Authors Note: Im usually not good at updating chapter stories on a regular basis, but since I have this one pretty much mapped out already I dont feel I should have too much of a problem updating regularly. However, I will be moving back up to school (college life, wahoo!) in two weeks, I ask that you be patient with me while I find time to update. Thank you. Also, if anything is spelled wrong or descriptions a bit off, if you want correct me (I appreciate it!), and please bear with me on this. Thank you.
- Torn -
Deanna sat next to Beverly in Ten Forward as they listened to Will play his saxophone. He had recently mastered another brand new tune and wanted to show it off, for all who would listen. She gave him an encouraging smile as he continued to play and somehow she felt that he was playing for her.
After the recent attacks on the Enterprise from the Romulans, Will and Deanna had gotten closer than they had ever been before. Will had almost died during that attack and Deanna told him she loved him and only him, no matter what had happened in the past or what would happen in the future. He had heard her, even in his unconscious state, after he awoke he told her so, and that he still felt the same.
Deanna bent her head down to hide her smile, she was happy with Will. They were enjoying their time together and she believed that the years they had spent apart had been good for them. Will finished off his piece and the room exploded with applause. He set down his saxophone, took a bow, and headed off to join Deanna and Beverly.
Well done, Will, Beverly complimented.
Thank you, he replied sincerely, he turned to Deanna, Well what did you think?
Deanna hid her smile, Not bad.
Not bad? he asked in his usual tone of playing hurt.
Well you certainly have done better, She said, returning the playful tone. She stood up off of the stool and took his hand, turning to Beverly she said, Would you excuse us, Will owes me a chocolate sundae. And she led to Will to their usual table.
I owe you a chocolate sundae? He said, as if surprised.
One chocolate sundae coming up, Guanian said, walking by, a smile on her own face.
Deanna almost chuckled at Wills sincere look of stunned surprise, but deciding that she had insulted him enough for one evening, she held it in. Guanian handed them a large chocolate sundae. Thank you, Deanna drawled out.
She scooped up a large spoonful of sundae and held it out to Will, he opened his mouth to say something and Deanna shoved it in. Wills eyes bugged out at the amount of ice cream she had shoved in there. Deanna laughed at his expression and Will chocked out, Cold!
Will wiped his mouth off with a napkin and when he regained his composure he said, Tomorrow the captain wants you and I to evaluate all the new personal coming on board.
How does this relate to ice cream? Deanna asked, frustrated that he could bring work into it.
Because tomorrow we were going to-
Oh! we had plans tomorrow! Deanna said, I had completely forgotten.
Will raised an eyebrow, You forget something, especially something as that?
Deanna shrugged, Ive been so busy going over new personal and crew files Ive hardly had time to think about anything else. There are so many new ones coming aboard this time.
Will bent his head and spooned out a small bit of ice cream and fed it to Deanna before saying, Yes, the attack by the Romulans left us rather short handed.
I suppose that means Im going to have to pull an all nighter to finish going over all these new files.
Will smiled and spooned out some more ice cream, May I join you?
If you join me, I will never get anything done, Deanna protested and laughed as he fed her again, and then suddenly she froze, her eyes grew large and simply stared over Wills shoulder.
Deanna? Will asked, his heart jumping to his throat at the sight of her. She looked shocked and she was staring at something over his shoulder, he turned around and he too froze.
Staring at back at them, his face filled with a mixture of hurt and anger, was Thomas Riker.
Deanna stared, her heart pounding in her ears. She stood up, Will let go of her hand, and she simply stared, in shock, at Thomas. Thomas turned to leave and Deanna cried out, Wait! Deanna ran after him, Tom, wait!
Tom turned and spit out, in anger, What for?
Will came walking, slowly up behind Deanna and Tom cast him a glance of anger and despise. Deanna turned and glanced up at Will before focusing back on Tom. Please give us a chance to explain.
Explain what? He snapped and then he turned and stalked down the hall.
Tom! Deanna cried, but Will grasped her shoulder, Let him go, he whispered, Give him a chance to cool down.
Deanna turned and stared at Will, Come on, he insisted, let me walk you to your quarters. They were silent as they walked.
I dont think you should stay here tonight, Will, Deanna said, once they entered her quarters.
What, why? He paused, Because of Thomas?
Well, yes, Deanna replied, Will, I just dont want to hurt him.
Well, Id say its a bit late for that.
