The Coup

Disclaimer: I don't own The Next Generation, but I do claim "Lessi" and all the "Lessians".

Time—Set third season-ish. AU, in the terms of relationships.

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Deanna and Will walked into the Treaty Room, as the Lessians called it. It was a large round room, with a large circular table. A woman sat at the far end of the table in front of a large panoramic window, showing a beautiful courtyard.

The woman stood to greet them. She was average height, and very slender. She had long golden hair which fell to somewhere near her knees. She wore a long, loose-fitting, blue tunic, and loose-fitting blue pants. She wore no shoes, and her feet touched the ground with extreme grace. "I see you brought your Man, smart woman." The woman looked Will up and down. "And quite a good-looking Man too, very tall and handsome. I approve, Madam. I am Dignitary Heelán." She held her right palm flat and swiftly made several small circles in front of her chest, then swept it out to full length.

"I am Counselor Deanna Troi, and this is Commander William Riker. And, I apologize, what?" Deanna looked confused as she took the offered to her by a palace guard; whose name was Karom.

Karom was very tall with long mid-night black hair, to her knees as well. She wore an outfit similar to that of Heelán's, but black. She skin was slightly darker than Deanna's own, and she gave the expression of a strict matriarch.

"My apologies!" Heelán exclaimed, bowing in reverence. "My Man is out. I will summon him with refreshments. Madam, what will you and your Man have?" She cocked her head slightly, tapping the broad gem on the tender side of her wrist. The bracelet chirped. "Tropical Seethas?"

Deanna looked at Will, who was now sitting beside her. She smiled back at Heelán. "Sound's delicious."

"Excellent! Tero, Darling, bring us some Tropical Seethas on your way back," she said to no one in particular. Deanna and Will assumed the bracelet was a communication device. Dignitary Heelán sat down in her elaborate chair. "Counselor, you must tell me. How long ago did you purchase him, and where?" she asked, leaning heavily on her left arm rest.

Deanna opened her mouth to speak, but closed it for a thought.

Heelán spoke before Deanna had a chance to answer. "Tero and I have been together for almost a year now. He is not quite as handsome as yours, but he was a bargain. I bought him straight from his mother, he is much younger than I am, but isn't that what this is about?" She looked at Deanna with inappropriately-curious eyes. Heelán only stopped speaking for a moment. "I think he is worth what I paid. He was his mother's first and she did not know what to charge for him."

Deanna and Will watched the woman in amazement as she uncontrollably rambled about purchasing Tero.

She went on for about three minutes before stopping for a breath. "I'm sorry, Dear. What did you say?" She stared intently at Deanna.

Deanna sputtered for words. "About six years, on and off," she hoped that she gave a satisfactory answer.

"Rebought him, I see why," she answered in an outlandishly-passionate tone. "I just can't see why you would sell him. Call me if you're thinking about changing Men, unless you have a better one on that ship of yours."

Heelán continued to ramble for a minute or so when a small good-looking man in blue robe, similar to Heelán's, walked in. He had a bracelet identical to that of Heelán's. He had short red hair, just about an inch long. It moved quietly with his bouncy step. He carried a tray with four large glasses filled with a color changing liquid. He set down the tray and approached Heelán, who rose to greet him.

He placed his hands on her waist and she put her hands on his face and they kissed passionately.

Will looked at Deanna with wide eyes. "Must be some sort of greeting ritual. I like that one," he grinned widely and eyed her hips.

"Eyes front, Commander," she barked at him with a quiet, playful tone.

Tero picked up the tray and made his way across the room as Heelán sat down. "Prosperous day, fellow Man!" he beamed at Will. He set down one of the drinks in front of Will. When he reached Deanna he set his tray down, bent to one knee and sought Deanna's hand. He kissed it, "Gracious Mistress," he whispered, looking at her shoed feet. He then stood, expecting nothing in return. He placed another drink in front of her and made his way back across the room. He found his seat next to Heelán.

Deanna opened the conversation, before Heelán could begin rambling again. "We wanted to discuss why we are really here." The conversation went on and they discussed much of the culture of Lessia. They discussed the government, the music, and the art. From what Deanna and Will pieced together from an account assuming their culture was similar, the women dominated the society and the men were traded like animals. This made Will feel uncomfortable.

