Chapter Fourteen - Onwards
The situation on the planet below had been closely followed by both the team of scientists still hiding amongst them, and also by the Enterprise. Whilst there were no signs of the various countries signing a peace treaty just yet, most of the individual powers had stepped down and were avoiding a conflict. Salixa and Zyddra had stopped directly challenging and accusing each other as well.
"Never underestimate the power of the masses, and the importance of keeping their good opinions," he said cheerfully when a number of them met up in Ten Forward the next day.
"But how can a few stand up to those in power?" Lukas was still wrapping his head around the idea.
"They may not have the weapons or the power, but guerrilla fighters often have drive and the benefit of knowledge and ingenuity to aid them," Benton explained.
"It's an odd concept, but I can see how it works," Dafydd nodded.
"So what is the plan now?" the Brigadier asked.
"The Enterprise will remain here for another week just in case, then continue on with their planned route. Captain Picard will be recovered enough for light duties after that time," Riker revealed.
"And what about us?" Lukas asked worriedly.
"Although your President seems content to follow the general cease-fire at the moment, we are aware of the potentially dangerous situation you'd face if you went home. If you want to then we can return you to the planet. However, Starfleet has agreed to offer you citizenship should you wish to stay with us," Commander Riker offered them.
"Or you can come with us if you want, UNIT would happily accept you as a part of our team," the Brigadier also extended the invitation.
"It may be primarily a military organisation but we do also have a small scientific division, and our level of technology is more similar to that on your planet," Benton added.
"But your birth records wouldn't exist for us?" Dafydd said questioningly.
"We're part of the government, we created an identity for the Doctor. Two more people isn't going to be difficult," the Brigadier said confidently.
"How quickly do we have to decide?" the two refugees looked at each other.
"We will have to be going soon, I still need these two to come with me for a short period," the Doctor reminded the UNIT soldiers. "But we can give you a couple of days. If Commander Riker doesn't mind us being here?"
"After your help? You are welcome to stay as long as you wish," Riker said emphatically.
Two days later Captain Picard was released from Sickbay, on strict orders from Doctor Crusher to not overexert himself. Although he wasn't signed off for active duty the man was there in full uniform to see off the TARDIS.
"It has been good to see you again Doctor," Picard said.
"I'm sure I will look forward to seeing you again in the future," the Doctor smiled at the revelation.
"How do you get used to that concept?" Riker asked as he shook hands with the Brigadier.
"I've worked with the doctor for three years and I still find myself stumbling over it. It helps not to overthink it," the Brigadier sighed.
"Thank you for hosting us Captain Picard," Benton said as he saluted.
"The pleasure was all ours, Sergeant Benton," Captain Picard offered his hand to the man.
"I wish you the best in all your future endeavours," Beverly said as she shook hands with Dafydd and Lukas.
"It's certainly going to be amazing," Dafydd said with a slightly weak smile.
"We'll do best with UNIT," Lukas said, both to the doctor but also seemingly as encouragement. "Starfleet seems like an ideal organisation, but we are too out of sync to make it here. Something a bit more homey sounds good to me."
"If you find yourselves changing your minds, the offer is always open," Troi reminded them.
"Hopefully we'll get to see you again someday," Benton said honestly.
"With the Doctor anything's possible," the Brigadier said.
"Come, it is time we were off," the Doctor said finally. "I may have a time machine but we can't sty here forever wishing each other luck."
The two UNIT soldiers shared a knowing look before allowing their two new recruits to enter the TARDIS first. Benton entered the time machine last, and before he shut the door he gave the assembled group a final smile and wave farewell.
As the TARDIS whirred and groaned into life the Enterprise crew remained in place, watching the odd blue box fade in and out of existence. Only when the sound and faint breeze were a distant memory did they move as if the spell was broken.
"I wonder if we shall see them again?" Riker said as they slowly filed out.
"Nothing in life is certain Number One, Picard replied. "However I'm sure that if we do we'll be in for another adventure."
A/N: And here ends the tale! Thanks again to everyone who has read this story, I hope you've enjoyed it. Double thanks to everyone who followed/favourited/reviewed, it's you guys who made me determined to finish this instead of just abandoning it!