Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters or I'd be rich and
very creative!

"I Remember Papa"


The computer's mellow female voice broke into a very interesting
dream. Back at school in Betazed, Deanna had been attempting to paint
a nude Will in her art class. He had raised the ire of her professor
however by continuing to rise from his chair and kiss her
passionately, thus disrupting the class. The instructor was
threatening to remove them both and Deanna had ceased to care, when
the voice called her back to consciousness once again. "Subspace
transmission labeled 'urgent' for Counselor Troi." "By the Holy  Rings
of Betazed.." Deanna cursed, as she grabbed her robe and staggered to
the monitor on her desk. "Send transmission, computer." she muttered
in an uncharacteristically annoyed grumble.

Lwaxana Troi appeared on the screen, her smiling, immaculately
groomed face a stark contrast to her daughter's sleep-swollen eyes
and electrified hair. "Hello Little One! Happy birthday!" the
recorded message began. "Since your captain so cruelly refused to
swing the ship by home so we could share this happy day- but you know
I always liked a man with a bit of edge to him... I could bring your
yummy captain around given the chance... Oh anyway darling, that dear
Geordi helped me program your holodeck with a special treat just for
you. You know if you weren't so tied up in that ridiculous mating
dance with Riker that has gone on for decades... Well today of all
days I shouldn't have to remind you that you're not getting any
younger... Geordi is a fine young man, very in touch with his
feelings- if you must settle for an Earth-man- well all I'm saying is
you could do worse." Deanna rolled her eyes at her mother's 'urgent'
advice. "Now Deanna," she scolded, "Don't make that face, it is so
unbecoming." The young woman shook her head and chuckled at her
mother's amazing perception, as the lilting voice finished, "I love
you my dear, you are the pride of my life. Enjoy this special day."

She dressed in her blue informal uniform. She had the day off duty
technically, but a ship's counselor never knew when she might be
called into a crisis suddenly. "Ah, shore leave never sounded
better.", she sighed and resigned herself to the artificial pleasures
of the holodeck. She had never been fond of the place, especially
since she had accidentally come across a very graphic program of
herself involved with one of the helmsman. The man was highly
embarassed, and apologized profusely, yet she could not help wonder
how many other pornographic images of her popped up within it's
gridded walls.

As she left her quarters, she nearly tripped over a dainty,
beautifully wrapped box with a tiny card marked only with an "I." It
contained edible flowers from the Jalara Jungle dipped in what tasted
like real Earth Chocolate. It was something Will had invented for
her. She smiled as she bit into the tiny sweet buds, recalling how
she had taught him about the delights of the jungle as he introduced
her to other kinds of sweet delights...


By the time she reached the holodeck, Deanna had made several
decisions, and had eaten more than several candies. She had decided
that the delicacy had been genuine. This was the real mccoy- no
replicator could make something that sang like a symphony of Betazed
and Earth combined. She had also decided she was going to thank
her "I" (Imzadi) personally- very personally. Thirdly, she was going
to have a long talk with her mother and convince her to stay out of her
love life and keep her colorful observations to herself. Soon.

The holodeck welcomed her to her special program, eerily using her
mother's voice. Her mild annoyance dissolved when she entered the
steamy scene of the Music Pavillion from her youth. It was perfect!
She touched the marble-like seats where she had sat with her parents
as a child  and enjoyed the luxurious music of her
homeworld so often. The small outdoor concert hall had been built on
the edge of the jungle. The replication was so real she felt the
familiar ephemeral mood of the flowers of the Jalara. A three- piece
group began to play a classical work. It had been one of her father's
favorites. As the song ended, tears of sheer joy trickled down her

Something awoke in her Betazoid heart. Years of travel on a starship,
the discipline and intoxication of Starfleet life had caused her to
forget. She had lost touch with the pride of being a daughter of the Fifth
House. The sensual joy of nudity. The abandonment of chasing her
friends through fields of wildflowers. The closeness of empathic
communion. The conversations in rooms full of people who didn't say a
word. She sat alone on the cool bench and breathed in the perfume of
the other half of who she truly was.

