September 23, 2007

Commercial Break

This author is leaving town for a week....and I need to there will be no new posts here until the first weekend in October. :)

September 22, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 37

Those who knew what to look for, could find Q if they really wanted to. It also helped if you were the one he wasn't hiding from. Raven-Cloud really wanted to find Q, and because Q was more concentrated on Hiding from Virginia than others, Raven-Cloud found him easily. Stepping into the dimension where Q was Hiding while he watched the events on the Enterprise, Raven-Cloud cleared his throat as he came to a rest next to the other man.

"You're getting better at Hiding," Raven-Cloud said. "I almost didn't find you this time."

"I'm not Hiding from you," Q answered, sparing the ambassador a glance. "What brings you to this neighborhood?"

"Same as you, checking up on the princess." The ambassador took in the scene before him. "What is she doing?"

"Tinkering." Q sighed. "She's modifying the transporters."

"She always was happiest when she was fixing something. I'm surprised she didn't take up engineering in the Acadamy."

"Did she have a choice?"

Raven-Cloud ignored the anger in the other man's voice. "Probably not. Does her tinkering mean that she still plans to go through with the switch?"

"It does."

The ambassador sighed. "What does she plan to accomplish by this meaningless self-sacrifice?"

"To save the other half-breed from having to endure the trauma from being assimilated."

"Obviously. But why bother since she was given permission to pull the Troi woman out and restore her memory as though it had never happened?"

Q considered this, sensing that it was asked sincerely. "Because she's a woman of conscience. When she accessed Picard's memories at their first meeting, she was overwhelmed by his memories of assimilation, even though by his standards they are old memories. She can't in good conscience ask anyone to submit to that torture...and then take away their memories of it. Remember the culture in which she grew up in...there is honor in surviving torture."

"She has enough honor to choke a Klingon," Raven-Cloud said disgustedly.

"Don't tell her that," advised Q. "At least she lives up to her beliefs."

The ambassador was quiet a moment before saying, "That was uncalled for."

"I wasn't refering to that," Q said. "It's the truth though...Virginia will live up to her beliefs no matter what."

"Even if it kills her?"

"You know that answer to that as well as I."

Raven-Cloud nodded. "Sometimes it's like she wants to die."

"Not as much as she wants to be loved," Q said softly. "Will I be allowed to rescue her?"

The reason why he was here. "The Council is still out on that."

"Incredible! You came all the way here just to tell me that the Council is still out to lunch?!"

The other man actually chuckled. "Does it really matter? We both know that when the time comes, you'll rescue her no matter what they say."

"That's beside the point." Q sighed and watched as his heart's desire returned to her quarters. His heart quickened at the thought that she might go back to her bottle of alcohol. "It's be nice to be approved by the Council for a change. Now, either be quiet or leave because I want to watch."

"I'll leave. But I'll be back."

"Of that I have no doubt."

But the other was gone, leaving Q to watch in silence.

September 21, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 36

Geordi La Forge looked down at the two pairs of legs sticking out from underneath the console of the new shuttlecraft Andromeda. He grinned widely as he listened to the exchange taking place between the owners of the legs.

"B-b-but Admiral...we can't do that!" stuttered an excited Reginald Barclay.

"Trust me,, hold that spanner still while I do this!" replied a calmer Admiral Hamilton.

"If you're sure..." Only Reg would dare question a superior when he was that nervous. La Forge bet it had more to do with the admiral's presence than the actual modifcations she was making. When it had been announced that she was coming to the Enterprise,Reg had chattered for hours about his meeting her once in the Acadamy gardens. Everyone had doubted him, of course ... until Hamilton had shown up in Engineering 4 hours ago and asked for Reg by name. Not his rank, just his name.

"Of course I'm sure...I know you keep read up on this just like I do. That's it...steady now...And really Reg, I wouldn't have asked for your help otherwise..."

"T-thank you ma'am..." There was a soft sound, as flesh striking flesh, albeit lightly. "'am?"

"Don't call me ma'am. Ever. I don't care...hand me that other old I am...I'd rather be called 'sir' before ma'am...and I don't even like that...if you have to, just call me Admiral. I know you'd never be able to call me Virginia..."

"I c-couldn't do that..."

"Thought so. Can you turn that...the other way...just...yep, hold it..."

La Forge hated to interrupt, he really did. Clearing his throat, loudly, he asked, "How's it going?"

Both sets of legs jolted insurprise, but La Forge was willing to bet that the thud he heard was from Reg hitting his head on the underside of the console and not the admiral.

"It's going fine," replied Virginia. She pulled herself out, and stood, helping Reg to his feet.

Sure enough, it was Reg rubbing his head. "We're actually...almost done, sir."

"Can I look at what you're doing?" La Forge asked.

Virginia nodded. "Go ahead. I'd be interested in knowing what the chief engineer thinks of our work."

La Forge crawled under the concole...and let out a low whistle. "This is some sophisticated work, you guys. You've done all this in just a couple hours?"

"Uh, yes Commander..." Reg said. He beamed at La Forge's praise.

You rerouted...and augmented ... wow..." La Forge was silent a moment, and then pulled himself out from underneath the console and back to his feet. "I wish I had you on my team, Admiral. I'm not sure what you have planned, but with what you two are'll be able to pull anyone out of an ion storm by their DNA alone."

"Most of it's Reg's work..." Virginia said.

"Now Admiral..." the leiutenant protested.

"Reg, don't bite the hand that compliments you," she scolded. "It was a team effort, Commander. We couldn't have done it alone."

"I'm tempted to ask you to work on the ships transporters when you're done." He smiled at the "twinkle" he saw in her response.

"I'd be tempted to say yes," she replied. "What do you think Reg?"

Reg's mouth fell open. "I...I..."

La Forge grinned. "I think that's a yes."

"Yes, I think so too," remarked the admiral. "We'll finish here and call it a day and pick up with the ship's transporters in the morning?"

"That's fine with me," answered La Forge. "Reg?"

"Fine with me, sir."

"Good. I'll let the two of you get back to work."

"Aye, sir." Reg hurriedly crawled back under the console.

Virginia followed him, after giving La Forge a beaming smile.

Once again looking at two pairs of legs, La Forge grinned as the two picked up chattering where they had left off.

"Ok, Reg..hold it steady..."

" you think we should..."

Chuckling deeply, La Forge walked away and left the two alone.

September 19, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 35

Virginia woke up slowly, her head pounding. She had spoken with Jean-Luc for only a few more minutes before excusing herself and heading for bed. Her dreams had been nightmares...mostly of the Borg, but that was to be expected. And to tell the truth, she was used to nightmares. Probably far too used to them.

She stretched in her bed, and pulled the covers closer. "Computer, what time is it?"

"The time is zero-nine-hundred," the feminine monotone answered.

Virginia groaned, then wished she hadn't as it hurt her head. She should have been up hours ago. She dragged herself out of bed and into the bathroom. She undressed and stepped into the shower. Letting the hot water rain down over her, she turned her face into the water. Today she had to go over the shuttlecraft she planned on using, something she had neglected yesterday in favor of drinking herself silly. Mentally reviewing the crew of the Enterprise, Virginia decided to call upon Reg Barclay for help with the tweaks she wanted to make to the transporter and related systems.

The admiral also had to call her office on Earth, to make sure things were well. If they hadn't tried calling her first, she might let that wait until later in the day. She might do that anyway.

Requesting a work jumpsuit from the clothing replicator, Virginia dressed in it. There was no small amount of muttering over the formfitting suit, until she finally gave up and ordered a slightly larger size. Far from being a prude, Virginia still didn't like clothing that fit so close that it left little to the imaginaton. Finally satisfied with her outfit, she took her brush and sat at her desk as she began to brush out her hair.

