Part: REV 1/1
Disclaimer: Trek belongs to Paramount, MiQ' belongs to me.
Author's notes: Warm appreciation to my sweetest inspiration for all things Imzadi. And to my mentor and friend, what would I do without you? You have both given me my life back and I can never thank you enough. Also feedback is most definitely a plus … please!
Setting: Takes place immediately following the events set out in Peter David's novel, Imzadi II. Tom Riker seeks solace and finds a bit more than he expected.
This story is dedicated to a friend of mine that I knew through the ASC newsgroup. She was the first person to comment on this story and she expressed to me how much she enjoyed it. Just a few weeks after that, she committed suicide. I never knew all of the difficulties she faced in her short life, but I do know personally what depression can and will do a person. Please talk to someone if you ever feel lost. We can all feel like an outcast at times, but remember you are never alone. Trilly, you will always be missed and loved. I hope you have found some peace.
For Trillseekr .......
17 Feb 2000
Star Trek: The Next Generation
*Captain's log, stardate xxxx.xx:
<chuckle> Captain's log. Now that is a laugh. Tom Riker, Captain? Of what? A stolen Federation shuttle... yeah, well maybe. After departing from the Klingon homeworld aboard my 'ship' three days ago barely escaping capture by the Cardassians, I have come into range of an M class planet that shows very few life forms. I have decided that this may be just what I need right now. Way too much has gone on since I left Nirvala IV. A little rest and peace with no one around to disturb me. Time to think where to go or what to do next.... <end log>*
Tom Riker took the shuttle down toward the surface and landed in a clearing. Stepping out the side door, he began to scan for life forms and found none within a three kilometre distance.
As he unpacked his gear and set up camp, he was taken aback by the beauty of the double sunset on the horizon. He stood there and allowed its serenity to wash over him as Deanna had taught him to do all those years ago on Betazed. Deanna .... yet another unfinished chapter in his life. Ever since he found out that he was a 'duplicate' of the 'real' Will Riker, he felt so empty and lost. He was an outcast in the universe.... a freak of nature. His career, his Imzadi and almost his life had been taken away - lost forever. He sat down on the grassy hillside and contemplated the tatters of his existence.
The cool night breeze awoke Tom from sleep. He had dozed off right there and now it was dark. Instinctively he jumped up and scanned the area for intruders. As he stood there silently, his keen ears picked up the soft flowing strains of a song. He slowly turned his head, straining to isolate their origin. It was off in the distance, that much he was certain. But the voiced melody was haunting and mesmerizing – very beautiful as the wind carried it along to him then snatched it away. He gathered up his exploration kit and started off in what he hoped was the direction of the singer. He was determined solve the mystery of it -- determined to find the person or entity that went with that song.
The balmy day had dissipated and he found the night air rather cool as he pushed through thick undergrowth that impeded his path. He was grateful for the light of the full moon overhead as it aided him in avoiding the worst of the many obstacles he found blocking his way. It was frustrating, he had been at it for several hours but he could sense that the siren’s song was now closer and that the voice was distinctly feminine. Somehow it reminded him of some of the meditation tunes Deanna had used for relaxation. As the brush thinned he was able to quicken his stride. For some reason he now found it urgent to find the source of the melody.
He had just crossed a small stream bordered by meadows of tall grass. On the other side he stopped and turned slowly seeking its origin, but it had stopped.//Noooo! Not now!// he thought. Frustrated, he sat on a fallen tree and pulled out a water bottle and took a long drink. He sighed. //Perhaps it was only my imagination.// He sat there for nearly an hour looking up at the star swarmed night sky, unsullied by any other light except for that of the local moon. The song did not return and the moon was going to be setting in two hours or so. //I guess I better head back before it gets too dark to see.// Sliding the bottle back into his pack he slung it over his shoulder and turned to head back. He had taken just a couple of steps when the siren’s tune came back. This time it was different but it was there again, and his heart leaped. Again he turned and localized the sweet song. //There!// he thought. //Up there.//
He followed the sound up the rise and into a lightly wooded glen. He saw a flickering light between the trees. Carefully and silently he advanced, afraid to spook whoever or whatever was there. As he finally came up behind a tree and peered carefully around it. The flickering firelight illuminated a lone female in flowing robes sitting cross-legged on the ground in front of the fire. Her eyes were closed was obviously meditating as she sang.
