The darkness was complete, and completely disorienting. He was driving an ancient pickup truck down a big hill of the kind where he left his stomach at the bottom when he started back up. That was the same feeling he associated with transporter effect, though he had not put that together before now. He had always hated that feeling. As he had that thought, the truck stopped, though he did nothing of his own volition to stop it, and he got out and began walking toward a low brick building. Before he got there, he felt the transporter effect take him, and he couldn't move. 'Odd that there are no lights', he thought to himself.
He couldn't see where he landed, for he was still in darkness, and a darkness this complete left no room for shadows. If he hadn't felt his own feet moving him forward, he would not have known whether he re-materialized or not. He felt an abject terror, though he did not know the cause, as nothing remotely frightening had happened to this point and he had never before been afraid of the dark. Seeing a light in the distance, and thinking it looked like a star twinkling on the ground, he moved toward it. Anything he might find there was better than this infernal darkness, and the alarm that screamed from every fiber of his being, that something wasn't right.
As he got closer, he saw that the light was moving, and could also make out that it was a lantern, on a long pole, though he couldn't make out the person carrying it. He walked a bit faster to try to catch up. The light began moving faster as well. Speeding up again, he called out, "please, let me share your light." He received no answer, and the light stayed just out of reach around the next bend on a dirt path. Jogging now, he tried again to catch up. His heart pounded in his ears as he ran, his breath coming heavy from his chest, and finally he ran out of the forest, into an eldritch twilight. When he thought he couldn't run anymore, the shadowy figure carrying the light stopped, and lowered the light almost to the ground, to set it on the porch of a farmhouse, which he would swear wasn't there a moment ago. As he approached, he watched the figure pull a boat into the river, and he was suddenly floating down the river in a small boat. As he moved down the river, he was trying to figure out what was going on. Each bank of the river played the scenes of his past over like some bad movie. First, the face of an old flame, then that of the monster she had become. Monsters come in many forms. That thought echoed down the hallways of his consciousness, and then another chased after it—something he had read in some ancient text—And the greatest monsters of all, well, those live inside of us. Bodies on top of bodies piled on the banks of that cursed river, and every one of them had the familiar faces of crewmen from the Enterprise, or patients from other places and times in his life, and every one of them were people he could not save. Death and terror were written on their faces, and sometimes an accusation.
As the boat passed close to the shore, the bodies rose and began to move toward him, and he jumped onto the opposite shore and began running again, harder and faster, and back toward darkness. He ran until he felt no solid ground under him, and then he was in freefall. He seemed to fall for the longest time, and then he felt himself hit…something soft, and he knew it for a pillow. Opening his eyes, he found himself covered in cold sweat, so he got out of bed and sat at the small desk in his quarters.
"Lights, twenty percent," he said, and as they came on, he opened the bottom drawer of his desk and drew out a bottle of fine Kentucky Bourbon, from his private stock. He filled a shot glass and downed it, then filled it again. It was tempting to try to drink the dream away, but it wouldn't help. The memories of the dream were still too close, too fresh. Drawing a handkerchief out of his pocket, he wiped his face and downed the second glass of Bourbon, knowing he wouldn't sleep again for a long, long time.