Descendants of Fate


Most of these characters belong to Paramount; some of them belong to my imagination J


Intertwined Circle: Part One


R/T P/C and some others



The first officer of the Enterprise G looked out of her view port in her room.  She wished that she could count the starts, visit each one in turn.  She wondered which ones she had already seen up close, and which ones were already dead.  She wondered about the state of the universe, how so many things seemed to be perfect in their own right and yet so imperfect.  How youth begets age and experience, experience is golden yet those who are seen as ‘old’ are not useful.  What would happen if everyone stopped learning from past mistakes, or never started?  Would we see the same mistakes repeated?  How many people had made those mistakes?  Caused their own demise?  How many people had ignored the signs put in front of them?  Chosen the wrong road?  In the middle of her meditations her door rang. 




            The tall chief of engineering came into the room, and the door hissed shut behind him.  “Hello Kestra”


“Hello Jack” Kestra whispered.  She had not expected to see Jack Picard in her room, or anywhere near her during off duty hours, for that matter.  She thought back to the fight they had three days earlier.  “How are you?” 


“I’m fine” Jack said.  He looked at the mysterious woman who had stolen his heart.  The way that she held her head made him feel special and unworthy at the same time.  The wondrous dark curls, the deep onyx eyes, her richly exotic voice, all of which cast a spell on him.  “I was wondering if you would like a bite to eat”


Kestra studied Jack’s face.  She could’ve studied him further, but she had made a promise to her mother and grandmother that she wouldn’t do that to her shipmates.  “I think that it would be safe, but I will have to take a rain check.  There are some reports that I must finish for the Captain.”  This wasn’t a lie, she actually did have reports to finish, but the captain would not be looking for them for another two days. 


The disappointment on Jack’s face was clear, but he decided to go finish some reports himself.  “Alright, I guess I’ll see you at the staff meeting at 0800 hours.”  Jack then left.


Kestra released a breath she had not realized she had been holding.  She was about to go make good on her story about the reports for the captain when a message came in on her viewer.  She was going to ignore it, but the constant beeping soon became annoying.  She sat at her desk and clicked the console, which immediately appeared from within her desk.  Suddenly the regal face of her grandmother appeared on the viewer, looking quite upset


“Hello Grandmother, How are you?”


“I am fine.  You?”


“I am good.  I can tell by the look on your face that this is not a courtesy call.”

”I need a favor from your crew.  Are they free for a pit stop at Betazed?”


Kestra regarded her grandmother with a curious eye.  Her grandmother was Deanna Troi.  Heir to the Holy Rings, Holder of the Sacred Chalice!  She was one of the highest-ranking admirals in Starfleet!  She could basically command the Enterprise to be her personal charter vessel for a year and nobody would say ANYTHING.  Why would she bother asking unless…


“What has happened to Mortak THIS time?”  Kestra knew her cousin was trouble.  He was constantly bringing dishonor to her family. 


“Its not Mortak this time.  It’s Beverly.  She’s sick.  She’s demanding to be taken back to the Ba’ku planet.  Nothing I say can make her change her mind.  I figure that I can expect a good deal of discretion from your crew, and a great deal of understanding.” 


Kestra thought about it.  Most of the senior staff was friends.  They could be trusted.  The rest of the crew knew not to question decisions sent from higher up.  The risk was still there though.  The Briar Patch was full of Maquis and Cardassian Rebels.  Entrance was allowed for only the most important of missions, and contact with the Ba’ku peoples was limited to those with certain levels of clearance.  The Enterprise was a ship that possessed such clearance.  The Cardassians were another story.  They plagued any ship that came within a light-year of that place.  Destroying them would be great fun, but Kestra had no desire in reopening the salty wounds between the Federation and the Cardassian Empire.  They had taken the place of the Romulans as the menaces to peace in the Alpha Quadrant.  She really did not have time to go dallying after an old woman’s rants and wishes.  But it was the least she could do for Jack.


“Yes Grandmother, I think that we can swing by Betazed, if you can get us some shore leave.  I’m sure that Kyle would be welcome to it.”  Kestra told her grandmother. 


“Ah, wonderful!  I am quite sure that Beverly would be quite happy with this.  She is tired of life on Earth, and I can see the strain that Starfleet Medical has placed on her.  Speaking of Kyle, how is he?”


Kestra detested this line of questioning.  She had no interest in going on this tangent with her grandmother.  Kyle Riker was not a subject that was appropriate, no matter what the ties.  Her grandmother had a strange interest in him.  She knew part of the history between his grandfather and her, but various details were just not available.  Kestra promised that one day she would find out the exact story.


“He is fine.  He is glad to have a ship’s counselor, finally.  And he is more pleased that she is Betazoid.” 


Her grandmother flashed a knowing smile.  “I am glad.  I think that a best time to discuss life would be when you arrive at Betazed.  Keep me apprised.  I guess I should go about getting you that shore leave.  Goodbye Little One” 


“Goodbye Grandmother


Kestra sighed as the screen went dark and descended back into the depths of her desk.  She sat and reflected at how the day had made a nasty turn for the worst.  There was Jack Picard chasing after her like a schoolboy, there was Kyle Riker who had become moody and ill tempered of late, and there was her Grandmother making strange demands for Beverly Crusher Picard.  Kestra sighed, and decided that now would be a good time to get some practice in with her Bat’leth.  She had gone to the holosuite for Ambo Jitsu with T’Ral, the Vulcan Ops Officer.  It was so strange, how this crew of the Enterprise seemed to be a contemplation of the descendants of other Enterprise crews, and how someone from the Enterprise D’s senior staff, or someone related to them had served on every subsequent Enterprise.  Take Kyle Riker, the Captain.  He had made Captain at the unheard of age of 33, much younger than James Kirk, and much to the pleasure of his Grandfather William.  She herself was the first officer, and her claim to fame was her Grandmother Deanna and her Grandfather Worf.  Adding to this credit was the fact that her father had been an Ops officer on the Enterprise F, and was the ships second officer.  The current security officer was Kimberly LaForge, Geordi’s granddaughter.  And the doctor was Dr. Deanna Barclay.  Many of the crew thought it strange that her name was Deanna, but it was only fitting, since she was Reg Barcaly’s daughter.  Kestra knew how she had come by that name.  T’Ral was the adoptive daughter of Data, who found her at a deserted starbase after a particularly nasty raid from the Cardassians.  The Enterprise F’s crew had just her father and a certain Wesley Crusher, who had served on the D.  She knew the stories that had circulated about THAT ship.  She shuddered to think about it.  The fact that her grandmother had at one point been in love with that pompous overbearing Admiral Riker!  It seemed inconceivable.  As long as she had known, her grandparents had been deeply in love.  The COM suddenly broke her thoughts.  “Bridge to Commander Troi” Ah great, the captain, exactly what I need.  “Troi here” 


“We have just received a communiqué from Admiral Kim advising us to got to Betazed and to prepare for a diplomatic mission.  I will need you on the bridge at your earliest convenience” 


“Acknowledged” Kestra rolled her eyes for what seemed like the millionth time.  Apparently her grandmother had gotten her way, and had gotten poor Admiral Harry Kim into the act.  Just then a telepathic voice crept into her head.  << Kestra, can you help me?  >> It was the ship’s new counselor, Alana.  She was apparently having problems adjusting to the increased emotion levels of such a large crew.  She could sense Alana’s frustration in trying to meditate.  Oh well, who needs practice with a Bat’leth anyway?




A few hours later, after answering a few of Alana’s questions and helping her set up a Vulcan meditation program that had been a favorite of her mother’s Kestra was ready to go and get ready for her Bridge shift.  After leaving her room on deck 8, she ran into Ensign Galloway.  “Hi Ma’m” Kestra smiled.  “Heading to the bridge ensign?” 

“Yes Sir.  Ma'm.  "Kestra and Ensign Galloway got on the Turbo lift and proceeded to the bridge.  She walked to her seat, giving a quick nod to Alana as she sat.  “Good Morning Sir.”  She greeted Kyle


“Ah, Commander, welcome.  We will be arriving at Betazed within the hour.”  Captain Riker told his first officer. 


Kestra settled into her seat and ran her hand through a stray curl.  It would be good to see Grandmother again, especially on such non-dangerous terms.  The last time she saw her grandmother face to face, it was to try and liberate Mortak from a Sidareen mining camp.  A sudden beep from the COM woke Kestra from her mini daze.  She knew who was on the other side without having T’Ral tell her that Admiral Troi was hailing from the Excalibur.  Kestra was surprised at the other presences she sensed on the Excalibur.  Along with Beverly Crusher, she sensed Admiral Kim, and Captain Crusher. 
”Enterprise, this is Admiral Troi.  We will be preparing to beam over by 1300.”  Her grandmother’s voice was regal and still exotic even after all these years. 


“Acknowledged” Captain Riker told the Admiral.  He then tapped his COM badge.  “Ensign Oshika, please insure that the various Admiral’s quarters are finished to specifications.”  “Yes Sir” Riker then turned to Kestra.  “Will THIS meeting be better than the last?”  “Yes, this is just a small courtesy that the Admiral wishes us to pay.”  Kestra told Riker.  Riker shot her a look that said, I don’t believe you   Out loud he said, “Please accompany me to my ready room.  I have a feeling that there’s

more to this story than meets the eye.  I want to know EVERYTHING.”  Soto, you have the bridge. 




“What is all of this about?”


“Permission to speak freely, Sir.”




“My Grandmother and Admiral Crusher believe that they should be permitted to live out the rest of their days with the Ba’ku.  Dr. Crusher is sick and thinks that even if there is no cure, that her suffering will be lessened by her proximity to the Ba’ku home world.  My Grandmother, in true Troi fashion, has decided that we should take her rather than her having to acquire her own transport.”


“So stunts like this run in your family.  I always knew that Admiral Troi was a touch eccentric.  I had no idea that it was a family trait.  Come to think about it, I don’t know much about your family at all.  There is little information in the Starfleet Database, ever since civilians were allowed to opt out of being mentioned in the Database.  I know about your father’s career and your grandmother’s career.  What else is there?”


 “There’s not much more I can tell you, short of my family’s heritage.”  Kestra told her captain. 


“Well then begin with that” Captain Riker said. 


Kestra took a deep breath.  “My most recent heritage begins with Lwaxana and Ian Troi.  They had two daughters, Kestra and Deanna.  Kestra died while Deanna was just a baby.  Next was Deanna, my grandmother’s marriage to Worf of the House of Mogh.  They had three children, Andrew, Jean Luc and Elsa.  Elsa was my mother.  She married a Son of the Second House, James Rilen.  And of that lovely union came yours truly and my sister Julia.  Andrew married someone from the House of Mog, and that’s where Mortak came from, and Jean Luc has yet to have children, much like his namesake.” 


Kyle adjusted his uniform in true Riker form.  “Ah.  That should help.  I have heard stories of the legendary Lwaxana Troi.  I just hope that Admiral Troi is NOT following in her footsteps.”


