Star Trek Titan: "Circle of Fate" part II


Star Trek Titan - "Circle of Fate" part II

Riker, Troi, Daniels, Barclay and a couple of security guards stood in the middle of the Romulan senate chamber. It was empty. Even though he had not been here a few weeks ago, Picard had, it reminded him in a way to the chamber of the Scimitar where they had first met Shinzon.

The lights were low. In fact, the only light at all was natural coming in from the windows. "Praetor?" he called out, his voice echoing sharply.

Suddenly the large steel door behind them opened and the Praetor entered followed by a rather large delegation. Riker assumed they were senators. She said nothing until she and her followers stood completely in front of the away team.

"Welcome back to Romulus, Captain." A pair of piercing Romulan eyes burned his own and for the first time since they arrived he began to not only feel nervous, but uncomfortable.

"Praetor Donatra, it is an honor to be standing in the senate chamber of the Empire. I hope that this tremendous step will be one in the right direction. You seem well respected as the new leader of Romulus."

She smiled at his tactful response. "Of the Empire, Captain. I helped your ship fight off the Remans in the middle of a battle. I can assure you that my attempts at these talks are genuine."

"And those of your colleagues?" Riker asked.

She did not answer. Her stare only became more intense.

From behind him, Will felt something coming from Deanna. A feeling perhaps. One of uncertainty. Ever so carefully he tipped his chin in her direction, never quite taking his eyes off of Donatra who still hadn't answered his question.

After staring at each other for longer than what was comfortable, Riker accepted that she wasn't prepared to answer. "Am I to assume that there are mixed feelings about us being here?" Riker asked.

Donatra broke her stare and took in a breath, looking relieved as she did so. "Can you tell me, Captain, that there are no mixed feelings from your people about being here?"

Will smiled. It was unexpected by all who were there. His body posture seemed to loosen a bit, allowing a more casual air to be let into the room. "Well, Praetor. It seems that we have already found common ground. The Federation and Romulan Empire have never met like this before. I think it's only natural that all parties are a little tense."

Donatra narrowed her eyes and lifted her chin. It felt to Riker as if she were looking down upon him even though he was a head taller. "Of course. It is only natural. Why don't you and your officers come into the adjoining room. There are drinks and we can begin to discuss the terms on which these talks will progress."

Riker bowed his head politely and the others followed him and the Romulan delegation as they were lead from the floor of the chamber.

Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Titan…to explore strange, new worlds…to seek out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no one has gone beore.



Captain William T. Riker

Commander Aaron Jameson

Counselor Deanna Troi

Chief Engineer Miles O'Brien

Lt. Commander Reginald Barclay

Dr. Julian Bashir

Keiko O'Brien

Lt. Wesley Crusher


Lt. Michael Daniels


Written by Sarah and Tiff

It was his first meeting of the senior staff in the observation lounge. The long shiny table that curved inward, almost forming a crescent donned the middle of the room. Ten chairs surrounded the table and there were two large computer screens on either end of the room to allow group reviews of certain phenomena. The most prominent feature of the room, however, were the windows that offered a view second only to those of Ten Forward.

Riker looked over his staff and sat at the head of the table. "Thoughts." They had just returned from Romulus and the reminder of their trip hung in space just outside of the windows.

Lt. Daniels pulled his chair closer to the table and chose to speak first. "The atmosphere of the entire place was tense. The Praetor's guards seemed to be watching every move we made."

"I agree with Michael," Deanna said. "The emotions I sensed from them were cautious at best. I sensed the same from us, but they seemed to be hiding something. Especially Donatra."

"So you think that perhaps they're not being as sincere as they want to lead us to believe?" Riker asked.

Troi shrugged, "I'm not sure. The Romulans have isolated themselves. They are a powerful force but only because they have refused any outsiders access to their homeworld. This is the first time in a very long time that anyone has visited."

Riker nodded in thought. "I guess the Federation being their first visit would have them on edge. I think that two or three more days of talk with them will be sufficient enough. The task force can take over from there. I for one will be glad to leave them to it."

A few smiles were exchanged around the table before the Captain spoke again. "I want our engines and weapon systems up to full par. Give me something extra if you can Mr. O'Brien. Reg, you help him. If anything goes sour I don't want to be a sitting duck in the visitors ball park. Dr. Bashir, prepare sickbay for any potential casualties that we might have. Dismissed."

Everyone hurried to their assignments, all except for Deanna. She waited until the others had left and looked down at Will who had yet to rise from his chair. He looked worried. In a way, she felt sorry for the man. Not many Captains had such a difficult assignment to start out with. But he was handling it well.

She moved to sit in a chair next to him, it had been occupied by Jameson. "You're worried," she said.

Riker looked down at the table and folded his hands. "It's times like these that I wish Captain Picard were here."

Deanna put a loving hand on his arm and squeezed gently. "You're doing wonderful. For whatever else I sensed from Donatra and the other senators, I also sensed that they respect you a great deal. You have a gift for negotiations, Captain."

"Then how come they don't work with you?" he asked with a smile.

Deanna released his arm and sat back in her chair. "Because I'm smarter than the average Romulan. And don't you forget it."

Will held up his hands. "Duly noted. You know, you're not so bad yourself. Maybe you should take over for me. After all, you do have more experience when it comes to Romulans than I do."

