I don't own Star Trek.
This story takes place sometime in the year 2370, the final year of The Next Generation television show. We also know that in the Voyager episode "Death Wish" that Q thought Riker was going to get the Voyager. So obviously Riker was offered the Voyager first before Janeway.
The Enterprise D, the Galaxy class starship and flagship of the Federation, was traveling at warp speed moving briskly passing through stars as it went along to get to it's next destination.
Commander William Riker, the first officer of the Enterprise was in his quarters along with Lieutenant Commander Data, Counselor Deanna Troi, and Doctor Beverly Crusher. All four were situated around a round table playing their annual game of poker.
Data, with is dealers hat he wears during the weekly poker games, was looking at his cards.
"You going to play or not?" Riker was getting a little impatient waiting on the android.
Although Data was an android with no emotion, he did not like when Riker badgered him in making a decision without analyzing all possibilities first.
Data decided to not take a chance. "I fold."
Beverly was also having trouble trying to make up her mind. Would she continue with the game or decide to fold and watch the others try to battle each other until the last one would win. She placed her cards down after a short, but wisely decision. "I'm out. Lady luck just isn't with me tonight."
That left the ships counselor to do something.
Deanna looked at her cards and then looked at Riker, who was eying her like a hawk. She then looked back at her cards.
"Come on Deanna, do something," Riker pleaded his case.
If she wanted to, Troi could have used her telepathic abilities to sense Riker's emotions and if were trying to hide something. But that wouldn't be fair nor would it be any fun.
Troi continued to look at her cards, trying to figure out what she wanted to do.
Riker raised an eyebrow at her. "While we're young counselor!"
Troi looked at Riker with a glare. "I'm thinking Will!"
Finally Troi decided to place some chips onto the table. She was still in the game much to Riker's dissatisfaction.
Riker gazed over at Troi and then back at his cards.
Deanna did not even move a muscle. She figured Riker was bluffing and had him right where she wanted him.
Finally Riker gave in and folded. "You win, there I said it."
Deanna smiled and showed her cards to Riker.
Riker was outraged. Deanna only had two sevens, a one, and a two. He had four aces.
Deanna grabbed all the chips that were placed on the table and shoved them her way. "Thank you very much for a delightful game, Commander."
Riker could only take the punishment as a man. To his annoyance, he just shook his head.
"Well that's all for me this evening," Deanna said as she got up from her chair. "Thanks for the win handsome."
And with that, Counselor Troi left Will's quarters as he still had an annoyed look on his face.
The Next Morning
The next morning had begun and Riker walked down a corridor towards a turbolift. He punched a button and the turbolift doors opened. As Riker got into the lift, he was also accompanied by Lieutenant Worf, the Klingon chief of security for the ship.
Worf glanced at Riker. "Sir."
"Worf," Riker answered back.
A few mere moments of awkwardness had engulfed both officers.
Worf decided to speak. "How was the poker game last night?"
Riker did not want to talk about what happened, but had to obey the question. "Just fine."
"That's not what Counselor Troi said this morning," Worf was thinking he might be getting under the commander's skin.
Riker sharply stared at Worf. "Oh really, and how did you find out."
"I ran into her on the way to the turbolift. She knew you wouldn't tell the outcome of the game, but I insisted that you would, since you are an honorable man," Worf stated.
Will sighed as he was getting beaten down by the Klingon.
"It was a pity I was busy doing my exercises last night and not at the game to see you loose, sir," Worf somewhat smiled in a very joking manner, even though he never did like humor all that much.
The turbolift doors opened and both men walked onto the bridge and were placed behind the security console.
Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge got up from the captain's seat. "Commander, Worf, good morning."
"Anything to report?" Riker asked as he moved to the command area of the bridge which house the captain's chair along with the first officer's chair and the third chair usually for Deanna Troi or Beverly Crusher.
"No commander. All ships systems are operating normally and we are on course to Tordan II. We will arrive in a few hours," La Forge answered. "And I do have to admit, being in command wasn't that bad either."
Riker smiled at Geordi's remark.
"Anyway, today's my day off, so I'm going to go get some sleep," La Forge said as he walked off towards the turbolift right next to Picard's ready room.
