He had been alive for so long he'd forgotten more than most species would ever know in their entire existence. He couldn't even recall how old he was himself, and he didn't care either. He had been alone for as long as he could remember too, and couldn't really say for sure if he'd ever not been alone. He supposed there had to have been a time when he had had company. Didn't he once have family, or at least parents? He couldn't recall, and he didn't care about that either.
All he knew was that he was searching, and that he had been searching for... how long had it been since he'd come across something that had interested him anyway? He couldn't recall. Neither could he recall what it had been the last time that he had been interested in something.
So he slipped into another quantum dimensional plane and entered yet another Universe in the hope that this reality would yield something that would be interesting enough for him to capture his attention. He severely doubted it when his consciousness became aware of everything in the Universe he was in now. In many ways it resembled so many other universes he'd been to, and had found nothing to capture his attention.
A bit of matter, scattered all over the place, and some bright energy linked to it to the point of them being interchangeable. Most of this universe was, like many others, mostly made up of the kind of matter and energy without substance and had only one property of itself on the same dimensional plane as the other matter and energy.
The bright energy and the matter was mostly distributed haphazardly throughout this universe with large area's almost empty and lumps of it scattered about. Those lumps all individually moved away from all the other lumps and he noticed they did so with an increasing velocity. That made him blink, and take a closer look.
Ah, the lumps didn't increase in speed. The fabric of this reality's space was expanding at an accelerating rate. In the millionth of a second it took him to blink and look closer he'd seen that everything in this universe was moving away from a single point which made him search his memory. Had he ever encountered such an oddly behaving Universe before? He couldn't really recall with any certainty.
For a thousandth of a millisecond he felt a flicker of excitement as he dared to allow himself to wonder, just for the slightest of moments, if this might be a universe that could peak his interest. Even that flicker of excitement he felt was enough to make him giddy with joy. It had been at least.... eons and eons ago when he had last felt anything like that.
He came to a decision at that moment. If there was something interesting about this Universe, or in it, he was going to take great care to make the finding of it, experiencing it, take as long as he could and make it last as long as he could. He knew that if the universe turned out to be uninteresting and yield nothing worthy of his attention he'd be depressed for another eternity but it was a risk he was willing to take.
He gathered himself onto this one reality and into this one universe, and even phasing out of most of the dimensional planes in which the majority of this Universe did not exist. He then willed himself into a form with which he could interact with the different forms of matter and energy in this Universe and only then allowed hid perception to open again. His mind reeled with the experience. If nothing else that experience alone was the most interesting he'd experienced in as long as he could remember.
It even took him a millionth of a second to understand what it was he was perceiving. Linear time, in some way connected to the space in this universe, expanding outward from a single point. Linear time with a direction forward and backwards, and the space and time even had a beginning. A place and time beyond which both actually did not exist. Or at least, beyond which it had not existed, he corrected himself, deciding to immerse himself even more into experiencing the reality of this Universe.
For an eon or two, which here could be measured and quantified in a way he'd not even considered until then, he simply amused himself by observing that single place and time at which the space and the time of this universe exploded into this realities existence. In the scale of things he experienced it was actually quite a big bang which accompanied that event. He then decided to observe closely the chain of events that unfolded after that big expansion and marvelled at the oddity that everything in this Universe was bound by linear time and not only that, everything only went in one direction in that linear time.
Everything went forward through time, vastly increasing the differentiation between cause and effect. An actual strictly adhered to causality, he decided after he'd observed the first few eons of this universe's existence in it's odd linear way.
He then decided that he wanted to take in more of this universe in greater detail and to become an energy form very similar to that existing in this Universe and to observe the various odd ways in which the energies and matter in this universe existed. He had noticed that matter in this universe developed, linearly, into many different forms, and that those forms interacted with each other, the energy forms in this universe, and indeed with this universe's space and time in many different ways.
He knew of course that in most universes where energy and matter existed, influenced each other and interacted with each other there very often also existed forms of life. Lifeforms which, as far as he could remember (which, he had to admit, was less than he was comfortable admitting to), began is some form of matter, converting other matter into energy to sustain matter.
