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Out Of Mind » MEMBER ADVERTISING & BLOG FORUMS » T.S. "Tray" Caladan » STARWALKERS Episode #23, "Dream-Drivers" by TS Caladan

STARWALKERS Episode #23, "Dream-Drivers" by TS Caladan

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Episode #23, "Dream-Drivers"
by TS Caladan

 [Season One Ending episode. Glimpses of what's to come in Season Two].

"Ha, ha! Ah, uh...ha..."
       "I take it your hunch paid off, Commander?"
       Data almost didn't hear La Forge's question. "What? You have to forgive me, Lieutenant. Ah, ha, ha." Data laughed as he flipped through the programs like "channels on cable" in ancient days of television. Only he sped through millions in a split-second. It was the first time the android viewed through it since the T-Pal affair. "This is marvelous. Extraordinary! Ah." Data continued to stare into the visor and remembered and changed the recorded channels again and again. 'He' was like a child with a new toy, because the robot understood how rare, special and incredible the information was.
       The pair were the only ones near the magnetic Warp Core, in the heart of Engineering on Enterprise-D, in one of the positive universes. A few techs were at stations near the back bulkhead and well out of earshot.
       "Commander. I also take it your 'emotion chip' is switched ON?"
       "Indeed it is, my good Watson," the android stated with full feelings like 'Sherlock.'
       "Well, Holmes, I told you how smooth it is to operate and, and wide, new ranges I can see into now. Ever since T-Pal fixed, er, improved it."
       Commander Data touched a side button on the Lieutenant's visor and scenes on little screens stopped. "Sorry, Giordi. I was being rude." Data removed the device. [click] He changed from a mood of joy and wonder to a tone of sorrow. The android recalled, "Remember what T-Pal said: none of us exist in the other universe?"
       Blinded La Forge was realistic and said: "Well. I hadn't thought much of any world but our own, Commander. So. Since no one else can access the new files, don't let me stop you, sir. You're not being rude. View away. In fact. We have time; nothing pressing here; the Old Man's away. Tell me of the images. News. Surprises. Highlights, you know?"
       "Great!" Data was enthralled and returned the visor to his artificial eyes. [click] "If you don't mind, Lieutenant?"
       "Please. I want to know what you saw. What was funny?"
       "Tragic, really."
       "Commander. I wouldn't really mix those two up, sir."
       Data attempted an explanation. "Tragic to the ones killed. Strange/bizarre to us of another universe where the disaster or war or whatever, did not apply. I should have refrained from laughter. RUSH of multiple emotions, I presume, formed laughter? How odd. Oh. Then there are endless Real Worlds, Giordi, third members to the positive, negative Helixes...many different realities, triads, true realities not like the fake realities."
       "Here's a question I only thought of now. Data. Go ahead and view the hidden files..."
       "Good." The android hit the side button and immediately was captivated in timelines and various realities. He whizzed through infinite channels.
       "The visor was stolen last year by the Rulers of Tineous and taken there. Is this the same visor?"
       "We do not know. We do know, since the Care-Taker's alteration through T-Pal, it is even more unique and could never be replicated." More panoramas in 4D shook Data to the point where he "ooed" and "awed." And laughed again. "It's magic. Hmm. Aaah. Oh. This is very unusual."
       "What?" La Forge asked Data.
       "Keep in mind, sights and sounds stored here are 100% true, confirmed, cross-checked and further verified by researching deeper levels. This is not even our universe, it's the Negative, our reflection..."
       "What's unusual?" the Lieutenant asked the Commander. "Spill it."
       "Huh. For some reason, in their future, parallel planets: Risa, Caladon, Vesteros, Shanabaar, Reilioos, Oceanea Prime and Trilleen-5 will lose physical cohesion..."
       "Hm? Those are the most elite spots in the quadrant. What do you mean?"
       "They will evaporate to nothingness over the course of a century. Dissolve into ghosts. Weird, huh? Our positive versions of the same planets will be fine and remain intact, solid."
       More images, universes, realms, timelines, past and future realities, 'other sides' and twists flashed in front of Data's optics. The Commander was overwhelmed with new information, real and unreal and surreal. There were horrors beyond belief. There was beauty beyond belief. Who needed starships? The fantastic to the sublime to serious tragedies to hilarious absurdities: EVERYTHING REAL, hidden, wiped, smeared, distorted, erased, lost, forgotten was preserved within the microscopic crystal record laced throughout the special visor. Even bogus broadcasts of virtual universes, anime, animation, cartoons, fantasy as well as infinite real worlds! 
       Data held back artificial tears. The android with a positronic brain looked into a new storyline for a split-nano~ "Oh. This is interesting." The Commander was supremely intrigued.
       "Tell me," Giordi again coaxed his close friend.
       "Certainly. I'll remain standing. You may want to sit, La Forge."
       "Data. You said 'I'll' and not I will." Giordi found a seat.
       The Commander smiled, moved closer and said, "So I did. Do not worry, Rol is gone. We discussed my first meeting Admiral Spock, do you remember?"
       "I'll say. You talked your head off about it at 10 Forward, Data."
       "Not literally."
       "Of course," La Forge replied and smiled.
       "What I just viewed interested me. It was about his Mirror-counterpart in the anti-matter universe. Much younger. Not Spock. His name was Commander Staak, First Officer on the starship Enlighten..."
       "Hey, that's close. Staak? Ha. Really? What happened to him?"
       "I won't mention his death. Something entirely different. The interesting file was more of a...I'd say a Love Story."
       The Engineer responded, "You did it again. Wonder why? Hm. Love story? Huh. Lea should be here to hear it. First Officer Staak gets the girl, then? Why does it have such significance? Interest?"
       The Commander removed the visor. [click] I will not be needing it to tell the story, Giordi," Data declared calmly. Then...
       "Wait! Geordi!" Data had a delayed reaction to a 'joke' observed only 143.765622 nanu-seconds ago. LAUGHTER had to vent out of the machine. 'His' chip was still ON. "HA! Wait! Before the interesting story! Dude!!" Then the robot spoke softly in another persona: "This is damn funny. I froze a frame. Stills can be seen by others. It's a joke; prepare to laugh, Lieutenant...Look. Uh." The visor was placed near La Forge's face. 
       Giordi grabbed it out of Data's fingers and put the visor on. [click] "Ah. Hmm."
       Data let go. He laughed and laughed, slapped his knees a few times, went into impressions of Jerry Lewis and a dopey guy from 'Night Court.' "Oh. God!"
       Giordi was puzzled and said, "I don't get it. It's just some fat Borg. He looks happy. Is that it, Data, a happy Borg? That's what's funny?"