There was a message from Picard, stating that everything was proceeding smoothly. Meaning that the Borg hadn't noticed the Federation starship suddenly heading their way. Also a message from Doctor Crusher, gently reminding her that she had mentioned a list to the good doctor. Yeah, that was on her list of things to do. There were two messages from her office, graciously taken by Picard...both were updates and indicated that a reply was not needed. One was about the peace treaty between Lorax and Largoe, sister planets that were constantly fighting over nonsense. Apparently that was proceeding smoothly. The other was a message saying the Ambassador Trinis was requesting a meeting upon her return, which of course couldn't happen until Virginia herself returned to earth.

Silly people.

"Computer, locate Reginald Barclay."

Again the feminine monotone answered her. "Reginald Barclay is in Engineering, Deck..."

"That is sufficient," cut in Virginia. She hated the over information that the computer always felt the need to give. Leaving her brush on the desk, she left her quarters and headed for Engineering. She'd probably regret not tying her hair out of the way, but she'd worry about that later. No need making her head hurt any worse than it already did.

September 18, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 34

All was quiet.

"Night" had fallen on the much as it could fall on a busy ship that was never completely idle. There was always something going on somewhere. It was just usually quieter during the night cycle.

Ten-Forward often saw a small flow of people even in the middle of the night. Tonight was no different.

Ensign Ro Laren had been through earlier, silently looking for the admiral who had been a friend and sponsor during the hard days at the academy. Unlike most of the admirality, Hamilton had a long memory and well remembered the terrors of war. Admiral Hamilton had been the one to talk her out of joining the Maquis...which had turned out to be a pivotal decision for the Enterprise because it had been Ro who had saved the ship from the Duras sisters allied with the evil doctor Soran. Loss of life had been minimal and the ship salvagable. She had yet to be promoted for that miracle, but with the admiral on her side, Ro knew that she could count on it happening.

Lt. Shelby Mansion had been through as well. Unable to sleep she had sought out the calm of the Ten-Forward hostess. She had talked for several minutes, pouring out her worry over her parents deteriorating health and how she was so many lightyears away from being able to help. Guinan listened and sent the girl back to bed with a lighter load.

She had also spoken with Reg Barclay, though briefly. Reg, too, had been looking for the admiral, wanting to bend her ear on transporter technology. While engineering wasn't the admiral speciality, she had a great interest in it and had crossed Barclay's path years ago at the Academy. She had been teaching a course on First Contact methodology and had found him moping in gardens looking for a curiously absent Boothby. What had ensued was a fascinating conversation on technology...the advances she had seen in transporters and replicators...Warp speed had especially fascinated her. Not only had she eased his fears regarding transporters, she had encouraged his desire to switch from the sciences to engineering.

There had been a few others, Hopni and Johannsen to name two, who had wandered through, also looking for the admiral. Guinan herself couldn't help but look for Virginia as well each time the door opened. She knew that the alien admiral was seeing the captain after that man had ended his shift on the bridge. As much as Guinan believed that things would be fixed between the two, there was an underlying worry that things would go badly. Especially since Virginia had been drinking and was more "toasted" than Picard had realized.

Perhaps there was nothing to worry about. Perhaps Virginia had returned to her rooms to sleep it off. She would be sadly disappointed if it were to be any other way. Still, Guinan didn't feel at ease.

She poured herself a drink, and was surprised...very surprised...when Q appeared out of no where and sat at the bar in front of her. Without a word, she poured him a drink and pushed it his way.

"It never ceases to amaze me how many lives Virginia manages to touch," Q said quietly.

"She has a knack for it," Guinan answered. "Why are you here?"

"This is the only time I can talk to you," Q answered. "Virginia's sleeping."

"Good. Has she had any more to drink?"

"No. Hopefully she'll stay away from it. I thought about slipping in and hiding it from her, but that wouldn't do her any good."

"She has to make the decision herself." Guinan waited. Vagually she wondered at the lack of reaction to Q's presence from the few people in Ten-Forward.

Q, seeing her look around the room casually, said, "They only see a non-descript ensign."

"You've never been what one would call non-descript."

"I am today."

"You haven't answered my question yet."

"No, I haven't." The other man took a deep breath, then gave the hostess an earnest look. "Guinan, I've come to say...I'm sorry."

It took her a moment to formulate a response. "You're sorry?"

"I know you don't believe me..."

"Q..." She held up her hand to halt him. She was a listener. And she could hear the sincerity in his voice. His face she could disbelieve...his body language she could distrust...if she were a normal person, she could distrust what she was hearing...but she was far from being a normal person, and when she heard something ... even this shocking and unbelievable... "I believe you."

"You do?" He was quite clearly surprised.

"I'm just surprised."

Q looked embarrassed. "You've never known me any other way."

"No, I haven't. And...I've never really trusted Virginia's judgment concerning you. She doesn't pick the best of men."

"I think she does it to irritate me." Q shrugged.

"I've never considered that."

He shrugged again. "So, you believe me. Do you forgive me?"

Guinan paused, and could not resist the temptation. "I'll have to think about it."

"That's all I ask." With a nod of his head, Q disappeared.

September 15, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 33

She was early, but Virginia wanted to have some control over the situation. She had programmed the Holodeck to provide an old fashioned outdoor patio setting on an asteroid in an imaginary asteroid belt. The technology that existed to allow her to dine in outer space without suffocating or floating away never ceased to amaze her.

Settling in on of the low clung chairs, she held a cup of steaming coffee in her hands and took a deep sip. Here in the holodeck it wasn't quite the same as the real thing, but neither was the sludge from the replicator. Guinan had fixed her up with a pot in Ten-Forward before she came here and she had been audacious enough to just take it with her. However it was long since gone and she'd had to ask the holodeck to supply her with some. Virginia let herself get comfortable, propping her feet up on the simulated footstool, knowing that her head was going to kill her later for the Ale she had imbibed. Of course, she wasn't certain she was done drinking yet. Watching the asteroids tumble and spin against a stunning starfield backdrop, she wondered what more Picard could have to say.

All things considered, it was the shortest romance Virginia had ever had. Really, it had been over before it had ever began. Fiery, but short. It was too bad, because she genuinely liked Picard and was attracted to him. Wasn't she? Secretly, she thought that she picked the men she did just to tick Ian off, with the exception of Marcus. She had truly loved, Marcus. But after the time with Ian...every man she'd slept with was the polar opposite of that man. They were either harsh and demanding such as Jayden, seemingly cold and distance like Spock had been, and in the case of Picard...well, his history with Ian as Q was well known and she didn't think anyone on this ship that she could have picked would have ticked him off as greatly. Not that she wanted Ian jealous. Just ticked off. Royally ticked off.

Why she was punishing him for something she had done, Virginia didn't know. But that was her heart's desire. Talk about spiteful. Vindictive. By punishing him, she punished herself, because his misery was her misery. Two souls joined, but kept apart.

She wiped away the tears that threatened to fall. It had been her fault. Marcus had been dead for almost 3 years when Ian had rescued her from Sancuary Distric A...her memory had still been in fragments, but by that time she had remembered her name at least. Day after day, with his gentleness meeting her angry outbursts, her heart had began to soften...she began to want to live again. Each new day saw her memories restored bit by bit. The nightmares never let up though...not once. Only after...

Quickly she diverted her thinking. The last thing she wanted to be remembering was the night she had Bonded with Ian. Thankfully the holodeck doors whooshed open and she was spared having to divert her thoughts further.

"This is quite the setting you've picked," Picard commented, taking a moment to enjoy the view before settling in the chair beside her.

"The stars have been my comfort since I was a teen," Virginia said, by way of explanation. "Only here in the holodeck can I indulge in my fantasies."


"Yes, Jean-Luc?"

"I don't want things between us to end on such a discordant note."

"But end they must, correct?" Virginia took a deep draught of her sweetened coffee, amused at his choice of words. "It was my fault for believing you when you said you didn't want Beverly anymore."

"It's hardly all your fault," replied Picard. "As I recall, you were ready to ignore the attraction between the two of us and I had to convince you otherwise."

"I seem to recall that as well. Safe to say that we are both at fault then?"

"I think that's fair." Picard smiled. "Shall we remain friends?"

