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Old July 16 2010, 10:31 PM   #1
Whoa Nellie
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TNG History's Legacy

Title: History's Legacy
Author: Whoa Nellie
Contact: whoa_nellie40@hotmail.com
Series: TNG

Summary: Vash's archaeology team makes a discovery that carries significant ramifications for two powerful governments. Meanwhile, Beverly Crusher makes a discovery about the difference between being a doctor and being a captain.

Author's notes: This occurs in the Reasons of the Heart timeline and follows the events in Propositions and Romulan Roulette. Those stories follow the events of Mithras (the Whoa Nellie re-write of Nemesis) which was written specifically to blow-up the Enterprise E in anticipation of this story and the subsequent direction of this Whoa Nellie series. This story was originally posted to ASC on July 16, 2010. This is an edited-down version of the original to correspond with trek BBS rules. If you are 18 or older and would like to read the original version it can be found on the Whoa Nellie website.

As always: Paramount owns all the marbles. We just have a lot more fun playing with them.

Whoa Nellie's Romance Star Trek Fan Fiction Stories
http://whoanellie.fortunecity.com

HISTORY'S LEGACY

"Captain's log supplemental: the Enterprise-F, along with her companion vessels, the USS Pasteur and the USS Titan are in standard orbit around Romulus completing final preparations for the expedition toward the Delta Quadrant. The Bozeman-A and the Voluspa will arrive within the hour with the last of the assorted dignitaries coming to Romulus for the official launch of the Delta expedition. There is a reception onboard the Enterprise this evening to officially kick off the festivities. The Romulan Senate strongly encouraged hosting the launch celebrations here at Romulus. I am certain that they saw it as a political feather, an opportunity to display their involvement in this expedition as well as their recent, commendable efforts at improving relations with the Federation." Picard surveyed the view from his ready room. He would have never thought to see the day when Starfleet ships and Romulan warbirds occupied the space around Romulus with no red alerts, no shields and no weapons. It was a welcome sight, but he wondered how long it would take before Romulan warbirds didn't provoke a sense of forboding. The chime to his ready room announced a visitor. With all of the individuals roaming about the ship, both Starfleet and civilians reporting in and settling into their new quarters as well as others simply taking advantage of one last opportunity to tour this ship before her launch, there was simply no place on the ship to hide. He closed his log and called for the door.

Admiral Alynna Nechayev strode into the room accompanied by several Cardassians. "Jean-Luc."

Picard immediately stood and assumed a military ready position. "Admiral Nechayev, I was not informed that you were aboard."

"At ease," she acknowledged the gesture of military protocol, performed more for the benefit of her guests than for her sake. "Captain Jean-Luc Picard, may I present Chairman Elim Garak of Cardassia and his aides, Gul Tajor and Gul Telak."

"Welcome to the USS Enterprise-F," Picard greeted them with the practiced ease of a diplomat. "If you would like a tour, I can arrange for my First Officer, Commander Data, to personally--"

Chairman Garak interrupted him, managing to sound both sociable and annoyed at the same time. "What I would like, Captain Picard is to know why my people were excluded from your little star trek?"

Picard noted Nechayev's smirk. Because of her small stature and position standing just in front of the three Cardassians, they were unable to see her face. Obviously she was delegating this conversation to him and only staying to watch the show. "I don't understand, Chairman."

"Can you imagine how distressed I was upon my arrival to discover that there are Romulans, ROMULANS, going on this expedition and yet not a single Cardassian?"

It took every ounce of Picard's self-control to not react to the Cardassian's aghast expression and the apparent wide-eyed surprise that accompanied his question. "We received a great many applications from both Starfleet personnel and civilians. The applications were carefully reviewed under a pre-determined selection process. Of all the applications that I personally reviewed for the available postings onboard this ship, I don't recall seeing any Cardassian applications. Just out of curiosity, Chairman, how many of your people asked to be part of this expedition?"

"We were not invited to apply," Garak replied indignantly.

"Neither were the Romulans," Picard noted. "They requested that consideration and submitted all necessary documentation. A small group of civilian scientists were selected from among those expressing an interest."

Garak threw his arms open in a flamboyant gesture of satisfaction. "Perfect, I hereby request that consideration for my people. I understand that you will be poking around in Romulan space for a time before leaving the area. That will provide ample opportunity to review and select individuals to represent Cardassia."

"I'm afraid not, Chairman," Picard carefully kept his tone neutral. "All of the living spaces have been allocated. There are no openings available at this time."

"Well now, my good Captain, that just won't do," Garak said. "How will it look if Cardassia is the only major power not represented here? Aside from humans, I've seen Vulcans, Bolians, Tellurites, Trill, Romulans, Bajorans, Klingons, even an Excalbian . . . shall I continue?"

Picard tugged on his uniform jacket, ignoring the amused look on Nechayev's face. If Vash were here, the two ladies would probably be sitting on the sofa, eating popcorn and doing a play-by-play of the exchange. "I can assure you, Chairman, that Cardassia is not the only race in the Alpha or Beta Quadrants not represented. There are no Tholians, Breen, Eillen, Andorians, Tavnians, Ferengi . . . shall I continue?"

"I simply must insist that a representative from Cardassia be included, Captain Picard." Garak wasn't giving up. "Perhaps Glinn Daro or Glinn Corak could be part of your military force. My people have a great deal of experience in that regard, you know."

Picard briefly toyed with the idea of throwing newly minted Captain Riker under that proverbial shuttle. "I'm sorry, Chairman, but the military component of this expedition is the responsibility of the USS Titan under the command of Captain Riker." His conscience precluded extracting himself at Will's expense so he continued. "The crew of the Titan are Starfleet personnel. There are no military advisor positions onboard that vessel."

"I must disagree, Captain," Garak countered, wagging his finger. "One of my people distinctly saw a Klingon couple reporting to Captain Riker personally just a short time ago. They beamed up to his ship together."

Picard reached for his computer monitor and pulled up the expedition roster. Tapping in a search query, he quickly accessed the relevant information.

"Don't you know who's going with you?" Garak asked. "Perhaps I should just leave one of my people behind . . . entirely by 'accident' I could assure you."

"That would not be advisable," Picard said icily. "There are several thousand individuals in this expedition. I know the individuals approved to live and/or work onboard this vessel but the final decision regarding positions on the other two ships rested with their respective captains. According to the roster of the Titan, Captain Riker approved the request from a Klingon warrior and his mate based on a prior service history. During an officer exchange program a number of years ago, Captain Riker served as a First Officer aboard a Klingon vessel. The Klingon male was apparently a member of that crew. His mate and he were interested in joining the expedition and Captain Riker approved his position on the Titan."

"Perhaps an officer exchange, then?" Garak suggested. "I'll trade one of my people for one of yours. It won't overbook your living space at all and everyone wins."

Picard resisted the urge to sigh but didn't bother to reply to the obviously unsatisfactory suggestion. "The first scheduled rendezvous for materials and personnel transfer is in approximately three years. That will provide you with more than enough time to submit all of the requisite documentation for any interested individuals. If and when there are openings available, your people will receive the same consideration as any other applicants. I'm sure Admiral Nechayev will be happy to assist you with the criteria for applications. That is the best that I can offer at this point in time, Chairman Garak."

Garak let out a very dramatic sigh. "Well, I am very disappointed, Captain Picard, very, very disappointed. I will certainly start recruiting volunteers to join this wonderful journey into the unknown at the first available opportunity. I just had a thought. Perhaps Captain Crusher has an opening for a doctor on her hospital ship. One of the most pre-eminent exobiologists of our time, in fact the chairman of exobiology at the University of Culat just happens to be a member of our little contingent to these festivities. I'm certain that Crell Moset would just jump at the opportunity to study Delta Quadrant species. Why don't we just go find Captain Crusher and have a little chat with her."

Picard watched the Cardassians abruptly turn toward the door. Just before the door slid shut behind them, Chairman Garak poked his head back in.

"Bon voyage, Captain Picard. We'll miss you in our little neck of the woods."

Alone in his ready room with Admiral Nechayev, Picard rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily. "Did you enjoy that?"

"Immensely," Nechayev said. "You're leaving for parts unknown, I just wanted to give you one last chance to see what you'll be missing."

"Senator Pardek's going-away gift was two cases of Romulan ale," Picard informed her wryly.

Nechayev headed for the door to catch up to the Cardassians. "You might want to hold onto those in case the Cardassians actually do apply in a few years."

............................................

Wandering through the corridor, Vash Picard casually scanned the crowd. The Enterprise-F had been designed specifically for this expedition and one of the biggest features of the ship was the community deck. One entire deck of the massive ship had been filled with a variety of dining establishments, nightclubs, lounges, holodecks and holosuites, a spa and even a large arboretum. Right now, the entire deck was teeming with admirals, diplomats, dignitaries, Romulans, journalists and other assorted VIP's mingling with the Starfleet personnel and civilian scientists who would comprise the expedition. Finally she spotted her quarry in Guinan's, a large forward lounge. The vast panoramic windows provided a resplendent backdrop for his natural commanding presence. He was quite dashing in his dress uniform, the crisp, white jacket trimmed with gold braiding and the fitted black trousers emphasizing his sleek, muscular build. She paused for a moment to savor the view before starting to weave through the crowd at the door to the lounge only to bump into someone who had been trying to edge around her. "Oh, excuse me."

"No, please excuse me," Commander Martin Madden offered. The first thing he noticed was her vivid blue eyes followed by her delicate visage perfectly framed by her silky brunette hair. The gold filigree choker studded with glittering crystals that encircled her slender neck complemented her gold-beaded evening gown. The strapless gown crested the top curves of her breasts to skim the feminine lines of her slender silhouette. With a smile, he continued suavely, "Your powers of attraction seem to have temporarily overwhelmed my inertial dampeners."

With his dark hair, handsome features and charming smile, the man in front of her was very reminiscent of a slightly shorter and younger Will Riker. She took notice of the three gold pips on his collar. "My apologies, Commander, sometimes I forget my own strength."


Still blocking her path, he held her eyes with his while lowering his voice slightly to a conspiratorial tone, "So, what does it feel like to be the most beautiful woman in this room?"

Vash felt her cheeks flush ever so slightly. Most men she encountered were carefully deferential toward her, either because they knew exactly who she was or were warned off by the sight of her security guard. It had been quite some time since any man, other than Jean-Luc, had so boldly flirted with her. This could be fun. She resisted the urge to glance in Jean-Luc's direction and instead gave the officer her most winsome wide-eye gaze. "I'm flattered. Commander?"

