The Halloween Party
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This is an original work by Kathleen Brackett
Rating:PG
Disclaimer:All characters belong to Paramount. Only the story is mine.

Picard sat in his ready room with a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea beside him.The Enterprise was currently on a diplomatic mission which required the bare minimum of his ship’s resources. To put it simply, Picard was bored.

The familiar chiming of the doorbell rang, Picard perked up, hoping that maybe aliens had invaded his ship or Beverly was coming to confess her love for him. “Come” he said in his usual clipped tone.The door swooshed open, Data and Crusher walked in.Picard eyed the two officers with interest and insisted they have a seat.

“Captain” said Data, “the doctor and I have something we wish to discuss with you” Picard thought to himself, both of you are wishing to confess your undying love for me? Aloud he simply said, “yes Mr Data?” Data continued, “Sir, as you may or may not be aware, by the standard Earth calendar the current season is that of autumn or sometimes called fall” Picard nodded his head slowly, wondering what these two were up to.

Bev spoke up now, “Captain, there is a tradition on Earth called Halloween, do you know of it sir?” Picard grimaced. “I take it you do” said Bev. Picard nodded and said, “well get on with it”

Crusher said quickly, “Mr Data and I were wondering if you be so kind as to grant us permission to have a Halloween party on the holodeck” Picard sighed, this wasn’t the kind of distraction he had been hoping for.

“And what persay, would be at this party of yours?” asked Picard, silently hoping they wished to include murderers so he would have a reason to turn them down.Bev smiled and said, “oh the usual, everyone, including you captain, would come in costumes, we will have the holodeck programmed to resemble a ‘haunted house’, there will be jack-o-lanterns, games and music. Data and I will do the all the preparation and spread the word amongst the crew”

“Very well” Picard said reluctantly, “you may have your little party. I’m sure the crew needs a break from this tedious mission” Beverly squealed with excitement and hugged Picard. Data looked at Crusher with puzzlement and promptly did the same. “enough Mr Data!” Picard ordered.Beverly snickered, Data looked confused and Picard straightened his uniform with as much dignity as he could muster.

Beverly hustled Data out of the ready room before Picard could say another word. “I’m going to sickbay” she said, “there’s some work I have to catch up on” Data said, “I will start sending out a ship wide bulletin alerting the crew about the party and while doing that I will also begin designing the holodeck program” Beverly, who never ceased to be astonished at the amount of work Data could accomplish at one time, said “We’ll meet later and discuss this further”

Bev headed to the turbolift, “sickbay” she told the ever present ‘ears’ of the computer. As the lift picked up speed she began to whistle.She thought about a costume for herself and for the captain. The captain would need an impressive costume, she thought back to her own childhood and what costumes she had seen on Halloween. She recalled a horrifying creature with fangs for teeth, that had blood dripping down the sides of it’s mouth. Of course! Count Dracula! Picard will go as Dracula..and as for herself....

Crusher was jerked back to reality by the doors of the lift opening, Deanna and Riker stepped inside. Beverly gave her best friend a sly smile, Deanna shot her look that said “later” Beverly looked at the handsome couple, Deanna being a petite betazoid and Riker being a tall, muscular human. “It’s about time they finally realized their true feelings for each other” Bev thought. “Deanna, Will..nice to see you!” she exclaimed.

“Hello doctor” said Will giving Beverly a look that plainly said, you’re weird.At that moment the computer spoke up, “This is a shipwide broadcast from Lt Commander Data.” Data voice came over the system in a low, echoey voice that Crusher supposed was to be eerie sounding, “Attention crew of the starship Enterprise, on October 31st at 19:00 hours prepare to meet your doom” Deanna’s eyebrows shot up her forehead and Will gave a worried look.Data continued, “come to Holodeck 7 for the Enterprise’s first Halloween Party! Wear a costume and bring a date. You’ll have a howling good time!” Will’s eyes lit up, Deanna turned to look at him, a puzzled expression on her face.

