A sharp pair of Romulan eyes were the first things she saw. In her bed chamber on Romulus, not far from the senate, she was awakened again for the third night in a row.
Must you bother me in the middle of the night? She threw back her bed covers and swung her legs over the side. Her still dazed mind allowed her no more motion than that.
Her visitor gave her the luxury of a moment and then took a few more steps into her room. It could be labeled as depressing, her room that is. The walls were a thick gray and almost no color could be found. One would suppose it would be natural for a former Romulan commander to choose such unimpressive décor. They would naturally be right.
They are demanding to speak to you. You have ignored them for three days. He stopped his progress into the room at the piercing look thrown in his direction. She was under tremendous pressure from more than one faction to carry out her promise and their plans.
Did you tell them that I am not available? She lowered her head to her hands and kept her face there as if to hide from him or the universe. Either one could be possible. Starfleet. The very word made her stomach turn. Remans. They were her biggest threat and her biggest ally at the same time.
The Romulan male walked to a table nearby that had a disrupter haphazardly displayed. Next to it was a badge of the Romulan military. He sneared at the sight. He, Donatras viceroy, Marcek, had a tangled web in front of his very eyes. If the Romulan citizens ever find out you will be exhiled from Romulus if not executed first.
He turned, his hands behind his back. A casual stance for a very uncertain moment. She stood. Marcek backed off of his smile and let his hands fall to his sides. Even though she wore her sleeping attire, it still resembled the starkness of a military uniform. Did you take care of Starfleet?
He began to slowly pace back to the door. I told them that you were occupied at the moment. They will not give up, you understand that?
Her head snapped at him. Of course I understand, Marcek. But you better understand this. Until I can fully gain the Remans cooperation, Starfleet must stay out of the affairs of Romulus. If we are to succeed, we must put them off for a little longer.
May I suggest something, Praetor? Her head tilted in his direction. She was listening. Send someone to Earth. Apologize for sending them away so quickly. We make it seem as if we are interested in negotiations this time. However, we demand more than they are willing to agree to. We will make them uncomfortable and they will either abide by our terms or not at all. In the meantime, we will work here with the Remans. TShara is patient, but she is only mortal.
Donatra made her way to the table and picked up her badge. She held it to her breast as if it were a treasure never to be mishandled. All of these generations. The military has never dictated matters on Romulus.
You are no longer military, Marcek said.
Am I not? Donatra sqeezed her precious emblem with such strength that the sharp edge drew blood from her palm. I fought Shinzon and now I am his descendent.
The citizen population trust you. The senate trusts you. You were a hero to Romulus when you defeated Shinzon. He was Reman, if not biologically, he was in his heart. You are Romulan. They will stand firm behind you.
Will you? She began walking to him, the red stain of blood still on her hand. Her eyes fixed on his and they would not let go. Finally, she stopped close enough for him to feel the heat of her emotion.
Marcek bowed his head and put a fist to his heart. I am forever loyal to Romulus. I will do whatever is necessary to make our efforts successful.
Tell Starfleet that I am willing to send an envoy to Earth. We will discuss the situation and find an agreement that will satisfy all of us. Tell them that you will be leaving Romulus tomorrow.
Marcek stood straighter and took a step back. You do not need me here? TShara can be difficult to reason with
Contrary to your obvious belief, I am not incapable of handling TShara. She and I are much alike. I dont trust sending anyone but you, Marcek. You know the situation as well as I do. I trust that you will not let the Empire down, Donatra said. Her eyes gave him a warning better than any words could.
He backed out of the chamber, respectfully bent at the waist. I will tell them. Sleep peacefully, Praetor.
When the doors shut and Marcek was finally gone, she studied her bloodied hand.
Suddenly she recalled a conversation she had not long ago when she was so adamantly
opposed to so much blood on the hands of the Romulans.
Space the final frontier. These are the voyages of the USS Titan. Its continuing mission to explore strange new worlds to seek out new life and new civilizations to boldly go where no one has gone before.
