For two years, time passed by quickly for those onboard the Enterprise. Riker and Deanna married four months after their daughter was born in a beautiful ceremony on Betazed.
Elizabeth had grown to just over two years of age and was running about the ship. And, while she might not realize it, she was already learning both her father's and her mother's culture and language.
Neither Riker, Deanna, nor Geordie ever talked about their experiences on Hytor Settlement again. Though they occasionally spoke in private to each other about what they remembered, it was never officially noted what had happened.
But, for the most part, life onboard the Enterprise was going pretty smoothly. That was, until they heard about the end of the Mikolian Civil War…
Captain Picard walked through his ready room's doors and onto the bridge. His look was sober as he approached his captain's chair. Without so much as a look at Riker, Picard activated the ship-wide comm.
"This is Captain Picard to the crew of the Enterprise. I have just received word that the Hagan have taken control of the planet Miko. Enterprise is now being ordered there to ensure the safety of other planets.
"From the latest intelligence we've received, they are creating ships with weapons capable of matching a Galaxy Class Starship. By the time we arrive, the ships will be ready. If they become hostile… Starfleet has authorized us to fire back and to interpret their actions as an act of war. Picard out."
Once Picard had finished, he had the Bridge's undivided attention. Everyone, excluding Data and Worf, were gawking at him. No one had been stupid enough to think that the Embassy would win but they hadn't expectedthem to loose. Nor for Starfleet to go to war with them.
"Captain, is it…?"
"I'm afraid so, Number One."
Riker sauntered into his quarters, looking down to find his daughter sitting on the ground. Crayons in hand, she was scribbling on a piece of replicated paper.
When the doors close, she looked up at her father, giving him a wide smile. With very little grace, she stood on two wobbly feet and ran over to her dad with the picture in hand. In her excitement, she stumbled and grabbed his leg of support.
With a small chuckle, he bent down a bit and picked her up by the armpits. As he straightened up, he settled her on his hip and put his arm under her butt.
"Daddy! Daddy! Loooook!" The girl shouted, the picture shaking widely in his face. Will laughed as he attempted to steady her hand, finally able to see the drawing.
If Riker was correct, it was a picture of a bear. An orange bear with a blue outline- but a bear none-the-less. "It's very good, Liz," Riker told her, using the shortened form of her name.
Liz's smile grew with her father's praise. "On box." Riker's brow creased, trying to understand what she had said. Then he remembered he had moved his mother's box to his nightstand where Liz could get at it.
The doors to Will's bedroom hissed opened and the two looked. Deanna walked out, Liz's eyes opening wide as she saw her mother. Squirming out of Will's arms, she stood carefully and ran for her mother.
The paper still in hand, she raised her arms to make her mother pick her up. Steadying the girl on her hip, Deanna smiled as her daughter showed her the picture. "Mommy! Ooook!"
"Very… interesting," Deanna said, half-shrugging at Riker as he approached the two. Seeing his look, Deanna told the girl, "Liz, why don't you go put your picture in your room."
"Kay!" Deanna put her down and she ran straight for the bedroom on the other side of the room.
"Did you hear the Captain's announcement?" Riker asked, his question of course rhetorical.
"Yes. Can you believe it?"
"Two year of war yet so many were killed. Who knows what will happen if we go to war with them over something… like this," Riker stated. He slid his arm around Deanna's back and guided her to the table.
Deanna ordered their dinners from the replicates just as Liz came charging out of her room. Riker smiled and picked her up, Liz shrieking in delight as he put her in her seat. "'Gin!" She yelled but Riker shook his head and told her not now.
Deanna put the three plates down, Liz's eyes widening for this was her favorite dinner. Immediately she began to eat, the fork held oddly in her hand. Will and Deanna smiled at her behavior despite their mood; their daughter always had a way of doing that.
Will picked up his own fork and began eating. But, even as he ate, he looked at Liz, hoping that everything going on wouldn't harm her by being on the Enterprise.
Bridge, The Next Day
During the night, the Enterprise reached its assigned coordinates to find that, of the thirty ships, eleven others had arrived. Each was placed in a perimeter to block the Mikolians from leaving their planet.
On the Bridge, Worf activated the view screen. A female starship captain appeared on it. Picard looked her over, noticing easily her comfort in her chair and how tightly her amber hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Her hazel eyes were the last thing he noticed; their set gaze intimidating.