The flames illuminated her exquisite features and Tom was entranced. She had the faintest marking of a Klingon's ridges on her forehead, yet her ears were long and tapered, slightly pointed at the tips. Her pale face was finely boned and she had delicate features, which were not consistent with either Klingon or Vulcan characteristics. Those features reminded him of Deanna as did her dark hair was long and wavy and was tied back in a ribboned ponytail. The firelight flickered, reflecting off of her full, wet ruby lips as she sang her chant - weaving a wondrous spell around him. Tom was quite certain that she was the most beautiful, most unique individual he had ever seen in his life. He was truly mesmerized.
Suddenly her song stopped in mid note as she opened her large dark eyes and looked directly at him even though he was hidden in dark shadows. Her first reaction was surprise followed by annoyance and then fear. She quickly jumped to her feet and began scrambling away, trying hard to not trip over her voluminous robes as she backed away, obviously seeking to put a safe distance between Tom and herself.
Tom stepped into the firelight. "Please, I won't hurt you. I didn't mean to startle you. Please don't run away...."
She stopped and looked at him skeptically, raised an eyebrow and cocked her head slightly.
Tom felt tendrils of thought brush across his mind. He had experienced the feeling before when Deanna would try to read his emotions and thoughts.//You’re a telepath!// he thought as another soft brush caressed his mind. //or at least an empath.//
Her eyes widened at the knowledge that he knew what she was even as she read his intentions. She spoke for the first time "You are looking for something?" Her voice purred with an exotic accent that he recognized.
Tom started to speak. "I.. you... "//Betazoid?//.
She smiled for the first time at his confusion. "Yes, my accent is Betazoid." Then she stopped as she felt his annoyance. "I apologize. I did not mean to pry into your thoughts."
Tom saw her body relaxed a bit -- she knew he was being truthful. She warily returned to the fire and gestured for him come closer and sit by the fire.
"It is just that I am so accustomed to being alone that when I do meet someone, it is difficult to suppress my abilities."
He came into the light and sat where she indicated. "It is okay. I guess that I should be used to it .... I mean used to being alone and to being 'read' by someone else. I am just at a disadvantage here as I am not a telepath or empath."
She did not answer immediately but when she did she spoke softly, "Perhaps not, but you do have tremendous mental discipline and some training that only comes from being in close contact with certain races, such as Vulcans or Betazoids."
He grinned lopsidedly, "Yeah, something like that..." His thoughts trailed off once more to Deanna.Imzadi …
The woman arched an eyebrow inquisitively, "An Imzadi? I haven't thought about that term in a long time."
Tom’s mind was suddenly flooded with hundreds of questions about this creature but he was suddenly afraid to ask. All he could get out was "Who are you?"
She couldn't understand why, but she felt a kinship, a bond of sorts to this man she had only just met. She began to tell her story in her mesmerizing voice.
"My name is MiQ'Leih T'Pie Xanad. Call me MiQ' if it is more comfortable for you. I am of mixed heritage as I am sure you can tell. I am part Klingon, Vulcan and Betazoid. I know, I know... a very odd genetic combination. Still, that is who - or better yet WHAT - I am." She let out a very long, sad sigh.
Tom frowned in confusion. "Your parents must have been quite interesting."
"I never knew my parents. I actually did not have any, just a pool of genetic donations. I was an experiment - nothing more."
A single tear flowed down her soft cheek, and she angrily wiped it away. Her Betazoid emotions came through as weakness to her Klingon side and as illogical to her Vulcan nature. She was so constantly torn inside that she was in turmoil. Her Vulcan mentality demanded that her emotions be kept in check, while her Klingon soul was aggressive and expressive. Her Betazoid heart did its best to keep it all under control as she attempted to examine her own conflict, deal with it and learn to cope.
Tom felt this uncontrollable urge to go to her and embrace her protectively. But instead he simply, moved closer as an encouragement for her to continue and as support for her anguish.
