Back to Stories


by Catherine Ellis (Feb 2003)

Rating : 13+
Disclaimer : Paramount owns Star Trek. I'm just playing with their toys for my own amusement.

Summary : A Starfleet inspector arrives and the women in Picard's life get him into trouble. This story is set after 'All Good Things'.

Chapter 1

Picard waited outside Beverly's quarters, blissfully unaware of the trouble this visit would cause. He was tired and had almost cancelled their dinner date. But that wouldn't have helped, to sleep he needed to switch off and for that he needed Beverly's company - someone who would treat him as a friend rather than 'The Captain'. The casual clothes he wore reflected his 'off duty' frame of mind.

When the doors opened Beverly was sitting at her computer screen engrossed in its contents. Without turning she beckoned him in and typed another sentence. He was pleased to see her out of uniform but not to see her working. The disappointment showed in his face when she eventually turned to greet him.

"It's all right, Jean-Luc, I hadn't forgotten our dinner date. I'll stop now and complete this paper later. I know exactly what I want to say."

"If you're close to finishing, then do it now. My stomach can wait."

"Are you sure?"

"Quite. Besides I want to forget work and I can't do that with a dinner companion whose mind is on her report."

"And I can't write with someone prowling round my cabin. You look tired, go and lie down on my bed while I finish up. You can watch the light patterns from that gadget Troi bought me... But take your boots off first!"

"Yes ma'am."

Picard headed into the bedroom as ordered, he liked it when she took control. He had never lain down on her bed before, but told himself not to read anything into it. Doctors were always telling people to 'take their clothes off and lie down'.

He obediently removed his boots, lay back and concentrated on the patterns moving slowly across the ceiling. Soon the ship's gentle hum and the restful shapes sent him fast to sleep.

- - - -

Beverly ran her eyes over the man lying on her bed. She liked what she saw - the distinctive outline of his bald head, the angular face relaxed in sleep, the shapely muscular body. Moving quietly round the bed she took the opportunity to view him from every possible angle. He looked so peaceful it seemed a crime to wake him. Supper could wait.

Chapter 2

Picard woke to the sensation of a warm body touching his left side. His first assumption was 'Q!' until the familiar outline of Beverly's hip caught his eye. His next emotion was panic but this subsided when he realised they were both fully clothed - he hadn't missed something he would like to have remembered. Memories of how he came to be lying on her bed came back to him.

Beverly was lying on her side facing him. Her left hand rested on his chest and her left leg was almost on top of his. Trapped between them lay his arm, he tried not to think of where his hand was or what part of her anatomy was pressed against it. Her warm breath tickled his neck. When he moved slightly Beverly stirred in her sleep and brought her knee up leaving her leg resting across him in a most intimate manner. Picard gulped and tried not to respond. He told himself she didn't know what she was doing, that she was dreaming of Jack or Odan or Ronin. Who could compete with Ronin! This mental exercise worked well, too well, he was soon thoroughly depressed. For pity's sake man, stop analysing everything and just take pleasure in her touch.

He focused his attention on her heart beat. She was pressed so close he could feel it beating against his ribs. The rhythm was less regular than from his own artificial device. Thump, thump, thump-thump. A long red hair tickled his face and he brushed it away with his free hand - she didn't wake. Picard closed his eyes and let his sense indulge themselves - warmth, rhythm, pressure, aroma.

Beverly woke to the realisation she was not alone. What was more, the body she was wrapped around was definitely male. Panic hastened her instant withdrawal, within half a second she was sitting up facing her companion - whoever he was. Her cheeks burnt with embarrassment while her eyes focused on the alarmed face of Jean-Luc Picard.

"Good morning." He tried to sound casual, as though waking up in her bed was a common occurrence.

"Hello." Stupid reply she knew but what else did could she say?

"I'm surprised to find myself still here. Why didn't you wake me?"

"I'm sorry, but you looked so peaceful it seemed cruel to disturb you."

"No need to apologise, I slept really well."

"How long have you been awake?" The question sounded innocuous but she had to know.

"About 10 minutes."

She blushed again and looked away. Had she been draped around him all that time?

"Beverly?" Picard coaxed her into looking at him. "Are you worried what our colleagues might think?"

"No. Do you think they'll even know?"

"I hope they have better things to do with their time than monitor our sleeping habits." She smiled but he sensed her discomfort. "Would you like me to leave?"

"No." Her hand reached for him instinctively and landed on his thigh. "It's early. You don't need to get up yet. Stay here while I have a shower."

"If I don't need to get up then neither do you." He stretched his arm across the bed inviting her to join him.

Beverly hesitated, the bed was too narrow for them to avoid touching. Lying down meant physical contact - but that wasn't a problem was it?

She shrugged "Why not?" and manoeuvred herself carefully into position. This time she lay her head across his arm and her left leg safely on top of her right. The only problem was her left hand, the natural place to put it was on his chest but she didn't like to presume. It hovered uncomfortably in the air until Picard gently grasped her wrist and pulled it to him.

The pair of them lay quietly for several minutes neither talking nor moving. The warmth and closeness felt good but Picard couldn't relax, he wasn't sure what he should do next. Should he say something? Should he stroke her and if so where? Deciding how to fight the Borg was never this difficult. He resorted to Romulan tactics and waited for Beverly to make the next move.

Beverly lay perfectly still waiting for Jean-Luc to make the next move. She had expected him to fold his arm around her but he hadn't. Is this all he wants? Nothing more? It wasn't as if she was expecting sex, a little mutual stroking would do. Maybe he could be tempted with a bit of encouragement. She flexed the hand that rested on his chest and put it back where her fingers could reached his bare skin. There, with almost imperceptible movements, she gently stroked the hairs.

Picard noticed - in fact he noticed nothing else. The rest of his body floated away as he concentrated on those few hairs. When she stopped he longed for her to continue, but that would be selfish and he knew it. This was a game of give and take. Lifting his right hand he gently drew his fingertips across the back of her hand and then up and down her fingers. When he had covered the entire surface she twisted her hand over to give him access to the palm. Ah! So you like this. He obliged her with more stroking.

The game continued with each turn getting longer and the target areas more sensitive. Picard moved to her ear and then across to her cheek. Beverly moved up his neck, skipped the stubble, and was heading for his mouth when the inevitable message broke the silence.

"Selar to Dr Crusher."

She sighed and stretched across Jean-Luc to hit the comm panel.

"Crusher here."

"I'm sorry to disturb you doctor, but I have completed the preparatory work on Ensign Wright. The optimum moment to reconnect his arm will be in 20 minutes. Will you be available to assist me during the procedure?"

"Of course." Odd question? "Just give me a few minutes to get dressed. Crusher out."

She looked down at Jean-Luc but did not move. "I'm sorry, I have to go."

"A pity. I was enjoying lying here."

"Me too ... you know we could always do it again ... perhaps tryout your bed?"

A hint of a smile crossed Picard's face. "You could pay me one of your late night visits when you can't sleep."

"An excellent idea." Beverly got up slowly, pulling Jean-Luc by the hand. Some irresistible force made her want to retain contact as long as possible. When they were both upright Picard stood far too close and made no move to leave. The inclination to kiss was overwhelming but both knew their duty.

"Well doctor, I think I had better be going." They broke contact suddenly and Picard backed away towards the door. Just as he turned to go Beverly called after him.



"Nothing. See you later." She blew him a kiss.

Chapter 3 - scene (i)

Picard entered the bridge in an exceptionally good mood. From the looks on their faces the night shift had an entertaining time as well.

"Good morning everyone. Mr Data, report please."

"The exchange of equipment with The Hood was successfully carried out between 02:55 and 03:13 . Captain Jelico sends his regards and wishes to remind you of the fencing match you owe him. We took on board a visitor from Starfleet Inspectorate, Lieutenant Cato transferred from The Hood at 03:05 ."

