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Story [ST: TNG] Questions - fic-gift for WarmNyota_SweetAyesha multi-chapter Picard, Riker

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Vek Talis, Dec 13, 2018.

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  1. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Title: Questions
    Author: Vek Talis
    Fandom: ST:TNG
    Year: 2369
    Genre: Mystery/Action
    Length: 4 chapters & an Epilogue
    Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek and never will.
    Notes: This is a fic-gift for @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Sorry about the distinct lack of snark, Ny, [face_peace] but that's the nature of these characters: snarkless. I hope you enjoy anyway. :D



    1

    Saxophone in hand, Will Riker strode toward the Holodeck. It had been a while since he'd had some practice in an appropriate setting. With the Enterprise en route to Bajor for some negotiations, he might not get a chance to play again for a while.

    Waiting for him, Data cocked his head at the commander. "Commander Riker, I am curious," the android said.

    "What is it, Lieutenant Commander Data?" Will asked his shipmate and friend.

    "We will begin negotiations with the Bajorans soon," Data said as Will punched in the information he wanted on the Holodeck.

    "That's right," Will said.

    "Based on what was purported to have been done to the planet and people by the Cardassian Union, why there are those who desire to still remain attached to the Cardassians gives me pause." The android knew much more about what it was like to be human than he had when Will first met him. Still, he had a long way to go to become more human.

    "Some people certainly benefited from the occupation," Will said. "The Cardassians wouldn't have been able to reap so much destruction without some Bajoran help. Don't you think those who supported the Cardassians from the shadows would be more interested in their return, as well?"

    "'From the shadows'?" Data echoed Will's words. "Does Bajor's climate permit for a higher average of cloud cover than other planets, Commander?"

    Will chuckled, touched Data on the shoulder. "I meant, there were those Bajorans who openly supported the Cardassians, and those who covertly, or behind the scenes, supported their regime."

    "Ah," Data said. His albino eyes darted back and forth as he processed. "Thank you, Commander."

    Before Will could invite Data into the simulation he was about to call up, the lights on the Enterprise dimmed, red replacing them. Captain Picard's voice thrummed through the corridors. "Red alert; senior personnel to their stations." The alarm that replaced his voice was shrill.

    "Time to go, Data," Will said, setting down his saxophone beside the Holodeck console. A passing crewman without urgent business would recognize it and take it back to his quarters for him.

    On the bridge, Will walked into a storm if ever he'd seen one. Several small, under-powered Bajoran ships, mostly salvaged hulks once belonging to the Union and made spaceworthy again with roughshod repairs and lots of prayers, closed in from different side. One fired a warning shot across the Enterprise's bow.

    As he took his seat beside Picard, Will whispered, "What's going on, Captain?"

    "Obviously, the Bajorans are upset about something," Jean-Luc said seriously. "We haven't been able to find out why, yet." Projecting his voice, he said, "Mister Worf, hail them again."

    "Should I charge weapons, sir?" Worf asked.

    "Under no circumstances, Mister Worf," Picard said sternly. "Hail them again." He stood, rearranged his jacket, and stepped forward.

    At last, an angry Bajoran face appeared on the viewer. "I am Colonel Sayn of the Bajoran Militia."

    "I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, Colonel," Picard said. "Why have you fired on my ship? The Federation was asked here by your government to begin talks."

    "That was before your people kidnapped one of our leading politicians," Colonel Sayn said.

    At that, Will stood, took a step forward to stand behind and to Jean-Luc's right. He cast a glance to Deanna Troi, still seated at the captain's left. Slowly, her eyes flicked to Will, and subtly she nodded her head. Will took that to mean she believed the sincerity of the Colonel, no matter how ridiculous his accusation might be.

    "How may we assist you in this crisis, Colonel?" Captain Picard asked, as Will knew he would.

    Colonel Sayn punched a button and sound from his end of the communication ceased. Will watched his lips move, wondering what he was saying to subordinates, or superiors – or both at once. Surely the Bajorans didn't think they could defeat a Federation starship. It would be ridiculous to even try and close off their one avenue to freedom.

    Will walked around and up the ramp, to stand beside Worf. He watched the stalemate and the weapons console with interest. If there was a fight after all, Worf would do his best to take down the enemy shields and disable the vessels.

    After a few uneasy minutes, a sound indicated mute had been removed. Colonel Sayn glared at Picard. "My superiors don't believe your ship was personally responsible, Captain Picard." The three warships' weapons powered down; Will watched it happen on Worf's console, before returning to the captain's side.

    "Our leaders will continue with the talks, while providing you one chance to help find our lost soul." Colonel Sayn still glared; he clearly didn't think much of his orders. "I am instructed to take your investigators to the site of Dainel Nace's disappearance, and then escort the delegates to the Enterprise for the talks to begin." Abruptly, he cut communication.

    Jean-Luc turned to Will. "Commander, take Beverly and Data and discover what has happened," he said quietly. "I don't have to tell you how important it is we find this Dainel Nace."

