Hello, this is my first Next Generation fic, it is a short epilogue to a sadder outcome of the film First Contact. I would appreciate any feedback that is available :) I hope you enjoy it :)

Jessie xx

The New Horizon

She stood in the darkness, away from the makeshift shacks of the colony on the hilltop. He didn't need to be nearer to her to know where her eyes were searching. The days had stretched into weeks; everyone was feeling the pressure yet he suspected that there were two people suffering more than they would let on to the rest. He was even shielding parts of his own mind to Deanna, something that he had never really tried to do before but that he now felt was necessary. Following the path that lead to the figure on the hill, he wondered if she was doing the same.

She knew he was there, suspected that he had been watching for a while trying to determine whether or not to come to her. Surprising herself, she realised that she didn't mind. The days had passed so quickly establishing their new accommodation that many of the crew were still coming to terms with the events that had preceded their move. She would have to meet with him soon anyway to discuss more practical and official business yet she felt that tonight their conversation would be more personal. There was a quiet acceptance growing inside of her that would allow his company now when before in the immediate aftermath it would have been torture to be alone with the only other person that she knew was feeling at least a little of what she was.

"It's strange to see the stars from here," she opened the conversation neutrally, feeling his growing uneasiness.

"Agreed," he replied, more comfortable now that she had acknowledged his presence. "They're standing still for a change."

She turned and smiled at him, motioning to some rocks to the left which they moved to sit on. Her gaze still flitted higher into the darkness as his surveyed the valley leading to the mountains that made up the horizon of their new home.

"Everyone seems more settled," he continued. "We can start on strengthening the foundations tomorrow of some more permanent structures."

"A town hall, perhaps?" she flicked her eyes towards his. Their sense of humour was darker than that of the rest of the crew. She sighed. "It's going to be hard for some of them to adjust to life on solid ground. They've been trained for the unexpected; the mundane might be a little difficult to come to terms with."

"A different kind of exploration," he mused. "More personal, grounded, creating a community…"

"…staying out of history's way," she finished. "I've heard them already; talking about joining the communities here, helping to found what we took for granted in our time."

"That can't happen," he reminded her.

"I know," she replied blandly. "The temptation to reveal more than they should; the frustration they'll have when they can't create new technologies fast enough. We'll have to find some way to indulge them here."

"What about families?" he asked suddenly with a wry smile.

"I was going to save that conversation for tomorrow," she smiled sadly. "I don't know how we can stop them, but they would never be able to reveal to their children what we know or how we came here. And those children will want to leave here eventually, how could their background be explained? Here, we have no past, but should that mean that we don't have a future?"

"I don't know," he sighed heavily, staring back over the rooftops of their little town. "We're still dealing with the loss of more than half the crew. Those who have family back in our own time… I don't know how they will be coping at all."

"Deanna will help them as best she can," she replied quietly, trying not to think of her own son. "So will we."

He looked at her. "I'm sorry, Wes…"

"It's ok," she assured him. "I said goodbye to Wesley a long time ago. Besides, he knows as well as we do the repercussions of this life."

"The uniform…" he murmured. "We're going to run out of clothes soon."

"I have asked Lily to come to the meeting tomorrow with the senior staff. I am hoping that she can somehow provide us with the basics for what we will need."

"There's some land further up that we might be able to claim for farming. We'll be able to grow something…"

She smiled. "Lieutenant Ware will be able to co-ordinate a lot of that. She's building a team of colonist experts and the like. I don't know how well Geordi and his team will get on with building farm equipment but it's worth a shot."

"Should be worth a laugh too," he puffed. "I appreciate all that you've been doing. I realise I've been preoccupied."

"You've been dealing with the first necessities," she corrected gently. "Shelter, water, keeping everyone together. Deanna and I have everything in place for tomorrow. It will be alright. The hardest part of all will be when we have to tell everyone that Jean-Luc and Data won't be joining us. Half of them still expect to see them walking over the ridge any day."

"They still might," the hopefulness in his voice was not genuine. "We have travelled a far distance from where we were."

She shook her head, studying him seriously. "They are not coming, Will."

"I know," he admitted.

"You will lead the meeting in the morning. You will lead any other meetings we might need to have. I don't mean to sound silly but you are prepared for this, aren't you?"

"Yes. I am. But I shall want your assistance, doctor."

"You have it."

"Without Data, I intend to rely on you as next in command."

"Me? Why not Deanna? Or Worf?"

"Commander," she straightened as he made uncommon use of her grade. "You are as much a part of the crew's lives as Deanna or Worf. They will both be busy in their own areas for the foreseeable future. I need someone to rely on that the rest of the crew will look up to. That's you, Beverly."

She smiled. "Aye, sir. Thank you."

"Hey, you took that test for a reason."

"In my experience," she said quietly. "The chief medical officer of the Enterprise was often called to be on the bridge."

"And often a confident of the captain," he replied equally as softly.

"I must admit, the advice to take the test did come from Admiral McCoy when I met him at a conference while plans for the construction of the Enterprise-D were still only on paper. I found his words to be wise. I learnt a lot from him that week. He took a shine to me, I don't know why."

"The name Enterprise means more to any of its staff than simply the name of a ship."

"Jean-Luc told me that in the nexus, he was advised to never give up the chair of the Enterprise. That's why he insisted on getting command of the E. I asked him," she sighed. "The last thing I said to him. Would they make another. In our time, our real time, there will be another."

Will struggled to find any words to reply with. "I'll miss him."

She nodded, a slight gasp escaping her which he politely ignored as she fought back tears.