Disclaimer: All belongs to the mighty Paramount. The narrator in the introduction, the Heeby-Jeeby, the Boogy and everything Rediarian belongs to me. That includes the people! Please don't sue.
Authors Note: This is gonna be my first attempt at a Star Trek novel, be gentle. I've rewritten a little bit of Will's past, changing little spurts so that I can fit in a character.
A streak of dark blue zipped though space, heading toward planet Earth. It originated from a fittingly sized ship, with wings about four meters in length and a meter in width. The body of the ship was naturally larger in size, about one and a half to two in width and ten meters in length. The word Twilight shone brightly through the chrome hull as the ship entered the Earth's atmosphere.
The only person who seemed to be on the ship piloting the intense machine was a girl who, in Earth years, looked young enough to still be wearing diapers. She was still chubby with baby fat, but on her home planet, this was as normal as the suns in the sky. Nevertheless, she maneuvered and steered the ship as if it were an extension of her own body.
Soft turbulence cradled the ship as the Twilight prepared to land. The monitor to the front of her displayed snow-blanketed mountains and tall colorless trees. A relatively large cave came into view farther up ahead, and the ship slowly descended, flying into it.
Icicles immediately formed at the entrance, as a result of the heat from the engines and continued as the pilot resumed her search for a good hiding place. The cave itself looked uninhabited and secluded, which presented itself as a plus.
In what seemed like decades, the pilot finally found a suitable hiding place for her ship. She carefully landed, making the necessary computations and button pushes for shut down, and then lowered the thin metallic chair to floor level. Childishly, she put on her knapsack and grabbed the foreign snack she took before leaving.
Pressing the screen near the bay door a few times, it opened and the pilot exited. Her small steps echoed throughout the cave as she peeled away slowly the wrapper of her sweet snack.
Chewing diligently on it, she observed her surroundings. The cave was about a mile in diameter, and she had probably traveled a half-kilometer from the entrance. It would take some time for her to walk back.
It was colder than where she was from, and she had no idea that the floor would be so slippery. Her foot wouldn't balance, and none of her clothes that she brought fit this particular region of this planet, which still remained unnamed to her. But, she had heard that the people were unusually friendly and peace loving. This was important to her, as it would give her a chance to start her life over, no strings attached.
Why did he have to say that?
It was so mean.
Mom would have put him in his place.
Alone and unaccompanied, the little boy walked silently with his schoolbag over his shoulder, brooding. He had over-slept, which was something he did occasionally, and was late for school. His father, unfortunately, was home, and screamed at his only son, making it seem like he had broken some sort of sacred code.
Quickening his pace, the brown-haired blue-eyed boy arrived at his destination and turned the corner into his classroom.
I hate him.
Some day I'll run away.
I'll be the best, most extraordinary Starfleet officer out there.
And then he'll get it.
Right in the butt!!
Laughing, he blocked the sound of the old foul-smelling woman in the front of the classroom and continued his piece of art on the computer console. Focusing all of his energies and attention on his drawing, he hadn't noticed that the new girl had taken the empty seat to the right of him.
"Hi! I'm Cadillac!" She whispered. "What's your name?"
Startled, the boy tipped back in his chair, creating a disturbance in the classroom.
"William T. Riker! If I see you drawing one-more-time "
"I know, I know."
Picking up the chair, he whispered, "William."
"Oh, well you can call me Caddy."
"Yeah most people call me Will."
"Hey, watch out for our teacher. She may look nice, but she's actually really mean."
She stared at the stars as she savored the taste of the cranberry grape juice she ordered from the bartender. In her mind, she reminisced of many things. Her life at the present was full of adventure, mystery and above all else, there was love. She had come to the USS Enterprise out of love, love for her best friend. She had much to muse over with him, as he was about to get married and had asked her to come early so the two could - as he put it - "remember the good old days".
They had met when the two of them were growing up- his dad was never around, so she was always there for him. And then he ran away and had gone to the Academy and she never saw him again until her first year - and his second - there. She had also met his roommate, and when he found out that he had passed away, Cadillac was the first one he told.
Turning, she sat back down on the seat next to the table behind her. She wondered if he had grown that beard he always wanted, if he was still as tall as she thought he'd always be and most of all, what his fiancée looked like.
The famous William T. Riker was only that for two reasons. One, his rebellious attitude toward authority, and two, his magnetism toward the opposite sex. That was how the two of them had met in the first place! They were only 11 at the time. She had heard about him from a mutual friend and decided to meet the "cutest guy in the world". Indeed, he was good looking. When the two of them met, both were as equally as interested as the other, but, as always, there was a catch.
They never seemed to get along. In between kissing and school, they were always quarrelling and arguing as if they had known each other since the beginning of time. No doubt they were perfect for one another, but it was found out that it wasn't for that kind of love. Instead, they became the best of friends, and instead of at each other's necks, they were laughing and helping one another. He had always watched out for her, and her, him. Like brother and sister.
Tracing the rim of the cup, Cadillac Whitney smiled in fond memories of the past. The two of them had grown much; no doubt there was a lot of catching up to do.
On the other side of the room, with Cadillac's back facing the door, William T. Riker and Deanna Troi entered.
Will and Deanna entered Ten-Forward hand-in-hand smiling at the gentle Guinan. She knew who the two were looking for of course, and pointed in her direction. Will thanked her and walked toward his target.
Stealthily, Will snuck on the tips of his toes and motioned for Guinan and Deanna to remain silent. But before he could put his hands over his prey's eyes, she said suddenly, "I can see you in the window you know." An enormous smile fell over Will's face and joy filled his eyes as Cadillac stood up with the same facial expression. The two gave each other a hug much longed for as Deanna and Guinan smiled in shared feeling.
Laughing, Will joyfully asked, "Caddy!!! You've changed so much since last time! What did you do with your hair?" In order prove his point, Will took a strand of hair in inspection. "I remember it being blonde the last time I saw it."
Before Cadillac could say something, Will introduced Deanna. "Cadillac Whitney, this is my fiancée. Deanna, this is Cadillac. Cadillac, this is Deanna."
Politely smiling, the two shook hands. Deanna could only perceive joy and happiness from the woman whose hand she took in. Yes, she was attractive, of course she was. She was Will's best friend after all. Will had informed Deanna of his and Cadillac's past, and to tell the truth, it hadn't bothered Deanna. She and Will were getting married after seven long but pleasurable years on the Enterprise. Nothing could come between them.
"So you didn't grow the excess pubic hair you always wanted?"
Laughing, Cadillac and Will felt like they were at home on Earth once again.
After dinner, Will and Deanna walked with their arms around each other while talking to Cadillac. Deanna was ready to double over laughing with the sidesplitting stories Will and Cadillac were trying to tell, and deny.
"What?! Oh my god! That never happened!"
"It so did Will. There's no denying it! Deanna, come on, side with me here. You know him as well as I do and he would so milk a cow just to impress a girl."
Deanna was so busy laughing that she couldn't get a word out! The playful argument continued, attracting some attention from the nearby table, with Worf (yes Worf) and Beverly smiling their way.
"No, I milked it to demonstrate that I wasn't afraid to do anything! The girl just happened to be there!"
"Right Will. Right."
It's The Whole Soulmate Thing
It was after hours and Cadillac was in her assigned guest quarters. A single light lit the glass table she was sitting at, where she was stroking a tiny metal box. It was the only thing she had took from her home, the one she left so many years ago. Caddy pictured lush green lands with millions of small Heeby-Jeeby plants fencing off her house from others nearby. The Boogy she bought from the winning a bet at the local nightclub were eating the grass, saving Caddy the need to trim it. The sun(s) were shining brightly and the sky was a clear shade of purple, signaling dusk approaching.
But why oh why was there that gut feeling in the pit of her stomach? Why wasn't she following it like she always did? She knew what she had to do, and yet, she was unwilling to give up her newfound life she so lovingly enjoyed.
Crumpling, she rested her head onto her bony arms and thought of her home. "Computer, turn on music "
The computer obeyed Caddy's plead and played the song she loved.
When I think back on these times
And the dreams we left behind
I'll be glad cause I was blessed to get
To have you in my life
When I look back on these days
I'll look and see your face
You were right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be
Everywhere I am there you'll be
Well you showed me how it feels
To feel the sky within my reach
And I always will remember all
The strength you gave to me
Your love made me make it through
Oh I owe so much to you
You were right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be
Everywhere I am there you'll be
Cause I always saw in you my light, my strength
And I want to thank you now for all the ways
You were right there for me, you were right there for me
In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky
In my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life
I'll keep a part of you with me
And everywhere I am there you'll be
And everywhere I am there you'll be
There you'll be
By the end of the song, tear-stained Cadillac was asleep on the icy glass table.
The next morning, Will arrived on the bridge earlier than usual with a shy Cadillac trailing close behind him. Naturally introverted, she tried to put on what Worf would have called "a warriors face". Will had cleared it with the captain, and since she was already first officer of her own ship, the captain let her stay as an experienced guest, seated next to Will.
As the senior officers began to arrive one by one, Will could see that his friend was uncomfortable. Turning his head, he asked, "What's wrong?"
Cadillac looked at him and answered him quietly. "I don't belong with you guys. You're a tightly knit group and I feel uncomfortable interfering with that."
Creasing his eyebrows, Will replied immediately, "Don't be silly. Wait till the captain arrives. Then he'll warm you with you and you'll feel right at home. Maybe we'll even discover something today. You never know."
"Will's right," Deanna chimed in. "Be patient." And offered a smile.
Cadillac returned the smile as the captain himself walked into the bridge, on time as usual. He smiled as he observed a new attendance seated next to his first officer. "Anything happen while I was gone?"
Data looked up at the screen with a twitch and a nod, "No sir."
With a frustrated sigh, Picard turned to Cadillac. "Miss Whitney, why hello. I hear you're first officer onboard the Homestead. Outstanding job you did with the asteroid field. My compliments."
Smiling politely, she answered, "Thank you sir. You didn't do so bad during the Borg attacks!"
"I can't take the credit, its Will who was in command and Data who established contact!"
From his position in the front of the bridge, Data turned and corrected his commanding officers. "Sir, I believe Counselor Troi did participate in helping to revive you. She tried to sense "
"Yes Data. We know. Thanks."
Surprised glances from Deanna, Will and Jean-Luc were exchanged as they realize it wasn't one of them who stopped Data, but it was Cadillac. Deanna thoughtfully observed. [She's becoming one of us.]
Smiling, Will looked toward his Imzadi and nodded. [I told you so.]
[What?? I think I was the one who told you.]
[No, no I think it was me.]
On the other side of Will, Caddy looked at him as he made what seemed like a random facial expression at the viewscreen. Captain Picard, being the perceptive leader that he is, noticed Caddy as she looked at Will like she was about to tell him off.
"He does this all the time. It's not abnormal. It has to do with the whole soul mate thing. You'll get used to it."
Laughing, Cadillac replied, "Okay."
I Want My Food
"I'll tell you a joke."
"If you're going for a fly without wings, wouldn't that be a walk?"
"That's really funny Will. Ha. Ha. My gut. Is busted."
He eyed her questioningly.
Cadillac was being distant and both he and Deanna knew it. Deanna, being the empath that she is, sensed it from the beginning of lunch. They were at dessert, and Cadillac wasn't touching her chocolate mouse. Instead, she was playing with it with her spoon, turning it into mush. Deanna was in absolute agony! Cadillac was ruining a perfectly good dessert, and now Deanna was now too disgusted to eat it for her.
Will was not so much disgusted, but perturbed. His wedding was put on hold for a few more days, as Lwaxana had "urgent Betazoid business to attend to" and "did not want to miss her only daughter's long overdue wedding". She was some person, she was. But it was okay. It gave Will and Deanna more time with Picard and the rest of the Enterprises' senior crew, and more time with Caddy as well. But, it didn't seem worth it now, since Caddy was giving them the silent treatment.
Deanna spoke first. "Cadillac "
"Call me Caddy."
"Okay Caddy. What's wrong?" Deanna saw her new friend give her a menacing glare. "I'm only asking because it would probably make you feel a little better if you let your feelings known."
Looking straight into her eyes, Caddy exclaimed, "Thanks but no thanks. I can deal with my problems on my own." Will's head shot up from polishing his dish and jumped from his chair. "Caddy, that was kind of rude don't you think? Would you mind apologizing?"
