Author: Alan Decker
Star Traks: Waystation
This Is Only a Test
by Alan Decker
Direction in the direction-less. Order within chaos. A purpose for all events and for all life. All encounters have meaning; one must just search until that meaning is found.
Leximas opened her eyes and stared deeply into the flame of the candle before her. She sat cross-legged, hovering slightly above the floor of the small alcove in Waystation’s Starfleet Square Mall that Commander Beck had given her the use of. The flame, as usual, held many questions, but no answers.
Why had she been led to this station? Her mind-guide had told her nothing, only to come to Waystation. Something was going to occur; she was not sure when. Leximas knew that Waystation was where she had to be and that she had a role to play in what was to come. So did Commander Lisa Beck, but Beck did not know it yet.
Until all was revealed to her, Leximas would remain in this place. The company of these beings from the planet Earth pleased her. They were simple, yet they yearned and reached for more. That was the role of their Starfleet.
Leximas, too, was an explorer, but she travelled where her mind-guide took her. Her wish was only to learn and, where she could, allow others to benefit from her wisdom.
She closed her eyes again, cutting off one level of her sight, but she was still aware of all that surrounded her, aware of more than the humans of Waystation could dream.
Her mind reached out across the void, into what was to come. As always, the images were hazy, indistinct, but Leximas could tell one thing for sure. A test was approaching; a test unlike any she had encountered before.
Commander Lisa Beck stepped out of the turbolift into ops in a spectacular mood. She couldn’t quite explain it, but she was sure when she woke up that morning that today was going to be a wonderful day.
Beck turned toward her office and immediately realized that the universe had played a cruel joke on her. Pacing impatiently inside her office was Colonel Martin Lazlo, the commander of the contingent of Federation marines assigned to Waystation. Beck and Lazlo hadn’t gotten along from the moment the marine first set foot on board.
“He’s been in there for almost half an hour,” Lieutenant Craig Porter said from the operations and science console, which was located right next to Beck’s office.
“I guess he’s still pissed about that mutant squirrel thing I beamed into his quarters two nights ago,” Beck said.
“Could be,” Porter replied. “I thought it was cute, though.”
“I really don’t want to deal with him this morning,” Beck said.
“The joys of command.”
“Thanks. I appreciate your compassion.”
Beck steeled herself and walked into her office. Lazlo immediately stopped his pacing and turned on her.
“It’s about time you got here! Your shift supposedly started twenty minutes ago,” Lazlo said.
“I decided to have a long breakfast,” Beck said, taking a seat at her desk. “And since I only have to report to myself, it wasn’t a problem. Now, what can I do for you?” Beck prepared herself for Lazlo’s tirade about the squirrel trick.
“It’s about Leximas,” Lazlo said.
“What?” Beck said, surprised. What did an alien mystic have to do with anything?
“I don’t think you should let her roam around freely like she does,” Lazlo said. Beck looked at him confused. “You don’t get it, do you? Of course not, you Starfleet types never do.”
“You have an alien of unknown origin and intent running loose on this station. I’ve tried to ignore it for the last month, but I can’t take it anymore.”
“What happened?” Beck asked, leaning back in her chair.
“She predicted that my marines would get attacked by those damn squirrel things,” Lazlo said, finally taking a seat in the chair across the desk from Beck.
“And you didn’t listen to her,” Beck said. “It sounds to me like she was just trying to help.”
“Look, the only way she could know what was going to happen was if she can predict the future or she planned it. I tend to believe the latter.”
“So, what do you want me to do? Have Russell lock her up for predicting stuff?”
“Well, I’m not going to do it. She is a guest here.”
“She’s a menace and a security risk. We know nothing about her, what species she is, what planet she’s from, who her enemies are, nothing!”
“I’m not going to interrogate everyone who comes to Waystation,” Beck said. “We’re supposed to be fostering peace and goodwill out here.”
“You’re not going to do anything.”
“No, I’m not.”
“Then, I am,” Lazlo said, standing up. “I should have known coming here would be a waste of time.”
“What are you going to do?” Beck demanded, rising out of her chair.
