The Turn of Time
THE TURN OF TIME
"Tavaras…. This is the Captain get a lock on my wife and transport her to sick-bay immediately." Riker ordered the chief of Transportation. His words sound rushed and frantic.
"Aye sir." the obedient reply of the transportation chief sounded clearly.
"It seems as if all sensors are off…I can’t get a proper lock on her signal."
"Well keep trying." Riker ordered sternly as he took off running down the long corridors of the USS Titan, headed towards the lift.
"Release door lock, Riker beta-code T-1-7-B-5-8!" Riker ordered as he stood outside of the turbo lift on deck seven of his ship.
"It didn’t work." he heard her yell from the other side of the door.
Riker quickly turned his head towards his chief engineer, who was standing in front of the double doors. "Is there a way we can over-ride the lift?"
"Yeah, but it may take awhile." Commander Grime’s tone sounded not so hopeful.
"Do it!" he ordered without any further comment. Commander Grimes immediately turned on his heels and sped away.
"Deanna I’m going to attempt to manually open the door, just relax and calm down."
"I am calm Will."
"Come on, dad." The voice of his four-year-old son rang out. "Mom’s hurt!"
Placing the magnetic security over-ride block on the door, Riker attempted with all the strength that he could muster to open the turbo-lift door. No matter how much strength he used, the door would not budge. Inhaling and exhaling to gather up more strength, he attempted again to open the door manually…his face reddened from the strain. He could feel the large beads sweat that were now beginning to cover his forehead. "Damn" He finally exhaled in frustration, that soon turned into rage as he slammed an iron fist into the metal door.
Desperately searching for other options, he tapped his com badge. "Brandon, this is Riker meet me by tube section Jay-Baker-16, deck seven."
"On my way, sir." The Doctor of the Titan replied.
"Deanna?" Riker asked through the door…. After receiving no reply he repeated her name with more strength to his voice. "Deanna!"
"Dad!" The voice of his four-year-old called. "Mom just fell over!" His small voice became frantic as he begged; "She’s bleeding! I think she’s dying!"
"Hold on…. I’m coming." Without any hesitation Riker took off running full speed down the long corridors of the Titan. He had never run so fast in his life. Ignoring anyone or anything that was in his way, he never noticed the expressions on their faces as he quickly sped by them. He was frantic now, as his mind envisioned his wife bleeding to death inside of a cold, round sphere of steel…. And worse yet, their four-year-old son was witnessing it. His brain immediately imagined the worse, Deanna dying and his son holding it against him for the rest of his life the way he had held his own mother’s death against his father.
Ignoring the pain that vibrated up through his ribs from running. He continued at fast speed through the ship, plowing into anyone or thing that was in his way never stopping to apologize or to assist them to their feet. He had one mission in mind, and that was to get to Deanna.
After making it to the jefferies tube, Riker on his hands and knees crawled, with the Doctor desperately attempting to keep up with his Captain. "It should be over here, we can enter through the top of the lift." Riker stated breathlessly, as he continued to scurry though the tubes.
Inside of the tubes the ship suddenly began to jolt and rock…. Throwing Riker around the circular tubing. Whirling and gyrating him around like a cat in a clothes dryer, Riker didn’t know if he wanted to cuss or throw up, then it stopped. As soon as it had began it stopped. He heard a loud a sizzling sound and then all systems shut down and Riker found himself surrounded in complete darkness.
"Damn…" he shook his head attempting to regain composure. Reaching inside of his pocket he found a safety light and he scanned the darkness with the beam. "Deanna!" he thought as he took off crawling through the darkened jefferies tube.
He had to get to Deanna and to his son.
Finally arriving at the shaft opening, Riker yelled down the long abyss of darkness, "Billy! Deanna!" the only response he received was silence. "I’m going down." He said, grabbing onto the thick black steel cable and began to slide down it, the cable slicing into his hands. He landed on the top of the lift with a thud. He opened the latch and lifted the metal ventilation door that rested on top of the lift itself. "Gods let them be okay." He mumbled as he lowered himself in to the elevator feet first. He landed in the oval box with a thud.
He looked around in a panic. The lift was empty. His heart fell to his feet and he swallowed hard. "They’re not here!" he yelled to the awaiting doctor, who decided to stay in the jefferies tube.
"You sure this is the right lift?" The Doctor yelled down at his captain.
Hell yes, I’m sure…. It’s my damn ship!" he yelled back with anger. His heart pounded in his chest, and his brain full of confusion.
"Riker to Troi." He tapped his com badge.
"Billy tap mom’s badge."
"Computer locate Counselor Deanna Troi."
"There are six thousand seven hundred thirty two species of docile amphibians." The computer replied.
Tapping his com-badge again. "Riker to Commander Smith, report please."
The same deadly silence.
"Damn!" Riker exclaimed as he hoisted himself up, climbing up to the jefferies tube opening.
"Well, just where in the hell are they?" Riker pounded an angry fist on the mahogany wood desk.
"We have no idea, sir." His first officer, Commander Gregory Smith stated with nervousness. "Personal are missing. Apparently when all systems shut down they were transported off of the ship, by a malfunction in the computers transporter. We are getting reports in of men, women, children and even pets from the ship’s petting zoo missing, there are seventy-seven missing so far."
"Causality reports are still coming in, sir." The chief of security informed him. The word causality hit him hard in the gut. Deanna a causality? Was his young son?
"I would say, that when we were drawn into the vacuum all systems began to go offline, subsequently all power was drained from the ship, and when it got what it wanted, it let us go."
"Whatever it was…. took…." He wanted to yell ‘my wife and my son.’ But instead he inhaled, and released his breath slowly, "over seventy of my crew."
THE TURN OF TIME
The turbo doors of the bridge opened, and a young man called out, "We need help!"
Riker and Picard shot each other a look and ran towards the turbo lift, lying in an unconscience puddle of blood was a Betazoid woman and a small boy.
"Deanna?" Riker said in wonderment. His heart pounded against his chest with one loud thump. He hadn’t seen Deanna Troi in years, not since they had been on Betazed. He at the time was a young junior officer and she a psychology student. They had fallen deeply in love and decided to end it when she had refused his proposal of marriage, due to a prearranged betrothal he hand was to be given to a man by the name of Wyatt Miller. Suddenly everything came crashing around him, those feelings of love, the rejection of being refused and the pain of having to leave her, knowing she would be spending the rest of her life beside another man. This could have been his son he thought if it hadn’t been for Miller. But this boy apparently belonged to Miller.
He noticed the giant gash on the side of her temple that was bleeding profusely. His protective nature of her overcoming his shock of seeing her again, he quickly gathered his senses, and smacked his com badge. He placed his badge onto her sleeve, "Emergency transfer from bridge to sick bay. My coordinates."
Deanna Troi’s body shimmered into particles of light and instantly vanished.
"Sick bay." The small boy stood to his feet and ordered the computer.
"Belay that order." Riker intervened coolly. He stepped inside of the lift and put his big hand on the young boy’s shoulder, he spoke softly not wanting to frighten the boy any more than what he already was. "We need to ask you…"
"You’ll ask nothing!" The boy exploded as he flinched away from the Commander. " Not until I know that my mom’s all right." The crew noticed the presence of anger that glittered in his small federal blue eyes. "And if you belay my order again." He threatened with a cool even tone. "You’ll be laying on the floor."
Riker reeled from the young boy’s brave words.
The boy reminded Worf of a small kitten spitting against a huge monstrosity of a dog. "He is no weakling." Worf stated then mumbled with a growl, "An admirable trait."
Riker shot him a look; the big Klingon squared his shoulders and added with a nod, "for a child."
Picard pulled down his uniform top, trying not to show his amusement, "Tasha escort the boy to sick bay, and report to me on his mother’s condition."
"Aye sir." Tasha Yar stepped onto the lift. "Sick bay." She ordered the lift. The doors shut and they were gone.
When the chief security guard and the young boy were out of hearing range Picard turned to his crew, who were standing, gawking in awe. "Back to your post." He ordered soberly.
"Chief engineer to the bridge."
"Go ahead." Picard answered.
"I think we’ve got visitors."
"Elaborate." Picard ordered.
"I don’t know if I can. They just materialized from out to nowhere. They’re human at least some of them are. I’ve got men, women, children and their pets down here Captain."
"Captain." Worf interrupted, "We are getting reports of intruders materializing in engineering, deck seven, deck thirty-two and one report of a goat in ten-forward."