At that, Troi frowned. "True. But I didn't get out of that experience by negotiating. However, I did learn that there are Romulans out there who would like nothing more than to work with us. They're not so bad once you get to know them."

Riker leaned on the arm of his chair and stroked his beard. "I'm not sure if Donatra is a Romulan that I want to get to know. There's something about her that's different than when we met her before."

"Well, you know what they say. Power corrupts. But you're right. She didn't seem like the kind of person that would give over so easily."

Riker stood and pulled his wife up with him. "We don't know if she has given over. Maybe we're all so nervous that our judgment isn't what it should be."

Deanna placed a palm on his chest. "Or maybe it is," she said in a quiet voice.

Riker put a hand over hers. "Maybe. I need to contact the admiral. See you tonight?"

Deanna stood on her toes and kissed his cheek. It was all she dared to do. "See you tonight." Riker watched her walk out the door.

Sickbay was full of tension from the first encounter with the Romulans. Bashir couldn' t blame many people on his staff for their uneasiness. After all, for years they had been the sworn enemy. He didn't like the mood of his sickbay. That is exactly why he had gathered his staff together.

"Ladies and Gentlemen we are here on a matter of peace so I can assure that Captain Riker will do everything in his power to avoid conflict." Bashir said. "Now I need you all focused. We have a long mission ahead of us."

Just then Bashir turned as the sickbay doors opened to reveal a somewhat disheveled looking science officer.

"Doctor! Doctor, who is the Doctor? I am in need of grave medical attention," said the distraught visitor.

Bashir sighed to himself. He had read the medical personnel logs when he came aboard as well as Counselor Troi's psychological evaluations and knew exactly who would barge into sickbay and cause a wide out panic. "Reginald Barclay," Bashir said to himself.

"Please I need to speak to the Doctor immediately." Barclay continued.

Bashir smiled slightly "Yes Mr. Barclay is going to be a most interesting person to work with," Bashir thought. Out loud he said, "What seems to be in trouble here?"

"Oh! Doctor thank god, please you have to do something for me," Barclay said.

"I will if you would just calmly tell me what the problem is," Bashir encouraged.

"Well, my hands they won't stop shaking and they are all sweaty," Barclay began and Bashir pulled out his tricorder to began his scan. "And I have this pang in my chest," Barclay finished.

"A pang you say-oh, dear-this doesn't look good at all," Bashir stated playing on the dramatics.

"What? Doctor what is it?" Barclay asked.

"Well it seems you are suffering from a mild case of anxiety." Bashir stated and shut is tricorder. "I would say that being this close to Romulus and these talks are stressing you out Mr. Barclay."

"Really? Well what about my eyes? Are my pupils dilating?" asked Barclay.

"Your eyes are fine and you will be too," Bashir said. "Now I suggest you either go back to your quarters and relax or try the new holosuite programs," he said.

"The holo-what?" asked Barclay.

"Damm, I keep forgetting that it's the holodeck on board a starship." Bashir said rather annoyed. "Well try the-whatever-they are called on deck 22."

Barclay just stood there in stunned silenced and then said out loud, "Actually they both mean the same thing so in actuality you were correct on calling it a holosuite."

Bashir smiled, "Sorry for the outburst it is just taking some time to adjust to a life on board a vessel that darts from place to place."

Barclay smiled and began to feel at ease with the doctor, "I can understand. When I went to Earth for a few years it took me sometime to adjust as well," Barclay said. "So I understand perfectly what you are going through."

"Thanks Mr. Barclay it's nice to know I have something in common with someone on this hunk of metal," Bashir stated.

"How did you know my name?" asked Barclay.

"Oh I read your medical file and Counselor Troi's assessment file, so let's just say I was well warned," Bashir said. "Next time please try to stay calm, I can't have you frightening away all the help now can I."

"Sorry Dr…," Barclay trailed off, not sure of the new doctor's name.

"Dr. Bashir…Julian Bashir," he said and stuck out his hand. "It was nice to meet you."

"Oh yes quite," said Barclay as he shook Bashir's hand.

"Say Mr. Barclay how about we meet at holodeck two at 16:00 and try out those new programs?" asked the doctor.

"I would love to," Barclay said, excited at the prospect.

"Great see you then," said Bashir. "Oh and Mr. Barclay when we are not in a crisis you may call me Julian."

"Yes and its Reg," Barclay said. "When I am not in a crisis."

Barclay walked out of sickbay and Bashir simply smiled resuming his duties. "Maybe," he thought, "This won't be so bad after all."

Outside sickbay Reg Barclay looked over his shoulder at the now closed sickbay doors. He had done it; he had actually had a real conversation with someone. Oh, this was so exciting he needed to find Deanna and tell her about his progress. Reg took one step to the left and ran directly into the wall of the corridor. A young ensign giggled as they walked by.

"Ah yes this wall seems to be in working order," he stated, hoping to recapture some of his diginity, then went off in hunt of Troi.

All was quiet on the bridge during the day watch. Jameson sat in the captain's chair at the moment while Riker was in his ready room getting ready to talk to Admiral Paris about their mission.

Will heard a voice come in over the communications channel as he sat behind his desk. <<Captain, subspace channel is linked to Starfleet Command.>>

"Very good," he answered. "Send it to the ready room." He waited a few seconds before activating the computer in front of him.