    "No, sir," Will said, then nodded. "We'll get to the bottom of it." He gave the captain his most confident smile, then turned it on Deanna, before heading toward the turbolift. "Data, you're with me," he said as he walked.

    "Are you ready, Doctor?" Will asked Beverly Crusher as she hurried into the transporter room. Her medical tricorder clung to her left hip. On her right, a small medical pack hung, in case of emergency.

    "Ready as I'll ever be, Commander," she said confidently. "Let's deflate another crisis and leave Jean-Luc looking like a miracle worker, again." She smirked and Will grinned back at her words.

    To himself, Chief O'Brien smiled, but lowered his head to the transporter console.

    Data was the only one who didn't quite get it. A tricorder was attached to one of his hips, a phaser on the other.

    "Energize, Mister O'Brien," Will said.

    When they materialized at the coordinates the chief had been given, Colonel Sayn and a fit, attractive woman, also in Bajoran military uniform, stepped forward. "This is my attache, Captain Kira Nerys," Colonel Sayn said gruffly. "She will go with you to ensure you do no more harm to our people."

    "We'll find Mister Nace, Colonel Sayn," Will said. The Colonel glared, more fiercely than before, then turned to Captain Nerys. "I must escort the delegates to the Enterprise. Be alert for their treachery." With a last heated glance at Will, the Colonel stalked from the transporter room.

    Captain Nerys gave the Federation officers a sympathetic look, then turned to her transporter operator. "You have the coordinates?" When the man nodded, she held out her arm to Will. "If you please?"

    Will, Beverly and Data returned to the transporter pad, Captain Nerys joining them. "Energize," she said.

    Again, Will rematerialized on a different vessel. This one looked less like a military ship and more like a civilian transport.

    Before he could give orders, Captain Nerys touched his arm. "Commander, before we go any farther, I wish to apologize for Colonel Sayn's manner. We Bajorans have learned to rely only on ourselves, and it's difficult to welcome outsiders."

    "It's all right, Captain Nerys," he said. The Bajoran looked at him funny. "What? Have I offended?"

    Nerys looked from him to Data, then to Beverly and back. At last, a light of recognition sparked behind her eyes. "Perhaps you don't know that we Bajorans use our family names first. I'm Captain Kira and our missing politician is Mister Dainel."

    "I'm sorry," Will said, remembering Ensign Ro Laren; he tried not to blush. "I won't make that mistake again, Captain Kira."

    Kira nodded, then led the team out of the transporter room of this new vessel. "Mister Dainel didn't really have a title; we've only just begun putting together a provisional government," Kira explained as they walked. "He was traveling to an outpost on one of our moons when he went missing."

    "Colonel Sayn suggested the Federation was responsible," Will said. "How does he suspect that? I didn't think there were Federation vessels that arrived before the Enterprise."

    "A few goodwill ships carrying supplies have been here," Kira said. "Humans from Earth, especially, moved in while some Cardassian ships were still leaving orbit. Some here resent their presence as much as we did the Cardassians."

    "I'm sure they meant no harm," Beverly said.

    "I believe that," Kira said gruffly. "That doesn't mean my superiors do." She led them to some quarters. "This was where Mister Dainel was staying when he disappeared."

    Will nodded to Data and Beverly, who went into the quarters. "What else can you tell me about Mister Dainel," he asked Captain Kira. She reminded him, a little, of Deanna, though much about the two women was different.

    Kira stared at him for a few moments, as if gauging whether or not to say anything. At last, almost in a conspiratorial whisper, she said, "He is very pro-Cardassian. Dainel has been agitating for a return of the occupation."

    Will sucked in a breath. That would complicate matters. If they couldn't find him, or if he was truly dead, the pro-Cardassian factions might gain notoriety and strength in the provisional government. The Federation very much wanted Bajor to join.

    "Will." Beverly stuck her head halfway out of the quarters. "May we speak with the Commander in private, Captain Kira?"

    "Of course." Kira walked across the hallway, her hands clenched behind her back.

    When Will entered the quarters, Data was still scanning with his tricorder. "What is it?" Will asked.

    "Over here," Beverly said, drawing his attention to one of the beds. "There's some cellular residue consistent with a phaser set to kill."

    "That's not good," Will said. "Can you confirm it belonged to Dainel?"

    "Working on it," Beverly said.

    "What have you found, Mister Data?" Will asked the android.

    Data was busy scanning some scorch marks on the wall nearby. "I have determined the weapon to be consistent with a Mark One Federation manufactured phaser," he said.

    "Do you have anything else?" Will knew Data pretty well. The way the android continued to scan, even after he'd made his report said there was more to the story.

    "One moment," Data said.

    "Will," Beverly got his attention. "Preliminary results indicate this was Mister Dainel's DNA," she said. Then, her tricorder beeped. Almost simultaneously, Data's did as well. "That's strange," she said.