“No.  I do not think that it is in my grandmother’s nature to be that intrusive.  And I am quite sure that she will not be a problem much longer.”  Kestra reflected.  She knew her grandmother was turning 100 something this year.  Maybe that’s why she insisted in going to the Ba’ku planet.  Maybe it was so she could live out her days in youth.  And having Beverly Picard with her would be none more than perfect.  Two best friends, at it again. 


A beep came from the door.  “Enter” said Kyle Riker.  T’Ral came in “The Admirals are ready to beam aboard.  They are requesting your combined presences in the transporter room.  “Acknowledged” Kyle Riker dismissed his Ops officer.  “Shall we?” 



“My how you’ve grown Little One!”  Deanna swept off of the transporter pad and into the arms of her waiting granddaughter.  Kestra narrowed her eyes and sent her grandmother a message that she would have had to been mentally deaf to miss <<I don’t like it when you call me that!  >>  Outwardly she smiled and said “You are as lovely as ever” Then Deanna turned to Kyle and said.  “My, you look more and more like your Grandfather every day” Kyle looked down and Kestra could have sworn that the word <<Imzadi>> had whispered through her mind before her grandmother spoke.  Jack Picard came through the doors just then, and gave his grandmother a big hug, whose legendary red hair was now more white than red, but it was easy to see where Jack had gotten it from.  “I am sorry to cut this short,” Kyle spoke, because this was, his ship.  “I will personally escort the Admirals to their respective quarters, and we will be underway to Betazed.”  Kestra glanced at the family servant Mr. Homm.  She smiled appreciatively at him as he took some of the bags that her grandmother had brought with her for this “field trip” She tapped her com badge “Ensign King, please report to transporter room 2” She then looked at Mr. Homm.  “Someone will be in to attend to the rest of those.” 

Kestra then followed her grandmother to her quarters.




<<That is completely out of the question!!!  >> Kestra flung at her grandmother, who despite the heated argument was sitting demurely on the couch.  <<Why?  >> Deanna flung back.  “Because he is a superior officer!  And it would not be right.  Besides, I am heavily considering Jack Picard.  At least he likes me! 

Deanna sighed.  There was no reasoning with her granddaughter.  She was stubborn.  But she had no idea that Kestra would be this stubborn.  It was ironic.  Kestra had opted to be known as Troi rather than adopting her father’s name, and rather than keeping with Worf’s house.  But it took one look at Kestra to realize why.  She had no hint of Klingon in her, and she was a spitting image of Deanna herself when she was that age, down to the littlest detail.  Kestra was ¼ Klingon, ¼ Human and ½ Betazoid.  The Betazoid genes seemed to have dominated.  However, it was easy to see why she was so stubborn.  Look at her family!  Deanna laughed to herself.  Had it not been for Kestra’s almost bloodthirsty lust for a command position, she would have made a fine counselor. 



Kestra still had something that pressed on her mind.  “Grandmother, what does Imzadi mean?”


Deanna sighed again.  “The first, or my favorite meaning My Beloved” 


<<Grandfather was Imzadi.  Why did you think it when you saw Kyle today?  >>


Kestra sensed the shift in her Grandmother’s emotions faster than Deanna could throw up that wall.  She knew something was behind it, and possibly tied to Kyle Riker, or more likely, Will Riker.  But Kestra knew better than to push the subject until Deanna seemed ready.


<<When will you tell me why you are so interested in the well being of Kyle Riker?  >>


<<I am not sure I will ever be ready to talk about that, Little One.  >>


“I must return to the bridge now, grandmother.  I will check in on you later” Kestra said, but knew that her grandmother’s mind was already a billion light years away, and maybe a good 70 years away to boot. 



“First Officer’s Log Supplemental.  We have retrieved the Admirals Troi and Picard and have arrived at Betazed without incident.  We have discharged non-essential crew, keeping main crew and a few key backups in case the Cardassians decide to pay us a visit.  Everyone else has been awarded two weeks of well-deserved shore leave on Betazed.  We are now en route to the Briar Patch at warp 8. 


Kestra clicked shut her log just to be interrupted by the COM.  “Commander, long range sensors have detected a Federation ship on an intercept course, ETA 2 hours.” 

“On my way”


Kestra reached the bridge just as Ops had discovered the identity of the vessel.  “It is the Titan III, under the command of Admiral Riker.  They are demanding that we stand down from warp until they intercept.”  Kestra could feel the frustrations of the past two days creeping up on her.  “Have you notified the Captain?” 


“The captain has indeed been notified.”  Kyle said as he came onto the bridge.  “Stand down from warp, Full Impulse.  It would not be good to make an Admiral angry at us, for whatever absurd reason they all seem to be wanton to call upon us.”  


The Titan III came within the two hours, and immediately hailed Enterprise.  The grayed face of William T. Riker filled up the view screen.  “Enterprise F, please state your course heading” the Elder Riker demanded.  “I am sorry, that information is classified” spoke the Younger Riker.


“Classified by whom?”


“Me.”  Admiral Troi said as she swept onto the bridge. 

Kestra heard that whisper of a word in her head once more, this time more strongly <<Imzadi>>. 


Admiral Riker’s eyes got huge for a split second, then narrowed.  Kestra could’ve sworn she heard HIM mind-whisper Imzadi as well. 


“Well then I guess I have no choice than to meet with you, Captain, and Admiral Troi in your ready room in 15 minutes.  You may come too, Commander”


“Acknowledged” spoke Riker the Younger.  And then simultaneously “Riker Out”




“ Why in all the universe would you be going THERE???”  Admiral Riker shouted to the seemingly unintimidated Admiral Troi.


“Because, Will.  Beverly needs it.  She knows she’s dying no matter what happens.  She just wants to enjoy her final years.  No matter how few they may be.”


“Beverly COULD have gone to Risa’

“Risa holds no interest for her”

“Is that bitterness that I detect?”

“About Risa?  No.  But I am becoming increasingly irritated with this”

“Irritation is maybe exactly what you need.  Chartering helpless starships for your pointless endeavors, as if you were a queen.”

“You say that as if all of my endeavors are pointless”

“You are worse than your mother was at her worst”


“I only hope to dissuade you from going to that planet.”

“Good Luck with that.  You seem like YOU need a trip there”


The helpless Kyle Riker and Kestra Troi looked on at their respective Grandparents.  Several times had they tried to leave, but had been stopped each time by Deanna.  Kestra was slumped unhappily in her chair, and Kyle leaned against a wall, and almost fell over when the two admirals began to simply stare at each other rather than voice their conversation.  Kyle confusedly looked at his first officer, who tapped her head, signifying where the conversation had gone.  “I didn’t know…” he began.  Kestra held up her hand and simply said, “It is not common, but they were close friends.  It is almost fitting that they have developed such skills with each other.” 

Finally William Riker looked at the helpless captain and commander, and said “Dismissed.  We will require privacy.”


Kyle and Kestra gladly left. 




“Sir, we are now approaching the Briar Patch, ETA one hour”


Kyle awoke from his nap feeling like he was in a bad dream.  His head hurt and his sleep restless.  All he could seem to dream about was his first officer in a flowing amethyst dress that accented her creamy pale skin and made her hair look regal.  He shook the image from his head and prepared himself for entry into the Briar Patch.


His grandfather had dismissed the TITAN III back under the command of her Captain and had opted to stay on board, in the room adjacent to Admiral Troi’s.  The past 2 days had been horrible.  Although finally the arguments, silent or vocal, had stopped between the two, it had still been a trying two days.  Maybe it was proximity to the radiation.  Kyle chuckled in spite of himself.  Now it was time for the mission at hand. 


Kyle was ready and on the bridge in 15 minutes, followed shortly by Kestra, who looked a little worse for wear. 


“We are now approaching the Briar Patch.  Shields Holding.  Nothing on sensors but some dust.”  Lt. LaForge reported.


“Very good.  Take her in slow and steady” Kyle said



What seemed like an eternity later, the planet of the Ba’ku was visible.  The Space Station Ka’hg had been apprised of their arrival, and made preparations.  Any other ship would be receiving warnings to turn away or face destruction.  A threat very readily carried out by the few Starfleet personnel that manned the station.  The Ba’ku and their planet were to be protected at all costs. 


Kestra couldn’t help looking at her grandmother.  She already looked 10 years younger, and Admiral Riker looked 20 years younger.  Man that radiation is something. 


“They are hailing us.”


“I am Dahlia of the Ba’ku.”  We are pleased that you have decided to join our society.  Please dock at Ka’hg and prepare to disembark.  You must be medically cleared beaming down.


Deanna got up and approached the viewer.  “I am Admiral Deanna Troi and I greatly appreciate your hospitality.  I am afraid that not all on this ship will be disembarking.  Those who are will be arriving at Ka’hg shortly.”


Dahlia bowed and turned to another woman.  “Thalia will meet you there in two hours.”  The view screen then went blank.  Deanna then turned to the bridge crew.  “Captain, I wish for you to allow the remainder of your crew shore leave on this planet.  I assure you that it will be time well spent.” 


Kyle Riker and William Riker both shifted uncomfortably in their seats.  Kyle nodded.  “I think that would be most appropriate, since peace talks with the Kazon will begin in a month.” 


Shore leave was duly announced and the crew began a rest on a planet that held many mysteries.



Chapter Two


Deanna stretched and looked around the quarters that would be her home for the next year.  She had already finished unpacking, and was about to go get something to eat when a familiar presence came to her door.




William Riker entered her suite, amazed and yet glad that Deanna still recognized him in that way.  IT was no surprise though.  The link was still very active. 


“How are you?”  He looked at the woman who would have been beautiful to him with green hair and red eyes. 


“I am fine.  I was actually about to go get some food, chocolate perhaps.” 


Will smiled.  Always with the chocolate, so it seems.  “I was hoping to talk to you.”


Deanna looked at Will for the first time.  She had been looking at him, but this time she LOOKED at him.  He looked like the man she had watched leave for the Titan all those years ago.  Was that it?  Was it her conscious that had made her come back here?


“Should we be talking like this?” << OR like this?  >>


<< However you deem.  Want to take a walk?  >>


<< Let me eat first.  For some reason I cant go for days without eating like I used to.  >>    


The pair settled down for some breakfast, and then they began to walk.  They found themselves on the way to the lake they had visited years ago during their first trip to the planet.


“Imzadi I…”  Will began.  He wasn’t quite sure how to address this.  The first time he had said this it had been painful. 


“I know.  I love you too.”  Deanna said.  “After all these years I realize now.  I just wish we had all that time back”


Will stared at her.  “We do!  We can stay here!  Our aging reversed, I guess because of the radiation…”


<< Are you sure that’s wise?  >> Deanna turned to face Will.


