By Carol Sandford


Chapter 12


Four members of the senior crew sat around the ready room. The captain looked at each of his crew. He hated this time of day when they had to sit here and daily relay Commander Riker's condition.

Turning his eyes to Beverly, he resignedly asked her what he already knew the answer to. "Do you think Will is able enough to return home, Doctor?"

All eyes turned to the CMO and without hesitation she shook her head. "No, no I do not. He took the entire blame for the Traldians deaths on his shoulders. He knew his gut instinct was right and yet he still allowed the two tribes to meet."

Picard butted in. "But it wasn't his decision, it was mine. I was more at fault than Will, I ordered him to arrange the merger, he simply obeyed my orders."

Deanna sighed as she tried to reduce the tensions that were rapidly building, as they usually did everyday as everyone tried to understand the senseless massacre of a peaceful people that they had instigated.

"It was no ones fault, Captain. Chances are, this would have eventually happened anyway. One day, the two clans would have amalgamated, and who knows if the same thing wouldn't have happened. We will never know, but what is done, is done. It's too late to help them. Now we've got to concentrate on getting Will back, and I agree with Beverly, he is not able to function on his own. He needs constant supervision, day and night, but I think we need to respect his wishes and let him return to Earth. Perhaps this ship is hindering his recovery. Perhaps there are just too many reminders on board too many memories, sir."

The captain nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "Yes, perhaps you are right, Counselor, Maybe it is time to let him go. I want my first officer back, as he was, and if sending him home might help, then so be it. Counselor, do you have any objections to going with him? You are the only one who seems to have any success with him."

Deanna eyes sparkled as she contemplated just what the Captain was asking her. No medical facilities, no help, and no friends on hand to be there for her when the going gets bad, and she knew it undoubtedly would. But still, she felt privileged and honored that her Captain had put Will's destiny into her tiny hands. Offering a watery smile, she simply said, "No, sir, I don't mind at all."

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