Survival of the Fittest
Survival of the Fittest
Feed back loved and welcome!!
THREE MONTHS BEFORE:
"Mother! It's none of your concern!"
"None of my concern! Deanna, I am your Mother and its high time you
listened to me!"
After the Enterprise-E had left the Briar Patch and the Ba'Ku
people, Deanna had left for shoreleave, much to the dismay of Will
Riker, but She had much to think about. She had been on Betazed for
a month and she had two months left. Her mother had not stopped.
Every time she spoke to Deanna, her choice of topic was always the
same- marriage and her relationship with William Riker.
"Mother, Will and I are simply friends. There's nothing more to it!"
"Deanna, I have stood patiently by, but now I must intervene!"
"No, Mother, no! I have had enough of your intervention; this is no
longer up to you. This is about me and my life, I will decide when
the time is right not you!"
For the first time in her life Deanna Troi turned her back on her
mother and she knew it had an impact on the proud Betazoid who was
"I would have sooner died than speak to my mother like that!"
Lwaxanna exclaimed, her purple dress shimmering and crinkling as she
walked to face her daughter. "If you will not take my counsel, then
I have no choice Deanna."
"Mother, don't even think that!" Deanna Troi knew exactly what her
mother was about to say. "I forbid it!"
"You will prepare for `Men-Tarras'."
"I will not, you know how it will affect…"
"You have no choice, I demand it!" the older Betazoid interrupted.
"Then I refuse to co operate!"
"And I have no daughter!" Lwaxanna stormed out of the room they
stood in. Deanna breathed deeply to calm herself, as she had done
many times in the past, but still the anger and fury would not
An hour later she was already on her way off Betazed and back to
her `Home' on the Enterprise-E. Captain Picard had seemed surprised
when she had told him that she was returning early from her shore
leave, but she explained that she wanted to get back to work and
that she had felt recovered enough to return. Deanna looked out of
the window of the small shuttle and could see her mother's house
even from this height. It looked lonely and cold, a strange sight
for the house to have. It had always seemed warm and welcoming.
`Snap out of it, Deanna! It's over!' She silently scolded herself.
Her mother probably wouldn't even notice she was gone.
In the Troi Mansion, Lwaxanna Troi, had indeed felt her daughter go.
Tradition commanded her to make the drastic threat, but though she
didn't want to hurt her daughter like that, she had an obligation to
do as tradition demanded. She began the preparations.
The small craft landed in the Shuttle Bay of the Enterprise-E. As
Deanna Troi stepped off the platform she was surprised to find Will
Riker waiting for her. It was nice to see him again, but knowing
what her mother was planning, she felt so unsure of him.
"Hello stranger." He said smiling.
She smiled back at him as the feelings of strength and friendship
flowed from him to her. Will handed her a bunch of flame- coloured
"What's this in aid of?" She asked suspiciously, knowing exactly why
he had given them to her and also knowing she could not allow their
relationship to go any further than it had.
"Nothing much, just to say `Welcome back'."
"I've only been gone a month."
"I know, but I missed you."
Deanna smiled, again, and hugged him tightly. She kissed him lightly
on his cheek.
"Thank you, it's very thoughtful of you, Imzadi."
He smiled back at her in his usual charming way as they left the
TWO MONTHS LATER:
The ships exploded not one by one, as before, but in groups of three
or more. The Federation fleet, patrolling the outskirts of the
Betazoid system, was shrinking by the second. He channelled his
ship's communicator to Starfleet Command.
"This is Captain Jack Spencer of the Starship `California'. The
fleet at Betazed is lost. Repeat we are the last ship… heavy
casualties…Betazed under attack…PDS offline…from planet surface…"
Then there was nothing, but silence.
"Yes, Commander?" Deanna answered as the tall First Officer strode
up the corridor behind her.
"You do remember that we're supposed to finish the Crew Evaluation
reports tonight, don't you?"
"I'm afraid it will have to be some other time, Commander. One of my
patients has booked an emergency sessions." She began to walk away,
but Will placed a hand on her arm to stop her. She continued to
walk, as did he.
"Deanna…" she looked up into his blue eyes, trying to ignore the
hurt and urgency in them. "Why are you ignoring me?"
"Ignoring you?" she repeated. "I'm not ignoring you. I've had a lot
of work to catch up on since I got back. You know that."
By now they had entered the turbolift and were surprised to find
that, for once, they were both heading for the same place- the Main
Bridge. The short ride seemed to drag on forever, as Riker and Troi
stood in an uncomfortable silence, each of them lost in their own
contemplations. The turbolift finally came to a halt and the doors
slid open with a hiss to reveal the Bridge of the Enterprise-E.
Deanna Troi and Will Riker took their customary seats to the left
and right of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
This Bridge, thought Troi, was not as welcoming as the one on the
Enterprise-D had been; though this one was considerably larger.
Everything on the Bridge was a dark metallic grey colour and the
lights were low. The Enterprise-E was, in every aspect, a war ship.
It had been very quiet for the Enterprise crew ever since the Ba'Ku
mission. The most `fun' they had had was when they had been called
away from their fifth mapping mission, in order to track down a
stolen cargo ship. Today was no different. They had been assigned,
yet another, mapping mission and, as usual, nothing of remote
interest had occurred or was expected.
For a while nothing was said, except for a few murmured reports from
Engineering crews and the like. Jean-Luc Picard turned to his left.
"Counsellor, how's my crew?"
"To be honest, Captain, the only major report I've had is that
people are bored with these missions. However, I believe that is a
general feeling." Commented the petite Betazoid with a smile.
"Very true, Counsellor. So, no other problems? No plans of mutiny?"
"No, Sir. Though, perhaps that might be more interesting."
"Number One, perhaps, you would care to suggest a mutiny to the
crew?" said Picard, as he turned to his right. The younger man
flashed his famous smile.
As the Captain and First Officer spoke, Deanna Troi began to feel
the first twangs of guilt. This hadn't been the first time she'd
felt this, but they never got easier to ignore. It certainly wasn't
easy when Will Riker smiled like that. She could feel his concern
for her, but what could she do? She had to stay away from him as
much as possible, if she was going to make this easier for him, and
Her thoughts were interrupted by Data's voice.
"Captain, I am receiving a communiqué from Starfleet Command. It is
classified as `Captain's eyes only', sir." Reported the gold-skinned
"Very well. Transfer it to my Ready Room, Mr Data." Commanded
Picard, as he made his way across the Bridge.
An hour later, Picard emerged from his Ready Room looking haggard.
Troi felt the familiar, guarded emotional turmoil within her
Captain, but she did not probe any deeper to discover its cause. He
took his seat, and staring straight ahead, spoke to Riker and Troi.
"I want the two of you to learn everything you can about the
Dominion and the Dominion-Cardassian Treaty."
"Is there a new threat, Captain?" asked Riker, silently pleased to
have been ordered to work with Deanna.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss much with you, Number One, but I can
tell you that there is a threat and it's a little too close to home
for Starfleet's liking, or mine."
Will nodded and moved over to a computer console on the far side of
the Bridge. Picard turned to his left and noticed that Deanna still
stood at her post, looking hesitant. Did she sense what he knew? Did
she know the Dominion's next target, like he did?
"Problem, Counsellor?" he queried.
She opened her mouth, as if to speak, but she quickly closed it
again, shacking her head and unwillingly made her way across the
It was two hours later and Will Riker was still working. Captain
Picard had disappeared into his Ready Room. Deanna hadn't said a
word. Will looked at her beside him. As she read from the screen in
front of her, he noticed how the green light of the computer screen
reflected onto her and highlighted her eyes.
"Deanna?" she continued to read, so he decided to use a different
"Yes, Commander?" she answered still not looking at him.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
"I don't know. You're just very quiet."
"That's because we've been given a job to do and I'm doing it." She
said, through clenched teeth, still reading from the screen. She
could sense his dissatisfaction at her answer, but he went back to
his work. Again, the pangs of guilt returned.
For a while she continued to read, but after half an hour something
changed. Something began to push its way into her mind. She couldn't
place the emotion or its source. She looked around the Bridge for
the source. Data? No, his emotion chip was still deactivated.
Lieutenant Springer at the Tactical station? No, he was bored. Will?
No, all his concentration was on his task. Picard entered the Bridge
from his Ready Room. Deanna quickly probed him, but, no, her Captain
was not the source of the emotion either. She turned back to her
task. Soon the emotion became stronger, like a buzzing noise in her
mind gradually becoming louder and louder. At first the emotions
were just uncomfortable and she could quickly rid herself of them by
rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers, but soon that no
longer worked. She stood to leave the Bridge, so as to compose
herself further, but Will saw her getting up.
"Where are you going? We're not finished here." He whispered,
concern etched in his voice. He watched as her eyes pleaded with him
not to make a scene of this. Something, Will knew, was definitely
wrong with her.
For a moment the unidentifiable feelings subsided and she visibly
"It's nothing. I'm…" her voice failed, as an even larger, more
forceful wave of emotion hit her. Hundreds of minds cried out to her
at once. It had the effect of having her body slammed against a
brick wall. Her mind was unable to cope with the amount of
telepathic input. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head, as she
fell to the Bridge floor.
Will Riker and Jean-Luc Picard leant over the unconscious
Counsellor. It had happened so fast that neither of them had been
"Sickbay, medical emergency on the Bridge!" shouted Picard into his
`Doctor Crusher has been informed.' Came the computer's flat voice.
Suddenly Deanna Troi began to shout, scream and cry all at once.
"Deanna, Imzadi, it's alright. I'm here." Cried Will, as he took her
hand in his own and touched her forehead to calm her. It had no
affect. She began to scream absurdities in English and Betazoid at
some unseen assailant. She began crying to be left alone, for her
children, spouse, brothers and sisters to be released. Sometimes she
would cry in the earth tongue, but most of the time she would speak
in her native Betazoid tongue.
"Oh, Gods, please! Let them take me, but please save my children!"
her voice sounded with voices of many. At first Will thought she was
being over run by Borg, but gradually he realised that she was being
taken over by hundreds of separate minds.
"I can't calm her, sir. I don't know what happened, she was fine and
then she fainted."
"It's alright, Will. Beverley will find out."
As if that was her cue from a play, Beverley Crusher entered the
Bridge. The small Betazoid suddenly and eerily fell silent. The
blonde haired Doctor scanned the unconscious Betazoid and injected
something into her with a hypospray. Beverley and Will lifted Deanna
into the seat beside them.
"Report, Doctor?" Jean-Luc Picard ordered.
"There's not much to report on, Sir. I can't explain exactly what
happened, but I do know that she was simultaneously receiving
thousands of telepathic messages. My theory is that her mind could
not cope with that much input and that's why she lost
consciousness." She glanced quickly at the stirring Betazoid and
then looked back at her Captain and First Officer. "I've given her
something that will help her control these links until they subside,
but as you can see she's already beginning to wake up."
Picard and Crusher walked back to the Command Centre as Riker knelt
down to be nearer to Deanna.
"Deanna, can you hear me?" she nodded slightly. "Open your eyes,
Imzadi." She did so and Will breathed a sigh of relief. "Are you
okay? What happened?"
"My people, for some reason, are in a state of great terror and
panic. Their minds reached out to me even at this distance. Will,
something is terribly wrong on Betazed!"
Their conversation was broken by Data's voice.
"Captain, I am receiving another communiqué from Starfleet Command.
It requests that all senior staff be present to hear it."
"Very well, Mr Data. Contact Commander LaForge and get him up here."
"Captain Picard, this is Admiral Osan."
"Yes, you spoke to me a few hours ago." The Admiral nodded at
"I need to inform you and your senior staff that the fleet at
Betazed was lost. Another small fleet has been sent, but Betazed is
now under Dominion and Cardassian occupation. You should remain on
your present mission. However, I will be transmitting a message to
you, which I would like your crew to decode. It was sent to us
before communications with Betazed was lost. We believe it is from
our people." The Admiral quickly glanced around the Bridge and
spotted Deanna. " My condolences go out to you, Commander Troi. Osan
"No!" Troi exclaimed in a whisper. Riker draped his arm over her
"Is that what you felt, Deanna?"
"It must have been." Her professionalism quickly took over, not
allowing her to dwell on the news. "Captain, I am confused. What
Fleet was the Admiral talking about?"
Jean-Luc Picard thought for a second, suppose there was no need to
hide it from her now.
"Starfleet Command suspected, and rightly so, that Betazed was the
next target for the Dominion-Cardassian threat. Command placed a
Fleet of our ships at the Boarder of the Betazoid system.
"But how could they have gotten past the Planetary Defence shields?"
"According to reports, the Planetary Defence System was taken
offline from the planet's surface." Said Data.
"But that's impossible." She interrupted. "The codes are only known
by the heads of council." Said Troi. "Why aren't we being sent as
part of the fleet?"
"I'm sure the Federation Council has good reasons for not sending
"Deanna, they don't need us on the front line all the time." Riker
said. Deanna didn't reply at first. She looked down and then quietly
"Captain, may I be excused?"
"Of course, Counsellor."
"Deanna, do you want me to go with you?" Asked Will. Deanna carried
on walking. "Deanna?" still she ignored him. She had wrapped her
arms around herself, as if cold. The turbolift doors closed and Will
saw her wipe away the tears that had started to fall. Will began to
walk towards the turbolift, but a hand touched him gently on his
arm, stopping him in his tracks. He turned to see Beverley Crusher
staring intensely at him.
"Don't, Will. She needs time to think." Said Beverley.
"How long… do you think she'll be alright?" he asked, correcting his
"I don't know." She answered…
ONE WEEK LATER:
PERSONAL LOG: Counsellor Deanna Troi.
"It has been one week since the news of my home world's occupation
by the Dominion and I am still in shock.
I fear for the lives of my Mother and those who are known to me and,
in a way, have feelings of guilt for not being with them. If I had
stayed for the full duration of my Shore leave I would have been
with them when the Dominion took over. I fear that I will be unable
to make amends with my Mother with whom I had a disagreement, before
I left Betazed. I am constantly having feelings of joy…no, joy is
the wrong word…of relief that my Mother has been caught in this
Occupation, as it will prevent her from carrying out the ritual
of `Men-Tarras', an ancient ritual of my people. These feelings have
to be wrong, how can I wish so badly of my own Mother?
I have begun some personal research into the occupations of other
Dominion controlled planets; the news is not good. My attempts at
decoding a federation message have also failed. I don't seem to be
able to do anything right at the moment. I've diagnosed six crew
members wrongly and I know Captain Picard and the senior staff are
becoming more and more agitated with me, but I don't know what to do
The first half of the plan had been completed, now the three friends
sat discussing the next step. A Cardassian soldier entered the room
with a bow,
"I apologise for the intrusion, Gul Du'Rek, Captain, Commander." He
said, respectively bowing to each one of the men. "But I thought you
should know that all the Betazoids under guard have been
successfully administered with the Anti-telepathy treatment by
Doctor Del Grent."
"Excellent, thank you, Lieutenant. Now," The old Gul turned to his
Comrades. "Back to business…"
As the lieutenant left, he watched the three friends, two
Cardassians and a Human, huddle back together to create mischief.
Survival of the Fittest
CAPTAIN'S LOG: No stardate given:
"Another of our ships was destroyed in an unprovoked attack on our
replacement fleet by the Dominion. Hours of work have been
successful in decoding a message that was sent to Starfleet Command,
by Starfleet personnel posted on Betazed just before communications
with Betazed were severed. We've been ordered to cancel our present
mission and meet a new fleet consisting of the U.S.S Hood, Sommers
and Carpathia. We will be in command of this new fleet.
On a personal note, Deanna Troi's increasing isolation from the rest
of the crew is becoming a further on board problem. I've received
several complaints from many departments stating that the Counsellor
has been misdiagnosing members of their staff. This is very much
unlike our Counsellor and, although it is understandable, I may soon
have to intervene if her condition does not improve…"
Captain Jean-Luc Picard took one last look at his computer PADD and
tapped his commbadge, "Picard to all Senior Bridge crew, please
report to the Conference Lounge. Picard out."
With that he made his way from his `Ready Room' to the Lounge.
He entered the room and seconds later Riker, Data, LaForge, Springer
and Dr Crusher entered. Picard noted the absence of Mr Worf. Now
that the large Klingon was assigned to Deep Space Nine, a young,
human male named Lieutenant Springer had taken his place as Chief of
Security. Springer was tall and athletic; he had a short blur of
ginger hair and piercing green eyes. He took his work as Chief of
Security very seriously, some might say as seriously as Worf had.
Everyone was seated when the door hissed open and Deanna Troi
entered. They all turned to look at her. Her face had become pale,
her eyes were red and puffy, and the skin under her eyes took on a
dark colouring, from hours of sleepless nights and tears.
`She hasn't been eating either.' Picard absently noted, after
observing that her, usually, tight uniform was slightly baggy.
"Sorry, sir." She said, her voice quiet
"That's quite alright, counsellor."
She did not look at anyone and she did not smile, as she sat down at
the bottom of the conference table, away from the rest of the
officers. Picard turned to his crew.
"The latest from Starfleet is that the starship, `Ita', was
destroyed, with all crew on board, while it was on patrol
"Sir, how long are we going to be able to hold out against the
Dominion, with this rate of death and destruction of ships!?"
Interrupted Riker, making it more of a statement, than a question.
"I understand your frustration, Number One, it is something that is
held by every member of the Federation, including myself." Answered
Picard. "Our next assignment is to replace the `Ita'. We will be on
patrol on the outskirts of the Betazoid system."
All the officers nodded, except Troi, who did not seem to be
"On a slightly lighter note, Mr LaForge and Mr Data, have been able
to decode the message from Betazed."
At this, Troi's head snapped up quickly to face her Captain. A
glimmer of hope shone in her eyes, but this was gone at what Picard
"All the members of the `Twenty Houses of Betazed' and all Starfleet
personnel were rounded up and taken away. No one knows what has
happened to them or where, exactly, they've been taken." Picard read
from the Computer PADD in his hand.
Troi fought back tears, of anger, as she almost whispered, the
longest sentence anyone had heard her say, since news of the
"And the other citizens, sir?"
"There was little information given, Counsellor, but most of the
citizens were evacuated to other towns and cities and are safe.
Those that have stayed in the Capital City also seem to be fine,
only those with influential powers were taken."
"I see." Was all she said.
"If there's nothing else, then you're dismissed." They got up to
leave. "Doctor Crusher, Number One, a moment of your time, please."
Beverley Crusher and William Riker moved towards their Captain. He
waited until everyone was gone before speaking.
"I'm extremely concerned about Counsellor Troi. It is obvious that
she hasn't been eating or sleeping and I need your advice."