Her eyes were still closed, her soul still immersed in the bliss of
her heritage, when the man scooted in beside her and took her tiny
hand in his own, proclaiming, "Well if it isn't the Belle of
Betazed!" She opened her inky eyes slowly and gazed upon the tall,
thin, dark-haired man with the mischeivous grin and sparkling blue
eyes. Her mouth formed a startled "O" as she breathed the one word
she could find, "Papa".

Chapter III   

Emotions raged within the mind of the Starfleet officer trained to
neatly organize emotions. Lost. Longing. Grinding grief. Fear. Anger.
Shame- don't make mother sad... mustn't mention his name ever- PAPA!!!
Her Daddy. Her hero, buddy, protector, best friend. Lost to her
forever-but he was here beside her- in the holodeck. The universe of
the unreal. As a therapist she had worried about those who had
replaced all their real-life goals for dreams they imagined up on the
holodeck. Now here she was. She was ready to kiss and to embrace this
computer-created illusion as though he was her poor lost Papa.

"You're not real." she sniffled. His brows knitted in that nearly-
forgotten gesture of his. "Little One I didn't mean to upset
you..." "How could a computer-generated image upset me?" she
muttered with just a bit too much anger as she turned away from
him. "OK Deenie, just play the game. Your mother sent this program
because she loves you. You know she knows you better than anyone
else. Maybe this is will be therapeutic to you. Play along."

She rose to the challenge. "OK, Now what?" Ian Andrew Troi threw his
head back and laughed, "Computer, two hot chocolates." He placed the
steaming mug in Deanna's hands and moved to the seat behind her. He
pulled the the band from her hair and began to comb her wild tresses
with his fingers as her own father done so long ago. "Now Deanna,
this is the part where you tell your Papa about your life. Everything
from the time I left 'till now."

The little ensemble began to play again. The soul music. Her
father's remembered fingers in her hair. The warm, sweet cocoa on her
lips, in her throat. Despite herself, she spoke. She spoke of her
friends, schools. What it had been like when he was no longer there.
How she had waited by the front gate night after night. How Mr. Homm
had to sadly retrieve her every night for an evening meal she and
mother were never able to eat. How mother had aged, become quieter,
sillier, almost unreadable in her grief. New men had come and gone
through the years, mostly hidden from Deanna. They were passing
fancies for Lwaxana, her heart forever shattered by the Starfleet
man she had loved and lost.

He continued on, braiding her hair "earth-style". Two braids, even,
with a part down the middle. As she spoke, she let herself sink into
the fantasy. Her soft voice told the tales of college. Of leaving
Betazed. The solitude of reaching out in her mind and having no
answer. She told the hologam everything. Except one thing. Will.

Chapter IV   

Her hologram father listened until she finished with a report on her
last review. He hugged her slender shoulders and turned her to face
him. "My Little Belle, you would make any father proud. Let me tell
you now my story which you were too young to understand when I left."

" I was never 'Captain material' I was a dreamer. Not aggressive
enough. They said I had brains but not the drive. When I first saw
your mother- at a wedding- I was hooked. I would have faced the devil
himself for her. She was so lovely- like you Deenie, so alive. Some
failure with her first betrothed. To hear her speak it was so
shameful to her. To me it was my greatest break. She fought her
mother to marry me. Risked being disowned. You know what that means
to a daughter of the Fifth House. But we won. We had two daughters.
We tasted true happiness. Some people on Earth would have called me
a 'second class citizen ' . On Betazed, with your mother, I was
always 'first-class'. Deanna, do you remember all those Earth fairy
tales I used to tell you. They were true. Love is all that really
matters in the end. It survives everything- even death." The hologram
Papa snatched up a candy and popped it into his mouth. "Now my
beloved, my little one, tell me about this Imzadi of yours."

