A cold sweat drenched his body as he woke from another nightmare. He looked around the quarters he shared with Deanna and their new daughter Laura. Finding no danger, he went over to check on Laura in the basinet at the foot of the bed.
“Can’t sleep either can you kiddo? How about we go for a walk.”
Deanna mumbled in the bed and was rising to get up.
“I’ll get her.”
Will shook his head and reached into the basinet to pick up his 6 day-old daughter.
“No I’ve got her. It’s alright, just go back to sleep. You still need your rest.”
Deanna nodded and lie back down, pulling the sheet back over her, and rolled over. Will had dressed and was making his way towards the doorway when Deanna spoke up sleepily from the bed.
“Keep her warm Will.”
Laura continued to whine as the two entered the hallway. A few crewmen lined the hallway here and there going about their various tasks. But all in all, it was a pretty quiet night. The quiet after the recent events of the Borg attack on the ship was almost eerie. Swallowing a shiver Riker continued down the hallway. He knew Laura wasn’t hungry, she was just in need of a little attention. He was sure she could feel being in her father’s big and strong arms.
“We’ll just go for a little walk Laura-bear and maybe that’ll help you get back to sleep.”
Laura only continued her fussing as her father made his way into the turbolift. There were already three crewmen aboard.
Will nodded his head at the three crewmen in the lift with him.
“Gentlemen, how is the level 5 diagnostic analysis coming for the sensor array on the deflector dish?”
The first crewman cleared his throat and looked Riker in the eye.
“Diagnostics currently at 78 percent sir. We’ll have the report to you by 0800.”
Will agreed and watched as the three men made their way back to Engineering. He was wandering the ship really, he didn’t have a particular destination in hand. At the last moment, a thought sprung to his mind.
‘I think I know the perfect place.’
Hopping back into the lift he gave the computer his destination.
“Computer, deck 15.”
The computer complied and the lift began to move. Laura’s whining became a little louder, but not to the point where she was screaming yet.
“Hey, Laura-bear, daddy is right here. What is it honey?”
He kept trying to comfort her as he exited the lift on Deck 15. Soon he found himself inside the Arboretum. The lights were only at half because it was the middle of the night, but Will picked a spot on the grass by the pond and sat down.
“There that’s better. Maybe the sound of the water will help you get back to sleep.”
Will turned his head when he heard Picard’s voice behind him.
“Couldn’t sleep either number one?”
Riker smiled and continued rocking Laura, trying to get her to sleep.
“No. It seems Laura is already following in my footsteps. I thought maybe the sound of the water here in the Arboretum would help her fall asleep.”
Will turned to get up as the captain took a seat next to him.
“No need to get up Will. Now, let me get a good look at this beautiful young lady. I’d say she looks like you.”
Riker smiled once more at the captain and traced Laura’s tiny nose.
“Well you know what they say, children look like their father’s when they are first born. I’ll give her a few more weeks. She’ll probably look more like her mother. Well Laura’s asleep. Thank you sir. Laura turned out beautifully despite under the circumstances of her birth and the botched Borg invasion of the Enterprise. Has Starfleet intelligence found out anything about who the mole is?”
Picard shook his head and began to rise.
“Unfortunately no. I will inform you and the rest of the senior staff as soon as I know the details. And now, I think I should turn in for the night. It’s very late. Way past 0300.”
Will hadn’t even been paying attention to the time. He probably should be getting back to bed himself. Soon, he was in the Arboretum alone with Laura. She was sound asleep and he found himself nodding off. Rising to his feet, he was careful not to jostle Laura in the process. By the time he reached deck 8 once again and was in his quarters with Deanna, he found that she was already awake.
“She’s asleep again. I was hoping she would still be awake so I could feed her.”
Riker had found that watching Laura nurse was the most relaxing thing he’d ever seen. He watched as Deanna tickled the bottom of Laura’s feet. She had begun whining again over the last few minutes.
“She fell asleep while we were in the Arboretum. She whined the whole way there. I guess she just wanted to hear some different sounds. Or maybe it was my breathing that put her to sleep.”
A smile spread across Deanna’s face.
“Well she definitely isn’t afraid to eat. I’d say she has your appetite already Will. We aren’t going to have much trouble when she’s older. She’ll probably eat just about anything you put in front of her.”
Will saw Deanna wince and he put a hand on her shoulder.
She nodded her head and watched her daughter continue to suckle.
“A little. You would think after 6 days my body would’ve gotten used to her nursing by now.”
Riker ran a hand over his daughter’s small head. He stopped and listened as he heard beeping coming from the computer display on the desk in the next room.
“I’ll see who’s calling at this time of morning.”
Rising from the bed and doing his best to not disturb both his wife and daughter, he made his way into the next room.
“Give me a minute, I’ll see who this is.”
Sitting down at the computer, he pressed a few buttons on the computer and a familiar face popped up on the screen. A man with black hair and a kind smile with perfect teeth looked back at Will.
“Will Riker. It’s been a long time since we last talked. I heard the Enterprise is heading back to Earth for a short stop. By any chance when you arrive, could we meet in the park under the Golden Gate Bridge? I know of a great bar near there where we can get some drinks.”
Will was curious about why Eric Sartos would want to talk to him now, especially since it’d been almost 11 years since Megan’s passing happened. Will knew it wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t help but look back at Laura. What if the same thing that happened to Megan happened to Laura too? The thought chilled him to the bone and knew it was completely irrational. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to respond to his friend’s communique right away.
To Be Continued…
This will kind of be Alternate Universe in places in the story.