"The name is Martin Madden." He gestured toward expanse of stars outside the panoramic windows. "And if beauty were time, you'd be an eternity."

That line brought back a memory. Vash couldn't help herself and bantered playfully, "next you'll be telling me that my eyes are mysterious as the stars."

"Well, one thing your eyes haven't told me is your name," he observed dramatically.

"Seeing as you're a Starfleet officer, you must be a resourceful fellow. I'm sure you'll figure it out," she replied with a coy smile before disappearing into the crowd.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard spotted two familiar faces and made his way over to them. Grateful for the respite from the dog-and-pony show, he greeted Captain Bateson and Captain Janeway. "Morgan, Kathryn."

"This is a magnificent vessel, Jean-Luc," Bateson remarked with admiration. "The size is just incredible."

"Thank you, Morgan," Picard replied. "You've got a nice new ship yourself. How are you enjoying life on a Sovereign class ship?"

Bateson grinned, "The Bozeman-A is quite the toy, especially after all those years on the Soyuz class."

Janeway joined in the conversation. "Considering that the Soyuz class ships were withdrawn from service well over a century ago, decommissioning the Bozeman made a lot more sense than decommissioning Voyager after only seven years in service."

"It's not the years, it's the mileage," Bateson bantered. "I kept my ship within the bounds of known space unlike some captains I could name."

Janeway pursed her lips. "You got stuck in a time loop for nearly a century, that's not fair."

"According to your logs, Voyager did her share of time travel," Picard pointed out with a grin. "I do want to thank you for sending me a copy of your logs from Voyager. I'm sure it will be an invaluable resource."

"I wouldn't have sent them in advance if I'd known that you would use them against me," she retorted good-naturedly. "Seriously, you're quite welcome, Jean-Luc; although, I think your most invaluable resource on the expedition toward the Delta Quadrant will be Chakotay."

"Agreed," Picard concurred. "That is precisely why I've placed Commander Chakotay in charge of the Department of Anthropological Sciences, including the First Contact teams, anthropologists, archaeologists and historians. For some reason he elected to live with his wife onboard her ship and commute to work in his office here. He'll also be in my ship's chain of command. It took some doing, but Captain Riker, Captain Crusher and I have arranged things so that no one answers directly to their own spouse."

Bateson couldn't resist the opening. "Any more than you men already answer to your wives."

Picard arched an eyebrow at his old friend before making a pointed query. "Would you like to join our little expedition, Kathryn? It's not too late to add a couple more ships to our little colony."

"To the Delta quadrant?" Janeway asked with a laugh. She shook her head no. "Been there, done that, have the coffee mug."

"It always comes back to coffee with you, doesn't it," Bateson teased her.

"I would think that would make any gift-giving occasion easy," Picard surmised wryly.

End Part 1
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"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:34 PM   #2
Whoa Nellie
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 2

Coming up from behind him, Vash peered over her husband's shoulder. "Did someone mention a gift-giving occasion?"

"Madame Picard, you're done for awhile," he playfully chided gesturing to her elaborate evening gown and jewelry. Seeing the adorable pout she gave him, he slipped his arm around her waist his hand resting on the small of her back. "Where have you been?"

"Seeing and being seen per my job description as your wife," she said. Her voice took on a chiding tone. "I work very hard for these baubles. Speaking of which, have you done that interview for FNN that you promised?"

Picard gave his jacket a tug.

"That would be a 'no'," Vash translated. "They're very interested in talking to you," she coaxed as she reached over to brush a small piece of lint from his jacket.

Picard retorted. "I think that news producer is more interested in putting my lovely wife in front of his camera." He covered her hand with his to still her wifely fussing.

Before Vash could find a suitable retort, Will Riker's voice interrupted her.

"Captains, please excuse the interruption," Riker began and then gestured to the younger officer accompanying him. "I would like to introduce my new First Officer."


Slightly hidden from view by her husband, Vash took a brief moment to maintain her composure while Riker began the introductions to Janeway and Bateson. She took a slight step to the side out of Jean-Luc's embrace allowing him to extend his hand to the man.

"Commander Martin Madden, Captain Jean-Luc Picard," Riker introduced them as the two men shook hands.

"Welcome aboard, Commander," Picard greeted him.

"Thank you, sir. I'm looking forward to serving with you," Madden replied.

"And this is Archaeology Council member Vash Picard . . ."

"Commander Madden," Vash interrupted Riker and extended her hand to Madden with a charming smile.

"Mrs. Picard," Madden managed to take her hand while seeing his career flash in front of his eyes.

"Have you two met?" Riker inquired, curious about his first officer's expression.

"We bumped into each other a little earlier." Vash turned her attention to Will and laid her hand on his upper arm. "It was very reminiscent of our first meeting, Captain Riker."

"I see," Riker responded, silently thankful that Deanna and Beverly weren't within earshot to join in on the fun. Although Picard had smothered his chuckle by clearing his throat and tugging on the hem of his jacket, after nearly two decades of working together, Riker could see the unmitigated glee in Picard's eyes.

"Well, Commander, it seems you have quite a bit in common with your new CO." Picard felt sympathy for the young man; however, he was truly enjoying Will's unpleasant blast from the past. Placing his hand at the small of her back, Picard began to steer his wife away from the group. "All right, ma petite, why don't we find that news crew and see if we can put those beguiling talents of yours to a more productive use."

"It's all right, son. You're not the first and I doubt you'll be the last," Bateson consoled the young officer before he and Janeway made their way off into the crowd.

Reaching up to rub the bridge of his nose, Riker laughed, "You made a pass at her."

Before Madden could answer, Commander Data stepped over to join them noting, "so did you . . . sir."

"But Data, she wasn't wearing a wedding ring when I made a pass at her," Riker defended himself.

Madden shook his head, "I didn't even notice her hands, I was so busy looking at her incredible . . ."

"Legs," Ambassador Worf offered from where he was standing nearby.

"Eyes," Madden scrambled to correct. Quickly, he added in a more deferential tone, "her blue eyes, Ambassador."

"Vash has blue eyes?" Worf deadpanned to Riker.

In one of the nightclubs in a different area of the community deck, Beverly was enjoying a slow, romantic dance with her husband. Even though the planning and preparation for this expedition had been in motion for the past few years, there had still been a flurry of last minute activity. That, combined with the launch ceremony, had left her exhausted. Relaxing into the strong arms holding her, she sighed. "What a day."

"It has been a long day," Chakotay agreed.

"And you didn't have to deal with Cardassians," she murmured wearily. "My day was worse."

He pulled pack slightly, not losing the beat of the music but curious about her unexpected statement. "Why were you dealing with Cardassians?"

"The pips," she said. "The chairman of their new Detapa Council was a bit put out that there were no Cardassians on the expedition. Apparently Jean-Luc turned down his request to get someone on the Enterprise so he came to see me about a position for an exobiologist on my ship and wasn't inclined to take no for an answer."

Chakotay stiffened, standing stock-still in the middle of the dance floor. His voice was low but hard. "Who?"

Beverly noted his immediate reaction and was confused. "A Crell Moset, I've heard of his work; he's well-known in his field."

"What did you say?"

"To the Cardassians?" she asked him uncertainly. "That there were no positions open. If he's interested, he can submit the necessary documentation through Starfleet. I'll consider his application along with everyone else's if a position becomes available. I spent too much time and effort selecting my crew and each scientist currently on the expedition to just throw someone else in at the last minute."

He relaxed, but only slightly. The music had ended and he started to lead her off the dance floor. "I know it's your ship and I have no right to influence your decisions, but there's something you should know about Moset before you think about bringing him onboard."


............................................

Later that evening, Vash stood in front of her dresser. She carefully unsheathed the new field knife that she was holding and closely inspected it. It was magnificent. Both the sheath and the knife were custom-designed to her specifications and had been superbly crafted by the Klingon Chancellor's own artisans.

Stepping into the bedroom, Picard's eyes traveled over his wife taking in how the glittering gown revealed her shapely silhouette. "So, exactly what did he say?"

She returned the knife to its sheath while turning to face him. "Worf said I should make sure you're more careful with my toys. Delivering one of these to the Delta Quadrant would pose quite a problem."

"I wasn't referring to the Ambassador," Picard clarified making his way over to her. Taking the field knife from her hands, he placed it back on the dresser. "I was referring to Will's new First Officer, the latest addition to the Queen Bee's harem."

"Oh that," she scoffed with a dismissive wave of her hand.

"Yes, that," he parroted with a touch of expectancy tingeing his tone. Finding his wife on the receiving end of male adulation was nothing new; however, the description of her first meeting with Commander Madden had certainly piqued his interest.

Reaching up, Vash traced teasing circles around the rank pips on the collar of his white dress jacket with one fingertip. Her husband was hardly the jealous type, but as Deanna often noted, there was nothing like a little perceived competition to spur on an alpha male like Jean-Luc. Staring directly into his eyes and feeling deliciously brazen, she recounted in her most sultry voice, "he asked me what it felt like to be the most beautiful woman in the room."

Picard knew that she toyed with his rank pips to intentionally wreak havoc on his senses and it always did. The sensual heat emanating from her eyes and the alluring tone of her voice seemed to raise the room temperature ten degrees. Mon Dieu, she was beautiful. Of course the young man had been enthralled by her, what man wouldn't be? He lowered his face until his lips were just a hairsbreadth from hers and teasingly surmised, "at which point you no doubt replied that you were flattered while a lovely blush slightly colored your cheeks."

"More or less," she hedged, not wanting to admit just how accurate his supposition had been. She drew in the clean, masculine scent of his aftershave with every breath. Her gaze focused on the firm set of his mouth. She yearned for his kiss, the mere thought of his lips taking command of hers enough to trigger butterflies in her stomach.

"Was that flattering remark what you found so reminiscent of the first time you met Will?" he whispered against her mouth just before seizing it in a deep, ravenous kiss. Pulling her against him, his arms encircled her tiny waist. His tongue hungrily delved into every corner of her mouth savoring the sweet taste.

A surge of arousal washed over her from the coarse rasp of his tongue along the sensitive depths of her mouth. With his strong arms wrapped around her, the warmth of his embrace seeped through her gown. The fluttering in her stomach hardened into a tight knot of need. When Jean-Luc's mouth finally released hers, she unabashedly rhapsodized, "he also said that if beauty were time, I'd be an eternity."