The image of Admiral Paris in his office on Earth appeared immediately. "Will. It's good to see you. I take it that you've completed the first part of your mission?"

Riker nodded, "Yes, sir. Praetor Donatra showed us a great time on Romulus today." A grin crept up on Riker's face. It was mirrored by the one of Paris' face.

"So it went well?" Paris asked.

Riker took in a deep breath before reporting as best he could on a situation that he didn't quite understand. "She seems willing and open-minded. However, I and the rest of my staff feel that she's holding something back. The Romulan senate is still skeptical. There are a few senators that are willing to proceed with the negotiations. When I talk with her tomorrow, I will bring a couple of members of the task force who will stay behind after the Titan leaves."

Paris' expression was one of approval. "It doesn't sound as bad as some of us thought it would be. If we can establish some sort of trade with them, it would help to build that trust. Any word on whether or not she is willing to reduce the number of patrol ships along the border?"

"No sir," Riker said. "She seemed only interested in diplomatic talk today. There were details that she wanted worked out. I plan to introduce both of our ideas to her tomorrow."

"Very well, Captain. I'm sure that we can get something worked out. We're all on pins and needles here, waiting to see what they're going to do."

"You are?" Riker said. "I think it's fair to say that we are here as well. Not to mention that Romulus is right outside my window."

Paris laughed and he could indeed see Romulus rotating through the window behind Riker. "You win, Captain. Don't worry, we all know that the Titan and this mission are in good hands."

"Thank you, sir," Riker said as he leaned forward on his elbows.

"Speaking of the Titan, Will, how is she doing?"

Will's face seemed to perk up. "Not bad. All departments are up and running. My crew's been great. I still haven't unpacked."

"Well, then perhaps you should shut me off and get settled in while you can."

Riker smiled, "I'll contact you as soon as the talks are completed tomorrow."

Will saw Paris reach for a button beside his computer. "I'll look forward to it. Paris out." He tapped the button and Riker's screen went black.

Will sat there for a moment just looking at the blank screen before getting up to stand in front of his window. It was amazing how much Romulus looked like Earth from orbit. It made him wonder what it looked like planet side. Maybe, just maybe one day he could find out first hand. When he wasn't in the stuffy senate chamber, that is.

Julian and Reg headed back to Ten Forward from the holodeck were the two had enjoyed exploring all the holodeck had to offer.

"Wow! I didn't know the holodeck could be so amazingly complex," said Julian.

"Yes, and that was only a few basic programs there are thousands more," said Reg. "This whole ship reminds me so much of the Enterprise D."

"Really? I didn't get to see that ship all that much. It was-" began Julian but he was soon interrupted by Reg.

"My quarters are almost in the exact same place as they were on the D and much of the ships layout is the same," said Reg oblivious to Julian's now apparent discomfort. "Much of the functions are the same as well as the technical design of the ship."

"My god here we go again" Julian thought to himself. "On and on about the mighty Enterprise D." He didn't understand what was go great about the Titan. He desperately missed life aboard Deep Space Nine and was now wondering why he ever left such a life. It was true that this posting wasn't his only choice. There was the Assistant Head of Star Fleet Medical he was offered and the Head of Medical on Tironus IV. Or he could have even taken the professorship at the University of Betazed. Now listening to Reg's constant babble of how great the Titan was and how similar to the Enterprise it was, Julian was ready to hand in his resignation.

"Of course since the two ships are so much alike it really makes life much easier," said Reg ignorant of Julian's thoughts.

"Not for all," stated Julian matter-of-factly.

"Excuse me?" as Reg.

"I said not everyone is familiar with the D," Julian said rather heatedly.

"I'm sorry, Julian, I didn't mean-" Reg started but was interrupted.

"All I have heard since I came on board is 'this is a starship Doctor we do things differently' or 'the Titan is really like the Enterprise D isn't it'," Julian said. "I don't care about the Enterprise and I don't care how things are done differently here. People really need to start to take a look around them and see the predicament we are in. Has anyone cared to notice that we are orbiting Romulus?" the floodgate had opened. "No they haven't, they are too busy gawking over the damm ship. The one's that have noticed are the little ensigns that I have in my sickbay. God forbid they have to defend the ship if the unthinkable should happen."

"Julian, I didn't know- " Reg tried again.

Julian raised his hands and said, "Save it right now all I want to do is say goodnight and go to my cabin and work on my paperwork," and with that he walked down the corridor and around the corner leaving a bewildered Barclay standing alone.

Nighttime had come over the now weary crew of the U.S.S. Titan. It had proven to be a long and difficult discussion with Dontra. Deanna had sensed that she had been hiding something throughout the talks. Now, however, Deanna was not going to think of such things. She was officially off duty and so was Will and it was now time for some real deserved time out with her husband. Deanna gave one last look in the mirror and headed to the bedroom.

Will was laying on the bed seriously reviewing a data padd on the proposals. He had never been more worn out in his life as he was at this moment. Just two more pages, Will thought to himself. He was beginning to see why Picard always looked so awful all those years. He was looking forward to finishing this report then cuddling up to the nice firm body of his wife.