Deanna looked up at Will and saw Toms haunted face, Will, I-
Will pulled her close and Deanna shivered, not from cold, but from the anticipation of what he might do. Deanna its you and I its always been you and I. He never even came into your life until-
You forget you two were the same person up until ten years or so ago. He has the same memories as you up until that point. He remembers falling in love and spending time with you, just as you do.
Yes, but, Will interjected, He doesnt have the time that weve spent together in recent years. The time on the Enterprise, all the missions weve done together, the many near-death experiences, he doesnt have those.
Yes, Deanna said, pulling herself out of his arms and walking towards the couch, she saw the photograph of her and Will taken just a few days ago by Geordi when they were having a birthday party for Beverly in Ten Forward. They looked so happy and they had been happy. Happier than Deanna could remember being in many years. But it doesnt change his feelings.
And yours? Will asked, suspicion in his voice.
She turned to him, To me, you are William T. Riker, Commander and first officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise. She paused, looked away, and then looked back at him, tears in her eyes, And the man I fell in love with.
Will reached out to her but Deanna turned away, Will, you have no idea how hard it is to separate my feelings between the two of you. I mean there are parts of you that are best expressed in Thomas.
Will took a step towards her and paused, What do you mean?
I remember when we first started seeing each other, how romantic you were. That was lost in you somewhere down the road but Thomas hasnt lost that. Experiences have made you different and now I feel stuck in between.
What are you saying, Will asked and Deanna could sense his fear. He was afraid. Afraid that she was going to leave him, leave him for Thomas.
Deanna turned back to face him, Will, I want to be with you, I always have and that hasnt changed. I think though, that while Thomas is aboard, we should keep things simple.
Platonic, you mean, Will remarked, a slight sour note to his comment.
I dont want to upset Thomas, besides I need to speak to him about this, about us. Help him to understand.
Deanna, I- but feeling as if he couldnt win the argument he changed his mind, Alright. You win, as always, but Deanna, be careful.
Deanna gave a nod of her head and Will bent, kissed her forehead and left her quarters. After he left Deannas knees gave way and she sank into her couch, sobbing.
Why did you not tell me? Will yelled.
Dont take that tone with me, Number One, Picard scolded.
Sorry, sir, Will said, the shock of his double coming on board was going to his head.
Picard came around his desk, to face Will. He had come in the captains ready room, demanding answers as to why he wasnt notified of Thomas Rikers arrival and why he wasnt on the new crew list. I wasnt even aware he was coming aboard until the admiral brought him along.
The admiral? Will was surprised. Admiral Backlard had recently transported on the Enterprise because he had a mission for them, one he had not briefed them on yet.
Yes, Picard continued, During my private meeting with the admiral, he expressed wishes to transport another passenger onboard the Enterprise and this passenger didnt want any ceremony. In fact he wanted only the Admiral, transporter chief, and myself in the transporter room.
Thomas didnt want anyone to see him, why?
He told me he wished to surprise yourself and Councilor Troi.
Well we certainly were surprised, Will remarked, We were down in Ten Forward... he drifted off and then gave the captain a look, together.
Picard gave Will his own look, one of mischief, surprise, and understanding, I see. He gave a short pause, Will, I know about you and Councilor Troi. Why, I doubt there is a person onboard this ship, civilian or officer, who isnt aware of your relationship with Councilor Troi.
Will gave a huff and a small smile, the classic Riker smile, So what does Admiral Backlard have in mind for my double?
I am not sure, Number One, but you can bet that it involves you as well.
Deanna stood outside Thomas Rikers quarters, unsure if she should ring or not. She had finally managed to quiet her nerves and anger by indulging in two chocolate ice cream sundaes and a chat with herself.
Despite the fact that she knew that Thomas and Will were the same person up until a certain point in their lives, but she still had a hard time accepting that there were two identical Will Rikers out there.
She knew that up until a certain point they were the same person, but separating them was hard for her, and many others, to do. It was mind boggling and giving her a headache. Deanna sighed and pushed the button. She heard Wills, no Toms voice, answer, Enter.
Deanna took in a deep breath as the doors opened. Tom stared at her from the sofa and finally stood up, Deanna.
Deanna walked in and waited for the doors to shut before speaking, Hello, Thomas.
If you will allow me to explain, Deanna requested.
