Rated K+ for slight swearing.
Warning: This is utter weirdness, and does not make much sense.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Star Trek, but I sure wish I owned Bones and Scotty... : ) Enjoy!
2100 Hours: Pavel Andreiovich Chekov turns in to go to sleep.
2200 Hours: Spock and Nyota Uhura have lights out. She is asleep within minutes; he lies awake to listen to her breathing until he too is lulled into slumber.
2330 Hours: James Tiberius Kirk turns in. He is snoring loudly before his head hits the pillow. It's been a long day.
2345 Hours: Hikaru Sulu finally leaves the botany lab and his fascinating new plant and ponders its origin as he drifts off into oblivion.
2400 Hours: Montgomery Scott puts his feet up on his desk and pulls his old hat over his eyes and his old coat over his body. After six long months without a real bed, he finds it easy to sleep wherever he wants.
0200 Hours: Leonard McCoy's head rests upon his arms, his eyelids drooping, and then slowly shutting. The stylus in his hand drops to his desk, beside the PADD he was writing in. His mouth slightly agape, he begins to drool. It isn't the first time he's fallen asleep during a late night of work, and it certainly won't be the last.
They are all asleep.
And the night closes in.
He is standing in a gray oblivion. Surrounded by fog on all sides, he knows that the only sure things besides himself are the mist and the grass beneath his feet—dry and crunchy where he steps.
Where am I? he wonders, blankly.
He looks down at himself to find himself in his civvies: Jeans, and a plain white button-up he always wore tucked in with his sleeves rolled up. It is cool, but not quite cold. Borderline, perhaps.
He gets the sense that he is somewhere high up. Da, somewhere high up. If only the fog was gone, he thinks.
He turns around and starts to walk.
The next two open their eyes to find themselves lying in dry, straw-colored grass.
"What…where are we?" the first asks, sitting up, looking down at what she is wearing: Her old jeans and sandals and lucky dress shirt from back home—dyed blue and green, to match the water.
The second examines his own attire: A dark blue woven sweater over a black shirt, and simple black slacks.
"I…do not know," he answers, for the very first time in his life, completely lost and utterly without explanations.
They stand and are enveloped by the gray void as they walk.
He is falling, falling fast without a chute, and there is no way he can scream, because something inside him won't let him do so.
The air and damp coolness rush past him, ruffling his hair and clothes.
Civvies? he asks himself, glancing down at his jeans, tee-shirt, and leather jacket. Then: What an odd thing to think of when falling straight down. You'd think I'd be watching my life flash before my eyes.
"Captain?" a voice calls nearby.
He turns his head to the direction of the voice, an impressive feat for one whose body is forced to move against wind resistance. His eyes grow wide.
"Sulu!?" he demands.
He blinks his eyes open, blearily. Is it morning already?
Must be. The lights are on, automatically. Dim today. Odd.
He pulls his hat off his head and rubs his eyes, sitting up in his chair, reaching for the coffee maker. His hand grasps at empty air.
He opens his eyes.
"Holy shit," he says, aloud.
He stands up, studying his surroundings, then studying himself. He is wearing what he wore in exile—his lucky coat, work pants, sweater, and his uncle's ancient gray aviator scarf.
His choice expletive is repeated, very loudly.
The last is simply standing in place, wearing his own civvies, as are the others: Jeans and a tee-shirt beneath a light zip-up jacket.
His first thought is: Patrick's Point? Mendocino County? Huh?
Spock and Uhura are walking hand in hand through the fog.
Aside from the distant sound of a nonexistent breeze, and the rustle of the grass, it is utterly silent.
"Have you ever been lost in mist like this before?" Uhura asks.
"No," Spock answers, "But I have been lost in San Francisco."
It takes the communications officer a moment to realize that her lover is making a joke. She laughs, slightly. "I suppose that counts," she remarks.
"Have you ever been lost in mist like this?" Spock queries.
"No, but I have been lost in a rainstorm."