<< Am I not Imzadi?  I would do anything for you.  I am so afraid of losing you again.  Every since I took the Titan, all I could think about was you.  Off on some adventure, never knowing when a subspace communiqué was going to come in from Beverly, or Worf or Lwaxana telling me about your demise.  >>


“Imzadi.  Forever is how long I wish I had with you.  I don’t want to hurt anymore”

Deanna looked into Will’s eyes. 


“Then forever shall it be.  You know…  I almost didn’t come after you.  It was no coincidence that I ran into the Enterprise on its way here.  I knew where to find them.  It took me by surprise.  Coming all the way out here…”


“Beverly needed it.  She’s terminal, you know” Deanna looked up, knowing that he hadn’t known.


“She looks healthier.  I guess I wish that she hadn’t had to go to that planet.  The Alkarians didn’t deserve mercy.”


“She didn’t know that they’d infect her with Akanamian’s Disease.  It’s genetic, not contagious.  She had no way of knowing that they would infect her to see how it affected off-worlders.”


“I guess I am just glad she’ll have a few more years.  Too bad that the radiation can’t reverse the affects.”


“I agree.  But it gave us some more time, Imzadi”


By this time they had reached Ventura Lake.  A spot that held disappointment long ago, but perhaps now it held promise.  Off in the distance they saw Kyle, wandering alone. 




Kyle Riker was returning from a swim in Ventura Lake when he noticed a young man and woman holding hands and walking towards him.  The man looked oddly like him, but carried himself as a man with great wisdom.  The woman looked like his first officer Kestra. 


“Hello there!” he called out. 


The man and woman stopped suddenly, as if realizing that they were not the only people on the planet.  They immediately smiled and ran towards Kyle.  “Hello Kyle”


“GRANDFATHER!!!”  Kyle was nearly floored when the eyes and the voice that greeted him were that of his grandfather, but the body was that of a 30-year-old man.  “What are you doing with Kestra??”


“KESTRA?” the woman coughed, and when she spoke only then did Kyle realize that it was not Kestra, but Admiral Troi.


“I am sorry Admiral, but you look exactly like Kestra.”


Deanna smiled.  “I get that a lot nowadays.”


“Well don’t let me stop you from your ramblings.”  Kyle said, and then excused himself to dry off and prepare for dinner.





Kestra felt the presence of her captain long before he rang her bell.  She stood up and prepared for his entrance. 


“At ease” Kyle said to her.  “You will NOT believe who I saw a while ago, looking like a pair of 30 year olds, as if they could be our brother and sister and not Admirals at the point of retirement”


Kestra sighed.  “My Grandmother and Admiral Riker” She had sensed the shift in her grandmother.  “Yes I know.  Strange, isn’t it?  Almost as if it had never happened.”  Kestra tried to keep her eyes away from Kyle.  The dreams she had been having of late had involved him in a less than professional way. 


Kyle noticed and tried for a solution that would make his first officer comfortable again.  “How about some dinner, and then some chocolate?  Or maybe some chocolate, some dinner, and then some more chocolate?”


Kestra laughed.  It was one thing she had inherited directly from her grandmother:  an obsession for chocolate.  “Sure.  That would be wonderful.” 





Kestra woke up with a start.  She had been on a beach wearing some amethyst thing unable to take her eyes off of Kyle Riker.  He approached in a blue tunic and black tight fitting pants, something that accentuated his shape.  His eyes shone and begged for her to come closer.  It was all too strange, to have the same dream night after night.  At any rate, life should get easier after they got off of this Ba’ku planet, which felt more like a giant hormone rush rather than relaxation.  Oh well, Kestra thought.  Only an hour till time to get up anyway, might as well meditate.


An hour later Kestra stood in the sonic shower, getting her last good hair washing with her grandmother’s shampoo.  Deanna would be staying on the planet, but Admiral Riker would be returning.  “He’s just too indispensable, especially when it comes to maintaining peace with the Romulans, and keeping the Sidareen under control.”

Dr Picard was as fiery a redhead as ever, and would be remaining as well.  The good doctor had come up with a way to help Admiral Riker maintain most of his ill-gotten youth, at least until he returned after retiring from Starfleet a year from now.  Kestra sighed.  To think of it!  Her Grandmother marrying William Riker, after an almost 80 year friendship!  Sure, her Grandfather must’ve been a much better mate, or else she would be walking around calling Admiral Riker “Grandfather” as opposed to keeping a memorial in her room to Grandfather Worf. 


Kestra collected her bags and then reported to the beam up site.  The ‘See You Later’s’ had already been said to her Grandmother, who could now pose as her twin.  “Take good care of Will, I do not want to lose Imzadi again” Deanna had warned her.  Kestra had nodded and now watched as Will Riker, as spry as her own captain, came bounding to the beam up sight to go up with the first of the crew.  Kestra smiled in spite of herself.  This Riker was not the pompous Riker who had given her final examination as a part of Nova Squadron.  He was not the same Will Riker who had tried to prevent her from serving with his grandson simply because she was a Troi.  This Will Riker was a wonderful being, and she could easily see why her Grandmother had fallen for him. 




Kestra’s mind was a jumble from panicky feelings among the crew on board the ship.  It was not 3 hours ago that they had left the idyllic Ba’ku planet.  Now it seemed as though everything was crumbling around her.  Four Cardassian ships had pounced on the almost immediately upon entering the Briar Patch Nebula.  These ships would have been a menace, but easily taken care of if three Maquis ships had not chosen that moment to decloak and attack the Federation Flagship.  Kestra could feel the familiar presence of her father, who was now a captain for the Maquis ship Hermes.  The Wellington II and Ptomaine were all a part of the fray.  The problem with Maquis in this sector was that they tended to possess well-armed Federation ships, and a good plenty of the officers on board were once Starfleet, but had mutinied and gone Maquis. 


“Shields at 21%.  Forward phasers offline, torpedoes still functioning.  Multiphasic Shielding has been destroyed, only basic shielding remains.”  Lt. LaForge read off the damage report.  Admiral Riker stood up at once, and ordered that Multiphasic Torpedoes be loaded into the working torpedo bays.  “FIRE!”


The blast destroyed the Wellington II and turned the Ptomaine into a sitting duck.  The Cardassian ships had long since retreated, but the Hermes was still in it for the long haul. 

“Surrender!  Or be destroyed!!”  Kestra heard her father echo on the view screen, but her mind was immediately elsewhere.  A bulkhead had come loose near where Admiral Riker was standing.  Kyle was not paying attention, but was already preparing for the volley against the Hermes.  That was when it happened.  Almost in slow motion, Kestra felt the deck shift below her as the Hermes fired a phaser blast at the shield generator, knocking out the shields.  The next phaser blast hit the starboard side, where Admiral Riker was standing.  The bulkhead gave way,  the nearby station erupted in a plasma fire, and pinned Riker underneath.  “FIRE!” she shouted, not fully realizing that she should have waited for her captain’s orders.  Two Multiphasic Torpedoes ripped through the Hermes’ Hull, and then it was a flash of light.  She then went about the task at hand.  “Bridge to Sickbay, Medical Emergency!!”  “Bridge to Picard.  Lock onto Admiral Riker’s signal and beam him directly to sickbay!!”    Bridge to Sickbay!  I need a medic on the Bridge!!”  Kestra tagged this last bit on as she noticed her captain wasn’t moving.  Kestra surveyed the damage around her.  “Engineering! I need work crews on the bride immediately!  We need at least Impulse engines if were gonna make it back in one piece.  I want to be able to leave as soon as possible!”  Kestra slumped in her chair.  Her grandmother was going to KILL her.




Ten Hours later Kyle Riker was nearly fully recovered.  He had simply been hit by some plasma fire and had been knocked unconscious.  His burns had been treated and he would be released within the hour.  William Riker was different. 


Kestra sat nervously at his side, having sensed that this was what he wanted.  She could feel his consciousness slipping away.  “Hold on.  Your Imzadi would never forgive me if I let you go this easily” She told him.  She knew it was impossible however.  His head had been nearly crushed when the bulkhead fell on it.  The plasma fire had scorched through his uniform and had given him 3rd degree burns.  It was a miracle he was still alive now.  Kyle Riker got up and sat next to his grandfather, and just looked at him.  Kestra could feel the pain that Kyle was going through.  Watching his idol die. Watching one of the last surviving members of his family die.  It was something that was all too familiar for the Riker family.  Kestra caught a flash of another memory.  She had been there, in a sense.  It was a flash of ten years ago, when Kyle was an Ensign on the Excelsior.  Kestra was an Ensign too, he was on Ops, and she at the helm.  They were discussing plans for dinner that night when Admiral Riker had sent a priority one message to his grandson.  They were both scheduled to be off duty within 10 minutes, so they retired to the mess hall to receive the message.  It being the graveyard shift, so the crew’s mess was empty.  “I am sorry to inform you that your father has been killed.  His ship was destroyed in a skirmish against the Kazon.”  Kestra had remembered what it was like for Kyle.  She had met James Kirk Riker on several occasions, since Kyle was simply one year ahead of her at the Academy.  She knew how badly that had affected him, worse than her father’s dissent into the Maquis had been for her.  She knew that Kyle was close to those feelings now.  If only the Admiral would hold on longer, she could send for her grandmother.  She knew the stories about how their proximity to one another had kept one or the other from dying.  If the Imzadi bond was as strong as legend said, then she knew that her grandmother could and would help.  The injuries had been fixed.  The Admiral had lost a lot of blood, but simple will power could keep him alive.

The furious beeping of medical equipment interrupted her reflections.  William Thelonius Riker was in cardiac arrest.  Doctors rushed about trying with stimulators and hypo sprays and the like to fight for someone who was so valuable.  He responded for a bit, but then he would go under again.  Suddenly the beeping stopped, and there was just the hum.  Dr. Barcaly, for all her worth, had fought furiously against it, but was forced to admit the inevitable.  “Death occurred at 2103.”  Kyle immediately got up and raced out of sickbay.

Kestra shot an apologetic look to Dr. Barclay, and went and followed Kyle to his quarters.  Her mental abilities helped her more than sight did, because main power was not yet up. 



Kyle sat in a heap on his couch.  His body shook with anger.  Why did HE have to lose everyone?  His mom died when he was 12, abducted by the Borg.  His father died when he was 23, and how his grandfather.  It wasn’t FAIR!


His buzzer rang, and then his door swished open.  Kestra was standing there, her dark eyes sympathetic and understanding.  Kyle knew that she could feel how he felt, but how could she understand?  How could she understand the pain and torture and rage that he felt?  How dare she come in assuming that he would open up to her??


“I know that you’re angry.  I know that you hurt.  It would not due to keep all of those feelings inside.  If you don’t talk to me at least talk to Alana, or somebody you trust.”  Kestra pleaded. 


