Keep on Trekkin'
by Nigel G. Mitchell

(c) Copyright September 1996

Wade opened her eyes. A sharp stab of pain inside her skull caused her to shut them again and groan.

"Relax," someone said. "The effects of the phaser will wear off in a minute."

Wade opened her eyes again. This time, she forced herself to keep them open.

She was lying on a bed. Leaning over her was a woman wearing a black robe-like uniform. Her long, black hair was tied back in a ponytail. Beyond the woman, Wade could see others wandering around in a vast, dimly-lit chamber. It looked like the inside of a warehouse, with light filtering through a skylight.

A large group of people was sitting in front of one wall which was covered from end-to-end with TV sets. All the TVs were playing different shows, their sounds blending into a headsplitting medley.

Wade sat up, despite the pain it caused. She looked over to where Rembrandt was lying on a bed next to her. He looked like he was still unconscious.

"Where are we?" Wade asked. "What's going on? Last time I remember...there was a warehouse...and Guinan..."

She tried to jump out of bed. The woman stopped her, gently pushing her back onto the mattress.

"Relax," the woman said. "You're among friends."

Wade glared at her as she shifted backwards a little on the bed. "No, Guinan...she turned us in..."

The woman blinked. "What are you talking about?"

"Guinan, at Ten-Forward."

The woman broke into a smile. "Oh, you mean Monica. She's just a waitress at Ten-Forward."

Wade frowned. "But...she knew so much about me and Rembrandt. About our friends and about our being from another reality."

The woman rolled her eyes as she waved a hand. "Oh, that's nothing. She has a contact at Starfleet, and your friends spilled their guts to everybody who'd listen there about being from another dimension. Monica just likes to show off. Hang on."

The woman looked over her shoulder. "Hey, she's awake."

The others in the warehouse rushed at her and Rembrandt, crowding around them. Wade shrank back, expecting them to tear her to pieces, but hands groped for hers and shook them.

The woman smiled from ear-to-ear. "Ma'am, you're... you're our hero. You and your friends. You've done wonders for our cause."

Wade yanked her hand out of the grip of another. "What're you talking about?"

The woman clasped her hands in front of her chest. "We are the San Francisco branch of the Alternative Video movement."

Wade closed her eyes and relaxed. They were among friends after all.

On the bed next to her, Rembrandt groaned, then murmured, "Oh, man. Somebody check the wattage on that amplifier. It's too high..."

He sat up, clutching his forehead. When he opened his eyes and saw the crowds around him, he jerked back.

"Hey," he blurted, "what is this, man?"

"It's okay," the woman said. "My name is Susanna Irons, but I prefer to be called Susan Ivanova. I'm the leader of the San Francisco branch of the Alternative Video movement."

Rembrandt rubbed his head as he swept his gaze over the smiling faces surrounding his bed. "Oh, yeah, we've been lookin' for you guys. I think."

Susan's smile faded. "Surely you've heard of us?"

Wade gave her a half-hearted smile. "Uh, we're kinda new to this area. Could you fill us in?"

"Well, all right." Susan drew herself up, taking on a determined air. "The Alternative Video movement was formed in 1988 after the cancellation of the TV series, 'Alien Nation.' It was the last non-Trek TV show left on the air. With it went the end of free will. The end of choice."

"We're living in a dictatorship," another woman said. "One where 'Star Trek' rules and governs rather than a body of men."

A man with a thick beard and mustache said, "The AVs are dedicated to breaking the monopoly of the Treks. We don't believe that the only good science- fiction is 'Star Trek.' Heck, the new shows aren't even that good anymore, but they expect us to watch them just because they've got the name 'Trek' stamped on them. Many TV series as good or even better than Trek are being kept from the public."

"'X-Files,'" a woman said. "'Alien Nation.' 'Twilight Zone.' 'Earth2.' 'Battlestar Galactica.' 'Quantum Leap.' 'Babylon 5.' All these shows have been written and even produced, but Starfleet stepped in and pulled them off the air. They're trying to crush debate, make sure that nothing takes down their dynasty."

Susan pointed towards the TV screens on the wall behind her. "That's why we run these underground TV stations, broadcasting original non-Trek programming. We distribute videotapes, hold secret conventions. We are dedicated to giving people freedom of choice."

A wild-eyed man with white hair grabbed Rembrandt's shoulder. "That's why you're heroes, man. Ever since Starfleet passed a law making insults of 'Star Trek' a felony, people have been too scared to speak against it in public. But your friends not only did it, they did it out on the street. Showed people that Starfleet can be beaten. That the truth must be told."

