Title : Empathy
Series : TNG
Author : Sarajayne
Rating : ooo me aching head
Disclaimer : They own the characters and premise, but we sow the seeds
of imagination to improve our enjoyment ;-)


It'd been weeks since the Commander's last embarrassing run in with sickbay. The epidemic dragging him back into the midst of the skant, doing no less than blushing his cheeks with more humility.

But lucky enough for William Riker, first officer of the Enterprise, everything seemed to be running sound and smoothly again.

Scans of both nebulae and sporadic cosmic dust patterns filled the crew with their scientific curiosity, helping to pass the time. And for once it wasn't at Will's expense.

Slumped back into his seat, Will casually took in alpha shift's leisurely banter, as the day-to-day progress of ships business made its rounds. The captain was happily ensconced in his ready room, reading some Shakespeare no doubt, and the command ring was virtually his.

Deep in assumptions he jerked back into the real world at the mention of his rank. Ensign thorn from engineering stood to his left, padd in hand. "The engineering specs as requested sir. From Commander Laforge." He nervously addressed the XO.

Will smiled as he took the padd in hand, grinning internally that he could still make ensigns quaver with just one chin lift.

Thumbing his signature to the report he handed it back, sighing deeply as he tugged his uniform top down. Blasted thing never stayed in place for long, but a damn sight better than a skant. He grumbled internally.

'Slow day at the office' he thought as gazed back to the captain's chair. Being the senior officer on duty, it was his to take command of, but right now the chair didn't seem that promising.

Over the week, each time he sat within it's confines, a tingling sensation ran up and down his spine. Almost an electric charge he mused. Running a thinking hand through the facial fur of his chin, a strange thought occurred. It had started soon after he'd escaped Crusher's clutches.

Was it due to the boots? The skant? Had the damned uniform given him some kind of spinal damage? Surely not, he mused.

The whoosh of Picard's ready room door halted the current line of thinking as he spied the wise Captain's barely conceal smile. "Afraid of the command chair number one?"

"Worf's impatient fuming was beginning to burn the hair off the back of my neck sir." He grinned, nodding his head back towards the fuming Klingon officer. Two weeks without some sort of commotion was driving the Chief of Security mad with frustration.

Picard raised an eyebrow at the taunt and shook his head. "Well personally I prefer the quiet times. Allows one to keep their literature schedule on time. So tell me number one, how goes the daily running?" Accepting a number of pads Will Riker had been updating for him.

"Ship shape and ready for action. Or for a leisurely days reading Sir" Adding in a small glint to his eye.

Picard nodded, reading through the various pads until he noticed something unusual. One of the pads had a blank display.

Noticing Picard's curiosity, the commander apologised. "It's been acting up since I came on shift. Tapping it works." He sheepishly explained.

"I know Geordi has larger things to run, but maybe one of his team could look into the run time of some of these pads. Surely the use they get, they need a refresher in engineering." The captain mused.

"I'll bring it up in the next heads of department meeting, sir." He conceded.

The captain sighed lightly and fell back into the comfort of his command chair to peruse the pads one by one. By the time Commander Riker had called the end of Alpha shift, he'd successfully managed to hand them back to the tall bearded officer. "A grand day Number one." He bid as he made his farewell and wandered back into his ready room, relieving the younger XO to an afternoon of gazing at the new female recruits in Ten Forward.

Smiling to himself, Will vowed he'd never tell Deanna that. She'd do worse than make him wear a skant again. Turning a little pale, he decided to head for the holodeck instead; a good climbing program might be what he really needed.

"Then again, that's what got me in trouble in the first place." He mused in the turbo lift. Images of him climbing Lwaxana's rose trellis to court Deanna coming to mind.

Giving in, he headed for his quarters instead. Surely nothing could be safer than his own living area.


An exasperated Geordi Laforge shook his head in confusion for the third time that day. "I don't know sir. Commander Riker dropped off those malfunctioning pads, and it just cascaded from there." The chief engineer was up to his wits in corrupt engineering displays that kept winking in and out.