“What is Halloween?” asked Deanna. Beverly smiled and said, “an old Earth custom. It has to do with spooks and spirits” Will chimed in with, “it’s plenty of fun Dee, we’ll dress up and have a howling good time! I remember Halloween when I was young, one of the few days of the year I actually looked forward to” Deanna frowned, still unsure of how fun this really could be. Parties weren’t her style, especially when this one promised to kill her.

She looked into Will’s handsome face, “but Data said we’d meet our doom..” Bev and Will both laughed, Deanna glared at both of them. “What??” she demanded, “what is so funny??” She stomped her boot on the floor. “Oh Dee” Will said, still chuckling, “It was a joke, no one is going to die. I suggest you read up on this custom so you won’t be calling security the entire time!” Deanna turned her glare fully upon Will, “I will get you for this later” she said. Will grinned, “is that a threat or a promise?” he asked innocently.

With one week to go until the party, the crew was buzzing with anticipation. The ship’s stores were being overwhelmed with requests for costumes. Beverly had been perfecting herself and the captain’s costumes. Picard was less than thrilled about his fangs and fake blood, but Beverly insisted he looked just perfect. Beverly herself had chosen to go as a bunny rabbit, complete with a puffy tail and buckteeth.

In Deanna’s quarters she and Will sat talking about what to wear. Deanna had been browsing through the stores and had come up with some interesting ideas. “Look Will” she said, “this is supposed to be a fun party, I think you would be so adorable in this little Cupid outfit” Will scowled, and shot back “And while I’m at it, why don’t you dressup like a Ferengi female?” Deanna looked confused for a moment and then said, “but the Ferengi don’t clothe their females... Oh you!!” She cuffed Will lightly on the shoulder.Will chuckled his familiar deep chuckle. “I wonder how the rest of the senior staff is doing with their costumes.” Will said. Deanna shrugged and said, “I heard from Geordie that Data was going to go as a woman. Apparently some smartass ensign thought it would be funny to give Data the idea” Will gave Deanna a sceptical look, “I’ll believe it when I see it” was all he said.

The day of the party grew closer and closer. Picard stood in his quarters, recalling that it was required to bring a date along for this. Of course, he would be taking along his CMO, all he had to do was ask her. He made his way to sickbay, and stood outside her office with a silly grin pasted on his face until she noticed him. Bev smiled, and said,”Yes Mr Dracula? What can do for you? A few more pints of blood?” Picard just continued grinning, and finally said, “You will be accompanying me to the party” Beverly smirked and said, “is that a question or an order?” Picard replied evenly, “both”

Will stood in his quarters and admired himself in the mirror. The costume he had chosen suited him well. His plaid kilt showed off his long, muscular legs, the shoes he had on laced up his leg. He straightened the brooch on his collar and practiced his Scottish brogue, “ah my fair bonny lassie Deanna, where are ye my dear” The computer said in it’s monotone voice, “Counsellor Troi is in her quarters”

It had been decided the entire staff and their dates would meet before the party for last minute costume adjustments and to make fun of each other (to get it out of their systems before facing the lower ranking guests) Beverly stood with Picard adjusting his cape and fangs. Picard clearly was not pleased with the attention he was receiving, “who came up with this silly idea of Halloween anyway” he muttered. Data who was within hearing range, cocked his head and said, “The idea of spirits coming out and haunting on one night of the year was began by Celtic Pagans in the early days of Earth’s history. This festival was originally known as Samhainn and then changed to All Hallow’s Eve and from there is became known as Halloween...”

Picard abruptly cut Data off, “thank you Mr Data!” Data who was glad to be of service to his captain, simply said, “You’re welcome Captain”

The doors to the conference room swooshed open and admitted Mr LaForge. All eyes turned to look at him. He looked around the room nervously, only a few people were there already. Picard dressed as a strange, evil looking man, Dr Crusher strongly resembling a cute rodent and Data...”Data!” Geordie called. Data looked over, “Geordie”, he said, “You look like a tricorder!”

“And you Data...look like Counsellor Troi...” LaForge said not quite believing his eyes. “Ah yes” said Data, “so my costume has the desired effect then” Data, still had his gold skin, but his hair now was long and dark done up in the old counsellor Troi fashion,and he had on a replica of her green skirt uniform.”Well Data, I must admit your costume is certainly, uh, creative” Geordie stammered.

