Data’s Dream

Star Trek: The Next Generation
“Data’s Dream”
By: R.A. Slater

Disclaimer: Star Trek is a creation of Gene Roddenberry and if I’m not mistaken Paramount Pictures owns the copyright. I also used the characters of “The Wizard of Oz” to illustrate a point, which I make note of in the endnotes. The characters called the Zion Revivalists are my own creation. While there is some resemblance to real people, it is only loosely because as soon as I started writing them, they took on a life of their own…which is only fair since the story is based loosely on a dream I had in which my church’s Praise and Worship Team was ministering on the Enterprise. The characters have their own pasts, their own hopes and dreams; might post some of their other stories. This was written around the year 2000 or 2001.

Would most definitely be an AU story. Probably after the end of the 7th season but before the movies started coming out.

Rating – Parents cautioned…this is actually a character piece but a severe case of abuse is discussed.

Chapter One

One minute he had been waiting for Geordi to return, the next minute Lt. Commander Data was standing at a window out side of Shuttle Bay Two. Wondering what had happened to suddenly trigger his dream program, Data watched as the dilapidated old ship was brought in on a tractor beam. Captain Picard and Commander Riker stood with him and together they watched as crewmembers from Engineering decked out in environmental protection suits swarmed around the still hovering ship, waiting the chance to board and pronounce the ship safe to enter. Curious, Data watched his comrades’ reactions to the ship, for truly it was outdated.

“What a hunk of junk,” declared Riker somewhat derisively. “It looks like she’s being held together by chewing gum and spit.”

“Ah, yes, Number One, but she’s obviously someone’s pride and joy,” replied Picard with a smile as he took in the ship’s kept appearance.

“Pride and joy?” Riker was clearly doubtful. “If you say so sir.”

“Come,” Picard said, turning as the ship finally settled. “Let’s go see what La Forge and Doctor Crusher have to report.”

“Aye, sir.” Riker followed after the captain, as did Data who asked, “Chewing gum and spit, sir?” Riker laughed and said, “It’s an old, old Earth expression, Data, almost as old as that ship out there.”

Data filed the information under “colloquialisms” in his positronic memory. He had not been on the bridge when the distress call had come in, so the android asked, “Did they specify what was wrong?”

“They had some sort of engine fire,” the captain answered. “Their ship’s hull has an odd configuration, no doubt for privacy, and it interfered with preliminary scans.”

“They did manage to put the fire out by themselves,” added Riker. “But they still have a lot of smoke in the air and some heavy engine damage.”

“Smoke in the air? Do they not have the proper equipment to clean and recycle the air?”

Riker laughed as they entered the docking bay. “Even if they did, from the looks of that ship, it would probably be broke past fixing.”

“Why did you not send an Away Team over, Captain? Surely that would be safer than bringing the ship on board the Enterprise.”

“Yes, it would have,” agreed Picard without trace of irritation. “However, their hull configuration also prevents transporter use.”

There was a hissing sound as the ship’s main hatch lowered. Smoke billowed out in a steady stream of milky brown. As soon as the hatch had finished lowering, people started to pour out of the ship, all in a calm hurry. It was a lot of people.

“Is that amount of people legal for a ship that size?” wondered Riker out loud, his voice terse.

“I count 51 humanoids, including children,” answered Data, his unblinking gaze scanning the crowd quickly. “Well within the limits of a ship this size.”

“Still, that’s a lot of people.”

“Granted,” said Picard lightly.

Apparently they were close enough to be overheard. One of the men that had been one of the last out of the ship rose from his doubled over position and looked around at the others from his ship. “Only 51?” His voice rose slightly, but it carried and it exuded the authority of a Starfleet admiral. “Someone’s missing! Sound off!”

Voices called out as names were given in what sounded like a predetermined order. There was a lull over halfway through.

“Anna!” cried out half a dozen people in alarm.

The first man, still unnamed, took one look at the tall woman by his side and started for the ship. Both Engineering personnel and his own shipmates, including Geordi La Forge who had just exited the ship restrained him from entering.

“Hey, easy there,” Geordi said calmly but firmly, speaking around a breathing mask. “You can’t go in there quite yet. Another fire’s been sparked and some of those fumes are toxic. No one’s allowed in without protection.”

“You don’t understand!” the man argued, still trying to get through. “Anna’s still in there!”

“Josh, listen to me,” reasoned one of the men holding him. A tall slim jim of a man who had given his name as Cal. “Anna’s probably slept through all of this.”

“But…I promised Jack that I’d take care of her.” Josh stopped straining, but remained insistent. “I can’t let her suffocate in her own bed!”

“Anna’s come through worse scrapes than this – Remember the time we accidentally left her behind and there was that riot? Where did we find her but safe in bed and sound asleep even though the building had fallen down and collapsed just like the walls to the city of Jericho?” Cal sighed and let go of the distraught man, as did the others. “Besides, you know Who is taking care of her, far better than any of us ever could.”

Josh still looked distressed even as he agreed with Cal, prompting Data to step forward.

“If you tell me where she is, I will go in and find her,” Data offered. “I am an android and as such, do not require protection from toxins.”

Josh told him the way to Anna’s quarters and visibly relaxed.

Data found the woman where they had supposed she’d be – in her bed. He picked her up easily and quickly carried her out. Outside the ship, Data found that everyone had been moved farther away from the ship’s entrance except for Josh, Cal and the woman whom Josh had looked at earlier who Data recalled as being named Min. Captain Picard and Riker were on the other end of the small ship with Geordi. The trio moved as one toward the android and he said urgently, “She is not breathing.”

They took the slight woman from him.

Min checked for a pulse on Anna’s wrist as they moved swiftly away from the smoking ship. “She doesn’t have a pulse either. Lay her down, we need to revive her.”

As the men set the unconscious woman down on the cold deck floor, Min pulled out an outdated medical tricorder. “Josh, you do the breathing and Cal, you compress her chest,” Min commanded with an authority that matched Josh’s. “And be gentle about it. She doesn’t need any more broken ribs.”

“Yes ma’am!” replied Cal.

“Jainna!” Min called as the men started CPR on Anna. “Get people to praying!”

“We already are,” replied Jainna from somewhere in the crowd. They were all being treated for injuries of varying degrees, but when Doctor Beverly Crusher saw the emergency she came quickly, her own tricorder out and scanning the woman being treated.

“Why wasn’t I called?” the Starfleet doctor demanded angrily.

“Because we have things in hand,” replied Min coolly.

Crusher shook her head and pulled out a hypospray of medicine. “Here, let me. This should bring her right around.”

Min stopped her, boldly restraining the other woman at the wrist. “No! Anna doesn’t like doctors, especially those in Starfleet. I’m the only one she lets treat her.”

“You’re a doctor?” asked Crusher, obviously miffed as she pulled her hand out of the other woman’s grasp.

“Used to be.” Min was preparing her own hypospray now. “My license was revoked years ago, before we started touring, but our permits allow me to treat my companions.” Min checked Anna for a pulse again. “I’ll show them to you later. Ok, Cal, you can quit; her heart’s beating again. Joshua, keep breathing for her until she picks it up herself.”

“You’d better show me those permits as soon as we’re done here,” said Crusher deadly quiet. “And you will explain to me – in detail – why your license was revoked.”[i]

Data took advantage of the momentary lull that ensued to ask a question. “Who and where is Jack? I did not hear anyone identify themselves as such earlier, yet you mentioned him. He is not one of the unnamed ones is he?”

“No,” answered Min, praying that Anna would start breathing soon. “Jack was Anna’s husband.”

“He died about a month ago,” Cal finished for Min. “It wasn’t a pretty death.”

Data thought that perhaps there was more to the story than just that, but he was unable to inquire further as Anna suddenly drew a deep breath and began to cough and sputter her way to consciousness. Josh helped her to sit up once she was.

“What happened?” the young woman asked in between coughs.

“There was an explosion in the engines,” explained Cal. “It caught fire and filled everything with smoke. At least half our systems are short circuited, if not more. Warp drive and the environmental controls were the first to go.”

“And you slept through it all – again,” said Min as she showed Anna the hyospray and waited for the young woman’s nod of permission.

“Was anyone or anything hurt?” Anna rubbed her eyes as she let Min apply the medicine. She flinched at the imaginary pain.

“No, everyone’s fine. I think the worse injury would have been Philip smacking his head. He’s got this great big goose egg on his forehead now. The only instrument that was plugged in was Tabitha’s electric tambourine, but that’s no great loss. It needed to be fixed anyway.” Cal shrugged as if it were no big deal.

“So we can still play? Good. Let me stand up.”

Min nodded her approval and she and Josh helped her to her feet.

Anna looked at Data and Doctor Crusher, then around at her surroundings, and then at her friends. “Where are we?”

They all looked at each other a moment, then at the Starfleet officers.

“You are aboard the starship Enterprise,” supplied Data, noticing that they all frowned at that information. They seemed to take on an air of sudden alertness, as if ready to flee at a moments notice, though not overtly distressed.

“I wouldn’t say that too loudly if I were you,” Anna said wryly. “Not everyone would remain calm.”

“No, they wouldn’t,” agreed Josh.

At this time, Picard, Riker and La Forge arrived at the group.

“It’s going to take me a few days to fix it, Captain,” Geordie La Forge was saying, though it was directed at the others as well. “The explosion did a lot of damage and it is an older drive system. I found some chemical residue and evidence of tampering in the hull configuration along that section. I think someone messed with the hull and transported a bomb in.”

Picard looked at the group before him. “I was told that the captain of this vessel was over here. Which one of you would that be?”

“That would be me,” answered Josh. “I’m Joshua Le Vite and our ship is called The Eagle’s Wings. This is my wife, Min, and Cal Jephunnah is our Chief Engineer. Anna is the one your man rescued.”

“I see.” As a courtesy, Picard likewise gave introductions. “I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This is my second-in-command Commander Will Riker. Geordi La Forge, here, is our Chief Engineer. Lieutenant Commander Data is the one that rescued Anna, and of course, Doctor Crusher, one of the finest doctors in Starfleet.”

“We know who you are,” Min said solemnly. She smiled gently at their startled looks. “One can’t live in the Federation and not know who the senior officers of the Enterprise are.”

“Captain Le Vite, as you heard Chief La Forge was just telling me his findings. Do you know anyone who would want to harm you, or possibly one of your passengers?” Picard asked.

“We all have enemies,” said Josh with a shrug. “People who objected when we changed how we lived, or people who object to the message of our music.”

“Ah, you’re musicians?” The Starfleet captain smiled.

“We are. If you’d like, we’ll play some of our music for you and your crew. I’ll show you our permits.”

Picard nodded happily, no doubt thinking that it would be a morale booster for the crew.

Riker spoke up quickly. “Sir, I would advise against it. As far as we know, someone on board could have done this.”

“Thank you, Number One,” Picard said pleasantly. “Captain Le Vite, once it can be ascertained that this is not sabotage, I would be happy to permit you to sing for my crew.”

Josh nodded. “Of course. That will also give you time to do a background check on us.”

“You don’t seem too concerned about the possible bomb,” Riker said gruffly. That he was studiously avoiding looking at Anna said to Data that his commander was finding the young woman distractive.

“Why should I be? I told you, we all have enemies. Min’s former supervisor is constantly sending us “hate mail”. Jainna’s own mother has tried innumerous times to have her committed for psychiatric evaluation. Cal’s brother has tried sending him to jail, twice. Last month a mob tried to tear our ship to pieces simply because they hate Romulans, they didn’t seem to care that Jan is only half Romulan. The month before that an audience pelted us with their version of tomatoes. Apparently they didn’t approve of synth-rock no matter what the message is. The month before that…it goes on, Commander! Each month, each stop, something old, something new, but always something. It’s a fact of our life that we’ve come to expect and plan for. It’s second nature to most of us.”

“And yet you do not give up and go home?” asked Data out of curiosity.

“For many of us, this ship is the only home we have,” interjected Min. “Our friends and family from our old lives have turned most of us out, have literally thrown some of us out. Even if we wanted to give up, we would have no where to go.”

“Besides,” added Cal. “We love what we do and Who we do it for too much to quit…now or ever.”

“For the beauty of the language of Truth doth not surpass the beauty of the reality of that Truth, wouldst thou not agree, Captain?” asked Anna in a serious, penetrating tone.[ii]

The eyebrows of the Enterprise officers flew up in surprise and concern that anyone would address their captain in what sounded like thinly veiled contempt.

Data accessed his files and concluded, “King James English.”

“A beautiful language,” murmured Picard, sounding elsewhere.

“Perhaps thou should looketh deeper than the surface Jean-Luc, into the heart of the Speaker of such a Word.” Anna didn’t so much as blink; Data saw his friend Geordi adjusting the VISOR over his eyes and wondered what the electronic aide was showing Geordi. “For the secrets thou thinketh hidden, are but in plain sight. Seek and ye shall find. For the mystery is that in the light of this simple word, even the blind are made to see, the lame are made to walk, and ye shall see the dead returned to life.”

“Yes, yes,” said Picard quietly, as if seeing a vision of her words. “Perhaps I shall look deeper.” He cleared his throat and looked at his officers. “Yes, well. Number One, Chief, see to their repairs. Chief, as soon as you can, I want a report. Doctor, I trust you to tend their wounds. Data, see to their comfort and lodgings. When they’re ready to show me their permits, bring them to me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have matters to attend to in my Ready Room.” With a nod to their guests, the captain turned and left.

Doctor Crusher broke the silence first. “The captain might be willing to wait to view your permits, Captain Le Vite, but I’d like to see Min’s now.”

“Is it safe to go in yet?” Josh asked Geordi, his face stern but lacking emotion.

“Yeah, just stay away from the engine area. The smoke is still pretty thick back there,” answered the engineering chief, still wondering what about Anna’s words would have caused the captain’s temperature to fluxuate like it had. Riker’s had spiked pretty high too, but nothing like what the captain’s had done. Sure, her words hadn’t made any sense, but it didn’t sound like a big deal to him. His VISOR might not show him facial expressions, but then faces didn’t always betray emotions like body temperatures did. Right now: Riker ‘looked’ angry, Crusher ‘looked’ irritated, Le Vite and his wife ‘looked’ nervous, Cal ‘looked’ cool as a cucumber, Data’s reading never changed since he was an android, but Geordi couldn’t get a clear reading of Anna.

“All right,” Josh was saying. “Let’s go get those papers, Min.” He and his wife left, Doctor Crusher right behind them.

Geordi looked at Cal. “You’re the engineer?”

Cal smiled broadly, showing his teeth. “I am. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve had to do to keep this ship running.”

The Starfleet engineer smiled right back. “Oh, I’d believe it all right. Come on, let’s see what we can do.”

Anna turned and watched the men leave. “They’ll be swapping engine stories in five minutes, ten at the most. It must be a guy thing.” She turned back to Riker and Data and appeared to be waiting.

Riker, his previous anger gone, was now more open with his admiration of Anna, most likely since her companions were gone. He gave her his most charming smile. “No, I think it’s more of an engineering thing, Miss…? I don’t believe they gave your last name.”

“No, they didn’t. We don’t use it much since it’s Vulcan and therefore unpronounceable by many non-vulcanoids. The translation in Standard would be Brightfame.”

“Miss Brightfame, you don’t look Vulcan to me. Not even a half-breed could have your beauty.”

“No, my husband is…was full-blooded Vulcan.”

Riker heard the past tense coupled with a widow’s grief and relented. His disappointment was palpable. “I’m sorry for your loss. I hope you’ll accept my condolences.”