    "What?" Will felt very much out of his league in the moment. He'd been trained for a leadership position; of course he knew some science and medical, that was part of being a leader to have at least an understanding of what your people did. But, he also knew how much he didn't know about specifics. He needed to wait patiently to hear what his specialists had to say.

    "Some interesting readings, Commander," Data said. "I do not believe this is the end to Mister Dainel, though I cannot be certain of the details at this moment."

    "Beverly?" Will hoped he might get better answers from her.

    "I suggest we return to the last place Mister Dainel was seen alive, Will," the doctor said, absently. She and Data continued to analyze and exchange information on their tricorders.

    "Captain Kira," Will called. In moments, the svelte officer hurried into the quarters. "Where was the last place Mister Dainel was confirmed to be alive?"

    Kira brought out a datapad and consulted it for a few moments. "I'll take you there," she said.

    This investigation was beginning to get interesting. If his top people said there was more going on, Will had to trust them. Maybe they'd find this fellow alive, after all.
     
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  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Very compelling and crucial mission and mystery to complicate. :cool: You have the characters' voices and undercurrents with one another perfectly! [face_love] =D=
     
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  3. Master_Lok

    Master_Lok Wacky Wednesday Winner star 6 VIP - Game Winner

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2012
    In character from what I barely remember. A good read.
     
  4. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Thanks. I'm glad you're enjoying it. More to come, below... @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    Thanks. :)



    2

    Jean-luc stood in the mirror. His dress uniform fit a bit snugly around the waist. It was just like clothing to shrink in the closet when you weren't looking. Soon, he would have to recycle it and request a new one.

    Though he'd never let on to his underlings – or his superiors, for that matter – this was one of his most onerous duties. Playing nice for a bunch of stuffed shirts. Briefly, he remembered how alive he'd felt when he was in Starfleet Academy. He and his friends, going out on the town and having fun.

    Then, the corner of his mouth turned up in a sneer. "'Human play dom-jot'," he said, remembering the smug Nausicaan who taunted him. Absently, his hand slid up to his heart – now a computerized device, thanks to that same Nausicaan. What had his recklessness provided him with, except a fake heart?

    This was probably the best life. Q had taught him he needed that youthful exuberance. The man he'd become with a real heart hardly needed the organ: he was so dead inside. Life, it seemed, was all about recklessness turning to stability with time. Those who practiced it well lived to be wise.

    "Maybe someday, that will be said of me," he said as he walked toward the door to his quarters. Duty called, and he would never be one to shirk his responsibilities.

    Out in the corridors, Jean-luc passed a few crewman, hurrying to their stations. They all looked intense and driven, like he'd been, back then. It was amusing, in a way, to speculate which ones would be willing to get into a bar fight and which ones would already have the wisdom and courage to back down.

    Then, a darker shadow crossed his path. As he stood in the turbolift, he remembered his image in the mirror. Rather than a Federation uniform, Borg implants covered his body. A red laser shot from the sensor on his face, bouncing off the mirror in a thousand directions. Frost gripped him as he gazed into that haunting image, Locutus of Borg staring right back into his soul, the soul he would have lost for good, had he remained a prisoner of the Queen for much longer. One day, he would have the opportunity to make them pay for what they did to him and countless others.

    When the turbolift doors whooshed open, he was himself again. Deanna Troi, lovely as ever, waited in the corridor.

    "Greetings, Captain," she said and smiled. He returned the gesture only briefly. Her face changed expressions in an instant. "What is it?"

    "Nothing, Counselor," Picard said as he pushed himself forward. Together, they walked to the entrance to Ten Forward, where the diplomats from Bajor were. "Find out anything you can about this missing politician," he said to Troi just before the doors opened.

    "Ah, Captain Picard." A handsome woman of about forty sauntered forward. Elegant grey frosted the sides of her light brown hair and mingled with the locks making up the braids which hung halfway down her back.

    Drink in hand, she lifted it to him and smiled widely. "Jun Tyrene, provisional government, at your service," she said pleasantly.

    "Miss Jun," Picard said and nodded formally. "I sincerely hope Bajor and the Federation may come together in peace and understanding."

    "Oh, pish for formality, Captain," she said, dismissing his opening line with a wave. "My colleagues and I are well aware of all the Federation can do for Bajor. Let's not spoil this evening with business."

    Jean-luc nodded again and headed for the food. The last thing he wanted was to get pulled into a nonsensical discussion. He was there for formal talks, not chit-chat.

    Guinan had outdone herself this time. Foods from all over the Federation, along with many Bajoran delicacies, lined the long tables. Some highly illegal Romulan ale had managed to make it aboard, as well. He would have to remember not to mention it, next time he saw his long time friend.

    "It's a shame the Union sympathizers have ammunition to use against the Federation."

    Jean-luc turned, nodded formally to the man who stood before him. "I'm sorry," he said. "I don't believe we've been introduced."

