karen reigh

film grad, former stuntwoman, writer, mother, lifelong learner, currently working to build a new kind of community to fix what’s wrong with our society

*All written content contained herein is exclusively the property of Karen Reigh.*

Content Warning - photos may contain direct/heavy eye contact, stunt/film weapons and/or simulated peril



CW - grief, loss of loved one

Don’t borrow pain from tomorrow
Dip your toes in the lake of sorrow
But remember that there will be time
For swimming later
Today, dry your feet when you’re ready
Walk barefoot along the shore
And find what beauty lies all around
Build a dock, a bridge, a buoy
So that when the time comes to swim
You will not drown
Even if you dip under
From time to time

Don’t hold the pain of yesterday
Trail your fingers through the dusty residue
But rinse them clean in the river of hope
That runs beside the lake
Springing from the lakes deepest depths
Like the river, something inside you knows
That you will continue along
And that it is right to
Even though it hurts
Letting go is not the same
As forgetting

Storm clouds gather
But the sun is always right behind them
Rain will fall
New life will burst forth
Plant flowers, plant trees
Let them grow
In the sun, and in the rain
The lake will always be there for you
You can go back to visit
But don’t stay too long
There’s much more to see, and do
Before your time comes

Don’t borrow pain from tomorrow
Don’t wish for the impossible thing
Leave your footprints in the sand
And weave your love all around
Nothing survives this life
Except the love you carry with you
When it’s time to go
And that’s alright.

Karen Reigh

How Is It

BY Karen Reigh

CW - loss, grief, death, illusions / reality

How is it that
Approaching death
Makes you feel as though you are
Handling it
Reasonably well
But handling it like shit
And not really handling anything at all yet
(Because it hasn’t actually happened)
And all that at once

Like the weight of it is staggering
But also non existent
All at once

And the truth of it feels so far off
But the next heartbeat
Holds shards of ice
With which a single beat will
Rend you in two

Why is death so very hard
So exhausting
When there’s literally nothing
That you can do to
Alter its course
Or is it only hard work
When you try and try
To avoid what is inevitable
And what
To some degree
Is natural
And even foundational
To our very existence
(Without death here
And without decay
There can be no life either
And why is duality
And the nature of our existence
Such an easy path to tread
When death walks alongside?
Maybe death is a blessing
That allows us to see
What can otherwise not easily be seen
But I digress
And no one wants to hear that anyway)

Maybe death would be easier
With an unshakable faith
That everything is as it should be?
Or knowledge that nothing in this universe
Can be created or destroyed
Only changed
One form to another?

Maybe that’s only
Intellectual avoidance
Or maybe that’s the surest comfort
But why is it so hard to know
And why does it matter so much
And even so, not at all
(Because it hasn’t even happened yet!)

Time moves so slowly forward
But also
Much too quickly
And some part of me knows
That time isn’t real
In this place where death takes us

And maybe that’s the truth
That makes death so confusing
And so very very hard
But not hard at all
All at once
Because it connects us to a place
We very vaguely remember
Or some deep part of us does at least
Where time has no hold on us
Where death
Is seen for the
Illusion it truly is
And maybe we tire
Because we fight to remember
To bring
To force
That existence more clearly into focus
To see
Through layers and layers
And layers of… what?
Of time and space
Or false beliefs
Or cosmic schoolbooks
Page after page that turn slowly
In between
Us and where we truly belong
Slowly revealing
Everything we yearn to understand
All at once

Maybe there is nothing to do
But put one foot in front of the other
While we are still able
And breathe
While we are still able
Let the pages turn as they inevitably will
And trust
That it will all work out
Exactly as it is meant to
To let go
When we have no other choice
Because we have no other choice
But to,
To use our energy
And our arms
To hold on to what is still here
Knowing that we too
And everything that lives, here
Will someday cross that bridge
And know
What lies beyond it
Without our having to do anything
Or know anything
Or understand
To know, perhaps
That understanding comes
From crossing the bridge
And that there is no other way

We don’t mourn
The dying of the leaves
We appreciate the vibrant colours they bring
For a short time
Changing in turn
Before they’re gone
Knowing that they will return
Not exactly the same leaf
But many many leaves
Each unique
And perfect
Playing their part
In a great symphony
Just as we play ours
No less important
And no more

It is so hard to understand it all
But easy to live it
I suppose
If you just
Do the next right thing
But don’t cling
Understanding will come
Or at the very least acceptance will
With time
If you let it
(Even if time is only an illusion)

Let the leaves fall
They are meant to
And keeping them up in the tree
Will only exhaust you
Life carries on
After they fall
Or maybe
Because they fall

There is nothing to do
But love them
And let go
As they do
They must
And so must we

The Weight of Stars

by Karen Reigh

CW - emotional / verbal abuse, pagan / witch reference, vastness of space

So small
But like a sponge
Not by words
But by action.
Eyes filled with every disapproving glance,
And ears with every sigh, tired, disgusted,
At my ineptitude? I've long forgotten
Though my heart never will.
My mouth spilled endless reasons that never rang true,
To you, to anyone, and so I stopped reasoning.
My heart filled to bursting, finally broken
Under the weight of my unspoken truth.
It had nowhere to go
Every outlet filled with battered dreams.
Only heaviness,
The weight of contained possibilities,
Smothering my will, my ability
To create anything worthwhile.
Like the universe in its beginning
I finally imploded.

The weight of countless stars
Hidden inside,
Became known to me. I began.
And like the universe
I, too, must expand.
It cannot be stopped,
And it would be madness to try.

'An it harm none, do what ye will',
The stars call to me
Their bright eyes alight with wonder,
The very heavens unfolding
In anticipation of their arrival.

Only the most daring stars
The furthest from our reach
Know where the universe may end
And maybe not even they know.
It is madness then, to
Pin Armageddon to the end of the road I travel
On this tiny speck of dust.
Madder still, to fear it,
To turn tail and run
For some pretence of safety.

I will not end. I cannot.
I am the universe,
And she is me.
And like the beat of a lowly human heart,
I will expand,
And contract,
And expand again.
Each time reaching further
Into the nothingness beyond,
And deeper
Into my Self
Until every possibility
Is realized,
Every creation, created.
And then?
I cannot guess what will come next,
But I hope it will contain
And dancing,
And more than a touch of magic
And madness.
These outlets lead in,
To the truth of me,
And reflect the most daring stars
Dancing their way to the edges
Of time and space.
At the edges of time and space
Perhaps madness will suit me just fine.
Perhaps it already does.

Who Comes To Call

by Karen Reigh

CW - debt, stress, burden / expectations of capitalism

I look around my home,
My beautiful, work in progress home,

And I don't want it.

So many possessions,
Always needing to be tidied.
So many now, they sit mostly idle,
Like my soul. Unneeded. Dusty. Forlorn.

I no longer wish to renovate.
Time spent perfecting a hollow building,
So much better spent with the blissful laughter of my child,
Her perfect, un-renovated soul magnificent,
Full to overflowing,
Giggles burbling up from depths beyond my reach, and truly, my understanding.

I don't want the mountain of debt,
Never ending expense of upkeep, upgrade,
Keep up with the Jones'
And me, downtrodden by stress,
The true debt of this building only payable
With the surrender of my true self,
A price much too steep.

My child asks for chocolate before dinner.
"I want chocolate,"
Her learning lips form clearly audible words.
These words are important, and so, readily learned.
"I want a million dollars," my unthinking reply,
Disconcerting echoes of my past, only
This is my present.
I want it to be a present--a gift, joybringing,
And so I add "But chocolate we can accomplish today, so you may have some,
My sweet child."
Her eyes light up and
So does my soul.

The rest of the world may want a house,
and too many things,
and rules not meant to be broken.
They can have it--the ever fancier gilded cage.
We'll have chocolate before dinner,
Adventure, and life worth living. I hope.

"But how?" a gentle voice asks from within.
Nomads? Wanderers in an RV? I think wistfully.
Seeing the world, letting the world see us,
And change us. Filling us up with joy and wisdom as we go along.

Were I independently wealthy, I would,
No hesitation.
Were I healthy, independent, yes.
Without a doubt.
Maybe if I were a wanderer I would be healthy and wealthy,
The gentle voice whispers,
So gently I can see why I haven't listened
For far too long.

Old ways are so long lost,
And now, blocked, with good intentions,
Mostly good, well, stifling really.
But I still want the old ways,
Following the river, and the creatures,
and the sweet summer wind, to the sea,
The circular motions of time,
Returning us, and leading us,
Returning us again,
To where we ought to be.

The road and the sea call to me.
Or maybe not the road,
But some place along it,
That is not here.
Maybe here is all I do not want.

I look around this house,
For it is not a home.
The laughter here is forced,
The tears restrained.
Joy does not come to call here.

But the road, she calls, again,
And she is echoed by the sun,
With a warm touch to my face.
My child turns, her open heart
Of course, hearing every word
More easily than I.

The road is ready to lead us,
And I know, now, only one truth.

I must find a way to follow.

Hitler is Dead

by Karen Reigh

CW - reference to nazism / hitler

We are not soft
We generations who seek change
We are exposed

The fountain of knowledge
Flows in
From all corners of the world
Wetting us to the core

A flood of ideas
Flows through
Ideas grand and yet fully examined
Pulling us relentlessly to what could be

How should we feel
How should we be
We who dream of Amazon warrior women
And wibbly, wobbly, timey wimey stuff
But sell our souls and our minds
For the promise of a future at walmart

The man behind the worst fear
Of generations past is gone
But his ideals live
In too many hearts
And too many minds

More for me and
None for you
You less than human

The threat of possible annihilation
Still young enough to thwart
Every chance at progress
While the older generation rules
With one eye on the very prize
The monster was denied

How should we feel
How should we be
The wrong questions to ask
And this I know deeply
Should, a relic
Of fear driven times
With no place in
Educated and enlightened

And yet we ask
As we were taught to ask
As we are daily reminded to ask
By every superior
Every one who has
Proven his worth
More than we have proven ours
(By fault of time
As much as by evidence of worth
But that's for another day)

Even as we ask
Our foreheads gritty with dirt
Knowing that seeking permission
To exist as we are
(A full step up from
Asking how to exist, as we do)
Negates our worth
Before we could presume
To prove it

And so I will choose to be
Without asking
One who makes others better
One who rides into battle
My sword glistening
My arrows true
But knowing
I do not need to fight

For it is not in fighting
That we change the world
It is in allowing ourselves
To be exposed
Not soft
Not less, but
Not like him


by Karen Reigh

CW - ancestors, religion, death, white / christian dominance

I feel the absence of my ancestors today
All Hallows’ Eve passed
My opportunity

The failings of a more “acceptable” religion
And sugar-fueled modern society
Still more comfortable to my kin
Than a life-giving connection with the past,
With lost spirits,
With the acknowledgment,
And acceptance
Of our own eventual demise

I feel the absence of myself today
Once again caught in the trap
Of self-loathing
That comes of denying my truth
To give others the comfort
I can only silently, endlessly seek

A naked ofrenda
A bridge without blessings
No souls crossing over
In exchange for
Uneasy silence
The party over
My connection to my past lost
For another long year

No songs will be sung
In this place of regret
And where the dead do sing
I have no place
So separate from eternity as I am
Ensconced in the death we call modern life


by Karen Reigh

CW - apocalyptic ruin, destruction, creative power of pregnancy

Of this, I am certain:
That if the world lay in ruin,
Burned down around me,
If I could only sit staring at the ash,
And still feel the tiny, strong kicks
Of my unborn child
Bump <pause> bump bump <pause>


Then everything would be alright
And it would still be safe to smile.

I was made to create, to extend,

To bring life.

And in this one small act
I hold more power than
Any of a mind to destroy.

I hold the universe in my womb.
The entire power of the known
And unknown.
Limitless potential, in the tiniest beat.



by Karen Reigh

CW - brief reference to “dogs of war” expression

A thousand restless dogs
Race across the open field,
Dogs of grass,
And war.
Not war.
Dogs of love,
And peace,
And life.
Every head
Bowing in turn,
Working as one
With the others,
And the wind,
And the sun.
An infinite dance.
Or unseen,
Will not matter.
These dogs will race on,
Going nowhere at all,
And everywhere they please.
Let us be dogs of grass,
And peace,
And love,
And life.

I Weary


CW - references to battle / war / wounds / blood, erasure from history by victors

Art suffers when artists must fight
To exist.
One cannot easily carry
Sword, shield, brush and palette
Nor have pause for a moments reflection

Post battle
Words and images limit themselves--
Only those suited to
A canvas soaked in red
Spring forth

Gaping wounds of artistic relief
And misery. But mostly misery

I weary of the fight
When my strength comes
Not from the fight
But from the flow
Of creative energies
Of collaboration
And of connection

Disjointed is this fight
To disassemble, to divide, it's only purpose.
Disjointed, like the fear and the frenzy
In the hearts of those for whom
The fight itself
Means life.
Cessation of war
Brings but nothingness to those
Who do not create.
And nothingness is as good as
Or never having been at all

And so we fight, holding our art inside.
For now.
And though I weary
I shall not cease
For the false ideas of nothingness that Terrorize my foe
Shall surely mean my utter erasure
From history
If art, and its creators, should fail

Dreamer - Chapter One

“I dream things,” she said, “and they become real. Don’t worry though. When the sun comes up you’ll disappear from here and go back to normal.”

A Story by Karen Reigh

Message to Actors (and Estates) Contained Herein:

I am a disabled, single mother, living, writing, and recuperating in Alberta, Canada after a long term black mold exposure in Vancouver decimated my health, life…and career in stunts and film.

I fully admit—I don’t know you beyond your portrayal of my favourite tv and film characters, your social media, and reports from entertainment media (taken with a healthy half teaspoon of salt). With the exception of Wil Wheaton, on the set of Eureka in Vancouver, I haven’t been in the same room with you (and that was a very large room). As such I have done my best to portray your personal character—or the best perception of your character that is available to me—fairly, and with emphasis on my deep respect and admiration, both for the characters you chose to play, and for your personal, unique contributions to our society, to our understanding of life, and to the choices I’ve made in My life.

I pray that my deep love and respect for you is clear in the story, and if it isn’t, I take full responsibility for errors and omissions in that regard. My perception of the world has always been somewhat different than that of my peers, and while I do suffer for it, I suffer somewhat gladly. My “different” brain is what allows me to see through the politics of filmmaking (and life), and understand that what the world needs right now, is permission to come together, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation…or studio contract. The best of what we are will only be revealed when we (hashtag) come together.

I don’t know how this film could work under current industry practices. I’ve always called it “my impossible story”, from the first day I sat down and wrote the best opening scene I felt I’d ever written (and a program glitch promptly deleted it entirely from record), to roughly seven years later, when my five year old daughter sat next to me as I, in a month, poured this first draft onto the page and wrote this intro, to now, in 2022, when my invisibility in the world makes it feel more impossible than ever. I worry even more now about the stark divisions of our world, the lack of respect for little girls and their big ideas, and the (justified) fears of dark ideas that spread unchecked, and that choke the creativity and joy out of our lives as they move.

I want something different. And I want to leave something different—something much, much better—to this bold, adventurous little girl next to me. I have a story outline for how to remind people of the value of all little girls, but I need help bringing it to life. (I have a life mission and plan to make the world itself a more equitable place, but that’s for another day.) Hollywood has always led the way in changing the world, by telling stories that haven’t been told. With my deepest thanks for all you’ve personally done for me in my life, without ever knowing it, I humbly ask that you consider this story. My story. I am Emeline.

With gratitude,
Karen Reigh

Dreamer – Chapter One

Emeline ran as fast as her ten year old legs could carry her. They were long, strong legs, but they weren't fast enough. The monstrous thing was going to catch her. Wake up Em, she thought desperately, but it was no use. She was dreaming, she knew she was dreaming, but she was still going to die—awfully. Wake up! she thought again, more desperately. You can't bring this thing back with you!

Suddenly heavier footsteps pounded the desolate ground just behind her, approaching fast, and she glanced to the side, stumbling and falling on the rough ground. Strong hands caught at her, lifted her back to her feet, and pushed her forward.

“I've got you,” a familiar—and unexpected—voice said. The British accent was obvious, and this time she slowed her stride just long enough to look at him. Amazing spiky hair, twinkling old eyes, a kind, youthful, adventure-filled face, but it was the tan trench coat and blue pin stripe suit that utterly confirmed it. The Tenth Doctor glanced over his shoulder at the thing, while moving easily along beside her.

“An Arachnomorph,” he said, appreciatively. A little too calmly. “And it’s hungry.” He smiled, genuinely, and despite her terror, a grin tugged at her lips.

Emeline could see immediately why it was called an Arachnomorph. Eight enormously long legs surrounded a body the size of her parents SUV. There were two pincer arms as well, likely meant to feed her into the gaping, teeth filled mouth. Even from this distance its features were visible, and terrifying. The hairs all over it’s legs quivered with each skittering step it took toward them. The Doctor held out his hand and she grasped it.

“Run!” he shouted, his voice an impossible mix of danger and jubilation.

Emeline ran until her sides were heaving, and her legs felt like they would give out.

“Only a little further,” the Doctor said, and in the distance, Emeline could now see the blue box they were running for. She stumbled, recovered, and then pushed harder, but the Arachnomorph was gaining on them so fast, and she was already so tired. There was no way she would make it. She stumbled again, this time falling roughly to the ground. To her surprise the Doctor went down too. He rolled to his side, holding up a small push button control, and he pressed his thumb against the button as the Arachnomorph descended upon them.

Blue rays of light glistened around them, emanating from the direction of the blue box. Emeline closed her eyes as the Arachnomorph’s pincer reached for her, waiting to feel the searing pain of its bite. The moments stretched impossibly until, feeling nothing but the burning in her lungs and legs, she opened one eye and glanced at the Doctor. He glanced at her, and immediately began to laugh.

“Well done, Miss…?” he trailed off, waiting for her to respond.

“Emeline,” she replied, quietly, still panting.

“Emeline!” he cried. “Now that's a lovely name.” The Doctor sat up then, reaching for something on the ground, and presenting it to her as she sat up. It was a multifaceted crystal, a little larger than his fist, and as she looked, she saw the outline of the Arachnomorph deep within it. The Arachnomorph scurried closer to the clear wall of the crystal standing between it, and her face, and she pulled back in surprise.

The Doctor held it up to his face, tapping gently on the glass. “Nothing to worry about here, my dear Emeline. This is Time Lord technology. She won't be getting out of there, ever. And it solves a dilemma I've had. Well, two really.” He glanced over at her and smiled. “You see, the Kraxen Flopsis have been living in here for a while now. Extremely prolific creatures, they are, and with very few natural predators.

“They're over-populating the crystal terribly. So much so they’re in danger of destroying their habitat entirely, again. If this beauty can find the Kraxen Flopsis Forest—and I'd wager she can with a sniffer that big—it'll be a match made in a heavenly crystal, for them both.”

As Emeline peered at the glass again, she felt the subtle shift that meant she was beginning to wake. “Thank you Doctor,” she said, her breath slowing as the landscape grew dark around her, and slowly faded to nothing.

Emeline sat up in her bed, and clicked on the tiny side table light. “There's nothing to worry about Doctor,” she said. “This happens all the time.”

The Doctor’s puzzled face appeared in the lamplight on the far side of the bed. “Doctor?” he asked, a Scottish accent now dominating his speech. “Been a long time since I've been called that.” He looked around the small, tidy bedroom. “Would you, ah, mind telling me how I got here?” He glanced down at his clothing, and then at the crystal still in his hand. The Arachnomorph skittered around inside, startling him.

“What the—“ He threw the crystal onto the bed covers, and they both watched as it rolled across and dropped onto the floor on the far side, clicking gently as it landed.

“It's an Arachnomorph,” she said as calmly as she could. “And thank you for catching it. It would have made a terrible mess in this small room. Especially of me.”

