Sometime after Star Trek: Nemesis, Data and Zad Riker, son of the Rikers, search for the antidote to a disease infecting the crew of the Enterprise. (Guest-written by Evelyn Abby.)
“Computer, Locate Doctor Selar.” Zad rocked from heel to toe, heel to toe as he spoke into the computer.
“Doctor Selar is on deck fourteen, room 142.”
Zad dashed off.
Practically breaking down the door, Zad charged into Dr. Selar’s quarters. The lights in the sparsely-furnished room were out, save the small Vulcan shrine in the corner of her room, still glowing.
Whipping out his tricorder, he scanned her forehead.
107.23 degrees Fahrenheit.
Zad pulled out the syringe in his hand and injected it into her neck.
He waited. He waited more. And more.
He checked the clock on the top corner of his datapad. One minute. He waited another. He cursed, he prayed, he sweated, he cried, he stood, he sat, he did anything to pass the time. Five minutes.
Under all the silence, something stirred.
Zad turned around, holding his breath, cold with—he didn’t know exactly what he was feeling. Fear? Dr. Selar groaned ever so slightly. Then, in one magical moment, her eyes opened, and she smiled. Zad caught his breath.
A Vulcan smiled.
Sighing with relief, joy, and a mixture of sleepy emotions, Zad scanned her forehead once more with his tricorder. Her fever was gone. Of course, she was a little weak from lying for so long, but she was safe. Safe and sound.
Frowning ever so slightly, she looked about her in confusion. Then she noticed the boy standing over her, and her smile widened. She gently touched his hand.
“Thank you, Mr. Riker. I am in debt to you.”
Zad smiled wearily. “Are you alright?”
Dr. Selar stood up shakily. “I can manage.” She placed a hand on his head. “Take a rest. You look tired. My team will finish the job.” She packed a small bag and left the room.
Zad sat down on a little stool in her room, put his hands in his head and cried.
This whole journey was, in reality, only a few days, but in his tired little world, it seemed like light years.
Tears of sadness. Tears of frustration. Tears of despair. And now, tears of overwhelming relief.
Sobbing, Zad stumbled his way to his room. As soon as he sat down on his bed, the familiar smell, feel and comfort of his own room enveloped him as he quickly drifted into sleep.
“Zad! Son, I’m so proud of you.”
Zad barely made it through the door of his parents’ quarters.
He was still dizzy from getting up too fast when something grabbed him and smothered him so tight he couldn’t breathe. Eyes finally focusing, he recognized the red uniform of his father.
His father had hugged him before, of course, being a child. But out of all the upset hugs, goodnight hugs, goodbye hugs and good morning hugs, never had he been hugged like this before. His mother came over shortly and wrapped her arms around them both, then his sister, Tasha joined in.
The moment froze.
It froze for an eternity.
It was a blissful warmth that the word ‘family’ could hardly describe. Of course, his mother was crying, but it surprised him most to see tears on his father’s face as well.
Zad’s father stood back and held his son’s face in his hands. Zad smiled at his father. They all stood in a circle, in the hallway, in front of the crew.
Finally Zad managed to speak. “Mom, Dad, I think I’m ready for Starfleet exams. Now I know what it takes to be an officer, and I’m ready for the jouney.”
Zad’s parents looked at each other, with tears in their eyes, and nodded.
Behind them a bright flash of light appeared. It disappeared. A marching band burst into exultory song.
“Amazing work, Imzad. Just look at you. How you’ve grown, and of course all thanks to me!”
Q stood proudly as if Zad had been his own son. “Ever since leaving the Q continuum, I have been bored like you couldn’t believe. I must say that this whole experience was very entertaining, and it actually made me hold my breath in some places. Thanks to me, I didn’t help you because I know your experience would be more enriching. And, oh, also, as a reward, here are two new violins for both you and your teacher. And, ah, speaking of such where is Lieutenant Commander Data?”
Zad stopped. He looked at Uncle Geordi. Geordi glared at Zad.
“Um,” he wet his lips, and looked at a very, very intriguing painting of his parents’ wedding. “I, uh, left him in the shuttle.”
Uncle Geordi continued to glare at Zad. Finally, Geordi spoke. “I know you left him in the shuttle, Zad, and I already took care of him. But I don’t know how you could have just forgot about him!” Geordi crossed his arms and slowly walked away.
Q was gone.
Mr. and Mrs. Riker simply stared at their son. They walked back to their quarters in silence. Finally, they all sat down, and Zad’s parents managed to speak.
“Now, Zad, please tell us what happened to Data’s violin. You know, that was a very expensive artifact. We will cover the rest of the story at the debriefing, but for now, just tell us about the violin.”
Zad wet his lips. Now this was going to be a long one.
Zad walked, clenching and straightening his hands as he made his way toward engineering.
For a few days, he had experienced fame and glory and much doting on, but, as always, the crew recovered, got back onto their feet, and began work as normal. But one thing weighed on his mind even through all the glory, fame, and doting: Data.
During all the debriefing and ceremonies of valor, Uncle Geordi La Forge was absent. Uncle Geordi carefully and painstakingly waited and waited by Data’s bedside for the last few days, waiting for the moment his best friend would open his eyes again. And just two minutes ago, Zad got the message that Data was awake, functioning, and normal.