Chapter V   
The hologram Papa sat beside her. Despite herself, Deanna leaned
against him and breathed in his long-lost cologne. "Oh Papa, If you
were only real then I would tell you how I love my Imzadi. His name
is Will and he is my heart and soul. I would tell you of the games
we play but how we both know the truth. I know one day we shall truly
be one, before everyone, unless one of of does something stupid, like
die, first."

She wiped the tears from her face, as she admitted the truth aloud.
Her Papa placed a beautiful clear stone in her hand. Despite it's size
it seemed heavy. "It came from my family's- your family's, mines on
Earth. Wear it when you marry your Imzadi." He kissed her forehead
and gave her a Starfleet salute. Troi turned and walked away from
Deanna, vnishing in the mists rising from the Jalara Jungle.

The computer broke the program, vanquishing her Betazed landscape to
it's black and yellow grid walls. "Deanna Troi. The captain calls you
to the bridge."

Despite her professionlism, she found herself wiping away tears on
the elevator and even upon entering the bridge. Her mother reached
for her with out-stretched arms. "Surprise!' "Babychild why are you
crying? I thought the images of the pavillion and the music would
make you happy. Why do you cry?"

"It was wrong to put Papa into a program." Deanna gasped as she held
out the huge diamond he had given her. Lwaxana blanched as she gazed
upon the clear stone. "I haven't seen that stone for nearly thirty
years. My program was of music and the pavillion only. Truly, Little
One. If you saw your father, it had nothing to do with me."

Chapter VI

Captain Picard stepped forward toward the two women and gently
suggested, "Counselor, Mrs. Troi, Shall we continue this in my Ready
Room?" Deanna suddenly became aware of her appearance- her little-
girl braids, tear and chocolate splashed face. She still held the
small box which was spilling exotic chocolate flowers all over the
pristine floor of the bridge. The two women followed the captain into
his private room, away from the eyes of the distracted and concerned
bridge crew.

The captain poured two brandies from his private bottle. He handed
one to a puzzled Lwaxana and pressed one into the hands of a
protesting Deanna, stating "You're off duty Counselor, and if I've
ever seen a soul in need of a brandy, you're it." Lwaxana floated to
her seat beside Deanna and began to probe her thoughts. The
flamboyant woman remained silent for a time then took her daughter's
shaking hand and spoke. "Little One, what has upset you so? I know
how much you loved your father-I would think that this would make you
happy to see him again. Your thoughts are so troubled and sad. And
angry. Even though I can't explain what you saw- it certainly wasn't
part of the program I designed-why has it caused you such distress?"

"I don't know myself, Mother. I suppose it's because he knew things,
secret things that were just between Papa and I. I had forgotten many
of them myself.." She turned with sudden energy to her mother- "Did
you know his Earth family had mineral mines? I know I didn't."
Lwaxana tapped her head gently, "No I did not. He rarely spoke of his
family or life on Earth. He loved everything about Betazed. The
culture, the people, everything. I occassionally asked him if he
would like to make a trip to Earth, or invite anyone to our wedding,
or when you childen were born, he always said everything that
mattered to him was right there on Betazed."

The older woman wiped a tear from the corner of her eye and seemed to
age suddenly as she continued, " When he died I contacted his family
from the information Starfleet gave me, I recieved a one-word reply-
'Confirmed'. Imagine that, a man dies and that was the only response.
I never felt that I deprived you by not seeking contact with such people
on your behalf Deanna. I know children need both sides of their
heritage, but frankly I came to think of your father as Betazoid, as
he liked to think of himself. I tried to make your life the way I
imagned he would have wanted it. We were very much alike even in
little things, personal tastes, music. We rarely argued or disagreed.
Looking back, I think he must have been a saint to have put up with
some of my ways-I was quite opinionated when I was younger." Deanna
and the capatain shot each other a knowing glance then focused on
the table, attempting to still their smirks, only to meet Lwaxana's
mirthful grin. "Well you see, some things never change."

