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by Lord Thanatos


17/11/09 05/12/09


“The episode of five scenes”


Dedicated to Lady Rohun







1. Ghost of warriors past

2. One particular weapon

3. Painting a picture

4. Lesser of two goods

5. Revelations






SCENE 1: Ghost of warriors past


Eisinga walks down the corridor and greets the odd officer passing by.


LT: “Captain’s log, stardate 63446.97. We’re en route to the ST 518914 system to continue our search. Since we departed from the last inhabited planet, our time onboard has been rather uneventful. I dare not complain about our current mission, as it’s many times more interesting that lingering at the border colonies, but it would be nice to find something else to do than checking around for our little black enemies.”


Eisinga sees 2 young, female crew members approach. A few meters behind them the captain also heads towards the commander. Eisinga moves to the side of the corridor, letting the ladies pass… He looks back at them with a smile as the captain joins him.


LT: “Ah, Eldert… How are things going?”


Eisinga: “How about one of those for the captain? Hahaha…”


LT: “No thanks, you can have ‘em both if you like, haha…”


Eisinga: “No place for that in my life at the moment… I can’t risk being swept off my feet right now, my career is going very well lately, and I intend to keep it that way…”


LT: “Yes, that would qualify as a good reason to say no… Walk with me; I have some personnel reviews I want to discuss…”


They walk down the corridor.


Eisinga: “I’m sure your career goes before the ladies as well, but as I remember it, it has been a lot longer for you than it has been for me. Being single I mean…”


A smile appears on Eisinga’s face… Moments later they enter the captain’s ready room and they take their usual places; the commander sits down in the chair and LT parks himself on the hide of the couch.


Eisinga: “Don’t you ever wish you met someone special on your journeys through space?”


LT: “Well… I’m not really open for that…”


The commander teases his superior.


Eisinga: “’Not open for that’? You’re not eh…”


LT: “NO, you idiot! I’m not. Are you trying to get your nose busted?”


Eisinga laughs…


Eisinga: “Don’t tell me you have a princess waiting in a tower when you return home, brave sir knight? HAHAHAHA!”


LT: “Well…”


Eisinga: “Well what? Are you saying I’m actually right?”


LT: “Well, in fact, there is someone for me… but not at the moment…”


Eisinga: “Huh? ‘Not at the moment’? There is someone, but there isn’t?”


LT sighs…


LT: “It’s not easy to explain… But, yes, there is someone. And no, it’s not some kind of fantasy or holodeck character…”


Eisinga: “And when did this all happen?”


LT: “Shortly after I left the Skybound, now some 15, 16 months ago…”


Eisinga imitates a Vulcan eyebrow lift.


Eisinga: “That long already?! And ehm… how long were you involved before eh… you got sort of uninvolved or something?”


LT: “Two and a half weeks…”


Eisinga: “Two and a half weeks?”


LT: “Well, we’ve actually only met once during those 2 and a half weeks…”


Eisinga: “Once?... You met her… once?...”


LT: “I know, it sounds ludicrous… And maybe it is… We got to know each other purely by coincidence and kept in contact… We contacted each other just about every day. Heh, some chats lasted more than 8 hours…”


LT smiles and his mind wanders a bit. A second or two later he snaps out of it…


LT: “But you know, at the risk of sounding too much like a serial dater, which I’m not, whenever you’re involved with a woman and you break up for whatever reason and then find someone else, it’s different, you know? It’s a totally different thing with the next woman… But this time… This time it was different-different, you know?… That’s the best I can do to explain it…”


Eisinga: “I think I understand… But, tell me… How come you’re so sure she doesn’t do this with every guy she meets? I mean…”


LT: “I can’t explain, Eldert… My feeling tells me it’s right. And you know I’m a logical, down-to-earth kind of guy, but as much as this whole thing defies logic, I know it’s right.”


Eisinga: “Then how come it just lasted for 2 and a half weeks?”


LT: “After 2 and a half months of contact, we decided to meet. And you know what it’s like meeting someone for the first time, regardless of whether it is a date, a business contact or whatever… You always have a preconceived idea in your mind of what that person is like in real life… And you’re always wrong. When you actually meet that person, your expectations on how this person looks, what his or her personality is like or what his or her voice sounds like, are all wrong. But this time I was right. She was exactly like I thought she would be... Like I hoped she would be…”


After a short pause:


LT: “It was a classic date… Dinner and a movie… And it all went as I dreamt it would go. Perfect. After that date we of course kept contact, but I was on a starship somewhere and she was still back on Earth… Then after 2 and a half weeks I received a letter. Basically what the letter said was that she wasn’t ready for it. She’d never been in a relationship before. She was kind of a loner, the independent type. Much like me… She was prepared to spend her life alone and then all of a sudden, boom! Someone to share her life with. It all was just too much, too fast… But, on a more cheerful note, we both know, feel and understand that my heart belongs to her and hers to me…”


Eisinga: “Sounds to me like you’re a hopeless romantic.”


LT: “I know, it’s not like me to be swept off my feet and yap about love and all that…”


Eisinga: “So, why didn’t you tell me this before?”


