February 27, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 7

Virginia Hamilton looked up slowly, her heart beating a thousand times faster at the sound of Picard's voice. She looked into his face, seeing just a hint of a smile. "Of course," she managed to answer. She waved to the seat across from her. As he sat, she noticed his drink. "Earl Grey?"

"What else?" Picard took a sip of his tea, discretely admiring the admiral's femininity out of uniform. He set the tea cup in its saucer, thinking that the pale lavender of her outfit brought out the blue of her eyes. "Have you been friends with Guinan for long?"

"Yes and no. I only met her about 200 years ago, so it depends on your point of view. She listens to me."

"She's good at that."

"So are you. I can't believe you let me ramble on like you did earlier today in your office."

"I wouldn't call it rambling," Picard commented with a warm smile.

"I would."

"Excuse me, Captain, Admiral." Guinan was standing next to their table, her hands clasped in front of her. "I apologize for interrupting, but Deanna and Worf didn't want to."

"I see," said the captain. "Where are they now?" Picard glanced at the Hostess, but otherwise kept his gaze trained on the woman across the table from him.

"They're at the bar, no doubt mortified at my boldness," Guinan answered.

"I take it they wish to speak to me?" he asked.

"Actually, I think they wish to speak to both you and the admiral."

"Very well," decided Picard. "Send them over."

Guinan inclined her head and left.

Picard surveyed the seating arrangements and decided it would be best for him to move to allow the coming couple to sit together. "Ah...may I?" He gestured to the seat next to Virginia.

"Of course," she answered, sliding over to allow him more room.

Now side by side, there seemed to be an increased awareness between the two.

Virginia moved her glass in a circle, enjoying the captain's closeness. "You smell nice," she said softly.

Picard's eyebrows rose in amusement. "Thank you."

She looked up at him, startled. "Did I say that out loud?"

"Yes, you did." He was mildly surprised to see her face suddenly turn a bright shade of pink. It was very becoming to her.

The arrival of Counselor Troi and Commander Worf prevented Virginia from replying further.

Deanna, now dressed in a less dressy outfit slid into the booth across from the two commanding officers, a rather pleased smile on her face. Worf sat next to her, wearing his uniform with the Klingon slash over it and his usual scowl.

"We apologize for interrupting," the Klingon said gruffly.

"It's quite all right," lied Picard, which he had no doubt that both women were keen enough to pick up on as one was empathic and the other was highly telepathic.

"Admiral," began Deanna, her expression and tone turning serious. "You said you had 48 hours before you had to report back to the Council."

"That is correct," the other woman confirmed, her face slightly less pink.

"I've spent the evening reviewing the files you sent me and no where did I find a time table for this mission."

"There isn't one, not really." The admiral drew a deep breath and her forehead crinkled in frustration. "If you say no, then I shuttle back so the Council can meet again and debate whether or not to actually order you to comply. If you say yes, I let them know and the Enterprise breaks from its current heading and turns for Borg space. Given varying warp speeds, this could take anywhere from 3 days to a week. And if you give your resignation, then I go home and the Council will try to come up with something new." Virginia downed the rest of her root beer.

"That won't be necessary," replied Deanna. "I'll do it...but I'd like to marry Worf first."

There was a moment of silence before the counselor's captain asked, "Are you sure about this, Counselor?"

Deanna deliberately misunderstood. "Yes, Captain, I love Worf."

Picard chided her. "Deanna..."

"Captain, Worf and I have discussed this quite thoroughly tonight. Neither of us like it, but I feel it is my duty. The admiral has been authorized to rescue me no matter the outcome, so it's not like I won't be coming back."

"It is not an honorable request, but Deanna will do the honorable thing," commented Worf.

"God save me from Klingon honor," Virginia muttered. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go inform the Council and probably wrangle out a few more days. Captain?"

Picard stood to let her out. He watched her exit for several long moments, enjoying her stride, before he sat back down. "How long before you would like to be married?" he asked the couple.

"Tomorrow night," answered Deanna without hesitation. "We've already discussed a few things with Guinan and it's workable. Our mother's won't be the happiest, but...our wedding isn't for them."

