By Carol Sandford


Chapter 22


"Damn it!"

Doctor Selar came to Crushers side and glanced down at what she was working on. "Is there a problem, doctor?"

"It's not pure enough. It won't work after all. Damn it!" Sheer frustration ripped through Beverly's soul as she realised that she had failed in her achievement to recreate the antibodies needed to save the Lanaarians.

"What will you need to succeed, doctor. What can I do to help?" Selar asked tentively, unsure how she could even envision aiding the cause.

Beverly sighed. "Get Doctor Jagla up here. Maybe he's got an idea, or two. I'm too close to this to think straight. I need another perspective on it."

"You're beat, doctor. You need rest."

She smiled wearily at her. "I'll rest enough when this is all over, I promise. Now, get the professor up here for me. I've come too far to fail now. I will *not* fail now." She promised with vehemence, but spoke to herself as Selar hurried away to make the necessary call.

Unable to do anything more until Jagla arrived, Beverly washed up and wandered dispiritedly over to her friend. She watched Deanna sleep and silently envied her. What she would do to sleep it all away; the horrors, the nightmares, the death, the despair. She was well aware that the pretty Betazoid was fighting her own demons and knew that keeping her peacefully sleeping was the only way that Deanna could get through what was happening down on the planet.

She wearily sat in the chair that had been placed beside the bed for when Will visited and rested her head upon the beds edge. Closing her eyes she allowed herself to drift off. Some half an hour later that was how the professor found her.

Reluctantly he gently shook Beverly's shoulder. "Doctor Crusher. I'm sorry to disturb you, but I'm here now and we should press on with your theory."

Beverly woke from her all too brief slumber feeling sluggish as she surveyed the world around her. Her teary eyes settled upon her friends still closed ones and she watched her for a long moment.

"What is wrong with her?"

Beverly sighed as she pushed herself to her feet. "Deanna is a Betazoid. Unfortunately, due to her condition, she is very acutely aware of the anguish down on the planet, even more so than normal. Keeping her sedated saves her the pain of living their lives as though it were her own."

"Her condition?" Jagla asked intrigued.

"She's pregnant. Almost four months along."

Jagla studied the sleeping beauty thoughtfully. "That's a shame. To be missing out on all her unborn's little moments. Is there a...husband close by?"

Beverly nodded. "Yes. Her husband is Commander Riker, but as you know, he's very busy right now." She turned her full gaze onto the professor. "He also doesn't know that his wife is pregnant yet, professor, so I would appreciate complete confidentiality for my patient, please."

The questions flickered in Jagla's gaze as he studied the sleeping woman, but none-the-less, he nodded in agreement, clearly not understanding the reasoning behind the decision to keep the father in the dark.

Both turning away from Deanna, the twosome made their way to the lab where Beverly had been working on her cure for the Lanaarians and within moments they were completely engrossed in the task at hand. Two hours later, Picard found them both still with their heads bent over the table studying Lord knows what. Just by studying their postures alone told Picard that something was amiss with Beverly's discovery, and the fact that she had summonsed the professor away from his beloved patients told him even more. Her initial euphoria at finding a cure had suffered a serious setback.

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