Amanda continued to be astounded by all the wonders of the twenty-fourth century, and for awhile, adjusting to life aboard the Enterprise while caring for Lily and focusing on her relationship with Wesley kept her fully occupied. Beverly enjoyed spending time with her granddaughter, and much of her off time was spent visiting Amanda and Lily in their quarters. Lily soon got over her initial shyness and began to laugh and clap her hands when she saw her grandmother.
Sometimes when Wesley returned from his starship duties, he would find Amanda just sitting and staring into space with a far-away look in her eyes. When he asked her what was wrong, she just smiled and told him that everything was fine. One afternoon, he came home and found her crying her heart out. Tenderly, he gathered her into his arms and lifted her chin to look into her eyes.
"Amanda, please tell me what's been bothering you. It breaks my heart to see you like this. Have I done something to make you unhappy?"
"Oh, no, Wesley. It's not you at all. It's just that I miss my family on Earth so much. I know you can do a holodeck simulation of Walnut Grove in the 1880's and even of my friends and family, but it's still not the same."
Wesley felt terrible for his wife, but as the captain had told him that time travel wasn't possible at the time, and wouldn't be for awhile, he felt helpless to do anything to make her feel better.
Meanwhile, on Earth, new ensign Seth Wilder was eager to begin his new career aboard the Enterprise. He had just graduated Starfleet Academy, and although he felt somewhat apprehensive about leaving behind the only home he had ever known, planet Earth, he was much more excited over the coming opportunity to explore new worlds. Seth was the first in his family to graduate from Starfleet Academy and choose a career in outer space. His forefathers had been farmers in the midwestern United States for the past five hundred years.
As soon as Seth was beamed aboard, he looked around at his new crew mates and noticed that most of them appeared to be human, except for one Klingon and another man who looked mostly human except for his skin, which appeared to be much paler than normal, and his eyes, which were yellow. Seth was very curious about him.
Wesley, Amanda, and Lily were all there to meet the new ensign.
"Wilder is my maiden name!" Amanda shouted when she heard Seth's surname.
"Really?" Seth was surprised. "Where are you from?"
"A distant ancestor of mine was from Walnut Grove too," "Seth told her. "His name was Almonzo Wilder, and his wife's maiden name was Laura Ingalls."
A thrill of excitement went through Amanda. "That's my brother and sister-in-law!" she exclaimed.
Seth was shocked.
"My wife was born in the nineteenth century," Wesley explained. "I visited that time period for several years and met Amanda during my stay. We were married there, and then she came back with me when it was time for me to return to the Enterprise."
"Wow, that's amazing!" Seth declared. "My distant ancestor Almonzo did have a younger sister named Amanda who vanished along with her husband and infant daughter in about the mid 1880's. Nothing was ever heard of them again."
"We're right here!" Amanda exclaimed. "We've been here for several weeks now. So you're a descendant of Almonzo and Laura's daughter Rose?"
"No. Almonzo and Laura also had a son, Wesley, who was born several years after Rose. Wesley was my ancestor."
Wesley was very flattered that Almonzo and Laura had chosen to name their son after him.
"I want to know all about what became of them," Amanda said.
"They continued to farm in the midwest for the rest of their lives. Almonzo lived to be ninety-one years old, and Laura lived to be ninety. Rose married but never had any children. Wesley married and had one son, named Almonzo after his grandfather. Unfortunately, Wesley was killed in France in World War I. The younger Almonzo was just a baby at the time. His mother remarried, but Almonzo kept the Wilder surname. He went on to receive several medals of honor for serving in World War II, and he died shortly before the beginning of the twenty-first century."
"Laura wrote many books about her childhood and early adult years when she was older. I'll bet they're probably in the library on board the Enterprise, in the juvenile section."
"I can't wait to see them!" Amanda said enthusiastically.
Seth laughed. "Just let me get settled in, and we'll go together," he told her.
"Why don't you join us for dinner," Amanda said.
"Thanks, that's very kind of you," Seth replied.
After Seth's arrival, Amanda's normally cheerful deameanor returned. Wesley was happy that his wife's encounter with a distant relative had seemed to cure her depression. Seth and Amanda went on to become very close, almost like brother and sister. Wesley wasn't jealous at all and became good friends with Seth himself. For both Wesley and Amanda, it was just as if they had gotten part of what they had lost back. Lily also grew to love Seth, as she loved her grandmother Beverly.