This is only a test. this story even reaches beyond the realms of me. Well i
guess it does'nt since i'm writing it.<g> Once again they're not mine....i
believe paramount owns em all.

He watched Deanna step onto the transporter pad, hand in hand with Tyran.
He'd done all he could to warn her of his suspicions about him, his opinions
only pushing her further away. And perhaps she was right that his unsettled
feeling were based only on jealousy, deep in his heart he didn't want her to
go. The whole relationship troubled him, it had all happened too quickly. Tyran
had come on board only two months ago, and already Deanna was ready to give up
her career, give up her friends, but what hurt the most, she was willing to
give up the relationship she had with him. True, it wasn't what she wanted from
him, but he thought there would always be more time, time for them to work out
things between each other. But his time expired, when the young Larouvian
beamed on board. He had never seen Deanna swept away so was as
though she had consumed a love potion, and her sights were set only on this
man. He had bit back all his suspicions for the first few weeks, but his
mistrust of the man soon got the better of him. And then began the endless
fights, he hated himself for hurting her with his words of warning....but she
seemed eternally blinded to anything he said. It was true he had no evidence
against him, but something had gnawed at him since the day they met. She had
called it typical human male behavior under the circumstances, he didn't agree.
He watched her even now, not saddened by her extended leave of absence, but
focusing her eyes only on Tyran. Aside from physically removing her from the
transporter pad, a thought that he had quickly dismissed. He had done all he
could, now he could only wish her happiness. He closed his eyes, and thought
sent the words.

<Be forever happy, Deanna.>

She pulled her gaze from Tyran only long enough to answer him.

<Good bye, Imzadi> Her words stirring the tears that laid dormant in his eyes.
He turned and left the room, as the subtle sound of the transporter engaged.

The tedious tasks the enterprise had been assigned over the last few months
hadn't help him over come his feelings of loss....quite the opposite it had let
his mind weave complex scenarios, and idealistic fantasy. Fantasies where
Deanna came running back to him, and scenarios where all his suspicions about
Tyran were actualized. He knew she had been blocking him from her mind since
the start, only once had he sensed a slight wave of apprehension from
her....that being all it took to intensify his fears. But as quickly as it had
entered his mind, she had blocked it out..... reinforcing the fact that she
wanted him out of her life.

He felt the enterprise slow to impulse.

"Great." he spoke to himself, running his hand over his beard. Another month of
mapping yet another star cluster, he had never needed to keep his mind occupied
as much as now.....and yet the tasks he was undertaking could be done by a
first year cadet. He stood to go to the bridge, shooting one last glance at the
communication view screen. He had given up hope of hearing from Deanna, but
Mrs. troi had been kind enough to keep him posted on Deanna's well being.
Lwaxana seemed just as mesmerized by this Tyran as her daughter, and hoped
William wouldn't interfere. With his promise, she had agreed to keep him
updated on Deanna. According to her mother, Deanna was terminally ecstatic with
her new life on Larouvia. Her last communiqué had made it quite clear to Will
that her daughter would not be returning to the enterprise.

He strode onto the bridge just in time to hear the incoming message from
starfleet. "Disengage all present assignments, and set course to the Larouvia."

Data turned to face his captain. "The rest of the message is eyes only,

Picard nodded and headed to his ready room. Data followed the unspoken order,
and transferred the message.

Will's stomach twisted with the orders.....Eyes only. Something terrible was
happening on Laruvia, and whatever it was Deanna was right in the middle of it.
He sat in his chair and gripped the arms tightly . "Data, at warp
long until we reach Larouvia?"

