Episode 1x05 – The Last Outpost

By Eydie Munroe

Disclaimer: All things Star Trek belong to Paramount and CBS. I'm just writing the bits that TPTB seemed to have missed.

Note: These are the missing scenes before Captain Picard's first visit to the emergency gathering station. It's always bugged me that he thanked the young mystery crewman with the gold ribbon braided into her hair, when we don't see her before or after that in the episode.

After Captain Picard approved the CMO's request to start moving non-essential personnel to the ship's designated emergency zones, he consulted with Engineering to reconfirm how fast their power reserves were being drained, and how long life support could be expected to hold out. The news was not at all promising, and what normally would have been months was now estimated to be only days, less if they tried any more escape ploys.

"Computer, locate Doctor Crusher," he called as he walked out of Engineering.

"Doctor Crusher is in Multi-Purpose Area 3G."

Fortunately the turbolifts were still working, so it only took a few minutes for him to make it up to Deck 3. The large public area was already filled with people, mostly civilians and their children since the Starfleet personnel were still on duty. Doctor Crusher was moving from group to group, examining hands and feet to make sure that so far, nobody was suffering any ill effects from the dropping temperatures. He waited until she finished re-tucking a blanket around a young girl and her mother, then approached her and pulled her slightly aside. "How are things going here?"

"So far, no injuries or hypothermia," she reported, pulling her lab coat more tightly around her body. "Everybody's just cold as hell."

He gravely nodded. "Well, the word from Engineering is that we've only got about five days of reserve energy left. We're going to need to shut down non-essential decks and relocate all remaining personnel to the emergency areas if we're going to extend it any further than that."

That was going to make her job more difficult; having to crawl through Jeffries tubes to move between one area and the next to continue checking on the crew was going to slow her down considerably. "I agree," she told him. "At it is, I don't think we have much choice."

"Alright. I'll be on the bridge if you need me." He turned and started to head for the corridor, but his attention was grabbed when the door on the far side of the room slid open to admit a young officer, obviously distressed as she scanned everyone. When she turned away from him, he noticed the gold ribbon that had been braided into her hair, and it helped him recognize her – Lieutenant Yolanda Bates, head of the ship's school. She looked frantic, rubbing her hands together more from fear than from the cold. He was about to summon Counsellor Troi when their eyes locked, and since Troi was already crouched down with a pair of children, apparently deep into trying to comfort them, he walked over to her himself. "Status, Lieutenant?"

"A couple of children gave their teacher the slip when he was bringing his class down here," she reported, giving him only a cursory glance before going back to scanning the room. "We're searching the ship, but I came back here to see if they maybe wandered in while we were looking for them."

The captain suppressed a sigh, pushing his usual reservations about having children on starships back down to where he kept other orders from Starfleet that he didn't agree with. "Where were they when the teacher realized they were gone?"

"Deck Ten." She did let out a sigh, now absently rubbing her arms to try and fend off the cold.

"I take it that this isn't the first time they've done this?"

Bates shook her head. "No sir. Unfortunately, Matthew and Pola are a couple of escape artists. They seem to try and do this every time their class moves outside of the school."

At that moment, Deanna Troi left the young girls that she had been talking to and came over to them. "Excuse me, Captain," she said as she turned her attention to the lieutenant. "Well, Jessica and T'Sari say that they wanted to go back and get a puzzle that they dropped somewhere along the way."

The school principal groaned. "That means they could be anywhere."

A spark of memory put a small, sly smile on the captain's lips. "Actually Lieutenant, I think I might know where your 'escape artists' have gone to."

Sure enough, Matthew and Pola had snuck their way back up to the observation lounge in search of their Chinese finger puzzle. Pola had originally been carrying it while they chased each other in a game of tag, but it had been abruptly abandoned when their attention turned to the sculptures that sat on the shelf below the figures of previous Enterprises on the wall. But between being busted by the first officer and then coming face-to-face with the captain, it was hours before they remembered it.

"It is not here," Pola said for the tenth time as his companion continued to search the room.

"It has to be!" the young human told him, pulling back each chair just in case the puzzle had rolled off the table and onto the cushions. "Derek Jensen loaned it to me – I have to give him my trading cards if I lose it!"

A thought struck his Vulcan friend. "Perhaps the captain took it back to the bridge with him after we left."

Matthew groaned. Pola's youthful attempts at logic really bothered him sometimes. "He wouldn't. He hates games."

"How do you know that?"

This last comment finally stopped Matthew's search, and he turned to face Pola with his irritation clear. "Because he's the captain! If he played games, they'd never let him steer the ship!" Before Pola could retort, they were suddenly plunged into darkness. "What was that?"

Fear seized the other boy, and steered Matthew to grab his friend by the hand and pull him toward the door. "Come on, we'd better get out of here." But the doors refused to open. They stepped back and tried again, but the doors still wouldn't budge. "What's wrong with them?"

