One Week Before…
"God, I hate this job!" the stunning, blonde woman exclaimed.
"But, Kitana, my daughter, you're Counselling, isn't that what
you've always wanted?"
"Not here father! I didn't spend four years at Starfleet Academy to
be sent back home to Betazed twelve years later!"
"You're not going to start that, `if only I'd gotten the position
aboard the Enterprise-E then I wouldn't be stuck here', are you?"
"That's exactly it, father, if I had gotten the Ship's Counsellor
posting on the Enterprise-E two years ago then I wouldn't be stuck
behind a desk or permanently on planetside! It's insufferable!"
"You know that Deanna Troi deserves that posting, she's worked very
hard for it, especially when her mother was so against her even
going to Starfleet Academy. Besides that was years ago, surely you
can't still be hung up with what happened almost twelve years ago!"
"I don't want to hear it Kitana!" he said sternly. "I didn't bring
you up to be jealous of other people!"
"I know father, it just that I had some many expectations of
Starfleet and ending up back on Betazed twelve years after I left it
for space exploration, just isn't what I wanted."
"Oh, I see, so being able to spend quality time with your poor old
father doesn't appeal to you?"
"You know it does, father."
"Good then let's not hear any more of your nonsense, okay?"
"Alright father. Look I've some work to finish, but after that I'll
come home and you, mother and I can have lunch."
"Very well, daughter, I look forward to it."
The older man left. As soon as he had, Kitana Lepec sat back in her
`God, I've got to get out of this office job…hmmm, I wonder if
there's anything interesting in Deanna's file that I could use?' she
thought to herself.
"Computer, locate and display the file of Deanna Troi."
Kitana's blank screen was filled with Deanna's picture and her
profile. Kitana stared at the picture.
"Still as beautiful as ever, unfortunately." She sighed.
She continued to read the profile, but when it came to Deanna's
personal history there were a few inconsistencies.
"Computer, explain for missing data in this file."
"A security code is needed for access to this area of the file.
Information stored here is
part of her personal logs and is not for general viewing."
"Computer, access that file."
"Security code required."
Kitana was about to give up when she had a thought. Her Counsellor's
code would get her into any file in the Starfleet database.
"Security code; Lepec, one, two, nine, three."
The rest of the information scrolled down the page. One part caught
her attention, as she stopped the scrolling to read into it, a small
smile played on her lips.
"Oh, Deanna, how could you be so foolish?!"
One Week Later…
"Now take a deep, calming breath…there don't you feel better
The brown haired man, sitting across from her, opened his brown eyes
"Yes, Counsellor, I do."
"Now, whenever you feel that tension starting to build, just do that
breathing exercise, okay?"
"Breathing exercises won't be a permanent solution to your problem,
but it's a start until I can see you again. Now you'll have to
excuse me, Lieutenant Benedict, but I have a meeting now. I'll
contact you with an appointment later in the week, alright?"
"Thank you, Counsellor, you've been a great help."
"Anytime, Lieutenant." Smiled Deanna, as Benedict got up and left
the room, a huge grin across his face.
"Another satisfied customer, hey, Counsellor?" came a voice from the
"Yes, Will, I like to think so."
Deanna looked up from her computer PADD and saw Will Riker, as
stunning as ever, leaning against her doorframe and smiling that
brilliant smile at her.
"You ready to go, Counsellor."
"Yes, there's nothing left to finish here, just yet. Give it twenty
minutes tops and the messages will start to pour in." she said
standing up from her sofa and walking over to Will.
"That bad, huh?"
Deanna shrugged and walked out of her office, followed closely by
"Okay, is there anything else?" asked Jean-Luc Picard.
The captain of the U.S.S Enterprise- E sat at the head of the
Conference Lounge table, staring down at his senior staff. They
remained silent; a few of them shook their heads.
"Very well, then you're all dismissed."
As they began to walk past him, he said,
"Counsellor Troi, a word please."
The small Betazoid counsellor walked away from the tall First
Officer of the Enterprise and sat back at the conference table.
"What could they be talking about in there?" Quizzed Riker, over
"Will," answered Beverley Crusher, "I'm sure we'll find out soon
enough, if we're meant to know."
At that moment the doors to the Conference Lounge opened and Captain
Jean-Luc Picard stormed out. Anger was written all over his face. He
did not look at anyone, he simply entered his Ready Room and the
doors hissed angrily shut after him. The First Officer and the C.M.O
stared at each other in shock. What could have possibly gone on in
there to annoy the Captain so much?
"I think you should go to her." Suggested Beverley, when Deanna Troi
did not appear at the door.
Will nodded at the older woman and walked cautiously towards the
closed door of the Conference Lounge.
She stood by the window, looking out at the stars, as the ship
travelled at high warp.
She did not answer, but he saw her wipe her eyes quickly. Slowly she
turned to face him. Her eyes were red and tear-filled and her cheeks
"Deanna, what is it? What's happened?"
Deanna simply shook her head and slowly turned back to the window.
"Imzadi, what is it?"
"What is?" he asked in confusion.
"Yes?" he asked, thinking she had called him.
"No," she answered back in annoyance, still not looking at
him, "Imzadi is the problem."
Will moved closer to her and held her shoulders in his hands.
"I don't understand, Deanna. What are you saying?"
She finally turned to face him, her eyes welling up with tears when
she looked into his.
"I'm being court-marshalled, Will."
"What the hell for?!" he said, shocked at the notion of Deanna being
disgraced in such a way.
"Someone has informed Starfleet Command that I have an Imzadi…"
"Hold on, why would you court-marshalled for that?" he interrupted.
"The treaty between Betazed and the Federation specifically states
that all those who have the Imzadi bond must report it to Command.
Starfleet needs to know, because of the added dangers of space
exploration and telepathy…"
"And you never told them about `Us', did you?"
"No, I didn't," she turned back to the window, "but I have my
For a few moments, Will said nothing, but finally he asked,
"So what happens to you if you're found guilty?"
"My career in Starfleet will be over."
She felt something stir within him and she whirled round to face him.
"No, Will, you will not expose yourself!"
"Deanna, I can't let you do this alone."
"If you tell them, then your career will be over too. You've spent
more time in Starfleet than I have. Your whole life is Starfleet. I
won't let you throw your career away over something you didn't
She turned back to the window in exasperation.
He took both her arms and pulled her both round to face him again,
"I may not have understood then, but I do now. I'm not going to let
"Will, I will have you ordered away from the hearing if you don't
promise not to expose yourself!" Her voice fell to a whisper as she
said, "At least let me protect you from this, Imzadi."
Will fell silent, as no answer came to him, their eyes locking for a
"Why was the Captain so angry when he left?"
"He felt that I had lied to him."
"He's asked me on several occasions over the years, if you and I
were joined. I've always told him we were not. I tried to explain to
him that we had only rediscovered our bond during the Ba'Ku mission
a few weeks ago, but he didn't want to listen."
"Deanna, you don't need to protect me." He said softly.
He placed his hand on her cheek, in the way she had come to love.
She placed her over his and momentarily closed her eyes, savouring
"Will, please," she whispered, opening her oxyn eyes to look into
his crystal blue eyes, "just promise me that you won't say anything.
No one in Starfleet has a right to know the identity of the second
person, especially when that person is not even Betazoid."
"Alright, I won't say anything, but I'm not happy about it."
He leaned forward and kissed her lightly.
"When's the hearing?"
"Tomorrow, in one of the larger conference rooms."
Deanna rested her head on his chest, as Will pulled her closer into
The `Judges' had arrived sometime that night. Admiral Antonio Osan,
a kindly middle-aged man, would lead the hearing. With him were
three younger men, all Lieutenants and a Counsellor named Kitana
Lepec. Kitana, was three quarters human and a quarter Betazoid, had
no empathic abilities and could only communicate telepathically with
her half human-half Betazoid father. The hearing had been scheduled
for 10:00 hours the next morning. All
of the senior staff would be there to support Deanna, but she had
refused all their offers of their speaking in her defence. They had
all offered, except Jean-Luc Picard.
Will Riker, dressed in the new standard dress uniform, pressed the
chime on the door in front of him and waited. It slid open seconds
later to reveal an equally formally dressed Deanna Troi.
"Okay, let's go and get this over with."
"Deanna, are you worried about something?"
"No…Yes. It's Kitana. You see we've been rivals since we were
thirteen, all the way through University and Starfleet too. She's
jealous of anyone who seems to be better than her at anything. She
hates my status on Betazed, my empathic and telepathic abilities, but
most of all, my position here on the Enterprise. She applied for
this posting too, so I'm not particularly looking forward to having
her on the jury."
Riker wasn't sure when Deanna had taken a breath in between all of
that, but then that simply highlighted her agitated state.
Whilst he had been in the `Ten-Forward' Lounge last night, after
leaving Deanna, Kitana had approached him and had tried to flirt
with him, but something about her just pushed him the wrong way. She
was very attractive; there could be no argument about that. She had
blond hair and piercing blue eyes, but her attitude had been all
wrong, there was something not quite right about her. He had
completed some research on her career and found a formal complaint
in her record. The complaint was not about her; however, it was made
by her. Shortly after Deanna had been awarded the position of
Counsellor on the Enterprise-E, Kitana had written to Starfleet
Command claiming that Deanna was unfit for the Enterprise's mission
and was better off in the office job that she had been awarded.
Riker knew at that
point, before Deanna had even mentioned it, that Kitana Lepec was
what he called a `spoilt-little-rich-girl.' She had the kind of `I-
want-and-I-want-it-now' attitude that so many people despised. He
was worried about this hearing too. If the grudge, that Kitana had
for Deanna, had been going on for over twenty years, then Kitana had
the perfect opportunity to exact revenge on Deanna by finding her
guilty, no matter what everyone else thought.
The conference room fell quiet when Deanna and Riker entered. Will
moved away from Deanna and sat with Beverley, Geordie, Data and
Picard, who were seated in front of a large crowd of Enterprise
officers. Deanna took the seat situated in the middle of the room
behind a large desk. To her right was another large table with four
seats behind it for her jury and in front of her was another table
and chair for her judge. The judge and jury entered and everyone
stood, as the five officials sat down. Osan indicated for the crowd
to sit, they did so and Deanna remained standing.
"Do you," his voice boomed, "Commander Deanna Troi, Counsellor and
Bridge officer of the U.S.S Enterprise, Daughter of the Fifth House
of Betazed, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth, so help you God?"
"I do." She answered her voice firm and confidant.
"Very well. Do you know why you have been summoned before this
court, this morning?" He had a kindly, but authoritarian voice.
"It is my belief, sir, that an anonymous person has informed you
that I am part of an ancient bond of my people, known as `Imzadi'."
"That is correct. Now, may I ask, where is your Imzadi?"
"I plead the Right of `Inni-ya', sir."
"Very well." He said, nodding to her with a slight smile. "For the
benefit of those among us who do not know the Betazoid Law, the
accused has pleaded for the `Right of Hidden Identity' for her
Imzadi, which I will grant in accordance to the Betazed-Federation
A murmur rose and fell amongst the spectators.
"Now, Commander, may I ask why you never informed Starfleet of this
bond, as in accordance with the same treaty?"
"My bond was formed many years ago, sir, and, as I told Captain
Picard, I was not aware that this bond still existed at the time of
my acceptance into Starfleet Academy nor when taking up this post on
"So, when did you become aware of its existence?"
"About two weeks ago, sir. When I became involved with my Imzadi on
a more intimate level again."
"I see, so from the time you enrolled into Starfleet until two weeks
ago, you and your Imzadi were, what exactly?"
"Colleges and very close friends, sir."
"Has there ever been a point in your career, when this bond, even
when it was not at it's strongest, was a disadvantage or a danger to
your ship, mission or crew?"
"Not to my recollection, sir."
"What about you, Captain Picard, have you ever regarded this bond as
a danger to your ship, mission or crew?"
Jean-Luc Picard stood up and Deanna immediately had a sense of
foreboding at having her captain speak.
"No, Admiral. If anything, I would say that this bond, even when at
it's weakest, has been an advantage to my ship and crew on many
"Thank you, Captain." Replied Osan, as Picard sat back down. "Are
there any other questions?"
The jury stayed quiet, one or two of them shaking their heads.
"Very well. We will adjourn for now to discuss this matter. We will
inform you all of another time for our answers. Dismissed."
There was a collective sigh of relief, as the judge and jury exited
the room. Deanna made her way to the senior staff, passing other
officers that were exiting the room. Beverley and Riker hugged
Deanna when she reached them.
"How do you think it went from a spectators point of view?" she
asked, feeling tired and worn out even though it was still the
"I have to say that Admiral Osan seemed very convinced by your
reasons, Deanna." Answered Picard.
It was the longest sentence he had uttered to her since yesterday in
the conference lounge.
"Captain Picard is correct, Counsellor. There should be no logical
reason to dismiss you." Continued Data.
Deanna smiled politely at the gold-skinned android.
"Captain," she began, "I want to thank you for what you said…"
"Think nothing of it," he interrupted, "I just told the truth."
"Yes, sir, I know, but…"
"Then there's nothing else to say about it." He interrupted again,
as he stood up and left the room.
Beverley placed an arm around her friend's shoulders.
"Don't take his reaction too hard, Dee."
Deanna nodded slightly.
"I'm going to `Ten-Forward'. I'll see you all back here later." She
said, her voice soft.
Those that knew her best could hear traces of hurt in her voice.
As she reached the corridor, she felt him coming up behind her.
"Do you mind if I join you, Deanna?" he asked.
"No, Will, I don't" she turned her head to face him. "You know I
always enjoy your company."
He rewarded her compliment with one of his famous and most charming
It was as they sat in `Ten-Forward', that Deanna's commbadge chimed.
She reached up and tapped it lightly.
