Chapter Nine: Something Going On

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Lieutenant Worf frowned as he stood near the door of the room he'd been assigned. Unlike on the Enterprise, they were given bedrooms instead of suites. He supposed it couldn't be helped, but wondered why he was required to share his space with Lieutenant Commander Data. At least there had been enough rooms to provide both Deanna Troi and the Captain their own rooms, as was appropriate.

"I do not like it," Worf announced, arms crossed over his chest as usual. "This situation is entirely too out of hand." And even though the chicken their hosts had supplied had been delicious, he was still wary of everyone in the building.

Picard closed the book he'd picked up from the nightstand. "Agreed," he said, "though I rather think they're trying their best. It can't be helped." He turned towards Deanna, who had joined them for the impromptu meeting. "What do you think, Counselor?"

Deanna adjusted her arm in its sling to try and find a more comfortable position. "It's difficult to say," she admitted. "I sense no ill intent coming from our hosts. They are rather young, though each seems to be hiding something, probably of a personal nature. I wouldn't worry too much about it. However, our presence here is not viewed with equal feelings of cordiality, but I sense they are all trying to cope with it. They seem to mainly see our presence as more of an inconvenience than anything else."

"Continued scans indicate there are no weapons other than those displayed by our hosts upon our rescue," Data observed. "Their technology is decidedly less advanced than our own, but is impressive in its own right. I would not mind learning more about it or them."

The ship's counselor shifted positions once more, crossing one leg over the other as she sat on the edge of one of the beds. "There is something you should know," she admitted. "It would seem that this unusual group has undergone some recent hardship. I don't know what it is, but it has given several of them an edge of fear. Their leader, Hiro, is giving off feelings of determination that are far beyond any normal levels for that age. Out of all of them, I feel he is the most likely to be hiding something."

Picard looked up at that comment, his hands resting in his lap. "The boy?" He ran a hand over his smooth head. "Yes, I did think there was something going on with him. And some of the comments his friends have said support that. I do find it quite interesting that they have already encountered alien life, despite not having warp technology. Apparently this is a world where things are out of the usual order."

The captain stood and began pacing. He stopped to turn towards his science officer. "Data, I want you to do all you can to learn about these people and their technology. There must be a computer somewhere you can access. Do what you can." His attention turned to the Klingon. "Worf, keep an eye on our hosts as much as possible, the boy in particular. I want to know what he's hiding and why."

"Captain," Deanna spoke up again, "shouldn't we be focusing our attention on finding a way back home? While I appreciate trying to understand the world we are currently on, our priority should be finding a way back to the Enterprise."

But Picard shook his head. "Q brought us here," he reminded. "And I doubt anyone else but Q can take us back home. We will, of course, keep an open eye for him. But, in the meantime, I want to know everything there is to know about this place."

Deanna smiled. "Always the explorer," she mused. "Very well. What do you want me to do?" She sat up, sliding a few inches closer to the edge of the bed.

"I want you to keep tabs on their emotional status," Picard requested. "Learn all you can. I have the feeling that out of all of us, you are the most likely to succeed in befriending them, especially the two females, what did they call themselves?"

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