    The man stuck out his hand, shook Picard's. "I'm Tauren Rin, Captain. A pleasure to meet you. I represent the Bajor that wants to join the Federation. We see what you can do for us and how Bajor might rebuild itself, with a little help from some friends."

    "That is good to hear, Mister Tauren," Jean-luc said.

    "Many on my homeworld say we don't need outsiders," Tauren said. "And they're right. Reaching out to the stars put us in the position to become victims of the Cardassians. But remaining victims isn't the answer, either."

    "No, it's not," Picard said. "The Federation would be a fine friend and ally, but we won't force help on Bajor. Whatever assistance you ask for, we would be delighted to give."

    "Unfortunately, this business with Dainel endangers that," Tauren said. His gaze flicked to his right and his head dipped slightly. "I see you've already met Jun," he said darkly.

    Picard turned, recognized the woman. She smiled widely at him, raised her glass again. When he turned back Jean-luc said, "I have. Does she represent the pro-Union faction?"

    "You are perceptive, Captain," Tauren said and sighed. "Jun would be thrilled to welcome the Cardassians back with open arms."

    "Do you think she might know anything about Mister Dainel's disappearance?" Picard asked before taking a sip of a tasty synthesized port.

    Tauren scowled. He stuffed a morsel into his mouth and chewed for a moment before swallowing. "Maybe," he said at last. "I thought it was... convenient when Dainel went missing a day before the Enterprise was due to arrive."

    Picard and Tauren passed a few more pleasantries, before parting ways. Jean-luc found Deanna sitting in a booth, gazing out to the stars. "Do you sense anything?" he asked, taking a seat opposite her.

    The Counselor turned, casting a pleasant smile on him. "There is much here, Captain," she said. "I'm sorry; I needed a break from it all. Each person here has his or her own agenda. It's very loud in their minds and I'm having a bit of difficulty blocking enough of it to stay focused."

    "I understand," Jean-luc said. Under normal circumstances, he would have asked her if she wanted to leave. Times were far from ordinary, though, and he needed her here. Rather than say it aloud, he waited.

    "There is deception here, Captain," Deanna said quietly after gathering her thoughts. "That woman, Jun." She glanced toward the attractive woman. "She seems quite happy with current events. Her thoughts swirl around Dainel; I get the impression she knows him personally."

    "And she doesn't seem worried about him?" Jean-luc asked.

    Deanna shook her head, slowly and subtly. "No," she said under her breath.

    Jean-luc was about to stand, when he felt a presence off to his right. When he turned, he did stand, quickly. "Miss Jun, a pleasure to see you again," he said and smiled warmly.

    "Do you mind if I steel away this handsome fellow?" Jun asked Deanna, even as she slid her arm into Jean-luc's.

    "Not at all," the Counselor said around a charming grin. "The Captain should be shared by all. I was just telling my mother that, the other day."

    Rarely would Jean-luc tell anyone what they could do with their mother. Where it concerned Lwaxana, though, he was often tempted. Instead of say that, he plastered his most charming look on his face. "This way, please, Miss Jun," guiding her to an out of the way table.

    "This is a delightful reception, Captain," Jun said when they were seated across from each other. Then, she scowled. "Of course, some of our company, I could do without. Bajor doesn't need leaders like that bore Tauren. Our people are strong and hardy, Captain. What we require are strong, hardy leaders."

    "Like the Cardassians?" Jean-luc asked in a whisper.

    "Exactly," Jun said, surprise leaping into her voice. "You are certainly a perceptive man; I can use a perceptive man's help, as a matter of fact."

    "Tell me first, about Mister Dainel," Picard said. "What do you think happened to him?"

    "Oh, Nace will turn up, sooner or later," Jun said airily. "He always does when he gets his point across."

    "And what point is he making now?" Jean-luc wondered how forthcoming Jun would be. If he might get her to say more than she should know.

    "Dainel knows the Bajoran people, Captain," Jun said. As if sensing she shouldn't lay all her cards on the table at once, she dismissively waved her hand. "Whether he's alive or dead, I should say I don't know. What I do know, is that we know what's best for our people, Captain. If you would be willing to help me, I can do the same for you." Her smile was charming, and the look she gave him said many earthly delights might come his way, were he inclined to help.

    "But, I wouldn't be welcome on a Bajor where the Cardassian Union returned," Picard said. He got the feeling Jun might have all the answers to the current crisis here, if he could extract them from her.

    "We find ways, Captain," she replied. "If you could, say, discover a way for your investigation to end with nothing to show, I would be very grateful."

    Unless Jean-luc missed his guess, her words meant there was indeed something for Riker to discover. "If the Federation takes the blame for Dainel's disappearance, then Bajor would once again stand alone."

    "We all stand alone, Captain," Jun said. "Alliances and friends are such fleeting things. In the end, we are, all of us, alone with ourselves. If you can stand yourself, then you'll make it all right."