LT: “Well, of course I don’t mind sharing this with you, but I’m not quite sure what to make of it myself, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this is the one for me… But the whole situation is just so…”


LT pauses for another moment…


LT: “I wouldn’t have minded telling you this before, but I wouldn’t have known what to say…”


Eisinga: “You managed pretty well just now, hahaha…”


LT: “Hmm? Well, yeah, I guess… I can hardly explain to myself what’s going on, even after all these months… I don’t have any problems focusing on my job, but whenever I have some time to myself, I just keep thinking of her… It’s like she’s the other half of me… Oh dammit! Just listen to me… I’m not even 30 yet and I already sound like, indeed, a hopeless romantic. Am I pathetic or what?”


Eisinga: “Either pathetic or a very lucky man… The last girl I felt really good about took off with another guy… If I’m a good judge of character, I’d say you found someone really special and you need to be patient.”


LT: “Good, good. I’ve always known you to be a good judge of character. Well, except when it comes to the ladies then, of course.”


They laugh.


Eisinga: “Obviously…”


LT: “Anyway, you know as well as I do that I am a patient man, but perhaps the hardest thing is that I’m ready for a serious relationship myself. Even though I’m in this wonderful position of captain of my own starship, I’d give up command of the Greate Pier if she asked me to return to Earth today.”


Reinard: “Reinard to the captain.”


LT: “LT here…”


Reinard is sitting at the bar in the lounge, next to counselor Spalding.


Reinard: “I think we have an intruder aboard, sir. In the lounge.”


LT: “An intruder? Details, commander?”


Reinard: “Male, probably in his 60’s, Asian appearance… wearing an odd costume. He doesn’t seem hostile at the moment, but he is armed… He seems to be just looking around.”


LT: “How many people are in the lounge?”


Reinard: “Including myself I have 5 crew here plus Bart.”


That same Bart is close to Reinard on the other side of the bar.


Endersby: “Hey, I’m part of the crew too you know…”


LT: “Alright. Eisinga, sound red alert and general quarters, but exclude the lounge from the alert notifications, we don’t want our friend to be aware of it…”


Eisinga nods and hastily leaves the ready room.


LT: “Reinard, act like nothing is wrong and get Bart to keep him talking or something, he seems to have a knack for that…”


Reinard: “Did you hear that, Bart?”


Endersby: “I’ll try…”


Bart walks over his newest customer and starts his small talk.


LT: “Have security teams stand by near all the doors… I’ll be there as soon as possible…”


Reinard: “They’re already on the way. Reinard out.”


A few meters away, the bartender can be heard.


Endersby: “A rice ball?”


Bart scratches his head…


Endersby: “I’m sure I can get the replicator to make something like that…”


Reinard addresses Spalding, both keep observing the newcomer, as is everyone else in the room.


Reinard: “What do you make of this, counselor?”


Spalding: “I’m not sure. I doubt it’s a crew member who just came from the holodeck or something…”


Reinard: “Well, as head of security, I’m familiar with literally everyone onboard, but I’m sure I’ve never seen this guy before… He’s not one of the crew. Whoever he is, let’s just hope he doesn’t draw a sword.”


Spalding: “He seems calm enough…”


Endersby brings the guest a rice ball... The doors of the lounge open and the captain walks in but halts near the door when he sees the intruder… He holds his position for a few seconds, thinking.


LT: “LT to Eisinga.”


Eisinga: “Go ahead, sir.”


LT: “Eldert, I think I recognize our guest… From a portrait…”


Eisinga: “A portrait? Is he an admiral or something?”


LT: “Fire up holodeck 1 for me, will you? Make it a mid 17th century rural setting, set in Japan and be sure to have it running in a couple of minutes.”


Eisinga: “Sir?”


LT: “And be sure to make it realistic. Also tell Reinard to have a security team follow me and my guest. Let them use a tricorder to track us, I don’t want the intruder to see them. LT out.”


LT walks over to the Asian.


LT: “I’m LT, captain of this vessel… I don’t think I’ve seen you here before… What’s your name?”


Guest: “I have been known by many names, my childhood name was Bennosuke… But I am usually known by the name Musashi, Miyamoto Musashi…”


The self-portait of Musashi mentioned by Captain LT.

Dates to approximately 1640.


The intruder makes a slight bow. LT nods once.


LT: “Ah yes, I thought I recognized you… Nice to meet you, Mr. Musashi… What is it you are here for, if I may ask? And why the weapons?”


Musashi: “I am just passing through, captain. And I go nowhere without weapons.”


LT: “I assure you, if your intentions are pure, you will not be needing any weapons on my ship and nor will anyone else. Where is it you are going, Mr. Musashi?”


Musashi: “My journey has no destination, my journey is the destination.”


LT: “Ah, you just want to see things, experience things?”


Musashi: “And learn things. Yes, that would be a fair description.”


