William Riker, first officer of the Starship Enterprise,
bolted out of his seat, his eyes wide. Across the table sat Deanna Troi, the ship's counselor. Her deep brown eyes normally showed great empathy for the plight of others, but now they just looked tired.
Riker's hand rubbed his chin, stroking the freshly grown beard that had been the subject of much debate between them. A few short years ago, he agreed to shave it as he and Troi renewed their romance. However, after the last few months, he felt the need to change something, and growing the beard back was the easiest solution. She had...