Figured I would post this up. I wrote it at the end of 2007 as part of a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Well, I failed. It's only 30,000 words and it took me longer than a month to put an end on it. But I figured I'd post it up for anyone who may want to read it. Its a Walt Disney World/Star Trek crossover; I hope you enjoy.
This story takes place after the events of the novel Star Trek: The Next Generation Q&A. Don't read any further if you don't want that book spoiled; it does give away the ending. You have been warned.
Bored, Bored, Bored.
Sometimes Q envied humans. Sure they are far inferior beings that would never evolve into anything more; but their pathetically short life spans, half of which they spend asleep, coupled with how long it takes them to do even the most simple things gives them purpose; it gives them something to do. "Sometimes the problem with being Q," Q thought, "is that there's just not enough to do in the Universe; not that I haven't either seen already or caused to happen in the first place anyhow."
"I should have let that Calamarain get me." Q muttered to no one in particular. Of course he tried that and managed to pass the test he didn't even know he was taking by performing that one unselfish act; up popped Q, saved Q, saved the Enterprise, gave Q back his powers and so here he was. Bored.
Because although Q was bored now, and had been in the past for such a long time, the end of the Universe and the events that had proceeded it had been; fun. For a short while by continuum standards, Q had really enjoyed himself and savoured existence. Maybe it was because there was so much on the line, after all, if he, and it really had been all his idea, had been wrong about humans, Picard or any of the lessons he had taught him, the Universe itself would be gone, engulfed into nothingness. So much like the humans themselves, his belief in them had given Q purpose, and there was always planning and anticipation of what was to come. Or maybe it was because while he had known himself to be right all along, Q, Q and Q opposed him all the way to the final judgement at
So here he was, a Q in the continuum; bored.
Bored, Bored, Bored.
"What am I doing here?" q asked, "you don't even ask anymore?"
"Your father decided we should all go on vacation together;" Q replied in a tone that somewhat lacked enthusiasm, "apparently, this is it."
q looked at the humans around him. He had spent time with humans before, on Auntie Kathy's ship; part of a test his father had given him. But these humans seemed different somehow, they came across as even more primitive than Voyager had been; many of them wearing small black hats with two circular shapes protruding. q looked down upon himself at his own attire; a blue pair of jeans, q had been taught about human clothing by Icheb, and a t-shirt that bore a symbol very reminiscent of the hats the humans were wearing. He turned to his father who so far had said nothing. "Q, when are we?"
"Very good my boy. We have indeed travelled in time. The humans called this the year 2007; a little while ago even by our standards."
"So they will be even move primitive than before?" Q chimed in once she had realised what that meant; her demeanour dropping from unenthusiastic to downright unimpressed. "At least he hasn't dressed me up like last time" she thought to herself, suppressing a shudder at the thought of it.
"My dear," Q replied in his most charming voice, "at this point in time the humans hadn't made it past their own moon," Q chuckled, "only a hard full of them have even left the planet; they are trapped here like rats."
"Well I can think of only a few places I'd rather not be than here Q, so thanks for the history lesson but I have things to do. Care to join me q?"
"Definitely mother." q replied as he quickly moved to his mother's side. Q, however, stood still and made very little protest for someone about to be deserted by his family.
"We'll see you soon Q. You stay. Have fun" Q said as she smiled and snapped her fingers and...
''Oh did I forget to mention?" Q quipped with a boyish grin, "I had your powers revoked for the duration of the trip."
"You did what?" Q shrieked; her annoyance with Q now not in the slightest bit masked.
"We're on vacation from being Q, Q;" Q explained, "how can we do that if we were still Q?"
"It's going to be a hot day today," Philippe Picard thought as he stood by the turnstile to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; "Thunder Mountain will be busy."
Philippe had only been working at Walt Disney World for a few weeks and found it exhilarating. He had grown up at the family vineyards in La Barre but had already decided to himself that the family business was not for him. He really didn't even like the taste of wine, although he was very careful to whom he confided that piece of information, his mother understood but his father would have been either very angry or very disappointed if he found out; Philippe didn't want to risk either.
So Philippe would sit at the table and sip the family's product, and if ever questioned by his father would explain he had to drive later that night or make up some other reason; luckily his mother always had his back and would collaborate his excuse. Spending his entire life working on the vineyard just wasn't an option that Philippe could entertain.
Telling his father that he wanted to get a job outside the vineyard hadn't been easy, and when he finally plucked up the courage to do it, it had been a very heated and emotional discussion. Philippe had never been more thankful that both of his brothers loved the vineyards; if he had been an only child his father would never have agreed.