LT: “Will you walk with me? I think I can show you something worth your while…”


Musashi nods once in accordance. They leave the lounge. The doors of the holodeck open in front of the duo and they step inside… Musashi looks around as if he doesn’t believe what he sees… He can see the Japan of centuries ago right before his own eyes…


Musashi: “I once wrote that through a feeling of surprise at the unexpected a man can experience uneasiness. I’m beginning to understand the value of those words first hand again. I did not expect this.”


As the door behind the 2 men starts to close, Musashi quickly turns around and reaches for the handle of his katana, the larger of the 2 swords he is carrying. The door disappears once it is closed completely. LT stays calm.


LT: “No need to worry, you’ll be safe here. And no one is holding you against your will…”


Musashi eases his hand off of the handle and nods to LT. The men start walking again. Some 20 meters away from the men there’s a beautiful house and in the background a tall mountain can be seen behind it. A small number of people are going about their business and there’s a bridge spanning a stream that could be easily crossed without one. It’s a perfect representation of mid 17th century Japan .


LT: “You just mentioned having written about ‘a feeling of surprise’. Those words are from Go Rin No Sho, the book of 5 rings, aren’t they?”


Musashi: “Indeed.”


LT: “I have a copy of it. It’s in a drawer of the desk in my ready room. This book can still be very useful in modern times... It has inspired many people throughout the whole world. People from all walks of life, from peasants to army generals.”


Musashi: “I was surprised to learn that that work still exists today, it was not intended to. But in a way, that does please me.”


The men cross the bridge over the stream and head into a more wooded area.


LT: “Then it will also please you to hear that the school you founded, the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryū, still exists after nearly 750 years…”


Musashi: “Yes, I am aware of it. I take pride in that.”


LT looks to be surprised to hear that answer and decides to put Musashi to the test some more.


LT: “We all have something to be proud of in life. Possibly one of the biggest prides of my life sits in my garage… I know you don’t particularly attribute any value to material possessions, but I just can’t part with my 1973 Corvette… Mille Miglia red, 454 cubic inch, a real mean machine. Despite the fact she’s over 400 years old I still take her out for a short pleasure drive every now and then.”


Musashi: “I cannot presume to judge what goods you should or should not own. But like I once wrote: ‘do not hold on to possessions you no longer need’. It’s an obsolete vehicle, and its internal combustion engine is nowhere near as efficient as the ones in your starship.”


The captain didn’t doubt it before, but he now knows for sure it’s not the real Musashi talking to him. Instead of confronting him with this knowledge, he sees no harm in continuing the conversation.


LT: “And concerning the ‘pleasure drive’ part, I’m sure you’d quote your own words again: ‘Do not seek pleasure for its own sake’. I understand. I can’t say I follow all of your teachings, though I can find myself in some. Especially the strategic knowledge you’ve passed on can be applied on my starship. And perhaps I could even learn from the precepts from another work you wrote, the Dokkōdō.”


Musashi: “The Dokkōdō, ‘the way to be followed alone’… The full set of precepts does not apply to everyone. But I do agree some, if not most, could apply to everyone.”


Musashi draws both his swords in a flash, initially unnoticed by the captain.


LT: “’Do not pursue the taste of good food’ is possibly my least favorite…”


Then suddenly, 5 men with swords jump from the bushes and with an enormous racket charge towards Musashi and LT. Musashi seems as calm as the stream they just crossed, but LT’s heart is racing like crazy, despite the fact the attackers are mere holographic projections. Not mastering any martial art, LT defends himself with classic knuckle sandwiches and arm twists… He manages to plant his fist in the face of an attacker, which puts him out of commission for a while. A second attacker swings his katana by the captain’s face a few times. The captain avoids getting cut like a smelly salami and manages to put his right arm around the neck of the attacker, from behind. He squeezes as tight as he can while suffering a few spastic hits and kicks… The attacker starts to lose consciousness and after another few seconds, LT lets go of him. The body hits the ground like an oversized sack of rice. Another attacker runs towards LT with his sword raised high above his head. The captain readies himself, but before the marauder can reach him, he falls to his knees and then face down in the dirt with a long, deep gash running across his back. As the attacker stood between LT and Musashi, the latter is now revealed to the former. Musashi cleans his swords before putting them back into their scabbards, while an amazed LT looks around to see all 5 attackers dead in the dirt. Musashi managed to kill 4 of the raiders with his dual swords in the time LT needed to choke just the one. The captain tries to defend his manhood.


LT: “Heh… I eh… I was unarmed…”


Musashi: “Your fighting skills are crude, yet they seem effective none the less…”


LT is panting like a dog while Musashi still seems as calm as he was before. LT breathes a deep sigh.


LT: “Come, let’s go to sickbay.”


Musashi: “Sickbay?”


LT: “We’ll let a doctor take a look at the both of us…”


Musashi: “I am not injured.”


LT: “It’s eh… standard procedure. And it couldn’t hurt.”


Musashi: “As you wish.”


The 2 fighters leave the holodeck and shortly after walk into sickbay.


LT: “Ah doctor. Could you have one of your nurses give us a complete check up?”


Shelley: “Of course. Something happened?”


