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Stardate 55729.2
USS Jaguar – NCC-90262

Captain Crea Temmett of the SB 214’s Judge Advocate General’s office walked to the morgue, not quite knowing what to expect. He had been summoned by Admiral Jellico and informed that he was to be the new legal representative for a prisoner who had been received from Tholia. Jellico was unapologetically unhappy about the situation as he felt that it was a delay in being able to interrogate the prisoner, but Temmett was used to that, brass were never happy with the fact that rules applied to them as well.

Yet he had been shocked to find out who his new client was. Temmett had been in JAG for thirty-five years. He had prosecuted court-martials and defended petty criminals. He had investigated admirals and crewmen. He had defended nurses and engineers…but he had never been faced with a client that needed his help like this before.

He swallowed hard before the door to the morgue slid open.

The Tellarite man walked in as confidently as possible, wanting his client to see that he could be trusted; wanting his client to know that he would get the best representation that Starfleet could muster.

He allowed his shoulders to slump when he saw the man stretched out on a morgue slab. Is he dead?

Temmett was approached by Picard who was followed closely by Troi. “Captain Temmett?” he asked.

Temmett nodded slightly and extended his hand. “Captain Picard?”

“Thank you for coming on such short notice.”

His eyes shot back over to his new client stretched out on the morgue slab covered in a medical gown. Two guards stood stoically on either side. His concern grew when he saw the number of scars on his client’s legs and arms. “Is he…alive?”

Picard understood the attorney’s concern. “Yes Captain. He’s sleeping. Our doctor has been medicating him…”

“Drugging him?” he jolted.

Picard smiled. An advocate indeed! “Well Captain, you will need to hear about everything that has occurred over the past few hours. Counselor Troi here will be happy to…”

“Excellent. I am glad you are here Counselor. I am thankful that you have made yourself available for the duration of the journey.” Temmett nodded with satisfaction.

Deanna stepped forward and nodded. “Yes of course Captain. Mister Riker will require intensive psychological counseling just to get him to believe he is where he is. The last time he was truly conscious, he believed we were all a part of a grand holodeck program,” she grimaced.

Temmett took a deep breath in then exhaled. “When do you expect the medications to wear off?”

“Soon,” replied Troi. “I will remain here with you.”

Temmett turned his porcine nose up to Picard. “Captain, is there anyone you know who has enough experience to assist me? I am afraid our office is not well-staffed enough to have afforded me the luxury.”

Picard was slightly shaken. “While Commander Riker has extensive legal experience, he would not…”

Temmett smiled slightly. “I understand the reason why he would be unavailable. Any one else?”

Picard nodded. “Lieutenant Commander Data would be an excellent choice I think.”

Temmett stiffened his back. “The android?”

Picard scowled. “He is. Is there a problem with that?”

Temmett grinned broadly. “No! Not at all Captain. I would he thrilled to make use of his skills if you can make due without his presence on your bridge.”

Picard smiled. “Consider it done. I will brief him on the current situation and have him join you.”

“Thank you Captain.”

Picard turned to leave the morgue and Temmett extended his hand once more. “Captain I want to thank you for being so sensitive about my client’s needs. Admiral Jellico informed me of your fervor.”

Picard smiled gently, shook Temmett’s hand and addressed Troi. “Counselor, do you have everything you need?”

Deanna smiled weakly. “Yes, thank you Captain. I’ll be fine.”

Picard nodded and looked to Thomas’ body once more with deep sadness. “Good luck.” he said softly to them both.

“Thank you Captain.” Deanna replied. Picard turned and walked out the door. Deanna turned to Temmett. “Captain, let me bring you up to date.”

“Thank you Counselor.”

They moved into the morgue and began to talk.

Stardate 55729.2
Cardassian Battle Cruiser Pract

“We’re just supposed to sit here and wait.” Gul Minet snarled. “For what? We should be back on Cardassia Prime trying to control the rebellion, not sitting in space waiting for nothing!” His enormous neck tendons flexed with his anger and his light colored eyes blazed. “Did he tell you anything?”

Glinn Sanun tried to look agreeable as he stood in front of his superior officer. “Gul Cacet would only state that if we were to see unusual movement from Starfleet to report it immediately.”

“Unusual? Unusual how? Starfleet has done nothing but cruise the demilitarized zone relentlessly since the end of the war. Everything they do is unusual.”

Sanun nodded with defeat. “I know Gul,” he sighed, “However the Enterprise is the ship we have been told to monitor.”

Minet lifted his head and widened his eyes with concern. “The Enterprise?” He chewed on the thought momentarily. “What would they be doing? I had understood they were back to the Federation challenge of exploration,” he said sarcastically.

Sanun smiled at his Gul’s attempt of humor. “I do not know Gul. Cacet refused to be specific in that regard.”

Minet scowled once more but nodded. “If there is something unusual going on and it involves the Federation flagship, at least we will be the ones to know of it first.”

“Yes Gul.” Sanun stood and backed out of the Gul’s quarters.

Stardate 55729.3
USS Enterprise-E
Ready Room

Picard was unconvinced as he looked into the tired green eyes of his counterpart. “Are you sure Captain?”

Steele took in a deep and exhausted breath and nodded her head. “Yes. It’s time.”

Picard stood and calmly walked around his desk and approached her closely. “Antoinette…I can’t even imagine what you might be…”

“Jean-Luc,” she interrupted then looked to him apologetically, “I have a ship to run and we both have a mission to accomplish.” She grimaced sadly, “Although I’m not so sure I approve of the plan as it is. I’m an escort after all. The thought I won’t be escorting you…”

Picard smiled. “If anything occurs I expect you to charge to my rescue once again Antoinette.”

She smiled outright in return. “I promise.” She stood upright and extended her hand to him. “Captain, it’s been a pleasure.”

He nodded with concern still in his eyes and looked down to her offered hand. He grinned, softly pushed her hand aside and he moved forward. She accepted his hug willingly. “Good-bye Antoinette. Please take care.”
She swallowed hard. “I will Jean-Luc, you too.”
He nodded as he released her from his arms and watched her quickly depart his office.


Is it always going to be this hard? Will I feel this way every time she’s assigned to do something without me? Will the fear always be this strong? Why does this feel so different?

Riker looked to his collar in the mirror to assure the pips were appropriately adjusted and once he realized it was the third time he had checked them, he dropped his hands to his sides in defeat.

He turned away from the mirror and walked out to his living quarters and stopped in the middle of the room without realizing it.

Or is it just because it involves…him? He clenched his eyes shut and tightened his hands into fists. Is that why I’m so worried about this?

He felt a wave of embarrassment and guilt. What has changed? I have always loved her. I’ve always been put into a position of having to see her in difficult assignments. Why is this different? Is it because I know she loves me too? Do I fear losing her more now? He searched his own mind and felt a soft strength and he could only think of one thing…Imzadi. He sighed and smiled.

His comm chirped. “Captain to Commander Riker.”

Riker felt the strange sense of satisfaction that his duties would take his mind off of his thoughts. He clicked his badge. “Riker here sir.”

Please report to the bridge Number One. We’re about to get underway.”

“Understood sir. On my way. Riker out.”

Riker peered out his window. He could see two identical ships alongside the EnterpriseI. The Panther and Jaguar both slowly began to pull away from their mooring points, their movements perfectly synchronized with one another, looking like a strange pas-de-deux was being performed only for him.

He let his gaze fall once upon each ship and his heart sank.

This is going to take far too long. I don’t like it.

He turned and walked out the door to make headway for the bridge.

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