"Will you have been at it for hours," Deanna said as she flopped down beside him on the bed "You need a break," then reached over took the padd from Will and planted a kiss on his lips.

Will pulled back quickly and retrieved his padd. "Deanna I need to finish this tonight," Will said smiling.

"Will please this is our first night on our first mission," Deanna began.

"Yes and as the Captain who is the key figure in these negations I need to know their proposals up side down and backwards," Will said and went back to reading.

Deanna was not hearing it as she tried once again to distract her husband. Deanna nuzzled up to Will and started to plant kisses along is neck.

"Mhmm, your up to no good Counselor," Will said.

"I am in charge of the well being of the crew and right now my main concern is on an over worked captain," Deanna said seductively.

"Dee, honey I love you and right now I would give my right arm to lay you down and show you how much but I really need to finish this," Will said and planted a final kiss on her lips.

"Will, we haven't had a moment alone since we shipped out," Deanna began. "I am starting to wonder if we really are married since we don't engage in the normal marital activities."

"Now, Deanna, you knew what you were getting into when we walked down the aisle," Will said defensively. "As much as I want to right now my duty is to these talks with the Romulans."

"I knew that I was marrying a Captain, but I had assumed that my husband would be able to separate duty from his personal life," Deanna said with a hint of anger in her voice.

"Deanna, I am not in the mood to fight with you on this," Will said rather annoyed. He didn't understand what was wrong with Deanna didn't she know how important these talks were to the Federation. She was starting to remind him of horny teenager.

"You never are in the mood your always in command mode," Deanna said. "I am going to bed please be considerate and don't read to long you know the light keeps me awake and I do have appointments tomorrow."

"Fine goodnight and you needn't worry I am going to my ready room to finish this," Will said then rose from the bed and walked out of their quarters.

"Computer lights out," Deanna said then laid there in the darkness and cried. They had just had their first argument.


Aaron Jameson sat in the command chair of the bridge reviewing a data pad. Frankly, he was still catching up on some work that he had yet to do. The night watch was always slow, he had discovered this on his last post. About the only eventful thing that had happened was a flustered looking Captain practically storming into his ready room.

He knew Will Riker and he knew that Will never gave up the opportunity to be with a beautiful woman at night. His bridge shift wasn't supposed to begin for another few hours. After Jameson had weighed all the possibilities as to why Riker was on the bridge, he decided that there must be trouble in paradise.

For a moment, Jameson wondered if he should talk to Will about it. Maybe he needed to let off some steam. He had certainly done that on a regular basis at the Academy. He was about to follow up on his thought when a loud beeping came from one of the bridge stations. An ensign from the skeleton crew intercepted it.

"Commander, there's a hail coming in from Romulus. Priority one."

Aaron stood up quickly and tossed the data pad in the chair behind him. "On screen." He didn't want to bother the Captain if he could handle it himself.

The face of a Romulan filled the screen. It was one of Praetor Donatra's viceroys. "I have a message for Captain Riker. May I speak to him?"

Jameson shifted and clasped his hands behind his back. "I can give the Captain your message. He is occupied at the moment."

The Romulan hesitated momentarily but then came to a decision. "Very well. You may deliver the message. Tell him that the Praetor wishes to speak with him immediately. She will beam aboard if it is more convenient for Captain Riker."

"I'll give him the message," Jameson was about to say something else but the connection was terminated as soon as the Viceroy heard what he wanted to hear.

"Nice talking to you too," Aaron said as he made his way to the ready room.

Inside his temporary sanctuary, Will sat on the couch below the painting of the Titan. He was tired. He was more than tired to be honest and he wanted more than anything to be curled up in bed with his wife. If she had just given him thirty more minutes, he could have had it done and given her what they both wanted. Unfortunately, she wasn't willing to give him that time. Maybe he shouldn't be up this late going over reports, but he had to get the work done before he met with Donatra in the morning.

The door chimed and he groaned in frustration. Deanna wasn't the only one not willing to give him the time he needed. "Who is it?" he called out.

"Aaron," came the reply.

"Come in," Riker said. He shut off his data padd and watched Aaron enter and sit down next to him. "Did you get lonely on the bridge?" Riker asked.

Jameson shot him a look and grabbed the data padd from Riker's hand, turning it on. "Wow, looks like someone's been having a regular old party tonight."

Will jerked the padd back. "Is there something I can do for you?"

Aaron sat up straighter and became all business. "We just received a priority one hail from one of the Praetor's viceroys. She wants to talk to you immediately. She offered to come aboard if it was easier."

Riker sat back and rubbed his hands over his face. "What does she want?"

Jameson shrugged. "Beats me. What should I tell them?"

Riker moved his eyes over the contents of his ready room and sighed. "Tell her to beam aboard. You meet her and escort her here."

"Aye, sir." Aaron shot up and was out the door a second later.

Fifteen minutes later Riker sat behind his desk, anxiously awaiting Donatra's arrival. He had rushed through as much of the remaining material on his data padd as possible and had combed his hair again. He had forgotten to do that before he left his quarters.

The door chime sounded and he called for them to come in. Jameson entered after Donatra and at the look of Riker, he stepped back out of the room and let the doors shut. "Captain," Donatra said, "I appreciate you seeing me in the middle of your night."

"I was up anyway. What is so important that it couldn't wait until morning?"