These forms of life mostly wound up as sentient energy forms and some even succeeded in achieving to become what he himself had been for the past couple of billion years; non-corporeal multidimensional extra reality neural entities. Entities existing as pure consciousness. But as far as he knew none of the forms of life he had ever encountered or had knowledge of existed in the constraint of linear time. At least, not that he could remember.
He decided that, even if just to make this experience last as long as it could, he should investigate if life existed in this universe and if it did he'd go for the full experience and exist as one of those life forms himself for a while. A nanosecond later he knew all forms of life that existed in this realities Universe and he was, surprising not in the least to himself, astonished. Never before, as far as he could remember, had he encountered so many different kinds life in so many different forms simultaneously existing in the same reality and universe.
Life in this realities Universe ran the gambit from triple atom replication all the way to non-corporeal lifeforms able to traverse the multiverse and across dimensions. None were as sophisticated as he was but some, like those calling themselves and most everything else "Q", were pretty close. As he thought of the Q there was a tingling in the farthest reaches of his senses which would have told him, if he cared, that one or more of them were 'close by'. Of course with beings such as he and them 'close' was a relative term, not to be mistaken for relativistic though.
And of course almost all of them handicapped in their existence and evolution by the constraints of this universes linear time. It took him nearly three nanoseconds to decide which life-form he'd exist as for a while, but he did eventually, and a nanosecond later he had taken the form of a life-form that called itself "Human". He had chosen a matter based form of life, carbon based, which was so young they'd not even spread beyond their galaxy of origin! How marvellously clueless and blissfully ignorant their minds were! He had not ever felt such joy and happiness, or at least not that he could remember!
Most euphoria inducing was when he realized he was existing and experiencing the passage of linear time. He could not tell what was to come, and could do nothing to effect anything that had become the past. What had happened in the past effected the moment he existed in, and what happened in the moment he existed in would effect what would be in what was to come! What an absolutely unimaginable way of existing these lifeforms had! Their entire existence was dominated and shaped by the linear passage of time and the order of cause and effect, which they called "causality". Even communication was shaped by the linear passage of time. One could only communicate with others that existed in the now, and much of the communication proceeded in a back and forth manner. One life form communicated something and then another one communicated in return, its communication based on what the first one had communicated before.
He looked around, through the "humans" visual sensory organs and noticed that he was inside one of their means of travel they called "a star-ship". He also noted that the other "humans" that occupied the space he was in, which they called "the bridge", had directed their sensory organs.... right... their "eyes" at him. He revelled in the anticipation for a second before he used their form of communication himself for the first time. "Greetings Humans. May your existence be enduring." he spoke.
Captain v. Silfhout slapped the comm. hard and almost shouted into it "Security to the bridge, intruder alert!" before he leaped out of his chair while simultaneously snatching the hand phaser from under his right armrest. He pointed the phaser at the naked man that had suddenly appeared out of nothing standing in-front of the bridge's large forward view-screen.
Behind him he knew his friend and tactical officer Quch was pointing his weapon at the man as well, and that the rest of his bridge officers were working on their respective contributions to either figuring out how the man had come here or finding out everything sensors could find out about every single atom the man consisted of.
The naked man looked at them all with an expression almost like that of a baby who sees something for the first time, but also there was something in his bearing that spoke of blissful pleasure. Most notably, though, the Captain didn't detect anything resembling an immediate threat. Combined with the realization that the man had spoken to them using their species to address them lead him to conclude they might very well be looking at a first contact situation.
He lowered his phaser and motioned for Quch to do the same. Then he righted himself fully and forced a smile onto his face. "I apologize for our reaction to your appearance. We are not used to strangers appearing out of nothing on our most sensitive and important area of our vessel. My name is Arend van Silfhout, Captain of the United Federation of Planets star-ship USS Netherlands. May i ask who i have the honour of addressing?" Arend said.
The man, still naked, got an odd faraway expression for just a fraction of a second before nodding to himself. "This is the first time i have existed in this way, as far as i recall, and as such have no designation. You may decide upon one and address me so." the man replied. Arend was somewhat confused by the man's words and it took him a second to form a response. "What do you mean by 'existed in this way'?" he finally asked, a bit bewildered.