LT: “We encountered some bad guys…”


Shelley: “I see… Nurse Halstead? Can you give these gentlemen an examination?”


Halstead: “Yes, doctor.”


LT: “I’d like to speak with you a moment, doctor.”


Shelley: “Of course…”


LT: “I’ll be right back, Musashi. Ship’s business…”


Musashi once again nods once. The captain and the doctor walk into the doctor’s office.


Shelley: “Any luck?”


LT: “Well, not really… I know for sure now he isn’t the real Musashi. But I bet everyone already guessed that, including myself actually. But that’s about as much as I learned. Doctor, I want you to scan him. Thoroughly. I want to know everything there is to know. Is he human? A shapeshifter? It could give us some form or advantage if he turns against us. So far there’s no indication that he’s hostile. In fact, there’s more reason to support the contrary. But just to be on the safe side, I’d like to hide the fact that we know that he isn’t really who he says he is just a little longer. Report your findings to Commander Eisinga.”


Shelley: “Yes, sir.”


LT: “I’ll try if I can find out more by talking with him…”


LT heads for the door but halts when he reaches it.


LT: “Oh, and scan me too, so he won’t get suspicious.”


Shelley nods once in Musashi style. The 2 leave the office and the captain takes a seat on a biobed. Shelley picks up a medical tricorder and gives new orders to her nurse.


Shelley: “Full medical scan, nurse.”


Halstead: “Yes, doctor.”


Both the doctor and the nurse fiddle with their medical tricorders and scan the ‘patients’.


Shelley: “Well, you’re healthy as a horse.”


Halstead: “Same here, doctor.”


Shelley: “Just a slightly high heart rate, captain. But that’s probably due to the bad guys you had an encounter with…”


LT: “Thank you, doctor.”


The captain puts his feet back on the ground.


LT: “If you’d be so kind to walk with me again, Musashi. I have something to show you.”


Yet another nod confirms his agreement. They exit.


Shelley: “Commander Eisinga to sickbay please.”


Eisinga: “I’ll be there in a minute, doctor. Eisinga out.”


Eisinga addresses Marks and Philips.


Eisinga: “Keep following them. But stay out of sight.”


Marks: “Understood, sir.”


All 3 of them walk around the corner into another corridor. Eisinga takes the first door to the left and enters sickbay, while the security crew keeps on walking along the corridor.


Eisinga: “Doctor.”


Shelley: “Commander… We took some scans of that Musashi character.”


Eisinga: “And what are the results?”


Shelley: “The computer is scrupulously analyzing the gathered data as we speak. So far, he appears to be fully human, but somehow I don’t buy that.”


Eisinga: “Probably a shapeshifter…”


Shelley: “If that is the case, that fact is hardly of any use to us… There are many species known to be able to shapeshift… There is hardly any medical data on file regarding shapeshifting races. It’ll be hard to tell whether he’s an Allasomorph, a Chameloid, a Devidian, a Vendorian…”


Eisinga: “Or even Q.”


Shelley: “Possible, but unlikely. I think Q would be more shameless and direct in his ways.”


Eisinga: “Hmm, you’re right. Anyway, find out anything you can. Keep me updated.”


Shelley: “Of course.”


Eisinga leaves.



SCENE 2: One particular weapon


The captain and Musashi enter the shuttle bay.


Musashi: “You should not have any special fondness for one particular weapon.”


LT: “Exactly. And that’s also one of the reasons we are working on this new weapon.”


The 2 approach 2 others, Elpek and Serrag, who are still working on the new weapon.


LT: “This may not be your style of weaponry, but we’re hoping it will be effective against our latest foe. Any chance of a demonstration, gentlemen?”


Serrag: “I’m afraid not, sir. We’re still reprogramming the canon.”


Elpek teases the Vulcan a bit.


Elpek: “The problem is bigger than the chief engineer anticipated, sir.”


LT: “I see… Well, no demonstration then, I’m afraid.”


Musashi: “Tell me of this foe, captain. What are they like?”


LT: “In a nutshell, they’re bastards. Honorless killers of innocent people. They have a total disregard for life. We’re converting their technology to work against them.”


Musashi: “In a direct battle with an enemy, it is often gainful to use the strength or weapons of the adversary against him.”


LT: “That’s one of the reasons why I envy you. Your methods of combat are much more personal. We push a button to fire a weapon that can kill thousands, if not millions of enemies in one shot… You get up close and personal with your enemy. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to see a time where there wouldn’t be any hostility at all and weapons would be obsolete. But humanity has changed since your time… It has lost its personal touch when it comes to things like this. Also, we communicate with each other via a screen most of the time and not face to face, while we might be close enough to drop by for a chat… And we don’t usually look in the eyes of the enemy when we fight… I’d like to see those times return.”


A moment of silence, while the 2 observe the work being done on the new weapon.


LT: “Come, I have yet another thing to show you… I’m sure that it is more up your alley than this.”


The 2 men resume their trek through the corridors and reach the captain’s quarters.


LT: “These are my personal quarters, please come in.”


Musashi: “Thank you.”


Musashi takes off his shoes and leaves them at the door.


