Beverly rang the chime to Deanna's quarters, standing back to wait for Deanna answered. When the door slid open, she was almost shocked to see Riker standing there, his hair unkempt and wearing only his pajama bottoms. Beverly couldn't help but smile and could barely suppress her laughter at the condition her friend was in.
"Beverly, you know it's only like 0500, right?" Riker asked groggily, yawning as he spoke.
"Yes, Will. Is Deanna up?"
Riker was about to answer when Deanna walked out of the bathroom and said, "Yes, I am."
"Good morning." Beverly stepped in and allowed the door to close behind her. "I have some news," Beverly announced. Riker looked over at Deanna; she had filled him in the night before about the liquid Beverly had discovered.
They all sat down, Deanna cuddling next to Riker, before Deanna asked, "What is it?"
"I did find that it is responsible for the fast growth of the embryo. It's also 35 alcohol and most likely that you consumed it at one time. The effects produced from the alcohol, is a hormonal response."
"So, you're saying that she drank it and it collected around her uterus?" Riker asked.
"Exactly. She probably appeared more drunk than hormonal but that was the effect. There was one other thing I did find that was unusual. It produced gonadotrpic hormones. They cause an increase in the weight of the ovaries and encourage the growth of maturing eggs. It also is associated with bringing on… heat."
"And that would cause a good chance of becoming pregnant," Deanna asked.
"Yes, especially if the male also had the hormones circulating in their system as well. I would imagine that it produces a very similar reaction in them," Beverly said, looking towards Riker.
"Are you suggesting that I drank some of that stuff as well?"
"I would like to run a few tests to find out. You never know."
"What color was it?" Deanna asked out of nowhere. Riker and Beverly diverted their focus to Deanna, both giving her a weird look. "Just curious."
"It was a dark blue," Beverly answered, a little fazed.
Deanna thought a moment and tried to remember something she had thought of when she first talked to Beverly.
She laughed herself, speaking with a woman beside her as she drank her own drink- a blue nectar many others shared. It was thicker than she was used to, but good enough to finish off.
"I had a dream a few days ago. Will and I were at a party of some sort. I was drinking something- it was a blue liquid that might have been alcohol. I think Will had some as well. There was also a pregnant woman we were talking to; she was five months pregnant and close to her due date," Deanna explained.
"You don't think it was just a dream?"
"Then, I did. But now that I have more facts, I wouldn't put it past it."
"Maybe it's a custom on their planet. Have some of that drink at parties to try and have a child. It gives them a better chance to get pregnant and a birthrate that's sped up," Riker rationalized. "It sure gives you a better chance of getting laid."
Sickbay, The Next Day
Geordie's headache had still not gone away and was starting to really aggravate him to the point of insanity. That morning he had finally decided to take Data's week old advice and went to see Dr. Crusher.
"Hi, Geordie. What can I do for you?" Beverly greeted him.
"Uh, I have this horrible headache. I was kind of hoping for something that would stop it long enough for me to sleep."
"You're having trouble sleeping?" Beverly asked as she started to scan him.
"Just a little."
"For how long?"
"About a month. I can sleep on and off, but once I got this headache a week ago, I can barely sleep at all," Geordie explained.
"Really?" Beverly looked at the readings on her tricorder and creased her brow, trying to understand the data. "This is strange."
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure." Beverly hit a few buttons and scanned his right temple again. "You seem to have something there but I can't isolate what that thing is."
"Yeah, I felt a bump or something there a little while ago, I didn't think it was anything." Geordie spoke as he remembered the night the headache started. "We'll be in orbit of the Hytor Settlement in a few hours, will I still be able to go down?"
"I don't see why not. Just don't overexert yourself." Geordie nodded and hopped down, excepting the hypospray without complaint. "But I want to see you back here after that, ok?"
It took barely five more hours to reach Hytor Settlement. The planet looked the same as it had last time- the same deep greens and crystal blue planet with very light cloud cover in an orbit around a red giant.
They ran the same scans of the planet as Riker had requested, but they detected nothing different than the last time they were there. Once again, the only thing indicating that anyone was ever there was the detectable ruins and abandoned buildings; this time, though, it was blatantly obvious that there was no one there as they had thought the last time.
"Request permission to take the same away team down, sir," Riker requested.
"Granted. Limit it to the three of you."
"Aye, sir." he nodded to the Deanna and Geordie and they entered the turbolift, ordering the machine to take them to the Shuttle Bay.
Once again, Riker found himself trekking through the tall trees, weeds and planets tripping his legs and smacking his face as he walked. Every breath smelt of fresh rain and wild flowers- it seemed an even more tropical paradise than Risa.
It wasn't long before they were able to find the same opening in the trees, filled with the same old huts made of the trees' trunks and leaves. As Riker looked them over, it was clear how much fixing the village needed, having been burnt and eroded.
The three checked inside each huts, finding nothing but old mats that hadn't been slept in for centuries and old fireplaces with their stones knocked out of place. Burnt grass surrounded the pits, fresh weeds growing where the fires used to be set.
They had checked everywhere, but there was nothing. Nothing to indicate anyone had been there in along time. The strange thing though, was that there wasn't even anything to suggest that they had been there. They tried searching around and came up with nothing.
That was until Geordie tripped over something stuck in the ground.
"Over here!" He bent down and attempted to dig out whatever it was, finding that it was some sort of technology he knew didn't belong to the settlement he was standing in. It appeared severely damaged, burnt by plasma fire. But it was hardly as old as the settlement.
"What do you have?" Commander Riker asked as the two reached him.
"I'm not sure. The damage is too extensive to guess without a more thorough examination, but I can tell you that it doesn't fit with the criteria nor is it old enough to have belonged to any of these people. It hasn't even been here half a year, less than that."
"Something like when we were here," Deanna asked.
"About then, yeah," Geordie agreed.
"Bring it with us." Riker looked up through the canopy, saying "We should head back, we're not going to find anything else here."
Once they had made it back to Enterprise, Picard stood there once again to greet them. "Anything, Number One?"
"Only this, sir. We found some kind of technology, but it's unless," Geordie answered, showing him the small machine they found.
Picard sighed and told them, "Go get a shower and some rest, you all could use it. Then start on that alien technology."
Three, "Aye, sirs," met him as they headed to their respective places.