The Parasite

Disclaimer: All star trek stuff belongs to paramount. I'm not making any
money from this.

Beverly Crusher walked down the hall to ten-forward. Nothing interesting
had happened on the enterprise in over 6 months. She knew she should be
grateful for the reprieve but she couldn't help feeling a little bit bored.
As she walked into the lounge someone tapped her on the shoulder. Startled,
she spun to see Will Riker.
" Will!" She said smiling. " What's up?" Maybe something interesting
happened, she thought, and then felt guilty.
" Have you seen Deanna lately?" He demanded, skipping courtesy.
" Not for over 48 hours, Beverly answered, frowning with concern. " What
" She obviously hasn't slept at all in the past few days and I don't
think she's been sleeping either." Will answered, concern evident in his
" Will, if Deanna isn't sleeping or eating then finding out what's
stressed her out is going to help more than any medical treatment. Why don't
you go talk to Deanna?" Will lowered his eyes and looked a little
" I did. She kinda took it the wrong way and - um - got a little bit
defensive." Beverly couldn't help laughing at the look on his face. Then she
grew serious.
" I'll talk to her Will, and recommend a day off if she looks like she
needs it but it won't help if she doesn't change her habits." She regretted
wishing something would happen. Although she hated to admit it, Beverly
realized that Will had gotten her worried about her friend.
Deanna sat on the couch in her quarters, sipping a cup of hot chocolate.
She wished she hadn't been so nasty to Will earlier. She couldn't sense him
but she knew that she had hurt his feelings. She also desperately wanted the
help and comfort she'd turned away from. Not for the first time in the past
few days, Deanna wondered if she was going crazy. She chased the thought
away by remembering one of her Mother's sayings. " Sometimes I wonder if I'm
crazy. Then I think that my wondering is a good sign." The door chimed. "
Come!" Deanna called crossly, unwilling to give up her desolate mood just
yet, although she knew that was an unhealthy attitude. In walked Beverly
Crusher, tricorder in hand. " Will sent you, didn't he. " She said sourly.
It was not meant as a question
" He's worried about you, answered Beverly scanning Deanna with her
" Then why didn't he come himself?" she asked, wanting to vent her
frustration at someone. To her annoyance Beverly laughed.
" I think it has something to do with the fact that you chewed him out
earlier." Deanna blushed, making Beverly laugh even harder. Then she looked
at the results of her scanning and the laughter died abruptly. " Deanna
Troi! When was the last time you ate?"
" I haven't been real hungry lately." Deana explained. Then, to her
dismay, her stomach belied her statement by rumbling loud enough to be
heard. Beverly did not laugh. She merely made her way over to the
" Computer, make some vegetable soup." The replicator hummed and a bowl
of steaming hot soup appeared. Beverly set it in front of Deanna. " Eat.
Then sleep. You are taking tomorrow off and if you don't relax you are
taking two days off. I'll come by and check on you tomorrow."
Beverly! I've got work to do!" Deanna protested, but her words fell on
deaf ears.
Once safely out of Deanna's quarters Beverly tapped her Commbadge. "
Crusher to Riker."
" What's going on doc?" Will asked immediately. Beverly knew perfectly
well that he had been waiting impatiently for her to call.
"You were right. Something is definitely going on. I've taken the
counselor off duty tomorrow but it won't do much if we don't solve the
problem. Stop by tomorrow and see her, would you?"
" I'd have done that whether you asked me to or not." Answered Will. "
Riker out."
Deanna sat up in bed, terror filling her. She could hear them, tiny,
dark evil creatures, crawling about her room. They were there, she was sure.
She was almost afraid to turn on her lights, afraid to see what they looked
like. Getting up her nerve, she called out, " Computer, lights!" the lights
went on and nothing was there. Deanna looked around and relief filled her,
then embarrassment took its place. " Computer, time!"
" The time is 0330" the computer answered in its monotone. Deanna
sighed. There was no way she would get back to sleep now. She tried for an
hour, then at 0430, gave up and took a shower. At 0530 she sat down at the
table with a plate of scrambled eggs. She was almost too tired to eat but
she reminded herself that if she didn't eat Beverly would make her take the
next day off as well. This was incentive enough for her to finish her
breakfast. Around 0900 she finally got tired enough to fall back asleep
until 1100.
Will got off duty shift at 1400 hours. As soon as he was off he headed
straight for Deanna's quarters. He was really worried about the petite
betazoid. Apart from her obvious exhaustion, it was not like her to be so
grouchy, or so defensive. He rang the chime
" Come!" he heard Deanna call. Hoping she wouldn't kill him, Will walked
into her quarters " Will!" She smiled cheerfully at him. " Care to join me
for lunch? The way Beverly's acting, I could certainly use a witness!"
" That depends." He answered with a slight smile." Who are you and what
have you done with the evil Deanna?" Deanna's smile fell.