    Two hours of mundane, political chatter later, Jean-luc was able to tear himself away. Relief flooded into him, not that he would permit himself a physical display. The two factions of Bajoran politicians were quite polarized. Tauren's followers wanted Dainel found so talks could move forward, so Bajor might at least accept some provisional help from the Federation. Jun's followers, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with Earth, desiring a return to rule from Cardassia.

    However, most of what he'd glommed from the different politicos gave Jean-luc the impression that Dainel Nace was still very much alive.

    "I agree, Captain," Deanna said when they spoke in the turbolift. "I sensed Jun Tyrene's pleasure in holding the reins of Bajor. If we can't discover what really happened to Dainel, her position will be unchallenged."

    "And the Bajorans lose," Jean-luc said.

    When the doors slid open, Will Riker stood there. Deanna smiled, nodded and quickly exited, perhaps sensing Will needed to speak with the Captain. Will shot into the turbolift.

    "News, Number One?" Picard asked when the doors shut again.

    "Permission to engage in an unorthodox search, sir," Will said, then explained.

    Once he knew what his Away Team had gathered, Jean-luc found himself nodding along with Riker. "Permission granted," he said simply. The lift doors opened and he stepped from it. "Good work, Number One," he said before they closed on Riker.

    If all went as the Commander suggested, Jean-luc would be pleased. Dealing with politicians when he didn't have all the facts was frustrating, to say the least. Jean-luc liked to go into a situation where he had the advantage. Hadn't Sun Tzu said something similar?

    "The successful commander has already won before taking the field," Jean-luc said to himself as he walked back into his quarters. Yes, it was something to that effect. Now, he could strip off his dress uniform and get back to the business of being a starship captain again. Soon enough, he'd have what he needed to fulfill his mission. Riker and Crusher had never let him down before.

    "Beverly," he said quietly. In the sanctum of his quarters, Jean-luc could at last be himself. The redhead had always appealed to him. When she'd married his friend, her appeal turned into that of a friend. For years, he buried his other feelings deeply. There, unfortunately, was where they should rest. He told himself that every time he looked at her. It was starting to get easier, at least.
     
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  5. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Vek Talis

    :) :) [face_sigh] !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You pushed all my Jean-Luc fangirl buttons big time! [face_love] =D= The two Bajoran factions were well detailed as well. Jun is charming but definitely wants her own side to win so she can be on top power-wise. Tauren seems to truly want what's best for Bajor.

    Relieved Nace seems to allegedly be alive and well. I know Riker's not going to conveniently "find nothing" especially if someone asks. :p He's going to unveil whatever needs discovering.

    Jean-Luc/Beverly now that is one fascinating 'ship as is Will/Deanna. :D I enjoyed both immensely during the run of TNG. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
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  6. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    Thanks, I enjoy 'pushing buttons'. [face_mischief]

    Yeah, he's such a wet blanket, isn't he? :rolleyes: :p

    Glad you're enjoying it. Getting close to the end. When I brainstormed on the idea, I didn't think it would be this long, but then the first post went on, and I realized this would be longer than a one shot. You gave me some awesome bunnies with your gift request, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha ! More below.



    Before leaving the Enterprise, Doctor Crusher had performed some minor surgery on Will, while another doctor did the same for her. They stood on the transport Dainel Nace had disappeared on, in civilian clothing made of sackcloth, sporting jewelry which marked them as lower class laborers. It had taken Will most of a day to get used to the nasal ridges, but now he hardly noticed them. Kira Nerys, in similar garb, accompanied them as well.

    The transport was on a permanent run between the capital city and an outlying area of farms, with few villages between. No one had stopped it – according to its logs – when Dainel vanished, though the logs also stated that everyone who boarded it departed at its destination.

    "And you're certain of this?" Will asked the conductor of the transport, an elderly gentleman with stately features.

    "Can't be sure, sir," he said, then studied Will. "What did you say your name was?"

    "Ri Lew, sir," Will said. "We're trying to get a fresh start, away from the city." He folded Beverly in his arm, as their story was they were newlyweds.

    "My cousin came out ahead of us," Beverly put in. "We sure hope he wasn't caught up in the trouble."

    "What was his name?" the conductor asked.

    "Dainel Nace," Will said.

    The wizened fellow gazed down at his clipboard. Frayed pages rustled as he flipped them. His smile quickly faded, though, and he tapped the clipboard once sharply. "I can't give out passenger information. I'm sorry." He found somewhere else to be in a hurry.

    "Could be a clue," Will said as the transport began its final landing sequence.

    "Or not," Beverly said. "He might have recognized Dainel's name and didn't believe we were related."

    "Dainel doesn't have surviving family," Captain Kira put in helpfully, though after the fact. "He did have a sister, but she was killed during the occupation."

    "And he still wants the Cardassians to return?" Will furrowed his brow at the idea.

    "His sister was killed by anti-Cardassian terrorists who bombed a high level function," Kira said quietly. In a sackcloth dress, a belt around her waist, she looked even curvier than before.