"A goat?" Riker asked in wonderment, he couldn’t hide the huge grin that spanned across his face.
"A goat." Worf confirmed in a no nonsense manner.
Picard directed his attention towards Riker, "Number one, see that our guest get a medical clearance, and assign them accommodations." And then he ordered sternly, "And find out just how in the hell these people boarded my ship." Picard turned and walked towards his chair.
Data sat at the helm, he looked at the turbo lift and then to Riker and then to the turbo lift. It was as if he were watching a tennis match.
"Data, what are you doing?" Picard asked annoyed.
"The young male child. It would seem that he favors Commander Riker in physical facial appearance." Data informed him, and then he focused his golden eyes on the first officer, "The woman is she kindred? You’re sister? A cousin perhaps? Is she your estranged wife? Perhaps the boy is an illegitimate? A human love child? A bas…"
"Data!" Picard barked in annoyance with the android.
The androids mouth immediately clamped shut and his shoulders fell slightly, "Intriguing." Data said, and quickly swiveled his chair around.
"We’ll discuss later how you know the identity of this woman." Picard felt a headache coming on, a big one. He stood to his feet and said, "I’ll be in my ready room."
"Yes, sir." Riker stated lowly.
Riker sat down in his command chair and thought about Deanna. He had missed her so much, there hadn’t been a day go by that he hadn’t thought of her. Now somehow or through some miracle she had boarded the USS Enterprise. The small boy, was it a coincidence that Data had said that? Did the little boy look like him? Could he be his? Riker quickly did the math in his head, and discovered that there could be no possible way that he could have fathered the child. But then again?
Pulling himself out of his daydream. Riker forced himself to finish his task at hand "Worf, how many visitors do we have?"
"Sixty-two so far, Sir. Reports are still coming in."
"Lock a signal and send them all to sick-bay for medical clearance." Beverly would of course kill him, he thought or get even somehow for sending an onslaught of people to sickbay. Well, he'd have to face her wrath sooner of later, he chose later.
THE TURN OF TIME
"You’re going to be all right…. Just relax and let you’re eyes adjust to the lights." Beverly Crusher instructed, responding to the gentleness of her voice Deanna began to slowly open her eyes; they fluttered against the bright lights of the examining room. "You’re going to be all right." She heard Beverly say again.
"Beverly?" Deanna said, still groggy from her injury.
"Welcome aboard the Enterprise."
"Enterprise?" Deanna sounded confused. How did she get on the Enterprise? What happened the last thing she remembered was riding the lift and the ship jolted suddenly. She vaguely remembered smacking her head, then Billy…Billy"
"Billy." She quickly opened up her eyes and sat straight up in bed. "Where’s Billy?"
"Hey, he’s all right." Beverly assured her, calming her down, pressing her shoulder making her relax and lay down.
Deanna let out a sigh of relief and relaxed.
"So that’s what his name is? Your little friend has been waiting outside your room, and he refuses to talk to anyone until he sees you. He’s quite stubborn." And then she whispered, "But totally adorable."
"He can be hard to deal with at times." Deanna said with a smile. "And yes, he is adorable isn’t he?"
"Tasha tells me he’s your son?" Beverly asked casually.
Something was wrong. Why would Beverly ask such a question? How come Beverly didn’t know about Billy? Deanna’s eyes grew wide. Tasha? She thought, Tasha Yar? Tasha died years ago. "Yes, he’s my son." Deanna answered simply.
"Can you tell me you’re name?" Beverly asked.
"Deanna." She answered attempting to play along, until she found out just what on earth was happening. "Deanna Troi…. From Betazed."
"Can you tell me how you and your son boarded the ship?"
"I’m not sure." Deanna said, and that wasn’t being evasive.
"You had a pretty nasty bump on your head, Deanna." Beverly said with kindness.
"Thank you for administering to my wounds, doctor." She nodded with a smile, "How long have I been here?"
"You’ve been asleep for about three hours."
"Three hours?" Deanna slowly closed her eyes. "I bet Will and Billy are worried sick."
"I know Billy is." Beverly smiled, "I haven’t seen Commander Riker. He doesn’t come to sick bay unless he’s ordered to. For some reason he regards me as the red headed sea hag of the Enterprise." She smiled, "How do you know Will?"
Deanna looked at her confused. Commander Riker? Will hadn’t been a Commander in years. He was the Captain of the USS Titan, at least in her time he was. "We’re old friends." She said, her tone of voice indicating that the she wanted the subject dropped.
"I see." Beverly said getting the hint. Deanna sensed that the red haired Doctor didn’t believe her, but she was thankful that Beverly when didn’t ask anymore questions.
"I’ll go get your son." Beverly patted her shoulder gently and walked out of the room. "He’ll be happy to see you."
Deanna sat up in bed her head was still pounding. How did she get in sickbay and what was Beverly doing here, on the Titan? And where was Will? Looking around her she noticed that it wasn’t the Titan. It was the Enterprise. But how? Oh gods, it hurt to think…. Right now.
She slowly got out of bed and gathered herself.
"Mama!" a voice called out and a small body rushed towards her. She fell to her knees and opened her arms inviting him to her. The only time the small four-year-old called her ‘mama’ was when he was sick, hurt or terribly frightened. Billy practically jumped into her arms, holding onto her tightly, burying his head into her neck. Deanna sensed his relief and joy and he began to sob. Her son had been so scared. He had no idea of who these people were and why he and his mom had ended up in this strange place.
He had been trying so hard to be brave. Not showing any fear and now he could release his heavy burden onto her. He was finally free, and he could be a little boy again. He felt safe in his mother’s firm and tender embrace.
"It’s all right, little man…It’s all right." Deanna held him close, hushing him. She sensed the tension and his fear as it released itself from his body.
"I was so scared." Billy whispered into her hair. "I couldn’t find dad. I kept waiting for him to come, but he never did."
"Shhh…." She kissed the top of his head, gently rocking him in her arms. "You don’t have to be scared anymore, little man. I’m here now."
Pulling him out of her embrace, she looked at him and smiled. "We’ll find your father. We’ll find him together." Deanna optimistically, as she wiped the tears from his face.
"Dad said that if you died. I could cry."
Deanna laughed. That sounded like Will Riker. Whose own father had always interpreted tears as a sign of weakness in a man. Will wanted to instill in his son that tears were a good thing, a way to release emotions. "Well, I’m not dead, so I hope that’s not what these tears are for."
"No…." he wiped his nose on his sleeve, "These tears say, "I’m glad you’re not dead."
"Me too." She chuckled, hugging him again.
"Do you think Dad will care?"
"I’m sure you’re father won’t mind at all."
Deanna broke the embrace and said, "Now that we’ve rejoiced in the fact that I’m not dead, and established the fact that you’re father isn’t angry." Deanna smiled a loving playful grin. "I bet you’re hungry. I know I am. As a matter of fact I’m so hungry I could eat a horse."
"I’m so hungry. I could eat an elephant." He said with wide eyes.
"An elephant? Oh my, that is hungry."
She stood to her feet and instinctively hit her com-badge. "Troi to Riker." She said without thinking. "Will?"
"Riker here." There was hesitation to his voice that sounded odd to her. Deanna froze for a moment. Something was wrong. She attempted to brush his mind and immediately felt him as he blocked her.
"Riker here." The voice repeated more urgently.
"Billy and I are ready to be assigned our quarters now." She stated with professionalism, wishing she had never paged him in the first place. Not wanting to say anything in front of her son, she simply added, "Troi out."
"Mom?" Billy asked as he took her hand. "What’s wrong with dad?"
Will sat in his chair stunned. Billy? The little boy’s name was Billy? Deanna had always referred to him as Bill. Was it a coincidence? Deanna’s name was still Troi? Did she keep her surname? Did she and Wyatt not get married? Were they divorced? The questions flashed through his brain in a matter of seconds.
Picard’s voice interrupted his thoughts. "I suggest you show our guests to their quarters Number one."
Snapping his head towards the man to his left, and gulping down his emotions, "Yes…yes sir." He stood to his feet and walked towards the turbo lift.
In ten forward Deanna and Billy were sitting at their table, Billy was hungry. He hadn’t eaten since they arrived and he was thoroughly enjoying his meal, she smiled at the way he ate. It reminded her so much of his father. Her mind drifted to Will, what was wrong with him? Why was he blocking her? There was something about him that she couldn’t put her finger on.
