ST:TNG "Where No One Has Gone Before", 2nd draft outline | DianeDuane dot com

ST:TNG "Where No One Has Gone Before", 2nd draft outline

        Duane/Reaves "Where None Have Gone Before" (outline) 2/13/87  
                                   *STAR TREK*
                         "Where None Have Gone Before"
        1.   Tension and excitement are high on the bridge as the 
        *Enterprise* prepares for the first long-range use of the new 
        subspace drive -- a device which will allow the ship to travel 
        directly through "wormholes" in subspace and move hundreds of 
        lightyears in the wink of an eye.  RIKER is tremendously 
        excited about this.  "The whole galaxy will be open to us!  
        This will be the end of warp drive!"
             PICARD agrees.  The possibilities of this new drive are 
        limitless -- they might even one day travel far enough to learn 
        if the universe was created or if it just "happened".  Picard 
        tends toward the former theory; Riker the latter.
             DATA'S reaction to the new drive is a little dubious:  
        "The laws of reality don't work the way we expect them to in 
        subspace," he tells LT. TROI.  "Even though this has been 
        tested before, we're still not a hundred per cent sure what the 
        effects of a journey this long might be."  Troi reminds him 
        that nothing is ever gained without risk.
        2.   PETER KOSINSKI, the specialist who designed the Subspace 
        Drive, is on board for this historic voyage, with his nine-year 
        old son, KARL.  Kosinski is beaming with pride and anticipation 
        -- if this works, he'll be known as the man who opened up the 
        universe.  His son isn't so happy, however.  WESLEY, also on 
        the bridge, tells Karl, "You must be real proud of your dad.  
        He's gonna be famous."  Karl shrugs.  "I guess," he says.  "I 
        really don't like space very much."  Wesley is nonplussed -- 
        how can *anyone* not like space?
        3.   The countdown reaches zero; they make the jump in a blaze 
        of EFX.  It's a very uncomfortable, almost painful experience 
        -- but it works!  When they emerge from subspace, the forward 
        viewscreen shows a spectacular vista -- they're within a few 
        lightyears of the galactic core, a multi-colored tight-packed 
        aggregation of millions of stars, so close together that you 
        can't see the darkness of space between them.  It's like being 
        in a sea of luminous jewels.  
             There's jubiliation on the bridge -- everyone congrat-
        ulates Kosinski.  In one moment they've travelled halfway 
        across the galaxy, to a place where none have gone before!
             Peter nudges his son.  "Smile!  Aren't you proud of your 
        dad?"  The kid smiles wanly, but we see it's an effort.  
        Something's bothering him -- something his father is either 
        ignoring or doesn't have time for.
        4.   The plan is to jump back to Federation Space as soon as 
        they've charted the immediate area.  But suddenly the Con 
        officer looks up, face pale.  "We're in trouble," he tells 
        Riker.  "None of our instruments are functioning properly!"
             The mood on the bridge changes quickly from celebration to 
        concern.  Data punches buttons, calling up readouts.  Kosinski 
        helps him.  Wesley stands next to BEVERLY, watching.  "What's 
        wrong, Mom?"  She puts an arm around him.  "Don't worry, Wes.  
        I'm sure it'll be all right."
             Data faces Picard.  "We're getting improper readings," he 
        says.  "The gravitational fluxes of all these stars are 
        throwing our sensors off.  We can't plot a course home!"
             Tight on Picard as he realizes that the *Enterprise*, and 
        her entire crew, are trapped thousands of lightyears from home, as 
                                  END TEASER
                                    ACT ONE
        5.   "We've got to get out of the immediate area of flux, where 
        our instruments will work again," Picard says.  Riker turns to 
        Kosinski.  "You'll have to chart a new course through subspace, 
        because we'll be jumping from a different starting point," he 
        says.  Kosinski nods and begins his work.  His son comes up to 
        him and asks to talk to him.  "Not now," Kosinski tells him; 
        "I'm busy.  It'll have to wait until later."  
             "It *always* has to wait 'til later," Karl says.  
             Just then Riker, who's checking the readouts along with 
        Data, says, "We've got more problems."  He punches up another 
        view on the monitor -- they see a blaze of light stretching 
        across the screen.  "That's a wall of radiation -- the 
        shockwave of an exploding star!  It'll hit us in ten minutes -- 
        and it'll go through our shields like a laser through butter!"
