Beverly's Better Half

unknown author..

Chapter 1: Medical Emergency

Chief Medical Officer's log: Commander Data and I were returning to the Enterprise from a symposium about biogenetic engineering when we received a planetary distress call from the homeworld of the Binars. A large piece of an asteroid crashed onto the Binar's homeworld after their defenses successfully disintegrated 66% of the mass and then unexpectedly failed. It is believed that tens of thousands have perished, with equal numbers suffering from all severities of injuries. Mr. Data has taken the few hours it took to divert to this planet to increase his medical knowledge. He will be primarily responsible for the non life threatening injuries. I will handle all of the other cases. The Binars will prep their own for medical treatment. The Enterprise has been informed of the emergency and will join us after delivering Commander Riker and Counselor Troi to the planet Ohm for diplomatic duties. The Enterprise should rendezvous with us in about three days.

"Doctor, the expected contingent has arrived to take us to the medical facilities." "Very well, Data, open the runabout's hatch and let's get to work." Data and Dr. Crusher each grabbed a crate of medical supplies that they had assembled while en route to the planet and were guided through now dilapidated structures and dimly lit transport tunnels to the hastily assembled hospital. Dr. Crusher and Data surveyed the facility, taking a quick mental inventory of what resources were available to them. "This isn't good, Data. The only supplies we can depend on are our own. You'll have to instruct the Binars in how to make the best of what they have. The power also seems to be unstable. A stable power source should be their top priority. In the meantime, our portable generators will have to suffice." The ground beneath Beverly's feet trembled violently. This hemisphere of the planet was experiencing strong, seismic activity. She know that this would not make matters any better and would place their lives at great risk. There was no time, however, to survey another location. Beverly brushed away her concerns and prepared for the influx of patients.

The next several hours were trying, to say the least. Even with their portable generators, they still had to rely upon the erratic power that the Binars could supply. Beverly lost two patients due to the unstable power. She lost a third and a fourth due to unexpected quakes beneath her feet. The emotional toll on her was staggering, but she kept working tirelessly through the night. By daybreak, or what now passed for daybreak, as the asteroid fragment scattered tons of dirt and debris into the atmosphere, the Binars succeeded in establishing a stable power supply to the makeshift hospital. The seismic activity was still a devastating reality that no one could deal with. Dr. Crusher lost four more patients on the operating table due to the tremors.

Beverly began injecting herself with stimulants to get her through every other operation, knowing that she would soon have to give in to her physical limitations. For the rest of the second day she fought off the exhaustion that was creeping up on her. Towards the end of the day, she lost yet another patient. This time, however, it was not due to loss of power nor jolting tremors, but her own unsteady hands. The stimulants were now a liability that she could not ignore. With great sadness, regret and frustration at her inability to continue, she put down her instruments and signaled Data that she would have to get some sleep. Data did not sense the depression Beverly was falling into as he acknowledged her message and continued as though he had not been interrupted. She found a secluded room nearby that appeared to be structurally sound and, cursing her inability to emotionally detach herself from the tragedy around her, fell into a deep sleep.

Chapter 2: A Waiver For Humanity

Eight hours later, she came to, feeling physically refreshed, but emotionally drained... the effect of the stimulants. She signaled Data that she was ready to continue operating on the critically injured Binars. Unexpectedly, Captain Picard answered in his place, "Belay that, Doctor. The situation is under control. Report to the ship." Startled, Beverly stepped into the makeshift operating room. Her entire staff was present with a group of engineers. While her staff handled the medical situation, the engineers were busily working around them installing power and force field generators to compensate for the seismic activity. Geordi greeted her, "Good morning, Doc. We arrived three hours ago and started setting up a more stable environment. Data suggested that we not disturb your rest." Dr. Crusher spotted Nurse Ogawa nearby, "What's our status?" Ogawa replied, "Twenty untreated Binars died overnight. Of the sixty Binars you worked on, fifty will fully recover. Mr. Data treated 1514 Binars, all without complications. He has already reported to the ship. We estimate that there are about eight hundred critical cases awaiting treatment with another two thousand less seriously injured patients awaiting treatment." "Thank you, Nurse.... Enterprise, one to beam up."

