|“||"Mr Worf... fire."||„|
|~ -William Riker, commanding Worf to fire at the Borg Cube.|
William Thomas Riker was a protagonist in Star Trek: The Next Generation television series. A human male, he was noted for being the first officer of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D and its successor NCC-1701-E. He was portrayed by Jonathan Frakes.
Riker was born in 2335 in Alaska on Earth to Kyle and Betty Riker. It was theorized that the Riker family descended from Augment children sent to Alaska following the Eugenics Wars. Riker's mother died at a very young age. Not quite knowing how to deal with his grief and help his son at the same time a rift developed between Kyle and Riker that continued for many years until the two patched things up in 2365.
In 2353 Riker entered Starfleet Academy. He performed well in his classes at the academy, graduating eighth in his class. After graduation he was assigned to the USS Pegasus under then Captain Erik Pressman. Following the destruction of the Pegasus Riker was eventually stationed on Betazed where he met Deanna Troi and the two began a relationship. Afterwards he was posted to the Potemkin as a lieutenant. Riker was part of a rescue mission to Nervala IV while on the Potemkin. A transporter accident while beaming up from Nervala IV created his twin brother Thomas Riker, who was essentially an exact duplicate of Riker. The crew did not realize that Thomas had been created and he spent the next eight years stranded on Nervala IV.
Riker was soon a Commander and first officer of the USS Hood under Captain Robert DeSoto. While on the Hood he disobeyed an order by refusing to allow DeSoto to beam down to Altair III, worried that the Captain would be in danger doing so. More embarrassed than anything, DeSoto did not pursue any disciplinary action, but did make a brief mention of the incident in Riker's file.
In 2364 Jean-Luc Picard was reviewing first officer candidates for his new command on the Enterprise and saw the Altair III incident in Riker's file. Looking for a person who would stand up to him if need be and worry more about the ship and crew regardless of how it might reflect on his record, Picard decided Riker was the ideal candidate and offered him the first officer's position.
Meanwhile Riker was offered a promotion to Captain and command of the USS Drake, but he turned that down in order to serve on the Enterprise. Riker became friends with Captain Picard and many other members of the Enterprise crew. He would remain as first officer of the Enterprise-D until the ship was destroyed in 2371. The following year he was named the first officer of the Enterprise-E.
Riker remained on the Enterprise until 2379. Having rekindled his romance with Deanna Troi, the pair married that year. Riker finally accepted a promotion to Captain and was given command of the USS Titan after Admiral Kathryn Janeway told him it was his last chance to advance in rank.
- Riker was partially based on the character of Will Decker from the cancelled Star Trek: Phase II series. During the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation the writers had Riker duplicate many of Decker's character traits.