Fortune's Light (Book #15)
by Michael Jan Friedman
Will Riker receives a communique from Starfleet. An old friend of his, Conlan
Teller, is reported missing, along with a priceless artefact - a seal called,
'Fortunes light.' After the Enterprise drops Will off, he meets up with a retainer
called Lyneea, who is assigned to help him find the missing man.
After information from another acquaintance from the old days, a woman named Norayan - Teller's lover, they find Teller murdered, his body and the seal, hidden in the Zondrolla Maze. Realizing that there is more to the mystery surrounding the seal, Will sets out to find the real culprit. Eventually he finds the true traitors; A Ferengi and the Madraga Rhurig, who had instigated the seal's theft to halt the merger between the Madraga Criathis and the Madraga Terrin. Conlan had been the fall guy.
Notable Imzadi moments:
Pages 163 to 166
Beverly Crusher's words were like cool water to a man dying of thirst. "He's
going to be all right."
A cheer went up from those on the bridge, a wave of gladness that swelled and broke, washing away the fear that had tainted their spirits.
At one of the aft stations a crew member murmured thanks to her deity. Up at the conn, Wesley thrust a fist into the air.
Troi looked at the captain, seated beside her. He looked back, his eyes hard with pride - in Will Riker's penchant for survival, in his chief medical officer's ability to perform miracles, indeed in everyone and everything that had contributed to this happy result.
"You look tired," observed Picard.
"I am," she said. "A little."
"And this was not your shift. Why don't you get some rest? I think we'll be all right without you for a while."
Troi nodded. "You don't have to tell me twice."
The captain was beginning to extract details from the doctor as Troi rose and headed for the turbolift. On the way, out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of Worf. For a moment, as their eyes met, she could have sworn she saw a smile on his face. But before the counselor could be certain, he returned his attention to his instruments.
Stepping into the lift, Troi called for the level where her quarters were located. The doors closed and she was alone. The lift began to move.
Normally it took her quite some time to pick out a single presence from the midst of a large population, even if that presence was a familiar one.
But not this time. From the moment she had received word of Will's injury, she'd been with him.
Was it because of the relationship they'd once had? Or the different kind of closeness they'd come to enjoy here on the Enterprise? Or perhaps something else entirely?
She would probably never know. After all, empathy was not a science; it could not be reduced to terms and equations.
And once she had linked up with the first officer and felt his agony and his terror - yes, even Will Riker could feel terror - she could not bring herself to break the contact. She had endured what he endured, suffered what he suffered, been racked by the same dark miseries, fought the same desperate fight.
In her life she had touched greater pain, but never as openly or as willingly. She had glimpsed deeper despair, but never had she embraced it as she embraced his.
And even now, with the first officer reportedly out of danger, she still could not break the link. For beneath the mantle of sedation, the agony was still with him, balanced against the force of his desire to survive. And it would be that way for some time.
Why had she exposed herself? Why had she made herself so vulnerable?
Certainly it didn't help him that she shared his pain. There was no way he could know or, knowing, be aided by the knowledge.
But that was not the point, was it? The point was that he not be alone, that he not endure this all by himself.
The point was that she show the universe someone cared about this being. In some inexplicable way that was very, very important to her.
After all, she was the ship's counselor. She was supposed to be able to handle this sort of thing.
But even a counselor had to vent feelings such as these, to let out the suffering she had taken in. Even a Counselor had to have a breaking point.
A little more than halfway down to her quarters, the lift doors opened and a crewman stepped in. What was his name? She couldn't remember.
"Counselor," said the man, as the doors slid shut behind him. "Any news about Commander Riker?"
She nodded, doing her best to fashion a smile. "Dr. Crusher just sent word. Commander Riker will pull through."
A grin spread over the crewman's face. "That's good news," he told her. "Hell, that's great news."
"Yes," she said. "IT is, isn't it?"
Two levels down, he departed and she was alone again. But not truly alone, for another crewman could walk in at any time.
Finally the lift came to a stop at her destination. A familiar sight greeted her; the corridor that led to her suite.
Normally it was a busy place at this time of day. As luck would have it, it was deserted now.
She was grateful.
The entrance to her residence was programmed to respond to her approach. It obeyed that programming and she breezed inside, hardly noticing when it sealed itself off in her wake.
She headed for her bedroom. Only after she'd reached it and another set of doors had closed behind her did she allow herself to crumble.
Slumping against the wall, she felt the sobs well up from deep within her. And she cried as she had seldom cried before.
Thank you Carol for putting this together =)