Captain Riker stared at the incoming subspace message.

"Pay Back." He ran his hand over his beard, and shook his head. Such a
simple transmission, and the third of it's kind he'd received in as many
months. He had tried to trace the source of the word only transmission but
their attempts were futile. He let out a long sigh, and closed the message.
The message seemed clear enough, but after three months he assumed it to be
a prank, or perhaps an idle threat.

Today he had more important things to think about, they would be
rendezvousing with the enterprise in a few hours, and he would be accepting
command of the flagship of the federation. His one year services aboard the
Athena had been very fulfilling, and he had grown quite fond of the crew.
But there was something about the enterprise that seemed almost like going
home. Of course she would be there.....Deanna Troi.....the woman who had
chosen to remain abroad the enterprise, instead of joining him on the
Athena. When he had received the offer to become captain of the Athena, he
was saddened and unsure about the decision, but when he heard that she too
had been offered service on the same ship, and refused, his decision was set
in stone. She tried to explain her resolution to him, and he had tried to least a part of him had. The other part, the man who loved
her felt hurt, and betrayed. But over the last year, he had had time to
reflect on her decision, and though he wished she had made the choice he had
wanted her to, he now understood her unwillingness to follow him through the

"Captain, the enterprise is in communication range." His first officers
voice rang through his quarters.

He tapped his comm badge, and returned an answer to Commander Foley. He
strode to the mirror a slight flutter of nervousness running through him. He
knew it wasn't taking command of the enterprise that worried him. Hell...
he'd been ready for that since he could was seeing her
again that frightened him. She had filled his dreams and his thoughts for
the last year, and he hoped that somehow she knew that, and she would also
understand why he hadn't contacted her since his return to federation space.

"Well, only one way to find out." he spoke aloud, straightening his tunic in
the mirror.

"It is good to see you again Captain Riker." Picards usually serious face
reflected the words he had just spoken.

"Likewise Admiral"

"Not Admiral Yet.....not until I find someone to take the enterprise off my
hands." He knew the captains feeling were mixed.....his promotion was hard
earned, and well deserved, but Will knew how much his years on the
enterprise meant to him.

"Yes Sir, I can imagine it was hard to find someone who would want her." His
tongue and cheek remark, hidden well behind his magnificent poker face.
Picard smiled at the officer that had served him for years, and envied him
for the voyages he would undertake.

"Welcome home Captain" The soft unmistakable voice filled the bridge, before
she stepped into view. His heart sped up, as he gazed at her, Captain
Picard's image muting into the shadows.

"Nice to be home, Deanna."

She looked more beautiful then he remembered, even his dreams had been
unable to do her justice. And her smile spoke to him, it was if they had
never been apart, he could feel her presence washing over him just as it
always had. He breathed a sigh of relief, as the communiqué faded to black.

He turned to face his number one.

"Well, I guess this is it." He let his eyes scan the bridge, the first
bridge he had been able to call his own. "It's been a pleasure serving with
all of you." He offered his hand to Commander Foley. "Good luck *Captain*,
I'm sure you'll do a fine job.....I stand relieved."

After taking care of computer transference of command, he headed to his
quarters, and then to the transporter room to beam aboard the enterprise.

He felt himself regaining awareness as he shimmered into existence in the
transporter room. A wave of disappointment pervaded him, when he was met
with only the face of the transporter chief.

Captain Picard sent his regrets Sir, but he had something to attend to." He
nodded to the chief.

"I understand."

"Your things have been sent to your old quarters." Again he nodded, and
slouched his shoulders. And with the attitude of a spoiled child he headed
to his cabin.

The doors to his cabin slid open before he was able to hit the access
code....he was met with the faces of his friends. He hadn't realized how
much he missed them until this moment. Beverly's sparkling wit, Data's
inquisitive innocence, Geordi's beaming smile, and Worf's somber growls all
wrapped him in the familiar. He greeted each one, and tried to hide his
disappointment that she hadn't come. She had seemed fine while she had stood
on the bridge, but she hadn't even bothered to show up at his welcome home.
As the gathering broke up, he leaned close to beverly.

