Time Trek-Chapter One

On an ancient, desolate world in another universe, among the ruins of a long-dead civilization, stood a gateway to other times and dimensions. Eons ago, in that universe, a race called the Preservers created the portal to protect foolish primitive races that they could not transplant to other worlds. However, the Preservers were rather shortsighted creatures. Ultimately, the machine being they created would defeat its own purpose, destroying the race that gave it life. It saw its own eventual destruction in the far distant future from a supernova.

From a human perspective, it had centuries to ponder its ghastly crime, but the concept of linear time was foreign to its programming. With the arrival of a Fictional twenty-third century star ship doctor and a young woman from the latter part of the twenty-first century from the universe known as Reality, it decided to atone for the sin of murder.

It was somewhat amusing to the portal that someone from the Reality universe was credited for creating everything in its universe. It had actually implanted all the information about its universe into their minds via dreams, and also toyed with the subconscious mind of someone named Harlan Ellison, who, of course, was later credited with creating the portal itself. The Guardian of Forever had always existed, even before Ellison's so-called brilliant screen adaptation. Since the Guardian was both machine and being, it often played around with history to relieve boredom.

In Reality, Astrid Keenan became the portal's next guinea pig. It chose her because it knew that she happened to be Earth's only remaining Star Trek fan and a true expert on the original science fiction series. Keenan and the Guardian were the only two entities in any known universe who knew that Astrid was the only fan left. Even in her time, Trekkers were stereotyped.

Television, by the way, no longer existed as an entertainment medium. It had been replaced by a hand-held device which resembled an original series tricorder. This device annoyed Astrid, because the King of the United World States had control over it and the people. He could switch it on and grab the people's attention at will. It was against the law to turn it off when he was speaking. To do so could result in imprisonment and huge fines.

One Sunday afternoon, as was her custom, Astrid was skimming along a magnetic highway in her modified Ford Galaxie 500. To her, Sunday was the most harrowing and the most unbearably dull day of the week. It also happened to be the day that the King made his long-winded and ridiculous speeches on her vidi-set. Although it was dangerous to do so, she often took rides on Sunday to escape the scrutiny of the secret police as well as think her own thoughts in relative solitude. She could not ever verbalize her thoughts for fear of punishment. Being secretly an atheist (It was unhealthy to proclaim this too, for it would result in being placed in a concentration camp.) she decided to call herself Jewish to escape prosecution for breaking Sunday laws. She sighed as the King started to spew his propaganda.

"Citizens of the state, we are better people today because…"

'Because we are scared of you.' Thought Astrid.

"We have found our values. We are strong, united and upright. We have destroyed all deviants."

The roar of the hypnotized crowd drowned out his next sentence, so he repeated it. "We have wiped clean the minds of the drunkards and the so-called homeless!"

'Sure you have' Astrid thought glumly. 'Just like when Soren was "cured" with the psychotectic treatments. Those poor deluded souls are your best citizenry, for they have no brains left to wash.'

"Yes, my children, we have found our values. We are one nation…"

'Under Wonderland' Astrid continued.

"Under one god. The true god."

'Yeah, you and money.' She thought.

"With all our values, we have spread our ideal way of life throughout the world! This planet is being filled with the brightest, best…"

'With no one allowed to conflict with your ideals. Beam me up, Scotty or Rand and make it quick. There truly is no more intelligent life down here.'

Her grandparents told her that it had all started in the mid nineteen nineties, when propaganda about child rearing was spread so thick that a mother was arrested for disciplining her offspring in public. After that, people's constitutional rights slowly eroded. Children were raised and 'educated' by the union of church and state. Astrid was luckier than most. Her family lived in an old house in the country without modern communication with the outside world. When she turned eighteen, they had to move, for it was getting dangerous to speak their minds.

On this particular day, Astrid had decided to be merely a passenger in her car, allowing the computer to do all the driving while she relaxed in relative comfort in the back seat, ignoring the blaring vidi-set as much as she could and enjoying the warmth of August sunshine streaming in through the windows. Her car's computer had been programmed by her father, an expert hacker, to fool the secret police sensors into believing that she was on her way to mandatory church attendance in a distant town. Speed limits had long been eliminated. All vehicles had sensing equipment, which kept track of all other traffic within a given radius and adjusted velocities accordingly.

Her car suddenly began to decelerate. Astrid sat up groggily from a light slumber and looked curiously out of the front window. There appeared to be something that resembled a large rock formation blocking her path. However, since there also seemed to be a turn in the road ahead, she dismissed it as an optical illusion and ordered the computer to disregard it.

In the Fictional future, the starship physician named McCoy had just accidentally injected himself with a potent stimulant called Cordrazine. Hallucinating that Transporter Chief Kyle was a monster, he put the man out with two well-placed Judo chops. Then, snatching a phaser off his belt, escaped to the planet below.

Upon materialization, Kirk and the landing party surveyed the crumbling ruins which stretched to the horizon. It was a world devoid of life, but something on this planet was the source of major temporal upheavals. A large rock formation stood defiantly against the obvious ravages of time. They soon discovered that this object was the source of the ripples in time and had caused McCoy's accident.

Moments after finding this out, McCoy appeared from behind a broken pillar, screaming that he wouldn't let them get him and calling them murderers. The security guards grabbed for him, but he was too fast. Spock was faster, and managed to subdue the crazed doctor with a nerve pinch.

Kirk and the others stared in fascination as the Guardian showed them ancient historical events in quick succession. They considered taking the doctor back a day in time to avoid the hypo accident, but soon found out that that was impossible. The Guardian could not change the speed of the passing centuries. They would have to think of another way to bring McCoy back to sanity. As they were pondering this and the possibilities of time travel, McCoy awoke.

This time, the physician was too fast for any of them. He darted towards the Guardian.

At that exact moment, there was a deafening crash and a frightful sound of metal against stone. As they watched with horror and astonishment, an ancient Earth automobile plowed through the time portal. Sparks flew from the car's underside as the ground convulsed. In an instant, the black cold starry sky became a molten red-orange, illuminated now by a glare of a large hot sun.

They were now in desert terrain. The Guardian had vanished, except for some debris at their feet. The car remained, its front end smashed. Smoke and sparks were everywhere around it. McCoy had sustained a concussion, and was unconscious once more.