"I spoke with her, two days ago, when I first noticed these things,
but like all patients, she is insisting that nothing is wrong with
her." Said Beverley. "I ran some tests, but I found nothing
physically wrong with her other than lack of sleep and nourishment.
It's worrying to say the least."
"What about you, Number One, has she said anything to you?" asked
"Not a chance, I'm afraid. She runs in the opposite direction every
time I go near her, except when we've been ordered to work together,
but even then she says as little as possible. She was fine when she
first came back from Betazed, but when she found out about the
Occupation she changed. I mean, I know she's worried and all, but
that's not it. It's something else too."
"Jean-Luc, do you think it was wise, telling her about the hostage
situation? She's probably already thinking the worst about her
Mother, it's possible that this will send her over the edge." Said
"You don't think she'd try to hurt herself, do you, Beverley?" Said
"Like I said, it's a possibility. She's most probably having an
extreme case of Survivor's Guilt and we all know how private Deanna
"I agree, Beverley, but she would have found out sooner or later
about the hostage situation. It might make matters even worse if she
felt that we couldn't trust her." Said Picard. "We must all keep an
extra eye on her and if she does appear to get irrational, than I'll
have no choice, but to take her off duty." Picard nodded at his two
officers; they nodded back and exited the room.
When they entered the Bridge, they spotted Data trying to involve
Troi in conversation, much to the Counsellor's dismay. As soon as
she spotted Riker and Crusher, she, quickly, excused herself and
entered a Turbolift, leaving Data looking bewildered. Crusher looked
at Riker and said,
"She knows, doesn't she? She knows that we were talking about her."
"It's pretty hard to keep something like that from an empath. If
you'll excuse me, Beverley, I'm going to see if she'll talk to me."
Replied Riker. Beverley nodded at him and said,
"Just remember, don't make her feel pressurised, let her take her
"You know, you're both beginning to sound alike." He said, with a
smile. Beverley smiled back, as Riker left the Bridge to follow
Deanna had been in her Quarters for only a few minutes, when her
door chime sounded,
"Oh, no!" She said, trying to wipe the tears from her eyes. She did
not even know why she was crying, there was no reason for it, they
just kept coming. Her fingers left a trail of mascara down her
cheeks. She rushed over to her wash basin and tried to wash the
black smudge away. The door chimed again,
"Oh, for God's sake, just come in!" She said, angrier with herself,
because she'd just had a go at whoever had called. The door slid
open and Will Riker entered. She ignored him, splashing water over
"Deanna, are you alright?"
"Of course I am, why wouldn't I be, Commander?"
"Commander? Why are we talking to each other in terms of rank?"
"I don't know, Commander." She said, without feeling, drying her
face on a towel, then walking into the living room and throwing the
towel, carelessly, onto a chair. She stood, arms folded across her
front, a few meters away from Riker, not looking him.
"Have you been crying?" He asked, seeing the redness around her dark
"No, do I look like I've been crying?" She snapped at him.
"Actually, yes, you do." Replied Riker, keeping his voice calm. "You
know, you're not a very good liar." Deanna made a noise of disgust
and avoided meeting his eyes. He walked closer to her.
"Deanna," He hooked his finger under her chin and lifted her face
up. "Look at me, Imzadi."
She slowly did. He saw her eyes starting to fill with tears at the
sight of him, almost as if it caused her pain to look at him.
"It's not important. You wouldn't understand."
"It's important to me, because it's hurting you. Why won't you tell
"Why not? What else are friends for?"
She said nothing at first.
"Deanna…Imzadi…please just tell me."
She took a deep breath and began,
"The last conversation, I had with my mother, we had a terrible
argument." She stopped.
"You." She said softly. The surprise was obvious on Will's
face. "Not just you, but the usual things she bugs me about. She
wasn't moaning at me for not finding a partner, she started
complaining that I was taking too long re-developing my relationship
with you. So, I told her to back off and leave me alone. She took it
completely the wrong way and told me that she `had no daughter'.
That's why I came back early from Betazed. If I hadn't left I would
have been with her when they took over." A tear trickled down her
cheek. "I should have been with her!" She said her voice little
above a whisper.
"Deanna, I don't know what I would've done if I knew you were there
too. I'd probably be in a state similar to yours, I guess."
"I can't believe how childish I was. I stormed out like a child and
now look what's happened!"
"Deanna, she's your Mother, I'm sure, she knows you didn't mean it."
"But what if she doesn't. I'll never get to tell her I'm sorry."
"Sure you will."
"No I won't." she insisted. "I did some research on the Dominion
occupations of other planets. Their leaders never come back alive.
They were tortured and, whether they gave information or not, were
murdered and thrown into the town squares, even the children."
"Deanna, no! You've got to stop thinking so negatively!" Said Will,
taking Deanna's hand.
"Will." Said Deanna; "I'm facing the facts. I'm not deceiving
myself. I know now that I won't be able to say sorry." Deanna sighed
slightly. "Look I've got an appointment, I have to go!"
"I tell you what, I'll take over command of the Bridge tonight, but
only if you agree to get a good nights sleep."
"Alright. Look I really, have to go."
Before Will could stop her, Deanna was already gone, leaving Will
standing, alone, in the Counsellor's Quarters, feeling bewildered
and slightly frightened.
By now, it was early evening. It had been, almost, six hours since
his conversation with Deanna, and, Will hadn't seen her since. Will
Riker entered Sickbay, looking for Doctor Crusher. A young Ensign
"Can I help you, sir?"
"Yes." He said, smiling at the young brunette. "I'm looking for
Doctor Crusher, is she here?"
"Yes, sir. She's in her office. I'll tell her you are waiting."
"Ensign Maria Martyn, trainee medical office, sir." She smiled at
him, then went to Doctor Crusher's office. A few moments later,
"Will, what can I do for you?"
"I thought, I'd let you know that I talked to Deanna earlier."
"Excellent, did you find out anything?"
"Yes, Number One, did you find out anything?" Came Picard's voice,
from behind them, he'd just entered Sickbay. Riker explained what
had occurred with Deanna and said,
"Maybe it's best just to leave it at that. Give her some breathing
room." Suggested Crusher
"I believe that her performance should improve now that she got some
of her tension out." Said Riker. Captain Picard and Beverley nodded
"Excuse me, Gentlemen, I have to check on a few things, before I go
off duty." Said Beverley. Picard and Riker both bid their farwells
to the Doctor and then went their separate ways, Will Riker to the
bridge and Jean-Luc Picard to his Quarters.
The next morning, before going for breakfast with Jean-Luc, Beverley
decided to go to the `Ten-Forward' Lounge. When she arrived, she sat
at the bar and spoke, quietly, with Guinan.
"You're sure, Deanna, hasn't said anything to you?"
"No, in fact, she hasn't been in here, for just over a week."
"This all definitely has something to do with the Dominion
occupation, but there is something else too." Said Crusher.
"I'll keep an eye out for anything, but that's all I can do."
The door to `Ten-Forward' opened and Deanna entered. She looked
paler and her cheeks had begun to hollow out. She no longer wore her
uniform; she wore a full-length, black dress. It covered everything
about her physical self, hiding it from the outside world.
"I'm no Counsellor, but that does not look positive." Said Guinan,
"No it doesn't." agreed Beverley. She shook her head slowly at the
sight of her friend. "Look, I've got to go. Jean-Luc's expecting
me." The Doctor rose to leave.
"I'm going to try and get some food into that girl. See you later."
Beverley nodded at Guinan and then left.
Guinan made her way to the darkened corner of `Ten-Forward', were
Deanna sat, isolated, but looking content enough, reading something
displayed on her PADD.
"Hi, Deanna. Can I get you anything?"
Deanna continued to study her PADD
"No, thankyou, Guinan."
"Speciality today is, Chocolate Banana Split."
Deanna placed her PADD on the table and looked up at Guinan with
"It sounds lovely, but no thanks."
"You turning down ice-cream." Said Guinan, sitting opposite
Deanna. "What's up?"
"I'll see you later, Guinan." Said Deanna, leaving.
"But where..?" Guinan began, then she realised why Deanna had left.
Will Riker had just entered `Ten-Forward'. She noticed that Deanna
had left her PADD on the table, so she took it with her, when she
walked over to Riker.
"Commander." She said, with her usual nod of greeting.
"Hi, Guinan. Was that Deanna that just ran out of here?"
"Yep, at about warp 3. She left this here, will you give it to her?"
She said, handing Will the PADD.
"Yeah, of course."
"Can I suggest something?" Asked Guinan.
"Why don't you take her out tonight? I've heard plenty of rumours
about what happened to the two of you during the Ba'Ku mission, but
I've not since a trace of it since she left."
"And you think that I should see if she still feels the same?"
Guinan shrugged and moved away to serve another group of officers
that just entered.
Riker smiled, shrugged and then left.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Doctor Beverley Crusher, sat in Picard's
Quarters, enjoying breakfast, as they did most mornings.
"So, did they ever find the `Trian Treasures'?" Asked Beverley,
referring to the story that Picard had been telling her
"No, there were no such things, some old space pirate had started
the rumours, to get some of his `clients' away for a while.
Apparently, he owed them a large amount of Latinum."
They began to laugh and Picard's door chime sounded,
"Come in!" He said. Will Riker, entered. "Morning, Number One."
"Morning? It feels like the middle of the night!"
"I thought, Deanna, was on night duty last night." Said Picard.
"I told her I'd do it, so she could get some sleep." Riker handed
his Captain last night's Bridge report.
"Ah, have you seen the Counsellor, this morning?" Picard asked,
putting the report on the table without looking at it.
"I did." Said Beverley "She was in `Ten-Forward', when I was
speaking to Guinan."
"She ran out when I got there. She even left her PADD on the table."
Will concluded. "You might want to take a look at what she was
studying." He said, handing the PADD to Picard. "Do you recognise
"No, should I?" Asked Picard, as he handed the PADD to Beverley.
"It's the Federation Embassy building in the Capital City, on
"Why would she be studying that?" Asked Beverley, as she handed the
PADD back to Will.
"I don't know, but I'll ask her, when I take this back to her. I'll
see you both later." He said, then left.
"What are we going to do, Jean-Luc? We're losing her over night!"
Said Beverley, who was obviously, more distressed over her friend's
problems then she was letting on.
"Why would you say that?"
"You thought she looked bad yesterday, didn't you?"
"Wait until you see her today."
"Yep!" said Beverley, taking a sip of tea. Picard shook his head.
On occupied Betazed…
"Now don't forget what you're supposed to tell them when you arrive…"
"Du'Rek, my friend, I know and there's no need to worry. I'll be
back before you know it."
The young human hugged the middle-aged Cardassian with tenderness,
before climbing aboard the stolen craft. The older man watched his
friend of many years leave to face the enemy.
"Alpha one, reporting ready, Gul Du'Rek." Came the voice of his
"Excellent. You know the plan, just get to that fleet and help our
man if he needs it."
"You can count on it, sir. K'Plent out."
The old man watched as yet another of his dearest friends left the
newly occupied planet and wondered which one of them would not be
After the fifth chime, the door, finally, opened. Deanna Troi stood
in the doorway.
"Deanna, my God!" exclaimed Will Riker, seeing Deanna's unusually
pale and thinning face.
"What?" she asked in annoyance, feeling increasingly moody and
"Have you looked at yourself?"
"What, the hell, are you talking about?"
"You look awful!"
Deanna took a deep, frustrated breath,
"Is that all you came to tell me?"
"No, no, of course not! I'm just worried about you." Said Riker.
Deanna mumbled something under her breath. "What was that?"
"I said, I can look after myself."
Now, it was Will's turn to mumble under his breath.
"You know, it's rude to think things like that." She said, after
probing his mind quickly. "Are you coming in or not?"
"Yeah, sure, why not?" He said, as he entered her quarters behind
The room was dark, except for a small amount of candlelight coming
from the coffee table. The scent of lavender filled the room from
the burning candles. Deanna sat down and waited silently. Will sat
in the chair beside her.
"So, why did you come here?" She asked. The tone wasn't exactly how
she had wanted it to sound. It was meant to sound like an innocent
question, instead it sounded like she was telling Will that he
wasn't welcome in her Quarters.
"I came to return this." He said, ignoring the unwelcome tone of her
voice, handing her the PADD. "You left it in Ten-Forward."
"Thank you." She said, taking it from him and placing it on the
table next to the candles, not even bothering to glance at it.
"Why were you studying ground plans, Deanna?"
"Deanna, you wouldn't study the ground plans for the Federation
Embassy building, on Betazed, for nothing!"
Deanna took a deep breath; there was no frustration in her breath
"Well, it's just that I have my suspicions about that building. I
have a feeling that that's where they've taken the hostages."
"Why would you think that?" Asked Will, leaning closer to her in
She picked up the PADD from the table and activated it.
"If you look here." She pointed to part of the plan and showed it to
him. "You'll see that this corridor leads to an underground network
of tunnels and caverns. The structure material is unpenatrable by
our sensors. They were used during the civil war on my home world as
a base for one of the factions. They were also used as torture
chambers. They've been abandoned for decades, so some of the devices
may still be down there."
Their faces were mere inches from one another. Will could smell the
mild perfume she wore, it was intoxicating. He thought about what
Guinan had said and about the mental image that had emerged into his
mind, but he knew this was not the time for those thoughts. So
pushing those feelings aside he concentrated on Deanna's need for
comfort and friendship.
"I see, so you're worried that the Cardassians may use the devices
on the hostages."
"Yes, and believe me, Will, if you had seen them, then you'd be
worried too. I mean, the Betazoid torture devices are bad enough,
but the Cardassians have those pain inducers, like they used on
"Deanna, I understand that you're worried, but starving yourself
isn't going to help anyone." He interrupted. Deanna was about to
protest, but Will held up his hand and continued, "So, why don't we
go out for dinner this evening?"
Deanna, suddenly, looked uncomfortable, she moved away slightly from
him and began to fidget, "I don't know, Will. I'm very busy…"
"Come on, Imzadi, we need time together." He held her hands in his
own and noticed that they were trembling.
"Will, I really…don't…"
"I'll be here to pick you up at nineteen hundred hours." He said,
standing. "Whether you're ready or not."
Riker left her sitting there in an uncomfortable silence.
At exactly Nineteen hundred hours, Will Riker, arrived at Counsellor
Troi's quarters. He was dressed in plain black trousers and an open
V-neck, silk, blue shirt. He pressed the door chime and heard Deanna
call from inside,
"Come in, Will, the door's not locked!" Her voice sounded cheerful
and confident. Will entered her quarters and waited. A few moments
later Deanna emerged from her sleeping quarters. She wore a navy-
blue dress that was low-cut and sleeve-less. It had a thigh-high
split up its right side and flowed down to her ankles.
"Deanna, you look absolutely wonderful!" He walked forward and
kissed her lightly on the cheek. He brought a single red rose from
behind his back and handed to her. She took it and smiled.
"Makes a change, doesn't it!" She said. "So where are we going?" she
asked after placing the rose in a vase, that already held some pale
pink coloured flowers. Will recognised the type of flower instantly.
They were the same Betazoid flower that used to decorate her
quarters on the Enterprise-D.
"It's a surprise." He said, as he hooked his elbow with hers. "Shall
Deanna nodded with an almost child-like enthusiasm.
"Lead the way, Number One!" she playfully commanded and they left.
Data and Geordie LaForge walked along the corridor, towards `Ten-
"Geordie, may I ask you something?"
"What is the purpose of Counsellor Troi's recent actions?"
"I'm not sure I know what you mean, Data."
"I have observed several changes in Counsellor Troi's behaviour
patterns. I believe Captain Picard; Commander Riker, Doctor Crusher
and yourself have also noticed these changes. What has caused them?"
"Oh, I see. Well, Data," Geordie cleared his throat, "Counsellor
Troi is having some problems and…"
"But," Interrupted Data, "She is a trained counsellor, surely she
should be able to deal with these problems."
"Well, sometimes, even people who are trained to deal with these
situations, find it difficult to acknowledge that they are victims
of the problems they usually heal. They just don't know how to deal
with that fact."
"I see, thank you, Geordie."
"Don't mention it." There was a short period of silence before Data
"Yes, Data." He said, slightly annoyed
"Why is Counsellor Troi avoiding Commander Riker?"
"I would rather not discuss that issue, Data."
"Why not? I thought that it was a simple question."
"I don't like talking about other people. I suggest that you talk to
them if you want to know things like that."
"Ah, thank you, Geordie, that is a most intriguing idea."
"Speak of the Devil!" said Geordie. Data had a look of puzzlement on
his face, but he soon realised what his friend meant. He looked in
front of them and saw Commander Riker and Deanna Troi, arm in arm
and not in uniform, walking down the corridor towards them.
"Evening, Deanna, Will." Geordie said with a nod of greeting to both
"Hi, Geordie." They both replied.
"You are looking well, Counsellor." Commented Data.
"Thank you, Data." She replied with a self-conscious smile.
"If you'll excuse us, gentlemen. The Counsellor and I have an
appointment to keep." Said Riker, leading Deanna away.
"Appointment?" Asked Data, confused. "I did not realise that you
needed Counselling, Commander."
"No, Data, they have a date." Geordie explained.
"Ah, I see!"
"Come on, Data!" Said Geordie, the amusement obvious in his
features, as he led Data away.
"O.K, close your eyes." Said Will, when he and Deanna reached the
doors to Holodeck 3. She closed her eyes and heard Will tapping in
the code of their secret destination. When he had finished, Will
took Deanna's hand and led her into the Holodeck. They stopped
walking, Will stood behind Deanna, and took both of her hands in his
own. He put his lips close to her ear, rested his chin on her
shoulder and whispered,
"Open your eyes."
She did and smiled as she looked at her surroundings. They stood
together in the Janara Jungle on Betazed. More precisely they stood
a short distance from Janara Falls.
"It's beautiful, just like the real thing."
"Thankfully, the woman who showed me this place, is still real and
even more beautiful." He whispered back, afraid to break the spell
that had been cast over them both. It was Troi who finally broke the
"So what have you got planned?"
"Look over there." He said, pointing to the bank of the water pool
at the foot of the waterfall. Deanna looked and saw a blanket, with
food laid out, waiting for them. She smiled at the sight of a
picnic. Memories of their first `date' flashed in her mind, as it
too had been a picnic, although not at Janara falls, but had been
elsewhere on Betazed. Will, again, took her by the hand and helped
her down the steep bank.
They sat opposite each other on the blanket that was covered with
plates and bowls of Earth and Betazoid delicacies. Troi looked
cautiously at the food. She sensed that Will was watching her, she
looked up at him, innocence shone in her eyes.
"What?" she asked softly.
"Nothing. I'm just waiting for you to start. You know the old Earth
saying, `Ladies first'!" Said Riker.