Thomas walked around the table and towards the restroom and turned back and walked towards her, slowly, and finally he said, What is there to explain?
Tom, Will and I-
I know, I know, he said, turning away and walking towards the couch, to you he is the REAL William T. Riker, not I.
Its not about-
Yes it is, Thomas yelled, spinning around to face her, Its always about him! To you, Im nothing but a replacement, a substitute for-
How dare you say that Deanna snapped, raising her voice for the first time, anger and hurt welling up inside of her, I never used you, she said, slowly regaining her normal voice tone, I cared for you, not as William T. Riker, but as Thomas W. Riker. You and Will shared the same experiences for most of your lives and it was only until you were separated, copied, that you became different. You are two different people and those experiences you had once you separated made you two different people.
Thomas finally calmed down a bit, Im sorry, Imzadi.
Deanna shuddered at his use of the word Imzadi. Thankfully she shuddered inside and not out. He was remarkably close to Will in almost everyway. She didnt like hearing Imzadi come out of Thomas mouth. Please dont call me that.
Right, Thomas said, turning his back to her again and finally sitting on the couch, Imzadi is reserved for you and William Riker, he said, stressing Wills name.
Deanna came around the other side of the table and sat next to Tom, Tom, please, will you let me explain?
Deanna, he turned to her, looking her straight in the eyes, seeing you with him was- his voice chocked, It was an awful blow.
Deanna wanted to reach out and grasp his hand, but she didnt dare. She was afraid it would cause sparks between them. Instead she clasped her own hands together and looked down at them and said, I know, she looked back up at him and into his eyes. He looked exactly like her Will. She knew he did, but every time she looked deep into his eyes she was still surprised that the depth of them was just like Wills. Well almost, there was much more emotional scarring within them. Please, let me explain, she whispered.
Thomas cast his eyes away for a moment. Then looking back at her asked, Why didnt you tell me?
I suppose because I knew it would hurt you, so I put it off. We stopped keeping in contact so often because you were trying to move on. I guess I was afraid that if I told you, I would bring back memories, resentment, and you wouldnt be able to keep going. Youre doing very well for yourself. Youve started at the bottom and are working your way up. Youve received promotion after promotion.
Just like he did, Thomas said quietly, and just like him Ive abandoned you for my career.
You didnt abandon me, Deanna whispered, Our lives took different paths. Theres nothing wrong with that.
Thomas cleared his throat and sat up, Deanna followed his motions and finally after moments of silence Thomas asked, So, what did happen?
Deanna had been waiting for this chance but now that it had come she wasnt sure if she could tell him, Are you sure you want to know?
Thomas nodded, Yes, I need to know.
Deanna sighed and sat back further, her back now touching the cushions, A few months ago the Enterprise was attacked by the Romulans, we lost a lot of good people during that fight. Will went down to Engineering to help Geordi, when they received a devastating hit down there. Geordi managed to evacuate engineering personal and get Will out of there. Will had been hit by some flying debris and had breathed in some gas that had become present in the air.
Beverly, Dr. Crusher that is, didnt think Will would make it. He slipped into a coma and I spent every spare moment I had with him. Telling him he needed to recover. It was only when I thought I lost him that I realized how much I truly needed him.
I dont understand, Thomas said, slowly, You two have been placed in many life and death situations before, what made this one so unique?
Im not sure, Deanna answered, I guess because it was just so close to the end or perhaps the timing of it all. Im not sure. But in that moment we both realized that despite what our heads said, our hearts said something different. Thomas didnt answer and so Deanna continued, It was while he was in that coma that I told him... her voice drifted off.
Thomas finished for her, You told him you loved him.
Deanna nodded and unclasped her hands, putting them on her knees. Her knuckles were white from clasping them together so hard, Yes. He recovered and told me that it was because I told him how I felt that he recovered. After he got out of Sick Bay we began seeing each other again. We didnt pick up from where we left off, Deanna said, sensing that thats where Thomas was going inside his head, We started over, as if we hadnt ever really been together before, she paused, took a deep breath, and in a sense we havent.
Thomas didnt answer he leaned forward and took one of Deannas hands into his own, I understand.
Deanna clasped her other hand over his and he in turn clasped his left hand over hers. They tightly held hands for a moment before Deanna asked, Really?
Yes, he replied, but Deanna knew, even without her empathic abilities that he was lying.