But he would have Uncle Geordi to face.
Pausing outside of the doors of engineering, Zad took a deep breath and wished himself luck, for he knew he would need it. But Uncle Geordi was all smiles when he walked through.
“His systems are normal and he is functioning properly. It was wise of you not to wake him. If you hadn’t let him come around, his systems might have been damaged forever.”
Zad smiled tentatively at Uncle Geordi. “Thank you, Uncle Geordi. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
Geordi raised his eyebrows. “Really, Zad, I don’t know what you would do without any of us. Yes, you brought the antidote, but we saved the day.” Geordi leaned against the wall, arms folded, smirking.
Zad lightly rolled his eyes and smiled. “Okay, Uncle Geordi, you saved the day, yes, yes, but I saved your life. See the difference?”
Geordi shook his head. Something tapped Zad’s shoulder.
It was Data. “I want to thank you for your work, Imzad. I know you said that you could not do the job without me, but I could not do the job without you. Imzad, I am proud of you.”
Zad stood there. He wasn’t exactly sure what to say.
People could say what they like. They could say that Data was an android, a robot, a machine. They could say that he was worthless except for the information he carried.
They could say anything, but anybody who really knew Data would see one thing clearly: he had a heart.
He was compassionate. He was kind. He was proud of the boy.
Data smiled at Zad, one hand on his shoulder. Still smiling, the three men walked out of engineering and toward the transporter room, ready to receive their medals of honor on Starbase 1.
“I want to thank you all for coming here tonight, and as a gift to you, my friends would like to perform a song for you. Give it up for the Enterprise crew’s band, Time Squared.
As Admiral Picard took his seat, the audience followed with applause. Data clicked off and the band burst into song, with Riker on the trombone, Troi at the mic and on the piano, Tasha on bass, and Zad on guitar.
The song broke into two part harmony of the song “Blue Skies”. The music swelled around them.
There was something special about playing music. A sense of unity, belonging, and . . . telepathy?
As Zad’s fingers nimbly picked at the guitar, he felt his mind wandering.
What if Gwendolyn was here? I wish she was. She would be saying to her friends, “oh look at that handsome young man up there. Did you know he saved over a thousand lives?” And she would try to catch my eye and I would look back at her and—
Something snatched him out of his dreamy thoughts. He realized the song was at the half way point, where the singers had a thirty second break.
And his mother’s eyes bore directly into him.
He shook his head clear, looked right back at her, and managed a smile. She smiled back and went on playing.
The vocals geared up one last time for the final refrain, this time with Tasha’s sweet, young voice. As Zad struck the last chords the crowd stood up and cheered. It was glorious.
But if only Gwen—
His mother stared sharply at him.
Reddening, he turned away and carried his guitar offstage. As Zad packed up his guitar, Data dashed to his side.
“Imzad, I must compliment you on the switch between Cm7 to F7 to Am7 to D7. You pulled that off wonderfully.”
He joined his parents in the main hall, although it was noisy and crowded. Family. A sweet, untouched feeling that he would never take for granted again.
Eventually, the party died down and Zad and his sister stacked up the chairs with Data while his parents settled into their room on Starbase 1.
Tasha yawned. Zad yawned. Data stopped. The android tilted his head and stared at the children. Data walked over to Tasha.
“Tasha,” Data touched her shoulder. She turned around. “Could you show me how to yawn?”
Tasha half smiled, half rolled her eyes. She was used to it. Making a fool of herself, Tasha yawned again.
Once Tasha had turned around, Data opened his mouth in an attempt to yawn, but closed it, realizing he must look silly.
The whole time, Zad watched the clock. Data said that we were going to have some hangout time after the party while mom and dad are relaxing. Where could we be going?
After an interminable five minutes, Data packed up to go. Tasha whined once or twice about not being invited nor being ‘mature enough’, nor a ‘pre-teen’. Then Data said something about Uncle Geordi playing some games with her in the game room, and she quieted down a little.
As Data led Zad down the hallway, he wondered where Data intended to take him. In silence, Data opened a door, also known as the most dreaded door in the whole entire galaxy.
The music room.
They wandered past the guitars and pianos and trumpets to the back, where the violins hung in neat rows. Data then opened yet another door which led to a small, sound-proof room.
Zad sighed. Heart sinking lower and lower each subsequent second, the student took the violin his teacher handed to him.
“Imzad, I must say that the violin Q gifted you is a fine one indeed. I suggest you make good use of it. Now, Imzad, play the C major scale for me.”
Well, there went their hangout time.
. . . to be continued . . .
—conclusion next week—
Author’s Note (Evelyn): Oh no, we’re almost done! But hey, fear not, I may have a story after this one, possibly about Star Wars, Star Trek, or even the Riker family. Stay tuned for the conclusion!!!
Emily says: It was a little bit of a pain to get Evelyn to revise this, but I’m glad at how it turned out! 1975 words: probably the longest one yet.
If you have any ideas for another Star Trek or Star Wars fanfiction, please leave it in the comments below!