By habit, Virginia rolled her eyeballs. "I hate it when men say that. Do you all have that line memorized? No, don't answer that. Sorry, but I've heard my share of that line. I know you mean well Jean-Luc, and yes, I'd like to remain friends as I have very few real ones. And I think that you could be one."

"I think so as well," he said gently. "Now, care to tell me what has you drinking Romulan Ale? Especially with a dangerous mission upcoming?"

"I heard the stars sing..." she answered almost inaudibly.

"What could be wrong with that?" Picard asked innocently. "I would think that it would be a great delight to hear the stars sing."

"It is delightful. It's the reason why they sing that bothers me."

Picard was at a loss for words, as it seemed that Virginia wasn't going to elaborate.

"How's Ian? Or rather, Q?" she asked without warning.

His eyebrows shot up in surprise. "I didn't ask, but he seemed his usual arrogant self."

"Then he is miserable. Good." Virginia took another long drink of her coffee.

"He told me not to tell you."

She shrugged. "He forgets that I can tell when he's around, even when I'm binging."

"I see."

"I don't feel him anymore, though, so he's gone."

Picard didn't mention that Q had told him he'd be watching. Nor did he think that he should mention that her voice was filled with disappointment and longing. He didn't think she'd want to hear it anymore than what Guinan had to say about him and Beverly. What a set the four of them were!

Instead, Picard chose a different topic. "Are you sure it's wise to not charge Beverly?"

Virginia looked at him as though he'd lost his mind. "Of course, I am. We can't have one of the Fleet's top medical doctors court marshalled because her friend forgot to tell her about a mission. StarFleet needs Beverly here...the Enterprise needs her here."

Picard was chagrinned. "I was afraid you did it because..."

"Don't be ridiculous. I didn't get to the admirality by being stupid. Had I been swayed by my emotions, the Klingons would never have made it to see even the Organian Peace Treaty. But, I see further down the line. The Federation needs Klingons as allies and members. And you're gonna need Bev."

He didn't argue.

September 14, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 32

It was time for the ship to go to Warp speed. Had the bridge crew been aware of the orders about to issue out of the Captain's mouth, they would have been tense and on edge. However, they were unaware and so there was a relaxed feel on the bridge of the Enterprise...for the moment.

Picard sat in his chair, concerned over the absence of Admiral Hamilton. Surely she would have wanted to be present when the ship began its trek towards Borg territory. However, her presence wasn't necessary...though it was greatly desired. He had tried getting ahold of her all afternoon, and had received no answer. He had conferred with Lt. La Forge and they had decided to proceed at Warp 3 for a duration of 24 hours, followed by Warp 6 for another 36. They could have reached their destination quicker by either traveling at Warp 6 for the entire trip, or a faster speed all together. But the entire idea at going slowly was to give Deanna and Worf time together before that bride had to go into a battle zone by shuttle craft.

"Helm," began Picard. "Set a new course. Borg territory." There was no need to give exact coordinates as the Helm officer would plot a course for the nearest edge of their known territory.

There was not even a hesitation as Ensign Ro's hands moved across the controls. "Aye, Captain. Course set and laid in."

"Warp 1...on my mark." Picard paused. For a moment, he thought that he could feel the importance, the destiny of the moment that Q had mentioned. Akin to a sense of an approaching storm. The doors of the turbolift opened and Picard turned to see who was arriving. He smiled as Admiral Hamilton walked down the rampway.

"Status?" she inquired tightly as she took the seat to his right.

"Course is set, and I was about to give the order to go to warp speed."

"Don't let me stop you," Virginia remarked, leaning back in the chair.

Picard looked at her a moment, then addressed Ro. "Helm, engage."

"Aye sir. Warp 3."

The ship gave no sign of the increased speed. One sensitive enough might have felt a slight vibration, but it was something you had to look for. However the stars on the viewscreen began to speed by.

"How long will we be at this speed?" Virginia asked.

"24 hours," replied Picard. "Admiral, let's discuss this in my Ready Room shall we?"

The admiral nodded and rose to her feet, letting him lead the way. Picard sat in his chair and motioned for Virginia to sit. She took a seat and crossed her legs, hoping that he couldn't see how close to being drunk she was. She had spent the afternoon sipping on the Romulan ale, ignoring his hails and waiting for the stars to sing. They hadn't, which meant that Ian wasn't around anymore. "After the 24 hours?" she asked.

"Warp 6 for another 36 hours." Picard watched her closely. "I would have told you this had you answered my hails this afternoon."

She acknowledged the mild rebuke with a terse, "I was busy."

"Virginia..." Picard took a deep breath. "I'm sorry."

"For what?" Could he be saying what she thought he was? Surely he didn't remember saying the wrong name.

"For calling you Beverly."

"Oh." He was!

"I'm on the bridge for another hour. I...would like to talk to you further about this."

She considered this. "Ok."

"Holodeck 3?"

"I'll be there." Virginia stood. "In the meantime, I'm going to find some coffee."

Picard smiled at her. "Will that help sober you?"

"No, but in fact it will make me even more giddy...You can tell?"

"Virginia," he said, scolding her mildly. "You hide it well, but yes."

"I only had three glasses."

"Of what?"

Virginia blushed brightly. "Romulan ale."

"If what Guinan says is true, it's a wonder your standing."

"I drank it slowly. It makes a difference."

"I see." Picard stood. "I'll see you in an hour then."

"Holodeck 3." Virginia nodded and turned on her heel.

With a steadiness that had to be manufactured, she left his room and presumably the bridge. Picard waited for the doors to slide shut before hitting his combadge. "Picard to Guinan."

There was a moment's pause before Guinan answered. "Yes, Captain?"

"How concerned would you be if I told you that Virginia spent the afternoon drinking?"

"Very. Is she drunk?"

"She's not sober. When she left, she claimed to be on her way to find some coffee."

"She's still hurting."

"So I gathered. She did agree to meet with me after I leave the bridge."

"Good. Ah, if you'll excuse me Captain, I think I'd best prepare some coffee."

"Understood. Picard out."

September 13, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 31

Q could have kicked himself. He had forgotten that alcohol didn't tamper with the Pair Bond, though he hadn't remembered until he had been watching Virginia stargazing and when she ran out of the room once they had started 'singing'...the realization hit him hard. He'd been invisible, and Hidden, but that hadn't stopped her from sensing him.

He'd been a fool to talk with Picard...the initial event that had tipped her off to his presence. She was probably looking for him now, though he could sense that she hadn't lifted her end of the Muting on their Bond. But the conversation with Picard had been a must. Hadn't it? Perhaps it had been an action born of jealousy and anger, like Picard suspected.

It had been all he could do to hold back when Jayden had been in the picture. Q could tolerate Virginia having lovers, because he knew that she wrestled with her love for him, but Jayden had been bad news from the start. That man had maniuplated her until he had gotten what he wanted...Pair Bonded to the Daughter-Heir of the Gandraleayian throne...but she was already Bonded to another. Virginia hadn't been able to see Jayden's true motives even after the shaky Bond was in place. It was a wonder that it hadn't driven all three of them mad. Instead, to Q's surprise and delight, Virginia had drawn strength from him through the Bond, she had actually reached out to him...and he had embraced her likewise, which in turn had strengthened him...which is how they had been able to survive the ordeal...and amazingly, it had strengthened the Bond itself.

He hadn't meant for it to happen. Any of it. Before, when he was allowed to go by his name, Ian had been sent to the Freedom Fighters group that Virginia's parents were leading. Virginia being the only reason why the Gandraleayians had gotten involved in Earth politics in the first place...someone had to keep an eye on her. There had been a rumor circulating that someone in the group of Gandraleayians safeguarding Virginia had been someone about ready to'turn rogue' and it had been his job to find him...there had actually been a small cell.

