Veeloze 10 by zeusfluff
Summary: Written for Prompt #124 'Back to Nature.' When their shuttle crash lands on the seemingly uninhabited planet of Veeloze 10, Troi, Riker and Doctor Crusher must find shelter in a series of caves that may hold more than they bargained for.
Categories: Next Generation Characters: Crusher, Beverly, Riker, William, Troi, Deanna
Genre: Drama
Warnings: Adult Language, Violence
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 6 Completed: No Word count: 8444 Read: 11675 Published: 03 Jun 2014 Updated: 29 Sep 2014
Story Notes:
I've had this idea stirring in my head for awhile. The prompt let it out for some air. As usual, I've got to add some drama and angst to this. I borrowed my original character, Riker and Troi's daughter Kait from my other story Two Centuries Old Crisis.

1. Chapter 1: Veeloze 10 by zeusfluff

2. Chapter 2: Raging Storm by zeusfluff

3. Chapter 3: The Rigors of Labor by zeusfluff

4. Chapter 4: Tainted Water Supply by zeusfluff

5. Chapter 5: An Unwanted Visitor by zeusfluff

6. Chapter 6: No Reprieve by zeusfluff

Chapter 1: Veeloze 10 by zeusfluff
Riker wasn't sure why he'd let his wife come along on this survey mission with him. Beverly Crusher was with him because there were some herbs down on Veeloze 10 that were of medicinal value. She'd wanted to collect them herself.

They'd hit turbulence on the way down to the surface. The shuttle had landed, but most of its systems were non-functional and possibly couldn't be repaired, making it a total-loss. But because of the turbulence, communication with the Enterprise couldn't be established. Taking Deanna's hand, Riker lead her out of the shuttle wreckage. Crusher was right behind them.

"Will we need to find somewhere safe to ride out this storm. She really needs to be off her feet."

Nodding his head at Beverly, he started making his way through some thick brush. His tricorder out, he could barely hear it beginning to beep over the din of the storm.

"My readings show there's a series of caves up ahead, about 15 meters ahead of us!"

It seemed like forever until they reached the caves, but when they got there, it was a welcome relief. Being cautious, Riker scanned the area to make sure there were no dangerous creature inhabiting the first cave.

Getting no life signs of any other alien creature inside, he strode in, carefully leading Deanna by his side. Beverly quickly scouted out a somewhat soft spot for Troi to lie down on the dirt floor.

"This was the most comfortable spot I could find for you Deanna. I need you to lie down and rest. With any luck, we'll be out of here before I need to resort to anything drastic. My medical supplies are limited, and not well equipped for delivering a baby."

Deanna swallowed but said nothing. Will leaned down and kissed her forehead.

"You said you sensed that there was someone else down here on the planet. Are they still here?"

Deanna was quiet for a moment and then spoke.

"No, but the turbulence or this storm could be blocking my ability right now. It could be masking their life signs."

Riker saw that his wife was a little dehydrated, he knew he'd have to find her some water. He didn't know if the supplies they had would last them more than 2 weeks, and by then, their baby could very well already be there with them. All the three of them could do was wait this storm out.

Deanna was frightened. It had been hours since she’d last felt her baby kick. She didn’t hide her tears from Beverly as she came over with a cup of water.

“Deanna what’s wrong?”

More frightened than ever, Deanna grabbed for Bev’s free hand and placed it over her belly.

“Bev please tell me she’s alright! I haven’t felt Kait move in five hours!”

Bev creased her eyebrows in slight worry but gave Deanna’s belly a slight rub.

“Hey, look at me Deanna. I need you to relax. It’s not unusual to not feel a baby moving inside of you a week or two before going into labor. It just means that he or she is simply too big to move around in such a small and cramped up place. But since you are the first pregnant Betazoid I’ve had under my care, I’ll run some tests to make sure. Ok?”

She nodded her head at Beverly and saw Will come in, trying his best to keep calm. But he couldn’t keep the panic out of his voice.

“Bev, what happened?”

Deanna crumbled and tried folding herself into her husband’s arms. Their telepathic link was strongest when one of them was upset. Will could hear her every thought on what was going on.

‘Imzadi, the baby’s not moving!’

A pit began to form in Riker’s stomach, but he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Pushing a few strands of dark hair away from her face, he did his best to comfort her.

“Shh. It’s alright Imzadi. I’m right here. We’ll get through this together. Just relax and breathe. There we go. That’s it. Just relax and let Bev check you out ok?”

Troi nodded her head once more and took a breath in and let it out. The couple watched Crusher as she pressed a few buttons on her tricorder and ran it just above Deanna’s body.

“Ok, everybody relax. Kait’s only asleep. Heartbeat’s a steady 142. Good respiratory movements. Here Deanna, I want you to drink this, it’ll help you get some sleep. Alright?”

Deanna took the cup of water and drank it down. She was so thirsty. Crusher and Riker stayed until Troi’s eyes eventually closed and her breathing evened out. Once they were sure she was asleep, they put the makeshift curtain they’d made from a blanket salvaged from the shuttle back in place. Sighing, Beverly placed herself in front of the roaring fire Will had built to keep them warm.

