Beyond this Life 1/?
Rated: PG
Disclaimer: Paramount owns TNG and all its
characters…but I love to borrow them every now and

Deanna moved through the silken vines, hands grasping
them, pulling them around her like a prickly cloak.
The hot scent of gardenias and Jarel lilies hung heavy
over the jungle, filling her nostrils with the scent
of their flowery perfume, and with the scent of
memories too pungent to bear. It was here, in this
jungle, that they first became lovers. Here, on a bed
of leaves and dirt they came together, loving as they
had never loved before. Their bodies had clung
together with the heat of a thousand suns and the
passion of a lifelong love. Soul mates in every way,
their joining had send them soaring to the heavens,
flying high above the Betazed suns and into a paradise
once only dreamed of.
The memories caught her, holding her in their grasp
just as tightly as the vines, just as tightly as Will
had once held her naked body in his own. He was
everywhere…in the trees, in the vines, in the blazing
sunlit heat…everywhere. She could not escape it, and
yet would give anything if she could, if only for a
moment. It was too painful to remember him, now that
he was gone.
She sat down heavily on a tree stump, staring up at
the cloudless sky, wishing that she could erase him
from her heart. But how could she? After a lifetime
of loving him, it was impossible to truly forget him.
His smile haunted her dreams, his glittering blue eyes
staring into hers as if he were still alive; as if he
were still thinking of her, loving her, wanting her.
Tears filled her eyes for the hundredth time since
Will’s death, blurring her vision to all but the
memory of his face etched within her mind. How could
he be dead? It just did not seem possible. Even after
three months, the truth of it still had not sunken in.
In her heart, she believed that he was still alive,
and as long as she lived, a part of her always would.

Coming back to Betazed to resume her old life had not
removed the idea from her mind…it was as strong as
ever. Here, where they had first loved, she could
cling to the idea that he still lived. As long as
she did not have to face the Captain and crew, as long
as she did not have to see their pain and their pity,
she could believe.
“Oh Will…” Deanna covered her eyes with her hands,
feeling the sobs rise again as reality tried its best
to insinuate itself into her consciousness. He was
dead…he must be. She did not feel him within her mind
any longer; had not felt him since that day…that
horrible day when his shuttle blew into a thousand
pieces in front of her eyes, tearing a hole through
her soul. She’d screamed that day…long, high, and
loud…a scream of desperate denial. But it had not
brought him back. Nothing could bring him back.
Nothing except wandering around the Jalara Jungle,
pulling her memories around her for warmth…they were
now all that she had.
Here, with her memories, she could pretend that he
was still alive. That he was on a mission far, far
away from Federation space. She could pretend that
the mission was so secret that he must stay
incommunicado, unable to send or receive messages.
She knew that it was a game, intellectually, but
emotionally it kept her grounded and sane. It was all
she had. “Where are you now, Imzadi?” she murmured,
scanning the darkening sky.
Nightfall was coming slowly, casting shadows of tree
limbs upon the jungle floor, and she had the sudden
urge to curl up within the nest of vines at her feet
and drift into sleep. Well, why not? It wasn’t as
though her Mother were expecting her. Lwaxana,
against her better judgment, had left for Talis V on
an Ambassadorial conference. She would not be back
for a week or more. She would never know that her
daughter was spending the night in the dark heart of
the forest, with only the vines, trees, and insects to
keep her company. She would never know that her
daughter was seeking the man she loved in the realm of
dreams, in the one place that had held both of their
hearts. She need not know. Just as she need never
know that since Will’s death, Deanna had been slowly
dying as well, a little bit at a time. Each day the
will to live slipped away, leaving her empty, her life
a meaningless series of days to be endured.
Crouching on the jungle floor, Deanna grasped a pile
of vines and wrapped them around her slim body,
curling on her side like a child readying herself for
bed. Her large black eyes still shimmering with
tears, she looked up at the heavens again, watching as
the suns dipped beneath the horizon, only to be
replaced by blazing white twin moons.
