I'm called in to answer a video message which has 'Urgent: Priority' on it.
Has the galaxy been invaded by super-beings bent on domination, or is it something far more trivial?
It's usually the latter.
A face I don't recognise comes on the screen.
"Hello, Captain Picard." he says, "I'm Perry Black, editor of the Federation Gazette; we've got quite a crisis on our hands here at the Gazette."
"What does this have to do with me, Mr err...Black." I ask him in puzzlement.
"Well as you know," he replies, "Counselor Deanna Troi has gone to an enclosed meeting for couselors on Revon VI, and cannot be contacted. However, she has forgotten to complete her column for the paper."
"What column?" I inquire. This is getting crazier by the minute.
"Didn't you know?" asks Black in astonishment, "Deanna Troi is the Agony Aunt on the 'Dear DeeDee' Problem Page. I know she keeps her identity a secret from readers, but I thought she might have told you."
"Well, she didn't!" I retort.
"Look, Captain." Black says, "We are desperate; we've got to have a couple of problems sent to us in an hour. Can you look in her files and pick a couple to do yourself?"
"What! you want me to...."
"You have her list of problems" Black reminded me, "Counselor Troi would have wanted you to do it."
With a grudging acceptance, I tell Black that I'll send some answers through Deanna's file.
A few moments later, I am in Deanna's office where her computer is. Fortunately, she doesn't have a password, and I see the file marked 'DeeDee'. There are a list of problems on her desk, so I look through them...
I am going to marry a girl who is now divorced. She has two children who hate me. How can I make them accept me as their stepfather?
Yours, Anxious Fiance'.
I think about this; handling children is not my best subject. Perhaps I should overlook this one and look for an easier one?
No, I'm supposed to be DeeDee, so I ought to answer it.
Dear Anxious Fiance,
There is only one thing that will work; bribery. Lots of gifts may seem expensive, but if it all ends up as one happy family, all well and good. If this fails to work, tell the children privately that you'll have them relocated to an outpost on the edge of the galaxy so that you and their mother can enjoy wedded bliss.
That seemed easy enough; let's try another....
I have been sent by my superior to live on a starship to see how humans live before we assimil...I mean before we get to know them more. The trouble is, I am having trouble fitting in. All too often, I seem to annoy people. They don't like it when I threaten them and tell them we are a superior race.
Awaiting your answer,
Not Fitting In.
Hmmm. I'm not sure, but this one seems like something that is familiar to me.... Sill, let's see what I can come up with...
Dear Not Fitting In,
You clearly have a problem that may be something to do with attitude. Never mind whether you are a superior race. Be more friendly to the others on the starship. Chat about the weather or everyday conversations in breaks and in the restaurant. Join in the fun, crack a few jokes and you will find the crew warming to you.
There, that was good. I send those off to Perry Black, and he thanks me for helping him and keeping 'Dear DeeDee' going. He also asks if I want to deputise in the future, but I quickly turn him down.
A few hours later, Seven comes up to me.
"Locutus." she tells me, "Did you see a document in Counselor Troi's office that I may have left there?"
"No, Seven." I reply, "I saw nothing there."
She appears to breathe a sigh a relief, but looks agitated when she can't find it herself. A little later she pretends to be alright.
"I need to go to my alcove and relax!" she says in a panic.
I wonder what that was all about?