Contamination (Book #16)
by John Vornholt
On board the Enterprise, the sudden death of scientist, Lynn Costa sparks a
major murder investigation led by Worf and Deanna. Convinced that her husband,
Emil is the culprit, Worf instructs Wesley Crusher to become Emil's ally as
they were already quite close friends.
When things become even more mystified, Wesley finds himself held against his will by Emil's trusted helper. Eventually escaping via transporter, Wesley finds himself in the middle of a meeting between Emil and head scientist, Karn Milu where he overhears their heated argument about selling a submicrobe that the team had discovered.
Wesley is caught and placed in a sealed structure and it is only Emil's friendship that saves his life when he instructs the Vulcan scientist, Saduk to check on an experiment. But once he is set free, they discover the murdered body of Karn Milu.
Meanwhile, the senior members of the Enterprise board a shuttle en route to the surface of the Kayran rock, the new home of the Kreel. Picard, Riker and Data plus members of the Kreel and Ulree, and at the last minute, Emil Costa leave the Enterprise and head towards the Asteroid belt surrounding the Kayran rock. All hell breaks lose when Emil loses control of his mind and shoots out the control panels steering the shuttle. Data manages to stabilize it enough to steer them through the perilous asteroids until the Enterprise beams them out just before they collide with a very large asteroid.
With Data posing as Emil's lawyer, the trial is held on Kayran. meanwhile on board the Enterprise, the true murderer makes herself known after nearly killing Deanna after she comes close to discovering the truth.
Shana Russel, aka Jasmine Terry, secret daughter of Emil after he'd had an affair with her mother many years before, had worked her way through the ranks to avenge her mother's denied rights to being one of the team that had originally discovered the submicrobe.
Notable Imzadi moments:
Page 9 to 10
She reached up to the comm panel and lightly touched the membrane keypad. "Counselor
Troi to Commander Riker?"
"Riker here," replied the cheerful baritone. "Hello, Deanna." Hi voice still held the sparkle of recent laughter. Or did Will's voice always sound that way?
"You sound like you're having a good time," she observed, annoyed that he didn't know enough to be worried about Lynn Costa. She would change that blissful ignorance soon enough.
"I am. Geordi is here and Guinan is on duty - why don't you come down to Ten-Fore and join us?"
"I appreciate the invitation," replied the Betazoid, forcing a much happier lilt to her voice than she felt. "I will be there shortly."
But Deanna Troi stopped off at her cabin first. It was on her way, she told herself, but she also wanted to catch a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Not that she ever saw much difference there: the red-and-black uniform that flowed over most of her body and hugged some parts a little closer than she might like, the silky brunette tresses which tumbled like an ebony waterfall from the crown of her head onto her slim but sturdy shoulders, and the calm olive face they framed.
She wiped a moist cloth across her brow and the crook of her neck, then added a pin to her hair. That was all the preparation she could afford Will Riker on this particular day. Why should she be so nervous? she wondered. All she was going to do was ask him to clear the way for Lynn and Emil Costa to disembark at Kayran Rock. Why should even the most dedicated first officer object to two people - especially two lovers - getting away alone together? Even if he himself never seemed to need that release.
The Betazoid furrowed her lush eyebrows in anger at herself. This wasn't the time or the place to interject personal feelings. Propriety was one of the disciplines she had accepted as a condition of serving aboard the Enterprise, and that meant considering Will Riker as merely another member of the crew. Still, if the two of them were ever to escape to a place like Kayran Rock and spend some time alone together...
Page 15 to 17
The commander's smile faded, and he shook his head bemusedly at Deanna. "You're not being very subtle about your feelings today."
"I'm sorry," sighed the Betazoid, lowering her face. Then she looked at him with her wide, dark eyes. "I feel that, after everything the Costas have done for us, we owe them an opportunity to find happiness. The new starbase makes an ideal excuse for them to get away by themselves, and they have much to discuss."
Will Riker averted his eyes, remembering that Deanna could probe his emotions without half trying. Not that she would find many surprises, but it was best to keep the conversation on neutral ground. "The Enterprise is not going to maintain course with Kayran Rock for very long." he said stiffly. "Certainly not the whole twelve hours. If we arrive early, I'll see what I can do, but I'm not promising anything."
"Would it help if we talked to Emil Costa?"
"No," snapped Will, glancing in the direction of the famous microbiologist. "I don't want to promise him something I may not be able to deliver."
Deanna's exotic features brightened considerably. "Then again, there are only three of you," she suggested, "and a personnel shuttle seats ten. You have plenty of room."
Riker scowled, "Didn't you listen to Geordi? We're not going to have a hundred ships following one asteroid. We may have to do a certain amount of shuttle-pooling with other ships in the area to get everyone to the ceremony on time." He rose to his feet, shook his head, and finally smiled despite himself. "You're quite a romantic, you know that?"
"I'm counting on you to be."
