Waltz of Torment
Altered version of Season 3 episode "The Survivors". What we, as
Imzadi fans, might think *should* have happened.
Sept. 26, 2009
My wife and I started the 3rd season of TNG on DVD, and we just finished watching "The Survivors" a couple of days ago. This was the episode where the Enterprise discovers what appear to be two lone survivors of an apparent attack on a planet that left the planet devastated, except for a few acres of land with a house on it. In order to keep Troi from discovering the truth about these two people, she is subjected to a type of telepathic torture -- she hears music in her head, repeating over and over and growing steadily louder until eventually, Dr. Crusher has to induce a coma to ease her suffering.
I decided to write a somewhat altered (and shortened) version of the events of this episode, with a couple of scenes changed to what we, as Imzadi fans, might have wanted to see happen, instead of what actually took place in the episode. :) Surprisingly, this is the longest fic I've written thus far, and took the shortest amount of time (only two days).
In some cases, I left the original dialog exactly as it was in the episode. Other times, I changed dialog slightly, or removed some, or added some, or kept the words the same but from different people. Hope you like it!
"Waltz of Torment"
by Bryce Newall
Disclaimer: The usual. Paramount owns all. I'm just borrowing.
She looked distracted.
Will Riker saw the look on the Counselor's face and knew something wasn't right. The senior staff were discussing the situation on Rana IV in the Observation Lounge, but Deanna Troi was barely paying attention. Her delicate features appeared distressed, as if she were fighting something.
"...nothing on the Tricorder readings indicated they were under that kind of stress." Beverly Crusher's voice distantly registered with Troi's senses. She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.
"Counselor." Picard's voice called for her attention. She didn't hear it. "Counselor Troi..." he tried again.
Troi's head snapped up as she realized the Captain was speaking to her. She tried to focus on the matter at hand. "I'm sorry, um... I don't sense them well enough." She didn't notice Riker staring at her with a mixture of surprise and concern on his face. Surprise at her apparent lack of attention, and concern that something was obviously disquieting her. He gently probed her mind, only to be turned away by the psychic block she had erected. He couldn't sense what was going on with her, but he could tell that she was in pain.
Troi stood up suddenly. "I'm sorry, I'm not feeling very well. I'd like to go to my quarters...?"
"By all means," replied Picard.
Crusher looked up at her, concerned. "Is there anything I can do?"
Troi shook her head and quickly departed. Picard and Riker shared a look. "Dismissed." Picard signaled the end of the meeting.
Troi paced in her quarters. The tune was repeating in her head, and was growing in intensity. "Don't listen..." she told herself. "Think of something else." It was no use, though; the music permeated her mind relentlessly. She saw her own pained expression in the bathroom mirror. "Stop," she pleaded in a near-whimper to no one in particular. "Please... stop..." Suddenly, her door chimed. Regaining some of her composure, Troi picked up a hairbrush and quickly smoothed out the front of her hair. "Yes?" she called out.
The doors to Troi's quarters hissed open, and Will Riker strode in cautiously. She was still facing the bathroom mirror. "Deanna... are you all right?" He started to make his way over to her.
She turned to him. "I'm fine. There's nothing wrong; I'm just tired, that's all..." The shakiness in her voice belied the confidence she tried to project.
"Deanna, I'm no empath," he began. He attempted another probe of her mind, but encountered the same block she had put up earlier. "But I can tell when you're in pain and hiding it."
Troi sighed and walked slowly to where Riker was standing. "It's so silly... I hear music in my mind, music that won't stop. The song plays with perfect clarity, over and over again."
Riker's concern multiplied. "When did this start?"
"A few hours ago, while you were down on the planet. I was trying to get a sense of Rishon and Kevin, and then it just hit me--" her voice cracked as she started to lose control.
Riker took her hand in both of his. He could feel her mental block slowly crumbling as her mind began to give in to the torture of whatever it was she was experiencing. "Have you talked to Dr. Crusher about this?"
"No..." He could feel her hand trembling in his.
Riker was about to tap his combadge when the Red Alert klaxon began blaring. "I'd better get up to the Bridge and see what's going on. Will you call Dr. Crusher?"
She only nodded. He squeezed her hand affectionately and pulled her to him, wrapping his arms around her. She was still attempting, unsuccessfully, to rebuild her mental blocks and try to shield herself from the psychic torture; he could feel her struggle. He held onto her for a few more seconds, then gradually released her. Brushing the side of her face with his palm, he gently kissed her cheek, then moved to leave her quarters. As the doors opened, he turned back to her. "If you need anything... *anything*... call me, OK?" She nodded again, and watched him leave.