“Thank you Commander. One thing I have learned is that worldly sorrow is for those who have no hope. My sorrow is one with hope and surety.” Anna smiled, tears glittering in her bright blue eyes. “I know I’ll see my husband again someday.”

“Am I to understand that you do not usually speak in King James English?” inquired Data.

“No, not in everyday normal conversation, but then this is hardly a ‘normal everyday’ conversation. At least, not the USS Enterprise part.” Anna’s voice took on the same cadence that it had when she’d spoken to Picard. “Captain Jean-Luc Picard – scholar, archeologist and historian, philosopher, plaything for both the powerful egotistical Q and the hive-minded menace that is the Borg, he lives a ‘good’ life and thinks that’s all there is to it; a man of promise. Commander William Thelonias Thomas Riker – a true Starfleet man to the core, halfway honorable when he’s of a mind to be, he’s a notorious womanizer, a more than willing and even eager servant of fleshly pleasure; a man heartbroken as he believes he has lost the woman he once loved above all others. Lieutenant Worf – who is sometimes Starfleet, sometimes Klingon, barbaric, whose honor comes first before all else, even love, he’s honorable to a fault if possible; a man of indecision who cannot decide which world to live in. Doctor Beverly Crusher – a Starfleet commander and brilliant doctor who gave up position at Starfleet medical for family, is becoming more accustomed to lascivious pleasure, has a tendency to become involved with men she should not all the while blind to the one man who would love her forever; she is a woman of many talents and much potential. Lieutenant Geordi La Forge – is blind but can see, once brainwashed by Romulans, was phased out of our dimension in yet another Romulan plot in the form of a top secret cloaking device, is terrible afraid of fire, can never seem to ‘get anywhere’ with women but still desires another man’s wife; a man whose season is still to come. Counselor Deanna Troi – a Commander in her own right, a powerful Betazoid Empath, she also was involved in a Romulan plot, but fleshly living has caused her to become cut down with illness while still in her prime; a woman being molded and prepared to be an example of the glory of God. And dear Data – an android declared to be sentient, you are full of child like wonder at the universe at large, an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes to the point of disaster, you aren’t satisfied with who you are and are constantly trying to be something you’re not and therefore end up denying who you are; a man of great destiny.”

“Fascinating!” Data declared when she appeared to be finished. He noticed Riker’s angry glare and tried not to sound too enthusiastic. “Not all of that is common knowledge. Besides being intensely personal, some of it is in fact classified information. How do you know these things?”

“Especially about Deanna?” demanded Riker with barely restrained anger. “No one off this ship knows about Deanna! No one!”

“Are you saying things again, Anna?” asked Josh coming up from behind her, resting his hand on her shoulder as if to protect her from Riker.

“The truth must be spoken, even if the hearers don’t like the sound of it.” Anna shrugged, her eyes still on the commander.

“Still, you need to be careful about that. At least make sure the ship is operational before you tick people off.”

“You know I do my best,” protested the young woman, shooting her captain an apologetic look he didn’t see. “Some things just…need to be said.”

Josh took his gaze off of Riker and turned it to Data. “I have those permits for Captain Picard. I know your engineer hasn’t reported to him yet, but I’d like to show them to him as soon as possible.”

“Very good,” said Data. “If you will follow me, I will take you to the captain.”

“Can I come?” Anna asked, looking at Josh for permission rather than Riker or Data.

Josh gave her a glance and he was apparently more sensitive to the flow of Starfleet command, because he then looked to the Starfleet officers.

“I believe that would be acceptable.” Data spared a glance at his commanding officer. Riker was still glaring and wasn’t saying anything, so Data took the initiative. Although in all honesty, it was probably a good idea to remove Anna from the commander’s presence. The sooner the better. “Please, follow me.”

The trio left the shuttle bay area. Data attempted to make polite conversation; he was very curious about these people, Anna in particular, but experience had taught him that not everyone was open to straightforward and curious questions about themselves.

“Are you certain that you do not need to rest?” the android asked Anna once in the turbolift. His timing was off, but it was certain to be a non-offensive question. “You were unconscious for several minutes.”

“I’ll be fine. I’ve certainly been through worse scrapes than this,” Anna replied. “If I were to ask, would you be able to tell me exactly how long I was out of it? Down to the second?”

“I would only be able to tell you how long from the time that I found you. You were already unconscious. But yes, that would be down to the second, to the fraction of a second to be precise. I have found, however, that most humans find my precision to be a point of annoyance.”

“That’s too bad, because I think it’s cool,” was Anna’s remark, making her sound every bit as young as she looked.

It caused Data to wonder how old she actually was even as he accessed his files to understand her remark. “Ah. Cool. Old Earth Slang.”

“Not that old,” replied Anna dryly. “They still use it in certain areas of Earth, other places as well.”

“Where are you and the others from?” Data asked them.

“Here and there,” was Josh’s answer, followed immediately by Anna’s, “Everywhere and nowhere.” The two looked at one another and laughed. Josh went on to explain. “We’re from many different places, Data. Min and I are from the Earth’s moon colonies. We have a couple people from Mars, two from other Sol outposts. We have one Orion, one with some Klingon in him, and a Vulcan-Romulan hybrid. We’re from all over. In our diversity we are unified.”

“Anyone from Earth directly?”

“Just me and Marta,” Anna answered, with what Data knew humans would consider a beautiful smile. “But the ship is our home now. I left Earth behind a long time ago.”

“I am curious,” Data admitted as they boarded the turbolift they had been waiting for. He took a moment to give the computer directions to take them to the Bridge. “How did you know all the things that you said earlier? Commander Riker is correct in saying that no one off this ship knows about Counselor Troi’s condition, not even everyone on board is aware. Captain Picard even refrained from telling Mrs. Troi until she was on board. Of course, she already knew that something was wrong due to her and Deanna’s mother-daughter telepathic bond. Are you similarly telepathic or empathic?”

“No, I am neither.” Anna looked up to Josh, her face seeking advice.

“Say whatever you think best, Anna, just be careful.” Josh kept his face and tone neutral.

“Thanks a lot,” commented Anna dryly. She took a deep breath and considered. “You recognized King James English earlier, so I’m going to assume that you have the Christian Bible in your positronic memory. Most people possess some amount of natural empathy, it’s called compassion. Some people, like Deanna and her mother, are supernaturally gifted, it being genetic design. The gift I have is neither, it is supranatural.”

“Ah,” said Data, understanding but not completely comprehending. “Then what exactly is your gifting?”

“Come to tonight’s service and you will know,” was all Anna answered.

The turbolift came to a halt and opened to the Bridge of the Enterprise. Anna, never having seen a Starfleet Bridge, was impressed, but to Josh it was just another Bridge and his face showed it. Data led them to the captain’s Ready Room and at Captain Picard’s acknowledgment he took them inside.

Picard looked up from behind his desk and smiled. “Come in, come in.”

“We’ve brought our permits like you asked, sir,” said Josh handing them across the desk.

Picard looked them over without a word. There were two parts to the permit; the computer chip permits and the bonded paper that more or less said the same thing as the chip but with a seal melted into the permiplast. As he did so, Data noticed an obviously antique leather bound book lying open on the captain’s desk. Before he could inquire, Captain Picard had made his decision and was speaking. “I’m not sure exactly what the Chief found, but he just told me that there was no way anyone on the ship could have tampered with the hull in the manner that it was. Everything seems to be in order.” Picard stood as he handed the permits back to their owner. “You are received in welcome and have my permission to perform your music and all that ensues.” He gladly shook hands with the younger man. “We will be honored to have the Zion Revivalists on our ship. We have a room you can use and if you need any help in setting up, we are at your service.”

“Thank you, Captain,” replied Josh, somewhat surprised. “You do understand the nature of our permits, don’t you?”

“Certainly, and I understand what the nature of the message of your music will be as well.” Picard smiled wider, a look of mature wisdom on his face and some humor. “I also personally guarantee your safety while on board my vessel; I’ll have no tomato throwing mobs on my ship!”

“Thank you, Captain,” repeated Josh, new respect in his voice. “With your permission then, we’d like to have our first service tonight.”

“Excellent! You’d better get started setting up then. Data, take them back and please see that they get whatever they need.”

“Aye, sir,” replied Data. He exited the Ready Room, followed by Josh and it took him 3.475 seconds to realize that Anna had not also followed. He returned and found Anna on the other side of the desk, talking quietly with Picard. Their conversation cut off at his appearance.

“Uhm, yes, Data…Take Captain Le Vite back to his ship. I will escort Anna back shortly.”

Data did not like it, but gave a short nod. “Aye, sir.” He returned to Josh and boarded the turbolift with him. “You do not seem surprised that Anna is not with us.”

“No, I’m not,” answered Josh. “I know what she’s up to and gave her permission to stay behind.”

“Computer, Shuttle Bay Two. I did not see or hear any permission asked for or given.”

“No, you didn’t”

“I am at a lack of understanding,” Data admitted. “Do the two of you have a secret form of communication?”

“Basically. Anna and Jack devised a code shortly after they realized how they felt about each other. They thought it might be a good idea if no one realized that they were involved in anything other than a teacher-student relationship since she wasn’t eighteen yet and he was a mature Vulcan. The code involves facial expressions and their own form of sign language that involves far more subtle hand motions. Min was the one that figured out that there was more to their relationship than tutoring, and when they were uncovered their secret form of communication came out as well. Of course, when we started touring, we all learned it and even added to it. It’s come in handy to be able to get messages across in tight situations.” Josh smiled at a memory. “I hope Anna didn’t overly offend Commander Riker by whatever she said earlier. She’s young and hasn’t learned tact yet.”

“I think Commander Riker was more upset over the possible security leak, though I am certain that he was also upset to realize that because of her obviously short widowing she is not available to him.”

“She wouldn’t be available to him if she had been widowed for a thousand years,” commented Josh angrily, protectively.

“You are very close to her?” Data had noticed the familiarity between the two, even in the presence of Min. Perhaps she did not have a problem with the closeness between the two.

“Yes, I am.” Josh shrugged. “We’re all close, we have to be. Look at the size of the ship we live in.”

“If I am not mistaken, it is more then that. Your wife does not seem to mind.” Data realized too late that he was being rude and was risking offending the man.

“Computer, halt turbolift,” Josh commanded confidently. The turbolift stopped and Josh stepped closer to the android. “We don’t need people prying into our lives, sir. To date, no one has ever questioned us too closely about my relationship with Anna. Most of the people in our group are accustomed to the fact that the three of us have been together for many years, that where Min and I go, Anna goes too. The core of our group is aware of the truth and that’s enough. We are an honorable and holy people, so no one in or out of our group thinks there is anything wrong with it. Most people outside of our group have never even noticed. If you go saying these things to the wrong person, you could unintentionally harm us. Rumors are ugly and I’ve seen the damage they can do. I’ll tell you the truth, Data, if you can promise to keep it and your suspicions to yourself.”

“I do not have a problem with such a promise, unless in doing so I am asked to disobey any orders or break my oaths as a Starfleet officer. Or if they are of such a nature as to harm Starfleet or the Federation.”

“I’m familiar with the oaths; I used to be in Starfleet. I can tell you that it won’t violate any of your oaths.”

“Then I give you my word as a Starfleet officer.”

Josh took a deep breath before revealing his top-secret confession. “Anna is my younger sister.”

Data considered this and gave the impression of frowning. “I fail to see why that should be a secret. I was under the impression that family ties are not something to be ashamed of in human society.”

“There’s more to it than that. We’re not ashamed of each other, but rather of our human father. Human society and alien alike can be very unforgiving to the sins of the father. Anna’s only been in our lives for a relatively short amount of time; we didn’t grow up together, although you might say Min and I raised her from the time she was thirteen. When Anna showed up in our lives, it was because of our father’s crimes. You see, my parents divorced when I was in my early teens, and Anna was born to his new wife about a year later. My father and his new wife moved to Earth just before Anna was born and it was almost an accident that we ever learned about Anna’s birth. Her mother died in childbirth and our father raised her. The galaxy learned what happened in those years of silence in a very highly publicized trial. Anna’s grown up since then, so no one recognizes her, not to mention that she healed with very little facial scars. But if people were to learn her birth name, and learn that I’m her brother, we’d never be allowed to play our music for the lost, just for our own people. We’ve run into that ‘sins of the father’ thing in too many cultures.”

“I see,” said Data, though his tone clearly indicated that he did not.

“I doubt it. Our father is Doctor Jared O’Connor.”

Data’s eyebrows shot up in surprise and recognition.

“Yes,” Josh affirmed. “That Doctor Jared O’Connor.”

“I am aware of the trial. Indeed, I followed it closely.”

“As a human study project, no doubt.”

“That is how it started,” confessed Data. “I was disturbed to discover such events taking place in the Federation and I admit I was disappointed when I could no longer find information on Miss O’Connor.”

“Really? Well, if your present curiosity is satisfied, we should move on. The ship’s computer will most likely sound an alarm if we’re stopped for too much longer.”

“Yes, that would be good. Computer, you may proceed to our destination.” As the lift started again, Data wondered if the conversation was over and if he would be allowed to ask any more questions.

“Why did you care that you couldn’t find any more information on Anna after the trial?” Josh asked after a moment.

“I do not claim that I grew to care for her as I do not have emotions. I was curious to see what she would do with her life after such an atrocity. I have read about people in similar traumatic circumstances that have never fully recovered mentally or emotionally. Indeed, I have met some.” Data paused. “I dare say she has recovered rather well.”

“Yeah, she’s doing a lot better. She still has nightmares sometimes, and she’s terribly claustrophobic, but she’s doing much better.” Josh laughed. “She’s even handled Jack’s death better than any of the rest of us.”

“Why was I unable to find any more information about her?”

“She wanted her named changed. Actually Anna said that God had changed it and she wanted to make it legal so that everyone else would have to call her Anna. She also changed her last name at the same time for different reasons. The judge allowed it to be kept quiet. He sealed the records of the name change. Athaliah O’Connor simply ceased to exist.”

“Did your family have any trouble remembering to call her by her new name?” Data asked as the turbolift halted and the doors opened.

“It took awhile to get used to it, but it was a lot easier to say Anna rather than Athaliah.” Josh laughed again as they departed the turbolift. “Come on, we’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re going to be ready for tonight. I think you’ll like getting to know our group.”

“I agree.”
It did not take Data long to figure out that the Zion Revivalists were a peculiar people, and that they knew it and rejoiced in it. They wore simple and modest clothing, nothing daring, exposing or extravagantly expensive. They dressed as individuals though, and in that some their different cultures were revealed. They preferred to avoid eating replicated food, rather eating the fresh food they grew and were able to raise on the small ship. They possessed a child-like carefree attitude that Data had seldom witnessed before. Not that they didn’t have worries, a broken ship was no laughing matter, but they could laugh and sing because they knew Who was taking care of them. They even seemed to be speaking a different language at times, even apart from the different worlds represented.

Presently, it was mealtime. They all sat in the openness of the shuttle bay in chairs or on shipping crates; they had refused to leave their ship and were taking advantage of the wide-open space of the shuttle bay to cook, eat and play in. It reminded Data of the time they had housed the Bringloidi once, though the Bringloidi had been in a cargo bay and were nowhere as neat and orderly as the Revivalists were.[iii] And the Revivalists hadn’t tried cooking over an open fire either.

The only one of the Revivalists not eating was Anna, who said she was fasting when Data had asked her about it earlier. She sat on the edge of the group, on the top of a large storage crate as she watched playing children and the android thought that she resembled a child herself, especially given the way she swung her legs as she sat. She was a most curious creature and it was she that Data stood staring at.

“What are you thinking, Mr. Data?” asked Anna when she realized that she was the object of his present curiosity.

