- 'A little something extra ... '-
"Explain this day to me again," Deanna said softly, but her pose was nothing close to demure. She leaned back against the couch, folded her arms, and by the sound of her voice Will could tell the events of late had finally started to hit her.
A sound, completely wrong for the look in her eyes that told him she wasn't prepared to accept things as they were at all. Though in his mind there was no likely way to escape the changes that were thrust upon them she, obviously, hadn't really given up just yet. "Start with the ... " she asked, but she found it impossible to tell him how to begin.
"The light?" he tried.
She thought about it and agreed. "That would be where things got ... misty for me, yes. I mean, quantum singularities ..."
"Fissures," Will corrected her.
"Whatever," Deanna decided and shrugged the comment off, "I've never been too well versed on mechanics anyway. Temporal, cosmic or otherwise."
"Neither have I. But I've been talking to Data a lot today, about ... well, all of this." Will caught her aiming her dark eyes straight at him. "And at the moment I think I've got a reasonable idea about what it is that got thrown into our lap."
"Nicely put," she told him.
But he ignored her. "When the light ... lit up," he started eloquently, raising his hands to try and visualize the flash the both of them had seen, "we, or the Enterprise was ... or encountered some ... well, the sensorslogs didn't show the ship had ..."
"In short," Deanna interrupted him, "we hit something. Go on."
"In short," Will repeated, mildly annoyed, "yes. We did. Or something hit us. Whichever way you want to put it."
She heard his confirmation and instantly her mind recalled an unannounced collision from years back. A time at which she had suddenly found herself in command of the entire ship. The feelings she had then, the impressions the whole event had left with her, at that moment they had almost overwhelmed her. But now she had all the pips to make a full commander on her collar, had the basic knowledge to handle a situation like the one she dealt with back then with confidence. And once again the vessel had encountered an anomaly. Once again she found herself at a loss to work things out for herself.
"Blasted things," she muttered silently.
"Oh." Riker got up and walked over to her, taking the place next to her and imitated her pose. He crossed his arms, leaned back, and found himself staring straight into the open doorway that led to his bedroom. "An interesting view," he said before he could stop himself. He wished he had. All the comment got him was a nasty frown and a look ... well, a look he could've done without.
"Moving on," she said, not interested in starting an argument, "right after we hit it. Then what happened?"
"Then we moved through the fissure. Or it moved through us. I've gathered from what Data told me that the laws of quantum dynamics are, on the whole, pretty consistent. We didn't move an inch further than we would have normally. And according to the computer, time hasn't done anything funny lately either. We didn't lose or gain a second."
She didn't need to elaborate on the question. "I doubt it," he replied. "He's usually a lot more ... flamboyant. Eager to show his involvement. It's not his style to be this subtle when he needs a target for one of his games. And besides ... " and Will couldn't help but insert a chuckle. "... I haven't heard the captain raise his voice once yet."
Deanna smiled. "Point taken."
"So, assuming what we encountered was a true spatial phenomenon, the ship *did* travel through a localized, low intensity quantum distortion ..."
"Fissure," Deanna threw in expertly.
"Yes, one of those," he said gruffly, "... and all that *we* experienced was a big, bright flash of light."
"And the disappearance of my quarters," she said matter-of-factly.
"Of course, there is *that*." Will agreed.
The corner of his lip curled up a bit. It was enough set her off. "Don't you start acting like it's no big deal, you," she said, firing every word at him like it was a torpedo, "You came into two *extra* rooms without even asking."
"That," he agreed, "*and* your entire wardrobe. Which just happened to find its way to my closets. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?" He wore that grin again. Seeing that smile on his face, especially today, made her want to do either of two things. And seeing him smirk on this particular occasion, odds were smacking him was going to win for once.
"Wonder what?" she asked, imagining which cheek would hurt him the most if she could only make up her mind.
"How the loss of your quarters coincides with this luxurious addition to my living arrangements."
"Joke all you want, commander. But in the meantime, I have no place to stay."
"Data told me," Will said, quickly changing the subject to something safer, "that a quantum fissure would be detected by our sensors only if they were attuned to do so. I checked. The logs didn't show there was anything of the sort at the time the two of us ... 'saw' it."
"And the sensors were ...?"
"Set to scan for the usual. Radiation, particle-levels, foreign objects. They would've missed anything that would have caused this. And of course I asked Geordi to recheck, after tuning the array to detect quantum anomalies. But still the count was much to low to indicate anything along our traveled route."
"The fissure was gone." It wasn't a question.
Deanna was silent for a while. She looked down at the carpet, the table, the walls, anything but his face but in the end it was exactly that which she ended up studying. "Nobody else aboard saw *anything*?" she asked, almost desperately now.