Kyle softened, and slumped into his chair.  He was too worn from thinking and had no care for protocol.  He needed his friend.  The woman who had comforted him while they were at junior academy when he found out about his mother, the woman who comforted him when news came about his father, sitting with him for nights on end while he sorted everything out.  He motioned for her to join him on the couch.  He felt secure with her around, like his grief was warranted and understood. 


“Computer, lock door, Authorization Riker 1 mark 3 oh 3.  Set entry to only first officer.”  The computer beeped its recognition.  Kyle looked at his confused first officer and waved his hand around.  “I need to get over this.  I cannot be interrupted.  It would not do to have a grief stricken captain at the negotiation table.”


Kestra nodded her agreement.  The two migrated to the couch and began to reminisce of the good times, to try to forget what had just happened.  They recalled the memorable moments as part of the Nova Squadron, the trick that they had tried to play on Admiral Janeway.  They reminisced on the class lectures that they had tried to skip, the field trip they took with Cmr. Anika Hansen, the stories and the various love interests of theirs.  They talked long into the night, until finally Kyle could feel his eyes closing on him during a remembrance of swimming on Mars, the right of passage for every young adult with parents in Starfleet. 


“I think I should call it a night.”  Kyle looked down, the memories of the day surfacing again. 


“Alright.  You take it easy.  All we are doing is repairs and I can oversee them.  Everyone on board will be more than understanding.”  Kestra managed a small smile


Kyle nodded.  “I think I will take a couple of days.  I need to get his affairs in order.  You might want to call Admiral Troi though.  I don’t think I could do it”


Kestra nodded, and went to her own quarters.  She could feel the pain resurfacing, the hate boiling over for the Maquis, and a feeling of appreciation toward her.  But he needed to get over the other feelings, and soon.  It was going to be another long two days. 




The captain was taking a few personal days.  Kestra was overseeing repairs, which were going smoothly.  Kestra knew she had a task ahead of her, but she was not willing to do it.  She had to get permission to link up with Ka’hg in order to get in contact with her Grandmother. 


“Commander Troi to Ka’hg.”  Kestra began


“Ka’hg Station here, Commander Strong.”


“Yes Commander, I need to speak to Admiral Deanna Troi”


“Priority Level?”


“Priority One.”


“Ok.  I will contact your ship when she has been reached.”


Now all Kestra could do was wait.  She had the reports for the day, and had taken them to Kyle.  All shields were fully functional.  All weapons were fully functional.  They had impulse engines, and main power was back on line.  The only thing left was to get in contact with Admiral Troi, and then they could be underway.  Her mind began drifting to Kyle and that sad look in his eyes when the COM beeped.  Kestra walked over to it, and pushed the button that raised it out of her desk.  The face she saw in it looked young, but harried and old all at the same time.


“Grandmother, I have news to give you” Kestra said, deciding to dispense with the pleasantries. 


“Yes I know.  Will is dead.  I felt it the moment it happened” Deanna told her.


Kestra was startled for a brief moment, and then it all made sense.  “He was Imzadi, wasn’t he?”  She asked.


“Yes.  And the biggest mistake I made in my entire life was waiting too late to realize how much he meant to me.”  Deanna began.


Kestra looked at her grandmother.  “Tell me.”


Deanna looked far away.  “For another time,” and then, looking at nobody in particular “I release him!  Destiny will be fulfilled!  By all that is sacred, I leave it to you, and I release myself from his ties!”  Deanna looked back at Kestra.  “I think that I will be ok from now on.  I have grieved a lost lover, and now I grieve a lost friend.  If you get a chance, I would like to return to Betazed, but not now.  Maybe in a few months you can come for me, if you can spare the time.  I am sure that my prototype ship will be done by then.  You can use it as a pleasure craft.”


Kestra reflected in this revelation.  She was still curious about what her Grandmother had said about Admiral Riker, but suddenly she felt stabbing pain not to far from her.  It was Kyle!


“Grandmother, I will consider it but I must go”


“I know.  Take good care of him, I don’t think that fate will be as kind next time” 


Her grandmother’s cryptic warning   played heavily on her mind, but she had more important things to consider.  Kestra ran from her room and into the captain’s quarters.  She spotted him, sitting and watching a hologram of his grandfather at the Romulan Senate.  His eyes were simply staring, unseeing ahead. 


“Captain…”  Kestra began


Kyle looked up at his first officer.  Man, she was beautiful.  Where did she get that dress??  How long had she been standing there?  He must look a fright!  Wait?  What was he saying??  It must be the grief talking. 


“Hello Kestra” He began.  He didn’t really know where to begin.  He rarely did nowadays.  She had been so kind to him!


“How are you feeling, Captain?”


“Kestra, we have been friends too long.  I don’t think that it would be too bad a breech of protocol if you call me Kyle when it’s just us.”


Kestra stared unbelieving at him.  However she sensed that he was being truthful.  She also felt that he was very vulnerable at this moment.  She could find out why, but she didn’t think it would be appropriate.

“Kyle.”  Kestra began.  She wasn’t sure if this was appropriate, but she was quite sure that Kyle needed it.  “Would you like some dinner?”


“Yes.  I would like that very much.”


Kestra smiled.  She knew just the trick.




Kestra returned to Kyle’s quarters baring two bottles of Chateaux Picard and the fixings for a wonderful dinner.  All of Kyle’s favorite foods, from appetizer to Ktarian Chocolate for dessert. 


 “That all smells really good!”  Kyle smiled.  He remembered how many wonderful things his friend had made for them on ships gone by. 


In about an hour they were eating and enjoying a very old vintage of Chateaux Picard that Beverly had given her for a favor she had done years ago.  “Real Alcohol took a lot getting used to!”  Kestra laughed.  Everyone was used to Syntenol. 


“Yeah.  My grandfather told me an interesting story about your grandmother during the time they went to help Zepharam Cocharane.”  Kyle laughed. 


They both laughed together as they remembered various stories that their parents had told them, and things they had learned from their grandparents.  The wine flowed and the giggles got sillier. 


Kyle couldn’t help but stare at this beauty of dark and pale that sat across from his dining table.  He wanted her.  He had wanted her more than anything, ever since he met her when they started Junior Academy.  Their career paths had been different.  He had always strived to be a captain, but she was destined to be an upright daughter of the Fifth House, and an appropriate representative of the Third House.  She was raised with diplomatic and aristocratic airs.  He still remembered her, the vision of perfection during her Great-Grandmother Lwaxana’s funeral.  She had the appearance as if she would be ready if she had to hold court immediately after the processional.  He knew even then that he had no hope with her.  She would marry someone on either Betazed, or that incorrigible Jack Picard.  So he relegated himself to being friends.  Maybe it was the wine talking.  Maybe it was his imagination, but ever since they had journeyed to the Briar Patch and the Ba’ku planet, he kept having dreams about this woman.  What was he saying??  He was a Starship Captain!  He could not take up relationships with his crew, much less his first officer!!  Kyle shook his head, trying to clear it, but to no avail. 




Kestra sat across from ‘Kyle’ in her own veil of confusion.  She had always been a sucker for his eyes.  So blue and piercing.  He was a wonderful man, and had been the only one completely understanding when her father deserted the Federation, taking himself and the remainder of the mutinied crew aboard his ship, then the Ulysses far into Cardassian space.  He comforted her when everyone else wanted her to quit Starfleet, fearing that she had inherited that deserter’s gene.  He protected her, more than Jack had ever done.  She needed him.  That was it!  She needed him.  She hoped that he would continue to be the best friend that he was promising to be.




Kyle smiled at Kestra.  He rose and turned away from her.  “It feels good to look out the window and see stars again.”


Kestra nodded.  “So good.  And the Nebula looks pretty unassuming now that we are out of it.”


“Gone but not forgotten” Kyle whispered.


All of a sudden Kestra was by his side.  She looked out of the port and couldn’t help but nudge closer to Kyle.  He put an instinctive arm around her and smiled.  Kestra leaned into his shoulders, and Kyle wondered at how perfectly the demure little woman fit into his arms.  He held her closer, feeding off of her strength to finally put the tragic days behind him.  His last surviving family member had died, but the universe was waiting for him, for Enterprise. 


Kestra sensed the contentment and peace that settled over her CO.  Finally after nearly a week of his barely functioning he would be ready.  Maybe things would come back to normal.  Or maybe this was a sign of things to come.  Maybe this was what her grandmother had felt when she was dating Will Riker. 


“A penny for your thoughts Kestra?”


“I guess I’m just caught up in an era gone by.”


Kyle and Kestra smiled, and stood for the longest time, just enjoying each other’s company. 


“This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”  Kyle looked down once again into the luscious curls.  If he were a lesser man he would try to kiss the owner of those curls.  For now he was content with being close enough to smell the intoxicatingly tropical smell of her hair.  A smell reminded him of Betazed and some tropical jungle that his grandfather had taken him to.  Jahalra or Jalara or something like that.


Kestra just smiled and snuggled closer into the arms.  Now it was ok.  Nobody was looking, and it would be good for her to have a good friend when she had a bad day. 



A light-year and a half away, a regal Betazoid woman looked up from her double chocolate sundae with chocolate chips and Guinan’s special sauce and smiled.


Chapter Three: Deanna



Deanna’s empathic abilities seemed to be increased tenfold with prolonged exposure to the Ba’ku.  She could now sense what was happening around her granddaughter, even though she was over a light-year away.  She’s happy.  I am glad that she is able to put her personality to good use.  She would have made a good counselor, but I guess that a Starfleet captain will be just as good. 


<<Imzadi? >>


It was almost a reflex now.  She was used to losing contact with him, to thinking him dead, only to find out that he was quite alive.  This time felt different.  She knew why.  Imzadi was gone forever.  OH WHY hadn’t she listened to her mother??  Deanna could hear her mother’s voice even now.  “Do not marry that Mr. Woof.  He is not Imzadi.  Wyatt was closer to you than he is.  He is just an excuse for you to avoid pain.  There is no growth without pain, Little One.”  Mother had been right.  Worf was not Imzadi, but she had learned to love him. Deanna laughed to herself.  Learned to love a man she had already told everyone she was madly in love with.  The very thought brought her back to a memory she fought long and hard to bury.




Deanna found herself sitting on a rock near a lake the natives called Ventura Lake.  It reminded her of Lake El-Nar on her home planet.  Peaceful, beautiful, and perfect.  Looking out into the beautifully clear waters, she let her mind wander on the past few days.  In the space of 72 hours, a new species had been ‘discovered’; a Starfleet plot had been realized, and a destructive force had tried to take over normally peaceful people.  This moment was one of the few she had to herself.  Her mind drifted to Imzadi.  For some reason she had the great need to be near him.  She knew that the Ba’ku people were being kept young by a form of radiation, but she did not realize how deeply it affected off worlders.  All she wanted to do was to go to his quarters and behave as if they were back at Angel Falls.  Deanna’s thoughts turned to a book she was reading on some religion called Karma Sutra when a familiar presence crept up behind her.


