Things are looking bleak for Riker, Data and myself.
Due to an ion storm the three of us have encountered, we have slipped into an alternate universe where the Federation is ruled by women. Beverly is Captain Howard, which was her maiden name. Deanna is the Commander.
At present, we are being taken to do a menial job by Deanna and the Head of Security, who is Seven.
We turn a corner; Deanna nods her head, and Seven agrees. No one is around. Things now look even worse. Are we going to get thrown out of the nearest airlock?
Instead, we are pushed into an empty room and told to be quiet by Deanna.
"What is going on, Deanna" I ask, then regret it, as I expect another face-slapping for not addressing her properly.
"Are you with us in the struggle?" she asks me.
"What do you mean?"
"There have been many in the Federation Female Empire who have been secretly working to overthrow the society." Seven tells us, "We want men and women to work together."
"That is how it is in our universe, Seven." Data tells her.
"That's what Seven and I thought when we heard what you said, Captain Picard" Deanna says eagerly, "You might be able to help us."
I don't think the Prime Directive exists here; I hope not.
"It sounds like you just want to be Captain of the Enterprise, Deanna." I say, "Beverly appears to think you are her friend and very loyal to her."
"Be careful what you say, Captain." Seven warns me, "We could kill you for that; however, we both want something. Help us, and you can have the shuttle with the settings of where you came from so you can return to your universe."
Data, Riiker and I discuss the problem; it seems like the Prime Directive is going to be broken again. Still, maybe it doesn't count here and they don't have one? Let's go along with that belief.
"What do we have to do?" I ask.
"Send a message to Captain Howard, Deanna continues, "Telling her you are really a member of the anti-Federation Female Empire, saying you are holding us hostage; make sure the message goes to Starfleet as well. It will give them the idea she is bad at her job in letting you on. She will then be replaced by her second in command...me!"
How sneaky can you get!
"What happens to us?" Riker inquires.
"When we let you go," Seven tells us, "We will tell the FFE you overpowered us and escaped. Beverly Howard will get all the blame!"
The door opens; I sense a problem coming.
"Oh, will she?" says Beverly, as she walks in the door, "You forget that I've had 'Big Sister' listening devices installed in all rooms so to be able to pick up any trace of rebel activity. I thought you were my loyal Number One, Deanna?"
"Men and women need to be together, Beverly." Deanna replies.
"Women rule!" the Captain replies, "It will always be that way. Men are irrelevant; resistance is futile."
Now where have I heard that before?
Deanna and Seven rush at Beverly and overpower her, and we are urged to leave. I ask what will happen, but are told hurriedly it will work out. Beverly is still trying to break free.
We get to where the shuttlecraft is located and head out at warp speed towards the ion cloud, where the heart of the storm is. The Enterprise follows us, But Data's piloting skills make us avoid it's missiles.
Who is now running the Enterprise; no way to tell.
The Enterprise is just on the rim of the ion cloud, but is forced to turn back; as we carry on, we get the familiar buzz of circuits blowing up everywhere.
Why do circuits always do this? I guess it's something to think about, but strangely, this is not an appropriate time. I'm surprised it doesn't happen to Data. Maybe he has a built-in circuit-breaker?
Eventually, we reach the Enterprise; thankfully, it's not painted pink, and doesn't have the FFE logo on it.
After a while back on board, I tell Beverly all about the incident.
"There's no reason I can't be Captain in the future, Jean-Luc." she tells me with a smile, "After all, I have Command status, just like Deanna. I sit in the Captain's chair for the night shift occasionally."
"That's true" I reply, "But I'd rather it be Beverly Crusher in charge of the ship, than Beverly Howard."