        6.   Picard orders everyone to stations as the "Red Alert" 
        klaxon begins to sound.  "Can we outrun it?"  he asks Riker.  
        "Negative -- we're on impulse power only.  The warp engines 
        have been redirected to help power the Subspace Drive."
             There's only one way to avoid having the ship and everyone 
        in it incinerated by the onrushing *tsunami* of radiation -- 
        they'll have to use the Subspace Drive to jump again, fast.  
        There's no time for Kosinski to make new calculations.  "I 
        don't care where we come out," Picard tells him.  "Anywhere is 
        better than right here, right now!"  Kosinski resets the 
        controls, and the *Enterprise* disappears just before the 
        radiation front can engulf it.
        7.   When they come out of the jump this time, the experience 

        is even more wrenching than the previous one.  Riker looks 
        particularly shaken.  When Picard asks him what's wrong, he 
        says he can't quite remember -- like a nightmare that's 
        forgotten when you awake.  When he turns away, however, he 
        gasps in pain and pulls up his sleeve -- on his arm are a set 
        of red welts that look very much like teeth marks!  No one has 
        any explanation for them, least of all Riker.
        8.   This odd happening, however, is quickly forgotten as they 
        all stare at the forward monitor, which shows an awe-inspiring 
        whirlpool of stars and gas clouds -- an entire galaxy, spread 
        out before them!  They are "above" it, having jumped to 
        intergalactic space.  "All right," Picard says; "nothing's 
        going to hurt us up here."  He looks at Kosinski.  "Plot us a 
        course home."  
             Kosinski looks uncomfortable.  "The last jump was a random 
        one," he reminds the Captain.  "I'll have to know where we are 
        before I can figure out how to get back to Federation Space."  
        Riker orders the astrography department to start looking for 
        "lighthouse" stars -- pulsars that will tell them where they 
             Meanwhile, Beverly, at her station in Sick 
        Bay, calls Picard.  "We've got some strange injuries down 
        here," she says.  "People with bruises and contusions all over, 
        and no idea how they got them."  Also -- and this is something 
        everyone on the bridge, save Data, is noticing as well -- the 
        effects of the last jump are a *lot* harder to shake off.  
        Everyone feels nervous, ill-at-ease, and generally weak.  
        And Troi reports something odd:  the faint mental "background 
        noise" that she usually experiences, the product of millions 
        of minds of sentient creatures, suddenly seems very far 
        away, almost inaudible.  Picard is concerned by all these 
        reports, and tells Beverly to keep looking for the cause for 
        the crew's malaise.
        9.   Meanwhile, Karl approaches his father again.  "What's 
        wrong with your invention?" he asks.  "Didn't it work?"  
        Kosinski takes Karl into the lounge.  "A few things have gone 
        wrong," he says, "but everything will come out all right.  You 
        just sit tight in here and when I have time we'll --"
             "We *never* have time," Karl interrupts.  "You were always 
        too busy -- that's why you and Mom split up, isn't it?  I wish 
        I was back on Earth with her.  I came on this trip to be with 
        you, but you're *always* too busy!"
             At this point the loudspeaker announces that the Captain 
        wants to see Kosinski in Sick Bay -- *now*.  "I don't have time 
        to argue with you!" Karl's father says.  "Stay here!"  He 
        leaves his sullen son in the lounge.  
        10.  In Sick Bay, Kosinski is surprised to receive a hypospray 
        shot as he walks in.  "You're low on potassium," Beverly tells 
        him.  "So is everyone on board the ship."  "Is it possible," 
        Picard asks him, "for jumps of this length to be somehow 
        draining us of potassium?"  Kosinski shrugs nervously.  
        "*Anything's* possible where subspace is concerned," he admits.  
             At this point a crew member is brought in by two burly 
        medical techs -- the man is struggling and shouting "Keep them 
        away!  They're after me!"  It takes both techs to hold him down 
        until a sedative can be administered.  Beverly tells Picard and 
        Kosinski that there've been several cases of hallucinations and 
        violent paranoia after this last jump.  She's wondering if the 
        altered states of reality in subspace might have anything to do 
        with this.  
             Again, Kosinski has no certain answer.  Picard turns to 
        him and says, "You'd better start *finding* some answers, Mister 
        -- this ship is in trouble, and your new Drive might be the 
        cause of it!"  He reminds him that, if the Drive is indeed 
        endangering the people on board the ship, they may have to 
        disconnect it and attempt to return to Federation Space via 
        warp drive -- and, at the distance they are from the galaxy,
        even at Warp Ten the journey could take *years.*  
        11.  At this point, however, they get a call from Riker on the 
        bridge.  "You'd better get back up here right away, sir," he 
        tells Picard grimly.
