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SEP/OCT "Somewhere New"

Nathan Baker

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"Welcome to Delta Station!"

Jeremy walked under the threshold of the airlock and saw the large holographic sign projected on the wall of the station. Everything seemed so clean and the mood so friendly. It was a far cry from the transport he'd used to reach this brand new outpost on the edge of explored space.

Jeremy Wilkins was a short and stocky man in his late 30's with a balding scalp and steel gray eyes. His clothes consisted of a light blue button-down shirt with a single breast pocket, a pair of gray cotton trousers, and canvas shoes. The trip hadn't been kind to Jeremy, since he was unshaven and his clothes wrinkled.

But here he was. The last stop to the great unknown: Delta Station. Jeremy had been reading about this place since it's conception ten years ago.

Stardate 238710.23 was the day a joint venture of several space-faring civilizations to share the newly discovered Iconian Gateway. The gateway, a piece of incredible technology leftover from the ancient Iconian Civilization, had the ability to take it's passengers to seemingly ANY point in the galaxy.

The facility was named Delta Station, a Federation-designed space station, which was decided to be the housing of the gateway. After years of debate and squabbles, it was finally decided that all citizens of a newly formed alliance of Federation, Klingon, Ferengi, Cardassian and Romulan Remnants could use the portal to explore the galaxy and reap the riches that lay beyond.

That was exactly what this down-on-his-luck Terran was preparing to do.

Of course, such a piece of technology needed to be regulated and protected. One had to pass a rigorous background screening and medical examination before being given the OK to use the gateway. Most people, usually in large groups, wanted to find a world to colonize and begin a new life. Others were sex explorers wanting to get their names in history books.

Jeremy was neither. He just wanted to get away. Away from his nagging ex-wife, his annoying kids, his unfulfilling job... it was just time to go and never come back.

All he had was a bag of clothes, some meager provisions, a few how-to books and a small hand phaser for protection.

"This will definitely be a big change," he thought as security scanned him with a Tricorder. He had already shown his permit to carry the weapon and was allowed to pass through the checkpoint with no fuss. Jeremy then carried his possessions, along with his own hefty weight, through the next series of checks on the way to the gateway.

It seemed like several hours had passed, but Jeremy finally made it to the final stop. Through all the last-minute medical checks, questionnaires, liability waivers and planning offices, it was time to get going. It was time to begin his life again. This time on his own terms.

There was a family of four in front of the balding man that were very eager to get going as well, and it showed with every step they took. Jeremy had overheard they were joining an agricultural colony somewhere deep in the middle of the Gamma Quadrant. Though he was happy for them, he was also annoyed with how upbeat they were.

He thought about how glad he was not to be joining them.

The gateway chamber was about as big as a school auditorium and full of Stafleet security officers wielding large phaser rifles. The cue formed to get to the gateway controls snaked around at least five times. Jeremy, who's feet were very much getting tired of all the standing, knew he was almost there. Just a few more minutes and he'd be going away from all his troubles. It was a remarkable feeling.

Eventually, the family in front passed through the gateway, instantaneously arriving at a green and luscious planet and were greeted by several people. They all waved back to the overweight Terran and he put on a fake smile to show his acknowledgement. Jeremy was glad they were gone, because it was now his turn to go.

"Destination please," the gateway control operator demanded.

Jeremy handed the man a PADD. The operator looked at it, then to Jeremy, then back to the PADD once more before looking at the large-ish man standing before him. An incredulous look was painted across his face.

"Risa? That's it? You went through all this trouble just to go to RISA?!?"

Jeremy remembered the similar looks he'd gotten while applying to use the gateway. He only had so much money and it would've cost too much to charter a transport to Risa from Cestus III, where he'd left his former life behind. In contrast, the ferry to Delta Station and the subsequent use of the gateway were all free if you could pass the background screenings.

With a small shrug, Jeremy's lips opened and he confessed, "I've never been there before. I've heard it's nice."

The operator just shook his head, sighed, and tapped his controls. The gateway changed to show a beautiful beach with gorgeous oceans and Jeremy could smell the seaside air.

The balding Terran nodded his thanks to the operator and reached into his breast pocket. Taking out a pair of sunglasses, he put them on and took a deep breath.

"Time to get away," Jeremy said as he stepped through the gateway... and smiled when the dual Risian suns touched his face.

And just like he'd heard, it was very nice indeed.

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