“Will there’s something you need to know. We really need to keep her calm. She’s dehydrated and her blood pressure is practically through the roof. It’s the stress from the shuttle crash. Try to find as much water as you can. We might need some to boil before long.”

Riker cast a weary and worried glance back at the blanket that was shielding his view of his sleeping wife.

“Then we’d better hurry Bev.”

To Be Continued…
Chapter 2: Raging Storm by zeusfluff
The storm outside was still raging and Riker knew he had to find more firewood. They would freeze if he didn’t find more soon. Bev shook her head as Will stoked the fire one last time. He saw her fix the blanket.

“The good news Will is that her blood pressure’s back to normal levels. Here’s the bad news: she’s dilated four centimeters. Now I’ve already given her something to reverse the process. But she needs to stay off her feet as much as possible now to prevent any recurrences.”

Will nodded his head and put a hand on Bev’s shoulder.

“Can I see her?”

Bev moved aside so that Will could get to his wife. Pulling the blanket aside, he knelt down next to her and kissed her forehead. A few tears streamed down her face.

“The baby’s ok Imzadi. She’s ok.”

He pulled her into a hug and rocked her a bit.

“We’re going to get out of here Imzadi. I promise you. We’ll get out of here and our baby will be born safely back on the Enterprise. She won’t be born in this place. I’ll keep trying to contact the ship. You rest awhile. Call me if you need anything. I can get you some more water if you’d like?”

A smile spread across Troi’s face.

“I’d like that Will, thank-you.”

He placed a soft kiss to his wife’s stomach and stopped momentarily when he felt a hand press up against his own. It was coming from inside her stomach. He held his tears back.

“I think that was Kait’s tiny hand Imzadi.”

Kissing her forehead one last time, he pulled the blanket back in place and sat down in front of the fire with Bev.

“You won’t believe what just happened to me. I just shared a moment with Kait. I had my hand on Deanna’s stomach, and she reached her tiny hand up and ‘touched’ mine through Deanna’s stomach.”

A slight smile spread across her face and she giggled a little.

“Sounds like Kait is a little impatient. A lot like someone I know. We’ve got enough water, for if and when we need it Will. I’m still counting on getting out of here before she goes into labor. But it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. I found another tunnel that branches deeper into the caves. We should probably move in a little more, away from the mouth of the cave. The rain is starting to come inside now. We need to keep dry.”

Riker nodded his head and stood up.

“Ok, I can carry Deanna.”

Bev put a hand on his forearm.

“I wouldn’t suggest that Will. With a combined weight of her and the baby she weighs just over 80 kilos. You could severely injury your back. We’ll help her walk together.”

Nodding, he went the few steps it took to get to the blanket and pulled it back.

“Sorry to disturb your sleep sweetheart, but we’re going to have to move. The rain is coming inside the cave now and we need to stay dry. There’s better coverage from the rain about 20 meters ahead in another branch of the cave.”

Nodding, Deanna attempted to sit up. Will was there instantly propping her up at first upright and then he found Bev on the left helping her to her feet.

“We’re not going far Deanna, just a few meters ahead.”

They were almost to the other part of the cave when Deanna stopped for a moment and gasped in surprise.


Bev and Will froze. His eyes widened and Bev looked very concerned.

“What is it?”

The color from Will’s face drained, and his blood became ice water. He propped his wife up as her knees began to buckle. Bev saw her take a sharp breath and let it out just as fast. Pain was etched across Deanna’s face.

“Kait feels like she’s between my knees!”

Bev was quick to jump into action. The pair holding Deanna up, scooped her up on each side and carried her the last few steps to what appeared to be a bed. Cautiously setting Deanna on it, Will cast a nervous glance around the cave.
“This looks to be someone’s bed. Someone might be living in this cave. Although all my tricorder readings show no humanoid life forms within 50 meters of here.”

But Bev wasn’t worried about who else could be in the cave with them. She was more worried about the impending birth of a child at the moment.

“No time to worry about that right now Will. Get a fire started and go back to the water spring over there and get some more water to boil.”

Will was about to get up when Deanna tugged on his hand.

“No don’t go Will. I need you here with me.”

Every fiber in his being told him not to leave his wife, but he had to get the water and get a fire started.

“I’ll be right back. I promise sweetheart. Don’t have this baby without me.”

Deanna mustered up half a smile at his remark.

“I’ll try not to.”

From the position he was crouching next to the water springs filling up the first canteen, his view was not somewhere he wanted to be. Grimacing, he turned his attention back to the canteen and filled it. Now on the fourth canteen, it was almost full. Taking it back over towards where Bev and Deanna were, he swallowed and set the canteens down. Taking a few steps forward, he put firewood into a pile and fired his phaser at it. A blazing fire began rumbling to life. Resuming his position next to his wife, he swallowed once again and looked to Bev.

“What are you doing?”

Bev continued looking up at the rock face ceiling as she worked.

“Trying to figure out how the baby is positioned.”

His mouth hung open for a second as he tried processing what she’d just said. Then he ventured into the unknown, with an embarrassed tone to his voice.

“I thought doctors didn’t do those kinds of exams anymore.”