"I was driving through Utah in the summer. It's on Earth, in the United States," she ex plains. "I had to pull over and sleep in my car while I waited for it to wear off. There was a magnificent lightning storm, though."
"You are very lucky. Where I lived as a child," he avoids using the name Vulcan, "there were very few lightning storms."
"Have you seen any?"
"Very few. Once, at the Academy, and of course, Nero's portal."
Uhura smiles wistfully. "Next shore leave I'll take you somewhere with a real thunderstorm."
"I would enjoy that."
They continue through the mist.
Jim and Sulu land, hard.
"Oww…" Jim groans, rolling over onto his back, "I think I'm gonna throw up…"
Sulu sits up, pressing the heel of his hand against his forehead.
"In theory, we shouldn't have survived that," he announces, "We should both be sacks of meat and bone fragments form the impact."
"Yes, but we're not. I only feel like I've been shoved into the world's worst hangover," Jim answers, folding an arm over his stomach.
Sulu examines the grass he is sitting on. "I can't tell what kind of grass this is," he says.
"No offense, but I'd say that's the least of our problems, Sulu."
The pilot grins. "None taken, sir."
"It's Jim. I'm not in uniform, and neither are you."
Chekov stops in his tracks, suddenly fearful.
Somewhere in front of him, there's a shadow moving slowly through the mist. A soft thump-thump thump reaches his ears.
The navigational officer's imagination goes into overdrive. Monsters. Creatures lurking in the darkness. Soul-eating fiends. His heartbeat increases.
The shadow stops, its head turning ominously towards Chekov.
The boy almost snaps.
He takes a step backward, breathing hard as fear twists his stomach into knots. Another one, struggling to keep quiet. He is shaking now.
The shadow starts moving in his direction.
Chekov panics and tries to move faster, and trips over his own feet, falling backward onto the ground. He involuntarily lets loose a cry of shock.
Scrabbling backwards like a crab, the boy tries to stand, but can't; he is trembling too much.
The shadow is closer now, quickening its pace. Faster. Faster. Soon it will be upon him.
As it closes in, Chekov shuts his eyes, waiting for the creature to rip him limb from limb.
Instead of being eaten alive, Chekov hears a familiar voice.
"Pavel?! Lad, are you all right?"
Chekov opens his eyes. "Meester Scott?" he asks.
Bones is walking through the mist, worried. He doesn't like mist.
"Hello?" he calls. His voice echoes into the void around him, bouncing around in all directions.
He is lost. Alone. Completely alone.
"Anyone? Hello? Please?" he shouts.
The only reply is his own voice and the rustle of the grass.
The doctor panics and breaks into a run.
Like a blind man, he stretches his arms out in front of him and careens into the fog, his breath hitching as he struggles not to burst into tears like a frightened child. You're more rational than this, says a voice in his head, What the hell is wrong with you?
Suddenly, his foot catches on something, and he goes down, flat on his face, knocking the wind out of his lungs.
Behind the sound of his pounding head, he hears another noise—the noise of someone throwing up, and then a voice:
Bones almost weeps with relief as he recognizes that voice.
Swallowing his initial terror, he rolls over. "Hey, Sulu," he says, happily.
"Ughh…" groans the thing he tripped over: "There goes my dinner…"
The lethargic form of James Tiberius Kirk rolls over onto his back, away from a small pool of vomit on the ground. "Dammit, Bones!" he snarls, "You made me throw up!"
Bones simply laughs.
"What are you carrying?" Chekov asks, frowning at the engineer.
Scotty glances behind him at his choice of possession. "My...office chair?" he says, wondering why he had it with him in the first place.
"Where are we?"
"No idea, lad."
Simultaneously, the two men begin to walk.
Spock and Uhura have stopped in their tracks, because they have reached the edge of a cliff.
Staring down the rocky slope, Uhura notes that it curves slightly before disappearing into the fog. Perhaps that's where it ends, she thinks, Or maybe that's just where it begins.
"Now what?" she asks.
"I do not know," Spock replies, gently squeezing her hand.