Picard tried not to show alarm, unexpected visits from inspectors were never welcome.

"Why wasn't I informed of his arrival?"

"The Inspector saw no reason to disturb you."

"In future Mr Data I prefer to make such decisions for myself. Where is the Inspector now?"

"He is waiting for you in the Observation lounge."

As Picard left the bridge he had the disturbing feeling that everyone was watching him with more attention than usual.

Chapter 3 scene (ii)

Lieutenant Cato sat at the table studying several Padds.


"Captain." The visitor rose and bowed deferentially.

The young man's handshake was firm and his facial expression surprisingly pleasant for an inspector. Jean-Luc relaxed. Perhaps he only wants a lift.

"Please sit down Lieutenant, what can I do for you?"

"Tell me Captain ... are you in the habit of sleeping with your crew?"

Picard froze halfway into his seat. Did he know?

"That's quite an opening line Inspector. Do any captains actually answer you?"

"They do if they want to remain captains. Are you refusing to reply?"

"Not at all, I'll give you an answer. It's 'No', I'm not in the habit of sleeping with my crew."

"Last night was a special occasion then?"

"What exactly are you referring to Inspector?"

"Oh come now Captain, don't be coy. You were in her quarters at 03:00 and didn't leave for hours. Are you telling me you were just there for a chat and a cup of tea?"

At this Picard's control went out the window. "Whatever we were doing it is none of your damn business!"

"On the contrary Captain, it is exactly my business. Certain allegations have been made by two Starfleet officers who worked aboard this ship. They believe you are using your position to sexually harass various women - Dr Crusher included. Furthermore they believe you are pressurising her into suppressing information about your medical condition - information that would reveal you unfit for command."

Picard was stunned. "You're joking? This is a joke - yes? Captain Jelico put you up to this? Nice work Lieutenant, you really had me going."

Cato's expression didn't change. "No Captain, I am not joking, in fact I would like you to contact Admiral Rawlings at Starfleet to confirm all this." He gestured towards the computer console.

Picard didn't move, he couldn't. Shock had drained the power from his limbs. Eventually he managed to raise himself and contact Starfleet.

Admiral Rawlings wasn't half as polite as his inspector. 'Guilty until proven innocent' was his style. "Of course, you're still in charge of the ship Captain but I expect you to co-operate fully with Cato. Anything he requests, you comply. Is that understood?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Rawlings out."

The Inspector waited patiently for Picard to compose himself. "I shall need access to the crew list and the duty roster, also a private room in which to talk to people."

"Ask Deanna Troi - the ship's counsellor - she'll arrange all that for you."

"I also have to order you not to contact Dr Crusher or be alone with her until my investigation is over."

"That's impossible! She's my CMO and a gifted scientist, I often need her advice. What do you want me to do, insult her by talking to her deputy?"

"That's not my intention Captain. Please try not to be irritated. You have an android as your Second officer don't you?"

"Yes! So what?"

"I want him to be your chaperone anytime you have to see her or any other women."

Picard pursed his lip and restrained an impulse to object.

"Look Captain, if you can't stay away from Beverly Crusher then I'll have her transferred to The Hood; Captain Jelico can be here in four hours. The choice is yours."

The two men stood staring at one another until Picard reluctantly gave way.

"I'll co-operate."


"But can I at least explain to her what's going on."

"No. I'll do that and I'll also speak to your counsellor. You can explain the situation to your senior male officers. I see no reason why we should tell the whole crew."

"But the very fact that you're asking questions about me will start rumours. Inspectors can never board a ship without everyone's imaginations running riot."

"Maybe, but I won't fuel those rumours. Now do you want to make a ship-wide announcement that you're under investigation for harassment or shall we do it my way?"

Put like that Picard saw he had no choice. He nodded his agreement.

"That's better. Shall we move on then? I'd like to brief your android now. Would you call him please."

Chapter 3 scene (iii)

As Data entered the Observation lounge he looked to the Captain for instruction but Picard just waved in Cato's direction.

"Mr Data," the Inspector began, "I have a task for you."

"Yes Sir."

"I am here to carry out an investigation into Captain Picard's behaviour." He repeated the allegations. "Your job is to monitor the Captain's contact with any woman on the ship, Dr Crusher in particular. I want you to act as his chaperone."

Data checked the word's meaning in this memory bank. "That role can have many duties. What exactly do you require me to do?"

"I want you to accompany the Captain 24 hours a day. I want you to make sure he only talks to women about work issues. He is not to touch them or make any private signs to them. If he breaks any of these rules you are to tell me immediately."

As Cato talked, Picard turned away, he couldn't bear the humiliation. Resigning immediately crossed his mind but that would be taken as an admission of guilt. No, if he was to recover his standing, then this investigation had to be endured.

"Sir?" Data interrupted Picard's thoughts. "Do you wish me to obey these instructions?"

"You must do as he says Data. I might find it embarrassing but you'll be protecting me from accusations of interfering with the investigation."

Cato gave Picard a brief nod of approval. "I wish every accused saw it that way. Now, can you call your First Officer and Ship's Counsellor please?"

Chapter 3 scene (iv)

Selar and Crusher sat in her office studying the latest scans of Alan Wright's arm. Beverly was surprised at how far Selar had proceeded without her.

"Everything seems to be going well, but it is usual to have a second doctor on hand before now."

"I know Dr Crusher but I was trying not to disturb your evening with Captain Picard. I instructed the computer to tell me when he left your company but that message never arrived. I hope I did not call at an inconvenient moment?"

"Not at all." Beverly lied, her voice almost strangled by embarrassment. There were times when Data showed more tact than this Vulcan.

"Shall we get on with operation?"

"Very well," Beverly croaked, "but you lead." She didn't trust herself to keep a steady hand, her mind was far too concerned with other things - like who else knew about the Captain's sleepover?

Chapter 3 scene (v)

Neither Riker nor Troi needed telling that something was wrong. Deanna had sensed Picard's irritation from 5 decks away. Will saw it in Picard's posture the moment he walked through the door. The Captain introduced them to Cato with his usual charm but there was definitely an atmosphere in the room. After a quick explanation of what the Inspector needed Troi left with this unwelcome guest.

As the doors shut behind them Riker raised a quizzical eyebrow.

"The Lieutenant is investigating my behaviour. Apparently I've been sexually harassing a bevy of female officers and intimidating Beverly into hiding my 'unfitness for duty'."

"What! That's ridiculous."

"Thank you for the vote of confidence Will but unfortunately Starfleet does not share your opinion." Picard sighed and yanked on his jacket. "Apparently two officers have made these allegations and that means there has to be an inquiry. Data here is to act as my chaperone until the investigation is over."

"But how could there possibly be any evidence? I've heard no rumours and there's nothing you'd need to hide in your medical file."

"Well no.... But I wouldn't be ecstatic about every intimate detail being made public. How would you like your entire medical history available for everyone to see?"

"I'd have no prob ... ", just then a couple of infections he'd contracted as a young man came to Will's mind. "Well now that you mention it ..."


The two friends exchanged quick glances.

Data had no idea what they were talking about.

Chapter 3 scene (vi)

As she escorted Cato to a spare office Troi tried to engage him in conversation.

"Have you been in the inspectorate for long?"

"Long enough."

"Long enough for what?"

"To know what I'm doing."

Troi was already sharing Picard's irritation with this man.

"And what are you doing Inspector?"

He didn't answer but just ran an eye over the room.

"Thank you counsellor, this will do fine. Do you have another engagement or can you talk?"

"I'm free for 15 minutes." Deanna folded her arms and prepared for a fight.

"Please sit down. Now tell me, you're an empath?"


"You can sense the emotions of your crewmates?"