Data did not hesitate. “Several things, as I have a positronic brain and am therefore capable of thinking of several different things at once. First and foremost was the thought that your people are unique.”

“That we are. We are different in many ways, but our common bond makes us a family.” She smiled. “A common Blood.”

“I do not understand,” Data admitted, stepping closer to the young woman. “I have studied the theology and religions of many cultures, and have found no solid answers.[iv] Christianity claims to be the one true religion, but others say that there are many ways to find a god.”

“Anyone can find a god. Some people only need to look in a mirror. Creation has been making idols of itself ever since the Fall of Man. Do not mistake our faith with religions my friend, for we have a relationship with God and that is found only one way. To find the true God who created the universe and all that is in it, one must accept Jesus as the Christ, the one and only Son of God and as Savior and Lord.”

“It is the ‘must’ and ‘only’ of Christianity that…” Before Data could finish, they were interrupted by a shout.


“Captain Le Vite sounds most distressed,” commented Data, looking in the direction of the shout. “Although I do not see him.”

“Yes. He probably just discovered that I’ve hidden all of the garlic from our cook Maxine. Of course, I guess it’s better to come back from the dead to garlic breath than waking up with broken ribs.”

It took Data 1.452 seconds to make the connection. “They have had to revive you before?”

“Once or twice, but they’re long stories. Some of us are just more prone to these kinds of things. I’d better go talk to Josh.” Anna hopped down of the box and fixed Data with a firm look. “Data, if you truly want answers, if you truly want to find God, then come to tonight’s concert. And bring Counselor Troi too.” She smiled at him and was gone.

That sounded reasonable to Data, so he went to Counselor Troi as soon as his duties allowed. After doing an extensive background check on the Revivalists, that is. They were currently unwanted by the legal system, except for one planet outside the Federation that boldly proclaimed that if the group so much as tried to communicate with them, they would be hunted down and executed. There were some minor infractions that were religious freedom issues, but there was nothing major or threatening, so they were not as terrible as Commander Riker would make them out to be. Data had overheard, quite by accident, when Commander Riker had complained to the captain that they were asking for trouble by letting the group perform their music. And he’d overheard the captain tell Riker to ‘cool his jets’ as he had done a background check himself and was not worried. Riker had shut up and left the Bridge, clearly unhappy and Data decided to tell no one of Anna’s invitation to Counselor Troi. When his shift was over, Data went directly to Troi’s cabin and was mildly surprised when he was allowed in.

“Hello, Mr. Dah-ta,” exclaimed Lwaxana Troi too cheerfully as she led the android into the main living area.

Data had learned long ago that it did no good to correct the woman’s mispronunciation of his name. At least she did not mangle it as badly as she did Worf’s name. “Good evening Mrs. Troi. I am here to see Deanna.” He had also learned that Deanna no longer liked to be called counselor. He had no trouble accommodating her wishes.

“Good! She could use some company other than my own.” Mrs. Troi smiled, though it did not quite reach her eyes. “Please, sit down and I’ll tell her you’re here. She might like to see you since you’re an android. Oh, dear. Forgive me, Data.”

Data sat stiffly on the couch. “I do not find it offensive, Mrs. Troi, so you do not need to apologize. I am quite aware that Deanna does not react well to her human friends. Her empathic ability would logically enable her to sense their emotions and she is well aware that I do not possess any.”

“Dear Data. Thank you.” Lwaxana turned quickly and entered Deanna’s bedroom.

“Humph!” said Data in wonder. To be thanked for what was obviously the most logical thing was always a wonder to him. Shortly Deanna whizzed out of her room, her repulsor chair the only thing about her that was neat and clean. Her hair hung limp and loose, her eyes had a dark shadow about them and there was a slight body odor that Data had never detected around Deanna before, even in earlier visits. Clearly Deanna was not recovering well from her circumstances.

“Data!” Deanna sounded no where near as cheerful as she tried to sound, but then, it was an electronically enhanced voice so Data could be mistaken. “Did your shift just end?”

“Yes, it did. I had tried to stop by earlier, but my duties did not allow for it. And had I been able to, I would not have been able to stay for very long, so this is better.” Data didn’t stand, as would normally be polite, although he knew that Deanna would always know that others could walk and stand while she could not. Still, it did not seem kind to flaunt that fact. As an android, he could easily program it into his behavior to remain seated when possible in Deanna’s presence.

“Was there something specific you wanted to see me for? Or is this a pleasant social visit?” Her voice gave the impression of a smile, but her facial muscles did not move. He had once seen her scowl once, so Data knew that she retained control over some of her facial muscles. “There’s nothing wrong is there? Mother was telling me about a disturbance she felt earlier.”

“I had not considered the possibility that either of you would have sensed our visitors; I do not usually make such an oversight. However, it is no secret. We rescued a ship that was in distress. They are musicians and are giving concerts until their ship is fixed.” Data made a note to remind the captain of the Troi women’s telepathic/empathic abilities. It would not do to have them sensing top-secret missions or persons. “I came, Deanna, because you have been invited to tonight’s concert and I was asked to deliver the message.”

There was a moment of silence, and Data wondered if the women were speaking to each other telepathically.

“It would do you good to get out, Little One,” said Lwaxana in a manner that suggested they were not. “What kind of music do they play, Mr. Dah-ta?”

“From what I read in their file, they play mostly synth-rock with a religious/spiritual message. They are said to be very good.” Data paused, concerned with the look of hardness on Deanna’s face.

“No,” the bitter woman said firmly. “I don’t care what kind of music they play, I won’t go.” At a nerve impulse, as all her equipment was operated, Deanna turned her chair away from them.

Lwaxana sighed. “But Little One, you haven’t left your quarters since before I got here. You need to get out and interact with people. Even if it is a questionable concert. Besides, it’s only good manners. After all, you were invited by…?” She looked to Data for a name, for anything to register the caring of another person to her daughter.

“Her name is Anna. She knew about your illness without anyone telling her.”

“You see,” the mother said. “She…She what? How could she know? No one knows!”

“A fact that upset Commander Riker greatly.”

“I bet that’s not all that upset him.”

“No.” Data paused infinitesimally, considering what to say. “I believe that Anna is some form of prophetess. She knows many things that she should not be able to, such as personal information about the crew and classified information.”

There was a moment of silence.

“If she is clairvoyant,” said Lwaxana carefully, excitedly, “she might know how you can be healed, Deanna.”

Deanna sniffed, sort of. “Don’t hope for the impossible, Mother. You will only be disappointed.”

“Little One…”

“I said NO Mother.”

Data stood abruptly. “The concert starts at 20:00 hours, Deanna. I sincerely hope to see you there.”

“Don’t count on it.”

Data decided to try one last effort before going out the door. “Counselor Troi, Anna has been through much in her young life. She has been raped and mutilated by her own father, mentally abused and emotionally starved, and she has recently lost her husband through a brutal murder. She has known much sorrow, and yet she does not regret nor is she bitter. She rejoices for the love she does have. I am not allowed to tell you her birth name, but if I were to mention Dr. Jared O’Connor, I believe you will know whom I am speaking of. It is she who wishes you to come tonight. Not because she pities you, but because she cares for you and wishes to help you.” Data did not wait for a reply. He left the room quietly and quickly, not knowing what gave him the right to say such things, or the knowledge. He could only guess as to why Anna had wanted Deanna to come, but somehow he thought he had guessed correctly. He only hoped Deanna would listen.

[i] Min’s license was revoked due to witnessing Christ at work and because she and Josh pulled Anna from another doctor’s care due to negligence.
[ii] This conversation refers to a scene from the Next Generation book “Dark Mirror” in which Picard was in a violent mirror universe in which history was warped with cruel violent twists seen in the changes from the books in his personal library and consequently the captain was too frightened to see if there had been changes as far back as the Bible. His expressed thought when holding the Bible was that he had the book more for the beauty of the language than the actual words.
[iii] Episode called “Up the Long Ladder”
[iv] As seen in the Next Generation book “Guises of the Mind”.

Chapter Two

As Data watched the crowd mill about the impromptu stage, he pondered briefly the situation before him. He knew that this was a dream, but found that he just as he hadn’t activated the program, neither could he shut it off. He was literally stuck in this dream, but he realized that it did not disturb him. He was curious as to what would happen next, and to see if he couldn’t discover why he was dreaming about people he did not personally know. Had he ‘made them up’? Unlikely, but possible.

Next to Data on his left were Captain Picard and Commander Riker. On his right was his friend Geordi. He was pleased with Geordi’s impression of the group. His friend found their ways odd, but overall, Geordi had stated that they were a pleasant people.

Riker, however, hadn’t changed his opinion any. He was still trying to stop the concert. “I can’t believe you’re letting them perform Captain. From what I’ve read about this group, they are intolerant to the point of being illegal!”

“Oh, come now, Riker. They have all the proper permits.” Picard seemed rather mellow; obviously his conversation with Anna had went well.

Data wondered what had been said and why the dream had not shown that to him as well. Perhaps simply because even in dreams, one could not be in two places at once.

“Besides,” Picard continued, “when was the last time you had your beliefs challenged, Number One?”

Whatever Riker would have said was left unspoken as the lights dimmed and Joshua Le Vite walked out onto the stage, the rest of the band following.

“Ah, we’re starting,” said Picard in a hushed tone that revealed his anticipation and contained excitement.

Without preamble, the group started playing in what was definitely a loud synth-rock, but no one seemed to mind the loudness. They were dressed a little more exuberantly, but not excessively so. Josh not only played the main keyboard, but was also the lead singer. Several of the women and two of the men provided back up vocals as did Cal who was also playing what had to be an old fashioned bass guitar. The man Data had come to know as Jainna’s husband, Philip, played the drums. There were also four members on each side waving large flags of different colors, often weaving in and out of each other in a dance, all matched to the tempo of the songs that was being played. With each song, its message of God and his Son obvious and clear, the crowd became more and more excited. Some people were jumping wildly, others were on their knees and weeping. Some people, human and non-human alike, left only to be replaced by others that were just arriving. Into the tenth song, the sounds softened drastically, the silence becoming as loud as the music had been. The dancers stood still, the flags held at attention almost seeming to move in a gentle breeze.

“Would you look at that,” muttered Geordi, one hand up to his VISOR. “Data, do you see what I’m seeing?”

Data looked around and saw nothing that had not been there from the beginning. “That depends on what you are seeing, Geordi.”

“I see what looks like a…a cloud, a hot mist. It’s hovering over us, but also among us at the same time. It’s what’s moving those flags.” Geordi sounded unnerved.

“I do not see anything like what you are describing.”

“You see the Wind,” came a soft voice behind them, sounding genuinely awed.

The two turned and saw Anna behind them.

“The Wind?” asked Data and Geordi as one.

“The Wind, the Holy Spirit. What you are seeing is the Glory Cloud of the God. It is the same Cloud that led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the desert. Of course, He’s not in the column as He was then.” Anna smiled.

“Give me a break,” Riker nearly sneered, his unbelief evident.

“It is true, Commander.” Anna was still smiling, but there was an edge in her eyes that matched her tone. “Just because you choose not to believe doesn’t make it untrue. And if others do choose to believe, then you in your glorious and vaunted tolerance must respect their decision. Everyone has the right to choose and believe as they will, correct Commander? And yes, if what they choose to believe includes telling others about it, then that is their right as well. Don’t bandy with me Commander, I know your laws as well as you do. We force no one to listen and force no one to believe. All we do is ask that you listen and consider what we have to say.”

“Data,” said Geordi quietly, for his friend’s ears only. “The Cloud is thick around her…like it is around the stage.”

Data nodded, though it did not surprise him. Although he did not completely understand what was happening, he was aware that Anna was at the center of it. That a supernatural cloud, seen only by his friends V.I.S.O.R., surrounded this eccentric young woman, seemed a natural part of this equally strange dream. “I am willing to listen.”

“Yeah, me too,” echoed Geordi.

On stage, Josh went from singing to speaking, his hands resting on the keyboard and no longer playing. “People,” he said softly, beginning to play a soft melody after a heartbeat. “There is a good Spirit here tonight. You can feel His presence as surely as a cloud of fog that surrounds you. You can hear His whisper of Love and freedom. He is here to heal you, to commune with you, to save you, to deliver you…not just from your ailments, but from your sins and your burdens.”

A cry arose in the congregation, part agreement and part outrage.

Josh went on. “Over 2000 years ago, a Man named Jesus of Nazareth walked the face of the planet Earth. The Man was and is the Son of God and He died a gruesome death nailed to a crude wooden cross. He shed His blood so that whoever would believe and call on Him would be saved, forgiven of their sins and inherit eternal life. Some would say that this is only for humans, that it isn’t for Klingons and Vulcans, Orions or Organians…but Christ died first for the Jew, for the Israelites, the House of Jacob…but He also opened a door for the Gentiles to enter into His kingdom. Anyone who isn’t a Jew, a Hebrew, is a Gentile. That’s you and me, friend, though there are some here tonight who are indeed Abraham’s biological seed. The Bible says that whosoever believes will be saved; whosoever calls upon the Lord, whosoever allows Him to be Lord of their life.”

There was a rather dramatic pause as Josh paused to catch his breath.

Commander Riker finally felt free to sneer. He turned to leave. “I don’t have to stay and listen to this…” He stopped suddenly and all his breath seemed to come out at once. “…Deanna…”

Picard, Data, Geordi and Anna all turned and followed his gaze.

Deanna Troi had decided to come after all. She was in her repulsor chair, parked near the back, close to the door, her mother at her side.

Geordi whistled. “Mrs. Troi does not look happy.”

“No, she does not,” Data agreed, a faint imaginary smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“She has much to learn,” Anna whispered to Data. “The voices are silent in her head, and she hears only One right now. She doesn’t much like what He’s saying.”

Riker left the group and went over to Deanna, his body language betraying his displeasure. Their words were lost to Data, swallowed up by the sounds of the crowd. So instead, he listened to Josh as he began to speak again.

“Some of you scoff. You laugh at the thought of needing someone to save you from your sins. You laugh at that word even. Sin? What is that? Surely it doesn’t exist in our day and age…not with all our technological wizardry and all our humanistic pep talks. We are taught that there is no god other than our own selves, and our teachers have no idea of the truth of their lie. Why do we need to be saved from our pleasure, especially when it feels so good? Why do we need some invisible being to heal us with all our medical miracles? Who needs God when we can recreate Eden with our own Big Bang?[i] Truly, God has allowed these scientific and technological advances, and for some they are a blessing and for others they are a curse. People still misuse the gifts of God, turning them to perverseness and evil. People, our lives are still empty of purpose even as we fill them with material goods and technological gadgetry. There is a place in our hearts that only God can fill, but we have to choose to let it happen. Nothing has changed since the last world war except that we have learned how to hide our addictions better and even control them, but we don’t get rid of them. We have all the old addictions that we had before our enlightenment of the Eugenics War and World War 3. They’ve been with us since the Fall of Man it seems. Did you know that people in our day still become addicted to drugs? It’s really not that hard with our technology. All a person has to do is find the recipe in a computer somewhere and then order the synthesizer the produce the raw materials. It’s less potent that way and therefore twice as dangerous. And they come up with new drugs all the time. Drugs, alcohol, sex, food, the need to succeed at all costs, to win, to dominate the weak…they’ve been with us for thousands of years and all we’ve managed to do with our so-called evolution is to put a new spin on them, almost creating new addictions and vices through our technological advances that feed on the old ones. Things like holodeck addiction. In truth it is an addiction to fantasy. I thought that because I did things in a holodeck it was OK, that there was nothing wrong with those doing things. After all, a holodeck isn’t real, right? It’s just an artificial program that mimics reality. I was so wrong. It is more real than I had imagined. It’s allowing our impulses and desires to take life in the ‘safe’ realm of fantasy. It’s using the holodeck to fulfill those desires no matter how warped and evil they might be. We do things inside those fours walls that we would never do outside them. Holodecks take fantasy to a whole new level; make believe is one thing, this is something else entirely. No one gets hurt in a holodeck, right? No one dies and it’s not really adultery to have sex with a holodeck hologram is it? You might as well be hiring a prostitute with the computer as your pimp. You get your fantasies fulfilled, your every desire met, and yet…you leave feeling just as empty and hollow as you did when you went into the holodeck, if not more so.” Josh paused again, his voice beginning to become hoarse in his zeal. His hands rested idly atop the keyboard. “Some of you still don’t believe me. You still hold onto your own ways, not wanting to let them go. Cal…would you give your testimony?”