She still stood in front of his desk, this time truly looking down at him. "I do not wish for any member of the task force to join us tomorrow, Captain."

Suddenly, Riker was confused. "Praetor, our agreement was that I only begin the talks. The task force will stay for as long as it takes to work out any negotiations. I will only be here for the most important and final negotiations."

Donatra eyed him carefully and slowly paced over to his fish tank. She stood watching the angelfish with all the fascination a Romulan could muster.

"Captain," she said, her back turned to him, "I am aware of our initial agreement. However, further discussion with the senate warrants me to reconsider the terms. I believe that it is in the best interest of our people that you and I remain the primary negotiators."

"Why?" Riker asked.

Donatra turned back to him and moved to stand in front of his desk again. "You and I both know that if the task force is allowed to determine these talks, nothing will be accomplished. The talk will be diplomatic, insincere. It is in the best interest of both our peoples if you stay."

Will sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Praetor, the talk will only be insincere if the Romulans want it to be. The Federation did not send us all the way to Romulus to be diplomatic. We have been enemies long enough. The potential for us becoming allies is enormous. The advancements that have been made in the last century can be shared. We can learn from each other. Grow. That is what the task force hopes to accomplish but they can't do it alone. Your leadership will be needed. Especially when you still have those who don't want to trust us."

"Do you trust us, Captain?" she asked.

Riker pushed away from the desk and stood. He walked around to where she was. "I want to. We're willing to meet you halfway. But my wife once said something to me that I have never forgotten. Trust is earned, not bestowed. You haven't been straightforward with me from the beginning. You have yet to tell us how you handled the internal situation with the Remans-"

"That's because the situation is internal, Captain," Donatra said, annoyance clearly in her voice. "It is none of your concern at this time."

Riker raised his chin in his customary manner. He swallowed a seed of anger beginning to sprout. If there was one thing to learn from Picard, it was patients. "The Titan has other duties to Starfleet, Praetor. We cannot sit here for weeks, maybe months until that trust has been earned. That job falls to the task force and that is who you will have to deal with starting tomorrow. I plan to leave in two days. When negotiations reach the final stage, I will return, or you may visit us. Then we can complete what we started."

Donatra turned and began to walk to the doors. Riker was afraid that she was about to walk out. She turned just before the doors could open. "I will allow one person from the task force to be present at the meetings tomorrow. No more."

Riker's eyes narrowed and he took a couple of steps toward her. "Fine…for now. We'll discuss this more tomorrow. Right now, I think it would be best if we called it a night." Will tapped his badge, "Riker to Jameson, the Praetor is ready to beam back to the surface."


"Thank you for your time, Captain. It has been…enlightening," the Praetor said. Then Jameson entered and escorted Donatra from the room.

"I don't know about you, but I'm not feeling any better even though we've been through the first talks," Daniels said. He, Wesley, and a new officer, Brent Addington were seated around a table in Ten Forward. Wesley and Brent were officers on the night shift in engineering and they were simply on their 'lunch' break. Daniels, however, just couldn't sleep.

Wesley finished off his sandwich and began to talk with his mouthful. "If there was anyone who I'd trust to get us through this, it's Captain Riker. He's the best there is."

Addington kept his mouth shut, being the only one who had never served with the man. Daniels had taken Worf's place as chief of security on the Enterprise E. He'd served with Riker for seven years. Wesley had been partially raised by Riker while his mother had been away at Starfleet Medical. Exactly where she was now.

"I just wish we didn't have to come to Romulus. On the Enterprise, the other party always came to us," Daniels said.

Wesley shrugged, "We're just putting out hand out first. At least the Romulans wanted to talk. That, in and of itself, is nothing short of a miracle."

"Why did I take this assignment?" Addington finally spoke. "I mean, I just graduated from the Academy and already I'm in orbit around Romulus, not knowing if we'll be blasted out of the sky or not."

Both Wesley and Michael laughed, not helping Brent's situation in the least. They had been through scarier missions before. They had the luxury to laugh. In fact, the pressure that they had all built up caused them to laugh even harder and it wasn't long before Brent joined in.

After exhausting her share of tears Deanna found that she couldn't sleep and headed to Ten Forward. She also noticed that she wasn't the only one who couldn't sleep, watching the table of three young men apparently enjoying themselves. Sitting there, turning her gaze out at the planet Romulus she felt a presence creeping closer to her.

"You know, Guinan, it isn't nice to sneak up on people," Deanna said turning around to see the kind of face of one of her closet friends.

"Well since you are the empath it wouldn't be sneaking now would it," Guinan said smiling and sat down beside Deanna. "And what do I owe this visit so late into the ships night? I was sure you and your husband would have better things to do?"

"Oh, he had plenty of important things to do," Deanna began. "I am just not one of them."

"Ah. The dear Captain is very deeply concerned with these talks," Guinan said.

"Deep doesn't begin," Deanna said. "He doesn't have time for anything else."

"Well he needs to keep his focus for the sake of us all as well as the Federation," Guinan said.

"Federation be dammed," Deanna said. "This is one time the entire Universe could blow up and I wouldn't care." Deanna looked at Guinan, "It is times like these that I wonder if Will and I are truly going to last. He gets so absorbed into things and I wonder if he even notices."