For a brief moment, Bev locked eyes with Riker’s and raised her eyebrows.

“We do the exam when it’s absolutely necessary. If modern technology fails, then we resort to it. In our case, we don’t have enough medical supplies to perform scans. Damn. I don’t think this baby is going to wait.”

Will’s face turned a shade whiter than before.

“You mean Kait’s coming here? Now?”

Crusher was sure they had a little time before Kait made her entrance onto this planet.

“She’s only dilated three centimeters Will. Your daughter could be here in a few hours or a few days. By my calculations this may take days.”

Riker had a query on his lips, and it was ready to tumble out of his mouth.

“Three centimeters? I thought you said she was at four?”

Bev nodded and scanned something over her hands.

“What I gave her was only starting to work its way through her system. I admit, making her get up and walk wasn’t the wisest of choices. But it was either that, or get sick from getting wet from the rain coming in the entrance. Take your pick Will. By the way, this scanner gets rid of germs and cleans your hands. Sort of like having invisible soap and water without the sink.”

There were still more question’s on Will’s lips that Bev knew he wanted to express so she waited.

“Is the baby alright?”

Crusher nodded her head earnestly and covered Deanna with the sheet on the bed.

“She’s fine. Heartbeat’s a steady 142 and has very good respiratory movements. Her head is also facing the correct direction. But she’s being a little shy. We might be here for a few days Will. I want you to start boiling some of that water. We need it now.”

Will nodded his head and went to work boiling the water he’d just collected from the water spring a few steps away. A bolt of lightning flashed outside the cave.

“Lightning, just what we need.”

To Be Continued…
Chapter 3: The Rigors of Labor by zeusfluff
“Hold onto the rock face if you have to. Take your mind off the pain.”

Will didn’t know if his hand was getting the brunt of his wife’s grip, or the rock face. Either way, he felt like his hand could snap at any moment. He looked to Bev on the other side of Deanna and cleared his throat.

“Remind me again how having her stand is helping speed up labor?”

Bev rubbed Deanna’s back for a minute and then looked at Riker.

“Gravity Will. Standing has helped speed up labor for women for thousands of years. Worked for my great-great-great-great grandmother. She had my great-great-great grandmother in a potato field. Afterwards, she carried her daughter around while she picked potatoes. At one point, she made a carrier and stuck my grandmother in it, carrying her around on her back like some of the Native American tribes of the former United States did.”

A startled expression crossed Deanna’s pretty face and Riker pulled himself closer to his wife when she stopped gripping the rock face in a death-grip.

“The pain is gone. I can’t explain it. I’m not feeling anymore contractions.”

Crusher looked at Deanna with a hard to read expression clearly written across her face.

“I don’t understand this. My scans aren’t showing any indications of labor. No contractions, and she isn’t straining. It’s like labor was shut-off. I can’t explain it.”

A slight smile adorned Will’s face.

“Well that’s good isn’t it?”

Bev shook her head and knelt down next to Deanna. Will looked away and the color drained from his face once again.

“I’m not completely sure I like my explanation. Besides, Kait’s still very high up. I don’t think she’s ready to come out right now.”

Crusher laughed at Riker and spoke up once more.

“It’s ok, you can look now. I’m done. Will you would not make a very good doctor. You’re too squeamish. We’re all born the same way. I’m pretty sure you’re not that way when the two of you make love.”

She had him essentially pinned on that frame of thought. Watching him sputter his remarks, she shook her head and laughed some more.

“But this is d-different! A woman has a child coming out of them, their bones move and the pain is excruciating. Then there is all that blood.”

Bev continued to laugh at Will. She was having fun poking fun at him.

“It’s natural Will. All that blood is just the shedding of the placenta and…”

Will looked as if he were physically about to be sick.

“I got it Bev. No more explanations. I’ve read enough on the subject of birth to last me three lifetimes. It’s a good thing men don’t have wombs. I don’t think we could handle what women go through. The process is daunting.”

Bev stopped laughing and crossed her arms.

“Very true. There wouldn’t be room for a womb in a man’s body anyways.”

Riker straightened out his dirtied uniform shirt and got his coloring back.

“So Kait’s not coming right now? Deanna’s not in labor?”

Crusher shook her head and looked down to Deanna’s feet. Her bare feet had dug into the dirt below her.

“Nope. The amniotic sac is intact, which means her water
hasn’t broken. But we’ll have to monitor her for the next few days for any signs of trouble. You have one stubborn little girl Will. I’d say she’s like you already.”

Will had to smile at that. Both women laughed at him and shook their heads, both speaking at the same time.

“What are we going to do with you Will Riker?”

Riker wasn’t sure, but this little scare had just taught him a valuable life lesson. Never underestimate nature Will. It can blow up in your face.

To Be Continued…
Chapter 4: Tainted Water Supply by zeusfluff
“Wait Will! Don’t drink the water!”

Riker stopped mid-sip and was about to swallow. Deanna had already drank two more cupfulls of water.

“What’s wrong with the water?”

Bev sighed and shook her head.

“This water stream is tainted. It’s got large amounts of Alkaline in it. Unfit for human consumption.”

