"Helm, set course for the Nitogaro System, Warp Nine," Picard order as he walked briskly from his ready room, all eyes turning to him as he took his seat in the center of the bridge.
"Aye, sir," the confused helmsman answered, turning and punching something onto his console.
"Commander, I want a senior staff meeting in the Observation Lounge immediately."
"Yes, sir." Riker looked at Deanna with a worried look, her own confused, as Picard marched off to the Observation Lounge. The two stood and began to follow him, Data and Worf falling in behind as Riker informed Beverly and Geordie.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news to tell you," Picard started, his voice grave and cheerless. The entire senior staff sat in silence around the long, oval table, waiting for him to continue. "The situation on Miko has grown quite, well… out of control."
He paused again, letting them take in that piece of information. "Mass riots have broken out in the streets. Approximately two hundred people have already been killed. The entire world is on the verge of civil war."
Everyone, excluding Data, looked shocked, even Worf showed it a little. No one spoke; no one knew what to say. But, finally, Riker spoke up and asked, "Sir, their civil war sounds like something the diplomats should be helping with, not us. Why are we going? It's not like we can do anything without breaking the Prime Directive."
Picard looked at his First Office. Oh, the things he wished he could tell him. How much he wished and didn't wish he could explain the entire situation- the cause and effect rather. But he couldn't, he was under orders not to.
Picard sighed and began, "You're right. The only flaw is… both Ambassador Troi and T'Pic have been… kidnapped. Our top priority is to save them, then help with the war… if possible."
Picard's eyes found Deanna's and she looked up at him. He could see the fear and worry in them. But Picard could only tell her what he had just stated. She could sense that and Picard knew it. She closed her eyes, hopping that her eyelids would stop the flood of tears that threatened to fall.
"Any and most all information regarding this situation is to be told to you and your subordinates on a need-to-know basis. Is that understood? Good. Dismissed." They all stood and filled out, Riker with Deanna, Beverly, Worf and Geordie heading out the second door, and Picard and Data hanging back.
"Data, you cannot tell them anything. Only what they already know," Picard whispered to him.
Unknown, The Next Day
A tall, scrawny man walked through the opening to the large cave, a brown cape covering his face. Only the many torches lining the walls provided light for the man as he briskly made his way through the opening. A puddle made a quiet splash as he walked.
His eyes searching the place like a hawk as he went slowly through the passage. He looked over his shoulder, checking to see if anyone was around. And then he ducked to his left, disappearing from sight.
Crusher walked into her Sickbay for the first time in two weeks after her long vacation. Stepping in, she smoothed out her newly replicated uniform, sighing contently as she saw that the place was now full with rested and happier nurses and doctors than when she left.
She walked to her office, passing by a few colleagues and nodding hello. Her door slid opened and she sat down behind her desk, anticipating plenty of reports.
Quickly, she skimmed over Dr. Lamare's report about his plant growth project and the two patients he had been treating. Next was Dr. Grizmon's report on his 'new and improved' cure of the cold. Oh, god! That man would never stop no matter how many failures he had.
After reading those notes, she skipped to the nurses' reports. Mostly they just treated a few crewmembers for the basic things.
Finally she reached Nurse Henry's report and noticed that she had treated Geordie for a slight headache with two cc's of morphenolog. She found that the cause was undetermined.
Crusher shrugged and continued through the reports. When she found nothing of importance, she stood and walked out of her office, hoping that it would be an easy day.
The man halted at an entrance, beaded strings hanging from the rocks. Once again, he looked over his shoulder his eyes searching in the darkness for any unwelcome sight. Quickly, he pushed away the strings and stepped inside.
Inside was a huge, semi-circular room made of large stones, withering away with time. The room was damp and cold and none to welcoming as it was filled with a hundred or so people, all sitting or laying in large groups. Many talking amongst themselves while others said nothing.
The tall man walked on to the back edge of the room where two other men guarded two others. Slowly, he removed the hood of his cloak to reveal his black hair and pale skin. Looking down at them, only the female returned his stare.