Susan nodded. "That's why we allowed you to find us. Brought you here to our headquarters. Your friends are symbols. With them to point to, we may be able to rally the people against Starfleet. But if Starfleet gets its way, your friends will die, and take our dream with it."

Rembrandt looked at Wade, then at Susan. "So what'll we do?"

"Well," Susan said, "there's the problem. Starfleet security has some of the best defenses in the world. It won't be easy to get to your friends. Especially if they make them fight in the Arena."

"The what?"

Susan swallowed, then said, "Have you ever seen the Trek episode 'The Gamesters of Triskelion?'"

* Quinn and Arturo sat on their cots facing the door. Through the electrified mesh, they could see Dr. McFadden stroll into the room. This time, Lt. Nyran wasn't with him. The scientist nodded to the security guard, then glared down at Quinn.

"Last chance," McFadden said, "to make your decision."

"You know our answer," Arturo said, glaring up at him. "The answer is and always shall be no. We will never support your insane schemes."

McFadden nodded. "I see. Then I'm afraid you give us no choice but to execute you."

Arturo raised his voice. "Without a trial? What kind of barbarians are you?"

"Oh, you'll have a trial," McFadden said. "A trial by combat."

"What're you talking about?" Quinn growled.

McFadden smiled down at him. "In this world, we've adopted an alternate judicial system based on a classic scene from the episode 'Gamesters of Triskelion.' In case you're unfamiliar with it, that was the episode where Kirk was forced to do battle for the amusement of alien beings. In trial by combat, you will do the same. Fight to the death. The winner will be declared innocent of all charges and set free. The loser will die."

Arturo snorted. "You *have* been watching too much television if you think we'll be a party to such nonsense."

McFadden looked away from Quinn to glare at Arturo. "You'll do it. Because if you don't, we'll kill both of you. It's either one of you dies or both of you die. Your choice. The fight will begin very shortly, in time for you to consider your fate."

McFadden backed away from the cells and walked out of the room. As the door hissed shut, Quinn felt his spirits sink.

* * *

Rembrandt tried to look calm and natural as he drove the shuttlecraft-shaped truck to the entrance of the enormous headquarters of Starfleet. It was built with the usual futuristic architecture this world displayed, and helicopters shaped like spaceships flittered in the air above it. The entire perimeter was surrounded by a large fence.

Wade was sitting next to him in the passenger seat, clutching a small bottle in her hands. Behind her, Ivanova sat with her hand on her shoulder.

"Yeah sure you can do this?" Ivanova asked.

Wade nodded. "Don't have much choice, do I? Anyway, it's my plan. If I can't pull it off, I shouldn't expect anyone else to."

Ivanova pointed past Rembrandt to a spot alongside the complex's fence. "Pull up here."

Rembrandt parked the truck alongside the spot she had pointed at. Ivanova climbed out, striding up to a seemingly innocent spot on the grass. Rembrandt and Wade followed her, exchanging nervous glances. But Ivanova knelt and dug her fingers into the soil. When she straightened, Ivanova yanked out a circular metal cover hidden under the earth.

Rembrandt leaned over to peer into the dark hole Ivanova revealed. "So that's it?"

"Yup," Ivanova said. "It's an entrance to the ventilation system for the building. We use it to spy on Starfleet from time to time. But like I said, you won't be able to use it to get into the complex directly. That's where Wade's plan comes in."

Wade nodded, then slipped the bottle into her mouth. Clenching it between her teeth, she walked up to the hole in the ground. After glancing up at Rembrandt, unconsciously brushing down her medical uniform, she got on her knees and slid her legs into the hole. Wade rustled around in the pipe for a moment, then slid down into the shadows. Rembrandt could hear the thumps as she made her way through the vent.

Ivanova looked up at Rembrandt and raised her eyebrows. "Well, that's one half of the plan."

"Yeah," Rembrandt said, then looked up at a shuttlecraft that roared overhead. "And here's the other."


Quinn and Arturo sat in silence, staring at the floor. The only thing visible from where Quinn was sitting was the security guard in his chair. They could hear light strains of the Star Trek theme song coming from the portable TV in the guard's hands.

Arturo shifted his gaze to glare at the guard. "I say, my good man, don't you have something else to do besides watch that insipid TV show? Read a book or something."

"You're in enough trouble as it is," the guard snarled. "Don't make it worse by insulting the Show anymore."