Picard nodded. "Very well. Make it so." The captain looked at his executive officer, unconsciously waiting for him to deliver a gruff one-liner.

"The admiral has never been fond of Klingons," Worf said. "It is a good thing she was away for the Khitomer Accords."

Deanna covered her laughter with a cough. "Worf, may I speak to the captain alone for a moment?"

"Of course. I will wait for you at the bar." Worf stood and nodded to his captain. "Good evening, sir." And walked away.

February 16, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 6

The hour was late and there were few people in Ten-Forward which allowed the hostess Guinan to sit with her friend who had chosen to seclude herself at a booth in the far corner of the large room.

Admiral Hamilton had long since changed out of her uniform and was dressed casually in a loose shirt and pant outfit. The drink in front of her, a harmless root beer, sat untouched as the woman stared out the window at the sparkling stars that streaked by.

"It's noisy in here," commented Virginia, breaking the silence between the two.

Guinan glanced around. "Actually, it's pretty quiet in here tonight."

"You know what I mean," the other woman replied, turning to look at her friend.

"I know," conceded Guinan with understanding in her voice.

"Some of their thoughts...it's like they're screaming." Virginia sighed, her forehead wrinkling as though she were in pain. "And before you say anything - Yes, I'd rather be here than in my quarters. At least here, some of the voices have faces."

Guinan did what she did best. She listened.

Virginia tilted her head, her hair falling from the loose knot she had pulled it into and regarding the others in the large room. Truthfully, there were just a scattered handful. Thoughtfully she raked her fingers through her fallen hair. "Erin looks as though she is listening to every word Richie is saying, but her thoughts are completely focused on the baseball game on Cestus III in a few hours. Enrique is trying to decide how best to ask Betani out...but...Betani's thoughts are the loudest. She sits alone...her heart is crying over the loss of her favorite uncle...wondering why no one sits with her just to listen to her. And..."

"And?" Guinan prodded when her friend fell silent.

Virginia looked back out the window quickly as the door to Ten-Forward opened.

Guinan looked over her shoulder to see who was coming in so late at night and smiled in greeting at the captain. He nodded to her and headed to the bar.

"And some thoughts are strangely silent," Virginia continued in a quiet murmur.

The Ten-Forward hostess regarded her friend, as perceptive as Deanna had been. "You like him."

"Don't be ridiculous. He's too young for me." The admiral shook her head even as her face turned pink.

"Chronologically perhaps. But even so..."

"I know, I know," interrupted the younger woman. "I'm still a kid to many."

"I was going to say that he's attracted to older women."

Virginia ignored her as she rested her head upon her hand as she quietly regarded the captain of the ENTERPRISE. "There's a calm control about him that reminds me of Marcus."

Once again, Guinan listened.

"There's a mature power about him. Yet...there are enough differences that I know it's a separate attraction." Her lips quirked in amusement. "For starters, Marcus had hair."

"It doesn't matter though, does it?"

"Not one bit." Virginia looked back out the window and sighed again. "He wasn't afraid to meet my eyes."

The dark colored woman considered this, along with the fact that the man in question rarely visited Ten-Forward, especially at this time of night. "Maybe he likes you too."

The pink in the admiral's face brightened. "He thinks it's a side effect of the mind access that happens at first eye contact."

"Really?" Guinan's forehead wrinkled in surprised amusement. "That's a first. Is it?"

Virginia shook her head. "No. I felt his attraction to me as soon as I beamed over. If it was a side effect...I'd be having sex a whole lot more than what I do."

Guinan refrained from chuckling. "I take it that it's been a while."

"Just a bit. Nothing but a passing flirt since Jayden...and he left me twenty some years ago. Not that I've been keeping track of something so trivial. I mean, what's a few moments pleasure compared to the fate of the Federation?"

"What's the fate of the Federation compared to feeling the love of one who accepts you for who you are?"

Virginia didn't answer.

"I need to get back to being hostess," Guinan stated as she rose to her feet. "From what you said earlier, Betani needs someone to listen to her."

"Don't we all?" replied Virginia with a smile. "I'll see you later."

"Of course."

