"And These Are My Friends----"
Troi lowered her book and let out a long sigh.
It had been quite a week. Three
family crises, two
evaluations, a major supervisor problem, and, Troi fingered her collar --- I
am now a full
and a real, certified bridge officer.
she enjoyed getting out of her uniform and into something lighter and looser
as soon as she got
duty, but this week was different. Somehow,
she wanted to stay in uniform, so, Troi laughed, if a
attack started and she had to Captain the ship, at least she'd look the part.
was just settling back into the pages of her current ancient western when the
no, no. You come to the
door" Troi heard both the
words and the laughter in her head.
the moment, she sent back "Why should I?"
Will, why didn't you say so?" Troi
rolled off the couch and headed for the door.
the doors separated, she was confronted with not only a grinning Will Riker,
but LaForge, Crusher,
and Data. The humans were
snickering, Worf was as close as he ever came to a smile, and Data was,
stuffed a bundle of white cloth at her. "Here,
put this on."
was caught a bit off guard. "Would
someone mind telling me what is going on?"
just kept grinning. "I said,
put this on. We're taking you to
stood her ground. "I repeat,
would someone mind telling me what is going on?"
dressed, Deanna" Crusher taunted. "There's
a party on the holodek, and you're the guest of honor."
unravelled the bundle. It was
some sort of long, white, flowing robe. "And
I have to wear this?"
changed now, or I'll do it for you" Riker returned.
pulled herself up to her full height, and answered in the most formal tone she
could muster "Given a
Commander, I'll change myself."
soon as she disappeared back into her quarters, the mob in the hall broke into
excited chatter. "Great,
LaForge bubbled "she doesn't have any idea what's going happen."
continued to observe the interaction. "Geordi,
what is the purpose of such ceremonies? My
that such rituals extend back to ‑‑‑"
purpose," LaForge explained "is to have fun.
And to congratulate an officer on a new promotion."
Worf, did you get the program set up? I
mean, is it authentic? Will it
look right?" Crusher queried.
rumbled his reply. "I assure
you, doctor, the setting is suitable. We
have programmed an arena,
and large terran felines."
to mention a throne for the Emperor!"
of "The Emperor"" LaForge asked, "Where is he?"
said he'd meet us at holodek two" Crusher assured.
"Don't worry, he'll show. I
that point, Troi reappeared, and the noisy group began herding the somewhat
puzzled counselor down
snickered as he spotted the captain waiting at the holodek doors.
Oh, it's good for him, Riker mused.
needs to relax and enjoy himself more.
Crusher said sweetly "Is the Emperor ready to preside over the
shuddered and shook her head. "The
assure you all, I am ready to assume my duties."
Picard stated formally. "And
the prisoner appears to be
took two steps back, but Riker caught her arm.
"Prisoner?" she tentatively asked.
prisoner." Worf replied.
"Prepare to meet with justice."
gasped as the holodek opened. The
setting was unmistakable to anyone who had studied earth history.
It was a coliseum, straight out of ancient Rome, complete with an
Emperor's throne, balcony seating over the main arena, and, down on the
stadium floor, there were, --- my God, Troi realized, LIONS?
settled into the "throne". "Bring
the prisoner forward!"
and LaForge each grabbed an arm and turned her to face Picard.
was starting to laugh. Okay, this
was it. They were rewarding her
for her promotion. Most of the
ceremonies involved a routine on an old sailing ship.
Apparently, they had decided on something
for her. Well, she chuckled,
relax and enjoy it.
Picard began "Number One, please read the charges against the
produced a long, parchment‑like scroll.
"We, your friends and comrades, do hereby charge with the
crimes, both overt and heinous: You
have performed far above the call of duty on numerous
You have been a constant source of wisdom and emotional support for the
entire crew. You
acted with great courage. Recently,
you have overstepped the previous bounds of your duties and
and become a certified bridge officer."
Riker looked up from the scroll and grinned.
committed the most serious wrong of all --- being the best friend anyone could
do you answer these charges?" Picard demanded.
don't know" Troi was laughing so hard she could barely speak.
One, add disrespect to the list of crimes.
And prepare the prisoner for the lions!"
produced a length of rope. "Since
I'm the one you "killed" to get this promotion, I get to tie you
wrinkled her nose and pointed at the rope.
"Is that really necessary?"
I suggest you cooperate" Worf
grinning ear to ear, LaForge finished wrapping the rope around Deanna's middle
and secured her hands loosely behind her back.
Picard ordered her "Prisoner, prepare to meet your god."
lions began to pace and twitch hungrily.
since I had to put up with you while you taking that bridge exam," Riker
snickered "I get to toss you in."
scooped up the counselor and held her over the railing that marked the balcony's
knew it was all a joke, but she couldn't block fear totally out of her mind. Riker was holding her over a
meter drop, and those lions did look pretty hungry.
With her hands tied, she couldn't grab onto him, or
him the nose either, for that matter.
Riker swung her out over the railing.
Troi screeched. The other humanoids chuckled.
Another swing, more screaming, more laughter.
that moment, Troi heard Crusher yell "Computer, change program, to Riker
Her ropes disappeared, and Riker let go, sending her shrieking over the
railing, and plunging to
Troi hit the water butt first, and when she got herself back to the
surface, she saw that the arena
been transformed to what she guessed was a Roman public bath, except that she
had it all to herself.
giggled at the soaked, toga-wrapped woman in the pool.
"Nice hairdo, Deanna! Mott
overtime on that one!"
licked his lips. "Betazoids
like water, I'm told. We hope you
appreciate the setting for your party."
just kept on laughing. Data just
kept on observing.
could hardly stand it. Tears ran
down his face. "Worf's right,
Imzadi, you always liked a good swim."
said nothing. He simply leaned over
the railing and waved a taunting hello.
Troi thought, treading water and letting her robe float out around her, it could
be worse. I could have
been thrown to the lions. Or, I
could have missed out on having friends like these people.
smacked the water in front of her in a futile attempt to splash the spectators
high above on the balcony.
all dead! I'll get every one of
you! When you least expect it!
Troi's colleagues and friends continued to laugh, hooting and whistling as she
flapped in the pool