Deanna was already a ball of nerves, this only hastened it. She cast a worried glance down at her stomach and stroked it with both hands. Will immediately spit out the water and wiped his mouth on his sleeve.

“Will it affect the baby?”

He grabbed for Troi’s hand and squeezed it, trying to keep her calm. Bev gave Deanna’s forearm a light squeeze.

“I don’t know. Will help me out here and pull back the blanket just enough so that I can get an amniotic fluid sample. The barriers and maternal antibodies should filter the toxins out, but I’ll need a sample to make sure it’s clear.”

Deanna steeled herself against her husband as she felt the sting of the hypospray. It wasn’t long before Bev had enough of the fluid she needed to scan with her tricorder. Will looked into his wife’s eyes and placed a kiss onto her bare stomach.

“I know that hurts sweetheart. Bev and I will get you out of here before the baby comes ok?”

Nodding she shivered as he put the covers over her.

“Will I’m cold.”

Riker immediately put more firewood onto the fire and went back to his wife and pulled the blanket around her more.

“There. I put more wood on the fire. Here’s another blanket. Is that better?”

Troi nodded and closed her eyes. Bev took a seat next to the fire and placed the glass tube on the end of her tricorder and started her scan. Will was nervous as he sat down next to her. He listened to the tricorder perform its scan. Swallowing once again, he watched Crusher take the glass tube from her tricorder.

“Baby’s in the clear Will. Not a trace of Alkaline in Deanna’s system. Interesting. Her maternal antibodies attacked the toxins in her body before it could reach the baby.”

He held his hand out for a brief moment to grab ahold of the glass tube from Bev. Holding it closer to the fire, he examined it.

“Clear means the fluid’s healthy right?”

Bev acknowledged his question in stride.

“Clear amniotic fluid means that it’s free of any toxins and that the mother isn’t suffering any disease. We need to start over and find some fresh water. Dehydration not only affects Deanna, but if she gets too dehydrated it may cause compression of the umbilical cord and the baby will be in serious trouble.”

Will creased his brow and then handed the glass tube back to Crusher.

“Maybe there’s some water in the other branch of caves to the left. But we both can’t go, someone has to stay with Deanna.”

Bev nodded her head and stayed seated by the fire.

“I’ll stay with her. Here, take a light with you, and your phaser.”

She watched as Will made his way back over to the bed and place a hand on Deanna’s forehead. She groaned a little and moved her head from side to side.

“I’ll be back sweetheart. I’m going to find some fresh water for you and the baby. Rest. I’ll be back as soon as I can. Bev’s going to stay with ok?”

Riker waited until his wife’s breathing evened out before he stood from his kneeling position. Tucking the blanket further around Deanna he kissed her forehead and moved away. Making his way farther down the caves, he noticed that there were more stalagmite formations, which meant he was getting closer to a water supply.

Pulling out his tricorder, he scanned the first section. Finding nothing useful, he moved onto the next section. His tricorder began to beep at him incessantly suddenly.

“Bingo! Gotcha! I knew there had to be fresh water around here somewhere!”

Will couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear as he scooped up the precious life-saving water. It would help all four of them. He turned his head in the direction of Bev and his wife and yelled in that direction.

“Bev! I found water!”

He could only imagine the look on her face as he scooped the water into an empty canteen. Closing the cap on the top when it was filled, he quickly brought it back to Bev to for inspection.

“Fresh water, 20 meters from here. Double check. I want to make sure this isn’t a false-positive.”

His heart sank as he came back to a thrashing Deanna on the bed, and Bev trying to hold her in place. Dropping the canteen on the dirt floor, he went straight to Troi, but was at a loss as to what to do. He looked back at Crusher helplessly.

“What happened?”

Struggling to keep everything under control, Bev tried to explain the situation.

“I don’t know, the seizure came on quite suddenly. Hold her head down Will. Tilt it slightly so we can keep her airway open. Make sure she doesn’t swallow her tongue.”

The color completely drained from Riker’s face at Bev’s last sentence.

“Her tongue?”

Bev nodded and had to use her body weight to kept Deanna’s in place on the bed.

“Yes, but don’t stick your fingers in her mouth Will! You stick your fingers in there and you’ll have one finger less. Patients suffering gran-mals have been known to clench their teeth. Keep her head tilted. There we go.”

Riker’s heart sank even further.

“Can’t you give her a hypospray of Tricordrizine?”

The frown still plastered on Crusher’s face, she shook her head no.

“Limited supplies Will. I don’t have any Tricordrizine on me. Otherwise I would’ve given it to her immediately after the seizure started. We’ll have to wait it out. Though extremely dangerous.”

Will felt guilty leaving Deanna to go and find water.

“I should’ve stayed. If I had, none of this would’ve happened.”

Still using her weight to hold Deanna down, Bev locked eyes with Will.

“This isn’t your fault Will. Sometimes seizures can happen for no reason. This could just be a febrile seizure for all I know. But my tricorder can’t make heads or tails of it right now.”

Three minutes went by before everything quieted, and Deanna stopped thrashing. Riker had been holding his breath. Bev pulled herself up slightly and watched the readings on her tricorder.