Arturo shot to his feet and charged towards the electrified mesh between him and the guard. "Worse? How could it be any worse? We're about to forced into a battle to the death! And you have not even begun to hear my views on that pseudo-scientific claptrap!"

"Professor," Quinn said. "Come on, relax. He's not worth it."

Arturo looked at him, then nodded as he glared at the guard. "Yes, you're right, of course. He is not worth it. We have more pressing concerns."

Arturo sat down next to Quinn and sighed. "Like how to get out of this mess."

* * *

The entrance of the Starfleet Headquarters building glittered from the huge fountain mounted in front of it. The fountain was actually an enormous statue of Gene Roddenberry gazing up at the stars. Cradled in his gigantic arms were models of the Star Trek vessels from various shows. Water sprayed out of jets encircling his head to give him a crown.

Men and women walked the cobblestone walkways in front of the building, all dressed as aliens or Starfleet officers. They worked cheerfully to carry out the plans of Starfleet, ensuring a Trek-filled world.

Dr. McFadden and Lt. Nyran walked the cobblestone walkway in front of the building. They listened to the looped and continuous strains of the original Star Trek series that could be heard from anywhere in the complex.

McFadden smiled. "This is it, Jimia, I can feel it. We're on the verge of a breakthrough that will finally crush the Picards once and for all."

"Yes, sir," Nyran said, then frowned, her nose-ridge crinkling. "Uh, do you think it's wise to, um...kill these people? They have the secret of hyperspatial transport. Without them..."

McFadden strolled past a garden of flowers labeled "Vulcan Orchids." "Without them, we will still be able to disassemble the timing device and decipher its technology. It will take time, but we'll still be ahead of the Picards. And without them, there will be no chance of the Picards ever finding out the secret themselves."

Nyran watched a helicopter roar overhead, one whose body was shaped like a Star Trek shuttlecraft. "Good thinking, sir."

"But of course," McFadden said as the roar grew louder. "I wasn't appointed head of the Trek Technology Division for nothing."

McFadden looked up at the helicopter that was rushing towards Starfleet, its rotors kicking up clouds of dust. "I say...isn't that shuttle flying a little close?"

Nyran unclipped her communicator from her belt and flipped it open. "I'll have security check...look out, sir!"

She grabbed McFadden and hurled him into the orchids. She did so as the shuttlecraft came squealing down out of the sky to collide with the Starfleet building. The shuttlecraft exploded into a huge fireball. Broken plaster and concrete showered down onto the Roddenberry statue that continued to smile at empty space.

The wrecked shuttlecraft opened from the rear hatch. Men and women in various clothing styles slid down ropes and began firing phasers in every direction, tasering Starfleet personnel who ran in terror.

Nyran checked to make sure McFadden was all right, then brought her communicator to her mouth again. "Security to the perimeter, security to the perimeter! We're under attack!"

* * *

Quinn looked at the wall of his cell, steeling himself for what he was about to say. "Professor...I want you to kill me."

Arturo looked up from where he was fiddling with his tie. "What?"

"I want you to kill me. In the Arena. It's the only way. One of us has to get out of this alive."

"Nonsense," Arturo said. "If it's going to be anyone, it's be me."

Quinn turned away from the wall to glare at him. "Professor..."

A siren began to ring as lighted panels on the walls glowed red. The security guard grabbed his phaser off his belt as he ran out the door.

Arturo frowned. "I say, what's that all about?

Quinn heard a scuffling noise at the air-vent over his bed. Then a woman's voice, "Psst! Guys. Up here."

The professor looked up. "Who said that?"

Quinn looked up at the vent. He could see through the grate to Wade's grinning face. "Wade? What're you doing up there?"

"Remmy and I found some friends," Wade whispered. "They're gonna help us get you outta here."

"Excellent, Miss Welles," Arturo said. "And just in time, too. These barbarians expect us to slaughter one another."

"Uh, that's kind of a problem, professor. We...can't get you out. Security in this place is too tight. We managed to start a diversion and get me into this vent, but I can't open it from this side. Or open the door so you can escape."

Arturo folded his arms behind his back as he glared up at the vent. "I see. So you have come to wish us good-bye, is that it?"

Wade's voice echoed out of the vent. "Don't be so cynical, professor. We got a plan, but it's kinda weird, so just trust with me. Here, take these..."

A pill bottle squeezed through the holes in the grating and dropped onto Quinn's bunk. Arturo picked it up and studied the label.

"What are we supposed to do with this?" Arturo asked.

"Die," Wade said.


