Janeway suddenly knew what had been happening. "The bombs only|
Geordi could see...." she realized
aloud, "Ariel brought
them. They open this still point into our dimension."
She pointed to the
dried blood on the Guardian's sleeve.
"She sensed you were hurting and tried to get you home. Only
of her attempts failed. You got worse. Then she contacted the outside...
looking to us...for
help. And now we're here..." On a thought, she
drew out her tricorder from her belt, "There are new
forming all over the planet. " She suppressed a growing fear,
"Guardian,..what would happen
if the away team if they
or the shuttle slips into one of these rifts when neither you
are there with them?"
The two alien refugees remained silent.
The doctor's expression shared
volumes, "I..think...we'd better
find them .... as soon as possible.." he fretted. "I was barely
to pull you, captain, back from a coma."
Janeway's felt her heart race, she widened her tricorder's
sweeping its scans farther and farther out onto the frozen plain.
"I can't locate the shuttle.
They're out of range." She regarded
the pattern enhancer still on her arm, "My ....traveling..must
damaged the enhancer or they would've found us by now."
Janeway knelt in front of Ariel. "Ariel...no
one's blaming you
for anything." her voice broke slightly, "..You..were just
watching out for
your Guardian as I would do for any of my crew.
Now..I have to find my lost people from the shuttlecraft.."
She gripped Ariel's shoulders, trying to get the child to look at
her again for any glimmer of the
truth in her features.
"Can you tell me where they are?"
With a cry, Ariel broke free and ran
out of the ring of firelight.
The doctor started to go after her, clutching his padd.
her go.." the Guardian said quietly, "I know where they
are.." he said turning his face and seeming
to feel something
even deeper than the cold wind on his skin. "Tell me, captain.
Is your traveling
craft silver...like this?" He pointed to
"Yes it is.." she breathed, "We were
by an open plain at the
edge of a river valley on the northern continent."
"Follow me." The
Guardian took up a burning brand and provisions.
"Ariel used a rather large still point to bring you
We are two days walk from there. And I can not go into another
yet. My Changing will not allow it."
He pointed out where Janeway could take up a second pack
food, water and blankets. "Use my cloak to keep warm. The chill
no longer effects me." He handed
her her phaser as well. "I
called this back from where the doctor threw it into
"Thank you." Janeway replied.
The Guardian headed downhill.
He turned back when he noticed
started snuffing out the fire with snow.
He finished the task with a projection
from his mind in an
instant. "That is done. Leave this place. We must hurry.
I am afraid that
your friends may already be in danger.."
There was silence throughout the Batai. A chronometer tone
sounded in the darkness and
an overhead light powered up,
##Time 0900. Systems check enabled.##
Geordi groaned, coming
awake at the noise. He rolled
over, "Where am I? Dr. Crusher?" he called out groggily.
Commander Geordi LaForge is on board
the Federation Shuttlecraft Batai. Doctor Beverly
is in biomedical stasis.##
"WHAT?!" Geordi was fully awake now. He struggled to stand
found that his legs refused to move. He was paralyzed.
He pushed that horrifying discovery aside and
made his way
over to the biobed on his stomach, scared to death for the
for her heartbeat and breathing anyway in spite of the
activity on the sensors glowing over the bed.
For some reason, he
couldn't make sense of any of the flashing lights or displays
as if my mind no longer knows anything past
the basics. Do I have amnesia?::
He slid to the
floor sobbing and bumped the tricorder still
sensing there. Its lights were green and its gentle tones
were reassuring. ::That's good then:: Geordi thought,
He gripped the strange
seeming device, fighting emotions,
"Beverly..I don't know what is happening to you or ..to me.
I promise you, I'll get us out of this..."
They were making good progress Janeway thought. ::In another
day, we'll be at the shuttle.::
The captain had already
discovered that her combadge suffered the same technological
as her transporter enhancing arm band. It was just
another disappointment to add to her growing list.
The doctor caught up into step with her as they followed
the Guardian through the twisting valleys
back to the shuttle's landing coordinates.