“I’m assigning one of my marines to keep an eye on her.”
“I can’t control where your marines go, Lazlo, but if I get one report that your people are harassing Leximas, I’m going to rip your head off and use it as hood ornament on a runabout! Got it?”
“You are going to thank me for this later,” Lazlo said, heading toward the door of Beck’s office. “Leximas is dangerous.”
“Not nearly as dangerous as you are,” Beck said.
“Thank you,” Lazlo said. He walked out of the office.
“That wasn’t a compliment!” Beck shouted after him. Damn! This was definitely not turning out to be the wonderful day she had expected.
Leximas felt the presence approaching from the moment it stepped off of the turbolift just down the concourse from her meditation alcove. Its mind was projecting its destination everywhere.
As the presence grew closer, Leximas was able to ascertain more details. It was a human…male…determined, yet full of youth, full of questions, full of possibilities.
The man stepped into her alcove. Leximas, cross-legged and levitating a foot off of the floor, did not turn to face him.
“Welcome,” she said softly. “I hope that you will find what you seek.”
“Are you Leximas?”
“Then, I’ve found what I was seeking. I’m Corporal Michael Banks. I’ve been assigned to you.”
Leximas descended slowly to the floor, then stood up and turned around to face her guest.
“Assigned to me? How so?”
“Colonel Lazlo just ordered me to keep an eye on you,” Banks replied.
“And why must you…keep an eye on me?”
“The colonel believes that you have hostile intentions toward this station and its personnel, ma’am.”
“I assure you that I am not hostile. You may leave now.”
“I cannot do that, ma’am. I have my orders.”
“I see.” Leximas sat back down and started mediating again, ignoring Banks’ presence. The marine stood silently for ten minutes. Finally, he sat down on the floor and leaned up against the wall. Leximas slowly rose up into the air again. Banks watched, fascinated.
“How do you do that?” he asked finally.
“Do what?” Leximas replied.
“True inner peace allows us to float above all of the obstacles that the universe may present.”
“Woah. Can you teach me inner peace?” Banks asked. Leximas opened her eyes and looked at the marine.
“Inner peace cannot be taught. It is at the end of a long journey, a journey that each soul must travel individually. You are not alone, however. Everyone has inside them a guide to lead them on the journey. You must allow yourself to hear that guide’s voice.”
“That’s really incredible.”
“I find it more incredible that people, such as yourself, allow themselves to become so wrapped in this one level of being that they do not look to the larger horizon…or within the depths of themselves,” Leximas said.
“I don’t understand.”
“I can see inside you, Michael Banks. There is much more to you than you suspect. You allow yourself to see only the marines, but what about the universe in which you reside? What about the wonders of a glowing nebula? Of a star? Of a blade of grass? You have sat in the sun watching the movements of insects with awe. You have begun to push toward seeing the whole of the universe in its intricate glory. But now, all you see is the marines. All you see is your uniform.”
“Woah. You’re right,” Banks said, stunned.
“Meditate upon this for a while. Stare into the flame and allow your mind to ponder my words.”
Michael Banks stared into the candle flame and let himself go.
All of his marine training and school learning fell aside as he just allowed himself to be an inhabitant of the universe. Yes, inner peace was what he needed, and following Leximas was the way to get it.
“Banks….Banks….Banks, wake up.”
Corporal Banks was jolted out of his meditation by someone tapping his shoulder. His whirled around and saw Corporal Theresa Sheppard standing there. He looked around for Leximas. The guru was still floating and meditating.
“Are you alright, Banks?” Sheppard asked.
“Definitely,” Banks replied. A smile spreading across his face. “Why are you here?”
“It’s my turn to watch the floating one over there,” Sheppard said. Banks looked down at his chronometer. Over four hours had passed since he started meditating. It felt like he’d only been here a few minutes.
“Listen to Leximas,” Banks said, getting up to leave. “She knows.”
“Knows what?” Sheppard asked, sitting down to get comfortable.
“She just knows.”