<<Hello Imzadi>>

“Hello Deanna.”  Will Riker stood behind her, simply staring at the beauty that had captured his heart so long ago. 


“Would you like to join me?”


Will sat on a nearby rock and looked into the lake.  “Dee.  I miss you.”


“Miss me?” I’ve been here the whole time.” Deanna knew she was playing with Will, but it was so much FUN!


“That’s not what I meant.  I miss us.  I miss holding you in my arms and feeling you in my mind.  In my soul.  I miss everything.”


Deanna sat.  She never imagined that Will would say these things.  “That’s just the planet talking.  In a few weeks you’ll be back to business as usual.”


“No I wont!.  It cant be business as usual again without you.  I need you.”


“Give me some time to think.  How can I be sure that you’re not going to leave me again when a command comes along?”


<< Come on.  That was twelve years ago.  I’ve grown up since then.  >>


<< So have I >>


<< All the more reason to…>


<< Il think about it>>


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~End Flashback~~~~~~~~~~~~


Deanna thought back.  Right after Will left Worf came along and proposed.  A lot of fun that was, announcing that she was going to marry Worf.  Maybe it WAS a marriage of convenience.  She didn’t have Will and he didn’t have Jadzia.  They married simply for the need of someone understanding in each other’s lives.  Now Deanna knew the mistake.  Worf was a wonderful husband, but the love wasn’t there.  Simple pride kept them from separating.  For him it was not Honorable to leave a woman with children alone.  For her she would not let Will or her mother have satisfaction.  What a foolish woman she had been.  Now her granddaughter was paying the price.  She knew about the dreams, but she was powerless to stop them.  Maybe she could do what her mother had done for her when the dreams came. 





Deanna sat on the edge of her bed in her new quarters.  She was so proud that she was on the FLAGSHIP of the FEDERATION!  Her father would have been pleased.  Unfortunately someone else was on this ship too.  Will Riker.  Bill had left two years ago, and they had planned to meet up on Risa to get married.  His career was more important to him, when the day came she received word that he had been offered a first officer’s slot on the Hood.  Beautiful.  Well, she could do it too.  And FASTER!.  She remembered that pain, but had no less been so happy to see him that she made a fool of herself on her first away mission!  She decided right then that she would not interfere with Bill.  She was not going to get involved.  Not while they were on the same ship, anyway.  They would be friends, maybe.  But nothing crucial.  Or dangerous.  That was it!  Don’t get involved. 


Deanna went to sleep with this knowledge.  She was content with being friends with Bill. 


Three Months Later


Deanna sat up with a start.  She had just been dreaming that she was on a beach in a beautiful sapphire dress, walking towards Bill.  Bill was beckoning to her, and she seemed quite happy to be going.  This dream is quite inappropriate, with her impending marriage to Wyatt.  Her mother was on board, and probably could sense those dreams.  For that matter, so could Wyatt!  “This is terrible!  I cannot dream of other men while I am engaged to marry my bonded mate.”  Deanna went back to sleep.


The next night she had the same dream.  The night after that also. 


<< Mother, I am having disturbing dreams >>


<< I know Little One.  Maybe somebody is trying to tell you something >>


And that was all that her mother had said. 




Deanna had kept having the same dream frequently throughout her first three years on the Enterprise.  She eventually developed a holodeck program that helped her block the dreams.  Perhaps she should’ve kept the dreams.  It might have helped her in the end.  Oh well.  She would have to live without his touch, his embrace, his caring eyes…


Suddenly Deanna found herself crying and curled up on a corner of her bed.  “Imzadi!” she screamed.  The pain of the memories brought the emptiness flooding back.  The gnawing pain that her soul felt was consuming her.  Why did she have to wait so long?  Why was she always so stubborn??  She had the senses to know that he had been honest all those years ago, but her feelings kept getting in the way.  She knew that she loved Will, but she hated getting hurt.  She knew he didn’t want to hurt her, and he hadn’t wanted to hurt her back on Risa.  This thought started the tears anew down her face. 


“Deanna!”  Beverly was shocked to come back and find her best friend crying.  It didn’t take a psychologist to understand that Deanna had been displacing her grief, and this was probably just her much needed release.


Deanna barely heard Beverly, but the memories kept flooding into her mind.  When Will had taken care of her after the incident with the Lumerian Ambassador, when they had been drinking with Cocharane, when they had rediscovered themselves after the amnesia incident, all of these made Deanna cry harder.  


Beverly sat on the edge of the bed, and held Deanna.  “Its ok.  Its alright” Beverly comforted her friend.


Deanna felt the concern of Beverly radiating around her.  “I. Miss. Him” Deanna  hiccupped.  “His.  Presence.”  Deanna tapped her heart. 


Beverly looked at her friend.  She had gone from a dignified woman to a disheveled lump in a matter of moments.  She knew better than to try to make her stop crying.  She had been the same way when Jean Luc died.  “Sshh.  Its ok.”  Beverly continued to hold Deanna and comfort her. 


They continued in this manner for an hour, then Deanna’s tears began to subside.  “I must look a wreck” Deanna whispered, as she tried to brush back a few stray curls.


“No, you look like someone  who needs some chocolate.”  Beverly said, glad to see her friend returning to normal.


Deanna smiled at her friend’s diagnosis.  “Is that a medical observation?  Or a psychological one?”


Beverly laughed.  “A friendly one.”


Deanna managed a weak smile.  Just then a voice echoed through Deanna’s being.  <<You have broken it.  You must fix it before it’s too late.  Fate must be satisfied!!  >>

Deanna looked at Beverly with wide eyes.  “Fix what?”


Beverly shot Deanna a confused look.  “I don’t know.  Did I think something?”


Deanna thought about the voice, it wasn’t Beverly’s.  It was male.  “I don’t know.  I think I will have that chocolate whatever.  It might settle me down.  I think that old ghosts are trying to visit me.”

Beverly remembered her own encounter with ghost and said “Sometimes its good to listen to them.  They might be trying to tell you something.” 


Deanna shrugged and went to the bathroom.  The cool water felt good on her face after crying.  The voice was back though.  << Do not ignore destiny!!  You must repair the damage you have done!!  >> 


“Ignore destiny?”  Deanna thought to herself.  Was this voice talking about Imzadi?  How could she fix destiny?  “Ah.  I am an old soul.  I’m just in a new body”  Deanna contemplated out loud.  “Maybe I am going crazy.”


“Perhaps, if you keep talking to yourself like that.”  Beverly was just joking, but it was causing a ripple effect in Deanna’s mind.  She would find out what this voice meant, if it was the last sane thing she did!



Chapter Four



Kestra awoke at around 0700 hours and looked at the dishevelment around her.  Empty glass containers that had once contained Romulan Ale were strewn about her quarters.  Clothes lay everywhere.  As she looked to see what the cause could be she caught a flash of red next to her.  “Great!”  Kestra groaned.  A vague memory of the previous night floated back to her, along with a killer hangover headache.  She would have to remedy that before her duty shift at 1300.  Jack Picard lay in a heap beside her.  It was his day to be “on call” as opposed to actually being in Engineering, so he was safe.  What happened last night?  Kestra suddenly realized that she had not a stitch of clothes on.  A quick investigation revealed that neither did Jack.  Kestra got up and quickly crossed her room to grab a robe from her closet.  She saw a glimpse of her sitting area.  It looked like a Tirelliyan cyclone had hit.  Foodstuff was everywhere.  The remainders of chocolate strawberries were by the couch, along with some more decadent aphrodisiacs.  Had Jack tried to seduce her?  No.  That wasn’t the case.  It was quite the other way around.  As Kestra stepped into the shower she remembered more of the evening’s events.




Kestra could feel Kyle’s tension.  Something had changed between them, but why not?  They had spent nearly every day together for almost two months now.  Kyle was better, but sometimes being alone was hard for him.  The sexual tension and innuendo was almost too much for her poor sex-starved captain.  She felt it double, for her and for him.  She needed a release! 


“Troi to Picard”


“Picard here.”


“Can you come over, I need to discuss some crew evaluations with you, something about your staff I need to find out.”


“Yes.  Il be there in 15 minutes”


Kestra smiled in spite of her own self.  She knew Jack still had it bad for her, so he wouldn’t argue.  Ha ha ha.  Poor fool! Currently Kestra was wearing a robe, covering up a shimmery silver lingerie thing with a corset bodice and flowing skirt.  She had laid out some chocolate covered strawberries and had pulled some Romulan Ale from her reserve.  She also had a bottle of Chateaux Vranai Champagne just in case.  There were a couple of PADD’s strewn about, to make it look like she was working.  The door swooshed open, and there stood Jack in off duty clothes.  Better yet!  She wouldn’t muss up his uniform. 


“I’m so glad you could come!  The PADD I need you to look at is over there.”  Kestra gestured to a point furthest away from her door.  She then walked over to her door and set a security lock that would take only herself and the captain to override.  


“This officer no longer serves under me.”  Jack observed. 


“Ah.  Figures as much.  Why don’t you come sit over here instead?”  Kestra looked at Jack.  She could sense his curiosity.  “It has been too long since we have talked.”


“Ok.  What shall we talk about?”  Jack looked into Kestra’s eyes for understanding.


“Us.”  Kestra scooted closer to Jack.  “Have a drink”  She picked up a glass with some Romulan Ale in it.


Kestra poured a cup for herself, and cup for Jack.  “Tell me, what do you think of me?”


Jack nearly choked on his drink.  “What I think of you?  I think you’re beautiful.  Your eyes, your skin, everything.  A dream I can’t get out of. “


Kestra smiled, and inched closer to Jack.  She slipped off her robe and said, “What about now?”


“Umm.”  Jack took a hard swallow of his Romulan ale, and reached for another.  “Breathtaking” 


Kestra smiled, feeding off of the sexual tension that Jack was throwing off.  She traced a line around his chest, barely touching  him.  “Do you think I’m  a good officer?”


Jack flushed and nodded.  Kestra knew she had him in her grasp.  She broke off from his chest and grabbed a strawberry.  She caressed it and licked it before finally taking a sensuous bite out of it.  “Would you like one?”


Jack could barely breathe.  “Yes”


Kestra grabbed the plate and took the biggest strawberry off.  She kissed it and fed it to Jack.  She could see the evidence of him as she toyed with his emotions.  She took another one and bit it as if it was a sensuous kiss.   “I am glad you think I am a good officer.  That will come in handy.”  Kestra fed another strawberry to Jack, who now looked like was doing all he could to keep from ripping himself in two.  Kestra leaned into Jack and kissed the nape of his neck, vaguely aware that the whole time she was thinking of Kyle’s strong arms and shoulders.  Kestra smiled.  “You like that?” 

