Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Disclaimer: All hail the mighty Paramount! They are totally free to abuse the characters as they see fit. And, according to fair use, apparently so am I. Not for profit, of course.
Notes: This was written for the series weekly challenge, TNG without Picard. My chocolate goes to Beverly.
Beta: I wish! It needs it. But this is, again, very last minute. It's such a great motivator.
"If there's nothing wrong with me, there must be something wrong with the universe!"
--Beverly Crusher, "Remember Me"
"Ooo, Dr. Crusher, I'm just so excited to be here!" The young female ensign was practically bouncing on the balls of her feet.
"Great," Beverly murmured, distracted.
"It's just so wonderful, being on the Fleet's flagship, serving with you, and under the great Captain Jean-Luc Picard!" Ensign Kelly D'Raga almost squealed, clutching her data PADD to her chest.
"I doubt anyone's actually served 'under him', the cold--" Crusher started to say under her breath.
"What was that, Dr. Crusher?"
"Nothing, dear. The Captain is at a conference at the moment. But I'm sure you'll find it a pleasure serving under the First Officer, William Riker," Beverly said.
"Oh, I've just heard so much about him from the girls down in the science labs!" D'Raga beamed.
"I'm sure you have," Crusher said dryly.
"So, what's my first task? I'm ready to do the very best I can!" Ensign D'Raga said eagerly.
"Well, I do have these tricorders that need testing," Crusher replied, leading her over to a wall cabinet. "Damn, that brings back memories." This was said quietly to herself.
Kelly D'Raga caught it anyway. "Only good ones, I hope!" she said.
Dr. Crusher sighed and opened the cabinet, pulling out the equipment. "Now it's very simple. With these you need to--"
"Oh, I know," D'Raga interrupted, getting to work. "What's it like, boldly going where no one has gone before? Gee, though, if it truly were where no one had gone before, it'd be awfully lonely out here. Anyway, it must be just so great!"
"Highly overrated," Crusher said bitterly.
"Oh, surely not! How can you say that?" D'Raga asked.
"You have no idea," Beverly said.
"Ooo, girl talk! Come on, Dr. Crusher, you can tell me. I'm the soul of discretion," D'Raga vowed.
"Well, why not," Beverly said with far less enthusiasm than the ensign. "Sickbay is empty and I'm caught up with my paperwork. Might as well kill some time giving a new crewmember fair warning."
"But it can't be as bad as that, can it? At the Academy, everyone was hoping for a position on the Enterprise!" D'Raga was clearly puzzled, but not worried yet.
"That entirely depends upon who you are," Crusher informed her. "Some people around here just seem to get the short end of the stick more often than others," she said flatly.
"What do you mean?" Ensign D'Raga moved in more closely.
"Let's just say that sometimes there are certain disadvantages to serving aboard this ship."
"But--but, how can you say that? You have done so much! You are at the top of your profession! One of the most respected doctors in Starfleet, you've written numerous acclaimed research papers, discovered new diseases, and seen so much out in space! The Chief Medical Officer on the Federation's flagship is nothing to scoff at, you know. I've always wanted to be a doctor, ever since I could remember. It's such an important job. Helping people, saving lives. What could be better than that?" D'Raga regarded Dr. Crusher earnestly.
"Nothing," Beverly said, but there was an odd tone behind her words. "Of course I'm not putting down being a doctor."
"What then? I mean you must be so fulfilled! Other people look up to you, Dr. Crusher. You give us hope. I've always wanted to be independent like you, single-handedly raising a son while pursuing such an important job. And apparently you did a great job! He's quite famous in some circles, you know. Super nice and intelligent, he even got picked by an advanced species to evolve to another plane of existence!" D'Raga was warming to her subject more and more.
"Yes, I know," Beverly said, a trace of sadness in her words. "But there's more to life than being successful at what you do. Flavor, substance, fire! Those things are important too."
"But you are such a strong person Dr. Crusher. I'm not sure what you mean by that," D'Raga said.
"Strength isn't everything. You need balance, a way to be more than a living example of some lofty ideals. Preserve some femininity. But I'm sure I'm probably not coming across very well here," Crusher said.
"You seem pretty well preserved to me," Ensign D'Raga said with a grin.
"Hm. You ought to see Deanna Troi. She brings it to an art form," Crusher said wryly.
