Deanna Troi did not appreciate being held hostage, in fact she particularly hated it, but there was nothing she could do.

The mercenaries had taken her, thinking she would be the perfect bargaining chip for a "deal" with Starfleet. Deanna herself had no idea what the deal involved, and had spent her time trying to work it out.

She had been on shore leave on a remote planet, which had been peaceful enough for her needs. The inhabitants were a race that she couldn't sense, which definitely made her holiday complete.

The mercenaries had been rough with her at first, but as soon as they realised she wasn't giving them any real trouble, they left her alone. Deanna knew there was no point in struggling and losing their trust, she had to wait for an opportunity to escape. Not that there was anywhere she could escape to, the mercenaries ship was travelling at warp speed, further and further from where she had been.

She didn't know that Riker had been following her. He had been looking for her on the planet, having decided to take shore leave also. She had been staying at various different places, and it had taken him a while to discover the location of her most recent accommodation.

Just as he had found her, he saw her being taken on to the ship, and had followed. As he had been wearing civilian clothes, the mercenaries had not noticed him beaming up with the others.

Now he was lying in wait, waiting for Deanna to be alone, or at least enough for him to talk to her. They would be able to get out of the situation if they planned their escape carefully enough.

Will had already discovered how to access an escape pod, which was their only possible means of escape.

He looked up as Deanna announced that she was hungry. One of the crew pointed her in the direction of the replicator, and took off her hand restraints. Apparently he could not be bothered with attending to her himself, and allowed her to choose a meal at her own discretion.

Deanna walked over to the replicator, rubbing her sore wrists. As she did, trying to decide what to ask for, she noticed one of the mercenaries walking over towards her. She reached out with her mind, unsure of what his intentions were, and gasped as she realised who it was.

He stood very close to her and told her how he had found her, and then mentioned the escape pod. "It's our only chance." He said to her, as she tried to hide her happiness at his sudden appearance.

They planned their escape, knowing that getting Deanna off the bridge unnoticed was going to be the biggest challenge. Will told her which direction she should head for and he would be waiting for her, then they could launch the escape pod and send a message to the Enterprise.

"My knight in shining armour." She whispered gratefully, then tried to suppress a giggle as he walked away as if he were wearing a suit of armour.

It seemed like endless hours had passed before she found the chance to escape. Several crew members had retired to their quarters, and the remaining ones were getting tired. She sensed it. They didn't have enough sense to schedule a rota like the Enterprise did.

She nearly fell over her Imzadi in the corridor leading to the escape pod, and decided it would be funny to tickle him. "Wake up, you're supposed to be rescuing me!" She said, as he awoke with a jump.

He grinned rather sheepishly. "You're not acting much like the damsel in distress." He complained, taking her hand and leading her towards the escape pod.

Despite his easy, confident manner, Deanna knew that he was worried. They both wondered what would happen if they were caught, and knew it would be difficult to launch the pod without being noticed. She suddenly sensed an urgency in him, as if he had realised how important it was that they leave as soon as possible.

They both climbed into the pod, Will quickly working out the controls. Deanna glanced around as he prepared to commence the launch. She tilted her head, as if listening for something. Its alright Will, I don't think they will notice us, they are all either asleep or drunk on the bridge. We shouldnt have any problems, other than finding the Enterprise.

Will nodded, ever grateful of her empathy. He trusted it without question.

They both felt an incredible sense of freedom as they left the ship in the pod, and watched it continue at warp speed away from their position. We should wait until they are further away before sending a distress signal to the ship. Deanna noted.

But if they havent noticed a missing escape pod, theyre hardly going to pick up on a distress signal. Will pointed out.

True. She agreed, but the prospect of spending some time alone with him was very attractive and she felt a tingle go up her spine as she thought about it. She knew she was still attracted to him - and most women were. But something had always kept her from admitting it to him. He probably knows anyway. She said to herself as he sent out the signal. Neither knew how far away the Enterprise was, and the sooner they sent the message, the sooner they would be back where they belonged.

Will leaned back in his seat, having nothing left to do. Deanna looked over at him, her lips curving at the corners. Thanks for rescuing me, Imzadi. She said, expecting a comical reaction.

He turned to look back into her eyes again, the eyes looked deeply into his soul as no one elses did. My pleasure. He said, with no trace of humour. Imzadi.

She sensed the sudden seriousness of his mood, and reached out to him, taking his hand and feeling the involuntary shiver that suddenly encompassed him. She remembered his last words before he had left Betazed to begin his new career, I love you Imzadi, and Ill love you for the rest of my life. When we die, our ghosts will love each other as they freely roam the universe together. This isnt goodbye... She had believed him then, his words had truly touched her heart in a way no others had.

She stopped her nostalgic thoughts as he pulled her towards him and kissed her softly. They had a long time to wait for the Enterprise to pick them up, and were planning to use the time wisely........


Hours later, the couple were back on the ship, telling the other senior officers about their ordeal. As they were leaving the conference room, Beverly Crusher grabbed the Counsellors arm, causing her to turn around. She hugged her best friend, then whispered in a secretive manner. Ive got something I have to tell you! They rushed off in the direction of the Doctors quarters as fast as they could.

Is everything all right Number One? The Captain asked Riker, who was standing in the doorway with a very self-satisfied grin on his face, looking in the direction the two women had gone.

Yes sir, everythings fine. He replied, thinking how no one else had rewarded him for a rescue in the way his Imzadi had. Theres no one like her in the universe.... He reminded himself, walking away from the puzzled Captain towards the turbolift.

*** THE END ***