One of the inspirations for this story was Tara Keezer's story "Stupid Portal", others were Jennifer Oksana's "Real, More or Less" and Roz Kaveney's "Forgiven." I hope that none of them will feel too insulted by what follows.
All characters belong to their respective creators / film companies / etc. and are used without permission. This story may only be distributed on a non-profit-making basis.
Work in Progress. If you like this story, check out my other stories on the Fanfiction Net, Twisting the Hellmouth, and Fonts of Wisdom websites.
I'm British, so's my spelling. Live with it.
By Marcus L. Rowland
"Deep Space Nine to Defiant, we're detecting wormhole activity. Can you see any ships from your position?"
"Negative. Scanning the vicinity... all our instruments are going crazy... wait a moment, we're picking up life signs, looks like a human in some sort of force field pod... already through the mine field without setting anything off. We're closing to transporter range..."
"Defiant, this is Sisko, please report."
"Worf to Deep Space Nine. We've picked up what looks like an unconscious human woman inside a force field bubble, it's just come out of the wormhole. No obvious source for the force field. I believe that there are signs of hypoxia; her lips have a blue tint."
"Can you get through the force field and transport her out?"
"Trying to find the frequency now, Captain Sisko.... we have it, but it seems to be being generated by her body or possessions, when we tried to transport her out the force field came with her."
"Transport oxygen in and carbon dioxide out."
"An excellent idea, Captain."
"Doctor Bashir wants a word."
"Go ahead, Doctor."
"I want you to get a hypospray of tri-ox compound, adjust the dosage for her apparent mass plus fifty percent to allow for wastage and transport the contents into the air inside the force field near her mouth and nostrils. Don't worry too much about the exact dosage, it can't do her much harm. It's better intravenously, but it should help her if she inhales it."
"At once, Doctor... Yes, I believe that it is working, her lips already have a more normal colour."
"Get her back here and into sick bay."
"Human. What do you make of her clothes?" asked Ezri Dax. "They look odd."
"I'm not surprised you don't recognise them," said Julian Bashir, running a tricorder up and down the force field bubble and staring at the unconscious girl inside, floating a few inches above the bed, "although you've seen their predecessors in the holosuite."
"Twentieth century Earth?"
"Yes, but much later than the period I normally play in. The lower garment is a pair of jeans, made of a fabric called denim, the upper garment is a tank top made of a cotton-acrylic mixture, part natural and part synthetic. Bare midriff, small silver studs through the flesh in her navel and ear lobes, bracelet of various beads and knotted cord on one wrist, some sort of device on the other." He waved the tricorder near her again. "I'm picking up faint electrical signals at fifty thousand cycles, I'd say a quartz-oscillation timepiece, crude but reasonably accurate. Incidentally, those boots are made of real leather, not a synthetic. Given that and the timepiece I'm reasonably sure the clothes are genuine. Casual street clothing for a warm climate."
"Leather? Cured animal hides? Barbaric."
"Considering the combination of garments and ornaments I'd say late twentieth, early twenty-first, Europe or the USA or one of the other westernized nations, not long before the Eugenics Wars."
"What else do you make of her?"
"Late teens or early twenties, I'd guess the former. Attractive, excellent physical condition, hmm, fused ceramic plugs in three teeth. That'd be symptomatic of dentistry in that era." He ran the tricorder down her body. "I'm picking up faint well-healed scarring on her abdomen and arms... the arm wounds could be the result of a failed suicide attempt."
"No, they're at least five years old."
"What's that around her neck?"
"A silver chain, goes to something under her clothing. Let's see," he ran the tricorder again, "ends in a cross. A Christian, don't see many of them these days."
"That's the religion with the three-in-one god, isn't it?"
"You humans are weird. What about her medical condition?"
"Signs of hypoxia, already fading thanks to the tri-ox compound. There shouldn't be any permanent damage. Neural signs and her blood chemistry say natural sleep rather than a coma."
The door slid open. Benjamin Sisko entered sick bay and said "Sorry to have been so long, we've been having some communications problems. We've only just got back into contact with Bajor, and the outer planets are still out of contact."
"I'm beginning to think that she might be a time traveller, could that explain it?"
"Not really, there was no chronometric radiation signature, or anything that could disrupt comms on that scale."
"Defiant had instrument problems when we picked her up, now you're saying that something took out communications and they're only beginning to come back. How long does it take for light to get from the wormhole to Bajor?"
"About the time it took for communications to resume. Yes, you're right, it sounds like some sort of interference began when our visitor came out of the wormhole, propagating at the speed of light. Is she still unconscious?"
"Shouldn't be too long now," said Julian. "She's in natural sleep, probably needs it."
Captain Sisko moved to where he could see her and said "What is she?"
"You said she was human. That's not human, I'm not sure what it is."