Data cocked his head, and accessed the information. "At warp nine we will enter
Larouvian space in two days, fours hours, twenty six minute, and twenty
seconds." Will nodded an acknowledgment, and awaited the inevitable call from
his Captain

She needed him now.......the pain she had endured far greater then anything she
had ever suffered. But she couldn't call to him.......she wouldn't call to him,
his life far more important then her own. She would abide by her decision to
help this culture restore itself, and evolve as it should have hundreds of
years ago. The DNA scrapings, and intense mind probes were making it more and
more difficult for her to keep the shield over her mind. If he knew what she
had done, he would never allow it.......he would sacrificed himself in an
instant, her well being always far out weighing his own self preservation. But
she couldn't permit it, given the opportunity she would make the same choice
again. She turned at the sound of the door, her heart sinking as her keepers
prepared her for further study. Her only solace.....that Beverly find her
silent message........that somehow, someday he would find her. The needle
penetrating her stomach was more then she could stand, her mind slipped into
the tranquillity of her inner self.

After filling him in on the present crisis on Larouvia, Captain Picard had
ordered him to his quarters to rest. But sleep escaped him, the planets
apparent collision with an asteroid causing it to be thrown off it's normal
trajectory..........if the enterprise was unable to reestablish it's natural
path, the nearby pull of an unexplored worm hole would swallow it. The
devastation on the planet was very bad, Will shuttered as his thoughts remained
centered on Deanna.

He sat down at the console, and sent the subspace message to Deanna's mother.
Within moments the face of a young betazed woman appeared on the screen.

"I'm sorry, Mrs Troi is away." her voice was soft and sweet, but lacked the
exotic accent of Deanna. His first instinct that she must have joined Deanna on
Laurvia was quickly dismissed.

"Mrs. Troi, is on a three month rejuvenation period in the Amarian cluster. She
will be returning in one week. As I'm sure your aware Amaria is void of
communications." Will felt his heart beat faster, as the woman's words sunk
into his mind. "That's impossible, how can she be out of communication, I just
spoke to her two days ago."

The women shot a doubtful smile his way. "I'm afraid you must be mistaken. And
I'm sure as a star fleet officer you realize that." Her patronizing tone
elevated his tension, he bit back an angry reply, and terminated the
communiqué. He turned as the door chimes sounded through his quarters, catching
a glimpse of himself in the mirror. No wonder the young Betazid woman had
treated him so carefully, his hair stood on end, his beard was unkempt, and the
circles under his eyes gave him the look of someone, not quite in control.

"Come in." he called, his mind still whirling with confusion over the previous
communication. Beverly Crusher stood in the doorway, her eyes doing a complete
examine of the madman in front of her. She folded her arms, and spoke softly.

"Will, when were you bitten by a Maurvian spider?" She was quite serious, and
he raised an eyebrow in response to her question.

"I know it's impossible Will... obviously if you had, we wouldn't be having
this conversation." Will still remained silent, his mind still focusing on his
disturbing communication with Betazed.

"Will, aren't you at all curious as to why I'm asking you about this?!" The
distant stare in his eyes finally fixed itself on her. "No.....I mean yea, I
guess so."

She sat on the couch and motioned for him to join her. "I was checking all
medical files today, making sure they were up to date, before our arrival to
Larouvia. Will......yours has been intentionally deleted, all but the maurvian
spider bite." Will rolled his eyes, and released his breath.

"Doctor, I really don't have time for this! I have more important things to
consider then your screwed up records." Beverly shot to her feet, her eyes
filling with fire.

"William Riker.....did you hear what I said, your records were deliberately
deleted!" The increased tone in her voice causing him to snap out of his

He now understood her concerns. Only five people had the access codes that
would enable them to delete records, and if he knew Beverly she had checked out
her theory before presenting it.

"Let's put it this way Will, unless you changed your own records, there's only
one person unaccounted for."

"Deanna" he buried his face in his hands, as yet another puzzle piece was
thrown in his lap.

"Picard to Riker." The sedate voice sounded through his quarter. Riker tapped
his comm badge, with a slight hesitation. "Riker here, Sir."

"Commander meet me in the observation lounge."

"I'm on my way." he looked to Beverly. "Sorry Doc."

She smiled, and rested her hand gently on his arm. "Maybe it's good news Will."
He offered her a weak smile, and headed to the observation lounge.