With a mysterious look in her eyes that Will had come so strangely familiar with, Caddy left Ten - Forward. Will looked to his other half for answers.
"She's hiding something Will. Something immense."
Caddy sped past the shouting crowds, running full speed into her own little world of the average orange ball she so diligently dribbled into the other half of the court. The other players trailed far behind her on the alien team and she only had one thing on her to-do list for the moment. To get the ball in the hoop and hear that crisp 'swish' that was so addicting to her. The sound of the crowd came back to her as the ball bounced off the rim and out of the hoop.
This age-old game of basketball was one of her favorite programs. It pumped up her adrenalin, gave her that peaceful silence after the game, and once in a while, there was the clarifying epiphany.
Fouling for what seemed like the millionth time in the row, Cadillac stayed in the game despite the real rules she was aware of. It was the only way to keep her in the game. To change the rules. She was too bothered not to foul which made the challenger's warm the bench. They were all holographic; nobody was really hurt, thankfully.
Waterfalls of sweat poured down Caddy's face as she fastened the sea green bandanna around her cranium. She decided she had had enough. "Computer, end program." To her surprise, she had an audience.
"That was extremely impressive."
Grown-up Wesley Crusher stood near the exit, which he was comfortably leaning on. Smiling, he took out his hand from his pocket and offered it to Cadillac. "I'm Wesley Crusher. I was curious to meet you. The commander talks about you a lot. I'm here for the wedding as well."
Returning the handshake and a bit apprehensive, Cadillac asked, "Talks about me?"
Correcting, Wesley replied, "In a good way! Of course." Still smiling, he asked her, "I'm curious, what was that game you were playing?"
Letting down her natural guard, Cadillac offered, "Would you like me to show you sometime?"
"Please!" Wesley exclaimed, he was happy to be making a new friend, especially since he was also Commander Riker's friend. She was pretty too, which also helped
"Tomorrow? How about 1600 hours?"
"Okay! I'm looking forward to it already."
"Dress comfortably. You'll be running around a lot." Grabbing her
towel and a bottle of replicated water, Cadillac and Wesley parted ways as they
walked out of Holodeck 3.
"Computer, locate Wesley Crusher."
:|: Wesley Crusher is in Holodeck 3. :|:
In her standard turquoise green medical uniform, red head Beverly Crusher gracefully sauntered to her son's location. It was surprising. She couldn't find any of her friends! Deanna, Will, even the reliable Jean-Luc Picard was nowhere to be found. Beverly had shrugged it off at first, deciding that they were probably all in their quarters, doing their own thing. But when her son had failed to turn up to dinner at 1800, she started to worry. It was now 1927. Where was her son and what was so important that he had to miss dinner with his own mother?
Arriving at her son's chosen destination, Bev requested from the computer, "Who is in this holodeck right now?"
:|: Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander William T. Riker, Counselor Deanna Troi :|:
"Alright. Alright. I get it." Bev's patience was growing thin fast. Why wasn't she included in all the fun? Entering, the black and yellow gridlines were now replaced with a soft blue sky with a few clouds sputtered randomly here and there. The ground was covered with fresh clean green grass but instead of grass, the center had a blackish grayish sort of cement that had an odd combination of lines and curves painted onto it. Both ends of this lot had tall, dark gray poles which housed hoops of net connected to a board with a square positioned over the hoop in orange.
At the right, situated on a bench, there was Worf, Will, Geordi, and Wesley. To the left were Data, Jean-Luc and Deanna. In the center of the lot was a friend of Wills' that Bev recognized as a Miss Cadillac Whitney. She was holding an orange ball, tossing it from hand to hand. She was saying something inaudible. Birds chirped peacefully overhead and slowly gave Beverly a calm sort of mood, despite her head of inquiries.
Deanna turned her head to see her best friend and motioned for her to come. Cadillac had seen Beverly as well, and shot her a friendly smile.
"Okay. Does everyone understand?"
Jean-Luc was confused. This was a primitive game he read of in history class when he was little. He had never actually played it, but the thought of it reminded him of Q. He would surely disapprove. Smiling at the thought of letting down Q, Jean-Luc asked, "So we try to take the ball from the other team, and in no means of violence are we to 'shoot' it through a hoop designated to our team?"
"Basically," Caddy's stomach gave her a symptom of hunger as she continued. "We can try to play again so I can explain it a little better."
Off to the side, Beverly was asking Deanna, "I thought we were supposed to get together awhile ago."
Smacking his head, Will (on the other side) had heard Beverly's query and replied for his other half, "Oh my God!! I'm so sorry Bev, Wes told us that Caddy was teaching this game to him and decided to join. We had no idea it was going to take this long for us to learn how to play. Do you want to join us?"
"Will. Look at me. I'm hungry!"
Blocking his face in sarcastic fear, Will calmly replied, "Whoa there," Seeing that his friend was left stranded in the middle of the lot, he asked, "Can Caddy come too?"
"William T. Riker, I don't care if the Klingon High Council joined us for dinner. I want my food."
"We will be passing through a region of uncharted space before we get to Starbase 878, so there will be an opportunity for us to explore the area."
"On a more lighter note," Picard turned to his first officer and continued, "I heard we will be playing basketball with Cadillac tomorrow and then you will be performing a duet with her at night. That should be interesting."
Will couldn't agree more. "She's been practicing sir, and practicing, and practicing "
Deanna joined in, "She's driving us nuts!! She won't even go out!"
"She's a perfectionist, if you guys can't tell."
"Oh we can tell Number One. We can tell."
Nervously clutching her spoon, Caddy slurped her soup with Will laughing at her from across the room. He sat at the bar with a PADD of work (waiting for Deanna to show up) with a glass of synthehol. Guinan floated into his view and asked, "She nervous or something?"
Still chuckling, Will replied, "Oh yeah. She looks funny doesn't she? It will take her 20 minutes to drink the rest of that soup. And then she'll move onto her entrée, which will take an hour - if she continues to read the PADD - and then she might have dessert, if she's feeling good. She usually gets sick a little easier with the more she eats."
"It sounds like you know her well."
His facial expression changed from hysterical to solemn in an instant as he replied, "We've known each other since we were kids. There was this one hot month together, and then we started arguing a lot. We argued at home, in class, in front of Starfleet and even my dad! She was fearless."
"And we broke up. But after that, we got along so much better. It was almost unbelievable. I love her now, but it's a different kind of love. We're family."
"And you know everything about her and vice-versa?"
"You got it."
Will creased his eyebrows together and took another sip of his drink. When he turned around, he had found that Cadillac was now gone. Her soup was polished clean and her seat was neatly pushed in.
Guinan asked, "Aren't you supposed to be onstage in a few minutes?"
"You have to put both your lips into the mouthpiece! Blow hard Caddy!!!"
BUUUURRRPP. The remaining audience chuckled at Caddy's poor attempt in playing Will's immense trombone. Her arms were too short, her mouth was too small, and it was now beginning to get a little swollen it wasn't exactly a match made in heaven, but Caddy laughed like it was all the same.
"Give it up Caddy! You've never gotten it. Stick with the flute."
"Oh shut up! You just concentrate on getting married!"
The remaining senior crew exploded into laughter and the night was over.
Will, Deanna and Cadillac were in Ten-Forward. Both Cadillac and Will had their feet on the table, as they three of them worked diligently on their respective PADD's.
Deanna looked over to Will, who flashed her a great big smile and then looked back down at his work. She looked over to Cadillac who was busy pressing buttons on the PADD she was working on. Deanna wanted a break. A break, with a nice, light, cup of chocolate ice cream. 'Mmmmm ' But the downer was that none of her friends wanted to join her.
Maybe if she softened the mood a bit.
Joining the crowd, she tried to put her feet on the table. Will, distracted from his wife's sudden decision to take after him, decided to watch this attempt. He lightly tapped Cadillac on the shoulder and signaled her not to say anything.
Deanna scooted her chair back a bit, and then put her feet up. Unaware of the steps behind her, she scooted a bit too far and fell backwards right on her butt.
"Are you okay??"
Laughing, Will picked up his silly Imzadi and added, "Deanna, what are you thinking? I mean, I knew what you were thinking, but I didn't think you would actually try it "
Deanna, now joining in the laughter, said, "I thought I'd lighten the
Cadillac was still laughing.
:|: So how does it feel? To be a married man, I mean. :|:
"It feels good, Dad. Deanna is great," Will paused to put his communicator on, and continued. " The Titan is on its way to pick me up tomorrow, and Cadillac is leaving tomorrow too. Life is good. Today is our last day all together."
:|: Well, I can see that you're adjusting well son. I'll talk to you later. :|:
"Talk to you later Dad."
"So, Cadillac, I hear you are quite the ceramist." Captain Picard was bored, as usual. It was as if the universe was teasing him with the same old taunt, 'Come and get me!'
But Cadillac wasn't listening. She was off in La-La Land, thinking of other, more important things to her. There was a song, a certain song that was stuck in her head and she couldn't get it out. She even hummed it softly in the depths of her brain. Jean-Luc gave up trying to call her as she remembered the words.
Do you know where you're going to
do you like the things that life's been showing you
where are you going to
do you know
Do you get what you're hoping for
when you look behind you there's no open door
what are you hoping for
do you know
Waking from her state of unawareness, Cadillac replied before her best friend became suspicious. "Sorry I was daydreaming. You were saying?"
Doubtfully, Will told her what the captain had said, but it was a lost cause. Turning to one of many superior officers she had met along the years, she told him, "I really enjoyed being on the Enterprise sir. Thank you for everything. Especially letting me sit on the bridge. That was unexpected!"
"You're quite welcome, the fact that "
Worf abruptly interrupted from the console above them. "Sir, there is an unidentified vessel moving toward us."
Instantaneously, the captain turned his head to the viewscreen. "Onscreen."
It showed a small, maybe two-person pod. It was semi circular, sky blue with a small window at the top.
"Mr. Worf open hailing frequencies."
Caddy wouldn't have it. "No! Sir! Maybe we should proceed with caution, I mean, we don't know who this- or what- this ship is doing here," And then she started to babble in what seemed like another language that Picard couldn't even decipher.
Deanna was just about to ask her about her sudden change of mood, but with it, Cadillac Whitney was transported off of the USS Enterprise-E.
Jean-Luc sprang to action. "Mr. Worf! Get a lock on that ship!"
Will chimed in, "Chief!"
Chief 'O Brien's voice came over from the COMM signal. =/\= I'm trying to get a hold of her sir. There seems to be some sort of shield =/\=
Data spoke. "Sir, they are engaging their warp engines. Should I attempt to follow?"
Jean-Luc looked over at Will. He had that puppy-dog look that told Jean-Luc the obvious. He gave the order to follow and said, "Number One, I would like to see you in my ready room."
Following his commanding officer, Will looked over to his Imzadi and hoped for the best. But she had other things on her mind. "Permission to join you sir."
"Counselor, yes. Come."
Deanna tried not to lose her temper, especially in front of her captain, but Will was making this difficult. "Will, I'm telling you, she's not what she seems to be. You don't know her as well as you think you do." Deanna carefully chose her words as not to upset her other half.
"Deanna, I've known her since I was eleven, there's nothing to her that I don't know. She has a scar on her shoulder from falling out a tree, she likes hot sauce, but not too much she likes to be alone from time to time "
"Will, maybe you should let the Counselor talk."
"But why? Caddy is Caddy, I know her the best. There's no sense for her to be some sort of strange unheard of being."
With pleading eyes, Deanna looked Will in the eyes. "Will, come on. Please believe me. There's more to Cadillac Whitney than meets the eye."
When Will saw the begging please in Deanna, he stopped and took a few thoughts to himself. If Cadillac were indeed someone he knew, but didn't really know at all, than that would mean
He looked up to his captain. "We have to find her."
Standing to meet the height of his first officer, Picard acknowledged. "Agreed. We'll commence a search party and see what we can do."
A loud unwelcoming knock came from the door, which contained the sleepy but powerful woman.
"Ugh go away "
The knock persisted and the woman - Caddy - decided she had had enough. She slipped out of her large bed and into her robe. Walking groggily to the door, she opened it and sure enough, there was the master (man servant, according to Caddy) assigned to her.