Captain Picard called for all the Senior Officers, Admiral Backlard, and Thomas Riker in for a meeting in the conference room just off the bridge the following morning. However, even though Picard called for the meeting Admiral Backlard had the floor. I know that Thomas Riker and myself are the only ones privy to knowing why Thomas Riker is aboard the Enterprise. But even Captain Picard has not been told been told about the nature of Thomas Rikers appearance. He paused looking at each of them in turn.
Worf, Beverly, Will, Deanna, Data, and Geordi were all present. This mission requires help from all of you, Backlard continued, once more looking at each of them in turn. Otherwise I would have requested that only those who needed to be present be. This mission is top secret and I must insist that it remain so. One more he paused.
Deanna could sense that he was on edge, like a man who has seen too many battles and was afraid to enter another one. Im sure that you have all heard of the Rebellion that was expelled from Earth two years ago.
They all nodded. It had been big news when a group of Star Fleet Students, who had been expelled from the Academy for bad behavior, had been exiled from Earth, after killing a dozen Star Fleet Students. The reason for their malevolent behavior was still unknown, even after many months.
They wish to return home but will only speak to Commander William T. Riker. Backlard finished.
Why only the commander? Deanna asked, trying to mask her concern as just one of a fellow crew mate, and not his Imzadi. The only person fooled, however, was the Admiral.
Because they look up and respect the Commander and because I wouldnt give them Captain Picard, Backlard stated, as if it was as simple as ordering tea and cookies in Ten Forward.
How does this concern Lieutenant Riker? Beverly asked, stressing the word lieutenant, as she did.
This is where things get complicated, Backlard said, The Enterprise is scheduled to meet and negotiate a peace treaty between the Cardassians and the Bajorans.
The Cardassians want peace with the Bajorans? Will asked, I find that difficult to believe.
As do I, Commander, Backlard said, But really dont have much of a choice in the matter. We need to at least investigate and for the most part to appear interested in what the Cardassians have to say.
You want one of the Rikers to stay onboard as First Commander and one to go down to the planet and negotiate peace with Ex-Star Fleet Students. Deanna observed.
Correct, Backlard said, once more in his matter-of-fact tone.
Why? Geordi asked, If the Cardassians wish to know where Commander Riker is, why cant we say he is on shore leave, why would they care anyhow?
Were unsure, Thomas said, speaking up for the first time, But the Cardassians requested Captain Picard, Commander Ricker, and Councilor Troi to be present at these negations.
How long have you been briefed on this mission, Lieutenant? Will asked, staring straight at Thomas.
Almost three months, Commander, Thomas bit back.
The others could sense the tension between the two. When Thomas had left the Enterprise two years ago, it had appeared that he and Will had made peace. Deanna knew that the two had exchanged some communication, but not a lot. Thomas was trying to drift away from Will, trying to become his own person. Deanna couldnt blame him. Living in the shadow of Commander Riker couldnt be easy.
The question is, Beverly stated, Whos going to stay onboard the Enterprise, and whose going down to the surface.
Commander Riker will be transported to the surface, Backlard offered, and Lieutenant Commander Riker will remain on board the Enterprise as Commander Riker.
Deanna and Thomas exchanged a glance, which didnt go unnoticed by anyone, least of all Will. Deanna knew that Thomas had received promotion after promotion, but she had believed they had been small promotions. She didnt realize just how close he was to being a Commander, in just two years.
Lieutenant Commander Riker will take the exam, here onboard the enterprise, under the supervision of Captain Picard, and perhaps receive his last promotion to Commander. Backlard said.
Excuse me, Admiral, Will interrupted, But I usually judge the Commander Exam.
True, Backlard replied, But since your relationship to Lieutenant Commander Riker is so close, and a rocky when at best, I decided that Captain Picard is best suited for this position.
Will turned the sour look that was beginning to develop on his face, inward, Yes sir.
Why are the Star Fleet Treaty and the meeting with the Cardassians and Bajorin taking place at the same time? Beverly asked, Couldnt you have asked one to postpone their meeting?
My, my, the admiral said, I expected minor protests and some questions but this is out of hand.
You must understand, Admiral, Picard injected, That while we have complete confidence in both Commander Riker and Lieutenant Commander Rikers skills, we are hesitant due to the nature of this mission.
Whos to say that the Cardassians or the Ex Star Fleet students wont figure out that Commander Riker is at both and assume that they have Lieutenant Commander Riker? Geordi commented.