"Welcome aboard, Doctor.", Picard began, "The leader of the Binars was impressed with the work you and Mr. Data performed over the last two days. I would like to add that both Mr. Data and yourself will be up for commendation for your efforts. I would, however, like you to take a day or two off to recover from your ordeal. I know that it must have been a draining experience for you." "Thank you, Captain. I will do just that. I feel, however, that you need to know that I believed that I failed to perform to the best of my abilities. I lost my last patient due to my own actions." Captain Picard pushed forward in his chair and leaned over his desk to face Dr. Crusher and said in a low, consoling voice, "Beverly, I know what happened and no one is even remotely criticizing you for it. You did the best you could under extreme conditions. Now, I know that you'll work your way through this, but I want you to discuss this with Counselor Troi at your first opportunity. We will be leaving shortly for the planet Ohm for the ceremonies welcoming the inhabitants of that planet into the Federation. Before we leave, however, the leader of the Binars has asked that Data and yourself attend a banquet in your honor." "Captain, I can't. It won't feel right. I don't know if I can face that pressure right now." Picard straightened up in his chair and in a more authoritative tone replied, "Doctor, I am ordering you push aside your remorse and attend the banquet. This is by no means a formal festivity, just a planetary 'thank you' for you efforts. Dinner is at 1800. I'll meet you in transporter room 3 at 1750. Dismissed."

Beverly returned to her quarters and rested for the remainder of the day. At 1700 the computer reminded her of the pending banquet. She went to holodeck 1 for a soothing dip in a spa, changed into casual clothing and met Capt. Picard in the transporter room at the appointed time. They beamed into the dining hall together. Data and Geordi greeted them and escorted them to 11100111, the leader of the Binar people. "", 11100111 said in a slipped, monotone voice which was characteristic of the Binars. "I am pleased to meet you, also 11100111." " me. 'Leader'.. It.will.make.for.smoother.dialogue." The informal gathering was not much more than a lavish meal (by human standards) and casual conversation. Beverly found herself surprisingly relaxed. "I'll have to thank Jean-Luc for ordering me to attend.", she thought. When the gathering broke up, Leader asked Dr. Crusher for a few moments of her time. He had some questions he wanted to ask outside the presence of her shipmates. Beverly took the opportunity to express her regrets for failing to save even more Binars and apologized for the death of her last patient. "Data. has. already. explained. the. situation. doctor. There. is. no. justification. for. your. feelings." "Easier said than done, Leader. Human emotion will always have this impact on me. I will feel this way for a short time and then move on. It's a part of our existence." "It. does. not. always. have. to. be. that. way. doctor. We. have. a. therapy. we. have. used. on. other. emotional. beings. that. has. helped. them. overcome. the. emotional. physical. limitations. of. humanity." Her professional curiosity instinctively kicked in, "I would like to experience this therapy some time Leader." "Perhaps. we. can. accommodate. you. tonight." "Perhaps.", Beverly replied, "I must get back to the ship."

The Enterprise was scheduled to depart for Ohm the next morning. Before leaving, the sickbay would have to be restocked and a skeletal staff recalled from the Binar's planet. Against Picard's orders, Beverly assisted with the preparation of her sickbay. At 1100, she retired to her quarters for the night. She was awakened from a deep sleep a short time later by Mr. Data entering her quarters. "Doctor, I apologize for my unexpected entrance." "What is it, Mr. Data?", she asked in her still groggy state while making her way to a comfortable chair. "I recently beamed aboard the Enterprise after meeting with Leader. We had spent some time discussing my existence and capacities and contrasting them with your experience on their world. He informed me of the discussion the two of you had after the dinner party broke up. He asked me to give you this." He held out a crystal between his extended fingertips just above her eye-level. The lights caught the crystal, causing it to sparkle. Without taking her eyes off of it, she asked, "It's beautiful, Data. What is..." She did not complete her question. She sat in her chair, motionless, her eyes staring at the crystal. Data raised the crystal and stepped back. Beverly quietly slowly stood up in response, her gaze never leaving the object in Data's hand. A warm, tingling sensation washed over her body. She blinked. Had she been completely conscious of her surroundings, she would have noticed that she was no longer in her quarters. Instead, she stood naked in a clear cylinder, still staring at an object that was no longer in front of her.

