After three days of traveling, Enterprise finally made it to the Nitogaro System, where Ambassadors Lwaxana Troi and T'Pic were to be dropped off on a planet known as Miko. An old yet still developing race that had recently reached Warp Seven was requesting permission to join the Federation.
Their species, the Mikolians, was a suspicious race though it had many kind and intellectual people. Starfleet, however, was reluctant to allow them to join due to their reputation as a violent and conquering race. But, as always, it was hardly their decision to make.
But, luckily, it wasn't going to be Captain Jean-Luc Picard's problem. Enterprise was merely assigned to drop the Ambassadors off and head to Earth where Ambassador Smith would be returned and the crew could enjoy some much-needed shore leave.
In Transporter Room Two, Lwaxana and T'Pic were preparing to beam down to a Starfleet entourage that was waiting for them. Picard, Commander Riker, and Counselor Troi stood, saying their good-byes.
"And don't you forget what I asked you, William," Lwaxana said, nodding toward Deanna with a smile.
"Don't forget my answer. Good-bye, Mrs. Troi," Riker answered with a slight grin, recalling the words exchanged between the two a week ago in Ten Forward.
"Good-bye, Deanna, Jean-Luc," Lwaxana said just before stepping onto the pad, dissolving before them.
"What question was she talking about?" Deanna asked Will as they walked from the room.
"Huh? Oh, that? Nothing, just… nothing." Riker shrugged as he escorted her through the halls, linking his arm through hers as they walked.
Deanna sighed. She was starting to worry about him. After he, Worf, and Ken had been brought back, he refused to say much. Mostly he claimed not to remember or barely recalled something the other two would mention.
Worf and Ken were both doing fine after some rest. Ken, of course, tried to use his exaggerated condition to get women and attention. But Will… Will wasn't the same. He was always sitting alone, thinking about something. Deanna had even caught him talking to himself once or twice. And though she had constantly tried to talk to him, he wasn't willing to talk back. He didn't want to talk to her as a counselor or a friend or a lover.
Both Worf and Ken said that he had been taken away twice and once for a long period of time. Deanna couldn't help but wonder what happened to him during then that would have taken the innocent sparkle out of his blue eyes.
Of course, there were plenty of times that he would act completely normal. This was only in public, though. Alone or with her, he was definably not. And through it all, Deanna could sense the true aching in his heart; the pain he was feeling.
Silently Data sat at the science console, his eyes shifted back and forth as he read the screen in front of him. His face was as monotone as ever, as he ignored the fussing around him.
A brow furrowed slightly as he noticed something wrong. Digging farther into the problem, the android quickly finding someone trying to access the main database. His fingers flow over the console with lightening speed, able to lock out the intruder.
His brow creased once again, seeing that the data the person had managed to access was their files on Hytor Settlement and Ketrel. All of which included information about the Fruma, Cadda, and Nilaains and their origins.
"Interesting," Data muttered before he tapped his comm. badge "Data to Picard."
"Picard here. What is it, Data?"
"Captain, someone just attempted to access the computer memory core," reported Data.
"Do you know what they where looking for? Or how much they got a hold of?"
"Affirmative. It appears they managed to access nearly all of the information we have on Hytor Settlement and Ketrel."
"Can you isolate who it was?"
"Alright, brief the Captain of the Lexington. Maybe they'll have time to look into it."
"Aye, Captain." Data tapped his comm. badge again and proceeded to do as told.
The pain behind Geordie's eyes had grown steadily worse for the past few hours. The normal soft beeps and quiet shuffle of feet were made even louder by the pounding of his temples. His concentration was falling him quickly; none of his work had gotten done.
Geordie raised his hands and removed the VISOR attached to his face. Using his left hand to hold the silver metal, his right remaining free to massage his eyes and temples. But his attempt at relieving his headache failed. There was no use trying to halt the pain growing.