             Picard and Kosinski return to the bridge, where Riker 
        gives them the bad news.  The astrographers have searched in 
        vain for recognizable stars by which to plot a return course.  
        There are none.  There is only one conclusion -- the unplotted 
        jump may have put them outside a completely *different* galaxy!  
        There is no way of telling where in the universe they are!
                                  END ACT ONE

                                    ACT TWO
        12.  "How could this happen?" Picard asks Kosinski.  "Where did 
        we get the power to make that kind of jump?"  Data quickly checks 
        Kosinski's calculations.  "There's no evidence that we used any 
        more power than he programmed for," the android says.  "There 
        must be some kind of random uncertainty factor in subspace 
        itself that's the cause."  Kosinski protests:  "We've tested 
        everything before.  There was a small plus or minus factor -- a 
        lightweek or so -- but that's nothing compared to this!"  Data 
        shrugs.  "We still know very little about subspace.  We have to 
        deal with the fact that this has happened, and we have to 
        assume that it may happen again."
             "Which means," Riker says, realizing the magnitude of the 
        problem, "that if we make another jump there's no telling *where* 
        we'll come out!"
             Riker is for keeping Kosinski out of any further plans.  
        They have to find a way home other than subspace.  "There *is* no 
        other way," Data says.  "We don't even know which direction 
        home is!"
        13.  Meanwhile, in the lounge, Wesley finds Karl.  "C'mon, I'll 
        show you around the ship," he says.  "You don't have to stay 
        here, do you?"  Karl looks back at the closed door to the 
        bridge.  His father told him to stay, but he doesn't feel much 
        like doing what his father says.  "No, I don't have to," he 
        agrees.  "Let's go."  
             Wesley shows him a game the shipboard kids play: "Lift 
        roulette".  The idea is to take one of the turbolifts anywhere 
        on the ship, and, when the doors open, immediately identify 

        where you are.  Wesley can do this with ease -- he knows the 
        ship inside out.  Karl is unimpressed, however.  He came on 
        this trip to be with his dad, not to play hide and seek on some 
        dumb ship.  And now his father's too busy for him.  Wesley, 
        somewhat stung by Karl's disinterest in the ship, offers to 
        take him where no child has gone before -- into the service 
        corridors and access passageways that are supposedly off-limits 
        to unqualified personnel.  This, too, fails to interest Karl, 
        although he does admit that the Jeffries tubes are kind of 
        neat.  But when Wesley starts talking about what a great man 
        Karl's dad must be, Karl's reaction is to ditch Wesley  -- he 
        ducks behind some pipes and heads off on his own.
             Wesley shrugs -- okay, let him be that way.  He can find 
        his own way to the crew area.  Wesley heads back to the bridge.  
        14.  Things are getting crazier faster in Medical -- Crusher 
        and Troi are hard put to keep up with the influx of patients.  
        Giving everyone on board potassium supplement shots has 
        seriously depleated the shipbard stores of the vital mineral.  
        And in addition to that, more and more of the crew are 
        succumbing to what Troi has dubbed "Instant Madness Syndrome" 
        -- sudden, inexplicable visual and aural hallucinations, many 
        so intense as to have somatic consequences -- for example, if a 
        crew member relives a fight in which he got a bloody nose, his 
        nose might spontaneously start to bleed.  Some people recover 
        from these episodes; others have to be sedated.
        15.  Crusher heads back to the Bridge to bring Picard up to 
        date on this.  As they talk, Picard suddenly gasps, and we go 
        to his POV -- he sees the lifeless body of Jack Crusher lying 
        on the deck!  An instant later, the vision is gone.  He tells 
        Beverly this.  All the guilt and remorse he experienced at the 
        time he failed to save Jack's life was brought back with the 
        sight of the body.  
             He describes this theory to the others.  Riker looks at 
        the teeth marks on his arm again and says that they match the 
        time he was severely wounded by the bite of a Draconian sandcat 
        on an away mission.  He may have relived the experience during 
        the jump.