Cal stepped forward, his bass guitar still slung over his shoulder. He was apparently already miked, although Data couldn’t see where; he couldn’t see microphones on any of the Zion Revivalists.[ii] There was a new hush that fell over the crowd at the bass player’s serious _expression. There was no doubt that this man was real, that he truly believed in what he was about to say.

“I grew up on the Primary Mars Colony[iii],” Cal said. “I was wild and reckless, a normal young man in many aspects. Not many outside the Colony knows about the ‘underground’ on Mars, but everyone there does. I had heard about it, but never experienced it until I was thirteen. That’s also when I discover alcohol. It’s banned on many worlds, but it’s still made and easily accessible to those who know where and how to get it. I was an alcoholic by the time I was fourteen and by fifteen I was beginning to experiment with some ‘harmless’ pleasure enhancers. I entered Starfleet Academy and managed to pass, with honors, and I learned to keep my addictions a secret. I had just made it to Lieutenant, junior grade, when things went sour. I didn’t realize I was up for Away Team rotation and went into my shift drunk and on a buzz. I was a security officer, but it was a time of peace and besides – I’d done my job a thousand times when I was drunker. It was supposed to be a routine mission. It was a peace conference between two little worlds you’ve never heard of. I…seven of my crewmates were killed because I mistranslated a word. I fired my phaser thinking my commander was in danger, but I was wrong. My mind wasn’t clear and I couldn’t think. You’d be surprised how similar different words can sound when you’re drunk. Later, I was court marshaled and found guilty on every charge. I was given a dishonorable discharge and a year imprisonment.

“I couldn’t find a decent job when I got out, but that didn’t stop me from returning to drinking and drugs. My wife, who’d never left me even though she’d gotten religion, had to get a job while I was in prison and wasn’t able to give it up because we needed someone to support us. All the while I never made a move to find a job of my own. I continued to drink and take my pleasure enhancers, and she never said a word. One day, a few years back, my wife quietly invited me to a meeting her church was holding. I said no at first, but when those church doors opened, I was there with my wife and daughter. I’ll remember that day for as long as I’ll live. Jesus Christ became real to me that morning. I don’t remember what the pastor’s sermon was about exactly, all I really remember was that afterwards he asked a young lady to step forward and give her testimony. She was just barely eighteen, just a baby compared to me. She told how God had rescued her from the hands of the devil, how He had given her a family she had never known she’d had, how He’d rescued her from a terrible darkness, how she’d given her life to Jesus Christ in the midst of the hell she used to live in, and how He’d given her a new name. The pastor asked her to give a few more details about what she’d been brought out of. She hesitated, then told what her old name used to be. It was one that everyone knew because it had been in the news a lot as part of the court trial of her father. That father had brutally abused her, mutilated her body, and performed medical experiments on her. And she stood in front of that congregation and told them how blessed she was. There was so much joy in that young woman, a joy that shouldn’t have been there. She should have been like I was…angry, depressed, and empty. She should have been bitter and hateful. Instead, she spoke of forgiveness. She told how she’d been able to forgive her father and how she hoped that he would one day be saved. It touched something in me and I began to weep. She had been through hell and she was smiling and rejoicing. Me, I was still in hell. And that woman…she looked right at me and spoke the secrets of my soul and told me that I could come to know Jesus if I wanted to. I ran to that altar and received Jesus Christ as my savior. I never touched alcohol again and I was able to put drugs aside for good. I felt like a different person, like the old Caleb had been washed away and a new one had been put in his place. I was given a reason to live, a hope and a purpose. I picked up my bass and started playing again. God had lifted me up from the mud and set my feet on solid ground. I pray that I might always serve Him with the joy He has given me.” Cal stepped back to his place, silent tears running down his thin cheeks.

There was still a hush in the room, but it seemed to get even quieter.

“God – let Your glory be seen.” Josh looked across the crowd, his face showing a holy desperation. “God is God. He does not change. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will still be the same tomorrow. But why wait until tomorrow to be saved? He can save you today, He wants to save you today. You have heard His word spoken, you have heard His voice calling you. Don’t wait! Now is the time for your salvation! Now is the time for your healing! Come quickly…we have people who will pray with you and for you and introduce you to Jesus. Come!” The music began to play again, softly, and reverently. “Come. Don’t miss your chance. For many, this will be your last chance for tomorrow you die. I don’t say this simply because you serve on a starship and face danger all the time. There are three people here that will die tomorrow from diseases you’ve been fighting for years with no hope. Friends, if you hear Him calling you, won’t you answer Him?” Josh began to sing a soft song, barely audible.

“Data,” Geordi said quietly. “That Cloud is settling closer to the floor and it’s getting thinker and hotter…”

“I am not surprised,” answered Data just as quietly. As the sermon had been preached and the testimony given, Data had also taken the time to investigate the Christian Bible on the matter of this cloud. From several of the books in it, he deduced that the cloud was the manifest presence of the God of that Bible.

One by one, people began to move towards the front of the room to the base of the stage, what had been declared an altar. Some people knelt and wept, others just stood here, almost bashful, unsure of what to do. Men and women of the Zion Revivalists moved among them, speaking to them and beginning to pray for them. Data was startled when Captain Picard left his side and went to the front.

“Data, am I hallucinating?” asked Geordi, shaking slightly.

“No, you are not. This is real.” For some reason, Data turned to look at Deanna, only to see that she too was moving forward, much to the displeasure of her mother and Commander Riker. Riker was pulling on the back of her chair in an effort to keep her from going up front, but Lwaxana merely followed asking if Deanna if she was sure. Data moved without thinking, barely noticing that Geordi was right behind him.

“Commander, it is not wise to interfere,” Data said gently, not wanting to upset Riker further.

“Data, help me! We can’t let her go. She’s too weak, she’s not thinking right. She’s too emotional.”

“It’s her choice to make,” said Geordi.

“Let her go,” sighed Lwaxana in surrender. “They’re right.”

The moment that Deanna felt the loosening of Riker’s grip, she sped off. Riker turned and left immediately, no doubt not wanting to witness what he was certain was going to be a parlor trick. Lwaxana, Geordi and Data followed after Deanna.

Anna was already at the front, praying for Picard. They had not seen her leave. Deanna stopped and waited, her eyes wet with tears and bright with hope.

“Yes, yes,” Anna was saying to Picard, her hands on either side of his head, though not actually touching him. “What has been denied can no longer be hid. You belong to God, Jean-Luc and you cannot hide that fact…for the one that denies Christ, he Christ will deny. You must let your light shine! This is a dark time, and it will only become darker. We need to let our light shine for the sake of the lost.” The young woman’s voice grew quiet. “The darker the night, the brighter your light will shine. Do not fear, however dark it gets, for God will not leave you nor forsake you. He will always be with you, Jean-Luc…always…”

“Data…I don’t know what you’re seeing, but that cloud, it’s falling on the captain. It doesn’t seem to be hurting him, even though it’s hot.” Geordi took a shuddering breath. “I can’t…I can’t see the captain anymore…just the cloud, and it’s getting hotter and hotter…it’s lowering to the floor! Is he…”

Like a feather caught in a hurricane gust, Picard floated backwards into the waiting arms of the men ready to catch him. They lowered him to the floor and covered him with a bright metallic colored cloth.

“He is all right,” answered Data. He wondered if the captain had overheated from his close encounter with the presence of God. But if he had gotten hot, why cover him with the cloth? It made him wonder, but now was not the time to be accessing his databanks or asking questions.

Anna drew a deep breath and turned her head. She saw Deanna and smiled. For Data, the dream seemed to focus suddenly on the two women…everything else was periphery. Anna stepped over the captain to get to the ship’s counselor. “You came!”

“Help me,” pleaded Deanna, her electronic voice sounding almost normal.

Anna knelt in front of the paralyzed woman. “I can do nothing, Deanna, accept share the Good News with you. Do not put your faith in me. I am but a human. Your faith must be in the One True Almighty God. Do…”

“Yes!” Deanna cried out in desperation. “Yes, I believe in Jesus! Please, help my unbelief…I want to believe more!”

“All things are possible in Jesus Christ, Deanna, all things.” Anna rose to her feet. “Never forget that.” She took one of Deanna’s limp hands in her own. “You feel Him already, don’t you? You can feel His presence in you, in your body and all around you. You can hear His voice, telling you of His great love for you and the price that He paid for you. In this hour, destiny comes to light. If you are willing, you will carry His word to many. They will hear your testimony and they will believe and they shall be saved. You will bring many into the Kingdom, some of them your own children. Your willingness, even now, when you cannot walk, is a bright testimony to all who are here.” Anna stepped back and let go of the counselor’s hand. “But now is the time for your healing…Do not hesitate! Rise and walk. Rise up Deanna.”

The entire room grew silent and to Data the dream seemed to slow further. He watched Deanna’s lifeless and limp arms grab the armrests of the chair. She placed her lifeless and stiff feet on the floor. To Data, her movements seemed slow and deliberate, but he knew that she was moving without hesitation. There was a moment as she stood still, joy shining from her face. Then she let out a shout from vocal cords that hadn’t been whole in months, a shout heard by everyone as she threw herself at Anna and gave the young woman a hug.

The dream resumed normal speed and it was as if people had been released. Deanna let go of Anna and began to dance and spin wildly even though there was no music. The music began again as others joined the dance. More people streamed to the front and prayers were said. People were saved and healed. Limbs that had been gone for years were suddenly miraculously grown back before their eyes.

Data stood by and watched as both Geordi and Lwaxana went forward for prayer. Geordi’s VISOR came off and the sensor implants at his temples fell out into Anna’s hands. He pointed at objects as people and named them, he even told of the white misty cloud he could still see. Lwaxana had thrown off her elaborate wig and was soon dancing with Deanna.

The android wondered what would happen if he were to go forward. Could he likewise be saved? Did he have a soul that could be saved? Would God want him, with no soul and no emotions? With no answers for his questions, Data left as a man with a heavy soul…but, of course, he didn’t have one.
“So, Data, you left the circus did you?” a slightly drunken Riker asked. Synthehol effects were not as prominent or as dangerous as true alcohol, but if the drinker allowed it to, it could mimic alcohol rather well. And the effects could easily be shaken off, making it a ‘safe’ vice to have. Riker was in a far corner of the Ten-Forward lounge and even the hostess Guinan steered clear of him, though she still managed to hover as a concerned mother not that far away.

“It is not a circus,” Data answered as he sat across from his superior officer. “Nor is it an act. It is real.”

“Real? Real? Ha!” Riker took a long swallow from his drink and snorted in disgust. “Biggest freak show I’ve ever seen. It makes me sick. I read about that ‘captain’ of theirs. Did you know that he used to be a Starfleet commander? He was good at what he did, too. And he gave it up to tour with his stupid music band. Just gave up his career! Like it meant nothing to him!”

“I am aware of that,” answered Data. “I did a complete background check on them as well. I can tell you where each one of them came from, what day they began to profess Christ, what that profession cost them, what they were before their conversion. I can even tell you their birthday’s Commander, the dates when they were married, and the dates when some of them died.”

“I just don’t get it, Data.” Riker set his glass down roughly enough on the table that it drew a scowl from the distant Guinan. “Why would they leave something that’s working? Why would they declare allegiance to a dead man? It just doesn’t make sense!”

“You are right,” agreed the android. “It is not logical to die for a dead man…but it would be perfectly logical if that dead man were to still be alive.”

Riker scowled. “Don’t tell me that they’ve gone and converted you to their nonsense.”

“I am only speaking of what is and what is not logical. Their devotion would only be logical if Jesus Christ actually did rise from the dead as they claim. Because you are right…Why die for a dead man? Why perpetuate a lie to the point of death? It was once said by T.S. Eliot that, “the greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing – but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.” Data paused, then said what he had come to tell Riker in the first place. “Deanna has been healed.”

Riker sat up straight. “Healed?”

Data nodded. “She was dancing and singing when I left.”

“How much did she have to promise before they healed her?”

“All she did was ask.”

Riker pondered this for a moment. “Could one of them be a Q? That Anna seems awful strange. A weird woman. That could also explain why they aren’t concerned about the terrorism and the mobs and such. Why worry when you have godlike powers and could crush a dissenter at a moments thought?”

“Anna is quite human,” Data reassured him. “Such generosity and goodwill is not standard behavior for a member of the Q Continuum. Although, granted, we have had limited exposure to them as a whole. But this does not fit with their past behavior.”

“It could be just a ruse to throw us off, you know, to get our guard down so he can pull off the grand finale.” Riker’s drunkenness was now a thing of the past. “I wasn’t able to find much about Anna, were you?”

“Not through the computer.”

“But you did find something out?”

“I did.”

“Are you going to tell me?”

“I gave my word as a Starfleet officer that I would not tell,” answered Data. “I would ask that you do not make it a direct order. I would not like to break my word.”

“Far be it from me. But Data…I’ll find out one way or the other.”

“What do you mean, Commander?”

“You’ll find out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some charges to draw up.” Riker stood and nodded toward Guinan.

“Charges, sir?”

“Don’t worry about it.” Riker left Ten-Forward smiling.

Data looked at Guinan, who had come nearer as Riker had left. She sat across from him. “Guinan, I believe that Commander Riker is no longer thinking rationally. I believe he is going to falsely charge those people.”

Guinan, who seemed to know everything that happened on the ship, nodded in agreement. “He feels threatened, so no, he isn’t thinking rationally. His beliefs have been challenged and he doesn’t have any answers for the questions he’s been confronted with. He also doesn’t like that they were able to bring healing to Deanna when he wasn’t able to do a thing.”

Data considered this. “But he is not God.”

“In his mind, in his world, he is. Human society has been teaching that concept for a long time.”

“But what he is planning to do is wrong – it will hurt those people and they have done nothing wrong.”

“Then why are you sitting here talking with me? Shouldn’t you be warning them?”

Data looked at the hostess sharply. “Yes! That is an excellent idea! That is exactly what I shall do! Please excuse me.” He rose and turned to leave.

“Oh, and Data?”

“Yes, Guinan?” He turned back to face her.

“I’m glad you’ve found your answers.”[iv]

“I am not certain I have found them yet.”

“Yes, you are…you just haven’t realized it yet. Now, hurry! Just because this is a dream doesn’t mean you can waste time! Dreams are sometimes more real than we give them credit.”

Data nodded, not questioning how she knew it was a dream for he knew that Guinan knew many things. He turned and left.
Josh sighed. “It doesn’t surprise me. Not really.” The tired captain leaned against the side of the stage and looked at his friends around him. Most of the Enterprise people had returned to their quarters, and many of his own people had headed back to their beds as well. There were still a few people that sat in the back, still overwhelmed by their own encounter with God. “Well, do we pack up and run?”

Min, who was holding their young son to her shoulder, raised her head defiantly. “No! We haven’t done anything wrong! You know that!”