Deanna reached out and took a pale yellow coloured Betazoid fruit
called a `Kiy-ma'. She bit into it and sighed as the sweet tang of
the fruit stimulated her taste buds.
"See, food isn't that bad!" said Riker, as he bit into his own `Kiy-
ma'. Troi smiled at him, feeling relaxed around him, for the first
time since she realised that she beheld a secret that she feared
would tear them apart if he ever found out.
Captain Picard sat in `Ten-Forward', looking over reports and
enjoying a mug of Earl Grey Tea. He saw Data and Geordie LaForge
enter the large, lively room.
"Mr LaForge, Data, over here." He called to them.
"Good evening, sir." Said Geordie. Picard nodded to him.
"How are you this evening, Captain?" Asked Data.
"Very well, thank you, Data." He turned to his Chief Engineer, "I
realise that you're off duty, but do you have a report for me, Mr
"Yes, sir. We've been working on modifying our phasers to penetrate
Cardassian and Dominion shields, as well as, modifying our shields
to deflect enemy fire."
"Excellent thinking. When will these modifications be ready?"
"We're aiming to be done in under twelve hours, sir."
"Ah, that's good to hear. Hopefully the enemy will leave us alone
"Captain, I know you are worried about Counsellor Troi, so I thought
you'd be pleased to hear that we ran into Commander Riker and the
"Really!" Not bothering to hide his surprise. "How is she?"
"Actually, sir, she looks very well." Said Geordie.
"Yes." Agreed Data. "They had an appointment." He continued with a
wink of his eye.
"If you'll excuse me?" Said Picard getting up to leave and trying to
hide his smile at yet another of Data's attempts to imitate humanity.
"Aye, sir." Replied Geordie who had failed to hide his smile. They
moved over to Guinan at the Bar, as Picard left `Ten-Forward'.
By now, all the food at been consumed and Riker and Troi were both
in good moods. Deanna's discomfort seemed to have past, as she
laughed and joked with Will. He was pleased to see her in her usual
high spirits, but was concerned, as she had evaded all questions
about her earlier condition. Will moved closer to Deanna, so that
his front pressed up against her back. He heard her attempt to
conceal her intake of breath at his sudden invasion of her personal
"Hey." He whispered, softly stroking her cheek with the back of his
hand. He decided to bring up the issue that plagued his mind, once
more. "Why don't you tell me what's wrong?"
She turned, so she lay on her back, looking up at him.
"Nothing's wrong! I don't understand why no one believes me?"
"We're just concerned about you. You've been acting strange lately
and you're avoiding me, like I'm a virus, or something!"
She considered telling him, there and then, about the secret she was
keeping, but she stopped herself from doing so, despite the loving
and concerned look in his eyes. Instead she decided to ease his
worries by joking with him.
"You are a virus, to anyone that's a woman anyway!"
"Oh, really?" he asked, surprised at her sudden change in attitude,
but playing along with it. "The thing is, I'm only dangerous to
certain types of females."
"And what type might that be?"
"Dark haired, Betazoid Counsellors that go by the name, Deanna
Troi." He watched as her lips formed a smile. He saw something in
her twinkling eyes, a beckoning? A plead? An approval? He didn't
quite know, but he did something that felt like the most natural and
right thing to do, when it came to Deanna Troi, he kissed her fully.
He felt her melt against him. He felt her drift into the moment with
him, but then, just as suddenly, she stiffened and pushed him away
from her. She ran from the Holodeck.
`Oh, God' he thought `Did I hurt her?'
"Computer, end programme!" He commanded, as he too ran from the
Holodeck after Troi.
As Picard made his way towards the turbolift, he heard shouts
of `Hey watch it!' coming from further up the corridor. He moved to
investigate and was knocked over by a navy-blue blur. He was
startled, but recovered quickly with the help of shocked crewmembers
and went in pursuit of blur. He tracked it down to Counsellor Troi's
quarters. After several, unanswered, chimes, Picard let himself into
"Counsellor!?" He called. He received no reply, but from the
sleeping quarters, he heard the sound of a woman crying. His first
thought was to call Beverley and let her sort out this problem, but
he soon realised that Deanna had always been there for him, despite
being a stubborn and reluctant patient. He suddenly felt that he
owed her a great deal, so the least he could do was to try and help
her. He stood at the doorway to her sleeping quarters,
"Deanna, are you alright?"
After a few moments of uneasy silence, she spoke through her tears,
"I'm fine, Captain."
Picard sat on the edge of Deanna's bed. He'd seen her try to cover
up pain before, it didn't work then and it wasn't going to work now.
"Counsellor, forgive me, but the woman I see before me is not fine.
She has not been eating or sleeping and she has been found in her
quarters alone and in distress, when she should be enjoying a night
out. That does not indicate being fine to me."
Deanna turned and sat up slowly, tucking her knees beneath her chin
and wiped away the tears that streamed down her cheeks. She wrapped
her arms around her legs in a very defensive gesture.
"Captain, I'm sorry for causing you and the crew such anxiety, but I
am going through something that can not be helped."
"Maybe if you told us what was wrong we might be able to help in
"It's hard to explain, Sir. My Mother and I had a slight
disagreement and that's why I came back early. She threatened to
perform the ritual of `Men-Tarras' when I told her I still had no
intention of getting married."
"Men-Tarras? What's that?"
"It's a ritual where the parents can choose their son or daughter's
life partner, if the first betrothal didn't work out and the child
hasn't found their own. They are then forced to marry and the couple
is joined not only through marriage, but also telepathically. The
concept of divorce or separation is non-existent for the couple
under any circumstances."
"I see your plight, but why didn't you just tell one of us? Or even
"You know how badly, Will, reacted to my being betrothed, but this
is worse, much worse. We got a little too close a moment ago. I just
had these intense feelings of guilt that I could be getting his
hopes up for a reconciliation of what we once had."
"I understand." He smiled at her, "Get some rest."
Her door chimed,
"It's Will!" she said, her voice sounding like she was beginning to
"I'll keep him away for awhile."
Deanna smiled, as Picard headed for the door.
"Jean-Luc…" He turned back to face her, surprised at the use of his
first name. "Thank you."
Deanna lay down, and heard her door slide open. She felt a momentary
panic possess a very familiar mind.
"Captain!" Came the surprised voice of Riker, when the door to
Troi's quarters slid open and Picard stood there instead of Deanna.
A look of worry and concern crossed his face. "Is Deanna alright?"
"She's fine and is resting."
Before Will could ask anymore questions, Picard's commbadge beeped.
"Captain, this is Data. We have reached our assigned co-ordinates
and are being hailed by a Betazoid vessel."
Will and Picard looked at each other in surprise and confusion.
"Commander Riker and I are on our way. Picard
Picard and Riker reached the Bridge and looked to the viewscreen.
"Lieutenant Springer, open a channel."
"Aye, sir." There were a few beeps, as Springer tapped his commands
into the computer. "Channel open, sir."
"Betazoid vessel, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation
Starship `Enterprise'. Can we assist you in anyway?"
"Enterprise, this is Commander Tam-Ren Karn, of the Federation
Embassy on Betazed. Your assistance would be much appreciated."
"Are you injured?"
"Negative, Captain, but this ship took quite a beating from a
"Prepare to dock, Commander."
The communication was broken and Picard tapped his commbadge,
"Picard to LaForge, meet me in Docking Bay 2 and bring a repair
crew. We've got a damaged Betazoid transport ship docking with us."
"Consider us there, Captain."
Picard turned to Riker,
"Number One, with me." They turned and left the Bridge to greet
their unexpected visitor.
Picard and Riker arrived and discovered that Geordie and his repair
crew had already, as promised, arrived.
`Docking procedure complete. You are clear to enter.' Came the
computer's voice. They entered and saw a man in his late 30's, with
light brown hair and hazel eyes, stepping down from his ship. He was
the same height and build as Riker, but wore black clothing; the
type Starfleet Officers usually wore on undercover missions.
"Captain Picard?" He asked. By the tone of his voice, Picard, could
tell that this man was used to being in command.
"Yes, that's me." Said Jean-Luc stepping forward and extending his
hand. Tam-Ren shook it firmly.
"Commander Tam-Ren Karn, reporting, sir."
"At ease, Commander. Are you sure you don't need medical attention?"
"Yes, Captain. I'm sure."
"My Engineering staff will take care of your ship, Commander, so if
you'd like to follow me, I will introduce you to the Senior Staff of
the Enterprise. Mr LaForge, kindly join us please."
As they walked out of the Docking Bay followed by LaForge, Riker
tapped his commbadge,
"All Senior Officer, please report to the Conference Lounge."
When Picard, Riker, LaForge and Karn arrived at the Lounge, they
were met by Dr Crusher, Lieutenant Springer and Counsellor Troi.
Deanna was back in uniform. She was smiling and talking to the other
two officers in her usual positive manner.
In turn, Picard introduced all his officers. Troi was last.
"Commander, may I introduce you to Commander Deanna Troi, Ship's
Counsellor and my Personal Advisor. She will take care of your needs
while you are aboard."
Troi blinked, as if seeing Karn for the first time. Her face
contorted, in confusion and in slight pain.
"This isn't possible…you're dead! They told me you were dead!"
"Deanna, I've missed you so much!"
They embraced tenderly, laughing in delight. The others watched in
silent confusion and wonder. Karn noticed that the others were
waiting to start the meeting.
"I'll explain later." He said feeling slightly embarrassed.
Deanna smiled at him as they sat down at the table. She felt
something uncomfortable. She turned to the emotion's source- Will
Riker. What she felt was intense jealousy. She turned her attention
back to the meeting.
As Tam-Ren described his journey the other officers listened in
"I'd been working in the Betazoid Capital City, when the attack
began. Many of the citizens fled from the city to neighbouring
towns, but the members of Twenty Houses of Betazed and the
Federation Officers stayed behind. I was separated from my patrol
and have been stranded in the Jalara Jungle for the past week. I was
able to tap into Federation Communications and when I heard that
another Fleet had arrived, I `borrowed' a deserted ship. One
Cardassian Fighter had been sent to stop me, but when they saw the
Fleet, they turned back."
Picard, out of habit, slid a glance at Troi. She nodded to indicate
that Karn was telling the true, but the way her eyebrows dipped
inwardly towards her nose told him that she was puzzled.
"Commander Karn, do you have any information about what happened to
the hostages after you left?" Asked Riker.
"Not really, Commander. I know that they've been taken to one of the
central buildings in the capital. Other than that, I've only heard
"What type of rumours?" Asked Troi.
"Rumours of torture and rape."
"Are you sure?" asked Troi, bringing her hands to cover her mouth.
"Well, no, not really. Like I said they are just rumours."
"Rumours that we must assume are true." Said Picard.
"I believe that those rumours are likely to be true, considering
the Cardassian's liking for alien women." Commented Riker. The
others nodded; the Cardassians were certainly famous for that.
"Captain, do you know if a rescue mission has been arranged?" asked
"No, I don't, but I will be in contact with Starfleet Command very
soon. I will be enquiring about the possibility of a rescue attempt."
"Thank you, Captain."
Picard turned to the security guard at the door,
"Would you escort Commander Karn to his quarters." He turned to the
rest of his staff, as Karn left the room, "O.K, people, dismissed.
Number One, Counsellor, a word please."
"Yes, Captain?" Asked Deanna.
"First impressions, Counsellor."
"He was telling the truth, sir, but I can't help but get the feeling
that he was twisting his story somehow."
"Can he be trusted, Counsellor?" Asked Riker, rather impatiently.
"For now, Commander, we may have to trust him. He's the only lead
we've got for what's happening on Betazed." Ignoring the First
Officer's tone, she explained why she had felt that way. "I sense
that he knows more about the situation on Betazed than he's letting
on. I will keep an eye on him, just in case."
"Very well, Counsellor. If you'll both excuse me?" Said Picard,
getting up to leave. Troi and Riker were left standing in an awkward
"Well, I best get going too." Said Deanna, turning to leave.
"Yes, Commander?" she asked, turning back to face him.
"Who is he, Deanna?"
"He's an old…friend, that's all." He stared at her. "Alright! So
he's an ex-lover, O.K!"
"I see." Replied Riker. He paused. "Deanna, I…I just wanted to
apologise, if I did anything to hurt you, this evening."
"Oh, Will, it's alright!" she interrupted, sensing his concern and
wrapped her arms, tightly, around him. "You didn't hurt me! I was a
little jumpy, that's all! You did nothing wrong!" He held her just
as tightly back, as she continued, "I should be the one apologising
for causing you this pain and I am sorry."
"I shouldn't have pushed you so fast, Deanna. You've been through a
lot. I had no right to make you be so intimate with me." He pulled
away from her grasp.
"Will." She paused and smiled slightly, as she corrected
herself. "Imzadi, I wanted to be with you like that. You didn't
force me to do anything."
"But, we're not together. I mean, we're not a couple or anything. I
don't know how you feel about me, whether you want to be with me in
"Imzadi, if I didn't still care about you, I don't think I would
have participated in what we did during the Ba'Ku mission." Will did
not say anything more. She smiled, as she saw the colour ran up his
clean-shaven cheeks. "Am I forgiven?"
"Most definitely, Imzadi." He said, smiling back.
"You're the best, Number One!" She said, kissing him lightly on the
When Will Riker walked onto the Bridge, his smile was as broad as a
Klingon's Batt'leth. As he sat down next to Picard, his Captain said,
"You look happy, Will."
At that point, Deanna Troi walked past them both. She smiled
devishly at Will and then she stepped innocently and professionally
into the turbolift. A very audible sigh came from Will Riker. Picard
looked at his First Officer whose smile was ten times bigger than
before. He smiled, inwardly, to himself,
`At least, they're getting along.'
Karn sat in his assigned quarters. His mission was clear, but who to
choose. She wasn't supposed to be on the ship. He hadn't known Troi
was a member of this crew. It had been years since she had seen her,
since before the mission to Cardassia, but he had been a different
man then. Maybe she would help him, maybe she would agree. He'd find
out tomorrow, first thing in the morning. He activated the hidden
communicator that was concealed on his jumper's cuff.
"Karn to Gul Du'Rek. I'm aboard one of the ships of the Fleet,
continuing as planned. Karn out."
It was 0900 hours and Deanna Troi was already hard at work in her
quarters. She read over the latest reports from Beverley Crusher, so
as to compare to her patients' mental health to their physical
health. Her door chimed as she worked,
The door opened, the visitor stepped in and she looked up and stood
to greet her guest.
"Tam-Ren, hi. Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, I did, thank you." He said, as they sat down on the sofas by
the coffee table. Deanna smiled,
"It must beat sleeping in the jungle." She said, remembering the
time she had been stranded in that very same jungle.
"It most certainly does, as does having a very attractive officer
greeting you first thing in the morning."
Troi blushed. She wore Will's favourite dress- the low-cut, blue-
green one. She hadn't worn it in a very long time. She remembered
how Will's face used to light up whenever she would walk onto the
Bridge in this particular dress. Tam-Ren's voice interrupted her
train of thought,
"When was the last time you were on Betazed?"
"Oh…uh," she was caught off guard by his question. "A little while
ago, just before the Occupation."
"Would you like to see it again?"
"Of course I would, but I…"
"I could take you there now." Troi's eyebrows creased in puzzlement.
The sense of the room became off balanced and dark. "Would you like
to go now?"
Troi did not like the sound of his voice. It sounded wrong and the
idea of going to Betazed, during the Occupation, was insane.
"Maybe you should go." She suggested, sensing the change in his
emotions. They became uncomfortable and he was going to force her to…
to what? She wasn't sure. He put his hand over hers.
"I don't wish to leave."
"I have appointments." She lied. "I have to go." She retrieved her
hand and stood. He stood next to her and grabbed her right arm.
"I said you weren't going anywhere!" This wasn't how it was supposed
to go! She wasn't supposed to be afraid of him! He had to use Plan B.
"Tam-Ren, what are you doing? Let go of me!" she exclaimed in
surprise. As his grip on her arm tightened, his intentions suddenly
became clear to her.
"Deanna, I'd advise you to keep quiet and do as I say!" He answered,
producing a phaser in his free hand. Troi felt herself become quiet
at the sight of the phaser.
"Commander Karn to Bridge." The computer automatically channelled
the correct frequency for the commlink.
"Picard here. Is there a problem, Commander?"
"You could say that, Captain. I need a shuttle, as soon as possible."
"I'm sorry, Commander, but I can't authorise a shuttle launch while
"That's enough, Picard! I suggest you cooperate. I have a hostage
and am not afraid to kill her to get what I want!"
"A hostage! Is that really necessary?"
"Give me safe passage to the Shuttle Bay, or so help me, I'll kill
"Captain, don't listen to him! Don't do anything he asks!" came
Troi's voice over the Commlink.
"Deanna!" Will exclaimed, as he rose from his chair, on Picard's
right. The Bridge crew heard a very audible `slap', followed by the
sound of breaking glass, across the Commlink.
"Deanna?!" Cried Picard. "If you've hurt her, Karn, I swear, I'll…"
"She's not injured badly, Picard, but I swear to you that I will
kill her, next time!"
"Alright, Karn. Make your way to the Shuttle Bay; no one will stop
you. Picard out."
"Captain, you can't…!?" Riker started, as the communications ceased.
"It's alright, Will. We'll get her back." Picard said, hoping that
he could keep his promise. He turned towards the tactical
station, "Springer, get a security team and follow behind Karn and
Deanna." As Springer left, Picard turned to Will. "Take another
team, Number One. We're going to box them in." Will nodded a slight
smile played across his lips, and left.
"Get up, we're leaving!" He ordered, as he dragged Deanna to her
feet. She was slightly stunned and had a large cut across her hand,
caused by the glass table that had broken her fall. The blood
trickled from her palm, down the length of her slim fingers and onto
the floor. They left her quarters, Troi in front of Tam-Ren. He
twisted her arm around her back and dug the phaser painfully into
the small of her back.
As they moved down the corridor, Deanna's communicator beeped,
"Picard to Counsellor Troi."
"I have to answer." She told Tam-Ren.
"Counsellor Troi, please respond."
Tam-Ren grabbed Troi's communicator, as well as his own, and threw
them, aggressively, to the corridor floor. They carried on down the
corridor, leaving Picard's voice saying,
"Counsellor Troi, if you are able, please respond."
"O.K people, here they come." Said Riker, as his security team
into place behind him. Riker watched as Deanna turned the corner
with Tam-Ren close behind. He noticed the phaser in Karn's left
hand. He studied Troi. She wore his favourite dress, but then he
noticed blood spots on the flowing material of the skirt. He looked
to the source -her hand- and felt the anger flow through his veins.
`Don't let the anger lead you, Imzadi. I'm all right.'
Her thoughts flowed into his mind, calming him. Springer and his
team marched down the corridor and then placed themselves behind
Karn and Troi.