He paused out side the entrance to the observation lounge long enough to at
least present a facade of calm. The doors opened to reveal the grave face of
his captain. He offered no greeting, but quickly presented his news. The Aries,
and the Athens had both been surveying the Zeta Gelis starcluster, which had
enabled them to arrive at Larouvia very quickly. They had managed to slow the
pull of the worm hole using simultaneous tractor beams. Of course the dual
beams making it impossible to use the trans porters.

"Manual evacuation Sir?" Picard nodded perceiving the uneasiness of his number

"If they had the support of another starship it would be plausible to stop the
slow movement toward the hole, temporarily."
"So your saying the eventual destruction of the planet is inescapable." He was
trying to keep the urgency out of his tone. Captain Picard studied him for a
moment. "I've been in contact with chancellor Awna. He has assured me he will
contact us as soon as Counselor Troi is located."

Will relaxed his shoulders, grateful that his captain had seen past his persona
of strength.

"Thank you Sir." He nodded to Will, and tried to hide is own worry from the
first officer.

"And now I will return you to Doctor Crusher, I believe she has a slight
dilemma of her own to solve." Will acknowledged the Captains statement, the
hope he was feeling, once again clouded out by confusion.

After making a quick stop in engineering to check on Geordi's progress in
transference of power to the tractor beams, he reluctantly headed to sick bay
to meet again with Doctor Crusher.

He arrived to find Beverly deeply immersed in the PADD in front of her.

"What are you doing?" He tried not to startle her, but failed in his attempt.

"Gods Will, don't you ever knock?" He ignored her elevated tone, and picked up
the PADD she was reading. "These are Deanna's personal logs."

She set her eyes on him. "Correction Commander, Log. There is only one entry."

Will scanned the entry. "Escape, by Truman Mooner.....Deanna adores his poetry.
But why this poem? Although what she saw in any of his work is beyond me." She
waved off his comment, and continued. "Look at this." She pointed to one
passage in the epic poem.

"Captive I will always be. Your poison of love forever trapping my heart." Will
scrunched up his face as he read the words. "I really hate this guy." She
looked at him with disgust.

"Don't you see it Will? Poison of love....she changed the word potion to
poison. I think she's trying to tell us something."

He agreed with her words, the references to the venom of the spider, and the
altering of the poem to include another form of venom .....using the word
poison. Even has he pondered the thoughts, she had removed her tricorder from
her pocket, and scanned it over him.

"What are you doing?.....This is clearly a cry for help from Deanna." He
clenched his fists, his stomach wound itself tighter. "I knew that son of a
bitch was no good! Will you stop waving that thing over me!"

She moved the tricorder away, but only so she could explain her notion to Will.

"I think she meant *your* poison would keep her captive forever. Don't you

Will shot her an ambiguous look. "Tell ya what I see. I see a Doctor whose been
spending why to much time in the holodeck with data." She ignored the jab, and
continued her scan. "Oh my God.....what is that?"

"What is what.....damnit what is it Beverly>"

"Please get on the bio bed Will." His agitation was growing, he leered
defiantly at the doctor. "Let me rephrase that Commander.....get on the bio
bed..... that's an order." He slouched his shoulders like a spoiled child, and
followed his CMO's command.

"Now are you going to tell me what's going on?" She nodded down to him, and
reached discreetly for the hypospray behind her. Before he had a change to
object she sent him into the unconscious.

Captain Picard sat quietly in Doctor Crushers office processing all the
information Beverly had just dumped on him. The hidden miro processor in
Commander Rikers body could not be removed, not without activating the release
of the venom that had been stored inside. He covered his face with his hands,
and gave careful thought to the clues Deanna had left behind......Will's
apparent communication with Lwaxana Troi, and the unknown device that was
threatening his first officer. Perhaps they all should have paid more attention
to the gut response Will had had towards this Tyran Moyer.

<Well nothing like hindsight> he thought, surveying Doctor Crushers desktop.
His eyes were drawn to a book pushed to the side of the desk. He picked it up
carefully, admiring the twentieth century workmanship.

"The evolution of a species.... fascinating" he spoke the words aloud.

"What's fascinating?" Beverly's sudden return catching him off guard. He held
up the book, and watched the confusion cover Beverly's face. She took the book,
and opened it.

