Thursday, December 26, 2013

“And when I grow up, I'll write one.”: Once Upon A Planet

"Time is an illusion. Lunch!Time doubly so." "Ho ha ho."

The three little sisters named Alice, Hedda and Tertia sat in a circle on their island. Alice was considering in her own mind (as best she could) whether the pleasure of tuning the cosmic fugue would be worth the trouble of climbing another tree to harvest more coconuts from the Earth-bones when suddenly a thought rang out.

“Please tell us another story about the spacemen,” said Tertia.

“Very well,” Alice replied. “Gather 'round, sisters, and I shall tell it to you.”

This is a story from the days of our future ancestors.

Captain Kirk was beginning to get very tired of gallivanting around the universe's sex-birth-death. Time had been acting very peculiarly and, because he was not especially interested in associating with it until it started behaving itself again, Captain Kirk asked the Glittering Skyship to take him and his friends once more to the multiplex planar realms of invocation for a vacation (the multiplex planar realms of invocation being well known, of course as hospitable and generally agreeable places to take a holiday). The Glittering Skyship felt sorry for Captain Kirk and his friends, so she brought them to the World-Stage.

Captain Kirk thought the World-Stage would make a fine place to film a movie, so he got all his friends together and asked if they would play parts in his movie. They all thought this a grand idea, so they gathered at the World Stage and tried not to Break the World again. Now, Doctor McCoy was the first actor onstage (he really ca'n't resist it, you know, because he is thus invoked and it is his will) and he began to mime his part in earnest.

“This is where we come in, is'n't' it?” Tertia asked.

“It is indeed, as you well know” Alice replied. “This is the time Time always knows it's time for me to show up. But this is not a story about me.”

Now, this particular world-stage was upset because it thought it was the best of all the world-stages and did'n't take especially kindly to a bunch of spacemen stomping around on it. So it changed the story (which was OK because we all know that story by now anyway: It re-played itself out like a gazillion times more in the reruns).

“I've heard this one before,” said Hedda “At least, I think I have.”

“I know,” said Alice. Then she continued.

So basically the actors used the World-Stage's ambition to fashion themselves into Gods. What constitutes a God, I ask? Well, I'll tell me: A God is a ruler who perceives the Waking-Dream but not the second Dream. Captain Kirk is pretty good at defeating Gods, but it does tend to be rather a pain in the ass for him. So the first God who showed up was the First Queen (because of course it was the First Queen) who put on a right show of a performance (she thought she was still in the House of False Love, you see). This took Doctor McCoy quite by surprise because he knew the First Queen was'n't in the script, and she proceeded to chase him 'round and 'round the glade in the manner of an unfortunate chicken who had chanced to cross her path in such a way that she found most displeasing.

“Mister Spock also knew this was'n't in the script,” said Hedda, “But I think he had the wrong script too. He kept getting all his actors all mixed up.” Alice nodded in the affirmative.

Eventually this started to irritate Captain Kirk. This was, after all, his movie, and he was'n't about to let some naughty World-Stage spoil everything for him. So Captain Kirk took his actors and fought mightily with the World-Stage's actors. Captain Kirk's companions included the following brave warriors whose valour, courage and fashion sense must be noted: Mister Spock, Doctor McCoy, Lieutenant Sulu, Mister Scott, the Other Mister Scott, Lieutenant Gabler, Lieutenant M'Ress, Lieutenant Arex and Lieutenant Sulu's God-Twin (it's a little-known fact that Lieutenant Sulu had a twin. He became a God sometime prior to this, but that's a story for another day). The World-Stage's army comprised of the First Queen (of whom we have already spoken and need not speak of ever again, because she gets far too much attention as it is and she has a terribly unbecoming habit of letting it all go to her head), several inanimate wooden signs (though they did have rather a lot to say), a flock of Plant-Raptors (they're purple this time), a few wayward Martians, a young Ghidorah and the Sixth-Or-Thereabouts Queen, who was, naturally, a cat (it's a well-known fact that cats can look at Kings, and also that they can be Queens).

But this World-Stage was a cunning and deceitful warrior, for it didn't just fight Captain Kirk and his actors on the ground, it tried to use their own Glittering Skyship against them. This was the ultimate insult, for the Skyship was as alive as you or I and this sort of Disillusion of Being simply isn't done. But the Skyship just laughed at this (she had her own apotheosis once and twice already by this point) and at the presumptuousness of this sad little World-Stage, thinking as it did that it could mantle her in this fashion. Oh sure, it took her by surprise a few times, but it wasn't long before she dealt the invader a crippling defeat and forced it into retreat.

So while all this was going on, Captain Kirk was busy talking to the World-Stage in hopes he could arrange some form of amicable cease-fire. Captain Kirk thought the World-Stage was being very silly, you see-This was'n't a one-act play competition after all, it was supposed to be a holiday. What Captain Kirk knew that the World-Stage didn't seem to understand was that it was actually pretty ridiculous to be fighting over a story. Stories change all the time: What manner of sense is there in getting all upset about that? But this made the World-Stage very sad, because it did'n't have a Glittering Skyship of its own, and thus could not travel and learn the way Captain Kirk and his friends could. But Captain Kirk came up with a grand solution: Though it is a well-known fact World-Stages ca'n't move, they can still travel because many people from many different places can visit in and tell many different stories upon it. And its through stories that we learn about others, because stories are what people tell when they try to speak in their own voice. The World-Stage agreed this might be a good idea, called off its actors and stopped trying to kill Captain Kirk and his friends.

“Oh look, Alice! It's Time!” Tertia exclaimed.

“So it is, dear!” Alice replied. 

And it was.

After this mutually acceptable agreement was reached, Captain Kirk decided to go back to making his movie. But Doctor McCoy and Lieutenant Sulu wanted to rest for a little while, so they called lunch break and decided to have a picnic on the riverside. I was in attendance at this Time, along with Alice, the White Rabbit and Baby Ghidorah.

“Captain Kirk did'n't get to finish his movie, did he?” asked Tertia.

“Sadly no, my darling. Not this day. He was called away in the middle of filming by his chief, who wanted him and his Glittering Skyship to go yarn-spinning in Arcadia, so we never did get to see what Captain Kirk's movie looked like.”

“A pity,” said Hedda. “It was the
best movie.”

“Indeed it was,” said Alice.

And it was.


  1. Again - wow, quite an essay. I am going to have to revisit this once I have watched the episode, as I have no memory at all of it!

  2. Hmm. Part of what Carroll was doing with the Alice books was deliberately overextending and misapplying logic. That's what "ca'n't" was about--since you use the apostrophe to indicate the missing "o" in "not," why not have one for the "n" in "can" as well? Here I see you then take that logic and and misapply it yourself, to get "was'n't" and "is'n't." Intentional? I'm going to assume yes, and applaud.

    This episode annoys me, though, because Spock is wrong! The Queen of Hearts is from Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen is from Through the Looking Glass. Although... hmm... running faster and faster to stay in one place. Is that the figure of time who never shows up?

    I must admit to being baffled as to who "Other Scotty" is. You already listed Gabler and the Thought Duplicator... is there another character Doohan voiced?

    1. I don't usually like commenting on these sorts of essays, but for you I'll just say "Yes, yes, and partially yes" :-)