"Commander, this is Admiral Osan."
"Yes, Admiral, is there something I can do for you?"
"No, no. I'm just calling to let you know that the next hearing has
been scheduled for 15:00 hours this afternoon. All your active
duties have been suspended for today."
"Thank you, sir. Troi out."
As she tapped her commbadge to break the link, a waiter walked past
their table. She tapped his elbow lightly;
"I'll have another chocolate sundae."
The man nodded and left to get her order.
"You've got a bad feeling about this second hearing haven't you?"
"Yes." She said, quietly.
She had almost forgotten that Will was sitting opposite her, so
engrossed in her thoughts had she been.
"What did you do, scan his emotions for the answer?"
"No!" She said, shocked that he would even suggest that, but almost
immediately she sensed his usual teasing self and relaxed
slightly. "I heard it in his voice…"
She trailed off as the waiter returned, placed the ice-cream desert
in front of her and left again silently. She didn't eat it; she
simply dipped the spoon into the mound of chocolate ice-cream and
hot caramel sauce and then withdrew the spoon slowly. She then began
to slowly mix it all together into a gooey slush.
"Are you going to eat that?" he asked a bemused look upon his face.
"Why? Do you want it?" she asked without enthusiasm.
"No, it's just that it's not like you to not eat ice-cream when
"I'm too depressed to bother."
"Well," he said, in a huffy child-like manner, "you can't stay
depressed for the next four hours, can you?"
"Yes," she huffed back, sitting back into her chair and folding her
arms across her chest, "I can."
"Come on." He said, standing and offering his hand out to her.
She took it and stood up beside him, unsure of what he was up to.
The room smelt of lavender, that much she knew, but her view of the
room he had led her to, was still obscured by his hand. Behind her,
he whispered into her ear,
"Okay, I'm going to remove my hand now."
The feel of his warm breath on the cool skin of her ear made her
spin tingle. She simply nodded. His hand slipped from her eyes and
she blinked to adjust to the dim light.
"Will, what are we doing in your quarters?"
He simply took her hand, turned her around to face him and kissed
her, fully. When the kiss broke, she whispered,
"Oh, I see…"
He smiled and kissed her again. As they kissed, he lifted her into
his arms and carried her into his bedroom.
Deanna Troi arrived in the conference room after Will Riker. After
his `anti-depressant' therapy, she had returned to her own quarters
to shower and change into another dress uniform. When she entered
the large room, she found that it was so full that many people were
standing. As she sat back behind the desk in the middle of the room
she looked into the seated crowd and spotted the senior officers and
Captain Picard. After a few moments the jury arrived. The look in
Kitana's eyes and the slight smirk that tugged at her cranberry lips
made Deanna's skin crawl. After a few more moments the judge entered
the room. Everybody stood, but were quickly indicated to sit back
down. Again, Deanna remained standing, as did the officers without
"Commander Deanna Troi, Counsellor and Bridge officer of the
Flagship Enterprise, Daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, it is
the opinion of the jury that you are found guilty of insubordination
and the breaking of the Betazed-Federation treaty."
Gasps of shock emanated from the crowd. Beverley and a few other
officers, that were patients of Deanna, began to sob. As Riker
comforted Deanna's best friend, he turned to watch Deanna, the tears
stinging his own eyes. Her face was expressionless, but tears had
begun to form in her dark eyes.
"You," continued Osan, "will be stripped of your rank and position,
as well as all privileges that are associated with that rank and
Osan looked to his computer PADD before continuing,
"The Enterprise will be assigned a new counsellor by tomorrow
morning when the Enterprise will depart this sector for another
mission. You shall not be aboard this vessel when it leaves."
It was at this point that tears began to fall silently from her
eyes. She made no attempt to wipe them away. She stood in the middle
of a room full of friends, colleges, an enemy and her lover, and
yet, Deanna Troi, felt completely alone.
"However, Deanna, you are a daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed
and therefore we cannot stop your government involving you in
Starfleet-Betazed matters, as a representative, nor can we stop you
from continuing in the psychology field, as you achieved those
qualifications before you entered Starfleet. Do you have anything to
"No, sir." She almost whispered.
"You do not wish to appeal?" he asked in surprise.
Deanna sensed that he did not believe that her sentence was just and
was suggesting that she should appeal, but something was gone.
Something was missing from within herself and, now, she no longer
"Others may wish to appeal against this sentence, do you wish them
to be stopped from doing so?"
"I cannot stop the opinions of others, Admiral. I will not deny them
"Very well. Let it be known," he said raising the volume of his
voice and looking at the crowd around him, "that any of you who wish
to appeal against this sentence can do so one month from today.
Deanna was out of the room quickly, avoiding the stares of her
"Deanna, please, just open the door!"
He cried, banging his fists against the locked doors of Deanna
"Go away!" Came her muffled reply.
"Imzadi, I'm not leaving until you open this door and talk to me!"
"No, Will, please! Just go away!"
Will Riker lost his temper at that moment and decided not to bother
"Computer, override lock. Security code; Riker, alpha, beta, zero,
Deanna's door slid open with a hiss to admit him. Her living
quarters were empty; there was nothing to indicate that this was
someone's home, other than a few large crates that lay in the middle
of the room. Will walked into Deanna's bedroom. Beside Deanna's bed
were a few more crates, identical to those in her living quarters,
on her bed were several bags full of clothing. In one corner of the
bedroom was a pile of material, which he discovered to be her
"I asked you not to come in." Came her whispering voice as she
emerged from her bathroom.
He heard the sadness in her voice and, when he turned to face her,
saw the pain in her tear-filled eyes.
"You're packing already?"
"Yes, I've got to be gone in the morning, you know that." She placed
a few more items of clothing carelessly into the bags, as she
spoke. "How's Beverley? I sensed that she was distressed during the
"Of course she's upset!" he yelled, "You're her best friend and…!"
"Don't' yell at me!" she screamed back at him.
"How could you…how could you not appeal?!" he yelled again.
"I…I don't know." She stammered, her voice little above a whisper,
her head dropped in shame.
"You don't know? You don't know?!" he yelled again, in
exasperation. "My God, Deanna, if you appeal you could get your
position back! Don't you want that?"
He moved closer to her, placing one hand on her shoulder and the
other under her chin, lifting it so that she looked at him. In a
whisper that held so much emotion that it tore at Deanna's soul, he
"Don't you love me enough to at least try…?"
"How can you say that?!" she cried, pushing him away from
her. "Don't you EVER question my feelings for you!"
"Deanna, I'm…I'm sorry."
"Do you really think I want to leave? This is my home, my family! I
could never wish to leave the Enterprise, Beverly, but most of all
The hurt in her voice and the sight of the tears rolling down her
cheeks, stabbed at his heart, hurting him more then he thought was
"God, Imzadi, I'm sorry. I didn't…" he whispered, trying to get
closer to her.
"Just go." She whispered.
"I said, get out!" she said, her voice breaking with sobs. "I never
want to see you again!"
"Deanna, no! Please, I didn't…"
For a few seconds he stood still, contemplating whether or not he
should go to her or simply comply with her wishes. He left silently,
his fists clenched and his head bent down in shame and defeat. The
small ex-counsellor of the Enterprise wept bitterly as she sank to
the floor of her quarters, hugging her knees to her chest.
Two Hours Later…
"But, Bev, how could I say that to her…?" Will Riker cried to the
older woman beside him. "It was uncalled for, completely cruel and
cold-hearted of me!"
"Will, don't blame yourself. She just needs sometime to cool off.
After all, she's had the biggest shock out of all of us."
Jean-Luc Picard sat forward, leaning towards the younger man in
front of him, resting his elbows on his Ready Room desk.
"Perhaps, Number One, she is ready to forgive you now. It's been two
hours since this incident and she only has a few hours before she
has to leave. I'm sure she'll want to make amends before then."
"Why don't we all go down there now?" Suggested Beverley.
The two men nodded and rose from their seats.
They sounded the door chime several times, but they were not
answered, so Will opened the door with his security code. The room
was completely bare and dark, only a pile of discarded uniforms lay
in one corner of the room.
"Computer, location of Deanna Troi?" Commanded Picard, his voice
echoing slightly in the abandoned room.
"Deanna Troi is in her quarters."
"Computer, check again." Commanded Riker in confusion.
The computer gave the same answer.
"Will, on the desk." Muttered Beverley.
On Deanna's bare desk, which had once been cluttered with psychology
reports; lay a single rose, a folded piece of paper and Deanna's
commbadge. Will picked up the crisp, white paper and unfolded it.
Deanna's curved handwriting scrolled down the page:
I can no longer stay here, knowing that I can never be the woman I
once was and knowing that I cannot stay with you on the Enterprise.
Whether or not I can forgive you for what you said to me earlier, I
don't know, but know, that my love for you remains. I remember long
ago, you wrote your feelings for me in a poem; it seems only fair to
return the favour:
When you love someone,
Is the hardest thing to do
When you love someone,
As much as I love you.
Oh, I don't wanna leave you,
Baby, it tears me up inside,
But I'll never be the one
I love you, goodbye.
By the time you read this, I suspect that, I should be long gone.
Please do not make any attempts to contact me. I need time to think.
Will pressed the letter to his chest, unable to stop the tears from
streaming down his cheeks.
"Will," asked Beverly, coming closer to him, "what is it?"
He handed the letter to her and picked up the deep red coloured
rose. He felt the silky smooth petals, as he wiped his tears away
from his cheeks with it.
"My God, Will, she must have left in the same shuttle as Admiral
Osan! That was over an hour ago!" She began to sob. "How could she
leave without saying goodbye?"
"I'm sorry, Bev. If I hadn't said what I did, she would have stayed
Jean-Luc Picard finished reading Deanna's letter.
"There's nothing we can do, except comply with her wishes of non-
communication with us…"
"Captain, I can't just let her go…!" Will interrupted.
"We must do as she has asked, Will, but be assured that this is not
the end of this matter. I'm not keen on having my Counsellor
dismissed so easily. I intend to appeal in a month's time; I would
suggest that you do too. Mister Data has informed me that we have a
very strong case and that there were no logical reasons for Deanna's
dismissal. Until then, you must be strong, Will, we all do. We've
all been affected by her leaving, but life must go on."
With that Jean-Luc Picard exited the empty quarters that once
belonged to a close and valued friend of his. The woman who had
helped retrieve him from the Borg and also assisted in his recovery,
despite him being a difficult patient. She hadn't given up on him
and he didn't intend to give up on her.
Four Months Later…
"Yes, Picard, the appeals from your crew have gone through, as well
as those from Betazed, but the Council's taking its time getting
back to us with their decision."
"But, Admiral Osan, with all due respect, isn't three months a bit
excessive for a decision of this kind?"
"Yes, Jean-Luc, it is, but I'll see what I can do. In the mean time,
you must prepare the Enterprise to receive delegates from the
Betazoid and Helikin people in the Dekan system. I needn't tell you
of the importance of this trade agreement between these two peoples."
"Yes, Admiral, I understand. What exactly will our part be in this?"
"Your job, Captain, is to convince the Betazoid delegation to agree
to this treaty."
"Very well, Admiral. We appreciate your assistance in this appeal."
The older Admiral nodded his head and the screen went blank.
"Commander Riker, I can't take it anymore, she's just not helping!"
"Lieutenant Benedict, please calm down."
"No offence, Commander, but how can I calm down when the woman,
who's supposed to help me reduce my stress levels, is actually
"Ah, I take it your sessions with Counsellor Lepec are not going
"That's putting it lightly, Commander." Answered the man, who stood
at the same height as his C.O, with a smile.
"I'll see what I can do, Lieutenant. Excuse me, I've got a meeting
with Captain Picard and Doctor Crusher."
"Thanks, sir, I appreciate your help."
Will Riker continued to walk down the corridor, only breaking into a
smile when the turbolift doors closed around him.
"Sorry I'm late, Captain, Doctor." Will said nodding, as he entered
the Captain's Ready Room.
"Some problem, Commander?"
"Well, quite possibly, sir. One of our new Counsellor's patients is
not particularly happy with her services."
"They're not the only one…" muttered Beverley.
"What do you mean, Doctor?" asked the Captain.
"I've had several complaints from my patients about Counsellor Lepec
"Why did no one tell me about these incidents?"
"I thought it was an isolated incident." Said Riker, sitting down
"Yes, I thought the same thing."
"Well, I'll talk to our Counsellor soon. Now to business, we're
being diverted to the Dekan system where we'll pick up delegates
from Betazed and Helika. Our assignment is to convince the Betazoids
to sign a trade agreement with the Helikin council."
"When do we arrive?" asked Riker.
"Two hours. Guinin is already preparing the `Ten-Forward' Lounge for
a reception to be held before the first conference."
"We'll be ready, sir. Is there anything else?"
"Just to let you know that our appeals have gone through to the
Federation council, but it's taking them along time to come to a
decision. Admiral Osan is preparing to intervene on our behalves."
"Thank you for letting me know, sir."
"Now, I'm sure you've both got things to do. I'll talk to our
The C.O and the C.M.O stood up as Picard tapped his commbadge,
"Picard to Lepec. Counsellor could you come to my Ready Room please."
"Aye, sir. I'm on my way."
As the First Officer and the C.M.O walked onto the Bridge, the new
Counsellor glided past them. As she walked past Riker she smiled
seductively at him and then entered the Captain's Ready Room. Riker
heard a growl of disgust emanate from Beverley Crusher and saw her
roll her eyes.
"Will she ever stop?" Beverley asked in annoyance.
"I doubt it and she can't understand the fact that I'm not
interested, either." Will shook his head, as they entered the
"Counsellor, I'm sorry to say that I've had a number of complaints
about your counselling sessions."