With a hint of sarcasm in her voice, she began her tale.
"I was 'born' for lack of a better term at the Talos Genetic Centre on Earth thirty standard years ago. No, you have never heard of such an institution as it is kept secret due to the public opinion and controversy of genetic manipulation. Anyway, as I said, I was an experiment. The 'scientists' were curious as to what would happen if you took DNA from three of the most different races in terms of emotions and combined them. Therefore, the choice was made and a Klingon/Vulcan/Betazoid child was created. I was studied and examined for years, though great pains were took to see that I grew up as 'normal' as possible. I was therefore, 'raised' by humans that were affiliated with the Centre. The case, the specimen .... me... had to be in a neutral environment and not unduly influenced by any of the three cultures of my heritage."
Tom looked deeply into her eyes and felt her pain. "That must have been difficult as you are certainly .... unique. You had to know that you were somehow different from your parents."
"I did. I asked questions and was given no straight answers. I was told that I was simply adopted. I was given a typically human name and that was it. When I reached school age, I was placed in a regular public facility to see how I would react. They knew that I would be teased, as I was an outcast, a freak. Though I excelled scholastically, I never interacted socially. Even when the other children did not ridicule me outright, I could read their minds and feel their emotions. I wound up in a lot of fights as my Klingon side took over during puberty."
This was the first time he saw her smile, and even though it was a sarcastic one - Tom saw the inner beauty escape from it.
"Yeah, I know a little about that. I lost my mom when I was very young and I was never close to my father. Being thrown here and there, shuffled between relatives and caregivers who didn't really want to be bothered with you - that sort of screws up a childhood as well. I have seen a few fights of my own."
MiQ'Leih nodded with understanding.
"So what happened later, how did you find out about your background?" Tom surprised himself at his boldness to ask such personal questions. But somehow he just felt that it was okay.
"Well, when I was nearing the age at which I could apply to Starfleet Academy, I spoke to my parents about my goals. They became very belligerent and insisted that this was not a course I could pursue. I could not understand. I had the grades to back up my entrance exams. All I knew was that I wanted OFF Earth and into space so that I could be among alien cultures. Then maybe I would find somewhere that I belonged. When they refused to allow me to even try to get in and would not give me the information I needed about why, I set out to find who I was."
"That must have been difficult."
"It was. One evening after they had retired, I went downstairs and began combing through PADDS and records looking for something ... anything that could be a clue. I came across a passing reference to the Centre and that was the start of a very long and difficult path. I broke into the computer core of the Centre one night and accessed my records. I only got the bare basics of my genetic makeup and the study logs before security was upon me."
Tom sighed and took her hand in his. "I am guessing you got in lots of trouble for that trick."
MiQ' did not pull her hand away, but let it rest in the warmth of his. "Trouble is an understatement. The board deemed that since this was an unorthodox situation from a secret facility, the best course of action would be to terminate the experiment."
Tom frowned as he saw her tears well up. "Terminate? As in ....?"
"As in terminate ME. I had discovered enough to blow the whistle on the entire organization. I was expendable as now I was no longer a valid case study. They were arguing among themselves as what would be the best method of disposal when I escaped from the lab where I was being held. I was on the first transport off-planet, heading for who knows where."
"At least you were alive."
"True enough. But I knew they would come after me and I had to find a way to 'disappear'. I needed to come to terms with just who I was. I hitched around the quadrant doing odd jobs. Along the way, I devoured everything I could about my heritage and the cultural aspects of each race. I studied Klingon history and philosophy under the direction of a wise old Klingon who became my mentor. Then I came across a couple of Vulcans who taught me how to control my emotions and allow logic to rule my life. That was a very difficult thing to reconcile with what I had learned from M'Rob'tuk, the old Klingon. So then I decided to see what I could find out as far as Betazoid philosophy went. There were a number of ambassadors from Betazed aboard a transport ship that I was working on and they helped me learn to tap into my Centre and find my own way. To take the best of all of the different aspects of my makeup and fuse them into one individual being - me. I tried."
"I cannot even begin to imagine. I had a close friend that tried to reconcile her mixed heritage and she was only half human/half Betazoid. I know how difficult that was for her and how your situation must be magnified a thousand times."
