“Well this is awkward,” said Will Riker.
“How so?” asked his wife Deanna.
Captain Will Riker cocked his head and looked at his Betazoid bride.
“Well it’s not every day you lead a memorial service for yourself and your crew,” said Will Riker.
“But it wasn’t us,” said Deanna.
“What, because they’re from an alternative parallel?” asked Will.
“Yes, while their life had some similarities there were other important differences,” replied Deanna.
“Like their children?” asked Will.
“Certainly the fact they have three children compared to our Tasha shows an underlying difference, and indeed Doctor Ra-Havreii says their Titan has other technology differences,” said Deanna.
“So you’re saying since they lived different lives, their deaths shouldn’t matter to us, that I should put the few surviving orphan children of that other Titan into care?” said Will Riker.
“No, of course not Imzadi, I’m shocked you think I would even suggest that but you need to step backward and dissociate yourself from that other Will Riker and his USS Titan,” said Deanna.
“Just treat them like any other dead Federation ship?” asked Will.
“That might help Imzadi,” said Deanna.
“I thought the Titan was a true family, I thought you believed in that, but if we can write off a whole alternative Titan, then aren’t we also just another starship also?” said Will.
Before Deanna could answer that retort the comm. system beeped to announce the start of the memorial service for the alternative USS Titan.
“We’ll talk further later, Imzadi,” said Will and he walked through the door to the stage. Deanna exited via another door from the side room and walked over to take a seat in the front row by Tuvok and Christine Vale, as Will stood up to the podium.
Will put his hands on the edge of the podium and looked over the room at the various races that made up the members of his crew. Here and there he saw some of the handful of survivors of the other Titan sitting in the room. The only person he saw sitting next to himself was his Pahkwa-thanh chief medical officer Doctor Ree.
“Colleagues of both USS Titans, we are gathered here to remember the federation Starfleet vessel USS Titan. Though this vessel as I’ve been told so many times, was not from our universe, it was a Starfleet vessel whose crew were as close as family to each other as we are. While I might not know that version of us to give them a proper sent off, I do know them well enough to say that when given the choice of getting home or helping us save our Federation from the Chilo, they chose to help us defeat the Chilo. In doing so they made the ultimate sacrifice and in doing so they upheld the highest traditions of any Starfleet.”
Will let that statement hang in the air over the room. He looked around the room before continuing.
“Watching that Titan sacrifice itself for us, made me proud once more to be your captain, for I know if the roles and choices had been reversed, we would have made the same choice for the same reason,” said Will.
Deanna felt the pride roll off her husband.
“Now we find a small number of survivors to incorporate into our crew as we can’t return them home. While they may find our technology and our history different, I hope they can find we are as welcoming and as good of a family as the one they lost today, for as one of their children said to me, ‘We all Titanese here,’” said Captain Riker.
Deanna felt the mood change in the room as that statement settled in. The sombre mood seemed now to be lifted up by pride at being Titanese.
“So my fellow Titanese family, I ask you to stand for the final salute to the best starship and crew of any Starfleet,” said Will.
Deanna, like the rest of the room, rose to her feet.
“My family, I give you the USS Titan, The pride of any Starfleet,” said Will.
Will gave a nod to one of the junior crew who raised a bugle and started to play taps.
Deanna suddenly understood her husband’s mood better and why he was so determined to keep their other selves’ children. ‘If you are a Titanese you always have a home on this USS Titan.’
Story Notes: Thanks to Little black Dog for the Beta Check and her helpful guidance in getting this old Weekly Free Write up onto the archive.