"I can't imagine why, Captain, most of my patients have improved
greatly and in a quicker time then it would have taken Counsellor
"Counsellor Lepec," he said sternly, "your work is under a lot of
scrutiny from your patients.
Deanna Troi was an exemplary officer and Counsellor and never, in
all the years she served under me, did I receive any complaints
about her work…"
"Captain, permission to speak freely?" she interrupted.
"Very well." He said, a frown forming across his face.
"I am not Counsellor Troi, but everyone expects me to be exactly
like her!" she said, angrily, "how can I be someone I'm not?!"
"No one is expecting you to be Deanna, Counsellor, but I hope that
you will take the time to listen to what this crew has to say. You
must understand that the crew had known Deanna any time between two
and twelve years, it's not easy to accept the loss of someone you're
"Captain, it's not like she's dead!"
"Counsellor, that's quite enough! I will not have you disrespecting
Deanna, is that clear?"
At first Lepec said nothing,
"Is that clear, Counsellor?"
"Yes, sir." She replied through gritted teeth.
Counsellor Kitana Lepec sat, as usual, alone in the `Ten Forward'
lounge, nursing a drink of sinthohol. Her thoughts ran rampant
through her mind. How the hell was she going to persuade the Captain
that she was better suited for this posting than that upper-class
bitch, Deanna Troi, when the First Officer was besotted with her and
the rest of the crew all loved her? Perhaps she knew things about
Deanna Troi that they didn't, after all she had grown up in close
proximity to her. Things that perhaps would convince them that Deanna
Troi was not what she seemed…
"Commander." Greeted Picard, as Will Riker sat down in his usual
seat on the Bridge.
"Captain." He replied.
His First Officer had obviously been distressed by Deanna's leaving,
but more so by her wishes to be left alone. Deanna had not contacted
him, as yet, nor had she contacted Will or Beverley. Worry had
caused his First Officer sleepless nights of wondering about Deanna's
whereabouts and condition. Four months of worry could turn, even the
strongest of men, to a worn out jumble of nerves and Will Riker was,
as far as Jean-Luc was concerned, an extremely resilient man, but
Deanna had an unusual affect on Riker.
"I thought you'd like to know that I got a list of the Ambassadors
that we'll have aboard. One of them is a Daughter of the Fifth House
"Deanna?" he asked.
"It doesn't say whether it's Deanna or Lwaxanna."
Will nodded his head slightly, taking in the news that either Deanna
or Deanna's formidable mother would be aboard. If it was Deanna had
she forgiven him and if it was her mother did she know what had been
Three Days Before:
`Deanna, Little One, stop mopping around, I need to talk to you.'
`What is it mother? I really busy.' She sent back.
`Busy being depressed when you could be working. You're not helping
your condition by confining yourself to your room…'
"Mother," said Deanna aloud, as she came down the stairs from her
bedroom, "my condition is fine. What is it you need?"
"Your mother is in a bit of a muddle. I've got a conference here in
three days, but Starfleet and the Betazoid Council also want me to
lead trade agreement negotiations between Betazed and the Helikin.
If I stay here, will you mediate the negotiations?"
"Alright, when do I leave and where am I going?"
"You leave tomorrow to join the Helikin Ambassadors on the
"The Enterprise! Mother, I can't…"
"Yes, you can. It's about time you went back and talked things
through with William."
With that Lwaxanna Troi turned on her heel and left the room leaving
Deanna with no choice, but to return to the Enterprise and face
William. T. Riker.
"Captain, the Helikin delegates are now resting in their quarters
and the shuttle carrying the Betazoid delegates has just docked in
Shuttle Bay 2."
"Thank you, Mister Data. Commander Riker will you join me. Picard to
Doctor Crusher, could you meet myself and Commander Riker in Shuttle
"Acknowledge, Captain." Came Beverley Crusher's voice, as Picard and
Riker entered a turbolift.
Beverley Crusher was already waiting for them as Riker and Picard
strolled down the corridor. In silence they entered the Shuttle Bay.
The small shuttle's hatch had just opened with a hiss. Three
Betazoid males exited the shuttle and nodded politely at the three
before turning back towards the exit. A small, young-looking, blonde
Betazoid woman stepped down from the shuttle with a helping hand
from one of the men. She turned back to the exit without looking at
Picard, Riker or Crusher. She offered her hand to the last figure in
the shuttle. The figure was obviously unsteady on his/her feet. To
the three Starfleet officers' delight, Deanna Troi emerged from
inside the shuttle. Stepping off the shuttle, into the Shuttle Bay's
light, Deanna looked pale, tired and weak and all three officers
noticed. Her purple robe flowed down to her ankles and, though it
was not fitted, it was obvious that Deanna had lost quite a bit of
weight. Finally Deanna looked at them.
"Captain Jean-Luc Picard may I introduce my fellow Ambassadors;
Chancellor Triand," The middle aged, white haired man
nodded. "Chancellor Triand's son, Chancellor Bix and their aid
Sen'nax." The two younger dark haired men nodded in turn. "This,"
she motioned to the young blonde Betazoid, "is my Aide, Ryla."
Picard bowed graciously to each of those being introduced to him. He
turned to his own officers.
"For the benefit of your party, Deanna…"
Troi raised her hand to stop him,
"Please, Captain, I'd prefer it if you would address me as
Ambassador on this trip."
Riker and Crusher exchanged glances with one another. Picard, ever
the diplomat, merely smiled,
"Very well…Ambassador. For the benefit of your party may I introduce
my First Officer, Commander William Riker and my Chief Medical
Officer, Doctor Beverley Crusher."
Riker and Crusher bowed as they were introduced.
"May we show you to your quarters, Ambassadors?" asked Picard.
Triand, Bix and their aid Sen'nax nodded with appreciation as Riker
and Crusher led them away.
"Ambassador Troi may I take you and your aid to your quarters?"
"That won't be necessary, Captain. I took the liberty of having
Mister Data forwarding me the location of my quarters. Ryla will
stay with me so you can keep her quarters vacant."
"As you wish, Ambassador. The introductory gathering will be in the
`Ten Forward' lounge at 18:00 hours. I hope you will join us."
The former Counsellor of the Enterprise nodded and then, holding
tightly onto Ryla's arm, she left the Shuttle Bay leaving behind a
"If you ask me, Will, she didn't look well." Commented Beverley,
they walked away from the last Ambassador's quarters.
"No she didn't." Came Riker's short reply
"Wasn't it strange that she wanted to stay on formal terms?"
"No, not really. It's her way of telling us that this visit is
There was a few moments silence before Crusher spoke again.
"I didn't know Deanna had an aide."
"Nor did I."
"Do you think she'll come to `Ten Forward' tonight?"
"She will, but only because she has to."
The gathering in the `Ten Forward' Lounge was already in full swing
when the Betazoid Ambassadors arrived along with Deanna Troi and the
aides, Ryla and Sen'nax.
"Ambassadors, so glad you could make it." Came Picard's voice, as he
and his senior staff came towards them.
As Picard introduced Data, LaForge and Lepec to the other Betazoid
ambassadors, Riker tried to involve Deanna in conversation.
"It's good to see you again, Ambassador."
"Like wise, Commander." She replied without feeling.
"Can I get you a drink at all?"
"No, thank you, Commander."
`Ryla, could you see if you can find us a table? I not feeling all
`Alright Deanna.' Answered the blonde girl, bowing slightly and
Riker watched the exchange suspiciously.
"I'm glad to hear that accent again."
"You've been on Betazed for quite awhile you've got your accent
back. I like it."
Deanna looked shyly to the floor, a small, self-conscious smile
began to form on her lips, but it was quickly hidden and she looked
squarely and sternly at him.
"Commander, I don't mean to be rude, but I am only here for my
mother. I'd appreciate it if we could keep this strictly
"Don't you think we should talk, after all it has been four months…"
"Yes, that is true. It has been a while, but I'm only here until the
end of these negotiations."
"What if the appeals go through?"
"Is your new Counsellor not good enough then, Commander?"
"Well, actually, she's not settling in all that well."
"What a pity. Please excuse me." She said without feeling, as Ryla
saddled back up to them and gripped Deanna's elbow.
"By all means, Ambassador." He replied with false politeness.
As Deanna and Ryla moved to a secluded table, Beverley Crusher
saddled up to Will.
"You okay, Will?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I just wish she'd give up this professional
"Can't be easy for you."
"Trouble with the ambassador?" Came another feminine voice from
"That's none of your concern, Counsellor Lepec."
"Of course not, Commander." She smirked and turned back to speak
with Chancellor Bix, whom she already knew.
"Ambassador Troi, I'm sorry to disturb you."
"Captain Picard, please, sit down." She gestured to the chair
opposite herself and Ryla.
Picard also gestured to a woman and a man beside him to sit down.
Their yellow tinted skin was shiny and smooth and their noses were
ridged like a Bajoran's.
"May I introduce Ambassador Kelic Binax," the man nodded, "and
Chancellor Andrana Tellon."
"Andrana! By the Gods, how long has it been?" cried Deanna, as
Andrana bowed down to hug her old friend.
"Far too long, my friend, far too long." They separated from each
other's arms "You look unwell, Deanna."
"Oh, I'm fine, nothing to worry about, just a slight Betazoid bug!"
"You know each other, Andrana?"
"Yes, Kelic. Deanna's mother and my father were very close. They
were involved in the very first Betazoid-Helikin treaty." She smiled
Another figure joined the table.
"Kitana, how are you enjoying my Counselling position?"
"It's been fine. Actually, several of your former patients have
healed much quicker than you predicted them to."
"Funny, I heard you were having a few problems settling in."
"Listening rumours? Deanna, that's so unlike you."
"Some people change…and others remain the same. Please excuse me."
She said, motioning to Ryla, who helped her up and led her one of
the central windows.
Other than that one incident, the rest of the evening was a success,
but the hardest part would begin in the morning- the negotiations,
when old friends, and new, would become only professionals.
"So, you see, Ambassador Troi, the trade agreement will benefit both
our worlds in both financial and political ways." Concluded Andrana.
Deanna Troi leaned forward in her seat for the first time since the
meeting had started over two hours ago.
"Chancellor, I'm not interested in how this may improve our
financial assets, you've evaded my question. Does your government,
your whole government, agree with this treaty or not?"
`She's still good.' Thought Picard who sat at the head of the table
along with Riker, Lepec, Crusher, LaForge and Data.
"Ambassador Troi," interrupted Kelic, "why should it matter if all
the government officials agree or not, surely us having the backing
of a few of the Chancellors counts for something?"
"No, I'm afraid it doesn't."
"May I asked why, Ambassador?" Came Picard's voice.
Was it his imagination or did Troi seem very cold and non-negotiable
towards most people at the moment?
"I'm not willing to risk Betazed, just because a handful of
Chancellors are in agreement about this treaty. The chancellors have
no real power on Helikinus; it is a military-led government. Those
military leaders are still very xenophobic when it comes to
telepaths and empaths, which does not go down well with me, Captain."
"But surely, Ambassador, that it shows the willingness of the
Helikin people to change their ways?" asked Riker.
"Unfortunately Commander Riker, it does not." She paused, looking
suspiciously at the Starfleet officers. "I'm confused also by the
presence of Starfleet during these negotiations. What exactly is
Starfleet's purpose here, Captain?"
"We are to convince your party to agree to the Helikin treaty."
"It is not my party that you have to convince, Captain. I am the one
who makes the ultimate decision, you must convince me."
"Very well." Said Picard after a few moments silence. "I believe a
break is in order, we will adjourn until tomorrow."
With nods of agreement they rose from their seats with a collective
sigh. San'nax tended to his charges and Ryla immediately helped Troi
from her seat and brought her a glass of cool water. Picard noticed
that Deanna was shaking slightly and that her face was slightly paler
than it had been yesterday.
"Ambassador, are you well?
"Yes, Captain, I am fine."
Picard again noticed, with an inward smile, that Deanna's stay on
Betazed had brought back the slight accent in her voice that she had
had when she had first begun to serve under him on the Enterprise-D.
"Well, please let us know if you do feel unwell."
Deanna inclined her head slightly.
"Why do you not tell them Deanna. It is obvious, even if I was not a
telepath, that they care very much for you?" said Ryla, speaking out
loud for the first time.
"Yes, they do, Ryla and I for them, which is why I cannot tell them
for it would worry them so greatly."
From where they stood, Crusher and Riker, standing with Andrana and
Kelic, heard the conversation between Deanna and Ryla.
"Doctor, may I have a private word with you?"
"Of course, Commander. Would you excuse us, Chancellor, Ambassador?"
"By all means." Answered Andrana, as she and Kelic moved away to
speak with Triand and Bix.
"You heard what I heard I take it?" Asked Beverley.
"Yes and I don't like it."
"You're going to like that even less." Answered the Doctor,
inclining her head towards Deanna and Ryla, who had just been joined
by Kitana Lepec.
"This can't be good." Muttered Riker.
"I do hope you are alright, Deanna…or should I call you Ambassador?
You always did like being above everyone else, didn't you, Dee." She
"Grow up, Kitana." Deanna answered, feeling the colour drain from
her face and the feelings of nausea she'd been feeling for the past
two months returning `Please not now.' She thought to herself.
`Deanna?' asked Ryla sensing the symptoms return in Deanna.
`I'll be alright, Ryla.'
"Grow up? Is that all you can come up with? Oh, Deanna, you must be
sicker than I thought for you not to come up with anything more."
Those in the room were becoming very aware of the argument and were
now listening to the bickering, although the Betazoid Ambassadors
were very aware of Deanna's increasing
"I'm just sick of running into you everywhere I turn. What's the
matter Counsellor, weren't you pleased with just trying to stop me
from getting this position, that you had to steal it from me two
"Accept it, Deanna, the better counsellor won." She leaned closer to
Deanna's ear whispering so that only she could hear the exchange. "I
plan not to stop at your career."