“Ok, respiration levels going back to within normal levels. Pulse is becoming stronger. She’ll sleep for a while. When she wakes, she may be disoriented and not know where she is. Do your best to reassure her that everything will be ok and that we are doing the best we can alright?”

Will nodded his head in agreement.

“What’s that?”

Bev had taken a device Will had never seen her use
before out of her pocket.

“A kind of sound amplifier. It allows me to hear the sound of your heartbeat, breathing, you can even hear the baby’s heart and hear her moving.”

Will smiled and watched as she delicately placed the hand-held object up to Deanna’s baby belly and put her ear against it.

“Good placental blood-flow, and your daughter has one stubborn kick. She might be a good soccer player. Or she just might play Parises Squares when she’s older.”

The smile left Riker’s face in a flash.

“I don’t know if I’d want her to play Parises Squares. She could get to be as tall as me, or she could be somewhat tiny, like Deanna.”

It was hard to see her like this. He was used to seeing his wife so vibrant and full of life. This version of her actually scared him a little bit. She was this fragile being lying in a strange bed on an uninhabited storming planet.

“Would you like to have a listen Will?”

He grinned from ear to ear and nodded.

“Wow. I never thought there were so many sounds you could hear with just one little device. What’s that squishing sound right about here?”

Pointing to a spot just to the left of Deanna’s belly button, Bev smiled.

“That squishing sound, Will, is Kait’s heart.”

The smile didn’t leave Will’s face. He kept listening for a moment.

“It’s so fast. How fast is it again?”

Bev smiled at the man who was her superior officer and friend. She’d never seen him so happy, scared and nervous all at once.

“Her heartbeat is a steady 142. She’s healthy Will. I’ve seen babies fight for their lives before, but none as hard as your little girl Will. I’d say she’s more like you every day. Now I know I’ve said this before, but, if and when Deanna goes into labor, and if we’re still here on the planet, I don’t have enough medical supplies to adequately asses any emergency that could arise. If we run into trouble and I need to get the baby out in less than a minute, I’ll have to perform a C-section. I just don’t have the drugs needed for such a surgery.”

The smile had left from Will’s face once more.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that Bev. She deserves an easy delivery. But being here, anything can happen. I hope that we can get off this planet before that happens. But we are essentially cut-off from the Enterprise.”

To Be Continued…
Chapter 5: An Unwanted Visitor by zeusfluff
Author's Notes:

This chapter may get a little messy. You've been warned.


Riker had his wife by the shoulders and her eyes shot open, wild and confused. Still confused and about ready to burst into tears, she all but tore the blankets over her back. Her face paled when she saw the sticky red mess down by her feet. Shaking her head, she started to sob into Will’s dirtied uniform shirt.

“She can’t be gone Will. She can’t be.”

Bev was quick to reach them. Will and Bev both helped her lie back on the bed. A million things were running through his mind as Riker stared at the mess by his wife’s feet.

“No gush of fluid, could be an abruption. Take a breath and relax Deanna. Everything is going to be alright.”

Will’s eyes widened at the last part of her first sentence.

“As in tearing of the placenta?”

Swallowing he watched as Bev nodded and scanned his wife with her tricorder. Letting out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, she shook her head and furrowed her eyebrows.

“This is blood alright. But it’s not hers. My tricorder isn’t detecting any kind of tear in-utero. Kait’s doing just fine. Can you get me that sample container over there? I want to run this sample through my tricorder to see if I can pinpoint a source.”

Will was suddenly wary of the whole situation in front of him. There really was someone here with them. But where?

“Bev, that means that there is someone in this cave with us. What if they try to harm Deanna? We’ll have to sleep in shifts if that’s the case.”

Deanna still shaken, was looking from Crusher to Riker, back and forth, not sure what to make of the situation. Bev had noticed a change in Deanna recently, since crash landing on this planet, she’d become fearful for her baby’s life. Understandable under the circumstances. She took Deanna’s face in her hands for a minute.

“Hey, look at me. I need you to stay calm. Your blood pressure’s going up again. I need you to stay calm. Relax and take deep breaths. You are putting strain on your baby. Lie back and relax.”

Riker put a hand on Crusher’s shoulder.

“Can you give her something to calm her down?”

Bev shook her head and looked through her med-kit for anything she could find.

“I gave her the last of the sedative three or four days ago. I need you to help her stay calm.”

A frown began to form on Will’s face.

“Ok. Sweetheart, I need you to look at me and stay calm. Remember the exercises we learned in Lamaze class? Visualize.”

Troi’s dark eyes grew stormy. Riker steeled himself for what happened next.

“Visualize!? I’m sick of visualizing Will.”

He saw her wince and grab for his hand. Nothing was coming to her easily anymore.

“I know you’re tired, but we’ll get through this. The baby needs all the help we can give her right now. Ok?”

He felt a change in his wife’s attitude, it was like the difference between night and day. She seemed much calmer now.

“I’m sorry I snapped at you Will. I’m just… I’m scared.”

Nodding he rubbed the pads of his thumbs over her cheeks.

“I know, and I won’t let you have this baby alone. I promise. I’ll be here for you every step of the way. I always have been.”

