It had been a month since the Enterprise left Hytor Settlement and Deanna was nearly 'four' months pregnant but still able to hide it well. Her and Riker's relationship had grown increasingly over that short period of time, the entire ship knowing what was going on between the two. He was even living with her- claiming he wanted to be there for every part of her pregnancy.
Geordie's headaches had subsided after a week and were only an occasional problem. Of course he blamed those on the fact that Data and he had gotten nowhere on the piece of technology he had found. It had been on the top of their list two weeks prior but soon became less and less important as it became clear that they would not be getting much from it.
But, at that moment, Enterprise's concerns laid elsewhere. A planet, populated by three separate species- all of whom had been colonizers centuries ago- were asking for help mediating a long running dispute between the three. Each claimed their own ownership of the world and were now asking for an outside perspective.
The only major problem was their hostilities toward each other, but they claimed to have put a hold on their problems to settle this.
And so the Federation was sending the Enterprise to pick up and transport three Federation delegates from Betazed to Ketrel.
And that was why Captain Picard, Commander Riker, and Counselor Troi stood in Transporter Room One awaiting their arrival. A dim flash of light on the pad indicated that the three delegates had just been beamed aboard; their bodies materialized moments later.
Deanna was hard pressed to suppress her shock at seeing her mother step off the platform, forcing a smile to her lips.
'Hello, Little One,' Lwaxana said telepathically to her daughter.
"Mother?" Deanna asked, very surprised to see her.
"Hello, Jean-Luc, how are you? That's good. Commander Riker, a pleasure as always," Lwaxana went on, greeting everybody before she gave them a chance to answer.
A coughing noise reminded the four that there were two other people on the pad. "Hello, I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard. This is my First Officer, Commander Riker, and our Ship's Counselor, Deanna Troi."
"I am Ambassador T'Pic," a middle aged Vulcan responded. His Vulcan robes swayed as he stepped down, Picard noticing immediately that they showed his status as a diplomat.
"Hi. Ken Smith." Deanna looked up at Mr. Smith- he was a Human of about twenty-nine, his blonde hair worn long and shaggy, matching well with his dark tan. He smiled flirtatiously at her, extending his hand to her. She forced a smile back, accepting his hand even though she had already decided that he was obnoxious and overly smug.
Deanna noted easily that he was attracted to her, and shamelessly letting her see that. She let go of his hand, looking away. Her attention turned towards her mother talking with the transporter chief- poor O'Brien.
"If you two will follow Commander Riker, he will be taking you to your quarters," Picard told the two males. "Counselor, I assume you will walk your mother to hers?"
"Of course, Captain." Picard then quickly retreated out of the room before Lwaxana could start to talk to him again, Riker escorting his two charges out of the room. "Mother, if you will?"
Deanna led her mother half way to her quarters before she started to talk. "How have you been? I see you've gained a few pounds since the last time I saw you."
Deanna half-blushed, half-smiled at her mother. She had not told her nor did she contact her after finding out about her pregnancy; she just didn't know what to say. Now she thought would be the best time…
"Yes, mother. A little." It just didn't come out….
"That younger Ambassador, the human, he seemed to be quiet attracted to you," her mother said suggestively.
Deanna glared at her and stated, "I'm already seeing someone, mother."
"Really? That's great news... Who?'"
Even though the entire crew already knew about the two of them, she felt more comfortable speaking telepathically to her mother, as if it were still a secret to keep for the time. "Commander Riker."
"See didn't I tell you that the two of you were made for each other. You're Imzadi for the goddess's sake. How is he, anyway?"
"Good. And you?"
Deanna glanced at her mother as they stepped out of the turbolift. She could tell that Lwaxana knew she was holding something back, for once being polite enough not to peak. But, then, that was why the question had been asked. "Better than expected considering…"
"Considering what?" Lwaxana pressured.
Deanna bit her lip, know she had dug herself too far in to change her mind. "I'm pregnant."
They both stopped as Deanna turned to see her reaction. At first she was very surprise, almost looking at a loss for words. But, as if her shocked state had never existed, she became overcome with joy. "That is great, Lit- Deanna. I'm very happy for you."
They both smiled and Lwaxana embraced her daughter. "I do hope it's Will's."
Then continued on, Lwaxana full of questions about her future grandchild. "How much longer? About five months?"
"No… actually only about three." Lwaxana looked back to Deanna's belly, observing how far along she seemed. "It's a very bizarre pregnancy."
Deanna sighed, beginning her story by explaining to her mother the details of what had happened to her. Though she left out the dreams and the unexplained events that took place on Hytor Settlement.
"Approximately how long do you estimate it will take until we arrive at Ketrel?" T'Pic asked Riker as he was escorting the two diplomats to their quarters.
"We should be there by tomorrow afternoon."
"Commander, have you known the Counselor long?" Ken asked Riker suddenly, cutting off T'Pic's next question.
He seemed annoyingly interested in Deanna, which hardly pleased Riker. Of course he wasn't about to reveal his entire life to this idiot. "Yes, many years."
"And what's she like?"
Riker stopped and looked at Ken. His eyes quickly swept over the man, sizing him up before he said, "Not your type." Then he hit the door release and announced, "These are your quarters."
"Thank-you, Commander. Oh, just one more thing. How long ago did she break up with you?" Riker rolled his eyes at the insulting question, walking away with T'Pic.
Being with Ken- whither for the ten minutes he had been or the eternity it felt like- Riker was looking forward to dinner with Deanna. Considering their individual responsibilities, Deanna had agreed to meet him there after escorting her mother.
