Episode 1x06 – Where No One Has Gone Before
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: This is the missing scene at the end of the episode, after Captain Picard makes Wesley Crusher an acting ensign.
Captain Picard was firmly ensconced at the desk in his quarters, writing his report on their misadventure into Galaxy M33. The ship didn't seem to be the worse for wear – Argyle had assured him that Kosinski's equations were indeed useless, and hadn't affected the engines at all.
In truth, he wasn't bothered so much by the ship's condition than by his own. Seeing the spectre of his mother had affected him more than he was willing to admit. Maman had been dead for more than twenty years now, the only member of his family that he remembered with any sort of fondness whatsoever. Yvette Picard had been the one to nurture him, to support him and his dreams of joining Starfleet when his father wanted nothing less than for him to carry on the family business. Her image was jarring – even though he consciously knew that she wasn't real, his heart was less willing to let go of her speaking to him. I miss you, Maman, he thought.
His musings were cut short by the sound of the door chime. He blinked and drew a short breath, then tugged down on his uniform as he called, "Come."
The doors parted to admit Beverly Crusher, who stepped inside just far enough for them to close behind her. "Am I disturbing you?" she asked.
He shook his head. "Not at all. Come in, please."
She walked around to the front of the desk to take a seat, but noticed the plain white tea set that sat on a tray between them. "Were you expecting somebody?"
Picard smiled a little. "I anticipated that you would be coming to see me, Doctor." He reached for the handle of the teapot. "Would you like some?"
She nodded, sitting down as she watched him pour out a cup, then add a small spoonful of the warmed honey that sat on the tray next to it. Beverly was surprised that he remembered how she took it. Tea had been one of the many things that she and Jean-Luc had bonded over in those rare occasions where Jack was not with the two of them, but that had been more than ten years earlier. "Thank you," she said as she took the cup from him, then leaned back into her chair and crossed her legs, inhaling the scent before taking her first sip.
For his part, the captain knew why she was here, but was nervous about how she was going to react to him. So he decided to start. "You're here because of what I did this afternoon."
"I am," she confirmed, her glass clinking on the saucer in her other hand. "Needless to say, I was a little surprised when Wesley came home and not only told me that he'd been on the bridge again, but that you had made him an acting ensign."
Now he definitely felt uncomfortable. "I apologize for not discussing it with you first."
She wasn't really angry, but Beverly was enjoying keeping him on edge. "You do realize that he already had a full study load before this. This is going to eat up a lot of his free time."
"Free time that, if I'm not mistaken, he already spent studying or quizzing the staff in Engineering," he said, fixing her with a look. Crusher didn't respond, and just peered at him over the rim of her cup as she took another sip of tea. "Would you like me to rescind my order?"
Beverly shook her head. "I'd rather know why you did it."
He'd known she was going to ask, and he had thought long and hard about the Traveller's request that he not repeat what he'd been told to either Wesley or his mother. For the moment, he wasn't comfortable giving the Traveller's mystical explanation to her as his reasoning. "He has great potential," he finally told her as he refilled his own cup.
"He also had great potential yesterday," she pointed out, "but up until a few hours ago, you still referred to him as the boy."
Picard's arm stopped in midair, and he grimaced at her plain talk as he replaced the teapot on the tray. "I've seen a lot of good officers come and go over the years," he said, picking up his tea. "The kind that are excellent academics, but don't have the ability to transfer those skills into the field. I thought that, perhaps, giving him shipboard experience prior to his entrance to the Academy might help him to more easily choose the course of study that will best suit him."
Beverly thought a moment. "Jack used to always say he wished he'd been able to spend time on a ship before going to the Academy."
"Exactly." He took another drink, pausing for a bit before quietly observing, "He's very much like his father, Beverly."
She smiled. "You don't have to tell me. There are days when Wesley says something, and I swear, I turn around expecting to find Jack standing there."
His heart panged for her. "It must be hard, having a constant reminder of someone you've lost."
The smile disappeared. "It was, at the beginning. But after a while, it became more of a comfort than anything else."
A long stretch of silence followed, each of them looking anywhere but at the other as they tried to find the right thing to say. Beverly was the one to break it when she gently told him, "Jean-Luc, you don't have to take an interest in Wesley just because he's Jack's son." He looked up sharply from his teacup. "Or because of the reason his father died."
There it was – the elephant in the room. And it wasn't going to be ushered out anytime soon. "Beverly, this isn't the result of some sort of misplaced guilt." Picard sighed. "Well, perhaps a part of it is. But…in the short time that we've been on board, Wesley has proven himself to not only know much of shipboard operations, but to also be observant in ways where the crew has not. I think it would be a travesty to not allow him to continue studying where his interests obviously lay."
She nodded, the grin returning to her face. "I learned a long time ago that when a child is as smart as he is, you have to keep him challenged. Otherwise he gets bored, and that's when you come home to find he's reprogrammed every replicator in the house to give you nothing but toothpaste and artichoke hearts." To Picard's raised eyebrows, she said, "I'll tell you about that sometime." She set her tea down on the desk and stood up. "I do appreciate your interest in him, Jean-Luc. Please don't think that I don't."
He gave her a small smile as he also got to his feet. "Please know that you can come to me at any time if you have questions about the curriculum that Commander Riker is setting up for him. Or if you have any concerns about how he is progressing." Remembering the apology he had made when she first came in, he then added, "We will abide by your wishes in this matter."
Her expression softened to one that he hadn't seen from her in a very, very long time. While Beverly had many friends and kind people in her life, there had only ever been a handful – him, Jack, Walker Keel and Dalen Quaice, her mentor while at medical school – who could ever make her feel that they truly appreciated her needs. "Thank you, Jean-Luc."
The captain watched her as she left, then returned to his desk, thinking over what she had said about him trying to make up for sending Jack Crusher to his death. He would try to deny it, but he knew she was absolutely right. The decision to bring Wesley into the bridge crew had been made in the spur of the moment, but afterwards, the explanation had occurred to Picard as well. He still felt responsible – guilty – for leaving Wesley without a father, leaving Beverly a widow, and even for leaving himself without his best friend. Even now, a full decade later, he was still trying to make amends.