Sometime after Star Trek: Nemesis, Data and Zad Riker, son of the Rikers, search for the antidote to a disease infecting the crew of the Enterprise. (Guest-written by my sister.)
As Zad stood in the doorway of his parents’ room, all was still.
He’d never seen his parents like this.
The lights in the room were still dimmed. On the right of the orange mattress, his father was sprawled on his back on top of the sheets, apparently asleep. On the left of the bed, his mother was on her side, cocooned in the other half of the sheets. Zad shuddered.
He walked to his parents’ bedside, feet making no noise. “I got Q off the ship, I think.”
They did not respond. A terrible thought seized his mind. Had Q killed his parents?
Trembling, he found his father’s carotid artery and pressed his fingers against it, trying to detect a pulse. He did the same with his mother, but his own blood thudding through his veins interfered.
How many people did Q make sick—or killed?
His shaky fingers managed to tap the combadge on his chest.
“Sickbay, this is Zad Riker. Report to the captain’s quarters immediately.”
No response. He tried again.
“Sickbay, sickbay, do you read? This is a medical emergency.” A full minute passed. Still no response.
Zad ran completely out of patience. Perhaps Data would answer. “Mr. Data, Zad Riker here. Report to the captain’s quarters ASAP. Medical emergency.”
“Right away, sir.”
After what seemed like an eternity, the doors parted and Data, carying a medical case, walked in. In response to Zad’s despairing glance at the android, Data glanced at the boy, then nodded.
Kneeling at the foot of the bed, Data pulled out a medical tricorder from his case. Zad held his breath in anticipation.
“They are breathing and their heart is beating, but their temperature is 103 degrees Fahrenheit and climbing. I can give them a very strong fever reducer called choloryn, but only with your consent.”
Zad didn’t blink, breathe, or balk. “Do it. And for Tasha and the whole crew. They’re sick too.”
Data injected the dose. They were supposed to wait ten minutes, which were the longest in his life, before noting any changes. But even then, the fever slowly and stubbornly climbed on.
“We need an antidote as soon as we can—and Data, I’m going to need your help.”
Data nodded. “I concur.”
“Computer, this is Lieutenant Commander Data. Find an antidote for unrelenting fever. Choloryn has not worked.”
Zad could not sit. His legs disobeyed his direct order to sit.
Something appeared on the screen.
“There are five planets that may contain a fever reducer stronger than choloryn. Qin-Taz VIII–”
“Maximum speed.” Data’s eyes whipped rapidly up and down the dizzying page as the computer blipped and babbled. Finally, the images stopped. Data turned to look at Zad.
“Imzad, we have a long journey ahead of us.” He got up, still facing Zad. “First stop: Qin–Taz VIII, home of the microscopic zenna bacteria.”
Zad gulped. They weren’t going to extract bacteria by hand . . . were they?
Dear Mom, Dad, and Tasha,
Hi, this is Zad. I’m sorry I have to leave for a few days, I trust that Data will care for my needs. We’re trying to find an antidote to cure your sickness, so if you wake up and I’m not there, don’t worry. I love you! I’ll miss you! See you soon,
Zad folded the note and left it by his parents’ bedside. It was the first time that he was really, really away from home.
Sprinting down the long, empty, and creepily silent halls, he found Data in the docking bay, waiting for him. There was no engineer in the balcony, no security team on guard, and nobody there at all except for the two figures standing in the docking bay. A cool drift of air tousled Zad’s hair as the boys made final adjustments.
Clothes, check. Toothbrush, check.
They silently loaded the shuttle Pythagoras.
Fuel, check. Hardware, check.
Data took pilot seat while Zad sat in the back.
Food, check. Water, check.
Zad suddenly found it hard to swallow. He watched as the great, grand Enterprise became smaller and smaller, until it became a small speck among the stars, and until it was gone completely by his blurring vision. He squinted harder and harder each proceeding second. But the Enterprise was gone.
Zad sighed. Leaning against the windowpane, he watched the stars gracefully whiz by. This is going to be a long one.
“Qin–Taz VIII is 6 hours away. Imzad, you have not slept all night. According to my research on humans, a human child between the ages 10 and 14 must have a minimum of 7-10 hours of sleep to function properly, and in fact—”
Data stopped. He looked at the already sleeping child, eyes closed placidly and breathing deeply. Data fished for a blanket and pulled it over the boy’s shoulders. Yes, this was going to be a long one.
“Wake up! Wake up you sleepyhead! Get up! Get up and out of bed!”
Zad groaned. “Data, who programmed you to sing? Anyway, what have you been doing all this time?”
Data handed a food ration to Zad and pulled him up with one arm.
“To answer your first question, my father programmed every code into me, in which he also programmed me to sing. To answer your second question, during one of the six hours, I was talking to Pixel.”
Zad licked the crumbs off of his lips and cleared his throat. “Who’s he? Pixel?”
“She not he. She is my sister. We hardly see each other, but, after all, she is my sister.” Zad looked up.
“Yes. Enough questions. We have work to do.” Data handed Zad a tricorder. “Assume setting IB73 and scan for Zenna bacteria. It will beep rapidly when the bacteria is found.” Zad dumped the crumbs into his mouth.
“Can’t we use the ship’s scanners?”
“No. This ship doesn’t have proper scanners.”
Zad opened his mouth, but closed it again. He just looked out onto the dry, green scrublands of Qin-Taz VIII. “Okay, let’s get to work, then.”
So get to work they did.
. . . to be continued . . .
—part four next week—
Author’s note: I thought it would be really cute for Data to have a sister, so I just had to put her in. She does show up again, by the way.
(emzelf: This part was more of a collaboration between my sister and I. It was super fun, and I hope you like it!)