I've just had a message to use the Emergency Starfleet Channel. It's for my eyes only, so it must be important.
I wonder if it's about the over-raucous behaviour at our Christmas Party?
Still, I switch on, and Admiral Johnson is there; he is in charge of Starfleet Security.
"We've got a problem, Captain Picard." he says, "We've found this Recruitment Message from Section 31, and find it very disturbing."
"One of them approached me a while back, Sir." I reply, "We don't know where their operatives are within Starfleet."
"Exactly right, Captain." Johnson tells me, "We need a member of your crew to infiltrate them and find out more; you wouldn't be good, as you have turned them down, and they would be suspicious."
That's a relief! I'm not going on this mission. I can stay behind and write more Christmas cards to those I forgot to send.
"How about Commander Riker?" Johnson suggests, "As he has been second in command on the Enterprise. for some time, they might think he has a resentment towards being in that position."
Sometimes, I think he has.
"That's a good choice, sir; I'll inform Riker and we'll send him."
Johnson switches off, and I summon Riker into my Ready Room.
After explaining the situation to Riker, he looks concerned.
"Sir, Deanna and I are scheduled to visit Betazed and say hello to her mother just before Christmas."
"Would you rather go on a dangerous mission, Number One" I ask him, "Or spend a couple of days with Lwaxana Troi?"
Riker soon answers.
"You're right sir; when is the next pickup of recruits for Section 31?"
"I want to go with Will!" Deanna protests, "If we can't go to Betazed, then I want to go with him on this mission!"
"It's too dangerous, Counselor." I reply, although I know I'll probably end up backing down.
"They know that Will and I are a couple." she continues, "If he goes without me, it will look suspicious."
She has a point; no wonder she is a counselor.
"What do you think, Number One?" I ask.
"It is too dangerous, Captain." Riker says, "Deanna is only a woman."
That was a foolish statement.
Deanna swiftlly grabs Riker's arm, twists him round, kicks his leg, and in an instant, he is pushed on the floor.
"I have been taking Worf's self-defence classes." she declares, "I can look after myself."
Riker struggles to get up, but manages.
"It seems like Counselor Troi is right." I decide, "Very well, you may both go on this mission."
"Where do we go?" asks Deanna.
"You will both have to wear a dark outfit." I reply, "And wait in the alley at the rear of Starfleet Headquarters. Santini's Pizza Parlour is next door."
A ferw hours later, both Deanna and Riker are ready to beam down. The Counselor has a long black party dress on, together with a dark coat. Riker is all dressed in black as well, as if he is about to burgle a house.
"Good luck, the both of you." I tell them, before they beam down.
To be continued...