“I caught it?” he asked, skeptically. “This is some kind of practical joke, isn't it?” He raised his voice a little, peering around the small room. “Very good Gary. You got me. Very clever hiring a little girl. She's good.”

Emeline gasped. “Please be quiet,” she whispered, jumping up onto her knees, her long nightgown catching under her as she moved. “You'll wake my parents. It's nearly dawn,” she added. “And then you'll go home.”

The Doctor stepped quietly over to her closet door and flung it open, clearly expecting to catch someone hiding inside, but all he found was the blue box, the Tardis, nestled in amongst her clothing.

“Nice touch,” he said, glancing back at her. He fished in his pocket and came out with the key, sliding it into the lock on the blue box, and swinging the doors open. Emeline could only see a dim yellow-orange glow from where she sat, but she knew that the box was the real thing. They always were. The Doctor leaned in, leaned out, looked at her in amazement, then poked his head around the back side of the box, feeling its dimensions.

“It's—and I can’t believe I’m going to say this—bigger… on the inside?”

The sun peeked its way over the horizon then, sending its first rays in through Emeline’s small bedroom window. The Doctor began to fade from sight, marvelling at his hands as they lightened and then disappeared, followed quickly by the rest of him.

“Thank you, Mr. Tennant,” Emeline called quietly to him, and then he and the big blue box were gone. Emeline climbed out of bed, bumping her foot on something in the shadow of the bed as she did. It was the Arachnomorph crystal. She slipped it quickly into the drawer on her bedside table, and slid the drawer shut. Not that anyone would believe her, but it was nice to have proof, if it lasted.

Emeline went to the window, thanked the sun for coming up, and then got dressed, making her way downstairs to find herself some breakfast. She was starving.


“Mr. Tennant?” The young Movie Production Assistant knocked on his trailer door, harder this time, and David hurried to straighten his costume and grab his script before opening the door.

“So, so sorry,” he mumbled, as he stepped out of the trailer. “Do they need me now?”

The—very young—PA nodded, gesturing to the golf cart waiting to take him to set. “On our way,” she barked into the walkie she held, and David moved quickly down the steps to the cart.

“I must've nodded off,” he said apologetically. “We've had a few long days, but I can usually manage. I must be getting old.”

The PA only smiled, half heartedly, so he jumped on the cart, opening his script to review his lines as they drove, but memories from his unplanned nap flashed through his head in a jumble.

“Oh. I was dreaming. I was the Doctor, and there was a little girl. Ela— no, Ema— Emeline! That's it. We were running from an Arachnomorph. But then I caught it in a Time Lord crystal. But then we were back in the—“ David stopped abruptly, as he realized both that the PA didn't care, and that she could easily misconstrue his next words.

“Ah, never mind,” he said. “It was quite the dream.”

The sun was sinking toward the horizon, and he glanced at his hands, half expecting to see them fade out.

“It's been a long time since I was the Doctor,” he mumbled to himself, trying to shake off the memory and get into his current character. They call me the oncoming storm, he thought to himself, and his eyes flashed dark, with memories of rage and joy, the births and deaths of thousands of star systems he’d loved, and the inevitable loss of friends he’d loved even more. It's been too long, he thought, as the golf cart lurched to a stop and he climbed off. Too long.


Emeline sat chewing her crunchy cereal, watching out of the corner of her eye as her parents joined her in the kitchen, her mother steering her older brother Jax away from the many temptations kitchen cupboards held for a fully grown boy-child.

“Sit Jax,” Emeline said, jumping up to help him pour a bowl of cereal, so their mother could get her own breakfast started. Jax was a handful, and no longer welcome in school after a number of aggressive outbursts toward kids who’d cruelly picked on him for his obvious learning disabilities. He was better off at home anyway, but it kept their mother busier than she’d planned to be with two school aged children.

“You're up early,” her mother commented.

“Did you have your radio on this morning?” her dad, already seated at the table, asked before she could finish chewing. “I heard someone talking. You need to keep the volume lower so you don’t wake the rest of us.”

Emeline dropped her eyes to her cereal bowl, and kept quiet. She wondered briefly if the Arachnomorph crystal was still there, in the nightstand, but just as quickly dismissed the thought. No one would believe her. And if they did, she'd probably just get in trouble for having a real person in her room at night without permission.

Not that she had any choice in the matter. Grown men, women, animals, strange, mystical talisman statues made of gold—they all just showed up when she awoke. When she was lucky, that was all they were. When she was more stressed and her dreams more nightmarish, she'd awaken to a deep pit full of deadly snakes beside her bed, or rabid bats fluttering around the ceiling, or once, a hungry wolf. She'd launched into her closet that time, before the wolf regained his bearing. The sun was far enough off that she'd been in real danger. Lucky for her, he’d felt no need to howl or carry on with any volume.

He'd prowled around her room, scratching at the closet a couple of times, damaging the door somewhat. Occasionally her dream creatures made noise, or broke things, and she'd been soundly scolded more than once for her “inappropriate behaviour”, so she worked hard to keep everything—and everyone—quiet.

“Better hurry, the bus will be here soon,” her mother said.

Emeline reluctantly picked up her cereal bowl, placed it gently in the dishwasher, and gathered her school things. She trudged slowly toward the bus stop, stopping several times to rub at her legs. They were exhausted, and starting to feel sore. She could never tell if she'd actually been running—in a real dream world somewhere beyond her own world—or if she'd simply been so tensed, asleep in her bed, that she'd worn herself out.

The dream world seemed more likely. When she woke, the sheets were always perfectly tucked over her, as she'd put them when she went to bed. And she was always so tired, as though she hadn't slept at all. When she wasn't at school, she usually had to hide in her room, reading, to try to rest, though that often ended with her being chastised for not helping out more around the house.

“You have to work a lot harder than you do to feel tired,” her dad always told her. He was a hard worker, a former athlete, but she was pretty sure he'd never run from an Arachnomorph before.

The bus rolled slowly around the corner, and Emeline climbed the steps, slowly making her way to her assigned seat. She smiled at little Clara on her way by. Clara, the sweet kindergarten girl seemed to look up to her, for reasons she had yet to determine, but Emeline’s smile faded as she moved past the smaller girl.

“Oh look out, here comes Lemonine!” one of the older kids taunted. “She looks tired! Wrestling bear cubs again last night?”

Emeline had once made the mistake of sharing her vivid dream experience with one of her classmates, a girl named Jessie. Jessie had told everyone in the class by the end of the day, and most of the kids had mocked her relentlessly for a full week, as if she were delusional, or an attention seeking liar. Sharing secrets wasn't a mistake she would make again. Neither was responding to the taunts. She sat down, low in her seat, pulling open a library book and trying to ignore the comments flung over her head.

Low brow dullard halfwits, she thought, more sadly than angrily. Being smarter than most of the other kids didn't matter. She still spent most of her day alone, and lonely, but not only thanks to Jessie’s treachery. She’d felt for years that she was somehow vitally different from the other kids. She didn’t care about the shallow things they seemed to fixate on, and it was though they spoke a different language sometimes, one she’d never been taught. If not for the beaming smile of Clara, and the encouraging words from one or two of her teachers, school would feel like a lost cause.

As if on cue, Clara squeaked in frustration, near the front of the bus. The young bully-in-training who lived down the road from her was picking on her again, and Emeline tucked her book away quickly, walking up the narrow bus aisle to sit with little Clara.

Clara's face shone, and the other kids cowered. Not that Emeline was feared—she'd never hurt or humiliated anyone—but the smaller kids did seem to have a healthy respect for her larger size, and maybe a little bit for her defiance of Schoolbus Rules.

The bus driver glowered at her in the rear view mirror. Walking wasn't allowed while the bus was moving. Or when it was stopped. But Emeline’s sense of justice meant she'd rather sacrifice her own good standing than let someone vulnerable suffer, just like the heroines in all the best books she read. She wasn’t a hero, but she knew her presence here helped, and it was a relief to be seen, and to matter to someone, even if only a little.

The smaller kids settled down, and she snuck back to her seat, pulling her book open again, and ducking even lower to avoid the bus drivers angry glare. Today was going to be a long day, and she only had a short time to disappear into her favourite world—one full of dragons and the brave men and women who were deeply bonded to them, defending Pern from a recurring, deadly peril called thread.

She wondered sometimes, if she read enough, and wished enough, if she could cross over to that world in her dreams. To stay there, and learn to control her dream thoughts. Or to bring a dragon back with her, to be someone who mattered, someone who was needed so much the dragon would die without her, someone whose bravery was honoured, even if only till the sun rose.

The school bus arrived at her school, and she closed her book. The only dragons she would see today were the flame throwing ten year olds her parents called “her friends”, and she walked slowly into the school, her legs heavy with exhaustion, her soul heavier with the denial of her truth—the twinkling eyes, the blue box, and the single, joy-filled word. “Run!”


Emeline woke, sitting up in bed, and then ducking immediately as the long, scissor-like blades clicked together, precariously close to her head.

“Please hold still for a moment,” she hissed, as she reached for the lamp on the side table. She really should just leave it on, but then her parents always thought she was staying up late, reading.

A much older—still properly disheveled and pale—Edward Scissorhands peered at her in the dim light, his scissor fingers clicking together, and his brow furrowing in confusion.

“Good morning, Mr. Depp,” she said quietly, spreading her fingers out over the bedspread nervously.

Johnny Depp glanced down at the tight belts of leather wrapped around his torso, the untucked white shirt and rumpled dress pants, and again at his hands, the long scissor blades clicking again with every move he made.

“How did I—“ He paused, clearing his throat awkwardly, and glancing around the dark room suspiciously. He glanced back at his hands. “Somebody slipped you something, Johnny boy. Something strong.” He stepped carefully around the end of the bed toward the door, reaching to grasp the knob, though his scissors immediately slipped off the old, round knob. “Really, really strong,” he added, staring at his strange “fingers”.

“Wait, please!” Emeline gasped. “You can’t go out there!”

The first rays of sunlight entered the room as she spoke, and Johnny Depp began to fade, disappearing even as she hopped out of her small bed. She swung the door open, peering into the still dark hallway nervously before shutting it again, but in the few seconds the movement took her hand began to sting, and then to throb. Blood was welling up in her palm, and she knew without looking that Johnny’s scissor fingers had left small, sharp gouges in the metal of the doorknob.

Emeline tied an old shirt over the doorknob before pressing a tissue into the cut on her hand, and was surprised when someone moved in the dark corner of the room nearest the window.

A pair of eyes peered curiously at her, and as her own eyes adjusted, the woman’s beautiful dark skin, rich red velour shirt dress and matching flat topped hat came into view.

“Guinan,” she whispered in relief. “Ms. Goldberg.”

Whoopi shifted her weight, one hand touching the floral wallpaper on the wall gently, the other lightly running along the wide brim of her hat exploratorily. “Little girl, I won’t pretend to know what’s going on here.” Her smooth, calm voice—though quiet—seemed to fill the room. “What I do know is that something is coming.” She paused, as she, too, began to fade in the growing light. “They’re coming.”

“Who is coming?” Emeline whispered, her breath catching in her fear-gripped throat, but it was too late. Whoopi was gone.


Emeline sat in class, her head resting heavily on her hand. Her eyes kept sliding shut, and she forced them open again. It was a review day, easily the most boring for her, since she remembered everything so easily. The last bell finally rang, and she bolted awake, sitting up straight in her seat for the first time that day.

“Emeline,” her teacher called as the students jumped to their feet and began filing from the room. “Please stay behind a moment.”

Emeline’s heart began to pump a little faster. She’d never been asked to stay behind before. And she had a bus to catch. As she approached, her teacher pulled out her grade book, sliding a cover sheet over the marks of the other students so that only Emeline’s marks were visible. The numbers started in the high eighties and nineties, and declined steadily across the page, ending with an astoundingly low—for her—sixty four.

“Emeline, I’m really concerned about your grades,” the teacher began earnestly. “You started off the year easily my best student, but your effort, and therefore grade, has been steadily declining. Today, you look like you can barely stay awake. Is something going on at home, or at school, that I should know about?”

The look on her young teachers face made it clear that the woman cared, and for a moment Emeline indulged a fantasy of telling her about the dreamscape, the characters, and the creatures who returned with her to her bedroom each morning as she jolted awake. But before her lips could move, the reality of a “strange people and animals in my bedroom at night” confession squeezed the air from her lungs.

She would be misunderstood. She would be medicated. Or someone—most likely her father—would be accused of something inappropriate, and life would get exponentially worse than it was right now. No one would hear the words she was saying and actually believe them. No one would simply come sit in her bedroom to see what happened when she woke from her dreams. That wasn’t how these things were “managed”. Even at ten, she could see enough chess moves ahead to know that she couldn’t win with any of the moves she had available. She’d be lucky to stay ahead of utter defeat.

Emeline pulled in a ragged breath through her too-tight throat, and simply shook her head, staring at the floor. Her teacher stared at her a moment longer.

“Ok, well, if this decline continues I’ll have no choice but to make a phone call home.” The woman paused again. “Go catch your bus. Dismissed.”

Emeline hefted her books and headed quickly for her locker, fighting back tears. I have to do better, she thought fiercely. Be better. Hide this better. Nothing good will come from anyone else finding out how weird I am.


“I am Locutus, of Borg. You will be assimilated. Your distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.” The red light resting over the former starship Captain’s eye socket swung over her once, and then again, his gravelly, monotone voice chilling her to her core. “Emeline Baptiste, human. Capabilities, advanced. Your distinctiveness will service us.”

Emeline’s heart pounded as Locutus stepped closer. Her back was against a metallic wall, and there was nowhere for her to run. Oh please, oh please, oh please be Sir Patrick Stewart when I wake up, she thought desperately. Please, please, please wake up Emeline!

His ghastly grey skin stood in stark contrast to the deep black of the many metallic and robotic pieces that covered his body, making him part flesh, part machine. Locutus. Of Borg—those virtually unstoppable destroyers of entire civilizations.

Locutus took another step forward, raising his mechanical arm toward her as she felt the dream subtlety shift. She breathed a sigh of relief, as she began to wake.

“We are coming,” Locutus intoned again. “Resistance is futile.”

The moment the heavy sleep feeling faded, Emeline sat up and clicked the bedside lamp on, glancing around the room for Locutus. He stood in the far corner, holding his mechanical arm inquisitively in front of his face. It’s Sir Patrick Stewart, she thought hopefully, holding her breath, still tensed to run. She’d woken earlier than usual, and the sky outside was absolutely black.

“Incredible,” Sir Stewart said then, still staring at the mechanical arm. The mechanism moved as if on his command, and he glanced up to congratulate the prop master on a job so well done, instead surprised to find himself in a small, dimly lit little girl’s bedroom, with no film crew to be found.

“Oh, hello,” he said cheerfully when he noticed her, until he saw the tears streaking her face, and her tensed form. “Are you afraid? Of me?” he asked quietly. “Don’t be. It’s just a prop. A costume.”

“Thank you Sir, but it isn’t,” Emeline replied, finally relaxing slightly. “Give the tube in your face a tug. It’s real.”

She watched as he smilingly obliged her, the corners of his mouth dropping the moment he pulled on the tube. His body sagged, and he looked for a moment as though he would vomit, instead catching himself on the window ledge and gazing silently at the floor until he regained his composure.

“What the devil?” he muttered under his breath, glancing up at her, tentatively.

“I dream things,” she said, “and they become real. Don’t worry though. When the sun comes up you’ll disappear from here and go back to normal.”

Sir Stewart reached up to the cable protruding from his face again, but thinking better of it, gestured toward the bed instead. “Mind if I sit down?” he asked. “I look dreadful, I know, but I’m just a harmless old man.”

She nodded, sitting back against the headboard to make room for him at the foot of the bed. He lumbered awkwardly over, and sat gingerly, wincing as other cables pulled strangely at his flesh.

“It would seem the Borg aren’t well designed for sitting,” he grinned, looking more closely at her face as he tried to settle into a reasonably comfortable position. “You look very tired, my dear girl.”

“I’ve been having nightmares more often,” she replied.

“Borg nightmares,” he said, and when she nodded, he continued. “You know, when I was filming as Locutus, I even had a nightmare about the Borg. Nothing so realistic as this, but I still felt afraid when I woke.” He glanced from his Borg attire back to her. “You must be a very brave young lady.”

This close up, she could see that his chin had a light dusting of stubble, and his face, especially the one unencumbered eye, was so kind—full of respect, and so fully attentive—that even with all the metal attachments and protrusions so close and distinct, she felt tears welling up in her eyes.

“You haven’t felt safe to sleep in a while, have you?” he asked gently. As the tears spilled down her cheeks, he moved carefully closer, watching her face the whole time. When she didn’t pull away, he reached for her face with his human hand, and brushed the tears gently away.

“If I’m to stay until sunup, I’d like to tell you an old tale I heard once, and then I’ll keep watch over you while you sleep a wink or two. How does that sound?”

“Yes please, Sir,” she whispered, her throat still tight with unshed tears.

He cleared his throat then, adjusted his position on the bed, and began a tall tale the likes of which she’d never heard before. His voice rose and fell, never straying so loud as to wake those sleeping nearby. Her tired eyes grew heavy, until at last she dozed off again to dreamland.


Sir Patrick Stewart continued his tale to the end, though the girl had fallen asleep some time earlier. When it ended, he gingerly stood up, moving toward the door of the small room. Grasping the cloth wrapped handle, fully expecting to have a hidden film crew jump out at him, he pulled the door open quietly and was very surprised to see only a dark hallway in a very typical looking home.

He closed the door silently, and as he turned back to face the room, was surprised again to see a large, cozy recliner sitting beside the bed. As he stepped closer to look, he realized that he was no longer carrying the metallic weight of the Borg attachments, and stopped to glance down at his body.

The familiar red and black of his old Starfleet uniform greeted him, and he revelled in its comfortable, familiar softness. A small mirror stood on the nightstand, and he lifted it to his face, relieved to see no marks remaining there after the strange experience with the tube like protrusion. He fingered his Captain’s pips, and tapped the communicator on his chest, out of habit. It chirped quietly in the dark room, and for a moment he held completely still.

Surely there can be no Enterprise to receive the signal? he thought, glancing at the ceiling in spite of himself. The communicator felt different than the prop he had become so accustomed to. It felt more solid, and had clicked under his touch, like the haptic cell phone buttons on the newer phones did.

“Hello?” he said, quietly, though the girl was still sound asleep. There was no response, and he shook his head with a wry smile, settling into the oversized recliner. “Engage,” he whispered, as he pulled the lever on the recliner, and as he settled back into the chair, he saw a smile cross the young girl’s lips. “Goodnight dear child,” he whispered again, and within a few moments, his own tired eyes slid closed.


Emeline woke just before daybreak, feeling more rested than she had in weeks. She turned her head to the side, finding Sir Stewart sleeping peacefully in the soft chair she’d dreamed for him, to accommodate the Borg protrusions. He was no longer Locutus, and she smiled. He looked even kinder now, and she wished for a moment that he could be her grandfather. She’d never known her grandparents. They’d been killed in a terrible accident when her father was younger, and he didn’t speak of it, or them. Even her only aunt lived far north, somewhere in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, and she was rarely spoken of either, and usually only with resentment—for what, Emeline didn’t know.

Sir Stewart stirred just as the sun rose over the horizon, and Emeline sighed as he and the chair faded from view. She heard activity from down the hall. Her older brother was up and into something, so she climbed out of bed and hurried to see if she could help before he caused any damage or disturbed their parents. She hoped she’d dream of Captain Picard again. But until then, there was real life to be dealt with.


Swipe for the next chapter

Dreamer - Chapter Two

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Two

Emeline ran as fast as she could, but as soon as it seemed she was getting away, another Borg would appear. She’d change direction, but again, another Borg would appear in the darkness.

“Your distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.”

The sound came from all around her—thousands of voices, blended in a discordant symphony, eerily echoing back from the metallic walls that surrounded her just out of sight in the darkness.

“Resistance is futile.”