" I'm sorry Will. I was just really tired and having a bad day. I
shouldn't have taken it out on you. Forgive me?" She gave Will the cutest
smile she could manage.
" Of course." He said, grinning back. " Besides, I want to make sure you
aren't starving yourself anymore."
The two of them made small talk throughout the meal, keeping away from
the subject on both their minds. Then, when they were done eating and had
cleared the table, Will put his hand on her shoulder.
" Dee?" he said, his voice soft and gentle. " You wanna tell me what's
going on?" To her horror, Deanna felt tears star to run down her cheeks. She
buried her face in his chest, sobbing. She felt him pick her up and carry
her over to the couch and sit down with her in his lap. He rubbed her back
and whispered to her.
" It's okay Deanna. Everything's going to be okay. You can cry. It's
okay. I'm here for you."
Twenty minutes later she had cried her eyes out, and was reduced to
sniffles. " Imzadi, what's wrong?" He asked Deanna didn't answer. She was
looking at him, an expression of puzzlement on her face. " Deanna? What is
" I can sense you again." Deanna stated, looking shocked. Will was
confused by her answer. Did this mean she had been unable to sense him
" What do you mean Dee?" he asked, getting even more concerned about
" I " she stopped, unsure of herself. She laughed a little. " I don't
know where to begin." Will smiled gently at her.
"Try the beginning. That usually works."
" Well, it started about two weeks ago. I started sensing these horrible
emotions. Hate, anger, pain, a need for revenge. They've been getting
stronger and stronger and they are so strong I can't sense anything else
around them. Usually I can put up a shield so that I don't have to sense
whatever I don't want to. These emotions go right through my shields. I
can't tell what direction they are coming from like I usually can. They seem
to be coming from everywhere and also from nowhere. It's always there and I
can't sleep or concentrate or do much of anything with it so strong in my
mind! I don't know what it is about and I don't know who or what it's coming
from. I'm afraid it's not really even there, that I'm crazy. If I'm not it's
going to drive me crazy! I can't even do my job! With this so loud, hearing
the crews emotions is like trying to hear someone whisper to you from across
the room while someone else is shouting in your ear!" Deanna had started
crying again. Will was silent, looking at her thoughtfully.
" You said you can still sense me?" He asked. Deanna nodded, wiping the
tears away.
" I couldn't until we were touching. I think it is because we are
imzadi. I can sense your emotions more clearly than anyone else's. It really
helps, being able to sense something besides pain." Will smiled at her.
" You look exhausted Deanna. Is this why you haven't been sleeping?"
Deanna nodded. " Do you think you could sleep better now?" Deanna nodded
again. She was having trouble keeping her eyes open anyway. " Why don't you
go t o sleep and when you wake up we'll go talk to Beverly, okay?" Deanna
nodded and went to sleep in Will's arms.
She was woken up at 1800 hours by the door chiming. "Come." She called
sleepily, unwilling to get up. Slowly she came back to awareness, and she
noticed Will's arms around her. Looking up she saw Beverly's amused
expression. Quickly, she climbed off of Will, still holding his hand so that
she could sense him. Beverly did not miss this and wondered if her match
making had finally paid off.
" Hey Dee. I didn't mean to wake you up. I'm sorry." She grinned at Deanna
and mouthed Details later. Deanna flushed bright red at this but answered,
" It's alright. I was starting to wake up anyway." She then mouthed,
there are no details. Beverly raised her eyebrows to show her skepticism.
" Beverly," put in Will, oblivious to all gossip, " I was about to call
you down here. Deanna told me what's going on. I think that there might be a
medical solution."
Deanna told Beverly the whole story. When she was done Beverly was
silent, looking at her thoughtfully. " Well, I can give you a neural blocker
but if these dark emotions are so strong it will only dim them. Meanwhile,
you won't be able to sense Will. I will do some tests to see if it is a
problem with your abilities and not coming from someone at all. I think you
ought to inform the captain. I'd like to keep you for some tests and I doubt
you can perform your duty too well when your this exhausted." Beverly was
tactful enough not to mention the last time Deanna had lost her powers but
both she and Will remembered it all too well.
" I guess it's okay to tell the captain but I really don't want this to
hit the gossip stream." Deanna answered.
" No one will hear about it from us." Beverly said firmly. Will nodded
in agreement, then said,
" Why don't you two head down to sickbay and I'll inform the captain."
Deanna and Beverly nodded.
" Come down when you've talked to him, will you Will?" asked Deanna,
sounding rather desperate. Will smiled at her reassuringly.
" Of course I will Deanna. I'll be surprised if the captain doesn't
order me down to sickbay."
Captain Picard was quite disturbed by what his first officer told him. "
Well," he said, " our good counselor has presented us with quite a problem.
Any ideas number one?"
" Yes sir." Answered Will. " I didn't take it up with the counselor
though sir. I didn't want to worry her unnecessarily. I believe this may
have something to do with the mission to Elika 4 sir. You'll remember we
were warned it would have interesting affects on an empath."