Deanna’s eyes widened as someone suddenly appeared behind Will and Bev. Will could feel her fear coming off her in waves.

“Please don’t hurt my baby…!”

Will instantly pulled his phaser from its holster and had it trained on the unwanted visitor trying to get to his wife.

“One step closer and this thing will knock you down.”

The humanoid was a bit taller than Riker, but he couldn’t make out his features because of the shadows. He’d have to come in the firelight so that Riker could see him. Will’s communicator as always, served as the universal translator.

“I mean no harm. I was only curious. I’ve never seen a child carried in this fashion before.”

Will could hear Deanna’s thoughts, and they were very strong at the moment.

‘Will don’t let him come close to me. He wants the baby.’

The last sentence made Riker’s breath hitch in his throat. He sent a thought to Deanna trying to reassure her.

‘Don’t worry, I won’t let him hurt you. Bev and I will protect you. We won’t let him take the baby.’

The humanoid male of unknown identity suddenly disappeared in a flash of light and was now a small ball of energy. Riker aimed the phaser at the offending light ball as it came closer to his wife. Bev put a hand on his wrist.

“Will, we don’t know what a phaser blast would do to it. Put it down. Let’s see what it does.”

Against what his better judgment was telling him, he put his phaser back in its holster. His face paled as the light disappeared inside Deanna’s stomach.

“Bev get it out! You heard what it said, I mean what he said, and he said he was curious, but Deanna said that he wanted the baby. Get it out!”

Bev was quick to scan with her tricorder. She shook her head at Will.

“I can’t just get it out Will! I’m not prepared for this! I see two options here, and neither of them are good. A: we induce labor and go through the motions, which could take days. Or B: I perform a Caesarean section and get the baby out that way. Either way, I don’t have an epidural to give her or any local anesthetic. It’ll be very painful for her, and put a lot of stress on the baby.”

Riker ran a hand through his hair and sighed. Deanna groaned and he could only assume that whatever the life force was, was causing her considerable amount of pain. Will watched as Bev scanned Deanna with her tricorder once more over and held her hand tightly. Letting out a shaky breath, Will placed a kiss onto Deanna’s stomach and then looked at Bev.

“Whichever is easiest and safest for the both of them?”

It was more of a question than a statement. Giving a cross between clearing her throat and sighing in frustration she gave her truthful answer.
“The safest option would be A. I’ve got muscle relaxants, but she would not even feel the need to push. Its feel the pain, or not at all. I need you to keep her focused and breathing ok Will?”

A vigorous nod of his head, he pulled his wife into his arms. Bev pulled out a hypospray with a blue substance he’d never seen before. Administering the inducer into the side of Deanna’s neck, they waited in silence for it to take effect. It was 20 minutes before it finally kicked in. Will watched his wife as she blew out a breath. He felt bad for his wife. But wishing away what was happening, wasn’t helping right now. It seemed like forever until the first contraction passed. But it passed. Nature would take its course in due time. Being there for her, and comforting her was all he could do to put his racing mind at ease.

“I’m right here. I won’t leave either of you.”

But he could feel her fear coming off her in waves. It was like getting caught in an undercurrent while swimming in the ocean. Bev all the while kept giving her words of encouragement.

“You’re doing fine. Do you want to speed things up and stand for a while?”

Deanna blew out another breath and nodded her head.

“I would… If I could breathe…”

Bev put one hand on Deanna’s knee, while the other went to her stomach and gently began rubbing it in tiny circular motions.

“Shh, just relax and breathe. Hey, I need you to focus and relax Deanna.”

Troi’s breath was ragged and Will shifted her in his arms.

“Sweetheart, hey, look at me, relax. Breathe with me. Come on. Breathe.”

Deanna tried, but she felt like there was a great weight against her chest. It was hard enough knowing that there was something else inside of her with her baby. Taking another breath, she found it was easier to breathe. A sheen of sweat was covering her forehead. Riker wiped it away with the only cloth he’d found in the med-kit.

“We’ll get through this honey, I promise.”

A scream came forth from Deanna’s throat, and Riker thought he saw something move across her stomach, but it wasn’t the baby. Crusher was quick to remove the blanket from over Troi’s stomach. Will had never seen Bev so nervous/scared before. He could see the fear in her eyes. Gently placing her hands on either side of Deanna’s stomach, she pressed down. Riker couldn’t believe what he was seeing right before his eyes. Bev’s eyes widened and she snatched Will’s hand and placed it where her left hand was.

“Do you feel that? That’s not the baby. That’s the life form.”

Crusher was dead-serious. She moved his hand slightly towards Deanna’s belly button and his eyes widened with fear.

“That’s the life form?”

Nodding, she took her hands away and sat down on the large rock that was next to the bed.

“I’m going in. Maybe I can pull this thing out without harming the baby.”

Will’s face grew two shades of white as he watched Bev do her work. He was trying to be brave through all of this.

“Doesn’t that hurt her? What you’re doing?”

Bev shook her head.

“No, it’s just uncomfortable. I think I’ve almost got the life form. There! I’ve got it.”

As Bev pulled the life form out of Deanna, Will found himself retching into the dirt next to him.

