A Shimmer of Heaven
A story by Nick Varnau
Based on “Star Trek” created by
They say time is the fire in which we burn…
He felt the nauseating sensation of spinning, nearly out of control. For a moment, he had forgotten who he was. His name, his race; everything had been forgotten. Only the constant feel of being in rotation.
At once, he grasped for the first name that came into his head… Soran… Tolian Soran. Then he remembered, that was his name! The spinning began to subside.
There was an ambient noise clamoring at his ears. High-pitched yells and a constant, loud clatter. The last he had remembered, he was on board the Sulaco, fleeing through an uncharted stretch of space in hopes that those monsters, those cybernetic murderers would never find them.
Then he remembered something else about his identity. Something that made his heart cry out, and suddenly he felt weak. The spinning came to an abrupt stop and he immediately crashed to the floor, to the collective gasps of what must have been hundreds of people.
Tolian Soran realized he was standing on a stage, a spotlight transfixed on him. And rather than the nasty black rags he had been wearing on the Sulaco, he was now nicely attired in a traditional El-Aurian gala robe. But not any robe, this robe was given to him by his grandfather, Dr. Minak Soran, who had been the first of his race to discover the way to travel faster than light. While the late doctor had never seen the first official El-Aurian spaceship in action – he was killed by the cybernetic monsters – he would’ve been proud with the results.
Dr. Tolian had been studying the effects on the compound trilithium on certain gamma rays before the evil had invaded his planet. Grandpa Minak had told him that his findings could be a revolutionary find. When Minak had discovered light speed, he was awarded the Tydoon Peace Award. Tolian realized that he was now wearing the very same ceremonial robe his grandfather had worn.
He looked out into the crowd of people, all waiting, eager to listen, for Tolian knew that was what they would do best. He and his fellow El-Aurians had always been great listeners and enjoyed many stories and speeches from any race. And they always listened with intense interest. Even the young doctor, now entering his third century, had always taken great pleasure in hearing the thoughts, feelings, and stories of others.
Tolian Soran got back to his knees and struggled to get up, finding his balance very hard to coordinate due to the effects of the rotating sensation. The feeling of a gentle, female hand came under his arm and helped him to his feet. Tolian turned to see who his helper was.
He was shocked to see that he was staring in the emerald-green eyes of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He soon realized that this was what his heart had cried out for, for it was the woman he had fallen in love with so many decades ago, and later had married.
“Delera!” he said, once he had caught his breath. He could hardly believe what he was seeing. His own wife brought back from the brutal evisceration of the cybernetic beasts that had destroyed everything he loved… his precious Delera was here, giving him support for clearly an important event.
But what event could this be, thought Soran. Just two minutes ago I was sitting in the cargo bay of the Sulaco! We were tossing about and being thrown in every direction, trying to get clear of this strange energy ribbon, and then… this?
Whatever had happened, Soran began to excuse it. Delera was here, smiling and applauding, and now Soran could see his three young daughters in the front row, all wearing beautiful gowns.
“Well honey,” said Delera with her soft, elegant voice. “Give your speech.”
As if he had actually previously known the reason he was there, he raised his eyebrows and exclaimed, “Yes! Of course! My speech!”
With a smile and a bow, he walked over to the center podium on the stage. Immediately he began to wonder what to say, or even how to say it. How could he give a speech at an event he’d had no prior knowledge of?
Almost on cue, he felt something in his right pocket. A folded piece of paper. Soran took it out and studied it for a moment, then, pressured to begin, he started his speech.
“I am honored to be among such talented and distinguished scientists here today as I accept this… ‘Nexus Peace Prize for Trilithium Design.’ In beginning my project and studies on trilithium, I first had to consider the writings of Ferop Mokran, the man who practically invented the complex polymer…”
Soran noticed that not one person in the crowd seemed uninterested in what he had to say. Everyone’s eyes were glued on him, hanging on every word, including his rebellious daughters, who looked years younger than when he had last seen them. Perhaps it was the amazing gowns they wore.
Soran continued for almost half-an-hour before ending his acceptance speech. The entire time, everyone was glued to his stories of hardships in bringing the success of his work to fruition as well as the anecdotes he wished to share about his family life. As an El-Aurian acceptance speech, it was rather short, but Soran had found very little to say about receiving an award which he had previously never heard of.
As he walked down the ramp and was met by his family, he embraced his beloved wife, then gave loving hugs to each daughter, all of whom he had presumed dead at the hands of the cyborgs.
“Was it all just a dream?” he asked Delera. She smiled and he noticed the dimples in her cheeks still made her face glow like a thousand suns.
“No,” she said, “but now you can make your own destiny.”
She took his hand and he put it up to his cheek. It had been weeks since he had felt a woman’s touch. It was the single happiest moment of Dr. Tolian Soran’s life.
And suddenly, without warning, he felt himself losing his grip on his wife’s hand. He opened his eyes and saw that they appeared to be floating away from him into a blank, white nothingness, all the while smiling and waving, as if he were leaving somewhere.
No! he thought. This can’t be happening! Where did they go?
Soran felt as if he were a scrap of metal under the pressure of a gargantuan magnet. He felt his insides come out from under him, his legs completely disappearing. Now up to his torso, Soran was frantic to get back to his wife and daughters.
With a flash, the doctor was whole again, now in a cargo bay similar to the one he had just been in, and inhabited by the very people he had just been with. However, this was clearly a different ship.
He looked up at a panel on the far wall and read, “U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-B.” A Federation ship! So the Federation had done this!
He looked around for someone to help him, but felt something warm on his face. He brought his hand up and saw he was bleeding profusely.
This wouldn’t have happened if the Federation would’ve stayed out of it, thought Soran. Coming toward him was an elderly Starfleet officer who spoke in a strange accent.
“Everyt’ing is alright… you are safe now!” said the human.
Safe! How could they be safe?! Soran was safe with his family, not on some Federation rescue boat that thought it acceptable to rip him from his happiness.
“Why?” said Soran to the human. “Why?”
“It’s alright, you are safe now,” said the human.
“No!” said Soran, his heart suddenly filled with rage. “I must go back! Send me back! I have to go back!” The Starfleet officer pushed him onto a table while another put something to his neck. Soran immediately went catatonic, his eyes glazed over. However, he vowed one thing at that moment… he would get back to that moment, and no one would stop him. Finally, before his body succumbed to the drug, Soran whispered silently to himself… “I will go back…”
About the Author
Nick Varnau’s previous
science-fiction works include the short stories “E.S.P.,” and “Bloodlust” as
well as the series “Promised Land.” Outside of the genre, he has written
several short stories, including “Celebrity,” “At The Bottom
Of Everything,” and the “Amazon Jihad” series. He was also producer and
co-director of the “Star Wars” fan-film “Rise of Romeo.” This is the first of
what Nick hopes to be many “Star Trek” fan fics. He