As Geordi sighed resignedly, the Captain placed a calming hand on his shoulder. "I'll contact Starbase 249 to inform them of our impending arrival. Just make sure we can get there in one piece." He added as he spied Barclay nervously and impatiently dancing; waiting to report to Geordi.

"Just don't tell the Commander, I'll never hear the end of it for weeks." Grimacing at the ribbing that was sure to come.

"He'll be fine Geordi, especially when I remind him it was he who dropped off the infamous pads in the first place."

Geordi smiled and watched the captain head off through the hazy engineering section. Turning to Barclay he took one look at the fidgety dance and just knew the day was only going to get worse.


Deanna had been discussing the last few days of caring for a sick Will Riker when a sudden beep drew her conversation to a stop. " You haven't set your tricorder to detect tedium have you?" Deanna sighed. Knowing that Beverly was a true friend for listening about the 'thunder ball' she called her Imzadi and his issues with stubbornness.

"Nope. But it does say you'll need to stop the current conversational topic." Seeing Deanna's brow furrow with confusion, she held up the tricorder that had beeped earlier. "He's on his way."

Eyes widening with understanding, Deanna nearly choked on the last spoonful of chocolate sundae she'd bitten into. "You're still tracking him?"

Beverly blushed a little. "It's handy."

"You're talking about stalking my boyfriend." Deanna reminded her.

Beverly leant forward. "I have a confession to make." She chewed the inside of her mouth a little trying to find the right words. "I can't extract the tracking device."

"Have you told Will this?" The professional demeanour of the counsellor sliding into place.

"No. And neither the captain." Her cheeks were becoming redder by the minute. "You see, it wasn't a standard issue device, and I think that's why it's moved." Beverly fidgeted a bit more till another bombshell landed. "I also told him I'd removed it when I signed off on his release."

Deanna closed her eyes, soon pinching the bridge of her nose as she felt not only Beverly's beaming anxiety but also the presence of Will Riker slipping through the doors of Ten Forward. "Deanna, are you alright?" His voice asked as he sidled next to her. Seeing her eyes close in thought, he turned to the Doctor for a second opinion, relieved to see her nod.

"Just a long day. Could you order a glass of water for me?" He nodded immediately and took off to the bar, giving her time to continue the fragile conversation. "It moved?"

"Well it's no longer where I implanted it."

"Not standard issue?" Deanna continued the questioning, noting that Guinan seemed to be doing them a favour in keeping Will distracted at the bar.

Thinking this was the safest place to tell all, Beverly continued. Surely the Betazoid counsellor wouldn't strangle her in broad daylight with witnesses. "He's been implanted with transponders and standard issue tracking devices so often that he was bound to feel it. So I went for something a little less noticeable… and smaller."

Deanna tapped her fingers against her cross arms. "Fess up doc." Imitating the guise of Will Riker. The longer they spent time together, the more Deanna Troi tuned her abilities to interrogate just like her fiancé.

"I used a pet tracking device…the QD 1000 to be exact." Slipping the words out quickly in hope it sounded better. It certainly had when she'd decided to do it against the XO's knowledge. "And for some reason it didn't hold to the tissue I embedded it in…" Suddenly halting as Will returned, three glasses of water in hand.

"Did I do something? " He nervously asked, placing the water filled glasses onto the table as the conversation froze and Deanna seemed to bristle with anger.

"No no Will, please take a seat." Beverly offered hurriedly.

Swinging the chair around, Will straddled it proficiently just in time for the table lights to dim and flicker. "Dammit. That's been happening all day." He grumbled just as Beverly yelped. Her tricorder sparking lightly.

"Well maybe it's time for another check up." Beverly suggested. Somehow she had to get him into sickbay for another scan before the tracking device became dangerous.

