulted a screen which lay flush with the desktop.

Patient Picard, number 55839 is not receiving visitors at this time.”

“May I ask why?”

The male’s face hardened.

“He is resting.”

“I see.” Said Deanna, determined not to give up. “Has he been sedated?”

Again consulting the screen, the male looked down and shook his massive head.

“No.”

“Then, as his personal Counsellor, I wish to exercise my right to see him.”

“Patient 55839 is a criminal. A murderer.  Why would he need a Counsellor, personal or not? Very soon he will be executed and any...worries he might have will be over for ever, at least in this life. What happens to him in the afterlife is up to the All Seeing One.”

The smile Deanna offered cost her quite a bit.

“Nevertheless, I want to see him. Now, I can get our acting Captain to contact your government to tell them that you are obstructing me from doing my duty to my Captain. That could be seen as being a matter of diplomatic difficulty. Are you prepared to bear the consequences of that?”

The smile that appeared on the male’s face showed genuine amusement and respect. With a nod, he stood and Deanna stifled the urge to flee as he strode over to a locked door and keyed in a code. Stepping back, he bowed slightly and with a very courtly-like gesture, waved her through.

Confronted by a very high ceilinged corridor, Deanna walked briskly, her footfalls echoing dully. Her senses told her Captain Picard was awake and feeling distressed. It was as she quickened her step towards the next set of doors that she realised she could sense nothing of the other patients. The guards, the Captain and staff, yes, but no one else. The doors opened automatically and, as she passed through she saw the surveillance device turn to watch as she entered the body of the building.

“Into the belly of the beast.” Deanna thought. Never before had she felt so alone.

She was met at another set of doors and this time she was escorted, the Ereban guard shortening her long stride to accommodate Deanna’s shorter steps. They arrived outside Jean-Luc’s cell and the guard used an oval metal ring that encircled her right hand to rap on the door. Waiting only a few seconds, the guard opened a flap and Deanna tried not to stare at the bony, pale hands that emerged. Manacles that had been clipped to the back of the guard’s uniform were snapped around the wrists that protruded, then once the hands were withdrawn, the guard waited a few more seconds before entering a code that released the door lock.

With an inclination of her head and a mildly friendly smile, the guard bid Deanna to enter, but as the Ereban went to follow her inside, the petite woman shook her head.

“As Captain Picard is a patient of mine, I respectfully request privacy.”

The guard’s face hardened, but Deanna sensed only a desire from the female to do her job correctly.

“Patient 55839 has been classified as dangerous. As he is no longer sedated, I must accompany you.”

Summoning a smile, Deanna sensed the guard was not unsympathetic, just bound by the rules.

“I respect your need to maintain order and your duty to follow the practices of the facility, but I have known Captain Picard for a very long time, not only have I served with him for nearly twenty years, but I have been his Counsellor for all of that time. I can assure you, I am in no danger whatsoever from him.”

She sensed the guard beginning to waver.

“He has been restrained hasn’t he?”


© Copyright 2017 Heather Smyth. All rights reserved.

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