By Carol Sandford


Chapter 03


The night's silence floated around the twosome as they trudged wearily on. The euphoric relief of escaping the sun's torment along with the comfortable coolness of evening soothed the couple's frazzled minds somewhat, even to the point of somehow enjoying the tranquil time.

Their relief at knowing that they were within hours of reaching their destination allayed their fears knowing that the worst was over. The short time they'd spent in the searing desert seemed to disappear into oblivion as they looked ahead to their destination, and eventually home.


The decision for some of the crew to spend some time on the recently discovered planet had been too much of a pull. Captain Picard had allotted several groups of his crew to spend three days on the planet after arranging specific times and destinations for returning to the ship.

Only Will and Deanna, enjoying the planets resources; the spa's of Taralee and the subsequent after care services that the spa's personnel supplied, had lost all sense of time and had missed their transport.

The next transport was due the following day, but in the next designated dropping point, Pralaar, some ten miles away. Will had assured Deanna that the trip would be a breeze and that they would be there in no time and probably have enough time for yet another spa session.

That was until barely two miles outside of town they had hit the desert. From there it had gone down hill, rapidly. Unprepared and unwilling to return, Will and Deanna had begun the perilous journey. Will, her trusted friend and Commanding Officer, had assured her that they'd be 'across the other side of it before breakfast' and still rang in Deanna's ears as she trudged on into the night.

The couple realised they were slowly beginning to head upwards by the change in the pain of their legs and the ragged catches of their breaths. Stopping briefly they surveyed their surroundings through the gloom of the night sky. It was also then that they heard the distinctive sound of trickling water.

Deanna held her breath not daring to believe their fantastic luck. Gripping his arm tightly, Deanna whispered to the silenced man beside her, "Do you hear it, Will?"

Even without his words, Deanna could read his body language; the way his body tensed up with expectant excitement, "Damn right I hear it, Dee, come on."

Gripping her hand once more, Deanna barely had a chance to move before Will hurried away pulling her forcibly behind him. It took less than two minutes to reach the rocky outcrop and stare at the scene below; A vast rock pool created by the steady trickle of water surging through the moss laden rocks beneath them. Captured by the moonlight and casting of sparking prisms of illumination that bounced off the rock faces surrounding the idyllic setting, it looked breathtaking.

Will whistled, "There was a God after all. My faith has been renewed."

He felt Deanna's fingers crush his as she continued to stare into the inky depths below, "Do you think its safe, Will?"

Will furtively glanced around the waters edge looking for anything that might remotely give them any trouble, but was soon convinced that they were alone. Sounding decidedly more convincing than he felt, Will reassured the small apprehensive woman beside him, throwing her a grin he told her, "It's safe. And besides, even if it wasn't, you'd have me to save you."

She playfully slapped his arm, her words smoothing the sting of the attack on his tender skin, "Oh, you. You would be ten times worse than anything I met in there."

Will chuckled knowingly, "Are you ready to test that theory out? I don't know about you, but I am determined to wallow in that damn pool, even if I have to fend off every critter on the planet."

Within a minute both Will and Deanna sank into the inky black depths of ice cool water fully clothed and both floating on their backs with only the moonlight for company.

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