"You gave me one yesterday." Will reminded her. Still confused as to why she'd given him two body scans in the last week. "Twice."

"Can't be too careful." She smiled nervously.

"Apart from being a walking faulty electronics detector, I feel fine." He mused, sipping his water, as Deanna glared at her best friend.

"Faulty electronics?" Deanna asked, breaking her searing eye contact.

"Geordi's up to his visor in them. Started with some pads on the bridge, then moved to engineering, now it seems to be here in Ten Forward." He yawned lightly, scratching his beard. "Starting to think it's me." He grinned cheekily, failing to notice Beverly growing paler by the minute as it dawned on her.

"I need to go…I have an….a…. appointment …" She stammered as she suddenly stood up, rattling the water glasses. "I'll see you all later." She flung back at them before they could stop her grabbing her pads and fleeing Ten Forward.

"She alright?" Will asked the deeply sighing Betazoid beside him.

Deanna plastered a weak smile onto her troubled features. "Something you said probably reminded her of her duties as a doctor."

"Wow, that was cryptic." Leaning over, he pecked a small kiss to her cheek. "Think I'll live?" her lip quavered slightly. Realising his faux par, he grasped her warm hand within his. "Imzadi…I'm sorry it was a poor jest." Starting to sense something wasn't right, and it seemed to be him.

"No, it's alright Will, I'm just a little emotionally spent." Pulling away from his caring arms, aware of the peering eyes in their general direction. "Though we are starting rumours."

He grinned. "More like finalising some bets." Will winked, ducking her playful slap, seeing a warm smile soon replacing the storm clouds from earlier. "So if Beverly is concerned, is it something I should know about?"

Deanna chewed her bottom lip, knowing they'd been caught out. "Will. I think you need to ask Doctor Crusher that, and tell her the micro chipped cat is out of the bag."

Raising one eyebrow Will smirked. "Did you have to bring Spot into this."

"Must you make fun about everything?" Deanna sighed, vacating her chair and leaving Will dumbfound and confused. "I agree." Said Guinan over his right shoulder, watching him jump.

"Forgive me Guinan, but what the hell is going on here? First Deanna and Beverly act like a couple of teenagers, and then I get the last rights speech from you." Standing up and crossing his arms angrily across his puffed up chest.

Guinan smiled at his stance. "I just serve coffee. But if you want my opinion, see Doctor Crusher." She replied before removing the glassware and moving away to leave behind a confused first officer.

Scratching his head, Will took in the quiet nattering of the small pockets of Enterprise crew, hiding their curious glances. "Great place to make an arse of myself." He grumbled, moving off in search of some sanity. Never noticing as each lighten tabletop blinked and flickered out as he passed by.


"Doctor? We've got multiple power failures throughout sickbay." Alyssa popped her head into the CMO's office, apology written profusely over her face for interrupting her with something that was engineering based. "And Commander Riker is here to see you."

Beverly smiled shaking her head. "Thanks Alyssa, and don't worry about the failures, I think I know the cause. Ask the Commander to come in."

The small space of Alyssa Ogawa was soon replaced by the larger shadow of Will Riker. By the stance, complete with crossed arms and the way he was walking with his chin thrust out, he was about to chew an ensign to death.

"Deanna stated that I should talk to you, and soon after Guinan agreed. Anything I should know about?" At the end of his proclamation he flinched briefly.

Standing up, she tried to urge him into a chair, but his evaded her offer and glared further at her. "Something to do with micro chipped cats?"

"What?" Beverly seemed confused now. "Have you been near Spot again?"

"Before we both bang our heads together, what the hell is going on. Deanna is worried, you're avoiding me and for some damn reason I can't sit down longer than 5 minutes." He shouted, soon regretting the action as he saw heads swivel his direction beyond the glass office wall.

"Why can't you sit?" Grabbing her medicorder, Beverly thrust it in his direction until it suddenly fizzed and spat.

