TAKING A CHANCE

 
 

By Carol Sandford

 
 

Chapter 04

 
 

Five days later...

Docked at Starbase 212 on the Klingon border, several members of the Enterprise wandered amongst the people, the majority being Klingon's, listening in on conversations and joining in on the drinking binges, hoping that someone, eventually would let slip on the whereabouts of the fugitive Worf and the kidnapped Federation woman. Having had no luck at all, Picard had summoned all the crew back on board, discussions between the senior crew had concluded and a decision had been made to go back and sweep the star systems they had just left behind. They knew that the Klingon ship couldn't hide forever and eventually they would probably 'accidently' bump into them.

As they all settled into their seats, Picard relayed his order to the ensign and had risen his hand to initiate the Engage signal, when an incoming call was registered.

'On screen, Ensign.'

A Klingon that no one recognised appeared on the viewscreen in front of them.

After his initial surprise Picard asked what he could do for him

The Klingon gruffly snarled, but not in an unfriendly manner,

'I think it's more of a case of what I can do for you. I hear you're looking for Kurn's ship, the Hegh'ta?'

A buzz of excitement rippled through the bridge crew, both Will and the captain came to an expectant stand. 'You have some information about it's whereabouts?'

The stranger smiled as only a Klingon could smile,

'I hear tomorrow it's making a stop at the space station in the Gamma Eridon star system. Seems they have a humanoid on board that needs medical attention.'

As he let the mixture of shock, relief and desperation filter through the Enterprise's crew, he continued,

'As you know Klingon Warships don't have any medical facilities as it is the Klingon custom to either recover without help, or die like a true warrior. The woman must be a valuable commodity to warrant a visit to a station for aid.'

Picard hurriedly uttered his heartfelt thanks, eager to end the conversation and be on there way to get to their missed and much loved shipmate, but his manners reminded him to offer the man any service he might require anytime in the future. The Klingon stranger acknowledged him with a curt nod, before the view-screen blinked back to its original black state.

A sense of urgency now rippled throughout the bridge. Picard looked to Will. The desperate man purely radiated his concern for Deanna and Picard finally understood how strong the bond was between his two closest friends. He envied them, but also knew a great burden came with being connected, a concept that both thrilled and frightened him. To feel the anguish that Will was feeling, and no doubt Deanna too, he often wondered at the strength it entailed to take on such a feat. If only he could feel like that at times. He shook himself out of his reverie and barked out his command,

'Ensign, take us out of here, set a course to the Gamma Eridon system, warp nine. Engage.

As the big star-ship silently and effortlessly backed up, turned about and pulled away, the crew of the Enterprise D did their own turnabout as the last surge of expectant hope finally become a reality as the engines kicked into warp speed in the blink of an eye. Now they just hoped and prayed that when they got to her Deanna was still alive.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As they entered the vast Klingon space, Picard ordered engines to come to a full stop. They knew that Kurn's ship would not dock at the outpost, but more likely keep within the vicinity so they could transport directly to the base.

Both men came to a stand, all eyes on the giant view-screen ahead, and eerie silence fell over the bridge as they waited.

The helmsman jumped when Picard finally spoke,

'Mr Data, can you find anything out there?'

Will found himself holding his breath, his heart in his throat as he waited for his answer.

'Aye, sir. I have found a slight plasma stream trace. Searching for space variations to indicate a cloaked ship, sir.'

Will staggered forward reaching out to steady himself on the helmsman's chair, his gasp audible,

Picard reached over to touch his arm,

'Number one? Will, what is it? Can you sense Councellor Troi?'

Will concentrated hard and the Captain watched the young man's face fall into a trance like state. Tiny dots of perspiration collected on his brow and his breathing became irregular.

'Will! Talk to me, damn it!'

He watched as his eyes slowly opened. Never before had he seen his first officer in this state of mind before and it frightened him as he nervously asked once more,

'Will, Is she....?'

Will's voice barely whispered his reply, managing to keep the wave of nausea that threatened to invade him at bay,

'She's alive...just. She's still on board, but she's very weak, sir. I keep losing her, I think she's slipping in and out of consciousness.'

Data reminded them all at that point something that they already knew,

'Sir, we cannot beam Councellor Troi from the Klingon ship whilst it has the cloaking device activated. May I suggest we hail them. Maybe we can call on their... better nature, sir.'

They all looked at him as if he were mad, but then they began to question the statement. Maybe it could work.

Picard making up his mind turned to the ensign that poignantly stood in Worf's place

'Ensign, hail the Hegh'ta.'

A few moments passed until, to everyone's astonishment, Worf's face appeared on the view-screen with his head held high, his eyes revealing his betrayal.

'YOU BASTARD! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER? I'LL KILL YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH!!'

Will's fury raged from the distraught man and Picard grabbed at his arm, barking out his command,

'Enough, Commander Riker! Let's hear what he has to say for himself'

Worf looked shamefacedly at Will as Will bubbled with hatred, his hands clenching into fists as he tried to control himself.

Worf looked back to Picard, common sense telling him to ignore Will in case he flew of the handle again,

'Deanna is ill.'