LT: “Tea?”


Musashi: “Green tea, thank you.”


The captain’s hand gesture invites his guest to use any of the seats in his quarters.


LT: “Please, sit down anywhere you like.”


The captain orders drinks at the replicator while his guest sits down cross-legged on the floor.


LT: “One green tea in a Japanese tea bowl and one English blend tea with one third milk and 2 sugars.”


The replicator creates the drinks. When the captain turns around with the tea in his hands he is surprised to see the Japanese legend sitting on the floor, with both his swords lying next to him. The captain hands Musashi his tea and puts his own tea down on a nearby, small side table. LT keeps on talking while he walks into the adjacent room.


LT: “This is something I bought a while ago. It wasn’t easy to obtain. I thought my heart was going to give out during the auction.”


He returns with a dark green pouch tied up with an orange string. He sits down opposite his guest.


LT: “This is what I wanted to show you…”


He unties the orange string and opens the pouch. He reaches in and takes out a Japanese sword.


LT: “This is Bukemono.”


He rests the sword, which still in the scabbard, on both hands and presents it to Musashi. The imitation human takes the sword and inspects it scrupulously.


LT: “This wakizashi predates you by almost 8 decades; it dates from April 1505.”


Musashi takes the sword from the scabbard and handles it to get a feel for it.  


The actual sword shown to Musashi by Captain LT. The inscription hidden under the handle reads: "Bishu Osafune Sukesada", the forgers of the sword,

"Eishô ni nen", meaning "Second year of Eishô" (1504 – 1520) and "Ni ni gatsu hi" which translates to "A day in the 4th month".


LT: “It is to be a gift for someone.”


Musashi: “Must be a very special person…”


LT: “She is… Actually, she also has a copy of your book. She’s the reason why I know you in the first place. If I didn’t know her, I wouldn’t have recognized you at all… She practices jiujitsu.”


Musashi inspects the weapon a little further before continuing.


Musashi: “Be careful of this sword. It is good craftsmanship. But be especially careful of this sword when wielded by a skilled female jiujitsuka”


LT laughs.


LT: “I’ll keep that in mind.”


The sword is put back into the scabbard and handed back to the captain.


LT: “Rest assured, this sword will be treasured…”


LT stands up and puts the sword away in the other room again.


LT: “I’ll assign you some quarters, at least if you don’t plan to leave right now.”


Musashi: “I think we can still learn a few things from each other.”


LT: “Agreed.”



SCENE 3: Painting a picture


Eisinga walks into sickbay and meets Shelley.


Eisinga: “Did you manage to find anything, doctor?”


Shelley: “I studied the scan results. They reveal a few interesting things, commander, but they don’t give us the answers we want.”


Eisinga: “Let’s have it…”


Shelley: “Well, first of all… He’s not well… In fact, if he doesn’t receive surgery soon, he might just have weeks to live, months at best.”


Eisinga: “What is he dying from?”


The captain enters sickbay and joins the discussion.


LT: “Anything?”


Shelley: “I was just about to explain to the commander that our guest is unfortunately dying of thoracic cancer.”


LT: “That seems to check out. That’s what supposedly killed him, according to the history books.”


Shelley: “Yes, but how do you explain that someone who died hundreds of years ago is walking around the corridors of this ship?”


LT: “One unlikely option is that he’s immortal. He certainly seems to think it is normal for him to still be alive today. He has knowledge of things and events after his death and he doesn’t seem to understand that that would be impossible if he was human like us.”


Shelley: “Concerning the mortality issue… I’m not sure what kind of lifeform he is, but I think he’s a mortal as you and me. Whatever he is, he shows up completely human on my scans…”


Eisinga: “I also doubt very much he actually is human. He appeared out of nowhere, no ship anywhere close, no transporter activity was detected, nothing…”


LT: “Whether or not he’s mortal, human or whatever, he’s a powerful being. Not in the last place because he does at least seem to possess Musashi’s fighting skills. I’d like to stay on his good side. Anyway, so far he’s not been anywhere near hostile and I’m fairly positive that won’t change. He is to be treated as any welcome guest.”


Eisinga: “Understood.”


LT: “Find out anything you can from the scans… Cross-reference the data we have on any shapeshifting species with the scan results. Do whatever you can.”


Shelley: “I’ve already done that, but I’ll let Nurse Halstead take a look at it. A fresh pair of eyes wouldn’t hurt… Shouldn’t take long.”


LT: “Alright, I’ll check back here in a short while then. Carry on.”


Before he leaves again, he remembers to thank his first officer.


LT: “Oh, and thank you for setting up the holodeck for us that fast, commander.”


Eisinga: “No problem, sir. Was it good enough?”


LT: “A little too good… A tad too realistic.”


Eisinga laughs…


Eisinga: “That’s what you asked for…”


LT: “The computer thought it would be realistic to throw in a bunch of bloodthirsty marauders to spice things up… Or did you specifically program the computer to let that happen?”


Eisinga holds his hands up while he smiles as if to say: “Wasn’t me!”. LT acts like he’s not amused.