There is silence for a moment.
Then, suddenly, Uhura's keen ears pick up a faint cry, echoing off the…echoing off something.
"Anyone? Hello? Please?"
"Do you hear that?" she asks, tugging on Spock's arm.
Spock blinks, strains his ears. "I believe so," he agrees, "Is that…"
"…McCoy?" Uhura finishes.
They exchange glances, then start running towards the source of the cry.
Bones and Sulu help Jim to his feet.
"What happened to you, anyways?" Bones asked.
"We fell," Sulu replied.
"Pretty far. Over a hundred meters."
Bones's eyes grow to the size of dinner plates. "You should be dead."
"Yeah, and three commanding officers of a Federation starship don't just appear in a fog-covered middle of nowhere," Jim mumbles, "…That feels a little better."
"You're a bad liar, Jim," the doctor answers.
"No, you're just a human polygraph."
Bones rolls his eyes, then stops in mid eye-roll and strains his hearing into the curling fog.
"What?" Jim questions.
"Shhh," he hisses.
"…Bones?" the captain whispers.
"Leonard?" someone calls in the distance.
"Dr. McCoy!" shouts another.
"OVER HERE!" Bones yells back, at the top of his lungs.
"THIS WAY, IT'S NOT JUST ME—SULU AND JIM ARE HERE TOO!"
The distant call grows louder. "It's Uhura! Spock's with me!"
Two small shadows appear directly ahead, growing larger all the while. One appears oddly bent.
"Are you two all right?" Bones asks, "Spock? Uhura?"
Both shadows stop moving instantly.
"McCoy?!" one of them demands.
"…I believe we've established that," Bones answers, casting a nervous glance at Jim and Sulu.
"Come closer," Jim commands.
Tentatively, the two shadows begin to move again.
A frowning face appears out of the mist. "Jes' who are ye callin' Spock and Uhura, Doctor?" queries a bewildered Montgomery Scotty.
"Last time I checked, I was younger dan dem both," adds a slightly amused Pavel Chekov.
"He's stopped talking," Uhura says, worriedly cupping her hands around her mouth, "LEONARD! WHERE ARE YOU?!"
"DR. MCCOY, WE NEED YOU TO SPEAK SO WE CAN LOCATE YOU!" Spock bellows.
There is a brief pause before the reply comes:
The couple joins hands again and they walk towards the source of McCoy's voice.
"Scotty, what is that?" Jim asks, smiling bemusedly.
The engineer glances down at his chair. "S'me office chair," he says, a tad defensively.
"It jes' appeared wi' me, sir. I thought I was on th' ship, an' it was mornin'. Obviously it isn't."
"So you're dragging it around like a demented teddy bear?"
Scotty shrugs. "I don't know what else is real here. Might come in handy. Ye never know."
At that moment, two shadows appear nearby, drawing closer.
"Leonard?" one calls.
"Nyota?" Bones asks.
Spock and Uhura appear out of the fog.
"Hey," Jim says, amiably, "You two all right?"
"We're all right," Uhura replies.
There is a short silence.
Then, quietly at first, in the distance, the low whistle and rush of wind slowly builds, then more quickly and louder and more intense.
The fog begins to move.
In a single sweeping rush, the mist recedes and is swept away.
Then comes the shocked silence.
They are standing on a small, grassy hillside, the plants dry and brown, crackling underfoot.
Directly to the left, there lies an ocean, stretching off into the horizon, the sky above gray and overcast, but bright.
The officers of the Enterprise turn their gazes down the vast expanse of craggy coastline, curving into the ocean to a point that they can no longer see where it goes.
Behind them there are mountains, before them sand dunes, and beside them a road. Paved.
"Where the hell are we?!" Jim demands, incredulously.
At first, no one responds.
Then Bones replies, "It looks kinda like Mendocino."
They are standing at the edge of the cliff, looking down into the crashing waves.
"What is that?" Uhura asks, pointing down to a large boulder near the water's edge.