The turbolift doors opened and Data and several other officers got off.
Both Data and Geordi said hello to each other and Data sat at the operations station as La Forge left.
Suddenly a beeping noise came from Worf's console. "Commander, Starfleet is sending you a message."
Riker felt it was odd for him to be getting a message but decided to proceed. "Patch it through to the observation lounge Mr. Worf."
"Mr. Data you have the bridge," Riker said as he left.
Riker walked over to one of the monitors and pushed a button.
The image displayed an admiral female who was a Bolian.
"Good morning Will," the woman warmly greeted.
Riker smiled back at her. "It's been a long time admiral."
"I should say, since I was only a commander and one of your first teachers your first year of the academy," the woman continued.
"And one who said that I still need to get my head together if I wanted to make it to my sophomore year," Will added.
"Yes, well it seems you did and here you are today," she responded.
"What can I do you for Admiral?" Will asked, wanting to know why the admiral called him.
"I know you're intent on staying aboard the Enterprise, but a new command as opened up, and I wanted to know if you want it," the Bolian female said.
"What kind of command, what ship?" Riker was wondering.
"It's a new state of the art ship, an Intrepid class ship called the Voyager," the admiral shared the information with her old student.
"The Voyager? I've heard of the ship and seen the schematics of her too," Riker responded.
"Right now the ship is stationed at Earth Station McKinley, undergoing a few more details," the admiral stated. "But I wanted to offer you the ship. You're the first candidate Starfleet Command has chosen to be the captain."
Riker thought over the statement for a moment. First candidate to be chosen? Obviously headquarters still wanted him to command a starship and get away from being the executive officer of the Federation flagship.
"Let me give this some thought," Riker said.
The Bolian female admiral nodded. "Of course."
"I'll try to contact you sometime this evening," Riker added.
The admiral nodded. Again. "Alright Will, I look forward to hearing your response. And I do have to say congratulations on this achievement."
Riker politely smiles. "Thank you."
And with that, the image of the admiral disappeared as Riker moved over to one of the windows of the observation lounge. He stared out the window into the field of stars passing by at warp, looking out into space.
Riker decided to exit the conference room and go back onto the bridge.
Captain Picard was now on the bridge in his command chair as Riker walked over to him.
Picard looked up at his first officer. "Good morning Number One," the nickname Riker as grown accustomed to by his commanding officer.
"May I see you for a minute in your ready room sir," Riker politely said to Picard.
"Of course," Picard replied. He got up and looked at Data who was at his ops station. "You have the bridge Mr. Data."
Both men entered the ready room and Picard looked at Riker.
"I just got a message from Starfleet Command," Riker said.
Worf did tell Picard that Riker was communicating a call from Starfleet when he entered the bridge. "What was it about?"
Without hesitation, Riker started to talk some more. "Starfleet has just offered me another command, a new Intrepid class ship called the Voyager."
Picard nodded. "I see."
Riker started to pace around. "I'm not……I don't know if I want a command," Riker stated. He looked at Picard for guidance. "This is the forth command Starfleet has offered me and I'm still getting cold feet."
Picard knew that this decision could be made by Will. But he decided to give him some advice, even though it might not be the best advice to guide him. "Will, this is your decision and your decision alone. Yes it is the forth time you've been offered a command of a starship and if you turn this down Starfleet might not offer another command to you for quite some time or perhaps never."
"Never?" Riker was surprised and terrified at that word. He did want to eventually command a starship someday. "I see. I guess I should give this some thought."
Picard looked at his first officer and a person he considered to be a good friend. "I'll let you think it over. Everything seems to be running normally on the bridge. I'll call you when I need you," he said. "Go on and think about your decision."
"Thank you sir," Riker said.
He exited the room and left Picard in it, He entered the turbolift adjacent to the ready room.
"Deck eight," Riker said to the computer. The turbolift started to move, although Riker nor anyone else could feel anything.
Riker tapped his combadge. "Riker to Troi."
"Dou you have a moment Deanna?"
"Of course Will," she said through the com channel. "But I'm not going to try to have a rematch with you from last night's game."
Will rolled his eyes at the comment. "It's something else, a lot bigger."
"Well you know where my office is. I'll see you in a few minutes."