(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wish I could've given this part of the story a soundtrack. If you know the music they always played on the original "Star Trek" series during fight scenes, then you can sing along as the story unfolds.)

A few minutes after Wade left, the red alert lights and sirens were shut off. Starfleet security guards marched into the room outside the cell, their phasers aimed at Quinn and Arturo. Lt. Jimia Nyran was among them, sneering.

"Nice try," Nyran said. "I guess your buddies found some allies among the Alternate Videos. But their rescue attempt failed and they've all fled in terror. So it's just the two of you again, and it's time for the trial. Let's go."

Arturo nodded and clapped Quinn on the shoulder. "Well, my friend, I'm afraid this is good-bye."

"Yeah, professor," Quinn snarled. "For you."

Arturo's expression collapsed into one of cold anger. "We shall see who is the victor in the arena, Mr. Mallory. But I tell you now that I intend to live."

One of the guards punched keys on a panel on the wall next to him. The electrified mesh collapsed with a pop of electricity and was drawn into the wall. Arturo stepped through the open doorway, followed by Quinn. Three guards surrounded Arturo. Three surrounded Quinn.

The two groups of guards led Quinn and Arturo to the door. It hissed open and they stepped through it. Once in the aisle outside, the two groups split. Quinn was led one way. Arturo another.

Quinn walked obediently down the passage, past men and women in the usual red-and-black Spandex outfits. They paid no attention as Quinn was led to another doorway that slid open.

Inside, there were a variety of objects mounted on the walls. One was a leather outfit consisting of various straps. The rest were a collection of hand-to-hand weaponry. One was a net, another was a knife, and yet another was a staff with daggers mounted on both ends.

"Get dressed," a guard said, "choose your weapon, and prepare to fight in the arena."

* * *

The arena was a huge circular enclosure surrounded by raised bleachers. In those bleachers were thousands of cheering men and women in various alien costumes. High- pitched, chaotic horn music played on the PA system as Quinn walked out into the arena. He recognized it as the music that was always played on the original 'Star Trek' series during fight scenes.

A triangular marking was painted on the floor of the arena. Arturo stood in one corner of it, dressed in the same leather outfit Quinn was. He held one of the staffs with daggers on its ends. Just like Quinn's.

The voice of the San Francisco security officer, Lt. Jimia Nyran, echoed through the Arena. "An excellent choice, gentlemen. Those daggers are coated with a deadly poison. The slightest scratch will mean instant death for its victim."

Quinn nodded, trying to look surprised. Wade had instructed them to choose these weapons. He raised the staff and dropped into a ready crouch. Arturo did the same.

"You were one of my finest students," Arturo yelled, "but I'm afraid the time has come for us to part ways. I must kill you, Mr. Mallory."

"I'll defend myself, professor," Quinn yelled back. "And I'll win!"

"We'll see," Arturo snarled. "We'll see."

"Let the trial begin," Lt. Nyran yelled.

The music reached a crescendo of screeching blares. Arturo rushed towards Quinn, roaring at the top of his lungs as he raised his staff. The knife on the high end rushed towards Quinn.

Quinn raised his own staff. He used its own length to block the knife which slammed into it. He quickly twisted to throw the professor off-balance, then shoved him away with his foot. Arturo staggered back and they circled each other slowly.

"Feeling all right, Mr. Mallory?" Arturo whispered, quietly enough that the spectators couldn't hear.

"No," Quinn whispered back.

"Good." He swung again.

Quinn jumped back to avoid getting slashed by the knife, then spun his own staff around. Arturo ducked to avoid the poison-tipped blade.

"Not so fast," Arturo hissed. "I'm not as young as I used to be."

Then he roared and charged at Quinn with his staff thrust ahead of him. Quinn jumped out of the way, then kicked Arturo as he passed. The professor landed on his back on the floor. The audience was cheering as the music screamed in the background.

"Bye-bye, professor," Quinn yelled.

He raised his staff. He drove the knife down towards Arturo's head. The professor's eyes widened at the approaching blade, then he rolled out of the way. As he did, Arturo swept at Quinn's leg with his own staff.

Quinn cried out and dropped his staff. It clattered to the floor in the deadly silence that fell over the crowds. Arturo got to his feet and watched Quinn clutch at his thigh with both hands.

"Professor," Quinn gasped. "What...what have you..."

"Oh, no," Arturo said. "Mr. Mallory, what have I done, I didn't mean to..."

Quinn pulled his hands away. They were red from the smear of blood that was running down his calf. Quinn looked down at his fingers, blinking. He could feel a dizziness sweeping over him, one that weakened his legs.