"It's Borgnine! Earnest Borgnine!"
      "What?" La Forge was clueless. 
      "Someone threw this together, it's funny. Borg. Borg. And you even have a 9, like..."
      "I still don't get it."
      Data changed to a serious attitude. He came to a quick realization: "Maybe I should not have learned comedy from Joe Piscopo?"  

       In one of the programs Commander Data viewed, there was a "crossover" of universes. 7 of 9 encountered one of her counterparts: "9 of 7." The parallel woman was locked within a mental-jail of her own creation and inside the Surreal World where things were a bit inside out. The ex-Borg longed for love. Seven told her that (in future) she'd find it. She'd discover the man of her dreams. And they'd build a world for themselves and their child on Remor, home of the Centauri, a planet that orbited a purple star, not far from Earth.   

 9 of 7 didn't believe her counterpart and said, "Only in a dream."
       Seven replied, "How else?"

       One of the channels Data viewed for an average of 3.19332 nanu-seconds was of a not-so-new lifeform, but a species brand new to 'him.' The android had never heard of "Dream-Drivers" or realized the concept. They were aliens that didn't exist in the corporeal, physical universe, anywhere. They lived, survived, fed-off, traveled and experienced 'realities' entirely within the fluid dreams of the living. Realms, universes, Time, dimensions, distances to other galaxies didn't hinder the experiences of Dream-Drivers. DDs crossed over to any world inside the matrix mind of sleeping/dreaming entities, no matter what distances. The creatures were "dream-users" that broke physical laws of time and space and navigated through a strange medium: Universal Seas of Dreams or the wide spectrum of thoughts and possibilities, which were as solid as stone~

The curiosity that possessed Data, what interested the Holmes side of the machine, was a particular storyline of reality where a Dream-Driver enlisted the unwilling services of a particular 7 of 9. No one saw the DD. As 7 went about her daily routines on Voyager, the singular alien with forehead extensions remained invisible. Former "Anika Hansen" and former Borg failed to report the visual glitch upon her cortex of the Uni-Matrix. It was her daily battle for SANITY as she understood the silent Spectre should not have been viewed. Or could be observed. Was the passed week of the creepy, thought-invader, alien a dream?
       It was a dream. Anika or 7 conducted her routines with peak efficiency aboard the starship (a starship on a 7-year journey beyond the galactic rim and back) during the 'day.' But at 'night,' at the pinnacle of MER sleep, she was possessed or utterly controlled by a dark Dream-Driver "iso-bug" that now infected her brain!
       In the old vernacular, she was a "Manchurian Candidate," an agent or assassin, totally unaware that her actions were not her own. Seven was a tool. She'd have forgotten her directives entirely and performed new, remote functions~
       The Dream-Driver was very specific...