"That sound like vintage Will Riker," he noted wryly, his mouth sliding from hers to explore the soft skin of her neck as his hands found the first clasp on the back of her gown. Swiftly targeting the spot below her earlobe that always drove her to distraction, he nuzzled the tender skin and felt her pulse quicken beneath his lips. "So, you chose to be as mysterious as the stars."

The timbre of his masterful voice reverberating against the sensitive skin of her neck in concert with his fingers adroitly undoing each clasp sent shivers of desire racing along her spine. "I don't --"

He rebuked her equivocation with a gentle nip. "It was obvious the young man was taken aback to discover your identity."

"You fleetboys are pretty resourceful." Not sounding the least bit apologetic, she emphasized her words by taking a step backward out of his arms and rolling her shoulders to allow her evening gown to glide from her body. "I knew he'd figure it out - eventually."

Picard's voice was huskier than it had been just moments earlier. "In other words you didn't tell him that you were already spoken for much less who had spoken for you."

The lust smoldering in those piercing eyes was unmistakable. While raising her left hand and wiggling her ring finger to cause the largest diamond in her wedding ring to catch the light, she contended blithely, "my marital status is hardly what one would call inconspicuous."

"You know full well that ring went unnoticed," he countered, fighting to rein in his own needs. As always, her challenges affected him like a powerful aphrodisiac. His hands gripped the upper edge of his dress uniform jacket and, in one swift motion, ripped the snaps open down the front pulling it off and discarding it to the floor. She was playing him with the consummate skill of a virtuoso, deliberately provoking him with her little lascivious cat and mouse game. He quickly stripped off his dress shirt and t-shirt dropping them to join his jacket on the floor.

With his lean, hard body stripped to the waist, he was overpoweringly male. Vash slowly trailed a fingertip down through the coarse hair on the muscular wall of his chest past the tapering lines of his torso to the waistband of his trousers feeling the taut muscles contract beneath her touch. Basking in their always-incendiary chemistry, she goaded him even further, "being married to a living legend means never having to introduce yourself."

He swiftly captured her small hand to stop her from going any further. Raising her hand to his lips, he placed a kiss on the back of her hand. He stared into her lovely face and informed her in a smooth, honeyed baritone, "except when a man has helplessly fallen into the depths of those mysterious and beautiful blue eyes."

"My eyes?" She feigned a pout. "If it's only my eyes then I'm more out of practice than I thought."

He could only laugh, replying, "you are so fun to be married to."

............................................
End Part 2
__________________
Recipient of the 2006 Alara Rogers ASC Award for Best Author Overall.
"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:35 PM   #3
Whoa Nellie
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 3
Commander Data set a moderate pace as he walked along the corridors of the new Enterprise. The speed was slower than his usual velocity; however, he had observed that a more rapid foot speed seemed to discourage individuals from interacting with him in the halls. While he had a complete set of schematics for the ship in his memory, many of the people whom he encountered in the corridor were struggling to find their way around. He patiently paused each time to direct them to their desired location, seeing in those encounters the opportunity to develop rapport with the ship's population. Much of the day-to-day operations that he was now responsible for seemed trivial to him: resolving interpersonal disputes, addressing personal issues unrelated to ship's operations and, at this point, the assigning and re-assigning of personal quarters to accommodate individuals and their families to the extent possible. He had begun to develop a rating scale to assign importance to each issue brought to his attention. Data had noted that Riker, in his tenure as First Officer, always appeared to take each matter seriously and that response seemed to have a positive effect on the individual regardless of the outcome. To this end, one factor in his calculation was the perceived importance of the presenting issue to the individual involved.

Reaching his destination, he activated the door chime. The only office that he did not have the authority to enter without permission was the captain's ready room, but it seemed rude and presumptuous to simply walk in. Beyond his new rank and status on the ship, common courtesy was still an important part of everyday interactions. When the door slid open, he stepped inside.

Chakotay was sitting in one of the chairs in front of his desk engaged in conversation with a member of his First Contact unit. At the arrival of his commanding officer, he respectfully stood. "Commander Data."

"Commander Chakotay," Data acknowledged him before turning to the other individual. "Mr. Yarnek, it is good to see you again. I was, in fact, on my way to speak with you next. Some of the teachers in the Education Department have expressed a desire for you to speak with the children about Excalbian culture and physiology, if that would be acceptable to you."

"Of course, Commander," Yarnek said. "I would be delighted. Perhaps the children would like to see what a G'Gugvuntt or Vl'hurg looked like before their unfortunate demise."

Data gave the appearance of considering the matter as there was no benefit to pointing out his inadequacy to speculate on the enjoyment of children. "I am certain that your presence will be enjoyable in whatever form you choose to display."

"I'll just go make those arrangements right now," Yarnek said. "Commander Chakotay, I would very much like to continue our discussion of those Voth some other time. If you will both excuse me."

"Of course," Chakotay replied. "I'll look forward to it."

After Yarnek had gone, Data handed Chakotay a PADD. "I have rearranged the duty roster; I will require you to work one additional shift of bridge duty each week for the next month."

"All right," he accepted the PADD and quickly transferred the information to his computer station. Handing the PADD back to Data, he continued. "Is there a problem?"

"No, merely that Lieutenant Johnson's wife gave birth two hours ago. I am altering the schedule to allow him time off to spend with his wife and infant daughter."

Chakotay grinned, just shaking his head. "The expedition is barely a full day out and the first baby had already been born. That's cheating."

Data cocked his head. "Cheating? You would not be referring to some sort of illicit wagering on the reproductive capabilities of the female population, would you, Mr. Chakotay?"

"Of course not, Commander."

"On the subject of wagering," Data continued. "In reviewing duty schedules, I believe that Thursday evening at 1930 hours would be a suitable time for our poker games. This suggested day and time is acceptable to Captain Picard. Is it acceptable for you?"

Chakotay nodded. "Thursday, 1930; do we have a location?"

"My quarters," Data said. "Even though she is no longer a member of the Enterprise crew, Captain Crusher is still welcome to join us if she wishes."

"I'll let her know."

Data paused at the office door. "And with regard to the illicit wagering you were not commenting on earlier, Commander, I believe that Dr. Pulaski won the pool. That is cheating."

Chakotay just laughed. "Yes, sir."

............................................

Vash squinted against the harsh light of the arid desert landscape while idly wondering about the propensity of settlers to chose environments just as miserable as the place they left. This particular ancient ruin brought to mind the phrase 'hot as Vulcan.' Due to the location of the small planet deep in Romulan space, this expedition would be the first to have a chance to excavate these ruins. From the looks of things, they were the first sentient life forms to set foot here since they were abandoned. She started over to where Latona and Somnus were working to unearth a small structure. The two Romulan archaeologists were a married couple and the newest members of her department.

"At least it's a dry heat," Lieutenant Sean Kennely quipped.

Archaeologist Karita Leigh pushed a stray lock of dark, curly hair from her face. Rolling her eyes at the handsome security officer, she retorted, "So is an anti-matter explosion, Sean. I still don't want to sit in the middle of one."

As she passed them, Vash gave her young protégé a thumbs-up for the remark. Karita's confidence in her own abilities had gone up dramatically once she had received her doctorate. Of course her romantic relationship with Kennely had probably done more to quell her nervous response to Starfleet officers. Karita still tended to become slightly flustered around Jean-Luc; however, since mon capitaine had saved the young woman's life twice, she was willing to spot her that one. Vash approached the area where the Romulans were working and saw Latona scanning an ancient tablet that had been partially excavated. Just at the moment she reached them, Somnus stepped back, nearly bumping into her as he muttered a Romulan curse. Vash wasn't sure of the exact literal translation of the obscenity but knew it had the same basic connotation as the phrase 'oh shit.' Leaning in for a closer look, her eyes went wide. If this was what it appeared to be, it could be the find of a lifetime. The potentially catastrophic results were also not lost on her. For the moment, however, there were protocols to contend with. Straightening up and stepping back, her tone brooked no argument, "Evacuate the site, now! Return to the beam down point."

Striding past him, Vash shook her head no to Kennely who had begun to reach for his phaser. She slapped her communicator, "Picard to Crusher, we have a possible biohazard. Repeat, we have a possible biohazard at the archaeology site. Request medical personnel to evaluate."

Onboard the Pasteur, Beverly Crusher instinctively began to stand up. She immediately forced herself to sit back down in her command chair with a softly muttered curse. While tapping commands into her armrest, she responded, "A biohazard team is being dispatched, Professor. Please have your team return to the transport coordinates to begin decontamination procedures."

"Acknowledged," Vash responded.

At the beam down point, Vash took a moment to do a quick head count. Karita, Latona and Somnus were comparing findings and tricorder readings, three other assistants and a couple of researchers from other departments were looking at her a bit bewildered by the abrupt departure. Kennely stood quietly by her side, his hand hovering near his phaser. Once she was satisfied that all personnel were accounted for, there was another matter that needed to be addressed. She pulled Karita and the Romulans aside; the others hadn't been anywhere near the tablet. "Since we'll obviously have some down time here until the medical departments sort things out, I want to make something clear. I realize that what we've stumbled onto here is a momentous find and I'm sure you all realize the significant political ramifications that go with it. You are all to continue your analyses, but you are not to discuss the details with anyone outside this team until further notice."

"Understood," Karita said tersely, the gravity of the find obvious in her brisk, professional tone.

Sharing an uneasy glance with his wife, Somnus turned to Karita and noted quietly, "you seem unconcerned considering our tenuous situation?"

"The biohazard protocols are --"

"Not the biohazard," Somnus cut her off. "I refer to what Professor Picard termed the political ramifications. Under these circumstances, the best we can hope for is the loss of our careers and professional standings as Parcae. It is quite conceivable that we could lose our lives."

Vash had walked over to explain to the others only that they had uncovered the suggestion of a biohazard at the site and were waiting for medical personnel to evaluate the situation. Returning to her team, she overheard the last part of Somnus' concern and the dread in his voice. She hadn't considered the personal implications of their find to someone used to working under a totalitarian regime. Before she had reached the group and could reassure the two Romulan members of her team, she heard Karita speak up.

"That's not how things work in the Federation and this is a Federation expedition."

"A Federation expedition working in Romulan space," Somnus reminded her.

Karita gave a dismissive wave of her hand. "You're members of Professor Picard's team now; part of the Enterprise personnel and Captain Jean-Luc Picard is responsible for us. Captain Picard would never let anything happen to anyone from his ship."