"Captain, I don't understand. She's human, as far as we can tell by tricorder."
"I'm seeing... well, I see the girl, but there's something else. A knot of green energy, vast power overlaying the human body."
"I'm not picking anything up."
"The last time I saw something like that was when an Organian came through the station."
"Maybe we should get a security team down here. Sick Bay to Odo..."
"Captain Sisko thinks the girl we picked up may actually be something else in disguise. He's seeing some sort of energy being, we need a security team."
"On my way."
"Can you give her a stimulant?" asked Sisko. "I think we need a few answers."
"Not easily," said Julian, "not through a force screen. It needs to go into a vein. Let me try something else."
He fiddled with his medical transporter and a few drops of water materialised inside the bubble, just above the girl's face. She stirred and blinked, as she did so the force field around her vanished and she fell a few inches to the bed and said "What the hell?"
"Are you feeling all right?" asked Julian, checking her with his tricorder again and still seeing nothing but a human girl.
"I guess so. A little tired. Wow, next time I look before I leap. Where am I?"
"This is Federation space station Deep Space Nine, you're in the sick bay. I'm Doctor Julian Bashir, this is Lieutenant Ezri Dax and Captain Benjamin Sisko. I can give you a stimulant if you think you need it."
"Umm.. yeah, I think I might, I kinda want to doze off again." He gave her a minimal dose with a spray hypo, and she said "Nope, still kinda... hey, that stuff has Jolt Cola beat, not so tired after all."
"That's good. Can you tell us who you are and how you got here?"
"I guess." She sat up and looked around. "Did you say Federation?"
"That's right," said Sisko, "The United Federation of Planets."
"Oh.. okay, let me just check something, are there aliens called Vulcans and Klingons around somewhere?"
"Of course. The Vulcans are amongst the founding members of the Federation, the Federation and Klingon Empire are allies."
"Holy crap. Okay... that kinda checks out with what I remember."
"You know who they are?" asked Sisko.
"Kinda. Okay," she said, guessing that he wasn't entirely happy with the situation, "I guess I know that you're the good guys, and you look like you want an explanation."
"It would be useful."
"My name's Dawn Summers and I'm from another dimension."
"Okay, not that easy to believe I know, but it's true."
"If you're from another dimension how do you know about this one?" asked Julian.
"This is where it gets kinda tricky. In my world this is a TV show."
"A what?" asked Ezri.
"TV show. Fiction. Except that to you guys it's real, isn't it?"
Odo arrived with two of his men and Dawn stared at him and said "Alien. Wow... I guess it's real for me too."
"Let me see if I understand this correctly," said Sisko. "You're from the twenty-first century and a universe where magic works and you've been travelling from one dimension to another. Why?"
"I'm trying to find out where I really come from,'" said Dawn. "Look, this is something I don't usually talk about but I think I remember enough about you that I can trust you. I need to ask you to keep it to yourselves."
"Very well," said Sisko, "unless it involves the safety of this station or the Federation."
"I don't think so. How about the rest of you?"
"You're my patient," said Julian, "I won't discuss your private affairs lightly."
"And I'm a counsellor," said Ezri, "I think you'd call it a therapist, there is similar confidentiality."
"As the captain said," said Odo, "you have my word unless it involves the safety of the station or Federation."
"And those guys by the door," said Dawn, "the guards. Sorry, didn't get your names."
Both seemed a little surprised to be consulted, but promised to cooperate.
"Okay." said Dawn. "Well, It's a little strange."
"We're used to strangeness," said Ezri.
"I'm trying to find out what I was before I became human."
"You haven't always been human?"
"Originally there was this... this thing, that they called the Key. It's made out of green energy. I think it was alive even in that form, but I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, there was a mad goddess after it, she wanted to use it to rip a hole between dimensions to go home. The monks that were guarding it knew that if that happened, if she just opened the way and left it open, it'd destroy all the universes, they'd kinda bleed together until there was nothing left. So they tried to hide it from her and used magic to make it into me."
"You look human enough to me," said Odo.
"I am human. They made me out of my sister as a kinda magical clone and gave her and everyone else memories to make them think I'd always been there. Hell, I didn't even know myself. But there's this green swirly light thing inside me, part of me, I can tap into it a little, just enough to travel between dimensions, but only madmen and snakes can see it."
"Really.." said Sisko dryly.
"Really. Can't exactly prove it, but it's true."
"Oh, I'm inclined to believe you. It happens that I can see it quite clearly."
"You're... I guess you've got some snake blood, is it like genetic engineering or something?"
"That's tactful of you. Actually some of my peers consider me a little insane. I had an experience which left me with occasional visions, I'd imagine that it's letting me see you for what you are. There's also the matter of your surviving several minutes in vacuum, which would tend to support your story."
