Jean-Luc Picard was relaxing in his quarters, when the interruption came.
"Captain," came commander Riker's voice over the comm.
"Yes, Number One?" He turned off the Mozart playing softly in the background.
Riker continued, "We have picked up life signals on the planet Alpha Minor IV. I think you ought to check it out."
"On, my way, Number One." He turned of the comm and made his way to the bridge.
"Yes, what do we have?" The captain asked.
Lieutenant commander Data turned around, at the helm. "I have carried out a scan for life forms on the planet Alpha Minor IV, and the scans were positive."
"Was it human, Data?" He asked.
"Yes, around two thousand life signatures." The android replied.
Commander Riker wandered around the bridge and suddenly came alert. That planet never had a colony, did it?"
"No," Picard replied, "not as far as I know. Mr Data, check the ship's computers for any record on Alpha Minor IV."
Data carried out that action and looked back at his captain. "No, sir. There is no record of it being used as a Federation colony, or a colony of any type."
"Right," the captain rubbed his chin and thought, "Number One, you and Mr Data will beam down to the planet."
"Aye, captain." They replied.
"I wonder what's up with that planet," Riker exclaimed.
"It is most unusual, commander," Data agreed.
Geordi La Forge turned his attention to the First Officer and android aboard the transporter platform. "Are you ready to beam down to the surface?"
"Sure," Riker returned.
With that order, Geordi then transported the two figures to the planet's surface.
Riker walked around, but wasn't sure what to make of the scenery; they were surrounded by woodland and grass. Just like Alaska back home, in the summer, he thought. "This planet is safe, isn't it, Data?"
"I did a scan of the atmosphere and it is very similar to that of Earth."
Riker wasn't entirely satisfied with that answer. "What about wildlife?"
"Only a few small mammals and fish. And a rather interesting species of bird..."
Riker didn't want a biology lesson, "Thanks, Data. Where's that colony, then?"
Data showed the commander his tricorder. "It is just the the west, less than a kilometre that way," he gestured in the direction of a small glimmer of light, peeking through the dense woodland.
"Guess we'd better go that way, then."
"That would be best, commander."
After walking for only a while, Riker sat down on a moss-covered log.
"Commander," Data asked, "are you tired?"
"No..." Riker huffed, "I just wanted a rest. Give me a few minutes."
Data sat down next to him, "We should be leaving now."
"Alright," Riker sighed.
They continued walking and finally found the opening.
The sight they were greeted with was very pleasant. There was a bright blue sky overlooking everything on the ground. The recently rained on tree leaves reflected the light off the distant sun and numerous ant-like creature crawled and scurried about their feet. But, the most extraordinary thing they saw was the thirty or so people wandering around. They were dressed in simple clothing and there was no technology in sight, only very basic mud huts and small stone buildings.
Riker glanced at Data, "This is beautiful. No pollution, no factories, no weapons. No technology."
Data seemed to be a little taken aback.
"Oh," Riker realised who he was talking to, "no offence, Data."
The android cocked his head slightly to the left, thinking for a while, "I am not offended."
"Look!" A beautiful, young woman caught sight of Riker and Data.
"What is it?" An older woman asked her.
"Over there!" She pointed at the two visitors.
"We're from the USS Enterprise. We came to investigate your planet," Riker gestured to them.
"We welcome your presence, but oh..." The young woman turned her attention to Data, instead of Riker. "Who are you, handsome?" She asked him.
"I am lieutenant commander Data, of the starship Enterprise."
"My father was a lieutenant commander." She added.
Data looked around. "But it was my understanding that your people were a primitive civilisation. Where did your father serve?"
"On the USS Edison. Now, its my turn to ask questions. You're very pale, are you alright?"
"I am an android. The colour of my skin is as designed."
"You're not human?"
"No, does that offend you in some way?"
"No, you jut seem interesting and... different. Oh, I never told you my name. It's Leela."
Riker interrupted them, "I've just asked, who I assume is your leader, how you got here. He says you were on board the USS Edison, as part of the new colony programme."
"Yes, that's right," Leela agreed.
"But, he said your ship never reached its destination of Orion VII. He didn't say why."
"I was only young at the time; it was seventeen years ago."
"So you would've been, what? 8?" Riker asked her, tying to flirt, after seeing Data's previously quite successful conversation with her.
"Are you saying you know my age?" The young woman asked.
"Yes. You are twenty five now." Data interrupted their conversation.
"Erm.. yep, that's right," she winked at the android, who didn't really show any hint of receiving it, but blinked twice.
"Anyway," Riker continued, "what happened?"
"The guidance systems aboard our ship broke and we didn't know what had happened. And we were forced to make an emergency landing here."
"Didn't you contact Starfleet? There must have been other ships nearby," Riker theorised.
