Beverly Crusher cradled her teacup in both hands as she perused the usual lunchtime dishes on offer. "Did you see Ensign Drewby this morning? Poor girl, what did you do to her Worf?"
The security chief grumbled slightly rather than give the doctor a proper answer. His interest in small talk one of barest restraint.
"She was fine Beverly, she just needed to observe Worf more closely next time. Mokbara can look easy to the novice." Deanna piped up, sparing Worf a lecture from the red head.
"A broken clavicle is not something to be taken lightly." Beverly continued, grabbing herself a small triangular cut sandwich in one hand and her tricoder in the other.
"If she had listened instead of watching Commander Riker, she would not have fallen so badly." Worf grumbled around a mouthful of his Torenag pie.
Geordi chuckled lightly, drawing attention further up the boardroom table. "You know, guys like me would have a better chance of finding someone if the Commander would hurry up and finally tie the knot."
"And I'd spend eternity mending broken hearts." Bev replied, offering a basket full of chocolate muffins to her best friend.
"Well I guess it's up to me then to sacrifice my independence for all those single engineers out there." Deanna tiredly moaned. "Speaking of love muffins, where is Will?"
Christine Vale nearly choked on Deanna's comment. "Love muffin? Doctor, do you have a sick bag handy?"
"Make that two please doctor." Picard announced as he moved into the Observation Lounge to join the daily lunch gathering. "I find it a little distressing to hear my Executive officer described as an American Crumpet." Taking his place at the head of the table.
Data, dressed in an apron hand him a cup of hot Earl Grey tea. Each senior staff member since Riker's little ploy was in charge of the food and clean up. Today was Data's day, though Deanna was a little curious, as she was sure it had been Will's.
"Well the American crumpet seems to be feeling a little queasy." Deanna added, reaching out in curiosity to see where her Imzadi was. It wasn't like him to be this late to lunch.
Picard just smiled and Beverly sniggered into her tea.
Geordi took in the body language and knew the Commander must have fallen into Picard's dis-favour. "I take it the Commander's last prank didn't sit well."
"Oh it sat well, but I believe the Commander won't be sitting down with us for lunch, am I right Doctor?" Data watched the play between the doctor and Captain with interest.
Data cocked his head to one side. "May I ask Sir, has Commander Riker fallen ill?" The second officer had now taken his place beside Geordi, his interest piqued in the possible practical joke that had been played on his superior.
"No Data, but he's a little queasy right now no doubt." Winking, the doctor passed the sandwiches along the table to the captain. "Unfortunately Will's allergic to the usual medication for zero G sickness."
Picard smiled widely as he took in the varied confused looks of the command staff before him. Some still chewing, others now staring outside the observation lounge windows. "An apple Number one?" holding up the glossy red fruit in his hand to the man upside down outside the floor to ceiling windows.
Commander Will Riker, feeling less than great, lifted his hand to the communications panel on his forearm. "No thanks Captain, I don't think I could stomach it right now sir." The normally cheeky first officer looked decidedly green, not to mention red faced as well.
"Proceed to sickbay Commander, I think you've learnt your lesson." The Captain commanded as he took another sip of his tea. Noting how green Deanna was starting look herself.
Giving the captain a false lunch date, and leaving the mess for him to clean up had definitely backfired on the young cheeky first officer. For once he'd finally received his comeuppance, and this time from a superior officer who was silently enjoying the payback.
"Sir, request permission to transport back." The tightness in his clipped request indicated that he'd truly had enough of zero G for one day. The captain had noted his logged time in zero G, knowing that the normally well-skilled first officer was lacking in experience of late.
"Permission granted Number one." The captain sincerely felt for the man as Riker dematerialised from site just before his stomach gave out. It wasn't long till he noted all eyes on him. Some shocked some sniggering. "Doctor, Counsellor, I believe you have a patient to attend to in sickbay."
Beverly grinned til she noticed Deanna's pale face. "Time to go make the crumpet better." She said helping the Betazoid counsellor to her feet and away from the still silent table.
"Sir, may I ask what that was all about?" Christine Vale enquired carefully.
"That Lieutenant Vale was an agreement the Commander and I came to. In order for him to join us for lunch today, he needed to update his logged zero G hours. I believe that was a compromise of the two. " Finishing his tea. "Now if you'll excuse me, we have a ship to run and missions to complete."
Watching the captain go, Vale nervously looked to Worf to see the large klingon grinning. A rare sight but enough to make her smile herself. " And I thought corporal punishment was outdated on ships."
"Lets just say the captain is old fashioned in some ideals." Geordi beamed, snatching an apple and shinning its surface on his uniform before heading back to work.
Still in his environmental suit Will sat green faced upon the nearest sickbay bed, with Ogawa dutifully carrying his helmet away at arms length. His head heavy from nausea, it took him a moment to look up once Deanna laid a caring hand to his shoulder.
"Good to see not only ensigns throw up in their space helmets." She teased, blocking his nausea to focus on his recovery.
"Nor do first officers escape the captains wrath." Beverly grinned, firing a hypo into the commander's shoulder. "Lie down Commander, the nausea should pass soon."
Deanna helped unfasten the top of his suit, to let in some cool air before helping him lie curled up on the biobed. "Apple?" she asked, holding out a shiny red torture device. That was until the poor Betazed had to step away suddenly. "I guess you're not up for lunch then?" She offered up before a med tech appeared out of nowhere to clean up the mess.
"Leave him be Deanna, the man needs to recover and quickly as he's due back on the bridge in 20 minutes." Beverly stated as she gave another hypo and draped a cold cloth over Will's sweaty brow. Smiling at the picture Deanna presented. A woman trying to tempt a man with an apple.
Sympathising, Deanna kept on with her ministrations by removing his gloves and boots to make him more comfortable. Carefully sinking her love into the man's soul she caressed his mind til his stomach no longer was the focus of his current existence. Within moments she felt contentment and love radiating back.
Feeling a hundred percent better from his Imzadi's compassion, Will began to remember a few things he'd overheard from the lunch table, through the thick transparent aluminium windows. He'd eavesdropped through the communications array, of which obviously the captain had been aware. "Love muffin?" he muttered with a cringe worthy look upon his face.
"Well would you prefer rampant man whore?" Enjoying his discomfort.
Will sat up carefully. Taking a tentative deep breath to test his stomach contents. "Do I have a reputation that bad?"
"No, but you do have a reputation for pulling pranks. And this time round you earned your reward, courtesy of the Captain. But as for love. Commit or ship out Commander." She pecked him on the cheek with her voluptuous lips and left him sitting dazed and smiling.
"Time's up Will, in more ways than one." Beverly teased, kicking him out of sickbay and hopefully into the arms of one lusty Betazoid counsellor.
The 'lunchtime bell' end