By Carol Sandford


Part 3


The Last Teardrops - Chapter 5

  "Congratulations, Lieutenant Commander Riker." A multitude of cheers erupted along with several whistles and jesting comments.

Will grinned as he looked around at his Captain and the rest of the senior officers; his newest circle of friends on board the Potemkin. The ceremony was the second biggest highlight of his life. Nothing could hide the pride Will felt, but the only person he wanted to share his news with, was Deanna.

Deanna who was, even now, on her way to meet him on Risa. She would so proud of his promotion and it would mean a better, easier life for them both. His captain had even hinted that Starfleet were considering him for captaincy in the near future, but for now he was on his way to join the Excelsior class ship the USS Hood, as it's first officer. It would be the next step towards his ultimate goal, and Will was as pleased as punch with everything. ~~~~~~~~~~ Checking the stardate, Will estimated that Deanna would reach Risa two days from current. The problem was, his transfer to the Hood was tomorrow. Though he was desperate to see Deanna again and to join her on Risa, the sudden and unexpected promotion he'd received; the change in ship, all of it was going to put a slight kink into his well laid plans. And he was not entirely sure if Captain DeSoto would agree to his request for shore leave on such short notice.

As it turned out, however, Will was not even to receive the opportunity to ask. Two hours after transferring to the Hood, an emergency communique from Starfleet issued orders to the Captain and crew that they were to leave for Turkana 4 as soon as their new first officer was on board. Before Will had even settled into his new quarters, they were heading for deep space once more, far, far away from Risa, and Deanna.

An hour before they disappeared from communications range, Will sent a message to Tang, hoping against hope that the sergeant would, once again, find a way to get his message off to Risa, so that at least Deanna would know that he wasn't going to be able to make it back.

"Tang, my man, I'm sorry your not there to receive this, but it is imperative that you get a message to Deanna on Risa and inform her that I won't make our date. Something impossible has come up and they've sent me off on a new ship and I've barely had time to pack. Tell her to return to Earth, Tang, and that I'm sorry. Tell her I'll contact her as soon as I can and I'll make it up to her."

His voice trailed off. "Oh, and Tang, I'm only asking this of you as a friend. But please, tell her that I love her...That I haven't forgotten, and that if I could have been there, I would have. Thanks, Tang, I'm depending on you."

Unbeknown to Will however, Sergeant Tang had been sent out on training manoeuvres with the security patrols, and was not due back to base for 5 days.


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