by Nigel G. Mitchell
(c) Copyright September 1996
"Trekkin'" (in part or whole) can be freely distributed with the condition that no part of the text is modified, and this notice is included with all copies. It cannot be sold or translated into any other form without written permission from the author. Some characters and elements of this story are the property of St. Clare Entertainment, used without authorization. The author receives no compensation from the distribution of this work.
Now for some personal comments. Those who care about the story being spoiled should read part one first, then come back here when the surprise is over. I'll wait.
Okay, welcome back. Here's the deal. "Trekkin'" is a satire of certain aspects of "Strek Trek" fandom. Readers should know that I'm a die-hard Trek fan myself. It's not my intent to parody the shows, only the culture that's been built around the shows. Trek fans who read it should see it as a parody of those *other* fans who seem to take things too far. Anybody remember that Whitewater juror who went to court in a Starfleet ensign's uniform, complete with phaser and tricorder? *That's* the kind of fan I'm making fun of, the ones who lack a grip on reality. How much you see of yourself in this story isn't my fault and should be a good indicator of whether you need psychiatric help. I'm about halfway down the scale in that part of me thought the world depicted in "Trekkin'" is kinda cool.
If you've read all this and you're still upset, feel free to flame my head off. Either that or write a fanfic story called "Keep on Slidin.'"
The convention center was filled with the roar of conversation and music from various booths. Quinn walked among the aisles alongside Wade, looking at the equipment mounted on various tables. They were all computer hardware and software, being displayed with the manufacturers alongside them, describing their virtues.
Wade looked up at Quinn with a smile. "Thanks for agreeing to do this, Quinn. It's really nice."
"No problem," Quinn said. "It's nice to get a break and do something fun every once in a while."
Wade looked away at a large computer seated on an IBM table. "I haven't been to a computer expo in years, not since a few months before the slide."
"Me, either. I just wish this world had more advanced computer technology. At least on par with our own." Quinn looked over the IBM computer with large signs trumpeting its 64K hard drive and audio-tape drive.
"Oh, come on. It's fun. Like going back in time to the good old days before quad-speed CD-ROM drives, triple- gigabyte hard drives, and ergonomic keyboards."
Arturo and Rembrandt waded out of the crowds to their sides. Rembrandt was skimming a brochure as Arturo wrinkled his nose in distaste. "I beg to differ, Miss Welles," Arturo said. "I have never understood the younger generation's fascination with computers, and viewing more ancient computers holds even less interest for me. Give me a slide rule over your fancy Pentium computers anyday."
"Well, I'm sorry if I'm boring you, professor," Wade said. "I just thought it would be fun to do something normal for a change."
Rembrandt grinned down at her. "Hey, I'm with you, Wade. Just hope if we find a rock concert on the next world, we get to spend some time there, too."
Wade smiled. "Oh, you got it, Remmy. I haven't been to a really good concert in years."
Quinn's jacket began to beep. He pulled the small rectangular device that controlled their sliding out of his pocket. Flipping open its cover revealed the red LED display flashing a series of zeroes.
Wade stared at it. "What? It's time to slide already?"
"Yeah," Quinn said. "I thought we'd have time to get in and out of here. Must've lost track."
"Excellent," Arturo snarled. "Now where are we supposed to slide?"
Quinn shrugged. "We'll slide right here. Come on, behind that display."
They all hustled to get behind the cover of a huge cardboard logo for Microsoft. Quinn punched the activation button on the timer. The wall buckled and imploded into a six-foot hole in space, pouring into itself with a brilliant blue light. One by one, the Sliders jumped into it.
* * *
Quinn emerged from the wormhole to go flying onto a large table. He crashed into it, sending merchandise spilling off the table onto the ground. Quinn finally came to a halt when he slid off the edge of the table onto the tiled floor.
He groaned and opened his eyes. He was in the convention center again, but it was different this time. The computers were gone. People were milling around in red, green, and yellow spandex outfits. The men wore black boots. Some of the women wore the same outfits, but with incredibly short skirts.
Quinn sat up, and spilled the small plastic objects that he had knocked over onto himself. He picked up one of them up to look at. It was a toy action figure, still in its bubble wrapping, of Captain James T. Kirk. Quinn looked down at another to see it was Spock.
Wade exploded out of the wormhole to slide on the floor a few feet. She sat up, wincing as she rubbed her back. Then she scrambled out of the way as Rembrandt popped out of the gateway. He crashed down on where she had been. Then he dove for cover as Arturo appeared in a flash of light. The professor sailed past to collide with a cardboard standee of a large man in armor with a bony forehead.
A man in a red uniform wearing plastic pointed ears ran up to Quinn and Wade. "Hey, are you guys okay?"
"Yeah," Quinn murmured. "Just a little dazed, that's all."
The man looked at the wormhole which was now collapsing on itself with a fading roar. "Wow. You guys from the Center?"
Wade staggered onto her feet. "The what?"
"The Center," the pointy-eared man said. "You know, the CDTT. Is this some new kinda teleportation device?"
Arturo stood the bony-headed standee back on its feet, then said, "Uh, yes. Yes, it is."
The man grinned. "Cool. Wait'll I tell my buddies that I saw you guys teleport right in here."
The man bent and began shoveling the pile of toys on the floor back onto the table.
"Oh, man," Quinn said, "sorry about that. Didn't mean to..."
"Hey, no problem," the man said. "Small price to pay for the advancement of technology. But if you want to make it up to me, let me be one of the first teleporters when the technology becomes public, okay?"
Arturo forced a smile. "Uh, yes, of course. My friends..."
The four of them headed across the convention center.
Rembrandt looked around himself at the colorfully- dressed people in the hall. "Where are we, anyway?"
Wade pointed at a banner that hung from the ceiling, welcoming conventioneers. "I think we're in a Star Trek convention."
Quinn watched a woman painted blue and wearing antennae walk by. "Yeah, that explains a few things."
"Wonderful," Arturo said. "Well, I for one shall be anxious to get out of this nonsensical gathering and find out about this world. The real world."
They reached the exit. Quinn pushed the door open.
The streets outside the center were crowded with pedestrians. Almost all of them wore the same red, green, or blue costumes. Others were wearing the heavy armor and makeup of Klingon warriors. At first, Quinn thought it was a crowd going into the conventional hall. Then he looked farther down the street. As far as he could see, people wore the same costumes.
A car drove by on the street in front of the hall. It had the squared-egg shape of a shuttlecraft from the Enterprise. Its wheels were disguised as warp nacelles.
Quinn looked up to see an airplane sail overhead. It had the saucer-and-winged shape of the Enterprise.
"Uh, professor," Wade said, "don't look now, but I think this *is* the real world."