Data said to him, "If the ship'a guidance systems went down before they landed, then Starfleet would not know where to look.; they would not have had access to the last known position of the USS Edison. The ship and the flight of the ship would have been theoretically ignored.
"There was no means of contacting them, we were basically cut off from everyone. We scavenged what we could from the ship, but a freak earthquake buried its remains and killed many, including my parents. My father was serving on that ship, that's how we got to be part of this new colony," Leela replied to Riker's question.
"You're father was the lieutenant commander; was he first officer?" Data asked.
"Yes, he died..." She sniffed, "in the emergency landing." She broke down.
Data didn't know what to say, "There is no need to cry."
Leela looked at him, she liked him. He had a calming tone, even though his voice was somewhat plain. She sniffed and wiped her years away.
Commander Riker turned his attention back to the conversation; there was a bare knuckle fight going on not to far away. "So, you built your civilisation up from all this wreckage?"
"Yes," she replied. "Is there anything else?"
"No..." Riker was cut off by Data.
"I am being hailed by the Enterprise." He said.
'Enterprise to Data?' The badge on Data's chest emitted the voice.
"Data here." He replied, after tapping the badge.
'The colonists have to leave now. We've tracked a huge mass of rock hurtling at great speed. It's on a collision course with this planet. You have to beam up now!' Wesley Crusher's voice grew panicked.
"Understood, Data out." He tapped his badge once more, and it made a chirping sound to indicate that it was off.
"Commander, the Enterprise..." He began.
Riker, who was standing right next to Data, disrupted him, "I know, Data, I heard." He walked around then returned to his original position, "I need to speak with your leader," he asked Leela.
"I shall see if I can find him. He can't have gone far." Leela walked off and returned moments later, with their leader.
"I am commander William Riker, of the Starship Enterprise," he gestured to comrade, "this is lieutenant commander Data." He said to the colonist's leader.
The man stepped forward; his hair was greying quickly, and looked as though he was around 60 years of age. He spoke, "I am Thomas Steel. I was the captain of the USS Helix. I am now the leader of these people." He lifted up his arms, to waist height and made a circular motion, pointing out the two thousand or so people on this planet. "Why's the you here?" Half of his facial expression showed he knew the answer, whereas the other half showed he had no clue.
"We are here to see why your people are here. It has been our knowledge up to now that this planet had no human life, and I doubt it could've evolved in the space of twenty or so years."
"I have told them everything, Thomas." Leela looked at her leader, who nodded.
Riker continued, "We have been tracking a meteor and we now know that it will collide with your planet within an hour. You'll die, unless you let us help you."
"We will not leave." Thomas Steel looked at Riker and Data, disapprovingly.
"We need you to leave. Why wouldn't you? You and your people can rerun to Earth or start a new life somewhere else. Don't you want to live?"
Me Steel stepped forward, this time only a few centimetres from commander Riker. "We are not leaving."
"Commander, we must go now," Data urged his commanding officer.
"You're leaving too?" Leela asked Data, disappointed.
"I must. This planet will be destroyed." He replied simply.
She walked over to him and looked up into his yellow eyes. "Don't go."
"I must." He replied again.
"Data?" Riker asked him, "We'd better get going."
"Yes, commander." He agreed, looking back at Leela as he and Riker walked back slightly.
"Riker to Enterprise, two to beam up." In an instant, their bodies shimmered as their atoms transferred to the Enterprise.
"They've gone... He's gone." Leela whispered to himself. "Why didn't you listen to them?" She asked Thomas.
"They were lying. There's no asteroid, can you see one?" He asked her.
She glanced up at the sky, but all she saw was what she guessed was the visitor's ship; the Enterprise.
A few hundred metres away, a young boy of about six was tugging at his mother's dress, "Woah! What's that, Mom?" He said, pointing to the sky.
"Yes, dear?" She sighed as she lifted the washing from the line.
"That! It's huge!" He said, still gesticulating wildly at the sky.
"Dear god!" The boy's mother exclaimed. "Maria told me what these visitors had said, about the space rock."
"That's what that robot man said to me, I saw him on the way to the well."
"We have to warn the leader." The mother said to her son.
Captan Picard was sitting in the command chair, thinking if what they could do, after Riker had told him that the colonists would not accept their help.
Suddenly, Wesley Crusher spun around in his chair. "Sir! What if we used our tractor beam to move the asteroid away?" He was obviously worried, but he seemed pleased with himself for suggesting that.
"Yes, ensign, that would be an excellent idea, but the asteroid is too big. Our tractor beam is not powerful enough." Jean-Luc considered the young officer's advice.
Number One turned his head to face the captain, who was sitting next to him, as usual, "Its worth a try." He said.
"Hmmmm..." Picard pondered for a while. "Wesley, is it possible for you to to alter to ship's tractor beam?"
"I'd give it a go, but is need Geordi's help."