This time the words came primarily from the Borg standing closest to her. Locutus. His red eye laser swept over her, and she began to back away, but two Borg drones stood behind her.

“Captain Picard!” she cried out. “Sir Patrick? I need you!” Her heart pounded faster as Locutus and the Borg began to move closer, but she wasn’t sure what scared her more—what the Borg could do to her here, or what would happen if she brought them back with her.

“I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming,” she whispered, and the subtle shift that meant she was waking began to warp the dream space.

The moment her body would respond, Emeline pushed herself up to turn on the bedside lamp. Locutus stood to one side of the bed, nearest the lamp, but two drones stood on the far side of the bed. The walls were covered with conduits and metal sheeting, and for a moment she gaped in awe. She’d never seen anything like it.


The voice was Sir Patrick Stewart’s and she launched off the bed toward his Borg clad body, grasping his arm and pulling him quickly toward the plain white closet doors at the foot of the bed—doors that stood in almost ridiculous stark contrast to the metallic walls.

She pulled the doors closed from inside and showed Sir Stewart how to “lock” them by hooking a small crowbar under the middle of each door and fastening a hole in the other end over a large screw she’d drilled directly into a floor stud. She could hear the drones moving around the bed toward the closet doors, and she prayed that they would stay quiet.

“The sun isn’t far off,” she whispered, glancing at Sir Stewart. His look of consternation was only just visible in the dim light that spilled through the cracks and around the edges of the closet doors, but she heard his sharp intake of breath as the drones stepped between them and the small table lamp, casting them into deeper darkness.

She felt the closet door move as one of the drones began to pull on the opening knob, and she redoubled her grip on the small crowbar, feeling Sir Patrick shift as he did the same.

“Do you believe we’re in danger?” he asked quietly. “This is only a dream—albeit a very, very vivid one.”

The closet doors groaned outward as the Borg drone increased his effort, popping back into place with a loud thud as the opening knobs ripped through the cheap wood finish. Emeline’s heart thudded almost as hard as it had in the dream space. Her parents were going to kill her—if the Borg didn’t first!

“They just really ripped the knob out,” she replied softly. “I don’t know what happens if they inject us with—“ She stopped as the Borg began to cut through the closet door near the hinges with a small circular saw he’d had contained in his mechanical arm. “No no no no no!” she hissed, but even as she said the words, the sound of the saw ceased, and the room fell utterly silent.

“Dawn?” Sir Stewart asked, once again visible in the light from the small table lamp in the room outside.

She nodded, but tears streamed down her face. If her parents hadn’t heard the Borg saw, she could hide the damage—temporarily—but the dreams were getting worse, and much more dangerous.

“I need—“

Sir Stewart had unhooked the crowbar and as he slid the door open and peered through looking for Borg drones, he faded silently away.

“—help,” she finished in a squeak as her throat closed up with contained grief. She squeezed her eyes shut and bit her lip, holding the tears and sobs in as well, before taking a few shallow breaths to regain control of her emotions. She only had a few minutes to hide the damage already done, or there’d be hell to pay in daylight too.


Sir Patrick Stewart woke from a deep nap, dragging himself up from the heavy fog of sleep with effort.

“Miss?” he muttered, as his heavy eyelids opened, and he looked around the room—his living room—in confusion.

“You ok love?” Sunny asked from across the room.

Patrick sat up. He was on his sofa, fully—and normally—clothed, the book he’d been reading laying down on the floor beside the sofa.

“I fell asleep,” he mumbled, rubbing his eyes, fully awake, but unable to shake off the memory of the little girl with tears streaming down her face. Or the memory of the Borg implants pulling at his body as he’d crouched awkwardly next to her in her small closet, hiding from the drones.

“Another Borg dream?” Sunny asked, moving to sit next to him on the sofa.

“Yes, and I—“

Leaving the sentence hanging—and Sunny on the sofa—Patrick jumped to his feet and strode quickly to his study. Sunny followed him in as he began rifling through books and albums until he found the one he was searching for.

“Aha,” he said, pulling it out and flipping it open. He turned a few pages and stared, both in amazement and horror, at the images of his full Locutus makeup and costuming. He rubbed at his thigh, where he could still almost feel the tugging sensation where the cable had exited his leg muscle.

“Look here,” he said, turning the album toward Sunny and pointing to the exact spot on Locutus. “And here.” He pointed to the tube coming out of his face. “The detail of these dreams is—“

“Horrifying?” Sunny offered gently, rubbing his shoulder affectionately.

“And incredible, also,” he added. “Absolutely incredible.” He glanced at the pictures again, catching a fleeting glimpse of himself as an old man in a straw hat from the final episode of the Star Trek: The Next Generation series as he flipped the album closed. He grinned wryly.

“You might want to google parietal lobe defects and Irumodic Syndrome. The dream was so vivid, I could almost believe she was a real little girl.”

Patrick chuckled along with Sunny at the thought, but deep beneath the mirth, there lay a niggling feeling of discomfort. If there were such a little girl, she really would need help—and, like the old, sick Picard, she would have almost no way to convince those around her of a need for anything but a strong dose of anti-psychotic meds—meds which could either help, or leave her utterly helpless to the whims of dark dreams.


Emeline sat in class, leaned forward on her desk. She was utterly exhausted—physically drained from staying awake late into the night to avoid the nightmares, and emotionally spent from crying for most of those wakeful hours. The teacher brushed past her, handing out marked assignments, before turning back to Emeline.

“You lost marks for not handing it in fastened in a duo-tang, like I asked,” the teacher said, handing her the papers.

Emeline barely lifted her head. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “I forgot.”

Her teacher froze in his tracks, turning back to face Emeline. “Out in the hallway, now,” he said, his voice leaving no room for questioning.

Emeline, surprised, her face flushing with embarrassment at the glances from the other students, quickly got to her feet and walked through the door, into the brief reprieve of an empty hallway. She only had a moment to puzzle over the teachers strange reaction before the teacher stepped through the door.

“I’ve had about enough of your attitude, young lady,” the teacher snapped. “I will not be disrespected like that in front of the other students.”

Emeline stood frozen in place, her mind rushing to comprehend what exactly was happening. She was tired, but she didn’t think she’d had a disrespectful tone… and she certainly hadn’t had an ongoing negative attitude as the teacher seemed to be implying. To the contrary, she’d always fought to stay pleasant and cheerful despite her exhaustion and isolation, to be helpful to the other students who struggled with the class, to have her assignments done on time and as well as she was able.

“But I didn’t—“ Emeline stopped immediately, as the teachers features morphed deeper into anger. She dropped her eyes to the floor, trying to keep her breathing steady around the wild pummelling of her heart. This isn’t fair, she thought, tears welling up in her eyes. None of this is fair. Even when I try so hard, somehow I’m always in the wrong!

Emeline waited silently for the teachers tirade to end, and then slunk silently back to her seat, keeping her eyes on the floor so she wouldn’t see the questioning glances and mocking smirks of the other students. Real life honestly felt like a nightmare from which she wasn’t able to wake—one angry face after another, endless dead ends, seemingly permanent exhaustion. If she could stop the nightmares, find a way to lucid dream the conditions of her dreams, finding a way to stay in the dreamscape actually felt like a viable option. No one here would miss her, except maybe for the help she always tried so hard to give.

The teacher called on her to answer a question then, probably noticing her vacant gaze, but Emeline didn’t respond. She didn’t even look up. Go ahead, she thought, angry for the first time. Humiliate me again. I’ll find somewhere I belong. The Harper Hall, or the Enterprise. Or…anywhere but here.


Emeline was surrounded by Borg, again, but Locutus was nowhere to be seen. She searched every greyed face as she ran and stumbled her way around the dreamscape, but this time there would be no Sir Stewart when she awoke. There would be about a hundred Borg though, unless she found a way to escape from their monstrous ship.

She backed away from the mass of drones approaching in front of her and felt a metal railing press into her back. Turning to look behind her, she saw the gaping maw that lay at the heart of every Borg vessel. Level after level, lined with Borg regeneration units, and in this particular nightmare, each one filled with a dormant Borg drone.

There are thousands of them! she thought with growing horror. The approaching Borg pressed in closer, and she climbed onto the railing in desperation. She didn’t know what would happen if she died in a dream, but what would happen if this many drones followed her back would surely be worse. If only I could fly, she thought sadly as she prepared to jump into the abyss. I need a dragon. She took a deep breath.

“Jump, and I will catch you,” a rumbling voice sounded in her head, along with strong feelings of reassurance and safety.

The Borg were almost upon her. Now or never, she thought. She stared down into the bottomless darkness before her, and after only a moments hesitation, she leapt forward. Only a split second after her feet left the railing, a white body the size of a small suv burst from the darkness with wings stretched wide. A blast of cold air lingering around the large frame engulfed her as she landed squarely against the solid body. Riding straps encircled the dragons neck, and she grasped them quickly in her small hands.

“Ruth?” she squealed in amazement, both because she was sitting on a dragon’s back, and because rather than falling, they were drifting gently away from the railing in zero gravity.

“You need wherhide,” Ruth’s voice filled her head again, and his face swivelled to look at her, his huge eyes whirling concerned shades of yellow and orange, though his words were filled again with reassurance and love. “Between is cold.”

Emeline glanced back at the Borg, who had stopped by the railing, unsure of what to do next, observing. They wouldn’t know what to do with a dragon, she thought, if they could even catch one. They’d probably just try to kill them all.

She felt suddenly warmer and glancing down, noticed she was now wearing a thick wherhide coat, knee high riding boots, gloves and a helmet.

“They would not catch us,” Ruth told her confidently. “I am too fast. Between is cold, but I will be with you. Do not be afraid.”

As Emeline nodded, she felt the familiar shift pass over the dreamscape, and an image of her bedroom flashed through her mind. “Go now, Ruth, quickly,” she began, but her words were cut short by an icy blast that consumed—and deeply penetrated—her entire body. She could no longer feel the riding straps in her hands, nor the immense form of the dragon under her. She wasn’t floating, or falling. There was just…nothing, and despite her reasonably well informed expectations of Between, she felt a rising sense of panic.

“I am here,” she heard Ruth’s calm voice in her head again. “It is small here.”

Sensation suddenly returned, and Emeline found herself flat on her back in her small bed. She tried to sit up, but her head connected with something very solid only a few inches off the pillow. She was still wearing her thick riding helmet, so it didn’t hurt, but as she tried to reach for the bedside lamp she found that she ran into something there as well.

“I am sorry,” Ruth’s voice came through loud in her sleep addled brain. “It is small here.” His eyes whirled calming shades of green and blue in the dark, and she rested one hand on his eye ridge, giving it a good rub. A low rumble emanated from his throat, and she could feel her entire body vibrating underneath it.

“Thank you Ruth,” she whispered, hoping her intense feelings of gratitude would come through to him as clearly as his feelings of care and reassurance had reached her.

She felt Ruth shift slightly, and as she reached to turn on the small lamp, something snapped loudly from behind his large body. His eyes whirled orange, and she rubbed his eye ridge again until the speed of the whirling slowed, and the colour settled to greens and blues.

“Whatever it was, its better than a thousand Borg, Ruth,” she said quietly.

“I will come when you need me. No Borg will hurt you,” he said confidently. “They consume without thought. They are like thread. I will bring firestone.”

Emeline smiled as Ruth’s body began to fade with the rising sun, but as his body melted away, so did the reassuring feelings he had been emanating. In the light of morning, she could also see the spiderwebs of broken glass in the window. It hadn’t been his fault. He could hardly fit in the room, and he had been trying so hard not to squash her. But she had no way to hide the broken window, and with the discovery of the broken window would likely come the discovery of the broken closet doors, and eviscerated doorknob.

Emeline pulled the blankets over her now bare head, and waited, wondering if she maybe, just maybe, wouldn’t have preferred a thousand Borg to what was to come.


Emeline walked slowly down the ridge that ran along the back of the subdivision in which her family lived, moving herself steadily toward the overflowing creek at the bottom. Her parents forbade her from playing close by the creek—especially now during the spring thaw when the water grew to three, and sometimes four or five or six times it's usual depth. They reminded her year after year with threats of punishment, so she had long since stopped playing.

Instead, she sat beside the water, watching as it rushed gently over an old, mostly demolished dam past beaver residents had once built. How many tiny little minnows get swept out over the beaver dam by the pull of that current, completely by accident? she wondered. And how many more would throw themselves willingly over, if they knew this was their only chance to leave? If they knew the water would run dry and they'd die in a shallow pool of stagnant water before the opportunity came again with next years spring thaw?

It felt like only moments later that she heard her parents calling her to return, and she launched up the ridge before they could see how close she’d been to the water. They’d sent her out of the house while they “discussed” the situation—her trouble in school, and with the bus driver, the wrecked doorknob, closet doors, and broken window. She’d apologized profusely, but broken things cost money, and she already knew her allowance was gone until it was all paid for.

Her mother sat tight lipped on the sofa, holding both of Jax’s hands to keep them still, but it was her father in his reclining chair that made her heart skip a beat. His face was stony, not angry, as she had expected, and his voice was calm and quiet when he began to speak.

“Your mother and I have discussed the situation, and we have agreed that you should go stay with your Aunt Mavis for awhile. Until your grades improve. Mavis can homeschool you. She has already agreed. You leave in the morning.”

The words hung in the air, as she glanced from her fathers expressionless face, to her mother’s avoidant one. Her own words failed her, not that there was any reason to speak. Her fathers decisions were not up for discussion. They hadn’t sent her out to “discuss” anything. They’d sent her out to call Aunt Mavis to confirm. It had obviously been long decided, plans like this didn’t develop over mere minutes.

She was too much trouble, on top of the trouble Jax caused. But he couldn’t help being difficult, and she could. Or at least should. She should be able to maintain her grades, and not break things, and not be so much trouble.

The silence hung for a moment, heavy with her fathers expectation of a fight, but when she didn’t speak, he continued. “Go gather your things.”

As Emeline trudged through the door she heard her mother’s voice, cheerfully announcing that she’d be making cheesie cakes and plum chicken for supper, as if it were any ordinary Saturday. As if it weren’t obvious that she was making the last meal for the condemned.

“Thanks mom,” she tried to say, gratitude—or at least the expression of it—was deeply embedded in her performance repertoire, but her voice choked out on the word mom. Her breaths came audibly for a moment, but as she climbed the stairs and entered her room, she got herself under silent control, with only a few tears to show.

As she stared at the broken window—the final straw—something inside her shattered into thousands of tiny pieces, so much worse than the pathetic crack in the window that was now her undoing. The window smiled crookedly at her as the gaping hole inside her shuddered with contained, silent, and yet somehow all-consuming sobs.


Swipe for Chapter Three

Dreamer - Chapter Three

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Three

Emeline sat silently, staring out the window of the small airplane that was even now descending over LAX, in Los Angeles. She had a short layover before she would board another—even smaller—plane bound for Canada. British Columbia was where her aunt Mavis had settled, in an old cabin hidden among the giant forests in the central part of the province. She was as good as banished, but so was her aunt, and she tried to stay optimistic about meeting the older woman.

Emeline clutched her small carry on bag as the plane taxied to a stop. There wasn’t much in it, but it had a picture of David Tennant as the tenth Doctor on it, and it made her feel safer somehow, having it close. As if she could call him for help if she were surrounded by Borg as she walked through the airport.

The flight attendant approached, and indicated that she should stand up and follow.

“Hey there, sweetie! Wow, you’re so brave to be travelling all by yourself!”

Emeline didn’t respond. She hadn’t had a choice, and the lump in her throat grew as she followed the flight attendant down the narrow aisle and out into the connecting corridor of the airport. The flight attendant turned conspiratorially toward her.

“I’m going to help you get to your connecting flight, but if you keep your eyes open as we go, you may just see a celebrity or two, coming or going from a movie set!”

Emeline wanted to laugh—she’d already met many of the most famous and beloved celebrities she knew and cared about, in her own bedroom—but she adopted what she hoped was a suitably awed expression as the flight attendant winked. They went down to the luggage carousel to claim her suitcase, and then the flight attendant called them a ride.

“It’s a long way to the connecting flight,” she said. “I don’t want your little legs to get too tired.”

“Thank you ma’am,” Emeline replied. She had fallen into a fitful, dreamless sleep the night before, so her legs weren’t actually as tired as usual, but she had no idea what the coming night would hold. She just hoped her aunt had a decent closet for her to hide in if necessary.

“Oh, call me Cindy,” the flight attendant murmured, directing Emeline’s gaze toward the VIP lounge as the cart rolled along. “Celebrities often wait in there,” she continued. “Oh, is that Ryan Reynolds? How exciting!”

The small airport cart was moving too fast for Emeline to actually see any of the faces at the VIP lounge tables, and she suspected the woman was only trying to make her feel special with a “celebrity sighting” but she murmured appropriately with delight, clutching her David Tennant bag to her side more tightly as the driver swerved around a few slow moving pedestrians.

“Well now, you can tell everyone back home that you saw Ryan Reynolds on your way through LAX!” Cindy continued, oblivious to the tears that welled up in Emeline’s eyes as she said it. There was no one back home for her to tell, even if she’d believed she’d actually been close to the celebrity.

She ducked her head to the side, as though searching the corridor for other famous people, but as Cindy babbled on about people she’d seen recently, Emeline let her eyes drift out of focus. Maybe it won’t be so bad with auntie, she thought hopefully. A lone tear snuck out and spilled down her face before she wiped it quickly away with her sleeve. Maybe she’ll be impressed about Ryan Reynolds.


David Tennant sat at a table at the LAX VIP lounge, nursing a cup of coffee. Night shoots, he thought, glancing around the lounge. He didn’t recognize anyone and turned instead to face the main corridor of the airport, watching the people hurry by on their way to—wherever. He rubbed his tired eyes and pulled out his phone to check the time, glancing back up as the whir of an airport cart entered his perception.

His own multicoloured face stared back at him, from a bag clutched in the arms of a young girl riding the cart, and he smiled for a moment, until his gaze drifted up to her face. Wait. Emeline?! His tired brain supplied the name, even as it dismissed the impossibility. The dream had been so vivid—her sad face was etched in his memory.

His hands clutched his phone, and after a moments hesitation, he touched the camera icon and snapped a picture before the cart rolled away down the corridor. He stared after her for a moment, then touched his phone’s screen to check the image he’d captured. It was a little blurry, but he could still clearly see her face—Emeline’s face—with the plain, brown hair and sad, sad eyes he remembered so clearly.

Movement next to him startled him and he looked up to see Johnny Depp pulling a chair out from the neighbouring table. Johnny nodded amicably, before noticing the look on David’s face.

“You alright?” Johnny asked easily. “Look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“Yeah,” David replied, shaking his head no even as he said it. “I just—“ He stopped, but at Johnny’s interested expression, he continued. “I just saw a little girl who was identical to a little girl I had a dream about a few weeks back. Incredibly vivid dream—that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. I’d swear it was the same girl.”

As he spoke, he turned the phone screen toward Johnny. “Emeline,” he said, his eyes widening in surprise as Johnny shoved his chair back from the other table, standing up in a swift, almost angry movement.

Johnny glanced around the lounge quickly, before stepping forward to lean on David’s table, getting in his face a little. “Who put you up to this?” Johnny hissed, still seeming angry but trying to keep his voice low to avoid drawing attention to himself.

David sat back, beyond stunned at the strange reaction to his very personal revelation. As he stared at Johnny in utter confusion, Johnny’s eyes softened a tiny bit, questioningly, in confusion.

“I’m a bit—“ David stopped. Gobsmacked, he thought, the adrenaline pumping through his veins helping his tired brain make the connection. He’s gobsmacked too. He’s not angry—he’s scared.

“You’ve seen her too,” David said very quietly, after a long pause. He glanced around the lounge then too and noticed a few people staring at them. “Sit down, please. Tell me what you know?” he asked, hopefully.