His name was Edi Rip, tall, dark but he wasn't her type. The two knew each other well; as they had been good friends in the brief year and a half Caddy had known him. When she was taken off the Enterprise and back to Redair, their home planet, he fought against his superiors - and hers - to be the one to watch over her, claiming that he was the one who knew her best. He was the one who would be able to contain her if she were to "avoid her duties". The people of Redair were extremely different from all the other species the Federation had ever encountered, as they matured and were known to their public as "adult" by the age of two. They were small and easy to step on at that age, thus the isolation from the rest of the universe.
Other reasons also kept them from exploring the universe, size being one of them.
Cadillac was the only one who broke that sacred code, and that was why she was taken so abruptly from the freedom she had worked so hard for. She had asked Edi if he wanted to go with her, in fact, she had pleaded and begged and asked over and over again. But he had other things on his mind, and their friendship was never the same after that.
The tall unshaven man awoke with a start with sweat pouring down his face and his loyal wife by his side, who was awake as well. Will wanted so much to find his friend, his faithful, and trustworthy - and absent - friend. It bad been almost three years since the search party began, and now Deanna and Will were onboard the USS Titan, with its brother ship the Enterprise resting silently but actively next to them in hushed space.
"Shh another nightmare I presume. " She tried to calm his unsettled soul as he stood to pour chilled water over his already moisturized face.
"It was about her again Deanna. I know she's still alive!" His wife sat at the edge of the bed and stood. "Jean-Luc says that Starfleet won't let us parade around the galaxy like this for long. They want the flagship of the Federation and its brother to rejoin their so-called comrades in exploring the universe. "
Deanna stated the obvious. "Like we used to."
Will felt the anger rise inside his stomach. "Yes. Like we used to."
His wife didn't want to let the issue fall; she wanted to let her dearly beloved husband face the truth, even if it was harsh. It was something she was particularly good at, being Betazoid and everything, even if it was only half. "Will, the captain is right. We can't go marching around space like some arrogant rich couple. It's taken too long. People have postponed their lives for us. For you. The least you can do is owe them the truth."
Will exploded. "But what if I don't want to face the truth?! What if I want to keep 'parading' around space like some imbecile?! She was my best friend Deanna!! You can't expect me to forget that!!!"
The words stung Deanna like a bee. She was fed up with making excuses to her superiors, and even more fed up with not being able to do what she signed up for at the academy. The words 'to boldly go' rang loudly in her ears.
"Well when you decide to come back to the reality, give us a page!!" Softer, and calmer, she looked into her husband's ice blue eyes and said, "I'll be waiting."
The stern emotionless face made a small almost insignificant impression on Caddy. He was her judge, her critic and her umpire. He was the one who would tell her if she could return to a normal Rediarian life, and right now, she was struggling to stay awake. Edi poked her in the ribs for the innumerable time, and she straightened her declining posture.
His grace, the honorable Evaluator Lagoran was still going on and on about Caddy's duty and honor she owed to her people and all the crap that she was fed and rebelled against the moment she was born. " if you so much as think to escape, Master Rip will take you down to your own personal cell in a matter of minutes. Have you understood the terms I have previously explained and if not, please state the crisis so I can be on my way." Lagoran was being sarcastic and Caddy knew it.
But despite his attempts to offend her, Caddy replied politely. "Yes sir. I understand."
Impatient, the powerful man quickly voiced what he was paid to do. "Alright. Stand forward and answer when I question you."
Caddy shifted her weight to her left and gave Edi a look. It was a look that he knew all too well. It led to her 30-year disappearance and he was not about to let that happen again. He motioned for her to pay attention to what Lagoran was saying and whispered; "You'll be a free woman after this. Be a little more patient."
Caddy obeyed and answered her first question.
"Requested legal name? Note, previous Illiac Lily."
Cringing, Caddy told him, "Cadillac Whitney."
"Acknowledged. Parent's names?"
"Former Chancellor's Riccy and Binb Lily. Deceased. "
"Acknowledged. Earth parents?"
"Acknowledged and completed. The rest of the forms will be delivered to you. Fill them out and have Edi bring them back here. A word of warning Ms. Whitney. The Rediarian Council will not be taking your request for reentry lightly. Please be on your toes for the unexpected. Beware of temptation and follow the advice of Edi."
Sarcastically and unneeded, Cadillac verbalized her thoughts. "What if I know better than him?"
The unwanted presence of his honor exclaimed, "Excuse me?"
But Edi saved his friend with a clever substitution. "Nothing sir."
"It better be nothing."
And with that, he left with a hot-blooded Cadillac shooting daggers in his direction.
Will paced in his well-deserved ready room with the words of last night reverberating in his head. He knew he shouldn't have let his mouth shoot off like that, he knew better when he was talking to his Imzadi. Maybe she was right. Maybe he should give up. It was, after all, the right thing to do. He had no right to drag the USS Titan and her officers and crewmembers into the middle of nowhere. With his decision circling his brain, he pressed his COMM badge and called a meeting with his senior crew.
=/\= All senior crew please report to the observation lounge. =/\=
Once inside, the senior crew of the USS Titan expected another 'we're rerouting to search the alpha quadrant again' or 'we need to keep searching'. But what they did not expect was their captain resigning his search for his lost friendship.
Will began. "I've decided to quit searching. After almost three years, I think I owe it to the crew and the officers. I'd like to know what some of your opinions are."
Will's first officer - and his lovely wife - flashed him a smile.
His second officer Lieutenant Commander Forrest Fisher gave him a sarcastic teary smile.
And Will's CMO thanked him.
But what if this wasn't the right thing to do? There was always that possibility, like the risks he took on when he became captain. He could be wrong in his choices, although he was usually right. But this decision wasn't based solely on what Will wanted, majority had ruled. And he had to give in.
Charge Another Tax
"You must understand. We are only letting you back into the Council because you know what the people want. All of these crooked politicians are so wrapped up with money and their reputations that they have forgotten what they were chosen for in the first place."
"I understand Jo. Thank you."
"Don't call me Jo."
Walking through one of the many inner halls of the Rediarian Sanctuary, teacher Jorter and student Cadillac wore their robes in full Council uniform. The dark robes covered their civilian clothing, blending them into their surroundings. They were on their way to an important Council meeting, one in which Caddy had to participate in, and thankfully, she wasn't the object of their discussion. For once.
Arriving, heads turned and fingers pointing, Cadillac took her seat and waited for the meeting to start.
"NO! We cannot afford to build another temple in the middle of Lake Carlotta! It is unheard of! Where are we going to get the money?"
"We could charge another tax!"
Cadillac stood to object. "Another tax? Don't you think that's a bit heavy now that we already have more than twelve? People are suffering senators, and all you people can think about is the building of another temple. Senator Majorian, you are mistaken. What we really need is someone to rightfully rule Redair, unlike the besmirched queen we have now!"
The senators around the round table turned to each other in controversy as Cadillac dared to speak evil of their 'lovely' queen.
So what if she was a little over-weight?
Senator Gerdury brought up another interesting subject that had been on the tip of his tongue at the start of the meeting. "And who, do you have in mind to rule after Queen Goinga? You?"
Cadillac shot him a dirty look as her teacher and loyal friend, Senator Jorter lashed out at Gerdury. "And who else would we choose?? You?" He laughed at the thought of it. He looked straight into the eyes of the congregation in front of him. "Listen to me. All of you. This woman right here, no matter what is on her criminal records, no matter how long it is or what she was charged with, has seen what our people have been suffering through. Most of us can't even stand to step foot into the hidden alleyways of Redair, much less help them. But she, she can. She knows what its like, to run from authority, to have the want to help people. Which is what we used to do! I still remember when the people's choice still mattered! Now we're debating on whether or not we need another temple on Lake Carlotta, as opposed to the thirty something we already have out there!!"
Cadillac sat in her seat as Jorter continued to lecture the many mature yet sadly corrupted Redairian Senators. She still remembered when corruption was only a rumor, not a known fact. When she left thirty years ago, she still looked up to those people. Those wonderful, innocent, pure men and women she thought of as her own parents, were now degraded to insignificant and desperate embarrassments. She hated to admit to herself, but she knew them once.
A long, long time ago.
Wasn't In the Nightclub
Will sat with Deanna at their quarters, talking. Deanna laughed out loud and Will chuckled softly at the sound of laughter coming from his wife. It was important to him that he made her laugh; he owed it to her after her two and a half year search. He told another, funnier one as she clapped in hilarity. He was more than happy being with her, she was the only person that kept him from going insane with the paperwork, clumsy junior officers and the inevitable.
Deanna stood and told him, "I have to go. I have an appointment, but I'll
see you later Captain
Will," Giggling, Deanna apologized.
Playfully, Will went along. "Well, Commander, I expect you to report back to your quarters at 1700 sharp. Is that understood?"
Pulling him close, Deanna whispered, "Yes sir." She kissed him with all the love she had for him and parted when she realized she was going to be late.
"I'll see you later."
The miniature double doors closed behind her and Deanna started power walking to her office. She stopped dead in her tracks when she realized what Will was feeling. She felt his pain and it was even more intense and shared because of the bond they shared. He still wanted to search for Caddy and Deanna knew it more than anybody else did. But it would be unethical and immoral for him to keep searching. That fact was established a long time ago. Deanna kept walking and drew a blank face to keep her real feelings unknown. Her concerns for her husband would have to wait for now.
Inside their quarters, Will paced back and forth while doing some work on a PADD in his hand. He looked up as if someone were talking to him, but despite his hopes, nobody was there. Sighing, Will threw the PADD onto the couch near the window. He saw the stars and stared out in empty space.
She loved to look at the stars.
Will, being the man he is, blinked back his tears and swallowed the lump in his throat as he pushed back the memories. He had so much to ask her, and now he would never get the chance to.
He walked to the replicator and asked for a glass of synthehol as he picked up the PADD.
"Caddy? Where are you?"
Panic swept over Edi. He had come home from the local market and found the book Cadillac was reading on the table, on its pages. The chair was knocked over, and a nearby vase was broken. He sensed something wrong from the beginning. Running to her room, he searched high and low for her, but she was nowhere to be found. It made no sense for her to be gone; she was just there an hour ago, telling him that he should trust her, she couldn't have broken that trust, especially not Edi's.
Not caring if the door was locked behind him, Magik leapt out of the house he shared with Cadillac and turned left. Maybe she was at the local nightclub again, heck, it was two 'o clock in the afternoon, but this was Cadillac he was talking about.
But she wasn't in the nightclub.
"Will? Imzadi, what are you doing?"
Will was sitting at the couch, clutching a PADD, staring at the screen. Deanna gently took it from him, and read its contents.
I'm alive. I'm okay. This is the only chance I had to get word out.
It was short and informal, and it didn't have a signature to it. But Deanna knew who had sent it, and it gave more unneeded hope to her husband. She sat and started to console him.
But before she could say anything, Will spoke.
Calmly, he opened his eyes and looked into hers, "I know where she is."
"I traced the signature. It comes from a planet in an unknown, uncharted system. Its passed Romulan territory, which is probably one of the reasons why we didn't find her in the first place," Will paused to give his wife some time to absorb all the information. It wasn't going to be easy to convince Starfleet to start searching again. "Deanna, please. We know where she is now. We have to find her!"
Deanna reread the words in the PADD. "Will, she said not to look for her. Maybe we should take her advice. She said it for a reason you know."
Fire rose in Will's stomach. "Don't you think I know that," It was more like a statement. "Don't you think I know that if I take the crew of the Titan out there again, and pass Romulan space, that Starfleet will probably take away my captainship? I know of the risks Deanna, its part of how I earned these pips."
Deanna gave up. He was partially right, and the crew had started to grow weary. Nothing was happening, the Romulans didn't seem to want war anymore, the Klingon's were too busy with their own matters to even think about the Federation, and Starfleet wanted to take the opportunity to savor the unexpected moment of peace in the universe.
In The Mood To Annoy
The soft sounds Caddy's sandals made reverberated through the narrow halls that led her to the door of her home. Edi was probably back by now, from 'the local market'. She had already known from the beginning that it wasn't the market he went to, but the weekly meeting with the Rediarian Council. She had followed him once, the locks on the door were easily picked and the force field was weak enough for Cadillac to pass through. She hated being talked about like some sort of object or subject of disapproval. They didn't care about what she wanted to do for her people; they were too busy with their own denial and suspicion of the outside world to do that. Caddy hated being part of the council, but she had to be patient. Change never came overnight.
