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 Evelyn.)
Had he really been asleep for that long?
Then he remembered. I only closed my eyes for a few seconds, but here I am, in the Pythagoras. He blinked and scratched his neck a few times.
In his quiet thoughts, Zad remembered that he hadn’t said goodbye to Gwendolyn. He hadn’t got her communication number, nothing. She had helped them quite a bit with finding the root, but she had to go back to Xorten Omega to continue her studies.
Stricken, Zad silently looked out the window and hoped that she would remember him long enough so that when he came back to Xorten Omega some day she would recognize him. Zad sighed.
He looked around. It was dim in the shuttle, save the light Data was using at his research station to finish his report on the root.
Zad sat back comfortably and listened to the rhythmic tapping of Data’s fingers on the datapad. The root was in a clear box, ready for transportation. Data, previously typing furiously, stopped. Every motion froze.
“What?” Zad asked. He swung his legs over the cot and walked up to where Data was sitting, and hovered over him, leaning against the back of his chair.
Data finally looked up. “Imzad, we need to turn around.” Data’s eyes moved wildly up and down the long document. “It is missing a major component needed for the antidote. The root would work as a potent fever reducer, but a year of memory will be lost.”
Zad took a deep breath and shook his head. “No, Data. I’m not willing to risk that. We need to find something else.”
Data met the boy’s gaze. “That is precisely the problem, Imzad. The only planet left that may have the antidote is Corinthia X.”
Zad froze. Corinthia X? No . . . “I don’t think that place is kid friendly. My parents wouldn’t approve.”
“It is life or death, Imzad.”
Zad looked out the window. After a while, he walked over to the copilot’s seat. “Okay, Corinthia X. Mark 3-5-9. Let’s go.”
Zad couldn’t believe he was going to Corinthia X. After setting the shuttle on autopilot, Data wandered off to do whatever Data was doing. So, with nothing to do, Zad thought it best to get cleaned up a bit.
As he stood in the mirror brushing his teeth, he realized that it may be the last time he would ever be on a Starfleet vessel. Sorry mom. Sorry dad, sorry Tasha. I wish I had more options, but I don’t.
He spat the sudsy, frothy foam into the basin and ran water down it’s sides before rinsing out the graininess in his own mouth.
He looked at himself; his hair carefully washed and combed after a much needed shower, his face shiny and white, his arms, clean and scrubbed, and himself as a whole, just clean.
He savored the moment. He knew very well that on Corinthia X, her citizens rarely bathed.
Taking a deep breath, Zad walked calmly out of the head to where Data was having one last chat with Pixel.
“. . . Corinthia X . . . I will be back. Please do not worry . . .” Zad opened up his backpack. He threw in a datapad, food, and water. He walked over to the main area, where Data was staring at his blank datapad.
“We will be entering the atmosphere in twenty minutes.” Data looked up at Zad. “Be ready.”
“The Mytochondryham Ephusus plant, also known as the Hurtyl, has the appearance of the basil plant.” Data pulled up a picture of the plant. “The only difference is the color. The Hurtyl has a slightly darker color leaf than the basil.”
Zad hovered over the datapad studying the plant. “Where can we find one?”
“That is not the hard part. Although they grow wild almost anywhere, our biggest problem is muggers. Keep all your valuables either locked in the ship or so close you can feel it. Also, be aware of needles.”
Data nodded. “Tell me if you feel lethargic, dull, inactive, inert, quiescent, languorous, or sluggardly.”
Zad held up his hand.
Data cocked his head to one side, then continued. “And another thing; do not trust anyone.” And Data was dead serious.
Shivering, Zad looked Data in the eye.
“Is that understood Imzad?”
“It’s time to go then.” Data turned toward the door, but stopped just before he opened it. “Be ready. This planet is unlike anything you have seen before.”
“Hold it right there.” Three men stood before them, one in a green T-shirt, and two others wearing all black. On of the black-clothed figures had blonde hair, and the other had brown.
Zad clutched the plant. The three young men cornered Zad and Data in a corner behind one of the appartment complexes, where laundry and random bits of cloth hung off rusty iron balconies. Besides the light of a dim, single street light, it was a dark corner of town.
Zad and Data curiously turned around.
“I said hold it. You hear me? Don’t. Move. A. Muscle.”
Still clutching the plant, Zad and Data slowly moved their arms above their head.
“You!” A man with in a green T-shirt pointed at Data. “What’s a ‘droid like you doin’ out here?”
Data answered truthfully, “I am lieutenant commander aboard the USS Enterprise. Our entire crew has developed and unusual illness and my friend and I are out to find an antidote.”
The men turned and rolled their eyes at each other. “Okay, Mr. Lieutenant Commander VIP. Just gimme your money, and we give you no problems.” The green-shirted guy held out his hand expectantly.
Zad trembled ever so slightly.
“No, I am afraid I cannot do that,” Data said. “The United Federation of Planets has gone beyond the need of money or material things.”
“Not us. You’ve got to have something.” The green T-shirted man pulled out a small device.
“C’mon, pretty pretty please. I can shoot good.”
Zad took a deep breath. Trying to sound level headed, he spoke as confidently as he could. “You’re afraid. I’m a Betazoid, so I know. And you—” Zad pointed to the blonde. “You’re new to this. You’re trying to impress your buddies, but you won’t actually fire your phaser. It’s all bluff. Find someone else. Leave us alone.”
The blonde glanced at his buddies once. “Yeah, right.”
They turned to leave, but before doing so, the green T-shirted man pulled a something out of his pocket, and with lightning speed, thrust it into Data’s leg. A chipped neural neutralizer.
The men left before either Data or Zad could do or say anything.
Data opened his mouth to speak. But before he could say anything, Data’s hand began shaking; the chain reaction continued through his whole body. After several seizures, his whole body shut down completely.
Zad stood there in a mixture of fright, confusion and panic.
His mind began spinning.
Got to get the plant, no, get Data back to the shuttle. No, try to wake him up. No, but he might act crazy, but I need him!
After several bouts of tears and panic, Zad fixed his mind, set his heart, and the saving of his crew to one plan.
Get Data back. Find the plant. Leave. Get Data fixed back on the Enterprise.
This would be his time to prove that he wasn’t a silly little boy after all, and that he was capable of something greater.
Zad clenched his fist. He would carry out the plan no matter what.
. . . to be continued . . .
—part six next week—
Author’s note (Evelyn): I keep forgetting that Zad is 1/4 Betazoid! I was trying to incorporate that into the story somehow, but I could never find the right place. Oh, and, by the way, Gwendolyn does show up again.
emzelf says (Emily): It took a long time editing this piece, but it was definitely worth it! Personally, my favorite part is the scene on Corinthia X where Zad uses his empath powers. The word ‘powers’ is debatable though.