"I'll send him down to engineering and you two can get to work on that tractor beam." Once Wesley had left, Picard asked Worf, "How long does the planet have left?"
The Klingon's rough baritone voice didn't exactly lighten the mood of the bridge, "Approximately 37 minutes."
"Wesley? How do you suppose we enhance this tractor beam?" Geordi La Forge asked the ensign.
"I don't know, but I have made a smaller one in the past. I may still have it, I'll go and check." Following this, Crusher ran out of engineering and made for his quarters.
A few minutes had passed, and Geordi was finally getting somewhere with they tractor beam, but only the basics. Wesley Crusher came hurtling int or the room moments later and presented La Forge with his homemade tractor beam.
"This is remarkabke!" Geordi exclaimed.
"Thanks," Wesley blushed. "I was thinking, if we could adapt the formulae I use for creating this tractor beam, we could use it on the Enterprise's tractor beam."
"I've scanned the computer' memory banks and found the formulae you used."
"That's good. Didn't think I could remember it all!"
"Let's get to work," Geordi chimed in.
"Picard to engineering," came the captain's voice over the comm, "have you finished that tractor beam? We only have few moments left."
"Yes, it's done, and ready to go." Wesley replied.
"Lieutenant Worf, aim tractor beam at the centre of the asteroid," captain Picard ordered.
The Klingon obeyed, and carried out the order, "aye, captain."
"What? I don't believe it!" Wesley retorted.
"We should have just shot at it!"Baird said to himself, thinking no one had heard him.
But Data had, "If we had just simply shot at it, then there would be a very great risk of smaller parts of the asteroid raining down onto the planet." Worf didn't say anything, but you could tell he was annoyed.
"Aim tractor beam again, Mr Worf," Picard ordered.
This time, however, it worked. The bright green light in the tractor beam shimmered and looked like a giant hand pulling the rock back.
"How long do you wish to keep the tractor beam on?" Worf asked.
Picard considered, "Wait, wait, wait. Now Mr Worf!"
Hearing this command, Word turned off the tractor beam and the green sparking light that constituted the tractor beam disappeared.
"Where is that rock going to go?" Deanna Troi asked the captain.
Picard turned to face her, "Into the Sigma system."
"What about the planets, the life over there?" She began to grow concerned.
"There's no need to worry, counsellor," he reassured her, "that system is entirely uninhibited. There are only four planetary bodies orbit it, and they're all too close the the sun for them to support any intelligent life at all. At most, it would mean the death for some amoebas."
"Captain?" Data asked him, "Can I beam down to the planet's surface?"
"Why, Mr Data? They're safe."
Data looked at him, "I need to day goodbye to someone."
"Of course," Picard agreed.
Data thanked the captain then walked to the transporter room.
"Energise." He said to Chief O'Brien, who beamed him down to the surface of Alpha Minor IV.
Leela was picking flowers when she caught sight of a figure materialising at the top of a hill, who was now walking towards her.
"Data?" She asked him, once he's reached the bottom of the hill.
"Yes, Leela," he asked.
"I saw it, what your ship did. It saved us! If you hadn't come, I would be dead," she smiled at him. "Why did you come back?"
"To say goodbye." He replied to her.
"Do... Do... You have emotions? Can you feel?"
"I understand emotions, but I cannot 'feel' them myself."
"How do you feel about me?"
"I do not know. I have never felt this way before. I am capable of understand more emotions than others."
"Love." He replied simply.
"Data," she said, "can you love? Can you love me?"
Data stood there for a while, thinking. "I do not know," he paused, "it appears so."
Leela moved so that she was standing directly in front of the android, and kissed him. Data didn't know what to do. Again, he stood there, in silence, then reaches a conclusion, and delivered it by returning her kiss.
"Can I come with you, aboard the Enterprise?"
"I do not know if that will be accepted by your people."
"I have no one here. My parents are... gone. There is no one of my age. I don't like it here."
"I am sure it would be accepted by the Enterprise crew, but you will need to be dropped off at the nearest star base to have your medical records seen to and you could apply to Starfleet."
"What? And work on a ship like you? On your ship? That would be wonderful. My father always used to say that I would make a good engineer some day, before he..."
Data held out his hand and wiped away her tear. "Enterprise, two to beam up."
Their outlines appears and soon their bodily features appears and Data and Leela stepped off the transporter platform.
"That is amazing!" She pointed at the transporter platform, "That thing can take us from all the way down there to here!"
"Did your father not talk to you about transporters?" Data asked, slightly confused.
"A little, but I never understood it. I was only small," Leela looked around the transporter room, "I want I be an engineer!" She smiled.
"I am sure you will be," Dara offered her some encouragement.
"Thank you, Data," he looked up at him as they were walking down the corridor.
He stopped and so did she, and looked at her, "You are quite welcome." He managed a smile.