As she lie there, she sought his face within the faces
of the moons, wishing that she could see him again, if
only for a moment. “Imzadi…what am I going to do
without you?” she whispered, and then fell to sobbing
again. The sounds of her agony rose above the trees,
catching on the wind, flying to a destination so
distant, she herself could never have imagined it.
And when they reached it, the man heard them. The
sobs broke his heart, filling his chest with a painful
ache…and he knew the greatest pain of his life. The
pain of knowing that she was hurting, and being
completely unable to do anything about it.


Part 2/?

A high-pitched, keening wail tore through the skies,
through the clouds, up into a place that existed in a
hidden realm. Behind an invisible veil, were those
who had lived before, those who were now considered
“dead” by their loved ones back on their homeworlds.
Will Riker was among them, listening to the horrible
sounds of his Imzadi as she cried out for him…as she
grieved the loss of his life. If only there were some
way to let her know that he was all right.
Will moved over to a gleaming golden bench and sat
down, staring at the endless vistas before him.
Everything was beautiful here. Perfection personified.
There were no bad days to deal with, the weather was
constantly sunny and gorgeous, and everyone was filled
with a loving, peaceful acceptance. Everyone but him.
The others seemed able to let go of their loved ones
back on Earth or other planets, somehow when they had
shed their corporeal bodies they had also shed the
need to stay connected to those they’d left behind.
But for Will it was different. Each and every day that
he’d been here, he spent the hours dreaming of Deanna,
and trying with all his might to contact her.
Summerland. He supposed he should be thrilled to be
here. His Mother was here, after all, and on his
first day he’d seen her. It had been one of most
wonderful, poignant moments of his life; one that he’d
ached for since her death. But although he was
grateful to share this brilliantly beautiful afterlife
with his Mom, he still felt the ache of being
separated from his Imzadi. “I should be with her. She
needs me…”he murmured, laying his head back against
the bench, staring up at the endless violet clouds
“But then you wouldn’t be here, and we need you as
well, Mr. Riker.”
The voice startled him, and he jumped in his seat.
“What? Who are you?”
“I am a friend, Mr. Riker. May I sit with you?” Will
nodded, looking around for the person attached to the
voice, and finally saw a tall man come from behind him
to sit upon the golden bench. He smiled at Will, and
seemed to glow from within. He was lovely, if a man
could be said to be lovely. “Are you an angel?” Will
asked, staring at him .
“Not exactly, my friend. I have been here for several
thousand years though, and am preparing to move up to
the next level of existence. One of pure thought. I
will leave this body behind and become one with the
millions of minds and spirits that inhabit the upper
realms. Oh it will be joyous, Mr. Riker. Simply
joyous.” His bright green eyes glittered with
excitement, and Will felt envious of his obvious
acceptance of his current state of being.
“I’m…happy for you, Mr.…?”
“Ellsworth. Anthony Edward Ellsworth. But what are
names, really? What truly matters is what is inside
the heart. Tell me, Mr. Riker….why do you not take
pleasure in being in Summerland? Your life is over,
there are no bodily aches and pains to deal with…and
here you may pursue anything your heart desires
without limitation. Everyone who arrives here is
overjoyed to have finally made the journey home, but
you, my friend, seem anything but happy to be here.”
“You’re right. I wish I could be happy. I mean, it’s
beautiful here. I can have anything I can dream up,
live anywhere I wish, see old relatives who have died
before me. And yet I’ve never felt so empty in my
“It’s a woman, isn’t it? A woman you’ve been forced
to leave behind on Earth.”
“Betazed, actually. The woman I love lives on a
planet called Betazed. It’s where we…met many years
ago. God, she loves it there. Or at least she used
to. But ever since I died, I hear her crying,
screaming, wailing long into the night. She is
devastated and I can feel that she does not want to go
on. I’m afraid, Mr. Ellsworth. I’m afraid my Imzadi
is going to…end her own life.”