As she entered her habitat, a pissed-off Edi came face-to-face with the innocent looking Caddy. "What do you think you're doing?"
Answering his question with a question, she said, "I think I'm taking off my jacket, what does it look like I'm doing?"
"You know what I'm talking about."
In the mood to annoy, Cadillac persisted. "No, I don't."
Edi looked like he was about to blow up. "You sent that message directly from the Redair Sanctuary. Do you know how easily someone could've seen it in the records? Why are you always thinking about yourself? You're so selfish that you can't see past your own self-proclaimed righteousness!" Taking a moment to calm down, he continued in a softer tone. "You better be glad I'm your friend, or else I would've reported you immediately."
Completely taken aback, Cadillac exclaimed, "Go ahead! Report me! See if I care! Because if you were actually my friend, then you sure aren't acting like it!!" She turned and stomped her way into her bedroom.
Slamming the door behind her, she made sure the door was locked, crawled out of the diminutive window above her bed, and disappeared into the night.
He would never be able to understand.
"Sir, Captain Riker does seem to be correct. There is a planet from where the message originated."
Data stood at the front of the Enterprises' observation lounge facing the crew of the Titan and the Enterprise. New faces and crisp uniforms encircled the table, as he supported his former first officer's sudden burst of effort.
The captain turned in his chair as Data took his seat. He took a moment to think. Will had a point. And there were 'boldly going where no one had ever gone before'.
But still, Starfleet Command would not be too happy about this.
Hood down and eyes to the ground, Caddy traced the edge of her COMM badge. It was the only thing she had left after the Rediarian Council took her uniform. They let her keep it and said it would remind her of the consequences if she were ever to run again.
It was as if they had told her to give up her dreams of exploring the stars and be with the people she admired. The thought of the people she met during her 30-year pleasure trip struck a chord as she though of Will. She remembered the first time she met him. Cocky and young, he was full of confidence. And when his father left him behind, she was there to see that earth-shattering look on his face, and then the fake 'I'm independent' attitude.
Sighing, she shook those memories behind her and looked forward to the future. She would see Will soon, as soon as she found her ship. The Twilight's last known whereabouts were in the Sanctuary's back hangar. The search party that had been initiated found it in Alaska, and dragged it back to Redair for safekeeping. They kept all the stuff Caddy had collected over the years in there. Everything from the three pips she worked so hard for to the clothes she used to wear when she was little.
The beautiful first officer of the USS Titan turned to see Data flagging her down. Both away teams from the Titan and the Enterprise were now on the planet's surface of the Redair, landing on the outskirts of the city. Up ahead, the brilliant lights and sounds of the Redair capital sparked the interest of the lovely counselor.
Data sped up with her as he announced, "Sir, there seems to be an intermediate size ship coming toward us. About 600 meters away and approaching."
Deanna took it all in and decided, "Okay. We'll go back to the shuttlecrafts and regroup later."
"Thank you, thank you so, very much."
An old, frail man smiled gently at Caddy. He was in charge of the back hangars in the Sanctuary, and didn't stop her when he realized what she was trying to do. Hope escalated in the pit of his noisy stomach as she ran off.
She would be the one.
Caddy sped off in the Twilight as she felt the biggest adrenaline rush. Someone could've seen her, and they didn't. Someone could've reported her, and nobody did. Wow. She hadn't felt like this since she had her first piloting lesson. Thank goodness for the people. At least they still believed in her. The computer beeped and she tilted her head to investigate the origin of the sound. There were two shuttlecrafts, both from the Federation, hiding behind the rocks.
As soon as she got close enough, she hailed them on a closed frequency. "This is the Twilight, may I ask what ships you are from?"
Deanna recognized the voice immediately. "Cadillac? Cadillac it's me Deanna. I'm so glad to have found you. We received your message and traced it back to this planet," Finally! They had found her! Will would be overjoyed. "Cadillac, can you land your ship so we can talk privately?"
Cadillac didn't answer until Deanna heard shots fired from outside. The viewscreen had the presence of not one, but two other unidentified ships that looked similar to the ones that had taken Caddy off the bridge of the Enterprise three years ago. Her ship was now going full speed, being chased by another. The other one started firing on the two Federation shuttlecrafts, as they picked up momentum and started back into space.
Over the intercom, Caddy's voice finally came through. :|: Deanna, Deanna you have to listen to me. I'm assuming the Enterprise and another ship is orbiting Redair right now. :|:
Data skillfully piloted the shuttlecraft as Deanna answered her. "Yes, the Titan and the Enterprise are both in orbit."
:|: Okay, the two pods behind us are not going to stop until they get me. We either shoot them down or make it so they can't fly into space. :|:
Deanna looked over to Data as he nodded, preparing to fire. "I have scanned the pod in pursuit. We can target their engines with a low level phaser beam that will disable their ability to break the planet's atmosphere."
Another factor presented itself in Deanna's minds. "Alright. How much time do we have left?"
"The Romulans have granted us six hours. We have four hours, thirty seven minutes, and twenty seconds left."
"Alright. Do it."
Two bright orange stripes of light shot into the incoming pod as Caddy's own ship stopped abruptly, making it so that the pod behind her had no time or choice but to keep going at the speed it was going. Caddy was now behind him pursuing, so as Deanna gripped the edge of her seat.
The pod twisted and turned only to come with one startling realization that it couldn't outrun the Twilight and its pilot. Deanna felt it and signaled Caddy.
Two bursts of bright blue light shot into the outer hull of the Rediarian pod, forcing it to land. Caddy breathed a sigh of relief.
"Yes, I'm here."
:|: I have an idea, lets give Will a good scare. :|:
Giggling, Deanna agreed and they were off.
:|: She doesn't seem to want to talk sir. She grows more and more quiet with every attempt we make.:|:
Will and Picard stood in the latter's ready room, trying to figure things out. The away team had been successful, bringing back a useful (but reticent) source back from the planet. Picard rested his left arm on his right and situated his chin in his right hand. The two men stood as Deanna told them, :|: Sir, we're going to transport her directly to the brig. It will give her some time to think. :|:
:|: Troi out.:|:
Data gripped the wrist of their prisoner firmly and surely as he led her into the brig. The forcefield was activated as Will and his former captain watched from the side. Will fell into deep thought as he pondered what this little girl could know about his Cadillac. Sensors showed that there were at least 3 billion beings living on that planet they were orbiting, so what could this little, insignificant minor know about Caddy?
But still, it was worth a try.
Will ordered the nearby security officer, "Unlock the forcefield."
"But sir "
"No buts lieutenant. Unlock it."
Reluctantly, the junior officer followed his order. "Yes sir."
Just as the forcefield was going down, she made her move. Target: William Thomas Riker. She jumped on him with her legs around his waist, and his hands on hers. Her hood was still over her eyes, concealing her identity. Security officers moved in as Deanna started smiling. Data, who had activated his emotion ship, started chuckling to himself. Will, poor dumbfounded Will, was still frozen with what might happen to him if he moved. Picard and the others stood still, careful as not to aggravate their inmate.
Will's face started to glow. His eyes widened and smiled that wonderful, pearly white smile that led him to all the things he loved in the world. "Caddy? Caddy, oh-my-god please tell me that that is you."
As the hood went down, Cadillac Whitney, his Caddy, appeared.
Will let go of her waist and gave her a big hug.
Cadillac gasped for breath. She forgot how strong he was.
"Will ugh Will "
Worf decided to add additional humor to the situation, which was very un-Klingon like, especially for him.
"Commander, I believe Cadillac is unable to breathe."
The First Shot
Jorter couldn't make out what was in front of him. He was in the pit of Redair's prison, black, fearsome and stuffy. His face had been decorated with cuts and bruises, so much that he couldn't even open his eyes. They were swollen shut, purple and gangrene or black and blue. His wrists and ankles were chained, clamped shut by the cold, tight, rusty handcuffs. Screams reverberated from the halls that surrounded his cell, and he knew that he was going to die soon from the new sound of footsteps coming toward him.
Images of his family and friends and his people flashed in and out of his head. All he wanted was to help his people. He was destined to help, to help govern in the righteous, traditional, non-warlike way he had dreamed of the minute he was old enough to.
The cell door opened and he tried his best to open his eyes.
"How would you like to be remembered?"
He wanted so badly to smart mouth this burly, uneducated slave man. He was Jorter's executioner, his slayer. His images of a peaceful Redair were now Cadillac's. He hoped and prayed that she would do the right thing.
"As a good person."
From the cell window, a loud clang rang from the result of someone's head being severed off.
Cadillac woke up with fear in her heart and evil in her mind. She spoke to herself, to calm her nerves. Eyes clamped shut and then open when she realized the image did not go away. She saw people suffering, people fading, dying, and starving in prison and then Jorter, being killed.
Tomorrow she would be facing the many faces of Starfleet's head-of's, including one thankfully familiar Doctor Crusher, to tell them everything she knew of Redair and her people. She could just see it now people would start pointing and talking behind her back. She knew this was coming a long time ago; it was all just a matter of time.
But that wasn't what was important anymore. People were dying, Caddy's people, Caddy's friends. Anyone she talked to was sentenced to death, and she wondered where it was all leading. She usually had such a clear perception of what she had to do, what the right thing was, but now, she had no idea. The original goal seemed so far away, and Cadillac had no more emotional energy to reach for it.
Pictures of her mother and father's death made a spark in her memories as Cadillac made a break for the bathroom. What made her think of them was beyond her. Edi's words reechoed in her head. He had been the first one to know and the first one to tell her. She had been in the city library when it happened, doing some light reading. Cadillac's mother and father had been Chancellor's to the then in power queen. They were opening the door to their home when a computerized ray of intense heat killed the both of them. It was, of course, blamed on their so-called 'carelessness with weapons', but she knew better. They had died without knowing what their baby girl would be doing to save their lovely planet.
They would be so proud.
Maybe she should talk to Deanna; she was a counselor, one of the greatest. Everything seemed like it was starting to fall apart, just as she was reunited with the one person she wanted to be with all along. He was her best friend and he was her only real family.
It was scary how close one person could get to another without knowing it.
It was late, and he wanted to sleep. Pouring a cup of the nourishment he needed to return to slumber, Edi laid the cup above the fire. As he was waiting for it to warm, he thought of Cadillac. Why did she leave? It was such a stupid thing for her to do. He would've understood, he could've helped even. The cup started smoking and he removed it from the fire.
Situating himself onto his dining room chair, he thought of her. He used to know her so well, and when she started talking about getting away from this 'hellhole'. Redair wasn't so bad actually. The government was okay, it wasn't the best, but people were still living and going on with their daily lives like they used to. Things weren't as different as Caddy said they were. She was over-reacting.
Redair itself wasn't the worse, the three sections were still living in harmony like they always used to, and it wasn't like the planet was dying or anything.
The first section of Redair, Wages, was one of the smaller but more important ones, desert-like and city-like at the same time. The outskirts of the city led you to the desert, but the city was the biggest attraction. The queen was always there, watching over her people or at least according to Cadillac, she was eating more than watching.
Sighing, Edi went back to thinking, putting his cup on the table in front of him.
Shaw was a little bit more different, bigger than all three of the sections, you had to travel everywhere by boat, roads were replaced by rivers of water, alleyways of streams, or puddles of ponds spurted everywhere. Greenery surrounded the water, where Heeby-Jeeby plants were eaten by the fat but satisfied Boogy.
Last but definitely not least, was the ever chilly but ever welcome to the tourists, Guate. There was year-round snow there, and the most peaceful of Rediarian's lived in small villages. They were a happy, carefree people, the ones whose minds were the clearest. Tall and wise, the trees, which had been once, green and brown, had gotten used to the evolved presence of snow, and adapted.
Edi himself had never been to Guate, but according to one of his Council friends, it was beautiful. Especially when it snowed, the flakes and snow seemed to be in absolute synchronization, flowing together like water, whirling and twirling, but never strong enough for it to be dangerous.
Standing, he washed his cup under the soft sounding flow of water, and got ready to go back to bed. Unexpectedly and rapidly, soldiers sent from the Sanctuary knocked soundly on Edi's door. From the window, they looked like they were in no mood to be played with, so he opened the door.
"You are wanted."
