Francois Picard knew that the situation was completely hopeless. He was more sure of that fact than he had ever been of anything else in his brief twenty-one years. For those who entered this prison, there was only one way out of it, and that was on the cart that took the prisoners to the place of execution. Francois' own appointment with madame la guillotine grew closer every day, and he was utterly powerless to do anything at all about it.
Tears came to Francois' eyes when he thought of the lovely Veronique. He had met her when his carriage had broken down in front of her parents' wine shop one day, and he had been immediately taken with her. She was beautiful, with long auburn hair and green eyes. Her parents were ardent supporters of the Revolution; her mother so much so that she waited with eager anticipation as each cartload of prisoners arrived. She knitted as the executions proceeded and shouted with glee as each head fell.
Francois' brother, Jacques, had fled to safety in London just months previously, begging Francois to accompany him. Veronique had been the sole reason Francois had hesitated. Although her family were not aristocrats, the demand for victims to slake madame la guillotine's thirst for blood seemed to grow stronger and stronger, until it seemed that practically no one was safe.
Francois remembered the night they had come for him and shivered. The trial had been a mere formality, as he had already known that the jury would return with a guilty verdict. Guilty of simply being born in the wrong place and at the wrong time. And into the wrong family.
Although Francois' father had been a greedy, selfish man, with no sympathy whatsoever for the peasants, Francois himself had always tried his best to treat them fairly. Although now that didn't seem to matter at all.
Francois felt profoundly sad as he thought of the children he and Veronique would never have, of the lifetime they would never be able to spend together. What was most frustrating of all to him was that he was now totally helpless to protect her in any way.
As his eyes scanned the tiny cell he occupied, Francois spied a very peculiar object lying discretely in a corner. It was small enough that he could hold it in one hand, and it looked like nothing he had ever seen before. The material of which it was composed seemed downright bizarre. It was as if it had come from another world, carelessly dropped there by some kind of space traveler...or time traveler. Francois guessed it to be some type of futuristic communication device. He wondered who...or what...it could be used to contact.
"Of course I'm interested in genealogy!" Jean-Luc Picard exclaimed. "You know how interested I am in archeology. Doesn't it automatically follow that I would have an interest in genealogy as well?"
"I suppose it does." Beverly chuckled. "For some reason, I just never put the two together."
The two of them were taking a break and relaxing in Ten Forward. Jean-Luc was sharing his family tree with Beverly.
"It goes back well over seven hundred years on my father's side," Jean-Luc said. He pointed to a name. "For instance, this man, Francois Picard, was born in seventeen seventy-two. He came from a long line of aristocrats. I have no information whatsoever for his wife, except for her first name, which was Veronique. Her family must not have been nearly as important. I wonder how on earth they met."
Suddenly Will Riker's voice interrupted the conversation. "Captain, we have an incoming message, from...Earth." His voice held a note of surprise as he said the last word. It looks like a plea for help...wait a minute...it's not from present day Earth at all...instead it's from...at least several centuries ago."