Sweet, blonde, Anika Hansen, with residue machine implants, was ordered to seduce and then kill the one she loved! It was a test that a Driver conducted for the "benefit" or simply an audience of other Drivers. The Test was: Could what the Universe established as true love between two destined Soul-Mates be completely destroyed? Could the ultimate Love be turned and twisted into the ultimate Hate? Could we cause them to miraculous meet (in dreams), make love and see if they'd KILL each other in any of the universes?
       The visual, recorded Ocean of Dreams was the perfect mentally-staged menagerie for the performers made to act and 'dance on strings.'
       In more than one dream universe, 7 of 9 murdered her husband or boyfriend. Same can be said for 9 of 7 in a few Surreal Universes. But all things bad, terrible, hideous and nasty didn't happen everywhere in at least one of the other (-) worlds...
       In this reality, Commander Staak of the SC flagship Enlighten had been assimilated by the Borg enemy. Most of the crew were also a part of the Hive-Mind Collective. Captain Church and his ship desperately and barely fled from a huge Borg Sphere. They planned to return and rescue their First Officer and the rest of the infected crew...

The rescue happened in the form of a "visitor." She introduced herself as a holographic program from the future. 7 showed staff and crew of the Enlighten her 'mobile emitter,' an item from the 27th Century. She also informed them that she had a "better" plan than the one the Captain conceived. It was better because: "It will work."
       Church responded favorably to her sudden offer with the words: "Who am I to argue with such a lovely lady?" He smiled. He asked her, "What do you need, Seven?"
       She replied, "I only need a place to lay down. And fall asleep, Captain."
       "No problem," the Captain stated. He had dealt with virtual Magic previously and at times relied on some extraordinary, incomprehensible "Science" or "Entity" to correct the problem. "This way." John motioned toward the Lift.
       Before 7 of 9 marched off the bridge and into dreamland, she spied an anomaly out in space, beyond the force-field windows. The image was unseen by everyone else. It was Earth's Moon, but it couldn't be Earth's Moon. Seven realized that she was already within a dream. She'd still be able to sleep and travel and function...

       She enhanced the starship. She found the individual Sphere that held the Remoran Science Officer because of his signature. The Enlighten was masked from the rest of the Collective. She beamed onto the Sphere and walked passed dozens of drones until she found or homed in on the exact one she targeted. She loved this man. She loved him because her counterpart (9 of 7) loved this man in her mind.
       (Nine will not be referred to as "Nine" when she experiences future happiness on a purple world she'll have built with her husband and child).
       Metal tubers extended from the back of Seven's neck, sprung out 'on their own,' and attached themselves to the neck of Borg-Staak. Anika and R'Maugzhe broke from their small collective of two with only slight pain.

She brought him back onboard, back to his familiar ship and friends. The un-assimilation process or "human reintegration" will occur in almost no time at all. Seven saw Staak's ear appendages and lobes. She knew this was a completely different man than before assimilation. Earth's satellite remained in view. It was a dream. She knew he'd be 100% human soon...  

The man changed. He had become a man that Seven had loved or believed she loved. And not Commander Staak, not the man Nine had loved and loves inside her dreams...
       This dream (new reality) was for Seven, not Nine. ANIKA WAS COMPELLED OR DRIVEN TO KILL HER LOVER! By the Driver. She didn't, when in almost every other universe, she did~
       She also made new Staak very real (in a sense) to his friends and shipmates. Staak was back! He displayed emotions!
       The Moon was stationary and invisible to others, outside the big portals, even though the Enlighten zipped to its next assignment at Warp Seven...
       Instead of any type of catastrophe or murder between lovers that happened, in this particular timeline or Dream Reality...something different had happened. It seemed so real. It was a reality where Commander Staak found his true love...

...Onboard the Enlighten. Staak, with ears, was ecstatic for the first time in his life and no longer had machine parts. He was in love! He was happy. 
       She lost the last bits of her metal parts. Seven and Nine were equally contented in their own worlds: an artificial one and a universe less phony. But the universes weren't any solid shades of a real world. It was only within "mental-isos" that merely appeared real. Who cared? They were happy endings~
       Staak went on and became Admiral Staak, a respected, experienced and later retired Admiral of Starwalker Command. He settled back home on Remor with his wife and family. A dream made real, then again it wasn't.