Lwaxana turned to her daughter and began licking her fingers and
repairing Deanna's ruined makeup. Deanna pulled away in
annoyance "Mother stop! We are not cats grooming each other." Captain
Picard saw that his officer and her mother were back to their normal
states and excused himself from the room. At the door, he turned and
waked back to the Counselor gently grasping her forearm, "If your
father was here today, I would tell him what an important part of
this ship you are. You are an excellent officer and a good friend to
all who know you." She blinked at such high praise from her usually
reserved Captain, then gave him a dazzling smile , "Thank-you Captain
Picard, that means a lot to me."

Chapter VII
The mother and daughter walked in silence to  Lwaxana's suite. They
sat together for hours looking over a large trunk of mementos from
Deanna's childhood which Lwaxana had been inspired to bring on this
visit. Counselor Troi lovingly fingered a tiny silken gown wrapped
around glittering tiara. "My princess costume," she murmured. "I
remember when Papa and I would put on plays with my friends." Lwaxana
laughed at the memory, "Oh yes! What was that silly name your father
used to call you?" Deanna tipped her head to the side as though
listening to a far-off melody , "He used to call me 'the Belle of

When she returned to her quarters, she met up with a worried Will in
the hall outside her door. He looked equally disheveled. "I've been
in Engineering all day. We finally got to root of a problem with the
warp-coil engines, but what a mess!" His harried expression turned
tender as he gazed at her still-streaked face. "Are you OK? I heard
you had some misadventure in the holodeck. I heard you were pretty
shaken up?" Deanna smiled reassuringly, "Good news travels fast on a
starship." Riker chuckled softly, "Warp speed." His eye twinkled
merrily as he handed her slip of paper with the words "Chez Riker" in
his neat handwriting. " I have reservations for two, my empathic
beauty, at the hottest joint in town. Interested?" She laughed at his
antiquated Earth slang. "Dixieland? Food from the famous Riker
replicator? How could a girl resist? I have something I need to take
care of first. I'll be there in about two hours." "It'll take me that
long to scrape off this cosmic muck." he laughed. The tall man kissed
her hand and grinned, "I shall be counting the minutes Miss Troi."

In her cabin she gazed longingly at her enormous bathtub but turned
instead to the sonic shower. Ten minutes later she was dressed and
ready for her dinner date. Firstly though, she had some unfinished
business to attend to.

Chapter VII
Lwaxana's computerized voice welcomed the dark-haired psychologist
back to the holodeck program. Despite Deanna's best efforts, she
still felt overwhelmed by the scents of the jungle and the tinkling
sounds of the performer on stage playing on sort of Betazoid
xylophone. The birds of the deep forest called to one another in
perfect harmony to the music. Nature and culture reflecting and
complimenting each other.

As she made herself comfortable she was joined shortly by her
father. "Are you feeling better Little One?" he asked, concern in his
deep blue eyes. She turned to him and replied "Yes thank-you. I feel
much better now. Though I am still puzzled. I was angry when I thought
Mother had tried to program my father's personality into the holodeck
and present it to me as a gift. I felt violated. I have always
considered my memories of my father private and sacred. Now I am certain
that Mother has nothing to do with you being here." She turned to the
man beside her, and awaited his response. There was none. She
continued, " I also questioned whether you might be a trick of my own
psyche. A sort of wish-fulfillment on my birthday, a day filled with
memories and traditions of receiving lovely gifts. I realized,
however, that if you were a product of my own psyche you could not possess
the knowledge about my father's life on Earth. You told me things
even my mother did not know. I checked the facts. The Troi family
does own extensive mines on Earth. My father would have been a very
wealthy man had he remained there. But until today, that was
certainly not known to me. So I would like to ask you directly, who
the hell are you?"