She looked around the room. There was something wrong, this wasn’t the Titan. This wasn’t even the correct time, the uniforms were different. The people were different, none of them greeted her in their friendly manner. She recognized the crew, yet they didn’t recognize her. Guinan was behind the bar, yet she sensed from Guinan’s look that she knew her and this little boy. This was the Enterprise. How did they get on the Enterprise?
"Counselor?" Guinan said in greeting as she stood at her table.
"I would appear that you are the only one who recognizes me, Guinan." Deanna smiled as her shoulders fell.
"He looks like his father." Guinan said referring to the little boy. He had the federal blue eyes of his father and the strong jaw line of a Riker. His hair was a chestnut brown and there was a stubborn bang that constantly clung to his forehead. His body was small framed, a Betazoid trait for young children. No doubt that by the time he was in his middle teens, his body would take on a sudden growing spurt and he would be just as strong and as tall as his father was.
"He does." Deanna smiled as she glanced at her little boy. "I’m quite proud of that fact."
"Yes, normally you are." Guinan said, she then lowered her voice so the boy couldn’t hear her and added, "But not here…not now."
Deanna gave Guinan a look. Yes, Guinan was right. She for the first time since his birth, wished that Billy could have looked more like her, instead of his father.
The doors of ten forward swished open and Deanna sensed his powerful presence.
Guinan shot a look towards the Commanding officer and then back towards Deanna. "There’s a reason for everything." She slowly turned and walked off nodding once at the commanding officer as she brushed by him.
"Use your napkin, Billy." Deanna instructed her son, trying to control her emotions. The little boy scowled and wiped off the corners of his mouth.
"May I?" she heard his voice.
Deanna slowly looked up and gasped in shock. It was Will Riker, only younger a lot younger. He was clean-shaven, lean, tall and dashingly handsome. His face possessed a rugged charm, that same strong jawbone more evident now without the beard. His eyes were those same eyes that could penetrate into her soul and wipe out all the cares and worries of the day. And then he smiled the most dazzling smile.
"I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you." He apologized in a courteous manner.
"It has been a difficult day." She said. She knew immediately that she mustn’t tell this Will Riker of her Will Riker, and she had to keep Billy’s identity a secret. Apparently they were transported somehow into the past and there was a Prime directive that had to be considered.
"May I?" he gestured with a motion of his hand towards a chair.
"Yes, please." She nervously replied. Billy didn’t recognize his father without the beard, so he sat there silently and cautiously eyed the young officer.
"You’ve changed your hair." Riker said, "It makes you look more mature." He reached out and touched a strand of her straight hair. "I like it." He smiled.
"Can I have desert now?" Billy spat out the question abruptly, his voice jealous. He didn’t like this stranger touching his mom’s hair. But more, he was sure his dad wouldn’t either.
Riker noticed the tone of the little boy’s voice, and gently released Deanna’s hair. He figured he had competition and his face took on a limp smile. This little boy definitely had guts. Riker straightened himself in his seat and nodded an acknowledgment that the little guy had made his point. Riker decided to humor the young man, he wouldn’t touch his mother.
"Billy you have to eat your dinner first." Deanna stated and Riker noticed a motherly tone to her voice, and it touched his heart profoundly.
"Awww… Mom, I ate most of that nasty green stuff."
"Well, I’d say that eating most of that nasty green stuff merits you desert." Will said. "You’ve certainly eaten more of it than I would have preferred to."
Recognizing the gentle playfulness of his voice Billy replied, "You sound like my dad."
"I do?" Riker stated with a raised eyebrow and a lopsided grin. Maybe this kid did like him after all. He quickly smiled over at Deanna, who looked just a little bit too nervous. He wondered why? He studied her for only a second, and she quickly turned her eyes away from him.
"Billy, I’m sure the Commander has come to show us to our quarters." Deanna stated hurriedly, she wanted to get Billy and get him away from Will before the boy could say anything more. She wanted to get Will away from the boy before he put two and two together.
"Can’t I have desert first?" Billy asked innocently.
"You bet you can." Riker offered with a slap of his hand on the table. He raised his arm and flagged Guinan.
"This young man want’s desert, Guinan." Riker stated, "So what do you think we’ve got here? An Ice cream, cake, or a pie man?"
Guinan pondered the question for a moment and then stated casually, "I think he’s his own man."
Deanna shot her a look.
"I don’t like chocolate too much." Billy told Will as if he were revealing a huge secret. "And I really don’t eat desert all that much. I just say that to stay up late."
"Does it work?" Riker whispered across the table.
"It does with dad, but not mom." He admitted. Billy then displayed a wide grin at the memory of his father, "Dad says mom’s a tough nut to crack."
"Ah…You’re father sounds very wise." Riker responded, with the same identical grin.
Deanna noticed the similarities instantly. "Really, we’d better be going." Deanna interrupted and abruptly stood up. "If you would show us to our quarters now, Commander."
Riker stood to his feet, not understanding why Deanna would want to leave so soon. Putting on his best persona of a Starfleet Officer, "Certainly, if you would follow me."
All three left ten forward, Deanna glanced over her shoulder towards Guinan and gave her ‘please don’t say anything’ look. Guinan nodded her head once, she was more than happy to oblige the Counselor.
Will noticed that Deanna was making a special effort to avoid him and it saddened him. He had finally guessed it was because of Wyatt Miller. Deanna wasn’t the type to take her marital vows lightly, so he decided to simply be cordial and stay out of her way while she and her son were on the Enterprise.
Deanna stayed in her quarters mostly, not wanting to interrupt the Prime Directive. She had to figure out a way to get back to her time, to her Will. She attempted to concentrate on a theory that would explain their sudden time shift through space. It was difficult for her to keep a rambunctious, full spirited five-year old boy quiet, especially a little Riker.
"Hey…Hey! Slow down." Geordi grabbed young Billy by the arm as the little boy flew by him in he corridor. "What’s your hurry?" he laughed.
"I can’t say." The little boy struggled, "Ship’s business."
"He is not a weakling." Worf nodded with seriousness.
"I can see that." Geordi laughed as the little boy squirmed to get free.
"Let me go!"
"I will if you promise me you’ll walk, tiger."
"If you don’t let me go." the young lad glared, "I’m going to tell you’re wife, that you never liked her casserole."
If anyone could have seen Geordi’s eyes beneath his visor they would have seen them open with shock. He finally shrugged, deciding to let it go. After all this was just a little boy and then chuckled, "Go right ahead."
"Let me go!" the boy squirmed with all his might.
"What is going on here?" Picard asked with disapproval as he approached the three.
"Our little spit fire was running and I stopped him." Geordi informed his Captain, "Now he’s threatening to tell my wife that I never liked her casserole."
"You’re wife?" Picard asked in amazement.
"Yeah a wife that I don’t have." He looked sternly at the little boy. "And who’s casserole I don’t care for."
"You don’t…you just ate it so she’d go out with you." He insisted. "You always tell that story, and it gets on dad’s nerves. And dad told mom that he was jealous of Worf because Worf was an idiot for seeing mom, and that he said that he was a fat pig headed klutzy Klingon.
"Is that so?" Geordi asked becoming angry with this mouth little boy. He held fast to his little arm.
Worf stiffened up in a true warrior fashion and demanded, "Where is this…" and then growled through jagged clenched teeth, "father of yours."
"Mr. Worf." Picard reprimanded the irritated Klingon.
The young boy focused on Picard and began to spurt something…."You and Beverly…"
Picard jumped, quickly covering the boy’s mouth with his hand. Picard inhaled and exhaled slowly. "Now. Not another word. Do you I make myself clear?"
The pre-school little boy nodded his head.
Picard released his hand from the boy’s mouth.
"Fine. Right." Picard said as he pulled down his uniform top. "May we ask who your father is young man?" He asked attempting to gain control of the situation.
"Captain William T. Riker of the USS Titan." The little boy proudly pronounced his father’s name.
Deanna came jogging down the corridor towards her son, but she could sense that it was too late. Billy had blown their cover, and now she would have to explain.
"Mom!" Billy called out, glad that his rescuer had arrived.
"Well I’ll be damned." Geordi whispered. He released the little boy and Billy took off running towards his mother. Geordi whistled and almost sang his next words, "Congratulations Mister Riker." He laughed out loud, "He’s gonna die."
Worf shot Geordi a look. The thoughts of the Commander calling him a pig headed klutzy Klingon seared through his brain with a fury. "Yes. He will." The big Klingon growled.
Picard stood stunned and speechless.