"It's nothing personal, you know. Quite frankly I don't care much for you. Nor do I care for your friend here. Just business… you know what it's like," the man told her before looking away.
A new man walked up. He was walking briskly through the crowd, working his way toward the taller man. "What do you know?"
"The Embassy has called for a starship to come to their aid. The U.S.S. Enterprise. They have people onboard that can easily take you, it wont be much of a fight," the tall man said in a dismissive voice.
"They're bluffing. The Federation can't interfere with our 'civil war'. It goes against their principles," the other man stated. "Don't worry."
Engineering, The Next Day
Geordie sat behind his console monitoring the Warp Plasma flow. It had been eleven hours since he had taken his last injection and his mind kept wondering back to the hypo. But he was determined not to use it. He was determined to take control of how much he used.
His stomach was beginning to cramp and Geordie was sure he was going to be sick. He swallowed hard, as if hoping that would keep everything down. But that did little to calm his churning stomach.
After programming the computer to alert him if certain wavelengths were detected, Geordie stood and walked over to the Warp Core. He closed his eyes and sighed. He wished that he could make this headache go away.
Geordie heard footsteps behind him and an unsure voice ask, "Commander LaForge?"
"Yes," he responded without opening his eyes. He recognized the voice of Ensign Virto, a new Ensign straight from the Academy.
"I need your help with the shield generators. They're malfunctioning again."
Geordie groaned and told him, "I'll be there in a second, you go ahead." He heard the young man leave and he opened his eyes. When he did, it felt as if the pain had doubled. His lips were brought to form a straight line… he gave up. He couldn't take the headache, Ensign, and faulty shield generators.
With a quick look around, he again removed the hypo from its concealment and touched the tip to his wrist. Hiding it once again from everyone else, joining the Ensign.
Sickbay, The Next Day
Crusher sat in her chair, slouching as she starred at the computer screen. The sound of the chime startled her, making her look out the translucent wall. Sitting straight, she put on a smile and granted the person entry.
"Doctor, a hypospray is missing. So are two of the morphenolog cylinders," O'Ryan reported.
"Yes, ma'am. They were never signed out nor used on any patient," Nurse O'Ryan told the CMO.
"Find out where they are and who took them, immediately."
"Approaching the planet Miko," Data reported as a large sphere appeared on the screen. The planet's surface was made up of orange and purple blobs mixing and blending together, showing where both the land and oceans were.
"Thank-you, Commander. Standard orbit. Worf, contact the Embassy, tell them we're prepared to send down an away team," Picard ordered, receiving two 'Aye, sir's.
Commander Riker stood and was soon followed by Deanna. He stopped and looked at her. "Deanna, you cannot come and you know it," he stated firmly.
Deanna took a step closer to him and said, "I maybe pregnant but I'm-"
"A month away from your due date, you shouldn't be going on away missions." Deanna gave him a stubborn look but Riker easily matched it.
Deanna sighed and gave in. "Fine." She kissed him on the cheek as he gave her a quick smile.
"Data, Worf, you're with me," Riker caressed her cheek and headed for the turbolift. As he did so, he tapped the badge on his chest. The last thing Deanna heard before the turbolift doors closed was, "Riker to Geordie."
Deanna sighed again and walked back to her chair. Picard placed his elbow on the armrest and said, "He's right you know. You're the equivalent of seven months pregnant. According to Dr. Crusher, you have three weeks left. In your condition, I wouldn't dare send you on any mission and risk the child and you."
Deanna smiled and admitted, "Yes, I know. I just don't like feeling useless."
"I know what you mean." Picard then gestured to the fact he was still in his chair. Deanna smiled before Picard asked, "Have you told anyone about it? I mean personally? About the pregnancy or engagement?"
Deanna looked at him with a confused smile. "I think the news of both are spreading nicely without our help. Besides, I'm getting a lot more looks now that I'm fatter. But no, besides the obvious people, neither of us has told anyone. No one but Data."
Picard merely gave her a hearty laugh and turned away.