Summary: The Tsiolkovsky Virus caused members of the senior staff to reveal their attraction toward certain co-workers. Some even gave in to those desires while others were strong enough to remain at a distance. But what happens when the crew is forced to face their unrequited love for one another again?
Rating: T and then the next chapter a most prominent M.
Pairings: A little bit for everybody….Picard/Crusher, Riker/Troi, and then my favorite Data/Tasha.
*Just a short story I'm working on…Possibly less than five chapters. Now back to Parallels. Sorry for the slow updates, I've had some things going on that have acquired my attention as of lately.*
What is it about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity? I suddenly realize why people believe in déjà vu, why people believe they've lived past lives, because there is no way the years I've spent in this universe could possibly encapsulate what I'm feeling. The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations—all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are now just arriving at the place you were always meant to be.
Chapter 1 –"Fate Re-evaluating Itself"
The senior crew members sat patiently in the Observation Lounge as Captain Picard entered. Before sitting in the chair at the far end of the table, he quickly pulled his uniform down before informing the crew of his recent conversation with Starfleet.
"It would appear that the Enterprise has been ordered to Aridious IV. The government has applied for membership into the Federation and being the closest ship in the sector, we have been asked to rendezvous with the Government of this colony to see if they are prepared for such a measure of this magnitude."
The Captain leaned back into his chair, his eyes darting to each member that occupied the lounge.
A feigned smile crept across his lips. "I think that you will find this mission quite…interesting."
Commander Riker shared a confusing look with the rest of the crew, noting the absence of Lieutenant Worf and Geordi from the meeting. "How so, Sir?"
"I think I'll let Mr. Data answer that question for you, Number One."
Data walked up to the view screen in the observation lounge, lightly tapping the screen into life as the planet in question became visible before the senior staff. "In my recent studies, I have found that Aridious IV's plant life is highly concentrated with phenyl ethylamine or PEA, which in turn is released into the atmosphere causing the inhabitants of this colony to be highly affected by the endorphin."
Slowly, the android began scanning through the vegetation dominantly found upon the planet.
"This is Acorus calamus or what is commonly known as 'sweet flag.' This plant in particular makes up thirty percent of the planet's botany." Data scanned quickly to another picture. "And this is Asarum Europaeum, also referred to by the colonists as 'Asarabacca'. It is the most potent plant found upon the planet, although it only covers at least twenty-two percent of Aridious IV's surface."
Riker seemed a little impatient. "Data, what does this horticulture lesson have to do with our mission?"
The android looked baffled. "I am merely stating the dangers of our objective."
All the seated members of the crew shared a bewildered look, as Tasha asked. "What dangers?"
Again, Data looked to Picard. "Inquiry, Sir….Was I not explaining my research in a proper manner? Perhaps I was - as you humans say….beating around the bush. Being long-winded…Pussy-footing around."
Picard noted the suppressed smiles that his staff was desperately trying to control. Beverly turned her head completely away from Data in a cautious attempt to hide her laughter, while Deanna and Tasha covered their forehead with their palms, sheltering their face from the Captain's pensive stares as their eyes were strongly fixed to the table's surface, their shoulders visibly shaking in mirth, Riker on the other hand just smiled on in glee. No doubt because the android had managed to unwittingly spurt out pussy and bush in the same sentence.
He held a hand up, swiftly cutting the android off.
"You're doing fine, Mr. Data. Please proceed." He smiled reassuringly, prompting the android to continue.
Data nodded. "The colony has been at peace for its entire existence, partly due to what the Aridians refer to as the love drug."
Tasha was the first to reclaim her composure as she teased the android, drawing the word out.
"The love drug?" Thankfully she resisted the urge to laugh again.
Data tilted his head perplexingly. "As I mentioned prior, high concentrations of phenyl ethylamine can be found in the oxygen levels of the planet's atmosphere. Every colonist on this planet is experiencing an ongoing state of euphoria from the endorphin. They choose love over that of violence. The probability that the away team could become infected during our stay is highly likely, almost indefinite."
Tasha's eyes narrowed in curiosity. "Even you too, Data?"
"I am not certain. I have been forced to re-evaluate the following events of the Tsiolkovsky Vi…."
The android immediately desisted as an awkward silence fell over the two; their eyes locked in horror as the daunting memories of that amorous night resurfaced. Deanna turned to share a quizzical look at Tasha, sensing the sudden tension directed toward the android.
"I have considered the possibility." Data finished.
A sudden air of recognition shown in Riker's eyes. "Let me get this straight. If we go down there, then it is possible that we may act on our inhibitions? Giving the account that we become disabled by the elements of the environment?"
"Yes." Data affirmed. "Your judgment will be sorely affected, impairing your ability to make adequate decisions concerning the colony's membership."
"The Enterprise will be closely monitoring our stay." Picard looked around, his tone amiss with perturbation. "We will be entering Aridious IV's orbit in two hours. If and when the bridge becomes concerned for our welfare; I have already given the prior order to remove us from the planet." Picard announced.
Tasha was immediately alarmed. "Sir, are you sure this is a wise choice? I mean, we will all become uninhibited by this drug?" And then she whispered, almost disgruntled by his immunity. "Except Data of course."
"Your concerns will be duly noted Lieutenant but we must at least give the impression of trust. We will all proceed with the following orders."
"But why not just Data…You can easily send him alone, why are we all going?"
"Because President DeNavia asked for us all and the Federation saw it fit to send us in pairs to exempt us from the impending hazards."
The crew looked confused, their unspoken question beckoning to be enlightened.
"We can't obviously be taken advantage of if we at least give the appearance of being….taken."
"Taken?" Deanna asked.
Data answered for the Captain. "The colonists thrive on sexual desires; they pursue and conquer by exhibiting their passions freely. The Federation believed our availability would be secured if we give the pretense of being unavailable. Since the colonists hold a strong regard toward monogamy."
Captain Picard explained their orders further. "I have made the following decisions. Beverly and I will room together based solely upon our friendship, Commander Riker and Counselor Troi because of their…" He paused a moment, then smirked as the right word came to him. "Familiarity and Natasha, you will be with Commander Data mainly because we need you there as Chief of Security and Data because of the likelihood that he will not be affected."
Tasha frowned, a little disturbed by the idea of being in close proximity for three days with Data.
"Sir, if I may object to my involvement…"
The Captain spoke over her, ceasing her protests. "You may not…My decision stands!"
The crew stared in discomfited silence.
"You are dismissed." The newly acquired away team got up to leave.
"Oh and…." The senior staff turned toward the voice of their Captain. "I trust that we will all" His eyes particularly focused on his Science Officer as well as his Chief of Security. "Conduct ourselves accordingly by not giving in to the temptation that awaits us." And then more silently. "I hope."
One by one they filed out of the Observation Lounge to their quarters, as they readied themselves for what could possibly be the most ill-conceived assignment they have ever attempted. A mission where your greatest threat is your chief desire to acquire the one person you secretly covet.
Author's Notes: Here's a little quick story I had stirring around in my mind while entertaining thoughts about the episode "The Naked Now." I kept wondering if the crew could possibly be successful in conquering their desires in a different scenario or would history repeat itself. Guess we'll have to find out.