"Where's Deanna?" She shrugged her shoulders, but her eyes betrayed her lie.
She exited quickly leaving him alone.

"Computer. Locate Counselor Troi." The chimes of the computer accessing
echoed through the room.

"Counselor Troi, is in holodeck three."

He pondered his decision for only an instant, and headed to the
holodeck....maybe she wasn't ready to see him, but he wasn't willing to wait
to see her.

He took a deep breath before opening the holodeck doors. He stopped for a
moment and enjoyed the simulated surroundings. Miles upon miles of majestic
mountains all reaching up to touch the sparkles of colored lights that
pulsed in the sky. And sitting alone among the beauty was Deanna, eyes
closed, as she listened to the music of her mind. He gently reached for her

"The singing skies." He whispered. "I haven't been here, since my return
from paradise." She didn't open her eyes, nor acknowledge his presence. He
sat beside her, close enough that his body brushed against hers. He closed
his own eyes, and attempted to hear the music, he had never been able to
hear. But as he cleared his mind.....her voice whispered softly through his.

"I missed you Imzadi." He didn't attempt to thought send a response, but
spilled all the things he had waited a year to tell her. She smiled at his
admissions, and cradled his face lightly in her hands.

"I hoped in time you would understand the decision I made." He took her
hands from his face, and held them in his. He only nodded to her statement,
and let his eyes fill themselves with her. Her dark eyes sparkled with the
flickering lights in the sky, her ebony hair cascaded in loose curls over
her bare shoulders....... The soft breeze blowing her silken dress against
the curves of her body.

"So tell me imzadi, do you think it would be inappropriate for a new captain
to kiss the ships counselor?" She pulled her eyes away from his, his arousal
causing her own body to fill with heat. She had dreamt of this often while
he was away....and she had hoped he would return with the same feelings he
had left with.

"I believe the ship's counselor would be quite upset if he didn't." She
leaned into him, pushing him back with her kiss. He rolled her to her back
and pulled his lips from hers. "This is much more then I expected." She ran
her tongue over her lips. "It's only the beginning captain." His breathing
increased with her promise, and he pulled her into him.

"Bridge to Captain Riker." Deanna pulled back, as Data's voice sounded
through the holodeck.

"Go ahead Data." He let out a long sigh of frustration with his response.

"Urgent communiqué from starfleet."

"Patch it through to my quarters." He helped Deanna to her feet, and sent a
silent curse to starfleet.

Deanna settled herself on his couch, while Will activated the communication
terminal. The grave face of Admiral O'bonn filled the screen. Will could
tell by his face that whatever he was about to be told wasn't good.

"Captain Riker, it is with a very heavy heart I have to inform you that the
Federation starship Athena has been destroyed........I'm afraid it was with
a loss of all hands." Will looked to Deanna, whose eyes were already
glistening with tears. He closed his eyes for a moment, and tried to keep
his emotions under control.

"How Sir?" It was all the words he was able to manage, without giving in to
his body's need to cry.

The lines deepened on the Admirals face, as he explained the last
transmission from the Athena. The warp core had been deliberately sabotaged,
and there was no time to jettison it. Immediately following the
explosion....starfleet had picked up a disturbing, but unknown transmission.
." Riker waited for the Admiral to continue.

"Pay Back, Captain Riker......and it's only the beginning." The Admiral's
questioning eyes burned into Riker's heart, and his words twisted the knife
deeper into his chest.

Deanna sat quietly on the couch and listened to the Admiral's accounting of
the accident. She could feel Will's conflicting emotions, and found herself
in awe at how well he was able to hide them from the Admiral. But with all
the feelings that she felt from him, one seemed to supersede all the
others....guilt. Obviously there was something he hadn't told her, and in
order to help him deal with this she had to find out.