"Two Starfleet officers have made allegations about the nature of Captain Picard's relationship with Dr Crusher."

"What sort of allegations?"

"Let's just say that their relationship is 'inappropriate' for a Captain and CMO. Do you sense anything between them?"

"Nothing that gets in the way of their work."

"How about you, does Picard find you sexually attractive?"

His sudden change of track unnerved her. "He's a normal heterosexual male. There are times when sexual thoughts cross his mind."

"And are these sexual thoughts reciprocated on your part?"

Troi blushed and stammered, no one had guessed her fantasies before.

Cato didn't wait for a reply, "It must be tempting to ... 'accommodate' these humans when you sense their physical and emotional needs."

"I have NEVER used my abilities to seduce anyone."

"No, of course not. So tell me, counsellor, how long have Picard and Crusher been lovers?"

"They aren't lovers."

"What? You mean he spends the night in her cabin and nothing happens? I thought you said he was a normal heterosexual male?"

Deanna opened and shut her mouth. She wasn't aware Picard had ever spent the night with Beverly.

"Counsellor, either you're not half as perceptive as you think you are or you're not telling me the truth. I think we should leave it there, don't you? You may go."

Troi had no wish to stay. She turned quickly and was half way out the door before he called after her. "One more thing counsellor. Until I've finished my investigation, don't speak to the Captain alone or contact him. Understood?"

"But what if he needs my advice?"

"Then I'm afraid he'll have to cope without it for a few days."

In the corridor Troi let her emotions rip. Damn him, damn him! How does he manage to twist everything?

Chapter 4 scene (i)

The Bridge was unusually quiet. Picard sat in sullen motionless silence. It was so frustrating not being able to 'do' anything about the allegations. He couldn't even guess where they had come from. Beverly would know the allegations about them were rubbish but what would she think about the 'other women'? Would she start to doubt him, to wonder if he solicited casual sex from his crewmates? He could imagine her revulsion at the idea. His nagging fears were magnified by the admission that he'd certainly had the opportunity for such behaviour.

While Picard dwelt on his personal problems Riker handled any necessary orders.

"Helm, put the ship into equatorial orbit. Mr Data, please start monitoring environmental conditions near the research sites."

Data soon had the results, "The levels of noxious gases in the atmosphere are higher than expected. Special precautions will be needed if the away teams are to spend many hours on the surface. Shall I advise Dr Crusher?"

Riker looked at his unhappy Captain, then leant across and whispered, "Shall I handle this Sir."

"No. Thank you Will, but I have to face her some time." He touched his comm badge. "Picard to Sickbay, Dr Crusher can I see you in my ready room." He stood up. "Mr Data will you join me. Number One you have the bridge."

Chapter 4 scene (ii)

As he waited for Beverly, Picard paced round his room. He couldn't risk disobeying Cato's instructions but he wanted her to know nothing had changed - that he was still the same Jean-Luc who had lain happily beside her. Would she be able to see this just by looking at him?

"Sir? You seem agitated. Is there something I can do to help?"

"No Data, but thank you, for asking."

Picard tried to looked on the bright side - at least Data was his chaperone rather than some ensign from security.

Crusher walked through the door looking happy and carefree. She obviously hadn't had the pleasure of a meeting with Cato.

"Good morning Captain. Do you want to talk about the environmental conditions on the planet? I've been monitoring Data's sensor readings in Sickbay."

Picard hesitated, Cato's threat to transfer her had stifled all his natural instincts. Was it all right to acknowledge her efficiency?

"Yes doctor." His words sounded unduly formal. "We only have two days to examine the 17 sites. How do you suggest we protect the away teams while not restricting their activity?"

As Data and Beverly discussed the merits of protective clothing versus temporary structures and artificial environments, Picard's attention drifted away. All he could think about was how the rumours would harm his reputation and how she would never feel as comfortable with him again.

"So we're agreed then?" Beverly waited for his acknowledgement.

"I'm sorry, my mind was elsewhere."

She prompted him. "We'll use protective clothing and breathing apparatus and restrict everyone to 4 hour shifts?"

"If that's what you think best."

Crusher and Data exchanged glances. Indecision was so unlike Picard.

"We do. ... If there's nothing else Captain then there's a personal matter I'd like to discuss. Do you have a moment?"

Data opened his mouth but Picard obeyed the rules.

"I'm sorry Doctor but I need to talk to the Lieutenant."

"That's all right, it can wait. Call me when you take your lunch break."

"I'm afraid that won't be possible either." He knew he was being remote but he couldn't risk her being transferred.

Beverly searched his face for the man who'd shared her bed that morning. She couldn't find him.

"My mistake Picard, forget it."

Her icy tone told him exactly what she'd assumed - he'd changed his mind. She was up and out the door before he had a chance to recover the situation.

"Merde!" Picard buried his face in his hands while Data sat puzzling over this unusual behaviour.

"Sir? Is something wrong between you and Dr Crusher?"

"It is now." He let out a long sigh. "You see she doesn't know about the investigation yet or the restrictions Cato has put upon me."

"Is she annoyed with you for not wishing to be alone with her despite having spent the night together?"

Picard reddened - was there anyone who didn't know?

"Lieutenant do you mind explaining how the Inspector came to know that ... that I was not in my own cabin last night."

"I am afraid that was my fault. When the Inspector arrived I invited him to the bridge. I offered to call you immediately but he said 'no'. However, as you are sometimes up at that hour I asked the computer for your location."

No wonder the bridge staff looked amused!

"What was Cato's reaction to the computer's answer?"

"He asked to be informed when you left her quarters."

Picard didn't need to ask. Data would have obediently complied with the request.

Chapter 4 scene (iii)

Three hours later Lieutenant Cato got around to seeing Dr Crusher.

"I appreciate you sparing me the time Doctor. I know how busy CMOs always are."

Beverly was in no mood for pleasantries. What had started as a wonderful day had turned miserable through the emotional cowardice of one Jean-Luc Picard.

"Can we get on with this Lieutenant? I have patients to see."

"Very well. Tell me doctor, are you in the habit of sleeping with your patients?"

Shock caused her to gasp, she wanted to hit him.

"How dare you ask questions like that!"

"I dare because I'm a Starfleet inspector carrying out an investigation. Please answer the question."

She steadied her temper. "No! I am not in the habit."

"I see. Then last night was a special occasion?"

"Last night was a mistake." She regretted the word immediately. "But also none of your business."

"Are you sure about that? You see there is some doubt as to whether both parties were willing participants."

Beverly couldn't believe what she was hearing. Had Picard blamed her for last night to protect himself?

"I have nothing to say about last night."

"Very well, then answer me this question. Why do you restrict access to Captain Picard's medical record's?"

The sudden change of subject threw her. "I don't, I mean he's entitled to the same privacy as anyone else."

"But surely you trust your medical colleagues? What if they need to treat him when you're not around?"

"They have access to everything they might need,"

"And who's to say what that is?"

"I am."

"Thank you doctor, that will be all for now."

Beverly rose to her feet feeling totally baffled. "Might I be told what your investigation is about?"

"Not until I've spoken to more of your colleagues. In the mean time don't speak to Captain Picard or contact him except on ship's business. You can go now."

As Cato watched Crusher leave his office he decided he knew one thing about Captain Picard - he had good taste.

Chapter 4 scene (iv)

"Troi! Wait! I need to talk to you."

The counsellor held the lift until Beverly entered.

"Deanna, what the hell's going on? I've just had a very unpleasant session with that Starfleet inspector."

"I wish I knew. All Cato told me was that someone's accused you and the Captain of having an 'inappropriate' relationship."

"Inappropriate? What does that mean?"

Troi halted the lift. "I don't know. It's not as though Starfleet forbade Captains from having relationships with members of their crew. Given how long the missions can be such a ban would be intolerable."