Everyone onboard the U.S.S. Andromeda except for Captain Joharren, his first officer, and transporter chief, believe Lieutenant Commander Riker to be dead. Backlard explained.
Dead? Deanna erupted, How are you going to explain this to the crew once Lieutenant Commander Riker appears back aboard the Andromeda, safe and alive?
It will be explained to the crew, besides, it is doubtful that Lieutenant Commander Riker will be reporting back to the Andromeda.
What do you mean? Deanna asked, suspicious.
Once this mission is complete Lieutenant Commander Riker will be reporting to the U.S.S. Gemini, as Commander Riker, First Officer to Captain Percy. Backlard answered. Deanna gave Thomas yet another stunned expression he had also failed to mention that as well. Deanna closed her eyes and tried to center herself into remaining calm. Backlard took no notice, We will be arriving within space of Sabre V in two days. Which should be spent preparing for this mission. Well have another meeting at 1700 hours. Dismissed.
They left, chatting along the way and unwilling to be with Will or Tom at the moment Deanna accompanied Beverly to her quarters to play poker. Deanna cast her eyes down when she entered Beverlys quarters, trying to hide the smile on her lips. Poker was a favorite pastime, and excuse, of Will and Deannas.
This must be hard for you, Beverly said as they set up the table, chips, and cards. Normally Deanna and Beverly spent their time in the exercise lounge but because of the accessibility of the area Deanna and Beverly decided to play cards. Deanna was hiding from both Will and Tom and with good reason.
Harder than you can imagine, Deanna commented, I thought I had grown use to the idea of Tom and Will but I know now I lied to myself. I was convinced that Thomas was simply Wills twin, nothing more. But there is more too it.
Im guessing that Will didnt take the news too well about Thomass arrival, Beverly chipped in.
Deanna pulled back a chair and sat down, Beverly sat down opposite her, No, he didnt, Deanna commented, Im worried about how this mission is going to affect Thomas.
How do you mean?
Thomas has lived in Wills shadow for the past two years. Almost everyone in Star Fleet knows he is a replica of Will Riker and therefore has a reputation to live up to. I know hes been throwing himself into his work, but Im still worried about how this will affect him.
Hm, Beverly said. Then glancing down at the cards she held in her hand she placed three face down on the table, Ill take three.
Deanna sat; her hands folded on the table, as she listened to Admiral Backlard give the briefings for this mission. She could hardly pay attention. Her focus was stretched too thin and she was trying to avoid both Tom and Will. Tom had passed his Commander Exam and was now, currently wearing the red uniform of a Bridge Commander.
They would arrive at Sabre V early tomorrow to drop Will off and then Thomas Riker would assume Wills uniform. Deanna felt uncomfortable in their presence.
Dismissed, Backlard barked.
Deanna scurried out, walking closely beside Geordi, Deanna could I speak with you for a moment?
Deanna stopped short and Geordi gave a small, sly grin. Tom looked back at Will and Deanna before leaving the conference room. Yes, Will?
Will pulled her tightly against him, Youre ignoring me.
I am not, Deanna insisted. Will gave a knowing look and she sighed, I am.
Why? He asked, pressing his lips to the top of her hair the scent of her shampoo washing over him. He loved the way Deanna smelled.
Deanna detangled herself from Wills arms, I think you know why, she stated.
Will studied her face for a moment, I do know why and but I dont understand. Thomas knows that you and I are together, what else to be done about it?
Deanna knew he was right but somehow she just couldnt avoid avoiding them both. Will, it is hard for me, to have the two of you onboard to together, its confusing.
Well Ill be on the planet tomorrow, he snapped in a defensive tone.
Will turned to face the window, watching the stars glide by them, Deanna, what do you think would happen if we had gotten married? We wouldnt have invited him or even told him?
Marriage? Deanna asked, stunned.
He turned to face her, Deanna its something I had always thought about, even when we werent together. I know weve just gotten back together and Im not asking you to marry me at this exact moment, but Id defiantly say it was a possibility.
Deanna sank down into a chair. The thought of marriage hadnt actually occurred to her in any form before. Deanna felt the tears well in her eyes. She had done more crying in the past two days than she had in the past two decades. She felt like she was five year old child again. Will, she chocked back her tears, Youre right. Deanna squared her shoulders and stood up.
Will stared at her, What?