He'd been in the underground complex for maybe half an hour, talking with a young Gandraleayian lad when Virginia had walked up and invited him to dinner with her family, actually snubbing her boyfriend, the lad he had been speaking to. What Ian/Q had felt then was amusement, but an instant liking. Even at sixteen Virginia had had a commanding presence about her...she'd been cocky and naive, indeed, who wasn't at that age? The night of the dinner with her family, and she'd hit him with the request to be her teacher at God's say so, and he'd found himself agreeing, he had impulsively warned her not to fall in love with him, she had lifted her eyebrows and told him that perhaps it was he who had better not fall in love with her.

Before long, Virginia had somehow talked him into watching the stars with her in the evenings. It had been an escape for her, from her turbulent family, from the politics of the world she was growing up in. And it was on those evenings that she revealed her insatiable curiosity. Once she had found out about her alien heritage, she had been full of questions. For him, the stars were commonplace. He had seen them from countless worlds at countless angles and he had even traveled through them. But with her, seeing them through her eyes, her innocence had brought them alive again. Teaching her, being with her, had brought him back to life again.

The night the stars sang...he'd almost lost all control. They had been teacher and student for almost a year, friends for nearly as long. She'd always been beautiful, even as a clumsy and gangly teenager, but it was her he'd been drawn to, had always been drawn to. She had trusted him so completely in that moment...even though she hadn't understood...especially when he'd abruptly ended the mind-link...but it had been that trust that had stopped him from kissing her, because it wouldn't have stopped with kissing. He had known then, that he felt far more for her than friendship. And that he could do nothing about it.

Q had panicked when she had run away after Michael raped her. She'd given him no warning. But...her foster father Luther had noticed the warning signs and had actually caught her as she was leaving...and he'd let her go. Virginia must have suspected that Luther would catch her, had maybe even planned for it, because she had left a letter for Ian with him. He had long ago lost the actual letter, but he had never forgotten the brief message. "Ian," she'd written. "I'm sorry for leaving like this, but I cannot stay here ... not right now. What Mike did...I trusted him...but he lied to me, even about who he was. I trust you completely, but I don't trust the rest of our kind. I know you lied about not knowing why the stars sing when we're together, but it's the only one you've ever told me so I figure you must have a good reason. Perhaps it means I'm unstable and you're afraid to tell me. Please don't look for me. I will contact you when I can. Your friend, Virginia"

So, he had trusted her and waited. He had daily stilled his panicked heart, endured the correction and discipline of his superiors, endured the doubting questions when they asked if she'd tried contacting him. She'd called him almost a year later. Alive and well...and in love. It had hurt that he wasn't her first love, but even then he had loved her enough to want her happiness above his own. She had asked him to come to their wedding, so long as he didn't tell anyone. He hadn't and he had managed to go without being found out. Marcus had been so right for her that he had never been able to jealous of their relationship.

He had tried fighting his feelings for Virginia, he had even married. Rebecca had been a sweet girl, and he truly had loved her...but not enough. She had been human, a little older than Virginia. But the Pair Bond had never happened between them. It was supposed to take place the first time a couple was physically intimate with each other, but it hadn't with them. And when he hadn't mentioned it to her, and asked if she wanted it, she had said no. He should have known then that their marriage was doomed. And doomed it had been. Rebecca had eventually realized his feelings for Virginia and had allowed jealousy to eat at her. He had offered to Bond with her, to show her that no matter what his feelings for Virginia were, it was Rebecca he had loved enough to marry. For some reason he never understood, she refused again. While she had loved him, Rebecca had never been comfortable with Ian's alien powers. It would have solved so many things, she'd have known that he was telling the truth for starters. But she didn't want it, and had left him less than a year later for another man who had ended up killing her.

Inconsolable, Q had taken a leave of absence from Special Ops and had isolated himself. Virginia wasn't even able to find him...and he knew that she had looked. He had felt numerous Quest Pulses bounce of his shielding, but Virginia's was the only one he recognized. He came out once in a while, but it hadn't been often and it had often been angry. Marcus had been the one to speak some sense into him, a memory he had never consciously shared with Virgina, though how she could have been unaware of her husband's conversation with him, he didn't know.

"Ian," Marcus has said late one night after Virginia had gone oot bed and the two were just sitting and talking. "Virginia is hurting for you right now, because she doesn't understand your anger."

"What's to understand?" he'd replied angrily. "My wife left me for a psychomaniac who killed her. Seems pretty cut and dried to me."

"Perhaps I mispoke. That part of your anger she understands. But she's aware that it goes deeper than that, she just doesn't realize that your anger stems from the fact that you love another man's wife. For all that my wife senses, she misses a lot, and I think you hide it from her rather well."

It had taken Ian a long moment to asnwer. "You know?"

"Ian, I've always known. And I want you to know, when I die...I'd appreciate it if you took care of her. She already adores you, and trusts you, so it shouldn't be that big of a step for her to fall in love with you."

"After your gone," he'd replied woodenly, unbelievingly. "You can't be seriously saying what I think you are."

"I'm very serious." Marcus had seemed amused. "I'm going to die someday. I know this, and I'm ok with you being there with her afterwards."

"If you know, how is it Virginia doesn't? You're Bonded."

Marcus chuckled. "Because Virginia lets me keep secrets from her. Every woman likes to be surprised by her husband at least twice a year, her birthday and their anniversary. When she senses one, she doesn't press. She trusts me to tell her when she's ready to hear it."

The conversation had ended shortly afterwards, and they had never spoken of it again. And apparently Marcus had never shared anything with Virginia, because not only had it been a big step for her to fall in love with him, it was one she still wouldn't admit to have taken.

Q knew that a lot of it had to do with the fact that the Council had exiled him and added his name to the Rogue Q list...but he also knew that she had a deeper issue with it.

He just didn't know what it was.

September 12, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 30

In the privacy of her quarters, Virginia pulled out her carry all satchel. The way technology had advanced, and how materialism had dwindled, there wasn't much a traveler had to carry anymore. But old habits die hard. Especially the longer lived a person is. The more memories they had.

She rifled through her undergarments and the sundry momentos that she couldn't part with even for a short trip: pictures of Marcus and her children when they'd been young, especially the one of Sarah, the daughter who had died while still a child...along with a lock of Sarah's hair from when she'd been a baby; letters Marcus had written her; bits of jewelry that her father had given her, not her real father, but the man who had raised her as his own even though he had known all along that she wasn't; the string of firepearls that Ian had given her when she'd been a teenager. She dug past these items to a carefully wrapped and hidden glass bottle.

Khan had been a wine drinker...specifically red wine. Governor Pretek had drank whiskey. Artimes preferred rum and soda, for all that she had been Klingon. General Zoar - champagne. Kirk had coveted his Saurian Brandy; Doctor McCoy his mint julipes. As for herself, once she had discovered Romulan Ale, Virginia prefered it above all other drinks...except maybe Saurian Brandy, but that was not a drink to be had alone. Saurian Brandy was meant to be savored, Romulan Ale worked quickly and was meant for forgetting. Which was why she always hid it beneath the momentos she carried with her, beneath the memories.

After unwrapping the bottle, Virginia requested a chilled glass of crushed ice from the replicator and settled down on the floor. Seated in front of the windows, she poured herself half a glass and sipped it slowly, watching the stars go by. She didn't want to get drunk...she just needed to keep a constant stream of alcohol in her system so that when they met the Borg, she wouldn't be tempted to use her powers to destroy them. And it was also easier to think about the Borg than why the stars sang.

At first, she had been afraid of the decision she'd reached. Everybody had heard stories of what it was like to be assimilated. How the Borg enforced their will over yours. Stole your identity. Mutilated your body. And then she had felt Picard's memories...which had scared her even more...seeing that all of it was true, and that the reality of it was worse than the stories, but it had only reinforced her determination to keep anyone else from having to experience it.

Maybe she did have a hero complex after all.

The stars slid by the window. Slowly. Quietly. All too soon the ship would have to go to Warp. For now, Virginia was content to just watch their slow slide and somewhat unwillingly remember the first time she'd heard the stars sing to her.