"I have just discovered, that little Ariel is
us.." he said quietly smiling.
The Guardian looked relieved.
sighed, "I hope she is learning something
from all of this." She stepped over a fallen
log. "I can't imagine what kind of hell she
must be going through having that kind of power without
completely understanding it."
The doctor was thoughtful, he turned to face her, "Speaking
unknown energy..Remember the charged tachyon decay I saw
in the footprints?"
The sadness in
Kathryn almost overwhelmed her. ::He means the
charged tachyon energy left over from my ship's destroyed
holodeck emitters. I really thought those footprints belonged
to surviving crew from Voyager.::
"I remember." she said out
loud. "That energy signature was similar to what B'Elanna had
in the holodeck before Voyager was destr-"
her voice broke and she looked skyward for distraction.
The doctor was not blind to her pain, "Yes.. well.. You would
think the decay would fade over
time." he said gently.
"You mean, it hasn't?" she asked.
The doctor shook his head, "I
have noticed the tachyon emissions
have not changed all day. In fact, not since I found you. Is
Captain Janeway halted in her tracks, "We've been with the
Guardian all that
time.." she said out of the man's earshot.
The EMH started to look forwards toward their guide but
Janeway said, "No, don't look." she ordered. "Just listen.
I want to see if you can pinpoint
exactly where those
emissions are coming from, where they're strongest. My guess
is that our host
knows more than he is letting on.."
"What do you think this means?" the holodoc whispered.
"I don't know just yet. But I am going to find out. Distract
He reached for
his hypo laden kit.
Janeway grabbed his arm, hissing through her teeth, "Verbally if
don't mind. We need his tracking skills. And besides,
I like him. Ariel obviously does too. And we
want Ariel to get angry with us, now would we?"
It only took a moment for the
doctor to switch modes.
Captain Janeway watched as he hurried on ahead to join up
with the Guardian
to talk. She could not, for the life of
her, quell the strange feeling of apprehension she felt
in the pit of her stomach.
She waited for his cue..
Finally, it came.
doc called back to her, "I need your
advice on a small matter." He gestured subtly for her
join them on the Guardian's other side.
She played along, "Guardian." she said reaching them,
"Could you tell me how these intrusions of the
still point we've been avoiding may effect my people
if they get too close to one? I'm worried about
Captain Janeway didn't miss the doctor's
over a curious pyramid shaped jewel on the Guardian's
sash about his robes. She
gave a small nod to the EMH
that she understood. The doctor pretended to be
in the green cloud formations
overhead, twisting in the bluish sunlight.
The Guardian totally
missed the exchange between them.
"I've felt the symptoms myself. There is weakness
even after a short exposure."
The hologram provided Janeway with some cover,
"Would you know
how to treat this malady? Any
information would be very useful."
Captain bent over while she
walked, pretending to
hook an ice chip out of the inside of her boot's
leg. She got a close look
at the tiny pyramid.
What she saw there poured ice into her very soul.
A perfect replica
of Voyager lay encased in its
material. The engine nacelles were still active
and running. They
....were the very source of
the inner light that was sending out the tachyon
decay readings the
doctor could see.
::Oh my ...god. My ship.. It's here. ..::
Geordi LaForge's voice quietly dictated a log entry:
"Day two. From as best as I can tell,
extends to my lower waist. I have gaps in my memory
that I can't explain. Beverly,
my friend, cannot be
taken off life support or she will die.
The computer tells me that a
ship of some kind is
due to arrive in nine hours and that she is friendly.
I can only wait
for them and hope that the computer
can keep her alive for that long.
I have learned why we
are here on this planet. Beverly's
log says I saw a distress call in my visor day before
and that we went to investigate. For some
reason, I am afraid...to go outside and see this
I thought about curing the two of us but I have no useful
information with which
to learn how we got this way.
I feel time is running out. The numbness is getting worse
so is my memory.
If only I had some clue..."
--- --- --- --- --- ---
Geordi chuckled, leaning against the back wall nearest the
biobed, "So..you can't tell me how to fly
He glanced ceilingward in mock indignation.