After a long moment, Johnny sat down beside him at the table. “Let me see her again,” he said, this time studying the picture more closely. He looked up at David again. “I thought I was losing my bloody mind by the second time it happened. Who is she?”

David shook his head in response. “You thought you were losing your mind? You ever wake up holding a Time Lord Crystal with a crawling, honest-to-god Arachnomorph moving around inside?” He held up his hand in demonstration. “The body is the size of an SUV.”

Johnny waved over the server and ordered. “Two coffees, as strong as you can make them,” he added as she turned to walk away. “The spoon could stand up in it, it wouldn’t be strong enough.” He rubbed his face with both hands.

David stared at him for a long moment in silence. This wasn’t an act. The man was shaken. “What the bloody hell is going on?” David glanced at the image on his phone one last time before putting it down.

Johnny spread his fingers out and looked through them at David, and the corners of his lips turned up, ever so slightly. A second later, his shoulders began to shake, and before David knew what was happening, Johnny was laughing uncontrollably.

Caught in the sheer ridiculousness of the moment, David began to laugh too, harder and harder until they were both crying, wiping away tears, and trying to turn discretely away from the other lounge patrons.

Johnny chuckled again, before finally settling himself down. “I don’t know what’s going on, or who she is, but I do know that I should not ever try to wear my old costumes from 1990.”

David chuckled again, nodding, as the coffees arrived. He picked up his phone and handed it to Johnny. “I have to catch my flight soon, stay in touch? Let me know if you hear anything, find anything out? I can’t even—” He stopped, at a complete loss as to what to say.

Johnny nodded and took the phone, entering his private number and handing it back. Despite the laugh they’d just shared, he looked haunted, and it was especially unnerving to David because he felt exactly the same way. Strange dreams were strange dreams. But shared strange dreams? That opened the door for a host of unwanted possibilities, which he wasn’t even ready to consider.

David stood, gathering up his carry-on, and as he walked away, Johnny held up one hand, which he grasped firmly. “Take care brother,” Johnny murmured.

“And you,” he replied. And psychosis, or Hollywood plot, may God help us both.


Emeline, arriving at her aunt’s home, had been quite surprised to find that the “little old cabin” her father had told her about was, in fact, a gargantuan, multi-story mansion, hidden away amongst towering Red Cedars and White Pines.

The trees were so tall that almost no sunlight reached the house, or the small yard that was encircled by a tall brick wall—put there to keep bears and wolves out, her aunt told her as they drove up the meandering, hidden driveway in her aunts very small, and very old Dodge Aries automobile.

The dichotomy puzzled Emeline. The house was wondrous, rising majestically from perfectly manicured lawns, its solid wood front doors towering at least twelve feet high. The brick wall was utterly magnificent, rising ten feet high and built of solid stone at least two feet thick, with carved stone stairs leading up to turrets that rose at intervals along its length—and yet, her aunt drove an old, rust covered car from well back into the previous century, and her clothes were out of date, and well worn, almost to the point of being considered shabby.

“Come, dear Emeline,” her aunt reached for her hand as she parked the old car inside a small garage on the side of the home. “I can’t wait to show you around the house, and the yard, and the surprise I have for you!”

Her aunt was older than her father. Gentle lines creased her face around the eyes especially, and at the corners of her mouth, and for a moment Emeline wondered if they might not just be laugh lines. Her aunt had a strange habit of smiling and even laughing at odd times, as if she’d just thought of something wonderful and couldn’t wait to share it.

“Just leave your bags,” her aunt said as she led Emeline from the small garage. “I’ll ask the butler to bring them up later. His name is K-9.” Her eyes twinkled, but she was already moving swiftly toward a narrow stair that ran along the length of the garage.

Emeline followed her aunt up the staircase into the main entryway of the home, catching her breath the moment she passed through the small side doorway. A grand staircase rose up on both sides of the foyer, and a spectacular crystal chandelier hung in the centre, suspended under what appeared to be a skylight, though it was covered at the moment. It looked as though it could chase the shadows from the entire room if the sunlight hit it the right way. Large windows lined the entirety of the rear wall of the room, and Emeline wondered if the chandelier couldn’t light those rooms as well.

“That’s my own design,” her aunt said conspiratorially, following her gaze. “And don’t you worry about the lack of sunlight around the house. There’s a special sun room at the back where the trees don’t cover, and even on the greyest of days, there’s always enough light to chase the darkness away.

“Come! I want to show you the rest of the house!” Her aunt was almost giddy, and Emeline felt a strange role reversal, her own nature being so quiet and reserved, almost as if she were the old lady, and her aunt Mavis the ten year old. She followed her aunt up the curving staircase and through one of the two well spaced doorways at the top.

Her aunt gestured to this room, and that room, and then Emeline’s room—which was right next to her own, and unlike anything Emeline had seen before, even in movies. The bed had a monstrous canopy, draped with sheer fabrics of every hue. Twinkling red and orange lights spilled across the ceiling in every direction, and three large—but covered—windows filled the outside wall. Her aunt threw open the large closet—which Emeline was relieved to see was large enough and secure enough for hiding—to show her an amazing array of dresses, gowns, safari clothes, coats, pants, and saris in spectacular colours.

“They’re all sized just for you,” her aunt whispered. “Do you like it?”

Emeline was speechless for a moment, but as she trailed her hands along the vibrant fabrics she had to ask. “How did you get all of these?”

“Oh,” her aunt brushed her hand dismissively. “Wardrobe sale,” she said. “From movie sets when they’re finished filming.” Her aunt turned away a little, her expression inexplicably sad for a moment, before that silly smile lit her face again. “There’s a movie filming not too far from here. Would you like to go one day and watch?” Her aunt’s gaze drifted off to a place Emeline couldn’t see for a moment.

“Could we?” she asked shyly. She’d never been on a movie set, and she had the feeling her aunt was better connected than the flight attendant at the airport had been.

“Yes, of course,” she said, the smile overtaking her face again. “I still know a few people. Did you know I used to work on movie sets?”

Emeline shook her head no, but she didn’t elaborate. She didn’t want to hurt her aunt’s feelings by sharing just how little her father spoke of the extended family, or of her in particular. Emeline wasn’t sure why he never spoke of her aunt, or why he seemed to think so poorly of the woman when she was obviously doing quite well for herself. But then, she’d never been able to figure out why her father thought so poorly of her either.

“We are two peas in a pod, aren’t we?” her aunt asked then, surprising Emeline. “Always trying to smile, even with so much weight on our shoulders.” Her aunt smiled sadly, then whirled and pushed apart the clothing in the closet. “Almost time for supper, dear Emeline, please pick something especially spectacular to wear tonight, for your first night here. Like this, or this!”

Her aunt reached into the closet and pulled out two stunning gowns, both with full, ruched skirts, and exquisite detailing. One was red, and Emeline blushed at the thought of wearing such s bold colour. The other was a deep purple that faded to lilac around the shoulders and neckline, and Emeline reached for it tentatively—appreciatively.

Her aunt beamed, handing her the dress. “Excellent choice! I’ll be back in a jiff,” she said. “There’s jewellery on the makeup table, and a little lip gloss there as well, if you like.” Her aunt Mavis swept from the room, returning a few minutes later to zip Emeline’s gown and help her apply her lip gloss—herself dressed in a resplendent, rich teal gown.

“Now for the shoes,” her aunt said, and she moved over to the large dresser with drawers near the closet. “This is called a chiffonier,” she said, sliding open one of the drawers to reveal rows of beautiful dress shoes, in all the colours of the rainbow. One pair in particular caught Emeline’s attention. They looked as though they were made of glass, and her aunt reached immediately for them. “Most comfortable, and most beautiful.”

Emeline slipped the shoes on. She felt transported, as if she’d woken up on a different planet—one in which she was a lost princess, returned home to her castle. A few unexpected tears escaped from her eyes and rolled down her cheek, and her aunt immediately brushed them aside and pulled her into a fierce hug.

“We’ll be alright here, the two of us,” she said, brushing Emeline’s hair back from her face. “This house holds more than a little magic, my dear Emeline.” Her aunt held her close, which, while she wasn’t much used to the sensation of being held, still felt safe.

“It’s full of magic,” her aunt repeated, more quietly the second time, and Emeline wondered which of them she was trying to convince. “While you’re here, my dear girl, promise me that you’ll hold tight to good magic—hold tight to marvellous dreams, because dreams have power. Your biggest dreams can scare people, can reveal to them just how powerless and afraid they feel, but that’s certainly no reason to stop having them.”

Emeline nodded as she felt her aunt shift position to look at her, though she stared at the floor rather than meeting the older woman’s eyes. She wondered just how her aunt would feel about her dreams after a dragon appeared in her bedroom—or a ship full of Borg.

“Dreams are marvellous things,” her aunt said quietly. “Combine them with action, and self-discipline and you can’t be beat.” Once again, Emeline wondered which of them she was trying to convince.

A bell tinkled in the corridor then, and Aunt Mavis bustled Emeline down the stairs toward the main dining room for a feast fit for a princess. Despite everything, Emeline felt a gnawing feeling of unease growing in the pit of her stomach. Rags and riches. Something in this home didn’t add up, and she wasn’t sure she could carry the weight of any more secrets. Her own were already very nearly too much for her little shoulders to bear.


Emeline woke from a dreamless sleep, to the sound of raised voices in the main foyer. She slipped out from the covers, and through the draped fabric of her four poster bed, and crept out into the corridor that led downstairs. Her aunt’s voice, raised to a higher pitch than Emeline had heard, was telling someone to leave.

“I have till month end,” Emeline heard her say. “Get out of my house, and get off my property!”

A young male voice responded, quietly, patronizingly, and then Emeline heard her aunt shouting, “Get out! Now!” There was a hysterical edge to her voice now, as though she were truly frightened of the man—at her inability to make him leave, to make him treat her with any kind of respect or human decency—and Emeline felt her heart beating faster. Could I have dreamed this? She couldn’t remember having dreamed anything, but this house was strange, and her aunt’s distress unnerved her.

Finally she heard the large, solid doors glide closed, and a large lock click into place. She crept forward toward the grand staircase, stopping as she caught sight of her aunt hunched forward on the bottom step, her shoulders shaking with contained sobs.

Her aunt Mavis sat up suddenly, turning toward her, quickly wiping her eyes dry. “I’m sorry, child. Did I wake you with all that yelling?” She patted the step next to her and Emeline moved quickly down to sit beside her.

“I haven’t paid my property taxes,” Mavis said, glancing at Emeline. “And I don’t have permits for the expansion of the home. I don’t have the money for either, and that man wants me to sell it to him to settle my debts.” She glanced around the enormous foyer. “This used to be a small cabin, tiny, really, but it wasn’t big enough—or safe enough,” she added almost as an afterthought.

“From the bears and wolves?” Emeline asked, innocently enough, but her aunt stared at her, measuring her words.

“You’re more clever than your dad thinks, aren’t you.”

It was a statement, not a question, but Emeline replied anyway. “I hope so.”

There was a long moment of silence, in which Emeline expected her aunt to sweep her up in distraction—getting dressed, or finding something for breakfast—but her aunt simply sat on the step, feeling a lot of uncomfortable feelings, and not hiding them from Emeline.

Emeline sat up a little straighter. No adult had ever shown her so much of their truth before, and the honesty of it made her feel less afraid, and more afraid at the same time.

“What are you going to do?” she asked her aunt, a little nervously.

“You mean, what are we going to do,” her aunt replied with a wry smile. “You can’t go home yet, my dear. You’ll wither into a sad, old, wrinkly woman there in no time at all.” Her aunt held out one hand, which Emeline grasped firmly. “First, I’ll show you my art work, and you can tell me if it’s terrible. I’ve been trying to sell it for months, with no buyers. And then, we’ll have some breakfast. I can’t think properly on an empty stomach, and neither should you.”

Her aunt led her up the staircase, and as they walked, Emeline noticed the paint splatters on her aunt’s hand for the first time. “You’re an artist then?” she asked.

Her aunt kept walking, but glanced down at Emeline kindly. “I do paint, but I’m really just a dreamer. This world doesn’t yet understand the value of dreams. Or the danger of their loss.”

Emeline felt her heart squeeze in her chest. Art, and dreams, especially daydreams, were a fools errand in her father’s home—a frivolity allowed married women by their working husbands unending practicality, frugality, and sacrifice. But Aunt Mavis resonated with respect for ideas, and for art. Who would I be now, if she’d been my caregiver? she wondered. What would I dream if I weren’t always so afraid?

She didn’t have time to ponder the answer, for at that moment, Aunt Mavis led her into the most stunning art room she’d ever laid eyes on, and they went whirling and twirling through, throwing their hands in the air—not pretending that everything was ok, but truly making that one moment ok, for as long as it lasted.


Emeline ran. Paintings—her aunt’s amazing pieces—swung past her at dizzying speeds, but that wasn’t why she was running. A white wolf appeared from within the darkness behind her, but it had a strange man-ness to it. Rather than howling, it spoke.

“The house is ooooours, run away little girl. You’re running out of tiiiiiiime.”

Emeline stopped, panting from her exertions. “My aunt’s paintings are brilliant!” she shouted back at the wolf. “She should be asking thousands more for them!”

The wolf snarled then, much more wolfish than before, but as she turned to run again the wolf shimmered and disappeared from sight. Startled, she glanced around her and discovered a huge grizzly bear standing nearby. She began to back away slowly, but the bear turned its head to reveal a Borg eye light fixed over its eye. The light swept over her, and the bear growled, but it sounded strange, like a thousand bears were growling at once.

She gasped, but as she turned to run, the bear shimmered and disappeared, just as the wolf had. She wasn’t sure what to do, but the subtle shift passed over the dreamscape and she readied herself to run to the closet.

Before she could move, strong arms gripped her shoulders. “Emeline, wake up dear,” her aunt’s voice cut through the fog of sleep. She sounded concerned, though she was making a valiant effort to sound calm. “There’s something in the house. We must sneak over to the closet.”

“I’m sorry, Aunt Mavis,” Emeline mumbled sleepily, as her aunt lifted her out from the canopy bed and set her on her feet. They moved together toward the closet, and as something began to scratch at the bedroom door, her aunt Mavis pulled the heavy closet door closed behind them, locking it securely from inside, almost as Emeline herself had in her own bedroom back home.

“Come,” Mavis whispered in the dark, pulling at Emeline’s hand. A light appeared in the back of the closet, and as Emeline pushed through the clutter of hanging clothing, she realized there was a secret door that led into a tiny room, well hidden behind the colourful, trailing dresses.

“I got tired of huddling in the closet when I was afraid,” Mavis said, cryptically. “So I had my workers add this room, between your closet and mine. I’ve spent many long hours in here, on my darkest nights.” Her aunt gestured to the small, but plush sofa that was tucked into the tiny space and Emeline sat down on it, thankful that she wasn’t alone in her closet back home.

What would she be hiding in the closet from? Emeline wondered sleepily, but a high pitched howl interrupted her thought.

“I thought I saw a wolf in the hall when I went to see what the noise was, but that sounds…almost more human than wolf,” her aunt mused, looking a little more unsettled than she had before. “A werewolf?” she wondered aloud. “But I’m sure I wasn’t even sleeping yet.” Her aunt checked the locking bolts on both closet entry doors, and settled herself into the plush sofa next to Emeline. She gestured to a square on the floor.

“That’s a trap door that leads almost straight to the sunroom. When morning comes, I’ll have to sneak through there and lead whatever is lurking outside into the sunlight. Hopefully it won’t do too much damage in the meantime.”

Emeline stared wide eyed at her aunt. How does she know about the light? Her parents couldn’t have said anything. They didn’t know! Did they?! But they wouldn’t have sent me away if they knew! Would they?! Her thoughts roiled as she tried to piece together what was happening.

The wolf howled again, the strangely human sound coming through the closet walls more clearly this time, and now it was followed by the strange, Borg-bear growl from the opposite side.

“Well now, what’s that?” Her aunt sat straight up, turning to look from one side of the small room to the other, and then to Emeline, who, in her fear and confusion, burst into tears.

“I’m sorry aunt Mavis,” she cried, as quietly as she could between sobs. “It’s a Borg-bear, and a foreclosure wolf-man. But they disappeared before you woke me up! I don’t know why they’re here! Please don’t send me home! I’ll fix everything!” She threw herself down on her aunt Mavis’ lap and cried harder than she’d ever dared to cry before.

When the tears and wracking sobs finally stopped, she turned to look up at Mavis’ face, which was a strange mixture of confusion and delight. Her aunt gently wiped her tears and helped her to sit up.

“Could it be?” her aunt asked, rhetorically, turning Emeline’s face this way and that, and staring deep into her troubled eyes. “My dear Emeline, are you a powerful dreamer, like me?”


Swipe for Chapter Four

Dreamer - Chapter Four

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Four

Sit Patrick Stewart entered the small side room of the studio where the Picard table read was about to begin, noticing that everyone at the table was already in deep discussion.

“Sorry, am I late?” he asked, settling quickly into his seat.

“No, you’re right on time,” Hanelle said, waving her hands dismissively. “We’re just talking about the news reports—“

“Not news,” Alison interrupted, turning to Sir Stewart to elaborate. “Twitter. Some guy with a camera phone posted a video of some kooks dressed up as Borg walking into a sheet metal plant, here in the US.”

“Really?” Sir Stewart said, raising his eyebrows. “I was just dreaming about the Borg the other night.”

“Yeah, but what’s interesting,” Evan interjected excitedly, “is that I just read on an astronomy site that—get this—they found a dark spot in space, on the dark side of the Earth. It’s moving with us, staying in our shadow, blocking out the stars on that side.”

“A dark spot?” Sir Stewart asked, a little intrigued by the coincidences.

“A Borg ship!” Evan blurted out triumphantly.

“Definitely a hoax,” Michelle stated, leaning back in her chair.

Sir Stewart leaned back in his seat, resting one arm on the table. “Well, I for one hope it’s a hoax. I have it on pretty good authority that you don’t want to be a Borg.” He left his comment vague enough that his colleagues could safely assume it was the discomfort of his former costume prompting his words, which they did.

“And Locutus is dreaming of the Borg, right when all this is happening?” Isa asked, grinning conspiratorially.

“Spooky!” Santiago half-whispered, feigning fear.

Everyone around the table chuckled, some more amused than others, and Hanelle took the opportunity to call the start of the reading. Sir Stewart shuffled through his script pages, thankful that he wasn’t in the scene immediately. His thoughts kept returning to his dream, and to the little girl’s revelation that her dream creatures disappeared with the rising sun. And he’d seen it—or dreamed it—or something.

But what happens if the sun doesn’t reach the dream? he wondered. He certainly had no interest in finding out if Borg implants felt as awful as they had in the dream. Resistance is futile. The Borg were honestly terrifying, when one stopped to consider them. Life with the complete absence of creative thought, free will, individuality. A fate worse than death, he thought. Much worse.

After a moment he realized everyone was staring at him, and he quickly shuffled his papers trying to find the right one. “Sorry, Sorry,” he mumbled, taking a deep breath to settle himself, fumbling less gracefully than he liked into character.

“Transmission from the mother ship?” Michelle asked, and everyone chuckled again.

Your distinctiveness will be added to our own. The words hung in Sir Stewart’s mind as he looked around the table at the creative group before him. They would be wiped out by the Borg. Every good thing about them would utterly cease to exist, and he felt a sudden surge of protectiveness toward them. My crew.

“Nah,” said Santiago, who was watching him closely. “That’s Picard, not Locutus. We got him back, remember? He’ll resist to the last.”

Sir Stewart, feeling much more grounded than before, found his place and began delivering his lines, and within a few minutes, the table read was back on track. Resistance is never futile, he thought. Borg or no Borg.


Emeline and her aunt sat in a small diner, a week after the incident with the wolf and the Borg-bear. They’d had some intense, and some ridiculous conversations in the past week, on topics ranging from dreams—and how to tame them—to boys and celebrity crushes, to how to save the tiny cabin-turned-mansion from rich investors who would happily push them out without thought to the consequences.