“Still,” argued Cal. “It might not hurt to use a little wisdom. I mean, we are dealing with Starfleet, after all. I’d rather not see the inside of a ship’s brig again.”

“They won’t be arresting you,” Anna said with a frown.

“They won’t?” Cal sounded surprised.

“She’s right. They’ll probably just arrest me,” Josh commented. “After all, I’m the captain.”

“It would be best if you were to leave as soon as you can,” advised Data.

Tim, the second-in-command on official papers, groaned. “That would at five or six hundred, at the earliest. And most of the kids are sleeping outside the ship in their tents.”

“We are not leaving,” said Anna forcefully, the true second-in-command. “Jesus didn’t run from His captors and He was the innocent of innocents. There is a reason for this; you know that we can’t leave yet.” She turned her gaze purposely to Data. “Everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what it is right away. Besides, if I read Commander Riker right, I’ll be the only one arrested.”

“Well, no one’s arresting anyone right now,” said Josh. “Let’s go to bed and get some sleep. We’ll talk about this in the morning.”

“Finally!” declared Min. “Some wisdom!”

They all laughed and said goodnight to Data before dispersing and leaving him alone with Anna, their only company the ones in the back row that acted as though drunk.

“I do not understand why you are not afraid.” Data looked a little sad, though, of course, that could not be so.

“Fear is of the devil, Data. We know that. The deceiver loves to cast about suspicion and confusion to feed fear. So, when we might feel afraid, like we do now, we claim the promises of God. We might feel afraid, but we aren’t ruled by that fear. We trust in the One bigger than all those fears.” Anna smiled mischievously and winked at him. “Goodnight, my dear Data. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Goodnight,” returned Data with the innocence of a child.

[i] The Genesis Device from “Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan”.
[ii] They use flesh colored throat microphones, discussed in another story involving the Revivalists.
[iii] I have no idea whether the Trek Universe has a Mars Colony or not…but I figure this is my story, I can make it up as I go! LOL! I guess that’s one of the reason’s why it would be considered an AU story!
[iv] Refers to their conversations in the book, “Guises of the Mind”.

Chapter Three

Commander Riker didn’t wait until ‘morning’. He sent Security in at early mid-morning hours, while most people were still asleep. He told them to be loud, to wake up the entire encampment and to overturn as many items as they could before finding and arresting Josh, Cal and Anna. It was chaotic with the screaming children and angry people. Security didn’t even allow the three detainees time to dress, only allowing them to throw on a dressing robe. Security gave them firm orders not to try and communicate with each other.

Still, somewhere along the way, Cal managed to say with their secret language, I thought they were just going to arrest you, Anna.

The young woman managed to shrug as Josh laughed in kind. With movements seeming so natural, she replied in kind saying, Can’t be right all the time.

When the three were shoved roughly into separate cells and the force fields raised: Josh laid down on the cell’s bed, intent on finishing his sleep; Anna sat on her cell’s bed, intent on praying; Cal chose to pace around his cell, with no intent at all except to wear a path in the floor.

In their own ways, they were preparing for the circus that would inevitably be occurring.
Data was already at his post, as was most of the Bridge crew, when Captain Picard strode onto the bridge.

“I hear you were up late last night, Number One,” the captain said without preamble.

“Aye, sir.” Riker rose respectively at the presence of his commanding officer and moved out of the command chair.

Picard didn’t take that chair and instead remained standing in front of his executive officer. “What you did was blatantly illegal, unethical, and dishonorable.”

Behind them, at his post, Worf let out a grunt even though he didn’t know any of the specifics. As a Klingon, Worf was prone to letting his displeasure be known at the slightest hint of dishonorable conduct.

“Worf, welcome back from your leave. Have you had a chance to view last night’s security measures?” Picard asked, mildly wondering whether his Chief of Security had been in on it. It wouldn’t be the first time Riker would have been able to talk Worf into doing something if he’d be able to convince the Klingon that it would be the best thing for the ship…or his honor.

Worf shook his head. “I was about to do so when you came in, sir.”

“Please, do so now. I’m interested in hearing your opinion on their mission.”

There was an uncomfortable silence as Worf consulted his console. His expression darkened by the second and somehow the silence became even more silent. Worf looked up and pointedly did not look at Riker. “The only good thing that can be said is that they were following orders. No doubt they didn’t like them, but they followed them. I would never order them to behave in such a manner, you are right to call it dishonorable. What surprises me, and disturbs me, is that I was not informed of a measure of such magnitude.”

“Thank you, Mister Worf.” Picard, however, stared fixedly at the commander. “Please see that the charges are dropped and the prisoners released.”

Before Worf could say ‘aye’, Riker had sprung to his feet.

“Sir, you can’t do that!” he exclaimed.

“Can’t?” Picard said the word slowly. “Can’t? I’ll give you a chance to rephrase that, Number One.”

“Sir, I would strongly advise against dropping the charges and especially against letting them go free. The charges are legitimate and legal within Starfleet and Federation standards.” Riker looked mildly chagrined, but he wasn’t going to back down. “Sir, you were there. They led a protest that broke the Prime Directive. They unlawfully influenced weaker people…”

“Enough! One more word out of your mouth besides ‘aye, sir’ and you will find yourself in the brig Mister. Is that understood?”

“Aye, sir!”

Picard nodded in satisfaction. “Worf, see to it that the senior crew reports to the conference lounge immediately.”

“Aye, sir. I will see to your other orders as well.”

“Good. Please inform our guests that they are still welcome and I would wish them to stay. Convey my apologies. We’ll be in the conference lounge waiting.” Picard nodded to Riker and Data to follow and exited the Bridge to the conference room.

Within fifteen minutes, the senior crew had assembled. Riker unabashedly stared at Geordi’s naked face.

“Good morning,” Picard said in preamble. “I will be blunt. At oh-three-thirty this morning, a large security force intruded upon our visitors in the shuttlebay and arrested Captain Le Vite, Chief Engineer Jephunneh, and Ms. Brightfame. This was done without my knowledge or permission, and also unbeknownst to Lt. Worf.”

“Then who ordered it?” asked Geordi, clearly outraged.

“I did,” answered Riker. “I felt that they went too far in their…”

The door chime interrupted him.

Picard frowned. “Come.”

The Troi women entered as an impenetrable force.

“We want to know just what is going on and why those wonderful people were arrested!” demanded Lwaxana, wearing a scowl.

“Mother,” Deanna said gently. She was wearing her blue Starfleet uniform. “I believe that Commander Riker was just about ready to explain.”

Picard sighed and remembered that Deanna was still technically a member of the senior crew, never having been discharged since he had never accepted her resignation. “Have a seat ladies, and Mrs. Troi, please remember that this is my meeting.”

“I wouldn’t dream of behaving otherwise, Jean-Luc.”

When they had settled, Picard nodded to Riker. “You were saying?”

Riker seemed to have trouble talking. “Sir,” he finally managed to say. “It is my belief that one or more of those people are part of the Q Continuum. I don’t know what game he or they are playing, but I sure don’t like it.”

“A valid concern, however…none of that was in the charges you issued.” Picard sighed. “They were in trouble and we rescued them. They offered to play for us and I welcomed them. If you did as thorough a background check as I suspect, then you know the nature of their permits. I welcomed them and gave them full permission to present their music and message in their normal manner, knowing full well what that entailed. I also guaranteed their safety. Of course, I suppose you could always claim that I am a weak-minded individual.”

“Of course not, sir!” Riker took a deep breath before continuing. “Sir, it is my belief that at least one of this group is a member of the Q Continuum, and I stick by that belief.”

“Then you are at least guilty of contriving false charges.” Picard snorted. He decided to emphasize what he had already said. “Riker, these people were in mortal danger, and when they called out for help, we rescued them. They kindly offered to play their music and I agreed. None of the behavior I’ve witnessed fits with the Q profile and I would like to think that I would be able to tell a Q when I saw one.”

“This is nonsense!” declared Lwaxana, momentarily forgetting her promise to behave. “If these people were Q, then Deanna and I would be able to tell! We are able to get telepathic reading on all of them!”

“A Q could generate a false reading, Mrs. Troi, which you well know, but I thank you for your input.” Picard sighed again, wishing not for the first time that he had never encountered the super-powerful being called Q. “And they could create a false history for our computers.”

“Even false readings for my medical tricorder?” asked Dr. Crusher, sounding highly skeptical of Riker’s charges even though she had not been at the concert.

“Even that.” Picard felt at an impasse. Riker did have a valid point, even if it was born out of less than righteous convictions. As a Starfleet captain, he was obligated to investigate this. Picard knew that these people were not Q, but knowing and proving were two different things. Then he remembered Guinan. “Ah, Number One…what about the fact that Guinan hasn’t said anything about a Q being on the ship? She’s always been able to tell when one of them is around.”

“The thought had crossed my mind, but Guinan’s been wrong before. Besides, she only has a history with one Q, and I don’t think he’s anywhere around. This doesn’t fit his profile, but it could easily fit another Q. They’ve been known to meddle before, for no other reason than to create exactly this kind of mayhem.”

Picard looked at his people around the long conference table, wondering where each of them stood on the issue. Most of their faces were transparent. “Mr. Worf, what is your take on this?”

The Klingon did not look any happier than he had before. “I have not had any contact with these people, so I have not had a chance to observe their behavior. The only information I have so far is what I have heard. I intend on doing a complete background check on them as soon as I can. Spiritual and religious differences aside, I find it hard to believe that a Q would do good just to confuse people. So far, I do not see any harm in these people, not if they healed Deanna and Geordi without asking for anything in return.”

“Was it an unconditional healing?” Riker asked.

“It was,” answered Geordi. “They didn’t even ask if I believed in what they were saying. Anna just put her hands alongside my head and said something about seeing the Wind, and my VISOR just kind of fell off. The neural implants too. I find your claims hard to believe, Commander. I’ve never met a Q as kind and as gentle as these people are. Unless you suspect one of them that I haven’t met yet.”

“What about you, Deanna?” Riker’s voice was gentle as he addressed the woman he loved. “Was yours an unconditional healing as well?”

“Commander…Will…less than 12 hours ago, I could not stand, and I couldn’t even speak on my own. Nearly every muscle in my body was paralyzed. I was invited to a concert with no strings attached and was healed in ways you can’t imagine. I am eternally grateful to these people and to their…our God. I cannot believe that one of them is a Q. I am standing, I am walking, I am speaking, and I am alive. What I would like to know, is why do you feel threatened by these people?”

“That is not the issue here,” Riker replied defensively. “Which one healed you?”

Deanna frowned, not liking how he deflected her question. “I was healed by God.”

“Then who led it?” Riker shifted in his seat, obviously feeling the attitude shift in the room. “Who put their hands on you? Who prayed for you?”

“It was the girl, Anna, who prayed…” Realization dawned on their faces around the table, expressed by Deanna’s exclamation, “You can’t be serious!”

“Anna is no more Q than I am!” declared Picard, sincerely hoping that no one would mention that Anna had prayed for him as well. One thing they didn’t need was Riker trying to wrest away control of the ship because he thought his captain had been ‘influenced’ by a Q.

“Anna is the only one mentioned at this table in connection to these things. She was instrumental in the healing of two at this table, she is the one that knows things about us that she shouldn’t be able to, and she was the one ‘left’ on the ship. It is my belief that the entire thing was a ruse to get on board this ship, from the bomb in the engine to the unconscious act.”

“It was no act!” declared Crusher and Geordi together. The doctor nodded her deference to the engineer.

“There was a bomb transported into that ship! Sir!” Geordi’s face darkened past its normal dark hue. “Unless you’re questioning my expertise, sir. There was residue in that compartment, and I could see where the hull had been compromised.”

“The Q can affect machinery. You know that Geordi.” Riker sounded apologetic. “They could also easily manufacture fake residue. From our past experience, we know that they can manufacture just about anything to perfection.”

“Then I suppose that while she was faking being dead, she was also affecting my tricorder reading as well?” asked Dr. Crusher.

“I believe so, yes.”

“Then would you mind explaining why a Q would transmit a reading of a slightly malnourished pregnant female?”

“I don’t know,” Riker said with an indifferent shrug. “I guess to supplement her illusion of widowhood.”

“Excuse me,” interrupted Data quietly. “But I am afraid that you cannot be correct, Doctor.”

“What do you mean, Data? In the few seconds that I had my tricorder trained on her, it clearly registered that she is two and a half months pregnant with a male Vulcan/Human hybrid fetus.”

“Data, if what you said was true, about who she is, then you’re right. It would be physically impossible for her to be carrying a child,” said Deanna.

“Why?” asked Picard.

“Data told me earlier that Anna was the daughter of…”

The android interrupted. “I only implied, I did not say it directly. I also promised that I would not tell anyone the secrets I was told.”

“Data, I’m sure that they would understand if you had to tell under direct orders.” Riker smiled.

“Are you making it so?”

“I’m afraid I must, unless the Captain disagrees.”

“I do not,” Picard answered.

Data looked grieved. “Anna is the daughter of Doctor Jared O’Connor.”

There was a collective gasp.

“If that’s true, then her uterus was removed years ago and never replaced,” said Crusher, stunned.

“Then it is possible that she’s not who she says she is,” remarked Riker trying not to gloat and failing.

“It is if she was healed like I was,” said Deanna, but her comment was ignored.

“I am ordering a full investigation,” said a cornered Picard. “Worf, you’re in charge of it, as Head of Security naturally and because I believe you might be the only impartial person in this room; it definitely helps that you haven’t met any of them. The first thing I want is for Data to give a complete report of whatever they have told him. You can take it from there.”

“I want to be present for any interrogations you do,” Riker said.

“Captain?” asked Worf.

“We will both be there, as will Data since they seem to trust him.”

“Aye, sir.”

“When will you wish me to give my report, Captain? And am I to assume that I will be under oath?” the android asked.

“Under oath? No, this isn’t a trial, but I expect you to tell the truth.” Picard thought about it. “The rest of you return to your duties and we will continue from there.”

Geordi, Dr. Crusher and the Troi women left, leaving behind an unbearable silence.

Worf stood, as if emphasizing his command of the investigation. He conferred with the computer console in the far wall for a few minutes, no doubt doing his background check of the group. He grunted when he was done. “Computer, please record conversations that take place in this room until further notice.” At the computer’s acknowledging beep, the Klingon continued. “Lt. Commander Data, please tell me whatever you can about the woman in question.”

“Her name at present is Anna Brightfame,” Data answered. “Most of what I have learned has been from her captain and the computer.”

“So you’ve never actually talked to her about her identity?”

“Correct. Captain Le Vite did not want me to speak of it again and I am wishing that I was allowed to keep that promise.”

“I am sure he will understand,” Worf said in apology. “Le Vite was Starfleet once, so I am sure he will understand that you are under orders. Now, tell me what it was that he told you.”

“I am sure that in an official trial it would be considered hearsay, but…Anna’s birth name was Athaliah O’Connor. Her mother, Adrian Williamson O’Connor died in childbirth and her father, Jared O’Connor was responsible for her upbringing until she was 121⁄2 Earth years old. I am sure you are familiar with the O’Connor trial.”

“I am not,” admitted the Klingon.

With a sense of foreboding, Data launched into the trial information, not sparing a detail.

Worf did not like hearing it and uttered a Klingon oath. “He deserves to be…” He cleared his throat. “Nonetheless, she could be pretending to be this woman. What proof do you have?”

“Just what I have been told and what I observed during my study of the O’Connor case.”

“So you studied it closely?”