The older man looked at Will intently, the wrinkles
on his elderly face softening into gentle folds as his
thin lips pursed in thought. “I see. This is not the
usual situation, Mr. Riker. Normally, once people have
made the transition they are unable to hear their
loved ones who are still alive. That you are able to
hear this woman, it is amazing. It speaks of a bond
that is much stronger than anything I’m personally
familiar with. You said a word in regards to this
woman…Imzadi I believe. Would that have anything at
all to do with your bond?”
Will’s eyes teared briefly and he forced a smile.
“Yes. Deanna and I are…I mean we were Imzadi. The
word has many meanings, but mostly it means that we
are eternally connected, that we were the first person
to touch the other’s soul. It also means beloved, but
that is such a small word for what I feel for Deanna.
It doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
“I see. Your situation is most unusual, Mr. Riker.
I wonder…” he looked off into the distance, watching a
crowd of children dressed in white cartwheel through
thigh-high bright green grass. He stared at them for
a moment, pondering, and then turned back to Will.
“Have you attempted to contact your Deanna, Mr.
“Yes. I’ve been able to enter her dreams, but that’s
the only contact we’ve been able to have. It’s
wonderful, but in the morning she wakes up and forgets
everything that happened between us. It’s like
hell….every night I go to her, hold her in my arms,
tell her how much I love her, and every morning she
forgets it all. All she knows is that I’m dead, that
I’m not coming back. And it’s killing her. I could
sense her thoughts briefly a few moments ago, and I
know that she’s…she’s losing the will to live.”
“Then it seems the situation is more serious than I
thought. Mr. Riker, I have an idea, but I’ll need you
to come with me…there might be an answer to your
Will cocked an eyebrow and stood, adjusting the soft
blue robes that covered his massive body. “Really?
What kind of answer? If there were a way to contact
Deanna, I’d go anywhere, do anything. Just tell me
what I have to do.”
Mr. Ellsworth stood up as well, smiling gently. He
motioned to a dome-shaped building in the distance and
said, “All right. But there are no guarantees. Tell
me, Mr. Riker, have you ever been to the Hall of
“No, should I have?”
“Not necessarily. You haven’t been here very long.
Not long enough to have decided to reincarnate,
anyway. At that point, most people go to the Hall to
read what they have planned for the next life, and
then they enter a new body, beginning the life cycle
all over again.”
Will felt as though the wind had been knocked out of
him. “You…you mean that I could choose to live again?
To go back and be with Deanna?”
Ellsworth smiled and shook his head sadly. “Not
precisely, my friend. You see, if you were to
reincarnate, you would enter the body of a newborn
child, and then life a whole new lifetime. I’m afraid
that your Deanna would be far older than you, perhaps
even dying before you had a chance to grow into a man
“Then there’s no way that I could go back and be with
her? No way that I could enter the body of an adult
male and resume my life?”
Ellsworth stood stock still, his face freezing in
mid-frown. His elderly body swayed in the gentle
breeze of the sugar maples, and Will touched his arm
briefly, to keep him aloft. “What you are asking….it
has been done before. But…I do not recommend it. It
is a dangerous process, Mr. Riker. One that is fraught
with difficulty.”
“What kind of difficulties?”
Sighing, Ellsworth moved along the path toward the
Hall of Records with Will in tow, shaking his head as
he spoke. “For one thing, taking over the body of
another being is morally questionable. It is, after
all, his life you would be taking over. Not to
mention the danger of getting lost within the other
person’s body if they are a strong enough personality
to take over once they’ve been entered. You could
literally find yourself living in another man’s body,
but unable to use the faculties of it. No one would
know that you were there. It would like being trapped
inside someone else’s mind for the length of a
lifetime. Can you imagine it?”
Will shivered, imagined being trapped inside the body
of a stranger, unable to live a life, to let Deanna
know he was there.
“And then, Mr. Riker, there is the worst hell of
all…imagine you have successfully integrated yourself
into an unsuspecting male body. You go to this
Betazed you are so fond of in search of your Imzadi,
and there she is…only she doesn’t even recognize you.
