"It's a beacon Captain," T'Pol said, looking through her scanner.
The lush-looking blue and green planet on the viewscreen looked innocuous enough, Jon thought.
"I'm getting an automated message from it," Hoshi said. "Fantasy Planet, Beware."
Jon looked incredulous. "Is that it?" He asked Hoshi.
"Aye Captain," she replied.
Jon blinked. He turned to T'Pol with a slight laugh in his voice. "Maybe it's not really there- just a figment of our imagination, hence the fantasy."
"The planet registers in all normal frequencies and scans as a regular M-Class planet. Breathable atmosphere, continents, mammalian lifeforms and fauna."
"Landable then?" Archer asked hopefully.
T'Pol hesitated for a minute second before she answered. "It is definitely there, and we are able to send a shuttle to it, but I would recommend against such an action. There is a beacon warning people away after all."
"But it says so little!" Jon replied, looking back at the little warning that was still being displayed on the viewscreen, lights blinking gently. "For all we know, it's warning us away from a little scientific education. Maybe it's been left by Klingons and something fantastic is down there that they don't want us to see."
T'Pol raised an eyebrow, even though Jon wasn't looking at her to see it. "That is unlikely Captain", she said as dryly as she could. "Klingons do not leave beacons as warnings. I doubt they even stock them on their ships. However, if you are insistent on there being a party going to the planet, the planet is indeed real and there seems to be no threat from the flora and fauna."
"Excellent!" Jon said, rubbing his hands, oblivious to the disapproving voice his SIC was using.
The ground was definitely real as Jon and the team departed from the shuttle into the midday sunshine on to a lush grassy field.
The rest of the team consisted of Malcolm, Trip, and T'Pol. Jon had thought that both Trip and T'Pol needed a break from the ship after recent events in the Expanse, and he felt that Malcolm had thought that he'd shamed the Captain, the ship, and himself with the revelations behind him and Section 31 and so needed to be shown that he was still important in the eyes of his Captain.
The planet where they had landed wasn't populated by anything or anyone except for animals, and yet, about a mile away from where they were standing, was most decidedly a village or small town of rustic stone and thatch single-story buildings.
They couldn't see anyone, so they slowly ventured forwards towards the settlement.
The closer the got, the quieter they realised it was. They could hear the birds, but there wasn't a soul in the place itself.
"Awfully quiet Sir," Malcolm said.
They were at the outskirts of the village, looking down a cobbled street towards an open square. As they heard nothing at all, they silently walked down the street and came out on to the square which was a market place with stalls with fresh fruit and bread, bolts of material and furs, and empty animal cages. Not a single stall was manned.
T'Pol took another scan with the instrument she held.
"Everything here is fresh but scans show that there are still no inhabitants within a five-mile radius. This entire town is deserted."
Jon walked over to the stall with the fruit on it and picked up something that looked a bit like a cross between a squash and a mango.
"Well someone had to set this lot up, and probably this morning too. It's sunny, and I can't smell this going off yet." He held it up to his nose and took a deep sniff. "Nope," he confirmed.
What he did smell though was a sudden pungent, yet fresh salt smell coming from the end of the town they hadn't yet been to.
"Can you smell that?" he asked the others. "It almost smells like the sea."
T'Pol looked down at her scanner again. And then frowned.
"It is the sea Captain." she said. "It seems that this is a seaside town. Suddenly."
She looked up and over at another street leading from the market place to the opposite end of the town. "From that direction," she indicated.
Trip frowned deeply and led a fast-paced march to the 'new' seafront. At the end of the street and down another he strode, and came out to a cobbled beach front with sand leading to the beautiful blue and crystal clear seafront.
He turned back to find the others, but they had followed him and were just emerging from the last street. Jon took a deep breath of the brine in the air.
"Just to make sure I'm not goin' nuts- this wasn't here before, was it?" Trip asked everyone else.
"Definitely not," Malcolm reassured him, though he was looking thoroughly confused himself. "It definitely wasn't here even about ten minutes ago."
"It's just that..." Trip thought about it for a second, "...It's just that I was thinkin' of this place just as we saw the market. It reminded me of some place I went to on vacation when I was younger. And there was this beach with little sail boats on it."
"Like those?" Malcolm asked, pointing over Trip's left shoulder.
Trip turned again and suddenly saw some brightly painted wooden fishing boats, all different colours with bright white sails billowing in the gentle breeze.
"Er, yeah..." Trip said, visibly confused. "Just like those." He walked over to them and looked closer. "In fact, I think it is these exact ones."
He turned back to them. "I don't get it. What is this place?" He asked Jon. "This is on Earth, and we're not, but this is definitely here."
"Clearly this is something that the succinct beacon was trying to warn us of," T'Pol said, coming up behind Jon.
"Fantasy planet," Malcolm mused, leaning against the red boat closest to them. "Or a fantasy planet." He pondered this. "One that makes fantasies come true?" he ventured. "Or daydreams perhaps?"
T'Pol gave a slow nod. "That was my conjecture," she confirmed.
"Well then,"Jon said, standing upright. "If there is no danger but our minds- if that's even the case, then at least we're in no danger."
"True Captain, but as it is exactly that- our minds- may I suggest we leave this place and leave a beacon with a better description to warn other ships."
Jon leant his head towards the sun, relishing the feel of the warmth and the sea air, but he had to agree that a place that could change with the most subconscious daydream- if nothing else- could be embarrassing. "Fine, you're probably right. Back to the shuttle we go. But," he added, starting to walk back to the street, "if that fruit is still there, I want to take some back for chef's kitchen."