"And the same applies to ship's doctors. If everyone's your patient then who else can you have a relationship with? Anyway that doesn't apply to Jean Luc and me, we're not lovers." Troi's self-belief was boosted by this revelation. "No, there's more to his investigation than sex. Cato was asking about Jean-Luc's medical records and why I didn't let the other doctors see them."

Something in her friend's manner made Deanna uneasy.

"Beverly? What's the problem with the Captain's medical file?"

Crusher looked away. "Nothing."

"Beverly? What is it? What have you done?"

"Nothing! Nothing unethical or illegal."

"Then why are you so anxious? Just look at yourself."

The doctor was nervously rubbing one hand up and down the other.

"All I'm doing, Deanna, is treating my patient. I'm restoring what nature gave him and the Borg took away. You know what a mess they made of him. They didn't just put things in him they removed bits as well - bits that create human hormones. So why shouldn't I repair the damage?"

"No reason that I can think of. But if that's all you're doing then what's the problem?"

"The problem is it would embarrass the hell out of him if everyone knew. It's bad enough that he has an artificial heart, do they really need to know his virility is being maintained by quarterly injections?"

Troi guessed the treatment, "That's a powerful hormone you're giving him, it can increase a man's competitive and aggressive tendencies. Are you sure you're giving him the right dose?"

"It's the right dose for him. He might be ageing but he's still a fit healthy man."

"Beverly, your actions might be medically correct and your motives pure, but other people might not see it that way. They might assume ... "

"Assume what?"

"... That you were dosing your lover for your own sexual gratification."

Crusher slumped back against the wall. "Oh God! What a mess. Deanna, you've got to talk to Jean-Luc, you've go to warn him about his treatment and how nobody knows about it but you and me."

"I'm sorry Beverly, I can't do that. I'm not allowed to talk to him either."

"But you're the ship's counsellor, why ever not?"

Deanna squirmed uncomfortably. "Because your relationship with Picard is not the only one that's under investigation."

The revelation hit Beverly like a blow. She stared intently at her friend until a horrible thought crossed her mind.

"You find him attractive. You find Jean-Luc attractive!"

"Beverly, calm down."

"No I will not calm down. You're supposed to be my friend and all this time you've been attracted to him!"

"Yes, of course I am! So are most of the women on this ship ... and some of the men. But I'm not interested in ... in a relationship. Beverly, I am not your rival. I'm not!"

Chapter 5 scene (i)

Riker prepared for bed, there was nothing else to do. The evening poker game had broken up early, somehow it wasn't as enjoyable without Deanna and Beverly.

When the door chime sounded he was sure it was Deanna.

"Captain!" Riker couldn't remember the last time Picard had visited his quarters.

"I'm sorry to disturb you Will, do you mind if I come in?"

"Of course not." Riker stepped back and waited for Data to follow. "Where's your escort Captain? Don't tell me you've eluded him already?"

"He left me at your door. I persuaded Cato to relax Data's monitoring duties as it was interfering with his other responsibilities."

"Glad to hear it."

Will stood waiting for some instruction from his captain.

"Relax Number One, we're not on duty." Picard strolled self-consciously to the window, searching for a subject of conversation.

Will guessed the problem and came to his aid.

"Sir, could you help me with something? At the last starbase I bought a case of wine off a Ferengi. I've no idea if it's any good. Could you could try a little - give me an expert opinion?"

Picard gave him a quick smile in recognition of his tact.

"I'd be honoured."

Opening the bottle and choosing the right glasses gave them something to do, a way of relieving the awkwardness they both felt. Jean-Luc swilled the wine in his glass, took a sniff and then a sip. He didn't swallow. From the look on his face Riker knew emergency action was need. He grabbed the nearest container and offered it as a spittoon.

"A mistake?"

Picard rinsed his mouth out with water. "Oh, I don't know. Offer it to Geordi as a new cleaning agent. It has ... unique properties."

The two men smiled but then sank back into silence. Both knew they were avoiding the real reason for the visit. Eventually Picard picked up courage.

"Will, I've been thinking about these accusations ... trying to work out what I might have done to raise suspicions. It's made me realise how much off-duty time I choose to spend with women. When I need some company who do I got to? Beverly, Deanna, Guinan. When I'm worried about something, who do I go to see? Beverly, Deanna, Guinan."

"Well, I guess you just need mothering."

The two men burst out laughing. 'Mothering' was so at odds with the accusations, but there was a touch of truth in Will's joke.

Picard wiped a tear from his face, "Do you think they mind? These women, do you think they mind 'mothering' us?"

"I hope not, they're damn good at it." Riker waited for Jean-Luc to recover his poise. "What else do you think you're 'guilty' of Sir?"

"Oh, I don't know ... maybe noticing how many attractive women there are on board."

"You and a few hundred other men. What else?"

"... My medical records."

"What about them."

"To tell you the truth Will, I don't know what's in them."


"You know how I hate being examined. I only tolerate my annual examination because Beverly does it. I really don't want to know all the details. I had enough of that when I lost my heart. There was this surgeon who insisted on showing me my real heart floating in a preservation jar." He shivered at the memory.

"Captain, are you telling me there could be something 'problematic' in your file?"

"No. ... Well ... only if you believe Beverly and the other doctors are so keen on me being in command that they are willing to ignore the problem and put the ship at risk. Does that seem likely to you?"

"No, it doesn't. But obviously it does to your accusers."

Picard leaned back and closed his eyes. "I just don't understand what's going on Will. How the hell did I get in this mess?"

Riker didn't have an answer.

"Anyway, Will, thank you for this 'mothering' session. I'd better leave now before I fall asleep again."

A big grin crossed Riker's face. "So that's what happened! You fell asleep in Beverly's quarters and she didn't wake you."

"Ssh! Keep it quiet, you'll ruin my reputation."

Chapter 5 scene (ii)

Beverly couldn't get to sleep. Her conversation with Troi kept forcing its way into her thoughts. She found herself visiting Picard and finding Deanna, or some other woman, sitting on his lap. It was all ridiculous of course, Jean-Luc would never behave like that. But then maybe he couldn't help it? Maybe the dose she was giving him was far too high, maybe he had a sex drive that just had to be satisfied? She certainly hadn't offered to ease it, no wonder he was looking elsewhere. And from what Deanna had told her, there would be plenty of volunteers. But this was all ridiculous, wasn't it? Jean-Luc wouldn't behave like that, would he?

Chapter 6 scene (i)

The Inspector started his second day by interviewing some of the newer and younger female officers. Ensign Sonia Gomez was amongst the first. The moment she walked in the door Cato stopped to look. He couldn't blame any man for taking an interest, she really was exceptionally pretty.

"Sit down Ensign, I won't keep you long."

The young pilot lowered herself nervously into a chair.

"How long have you been aboard the Enterprise ?"

"Four months."

"And it's your first assignment since the Academy?"

"Yes Sir."

"Have you been receiving further training since you got here?"

"Yes Sir, from my supervisor Lieutenant Edwards."

"I see. However according to your training log Captain Picard has also been giving you lessons." Cato paused to see her reaction.

"Yes Sir", her anxiety level rose several notches, "But only four times."

"Have you known the Captain give other shuttle pilots personal lessons?"

"No Sir." Her voice was almost a squeak.

"There's no need to be nervous Ensign. You can say anything without fear. Now why do you think the Captain picked you for special treatment?"

"I don't know."

"Come now Sonia just take your time, tell me what's been happening."

"He just took me through various procedures, that's all. Nothing unusual."

The Inspector took pity on this scared young woman, he could see his questions were making things worse. "All right Sonia, we'll leave it there for today. But if you decide you want to tell me something, then feel free to do so ... at anytime."

