Disclaimers: Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry and is owned by Paramount Pictures.
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Summary: Ihat from the episode "Masks" has an adventure. - Featured in Data Entries, 42, 1999. Please note T. Dean was Seawave's old name)
BEYOND THE DAWN
He seemed to be drifting in an endless void, encompassed by nothing but darkness. Alone. Was he near to The Great City (formerly Masaka's City), or far away? He did not know. He had no form here, only mind and spirit, waiting for his fate, knowing he could not escape. He had escaped her many times, but not this time. He had not been fast enough.
Why doesn't she just get it over with?! his mind snapped.
Anxious, Ihat? He heard the voice within his mind.
Masaka ... Ihat's mind-spirit filled with dread ... fear, knowing there was no way out of his fearful and impeding fate.
For Ihat, the moments that followed seemed like aeons - they may well have been.
You betrayed me... Masaka's voice drilled into his mind.
My Lady ... you would have enslaved us all ...
Masaka laughed, an eerie, spine chilling sound. That which I was born to do - rule - And you denied me that. You are nothing. I can kill you with a mere thought - destroy you - wipe you out of existence in any way I choose. I can give you pain, or no. I can make it quick, or last for aeons.
If Ihat could have swallowed, he would have done. Just get it over with!
Ohh ... you're afraid ... how adorable! And you're not even going to beg me for mercy ...
Mercy, hah! You do not know the meaning of the word.
Masaka chuckled. How very true ... You know, I could turn you into a black, slimy, tasty Cocog Slug and swallow you .... Mmmmm! I can feel you digesting right now ....
Masaka, stop it, please....! Ihat's mind-spirit shivered at the awful, distasteful thought.
That's better .... What it takes for you to admit your fear! Masaka said, sounding pleased.
Ihat noticed it seeming to slowly becoming lighter. The second thing he became aware of was that he had a body. Not his body. He couldn't remember if he ever had a body and if he did, it was so long ago - millions, perhaps billions of years. Suddenly very faint memory skipped through Ihat's head. He was running along the grass above the river, with someone. A friend or brother, perhaps, in his own body, but it seemed so long ago, Ihat had no idea if it was a memory, a vision, or just his imagination. As fast as it entered his mind, it was gone. This body in which he stood now was the one he and many others, including Masaka herself had possessed and the form he had chosen. The body of the one called Data from the alien City Enterprise. What a strange name, and an even stranger place. The City called Enterprise had awakened The Great City and Masaka with it. Ihat noticed another standing before him. A woman, whom he recognised as the one called Deanna Troi, again from the alien City, but he knew that this was not Deanna. She was Masaka and she had chosen her form. Ihat stared at her naked body. Beautiful and glorious, she stood before him. As terrified as Ihat was, he could not contain his awe as she regarded his naked form. Masaka walked toward him. Shivering and feeling totally helpless, Ihat allowed Masaka to touch him, running her hands down his bare, smooth, slender sides. Don you not want me?
The question seemed to straight and innocent, but Ihat knew it was far from that. His emotions were complex and intermixed. Fear, respect, love, awe, hatred, desire, all dancing around inside him, all into one, each trying to take control. Ihat shut his eyes for a few moments.
You are glorious, wonderful .... his mind whispered, to Masaka, but he feared her now more than ever.
Masaka allowed Ihat to touch her, to run his hands slowly and gently down her curved sides.
Then Ihat withdrew and opened his eyes.
No. As glorious as you are, Masaka - I will not allow you to have me. Or ravish me. I wish to be free. Away from you. Not spend my entire existence bound by you - in fear of you!
You will live how I desire you to live! Masaka spat.
NO! Ihat knew his denial could very well mean the end of his existence and he was very afraid, but would rather accept death than have the rest of his existence as Masaka's slave.
MASAKA ... A deep, resonant voice bellowed from the very heavens, making both the bitch queen and Ihat jump.
Masaka regained her composure. Corgano ... her mind reasoned, and she seemed afraid.
