Imbalance (Book #22)
by V E Mitchell
Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise are requested to lead the negotiations
for the Jarada, an Insectoid race, who are on the verge of joining the Federation.
Picard, Worf, Beverly, Deanna, Keiko and Will beam down to the planet, and all seems well. One by one, the away team are separated in a guise to show or display each one of them their talents and their planet. Will is lead off to demonstrate his musical skills. Beverly is shown the laboratories. Worf, the military school, and Keiko, the diverse flora and fauna on the planet. Picard and Troi beam back to the Enterprise, unaware that there is treachery afoot.
It is not long before each member of the away team realise that something is wrong, particularly when they lose contact with their ship. Deep within the tunnels, Will and his escort are chased by a group of marauding Jarada. Beverly, upon reaching the laboratories, is kidnapped and ordered to find a cure for a disease that is affecting the Jarada. It is soon apparent that this is the true reason for the Jarada's initial call to the Federation; to help them cure the insanity that is claiming the insectoid's.
Meanwhile, Worf too is under attack and manages to escape into the vast network of tunnels, and Keiko, out in the open is also in trouble when she happens upon a war-party.
Back on board the Enterprise, Picard and the crew soon realise that all is not well when their ship becomes a target too, and after capturing a couple of the attackers, they beam them back to the the Enterprise and discover the disease for themselves. One by one, they trace their missing crew mates and manage to establish a lock and beam them off the planet, all battered and bruised from their ordeals. Beverly manages to find the cause for the disease and after issuing the cure, the Jarada request that the Enterprise, and the Federation, leave them in peace.
Notable Imzadi moment:
"You sure know how to reassure a person." He said the words deadpan,
but after a moment his face cracked into a grin.
Troi chuckled with him. "It is my job, you know. Someone had to keep you command types grounded in reality."
"Touche." Riker turned his attention to his lunch, polishing it off quickly so he could get back to duty. He hadn't really been hungry, but he knew they would be too busy later for him to take a break. As it was, he finished ahead of Troi. While he waited for her, he allowed himself the luxury of admiring how the glow from the table painted golden highlights on her cheek-bones and disappeared into the midnight cascade of her hair. Friends and once more than friends, the understanding between them was part of the teamwork that made the Enterprise such a special place for him.
Thank you Carol for putting this together =)