You have a different face, different body, different
voice, perhaps even a different race, and to her you
are a stranger.”
“But Deanna would know me. I could tell her certain
things that only she and I shared, things that no one
but the two of us could possibly know. I could
convince her that it was me…couldn’t I?” The prospect
was so tantalizing that Will didn’t want to let it go.

“I’m not certain my friend. But to be brutally
honest, I think that what would likely happen is that
you would try your best to convince her of your
identity, and she would think that you were either a
mad man or someone out to play games with her. You
could end up doing more harm than good, Mr. Riker. If
this Deanna of yours is in anyway feeling suicidal at
the moment, seeing a stranger playing the part of her
dead loved one could push her directly over the edge.”

“Oh God, I never thought of that.” Will moved along
the path, staring up at the shining white building
before them, his mind furiously turning over and over.

“Most people don’t. I certainly didn’t…”
“You mean…you’ve tried to do this yourself?”
A shake of the head was his answer. “Mind you, I was
very stubborn, very determined. I was going to have my
way or nothing. But I can tell you now that it was the
worst thing I could have ever done. No one believed
me. No one understood. No one that I had loved was
willing to accept me or be in my life. It was a lonely
existence, Mr. Riker. One that I would not wish to
Will nodded, looking at the man speculatively. “I
have to admit it doesn’t sound great. But what
alternatives are there?”
“Follow me and we’ll find out.”
They walked through a massive silver door into the
globed building, and Will craned his neck trying to
glimpse the ceiling. It was so high above them that it
seemed to reach forever, and he finally looked down as
he felt his neck tense. Rubbing it briefly, he
followed the old man through tall stacks of books and
records, wondering why they were here. Was there
really a way that he could contact Deanna? And if so,
how? Questions tickled the back of his brain, and he
felt filled with an energetic, impatient, excitement.
“What are we going to do here, Mr. Ellsworth?”
“Come with me, young man. We are going into the
rooms at the end of the hall…”
Will nodded, continuing to follow him, and realized
the hall was the easily the length of three football
fields. The walk was endless, but he did not tire,
instead each footfall filled him with strength. He
felt closer to Deanna than at any other time since his
death, and was sure that the mystery to reaching out
to her lie somewhere in this ancient building.
At last they reached the end, and Ellsworth withdrew
a golden key from the pocket of his flowing white
robes. Sliding it into the wooden door’s keyhole, he
pressed the door open and walked inside. Will gaped
at the size of the room. It seemed to go on and on
forever, with no beginning and no end. A massive
table sat directly in the center of the room
surrounded by large chairs. On the tabletop were
tomes the size of small shuttlecrafts. Ellsworth took
a seat and began to leaf through one of them, one
crackling yellowed page at a time.
Sitting next to him, Will stared at the pages, trying
to read what was written there. But it seemed to be in
another language. “What does it say, Mr. Ellsworth? I
can’t make it out?”
“You will learn the languages of the universe during
your stay here in Summerland, Mr. Riker. Have no
worries of that. Allow me to peruse this volume for a
few moments and I will tell you when I find what it is
I am looking for.”
“All right.”
There was nothing to do but wait. Will was dying to
know what kind of secret the man was going to unearth
from the old book, in fact his old stubborn impatience
rose to the surface and he fought the urge to tear the
book from the man’s hands and read it himself. But
that would be useless. He couldn’t read it anyway.
Blowing out a breath, Will closed his eyes, and
thought of Deanna. Her beautiful face torn with grief
as she cried at his memorial service, the river of
tears scalding her cheeks when she watched his shuttle
blow to pieces, the sound of her sobs carrying on the
wind as she wept away the nights since his death. It
was killing him. He loved her, he wanted to take away
her pain. Ellsworth had to find something that would
help him reach her. He just had to…
“Ah…Mr. Riker I seem to have found what I was looking
Excited, Will yanked his mind from his musings and
stared at the unintelligible words before him. “What
have you found? What does it say? Can I contact her?”