As the communication screen faded to black, she walked closer to him.....she
placed her hand lightly on his shoulder, and felt him tense with her touch.
He turned his chair to face her, and with out getting up he pulled her into
him. As his arms wrapped around her, the dam he had built around his mind
burst open .... He released his tears, and his hurt, and she was willing to
hold him for as long as it took.

"I'm sorry Deanna.....I didn't want our reunion to be like this." He
released his hold on her, a numbing chill touching him where her body had

"Maybe you should get some rest Will." She smiled faintly, and kissed his
forehead. He only nodded, and watched her walk to the door.

"Deanna........don't go." She turned, and went back to him. taking his hand
in hers she pulled him to his bedroom.

He fell asleep instantly with the warmth of her body against his, but his
slumber was quickly interrupted by the beeping of the communication screen.
He slid out of bed carefully, trying not to disturb Deanna, he was relieved
when she continued sleeping.

He sat in the chair opposite the screen, and reluctantly hit the switch to
activate the message. He straightened in his chair, at the sight of Kyle
Riker on the other end of the transmission.

"I'm very sorry about the Athena, Will." He only nodded to his father, as he
tried to shake the clouds from his mind.

"I hate to add fuel to the fire son, but I have some more bad news." Will
clenched his teeth, and waited for the bomb to drop.. and drop it did, the
screen going blank without Will speaking a word to his father. He covered
his face with his hands, indignation replacing the grief he'd been feeling.
He tapped his comm badge, and sent the order to Data to set course for
starbase G6.

"I'll find out who did this guys." He made the pledge to the friends who had
lost their lives because of him.

Deanna pulled her head back into the bedroom after listening to the
communiqué with Kyle Riker. She knew of Jenny, Kurt, and Brandon....Will had
spoke of them often, they had grown up together, attended the academy
together, and planned on spending their careers together. Of course
starfleet had changed their plans, but the bond the three shared had never
been broken. She shuttered to think how their deliberate deaths were going
to affect him. But it was Will's father's finial warning that disquieted her
the most.

"I suggest you watch Deanna closely, and anyone else you care about." She
felt sick with the thought of anyone being able to hurt so many people in
the name of vengeance.

Will stuck his head in the door.

"It's ok Deanna....I know you heard everything." She set her eyes on him,
his face weathered with concern, and his eyes, though glazed with tears,
burned with fury.

"Will......starbase G6, that's in Betazed space?" So disconcerting for her,
to see his eyes meet with hers, and not soften. The love that normally shown
in them, buried beneath his rage, guilt, and fear.

"That's right Deanna.....Due to a flux in the last transmission, starfleet
traced the last warning to Betazed. ...." He didn't have to continue his
thought, it screamed in her mind.

"Mother?" For a moment his eyes tempered in response to her terror.

"Don't worry Deanna, we'll get there." The softness replaced quickly by the
storm that raged inside him. She shifted uncomfortably on the bed, battling
with herself as to weather she should ask her next question. It was obvious
his mind was in a million different places, all at the same time. She
watched him wrestle with his feelings, her own mind focusing on the words of
warning from his father. And then in only an instant his expression changed
as though some one had unlocked a hidden vault in his mind.

"My father's Deanna." She nodded to him, still unable to
grasp what he seemed to have realized.

"If someone wanted to hurt me, who would be their first target? You, Deanna.
But you weren't." She wrapped her arms protectively around herself, as if
she could shield herself from where she feared he was headed.

"HE would never hurt you." With those words what he thought washed through
her own mind.

"That's ridiculous Will, Think about what your saying."

"Why Deanna? he's resented me from the beginning."

"But Will, We don't even know where he is." He had such conviction in his
eyes, she was sure he knew something he wasn't willing to share....something
that prompted him to jump to such a bizarre decision..

"Hell....we don't know what happened to him where he saw what
they did to captain Picard........maybe he finally snapped Deanna."

She looked into his eyes, eyes she had never seen before and realized he was
scaring her. Will Riker, the man she loved, and trusted with her life, was
reaching for anything to hold on to his own sanity.

She waited for him leave the room, before tapping her comm badge.