##The primary command
core adaptive interface links are
sealed for security protocol measures.## the computer droned.
Geordi winced at the jargon he must have understood at one
time, "Wonderful..." he sighed sarcastically,
His eye fell on the plant remnants drying at his feet. He
frowned, "Hey, computer...
What are these vegetables at
##The biological specimens are samples of the indigenous
population of Endicor III.##
Geordi recoiled in sudden, instinctive fear. He scrabbled
away from them.
##Warning. Occupant blood pressure dropping. Inject 4 CC's
Geordi gasped,.. "ugh.. was th..that mine? Or hers..uh,
came from biobed one.## replied the
The engineer shifted himself over to the medkit
out the hypospray. The computer told him which color to dial
its setting to and he
injected it into Dr. Crusher's arm
##Vital signs approaching stasis norms.##
Geordi lay down in utter relief.
The computer chimed once again,
##Occupant to remain
upright in cases of extremity paralysis.##
He dragged himself up against Beverly's bed, "...paralysis..
yes...yes..I kn--" He flared uncharacteristically, "You got
some bedside manner you tin plated excuse
You know that? If Beverly were awake she'd--" Geordi fought
down a wave of sadness
that he had been battling for almost
two days running. It threatened to overwhelm him. Sleep
the only respite..
"Computer, lights off!"
The cabin lights extinguished.
But a faint
glow of green remained. It was coming from the
shattered specimens on the floor. Geordi gaped at
"Hey,... lights on full."
He winced when the illumination hurt his swollen eyes.
##Power reserve failure in two months twenty eight days,
seventeen hours, fort--##
stop! Never mind that." He dragged himself closer
to the plants, holding his breath when his face
the foggy area they rested within.
The plant matter was ....growing..
retreated back into the clear air,
"Computer, what is the energy source active in the plant
in front of me?"
##Illumination is cryonetrium derived.##
"What is that?" Geordi asked
##A theoretical substance that becomes gaseous at temperatures
near zero degrees centigrade.##
A horrible thought bubbled up in Geordi's mind, "What
is its effect on bio--biol- ..uh,...systems
##Unknown. Further hypotheses are scheduled for the next
Altine Conference on Aldetta
Prime on Stardate 47209
Geordi became frantic as he put two and two together.
got a single moment of perfect mental clarity.
Sheer terror made adrenaline flow hard. He acted.
Take no defensive action!"
He grabbed the strange object that suddenly identified
a phaser to his own mind at last. He phasered
the plants out of existence, "Flood cabin air with
parts per million of Narcan. Execute!"
He heard the computer comply and the universal
drug began to hiss into the room.
He shifted over to Beverly and studied her pale face.
god, what if it's poison?"
##Probability of cryonetrium being pathologically toxic
% based on projected analysis of all known
botanical species on file.##
Geordi was afraid to
speak for several minutes. Then
he did. "Based on those projections, what is the rate
in our bodies?"
##Metabolic nervous dysfunction will reach terminal
endstage in two hours
forty seven minutes.## answered
Geordi was stunned. ::We're gonna die.
anyone finds us.::
He sat still a long time, watching the machines
for his friend. He didn't feel the tears coursing
down his cheeks.
Finally, he felt stronger
when his anger
was at a boil. ::It's not fair! There must be something
I can do for us.::
Then the answer came in a tiny rivulet and turned into
a raging torrent as his adrenaline cleared
thinking once more, this time fueled by anger.
He added to his log,
"I have no choice.
This has got to be it! The answer I need
has got to be where the signal came from, and those
pockets are the only place a change is happening.
I am rigging up the thermodeflectors to the primary
in reverse. I'm going to freeze the ground where ever I end
up using the transporter carrier
wave, projected to the most
recent heating spike area. But.... I can't walk.. Nor will I
His anger was turning to its new despairing level as he pulled
the medkit into his lap. ::Here
goes nothing.:: "Computer, is
there any known medication that might reverse my paralysis?"
are several substances on file. Acetycholine, Allin--##
"Computer, hold. That first substance.