Her aunt had explained a lot of the inconsistencies she’d noticed when she’d arrived. The work to build the mansion had come from robot builders she’d dreamt, as had the work on the perimeter wall, but the wood and stone had actually been cut from trees that once stood in the yard area, and a cliff face a short distance away from the original cabin.

The crystal and metal for the chandelier had been found in veins running deep within the cliff face. Everything inside the mansion was dream material, with the exception of the wood furniture, which is why her aunt kept the big window shutters closed and had let the trees grow up around the house. While the mansion’s “realness” meant the structure itself would never be in danger of disappearing in the sunlight, it was still definitely subject to damages caused by aggressive dream creatures.

The Borg-bear had left immense gouges in the wood paneling of her aunt’s closet door, and the foreclosure-wolf had scratched along the edges of Emeline’s bedroom door, trying to get in. She’d helped her aunt sand and smooth the damaged areas, so neither of them would be injured before her aunt could dream her robot workers to repair or replace the wood panels.

It had been a lot to take in. Her dreaming peculiarity ran in the family, it seemed. But while her aunt had told her so much, and shared so openly, Emeline still felt that there was something she was keeping hidden. There was a deep pain in her aunt’s eyes that appeared seemingly out of nowhere and always disappeared just as suddenly. And her aunt noticeably didn’t speak about her father, too. Had he ridiculed and humiliated aunt Mavis for her strange secret, as the other school kids had done to her?

For a moment, Emeline realized the gift that it was to have Jax for a brother. For the challenge and frustration he could bring to her life some days, his intentions were never cruel, his words never filled with malice, or contempt. He was just Jax, innocent, and without ego.

As Emeline finished her bacon and eggs and orange juice, she noticed her aunt’s attention had drifted off. She dug in her Doctor Who bag for a bit of the money her parents had sent with her and placed it on the table between them, but her aunt caught her hand, pointing at the small tv in the corner of the diner just as the cook raised the volume to be heard over the lunch crowd din.

“Once good natured reports of Borg cosplayers at multiple steel mill locations around the world have taken a turn to the dark side,” the—ill-informed—newscaster was saying. “Hundreds of reports of missing persons, from areas surrounding the steel mills, have been pouring in, leaving local police forces stretched thin. Repeated attempts to enter the facilities, or to contact anyone who might be inside have failed. Smoke continues to billow from the stacks, though there has been no transport of raw materials into any of the affected facilities all week. Is it a practical joke taken too far? Or something more sinister? Wait a moment, we’re getting a—“

The newscaster was abruptly cut off, and a handsome man appeared on the screen, with a Canadian flag draped behind him. “That’s the prime minister,” her aunt whispered to her, surprised.

“My fellow Canadians,” the man began, his voice smooth and soothing, in stark contrast to the abruptness of his interruption. “As many of you already know, we have received word from several of our astronomy outposts—and those of our allies—of an object in space, close to the planet Earth. The object has grown in size considerably since the first reports were received. For the past seventy two hours, the object has been tracked moving outward from its position in the shadow of Earth, in an elliptical orbit around our planet. It will shortly begin to eclipse the sun.”

The man paused for a moment before continuing. “I urge you not to panic. We in the Canadian government are working with governments around the world to assess, and to deal effectively with this situation as it develops. No hostile intent has yet been determined and we—“

Emeline’s aunt was the first to her feet, but Emeline was only a second behind. Her aunt threw some extra money on the table, grasped her hand and pulled her almost violently toward the small, old Aries. As they reached the car, a shadow fell across the parking lot, and looking up, Emeline could see the edge of a large mass just beginning to pass in front of the sun.

“It’s the Borg!” she cried as she tumbled into the front seat of the car and buckled her seat belt. “I dreamed them! It’s my fault!”

“First we get back to the house,” her aunt said. Her voice projected calm control, but her eyes betrayed her. “Then we make a plan.” The old cars tires spun on the loose gravel of the parking lot as her aunt pushed the little car to its limits. The diner wasn’t far from the house, but the drive felt interminable to Emeline.

Without the sun, nothing goes away, she thought. It won’t matter how safe the house is. Nothing will stand up to the monsters I can dream.

Her aunt reached over to grasp her hand as they pulled into the small garage and parked the car. The sun was almost completely eclipsed by the object in orbit, and though Emeline knew it was only midday, it felt like dusk.

“Out of the night that covers me, black as the pit from pole to pole,” her aunt began as the garage door slowly descended, “I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody, but unbowed.”

Emeline raised her tear streaked face to look at her aunt, whose eyes were closed, but whose face shone, radiant in the dim glow of the garage light.

“Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms the horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

Emeline felt a calm spread through her as her aunt spoke. She’d heard the poem, Invictus, before, but never had it felt so appropriate and true. Never had it been delivered to her with such conviction. I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. She lifted her shoulders straight, took a deep breath, and raised her head.

“Ready?” her aunt asked.

“Ready,” she replied. She unbuckled her seatbelt, and opened the car door, racing for the steps to the house alongside her aunt, even though the garage seemed safe enough. They double bolted the side entry door from the inside, checked the bolts on the massive front doors, and then used a long rod to push on the heavy shutters of the upper foyer windows until they locked solidly into place, only then pausing to rest, together, on the bottom step of the curved staircase.

“What are we going to do aunt Mavis?” Emeline asked, resting her head against the older woman’s side.

Her aunt considered this for a long time, and Emeline felt the older woman’s body stiffen with unsaid thoughts.

“Well,” Mavis finally said, and Emeline felt her forcibly soften her posture. “We can’t do nothing.” She gestured to the magnificent chandelier overhead. “Without sunlight, even this marvellous house can’t protect us for long. And neither of us can dream a new sun. They will come looking for you. Every creature I’ve dreamed has sought me out, sooner or later. I don’t want to frighten you, but you do need to know the facts.”

Emeline shuddered at the thought of thousands of Borg marching on the house, with no dawn to hold them at bay, and winced at the realization that most of those Borg would be regular people doomed to a miserable, virtual death by her inability to control her dreams.

“The people who’ve been taken. Can we save them?” she asked quietly, afraid of the answer.

Her aunt squeezed her tightly. “I don’t know. I don’t know the Borg beyond what you’ve told me. Technologically superior, physically stronger, carelessly destructive. Seemingly unstoppable.”

Emeline sat up straight. “Captain Picard stopped them.” Her eyes brightened at the thought. “Can I dream Captain Picard here?”

Her aunt nodded, lost in thought. “I hope so,” she said, her eyes growing troubled. Her words began to falter as she continued. I don’t—I can’t—dream people. Not anymore. Only animals and robots, food and dresses and such.”

Her Aunt Mavis looked away as she said it, and for the first time Emeline realized that in all the conversations they’d had in the past week, her aunt had shared very little about what she’d dreamed in all the years she’d been living in this lush forest, instead mostly asking Emeline questions about her own abilities and experiences.

Her aunt squeezed her shoulder then. “I’ve got a few ideas that I can dream, but I’d like to hear your thoughts. We’re going to need all the help we can get.”


Emeline’s Aunt Mavis handed her a small pill tablet and a glass of water.

“Do you remember everything we decided?” her aunt asked, nervously, before thinking better of the question. “No, sorry. You can’t possibly do everything we discussed, so don’t focus on that. Focus on your list. That’s most important.”

Emeline nodded, growing more nervous at her aunt’s unusually flustered state.

“Try to focus on it as you fall asleep,” her aunt directed. “I find it helps.”

Emeline nodded, and swallowed the small tablet. She didn’t think she’d be able to sleep without help, and her aunt was confident that the little half-pill wouldn’t affect her ability to dream Captain Picard to the house.

“I’ll be dreaming supplies for us, but I won’t take a sleeping pill, so if there’s any danger I’ll wake up and I’ll keep you safe,” her aunt assured her, brushing Emeline’s hair back from her face and taking the water glass.

Emeline laid down, and a few moments later she felt her aunt lay down next to her in the oversized bed. She focused on her list, concentrating especially on the calm, confident face of Captain Picard. He will know what to do, she thought as her mind drifted quickly into a deep, sound sleep.


Captain Picard stood in the pitch dark, noticing a small figure in the distance. He moved toward it, gliding effortlessly through the darkness and appearing beside her almost immediately. It was the little girl from before—from the Borg dreams.

“Captain!” she exclaimed, her face a mix of jubilation and fear. “Thank you for coming! We need your help!”

He felt a curious sensation pass through his body and glanced down at his hands, which were shimmering slightly. When he looked up again, he was no longer in the dark, but in a large bedroom with twinkling lights strung out over the ceiling. A large canopy bed held two prone figures, and one slowly sat up to greet him.

“Captain Picard, I presume?” A middle aged woman with smile wrinkles around her eyes and mouth exited the canopy and moved toward him. She looked tired, as though she’d only slept a short time.

“Well actually,” he tempered, “I’m Patrick Stewart, but I can understand your confusion.” He gestured to the red and black uniform he was still wearing, this time complete with phaser and tricorder. “Might I inquire as to what is happening here, now?” He glanced around the room. “How did I come to be here—or am I still only dreaming?”

“I’m Mavis Baptiste, Emeline’s aunt,” the woman said, gesturing toward a cluster of padded chairs near to the door of the room. “Emeline and—” she hesitated, looking first at the girl still asleep in the bed, and then at him. “—she has a gift. She can dream things, and they become real. They appear as flesh and blood, here, on Earth.”

Sir Stewart inhaled sharply. “Then the news reports are true? The Borg have come?”

Mavis nodded, gesturing for him to sit, which he did, more abruptly than he intended, as a flood of memories washed over him. Encountering the Borg for the first time because of Q’s meddling, becoming Locutus, witnessing, as Locutus, the decimation of the Starfleet armada at Wolf359–the guilt, the shame, and the healing he’d done since that time washed over him in a flood so realistic it took his breath away.

“I remember—“ He stopped, staring at Mavis in wonder. “These aren’t my memories of acting the part. I remember being Picard. Being taken by the Borg. Being changed.”

Mavis nodded understandingly. “It’s a bit disconcerting at first, but everything Picard did, everything he knows, everything he can do is part of you, until the sun rises again.”

Just then another shimmering figure appeared in the bedroom, a tall, slim man in a tan trench coat. As he solidified into view, his features shifted from confusion, to curiosity.

“Mr. David Tennant,” Sir Stewart said warmly, standing to greet him. “Good to see you.”

“Actually,” David said, his brow furrowing, “I think I’m the Doctor too? I feel…really old.”

Sir Stewart sighed. “Tell me about it.”

At that, Mavis jumped to her feet, running to the closet and throwing wide the doors. There, where once colourful clothes had spilled out from every nook and cranny, stood the large blue box. “The Tardis, yes?” she asked, hopefully.

“Yes,” both men said together.

“She said the assembled hordes of Ghengis Khan couldn’t break through those doors, and they tried.”

“Quite right,” David replied.

Mavis beamed. “Then if you have the key, let’s get Emeline inside where she’ll be safe.”

David patted his pockets, hunting around for a key, but coming up empty. “No key. No key? Really? Well, that’s just typical, innit.”

“There’s lots of time,” Mavis said, though she clearly hesitated. “She can still dream the key.” The look on her face made Sir Stewart wonder if precision like that were possible in dreams, especially for a young girl like Emeline.

“And if she can’t dream the key?” He made sure to keep his voice low, so Emeline wouldn’t hear any doubt in her impressionable dream state.

“That’s why you’re both here,” Mavis said, matter of factly. “You’re her heroes. You’re going to save the day once more.” She glanced at Emeline, still sleeping in the big bed. “Though hopefully with a little more support.”

Sir Stewart looked at Mavis, and then at David, and though he was afraid—they all were—he grinned a little. “I must say I’m pretty sure I’d rather be taking on the assembled hordes of Ghengis Khan.”


Kunal Nayyar shimmered into view in Emeline’s large bedroom moments after Mark Hamill—dressed in flowing Jedi robes—had arrived, bringing their ranks to six, including the young girl and her middle aged aunt.

Kunal glanced around the room in confusion. “Um, hi guys. What am I doing here?”

Sir Stewart addressed both he and Mark when he spoke. “You’ve been brought here by little Emeline,” he said, gesturing to where she still slept in the oversized bed. “She has a gift. The things she dreams become reality. You are here to help us fend off the Borg threat to Earth.”

It felt absolutely mad to say out loud, and Sir Stewart fully expected to be met with laughter and kudos for a well-played joke, but instead, Kunal glanced over at Mark Hamill, then back at Sir Stewart. “Ok, I get him—Jedi Master—but why am I here?” He glanced down at his clothing. “Rajesh Koothrappali?”

“She obviously considers you a superhero,” Sir Stewart said, raising an eyebrow.

“Superhero?” Kunal almost laughed the word. “More like supernerd. I’m surprised I can still speak in present company.” He bowed ever so slightly, and respectfully.

David Tennant interjected himself into the conversation then. “Wait, isn’t Rajesh an astrophysicist?”

Kunal nodded.

“Advanced PhD,” David said to the others.

“Moved to a far away country,” Mark pointed out quietly.

“Learned a second language,” David added.

“Superhero,” Sir Stewart concluded, quietly.

As the reality sunk in, Kunal stood a little taller. “Cool,” he said, as Mayim Bialik appeared, glancing around the room quickly, and raising one hand almost defensively.

“Superhero!” Kunal blurted out, glancing around the room knowingly.

Mayim glanced down at her clothes. “Why am I dressed like this? And more importantly, where am I and why am I here?”

Just then, Johnny Depp appeared, shimmering into view in full Captain Jack attire, his eyes filled with a mix of confusion and dread.

“I’ve got this,” Kunal said, leading Mayim to a seat to explain the situation to her.

“Mr. Depp,” David greeted him, approaching to shake his hand. “Johnny. It’s good. You’re good.”

Johnny lifted his hand to grasp David’s and sighed in relief as he saw the rings and costuming. “Oh, thank god,” he said. “For a moment I thought I was having one of those terrible dreams where you’re naked at an Oscar party—only instead of naked, you’re wearing an old costume that’s much too tight to be flattering. This one’s entirely respectable.” He grinned impishly, just as two figures appeared next to him, both scantily clad in figure flattering costumes.

“Well then,” Johnny sighed, as he watched them materialize out of nothing, wearing almost nothing. “You’re not naked but it’s still a nightmare, old man.” He sat down in one of the chairs, and pulled out his sword to examine, as a diversion.

“Gal Gadot, Wonderwoman,” Sir Stewart said. “Another excellent choice Emeline.”

The second figure, a man well over six feet tall, was wearing a grass skirt and sandals. His extremely muscular torso was covered in black tattoo designs, and his head was covered with long, curly black hair. In one massive hand he gripped a huge, white fishhook carved with tribal shapes.

It took Sir Stewart a moment to place him. “Mr. Johnson,” he said, just as Mayim spoke from behind them.

“Maui, demigod of the wind and me,” Mayim piped up from where she still sat with Kunal. “How is this even possible? He’s a cartoon!”

Dwayne looked down at his—even more—tattooed body, then ran one hand through his thick hair, but Sir Stewart was at a loss for words. He glanced over at Emeline’s aunt Mavis, who spoke for the first time since Kunal had arrived.

“She dreams it, and it happens. I don’t know how or why. I only found out she could do it last week. But without the sun to send you all home, this is where you’ll be for the foreseeable future.” She glanced around the room to be sure everyone was listening.

“I know you have families, and you’re concerned for their safety with all that’s going on, but you need to know that this is ground zero. This is where we must fight and win against the Borg threat. No one else on Earth has the power to stop them. Not our governments. And certainly not individuals with Earth weapons. That said, I want to thank you all, for being heroes to her, when she felt all alone. I hope that thought will give you strength to face what is coming.”

With his newfound memories, Sir Stewart felt the approaching danger acutely. They were about to face a monstrous challenge, the likes of which the greatest military powers on Earth could not even fathom, let alone hope to overcome. The likelihood was that not everyone in this room would survive intact.

Sir Stewart looked around at the group gathered before him, even as Chadwick Boseman—the Black Panther—and Danai Gurira, in her stunning red uniform, shimmered into view, followed a moment later by Wilson Cruz and Sonequa Martin-Green, in full Starfleet attire. The room fell instantly silent.

“She dreams it, and it happens,” Mark murmured quietly, glancing at Sir Stewart.

Sir Stewart held up one hand as the new arrivals all started talking at once—understandably feeling displaced, and out of place, and concerned about the safety of loved ones. “Everything will be explained momentarily, but may I say, it’s truly beautiful to see such diversity here today. It’s been a long time coming. Gives me hope for the future,” Sir Stewart said wistfully. “So long as we can work together to create a future of our own choosing. I, for one, will not accept a future without art, or love, or adventure, or creativity, or inspiration. That is the future for every Borg. Servitude, without question, or hope of rebellion.”

“So this Borg thing is real?” Dwayne Johnson asked, though not really asking. “With all due respect,” he said quickly, “I’m pretty strong, but we’re a bunch of actors. How are we supposed to stop an alien threat, halfway to the sun?”

Sir Stewart smiled knowingly. “Mr. Johnson, would you tell us how you got that tattoo on your back? The one hidden underneath your hair?”

As everyone watched, Dwayne’s confident face fell. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he cleared his throat, glancing around the room in surprise. “How do I—“ he began. “How do I know that? I feel— things. How?” The last was directed at Sir Stewart.

“I believe you’ll find you have all the memories appropriate to your characters. It’s really quite mind boggling,” Sir Stewart said, feeling his own memories of Captain Picard’s life rushing up to the surface. His intensity was mirrored on every face in the room as they searched themselves and found memories and emotions that they had only ever imagined before, now fully realized—and real.

Sir Stewart removed his tricorder and began scanning the room. “This tricorder actually works,” he said, matter of factly. “And I know how to use it. I’m hopeful that this will as well.” He gestured to the phaser on his hip, and saw the others checking their own accoutrements.

“Actually—“ Emeline’s aunt Mavis interjected. “You’ll find you have all of your characters abilities as well.”

Dwayne chuckled, mostly recovered from his surprise recollection of Maui’s childhood abandonment. “You’re telling me that if I grab this fishhook and think—“

Dwayne’s words cut off as his large form was replaced by the much larger—and much heavier—body of a pitch black Brahma Bull. Horns stretched out on either side of his massive head, and the superheroes nearest him jumped back in shock and awe, as he shook his head in disbelief. The floor creaked under his hooves, and then groaned as he took a small step backward, snorting in surprise.

Kunal was the only person who spoke. “Oh. My. God.”

In a flash Dwayne was back, both hands still holding the fishhook. He wore a sheepish expression, but a slow smile crept over his face, and every other face in the room—especially those who possessed special powers or tools of futuristic design.

Despite the revelation, a feeling of dread settled over Sir Stewart as he watched the group disperse to the darkened yard outside to explore their new abilities.

Mark Hamill and David Tennant hung back with him, moving closer to Mavis and away from the bed where Emeline still slept, completely unaware of her power.

“What’s wrong?” Mark asked, gazing intently at him.

Sir Stewart felt a strong compulsion to share what he was feeling, even though he hadn’t quite sorted it out himself. “Stop that,” he said, kindly but firmly, and Mark’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Oh my—“ Mark grinned. “Sorry!”

David grinned, fishing around in his pocket until he came up with a small tool. “And all I got was this sonic screwdriver.”

Sir Stewart’s eyes clouded over again. “The Borg are half machine. It might come in more handy than you think.” He paused for a moment, still troubled. “They’re coming.”

David’s grin faded, Mark exhaled slowly, and Mavis stepped almost imperceptibly closer to the small girl in the bed, protectively.

“Picard has a bit of a sixth sense about the Borg, since becoming Locutus,” he said. “So I don’t know how I know, but I know they’re aware of this house, and us, and Emeline. And they’re coming. In their eyes, she holds the power for complete and utter assimilation of—everything—worlds both known and those yet to be dreamed.”