Jack nodded.  Kestra smile got wider as she drank the rest of her Romulan ale.  “More Jack?”  He responded by taking the flagon and draining the rest of the blue liquid.  Kestra knew she needed this, and everything was going according to plan.  Kestra giggled as Jack lifted her petite form off of the couch and took her into the bedroom.  Their clothes disintegrated in seconds and the two found themselves rolling around on the bed with the strawberries and champagne as their company.  Kestra hopped on to Jack’s stomach and moaned slightly as the two joined. 





The rest of the night was a flash and blur of purple, red and cream.  She was quite tired, so there was no telling what had gone on that night.  She knew that she fought hard to not refer to Jack as Imzadi.  That would have been a mistake.  Kestra thought back to what had made her wake up so early anyway. 


“That Damn dream!”  Kestra realized.  “Maybe Grandmother can help me.  It is inappropriate for me to be dreaming of him in that manner!”  Kestra reasoned that it was the true motivation behind last night’s escapades, but she refused to buy into the thought that she was falling for Kyle Riker.  “Not with him as ships’ captain!”  she whispered.  Jack began to stir next to her, and so Kestra decided that now would be the best time to get a shower.  She took a quick glance at the chronometer.  0745.  Good, she thought to herself, I can get a session in with the bat’leth before my shift.  Kestra then slipped into the warm curtain of water and tried to relax her troubled mind. 




Kyle Riker felt soft sensuous arms around him as he slept.  He had no memory of anyone being in his quarters, but the feeling was nice.  As the voice whispered ‘sweet nothings’ into his hear, however, he woke up with a start.  “Kestra!!”


Kyle looked around him, and there was not a soul in his room.  “Computer.  Please locate Commander Kestra Troi” 


“Kestra Troi is in her quarters”  the computer supplied helpfully.


Kyle sank back into his pillow and caught a glimpse of the chronometer near his bed.  0700.  Perfect.  He was on call today, and he had just gotten off duty at 0300.  He needed sleep!


Kyle drifted back to sleep when the feeling came back.  This time it was as if he was in the shower, and Kestra was in there with him, massaging every inch of his body.  Kyle’s eyes popped open and he looked at the chronometer again.  0745.  “These interruptions must stop.  I wont ever get any rest like this!” 

Kyle drifted back to sleep again, this time without incident. 




Kestra fixed her COM badge onto her uniform and looked at the sleeping Jack.  Maybe he would leave during the middle of the shift.  His quarters weren’t very far away, so once he was out nobody would say anything about his being on that deck.  “Why did I have to do that?” she asked to nobody in particular.  “I think I need some good advice.”


Kestra got into the turbolift and thought about heading to the holosuites.  She immediately changed her mind when the perfect person came to mind.  “Deck 10”

She would go see Guinan. 


Ten Forward was moderately busy, seeing as it was at least another hour and a half till shift change. 


“You need not worry.  There are plenty of empty tables left.”  Guinan smiled from behind the glass bar. 


It always amazed Kestra how Guinan could sense those things.  “Yeah.  I figure I could use a good empty table, and a good friend to talk to”


Guinan, ever efficient in this type of behavior, instantly left her post and pointed to an out-of-the-way table near the back of the lounge.  “I know another first officer of an Enterprise who preferred tables like this.” 


Kestra laughed, the first genuine one in days “Let me guess, Commander Riker.”


Guinan simply nodded and gestured for Kestra to take a seat.  She took one herself, and then gestured to one of the waiters for some service. 


They sat in silence until the most amazingly beautiful mound of chocolate Kestra had ever seen appeared on her table.  “It was your Grandmother’s favorite”


Kestra smiled at that thought.  A more beautiful sight was never seen, not as far as chocolate was concerned.  It was a chocolate gelato ice cream base on top of a double fudge brownie with chocolate sprinkles, chocolate marshmallows, chocolate dust (only the purest and best from Earth), chocolate cream and topped with chocolate covered raspberries and surrounded by decadent chocolate truffles.  She dug her spoon into it and felt like she had died and gone to chocolate heaven.  “How could you tell I needed this?” she asked Guinan. 


“A look you had.  Nobody should look that lost and alone.  What’s wrong?”


Kestra did not know why, but all of a sudden everything came flowing out.  “I think I have strong feelings for Captain Riker, and they’re inappropriate and immoral and I think it’s my Grandmother’s fault!” 


Guinan smiled.  It did not feel that long ago that she was talking to another Troi about another Riker in Ten Forward.  She hoped this time it went better.  “How do you feel about Kyle.  Would you pursue him if your stations were different?  If you were equals?”


Kestra was startled by the  question.  “NO!  YES!  No. I don’t know.  It would depend” 


“Depend on what?”


“How he felt about me.”


Guinan tried her best to keep from laughing.  “That seems to run in your family.”


Kestra was shocked.  “You mean my Grandmother was this unsure about Worf?”  Kestra knew that Guinan had known her grandmother since she was in her early years on the Enterprise. 


“I mean that your Grandmother had her indecisions about another young man.  I think she’s the best one to talk to about that.”


“Do you think that I should try to talk to the Captain about my feelings, or should I try to talk to my Grandmother first?”


“I think you have some things to decide on your own.  Like what is more important, your heart or your career?”


“I don’t know…” Kestra looked down at her empty bowl, and then over at the chronometer.  It was 1230!  “I’ve got to go!  Thank you!”


Kestra rushed out to the bridge and spent the rest of her shift wondering about the captain.



Chapter Five



Kyle Riker looked up from his PADD regarding the duty roster and glanced at the chronometer.  1630.  Kyle blinked his weary eyes and thought about taking a nap.  “Nobody would fault me a nap.  It would actually feel good to sleep.” Just then a familiar beep sounded from his COM badge.


“Bridge to Captain Riker”


“Riker here”


“Captain, there’s a hail for you, priority one.”


Kyle gave a big sigh.  “Guess this rules out sleep.  Il’ take it in here.”


“Good Evening Kyle.”  Admiral Ginral greeted her favorite captain


“Good Evening Admiral.  TO what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”


“Starfleet is in the midst of some very delicate talks involving the Balirins.  We have come to a stand still in working out a deal where their rights are not violated and where we can help them develop their society.  Many of them are not satisfied with the current ambassadors.  We need Admiral Deanna Troi, and we understand that you are the last ship to be in contact with her.  Is she on board?”


“No ma’m she is not.  She is on an extended leave of absence.  I had the impression that everybody knew?”


“I was not informed.”  Admiral Ginral was a lesser rank, having just made admiral about two years prior.  She knew that stuff happened among the more experienced admirals that  never got reported to her, and it always made her angry.  “I need you to go get her and give her these schematics.  I will have them encoded and downloaded to your computer.  You are the only person authorized to deal with this information.  Please see that she gets it.”


“Yes ma’m.”  Kyle couldn’t believe his luck.  HE has just gotten over being in that infernal dust cloud, and here was another admiral ordering him back!


“Ginral out”

The screen flashed black and descended down into his desk, the console beside his chair blinked a few times, a sign that Admiral Ginral had been true to her word and was downloading the information for Admiral Troi.  He noticed that the message was marked urgent. 

Kyle tapped his COM badge.  “Commander Troi, I need to see you in my ready room”


“Acknowledged”  The voice on the other end sounded less than excited.  Maybe she knew already where they were headed.  He wouldn’t put it past her, that’s for sure.



Twenty minutes later a less than happy Kestra Troi was sitting in a chair in her captain’s ready room looking across the table at a very less than happy Captain Riker.


“So we have to go back and get her?”  Kestra asked, knowing the answer, but wanting to hear it from another mouth.


“Yes, as unfortunate as it may be, it is all I can do to protect us from a court martial regarding what Admiral Troi was doing on the Ba’ku planet to begin with.”


“I understand.  But perhaps maybe it should just be the Kirk that goes in this time.  It would be easier on all concerned.”  Kestra reasoned


Kyle thought about it.  It would be much easier if Kestra and a few trusted staff went on his yacht.  Less scrutiny, less hassle, and he didn’t have to worry about those infernal feelings!. 

“Very well.  Take Ensign Bakker, Lieutenant  and Lieutenant Paris with you.  I doubt you will need security, but it’s the  most I can do to make sure I keep my first officer.”


Kestra laughed.  “You were thinking the same thing.  Why don’t you want to go to the Ba’ku planet?”


Kyle considered the question.  She didn’t usually highlight the fact that she could do that.  She probably knew what he was thinking right now.  Watermelon Peanut Sauce.  Watermelon Peanut Sauce…


Kestra giggled.  “That’s not going to help you.  Are you afraid of what happened last time?  Afraid that something is going to happen that you cannot control?”


Kyle looked with wonder.  Counseling must be in her blood.  Kestra didn’t usually make such bold statements, and didn’t usually take on the role of counselor.  “I guess.  I don’t like the way that place made me feel.”


“That is quite understandable.  At the risk of sounding like my grandmother, it is quite normal for people who have experienced traumatic experiences to not want to return to the place where they occurred.  You lost one of your last living relatives, one of the last Rikers to roam the galaxy.   I wouldn’t want to go back if I was you either.”


It took Kyle every bit of control to not smile.  “Yes.  That is true.  Well if your going to be back in time for Admiral Ginral to receive Admiral Troi before the next set of talks begins, then you should leave by 0800.”


“Understood Sir.”






Kestra sat in the Captain’s Yacht, nicknamed Kirk looking out at the nebula they were getting ready to encounter.  She had the helm, Ensign Bakker was at the COM and Lieutenant Paris was at Tactical. 


“Scans still showing nothing ma’m.  No sign of the Cardasians, the Breen, the Maquis or anybody for that matter.” 


“Very Good.  Take us in.  I have already informed Admiral Troi and the Ka’hg of our arrival. 


The small ship entered into the nebula cloud and was suddenly hit with turbulence. 




“There are two small ships off of our Starboard bow.  Cardassian Needles.  They would be no match for the Enterprise, but we might have a problem with both of them.”


“Shields down to 91%”


Another  blast hit the ship as Kestra engaged evasive maneuvers and adjusted the ship to return fire.  “Fire!” 


“Shields down to 71%”


“Firing phasers.  No effect”


“Commander, they are operating on a different shield harmonic every time they fire.  Its like a primitive Borg shielding technology.”


“Set phasers to compensate.  Fire!”


“Shields down to 49%” 


“Fire Photon Torpedos’


“They are not responding.  They have knocked out our photon torpedos.”


“Shields down to 22%”


“Target their main reactor with everything you’ve got!  FIRE!!”


“No effect.  I still can’t figure out their shield harmonics.”


“How in the HELL did they escape sensors????”


“Unknown Sir.”


The entire time the two Cardassian fighter ships were flying patterns around the Kirk,  aiming for every system they could hit.  The ship rocked from the explosions, as system after system went down.


“Weapons have been disabled!”


“Shields are gone!”


“Try to get us out of here!”


“Commander!  Direct hit to warp core.  Warp core breech imminent!’


“How long?’ 


Just then the two Cardassian fighters sent a direct phaser shot thru the ship.  The warp core breech, sending shockwaves through the nebula cloud, doubled the explosion.  


