Homeworld of the Klingon race, a world of reds and blacks, of sharp architecture and sharper blades.

Captain William T. Riker rather liked it.

"Worf, old friend." Riker shook Worf's hand. he hadn't seen his former crewmate since he had become a member of The Klingon High Council two years ago, "How have you been?" "Well," Worf sounded enthused, indeed he looked healthier than when Riker had last seen, "Chancellor Martok wishes to speak with you right away. Then we can relive some old memories!" The Klingon slapped him on the back, nearly knocking the wind out of him. Riker followed the Klingon toward The Great Hall where the Klingon High Council convened. "I'm hoping we can repair these. . . Difficulties we've been having of late." The Klingon Empire had recently become more insular, while at the same time expanding their territory deep into Romulan space. The planet Romulus might have been destroyed a few years back, but the Romulan Empire was still alive and kicking, and the peace between the Romulans, Klingons and Federation was stretching thin. "Chancellor Martok will explain our motives when we arrive. Then you will understand, and agree, that it is necessary to act as we have."

"How's Alexander doing?" Riker asked. Worf seemed to hesitate for a few seconds, "Alexander is well. Somewhat bored, I'd imagine, the Ya'Vang hasn't seen much action since The Dominion War. . . But come, The Chancellor is waiting." Riker regarded the Klingon, he looked and sounded well, but his hesitation seemed. . . Odd. Perhaps he was just getting jumpy, the Changelings had sown a great deal of paranoia throughout the galaxy, even with the end of The Dominion War.

The Great Hall was an architectural masterpiece evoking images of the Egyptian and Mayan, (more so the Mayan), pyramids, feudal Japanese palaces and Gothic fortresses. The three-pointed symbol of The Klingon Empire sat proudly on it's front facade. It was a beautiful building that never failed to impress him. Chancellor Martok sat in his throne at the end of the long, dark hall. The walls were festooned with tapestries depicting great Klingon heroes and victories, both historical and mythological. The entire Klingon High Council appeared to be present in The Great Hall. Martok stared at Riker with his one, piercing eye, before rising to warmly greet him. "Welcome to Qo'noS, Captain Riker." It was unusual behavior for the gruff Klingons.

"What's the occasion? Surely you didn't all come just to see me?" Riker asked jovially.

"Oh, but we did, Captain Riker," Martok said, a strange gleam in his eye, "There is unfinished business between us, personal business." Riker didn't know how to respond to that, but for a Klingon to speak that way usually meant someone was about to die. "I see you do not understand," Martok continued, "But surely you remember us. . . 2364. Starfleet headquarters." Riker remembered instantly, the conspiracy, Starfleet officers infested by vile parasitic lifeforms that controlled their every action. My Go, he thought, they're here! Riker reached for his phaser, but was swiftly pinned by a pair of Council Guards. "You're. . . You're infected! Those parasites!" "We are NOT parasites!" Martok shouted, "You 'humanoids', to you, everything that is not a biped of your stature is an animal! You cannot accept that other forms of life can be equal, or superior, to your own. We came peacefully to your Starfleet, and you destroyed us!" "You enslaved Starfleet officers, destroyed at least three of our ships, murdering thousands, and devoured a man from the inside out! You call that peace!?" "We must survive. To survive, sacrifices must be made. Had we come openly, you would have dismissed us as animals, had we come openly with hosts, you would have derided us as parasites and destroyed us."

"That's not true, we have several races of symbionts in the Federation. You didn't, you don't want peace, you want to conquer. You're no better than the Borg!" Riker was enraged and defiant. Martok shook his head, "No, we want something else. We want vengeance. First you, then Picard." he laughed, "That old crone Satie is fortunate to be in a mental institution. . . And we have learned from our mistakes, we can now conceal our breathing tubules," He waved his hand toward Worf, "We now research every facet of our host's lives." He snarled, "You cost us dearly in our attempt to join with humanity, but you are too late here. We have joined with the Klingons." He smiled thinly, "But, as penance for your crimes against us, we shall allow you to repair the damage you caused so long ago. . ."

Worf. He was infected too.

The thought sickened Riker. One of these monsters was living inside the body of a man, a friend, with whom he'd served for years. His mind crushed, controlled. The brave, honorable Worf that Riker had known for so long was being destroyed by these things. . .

He deserved so much better. They all did.

The two burly Klingons held Riker fast, he couldn't even turn his head. Martok smiled as Worf walked towards the captive Captain, "You are a dangerous man, Riker." Martok's voice was laced with humor. "For you, Captain," Worf held out a small black box, and Riker struggled harder, "Worf! Listen to me, this isn't you! Fight it!" "Sorry, but Worf isn't home right now." His old friend's tone was one of dark amusement. He held out the box close to the Captain's head, and opened it. A small, purple hexapod with massive mandibles rested comfortably inside. "You find us disgusting? We find you far more so. . . But don't worry, this isn't just any of us you'll be 'hosting' Will," Worf sneered, "You will be our Spawnmother in Starfleet. Just like the late Lieutenant Commander Remmick."

Riker's mind returned to that day, to the smoking, headless corpse of Dexter Remmick, to the horrible thing that shrieked at him from the hollowed corpse until he and Jean-Luc had destroyed it. Remmick had been a good man, an honest man, until that thing had invaded his body. . . Many uneasy nights Riker had wondered if Remmick had even been truly alive when they destroyed him.

He was about to find out.

"Now, now, Captain, open wide." Worf, or, rather, the thing inside Worf, taunted him.

Just don't let them take Diana He prayed silently.

The creature launched itself onto his face, its six clawed limbs scrambling for purchase, its powerful mandibles forcing his mouth open, he felt it scuttle down his throat. Then it all went black.

Several weeks later, at Starfleet Command

"Welcome back, Captain," Admiral Vasquez smiled, taking Riker's hand, shaking it vigorously. An odd custom.

"Glad to be back, Admiral. I have so much work to do. . ."

The End.

I personally think the creatures from 'Conspiracy' were either equal or superior to humans in intellect, they just lacked the physical capabilities, like opposable thumbs, to build themselves a great empire. With enough hosts, they could have taken over the galaxy. As they clearly intend to do here.

"You don't understand. We mean you no harm. We seek peaceful co-existence!" Dexter Remmick's last words. Was the creature telling the truth? Maybe it had a different concept of 'peaceful co-existence'. Humans may not be the only ones who rationalize their actions. They blew up several starships to get at individuals who caught on to the conspiracy, probably killing thousands, and the mother creature apparently ate most of Remmick's internal organs, but survival is a strong instinct. And everything must eat. . .

The Klingon capital is called First City.

Admiral Norah Satie was the unstable woman from the episode 'Drumhead' who thought everyone on the Enterprise, especially Picard, were traitors. While she was still sane, she had helped uncover the aliens.

Lieutenant Commander Dexter Remmick was the unfortunate man who was host to the Spawnmother and had his head blown off by Riker and Picard.

Alexander is, of course, Alexander Rozhenko, Worf's son. He was last mentioned as serving as weapons Officer aboard the IKS Ya'Vang.

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