LT: “I’m keeping an eye on you…”


LT leaves a smiling Eisinga behind as he exits the medical facility. Moments later he enters Musashi’s quarters. Instead of weapons, the swordmaster, who is sitting cross-legged on the floor again, is now wielding a brush, creating an ink drawing on a large piece of paper on the floor.


LT: “Are you sure I’m not disturbing you?”


Musashi: “Quite sure, captain. Please, enter.”


LT: “What is it you’re painting?”


Musashi: “A sakura tree.”


LT: “Ah, cherry blossom…”


LT’s eyes smile as if he’s starting to put the puzzle together…


LT: “Interesting choice.”  



LT observes Musashi for a while…


LT: "Starting to look very nice…”


Musashi: “The way of the warrior also requires making mastery of many art forms away from that of the sword. Tea drinking, writing, painting…”


LT: “Tea drinking, yes. I understand it’s some sort of ceremony in Japan .”


Musashi: “Indeed. Some ceremonies may last for up to 4 hours.”


LT: “4 hours?! I bet the tea will be cold by then… No, I’m not much of a spiritual person, to express it mildly … I just drink my tea during a break, no fuss involved.”


Musashi: “The sword you showed me, captain… You said it was a gift for someone special.”


LT: “Indeed…”


Musashi: “’Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.’


LT: “Another precept from the Dokkōdō I believe?”


Musashi: “Correct. But it seems that advice comes too late for you.”


LT: “Yes, indeed…”


Musashi: “I was afraid of that. But do you think this woman is the one for you?”


LT: “Absolutely. I never met anyone even remotely like her, and I’m sure I never will, even if I would search for the rest of my life.”


Musashi: “I see. You claim not to be very spiritual, but, if I may interpret your words in this manner, you do seem to believe that the 2 of you getting together is fate.”


LT: “Fate? No, not fate… That word means nothing to me. All I know is we belong together. Religion and spiritualism are not for me.”


Musashi: “There is another way… You can respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help… And if you do care for her as much as you claim, the gift you want to give to her could be considered spiritual as well… Especially because of the nature of the gift.”


LT: “’The nature of the gift?’


Musashi: “You probably agree that it is no ordinary gift.”


Musashi stops painting and rests his left forearm on his left knee to lean on it. He looks at the captain and even shows a little smile.


Musashi: “I know little of your woman, captain. But I sense she is not the kind of woman who would be pleased with flowers, chocolates and a diamond ring…”


LT laughs…


LT: “You’re quite right… Except maybe about the chocolate…”


Musashi: “A sword is not just a weapon to people who follow the way of the warrior.”


After a few more strokes of the brush the wise man continues.


Musashi: “This painting is done.”


LT inspects it…


LT: “It’s beautiful… Amazing.”


Musashi: “This painting is another gift for you to give to her, if it meets your approval.”


LT: “Really? That is very kind of you. I’m very sure she’ll love it… Thank you.”


Musashi nods once and proceeds to clear up the painting gear while LT kneels down to study the painting in detail.



SCENE 4: Lesser of two goods


Back in sickbay, Halstead, apparently assisted by Commander Eisinga, is unsuccessful in finding the answers the captain requires.


Halstead: “Hmmm… Nothing…”


Eisinga: “I think we have a new shapeshifting species to add to the database.”


Halstead: “It seems so, commander.”


Shelley comes out of her office…


Shelley: “Judging by the expression on your faces I assume you had no luck either?”


The captain enters sickbay.


Halstead: “Nothing, doctor.”


LT: “Do I hear ‘nothing’?”


Eisinga: “I’m afraid so, sir. Nothing from the scans can be correlated to any known fact about any species in the database.”


LT: “Hmmm, that’s unfortunate… But thank you doctor, nurse…”


Shelley: “No problem.”


LT: “Commander, walk with me…”


The 2 high ranked officers leave sickbay.


Eisinga: “Sorry we couldn’t find anything…”


LT: “Oh, that’s quite alright… I’m sure I’ll be able to get some more information out of him…”


LT stares to the floor while walking through the endless corridors once again…


Eisinga: “Are you alright?”


LT: “Hm? Oh yes, yes, fine Eldert…”


Eisinga: “Are you sure? Something tells me that this Musashi fellow isn’t the only thing on your mind…”


For a second or 2 there is silence before the superior officer replies.


LT: “Even though this Musashi isn’t the real Musashi, he does make me think of…”


Eisinga jokingly completes LT’s sentence.


Eisinga: “…of the princess in the tower?…”


LT: “Yes. Although you probably wouldn’t want to refer to her as a princess in her presence…”


Eisinga: “Hmm, you’re right… ‘Princess’ would hardly qualify as a description of an independent woman with martial arts training.”


LT: “Unless you’re looking to get your nose busted again… But seriously, I think I could learn a thing or 2 from Musashi’s teachings… And I’m sure the lady in the tower would appreciate that as well…”


Eisinga: “Just don’t tell me you’re going to become some kind of monk…”


The captain replies in a loud voice. He looks and sounds angry, but the commander knows it’s not genuine.