"Troi to Picard."

"Yes, Deanna." The gentle sound of his voice consoling her.

"I'm sorry to bother you....I know your busy getting ready to leave. But I'm
concerned about Captain Riker, Sir. I think we should talk."

"Of course Counselor....I'll be in the observation lounge."

"Thank you Sir, I'm on my way."

She dressed quickly, and hoped Admiral Picard could help her with the
answers she sought.

She stood for a moment out side the observation lounge, and tried to quiet her
reservations about sharing her concerns with Admiral Picard. As the doors slid
opened he turned to face her, he quickly put down the box in his hand as he saw
the expression on her face.

"Sit down, Deanna." He led her to the nearest chair, and offered her his
undivided attention. She proceeded to explain Will's communiqué with his
father, and the wealth of feelings that seemed to be circulating through his
mind. Admiral Picard leaned closer to her, before he responded to all he had

"Under the circumstances Deanna, Will's feelings seem very normal to
me.....Losing one's entire ship and crew one of the most disturbing things that
could ever happen to a Captain. And with the mysterious overtones surrounding
theses occurrences, I would consider guilt and grief an understatement in what
he must be feeling."

He leaned back in his chair. "I'm not sure I would be capable of handling the
responsibility for so many deaths." He focused his eyes on her bewildered ones,
knowing there was more, then she had shared so far.

"Tell me what is really bothering you Counselor." She inhaled deeply, releasing
her hesitation with her breath.

"Will believes that Thomas is responsible for the destruction of the Athena,
and the deaths of his friends" Captian Picard raised an eyebrow, a look of
shock mingling with concern filled his face. "Thomas Riker?"

"Yes Sir, and I believe he knows something that we're unaware of."

He ran his hand over his head, as he always did when faced with a puzzle.

"Hummm....Well we'll have to see about this." He tapped his comm badge, and
summoned Commander Data.

"Now we'll get to the bottom of this Counselor."

Captain Riker paced his ready room, the room seeming bleak without Captain
Picards things strewn about. He fondled the medallion that hung around his
neck, and picked up the PADD that lied on the desk. His eyes burned into the
images that his father had transferred, and the only evidence in the murders of
his friends.

"You son of a bitch.......I should have let you die." His words actually
scaring himself, he had never felt such unmitigated anger. He ran his hand over
the images of his friends, and then over the silver medallion found at the
scene. "Next time you won't be so lucky."

Commander Data entered the observation Lounge, the Admiral and counselor deep
in conversation.

"You summoned me Sir?" Data's eyes darted back and forth between the two

"Yes Data, Please sit down." The android sat, and cocked his head toward the

"We're interested in any information you could offer us on the destruction of
the Athena." Data looked confusingly at both of them. "Captain Riker did not
share the information I gave him earlier?" Deanna gave a sideways glance to the

"No he didn't Mister Data, perhaps you could enlighten us." Admiral Picard and
Deanna exchanged glances as Data revealed the information they had asked for.

"So your saying the detonator was of cardassian origin?

"That is correct sir. But the weapon used to terminate Captain Riker's friends
was Romulan. A disrupter to be precise." Deanna shuttered at the thought.

"Data?...How did Captain Riker respond to this information?"

"Quite peculiarly actually. He did not seem at all surprised by the choice of
weaponry fact his only interest was in his alternate self." Deanna
smiled at Data's choice of words to describe Thomas.

"And what were you able to tell him Data?" Admiral Picards interest was

"Nothing Sir, all information regarding Thomas Riker is classified....level one
clearance only."

"Classified?" The Admiral stood as he spoke.

"Yes Sir, four hundred and thirty six days ago, star fleet ordered all records,
and files containing information on Thomas Riker sealed."

All three officers remained silent, Data looking perplexed by the deep concern
that seemed to radiate from the Admiral and counselor. The all were caught off
guard when the doors of the observation lounge slid open.

Will Riker stood in the doorway, eyeing each of them with suspicion.

"Plotting a mutiny are you?." His serious expression broke into a smile.