Chapter 6 scene (ii)

Despite a restless night Picard was managing to concentrate on his work. He'd stopped trying to work out who had made the allegations or why. He'd given up worrying how Beverly was coping or whether she had forgiven him. On the Bridge he busied himself at the science station scrutinising the first reports from the away teams. It was all reassuring routine until Troi arrived looking agitated.

Picard stood up expecting her to come to him but it was Riker she went to. After she had whispered in his ear the First Officer looked as disturbed as she did. Jean-Luc prepared himself for bad news as Will approached.

"Sir, can I have a private word in your ready-room?"

Nothing more was said until the doors shut behind them.

"I'm not going to like this, am I Number One?"

"No, Sir. ... There's a rumour spreading round the ship that you are under investigation for sexual harassment."

"Damn! Damn! Damn Cato! I told him this would happen."

"Actually Captain, Deanna doesn't think it's Cato's fault. From what she's heard he's been very careful. He's only revealed the subject of the allegations to the senior officers, with everyone else he's been the soul of discretion. The rumour seems to have spread from Starfleet HQ."

"Oh God!" Picard groaned. "Then half the fleet will know by tomorrow."

"If it's any consolation the old hands amongst crew don't believe it. They're taking it as a joke, a mess-up by the inspectorate. It's only the newer crew members who are disturbed."

"Only the newer crew. How am I ever going to regain their confidence? They'll think I'm a lecher. Data will have to spend the rest of his life as my chaperone."

Chapter 6 scene (iii)

Troi was impressed with how calm Gomez appeared despite the emotional turmoil churning within her.

"Come in Sonia. What can I do for you?"

"I need your advice." The Ensign cleared her throat and started her carefully prepared speech. "This morning Inspector Cato called me into his office. He asked me why Captain Picard had given me flying lessons ... I said I didn't know. You see I thought Cato was investigating my behaviour, but just now I heard a rumour about Captain Picard ... that it's his behaviour that is under investigation."

"That's correct, someone's made an allegation and Starfleet regulations require an investigation."

"They're very serious allegations aren't they?"

"Yes, Sonia. They are."

"Then should I tell the Inspector the truth?"

Troi wished she knew what 'the truth' was! Had Picard made a pass at Sonia? Had she made a pass at him or was there some innocent explanation? As usual, when she didn't know what to suggest, Troi threw the problem back on her client.

"What do you think?"

Sonia braced herself for the inevitable.

"That I'm a Starfleet officer and I shouldn't be afraid to speak up."

Chapter 6 scene (iv)

Cato followed Picard into his ready-room.

"Thank you for sparing me the time, Captain."

"You mean I had a choice?"

Cato smiled but didn't respond.

"Sit down Lieutenant, ask your questions."

Picard was determined to stay in control this time. While the inspector sat in a low chair he perched on the edge of his desk and looked down.

Cato put out a first exploratory probe. "Are you receiving any medical treatment at the moment?"

"I have some old injuries that require ... corrective measures."

"What would happen if you didn't get this treatment?"

"I'm not sure I understand you, Inspector."

"Would you die or go mad or start falling over?"

"I hadn't thought about it. ... I suppose I would age more rapidly."

"And you wouldn't want that would you? I can see you like to keep yourself fit."

Picard didn't reply, he could guess where this line of questioning was leading.

"Most men your age have given up. They don't feel the need to 'try' any more, but not you, you're still 'interested'. But then there's a lot to be interested in. I've never come across a ship with quite so many attractive women aboard. You're a lucky man, Captain."

Picard phrased his reply carefully. "I might agree with your observation, Lieutenant, but despite what you have been told, they are not my property."

"Quiet so! But it doesn't stop a man thinking does it? Take Counsellor Troi for instance. Now there's a woman to fill a few fantasies - that figure and those empathic powers telling her exactly what a man wants?"

"Inspector, don't you realise it's Counsellor Troi's abilities that make this whole allegation so absurd. If I was 'up to something' then Deanna would sense it, I could never get away with any kind of abuse with her on board."

"But you know how to block her don't you?" Picard looked surprised. "Didn't you know she's published a paper on how humans can learn to block empaths and telepaths. It even mentions you by name and describes how your mind-melds with two Vulcans have enhanced your blocking ability. So you see Troi's not your alibi, and even if she could always sense you, her obvious attachment to you makes her an unreliable witness."

Cato smiled sweetly and waited for Picard's response. None was forthcoming.

Chapter 7 scene (i)

Picard's official reason for the meeting was to review progress on the current mission. The real reason was to enable him to see Dr Crusher. The latest session with Cato had left him disturbed. Though he felt innocent of any wrong doing there was truth in Cato's words. Sex was one of his motives for keeping fit, he did find the young women attractive and his relationship with Deanna was not one he would have with a man. He felt uneasy and wanted to see Beverly, he wanted to tell her about his problems, to have her tell him she understood. None of this was possible, of course, but if she was at least in the same room then he would feel better. If nothing else he could focus his sexual thoughts on her rather than have them roam dangerously onto other targets.

Picard arrived early for the meeting and seated himself at the end of the table. Data sat on his right. As Picard had hoped Beverly arrived next. She gave them both a brief 'hello', walked round the table and sat down on his left. As she did so she 'accidentally' touched one of Jean-Luc's hands which lay on the table. Picard gave no indication of having noticed, but chose that moment to let out a small contented sigh.

Data scrutinised them closely, unsure whether he should reprimand them for touching.

"Something wrong Mr Data?" asked Picard with feigned innocence.

"No Sir."


The other senior officers soon joined them. Deanna sitting down on Data's right almost opposite Beverly.

"Shall we begin?" Picard took control. "Mr Riker your report please."

As Will spoke Beverly tried to pay attention but her mind wandered. She could sense Picard's presence as strongly as if they were back on her bed. Two minutes into the report she allowed her eyes to look down at the table. There she saw Jean-Luc stroking the back of his left hand just as he'd stroked her the other morning. The urge to touch him was unbearable, she moved her own hands under the table out of temptations way.

It didn't help. Under the table was his thigh. She knew exactly how it would feel, hadn't she touched him there only yesterday? The memory of that moment returned in all its detail - she could remember the texture of the trousers, the shape of his muscle. If she slid her hand further up... Someone was urging her to do it! There was another presence in her mind, sharing her vision, encouraging her to explore. Deanna! Beverly turned sharply on the counsellor and caught her blushing deeply.

Picard and Data shifted awkwardly in their seats, aware that something had just detonated between the two women.

"Am I boring everyone?" Riker's voice burst in on these silent manoeuvres. "Is it my imagination or are Geordi and Worf the only ones who are paying attention?"

Several people cleared their throats and repositioned themselves.

"We are listening Number One." Picard lied. "It's very informative. Please carry on."

Chapter 7 scene (ii)

"Forgive me, Dr Crusher, I didn't mean to startle you."

Cato was the last person Beverly wanted in her office.

"What do you want Inspector, I'm busy?"

"I've just one question. Is Captain Picard fit for duty?"

"Yes! Definitely. He's as fit as most men twenty years his junior."

"You mean men of your age?"

Beverly tried not to show alarm.

"Your arithmetic is correct, Inspector."

"And does he have the appetites and needs of a younger man?"

"I couldn't say."

"No? Really? Then can you think of a woman who could?"

Crusher was tempted to say 'try Counsellor Troi' but kept her mouth shut.

"No suggestions? ... One more request then doctor, can I see Captain Picard's medical file."

"On what authority?"

"I'm a Starfleet Inspector, I have a right to see any information relevant to my case."

"I don't care which damn admiral signed your worksheet. I keep my patient's records private unless their health, the safety of this ship or the law requires me to do otherwise. So unless you have a court order or the Captain gives his permission you're not seeing anything. Do I make myself clear."