Memories are just where you laid them
Drag the waters till the depths give up their dead
What did you expect to find
Was there something you left behind
Don't you remember anything I said when I said
Don't fall away
And leave me to myself
Don't fall away
And leave love bleeding in my hands
In my hands again
And leave love bleeding in my hands
In my hands
Love lies bleeding
Hold me now I feel contagious
Am I the only place that you've left to go
She cries her life is like
Some movie black and white
Dead actors faking lines
Over and over and over again she cries
"I fear the worst."
The queen herself sat near her raised screen, watching the lights of the city. The presences of transport pods were declining, which meant that the city was slowly putting itself to a nap.
"And what is that?"
Edi walked over to her, putting his arm on her shoulder. She seemed thinner, and fitter. Edi had observed when he was being led in to see only fruit and vegetables in the centerpieces of her dining table. She had been working out.
"War. If Whitney persists, Redair will be flung into a civil war. The government will not let go of Redair without a fight."
Edi looked down to his sandals. He knew this was coming; it was the most logical thing that would happen. Cadillac would probably be leading the revolt, followed by the people she loved and was destined to take care of.
"What about the people she ran to? Who will they side with? What will happen to you? To us?"
She had already thought about this long and hard. She would step down as queen and let the corruptive government defend themselves, while she and her dearest would flee to her home, near Lake Carlotta in Shaw. She could do nothing now. She had no more power; she had let her people down.
And two weeks later, the first shot of the Rediarian War was fired.
The Young and The Old
Author's note: This is going to be an especially emotional part of the novel.
It involves death and a lot of bad evily stuff, so don't say you haven't been
Keep It Positive
Will turned his head to the window to see his three year-old son pointing at the Federation shuttlecraft landing behind them.
Inside the shuttle was none other than Deanna Troi, Tristan's mother and Will's beloved Imzadi. The bond between the three of them was untouchable. It was like a rock you couldn't reach that was stuck in a glass bottle. You could see it, you could admire it, but you could never directly touch it without breaking the bottle.
Deanna had been delayed in joining Will and Tristan because of a conference she had attended in San Francisco. She had visited Beverly, who was now head of Starfleet Medical, and the two friends had much to catch up on. Now she was officially on vacation in Valdez, Alaska, ready for some well-deserved fun.
With a squirming Tristan in his arms, Will walked out of the house he grew up and ran out of. Into the arms of his shivering wife, they talked without sound. It was semi amusing to see her so vulnerable to the weather. She was used to the ships temperature setting or the warm tropical weather on Betazed.
"Well? What are you just standing there for? Come in before my grandson freezes to death!!"
Behind them, Will's father stood at the front door, waiting to greet his daughter in law. The three of them walked hand-in-hand toward the house, ready for the beginning of their vacation.
Cadillac sat cross-legged in the middle of a well-furnished room, eyes closed, breathing in and out. She had a headache, and after talking to Deanna, this seemed like the most effective way to get rid of it. She had been up to her armpits with things to do, with the re-establishment of the democratic government, and the integration of the Federation technology, but the reason why she was so busy wasn't because she was trying to get used to it, or anything like that, but because she was the one who had launched it all.
Because, Cadillac had been elected as ruler of Redair, and had been for a few months now. Who knew that shy little Cadillac would become the ruling leader to a small planet like Redair? And it turned out that she was pretty good at it too. 'This is for the people,' she had said at her acceptance speech. And thankfully, Cadillac never lost track of that. Old men and women with children had nothing but praise for her, which only made Cadillac want to work even harder.
But now, another situation presented itself. There had been several assassination attempts on the lives of some newly appointed senators and their families. People were in fear for their lives, and Cadillac had better do something quickly before anyone was seriously hurt.
"Sir, this is not going to work. The queen is smarter than you think, she..."
"Do not tell me what I already know."
"But sir, this attempt will not work. The queen has her protectors..."
The older hooded man stood, towering over his young assistant. "I know what I am doing. You just focus on getting me the materials that I need."
The aide could only nod and accept his order.
Cadillac was daydreaming.
In the middle of a meeting.
In the throne room.
"And, if Keepre's were there..." She wasn't paying attention like she was supposed to, but instead the hustle and bustle of the city below made her mind wander. "...that way the senators and their families will..." When will the stars come out? Maybe she should sleep in the arboretum today. There will probably be a good view of the sky...
"Your majesty, Senator Hirby has suggested that we assign a pair of Keepres to each government official and tighten the security around the palace and your apartment."
"I'm sorry gentlemen, but is this the attempted assassination's issue?"
"Why do we need more security around the palace? I'm not even there half the year. I'm not planning on going there anytime soon either. We have extra personnel there anyways. More would only make it crowded."
"But your majesty "
"No but's Senator. I have my reasons."
"What about the assigned Keepres? We need extra protection we all have families!"
"Alright, one teacher and his star pupil." The headache was coming back. Caddy could already feel her heart pounding its way into the depths of her brain.
And the Senator would not stop! "Please, your majesty, let us at least designate you a pair. It is only for your safety. Just look at it this way. What would the people of Redair do if something were to happen to you?"
She gave up. The man had a point, after all. "Fine. I also want the threatened Senator's to lay low. That means no unannounced public appearances. And the publicized appearances I want extra guards around the whole perimeter. Do I make myself clear?"
It was like talking to a class of first graders. The throne room rang, "Yes your majesty."
It reminded her to pay a visit to the orphanage. "Good. This meeting is adjourned."
:|: I don't know. It could be stress.:|:
Back in the captain's ready room onboard the Titan, Deanna thought of other possibilities while fiddling with her fingernails. "It could be. Have you been to the doctor's office lately?" If it were a normal headache, it probably wouldn't have come back.
On the computer console, Cadillac made a face. :|: There's this whole process that I have to go through. The chancellors have to assume power while I'm gone, then I have to sign in with what the doctor said...blah blah blah...it's a huge thing over here on Rediar. Its like I'm about to get my death sentence or something.:|:
"Still, better safe than sorry."
She sighed. :|: Yeah I know, but I'm not too fond of the hospital and besides, wouldn't it just be so much easier to run away?:|:
"Cadillac!" Deanna knew that she was kidding, but it was a lousy thing to say at a time like this.
:|: Sorry. Maybe I need a vacation. Just get away from it all.:|:
The light bulb in Deanna's thought bubble turned a bright yellow. "I'll make you a deal. If you go to the doctor, and I mean soon, then I'll convince Starfleet to let you stay onboard the Titan. Maybe you'll even be able to participate in a mission or two."
Cadillac's own thought bubble was about to burst. :|: That would be a good idea I can leave the chancellors in charge and finally visit Tristan! I haven't seen him in such a long time!:|:
Deanna had already thought everything out. "Yeah, we'll tell them it's a diplomatic mission. You " Deanna paused to make the excuse a little more believable. "Oh, you are here to bring the news of Starfleet back to your people."
:|: Oh great idea!:|: Something looked like it was going on in the background. :|: Hey I have to go. But I will make that appointment with the doctor and then I'll give you another call so you can tell me what happened with Starfleet.:|:
"Alright. Take care."
:|: I will, say hi to Will and Tristan for me. Whitney out.:|:
Caddy walked down the white plastered halls of the physician's office. Just walking there scared her. Her headache was still going on full blast, but now it was just something there, like something natural. The temperature was at least one hundred degrees Fahrenheit and rising.
This must've been one of the perks of living in the desert.
Following her, Criss and Cross, her two most loyal attendants (who were also twins) gave her a push as she tried to pretend she didn't know where the office was. It was an open room, and there was no division between the nurses and the doctors. The examination room was in the next room, equally as large, but with the necessary partitions. The nurses and interns bowed and politely muttered their 'your majesty's, as she took her seat next to the head doctor's desk.
She whispered toward Criss, "I don't want to be here."
Almost immediately, she answered, "But you must, if you would like for the Titan to take you on your holiday."
"I doubt Starfleet is even going to let me."
"Keep it positive."
Cross smiled in Caddy's direction as the doctor entered. "Alright, your majesty, let's get started!"
"Daddy? Is she going to bee heer?"
"Yes Tris, that's Auntie Caddy. She's a queen, didja know that?"
The little one gasped. "A queen?" He had to think about this one.
It was so adorable how this little boy could smile like he already knew Will inside out. He had popped out of Deanna that wonderful day with Will on the sidelines, calming his Imzadi and trying to get his hand out of her deadly grip.
Ah married life.
It was more than Will had expected. He knew it would be something he would never regret, but he hadn't expected it to be so
Will and Deanna could be in a very, very official meeting with the Picard or with Starfleet and still be able to look at each in the eyes for that one fraction of a second, and leave content, knowing that no matter what the day threw them, they would be able to conquer it. They could've been living in the medieval times, with the pigs for all he cared, nothing could change the way he felt about her.
An assistant to the twins' peeked his head from outside the door. "Your majesty, an incoming call coming from the Titan and also, your Keepres are here."
Leaning in to reach the console, Cadillac told him, "Tell the Keepre's I will be right with them. Let them have a seat."
Criss obeyed as Cross stayed with Cadillac, standing loyally, to the side.
Will's overjoyed face appeared onto the screen with Tristan in his arms. :|: Caddy! I tried calling earlier but they had said that you were at the doctors. I know how much you hate going to the hospital, but how did it go?:|:
She was so lucky to have a friend like him. With a sideways warning glance to Cross, she replied, "It went fine. Healthy as horse!" And to prove it, she flexed her right arm. He laughed that thunderous laugh and told her the good news.
:|: Starfleet has granted you a week or so to stay onboard the Titan. But I understand that you won't be alone. There have been problems on Redair, right?:|:
"Yeah, I'll have to take double the amount of protection that I usually have. Keepre's they're called."
Similar to the Peace Keepers on Betazed, Rediarian Keepres were respected, idolized peacekeepers of Redair, skilled in all sorts of weird, acrobatic defense mechanisms. They taught their philosophies to those who were willing to learn, and continually referred to the Rediarian god, 'bobinn' (or for short, bob) as their inner inspiration and guidance. It was something deeply sacred to the people of Redair, something the previous government had not dared to touch. Unfortunately, there were a few rules that came along with the cool moves and dedicated life of protection.
One, if a student or an instructor or a council member were to be involved with any sort of betrayal to the queen or any governmental official, or the government as a whole, one would be terminated eternally ever being a Keepre. Two, one was not to, under any circumstances, get intimately involved with a government official, for reasons of complication. And three, if one were to have blatant disregard for these rules, one will be terminated from the institution.
After the conversation with Will, Cadillac skipped the formal meeting with
Who knows? They might even stay, infuriatingly, by her side forever!
The doctor had said that hot flashes and mood swings were a common side effect of the painkillers.
The next morning, Cadillac awoke refreshed and forever gratefully, headache-less. She changed into the proper diplomatic attire for transportation aboard the Titan and had her breakfast with her staff behind her. The Keepres were exasperatingly patient, telling her to take all the time that she needed and they had watched her the previous night until she had finally fallen asleep.
It was sort of creepy. They hadn't even really officially met, and they were watching her like a hawk already.
The next morning, as she was taking her first steps onto the USS Titan, she was informed of another assassination attempt, this time on the pair of chancellors that she had left in charge.
On Redair, it was tradition that the right hands of the queen, the Chancellors were to be married. This assassination attempt was to kill one, and this would madden the other to find, in this case, her killer and be killed himself, rendering Redair's queen advisor-less.
The Keepre Council decided to look into things themselves and had caught the culprits in time, but unfortunately, the criminals would not stop the bombardment, so they were killed on the spot. Which left Cadillac no base to start the investigation. So she took things in her own hands and sent Skittle, the elder Keepre assigned to her, to look into everything and come back to the Titan with an update. Where she was pleaded with to stay on until the whole thing blew over. Magik would stay with her, to gain some real experience.
Wanted to Sleep
It was late, and Will wanted to sleep. But no matter how much he tried to, something was bothering him. His thoughts traced back to Cadillac, although he didn't know why. Something about the way she looked today bothered him, and it wouldn't go away. She looked a little pale, but on the other hand she had taken care of everything that had happened so suddenly on Redair like usual, and then changed into her normal pensive self again when they had had dinner. There were a few laughs here and there, but then Deanna noticed something.