Which was why Riker was walking into Ten Forward without his date. For a minute he looked around himself, searching out Deanna. It took him a moment before he spotted Deanna sitting at a back table. As he moved closer, it became more apparent that her mother was sitting across from her.
"Hello," he greeted the two before bending down and kissing Deanna's cheek.
Deanna turned to look at him. When she made eye contact, she telepathically said, "She made me bring her." Riker tried hard, and almost without success, to hide his laughter, knowing how true her statement was.
"William, I've heard some interesting things since I've been aboard," Lwaxana stated as Riker slid the seat between the two. He looked over at Deanna, easily knowing what the two had been discussing.
"And I'm very happy for both of you." Will exhaled, not even realizing how tense he had been just before that moment.
"Deanna, could you go get our drinks, please, I need to speak to William for a minute." Deanna nodded and stood, glancing at him with a smirk. Riker tried not to glare, knowing what she was thinking.
He watched her walk away for a moment, knowing she was heading for the bar at the front of the room. Only Lwaxana's voice caught his attention and he looked back to her. "William, I must ask you something serious."
"You aren't planning on breaking her heart again?"
Riker's chin rose some, his posture shifting to show his offence at her comment. "No, I wouldn't dream of it." He left his mind open to her, inviting her to prod as much as she pleased to see that he was telling the truth.
"Then when are you planning to propose?" Riker heard the honesty and frankness in her question. Sometimes he found Betazoid honesty very annoying.
Will looked back at the bar, his eyes finding Deanna quickly. He thought for a moment about Lwaxana's question. He wanted to be with her forever, there was no doubt about that, but it still seemed too soon for his liking to propose. It had, after all, only been just over a month, not matter what their relationships had been before that.
He sighed and, without taking his eyes off of Deanna, said, "Whenever life lets me." His answer seemed to work well enough for Lwaxana because she did not talk of it farther.
Will's eyes didn't falter from Deanna's form. Suddenly, he announced, "If you'll excuse."
Deanna waited patiently at the bar for the drinks, merely standing there wondering what her mother had wanted to talk to Will about. But, as she thought and mused, her mind sensed a vaguely familiar presence. Not that of a friend or another member of the crew but someone she knew.
Focusing on them, she felt the person grow nearer. Turning, she searched the crowd, her eyes finally resting on their goal: Ken Smith.
The Ambassador came right up next to her, ordering his drink without pause. Deanna turned away, hoping that he didn't noticed her, but soon heard his voice asking, "So, what's a pretty girl like you doing in a bar?"
She turned back, placing a sarcastically sweet smile on her face, saying, "What's an idiot like you doing in a diplomatic position?"
"Ouch! I guess you Betazoids are the incredibly honest ones I've heard so much about." Deanna looked at him; unnecessary worried about such a small piece of information. "I heard you call Ambassador Troi 'mother', you're last name is Troi, and everyone knows Ambassador Troi is a powerful Betazoid."
"Right." She sighed, turning away from him, still able to sense his approving looks at her.
Slowly, a stronger presence flooded her thoughts, letting her breath easier. "Deanna, something wrong?"
Both turned to see Will standing there. She shook her head, telling him, "No, just talking with Mr. Smith here."
"Nice to see you again, Commander. Popular place this is, isn't it?" Riker took in Smith's look, seeing how smug he seemed with himself.
"Here you are, Counselor," the bartender said with a smile, completely unaware of the situation around him.
"Thank-you." Deanna took her tea and handed the other to Riker, who gladly accepted it. "Good night, Mr. Smith."
Riker nodded at the man, sliding his free arm around Deanna's waist as they walked to their table. Smith, in turn, huffed and turned back to the bar, downing his drink in one gulp.
"Thanks for saving me back there."
"That's what I'm here for," Riker shrugged, arriving at the table to see the Lwaxana had gone off the exasperate someone else.
"So, what did my mother want to talk to you about?"
Riker looked into his cup and shrugged. "She wanted to know… nothing really. Just… what's been going on with us I guess."
"Oh," Deanna sighed, sipping at her tea as they fell into another conversation.
Geordie's Office, Next Day
"Hello, Geordie. What are you doing?" Data asked as he walked into Geordie's office, seeing the man hunched over his desk.
"Tinkering with this. I just have a feeling that there's something more on this thing. I only wish I knew what that was. Something I can help you with?"
Geordie didn't look up from what he was doing but Data went on anyway, knowing that he was listening. "Yes, we agreed to meet at Ten Forward at 1000 hours."
"What time is it now?"
Geordie groaned, looked up at Data and said, "Data, I'm so sorry. I just got caught up in this and… I forgot."
"That is all right, Geordie. I had a most interesting conversation with Ambassador T'Pic."
Geordie laughed, trying to imagine what those two could talk about. He pushed one of the sides back on before setting down the odd-shaped material. "How 'bout we go now and get-"
A soft beep from the machine stopped Geordie mid-sentence. The two looked at each other and then back down at the piece of material. "What did you do?"
"I have no idea."
Data picked up the tricorder on the desk and scanned the machine. "It appears that it has much more information on it then we first assumed."
Geordie took the instrument from Data and said, "It has enough information to be a holoprogram!"
"A holoprogram? Why would that be in this?" Data asked.
"Who knows, but if we could integrate this into the ship's holodeck we might be able to figure a few things out." Data nodded, taking the machine as the two walked out of the room.