"You sound quite convinced of his protection," Latona observed, sounding just as uneasy as her husband.

"With good reason; I'm speaking from personal experience," Karita sent a quick grin in Sean's direction.

Somnus inquired skeptically, "and what is expected in return for this protection?"

"Only that we do our job," Karita noted succinctly.

'Atta girl' Vash thought to herself quite pleased by the way her assistant had handled the situation. Re-joining the group, she held her hand out for the tricorder that Karita was holding. "Have you managed to consolidate all of our findings to this point?"

"Yes, ma'am." Karita handed her the tricorder.

"Thank you." Vash took the tricorder and began studying the findings. Her attention was drawn away from the tricorder when the biohazard team from the Pasteur began beaming down at the same time that Commander Chakotay beamed down from the Enterprise. She immediately recognized the Pasteur's Chief of Security, Lieutenant Commander Mark Randall. Raised on a ranch in Montana, the handsome officer had periodically been on Vash's own security detail. "Hey, Cowboy."

"Miss me?" Randall smiled at Mrs. Picard's nickname for him from behind his biohazard gear.

"Now Mark, you were stationed on the Enterprise long enough to know never to give her an opening like that," Chakotay chided good-naturedly from behind his own biohazard gear. After Randall and his team moved off toward the site, he turned his attention to Vash. "I didn't expect to need my new biohazard certification this quickly. What have you got?"

"All preliminary scans showed no biotoxins present in the soil or air. Everything was proceeding normally until we discovered this. I decided to err on the side of caution." She handed him a holorecorder with an image frozen on the screen.

"Well, I think I recognize that squiggle there," he said, reviewing the images she showed him. "But being as I'm not as well-versed in ancient languages as you are, could you give me a clue as to what I'm looking at here?"

Vash accessed the information she had on her tricorder and rapidly entered a rough translation of the section that he was looking at. She held it up to him. "How about now?"

To his credit he maintained his composure in spite of the magnitude of the situation. Handing the recorder back to her, he continued, "you made the right call to evacuate the site. For future reference, however, once you had seen to the evacuation of the site, you should have reported the biohazard threat to the head of the Enterprise's Department of Anthropological Sciences – specifically to me. I would have contacted the Pasteur for a team to assess the situation."

"I just automatically called Bev-- Beverly isn't on the Enterprise anymore," Vash corrected herself mid-sentence.

"No. My wife called me from the bridge of her ship to find out what kind of trouble my archaeology team had gotten themselves into," he gently rebuked. "I had to say 'I don't know but I'll just go find out'."

"Oops."

Chakotay shook his head with exasperation. "Vash, I don't question that you're an experienced and either very gifted or very lucky field archaeologist. That expertise makes you a very valuable asset to my department, emphasis on the 'my'. I'm well aware that you're used to having your own department and reporting directly to a man who enjoys seeing you naked. You are now part of a much larger department for which I am responsible. I am prepared to give you a great deal of latitude when it comes to that whole 'following orders' notion, but I would appreciate it if you could meet me halfway and at least pretend to follow the chain of command."

"Sure, why not," she answered blithely. "Whether as the Queen Bee or the council's problem child, I've never been completely unreasonable."

"I have become well-acquainted with your imaginative definition of reasonable in the time I've known you and I have handled much more challenging individuals than you without bloodshed. There is a reason that the King felt very comfortable putting me in a position to oversee his Queen Bee."

Giving him her most disarming smile, she handed him the recorder and her tricorder. "Of course, that means you get to be the one to go back upstairs and inform the King about the very hot potato that just landed in his lap."

He returned both of them to her and retorted, "Oh no. I'm going to stay here and oversee the biohazard team. I'm going to delegate that particular joy to you."

"Oh rapture." Vash rolled her eyes.

............................................
End Part 3
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Old July 16 2010, 10:37 PM   #4
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 4
In his ready room, Picard gave up trying to make sense of the latest report from Astrometrics and laid the PADD down. With a possible biohazard at the archaeology site, his concern for Vash intruded on his thoughts making it virtually impossible to concentrate on anything else. Picking up his empty cup, he rose from the couch to make his way over to the replicator. It had been several hours since Commander Chakotay had advised him that he was beaming down to assess the situation. The transporter room had confirmed beaming the members of the landing party to the Sickbay decon facility shortly after that, but there had been no further updates since then. "Tea, Earl Grey, hot."

He took a sip of his tea knowing there was nothing to be gained by pacing his ready room. Heading to Sickbay wasn't really an option as much as he wanted to; Katherine Pulaski was not one to cut him the slack that Beverly had. He would not be welcome in her Sickbay unless he had a very compelling reason and his wife being evaluated wouldn't qualify. She'd provide a report at her first convenience and that would have to be sufficient. He briefly thought about contacting the surface for a report. Vash's report of a biohazard situation clearly put the ball in Beverly's court, which meant that the personnel evaluating the situation on the surface were her people, not his, with the exception of Commander Chakotay. With forced patience, he settled himself back onto the couch and picked up the PADD containing the Astrometrics report. A short time later his attention was again drawn from his reading efforts by his ready room door opening. He looked up to see Vash walk into the room still in dressed in her field gear, holding a PADD. Her dusty khaki work shirt and pants only served to accentuate the sun-kissed glow her hair and skin had taken on during the last few days working on the planet below. Her presence meant that she had already been cleared and released by the medical staff. He tossed the PADD he had been holding to the coffee table in front of the couch and leaned back. "Well, this is a relief."

"I called the biohazard more as a precaution than anything else," she explained apologetically. "You can forget any horrid images you had in your head of reenacting some tragic scene from 'Wuthering Heights' or 'The Lady of the Camellias.' I'm fine, everybody's fine."

Standing up, he tugged on the hem of his jacket while making his way to his desk. "I really hate it when you do that."

"When I surmise your unspoken fears or when I inadvertently facilitate them?"

"Both," he replied sitting down in his chair. Gesturing to the PADD in her hand, he asked, "Is that the preliminary report from the Anthropology Department?"

Vash perched herself on the corner of his desk. "I come bearing good news and bad news. Which do you want first?"

As far as he was concerned there was no better news than her walking into his ready room. "Let's start with the good news."

"The archaeology team has discovered a previously unknown writing by Surak of Vulcan, moreover the tablet is inscribed by Surak's own hand." She watched her husband's usually unflappable demeanor change as the weight of her words sank in.

"There are no known originals of Surak's writings in existence," he uttered, stunned by the news of the find.

"I am aware of that," she replied.

"Are you sure about the artifact's authenticity?" he inquired only to immediately answer himself, "of course you are. Vash, this is an extraordinary find, the find of the century. What bad news could there be?"

"I worked up a translation of the tablet for you." She handed him the PADD.

Taking the PADD, he read aloud, "I, Surak, by my hand declare that the needs of the many logically outweigh the needs of the one or the few. Circumstances therefore regretfully require the exile of these few. The detriment to the health and welfare of the community posed by these individuals is far too great to allow them to remain as part of this community. The illness suffered by these individuals must not be permitted to spread beyond these few to the community at large. The consequences would be far too catastrophic to contemplate and every effort, including involuntary and, if necessary, forcible exile, must be undertaken to ensure the protection of the community from this disease."

"Maybe calling it bad news was a bit of an understatement," Vash quipped.

Picard weighed the ramifications carefully. "So, the fearless and defiant Romulans who marched beneath the Raptor's wings were the victims of fear regarding some sort of contagious disease and the great Surak of Vulcan used logic to rationalize that fear."

"That's one interpretation that neither side is likely going to embrace," she pointed out soberly.

He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "This is going to be a diplomatic conundrum that will have to be handled very carefully."

Vash stood and strode part way across the room to put some space between them, uncharacteristically struggling for the right words to express the concern she'd had since they'd found the tablet. She spun on her heel to face him, her posture almost defensive and employing her most austere lecture voice. "Handle it however you want, Captain. I warn you that under no circumstances will I submit to having my research findings or the findings of any member of my team altered to suit a political agenda. Science and politics make very distasteful bedfellows."

"Stand down, Professor. I'd never allow that to happen," he soothed. It had never even occurred to him that she would let convenience dictate her conclusions. Seeing her expression soften, he continued, "as soon as the Pasteur's biohazard team gives the all clear, you and your team may return to the site to resume your research. I am ordering that all ongoing research and analysis are to be considered strictly classified. No unauthorized personnel will be permitted to assist with excavation or visit the site for any reason. All communications on the subject are to go straight to Commander Chakotay."

"Done, done and done," she agreed. None of his conditions were unexpected considering the nature of the find. She turned to leave.

"Vash," he called out.

She stopped and turned back to see him walking toward her appearing every inch the consummate starship captain, Starfleet's legendary hero. Her breath caught in her throat at the devotion plainly reflected in those piercing eyes.

"Je t' aime," he whispered, tenderly brushing the smooth skin of her cheek with the back of his fingers before combing them through her silky tresses.

"Je t' aime," she echoed as she softly leaned into his caress. Her eyes fluttered shut as he swept her into his arms. His lips claimed hers in a deeply impassioned kiss, his tongue slipping past her parted lips to gently stroke the warm, moist cavern of her mouth. Gradually the kiss intensified until his tongue fiercely plundered the depths of her mouth. She matched his passion, her tongue eagerly meeting the demands of his. Arching into him, she could feel the entire length of his hard, muscular form against every inch of her own, quickly-overheating body. She knew they should stop—needed to stop. Reluctantly, she splayed her hands across his chest and pushed herself back slightly. Gazing up at him, her voice was slightly breathless, "Damn. I have work to do and so do you."

............................................

In the archaeology lab, Lieutenant Commander Lar disconnected his PADD from the door mechanism and replaced the panel cover. "That'll do it, Professor; your lab has been placed on restricted access. I have downloaded a list of authorized personnel who will be permitted entrance. Anyone not on that list can only be admitted by Commander Chakotay or yourself. Yes, Professor, before you ask Captain Picard is on the authorized list of individuals with access. He does not need your permission to enter, nor do I. No, Professor, I will not remove him from that list just for your amusement. Yes, Professor, I am quite the party-pooper."

Vash tried to pout but her chuckles ruined the effect. "You are very good at your job and deserve to be Chief of Security, Geoffrey, but I do miss you on my security details."

The door chimed an alert, interrupting his answer. He quickly accessed the computer console. "Dr. Pulaski is requesting entry," he said.