He had almost missed it completely, his mind focused on the game he was playing with a barely sentient species of Saurian. But of course he hadn't missed it, he never really did miss anything now did he? As soon as he noticed it though he brought all of his senses and attention to bear on the dimensions and the reality from which he 'felt' the consciousness emerging. As soon as he had he was struck with a sense of awe, something which he had experienced only once before in his existence. It took something truly awesome to strike awe into a member of his species, being omnipotent and all.
On second thought he considered that their omnipotence might be an overestimation, as he took stock of the consciousness he sensed and the dimensions it existed in simultaneously. Taking into account the consciousness's sudden appearance into his sensory range it lead to no other conclusion than that the consciousness had been in dimensions or realities outside his perceptions before it appeared. He decided to postpone contemplating that conundrum for a later time and chalk it up to lack of omniscience rather than omnipotence for the time being. He had to scrutinize this consciousness with all of his senses and learn as much as he could, and maybe even alert the others of his species to its existence. This might be the second known 'entity' that was as far evolved or farther as his species was.
But as he came closer to the consciousness, as far as one could speak of location in multidimensional and multiple reality matters, he noticed the consciousness resolving itself into one reality and into one single universe. Dumbfounded for a moment, something that never happened to one of his species, he was just in time in following the consciousness to witness the consciousness take form, coalesce and finally resolve into a tiny insignificant clump of matter. It all happened so fast that it took him a few moments to realize the clump of matter was, in fact, a life form indigenous to this reality and universe.
It had become human. It took him a few moments to overcome the shock he had been in (another first for his species as far as he knew) and consider what he knew to come to a decision on the best course of action. A consciousness beyond anything he had ever known, or heard of, came into existence and within moments had become a human being.
It had actually become a real Human being. His species had the ability to manifest themselves as one form of matter or another, but not the ability to actually become it. He marvelled at that for a moment, which humans would measure as taking one millionth of a nano-second, before coming to the conclusion that he should alert the others of his species of what he had learned and continue to observe the consciousness turned human as close as he could until he got a reply from the continuum.
Measured in human terms it took only half a second for that reply to arrive. It arrived in the form of the most notorious member of his species appearing next to him. "Hello Q, it's Q, i've been sent to investigate this discovery of yours" he said, adding; "Ah ah ah, I've been sent because of my first hand experience with both humans and powerful entities that rival or surpass our own species considerable abilities."
At that point Q already knew that he was expected to return to the continuum to report on this discovery in person, and that debating the issue would be pointless. "Okay, i'll be off then Q" he told Q and zipped off into the continuum. Q took a few moments to verify what he had been told Q had found. It was inconceivable that a Q could have made a mistake but nevertheless Q figured that he'd better be safe than sorry in this case.
Sure enough, there it was. A human being with a consciousness that was unfathomably expansive. And for something to be unfathomable for a Q it took a really really really expansive expanse. He was duly impressed, as well as confused. Why would any entity with such an expansive consciousness, and such capabilities, choose to exist as something as simple as a human being.
Sure, the humans were fascinating as far as corporal beings went, but even among his fellow Q there were many who found his fascination with the humans to be beneath them. And of course Q himself had once been a human for a while, though not entirely of his own free will. Parallel to that thought Q wondered about something else too. Would the consciousness be aware of Q's presence, and if so, to what extent?
Cautiously Q began sensing out the dimensions and realities closest to the one the consciousness had confined itself, which by coincidence was the one in which his ami Picard eeked out his existence. He couldn't sense anything and neither did the consciousness show any sign of sensing anything. Q decided to observe the humans and the consciousness, while staying just slightly enough out of phase with this reality to not exist in it and still be able to sense and witness everything that happened in it, close up.
Just then, as he got close to the consciousness and was confident he could let it, and the Human it had become, come under the full scrutiny of all his senses, he realized there was something completely wrong with what he found. He couldn't really quantify it, or even explain what gave him the notion that something was wrong but something was. He just knew it. And the wrong was going to have consequences for the entire multiverse in all the realities he knew to exist. If he could only find out what it was. Ah well. Time would tell. The consciousness existed in a linear time reality now after all didn't he?