“I did. I was studying human behavior, as I have been for years. I was intrigued that such events could happen in the Federation, indeed, at the very heart, especially since the abuse went on for quite a number of years. Needless to say, I was quite disturbed…”

“As are we all.” Worf scowled. “Your theory is becoming more and more plausible, Commander. It is possible that a Q became aware of Data’s fascination with this woman and decided to fabricate this situation. Of course, it is also entirely possible that they are who they say they are. I wish to speak with them. I will start with the captain and his wife. Do you wish them brought here, Captain, or do you want to go to them?”

“That is entirely up to you, it’s your investigation.” Picard gave him a thin smile.

“Captain, I really don’t think it would be a good idea to let them get anywhere near the Bridge,” argued Riker.

Worf smiled toothily. “And I do not see why not. At least, not yet.”

Within minutes, Josh and Min had been brought up to the conference lounge just off the Bridge, with a full Security escort of course. They were seated down the table from the three senior officers; Worf chose to remain standing.

“If you’re trying to intimidate us, you’re doing a good job,” said Min, holding her husband’s hand.

“What is this about?” asked Josh.

“We just want to ask you a few questions,” said Riker. “If you tell the truth, you have nothing to fear. How long have you been touring?”

“Please, Commander, let me do the questioning.” Worf turned to look out the window. “And as of yet, I am not ready to begin.”

“I see,” answered Riker, trying not to sound miffed.

“If you do not mind, might I apologize to these people?” requested Data.

“Later.” Word turned from the window and looked at the couple. “Please state your full names for the record.”

“I am Joshua Andrew Le Vite.”

“And I am Elminna Violet Le Vite. My maiden name was Thomas.”

“Very good. Thank you. There has been a very serious accusation leveled at one of your people. Have you ever heard of the Q Continuum?”

Min groaned. “Not again!”

“Again?” Riker once again opened his mouth out of turn and promptly looked apologetically to Worf. “Sorry, Worf. Old habit.”

Worf decided to sit directly across from the couple, to reinforce the fact that he was the questioner. “Do you mean to imply that you have been accused of being part of the Q Continuum before?”

“Yeah,” answered Josh. “We get it a lot when we play anywhere there’s Starfleet. One Starfleet base went so far as to…” Josh trailed off and his face hardened at whatever memory he was seeing.

“To do what?” Worf prompted.

“Tell them,” Min said quietly to her husband. To Worf she said, “It is Anna you’re questioning us about, right?”

“That is correct,” answered the Klingon.

Josh took the telling of the story back up. “About a year after we started touring, we were held for questioning at a Starfleet base. We would have been released without harm, except that a young doctor decided to try to do a physical on Anna. Anna was very young at the time, she wasn’t even married to Jack yet, although they were betrothed. She refused to have a physical, which of course raised their suspicions. They…” Josh was so disgusted that he couldn’t finish.

Min picked up where her husband had left off. “They physically restrained her and forced her to submit to the examination. Not a good idea if she really was a Q, by the way, because if she was, she probably would have crushed them then and there. But since she isn’t a Q, she had to go through that exam and we were powerless to protect her. They deliberately used older methods, and they were rough and inhumane. For someone who has been through what she has been, it was traumatizing. Lt. Worf, have they told you about the O’Connor trial?” At his nod, she continued in outrage. “Then you can begin to imagine what being restrained, not just by their hands, but by those awful binders they used, would do to her! Women’s exams used to be far different from men’s, and they chose those older methods. Anna is very much human. She was still unresponsive when we left port that night, with all of the damage to our ship fixed and supplies from the base’s own storeroom. They couldn’t apologize enough. It was forever before she blinked again…we took turns holding her for days.”

“I am…moved by your speech, but I need more hard proof,” Worf said quietly. “My commander is very determined and it is my belief that it will take much to satisfy him.”

“That doesn’t surprise me,” said Josh. “Commander Riker has been gunning for Anna ever since the beginning. I don’t know the particulars, but something was said when my wife and I were getting our permits from our ship. When I returned, Commander Riker was visibly upset.”

“Is this true, Commander?” Worf asked.

“I don’t have to answer that,” replied Commander Riker.

“If not now, you will later,” declared Worf.

“Data was also present,” Josh added. “He even made a comment later that he felt that Commander Riker was upset over Anna’s widowhood. ‘Obvious short widowing’ is how he put it, I think.”

“Is this true, Data?” Worf asked the android.

“It is as they say,” confirmed Data. “I believe that at the point Captain Le Vite entered, Commander Riker was more upset over the possible security breech, but yes, he was also disappointed because Anna made it clear that she was not available to his…romantic interests.” Data glanced at Riker and reconsidered. “I believe he was most upset over Anna’s reference to Counselor Troi.”

“Would you please replay that conversation for us?” asked Worf, well aware of Data’s capabilities. He glanced at the wall terminal to make certain that the ship’s computer was still recording the meeting.

“The one between the commander, Anna and I?” specified Data.


Data complied, replaying the conversation, not only verbatim, but also in the person’s own voice. He stopped at the point where Josh had interrupted them.

Anna would love to hear that, Min non-verbally communicated to her husband, who smiled and nodded.

“Commander, this does not help your case.” Worf successfully hid his pleasure.

“No, I guess it doesn’t,” Riker said noncommittally.

“I would presume,” Worf addressed Josh and Min now, “that Anna first came into your lives at the time of the trial?”

“Just before it, actually,” answered Josh. “She was brought into the hospital where Min used to work, about a week after the last incident. The authorities wanted her removed from Earth. Things just kind of developed from there.”

“What proof do you have that she was indeed your sister? As far as we know, your sister is still on Earth, if indeed she existed at all.” Worf continued in his duty if for no other reason than to vindicate the people that had brought healing to Deanna and Geordi.

“There were blood tests and DNA matches.” Something in the Klingon’s _expression had changed and Josh thought that maybe he was being believed. “And we know that she existed because we knew about her before the trial. We knew Adrian was pregnant before she and Dad left for Earth, and we – my brothers, mother and I – found out the baby’s gender when Dad called Mom to gloat about finally being able to have a baby girl, even if it had killed Adrian in the process. We never heard from them again until the trial.”

“I see. How do you explain the lack of family resemblance?” asked Worf, remembering from the pictures the computer had provided had shown that the two looked like complete strangers. While it was not uncommon for there to be no resemblance between family members, Worf still expected some.

“I take it you didn’t follow the trial like half of the Federation did at the time?” Min asked.

“I had more pressing things to do at the time than to follow far away court cases,” admitted Worf, sounding a trifle embarrassed. “Data has told me the details of the case and what your sister went through.”

“Some of what she went through,” clarified Josh. “There were things that weren’t aired because the judge refused to put Anna through that kind of humiliation. He reviewed at least half of the evidence in his chambers. It turned out that he didn’t even know the whole story himself. Anna was badly mutilated when she was first brought into the emergency room. When Dad realized that she was going to die despite his best efforts to keep his lab rat alive, he called for the medics. An amazing move on his part even though he tried to claim that a wild animal had mauled her. Anna’s face was unrecognizable, like most of her…they weren’t even sure she was a female until they did a DNA scan. One of the doctors made a visual from her DNA of what she looked like, and when they showed it to her to let her know they were going to fix her, she told them the picture was wrong. So, when they went to fix her face, they fixed it according to her specifications.” Josh and Min shared a wistful smile.

“I’m surprised that people as deeply religious as you are would allow something like that to take place. Isn’t that kind of shallow? No matter how ugly she might have looked?” Once again Riker had forgotten Worf’s request, but this time Josh answered before Riker could apologize or Worf could reprimand.

“It had nothing to do with looks, Commander. Anna was a beautiful young woman even before this happened. The reason why both the doctors and we allowed her to change her looks was because she looked a lot like Dad, only more feminine. Of course, Dad isn’t high on the masculine side himself.” Josh shrugged. “We all let her do it so that she wouldn’t have to look at her father, her abuser, each time she looked into the mirror. Besides, we weren’t all that different from you at the time, Commander. I spent most of my off duty time either in the bars looking for a fling or in the holodeck manufacturing my own. Crude as holodecks were when they first came out.”

There was a moment of silence that Worf took to glare at his superior.

The Klingon nearly growled at his superior. “One more outburst from you, Commander, and I will have to ask you to leave.”

“I’d listen to him, if I were you, Number One. It’s not good to anger a Klingon,” said Picard good-naturedly.

“I’ll try to remember that. Sir.”

Worf looked at the Le Vites, a loose end still puzzling him. “Tell me about Anna’s husband.”

“What do you want to know?” asked Josh.

“Who was he? What was his name? How did they meet? Was he a good man?” Worf’s grin actually managed to look fatherly. “I would want to know these things if I was made guardian of a sibling. You basically raised her as one of your own.”

“Are you a father, Mr. Worf?” Min asked.

“I am. Please answer the question, we can trade parenting stories later.”

Josh managed not to grin. “Anna was married to a Vulcan named Jack Brightfame. Min and I never knew if that was his real Vulcan name or not, but I know Anna did. We actually hired him to tutor Anna so she wouldn’t have to go to regular school.” Josh almost laughed at the expression on Worf’s face. “I know that must sound like coddling to a Klingon, but we had to do something. In the beginning, she refused to even go out into our backyard. She still isn’t very comfortable outdoors. Besides, Jack was a Vulcan…how soft do you think he could have been?”

“I’m going to assume that’s a rhetorical question,” said Worf dryly.

“It is. We were a little leery about hiring him. I mean, our background checks on him turned up very little, just that he existed under that name and that he was telling the truth about his educational and work background. We started out by hiring him on a probationary period. We decided to keep him on when we found the two of them in the backyard playing with the puppy we had gotten her. Somehow he had managed to talk her into going outside. Jack was amazingly gentle for our concept of a Vulcan, and at the same time, twice as stern. In the beginning, she threw a lot of tantrums despite her Christianity, and Jack didn’t put up with any of her…nonsense as he called it.”

“I confronted him once about it,” said Min. “About him being so stern. He looked at me and…I swear he was almost in tears. He told me that the reason he was so stern with her was because he didn’t want her to grow up with a victim mentality. I think he loved her even then, but I didn’t discover that part of their relationship until four years later when she was a few months past her seventeenth birthday. I can’t tell you exactly what it was that led me to believe that they had a more than professional caring for each other, woman’s intuition maybe, but I ended up telling Josh about my suspicions when I found them holding hands over a book. Josh in turn fired Jack and told him to never come back. I was a new Christian at the time, but Josh wasn’t yet and at any rate he’s always been over protective of his sister. Firing Jack wasn’t a good thing to do, but then again it was. Anna didn’t take the news very well when she was told that Jack wasn’t coming back. Her first reaction was to cry and beg for us to bring him back. When that didn’t work…” Min sighed and shook her head at the memory. “She yelled and screamed and cursed her brother up and down before storming off to her bedroom. It was the first time I had ever seen my husband speechless, or in tears. He was just as upset when she wouldn’t open her door later that night when he went to talk to her. We always respected her privacy and never entered her room without her permission, so she never felt the need to lock her door. When she hadn’t come out by morning, I broke that unspoken rule and discovered that she had run away in the night. Josh didn’t react well to that, but managed to keep his cool long enough to talk to Base Security. A search was started, but it had to be expanded when it was discovered that she had booked a ship to Vulcan. She had withdrawn a large amount of her credits to get that less then legal booking. We would have followed her all the way to Vulcan, except that Jack had found her first. He never said where or how, but he brought her back the next night. We were relieved. Jack, I think, was embarrassed. Anna was twice as mad as before. She had stormed off to her room again. We invited Jack in and asked him why he brought her back since they could easily have eloped. He told us that it was the logical thing to do…Josh was still in Starfleet then and could have leveled all sorts of charges at him and he didn’t want that. But even more, he didn’t want to break our family apart. The way Jack saw it, Anna needed our love and support even more than she needed his. Josh had already repented of his rash decision and asked Jack to stay on. Jack readily agreed. There were more things going on than the three of us had originally realized, issues of abuse that had never come to light before, along with some substance abuse. We knew before they had shown up that it was going to take more than just Josh and me to help her. Josh went in to talk to her that night, hoping she’d had time to calm down. I don’t know the specifics, but when they came out of her room, they were both smiling through the tears. Anna apologized for her behavior and asked what was to happen next. We checked into Federation law regarding interspecies marriage and they were engaged under the conditions that they were not to be married until she had turned at least eighteen. They were married, and rather happily so until last month when Jack died.”

“That is…more than I expected, but I am glad that you told me,” said an ever patient Worf. “Jack has only been dead for a month?”

“Yes,” answered Josh, with a subtle glance toward Data. “He and Anna were kidnapped by a group of rebel Rigellians and in the end Jack was killed protecting his wife. Why do you want to know?”

“Has Anna at any time ever completely healed from her injuries from Dr. O’Connor?”

“She healed. She was never able to have her uterus replaced, because there was too much damage for that. She’s been prayed over a couple of times since she and Jack were married. But that’s the only thing that hasn’t completely healed, unless you count a bit of scarring.” Min looked at the Klingon suspiciously. “What aren’t you telling us?”

“One of the reasons Anna’s ‘humanity’ is under question is because when you first came on board and there was the emergency with Anna, Dr. Crusher was able to scan her with a tricorder and it revealed that Anna – an infertile woman – is pregnant.”

There was a moment of stunned silence from the captain of the Zion Revivalists and his wife. Then they looked at each other and broke out into delirious grins.

“They were praying fervently for a time, not that long ago,” Josh said. “Amazing! What an awesome God we serve!”

“I wonder if she knows yet?” Min asked no one in particular.

“Then you believe it is Jack’s child?” inquired Worf.

“Whose else would it be?” Josh shrugged. “We’ve seen a lot of strange things in these past few years. Why wouldn’t God do something like this? He’s opened the wombs of many barren women over the centuries.”

“Did your doctor say how far along she is? I know a good tricorder could tell.” Min couldn’t have been more excited than if it were her child.

“I believe she said two and a half months,” answered Worf.

“That’s just after the last time they asked for prayer,” commented Josh, awed and pleased. He gave his wife’s hand a squeeze and she answered with a return squeeze.

“I think it is time for me to speak with this woman,” said Worf gruffly. He summoned Security and relayed his request. Turning back to Josh and Min, he asked, “Do you wish to stay?”

“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” interrupted Riker.

Worf sighed. “Why not, Commander? I do not see where this woman is a Q. I do not see the harm in bringing her here to confirm my suspicions and inform her of her pregnancy. And…I think she would receive my questions better if here family were here.”

Picard spoke, the first time in a while. “Would you like Doctor Crusher here? To convince Anna of her pregnancy? If she’s been waiting for so long, she might be hard to convince.”

Worf considered. “Yes, I think that would be a good idea. I will summon the doctor as well.” He activated the comm unit and spoke softly into it as Riker once again broadly aired his disgust.

“Am I the only one not fooled by this?” Riker stood and began to pace the room, “These people probably aren’t real. They’re a Q creation; of course their story would be convincing if they were her creation.”

“I’m trying hard not to be insulted here, Commander.” Josh wisely kept his seat, Min’s hold on his arm helping. “The last time I was accused of being some kind of ‘creation’, I took out half the men at the bar. Of course, we were all drunk at the time so it probably doesn’t count.”

“A good religious man like you? I’m surprised.” Riker stopped pacing in order to turn his glare on the former Starfleet officer.

“I was on leave at the time, barely out of the Academy. My god at the time was my own self and I was good at serving myself.” Josh shrugged. “We didn’t know about the Q yet, but they aren’t the only beings that have supernatural powers attributed to them. The Federation even has some as its members. We’ve been running into ‘god-types’ ever since we started exploring space, Commander.[i] The Zion Revivalists have actually witnessed the Gospel to quite a few of those species and they’re usually more open to the notion of a ‘higher power’ than us ‘normal’ folk. Some of them have even accepted Christ as their Savior.”