In the room outside of Beverly's consciousness, a pair of Binars manipulated a series of controls. Beverly responded by raising and lowering her arms, bending over, straightening up and extending and flexing the digits on her hands. "Control. has. been. acquired. and. confirmed. Leader." "Begin. Phase. one." A high pitched sound resonated through the lab. A brilliant white light pulsated through the cylinder Beverly was standing in. Moments later, the sight faded from Beverly's locked gaze, the intensity of the light blinding her. The sound was silenced moments later and the pulsating light surrounding Beverly pulsed faster and faster. Five minutes later , the light started to slow. Five minutes after that, the light stopped pulsating, leaving Beverly bathed within the light. "Phase. one. completed. Leader." "Commence. phase. one. A." The light within Beverly's chamber was extinguished. Her body, however, continued to glow bright white. Gradually the light ebbed, as her body absorbed the alien energy. Beverly was not completely oblivious to what was happening to her. She had felt the heat build up around her. At first it caressed her, then grew in intensity. All light was abruptly extinguished, but she felt no need to react. Finally, she cooled to the same warm temperature that enveloped her initially. Outside her confined world, the Binar operators brought the illumination levels back to normal. They stepped up and walked around the cylinder, examining Beverly closely. Her skin tone had changed, assuming a more golden, metallic appearance, similar to Data's. All of her body hair had disintegrated. With the exception of her hair, skin color and eyes, Beverly's appearance was unaltered. The Binars paid careful attention to her eyes. Her pupils were no longer visible, yet her eyes were wide open. Only the whites showed. "Phase. one. successful. Leader." "Commence. phase. 2."

The Binars stepped to another control console and input some codes. A three dimensional hologram of Dr. Crusher appeared above the console. Next to it, another humanoid hologram appeared. "Biological. database. initiated." Inside the chamber, Beverly was immersed in an energy beam, similar to a transporter. The Binars watched as biological specific information was recorded in their database. Beverly felt the tingling sensations of her body being picked apart and reassembled. "Phase. two. B. commencing." A silver liquid began filling the bottom of Beverly's chamber. When it completely immersed her, the energy beam was reactivated. Again, Beverly felt the liquid mix with her molecular structure. The remaining liquid was drained away. Beverly's body appeared to be completely covered with the silvery substance. She did not, however feel it. "Phase. two. C. commencing." A white pulsating light again enveloped Beverly. The warmth she felt began to permeate her being, sinking into the core of her body. She felt herself changing internally. The pulsing light stopped. Beverly's skin once again assumed the golden metallic appearance. "Phase. two. completed." "Commence. phase. three."

A sharp pain racked Beverly's consciousness, then suddenly subsided. She felt different, disembodied. She could no longer sense her own body. She felt her consciousness fade, as though funneling down a drain. "Begin. phase. three. B." Beverly's consciousness snapped back. She was aware of her body again. All functions were within normal parameters. She opened her eyes. She was back on board the Enterprise. In her own quarters. "Have I been dreaming?", she wondered "Dream. A state of sub-consciousness where a person experiences memories and events assembled from conscious experiences."

Chapter 3: Reporting For Duty

The ship's computer suddenly spoke up with a message to wake and remind her of the day's scheduled events. She donned her uniform and reported to sickbay. Dr. Crusher was greeted by Nurse Ogawa's exclamation, "Security! Intruder alert in sickbay!" Beverly scanned the room. "Nurse, there are no unauthorized presence in sickbay." Nurse Ogawa only stared at Beverly in reply. Moments later a security officer burst into sickbay, followed by Captain Picard. "Doctor, what's going..." He stopped in mid sentence and stared at Dr. Crusher. "Is something wrong, Captain? I am functioning within normal parameters." "Mr. Data, report to sickbay immediately!" While waiting for Data to arrive, Picard asked, "Beverly, what has happened to you?" "I do not understand your inquiry, Captain. Is something wrong?" "Let's discuss this in your office... Doctor." Picard, Beverly and Data, who had just arrived, went into Beverly's office. "Mr. Data, begin detailed scanning of Dr. Crusher. I want to know why her appearance has been altered. Doctor, step over to this mirror." For the first time that day, Beverly saw herself. She looked into the mirror to see a golden skinned female with liquid, golden eyes looking back at her. "I do not understand, Captain. I am functioning within normal parameters. My appearance is within normal parameters." "Mr. Data, I want you to have Commander LaForge assist you with your work. I expect a full report from the two of you in my ready room in one hour."