"This is Deanna's handwriting.....look at this inscription."

"'Sometimes we get lost in our own evolution' ......more clues?. Under
different circumstances this could be a mystery requiring the services of Dixon
Hill" She smiled at his reference, her smile fading quickly with her next

"Commander Riker will be joining us soon.....and I guarantee you he will not be
happy" Picard smiled at the understatement, knowing of the doctors trickery.

"Do you actually believe Counselor Troi sacrificed herself for Commander
Riker?" Beverly brushed the loose strand of hair from her eyes. "That's exactly
what I think.......I just don't want to be the one to tell Will he was used as
a weapon to put Deanna in danger."

"WELL I THINK SOMEBODY SHOULD TELL HIM!!!" Will Riker's words echoed through
the office, his fury silencing them both.

After a brief argument with Beverly, and a sympathetic nod from his captain he
was given permission to return to his quarters. The time bomb that ticked
inside him was of no consequence, his only feelings concentrated on Deanna. His
mind wove through the complex puzzle it had been handed. Beverly knew the
poison that surged unopened through his body had been administered through a
small opening in the base of his neck....but what would trigger the release of
the venom still remained a mystery. His communications with Lwaxana Troi also
troubling, whoever had created this ruse, had gone to great lengths to cover
their tracks.....and insure Deanna's cooperation. With that thought, anger
flooded him.

"Damn you Deanna!" he swiped his arm violently over the table, the crystal vase
shattering on the floor.....his own emotions followed suit as he crumbled to
the floor and cried.

"Jean Luc, I've been studying the micro processor in Commander Rikers
bloodstream. I believe it is set to monitor brain emissions." The captains look
of concern deepened with her thought.

"This must be how they silenced Deanna.....Betazeds have an innate ability to
shield their minds from others. Who ever her captors are they are very aware of
the relationship between the Commander, and counselor Troi. I'm afraid the
release of the venom, could be triggered by certain brain waves."

He ran his hand slowly over his head. "If your speculations are true Doctor,
that would certainly rule out the people of Larouvia. This technology far
surpasses any known culture."

"That's what frightens me....sometimes advanced technology falls into the hands
of those not ready to have it." He nodded in agreement, his mind wondering
through history, and all the times that had proven to be true.

He let out a long sigh. "We are sure it is the venom of the maurivian spider."

Beverly pulled her feet onto the couch. "I'm afraid that's the only thing I'm
sure of...that and the fact that the venom has no cure. Under normal
circumstances the bite will kill a full grown man within 24 hours........but
released directly into the bloodstream I would cut that time in half."

His heart went out to Will, what he must be feeling right now, the women he
loved sacrificing herself for him....he doubted Will would ever find solace in
his life again. Knowing Commander Riker as he did, and knowing of his unspoken
love for Deanna, he was sure if she came to harm.Will would welcome the release
of the venom..

"Suggestions, Doctor Crusher?"

"Induction of coma, and slowing of the brain functions." Picard creased his
brow with the suggestion. "And you'll keep him that way for how long
Beverly.........a day, a year, fifty years? I can't endorse that decision
Doctor" She shot quickly to her feet, plunging her hands deeply in to her

"You can't endorse it as his captain......or you can't endorse it as a man!?"
He took a deep breath, and nodded. "Very well, Make it so." Beverly shot him a
challenging smile, and headed for the door.

"I don't envy you the task of telling your plan to Will." She exited the ready
room, without responding

She didn't have to open her mind to know, he was here. She closed her eyes
tightly and fought back her desire to call to him. She could feel his strength,
and his power, as he tried to break through the weakened shield she had placed
on her mind. The tears slipped down her cheeks. "Will, please don't.....don't
do this>" She could feel her barrier breaking down.

"God don't let him die>' She spoke the words into the darkness that shrouded
her, and prayed someone would hear.

"You have broken your word." The all too familiar voice, setting the knife that
would forever be buried in her heart.