Theresa Sheppard’s life stretched out before her. Now, for the first time, she saw the possibilities of existence. All it had taken was a couple of hours talking to Leximas to show it to her. Sheppard knew that way to achieve these possibilities was by finding inner peace and the way to inner peace was to follow Leximas.
The next morning, Colonel Lazlo was in the middle of his exercise regimen when his door chime sounded.
“Enter,” he said, annoyed at the interruption. Lieutenant Colonel Daniel O’Neal, Lazlo’s second-in-command, walked in.
“Sir, sorry to disturb you, but I think we have a situation developing,” O’Neal said. Lazlo did five more push-ups, then stood up to walk over to his replicator.
“What kind of situation?”
“Well, sir, we’ve had four marines resign this morning.”
“Resign!” Lazlo shouted. “They’re marines, damn it! They can’t resign!”
“Yes, they can, sir. And they did.”
“Banks, Sheppard, Drummond, and Tuttle.”
“Any idea why they resigned?” Lazlo said, trying to regain his composure.
“Not really, sir, but they were all assigned to watch Leximas in the last twenty-four hours.”
“I knew it! She’s brainwashed them somehow!”
The door chime sounded again.
“What?” Lazlo screamed. Private Lauren Ustler walked into the office, a look of serenity filling her face.
“I’ve come to resign,” Ustler said, her head drifted dreamily from side to side as she spoke. “Bye, now.” She dropped a padd on Lazlo’s desk with her resignation on it, then turned to go.
“Ustler, where are you going?” Lazlo screamed.
“To find inner peace,” she said calmly. “Bye bye. I love you both.” Ustler walked out of the door.
“She wasn’t even assigned to Leximas,” O’Neal said.
“Oh God! It’s spreading,” Lazlo said. “We’ve got to put a stop to this!” He charged out of his office, followed by O’Neal.
Outside Lazlo’s office, Sergeant Rick Kyle, Lazlo’s executive assistant sat surrounded by padds. Lazlo stopped in his tracks when he saw the pile around Kyle.
“These came for you, sir,” Kyle said, handing a few to Lazlo. Lazlo looked at the top one.
“I’m resigning to look for inner peace,” it read. The next few padds all said basically the same thing. O’Neal grabbed another stack.
“Resigning to look for inner peace…resigning to look for inner peace…resigning to look to inner peace…resigning to look for inner…”
“Shut up!” Lazlo shouted, cutting him off. “How many are there?”
“Forty-two,” Kyle said. “That’s counting Private Ustler.”
“I’m going to get her for this,” Lazlo said.
“But Ustler’s so nice,” Kyle said.
“Not her, you idiot! Leximas!” Lazlo charged out of the office with O’Neal. Kyle picked up one of the padds and looked at it. Inner peace. That sounded nice. He wondered if Leximas could really lead him to it. Well, there was only one way to find out. Kyle started writing up his resignation.
Leximas stepped out of the turbolift and walked down the concourse of Starfleet Square Mall toward her little alcove. She became aware of several presences; they all wanted her.
She rounded the bend and was confronted with a disturbing sight. Several people were seated outside of her alcove. They all wore white robes and sandals. Several of them were singing.
“Kumbayaa, my lord. Kumbayaa.”
Upon Leximas’ approach, Michael Banks jumped up and signaled the group to be quiet.
“Silence, followers. Our master approaches,” Banks said.
“Leximas. Leximas. Leximas,” the crowd chanted softly.
“What is this?” Leximas asked.
“We have all come to learn from you and to hear your wisdom, master,” Banks said. “Those of us who spoke with you yesterday told the others of our group. We have left our former lives to follow you and your teachings.”
“You opened our eyes,” Sheppard said. “We will follow you anywhere.”
“The only ones that you must follow are yourselves. The only true guide lies within each one of you,” Leximas said. She stepped past them and into her alcove. Silently, she lit her candles and sat down to meditate. She could still sense the group behind her.
They were waiting for her. Well, they would have a long wait. Leximas closed her eyes and opened herself to her mind-guide.
Before very long, she sensed the approached of an angry being.
Its rage disturbed her meditation.
“WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING?” Colonel Lazlo shouted at the top of his lungs. The group of former marines just looked up at him and smiled.