STAR TREK: TITAN
Captain William T. Riker
Commander Aaron Jameson
Counselor Deanna Troi
Chief Miles OBrien
Doctor Julian Bashir
Lt. Commander Reginald Barclay
Lt. Michael Daniels
Lt. Wesley Crusher
Written by Sarah
Story by Sarah and Tiff
Captains log, stardate 56734.5. The Titan is on route to Earth. We should arrive there in a little less than fourteen hours. After only two weeks in space were returning to our starting point. Apparently the Romulans are sending an envoy to discuss the situation that they so quickly put and end to. Because I was the key spokesman in the talks on Romulus, they have requested that I be there when the envoy arrives. Perhaps we will gain more insight as to why they dismissed us last time.
Will shut off his log and sat back in his Ready Room chair with a thump. He pinched his nose between the eyes with his fingers and groaned. There had been better days. At least he was not cramped in his quarters as he had been for the last few days. Just as he was about to put his feet up, a call came through for him.
<<Daniels to Captain Riker>>
Riker here, Will said, not releasing his nose. He didnt move a muscle. It frankly hurt too badly.
<<Admiral Paris is on subspace>>
Will sighed heavily and carefully shifted himself to a more presentable position. Patch it through.
A second later the computer screen rose from the surface of his desk and blinked on. Admiral Paris was sitting at his desk on Earth as usual, his hands folded in front of him. Good morning, Captain. You look good for what Ive heard youve gone through.
Riker rested his elbows on the table for no other reason than to help keep his body upright. Verilian flu can be a nasty bug. To be honest its still biting.
Paris cracked a smile, but held a look of sympathy in his expression. Never had it but I hear its nothing to mess with. How in hell did you catch it anyway?
Will rolled his eyes. Another opportunity to tell the story that had become the theme of every conversation onboard ship for the last week. As crazy as it sounds, I picked it up on my honeymoon.
Paris face transformed to a mask of confusion. Your honeymoon? That was at least a month ago.
I know. Dr. Bashir says that it enters your body and stays dormant for a period of time. Then it attacks your immune system. Deanna and I spent a lot of time outdoors, going to different places. She has a much stronger immune system than I do.
I do hope you feel better before you get to Earth. Flu or no flu, the Romulan envoy isnt going to be a walk in the park, Paris said.
Will fought the urge to simply collapse on the desk. His head was killing him. His chest ached. His limbs felt like they were about to fall off. No matter how many hyposprays Bashir had given him, none were working well against this uncommon strain of virus. Some symptoms the Doctor was able to control. Others were still reeking havoc on his system. Do you have any information on the envoy they are sending?
Paris nodded, Im sending you the information now. His name is Marcek. Hes the top viceroy to the Praetor.
Yes, Will said. I remember him. He didnt say much, but Donatra seemed to trust his advice. Do you know much about him?
No more than you do, Paris said. His file is strangely bare. Youll have a chance to go over it before you reach Earth. In the meantime, Captain, get some rest. We need you in good condition. Marcek is familiar with you and I believe that he will be more willing to talk about negotiations if you are around.
Riker saw a light blinking on the small control panel on his desk. The data was being transferred to his computer. Ill give it a good study, Admiral. Dont worry Im doing my best to get better.
Fine, Paris said. See you tomorrow. Paris out.
His screen went black and then Will saw that the data transfer was complete. He lifted his hand to initiate the screen display on the Romulans file. He began to read. It wasnt until he had read the same sentence five times that he realized he couldnt concentrate feeling as bad as he did. All he wanted to do was sleep but he did not want to go back to his quarters. He had spent nearly a week there, not able to even get out of bed except for showers and the bathroom. Even then he was lucky if he could walk the few feet to get there. Now, he did feel much better than he did even yesterday. But he was still sick. Sick enough that he shouldnt be on duty. It was something that he would never admit out loud to anyone. Not even Deanna. To be put back into bed was like being trapped in the brig as far as he was concerned. Now he was back on duty at his relentless insistence and regretting every minute of it.
Riker was scheduled to be on duty for another five hours and there was no way he was going to make it. Against his desire to stay where he was, he decided to head back to his quarters before the crew found him passed out in his Ready Room. Now if he could only make the trip back.
Deanna Troi rounded the final corner of the corridor before she arrived at her destination. Her last appointment had wrapped up early and she had been meaning to pay a visit to an old friend. Actually, she and Keiko hadnt been that close on the Enterprise. They talked occasionally and even worked on a project together in the arboretum. She had been telling Keiko about a certain Betazoid flower and the gardener had insisted on planting it. They spent a day planting a whole section of Betazoid plants. Deanna taught Keiko how to care for them just as her mother had taught her when she was so young.
