Riker awoke not much later, his head spinning and mind foggy. For just a moment, he couldn't recall how long it had been or what had just happened.
But all worries over this immediately ceased when thoughts and voices bombarded his mind…
"Hello, my name is Commander William T. Riker. Can you understand me?" Riker asked as he approached the strangers.
"My name Trou, CWTR," their 'leader' replied, using Riker's initials as his name.
"Come on, you have to play."
"Is that an order?" She asked looking up at him with her brown eyes.
"I can make it one," Riker replied with a smile.
He walked over to Deanna and tapped her on the shoulder, gaining her attention before he asked if she wanted to dance. She smirked, looking around at the other couples dancing, before nodding.
The music was slow, the beat reminding him of a slow waltz. Her arm snaked around his neck, his own going around her waist. Gently they rocked to the music, Deanna's head resting against his shoulder.
Riker walked with Deanna to her sleeping area. They stood outside Deanna's, almost awkwardly, when Riker bent over to give her a good night kiss. But she turned her head, catching his lips with hers, her hands weaving through his hair and pulling him closer to her.
"Remembering?" Riker's head whipped to his left, finding Curz standing there. The entire room was empty except for the two of them. "If you are, I will be more than happy to explain things."
"I remember more at the moment than I did before I was knocked out."
"That's good enough. So, what would you like to know first? Why the three of our species are working together? Why we took you? Why we put that chip in your mind? What? I'll tell you anything."
Riker thought for a moment, trying to control his mind. "I want to know… what you were doing on Hytor Settlement."
"Ah, well that involves me answering other questions. If you don't mind?" Riker glared at the Nilaain. He was getting quite on his nerves.
"Well, some time ago, our revolting sects, the Ellasar, the Gomorrah, and the Monita, ran into one another. After being quite weary of each other we started to work together to figure some things out. In the end, we had found that there was a high chance we were all the same race.
"It was not until just recently that we founded the star charts that brought us to Hytor. Which was unfortunately the same time that you arrived there. We had been running a simulation, similar to that of your Federation holodecks when you arrived and began to interact with it.
"We… panicked and chose to cover your memory of what happened. The Fruma, especially in our group, are telepathic. We tried to get three of our best to create the mental blocks but it would have taken too long.
"The chips we put in your minds were designed to help stabilize and maintain the blocks but they were still in the experimental stage and must have malfunctioned. Especially in the blind one. His seeing device interrupted the signals. It must have caused terrible headaches. We apologize for the trouble we caused but… we didn't know if we could trust you."
"I do believe that you can be… depended upon."
"Thanks," Riker said, sarcastically.
"Any other questions?" Curz asked calmly, as if this were the most natural thing in the world.
Riker thought for just a moment. The first image to enter his mind was Deanna, his worry and longing to see her overwhelming him for a moment. Pushing it down, he asked, "What about Deanna's pregnancy? We figured out that we drank something and that's causing the unusual growth. Not to mention that it was a Nilaain drink."
"The drink was a part of the simulation. It was unfortunate that you were accidentally exposed to it. But her pregnancy was not of our doing. You drank the nectar on your own accord. The effects only work if there is a connection between the two. You created the child, the nectar only… increased the chances of conception and… action."
Riker's head was now pounding, a growing pain behind his eyes blurred his vision. The surgery alone was enough, but the return of his memories and now all this information was killing his head.
"If this is too much for you, we can let you go. Guards-"
"Wait! One last thing. My daughter, will the growth-"
"Your daughter is only growing at the anomalous rate because of the nectar she is being bathed in. Once she leaves the womb, the nectar will merely leave your mate's system and your child will grow at whatever rate is normal for your people.
"You and your people will now be taken back to the bombing site. You will most likely never see us again. Do not try to find us and, we would appreciate, as much silence about our existence as possible."
Will swallowed, taking in Curz before nodding.
Geordie sighed, rubbing the back of his neck as he surveyed the large area in front of him. He and Data, along with several other personnel, and searched the entire compound dozens of times over. And, while he had found that it was a beautiful structure and amazing design, it held nothing but its untold past.
And yet he was sure that, somewhere, the three missing men would be found. He knew, somehow, that they were there. It was just a matter of finding them.
"Geordie, perhaps it is time to return to the Enterprise," Data advised, approaching the blind engineer as he returned his tricorder to its holder.
He sighed once again, nodding. "Yeah, may- hey, what's that?"
Data followed Geordie's sight, finding himself watching a figure, or figures, being beamed into the corner. He quickly glanced at Geordie, his hand on his phaser, before walking over to the corner.
And there they were. All three of them, lying in a heap on the ground, unconscious. Data immediately bent down, checking the commander's pulse. Geordie did the same, looking over first Worf and then the ambassador.
Geordie smiled as he watched Data hit his communicator. "Transporter Room Two, five to beam up."
"Aye, sir. Did you find them?"
Riker groaned, his eyes cracking opened. Once again his head was throbbing, disorienting him. As he let his eyes adjust to the bright white light, he tried to focus and think of where he might be.
Slowly, his head turned to his right, allowing him to see two familiar figures. After a time, they began to focus. One was Picard and the other Dr. Crusher. A smile formed on his lips and he knew that he was in Sickbay.
"Good, you're awake," Beverly said to him and she and the Captain walked over to his bed.
"Yeah," he moaned out, "Where's Deanna?"
"She'll be here in a few minutes. But first, what happened?"
"Uh." Riker's brow scrunched up, hurting his head more as he thought quickly of what had happened. "Uh, we were taken to this… facility. It was dark."
"Did you see any Fruma?" Picard asked, and then added, "Or Cadda or Nilaain?"
Riker thought a moment. "No, I don't think so. Sir, I don't… remember seeing anyone but Worf and Ambassador Smith."
Picard and Crusher nodded. "You should get some rest, Will. You've been through a lot." She ran the tricorder over him one last time and asked, "Has your leg been bothering you?"
"No reason, it just shows some old trauma that I never noticed before." She shrugged and said, "I guess it isn't anything then."
"Yeah," Riker said, his face pale. A look of fear was hidden in his eyes.
Crusher and Picard left leaving Riker alone, the commander laying his head back onto the pillow. But rest was denied him when Deanna hurried in, rushing to where he was. In her own dignified, graceful manner, of course.
A large grin spread across his face, his pain momentarily forgotten as he pushed himself up. "Deanna."
She bent down and kissed him on the lips, saying as they parted, "If you ever do that to me again, I swear!"
"I promise," Riker swore before kissing her again, a smile on his lips.