Deanna grabbed him by the front of his uniform, Come on Commander.
Deanna slipped her hand in his and she took him down to Holodeck Four, she ordered the program for the Betazaid Falls, where they had spent many times together. Both on the planet of Betazaid and in the Holodeck Rooms.
Will gave a chuckle as she led him to their rock. He smiled and sat down next to her, tightly wrapping his arms around her and together they fell into the grass, both laughing. They laid there for hours, just enjoying holding each other and knowing that together they could accomplish anything.
Deanna soon fell asleep in the comfort of Wills arms and Will used this time to reflect on what had happened the past two days. Thomas arrival had caused a dent in Will and Deannas new relationship, a dent that Will was afraid couldnt be fixed.
Will understood what Deanna was going through, to a certain point. He was just as confused with Thomas onboard, as most of the crew members were. Beverly had explained to them that he and Thomas were both the real William T. Riker, but somehow that didnt answer their question or fix the problem.
Deanna stirred slightly and Will quieted his thoughts. Thats the worst part of being in love with a woman who was emphatic, he thought. You could never get away with anything. Will loosed his hold on her a little, afraid that he was holding her too tight. He was afraid to lose her, not just to Thomas, but to lose her in general.
They had been friends for so long but underneath that surface there had always been love, despite what they said. Deannas eyes fluttered open and she looked up at him, Hey there.
Will kissed the top of her head, Hey.
Even in my sleep I can sense your tension and fear, Deanna said.
Will sighed, I hate that. Im just glad you cant read minds.
Deanna gave him a smile, So am I. She pulled herself up and stretched, I fell asleep for far too long. She glanced at her watch, I have an appointment with Lt. Callaway in thirty minutes. She brushed her lips across his, Ill see you later.
After she left, Will sat, staring at the falling water. He heard the doors of the holodeck open and close. Will knew without evening looking that it was his double, Hello, Commander Riker.
Thomas sat down next to him, Commander.
Neither one had anything much to say. They sat there for nearly five minutes before Will turned to him asked, What can I do for you?
Why? Thomas asked, Why are you and Deanna back together?
Will stared at him, anger welling up quickly in his chest and he nearly burst. Instead he spent a minute calming himself down and asked, Didnt Deanna explain this to you?
Yes, Thomas replied, But I want to hear it from you.
Will stood up and Thomas quickly joined him, Well Commander it is not your business, he snapped and left the holodeck headed up to the bridge as fast as he could go without knocking other people down. What right did Thomas have to show up like this and ruin everything? His temper had gotten the best of him. It always did for some reason when his double was around.
Deanna stood next to Picard and Backlard in the transporter room while OBrien waited to transport Will to the planets surface. Will clasped hands with both Picard and Backlard before turning to Deanna.
Deanna wished Picard and Backlard would just go away so she could privately say goodbye to him. Good luck Will, Deanna whispered as he came near her.
With no though of the others in the room Will pulled her tightly to him and kissed her, hard, on the lips. Deannas knees felt like putty. Will pulled back and then embraced her tightly, Take care while Im gone.
You know I will. Deanna whispered. She felt jolted at the feelings radiating off of Picard, Backlard, and OBrien. OBrien felt pleased and Picard was amused, while Backlard was in stunned shock. Deanna wanted to laugh at Backlards feelings but instead gripped Will tightly for another second before pulling back.
Will pecked her on the lips one more time before stepping up on the platform. He gave Deanna a nod and Picard turned to her, Councilor?
Deanna sucked in a breath and then slowly and calming said, Energize. Picard and Backlard left as soon as Will disappeared. Deanna stood there for a moment, staring at where he had been.
Somehow she got the feeling that that would be the last time she would ever see him.
Deanna sat in her room quietly mulling over Thomas and William. Will had beamed down the planet hours ago but the dreadful feeling she had had was still there. She couldn't see what was so dangerous but somehow she had the feeling that Will was gone, gone for good.
She shook her head and tried to concentrate. Thomas had assumed Will's place and no one but the Senior officers knew that Will was really Tom. Everyone believed that Thomas was beamed down to Sabre V in order to be reunited with his captain and crew.
It was a stupid idea, she knew it and she knew that Captain Picard knew it, but Backlard was an Admiral and he was to obeyed above all. "To hell with protocol," she muttered. They would be arriving in the neutral zone within hours to began to peace treaty.
