After not sleeping much at all, Sands started the next day with another session in the holodeck. As if the intense concentration could exile the demons in his mind, he 'killed' dozens of attackers, wondering at times why he felt no sense of accomplishment about it. And then suddenly he couldn't stand it any longer. He halted the program. Standing in utter silence, he could hear the screaming in his head very clearly. Losing it, losing it, losing it.
Even virtual bloodshed suddenly made him feel sick. He couldn't even remember when last he'd felt anything at all when killing a person. What was happening to him? Why did the solid ground under his feet make way for quicksand? Where could he go from here?
His comm badge chirped. "Mr. Sands, would you please come to Sick Bay?" Dr. Crusher. No doubt calling about the visor.
"I'm coming," he responded. Part of him felt that perhaps he deserved to be blind. Perhaps he shouldn't have the visor at all. But what else was he to do? He left the holodeck and with instructions from the computer found his way back to Sick Bay, where he had to endure several hours of scans and tests as Crusher calibrated the visor.
"The visor will connect directly with your optic nerves," Crusher said. "Since they have been damaged by the removal of your eyes, the visor will use an artificial intelligence software filter to enhance the images it relays to your brain. This will overcome the lessened capacity of the nerves. It may look a little different from what you were used to."
As if that made the slightest bit of difference at this point. "Doctor, anything will be better than nothing at all."
"That's true," she said. "Well, I'm done with the calibration. Do you want to try it out?"
Obscurely, he suddenly wanted to be anywhere but there. "I... I don't know," he faltered. "What if...?"
She seemed to understand. "Come with me," she said decisively and led the way out of Sick Bay.
"Where are we going?" he asked as they walked.
"I want you to see something worth looking at," she replied. "Not far now."
They arrived wherever it was and she made him sit down. Ignoring his unease she removed his Ray-Bans and placed the visor on his face.
Suddenly light flooded his being, such brightness that he cried out. Not from pain, but from the beauty of it. All the colors of the spectrum combined in an incandescent swirl of light. He stared at the glory of the universe. Galaxies like grains of sand. Immensity consuming useless fears and dreams. What he saw before him was the infinite grandeur of Creation. Words could not describe it.
He wished that he could cry. Every fiber in him strained with the ache to sob real tears, to cleanse himself of the black thing in his soul. And yet, even that shadow faded to insignificance in the illumination from the view before him.
Still, someone was crying close to him, but he could not tear his gaze away from the overwhelming sight.
"Señor Sands, don't die..."
He was lying on his back. There was a smell of straw and sweat and blood in the air. Cars and voices and mariachi music. But the glorious sight of the universe filled his eyes.
He knew the voice. "Don't cry, Chico. It will be alright," he said, reaching a hand inexplicably heavy to pat the boy on the head. "I can see!" He felt his face stretch in a smile. "I can see everything. The whole universe, Chico. And it's grand."
The light became so bright that he lost himself in it. Heavy chains of flesh fell from his spirit, and he soared away above the dusty Mexican town, free.
© Leoni Venter 21 August 2005
When I go
Come lonely hunter, chieftain and king
I will fly like the falcon when I go
Bear me, my brother, under your wing
I will strike, fell, like lightning, when I go
I will bellow like the thunder drum, invoke the storm of war
A twistin' pillar, spun of dust and blood, up from the prairie floor
I will sweep the foe before me, like a gale out on the snow
And the wind will long recount the story
Reverence and glory, when I go
Spring spirit dancer, nimble and thin
I will leap like coyote when I go
Tireless entrancer, lend me your skin
I will run like the gray wolf when I go
I will climb the rise at daybreak, I will kiss the sky at noon
Raise my yearning voice at midnight to my mother in the moon
I will make the lay of long defeat, and draw the chorus slow
I'll send this message down the wire
And hope that someone wise is listening when I go
And when the sun comes, trumpets, from his red house in the east
He will find a standing stone, where long I chanted my release
He will send his morning messenger to strike the hammer blow
I will crumble down, uncountable In showers of crimson rubies when I go
Sigh, mournful sister, whisper and turn
I will rattle like dry leaves when I go
Stand in the mist where my fire used to burn
I will camp on the night breeze when I go
And should you glimpse my wandering form out on the borderline
Between death and resurrection and the council of the pines
Do not worry for my comfort, do not sorrow for me so
All your diamond tears will rise up
And adorn the sky beside me when I go
- Dave Carter (As sung by Ronnie Cox - Sands belong to Robert Rodriguez and Troublemaker Studios. Star Trek belongs to the estate of Gene Roddenberry and Paramount. This story was written purely for personal entertainment and I make no profit from it. No copyright infringement is intended. Thanks to my readers (Haarsha, Charmaine) and their positive feedback!