As Lepec pulled back her eyes shifted slightly to her right,
Deanna's eyes followed and saw Riker standing beside Crusher, both
with concerned faces. Deanna immediately knew what Kitana meant.
"Don't even think it."
The room began to tilt slightly. Before Deanna could resist their
help, Ryla, Bix and San'nax were at her side, having sensed the
increasing deterioration of her condition. Triand turned towards
Picard before exiting the room,
"Please, do not be concerned."
Before they were out of the door, Kitana shouted at Deanna,
"Don't be too unwell, Deanna, it would truly be a shame if you
weren't around to at least try to take your position back!"
With a quick, disorientated glance at Kitana, Deanna was led out of
the Conference Lounge.
"Counsellor, a word, please." Said the Captain, when the Helikin
delegates had been led away by LaForge and Data.
"As you wish, Captain." She answered coyly.
"I don't know what you thought you were doing, Counsellor, but I
will not have you speaking to Ambassador Troi like that! One more
personal outburst like that and you'll be relieved of duty until she
Picard didn't know whether he felt angry or embarrassed by Lepec's
actions, but he was, for the first time in his career, beginning to
think that maybe this particular officer did not deserve any more
chances. She should have adjusted to the routine of her life aboard
the Enterprise after four months, but he seemed to get nothing but
complaints about her still!
"Captain, I was just….."
"No more excuses, Counsellor!" he retorted, as he, Riker and Crusher
"Time to begin, I should think." Kitana said to the empty room, a
gleam of malice shone in her blue eyes.
"Hello, Data, may I sit down?"
Data looked up from his computer PADD into the face of Kitana Lepec.
"Of course, Counsellor."
"I'm not disturbing you am I?" she asked sitting across from him.
"No, Counsellor, you are not. Is there something you wish to discuss
"Well, actually, Data, I was wondering why Deanna is liked so much
"I believe it is her familiarity and the trust that the crew has in
her. You seem surprised,
Counsellor. You did know her in the past did you not?"
"Yes, Data, I did and that's why I am surprised at your answer."
"I do not understand how that could come as a surprise, Counsellor."
"Let's just say I know things about, Deanna, that perhaps it would
be best I didn't disclose, as it may tarnish the crews' perception
"Does Ambassador Troi have some form of personality defect that we
do not know of?"
"I guess you could say that, Data."
"Would you tell me what that is?"
"Well, let's just say she isn't entirely truthful when it comes to
the true extent of her empathic and telepathic abilities."
"Please elaborate, Counsellor."
"How do I start?" replied Kitana, smiling inwardly.
Ryla greeted Picard, Riker and Crusher when they arrived at Deanna
Troi's assigned quarters.
"She is resting, Captain."
"Ryla, it's important that we speak to her. Please?" said Crusher.
"I'll see what I can do. Deanna is quite stubborn at times." She
smiled. "Please wait in the living quarters."
"We understand." Answered Riker, as they entered the dimly lit
quarters and Ryla went into the bathroom.
"Ryla? Ryla, I need you!" came Deanna's call from the bedroom.
Instinct took over Riker, Crusher and Picard as they raced into the
Deanna lay on the bed, sweat covered her forehead and tears trickled
down her cheeks. She held her abdomen, as if in pain.
"Deanna?" said Beverley, as she knelt beside her and put her hand to
her friend's burning forehead.
"Ryla?" Deanna opened her eyes and moved quickly out of Beverley's
reach. She also noticed Riker and Picard standing at the foot of her
bed. "What are you doing here?"
"We were concerned about you, Ambassador and we heard you call for
help whilst waiting in your living quarters." Explained Picard.
"Deanna, will you come to Sickbay?"
"I do not wish for your care, Doctor, that is why I have Ryla here."
Her professionalism was back in play.
Ryla entered the bedroom, at that moment, carrying a tray. On the
tray, Riker spied a hypospray and a bottle of blue liquid.
"It's alright, Deanna, I'm here now." Ryla laid Deanna back onto the
bed and then injected Troi with the blue liquid. "Better?"
"Yes, but not much."
"Your system's becoming immune to the Trixanta."
Deanna nodded slowly and was soon asleep.
"Trixanta? Ryla that's only used…"
"Doctor Crusher, we are very aware of Trixanta's uses, it's also
necessary in the Ambassador's case. Now, please, Deanna needs her
rest before the negotiations tomorrow."
Picard and Crusher nodded and left with Ryla close behind. She
turned back to see Riker still staring at Deanna.
"Commander…" she stopped, reading something in his thoughts and
emotions. "Alright, Commander, you may stay for awhile."
"Thank you, Ryla." He said, walking over to Deanna's bedside and
took hold of Deanna's hand.
"Imzadi." Came Deanna's whispered voice, through the drug-induced
Will smiled at her first acknowledgement of him.
"I'm right here, Imzadi. I'm not going anywhere."
Ryla came back in.
"What's wrong with her, Ryla?"
"I'm afraid she is the only one who can tell you, but I can tell you
that she's been in this condition for two months and it's worsening."
Riker shook his head sadly, why hadn't she called him for his help?
"Okay, Doctor, what's the big secret of Trixanta?"
"Captain, it's only used on Betazed for certain illnesses."
"I don't know. I'll investigate into the possible illnesses that
Deanna could have. I know that it isn't a cure for anything, more
like a way of helping with the symptoms. It's very rarely used and
can be fatal."
"Why is she rejecting our help?"
"That's something only she can answer, Captain."
The pain began to return and then abated as quickly as it had come,
but it pulled her from her drug-induced sleep. She sat up slowly.
The dizziness was a side effect of the illness that she should have
been used to by now, but it still disorientated her every time.
She froze at the sound of his voice.
"Deanna, are you alright?"
"Commander Riker, I didn't realise you were still here."
"Deanna, there is obviously something very wrong with you. Tell me,
"It's nothing to be concerned about, Commander, people get sick all
"Deanna, please, enough with the professional B.S. Just tell me
what's wrong and why you never called for help?"
"Because there's nothing that could have been done here that wasn't
already done on Betazed. Will, I need time, just give me time."
"Deanna, you've been gone four months now and there's not been a
word from you, not to me, Beverley or the Captain, and then you
arrive here obviously seriously ill."
"Please, Commander, you're overreacting…"
"Deanna, see it from our points of view, there's not a word from you
and then you show up ill, how do you think that makes us feel?"
"Probably the same way I felt when you doubted that I loved you."
She sighed deeply and then looked back at him. "I need to rest."
"Alright I get the hint, I'm leaving. Will we be seeing you this
"I'm not sure, Commander."
Will bowed his head slightly and walked out of the room bumping into
Ryla. He looked up at Ryla; the sorrow showed clearly in his eyes,
then he quickly apologised and left. Ryla sat beside Deanna.
"Ah, Deanna. Just tell him, if not the others, then him. You are
Imzadi aren't you?"
"You felt that?"
"Yes, Deanna, I did. Now I know I'm just your aide…"
"You're not just my aide, Ryla, you're a friend."
"Okay then, as a friend talking to another friend, I think you
should tell him, if not him then Doctor Crusher."
"I've seen all the Doctors, Ryla, you know that. They can't do
anything for me."
"Deanna, she's not just your Doctor, she's your friend. You'll need
people like them and don't try to give me any of that psychobabble
B.S, okay? Just say you'll think about it."
"I'll think about it."
"Good. Now what are you going to wear tonight?"
Deanna smiled slightly, as Ryla moved towards the closet. Ryla was
right she must tell Beverley, but Will was a different matter.
"Deanna, can what? Data, don't be ridiculous, she can't do that."
"Yes, Geordie, apparently she can."
"Data, who told you that?"
"A reliable source who has known Ambassador Troi since childhood."
Geordie surmised in distaste. Something about their new Counsellor
pushed even Geordie the wrong way. Perhaps it was because he was
still pretty cut up about Deanna's dismissal, but there was more.
Kitana Lepec had a suspicious air about her, like she'd kill her own
mother to get what she wanted and the way she relentlessly flirted
with Commander Riker was annoying to say the least.
"Data, I wouldn't put much trust in what she says."
"Geordie, I have noticed that your dislike of Counsellor Lepec is a
feeling that is shared by most of the crew, yet I cannot find any
reason for their reaction to her."
"Yeah well, nor can most of us. There's just something about her
that makes everyone unsure of her, like she'd use any means to get
what she wanted."
"I believe I did hear Commander Riker refer to her as a `Daddy's
girl', but I am unfamiliar with that term."
Geordie had to try hard to keep himself from laughing.
"Yeah the Commander's right, she is. Someone who's described as a
`Daddy's girl' is usually someone who charms people into getting
what they want, when they want."
There was a slight pause and Geordie didn't have to wait long for
the next question he knew was coming.
"I have also noticed that Counsellor Lepec is interested in
Commander Riker. From Commander Riker's usual attitudes to women I
had predicted that her advances would have been noticed 3 months and
3 weeks ago, however he has not. I do not understand why."
"The Commander is only interested in Deanna. He's not interested in
"But Counsellor Lepec is his `type', is she not?"
"Perhaps in the attractiveness department she is, but not in the
"Come on, I said we'd meet Commander Riker and Doctor Crusher, five
minutes ago in `Ten Forward'."
"Mrs Troi, I hope I didn't catch you at a bad time?"
"Of course not. It's Doctor Crusher, isn't it?"
"Yes, ma'am, it is."
"What can I do for you my dear? It's not Deanna, is it?"
"Yes, Mrs Troi, it is. She's obviously unwell, but she refuses any
help from us and will not reveal her condition to me. I was
wondering if you would be so kind as to inform me of what exactly is
wrong with her?"
"I'm afraid I can't do that, Doctor. Deanna is the only one who can
tell you." Lwaxanna Troi watched as the Doctor's face contorted in
defeat. "However, I can forward you her medical records. That way
you found out yourself and not through me. I want you to do
everything you can for my daughter, Doctor."
"You have my thanks, Mrs Troi, and my word that I'll do everything I
can for Deanna. Enterprise out."
A few moments after her screen went blank, she received Deanna's
medical files. After reading them she wished she hadn't.
"Riker to Crusher."
Beverley jumped slightly.
"Crusher here. What is it, Will?"
"Are you going to join us, Doctor?"
"Oh, for drinks, I totally forgot, I'll be there in five."
"We'll still be here, Riker out."
Beverley Crusher filed Deanna's medical report away for later
reading and then left for the 'Ten Forward' lounge.
As Riker, Crusher, LaForge and Data sat drinking and chatting
between themselves they heard the door to the `Ten-Forward' Lounge
hiss open. Geordie stood up and called to the person who had entered,
"Ambassador, over here!"
Deanna Troi walked over to them, looking slightly nervous, but quite
striking in a simple aqua dress, one that looked very familiar to
"I was under the impression that the other delegates would be here."
"No, not tonight." Answered Geordie.
"Oh, well…um," she said nervously, "I'll leave you be then."
"Ambassador, please, have a seat." Said Riker.
"I don't want to intrude."
"I believe we invited you, Ambassador, therefore you would not be
intruding." Pointed out Data.
Deanna smiled at the android.
"Alright, you win, Data."
Space was made for Deanna between Riker and Crusher.
"Glad to see you up and about, Ambassador." Commented Riker.
She gave him a quick, nervous smile. Though it was quick and
nervous, it beheld warmth in it that captivated Will.
"Is Ryla not with you tonight, Deanna?" asked Crusher from Deanna's
"No, Bev, she wanted to explore the arboretum."
There was a short silence. Geordie got up and grabbed Data's arm to
stand him up.
"We'll get drinks."
With that they left for the bar. There was another uncomfortable
"Deanna, I know what's wrong with you." Blurted Beverley, unable to
withhold that information from her, and finally breaking the silence
"Oh, Bev. Look, I'm still here, so..."
"Deanna, you know how serious your condition is, but I don't
understand why you never contacted any of us!"
"Bev, I'm sorry, I didn't want to worry you!"
"Oh, Dee…" she said, tears falling from her eyes.
Deanna took her best friend in her arms.
"Come on, Bev, I'm all right. I'm here aren't I?"
Bev nodded as she broke from Deanna's embrace. Will stood up and
left the `Ten-Forward' Lounge without a word.
"You need to tell him, Dee."
"I know, I just…" she shook her head unable to find the words.
"Go and talk to him. Do it now."
"Yes, Ma'am." Replied Deanna, standing and giving a mock salute.
The corridor was empty and there was no sign of Will Riker.
"Computer, location of Commander Riker?"
"Commander Riker is in his quarters."
She breathed deeply to calm her nerves before pressing the door
chime on the entrance to Will Riker's quarters.
"Come in." said his voice from inside.
The door slid open and Deanna stepped in and saw Will sitting on his
"Ambassador!" he said, surprised to see her. "Please, come in. I'm
sorry I rushed off I just…"
"I know why you ran, Imzadi."
Will felt relief wash over him at the sound of that word.
"We need to talk, or rather, I need to talk." She continued, not
missing the relief she sensed from Will.
"Sure. Please sit down."
She sat down beside him on the sofa. He looked at her and waited
expectantly. She looked up at him, smiled slightly and took his hand
in her own.
"Will, it's obvious you know I'm ill, but there's something else you
need to know about my condition." She paused.
"What, what is it?" he urged.
"I'm…" She took a deep breath, "Imzadi, I'm dying."
Riker's face contorted in disbelief.
"No, you've got the medicine that Ryla gives you! You're not going
to die! Beverley can help you!"
"No, Will, no doctor can help me, it's incurable. The Trixanta
merely helps to relieve the pain."
Will stared at the floor. He opened his mouth and closed it again,
as if he was trying to find a way to say the words that swam in his
mind. Deanna squeezed his hand; he looked up at her, tears lining
"Why, why didn't you call us when you found out?"