The alien woman picked up her glass of carbonated water and downed a good portion of it, secretly wishing that it had a touch of alcohol in it. At least then, the voices on this ship would be silent...or at least her telepathic ears would be deaf to them. But the regulations that ruled her life strictly prohibited her from drinking while on mission, especially one where she might be called upon to use her powers. How she hated regulations. Sometimes, in her darker hours, she wondered if in some alternate reality, there was a version of her that lived without restrictions...and was that other woman happy? Which always led her to the thought, what would happen if she were to throw off those regulations and lived as she pleased?

A shadow fell across her table, and a male voice broke into her thoughts, "May I join you?"

February 14, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt. 5

At long last, the story continues!! Check out the previous posts to bring yourself up to speed.

Given Deanna's smile and her pleasant tone of voice, there was no way the captain could mistake her meaning of how she believed he liked the absent woman. "She's a StarFleet Admiral," Picard said, though not denying her charge.

"Regardless, she is a woman," Deanna replied. "And an attractive one."

"No doubt any attraction I might feel is a side effect of her mind access." Picard straightened his uniform jacket in the quietly dubbed 'Picard Manuever'.

"I don't think so. I certainly don't feel any different toward her than I did before her access of me. No protective feelings or anything of that nature."

"However, you are also a woman," Picard pointed out.

Deanna saw his point, but didn't change her mind. She was after all, an Empath. "I could check into it, if you like. Discretely. See if any other males have had a similar 'side-effect'." she offered with a faint smile.

"As you wish."

There was a moment of silence, each thinking their own thoughts.

"It doesn't make sense to me, Captain," the counselor said. "Why give the admiral permission to save me, no matter the outcome, yet not allow her to destroy the Borg? I understand the ethical reason you voiced earlier, but there is still something about it that doesn't make sense."

"I agree." Picard turned his chair slightly to watch the stars streak by as he thought. "She's being tested."

"Why? She's served in StarFleet for hundreds of years."

"I don't think they're the ones testing her." Picard pivoted back towards the counselor. "They have no reason to doubt her loyalties or motivations. As you said, she's served StarFleet for centuries, and has been a guiding force of the Federation since before it was born. However...I wonder if perhaps her own people doubt her? She shared with me earlier that ten years ago she was called to the Gandraleayian throne and she fought it."

"Really?" Again Deanna's faint smile curved her lips. "Admiral Hamilton isn't known to be open regarding issues concerning the throne."

"No, she tends to be a private person all around," agreed Picard, realizing as he said so that the admiral had not been with him.

"It's not really surprising that she would fight a call to the throne," mused the counselor. "From our perspective, the admiral is a woman hundreds of years old...wise, mature, steeped with knowledge, full of experience...but by Gandraleayian standards, she is still a very young woman."

"She did comment that under normal circumstances, she wouldn't have to rule for another six hundered years."

"Exactly. Which would support your theory that they're the ones testing her."

"With you as the pawn." Picard pointed out.

Deanna drew a deep breath. "Yes. With me as the pawn." She took a moment to shift position in her seat, unconsciously crossing her legs. "While there are differences between ruling an empire and commanding a starship, I think there would be some similiarites. When I was taking the tests to become a commander, what I had to realize was that my first duty was to the ship. Commander Riker had to know that I would be able to sacrifice an individual in order to preserve the whole. No doubt the Oryon Council wants to know if their heir-apparent is able to do the same...sacrifce one, me, for the greater good."

"The needs of the many outway the needs of the one," quoted Picard.

"Or the few," finished Deanna.

"I must say," the ENTERPRISE captain said after a moment, "you're taking this rather well."

"Inside - I am quaking. Terrifed and angry. As soon as you and I are done here, I plan on finding Worf and a large chocolate sundae."

Picard gave her an understanding smile. "Then don't let me keep you."

"Thank you, sir." Deanna rose gracefully to her feet, the silky fabric of her evening dress falling to cover her legs.

"And Counselor..."

"Yes, Captain?"

"If you decide to offer your resignation, I'll understand."

The ship's counselor didn't answer verbally, she nodded her head in acknowledgement and left the captain alone in his ready room.

As soon as the doors had slid shut behind her, Picard released the deep sigh of frustration he had been holding in. "Damn the Borg."