Is there any of that in
the shuttle's medkits?"
##Affirmative.## the computer replied.
"WeeeHoooo..! How much do I need to counteract my paralysis?"
Geordi felt his mind slipping again
and he forced himself
to wrap his brain around the difficult words before they
##Fifteen CC's. Results in a temporary reversal of nervous
degradation using your current medical
Somehow, after a half an hour, Geordi managed to fanaggle
drug and dosage through an idiot manual in a first
aid kit file. He injected himself immediately.
"Come on. Come on!"
Geordi's toes wriggled, "Heh. Hee. Computer..I think it's
How am I doing?"
The computer came to life once more, ##Vital signs are:
BP 82 over--##
::Now there is jargon I have figured out. That number is
my clock ticking down, when it hits 60 over
black out for good. I'll be just like Beverly. And there's
only one biobed here
, one medical computer.::
"Belay that audio for now. Notify me of ANY change in
biobed readings no matter where I go."
After twenty precious minutes, Geordi had pulled together
enough gray matter to count. Terror once again made him
ready to work. Soon, he retrieved the site
arm band from Dr. Crusher and put it on. He glanced down
at her and set a hand on her shoulder,
"Hang in there, doc.
We've got a chance..."
He levered himself onto his tingling feet and ordered,
"Computer, project Program Theta and energize."
Ariel was a little ways away from her Guardian and the lost
captain and the man of light,
following their trail, little by little
the child let that distance between them grow.
losing control.. Soon no space will shield them
from me.:: she thought with fright. ::My....wishings
even when I don't want them to.::
The unicorn girl could see them where they were
across a field from under a clump of brush where
The Ariel felt another wave
of heat rising inside of her.
::No. Stop...:: But the feeling grew stronger.
a buzzing song filled the air around her.
A broad field effect froze the ground around Ariel as
fought down another involuntary intrusion of the still
point under her feet. The relief from
the strain was
incredible and she fell to her knees.
::Another has come?:: She probed further.
:: It is the one who heard me..::
Geordi materialized in front of Ariel. It was hard to
who was more startled, "Whoa.." he said.
::Who is that? She almost seems to be part of the
itself. She's blending in with it chameleon fashion even
down to the infrared level...::
"S-Stay away!!" Ariel warned.."I...I don't want to hurt you.."
Her limpid eyes
glinted fear even as they
captivated Geordi. His own fear melted away under
their lilac gaze.
::This man came from nowhere just as THEY had done from
before.:: a part of her shouted. "But
not from the
Continuum.." she whispered...
"What?" Geordi asked, without moving.
froze in uncertainty.
Instinctively, Geordi felt a return of the alien
pulse inside his visor.
::Hey wait a minute. She's
the alien who contacted me. She needs my help. Now
I need hers.::
"It's ok,...I won't hurt you either.
I promise.. See?" He held up his hands. "No devices."
a step nearer to her making sure to stay on
top of the thickest ice. "I got your distress call,...through
this..." He pointed to his face.
Ariel shot to her feet in alarm, backing warily,
not your eyes..."
Geordi crouched down until he was her same height.
"Don't worry. My visor
only helps me see. Sometimes
I can see things what other people can't. Like the
signal you sent
me.. And... your changing form.
Even now. You're blending to be more like the land.
can see that you are scared...."
He stood slowly.. "I am here to help you. That is
why we came.
Please believe that."
Ariel wilted to the ground. "I know...I know..
The leading woman said
that's why too. "
::Leading wo-- Janeway! :: Geordi suddenly
remembered. ::This child's seen
Ariel went on, "But the Guardian's sick.
I brought Paradise too soon and now.. I can't
stop it.." The sound of flowing water and thawing
ice grew in the distance, louder by the second.
"It's coming again... It's my fault, I wouldn't
listen and now everyone is going to d--"
sharp crack of ice burst across the plain,
startling both of them. It began to rain for the
time ever on Endicor, a harbinger of death.
