Chapter One: Allow me to help

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The planet shook, sending rocks and other debris to the solid ground. Jagged chunks of stone sheered away from the ceiling as the seismic activity continued.

"When I asked for something different, this isn't what I had in mind," Captain Jean-Luc Picard commented as he narrowly avoided being crushed by a rolling boulder. Not an overly athletic man, he was in remarkably good shape for his age. Despite that, he was able to dodge the majority of the larger debris falling all around.

Behind him, Lieutenant Commander Data and Lieutenant Worf helped Deanna Troi navigate the ever changing tunnel. They'd come to investigate some ruins the Captain had been interested in. It was supposed to be a nice time away, a bit of relaxation ordered by Dr. Crusher. But it had turned into something much worse when the planet began heaving like it was having a seizure.

Data held a tricorder in one hand, scanning the area as he walked, seemingly unbothered by the shaking ground. "The mineral deposits in the cave walls are still too dense for the transporter to lock onto our signals," he announced. "And I am no longer certain we are headed towards the surface. In fact, I believe we are headed in the opposite direction."

Picard frowned as he took in that information. This was supposed to be a simple vacation, one he'd felt more than confident about. And, against his first officer's advice, he'd decided to go down. He'd rather felt a need for a change in scenery, and the good doctor had agreed. Just not like this. Part of him now wished he'd chosen a different planet for his shore leave time.

The ground gave another shudder, sending Troi to her knees. She scrambled to get back up. Data pushed her to one side as a boulder rolled where her legs were only moments before. Unfortunately, the force of his push sent her into the wall, her left side ramming against the stone with incredible force. Her head followed from the whiplash, cracking against the wall.

"Counselor!" Picard immediately discarded any thought of personal safety and went to help his injured crewmate. He knew the android hadn't meant to use such an intense force to move her out of harm's way so he didn't reprimand him. If he hadn't taken the initiative, Deanna would have been crushed instead of battered.

A smattering of small boulders had congregated around the woman and both Data and Worf went to work removing them. Luckily, none of the stones had touched the ship's counselor, though her skin pallor had lightened considerably as she clutched at her left arm. She gasped as the captain pulled her free from the debris. It was hard to tell what damage had been done, but she felt sure something had broken in her arm.

Data pulled out his tricorder once more, making a few adjustments while Picard and Worf helped their injured comrade to a less congested part of the tunnel. Modifications complete, he scanned the injured woman. "While inconclusive, scans indicate you may be suffering from a mild concussion," he announced. "Also, it would appear that you have broken your humerus."

Picard frowned. "A broken arm," he sighed. But at least it wasn't as bad as it could be. He cradled the woman's arm as he assisted her over to a fallen chunk of rock. At least this area seemed less inclined to drop on them than the section they'd just vacated.

"Isn't that what I just said?" Data asked, somewhat confused as he put his device away.

"We should keep moving," Worf commented as more debris showered down on the party. "If we can find a more stable location, we can tend to her wounds then. Our highest priority should be reaching safety."

When Picard glanced questioningly at the ship's counselor, she nodded. "I'll be fine once we're clear of this."

Picard nodded, and then helped her to her feet, careful not to jostle her arm. "Lean against me if you feel the need," he instructed. "We'll get you out of here." He felt more concerned with the idea of her having a concussion than he was for the broken arm. Arms could be mended, but concussions sent their own patterns of chaos into things.

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