Deanna had requested to speak to the Captain in private, hoping he would understand the predicament that she and her son were in. He wanted to protect the Prime directive and not influence the future too much, so she only told him basically of her and Will’s circumstances and how their ship had come into a collision course with some sort of anomaly, apparently a portal of some sort.
"You mean to tell me you never married Wyatt Miller, as the Commander believes."
"And in your time, this parallel universe as you call it. You are Commander Riker’s wife and you also serve as that Ship’s Counselor?"
"I see." Picard said, trying to digest all that she was telling him. He inhaled and exhaled slowly, "You’re son, Billy…Was it?"
"Does Commander Riker know? Does he know that the two of you are married? Does he know that he is the actual father of the boy?"
"He doesn’t know that we are married, sir. I haven’t revealed to him that the boy is actually his son. I believe he senses it somewhat and he had wondered about it." Deanna answered, "Although he’s torn in his emotions. He believes that Wyatt Miller is Billy’s father, but he isn’t quite sure of how. "
"He’s not sure of how?" Picard repeated wide-eyed.
"In this timeline." Deanna stood up and stared out through the window, out into the blank black open space. "Commander Riker and I ended our relationship years ago. That’s all that Will knows." Deanna stated. "If he were to do the math so to speak, there would be no possible way that Commander Riker could have fathered my son, nor could Wyatt Miller."
"And what of your current husband in your timeline, Captain Riker?"
Deanna turned around, her eyes full of tears. "He’s out there somewhere." She stated as she wrapped her arms around herself. "He will do all within his power to rescue me and our son."
"Rescue?" Picard said softly as he stood to his feet. "I assure you Deanna, you or you’re son won’t be harmed in anyway."
"I know." She looked apologetic. "I’m just afraid of what could happen if my knowledge of the future…"
"It shall go no further than this room. I give you my word." Picard stated with sincerity, for some reason he felt close to his Betazoid and yet he couldn’t put his finger on it.
"You’re word has always been you’re strongest asset, sir."
Picard blushed slightly. "While you’re here, and until we can figure out of a way to get you back." He clapped his hands together, as if to say this discussion is over. "Would you be interested in a duty, perhaps as ships Counselor?" he asked his eyes sparkled with merriment. "Our current Counselor has taken leave. She…umm…. Resigned."
"Taken leave sir?"
"I would appear that our ship’s crew, made it somewhat difficult for her." He tried not to smile at the memory of the incident, but their previous Counselor was rude, bigoted and possessed an all around nasty attitude. She deserved what happened to her, although he would never admit it to anyone, especially his crew.
When she was on the bridge, Worf would growl and hiss lustfully at her. It scared the poor woman half out of her wits. And during crew evaluations Riker would purposely disagree with everything she said, and what was normally a task that only took three days, would end up taking weeks. Riker and Worf showed up in her office, declaring their undying love for her. They then staged a jealous fight, which only frightened her more of the two men. Both of course were ordered for evaluation and spent endless hours in her office, purposely making her life hell. But the final blow came when Riker ordered her to begin mental therapy sessions with Data. The android strolled into her office and politely stated, "I am here to have my head examined, Doctor." He then took off his head and handed it to her, turned and then casually walked out. The head looked up at her and blinked. She resigned that morning.
"You want me to fill in as ship’s counselor, sir?"
"If you would…you seem to have outstanding credentials."
"I’d like that, I am beginning to get a little stir crazy in my quarters." She smiled. "Could I possibly bring my son to the office with me?"
"Oh yes Deanna. I’d like for you to have your son with you." He said remembering the little boys’ outburst in the corridor, "At all times."
"Send out long range probes." The Captain of the USS Titan ordered. "I want every inch of this space scoured and report to me if there’s anything unusual. Carry on."
Riker turned and stared blankly out through the window, he hadn’t seen his wife or son in nearly twenty hours. "Deanna." He whispered, "Where are you?" he lifted up his hand and placed it flatly against the plexi-glass and leaned forward. One way or another Riker was determined to find his family. The image of their dead bodies flashed through his mind, he prayed silently that they were still alive. He couldn’t live with this uncertainty, he would never survive the unknowing. Yes, dead or alive he would find them. He clenched his fist, and fought the demon of anger and that now urged him to ram his fist through the plexi-glass.
"Hey." Riker said softly as he walked up to the little boy sitting in the green grassy playground of the holodeck. Billy was sitting with his legs brought up to his chest and his arms wrapped tightly around his knees. "I thought I’d find you here."
Billy just looked at him with saddened blue eyes, which penetrated Riker’s soul, and his heart went out to the young boy. Billy rested his head on his knees and returned to his stare.
"Where’s your mom?"
"At work." He shrugged.
"Ah that’s right." He said, "She’s filling in as Counselor isn’t she?"
The little boy simply shrugged.
"Rough day?" Riker asked as he sat down beside the five year old little boy. He brought his long legs towards his body and wrapped his arms around his knees.
The little boy said nothing.
"Oh I see…Ship’s business." Riker said softly. "Can’t talk about it?"
A moment of silence passed between the two.
"Do you have a dad?" Billy asked bluntly.
"Yes…I do." Riker answered dryly. The thought of his own father flashed through his mind, and how much he truly despised the man.
"Do you have a mother?" Billy asked.
"No…she died when I was young."
His answer caught the little boy’s attention and he raised his head and looked at him. "Do you remember her?"
"Not really." Riker said, "I was too young."
The boy suddenly became serious, and his chin began to quiver. "I miss my dad."
"I’m sure you do." Riker said with compassion and then he asked, "Want to talk about him?"
"The longer I stay here the more I can’t remember him. It’s like he’s fading away, and it makes me sad."
"I see…." Riker said, he picked up a handful of grass and tossed it to the side. "Your father’s a doctor isn’t he?" Riker asked, he knew it was wrong to question a child but he had to know for certain if Deanna was married to Wyatt.
"He’s not?" Riker responded a glitter of hope sparkled in his eyes. Perhaps Deanna and Wyatt never went through with the marriage? What if her husband was dead? What if Deanna was a widow now, with a small child? He hated himself for thinking this way, for hoping this way.
"No. I thinks he’s in Starfleet." Billy picked up a handful of grass and tossed it to the side. "But it’s hard for me to remember."
"You remember his name, don’t you?"
"Yeah" Billy shrugged. "I know that he calls me Billy the kid."
Riker leaned towards the little boy and whispered a great secret. "They used to call me that too."
Billy’s eyes lit up for the first time since the conversation began. "They called you Billy the kid when you were little?" he asked in wonderment.
"Sure did." Riker nodded, "Our secret though." Riker said in confidentiality. He made a gesture of zipping his lip with his fingers.
"Can I tell you a secret?" The little boy asked as he moved in closer to the strong first officer. "If I tell you my dad’s name. Will you promise not to forget?" the little boy sighed, "Because what if dad’s dead and I’m too little to remember him? Like the same way that you don’t remember your mom."
"I promise. I won’t forget." He made a crossing motion over his chest.
"My dad’s name is…." The little boy looked from the left to the right and then to the left then he leaned in towards Riker, "William Riker, just like mine."
His eyes grew wide and he gulped hard. This was his son? This little boy was his son? But how? He done the math and it didn’t…. It didn’t add up. There was no way he could be the father. Could he? Was this some sort of sick joke of Deanna’s? Was there another William Riker? He doubted it. Hell he was only thirty-five years old and he had a four-year-old son? A son that Deanna had kept from him. Or worse yet, this was a little boy whose mother lied to about who his father was. Would she do that? It didn’t sound like her but, hell. He had heard that Betazoid women became really queer when they were pregnant?
"Promise you won’t forget?" Billy repeated more sternly for the third time, snapping Riker out of his thoughts.
"Oh I promise." Riker agreed. His eyes held a new determination. "Billy would you come with me for a minute?"
"Where?" The little boy asked confused, "Mom said I could only play here or go to her office when she’s at work."
"Let me deal with your mother." Riker declared his voice determined. "I’ll crack that nut." He stood to his feet and picked up Billy, the boy wrapped his legs and arms tightly around his father’s body. Riker carried him out of the holo-deck. "Computer end program." He said as the door swished open and they exited.
"There IS NO mistake, Will." Beverly said as she read the test padd. "You are beyond a shadow of a doubt Billy’s father." She looked at the wide-eyed Commanding officer and smiled, "Congratulations, it’s a boy."