“The ultimate Borg endgame,” a young man piped up from near the bed. He was dressed in fatigues, and as he moved closer Sir Stewart tried to identify him, failing.

“I’m sorry, I don’t recognize you,” he held out a hand in welcome, which the younger man ignored.

“As well you shouldn’t,” the younger man replied. “Just call me Chad.” Chad glanced around the room. “A few minutes ago I was at Mission Control liaising with NASA to assess the alien threat. How did I get here?”

Mavis stared at the young man for a moment. “I remember you,” she said. “From the news clip we saw in the diner, just before the eclipse happened. A shot of Mission Control.”

“I’ll need access to your servers,” Chad said, nearly cutting her off. He pulled out his cell phone, grimacing as he saw the lit screen. “And your phone line. It’s not secure, but there’s apparently no service—“ He gestured to the space around them dismissively. “But first, I need to know everything you do, and how you came to know it.”

Mavis drew herself up to her full height, looked him square in his eyes, and snapped, “I’ll have you know that these three men outrank you in this house, by a lot, and you’ll show them proper respect or be shown the door. And it’s a long walk to anywhere from here.” She marched away, mumbling something about twenty first century military, and male privilege, before disappearing inside the canopy of the bed to check on Emeline.

Chad glanced after her, surprised, and then at the three other men as if expecting them to laugh with him at the “crazy woman’s overreaction,” but all three glared silently at him. “Who’s she?” he finally asked.

“The lady of the house,” Mark said quietly.

“The boss,” added Sir Stewart.

“Ahhhh, your worst nightmare, I’d bet,” David quipped, with a grin, but with dark eyes that pulled no punches.

Chad turned suddenly, moving over to sit in one of the chairs just recently vacated by Emeline’s heroes, and Mark turned back to the other two with a grin.

“I could get to like this. Weak minded fool.”


Swipe for Chapter Five

Dreamer - Chapter Five

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Five

Emeline woke to a gentle rousing from her aunt, rubbing her eyes sleepily, though the sleeping tablet had worn off. The twinkling lights overhead were still the only source of light in the room, but as she peered out into the room, she saw several figures seated in a circle of chairs she suspected her aunt had dreamed to accommodate them.

“I thought you’d want to join us for this,” her aunt said quietly, helping her slip a deep emerald gown over her head, covering her pyjamas. “Everybody’s had a few winks of sleep and a bite to eat. They’re getting to it now. You did very well.”

“Thanks auntie,” Emeline whispered, slipping out of bed and moving toward the circle of chairs, her heart beating faster as she realized just how many of her real life heroes had come through to the house as she’d dreamed them. They were already in deep discussion, but as she approached, they each turned to watch her, and she ducked her head shyly.

“Their ship was incomplete. They obviously have limited transporter technology. They’re using it to move the raw steel into the factories, but they’ll turn the tech on us if we successfully hold them off long enough,” she heard Sir Stewart telling the others before he, too, turned to face her. “Emeline, good morning,” Sir Stewart gestured toward her and she slipped into a vacant chair next to him, grateful to see he was comfortable in his red and black Captain’s uniform.

“Honey, why don’t you go get some breakfast?” a young man in military attire asked from the far side of the circle. “This discussion is for grownups.” Almost as soon as he’d spoken, his eyes glazed over and he stood up, turning to leave the room without explanation.

As Emeline watched, Sir Stewart caught Mark Hamill’s arm. The young man inexplicably turned back around and sat down again, shaking his head in confusion, as the two older men smirked. As she looked around the circle, it seemed everyone was either smirking, or politely averting their eyes.

“It seems Mr. Hamill rather enjoys being a Jedi Master,” Sir Stewart whispered in her ear. “And he doesn’t take kindly to disrespect toward anyone.”

Emeline felt her eyes go wide as she realized just what Sir Stewart meant. He can use the force? she thought in surprise. The force is real? As she looked around the circle, her wonder grew. Maui?! The Black Panther?! Wonderwoman!! She’s a goddess! Emeline’s hope grew with every new character she saw.

“Actually, I do believe Chad here has nicely illuminated one of the key problematic attitudes of our time,” David Tennant said quickly. “She’s too small. Was Emeline too small to manifest an extraordinary gift? Was she too small to be sent to another country to live with an aunt she’d never met? Is she too small to stay while the important decisions are being made—for her, and about her?

“Sometimes we adults get so caught up in our supposedly grownup, important world that we forget the little ones who are left alone to imagine the worst that could possibly happen. I, for one, think Emeline should have a large say in what we decide to do here today. I’d say she is clearly the most powerful of us all.”

Emeline looked around the small group of heroes, surprised to see that most—if not all—were nodding in agreement. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she blinked them away. This was not the time or place for weakness. The whole world was counting on her.

She cleared her throat. “What if I dreamed big diamonds or crystals in orbit?” she asked. “To reflect the sun around the sun-shield?”

“That won’t work,” Chad said immediately. “I don’t follow everything you’re saying here—most of it sounds like nonsense—but if dream stuff disappears on contact with sunlight, they’d all just disappear.”

Emeline’s face flushed red. She hadn’t thought it all the way through and she felt extremely foolish in front of such an esteemed group.

Sir Stewart rested his arm around Emeline’s shoulder, squeezing gently to reduce the sting of Chad’s words. “Yes, But I do think Emeline is on to something. We need two solutions. The first, a short term plan to remove the sun-shield which is at least partially Earth derived, and the second, a longer lasting action to dissolve any remaining Borg or Borg technology on the dark side of the planet or in orbit, so that nothing of the Borg remains.”

He turned to Chad then. “Do you have relevant information you could share with us regarding the composition of the sun-shield?”

For a moment it looked as bough he were about to pompously decline, but then Chad’s eyes glazed over and he began to speak. “We’ve analyzed photographic data from all major orbital camera sources, including the International Space Station—who will soon be running dangerously low on power. We had surmised that the majority of the surface structure is built using Earth-origin steel—from the steel plants that were captured earlier this month. The structure is protected by some kind of energy-generated shielding, much beyond our capabilities. Attempts to destroy the structure were thwarted via vastly superior weaponry to what we are able to achieve at this time.”

“We need to be sure not a shred of Borg technology remains,” Sir Stewart murmured next to her. “Or we’ll likely destroy ourselves with it. Weaknesses?” he asked Chad.

“A lot of the scaffolding of the rear of the shield appeared to be of alien origin, possibly the partial remains of a ship. It may be vulnerable to sunlight, in which case the bulk of the structure would disintegrate.”

“I could survive a trip through space if I turned myself into one of those little—,” Dwayne Johnson spoke up then. “Those little bear things—“

“Tardigrada?” Mayim suggested helpfully, staring at Dwayne as he unconsciously flexed his muscles.

“Yeah,” he nodded toward her appreciatively. “And then… do something. But I’d still need a way to get there, and get past the shielding. Gal, can you throw something that far, or could you send an energy blast to spin the whole damn thing around?”

“Halfway to the sun?” Gal asked, raising an eyebrow. “I don’t know, but of course I’m willing to try.”

“The alien technology seems capable of dissipating large blasts of energy,” Chad spoke up again then. “At least, the nukes we sent had absolutely zero impact on the object.”

“Borg shielding,” Sir Stewart muttered under his breath. He searched his memories for anything he could use against them now, coming up empty handed without access to the Enterprise and its own advanced technology.

“What about—“ Kunal began. “No, that won’t work. What about—no.” He paused, his face scrunched up in thought. “Our ideas about space and space travel just aren’t this advanced yet. I mean, did you see how fast that shield travelled into position? We’re just not there yet. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can be of much help.”

For a moment there was a lull, and Emeline worried that all her dreaming might amount to nothing in the face of her Borg nightmare. Her aunt turned toward her suddenly.

“Emeline, what about the dragons you told me about? Could they appear inside the shielding? And literally grab on to get it turned around?”

Emeline felt her face flush as everyone looked at her again, but she focused on her aunt’s face, nodding. “I think so, if I could dream enough of them. It would be just like moving the Dawn Sisters engines to the Red Star.”

“Once the rear structure disintegrates, space would be filled with little reflective sheets of metal that the dragons could reposition to reflect—” Sir Stewart began, before sitting bolt upright in his seat. “They’re here,” he whispered. He turned to face Emeline then. “I’m afraid we’re out of time, dear girl. The Borg are approaching the house. We will hold them off, but I need you to dream the dragons. It’s a good plan. Will you do it?”

Emeline nodded, though she felt very afraid. These amazing people were going to die, because of her. And the Borg outside would die too. And then everyone on Earth. Her aunt gathered the water glass and a full sleeping tablet and waited beside the bed.

“May the force be with you, Emeline,” Mark said quietly as he stood to go.

“I’ve got your back, chosen one,” Dwayne winked at her, hefting his fishhook.

“For Wakanda,” Danai said, her voice strong, and her eyes flashing. Chadwick crossed his arms over his chest, and as he broke the “X” of his arms Danai thumped her spear on the floor. The sound echoed out into the hall as most of the actors-turned-superheroes filed silently out of the room.

“I wish I had a cool catch phrase,” Kunal said sadly.

Mayim glanced at him with one eyebrow raised. “I wish I had awesome superpowers. I mean, a scalpel and a “Hey, come back here, I want to dissect your brain!” would inspire fear in the hearts of most humans, but I don’t think it’ll work too well on the Borg.”

Aunt Mavis called across the room to Mayim and Kunal as Emeline walked over to the bed. “I have a job for you, just give me a few moments to get Emeline settled.”

“I’ll look after Emeline,” David offered abruptly, “if that’s all right with you?” He glanced from Emeline, to Mavis, to Sir Stewart. “Honestly, everything I need is in there,” he said, gesturing to the large closet where the Tardis stood. “And without it, the best I can do is get you free long distance on your cell phone. Really, really long distance.” He winked at Emeline as she clamoured up onto the big bed.

“But, if Emeline would be so kind as to dream me the key, I can get her safely aboard, and then—do some stuff that’s really technical and complicated that I can’t take the time to explain right now, but that will—in a nutshell—save the day.”

David took the water glass and tablet from Aunt Mavis and sat down on the edge of the bed beside Emeline. His eyes twinkled as he helped her take her sleeping tablet, and for a moment, those old, kind eyes almost swept the fear from her mind.

“You’re really something, you know?” he said, as her eyelids began to droop. “Allons y!”


Mavis watched as Emeline settled back in the large bed and closed her eyes.. I’ll only be gone a moment, she thought. She’ll be safe for now. Mavis quickly led Kunal and Mayim to a hidden flight of steps that led to a pair of turrets on the roof of her home, connected by a narrow walkway.

“You, here,” she said, pointing at Mayim and then at the light ringed control seat of a mini trebuchet that rose from the brickwork as they approached. “You’ll be in the other one over there,” she said to Kunal, who was watching with piqued interest.

“Someone said the Borg could be assimilated humans, from Earth,” Mayim began to object, but Mavis stopped her with one hand.

“Non-lethal,” she said. “It’s sticky foam. The balls explode on contact and will trap any Borg that steps in it. The firing system is also foolproof,” she said, catching the apprehensive look on Kunal’s face. “Touchscreen targeting, like a tablet game. Hold your finger on the target, it calculates distance, and aims, and when the circle turns green, the trebuchet is loaded, aimed, and coiled. Let go.”

“It’s almost like you knew the nerds were coming!” Mayim said wryly, dropping into her seat as Kunal headed for the second trebuchet system across the short walkway.

“I did,” Mavis said. “Emeline made a list, and I wholeheartedly approved of every hero on it. I have to go turn the floodlights on. Excuse me.”


Sir Stewart entered the yard just as the floodlights burst on. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust, but he could see Dwayne Johnson, the two Wakandan’s and his fellow Starfleet officers climbing the steps to the top of the stone wall protecting the house. Wonderwoman simply leapt up as though the wall itself were just a high step in a staircase, and he marvelled at what little Emeline could create.

Johnny Depp had settled himself on the front steps of the home, and Sir Stewart stopped beside him for a moment.

“There’s only so much we’ll be able to do,” he said, settling next to the younger man. “The Borg don’t understand non-lethal means, and they do adapt, very quickly. I’ll have, two, maybe three shots with my phaser before it’s useless. Maybe less if my fellow officers use theirs. Similar technology.”

“And then what do we do?” Johnny asked.

“I wish I knew,” Sir Stewart said honestly after a long silence. “But if we fail, worlds that don’t even exist yet will suffer under the Borg, with us. The Borg will assimilate every last human, and alien, and then they’ll make Emeline dream more, and assimilate them too. We must not fail.”

Johnny nodded, his eyes more troubled than ever.

“You’re thinking about your children?” Sir Stewart asked. “Me too. And my grandchildren.”

Johnny grinned then, unexpectedly, his pirate teeth showing under the pulled back lips. “Well, I may just have to resort to my mouth, and my running away skills, but I expect Captain Jack can run farther than I can with all the practice he’s had.” His eyes grew serious again. “We won’t fail.”

Just then Sir Stewart noticed that Mark Hamill was speaking to someone—a young woman. As he watched, the young woman turned to run to the far side of the house, and he realized who it was. Rey. Daisy Ridley. She wasn’t here before.

“Emeline’s dreaming reinforcements,” he said, clasping Johnny on the shoulder in good cheer before rising to his feet. “Look, there’s Halle Berry, and Kelsey Grammar, and Rebecca Romijn.”

“Jessica Alba,” Johnny added, pointing. “And Michael Chiklis. Is that—“ Johnny looked stunned, and Sir Stewart followed his gaze to the horse with two riders, loping across the yard.

“Teddy Roosevelt, and Sacagawea,” Sir Stewart finished. “We’d better gather the newcomers and fill them in, quickly.”

“How do you explain to—“ Johnny began.

“I don’t know,” Sir Stewart replied, starting down the steps. “I really don’t know.”


Mark Hamill watched as Daisy walked away, hoping fervently that he’d explained the situation well enough. She seemed to be handling the news a little too well, though he had to admit that the force had a distinctly calming effect on him, and the force was exceptionally strong in her too. He could feel it as soon as she’d arrived—a deep awareness of her presence, and kinship.

Something pulled again at his awareness, and he glanced up to see someone else shimmering into view nearby. His heart lurched, then dropped abruptly into his stomach as he realized who it was. There could be no mistaking the double ear buns, or the way her eyebrows rose as she surveyed the scene, her youthful gaze finally landing on him.

“Mark? Are you wearing age makeup?”

“Carrie.” It was all he could muster, the calm from the force swirling into a vortex of energy and emotion within him. She’s so young. She kept staring at him and he finally remembered that she had asked him a question. “Uh, yeah,” he said. “Makeup.”

She stared at him so hard that he was sure she would see the tumult of the force itself, swirling deep within him.

“Don’t lie to me Mark.”

Mark took a deep breath, trying to steady the energy and emotions before they knocked him any more off balance. “It’s 2020,” he said. “There’s a little girl in the house who needs us to hold off—“ He paused. The word “Borg” would mean nothing to her at this age. “Dark Stormtroopers, basically.”

“Borg breaching the perimeter!” someone shouted, and Mark ripped his gaze from his friend to see several Borg ascending a ramp to the top of the stone wall near him. All around, Borg bodies were flying backward off the wall thanks to the efforts of his peers, and he quickly force lifted the ones gathering on top of the wall.

“Whatever skills you have as the character, Leia, you actually have now, in real life,” he said. “I wish I had more time to explain, but—“ He glanced over at her, being careful not to drop the Borg he was containing.

“2020,” she said, searching his eyes, his face.

“I got old,” he replied, with as much lightheartedness as he could muster.

“I didn’t,” she said, and the moment seemed to stretch into eternity.

“You died a General,” he said, finally making a choice, “and inspired a whole new wave of women and girls. A woman’s place is in the rebellion now, because of you.”

She smiled a wry smile, and then nodded sharply. “That’s good enough for me,” she said, and force blasted the Borg he was holding back out away from the wall.

“I didn’t know Leia could—“

“Of course she can. They’re twins,” Carrie said as she blasted a new group of Borg from the top of the wall back into the trees surrounding the house. “Nobody ever thought to train her, bunch of Jedi bozos.”

“Mark!” a deep voice yelled from behind him. “They’re breaking through on the south wa—“

It was Harrison Ford, and he stopped short as he saw who was standing there with Mark. Harrison’s mouth dropped open as he turned toward Mark.

“Is it—“

“Yes, it’s really me,” Carrie answered before Mark could so much as nod.

Harrison pulled Carrie into a quick, tight embrace. “I love you,” he whispered fiercely in her ear.

“I know,” she replied, winking. “Go,” she said to Mark then, gesturing to the wall. “I’ve got this.”


The battle raged around Sir Stewart. The efforts of his peers were formidable, but the Borg were the Borg. There were just too many of them, and they were too quick to adapt. His phaser on heavy stun was already ineffective after just two shots.

“Non-lethal methods only,” he roared over the din. “These are our friends and neighbours. We are not the heroes today. We just need to buy time!”

Sir Stewart saw several Borg approaching the massive front door, unchecked, and he raced to intercept them, calling for backup as he moved, and looking for potential weapons, but finding none. He ducked past the drones and into the doorway just as they forced it open, standing in front of them and blocking their path.

“I am Locutus, of Borg. This planet is primitive. Their resources are—“

The Borg pressed forward, forcing his retreat toward the grand staircase.

“Locutus will be returned to the collective. This planet will be assimilated. The girl will be assimilated. She will service, us.” The Borg pressed him backwards up the stairs as they spoke. “Resistance is futile.”

Those words stirred something deep inside him, and Sir Stewart felt every flame of hatred, shame, guilt, and fear that Picard had ever felt, exploding with the force of photon torpedoes inside him.

“Resistance is never futile!” he said ferociously as he reached the top of the stairs. He prepared to fight, to kick, and if necessary to throw himself down the steps like a human wrecking ball, but he felt something flitter beside his face, coming to rest on his shoulder. It was a small scarab beetle, and Sir Stewart—and Picard—smiled down at the Borg.

“Resistance is never futile,” he said quietly. He stepped quickly back from the top of the staircase as the little scarab lifted from his shoulder, making room for the massive, black bull that appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. The bull bellowed, sweeping his horns into the Borg at the top of the stairs and sending the lot of them cascading down the curving staircase.

Sir Stewart turned to see more Borg reaching the top of the other wing of the staircase. “Emeline,” he whispered. He ducked into the hallway to check for Borg near the door to Emeline’s room, realizing his mistake only as a Borg captured him from behind in its iron grip. He tensed, waiting for the prickles in his neck that meant he’d been injected with Borg nanoprobes, but his entire body began to tingle instead, and the walls around him began to fade out.

His last glimpse was of a black bull, thrashing around, knocking Borg every which way, trying to get to him, but it was too late.


“This is AMAZING!” Mayim bellowed as she fired one sticky foam ball after another, capturing hordes of Borg in the trees surrounding the house, and along the wall as they attempted to climb over. The sticky foam balls exploded and then expanded in a pink mess of goo, and she waited just long enough for the trebuchet to reload before firing another.

Kunal cackled maniacally from the opposite turret, and she laughed again, until his cackling turned into a shriek of terror. She spun around to face the walkway as Kunal raced into sight, nearly tripping in his haste.

“What’s wrong?!” she asked, suddenly scared.

“Borg,” he gasped. “They’re transporting up!”

Several Borg appeared in the walkway behind him, and without a second thought Mayim grabbed the foam ball sitting in the loaded trebuchet and heaved it down the walkway toward the approaching Borg. It exploded, catching the leading Borg’s legs, and tying the whole group of them up in the walkway—momentarily at least.

“Nice,” Kunal said appreciatively.

“They obviously see us as a threat,” Mayim said. “They’ll just beam more drones up. I think we’re done here.” She hit the trebuchet reload a few times, passing a few foam balls to Kunal, and then taking a few for herself.

She and Kunal headed for the stairs they’d come up with Mavis, both fervently hoping they wouldn’t encounter any Borg drones in the narrow staircase.

