As I disappear in the Disintegrator on Talan IV after being accused of killing Divara, the Regent of the City, I get the feeling that this post could be a very short one indeed.
Then I reappear on one of the Transporters of the Enterprise. Data and Riker are there. Beverly is still weeping away, but this time with relief.
"What happened, Number One?" I ask him.
"As we were watching the incident, Captain." he replies, "We timed the beaming up to the precise time you were being disintegrated, so the Transporter could collect all your atoms. It was very close."
"What would you have done had it gone wrong, Mr Data?" I inquire.
"Fortunately that did not happen" he answers with a very calm voice, intimating that it's best not to think about that.
"Now that I am 'dead'" I tell them, "We can look for the real culprit. Have you any ideas?"
They look blank, like a private eye who has been paid an expensive retainer but not found anything.
"Negative, Captain." responds Data, "We considered whether there was anybody who wanted you dead, but the list was too long to check."
"Maybe they just wanted Divara dead." chips in Worf, "And you just happened to be conveniently around as someone to blame."
A very political answer.
"Let's look into that and see what we find." I tell them.
A short time later, Data comes back.
"We have found that Sokana, the Deputy Regent of the City badly wanted the position Divara held." he tells us, "Sokana was seen in The Sleazy Talan, an inn of some dubiousness and some other less reputable places seeking out Dekon. He is a shapeshifter that was rumoured to be in this sector."
"A shapeshifter." comments Beverly, "That would explain a lot."
"Yes it would," I say, "You'll all have to look in the seedy establishments and seek him out."
The crew dress in slovenly outfits that make them all seem rather fearful. I must admit that Worf and Seven look fearful anyway.
I stay behind, as I am supposed to be dead.
A few hours later, they return with a large bucket.
"Dekon is in here." Jadzia tells me, "Having known Constable Odo, I can tell how a shapeshifter operates. We can turn Dekon over to the authorities."
"He will try and get less time by implicating his conspirator Sokana." Riker comments, "I'm sure they will keep him in his bucket."
Let's hope no one uses it to clean any windows." Beverly adds drily.
Two hours later, Sokana is apprehended, and the authorities are made aware of me still being alive.
"We considered penalising you for you attempted prison break and rescue from the Disintegrator." says the Mayor to me over the video screen, "But as you were innocent, we will overlook this and let you go."
That's good of them.
Another face then comes on the screen.
Jody Carrot, my cellmate who tried to escape with me.
"Hey Picard!" he says, "Glad to see you're on the outside! Before you go, you wouldn't mind beaming me outta the big house would ya? Ma says there is trouble brewin in my gang."
Time to switch the screen off!