Soon, Troi was ringing the chime to the OBriens quarters. Frankly, she was a little nervous. They had yet to see each other. The past three weeks had been filled with grueling schedules and of course, she had been taking care of Will for the last several days. She shook her head at the thought. The poor man could hardly breath he had been sick so badly. When Miles told her about it, Keiko had made a special herbal soup for Will. It was a family recipe that was guaranteed to make him feel better. Miles had brought it by one morning on his way to engineering. Keiko would have brought it herself but she was busy getting the kids and herself off to school. She was one of the teachers and the kids loved her.
The doors parted and Keiko stood there with a handful of her sons shirt in her fist. He was helpless and had no choice but to stay still while his mother answered the door. Deanna! she said and let go of her son so that she could embrace the counselor.
Deanna returned the hug and noticed that the boy had snuck off to avoid the hold of his mother again. Did I come at a bad time? Troi asked when they let go of each other.
Keiko smiled politely and gestured for Deanna to come in. No, not at all. Just having a fun time keeping Kirayoshi out of trouble. Or catching him in the act would be more precise. Miles would have a long shift on the day the kids are out of school.
Deanna smiled and sat on the couch opposite Keiko. How are you and Miles doing? If Will and I had a hard time settling in, I cant imagine how hard it is with an entire family.
Keiko propped herself up against the back of the couch. She was interrupted by her son, however. Mom? Can I meet Danny on the holodeck? Hes waiting for me.
Her five year old son was by the door practically jumping up and down. She might as well let him go and get some of that energy drained out of him. I guess. Just dont do anything you know youre not supposed to. I dont want Commander Jameson to have to drag you back here.
Kirayoshi made a pouting face before running out the door, jumping on his chance to escape. And no running! Keiko yelled after him just before the doors could close. She leaned back and sighed. Hes not used to being on a starship. For the past few years hes had a nice, big yard to play in. We lived in a good-sized house. Now hes feeling a little closed in.
The Counselor crossed her legs and smiled at the frazzled mother. Children have enormous energy. Im sure that he will adjust in time. At least theres a holodeck.
Thank God, Keiko said. Miles and I havent had any time together since we got here. Hes been busy in engineering and Ive been busy with school and the kids all day. By the time we see each other were so tired that we go right to sleep. Even when one of us has the day off, the others working. To be honest its getting a little frustrating.
Deanna sat back and thought for a moment. Why dont you and Miles plan a nice evening together. Just the two of you. It can be here in your quarters if youd like. Let your kids stay with someone for the night.
That would be wonderful, but we dont know anyone who would be willing to keep two kids over night, Keiko said.
Deanna sighed and then a smile came to her face. What about Dannys family?
Keikos face lit up. Thats an idea. But we havent even met the parents yet. Id feel out of place asking them. Its the same situation with Molly.
Why dont you Deanna trailed off, leaving a wondering Keiko sitting across from her.
What? Keiko asked.
I was just going to offer to let the kids stay with Will and I but hes been sick. Dr. Bashir was able to contain it, so hes not contagious, thankfully. I dont know how hed react to two kids. Hed probably have a nervous breakdown, Deanna said with a smile.
Keiko returned the smile in kind. If I know Will Riker, hed definitely have a nervous breakdown. He is good with kids though.
Deanna nodded, her grin growing steadily. Yes, he is. Hell be a good father when we decide to have children. I bet he and Kirayoshi could become good friends.
Will and Kirayoshi together? Is the universe ready for that?
They both laughed and Deanna put a hand on Keikos arm. Let me ask him about it tonight. Hed probably enjoy it.
Keiko began to shake her head. No, I couldnt ask you to do that. Youre newlyweds and I know you have more important things to do than keep a couple of kids in line.
I insist. Will and I could use the practice.
Keiko ringed her hands and tried to fight the conflict. Eventually she sighed and her shoulders sagged. We could really use the time together. Why not. Ill talk to Miles tonight too. I cant thank you enough, Deanna.
Dont think anything of it, Deanna said. I came here to thank you for that soup you sent Will. He really did enjoy it and I think it made him feel better. It was the most hed eaten in days.
It was always a family hit, Keiko said. How is he doing by the way?
Deanna smirked, Well, hes back on duty against my and Doctor Bashirs better judgment. Hes still pretty sick but hes so difficult to keep away from the bridge.
