Captain's Log, Supplemental

We are approaching the system of Alpha Centauri. On our way to the Space Station Two, we are passing a group of planetoids. Their structure appeared to be very interesting for our Commander Data. We have sent a probe to the closest of them.

"Captain, the probe has been launched. We can begin."

"Engage, Commander Data"

"Aye, Sir."

Jean-Luc Picard stood up from his captain's chair and for a long while he kept his look on the shining, metallic ball, now speeding towards the asteroid.

"Cameras on?"

"Aye, Sir. We should have the picture any moment."

Instead of the impressive asteroid belt, full of light caused by the pulsating neighbor star, on the Enterprise's main viewer appeared a sequence of abstract lines, gradually forming a regular, colorful path – the optical perspective of the flying probe. They stared at that view with fascination, after a few minutes however the captain turned towards his ready room.

"Notify me when the probe lands."

"Aye, Sir," Geordi La Forge switched the screen back to the Enterprise's cameras and the view of the silver asteroid belt and now distant and smaller, metallic ball, returned.

Jean-Luc sighed and picked up the glass of Earl-Grey tea from the replicator. He sat at his desk and stared at the ship's log screen. For a few minutes, he let himself just enjoy the silence. Until he reminded a meeting with Counselor Troi that awaited him later that day. The thought itself caused the tension on his back neck rapidly increase. One of the things he, as the captain of the Enterprise, hated the most, were the obligatory psychological sessions every month. No matter how tactful, delicate and discreet Deanna was, she could read in him like in an open book. That fact itself was depressible since the beginning of his service. This, plus more and more insolent interventions of the Federation Council into his way of commanding the starship and the rumors putting his competences in doubt, made his fists uncontrollably clench. Every video conference with admiral was giving him long a sleepless night. The most of the last discussion was about the visits of the powerful and unpredictable entity calling himself Q. Since Picard's detailed report on those few days of Q appearing on the Enterprise stripped of his powers (and literally stripped, which somehow got skipped in the report) and the captain granting him an asylum, the Federation Council showed a big concern. The council members concluded that the presence of that entity on the ship was too great of a danger for both, the crew and the hundreds of passengers. The recordings of the ethereal life-form threatening the Enterprise in order to take revenge on Q only supported the distress. Various opinions spread in the Federation Headquarter, some of them stated that perhaps Picard became too involved with the alien life-forms businesses and forgot about the top priority interests of the Federation. What's more, about the Federation's safety. All this resulted in a long talk about the Prime Directive and putting the Enterprise under a special surveillance. Detailed reports and interrogations about almost every single hour on the starship became the everyday routine, driving all the senior officers crazy. To not mention the captain's headaches. Definitely, he thought, it was easier to deal with Romulan - Clingon conflicts and negotiations than with those new bureaucratic regulations.

"Captain, the probe is reaching the asteroid's surface. Estimated time: five minutes and twenty-six seconds."

Jean-Luc welcomed Data's message with a relief and leaving the barely touched glass of tea on the desk, he hurried back to the bridge.

"Three minutes to landing", Data adjusted the picture and before the crew's eyes appeared the illuminated plane.

"Wow." Riker commented. Indeed, everybody staring at the viewer was breathless. What previously looked like a pile of rocks, similar to those on the Earth's moon, now appeared to have a more crystal-like structure. The probe landed at last, confirming the impression. The entire asteroid seemed to be built from a glittering mineral and the small debris around were almost identical as the earthly transparent, mountain crystal.

"It's so pretty." - Deanna Troi entered the bridge unnoticed and came closer to the screen.

Picard looked at Data with appreciation. "You were right, commander. This place is fascinating. I hope the further research will give us more explanation. How this extraordinary structure came to this system? Perhaps we are watching at debris of a comet?"

"The first analysis doesn't indicate any presence of ice, Sir." Data replied, occupied by the probe results for a few minutes already. "Which is unusual, considering the M-Class atmosphere. In the most of M-class objects known to us, the water was found sooner or later."

"Are you sure that a human can breathe this air?"

"Chemical analysis confirms, Sir."

"Captain, request permission to examine this place," clearly exited Riker rose from his chair and stood next to Troi. Picard mused for a moment.