Cato smiled politely.

"Perfectly doctor, thank you. I'll leave you to get on with your work."

Chapter 7 scene (iii)

Troi tracked Beverly down to Ten Forward and found her eating lunch in a corner. As she drew near her friend's animosity rose.

"Go away, Deanna, I don't want to talk to you. I came here to avoid being alone with you."

The counsellor ignored her and sat down.

"We have to talk, you have to let me explain what happened."

"I know what happened Deanna. You tried to take over my fantasy. I could feel you urging me to move my hand."

"But that wasn't me, it was Jean-Luc."

"Don't lie to me! How could it be? He's not a telepath."

Faces turned in their direction drawn by the raised voices. Embarrassed Troi moved closer and whispered.

"Will you listen please! The thoughts you sensed - about exploring his leg - they were his thoughts. They reached you via me. You were both thinking about the same thing. It was all very ...'intense' and I couldn't block you out. I just got caught up in it all. I'm sorry Beverly, believe me I didn't mean to intrude."

Crusher gave her friend a long hard look. Big dark eyes looked back as Deanna tried to open up her thoughts.

"It's all right Deanna, I believe you." She touched Troi's arm. "I'm sorry, I guess I was unnerved by learning you were attracted to him. But then why shouldn't you be? He's a very attractive man."

Deanna let out a relieved sigh and squeezed her friend's hand.

Beverly continued "Let's change the subject shall we? Tell me what Cato's been up to."

"Interviewing more of your medical staff and also some of the younger ensigns. Many of them come to see me afterwards, they're worried they're also under investigation. Everyone has something to hide and Cato makes you feel he knows it."

"Why is he interested in the young ensigns?"

"I think that's my fault." Deanna confessed. "The last crew rotation left us with an unusually large number of young and inexperienced officers. I'm afraid I suggested to the Captain that he could help them settle in if he was less remote. He took up the idea and has been more closely involved in their training than usual."

"So why should that interest Cato?"

"Because there just happens to be a high proportion of pretty young females amongst them."

"Oh No." Beverly groaned, "Why is fate conspiring against him."

"Not fair is it, what with you inflating his libido and me setting him up with a harem."

"Deanna! It's not funny ... and anyway he wouldn't, he couldn't ... I mean there must be twenty of them."

"It's all right Beverly. I don't think he's touched any of them. Just as well really, they all find him rather attractive. You'd have to double his prescription to satisfy that lot."

Chapter 7 scene (iv)

"Mr Data, please sit down. I'm delighted to see you. You're the kind of witness every inspector longs for. Someone blessed with perfect memory and incapable of lying."

"I can see why that would appeal to you. What do you wish to know?"

"Have Captain Picard and Dr Crusher met or contacted each other since yesterday morning?"

"They have met twice, I was present on both occasions. Their conversations were about ship's business."

"How do you know they haven't met at other times?"

"Because I have instructed the computer to monitor the location of their comm badges and also any electronic communications they send."

Cato raised an eyebrow. "Very thorough of you, Mr Data. Tell me do you often monitor your colleagues movements."

"Only when I am in charge of the bridge during night shift and the ship is under some threat. I think it prudent to know the location of all the qualified bridge commanders."

"So who do you monitor? Picard, Riker, La Forge?"

"All those plus Dr Crusher and Counsellor Troi."

Cato couldn't believe his luck.

"Tell me Data, does Dr Crusher often spend the night with Captain Picard?"

"No Sir, the other night was the first occasion on which I have observed such behaviour?"

"Really? Well if not the whole night, how about shorter periods?"

"They often visit each other's cabins around breakfast time and Dr Crusher occasionally visits the Captain's Quarters for about 20 minutes late at night."

"I see." Cato tried not to let his imagination run riot. "Does the lady also visit other men at this hour?"

"No Sir."

"How about Picard, any nocturnal visits to lady friends?"

Data searched through his memory banks. "He occasionally goes to Ten Forward."


"I presume so. The two of them appear to be close friends."

"Thank you Mr Data you have been most helpful."

Chapter 7 scene (v)

Since Cato's arrival Picard hadn't strayed much beyond his cabin and the top two decks of the Enterprise. He hadn't wanted to be seen with his chaperone. The crew might not know of Data's new role, but he did and would feel the humiliation. Now he was venturing out for the first time. In the Geology Department he met two of the science officers to discuss the first results from their mission. These old hands behaved towards him as usual but out in the corridors things were different. As Picard approached any group of young officers they immediately stopped talking. He was used to a degree of deference - he expected it, even liked it - but this wasn't respect. There was an air of doubt in their reaction, a doubt that could turn to distrust.

In the turbo lift fate was kind to Picard for the first time in days. Beverly entered almost immediately and showed no sign of embarrassment at being with him. She acknowledged his presence, positioned herself directly opposite and looked him straight in the eye. Picard looked back. It was amazing how flirtatious 'just looking' could be. As this mutual observation persisted Data moved round to where he could see both their faces.

"Mr Data," Picard spoke to the android but continued to looked at Beverly, "I've decided to attend Guinan's get together this evening - her social event for the newer officers."

Data looked concerned.

"Sir, do you think that is wise? You are only supposed to meet female officers for work purposes."

"But for me this is work. I've been invited in my official capacity, as has Dr Crusher. Not going would imply I wasn't interested or that I was too embarrassed to attend. Neither is true. However, I shall need you with me, I don't Cato having grounds for complaint. Please call for me at 19:30 , I'll be in my cabin till then."

Beverly noted the time and winked as she exited. When she had gone Data questioned the Captain.

"Sir, I am puzzled by your behaviour just now. You do not usually stare at Dr Crusher like that nor she at you."

"Do you feel the need to tell the Inspector?"

Data considered the question. "'Looking' was not on Cato's list of prohibited activities."


"Then I see no reason to bother him."

There were times when Picard could kiss Data.

Chapter 7 scene (vi)

Guinan watched Cato's progress around Ten Forward. He was trying to engage various crewmen in conversation; no one wanted to talk. Eventually he gave up and sat down alone by the window.

"Can I get you another drink Inspector?"

He turned to see who was willing to speak to him.

"Thank you, but later. What I need now is some information."

Guinan sat down and waited for him to begin.

"The crew come here to socialise?"


"And to find partners?"

"It happens."

"Does that cause jealousies?"


"Does Captain Picard come here often?"


"When he does, does he show signs of jealousy?"

"The occasional twinge."

"Really?" Cato edged closer, "Is that all? I've heard he likes to break up conversations between Dr Crusher and other men, that he strides over and demands she go with him. Have you ever seen him behave like that?"

"I've seen him rescue her from unwelcome male attention."

"I see ... And how does he manage to turn up just when she needs rescuing?"

Guinan rose to her feet. "I think it's time you had that second drink, Inspector."

Chapter 7 scene (vii)

Picard didn't usually shave in the evening but he wanted to look his best for this occasion. The character in the mirror pleased him, he was fit, handsome and definitely didn't look Picard's age.

Age? Something Cato had said nagged at him. 'What would be the effect if you didn't have your treatment?' What exactly was his treatment? Not knowing was cowardly and he knew it. Without finishing the shaving Picard headed for the computer console and brought up his own medical records. The entry wasn't hard to find. The stark truth was there and revealed no surprises. He'd known hadn't he. Beverly had once listed the damage caused by his Borg assimilation. Somewhere in the back of his mind he'd registered her remedy. And hadn't he noticed the difference in his body every time she gave him a boost.

Still here it was, all the details of his dose and how she'd calculated the amount. He saw her reasoning behind the quantity, how his exceptional fitness justified it. It was all very personal and embarrassing. Not something he'd want everyone to see. He checked the access permissions and received his first shock. No one had access but him and her; she hadn't shared this with her colleagues.