He managed to get a job at Disneyland Paris, meant to be more of a temporary measure than a career choice, but he really enjoyed the work. So much so that he was still there nine months later when he was given the opportunity to take part in a cast member exchange program that would take him to Walt Disney World, the largest of the Disney theme park resorts; and he jumped at the chance.
And now here he was, working Thunder Mountain no less. In truth he believed the newer version of the ride at Disneyland Paris to be far superior, but this was one of the most iconic rides in the park and Philippe knew how important his job was as a part of the guest's overall experience; he took pride in what he did.
It didn't matter how many times he saw it, it still made him tingle with joy and anticipation.
Now an adult, Mike was a self confessed Disney Geek and proud of it. He had his daily rituals of visiting websites to read the latest articles, was a well known member of several Disney fan message boards and his iPod would contain all the best Disney podcasts that he would listen to religiously every week.
"I can't wait;" Mike thought as he made his way into Liberty Square, "the Escher room, floating Leota, new bride; this is going to be great!"
His upbeat attitude took a dive though when he realised that he could see the Mansion grounds and there were no people walking through them. "This doesn't look good," he muttered under his breath; and sure enough when he got the gates he was met by a cast member telling people the ride was closed. Mike's heart sank on hearing the news but the cast member added that it was a planned downtime and not a fault and that the ride would re-open by lunch time; so it wasn't the end of the world, she even gave him a fast pass ticket so he could walk in rather than line up"
"Waste a few hours in the Magic Kingdom;" Mike said to himself, "not a problem."
Upon entering Q, Q and q found themselves staring down the barrel of a long street crowded with people. There was noise coming from all around; families talking, children shouting, a band playing as well as music being played in the background and a very loud steam train pulling out of the station behind them. All the noises were drowned out however by the sight in front of them because what stood out more than anything else was placed just beyond the end of the street, totally unexpected compared to the environment in which they now inhabited; it was a castle.
"Hurry up, we're late!" Jennifer Roberts exclaimed as her husband, Graham, got the stroller out the trunk.
"Calm down Jenny," he replied, "the park doesn't close until 10 tonight; that's 11 hours from now."
"But now we're not going to beat any of the lines;"
''WHAT Samantha?" Jennifer retorted much louder and sterner than she had meant to. Samantha stepped backwards, her eyes filling with tears just waiting to start flowing. "Oh honey I'm sorry, Mummy and Daddy are just trying to get everything sorted so we can go have some fun. What did you want?"
"I can't find Pony and I need her" Samantha sniffled; the explanation being enough to set off the tears.
Having worked at the park for nearly six yeas, Jonathan Rose considered himself a veteran cast member. For almost all that time Jonathan had been a character portrayer; one of the most important and secretive roles in the park. Cast member behaviour was something the Disney company took very seriously and character portrayers had to be totally in character from the second they were visible until they were completely out of sight; keeping kayfabe was paramount. It was a difficult job; the costumes could be very heavy and were so hot inside, visibility ranged but would be generally poor, you had to make each person feel special but at the same time get through as many as possible, hold books and sign autographs while wearing huge mittens or having just three fingers, control the crowd, reward those who waited patiently while making those who push in wait, be careful not to trip over or hit any children with a limb while being pulled about like a rag doll; all while staying in character and without talking.
Over the years he had seen many people not be able to handle the pressure, dream job turned nightmare; but Jonathan had thrived on it. All the hardships of the job melted away every time he saw a child or family smile or laugh. And he had loved to be able to play up all the different personalities, the playfulness of Pluto and Tigger, the tenderness of Mickey or Pooh; he even loved playing the villains, they weren't as mobbed and he could really interact with the guests whether it be by showing disgust at being asked to sign an autograph or by stealing their hats.
A year ago Jonathan's role had taken a twist. The Pirates of the Caribbean film had been a major success and Disney wanted to have Jack Sparrow in the park. They made slight alterations to the attractions adding Captain Barbossa and changing the focus of the town pillaging to the search for Captain Jack; who would make appearances hiding and outsmarting his would be captors. But they also wanted Captain Jack as a walk around face character; Jonathan had auditioned and gotten the part.
Essentially it was the same job with the same objectives; he did miss the variety of portraying a different role each day, but his body had never been so grateful. After only a week of wearing normal clothes, rather than a huge suit and head piece, Jonathan could feel the difference; he had grown so accustomed to the pain that he didn't feel it until it wasn't there. And of course there was the one major difference between a face and non-face character; he could talk. At first it had been quite hard getting used to the perk, he would find himself motioning and gesturing to guests the way he would have always had to before remembering he could use his voice, but once he mastered how to use both techniques together his performances had begun to shine; he just had to master the dialect Johnny Depp had given the character in the movies, best described as a drunken campness.