MiQ' sat in silence for a long time just staring into Tom's face, into the depths of his soul. She couldn't explain it, but she simply knew that he could understand. She finally spoke once more.
"After a few years of studying and hitching, I had a close call with someone from the Centre’s security. It frightened me and I knew I was no longer safe. I searched for the most out of the way, remotely inhabited planet that I could find and came here to Brikasia. It is on the outer edge of the former Thallionian Empire and after the destruction of Thallon itself, most of the few original inhabitants fled to safer havens. I figured this was as good as anywhere else to disappear. I needed time to think, to ponder and meditate, to see just where I go from here. You are the first person I have seen in two years."
"Wow. You must get very lonely here all alone though."
She shrugged. "In some ways, but then at least here I am at peace. Regardless, I have never really known anyone who knew the real me anyway. So in essence I have always been alone."
"Until now." Tom whispered as his lips touched hers. He kissed her softly and gently, revelling in her warmth. As the kiss broke, she looked at him quizzically.
"Why did you do that?"
Tom stammered, "Er....I don't know. It felt right and I wanted to I guess. I am sorry if I offended you."
She stared into the fire and collected her thoughts.
"No, you didn't offend me. Just surprised me. I wasn't expecting that from you and I was taken off guard. That doesn't happen to me very often."
"What? Being kissed or being taken by surprise?"
"Being taken by surprise. I have never been kissed before."
She dropped her eyes and Tom saw with the light of the flames, her cheeks flush in embarrassment. This was her Betazoid personality coming through and he loved it. Maybe because it reminded him of Deanna or maybe simply because this woman was amazing.
He took her chin in his hand and raised her face to him. "Don't be ashamed of who you are. I spent many years alone and then found out that I, too, was an outcast .. a freak of nature. I struggle with it every day. I also know what it is like to be scared for your life, to look over your shoulder each minute you live."
He continued and told his life story of how he was stranded for so many years on the station at Nirvala IV. And when he was rescued, how his duplicate had been formed during a transporter accident and THAT Riker had gone on and lived a full life with a rewarding career all this time. Then his trouble with Starfleet, the Maquis and the Cardassians. His recent encounter with Sela and her scheme against the Klingon homeworld. How he had betrayed and forsaken the only woman he had ever loved to go to what he thought would be his death. How his friends Odo and Jean-Luc had helped him escape recapture.
He was surprised that his face was wet when his story was finished and he felt her soft hands caressing him and wiping away each tear. MiQ'Leih had felt his pain, his sorrow, his loneliness and she could share it as she understood what these things felt like.
She rose from her place by the fire and took his hand. They walked a short piece in silence to a small dwelling built inside a cave.
He looked around and to his amazement saw rather plush accommodations for such an environment. The dwelling was very similar to a cabin or quarters aboard a starship. MiQ' had done an outstanding job in creating a 'home' of sorts for herself here. There were artifacts and objects adorning the tables and shelves from Qo’nos, Betazed and Vulcan - as well as some assorted pieces collected during her journeys. By her bed were a number of mediation lamps and candles, while an old bat'leth hung above it. Off to the side, he heard water running and saw a bubbling spring with steam rising from it a few meters away.
"That hot spring certainly looks inviting. It has been a while since I was in ‘real’ hot water." he said with double meaning. "Modern advances are nice but sonic showers just cannot match the feeling the rush of warm water across your skin."
MiQ’Leih gestured toward the stream.
"I know. Be my guest. It is quite invigorating."
He saw a half-grin on her face as she handed him a towel.
Tom smiled lopsidedly, "You sure you don’t mind? It is irresistible. I will only be a few minutes."
"Take all the time you need. I shall prepare us a light meal if that is acceptable."
He winked at her as he took off his shirt and tossed it aside.
"More than acceptable, milady. It sounds perfect."
As Tom went on down the short distance to the small body of water, MiQ’Leih’s eyes ran across his face and body. She winced inwardly at the scars that criss-crossed his bare abdomen and her heart ached for the things he must have endured. Additionally, she felt an indescribable urge to be with him. Was it her Klingon aggressiveness fueling these desires? Could it be the onset of Pon Farr? Or could it be simply that she felt an emotional bond to this man? She had to find out, at some point anyway.