    "You're fit, Captain Kira," Will said, admiring her form as well as her military bearing. By her own admission, she'd been what Cardassian authorities considered a terrorist.

    "What's that supposed to mean?" She rounded on him, glaring up, her hands clenched behind her back.

    "I mean, the military life suits you," Will said casually, trying to backpedal.

    "We only just get married, after all these years, and I find you hitting on another woman right in front of me," Beverly said, doing a poor job at a poker face.

    "Not funny, Doctor," Will said sharply.

    He remained silent until they left the transport. It seemed the smart thing to do. Much of the surrounding land had been scorched when the Cardassians left. Bajoran farmers were trying to heal it.

    "Why are there Cardassians here?" Will asked as they walked toward the nearest village. Grey skinned Cardassians toiled side by side with Bajorans. They wore the same sackcloth rags.

    "They're as much peasants as my people, to our former rulers," Captain Kira said, then shrugged her shoulders. "I suppose the people here have gotten used to one another over the generations."

    At the local village, the three travelers visited the local shops. No one had heard of Dainel Nace, or admitted they had. When they stopped at a small tavern which doubled as an inn for travelers, Will noticed a few Cardassians in the small dining area. Absently, he tapped his right hip, and was glad to feel Federation manufactured hard plastic.

    "I'm looking for a friend of mine," he said to the man behind the counter. "Dainel Nace; he said he was heading this way."

    The man glared at him before replying. "Ain't got nobody here by that name."

    "You sound pretty sure," Will said. "Would you mind terribly checking for us?"

    "Get lost," the man growled before disappearing into the back.

    "Friendly bunch," Will said.

    "Uh, Lew, dear," Beverly said.

    It took Will a moment to remember his fake name. When he turned, he received an unpleasant surprise. Four of the villagers were standing, glaring at them. One walked toward the exit, standing stalwartly before the door. The others drew short weapons, clubs and knives, and waited.

    "We don't want any trouble," Will said. "We'll leave."

    The man blocking the door didn't move. "Stay behind me, Doctor," Will whispered to Beverly and took a few steps toward the door.

    "Get them," the villager blocking the door said.

    Will reached for the concealed phaser at his hip. Before he could use it, though, a short club struck the back of his hand and the weapon skittered across the floor. Will's left hand grasped one of the wooden chairs by its back. He lifted it as the man swung his club again.

    The chair blocked the swing, and he grabbed the weapon with his sore right hand. Rather than wrestle the club away, however, he had to dodge when another villager, this one armed with a knife, came in at his side. Will took the back of the chair in both hands and held it out in front of him.

    The man with the club advanced, swinging the weapon over his head. A red beam hit him in the side from Beverly's phaser, though, and he winced, dropping the weapon before he fell over. The club rolled to a stop at Will's feet. The man with the knife lunged forward. Will blocked the knife with his chair, then kicked out with his right foot. The club shot forward, bouncing off the attacker's shin.

    Will dropped the chair, knocked the knife from his hand and slammed his head down onto the nearby table. "Thanks, Doctor," he said before turning to help Captain Kira.

    However, their Bajoran liaison didn't seem to need help. When Will spotted her, the third villager lay unconscious on the floor and she was twisting the arm of the man who'd blocked the door.

    "Good work," he told her.

    "Thanks; it means so much to get your good opinion," Kira replied sarcastically.

    Will grinned at her spunk. To the man who looked in great pain, he said, "Tell me about Dainel Nace."

    "Why should I?" he asked in return, then grunted when Captain Kira twisted a little harder.

    "Because we're asking nicely," she growled in his ear.

    Will grinned again, mostly because Kira Nerys was doing as good a job as Worf would have. But Will knew better than to say that to anyone; he had to live on a ship with the perpetually angry Klingon. "I take it Dainel's still alive and around here somewhere," Will said. "Just tell us where we can find him and we'll be on our way."

    "The basement," the man said in a groan of agony. "We wanted him for ourselves."

    "What's that supposed to mean?" Will asked.

    When the man proved too uncooperative, Captain Kira spun him toward her and knocked him out with a piece of metal she'd slid over her knuckles.

    "Was that really necessary?" Will asked as they walked toward the basement. He'd found his phaser and clutched it tightly.

    "Maybe not, but it felt good," Kira said.

    Down in the basement, Will and his party came face to face with a Cardassian and a bound and gagged Bajoran. "You and I should talk, human," the Cardassian said. He held a weapon on the Bajoran. "Allow me to introduce you to Dainel Nace. Like any good tailor, it seems you've sewn up this case; with my help, of course."

    Twenty minutes later, Will was back aboard the Enterprise. He hadn't had time to change, or to have the nasal ridges removed. Worf and the rest of the bridge crew had given him appraising glances when he strode off the turbolift, toward the Captain's ready room.

    "Interesting, Number One," Picard said when Will had given him his report. "I'm glad this situation will come to a good end, and soon."

    The Captain stood from his chair, a ghost of a smirk drawing the corner of his mouth upward. "Now go to Sickbay and get back that face we're used to. And put on some proper clothes."