"Notices that his wife is very upset with his lack of attention toward her-I can assure you he does," Guinan stated.

"I doubt it," Deanna said. "If it's not on that padd or in that transmission he is reviewing then I think he blocks it out."

"Well you told me yourself once that you and he have a special a bond," began Guinan. "And I can assure bonds are not easily turned off. I tell you that not only does he know your tension and he is feeling at as well."

"I just want my husband," Deanna said.

"Deanna he wants you as well and he can sense your want for him," Guinan softly said. "But sometimes as a ships Captain duty comes before anything else. Even love."

"I know I really do but I-" Deanna started but Guinan chimed in.

"You just don't want to live with it," she said.

"Yes, I guess so," Deanna said then added, "Well the honeymoon is over for sure."

"No Counselor the honeymoon is not over it's just been put on hold," Guinan said. "I know Will and he wants to make sure that when he is with you he can give all of him over to the moment. He couldn't settle for anything less then everything. Right now he can't do that."

"I know," Deanna said, "I just hope he doesn't hold out too long."

"I would say he couldn't Counselor," Guinan said and smirked. "If memory serves me correct your dear husband has quite the drive."

"Guinan," Deanna said shocked by the hostesses choice of words. Deanna then began to start laughing at the truth of the words. "You watched him too closely I think."

"Yes I did," Guinan said, "but still I know he can't hold out from you for too long."

"Yes, you're right. I should cut him some slack. He is the Captain after all," Deanna said.

"And you are the Captain's wife and you are entitled to lodging a complaint once and while," Guinan said smiling and then turned serious. "Deanna just try and remember that. He needs you more than he knows. Be patient and remember I am here when you need to talk."

"Thanks and I will," said Deanna.

"Look on the bright side Counselor," Guinan began and Deanna waited, "When you are together you will appreciate it more and it will be more magical."

"Thanks, Guinan I really needed a good head slap," Deanna smiled and rose from her chair.

Guinan rose too, "Just doing my job," she said.

With that Deanna left and headed for Will's ready room. She needed to apologize to him for being so cross.

As Deanna walked out the doors Guinan smiled to herself. Fate had been kind to those two and she hoped it would spare them a little longer. She knew Deanna to be one the most patient persons she had ever known but as a woman she knew that Deanna's patience couldn't hold out too long. She had hoped and prayed that Will and Deanna had the type of marriage that one would only dream of. However, Guinan could sense trouble ahead for the fated couple.


Darkness had fallen on Romulus and Donatra sat at the table in the room adjacent to the senate floor. It was at this table where she held the talks with the Federation. In the morning, a member of the task force would be sitting at the table as well. It was a matter that she was not pleased with.

Footsteps could be heard in the hollow room and she saw her Viceroy enter. He was the one who had sent her message to the Titan a few hours ago. He was also her closest ally in this whole process. "Commander Talik has concerns. You should not have agreed to let the task force delegate join Riker tomorrow."

"I had no choice. It is too soon. They've only been here a day. We agreed that it would take years."

The Viceroy leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. "Talik is impatient, you must keep that in mind. He nearly drove Shinzon to kill him."

Donatra snapped her head in his direction. "I am more than aware of that. T'Shara is the one we need to worry about. I have less control over her than I have of Commander Talik."

"Perhaps you're right, Praetor. Former members of the Tal Shiar have a way of getting what they want. T'Shara is no exception."

Donatra rose from her seated position. "Have someone watch her every move. If we are to be successful, we must keep her and the Remans away from the task force and the negotiations."

The Viceroy bowed his head and backed out of the room. Donatra closed her eyes. Perhaps she should call it a night as Riker had put it. They had a long day ahead of them tomorrow.

Reg causally walked into Sickbay in search of Dr. Bashir. He had wanted to apologize for his rambling but Bashir would not even give him the time of day. He had wanted to make the Doctor more at ease with his new posting but it seemed Reg had annoyed him more.

"Hi, Julian," Reg said as he walked up behind Bashir reading a medical screen.

"What seems to the problem Mr. Barclay?" Bashir asked, not bothering to look at him.

"I just wanted to see if you wanted to get together later and grab a bite," Reg said.

"No thanks, Mr. Barclay I am much to busy," Bashir said, then brushed aside Reg.

"Look, Julian, I am sorry for my rambling on about the Enterprise," Reg began, "When I start talking about something of great interest to me I tend to go on and on about it."

"You know what would be nice?" Bashir said. "I would love to walk into the turbolift and say Promenade and the computer know where that was. Or say holosuite and not be looked at as if I am some kind of moron."

"I know that it can be hard adjusting-" Reg began.

"No you don't. You have served on a starship most of your career," Bashir said. Reg began to hear a sample of anger creep up in Bashir's words.

"Julian, I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I was on Earth," Reg said. "I want to help you adjust."

"If you want to help me Mr. Barclay you will leave me alone so I can attend to my duties," Bashir said. "And I am sure you have duties to perform."

With that Bashir walked away and over to a patient and Reg turned and walked out of Sickbay. He had been so excited at being able to make friends so soon on his new post. Now it seemed he had screwed up again. Maybe he was better off spending time in the holodeck alone. It would have been nice to have a real friend who did exist outside the holodeck. Julian and Deanna were the only two people on board who seemed to acknowledge him. He had yet to meet with Captain Riker but was sure Riker's demeanor had not changed. Miles had Keiko and their two children to worry about and didn't seem to have much time for socializing. Reg sighed deeply and then stepped into the turbolift. His destination-the holodeck.

