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Working with a man like Gul Dukon wasn’t exactly in Commander Will Riker’s best interest. At least according to him. He didn’t trust the Cardassian’s as far as he could throw them. But he knew he had to put his dislike for them aside and work with him. He’d read up on everything the Starfleet computer banks had on him.

Gul Dukon was a typical military man who had an impressive record. He’d served with the Cardassian military for over 35 years, and was a decorated war hero. He didn’t understand why Captain Picard had chosen him to be a liaison in the clean-up effort on Cardassia, even though he understood that the Borg had devastated their planet.

The younger Cardassian’s had wanted a change, and banding together with the federation to beat a common enemy seemed plausible. But there were those in the Cardassian military most if not all that opposed this joint effort. He felt that this job was better suited for Deanna, not him. The children needed her help. He looked at the devastation around him. A lot of the land had been flattened out. Some were scorched by Borg weaponry. Picking up the pieces wasn’t going to be

“There will be more aide relief on the way. We’ve got several counselors on hand available to help anyone who needs it. More food and water are on its way in the relief shuttles.”

Will was putting on his best diplomatic face and compassionate attitude. Gul Dukon narrowed his eyes at Riker and shook his head.

“It is not easy for me to admit that Cardassia needs assistance. The Borg have destroyed our way of life. Now to rebuild. Have a report ready for me at 0800 tomorrow morning commander. Nothing saddens me more than seeing tears in the eyes of so many children. Do you have children commander?”

Riker was slightly taken aback by Gul Dukon’s question. He let his eyes wander skyward, knowing that Deanna was up there on the Enterprise.

“I have a wife who is expecting our first child.”

Dukon narrowed his eyes further, but his voice softened slightly.

“Your child will hopefully never have to know what hunger is. My daughter’s go to bed hungry. These supplies will make a difference.”

This admission was at least something, even if it wasn’t a victory. Nodding, Riker shook hands with Dukon and then straightened his uniform shirt.

“I’ll have that report to you at 0800 tomorrow.”

Will walked away and only felt slightly satisfied with the work he’d accomplished today. He was looking forward to getting back up to the ship and being in the embrace of his wife.

“Long day down there?”

Will nodded and settled himself into the couch. His back screamed at him at first. Deanna did her best to slide behind him and massage his tense shoulders. He sighed as she worked a knot out of his back and shoulder.

“You could say that. Gul Dukon is such a hardened man. He said to me, if I could see the tears in some of these children’s eyes, I’d have a better idea of what was happening on Cardassia. He said his children often go to bed hungry.

I told him food and water were being delivered in relief shuttles. Deanna I need your help. A lot of these children have lost their parents, their orphans. I think you are just the person to help them through their grief.”

Troi had now worked all the knots out of Riker’s shoulders and placed herself next to her husband. A tired smile spread across his face as he placed a hand across her belly.

“Daddy missed you sweetheart. Daddy missed you and mommy today.”

Sighing, he hoped he could get some leeway on some of the surveying tomorrow. It would be another long day. Deanna smiled and ran a hand through Will’s hair.

“I’ll talk to the captain, see what he has to say about me being down on the planet.”

To Be Continued…

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