I saw the Enterprise-D in a water stain on my bathroom rug. It was unmistakable. To a T, uh, D. The J shaped nacelles, the massive ring, even the weird flat part at the back.
I had some time before work so I snapped a pic with my phone and then sat on the floor to upload it. I figured it would not be welcome in the more serious Star Trek subreddits. Not the ones with the long essays regarding Dilithium trade practices and war-time alliances with the Klingons.
Maybe one of the sillier subs, then. I decided on r/mildlyinteresting.
I was immediately accused of faking it.
nice photoshop skills, bruh.
Follow-up comments were kinder, as if my silly water stain was perhaps worthy of interest to a small population of people who watched a syndicated Star Trek series from the ’80s and early ’90s.
Then they turned incendiary again and I was somehow being labeled a ‘troll.’
And then, a nightmare. Crosspost, r/StarTrek
It’s okay, I told myself. The post will be ignored. There are thousands of posts. When there’s so much noise, only the controversial survives.
The post got controversial.
First, commenters demanded restitution for being subjected to a picture of a water stain. There was much discussion of the diminishment of this sub and its various satellite subs. How the whole fandom was in decline, in part due to pics of silly water stains that have nothing really to do with Star Trek, so why are we even here?
A brave commenter rejected that proposition. He argued that a near perfect replica, whatever the medium, of a beloved vessel bearing a universally known name from a generally liked television show was worth highlighting.
Inevitably, a rather heated debate about the merits of Voyager popped up in the comments and then the thread died off like all threads do. And it was all forgotten, I thought.
I can’t have my phone out on the banquet room floor so I wasn’t able to check it until the event was over. When I did, the barrage of tagged posts and text messages seemed to be an endless, world-shattering scroll.
A major site had picked up the story. Its name rhymes with MuzzDeed. The headline: The Nerdiest Thing You’ll Read Today.
It was a real article. About my stupid, pre-coffee, pic-and-submit bit of morning fun. I opened the article. My reddit username was all over it. My water stain was looking even more silly and sad than it did in a forum with thousands of subscribers.
Then the flood of DM’s and tagged posts.
This shit was getting out of hand.
The damn thing wouldn’t stop buzzing.
As soon as I got home, I rushed to my closet. I rummaged through extra pillows and blankets until I found it, a huge hiking backpack. I emptied half my kitchen into it.
In the wilderness near my house, there’s a river, wide and flowing from recent rain. The sun had set and the world was bathed in blue. I threw my phone into the water and didn’t stick around to watch it flow away.
I felt lighter. The forest air tasted sweeter. The crunch of my footsteps on the leaves was like the beginning of a song.
I caught a glimpse of the moon. It looked… strange. It was as if someone had tried to stretch it so the far section was wide, but the front ended in a forked nose. There was some weapons and antenna and dishes on the surface and it looked very much like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.
I walked a little further, trying to find an unobstructed view, when I noticed the trees around me were curved as if they were the ribcage of a giant animal and its massive chest was above me. Then I was running and tripping on roots that were wide and bulbous like pontoons. I found a small hill, climbed it, and then looked down at what I thought was the frame of an animal, but in fact looked like an exact simulacrum of a grounded Battlestar Galactica.
I looked up again. Near the Millennium Moon was a constellation I never noticed before. A group of stars were aligned in the distinct shape of a DeLorean from the Back to The Future movies with its doors open like football referees declaring a touchdown.
It was a once in a lifetime convergence of science fiction and reality. It demanded to be memorialized.
I reached into my pocket for my phone. Shit.
Elad Haber is a husband, father to an adorable little girl, and IT guy by day, fiction writer by night. He has 2021 publications from The Daily Drunk, Literally Stories, Sledgehammer Lit, and The Night’s End Podcast. You can follow him on twitter @MusicInMyCar or on his website, eladhaber.wordpress.com.