Miles is the same way about engineering. What is it about men? Some are babies about being sick and others make themselves worse by over doing it.
Deanna laughed, I dont know. Thankfully, Will couldnt move very much or else I would have had to tie him down. Well, not thankfully you know what I mean.
Keiko joined Deanna in her laughter. I do. Is he on the bridge now?
Deanna nodded. Hes supposed to be. But judging from the way he looked this morning, Ill bet that he doesnt make it through the day. Deanna uncrossed her legs and began to stand. Well, I need to go. Ive got to stop by our quarters and get a padd I left there before my next appointment.
Okay, said Keiko as she rose too. Thanks for stopping by. Im planting some Betazoid flowers in the arboretum next week if youd like to help out?
Id love to, Deanna said with a smile. Its been a while since Ive exercised my green thumb.
Great. Ill see you later, Keiko said as they walked to the door. Deanna gave her one more smile before she left for her quarters.
Relief was all he felt as he saw the couch just a few feet away from him. As soon as he was in range, he fell against the cushions and flopped an arm over his eyes. It was what hed wanted all day. He swore that from now on, hed always take the doctors advice. Well maybe not always. He lied there, his breathing the only movement.
That is exactly how Deanna found him when she entered their quarters a few minutes later. Whats the matter, Will?
Her voice was light and full of sarcasm. She knew it was exactly what he hated. Her smile was hidden from his eyes by his arm. She gracefully walked over to the desk and sorted through a stack of pads. He still hadnt responded.
Deanna stopped what she was doing and put the pads down. She slowly made her way over to the big form of her husband. Will? He was asleep. She was sure of it.
The fact that he had not made it through the day was not surprising to her. He was in no condition for work. However, he would not listen to them. She shook her head and moved to him. Troi began to gently rub a hand over his chest. It was the one sure thing that always woke him. Will? Imzadi? You need to go to bed.
He began to stir but his eyes were too heavy for him to open. Deanna? She could barely hear him, but she did.
Im right here, sweetheart. I told you not to work today. Now its going to tak that much longer for you to recover. Slowly she grabbed his arm and pulled him up. Reluctantly he went with her. He decided to wake up enough to support himself because he knew Deanna wouldnt be able to.
Im never getting sick again. This is worse than being relieved of duty. Step by step he made his way to their bedroom and wasted no time hopping in the bed. Stumbling would be more accurate.
Deanna helped him pull the cover over his body and then smoothed back the hair
on his forehead. Sleep well, Imzadi. Ill be back in a couple of
hours. Will didnt respond. He was already asleep.
Two hours later, true to her word, Deanna retuned from her last appointment of the day. It was only dinner time, but she had grabbed a sandwich with Commander Jameson in Ten Forward not too long ago. They had held their first personnel meeting. He was just as skilled as Will when it came to dealing with people. The more she spent time with him, the more she understood why her husband had chosen Aaron for the job of first officer.
Still, there were things that she had yet to know. He and Will seemed to share a lot of inside jokes from the Academy that she had been wanting to know about. They were very dear friends from what she sensed from both of them.
Troi quickly did her nightly routine in the bathroom and changed into a comfortable night gown. She ran a brush through her hair. It was the same brush shed had for years. Even on the D. Will had given it to her one day after theyd had a random conversation about her hair-brushing habits. It was meant to be a joke but the brush quickly became one of her favorite items. It was perfect. He was perfect.
She turned and walked to their bed, taking in his bare-chested, sleeping form. Apparently he had awakened and changed while she was gone. As she climbed in next to him, she prayed that he would feel better tomorrow. He was really the Federations only chance to gain peace with the Romulans. Donatras sudden change of direction had startled them all. She had seemed friendly in the beginning, but only three weeks later, she seemed to not be trustworthy.
Their greatest hope was that their questions would be answered in the next 24 hours. It was up to Will to get those answers. Deanna cradled him as best she could and whispered a loving phrase in Betazin in his ear. He showed no outward signs of hearing it, but she felt him grow calmer inside.
She leaned in closer and kissed his cheek, his eyes still closed and his breathing even. Good night, Imzadi. I love you, she whispered.
Deanna rested her head against his shoulder and continued to hold him close.
Before long, his even breathing lulled her into unconsciousness. Morning would
come far too soon.
to be continued...