"Oh, the ship's counselor! Well, no offence, but Betazoids kinda creep me out. All that mind reading and stuff," D'Raga said.
"Well, she's only half Betazoid. Her gifts are empathic in nature. She's only telepathic with other Betazoids," Crusher said.
"Still. I mean, doesn't it get rather annoying, having her know your feelings all the time?" D'Raga asked.
"Sometimes," Beverly said with her first smile so far.
"I think you've done a great job, balancing your public and personal life," D'Raga declared.
What personal life? Dr. Crusher thought. Out loud she said, "Trust me, fewer people than you think ever manage to do that well around here."
"I've heard," D'Raga had the air of imparting some very juicy information, "that you and the captain have a thing going." D'Raga grinned.
Beverly snorted. "I can assure you that those are merely rumors."
"Well, surely there's someone..." D'Raga fished gently.
"Right," Crusher said sarcastically. "It's nice to have someone to warm your bed every now and then, but it always seems to end badly in my case."
"Really? How so?" D'Raga had a strange gleam in her eye.
"Well, one way or another, almost everyone I seem to get close to moves on to a different, or higher state of being," Crusher said. The thought suddenly popped into her head of Jean-Luc somehow evolving yet again, this time more permanently. She shook her head to clear it of such thoughts.
"That's amazing!" D'Raga said with relish.
"Yeah, well try dealing with it first hand." Crusher looked distant for a moment, thinking.
"You know, you really do remind me of her. She turned out to be an evolved life form herself," Crusher said with a sigh.
"Who was that?" D'Raga asked.
"Never mind. I'm sure she's fine. At least, I hope so," Crusher said.
"Was she one of the ones you had an affair with?"
"No, actually." Beverly raised an eyebrow at her. "It's most improper to get involved with one of your subordinates," she said dryly.
"I'm sure some people do anyway," D'Raga said.
"Yes, some people do," Beverly answered cryptically. Looking back through the past, Beverly went on, "There was Odan. But he didn't evolve so much as change his outer form. That didn't exactly end well." Her voice was faintly wistful.
"But it was fun while it lasted, right?" D'Raga asked.
"Well, sometimes it's really a pain having to say goodbye all the time," Crusher said.
"Yeah, but some of them must have ended on a positive note," the young ensign said.
"Humph. John Doe put an abrupt end to our relationship all right, but I don't know if I would call it a smooth one. After evolving to a higher state of being, he put our ship in danger, saved it, and then left to usher in a new era of evolution for his people. Yes, that was interesting, anyway. There's rarely a dull moment on the Enterprise. Except for right now," Crusher said.
"If the relationships weren't exactly emotionally rewarding, they must have been at least physically rewarding," D'Raga prodded.
"I did get to have sex with an anaphasic life form. That was...something. Why did I ever give that up?" Crusher asked this last to herself. Mmm, Ronin, she thought. "Where was I? Oh yes. After a few disasters, I'm a bit soured on men. I mean, the only time Mr. Cold Fish would even admit to his feelings was under the influence of an alien device. While all it took for me was a disease that acted like alcohol." And I didn't even get any, she thought bitterly.
"You shouldn't let a few set-backs put you off. Seize the moment, Dr. Crusher. Have some fun! At least, that's what I intend to do. All work and no play make Joan a dull girl." D'Raga giggled.
"Maybe. Just remember, we may have cured most of those little things that plagued humans in the past, but there are still plenty of alien diseases to catch," Crusher cautioned her with a smile.
"Oh, of course!" D'Raga winked at her. "I only hope we get some action soon. It's so dull right now!"
"Be careful what you wish for," Beverly said automatically. But her mind was elsewhere...
Riker sat in the captain's chair, drumming his fingertips upon the arm. "Right. So, how long until we reach Celtis Nevera IV?" Off to pick up another damn ambassador, he thought, bored.
"We shall arrive at the planet in approximately one hour, forty minutes, Sir," Data responded helpfully.
Well, at least he's improving. He didn't give the time down to the last second, Riker thought. "Alright. Do you anticipate any trouble between now and then, Data?" he asked.
"Not likely, Sir. Although, it is always a possibility." Data had turned around to answer, but now he moved back to face Ops once more.
"Great," Riker said flatly. We should be so lucky, he thought.