        16.  Things don't look real good for the *Enterprise* and her 
        crew right now.  It's obvious that they have only one chance of 
        returning home -- they will have to use the Subspace Drive 
        again.  "If we do," Crusher tells Picard, "there's no telling 
        what effect it might have on the crew.  They might not 
        survive."  "If we don't, they *definitely* won't survive," Picard 
        replies.  Riker wants to know how the jump can be programmed to 
        return them to their own galaxy when they don't know where they 
        are now.  Data has a suggestion: reverse the coordinates of the 
        previous jump.  By allowing a small margin of error, perhaps 
        they can return to the area they left without encountering the 
        deadly radiation bow wave.  "But what about the uncertainty 
        factor?"  Riker asks.  "We can't be sure of *anything* in 
        subspace."  Data shrugs.  "There's no way to figure that into 
        the calculations."
             While this decision is being reached, Kosinski goes into 
        the lounge to have a further word with his son -- and finds him 
        gone.  Wesley returns to the bridge and explains what happened.  
        Kosinski activates a wrist monitor bracelet he wears -- like 
        most children on the ship, Karl also wears one, enabling lost 
        children to be easily found.  
             Deep in the service passageways of the ship, Karl's 
        bracelet beeps.  Without stopping his wandering, he takes it 
        off and throws it away.  He'll come back when he's good and 
        17.  Kosinski has no further time to deal with his son's 
        whereabouts -- Picard tells him they're ready to make another 
        subspace jump.  He alerts the crew, warning them that there's 
        every reason to expect that this one will be as rough as the 
        last one.  Everyone braces themselves grimly as Kosinski 
        activates the Drive again.  The *Enterprise* winks out of normal 
        space and plunges once more into the visual lightshow of the 
             This time, during the transition through subspace, we see 
        the hallucinations return -- and they're worse this time.  
        Riker suddenly finds himself crouched against a rock under 
        blazing double suns, trying to fend off some unseen predator 
        whose bestial roars we hear.  Beverly finds herself on the 
        devastated deck of the *Stargazer* -- and before her is Picard, 
        holding her husband's lifeless body in his arms.  A quick pan 
        of Kosinski and the rest of the crew indicates that they're 
        having similar experiences.  Only Data seems to be unaffected.
        18.  And then the wormhole experience is over once again.  The 
        bridge crew is very shaken -- some are unconscious.  Riker's 
        arm is dripping blood.  Crusher ministers to him and the others 
        while Picard asks for damage reports.  It sounds pretty bad -- 
        no physical damage to the ship, but many members of the crew 
        experienced intense moments of reality breakdown.  Everyone 
        also feels drained and weak -- the results of potassium 
             For the first few moments, no one has looked at the 
        screen.  Then suddenly, Riker says in a low voice, "My God -- 
        where *are* we?"
        19.  Cut to the screen -- it shows total blackness.  No stars, 
        no nebulae -- it's like being in the darkest cave on the night 
        side of Pluto.  "Aft screen!" Picard orders.  Still nothing but 
        blackness.  They can find no indications of anything in any 
             Riker orders sensor reports of the immediate area.  The 
        results are unbelievable -- there is literally *nothing* out 
        there, not even so much as a single free hydrogen atom.  No 
        radiation, not even the characteristic "hum" of the Big Bang 
        that permeates every corner of the universe.  
             Picard is about to ask Kosinski for his opinion, when he 
        notices Troi.  The Betazed has her eyes closed, and seems to be 
        *listening* with every fiber of her being.  The Captain asks her 
        what's wrong.  "It's so *quiet*," Troi says.  "Nothing -- no 
        sense of any life anywhere beyond the ship.  Except -- *there*."  
        She points.
             "Turn the ship that way," Picard says.  "But what --" 
        Riker starts to ask; Picard cuts him off.  "*Do* it!"  
             The *Enterprise* turns slowly in the blackness.  Picard 
        orders increased magnification on the screen.  It still shows 
        nothing.  "Again."  The tension is palpable.  Con increases 
        magnification until the screen is actually showing the 
        electronic equivalent of grain.  
             "There!"  someone shouts.  In the center of the screen, so

        faint that they actually have to leave their stations and crowd 
        up to the screen to make it out, is a tiny, fuzzy blot.  
        "Readings!"  Picard snaps.  Data bends over the instrument 
        panel, studying it, while everyone holds their breath.  After a 
        long moment, he looks at Picard and says, in a voice full of 
        awe and wonder, "That, sir, is the universe -- as seen from the 
                                  END ACT TWO
                                   ACT THREE
        20.  "How can we be *outside* the universe?" Picard demands of 
        Data and Kosinski.  "What we appear to have done," Kosinski 
        says, "is to have emerged several gigaparsecs beyond the 
        farthest expanding galaxies."  "Now the big question," Riker 
        says.  "How do we get back?"