At that precise moment Kyle Riker sat up in bed, gasping for air.  “Kestra!!!”

“Kestra Troi is in her quarters” The computer supplied helpfully. 


Kyle laughed in spite of himself.  “I guess I need to ease up on the tea before bed”  He got up and put on off duty clothes.  “I think I should at least see them off.”


Kyle walked to the dispatch port for the Kirk and smiled as he saw the additional shielding precautions that Lieutenant Paris was taking. 


“You didn’t work all night on this, did you? 


Kathryn Paris smiled.  “Not exactly Sir.  I had some help setting this up when the ship was first built.  Captain Crusher helped establish the proper loads and everything.  All I have to do is turn them on.  I was just running a simulation involving the weapons systems.  In case we run into someone who has ‘Carbon Shields’. 


Kyle wanted to laugh.  It never ceased to amaze him how many different names the Borg shield technology had received.


“Good work.”


Kyle left the bay station and returned to his quarters, able finally to get a full night’s sleep.




Kestra and crew arrived at the Ba’ku planet without incident, and docked at Ka’hg. 


“It is good to see you again.  We are protected against off worlders for a reason, but seeing them is often a good feeling.”  Rialliah greeted the small crew. 


“It is gracious that you have extended welcome to us once more.”  Kestra reached through generations of aristocracy. 


“We will transport you to the southern continent.  That is where Admiral Troi is currently living.” 


“Thank you”


Two hours later.


<< Grandmother, we have to go.  I know that it’s hard, but they need you.  >>

<<  They will never believe that I am me. >>

<<  Then dye your hair.  >>

<< Oh Yeah >>

<<  Grandmother, tell me about your Imzadi.  Tell me why you called Will Riker Imzadi  I have been wondering that for a long time now.  >>

Deanna stared unbelieving at Kestra.  Even to an empath Kestra could be quite confusing.  “I never thought that I would have to talk about this again.  It’s been so long…  Sit down.  Have some tea.  It’s kind of an interesting concept, and kind of a long story.”  Kestra sat down and drank some of the raspberry tea that was sitting on the table.  “You know about Imzadi.”  Deanna began.  “It’s a bond between two souls.  The premise is that everyone has a soul mate and that person is Imzadi to you.  Most people never meet their Imzadi.  Some people are bonded to them in our traditional way, and others, like me, end up meeting them after the bonding.  Other than family, I was only able to communicate telepathically with one other person, Will Riker.  I could feel deeply with Wyatt, the man  I was bonded with, but Will was much different from even him.  He was special to me.  He was the first man I felt I could really love.  He was the first one who wasn’t put off by my attitude, or by my mother.  I had a reputation for being nice, except for when it came to men who wanted to date me.  He taught me how to appreciate life and love for purely the enjoyment of it.  I gave myself fully to him, mentally and physically.  I had heard about his reputation, and I was skeptical about him.  I think that’s what made our friendship so strong.  We had an understanding of each other, even if I didn’t want to admit it.  I had given myself to him, and he gave himself to me.  No matter how many other people we got involved with, we were still a deep part of each other.  If anything ever happened to me, he was right there.  When things happened to him, I was right there.  Many nights on the Enterprise I have sat in sickbay waiting for him to get better.  That’s just how we have been.  That’s why we are Imzadi.”


Kestra wanted to know more.  “How did you meet?”


“I was a psychology student on Betazed, and Will was stationed on Betazed as an assistant to some Starfleet personnel while between assignments.  He first saw me at a wedding that I was participating in.  I sensed his thoughts, because they were so uninhibited.  He was the only off worlder at the wedding.  He approached me during the reception, but he was all about a physical relationship, and I did not desire such a thing at that time in my life.  I was too busy.  He was quite determined, and he demanded that I at least give him a chance to talk.  I agreed, and we began having lunch dates, then dinner dates.  My mother greatly disapproved.  He became greatly interested in things that happened within my classes, and in Betazoid concepts such as Rabeem.  His determination to understand me was endearing.  He was just as eager for me to understand him.  You must understand, I had never been off of Betazed when he met me, and I did not know many humans, except for my father and maybe a few of the Starfleet officers that taught at the different schools on Betazed.  Most of them had adopted Betazed customs, and few were very argumentative about Terran ways.  The pivotal moment in our relationship was when the Sindareen attacked while I was at a museum with my friend Chandra.  A Sindareen kidnapped me and he led the rescue mission to recover me from the Jalara Jungle.  We were taken up by relief and became physically intimate.  Those memories are the most powerful that I have.  He protected me and was with me during a time I felt vulnerable.  I was held hostage for 3 days, I believe and the task of staying calm and relying on logic to stay alive was draining.  He was there at a moment when I was sure that the Sindareen was going to kill me.  We became romantic after that, and he even approached my mother about me.  You see, I linked mentally with him during our stay in the jungle, and he responded quite strongly.  It was as if we were a permanent part of each other’s souls.  I felt empty and incomplete anytime I was not around him, and I know he felt the same way.  My mother disapproved of such a link with an off worlder, especially one from Starfleet.  She had found out what had happened between us, and at the time she wanted as much distance between me and him as possible.  It was coming close to the time when I was to marry Wyatt, and she wanted me to stay mentally pure to him, and to prepare for my duties as a Betazoid woman and a Daughter of the Fifth House.  Her rebuffs were too much for him, and I provided no help, even when he showed great mental prowess by contacting me telepathically.  He ran and found temporary companion in Wendy Roper, a human whose father was a Starfleet officer.  We eventually reconciled before he left for the Potempkin.   We had agreed to get married the next time he was between assignments, and we agreed to Risa.  I then entered Starfleet Academy for Psychiatry.  We had set the date, and had kept writing to each other, but when it was almost time he informed me that he had been promoted to Commander and assigned as First Officer on the Hood.  He was following his primary dream, to be a Starship Captain by 35.  I was immensely hurt, and it was a pain that I carried with me until I married Worf.  We met again on the Enterprise, and after a brief romance we decided it was best that we remain friends.  Our friendship has helped us through many things, and our link as Imzadi has oftentimes been something that has been a great lifesaver.  We were always the best of friends, extremely close.  I don’t think I have ever been closer to anyone, including Worf.” 


Kestra was surprised.  She knew that the Imzadi bond was strong, but she figured that marriage was the prerequisite to two people being Imzadi.  “You were Imzadi. From everything I have heard about Imzadi you were the closest you could be.  I thought you had to be married in order to be Imzadi.” 


Deanna smiled.  “Most Imzadi do get married.  It was just impossible for us.”


Kestra could sense that her Grandmother was remembering something painful, yet wonderful all at the same time.  Something told Kestra that she needed to know what had gone on.  “Tell me what happened, why did you not marry Admiral Riker if he was Imzadi and so important to you?”


Deanna sighed.  “It was hard.  We were really good friends, the best.  He proposed twice since then.  Once was right before the Enterprise D crashed.  He was afraid that if we ended up on Veridian that we would forget each other, because of the Nexus Ribbon.  He had the battle bridge and I had the Saucer section.  I accepted, but after the mission we broke it off.  I just couldn’t see marrying him, when we had not been so romantically involved.  I knew he cared, but I didn’t want to lose control.  I always had control.  He had hurt me before, and I did not want to be hurt again.  When I had dated Worf, it was a wonderful experience.  The feelings went there that had been there with Will were not there with Worf, but I liked him as a good friend.  I felt that in time I would come to love Worf like I loved  Will.”


Kestra was visibly shaken.  She had thought that the relationship between her grandparents was flawless.  That was how her mother had always described the relationship.  Her grandfather had died long before she was born.  “I thought you loved Grandfather.”


Deanna knew where Kestra was coming from.  All her life she had felt the love that emanated from her.  “I did love him.  It was a different kind of love that Will and I had.”


Kestra smiled.  She could understand fully about different kinds of love.  “Did Grandfather know that you loved Will?” 


“Yes.  But he had issues of his own.  He was still in love with his first wife, who died five years before Worf and I were married.  They were the equivalent of bonded as far as Klingons go.  He could never love me as he loved Jadzia.”


“Then why did you get married?” 


“It was just easier than dealing with my feelings for Will”




Three hours later Deanna was packed and in the starboard quarters of the Kirk.  Her mind reflected on the things that Kestra had asked her, and on the things that had happened all those years ago.  




Deanna stood in front of a special full length mirror she had installed in her quarters.  She had left her hair curly for the day, and it cascaded gracefully over her pale bare shoulders.  She was wearing an off the shoulder pale purple dress which fit tight around her bodice, but flowed gracefully into a full dress around her ankles.  She wore heels, something she rarely did, but it was a special occasion.  Tonight was the night she was announcing her engagement to Worf.  There was a special banquet to honor Will’s new command, and it was the perfect occasion to announce the union.  She knew Worf had little care for how she looked, but he was quite fond of this dress.  Deanna was suddenly aware of a comforting and familiar presence right before her door chimed. 




Will came into the door and stared at the nymph that stood before him.  “You look amazing”


“Thank you.  You don’t look so bad yourself.”  Deanna was surprised to see that much of Will’s outfit matched closely to her dress in color, even though she had only replicated the dress a few hours ago, and had not seen Will since their crew evaluations that morning. 


“Thank you.  It feels different to be going to a formal occasion in something other than dress uniform, but I kind of wanted it to be an occasion to remember.”  Will had requested that the senior staff members attend the banquet in the formal attire of 20th century civilians.  He thought it would add a special air to the occasion.  Will was currently wearing a three piece black suit with a pale amethyst vest and a similar colored tie.  He was clean shaven and had replicated some of the perfume that Deanna had given him many years prior. 


Deanna could sense that Will was hiding something from her, but she couldn’t pinpoint it.  He could be quite adept at putting up mental blocks when he wanted to.  All she could tell was that he was nervous and excited about something.  “I am sure that tonight will be quite the night to remember.”


Will reached out for Deanna’s arm, and after a final look in the mirror, Deanna took it.  ‘One last time wont hurt.’  She thought to herself, and the pair walked to Holodeck 2, which is where the festivities were going to occur.


Neither of them had any idea how true Deanna’s words were going to be. 



Deanna sat in the most uncomfortable spot for almost two hours.  It was not like she did not have any room, but she was seated between Worf and Will, and the emotions emanating off of each would have thrown a Vulcan for a loop, had he been able to feel them.  The food was good, however.  Course after course of classic 20th century Terran cuisine passed over the tables, and Deanna found herself amazed at each one.  Some things were not commonly eaten on board, but special occasions often called for special foods.  Right now the things that Ensign Maka had called ‘sushi’ was through and the coffee and tea was being prepared for the dessert course.  Suddenly Worf waved to a couple of the garcon that were waiting tables to fill the champagne glasses.  ‘Must be time’ Deanna thought. 

