By Carol Sandford


Chapter 18


The crew watched with horrified fascination as Lwaxana Troi raised her fist at the poised-to-pounce alien and shook one very long painted fingernail agitatedly at him, and it was obvious that from her posture and expression that she was telling him silently and, in no uncertain terms, to behave himself.

So it was telepathy. That was the key.

The alien shrunk into the corner of the cell, shocked that he could hear the woman before him, terrified out of his skull that she was going to do something wicked to him. He'd never encountered anything like her before and the pictures that he could see in his mind were of death, but in amongst the death there was peace. At first he didn't understand what she was asking of him, but at her persistent sending he finally comprehended what she wanted. How did they stop the slaughter of the Lanaarians?

He could only shake his misshapen head at her. There was no way to stop the poison that was rampaging each and every living thing on the whole planet now.

Lwaxana gasped with horror at what she was seeing within his mind. Death. Just a tragic waste of a race that harmed no one. There had to be a reason for it. There simply had to be. She tried to delve further into his psyche to see if she find the source of the poison, but came unstuck. The alien clearly didn't know and Lwaxana could only deduce that he was one of the lower ranks. They were going to need someone of a higher rank if they were going to find out anything more.

Reluctantly, she left the cell feeling somewhat defeated aware that she had garnered no valuable information other that that it was a poison that was killing the Lanaarins, a fact that they were all too aware of.

"Mrs. Troi, what can you tell us?"

Lwaxana faced Jean-Luc Picard head on and on a sigh she relayed the sparse information that she'd learnt. "Well, captain. They are of a very primitive race. I could only portray images to him and vice versa. All he told me was that the Lanaarians were being poisoned. I'm afraid you're going to have to find a higher ranking specimen if you want to know more than that. I'm sorry."

Worf, unable to contain his curiosity spoke before his captain had a chance to respond. "You spoke to him, Miss Troi?"

Lwaxana shook her head at the Klingon officer. "No, Mr. Woof. There is no language, as such, just images. Pictures, if you will. As I said, he is of a very primitive race."

For a long moment the foursome pondered over the findings until eventually Picard addressed them all. "Well, back to the drawing board. Thank you very much for your help, Miss Troi. At least we know there is a way of communicating with them now."

"Oh, you won't be able to communicate with them. That privilege is solely left to me. So, captain, you haven't got rid of me quite so soon. You're going to need me, whether you like it, or not."

Exasperated, Picard turned his face towards her as they all strolled back towards the main bridge. "I don't like it, Miss Troi. This isn't some game that they are playing down there on that God forsaken planet. People are dying. Our people are in danger. We're losing this war and as much as I hate to say it, you are our only hope. I am well aware that we need you, madam, and I think that for now you should return to sickbay and see if you can do anything for your daughter while we try and figure out a way of grabbing someone higher up the evolutionary chain. Good day to you, Mrs Troi."

Lwaxana slid to a halt and watched as the best of the Enterprise's crew left her behind. Another time it might have stung to be dismissed so harshly, but Picard did have a point. There was Deanna to consider and with a sigh, she whirled on her heels and headed down to sickbay. Although what she was going to do when she got there, she did not know. For the time being her daughter was beyond her aid, but even so, she was prepared to do her duty by her.

Deanna was still fast asleep when she came to a quiet stand beside her cot. Tenderly moving away a lock of hair from her forehead, Lwaxana spoke softly to her only offspring. "Sweetest, daughter, how your mind suffers. It is as well that you sleep through this turbulent time but soon - soon I think we are going to need you. We're all going to need you, little one."

She left her daughter to her dreams and left the sickbay. Knowing she wasn't wanted on the bridge, Lwaxana made her way to the Ten Forward lounge. It had been an absolute age since she'd seen it's owner and she was in dire need of some competitive conversation.

Guinan slid the cocktail onto the bar as the Betazoid stepped through her doors. Laughing, Lwaxana slipped into the seat and took a healthy swig of the sweet concoction. "Heavens, I needed that. So glad you can still read my mind, Guinan. How have you been?"

The enigmatic bar-tender smiled at her latest customer. "I'm fine, Lwaxana. Now I hear you've got a story or two to tell. Care to share?"

Lwaxana waved off Guinan's question with a hand. "Oh, pftt. I haven't done anything yet. I failed to get any information out of the alien. I was no use at all, not really."

"That's not what I heard. I hear that Data has captured some general down on that God-awful poor planet and is currently en route back to the Enterprise. Seems however you managed to get through to the previous guy, Data has managed to emulate it down there."

"Has he now? Clever man, that Mr. Data. I'm intrigued. I thought that maybe the captain might have used your unique ability, Guinan. I know you are capable of reading thoughts, even though you are nowhere near my level of expertise."

"I haven't been called yet, but I'm sure I will be. You know the captain. He won't to use us women until he has to, especially you."

Lwaxana laughed. "Yes, he is a little afraid of me, isn't he?"

"Afraid!" Guinan laughed back. "He's terrified of you. He thinks you're going to have your wicked way with him one day."

Lwaxana smiled enigmatically. "Well, it has crossed my mind on the odd occasion, but I'm afraid that if I did seriously go after him, I would never hear the last of it from my precocious daughter. Can you imagine the ruckus she would create!? No, no, he is one that I'm afraid I shall have to let get away."

Guinan chuckled. "Look but not touch, huh?"

Lwaxana nodded, her smile mischievous. "For now."

Pushing herself off the stool she spoke to her friend. "Shall we go and see if we can offer our services, Guinan?"

Straightening her hat, the El-Alurian grinned at her. "Most definitely. Can't let those men have all the fun now, can we?"

Arm in arm, the two curiously looking woman made their way to the holding cells. By the time that they had got there, Picard and his senior crew were more than happy to see them both. Data had failed. Worf had failed, too, so Picard had to depend on the one woman that he rather didn't have to. Picard was the first to admit that he was somewhat scared of Lwaxana Troi's powers. But he was more scared of what she would do to him, if she ever managed to catch him on his own.

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