By Carol Sandford


Chapter 07


Picard's eyes gleamed with humorous disdain as he thought about Deanna's cowardly words, "Oh, no, Counselor, you're not getting off that easily. I want an explanation of your behaviour, and then I will consider a suitable reprimand to note on your record."

Picard was furious. Correction, Picard was beside himself with anger and was out for blood. Hers. But Deanna couldn't blame him no more than she could blame Will for 'dropping her in it'. She deserved it, in fact she deserved to be kicked off the ship. But her heart sunk a mile when Picard had made it very clear that she was going to face the humiliation head on and earn herself her very first dent in her otherwise impeccable record.

Deanna wasn't sure which hurt more until Will's face floated before her; Hurt, dismay, disappointment, and humiliation, but worst of all, being knifed in the back by the woman he loved.

Picard's snapping voice made her jump, "Well, Counselor, I'm waiting."

Deanna's eyes searched his for a smidgen of understanding, but found nothing but hardness in the smoky blue depths, "I don't know sir. Myself and ensign Carson were simply enjoying the evening and I think we may have had one too many drinks. Our tongues got loose and I'm ashamed to say that Commander Riker became the topic."

Picard puffed exasperated, "Yes, yes, I know all that, but what I want to know is how you came to put yourself into such a gullible situation. Surely you must have know better, Deanna, for God's sake, you're a Commanding Officer on The Enterprise! I expected you of all people to understand the crucial thinness of the line between yourself and the rest of the crew. They are expected to look up to us, Counselor, and you have removed that with a 'loose tongue'. Would you like to tell me how Commander Riker can reprimand the crew, knowing that he is a laughing stock of the whole ship!?"

Deanna hung her head in shame and mortification, moving it back and forth trying to shake the nightmare away, but it wouldn't go. "I'm truly sorry, sir."

Her words hung heavily in the air between them. Neither one of them knew what to say, least of all Picard.

He sighed heavily as he faced the broken woman directly, "Dismissed, Counselor Troi."

He watched the small woman turn about and walk away from him, the weight of her misery heavy upon her shoulders. Picard loathed doing that to her, but he knew it had been necessary even with Will's insistence that he could deal with it. But Jean-Luc Picard knew he needed to be the one to do the dirty deed as he seemed to be the only one at the moment with his reputation in tact.

He cursed at the doors as they hissed shut, "Damn!" What the hell was he supposed to do now?

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