He tapped his communicator without much spirit. "Engineering," Riker said crisply.
"La Forge here," Geordi replied instantly over the com channel.
"Mr. La Forge, is everything running smoothly up there?" Riker asked.
"Yes Sir, the engines are operating at ninety-five percent efficiency," La Forge answered.
"Wonderful. Ah, keep up the good work, Geordi," Riker said.
"Will do, Commander," Geordi said.
Riker twisted around in his seat. "Any problems in security, Mr. Worf?" he asked.
"None Sir," Worf answered.
Riker sighed and got up to pace the bridge. It was going to be another one of those days.
The ambassador had arrived onboard without any incident. A handsome, cheerful fellow, Tor'chek Armani made no excessive demands upon his hosts. He was escorted to his quarters, but soon made his way to ten forward, where he heard there was recreation to be had. Beverly happened to be there, trying to enjoy an after-work drink. He was drawn to her red hair, which stood out sharply for him, coming from a world where everyone was dark.
He made his way over to her table and sat down. "Why, hello. Drinking alone, I see. That doesn't seem right," Armani said.
"Yes, I--I am," Beverly answered. She was startled to hear someone speak practically at her ear. Beverly was in the act of raising her glass to her lips, but she paused midway to stare at the newcomer. After a moment she realized what she was doing, and apologized. "Forgive me for staring. I'm Dr. Beverly Crusher," she said.
"No, dear lady, forgive me. It was most inconsiderate of me to sit down uninvited. I am Tor'chek Armani." He held his hand out to her and she took it.
"You must be the ambassador I heard about," Crusher said.
"Yes, guilty as charged. You serve on quite a fine ship." Armani looked around admiringly.
"She is that. Would you like a tour, Ambassador?" Crusher asked.
"I would be delighted. And call me Tor'chek." He smiled warmly and extended his arm out to her as they rose.
What the hell, was Beverly's thought as they left ten forward.
Somehow they ended up in an unoccupied viewing port. A private alcove, sealed off from the rest of the ship with a door and the proper locking code. The stars were lovely. But they didn't do much stargazing during the hours they spent there. Beverly was trying out her own version of boldly going with an alien species.
The orgasms were incredible. Apparently the ambassador had tentacles hidden under the heavy robes he wore. He was able to caress her like no one ever had before. Over, around, and inside her the muscular, pebbly things went. Shuddering through yet another orgasm, she too explored his body, discovering odd plate-like ridges running along the sides of his torso. They liked to be stroked. A lot.
It had been too long since she indulged, which made her all the more eager to enjoy every minute. Tor'chek had great staying power. It was nice not to have to worry about whether one's partner wasn't going to be as energetic as you were. Caution about alien diseases was thrown to the wind while they tried out each other's bodies. He wasn't scheduled to leave the ship for another week, and Crusher was looking forward to all the time they would have together.
His own climaxes were quite interesting when he finally reached his peak.
Another day, another uneventful shift. Commander Riker was slightly out of sorts because he was on a new watch rotation, and, to top it all off, yesterday 'evening's' entertainments hadn't gone as planned. He hoped something interesting would happen to relieve the tedium.
Behind him, Worf suddenly spoke. "Sir, reports are coming in of a strange disturbance occurring on Deck Three. Shall I send out a security team to investigate?"
"No, Mr. Worf," Riker said, trying to hide the eagerness from his voice, "that won't be necessary. I'll go check it out myself. Lt. Thomason, you have the conn." Riker made a move towards the turbolift.
"But Sir, I must insist that you take someone with you, at least," Worf said.
"Alright. Worf, you're with me. Let's go," Riker said.
Worf called someone over to take his place and followed his superior officer off the bridge. Riker talked as they rode over to the correct deck. "Worf, do you have any more information on what kind of disturbance they were talking about?"
"It is very strange Commander. They spoke of an odd creature, bouncing down the halls of the officers' quarters. He was speaking incoherently, though they did their best to communicate," Worf said.
"Bouncing?" Riker asked, puzzled. "Why weren't the universal translators able to help them?"
"Well, they could understand the individual words, but--" Worf stopped in mid sentence as they arrived at their destination and almost ran into Data and Geordi coming down the corridor. "Have either of you seen anything unusual?" he asked.