“The sight of this makes you sick? You have to have a pretty strong stomach to be a doctor.”

A sigh of relief washed over Deanna as the pain subsided and the contractions wound down. She could catch her breath much easier now that the life form was out of her. A warm smile crossed her face as she took Will’s hand and squeezed it.

“I’m seeing flashes of our baby. Kait’s got her daddy’s thick dark hair, but my eyes. Can’t tell whose smile she has yet, mine or yours.”

Will’s smile went from ear to ear.

“Really? What else?”

Shaking her head she took in a sharp breath and blew it out between her lips.

“It’s vague. Just flashes really. Oh!”

Riker had threaded both of his hands in hers and held them tightly. He looked to Bev.

“Anything yet?”

She shook her head no.

“Not yet Will. This is going to take time.”

But he was frustrated with how slow everything was going.

“I understand. Can her heart take it?”

Bev nodded yes.

“She’s a strong young woman who knows what she’s doing. Let nature takes its course.”

She looked at the life form with disgust. It had just tried to kill Deanna. As a doctor, she was sworn to do no harm. But as a woman, she had a right to protect those around her. Regardless if they were man, woman or child. Throwing caution to the wind, she threw the life form into the fire. It dissolved instantly. She wasn’t going to let something that had almost killed her best friend try its hand on either herself or Will. Will crinkled his nose at the blood soaking the sleeves of Bev’s uniform.

“You’re up to your elbows in blood.”

Bev cast her gaze at the fire she’d just thrown the life form into.

“I had to get it out Will. It was raising Deanna’s heart rate and blood pressure, and the baby was in respiratory distress.”

Will’s heart clenched at the last sentence.

“Is Kait alright?”

Bev scanned Deanna with her tricorder.

“Baby’s heart rate is going up. Should even out here in a minute. Respiratory movements leveling out and are becoming steady.”

Riker blew out a breath of his own he didn’t even know he was holding until now. Deanna began to cry again. Bev looked her in the eye and put a hand on her knee.

“Deanna look at me. I don’t want you to push yet honey. Don’t strain. It’s not time yet.”

But Deanna couldn’t help it. It was hard enough knowing that her baby was coming, but the pain was beyond intolerable by now.

“But Bev, it hurts so much!”

Bev nodded in sympathy and creased her brows together.

“I know it does. You are doing just fine. But I need you to stop straining. Let your body do what’s natural. Just keep breathing. We’re almost done with this contraction alright?”

Deanna nodded, tiredly, but wasn’t satisfied with Crusher’s answer.

“How much longer?”

Bev knew what Deanna was asking her, but she wasn’t quite sure how to answer her.

“It’ll be awhile Dee. What I want you to do, is to get some sleep alright?”

Will kissed her tears away and watched as she closed her eyes. He and Bev stepped towards the fire and sat on a couple of rocks that were situated next to each other.

“I don’t know how much more of this I can take seeing her like this Bev. It breaks my heart to see her cry like that and I can’t do a thing to make it better. Women really went through this 450 years ago without drugs?”

Bev nodded her head and took out some rations. She handed Will some and he frowned, but took them. They didn’t know what kind of edible plant life or other form of food were on this planet. Rations were all they had.

“Yes, doctors did with what they had. Country doctors did their best, most served as town doctor and veterinarian. They were paid in eggs or given animals as payment because farmers had very little money or none at all to give.”

Riker munched on his rations that was supposed to be bananas and beef jerky. He grimaced and looked at his rations. Could they have picked a better flavor?

“I’ve been dreaming of a nice big fat beef steak with everything. The real thing. Not the replicated stuff.”

Bev shook her head and clucked her tongue against her teeth at him waggling her finger in his general direction.

“Will Riker, you know that’s bad for your coronary arteries.”

Riker dismissed Bev’s comment.

“Nah, it’s not so bad. I didn’t eat beef all the time. Dad preferred the more exotic animals. We ate Elk, Deer, hell, we’ve even had Alligator. What did you eat growing up?”

Bev smiled and thought for a minute.

“Haggis. Nana would cook it once a week. Not too much different from what the Mexican’s eat. Tripe is a bit chewy for my liking, but it’s not too bad. Once you get past the smell. Have you been able to raise the ship Will?”

Shaking his head no, he took a gander back at his wife, who was sleeping fitfully.

“No, there’s still too much interference from the storm outside.”

Bev shook her head and warmed her hands by the fire.

“I may need your help Will. If things start to go south and I need to get the baby out, I’ll need your help. I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do if and when I need it ok?”

Riker nodded his head, though inside, he was nervous as hell. He was going to help Bev deliver his little girl, and they were going to get off this damned planet no matter what.

Lightning struck outside the caves as Deanna screamed.

“I need you to push one more time Deanna! That’s it! Keep going!”

A frown was plastered on Bev’s face as sweat began to pour down it. It had been a long three days, but things were finally progressing along. She looked seriously at Will and motioned for him to come towards her.

“Will I need your help! This baby is coming out Sunnyside up, help me get her out. Put your hand there on her head. I’ve got her shoulders.”