             "Warp drive is out of the question," Data says.  "It would 
        take so long that the heat death of the universe would have 
        occured long before we could reach even the outermost galaxy."
             "We *can't* use the Subspace Drive again," Crusher says 
        hotly.  "The crew can't stand another jump!  We're having to 
        ration potassium now --"
             Kosinski suddenly goes pale.  "Karl!  My son's somewhere 
        in the service corridors -- without a potassium shot, he'll 
        die!"  Picard quickly opens shipwide com and orders Karl, 
        wherever he is, to answer this call immediately.
        21.  We go to Karl, somewhere in the bowels of the ship.  It's 
        obvious that the jump affected him as well -- he's weak from 
        potassium loss, and thoroughly lost.  He hears Picard's order 
        on one of the innumerable ship coms, but by now he's not 
        thinking clearly.  "Go back?  What for?" he mutters, and 
        continues his aimless wandering.
             When there's no reply to Picard's broadcast, Kosinski 
        grows even more worried.  Granted, a single lost boy isn't 
        their biggest problem at the moment, but it's still *his son*.  
        Picard orders MACHA and GEORDI to head a search party.
        22.  "There *has* to be something wrong with your calculations!" 
        Riker tells Kosinski.  "There isn't," Data says.  "I've checked 
        and rechecked them."  "You're not perfect, you know," Riker 
        snaps, "even if you *are* an android."  Data steps back, 
        affronted.  "Because of what I am," he says coolly, "I seem to 
        be the only one on board who's functioning normally.  Which 
        makes me someone worth listening to."
             Riker turns away from him.  The stress and physical and 
        mental affects of the Drive have affected everyone adversely 
        except Data.  Several of the crew have come to consider 
        Kosinski as the cause of their problems.  While under normal 
        circumstances no crew member would resort to violence, these 
        are not normal circumstances.  The Ops officer succumbs to 
        Instant Madness Syndrome and attacks Kosinski.  The others on 
        the bridge quickly pull the two away from each other, and 
        Crusher sedates the officer.  But other members of the crew may 
        feel the same way.  Kosinski has suggested that he go down to 
        Engineering and check the Drive mechanism itself -- maybe 
        there's been some physical malfunction.  Picard sends Data and 
        Riker with him as an escort.
        23.  As they lead the search team through the ship's service 
        passageways, Macha tells Geordi that she had a particularly 
        nasty hallucination during the last jump -- she remembered a 
        time during her childhood spent hiding in a pile of rubble from 
        the sector police on her homeworld.  She recalled vividly how 
        lost, alone and vulnerable she felt.  
             Wesley has come with them to show them the last place he 
        saw Karl.  Wes feels responsible for having left the new kid, 
        and wants to help find him.  They track down the locator 
        bracelet, which is still sending -- and find it lying on the 
        floor.  Geordi uses his visor to track the boy's 
        footsteps.  He follows them to an air conditioning duct, in 
        which the cold air has dissipated any remnant of Karl's body 
        heat.  They've lost the trail.
        24.  In Engineering, Kosinski checks the Subspace Drive 
        mechanism -- a device powered by a quantum black hole.  It 
        takes the full power of the warp engines to keep the infinitely 
        heavy speck of collapsed matter from swallowing the entire ship 
        (which is what it does, essentially, under controlled 
        circumstances during the jumps).  As Kosinski had thought, 
        there is nothing mechanically wrong with the Drive.  But they 
        discover a problem that's just as bad -- the reaction mass in 
        the matter-antimatter nacelles is becoming somehow *deactivated* 
        due to repeated exposure to the altered reality of subspace.  
        Kosinski estimates that they can safely attempt only one more 
        jump -- anything beyond that, and they won't even have enough 
        power for life support.  The *Enterprise* will be dead in space!
                                 END ACT THREE
                                   ACT FOUR
        25.  Deep in the service corridors, little Karl continues on 
        his weary way.  He climbs service ladders, crawls up Jeffries 
        tubes, and eventually emerges from an access hatch and into 
        near-total darkness.  He can barely make out an automated food 
        dispenser with several bananas in the dispenser rack.  
