Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"The Infinite Perfectionist"

My first professional publication was a short story in the anthology "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, vol 9".  I submitted only one story, and I submitted the first draft of that story because I had run up against the deadline.

The next year, I submitted four stories.  None of them were accepted, which was too bad because I thought a couple of them were actually quite good.  The other two... not so much.  But, I've decided to share them here with you.

The first, "The Infinite Perfectionist," may be downloaded in PDF format here.  I think it's a pretty good story, though I can surmise the reasons why it wasn't accepted.  It draws upon a number of concepts and ideas from various eras of the franchise, and concocts a perhaps too complicated idea of a shattered, fractured timeline.

In it, a severely weakened Q finds Christopher Pike, who was to be captain of the Enterprise, but is in this new reality a New York City bar owner, and takes him and his wife on a wild adventure through time and space.  They meet a mutated version of Guinan, who helps send them to the Guardian of Forever.  There, Pike learns how time was fractured and figures out how to put things right.

The idea I had in my mind when I was constructing this story was to explore what would happen if something awful happened to the Guardian of Forever - like, say, having it be assimilated by the Borg.  Ultimately, I thought having it being assimilated wasn't right.  But if the Borg Queen were to step through it, the trillions of minds connected to her own would be too much for the Guardian to handle, and an overload would pretty much break time.

How, then, were our heroes supposed to put things back right?  Q and Guinan were natural choices.  Guinan has shown to be sensitive to changes in the timeline, and Q is, well, an omnipotent being.  But of course, I couldn't just let Q snap his fingers and put everything right, so I just said that surviving the time fracture had weakened him greatly.

Anyway, I thought the story was intriguing enough, and I even think it's fairly well-written.  But, like its premise, it's maybe a little too jumbled.  Maybe Pike was the wrong character to pick?  Perhaps it should have been Kirk, or even Picard - who, of course, has a much heftier emotional connection with the Borg Queen.  Pike would have never even heard of the Borg in the original timeline.  But I thought that was the fun of the story.

Ultimately, I can only guess why the story wasn't accepted.  It just wasn't.  Oh well.  If you get some enjoyment out of it all these years later, then, well, mission accomplished.  Sound off with your thoughts in the comments.