" That was six months ago number one. Do you think these symptoms would
wait so long to show themselves?"
" I don't know sir. It is the only thing I can come up with though."
Will said.
" Agreed. Run the idea by Doctor Crusher. I'll ask Data to go through
the mission logs for anything suspicious. Staff meeting at 0900 hours
tomorrow. Meanwhile Commander, if Counselor Troi needs your help, I suggest
you head down to sickbay.
In sickbay Riker explained his idea to Beverly who agreed it was very
probable. She then led him to Deanna, who was sleeping fitfully on the
biobed. She was kicking and flailing out her arms so much that the duty
nurse was afraid to go near her. As soon as Will took her hand she calmed
down. " I'm here Imzadi." He whispered gently.
Meanwhile, Data was going through the mission logs if Elika 4.
" Captains Log, star date x x x x x x
We are headed towards the planet Elika 4. We received a distress signal
from that planet approximately 2 hours ago and are traveling at warp nine.
Starfleet was most concerned about these events as the society on Elika 4
has not yet achieved warp drive. In fact, they are quite primitive. I
believe this mission may be as much damage control as rescuing. Even with
this added challenge I foresaw no problems until approximately 20 minutes
ago when we received an urgent hail from Betazed. It turned out to be from
the high chancellor, and it was a warning. Apparently the planet Elika 4 is
very dangerous to Betazoids. He would not, however, say why and it is my
belief that he was merely passing on an old superstition. As a precaution,
however, Counselor Troi will not be on the team as we had originally
planned. We might have to send her down however, if the Elikans saw our ship
or our people.
I will continue this report when I have further information.
Captains Log, star date x x x x x x
Our mission to Elika went quite smoothly but we have something of a mystery
on our hands. The away team consisted of Commander Riker, Commander Data,
and Lieutenant Worf. They beamed down to the shuttle ccrash site and found
that one of the two men in the shuttle had survived. The other man had gone
into the nearby woods to explore and did not come back. After beaming the
survivor, Ensign Andrews, directly to sickbay the team went in search of the
other man, Lieutenant O'Neil. If the Elikans found him or his corpse it
would cause serious problems. Some way into the woods, about 2 miles, they
found Lieutenant O'Neil's corpse. He was immediately beamed into sickbay,
under full quarantine. Dr. Crusher did absolutely every test our technology
is capable of but could find no cause of death. This mystery is quite
disturbing on its own, but what makes it worse is that Lieutenant O'Neil was
one quarter Betazoid. I hope that the Counselor is quite safe aboard the
enterprise, but we saw no reason to put Ensign Andrews under full quarantine
after his medical tests proved him fit. It is possible she is in danger. End
At 0900 the entire senior staff gathered in the observation lounge.
Beverly had wanted Deanna to stay in sickbay but Will and Jean-Luc had
convinced her that Deanna needed to come. Picard gave a summary of what
Deanna had been going through. There were murmurs of sympathy from the
senior staff. Deanna was pleased that none of them were worried that she was
imagining things. Data then got up and gave a summary of the events at Elika
4 and the possible connection. Beverly then gave the result of her medical
" I found a slight anomaly in the brain cortex. Specifically, in the
part that's empathic. It seems that a part of your brain has been taken over
by a parasite. I believe it came from Elika 4. Ensign Andrews could have
carried it without showing any symptoms. It seems to feed off of the
chemicals your brain produces when you sense angry emotions. Because of this
it has increased your ability to sense dark emotions. It's no wonder your
having trouble. You can sense every dark emotion within the alpha quadrant
and you can't sense the good ones." The senior staff was going back and
forth between staring at Deanna and Beverly. Finally Picard spoke up.
" Have you any suggestions for how to get rid of it Doctor?" asked
" Yes I do. When I was performing these tests Commander Riker came into
sickbay. Now, throughout the beginning of this test the parasite steadily
increased in size. When Commander Riker held her hand(several members of the
senior staff smirked at this) the parasite held steady for a while and then
slowly began to decrease. While I'm not a psychologist, I believe that Will
must have been feeling, concern, love (more snickers), and friendship. I
think that the chemicals from sensing these more positive emotions were like
a poison to the parasite. I believe that if Commander Riker and Counselor
Troi were to remain in constant contact for about twenty-four hours the
parasite would die."
" A question Doctor." Data put in. " Why is it that the Counselor can
still sense the Commanders emotions but no one elses?" The senior staff
exchanged amused glances. For someone programmed with all the knowledge of
the federation Data could be remarkably dense.
" I'll explain later Data." Answered LaForge, taking pity on his android
Everyone agreed that the doctors plan was a good one. 25 hours later
Deanna was declared parasite free. As Beverly watched her and Will walk out
of sickbay she couldn't help but wonder what thy had found to do together
for 25 whole hours.

The End