By Carol Sandford


Part 4


The Waiting Game - Chapter 3


Deanna watched Gart Xerx stir his coffee, but when he spoke, her mind snapped to attention. "I hear that the Federation's new Flagship is almost ready to sail."

Deanna glanced up at his face to find him quietly watching her, waiting, gauging her reaction. Deanna's heart pumped harder, and she was certain that the table's other occupant must of heard it and her eyes flew to each of her closest friend's, searching for something. She did not know what to say. Deanna found herself staring into Chandra's rich brown eyes, the silent message bounced between them. Deanna did not need to say his name.

Do you think he'll be commissioned to it?

I don't know, last I heard he'd been offered captaincy of The Drake

No, no, I heard that it had been destroyed at a planet called Minos

Gart spoke aloud, breaking the silent communication between the two girls. "I also heard that they intend having a full time Counselor aboard. I put your name forward, Deanna."

Open mouthed, Deanna blinked several times as she took in what her dear friend and mentor was telling her. She did not quite believe what she was hearing. "Excuse me?"

Gart's professional mode kicked in as he repeated his statement. "I recommended you for the post. You would be perfect for it Deanna, and I might add, it's just what you've been waiting for."

Chandra reached over to grasp Deanna's fingers, Deanna looked at her dearest friend with a mixture of disbelief, trepidation, excitement, and terror. Once more the two friends minds linked.

But what if he's serving on that ship?

Honey, you're going to bump into him sooner or later, but until then, you've got to do what you want to do. You've waited this long, you can wait a little longer, and besides, he made his choice, Deanna. Will chose his career over you, now it's his turn to wait

Deanna sighed, You're right, I've got to do this, for me. If Will Riker wants me, he's going to have to do the chasing. We'll see if I'm ready to be caught when he finally catches up with me


"It's a shame about the Drake, sir. I heard that she was a great ship in her heyday."

Will nodded absent-mindedly. but then chuckled at the irony. "Yeah. I finally get the chance to become Captain, and look what happens."

Tang tried to reassure him with a little perceptiveness. "Maybe, sir it was for the best. Maybe your destiny lies elsewhere."

Will looked long and hard at his friend. "Are you talking about, The Enterprise?"

Tang nodded. Will pulled a face as he thought about his options. Hell, he had no options now. His chance of Captaincy had just been blown into a million and one particles. How long it would be before another chance came up? How long was it going to be before he was in a position to offer Deanna a life with him?

Will had decided long ago that he was not going to pursue her until he had achieved his single minded goal; To be captain. She deserved the best, and in his mind, the best was the Captain's wife.

"It's not what I had in mind Tang."

Tang shrugged, unable to see the younger man's logic. "What have you got to lose? The Federation's Flagship is nothing to be scoffed at. Only the best of the best will be picked to serve her. Being First Officer on the USS Enterprise would be a privilege, sir. You should not think of it as anything else but a privilege."

Tang waited while Will pondered on his remarks, but what Tang had purposely kept from him was that the ship was to be the first to have a Counselor, and only two days ago Deanna had informed him that she had applied for the position.

Tang was finally, at long last able to see the light at the end of their very long tunnel. Deanna Troi and William T. Riker were to be reunited on the best ship ever to grace the universe and beyond. The waiting game was soon to be over, and nobody was happier than he was.

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