Geordi tried to make sense of what he had learned.
"It's these temperature spikes? You've been following
them. Haven't you? Listen.. You have to stay
from any place that's warm here. It's dangerous.
The plants..." Geordi was seized in a cough.
He fell to his knees and began to weaken as the
temporary stimulant began to wear off. He looked
down, trying to move off the steaming ice onto the
more chilled snow, but he slipped, falling
meters away from its firmly frosted edge. He yelled
drifted closer to him, uneffected
by the cryonetrium gas pluming up from the warming
was plain on her face, "You're like
the G- Guardian.." she whispered, "You're being ..
Geordi rolled onto his back, fighting to just form
words for speaking, "L-Listen.. I
wrong with your friend.. I- I've got it too. The
earth is giving up a gas..th--
that's a poison
Ariel suffered a qualm and her suppression efforts
wavered as she
found herself unwilling to see the
consequences of her actions in full light. "No!"
materialized in the grass between them, its
countdown was locked motionless in time, only ten
away from zero.
"Wait a minute.. You did that!" Geordi gasped, "Like
you caused the temperature
spik-- Like you caused
the whole PLANET to warm up.." Geordi realized.
::All of the ice everywhere
will melt. And the
plants will grow, killing all of us in a blink of an eye.::
head began to spin and his breath
Ariel felt the man falter inside physically.
Her will slipped a little lower. "...can't
.I..can't stop it.."
The tenacious power within
her was released.
The still point came in its full glory..
Out on the plain, steam vaporized most of the snow.
The Guardian and Captain Janeway choked in
thick and poisonous air. They fell to the ground.
Kathryn was lost in a miasma of
she could still see her entombed ship inside the
pyramid, inches from her outstretched
ship! *cough* My crew.." Then the gas began to
Her eyes went totally
blind in a searing blast of pain. "NO!"
Her scream echoed across the plain.
But no one heard
her. The weaker Guardian was
already unconscious and the doctor had been
unconnected by the anti-lepton
surge that came
with the heat.
Captain Janeway was left all alone.
::I ...am ..NOT..going..to
But her breath began to flee from her mouth.
The unicorn child was confused, standing in a shaft
of pure golden sunlight. She held up a
mosses to her cheek, "But this is...Paradise.."
She glared at Geordi. "It's the Guardian's
It is where he has to be.. I can see that. How can
it kill?" Her white hair billowed around
like an angel's...and her lilac eyes filled with
the purest of tears, "Why won't the Guardian
Geordi did not hear her, "Your signal and lifesigns
weren't detectable by our computer
must be a reason. Only I could see any of it.."
He forced himself to his hands
and knees. "Why?"
Then it came to him. Ariel had been concealing her
friend, protecting him
from outsiders. Geordi felt
he was close to the answer, "Why are you hiding?"
Ariel got angry,
"Quiet man thing!" The bomb in
front of them activated and started its dire
Geordi's eyes were glued to the readout, "Listen to
me.. Think back in time.
Before the plants effected
Ariel shook her head in denial, "There IS no time
before!" she sobbed.
"Yes there was. You two came here together, you must
YOU brought the Guardian here to stay
with you so you would no longer be alone. Then he fell
You tried to bring him home but suddenly something
went horribly wrong and he was hurt. "Geordi grew
and he swayed, "Only you can undo this harm.. Only you..
Maybe your Guardian is ill from
the gas only while his home
dimension is coming.. It should be fine once he gets all
the way there..
Wait until he is well. Then take him..
Believe me.. Bring back the cold and wait. Bring it back.
Make the land sleep and you'll see that I am right.."
Geordi collapsed, at the end of his resources..
"I...I am right...."
The unicorn child saw the man fading before her,
"Guardian?..... I need
Suddenly her teacher WAS there, an unmoving smudge on
the ground in front of her. Captain
Janeway lay right
beside him, her hands at her throat, gagging on foul
He could still see that she was fighting the poisonous
atmosphere hard, for she
turned toward his voice,
"C--Can't--Br--" she choked.