“Now now, I know you are excited Mr. Riker. But give
me a moment to translate this for you…it is a slow
process reading an ancient language and making it into
something that you can understand. Ah, yes, all
right. I’ll begin here….”
<<Oftentimes one will make the journey home, leaving
a beloved behind. Most souls are unable to contact
those left behind, and will come to accept the
separation in time. However, those who are unable to
do so will roam the lands of this life forever unable
to progress to the higher levels. They will stagnate,
they will not grow. They will eventually have nothing
left to offer anyone accept their own bitterness and
regret. This must not happen. If such a soul is in
jeopardy, they must be given an opportunity to contact
those left behind. Oftentimes this contact is what is
needed in order for the soul to let go of the lost
life and move on to a new, joyous existence.
In order to do so, three things must occur. First,
the soul must consult the records of his loved one to
make certain they are not scheduled to cross over any
time soon. If the loved one is in fact scheduled to
make the journey within a few months or years, then
contact will not be permitted. Contact with the other
world is draining and often dangerous, not to be
undertaken lightly. Such risks will be avoided if at
all possible, and given that the soul will see his or
her loved one soon in this instance, there should be
no attempt to make contact. Second, the soul must
undergo testing to be certain that they are
spiritually and emotionally strong enough to handle
the contact. If their minds are fragile or they have
been unable to accept the fact of their death, then
allowing them to contact the other world can be
extremely dangerous. Their minds and souls could snap,
causing them to be nothing more than a wraith, doomed
to roam Summerland’s lowest depths for all eternity.
Third, and most important, the soul must have a
genuine desire to help the loved ones left behind. If
their motives are selfish or intended to cause the
pain of another person, then he or she will be
banished to the lower realms and will be required to
work their way back to this level. This often means
that when their loved one finally dies and crosses
over, they will never see them because they will exist
upon different realms.
If the soul in question is willing to abide by these
conditions, then they may attempt contact. >>
Will listened intently, then sat back in his chair,
staring at Ellsworth. “They don’t make it easy, do
“No, Mr. Riker they don’t. But as you can see, there
are good reasons for making the conditions so
stringent. We do not wish to harm anyone’s soul during
this process.”
“Well, when can I get started? I want to do this, Mr.
Ellsworth. And I don’t care how hard it is or how long
it takes. I love Deanna and I can’t bear to have her
grieving for me. She isn’t living her life, she’s
wasting away. I’m afraid she’s going to do something
stupid…and I…oh God, I just couldn’t live with myself
if that happened. Please, will you help me do this?”
The man studied Will carefully. He listened to the
love and pain beneath Will’s words, and he sought to
sense if there were anything selfish about his
“Mr. Riker, I must admit that I do not sense anything
duplicitous in your heart about this decision. I can
tell that you truly wish to help your Deanna, and I
would like very much to help you.”
“That’s great. When do we get started?”
The green eyes darkened and the elderly face grew
serious. “I can see that you are intent upon doing
this, Mr. Riker, and I do not mind helping you. If it
makes it possible for you to grow and move above in
the higher realms, then I would consider it an honor.”
“But there is one thing that causes me to hesitate.”
He sighed softly and closed the book, looking Will
square in the eye. “Mr. Riker, this isn’t going to be
easy for me to say, and yet it must be said if you are
to undertake this proposition. If the contact is
successful, it just may be the most joyous moment of
either of your lives. It could very well give your
Imzadi the strength and will to go on with her life,
to live it fully. However, if she is already
depressed, if she is at all suicidal, then seeing you,
however briefly, could push her over the edge. It
could cause her grief to deepen, could even cause her
to question her sanity. What I am getting at is that
she could very well take her own life…and if that
happens, then I guarantee that you will never see one
another again—on either side of the grave.”