Will Riker stepped off the turbolift onto the Bridge. He quickly surveyed the situation, seeing a very ominous-looking ship on the main viewscreen. He was about to ask where it came from, when the ship cut loose with a barrage of weapons fire. The Enterprise shook moderately under the assault.
Lieutenant Worf scanned his tactical console and identified the type of weaponry being used. "Equivalent firepower: Forty megawatts. Shields holding." The ship rocked again as the other vessel opened fire a second time. "Again, forty megawatts. No damage."
Riker glanced at Picard. "If that's the best they can do, this should last about five minutes."
Without turning around, Picard ordered Worf to fire a warning shot across the other ship's bow. The ship turned to leave. "The vessel has assumed a position outside of the Rana system," reported Data from his customary station at Ops, "and it is rapidly increasing velocity."
"Helm, initiate pursuit," ordered Picard.
As Riker left her quarters, Deanna's hands flew to the sides of her head. She closed her eyes and tried once more to block out the music that was slowly threatening to drive her insane. Finally, she tapped her combadge. "Troi to Dr. Crusher."
[[Go ahead.]] Crusher's response came back immediately.
"Beverly, do you have a few minutes?"
Crusher could hear her friend's voice wavering over the comlink. [[I'll be right there, Deanna. What's wrong?]]
"I'm not sure," Troi started. "I've been experiencing--" Her response was cut off when the ship lurched. Troi stumbled and nearly fell, but regained her balance. She sat down on her bed. Through the window, she could see a huge ship nose-to-nose with the Enterprise. Twin beams of energy coalesced into a single point at the front of the enemy ship, and lashed out at the Enterprise. The ship rocked again.
[[Deanna,]] Beverly's voice came over her combadge again, [[I'll send someone down right away. I need to stay in Sickbay in case of any injuries.]]
"Thanks, Bev." Troi tapped her combadge again to close the channel. Still looking out the window, she saw a phaser burst from the Enterprise pass just next to the enemy ship's hull, presumably a warning shot. The other ship soon veered off, and Troi watched as the Enterprise initiated pursuit.
On the Bridge, it was apparent that the Enterprise would not catch up to the enemy ship. The huge vessel matched the Enterprise's speed exactly, thwarting every attempt to overtake it. Speculating that they were perhaps being toyed with, or intentionally distracted, Picard ordered the Enterprise back to Rana IV. "I need to have a talk with those two people," he told Riker. "You have the Bridge."
Troi's door chime rang just as the Enterprise was once again entering orbit of Rana IV. She had been watching through one of her huge portal windows, trying to distract herself from the continuous song in her mind. "Come in," she called. As she stood and turned to face the door, a medic entered and smiled pleasantly.
"Counselor, what can I do for you?" the young man asked politely.
"Well, Doctor... um..." Troi couldn't think of the man's name through the haze that was clouding her thoughts.
"Lewis, ma'am. James Lewis. I'm actually a nurse, not a doctor." His name didn't ring a bell; perhaps she hadn't met him, or he was new to the ship.
"Oh... That's fine, nice to meet you. I've been having these--"
Troi never got the chance to finish. A searing pain ripped through her skull, and she doubled over. Lewis' tricorder was in his hand instantly, and he rushed to her side.
Riker sat in the command chair on the Bridge, pondering the existence of these two lone survivors and their strangely undamaged home, on an otherwise completely devastated planet. He still had not discounted the possibility that these people were collaborators of some kind. Although it was not likely, there really didn't seem to be any other viable explanation.
Suddenly, a voice screamed inside his head. //IMZADI!!// Riker gasped as he felt a wave of pain and torment invade his mind, and nearly toppled out of the command chair.
At Ops, Data heard Riker's gasp and turned around to see the Commander hunched over, a pained expression on his face. "Commander, are you all right?"
Riker looked up at the android, already regaining control some of his control. He erected a mental shield as Deanna had taught him many years ago on Betazed. "I'm OK, Data, thanks. You've got the Bridge," he instructed as he got up and headed for the turbolift. Data stared after him in confusion, then rose from Ops, shrugged in an imitation of the behavior he had often seen from humans on the ship, and took a seat in the command chair.
"Deck 8," Riker called out, after the turbolift doors closed, then slapped his combadge. "Riker to Dr. Crusher... meet me in Counselor Troi's quarters, it's an emergency!"
