|Thomas in 2371|
|William "Thomas" Riker (2371)|
|Born:||Stardate 12286.5 (2335)|
|Transporter Duplicate:||William T. Riker|
|William "Thomas" Riker (2369)|
Thomas Riker was a result of a transporter accident in 2361 that created two William T. Rikers, genetically indistinguishable from each other, with personality and memories identical up to the point of the duplication. One of the duplicates continued to be known as William Riker, the other was known as Thomas Riker.
Thomas Riker's life and experiences are the same as William T. Riker's prior to 2361. In that year, William Riker, at the time a lieutenant assigned to the USS Potemkin, was leading an evacuation mission on the planet Nervala IV. The planet was notorious for its atmospheric distortion field which prevented the use of transporters and shuttles except for brief periods every eight years. During Riker's transport from the planet's surface, a second confinement beam was initiated to overcome these difficulties, with the intent of reintegrating the two beams in the transporter buffer prior to rematerialization on the ship. However, the modulation of the distortion field caused only one transporter signal to correctly materialize on the Potemkin – the second signal bounced off of the field and rematerialized on the planet's surface, unbeknownst to the rest of the crew. As a result one Riker materialized aboard the Potemkin while another was left on the planet's surface, his existence going unnoticed by the crew of the Potemkin.
The existence of this other William Riker (from here on referred to as "Thomas") was discovered on Nervala IV eight years later when the USS Enterprise-D returned to retrieve scientific research that had been left behind. With the aid of Thomas, who had altered the computer systems on the planet to aid in his survival, the Enterprise away team was able to access the information and return to the ship with Thomas.
- Thomas' lieutenant uniform was gold, indicating he belonged to the operations division at the time he was stranded. It has not been revealed what post he held aboard the Potemkin, but script materials suggested he might have taken over the operations manager position in an unused storyline.
Relationship with Deanna Troi
During the time he spent on the planet, Thomas had remained deeply in love with Deanna Troi, his girlfriend at the time. Thomas had planned to meet Deanna on Risa the year of the transporter mishap, a fact that he dwelled on while stranded. In contrast, the Riker that beamed off-planet eight years prior was soon promoted and made his career a priority over their relationship, and never made the trip to Risa with Deanna.
Upon his rescue, Thomas told Deanna that he could not believe he had failed to meet her as planned and that he was hoping their relationship could resume. Initially, Deanna was opposed to the idea, but found herself won over despite her objections. In the end, however, the passage of time proved too much to overcome and the two realized they could not continue their relationship.
As a result of Troi's rejection and conflicts with his double, a superior officer – by then, a Commander – Lieutenant Riker decided to leave the Enterprise. He chose to use his middle name, Thomas, to distinguish himself from his transporter duplicate. Captain Jean-Luc Picard managed to get Thomas a posting on the USS Gandhi where he could continue his Starfleet career. Upon Thomas' departure, William seemed to have accepted Thomas' existence and gave him his trombone as a parting gift. (TNG: "Second Chances")
In 2370, Thomas expressed dismay at the Federation's policies towards the Cardassians and the Federation colonies in the Demilitarized Zone, and later joined the Maquis resistance. In early 2371, Thomas, posing as William Riker, came aboard Deep Space 9 and stole the newly commissioned USS Defiant.
With Major Kira as his unwilling passenger, Riker took the Defiant to the Orias system, deep in Cardassian space, where the Maquis believed that the Cardassians were building a fleet of warships. Trying to locate the Defiant with the assistance of Commander Sisko, Gul Dukat swore that he knew nothing of this fleet. He was telling the truth, as the fleet had been constructed by the Obsidian Order in direct violation of Cardassian law. As the Defiant arrived at Orias, it was intercepted by a number of Cardassian warships.
Sisko negotiated a compromise with Dukat – Riker surrendered the Defiant to the ships loyal to Dukat, not those from Orias, and in exchange for his sensor scans of the Orias base, his sentence would be reduced to life imprisonment in a labor camp on Lazon II, while the rest of his crew would be returned to the Federation. Kira promised to return for him one day, but it is not clear whether or not she ever did. (DS9: "Defiant")
- It is unclear what became of Riker following these events, or whether Kira was able to keep her promise to free him. It is possible that he was involved in the Dominion War, but it is just as likely that he was killed along with other members of the Maquis while imprisoned.
According to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, some TNG writing staff toyed with the idea of killing off Will Riker in "Second Chances," permanently replacing him with Thomas Riker as the new ops officer and moving Data to the first officer position.
Actor Jonathan Frakes, who portrayed both Will and Thomas Riker, described Thomas as being "much less confident than Will. But he's also tender and sweeter. I think I like Tom better". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion) The DS9 Companion also notes that Thomas' return was on a list of stories the DS9 writers were not interested in hearing pitches on. However, this could have meant that a Thomas Riker story was being mulled over in-house.
- In an interview with Jonathan Frakes provided with the TNG Season 6 DVD box set, he states that he had approached Ronald D. Moore regarding a Thomas Riker DS9 episode involving Damar's rebellion. However, this idea was not brought to fruition by the conclusion of the series.
Coincidentally, the name Thomas is of Aramaic origin and means twin.
In John Vornholt's novel Quarantine, set in 2371, Thomas transfered from the operations division to the sciences division after a conflict with the USS Gandhi first officer. He wore a blue Starfleet uniform and served as a medical courier pilot. It was in this function that he abandoned Starfleet for the Maquis, joining Chakotay and B'Elanna Torres' cell. According to Quarantine, it was Chakotay's idea to steal the Defiant from Deep Space 9.
In Peter David's novel Triangle: Imzadi II, also set in 2371, Thomas was freed from the Lazon II labor camp by Romulans, and had a brief affair with Sela, who believed that he was the original Riker. Driven by jealousy over news of Worf and Deanna's recent engagement, Thomas was forced into an assassination attempt on Klingon Chancellor Gowron and Emperor Kahless, but that was averted thanks to the actions of Worf, Riker, and Odo.
In the Malibu Comics Deep Space Nine title, two stories were published extending Riker's story. "Sole Asylum, Part One" and "Part Two", set at the end of 2371, showed that Riker had been taken to Cardassia Prime and that Cardassian scientists were trying to discover the secret of his duplication in order to create an army of duplicates. It was also revealed that Riker's cells were only nine years old, suggesting their complete creation at the time of the accident. Unable to rationalize the accident against the Law of Conservation of Mass and proven transporter theory, one of the scientists, a Dr. Nol, told the Cardassian High Council that he must be from an alternate dimension. Because of this, the Council decided to send him back to a labor camp.
In the computer game Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Dominion Wars, set between 2372 and 2374, a Federation Alliance mission involves rescuing Thomas from a Cardassian convoy, after which point he is available as a commander for your ships. A Dominion mission in the same game requires the player to destroy the Template:ShipClass starship under his command.
In Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens' novel series Millennium, an alternate timeline found Thomas rescued from the labor camp by the Grigari. Feeling abandoned by Starfleet, Thomas joined the Bajoran Ascendancy, although he secretly worked as a double agent for Starfleet. By 2399, he was the commanding officer of the U.S.S. Opaka and was killed on Christmas Day of the same year after failing to kill Kai Weyoun. This timeline was later reset thanks to Benjamin Sisko and the crew of Deep Space 9.