Star Trek: Defiant

"Queued" - Part Two

Written by Laine Rael

The Defiant had spent two weeks hovering within one million kilometers of a protostar cluster. The science teams had a good opportunity to get in some research, and the foremost medical minds remaining in the Federation had gathered on the ship for a symposium. The purpose was to analyze the data Rael had collected from the captain and to try to formulate hypotheses as to why he was paralyzed, and what could be done to cure what had been deemed "Bridges' Disorder."

The symposium was at the conclusion of its third day, and there had been no breakthroughs. All agreed that the damage was on at least a molecular level, at most the subatomic level. All agreed that the nanites had caused it, possibly in preparation to take over his body in order to become one of the thousands of walking dead. But none knew what could be done about it. One, a Terran neurologist who had been on Deep Space Nine during the nanite invasion, had said he would devote himself wholly to the dilemma. Rael was heartened by his fortitude, even though she knew what a boost it would be to any doctorís career to solve this mystery.

Rael sat in her office reviewing the notes from the day. She looked away for a moment, rubbing her temples in frustration. "Iced tea number eight," she said out loud, eyes closed. She opened her eyes and started to rise, but she realized the tea had appeared just in front of her left elbow -- not on the replicator pad. Her eyes widened when the being who had been watching her appeared in a chair at her left. In a blink, his captainís colors changed to medical blue, and his four pips became two-and-a-hollow.

"Fascinating, isn't it?" Q whispered into her ear. "No damage registers on your instruments, yet your future husband can't walk -- or do certain other things."

Rael flushed. "Q," she said.

"So good to know you've heard of me!" Q said, looking enthralled. He stood. "You humanoids really have amazing behavior. Billions have died on earth, yet you concentrate your efforts on restoring the legs of one insignificant life form. How ... Terran ... of you."

"Why are you here, Q?" Rael asked, trying to sound uninterested. Inside she was jubilant. She had been fascinated with the database's stories of Q, and had always secretly hoped she'd get the chance to meet him.

Of course, she knew Q was only out for himself and his own amusement. He would do whatever he deemed necessary in order to accomplish his own ends. But he could cure Jeffrey ...

"Oh, I was in the neighborhood," Q said breezily. "I find your Captain to be quite ... interesting."

"So do I," Rael said dryly.

Q looked at her, seemingly shocked. "Oh, I do like you!" he said. "But as for why I'm here ... let's just say that I have something ... interesting in mind for the crew. A diversion, if you will. Your captain reminds me of Jean-Luc -- painfully stoic about 'duty' and 'honor,' yet--" He stepped to Rael's side -- "he has quite a soft spot for you."

"Not interested," Rael said.

"Oh, I think you will be," Q said meaningfully. "Don't you ever get bored around here? All this seriousness ... in my opinion, you need a vacation." Q snapped his fingers, and Rael disappeared in a flash of light.

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