“What are we gonna do now?” Kunal asked, moving carefully down the stairs so as not to rupture the foam balls he carried.

“Save the day, of course,” Mayim replied flippantly, before looking at Kunal more seriously. “I have no idea. But our friends are losing ground down there and I don’t see the sun yet. So we find a way to buy more time.”

Kunal nodded as they burst out into the main corridor near the bedrooms. Down the corridor Mayim could see Borg approaching, but before she could raise her arm to throw one of her foam balls, Sir Stewart leaned into the corridor in front of the Borg. The nearest Borg caught Sir Stewart in an unbreakable grip, and a moment later, both figures began to shimmer.

“No! Captain Picard!” Mayim heard herself bellow, immediately echoed by Kunal as they both dashed down the corridor. It was too late. Sir Stewart and the Borg drone were gone. Without thinking Mayim dropped her foam balls gently to the floor and launched herself into the next drone in the corridor, surprising herself, Kunal, and the huge black bull pushing his way into the corridor behind the grand staircase.

The bull changed back into Dwayne Johnson, and he reached down and hauled Mayim up and away from the Borg drone with his free hand before any harm could come to her.

“Thanks,” she whispered as he set her down, and she stepped back and away from the drones. “They got Patrick Stewart. I wasn’t thinking.”

“That was really brave,” Dwayne said. “Kinda stupid, but brave. Leave the Borg rolling to me.” He shape-shifted back into the bull, but this time, when he met the first Borg drone, he recoiled off a shield. He shook his head once, then shape-shifted into a wooly mammoth, his massive body literally filling the hallway in all directions. He charged forward again, clearing the passage back to the second arm of the grand staircase.

Kunal heaved his foam balls down the close arm of the stair, tying up a few drones who were climbing back up after the bull had left the space. Mayim ran back for her foam balls and tossed them down the other side of the staircase, being careful to throw them clear of the mammoth still shoving his way through Borg drones at the top of the stairs.

“It’s not enough,” she said. “What else can we do?”

Kunal grabbed her arm and gestured to the hall behind them, where several Borg were entering the corridor from the stairs they’d just recently descended.

“I think we’ve done all we can, unless we can find some kind of weapon,” Kunal said, his eyes wide with fear.

Dwayne re-formed at the top of the stairs. “You two, find a way outta here!” he ordered. “I’ll hold them off as long as I can!” He shape-shifted into a rhino and charged down the corridor toward the new batch of drones, and Mayim and Kunal ducked through the first door they found, bolting it shut tightly behind them.

Mayim rested her head on the door. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Kunal squeezed her shoulder gently. “And we have to assume they know the plan now, and will defend against it. But there was nothing you could have done. We’re out of our league here.” He turned around to lean his back against the door, and took in a sharp breath. “Oh my god.”

Mayim spun around, expecting to be confronted by hordes of drones, but she was instead greeted by a rainbow of colour. A hundred canvases of different shapes and sizes leaned, hung, and dazzled in the most spectacular art studio she’d ever seen.

She stepped toward one massive painting that was a view from behind the bar in Ten Forward, on the Enterprise.

“Well, if we’re going to die today, I suppose this is as good a place as any,” she said, sitting down on a small stool in front of the image.

“I’m glad Guinan’s not here,” Kunal said, pulling up a crate and sitting down beside Mayim. “It makes me feel good to know that she escaped the Borg again.”

“Yeah,” Mayim said. “And this painting is only five hundred dollars, so if we live, I’m totally buying it. It should be worth thousands. I hope we live.”

“Me too,” Kunal said wistfully.

After a moment, Mayim looked at Kunal and took a deep breath. “I will fight for this—for art, and love and creativity, and my kids and this... future—till my last breath.”

Kunal nodded, jumping to his feet in unison with her. “Yeah. Resistance is never futile.”


Johnny Depp watched with growing horror as one powerful superhero after another became ineffective against the never ending Borg onslaught. The pair of Starfleet officers were first, presumably because the Borg were already somewhat familiar with their technology. And try as they might, they simply weren’t strong enough to fight any kind of hand to hand battle with these half-machine humans.

Even the Wakandans—with all their incredible technology— the Jedi Masters—with the force itself—and, after a valiant fight, even Wonderwoman—the goddess—were thrown back from their defensive by some kind of Borg shielding that redirected, or in some cases absorbed, their energy.

Having been held back long enough, the Borg were beginning to transport directly into the yard, rather than being forced to climb up and over the high wall. Johnny had even heard shouts from the roof, so whomever had been lobbing those explosive gooey balls from the roof was likely out of commission as well.

“There are too many,” he mumbled to himself from where he and a few of the other early dropouts had watched the ensuing battle, searching in vain for ways to help. They’d been entirely ignored. The Borg knew they were helpless and weak compared to the little girl upstairs.

“That little girl better dream some dragons soon,” he heard someone say, nervously, from behind him.

“She’s probably terrified,” he mumbled again, mostly to himself. “I’m so terrified I may soil myself if I have to stand here another minute.” Johnny’s legs began moving, walking, then running him toward the wall, almost as if possessed, for he certainly had no idea what he was about to do.

“She needs more time,” he mumbled again, his legs pushing him steadily up the steps to the top of the wall where he could see drones in every direction, as far as he could see.

“Well, Captain Jack. Just you and your big mouth. What’ve you got?” Johnny could see an abandoned Borg ramp leading down into the massive trees that surrounded the house, and no Borg blocking at least the immediate vicinity.

“I’ve got the Tardis key!” he shouted as loud as he could over the din, holding up a random piece of metal from his costume. “And I know where the Tardis is! Let’s go get it!” A few Borg turned to face him, and he knew the game was on.

It only took a moment, and then anyone whose fighting skill was no longer useful—and who was not otherwise incapacitated—converged on him, pretending to receive the key in a handoff before vaulting down the Borg ramp and disappearing into the trees.

Johnny watched just long enough to be absolutely sure the Borg had taken the bait, and then launched himself down the makeshift ramp, glad to feel a little extra strength in his legs thanks to Captain Jack’s propensity for running away from trouble.

A few Borg materialized near him, and he darted away, heading in the opposite direction from where he could hear the others crashing and thrashing through the dark woods. He ran and stumbled his way through the trees until his lungs were heaving and his legs burning, hearing or seeing Borg appear near him every time he stopped.

A few paces ahead he could see a small clearing in the trees, but before he could change direction, something knocked him heavily to the ground.

“Stay down!” a woman’s voice hissed at him quietly. He turned to see Rebecca Romijn’s slender blue body warp into a disconcertingly perfect replica of his own, pirate attire and all. She stood up, and hearing a Borg approaching, took off at a run.

Johnny lay still for a few moments until the crashing of the Borg footsteps grew quieter, and then he made his way into the clearing, finding a small cabin nestled at its heart. He moved swiftly toward the door, tapping lightly on the wood and listening. No response. He tried the locked door and then slammed into it with his shoulder, cracking the frame slightly.

He slammed into it again as a few Borg materialized at the edge of the clearing, and this time he broke though, entering and wedging a heavy wood trunk tightly back against the door, and then jamming a metal box between it and the solid couch just beyond. The cabin was small, and cluttered, and he hoped that might buy him a few minutes.

“I’m sorry my loves,” he whispered, leaning heavily on the trunk as the Borg began to thump on the door.

He moved to the tiny cupboard and began rummaging through, finding what he was looking for behind the second door.

“Jackpot,” Johnny mumbled, popping the cork from the dark bottle and tipping it up to his lips, before pulling it away and holding it upside down, sadly. “Why is all the rum gone?”


Swipe for Chapter Six

Dreamer - Chapter Six

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Six

Sir Stewart watched as everything around him faded out and then began to fade back in, much changed.

“Nice work Colm!” an exceptionally familiar voice said, as the tingling left his body. “We’ve got him! And no Borg!”

“I’m glad to hear it,” another familiar voice—Colm Meaney’s—sounded all around him. “I just can’t even—“

Sir Stewart looked around him, standing up straight now that the Borg mechanical arm was no longer hampering his movement. He was on the bridge of the Enterprise. Jonathan Frakes grinned at him from just in front of the command chairs. Michael Dorn was at tactical. Brent Spiner and Levar Burton were at the controls, and Marina Sirtis stood opposite Jonathan.

A smile spread across his face, but only for a moment. There was much to do.

“Captain on the bridge!” Jonathan bellowed, still grinning. “Or is it admiral now?”

“Thank you Number One, at ease,” he ordered, falling easily into his old routines as he walked down the sloped floor to stand behind Brent. “Mr—Spiner! Can you fly this thing?”

Brent turned toward him slightly. “I think so. Sir.” Brent’s hands flew over the console in a blur, surprising him immensely, and the ship changed course hard. “Ah, yep!”

Sir Stewart turned toward the command chairs, glancing at Marina in surprise. “What’s with the—“ he gestured to her outfit. She was wearing a long medieval gown and cloak, and carrying a basket with parsnips and apples in it.

“I’m really not sure,” Marina replied, herself confused.

Brent and Levar both turned to look, and Brent’s head tilted to the side. “You appear to be dressed as the female villain from the animated film Tangled.”

Levar grinned from behind his visor. “Yeah, yeah! Mother Gothel!”

Jonathan grinned then too. “You mean the really, really old, evil woman? I can see the resemblance.”

The men all chuckled as Marina whirled to sit in her chair.

Still beats wearing spandex at OUR age.

Her sarcastic voice resounded in every head, loud and clear, and the others tugged at their slightly more fitted uniforms, self consciously.

“Oh look,” Marina said out loud then. “I’m half Betazoid too.” She took an apple out of her basket and took a loud bite. Apple, Imzadi?

Jonathan grinned again. “Yes, please.” Marina threw the apple to him as Sir Stewart stepped closer to his seat.

“Mr. Dorn, are you ready?”

At his nod, Sir Stewart whirled to sit in his command chair. “Mr. Spiner, keep us in the shadow. Take us in. Shields up. Red alert. All hands to battle stations.” He glanced at Jonathan, a familiar and yet much more energizing feeling rushing through his body. This is all real.

“Mr. Dorn,” he continued. “Target their shield generator and weapons systems. Fire when ready.”

After a moments pause, Michael opened the ship wide comm. “All hands,” his deep voice boomed out, “brace for impact.” Several photon torpedoes went spinning off toward the monstrous Borg sun-shield, as Sir Stewart glanced back at his long time tactical officer.

“What do real photon torpedoes feel like?” Michael asked, genuinely.

Everyone braced for impact, but the torpedoes exploded near the shield without incident. A return volley from the Borg sun-shield slammed the ship much harder however.

“That feels about right,” Levar said, glancing back at the others.

“Mr. Dorn, fire at will,” Sir Stewart said. “We have to break this thing apart before they get to Emeline—at all costs.” He stared at the image on the screen. “Come around for another pass. It almost looks like they’re building a Dyson sphere,” he mused aloud. “Capture the sun’s energy for their use and protect themselves from it at the same time, while all life everywhere else ceases.” He leaned against the arm of his chair. “Mr. Spiner, please scan the planet. Have they breached the bedroom yet?”

“No sir,” Brent replied, “but they are getting very close.” He paused for a moment. “Is there—a rhino in the house?”

Sir Stewart smiled wryly. “Remind me to share a large bottle of tequila with that man when this is all done.”


Loud thumping in the hallway alerted David that all was not well in the battle for the massive home. Mavis had returned, and they had alternately encouraged Emeline toward her dream goals—to no obvious effect as yet.

The sounds of battle outside the house were quieting, though there were obviously Borg inside the house, and David took a deep, quiet breath to calm himself. He bent down beside Emeline, where she lay on the large canopied bed.

“Emie, sweetie, we need the key for the Tardis please. And the dragons too please. You’re doing fantastic. Please focus on the key—put it in my pocket—and then the dragons.”

Her breathing was fast and shallow, and her body was twitching even in her sleeping pill induced slumber. She’s too afraid. She’s having a nightmare that she can’t do it.

David stood bolt upright as something began to smash at the locked bedroom door. Mavis moved to put herself between Emeline and whomever was at the door, with an expression of hellbent intent to contain her fear from colouring Emeline’s dreams.

“I wish we’d put her to sleep in the hidden room,” Mavis whispered. “If we wake her now—“

“Game over,” he muttered under his breath. He stood up, moving toward the door. “You try again,” he said as quietly as he could. “She needs to believe she can do it. We’re running out of time.” He closed the closet door to hide the Tardis before pulling out his sonic screwdriver and going to work on whomever was on the other side of the door, unsuccessfully.

“I don’t have a setting for Borg,” he hissed in frustration. “I don’t know their technology. Ugh! Never thought I’d see the day where I’d welcome a Dalek, but this just might be it. At least I know what to do with a Dalek!”

The door splintered then, and with a few more blows, broke open down the centre.

“How do you stop a Borg?” he called to Mavis. “If I rip out some tubes from the—thing to the—thing, will it stop them or kill them?”

She poked her head through the curtains on the bed, and gasped. “Oh my god, those are—“ She stopped short of saying it but mouthed the words—her mum and dad.

David backed slowly toward the bed as several Borg—Emeline’s parents included—continued to smash their way through the door. “But we need more time! If they get her—“

“If someone innocent dies—if they die—she’ll never forgive herself,” Mavis said, her eyes filling with tears. “Please. We need another option.”

David stared at her for a long moment. “You’re a dreamer too,” he said finally, stepping closer when she shook her head no. “This house, all the supplies. It was too complex for one little girl to dream. Why aren’t you asleep, dreaming the dragons, or at least helping her?” He tried to keep his tone neutral, though he was frustrated and confused—and really, really scared. The Borg were almost through the door.

Tears streamed down Mavis’ cheeks. “I can’t,” she cried softly. “I can’t dream when I’m afraid the way Emeline can. Bad things happen.” She choked a little on the words. “Really bad things.”

Mavis’ face was contorted with so much repressed grief that David reached over to squeeze her shoulder.

“We need another option,” he said as the Borg smashed through the door. He stood up straight, moving to stand between the Borg drones and the bed.

“Without the Tardis, and the sonic screwdriver, I’ve got one weapon left, besides my dashing good looks, charm, and thousands of years of life experience,” he said, and his eyes began to blaze as he addressed the Borg now entering the room. “By now I expect you’ve scanned Earth’s computer systems, and you know who I am.”

One of the Borg scanned him with its red laser light.

“They call me the oncoming st—“

“You are David Tennant, born David McDonald. You will be assimilated,” the Borg cut him off, grasping his arm in a vice like grip.

Mavis jumped out of bed to stand beside David, between the Borg and the bed where Emeline still slept, twitching and whimpering in the throws of her nightmare.

“Damn,” David swore under his breath, trying to pull his arm free. “She’s only dreaming elements, so the mythos isn’t solid. They know who holds power on this planet, and it isn’t the Doctor.” As the Borg pulled him into position for an injection of nanoprobes, David’s eyes lit up.

“Wait!” he hollered with such authority that even the Borg holding him stopped what it was doing, regarding him curiously. “Emeline, I was wrong. I’m not the oncoming storm! Not against a real world problem! Only you have real power over the real future! You, Emeline! You’re like fire and ice and rage…”


Emeline climbed. She was utterly surrounded by Borg, and the metal structure she’d found to climb was wobbling so badly she was sure she was going to fall right down to the ground and be assimilated. More and more Borg appeared every second, even as so many vanished in a shimmer of light, and the heroes she dreamed to help her kept disappearing. She was sending them all to the house, even the Borg. She was making it worse instead of better.

Her heart pounded, both with the fear of the Borg, and now the fear of falling that worsened with every move she made. She’d tried to wake herself up, but the sleeping pill was keeping her under.

“Stop,” she whispered, though she knew no one could hear her. “Please stop. I can’t do it.” She heard a sound cutting in and out through the wind blowing around her and she tilted her head up to listen. It was David Tennant’s voice, coming through into her dreamscape.

“I’m not the oncoming storm! Not against a real world problem! Only you have real power over the real future! You, Emeline! You’re like fire and ice and rage. You’re like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. You’re ancient and forever. You burn at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. Because you’re real, Emeline! Your power is real! What you do matters! Your dreams of a better world will save us all!”

Emeline sat up straighter on the structure, lifting her chin and raising her gaze from the Borg below to the sky around her. Those words had made her shiver when she’d first heard them, but now, it was as if they lit a fire inside her, that started in her heart, blazing through her to every part of her body.

One by one, dragons began appearing in the sky above. At first it was one or two at a time, then fifty or sixty, and finally thousands and thousands of dragons appeared, their riders clad in space suits to brave the freezing cold, oxygen-barren void of space.

“I believe in her!” David’s voice cut through the dreamscape once more, but it sounded pained this time, as if something were wrong. “Emeline, you’re the oncoming storm! Allons y!”

“I believe in you Emeline!” This time it was her aunt Mavis’ voice, but she too sounded afraid and in pain.

Ruth appeared directly in front of her. I will help you down, he told her kindly.

“We need you to turn the sun-shield around!” she yelled over the wind of thousands of dragon wings beating. She pictured the shield as clearly as she could, near the Enterprise that had already come and gone from the dream space, and then she added an image of the separated pieces of metal reflecting sunlight all around the earth. “Like this!”

We will stop the borg-thread. Ruth blinked out of sight.

A moment later the entire legion of dragons disappeared, and the air settled around her. Emeline shifted her gaze back to the ground and began compressing the structure to which she still clung. It shrank down until it was no more than a bent metal tube sticking out of the ground, and she leapt down, bracing her feet wide.

As the Borg began to approach, Emeline swung her arm in a wide semicircle, and the Borg army disintegrated and blew away like dust, leaving the dream space empty save for one. A blonde woman with a few small Borg implants stood in front of her.

“Help them, Seven,” Emeline pleaded, and Seven of Nine shimmered out of sight, nodding, her fists clenching in anticipation.


The Enterprise rocked violently with another Borg volley. Smoke filled the bridge, and sparks burst out from multiple panels.

“I’ve gotta get down to engineering!” Levar shouted. He glanced back, and a woman moved to take over the controls. He ran for the turbo lift as she settled into his seat.

“Lieutenant—“ Sir Stewart began, his voice questioning.

“Reigh, Sir!” the woman replied.

“Find me a damn weakness, Reigh!” Sir Stewart shouted. “Prepare for another run!”

“Yes Sir!” Lieutenant Reigh replied smartly. “Wait—there’s something dead ahead!” Her hands flew over the controls. “It’s a—a dragon!”

“On screen,” Sir Stewart ordered. “All stop—extend shields.”

A white dragon, considerably smaller than the Enterprise, appeared on screen, tumbling end over end through space. The dragon reached out to grasp the nose of the Enterprise, righting himself in relation to the ship.

I’m here. I see the shield. Come now.

Sir Stewart heard the words resonate in his head and glanced at Marina.

“It’s a telepathic creature,” she said, as thousands of dragons appeared simultaneously in the shadow of the sun-shield, within the Borg shielding, and out of reach of their weapons.

Thank you MasterHarper. We have it now and will make it go away.

The small, white dragon disappeared suddenly, reappearing inside the Borg shielding with the others. Half of the dragons blinked out and reappeared within the outer edges of the sun-shield, grasping on to it with taloned fingers. The entire structure—and all of the dragons—disappeared for a few long moments before reappearing with the structure of the sun-shield reversed.

The dragons holding on to the shield rapidly faded from view in the bright light of the sun, while the other half, led by the smaller white dragon, remained behind the shield—which also rapidly disintegrated in the sunlight, leaving only large glittering sheets of steel drifting in space. Each dragon disappeared again, reappearing behind individual pieces of steel, grasping them with strong feet along the folds used to fit them to the sun-shield.

“They made that look a little too easy,” Jonathan grinned, as the dragons blinked out one last time before reappearing in position around the Earth, shielding themselves behind the sheets of metal, and reflecting the sun’s light so it could reach every inch of the planet at once.