"Please sit down Captain....we were just exploring some of the circumstances
surrounding the unfortunate loss of the Athena." Will took a seat next to
Deanna, he was once again keeping his emotions wrapped tight. But by the looks
he was sending her she knew he wasn't happy about her confiding in Jean Luc.

"Well coincidentally I was just about to order a meeting of the senior staff,
when I found you all huddled together in here." He hung his arm over the back
of Deanna's chair before continuing, she recognized it as a tactful hint to be

"First of all...I'd like to put all your minds at rest about my suspicions of
Thomas....But someone is definitely out to get me, and I'd like to make sure
all of you stay on guard." His eyes focused on Deanna, a silent warning not to
betray his thoughts. She shifted uncomfortably in her chair, but remained
silent for the moment.

"We'll be arriving in Betazed space in 8 hours....If you could meet me in my
ready room in an hour, we can fill in the others, and devise a strategy.
Admiral, I would appreciate it if you would join us." Admiral Picard looked
into the unsteady eyes of Captain Riker and nodded.

Deanna Troi sat quietly in Captain Riker's quarters reflecting on his briefing
in the ready room. He had ordered all senior staff, to stay with someone else
at all times....never letting their guard down. but what disturbed her the most
was the twenty four guard he had placed on Beverly and herself. She looked to
the door of the bedroom, shaking her head at the sight before her. He was
wrapped only in a towel, his hair still dripping wet.

"You could have dressed before you checked on me...AGAIN." She tapped her
fingers in annoyance on the side of the couch. "Didn't you say I would be

"Didn't you hear what I said at the briefing Deanna....I said my accusations
against Thomas were only a theory."

"I know what you said Will, but I also know what you think. Don't you find it
strange that all your brothers records are classified?" He walked closer to

"First of all he's not my brother.........and yea, I do." His tone was filled
with such resentment, she shot to her feet.

"I'm worried about you Will." He looked down on her making her feel smaller
then she really was.

"Well you won't have to worry long...we'll be in transporter range soon, then
you and ensign Tang will be beamed to the Troi mansion where you will stay
put." She straightened herself as much as she could finding it a little easier
to challenge him while he was literally out of uniform.

"You never mentioned that at the briefing.........I need to be with you."

"That's because I just thought of it in the shower.....and I don't think you
understand Counselor, it wasn't a request." She lowered her eyes, and watched
the water trickle down his chest.

"I love you Deanna." His words deflating all the arguments that were spinning
through her head. She nodded and lightly kissed his chest. "I love you too
Will." she sighed her response and rested her head on his chest. He held her
for a moment, giving them both a minute of peace before he pulled back.

" better get ready." She turned and exited his quarters, a nagging
feeling in the back of her mind that she would never see him again.

She packed her things and headed to the bridge, at least she could spent a few
moments with him before she transported to Betazed. She was surprised when the
turbo lift doors slid open and Data sat in the Captain's chair.

"Data, where's Captain Riker?' She settled in her chair to his left.

"I believe he is on his way Counselor...I informed him that we are currently in
transporter range."

The intermittent beeping and booming voice of the Klingon sounded
simultaneously through the bridge.

"Intruder alert Sir. Deck 8, Captain Riker's quarters.... Security is on it's
way." Commander Data shot to his feet. "Go to Red Alert. raise shield, block
all transport."

"There's no one here sir." The security officers voice sounded around them.

"Mr Worf, can you locate the intruder." Worf's hands flew across the panel.

"They are gone Sir." Data tapped his comm badge. "Data to Captain Riker?"

Deanna felt her world spinning, the small nagging voice in the back of her mind
taking center stage, as Data asked the computer to locate the Captain. She knew
what the answer would be before the response came.

"Captain Riker is not on board the Enterprise."