Picard glanced at Will, then back to Worf.

'Do you know what is wrong with her?

He shook his head, his embarrasement clear as he explained

'I do not know, sir. But I do fear for her life, which is why I decided that she needed to come back to you. We do not have the facilities to treat her and... although I haven't actually seen her since we came on board, I have heard her screams.'

Will's carefully held on rage, erupted in a roar that would have put any triumphant Klingon's effort to shame,

'You Animals! Drop your cloaking device, NOW!. Transporter room, lock onto Councellor Troi on the Klingon vessel and beam her directly to sickbay. Sickbay, prepare for medical emergency.' And after one last look at the man who nearly destroyed his Imzadi's life, he turned and walked off the bridge, his only thought was to be with her, for her, for as long as she needed him.

Picard watched Will's back walk away from him, wishing that he could follow, if only to offer support to whatever laid ahead, but with a sigh, he had to turn back and face the man who had betrayed him and his colleagues, and worst of all, himself.

Worf knew that it was no use running, and he had to take whatever Starfleet had to throw at him. He had acted dishonourably and was now ready to face his punishment He barely registered his former captain speaking to him until he heard 'brig', and before he had a chance to react, he felt his body dissolve into a trillion particles, only to reform inside the Enterprise D's maximum security cell.

After a brief word with Kurn, who apologised for his brother's behaviour, Picard ended the transmission, ordered his own ship back to Federation space and headed for the sickbay, anxious to see first hand what tragedy awaited him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Will entered sickbay to total bedlam. Se could see his Imzadi on the bio-bed. She was clearly unconscious, and he tried to reach her but found himself against a blockage and face to face with Beverly.

'Not now, Will. Please, let us stabilise her first, then I will call you, I promise.' As she shoved him into her office, her eyes welled up at the sight of the tear-stained face of the man who desperately wanted to hold the very sick woman within his embrace. She knew that they needed to be together so that he could transfer his energy and love, to her, but right now, at this minute, there was nothing he could do.

She hurried back to her patient, glancing quickly back to Will, taking in his face that was ravaged from lack of a lot of sleep, a whole months worth, and grief, but even through all that, she could see he was trying to get into Deanna's mind to help her in the only way he knew how.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next two hours seemed like the longest Will had ever lived as he had watched with horror the two times they'd had to apply the heart stimulator, where, despite his efforts, and Beverly's, she had given up, only to be brought back with a shock that made Will's own heart feel like it had leapt out of his own chest, and everywhere he looked, all he could see were bloodied lumps of swabs. Where she was bleeding from he didn't dare guess. Picard had quietly joined his vigil, no one saying anything as nothing needed to be said. Eventually Beverly made her way towards them both, her hands rubbing over her face. She wasn't sure if she was rubbing away the fatigue that ravaged her whole body, or the horrors of the past two hours as she'd battled to save her best friend.

As she stood in front of the two men and looked into their expectant faces, she managed a small smile,

'We've finally managed to stabilise her. She's lost a lot of blood and we've cleared up the worst of the infection that was poisoning her system. That's why she had two cardiac arrests. And we've got her fever down to a more acceptable level. She's not out of the woods yet, but, I think she'll pull through, given time.'

Will hated to ask, but he couldn't stop himself,

'Bev, what about the baby?'

She sighed,

'It's gone, Will, that's why she was so ill. She must have miscarried, but she's had no help to deal with the haemorrhaging after/ She's also very malnourished, very dehydrated, and mentally...well...I think the only way she managed to get through this whole deal was to shut her mind down, but, with a lot of time, and help from her friends, she should make a full recovery.'

Will stood up straight, as a new determined air blazed in his eyes. It was time to make some changes in his life, and here was where it started,

'I am here for her Beverly..I will always be here for her, forever.'

He made his way around the stunned Captain and Doctor, his stride purposeful as he made his way over to the woman who had become the main focus of his entire life. He had let her go once and he was never going to let her go again. He had finally come home, to her.

His breath caught in his throat as he looked down at his beloved Deanna. Her beautiful face was gaunt, and even with the flush of the remaining fever he could see she was deathly pale. He picked up her tiny hand, it felt so cold that he unconsciously rubbed it as he clutched it to his chest, which had begun to heave with his own sobs.

'I let you down, Imzadi, I am so sorry. I wish I could have been man enough to have taken you on all those years ago. I know I could have found a way if I'd tried harder. Please forgive me, Dee. I love you.'

He felt her finger move slightly, just enough to let him know she had heard, so he opened up his mind to let her in and his heart swelled when he heard her manage to send,

*I love you, Imzadi. I'm so glad to be home.*'

He choked on the sob that rose within him as he managed to pull over the nearby chair without letting go of her hand, and as he settled his head near her shoulder they both felt a peace that had been missing for a long, long time...

Beverly and Picard watched from her office. Tears ran unchecked down her face as she watched the two lost souls reunite, and as she turned her watery smile to the man beside her she heard him sniff and knew that he had been moved by the scene that had unfolded before him. She gently took his arm and led him out of sickbay leaving the couple alone to begin their own healing process.

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