"Computer, let Dr. Pulaski in," Vash ordered. "Doctor, what can I do for you?"

Lar waited for Pulaski to enter and nodded to Vash as he left.

"I'm here to see if you've translated anything that might help the medical personnel determine what we're dealing with," Pulaski said. "So far nothing has turned up in scans of you, your people or on the planet surface. The biohazard team has transmitted some footage of what they think is writing of some kind; I thought that combined with what you've already got here from the excavation, you might be able to find some clues. I can't make heads or tails of this material, I'm no archaeologist."

"Neither is Jean-Luc, although, I let him pretend he is from time to time," Vash quipped. She turned to address her team. "I'm sure everyone here has at least met Dr. Pulaski. In an effort to facilitate the biohazard team's search on the surface, she needs us look for any specific references to the illness or its symptoms. Karita, the biohazard team sent us some recordings from the surface. You and Somnus start reviewing it to see if anything jumps out at you. We'll do a more thorough translation later, just scan for anything related to disease."

A short time later, Karita wore an intent expression while rechecking the translation of the section of text she had been working on. She glanced up. "Professor Picard, I've found something you and Dr. Pulaski should see."

"Let's take a look," Vash offered as she and Pulaski made their way over to her.

Karita pointed at the relevant passage, "this section here describes individuals suffering from brain fever and convulsions."

Pulaski addressed the two Romulans. "Are there any medical conditions that you are aware of which cause symptoms like that?"

"From these references, the text would appear to be describing a condition known as Ragnok fever," Somnus said, scanning further into the material. "It's a common illness among my people. I had not realized how long it has been affecting my people."

"Is it contagious?" Pulaski asked, concern for the ship's complement once again becoming paramount in her mind.

"Yes, Doctor; it is highly contagious," Latona answered. "But it is a mild ailment that most of us contract during childhood. Aside from the fever and convulsions, people around the affected feel a vague sense of physical and emotional distress coming from the afflicted."

Pulaski looked up from the notes she had been making. "You mean like telepathic projections?"

"More like empathic projections," Somnus corrected her. "No real thoughts, just a sense of the emotional and physical discomfort that the individual suffering is experiencing."

Latona continued. "The feelings of children are mild and easy for adults to endure for the course of the fever. Once an individual has experienced Ragnok fever, they are immune to it; for that reason, parents will intentionally expose their children to the fever. Adult cases of Ragnok fever are exceedingly rare and the intensity of the emotional projections are much more severe. Individuals are institutionalized for the duration of their symptoms. If they survive, they are released after the fever has run its course."

"If they survive?" Vash echoed. She no longer felt like calling the biohazard had been an overreaction.


"Adult cases, while rare," Latona said, "are more frequently fatal. I do not recall any childhood cases that resulted in death but there are usually a couple of adult deaths each year."

"Thank you, this is helpful," Pulaski offered to both Romulans. Turning to Vash, she continued, "I'm going to head back to Sickbay. I'd like to cross reference this material with the medical database that the Romulans supplied."

"Latona, would you please join Dr. Pulaski in Sickbay to help her with any questions she might have about Ragnok fever and this translation?" Vash requested.

"Of course," Latona answered, following Dr. Pulaski out.

Vash nodded to her assistant. "Nice job, Karita. I'm going to head upstairs and fill in Mon Capitaine –"

Karita held out a hand to stop her. "No, you're not."

"What do you mean 'no, I'm not'?"

"Commander Chakotay," Karita reminded her mentor. "You did promise him that you would at least pretend to follow the chain of command."

............................................
End Part 4
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"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:38 PM   #5
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 5
Beverly was already in her chair at the head of the conference table on the Pasteur reviewing reports with her Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Julian Bashir, when Picard arrived with Pulaski, Deanna and Chakotay. There was an awkward moment initially since Picard was unaccustomed to not being at the head of the table and she was not accustomed to being there. After a silent exchange of glances, Picard took a seat at the opposite end of the table. Riker arrived from the Titan just then and everyone took their seats. This was the protocol that they'd established for the expedition: whichever ship had the lead on a particular matter hosted the joint briefings. The Pasteur would handle bio-medical situations, the Titan would handle military and expedition security with the Enterprise responsible for everything else. If the archaeology personnel hadn't called in a potential biohazard, they'd be meeting in Picard's conference room right now. Under the circumstances, she had the lead and as such it was her briefing to run. "Let's get started."

At a nod from Crusher, Bashir began his report. "Biohazard protocol was implemented as a precaution owing to a translation of some ancient writing at the dig site which referred to some sort of disease. All personnel on the surface were given complete physicals and the scans were negative for any contagions. There were no viral or bacterial agents in soil, water, air or rock samples taken from the area. Without knowing more about the disease being referenced, I have to conclude that the disease in question most likely died out long ago."

Beverly looked to Chakotay. "I haven't received a report on your findings yet. Did anything in the material you've translated so far give any description of the disease or its symptoms?"

Picard interjected before Chakotay could answer. "I instructed my people to submit their reports only to me. Given the nature of the material, I felt it best to discuss the contents face to face once the preliminary findings had been confirmed. Captain Riker and you will receive a transcription of the writings and full analysis following this meeting."

Not sure if she was more frustrated at his matter of fact reply or indignant at being kept out of the loop on a medical matter, her response was more terse than she'd intended. "That information is relevant to the medical evaluation with regard to safety considerations, Captain Picard. My people cannot make a final determination without that material; it would have been helpful to have so that they could be researching the medical database for references."

"I have been doing some research on that," Pulaski said. She slid a PADD toward Crusher. "The writing refers to violent outbursts, fever and convulsions. The Romulan members of the archaeology team believe that the writings are describing a condition known as Ragnok fever. It's a common ailment among the Romulan population consisting of brain fever, convulsions and the projection of emotional distress and physical discomfort to anyone in the vicinity of the afflicted."

"That sounds like Zanthi fever among Betazeds," Deanna noted, "without the convulsions."

"It's very similar," Pulaski agreed. "Since the Romulans aren't telepathic anymore, Ragnok fever is a mild ailment. Interestingly, the projection onto others would suggest that they retain a latent disposition toward telepathy."

Chakotay offered a clarification. "Back in the time of this writing, their telepathic abilities would have been more developed, which would have caused much more extreme projections of emotion and physical pain. That might explain the reference to violent outbursts in the translation."

Bashir checked the information on his PADD. "The list of individuals on the archaeology team at the dig site didn't include any Vulcans or other telepaths who might be affected, but have you scanned the two Romulans for this?"

"Unnecessary," Pulaski replied. "Their medical history indicated that they'd both had Ragnok fever as children. The Romulan medical database provided to us shows a specific synapse that is altered as a result of the illness. Brain scans of both confirm the presence of scarring on the surface receptor of the neurons affected by the fever. They're both immune."

Picard noted Beverly's expression as she studied the information. "Doctor--I mean Captain Crusher?"

"According to this," she began, "Ragnok fever causes neural inflammation in the exact same region of the brain affected by Bendii syndrome among Vulcans."

"There may be more significance to that than you realize," Picard said. He nodded to Chakotay.

Chakotay uploaded an image of the tablet from the dig site to the viewscreen. "This artifact found at the dig site is a declaration from Surak ordering an exile for all individuals and their families afflicted with this disease. This was ordered to prevent its spread to the rest of the population. Analysis of the tablet and other materials recovered dates this event to the same time period during which Vulcans and Romulans diverged."

That got Beverly's attention away from the medical information. "Are you suggesting that Romulans are Vulcan outcasts who were shunned because of a disease?"

Chakotay nodded. "Based on what we've discovered here, it would seem that the split between the Romulans and the Vulcans was not entirely voluntary on the part of the Romulans. The rift between the Romulans and Vulcans is a subject that neither side has historically been willing to acknowledge or discuss. This may be why."

"Counselor," Picard addressed Deanna. "Have you finished evaluating the psychological ramifications of this as I requested?"

"Yes, sir," she replied. "The impact of this discovery will be significant for both Romulans and Vulcans. Both races are very proud people and this will challenge their entire recorded history. It will effectively threaten their cultural identities, the very foundation of their respective societies."

Riker sat up straighter and tugged at the sleeve of his uniform. "Have our Romulans been secured?"

Chakotay's reaction was instantaneous, his voice soft but firm. "Secured how?"

"Confined to their quarters," Riker replied matter-of-factly.

"They haven't done anything to deserve that kind of treatment," Chakotay countered.

Riker looked to Picard. "You heard what Deanna said. "If the Romulans find out about this--"

"What about the Vulcans?" Chakotay shot back. "She also said that the Vulcans were likely to be as strongly affected by this as the Romulans. You didn't even think about rounding up the Vulcans on all three ships, but that was your first thought with the Romulans. The Romulans on this ship don't even know what's going on and Latona and Somnus are my people, my responsibility and I won't--"

"We are deeper in Romulan space than any Federation ship has ever been," Riker broke in. "The security of this expedition is my responsibility. I'm sure none of the captains at this table would want their people on the surface of this planet if our Romulan escort ships drop out of warp and start trying to erase this page from the history books."

Beverly felt like she was losing control of her first official briefing. They had veered off into political and military arenas, which would put Picard and Riker at the forefront. This was still her ship and she had Romulan scientists whom she had a responsibility to as well. "It seems to me that simply securing the communications system on all three ships would be enough to prevent anyone from leaking information on this prematurely."

Picard nodded approvingly. "Agreed, Captain Crusher. Commander Lar has already done so on the Enterprise."

"I'm just trying to do my job here," Riker wasn't entirely satisfied with that solution. "If there's trouble, it'll more likely come from Romulans and no Federation ships could get here in time to be of any help. The Vulcans aren't known for rash acts of violence."

Deanna laid her hand on Riker's knee under the table, sending calming thoughts through their link. Many of the people on the expedition had personal misgivings about the small group of Romulans. "This discovery will portray Romulans as weak, they'll feel as though they're being seen as victims and outcasts much like lepers of ancient Earth. After recent events, it will further shake their already frayed sense of cultural identity. For the Vulans, this directly challenges one of the most respected, almost revered, figures in Vulcan history. Surak is almost a messiah figure to them. All of the pride Vulcans take in their logical, pragmatic society will be seen as hypocritical in light of this. Vulcans almost reluctantly acknowledge their violent past, but always follow that acknowledgement with a reference to Surak and the introduction of logic and pacifism into their lives. For all of his emphasis on logic, it could be argued that Surak made this decision out of fear and ignorance using logic to rationalize it after the fact. This could be thought to reflect a small, fearful figure who acted to protect himself as much as anyone else."