[[On my way, Commander. Crusher out.]]
//Hang in there, Imzadi,// he sent to Deanna, not sure if she could even receive him. //I'm coming.// He let his mental guard down a bit, and was once again assaulted by pain and an odd... music... coming from Deanna. With sudden clarity, he knew what was going on in her mind.
The turbolift came to a halt on Deck 8. The doors barely opened fast enough to let Riker through without him knocking them out. He raced down the corridor to Troi's quarters.
The sight that greeted his eyes when her doors opened made his blood run cold. "Stoooopppppp!!! Stoooopppppp!!" She was screaming, crying, grabbing onto the male nurse's arms and pleading, "Please, I'll do *anything*, make it stop!!!" Riker rushed to her side, trying to comfort her but feeling utterly powerless to help. Kneeling next to her, even with his mental barrier back in place, he could still feel the onslaught of pain and the accompanying music that was consuming her. If Deanna couldn't block it out, what chance did he have, even if it wasn't directed at him?
The doors swished open again, and Doctor Crusher rushed in. "What's happening?" She was all business.
Riker responded first. "It's some kind of telepathic assault. I think it's originating from the planet."
"It's so loud... it's getting louder!!" Deanna wailed in misery. "Please, I can't stand it, make it stop!!" she pleaded.
"Move her to the bed," Crusher ordered. Riker and Lewis helped Troi over to her bed. Crusher pulled out a hypospray and pressed it against Troi's neck. "This will help you relax."
"I hear it..." Troi whispered. Then she cried out again, "It's still there, it's *so* loud!!" She was writhing in agony.
"Is there something you can give her to block her telepathic receptors, Doctor?" Riker asked.
"Not until I know exactly what we're dealing with. I can put her into an artificial sleep state to inhibit her neural activity. Maybe that will help her."
Riker didn't bother to wait for Troi to decide for herself. He couldn't bear to see her suffering as she was, and he made the decision for her. "Do it."
"I don't understand it." Beverly Crusher was frustrated. "I've inhibited almost all the activity of her neo-cortex, and yet she's still behaving as if she's hearing the music." She fixed her gaze on Riker. "We're going to have to shield her from all outside stimuli by inducing coma."
Riker's eyes widened. "Is that safe?"
Crusher's gaze didn't waver. "It's the only option, Will. Until we can stop this at the source, this is the only way to keep her mind from being destroyed."
Riker looked down at Troi's "sleeping" form. Her head was still bobbing back and forth, eyes darting under closed lids, lips mouthing the word "stop" over and over. He knelt down next to the bed and gripped her hand in both of his. "Proceed, Doctor."
Like his Chief Medical Officer, Jean-Luc Picard was frustrated. His meeting with Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge yielded no more answers than he'd had before. And, to make matters worse, the large, unknown enemy vessel had just returned to Rana IV.
"Shields up", Picard ordered as the ship prepared to open fire. The Enterprise rocked violently as the enemy ship's weapons assaulted the shields. The ship fired a second time. The Enterprise lurched again, and a volley of sparks erupted from one of the rear bridge stations, sending a crewman flying to the deck.
"Shields are down. Captain, they hit us with 400 *gigawatts* of particle energy!" Worf reported, astounded. Obviously, the enemy ship's previous firepower was merely a tap on the shoulder.
Knowing the Enterprise would not withstand another attack, Picard made the only decision he could. "Mr. Crusher, take us out of orbit and move us away from Rana IV."
"Aye, sir." The young ensign deftly worked his console and the Enterprise vacated the vicinity of Rana IV.
"Mr. Data, you have the bridge." Picard turned on his heel and headed toward the aft turbolift. "Deck 8", he called out as the doors closed.
"Can you help her?" Picard asked Crusher.
"I've done everything I can. We've got to find the source of this music she's hearing."
Riker was still kneeling by the side of the bed, Troi's hand clasped in his. The Captain's presence barely registered with him. His thoughts were completely focused on Deanna. Even in her comatose state, he could feel that the music was still affecting her, and he was trying every mental discipline upon which he could call to try to help shield her. His attempts had, so far, been less than successful, but he was determined not to give up. She would have done no less for him, and he was damned if he was going to let her die knowing he hadn't done everything within his power to save her.
He finally looked up at Picard. "Sir, we need to get back to Rana IV. I'm convinced that the Uxbridges are responsible for this. Deanna's mind is going to be damaged beyond repair if we don't help her soon!"
Picard knew his First Officer was pleading with him, even though he didn't show it. He tapped his combadge. "Picard to Bridge."