"…Uhura, it's a rock," Sulu announces, sarcastically.
"No, not the rock!" she protests, "Those. Right under the water."
Spock blinks, kneeling down and peering over the cliff.
He frowns, squinting at what Uhura was pointing.
"I believe that they are…train tracks," he declares.
Jim, Chekov, Bones, Sulu, and Scotty stare blankly at the Vulcan.
"What?" Spock demands, a little too defensively to be normal for him.
"Train tracks," Jim repeats.
Rolling his eyes, the captain gets down on his stomach and looks at the water below. He blinks. "…Oh my god," he says, "He's right."
Jim stands. "Mr. Scott," he begins, "Can you get us down there?"
Scotty raises his eyebrows. "…With…what?" he asks, confused, "I don't have a transporter or anything."
Jim shrugs. "I don't know. Use your imagination."
"Well," the Scotsman begins, indignantly, "I canna change th' laws of physics, Captain!"
"We could climb down," Sulu suggests.
"No footholds that I can see," Uhura counters.
"Why are ye putting me on the spot, anyways?!" Scotty demands of Jim. "It's not like I know where we are?"
"Scotty, relax, I was just kidding!" Jim protests.
"It's not funny! I canna change th' laws of—"
The engineer stops, suddenly, looking down at his feet…which are floating two inches off the ground.
"You're floating," Jim says, eyes wide.
"Well…I suppose I can change th' laws of physics," Scotty says, an incredulously happy look on his face.
"Jesus, Jim, you too!" Bones gasps.
Jim looks down at his own feet.
"Whoa!" Uhura exclaims, throwing her hands out as she is swept off balance.
Spock sucks in a sudden breath as he too is lifted off the ground.
Then Sulu. Then Chekov. Then Bones.
"What the hell?!" the doctor breathes.
Before anyone can think twice, a sudden gust of wind comes from the mountains behind, unbalancing everyone, and sending Spock over the edge of the cliff.
"Spock!" Uhura shouts, twisting over and catching his hand as he is suspended over the ocean.
"Guys, join hands," Jim tells his crew, "If anything happens, at least we'll be sticking together."
"How poetic," Bones mutters, sarcastically, taking Uhura's and Jim's hands.
Joining the chain after him are Jim, then Chekov, then Sulu, and Scotty.
"I like this place!" Scotty announces, ecstatically, "It's exciting!"
"We're glad you approve," Jim replies, grinning.
The gust of wind pushes the officers of the Enterprise over the cliff's edge. Then, gently, like balloons slowly losing their helium, they drift, like a giant, floating centipede, down towards the ocean.
"Whoa…" Bones says, looking apprehensively down at the crashing waves. "I don't like this."
"Can't swim?" Jim queries.
"It's not the water I'm worried about. It's the rocks."
"But you can't swim, can you?"
The doctor looks towards his captain, looks him in the eye: "I swam on the varsity swim team in high school."
"Yuck. I always hated backstroke."
"Sulu, you're a swimmer?" Uhura asks.
"Summer. When I was a kid. I wasn't very good at it."
"If I may interrupt, it seems as though we are landing," Spock cuts in, pointing out their close proximity to the water.
"The tracks. Where do you think they lead?" Jim provokes the question.
The crew look at each other in puzzlement.
"…Anyone want to find out?"
A general chorus of "sure", "all right", and "why not" arises from the consenting crewmembers.
Gently, they are turned upright by some strange, invisible force, and dropped onto the tracks.
Collective gasps arise.
"Jesus, that's cold!" Bones hisses.
"I concur," Spock adds, stiffly.
"H-h-hey, g-g-guys?" Chekov pipes up, his teeth chattering.
"What?" Scotty asks.
They all turn to look in the direction in which the boy is pointing.
"…Oh my god…" Uhura says.
Nestled into a tiny beach enclosed in a tiny cove, sitting at the edge of the train tracks, is an old-fashioned train.
Without question, the crew wades over.