"That's a bummer, my sister had a friend in high school who got something like that, she got prophetic visions combined with migraines like you wouldn't believe. Ended up ascending as a higher being. As for the vacuum thing, that's probably this protective charm Willow gave me." She held up the bead bracelet she was wearing.
"She's a witch, the most powerful one in my world. Gave me the charm when she couldn't talk me out of making this trip. My sister doesn't even know, she thinks I'm visiting dad in Los Angeles before my next semester at college."
"A witch?" asked Odo, "that's translating for me as a wise woman who uses magic? Is that correct?"
"That's right. Hey, that's strange, you're using some sort of translating computer, right?"
"That's right. It's embedded in my body."
"I don't have one, how come I'm understanding you? And how come your lips seem to be in sync with what you're saying? Oh, I guess it must be part of Willow's spell. Anyway, she's really good at magic, best there is."
"You said earlier that to you our world is fiction," said Julian, "how is that possible?"
"I've been through seven dimensions now, this is the second one where things were like some sort of story I'd seen or read."
"What was the first?"
"Oz. No sex, no swearing, flying freaking monkeys. I stayed just long enough to make sure that they didn't know anything about me then beat it out of there."
"Oz?" asked Sisko, "as in 'The Wizard of Oz'? Evil witches and Glinda the Good"
"That's right. Anyway, that world seemed to be based on fiction, or the fiction was based on that world, I guess the same thing's true here. Maybe the authors in our world somehow tap into this one for ideas."
"So how much do you actually know about us?"
"Not a huge amount, I wasn't a great fan of the show. Saw a few episodes, all I can remember is that there was this cute black kid and that the guy who ran the bar sounded like my sister's high school principal. You guys look familiar, especially you," she gestured towards Odo, "and you're that kid's dad, aren't you?" she said to Sisko. "I don't really understand that, why would you guys look like the actors in my world? The only one who doesn't is you," she said, gesturing towards Ezri, "I remember the woman who had spots like that was taller."
"That would be Jadzia Dax," said Ezri, "my predecessor."
"You got her job?"
"In a way I am her. Jadzia was killed, her symbiote was put into this body."
"Oh... that must have been in an episode I didn't see. It's a shame Andrew or Xander isn't here, they know everything about the show."
"Including how the war develops?"
"With the Dominion and the Cardassians."
"I don't really know much about those guys. Were the Cardassians the ones that looked kinda like G'thotn'k demons?"
"Demons?" asked Sisko, accessing his PADD and pulling up a picture of a Cardassian to show her.
"My world has demons. Mostly they're big trouble, really bad news." She looked at the picture. "Yeah, those are the guys I was thinking of. I know that they're the bad guys, that's about it."
"We're currently at war with the Cardassian empire and the Dominion, which is another empire based on the far side of the wormhole you came from."
"Great.. I guess that makes me a security problem for you, 'cos I could be lying about everything. I could even be one of these Dominion guys, I guess, you guys have pretty good cosmetic surgery if I'm remembering it right."
"Your memory is correct, but you aren't a Dominion spy," said Odo. "Unfortunately my species rules the Dominion. I would know one of my own kind, regardless of disguise, and any of the Dominion's servitor races would react to me very differently."
"That's reassuring. Anyway, the way it works is that I kinda sense places where a dimensional gate can be opened and feel for some sort of power that might be able to help me, if I'm picking up something like that I open the portal and slip through, it shuts behind me. It's all instinctive, I don't really know how I do it. But I wasn't expecting to come out in space."
"You must have sensed the Prophets," said Sisko. "They're a race of non-linear beings, immensely powerful, living inside the wormhole."
"Guess they didn't want to talk to me," Dawn said gloomily.
"Or they did and you aren't remembering it yet. Or they wished to be sure of your safety before talking to you. They've been known to visit this station."
"Okay. Do you mind if I stick around for a while, see if anyone shows up? The other dimensions I've visited the powerful guys usually knew I was there pretty fast. Not always a good thing, that's how I lost my luggage and weapons, I had to move fast a couple of worlds ago. Is there some way I could buy something like that while I'm here? Umm... I don't have any of your money with me, but maybe there's something I could trade. Or I could wash dishes or something."
"Information is probably your best currency, anything you can tell us about the worlds you've visited and dimensional travel. We won't be able to let you have anything technologically advanced, it probably wouldn't be good for your world."
"I remember that much, the Prime Directive thing. I can live without high tech and the only weapons I'm good with are swords and crossbows... Oh, and I've used a TASER and a rifle firing tranquiliser darts."
"You fence?" asked Julian.
"Not with rapiers, and not for sport. Something like a broadsword with a sheath and belt would be good. Look, assuming for now that you're going to give me some credit, is there any way I can get a shower then something to eat?"
"Certainly," said Sisko. "Look after her. We'll resume in my office at fifteen hundred hours."