He then saw the state of her eyes. They
over in blisters. He knew she couldn't see him
at all. He fought down his nausea.
He needed the
EMH. Now. He saw the datapadd lying in the steaming
grass but it was too far out
of his reach.
Limbo reigned in his mind and suddenly, Geordi knew
what to do.
the bomb into his lap.
Ariel shouted, "Don't!" The land erupted in
even thicker greenery.
La Forge hugged the device to his chest, "Ariel, THIS is
the illness. Make it go away...." The
arched into its final numbers.
The unicorn child, the last of her kind,
device faded from view and Ariel sagged
to her knees. ::They are all.. free now.... they are all....::
She opened her light purple eyes. The snow was unbroken and
endless around them.
was whole. Geordi sucked in huge lungfuls of frigid air,
"You did it!" He was healthy. He got to his
gasping like a fish returned to water, he ran to Janeway
and the Guardian.
were no longer burned. Both were recovering
consciousness as well. He got out his tricorder,
no sign of illness or heat pockets. Not in us or
anywhere around here."
"Ariel.." said the
Guardian as he opened his eyes. In a moment
he was with her.
Geordi helped Janeway to her
feet, "Are you all right?"
She nodded, revelling in the tears streaming down her face
the brightness of the blue sun above her. "I am now,
How did you find us?"
"I'm afraid Ariel
managed that." Geordi shrugged. Captain and
Engineer both looked over to where the little child was
in a soothing hug inside the Guardian's deep embrace. She was
apologizing over and over again.
Captain Janeway suddenly realized that the Guardian was
completely innocent of any wrong doing.
She knelt by him,
and waited for Ariel to face her, "Ariel, we need to talk.."
she said gently.
The Guardian was puzzled, "Captain?"
"She has taken something belonging to me." Kathryn held
Ariel's small shoulders in her palms, "He needed a special kind
of energy didn't he? To get well?"
Ariel's eyes seemed to shimmer, "He is going to finish the
Change and go to Paradise."
he go home now? To the still point?" she asked.
The child answered, "Yes. He no longer hurts.
I gave him made him better." She smiled and tugged on his robes,
need the gift back."
Not quite understanding, he gave it to her.
Geordi tensed, "Captain,
Kathryn felt Ariel press the gold pyramid into her hands.
"Yes,..it's my ship. It's
Voyager." She stood, carefully
cradling the jewel, "She needed charged tachyon particles
very special nature to help the Guardian fight off
the effects of the still point intrusions."
"She locked onto the emissions coming from your
holodeck all the way from the Delta Quadrant?" Geordi
"Apparently so." Kathryn held onto the humming pyramid
tightly. She couldn't
ask about her crew out loud.
"Don't worry." She felt soft hands on her head, "They're
fixed the harm inside there, too." Ariel's eyes
were the purest pale purple, sparkling into Janeway's
soul, "I'll put them back where they were." Ariel
The pyramid vanished.
Captain Janeway gasped when her hands went suddenly empty.
She trembled, "Guardian," she said with
her eyes closed,
"My people are stranded far from home. ..Is there any
Captain Janeway. The only way your ship will
stay unaltered is to continue from the still point
it fell through.."
His expression softened, "However,..that is not necessarily
true for you.."
His amber eyes sparkled.
Ariel took Kathryn's hand and looked at her questioningly.
want to go home to your green world?"
Kathryn was stunned....and torn. Here was a chance for her
to end her long journey, to continue where she left off with
her family..on Earth. ::Mark, Phoebe?
And Oh, for the chance
to hug my red four legged Molly love again. I wonder how
many puppies she
has borne for them..::
Then the Voyager captain thought of her sworn duty. To her
newest family on Voyager.
Kathryn's face slowly resolved into decision. She had to be
captain when it really counted. ::Like now.::
She felt tears well in her eyes. She crouched by Ariel,
touching her chin. "I can't." She took a deep shuddering breath
and sighed, "Take me to where I
need to be, Ariel.
To my ship.. in the Delta Quadrant."