        Ravenous, he eats them; then, feeling his way around, he 
        discovers a couch and curls up onto it.  He falls asleep almost 
        26.   Back on the bridge, Picard listens to the report, then 
        turns to Kosinski and says, "All right.  Do it."
             Riker is aghast.  "You're not serious!  Who knows where we 
        might come out this time -- right in the middle of a supernova, 
        or --"
             "At least it would be over quickly," Data cuts in.  Riker 
        glares at him; this wasn't what he wanted to hear.  
             "We have no choice," Picard tells his first officer.  
        "We'll just have to pray that this jump brings us home -- 
        because if it doesn't, we're out of luck."
        27.  Meanwhile, Macha and Geordi continue the search for Karl, 
        with no results.  There are thousands of places small enough 
        for a kid to hide in.  The ship's sensors can't pinpoint one 
        specific lifeform reading out of over nine hundred.  
             Macha contacts Troi, asking her if her telepathic 
        abilities can help locate Karl.  "It doesn't work that way," 
        Troi says; she can sense emotional upset or anger, but she 
        can't home in on them.  She suggests to Macha that the latter 
        is going about this the wrong way -- instead of thinking like 

        an adult looking for a child, perhaps she should think like a 
        child looking for a place to hide.  Put herself in Karl's 
        position, as much as she can.
             It's worth a try, Macha decides.  She asks Wesley for any 
        clues at all, and Wesley remembers that Karl showed some 
        interest in the Jeffries tubes.  With only this to go on, Macha 
        continues the search alone.
        28.  The hallucinations continue -- now people are suffering 
        from them even though they aren't in subspace.  It's hard to 
        tell what's real and what's an illusion at times -- at one 
        point a panicked crewman, thinking he sees a snake, backs into 
        a control panel and nearly messes up the life-support settings.  
             There's dissension on the bridge -- Riker and Beverly want 
        to wait before attempting the next jump, to give themselves a 
        chance to recuperate and possibly find another alternative.  
        Data and Kosinski say that this is impossible.  The reaction 
        mass in the nacelles is seriously depleted now -- if they wait, 
        the situation will only get worse.  "But if we jump again, we 
        may be out of power *completely*!"  Riker protests.  "Yes -- but 
        we also may wind up where a distress call will bring help." 
        Data replies.
             Picard intervenes.  It's his decision, and there still is 
        only one choice -- they must continue to jump until they run 
        out of power, or until they find the way home.  "We have to 
        stand together on this," he tells the crew on an open channel.  
        "This next jump is the last one -- it will decide if we live or 
        die.  Hold fast to that -- one way or another, it will be over 
        soon."  He looks back at Riker, who nods slowly.  "I hate it 
        when you're right," he says.  

        29.  Kosinski, sick at heart at the thought of what this last 
        jump may do to his son, throws the switch.  Once more, the 
        *Enterprise* plunges into the insanity of the wormhole.
             This time, however, it looks as if they may not survive 
        the jump.  The power levels are dangerously low -- they could 
        lose control of the black hole that is powering the Drive, and 
        the entire ship could be crushed!  The ship begins to shake and 
        shudder, as do the hallucinatory effects of subspace, as we:
                                 END ACT FOUR
                                   ACT FIVE
        30.  And then, just when it looks most hopeless, they emerge 
        from the wormhole again -- and into a blazing inferno of light 
        and shifting colors!  The shields go up automatically, and, 
        according to the readings, they're the only thing that keeps 
        them from being instantly annihilated right down to the last 
        subatomic particle -- whatever they've emerged in the middle 
        of, its temperature and pressure are right off the scale.
             The screens are backed down to their lowest input, and 
        what we see is a shifting, roiling palette of primal colors.  
        Kosinski looks at the readings in astonishment.  "It can be 
        only one thing," he says.  "We've emerged into a monobloc!"  
             Incredible as it seems, they're inside an unhatched 
        "cosmic egg" -- a proto-universe, like the one that exploded 
        billions of years ago to form our own universe.  They don't 
        have the power to jump again -- there's barely enough to keep 
        the shields up.  Soon they'll fail, and then . . .
        31.  Troi comes to the bridge at this point.  She tells Picard 
        that, instead of feeling more alone than before, she says that 
        her perception of "background sentience" has returned -- and 
        more intensely than she's ever felt it before.
             It's only a matter of time before the indescribable 
        temperature and pressure cause the shields to collapse.  In 
        addition, the last jump has left everyone very weak indeed from 
        lack of potassium and the nightmares that have plagued them.  