As the Enterprise faded out of sight, Sir Stewart tugged his shirt down, leaning back in his chair. “I missed seeing Wil. We could have used Wesley’s ingenuity today.”

“Gates too,” Marina added. “I wonder—“ And then they were gone.


Gates moved amongst rows and rows of unconscious people, administering hyposprays to stabilize erratic vitals, and scanning as rapidly as she could. An ethereal glow lit the space. These people were out of phase, as was she, her small team, and three medical beds like the ones she’d used on the Enterprise. Hugh, the ex-Borg she’d once worked with on the Enterprise, weaved among the bodies, using his considerable expertise to support her team.

“Take this one,” she called out and two members of her team lifted the young woman onto a transport gurney, moving rapidly toward the nearest medical bed. The Borg had intersected an artery installing their hardware, and the young woman had nearly bled out before she’d been taken out of phase.

That seemed to be the case with a fair number of the bodies strewn across the field, although many were simply afflicted with what would one day soon be entirely cure-able chronic conditions, others with—likewise soon to be cure-able—mental health conditions or genetic issues.

“Borg rejects,” she muttered angrily as she worked on the young woman. What a waste. I could cure them all now—permanently—if I had the time!

She glanced up for a moment, realizing that the space around them, outside the phasing, was brightening, albeit very slowly. “Let’s move quickly, people. I don’t know how much time we’ve got! We have to get all the damaged arteries, and if we have time we’ll do some chronic conditions too.” Might as well be some good that comes of all this, she thought, still angry, but more focused than before.

Gates finished with the young woman and moved to the next bed as Hugh settled a limp body gently onto it.

“Collapsed lung,” he said quickly.

Standing opposite her longtime nurse, Patti Yasutake, Gates nodded her thanks to Hugh, and bent to her work as he returned again to the rows of wounded.

“How is this even happening?” Patti asked, glancing around them, her hands never stopping in their repair work. The lung was collapsed, but the cause was a gun shot wound. Humans afraid of what they didn’t understand.

“I don’t know,” Gates replied. “But I know it’s somehow real, and I suspect it has something to do with my son.”

“James?” Patti asked, puzzled.

“No,” Gates replied, still working as quickly as she could. “The other one.”


Wil Wheaton heard a door slam near the front of the house, from where he sat shrouded in the darkness of his bedroom.

“Wil!” he heard Anne’s concerned voice calling. “Wil? Where are you?! The sun’s back!

Wil cleared his throat. “I’m in here Anne,” he called. “But don’t let the light in! Please! Don’t let the light in!”

The bedroom door opened, and in the very dim light that spilled from the hallway, Wil could see that Anne was still wearing her coat, with phone and car keys in hand.

“Wil.” Her voice sounded concerned now, which wasn’t surprising. He was sitting in the bedroom in the pitch dark in the middle of—whatever it was that was happening. “I tried calling you! They wouldn’t let us leave when it went dark! Are you ok?”

Wil’s voice sounded strangely calm when he answered, even to himself. “I’m ok, just don’t let the light in here, ok? Use your phone, point the flashlight away from me. Tell me what you see?”

He saw her phone light up almost immediately, and she gasped a moment later.

“Oh my god, Wil, you’re… you’re not—“

Wil breathed a huge sigh of relief. “I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d lost my mind. Anne,” he explained. “I’m phasing. Like the traveller taught me—or Wesley—or, both of us. I’m missing a lot of detail, but there’s a little girl who dreams, and Borg—here on Earth—and they tried to block out the sun and assimilate us all.”

He stopped to take a deep breath again, even though he wasn’t sure if he needed to breathe while phasing. It all sounded more than a little crazy, but Anne was listening intently, and from the look on her face it was clear that he was—in fact—phasing.

“A lot of people were hurt, very badly. Some by the Borg. Some by other humans with guns.”

He felt Anne sit down on the edge of the bed then, and for the first time noticed his pets surrounding him.

“I’ve got them Anne,” he said, his voice almost breaking. “I’ve got them phased out of time. Thousands of people, from all over. And space mom and her team are saving them. Hugh is with them. Jonathan. He’s helping. There. I just let another one go. Torn artery. But she’s ok now. She’s going to be ok.” He was quiet for a moment. “Wesley was a lot more powerful than I realized. More than anyone—except maybe Gene—realized.”

He felt Anne shift on the bed and realized she was picking up his phone from the nightstand to take a picture of him in the light from her phone, but she hesitated and moved to set it back down.

“Please do Anne. Not for anyone else. For me,” he said quietly. “So I can always remember that I’ve helped save a lot of people from the darkness today. So I can always remember, even on my darkest days, that what I do matters.”


Sunlight flooded Emeline’s room, and Mavis felt the unrelenting Borg grip on her shoulder release. David Tennant disappeared, along with Mayim and Kunal—who had made a valiant, but mostly futile effort to save both her and David from the powerful Borg drones, armed with only sticks of wood frame broken free from one of her unpainted canvasses in the art room.

A beautiful blonde woman had appeared just as the Borg moved to inject them with something she was sure would be extremely unpleasant, and the woman’s formidable strength had been all that stood between them and certain assimilation. The woman was gone now too, and the room felt empty, and strangely quiet. She took a deep, calming breath.

Emeline stirred on the bed then, and Mavis rubbed at her neck as she climbed in next to the young dreamer.

“Emeline,” she said, and her nieces eyes fluttered open. “I’m so proud of you.” She lay down next to Emeline and wrapped her up in a hug. “You did something I wasn’t able to do. You took charge of your dreams when it really mattered.”

Emeline hugged her fiercely. “I knew I had you here to keep me safe, and that you believed in me,” she said, and then her face grew serious. “My parents were Borg. Will they be ok?”

Mavis nodded. “I think the Borg technology was disappearing from them even before they went home. They’ll be ok, even if they need minor surgery to remove a part or two.” She winked, and Emeline’s face relaxed a little.

A thump sounded then from inside the closed closet door, and Mavis sat up abruptly.

“Don’t worry, Aunt Mavis,” Emeline said, reaching a hand over to comfort her, looking much calmer than she had since she’d first arrived at the large home in the woods. “That guy Chad was hiding in the closet, in the secret room. I dreamed a tranquilizer dart for him just before I woke up. That way, when he goes home in the sun, everything will just feel like a groggy dream and he won’t know what was real and what wasn’t.”

Mavis laughed, a full bellied, genuine laugh. “Good girl,” she said, smoothing Emeline’s hair back from her face. “You’ve thought of everything.”

Emeline smiled then, and started to push the covers down off of her legs. “We’d better get that bozo in the sun before he wakes up again,” she said, and Mavis laughed again.

“But let’s pull him into the sun in your room, ok Aunt Mavis?” Emeline asked cryptically, not waiting for her aunt’s reply before she dashed out of the room.

Mavis stood up, took a deep breath, and followed her niece into the—demolished—corridor that dazzled with light thanks to the open sun roof over the main chandelier, thankful to see such liveliness in the young girl’s face, and wishing fervently that Emeline would never have to leave this place.


Swipe for Chapter Seven

Dreamer - Chapter Seven

by Karen Reigh

Chapter Seven

Emeline stood in the darkness, waiting, but nothing appeared. She felt calm—more calm than she could remember having felt before, ever. She knew her aunt was lying next to her in her giant bed, as they had agreed to do until they were sure the Borg threat had entirely passed, but even then she knew it had. The Borg were gone, and her dreams were waiting for her to call them into being.

“Ruth,” she said quietly, and almost immediately a feeling of joyful excitement filled her being. The white dragon appeared before her in a burst of cold air brought with him from between, but this time, he had a rider, clad in a thick wherhide coat and boots, which matched her own.

We stopped the borg-thread, Ruth told her, feelings of relief and contentment emanating from him, as his rider slid down his side to stand beside her.

“Jaxom,” the handsome young man introduced himself, reaching out to grasp her arm firmly in a warm greeting, and she blushed, despite her best effort.

“I am greatly indebted to you and the dragon riders, Lord Holder Jaxom” Emeline said, bowing low in deference to his status.

“As we are in awe of your great ability, young Emeline,” Jaxom replied graciously. “Ruth told me you’d make an excellent dragon rider, and I must say I agree. I’d take you to Pern right now, but without a breathing apparatus, I fear the length of the jump would do us both harm.”

Emeline smiled, asking Ruth for the image, and as the spectacular view swept through her mind, she waved one hand across the dark landscape surrounding them, transforming it into the lush greens and yellows and blues of the fields surrounding Ruatha Hold.

“Spectacular,” Jaxom whispered, transfixed. “In the blink of an eye, here we are.” He looked at Emeline again, and held out his hand, leading her to Ruth. “Where to, m’lady?”

As she clamoured up, her mind drifted through the possibilities, and the timelines of her favourite stories. “I’d like to meet Ramoth, and Weyrwoman Lessa,” she said quietly as she settled into place in front of Jaxom. His arms wrapped tightly around her and she blushed again, grateful that he couldn’t see her face, and then Ruth’s powerful wings began beating the crops flat all around as he lifted them high into the sky over Ruatha Hold.

A few breaths later they were soaring over Benden Weyr, the sky filled with dragons of blue, green, brown and bronze, and Emeline caught her breath at the sight. Without the overwhelming fear of nightmares and Borg drones, her dream was spectacular. Ruth coasted in and then angled down toward a grand opening in the cliff face.

“She’s in the hatching ground,” Jaxom shouted over the wind of their descent. “The eggs won’t be ready for another few weeks.” Ruth dropped them at the entrance, nuzzling Emeline gently before he launched up to sun himself on the heights with some of the other, larger dragons who made room for him as he approached. Jaxom strode forward into the entrance, approaching a petite, though sturdy woman just inside.

“Weyrwoman Lessa, please allow me to introduce Emeline, the Master Dreamer.” He waved Emeline to approach, and she did so nervously. She knew well both Lessa’s and Ramoth’s famous tempers, but Lessa waved her forward with a warm smile.

“Hoping to try your luck at the hatching?” Lessa asked with a wry smile.

“Only to meet you, and Ramoth,” Emeline said, her eyes respectfully dropped to the floor, “if she is willing.”

Come closer, the voice sounded almost instantly in her head. It was very different from Ruth’s, in tone and texture.

Lessa chuckled. “She’s curious about you.” She gestured to the interior of the hatching ground. “Go ahead.”

Jaxom lead her a short distance into the hatching ground, until Emeline could see the hulking golden figure of Ramoth, curled protectively around a large grouping of eggs, each one nearly as big as her own ten year old body. One egg, larger than the others, was positioned between Ramoth’s massive front legs, and Emeline knew immediately that it was a golden queen egg. Only queen eggs would receive that kind of special attention from the queen dragon.

Come closer, Ramoth said again in her head, and despite the pounding of her heart—Ramoth was by far bigger than Ruth or the Arachnomorph—Emeline moved smoothly across the space to stand just in front of the lowest ring of seats near Ramoth’s massive head.

She bowed low. “I wanted to thank you, Ramoth, for allowing Ruth to lead the dragons to help me. To thank you for saving our planet, too.”

Ramoth regarded her for a long moment, and Emeline stood up straighter, trying to remember to breathe.

I will allow you to stand, though you are young. You do not wish it. Why?

Ramoth’s words surprised Emeline, and tears unexpectedly rolled down her cheeks. Pern’s largest, most respected—and most feared—gold Queen dragon thought she was acceptable as a candidate for a gold egg?

“I am honoured, Queen Ramoth,” she said, bowing low again, but knowing even as she did that she would never stand on the heated sand for a hatching. “So honoured.”

Emeline wiped the tears from her cheeks. “But I don’t know if I can even stay. And I would never, ever put any dragon at risk. My aunt needs me right now, and I think, Earth needs me.” She hesitated a moment before adding, “And maybe even my family needs me. Too many are suffering and have lost hope. And we don’t have dragons to save us, so I need to go back. I need to do what I can to help. I need to keep dreaming.”

A low rumble emanated from Ramoth’s throat and she swung her massive head toward Emeline, who stood her ground though her legs were shaking. Ramoth snorted, blowing a cool breeze over her body and for the first time Emeline realized how hot she was, standing on the sand of the hatching ground. She was sweating under the thick wherhide coat.

Emeline reached tentatively toward Ramoth and rubbed the ridge of her closest eye until the facets of Ramoth’s eyes whirled green and blue.

Your world needs you, as mine once needed me. We will be here. Go now. Ruth will take you.

Emeline bowed low again, and then made her way quickly back to the entrance of the hatching ground where Jaxom and Ruth were waiting for her.


Jaxom guided Ruth low through the air over the houses in Emeline’s family’s neighbourhood. Lessa had insisted that they stay for a meal while Emeline cooled off and dried out, even though Emeline wasn’t planning a trip between to get home, but the roasted wherry and tubers had been so amazing she’d fought to stay asleep when the shift that meant she was waking had begun.

As it was she’d hardly had time to shimmer Ruth and Jaxom to the mansion before her own eyes had opened and she’d found herself in bed in her wherhide next to her aunt Mavis. She’d slipped out of bed quietly, leaving a note and running downstairs to find the small white dragon and his rider before it was too late to take the trip to her family home.

“That house,” she told Jaxom, pointing to her family’s house, and Ruth landed lightly on the roof near her—still broken—window. “I’ll only be a minute,” she said as she slid down to Ruth’s arm and stepped onto the roof.

We will wait for you, Ruth replied.

Emeline slipped in through the window as quietly as she could, and was surprised to find someone sleeping on her little twin bed, still dressed, and on top of the covers. With a start she realized it was her mother, her head still bald from her encounter with the Borg. Her mother stirred, and Emeline froze, not yet ready for a conversation about everything that had happened—pre or post Borg arrival. Her mother settled, still asleep, and Emeline relaxed.

She looks ok, Emeline thought, looking more closely at her mother’s face. She grabbed the crocheted afghan from the end of the bed and gently tucked it over her mother. The doorknob clicked, and Emeline ducked back into the dark corner nearest the window as her father—also bald—pushed the door quietly open, glancing in at his sleeping wife before pulling the door shut again.

They can’t sleep well right now, but they will, she thought, relieved. They’ll be ok without me here. A piece of newsprint in the circle of light under her small table lamp caught her eye and she stepped closer to read it.

Borg Hoax Exposed as Failed Tourist Draw

Emeline almost laughed out loud. Humans! she thought, shaking her head. So predictable.

She snuck quickly down the hall to where Jax was sleeping and then, with confidence that her family was ok, she climbed back out onto the roof to her waiting friends, closing the window carefully behind her.


David Tennant pulled his rental car through the well hidden, but wide open gate of the massive mansion, recognizing it instantly, even though he’d not set foot outside during the Borg engagement a few weeks earlier. It had an overwhelming familiarity, like returning to a favourite childhood place years later.

Mayim Bialik had sent him—and everyone else involved in the Borg engagement—a text about a number of spectacular paintings she’d seen in the art room, encouraging them to make a purchase to help with the fairly extensive repairs that would be needed on the large home. He’d finally gotten a long enough break in shooting to take the long drive out to the house, to commission a painting in person. It only felt right, since he was shooting so close by.

David pulled his rental car carefully in next to an expensive BMW, and as he was approaching the front door, still marred by the Borg’s entry efforts, a young man swung the door open and came striding angrily out.

“You wait!” the young man called over his shoulder. “Its only a matter of time before this house is mine, damaged or not!” The man stormed to the expensive car and drove off, rudely spinning his tires and throwing gravel as he left.

“The turning of the Earth,” David said quietly as he watched the man drive away. “I feel it. And so does she.” He grinned as he saw Emeline appear in the doorway. He sauntered up and was surprised when she immediately caught at his hand, pulling him into the house and up the steps of the grand staircase.

“Run!” she said, but she was grinning from ear to ear. He saw Mavis sitting in a chair in the central section between the wings of the staircase, and called down to her as they ran up.

“Ms. Mavis, I’d like to commission a painting from you,” he called. “Your work is spectacular! And I have a few hundred friends I’ll refer to you, just to be sure that—dalek—never darkens your doorway again.” He saw Mavis’ shoulders shake with contained sobs, but it was easy to see that they were sobs of relief, in shoulders too long held erect under great weight.

As they entered the upstairs corridor—still damaged the full length and breadth—Emeline turned toward him, beaming.

“Mayim bought Aunt Mavis’ Ten Forward painting, but she refused to pay less than five thousand dollars for a painting ‘so big and beautiful,’ she said.”

“Y’know,” he said thoughtfully. “With your—both of your—abilities with dream creation, you could turn this house into anything. Like a soundstage! Just think! I’m of a mind to recommend you to my own film as an alternate location for one of our scenes. If we could get the house fixed up by end of next week—“

“We can fix it tonight,” Emeline said confidently as she pulled him past the destroyed remains of her bedroom door and into the bedroom where he had so recently faced the Borg. The lights still twinkled on the ceiling, and the thick, light blocking shades were fully closed. “There’s extra lumber in the garage,” she added. “Is everyone ok?” The last she asked quietly, hesitantly, as if afraid to hear the answer.

“Oh, from what I’ve heard, everyone woke up right where they were supposed to be,” David said, grinning. “A few had some Borg implants started, but nothing in the face, so not to worry. Oh, except Mr. Johnson.” David grinned conspiratorially at her. “If you thought he looked like a badass before—I think he’s actually planning to keep it for his next film!”

Emeline’s eyes were wide, but she looked relieved as she grabbed his hand, leading him toward the huge closet, before dashing over to the bedside table. She returned with a small object in her fingers, and as she came closer he realized exactly what it was.

“You dreamed the Tardis key. Spectacular.”

Emeline was beaming, and she threw open the closet doors to reveal the Tardis, still waiting silently, inviting him to enter.

“You do realize that I’m just David now, and I have absolutely no bloody idea how to fly this thing, right?”

Emeline nodded, waiting expectantly. David reached over and took the key from her, slowly unlocking the door, looking inside in absolute awe.

“You do realize the Tardis can be very unpredictable and dangerous, right? And it could just take off with us inside!?”

Emeline nodded again, and as her aunt Mavis entered the room holding an old Polaroid camera and a bottle of sleeping tablets which she tucked into her pocket, asked “Will you play Dr. Who with me, just for a bit?”

Mavis nodded her assent, and a slow smile spread across David’s face. “Absolutely!”

He grabbed Emeline’s hand and she grabbed Mavis’ hand and the three ran inside the Tardis, laughing and dancing, exploring the wonder of the impossible made possible, by a once lonely little girl who dreamed.



Emeline woke with a start, screaming for her aunt to come as soon as her eyes had opened, and launching out of the large bed before she was fully awake.

“Where is she?” she cried, searching the large bedroom in a sweeping glance before pelting out into the hall. “Where is she?!”

Her aunt’s door opened, and Emeline ran to her, grasping her hand firmly and pulling her into the hall.

“We have to find her!” she nearly shouted. “She’s dying!” Waves of the dream passed over her. The boy with the gun. The girl in the bus stop. The smaller children the girl had leapt in front of in a desperate attempt at saving. “Please, we have to find her!”

Her aunt Mavis moved swiftly down the hall, through the doors to the grand entry, but Emeline stopped hard as two realizations hit her.

“It wasn’t a dream,” she said quietly. “Or, at least, I was the dream. The shooting was really happening. I was dreaming myself watching it from above.”

“Aunt Mavis!” Emeline shouted toward the front foyer, and after a long moment, her aunt’s face appeared at the door to the hallway.

“This dream was different,” she said tentatively to her aunt. “I mean, I was dreaming myself watching a shooting that was really happening.”

Her aunt stepped fully into the hallway, her concerned expression softening slightly, though not leaving her face. “And the girl?”

Emeline took a deep breath. “She was shot. And she was dying.” She stood up straighter. “But she won’t be here. I think…I dreamed her to God—Morgan Freeman—and he’s going to save her.”

“No,” she added quietly, as more memories of the dream solidified in her young mind. “Not save her. He’s going to make her different, like me.”