LT: “Hey, you should know me better than that!”


Eisinga: “Sheesh, sorry, hahaha…”


The captain also laughs…


LT: “No, but seriously again… I could improve myself as a human being by taking some of his teaching to heart… We all could be better than we are today; we all make mistakes. I certainly know I do… But what makes us human is the ability to learn from our mistakes. It’s funny to know that it takes an alien being to help me remind myself of that.”


Eisinga: “Ironic indeed…”


LT: “Eldert, I’m being drawn between going back to Earth to climb up that tower and staying on as a captain of this great ship. A ship which has been sent on the best possible mission: exploration.”


Eisinga: “I see… A hard choice indeed…”


LT: “Hmmm…”


Eisinga: “But what does your heart say?”


LT: “I wish you hadn’t asked that…”


Eisinga: “Too late.”


LT: “Well…”


The captain breathes a very deep sigh.


LT: “I’m sure she will wait. In fact, I should make sure that I don’t return too early… If I return and she still isn’t ready, it might do more damage than good…”


LT and Eisinga enter a turbo lift.



SCENE 5: Revelations


LT and Musashi exit a turbolift.


LT: “It might do more damage than good… And besides, we all need some solitude now and then, so I can understand your choice to retreat to the mountains…”


Musashi: “You seem to enjoy the company of many people around you.”


LT: “Well, ‘enjoy’ may be a bit too strong a word. I’m actually someone who likes being alone… But that’s sometimes hard on a ship like this, with hundreds of people onboard. Especially as the captain of this ship, I can’t always hide in my quarters and avoid everyone…”


Musashi stops. As soon as LT notices it, he stops as well. It’s as if Musashi is listening for something.


LT: “Is everything ok?”


It stays silent for a few seconds before the swordsman answers.


Musashi: “Somehow you still don’t trust me, do you, captain?”


LT knows he’s talking about the security team that is following them around.


LT: “I am sorry for the security measures. But please understand that I had good reasons for it… But how did you know?”


Musashi: “Their footfall is like that of a wild boar when foraging.”


LT: “The only sound I associate with a wild boar is the crackling of the fire beneath it. LT to security team, please abort your mission.”


Marks: “Are you sure you don’t want us to disarm him, sir?”


LT: “If he wanted to kill me or anyone else, he would have already. And somehow I don’t think taking away his swords would make him much less deadly…”


Marks: “Understood, captain.”


Musashi: “Why do you not trust me? Are there rumors about me that make you fearful?”


LT: “No, I don’t fear anything…”


LT takes a moment to decide his next words.


LT: “It’s just that the Miyamoto Musashi you claim to be is dead now for well over 700 years… And the 1973 Corvette you seemed to possess knowledge about was produced almost 400 years after Musashi was born.”


Musashi looks at the floor in front of him and gently bobs his head up and down…


Musashi: “So you knew all along I was not Musashi…”


LT: “Indeed.”


Musashi: “Why did you not tell me?”


LT: “I had to be sure you were no threat to this ship and its crew. I had to find out your intentions first. That’s why I had security follow us at a distance. I hope you can understand that.”


Musashi: “I do…”


LT: “You don’t appear to be hostile, but you do understand I’d like to know what you are doing here.”


Musashi: “You spoke of Musashi being dead for over 700 years… I learned a little about death from your database. But I’m not quite sure I fully understand.”


LT: “Yes, I figured as much. Let me try to explain. Death is the end of life. We humans, like most of the species we know about, lead a finite existence. We are born, lead our lives and then die.”


Musashi: “You seize to exist?”


LT: “Yes, indeed. If the 5 attackers we encountered earlier today were real, they would have been dead by now. Your swords would have brought an end to their lives.”


Musashi: “They were not real?”


LT: “No, they were generated images of people. In fact, everything you saw in that room was generated by our computer. The stream, the bridge, the trees, the people, everything.”


Musashi: “You can create life in that room?”


LT smiles.


LT: “No… At best, it mimics life. But those people and plants and trees you saw were not real.”


Musashi: “But why do you humans die?”


LT: “I’m afraid I can’t answer that question, I simply don’t know. Our bodies just last for a certain amount of time and then… it ends. You grow old and you die, you stop living. That’s the way it has always been. Due to improving medical development and such we do live longer than we would, let’s say, a few hundred years ago. Most humans live to be well over 100 years old these days. Anyway, you’ve probably learned a great deal since you got onboard. Perhaps it is time to tell me something about your species.”


Musashi: “I was not aware of species with a limited existence. I am immortal; I do not seize to exist. But there is no species that I belong to. I am just one. I am the Naibun.”


LT: “Naibun? Is that your name?”


Musashi: “I do not have a name. Naibun is what I am.”


LT: “I’ll accept that as the name of your species then… But how were you born then? How did you come into existence?”


Musashi: “I just am.”


LT: “You must have parents... There must be others of your kind…”


Musashi: “If so, I am not aware of this.”


It is silent for a short while.


Musashi: “Something we do have in common seems to be curiosity.”