After about an hour a large bell tolled from the tower in the center of the courtyard.

Heelán stood. "Ah! Midday! Karom will show you to your accommodations for the Midday Rest. I will see you again in two hours." Heelán walked out with Tero following her. Will and Deanna walked out behind Karom.

She led them to a large suite, generously built for two.

Will walked in, and Karom Deanna and spoke in quiet voice, "He must be good. I hope didn't spend all your savings on him. Don't you love these two hours of 'togetherness' with you Man? Good job on him." Karom out in the middle of her rambling, but Deanna began to understand the society a little more.

Deanna turned back around and closed the door behind her.

"So is this nap-time?" Will asked, sensing that Deanna knew more about the Lessian culture than he did.

"No," she shook her head. "I think this is 'have sex with your Man' time," she answered candidly.

"Let's contact the Captain," Will said looking at Deanna, trying not to follow Lessian culture.

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"We are learning about their culture, Sir. It is our opinion that you stay on the Enterprise, unless you want to bring Doctor Crusher with you," Will smiled as Deanna glared at him and hit him on the arm.

"What do you mean by that, Commander?"

"Well, Sir," Deanna started before Will could make the situation worse. "It seems here that women run the society and each woman 'owns' a Man, or two, whom she uses for . . . recreational purposes. We will make a full report when we return to the Enterprise, Sir."

Deanna and Will heard several stifled laughs over the COMM.

"Thank you for you suggestion, Number One, but I believe I'll stay on the Enterprise. Carry on, Counselor. Picard out."

"You are going to be in so much trouble when we get back," she said as he walked around a little more.

"I wish I could have seen his face," Will laughed as he found a comfortable spot on the bed. "Geordi was holding back a comment, you just know it."

Deanna stood looking out the large one-way window. She remembered the beautiful view out of her own window at home, on Betazed. Home always reminded her of one of two things; the first was her mother, the second was her Imzadi.

Currently she was thinking of the latter.

Will saw her staring silently. "Deanna, come lay down."

She turned and forced a smile. "I thought I was the head of this relationship?" she joked.

"You always where," he said quietly.

Deanna didn't know what to say, she wasn't expecting Will to be thinking about them too; which surprised her. She should have noticed what he was thinking, she wondered if their bond was breaking. She always had a better sense of what he was thinking, more so than anyone else. She had tried to put up barriers to block his thoughts, since they were no longer together, they never quite worked and she was always secretly happy. She was glad that their bond was still there, it had comforted her a lot.

Will stood and walked over to her. "Admit it, you were thinking about it too."

They stared at each other as they both felt feelings that they had felt so long ago. Will looked at Deanna with a look that she recognized so easily.

She turned her back to him. "We can't do this," she whispered to him. "We can't do this again."

Deanna felt that he was wounded by her turn and her words. She sensed something in him that she hadn't in a long time. She always knew every time he saw her he fell back in love, and that he wanted her. She knew it so well, now she felt the confidence to try, and the willingness to fail.

He was still staring at her, even though she had turned from him. Will took a deep breath, remembering the soft scent of her hair. "Why not," she heard him smile. "It's what's expected, isn't it?" he forced a laugh.

"By who? Expected by who, Will?" she asked turning back to him, looking up into his deep blue eyes.

"By me, by you, by this whole damn planet!" his face cooled and he looked into her eyes with his look on longing. "I never stopped loving you, Imzadi," he confessed.

"Don't," she turned again. "Don't start this again. Don't use the bait I can't refuse. I . . . Just don't," she pleaded quietly.

"If you didn't still love me, you would have walked away a long time ago."

She turned and looked up at him again. She looked into his eyes in silence. He was calm, she knew. She could feel the love in his mind; she could feel his unprotected heart. This is what he was feeling. There were no lies here.

Deanna threw herself into his arms. "Imzadi," she whispered between kisses.

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Will stared at the sleeping Deanna lying on his chest. He watched her softly inhale and exhale, and the way her hair settled on her shoulders just perfectly. He loved watching her sleep. He missed this so much.

