By Michele (IceSlivers)
Disclaimer: Paramounts owns all rights to all the Star Treks, their universes, and their characters. I do this just for fun. Do NOT reproduce without permission, no profit is made from this story.
Burning Gods, the air was full of smoke Choking and gagging trying to breathe. Stinging The smoke stung her eyes She couldn't see more than a few centimeters in front of her. Suddenly, another explosion shattered the silence, and with a final gasp she collapsed.
Coming erect in the captain's chair, Will's face grew pale and a trembling began in his soul. Data offered him an odd look with an unemotional, "Sir?" Without acknowledging Data, Will tapped his communicator and called out, "Riker to Riker. Deanna?" The bridge grew silent and few officers traded looks. The captain's uncanny ability to sense his wife dumbfounded most of them. Long ago, they had given up trying to understand the bond he and his beautiful wife shared. No reply came to Riker's hail and tension escalated on the bridge. Only Data remained unaffected. Due to the dangerous nature of this mission, Data wisely chose to shut his emotions chip off. Riker's voice grew harsh and he demanded, "Away Team! Report!" Again, no reply came from the surface and Riker stalked to a turbolift. Data's staid voice stopped Riker as he entered the lift. "Sir, it would not be wise for you to beam to the surface. We are not aware of the situation, therefore, as your first officer, I must protest your intent to beam down to the surface."
In a voice of barely controlled terror Will gave in. "Agreed, Number One. Please assemble a small Away Team and report to the surface." Data nodded and strode to the waiting turbolift. "Data, take Dr. Crusher with you. Beverly's assistance will be needed." Data nodded again and the turbolift doors closed with a silent whoosh. Riker sank down in his chair and placed his head in his hands.
God, what was I thinking? He berated himself. I should have known better than to let Deanna lead the Away Team, but it was a diplomatic mission. I assumed the team would be safe. I assumed that was my first mistake. He had no sense of Deanna, and that alarmed him. If she were unconscious, then that could explain it either that or she was dead. Dead God, Riker, don't think that way. Deanna isn't dead, he assured himself until a nagging voice in the back of his mind added, And, if she is dead, it's your fault. Involuntarily, Will shuddered and raised his head from his hand. He cleared his voice and called out, "Data, report!"
"Unable to comply, Captain. Dr. Crusher and I will be beaming to the Enterprise momentarily. Data out."
Will glared, anger and fear, overriding his rational side. "Dammit!" He yelled. The remaining bridge crew cringed as he stalked to the turbolift. When the doors closed, the crew sighed in relief and maintained the standard orbit over Orcarina. The Orcarinans were a peaceful people, applying for membership in the Federation. The Enterprise and her crew were in the midst of negotiations and Deanna seemed a perfect choice for arbiter. The Orcarinans were easy to read, from an empathic view, and Deanna was ready to jump back into command work. Since giving birth to their first child a little over two years ago, she maintained a small counseling practice, but stayed home with their daughter. Serena was a beautiful little girl with her mother's dark hair and father's sapphire eyes. She was slowly adjusting to daycare. At first, Deanna had a hard time leaving Serena, but her eagerness to return to command filled the void. She loved her daughter and she loved her job. Allowing her to mediate between the Federation and the Orcarinans was a perfect choice. It allowed her to command and counsel at the same time. Will thought it would be perfectly safe, but the scene in Sickbay convinced him otherwise. Crusher stood barking orders while her team worked on at least six crewmembers. The Away Team, Will realized. Slowly, he looked around, finding Deanna lying on a biobed attached to all sorts of electrodes. A nurse gave Deanna a hypospray and shook her head. As if in a dream, Will walked to the biobed and took his beloved's hand. Burns on her uniform exposed blackened skin beneath. Bruises decorated her face and cuts oozed blood. Will swallowed convulsively. Deanna? Can you hear me? Will thought to her with an intense expression. He leaned over her body and her eyes slowly opened. He smiled down at her. A fiery determination lit her dark eyes as she struggled to cast her thoughts to his mind. Don't exert yourself, Will advised her. It's going to be fine You're going to be fine, Dee.
"I love you," she rasped. Will squeezed her hand. "Shhh. Save your energy. I love you, too, and I'm staying right here with you."
Fitfully, Deanna struggled to speak, then gave up and weakly cast her thoughts to her husband. I love you so much, and I'm sorry. This was my fault. Tell Serena I love her. Deanna silently pleaded. Will nodded with tears stinging his eyes. "Serena knows you love her, Dee, but I'll be sure to give her a kiss from Mommy tonight," he promised. A content smile spread across Deanna's face. Thank you Imzadi, she thought slowly as her eyes slid closed and a shrill beeping began from her biobed. In shock, Will dropped her hand and Beverly shoved him forcefully out of her way. She jammed a hypospray in Deanna's neck, then began cardiac shocks. The beeping continued. "Dammit, Deanna, don't you die on me," Beverly muttered as she jammed another hypospray in her best friend's neck. The cardiac shock continued for another minute. Beverly injected Deanna with another hypospray and shocked her again.
"Beverly, stop she's gone," Will hoarsely said, clutching Beverly's shoulder with one hand. Deanna's presence slid from Will's mind and a tear slid down his face as Beverly turned, sobbing, into his arms. He held her tightly until she pulled away. She offered Will a sad look, the motioned for everyone to clear away. Will sat down beside Deanna's side and gently kissed her lips. I love you, Deanna, and I probably always will. Thank you for loving me and thank you for Serena. I promise she'll never forget you. I won't let her. I won't forget you, Imzadi. You'll live on you'll live on in my heart and through our daughter. He straightened up as a tear fell from his face to Deanna's lifeless cheek. He turned and left it there, a last gift of love from him to her. Then, he left Sickbay to get Serena and take her to their quarters and try to explain to a two years old that her mother was gone and never coming back. Later, he would learn the Orcarinans were out to destroy the Federation, starting with the flagship and work to the very fiber of the Federation. Later, he would learn his wife died because of heartless terrorists. Later, he would watch his daughter grow up into a beautiful young woman without her mother. Later, he would learn to live without his Imzadi in his life everyday, but for today he would mourn her death. For today, he would survive. For today And, later, he would stand in front of Deanna's plaque he placed in the Arboretum, but for today, he would watch their daughter sleep with tears streaking down his face he would not sleep and another day would dawn later.END