Riker snorted. “You’re hardly normal. I don’t get you, Le Vite. You had a promising career in Starfleet! You were in the top of your league, a brilliant genius! You could have ended up in charge of Starfleet before you knew it at the pace you were going. You could have been the youngest to claim that office. I’m not even going to be able to make that claim! You’re a genius, Le Vite! And you’ve chosen to waste your life by traveling the galaxy with…with malcontents and rebels! You could have been so much more than what you are!”

“I suppose, by your reckoning, but I doubt I would have been happy with who that person would have turned out to be. I don’t have to explain myself to you Commander, but I will. Basically, I left Starfleet to live my own life.” Josh shrugged again. “I missed my family, for one. Min and I wanted to start having children, but we didn’t want to do that with me working hours without end. We saw that Anna did better when we were able to spend more time with her and we knew that the same would prove true for our own children. Min had already been fired from her job at the hospital and had her license revoked. The band had been together for about a year. Someone mentioned touring and evangelizing, so I left. Not to mention that some of Anna’s arguments about the Prime Directive were not only beginning to make sense, but they were also beginning to attract the attention of my commanding officers. Anna can be very persuasive in her arguments and she’s very well researched. She can also be very vocal.”

“What’s wrong with the Prime Directive?” demanded an exasperated Riker.

“It has a tendency to be misused when people don’t want to get involved, or when they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions[ii]. And sometimes abused for the personal ambitions for the powers that be.”

Riker would have responded, but the door chime indicated the Security was waiting outside, presumably with Anna. Conversation cut off as the woman in question walked in with Counselor Deanna Troi, deep in their own quiet conversation.

“Sorry, Lieutenant,” one security officer said to Worf. “Counselor Troi insisted on coming too.”

Worf nodded and dismissed the security officers. He decided to interrupt the women’s conversation. “Excuse me, Counselor and Mrs. Brightfame, but could you please sit and continue your discussion at a later time?”

“Of course,” they said in pleasant unison.

Worf waited for them to be seated, pleased that Riker also returned to his seat. “While we wait for Dr. Crusher, Mrs. Brightfame, I would like to ask you some questions.”

“Please, call me Anna.” The young woman gave a tired smile.

“Anna, a very serious charge has been leveled at you…”

“You think I’m Q, don’t you?” asked Anna, her eyes looking at Riker even as she addressed Worf.

“I do not, but it is my duty to find out the truth.” Worf allowed himself to make a joke. “After all, I am honorable to a fault.”

“If possible. Honor has its place, but it can often be used as an excuse for pride.” Anna shrugged, much like Josh had been doing; apparently there was some family resemblance after all. “So, someone’s told you about that conversation.”

“Yes. Data repeated it for us.”


“To the word,” agreed Worf. He looked to the mentioned officer to see if he wanted to say something.

“I was ordered to repeat many things I had promised not to share,” said Data. “I ask forgiveness.”

Josh nodded, as did his wife and sister.

“Starfleet types can be insufferable sometimes,” said Anna quietly. She smiled at her brother. “And I would know…I was raised by one since the age thirteen.” She looked over to Riker. “Commander Riker?”

“What?” asked a defensive sounding Riker.

“I am sorry if I upset you earlier. None of it was meant as an insult, honest. But even if it was…aren’t you used to it by now?”

Riker didn’t so much deign to answer.

“Indeed.” Once again, Worf took control of the conversation. “Anna, what do you have to say for yourself? Can you prove that you’re not a member of the Q Continuum?”

“God is my defense, Mister Worf. I can say nothing that does not come from Him.” Anna sighed and considered the situation, her heart prayerful. “No. There is nothing that I can say or do that will convince Commander Riker that I am human. Anything I say, he will regard as a lie. Anything I try to do, he will say is part of some sort of plot; a parlor trick even. Unless, of course, you want to throw me into a pond of water and wait for me to drown, thereby proving that I am human. They used to use that trick to test a woman to see if she was a witch or not, way back at the beginning of the settling of America, most notoriously during the time of the Salem witch trials. Of course, even the witches ended up dying, but that’s another story. It took your favorite Q almost dying to prove to you that he had been stripped of his powers and was defenseless. Is it my death that you require?”

“No,” said Worf just as the door chimed again and opened to admit a frustrated Doctor Crusher.

“Sorry I took so long. Had an emergency.” Crusher sat next to Deanna, smiled at the Zion Revivalists and waited.

“No, Mrs. Brightfame,” repeated Worf. “Your death is not necessary. However, we would appreciate it if you were to submit to a…”

“Not a physical! Please…anything but a physical!”

Deanna, not fully knowing why a physical would scare the young woman so badly, put a comforting hand on her arm. “No one is going to hurt you,” the counselor said instinctively. “Doctor Crusher is a good doctor.”

Crusher smiled at Anna. “I wouldn’t dream of hurting you, Anna. We’re each entitled to our own opinions, and I admire you for having the courage not only to have a different opinion, but to voice it as well.”

“It’s not an opinion, but thank you…I think.” Anna looked pleadingly at her brother and sister-in-law, but they only grinned like kids keeping a secret. She looked back at the Klingon. “What do you want from me?”

“Nothing so strenuous as a physical,” assured Worf, not unkindly. “Just a routine scan with a tricorder.”

Anna looked at Doctor Crusher and saw only the Starfleet uniform. “Could Min do it? Or could she…”

Worf looked to Riker before answering, to see his reaction and no doubt do the opposite if necessary.

Riker was bothered by the distress of the young woman. She, who had previously looked smug and arrogant, now seemed to him incredibly young and helpless. Only, he knew that she wasn’t helpless. But that didn’t change the compassion he was feeling now. If this was a Q affecting his emotions, he was going to be even madder in the long run. Deanna’s stern glance only made him roll his eyes. “It doesn’t matter to me.”

“If Doctor Crusher doesn’t mind, Mrs. Le Vite may do the scan.” Worf was glad not to anger the first officer more than he already was. There was a limit to even good-natured teasing, and he did not want to press beyond that limit with Riker; he was a commanding officer after all.

“I don’t mind,” Crusher said, easily seeing the girl’s fear, and now understanding her distrust. She handed her tricorder over to Min.

Min stood and moved around Josh as she familiarized herself with the newer model. She whistled. “This is nice. I haven’t seen this model yet. The things that I could do with this!” She leveled the device at her young sister-in-law and marveled at the smoothness and speed of the tricorder. “Yes, very sophisticated. They’re right, Anna. You are slightly malnourished, no doubt because of the fast you’ve been on. But, my dear, I do believe God has called an end to your fast, because this also says that you are going to have a baby.” Min’s smile was wide.

“A baby?” Anna almost jumped out of her seat. She would have had it not been for Deanna’s hand still on her back. “A baby?” Her joy was so complete that they were all smiling, including the recalcitrant Riker. Anna put her hands on her stomach, her eyes bright with unshed tears of joy. “Oh my. Jack was right…God healed me! He said that he knew we would have a child, but I didn’t believe him.”

“Then maybe you should do as Sarah did and name him ‘laughter’. Isaac Brightfame has a nice ring to it.” Min showed Anna the tricorder readout, even though she knew that the other woman wouldn’t understand even half of it.

“A boy? He’s a boy?” Her unshed tears were beginning to be shed. “After all these years.”

Deanna began to rub the young woman’s back. “Yes, after all these years. God is faithful, remember?”

Anna nodded.

Deanna turned to address her captain. “Captain, before these people leave, I would like to see that they receive up-to-date equipment for their ship. For their engines, for their medical needs, and anything else that can be thought of.”

“A newer air recycler would be advisable,” said Data. “And a higher grade wiring system so that nothing would be able to short circuit the entire ship again.”

“Some new clothes would be a nice thought,” Crusher mused. “And some medicines. Food even.”

“I believe that can be arranged,” Picard answered. “I’m sure we can think of a few ways to bless them before they go.”

“I can’t believe this!” declared Riker, returning to his feet. “You all believe her! I never would have thought this of any of you! Come on! You’re all intelligent people, can’t you see through this?”

“There is nothing to see through,” Josh answered as his wife sat back down next to him. “All that you’ve heard has been the truth. You know that, deep down and that’s what bothers you so much. Now it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. You’re an intelligent man yourself, so think carefully before you make a decision. Commander…Will, God is not like your father, or your mother for that matter. God is a far better father than any of us could ever wish to have. God will never abandon you.”

“Leave my parents out of this!” growled Riker angrily. “I give up! I just want these people gone!” With that, he stormed out of the room without waiting for the captain’s permission.

“Well, that’s that,” Picard sighed. “He’s not satisfied, or a believer, but he has given up his witch hunt.”

“I think that with the prayers and the witness of his friends, he won’t be like this forever,” said Min compassionately.

“Some of us will be praying twice as hard,” whispered Deanna.

“Are we free to go, Captain?” Josh asked.

“Yes, and as much as I regret this, I’m afraid I must ask you to leave us without anymore concert services. I would much rather you stay,” said Picard. “But I do not wish another confrontation.”

“Understood,” answered Josh. He rose and gentlemanly helped his wife to her feet. “I think that our mission here is complete.” He glanced so briefly at Anna that only Data could have noticed. “We’ll be gone as soon as possible.”

“Not before receiving your gifts!” declared Deanna. “Or should I say blessings?”

“Sometimes they are one and the same Counselor Troi,” Josh said to her. “I accept your generosity, Captain, and I hope for Commander Riker’s sake, it can be done quickly.”

“As do I.” Picard stood and the remaining persons around the table followed suit. “Data, would you see to it?”

The android nodded.

And Data did arrange everything, though not all of the new equipment could be installed as quickly as would have been liked so it was late the next afternoon before the Zion Revivalists were able to leave. There was no formal send off. Captain Picard had been down earlier and said his goodbyes to the group. Deanna, Lwaxana, and Geordi were all floating around, seeing to the odds and ends before everything was settled, and then they too left. All too soon it was just Data and Anna standing outside the ship. Josh had left her with a nod and a stern warning not to take too long. Data gazed at the young woman and waited.

“Our time here has come to an end, Data,” commented Anna after a brief pause. “Is there anything you’d like to ask?”


“Why what?”

“Why have I had this dream?” Data asked. “Is this some sort of message or warning? Or are you a figment of my imagination?”

“What do you think?”

“I do not know how to answer that yet. There are many things to consider.”

“Think hard, but don’t take too long. A life, and lives hang in the balance.”

“Anna!” hollered Josh from inside the ship. “It’s time!”

“Coming!” The young woman patted Data’s cheek in a friendly blessing. “God bless you, Data. Till we meet again, farewell…and remember.” With that, she turned into the ship and the dream faded to blackness.

[i] Sargon, Apollo, The Organians, Plato’s Children, The Traveler, Trelane (the Squire of Gothos), The Wormhole Prophets/Aliens, the Q, etc. All have supernatural abilities, most of whom would be considered ‘god-types’.
[ii] For example – the Federation ignored the annexation of Bajor by the Cardassians. The argument was that it took place within the Cardassian border and therefore they could do nothing. Kind of like how we ignore human rights issues in China and still give them the status of “favored nation”.

Chapter Four

Data distinctly heard Geordi calling his name, then Doctor Crusher asking what had happened.

“I don’t know,” he heard Geordi reply. “I stepped out of the room to talk to Commander Riker, and when I stepped back in, Data was flat on the floor. I know sickbay’s not the best place to have brought him, but you were closer.”

“I don’t…”

Data interrupted them by opening his eyes and sitting up abruptly. “I am well.”

“Data!” exclaimed Crusher, hand to chest. “Are you sure?”

“What happened?” asked Geordi, just as surprised as the doctor.

“I am not certain.” Data checked his internal time circuits. “I have been unconscious for two days?”

“No, only fifteen minutes,” answered the engineer.

“This is most unusual,” concluded the android.

“Explain Data,” requested Crusher.

“I have had a dream and my internal time circuits indicate that I have been ‘out’ for exactly 48.752 hours.”

“That’s impossible!”[i]

“You had a dream?” Geordi was confused. “Did it just kick in? Maybe we’d better run a diagnostic of that program.”

“I have already done so,” answered Data. “And there seems to be nothing wrong.”

“Nothing wrong?” Crusher shook her head incredulously. “Data, healthy people, and androids, don’t just pass out and have a dream. Something’s wrong. Especially since your time circuit is off! Now, you obviously have some sort of malfunction. Which is Geordi’s department.”

“Why does it have to be a malfunction?” Data asked. “”Why could not a higher power be involved?”

“A higher power? Who? Q?” Crusher’s patience was beginning to wear thin and it showed.

“No. God.”

“God? Now I’ve heard it all!” Crusher turned to the Chief Engineer. “He’s all yours Geordi.” She turned and walked away.

“Data, let’s head on up to your quarters and do a few checks.”

“That will not be necessary,” replied Data as he hopped off the bio-bed. “But I will come with you.” He followed his friend out of sickbay.

“Data,” Geordi said cautiously as they walked the corridor of the Enterprise. “What makes you think God knocked you unconscious and gave you a dream?”

“The dream was about God.” Data carefully watched the people they passed. What, or who, he was looking for, he was not certain.

“Was He there?” Geordi sounded genuinely interested. “In the dream, I mean.”

“No.” Then Data remembered the cloud at the service. “Yes! Yes, He was part of the dream. He manifested as a mist like cloud, though I was not the one to see it.”

“A cloud?” Geordi sounded skeptical now.

“Yes. It is even in the Bible. In Exodus.”

“Well, how did you know it was there if you weren’t the one to see it?”

“Because in the dream you were the one to see it and I trust your judgment.” Data suddenly decided to take a different route.

“Where are you going?” Geordi truly didn’t mean to sound as alarmed as he did.

“I would like to see Counselor Troi.” The android sped up and Geordi had no choice but to follow. “I believe she may be in danger.”

That caught Geordi’s attention. “What kind of danger?”

“I do not know exactly.”

They didn’t speak again until they stood outside Counselor Troi’s quarters.

“What if she’s not here?” Geordi asked. “She might still be on leave.”

“She was scheduled to return from her vacation leave today at eleven hundred hours.” Data reached to activate the door chime. “It is safe to assume that she has arrived safely and is unpacking and resettling.”

“Oh,” was all that his friend said.

Deanna didn’t answer the first chime, or the second, or the third.

“Maybe she went to Ten-Forward,” Geordi suggested.

“I had not considered that,” admitted Data. He tapped the communicator badge on his chest. “Computer, give me the location of Counselor Troi.”

“Counselor Deanna Troi is in her quarters,” answered the feminine voice of the ship’s computer.

Data and Geordi looked at each other.

“Check and see if the door’s locked,” said Geordi.

Data checked. “It is not.”

As the door slid gently open, Geordi muttered, “You’d better be right about this, Data; otherwise we’ll have one helluva time trying to explain and apologize.”

“Counselor? Can you hear me?” Data asked as he slowly entered the room. There was no answer. Data motioned Geordi to check one side of her quarters while he went the other direction.

“If she’s in the shower, this is all your fault,” said Geordi, still muttering.

Data didn’t answer. He went into the counselor’s bedroom, calling out, “Counselor, are you in here?”

At first he thought there was no answer. Then he heard a low moaning sound. The android hurried around the bed and discovered Deanna collapsed on the floor.

“Counselor!” he exclaimed as he knelt next to her.

Deanna moaned again, whether at chance or in answer to him, Data didn’t know. Her eyes were closed so it was hard to judge her exact level of consciousness.