First Officer's log: "The enterprise has entered Larouvian space, as I speak
this, the tractor beam has engaged. I was able to persuade Doctor Crusher to
let me do this before she carries through with her plan to immobilize me. I may
never have the chance to say these words, and you may never have the chance to
hear them. But I need to say them. I've never stopped loving you Deanna. I.....

His words interrupted by the rush of anguish that flowed through his mind. His
efforts had paid off, he had broken through the wall that Deanna had put around
her mind. It was only one word that bounced through the recesses of his mind,
accompanied by a backwash of heartache. He ignored the warning that she was
sending, and the words of Doctor Crusher. He didn't care that she wished he
would stay away, he didn't care that it meant his certain death.....he only
cared that she was still alive, and he had been given an opportunity to save
her. He turned quickly and exited his quarters.

"Sir, an unauthorized shuttle is leaving shuttle bay two." Captain Picard
turned to face the booming voice of the Klingon.

"Hail it, Mr Worf." He spoke the order, knowing who would return the hail.

"Don't try to stop me Captain." Commander Riker's face appeared on the screen,
the captain found himself speechless as he looked at him. Obviously the venom
had released itself into his system. His hair was damp with sweat, the rash
that accompanied the venom had already begun to spread across his cheeks.

"Will, think about what your doing." He spoke the words, but only as his
captain. What he had chosen to do, was exactly what he had expected him to do.

"If Beverly's right I'll be dead a few hours. So unless you plan on firing on
me...Riker out." The screen went blank.

"Sir, he's disabled the transporters.....I could attempt to paralyze the
shuttle." The captain shook his head, and felt his heart grow heavy. "No Mr
Worf......Let him do what he must." Worf straighten with respect for his friend
and fellow officer. "Ka plah Commander."

Picard sat slowly in his chair, and silently repeated the Klingon's words.

"The Captain of Athens is hailing us Sir."

"On Screen." The view screen lit up with the face of the young captain
commanding the Athens.

"Military Personnel are the only ones left to remove from the planet." Picards
face was sullen.

"Very good Captain." He severed the communication, still silently wishing luck
to his number one.

"Captain, the pull of the wormhole is increasing.....At the present speed of
progression we will be pulled into the wake of the hole, in four hours, and
thirty six minutes. He waited for an instant for the amount of seconds, but
realized even Data was feeling the pressure of loosing Commander Riker.

'Please inform the Captains of the Athens, and the Aries."

He wiped his eyes in a futile attempt to keep the sweat from blurring his
vision. He locked in the rear thrusters and did the best he could to land
amidst the dense cloud of dust that besieged the planet. The excruciating pain
in his stomach felt as though someone had saturated him with acid. He fought
the desire to give in to the pain, and drift into sleep.

<I'm coming Deanna> he sent the promise with what was left of his mind.

His touchdown only noticeable by a slight jolt through the cabin. "I always
knew I could land on of these with my eyes closed."

He exited the shuttle quickly, a burst of adrenaline deadening his pain for the
moment. He shuttered as his eyes scanned his surroundings, the asteroid hit had
caused the dust and debris of the atmosphere to permeate the surface. The air
around him was frigid, the wind filled with the smell of fire and smoke.
Through the obscure lighting he saw the two remaining shuttles . He staggered
towards them, the particles in the air filling his lungs. He pushed his way
through the small crowd of civilians that still remained. He searched the crowd
as he passed through, hoping his eyes would meet the wide dark ones he sought..

He spied the General he had spoken to onboard the enterprise, through the small
crowd and made his way towards him.

General Wyneer? I'm Commander Riker of the Enterprise." The General's gray eyes
scanned Will closely. " Of course. Are you ill, Commander?"

Will fought back a cough, and the desire to double over with pain. "No Sir, Are
these all the people you have left to transport?" The General nodded, and fixed
his concerned gaze on the commander.

"I am sorry we were unable to locate your fellow officer. But we are sure of
complete evacuation. Take heart in the fact that she was probably not here when
the asteroid hit." Riker shuttered with a chill as the cold air blew over his
sweat soaked uniform.

"What about Tyran Moyer? Have you located him?" The General's eyes widen with
the name.