"I didn't know how to tell you. I wasn't particularly accepting of
what the doctors told me at first."
There was another silence. Will ran a hand through his hair.
"How…how long do you have?"
"No-one can say." She shrugged her shoulders. "The Trixanta slowed
down the virus' progress, but the doctors didn't know how long the
virus would be affected by the Trixanta. My body's starting to
reject the Trixanta's effects and the virus is becoming immune to it
too. The bottom line is that I can't say."
"This is so surreal, like a bad dream or something."
"I know. Sometimes I don't want to believe it's happening."
Deanna, at that moment, in a very familiar movement, reached up and
moved a lock of his hair from his forehead. A tear slipped from his
eye and she wiped it away from his cheek with the pad of her thumb.
"Don't cry, Imzadi." Tears slipped from her own eyes. "See, you've
got me started now."
Through their tears they laughed together.
"I've missed you so much, Deanna." He admitted.
"I wanted to tell you." Deanna confessed. "So many times, I recorded
a message for you and every time I couldn't send it! Even after
mother and I sent our appeals to Starfleet, I just couldn't do it."
"Yes," she nodded, "and then three weeks later I become ill. It
happened so quickly and we were so unprepared…" she shook her head.
"Your mother took the dismissal badly I take it?"
"Yes and no. She rallied everyone together and the whole council and
all the members of the `Houses' appealed against the verdict. I was
"We all did too, you know. So did Admiral Osan."
"It's taken along time, hasn't it?"
"But, hopefully, it won't be much longer and then you can come back.
He watched as she looked to the floor. He immediately knew what she
was thinking. "You will be back, Deanna."
"I hope you're right, Will."
"Bev's determined to find a cure, she won't give up on you. I won't
give up on you."
Will slid closer to her and took her in his arms. She pulled back
after a few moments and smiled,
"I needed that, thank you."
He looked up at her with that famous and charming smile of his.
"I have to go. I have to get ready for tomorrow's meeting." She
He stood up beside her.
"Ambassador, before you go, there's something I want to give you."
She turned to face him. He pulled her closer to him and kissed her,
fully. He felt a renewed electricity pass between them and then in
his mind, as with the first time he'd felt this power between them,
he heard her voice whispering,
He broke the kiss and smiled at her. She left his quarters feeling
needed and loved.
"How else can we convince you, Ambassador Troi, that the Helikin
people are ready for an alliance with Betazed?" came Kelic's
"By showing me the evidence for your entire military government's
approval of this treaty. I already explained to you, Kelic, that I
will not put Betazed at the mercy of xenophobic military leaders!"
"Ambassador Troi, what about those names that Kelic has shown you,
of the military leaders that do agree with this?" asked Picard.
"That's less then three percent of the whole government and those
officials are of the lowest ranks and have absolutely no power in
the government. These just aren't good enough, I'm sorry."
"Very well. We'll adjourn for now." Said Picard.
As the three parties stood from the table and began separating into
smaller groups, Kitana Lepec spoke to Picard.
"Please, excuse me, Captain, I have to leave the negotiations for
"Of course, Counsellor Lepec. Don't let us keep you from your
"Thank you, sir." Kitana left the conference room.
Picard turned back to Riker, Crusher, Data and LaForge.
At the other end of the room, Deanna spoke to the Helikin delegates.
"Please, Kelic, Andrana, don't think my rejection of your proposal
is anything personal."
"Oh no, Deanna. We know it's nothing personal against us." Assured
"I actually think that what you're suggesting is a very good idea,
but you can see my point of view, can't you?"
"Yes, Ambassador, we do understand. Of course at the negotiation
table we must put aside our understanding and concentrate on our
tasks." Answered Kelic.
"I agree, Kelic. I did have an idea about your suggestions. If you
cannot convince me during these negotiations then we could start up
a programme, either on Betazed or Helikinus, which would convince
others of your ideas. It might be a slower process, but it would be
better in the long run. It's just an idea, mind you."
"It's a marvellous idea, Deanna."
"Sorry to interrupt." Came a voice. They turned to face Jean-Luc
Picard. "Shall we begin again?"
"Computer, open a secure channel to the head offices for the Helikin
"Access code needed for opening of secure channel."
"Code; Troi, zero, zero, alpha, beta, four."
"Code authorised, channel open."
"This is General Bek'Lax, leader of Helikinus. How may I be of
"General, I'm from Starfleet. I thought I should inform you of the
activities of two of your people…"
Beverley sat with Riker and Picard in the conference lounge. The
negotiations had finished two hours before.
"We're failing this mission, Number One."
"I know, Captain, but you can see the point that Ambassador Troi is
making can't you?"
"Of course, but our mission is to get her to agree to this trade
"What about the other Betazoid Ambassadors, don't they have a say?"
"Of course they do, Doctor. I seem to remember Deanna explaining how
Betazoid negotiations take place. The representative with the
highest social status -in this case, Deanna- will have the overall
say, but the other representatives will give their opinions to the
`leader'. In the end the Betazed council trusts the decision of the
higher-ranking representative. It's not a complicated procedure, but
it works well."
"Deanna already seems pretty convinced of her decision, not that I
can blame her, to be honest."
Before anyone could comment on the Doctor's opinion a voice
interrupted through the commlink.
"Ogawa to Crusher."
"Crusher here, go ahead, Alyssa."
"Doctor, There's been a call for emergency medical assistance in
Ambassador Troi's quarters. We tried to send some people, but she
won't see anyone except you."
"Alright, thanks. Crusher out."
As she, Riker and Picard left the conference room, she tapped her
"Computer, audio link to Ambassador Troi's quarters."
"Crusher to Ryla or Ambassador Troi, please respond."
"Beverley, thank goodness." Came Ryla's concerned voice.
"I'm on my way. What's happened?"
"Deanna's abdominal cramps have come back, she's in a lot of pain,
but she's become completely resistant to the Trixanta. I can't do
anything for her anymore."
"Alright, Ryla, I should be there within minutes. Keep her calm,
it's important that she doesn't panic."
"I will, Crusher out."
"I can't take this anymore! Make it stop!" came Deanna's pleas,
Crusher, Picard and Riker entered her quarters.
"Deanna, please, just try to relax. Beverley will be here soon."
Came Ryla's reply.
"It's alright, I'm here, Ryla."
She turned her attention to Deanna, who lay writhing in agony on her
bed. Crusher knelt beside her friend and scanned her with the
"Deanna, can you hear me? It's Beverley."
"Beverley." She whispered, looking up at her friend. "Oh Gods,
please, make it stop, Beverley, please!"
"Shh, Deanna, I'll do what I can." She replied, wiping the tears
from her friend's cheeks. She turned to the foot of Deanna's bed,
where Riker, Picard and Ryla stood. She motioned to Riker to sit
opposite her. "Take her hand and comfort her, try to take her mind
off the pain
while I find something that will work."
Will nodded and took Deanna's hand.
"Imzadi?" she whispered.
"It's alright, Deanna, I'm here now. You'll be fine."
Another wave of pain shot through Deanna's abdomen. She arched her
back and gripped his
hand, while biting her bottom lip, resisting the ever-increasing
urge to scream. Riker gripped her hand back.
`I'm here, Deanna.' He thought to her, not knowing how else to
comfort her. `I'm not going to let you go. We'll get through this…
Imzadi, I love you.'
She opened her eyes at that moment and forgot the pain. All she felt
was Will Riker's love protecting her from everything. She stared at
him. A smile tugged at her lips and tears of joy fell from her eyes.
`I love you, Imzadi.' She sent back.
Of all the spectators in the room, only Ryla was aware of what had
passed between the two people who were now staring at each other and
smiling, even though one of them should have been screaming in pain.
"Okay, I've got it." Said Beverley. She injected a lilac coloured
liquid into Troi. "How do you feel?"
"Better, thank you."
"It should last longer than the Trixanta, but you'll become immune
to this one very soon too."
"Well," smiled Deanna, "it's a start."
There was a short silence before a voice interrupted them.
"Data to Captain Picard."
"Picard here. What is it, Data?"
"Sir, sensors have detected a fleet of approximately twelve Helikin
war ships on an intercept course with us. They are in attack
"Red alert, shields up. I'm on my way."
"Aye, sir. Data out."
Picard turned to those in the room, as the red lights began to flash
and the klaxon began to sound.
"Number One, Doctor, join me on the Bridge. Ryla, Deanna please stay
"This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the starship Enterprise. How..?"
"Captain, this is General Bek'Lax, leader of Helikinus. You will
lower your shields and prepare to be boarded." The gruff-looking
Helikin on the viewscreen interrupted.
"I don't think so, General." Replied Picard. "At least not until I
understand why you are threatening the Flagship of the Federation."
"You are housing two traitors aboard you're ship and are helping in
negotiations between them and those Betazoids!" as he said the last
word, he spat in disgust. "I will not tolerate this, Picard! Now
lower your shields!"
"Captain," whispered Lepec, from Picard's left, "be careful how you
answer. From his body and verbal language it is obvious that he's
not afraid to carry out any threats he intends to make."
Picard nodded slightly to his Counsellor, but decided to say what he
"I will not surrender my vessel to you!"
"Very well, Picard, you give me no choice…"
The Helikin nodded to someone behind him and Data's console began to
"Captain, they are inputting our shield's harmonic frequency codes.
We will loose shields in…3…2…1…shields down, Captain."
Before they could react, heavily armed Helikin soldiers surrounded
them. Bek'Lax walked to Picard.
"You should have surrendered, Picard."
It had been four hours since he and the senior staff had been
marched into the Cargo Bay 3 and placed under guard. Still Picard
watched as his crew was herded into the room. The door opened with
its usual whining sound. Bek'Lax entered, followed by a few
soldiers. The soldiers led the last group into the Cargo Bay. It was
the Betazoid and Helikin delegates. Andrana and Kelic were dragged
in harshly away from the rest of the prisoners. Riker and Crusher
walked quietly up to Picard.
"They haven't found Deanna or Ryla yet." Commented Riker.
"We need to get to her soon. I don't know how long the medication
"Unfortunately, Doctor that's the least of our worries at the
"Its not far now, Ryla, just a little way down this Jeffrey's tube."
Commented Deanna as she led the blonde Betazoid down the darkened
Whilst waiting in their quarters, as Picard had instructed, they
both felt the turmoil take over the ship and decided to make a run
for it. Deanna had no idea where they were going to run to, because
the Helikins were all over the ship, but as long as they kept
hidden they'd be fine. Foot steps and voices coming from the end of
the Jeffrey's tube, caused the two women to stop still.
"The General wants this whole ship searched. We're still missing two
prisoners, both female, both Betazoids. There are only these
Jeffrey's tubes to search, but they go all the way through the ship,
so we've had to split into several groups. You know you're
assignments. Move out!"
The hatched ahead of them began to hiss open.
"Damn it!" Swore Deanna, looking around the small tunnel. She spied
an access ladder to their right. "Ryla, up this way, we've got to
get off this level!"
The two women climbed for their lives. As the hatch closed behind
them, the Helikin soldiers entered the Jeffrey's tube.
Deanna had to kick open the next hatch, unsure of where exactly they
were and who was there to greet them. The hatch fell to the ground
without a sound. Deanna immediately knew why, it had fallen onto the
soft grass of the arboretum.
"We'll be safe here for awhile."
"Good, I need a rest. Did you say you had to do this whole ship with
heavy-duty backpacks on?"
"Yes," smiled Deanna, "Its part of the training."
"Are you feeling alright, Deanna?"
"I don't know. I'm feeling uncomfortable. I think whatever Beverley
gave me is wearing out."
"Come let's find somewhere to sit and rest." Suggested Ryla.
They sat down behind a large `fortress' of various tree and bush
plants. They were completely hidden, but for how long?
It had been three hours since the last group of prisoners had been
dragged into the Cargo Bay and still there had been no sign of
Deanna or Ryla. Picard had gathered his senior staff close to him so
they could hear him without it looking suspicious.
"Sir, I have been able to detect that there are three guards outside
the Cargo Bay door, as well as the two you see on this side of it
and there are five at various points on the upper level."
"Thank you, Data." Picard whispered back. "Doctor?"
"Everyone I've managed to speak to is unhurt. The only injuries are
a few abrasions to the heads of the Helikin ambassadors, but I can't
get to them."
"Any sign of Deanna and Ryla?"
"Geordie and I have been monitoring the conversations between the
guards." Commented Riker. "As far as they know, Deanna and Ryla are
in the Jeffrey's tubes, but so far all searches have proven to be
"Well, at least we know they're evading capture."
"But, Captain, the drugs I gave her will be starting to wear off.
You saw the state she was in earlier, they're not going to be able
to hide for much longer."
Picard nodded at Beverley Crusher unsure of how to answer her.
Thankfully, Riker spoke up.
"Captain, I could try to contact Deanna telepathically."
"Do it, Number One."
Riker nodded and moved away from the group. When he was far enough
he sat down on the cold floor and closed his eyes. He drew a mental
picture of how he saw her last, smiling and crying at his confession
`Imzadi, Beloved, touch my mind. Tell me, where are you?'
`Deanna, we're worried about you and Ryla, tell me where you are.
They're looking for you. Imzadi, where are you?'
Again there was nothing. As he was about to send for the third time,
he felt the familiar touch of her mind on his.
`Imzadi, we're in the arboretum. Where are you? The whole ship is
deserted, except for the Helikin soldiers.'
`I know, Deanna. We've all been taken to Cargo Bay 3.'
`We'll get to you, I….'
Deanna's link wavered and broke.
`Deanna? Imzadi, where are you? What's wrong?'
`Commander Riker?' Came the voice of a new mind in his own.
`Ryla, is that you?'