Riker looked at Billy who was sitting outside of the Doctor’s office waiting patiently. He read the results of the test and stated in shock, "But…but how?"
"How?" Beverly laughed.
"I know how. That’s not what I meant." He snapped. "What do I do now?" he asked urgently.
"I just deliver them, and not once in all my years of medicine has one ever come with an instruction manual." She smiled that smile of someone who had just won the poker game by bluffing. The kind of smile that made him want to shake her until her teeth rattled. He blew out a puff of air and left her standing there.
"You ready?" Riker asked the little boy.
"Where to?" the little boy asked innocently. "Why did we come here?"
"Ship’s business." He lied; the paternity test had been done so quickly and so efficiently that Billy wasn’t even aware of it. "Hold on tight." He scooped the little boy up and straddled him on his shoulders; "We’re going home." He smiled. Riker didn’t realize it but Billy did, he was holding the same way Captain William T. Riker carried his young son to their quarters through the corridors of the Titan.
There was a chime on the door, "Come." Riker said, he already knew who it was before she entered the room.
"Is Billy here?" Deanna asked. "I went to the holodeck and the computer informed me he was in your quarters."
"He’s here." Riker said dryly, turning around walking towards the other room. Riker stuck his head in the doorway of the bedroom and said, "Hey kid you’re rides here."
"Mom!" Billy said with excitement as he ran to greet his mother. "We had a snowball fight, and had to go see Beverly."
"Beverly?" Deanna asked with concern. Her eyes focused on the tall Commander.
"I just took him with me to talk to her, that’s all." Riker said, with uneasiness. "Ship’s business."
Deanna eyed him for a moment, she sensed he wasn’t telling her the whole truth. She decided to ignore it and then turned her focus on her small son. "Have you eaten dinner?"
"Yeah. I ate a horse."
"A horse? My you were hungry." She smiled at the small preschooler and then focused her attention on the Commander, "Thank you Commander for keeping him."
"I didn’t have him that long, no big deal." Riker shrugged. He wanted to lash out and tell Deanna she couldn’t take his son. Tell her it was a big deal.
"Can I stay here longer?" Billy asked hopefully.
"I don’t know." Deanna said hesitantly.
"Sure you can." Riker stepped in and took control of the situation. He scooped the little boy up in his arms. "After all we’re all family on this ship, right?"
"Right." The little boy agreed.
Deanna’s eyes grew wide, and her heart thumped hard in her chest. He knew. Will Riker knew that Billy was his son and he was upset. She suddenly became flooded with emotions of anger and hurt.
"We can stay just a little while longer Billy." Deanna said.
Riker sat the little boy down and he took off running back towards the bedroom.
"How long have you known?" she asked quietly.
"Long enough." he glared.
"Go ahead, Number One." Captain Riker answered from his ready room.
"I think we’ve found something, sir." He heard his first officer report. "You’d better come look at this."
"On my way." And for a brief second a ray of hope filled his heart as he hurried out of the room.
"How long have you known?" Deanna asked.
"That’s why you took Billy to see Beverly? To make sure he was your son?"
"Yeah, to make sure." Riker answered dryly. "I used to be sure of you Deanna. But, now…hell I don’t know what I’m sure of."
"I’m sorry…. I never meant…"
"I know." He interrupted her. "That’s why you kept avoiding me. You always kept Billy under your watchful eye, and took him with you wherever you went. At first I thought you were obsessed with your own son, now I understand why."
"Will it’s not like that." She tried to reason. "We’re not from this universe or this time. Billy and I could go back at any moment, I’m sure Will is…"
"Will? Is that what you call me…Will?" He said his blue eyes glaring, "What ever happened to Bill?"
"It’s complicated. Our whole relationship, it’s complicated."
"Two people procreate, and produce a child. Nothing complicated about that. He’s my son and I don’t give a damn what universe you’re from." He glared, his jaw set. "Did you and I have some sort of affair? Is he my illegitimate son in the future? Tell me Deanna, what else are you keeping from me? How many children do we have? One, two, twenty?"
"Will, please don’t be angry." She implored, "I can explain."
"That’s my son in there. What else is there Deanna? What else have you kept from me because you thought I was too selfish or too consumed in myself to understand?"
"William Riker and I are married in my time. We have only the one child together. Billy and I were on the turbo lift when some sort of interference happened and we somehow transported here."
"And just what in the hell happened to Wyatt Miller?"
"I never married Wyatt."
"You lied to me about Wyatt?" He shook his head in disbelief; "A simple no, or a I’m too good for you would have sufficed Deanna."
"What?" she asked innocently. "What are you talking about?"
He looked at her as if she had just grown a second head. "When I asked you to marry me? You said no because of your contract to Wyatt."
"Will, you wanted me to meet you on Risa, and I said yes."
"So in your time we met on Risa and got married?"
"No, you chose your career. You never showed up on Risa."
"I stood you up?" He asked in amazement. He was still hurt and needed to vent. "Somehow that makes me feel a little better." He glared.
She said nothing.
"Check and mate." He finally spoke breaking the silence.
She pounced on those three words like a bull to a red flag. "You’re angry with me for not accepting your proposal on Betazed. Well I’m angry with you for standing me up on Risa…so we’re even. You’re upset with me for not telling you that Billy is your son? You accuse me of lying to you, when all I’m trying to do is to protect my four-year-old and your sacred Prime directive. You’re so Starfleet. You of all people should respect and understand that, Commander Riker! You are still the William T. Riker that wants captaincy before he reaches the age of thirty-five aren’t you? The William Riker that I married outgrew his pompous, arrogant, smart aleck ‘Starfleet comes first’ attitude years ago. And that little boy in there is all my husband lives and breathes for, unlike like you who dreams only of Starfleet!"
He simply glared at her.
"Will…. Bill…Sir? Commander Riker. Or whatever name you wish to be referred to." She paused for breath and calmed down. "If you were to be offered your own command right now, would you think twice about not accepting it? Would you think twice about leaving me? Or your son? I seriously doubt it."
He walked towards her and grabbed her by the shoulders and brought her to him, what she had said was true. He was angry with her for not telling him about Billy, but now at least he understood why. Deanna stood proudly not at all intimidated by his over powering presence. He moved her head upward so now she had to look at him, "I’d never leave you, Imzadi." He whispered. "Not again."
"Mom?" A small voice was heard in the background.
Will and Deanna shot each other a look and broke away from one another.
"Billy." Deanna said softly as she walked towards him.
"I think you’re my dad, without a beard." The little boy said.
"I think I am too." Riker answered softly.
Deanna Troi suddenly grabbed her head, wincing in pain she fell to her knees. "Mom!" Billy yelped.
"Deanna!" Riker ran towards the Betazoid, her particles began to dissolve.
"Will!" Deanna called out, not sure of what was happening. "Billy…take care of Billy!"
Riker slapped is com badge, "This is Riker. Stop transport! Repeat Abort Transport! Abort!"
In the next instant, pitch-black darkness enveloped them. The Enterprise jolted violently.
"Red Alert! Red Alert!" the computer sounded.
"Dad!" The small boy yelled. "Dad!" he sounded frightened; he suddenly recalled his experience on the Titan. Riker plunged in the dark towards the boy and held onto him firmly. The ship jolted suddenly and slammed both of them against a wall.
"Billy, are you all right?" Riker said still holding the boy.
Suddenly the lights came on and all was calm again. Deanna Troi was gone.
Riker slapped his com-badge, "Sickbay this is Riker. Do you have Deanna down there?"
"No, we’re getting reports from all over the ship. It seems our visitors are dematerializing."
"Damn." Riker cursed. She was gone, he knew it. Deanna Troi was gone; she had gone back to her time.
"Dad without a beard." Billy asked, "Where’s mama?"
Riker looked at his son. Billy was looking at him with eyes that melted his heart.
He embraced his small son. His gut telling him Billy would be the next to leave.
Deanna Troi’s molecules transported to the USS Titan in the turbo lift, her head was bleeding profusely.
"We’ve got her, sir." Traveres reported, "She’s in the turbo lift, section 16, deck 7."
Riker took off running towards the turbo lift, he slapped the door panel and his heart leaped almost out of his chest, there lay his wife unconscience, her head bleeding profusely. He slapped his com badge again and ordered, "Emergency transfer…two to sick bay. Now!"
"Aye sir, transferring."
Both Deanna and the Captain of the USS Titan were shimmering dust as their molecules were transported to sick bay.