Bashir wasn't sure what to think. "This happened so long ago, I can see how it might shake up the Romulans after everything that's happened recently, but would the Vulcans really have a problem with facts--even facts that contradict their history?"

"Facts that undermine the foundation of everything they see themselves as?" Beverly's answer came in the form of a question back to her doctor.

Picard gave the signal that most of the people at the table recognized as the conclusion of the briefing. "Once the site has been cleared by the Pasteur personnel, the archaeology teams will be permitted to continue their work. Just in case there are other writings or material that references either the exile or the disease, I feel that the excavation should be closed to everyone except essential personnel and their work classified. Commander Chakotay will monitor their progress and control all information regarding their work. He will provide regular updates to Captains Riker, Crusher and myself. Once the Anthropology Department has finished their analysis, we can determine how best to handle the final report."

"I'll run a series of security drills," Riker suggested. "That would enable the Titan to go to yellow alert without raising questions. Just in case."

"Make it so," Picard agreed. "One more thing, I realize that it's not easy to accept Romulans among us given our history with them. I share that sentiment, but they are members of this expedition. As long as they continue to do their jobs and follow the same rules as everyone else, then we should try to treat them the same way we would any other civilian scientists. We would ask no less if the situation were reversed."

............................................
End Part 5
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"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 6

"Are you sure you've been using a strong enough sunscreen?" The Picards were having a late dinner in their quarters at the end of a very long day. At least that was the intent, Picard found it difficult to focus on the meal in front of him.

"What?" Vash looked up from her dinner.

"Your nose looks slightly burnt." Picard reached across the table to tenderly sweep his finger across the bridge of her nose. "The site's position on the planet receives a great deal of solar radiation. I was wondering if you've been properly protecting yourself from it?"

"When I have the time to think about it," Vash shrugged.

Having spent a good portion of his day preoccupied with her safety made his voice tighter than he'd intended. "When you have the time to think about it? I'm sure Carnarvon, Forrestal, La Fleur, Rothman, and Sheridan wish they had taken the time to think about a few things."

"As I recall none of them died from sun exposure." Setting down her fork, she forced herself not to roll her eyes. Now how did she just know this wasn't about her choice of sunscreen?

As much as he loved her brazenly adventurous nature, sometimes that same fearlessness scared the hell out of him. "My point is that there is no denying the fact that archaeologists tend to die from unforeseen site hazards. In the late twentieth century, ten out of a team of twelve research scientists that opened the tomb of Casimir IV, King of Poland died shortly afterward."

"Jean-Luc, you are literally lecturing to the professor here." Although she could certainly appreciate how worrisome this afternoon's events must have been for him, she was not in the mood this evening to contend with Captain Overprotective and whatever dangers his imagination had conjured up. "I have taught classes in archaeology field excavation procedures at numerous major universities. Dr. Smyk's discovery of dangerous types of fungi on the artifacts that had been removed from the tomb of Casimir IV is one of the reasons for the preliminary scans to detect biotoxins in the soil and air. All protocols were followed today and preliminary scans showed no threat; however, due to the content of the text we found, I felt it was better to be safe rather than sorry."

"I remember after Lieutenant Marla Aster's death having to write –" he broke off when she stood up to lean over the table. Her fingertips brushed along his jawline while she lowered her mouth to his and he lost himself in the sweet taste of her kiss. Pulling back to end the kiss, her eyes fluttered open locking with his while she wet her lips with just the very tip of her tongue.

"God knows there are times when I just love to poke your buttons, wind you up and watch you spin like an Barolian top. But this particular site is very hot and loaded with dust. The decontamination procedures are designed to decontaminate, not to get rid of the dust and grime so I really want to go take a shower. Now, you can either sit there agonizing about all the things that didn't happen to me today or you can come watch." She finished with an impish wink that only served to accentuate her come-hither smile before strutting toward the bedroom while taking off her khaki work shirt.

In light of her relaxed, flirtatious humor, Picard was having a hard time sustaining his pensive mood and had to concede her point. Besides, her invitation was one he could never ignore. Standing up from the table and following her, he inquired in a charmingly wry tone, "how long do you plan to use stripping your clothes off as a way to end discussions with me?"

"As long as it works, baby," she quipped tossing the shirt at him. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, she began to unlace her work boots. "Oh, and I wanted to thank you for not putting any of my team under house arrest after our little discovery."

"Now, where did that come from?" he inquired casually while placing her shirt in the recycler. The last thing he wanted tonight was an argument with her about certain things that he and his fellow captains had discussed.

"It's very easy to take for granted the freedoms and liberties provided by a society like ours until you're reminded of them by someone who has lived their entire lives without them. I was completely taken by surprise to overhear Latona and Somnus convinced that the political ramifications of the find meant that they were going to lose their standing as Parcae." She flopped backward on the bed swinging her feet slightly.

Obeying the implicit command, he knelt in front of her to pull her boots off. "Parcae? I thought that was a surname?"

"That's what I had originally thought as well, but I've learned it's a Romulan designation equivalent to a full professor. Anyway, it wasn't just their professional standing that had them concerned. They were actually afraid for their very lives." She sat back up.

"I hope you assured them that wasn't the case," he replied.

She stood up to take off her work pants. "I didn't get a chance. Karita beat me to it."

"Miss Leigh?" he caught her pants as she tossed them to him and put them in the recycler as well.

"Yes, Miss Leigh. And you should have heard her." Clad only in white satin bra and panties, Vash moved to stand in front of him reaching up to trace his rank pips. Her voice became raspy and melodramatic, "You're members of Professor Picard's team now; part of the Enterprise personnel and Captain Jean-Luc Picard is responsible for us. Captain Picard would never let anything happen to anyone from his ship."

"Vash," he chided, equally distracted by her near-naked form and her teasing fingertip toying with his pips.


With a giggle, she admitted, "okay, maybe she wasn't quite that breathless. Karita is head over heels in love with Sean Kennely but it's obvious she still sees you as a Heracles-type figure."

"Be that as it may, the important thing is that the Romulans were assured of their safety," he replied.

"They do have names." Vash lightly patted his chest in rebuke. "And Karita actually did quite a good job of soothing them. The knowledge and skills were there from the beginning. Recently she's shown a lot more confidence in that as well as in her abilities."

"It sounds like your team is coming along nicely then."

"Everyone seems to work and play well together." She headed into the bathroom and began adjusting controls on the shower. "I was thinking that maybe we should invite Latona and Somnus to dinner on C-deck one evening soon. It would be a chance for you spend some time with them and get to know some Romulan civilians, probably not the Vulcan restaurant, though."

............................................

Several days later, Vash was in the archaeology lab painstakingly removing a millenium of accumulated dirt and debris from around a vessel unearthed at the excavation site. They were making progress, finding things that were priceless in their understanding of ancient Vulcan/Romulan culture. Scans of this particular vessel when they found it had indicated that it was intact and keeping it that way meant going very slowly and methodically, practically a granule of dirt at a time. She looked up when the computer indicated someone requesting admission to the lab. She waved one of her assistants over to continue working on the vessel, wiping her hands on a rag sitting on the workstation. "Computer, who's at the door?"

'Captain Beverly Crusher,' the computer informed her.

"Admit," she instructed.

Beverly entered the lab, looking around the large open bay. She had been in here once before when Chakotay had taken her on a tour of his wing of the ship. More than half of this deck was occupied by the Department of Anthropological Sciences. With people milling around and artifacts of various sizes from small fragments to large statues, column remnants and even what looked like ship debris scattered throughout the area, it seemed smaller than she remembered it. Spotting Vash near the center of the room, she headed in that direction. "Hey, stranger."

"Long time, no chocolate," Vash replied.

"I know. Who would have guessed that starship captains actually work for a living," Beverly sighed. "I do appreciate you doing this."

Vash looked around the room, leading Beverly toward a workstation in the back corner. "As I told Chakotay, I'm not promising anything. What we're finding down there is really testing their world view; they're a little shaken by all of this. I actually feel a little sorry for them. Anyway, I'm willing to make the introductions and give you a glowing character reference if it'll help, but the final decision is theirs. No pressure."

"No pressure," Beverly echoed. "I promise."

The two Romulans were completely absorbed in the analysis that they were running, so Vash waited until they reached a convenient place to pause in their work. "If I could interrupt for a moment, I have someone I'd like to introduce you to."

"Of course, Professor," Latona said. "Would you like to review what we've done so far?"

"Later," Vash waved off the PADD that the Romulan offered. "Parcae Latona and Parcae Somnus of the Romulan Antiquities Office, I'd like to introduce Captain Beverly Crusher of the Federation starship the USS Pasteur."

Both Romulans inclined their heads in polite greeting. "Our colleagues onboard your vessel speak highly of you," Latona said.

"I'm glad," Beverly replied. "My husband, Commander Chakotay, speaks highly of your work as well. I asked Vash to make this introduction because I have a favor that I would like to ask."

"A personal favor," Vash clarified. "It has nothing to do with your work or this department."

Somnus stepped forward to stand beside his wife. "What is this favor, Captain?"

Beverly tried to decide how best to begin. "There is an illness among Vulcans called Bendii syndrome. It's an incurable, rare, degenerative illness that usually strikes aged Vulcans. I've been researching it since I encountered a case of it a number of years ago. According to the Romulan medical database, Ragnok fever affects the same region of the brain except that, unlike Bendii syndrome, Ragnok fever is a relatively mild ailment with few fatalities. I haven't found anything in the Romulan medical database like Bendii syndrome and there's nothing even vaguely like Ragnok fever in the Vulcan medical database aside from the similarity to Bendii."

"Pardon," Latona broke in. "This seems to be more of an issue for our colleagues aboard your ship, Captain."

Nodding, Beverly sighed. "Unfortunately, under the circumstances I can't even discuss the similarity between Ragnok fever and Bendii syndrome with Vulcan healers. I have medical records and detailed brain scans of Vulcans who have suffered from Bendii syndrome. Since you are already involved in this excavation and are aware of the findings, I was hoping that you would allow me to use your medical records and brain scans to compare the effects of the two diseases. I think there may be something about Ragnok fever that can lead to a cure for Bendii."

Somnus exchanged glances with his wife. "Do you wish to subject us to tests?"

"No," Beverly assured them. "I would like to access the medical records from the physicals you both completed when you joined the expedition. That information will give me a basis for comparison in my research."