The tall man sighed deeply and took his daughter's hand. " I know
this will not answer your questions but all I can say is I am your
father. I can't explain how I came to be here. I am not a product of
your or anyone's imagination. I did die long ago. For some reason I
was given the chance to come back and speak to you one last time. To
make some things right. To help you with some demon you have fought
since I left."

She stood with a sudden movent and called out "Computer! Stop
program!" The jungle pavillion disappeared. The sparkling music
stopped. She stood there in her evening gown with her father, whom
she suddenly realized was younger than herself.

"This is so illogical. You should have disappeared." she muttered,
perplexed. "Now you sound like a certain Vulcan I once knew." her
faher teased. "Deanna, don't you have any room in your mind to
entertain the thought that perhaps there is something which lives on
after death? Could I possibly be telling you the truth?" Her eyes
widened in realization, "You mean you're a ...ghost?"

Chapter IX   

The shock to her psyche nearly sent Deanna to the floor. The very
corporeal being beside her, caught her neatly between the shoulder
blades as her knees gave way. It was so many wishes rolled up into
one. She was falling and a tall man with spakling  eyes caught
her. In that moment she clutched his soft grey sweater and felt his
strong warmth beneath her hands. They collapsed into a tidy heap on
the floor of the holdeck and she lost all reserve. He held her softly
in his arms as she freed all those tears she had hidden years ago.

It was the lost child in her seeking her way home. All those years of
hoping without hope. The human part of her who left before he could
explain those dark and wonderful Terran parts of herself. He stroked
her hair and sang her a very old lullaby. She never heard the command
to the computer to play the Arizona sunset program. The warm dry
winds of the holodeck dried her tears as her Papa told her the story
of the Trois and how he had run away to the stars to find himself.

It was as though she was a small girl again listening to the lull of
his voice which echoed her soft accent, so different from the
Betazoids. Hand-in-hand they climbed a gentle bluff and spoke of
Wyatt Earp- laughing together at the irony of her childhood
betrothed's name of "Wyatt". The only reason he had agreed to the
ridiculous custom in the first place. They sat side by side as the
Earth sunrise danced in the horizon.

After a long time he spoke "Deanna life was not fair to us, it
rarely is to anyone....but it can be wonderful. You are my child, a
part of me. If you find away to have a beautiful life... then my life
will have had a meaning that lives on. You can not live in the shadow
of fear, my girl. You know what you want. It is foolish not take all
the joy that life offers. That is why I am here. My message is there
are so many tomorrows. Beyond those are even more tomorrows. Open
your beautiful mind and soul and heart Deanna. Don't be afraid to
lose because sometimes even when you seem to lose, like your mother
and I, you truly win."

Chapter X   
The computer's female voice chimed in the darkened room, "Counselor
Troi, reminder for your appointment with Commander Riker in 15
minutes." Counselor Troi sat up like a shot in her large bed. She
wore the filmy red gown she had chosen earlier. She carelessly
arranged the black curls and spritzed them with some spray. Her inky
eyes really needed no ornament but she colored her pale face with
some powders, painted a smile on her shaky lips and headed out the
door to her Imzadi.

Will stood at his door, ridiculously gallant in a loose blue tunic,
holding the doorframe, and gaping. She drifted into his quarters like
an errant breeze and dropped her scarf at his feet. "Will Riker" she
whispered, "My Imzadi for so long, for forever..." He framed her
small oval face in his hands and smiled that warm Riker smile. So
full of hope and unspoken promises. "Aw Deanna, that Helen of Troy
ain't got nothing on you. That face could launch a million starships
into orbit." His eyes darkened and something like fear filled them as
he murmured into her ear. "Every time I see you it's like I just met
that little girl on Betazed, so full of reasons and concerns, and
totally unaware that I would fight half the universe just to sit at
your feet.

"Shut up and kiss me Riker" she gasped. He did that and more. She
opened her secret soul to him and for the first time, ever, she was
not afraid.