Hours later the dark eyed Betazoid slowly woke, her eyes fluttered against the bright lights of sick-bay. Riker was there immediately. "It’s all right, Deanna." Will said softly as he held her hand. "You’re safe now." He took her hand and gently squeezed her fingers. "You’re in sick-bay."
"Will?" she asked, attempting to focus.
"Do you have a beard?" she asked her voice dragging. "Are we married?"
For an instant Riker’s head reeled in confusion before he finally answered. "I do and we are."
"Oh good." Deanna breathed as she closed her eyes, letting out a long sigh.
He chuckled slightly, but it was a nervous chuckle. "You’re not thinking of making me shave again are you?"
"No…." She gave a limp weak smile. "Help me sit up, please."
Quickly glancing over at the Doctor to see if it was alright, Dr. Brandon nodded and Will gently assisted his wife in sitting up on the side of the bio-bed.
"Billy?" Riker asked his voice full of dread, "Where’s Billy, Deanna?"
She sensed his fear and responded immediately to it, "He’s in no danger Will. He’s on the Enterprise."
"With Picard?" There was relief in his voice, "Is that where you two transferred?" Riker voice began to fill with hope; "I’ll send him a subspace message. I’m sure Picard will be happy to get rid of that little spit fire."
"It isn’t that simple, Will. Billy and I traveled back through time. A time on the Enterprise. You were beardless and Tasha…. Was still alive." He helped her stand to her feet. She wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. "He’s safe, Will. He’s with Commander Riker."
"You spoke with….Commander Riker?"
"Yes, except in his time line, I apparently married Wyatt Miller, and never was commissioned onto the Enterprise. He and I broke up on Betazed. He is under the impression that I refused his proposal due to my obligations to mother’s pre-arranged betrothal." Deanna sighed, "He was quite angry with me…. But he poses no such threat to Billy. He, in true Riker fashion will undoubtedly protect Billy."
"I promise you Deanna, we’ll get Billy back." He said as he stroked her hair. "We’ve got to regenerate the transformers again, and within the hour Billy should be home."
"Try to make it sooner, Will." She smiled. "I’m not only saying that because he is our son…I’m saying that because Billy understands nothing of the prime directive or time lines…."
"Do you think he’ll blow the whistle…so to speak."
"He already has…." Deanna smiled almost mischievously. "You should have seen young Lieutenant Geordi LaForges’ face when Billy told him he never liked his wife’s casserole."
"That’s my son." Riker whispered with a proud smile on his face.
"He most certainly is." Deanna agreed. "Guinan recognized me…. And I suppose I should tell you as she told me. "There’s a reason for everything."
"Leave it to Guinan." Riker smiled.
"I’d like to go to go home now, Will." Deanna stated. "I haven’t seen my own quarters in forever."
"Deanna you’ve only been gone for a little over two days."
"Two days?" she asked confused, "But I was on the Enterprise for over two months…."
He lowered his head and closed his mouth over hers, his lips touching her with a passion. She felt herself sag against his body, wrapping her arms around his neck. The kiss deepened and he clasped her buttocks with his hands and brought her closer to him, his tongue probing the inside of her mouth.
"Dad." The voice of a four year old sounded into the darkened room.
Riker quickly released the young female ensign, and whirled around to face the small boy, who was standing clad in pajamas. "Billy." Riker stated, embarrassed at getting caught.
"You have a son?" The young female asked in wonderment as she took a step away from Riker. "Lights." She called out to the room.
The lights immediately illuminated the Commander’s quarters and Billy blinked from its sudden impact upon his small pupils and quickly shielded his eyes with his hand.
"Decrease illumination by thirty-five percent." Riker ordered, knowing that the lights were too bright for the little boy who had just woken up.
"You do have a son!" The girl declared, almost shouting. "Don’t deny it! He looks just like you!"
"And I have a mom who’s gonna kick your butt, when she finds out you kissed my Dad." The little boy sounded, it was apparent that he didn’t care for this young woman pawing all over his father.
"Damn it. Billy." Riker scolded. But his scolding had no affect on the young female ensign. She reared back and slapped the commanding officer across the face. Riker’s head snapped from its sudden impact. His hand immediately went to his cheek and he looked at her wide eyed. "What in the hell was that for?"
"For being married!" She whirled around and stomped out of the room.
"I’m not…." Riker yelled, but she was gone. Riker turned around and glared at the small boy. There was a thick silence between the two as their federal blue eyes locked upon one another. One angry for being interrupted during an intimate moment. The other angry for having to interrupt. Riker was the first to break the stare and he flopped down in the chair. "How many times are you going to do this, Billy?" Riker asked letting out a long sigh.
"Do what?" The boy asked innocently as he walked towards his ‘father’.
"Billy. It’s been over a month since your mother left…. And…. And…. Well, life goes on." Riker explained a little too harshly. Trying to push aside his own hurt from having lost Deanna Troi a second time.
The small boy’s bottom lip began to tremble, as the realization of the fact that his mother may not ever be coming back began to seep into his small mind. "I miss my mom." He said, a single tear ran down his small face. "And my dad, all I can remember about Dad is that he had a beard." The small boy quickly composed himself and address the man in front of him in a formal fashion…just as Riker thought he had been taught. "Commander Riker?" The young boy said, which took Riker by surprise it was the first time the little boy had referred to him as anything but dad since he had discovered the truth.
"Yeah?" It was all Riker knew to say.
"You’re not a dad and I don’t belong here." Billy said, as if the four year old had just discovered a sad truth. "I’m going to stay with Beverly. Mom always liked her, and then I’ll ask her to take me to Grandma Troi’s on Betazed." Billy walked back towards his room, turned, and stated lowly. "She told me that she would always love me, no matter what."
Riker stood dumbfounded for a moment. Then as if the reality had just knocked him upside of the head, he realized that it was true. He was in fact…that which he despised the most…. His father. William T. Riker had become Kyle Riker, only worse…. He had just run his son off…. Not at the age of fifteen, but at the age of four.
Billy came back through the living room carrying a small bag. "Billy?" Riker stated gently. The little boy looked at him with those transparent blue eyes. "I miss your mother too." He admitted. "I loved her, Gods how I loved her. And I guess grown ups act like fools sometimes when they hurt. I thought that if I didn’t talk about your mom, it would help heal my pain of her leaving. But not only did I lose her, because of my stubborn pride. I am in the process loosing you too." Riker fought his own tears and his own demons. It was the first time he had ever been honest with anyone concerning the relationship between he and Deanna. "I can’t lose you Billy. You and I, we’re all we’ve got. I love you, son."
The little boy ran and jumped into his father’s arms and sobbed. He cried because he was scared, he cried because he missed his mother and the only father he had ever known. He cried because Riker admitted he loved him, and he finally felt as if he belonged.
"Dad?" Billy sniffled, wiping away the tears from his face in true Riker fashion using the sleeve of his pajamas. "I’ll help you find a wife…if that’s what you want."
Riker wiped his own face and swallowed hard. "I want you and I to be father and son, Billy."
"Try it again, Ensign." Captain Riker ordered. He quickly glance towards his wife and then back at the console panel in the transportation room.
"I’m sorry sir, I can’t get a lock…."
"Let the system rejuvenate, we’ll resume in a couple of hours."
Deanna sighed out loud; Riker sensed his wife’s frustration. "We’ll get Billy the Kid back, Deanna. I promise…" His jaw hardened and his eyes locked onto hers. "Even if I have to go back and get him myself."
Billy ran through the corridors of the Enterprise at full speed. He had been told on numerous occasions that he was to walk and not run, but today he had a reason to run.
He ran swiftly past Geordi LaForge and Commander Riker, nearly knocking over the junior officer. "What the hell…?" Geordi asked, whirling around all he saw was a three foot blur run past him. "Was that?"
"It sure as hell was." Riker said not believing the speed in which his son was running. He blew a stubborn piece of hair out of his eyes and took off down the corridor after his son, who was apparently headed for the transporter room.
Riker using his long legs as an advantage quickly caught up to the young boy. He had to practically lunge towards him to stop him.
The small boy swung around, his eyes wide with excitement. "Dad…." The little boy whined as he tugged to free himself.
"Hey, hey, what’s your hurry?" Riker asked, he couldn’t scold the boy. It had been along time since he had seen the sparkle in the little man’s eyes, and he didn’t want to take that away from him.
"Commander, please…." Picard stated somewhat irate, as he stood in the transportation room. "Restrain your son."