Deanna had a sense that something wasn't right about this. The Cardassians and Bajorins signing a peace treaty was impossible to imagine. Deanna stood up and decided that she needed to work her muscles.
She left and headed down to the decks. She was stretching, alone and peacefully when she sensed a presence behind her. Admiration. Deanna stood up straight, "Hello Thomas," she whispered and slowly turned around.
Thomas smiled at her, "Hello Deanna, do you mind if I stay with you for a while?"
Deanna did mind but replied, "Not at all." Will would be able to sense that she was lying and she wondered if Thomas could as well. If he could he made no sign that he did.
They stretched in Klingon fashion for almost hour in quiet until Thomas observed, "Something is bothering you."
"Not at all," Deanna lied.
"Deanna you're lying to me," he said in a warning tone.
Deanna stopped and looked at him, "If you must know, then." She paused debating whether or not she should tell him. "I'm worried about Will. There's something fishy going on between the Cardassians and Bajorins, and this so called rebel band that wants to sign a treaty. It's absurd and I don't understand it."
"Deanna sometimes we must do what we are told to do and not question it. My double will be just fine."
Deanna stared at him and then left, angry. She knew something was fishy about this whole situation and somehow got the feeling that Backlard was behind it all.
Will felt groggy as he opened his eyes, "Where am I?"
A young woman looked over him, "In the hands of Freedom."
The girl slowly came into focus and Will observed that she had to be no more than nineteen or twenty. Her hair was long, blonde, and curly. Her eyes were deep blue and rang of angry, determination, and hurt.
"Yes," she confirmed, "Freedom."
Will tried to sit up but felt his limbs were tied down, "What's going on?" he demanded.
"As I said, you are in the hands of Freedom."
A new voice entered the conversation but Will couldn't see beyond the young woman, "Freedom is a group of people dedicated to freeing individuals from Star Fleet."
"What?" Will asked in a stunned tone.
"Morgan, leave us." The young blonde took her leave.
Will stared in horror at the young man before him, "I know you! You're-"
"Jack Backlard, at your service."
"Admiral Backlard's son," Will hissed.
Jack was the splitting image of his father and Will had heard of his excellent commanding skills and his sudden desire to leave Star Fleet after the rebellion broke out back on Earth.
"I don't understand," Will said.
"Freedom was founded by a group of students at Star Fleet who found that Star Fleet was risking its own citizens for the benefit of aliens."
"Aliens?" Will yelled, "These so called aliens-"
"When a group of students tried to stop Freedom they were killed, but only because they got in the way. My father realized that they were correct in their doing and had me leave Star Fleet. I left Star Fleet and came here to head Freedom while my father worked on the inside."
"What does this have to do with the Cardassian Bajoran Treaty?"
"Simple," Jack replied, "Thomas Riker cannot assume your position and once my father as proved to the others that he is not capable of this responsibility and ill-lacked, he will take over. Instead of the Cardassians and the Bajorans signing a treaty with each other, they will sign a treaty to stay out of Federation Space and for us to stay out of their space. These treaties will eventually expand to the Klingons, the-"
"You'll never get away with this," Will stated, staring up at his captor.
"If your talking about Deanna Troi, yes we will," Jack said, "Why do you think your double was brought on board." Horror filled Will and it showed through is eyes. Jack smiled, "Yes, Thomas was brought back to the Enterprise to distract your Betazoid lover. With Thomas onboard her emotions will be thinned and her abilities disregarded."
"You wish to isolate Earth and its inhabitants from the rest of the universe?" Will bit back, "It'll never work."
"Even if it doesn't, Commander. We will be remembered and there will be others to follow in our path. We may not succeed in our lifetime and maybe not in our children's, but perhaps in our grandchildren's we will succeed."
"We cannot survive without contact from other galactic races," Will responded.
"Ah, but we can, Commander. Earth has done it before and Earth will do it again."
Will closed his eyes. He had been taken out of the way because he would have eventually seen through Backlard, Deanna would be blinded by Thomas, and Picard . What exactly were their plans for the captain? He wouldn't be so blind to Backlard. Will's thoughts drifted off and he made a silent cry to Deanna.
Deanna hear me. Danger. You're in Danger.
Deanna awoke with a start. Will's voice still ringing in her head. Was it a
dream or was Will calling to her? Deanna shook her head. A dream. It had to
be a dream.