Will was having a hard time keeping his focus on the his computer screen. He hadn't been able to concentrate since he arrived in his ready room. His mind had been on his fight with Deanna. It had been their first argument since the wedding and Will felt awful. He brushed his wife off as if she didn't matter to him. Will cursed himself. She had been concerned for him and for his well being. Deanna knew him better then he knew himself and he should have listened to her. Now here he sit in his ready room and had not been able to accomplish anything since he left Deanna in their quarters, except for the unexpected visit by Donatra.

He remembered the way Deanna had kissed his neck. Deanna was incredibly sexy and he was blessed to have her again and this time forever. He closed his eyes and could see Deanna smiling back at him. He wished she were here so he could take back those uncaring words. Just then the door chimes rang disturbing him from his daydream.

"Come," he said. He then smiled, "Deanna."

The doors shut and his visitor walked to his desk and then took her favorite position curled up in his lap.

"I thought we had decided that this was not proper conduct for the Captain and the ships Counselor?" Will asked teasingly pulling his wife's body closer to him relishing the moment to be with her.

"It is when the ships Counselor needs to apologize for her behavior," Deanna said looking into his eyes.

"No, Deanna I am the one who needs to apologize. I dismissed you and your feelings like they weren't important," Will said. "You have every right to be angry."

"Shhhhh," Deanna said placing her fingers then her lips to his lips. The two sat there and became absorbed in the kiss.

They reluctantly pulled apart. "You are the Captain and sometimes you will have to dismiss me," she said still breathless from their kiss.

"But, I don't want to Imzadi," he said and held her tighter. "You are my whole world."

"I know that now. I went to Ten Forward and had a talk with Guinan after you left," she said.

"Guinan is proving to be quite the Counselor for the Counselor," Will said smiling.
"What did she have to say?"

"Yes, you are right about that and she thinks that-" Deanna was cut off by a voice in the air.

<<Jameson to Riker.>>

Riker looked apologetic to Deanna, "Yes, Commander."

<<Sir, I don't mean to mother hen you, but you meet with the Praetor in four hours and you have yet to get any sleep. I'll watch everything here.>>

"No need to worry, Commander. I have a feeling Deanna's about to relieve me as well. Riker out."

Will hugged Deanna to him, "I guess I'm going to have to come down and tuck you in properly Counselor."

"I am going to hold you to that Captain," Deanna said and gave her husband a kiss that she knew would make him keep his promise.

"You better my love," he said after the kiss ended.

Deanna removed herself from Will's lap and pulled him up with her, "Captain, I will relieve you of your duties." They walked out of the room and left the bridge to Jameson.

When Riker arrived in the senate chambers early the next morning, it was only with one member of the task force and Deanna by his side. They stood in the center of the floor and in front of them was Donatra and two of her viceroys.

"Welcome back, Captain. I see you have kept to our agreement."

Riker nodded and gestured with his hand at the delegate. "This is Captain Pearson. He will take over for me when I leave. I have informed him of everything we have discussed. If there's anyone you should trust, it's him."

Pearson immediately stepped forward and held out his hand for the Praetor to take. She did so cautiously. "Praetor, it is an honor to finally meet you. Captain Riker has told me that you are a capable leader. I hope that we can put our talents together and come up with a finished product that both our peoples will be happy with."

Donatra smiled and it looked genuine. Perhaps she would accept the task force, Riker thought. "The feeling is mutual, Captain Pearson."

Deanna felt Will's mood change at the apparent acceptance of Donatra. "Praetor," he said, "We would like to suggest ways that the trust between us can begin to build. It would also be a sign to others that something is being accomplished here."

"I'm listening, Captain."

Will let out a breath and looked her in the eyes. "We both reduce the number of patrol ships along the borders of our shared Neutral Zone. Then we would like to discuss trade."

Donatra's smile grew, "Captain, I applaud such bold move, but you must realize that I cannot do that. Our patrol is already stretched as it is. I couldn't possibly reduce it more."

"Praetor," Pearson said, "It is a mutual step that we will both take. It must be taken to begin building that trust."

"Why not something not so drastic to start with? Trade, perhaps would be better."

Riker shot Troi a look. Drastic? They were only talking about a few ships. Deanna took step forward. "Praetor, perhaps both can be agreed upon. The public will not see the results of a trade as readily as they would see the results of a few ships pulling from a patrol line. The people need something tangible to hold onto. Only then will they believe that anything is being accomplished."

Donatra caught a look from her viceroy as she continued to watch Troi. "A good point, Counselor. One that I will have to discuss with the senate. We will talk again soon. You may beam back to your ship."

Quickly, she turned and her viceroys followed her out of the chamber. Riker, caught off guard looked at both of his colleagues. "What was that all about?"

Deanna shivered at the draft in the room. "I sensed that she was worried about something when we suggested she remove some ships from the patrol."

Riker nodded, "Agreed. Let's not talk here." He slapped his communications badge. "Riker to Titan. Three to beam up." They were gone in the blue beams of the transporter.