She had just turned seventeen. It was summer and she had been laying on the roof of her home watching the meteor shower of August, her falling stars. Like in the Observation Lounge, sounds had crept into the silence. Like music. Different pitches and tones. A meteor would streak across the sky, and there would be a sudden symphony. She could hear the stars...their hum and vibrations. She could hear them twinkle. It had been beautiful. The most purest and sweetest music she'd ever heard. She had turned to Ian, to ask if he could hear it, and had been momentarily taken aback to see that he hadn't been watching the stars, but herself.

"What are you hearing?" he'd asked.

"How...?" She'd been surprised. She was so used to Ian, that sometimes she forgot that he was like her and could hear and sense things, like her thoughts and emotions.

"I can feel that you're awed, and deeply moved by something. It happened all of a sudden."

"You don't hear the stars?"

He had looked surprised. "No. Link with me?"

She had agreed, as she was used to his mental touch, she even liked it. It had always been a soft and gentle touch, his power restrained because of her inexperience with her own powers. She had loved the depth of his presence mingling with hers, always afraid that he would find her inadequate. But this night, when their minds had joined...the heavens had errupted. From the corners of her eyes, she saw a true meteor 'shower' as the heavens suddenly errupted with a flurry of falling stars...and each brilliant streak was accompanied by notes she'd never heard before. And Ian heard it too...she'd seen it in his eyes even as she'd felt his internal reaction. It had seemed to last forever...that brief eternal moment. But it had ended far too quickly. Ian had pulled his hand and his mind away.

"I don't know," he'd said. "I've never heard anything like it. We should go inside now..."

And even though there had been hours of stargazing left, she had obeyed and they had went back inside the underground military complex that was hidden beneath her parents' mock home. He'd never been able to explain why she had heard the stars sing. Or why she only heard them sing when he was with her. But she knew. It had taken her years to figure it out, and why he'd lied about it.

It hadn't been the stars. She'd been hearing his heart.

Why she had connected the sound to the stars, Virginia didn't know. They had often sat out on the roof and watched the stars, him telling stories of the different planets he'd been to, quietly teaching her history and culture without her realizing it. In between stories, he had let her pelt him with question after question. But sometimes they would just sit in silence and, after that first time, it was in those moments of silence that the stars sometimes sang, and it was something she'd only ever experienced with one other man.

Marcus had taken her out stargazing, shortly before they had married. And it had happened again, the stars had sang. She had turned to Marcus, to find him watching her. Telling him what she heard, she had asked him if he wanted to hear it too. So, she'd linked with him...had let him hear the music...and when their minds had joined, the heavens had errupted just like they had with Ian. Marcus, though, had kissed her. And the music was consuming. More kissing had followed, and then more than kissing, the music fading into the sounds of their whispers and sounds of their lovemaking but never really disappearing. It had only ever happened when they sat out watching the stars, like the times with Ian.

Decades later, Virginia had made the connection. Both men had loved her...completely and deeply...accepting her for all she was and all she was meant to become. The living one still did.

What she denied was that her heart had been singing as well, that it hadn't just been the men's.

Virginia poured herself another glass of Romulan Ale, thinking that perhaps she wanted to get drunk after all.

September 11, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 29

Just as Q had predicted, Guinan called Picard.

"Captain, I'm sorry for not calling sooner," she said. "But...did he show himself to you?"

There was never any mistaking whom she meant when she said it like that. "Yes, he did. If you were speaking with Virginia like he claimed, I quite understand why you didn't call sooner."

"I was."

"Is, wait. Are you able to meet with me in my Ready Room, or would you prefer for me to come down there?"

"I'll be there in a moment, Captain."

Picard paced his Ready Room as he waited for Guinan. He wasn't sure what he was supposed to discuss with her, but from the way Q had mentioned it, that being clearly expected the two of them to talk. It felt like it took Guinan an extraordinarily long amount of time before she arrived, though in reality it was less than five minutes.

The smoothly sliding doors slid open to admit the hostess, and quite unlike her she sat in one of the chairs. She waited for the captain to retake his seat before asking, "What did he say?"

Picard was not offended by her brusk manner, and had in fact been expecting it. She had told him the night before that she didn't want to see Virginia hurt...and yet he had done exactly that. "He felt the need to drop in to let me know that he's watching. That Virginia is going to need him soon, for something that she's planning, and that she knows this, even though she hasn't accepted it yet."

"Did he say what she's planning?"

"No. Though he told me that she's been planning it before I hurt her this morning."

Guinan was silent for a moment. "I wasn't sure you aware of that."

"At the time, no. I had only just realized my error before Q appeared."

"Your error?"

"I know that sounds cold, but how would you like me to describe it?" Picard sighed. "I called her by Beverly's the most unforgivable moments."

"The two of you need to talk."

"I plan on it, shortly. Q also said that Virginia isn't to know that he's been around."

Guinan nodded. "I felt that when I felt his arrival."

"Why? Shortly after Virginia arrived, she made mention that she knew Q before he had been named Q, when he was still known as Ian. And when he spoke of how I had hurt her...the look in his eyes...Guinan, what is their story?"

The dark skinned woman hesitated. "Jean-Luc, it's not my story to tell, but I will because I know that neither one of them will ever tell it." She folded her hands in front of her, taking on the air of a storyteller. "He started out as her Teacher."

"Her teacher?"

Guinan nodded. "Yes. Gandraleayians aren't born knowing how to use the powers they are born with, they need to be taught. Some never learn how to go beyond the basics, simple telepathy - such as shielding their thoughts. There are different Talents and different Skills to be learned; there are also moral and ethical lessons taught. Hybrids, it turns out, such as Virginia, taught by full-blooded teachers, but by other hybrids...and they learned this by trial and fire. And most hybrids can learn a great deal without a teacher. Virginia went through seven different teachers before Ian entered her life when she had just turned sixteen."

"Q isn't full-blooded?"

"No. And he wasn't trained to be a teacher. At the time, he was a Special Ops agent for the Orion Council, and he was undercover looking for missing Rogues. The two of them connected right off...she claimed that God had told her he was to be her teacher...and he was amused at her precociousness. He was after all, is, her senior by almost a hundred years. He received permission to try to teach her. The Council honestly didn't know what else to do with her and were willing to try the experiment. I don't know what the ususal method is, but he linked minds with her and showed her what she needed to do. Afterwards, she learned quickly.

"One night, her boyfriend at the time, took advantage of her while she was sleeping. He had been eavesdropping on her dreams, and replaced the man in her dreams with himself. He could do this because he was also Gandraleayian. Ian and another Special Ops agent heard Virginia's mental cry for help and rescued her before the boy could finish. Ian was more strongly gifted in Healing than this other agent, and he was the one who Healed Virginia's physical wounds. But he couldn't fix her emotionally. She ran away in less than a weeks time."

"Ran away? But wasn't she a teenager in the midst of the Eugenics War? It wouldn't have been a good time for a teen to be on her own in any country."

"No, it wasn't, but she knew enough to defend herself. One thing that she learned on her own before Q began to teach her was how to disable an attacker by an electrical discharge. She learned how to Hide herself, and managed to cross the American nation from one coast to the other."

"Is that when she met Marcus?"

"Yes. She was married by the time her people had found her again. They weren't happy that she had married a human, but they were also unwilling to Break the Bond between them. Ian returned to the role of her teacher, though there are some who claimed that Ian had known her whereabouts for far longer than he'd admit. Aside from being her teacher, he was also her friend. Virginia and Marcus were married a long time, and were very happy. If she could have Marcus back, she'd would. But her Bond with him only slowed his didn't stop it. When Marcus died...she was devestated. It damaged her psyche so badly, that for a time she actually forgot who she was.

"She disappeared again, and somehow managed to land herself in a Sancuary Disctrict. She'd been there a year before Ian found her. I'm not sure where he took her, she's never shared. But he had a secret base somewhere and he kept her hidden from their people until she had had enough time to heal and regain her strength. And she seduced him."

