Stardate Unknown, as the U.S.S Enterprise flies through space quietly and effortlessly. It seemed like a normal day on the ship when Deanna Troi felt something. It was an interesting feeling of peace and confusion.
“Is everything okay, Counselor Troi?” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the captain of the U.S.S Enterprise asked, gently touching her shoulder.
Deanna nodded confused. “I think so. I’m sensing something strange. A mixed emotion from somewhere.”
“Captain,” Lieutenant Data, an android humanoid said. “I am picking up something on the scanners. It appears to be coming from the gas planet in front of us.”
Jean-Luc looked at the screen confused, as a not too small and not too large gas ball came into view. “Come to a complete stop, Data.”
“I can sense it stronger now, Captain,” Deanna said, standing up from her seat. “It appears to be coming from the planet.”
“That is impossible, Counselor,” Data stated. “The planet is made up of gas. It is uninhabitable.”
“Data, check the sensors on the ship. I believe I see something on the outer orbit,” Jean-Luc said, with a wave of his hand.
With a few clicks, Data gathered intel on what the ship had picked up and what Deanna must have been feeling. Everyone looked at the screen as Data blew up the picture to get a better look.
“Is that a pod?” Commander William Riker asked, confused.
“It would appear so, Sir,” Data said. “And it appears to have life aboard.”
Jean-Luc shook his head, baffled. “How is that possible?”
Deanna lifted her right hand to her temple and used the chair to support herself as she became faint. “Whatever is on that pod, we need to get it. I’m feeling something really strong. And it’s alive.”
“Set a beam to it,” Jean-Luc said. “Let’s pull it out and safely away from the planet. Maybe we can beam whatever is on there to the ship.”
On the captain’s mark, the crew managed to grab the pod with a tractor beam and pulled it away from the planet and far enough away from the planet. This sudden new encounter caused the entire ship to become curious. Captain Picard ordered his crew to teleport whatever was on the pod into the transporter room and to allow the pod to be examined.
“Data, Riker, and Troi, come with me,” Jean-Luc ordered as he made his way to the elevator.
“How do you feel, Deanna?” Riker asked the Counselor. “Do you still have strong feelings?”
Deanna nodded. “I am almost certain that whatever this is, is human.”
“We are about to find out if that’s certain,” Riker said as the elevator reached the transporter room.
As soon as they entered the room, they were all shocked to see a young woman. Dr. Beverly Crusher was already on site examining her. She greeted them with a small smile.
“What’s the news, Doctor?” Jean-Luc asked.
“Well, she’s alive. And not a moment too soon. The pod she was in was nearly out of oxygen,” Dr. Crusher said. “She’s very lucky.”
“How old is she?” Riker asked, looking over the doctor’s shoulder. “She looks very young.”
“If I’d have to guess, I would say she’s at least twenty-three,” Dr. Crusher said. “I’m going to get her to Sickbay and do further exams on her to make sure she’s one hundred percent.”
“Inform me when she wakes up, Doctor,” Jean-Luc said.
“Captain, I’m a bit concerned,” Dr. Crushed said quietly so the others wouldn’t hear. “When she wakes up she will be confused and scared. I fear if she sees Data, it will make matters worse.”
Jean-Luc placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled reassuringly. “We can’t hide the wonders of our ship from her, Doctor. We will slowly introduce things to her, including Data.”
Dr. Crusher nodded and followed her team back to Sickbay. Her words played like a record in his head as he thought about how the young girl might react in knowing she wasn’t on earth, let alone in the year she was from.
“Commander Riker,” Captain Picard said. “Get a room ready for our young new guest. We want her to be comfortable when she wakes up. Make it 2020 themed.”
“Yes, sir,” Riker nodded with a smile.
He too was fearful of her reaction when she would wake up. He couldn’t imagine waking up from an unknown sleep and not knowing where he was or when he was. Riker was sure almost everyone on the ship had the same feeling; this was going to be a very interesting adventure.
Captain Picard made it back to the bridge when Dr. Crusher called for him to come to Sickbay. She informed him that the young woman had woken up and she was, as Crusher guessed, frightened. When Jean-Luc arrived at Sickbay, he turned to Data.
“Um, Data, I think you should wait here,” the captain said.
Data tilted his head curiously. “May I ask, why, Captain?”
“Considering this young lady is from the year 2020 and she has woken up in the future, I don’t think she would be ready to meet a humanoid,” Jean-Luc said, a slight smile on his face.
Data nodded. “Understood, sir.”
Jean-Luc smirked and entered the room where his eyes met with fearful ones of a young girl. Dr. Crusher was standing by her bedside. The young girl’s brown shoulder length hair was a mess. She had her legs pulled up to her chest and her green eyes looked frightened.
“Hello Captain,” Dr. Crusher acknowledged him with a worried nod. “This is Joelle Carter. She’s from Michigan.”
Jean-Luc extended his hand slowly. “Hello, Joelle. My name is Jean-Luc Picard. I’m the captain of the U.S.S Enterprise.”
Dr. Crusher cleared her throat and made a face as to say, don’t say too much about the ship. Jean-Luc caught on and changed the subject.
“What can you tell me about yourself my dear?” the captain asked.
Joelle shook her head and sniffed. “All I remember is, I was leaving my house heading to a job interview. The next thing I remember is, I woke up here… Where is here…?”
Jean-Luc made glances at Dr. Crusher, as if asking her for help in answering the question. They wanted to be very careful in telling her where they actually were. But they also knew, the less they told her, the more curious she would be.
“You are on board the U.S.S Enterprise,” Dr. Crusher began. “A star ship.”
Joelle’s eyes blinked a few times. “A star ship? Meaning, outer space star ship? Or maybe a cruise line?”
Joelle quickly slid out of her bed and ran to a window to peek out. What met her eyes was shocking as little white dots passed by the window quickly. Darkness was beyond the eye could see. She started to breathe heavily as she fell backwards, Jean-Luc catching her.
“Where… How… When?” was all she could say.
“I think you better sit down for this,” Dr. Crusher said, calmly. “You’re most definitely not in Michigan. We all are traveling through the galaxy, exploring strange new worlds and meeting extraordinary species.”
During the pause, the door opened and Data walked through as if he had news for the captain. He made eye contact with the scared young lady but his eyes quickly diverted to the captain’s.
“Captain, forgive the intrusion,” Data began. “But you are needed on the bridge immediately.”
“Data, we have discussed this before,” Jean-Luc said through clenched teeth as he noticed Joelle’s demeanor had changed once she saw Data.
The humanoid looked at a frightened Joelle and nodded. “I do apologize.”
“Riker, show our guest to her quarters,” the captain said, giving Data a look.
“Captain, if you don’t mind,” Deanna spoke up. “I would like to escort her.”
Jean-Luc waved his approval and left the room in silence. Joelle was visibly shaking, her eyes wide with fear. Deanna gave her a soft reassuring smile and gently touched her arm.
“Hello, Joelle,” Deanna said, softly. “I am Deanna Troi. I know you’re frightened but I can assure you, no one is going to hurt you. If you follow me, I will show you where you will be staying. I hope it is comfortable for you.”
Although a bit hesitant, Joelle followed Deanna out of Sickbay. Joelle retreated inside of herself and her movements became tighter as she passed different species she had thought didn’t exist. Deanna slid her hand through Joelle’s arm and walked behind her, arms entangled in hopes this would make her feel less afraid. Deanna could feel every emotion Joelle was feeling and she knew it was very overwhelming. She had hope that Joelle’s comfort level would change if she met Data again.