Before Data could reply the door opened once more and in walked a highland warrior accompanied by a witch. Beverly grinned as she saw Riker’s costume or rather what she didn’t see of Riker’s costume ;-) The witch, who was awfully pretty for a witch, had large luminous dark eyes and a bewitching smile. Her tall pointed hat was balanced precariously on her head and in her arms she carried a black cat.

Deanna and Will were instantly the hit of the room. Data was making curious inquiries as to the origin of Will’s costume and Beverly was attaching a few fake warts to Deanna’s face. Will was, needless to say, shocked with Data’s costume. Deanna laughed it off. Will stared at Data, and finally said, “The counsellor is your favourite too, eh Data?”

Only one person was missing, and that person was the klingon Worf. Picard looked around and said, “Has anyone seen Mr Worf?” As if on queue, the door slid open and in walked Worf, dressed as he normally would be. “Ah, Mr Worf, how nice of you to grace us with your presence. Where is your costume?”

Worf growled, “My costume is this, I am Worf Chief of Security” Beverly tsked, “I’m afraid that just won’t do it Worf” She grinned slyly and headed for the replicator. “Computer”, she said, “I’d like one large, and I mean large, plain white bedsheet and a pair of scissors” Instantly the computer obliged. Beverly took the sheet and with the skill of a mother, quickly snipped two eye holes and mouth into the sheet. She then took it and draped it over the helpless klingon. Beverly grinned, pleased with her creation while the rest of the room applauded. Worf grumbled, “Klingons do not wear bedsheets”

The captain once again frowned as he looked over the room, “Mr Data, Mr LaForge and Mr Worf, where are your dates?” Worf, from under his sheet said, “Klingons do not bring dates” LaForge thought fast and grabbed Data’s arm and tucked it under his own, “My date is right here Captain” Data smiled his android smile and said, “I believe I will find this to be a most intriguing evening”

Picard allowed a few more minutes for pleasant banter before heading off to the holodeck. Beverly stood with Deanna and Will, “so Will” Bev said, “I’ve always wondered...what do Scotsmen wear under their kilt?” Deanna looked at Beverly and said, “would you like me to find out?” Will grabbed the ends of his kilt and said,”not a chance Dee!” He leaned closer to her, “at least not right now”

Beverly skipped off to pester Worf some more, leaving Will and Deanna alone. Deanna grinned at Will and said, “what is all of this about what you’re wearing under there?” Will sighed, “later Dee, I’ll explain later” Deanna scratched her face, “I feel ugly in this getup” she moaned. Will’s voice echoed in her mind ~You’re the most beautiful witch I’ve ever seen Imzadi~ Deanna sent back ~You haven’t called me Imzadi in a long time Will, I’d almost forgotten how beautiful that word is~

Picard’s voice snapped the two of them out of their reveries, “alright everyone! To the holodeck!” As the staff shuffled out of the conference lounge, Will nudged Data, “psssst Data, your boobs are crooked” Data looked down at his now well endowed chest, and said, “so they are, thank you Commander”

They made an interesting parade going down the decks, garnering stares from all crew members they encountered. They approached the holodeck and Will slipped his arm around Deanna’s slim waist. Data stepped forward and instructed the computer, “Computer run program DataCrusher23867” The computer whirred and said,”Program complete, enter when ready”

The doors slid open, revealing only darkness. Data led the way with Geordie still clinging to his arm. “Careful now,” he said, “follow the path and stay together” Deanna gripped Will’s arm tightly with one hand, the other barely hanging onto her cat. “Deanna, do you really need that cat?” Will asked, his disgust was obvious.”It’s part of my costume” Deanna said in a matter of fact voice, “In fact, I’m thinking of keeping it, I’ve always wanted a pet”

~Aren’t I a good enough pet for you Imzadi?~ Will thought to Deanna.~I’m still deciding whether or not to keep you!~ Deanna thought back.It didn’t take long for Will to come up with a suitable response, ~I’ll help you decide later Dee~

Up ahead there were lights, dim lights and strangely lit faces. As they drew closer, Deanna gasped. “Will, what are those?” she asked, sounding rather worried. Will hugged her closer and replied, “Jack-o-lanterns” “Jack o what?” Dee said, she was still confused. Patiently Will explained to her what they were and the purpose they had served.