...The perfect soul-mates had a premature child who emerged upon the world in only 7 weeks. Thanks to Machines, she developed extremely rapidly and, in time, was the exact image of her mother. Their nickname for the beautiful "Child of Tomorrow" was "Junior" (J.R.).

  "Junior grew up on Remor, got mechanically enhanced, and later...saved the world."
       Giordi La Forge interrupted Commander Data: "Excuse me, Data. I have to stop you there. You want to explain that, Commander?"
       "Certainly, my friend. It is what blew my mind and made me 'click' on the emotion chip in the first place."
       "A whole Alternative Universe and absolute rarity when compared with the other worlds, other universes, timelines!" Data screamed like an exuberant child: "Augh! Who'd believe we'd stay Martians, not go to War, not ruin Mars, not migrate to Earth and, finally, NOT BLOW UP 5TH PLANET, LILITH?!"
       "Commander. You're saying...little Junior here and the Enhancements...changed all of History so..."
       [click] Data removed the visor of lost dreams and realities. The android completed Giordi's thought: "...Earthlings now had the usual 5th Planet in the gap, without an Asteroid Belt. Mars wasn't ruined or red in color. There'd be no Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto and no comets. Inner planets would be far less scarred. Earth would have no Moon and, and, and...your people wouldn't see shooting stars at night. Huh. Wow. Way to go, Junior."

"Can you explain, ah, more, sir?"
       "Sure." Data clicked the chip OFF. I've compiled only a few stills for you. If you will examine the frames?"
       "Of course."
       Data continued in a monotone without emotions: "Pictorial tribute. Apparently. You might say, 'Hell and High Water' had to occur before this universe materialized into substance. The Child was needed in the far future, which was in reality, the ancient past. Our Martian Genesis. She joined the White Borgs, by choice..."
       "White Borgs?" the chief Engineer exclaimed.
       "We do not have them, Lieutenant. Our Mirror-Reflection does. Like Dark Prophets, Light Prophets, good Changlings, bad Changlings. Miss Hansen or 'Junior' went back in time to Cydonia a million years ago..."
       "Really? She prevented the destruction of the Grand Pyramid? The Big Boom? She saved Mars?"
       "...And changed all of known human history in its aftermath: constructed a new time-reality, unique. Without that 'interruption' to humanity, the gods would never have fallen, no Ragnarok or Lucifers to plague the cosmos. Pure, perfect Angels would have reigned and maintained an eternal Heaven on Earth and NO ONE would have ever served down here in Hell."
       La Forge said the first thing that came to mind: "Cydonian Empire wouldn't have fallen? Wow. No Atlantis or Egypt? Earth could have been used as a, a literal garden-planet. A good Martian experiment, eh? Instead of a new world for war refugees."
       Data replied, "In a sense, history recorded that it was our experiment. You are correct: It could have been different. Earth might have stayed a fantastic Eden Paradise, rather than repeating grave Martian mistakes."
       Giordi added, "Could have been a whole different mythos, eh?"
       Data replied, "Instead of Mars being known as the 'God of War,' the Empire could have sustained itself and been known as the God of Love."
       "Now, that's a thought." The human was slightly dazed. 
       The android suggested, "Check out the next still, if you will, Lieutenant?"
      La Forge did. "Huh. What's this?"
       "A look ahead, Chief. Our positive world. It is what our Captain will have to face, after a few episodes."
       "What? Who's the girl in the Captain's Chair?"

"Hard to believe, Giordi. Miss Hansen was fated to defeat the Dream-Drivers' plans and bring about a New Age never seen before in Galactic History. But that was only in one of the Negative timelines or realities, our Reflection. In our Positive Universe, a small devil (not Large Beast) will play deadly games with Captain Picard. Do not worry. He will win and the ending will be happy."
       "Final image cued up for you, Lieutenant."
       "Oh. Okay. This looks like Seven."

Data revealed the truth to his friend. "It was a Real World image. I will read from the digital caption: 'This week's episode of 'Helix' is entitled: Dream-Drivers.' I discovered the words and plot only now struck actress, Jeri Ryan. She was reminded of the strange dream he had last night."
       [A moment of contemplation].
       La Forge expressed, "That's funny."
       Data said, "It is odd/funny. It is not funny/funny."
       "It's no Borgnine."

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