Deanna was wearing one of her informal uniforms, the one she started to wear in her second year on the Enterprise. Red maroon around the entire body, legs, and sleeves and a black top around her neck.
She was looking over a padd as she heard the door chimes. "Come in." She looked and saw Will enter the room. "And what can I do for the ship's first officer this morning?"
Will was always close to Deanna and always told her some of his deepest feelings on certain manners. He sat down on the couch that some of her patients used. "I got a bit of a problem on my hands."
Deanna was listening. "Oh? What is it?"
"Starfleet has offered me another command," Riker said.
Now she could see why her friend needed her help.
Riker was trying to think of his words clearly. "I talked to Captain Picard and he told me to think this over. But I've come to a crossroads on what I should do."
Deanna looked at the commander. "And you want to know what I think of this, if I should help push you to get this command. By the way, what ship is it?"
"The USS Voyager, a state of the art Intrepid class vessel," Riker responded.
Deanna nodded. "Well what do you think you should do?"
Riker looked at his friend. "I don't know if I want this command or not, not right now." Riker started to scratch his beard. "The captain said that if I turn down this command that Starfleet might not offer me another ship again."
Riker scrunched down a little. "Am I crazy for staying on this ship and turning down another command?"
"Will, I think now more than ever you feel committed to the Enterprise, just like me, Beverly, Geordie, and everyone else," Deanna replied. "You have an allegiance, even though he never forced one on you, to Captain Picard. We've been through a lot together and you have a history here on this ship. Your friends, your family are here, all the familiarity you known and are accustomed to."
Riker listened to Deanna's words sink into him and did not say anything.
"But the question is are you ready to give up that familiarity and start a new path, a new life, or continue on the same path that you've been on for the last six years? Troi continued. "Only you can decide now. But I will say this, even though the ship will continue to run smoothly without you, it won't be the same."
Will smiled at Deanna. "Thank you. I knew I could count on my Imzadi for some guidance."
Will got up from the couch and left Deanna's office.
Several Hours Later
After arriving at Tordan II, Will handled some ship's business with the planet, and then walked around the ship, visited some people, and continued to think, finally coming up with a decision.
He went into his quarters, sat down at his desk and tapped a button on the computer. "Starfleet Command, Admiral Mora's office."
A few seconds later and the female Bolian admiral's face appeared. She smiled at Riker. "You come to a decision Will?"
Riker decided to let it out. "Yes sir I have. I have decided to not pursue a command at this time."
Admiral Mora was taken aback, a little surprise to hear this response from him. "I see, may I ask why?"
"I enjoy my job on the Enterprise. This ship is my home. My friends and family are here," Riker replied. "I know Starfleet has now pulled the captain's chair for me four times now, but I feel as though my place should be on this ship, even if it is the role of a first officer and not a captain."
The admiral let Riker's words sink into her. After a few seconds, she responded. "Well, I can't say I blame you. After all it's the Enterprise, the flagship, and you do have the best captain and crew compared to the rest of the fleet," she said. "I probably would have come to the same decision as you have."
Riker thought the admiral was going to go all ballistic on him for not accepting another command. Instead, she was agreeing with him. This made Riker feel a little better.
"Then I guess I can scratch you off the list and move down to the next name," Mora said. "Kathryn Janeway is next. Maybe she might except it. Have a good night Will."
The image of the admiral disappeared.
Riker got up from his chair and exited his quarters.
Picard's Ready Room
Picard was in his ready room drinking some tea and looking over something on his computer.
The door's to his room chimed.
"Come," Picard said.
Riker entered as Picard looked up to see who needed to see him.
"I came to a decision and contacted Starfleet," Riker said.
"Oh," Picard replied.
"I've decided to turn it down as I feel my position is here, my friends and family," Riker added.
Picard understood. He kind of felt that his first officer would not leave the ship. "Well number one, this ship will continue to have your presence and I will be able to have you as my first officer, a prominent position regarded as a good assignment by everyone in Starfleet." Picard smiled at Will, got up from his chair, and shook his hand. "The ship wouldn't be the same without you."
"Thank you sir," Riker smiled at his commanding officer. "I'll be on the bridge."
And with that, Riker left the room.