"Perhaps we should try the other doors," Pola suggested, leading the way to the doors on the opposite end of the conference table. But they were no better off there, as the power had been cut to both exits.

"Oh no!" Matthew moaned. "Now what do we do?"

Lieutenant Bates hated moving through the corridors now that the power had been reduced or shut down through most of the ship. It gave her the creeps. She would have felt better if she'd brought about a hundred people with her, but she also knew it wasn't fair to her colleagues to drag them through the freezing ship just to assuage her own fears. Swallowing hard, it took everything she had not to jump at every perceived shadow that found its way into her peripheral vision.

Being a school teacher and administrator meant that she pretty much stuck to her own areas of the Enterprise. Now, wandering the corridors in search of the observation lounge, she wished that the wall panels were working so they could easily guide her where she needed to go. Instead, she held a tricorder out in front of her, following its map through a few turns until she found the doors she was looking for. Closing the tricorder and putting it back into the compartment on her belt, she exchanged it for a magnetic handle and affixed it to the door panels.

The sound of a metallic thunk made Matthew's heart jump. "What's that?" he squawked.

Pola, despite the Vulcan teachings he'd already started learning, was just as scared as his friend. A traditional story popped into his head, about a monster that fed on little children who misbehaved. "We must hide!" he whispered, grabbing Matthew and suddenly hauling him down underneath the conference table.

Matthew's heart was racing – Pola's sudden fear was making his own even worse. Their heads both whirled around when the doors they had first tried to leave through started to groan. "Oh no!"

With a little effort, the inoperative doors slid aside enough for Lieutenant Bates to squeeze through. The glow of the planet through the windows lit the room in an eerie blue light, but she preferred it to the monstrous red emergency lighting that she'd just left. Breathing a little sigh, she started to look around the room for her two escapees. They weren't immediately visible, but it was pretty obvious where they'd gone. One of the chairs had been hastily pushed out of the way, and was still slowly spinning away from the table. She shook her head and smiled, but then put on a serious face as she pulled the chair out of the way and crouched down.

She found the two boys huddled together underneath the table, eyes wide with fear. Giving them a harsh stare, she let them squirm for a few moments before she simply asked, "So?"

There was a green blush on the young Vulcan's cheeks, while his human friend hung his head. "We were looking for my Chinese finger puzzle," Matthew quietly admitted, his eyes fixed firmly on the floor.

"I see." Yolanda let them stew a little bit longer. "And why would your puzzle have been up here?"

It was an even longer pause before Pola answered, "Because we were playing here earlier."

"And then Commander Riker came in and chased us out!" tumbled out of Matthew's mouth, his eyes wide as he rushed through an explanation. "And then the captain came, and he yelled at us and said that he was gonna put us in the brig! And then he called Mister Worf! And then he–"

"Matthew…" their principal warned, in the tone she knew worked on him. His babbling stopped, his gaze falling back to the carpet below. Though she was an experienced schoolteacher, she was having a hard time keeping herself from laughing. "So you're telling me that you've not only broken the rules by sneaking away from your class and going into off-limit areas, but that you've done it twice already today?" They both nodded sullenly, knowing they were busted. Yolanda sighed. "Come on," she ordered, standing back up and waiting until they crawled out into the open. "Mister Jahal is worried about you."

Without another word, she led the two boys back out the open doors and down the corridor. They rode in one of the remaining operational lifts in silence, Bates preferring to let their imaginations run with them as to what she was going to do. About halfway between the turbolift and the multi-purpose area, she was finally ready to announce her sentence. "Matthew, Pola, I'm giving you an assignment. You are going to write a report about why certain areas of starships are off limits."

Pola remained silent, but Matthew was having none of it. "But Miss Bates–"

"No buts!" she cut him off sharply. "You two are going to write a report on why you're not supposed to go into off-limit areas, and…" Bates paused for effect. "You will read the report to your parents, and to Commander Riker." It got the intended effect as the two of them groaned out loud, and she couldn't help but smile from her place walking behind them. "And you two will begin working on your reports when we reach the refuge area."

The doors to the emergency area parted before them, and the pair sullenly made their way over to where Mister Jahal had huddled his class together in the far corner. He was continuing their previous lesson in order to keep their minds on something other than the cold, and he only paused briefly to lay a sharp eye on the escapees as they dropped down to sit on the floor behind their classmates.

Her attention was grabbed when the captain approached her, obviously heading back up to the bridge. All she had to do was glance at the boys and give him a nod to confirm she'd found them where he'd suggested. "Good," he said, breaking into a rare smile as he put a hand on her arm and added, "Thank you," before disappearing back into the corridor.

She came the rest of the way into the room, gratefully accepting the blanket that Deanna Troi placed around her shoulders. Pulling it tightly around herself, she settled down in a spot where she could watch the children and where she hoped she'd be able to warm up. Focusing on finding Matthew and Pola had distracted her from how cold it really was already. With a grimace, she hoped that she would actually be able to enforce the boys' punishment for their little adventure.