Her hands were trembling when she was gripping her fork. She tried to hide it, she tried to say it was nothing, but nothing escaped Deanna. Looking down at his resting Imzadi, Will kissed her forehead and tried to give sleeping another try.
He could ask Caddy about it tomorrow.
Magik's head popped into the queen's bedroom. The computer had beeped a couple of times, announcing the time for some unknown reason. It woke him up, and then he checked on the monitor that faced her in her room, to make sure she was okay.
Still sleeping, her bed covers were pulled up to her chin. The dull light made her face pale and dulled her features, but it was okay.
She was still beautiful.
Even her personality was beautiful, especially when she was with her Starfleet friends.
Turning back to his room, Magik thought back to the past few days.
She had been nothing but patient with Magik's constant inquiries about the Titan, it being his first time on a galaxy class starship. She had even invited him to dinner with her and her friends.
Smiling to himself, he scratched his head and walked into his room to start the day.
Following her into the holodeck, Magik took a seat near the side and observed his surroundings. He was in a large hangar, and outside it was a clear blue sky, without a cloud in sight. It felt like morning by the crisp chilly feeling that had suddenly overcome him. To the front, it looked like her majesty was heading for the ancient, rusty looking thing of a fighter jet. He was about object but she had already climbed in.
But before she shut herself inside, she yelled, "You can join me if you want!! Don't worry about the planes shooting at us, I have the safety protocols on!"
He had no idea what she was talking about until she closed the door and started the sputtering engine. Suddenly, up ahead, in the sky, hundreds of planes swarmed overhead, attacking the famous harbor. Soldiers, navy pilots and boatmen scrambled everywhere, getting shot at or blown away. Nearby, huge boats big enough to classified on Redair as islands were capsizing and sinking, and it looked as if people were actually starting to fall off.
He decided to join her.
Grabbing a nearby helmet, he climbed into the plane and put on what looked like a primitive form of communication. The controls and switches were easy to comprehend, simple and straightforward, he had no problem getting it off the ground. Soon, her majesty's voice came through.
::Magik, you see those planes shooting at us with the red circles on their wings?!:: She was yelling over the outside noise that was penetrating the cockpit. He felt like was outside, instead of the safety of the plane.
::Yes, I believe so!::
::Don't hesitate to shoot at them with the trigger button on the stick! Once they get you, you'll land where ever and the program will end!::
Getting the gist of it, Magik acknowledged and they started to play. They seemed
outnumbered and outsized, but he still instinctively chased after what he had
heard some holographic sailors call 'the Japs'. Whoever they were, they were
extremely powerful in making a point still unknown to Magik. He regretted not
paying more attention during those Earth History classes he was forced to take
after Cadillac was queen.
Weaving in and out, he finally found what he was looking for. A plane was trailing Cadillac, and she seemed to be having some trouble shaking it off. He got ready and aimed
Pow pow-pow pow!
::Thank God you spotted me in time!::
::This is getting exciting!!::
Another plane came into view (they were easy to spot, considering how many there were) and Magik got ready to fire again.
"So what is this place?"
Walking onto the grassy area facing the same infamous harbor - but 50 years later - Caddy smiled at him as they sat down.
"I read about it during my time at the Starfleet Academy. Coming to another critical point in history it calms me, reminds me of what's important in life. " She paused for a moment and then continued again. "This place is called Pearl Harbor. In was attacked in the year 1941 by a country called Japan, who at the time, wanted war. In the end, over 2000 soldiers, pilots, nurses you name it. They died. The..."
Magik took a moment to absorb it all it. It reminded him of the past five years on Redair. "The whole simulation was the whole attack. I get it now." But something still didn't click. "You find that calming? Whatever happened to a clear blue sky and a meadow?"
Almost immediately, she repeated herself, "It reminds me of what's important."
"I guess even the queen needs a muse." He saw the poignant look in her eyes and tried to cheer her up. "So, your majesty, what do you plan on doing next?"
Without thinking, Cadillac told him, "I think I'm going to step down soon." Magik looked at her wide-eyed and then shut his mouth when he realized she wasn't going to tell him why. They sat together on the green hill for the moment, watching the sun disappear behind the mountains.
And I think I know
The reason that your light would never stay
And all that's left to show
Are memories now but I can truly say
I was king for a day
He paced the room like a madman. No matter how he put it, she still betrayed him. After the war she didn't even try to search for him, she just assumed the worst and stopped. He had to visit her. That wasn't what a friend did. She should know! She has that so-called best friend of hers, what was his name? William? Ugh. What a ridiculous name. Might as well give him a dress and call him Wendy.
He stopped in mid-step. It didn't matter anymore. He had her people in the palm of his hand! The thought of it made him want to laugh. But he held it back, and ran off to read some of the 'secret' records from the queen's personal files.
Computing in the well-memorized password, he scrolled down to the most recent entries.
It looked like she recorded this one from that blasted ship the senators had made her stay on. In the background, stars aligned the sky and he saw Starfleet insignia on the uniform she was wearing.
A bunch of nonsense girl talk in the beginning almost made him a little sleepy. It was the second entry that interested him. It could prove to be useful.
=/\= Whitney to Riker. =/\=
In bed, Will rubbed his eyes as Deanna sleepily handed him his COMM badge. "Thanks Imzadi." He pressed his badge in response. "Riker here."
=/\= I can't sleep. =/\=
"Caddy, its...0100 in the morning. I'll see you tomorrow." He was just about to go back to sleep, but she kept at it.
=/\= Yeah I know, but I need to tell you something. Please come? =/\=
Deanna opened her eyes and tapped him on the shoulder. "Will I think it's important."
"Alright. I'm coming." He stood up and started to change.
After kissing sleeping Deanna goodbye, he sauntered over to the nursery, and smiled as he saw Tristan sleeping, rosy faced and content.
Thank god he wasn't awake and hungry.
The doorbell rang as Cadillac looked up from the floor suddenly, startled. She looked over to Magik's room and thankfully; he still seemed to be sleeping. Quite frankly, she didn't want him to hear what she had to tell Will. But just in case, she had activated a small soundproof force field around the entrance to his room.
Will stepped in, scratching the stubble that had formed while he had been asleep. He looked at her in her white pajamas. She looked so defeated. All irritation flew away as he shlumped into the seat next to her. He closed his eyes, but kept the rest of his senses open.
Only the hum of the ship's engine could be heard as a particular memory came to remembrance. And he told it through the way he saw it. "Do you remember when I got my first posting aboard the Pegasus?"
"Do you remember when we were saying out goodbyes?" His eyes were still closed.
"Of course. I was crying like a crazy woman." She rested her elbows on her knees and fiddled with her fingers. "I remember Paul teasing us about it."
He opened his eyes and turned his head slightly to face her. "I thought I'd never see you again. And then I did. I was so relieved that you hadn't died as early as Paul did. You'd changed a little, but you still had that look in your eyes. And I could never figure out where it came from until you told me about Redair. You kept that secret for a good 20 something years until you finally told me. You were always good at secrets."
She turned to face him. This was as good as time as any. "I'm dying Will. "
"What " He stood up. He thought she had just invited him for another late night chat...confusion clouded his better judgment as he continued with his questions. "How could you be dying? You're young, you're successful "
She looked up at him. "No, I'm dying. The doctors found it when I went to that check-up. It's a rare form of an old Rediarian disease."
He took his head out of his hands and asked her, "What's it called?"
"Muloge. I wanted to tell you that I'm sorry I never told you about Redair, or what's happening with me, but I," She tried to hold back tears. "I guess I was just trying to protect you. The way you did when we were little. From those space monsters or those overbearing academy teachers or those so-called bad men or even your dad. You always kind of watched over me, like a big brother. And I've always been grateful for that."
He wanted to yell at her. How could she not tell him about this? "And you didn't tell me because..."
"Because then you'd start to act all weird around me, and I didn't want that."
"ME?!" He put a lot of emphasis on that word.
"You." As did she.
"It's been hard enough trying to accept it all, and I know now that I can't go through this alone! Please, calm down."
"I will NOT calm down!"
His yell echoed throughout his head and into Deanna's and soon she was rushing out of her bed to tend to their howling son.
"Right here." Her hand rose from her customary seat next to Deanna on the bridge of the Titan.
Magik straightened his appearance and walked over to join her. He was miffed and embarrassed. It looks like she had woken up early to catch an early shift with Will, leaving Magik in his and her quarters to sleep. He awoke to see her bed made and breakfast already prepared for him. He skipped the breakfast and rushed to look for the one person he was supposed to be looking after. If he didn't find her, not only would Redair crumble because of his own faults, but hundreds of fingers would point to him. History would record him as the man who lost the queen and thus the end of Redair. But there was something new. Something he had never felt before, something raw and undeniable.
The beeping computer that announced the time suddenly made sense to him.
Her Betazoid friend whispered something in her ear that made her look at him with her sparkly green eyes. It was so infuriating to see her innocent and composed when he was so disturbed. He decided he wanted to let her know just how annoyed he was with her.
But above all else, he still remembered his manners. "Your majesty, why were you not there when I woke this morning?"
"You looked tired the other day." She sighed. "Besides, all you ever do is follow me around. I thought I'd give you some time to yourself."
"Well that is very considerate of you," He stopped mid sentence when he realized what she was trying to do. "Don't change the subject ma'am. My job is to look after you, and that is all."
"That is all?"
The fire in his stomach grew stronger and more overwhelming. "What do you mean, fine? Do you want me to wait on you as well? I know how to cook and clean, do you want me to become your housekeeper? I can do that too!!" He knew he was yelling, but sometimes his anger was uncontrollable.
"Never mind what I meant, it isn't important."
Beside her, Deanna paged Will silently in his ready room. The other senior officers were now watching. They were attracting too much attention.
"I hate it when you do that!! You pretend like nothing is happening when clearly, something is!! Why can't you just face it? Or are you too noble? Are you too noble for a humble Keepre your-"
He was crossing the line.
"I will do as I please!"
Will was now out of his ready room and ready to tranquilize the overconfident Keepre. "I want to see the both of you in my ready room. Now." Deanna left her chair to join the three of them, leaving a curious senior audience behind.
"Fisher, you're in charge of the bridge."
"I give up." Will laid into his chair. He was still trying to absorb the information of that morning.
"It's hard to tell when it comes to matters of the heart. They'll figure things out for themselves sooner or later. Whatever is the outcome," Deanna sat next to her husband. "Cadillac has to keep in mind that if she pursues this relationship, she's only going to bring heartache to Magik."
The outcome? Well it was simple. Cadillac had stormed, no, not stormed, but had walked - with a lot of grace - into Will's ready room. A flaming mad Keepre followed her and was asked to tell what the whole extravaganza in the bridge was about. It was inappropriate and uncalled for, Will remembered saying. Magik had spilled his feelings out to her, and yet, she rejected him. And Deanna and Will were the only ones who knew the real reason why.
In the end, she ran out, and into the turbolift, most likely for her quarters. Deanna and Will - the almost experts - talked with Magik about the whole situation, and Will even encouraged him to chase after her. He left and was probably now trying to talk his way into her heart.
"I hope everything will be okay." Will knew what the consequences to rejection, and how much it could drive a person fanatical. And Deanna knew what it felt like to be loved in the special way that only one person in all the universe could. They would both help as much as they could.
They would be there for support, but now there was another element to add to the circumstances.
Enjoy It While We Can
I've loved you forever, in lifetimes before
And I promise you never, will you hurt anymore
I give you my word, I give you my heart
This is a battle we've won
And with this vow forever has now begun
Deanna stood in the middle of the doorway in the bedroom she and Will shared. She had just put her son to sleep and was now thinking about coaxing her husband into doing the same thing. But it wasn't as easy as just saying it. Will was grieving, and what hurt Deanna was that he was grieving alone. She was his wife, his Imzadi, his soulmate. Whatever pain he was going through, she felt with him.
He was hunched over, his head in his arms, at his desk. He sat up quickly when he realized Deanna was watching him. But it was no denying it anymore. And she knew him better than anyone else.
"Deanna?" He stood up and pushed his chair in and then leaned on it.
She walked over and stood next to him. "Right here."
"Imzadi, I don't know what to do."
"About Caddy. She's dying, and you know, and I did some research." He laughed superficially and continued. "First the disease will attack her respiratory system. Her lungs will get weaken with time. Then her strength, because it'll attack her blood. There's more, that I don't know about. I didn't have the heart to read it."