Jim is the first to reach the door and steps up onto the small step of the engine room platform. Hanging out at an angle from a handle on the side of the train, he grins and calls, "ALL ABOOOOOOAAAAAAAARD!" Then: "I always wanted to do that."
Some laughing, some rolling their eyes, the crew boards the train.
And as soon as the last person has stepped aboard, the train begins to move.
The train speeds out across the water away from shore, faster and faster as the seconds tick by. The inside is like any passenger car in any old-fashioned train, with wooden benches lining the walls of the car, long metal poles extending from the ceiling to the floor, vacant luggage racks above the benches.
The engine room, as Jim reports to his crew, is empty. Just like the rest of the train, save for its seven passengers.
Thus, having nothing else to do, the crew of the Enterprise sits back and decides to enjoy the limited scenery.
The train skims gracefully over the water.
Chekov is kneeling on one of the benches, his face and hands pressed against the glass as he tries to look down to the water.
"Keptin…" he calls.
"Chekov, it's Jim," Jim replies, a bit wearily.
"I think you should see dis."
From his seat near the engine room, Jim rises and heads over to Chekov.
"I do not thin dis ees ocean we are traweling over. Look. Ees shallow," the boy announces.
Jim mimics Chekov's position to see the tracks speeding by.
"Dey rest on sand," Chekov says.
Jim nods. "So they do. Good observation, Pavel."
"Thank you, Keptin."
"Sorry, sorry. Jeem."
Jim smiles and claps the kid on the shoulder, heading back to his seat.
A shallow ocean, he thinks, weird.
Suddenly tired, he leans back against the wall, putting his feet up on the adjacent bench.
Within minutes, he is snoring.
Slowly, the rest of the crew follows suit.
All but one.
Uhura is leaning back against Spock, her body horizontal on the bench, her knees bent, her lover's arm draped loosely over her shoulder.
She is lost in thought.
Outside the train, the sky's gray, bright fog and clouds have long since receded and been replaced by bright stars against the black canvas of night. Like a great, shining orb, a single moon hangs in the balance, casting a shimmering stripe of white over the waves.
Uhura gently squeezes Spock's hand, listening to him breathe.
You're so calm, she thinks, So steady…so—
Her train of thought suddenly switches tracks as something glowing bright red flashes by the window.
Slowly, she stands, then kneels on the bench and peers out into the night.
What was that?
Spock's arm falls limply to his side. He stirs, slowly waking, blinking in the darkness. "Nyota?" he asks.
"I saw something," Uhura says.
"Could you identify it?"
"What did it look like?"
"It was glowing bright red."
There is a short silence as Spock kneels beside Uhura.
"What are you two doing?" asks the bored voice of Leonard McCoy.
Uhura jumps. "Jesus, Leonard!" she growls, "Could you possibly not do that?!"
"Sorry," Bones yawns, "What are we looking at?"
"Something bright red and glowing has recently passed the train," Spock announces.
"…Ah. I'll get Jim up."
Hastily, the doctor heads over to his sleeping captain, tapping him on the shoulder.
"Jim," he hisses, "Jim. Wake up."
"Nooo…" Jim moans, "…five more minutes…"
"Dammit, Jim, something's passed the train."
Jim blinks, opens his eyes, and slowly sits up. "What kind of something?" he asks.
"The mysterious, bright red and glowing type."
The captain stands, stifling a yawn, and heads over to where Spock and Uhura are kneeling.
"Whasshappenin'?" he mumbles.
"Something's out there, captain," Uhura says.
"Oh, for the last time, please call me by my name."
"We have been unable to identify it," Spock adds, ignoring Jim's protest.
"We thought you should know, Jim," Bones tells him.
And then Jim realizes: They are still looking to him as a leader.
Slowly, he nods. "All right, then. Set up a watch. Two people to an hour-long interval—"
Suddenly, he breaks off, as something bright red and glowing streaks past the window.
Then something bright blue and glowing.
Then green and yellow.
Jim, Bones, Spock and Uhura turn their gazes towards the windows of the train as their lines of sight fill with moving lights, neon, bright, and fast.