He still had an hour before he was scheduled to make his first appearance of the day; Jonathan liked to arrive early in order to get into character while applying his extravagant make up. Most male face characters were princes so just needed to look handsome, some even jibed Jonathan for the extra work his role needed; "who cares," he would think to himself, "they were just an accessory to their respective princess; most guests couldn't even name them. I on the other hand am a main attraction."
Cameron Fisher was a Hidden Mickey hunter; he wanted to be amongst the most famous for it too. "If Barrett can have a book out why can't I?" he would often say to friends who questioned his sanity.
Living in California he had not been to Disney World in a long time
On his PDA he had prelisted every known Hidden Mickey in Walt Disney World, he had searched the internet for months to compile his list and worked out the best route in which to capture them all; almost 600 in total. And if he could find a few that were previously unrecorded, well, even better, after all they popped up and disappeared all the time; the newer or newly refurbished attractions could be a goldmine for discovering newly placed Mickeys.
Cameron checked his camera was ready to go, this morning he was going to cover Tomorrowland. He checked his PDA; he was going to start over at the Indy Speedway and make his way back to the main hub. When there, there would be two Hidden Mickeys to photograph, the first just outside the attraction formed by shadows on the pavement; the second visible only from the grandstand viewing area where ears could be seen on the billboard.
"Again?" Manny Jenkins spoke into his walkie talkie; "Didn't it need fixing yesterday?"
"Affirmative, Handy Manny" came the response.
"I'll be right there." Manny said with a depressed voice. "Why did they have to call that bloody kid's show repairman Manny?" he thought to himself, "it's going to be yeas before i shake that nickname."
Manny made his was through the utilidors, heading for Stairway #13. The utilidors were a network of corridors where garbage disposal, cleaning and cast members could move between places in the park without being seen by the guests above. To most this would seem like an underground basement, in fact it was the real ground level of the park complete with roads, parking and restaurants; the ground that the guests walked on actually being the first and sometimes second floors of the park as Fantasyland was raised even higher than the rest of the park. Manny was incredibly grateful for them, moving around the park, navigating through the guests would be extremely slow compared to this way of getting from place to place. They had been put into the initial designs for this park after Walt himself had seen cast members wearing Adventureland uniforms walking through Tomorrowland to get to their posts at Disneyland. Walt was so angered that uniforms would spoil the place making effect that he devised this false underground system.
"Yes boss?" came the reply.
"Liberty Square again Phil, you'll never guess what's not working this morning."
"Country Bears again?"
"What do they do to that thing every night?"
"Beats me; but it's our job to fix it."
"I'm under Tomorrowland, I'll be around ten minutes."
"See you there. Out."
q recognised the style of the buildings in the area the map had called Fantasyland. Q had often regaled q with the story of how he had embarrassed Picard by making him play the role of Robin Hood, the lead in a very old human tale, in one of his games. Like that tale, these buildings were set in medieval times; brick turrets, woodwork and colourful tent canopies surrounded the open areas. "Odd," he thought; "where do the flying elephants fit into the decor?" q never recalled Q mentioning flying elephants in his description of the timeframe; he was pretty sure that detail would have made it in.
"They, q," Q began like he had always known and the answer was obvious, "are Goofy and Stitch."
"What planet are they from?"
''My boy, they are merely humans in costumes meant to represent characters from popular Disney made media. Apparently being here requires a level of playing along with the facade; a suspension of disbelief."
"Tough crowd;" Q thought.
"I'm just repeating what Laura has been telling everyone;" Tiffani replied, "Besides, he is cute in a geeky kinda way."
"Maybe, but you know I'm more interested in someone on the football team." Casey took her mobile phone from her pocket and started frantically pressing keys.
"What are you doing?" Tiffani giggled.
"I'm texting Laura; telling her to stop spreading rumours; and send." Casey said as she pressed the last digit; however, then she started typing again.
"Now what are you doing?"
"Texting everyone in my phonebook that Laura slept with Tom Jenkins"
"From math class? Ewww!"
Casey couldn't help but laugh both at what she had done and Tiffani's reaction; both girls stood still as they enjoyed the moment.
Finally Tiffani broke the laughter; "So what do ya want to do? We've got an hour till we've gotta be at Space Mountain to meet the others."
"I don't mind;" Casey replied, "just not Carousel of Progress, I don't need a nap."