Will missed Deanna so much. He remembered their time on Betazed. He remembered meeting her mother for the first time. They did their best to avoid her because she always knew.

Will and Deanna had run away to the country together. Will had spent all of his shore leave on one getaway with Deanna. It was worth every minute.

For a moment, he took his eyes off her lovely form a looked to the giant clock tower in the courtyard outside their window. Will remembered how to calculate Lessian time, and realized that they had just ever ten minutes.

He smiled at Deanna one more time and woke her with a soft kiss. "Deanna, it's almost time to go," he whispered gently.

She smiled at Will with loving eyes. The eyes that he remembered so well. She kissed him before rolling over. She stood up, taking the sheet with her.

He smiled as she bent down, looking for her uniform. She separated the pieces of hers from his and threw his on the bed.

As she slipped on her jacket he wrapped his arms around her. "I like it here," he whispered in her ear, "with you."

A large bell tolled five times meaning there were five minutes left of the 'Midday Rest'.

The both finished putting on their uniforms and made themselves presentable.

Karom arrived at their door with a large smile. "I trust you Midday Rest was relaxing."

"Very much so," Deanna said looking behind her to Will. "Yes, very much so."

"Very relaxing myself," Karom said, referring to the buff black man behind her. He had sharp elongated facial features and a clean shaven skull. "This is Mifahn, my Man."

"Delighted," Deanna smiled at the good-looking man.

Karom escorted Deanna back to the Treaty Room. Will and Mifahn followed them.

"From the look on your face, he must be good," Karom said to Deanna in the tone she was now accustomed to hearing on this planet.

Deanna smiled back. "You have no idea."

Mifahn quietly to Will. "Some other Men and I are going out to have some free time, would your Mistress allow that?"

"I would like to some, I will ask when she is finished with her conversation," Will replied tactfully.

As they came to the Treaty Room Will spoke, "Mistress, a moment."

Deanna turned to Karom. "I'll be in, in just a minute."

Karom and Mifahn entered the room, leaving Deanna and Will in the empty hall.

"Mifahn would like me to go with him to have some 'free time'. I want to go, but I have to ask first."

She gently tapped his face. "Of course you can go, Imzadi. Just don't come back intoxicated," she joked smiling at him. She kissed him lightly.

They walked into the Treaty Room, smiling like little children.

"Hello, again," Deanna said sitting down.

"Hell-o," Heelán replied, unaccustomed to the word. "Is your Man going out with the others?"

"Yes, I believe he is."

Tero appeared from a side room and headed towards Mifahn and Will. The three Men walked out together.

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Tero and Mifahn led Will to a small cafe filled with other men and no women in the surrounding area.

"Prosperous day, fellow men!" Tero greeted the men. "This is Will, the Man of the visiting dignitary Counselor Deanna Troi." Tero turned to Will, "We have been hearing much about you."

"I have heard about your Mistress, I hear she is as beautiful as the angels themselves," one of the men spoke up.

Will smiled. "More beautiful than the angels, my friends."

The conversation quickly changed from Deanna to the reason why they were there. The conversation was of politics, and government. The pace was quick with the men overlapping each other.

There was an abrupt silence when one of the men asked Mifahn: "Can he be trusted?"

Mifahn looked at the man in disbelief. "You think I would have brought him if he wasn't."

"I don't know what you think anymore. Asking your Mistress not to sell you?" The man raised his eyebrow.

"I did not want to leave this city. I AM NOT A TRAITOR!" Mifahn stood in anger.

"Sit down, Mifahn. Do not listen to him," Tero said, pulling Mifahn into his seat.

"I am Jerob," the man said to Will. He lowered his voice considerably, "What happens here does not leave here. Tell no one, including your Mistress."

Will nodded. "Of course," he lied.

Jerob leaned over the table. "The day is arriving, Brothers. Our century is nearing once again."

As Jerob made a valiant speech, Will leaned over to Mifahn. "Century is arriving?"