The senior officers left the conference room after the briefing on Captain
Rikers abduction. All but Deanna Troi, she sat alone replaying the Admiral's
accountings of the evidence so far. Whoever or whatever had taken Will, had
made sure to remove his communicator, and phaser before transporting off the
ship. Without his communicator there would be no way to track him on a
planet the size of Betazed..... assuming that was where he had been taken.
Aside from the unavailable records on Thomas Riker, the most disturbing
development was the location of Admiral Riker. According to starfleet, he
had insisted on leading a Terra forming mission to the Manackin sector. The
mission keeping him out of communication range for the year and a half that
he would be gone. Deanna didn't find it odd that Will was unaware of his
father's whereabouts, only about who had actually contacted him and
pretended to be Kyle Riker.

Picards attempts to unseal Thomas's records had turned up nothing as well,
only that the order to seal the records had come from the highest authority
...Admiral O'bonn. The same Admiral that had offered Will the information on
the destruction of the Athena. It seemed that whoever had been feeding Will
information had done all they could to persuade him to believe Thomas the
guilty party.

She stepped onto the bridge and watched the crew, each with their own job
that would help them locate their Captain. She decided it was time for her
to do some exploring of her own, but first she would stop in Captain Riker's

The doors to Will's cabin slid open, she was surprised to meet with the face
of Commander Data.

"Great minds think alike I guess, Data." The android eyed her.

"Yes Counselor, if that is what you choose to believe." She smiled at his
innocence, and reached for the PADD he held in his hand.

"May I?"

He released the PADD, Deanna studied it carefully....."This medallion is
just like Will's."

"Yes, and also the one found at the murder scene. Or that is what someone
wanted Captain Riker to believe. It is his interest in the harmony of lights
which confuses me, perhaps he was aware of the occurrence before we were."

"What about the Harmony of lights, Data?" She sat on the couch, and picked
up Will's shirt that hung over the back.

"The Harmony of lights is an unknown occurrence, which displays a wide range
of intermittent lights that seemed to suffuse the sky, it only occurs once

"I know what it is Data. Why does it concern you?" She unknowingly wrapped
Will's shirt across her shoulders, allowing the scent of him to comfort her.
Data only looked at her curiously before continuing.

"It is shielding our attempts to scan the planet. It also puzzles me how a
race as advanced as your own could allow such a phenomenon to remain
unexplained." She pulled her legs under her, and tried to explain the
Betazoid beliefs that all things need not be explained, that some are only
meant to be savored. She could tell by the look on Data's face he had no
concept of such a belief system. He only nodded, and watched her snuggle
deeper under Captain Riker's shirt.

"Are you cold Counselor?"

"No Data, just write it off as another silly humanoid behavior." He accepted
the explanation, and returned his attentions to Captain Riker's PADD>

The thick haze that covered his mind slowly faded, as his surroundings came
into view. He ran his tongue over his lip, he could feel the swelling and
taste the blood that trickled down his face. It was also obvious with the
pain that seemed to be pounding through his head he had been whacked pretty
good. He propped himself up on his arms, the spinning in his head making him
wish he hadn't. His blurred vision quickly cleared as he realized what was
staring him in the face. He looked at the disrupter that aimed at his head
and then to the figure that held it. He shot to his feet quickly, bracing
himself on the dirt wall behind him.

"Go head, use it!......Or would you prefer I turn around so you can shot be
in the back? That seems to be your style." The disrupter never wavered, nor
the man holding it.

"No, that would be too easy." The man stepping closer, before throwing the
disrupter to the floor.

Both stood and looked at the other for a moment, the anger that circulated
through the room, making each oblivious to the others beaten bodies.

"I'll bet you've gotten soft sittin' in a Captain's chair for so long."

Will lunged with his words, both falling quickly to the floor. Toe to toe
they were equally matched, each trained in the same techniques, and thinking
with the same cunning. Will drove his knee into Tom's belly, giving him the
only advantage he needed, he quickly wrapped his hands around his throat.
Thomas gasped for air his hand struggling to reach the disrupter that was
just out of reach.