`Yes, Commander, it is.'
`Where's Deanna? Why did her link break?'
`The drugs have worn off, talking to you was strenuous for her. I
had to break the link between you, so she saves her strength. I'm
sorry if I startled you. I understand that it must be a little
strange to feel someone else's mind other than your Imzadi's.'
`A little. Will you stay in the arboretum?'
`We will for as long as we can. Deanna needs her strength.'
`We've been trying to find ways of escape, but it's not looking too
good. Take care of Deanna…and yourself.'
`Of course, Commander. Good luck to you.'
Ryla broke the link.
Riker stood from the cold floor and walked back to sit with the
other members of the senior staff.
"Well, Number One?"
"They're in the arboretum, sir."
"And her medical condition?" asked Beverley.
"The drugs have worn off, so she's not got long before it starts
affecting her again."
As the officers spoke among themselves, they did not see one of
their own walk from the circle to a guard. The person whispered one
word to him,
The guard immediately gathered a few of his fellow soldiers
together, as the informant made their way back to the group of
"Where are they going?" asked Geordie.
They others looked up to see a group of five soldiers leave the
Cargo Bay in a hurry. As soon as they left a replacement group
entered and took their positions.
Ten minutes later the guards returned with a protesting Ryla behind
her, Deanna Troi was dragged in. They left Ryla standing with the
Starfleet officers, but Deanna was thrown to the floor where Kelic
and Andrana sat. When Ryla, Crusher and Riker tried to move towards
Deanna to help her they were prodded backwards with the Helikin
soldiers' disrupter rifles.
Kelic and Andrana helped Deanna to sit up. She wasn't looking too
well. She was very pale, shaking slightly and was feverishly
sweating. Over her navy robe she had wrapped a pale blue shawl
across her shoulders, still she was cold. Beverley tried pleading
with one of the guards,
"Please, you don't understand, she's very ill. I'm a doctor. I need
to treat her!"
"So they'll be one less Betazoid to worry about." He said and walked
After a few more tries and rejections Beverley sat back with Ryla
and the senior staff.
"I'm sorry I've tried."
"Don't worry, Doctor Crusher, I'm sure we'll think of someway to get
out of here and help Deanna." Replied Ryla as she got up and sat
with the Betazoid delegates.
They immediately joined hands, closed their eyes and were silent.
Deanna began to feel stronger. She opened her eyes and saw her party
joined together. She smiled slightly. They were using their joint
telepathic selves to strength her.
`Thank you.' She sent to them.
They merely smiled back at her and continued the flow of power.
Bek'Lax entered the Cargo Bay. Out of instinct the senior staff, and
on the other side of the large room, Kelic and Andrana stood. He
ignored them all.
"Where is she?" he bellowed to the guard beside him.
The soldier pointed to where Kelic and Andrana stood. They parted
instantly and there sat Deanna, with her eyes closed. Bek'Lax strode
towards them, pushing Kelic and Andrana aside and stood in front of
Deanna. She took her time, but slowly she looked up and opened her
eyes to face Bek'Lax. She stood up, proud and firm, with all the
aristocracy of her mother.
"So you're the Betazoid Bitch who's agreeing to an illegal trade
with those Traitors." He said, nodding his head towards Kelic and
"We wouldn't trade with you even if our lives depended on it. I
suggest you let us all go. You have no right to imprison Betazoid or
"I don't think you're in the position to demand anything from us,
Betazoid!" he spat to the floor, as if it insulted him to say
anything to do with her world or people.
"We believe we are! Let us go, General, or face the consequences of
He stepped closer to her, towering above her, but she did not flinch
or back away.
"What can you do, Little Betazoid, zap me with your mind powers?" he
A devious smile pulled at Deanna's lips as she turned, walked away
and sat back down on the floor. He made a noise of disgust,
frustration and embarrassment, at being treated like this by a
woman… a Betazoid woman at that, and he walked out of the Cargo Bay.
When he had gone, Deanna stood again. She began to walk towards the
other Betazoids when a guard stood in her way and ordered her back.
She simply walked past him.
"Stop or I'll be forced to shoot!" he ordered.
"You won't pull the trigger." She said, turning to look directly
into his eyes.
She smiled at him and he relaxed from his defensive position,
pointing the gun at the floor instead of at her. The Betazoids, for
the first time during the whole incident with Bek'Lax and the guard,
opened their eyes, stood up and turned to face Deanna. She embraced
each of them sending her thanks to them. She held on to Ryla for
`I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up.'
`We'll help you as much as we can, Deanna, but you must learn to
harness the power of the `Fifth House'. You've neglected it for too
long. You can do this.'
With a nod, Deanna let go of Ryla and turned to the confused
Starfleet officers. She embraced Beverley, whispering;
"Don't worry, Bev, I'm alright. Ryla and the others are linked to
me, they're using their telepathic abilities to withhold the virus'
Letting go of Beverley, Deanna nodded to LaForge, Data and Picard.
Riker didn't hesitate to take Deanna in his arms and kiss her. He
didn't care who was watching or what any of them thought. All there
was, and all that mattered, was Deanna. The kiss broke, but still
they clutched each other, pressing their foreheads together.
`Do you sense my thoughts, Will?'
`Yes, Imzadi, I do.'
Outwardly he nodded to her. Those around them instantly knew that
they were communicating telepathically. Ryla and Beverley shared a
`Know that everything will be fine, Imzadi.'
`But the virus, Ryla said…'
`I know, Will, I heard your communication with her. We're all joined
now; myself, Ryla, Triand, Bix and Sen'nax, we're using our
telepathic abilities to counteract the virus' effects. We don't know
how long it will last, which is why we must act quickly. You are
linked to me telepathically, Will, as are the others, so don't be
worried or concerned if you start to hear anything we send each
other. It may be uncomfortable at first, but you'll get through it, I
know you will.'
Again, he nodded and they released each other.
"Captain," whispered Troi, "without getting the attention of the
guards you must tell all of your people to shut their eyes and cover
their ears when we give the signal."
"Alright. May I ask why, Deanna?"
"We're getting out of here, but we're not exactly going to use any
orthodox methods to do so. It is vital that they do exactly as we
Picard nodded and began to spread the word.
Within half an hour the whole room had gotten wind of the message
and were waiting for Deanna's signal, which would simply be a nod of
`We're ready, Deanna. It's up to you now. Remember we don't have the
ability to do this that's down to you, but we have the power to help
strengthen you.' Came Ryla's voice.
Deanna stood in the middle of the room, took a few deep breaths and
gave the nod to Picard. All the Starfleet officers and Kelic and
Andrana shut their eyes and covered their ears, not sure of what to
expect, but trusting Deanna.
After what seemed like hours, Picard felt a hand on his shoulder. He
opened his eyes and saw Deanna standing above him. She looked weak,
feverish and ready to faint. He stood up and saw all his crewmembers
still closing their eyes and covering their ears. In various places,
Helikin soldiers lay scattered on the floor. Picard took Deanna's
arm and put it over his shoulder to support her, as they began to
`wake' everyone else up. Riker felt the touch of someone's hand on
his shoulder. He opened his eyes and looked up to see Picard with
Deanna slumped weakly beside him. Will stood up and took Deanna from
Picard, picking her up. She immediately wrapped her arms securely
around his neck. The officers began to file out of the Cargo Bay,
arming themselves with dropped disrupter rifles. Beverley checked on
a few of the fallen Helikin soldiers, as she walked past them. She
joined Picard as one of the last to leave the Cargo Bay.
"I don't know what she did, Jean-Luc, but those soldiers are dead."
Beverley nodded her head, as she passed another three bodies.
The large crowd of officers stopped of at the armoury to arm
themselves with hand phasers or phaser rifles, before splitting off
into groups to take back their stations. Beverley and her medical
staff planned to take back Sickbay with the help of the Betazoid
delegates, Kelic and Andrana. Riker, having to take back the Bridge
with Picard, Data, Lepec and a handful of security officers, handed
Deanna over into Bix's arms.
"Take care of her."
"Don't be concerned, Commander, she will not come to harm with us."
"Thank you." He said, nodding to the young Betazoid.
He kissed Deanna lightly on her forehead and he left with his group.
"Alright people," Came Crusher's voice, "let's get Sickbay back.
When we have we'll get you two fixed up," She said nodding her head
at Kelic and Andrana, "and then we'll see if we can help Deanna."
"Sir, none of the guards in Cargo Bay 3 or on that level are
responding to our communications." Came the report from the Helikin
Soldier at the tactical station of the Enterprise Bridge.
"They must have escaped somehow."
"Patrol seven to General Bek'Lax."
"This is Bek'Lax."
"Sir, we've come up against mass resistance from the Starfleet
officers. They came from nowhere and are armed with starfleet
phasers and phaser rifles."
"Stay at your positions." He turned to the officer at tactical. "Go
to ship-wide red alert and open a channel to all patrols."
The klaxon began to sound and the whole Bridge was tinted red.
"Channel open, sir."
"This is Bek'Lax. The prisoners have escaped and are armed. Do not
let them retake the ship! Bek'Lax out."
"Sir, reports are coming in fast, we've lost almost 65% of the
ship." Came the voice of another soldier, who sat at Data's console.
At that moment from the two turbolifts and the Conference lounge
emerged Picard and his group, all of them armed and with their
weapons aimed at each of them seven Helikin soldiers that stood on
"I suggest you surrender, Bex'Lax."
"I think not, Picard." He tapped the communicator on his
wrist. "This is Bek'Lax, emergency transport of all boarding crew."
The Helikins disappeared from the Bridge. As Bex'Lax began to
dematerialise he sneered at Picard,
"I will be back, human, you can count in it."
On the viewscreen, the Helikin fleet retreated from the Enterprise.
"Shall we pursue them, sir?" asked Data, as they all took their
"No, Data. Let's just make sure everything is alright."
"Aye, sir." Data tapped his console then spoke, "Bridge to all
stations, please report in."
Two Days Later…
"Captain's log: The Betazoid delegates left yesterday evening to
return home to Betazed. Ambassador Deanna Troi has agreed to stay on
board the Enterprise, under the care of Doctor Crusher, so her Aide
Ryla has also returned to Betazed. The Helikin delegates, Kelic and
Andrana, have also journeyed to Betazed in order to begin a project
of peace and understanding between the Betazoid and Helikin people.
Apparently the idea was one of Ambassador Deanna Troi's; who
obviously wants peace, but was unable to come to an agreement with
the Helikin, due to the opposition of their military-led government.
Personally, I cannot blame the Ambassador for her decision, but
thankfully our mission was not a complete failure with the agreement
of this project.
Due to General Bek'Lax's threats of returning to attack the
Enterprise, a patrol of starships have been sent to Helikinus, in
order to stop their battleships leaving. Representatives of the
Federation High Council have also been sent in order to ensure that
the General will not attack, so far all seems to be going well.
A group of Doctors from all over the Federation have joined our own
C.M.O in trying to find a cure for Deanna Troi's illness, I am
unsure of how well their efforts have proceeded.
An interesting turn of events occurred yesterday, whilst
investigating into how the Helikin government discovered our
location, a secured transmission was found. Commander Data and
Geordie LaForge have been assigned to investigate this matter
Picard strode up the corridor towards Sickbay, when someone called
He turned to see Geordie LaForge and Data running to catch up with
"Ah, gentlemen, how's things?"
"Not so `fine-and-dandy', sir." Replied LaForge.
"Oh? What seems to be the problem?"
"It's about our assignment, we've uncovered something disturbing
about the communication records we discovered yesterday."
"I'm on my way to Sickbay, but I'm sure this is something Commander
Riker and Doctor Crusher will want to be involved in."
Beverley sat in her office in Sickbay with Will Riker when Picard,
LaForge and Data arrived.
"Commander LaForge has some news for us." Commented Picard, as he
sat beside Riker.
"Thank you, sir. After checking the communication logs we found a
communiqué that had been sent to General Bek'Lax sometime during the
last negotiation meeting."
"Any idea of who sent it?" asked Riker.
"That's where it starts to get interesting, Commander. The person
used a secure channel, so we traced the links' security codes, to
find out the identity of the informant. They were Ambassador Troi's
old codes from when she was Counsellor here on board the Enterprise."
The other three officers looked stunned.
"Geordie that's impossible, she was sitting right in front of me in
the Conference Lounge!" Commented Beverley.
"Exactly, Doctor. We had to unscramble the message."
He turned to Crusher's computer terminal and pressed a few keys. On
the computer screen was a picture of General Bek'Lax.
"Now, if we reverse the angle," He continued pressing a few more
buttons, "We should have a clear picture of our informant."
The screen shifted and staring straight back at them was Counsellor
"Mon dieu!" exclaimed Picard. He tapped his commbadge, "Picard to
security, find Counsellor Lepec and confine her to the Brig until
"Aye, sir." Came the reply.
"Well done, Mister LaForge."
"Thank you, sir."
"An interesting development." Commented Picard, more to himself,
than to the four officers around him. "How is Deanna, Doctor?"
Picard watched as Beverley and Will exchanged a quick glance to one
"I'm afraid she's worsening, Captain. I've not had much luck with
the virus, but I'm not going to give up on her."
"How long does she have?"
Beverley shrugged her shoulders.
"In all honesty, sir, I don't know. We believe that she will go
through three stages. The first is that she'll become withdrawn and
unable to communicate with us, the second is coma and the third is
death. All this will be after an incredible amount of pain, as her
nervous system destroys itself. How long it will take for these
stages to occur or how long each stage will last I don't know. If
she reaches the second stage it's very unlikely that I'll be able to
bring her back, even if we find a cure."
"I know you'll do whatever you can, Doctor."
He got up from his chair and left the office. On his way out he
spotted Deanna looking at him from her diagnostic bed, so he walked
"Ambassador." He said, nodding his head.