"Let her go, Karn! You've got no where to go!" Demanded Riker.
"On the contrary, Commander. I have plenty of places to go!" he
cocked his head slightly to one side and said, "K'Plent, two to
Deanna Troi and Tam-Ren Karn disappeared in two orange beams of
light and energy.
Riker and Springer entered the Bridge. Riker looked to the
viewscreen, as he took his seat next to Picard. A lone Cardassian
Fighter was making its way into the system before them, likely
heading for Betazed.
"How could we have missed it, Data?" Asked Picard, "It must have
been under us since last night!"
"I believe they have been remodulating their shield harmonics every
time we did. This interferes with the ship's sensors for a short
period of time, therefore they would remain hidden, sir." Replied
Data. "We can indeed assume that the ship has been with us since
last night. It would also be safe to assume that this was the ship
that supposedly attacked Commander Karn's ship, considering that we
found no trace of the supposed assailant."
"Very good, Data." Picard turned to Will. "Number One, I want you to
go through all the files in the computer bank on Tam-Ren Karn. Find
out everything you can." Picard let out a breath. "There's nothing
we can do for Deanna except keep track of where that ship takes her.
Springer, that's your job."
"Aye, sir." Came the young Lieutenant's reply.
Karn watched Deanna Troi, as she stood, her back to him, at the
front of the Bridge. His thoughts whirled constantly around his mind-
`She's not supposed to be here! How could you do this to her? You
know what they'll do to her! How could you, when you claim to love
her?!'- She hadn't said a word to him since he took her from her
Troi stood, watching the Betazoid system become closer. She sensed
Tam-Ren's eyes on her back. She turned to face him,
"Why have you kidnapped me?" She demanded.
"You'll find out when we get to Betazed." He needed to separate his
personal feelings for her, she was the enemy. Duty demanded it! He
must remain cold to anything she may say.
Troi decided not to push the subject any further. She turned back to
the viewscreen and moved over to one of the Bridge's sides to rest.
She had thought about attempting to communicate with the Enterprise,
but knew she would likely be killed trying. All the officers held
Disrupters. She decided to do something that wasn't in any Starfleet
Text books -she would use telepathy. She directed all her
concentration on one person - Will Riker- when she was even remotely
sure that the link had been established she sent a message. She
prayed to the Betazoid Gods that they had not let their bond rest to
the point where they could no longer remember how to receive each
At Science station 1, Will Riker watched as Tam-Ren Karn's file
scrolled past him.
"Found anything yet?" Asked Picard, coming up behind him.
"I have, sir. Tam-Ren Karn was a Starfleet Lieutenant, but that was
almost twelve years ago. He was assigned on a secret mission to
infiltrate Cardassia. Something went wrong with the mission. He was
reported missing and assumed dead, when they didn't find him after
two mon…" Riker's face froze in the middle of the word `months'.
"Will? Are you alright?" Asked Picard.
"I can hear, Deanna, sir. In my mind. She's calling to me."
`Imzadi, I hope you're receiving this! If you are, slow this ship
down! We're heading for Betazed. Slow this ship down, please.
Destroy it if you have to!'
"What's she saying, Will?"
"She's telling me to fire on the ship to stop it from getting to
`Imzadi, please, I'm begging you, don't let him get us to Betazed. I
sense his thoughts; they're homicidal, raw, animalistic. He's so
different from when I knew him. Please, Imzadi, I'm frightened.'
"Captain, I'd like to try and answer her." Picard nodded and Will
closed his eyes. He spoke out loud and with his mind at the same
time. "Deanna, Imzadi, I can't fire on the ship! I'll lose you!"
`You'll never lose me, we have more than the physical joining us. I
will always be with you, Imzadi.'
It comforted him to hear her say that, and yet, it scared him even
"RaBeem, Imzadi." He answered back.
"RaBeem?" Asked Picard, when he thought the messages had ceased.
"It means `I understand', sir."
Picard took this as an indication to give the order. He turned to
"Lieutenant, disable that ship. I don't want it destroyed."
"Aye, sir. Phasers locked onto their propulsion system." The sound
of beeping came from Springer's console. "Sir, the ship has entered
the system and will enter orbit in three minutes. We are out of
"Conn, move us within range."
"Aye, sir." Came the reply from the young female Ensign at the Conn
"Enterprise, this is the Hood. You've moved from your designated
position! There is to be no entry of the Betazoid system!" Came a
voice over the Commlink.
"Hood, this is Picard. We've got a situation. A spy has kidnapped
one of my officers and I intend to get her back. Make sure the rest
of the Fleet stay with you at your present positions."
"Aye, sir. Good luck. Hood out."
"Entering targeting range in…5…4…3…2…1, in range, sir." Reported the
Ensign stationed at the Conn.
"Excellent." Picard turned back to the Tactical Station. "Mr
"Aye, sir. Targeting Propulsion systems. Phasers locked, sir."
"Continuous fire, Mr Springer."
"Aye, sir. Firing now."
The thin red phaser beam hit the small ship and it rocked slightly.
The phasers continued to fire until smoke could be seen emitting
from the ship.
"Ship status?" Asked Picard.
"Most of the ship's primary systems have been damaged, sir."
"Judging from the ship's trajectory, it's likely that it will crash
approximately twelve kilometres from the capital city." Reported
"Likelihood of survivors, Mr Data?"
"Very slim, sir."
"Number One, can you reach Troi?"
"No, sir. I've lost her!" The dread was obvious in his facial
features and voice. The statement although referring to the
telepathic connection sounded, to Picard, like it was saying much
"Yes, K'Plent, what is it?"
"Sir, the Enterprise is in pursuit and is powering up their phasers."
"Shields up, now." He got up and strode over to Troi. "You contacted
them didn't you?"
"How could I? You've been watching me all this time. I couldn't
possibly have used your communication devices."
"Maybe not, but you're an empath and you can send telepathic
messages. Remember I know you."
"That may be the case, but no one on board the Enterprise is capable
of sending or receiving telepathic messages."
"Now, why don't I believe you?" he asked sarcastically. "What about
"What about him?"
"I know something is going on between you two. Is it possible that
he can sense your thoughts?" Deanna knew he was just trying to
answers out of her.
"He's human, he couldn't even if he tried."
"You're a damn liar!" His anger flared and Deanna inwardly
flinched. "I'd kill you now, but you're too useful."
Deanna was about to answer when the ship began to rock violently.
Finally the shields gave way and the ship began to spin out of
control. Everyone was knocked to one side. Deanna hit her head hard
on the wall she stood beside and fell to the floor. Before she could
send a message to Will again she heard K'Plent say,
"We're going to hit outside the Capital City."
"Brace for impact!" Ordered Karn. She saw the crew stiffen and then
there was nothing…
Troi felt herself drift in and out of consciousness. After the fifth
time of waking up, she saw herself being carried on a stretcher
through a jungle. She blacked out again. A few moments later she
drifted back towards the light and found herself and her captors at
the entrance to the Capital City. She sent again.
Will Riker almost hit the ceiling of Captain Picard's Ready Room.
"Will? Is it Troi?"
"Yes, Captain. The connection's very weak."
"From the distance?"
"I'm not sure, sir."
"What's she saying?"
"It's very separated."
`Embassy…Tunnels…So Cold…Help Me!'
"She's gone again." Riker shook his head, as if coming out of a
trance. "She spoke of the Federation Embassy and tunnels."
"The Building she was studying?"
"That has to be it, sir! She said she had suspicions that the
Hostages had been taken there."
"It seems her suspicions could be correct." Picard brought his hand
up and draped it across his bald head. "I've spoken to Starfleet
Command. They've refused all requests for a rescue mission. But…"
said Picard seeing Will's face turn ashen. "I will try and pull a
"Little One!" The voice called.
"Mother?" She answered weakly.
"Open your eyes, Little One." She did and stared into the face of
Lwaxana Troi, her Mother. Lwaxanna, carefully, tended the wound on
the head of her daughter. Beside her Mother sat Chandra, Deanna's
best friend of many years. She turned her head slowly to look around
her; people she recognised sat huddled in corners and around the
large room they were in. Many were injured and many of the women
seemed shaken and some had cuts and bruises across their faces.
"You've been drifting in and out of consciousness for six hours
now." Said Chandra.
"Six hours!" She tried to sit up, but did so too quickly. The
dizziness took over and she lay back down. "My head is killing me!"
"Sit up slowly, Little One." Said Lwaxanna. "You've got a bad
"Where are we?" She asked as she sat up, slowly this time.
"Under the Federation Embassy Building. In the War caverns."
Deanna suddenly realised that she had not seen her friend's family
in the cavern.
"Chandra, where's Teb and the children?"
"They were away on Earth when this all happened. As far as I know
they're still on Earth."
"And your father?"
"He is with them."
"That's good." She turned to her Mother. "Mother, about what I said
to you, I'm sorry. I know you're only looking out for me, but…"
"Deanna, Little One, think nothing of it."
There was a moment of uneasy silence.
"Mother!" She said suddenly. " I can't sense you! I can't sense
anyone in this room! What's going on?"
"We've been injected with something that inhibits our telepathic
abilities." Chandra explained.
The main door opened. Tam-Ren and two guards entered and walked over
to the three women who sat together. Karn grabbed Deanna by the arm
and dragged her to her feet.
"Now that you're awake, I want you to meet someone."
"No! Leave my daughter alone!" Demanded Lwaxanna getting to her
"Mother, don't! I'll be alright."
Lwaxanna, as usual, ignored Deanna's words.
"She's not strong enough to undergo the treatment you've given us!
You could kill her!"
"Mrs Troi!" Began Tam-Ren walked towards Lwaxanna, after literally
throwing Deanna into the arms of the two Dominion soldiers. "As much
as I'd like to take your daughter's life, in revenge for the lives
of my crew, killed in the crash, I can't! She's too useful to
Cardassia and the Dominion." He turned to the soldiers behind
him. "Go ahead, I'll be there soon."
The guards and Deanna left and then, after smiling wickedly at
Lwaxanna and Chandra, he followed his men.
"Captain, it's been over six hours. You must have heard from
Starfleet by now." Said Riker, as the Senior Officers entered the
Conference lounge and sat around the table. Dr Crusher sat on the
Captain's left, beside her sat Geordie LaForge, Data and Springer.
On the Captain's right sat Will Riker. Picard caught Riker and
Crusher stare at the empty seat next to Riker, that would normally
have been occupied by Deanna Troi. He glanced quickly at the others
and knew they felt the gap, just as did he.
"In answer to your question, Number One, I have been in contact with
Starfleet. They've given us permission to attempt a rescue mission.
The `U.S.S Defiant', commanded by Commander Worf, has been
dispatched to rendezvous with us, within the hour. I want ideas by
then." He looked squarely at each of his officers. "We only know
what Tam-Ren Karn has told us about the Hostages treatment, and
although I know he can't be trusted, we must assume that Counsellor
Troi, and the others with her, are being treated in the way Karn has
suggested." The officers nodded, glumly.
"Jean-Luc, has there been any change in the sensors? Can we find out
if there were any survivors?" asked Beverley.
Picard was about to answer, but Data intervened.
"If I may, Captain?" Picard nodded and Data continued. "There has
been no way to tell the condition of the ship or how many survivors
there are, because of interference from the PDS station's shields. I
must remind everyone that the odds for the survival of Counsellor
Troi and her captors was very slim indeed."
"She's alive!" Snapped Riker rudely, "How else would she have been
able to contact me?"
"Unfortunately, Commander, I have no way in which to deny or support
your claims. It is possible that Counsellor Troi did survive, but it
is also likely that she sustained severe injuries that would kill
her in approximately…"
"Thank you, Mister Data." Said Picard, feeling slightly
nauseous. "If there's nothing else, then you're dismissed.
"So this is the Starfleet Officer, you said would be useful to us,
is it, Tam-Ren?" asked Gal Du'Rek, as Tam-Ren Karn pushed Deanna
Troi into Du'Rek's quarters. Deanna watched as the human and
Cardassian embraced tenderly. Tam-Ren broke away from the older man
and pulled Deanna closer to him.
"This is Commander Deanna Troi, Ship's Counsellor of the `U.S.S
Enterprise' and Personal Advisor to Captain Jean-Luc Picard."
"The `Enterprise'!" Exclaimed the Cardassian Superior, obviously
impressed with Tam-Ren's handiwork. "You mean the Flagship of the
"The same one."
"You've done well my friend." The older Cardassian turned to
Troi. "Well, well, well. Very useful." He took her chin and held it
in his hand. "Very pretty too. It's much more fun for us when you
officers are pretty." He sneered. "If you'll excuse me." He said,
with a nod of his head and then left.
Deanna refused to look at Tam-Ren.
"Deanna." He said, stepping closer to her. "I need your help."
"You sure as hell have a funny way of asking for it!" She shouted
looking at him directly. "What were you thinking? What have they
done to you to make you kidnap me from a Starship and bring me into
the middle of a Cardassian invaded world? You're crazy!"
"Don't you think I deserve your help after everything we had!" His
voice was rising. The anger in the room was like a black, dense
cloud, ready to swallow them both.
"How can you say that? For years I've believed you were dead!" She
was too wound up to stop now. "Now you turn up years later, kidnap
me and then expect me to help you! Well, I've got news for you! You
can go get the help you need from someone else!"
"You either tell me what I need to know or I force it out of you!"
He threatened, stepping even closer to her. The realisation of her
situation hit her. She breathed deeply to calm herself down.
"What do you want?"
Tam-Ren smiled, thinking he had broken her so easily.
"I need the security codes for the main computer on the `Enterprise'
and the mission plans."
"No way! That's absolutely out of the question!"
"Come on, Deanna, for old times sake."
"No! How can you ask me to do that! I refuse!" She felt the anger
boil in her veins once more. "I'm not a traitor, like you!"
Tam-Ren hit her, with the back of his hand. Her head snapped
backwards. She looked back at him, darkly, her lip bleeding.
"Never call me that, do you understand? Your life is in our hands,
Deanna. I suggest you cooperate."
"Never! I won't be bullied into anything!"
"Very well. That's your choice." He sneered at her. "Guards!" he
shouted. Two Cardassian soldiers entered the room. "Take her back to
the rest of the prisoners. I should warn you, Deanna, the
Cardassian's are fond of alien women as am I."
The soldiers that held her arms snickered.
"Even that won't make me tell you what you want to know!" She spat
back at him.
The guards took her back to the cavern and an uncertain fate.
"Commander Worf, it's good to see you again." Came Picard's voice
when Worf and Chief O'Brian materialised on the transporter platform
of the `Enterprise-E'. The big Klingon turned to two other officers
and introduced them. The young Bajoran woman was Lieutenant Melorka
Balsa. She reminded Picard greatly of a past officer of the
Enterprise-D, Ensign Ro Laren. She looked like a fresh-faced cadet,
but did deserve her rank for her devotion to duty. Next was a human
male, Commander Chris Sidga. His ruggish looks would be called
handsome, but was also very void of emotional show.
"It's good to be back, sir."
Picard took Miles O'Brian's hand in his own and shook it.
"It's been along time, Chief. How are you?"
"Fine, sir. It's just nice to finally see the Enterprise-E in
person." He said, his voice held his familiar Irish cadence.
"Doctor Jack Ganter, will be joining us shortly, sir." Said Worf.
"Chief!" Came Riker's call, as he came forward to take O'Brain's
hand, after greeting Worf. "How's Keiko and the Kids?"
"They're fine and how's yourself, Commander?"
With all the greetings, both formal and informal, over, the officers
gathered in the Conference Lounge.
"Does anyone have any ideas?" Asked Picard.
"How about an undercover mission, sir? With Doctor Ganter's help, I
could surgically alter the Rescue Team's features to appear
Cardassian and Dominion." Said Crusher.
"How do we know where they have been taken?" Asked Worf.
"Counsellor Troi, had her suspicions that the Cardassians were using
a network of underground tunnels and caverns, that were left over
from the Civil War on Betazed, centuries ago." Answered Picard.
"Not to doubt your crew, Captain Picard, but do you know that for
certain?" Asked Chris Sidga.
"Counsellor Troi, is half-Betazoid, Commander Sidga. After her
abduction she communicated telepathically with me and confirmed her
own suspicions." Said Riker.
"But you're human aren't you?" Questioned Sidga.
"Commander, the Counsellor and Commander Riker are friends of many
years, they have an understanding unlike most of would ever have or
understand." Answered Worf. Riker was shocked, but was also grateful
for Worf's intervention. Riker tapped the control panel on the table
and a holographic projection of the plans; Troi had shown him only
hours before, appeared in front of them. "The plans, she was
studying before her abduction, match this description."
"The Cardassian's are known to use underground Headquarters." Came
the comment from Lieutenant Melorka Balsa. She remembered the
caverns her parents and brothers had been taken to by the
Cardassians during the Bajoran Occupation. "During the occupation of
Bajor, many underground headquarters were built. It would be most
likely that the hostages are there."
"Number One and Chief O'Brian will lead Team One. Commander Sidga
and Lieutenant Balsa, you'll take Team Two. Both of these teams will
infiltrate the base and retrieve the hostages. Mr Worf and Doctor
Ganter will lead Team Three. Doctor Crusher, you and Mr Data, will
lead Team Four. These two teams will evacuate any civilians that are
left in the Capital City."
"Communication with the fleet will be lost after entering the
planet's atmosphere, until the PDS Station is back under Federation
Control." Said Data.
"Then that will be all teams secondary objective, to get the PDS
Station under our control." Ordered Picard.
"Transporters will be useless. You'll have to land in shuttle
crafts." Added Geordie LaForge.
"Teams going into the base, should prepare themselves for a
disturbing situation. The information we've got suggests that rape
and torture is involved. You'll meet a lot of frightened and injured
people." Said Beverley Crusher. "You should make sure your teams
know what to expect."
"If that's all, then let's get prepared." Said Picard.
"Mother, are you alright?"
"Yes, Little One, I'm fine. It's just a headache."
"It's a side-affect of the drugs. It will pass." Commented Chandra.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. It always does." Answered Lwaxanna.
Tam-Ren Karn and five high ranking Cardassian soldiers entered the
"Oh no." whispered Chandra.
"What is it?" Deanna whispered back.
"They're here to chose some comfort women. The officers come off
The officers chose their women and left with the women screaming and
pulling unsuccessfully away from their grasps. One of the
Cardassians came forward to Troi and reached down to her.
"No!" came the stern voice. "She's mine." The officer nodded and
moved to chose another unfortunate. Tam-Ren Karn stepped in the
officer's place. "Get up. You're coming with me."
"Isn't it against the rules to put your personal feelings into your
job?" she asked, feigning innocence and sarcasm, as she stood. Tam-
Ren grabbed Deanna by her hair, so that her head tipped backwards
and she had no choice, but to look at him.