Deanna moved closer to him, putting her arm around his shoulder. Truthfully, she didn't know what to say. She had dealt with death before, but it wasn't as long and drawn-out as Caddy's was.
The two of them stood there for a while before going to bed.
It was a quiet day in Ten Forward, she was there, sitting alone at a table near the windows. Deanna's shift ended and was in the mood for something hot and chocolate before her dinner with Will.
"Is anybody sitting here?"
She sat down softly. "Is anything wrong?"
Cadillac laughed. "Yeah."
Her smile darkened to a frown. "Everything. It's kind of funny actually." She turned serious. "When it comes to ruling a planet or having to face a problem with only two disaster-prone choices, I'm up for it, and at the end, everything is good." She started to get a little antagonistic. "But with things like this, like boys and men and all that crap, I can't even say the right thing, or say anything at all for that matter."
Deanna told her the same advice which she kept close to heart during all her time with Will. "Caddy, when it comes to love, nothing is harder to understand or to keep a hold of. But if you truly love him, and I mean truly, faithfully and exceptionally, then go to him, tell him." Her own face darkened with sadness. "Before things get worse."
After a few seconds of silence, Deanna started wondering where Will was. Before she could do anything though, Cadillac asked, "I wonder where Mr. Riker is."
Giggling, Deanna shrugged.
"Whitney to Riker."
After a few seconds, Will answered. =/\= Riker here. =/\=
With a curious look to Deanna, Cadillac answered, "Will Riker, where are you? Your ahem ahem, WIFE, is waiting."
Obviously, he didn't get the punch line, instead, he said, =/\= Holosuite three. You need to come down here Caddy. It's beautiful. =/\=
=/\= Just come here! Bring Deanna too. =/\=
She could never figure out how he always knew where Deanna was when she wasn't with him.
Inside the holosuite, tall, endless trees surrounded the grass under Cadillac's boots in all directions. The grass looked soft enough to sleep in and the sky was almost white. She took off her shoes and the grass was indeed as soft as she had thought it was. To her right, what looked like the some elders (the elder elders) were in a deep soft-spoken conversation, resting against some of the trees.
The trees were lush with forest green leaves, as a light breeze swayed numerous branches, causing some of the more aged leaves to fall. The sky was almost invisible to the naked eye, but somehow still mysteriously penetrated and shown through the grass.
Now the grass was another story.
Cadillac had taken off her boots, but it was something Deanna couldn't do. Consider it the only type of behavior she absorbed from her mother's insistent naggings.
The grass was almost as soft as Will's hair and the blades were almost as thin as a single strand. To the right, men with beards with poured from their chins to their stomachs, pure white, and hair which covered their heads and joined their beards. Gentle murmurs flew softly from their mouths.
It was a foreign language Deanna had never heard before, and had no recollection of anything like that in Starfleet records. The two women seemed diminutive compared to the extravaganza before them. They stood in the midst, where mother birds tended to their young and the Redair Palace sat picturesque in the distance.
Someone tapped Deanna on the shoulder, causing her to jump and leave Deanna-land.
Magik stood by Cadillac, gently smiling. Deanna and Will went on exploring the rest of the now found out Rediarian Smirc Woods in the middle of Shaw. It was situated right in the middle, and was the most populated area out of the whole section. Cadillac's eyes were still astray, enjoying their newfound candy. Her words echoed and broke the silence between the two.
"How did you make all this?"
He looked around. "It was my graduation project for junior high on Redair."
She smiled and waited. When she got no other reply, she asked, "Well? What was your score?"
"I was at the top. But only if I learned the language of the Elders."
She took a step back. "You know the language?"
Of course. She started to walk away from him.
"Cadillac, Cadillac wait." He grabbed her arm as she turned to face him with a look of impatience.
"I want to apologize." His face grew solemn as she let him say what he wanted to. "I'm sorry for yelling at you. My temper gets away from my control sometimes." He hung his head as she broke into a smile. Obviously she had forgiven him. "I'm still really sorry."
But he looked at her with surprise in his eyes as she took his chin in her hand. Her face told him everything. You know that we can't do this.
He smiled again. But we already are.
She looked like a lost child. She couldn't deny it anymore. And the advice that Deanna gave her came to mind. So what do we do now?
His face came closer. We enjoy it while we can.
Suddenly images of Skittle and pointy fingers came to her mind. As did her responsibilities and her impending demise. But their mouths found each other all the same as Deanna finally tested out the grass on her skin with Will.
"Please, I'm not who you want "
"You're exactly who I want."
And the phaser was fired. And Criss' limp body fell onto the cold, silent, marble floor. Hung by his hands, Skittle had been watching, in the middle of the room, suspended in air like a prize possession. A single tear went down his bloody cheek as the hooded man kneeled to evaluate his newly executed prey.
And then he was back face to face with Skittle. "She was pretty wasn't she? Its too bad I couldn't have both of them." He played with the tip of a small dagger and pointed it at Skittle.
"Why are you doing this?"
Instead of a reply, another scream echoed throughout the corridors of the Rediarian Palace.
She hadn't even sat down to breakfast yet when Will walked in. She smiled, happy that he had come to visit her, even at such an early hour. But his face remained somber, unflinching. "Cadillac, we received a message from Redair early this morning." Seeing her expression made him say, "Earlier than now."
She opened her mouth to say something, but he stopped her. "Before you go gallivanting off to save them, please remember that there are other...elements...to deal with now."
She nodded and he turned the computer console to her. He shot her a worried look as Magik looked on with curiosity. Whatever was on the message was obviously important. The console turned on with Cross in Cadillac's bedroom. Something was going on outside, but it was hard to hear.
:|: Your majesty, :|: Cross had the same look on her face as when she and Criss had when they had found out that their parents were missing after the war. :|:I hope you get this message. We all had expected someone else, someone new who had been orchestrating the assassinations. :|: She paused; by the looks of it she was about to cry. :|: Your majesty Edi, of all people, Edi has been behind everything. He's taken Criss, Skittle, and a number of the palace guard's hostage in the throne...:|: Static fogged the screen and then cleared with Cross staring at something in front of her behind the screen. She backed away from the console with her hands held up high and the console went blank soon after.
A day later, the Titan received their okay from headquarters and were off to Redair.
Not a Good Sign
"Alright. I want two security teams, Quigley, and myself on the away team. There may be some injured among the hostages."
Deanna shot Will a look.
But he chose to ignore it and save it for later.
"We don't know what weapons or hospitalities to expect from these people, I want you to stay on your toes once we transport down there." He looked over to Deanna who was now a blank face.
Not a good sign.
"I want everyone to meet in Transporter Room 2 at 1400 hours."
Aye sir's chimed throughout the room as Will dismissed them all. Deanna stayed behind, for more than obvious reasons.
"Why are you going down there? I thought the captain's place was supposed to be on the ship." Her anger was approaching.
"I know, it is. But this is Redair we're talking about here. I know it better than you do, and I would never forgive myself if something were to happen to you without me there to do anything about it." She opened her mouth to say something, but he put his finger to her lips and continued. "Please? Imzadi? It would be better this way."
She gave up as her legs were slowly turning to jello.
"Alright, I want you three," Will pointed to his CMO and the two security officers. "Once we get onto the surface I want the three of you to stay behind us."
"Yes sir." Quigley eyed him and added, "Sir, behind you." Magik and Cadillac smiled and eyed him knowingly as they turned and started murmuring in their own corner.
Will turned and saw Deanna enter the room. He smiled gently and thanked him. He walked over to her, who was waiting for him off to the side. "I thought you hated goodbyes."
"I do. But I wanted to tell you something."
Transporter Chief Kane interrupted, "The transport window is open sir."
Will's head turned and thanked her. The rest of the crew assembled onto the transporter pad. He turned to Deanna as she said, "Come back to me Imzadi."
He looked into her eyes and played with a strand of her hair as they hugged for what seemed like the last time.
"I love you Deanna."
"So who is this Edi?"
In the shuttlecraft, Cadillac and Will were left to do all the piloting. Magik and the rest of the away team were seated behind them, left to their own thoughts. Cadillac eyed Will and the look he gave her made her feel about 3 feet smaller, as if she were a child about to tell their parents something that was bound to get them into trouble.
"A friend." Will's blank face told her that he was waiting for more information. "I met him before I ran to Earth. He was my best friend." He eyed her. "Was. Was my best friend. Sorry."
"So what can we expect?"
She sighed. "Well, nothing much, I don't remember much about what he is capable of, I remember him visiting me after the war once and then he just kind of disappeared after I was elected queen."
As her friend and commanding officer, he advised her, "Keep your eyes peeled."
Once they landed, communication ceased to keep Edi from knowing anything was going on. The security guards stood on defense at the end of the trail, with the Titan's CMO and Magik in the middle and Will and Cadillac in the front. The walk to the palace was short, considering that they had parked the shuttle on the outskirts. Cadillac led the away team through every little shortcut she knew of, and pretty soon the thick wooden gates came into view.
Opening her tricorder, she scanned the area for any bio scans besides the away team. "Will, there are only about five unidentified men surrounding the perimeter. If we can knock 'em all out we can probably take Edi by surprise." She closed the tricorder and looked up to him.
"Alright. Set your phasers to stun. Cadillac, can you open these doors?"
"Yeah hold on." She pushed a few buttons and the doors were soon opened, only to reveal the five men that she had previously been discussing.
They were on full alert when they saw the Starfleet uniforms and started firing crazily at the away team. Ducking beside the doors, the away team let off a disarray of phaser fire, stunning the men safeguarding the palace. Rushing into the lobby, the tan white marbled halls and floors sounded off their arrival, making the element of surprise factor drop to a devastatingly zero. The doors to the throne room upstairs opened, and they were fired upon, vaporizing the two security officers behind CMO Quigley and Magik. The both of them swiftly turned and shot the both of them, as Will and Cadillac went on, climbing the stairs which led to the two unconscious bodies.
Leaning onto the edge of the doors, Will notified the rest of his away team. It was down to the four of them, once six, they were now vulnerable if it came to defense. The two security officers offered an extra amount of protection, and now that they were gone, the four of them would have to keep their eyes opened for anything unexpected. Everything would have to be considered and taken into precaution.
The doors burst open and wham! A thick, hard metal chair used for outdoor comforting was used on Magik. Cadillac cringed instantly as Edi hastily took Magik's phaser and pointed it at Will and Cadillac. Thankfully Quigley tended to unfortunate Magik, who was now slowly but surely regaining consciousness.
"Your highness." He pointed the phaser Quigley and Magik. "I'm glad you can finally join us." The dead bodies of Skittle, Criss and Cross were now made to the away team's attention. Cadillac and Magik were instantly heartbroken.
"How could you do this?"
"They're all very loyal to you Cadillac. They didn't betray you in any way I had expected them to."He looked to Magik. "And as for him," The phaser was turned to Magik. "I know all about him." He laughed. He laughed like Cadillac had never heard before, which both frightened and worried her. "So that's why I killed his teacher. And then, it was really quite, unexpected." He lowered the phaser and walked as if he had no worries. Will drew his phaser.
But Quigley stopped him and whispered, "If I'm right, Edi is already totally sadistic and psychotic." She eyed him. "He's capable of anything right now. There's no turning back for him."
He smiled. "You better listen to her." He kicked someone out of the corner and there was Finn, Cadillac's little brother, bound and gagged, bloody and bruised, looking up at all of them. "I wanted to save this for last." He took the phaser by the barrel and tapped Finn's head. The last Cadillac had heard, Finn had a family of his own, a decent job, friends, and a son coming.
She should have invited him with her onto the Titan.
Gladly, Edi told them all, "Now that you're all here, I can finish the job!" He fired, and Cadillac's all knowing glance into Finn's soul was the last thing that she saw. Only dust was left now, completing the phrase, 'ashes to ashes'. Tears threatened to surface behind her eyes as Will stood on the sidelines, unsure of what he should do but understanding that whatever was between Edi and Cadillac was probably only that. If he entered the picture, his life would probably be on the line.
Cadillac tried a more simple approach. "Edi, I thought you were my friend. One of my best, for that matter."
"Hmpf. Yeah right." His gaze turned to anger and his fists were now clenched, so hard that his knuckles were almost pure white. "You ran to your precious Federation when things didn't turn out to be your way!" His voice echoed throughout the room. Magik was still on his back, watching with Quigley at his side, both frozen with uncertainty. "Remember when I visited you? We had a drink, a few laughs..."