She sighed deeply and went about her preparations.
It was the better part of an hour when Tom reappeared wrapped in a long robe with wet tousled hair.
"Hope you don’t mind, I borrowed a robe."
MiQ’ looked at him appraisingly. "Did you enjoy yourself?"
He nodded. "I did. Let me thank you again. It was wonderful." Sniffing the air appreciatively, he inquired, " What smells so delicious?"
"It is just a dish that I prepare quite often. I do not think it would have a name as such. It is simply a type of stew that contains some of the native vegetables and herbs that I find nearby."
He sipped a taste and smiled. "Whatever it is, it is exquisite. Mmmmmm."
She cocked her head slightly. "I am glad that you approve."
The meal also consisted of a salad of mixed bitter greens, flatbread and a type of beverage made from the nectar of local fruits. It was a far cry from the replicated rations Tom had been used to for so long. He savored each bite and also the company of this remarkable woman across the table from him. They sat there and talked for hours.
Fatigue finally threatened to engulf Tom as he did his best to stifle a yawn. He rose stiffly from the table.
"It must be getting very late and I have a long walk back to my own camp. I really enjoyed myself this evening. I would like to come and visit you again, if that is okay with you."
MiQ’Leih looked down as if trying to calm a turmoil within. Composed once more, she gazed at him.
"You are correct that it is late and it is too far for you to return to your landing site. I have sufficient bedding to make you a sleeping pallet. It would be most acceptable if you would stay here. That is if you would like to."
Tom smiled and graciously accepted her kind offer. "I think that I could sleep comfortably on a duranium slab but your offer is too good to turn down."
Together they made a comfortable and rather inviting bed of sorts for him, and after removing his robe, he climbed into it and revelled in its softness. He sighed with deep contentment.
MiQ’Leih’s bed was just as few feet away and she prepared for slumber by removing her outer garments. Tom watched as her petite, muscular body was slowly unveiled. When she turned to him, she was wearing only a thin, white, gauzy garment that was suspended from her shoulders by tiny straps. The garment skimmed across her body, revealing her sensuous curves. She removed the ribbon that held her hair in pace and shook her head, making the waves fall around her lovely face and flow down her back.
'My God! Is she beautiful...' was Tom's only thought as she said, "Sleep well, Tom Riker."
She climbed into her bed and turned off the lantern. They both drifted to sleep; content with the simple knowledge that tonight they would not be alone.
MiQ’Leih awoke early and lay still, contemplating what to do with these … feelings … these desires roiling within her. All of the events of the previous evening kept playing through her mind again and again. Here was a man whom she barely knew, had only just met. And yet she felt drawn to him in a way that was indescribable. She knew he had a tortured but kind spirit; that he was an outcast, just as she was. They understood each other like no one else could. She needed him and felt his need for her as well.
This was her chance and she had to take it.
Slipping out from her bedcoverings, she went to and knelt beside Tom’s sleeping form. She brushed the hair from his forehead and softly caressed his face. His blue eyes opened slowly to see her beautiful smile right next to him. He grinned widely, stretched languidly and sat up facing her.
"Mmmmmm…. Good morning."
With a very serious and decisive look, MiQ’ said, "Yes it is. A very good morning indeed."
At that she came to him, encircling his neck with her slender arms. His face went down to meet hers and he then felt her true beauty engulf him. As their mouths captured each other's, their souls were laid bare to the other. They were two halves of the same whole - kindred spirits who could understand and comfort the other. They were soul mates - plain and simple. They could give each other what no one else could - completion and peace.
Tom wrapped her in his arms and brought their bodies together, never breaking the kiss that had forged them. As he lay her down and covered her with is own body, she moaned softly with delight for the first time in her life. They lay there for a long time, simply holding each other and exploring one another's souls as they did one another's bodies.
Tom wanted this woman to know how special she was, how each of the things she hated about herself was actually an asset in his eyes. How her strength and honour, coupled with her emotion and expression - was a miracle in itself. He wanted to love her and make her love herself for what she is.