Captain Picard returned to the bridge and informed the helm that the scheduled departure would be delayed. He then retired to his ready room and collapsed into his chair. Some part of him understood that the stranger in sickbay was... IS Beverly. Another part did not. Until Data and Geordi furnished him with a report to act on, there was nothing he could do. The hour passed by with agonizing slowness. "Captain", Geordi began, "Data and I have completed our scans and tests of... well, Dr. Crusher." "As improbable as it seems", Data jumped in, "we have concluded that Dr. Crusher has been transformed into a bio-mechanical being."

Chapter 4: Planetary Catastrophe

Whatever Picard felt at that very moment was not displayed to the two officers. They only betrayal of his feelings was a momentary silence. "How is this possible and when did it occur? What role, if any, did the Binars have in this?" "We don't know how this happened", Geordi began, "but we believe that it occurred around between 2330 last night and 0400 this morning. We found two distinct, unexplained residual energy signatures from the replicator in her quarters. Based on the rate of decay of the signatures, we calculated this timeframe." With impeccable timing, Data took up the third question, "The Binars are incontrovertibly involved, Captain. We traced the source of the energy back to the Binar capitol." Picard immediately ordered the computer to establish a visual link with Leader.

"You. are. no. doubt. inquiring. about. your. doctor," Leader immediately began. "Let. me. begin. by. stating. that. doctor. Crusher. asked. to. undergo. this. process. of. her. own. free. will. We. can. provide. a. visual. record. of. her. acceptance." Captain Picard was stunned to Leader's statement. This time, he could not supress the surprise he felt, "Leader, please beam aboard with your records. We must discuss the ramifications to the doctor and reversing the process she's been through." "Of. course. Captain. I. will. beam. aboard. in. one. standard. hour." An hour later, in transporter room two, Picard anxiously awaited Leader's arrival. Data and Geordi were busy examining Beverly in Data's lab. An eternity later, Leader signaled that he was ready to beam aboard with a rather large package. "Ensign Ellerby, beam the package into cargo bay 5 and then transport Leader." "Aye, sir." The ensign beamed the cargo aboard and then initiated Leader's transport. Just as the dematerialization sequence began on the planet below, a Red Alert was sounded. "Bridge! Report!" The captain ordered. "Sir, the planet is undergoing severe seismic activity, it is in danger of breaking up. The medical and engineering crews have boarded their runabouts and shuttles and are returning to the ship." "I want all transporters rooms to begin beaming as many inhabitants aboard as possible immediately. I want all runabouts and shuttles equipped with transporters to enter orbit of the planet and assist with the evacuation of remote locations." "Captain!", Picard heard the urgency in Ellerby's voice and quickly turned his full attention to her, "The activity is centered in the Binar capitol. Their underground energy sources have been severely damaged. The radiation from those sources is disrupting the transporter!" "Mr. LaForge," Picard called, expecting that Geordi had returned to engineering by now, "we're losing Leader's transport signal. Boost the confinement beam and initiate emergency transporter procedures." Geordi's reply was immediate, the form of Leader began to take shape on the transporter pad. "Sickbay, medical emergency in transporter room two. Prepare to receive an injured Binar immediately." Without a word spoken, Ellerby understood her orders. She immediately transported Leader to sickbay.

Moments later, in sickbay, Ogawa reported, "Leader has sustained severe radiation burns, Captain. There's nothing we can do for him. His communications link to the Binar's main computer is badly damaged. Without it, he'll die in a matter of minutes." "Transporter room three, transport Data to sickbay immediately!" Data, and Dr. Crusher, appeared within two seconds. Ogawa, staring at the gleaming nude form of her mentor, repeated her findings to them. "Mr. Data, we must repair Leader's communication unit and re-establish his link with the Binar's master computer. Suggestions." Unexpectedly, Dr. Crusher replied, "Captain, the Binar master computer itself is damaged and failing. Even with a functioning communications device, the master computer is no longer capable of sustaining the Binars. I am capable of communicating with Leader's communication device and sustaining him, but I can only maintain him for maybe fifteen minutes." Picard now found himself staring at Beverly, but duty was paramount and quickly pushed aside any interfering thoughts, "Make it so! Mr. Data, I want you and Mr. LaForge to monitor Dr. Crusher's actions and find a way to establish a communications link with all of the Binars before their master computer completely fails. Mr. LaForge, I want two engineering crews to beam down to the planet. One team will attempt to stabilize the seismic activity around the capitol and retrieve as much information about the system as possible. It will be their responsibility to build a replacement when the activity subsides or a new environment is established for them. The other team is to preserve and retrieve as many components and memory storage units as possible." "Acknowledged." came the simple reply.