[[Yes, Captain?]] Data's voice responded.
"Mr. Data, hold our course for another hour, then turn the ship around and head back to Rana IV."
[[Sir, I feel compelled to advise you that our shields will not be restored by then. We will be extremely vulnerable to attack if the enemy ship is still present.]]
"I'm aware of that, Mr. Data, but I have a hunch it will not be an issue. Please, turn the ship around in one hour."
"Why do you keep interfering with our lives, Captain?" Picard and Worf stood face to face with the Uxbridges in their home on Rana IV.
Picard's gaze locked with that of Kevin Uxbridge. "It is not my intention to interfere, only to help you and Rishon."
"Then please, leave us alone."
"You are in grave danger. The warship has returned. We battled with it... and lost. Many of my crew have been injured, including a woman whose mind is being slowly destroyed by telepathic manipulation."
Rishon's eyes went wide. "Kevin... you told me--"
"Rishon, he's lying. It's just a form of intimidation."
Rishon stood next to Kevin. He hugged her protectively. "Captain, please," she nearly begged him. "Leave our house."
Picard was not swayed. "The Enterprise will remain around Rana IV so long as the two of you are alive." With that, Picard and Worf turned and left the Uxbridge home.
"Status, Mr. Data?" Picard and Worf entered the Bridge from the aft turbolift.
"Little change, sir. Shields are still inoperable. The warship just returned and is in high orbit of Rana IV."
"Right on schedule," mused Picard.
"Sir?" Queried Data.
Before Picard had time to give Data's question any thought, the android cut in. "Captain, the vessel is entering low orbit of Rana IV. It appears to be preparing to fire on the planet, sir. My calculations indicate that the target is the home of Kevin and Rishon Uxbridge."
"There will be no interference from us, Mr. Data."
The entire Bridge watched as the huge vessel fired a single shot at the planet. "The house has been obliterated," Worf reported from Tactical.
Picard then ordered a single photon torpedo to be fired at the enemy vessel. Worf complied, and a torpedo was launched and streaked across space toward the large enemy vessel. The ship exploded on impact.
Data turned and faced Picard, a quizzical expression on his face. "Sir, to use a human expression... 'that was too easy.'"
"Indeed, Mr. Data. You have the Bridge; I'll be in my ready room."
Soft snoring sounds were emanating from the bed, but their point of origin was not the lips of Deanna Troi, who was still in a coma. Will Riker, still holding Deanna's hand in his, was sitting on the floor next to her bed, his head laying next to her shoulder. The small neurotransmitter device attached to Deanna's forehead beeped softly. Even in the induced coma, Deanna's mouth twitched periodically, her mind still invaded by the never-ending music.
[[Picard to Riker.]]
Riker awoke with a start. He thought he'd heard Picard's voice, but wasn't sure if he had been dreaming. [[Picard to Riker, please respond.]]
Riker tapped his combadge. "Riker here, sir."
[[Number One, would you please join me on the Bridge? We're about to have... guests.]]
"On my way." He tapped his badge again to close the channel. He stared at Deanna's unmoving form for a few more seconds. Even in her present state, she was the most beautiful sight he'd ever laid eyes on. Perhaps even moreso now. He leaned down and kissed her lightly on the lips. //I love you, Imzadi,// he sent to her. //We'll get you out of this, I promise.//
Will released Deanna's hand and gently stroked the side of her face before he turned to leave. For an instant, he thought he had felt something from Deanna. He looked back at her, and for just a moment, the barest flicker of a smile touched her lips, but then, just as quickly, faded. A single tear fell from Riker's eye as he made his way out of her quarters.
"Number One, I'm going to have Kevin and Rishon beamed directly to the Bridge." Picard had filled Riker in on the details of the enemy ship having come back, destroyed the Uxbridge home, and then having been destroyed -- too easily -- by a single photon torpedo. The Enterprise had then assumed a high orbit, and nearly four hours later, their sensors had detected the reappearance of the Uxbridges and their home.
"Won't they object, sir?" Riker asked.
"Let them," Picard replied, flatly. "Transporter room, energize."
Kevin and Rishon materialized on the Bridge of the Enterprise. Rishon was the first to speak. "Why have you brought us here against our will?"
"I want to end the suffering of one of my crewmembers." Picard fixed his gaze upon Kevin. "Kevin knows what I'm talking about. He's the cause."
Kevin looked down. "I'm deeply sorry about the woman, Captain. I will help her."