Deanna smiled slightly,
"Please, Captain, I'd prefer Deanna."
Picard smiled back.
"Very well, Deanna."
"I heard about Kitana."
Picard arched an eyebrow at her and Deanna laughed slightly. He
never knew how she knew these things, was it because she had sensed
it or had she simply over heard their conversation?
"You want to ask me something, Jean-Luc. Something that all five of
you want to know."
Deanna nodded and indicated for Picard to look behind him. He did so
and there stood Beverley, Geordie, Data and Will.
"Yes…well, um…Deanna, Beverley said that all the Helikin soldiers in
the vicinity of Cargo Bay 3, were dead. Do you know how it happened?"
The others looked on as Deanna bowed her head then looked back up to
"I did it."
"How? That's not among your abilities." Interrupted Riker in shock.
"You're right, Will, it's not among my conscious abilities to do
that. However, as a `Daughter of the Fifth House', I have certain
abilities that are innate. My mother is an extremely powerful
telepath, even for a Betazoid, and part of that power is passed on
"Deanna you're only half Betazoid." Commented Beverley.
"That's true, Bev, but it makes no difference to the telepathic
abilities I do have, other than the fact that it's a lot more effort
for me to access those abilities. I've ignored their existence for
many years, even before I met you Will."
"Why choose now to use them, Deanna?" asked Picard.
"It was my mother's belief that perhaps these innate abilities could
be used somehow to slow down the virus' process. That is why Ryla is
with me. Though she takes on the guise of an Aide, she is one of the
Priestesses from an ancient religious order on Betazed. They help
those with powerful hidden abilities to nurture and learn to use
"What were the Betazoid delegates doing when they sat in that
circle?" asked Geordie.
"Though I have the abilities, I don't always have the power to
sustain those abilities when I use them, especially since this
illness is getting the better of me, they were using thier
telepathic selves to strengthen my abilities."
"Deanna, what did you do to them exactly?" asked Will.
"Is it really so important for you to know the specifics, Imzadi?"
"Yes, it is."
"I formed a telepathic link with each of the soldiers and fed each
others thoughts to one another. It overloaded their systems and they
Will looked away from her, as the others remained silent.
`I'm not proud of what I did, Imzadi, but it was all I could think
of that would give us enough time to get the ship back.' Will looked
back up to her. Their eyes met and Deanna saw his uncertainty at her
answer. `Don't hate me, Imzadi, please.'
At the same time that Deanna's voice pleaded with him, he saw her
head drop in shame and guilt. He also heard the fear in her voice.
He reached for her and took her hand. He squeezed it gently until
she looked back at him. Her tear-filled eyes reflected the fear that
had sounded in her voice.
"I could never hate you, Imzadi." He whispered to her.
"It seems that Counsellor Lepec was correct." Commented the gold-
skinned android, as he and LaForge left Sickbay.
"About what Data?"
"Do you not recall our conversation, Geordie? Where I informed you
that Counsellor Lepec notified me of Ambassador Troi's hidden
"Yeah, Data, I do remember, but I doubt that Lepec's reasons for
telling you that were for your benefit."
Again, there was the expected silence before Data's next question.
"Why would the Counsellor contact the Helikins and use Ambassador
Troi's old security codes?"
"I'll let you work that one out yourself, Data."
"Captain Picard, I am appalled at my treatment!"
"Shut up, Lepec!" exploded Picard. "I have had enough of your
attitude! You think I haven't noticed the way you waltz around the
Bridge like you own it or the way you disrespect my officers and our
"Captain, I don't know what you mean…"
"Of course you don't, Lepec." He retorted sarcastically. "I suppose
you're going to tell me that you don't know why you used Ambassador
Troi's old security codes to contact the Helikin government, aren't
Lepec turned her back on Picard and sat back on her cell's bunk.
"Fine, your silence only proves your guilt, not that we need your
statement to prove it."
Picard turned to leave.
"She won't get this position from me, Picard. There's no way she can
get it back."
Picard looked at the woman in the Brig for a few moments, then
turned on his heel and left.
"Jean-Luc, I obtained your report on the Helikin incident. I must
say I'm not surprised by Lepec's treachery."
"Why is that, Admiral?"
"Let's just say I've found out something very interesting about
Deanna Troi's trial. I can't tell you what I know, but I will be
with you soon. We'll get this whole situation sorted out. Counsellor
Lepec will stand trial when I arrive. Osan out."
Admiral Antonio Osan materialised on the transporter pad accompanied
by six officers. Three of them were the Lieutenants that had been on
the jury for Troi's hearing and the other three seemed to be
"Admiral Osan, it's good to see you again."
"Likewise, Captain." Answered the white haired man, shaking Picard's
"You remember Commander Riker and Doctor Crusher?"
"Of course, Captain. Where is Lepec?"
"She's in the Brig, Admiral."
"Very well. Have both Lepec and Ambassador Troi brought to the
conference room. We'll get this done and over with as quickly as
The Admiral turned to leave the transporter room, when another voice
"Admiral, forgive me for speaking out of turn, but there is
something you need to know."
"That's quite alright, Doctor, please tell me."
"Its Ambassador Troi, sir. Her health has taken a turn for the
worst, so I do not believe that medically she should be involved."
"Your medical objections have been noted, Doctor, and I will not
involve the Ambassador unless necessary. However, I do believe that
if Deanna is anything like her mother, then she will want to be
"Please, just tell me what's going on?" said Deanna, as Beverley
Crusher and Will Riker led her down the corridor.
Deanna was dressed in a fitted mauve dress, whereas Riker and
Crusher were dressed in Starfleet dress uniforms. An hour before,
Deanna had been in Sickbay, when Riker and Crusher, already dressed
in their formal uniforms, woke her up and took her to her guest
quarters, there she was promptly dressed and led out again. Deanna
stopped still, taking her arms back from the crooks of Crusher and
Riker's elbows. They too stopped walking and turned to face her.
"Come on, Dee, we'll be late." Pleaded Will.
"We're not taking another step until you've told me what's going on
and why you're both in such a rush!"
Riker and crusher exchanged a quick glance at one another.
"Alright, Deanna, you win. Admiral Osan is on board. He'll be
judging the hearing on Lepec and apparently has some news about your
"Will, I sense your happiness at this, but don't get your hopes up."
"But, Dee," retorted Beverley, "if all goes well you could have your
job back within hours."
"All I'm saying is, don't get too excited, okay."
There was a short silence.
"Come on, or we'll never know." Said Will, taking hold of Deanna's
"Deanna, I'm glad to see you again." Came the older man's voice.
"Like wise, Admiral." Answered Deanna as she shook the Admiral's
"I've got some interesting to tell you, Deanna, but it can wait
until we start Lepec's trial."
With a nod, Deanna took her place within the spectators. Antonio
Osan took his seat in front of them all. Beside him sat the security
personnel and seated next to Lepec were the three
"We'll forget all the standing and formalities and simply get on
with this hearing. Counsellor Kitana Lepec, you are charged with
insubordination and treachery against the Federation. How do you
Lepec stood, her long blonde hair fell across her face.
"Not guilty, Your Honour."
A small smile spread across Admiral Osan's face.
"I have read Captain Picard's report and have been shown the
communiqué you sent to General Bek'Lax of Helinkinus and yet you
still plead not guilty?"
"Would you care to explain how you came to the conclusion of your
"Sir, it is my belief that Captain Picard and his crew treated me
unfairly, because I replaced Deanna Troi, as Ship's Counsellor. My
work was continuously scrutinised, even though many of my patients
recovered in a much quicker time frame than Ambassador Troi
predicted. I believe that the crew of the Enterprise were biased
"Objection, Your Honour!" interrupted Deanna, standing up amongst
"The court will hear your objection, Ambassador." Answered Osan,
with a slight nod of his head.
"Never have the crew of the Enterprise put their personal
preferences above their duties to Starfleet. The idea is
preposterous! We all know that when we join a ship that we may be
transferred at any time. I object completely to the idea of these
Starfleet officers being
biased." Troi sat back down.
"Thank you, Ambassador." He turned back to face Lepec. "There is,
however, a graver reason for your guilt, Counsellor, one that you
thought you had hidden very well."
Osan looked quickly to his computer PADD and then back up to Lepec
and the Lieutenants beside her.
"It has been found, Counsellor, that you, along with Lieutenants
Dominic, Trailan and Benson, agreed to rig Ambassador Troi's
hearing, so that you would all find her guilty even if the evidence
proved otherwise. Now I ask each one of you, is this true?"
The three lieutenants stood up beside Lepec.
"Sir," spoke up the tallest of the three Lieutenants, "I have been
chosen to speak for all of us."
"Very well, Lieutenant Benson."
"We were approached by Kitana Lepec, two days before Ambassador
Troi's trial and were told that if we did not agree to her terms
then she would find us psychologically unsuitable for duty and
threatened to suggest our expulsion from Starfleet. We, therefore,
agreed to her
demands and found Ambassador Troi guilty, even though she was
clearly innocent of the charges brought against her."
"I object, Your Honour, I would not…"
"Objection, denied. Do you know of the reasons why Counsellor Lepec
wanted Ambassador Troi discharged, Lieutenant?"
"We believe it was for her personal gain, sir."
"Thank you, Lieutenants. You may be seated."
The three officers did as instructed.
"Ambassador Deanna Troi, please step up to the bench."
Deanna stood up and walked away from the crowd. She stood beside
"The Federation Council, after reviewing the evidence and in light
of the new discoveries, have pardoned you of all charges. You have
your full rank and position aboard the Enterprise, with our
"Thank you, Your Honour." Smiled Troi, who felt like screaming in
delight, but remained professional.
"You now have the opportunity to suggest charges for those who have
violated your rights to a fair trial."
Deanna Troi looked carefully at each one of the four people beside
her. From the Lieutenants, Troi sensed nothing, but guilt and
remorse for their actions. From Kitana, however, she sensed nothing,
but malice and hatred, all directed towards her. Deanna turned back
"It is my opinion that these three Lieutenants were manipulated and
blackmailed by this woman and they should therefore be suspended for
one month to undergo psychological evaluation."
"Very well and what about Counsellor Lepec?"
"She has falsified evidence, used her profession to her personal
gain, sabotaged a mission and endangered her ship and crew through
treachery, that much is obvious, but I do not believe her sentence
should be decided by me. I leave that in your capable hands, Your
"As you wish, Ambassador." He turned to face the other four
officers. "Lieutenants Dominic, Trialan and Benson, as with the
Ambassador's wishes you will be pardoned for your actions against
her, but you will return to Earth with me where you will all undergo
evaluation for a period of one month. You may be seated."
The three Lieutenants sat down, each one giving Deanna a quick nod
"Counsellor Kitana Lepec, your actions over the past five months
have put many lives at risk and you've broken your oath on several
occasions, therefore you will be stripped of rank and position and I
sentence you to five years in the Penal colony on Renance IV. Court
As Osan signalled the end of trial with the traditional hitting of
his hammer on his desk, a loud cheer emanated from the crowd. Osan
came forward to Deanna Troi and shook her hand.
"Congratulations, Ambassador…or should I say Counsellor?"
A wide smile appeared on Deanna's face,
"I believe I like Counsellor better, Admiral."
In a surprising motion, the Admiral embraced Deanna, as he did so he
"I did say you'd be back if you appealed, didn't I."
Deanna hugged the older man back, tears springing from her eyes.
"Thank you." She whispered.
The two people parted as the senior staff made their way towards
them. With a quick nod to Picard, Osan left the room followed by the
three security guards, the three Lieutenants and Lepec. As Lepec was
led out of the room she called back,
"You will regret this, Deanna, I swear it!"
Two of the security guards pulled her quickly away.
"Congratulations, Counsellor, it's good to have you back." Said
Picard, shaking her hand.
"Thank you, sir. I'm ecstatic to be back."
After congratulations from various other crewmembers, Beverley
Crusher took Deanna back to Sickbay.
"What is it Doctor E'Len?"
Beverley turned to the Vulcan woman who sat on her left.
"Doctor Pentax and I," began the Vulcan indicating to the Human male
on her right, "believe we may have a theory on the virus' origins."
"Excellent, please continue."
"We already know that it effects certain parts of the brain and
nervous system and that most ideas had already been covered.
However, there had been no investigation into the possibility that
it originated from some form of plant or animal life."
"Why would we look at that option?"
"We know that some forms of plant and animal life contain poisons
that affect the victim's brain functions and nervous system. Your
own Commander Riker was infected with such an illness, according to
your mission logs, from a plant."
"That's very true. Are you both suggesting that this is something
"Yes, Doctor, we are. We are at this moment reading through all know
plant and animal life forms that have these capabilities on Betazed
and on any of the planets Counsellor Troi visited before her
"Very good. Is there anything else?"
"Yes, Doctor, there is." Began Pentax. "I think your predictions of
the three stages are wrong. According to my research and the after
looking at Troi's brain scans, I believe there are only two stages;
coma and death. Unfortunately a time frame is still hard to predict."
"Thank you, Doctors, please let me know what you find."
Beverley stood up and walked to her office door. She rested against
the doorframe and looked out into Sickbay. It was empty save for
Deanna Troi, who was speaking to Lieutenant Benedict. Beverley felt
an immense sadness fill her, as she watched her friend. Even now, on
the verge of an uncertain future, Deanna Troi was still there for
others, still Counselling when she should be resting. Beverley
didn't have the heart to tell Deanna to stop working, because she
knew that Deanna couldn't just be there and sense their pain, but
had to be there to stop the suffering she sensed in those around
her. Beverley, with a small sigh, turned back to her desk and began
Beverley Crusher sat in a sombre mood in the `Ten-Forward' lounge;
she stared at the stars, not really seeing anything.