Captain Picard reported to the bridge. It would have been inappropriate to monitor and control the situation from sickbay. By the time he arrived on the bridge, Data and Geordi were already assembling a transmitter that would interact with each of the Binar's communications devices. The transmitter would only be effective in preventing the race from perishing should the master computer completely fail by effectively placing them in a sort of coma. The transmitter would be ready to go on-line in a matter of moments. With that good news, came more good news. Tactical reported that one other Galaxy class starship and several smaller vessels were rapidly approaching transporter range of the planet to assist with the evacuation efforts. The USS Grissom-B was dispatching two more engineering teams to assist the Enterprise's teams on the planet's surface. Unfortunately, not all of the news was good. Data now reported that the two engineering teams were experiencing increasing seismic activity. The Binar's master computer was close to complete failure. He estimated that the system would fail in 4.7 minutes. The engineering teams on the planet had ten to fifteen minutes to complete their assignments. After that, conditions on the planet would be unsafe. Finally, Data reported that the planet would break apart into a dozen or so large pieces, at which time the Binar civilization would cease to exist and most of their technology would be destroyed. Captain Picard ordered all technology saving efforts be directed to the Enterprise and all medical efforts to the remaining starfleet vessels.

Twenty minutes later, all surface teams had reported back to their respective ships and all ships pulled back out of orbit to a safe distance and waited. Five minutes later the bridge crew watched in horror as the darkened atmosphere suddenly lit up with a tremendous release of energy and the planet broke apart.

Chapter 5: Emotional Awareness

'Leader' was the only Binar kept on board the Enterprise. He was near death now. Beverly could no longer sustain him and the radiation burns had taken their toll. When Picard returned to sickbay with Data and Geordi, they were greeted by an unsettling site. Beverly had not only remained unclothed, but she was now motionless. Ogawa reported that Beverly had been in her current position for almost 30 minutes. She was frozen in position, leaning over Leader's failing body, with one hand placed on his damaged communications device. At Picard's direction, Data started to move Beverly away from Leader's deathbed. As Data began lifting Beverly, Leader suddenly spoke, in a weakened voice, "No. Data. not. yet. She. is. locked. in. a. mode. that. is. sustaining. my. life. energies. It. will. not. last. much. longer. as. my. existence. is. about. to. terminate." Picard leaned closer to Leader, "How can we restore Dr. Crusher?" "Not. possible.", came the unexpected reply, "The. database. storing. her. organic. molecular. structure. was. destroyed. with. the. planet. She. is. in. danger. of. termination. unless. you. can. restore. emotional. awareness. to. her. bio-mechanical. matrix. Her. personality. is. stored. within. the. bio. gelpacks. of. her. matrix. but. they. must. be. activated. before. it. is. too. late. She. can. survive. for. several. months. in. this. condition. but. her. faculties. will. begin. to. slowly. degrade. after. another. month." "How can we restore her full persona?" "We. left. a. basic. instinctual. function. active. but. nominally. dormant. If. you. stimulate. this. instinct. her. persona. will. emerge. and. her. matrix. will. not. degrade." "What instinct, Leader?" There was no reply. Beverly suddenly jerked back to life, "He is dead, Captain."

"Mr. Data. I want Geordi, Ogawa and yourself to study the programming of her matrix. Report with Beverly to my ready room in two hours." "Yes, sir." "And Data," Picard paused, "See to it that Dr. Crusher is properly clothed." "Yes sir."