"So who's gotten soft?...I would have thought they'd keep you in better
shape in a Cardassian prison camp." Will's eyes scorched into his brothers,
but as he spoke the words the expression on Thomas's face changed. The shift
in expression enough to make Will release his grasp slightly, giving Tom a
chance to take control. He drove the palm of his hand into Will chin sending
him to his back. Will's disorientation giving Thomas enough time to pick up
the disrupter. Will didn't move, he laid on the ground and awaited the
inevitable blast.

"What the hell are you talking about?" He was startled when Thomas spoke.

"You know Damn well where I've been for the last few years." Will only
glared at him, his extreme anger still obscuring his thoughts.

"Hell, your the one that put me there.... You and dear old Dad." Will sat
up, and wiped the blood that was dripping from his head.


"Maybe I am......thanks to you." His chest was heaving, and he could feel
the effects of the blows he had taken.

"So you admit did kill them." Thomas dropped the disrupter at
Will's feet, and slid himself down the wall.

"The only person I want to kill is you. and I can't do it, your not worth
it." Will eyed the weapon, and then Thomas.

"O.K. What the hell's going on?" He crawled across the floor, and sat beside

"I think we better talk."

With what was left of their strength they exchanged stories, each realizing
the other had been duped into suspecting each other. Thomas not spending any
time in a Cardassian prison camp, but committed to an institution for the
criminally insane. The orders allegedly signed by William, and Kyle Riker.

"Sounds to me like somebody wanted us to kill each other, somebody who
wanted to keep their own hands clean." Will put his bloodied hand on Tom's
shoulder, their eyes twinkling with identical thoughts.

"I think somebody failed."

"THINK AGAIN!" The brothers turned toward the distinct hollow voice of the
Sindareen Warrior.

After a brief discussion with acting Captain Data, she was granted
permission to accompany the next search team to the planet's surface. She
gave one last look around his quarters and sent a silent message that she
would find him. Her exit quickly halted by the beeping of Will's
communication screen. She sat down in the chair, and hit the activation

"I'm looking for Captain William Riker?" Deanna eyed the young woman on the
other end of the transmission. She could see the woman was frightened by the
way her large dark eyes darted around the room she was in.

"I'm sorry the Captain is unavailable. Maybe I could help you.....I am
Counselor Troi."

The woman looked surprised, she brushed a strand of blond hair behind her

"Deanna Troi?" Deanna was amazed at how quickly the woman's mood shifted
with the realization of who she was.

"I'm Thomas Riker's nurse." Deanna raised an eyebrow, unsure of why Thomas
would need a nurse.

"I think he's in trouble." Deanna shifted nervously in her chair, becoming
more aware that it was more then professional concern this woman had for

"Where is Thomas?" The woman looked quickly over her shoulder.

"He was taken yesterday.....I'm afraid they're going to hurt him, or worse."

"Who are you....and where was he taken from."

"My name is Melisa, Thomas has been held here in the borzoid institute for
the last three years. I've been trying to help him escape for years, and
then yesterday he came and took him."

"Who?" Melissa hesitated before answering, it was quite apparent she was
risking her life by trying to contact Will.

"Admiral O'bonn."

Deanna quickly filled Melissa in on the disappearance of Will, and his
suspicions of Thomas. The woman nodded saying Tom's resentment for Will was
similar. The conversation ending with the only clue she had in Tom's
disappearance, his obsession with the Harmony of Lights. As the screen went
blank, Deanna hurried to the transporter room to enlighten Data, and Admiral
Picard on what she had just found out.

Both men stood up quickly, forgetting the pain they had inflicted on each

"What the hell do you want?" they spoke in unison at the Sindareen, both
eyeing the weapon on the floor. The Sindereen, walked to the disrupter
kicking it out of the brothers reach.

"We want you dead, both of you....your interference in the time continuum
complicating everything.....Every ten years the harmony of lights permits
the time constant to be opened. What happens during this time is set in
stone. Ten years ago during the harmony of lights, you established an
unbreakable bond with the Betazoid. The bitch that interferes with the
success of our race, and our infiltration into starfleet. We cannot change
that, but if we kill you both now while the window is open you will cease to
exist in all time frames."