"The information is already in your computer," Latona pointed out. "Can you not just ask the computer to display it?"

What struck her the most was how truly confused they were by her request. They had no understanding or expectation of personal rights. "Not without your permission," Beverly explained. "Your medical information is a private record that is only authorized to be used in providing medical treatment to you. I am not allowed to use that information in medical research unless you give me consent. To just access your medical information for my own research purposes would violate Federation law, Starfleet regulations and medical ethics. I can't even ask your colleagues on my ship for their consent to access their medical records because I can't explain to them why I want to use that information--the nature of the research in question. That is the favor I'm asking of you since the two of you are already involved. I would like for you to allow me to use your medical record for my research into a possible connection between Ragnok fever and Bendii syndrome."

"If you want to think about it," Vash suggested. "I can relay your answer to her later."

"Of course," Beverly assured them.

The Romulans half-turned to one another, their faces conveying the universally-recognized, silent conversations that married people had. It was Somnus who answered first. "There are those among my people who would refuse this request only because the information has the potential to benefit Vulcans with no foreseeable advantage to us, particularly in light of the information we have uncovered in this excavation. The Romulan Empire has suffered heavy consequences as a result of the old ways and a new day is upon us. As I have been reminded lately, I am now part of a Federation expedition and in the Federation things work differently with regard to knowledge. Withholding consent would be consistent with the old ways of my people, but it would also be petty and a small victory in the long term. I give you my permission to use my medical information in your research on this Bendii syndrome. If there are any other samples, tests or scans that I can provide which would be of benefit, I will."

"You have my permission and full cooperation as well, Captain Crusher," Latona echoed her husband's sentiment.

Feeling as though she just barely grasped the significance of that decision for the two Romulans, Beverly's gratitude was heartfelt. "Thank you."

............................................
End Part 6
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Old July 16 2010, 10:41 PM   #7
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 7
Captain Riker sat in his ready room aboard the Titan. He glanced over the reports from the latest security drill and made a note to commend his Chief of Security for the five-second improvement in Security's response time. Turning his attention to the Astrometrics report, he carefully scrutinized the flight pattern of their Romulan escorts for any indication of a change since the discovery of the Surak proclamation. The Romulan government had assigned two warbirds to remain in the vicinity of the expedition while they were in Romulan space, ostensibly to provide protection against attack by Reman rebels. He'd feel a lot safer without that protection, but for now everything was quiet. The door chime sounded, so he noted his place in the report and put it aside. "Enter."

Doctor Selar, his Chief Medical Officer, walked in and stopped just inside the door. "If I may have a moment of your time, Captain?"

"Of course, Doctor," he gestured to a chair in front of his desk.

She declined his offer with a subtle shake of her head. "There is a matter I wish to discuss with regards to the on-going excavation on the planet."

He didn't really need to ask what the matter was. His security chief had logged some questions from individual crew members about the communications lock-down. Security logs from both the Pasteur and Enterprise contained similar notations. He'd requested a list of individuals with direct or indirect knowledge of the work going on at the dig site and the only Vulcan on that list was a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Anthropology Department with indirect knowledge. All information about the dig was being strictly controlled. He sat back in his chair and waited for Selar to continue.

"There has been some speculation and discussion concerning the nature of the items being uncovered."

He couldn't read her impassive expression so he wasn't sure if she had specific knowledge or not. He didn't like keeping his senior staff in the dark, but the list of individuals who knew directly about the Surak proclamation was already uncomfortably long. "What are the rumor mills churning out?"

"Some individuals are of the opinion that it is a bio-weapons lab that the Romulans abandoned and forgot about," she said.

"Which would explain why the biohazard unit from the Pasteur was called in," he concluded.

Selar inclined her head in acknowledgment. "Precisely."

Riker sat forward, resting his arms on his desk. "What do you think?"

"If that were, in fact, the situation," she theorized. "It is unlikely that the archaeology department would be permitted back on the site. Since they have resumed their work, that theory is dubious at best."

"Somehow I don't think you came here to tell me what you don't think is going on down there."

"Preliminary scans run prior to the beginning of the excavation work dated the ruins to a very early period in Romulan history. Given that Romulan history begins when they left Vulcan, the general consensus of opinions among the Vulcans here is that the information pertains to that era. If that is the case, considering that there are Romulan representatives actively involved in the excavation, it is generally felt that a senior representative of Vulcan should be present or at the very least be able to review the items catalogued."

"I see," he commented as noncommittally as possible. "Just why are you coming to me with this instead of Commander Chakotay or Captain Picard?"

Selar shifted her stance slightly. "I am the highest ranking representative of Vulcan among those on this expedition and it is my understanding that you receive regular updates from Commander Chakotay on the progress of his department."

Riker carefully considered his response. How he handled this would establish the tone for his captaincy. Captain Picard had influenced his perception of leadership more than any other captain he'd served under, if only due to the sheer length of time they'd served together. He wasn't Picard and he wanted his leadership style to reflect his qualities as captain. "Without addressing details of the excavation, I guess I'd like to know what your specific concerns are."

"I do not have concerns about you," she assured him. "I requested this posting because of the respect I developed for you during our years of service together. Similarly, I know Captain Picard and Captain Crusher to be of exemplary character. My primary concern is the securing of the communications system. With the information on the excavation being restricted, that additional step would seem to be unnecessary. I would wonder why such an extreme measure would be indicated."

"Because of my security concerns," he responded honestly. He stood and walked around his desk to perch on the front corner. "We are deep in Romulan territory here. Say the rumors, speculation or half-truths circulating about that site were to be casually mentioned in a personal communication and that led to a government--be it the Federation, Klingons, Cardassians or even Vulcan--to send a ship to look into the matter. What effect do you think that might have on the fragile relationship we have with the Romulan government at the moment?"

"There would be potential for conflict," she acknowledged.

He waved his arm casually toward her. "We are here with the consent of the Romulan government. If something goes wrong with diplomatic relations between the Federation or its Allies and our hosts, things could get very bad very fast for us. Is ancient history--or curiosity--an acceptable basis for risking war?"

"No, sir."

The door chime interrupted any further comment from her. "One moment," Riker called out. Addressing his CMO, he continued. "I'm glad you felt you could come to me. You are a trusted member of my senior staff and I do realize that it will take some time for everyone to get comfortable with their roles and responsibilities. This ship and her crew is responsible for the safety of several thousand lives here."

Selar made a small pointing gesture with her hand. "Which explains the incessant drills."

The corners of his mouth twitched, the only outward reaction to her use of the word 'incessant.' Maybe he'd run one or two too many drills as of late. "What is necessary on this ship is what I deem necessary. You can always ask if you have concerns. That doesn't mean I'll always be inclined to explain myself, however. Understood?"

"Yes, sir. Thank you for your time, Captain," she said as she turned to leave.

"Doctor," he called out to stop her. "I can assure you that a final report documenting everything discovered on the planet surface will be forwarded to Starfleet once all analyses are complete."

"That will have to suffice." The door opened to allow her exit and revealed Chakotay waiting to enter.

Chakotay stepped aside to let Doctor Selar pass, nodding in greeting to her. "I hope I'm not interrupting."

In his ready room, Riker stood and tugged on the sleeve of his uniform jacket. "Not at all, Commander, come in."

Holding out one of the two PADDs in his hands, Chakotay entered. "If this is a convenient time for you, I have your update on the progress at the site."

"Perfect timing; have a seat."

............................................
End Part 7
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"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:42 PM   #8
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 8
Chakotay entered the captain's quarters on the Pasteur to find Beverly at her desk juggling several PADDs and comparing them to information on the computer workstation. She was so completely engrossed in her work that she didn't even look up at the sound of the door opening. He could tell from the expression on her face that it was medical research she was reviewing. She took her duties and responsibilities as captain very seriously and he thought she would develop into a very good captain with a bit of experience. It was just that being a doctor would always be at the core of who she was and medical information engaged her mind in a way that duty logs and ship status reports never would. "I'd apologize for being late if I thought that you had actually noticed."

"I'm sorry, honey," she checked the time and started gathering up the PADDs strewn over the desk. "I'll clear this away if you'll order up something from the replicator for dinner. Wait, did we have dinner plans on C-deck--"

Chakotay crossed the room and dropped a perfunctory kiss on her lips to quiet them. "You're fine and no, we didn't have any plans. I did suggest to Will that Deanna and him join us for dinner at the Bistro tomorrow night. I'll check with Vash in the morning to see if Captain Picard and she want to join us--if that's all right with you."

"That sounds fine," Beverly replied. "I'm glad you and Will are still on speaking terms after that briefing."

Shrugging off his uniform jacket, he tossed it over a chair and headed toward the replicator. "I was on the Titan to give him his update on the site. That's why I'm late, we were talking. I understand that Will was trying to do his job; I might have had the same reaction if I were in his shoes. I know they're Romulans, but they're all academics--not exactly a respected career choice in a culture that values power. Now they're here and I just can't help but sympathize with the position they're in. I remember those first months on Voyager trying to merge my people with Kathryn's. Neither side trusted or even liked the other and there were some pretty tense moments, most of which I got caught in the middle of just trying to be fair. Trust and respect need to be earned, no question; I just feel like I need to look out for them—at least the two in my department. Will's reaction at the briefing was the same kind of reaction my old crew got from the Starfleet people early on."

"Your reaction at the briefing actually made me stop and consider the situation from a fresh perspective," she remarked. She finished putting her work away and retrieved the table service from the cabinet. "I hadn't really thought about this expedition from their point of view; several thousand Federation citizens and less than a handful Romulans. They must feel very isolated, especially Latona and Somnus right now since they can't even discuss this with the other Romulans here. I know that we're still in their home territory for now, but once the expedition moves beyond charted space, they'll be alone. Things are already so different for them here, functioning under Federation rules yet coming from a totalitarian society; even things that we take for granted like personal privacy is completely foreign to them."

There it was, the ability to see every side of a situation that he firmly believed was the mark of a good captain. Chakotay set their plates on the table. "Iced tea?"

"Ginger ale with a slice of lemon."

He ordered up their drinks and brought the glasses over to join her at the table. "Was their cooperation helpful?"

"Yes, that's what I was working on when you came in. I'm having lunch with Julian tomorrow to discuss some of this. I would love to run my findings past the Healers at the Vulcan Medical Institute whom I've been collaborating with on research into Bendii syndrome . . . "

"But under the circumstances," he nodded in understanding.