The implications hit Picard immediately, it was her reputation that was at stake not his. By protecting his privacy and his virility she had lain herself open to accusations. If he revealed his treatment to allay suspicions about his health, then Beverly would be in trouble. He saw himself as the cause of this ghastly mess. He expected too much of her, expected her to play too many roles - his CMO, his personal doctor, his closest friend.

Picard returned to his shaving but was less pleased with the character in the mirror. Why did Beverly take such good care of him? Did she do it because she loved him or because he was a fretful child in need of mothering ?

Chapter 8 scene (i)

The event in Ten-Forward was the second in a series organised by Guinan and Deanna for the new crew members. At the first one, Deanna had encouraged them to maintain a life outside of work. She'd suggested they continue their hobbies or take up new ones. Today they were supposed to show one another how they were progressing at a new endeavour - be it cooking, speaking Klingon, playing the piano or dancing.

At exactly 19:30 Data called at Picard's cabin and escorted him to Ten-Forward. As they approached its doorway from one direction Dr Crusher appeared from the other.

"Captain! Data! What a pleasant surprise."

Picard mouthed 'Thank you' and hoped Data hadn't noticed.

They paused just out of range of the door sensors and braced themselves, Jean-Luc giving his jacket a habitual tug and Beverly rubbing an arm.

"Ready Doctor?"

"Ready Captain."

The pair entered side-by-side, but not touching. Data brought up the rear. Inside 40 people were chatting in small groups, those near the door went quiet as soon as they spotted the new arrivals. For a horrible moment Picard regretted attending, but then Guinan came to their rescue.

"Captain, good timing. Yvonne Dumont has been trying out one of her grandmother's crepe recipes. She needs a true Frenchman to tell her how she's doing."

Picard let Guinan guide him and Beverly to where Dumont was serving her creations. As they drew near he could see the doubt in Yvonne's eyes - was this 'happy couple' act a sham? Around them several others watched in silence.

"Good evening Ensign. I see you've replicated a 20th Century hot-plate. Was it difficult to find the right temperature?"

Picard's scientific question suited Yvonne perfectly. A chemistry specialist, she was happier discussing when ingredients would solidify rather than the gastronomic results. As she answered his question the watching audience lost interest and returned to their own conversations. Picard listened attentively to Yvonne, asking intelligent follow-up questions and making her feel he shared her interests. Beverly just watched and listened - proud of the way he encouraged her. When it came to the tasting, Jean-Luc took a couple of mouthfuls and then offered his plate to Beverly . She used his fork without hesitation, an intimate act that was not lost on the onlookers.

For the next twenty minutes they made their way round the room, trying more food and admiring works of art. The officers seemed keen to speak to Picard, especially the women. One of them looked resentfully at Beverly, as though she was getting in their way. Crusher took the hint and went for a drink; she didn't want anyone thinking he needed minding. And besides she wanted to see how he behaved when she wasn't at his elbow. From a bar stool she had an good view of his progress. His behaviour didn't seem to change - he was still The Captain taking a paternal interest in his young officers. He allowed himself an occasional joke but was otherwise as reserved as usual. Just as well. Was it her imagination or were these women becoming flirtatious?

"Something I can do for you doctor?" Guinan materialised behind the bar.

"Yes, tell me what's going on here? Why are they being so 'friendly' to Picard?"

"They're showing Cato they're not afraid of the Captain, showing him he's not harassing them in any way."

"But they're making it look as if he doesn't have to, as if all he had to do was snap his fingers!"

"Well, isn't that the truth?"

Beverly was appalled. "Guinan, it's not funny!"

"If you must keep him so lean and hungry, doctor, what do you expect?"

Just then Picard disappeared, engulfed by a pack of beautiful and attentive women. Beverly was galvanised into action.

"Give me two drinks quickly."

The doctor descended on the encircling females scattering them with threats of accidentally spilt red wine. From their centre a relieved Picard emerged.

"Please!" He whispered. "Don't desert me again. Data's gone and I need a body guard."

"All right, I'll stay, but you behave yourself. Talk to the boys for a change."

"Beverly! What are you suggesting?"

The look on Crusher's face made Picard spin around.



"I didn't see you come in."

"Obviously. Actually I've been here some time. Over there with Data."

The usually eloquent Picard was tongue-tied until Cato helped him off the hook.

"What's do you think of the wine Captain? Should I try it?"

"It's good, full bodied. I'm sure Guinan can find you some."

Cato bowed politely and turned to go. "Oh! Just one thing Captain, you are talking about work aren't you?" He smiled sweetly at Dr Crusher and didn't wait for a reply.


The event became livelier when the amateur musicians started to demonstrate their skills. Sonia Gomez performed a guitar piece she hadn't played since giving up the instrument at the age of ten. During the ensuing applause Beverly had the odd feeling that Picard's clapping was unusually enthusiastic.

Several people asked the Captain to play an instrument but he declined saying the evening was to see their skills not his. He felt confident he could escape performing until Beverly dropped him in it. Deanna arrived late and promptly reminded Crusher she'd promised to give a dance lesson. To Picard's horror Beverly instructed him to partner Deanna. The two women seemed engaged in some game and he was the ball in the middle. Beverly made them stand facing each other while she explained how to hold your partner. Troi was wearing one of her tight-fitting, low-cut dresses, the ones that showed her assets to the full. As Beverly forced them closer Jean-Luc's view of Deanna's cleavage was impossible to ignore. His emotion blocking skills were tested to the full.

The counsellor didn't look too happy either. Her arms were stiff and she held him off further than was comfortable. Over her shoulder Picard could see Cato watching every move with interest. When it came to the dancing they were awful, two scarecrows could have done better. After only three turns Deanna tripped over his feet and sent them tumbling. When their bodies came to rest she was on top of him.

"Counsellor" he whispered, "this isn't right."

"Tell her!"

Picard scrambled to his feet and looked pleadingly at Beverly. His 'Dance with me please' message got through - with Deanna's assistance. The resulting demonstration couldn't have been more different. Beverly got in close and allowed Jean-Luc to lead her gracefully around the floor. Every move contravened Cato's restrictions.

Chapter 9 Final scene

Picard paused outside Cato's quarters only too aware of what this visit might mean. Till now Cato had always come to him, but this morning Jean-Luc had woken to an invitation - or was is an order? - to join the inspector for breakfast. Was the change significant? Did Cato disapprove of his behaviour last night? Well damn him if he did!

The doors opened to reveal Cato and a nervous Beverly sitting at the breakfast table.

"Come in Captain sit down. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of asking Dr Crusher to join us."

"You should be more careful Inspector, inviting a beautiful woman to breakfast, people will think you are up to something."

"Touché Captain, but I reckoned I was safe, you were bound to turn up and take her away from me."

Beverly and Jean-Luc exchanged glances, unsure what they should make of that remark. Picard joined them at the table, helped himself to coffee and waited for Cato to make the next move.

"I thought you'd like to know I've finished my investigation."

"So soon? When do I get to hear the result?"

"Now if you like, 'no case to answer'."

Jean-Luc hid his relief but Beverly clenched her fists and mouthed 'Yes'!

Cato continued. "In fact I suspected you were innocent 5 minutes after I arrived. In my experience abusers rarely spend whole nights with their victims."

Picard exploded. "Then why the HELL did you put me through the last few days?"

"Because it occurred to me the allegations might be the wrong way round. After all isn't it Dr Crusher who has the upper hand here? Do what she wants or she'll alter your medication and reveal your secrets?"

Picard started to laugh but checked himself when he saw Beverly's anger.

"How dare you suggest such a thing! I'm a doctor!"

"Oh come now Dr Crusher, are you telling me you've never met a colleague who abused their position?"

Beverly didn't reply, she could think of at least three.