"Yes, Sir." Riker stood to his feet, picking up the small child and holding him against his chest. Riker’s arms were wrapped around the boy’s waist securely with the little boys back up against his chest. Billy continued to squirm. Billy was like a turtle being held in mid air that was trying desperately to get away.
"Billy…. Calm down…. Stop that." Riker attempted to restrain the young boy, but he knew it was useless. "I apologize, Sir."
"I should have known." Picard rolled his eyes, knowing what the small lad was sensing. "What the hell." He stated with a perturbed tone, "Might as well get this over with. Energize!" Picard ordered.
"Sir?" Riker asked confused. Get what over with he thought.
Billy squirmed, and then suddenly his body became still, as his eyes focused on something that was beginning to materialize on the platform. "Mama." He whispered as the image came into focus.
Riker didn’t have to say anymore, or ask any more questions. Materializing before his very own eyes, was a woman he had spent years trying to convince himself that he didn’t love anymore. Her long dark curls that he had once remembered were now, all placed on top of her head, adorned by a headband of jewels that accented her huge dark ebony eyes.
Stunned by the sight of her, Riker automatically put the boy down and Billy ran towards her.
The young pre-schooler ran towards the new Counselor at a blinding speed. He fell down face first in front of her stumbling over the platform. His clumsiness was fueled only by his own excitement and joy.
"Are you all right?" Deanna asked, as she squatted down beside the little boy, helping him to his feet.
Billy quickly composed himself and flung both of his arms around her neck holding on to her as tight as he could, bringing Deanna to her knees by the little boy’s sudden impact of weight.
Riker gathered his own self and walked over to the two. He watched silently, it was…. It was Deanna…she was much younger…it was the Deanna he had left back on Betazed. Thousands of years of memories began to flood his spirit in an instant…. Emotions poured through him with such force it almost knocked him off of his feet.
Deanna still in a kneeling position, with her arms wrapped tightly around the little boy. It was as if she was sensing the little boy’s delight, and joy. Billy’s small arms were wrapped tightly around her. She glanced up at Will with those huge kitten like eyes and stated calmly. "Well, it’s nice to know someone on the ship is happy to see me."
"Counselor." Picard stepped forward. "I apologize."
"No need to, Sir." Deanna replied with a light tone. At least she was being a good sport in all of this. "It’s a shame we aren’t all greeted with such excitement." Billy was still wrapped securely around his mother.
"Commander." Picard stated in a low voice.
"Yes, sir." Riker stated with a snap of his head towards his commanding officer. He reached out and took the small child prying his small body away from this new arrival to the Enterprise. "Billy…that’s enough."
"Dad." Billy whined as Riker stood the little boy on his feet.
"I see you’ve been busy…." Deanna stated, looking first at the young boy and then at Riker and then back towards the young boy.
Riker gulped hard…." Yeah…. Well…you…don’t know the half of it."
"Commander Riker, if you would escort Counselor Troi to her quarters…" Picard stated, "No…better yet… explain to her just what in the hell is going on. Perhaps she can make some sense of it all."
"I’ll have to go get him…" Captain Riker concluded. "We’ve still people missing and they’re aboard that ship."
"If you go, there’s no guarantee that you’ll come back, Captain."
"If I don’t there’s no guarantee that my four year old son will ever come back." Riker suddenly realized that since Deanna had only been gone for two days, she was under the impression that she had been gone for months. His son had been gone for nearly a week, and in that time line…hell, Billy could be the captain of his own ship by now.
"I’ll set it up for eleven hundred hours tomorrow."
"Fine. I’ll see you then."
The following weeks, Billy spent most of his time with Deanna. He referred to her as mom, and she allowed it, stating it probably made the little boy feel more secure. It if hadn’t been for Billy, Riker would probably be ignoring the Counselor, but because of the little boy, he pushed away his hurts of their break-up and decided to make amends with Deanna.
It was Billy’s idea for Deanna to have Dinner in Riker’s quarters. Both reluctantly agreed. "We’ve still got about seven of the Titan’s passengers aboard. They seem to comprehend the Prime directive and pretty much stay in their quarters…although they seem to be leaving on a random basis. Billy the kid, here on the other hand…. Doesn’t understand anything about Prime directives…and he’s quite a handful at times…. And he…"
"Is a remarkable little boy." Deanna finished Riker’s sentence, as she sipped her tea. "Billy, eat your vegetables, and wipe your mouth." Riker noticed the motherly tone to her voice; it must be some sort of Betazed trait he thought. Betazoids were known for their parenting skills, and they could and would become fierce when it came to protecting their offspring. Apparently Deanna had taken this little boy under her wing from the first time they had met.
"Awww…" the little boy whined. "I hate that green yucky stuff."
"Deanna give him a break…" Riker quickly stepped in defending his son. "He’s eaten most of it."
"All right…no more green yucky stuff." Deanna agreed with a smile. The little boys eyes sparkled with merriment. Riker wondered how she could bring out the life in this little boy, when he himself never had that magical touch with him. "Now little man…. You need to get ready for bed."
"Yeah, me and dad…. We made a deal. Right Dad?"
Deanna watched in amusement as Riker’s face turned six shades of red. "Not now, Billy…" he whispered under his breath.
"Go on…scoot." Deanna said finally. As always coming to Riker’s rescue.
"Tuck me in?" Billy asked the young Betazoid hopefully. Deanna looked toward Riker for permission. Riker nodded in agreement and both Billy and Deanna headed towards the small boys bedroom.
"I see you’ve cleared the dishes." Deanna said as she walked through the archway.
"Yeah." Riker stated lowly. "Is Billy asleep?"
"He’s on his way." Deanna said, glancing back towards the bedroom. "He’s beautiful, Will." She said, and then she smiled playfully. "He looks like his father…you know that?"
"So I’ve been told." Riker said. "But he totally adores his mother. That’s all he talks about. She’s made one hell of an impact on him. I have to say that for her."
"And you haven’t?"
"All he remembers of his father is that he had a beard, and that their names are the same." Riker sighed.
Wanting to desperately change the subject, Riker jumped way into left field. "So…. Thank you for having dinner with us, Counselor."
"It was my pleasure, Commander." She smiled and nodded her head. Riker instantly fell in love with her all over again.
"It wasn’t’ you, Will." Deanna offered, changing the subject as abruptly as Riker had done. "I felt obligated to father…and to the traditions of Betazed. A day before the wedding, Virginia -- that’s Wyatt’s mother." She offered the explanation. "She and my mother cancelled the wedding."
Her statement made him raise his eyebrows to her. "It would seem as though, Wyatt’s heart belonged to someone else." She glanced up at him for only a slight moment. "She and Wyatt were married on the following day." Deanna breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly. "I was happy for the both of them." Then she added with a nervous smile. "And much relieved. I wasn’t quite ready for marriage."
She inhaled deeply and continued. "I spent two years on earth. And I was offered a position to serve as Counselor upon the Enterprise, and I felt as if it was a fantastic job opportunity so I accepted. And here I am." She stood quietly and waited for him to respond, when he didn’t, she added. "I had no idea that when I came aboard I would be greeted by a pre-schooler, who just happened to be my….son." Her eyes suddenly widened, and she gasped. "Oh Gods, don’t tell mother!"
Riker laughed at that. "Are you kidding?" His voice took on a serious tone, "There’s only one thing I know for sure in all of this….I love him…."
Their eyes met and locked. "I lost you, Deanna…On Betazed. That simple refusal of my proposal ripped my heart to shreds, to know that you would be with some one else. Then Billy came, call it a fluke…. Whatever…. He…was the one who helped to mend back the broken pieces…he made me realize that…" his voice trailed off for only a second. "He made me realize that…. That anything was possible. And knowing that you and I are together in another universe, another time and place. And the fact that I have a son…who is named after me, by the way." He stated with a masculine pride. "I guess…. In a way…That makes all the pain seem almost bearable."
Deanna walked up to him and touched the side of his face with the back of her hand. "Imzadi." She whispered.
"Are you telling me there’s still a chance for us?"
"Anything is possible…." She smiled.
Riker placed both of his hands on each side of her face, bending down he gently touched his lips with hers. Much to his surprise she responded to his touch and began to kiss him back. Their lips merged into one as they both became lost in the kiss.
"Dad!" Billy exclaimed from the archway of his bedroom.
Riker broke the kiss and sighed. Deanna laid her forehead on Riker’s chest and he heard her soft laughter, he smiled along with her.