She turned to face Geordi, who handed
her the doctor's
data padd. Janeway looked at it with irony, "I've
nothing with which to leave
a message for Earth. There's
The engineer understood, deeply. "It's been a pleasure
serving with you, Captain Janeway of the Federation
Starship Voyager." He held out a hand.
took it..and smiled, blinking back wetness,
"Tell your grandkids to watch out for us. We just could
be that one mirage in a million..."
She stepped away and handed the Guardian back his
Captain Janeway took one long, last look at Endicor III
and swallowed. It was so near the
Earth she loved and
longed for. Then she closed her eyes slowly, and nodded
was a sparkle of blue sunlight, and she was gone.
Ariel broke the spell of parting they all felt,
"Guardian, You must go. As she did."
Her statement jarred Geordi into the present.
The Guardian knelt down before his small charge,
pretend to understand what is happening to me.. The Change
takes all of my people sooner
or.." He broke off,
Ariel smiled, "I'll be all right with Geordi. I like
She took the engineer's hand.
The Guardian sighed, "You will protect her from the OTHERS?"
Geordi raised a questioning look.
Ariel spoke, "You know.... The ones from the Continuum.."
LaForge chuckled, "Oh,.. uh right. My captain and I have
dealt with them before. We know how
to handle them as
well as anybody can." he admitted.
"Fair enough....." The guardian seemed
to phase. Regular pulses
of brilliance blinded Geordi as his body metamorphosed. Then
was a figure of glowing gold.
"Hey.. I think I've met one of your people before. On the
For a moment, there were two suns in the sky.
When Geordi opened
his eyes, the new one had totally
a sudden bleep. The computer came
over Geordi's combadge, =^=##Occupant lifesigns failing.
"Beverly!" Geordi's mind raced. He had forgotten about
"Who?" Ariel was immediately caught up in Geordi's
"My friend. She's a doctor. Listen!!
We've got to get
there. She's still dying from the gas." Geordi grabbed
the unicorn child's hand.
Suddenly, they were in the shuttle
by Dr. Crusher's side.
The air was filled with a dissonant alarm from the monitor
head. Geordi read the readouts, "She's
near death. She's absorbed too much poison.
You've got to
"I--I don't know if...I" Ariel was very pale.
"You helped us. It looked easy."
The lavender in Ariel's eyes was very dull, "Her light's
almost gone. I'm not sure
if I can help. I..."
"You have to try!" Geordi shoved her forward, setting Ariel's
the doctor's chest.
Ariel fought with herself mentally for long seconds.
her white hair to her even paler skin.
She gestured, in a sparkle of gold colored light, in
circle around Beverly's heart.
The life support unit flashed and suddenly, Dr. Crusher came
life violently, totally awake and gasping for air. Geordi grabbed
her before she could fall back again
and hit her head.
"Easy! Easy. Easy. Take it slow.. You're gonna be fine.."
bonelessly to the carpeting.
The child felt hands around her face but she was in pain.
looked up, "Geordi, she's coming around."
Beverly shifted the tiny figure against one arm
while she grabbed instruments with her other
hand, "Ariel, can you hear me? If so, I want you to
Ariel wondered why this woman's voice was so tight. Then
a numbness in her body that hadn't been there
Dr. Crusher took her hand, "I want
you to do
the same trick with yourself as you did with me. Cure
was confused. ::Poison? What was poison?::
Then her mind began to reject the communication of
above her. She began to call the blackness
already reaching out for her.
Geordi was anguished,
"Is she going to make it?"
"That's up to her....Ariel! Try! I can't help you
any more than
I already am." She saw that all the
medication she had injected into Ariel's bloodstream
rapidly being rendered into useless water.
Bev's bioscan on Ariel began to sour in tones as
girl child weakened rapidly.
Ariel looked up at her rescuers, "I...am sorry.."
She saw summer
A voice was calling her. "Guardian?"
Then the blackness of the gas was
no longer there
suffocating her. A second later, Ariel found an
unexpected peace and the essence
she knew as
herself and had commanded, gave up its call on life.