Later, in Picard's ready room, the atmosphere was a bit strained. Picard was exerting his will in defiance of the feelings eating away at him. He had just watched the destruction of an entire civilization. The inhabitants were preserved, but far from alive. On top of that, his friend, confidant and lover died on that planet. Dr. Crusher was 'alive', but was certainly no longer the Beverly he knew. He dearly wished for Troi's counsel, but she was away on a mission with Commander Riker. Picard was truly on his own with no release in site. "Captain," Data brought Picard back into focus, "We have confirmed that Dr. Crusher does possess all of the knowledge and skills she maintained before her transformation. Nurse Ogawa ran her through a series of medical tests to verify this. We even devised a holodeck triage and she performed flawlessly." "As for her physical condition," Geordi continued the report, "her organs have been transformed into an inert substance. In place of organs and living tissue, the Binars fitted her with complex servo mechanisms to control her movements and circuitry created at a molecular level to maintain her functions. We don't know how she is powered, but she does emanate an electromagnetic field similar to Data's." "Her matrix", Nurse Ogawa stepped in, "is more complex than data's. It is a combination of positronic technology interfaced with a more advanced form of the Federation's neuro gelpak technology that it began introducing into starships a year ago. Her positronic activity is similar to Data's, but at some point all activity seems to pass through the gelpak region of the matrix. The gelpak region does not seem to add nor detract from the processing of the positronic half of the matrix." "We believe, Captain," Geordi concluded, "that all information relating to her persona as a human is stored in the gelpak region of her matrix. There is minimal activity there at best and we are still studying it." "Captain," Data spoke up, "we have found that the composition of the gelpak region is destabilizing and will eventually break down. We believe that if the activity of that region were to increase, the gelpak would stabilize." An uncomfortable silence followed. Finally, Picard spoke up, "Well done, everyone. Continue your analysis and let me know of your further findings. You're all dismissed, but I want Dr. Crusher to remain here."

After the door hissed shut behind the three crew members, Picard stood and walked around Dr. Crusher, who had been standing silently and motionless through the entire meeting. "Beverly," he began, "can you add anything to what was discussed just now?" "All information conforms to information stored in my matrix. Their conclusions are completely accurate." "Then, in time part of your matrix will degrade and lead to a complete failure?" "Yes, Captain." Picard didn't like hearing this, it only added to the pain he was feeling. When they were alone together, he had gotten used to being Jean-Luc, not Captain. "Beverly, Leader spoke of stimulating a near dormant instinct in you that would prevent your matrix from degrading. Do you know what he was referring to?" "In all species, there are basic emotional drives that can not be supressed for long periods of time. In humans, the fight for preservation is perhaps the strongest of these emotions." An idea began forming in Picard's mind. "Yes, the will to survive is very strong, but it is not the strongest. Return to Data's lab for now. Report to my quarters at 1530." Picard contacted Data and passed him some brief instructions. He then retired to his quarters and waited.

At 1530, the chime in Picard's quarter's announced Dr. Crusher's arrival. "Open.", he instructed the computer. The door hissed open and Dr. Crusher stepped through. "Please, have a seat.", Jean Luc said, indicating a place at the table where a modest meal was awaiting him and a liquid designed to maintain Crusher's bodily functions awaited her. They sat at the table. Picard, dressed casually, kicked off his boots and began the conversation. "Beverly, have you given any more thought to our last conversation?" "Yes, Captain. I have not reached any new conclusions, however." "I have, doctor. The strongest emotion is the fight for preservation, but not self preservation. Do you understand?" "No, sir." Picard got up from his seat and moved next to Beverly. Let me demonstrate. Place your leg here." He patted his thigh to indicate what he meant. With uncanny smoothness, she did as she was instructed. Picard looked down at the golden leg of Dr. Crusher and began to run his hands from her calf most of the way up her thigh. Her leg was extremely smooth and warm to the touch. "All men would kill for women with legs should be this smooth.", he thought... "Maybe not Riker, though. He seems to have varied tastes." "I am registering a change in your body temperature, Captain. Are you well?" "I'm fine, Beverly. Please, stand up and move to the open area over there." She complied without hesitation. "Now, remove your clothing and step into my shower. I'll join you momentarily." As soon as she stepped into the shower, Picard contacted Data. "Mr. Data, report." "As you speculated, Captain, there has been a negligible increase in activity in the gelpak region of hr matrix." "Very good, Mr. Data. I'll contact you again later. Picard out." Jean Luc then shed his clothes and joined Beverly in the shower.

