By Carol Sandford


Chapter 07


"Commander, we are being observed. Humanoid life forms, fifteen in number, approximately 30 meters in that direction." Data pointed his tricorder in the direction of the dense forest. Will's eyes followed its line, squinting his eyes against the glare of the sun as he tried to peer into thick undergrowth. His voice lowered as he voiced his concern to the android.


"Unknown sir, however the colonists are aware of them. They have said that they have never been approached nor have the colonists approached them."

Will openly frowned, "I wonder why? Data, I have a real bad feeling about all this." His hand gestured to everything but nothing in particular. Data desperately tried to see whatever his Commanding Officer was seeing. It was apparently clear that Will Riker was bothered about something. But what?

"Sir, do you want me to recall the away team?"

Will stood silently for several moments weighing up the situation before finally making up his mind. "Yes, yes I do, I want to find out a bit more about this other tribe before we resume our studies."

Data acknowledged him with a curt nod and set off towards the crewmembers. After a few more moments Will followed on, determination now set in his step. Catching up with Data, he joined the group as they de-materialized from the surface.


"Counselor, do you sense any malice from the colonists, or any reason for Commander Riker's concerns?" Picard aimed his question from his usual perch at the end of the ready room's conference table. All eyes turned to face her, but her own eyes settled on Will's. She could feel his unease. His eyes focused intently on hers and Deanna unconsciously shuddered as the sensation of dread washed over her.

Breaking the mesmerizing gaze from her beloved, she turned her face back to her captain disappointed that she had nothing concrete to tell him. "No sir, I don't, other than the normal primitive emotions that one would expect from a culture that is just that, primitive. But, it would not do any harm being extra vigilant, it is not often Commander Riker's 'gut instinct' is wrong."

Will threw her a small grateful smile. If anyone trusted him with his misgivings, it was her, and it was comforting to know that she was on his side. He just hoped that he was wrong.

Picard's voice brought him back to the present as well as making his stomach somersault painfully.

"I'm curious about this elusive, 'other' tribe. I find it odd that neither group have tried to communicate. In the long run, it would almost certainly be to everyone's benefit. A good opportunity to broaden their knowledge and fresh blood as it were, to stop the interbreeding that is bound to occur with such a small colony."

Will could feel the tension building within him as he began to realize where his Captain was heading.

"I think it's time we introduced ourselves to these, 'other natives'. You never know, we could be doing them a huge favor." Will watched him grin, evidently pleased with his decision. Will was not pleased and as he went to say so, Picard held his hand up to silence him.

"I know your concerns, Commander, and believe me, I've taken them into consideration, but I think we're judging these strangers a little too harshly considering that we haven't even met them yet. When we beam down, we will take a full security team with us. Counselor Troi and I should be all that's needed."

Will shook his head, indignant that he should have even considered going down instead of him.

"Sir, with all due respects, I disagree. It is my job to introduce ourselves to new life forms, your safety is paramount, and I insist that you send me instead of yourself. I'm not happy that the Counselor should go either, but, unfortunately, she is the only one that can sense danger or deception and I DO think that there will be trouble sir."

Picard pondered on his words for several moments, before reluctantly agreeing, "Very well, Number One, you may go instead. I'll allow you to be the mediator on this one, and that is our prime directive; to unite these people, but, at the first sign of anything amiss, I want you all back on this ship, understood?" Picard looked at each of the three senior members of the away team that would be going making sure that they understood the severity of his remark.

Deanna, Worf and Will simultaneously murmured "Aye sir".

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