"I can't even discuss this with Selar because it's been classified as 'need to know' at this point. Dr. Bashir doesn't have the specific knowledge of Vulcan physiology that Dr. Selar does, but since he's already in the loop on this, he's the only person I can discuss the medical ramifications with."

Chakotay gestured toward her desk with his fork. "I'd be interested in knowing what you've found, if you don't mind."

Beverly just smiled. She had been a little concerned that things would change between them when the reality of her being a captain set in. This quiet dinner just casually discussing their respective work felt so normal and indescribably perfect. "Brain scans of Vulcans with end-stage Bendii show the same type of synaptic changes in the metathalamus as the brain scans of Latona and Somnus. The changes were obviously much more extreme in the Vulcan scans, the similarity is in the pattern of structural alteration. Initially I thought maybe it was the same disease, just different names."

"Would make sense."

She shook her head, dabbing at her mouth with her napkin. "Bendii syndrome only occurs in old age among Vulcans; it's degenerative and incurable yet not contagious. Ragnok fever is highly contagious, usually occurs in childhood and, aside from the altered synapse, the ailment resolves itself completely within a week. It can be fatal but fatalities have only been documented among a small percentage of adult-onset cases. Nothing even remotely similar to Ragnok fever occurs in Vulcan children and Bendii syndrome is unknown among even the oldest Romulans. There are similarities with Zanthi fever, which Deanna pointed out at the briefing. That is treated with broad spectrum antivirals, but that treatment has been ineffective in Bendii syndrome. Romulans don't even bother medicating for Ragnok fever, they just wait for it to run its course. Medically speaking, these three conditions are completely separate afflictions."

"Are you thinking differences in brain structure?"

"There are genetic differences between Vulcans and Romulans, enough so that some medical treatments effective for Vulcans are sometimes ineffectual in Romulans. I'm hoping that Julian might have some thoughts on that. I'm also looking at immune response--"

Chakotay interrupted her train of thought. "You might get more information on the genetic aspect with today's development. It's in your report on our progress; Vash discovered a skeleton. Dr. Bashir is running a complete analysis, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to get a good genetic work-up from bones that old, but his preliminary analysis was that it was the skeleton of an adult male. There were no apparent injuries as far as determining a cause of death so that may remain a mystery. The writings and artifacts that we're finding down there hold so much significance in our understanding of such a critical point in the history of Vulcans and Romulans apart from the proclamation from Surak. We're really starting to develop a clear picture of this group's lives and experiences in the first days after their exodus from Vulcan. This is essentially the point of divergence where Romulans became Romulans and everything about them as a people began to develop."

Beverly was already thinking of how a genetic profile from that skeleton would help her analysis. "It would be fascinating to be able to run a comparative analysis of modern Vulcan and Romulan genetics against the genetic profile of their common ancestor."

"You know," he pointed out. "There are plenty of examples throughout the history of various races where infection with one disease provides resistance or even immunity against another disease."

"It would be ironic if Surak was too successful in eliminating Ragnok fever from the Vulcan population and that was what led to the development of Bendii syndrome," she remarked. She finished her meal and started to clear the table. "There would be some universal karma if the very disease that prompted the Vulcans to exile the first Romulans holds the key to preventing or even curing Bendii syndrome. Unless it has something to do with genetic material that was removed from both populations with the divergence. A missing enzyme in Vulcans might account for their susceptibility to Bendii syndrome in advanced age and a similar enzymatic or chromosomal deficiency would explain the Romulans loss of telepathic ability over time."

Standing up, Chakotay caught her and pulled her to him, spinning to trap her between his body and the table. As he spoke, he opened her uniform jacket and began to draw it down her arms. "Actually, I think that was an internal decision made by the Romulans at some point in their development. After Dr. Pulaski suggested that Romulans retain a latent predisposition toward telepathy, I asked Somnus about it. His response was that telepathic ability in any form was an undesirable trait in their society. I can certainly see where a totalitarian, militaristic society would be opposed to an ability to read thoughts so those individuals probably didn't get much of a chance to procreate."

"What are you doing?" Pressed against the broad, muscled wall of his chest and feeling his strong hands stroke down her back in a clearly seductive gesture, left no doubt about the direction their evening had suddenly taken.

"A big favor for Julian," he informed her. "The last thing he wants or needs right now is his captain standing over him while he does his analysis of that skeleton, even if his captain is an accomplished doctor in her own right."

The fact that he knew her well enough to know what she had indeed been planning on doing the minute he'd mentioned the skeletal remains was touching. The fact that he was not planning to let her was annoying. The fact that he was right was irrelevant. "I've performed thousands of those analyses."

Capturing her lips with his, he quickly deepened the kiss. His tongue delved deep in her mouth, kissing her into submission. When he broke off the kiss, his retort was a bit breathless, although he carefully kept his tone low and gentle. "As Chief Medical Officer that was your job. Dr. Bashir is the Chief Medical Officer of the Pasteur and the Chief of Medical Operations for the expedition. You are the Captain of the Pasteur, you belong on the bridge, in your ready room or preferably right here in my arms. You will undoubtedly get his report before I do, but doing that analysis yourself is not your job anymore."

For the first time since accepting this captaincy, she almost regretted it. She was still a damned good doctor and that would most likely be important at some point in the years and exploration to come. Accepting that practicing medicine just wasn't her day-to-day priority anymore was going to take some time. Knowing Chakotay as she did, there was little chance that she'd get out of these quarters for anything short of a ship emergency tonight and spending the entire evening fighting with him would not make her feel any better. Yielding to the inevitable, she arched an eyebrow at him. "You're deliberately engaging in a diversionary tactic on the captain of this ship. I thought I read in my captain's secret rule book that insubordination was a flogging offense."

"Since I report to Captain Picard," he reminded her, "you'll have to take it up with him."

"Damn, and that seemed like such a good, practical idea at the time." Beverly gave a melodramatic sigh and promptly stripped his uniform shirt off to bare his smooth, bronze chest. "Well, if I'm to be the victim of a diversionary tactic, you should probably start being distracting."

Chakotay nuzzled the long, graceful line of her throat. "Your wish is my command, Captain Fireball."

............................................
End Part 8
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"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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Old July 16 2010, 10:43 PM   #9
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Re: TNG History's Legacy

Part 9
Picard handed Beverly a cup of tea before settling down beside her on the sofa with his own cup. They were in his ready room where Beverly had just delivered the final Medical Operations report for him to include in his mission report. They were still in orbit waiting for Commander Donatra to arrive and take custody of the artifacts that they'd discovered. He hated to turn the Surak proclamation over, but legally it was the property of the Romulan government. He'd contacted Donatra based on their previous interactions as the best hope they had that the tablet would be preserved. Much as he would prefer to send all of the artifacts, especially that tablet, back to the Daystrom Institute, that simply wasn't an option. "So, our first official outing is in the books. Your first official outing as captain. How does it feel?"

"Frustrating," she sighed. "How have you spent so many years just sitting in your ready room waiting for people to bring you reports."

Her answer caught him mid-sip. Swallowing a snort as well as his tea, he regarded her with bemusement. "There's a little more to the job description than that."

"You know what I mean, Jean-Luc. I didn't go into this completely unprepared; I've worked duty shifts on the Bridge and been in temporary command in crisis situations. I've just always gone back to my Sickbay, my work, when it was over. Now it is my job, there's nothing else to go back to and nothing for me to do while everyone else is in the middle of things except wait for them to do their jobs."

"Do you miss Sickbay?"

Beverly's answer was part sigh, part confession. "Sometimes. Seriously, how do you do it? How do you just sit and wait for your people to bring you reports on a situation?"

"Have a hobby," he suggested. He could sympathize with her sense of frustration. For every new captain there was a period of transition from doing to leading. There were still situations where he felt that frustration even after all his years in the captain's chair.

She shot him a mischievous wink over the rim of her tea cup. "Like archaeology?"

"I was interested in archaeology long before I met Vash," he noted, the defensiveness mitigated by the humor in his eyes.

"True."

Picard ignored the tone of her voice. "Have an interest unrelated to command that engages your mind. Something you can pull out and spend hours absorbed in but could put away at a moment's notice. There will be plenty of times where you're running your own analysis separate from your people or reviewing regulations or planetary laws to make a decision. There will also be times when things are quiet and you're looking for something to do. If you have a hobby, you're less likely to drive your crew insane at those times."

"Important tip," she said. "Since you're dispensing words of wisdom, tell me why I shouldn't send a copy of my analysis on the link between Ragnok fever and Bendii syndrome directly to Vulcan healers researching Bendii. Back when I was your Chief Medical Officer, that's precisely what I would have . . . been tempted to do."

He just chuckled. "And let me deal with the fallout."

"Now that I'm in your shoes, I can see the other side and wonder how I would handle it if one of my doctors did just that."

"Did you include that information in the Medical Operations report?"

Beverly arched an eyebrow at him. "Of course. I'm just concerned that the medical significance will be completely obscured by the political ramifications. It's not like government officials have never buried some significant piece of information in the name of public welfare."

She was right and it was those times when a captain's hands were tied that having a headstrong crew member provided plausible deniability. "A complete report of the excavation will be submitted to the Romulan government and to Starfleet. Under the circumstances, it wouldn't be inappropriate to send a copy of the report to the Vulcan government as well."

She set her cup on the end table beside her. "How will Starfleet feel about you forwarding that report to Vulcan before they've even reviewed it?"

"I'm headed to parts unknown," he commented. "What are they going to do to me? The important thing in any decision you make as captain is being able to justify the action. The findings of this excavation have direct relevance to Vulcan history and Vulcan medicine. The Vulcan High Command has a right to see this information, especially considering that the Surak proclamation has to be turned over to the Romulan government."

"But there's no way to guarantee that the Vulcan V'Shar won't choose to bury it. Bendii is rare, so they could just decide it's not worth the fuss it'll cause and the right people--the medical researchers who could do something with the information--will never see it."

Picard set his own cup down and turned to face her. "True, but as you've noted, captains spend a lot of time playing in their ready rooms; there's no reason that medical research can't be your hobby. Instead of being a doctor playing captain, be a captain playing doctor."

**FINIS**
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Recipient of the 2006 Alara Rogers ASC Award for Best Author Overall.
"I personally like to think Picard and Vash had a very active sex life. I can't believe Picard just read Shakespeare up there in his room all those years." Patrick Stewart.
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