The brothers both stepped back as Admiral O'bonn entered the dank cell.

"Don't look at me like that Captain Riker....I am sure your aware of the
weaknesses in the Federation." Will clenched his fists at his side.

"You blew up my ship, killed my friends!!!"

"Calm down Captain...what are a few deaths in the larger scheme of things?"
Will's stomach twisted in anger, he took a step toward the Admiral. The
Sindareen stepping in front of him.

"I feel no need to explain my reasons to you....I just as soon kill you both
right now." Admiral O'bonn pushed the Sindareen aside.

"You will have your chance at revenge....You must excuse him, your entrance
through the gateway to save Counselor Troi has never sat well with his
people." Will shook his head at Thomas both confused by the Admiral's words.

"We have tried many times to form an alliance that would strengthen the
federation, but each time YOU intervene. The Sindareen are our highest
hope." He turned his attention to Thomas. "We hoped you were just an
unfortunate accident, but you have proven to be a problem as well. Your
constant meddling in our cardassian relations once again stopping federation
progress. But now we can end this thing once and for all."

"YOUR NUTS!" Thomas's voice echoed off the walls of the dungeon.

Admiral O'bonn shook his head, and fixed his eyes between the two men.

"You really don't understand Do you? The time line is much like a man's
life. When you are born you are presented with a straight path, but being
who we are we deviate off the chosen road, creating many alternate routes.
But in the end all our paths converge with the original course. In all the
alternate realities we have created there seems to be only one constant, and
that would be this bond you both share with counselor Troi....the commitment
seems to never waver. By killing you both here and now, while the window is
open we will shut the door on anymore Riker interference." The Admiral
stepped aside, allowing the Sindareen access to the brothers. Will and Tom
both shot a look to each other, both sharing a feeling of something they
couldn't quite reach.

The Admiral turned toward the door offering the brother's a quick salute.

"I don't think you'll be going anywhere, Admiral." Jean Luc Picard held his
phaser squarely on the Admiral.

"Thank god you here, Jean Luc...I've been trying...."

"I know what you've been trying to do!" Picard voice was laced with an anger
Will had never heard from him. "We know all about your little ring of
conspirators, and your attempted alliances with the borg, the cardassians,
and the Sandareen, just to name a few. I can see how you would view the
Riker boys as a thorn in your side." He smiled at Will and Thomas. as Data,
and Worf took the two away.

"How'd you find us?"

"Two very lovely ladies, who seem to know more about the Harmony of lights
then we believed."

"Two?" Will turned his sparkling eyes to Thomas. Thomas shrugged, his mouth
breaking into a huge smile..

"Yea, that's right. I kinda gave up on Deanna....always knew who her heart
would be with." Will put his hand on Tom's shoulder and flashed a similar

"I always knew you were smarter then you looked."

"Deanna, are you sure you want to do this? Getting married in the Harmony of
lights, well it's different then any other commitment." She smiled at her
mother, and wiped a tear from her eye. "If you had had the opportunity to
marry Daddy like this, wouldn't you have?" Lwaxana sent her daughter a
wistful smile, and shot a look toward the groom and best man.

"Are you sure your marrying the right one?" Deanna shook her head, and
smiled. "Yes mother." She straighten the dress that flowed off her bare
shoulders, and adjusted the halo of flowers that hung in her hair. She
sensed her mothers disgust at her choice of wearing clothes at her wedding,
and was quite pleased she hadn't said anything. Lwaxanna handed a bouquet of
flowers to her daughter. <He loves you very much little one>. Deanna let out
a long satisfied sigh, and looked to the man that awaited her. <I know

She started down the long petal dusted pathway that curved through the
harmony of lights. The colors in the skies creating a festival of hues
beyond any shades she had ever seen. But her eyes were set only on the man
who had insisted they marry now, the man who insisted their futures be set
in stone, the man whose voice softly whispered in her mind, <I'll love you
forever Imzadi>.