The Trouble With Promotion
BY CLARE HOLBOROW
No profit grows where is no pleasure taken... (The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare)
Disclaimer in force
Commander William T Riker stood gazing out of the star filled window of his
spacious quarters. He should have been feeling ecstatically happy, after all
he had just been offered something he had wanted all his life.
Now that it had finally happened, he realised that living his dream would also mean that he had to make a few sacrifices. It was the thought of those sacrifices that were preventing his happiness.
The door chime to his quarters rang, he sighed. Hoping that it would not be the person he least wanted to see.
"Come in." He said, still not facing the door.
"Will? Why didn't you tell me?" Said the voice belonging to the person he least wanted to hear those words from.
"Tell you what?" He said innocently.
He heard the Counsellor's footsteps get closer to him, until she was standing beside him. "That you're leaving, and that maybe you'll miss me."
It was only then that he turned to look at her. She looked sad, yet thoughtful at the same time.
He remembered the last time he had said goodbye to her, but then he hadn't gone through with leaving. The last time I really said goodbye was on Betazed, he realised, remembering how much he had been in love with her then.
I'm leaving, and I'll miss you." He said, certain that if he tried to tell her how he was feeling that he would confess everything - all the uncertainties, regrets and surpressed emotions of the past decade.
Deanna tried to stop herself from shouting at him. She wondered how he could be so calm when he would soon be leaving everything behind. It barely seemed like they had been on the Enterprise-E for very long, and he was leaving already, for his own command, his own ship. And he didn't seem to care that things wouldn't be the same - not just for her, but for the rest of the Enterprise crew. They all felt fortunate to have such a poplar, easygoing man as their first officer.
"Congratulations..." She offered, trying to get him to talk a little more. "I'm sure the U.S.S. Windsor couldn't have hoped for a better Captain."
He didn't offer a reply, which made her increasingly curious. "You are going to accept the promotion aren't you?"
He nodded. "I already have."
She turned to stand in front of him. "Well then, what's wrong?"
He didn't hesitate with a reply. "It's a big change for me, in all these years in Starfleet, I've not had the opportunity of commanding my own ship."
"You doubt your abilities?"
"Not exactly, I mean, I know I can do it, but I just feel a little nervous about the overwhelming responsibility that goes with a Captain's rank." He turned to look at her.
"I don't think I need to tell you about my faith in your abilities, Will." She said. "You're a very experienced officer, and I think it's about time you gave yourself a challenge in the form of a promotion."
He nodded, as she turned to leave. She had an appointment with a troubled ensign within the following few minutes.
"Deanna." He said, before she had time to leave.
"Thanks." He said, wondering what he would do without her being there for him on the Windsor.
She smiled, then left him to his thoughts.
The Ship's Counsellor brushed her dark hair away from her face as she attempted to concentrate on writing her report on the counselling session she had just finished. She had been finding it impossible to think about anything other than Will's promotion. She kept thinking how empty her life would be without him there. It would not be easy to get used to having another first officer on the bridge either, she hadn't heard any rumours about who had been suggested for the position.
The more she thought about him, the more she wondered how much she really did care about Will Riker. She loved him, of that she was sure, but whether only as a friend or more than that she was not certain.
There was a way to find out - to imagine how she would feel if they were back together. Would it be possible for them to be as happy as they were all those years ago back on Betazed? Many things had changed, she knew that, but maybe the changes were for the better and would make their relationship stronger than ever before.
Deanna closed her eyes and used her imagination to it's fullest extent. She opened them a few minutes later, certain about what she wanted to do. Even if Will didn't feel that they should get back together, they certainly got on very well as friends.
She turned the desk communicator towards her, and sent a message to Starfleet Command. Seconds later she received a response from Admiral Hayes, a charming and respected lady who was, Deanna knew, in charge of assigning new crew members to the recently commissioned U.S.S. Windsor.
She returned to Will's quarters, sensing he was there. She pushed his door chime once, then again, impatiently.
Suddenly the doors flew open. Deanna was risking a lot by assuming that he wanted her to go with him, but she knew he would be overjoyed with the news. She flew into his open arms, as he wondered what had caused her happy mood.
"Will, you won't be leaving the ship alone." She said.
"What are you talking about?" He asked.
"I'm coming with you. I'm the new Counsellor for the Windsor!"
Will smiled, swept along by her infectious smile. "Congratulations." He said, wondering why she had done it. He knew really, deep down in his soul, he knew.
"But, that means you accepted, or even asked for a demotion just to be on the same ship as me." He said in surprise, even though her rank would stay the same, she would be the counsellor on a less prestigious ship.
"I know." She admitted cheerfully. "But don't you see, I've stopped it happening again. I've broken the circle. If you left now without me, we probably wouldn't see each other again for years, just like it did the last time you had a promotion. I won't let Starfleet take you away from me again."
He was surprised to feel those old feelings returning to the surface again, feelings that only seemed to haunt him in the loneliest moments. But now it was Deanna herself who had brought those feelings back, and she had been very clear about how she felt.
He wrapped his arms around her tighter, making it more than just another friendly hug. "Deanna." He said, looking down into her familiar dark eyes. "Have I ever told you how much I love you?"
She smiled, thinking how happy she felt from sensing his feelings, but most of all seeing the tenderness and love in his beautiful blue eyes. "Not for a few years." She admitted, drawing his face towards hers eagerly. She had waited far too long to feel the emotions she was now experiencing to waste any time with words at the last moment, especially when she could sense all the feelings so strongly and clearly. He was so pleased that she would be transferring with him, having her support as he prepared to take on the responsibility of having his own command.
In the midst of the kiss, Deanna sent her words to him telepathically. "I love you too, Imzadi."
"And I think I always have." She added after they had broken apart briefly.
He smiled. "I'm beginning to think this is a dream."
Deanna shook her head. "No, you're not dreaming Imzadi, I meant every word I have said. I love you and I think we should be together - no matter what the cost."
They continued to talk way into the night, excitedly and enthusiastically imagining what it would be like on The Windsor, knowing they would be happy and together, whatever situations they found themselves in, and finally they fell asleep, exhausted in each other's arms.