Picard stood and addressed her, "Captain Ivinch, what is the situation?"
"They're not doing anything hostile at the moment. I think they're still trying to figure out what to make of the blockade and how to use it to their advantage." Her voice calm as she spoke, hiding all traces of any anxiety.
Ivinch leaned back in her seat, resting her chin in her hand. Suddenly, Picard thought, she seemed less intimidating and more relaxed. "Captain Picard… do you know why Starfleet is so willing to attack these people?"
Enterprise's Captain took the question in stride and responded without hesitation. "Let's just say, Starfleet made a mistake two years ago and now they're trying to correct it."
Captain Ivinch starred at him for just a second. Her eyes bore into his, taking in and processing what she had heard. Then she nodded. Ivinch decided that she would most likely never understand what she had heard.
She straightened, composing herself while not loosing the bold confidence she seemed to command. "The fleet is yours, Captain Picard. Ivinch out."
With the curt words, the screen went black and then became the planet Miko again.
"It's been three hours and they haven't so much as acknowledged our existence." Riker sighed impatiently.
The last eighteen ships had arrived and the Hagan had still not spoken to them. He felt no comfort from that fact, and neither did any one else.
"Be patient, Number One. They can't ignore us forever." Riker glanced over at his Captain. There were times when he envied the man's calm and level-head. But that moment was not one. Adrenaline pounded through his veins. He wanted action.
He let out a sigh, realizing suddenly how loud it seemed on the hushed bridge. He looked up, seeing that the cause was an incoming message. Worf looked, first at him, then addressed the Captain, "There is an incoming message from Miko."
Picard inhaled deeply, then released the air. He stood, tugging on his shirt after doing so. "On screen and relay it to the rest of the fleet."
The screen switched to the image of a man in his mid-thirties. Shaggy brown hair dipped into his grey eyes, hiding on some of the blue spots that marked him as a Mikolian.
"You are not welcome here. Leave now," he commanded.
"Who are you?"
The man ignored Picard's inquiry, saying, "Leave now. I will give you thirty of your minutes, if you are not gone, we will attack you." The screen went blank after his words.
Riker watched as Picard sighed and turned around slowly. With a step forward, he dropped into his chair. "Worf, send that conversation to Starfleet and ask for our orders."
"Captain, I remember him." Riker looked up at his Captain to see that he wore an odd look. Riker wasn't sure what it was, but he continued on, "He was, well probably still is, the leader of the Hagan. I saw him two years ago when Geordie and I were captured."
Picard nodded just as the screen became an image of Captain Ivinch. "Captain, are we leaving?"
"Not until I get orders from Starfleet."
"Very well." Then, just as sudden as she appeared on the screen, she disappeared.
"The Mikolian ships are now complete and threatening to attack our fleet surrounding their planet." A man, one who stood with authority, rubbed his long, white beard. Then his crystal blue eyes sought out the eyes of the four around him.
President Aurik stood, surrounded by four Ambassadors. Ambassador Amen, his right hand man, was to his left. For a thirty-four year old Human, Amen was average in size and weight. Dressed in his formal robes, his black hair was short and combed away from his brown eyes.
The Bolian Ambassador to Earth sat beside him. By Human standards, she was about thirty-seven, her traditional blue skin and bald head marked her as for what she was. White robes showed her status as an Ambassador, known to some as Nila.
On the other side closest to the President, sat the Vulcan Ambassador. Though nearly eighty-two, Vir looked not a day over thirty with his dark skin and black hair.
And then the Betazoid Ambassador was beside him. Her skin was pale against that of the others around her, her dark curls adding to that allusion. Although Tenana was not the usual representative from Betazed, Lwaxana was preoccupied with other matters. And the twenty-four year old Ambassador was there.
"They have no other options except fighting and risk beginning war with Miko or run and allow the Hagan to attack Ketrel."
Teanna glanced around her. She only knew from briefing reports and Ambassador Trio what had happened two years ago. Shyly, she asked, "How do we even know that they will go after Ketrel?"
"Just because they were ancient enemies doesn't mean they will try to destroy them again," Vir agreed with Tenana.
The President looked at both of them. "They were enemies thousands of years ago. For the people on Ketrel, their ancestors thought it better to destroy all information about them. None of those people know anything about it.
"But on Miko… this feud had been remembered. It is a strong hatred if it was thought so dangerous and has lasted so long. They will destroy them if they can. And now they can."