June 09, 2006

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 4

Admiral Virginia Hamilton paused before answering the Empath's question of why she had been chosen for assimilation, knowing that it was going to be hard for both the woman and her captain to swallow. "The Council is asking you to do this because you're the most powerful Empath currently serving in StarFleet."

"That way, if she refuses, The Council can order her to do it?" asked Picard, his stomach feeling sick.

"Honestly?" Virginia took a deep breath, and answered. "Yes."

"And if it doesn't work?" he demanded. "What happens to Counselor Troi then?"

Virginia looked at the Betazoid briefly. "If it fails, and the Borg do not destroy themselves, I am then authorized to rescue Deanna and restore her just as if nothing happened. In the event that is succeeds, I am authorized to pull her from the ship and restore her."

"I don't see why they don't just let you destroy the Borg," Deanna said angrily. "You're more than capable."

"I don't know," answered the Admiral. "I've asked and they've said no."

"If they were to say yes, when would it stop?" commented Picard, wondering why the women hadn't realized the answer themselves. Granted, Troi was understandably upset. "If it's all right to destroy the Borg by using the Admiral's powers, would it be permissible later for her to be authorized to use them to eliminate the Federations other threats? To intimidate the Romulans, the Breen..."

"The Romulans and the Breen do not compare to the Borg, but I see your point Captain." Deanna shook her head, still upset.

"Logic's never been one of my strong points," conceded the Admiral. "I used to drive Spock quite mad."

"Admiral?" Deanna straightened in her seat and Picard could see her beginning to recover from her shock. "Do you need an answer right now?"

"No. You have up to 48 hours before I have to report to the Council. Feel free to discuss this over with your Captain, your fiance, closest confidante. I can forward files to you and will answer any questions you're bound to have. For now, I wish to retire to quarters for a bit; it will give you and Picard a chance to talk." The Admiral rose to her feet gracefully, the need to be alone written on her face.

Picard rose to his feet as well. "If you like, I can show you to the quarters we've prepared for you."

Virginia gave him a shaky smile. "I think I can find my own way, some other time perhaps." She held his gaze a moment longer, then turned and left the Ready Room.

He watched her go, before returning to his seat. He looked at his ship's counselor and was surprised to find her smiling. "I'm surprised you can smile right now."

Deanna just smiled more widely before answering, "You like her."

There was no doubting how Deanna meant that.

June 04, 2006

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 3

Chapter Three

As Deanna entered the captain’s ready room, her casual attire caught his notice. She was dressed in a sleeveless blue sheath-style dress that clung to her curves quite attractively; it was then that the captain recalled her plans for the evening.

“Deanna,” Picard said apologetically. “I apologize for interrupting your evening with Worf.”

“That’s alright Captain, we were having a disagreement anyway, so you called at an opportune time…oh, Admiral Hamilton! Hello.”

“Counselor,” Admiral Hamilton nodded in greeting, her eyes focused safely on top of the captain’s desk. She was here to ask this woman to sacrifice herself…she didn’t want to know the counselor anymore than she had to…

Deanna sat quietly in the chair next to the Admiral. She was an Empath by nature and a counselor by training, and it was easy for her to pick up on the undercurrent of tension in the room. This concerned her since Gandraleayians were famous for their Vulcan-like control of their emotions and not all the anxiety in the room was coming from Captain Picard.

“What’s wrong?” Deanna asked into the silence.

“Counselor Troi, are you aware that I serve on the War Council?” Virginia asked.

“I am,” Deanna answered. In fact, I often admire some of your arguments.”

The admiral looked up, clearly surprised. “You do?”

“Yes.” A small smile played around the corners of Deanna’s mouth. “I don’t always agree with you, but you believe in what you argue for or against and remain unwavering in the face of opposition. Your faith is real. You don’t brag when circumstances proves you were right, and on occasion, you’ve even been brave enough to admit you were wrong.”

“On occasion,” the admiral agreed, exchanging a wry smile with the captain.

Picard was immensely glad to see Virginia begin to relax to some degree. He was also curious to see if that two women would make eye contact … to see if any emotion would play across the admiral’s face and to see if the counselor as an Empath would have any reaction.

Virginia drew a deep breath and began again. “Counselor Troi…”

“Please admiral, call me Deanna. And if it would make you more comfortable with me, you may look me in the eye. I have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Virginia’s face went cold. She most certainly did not want to do any such thing! She didn’t want to know this woman any deeper than what she had read in the Starfleet file. But to refuse to do so now would be impolite. Damn.

Picard watched Deanna sit calmly as the Admiral swung her gaze to meet the other woman’s eyes, and watched in horror as Virginia’s face crumpled. She covered her face with her hands and began to cry, profusely.

“I…can’t…do…this…” the woman sobbed.

Picard rose to his feet, but Counselor Troi’s outstretched hand stopped him in his tracks.

“It’s alright, Captain,” Deanna said, her other hands already resting on the other woman’s arm as she slipped into her counselor tone of voice. “Half-breeds of her kind are prone to emotional instability, sometimes turbulent. Admiral…Virginia…it’s all right. Focus. Breathe. Talk to your God…yes, that’s it…calm…focus…”

Virginia slowly calmed, uncovering her face and indecorously wiped her face with the sleeve of her command uniform. “I’m sorry. I’ve not…I’m generally more controlled these days.”

“No apology needed,” Picard said softly as he seated himself.

“Stress can undo our control,” said Deanna.

“I’m not supposed to let that happen,” the admiral quipped, regaining some of her composure. “Isn’t that right, Captain? We officers are supposed to be the perfect picture of cool and calm.”

The captain smiled, but didn’t comment.

“To business.” Virginia leaned back in her seat, still concentrating on her breathing. "Research has been done and it is believed that when the Borg assimilate a culture, or a race, or an individual, that not all of the traits are absorbed. A kind of picking and choosing takes place. 'Yes, we want this races' distinctive stubbornness to survive but we'll think we'll pass on their weakness for chocolate as it would not be beneficial to our survival.' That's a bad example, I guess, as I myself love a good chocolate fix. A better example would be how the Borg did not absorb Captain Picard's morality. Anyhow. Our scientists believe that they have found a chemical agent that, when taken before assimilation, will render the Borg incapable of refusing a trait...almost a way to force them to accept every trait."

Ever inquisitive, Picard opened his mouth to ask "How?" but the Admiral shook her head.

"Don't ask Picard...you really don't want to know how some of this research was done. I'm still not convinced it was completely legal...or ethical, but the old saying goes that all's fair in love and war." Virginia sighed. "The scientists have convinced the War Council that if the Borg were to assimilate an Empath, then it would open the Borg to the pain and agony they're causing. Maybe even awaken them to their own pain...we hope."

There was a moment of awkward silence.
Seeing the next logical step of the conversation, Deanna asked, "Why me?"