"And that keeps happening." He was starting to pace, but her office was far too small for the broad fuming male, his quick turns making her dizzy.

"I tagged you." She admitted, closing her eyes, ready for the vaporising blast.

The sound of his pacing stopped, when she heard nothing more, she opened her eyes to see Will's eyes wide open in astonishment. "You…..didn't micro chip the cat… you chipped me?"

"I needed to keep track of you during the epidemic. Transponders and tracking devices of the Starfleet kind are easy to detect when you've had them implanted before…."


"When you were in sickbay." She chewed her lip.

"No. Where?" he waved a hand over his body.

"Well there" she pointed to his thigh. "Originally."

A clearing throat broke their conversational dance. Deanna Troi stood just outside the office entrance, her professional demeanour in place. "Doctor, may I speak to Will alone for a minute?"

The speed in which Beverly left didn't bode well, Will thought. "She tagged me!" He angrily spat at her. "And now by the sounds of it, it's moved."

Deanna just nodded. "If you weren't such a hard patient to keep track of, this would not have happened in the first place." Before he could offer up a retort she held up one hand. "Beverly would never do anything out of malice or dereliction of duty. What she performed on you was for the sake of the rest of the crew during an epidemic of which you shrugged off as soon as you could get your skant on."

Will started to look a little chastised. "Ok so she tagged me due to my errant ways. Why the hell do I affect padds and doctors?"

"She used a non Starfleet based tag, of which we have a simple theory that it's electronic field is not compatible with many of the ships systems." Deanna replied not knowing what else she could say than the basic facts. "Though why it doesn't affect Spot I have no idea."

"Spot? Hang on…she used Spot's pet tracker on me?" he was starting to feel faint, so grasped a chair intending to sit when he yelped with pain and shot back out of it.

"Will?" Beverly fled back into the office to find him bent over the desk panting. "You pinched him?" She demanded from Deanna.

"No. but I think we've found your missing tag." Feeling the swells of discomfort coming from Will as he tried to move into a more comfortable position.

"I can feel the pain moving." He ground out as it became worse. "I'll never pick on Spot again."

Directing two med techs into her office, she soon had Will face down on a sick bed, which promptly shorted out within seconds of contact. "Spot only has one chip. I used three of them to boost the signal." She blushed.

Will just rolled his eyes. "Can this get any worse?"

"I'll need to remove your trousers Will. I think I know where it's heading." He just nodded, knowing from the travelling pain that she was right. "Left buttock." He mumbled as a soft hissed was issued to his painful rear; in the form of a hypo filled with painkiller.

Ogawa activated the privacy screen and an opaque force field flickered into place hiding them from view. Glancing at her medicorder, she tapped it a few times till it sprang back into life. "It's heading…"
Her words cut off as the red alert siren sprang to life. "All crew to their stations." The dreaded Lwaxanna-like voice commanded.

"Dammit!" Will grumbled, fighting his way off the bio bed. "This will have to wait ladies." He winked, soon pulling his trousers back on after adjusting his briefs back into place.

"Will this is serious." Crusher complained.

"The captain hath called." He apologised, hobbling towards the door as all three ladies in blue groaned.

"If he shorts out the phaser array with his nether regions we're doomed." Beverly rubbed her eyes tiredly.

Deanna laughed lightly before the communications array flared to life. "Counsellor Troi to bridge." Reminding her of her place of duty. "I'll watch him and let you know the second we're safe to continue the search." Bounding out of sickbay, sensing the strain Will was under. Another embarrassing medical folly at his expense. Surely it couldn't get worse than this she thought.


"Surely it can't get worse than this!" Will groaned clenching his left buttock in pain.

"Hold on number one, a medical team will be here soon." Picard soothed, ignoring the smell of ozone from the recent phaser fire. "Mr Worf, are all boarding parties repelled?"

"Repelled and sated." Worf's eyes glowed with honour of a fight well won. "No casualties, apart from Commander Riker, Sir." He smiled smugly.