He squeezed her slim shoulder and let his hand linger there for a moment. "I'll do what I can. Have the Costas officially request shore leave, specifying the next available port. At least the paperwork will be in order."
"Thank you," she smiled, touching his hand. Their eyes met for an instant, and she read all the emotions so familiar within the tall bearded first officer: caring, warmth, and a commitment to his career that precluded any long-term romances. He wanted to be the captain of a starship - preferably this starship, the Enterprise. Not that there weren't captains who were married and had families, but no starship bearing the name Enterprise had ever had one.
Reluctantly he pulled his hand away. "I;ve got to get some sleep," he said, "and now's a good time, with nothing going on for the next three days while were en route. I'll see you on the bridge."
had it only been three days ago that he and Deanna Troi had been planning a
sabbatical for Lynn and Emil Costa? Would that have helped? He felt he should
have taken Deanna's request more seriously and done something sooner. More than
ever, Riker had meant what he had said at Lynn Costa's funeral: His biggest
regret was not having enough time. Not enough time to get to know Lynn Costa,
not enough time for himself, for Deanna...
Pages 197 to 198
A moment's uneasy silence followed - at least it was uneasy for Riker, who
shifted nervously on his stool. "Deanna," he said softly, "I
would really like to talk to you privately."
"I can go," replied Saduk. "I am only here because Deanna requested my company."
Riker blinked with surprise at Deanna, who sat up stiffly. "That's right, Will," she admitted. "Dr. Saduk has been helping us with our investigation."
"Then I am interrupting you," declared Will, standing and bowing his head to the Vulcan. "Dr. Saduk, if you ever want to discuss reassignment to another branch, please contact me. We don't want you to leave the ship too."
"Thank you," nodded the Vulcan. "My plans are as yet unformed."
"Will," Deanna protested, "stay a little bit longer, please. We really weren't discussing anything important."
Riker's embarrassed expression turned to a surprised smile, and he was about to reclaim his seat when his combadge relayed a message: "Data to Commander Riker."
"Riker here," he answered.
"Captain Picard is meeting Ambassador Gretchen Gaelen and the Judge Advocate General in Transport Room Three, He requests that you meet them in the conference room."
"Acknowledged," said the first officer. "Counselor Troi is with me - is her attendance required?"
"No," the android answered. "The sole purpose of this meeting is to outline the parameters of the trial."
"On my way," Riker replied. He shrugged and smiled apologetically at Deanna. "Now I really do have to leave. One of these days, though, I want to have a long conversation with you."
"One of these days," she nodded ruefully.
A hulking figure rounded the corner, and Deanna gasped. The relief poured out of her as she rushed to meet the bearded first officer.
Riker gasped at the hug she gave him. "Well, hello," he grinned, not anxious to let her go. "To what do I owe this warm welcome?"
"Childish fear," she replied, squirming out of his grip. "I've been here by myself, going through Karn Milu's computer records and I think I must be getting jumpy."
"Worf told me you had some intruders," said Riker, casting a concerned glance around the area. "The security team will be here any second, but I was close by."
"Thank you, Will," she smiled warmly, glad she had his protection and knowing she usually took it for granted.
"While we're alone," whispered Riker, "I've put in for shore leave and I wanted to coordinate it with you. I've been thinking about what you said before this whole thing started, about two people needing to spend time alone together. Why don't we try it?"
"That's sweet of you," she smiled, touching his arm. "I don't know how long I'll be tied up here, or when they'll need me to testify. But if any opportunity..."
A contingent of four security men noisily rounded the corner. They snapped to attention upon seeing Commander Riker. "Security team reporting for duty," said their leader."
"Right on time," Will replied curtly. He bowed to Deanna. "About that other matter, please keep it under consideration."
"I will, Commander," she promised.
Pages 271 to 272
Deanna Troi was strolling down a corridor, feeling vigorously healthy for the first time since the attempt on her life. She also felt a bit at loose ends, knowing the investigation had finally been concluded. Sweet little Shana Russel, she mused, a cold-blooded murderess. It was somewhat flattering, she decided, to know that Karn Milu had spent several weeks training the girl in order to circumvent Deanna's insight.
Suddenly, a strong hand gripped her arm, and she turned to see the beaming face of Commander Riker. "Good to see you up and about," he grinned. "Where are you going?"
"To the bridge," she answered hesitantly, having no real reason to go there.
"No, you're not," he said, steering her toward a turbolift. "You're going to Kayran Rock with me on shore leave."
"I am?" She frown puzzledly. "I didn't put in for shore leave."
"I requested it for you," he winked, "for the same time as mine."
A surprised smile graced the Betazoid's face, and she bounded into step beside him. She whispered conspiratorially, "How long can we be gone?"
"We're not due to leave for ten whole hours!" he beamed. "I figure we'll stay until they come after us."
Deanna gripped Will's arm and suppressed a giggle as the the turbolift doors closed around them.
Thank you Carol for putting this together =)