Picard wasn't sure if he was amused or startled by this revelation. "She seduced him?"

Guinan smiled at his disbelief. "Yes, 'Q' is seducable, but to tell you the truth, it wasn't that hard. He's loved her from the beginning, Jean-Luc. They were teacher and student for over a year before she ran away, and that's more than enough time for something like love to grow and make itself known. He fought it, he even tried ignoring it with another relationship. But he couldn't fight it any more than you could have stopped yourself from calling out Beverly's name. When she went missing after Marcus died, Ian was beside himself. When he found her...he vowed that whenever she needed him, he'd be there. He wasn't able to hide from her his feelings for her, and Virginia has a way of picking up on a man's interest. She denies that she has any feelings for him beyond friendship, and that the reason she seduced him was purely physical."


"But...I believe she loves him. I know they're Bonded, because they were intimate with each other and they were both sober. And I think it was that Bond that overrode the one with Jayden and drove him mad." Guinan sighed. "I know she was furious with the Council when they exiled Ian and put him on the Rogue Q list...far too upset for her feelings to be platonic. She denies it, as he tried to. But, every single time she's ever needed him, he's kept his word even though it's against the rules...and she's never turned his help away. In fact, I think she even calls out to him when she needs him, whether she realizes it or not."

"Every time?" inquired Picard. "What about after Jayden killed himself? I saw how much that still upsets her."

"He came then, and she accepted his comfort. He didn't stay long, as I was there, and Virginia had told him that she wasn't going to send me away. It made him angry and he left as soon as he was certain she was going to be ok."

"Guinan, what is it between you and Q."

Her brows lowered, and pain crossed her face. "That, my friend, is another story."

September 10, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 28

Virginia sighed in satisfaction as she completed her sundae and handed the dish back to Guinan. "That wasn't as good as the real thing, but it hit the spot."

"I'm sure it did," replied Guinan, taking care of the dish and returning to her seat. "So, what do you plan on doing now?"

"Now? I'm going to inspect the shuttlecraft Deanna and I will be using, after which I shall retire to my obnoxiously huge admirals quarters to catch up on dreaded paperwork."

Guinan smiled, knowing that while the size of the suite appalled her, Virginia also loved the spaciousness. "I meant about Jean-Luc."

Virginia shrugged. "What is there to do? He loves Beverly...far deeper than he wants to admit. I have no choice but to back off."

"Are you going to talk to him, tell him why?"

"Do you think he would believe me? He had no idea what he was saying." Virginia stretched, working out kinks in her back. "He'd think I was being hysterical."

"You might be surprised."

Virginia didn't comment.

"Think about it."

"All right. I can't imagine what good it will do, but I will at least think about it."


The two exchanged a few more comments, then Virginia said her goodbyes and left.

With a heart still heavy with hurt and loneliness, Virginia walked the hallways of the Enterprise without seeing the crew members that passed her by. Sometimes she missed the old ships, such as the original Enterprise. But now wasn't one of those times. Now she was grateful for the never ending corridors and nooks and lounges. She wandered seemingly aimlessly, but soon found her way to the Main Observation Lounge, empty at this hour. Deck to ceiling windows gave an amazing view of their starlit path. She walked up to those windows, until she was nearly touching the transparent aluminum.

She was still deaf to the thoughts of the individuals on the ship. Indeed, it was a blessed silence. Telepathically shielding herself completely was a skill she had never learned, one thing her Teacher had never been able to show her. Alcohol was the only thing she had found that worked. Of course, it rendered all of her powers usless, so it was a Catch 22. One thing it didn't do, which had always confused didn't shut down any of the Bonds she'd ever had. She remembered times when she had been so drunk that she hadn't been able to stand...but could pinpoint Marcus no matter where in the world he was..across the room, across the street, three levels up and tied to a chair....could feel his thoughts, his emotions, his disappointment that she was drinking. He had told her that it didn't dampen his end of the Bond either.

She had Bonded with only two others in her lifetime. Jayden, and the man who had been her Teacher. She and Jayden had never had a chance to see if their Bond would still be open when she'd been drinking, he had taken his life before the month was out. She had talked about this affect with her Teacher, before they had ever Bonded, and he'd been at as much of a loss for an explanation as she had been. Apparently he had forgotten about it, because she had felt his presence on the ship when she'd been talking with Guinan.

He kept the Bond as Muted as possible, as did she. It was preferable over Breaking it, because Breaking it hurt. When Marcus had died, she'd lost herself. It hadn't been as bad when Jayden died, though it had been bad, mostly because she'd had this other Bond previously and he had been there to comfort her. But it was something she didn't want, so he Muted it.

A musical note sounded, low and sweet....followed by another, this one higher. Soon, there was symphony playing in her ears. There was no specific tune, a seemingly aimless melody. The stars were singing. Only she knew now that it wasn't the stars. The song touched the hurting spot in her, and she wanted to surrender to it, but she couldn't...or wouldn't. Her heart racing...Virginia turned and ran from the room, fleeing the heart song...

September 09, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 27


"You said that once already, Jean-Luc. I'm not deaf." Q walked around the desk and sat in one of the chairs across from the captain, his one leg draped irreverently over the arm.

Anger boiled low in Picard. "What are you doing here?"

"What? No hello? You don't want to know how I've been doing? Jean-Luc - I'm hurt."

"Q," Picard said with warning in his tone.

"You are such a stick in the mud." Q stood and paced around the room. His tone and manner abruptly switched from irreverent to serious and brooding. "I'm here, because Virginia is going to need me. She knows this on some level, but she's not ready to accept it yet. And I'm here, to let you know that I'm watching."

"You're watching?"

"The Council will have my hide for this," Q muttered. "Watching? Oh yes. I'm watching. Events are beginning to unfold that will effect the destiny of multitudes, Picard. Unfortunately, it all revolves around Virginia. Once again, on some level she knows this, and wants to fight it, but can't. Because it's too big."

"Q, you're talking in riddles."

"Am I? Jean-Luc, the woman you slept with this morning ... is the Daughter-Heir to a throne that rules more worlds than you have in your pathetic Federation. The fate of the Gandraleayian Galaxy hinges upon the fate of this little half-breed....whose heart you have crushed." Q's eyes flashed angrily, so quickly that Picard almost didn't see it. "Her decisions over the next few days will not only determine whether that obnoxious Council will let her have the throne she was born for, but when. You and your Counselor were right ... she is being tested. Because her Grandmother is dying ... which is a closely guarded secret, so don't open your mouth. The Council is concerned because of how Virginia begged to be let off the hook all those years ago and if they don't like how she handles this mission, they're going to let her father rule until they deem her ready."

"You can't be serious."

"I am." Q sat again. "Picard ... Jean-Luc ... about this morning..."

"I know I've hurt her."

"Badly. Even now, she is crying on the shoulder of that despicable woman you have hosting Ten-Forward. But ... you need to know ... what Virginia is planning ... she's been planning all along."

"I don't understand."

"That is abundantly clear. But you will." Q stood again, regaining a measure of his normal irreverance. "Now, I must be making myself scarce. Remember ... mums the word. I suppose Guinan will be calling after Virginia's left her, and you can talk to her I suppose, and you'll have to tell your Klingon watchdog, but no one else. Do you understand that?"


"I'm serious Picard...Virginia can't know that I've been here."

"She won't learn it from me."


The powerful superbeing disappeared sans his usual flash of light. And Picard was left wondering about the true nature of the relationship between Virginia and this renegade alien ... because the look in Q's eyes when he had spoken of how Picard had hurt Virginia ... the look hadn't been "alien" ... it had been that of a jealous and angry lover.

September 08, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - pt 26

Guinan looked up sharply. She had felt another shift. And this time...she was sure.


And not just any Q...but that Q.

Coupled with the sure knowledge that she could not, should not, must not tell Virginia of his presence.

It was almost enough to make her want to swear.