MiQ' sensed his feelings, along with his trepidation at her inexperience. But she wanted to be with him, to give herself to this man who understood her, who could love her for nothing more than who she was. She took the initiative and sat up, pulling the flimsy slip over her head and tossing it aside.
Tom was taken aback by her boldness and was stunned at her beauty. He quickly recovered, however, and removed his own shorts. As he joined her once more on the makeshift bed, he looked deeply into her eyes. "Are you sure?"
"I have never been more sure of anything in my life, Tom Riker. Please, love me."
At that, Tom ran his hand down the length of her body, caressing every curve. He stroked her soft skin as he delicately kissed her neck and throat. His hands found the fullness of her breasts and he cupped them gently while his mouth worked down and found her erect nipples. He ran his tongue across each one, feeling them stiffen as he deftly sucked and teased them with his tongue and teeth.
MiQ' arched her back in response to his ministrations as a soft gasp escaped her throat. Her mind was reeling. Logic dictated that this was simply a biological response to a hormonal urge. Her passions threw caution to the wind and gave her body up to the sensations this man was causing deep within her. Her heart searched for and found the emotions within the man making love to her and that was all she needed.
Tom's hand was now sliding down her belly ever so slowly as his warm breath continued to caress her skin. When his fingers reached her femininity, he was very careful so as to not hurt her. He fanned across her delicately before sliding one finger inside her moistness. She moaned and quaked with pleasure from his touch. Tom stroked her slowly as he felt her arousal build from within. His thumb sought out and found her bud of desire and he lightly rubbed her there. MiQ's eyes went wide with ecstasy as pure desire rippled through her body.
She was panting now, whispering his name and begging him to complete her. Tom moved above her and simply nestled himself between her thighs, not entering her just yet. He went to her face and lovingly stroked her eyebrows, the ridges in her forehead, the tapered tips of her ears. He ran the backs of his fingers down her soft cheek and looked deeply into her black Betazoid eyes. His finger danced lightly across her parted lips as his mouth claimed hers once more. He placed himself at her opening and thrust against her ever so gently.
She responded by widening her legs and opening body to accept him deep within her. The momentary twinge of pain was soon replaced by a wave of pleasure as he moved in her softly, yet deftly.
Their bodies became one and their hands were joined, fingers intertwined. Tom made love to her mouth with his tongue with sweet kisses, thrusting in perfect harmony to the love he was making to her body. He moved his lips down to her throat, along her jawline and up to her ear, where his warm whispers inflamed her even more. Tom controlled himself and made certain that she was satisfied before he allowed his own pleasure to come to the fore. As he felt her body begin to tremble and shudder beneath him, he knew what was upon her and he quickened his pace just a bit until his own climax joined hers. At just that moment, a very familiar sensation overtook his heart and soul.Imzadi … He shook it off, as it was impossible. But the fact remained and it was undeniable. Imzadi …
The lovers lay there together, bodies joined as their panting became breathing once more. They lay still and felt each other's heartbeat return to normal. Only then, did Tom moved of her petite form and come to rest beside her, gathering her into his embrace.
They lay in silence but he could hear her thoughts and sense her emotions. Again, he shook it off as coincidence, attributing it to the fact that MiQ'Leih was a powerful telepath. He knew that it was impossible. You can have only one Imzadi. This could not be happening to him again. This bond was forged a long time ago with Deanna on Betazed. Granted, it was somewhat severed after the duplication accident and Will was her true Imzadi, but still.
As Tom lay there pondering the possibilities, MiQ' curled up against him. She softly spoke into his ear.
"It IS possible. At least I believe it is. I felt where your first Imzadi bond had been severed. I also know from the cultural study of my heritages that both Vulcans and Klingons have mating or bonding rituals of their own. We are a perfect match, Tom Riker. We are the other half of one another. You feel it as well as do I. You know this to be true deep within your soul."
She was right. He had only known this woman for a few hours and yet he knew her completely. He could understand and relate to her. He could feel and share all of the things she had gone through in her life and she did the same for him. They were a safe haven for one another and he finally knew where he belonged. So did she ... right here beside him, as they were now Imzadi.
to be continued at some point :) maybe