More confusion washed over him as he stood there, Human in all ways except for his consciousness, he found that existing in a linear time-plane, and in a 4 dimensional causal reality, as he did now was so immensely different to anything he had known, or even thought to have been possible that he had difficulty grasping it all. He had never ever been so confused or slow to adjust and adapt before, as far as he could remember. “My apologies… Captain. I usually do not exist in this form and I need a moment to adjust to… the limitations of this form. I can assure you I pose no danger to you, this ship or your crew.” the naked man said, taking an unsure step towards the Captain.
Not wanting to flinch or step back, the Captain willed a gracious smile onto his face and said; “I cannot say I completely understand but please, take your time.”. At that moment Ejtneel stepped passed the Captain and held out a blue jumpsuit towards the man. “Here gramps, put this on please. Some of the junior crew members are feeling awkward in the presence of your nudity.” she told him. The man looked at the neatly folder clothes as if they were on fire for a fleeting moment before tilting his head slightly to the left and nodding. “Of course, I am so sorry, I had no idea the material covering your bodies were not part of it. I assume a cultural thing, and I shall respect your culture.” he answered taking the clothes and unfolding them. As he awkwardly figured out how it worked and covered himself his mind was racing to determine just what it was that was causing him to embarrass himself in such a way. It had never happened before. “And thank you for choosing my designation… no, my name. Gramps sounds like a perfectly adequate name for me.” he told the Vulcan/Trill hybrid Science officer whom had given him his jumpsuit.
Then it struck him. Of course, he should have realized long before he made the choice to exist in this way. He had taken form in a linear universe and reality and therefore he was as bound by the same constraints as everything else here. He had to think linear, reason linear, and act linear. He had shivers down his spine with the relief at having resolved the cause of his troubles. He should be able to cope with that, he was an ageless being of inconceivable power. “Captain, I think I've regained my composure. I think we can….” said Gramps but was interrupted abruptly by the ship's computer's voice. “Approaching vessels detected, with charged weapons and deflector shields. Recommend red alert.” she stated flatly but loudly.
At once all the crew members on the bridge turned back to their duty stations, most cursing themselves for letting the situation with the man on the bridge distract them from their duties so they could be caught off guard like that. “Confirmed, eight frigate sized vessels coming in fast. Weapons hot. RED ALERT!” shouted Quch as he read his readouts. “All hands to battle-stations!” added Arend. “The ships are of a design that matches nothing in our database. They seem to be matter-antimatter powered, their energy signatures indicate a significantly less efficient technology.” added Ejtneel from the science station. “Evasive maneuvers Alpha three.” ordered Arend as he dumped himself into his captain's chair with a thud. His armrest displays told him that the eight ships had split into four groups of two and were manoeuvring to surround them. “Don't let them get us inside their sphere formation Fred!” he cautioned the officer at the helm. “Don't worry, you know me!” lt. Commander Nessnaj replied without looking back from the helm.
Fred put the USS Netherlands into a corkscrew manoeuvrer followed by an inverted half loop which put them on the port side of the outer most duo of attacking ships. Not only the attackers had not anticipated the move but it had also taken the inertial dampeners partly by surprise, causing the crew to experience a negative G of -3 for the better parts of two seconds. Moans could be heard from some stations, making Fred cringe. “Sorry about that” he muttered.
Completely forgotten it seemed by the Humans for the moment Gramps figured out that this must be an example of what the creatures called “Conflict” and “Violence”. He found it very inconvenient of them to engage in such barbaric and backwards activities at that particular time. Another thing that he would have to adapt to in linear existing he sighed, and prepared to shove the irritating creatures that were attacking them and the quaint little ships they were using into non-existence with the will of his mind. Shock washed over Gramps though when nothing happened. Again and again he willed the attacking aliens to cease existing but again and again, they continued to do so. Gramps suddenly felt something he never had before, and would have puked right then and there had his stomach held any content.