"How the hell was I the only one to get phasered in the behind?" Will's face turning red with embarrassment. Sprawled at the base of the captain's chair.

"Well you did throw yourself at the Captain, knocking him out of the way of the Autenian's fire." Deanna answered, regretting her famous last words before she'd left sickbay. "I'd say it was in the line of duty to protect your captain."

"Of which I am grateful number one." Picard smiled as Will closed his eyes as the stinging of scorched flesh started to thud throughout his body.

"I didn't actually throw myself at you." Will confessed.

"Tackled?" Worf suggested.

"Protected?" Picard surmised.

"Tripped?" Deanna provided.

Shaking his head at the three offered answers, he proceeded with his own just as the turbo lift doors opened. "Doc Crusher's pet tracker sprang to life again as soon as I went to sit down."

Picard's brown creased. "Pet tracker number one? I haven't seen Data's cat on the bridge in a long time."

"Long story." Beverly slipped in as she took Picard's place by the downed XO. "But great news. Seems we've nipped our little chip problem in the butt."

Will scowled at her pun. "It's stopped working?"

"Melted. Seems to have been in just the right spot when you were fired upon." Using her scanner effectively without any static. "The passive scans can now see it, so we can remove it easily enough. Might mean another few days of careful sitting but you'll be fine." She comforted him.

Picard cleared his throat. "Explanation doctor?"

Believing this not to be the time for admitting her mistakes, Beverly bade an urgent exit. "I think we should get the commander to sickbay first before he passes out Sir." Noting Will's pale features, regardless of the meds now coursing through his veins.

"And get that damn device out of my arse." Will growled as they carefully got him standing, Med tech on one side, Beverly the other.

"Swift recovery Commander." The captain farewelled as the turbo lift doors closed about the foursome.

"Have to say though." Will added. "First time a captain has been saved from assassination by a pet tracker."

At Beverly's curious frown, Deanna giggled. "The Autenian's phaser malfunctioned as he beamed in next to Will." She explained as the turbo lift announced its arrival to deck six. "Somehow setting off a shock in the pet tracker that launched Will into the path of the captain and the subdued killing blow."

"Glad the malfunction didn't demoleculise my butt too." Will grinned sleepily as the meds and shock started to take its toll.

"Call it fortunate circumstances." Deanna winked. "I love that butt, be sad to see it go." Teasing him as he faded in and out just in time to be caught by sickbay's waiting nursing staff.


The blurry world came into focus and Will smiled. His butt felt fine. Electronics were working again, and Deanna was sitting beside him smiling. "Heaven." He grinned looking up at her from his face down position.

"Hell" She replied lifting up a bundle of red and black.

He swallowed heavily and began to perspire as the heart rate monitor beeped a warning. "No no no no."

"You even try and wander out of here before Beverly is finished with you and it's the skant forever." She teased, tossing it before him on his pillow and enjoying every minute of his fear and loathing coursing through the bond.

"Imzadi?" He pleaded. "Please don't leave me here like this!" he wailed in terror at the skant draped before him like an Armus of pure evil.

About to walk out, she paused, turning slowly to take in the big doe eyes of one of the most desirable men in the galaxy; badly abusing the little lost boy look. "Rest up, heal quietly and I promise you Will Riker…" Moving back to whisper into his ear. "We'll try out your new buttocks together." She grinned, kissing his soft crunchy ears, and enjoying the machiavellian smile that flashed into his eyes.

"And burn the skant?"

"Ceremonially, with marshmallows on camp fire sticks." She smiled deliciously before gliding out of sickbay and back to duty.

Her mind forward planning their cabin reunion with fervour until the evil side popped in for a moment. "Such a shame to torch such a good bargaining tool." She mused.

As the doors closed behind her, Deanna had made a final decision…to replicate another for anytime he strayed. A better implement to keep him grounded than a pet tracker any day.


pow sizzle oww!!!!!

The End