    "Yes, sir," Will said. When he left the ready room, Deanna headed his way, joining him in the turbolift.

    "That's a nice look for you, Will," she said and grinned.

    "Don't you start, too," he said.

    "No, I mean it," she insisted. "It's... dignified. The clothes, on the other hand..."

    "What I go through for an away mission," Will said, casting his gaze up to the ceiling. He fixed a charming grin on his former lover. "You find this new face handsome, eh?"

    "I said 'dignified'," Deanna replied, her face neutral, though there was a lilt in her voice he recognized from their close association.

    The turbolift doors opened and Will stepped out. Deanna remained. "I have to get back to the bridge," she said as the doors closed, though her gaze dropped toward the sackcloth tunic he wore.

    "She likes my new look," Will said happily. Maybe he'd keep it after all, he mused as he walked into Sickbay.
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb action. Will is amazing and Kira as well in hand-to-hand. :cool: Glad they found Nace and revealed the true culprit behind the 'napping. =D=
     
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  8. Vek Talis

    Vek Talis Jedi Knight star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 12, 2018
    I'm glad you're enjoying your gift. :) Alas, as the last episode of TNG proved... All Good Things... This is the last of it. Enjoy, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha



    4

    "Really, Captain Picard," Jun Tyrene said on the third day of informal talks. "I fail to see the point. Your men have failed in their efforts to find Nace, which can only implicate the Federation further. What do you hope to gain by a third day of wasting our time?"

    "I assure you, Miss Jun, what I have to say will be quite relevant," Jean-luc replied. He adjusted his dress uniform, then clicked the comm device on his chest. "Now would be a good time, Number One."

    Will Riker, also in dress uniform, entered Ten Forward. Behind him walked Dainel Nace in wrist binders, looking dejected. Mister Worf took up the rear, in regular uniform, a phaser at his side to contain the prisoner.

    All of the Bajorans made noises of some sort or other. Jun Tyrene let out a tiny gasp; her hand came up to her mouth to contain it. Tauren Rin grinned and slapped one of his colleagues on the back.

    "Why is he bound, Captain?" Jun tried to rally, glaring at Worf. "Why is this Klingon thug hovering about one of our leaders? I demand answers."

    Thankfully, Worf didn't rise to the challenge. "You will have answers, Miss Jun," Jean-luc said. From the small satchel he carried into the talks, he pulled some papers. "These were discovered on Mister Dainel when he was captured by an agent of the Obsidian Order."

    More gasps. Tauren stared at Dainel, wide eyed.

    "I ask for sanctuary on Cardassia," Dainel Nace said meekly, before casting his gaze to the floor.

    "Obsidian Order, you say?" Tauren asked tentatively. "They still have agents here, on Bajor?"

    "Apparently," Jean-luc said, trying to let him down easily. "They were, in my view, responding to a request of Mister Dainel, as detailed in these pages." He handed copies around to the delegates. "Commander Riker can fill you in on the rest."

    Jean-luc was more than happy to turn over the politicians to Will.

    "Mister Dainel wished to see you all dead," Will said bluntly. Jun Tyrene gaped, then grabbed some of the pages and studied them as Number One continued. "With help from Obsidian Order agents, he intended for a Bajoran terrorist cell to bomb the provisional government, while he was safely hidden away. Then, all the power would rest on his shoulders. With an act of anti-Cardassian terrorists, he could easily refuse Federation help and appeal directly to Cardassia to help the beleaguered citizens of Bajor."

    "What you say is..." Jun Tyrene ran down. Perhaps she'd been trying to deny anything. The thought of her own death must have weighed heavily on her. Especially at the hands of someone she thought she could trust. "What do you have to say, Nace?" she asked instead.

    Dainel Nace didn't take his eyes off the floor. "I wish to request sanctuary on Cardassia Prime." It was all he would say since his plot had been discovered.

    "That isn't for us to decide, Mister Dainel, as I've said," Jean-luc replied. "Our task was to find you, so you may rejoin your colleagues. It is they who may decide your fate."

    "I think sending you to Cardassia is a fine choice," Tauren said. "If any other pro-Cardassian politicians want to join you," here he pointedly looked Jun's way, "I doubt any of us would object."

    Tauren walked over to Picard, offered his hand. "I want to tell you, Captain, that I am quite pleased with the Federation's resolution to this case. You've proved yourselves a valuable ally to Bajor."

    "Thank you, Mister Tauren," Jean-luc said as he shook the other man's hand. "The Federation would gladly welcome Bajor as an ally."

    Thankfully, the remainder of the talks were brief. Jun Tyrene and the pro-Cardassian faction were very quiet. When they left, Jean-luc got the distinct impression they would love to make Dainel Nace disappear, whether to Cardassia Prime or a deep, dark hole somewhere.

    "It was lucky that Obsidian Order agent was there on Dainel's trail too, Number One," Jean-luc said when the delegates beamed back to Bajor. "We might not have discovered the hard evidence to present."