"You'll soon learn to have respect for my authority. Starfleet can
not help you now, nor can your rank, Commander." He sneered at her.
She searched his eyes for some trace of the man she once knew, she
could find none.
"You've changed, Tam-Ren. Where's the Starfleet Officer I once knew?"
"I've changed for the better!" he exclaimed. "The man I once was was
weak, I'm stronger now!"
"You've changed for the worst, Tam-Ren! You already had my respect."
She paused for a moment, knowing that her words were having a slight
effect on him. "Don't you see this power that you've gained has
destroyed the man I respected. You're nothing, but a traitor now!"
He smiled at her again, not the nicest sight, but she
continued, "You can do what you want with me, but I'll tell you
"Anything I wish?" he asked sarcastically. He bent his head forward
and kissed her. She did not struggle, but did not respond either. He
pulled back and stared at the stone face of Deanna Troi, not knowing
what she was thinking or feeling. "You'll tell me nothing?"
Deanna shook her head in answer. Tam-Ren let go of Deanna's hair,
grabbed her arm instead and then began to move towards the door with
her. Lwaxanna was about to protest, but Deanna glared at her, so she
said nothing. Lwaxanna watched as the human dragged her only
Deanna let her mind drift as she watched the candlelight play on the
dark cavern walls surrounding her. Deanna had no idea what Tam-Ren
was doing to her body, nor did she wish to know. She kept calling
him, begging him to come to her. She knew it was hopeless from this
distance even their bond wasn't strong enough. If she had been a
full telepath, than maybe it would have worked. Still she called for
him- `Imzadi.' Separating her conscious mind from the nerve endings
of her physical self, she felt and heard nothing, but her own
heartbeat and breathing. She didn't feel his hands on her body or
his lips on hers. Instead she floated in a sea of blackness, which
suited her fine.
When she connected her `two halves' back together she found herself
strapped to a chair in another cavern. The ropes around her wrists
cut into her flesh, tight enough to draw blood. The cavern contained
tables of Computer PADDs, hypo-sprays and ancient Betazoid torture
devices. A young, Cardassian injected an orange liquid into her left
"The good Doctor has injected a small device into your blood
stream." Came Tam-Ren's sneering voice from behind her. He stepped
round from the back of her chair and stood in front of her. "We are
now in full control of every nerve ending in your body. We can
manipulate your pain receivers, so that you believe you're in
various degrees of pain. If you don't co operate we can cause you so
much pain that your body will shut itself down."
"I'll tell you nothing!" She said strongly.
"Perhaps you'll change your tune when we show you how this works."
He smirked, then turned to the Doctor. "Start at sixty percent."
"Commander Karn, with all due respect, isn't sixty percent a bit
much to start with?" said the young Doctor, who could not have been
more than twenty-four earth years old.
"Do as I tell you!" Tam-Ren bellowed.
"Yes, sir. I…I meant no disrespect." He stammered, then pressed a
few buttons on the control panel beside him. The pain shot through
Deanna's body like lightening. Her face registered the pain, but she
was determined not to give Tam-Ren the pleasure of hearing her cry
out. Her mind, however, screamed with such force and strength that
it reached out an unusual distance and to those who could not
usually receive telepathic communications.
Beverley Crusher and Jake Ganter finished reconstructing the face of
the last member of the rescue team. All the members stood in Sickbay
waiting for the order to leave. The teams going into the city were
dressed in black, but still had their own faces. The teams disguised
as Cardassians and Dominion soldiers wore the black clothing under
their uniforms. The medical staff were collecting the last of their
equipment, as Captain Picard entered to see the results of the
medical surgery. A Cardassian walked up to him.
"Captain." He said with a nod of his head.
"Number One, you look great!" he said sarcastically. Will smiled
back at him. The teams stopped rushing about and gathered in front
of Picard. He was about to speak when a terrifying sound ripped
through each of their minds. It was a female scream, that held wave
after wave of intense pain and fear, but what was worse, was that
those of the senior staff knew whom the voice belonged to. Picard,
Crusher and Riker exchanged frightened glances.
"Captain, we have to hurry!" exclaimed Riker, after the shock of the
mental invasion had subsided. Picard spoke up, his voice quivering
slightly from the unusual sensation of telepathic contact.
"God's speed people, get them back safely" Picard nodded to them and
they made their way to the Shuttle Bay.
The Rescue team landed the two shuttles successfully in a clearing
at the edge of the Jalara jungle. The fighter lay in ruins. Pieces
of twisted, burnt metal lay scattered around them. The Federation
officers gathered around their commanding officer, trying to ignore
the site of destruction around them.
"Data, any information on the Fighter?" asked Riker.
"I can detect a number of Cardassian bodies. There are biological
traces of a human and a Betazoid leading into the city." Data
scanned the ground around them. "Traces of blood are human and
Cardassian only. There were Dominion guards here too, the tracks
lead both to and from the city."
"Alright, my team will enter through the Southern entrance, team two
will enter through the northern entrance. Once inside the first
priority will be to find the hostages, then, when they're safe,
we'll go after anyone else that's missing from the group. Team
three, you'll evacuate the east and north sides of the city. Team
four, you'll take the west and south sides. Everyone is to meet back
here. If that's all then, move out!"
As the teams began to go their separate ways, Beverley walked up to
"She'll be alright, Will. Deanna's strong."
"I hope you're right, Bev, but after what I felt and heard in
Sickbay, I'm beginning to doubt that." He replied, really wanting to
believe her. They went their separate ways.
Getting into the Federation Embassy was surprisingly easy for both
teams. Then again, the enemy were not expecting a `Rescue team'
during an occupation.
"Lieutenant Balsa." Said the Dominion-disguised, Commander Sidga.
"Where are the hostages likely to be held?"
"Somewhere on the lower levels, I should think."
"Alright, let's go." He tapped his concealed Communicator and
whispered, "Sidga to Riker."
"Riker here." Came the whispered reply.
"Commander, we're going to start looking on the lower levels."
"Alright, good searching. We'll join you soon."
"Raise to eighty percent." Commanded Karn.
"You'll kill her before she's had a chance to speak!" exclaimed the
"Doctor Del Grent, you're dismissed!"
"What's wrong…Tam-Ren…can't do your own…dirty work?" said Deanna,
her breathing rugged and her clothes covered in sweat.
"Shut up, you empathic bitch!" he shouted and hit her across the
"Commander, you know the rules. No prisoners are to be tortured for
"Remove yourself, Doctor! She is a Starfleet Commander and I'm
trying to get tactical information from her!"
Deanna laughed despite the situation. They turned to look at her.
"You're traitor and… a terrible liar!"
Karn punched her in the stomach and she could not even clutch her
stomach, which was what she instantly wanted to do.
"Release her, Doctor. She's obviously not ready to co operate, just
yet!" he commanded and then walked out. Del Grent untied Deanna. She
crumpled out of the chair and fell to the floor, exhausted. The
young Cardassian helped her up.
"You seem to care a lot about my welfare, considering, I'm
Starfleet." Deanna commented.
"I'm not fond of the idea of fighting a war with the Federation,
this is the time for peace among our peoples. I don't like Karn
either, he betrayed Starfleet and he'll betray Cardassia."
"Help me then."
At first she thought the young Cardassian was going to ignore her
offer and simply call for the guards, but after a few moments though
the Doctor nodded and smiled. Deanna smiled back, as they left the
"Lwaxanna, it's alright it's me, Will." Said the Commander to the
struggling Betazoid, whose arms he held. Lwaxanna stopped struggling
and looked squarely into the Cardassian's face.
"It is you! I knew you'd come!"
"We're going to get you out of here. Follow the Dominion guards,
they're from the Defiant." He looked around the cavern and then
turned back to Lwaxanna. "Where's Deanna?"
A blonde woman, who he recognised as Deanna's best friend, Chandra,
"She's been missing for hours. They chose her as a `Comfort Woman'
and she hasn't been brought back yet."
"Who took her?" He asked panicing.
"That human, oh what was his name?" after a moment of thought the
name came back to Lwaxanna, "Karn. Karn took her. They've done
something awaful to her, I just know it!"
"I'll get her back safe, I promise."
"Don't make promises you don't know if you can keep or not." Warned
"She's alive, I can feel it." He moved away speaking to a few
officers and then left with those officers following him.
Lwaxanna smiled at the workings of the Imzadi bond, her daughter and
Riker shared. She turned to her fellow Betazoids.
"Listen to me." She commanded. "Follow these guards quietly and
calmly. They're Starfleet Officers."
The Betazoids and Starfleet personnel got up and, helping the
injured and children, followed the Dominion and Cardassian guards.
When Deanna and Del Grent turned the corner, of the tunnel they
walked along, they almost ran into a convoy of Cardassian and
Dominion Soldiers that were leading the Hostages away. They backed
up around the corner before the soldiers spotted them.
"What do we do now?" Asked Del Grent.
"I've got an idea. Hand me your disrupter." Del Grent took the
disrupter from his belt and handed it to Deanna. She wrapped one arm
around the shorter Doctor's neck and pressed the disrupter into his
side. "Just play along."
She led her `hostage' around the corner.
"Let them go, immediately, or I'll kill your Doctor!" She demanded.
The guards stopped dead in their tracks.
"Deanna!" came her Mother's voice from the front of the crowd. "Let
him go, we're alright. These are Starfleet personnel."
Deanna lowered the weapon and walked to the lead officer, who said,
"I assume you are Commander Troi of the Enterprise?"
"Yes and you are?"
"Commander Sidga, of the U.S.S Defiant. Commander Riker is leading
the rescue team. I believe he is searching for you. I will take the
hostages to the teams evacuating the city. You'll need medical
treatment too." Said the Commander, seeing the gash on her forehead,
the cuts on her lip, hand and wrists and the bruises on her face.
"No I'll get it later. I need to find, Will…ur, Commander Riker and
get him out of here. Doctor Del Grent will you come with me or do
you wish to go with the rescue team?" Asked Deanna.
"I believe my assistance would be useful to you."
"Good. Let's get going."
"Commander, take this with you." Said Sidga, handing her a
Communicator. "Good luck."
Deanna nodded her thanks, placed the communicator in the folds of
her ripped dress and left in search of her Imzadi with her new-found
Sidga and the now-freed hostages ran through the deserted city and
into the Jalara Jungle, where the other two teams and the citizens
were waiting. Soon alarm bells and shouts could be heard through out
"The hostages have escaped! Gul Du'Rek wants them found and the
rescuers executed!" Came the shout from one patrol leader, as the
patrols began to gather in the city.
The escapees and their rescuers could only sit and wait for the
others of their team, who were still in the Headquarters.
"Commander Sidga, perhaps you should take the hostages deeper into
the jungle. Dr Crusher, Mr Data and a few security members will stay
here with me so that we can offer emergency assistance to the rest
of the team." Said Worf.
"Agreed." Said Sidga. "O.K people, we're going deeper into the
jungle. Stay together. Let's move out."
The group of six was left alone.
Will Riker and the three other members of his team; Miles O'Brian,
Lieutenant Springer and Lieutenant Bernette, a security officer from
the Enterprise, walked into yet another cavern. This one was not
empty, as many of the others had been; this one was clearly a
"So, you like my little play room do you?" Came a voice from behind
them. They turned to see a middle-aged Cardassian and ten Cardassian
soldiers standing at the entrance to the cavern. "I am Gul Du'Rek,
commander of the Betazed Occupation. You may look like Cardassians,
but we know you're Starfleet. We've detected your shuttle site; I
have two patrols on their way there. I suggest you surrender."
The real Cardassian soldiers circled the Starfleet officers, who had
no choice, but to throw down their disrupters and surrender.
"Strange how Starfleet would risk so many officers for one other
officer. Mind you she's very attractive, I bet she brightens up
those dull Federation Bridges. The senior staff must have lots of
fun with her, mind you not as much fun as mine have!" He chuckled to
himself, but then laughed out loud, despite himself. Riker saw the
soldiers around him laughing and the anger built inside him and was
threatening to explode.
`Calm yourself that's exactly what they want. They want you to give
them an excuse to shoot you. Good soldier, let go of the
His thoughts were disturbed by familiar voice shouting,
"Du'Rek!" They all turned to see Deanna aiming a disrupter at a
surprised Du'Rek. "Let them go!"
The Cardassian soon regained his composure.
"Or what? What will you do if I don't let them go?"
"I'll kill you!"
"That's not very moral or, if I may say, Betazoid, of you. You don't
believe in violence."
"Firstly; we're at war, morals tend to disappear when facing the
enemy." She interrupted. "Secondly, I'm only half Betazoid, so half
of me is prone to the violent tendencies that are common among
humans. Enough chatter, let them go!" She adjusted the disrupter in
her hand, as if taking aim and getting ready to fire. Du'Rek had
made his way over to a computer panel, as they had spoken.
"But I have the upper hand." He sneered at her, as he pressed one of
the buttons on the computer. The pain shot through her once more,
but this was worse than before. She dropped the disrupter and fell
to the floor. This time there was no way to contain the screams.
Through her screams, however, she was able to shout one word,
The Cardassian came from nowhere, stunning Du'Rek and some of the
other soldiers, but it was all the opening Will and his team needed.
They lashed out at their captors and knocked them all unconscious.
Will immediately ran to Deanna; who lay on the cavern floor,
convulsions shaking her, and laid her in his arms. A scream emitted
from Troi, that made Will want to run and hide.
"Turn that damn thing off, it's killing her!" He shouted at O'Brian,
then he turned to watch Troi. After a few moments the convulsions
stopped, but she didn't move or open her eyes. Will studied her face
and felt the anger again when he saw the cuts and bruises on her
face. How could they do this to the woman he loved? - Loved? Did he
"Is she…?" Asked Del Grent, moving closer to Riker and Troi.
"No, she's just unconscious."
Del Grent began to scan Deanna with a Cardassian tricorder.
"What are you doing?" Riker demanded, feeling suspicious of this
"I'm a Doctor and a friend. Doctor Del Grent, Cardassian traitor."
He said, with a mock salute. Riker smiled, the young Doctor reminded
him of himself at that age.
"Commander Will Riker, First Officer of the Enterprise."
"That's the Flagship of the Federation isn't it?"
"Yes, that's right. I'm first Officer and Deanna's Ship's
"Oh." His face beheld a boyish innocence that reminded Riker of
Wesley Crusher. "Are you two, you know…?"
"Ur…No, we're not, but we're extremely close friends." He wasn't
about to try and explain his confusing relationship with Deanna
Troi. How could he? He barely even knew where they stood
himself. "Can you wake her?"
"No, I think it would be best for her to just wake up naturally. I
don't want to risk injecting her with something that may harm her in
her weakened condition. Karn wasn't too hospitable, he was trying to
get some information from her."
"Your mission plans and the Enterprise's security codes. She's a
fighter that's for sure. She wouldn't tell him a thing. She'd argue
and disagree with him every chance she'd get. Not even some of the
Cardassian government leaders would stand up to him like she did!"
"You respect her for that?"
"Most definitely. Most of the other women just give the Cardassians
exactly what they want and they cry and scream like anything, but
Deanna…she just defied them, I was amazed at her strength."
Riker smiled at the young Doctor's fascination with Deanna, but
Beverley had been right Deanna was strong.
"Can you show us the quickest way out of here and into the jungle?"
"Yes, follow me."
Will lifted Deanna into his arms and they followed the Doctor.
Springer and Bernette carried Du'Rek, who would wake to find himself
a Prisoner Of War.
They saw their colleges move through the city, as quickly as they
could, dodging phaser fire.
"We have to help them!" Exclaimed Beverley to Worf and Data.
"Kenning, Smyth, Worf with me. Doctor, you and your assistant should
stay here." Commanded Data. Beverley and Ensign Maria Martyn nodded
As Data, Worf and the two security guards neared the city gates
there was a huge explosion from inside the city that blew them
backwards. Thick, black smoke poured through the city gates.
Beverley and Maria rushed over to help their fallen comrades. Data
sat up as soon as the dust had begun to settle. Worf, Smyth and
Kenning got up soon after. Beverley released a sigh of relief.
"Thank God no one's hurt!"
"We don't know that for sure. Commander Riker and his team didn't
make it out before the explosion." Commented Worf.
They walked carefully, phasers drawn, into the smouldering city, to
look for their crewmates.
Riker lifted his head and slowly opened his eyes. His head pounded,
as he touched his forehead gingerly and felt the blood trickle
between his fingers. He remembered running through the city and then
being thrown into a brick wall by an explosion. Deanna…Deanna had
literally been torn from his arms. Riker got up and saw that most of
the area around him was in ruins. The smoke still filled the air and
it was difficult to breath.
"Deanna?" he called. "Springer, Bernette, O'Brian?"
He heard the sound of coughing, he moved towards that sound. He
turned a corner and found O'Brian, with Springer and Bernette near
"Are you all alright?"
"Yes, Sir. We're all fine." Answered O'Brian. The other two security
officers got up and walked over to a figure laying face down on the
ground. They lifted it up and Riker was slightly disappointed to
find that it was Du'Rek and not Deanna.
"Have you seen Deanna?"
"No, I haven't." Replied O'Brian. "We'll start looking."
After a few minutes of search, with no luck, they heard her,
"Will." Came a very weak voice from behind them in the smoke. After
a few moments later, Deanna crawled out of the smoke. Will ran
straight to her. Her face, like his, was covered in soot. Their
clothing was also covered in soot and ripped.
"Deanna, are you alright?"
"I don't know." She let her upper body fall to the ground in
"It'll be alright." He said kneeling down beside her and tried to
lift her to her feet.
"No." she said trying to remove his arm from her waist. "It hurts to
move." She looked up at him. "My God, Imzadi, you're bleeding!" she
exclaimed, forgetting about the intense pain that shot through her
"It's nothing, just a scratch. Come on Beverley and the others are
waiting for us outside the city." He tried to move her again, but
stopped when she cried out in pain.
"Please, Will, just leave me." She winced, as Riker's pain at the
sight of her like this, flowed from him into her and combined with
her own physical pain. She knew how difficult this was for him.
"Commander," Interrupted O'Brian, "There's three patrols on their
way to this position."
"Alright. Deanna, I'm going to carry you, it might hurt when I lift
you." He saw she was about to protest. "That's an order, Commander
Troi." She nodded her agreement to him. He saw her bite her bottom
lip and moan in pain as he lifted her. She automatically put her
arms around his neck and rest her head on his shoulder blade.
Worf, Beverley, Data and the rest of their team met Riker and his
team half way to the city gate.
"Run!" Shouted Riker, as the soldiers closed in on them. The run,
from the city to the jungle, was like a shooting gallery. When they
reached the original meeting point, they looked back and saw that
their pursuers had not followed them.