She felt Virginia enter Ten-Forward before she actually saw her. Her friend was surrounded by a sense of calm turmoil...of all contradictions. But then, Virginia herself was a contradiction, so it was no surprise. Gandraleayian powers didn't usually manifest until the child was in their late teens, often not until they had turned twenty, and this held true for hybrids as well ... usually. Virginia claimed her powers had begun manifesting shortly after she'd turned thirteen.

Quietly, Guinan made her way across Ten-Forward and made eye contact with her friend, beckonging for her to follow. It didn't surprise her any when Virginia followed, but the lack of expression on her young friend's face concerned Guinan.

Guinan turned as the door to her living area closed behind them...and before she had completed her turn, Virginia was in her arms, sobbing. As quickly as that, the dam had burst. "Oh honey...what's happened?"

In broken sentences, Virginia told Guinan what had happened...what had been said...who had said it...when it had been said. "Why?" Virginia cried, her voice a mixture of rage and despair. "Why can't I have someone that loves me?"

"I'm sure there is, Virginia..." Guinan could say no more, knowing that empty platitudes would not help.

She held her young friend until the sobs ceased...slowly winding down one shuddering gasp at a time. Somewhere in the midst of the tears Guinan had sat them down on her low couch.

"It's not fair," Virginia stated. "Why do I have to live by a different set of rules than everybody else?

"Because you're not everybody else, Virginia," Guinan said, speaking a hard truth. "You're the girl who will be Queen."

"Empress," Virginia corrected with a choked voice.

"Empress. You're destined to rule a Empire that comprises a whole galaxy, my dear. Your life was never going to be easy, which I think you knew before you knew who you really were."

Virginia nodded wordlessly.

"I know that doesn't make it any easier, does it?"

"No. And it's still not fair." Virginia pulled away, wiping her eyes as she did so.

"Life never is. Now, how about some chocolate?"

Virginia managed a small smile. "Only if it's your triple extreme chocolate lovers sundae."

"Would I offer you anything but?" Guinan rose to her feet and glided effortlessly across her room to the replicator.

Virginia curled her legs beneath her on the couch as her friend programed in the dessert. "Am I a bad person? For not stopping him when he said her name?"

Guinan didn't answer right away, and when she did, it was in the form of a question as she handed Virginia a bowl full of chocolate ice cream and toppings. "What would you say if our situations were reversed? If I had slept with a man, knowing that he loved another, and asked you if I was a bad person?"

The younger woman pushed the ice cream around in the bowl, making designs in the syrup and white chocolate chips. "I'd probably say that you were only human...even though you're actually not...but you know what I mean by that expression, that you're only normal. That you're lonely. And that just because you made a mistake, doesn't mean you're bad."

Guinan sat by her on the couch. "Does that answer your question?"

"I'd have to say yes."

"Good. Now - eat your sundae before it melts."

September 07, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 25

When he took his seat in his Ready Room, Picard was not surprised to find a message awaiting him from Virginia. In fact, he was fully expecting it to be her telling him what is was that was bothering her before they had went their separate ways only an hour ago. Instead, what he found was a message stating that Beverly Crusher was being released from General Arrest and was returning to duty ... with no charges pending.

That was surprising. To say the least. Admiral Hamilton was not one for bending the rules.


Virginia was one who knew that her life was under constant surveillance and behaved accordingly. And because whenever she did bend the rules, she ended up being punished somehow even if she did save humanity as it was known. Like Kirk, and those in the early days of the Federation and StarFleet...she was of the breed that did what they had to do at whatever cost...but times had long since changed for the admiral, as they had for the Federation and StarFleet. Probably the only rule she had broken within 'recent' years would have been the time with Jayden she had shared earlier.

Certainly there had been times in her early career when she had bent the rules. The instance with Khan, for example. Though, there hadn't been either StarFleet or the Federation then. However, the Romulan Peace Treaty at the end of the Earth-Romulan War had been because Virginia had bent some rules...violated at least three regulations and perhaps the Prime Directive...but peace had been won and the war ended with both sides happy.

He still didn't know what was bothering her from earlier though, and now he had this odd message from her to add to his thoughts.

Absently, Picard scrolled through his other messages, seeing very little of what was on the screen. He had thought that Virginia had enjoyed the morning as much as he had...but now he wasn't sure. Just thinking about their time together was enough to rekindle the desire he had felt with her, indeed, still felt for her. He had never had a partner quite like Virginia before...a woman far from being inexperienced, who yet exhibited the energy and delight of one who was experiencing things for the first time. Her very touch had been electrifying. And her voice, breathy and seductive as she'd 'whispered' in his ear the things she was liking, the things she wanted...asking if he was liking what she was doing. And oh, he had. He had let her know, voicing his pleasure as surely as she had.

It pricked Picard like a needle. Suddenly and sharply. He had called her the wrong name...he had called her Beverly...more than once, if he was recalling correctly.




No wonder she hadn't answered him when he asked her what was wrong. Women were very sensitive to this sort of thing, and Virginia was far more sensitive than she let on. Not that he would have liked it had the tables been turned. She was hurt and angry and probably thinking all sorts of things that simply weren't true. He was going to have to talk to her...and soon. How was he ever going to make this up to her?

"There is no way, Picard. You've done it this time."

Picard started and turned sharply in his chair. It took only a second to register who had invaded the privacy of both his Ready Room and his thoughts - and who even now stood silhouetted against the star filled window. "Q."

September 06, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 24

What had she been thinking?

Doctor Beverly Crusher sat on her long couch, gazing out at the slowly moving star field. They were still under Impulse power, and would be until the Captain gave the order to go to Warp.

Into Borg space.

Where Deanna would most likely beam into a Borg Cube, allow herself to be assimilated, and pray that the drug they gave her would allow the Borg to feel the pain of the hundreds of thousands of individuals and hopefully destroy themselves. And no matter what happened, the admiral would be there to pull Deanna out and restore her to good health, as if the assimilation had never happened.

And what does the Doctor do? Sucker punch that very admiral. In front of everybody. Well, maybe not everybody...Geordi claimed he was looking elsewhere when it happened.

Beverly barely moved her head when her door chime sounded. She was under General Arrest, so she had no control over her door functions. However, when the door chimed again, she turned her head and said, "Come."

The door slid open with ease and Admiral Hamilton herself entered.

Beverly stumbled to her feet to stand at attention.

"At ease," Virginia said, alighting in a chair. She waved for Beverly to retake her seat. She couldn't help but be amused at how the woman managed to look at attention even while she was sitting 'at ease'. But then, she probably wasn't at ease right now. Virginia studied the other woman for a long moment, wondering how the other would have reacted had their positions been reversed...had Beverly heard another woman's name come from the mouth of her lover...not once, or even twice. She herself hadn't mentioned it to Picard, not even after they'd showered and were preparing to go their separate ways and he'd asked what was bothering her; an event that had happened less than an hour ago. "You were not informed of the mission?" she asked finally.

"No, I wasn't. Deanna..." Beverly trailed off.

"Go on."

"She was planning her wedding and forgot to tell me."

Virginia smiled, surprising the doctor.

"You're amused?" Beverly asked, out of turn.

"You have no idea." Virginia crossed her legs, only a little sore from Jean-Luc's earlier administrations. "Which is why there are no charges against you and you are no longer under arrest."

Beverly was momentarily speechless, but only momentarily. "Thank you, Admiral."

"You're welcome. I have no doubt that it is something you won't soon forget. Tell me, you're the one who brought Picard back from the Borg."

It wasn't a question, but it certainly required a response from her. "I am."

"Could you do it again? Bring someone back from being assimilated, I mean."

"I believe so. Their technology is always advancing, more quickly than ours, so it gets a little harder each time, but I believe I could. If I had to. I was under the impression I wasn't going to have to."

"Let's just say that the mission parameters are being changed. Admiral's prerogative. To which you are under direct orders not to discuss with anyone until after the mission is completed and Deanna and I have returned."

"You're still sending Deanna?" Beverly's tone, though confused, now had an edge of iron in it.

"I am sending no one."