"Yeah, fine; I haven't done Stitch in a couple of weeks." The girls took a right turn to cross the walkway that led to the controversial front avenue of Tomorrowland where both Stitch's Great Escape and Monsters Inc Laugh Floor are situated.
"I miss Alien Encounter," Tiffani said as the girls walked under the huge Stitch sign into the building that used to house the scary attraction, "I know it's essentially the same thing but it was better before."
"We all know that Tiff; you mention it like every time we walk past here."
"It could be worse;" Tiffani said in defence, "my Mom still goes on about when it was Mission to Mars, Monsters Inc was Timekeeper and Buzz was Dreamflight."
"My Dad's the same, he can't even look at Pooh's Playful Spot or Adventures without mentioning 20,000 Leagues and Mr Toad."
"So," Tiffani asked with a slightly shy bitten lip; "if you don't want Corey, can I have him?"
Casey rolled her eyes; "he's all yours."
With the attraction having been reopened for over a year now, much of the buzz over its improvements had died down but to Mike it had been a wonderful first time seeing them. The Davey Jones ghost and Barbossa and Sparrow animatronics were all excellent and the enhanced sound system made the whole experience so much more encapsulating than it had before. Inwardly Mike wondered if there would be any way to get to Disneyland on the west coast any time soon; however good this new version of Pirates was, the Disneyland version would be so much better.
This was one of his favourite parts of the show, he would pick certain members of the audience, usually children, and show them how to sword fight using small wooden sword props. They would then battle Mac while he cheered them on and told them which body parts to be aiming for; everyone got a laugh out of it and Jonathan could really lay on the flamboyance waving his arms around with the sword while giving commentary to the audience.
But with the war starting in 19 years, the technology Q had just witnessed was a far cry from that, let alone where it would be in the half a decade from now when the war ended.
And so they waited.
For almost an hour.
Q later kicked himself for not realising then that the number of humans in attendance or their willingness to stand in line wasting their lives should not have been used as a guide for the quality of the experience for which they were waiting.
A few chuckles came from throughout the boat; the kids obviously not getting the pun.
Skipper Chuck pulled the lever that would slow down the boat to a complete stop just as they approached the docking area.
He made sure the boat was locked into place as the group of guests started to exit the ride vehicle. Still he kept the one liners flowing.
He got a few extra laughs and claps from the guests as they waited their turn to exit.
Finally the boat was almost empty, although all that really meant was starting it all again in a few minutes time. As a Jungle Cruise skipper he would narrate the ride 4 or 5 times an hour, several hours per day. To many it would be very repetitive, but the Jungle Cruise skippers took pride in their ability to change things up and make the experience different every time for both themselves and the guests. The basic story they told would obviously always be the same because of the set pieces, but after 50 years of operation, an entire back catalogue of one liners existed from which to choose from.
Once fully empty, Alvin gave a salute to the two dock crew members as he moved the boat on towards the next dock where the next thirty people were waiting to board. The boat could handle a maximum of thirty nine guests at a time, but the park had to be very busy for them to push capacity that high; guests appreciated enough room to move their shoulders rather than be packed into the boats like sardines.
As he slowed the boat down to a stop again, Alvin started to think what lines he would use this time around. He had his favourites, some he would use every time around the track, but he generally liked to use a variety of lines at other places, for his own sanity if nothing else. The boat stopped, guests started to board and it was time to start the spiel.
A few initial laughs, always a good sign.
The guests that were already seated and situated gave the guest named Mike a small applause.
Everyone was in, and Alvin could see the boat behind them was almost ready to move forward having unloaded so he got their boat moving forward at a slow chugging along pace.
The guests were doing as he asked, he had them, and for the next nine minutes they were his audience.
They left the tent with a smile on their faces. Jennifer had often told friends who questioned their love of Disney that meeting Mickey forced you to become a child again no matter how old you were or how grown up your real life problems were. She felt that way as she walked out of the tent, she had just hugged Mickey Mouse; life was good.
Q knew he was going to get it now. She was right, the only reason she was without her powers was because of him, the continuum would never strip her as a punishment like they had him because she never rocked the boat in the same way, even when she was supporting him. Despite the tone of her voice, Q was feeling very weak and with Q and q supporting her on either side, the three entered a nearby restaurant so they could sit down. q left the two of them to get Q some water, Q thought this would be a good time to think.
But then out of nowhere he saw it and got an idea. On the wall there was a little statue of a small boy made out of wood; although he was fake he had been carved to appear real to the best of his makers ability. It made Q think of Data and his constant desire to be more human; more real. In actuality, being human would have been a huge step down for him, but it was what he was designed to be and so that was what he wanted to achieve.