"It's all right, doctor, I don't think you're guilty either; though I'll admit you had me puzzled. You act as though nobody knows what you're giving the Captain."

Beverly glanced uneasily at Jean-Luc. "But how could they?"

"Very easily. You sent Starfleet Medical a full description of what the Borg did to him and how you managed to removed the implants. That material is now part of the training package for every Starfleet CMO. HQ might have erased Picard's name from the case history but everyone knows who it is. When I showed the notes to Dr Selar she was able to tell me exactly what treatment would be required."

For a moment Picard winced at the thought of everyone knowing but then he let it pass. What did a little embarrassment matter, he was lucky - his problem was treatable. He waved a hand to show Beverly he didn't mind and changed the subject.

"Inspector, will I ever learn who made the allegations or why?"

"You mean you don't know?"

"I do." Crusher interrupted. "It came to me last night, it has to be Adam Noland and his sister Estelle. You remember Jean-Luc, the autopsy experts who helped me explain the multiple sudden deaths amongst the miners on Kelleron. They were only with us for 6 weeks."

Cato hesitated, unsure if he should confirm her suspicion. "You're right Doctor, and since you know who it was could you explain something to me? Adam Noland became suspicious of Captain Picard when you changed your behaviour towards him. He thought you and he were on the way to becoming ... how shall I put it ... 'more than colleagues'. If it wasn't Picard's jealousy that changed your mind then what was it?"

"If you must know it was his lousy bedside manner."

Both men looked intrigued.

Picard cautiously enquired, "Was that his 'in Sickbay bedside manner' or his 'in the bedroom bedside manner'?"

He was punished with a quick kick.

"In the dining room! Troi and I were having lunch one day when Adam joined us. He put an artificial heart on the table, one he'd just removed from a Kelleron victim."

The Captain paled visibly and rubbed his chest.

"He was fascinated by the way the owner's body had adapted to the foreign object. To cut a long story short he wanted to use you, Jean-Luc, as a guinea pig in an experiment." Picard squirmed. "I know, you would have hated it. That was the moment I realised Adam couldn't be trusted with live patients. He had absolutely no interest in their feelings. From then on I denied him access to everyone's medical records. He probably only tried to reach yours."

Cato nodded, "I see Doctor, and did you tell him of your concern over his 'bedside manner'?"

Beverly blushed, "No, I'm afraid not. I needed his help for another two weeks. I just told him Captain Picard didn't like medical tests. Are you telling me I sparked all these allegations?"

"Partly, but you had a little help from the Captain."

"Why? What did I do?" Jean-Luc asked innocently.

"You rejected the advances of his sister. Estelle's not used to rejection and especially not from older men. To her the only possible explanation was that you were getting 'satisfaction' elsewhere. She started monitoring your movements and, of course, interpreted them as incriminating. As she saw it you were interfering with Dr Crusher's efforts to get to know her brother, you were ordering Crusher to visit you late at night and you were taking a very pretty young ensign for private flying lessons." Cato spotted Beverly's reaction to this last item and laughed. "You see! Even Dr Crusher is curious. She might trust you implicitly but she'd still like to know what you were up to with Sonia Gomez."

"There's a perfectly innocent explanation." Picard asserted.

"I know Captain, Sonia told me. She was mortified when she realised the trouble her secret had caused you."

Beverly butted in. "Would someone mind telling me what was going on?"

Picard coughed and played with his cup before answering. "Gomez lost her nerve after a shuttle accident in which one of her passengers was killed. It wasn't her fault but that didn't help. Her supervisor couldn't persuade her to fly again, so I had a go. I guess she was more scared of disobeying my orders than of flying."

"You're too modest Captain," Cato commented, "You did an excellent job. I hear Sonia's now instructing other pilots on how to cope with emergencies. But keeping it a secret was foolish, it laid you open to accusations. You're the Captain, you're supposed to be above suspicion."

"All right, Inspector, I'll admit it. I've been a little naive."

Picard bit into a croissant indicating 'subject closed'.

Inspector Cato downed the last of his coffee and stood up.

"We'll be arriving at Starbase 4 shortly and I'll be leaving. But before I go there's a bartender I need to thank. So if you don't mind I'll leave you to your breakfast. Thank you for your co-operation Captain. I know you haven't enjoyed my visit but I've enjoyed finding a man innocent for a change."

"Happy to have obliged, Inspector."

Cato shook their hands and was heading for the door but paused obviously wanting to ask one further question.

"What is it Inspector?"

"Forget it doctor. It's none of my business and besides I don't think either of you knows the answer."

She pressed him, "You can't leave us hanging like that."

Cato looked to Picard for approval.

"Why not Inspector, you seem to know everything else about us."

"If you're sure, you see I just can't work it out ... 'Why aren't you two lovers?'"

There was a long silence during which no one moved.

Then Picard spoke up as though the question had never been asked.

"Good-bye Lieutenant." He shook Cato's hand again and this time saw him firmly out the door.

When he'd gone Picard stayed there, his back to Beverly , afraid to turn around. Questions were dangerous things, they probed into places better left unexplored. Beverly felt the same; she wished the question unspoken. She snatched at the first safe topic that crossed her mind.

"Do you want some more breakfast?"

Jean-Luc turned round, carefully avoiding her eye. "Yes please, more coffee."

He sat down at the table and took an inordinate interest in the crumbs on his plate. Beverly poured his drink and avoided looking at him as she passed it over. A tense silence gripped them as they sipped at their coffee.

Eventually Beverly found the nerve to speak.

"We know the answer, don't we?"

"Yes." He whispered and raised his head to look at her. " ... and it has nothing to do with lack of affection or desire."

"It's all about fear, isn't it?" He nodded. "Fear of losing what we already have. Fear of losing a friend with whom we've shared so much."

He reached out to touch her. "Beverly , I just couldn't bear it if..."

"... I know, I know." She squeezed his fingers and then let go.

Though they had voiced their mutual need the void between them was as wide as ever.

"If we can't risk being lovers then we have a problem Jean-Luc ... I don't know about you but I'm not prepared to give up sex. But how can I take a lover and expect him to tolerate our breakfasts, my late night visits to your cabin or our occasional sleepovers."



Silenced descended again. Their friendship had survived brief affairs with others but that wouldn't work now. Too much had been said. How could either of them honourably use someone else for sexual gratification. Such behaviour would diminish their standing in the other's eyes. Picard wrestled with this impossible dilemma until an idea occurred to him.

"You know, Beverly, there is one place you could find a suitable man ... on the holodeck."

She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Jean-Luc, are you suggesting I programme myself a lover?"

"I'm suggesting you've already met a 'character' on the holodeck who would be ... more than willing to..."

She stared at him uncomprehendingly until the penny suddenly dropped. Was he suggesting what she thought he was suggesting?

"This lover, he'd exist just on the holodeck?"

"Just on the holodeck." Picard traced a line across the table as if to emphasise the boundary.

Should she accept? A smile twisted her lips as she remembered previous holodeck encounters.

"Jean-Luc ... I think you have an ingenious and acceptable solution."

He let go the breath he had been holding and failed to hide his pleasure.

"In that case I will endeavour to have the programme available as often as you wish."

"Does that include this evening?"


"Good." She stood up with the air of a woman looking forward to the day. "Then I'd better make sure I finish my work."

At the door she turned to face him once more.



"Tell Mr Hill that I'd like to meet him in his office, but this time he's not to invite Data or Whelan."

"Yes Ma'am. Anything you say."

The end.

For the benefit of readers who do not know the TNG episodes off by heart (are there any such people?), the holodeck character Dixon Hill is really Jean-Luc Picard.

If you enjoyed this story, or have any suggestions as to how I could improve it, then please let me know. You can contact me at the email address below.
E-mail me at
Back to Stories