LT: “We’re on a mission of exploration. One of the main objectives of Starfleet is to explore, find other species, make contact…”


Musashi: “It is also in my nature to learn. It is what… I live’ for, like you would probably say. To gather knowledge.”


LT: “You said you learned about death from our database. Why didn’t you study the database further? It would have answered all your questions about death, about us…”


Musashi: “I might have certain abilities humans do not possess, but even for me, the database is too much to absorb. I connected with your database and I learned what the interests were of the leader of this crew. Your interests. I learned as much as I could about those topics, using your database.”


LT: “And my personal logs, letters and other private documents… That’s the only way you could have known about my girl, her interest in Musashi and her fondness of cherry blossom…”


Musashi: “Yes, indeed.”


LT: “The thing about the cherry blossom was kind of funny…”


Musashi: “Funny? In what way?”


LT: “Well, to the Japanese the cherry blossom is an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. And you didn’t seem to be aware of human life being finite.”


Musashi: “Hmm, I understand… When I encountered you, my curiosity required me to open conversation with you, the captain. Then I could learn about humans from a real human, rather than from a database laden with statistics and insignificant facts… I am not from this galaxy, nor from any other. I live in the vast spaces between the galaxies. What I understand from your database is that you expect all that space to be devoid of life, but you are wrong. Not all life resides on planets and moons or elsewhere inside galaxies. But I know as much about lifeforms in this galaxy as you know about life between the galaxies. You’re the first species I’ve encountered inside a galaxy; this is my first visit to one. I assure you, captain, I have no bad intentions. I am just curious.”


LT: “I understand. And I’m glad we have a chance to meet and learn from each other. But wouldn’t it be more comfortable for you to show yourself in your true form?”


Musashi: “My true form?”


LT: “Well, you now look like Musashi, but what is your natural form?”


Musashi: “Any form is my natural form. This is what I am.”


LT: “Ah, well, just as well… Anyway, there are many, many intelligent species in this galaxy and we recently even encountered a species from a neighboring galaxy.”


Musashi: “Very interesting… I have much to learn.”


They continue on their way through the corridors.


LT: “If I may suggest a thing you could learn… Discretion.”


Musashi: “Discretion? In what way?”


LT: “Well, most species I am aware of, including humans, do not appreciate anyone accessing their computers and databases without permission. Especially things like personal logs and other private documents.”


Musashi: “I apologize if my actions were inappropriate, captain. I intended no harm or discomfort.”


LT: “No harm done. Consider it a free lesson in making contact with other species. Perhaps you could approach the study of other species in a more ‘Musashi way’. If you read Musashi’s book, you’ll learn that Musashi was a no nonsense kind of guy. In that respect, I like to think I’m the same. Being open, straightforward and honest has served me well in the past. If you’d approached us directly, without the guise of Musashi, we would have been equally eager to meet you.”


Musashi: “I will remember this lesson. Thank you.”


LT: “Maybe you’re not Musashi, but I’d still like to give that painting to my girl…”


Musashi: “I am not sure if she would appreciate a painting by a mere shapeshifting alien…”


LT: “I think to both me and her the painting would still mean a lot. This is the closest you can get. Besides, no one else has one like it… And there’s quite a story attached to it as well… She recently had to deal with the loss of a close family friend, so she can use some cheering up.”


They arrive at the bridge.


LT: “You seem to know things that aren’t mentioned in our database. Did you just fill in the gaps with fantasy or is there any truth in it?”


Musashi: “I have ways of knowing ‘the past’, as you would call it.”


LT: “I see… Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask some further questions… You say you can know the past, maybe you can fill in some blanks in the history books.”


Musashi: “Of course… What would you like to know?”


LT: “Let’s start at the beginning… Your parents… What is their story?”


Musashi: “It is partly a sad story… My father was murdered.”


LT: “I’m sorry to hear… Who was the killer?”


Musashi: “His name will not be spoken. He does not deserve to be remembered. He dishonored my father’s name and took his life, all with no good reason.”


K’Ehlen: “Did you seek revenge? You cannot let a dishonorable deed go unpunished.”


Musashi: “I met him in battle some years later and killed him.”


K’Ehlen: “BortaS bIr jablu'DI' reH QaQqu' nay'.


Musashi: ’Revenge is a dish best served cold…’". I agree.”


LT: “There’s also something that has been lost to history; who was your mother?”


Musashi: “Well, her name was…”


LT: “Please, step into my office. Tea?…”


The 2 enter the ready room and the alien sits down on the floor again. The captain gets tea from the replicator and joins his guest on the floor. Meanwhile the captain’s log can be heard…


LT: “Captain’s log, supplemental. The Naibun we encountered on our ship was a most peculiar, but interesting individual… Although I was able to learn many things from him, much about the Naibun is still wrapped in a haze of obscurity. At least we made first contact with a friendly creature from another race. That is, if there are more of his kind. If he is a mortal and if he leads a linear existence, how does he know the past of our species? Does he know the past? Or was he just playing along, trying to understand my curiosity? Though I doubt it is very different from his own.”



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