"Hello, Matthew. Please have a seat," Deanna Troi Riker told her newest patient. Matthew Berq was the most recent ensign aboard the U.S.S. Titan, of which Deanna's husband, William Riker, was the Captain. Matthew had medium brown hair and blue-grey eyes, and a round baby face that made him appear even younger than he was.
"Thank you, ma'am." Matthew smiled politely and did as Deanna had asked.
"How can I help you?" Deanna had glanced over the young man's files and found that he had arrived with a tentative diagnosis of mild depression with generalized anxiety. Probably more homesickness than anything else, she told herself. She had seen it many times before in new ensigns.
Matthew shrugged and smiled helplessly. Deanna sensed his mild discomfort and realized that he would need help with vocalizing his concerns.
"Why don't you tell me what brings you here," she said gently.
"Well, ma'am...you see, it's just that I feel like I don't really belong here. I'm different."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, it's hard for me to put into words. But you see, I've never really felt that I belonged anywhere. Not even in my own family."
"Why do you think you feel that way?"
"Well...I think it all began when I found out that my mother's husband wasn't my real father. That was pretty traumatic for me."
"That would be pretty traumatic for anyone, Matthew. How did you find out?"
"I needed a copy of my birth certificate to apply to Starfleet Academy. I knew where my mother kept all her important papers, so I asked for a key to her safe. 'That's all right. I'll just get it myself,' she told me quickly. The way she said it made me wonder if there was something in the safe that I wasn't supposed to see."
"I became very curious to know exactly what was in that safe besides my birth certificate. I watched to see where she put the key, and one day when she was out, I got my chance."
"I found an adoption certificate with both my mother's husband's name and my own name on it, except that my previous last name was listed as 'Roper', which was my mother's maiden name. When my mother returned, I confronted her with what I had found. I got her to admit that her husband had adopted me when I was two years old, that he wasn't my biological father."
Deanna felt an icy tingle run down her spine when she heard the surname 'Roper.'
"I asked her who my biological father was, but she wouldn't tell me his name. She said that it didn't matter because my adoptive father was my father now. I finally got the story out of her in bits and pieces over time. My biological father had been a Starfleet officer who had been on Betazed at the same time she and her father had been. He had accompanied her to the wedding of a friend in place of her father, and he had met another woman at the wedding and had been attracted to her, but she had broken his heart. Then he and my mother got drunk together and had a one-night stand. I was the result of that one-night stand. My father left Betazed right after that, and two years later, my mother married my stepfather."
By now Deanna's hands were shaking so badly that she was barely able to open Matthew's file and quickly glance at his birthdate once again.
"Your mother...her first name wouldn't happen to be Wendy, would it?"
Matthew was stunned. "You know my mother?"
Deanna could feel the blood drain from her face as she rested her head in her hands in an attempt to regain her composure. Dear Lord, after all this time...why?