In a flash of light, Rishon disappeared. Shortly thereafter, Kevin himself disappeared. "He's in the turbolift", warned Geordi LaForge from the Engineering station.
"Let him go. Make sure no one interferes with him."
"Do you think he'll return to the planet?" asked Riker.
"I believe he has someone to help, first."
Riker jumped from his seat and headed for the turbolift. Picard did not stop him.
Beverly Crusher entered Deanna Troi's quarters to check on her. Riker rounded the corner and entered right behind Crusher. Both stopped short when they saw Kevin Uxbridge next to Deanna's bed, his hand hovering over her face.
Kevin looked up at them. "I've taken the music from her mind. She's all right now. She's sleeping."
Crusher and Riker moved to the bed. Crusher pulled out her tricorder and scanned Troi.
Kevin spoke again. "She was beginning to sense who I really was. I'd lived as a human for over 50 years, but I couldn't hide from her. She suffered because of my pride and selfishness." The doors to Troi's quarters swished open again. "It will not happen again."
Jean-Luc Picard came up to the door to Troi's bedroom. "What happened on Rana IV?" He demanded. "The truth, this time. *All* of it."
"I am a Douwd, an immortal being," Kevin began. He went on to explain how he had met and fallen in love with Rishon. She had never known his true identity. An alien race called the Husnock had attacked the planet. Kevin refused to kill, despite the fact that he could have wiped out the Husnock in an instant with a mere thought. Rishon had gone to fight to defend the colony, and was killed along with the rest of the colonists. In an instant of insanity and grief, Kevin had killed all of the Husnock -- not just the ones on the attacking ship, but their *entire race*. No one had ever known of his crime, until now. The suffering he had inflicted upon Deanna Troi was, to him, nothing, compared to what he had done to the Husnock, but he could at least take a small bit of comfort in knowing that he had been able to stop what he had done to Deanna, leaving her perhaps a bit shaken, but without any permanent psychological damage.
"Kevin Uxbridge" had returned to Rana IV. Picard and Crusher left Troi's quarters, leaving Riker behind. He took up his vigil next to her bed, holding her hand in his. He kissed her softly on her forehead, which was now free of the neurotransmitter device. She stirred slightly and partially opened her eyes.
"Hi, beautiful." He smiled warmly at her. "Welcome back."
"Will..." she whispered. "The music... it's gone."
"I know, Deanna." His eyes glistened with unshed tears. "I know."
Deanna's eyelids, heavy with fatigue, closed again. As Will got up to let her get some rest, he heard her sleepy voice in his mind. //Imzadi... I love you, too.// Only then did he allow his tears to fall. She had heard him while she had been in the coma. He smiled inwardly despite his tears, and silently left her quarters.
Four hours after leaving Troi's quarters, Riker returned to check up on her. He was about to ring the chime, but decided against it in case she was still asleep. Reaching out to her through their link, he gently probed her mind to see if she was asleep.
//C'mon in, Will.// She was awake. He felt the amused mental smile, punched in his code to open her door, and strode in.
"I'm in here," came her voice from the direction of the bathroom. He walked in and stood in the bathroom doorway. She was brushing her hair, just as she had been the last time he'd come to check on her. This time, however, she was smiling.
"Aren't you supposed to knock before entering one's mind, Commander?" she teased.
His expression turned serious. "Someone should've told that to Kevin Uxbridge."
Deanna frowned. "Ugh, don't remind me. Thank the gods that's over."
Will came up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and rested his chin on her shoulder. "How are you feeling?"
She felt his love and his concern wafting over her. "All things considered, I guess I'm feeling all right. I'm actually a little hungry; how about you?"
Riker smiled again. "I could eat. How 'bout I make you something right here?"
Deanna never could resist Will's cooking. "Sounds good!"
He spun her around and gazed into her eyes. He could so easily get lost in their endless black depths. "Deanna... Imzadi..." he murmured. "I don't scare easily, but I was really afraid of what was happening to you. I felt so powerless. That feeling isn't something I'm accustomed to."
Deanna's eyes glistened. "Will... don't be ashamed. You did everything you could. I could feel you trying to help me, to bolster my mental blocks when mine were failing." A tear flowed down her cheek. "I knew you were here by my side, and that was what I needed to help me through this." She kissed him lightly on the lips. "Thank you for being with me, Imzadi."
He hugged her tightly. Neither wanted to let go. Eventually, Deanna pulled back and looked up at him conspiratorially. "So, Imzadi... what's for dinner?"
= THE END =