"I have not!" The revulsion in his voice quite apparent.

"But you know him?"

The general looked skeptical "Why would star fleet be interested in a mutant?"
Will tried to shake the cobwebs out of his mind. "Has he been evacuated also?"

The General was flabbergasted with the question. "Of course not?" Will's anger
had superseded his pain. "But you said you had evacuated the whole planet."

"And we have Commander. We've evacuated all those that matter>" Even now Will
could feel the shift in the gravitational pull of the planet, he knew the
starships would soon be releasing their tractor beams. With more force then
he thought he possessed, he grabbed the General by the shirt. "You son on
bitch..You led starfleet to believe you were the only species on this planet.
Tell me where I can find these mutants!!!!!"

The general gasp for air as Will shifted his hand to his throat. "Under the
city.....they live in the catacombs under the city." He felt the need to
continue the pressure he had put on the General's throat, but he relinquished
his hold, the general falling back against the shuttle. Riker looked down on
him, his eyes burning with disgust.

How do I find these mutants." The General scooted away from the flames that
seemed to be shooting from commander Riker's eyes.

"Under the temple, the entrance is under the temple........but you don't have
time" He was already staggering toward the remains of the city before the words
left his mouth.

He found the opening without any trouble, the temple had been completely
destroyed leaving the hidden access very visible. He lowered himself into the
dank dessert of passageways, he stumbled through them using the walls to keep
himself standing. He could feel his lungs were collapsing, his heart beat
faster as he fought for air. His temples were throbbing with such pain, he was
sure if he touched them he would feel them expanding. He slowed, every step
becoming more of a chore. And then he heard it, the scream that gripped his
heart, and pulled him forward. The sound, and sensation that filled his mind
led him to a small door. "Deanna" he called through the lightweight wood.

"Imzadi No!" the door flew open simultaneously with her cry. He was caught off
guard by the unformed figure in front of him. He fell to the floor, and reached
for the phaser in his belt. He adjusted the setting and fired on the shadow of
a lifeform that threatened him. The creature falling to the ground with the

"Will why?" Her eyes retaining only a whisper of the life that usually filled
them. He walked toward her with unsteady steps, and cradled her face in his
hands, his eyes radiating the love he was feeling.

"I knew I couldn't die without seeing you again." She put her lips to his hand
and basked in the sensation. "You could have lived Will."

He smiled sadly on her. "No Imzadi, I could have existed, I would never have

He lunged forward with the surge that permeated the room. "Shit." He knew the
starships had released the tractor beams......."Riker to enterprise." He pulled
his comm badge from his chest and hoped someone was listening. "Lock on to my
signal." he attached the badge to her shirt, in her weakened state she was
unable to fight him.

"Will." She felt the grip of the transporter and watched as Commander Riker
pulled into the darkness by another life form..

"I've got him Sir, rerouting transport directly to the bridge." The sound of
the transporter chiefs voice sounded around them. The bridge crew watched as
counselor Troi materialized before them. Captain Picard ran to the small
fragile women in front of him. Her clothes were torn, her skin was scared, her
long dark hair hung in lifeless mattes that encircled her tear stained cheeks.

"Counselor?" He held her cold hand, she looked at him with the deepest sadness
he had ever seen.

"Commander Riker is dead, Sir." Captain Picard caught the lump that had formed
in his throat, and unaware of the crew around him, he swaddled her in his arms.

"I'm sorry Deanna." a tear of his own dripped down his cheek as the planet
dissipated into the dark void.

She fastened the last clip into her hair, and stared at her love worn face in
the mirror. Beverly had managed to heal all her external scars, but the wounds
in her soul would bleed forever. The door chimes sounded through her cabin, and
she knew it was time.

