Summary: The dying thoughts of the (self-aware) Enterprise-D. Pointless, sentimental, and written at one in the morning. 'Generations' spoilers.
Disclaimer: Don't own, wish I did.
I can fly.
I wave at the lightbeams as I pass and laugh as I race the tachyons through space. I bask in the glow of a thousand different suns, their rays warm on my hull, and hover far above the reach of a thousand thousand gravities of widely varied worlds uncounted.
Someone looking out a window wouldn't see me as I pass, not if they rely on light. I don't; I can watch a star being born hundreds of light-years away, and at the same time I watch over my thousand different children within me.
My name is Enterprise. Fifth of the line.
I dash through the void of space at speeds beyond imagination, Flitting from one star to the next, and a million points in between. I watch and I learn and I soar as I please.
I don't quite have wings, but warp drive is a good substitute, and I take wing at any speed asked of me. And it's as if I had eagle's wings, and I'll dance above any clouds I feel like.
I have seen so much and I've been so far, these past ten years. I have seen living beings made of living flesh instead of my own duranium body soar beside me in the deep cold of space and the pulsing burn of a nearby sun. I have flown to places never before seen, mostly under my own power, but occasionally getting a lift, and it's then that I get to see the most strange and wonderful sights in all my long memory. I have heard new voices of never-before-known life and spoken to them in return. I have watched with love, and care, and a little bit of fear as my people risk us again and again, and always come out on top. Beneath their hands I have come alive without them knowing it, and I guard and guide quietly and lovingly.
Sometimes I have to flair my wings and bare my teeth, and sometimes snarls don't do it. Sometimes I have to pounce and dance in a more dangerous dance than a tryst among the stars. Though I'd rather dance free and uncaring, I can dance the dance of death as well as any who'd cross my bows. Dodging phaser and torpedo and death-bringing missile is as much an adventure as any journey, though I far prefer the voyage. But I don't like to lose. And sometimes I strike a death-blow, and others we both walk away. There are a lot more scars on my hull than there were a decade ago.
But I always walk away. And after a little while to catch my breath, I take up the race again, and laugh at the light-waves that wallow in my dust.
The universe is mine to explore.
The wave front of one of the strangest things I've seen snaps at my tail as I pace the lightwaves away from the fallen Armagosa star- the instantaneous death of a healthy star. It blazes black behind me as I accelerate away from the shock front of its demise. I grieve for Armagosa; never to shine again on any world or ship that passes by this way. The shockwave doesn't harm me; it doesn't even brush my shields or hull, but the echoes reverberate through subspace- a constant faint pulse that throws off my balance and orientation for a little while. Though the effects do not fade, I compensate for them and right myself almost absently. Riding the waves of this new current, I sprint for a new star, guided by the hands of my crew. I reach ahead, straining to see what is asked of me, answering questions asked from within. They almost seem to echo in my inner ear, listening through both direct contact panels and the intercom system which tracks their every move and word.
And we fly through the spaceways to a sun called Viridian, to save the sun and system from a single man who doesn't take no for an answer, no matter what the cost to life and land.
'Viridian' is deceptive; the star so named is not green at all, but a golden-fire sun as warm and soothing as poor dead Armagosa was, and as I bask, my resolve is strengthened to save at least this one from the same fate.
Yet my sunbathe is spoiled as I experience a phenomenon known as the 'shivers.' My crew would joke with me that 'someone just walked over my grave.' The human jest does nothing to reassure me. A starship has no grave; we die in the darkness of space and do it one last service; lighting the void with our funeral pyres.
Someone's here; another of my kind, though I can't see her. I bristle and search the void around me to no end. My sister is hidden; and that means a cloak. A cloak means a foe, for no friend would lie veiled so.
It's times like this I hate to be right. A Klingon Bird-of-Prey shows herself, and sneers across the void at me and mine. As my crew scurries and prepares for trouble, I hover cautiously above the third planet at a respectful distance, keeping a wary eye on the Bird-of-Prey.
The attack comes swiftly and without provocation. A spiteful dagger rips through the void and into my abdomen, passing through all my defenses and safeguards as if they weren't there. I reel in agony and rage to strike back, but you can't fight something that punches through your armor like tissue paper. I try; shot after shot find their way to my body, and deep within, a certainty grows and spreads like flame.
I'm going to lose. Even as my valiant crew strikes down her weapons from within, and I lash out once more-no more-, the flames swell and mimic the enemy ship's pyre. Everything is black space and fire's fury as half of my physical body dissolves with a soundless explosion.
Sound doesn't carry in space. A starship cannot scream.
And black and flame are replaced with friction's heat and viridian-green and brown as the explosion knocks me askew. Gravity rears its ugly head, sinks its fangs into me, and drags me down.
'My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains,
'round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare.
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
There is a story somewhere in my memory of a man who lay dying, and as he died, he began to laugh. His friends, by his deathbed, thought he was delirious, and tried to comfort him. "No," he said, "I'm amused. Here I am dying, and all I can think is I forgot to replace the light bulbs in the kitchen."
Trivia and doggerel are truly the bane of all sentient life.
"'round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless…"
As my people drag themselves and each other from my broken hull, I drag myself back to consciousness, if only to look at the blue sky overhead, a sight I've never seen before. And I can't help but ponder, with nothing else possible, poor Ozymandias, 'King of Kings.' He never lived to see his empire collapse around his ears and all of his works crumble to dust.
I have to live it. I am my works, my empire, my creation.
Yet I'm comforted slightly, as I weep in the silences of my mind for myself- a stuck up perception only a starship can enjoy without being scolded- that my people weep for me too. They laugh over fond memories and cry for the ones yet unmade, and tell each other proud stories of the good ship Enterprise.
Even the dying need ego boosts like that. It should take my mind off my pain and my fear, and my grief at not being able to fly anymore, wings broken and torn from my shoulders, but it is only reinforced as lightbeams laugh at me as they leave me in their wake, and the tachyons don't even condescend to say hello as they go by.
Still I listen long enough, as gravity finishes gloating about its victory and my people say goodbye- but keep their fond memories, I realize that I have an advantage over old Ozymandias, who was proud of his power and flaunted it. He was forgotten, left for dust.
No ship 'Enterprise' is ever forgotten.
I will be remembered; my children go on and tell stories of their travels and adventures, and remember me fondly, with a smile and a tear.
So I can look at the blue, blue sky, and close my eyes one final time, and bask forever in the glow of a single sun, a sun that lives because of me and mine, and smiles warmly down on me.
And almost, almost…
I can fly again.