He fell to his knees. The screechy music had been replaced with the low, somber music that "Trek" played during serious tragedy. Arturo stood over him, still holding the bladed staff. The professor was pale.

"I'm sorry, Quinn," Arturo whispered.

Quinn looked up at him. He tried to speak, but nothing came out. His eyes rolled upwards and he felt himself strike the floor.

Somewhere, he heard a door hiss open. Footsteps ran towards him. As he felt himself drifting away, Quinn heard the warbling chirp of a tricorder being passed over him. Then a finger pressed against the vein in his neck.

He could hear someone else getting close. The voice betrayed her as Lt. Jimia Nyran. "Well?"

The last thing Quinn heard was a gravely voice that said, "He's dead, Jimia."


Quinn returned to consciousness to feel himself being carried on something that felt loose and rough like a stretcher. Remembering the plan, he stayed calm and limp as if he was still dead.

He felt the movement pause, then the squeal of a door being opened. He was lifted into something that bounced as he was loaded into it. Then the slam of doors. It was followed by the whine of a siren, along with the usual warp-drive roar.

Wade's voice came to him from his left. "Quinn? You okay?"

"Is it all right to talk?" Quinn murmured.

"Yeah, we're clear."

Quinn opened his eyes. Wade was leaning over him on his left. She was wearing a blue medical Starfleet uniform. Arturo was on his right. Both of them watched him carefully.

"Are you feeling all right, Mr. Mallory?" Arturo asked.

"Yeah," Quinn said. "Got a headache, but I think I'm okay."

Arturo sighed and patted him on the chest. "What a relief. I'm afraid you played possum a little too well, Mr. Mallory. I was afraid that I had actually injured you."

"Never even touched me," Quinn said. "I guess I overdid it when I emptied the blood packet onto my leg, huh?"

"Just a little," Wade said.

Quinn sat up. He was in the back of an ambulance. A woman in a black striped uniform was sitting in front of his stretcher, grinning at him.

"Who're you?" Quinn asked.

"Susan Ivanova," the woman said. "Head of the SF Alternative Video movement."

"She's the one who helped us out," Wade added. "She arranged the diversion, getting me into the vent, everything."

"Except the plan," Ivanova said. "That was all her idea."

Wade shrugged with a wide smile on her face. "Hey, I know my 'Star Trek.' They pulled the same trick in 'Amok Time.'

"What was that stuff you gave me?" Quinn asked.

"A neural stimulizer," the woman said. "Slows the heartbeat and other vital functions to simulate death for up to fifteen minutes. Enough time to get you out of the arena and into this ambulance."

Quinn looked at Arturo, who smiled down at him. "How'd you get out, professor?"

"They released me after my victory," Arturo said. "Although I imagine they planned to apprehend me again for questioning in regards to the timer."

"The timer," Quinn said, then lunged forward. "The timer! Dr. McFadden's got it..."

Wade stopped him with a hand on his arm. "Calm down, Quinn. We broke into his office and stole it during the fight."

Quinn sighed. "You guys thought of everything."

Quinn turned around. Rembrandt was behind the wheel of the shuttlecraft-shaped ambulance that hummed down the streets of the city. He was likewise wearing a medical uniform. Rembrandt turned down a side street into an empty alley.

"Where to now, Q-Ball?" Rembrandt asked.

"We gotta find someplace to hide out until the slide," Quinn said.

"You can stay at our headquarters," Ivanova said. "It's comfortable, and Starfleet still doesn't know where it is. You'll be safe there."

"Sounds good," Quinn started to say, then was thrown back as the ambulance came to a sudden halt. He looked at Rembrandt. "What happened?"

Rembrandt had his hands raised as he stared out the windshield. A row of men and women in security uniforms were standing the alley in front of them, aiming phasers at him.

Quinn turned to see the doors of the ambulance yanked open. More security guards stood in the doorway, phasers aimed at the occupants. Quinn raised his hands, as did Ivanova, Wade, and Arturo.

Dr. McFadden and Lt. Nyran stepped into view. McFadden was grinning from ear-to-ear.

"You didn't expect to get away with that plan, did you?" Dr. McFadden asked. "On a world like this, did you think we wouldn't figure out you'd pull the trick from 'Amok Time?' We knew you were being helped from the outside and guessed correctly that the source was the AVs. We'll take your timing device now, ladies and gentlemen. And then kill you. And you..."

He pointed at Ivanova. "...have a date with our interrogators. We're most anxious to find out the location of your secret headquarters."