Will felt a horrid chill flood his bones. “Why? I
mean, I pray that Deanna would never do something that
stupid, but if she did…wouldn’t she just end up here
with me?”
“I’m afraid not, Mr. Riker. She would,
unfortunately, end up in the lowest realms of all,
with no chance whatsoever to rise to your level. You
would spend eternity apart, and your Imzadi would
spend hers just as devastated and miserable as she is
right now.”
“That’s horrible! I don’t understand. You mean even
death wouldn’t be a release for her?”
“Not if it came by her own hand. A suicide will
spend their afterlife haunted by what they’ve done.
They will exist in a morbid state of endless
depression, never to attain the heights destined for
their souls at birth. It is terribly sad, Mr. Riker,
and yet it is a reality. I think you should know this
before you make this attempt.”
Will covered his face with his hands, feeling a
sudden prick of scalding hot tears fill his eyes.
Ellsworth rested a gentle hand upon his back and
patted it, allowing Will a moment to deal with the
onslaught of emotions that his words had brought.
“Can I ask you a question,” he said minutes later
when he’d gotten himself under control.
“What would you do if you were in my shoes?”
“That, my friend, is a very good question. I cannot
make this decision for you, and you should not make it
based on anything I would do, but I will say that if
the situation were dangerous, if my loved one were
intent upon self-destruction and I knew that seeing me
could turn things around…then and only then would I
make the contact. You must think about this
carefully, Mr. Riker, because once your decision is
made, there is no going back.”
Will nodded, biting his lip, and then turned to stare
out of the tall glass windows behind them. He could
see Deanna again. He could let her know that he was
still alive, that he still loved her and always would.
He could even save her from an act of desperation if
her grief got to that point. But…he could also put
her carefully balanced mind out of balance, tossing
her from depression into despair. He could
inadvertently cause her to take her life, and in doing
so, ensure that she would never have the peaceful,
loving, wonderful afterlife that she deserved. Not
only that, but they may never see one another again.
Closing his eyes, he murmured, “God, tell me what to
Ellsworth patted his shoulder comfortingly and rose
to his feet. “And He will, Mr. Riker. You have but to
listen to your own heart. It will tell you what the
right decision is.”
“Are you…leaving?”
“I’m afraid so. I must attend a meeting of the
musician’s guild. We are giving a concert tonight.”
“But what about Deanna’s records? I have to read them
if I want to contact her.”
“I know, my friend. I suggest that you sit here for
awhile and make your decision. Then you may go into
the main part of the Hall. Ask one of the guides who
work there to retrieve the records for you and they
will be happy to help.”
Will felt suddenly bereft. In the past hour or two
he’d come to depend upon Ellsworth’s knowledge to help
him with his journey…could he really go on without
“Oh don’t fret, Mr. Riker. I will still be here. I
am not scheduled to leave for the higher levels for
many more months…until then, we seem to be sharing
Summerland together. If you need my help, all you have
to do is think of me and I will appear by your side.”
“I don’t know what to say Mr. Ellsworth. Thank-you so
much for your help. For everything.”
“You are most welcome. I have to admit to being
intrigued by your situation. Do let me know what you
decide to do, all right?”
“I will.” Will started to rise from his chair, but
the old man shook his head.
“There is no need to rise. Stay, think about what
we’ve discussed, and then make the decision you know
is right. That’s all you have to do, Mr. Riker.”
Will started to say goodbye, but in seconds the tall
shape of Mr. Ellsworth was a memory, as light and
flimsy as gossamer wings.
“God, what am I going to do?” he whispered, seeing
Deanna’s precious face in his mind. And then, he
heard another wail, a painful sound that tore through
his soul, slicing it in two with the intensity of its
pain. “Deanna…Imzadi….don’t cry,” he whispered,
feeling the tears fill his eyes again. But it didn’t
stop. The mournful sound echoed in his mind until he
thought he’d go mad. Tears filled his eyes, rolling
down his cheeks in waves, and he lay his head upon his
arm on the table, sobbing his heart out.