Unlike typical showers for crewmen of a starship, Jean Luc's was equipped for water. He enjoyed the relaxation of a long, hot shower. But there was something else. He had introduced the concept to Beverly several years ago. She was reluctant at first, but soon became addicted to its soothing effects, especially when she shared one with Jean Luc. He switched on the water and adjusted the temperature. Beverly stood motionless, letting the water hit her body and bounce off. Picard maneuvered her closer to the spray. "Here, Beverly, take this cloth and use it to clean yourself. Quickly, Beverly ran the cloth over her body, almost knocking Jean Luc out of the shower. "That's not quite what I had in mind, Beverly. Give me the cloth." Jean Luc took the cloth and lathered it up with an organic cleaning compound. He turned Beverly around to face him and slowly lathered up her body." "Captain, I am again sensing an increase in your body temperature. Your pulse rate has also increased." "Yes, Doctor", he replied, "there is no need for concern." Jean Luc helped her rinse off. He found himself enjoying this more than he had expected. He had gone from a feeling of utter dread a few hours ago to almost schoolboy anticipation. "You body temperature has also increased perceptibly. Explain." Indeed, her body had grown warmer, causing her golden skin to shimmer slightly. Had it not been for the steam of the shower reflecting the effect, it would not have been visible. "I am attempting to ascertain why, Captain. I can not explain it." "Perhaps we should dry off and continue our conversation." Picard stepped out of the shower and went to the comm panel by his bed. "Mr. Data, report." "Captain, neural gelpak activity has increased 10 percent in the last 20 minutes." "Thank you, Mr. Data. Picard out."

"Captain?", Beverly approached him slowly, her eyes shining brighter than he had seen them since her change. "I still... can not... explain..." She fell silent. Her eyes still glowing intensely. He approached her. Her skin seemed to glow more noticeably around her vagina. The ambient light of his quarters caught her inner thighs and Jean Luc's heart skipped a beat. Barely noticeable, a streak of fluid had begun to run down her leg. "Data to Captain Picard!", came an urgent request. "Picard here! Report." "Captain, neural gelpak activity suddenly jumped 50%." "Thank you Mr. Data. Picard out." Jean Luc stood in from of Beverly's unmoving form. Suddenly, he found himself flying across his cabin and onto his bed. Beverly had gently but firmly thrown him almost 15 feet! In the next instant, she was on top of him. Her body was almost hot to the touch. A golden glow from her body illuminated the darkened corner of Jean Luc's cabin. He stared up into her eyes. They were intensely focused on his. "You can not resist me, Jean Luc.", she said. "He offered no resistance to her. He continued to stare into her glowing eyes, fixated by the small, fluctuating patterns he saw. At first he tried to interpret them, find some meaning. A moment later, he was lost in them, his mind awash in intense sexual excitement. He felt the fluids from Beverly's vaginal area covering him. His reaction was instinctual, moving his body in rhythm with hers. Minutes later, Beverly's body shook with an intensity he had never felt before. She fell over beside him and turned to face him. "Thank you, Jean Luc. I felt trapped inside myself until you released me from my own prison." With that, she closed her eyes and went dormant. "Mr. Data, report." "Captain, neural gelpak activity increased another 75% momentarily before falling off to a stable level. It is not much higher than earlier today, but it is enough to prevent the matrix from destabilizing." "Bridge to Captain Picard!", interrupted another signal, "An emergency message from Commander Riker on Ohm, sir!" "In my quarters, Lieutenant!" "Captain," Riker's voice filtered through the comm panel, "Counselor has contracted a deadly disease. She has only hours to live. We need the Enterprise's medical facilities." "Standby, Number One. Bridge! Set a course for Ohm, speed warp 7. Engage! Number One, we will arrive in about 4 hours."

Unknown to Picard, Riker ended the transmission as soon as he heard the word 'engage'. His immediate concern was for Deana. If the Captain had something to say, he'd deal with it later.

End of Part 2.

Next Month: Part three heralds the invention of a deadly new weapon, an unexpected development in Beverly's awakened persona and the return of Counselor Troi!