"Mind if we join you, Doctor?"
Beverley looked up to see Jean-Luc Picard and Will Riker standing
"Sure." She said, indicating to the chairs either side of her.
The two men sat down.
"Are you okay, Beverley?"
"I don't know what to do, Jean-Luc. My calculations were way off."
"Calculations? I don't understand."
"Remember I told you that there would be three stages in Deanna's
"Withdrawal, Coma and Death. Yes, I remember."
"I was wrong, there are only going to be two; coma and death. I feel
like such an idiot."
"Don't think that Beverley, you're not an idiot." Replied Will.
"I agree. What about a cure? Have you found anything?" asked Picard.
Beverley shook her head.
"No cure, but two of the doctors believe that they are close to an
origin. Will, remember when you were infected by that virus from
"And Doctor Palaski had to use negative emotions to counteract it?
Yes, I remember that one very well."
"Okay, well, they believe that Deanna may have something very
similar, though emotions are not going to help in this situation.
We're researching into the possibilities of plant and animal life on
Betazed and on some of the planets we were on before she left. It's
a long shot, but we've run out of any other options."
There was an awkward silence while the two men digested what had
"Ogawa to Crusher."
Beverley tapped her commbadge.
"What is it, Alyssa?"
"Doctor, we're loosing Counsellor Troi! She's starting to slip into
a coma, we can stop it!"
"Do whatever you can, no matter how unorthodox, I'll be there
A.S.A.P! Crusher out."
When Crusher, Picard and Riker arrived in Sickbay, it was in an
uproar. Nurses and Doctors were attempting to find anything to stop
Deanna falling into a coma. Ogawa, Pentax and E'Len crowded over
"You best wait over here, out of the way." She said to the two men
They nodded their understanding, as Crusher strode confidently over
to Troi's beside.
"Okay, people, we need some organisation here!" she bellowed. "Split
yourselves into groups of three or four and research into any area
you can think of. If it's an unorthodox method, I want to hear of
it, if it has a chance of working. Alyssa, you stay with me. Pentax
and E'Len, please continue your research into the virus' origins, we
don't have much time now."
With nods from all over Sickbay, the medical staff quickly got on
with their tasks.
Beverley turned her attention onto the silent Troi. Beverley quickly
scanned her with a tricorder and then began to manually examine her.
"Deanna, it's Beverley, can you hear me?"
Deanna's mouth moved as if she was speaking, but Beverley could hear
what she was saying.
"Deanna you need to speak up, I can't hear you."
Again, Deanna spoke. Hear voice was a little louder, but Beverley
still could not make out the words. She indicated for Riker and
Picard to come over.
"Perhaps one of you can make out what she's saying."
"Deanna, it's Captain Picard, can you repeat what you just said to
Beverley for me?"
"When we are betters see bearing our woes,
We scarcely think our miseries our foes.
Who alone suffers, suffers most i'th'mind." Said Troi, in a voice
loud enough for the others to hear.
"She's delirious, I think." Picard said, a look of confusion
clouding his face.
"It sounds like she quoting something, Jean-Luc."
"Indeed, actually I believe she's quoting Shakespeare."
"Shakespeare? I didn't know Deanna knew any." Commented Riker.
"Apparently there are many things we do not know about Deanna. I
believe that particular speech if from `King Lear'. It's a speech by
a character named Edgar."
"What does that speech mean, Captain?"
"Quite simply, Number One, it means that suffering is only painful
when you suffer alone. An interesting quote to remember out of the
many Shakespeare wrote."
There was a short silence.
"There's nothing either of you can do here. I think it's best you
both leave. I'll let you know if there are any changes."
Picard nodded and left. Riker on the other hand was obviously split
on whether to leave or stay with Deanna.
"Will, I promise, you can come back this evening, okay?"
Riker nodded and then reluctantly left Sickbay.
"Doctor Crusher, we've found it!"
Pentax's excited voice rang throughout the Sickbay. Beverley rushed
into the office where Pentax and E'Len sat.
"What? What have you found?"
"It's from a plant, Doctor! A Betazoid plant from an area known as
"This helps immensely, Doctor, we now have the information we need
and so it will be easier for us to find a treatment." Commented
"Let me see that." Said Beverley, sitting at a computer
terminal. "The Conectra flowering plant." Read Beverley. "Generally
harmless, but if it becomes distressed it will attack
anything with a powerful venom-like substance. There's nothing else
here about the venom, Pentax."
"We already know the rest from our scans of it. We'll get right on
with finding a cure."
"Good, let me know when you find anything." Answered Beverley, as
she left the room.
She felt a small glimmer of hope, until she laid eyes on Deanna
Troi. They had been unable to stop her from falling into a coma for
more than an hour, finally she had succumbed. An hour ago they
almost lost her completely when she stopped breathing. Now Deanna
was being kept alive by a respirator and intravenous tubes. Beverley
glanced at the chronometer and realised that the evening shift was
about to end, that meant Will Riker would be here very soon.
"What's happened to her?!" exclaimed Will, when he laid eyes on
Her skin was deathly pale, her arm had tubules extending out of them
and a mask covered her nose and mouth.
"Calm down, Will. She'll be alright, we've made a lot of progress…"
"Progress! Bev, look at her!"
"I know how it looks, Will, but we've discovered the origin of the
virus and now we're trying to find someway of treating her."
"Where is it from?"
"A Betazoid Conectra Flowering plant, it grows in a place called
"Jalara!" replied Will in surprise.
"You know that place, Will?"
"Yes, there's an area of dense jungle there. Deanna and I used to
visit it quite frequently."
"Ah." Replied Beverley with a knowing smile, as she walked away from
Will made his way to Deanna's bedside and sat in the chair that had
been left for him. He took her pale, limp hand in his own and
stroked it gently with his strong fingers. He watched as her chest
rose and fell as she was forced to breathe by the computer.
"Deanna, its Will. I don't know if you can hear me, but that doesn't
matter. I'm here for you, Imzadi."
What had Deanna been doing in Jalara by herself? Had she gone to
Janara Falls? Had she been alone when she went there?
"I know we've not had much time alone together, Deanna, but when you
wake up I promise we're going to have a long talk. At least you're
back on the Enterprise now."
"William .T. Riker: Personal Log: It has been three days since
Deanna fell into a coma…seems a lot longer than that. Doctor Crusher
along with Doctor's E'Len and Pentax believe that we have two days
to do anything for Deanna. After that any cure will have no affect
and we'll loose Deanna. There is a positive side to this situation
and that is that the medical staff is very close to finishing a
cure. All the research is done and all there is to do is to run a
few tests on Deanna's sample cells…she could be back with us within
hours! I speak with her everyday, but it's not the same. Sure, she
can't argue or disagree with me (lol), but we do need to talk
desperately. I said things before she left, things that obviously
hurt her more than I realised. She seems to have forgiven me, but
still the unspoken things need to be said, hopefully I'll still have
"Deanna's doing okay, Jean-Luc. We administered the first dose of
the cure this morning, we don't know how long it will take to take
affect, but it looks hopeful, according to the test result."
Picard and Crusher strolled across the arboretum talking quietly
between them as the botanists worked.
"And Will, how is he holding up?"
"Much better than he was when Deanna first fell into the coma."
There was a few moments silence before Beverley's commbadge beeped.
"Ogawa to Crusher."
Beverley tapped the insignia above her left breast to activate the
"Crusher here. Go ahead, Alyssa."
"There's been a change in Counsellor Troi, I think you're going to
want to see this for yourself."
"Alright, I'm on my way. Crusher out." She tapped the commbadge and
then turned back to Picard. "Duty calls, Jean-Luc."
"Indeed it does. Would you mind if I accompanied you?"
"Not at all."
Picard and Crusher were met by Riker and Ogawa when they entered
Sickbay. The smile on their faces told Crusher that the news was
positive. Alyssa handed Beverley a computer PADD. After reading the
information twice she looked back at the oriental nurse with a frown.
"Are you sure this is accurate?"
"Yes, Doctor. I thought it was strange so I tested it twice and then
got Doctors E'Len and Pentax to check them too and we all got that
"Is there a problem, Doctor Crusher?" asked Picard.
"No, sir. It appears that in these few short hours Deanna's made
nothing more than a miracle recovery. The virus has completely
disappeared from her system and, although she's not woken from the
coma yet, the tests are very positive. I was just surprised at how
quickly the cure actually worked."
"Well, that is good news. I will inform Admiral Osan, Lwaxanna, Ryla
and the Betazoid delegates of the news. Excuse me?"
When Picard had gone, Alyssa and Riker turned to Crusher and in
"Well done, Beverley."
"I'm not the one to thank, it's E'Len and Pentax who should be
"Oh, don't worry, Beverley, Commander Riker has already thanked
"Well, then I guess as long as they've had thanks then I guess I
should too. Now where's this patient of mine?"
Will Riker watched the woman before him in fascination. Her face was
still pale, her dark hair spilled across her pillow and her face had
expression of peace. How could he have been so stupid to even think
about denying his feelings for this beautiful and remarkable woman?
The word whispered in his mind. He closed his eyes and a smile
spread across his face. There were no words to describe the feeling
of her mind touching his own. It was like the feeling of cool summer
rain on a heated body or a cool breeze in a warm summer evening, but
even that wasn't anywhere near an accurate enough description of how
Will looked at the computer display, according to the readings she
was still in a coma. He clutched her limp, unresponsive hand in his
own and concentrated on clearing his mind, as she had taught him so
many years -a life time- before.
`Deanna, I hear you, come back to us. It's safe, the virus is gone,
come back to us.'
Her voice whispered, sounding as if she were still very far away.
`Deanna, Imzadi, find my mind, follow my voice, come back to us and
open your eyes.'
He watched as her face contorted in confusion, so he spoke aloud,
"Deanna, I'm here, I'm not going to let go of your hand. Find my
mind, follow my voice and open your eyes."
She stirred. The instruments around her beeped and Beverley Crusher
came over from her office, as Will urged Deanna on.
"Come on, Imzadi, your almost here. Open your eyes."
Still she stirred, but did nothing more, she moaned slightly. Will
looked up at Beverley. She nodded and mouthed the words, `try again'
"Imzadi, open your eyes!" he urged one last time.
This time her eyes snapped open. She blinked a few times till her
eyes adjusted to the light of Sickbay. She smiled slightly at
Beverley who gave her shoulder a quick squeeze and looked across
Deanna. The small Betazoid followed her friends gaze and stared at
Will Riker, her smile widened to one of pure joy.
"Imzadi." She whispered, as she sat up slightly and her took her in
"I thought I'd lost you…" Will confessed, as he held her tighter.
"No…" Deanna replied breaking from his grasp and held his face in
her hands. "No, you will never loose me…Never."
Her tears of relief began to fall. He took her in his arms once
more, as his tears began to fall too. Will was not a religious man,
but at that moment, with his Imzadi, his Beloved held securely in
his arms, he looked to the ceiling and whispered a silent prayer,
one that was
simple, but effective. Looking at the ceiling he imagined, as he had
done as a child, an old man with a long, white beard, sitting on a
throne of gold, staring down and smiling at the two reunited lovers.
Will whispered one word to the man, to the God of Christian people,
He buried his face in her hair and allowed his tears to fall and
their sobs of relief and thanks sounded throughout the empty sickbay.
Four Days Later…
Will Riker stared at the stars from where he sat on the grassy
floor. Around him was silent, as all the creatures of the jungle
slept. It was silent, except for the slight rustling of trees in the
summer breeze, the sound of water crashing onto rocks and the sound
of breathing coming from beside him. He looked from the stars to his
side. Deanna slept her head on his chest and wrapped in his arms.
She was naked, but then so was he and they were alone in the place
it had all started twelve long years before, where they had become
They had arrived on Betazed that morning after Jean-Luc Picard had
granted Deanna recuperation leave. He had urged Will to use up his
left over shore leave; Riker hadn't needed a second suggestion. They
had been greeted by a large welcome party at the Troi Mansion.
It had been a double celebration; for Deanna's recovery and for her
getting her position back on the Enterprise. Late that afternoon,
Will and Deanna had set off for a journey with the idea of visiting
Janara Falls, needless to say they had forgotten to leave.
"You shouldn't stare, Imzadi." Came her whispered voice, as she
opened her dark eyes.
"How can I not when I have a real life `Sleeping Beauty' sleeping
naked next to me?"
He leaned down and kissed her forehead, tenderly brushing some stray
strands of her hair from her eyes. She reached up pulled his face
towards her and kissed him. Then she smiled and lay her head back on
his chest. She loved to hear his heartbeat, to feel it as his chest
rose and fell as he breathed. Absently she played with the dark,
coarse hair on his chest.
"Deanna, answer me one question…why did you came here?"
"Because I'm on leave…"
"That's not what I meant. I meant after your dismissal."
"I came because I needed to think and this was the best place to
think about `Us' considering we have some many memories here and
this is where it all started."
Will took her hand from his chest and kissed it, savouring the soft
feeling of her skin.
"I've been thinking too."
She felt his heartbeat quicken and felt the shift in his emotions…he
was nervous about something. She lifted her head to look directly at
"What is it, Will?"
"I don't know, Deanna, maybe you want to, but if you don't, you
know, we could wait for a while…"
"Imzadi, you're rambling." She pointed out.
"I know." He took a deep breath. "Marry me, Deanna?"
She was stunned, she hadn't expected that to come from Will.
"You, the commitment phobic, are asking me to marry you?" she asked
in an amused tone, trying not to let the shock take over.
"Deanna, I love you, I don't want to be with anyone else. I want you
and only you."
Deanna didn't answer, she pulled him over her and kissed him fully.
`I will marry you, Imzadi…I love you!'
The sun rose without them, as they expressed their love for each
other in the way they always did when they came to this special