"Come in Beverly." She called, brushing the moisture away that had again formed
under her eyes. Beverly's eyes were also misted with sadness as she spoke. "Are
you sure your up for this Deanna?" She bit her lip and nodded. Knowing if she
spoke, she would fall again into an endless abyss of tears. Beverly cradled her
arm gently around her shoulders, and the the two women headed for the holo

"Counselor, I hope this is what Commander Riker would have wanted. He spoke of
this place often, I believe it held special meaning for him." She nodded to
Data, still afraid to speak. She let out a long sigh as her heart filled itself
with the place Data had thought most special to Will. The air was filled with
the fragrance of Jasmine, the soft sound of Mach tach filled her ears. She
closed her eyes and pictured him there, just as he had been so many years ago.
He stood under the falls, his arms outstretched, calling her name. She could
almost hear his voice as it whispered through her mind. Her sweet memories were
interrupted by the captain.

"We are gathered here to pay special tribute to Commander William Thomas
Riker". He took in a deep breath of air, and let it out slowly. "From the young
officer who first strode onto the battle bridge at Farpoint, to the brilliant,
and somewhat unorthodox command decisions he made against the his
finial sacrifice, he has proven himself beyond a be one of the
finest officers in the federation, and the best kind friend. Losing him in this
untimely fashion is a loss to the federation, a loss to the enterprise, and a
personal loss to all of us.. As is customary in these gatherings I would like
all of you to share you remembrances of the commander." He nodded his head
towards Beverly, she took her place at Jean Luc's side.

" I'll miss his voice, always sprinkled with laughter, his tongue in cheek
smile that seemed to follow each of his wins in a poker game......but most of
all his warm blue eyes. They say the eyes are the window to the soul,

"Hello Beverly........your as beautiful as I remember." The voice echoed off
the Falls. Beverly leaned closer to Jean Luc..

"I know that voice." The look in his eyes assured her, that he also recognized
the sound.

"John?" She whispered the word.

"So you remember me Beverly, I thought sure you'd forget."

"My star patient how could I forget." With Beverly's words Deanna too
remembered the young man they had found in the crashed shuttle. The young
Zalkon, who had been driven from his culture by his sudden metamorphosis. The
flash of energy that shimmered in front of her reinforced her memories. Beverly
had named him "John Doe".

"I'd hoped I was more then your star patient." Beverly felt her cheeks flush
with his words.

Jean Luc stepped forward. "It is good to hear from you again 'John', but

The distinct voice sounded in response. "Yes Captain, I know of your plight,
and that is why I am here. Since my time on board the enterprise. I have found
that my kind exist among all life forms. The creatures you came in contact with
on Larouvia, were those shunned years ago, by the Betazoid race." Deanna's eyes
widened with his words.

"Yes Counselor, they did not lie to you.....they were only confused about how
to evolve. In all species there are those which are different, those which
possess the gift to develop as I have. There means were wrong, but we hoped you
would understand. Please pardon them, we will keep them in the womb of
darkness, until they become what I have. Again we are sorry.....and I will
think of you often, Beverly." With a blink he was gone, leaving them all in the
wake of the realization, that those that seemed less then them, perhaps were

"Hey, Hell of a place for a funeral!" The baritone voice, laced with laughter
sounded around them. They all rushed to him, surrounding him with welcome. All
but Deanna, she stood still as a statue, and let his presence saturate her. Let
every part of the man she had lost, fill each of her senses. He shook hands and
gave hugs, but his riveting blue eyes were eternally fixed on her. The woman
who was willing to sacrifice herself for him, and the woman he was more then
willing to sacrifice himself for. The reunion slowly abated, and only Will and
Deanna remained She felt his eyes caressing her, as he approached.

"Hey, not much of a place for a funeral....but it's a hell of a place for a
commitment." He dropped to his knees in front of her, stopping her hand as it
reached for her mouth.

"Deanna Troi." he brushed his lips across her hands. "If it wouldn't be too
much to ask....will you marry me?"

This time, only tears of joy slid from her eyes. "Yes" she uttered the words
with a gladness she had never felt. He swung her in his arms, and submerged
himself in her touch. He pulled back for a moment, and raised his dark brows,
a sparkle of laughter filled his rich blue eyes.

"Now *you've* made the ultimate sacrifice Imzadi." He didn't allow her time to
respond, but contradicted his statement with eternal bliss.