"We have a few spare hours before the scheduled arrival to the station. Commander Data, how long will it take us to come to the asteroid at the transporter range?

"Fifteen minutes and forty-six seconds, Sir."

"Agreed. Commander Riker, lead the away team. You have three hours."

"Aye, Sir!"

The asteroid appeared again on the main viewer. Slowly, the Enterprise turned towards it, in the same moment the light of the Alpha Centauri appeared between the two others. Everything brightened up and the crystalloid surface reflected the starlight, creating hundreds of little rainbows. Everybody watching it was stunned. As Riker, Worf and La Forge were waiting for teleportation, Deanna unexpectedly screamed. She curled up in pain.

"Troi, what happened?" Picard ran to her first and tried to hold her up, but Deanna fell on the floor and her face was covered in sweat and tears.

"Doctor Crusher to the bridge, quickly!" Picard called to his communicator. He kneeled by Deanna.

"Does it come from outside?" he asked calmly. Riker was already beside her as well and doctor Crusher rushed in from the elevator door. Troi nodded slightly and shivered.

"We must get away from the asteroid!" Picard commanded.

"No!" Deanna screamed. With a visible effort, she pulled herself up and grabbed him by the shoulder. "She suffers. So much. Help her. Please, help her!"

"She? Who do you..." but Troi didn't manage to say more, she fainted. The medical team picked her up and gently put on the stretcher.

"Commander Data, take us away from here, immediately! Until we know more, there will be no research on the surface."

"Aye, Sir!"

Picard sighed and left the bridge. He had a bad feeling that they would not get to the station on time.

Deanna woke up. She looked around and saw Beverly Crusher smiling to her.

"Are you feeling better?"

Deanna nodded. Riker and captain Picard stood by the other side of her bed. She noticed the concern on their faces. Suddenly, she looked more consciously and jump, trying to get up. Beverly held her by the shoulders.

"Easy, you need to rest now."

"I can't! Captain! We have to go back! We can't leave her there!" Deanna feel back on her pillow. Picard frowned. He sat down and looked at her closely. Her psychic abilities were well known, as well as her exceptional counseling skills. During the contact with the alien civilizations she was indispensable and within the years of working together he had learnt to trust her.

"Can you describe us more, what exactly you felt?"

"Yes," Deanna opened her eyes with difficulty, but she kept talking. "She is there. I mean, it. An entity. I don't know exactly. I just feel somehow she is a female. She is locked in there. Imprisoned. For a long time. She is in pain. She is in so much pain..." Deanna shivered and the tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Can you feel her now? Is she contacting you?"

"No," Troi composed herself and continued more clearly. "Only when we were close by. She must be somewhere near the probe, I guess. It was just so great despair and pain, the last time I felt something equally stron was on Farpoint Station."

Picard and Riker exchanged looks. The situation got more serious.

"Do you think it may be the same kind of being? Maybe locked somewhere under the surface?"

"I don't know..." Deanna mused. "We must go back there!" She insisted again.

"Captain may I speak to you in private?"

"Of course, Number One." They went to the corridor.

"You do realize that if we don't get to the station on time, admiral Kinsky will demand a thorough explanation. In our current situation…"

"I know, Number One," Picard interrupted impatiently. "I must remind you however, what our real top priority is. To explore new world and civilizations. The Federation Council will have to understand it.

"Aye, Sir!" Riker refrained a sigh. He was aware that a further discussion had no sense. If Jean-Luc Picard once made up his mind about something, it stayed that way. Although sometimes he caught himself on thinking that the Enterprise was slowly becoming a Rescue, or The-First-To-Get-In-Trouble Ship in the fleet, he wouldn't exchange serving under captain Picard for anything.

Back on the bridge, Picard sat in his chair.

"Mr. Data, take us back to the asteroid."

"Aye, Sir!" The android also didn't look surprised.

[Author's note: Welcome to my Star Trek - The Next Generation fanfiction! I have been writing this story for many years, originally in polish. Here is (finally, after so many years of trying), my English translation. The story will have many chapters and I will do my best to update quickly. I hope you will like it! If you are a native english speaker and you see some bigger mistakes that disturb you in reading, please, let me know!]