Will’s face turned bright red as he moved his left hand where Bev told him to. His eyes darted left and then right, but he kept his hand on his daughter’s head. He moved his hand a little as Bev got the rest of Kait’s body out. His heart immediately sank and his mouth was slightly ajar.

“Why isn’t she crying? My god she’s purple.”

Bev went to work trying to clear out Kait’s nose and mouth with a bulb syringe. Shaking her head, she noticed it wasn’t helping. So she did what the next logical step called for, she started CPR on her.

Will had no idea what she was doing, but he was at a loss for words. Deanna was a bit disoriented, but then she saw her baby and she began to cry even more. Riker immediately went over to his wife and pulled her into his arms.

She buried her head in his dirtied uniform shirt and sobbed. It was an agonizingly long minute before they started to hear Kait begin to cry. Bev let out a laugh and held Kait up so that Riker and Troi could see her.

“You’ve got one strong little girl! Listen to those lungs!”

Now both parents were crying tears of joy. Beverly Crusher had just saved their daughter’s life on an unrelenting and unyielding planet.

To Be Continued…

Chapter 6: No Reprieve by zeusfluff

The storm outside was still raging, even three days after Kait’s birth. She was getting fussy and they were running out of food. Deanna looked tearfully up from her baby in her arms that she was desperately trying to nurse.

“Bev, she won’t eat.”

Bev took out her tricorder and began scanning both Deanna and Kait.

“Try to guide her toward you one more time.”

Nodding, Deanna did as Bev had instructed her. Bev watched as Kait latched onto her mother and began to suckle. A few seconds later, she let out a hungry and angry cry. She furrowed her eyebrows and looked from her tricorder to Deanna again.

“She’s not acting lethargic. Her cry is good, her reflexes are strong. But your milk supply is getting low.”

Will put a hand on his wife’s shoulder and gave her a small smile.

“Hey, I promised I’d get the two of you out of here, all of us. I’m going to do everything in my power to do just that.”

The angry baby in wait in Deanna’s arms grew angrier as the seconds passed by. Deanna looked back up to Bev with a helpless expression on her face. Taking the baby from Deanna’s arms, Bev tried rocking her. Kait was grabbing at the fabric of her uniform. Sighing, she did her best to distract Kait from getting to something she desperately wanted.

“Sorry kiddo, no can do. These haven’t had sustenance in them for 18 years. No food here.”

Kait grew angrier still. There had to be something they could do. Will was the first to speak up to break the silence.

“Maybe I can find some wild game.”

Kait continued to whine as Bev held her. Sighing once again, she handed her over to Deanna, who did her best to quiet her daughter’s angry cries. She began to rock her, unknowingly and softly shushing her as she did so.

“Hey baby girl, daddy will be back with some food. Hopefully he’ll find enough food so that mommy can feed you. Just go to sleep now.”

Troi sent soothing thoughts to her little girl, and soon she was fast asleep. Bev ran a finger over Kait’s tiny featured face. So much like both her parents. The two friends whispered as Deanna shifted Kait.

“I didn’t know Betazoid children could already hear their parent’s thoughts…”

Deanna smiled and traced Kait’s tiny nose with her index finger.

“They usually don’t. In the first few weeks after their birth, a Betazoid mother and child share a kind of ‘emotional blanket’ relationship. I sent her kind of a mental picture, but as an emotion of her still being inside my womb, where she felt safe and warm. I mean after all, out here it’s cold and dark, and probably doesn’t smell very good to her.”

Bev nodded and looked around the dark, and dank drippy cave. She hoped that Will found something edible soon, she was beginning to feel nauseous.

“What is it?”

Riker shook his head as he turned the creature over on the stick he’d stuck through it.

“I’m not sure, but you yourself Bev said it was edible. Maybe it will taste something like chicken.”

Taking a chance, Will took the first bite from what looked like the tail of the creature.

“Mmm, not bad, but it needs a little something. Like salt. Some spices to make it have a little kick to it. It is protein after all. Here Imzadi, try some.”

Deanna wasn’t sure of its nutritional value, but food was food, and she had to eat. For her baby’s sake. Troi placed her daughter into the makeshift crib Beverly and Will had put together out of wood and placed a few blankets into it for comfort.

Making faces at the meat, she reluctantly ate the rest of what her husband gave her. Will looked her in the eye, she didn’t look well. He swore he heard a slight rattling sound coming forth from his wife’s lungs. Bev was the first to pick up on it.

“Deanna, you are looking unusually pale. How are you feeling?”

Troi shook her head and finished off her piece of meat.

“Honestly? I’ve got chills, sometimes it’s hard to breathe, and I’ve been coughing a lot.”

Bev’s lips went into a thin grim line as she scanned Deanna with her tricorder. Shaking her head, she shut her tricorder and placed it back into what was left of her med-kit.

“You’ve got the beginning stages of Pneumonia. But what also compounds it, you’ve also got an infection inside your uterus. The only way I can treat that is with antibiotics, but not until we regain contact with Enterprise. If I knew those berries farther in the cave were edible, I’d give them to you. What you need is plenty of rest, more fluids and food.”

Deanna nodded and leaned back against the flat pillow on the bed. Could this situation get any worse?

To Be Continued…

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