        Medical reports that there are nearly two hundred people under 
        sedation, with more coming in all the time.
        32.  After some desperate dicussion, Riker suggests trying to 

        siphon power from the monobloc so that they can recharge the 
        engines and jump again.  Kosinski agrees that they could, in 
        effect, "drill" a wormhole right into the monobloc itself and 
        use the its energy to recharge the engines. 
             Riker admits that the prospect of direct contact with such 
        awful power -- the potential mass and energy of an entire 
        universe -- makes him uneasy.  "I'd as soon plug a coffeepot 
        directly into God."  Very gravely, Picard asks Kosinski, "If it 
        works -- what happens then?"  
             Kosinski looks just as grave as the Captain.  "I wouldn't 
        want to hang around, sir,"  he says.  "The siphoning will 
        probably imbalance the monobloc -- and possibly explode it."       
        Data says, "Imbalancing and exploding a monobloc in this way 
        may cause the creation of a new universe.  Some scientists 
        suspect that's the way ours started."  
             Riker points out that this still doesn't guarantee that 
        they'll get home, even if they survive the mega-explosion.  
        Kosinski says, "It's possible that, since the monobloc is in a 
        way *outside* time and space, its explosion could be used to kick 
        us into our own universe again."  
             Picard looks skeptical.  "It could also simply destroy us."
             A silence.  "Captain,"  says Kosinski,  "*Please trust me.*"
             Picard looks at Riker, reads "no" in his face, then looks 
        back at Kosinski, a long look with an unreadable expression.  
        Then he nods.  Kosinski heads hurriedly for a computer console 
        to begin setting the drive up for the siphoning.  
        33.  They accomplish the siphoning, although the influx of the 
        proto-matter/energy of the monobloc very nearly overloads the 
        systems.  Alarms wail, gauges hit the red, and Engineering is 
        hard-pressed to deal with keeping the energy surge under 
        control.  But it works -- the stuff of creation recharges the 
        engines in less than an instant.  
        34.  As this happens, Macha finally tracks Karl down -- to the 
        lounge!  The room is no longer dark, but now flooded with light 
        through a wall-to-ceiling window full of the coruscating colors 
        of the monobloc.
        35.  The siphoning process is complete.  "Prepare for jump!"  
        Picard snaps, and everyone hurries to their stations.  Even as 
        the sensors show a terrifying sudden rise in the ambient 
        temperature of the monobloc, the *Enterprise* jumps for the last 
        time -- and the monobloc blows up "behind" them in a spectacular
        blast of darkness and stars -- the creation of a new universe. 
        36.  And the *Enterprise* comes out of the wormhole in Federation 
        Space -- her crew weary and sick, but nonetheless jubilant at 
        finally seeing familiar stars.  Kosinski accepts the 
        congratulations of the crew for having finally come through.  
        He refuses to take credit, however.  No one could have 
        calculated such a precise return -- the odds against it are 
        literally astronomical.  Picard says to Riker, "Maybe we had 
        help.  Maybe, in that moment of creation, someone or something 
        realized we weren't supposed to be there and sent us home."  
             "Or," Riker replies, "maybe *we* were the creators."  Both 
        are silent for a moment, thinking about the fact that, 
        somewhere in the infinite dimensions, a new universe is 
        37.  At this point, Macha enters the bridge and motions for 
        Kosinski to come with her.  She shows him his sleeping son in 
        the lounge, with several banana peels on the floor.  Beverly 
        aims a diagnoster at him.  "He's okay," she says.  "He filled 
        up on bananas -- they're loaded with potassium."  
        38.  Kosinski kneels beside his son.  He tells him that his 
        life's work is worthless -- the Subspace Drive is impractical 
        for long-range journeying.  But strangely enough, he doesn't 
        care about that any more.  All that matters is that his son is 
        all right.  "We're going home now," he tells Karl.  "I'll take 
        you back to your mother.  Forgive me for putting you through 
        this."  His son smiles at him.  "It's okay," he says.  "After 
        all, I'll have something really neat to tell the kids back 
        home . . ."
        39.  The hallucinations have worn off now.  As a course is 
        plotted for the nearest Starbase with emergency medical 
        facilities, Riker and Picard check the computer and find that, 
        in Galactic Mean Time, exactly six days have elapsed since 
        they left.  Picard says to Riker, with a straight face, "I 
        think we should take the seventh day off."
                                     THE END