"Dinner is served," Riker announced, placing Deanna's plate in front of her. After losing his bet with her, she made him cook her dinner, and what she wanted was something native to Alaska.

But what she got was not what she expected…

"You didn't," she exclaimed as she saw the food in front of her.

"You did say 'native to Alaska'," Riker teased her.

She laughed as she looked down at it. It was the same fish that she had managed to catch. "True."

"Just try it, you'll like it, I promise."

"Alright." Deanna took her fork and knife and cut off a small piece. With a last look at Riker, she brought it to her mouth and chewed. She had to admit that it tasted much better than it looked.



"Told you so," Riker teased as he began eating his own fish.

Alaska, The Next Mourning

"Elizabeth," Riker stated suddenly while the couple lay on their bed, Deanna's head at his feet. She looked up at him, her expression confused. "What do think about the name Elizabeth? It's a nice name."

"I like it. Elizabeth Riker, it has a nice ring to it," Deanna agreed.

"How about, Elizabeth Troi Riker," Riker said with a smile. Deanna looked at him for a moment before he explained. "Sometimes on Earth, the mother's maiden name becomes her child's middle name."

"'The mother's maiden name'? Meaning that I would no longer have my last name as Troi."

"That's the general idea…" Riker said, a grin covering his face. "When you get married."

"Are you proposing?" Deanna said, her face now matching Riker's.

"I could be." Riker leaned back and took something out of the nightstand drawer. Deanna watched him closely; she had not even known that he had put anything in there. Then he turned back towards her, swinging his legs over the bed and sat up.

Then he opened the small velvet box to reveal a gold band and gorgeous red ruby. He gently picked up the ring and held it out towards her. Looking straight into her eyes, Riker asked, "Will you marry me?"

Deanna smiled and said, "Of course." She leaned forward and kissed him before he took her hand and slid the ring onto her finger. Deanna looked down at it and commented, "It's beautiful."

"It was my mother's. I got it from her when she died. And my dad told me to give it to the person I loved more than life itself… and I just did," Riker told her. He had been looking down at the ring throughout his speech, looking up at her for his last words. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Deanna leaned forward again and meet Will half way.


Geordie walked into Sickbay, looking cautiously around for Crusher or anyone else. Thankfully for him, most everyone was on Earth and only a skeleton crew was left to keep their eyes on the place.

He strolled over to the counter standing as high as his hip. Leaning against it as he pretended to be waiting for someone, he looked around again. The only person in the room at the time was an Ensign and she had her back to him.

With extreme care and senses at full alert, he gently eased opened the drawer and lifted the hypospray with the tips of his fingers. Once he cleared the edge, Geordie curled his fingers and allowed the hypo to rest against the palm of his hand- successfully hiding it from sight. Then he carefully picked up another small container, filled with a second batch of the liquid he wanted.

Looking over at the slight movement within the room, he backed up against the drawer- shutting it and knocking over a couple instruments. "Oh shit…" Feigning shook, he turned and, using his left hand, he busily worked at picking them up.

"Do you need something, Commander?" The same nurse as before asked him. She had turned to look at him when she heard the instruments fall over.

"I heard that Dr. Crusher was supposed to be back soon… I need to talk to her but… it seems I was wrong about the time," Geordie stuttered at making up his excuse. "I should just go." He gestured to the door with his left hand and walked away, the hypospray and extra container still protectively hidden.

Geordie's Quarters

Geordie was still having some trouble sleeping. He continued to have the disturbing dreams that seemed to make no sense and that he could barely remember. But now with the headaches gone, he was able to get at least some sleep.

But now he was sitting up in bed, looking at the hypo he had stolen from Sickbay earlier that day. He felt bad but he couldn't help it. The headaches had been driving him mad and he couldn't operate much longer with it.

He could feel the pain slowly inching back behind his eyes, the effect of the last injection twelve hours earlier wearing off. He slowly picked up the hypo and programmed it to give a dose to last another twelve hours.

After a pause, he brought it to his exposed wrist. Uncertainly, he pushed the button and released the medicine into his veins. He then placed the hypo back on his nightstand and sank back on his bed, hoping to get sleep.

Engineering, The Next Day

It had been almost twelve hours and the pain meds were wearing off. At the beginning of his shift, three hour prior, the few people left in engineering were hopeful that he was feeling better or was at least out of his cranky stage.

At least that was true. He was too tired now to be cranky. It appeared, to the crew, that he had not slept well that night for he was nodding off once in a while. He was slowing down and losing the overwhelming giddiness he walked in with.

Geordie hid in the corner, pretending to work on something. With care, he removed the hypo that was hidden in his shirt and pressed the tip to his wrist. Only the tiniest hiss was heard, but he heard it as much louder than it was. Carefully he placed it back into its concealment.

A shy, young Ensign walked next to him, quietly announcing, "I have the progress report, Commander." Geordie jumped at her voice and she too jumped. "I'm sorry, Commander. I didn't mean to startle you."

"It's ok, Ensign. Thanks." Geordie's voice was much friendlier and kinder than it had been in the past few months. The Ensign was surprised. She thought for sure he would jump on her, but she was of course glad that he didn't.

The Ensign walked away, looking nervously back at her CO. Everyone was worried about him and now she was even more so with his sudden change in attitude. He was beginning to scare her.

Captain's Ready Room, Two Days Later

The last member of his crew had beamed aboard an hour ago. Everyone was back on board. Which had given Picard the chance to be in his Ready Room.

So, Captain Picard sat in behind his desk, the quiet was perfect. He liked it like this for it gave it the feeling of a sanctuary. A peaceful, tranquil sanctuary. But something always found a way to disrupt this. And this time it was the PADD in his hands.

He read it over, not believing his eyes. His face was a mirror image of fear and horror. He knew that what he was reading had always been a strong possibility and that it might have happened, but that didn't mean he wanted it to happen or expect it to.

"Captain, General Hayes is on the comm. He wants to speak with you; he says it's important," Ensign Talyn reported.

"Patch it through to my office." Picard turned to the screen, trying to take his mind off of the statistics he just read. Seconds later, the screen went from its normal black to an image of General Hayes, who looked just as flustered as Picard.

"I assume you've been… informed of the situation?"

"Yes, sir."

"Good. Have your senior staff briefed, but tell them no more than necessary, I think you know where to draw the line. Then set course for Miko, Enterprise has been assigned to rescue both the Ambassadors and try to help with the fighting."

"But, Admiral, doesn't interfering with their 'war' go against the Prime Directive?" Picard asked.

"Not in this cause, and I think you know why. You have your orders, I expect you to follow them," Hayes said, his voice final and firm.

"Yes, sir." The channel was broken and the picture faded into the Federation's insignia.