Wade spoke. "There's one thing you didn't count on, Dr. McFadden."

Dr. McFadden raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really? And what's that."

Wade broke into a smile. "We also saw 'Wrath of Khan.' Now!"

Yells and thumps came from above the ambulance. Quinn looked out the window to see that every seemingly window in the buildings surrounding the alley was pouring out men and women in various forms of non-Trek dress. They all brandished rifles and pistols that they aimed down at the Trek guards.

"Drop your weapons," Ivanova yelled. "Hands on top of your heads."

McFadden and Nyran raised their hands. The guards threw their phasers to the ground and followed suit. The AVs began handcuffing them all to a water pipe on one wall of the alley. McFadden allowed himself to be handcuffed while glaring at Quinn.

"You'll never get away with this," McFadden snarled.

"We already have," Wade said. "Bye-bye."

The AVs swept up all the phasers, then climbed into the back of the ambulance. They waved at McFadden, then slammed the door in his face. Rembrandt started the engine and drove away, leaving the Treks standing cuffed and unarmed in their wake.

Quinn could hear Dr. McFadden erupt in a bloodcurlding scream that echoed off the walls of the alley. "Waaaaaaaade!" * * *

Quinn sat on the giant couch that faced the wall in AV Headquarters that was covered with TV sets. His eyes jumped from one screen to another as he stuffed popcorn into his mouth.

Wade dropped into the seat next to him. "How can you watch all these shows at once?"

"You get used to it," Quinn murmured. "Some of these are pretty cool and I've never seen them. There's one show called 'Nowhere Man' about this guy whose life gets erased. And another called 'Dark Skies' about this alternate history where aliens caused all the major events of history..."

"Yeah, okay, Quinn," Wade said. "We didn't travel through a thousand worlds so you could become a couch potato. Besides, it's time to go."

"Yeah, okay." Quinn put aside his popcorn and got to his feet.

As they stood, he did a double-take. Wade was wearing her Vulcan robe and make-up with a broad smile. Quinn looked down at his own regular clothes and back up at her with a frown.

"Aren't you gonna change before we slide?" Quinn asked.

"Nah," Wade said, "I like it. You can't get Vulcan outfits this good this cheap on our world. I'd like to wear it as long as I can. Who knows, maybe we'll slide into a Trek convention on our world and I'll win first prize."

"Okay," Quinn said, then followed her saying, "Man, I never knew you were this big a Trekkie."

"It's *Trekker,*" Wade called over her shoulder.

The others in the AV movement were gathered around the center of the warehouse. There, Arturo and Rembrandt waited. Rembrandt had the timer in his hand.

"Ready to go, guys?" Rembrandt asked.

"Ready as we'll ever be," Wade sighed. "Too bad we gotta go. Other than the heresy and the trial and the death and all, this place was kinda cool."

"I'm afraid I can't share your enthusiasm," Arturo growled. "If I never heard the word 'Star Trek' again it will be too soon. And you aren't seriously planning on sliding in that ridiculous wardrobe, are you?"

"Yup," Wade said, folding her arms and letting the sleeves drape over her.

Arturo rolled his eyes. "Good heavens. This world has driven her insane."

Ivanova walked out of the crowds, followed by a man wearing reptilian makeup, red contacts, and clothes that looked like they were made of leather patches bolted together.

"G'kar and I wanted to say goodbye," Ivanova said, "and thank you for all you've done."

"And thank you," Wade said. "We never could've done it without you."

"Yeah," Quinn said. "Hope you guys succeed."

"We will," G'Kar said. "You will serve as inspiration to us all. Knowing that there are other worlds where 'Star Trek' does not reign supreme gives us hope for ours."

Rembrandt looked at the timer's display, then said, "Showtime, everybody."

He aimed the timer at a wall and pushed the button. A gasp rose up from the crowds as the beam struck a portion of the wall and collapsed it into a hole glowing with bluish light.

Rembrandt waved to the others, then jumped into the hole. He disappeared in a flash of light. Arturo ran and jumped in, followed by Wade. Quinn took one last look at the people gathered around him, then leapt into the vortex of hyperspace. The wormhole collapsed in his wake.

* * *

"Wow," Ivanova said. "That was the most incredible thing I've ever seen."

"Yes," G'Kar said. "Think about it. People traveling from one world to another. The possibilities...I think it might make a fairly good TV show. They could call it 'Sliders.'"

"Yeah, that would be cool," Ivanova said. "But it'd never catch on."