The group was lead to a rickety old fence that surrounded a dilapidated old house. Deanna eyed the house nervously, despite Will’s reassurance, this whole experience was doing nothing but unnerving her. The gate swung open and the group made their way up to the old door. The door slowly creaked open. There were voices behind, chattering excitedly. “Come on in” Data said.

The doorway lead to a large open space, it was decorated with balloons, more jack-o-lanterns and streamers. “Computer” said Data, “begin music and other props” Instantly music blared from the invisible speakers and assorted objects appeared on the ceiling, walls and on the floor. Worf curled his upper lip in disgust, whether it was to the music or to the props, no one knew. “The songs we will be hearing this evening” Data said not unlike a radio DJ, “are selected compositions dating back to 20th century Earth. This particular one is called ‘The Monster Mash’” Will and several others laughed, they obviously had heard the song before.

“Come along Deanna!” exclaimed Will, “Let’s boogey down!” He grabbed the cat from her arms, handed it to the nearest person and took her by the waist. Will began to wildly pump his arms and swivel his hips, all Deanna could do was laugh.

Half an hour later the party was in full swing. Will’s latest (and greatest) dance was something Beverly had referred to as the “bump and grind” Deanna refused to join in on that one. She spotted a refreshment table set up along one side of the room and headed towards it. Bowls were set up along the length of it and they were filled with all sorts of wrapped candy. Deanna’s eyes grew round as she spied the chocolate section. “Do you like it Counsellor?” asked a familiar voice. Deanna looked up and into the eyes of Guinan, “hello Guinan, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Guinan replied, “You know me too well counsellor, but it was a special request from Jean-Luc that I attend” Deanna nodded knowingly. Guinan looked out on the dance floor to where Will had accosted Data and was teaching him his groovy moves.

Guinan chuckled, “looks as if the commander is having a good time” she commented. Deanna raised an eyebrow, “he’s acting like a teenager. I should get a copy of this music for my quarters” she mused, “maybe then we can spice up our evenings” Guinan looked at the pelvic thrusting commander and didn’t comment any further.

Deanna briefly wondered whatever had become of her cat, then turned her attention back to the hit of the party, her Imzadi, Commander William Riker. As long as the music kept playing, Riker continued to dance. Deanna didn’t like the current song too much, the continuous bass beat was too much for her. Beverly appeared at her side, “who knew Will could disco!?” she said breathlessly. Deanna scrunched up her face, “disco?” she said.

By this time, even the captain tossed aside any inhibitions and let loose. Only Worf didn’t seem to be having a good time. The large white blob stood alone in a corner, waryily eying the dance floor. Deanna considered going to him, but decided against it when Will grabbed her waist again and flung her around.

The party went on like this for several more hours, then the music turned to slower, more romantic ballads. The floor was crammed with dancing couples, among then the first officer and counsellor. Deanna rested her head on Will’s chest, feeling more than comfortable in his arms. As they swayed to the music, the rest of the world seemed to disappear, leaving only them. ~What would you say Imzadi, if I asked you to marry me right here and now?~ Will sent to Deanna. Deanna looked up into Will’s bright blue eyes, seeing only love and tenderness. ~I don’t know~ she thought back~why don’t you try it and see~

Will stopped dancing, and dropped down onto one knee. Taking her hand, he looked into her eyes. The couples around them, stopped dancing and turned to face them. Will smiled at Deanna and said slowly and rather loudly, “Deanna I love you with all my heart. Now here before our friends and co-workers I will ask the most important question of my life.” The room was silent save the music, which was more than appropriate. Will drew in a deep breath and said, “Deanna Troi, will you marry me?”

A tear rolled down Deanna’s cheek, her eyes were shining brightly. She barely managed a “yes” before bursting into tears and hugging Will with all her might. Their audience applauded and whistled with appreciation. Picard turned to Beverly and said, “Looks like you’re going to have another party to plan soon”