"They're…signposts," Jim realizes, watching a particularly colorful one speed past. "They're not moving…we are."
"This is no dialect I've ever encountered before," Spock says, watching another red sign pass. "Uhura?"
"I can't tell," the xenolinguist answers, "They're not Klingon…not Romulan…"
"SANDWICHES!" shrieks a voice, causing them all to jump.
Scotty is sitting bolt upright, eyes wide, breathing hard.
"…Sorry," he apologizes, flushing, "Bad dream. What's goin' on?"
"Signposts," Bones enlightens him, motioning to the moving lights.
Sulu and Chekov stand up, awake from Scotty's shriek of terror.
"Signposts?" Sulu asks, "That's strange…the writing looks Asian. Possibly Japanese."
All eyes turn to the pilot.
"Can you read it?" Bones queries, raising his eyebrows.
"I grew up in San Francisco, guys," Sulu answers, defensively.
"All right, all right, no offense meant."
"What ees dat?" Chekov asks, suddenly pointing at a bright light growing in the distance.
"I do not know," Spock answers, frowning.
"It's getting bigger," Jim notes.
Sure enough, the light is growing rapidly.
Getting wider and taller.
The signposts stop flashing by and the moon and stars begin to fade as the tiny point on the horizon grows larger and larger and larger, until it has begun to swallow the sky.
"The hell?!" Bones demands.
The crew can only stand in shocked silence as the light lurches forward like a hungry animal, and envelops the train, whole.
Pavel Chekov gasps and awakens, his eyes shooting blurry whiteouts into the darkness in his quarters from the imprints on his retinas. He is drenched in sweat, shaking.
Spock and Nyota Uhura simultaneously sit up in bed together, their stomachs slowly unknotting as they notice one another's presence.
James Tiberius Kirk awakens to find himself twisted around in his sheets, screaming. Slowly, he regains control of his voice, the scream petering out to a small "aaaaammmph." Nightmare, he thinks, Weird one.
Hikaru Sulu sits bolt upright in bed, breathing hard. A dream? he thinks, Signposts?
Montgomery Scotty jerks violently as he is snapped out of the dream world and into the real one. His arms flail outward, colliding with the pot of coffee on his desk, which at the moment is red hot and rattling in the coffee-maker. Gasping from the pain, he yanks his hand back and, with the excess momentum, effectively tips himself out of his office chair and onto the floor. "Oww…" he groans.
Leonard McCoy's head snaps up off his desk, the aches of his stiff body returning. Taking a deep breath, he wipes the drool off his mouth and massages the back of his neck, wincing. Noticing the time, he groans. I'll be dead on my feet by lunch, he thinks to himself.
Later, at breakfast, the officers of the NCC-1701 Enterprise are crowded around a large table, eating hungrily.
Bones appears in the doorway, yawning, and walks over, slumping into a seat next to Jim.
"Jeez, Bones, you look like you've been through a meat processer and back," the captain comments, grinning.
"Oh, not now…" the doctor groans, "…I only got about five hours of sleep, guys…"
Bones shoots a weary but effective glare at Jim. "I had a really weird dream."
"That's strange. Me too."
Sulu looks down the table. "You two as well? Pavel was just telling me about this nightmare I had. I know I woke up pretty out of it after my own dream."
"Spock," Uhura interrupts, "We had a strange dream last night as well, didn't we? The same one."
"It may have been the results of a mind meld, but yes," the Vulcan agrees.
"Bloody hell, I practically fell outta me chair," Scotty interjects through a mouthful of egg salad.
There is silence around the table, as odd glances are exchanged.
Jim looks at each of his officers in turn. "…Mist?" he asks.
"…Train?" Bones replies, nodding.
"…Signposts?" Uhura suggests.
The nods are universal now.
"Me office chair?" Scotty queries, incredulously.
A few grins, then silent nodding.
More glances are exchanged.
This is just weird," Jim says, "…Sickbay, anyone?"