It had been nearly three months since the last time he had headaches like these and that was from something neither he nor Dr. Crusher could identify. And though he had later blamed them on stress and exhaustion, he could no longer deny that that was the cause.
As Geordie's fingers rubbed the side of his temple, the tips ran over a small bump. He recalled feeling it some time early, but thought about it. And yet, after months of living with those headaches, he couldn't help but get a strange feeling that it wasn't related somehow.
Footsteps sounded behind him. Quickly he replaced the device he held in his hands, turning to look behind him. To his relief, he saw that it was the next shift. He sighed and slowly got to his feet and left.
Deanna glanced around the Lounge as she walked through the threshold. Her eyes paused when she saw the back corner. Will was sitting there, starring out at the warped stars. She sighed. It seemed there were only three places he was any more: work, the observation lounge looking out the window or in their quarters… looking out the window.
He was isolating himself from everyone, even her. And it was beginning to scare her.
She walked up to him, slowly so she did not startle him. And yet he knew she was there, for he had heard the doors and her walking, even her sigh. He merely chose not to acknowledge this to her.
Deanna walked behind him, placing her chin on his shoulder and her cheek against his. She slid her hands around his waist, allowing her larger than normal stomach to press against his back. She could see their reflection in the window; he was still starring at the passing stars. Only his warm hands placed on top of hers let her know that he was conscious.
"It's late. You should get some sleep," Deanna whispered into his ear.
He finally looked at her, then. "Do you ever wonder why things happen the way they do? Why we meet people when and where we do? Or why some people learn things or understand things faster than others?"
Deanna was taken aback by his questions, her brow furrowing at their oddity. "Is that what this is all about?"
He just looked back out the window and said, "You're right, we should get to bed." He released her hands and turned to face her.
She just nodded, deciding to drop the subject. Riker put his hand on her back and lead her to the door.
A face. It was the face of a man. An odd face. Gray. No… maybe blue. Bluish gray. It seemed to float in air. No body to support it. Nothing…
Then he began to speak. His voice was high pitched. Like a child's voice. It was filled with laughter and a strange giddiness that did not seem to belong to him. But it also had great sincerity and sadness…
Geordie awoke with a start, groaning as he rubbed his eyes. He had hoped that some rest would help his throbbing head, but it unfortunately only made it worse.
He scratched the back of his neck as he sat up, trying desperately to recall his dream. It had seemed so real, as if he could just reach out and touch him, but also so fake that he knew, in a way, that the person talking was too far away for him to reach.
Everything began to fade. And the more he thought and struggled to remember the words, the more he forgot them. And the longer he dwelled on what the man had looked like, the faster the imaged faded.
Soon, all was lost to oblivion, leaving Geordie with a strange feeling. One where you know that there was some information you want, something you thought important to know, but you just can't recall it. It was unnerving to say the least. If only he could remember what it was. What the man had said.
But then, that was silly. It was merely a dream. One to be forgotten about… right? Or was there something more? But he shook it off, realizing the absurdity of his thoughts.
Rubbing his face, he sighed and rolled out of bed.
Sickbay, Two Days Later
"Beverly, I'm worried about him. All he does is stare out the window. He's constantly isolating himself, and he won't tell me what's wrong… he just asks strange questions."
Deanna shifted in the biobed to see Beverly, the doctor running her tricorder over friend as she listened.
"He's gone through a lot in the past few months. In his life, actually. Maybe… maybe everything just became too much and he… shutdown. Give him some time and space, who knows?" Beverly said with a shrug. "This shore-leave should be good for him anyway. Where are you two going?"
"Alaska, up to his dad's cabin."
"That'll be good for. Get off the ship and go somewhere that he likes."
"Well, it looks like you still have a very health little girl. Only about two months to go," Beverly reported with a smile, setting down the device. Deanna smiled back and stood up. "See you later."
"'Bye." Deanna walked away, Beverly watched her retreating form. She felt for her friend, she really did, but she couldn't do anything for her. Not any more than to be the good friend she always would be for Deanna.