The attackers opened fire at that moment, lashing out with angry yellow/red bolts of directed phase disrupting energy. Their aim was uncannily accurate but fortunately the bolts splashed off into the shield buffers without even registering on the instruments that monitored them. “Quch, return fire, fire to disable only. Let's show them what really powerful directed energy weapons look like.” Arend said, with a barely contained grin on his face. Quch didn't even attempt to contain his as he punched in the command on his tactical console. “Firing” he simply stated. On the view screen the blue beams lanced out across the vacuum of space connecting the Uss Netherlands and two of the attacking vessels to each other for part of a second. The resulting explosions in the rear of both vessels satisfactory damaging the propulsion systems of both the attackers by instantly vaporizing a large part of said systems. “Two vessels disabled sir.” Quch announced.
“The others are turning their ships around and… All vessels have jumped to warp. Only the two disabled vessels remain Captain” reported the Science officer, her nearly perfectly shaped body visibly relaxing. “Stand down from red alert. Keep us on yellow for now.” ordered Arend. “Open hailing frequencies. Let's see if they want to talk” he added. “No response Captain” said Ocram from his ops/comm station. Suddenly, without warning the view screen flashed white with brightness before the safeties dimmed the feed to show two explosions play out until there was nothing left of the alien ships other than two expanding spheres of super heated plasma. “Uh, that wasn't me” Quch muttered holding up his hands.
“Secure from alert status. Analyse every single bit of data from our sensors! I want to know what happened!” snapped Arend, unable to keep his anger out of his voice as he spoke. He got up, remembering their “guest” and moved towards his ready room. “Gramps, follow me, we need to talk” he ordered. A second or two later they were in the privacy of the Captain's ready room, where Arend sat down at his desk and motioned for Gramps to take the seat opposite to him. Gramps sat down silently, still reeling from the shock of not being able to force matter to obey his will. He also suddenly felt….. tired. Yes, that was what the Humans called what he was feeling. Astonishing!
Arend looked the old man over with scrutiny for a moment but failed to gain any insight from it. He could see nothing else but a senior citizen in his 120's, who appeared to be suffering from the decline in his mental faculties like so many others who'd reached that advanced age. Not many humans reached over 120 years without succumbing to illnesses like Alzheimer and dementia in some measure. Arend, though anxious to get to the bottom of how, why and by whom this man had appeared, naked, on his bridge moments before his ship was attacked by as of yet unknown assailants, decided to take a gentle approach. Maybe the man was an innocent victim of something or someone.
“Gramps, can you tell us where you were before you appeared on this ship?” he asked in a soothing voice. The man looked startled as if he'd forgotten Arend was there. “Ah, eem, yes, I was everywhere son.” the man replied. Arend was unable to suppress the scowl from getting into his expression.
“Sorry I don't think I understand. Can you tell me your name?” he said. The man blinked a couple of times before replying. “I have been alone for so long I forgot if I ever had a name. I have been searching for something interesting to catch my attention for so long…. I your reckoning it must've been hundreds of thousands of years. But I have lived for so long, seen and experienced so much for so many times that I thought there was nothing left that could interest me…. Until I came to this reality, in this universe….” Gramps explained.
This took Arend aback. Instinctively his mind rejected the man's words out of hand but his consciousness held off that rejection somehow, making Arend think that what Gramps had said was completely truthful and accurate. Instead of challenging the man's words he decided to remain silent for the moment, and let the man talk. “Go on” he urged.
“I came across this reality and was intrigued by it. This Universe and reality was unlike any I had ever encountered, as far as I can remember. Here reality existed confined in a linear time dimension… I.. I…. wait, what was the question again?” said Gramps. This brought Arend up short. It was clear now that, dispite the gut feeling he had the man was truthful, he had a mental issue like dementia or Alzheimer. Arend decided that doc would be the best one suited to care for the man.
Tapping his communicator Arend summoned a commlink to his chief medical officer. "doc, this is the Captain, have you been following the events of today?"
The doctor sounded angry when he replied "It was all pretty hard to miss down here, what with all the wounded coming in and all!"
Just over three hours later Arend sat in his office, riffling through the reports the different departments had sent him about the occurrences of the day. He couldn't get Gramps out of his mind though. Taking Gramps to sickbay was simpler than expected. When Arend was done talking to the doctor Arend turned to find Gramps fast asleep in the chair on the other side of his desk.
He wondered if the old man would ever be able to remember who he was and where he came from and if he would be able to enlighten Arend? He suspected though that it would forever remain a mystery though.