“She is in here, Geordi!” Data checked her pulse. “I hope I am not too late.” He tapped his communicator again. “Computer, emergency transport to sickbay.” His hand on Deanna, they vanished in front of Geordi’s eyes and were transported to sickbay where an astonished Doctor Crusher met them.

“Data, you’re supposed to be with…ohmigod, Deanna!” Quickly the doctor knelt next to her friend and aimed her ever-ready tricorder at her. “Data, what happened?”

“I found her collapsed in her room. I believe you need to scan for a micro virus near her medulla[ii].”

“On what grounds?” demanded Crusher even as she scanned the back of Deanna’s head.

“Call it a hunch,” answered the android.

“What the hell is that?” wondered Crusher. She fiddled with the tricorder controls, hooking the hand-held device into the main diagnostic computer in sickbay; she hissed softly as the results became clearer. “Damn, where did she pick that up?” The doctor began to prepare a hypospray as she talked. “That’s supposed to be a Rigellian disease, not Betazoid. The galaxy is in big trouble if that’s communicable to other species…”

“Ah. You would be referring to the disease they are calling the New Rigellian Plague?” Data asked.

“Yeah, that’s the one.” The doctor pressed the hypospray to Deanna’s neck and released the medicine into the woman’s bloodstream. “If you hadn’t found her when you did, it would have been to late. Once the virus reaches the spinal column and medulla, it’s too late. By then, the victim is paralyzed with no cure. Deanna would have been confined to a repulsor chair if she’d been found even an hour later…or dead.” Crusher sighed in relief as the medicine began to take affect. “Lift her up on the bio-bed for me.” She stood as Data effortlessly moved Deanna. “At least that’s how it works on Rigellians. Who knows how it would affect another species?”

“It is a fast moving virus?” asked Data, largely unfamiliar with the disease.

“Once it starts attacking its host, yes. Its incubation period can last anywhere from a day to several years. It killed at least 500 Rigellians last month, and that’s with a cure available. It had been killing ten times that before the cure was found. Some kind of cure! If you’re too late introducing the drug to the victim’s system, it’s…well, too late. Too bad they haven’t found a preventative yet; aside from abstaining from sex, that is.” Crusher shook her head. “It’s almost like the old HIV-AIDS virus from twentieth century Earth. Almost. Young adults and teens have been affected the most.”

“She is waking up,” declared Data as Deanna’s eyes fluttered.

“Deanna, move slowly,” cautioned Crusher. “Your system hasn’t had time to adjust. Do you remember what happened?”

Deanna moaned and opened her eyes, only to flinch at the light. “I…was unpacking, wondering what I had eaten that could have upset my stomach. I was going to call you once my head started hurting, but my arm wouldn’t reach my communicator…the room darkened and I think I fell…then I woke up here…have you figured out why yet? I still feel dizzy.”

“Yes, and you will feel dizzy for a little while.” Crusher hit a button and raised the bed so that her friend’s head and torso were slightly elevated. “Deanna, where did you go on leave?”

“I went to Risa, like I told you. Why?”

“Did you sleep with anyone while you were there?”

“Isn’t this the wrong place to be discussing that?” quipped Deanna, glancing at Data and wondering what he was doing there.

“He was Rigellian, wasn’t he?” Crusher asked, refusing to let her friend avoid the question.

Deanna looked at the doctor in surprise. “Yes, how did you know?”

“Damn,” muttered Crusher. “We’ll have to contact Risa and see if they’ve had a Rigellian turn up dead. I can only imagine how many others he must have infected before he died.” Crusher sighed.

“Dead? Beverly, what are you talking about?”

“The New Rigellian Plague,” Crusher answered. “You were in the early stages of it. That’s what caused you to pass out. It’s a rather fast moving and largely fatal disease that has so far been known to only affect Rigellians. Apparently it’s mutated to include other species.”

“Or been genetically altered to do so,” Data suggested.

“Possibly, but unlikely,” said Doctor Crusher, nipping the android’s speculation in the bud. “Somebody would have to be sick in the head to mess with a disease this deadly and crippling. Deanna, you’re lucky that Data found you when he did. I’m going to need you to stay for observation, at least overnight.”


“No buts! I’m the doctor here and I don’t allow my patients to argue with me. Not even the captain gets away with that. I’ll inform Captain Picard that you picked up a bug at Risa and won’t be ready to return to duty for a few days. I’ll handle the calls to Risa myself.” She didn’t mention that she would have to talk to Picard about it, but she felt the omission necessary to put her friend at ease.

“Oh, all right.” Deanna sighed, not really wanting to move anyway. She smiled at Data. “Thank you, Data.”

“Data.” Crusher suddenly remembered his role in the issue. “Data, how did you know? When you left here, you were on your way to a Level Three Diagnostic with La Forge. Why did you go to Deanna’s quarters and how did you know what I was to look for? And don’t tell me it was a hunch.”

Data hesitated, looked at Deanna, then back to Crusher. “I dreamt it.”

“You dreamt it?” Crusher looked astounded. “When? Just today?”

“Yes. It was…”

“Who is that woman?” Deanna asked suddenly, nodding toward the main entrance to sickbay. “She looks…familiar, but I don’t think I know her.”

The doctor and the android looked to the door.

A slim young woman, not overly on the tall side, stood in the open doorway and for once the computer wasn’t having a fit that the doors were opened for too long. She was clothed in a simple dress, wore no shoes, and looked like the proverbial cat that had swallowed the canary. Data recognized Anna immediately.

“I have no idea,” said Crusher honestly. “Pretty, whoever she is. Do you know her, Data?”

“Yes. Excuse me, I must talk with her.” Data left without looking back.

Anna turned and walked away. Data followed close behind her. Wordlessly the young woman led him to an empty corridor that ended with a large window. She stopped and looked up at Data. “I told you we’d meet again,” she said with a smile.

“Who are you?” was Data’s first question.

“Exactly who I said I was. Anna Brightfame.”

“What is going on?”

“Nothing now. It was a risky mission, but it had to be done.” There was a sad, almost haunted look in her eyes now, as if she was weighted with too much knowledge.

“Are you a Q after all?”

“What do you think?”

Data took a fraction of time to consider this. “No, I do not think you are a Q, but I do not know what you are that would make you capable of this.”

“I didn’t make this possible. There’s another party involved. One of those gifted with supernatural powers who is a like believer. I’m sorry, I can’t tell you any more than that; her identity is classified information.[iii]”

“What was your mission?” Data asked, deciding to try a different route. “Was it just to save Deanna? In the dream, you said that there was more than one life at stake.”

“Yes, there were many lives.” Anna paused and turned to gaze out the window at the stars even as she considered her words and prayed to the Maker of those stars. “Data, what I am allowed to tell you, must not be told to anyone else. It probably shouldn’t even be told to you, but this was Josh’s decision, not mine.” She drew a deep breath and turned back to the android. “Data, hopefully Deanna is telling Doctor Crusher everything about her trip to that place. But even if she doesn’t, Crusher will still place her call to that…‘Pleasure Center of the Galaxy’. It will be in time to stop the holocaust that would have happened. Deanna wasn’t the only person infected by that man. The virus affects Rigellians slower than Deanna was, and in others it is slower yet. And it can be passed on to others while still in its dormant stage. It is a disease that has been mutated to affect each species differently. This mission was to save all those lives that the Rigellian touched, either directly or indirectly through the ones he deliberately infected. The disease would have run rampant through the galaxy, unstoppable and undetected for years. No one would have known how communicable the disease is if Deanna hadn’t been found in time. Because once it’s too late to stop the virus, it’s also too late to trace it. No one would have known.”

“Why do I believe that there is something more you are not telling me?” inquired Data, intrigued by her words.

“Because you’re a Starfleet officer and you have a good head on your shoulders.” Anna smiled at him. “This was our mission. It came about when I had a dream. God used it to show me the holocaust that would have came…and the death of my own husband because of it.”

Data processed the information. “I thought your husband died when the two of you were kidnapped?”

“That’s what would have happened, yes. Do you remember from your dream who kidnapped us?”

“Rigellians. But I do not understand the connection.”

“Jack would have been killed by the Rigellian Plague. Pardon me, the New Rigellian Plague.” Anna’s disgust was plain. “Upon investigation, it will be discovered that Rigellian Rebel Underground was responsible for the creation and propagation of that deadly disease. Had events went unchecked, if Deanna had not been discovered in time and the plague been allowed to spread unchecked, the Underground would have grown confident in itself and would have went on to do many evils. The murder of my husband would have been mild compared to some of what they would have done. It would have eventually reached the upper echelons of Starfleet and the Federation, killing most of them and thereby allowing a new group of leaders to be brought to power.”

“How do you know that you have done the right thing?” the android asked. “If these things were meant to be, have you not gone against the will of God? Have you unwittingly prevented His plan?”

“Some things are set in stone, Data, and some things can be changed, diverted, or stopped through prayer – as they should be. And I am a prayer warrior, among other things.” Anna looked out the window again. “I prayed for days before I went to my husband and brother about the dream. Those were hard days, especially since Jack knew that I had dreamt something that was upsetting me. Along with Min and Jainna, we three prayed even longer before we felt comfortable with this plan to divert the holocaust. When we went to the third party I mentioned before, she took a day of prayer herself before she agreed to weave this dream. And so, you were chosen and the message delivered. The disease will be stopped, along with the advancement of the enemy…and my husband will live. I’d rather have my husband than a dozen children.”

“But, in my dream…are you not pregnant?” Data asked.

Anna looked at Data as curiously as he looked at her. “I was pregnant in your dream?”

“Yes. And Isaac Brightfame is a good name.”

“I wonder why she put that in the dream? I gave up my hope of being healed when I was interceding for this.” Anna’s eyes clouded. “Oh, I wonder if it could be true? Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes God will give us our hopes and dreams only after we’ve given them up. I wonder if that’s what’s happened?”

“I do believe that it is logical to conclude so,” answered Data. “I hope so. If I might ask, were all those lives worth more than the salvation of the people in my dream? If things had been allowed to happen as I foresaw, would not the Kingdom of God been advanced?”

“Don’t forget all the lives that never had a chance to make the decision in your dream because they died from the plague. Some things are set in stone Data, but not all things. Prayer changes things; sometimes for the good if we pray in His will and sometimes for ill if we pray in our own. You have only seen one possible future from this event…Josh and I have seen another one as well, one we have not shared with the weaver of your dream since her time with us will soon be coming to an end. She doesn’t know it yet, but we knew from the beginning that she would be with us for but a season. We’re not sure yet whether she is going to run from her destiny again or not. Anyway, there is a greater glory to be had for our Lord. Those who came to salvation in your dream will be saved, just not as you saw. And now, there are many other lives that will be able to make their choice as well.”

“What about Commander Riker?” asked Data. “He was not saved in the dream, and he was very angry. And there were others not saved.”

“Commander Riker will be faced with the same choices someday, and he will have to make a choice. And he will have to live with that choice, or die with it. The same is true for the others in your dream. That is why prayer is so very important.” Anna quirked an eyebrow. “What about you, Data? You’ve been told the story of Truth. You have a choice to make as well.”

“I do not know if I can be saved,” said Data truthfully. “I am not human.”

“Ah, in other words, does Data have a soul?” Anna smiled as if at a secret joke. “Data, in an old, old, Earth story, the Scarecrow never knew he had a brain, the Tinman never knew that he had a heart, and the Lion never knew that he had courage. They searched in vain for gifts that they had already been given, and therefore couldn’t search for what they truly needed. The Wizard couldn’t give them what they were searching for, not only because he was a fraud, but also because they already had what they were searching for.[iv] Don’t search in vain for what you’ve already been given and don’t let anyone try to make you believe otherwise. Every good and perfect gift is from God above.[v] Don’t accept any substitutes. Use what you have and seek what you don’t…oh, and make sure you’re seeking it from Someone who can give it to you.” She gave him a different smile. It seemed that she had quite a vast repertoire of smiles. “Besides, weren’t you declared to be a sentient being?[vi] Most sentient beings have souls. I have yet to meet one that doesn’t.” She didn’t wait for him to comment. “It’s time for me to go, Data. I hope you will think on what has been said, and I hope you will make the right choice. I will be praying, but the choice is up to you.”

Data nodded. “Will we ever meet again?” he asked innocently.

Anna tipped her head in thought as the window behind her began to shimmer and become as liquid with light. No doubt the work of the third party she had mentioned. “Some things are set in stone, and some things can be changed. Some things are meant to be.”

The disturbance in the window solidified into a doorway of light. Just through it Data could faintly see the bridge of the ship, and the vague outline of people.

“Please,” Data asked. “Let me know how you are doing, you and your group. From time to time.”

“That can be done.”

“Could I look through the doorway, to see the people from my dream?”

“To see the people whom you feel have become part of your family?” Anna couldn’t help but smile wider. “I think that would be permissible. A word of warning, if you come all the way through, you’ll be stuck with us. It’s a one-way portal. I don’t know why she made it that way, but she did and I don’t think she likes making them. It’s one of her quirks.”

Data accepted her offered hand. “I do not believe that it would necessarily be a bad thing to be stuck with you.”

“Everything in its time, Data.” Anna stepped through the doorway and Data followed halfway by leaning through it.

They were standing there, with smiles on their faces. Josh and Min stood in the center, next to a tall Vulcan that had to be Anna’s beloved Jack. Cal was there, so was Tim. Phillip the drummer sat at a workstation to the side, his wife Jainna hovered in the background behind him.

Data looked at them, unknowingly smiling as well. His memory banks would never register the smile and so he would never remember it. “I wish you well.”

“God bless you, Data,” said Josh.

“You’ll be in our prayers,” Min said with a smile.

“Until next time.” Anna let go of Data’s hand and joined her Jack.

“Thank you,” the android said, withdrawing. The doorway faded as slowly as it had formed, leaving Data with an unmarred window. Without a word, he returned to the familiar world of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He was not surprised that the computer had not registered the disturbance with the window. He was not surprised when a Level Three Diagnostic of his internal systems revealed that there was no malfunction and that his internal time sensor had readjusted itself, but still…he did not make a decision. He was not surprised when over the course of the next few weeks events proved Anna’s prophecy was correct and the Rigellian Underground was revealed and exposed, but still he did not make a choice about the facts that had been presented to him. He was not surprised to receive the announcement of the birth of Isaac Walker Brightfame several months later, but he was pleased. He was surprised, however, to see that Isaac had been born with a twin sister – Rebecca Faith Brightfame.[vii]

The End of this segment.

[i] Not true. Captain Picard was once knocked unconscious by a beam from a probe that caused him to experience an entire lifetime in the matter of minutes. Then there was the time that he had a heart attack [his artificial heart spazzed when he got too near a wrong kind of ray] and Q gave him the opportunity to do his life over differently and it took only a matter of minutes then too. This kind of stuff happens all the time in Trek. Crusher is probably just skeptical because Data is an android.
[ii] I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’m a storyteller, not a doctor!! Lol! I did look into what part of the brain I wanted the “micro virus” to affect.
[iii] Another one of my characters that is set in the Trek universe. She is an alien half-breed and very few people even know that this powerful alien race exists. And since she is in essence a renegade among her alien people, she does her best to remain incognito. Most of the time, sometimes she just doesn’t care and almost dares the Oryon Council to come after her. Very interesting story. For another time.
[iv] Obviously, “The Wizard of Oz™”.
[v] Holy Bible, paraphrase of James 1:17
[vi] The episode was “The Measure of a Man”, in season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
[vii] This is a miracle several times over, from the healing of Anna’s womb to the fact that they were able to conceive without medical intervention as is normal for Vulcan/Human marriages.


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