YOUR TIME IS NOT NOW. STOP BULLYING THE DEFENCELESS. IHAT WAS RIGHT TO DO WHAT HE DID. YOU DESERVED YOUR FATE, NOW LIVE BY IT.
Yes, Corgano. Masaka reluctantly accepted, without argument and knew she must now leave. You are free, Ihat, Masaka's mind-voice said. But I am not.
Ihat felt as if he had been cut loose from a billion - trillion, perhaps longer - year old ball and chain. Thank you ... You are glorious, Masaka, but I do not envy you.
Ihat would have given anything to know what was going through Masaka's mind right now, and she said, At times I do not envy myself.
Ihat was grateful for that - for her to admit weakness, it brought him closer to her, but too much had happened now and he wasn't going to forget the hell she'd put him - or the others of The Great City through.
Masaka's form disappeared.
The Great Chase had stopped, and now begun again and it would stop again and begin again, as it had since the before the dawn of time.
YOU ARE FREE, IHAT ... Corgano's voice echoed in his mind.
Thank you, My Lord, Ihat said, in respect.
The Great City was now Corgano's City - or did it really belong to anyone? Its power, loveliness and age were enough to strike the utmost awe in all. It certainly did in Ihat, but for the first time, in millions, billions, perhaps even trillions of years, Ihat found himself wondering whether to leave the city - his home. He could not fight the urge to explore other places, other cities. He would travel to them in his mind-spirit, and if he wished to take physical form, he would appear in his chosen body, the one known as Data - of course in different clothing. The Starfleet uniform, he decided was too restricting and just simply not his style. Ihat reasoned that the other places he would visit would be different from The Great City and so he did not limit himself by expecting anything but that. He was free to do whatever his will and desires wanted and where they took him and it was out there. He would miss his beloved Great City. His home.
Ihat left on his journey, exploring the stars. He was enthralled by Cities built on planets out in the open, some in domes, such a strange, but yet unique concept. Not that he'd want to live in one, though, and there were so many different ones and different people. Some cities floated in space, much like his, but were different again. There could be millions of Cities the one planet, and there were billions of planets, some more advanced than others. Ihat learned that Cities in space were generally called space stations or starships, too which he found enthralling. He visited a bizarre, but intriguing Space Station, and was in awe of its strange and awesome beauty, as it orbited a nearby planet. Ihat felt that surely the inhabitants could have used their imagination and given it a more imaginative name than Deep Space Nine.
For a memory trip, he visited the starship Enterprise. Ihat was surprised that it was a different ship, but yet the same, with the unique people he'd encountered before. Ihat learned that the starship's full name was The USS Enterprise, NCC 1701-E, an even stranger name. No, not strange. Different. Ihat took the form of Data, and at first the people on the Enterprise tried to capture him, thinking he was someone called Lore. Soon after, they realised and were grateful that he had not been killed by Masaka.
Incidentally, Ihat came across Lore, Data's brother, later in his journey and was most impressed by the complex being, but he did not envy the android's inner pain.
Ihat's exploration continued. He took in everything with the awe and wonder of a child, as he explored the different Galaxies, universes, planets, Cities, starships, space stations, and anything that took his fancy. He encountered wormholes, catapulting him to different parts of the galaxies, and subspace rifts, taking him into the future, the past and back to the present. There was much more to explore than he'd ever dreamed. There were so many things to explore. Ihat's journey had taught him patience. He did not wish to rush his exploration - there was so much to explore and he had all the time in the Universe. For every place was so different, most welcoming with unknown, strange beauty, some more exciting and awesome, some dull and some plain awful, but none quite like Ihat's City, The Great City - but he hadn't expected them to be, otherwise he would not have left his home in the first place.
It was many trillions of millennia before Ihat returned home and was more than welcomed by the mind-spirits of his people. It surprised him, because he had always been a loner. It felt good to be missed and wanted. Ihat shared with them where he'd been and the places he'd seen and what it had meant to him. He was grateful that they listened with great excitement and intent - well he did have a flair for flamboyant uniqueness!
As the aeons progressed, The Great City floated through the vast depths of space, as it had since beyond the dawn of time, as it would until the end of time.
And time has no end.
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