They finally caught up with Sidga and the hostages, one hour later.
"We should go further into the jungle, the Cardassians will follow
us soon." Said Beverley.
"Janara." Whispered Troi from Riker's shoulder.
"What was that, Deanna?" He asked.
"Janara…Falls…Go to…Janara…Caves behind…waterfall."
"Where's Janara Falls?" Asked Beverley.
"We should let the wounded rest." Began Riker, trying to ignore the
pounding in his head.
"No!" Said Deanna forcefully. "At Janara…too dangerous…here." She
moaned and fell unconscious.
"Deanna?" Riker looked up at the woman beside him, thinking the
worst. Beverley scanned Troi with her Tricorder and shook her head.
"She's just unconscious from the pain, it's probably the best thing
"Alright, we're moving out!" Shouted Riker to the group. They set
Commander Tam-Ren Karn spoke to his team leaders,
"The infiltrators have taken Gul Du'Rek hostage. Your job is to take
your teams into that jungle and find them. Bring back Du'Rek, the
Betazoid Starfleet officer and the Cardassian traitor."
"And the rest?" Asked one of the leaders.
"Kill them! I will join Captain Zaylen and Patrol Alpha One and tell
the fighter squad to do something about that damn fleet!" With nods
of understanding from the soldiers, they set off in pursuit of the
They had been in the caves for over an hour and Doctor Crusher,
Doctor Ganter and Doctor Del Grent had already returned the away
teams' faces back to their human forms. Riker adjusted Deanna Troi's
unconscious form on the cavern floor, as Beverley Crusher scanned
her again. Beverley sat back on her heels and let out a sigh.
"Is she alright?" Came Riker's concerned voice.
"She's received severe internal injuries from Tam Ren's treatment
made worse by the explosion. I've done what I can to make her more
comfortable, Will, but I can't repair all the damage without being
on the Enterprise."
"What are you trying to say?" He asked angrily.
"I've done all I can for her, Will. If she survives tonight then
she's got a good chance…"
"I don't believe this!" He interrupted, angrily throwing a stone
against the cavern's wall. Beverley could offer no words of comfort
to him. She patted Will's back and moved away to deal with the
injuries of the other Betazoids. Deanna stirred and gradually
"Imzadi?" She whispered and held out her hand to him. He took it in
his own. "What's wrong, Will?"
"You've suffered internal injuries from the explosion. Beverley's
done all she can…" he trailed off not able to say anything more
about her condition.
"I understand." She said, softly squeezing his hand. Will looked at
her and she saw his crystal blue eyes fill with tears. "Oh, Imzadi.
I'm so sorry."
"You've nothing to be sorry for." He snapped back a little too
harshly. Deanna ignored the tone and simply smiled at him. She eased
herself into a sitting position.
"Come." She opened her arms to him. He went to her and she enveloped
his body with her slim arms. She heard him struggle for
control. "No, Imzadi, let it go, let the hurt you feel go. I'm here
for you." The tears streamed silently down his face. She stroked his
hair as he wept in her arms. "What are you thinking, Will?"
"I…" He breathed deeply. "I'm thinking of my regrets."
"Regrets are terrible things to have." She answered. "What do you
regret about your life? You've accomplished so much. You're happy
with your career, aren't you?"
"Yes, but it's…it's not my career I have regrets over."
Suddenly she stopped stroking his hair, he looked up at her.
"What is it, Deanna?"
"You regret your decisions concerning Us." It was not a question.
Deanna readjusted Will so that he still sat close to her, but she no
longer enveloped him.
"I need to tell you about something." She said. "I don't know how
you'll take this, but the real reason I came back early wasn't just
because my Mother and I had an argument, but, because…she threatened
to perform the ritual of `Man-Tarras'. It's an ancient custom…I
didn't want you to be hurt so I tried to let go of my feelings for
you, by staying away from you."
"Deanna, why would you need to hide your true feelings from me?"
"Because, Will, the ritual gives my Mother the right to choose a
husband for me…"
"She's already tried to once before…" He interrupted
"Wyatt." It seemed strange to say his name after all these
years. "Yes, but this is much worse. Any feelings for you, that I
behold, will be erased from my mind. I will be joined with my
husband through telepathy, using the concept of Imzadi. I couldn't
let you think that something may become of us, no matter how much I
want it too, because of this ritual. I would never again call you
Imzadi. I couldn't stand to see you so hurt again." She wiped her
eyes, but more tears fell. "Maybe death is not such a bad thing?"
"Deanna, I wouldn't let anything happen to us. You've taught me so
much. I don't know if I could go on without you."
"You will, because you are strong."
Deanna felt him smile at her complement, she didn't need to see his
face with her eyes, she could see it with her mind.
"Promise me you'll hang on till morning." He whispered.
"I promise. I will survive alone."
"No, with me. We'll do this together." He lifted her face to look at
him. "We've done too much alone. We'll do this as Imzadi." He smiled
and brought his lips to hers. It was only supposed to be a friendly,
comforting gesture, as it had been so many times in the past. To his
surprise she held on to him, responding to his kiss. The reply from
her was weak, but it beheld a strength that told him she was not
going to go without a fight.
"You need rest." He said when the kiss broke. Deanna nodded wearily.
"Ask Doctor Del Grent to find something to counteract the drug my
Mother and the others have been given to block their telepathy."
"Alright." He answered and gently lay a kiss on her forehead. Deanna
closed her eyes and, as he left, Will saw a smile play across her
From the shadows beside them, someone had watched all that had
passed between this man and woman. By the tender moment they had
shared she understood that they loved one another, even if they
still couldn't admit it to themselves or each other. The guilt she
felt was very deep and flowed into the depths of her soul. She
turned and walked away. The man walked passed where she had stood
only seconds before, oblivious to the other woman's guilt.
Two hours later; the Betazoids had their telepathic abilities back
and all the injuries had been dealt with. The hostages were
sleeping, trying to gain as much energy as they could for the days
ahead. Chandra and Lwaxanna slept by Deanna's side. At the far end
of the cavern, Smyth and Bernette, stood watch over the unconscious
form of Gul Du'Rek. Will Riker could not sleep, he had too much on
his mind. A large, dark shadow loomed over him and he looked up to
see Worf standing there. The large Klingon handed Riker a small
silver packet of rations.
"Are you alright, Commander?" He asked as he sat down next to him.
Riker looked at the man beside him, who had given up an engagement
to Deanna, because he believed that he could never love her as much
as Will Riker did.
"I'm fine, but…Deanna's suffering from internal injuries. Beverley
can't repair them without being on the Enterprise." He ran his hand
through his hair and sighed.
"That's not all though, is it?"
"No, Worf, it's not." Will felt strange confiding in this man, about
his feelings. A man whom he'd been rivals with and at times there
was still some tension between them. He felt strangely comfortable
talking to him, at times, when it came to matters involving Deanna
and this was one of those times. "Deanna's Mother has threatened to
perform an ancient ritual, which will enable her to choose a husband
for Deanna. The ritual also involves the removal of our telepathic
bond. She'll forget everything she ever felt for me, Worf! All the
feelings I have for her, she won't be able to return! Is this my
fault, hers or her Mother's?"
"Neither and all three." Worf answered.
"Did we wait too long to think about starting again? Is that why
fate is doing this, making Deanna suffer and maybe even kill her in
the process?" Will shook his head, as the answers did not come to
"I have no answers to those questions, Commander, but I know that if
anyone is too blame for her injuries it is the Cardassians who set
off that explosion. Gul Dukat took Jadzia from my life the same day
we were told it was possible for us to have children. Do not let
Du'Rek take Deanna from you. Don't leave things unsaid; all you'll
have is regrets if she cannot hold on. Deanna is strong in spirit,
but she may be overwhelmed by her physical injuries. If that happens
he has won." Worf got up and walked to the cavern entrance to join
Data. Will was lost in thought, but was ripped from those thoughts
when Deanna cried out in absolute pain. It was the most hideous
thing Will had ever heard. He stood to go be by her side, but
Lieutenant Balsa called to him from her post, at the cavern entrance.
"Sir, there's a patrol of fifteen soldiers on their way here! Karn
is leading them!"
"Everyone deeper into the cave, now!" Riker shouted. "Worf, Sidga,
Balsa, Data, Springer, O'Brian stay with me. Beverley, you, Jack,
Kenning and Martyn take the others and go deeper into the cave."
From behind him he heard Deanna scream.
"I forgot about that device I implanted into her. They'll be
listening out for her." Said Del Grent.
"I can't sedate her!" Came Crusher's stricken voice.
"Let's try neutralising her nerve endings and pain receivers."
Suggested Jack Ganter, as they moved further into the cave, behind
`Little One, please let go of the pain. Shut it out with your mind.
You can do it!' Came Lwaxanna's voice both out loud and in Deanna's
"I can't! There's too much!" Cried Deanna through the pain, "I can't
shut it out!"
They lay Deanna back on the ground, trying to hold the thrashing
"Neutralising nerve endings and pain receivers." Said Ganter, as he
injected a blue liquid into Troi's arm.
"It won't work!" Came a sneer from behind them. They turned to see
Du'Rek awake, but held back by Smyth and Bernette. "She'll die so
"You sick, Bastard!" Screamed Beverley, loosing her usual serenity.
"How could you do this to my daughter!" Came Lwaxanna's pained
Beverley Crusher grabbed the collar of Du'Rek's shirt,
"Tell me how to stop it!"
"She'll die like the Starfleet Bitch she is!" He spat back.
"Tell me!" Beverley grabbed the phase from Smyth's belt. The
brunette tried to grab it back, but she was too slow for the anger
driven Doctor. "Tell me, now, or I'll blow your miserable little
"Please Gods, make it stop! Make it stop!" Deanna cried out.
"Tell me, now!" Tears filled Beverley's eyes at the realisation that
she may lose her best friend from something other than her internal
injuries, something, even as a trained Doctor, she could not save
"Doctor?" Came Worf's voice, as he, Riker and the others entered the
"Beverley, what's wrong?" Asked Will.
"This bastard won't tell me how to save Deanna. He's going to let
her die in complete agony. Tell me!" she screamed at Du'Rek, as
Deanna cried out once more.
"She's not going to be able to take much more of this, before her
body starts to shut itself down." Commented Jack.
"She'll die so soon."
"Del Grant, please, do what you can to help Deanna." Said Riker,
ignoring Deanna's cries and the tears of the other Betazoids that
felt her pain. He calmly took hold of Beverley's hand. "Come on, if
you kill him, you'll be like him."
"I can't let her die, Will, not like this!"
"I know, but he'll be dealt with, I promise. Help Del Grent and
Jack." At first Beverley didn't let go of the phaser. "That's an
Crusher handed the phaser back to Smyth and walked back to Deanna's
side. Will noticed that Deanna's cries stopped suddenly.
"I've neutralised the pain receivers in her body and removed the
object." Said Del Grent.
"Traitor!" Du'Rek shouted. "Ultimate treason!"
"Well done, Doctor!" Commented Riker, patting the young man on the
"I hope Tam-Ren finds you and kills you along with that woman!" Spat
Riker looked away, then turned to Bernette and Smyth,
"Don't let him out of your sight."
"Commander?" Came a female voice from behind him.
"Yes, Lieutenant Balsa, what is it?"
"Karn and his patrol have gone, but there are a further fifteen
smaller patrols in this area alone!"
"Maybe we should try and get to Gorena." Suggested Lwaxanna from her
"It's the closest town from here and hasn't come under attack."
"No, we can't risk it with Deanna and the children." Said Riker.
"Will…" Came Deanna's tired voice. "Go to Gorena. You'll be safe
"I can't leave you here!" He protested.
"Sacrifices must be made. The few for the many!"
"I refuse to leave you!"
"Imzadi, don't be stupid! I'll be a burden and slow everyone down!
We've got fifteen patrols after us and no way to contact the
Enterprise for help!"
"My mind's made up, Commander Troi, we're all going!"
"Oh no, no pulling rank this time!" said Deanna, her voice firm and
"You promised." Will said quietly, as he took a hypospray from
Doctor crusher and injected Troi with the sedative. He knew she was
right, but he was determined not to leave anyone behind, especially
not Deanna, not while she was this vulnerable. He carefully picked
Troi up and they all made their way down the tunnel at the back of
"Mr LaForge, any word from the rescue teams?" Asked Picard from
Command chair on the Bridge of the Enterprise-E.
"Negative, sir, we're still not able to receive or send any
communications, but short range sensors were able to penetrate the
shields for a few moments and detected a large explosion in the
city. A number of patrols have been sent into a dense jungle known
"Looks like our teams have completed their first objective." He said
with a smile.
An alarm from the tactical station sounded,
"Sir, sensors are detecting ten Dominion ships on an intercept
course with us, in attack formation." Reported Lieutenant
Tarrenteeno, from the tactical station.
"Shields up, red alert!" Ordered Picard, calmly. "Picard to Fleet,
attack formation Beta three four five!"
"Acknowledged, Enterprise." Came the replies from the other four
The ship rocked, as enemy phaser fire and torpedoes flagged it.
"Mr LaForge, how are those modifications coming?" Asked Picard.
"Five more minutes, Captain." Said LaForge, from the Engineering
Station on the Bridge. "That's all we need."
"Picard to Fleet, we need you to hold off the enemy for five
minutes, while we get a surprise ready for our friends out there."
"Aye, sir." Came the answers. The four ships took fire from the
enemy fleet, as they moved in front of the Enterprise-E. The
Enterprise continued to fire, giving as much support as they could
while the modifications were being made.
"Captain, Engineering reports that the modifications are complete."
Said LaForge after a few more moments.
"Excellent. Get ready to fire. Send modification frequencies to the
rest of the Fleet."
"Transfer complete." Said Ensign Alan from the Conn.
"Phasers ready and targeted, Captain." Reported Tarrenteeno.
"Picard to Fleet. All ships, fire at will!" Commanded Picard, trying
not to smile at the pun.
Phaser fire came from all five Starships, penetrating the enemy
shields. Six of the ten ships were destroyed. The other four
retreated; many repairs would be needed before their ships would be
The inhabitants of Gorena had welcomed their fellow Betazoids, and
their rescuers, warmly and offered rooms to them, which they all
accepted gratefully, as night was falling fast.
Beverley left the house Deanna was in and met Will Riker at the town
centre. The news was not good.
"Beverley, how's Deanna?"
Crusher looked down.
"Her temperature has escalated and may become unstable. I've also
discovered some damage in her Hippocampus."
"Meaning, there'll be a period of amnesia on the way." She rested a
comforting hand on his arm; he didn't seem to notice. "These next
few hours are crucial, Will. She's done extremely well to have
lasted this long, especially considering what happened in the
"Can I see her?" He interrupted not wanting to hear any more.
"Yes, Lwaxanna and Chandra are with her too. That's what she needs,
sleep and companionship. She needs you now more than ever. She needs
to feel that there's something for her to live for. She needs your
love and strength."
Riker made his way to the room on the ground floor of the house. He
opened the door. Lwaxanna and Chandra looked up at the same time.
"Let's go, Chandra." Suggested Lwaxanna, as she stood. Chandra
nodded and they left Deanna's bedside.
Riker sat next to Deanna's bed and took her small hand in his own.
Her face was pale, much paler than he had ever seen it before, but
still she looked like the most beautiful creature to him. Slowly,
she opened her eyes and smiled a wan, but beautiful smile at him.
"I see Beverley has told you." She said quietly.
"I thought you would know."
"You have a right to know." She paused for a few moments letting the
silence fall over them. Then she remembered something she had wanted
to speak to Will about. "You know it's strange, since we left the
cavern, I've been getting some very strange emotions from my mother.
She hides them of course, but I think Chandra has noticed too."
"Strange, like what?" he asked.
"Guilt is the most prominent emotion. I don't understand why."
"Maybe she feels guilty about the things that happened between you
both on your shoreleave?"
"Maybe." After a few moments, she winced slightly.
"Are you alright?" Riker asked concerned.
"Yes, my head hurts a little though."
"Beverley said there's some traces of amnesia…"
"Yes, I know." She smiled at him "That's probably all it is."
"I have to go and check on everything. I'll be back every hour." He
kissed her forehead. She definitely had a fever and it worried him,
but not as much as the idea of amnesia did.
Two hours later…
Commander Worf and Commander Chris Sidga walked to the house where
Du'Rek was being kept under the guard of Smyth and Bernette. When
the two men reached the room, they were puzzled to find that it
completely dark. Worf could almost feel the chill of death
surrounding them in the room. Sidga called for the lights and when
they came on, they saw one woman and one man -Smyth and Bernette-
lying on the floor and no Du'Rek.
"Sidga to Riker."
"Riker here, what is it?"
"Sir, Du'Rek's escaped." He looked to Worf who was covering the
fallen officers with sheets. "Smyth and Bernette are dead, Sir."
"Damn! Alright, be on your guard and meet me in the Town Square
A.S.A.P. Riker out."
Riker, Crusher, Ganter, Data, Balsa, O'Brian, Springer, Kenning and
Ensign Martyn were already at the Town Centre when Worf and Sidga
"Commander Riker, we can't detect Gul Du'Rek's presence anywhere in
Gorena." Reported Balsa as she pushed a lock of black hair back
behind her traditionally decorated ear.
"Is it possible that he's gone to find Tam-Ren?" asked Riker
"Yes, he'll want to have the tactical advantage. We'll have to leave
Gorena soon, otherwise they'll know exactly were we are." She
"What about Commander Troi and Doctor Del Grent? Didn't he swear
vengeance against them?" Asked Ganter.
"That's very true, Doctor. Where is Del Grent now?" Said Riker,
turning to Beverley Crusher.
"He was helping with Deanna. He's at the house with her now."
"And Commander Troi's condition?"
"Worsening, I afraid. When I left she was having trouble remembering
our mission and why she wasn't allowed to get out of bed. She did
know who we are and who she is."
"Will! Will!" Came a shout from behind them.
"Lwaxanna, what is it?"
"It's Deanna! I can't sense her at all! I went to see her, but the
door to her room was locked!"
"Lwaxanna, stay here! Data, Worf with me!" Ordered Riker, drawing
his phaser and running towards the house where Deanna should be.
They phasered open the locked door and Will, rather carelessly, ran
straight into the room where Del Grent should have been. He was
there, but he lay on the floor, eyes staring straight ahead, seeing
nothing. The blood seeped from his nose and mouth and puddled on the
floor by his cheek. He was obviously dead. While Data and Worf dealt
with the body, Will moved into the second section of the room, where
Deanna should have been lying in the bed, peacefully sleeping. She
wasn't there, an open window were all that were left. Data and Worf
came up behind him. With his Tricorder in hand, Data, scanned the
"We have dealt with the body, sir. Two bio-signatures left through
this window and entered the jungle." He reported, his voice held the
slightest hint of concern in it, but Data could not feel the emotion
of concern, because he had turned off his emotion chip.