"Billy…." Riker stated lowly, turning his head towards the small boy. "What do you want? A drink of water?"
"No…. It’s Dad!" The little boy was ecstatic. "Dad with a beard!"
"Billy?" And elder version of Riker sounded, his voice mixed with joy and his voice ready to crack from the emotion of seeing his son again.
Deanna and Will turned their heads towards the beam of light…. There stood, Captain William T. Riker, much older…and supporting a full grown beard. He stood with his arms held out, beckoning the small boy to come to him.
"INTRUDER ALERT!!" The overhead computer sounded. "DECK EIGHT…. INTRUDER ALERT!!"
Without hesitation the little boy ran across the room towards the older Riker. The younger Riker lunged out and stopped his small footsteps. He was uncertain, everything had happened so fast. What if it was a trick? How did he know that this was Billy’s real father? There was no way he was going to jeopardize his little boy by taking that chance.
"But dad, it’s Dad…" The little boy tried to explain. Then Billy did something that shocked both of the Riker’s…. He looked at Riker with big blue eyes and stated, "I remember now. He loves me…" The little boy turned and locked eyes with his elder father.
"That’s right, Billy."
"Is mom there?" Billy asked, his voice full of enthusiasm.
"Yeah, your mother’s there."
"What the hell is this?" Commander Riker barked. "How in the hell do I know you’re who I think you are?"
Now the elder Riker stood erect. "Let him go." Captain Riker warned quietly.
"Like hell…" The younger Riker was just as adamant.
"I’ve only got about two minutes before I vanish back into my time, and Billy may be stuck here forever! He’s my son!"
"He’s my son too." The younger Riker said, "And if you want him, you’ll have to move out of that circle of light and kick my ass to get to him."
"I can’t move!" The elder Riker snapped, knowing he was trapped in the halo of light. He also knew that he was at the younger Riker’s mercy.
For once the strong Captain of the USS Titan swallowed his pride. "Neither one of us can argue the fact that he isn’t our son. But, he’s from my time, not yours…. Surely Deanna has explained that to you. He’s only four years old, he’s still practically a baby."
"I am not!" Billy chirped in.
"I’m begging you…. Commander Let him go. If not for my sake, then for his mother’s…. Please, for Deanna’s sake…let our son go."
The younger Riker stood unmoved.
"Riker! You pig headed ass!" the elder Riker sounded, almost desperate. "In about five seconds I’m going to step out of this light, but if my death is what it takes to prove that I’ll do anything to get my son back, so be it."
"Daddy!" Billy tugged, wanting desperately to go towards the elder Riker. "Daddy!"
The elder Riker took a step forward, fueled only by his son’s desperate cries.
"Bill." Deanna interrupted abruptly, clutching Commander Riker’s arm. "Let Billy go…. He doesn’t belong to us…He belongs with him." She stated calmly. "Captain Riker means it. But, he’s willing to die to get his son back."
"It’s still nice to know that you have some common sense Deanna." The elder Riker said, taking a step back inside of the halo of light. "Billy, let’s go home." He stated to the little boy, in a voice that was both gentle and full of love.
Billy responded immediately and ran and jumped into the elder Riker’s arms. Riker held his son with a fierceness that nearly knocked Deanna over from the emotion emitting from the two. The younger Riker noticed as the elder version of himself fought back tears.
Still holding Billy firmly in his arms, Captain Riker looked at Deanna and smiled. His eyes sparkled with mischief and she recognized the familiar facial expression, knowing that he was going to say something witty and quick. "Awww…to hell with the prime directive." He finally said. "I guess I owe you this for taking care of my son. I never stopped loving you, Deanna…. Not once. Just as you never stopped loving me. Don’t let pride and stupidity or…. Starfleet rob you of years fighting that one simple truth…." His eyes gleamed with almost a mischievous charm. "And I always…always…despised that hair style."
Deanna stood in shock, looking from one Riker and then to the other.
The room shimmered with light and Billy and Captain Riker were gone.
"To hell with the prime directive?" Commander Riker said through squinted eyes. "Did I really say that?"
"You hate my hair?" Deanna asked in the same tone of voice.
As if in a dream, he looked down at her and knew he was in trouble. Using quick wit and charm, he asked the only thing that would get him out of the hot seat. "You never stopped loving me?"
"I’d say, he’s no worse for wear." Captain Riker said as he tucked his young son into bed. The little boy was sleeping soundly, in his own ship, and in his own bed. "Lights…decrease by seventy-five percent."
"I’m just glad we’re a family again." Deanna stated, moving a small toy spaceship from the seat of the couch, and placing it on the end table.
"I’d hate to think how much Billy, upset the time line."
"I’m sure young Commander Riker took care of that." Riker said, sitting down beside his wife. "I was rather…Starfleetish back then, wasn’t I?"
"Starfleetish?" She laughed. "That’s one way of putting it."
"I probably upset the time line, moreso than Billy could have ever done."
"How? You were only there for two minutes." Then she looked at him suspiciously. "Will? What did you do?"
"Just stated some facts…."
"The simple fact that I never stopped loving you…." He said, placing his arm on the back of the divan around her.
"Well, I don’t see how that could have upset the time line…." Deanna snuggled in closer to her husband.
Riker’s eye brow rose for only a second. "When I saw you standing there…"
"I was there?"
"Young Lieutenant Deanna Troi. First year as ships Counselor."
"You’re kidding…." She stated in awe. "That means that Wyatt and I never got married, as Commander Riker was lead to believe. Hmmm…I wonder what happened between Wyatt and I?"
"Maybe in anytime line…. You are destined to be with…who you are destined to be with."
"I suppose that’s true." She agreed. "I still don’t see how that could have affected the time line, unless…." She looked at him through squinted eyes. "You told the two of them that they never stopped loving one another."
"Will!" Have you any idea of what you’ve done?"
"I’ve simply put two people together, that belong together…. Counselor." He stated as he reached down and kissed her gently on the lips. "And got rid of a certain bouffant hair style."
"What does that mean?" She asked, pulling her face away from his only to look him in the eye.
"I told her I hated that…that…thing on top of her head." He gestured, trying to explain with his hands. "Of all the hair styles you had, that one had to be the worst."
"And why didn’t you tell me that years ago. This is the first time you’ve voiced it to me." Her eyes flashed in anger.
"Oh come on, Deanna. You were an empath, you had to know I didn’t like it."
"I knew of no such thing." She argued. "You were constantly blocking me back then. Afraid that I would perhaps tap into your sensitive side."
"Are we going to argue over a hairstyle?"
"No…we are not." She stated as a fact. "What is done is done. I just have one more thing to say."
"And that being?" He asked with a huge grin.
"I hated that….that….outfit that you had on….when you spent so much time with...over dominating woman. Remember the ear-ring?" She admitted. "By the way that whole ensemble looked ridiculous."
"I’ll agree to that. Now, score one for the Counselor." He reached out and grabbed her by the waist bringing her down to rest on his lap.
Riker began to kiss her neck. "Time to make up, now."
"All right." She chuckled slightly, giving his full access to her neck.
Riker looked towards his little boy who was standing in the archway of his room. He let out a sigh and he and Deanna smiled at one another. Riker actually missed the little boy’s nightly interruption of his parent’s quiet time. His heart smiled, it felt good to have Billy back in his true form. Although he would never tell the little boy that. "Yeah?"
"Do we still have a deal?"
Riker looked at Deanna confused. She simply shrugged, not knowing what the small lad was talking about. "What are you talking about? What deal, Billy?"
"We made a deal, remember? When you have a girl here, I’m suppose to stay in bed…and if I do…you said you’d take me to the holodeck and we’d have snowball fights."
"Who made that deal with you Billy?" Deanna asked.
"Dad. The one without the beard. He had all kinds of women in his room at night."
Deanna Troi-Riker glared at her husband.
"Different time line, Deanna." Riker quickly sounded, putting both hands up in surrender. His head snapped toward the young boy, and scowled. "No…Billy we don’t have a deal." Then in a scolding voice he warned the little man. "Now go back to bed."
"Good!" Billy said with a smile, not intimidated by this father’s tone of voice. "None of them was as pretty as mom anyway." He turned and walked back into this bedroom.
Deanna bent down and kissed her husband on the tip of his nose. "By the way, you realize your son just saved you from a certain excruciating death."
"That’s my boy." He said, swooping his wife up in his arms, and walking towards the bedroom. "I think I’ll take him to the holodeck tomorrow for a snowball fight."