Beverly's tricorder issued
a steady tone.
Suddenly, the small albino child faded out from underneath
Crusher's hands quite
literally as a blue effect
dissolved the child's body completely.
Geordi and Beverly were stunned
and they just sat there
in silence looking at the last place the tiny
child had been. The medical
tricorder had fallen quiet, so
Beverly shut its lid closed and shivered. She whispered
stillness, "Why did she have to give up?"
They were on their way. Geordi was finishing up his
preliminary report on their experience
"........the Guardian's identity. Dr. Crusher is
convinced he was Zalconian.
Like the man she once
knew as John Doe. I only half recall his being on
the Enterprise. She said
he spent weeks in sickbay
trying to regain his memory and his health and that
he saved Mr. Worf
from a very grave injury in the
shuttle bay before he "phased" completely away.
Endicor III shows
no signs of ever having been
Dr. Crusher had been listening for quite a while
while he was dictating. Feeling a bit uncomfortable
now in the pausing, she spoke. "Penny for your
Geordi gave a low chuckle, "Nah, I was just
thinking how much fun the others
are having on
Talyas Moon right now. You know, with the stars,
the tropicals winds..."
the women.." she completed, baiting him on.
He didn't fall for it. Nor did he elaborate further
her guessing about the Moon's appeal for men.
Dr. Crusher stretched in her seat, "I have
that every female being this side of the Sagittarius
Arm feels the same way about that
that..place as I do, knowing that it's hanging over
their heads." she scoffed mildly.
Geordi found that very funny. He threw back his head
and laughed until his sides hurt. Beverly
best to ignore him.
He recovered, streaming rivers, "Your turn." He
flipping a coin to her.
"Hhmmmmmm..... I was just thinking about something
I hadn't thought
about since I was very small." she
"And what was that?" he wanted to know.
was thinking about the two Cassienne fish I had
when I was six. They used to sing me to sleep at night."
"Hmmm, nice. Too bad you can't change the past...."
A surge of light flooded
the ahead viewscreen of the Batai
and the shuttle shifted, "What was that?" Geordi shouted.
The communications panel spoke, ##This is the U.S.S.
Kilamanjaro calling the Batai, over....It's
1300 and we're
ready for Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge's transfer
at your convenience.##
Geordi scrambled madly for his board, "Uh ..how?! uh, ..right.
I'll be right there..Don't go AwayYY!"
The overhead clicked once more, "Shuttlecraft Batai. This
is Captain Selve Aranti. Is there a
problem?" a different but
feminine voice asked.
Geordi and Beverly exchanged a wide eyed look.
He looked at
his station chronometer, "It's 240920.7! That's..two
days ago? But we were...gone
Crusher toggled a switch, "This is Chief Medical Officer Beverly
Ah, our lieutenant commander is a little excited over
finally getting underway to Talyas Moon. He'll
shortly. Batai out."
Captain Aranti remarked dryly, "I see. It's that place
hmmm? Very well. We disembark in ten minutes."
The viewer went dark.
back in time?"
Geordi crowed, "I knew it!! She's alive!"
Crusher agreed, "I should have known
unicorns can't die."
"Do you think Ariel is ...some...mythical beast?" smiled
really. But legends always start from somewhere."
Another flash of light made them both wince.
A bowl of delicate rainbow fish appeared on Dr. Crusher's
console. An ethereal singing filled
the tiny cabin.
Both officers melted under their influence.
Crusher sighed, "It
could have been worse. Before
these guys, I was thinking about Sham, my grandmother's
A shrill neigh boomed into the air. Geordi and Beverly
sank into their seats in
reflex. Cautiously, they looked
over their shoulders.
Nothing was there.
They both laughed
uncomfortably but with growing warmth,
"Oh, heh. Joke.. just a joke. Nice sense of humor there, Ariel.
Keep it up.. Heh, heh.........heh."
Just to be safe, the two Starfleet officers checked
their co-pilots seats once more, peeking only
their noses over the backs of them.
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