"Every two centuries or so, there is a Men uprising. The women regain control after about a hundred years, but we continue to try. Our uprising is going to be tomorrow morning. So far, our leaders have no reason to fire upon your ship. As long as they do not interfere with our culture, we will leave them alone."

Will nodded in agreement. Mifahn had just asked him to follow the Prime Directive, how could he refuse. Will made a mental note to contact the Captain and tell him not to interfere

"Acceptable," Jerob said, who had obviously been keeping tabs on their conversation.

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Mifahn, Tero, and Will entered the Treaty Room and greeted their Mistress's properly. "I love this culture," Deanna whispered in his ear.

"Well, for today I believe we are finished," Heelán said. "Karom, take Deanna and her Man to their room."

Karom nodded and Deanna walked out with her.

On the way back to their room it occurred to Will that these men were nothing but slaves on this planet. They were not in love with the women they 'belonged' to. It meant nothing to them. They were traded like animals and they didn't care to whom. It was all an act. Now they were taking over this society and now the women were going to be at the bottom of this society. That made Will feel made awful.

Once back in their suite Will looked at Deanna. "Deanna, we have to leave."

Deanna looked at Will. She tried to read his face. "Will, what's going on?"

"The men here, they are planning a mutiny, a violent coup. We have to get out of here."

"We can't leave here now," she replied walking to him. "Heelán wants us to come to dinner tonight. We must go, there is no way of getting out of this situation, but we can leave in the morning," she grabbed his hand. "Right now, you're stressed, and overwhelmed. As ship's counselor I recommend you get some sleep."

Deanna put him into the bed then she took down her hair. She climbed in bed next to Will and he wrapped his arms around her.

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Will rolled over and looked at Deanna, sleeping soundly. He smiled and looked at the large clock tower. His eyes got wide as he saw the clock and he remembered the plot.

Will had remembered to late. Will heard the sound of aircraft and explosions. He looked out the window and saw a fighter plane sweeping in fast, firing on the surface.

Will grabbed Deanna, rolled back landing on the floor, on top of her, protecting her from the incoming blast.

"We have to get out of here now!" Will yelled as he helped her stand.

The door was knocked down several men with large guns and black masks. Will and Deanna put their hands up as they were surrounded.

There were fourteen men and one of them stepped forward. "Will?" he said. He pulled his mask off, it was Mifahn. "Will, what are you still doing here? We told you to get out."

"With this woman, no less," another soldier said pulling off his mask; it was Jerob.

"I couldn't leave her behind," Will said looking at Mifahn.

"Will, we are free. You do not need her," Mifahn answered, not understanding.

"It is different where I come from. People fall in love, no one is bought or sold. We only belong to one another in our minds," Will answered, seeking Deanna's hand.

"You lied? You degraded yourself to learn about us? To make friends with us?" Mifahn asked in disbelief.

Will nodded, looking very defiant.

"Tero, get them on a shuttle, take them to their ship," Mifahn ordered.

"What about the woman!" Jerob cried in anger. "She must be punished!" He rushed at Deanna with the butt of his weapon. Jerob struck her and Deanna went limp.

Will lowered her down to the floor and lunged at Jerob. Will threw a barrage of punches and Jerob had an obvious black eye. Some other men pulled Will off of Jerob.

Mifahn pushed Will back slightly. "I apologize, friend. She was not meant to be harmed."

Will nodded, bending down to pick up Deanna. "I understand, friend. Let's go."

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Deanna woke a short time later, on the shuttle to the Enterprise. She found herself lying on a long bench with her head resting Will's leg. He was holding her hand and gently fiddling with her hair.

Will realized Deanna was awake instantly. He smiled down at her. "It's going to be alright. We are on our way back to the Enterprise. And, I gave Jerob a black eye and a new respect for women."

She smiled up at him, thanking him non-verbally.

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"Counselor Troi and I have just returned from Lessi. The men did take over the society, but I don't think that we were responsible in any way.

"The head injury that the Counselor suffered was not serious. She received a mild concussion and she has recovered fully. Doctor Crusher has told her that she should take it easy for the next few days.

"On a more personal not, despite what has happened on Lessi, Deanna and I have decided not to change the nature of our current relationship. This bothers me, but it makes her happy."