It took a moment, for Beverly to get what the Admiral was hinting at. But when it dawned on her..."Why?"

Virginia was quiet as she contemplated her answer. "Can I trust you Beverly?"

"As long as what you're planning doesn't harm this ship and her crew, yes."

"It has been my plan all along to take Deanna's place in the mission, the events of last night and this morning confirmed my decision. I can no more send someone to this death, even if temporarily, than I could when I was younger. Some have accused me of having a hero complex." Virginia shrugged. "I see something that needs to be done, and I'm simply the best one to pull it off."

" have the power to rescue someone else...and to restore their it never happened. I won't be able to do that for you."

"No one could. Ian's tried before, to alter some of my memories to make them less painful...he described the sensation...and he said my mind rebels when memories are tampered with." Virginia wondered what she could say to convince the other woman, because she suddenly felt a need to. "Beverly, it's better this way. Deanna will still go with me, because I'll need her to transport me off before the Cube explodes. But she won't have to face assimilation herself. I will have a list of things for you later, requests and orders if anything should go wrong. This is...I have to do this, Beverly."

"Does Jean-Luc know?"

"No. And I have no intention of telling him."

"Have you been leading him on?" Beverly demanded angrily.

"No. My interest in him is is his that isn't. He thinks it is, but his heart betrays him. I am not telling the Captain, because he does not need to know."

"He'd try to talk you out of it."

"Wouldn't you? Haven't you?" Virginia sighed deeply. "My heart could not bear to hear the things he would say, because my heart would know them to be lies."

Beverly looked at the woman before her...looked at her through the eyes of a woman...and seeing the woman before her...not the doctor seeing the admiral...but one woman seeing another woman. And the woman before her was hurting. "What happened?"

Virginia didn't want to trust the tenderness and concern she suddenly heard in the other woman's voice. To admit defeat to 'the other woman' was humiliating. But she found she had little choice. "Have you ever been with a man...intimately...and he's called out a name that wasn't yours?"


The admiral flicked a piece of imaginary lint off her uniform pants. "Picard loves you, Beverly. His head has him convinced it will end badly...but his heart doesn't buy his reasoning. So don't give up on him."

Again, it took a moment for it to sink into Beverly what the admiral was saying. "I won't. And ... I'm sorry."

Virginia quenched the tears that threatened to fall. "Yes, well...that is life. Now, you must return to duty and I must speak with Guinan." The admiral rose quickly to her feet. "I will speak to you later on the mission's new parameters. And just in case I need to mention it, Deanna is not to know of these changes either."

"Understood," said Beverly, following the admiral to her feet. She watched in silence as the admiral left without another word.

Beverly was glad, very glad, to hear that Jean-Luc still loved her, and she was unable to stop the sense of triumph that came with the other woman's admission...but at the same time, it broke something in her heart to know that the knowledge came at that woman's pain.

What a strange turn of events.

September 05, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 23

"How often does the universe unravel?" Picard asked, coming to stand next to Virginia, who still sat at her desk.

"Two or three times a day, same as with you. And that's on a good day." She sighed and rubbed her temples, studiously avoiding looking at the still unclothed captain.

"You don't think you were too hard on her? She sounded like she's just a girl."

Virginia laughed. "That girl has three children and five grandchildren. Don't let looks, or the sound of a voice deceive you, Jean-Luc. She's a full-blooded Gandraleayian and while she is young by their standards, she is no child."

"I see. Is there anything you need to tell me?" he asked teasingly.

Her eyes twinkled as she replied, "My grandchildren's grandchildren have grandchildren."

Jean-Luc laughed boisteriously, which was a pleasant sound. "And no doubt you remember all their birthdays."

"And anniversaries." Virginia sighed. "Don't you have to be on the bridge?"

"Not for a while yet. I told Data not to expect me this morning and not to call me unless the universe was unraveling or the Borg were attacking."

"I know your track record, Jean-Luc...both those are liable to happen before noon."

"Not today." Picard reached out and caressed her hair. "Come back to the bed."

Virginia hesitated. She really wanted to...he was an excellent lover...and she missed this intimacy...but...he loved Beverly...enough that he spoke her name when being intimate with Virginia. He might have made up his mind not to pursue Beverly, but he had clearly forgotten to inform his heart. Didn't she deserve better?

Picard, unaware of her thoughts, moved to stand behind her. He pulled her hair to the side, lowering his head to kiss her neck. "Come, let me ease your worries."

If only he could. But she did nothing to stop him. She loved to have her neck kissed and nuzzled.

He nibbled her earlobe next. "Let me drive all thoughts of your mission away for a time."

That would be nice too. Already she could feel her body responding to his touch, no matter what her heart and mind was telling her. "Jean-Luc..." she murmured, her voice betraying her want.

"Yes, Virginia?"

Well, he still remembered her name so far. She stood, allowing her arms to wrap around him. "Kiss me..."

He kissed her, passionately. She let his kiss consume her until she was breathless and he was kissing and nibbling her neck again, drawing whimpers of desire from her. His hands untied her robe, and slipped in to ease it from her shoulders....just barely grazing her skin as he did so. He chuckled when she pushed her body into his hands for the touch she craved. She let him lead her back to the bed...allowed him to keep good on his word to drive all thoughts of the Borg from her mind, even if just for the matter whose name he called out...she needed this touch, this pleasure once more before she marched to her death.

September 03, 2007

Resistance Is Futile - Pt 22

The man on the screen in front Virginia looked like a young Vulcan. However, Virginia knew him to be otherwise. James was a Vulcan/Gandraleayian hybrid, who was just past his first century. He was far too "human" for both species that had birthed him. He also served as the admiral's secretary.

"I hear you've been calling?"

"Quite," he answered. His voice was quite dry. "Ambassador Raven-Cloud arrived with a message from the Orion Council. Sovenal and Raven-Cloud both tried to Locate you after you failed to appear for our hails this morning. The Enterprise assured me that you were indisposed and the two began to panic."

"You mean Sovenal began to panic and Raven-Cloud got ticked off." Virginia leaned in closer to the screen. "What does it usually mean when I can't be Located?"

"That you are either dead or drunk." James rolled his eyes comically. "I told them that, but they instisted on multiple calls."

"Is either one of them nearby?"

"Raven-Cloud departed, but Sovenal is in her office."

"Put me through."

A young-looking woman with dark blonde hair replaced James on the screen. "Oh Admiral! You're all right! We were so worried." How a woman pushing fifty could manage to sound like a gushing teenager, Virginia had never quite figured out, and Sovenal had been on her staff for over twenty years now. "Ambassador Raven-Cloud arrived with a message for you and when the Enterprise crew wouldn't let us speak to you, we both tried to Locate you and couldn't!"

"First of all, I was unable to speak to you, so the crew is faultless. Second of all, what does it usually mean I'm unable to be Located, Sovenal?"


"You've been on my staff for how long and you're telling me you don't know what that means?"

"Twenty-one years, ma'am."

"It means I am either dead...or drunk. If I'm dead, there's nothing you can do about it...and if I'm drunk, I'm probably having sex."

Sovenal blushed brightly. "I had heard rumors..."

"They're all true. I couldn't talk to you this morning, because I was getting laid." Virginia conveniently left out the part where she had been unconscious because she'd been punched by the ship's chief medical officer. No one needed to know that, not now, and maybe not ever.

"I am so sorry to have disturbed you..." Sovenal began to fidget.

Virginia let her, for almost a full minute. "Now, what was Raven-Cloud's message?"

"The Council was merely sending it's blessing for your current mission." Sovenal answered quietly, here eyes doubt trying to rid herself of the image of her superior being intimate.

"That's it?! I have the Council's blessing? I'll rmember that when Deanna and I are staring down the Borg Queen." It was always so nice when the stuffy Council granted their blessing. "Now, I'm going to say something, and I want you to hear it...we're going into a battle zone...and I don't want this office calling me again unless the universe is unraveling."

"Yes ma'am."

Virginia terminated the call.