It was several hours later when the Titan was finally hailed by Roumulus. Riker stood from the command chair on the bridge. Deanna sat to his left and Aaron stood at his right. He ordered the communiqué to be shown on screen.

He was surprised when he did not see a viceroy, but Donatra herself. "Captain, I have discussed your proposals with the senate. We will not withdraw any ships along the border. It is simply too risky at this time."

Riker shot a look at Jameson and then his wife. The look Deanna gave him had him concerned. Donatra was hiding something. "Praetor," Riker said, "Why do I have the feeling that there is something going on that we are not aware of?"

"I have no idea, Captain. We have discussed all that we are willing to discuss without giving away information that is vital to the survival and security of the Empire."

Riker walked toward the view screen. "Perhaps we beamed back down we could discuss-"

"No, Captain," Donatra said. "I have told you my terms. I wish to talk with only you. Counselor Troi and Captain Pearson are no longer welcome."

Riker's impatience was growing. He felt Deanna silently send him a sense of control. "Praetor, it would seem that our initial agreements are no longer being upheld. It was my hope that after you met Captain Pearson you would be willing to let him take my place."

Will saw one of her viceroys whisper something in her ear. Her gaze, however, remained steadfast on him. "Captain, the…situation…on Romulus is delicate. The recent upheaval of our government and society have affected us more than originally thought. A task force would be too much of an intrusion. Not only for the government, but for the people."

"Then why did you invite us here in the first place?" Riker asked.

"We are not prepared to negotiate anything that could interfere with security. That includes patrol ships. We are pleased, however, with your willingness to work with us. That is all we are interested at this time. May we invite you back in a few weeks when we have been able to fully recover? Then we can talk about negotiations."

"Is that an invitation to leave, Praetor?" Deanna sensed an anger begin to rise up in her husband. He felt like he was losing control. His first mission was about to end without him accomplishing what he and Starfleet wanted to accomplish.

"Call it what you wish, Captain. Please take your task force with you. We will be in touch soon." The screen returned to its normal view of the stars and Romulus below them.

Riker turned, a scowl on his face. "Inform the task force. Take us out of orbit, heading 147 mark 2." He sat down and looked at Troi. "It looks like I'll have a bit of explaining to do."

The ships engines engaged and they headed back to Federation space. Their first mission was complete, but with a disappointing ending.

Barclay was sitting alone at his table in Ten Forward studying his glass of warm milk. Just then the doors open and Dr. Bashir strolls in and notices Reg alone in the corner. He had wanted to apologize for his behavior earlier and had just now acquired the time.

He walked up to Reg, "Mind if I join you?"

"Doctor, no, not at all," Reg said smiling.

"Listen, Reg, I wanted to aplogize for be behavior toward you," Julian said. "Just because I am homesick doesn't give me the right to take it out on someone who has offered me friendship."

"Apology accepted," Reg said. "Really it's okay."

"You really are unique," Julian stated awestricken.

"Really?" Reg said.

"Yes. I mean your file is extraordinary I have never met someone with holo-addiction before so I always imagined you to be a recluse but you seem quite normal."

"Well, I have had extensive therapy with Dee..I mean Counselor Troi," Reg said.

"You know her?" Julian asked, "I mean off record speaking."

"Yes, when I was on Earth she was the one person I could always turn to for help," Reg said smiling.

"It's nice to know you have someone looking after you at times," Julian began, "When I was on Deep Space Nine we were all like that."

"And you will find that it will be similar to that here," Reg stated. "If I may suggest try to talk with Counselor Troi she can assist you better than I can."

"Really, Reg, I think I have my support group," Julian said. "But I am most anxious to meet her."

"She is the kindest person I have ever known," Reg said. "I tried to make it to her and Comm…I mean Captain Riker's wedding but I was held up."

"I met Commander Riker once long ago," Julian said, "And I had the most unpleasant fortune of meeting his double Tom Riker once too."

"Oh? I never met Tom Riker," Reg said.

"Reg, what is that you're drinking?" Julian asked.

"Oh warm milk," Reg said. "It helps me to sleep."

Julian cracked a laugh, "You really are quite unusual."

Reg just looked at Julian unsure of what to do. "I can order you one if you like," he said.

"No, no. I think I just have some synethol," Julian said as he waved the waiter down.

A minute later, the waiter arrived with Julian's drink.

"You said to me you served on the Enterprise D. Then you must have known Miles O'Brien," Julian said.

"Oh, yes I worked with him quite a few times," Reg said.

"I am sure he can tell me some interesting stories about you," Julian said.

"I imagine he can," Reg said nervously. "But really, I didn't work with him all that much."

"Relax. I not going to go digging up dirt on you," Julian said.

"You know I haven't been on a space station before and I would love to hear some stories about Deep Space Nine," said Reg.

"Yes, perhaps sometime later," Julian stated. "For now I would like to focus on my new post and getting to know more about the Titan."

"It is a fantastic ship," said Reg.

"Yes. I am just now seeing that," Julian said. "I would like to propose a toast to the Titan and all the new stories she has yet to tell."

Reg raised his warm milk totty and clinked his glass to Julian's. Both men drank to the future and what lay ahead of them in the great untold of the galaxy.

End Circle of Fate.