    "Yes, sir," Will said hesitantly. "May I speak with you in your ready room, Captain?"

    "My quarters are closer," Jean-luc said. When they were seated in front of the stars, the curve of the planet off to Jean-luc's left, he asked, "Some tea?"

    "No, thank you, sir," Will said. He got straight to the point. "Captain, I've wondered just how much of that 'evidence' was manufactured by the Obsidian Order agent I met." Before Jean-luc could say anything, Will went on. "Don't get me wrong, sir, I wouldn't have made my report if I wasn't certain Dainel wanted those things. It's just... convenient the Obsidian Order had all that information on hand."

    "You think this fellow, what did you say his name was?"

    "He didn't," Will said. "Nor did he say anything important about himself, other than his organization."

    "So, you think this agent created false documents to aid us?" Jean-luc asked.

    "False, maybe, though as I said, I believe Dainel wanted those things," Will said. "The documents just made it easier. That was one of the words the agent used, 'easier'."

    "Ah." Jean-luc looked out the window at the sparkling stars for a few moments as his thoughts coalesced. At last, he said, "I don't think it matters, Will. As you say, Dainel sought an outcome favorable to himself over his own people. It's not necessary to dig too deeply into it. Unless you got the impression the agent was hiding something? Dainel didn't try to refute anything the agent said, did he?"

    "No," Will said. "In fact, he confirmed it all, even after the agent left."

    Jean-luc smiled. "Then you've completed a fine investigation, Will. Well done."

    "Thank you, sir," Will said and stood. He walked toward the door, but turned his head and stopped before it opened. "One thing, sir," he said. "That agent did mention something about Terok Nor, which I believe is known to us as Deep Space Nine. And he kept referring to me 'sewing' up the loose ends."

    "Perhaps he's a tailor when he's not spying for Cardassia," Jean-luc offered helpfully. When Will was gone, Jean-luc gazed out at the planet they orbited. Bajor might at last begin the healing process. He fidgeted in his dress uniform and decided he needed it off this instant.

    "Earl grey. Hot," he told the synthesizer as he stripped off the uncomfortable uniform. He decided he needed to have it let out some. Clothing did have the odd habit of shrinking in all the wrong places.



    EPILOGUE


    Will grinned as he programmed the holodeck. "You're all going to love this, I promise," he said. He clutched his saxophone and began the simulation.

    Jean-luc smiled at the setting as soon as he walked in. "Nineteen forties, unless I miss my guess," he said, glancing at the decor of this seedy bar. It might have been a partial setting from one of his detective novels.

    "Yes, only no gangsters to shoot at us," Will said, confirming his thoughts. Soft music began to play; musicians stood on a raised platform at one corner of the bar. The Commander quickly hurried toward them.

    Beverly, Deanna, Data and Jean-luc sat at a booth. The waitress came and took their orders.

    "So tell us, Captain, about that woman, Jun," Deanna said. "You seemed quite taken with her."

    "Oh?" Beverly raised an eyebrow at that.

    "I wasn't 'taken' with her, Counselor," Jean-luc said, mildly irritated. "I had to be professional; diplomacy requires a certain panache."

    "You have panache?" Beverly asked, her pretty eyes looking him over before a dismissive toss of her head. "I hadn't noticed."

    Will came to stand in front of the table. "I'll join them in the next song," he said. He looked from Jean-luc across the table to Beverly, then back to the captain. "Did I miss something?"

    "You didn't miss that Captain Kira," Deanna said, a lilt in her voice. "Beverly tells me you were an admirer of the Bajoran."

    "I-" Will was suddenly at a loss for words. His grip tightened around the saxophone, and he looked to Jean-luc pleadingly.

    "You're on your own, Number One," Jean-luc said.

    "Captain Kira doesn't compare," Will said. "No one can compare to the beauty who sits before me."

    "Why, thank you, Will." Beverly batted her eyelashes at the commander and she and Deanna gave their hands a giddy squeeze below the table.

    "I-" Will stuttered before his cheeks flushed bright crimson. Without another word, he turned, headed back to the raised platform.

    Data watched the back and forth mutely. At last, he said, "Have I missed something?"

    "What's there to miss, Data?" Deanna asked. Her eyes danced as she and Beverly shared another glance. "Come on, Data, let's have a dance," Deanna said, sliding from the booth. She grabbed the android's hand.

    As Riker played his saxophone softly, and Troi and Data slow danced, Jean-luc gazed at Beverly, who watched the dancers. In another world, he would have touched her hand and asked her out to the floor to join the festivities. It was difficult not to; her beauty had always given him pause. But he was more than content to have her at his side as a friend.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  9. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Fascinating resolution to the Nace puzzle and the Epilogue -- had the Vek trademark snark. [face_love] =D= :) [face_sigh] If you ever have the desire to write a TNG short story or epic, I'm SO THERE! :D [:D]
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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