"Just we two. There are no records of anyone else seeing a flash of light. Nothing about anyone believing that things just arbitrarily disappeared. And no odd changes in relationships, other than ... you know. The only ones who are actually aware that something is different between us ... are you and me. "
"This afternoon I talked to Beverly," Deanna said. "Nothing was reported to her apart from a twisted ankle, she told me. And I had her scan me, give me a full medical like Geordi and Data suggested. She found ... well, you wanted to know about my quantum signature? It was identical to hers. She gave me quite a look when I asked her to check it."
Will chuckled. "I doubt very much it is part of her routine check-up procedures."
"And what does it mean? Perhaps we didn't move over to a new, parallel universe like everyone believes. When our signatures match up with the ones in this one ... things should be all right. Shouldn't they?"
"That is what I got from Data, yes. But if what happened is a purely isolated incident, strictly restricted to the two of us, he believed the readings would be very hard to tell apart. The only ones who'd be caught in the changes would be us. According to Data's theories, an alternate universe is created for every choice somebody makes. Obviously, in our past, we made just one choice that differed from the one the first officer and counselor aboard *this* vessel agreed on. Everything else, as far as I can judge, is exactly as it was yesterday."
"But it's not. Somewhere, isn't there another Will and Deanna? Walking around in our universe, wondering what happened to the size of their quarters?"
"If there are, and if they are the Will and Deanna I've gotten to know from walking around this place, talking to the others aboard," he grinned, "I don't think the size of their room will have any impact on their ..." but his voice trailed of there, ending in some indistinguishable murmur. "Their relationship," she finished for him. "You can say it, Will. Their love affair. There have been a few occasions in the past, *our* past, that could have very well led to a present situation much like this one."
Will glanced around, giving the interior the once-over again. "They do have a nice taste in decorating, don't they?" he asked and examined her reactions while she formed her own opinion.
"True. I could easily get used to her choice in clothing, too. In fact, if things weren't this odd I'd say it was my choice. Down to the accessories."
Will grunted, distracted by the realization that his facial hair was rather longer than he had left it after his morning trim. "I will have to do something about this beard in the morning," he complained. "The darned thing is much to long. The alternate Will Riker might be a fine first officer, but the guy's obviously never heard of decent grooming."
"While we're on the subject of tomorrow morning," Deanna asked, "what about me? I suppose I could go and temporarily stay at some vacant guest quarters, or even sleep in my office, but I feel ... with all this going on ... and you being ... well, the only one from my reality ..."
"Why don't you stay here?" he offered, and by asking so voiced both their thoughts. "I'm sure I'll be comfortable on the couch."
She smiled. "Thank you, Will, and I accept. But I'm sure we're both mature enough, I doubt there is a need for that kind of chivalry. With a little planning concerning the bathroom we shouldn't have any trouble ... behaving. Because after all," and Deanna blushed despite herself, "it's a pretty big bed."
His face spoke volumes all by itself. There was no need for words, and for
the first time in the last few hours the need to wipe that smile of his face
wasn't as urgent as before.
Mortally tired after the events of the day, Deanna relented. "I know, I know," she admitted, "it *does* makes me wonder."
Will got up, his thoughts running away with him, and told her he was ready to call it a night. Halfway to the other side of the room, headed for the open door, he turned and watched the dark-haired woman still sitting on the couch, a little slouched. Considering their situation he had expected a lot worse.
"Do you think we can undo this?" she asked him.
It was about time for some positive enthusiasm, he felt. "I don't see why not," he said in his jovial voice, usually exclusively reserved for official Starfleet dinners. "Something might come up at the briefing tomorrow. Some more tuning might yield sensor results that we could use to locate the fissure. A lot might happen."
She didn't buy it. "What odds did Data give you on all those 'mights'?"
Never try to con an empath, he told himself. "He was kind enough to inform me first of the fact that I wouldn't be pleased with them," Will said honestly, "and I didn't bother to ask any further."
"So we're stuck here." Again, it wasn't a question. "For the moment."
Staring at him, Deanna seemed almost to inspect him. "I suppose things could be worse."
"All in all, I think we got away rather lucky, considering what might have happened. " Will concluded. "We came out about even, assuming we can move on with our lives without feeling the pressure to pick up where 'they' left off. Only if ... "
"Let's see what this situation is going to turn into first," Deanna said and smiled up at him, "before we start dealing with the 'what if' questions, shall we?"
"I suppose you're right, Deanna." he admitted. "After all, all
that we need is right here."
Her lips formed the words. "All that we need ... " She got up and watched her new roommate walk into the bedroom. "All that we need ... and perhaps a little something extra," she whispered, gently rubbing her belly.
While Will's back was turned to her, Deanna Troi finally released a feeling she had been hiding for most of the day, sharing it with only one other and then only briefly. Setting it free now, with no one around, allowed her to experience it to the fullest. It set her face aglow. Which was not surprising, since doctor Beverly's medical checkups were hardly ever wrong. But invariably, they were very thorough.
- The end -