Will immediately picked up on the change in posture of Deanna, and sent out << What’s wrong Imzadi?  >>


Deanna ignored the question and mentally prepared her speech.  Which is why she was surprised when Worf got up first, after all the glasses had been filled. 

Worf raised his glass.  “I am not one for speeches, as many know.  But I feel that the occasion befits it.  Commander Riker has been family to me for many years now, and I would like to once again congratulate him on receiving command of the Titan.  It has been a great honor serving under him, and I wish him the best of luck.  I also feel that this is a special day for him, and as family I feel honored to be able to make this announcement on this very special day of his.  Deanna and I are to be married.”


The group made a collective cheer, though Deanna barely heard it.  The anger that was being aimed in her direction from Will was overpowering, almost making it hard for her to breathe.  So she simply stood up next to Worf and smiled as people drank their congratulations in her direction. 


The rest of the celebration was gay, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, but it came as little surprise to anyone who could really call themselves Will Riker’s friend when he left at the earliest convenience, feigning fatigue. 




Deanna had little time for tending to Will’s wounds, at least not right away.  The official announcement had been given, now it was time to call her mother, her friends and lots of other people.  Around the fourth day of Will’s absence from the bridge and corridors she began to get quite worried.  She decided she should pay him a visit.  Captain Picard had been a key motivator, because he wanted his first officer’s last three months to be good ones on the Enterprise.  She walked down the few doors to Will’s room.  Most of the week Will had been blocking her, but today his feelings came boiling through.  Right then she felt more pain then anger from Will.  A good sign, but a bad one as well.  She buzzed his door.


“I don’t want to see anyone right now”


“That’s too bad.  You know I can open this door”  Deanna felt the sudden shift in emotions.  Oh boy. 


Deanna heard a faint mumbling and then the door obediently opened.  A tidal wave of guilt, anger and confusion hit Deanna as she walked into the room.  The sight before her was depressing.  Empty bottles of Romulan ale, scotch and some strange green liquid labeled Absinthe littered the floor of the room, empty glasses lay everywhere and the room smelled like a distillery.  Will was slumped in the corner of his sitting room wearing the same clothes that he had been wearing the night of his party and her announcement. 


“So you’ve come to gloat have you?”  Will slurred at her


“No.  I have come to check on a good friend who is seemingly wasting away.”  Deanna glared at him. 


Will matched her glare with one of his own.  “You don’t care about me.  You don’t give a shit about me.  Marrying Worf! You wouldn’t marry me because you weren’t ready, but you could sure marry him quite readily.  Was is as good for you as it was for him?”


“You may be a Captain now but you are just as childish as ever!”  Deanna could feel her own voice rising.  HOW DARE HE!


“How dare I?? I LOVE YOU!  Cant you understand that??  You so much as don’t even care!  You might as well as shoot me with a Romulan Disruptor because that’s how I feel right now.  TO HELL with my promotion!  To HELL with Starfleet!  You are all I need in life!!  That night was special to me, and I wanted it to be special to you!  I was going to give you this.”  At that moment Will pulled out a small velvet box that had been in a hidden jacket pocket in his suit and threw it at Deanna’s feet. 


Deanna picked up the small box and opened it.  Her face was incapable of showing the shock that she felt.  Inside was a ring with a Sulimakia stone in it.  They were quite rare and hard to come by.  These stones shone like miniature suns, and the pair that were sitting in the platinum ring were purple.  The ring itself was encrusted with pure diamonds, all adding to a very beautiful effect.  Deanna looked at the ring with wonder, and reflected on the ring that Worf had given her.  It was a gold solitaire diamond, beautiful in its own, but not really as impressive as this ring was.  Deanna, not for the first time this week, was speechless.  << It’s Beautiful >> She sent. 


“A lot of good it does me now, you’re marrying WORF!  I spill my heart out to you, offer to take you to Risa, write holodeck programs for you, arrange with Starfleet to have you transferred to my new ship as second officer and THIS is what I get!  You take my heart and chomp it up!  You claim to love me but you DON’T!  Imzadi this, Imzadi that, you must think I am crazy!  I have given the best years of my life chasing after you!  All the good I am to you DATA could do for you!”


“That was a low blow, Will.”  Deanna was cut to the core, the man she had held out for was saying every hurtful thing he could think of.  She wanted to cry.


“I put up with your crap for long enough! ‘Not on the same ship, you say, yet youre bangin’ Worf faster than lightning.  I am willing to bet that you were ‘on the same ship’ with a lot of people.  The Captain was a fool to let you wear whatever got into that pretty little head of yours!  I guess my offers are not of any use to you now.  Selfish pig!”


Deanna was now very angry.  HOW DARE.. “HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME THAT WAY!??  I am NOT the one who left me at the altar, with my mother saying I-told-you-so.  I am not the one who ran to Wendy Roper’s bed the first chance he got!  I am not the one who acted like I was a complete stranger when we first got on the Enterprise!  You gave me a raw deal, I was just trying to protect myself!  Time and time again I have tried to rekindle our relationship, only to be tossed aside by the next thing in a skirt that catches your eye?  Some of those judgments I question! The J’naii?  What was THAT about?  Chasing her around like some lost puppy!  You act like it is such an HONOR to be selected by you!  I am not into sloppy seconds COMMANDER.”


“You have a lot of nerve talking about sloppy seconds!  At least I stick to civilized races!  The Lumerian?  He nearly killed you, and you were so blind that you didn’t realize it!!  So much for empathic abilities.  You must’ve left them at home that day.  Too bad your mother wasn’t around to protect you from HIM!  You’ve called yourself the unofficial welcome wagon for the Enterprise, and I’m starting to understand why.”


“YOU KNOW WHAT??  That has got to be the most idiotic asinine thing you have EVER said to me!!  It’s hard to believe that I could be friends with someone so petty.  YOU can TAKE your cheap trinkets, I have something much better waiting for me on Holodeck 2.  You may have nice things, but you suck as a human being.  I’d rather be friends with a Romulan!”  With that Deanna threw the little box at Will and left a very angry Will Riker standing in the middle of a hurricane”


They did not speak for five months. 


~~~~end flashback~~~~~~


Chapter Six 


Deanna sat meditating, trying to ease her troubled mind when a beep sounded from her COM badge. 


“Admiral Troi?”


“Troi Here”


“We have arrived at the rendezvous coordinates.  Will you require assistance?”


“No, I will be ok”


Deanna sighed.  Another year, another Enterprise.  She tired of these negotiations.  It did not matter what the species, they all wanted the same thing, power, technology, respect. 


She gathered herself together and prepared for the briefing that would come when she got on board the Enterprise.  Just then a familiar presence blinked past.  “Kestra?”


Kestra then entered the room.  <<Yes Grandmother?>>


<<You are afraid I have been projecting my feelings for Will into your mind, and causing you to have feelings for Kyle.  I have been feeling Will’s death quite powerfully, but I do not think that it would affect you.  Tell me, have you been feeling a lot from him lately?>>


<< Yes.>>


<< That is interesting.  More so than you feel from the other crew members?>>


<< Yes.>>


Deanna breathed in a great big sigh.  This was not a good sign.  “You cannot afford to make such mistakes.  They can be treacherous.”


“Are you saying that because he is a Captain, or because he is a Riker?”


“I am saying that because you cannot afford to make a mistake by getting involved with a shipmate.”


“What about Jack?”


“Jack is different.”


“Why is Jack different?”


“Because he is.  Leave it at that.”


Kestra was not satisfied with that.  “I disagree.  I think that I should be able to date whomever I choose!”


“But do you like him because of what happened after Will’s death, or for other reasons?”


“I do not know, Grandmother.  That is why I asked you.  I thought you could give me insight… something I can look at and say, this is why I like him, that is why I should not pursue him.  Something tangible.”


Deanna thought hard.  It seemed like just a few years ago she was having a similar discussion with her mother.  “Do what is in your heart, and that will guide you.  Do not forget that command reviews come up soon.  You might end up with a ship of your own.”


“Ok Grandmother.  We should get onto the ship.  I need some sleep before my shift starts.” 


Deanna knew that her granddaughter was not satisfied, but was confident that she could discern a good decision from a bad one.




Kestra awoke three nights later from a very strange dream.  She was wearing a pink dress, a wedding dress from the feel of it, and sitting next to a person that she knew was Admiral Riker.  He was in dress uniform and looking very jovial.  Everyone kept calling her Deanna, and the late Admiral Picard was there.  He had given a speech, but Kestra  was concentrating on her Grandfather, Worf.  Her Grandfather looked very unfamiliar in his dress uniform, and he seemed to be quite intoxicated.  Suddenly her eyes had closed and a fiery burning passion had filled her, when she opened her eyes, she was face to very close face with Admiral Riker.  He had just kissed her! She could hear her Grandmother’s melodious voice echoing through her head, talking to her “Imzadi.”  It became very clear to Kestra that she was just an observer in the festivities.  Soon a yellow skinned android she knew to be the Former Commander Data got up and sang a song dedicated to one “Captain Riker, and Mrs. Riker.”  Kestra was excited to see who this new Mrs. Riker was, when suddenly the feet underneath her were swirling around to Jazz music.  SHE?  This wasn’t part of any history she could remember learning, but yet it was here just as plain as day.  Soon the voice of Will Riker echoed though her head again and her grandmother and he discussed Human vs. Betazoid techniques for choosing a last name.  She had a feeling that her grandmother was going to win.  She had gone as far as to see the inside of the famed Enterprise E, and the very famed non clothed ness of Admiral Riker when she woke up.  She almost felt another presence next to her, like a ghost.  The cologne smelled familiar, and she felt that if she had examined further, she would have seen someone else in her room.  Kestra closed her eyes again and opened them.  Everything was back to normal, and she had about an hour until her shift started.  “Just another day…” Kestra got up, showered and then went about the task of calming her mountain of curls.   Suddenly a voice from behind her interrupted her thoughts.  “Deanna…”  The person  whispered, or breathed rather.  Kestra whirled around, the person behind her was Kyle, but she felt herself compelled to say “Will…”  Suddenly they were enraptured in a kiss that caused an unkindled fire to burn wildly within Kestra. Kyle’s hands went down the length of her body and pulled her closer, and she willingly went.  But as suddenly as they began to kiss, they broke apart and looked at each other as if seeing for the first time.  “Kestra!  I…  I… I’m sorry.  I don’t know what came over me.  It was as if all of a sudden my soul purpose for being involved seeing you, but you weren’t you, you were Deanna eternally beautiful, the same Deanna that I met long ago in Betazed while I was a Lieutenant.” 


“I felt it too.  When I first woke up I felt you above all else, but you were Will and all I desired was to have you become one with my soul”


“Maybe we need to talk to you Grandmother… both of us.”


“Captain, Kyle… have you been having strange dreams??”


Kyle thought.  He had been having strange dreams.. involving Kestra… “Yes”


“Then we DEFINITELY need to talk to my grandmother.”