Unfortunately, Will Riker couldn't turn off his emotions. Anger,
fear, concern, sorrow, pain and loss flagged his mind.
"Damn it!" He snarled. "I should never have left her alone!"
"Commander Karn." Came a stern Cardassian voice.
"What is it, Zaylen?" answered an equally fed up Human.
"Sir, we've detected two life forms heading this way."
"Very good. Prepare for surprise intercept."
"Aye, sir." Said Captain Zaylen. He waved a hand at his patrol and
they hid in the undergrowth. Their disrupters aimed in the people's
direction, ready to fire. A slightly plump, ageing Cardassian male,
carrying a slim Betazoid female, walked into their view.
"Hold fire, its Gul Du'Rek!" Karn ordered. "Du'Rek, are you
alright?" He asked as he and his soldiers came up from their hiding
"Yes, my friend, I'm fine."
"I see you've brought a souvenir." He said looking at Deanna Troi's
"She could still be useful, even in her precarious state."
They laughed. The evil sounded echoed through out the jungle air.
Lwaxanna, Chandra, Will and Beverley sat together in a small living
room in one of the houses.
"If she's suffering from amnesia, then that would explain why we
can't sense her, Lwaxanna." Said Chandra, after Beverley and Will
had told them what had happened.
"My daughter, by the Gods, Will! You have to get her back from those…
those savages!" Lwaxanna exclaimed.
"Deanna is strong, Lwaxanna, she'll be alright!" Commented Chandra,
trying to calm this hysterical woman down, but then if it had been
anyone of her children then she would probably be in the same state
as Lwaxanna Troi was in now.
"Yes, but her injuries! You heard what Doctor Crusher said! She's
not going to make it, I just know it!"
"Lwaxanna!" Warned Chandra, her voice firm. "Don't even think like
"I'm sorry, Lwaxanna. I should have been there for her." He raised
his head. "I should've…" His head went down again, as he ran a hand
over his bare chin.
"Will, please don't blame yourself, Deanna wouldn't want you to!"
said Chandra softly, her voice comforting. This only served to
agitate him even more, as it would usually be Deanna trying to keep
him calm through tense situations, but where was Deanna now? In the
hands of an army of ruthless murderers.
"Do you know if the amnesia is permanent, Doctor?" asked Chandra,
feeling the agitation that came from Will, when she attempted to
comfort him, but she was not hurt by this, she understood.
"No, I'm afraid I don't. She'll most likely be suffering
from `Retrograde Amnesia', which means she'll have no recollection
of anything that happened to her before the amnesia set in. Her
internal injuries may affect it, but there's no way I can be
"If the Cardassians realise she's suffering from amnesia, then they
may try and use her against us." Said Riker, thinking out loud more
to himself than the three women sitting around him. "Beverley, tell
the team to be on full alert, no questions asked." Beverley nodded
and then left. "I'll get her back, Lwaxanna. I promise."
"I know you will try."
`What's going on? Why is it so dark? Where am I? Who am I?' Came the
voice in the dark recesses of her own mind, which she did not
recognise. She opened her eyes and saw a man standing over her.
"Who am I? Where am I?" She asked in confusion, not recognising the
sound of her own voice. Before the man could reply a wave of
dizziness swept over her and she fell back into the wave of
"Doctor Kenrel, did you just witness what just happened?" Asked Tam-
"Yes, Commander, I did." Answered the older Cardassian.
"What would cause this amnesia?"
"The same thing that caused these internal injuries. Whatever that
"Interesting. Call me the moment she wakes again. In the mean time
repair those injuries and tidy her up a little."
"Of course, Commander." He answered, activating a cellular
"Gul Du'Rek will find these latest developments very interesting."
He said, then left to find his old friend.
"Ah, this is excellent, most excellent! I have the perfect plan to
make this work to our advantage!" Exclaimed Du'Rek, when Karn told
him of Deanna Troi's plight.
"Will you use her against Starfleet?"
"Oh, most definitely, I wouldn't dream of not doing so!"
"Sir, I may have a further idea of how to use this to our advantage."
"Excellent, then I leave it in your very capable hands."
She felt something cold on her forehead and snapped her eyes open.
She saw the man that had been with her before.
"Who are you?"
"It's alright, my love, everything's alright now." He replied, still
nursing her head with cool water.
"Who are you?" She demanded.
"I'm your Fiancée, Tam-Ren. Are you alright, my love?"
"No, I…I don't remember who I am?"
"That's alright. The Doctors said that you might not remember. You
are Commander Deanna Troi of the Cardassian Empire."
"Why can't I remember?"
"You were captured by our enemies, the Federation, they tortured
you. Our Doctors repaired all the internal damage you've suffered.
With a little rest you'll be fine." He said, lifting her hand to his
lips and kissing it tenderly.
"I wish I could remember you." She said, looking at her left hand
and seeing the glistening diamond ring on her finger.
"It will all return to you soon. After you've rested you can come
with me and we'll take our revenge on the Bastards that did this to
you." He left.
Deanna Troi shut her eyes and sighed as she drifted off to sleep.
The Starfleet scout group reached the edge of a cliff side that
overlooked the town of Gorena as its inhabitants slept soundly. They
had been searching the area surrounding Gorena for hours and still
they had found no trace of either Gul Du'Rek or Deanna Troi.
Will Riker sat on the tip of the cliff, his mood grim, looking out
at the skyline. The sun had begun to rise up from the horizon to
start another day, but would it be a day with or without Deanna
Troi? Had she survived those remaining hours of darkness?
The cliff side was familiar to Riker, but he could not tell why. He
closed his eyes and heard a voice. A voice from the past, his past…
"I like to come here to think. It's one of my favourite places."
"What do you think about?"
Riker heard her voice and then his own voice, but no longer was he
simply remembering, he was reliving the memory, as if he was there
in the flesh…
"Love at first sight…"
Her voice echoed, as he was pulled back from the past. He opened his
tear-filled eyes and looked back at the view. This was Deanna's
favourite place. This had been the place they had gone to on their
first date, where she had told him about her belief in love at first
sight and soul mates. He didn't think she would have said yes, but
she had. He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes once more. A
single tear of fear, anger, frustration and loss slid down his
cheek, leaving a glistening trail of moisture in its wake. He
brushed it way.
"Commander?" Came a female voice.
"Yes, Melorka?" Riker answered, opening his eyes, but he never
taking his gaze from the view.
"We've finished searching this area, sir. There's still no sign of
"Sir, maybe, we should split up. We can cover more ground that way
and we have our communicators if we run into any trouble."
That brought him out of whatever trance he had been in. He stood up
and faced the young Bajoran.
"That's too risky, Lieutenant. I won't have anymore losses."
"Commander, with all due respect, I believe that your personal
closeness to Commander Troi is clouding your judgement…"
"My judgement is fine…" He snapped, stopping when he saw the rest of
the team coming closer to them. "You have your orders, Lieutenant.
We're not splitting up."
"Yes, sir!" She answered, not hiding her displeasure.
An explosion from behind them made them turn their attention to
Gorena. Some of the buildings were ablaze and there were people
running and screaming from all directions away from Gorena and into
"Move out!" Ordered Riker
Data, Crusher, Ganter, Sidga, Martyn and Kenning had shielded
themselves from the phaser fire, by hiding behind a mound of fallen
marble and stone in the Town Centre. All had drawn their phasers and
were waiting for their attackers to appear.
"Doctor Crusher, you, Ganter, Ensign Martyn and Kenning take the
hostages and any other civilians into the jungle, then locate
Commander Riker and his team." Commanded Data.
"That won't be necessary, Data. We're right here." Came Riker's
voice from behind them. "My team has already started the
Riker, O'Brian and Springer joined Data and Sidga, while Beverley,
Jack, Kenning and Martyn went to assist Worf and Balsa evacuate the
Half an hour later, buildings were still going up in flames from
explosions, but there had been no sign of the enemy. Worf, Beverley,
Sidga and Jack arrived back.
"We've evacuated everyone, sir." Said Worf.
"Martyn and Kenning are with the hostages?" asked Riker.
"Yes, sir." Answered the large Klingon.
"Here they come!" Came Balsa's voice through the sound of yet
another building exploding. They watched and through the smoke came
two patrols of Dominion soldiers. They began to physically search
the houses and then throw plasma bombs into the buildings. Riker
looked towards the smoke again. Tam-Ren Karn emerged from it and on
his arm was Deanna. She was clad in black leather trousers that
dipped slightly at her hips. Her top, also black leather, dipped
dangerously low revealing much of her chest. It stopped below her
breasts, showing her abdomen. Her hair was undone and cascaded over
her shoulders, framing her slim face. A black leather band protruded
from her hairline, across her forehead. Her eye shadow was also
black and her lips were painted a deep crimson colour. The overall
effect was breathtakingly stunning. Something gleamed in the
sunlight on her left hand and it caught Riker's eye. He looked and
saw the diamond ring on her marriage finger, his breath caught in
his throat. Tam-Ren whispered something in her ear and she smiled
devishly. She stepped away from him and shouted,
"Burn this place to the ground and bring me those Federation
Almost immediately, the Starfleet officers were bombarded by phaser
fire. They fired back. From behind them they heard,
"Drop your weapons and surrender!"
They dropped their phasers where they stood and placed their hands
on the back of their heads. They were thrown to their knees in front
of Tam-Ren Karn and Deanna, who were in the middle of a very
passionate embrace. Deanna moved away from Karn and stepped before
"Who commands this pitiful group?"
Riker dropped his hands, got up and walked over to Deanna. He loomed
over her, but she did not flinch.
"I am Commander William Riker, commander of this group."
Deanna studied him with her eyes and ran her hand down his cheek,
taking his chin in her hand.
"Pity, you're handsome. I could have used you, but instead you're
going to die." She dropped her hand from his chin and began to walk
back towards Karn. She stopped as she heard a low growl, she turned
to it's source-Worf.
"Oh, don't worry Klingon, you'll all soon be joining your C.O in
"Whatever he's told you, Deanna, it's a lie!" Came Beverley's shout.
The guard raised his weapon to strike her, but Deanna held up her
hand to stop him. She knelt in front of Beverley and hooked the
blond haired Doctor's chin with her finger, lifting her face to look
into Deanna's eyes.
"And why, exactly, should I not believe my Fiancée?" This produced
gasps from the rest of the team. The thought of her being engaged to
Tam-Ren Karn, the enemy, a traitor to the Federation, was shocking.
"Because he's not your Fiancée, you don't love him and he doesn't
love you!" Troi looked darkly at Beverley, slapped the older woman
across the face and stood up.
"Lies! I won't listen to your Federation Lies any longer!"
"No, it's the truth!" Exclaimed Riker.
"Liar! I will have my vengeance for your acts of brutality towards
"Deanna, I would never hurt you!" Riker felt Deanna slipping away
from his sight even though she stood in front of him. "We are now
and forever Imzadi! I would never hurt you!"
"How dare you call me that!" She drew her disrupter, which hung from
her belt. "I would never call the enemy my Imzadi!" She pulled the
trigger and the beam hit Riker. He fell to the floor, the blood
pouring from his shoulder.
"You missed him! How could you miss him?" Asked Karn sternly.
"Because I don't take orders from you!" She said angrily. "Besides I
didn't want to kill him, I have other plans for him. I want him to
know what it's like to be tortured." She turned to two
soldiers. "Take him back to HQ." The guards nodded and carried Riker
"That's the ruthless, Deanna Troi, I love." He said grinning and
kissing her passionately. "What about the rest of them?" He asked
her. Deanna turned to the soldiers surrounding the Starfleet
"Kill them! The rest of you back with me!" Deanna Troi, Tam-Ren Karn
and the remaining soldiers walked back into the smoke and out of
The soldiers that remained behind drew their disrupters and took aim
at the Starfleet officers. The Starfleet officers outnumbered the
Dominion soldiers, so had no trouble knocking them out. Beverley and
Worf both grabbed a disrupter each and began to head in the
direction that Deanna and Karn had gone.
"Commander, Doctor. Back here, that is an order!" Said Data, in his
usual calm tone. "I am taking over command of this mission. Our
first priority goes to getting the PDS station under our control."
"I need to get to Commander Riker, that was not a surface wound you
"I am well aware of that, Doctor, but we must make the innocents our
"I can't believe that Commander Troi would betray us like that and
go running off with that…that…" Balsa stammered.
"Melorka, it's not like that." Said Beverley softly, to the young
Bajoran woman. "Deanna's suffering from amnesia brought on by the
plasma bomb explosion we were caught in."
"You mean that Karn is using Deanna and telling her all these lies
against us?" Beverley nodded in response to the Bajoran's
question. "Poor Deanna."
"We must rejoin the evacuees immediately." Said Data. The others
nodded in agreement.
The pain shot through Riker's shoulder as he tried to sit up, when
he heard his cell door unlock and open. The pain overwhelmed him and
he lay back down. Moments later he felt a tingling sensation on his
shoulder. He opened his eyes to see Deanna tending to his wound with
a cellular regenerator.
"I thought you were going to let me die slowly and painfully." He
"I have another use for you." She answered, not looking him in the
"And what would that be?"
"Oh, that's right, you're the enemy, but I'm still going to tell you
my plans." She spoke sarcastically, not the way Deanna would usually
talk to anyone. She looked straight at him, as she put the medical
instrument away. "But I can show you at lease one of my uses for
you." She bent her head forward and kissed him. He kissed her back.
The kiss felt different, as if it belonged to another person, but
somewhere deep in the kiss he felt Deanna, his Imzadi, and he knew
he had to reach her.
`Imzadi!' He called to her mind. Memories flashed through her mind
and she pulled back from him, the shock and confusion registering in
"How did you do that?" She demanded.
"I told you we're Imzadi. You taught me how to send my thoughts to
you and how to receive your thoughts many years ago. We share a bond
that can never be broken, no matter what Karn has told you."
Deanna turned to leave, the confusion deepening in her facial
"Do you believe me now?" He asked.
She did not reply, instead she carried on walking and the door was
locked behind her.
"Captain Zaylen, will you excuse for a few moments?" Asked Karn
seeing Deanna, arms folded, standing in the doorway to his
quarters. "You've given me the most important part of your report.
The rest can wait for awhile."
"Of course, sir." He answered leaving. He smiled, politely, at
Deanna as she moved passed him entering the quarters. The door
"What can I do for you, my love?"
"Is it true? Did I have a relationship with that Federation
Commander before you?"
"I don't know, probably not." He stood still and held her
shoulders. "He's lying to you. You believe me don't you?"
"I don't know what I believe anymore. I had these memory flashes
He led Deanna to a chair and sat her down beside him.
"Tell me what you saw." He demanded gently.
"I'm really not sure, it happened so fast!"
"I was with that Commander in some of them, but in almost every one
of them I wore a Starfleet uniform."
"Maybe they planted those memories into your mind."
"It's not just that though. That Commander, he actually sent a
telepathic communication to me. If he's lying, then how did a human
get through my barriers?"
"You shouldn't worry about it."
"How can I not worry!?" She stood up angrily.
Tam-Ren stood up behind her and took Deanna by the hand,
"Where are we going?"
"I'm going to show you how to forget about what's going on." There
was a certain gleam in his eyes that Deanna understood, that any
woman would understand. She smiled back at him and he led her into
his sleeping quarters…
Tam-Ren Karn was an excellent lover, but even as he trailed kisses
down the column of her throat, Deanna Troi's mind wondered, never
thinking of her Fiancée, but of the Federation Commander. More
memories flashed through her mind, of Riker kissing her in the same
way and, yet, it felt completely different. There was intense
emotion between them. She shivered with delight and whispered a
word. A word stemming from distant memories, her heart, her mind and
the depths of her soul -`Imzadi!'- Karn stopped kissing her.
"Deanna, what did you say?" He got up. Deanna's eyes snapped open.
"I…" She felt bewildered by the surging emotions and the need she
felt for Commander William Riker. She stood too. "I'm sorry, Tam-
Ren. I don't know what came over me."
"It doesn't matter." He lied. "Go and find out what you can from
Riker. Our troops were unsuccessful in killing the Starfleet
officers. Du'Rek thinks they'll go to the PDS station next. Get
confirmation on that."
"I don't think he'll tell us anything."
Karn slapped her across the face,
"You're not here to think! Get that information, now! If he refuses
torture it out of him!" He turned and walked into the adjoining room.
Deanna, angry at the way Tam-Ren had assaulted her, walked over to a
chest of draws and hit the top of it with the palms of her hands.
The top draw slid open and she stared at the blue-green material.
She picked it up and unfolded it- it was a dress! - It was dirty and
slightly ripped in places. Something fell from the folds of the
skirt. She knelt down, reached for the object and stared at it.
`I know this, but where from?' She recognised it; she had seen the
Starfleet people wearing them in Gorena. `Is this mine? Have they
been telling the truth all this time?'
She placed the Starfleet insignia in a concealed pocket in her
trousers, as she stood up. She took the sparkling engagement ring
from her finger, placed it on top of the drawers, leaving the
discovered dress on the floor and left.
"You, Riker, get up we're going for a talk!"
Riker opened his eyes to see Deanna standing at the doorway to his
"Guards, take him to the chamber on floor 6, section B12." She left.
The two guards grabbed Riker's arms and followed their CO.
Riker and the two guards entered the cavern, that Will immediately
recognised as the torture chamber that he had been in last night.
Standing at one of the computer panels was Deanna. Will noticed a
red mark across her cheek, that she tried to conceal with her hair.
He was pushed roughly into a chair and his arms were chained to the
"Leave us, now!" Deanna commanded. The guards nodded and left the
"I see your Fiancée is treating you well." Said Will sarcastically.
"That's none of your concern, Riker!"
"I think it is. A real man wouldn't resort to violence against a
"I think you should be more worried about yourself." She walked over
to him and straddled him. "We want to know your friends will go, but
I know that you're not going to tell me that are you?"
"No, I'm not."
"Tam-Ren suggests that I torture it out of you, but I don't care
much for the type of torture he uses." Deanna kissed him and he
responded by kissing her back. Slowly, as they kissed, Deanna untied
Riker's hands, which immediately held her face. Deanna lent closer
to his ear, she whispered through deep breaths,
"I can help you, but you must tell me where they'll go."
"I can't" He replied, his voice, also barely above a whisper.
"If they've gone to the PDS station, I can get the codes from Du'Rek
and take you with me."
"Why would you help us?"
Deanna got up, wrapping her arms around herself, as if she were
cold, and turning her back to him.
