The Truth Be Told


"Commander William Riker, how do you plead?"

Will Riker stood in front of a high ranking admiral, his jaw twitching nervously. But he dared not let anyone else realize the extent of his nervousness. "Guilty."

Every person in the room let out a shallow gasp. The admiral herself was stunned at his answer. No one was expecting him to condemn himself.

The admiral rang the bell at her side, calling everyone's attention back to the matter at hand. "Commander, you realize that you have just shortened the length of this trial and the waiting period before you are to be sentenced death. However, we will need some witnesses and statements before I pronounce the verdict that the jury will decide on. After all, we don't want to punish an innocent man. Mr. Spanoc, you being the prosecuting attorney may call the first witness."

Spanoc slowly stood and crossed over to the table which Will sat behind. He looked the Enterprise's first officer square in the eye, but Will quickly adverted his. Spanoc's brow wrinkled at the site of Will as he stared at him with open curiosity. "Admiral, I would like to call Captain Jean-Luc Picard to the stand."

Picard paused for a moment before getting up. The last thing he wanted to do was say something that would push Will further into the jaws of death. He stood in front of a security officer and raised his right hand. "Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" God help us all he thought, but nodded a quick response and sat next to the Admiral's desk.

"Captain," Spanoc asked, "What is your impression of Will Riker?"

Picard tilted his head in thought, "I think he is the best officer that I've served with. He's reliable, trustworthy, and I tend to view him as a son at times."

Spanoc eyed him suspiciously, "Reliable and trustworthy Captain? But what he claims to have done seems to prove the exact opposite. Would you use those same words if you described this instance? I think not. It would be foolish to do such a thing."

Picard looked sharply in Will's direction. His look alone conveyed one message: Why did you put me and all of your friends in this position? Most of all, why did you put your Imzadi in this position? Will's response was to look down, ashamed of what the Captain had just secretly told him. He never thought what he did would be taken so seriously, so harshly. How could he have done it? How could he have done it to Deanna? How could he have killed..... A single tear slipped down his cheek. He tried to hold it back, but it openly fell. Picard looked back at the attorney in shear horror of what would happen to Will if he could not get out of this whole circumstance. Picard's face and heart saddened as he thought about Deanna. When he had first heard the news, his heart shattered into a million pieces....he didn't think his first officer was capable of...

"Captain! Will you please answer the question."

He looked up to see Spanoc impatiently tapping his fingers on the desk. "Um...could you repeat it please?"

"I asked if you saw any indications that Mr. Riker was going carry out this abominable act of destruction?"

Picard cleared his throat to stall for time, "Um...I know that he never wanted this to happen, it happened so suddenly. He had mentioned his so called relationship with Miss Troi to me before, but only briefly. He never indicated that he was planning or even thinking this. I thought that they would end up together in the long run.....but of course that has been defeated now."

"Thank you Captain. You may step down. That is, if the defense has nothing to ask?"

The defense attorney, Sandra Tirana stood, "Actually sir, I would like to question the Captain."

She walked to replace Spanoc, "Captain, you have known Commander Riker for eleven years now, correct?" She awaited his response before continuing. "Based on the past principles of Mr. Riker, he would have been more apt to do such a thing. But since he has matured over the years...have you seen a more promising change in his behavior? A change that would and could not provoke him to do this?"

"Yes I have. I never would have guessed him to do this. I didn't know he felt this way toward her. Maybe I could have prevented it otherwise. Actually, I've always sort of picked up on his feelings for her....but they were very mixed and distant. I decided it would be best to not interfere. But I suppose that was the wrong assumption."

Tirana gestured toward the seats. "Thank you Captain, I have nothing else to add."

Picard stepped down and gave Will a squeeze on his shoulder as he passed by. One by one, the rest of the senior staff took the stand and answered much the same questions that their Captain had.......everyone except Deanna that is.

Finally the Admiral spoke, "Commander Riker. You have heard the charges and accusations against you. Even your friends and family are astounded at your act of violence toward a fellow officer and friend. I must say that I join them in their observations....and that the outcome does not look promising. Do you wish to say anything before the jury adjourns to discuss the verdict?"

Will felt like he would be treading water if he said anything. Reluctantly he stood, knowing that it needed to be said. "I.....I'm......I'm sorry." That was all he could get out before his eyes filled with tears at the realization of what has happened and what was to happen.

The Admiral called a recess while the jury decided the fate of William T. Riker. The jury resigned to a small room and they were joined by a Starfleet counselor. They often used counselors in court-martial decisions. It helped give them more insight as to the why's and how's of the circumstances.

One of the men in the room eyed the counselor, "You must be the shrink that's helping us with this case?"

She gave him a cold look, "I am not a shrink. I am a counselor, and yes is the answer to your question sir."

He nodded an apology, "Well, what is your impression on this man counselor?"

She let out a deep breath, "He was uncertain with what he wanted. But now that he has done this....he knows what he wants and would move the universe to get her back. But it does not change the fact of what he has done. He must be punished."

Will Riker stood in front of the Admiral once again. He already knew what was going to happen. Just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, she spoke, "Commander William T. Riker....the jury finds you guilty of loving without letting your heart and true feelings be openly known to the one you love. You have killed the love that you and Counselor Troi have shared over the years, and now, she will no longer trust you and rely upon you as a lover ever again. You are sentenced to remain friends with her for the rest of your life, and nothing more......"

Will shot straight up in bed, sweat was pouring off of his face. It took him a moment to realize that he was not going to be put to death, and that it was all a bad dream. He sat there, thinking about the frightening story that had just played in his mind. It especially struck him hard that the counselor in the dream was Deanna. She protested against him and decided his fate. He stayed like that for an hour and finally decided that it was a message. He got up and dressed quickly. He didn't want to be found guilty. A minute later, he pressed the chime button on Deanna Troi's door. He knew he was waking her up, but he couldn't risk it anymore.

The silence was broken by smiling dark haired and dark eyed Betazoid. "Will, what in the world are you doing here at this hour?"

He smiled back, "I wanted to talk to you. It's time that the truth be told."

She stepped aside to allow him access to her quarters. He entered and she followed behind him, and the doors shut when they both cleared. Will turned and looked her in the eyes. This time he would tell her the whole truth, and nothing but the truth on back to the matter at hand.