"What happened to you?"
"And then you were whisked away by those two servant whores and left me in your apartment. And you never contacted me ever again!" He pounded on the round table in front of him. "You forgot about me..." His eyes went wide and he tapped his forehead. "But I figured it out...I figured it all out..." He tapped the computer console. "I found out a lot about you Cadillac. About the disease that is plaguing your body at this very moment, about your friend's, and most of all, about him." Edi pointed the phaser at Magik. "And if you hadn't left me for those Federation sons of bitches than it would have never have come to all this." His voice was getting louder and louder. "If there were no Federation, then YOU WOULDN'T HAVE LEFT ME IN THE BEGINNING!!!"
Will could almost see Edi's eyes turn red. The malice he had for the Federation was the reason he lived for all these years. It was the passion which got him up in the morning. It didn't take an empath to know what Edi was feeling at the moment.
The phaser Edi had taken from Magik was suddenly put to use. It was lifted and pointed at Will. "I know what to do know. If I rid of him, we can be together, we can rule together and turn Redair into the empire that we dreamed of when we were little. If I rid of him, then the Federation will weaken and I can rid of them as well." He moved his thumb over the trigger. Will's face turned to panic as he thought of the only things someone about to die would think of.
Cadillac, that phaser is set to kill.
Her face remained calm and unreadable. "If you kill him, hundreds of Federation starships will hunt you down until your death. If you kill him, we will never rule Redair together, I will. If you kill him," Cadillac's eyes flashed with rage and intolerance as she finished her sentence. "I will hate you until the end of my days."
Sweat formed at Edi's temples as he tried to decide whether or not his actions were indeed as thought out as he thought they were. Tension formed in the air, Quigley and Magik were still on the floor, unsure of what to do, Will stood at his previous location, his mind only concentrating on Deanna and Tristan, and Cadillac and Edi were trying to come to grips with each other's realities.
Edi wanted to kill him. He really, truly did. But besides all the revulsion he held against the Federation, he also had a lot of love for his Cadillac. His sweet, gentle Cadillac was who he had been doing all this for. And if he killed the man she cared so greatly for, she would not hesitate to give out the sentence he so greatly deserved and their friendship would be incinerated.
The phaser lowered and the formerly cataleptic palace guards moved in for arrest. Cadillac stood, now more than relieved that Will's life wasn't in danger.
But what lay ahead of her now was an equally as difficult task. And unfortunately, it had to be finished now.
On Redair, the custom was to sentence each criminal at the exact point of his capture, so that to avoid any delays or hassles in his or her court ruling.
Cadillac looked directly at Edi, knowing that it was what he deserved and that he was ready.
And Cadillac said the words she had hoped she would never have to say during her time as Redair's queen.
"Execute them." They were led out the door and Edi was never seen again.
Good Guy Verse Good Guy
Once the communication channel was reopened, life returned to normal at the Rediarian Palace. The bodies of Skittle, Criss, Cross and Finn were all collected and the funeral proceedings were scheduled for tomorrow.
Deanna burst into tears once Will transported back onboard the Titan, and he was happy to be with her again, both thankful that they were in each other's arms at the moment.
That night, Will filled her up on the recent events.
"So he had killed them all? Cadillac must be devastated!" Deanna laid in Will's arms in their bed just after putting Tristan to sleep.
"She is. She's staying on the planet, making sure all the necessary arrangements are made for their funerals."
"I better pay her a visit tomorrow."
For tonight, Magik and Cadillac slept on their home planet while Will returned for the tearful reunion with Deanna.
But there was still emotional unrest in Magik. He had gone through the events that had transpired just a few hours ago and something didn't make sense to him. Cadillac was sitting in the middle of a lush couch, staring into space as the fire crackled to life. She was still grieving, right smack in the middle of the mourning stage.
Right now was probably not the best time for him to ask her about this, but it wasn't just his curiosity that was getting the better of him.
He honestly cared for this woman, more than her friends did. And if she had some sort of disease or virus that was really 'plaguing her body' like Edi had said, Magik should know about it, he could help, his parents were both doctors, they could all help.
But now was not the time. Magik sat next to her, and handed her a couple of tissues as the tears fell.
"Are you okay?"
Deanna and Cadillac sat in the same couches Cadillac and Magik had been sitting on the previous night. Deanna beamed down to the surface for some afternoon tea.
"Yeah. Its just..." She set her tea down onto the coffee table in front of them and turned to face Deanna. "Its different this time. In Starfleet, you don't know people, all you know is that the good guys are being threatened and you have to rush to save the day, even if it means it will all end in bloodshed and death."
"But this time it wasn't good guy verse bad guy. It was good guy verse good guy."
Deanna set her own hot chocolate down on the table. "But Caddy, this wasn't good guy verse good guy. It was good guy verse bad guy. Edi, in a sense, had gone off the deep end. I agree, this was different, different because the people that he killed were the people in direct relation to you. Nobody knew this would happen," Cadillac started crying. Deanna put her arm on her shoulder and knew what had happened. "Its not your fault Caddy."
Amidst the tears, Cadillac managed to choke out, "Isn't it?" Her arms were propped onto her knees and her face was in her hands, trying to wipe away the bothersome tears.
"No, it isn't!" Deanna lifted Cadillac's chin and looked her into her eyes. "It isn't."
And the two of them sat there until they came to an understanding.
Author's Note: Just an intro, this is the final part to Redair and it's written in the first person by Will. There is a list of the songs at the end I used for the story, just in case curiosity got the best of ya.
Erm...this part is kind of emotional, so be prepared and don't say I didn't warn you. :)
We never needed each other
The best of friends
Like sister and brother
We'd never be
Those days are gone
Now I miss you so much
It's been twenty years since Cadillac's death. Now 63, I am an old man compared to the young'n I was, back in the day when the Enterprise-E was still in its prime.
Outside, I can hear my children talking in the same yard I sulked and brooded in when I was their age.
My wife, my Imzadi, my soulmate is looking at me with her big brown eyes. Age has dulled her once stunning features, but she nonetheless remains as beautiful as the day we met. She has worry in her eyes as she asks me if this is a good idea.
I look to my two beautiful children and back to her and tell her that I'm sure, that I want to leave behind something so that they don't forget where they come from, and so that I can leave behind a family legacy that Jean-Luc would be proud of.
In places no one will find
All your feelings so deep inside
It was now that I realized
That forever was in your eyes
The moment I saw you cry
I start telling her of my childhood, and as the tears fall down her beautiful face, she records it on paper. That way it will stay in the family, not read by some stranger at the academy.
Lunchtime with the children soon comes and passes, my daughter, Anna, has inherited my skills as a chef and makes a mean turkey sandwich just for her old man. She even makes a small bowl of pea soup just for me, and a cup of hot chocolate for her mother.
She always had her good heart.
When lunch ends, both children leave to give us elders some quiet time.
Deanna suggests that we get my story over with and I agree, taking the seat next to her. I start where we left off and see my old age begin to fade. Lessons I've learned along the way fade as well and I've regained my strength and energy as a man.
My Imzadi's features change too, her graying hair turns to the amazing chestnut color it once was, and the wrinkles the both of us have formed with old age also smooth out. She is the compassionate ship's counselor that she will always be to some people.
I'm twenty years younger and back onboard the USS Titan, the first ship I had in my command. The current pivotal facts of life at the moment: I'm married - happily - with a beautiful baby boy (my daughter comes later) and I had just, a few months ago, helped my best friend - a queen - save her planet from the bad guys. But now the worst comes into play.
I've known Cadillac since I was eleven, and now she's been struck down with a disease originating from the forefathers of her home planet. There is no cure, as there never was, even when that boyfriend of hers took her to see his awe-stricken parents. They poked and prodded, and could do nothing.
There was no telling how much time she had left on this plane of existence. But one thing was for sure. She wasn't going to spend it sulking on that planet of hers. I remember her saying to me and announcing to her people, "As much as I love my people and my ever-changing planet, I would like to spend the rest of my days with my family." And the crowd applauds as she turns to leave after she gives them one last look.
Weeks later, she is posted onto the Titan as a teacher and gets her own quarters. Her boyfriend, Magik, stays with her, and I assume that he already knows of Cadillac's deteriorating health.
And one critical morning a few months later, she appears on the bridge, in the turbolift, unconscious.
She had gotten out of bed that day, knowing it would be good. She went through her morning routine as Magik prepared breakfast, but she was getting weaker by the minute and knew better than to come to the bridge that morning.
But she did, and when the doors leading to the bridge opened, her eyes were closed and her body was limp.
I'll always remember
It was late afternoon
It lasted forever
And ended so soon
You were all by yourself
Staring up at a dark gray sky
I was changed
After that, she spent most of her time in bed. The third - and second to the last - stage of her planet's disease had begun. Gratefully, it was also the longest. When she was awake she was talking to Deanna or Magik, or once even Data and some members of the Enterprise's senior crew who had known her in her prime. When she was asleep, Magik and I would take turns watching over her, or sometimes Deanna did. Tristan had come a few times, but I ask him now, and he tells me that he doesn't remember anything.
A holographic get-well card signed by Tris and the rest of the children she had taught, lay on the little table next to her bed. Pictures of family and friends stood as well as pictures of her home planet.
And then came the last stage. From what I had been told, the last stage was unpredictable. It varied from person-to-person. For some, it was only a continuation of the last stage, while for others, it was only death.
But for Caddy, it was somewhere in between. The disease finally sat in the midst of her lungs, giving her a strange and sometimes unpredictable combination of a long forgotten and cured condition of the lungs. Asthma, it was called. The other one was the centuries old disease called tuberculosis. Sometimes she'd wake up in the afternoon coughing until she threw up or trying to breathe until she was blue. She had had her worst episode the day before she died.
Through all the hullabulloo, she married, even though Magik knew he'd become a widower sooner more than later, but he had told Deanna one night that it was something that he had to do - for the both of them. It took some explaining, but eventually, I understood why.
I still remember almost every detail of the day she died. I tend to miss a few things, especially nowadays, but the important things are still there.
It was late in September
And I've seen you before
You were always the coolest one
But I was never that sure
You were all by yourself
Staring up at the dark gray sky
I was changed
I got off my shift and picked up Tris from school. He'd asked about Cadillac and whether or not she was still "queenie" and I had told him that she didn't want to be the queen anymore. Naturally, he'd asked why, and thankfully, Deanna met the two of us halfway, and explained for me.
The three of us arrived in Ten-Forward for dinner while we planned to spend the rest of the evening with Caddy. The words shared by the three of us that one evening will always be among my most important list and will be one of the flashbacks I have before I make my trip to heaven.
I was cutting a small piece of soft meat for Tris when I felt Deanna. She was nervous, more than I had known her to be before, and the hot chocolate I had helped her to order was still filled to the top.
I looked into her eyes and asked, "What is it?"
After a moment of silence, I asked again. "Deanna? Is there something wrong?" Deanna took me by my free hand and I started to fear for more than I needed to.
"I'm fine." She paused, unsure of what my reaction would be to her next statement.
"Deanna, come on."
"Will, I'm pregnant. With a girl."
Amidst the cheering and the spinning, my COMM badge chirped.
=/\= Quigley to Riker. =/\=
I put Deanna down and I watch as her expression completely changes. I would ask her about it later, I remember deciding. I tapped on my badge in response.
I realize now, that the puzzling, unreadable tone in Quigley's voice was a mix of grief and hesitation when she told me to report to Caddy's quarters immediately.
I had asked her if it could wait, but she insisted, and I'm sure all of you know why now.
Cadillac had passed at the same time Deanna had told me she was pregnant, and every time I look at Anna, I can't help but think of Caddy. Cadillac had changed the way I looked at life, but our love for each other will always remain the same. Like brother and sister, we were there for each other when no one else was, and like family, we understood more than questioned when our marriages came.
She taught me more than she ever knew, and I'll never forget her.
Index of Songs
There You'll Be -Faith Hill
Do You Know - Olivia Newton John
Hemmorhage (In My Hands) - Fuel
King For A Day - Fuel
This I Promise You - 'N Sync
How Did I Fall In Love With You - Backstreet Boys
Cry - Mandy Moore