"I keep having memory flashes, they tell me that you are telling me
the truth, but I'm so confused. I've already questioned Tam-Ren
once, but I'm not sure if I believe him or not."
"Is that why he did that to you?" He said pointing to her cheek. She
nodded. "I'll make sure he pays for what he's done to you."
"All you need to do is tell me where they've gone." She knelt on the
floor beside him. The vulnerability and fear gleamed in her eyes.
Riker was sure that she was being genuine, that this was no
elaborate act. "Please I want all this to stop. I just want to know
the truth." The tears flowed down her cheeks. Will knelt beside her
and took her in his arms.
"What I told you in Gorena is the truth, I promise you." He took a
breath. "It's most probable that they will go to the PDS station
now. They have to get it back in our control to get the Betazoids to
the Enterprise and the rest of the fleet."
"The Enterprise?" She looked up at him, confusion in her eyes.
"Yes, that's the ship we both serve on."
"I will get the codes for you." She said standing.
"Be careful." She nodded at him.
"Guards!" They entered. "Take him back to his cell."
"Come in Commander Troi." Said Du'Rek. She took a seat next to
Ren. "Did you find out anything from the Federation Commander?"
"Yes, sir, I did. Your suspicions were correct, they are going to
the PDS station."
"Excellent! Commander Karn, assemble the troops and go to the PDS
station. Get rid of the Starfleet officers…"
"Gul Du'Rek!" Deanna interrupted. "Let me go, I can do this!"
"Please, I won't let you down!"
"Very well. Seeing as you did so well Gorena." He handed her a
computer PADD. "Here are the PDS codes. If they've already managed
to change them, change them again and keep that station under our
control." Deanna nodded and then left.
"My friend, take some men and follow her. If she's been remembering
things, like you said, she may falter. Make sure she does her job."
"Yes, sir, and if she fails?"
"Make sure she doesn't do it again, ever!"
He left with a bow of his head,
Outside Du'Rek's office, Karn looked to his palm. A single diamond
ring sparkled merrily back at him. He closed his fingers around it,
crushing it. He opened his palm and let the small fragments fall to
Crusher, Bashir, Martyn, Kenning and the Betazoids watched from the
jungle, as Sidga, Balsa, Worf, Data and Springer knocked out the
guards and entered the PDS station. Inside, they stunned three
guards and then it was empty, silent and eerie. Data and Springer
sat at one of the computer consoles, trying to access the computer
"Crusher to Data." Came Beverley Crusher's voice. "There's a patrol
of four Cardassian soldiers heading your way. Troi and Commander
Riker are with them. I'm taking the Betazoids further into the
jungle, but we'll be back. Crusher out."
"Find a place to conceal your presence immediately." Data said
calmly. The officers moved into various hiding places and waited…
Moments later the doors to the room opened. Troi stepped in and
pushed Riker in front of her. She kept her disrupter aimed at his
back. The Cardassians were about to enter, but she held up a hand,
"It doesn't look like they're here. Stand guard outside in case they
do turn up."
"But, Commander Troi…"
"Are you about to undermine my authority, Captain Zaylen?"
"No, sir. It's just that they could be hiding here."
"That's enough, Captain! Carry out your orders!" Deanna fumed.
"Yes, Commander. I meant no disrespect." He and his men left bowing
their heads slightly, as they walked out. As the door hissed shut,
Deanna, walked over to the computer console and placed her disrupter
on top of the casing.
"I thought you said they'd be here." She said, inputting the codes.
Riker looked around him.
"They should be here." After a few minutes he walked over to
her. "How's it coming?"
"I'm almost done."
"Almost, but you won't finish." Came a sneering voice from behind
them. They turned to see Tam-Ren Karn, Captain Zaylen, two Dominion
guards and four Cardassian guards, all with their distrupters drawn
and aimed at them. "Du'Rek and I knew you'd betray us."
"And why shouldn't I? You lied to me about everything."
Tam-Ren nodded his head. Two of the Dominion guards moved forward,
took Troi by her arms and brought her in front of Karn. He grabbed
her by the upper arms and pulled her closer to him.
"You're nothing, but a whore, you know that? In fact the only good
thing about you is your body and I've already had that. You belong
to me now, do you understand?" He kissed her fully. Riker struggled
to reach Troi, confused at what Karn had said. The guards surrounded
him holding him back. She tried moved away from Karn, but his grasp
on her arms became tighter the more she tried to get away from him.
She was able to get her lower body away from him slightly, so she
kneed him in his groin. He released her, gasping. He looked up at
her, with cold fury burning in his eyes. He took a step towards her
and hit her so hard that she fell to the floor. Riker, again, tried
to take a step forward, but two Cardassians gripped his arms again
holding him back. Troi's head rose from the floor, bleeding where it
had made contact with the marble floor. Karn kicked her in the
stomach and knelt in front of her and sneered,
"I'd say this worked out pretty well for Cardassia. Two Starfleet
officers, both senior officers from the flagship of the Federation,
used to gather tactical information. One we can frame as a spy for
Du'Rek, because of her past and present involvement with his first
officer- me. The other would do anything to stop us from hurting the
other, because of some telepathic bond they share, because they were
Imzadi!" He exclaimed, mockingly.
"Bastard!" Troi coughed. Karn merely smiled.
"I use `were', past tense, because one of you isn't going to around
much longer." He picked up Troi's disrupter from the computer panel
and aimed it at Riker.
"Karn, no!" Deanna screamed at him. "Please, not him, I'll do
anything, just don't hurt him! You want me? You can have me!"
"The only thing I want from you, I've already taken. All I want you
to do now is die!" He said, bitterly, swinging the disrupter towards
"No Federation officers are going to die!" Came a deep rumbling
voice that Karn hadn't heard before. He turned to see a number of
Starfleet officers, an Android and a Klingon coming out from the
shadows, their phasers drawn. The door hissed open and another group
of Starfleet officers entered also holding phasers.
"Drop your weapons, you're surrounded!" Said Crusher forcefully.
They did as instructed. "Now you!" She said to Karn, who still held
the disrupter. He very reluctantly dropped it. Riker picked it up
and the enemy was rounded up into a group. Riker moved towards Troi
and took her by the arm, but she shrugged him off and got up herself.
"Deanna, can I examine you?" Asked Crusher coming forward.
"Later." She said flatly. "I need to get these codes done." Holding
her stomach and wincing slightly, she moved back over to the
computer console and tapped in the last few codes. The computer
beeped almost cheerfully. She turned to Riker,
"It's all yours." She smiled slightly and took Riker's hand in her
own. She opened his palm and placed the Starfleet insignia in his
hand, closing his fingers over it. "All you need to do is input your
own codes, then you and your people can get back to safety." Data
began to input the new Federation codes. From the tone of her voice,
Will knew that something was wrong.
"You're not coming with us are you?"
"I still remember so little, but thanks to you, I remember some good
things. There are some things I need to settle before I leave here."
"Like personal revenge?" asked Riker. Troi nodded.
"Deanna. I can reverse the amnesia, but you must come with us." said
Beverley. Deanna shook her head, but said nothing.
"Come on, Deanna. You said you wanted to know the truth." Urged
Will. Deanna looked at the floor, then back at Riker.
They erected a level one force field, as they left the PDS station
and walked to a clearing in the jungle, where the Betazoids waited
for them. Riker turned to the expectant group and shouted,
"We've got the PDS station back under Federation control. The Fleet
will be contacted, so you can all be transported up to safety." As
he turned away from the crowd, there was a load cheer. He tapped his
Communicator. "Riker to Enterprise."
"Picard here. Good to hear from you, Number One."
"We have the PDS station under our control and we'll be bringing a
few `friends' with us."
"Excellent work. Get them all into groups and I'll notify the rest
of the Fleet. Picard out."
"Worf, Springer and Data, you three stay with the prisoners and take
them to the Brig the moment you get on the Enterprise."
"Aye, sir." Replied the three officers.
"Beverley, take Ensign Martyn and start gathering the civilians into
groups. Kenning, you help Beverley." They nodded, then moved away to
carry out their orders.
"Can I help?" Came a small voice from behind him. He turned to face
a tired-looking Deanna Troi. The injuries she had sustained in the
PDS station had been repaired by Beverley only moments before.
"All right, but don't overexert yourself."
"What should I do?"
"Stay with me. Help me get these people safely to our Fleet."
She nodded at him and smiled wanly.
Minutes later the small Scout group of; O'Brian, Sidga and Balsa
came running back towards Riker and Troi from the jungle.
"Commander! There's an enemy patrol on their way here!" shouted
O'Brian. The Officers split up to join their assigned groups. Riker
turned to Troi.
"O.K, Deanna, contact the Fleet and get them to beam up their
assigned groups as quickly as possible."
Deanna Troi nodded and tapped the Commbadge; Sidga had given her
"Rescue team to Hood, initiate an emergency beam out of your
"Aye, sir. Beam out initiated."
The first group of Betazoids disappeared in shimmering blue light.
"Rescue team to Carpathia, Sommers and Defiant, emergency beam out
of your assigned groups."
"Beam out Initiated."
"Right away." Came the replies and three more groups disappeared.
Worf and Beverley's groups disappeared to the Enterprise. As Riker,
Troi and Sidga gathered together to beam up to the Enterprise, the
Dominion patrol surrounded them. Riker and Sidga pushed Troi behind
them and drew their phasers.
"Enterprise, Initiate emergency beam out!" cried Troi, as the enemy
disrupters surrounded them, ready to fire. Troi closed her eyes
tightly and then felt the grips of a Transporter beam take hold…
She opened her eyes and smiled, as she vaguely remembered the
Transporter room on the Enterprise. She looked to her right and saw
Sidga. In front of her stood Will Riker talking to a middle age man
she did not recognise.
"I'll give you a full report later, Captain, but I just thought you
should know about Deanna's condition before you spoke to her."
Picard looked towards the woman in front of him stepping off the pad
with Sidga. She was still the woman he knew as his friend the only
difference was the black leather clothing that she wore. It was a
reminder that she had been changed by the experience of this mission.
"Deanna, I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard." He said extending his hand.
She shook his hand.
"I know this must be strange for you. I apologise for my condition,
"There's no need to apologise, Coun…Deanna." He said, quickly
correcting himself. He turned to Riker. "Number One, take Deanna to
Sickbay and ask Beverley to begin Deanna's treatment as soon as
"This way, Deanna." He said indicating to the door. They left with
Deanna looking very lost on a ship that had been her home for so
Picard turned to Sidga.
"I take it that you can give me a report now, Commander?"
"Most definitely, Captain."
"Then let's retire to my Ready Room."
Captain's Log: Supplemental.
It has been three days since we
rescued Counsellor Troi and the other Betazoids from the Cardassian-
Dominion occupied Betazed. We have been joined by five other
Starfleet vessels; the U.S.S Tentative, London, Skyhawk, Williams
and Aura. This will ease the pressure of having so many hostages on
a small number of ships. The hostages will now be taken to Starbase
312, away from the pending danger of our next assignment. We will be
joined in a matter of days by two fleets of Romulan and Klingon
fighters; we are then to attempt to re-take Betazed. Gul Du'Rek and
his troops are having problems decoding Data's shield harmonics, but
I have ordered a security detail placed there for safety. We have
not been able to extract any information from Tam-Ren Karn or the
Deanna Troi's treatment has been successful and she has made a full
physical recovery from her injuries and amnesia. Emotionally,
however, it may take her a while to recover from the trauma that
this mission has caused her.
Captain's Log: Supplemental.
It has been three days since we
rescued Counsellor Troi and the other Betazoids from the Cardassian-
Dominion occupied Betazed. We have been joined by five other
Starfleet vessels; the U.S.S Tentative, London, Skyhawk, Williams
and Aura. This will ease the pressure of having so many hostages on
a small number of ships. The hostages will now be taken to Starbase
312, away from the pending danger of our next assignment. We will be
joined in a matter of days by two fleets of Romulan and Klingon
fighters; we are then to attempt to re-take Betazed. Gul Du'Rek and
his troops are having problems decoding Data's shield harmonics, but
I have ordered a security detail placed there for safety. We have
not been able to extract any information from Tam-Ren Karn or the
Deanna Troi's treatment has been successful and she has made a full
physical recovery from her injuries and amnesia. Emotionally,
however, it may take her a while to recover from the trauma that
this mission has caused her.
His ready room door chimed as he sat staring out into the darkness
"Come." He was not looking forward to this meeting, as he knew who
was on the other side of the door.
Beverley Crusher, PADD in hand, entered the room and sat down in
front of the desk. Neither of them spoke.
"You know why I'm here, Jean-Luc." Crusher finally broke the silence.
He nodded, finally turning in his chair, standing and walking to the
replicator and ordering two teas and a coffee.
He raised his hand as he turned to pick up the cups and placed a cup
of tea in front of her, the coffee next to her and then turned back
to take the other cup of tea for himself before sitting back down
and then activating the Comm link on his desk.
"Commander Riker, could you report to my Ready Room."
"Aye, sir." Came the disembodied reply.
"Jean-Luc, do you really think it's a good idea he's here for this
"Regardless of what it means personally, Beverley, he is still my EO
and needs to be aware of his staff's conditions. I take it the news
She opened her mouth to answer as the door chimed, so she clamped
her mouth shut, pursed her lips and simply shook her head.
"Thought so." He answered. "Come."
Will Riker's haggard form entered the room.
"Ah, Number One, please take a seat, there's a coffee waiting for
"Thanks, I could use one." He replied as he plonked down in the seat.
"You know why I've called you here, Will?"
"I'm assuming that it's got to do with the medical report on Deanna,
seeing as Beverley's here."
Beverley gave both men a sad nod before taking a deep breath and
"Many of the injuries Deanna sustained were cuts, abrasions and
bruising caused by repeatedly being pushed, punched and kicked; she
also suffered serve leather burns to both her wrists from being
restrained." Beverley paused composing herself. "Her amnesia, as we
thought before hand, was the result of internal injuries and a
concussion, which was sustained in the explosion during the rescue
mission from the Capital City; however it is clear that these
injuries were in fact sustained before then and then repaired; it is
most likely that they were caused by the crash."
Beverley stopped looking at the two men with her; Picard's face was
blushed in anger and Will Riker's jaw was working overtime.
"These injuries will not cause her any further concern, however, we
did find evidence to suggest that Deanna was…" Beverley felt her
eyes tear up. "Her other physical injuries suggest…." Her voice
"It's alright, Beverley, take your time." Soothed Picard.
She nodded before wiping her eyes and continuing.
"There is evidence that suggests that Deanna was the victim of
sexual assault and rape…"
Will Riker jumped up from his chair.
"Number One, please…" Picard gestured for his First Officer to sit
"And," continued Beverley, "it seems that these were repeated
Picard brought his hand down from the crown of his head to his chin.
"Physically Deanna will make a full recovery. Emotionally, however,
I cannot be so sure."
"Who…?" Riker began, physically shaking with rage.
"DNA results suggest that Karn was the main culprit…"
"Main culprit, Beverley? Are you saying there was more than one?"
Picard's voice was a shaky as she felt when she had first read the
"Yes." She said quietly.
"I'll kill him, damn him, I'll kill him!" Riker exploded, heading
for the Ready Room door.
"Number One…" Picard warned, stopping the tall man in his tracks.
"Will, don't…" Beverley pleaded
"How can I just let him get away with this, Beverley? How can I just
stand back and know…?" His voice failed him as he sunk to his knees
and sobbed helplessly.
Beverley got up and knelt beside him, taking him in her arms and
soothing him as best she could.
"I know, Will, believe me I know how hard this is."
"When you reversed the affects of the amnesia did she remember
anything about the attacks?" Asked Picard.
Beverley shook her head, still holding the First Officer who had now
quietened to a few sniffles.
"No, but she will soon, now that she is completely recovered from
the amnesia. Her mind is likely to start repairing itself and she
will remember the attacks she's been blocking out."
She tossed and turned, getting herself caught up in her bed sheets
as she tried to physically get away from the invisible hand that
invaded her body as she slept. Her breathing was rugged and
laboured, and her entire body was covered in sweat, as the scenes
played over and over again in her mind.
`You will always be mine….' The voice echoed in her head, as she
bolted up into a sitting position. Dazed and confused she looked
around the darkness of her quarters. Still she could feel him; still
the sensation of his rough hands doing as they pleased to her body
remained. The nausea that had overcome her for the passed few
nights had returned, but this time she knew she was going to be
sick. She threw back her bed covers and quickly got out of bed,
trembling, and stumbled to the floor. Her tears fell fast and hot
and made it difficult to see, so she forced herself to crawl to the
bathroom. She made it just in time and retched into the toilet. Wave
after wave of nausea assailed her, cramping her stomach and burning
her throat until she was convinced her very inside were going to
When she had finally stopped, she lay trembling and exhausted on her
bathroom floor, the silent tears seemed like they would never end.
Will Riker strode down the silent corridor of the Enterprise, he
loved to walk through the ship during the night shift, he had
decided to go to Ten-Forward before retiring for the night, but what
he really wanted to do was see Deanna. They had seen so little of
each other since their return from Betazed and after the news he'd
gotten from Beverley that morning he was desperate to be with her,
but he knew she would be sleeping now, it wouldn't be fair to
disturb her for his own comfort and reassurance.
His thoughts as he strode down the corridor remained on Deanna and
without warning he felt a fear and panic tear through him, he knew
instantly that the emotions he felt were not his own.
Racing through the corridors he reached the doors to Deanna's cabin
in record time, but what to do next, did he just let himself in and
risk frightening her further or announce himself first?
He pressed the door chime and waited…. Nothing. He pressed it
again…. Again, nothing. Become increasingly worried he entered the
security code and entered the pitch black cabin.
Her living quarters were empty so he made his way to the bedroom.
Stepping inside, they too were empty, but the bedclothes were throw
untidily across the floor. Fear stabbed at him, had Karn escaped
from the brig and come back for her? No he'd be the first to know of
anything like that. He noticed that the sheets all lead in the
direction of her bathroom so he made his way there.
And that's how he found her – sweating, shivering, crying and
crouched into a foetal position laying beside her toilet. He
couldn't contain himself, he ran to her, kneeling beside her.
He gathered her in his arms, but she began shrieking and trying to
pull away from him,
"No, no, no! Don't! No, please!"
He felt his heart shattering to see her laying in his arms, reacting
to him as if all she could see was Karn and the others who had
"Deanna, Imzadi, it's ok, it's me, Will"
He couldn't let go of her, he put his palm to her cheek in the way
that she'd always loved, but even that seemed to have no effect. Her
eyes widened even further with absolute terror at his touch and she
stiffened in his arms, the thrashing stopped. His own eyes watered
and his tears fell unchecked.
"Please, Imzadi, it's me, Will."
She stared at him blankly, her tears falling silently down her