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Unfinished Business

by Catherine Ellis

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

Summary : Paramount often omitted TNG scenes we would like to have seen. This short story aims to fill one of those gaps. The scene is set the day after the TNG season 7 episode Gambit. You remember it, it's the two-parter in which the crew think Picard has been killed, before later discovering that he's been taken by a gang of smugglers.

Picard winced internally, she had just called him 'Captain' for a fourth time and not one 'Jean-luc'. It wasn't as if anyone in sickbay could over-hear; there was no need to pretend they weren't close friends. He knew Beverly could hide her emotions as well as he, but wasn't this carrying professional detachment a bit far?

He let out a small sigh. Hadn't she thought I was dead? Surely a small sign of affection would be in order?

Apparently not. Dr Crusher continued her examination with the same chilly demeanour.

"How many times did Baran use the punishment device on you?" She asked.


"It must have hurt." She might have been talking about a blister. "You have a slight muscle strain in your shoulder probably caused by your reaction to the shocks." She ran a cell regenerator over the area. "That should help, though you might feel the odd twinge for a day or two." She stepped away. "Anything else I should know about?"

She wasn't even looking at him. God damn it, Beverly! Don't I even deserve a glance!

He was tempted to be equally remote, but that wouldn't get him what he wanted.

"Actually ...I am having difficulty with something."


"I've obviously offended my dearest friend, but I don't know how."

Crusher froze, her neck muscles tensing as she struggled to maintain control.

Picard reached out and gently touched her arm.

"Beverly?" He whispered, "What is it?"

Her icy façade broke; she turned on him, shaking his hand away.

"Of course I'm angry with you! You were supposed to be on a relaxing holiday, but that's not enough for you, is it? Oh no! You have to go on a crusade in which you almost get yourself killed over some damn 'pottery'!"

"It wasn't just pottery," he countered, "it was a powerful weapon."

"Don't give me that! You didn't know it was a weapon when you went looking for trouble. God damn-it, Jean-Luc, you lost your heart in a bar-room-brawl, didn't that teach you anything?"

Her blazing eyes had him transfixed.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled.

"You're sorry!" She mimicked him sarcastically. "Well being 'sorry' is not good enough." He could tell she was close to tears. "Life's dangerous enough out here without you taking stupid, pointless risks. If you're going to behave like some thrill seeking teenager then I'm not staying around to see the result."

She turned away from him while she struggeled to regain control. Five seconds later she was the cool detached professional again.

"You're fit to work, Captain. You can return to the bridge." Snapping her scanner shut she headed for her office.

Picard caught Ogawa's watchful eye.

"Nurse," he acknowledged, then left hurriedly.

As he stormed down the corridor, Picard's first reaction was to dismiss her accusation. She was being emotional; emotional and unreasonable. If she couldn't cope with risk then what the hell was she doing in Star Fleet!

The turbo-lift arrived instantly as if responding to his anger. Once inside his temper began to subsided a little and the self-analysis started to kick in.

"Computer, halt."

He took a deep breath and leant back against the wall.

Perhaps she did have a point, after all it wasn't his risk taking that had annoyed her but his recklessnes. She'd guessed correctly too, he had gone looking for adventure when he found the archaeological sites raided. But why shouldn't he? He was off-duty, no was put no one else at risk. Well, not at that time anyway. How was he to know that Riker would be taken prisoner while trying to sove his disappearance.

But then it wasn't his behaviour as a Star Fleet captain that had angered her. She wasn't reacting as his colleague - she was reacting as his friend, his closest friend. If he wanted to keep that role he had to accept the responsibilities that came with it and not just the pleasures. He had to take care of himself for her sake just as she did for him.

Fate had dealt Beverly enough personal losses; he MUST NOT carelessly add to her toll.


Picard's message reached her console just as she was about to take a break.

To : Dr Beverly Crusher
From : Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Subject : New Standing Order No. 137

With immediate effect, Jean-Luc Picard shall not be permitted to participate in hazardous recreational activities without prior permission of Beverly Crusher. The punishment for disobeying this order will be severe, namely that he will forfeit the right to request her company while the two of them are off-duty.

A second message arrived from him almost immediately ...

Holodeck, 20:00 hours tonight? You chose the program.

The tight band that'd been constricting her chest suddenly disappeared. "Jean-Luc", she whispered. She was touched by his understanding of her anger and by his willingness to subject himself to her control.

Quickly she entered a reply:

How about 21st Century Venice, before the sea claimed her?

Ten seconds later he responded again.

Good choice. I've always wanted to try my hand at being a gondolier.

Beverly could not help but laugh. Jean-Luc as a gondolier! This she had to see!

The end.
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