The other two men had been deep in conversation up until the moment Worf had interrupted them. They were heading for Geordi's quarters. "We could try out program number four eight nine dash six tonight," Data was saying. They stopped short and turned to face their fellow officers.
"No, nothing unusual. But we just got here," Geordi said. "What seems to be the problem?"
"There have been reports of a disturbance on this deck," Worf said. Data opened his mouth, about to ask a question, when they all heard a loud crash in the distance. They started down the corridor, Worf with his hand near his phaser. They needn't have bothered, because the noise came to them, and quickly.
A bouncing object, appearing to be only mostly humanoid, was hitting the walls, floor, and ceiling as it approached them. It was laughing loudly in spurts.
"What is that?" Geordi asked when it came into view.
"I am the walrus! Goo goo g'joob!" the creature called out gleefully.
"Geordi, why did that being just say that it was a large, extinct Earth marine mammal?" Data asked.
Riker blinked. "I think I see what they meant, Worf," he said.
Worf stood in front of the others. "Who are you? State your business here!" he demanded.
"Rumpelstiltskin!" the creature yelled, laughing.
"That is a character from an ancient Earth fairy tale. I believe the being may have accessed the ship's computer," Data said.
"I don't care where he got the nonsense he's spouting! I just want to know where he came from and what he's doing on this ship," Riker said.
"I don't know, but I think he kind of looks like the ambassador we picked up yesterday," Geordi said.
"The ambassador? Are you sure?" Riker asked. He stared intensely at the creature, but he was hard pressed to see the resemblance.
"Of course he's sure, he's seeing things we can't," Crusher said, coming up behind them. "Besides, it's just my luck anyway," she said, sounding resigned.
"Hello Doctor," Data said, "did someone call for medical assistance?"
"No Data, I was on my way to my quarters for something when I heard the commotion," Crusher said.
"Something is happening," Worf stated abruptly. He had been staring at the creature the entire time.
He or it had ceased its movement. The being seemed to shrink up on itself, becoming more condensed. Its limbs contracted, turning into beams of light that shot out across the corridor. The rest of its body resembled a seething mass of bright, iridescent plasma now. It seemed to turn in their direction to 'face' them.
"Wow! That's amazing!" Geordi exclaimed enthusiastically.
Riker just stared in shock. He recalled Beverly saying something about Geordi seeing things they could not, and he briefly wondered what the engineer's impressions of the alien were, before he started to worry about what he was supposed to do now. Worf stood stiffly at his side, the phaser still in reach, although he looked like he had no intention of using it.
Crusher just shook her head. "He's evolving all right," she sighed. "There goes another one. I never should have slept with him."
Riker turned to her. "Beverly?" he asked.
"What? You're surprised? You are not the only one with an occasional sex life, William Riker. I never should have slept with you, either!" she snapped, annoyed.
Riker raised an eyebrow at this. He didn't know what to say.
"Now I can complete my mission!" the alien spoke excitedly.
"And just what is your mission?" Riker asked.
"To go out and have as much fun as possible!" the former ambassador said.
"Well, that's certainly different," Geordi said.
"I don't have time for this," Crusher said. "Contact me if you need me." She walked off.
"Ah, well, do you require any assistance?" Riker asked cautiously.
"Nope! I'll just let myself off the ship now. Thanks anyway!" With that parting line, the alien proceeded to move right through the walls of the ship and out into space.
Data and Geordi quickly went to one of the windows. They watched as the creature moved through space. "How fascinating!" Data said.
"Great. Well, I'll just go make my report," Riker said, moving back towards the turbolift.
"Yes, and I'll return to my post, Commander," Worf said, looking warily back at the spot where the alien had gone through the wall.
"Of course. Dismissed," Riker said.
They both walked off. Geordi and Data were still staring out the window.
On a nearby planet, as the Enterprise sped past, two figures stood alone in an open field. One of them turned to the other and said, "You know, the next time they stop at a planet, I ought to drop in. Mom seems kind of down."
The other sought to reassure him. "That's probably not necessary, Wesley. She's very capable. I'm sure she's fine. Yes, quite a woman," the Traveler said.
Wesley looked at him sharply. "You haven't slept with my mom, have you?" he asked.
"No! Of course not," the Traveler replied indignantly.
"Well, good," Wesley said, slightly mollified. "I'm just making sure."