“Come join us, brother,” Banks said, holding his hand out to him.
“It’s worse than I thought!” Lazlo said.
“Let me try, sir,” O’Neal said, stepping forward. “Marines, fall in.” No one obeyed his order. “Fall in!” Nothing.
“Sit down. Hear the teachings of Leximas,” Sheppard said. Lazlo grunted and pushed passed the assembled group into Leximas’ meditation chamber.
“Welcome, Colonel Martin Lazlo,” Leximas said. Lazlo stopped and stared dumb-founded at the levitating mystic. She turned around in mid-air and floated over to him. “I am glad to see you here.”
“Why? So you can brainwash me, too?”
“Far from it. I wish you to take your marines. They are distracting me.”
“Distracting you!” Lazlo shouted. “You did this to them!”
“I did nothing.”
“Nothing! What do you call that?” Lazlo pointed out at the group. They were now dancing in a circle and singing “Happy Happy, Joy Joy.”
“Frightening,” Leximas said.
“You’re damn right it’s frightening!”
“What would you have me do?”
“Stop controlling their minds.”
“I believe the only one who has controlled their minds is you.
I have merely allowed them to see beyond the marines. They have now latched onto me for guidance that I cannot provide. That guidance is in themselves.”
“So tell them that.”
“I have. They do not appear to be listening, though.”
Lazlo threw up his hands in disgust and stormed out of the chamber.
“You’re throwing your lives away,” Lazlo said, making one last attempt to reason with his former troops.
“No, we aren’t,” they all replied in unison. It was spooky.
“Come on, O’Neal,” Lazlo ordered as he headed for the turbolift.
“Do I have to?” O’Neal said. He was now sitting in the middle of the group and feeling very comfortable. This whole idea of inner peace sounded pretty good.
“Fine! Stay there, you…you…hippies!” Lazlo marched off down the concourse.
Three hours later, Leximas descended to the floor and left her trance-state. Her meditations had not been as soothing as usual. The constant pressing of minds on her own was distracting. Of course, these humans could not know what they were doing, but she could sense each of their questioning minds probing her for answers and guidance. The whole effect was rather draining.
Leximas stepped out of her alcove and looked out over the group assembled there.
“She is going to speak,” Sheppard said happily.
“Go away,” Leximas said. “The road to inner peace lies within.”
“Yes, within you,” the crowd replied.
Leximas sighed, then walked down the concourse toward the replimat. Once there, she ordered a bowl of plomeek soup, a Vulcan dish that she had grown fond of, and sat down at a table to eat. Her followers gathered near the replimat and began another chorus of “Kumbayaa.”
“Would you mind if I joined you?” a voice said from behind Leximas. She had been so distracted with the presence of the former marines that she did not detect the person walking up behind her.
“Most certainly,” Leximas said. Bradley Dillon, the proprietor of Dillon’s Pioneer Supply Depot, sat down across from her with a large plate of pasta.
“It seems you’ve become pretty popular,” Bradley said, looking at the crowd.
“I do not desire their presence,” Leximas said.
“Have you told them that?”
“Yes, but they do not listen.”
“Well then, you’ve got a golden opportunity here,” Bradley said.
“I do not understand.”
“You could earn some credits on this thing. Charge them for wisdom, stuff like that.”
“I have no use for credits.”
“What about paying rent for your alcove?”
“Rent? What is rent?”
“You know, the cost to have a space in the mall here.”
“Commander Beck does not charge me.”
“She doesn’t? I thought I was the only one with a free-rent deal,” Bradley said.
“I fail to see how this will help me encourage my followers to return to their lives,” Leximas said.
“Sorry, I can’t help you there. I was just trying to help you earn a profit.”
“Thank you for your efforts, however, I only wish to get rid of my followers.”
“It’s tough being loved,” Bradley said just before shoving a fork-full of pasta into his mouth.
“Do you believe me now?” Lazlo said, pacing Commander Beck’s office. Beck looked up from the report that Lazlo had handed her and placed the padd down on her desk.
“She brainwashed your marines,” Beck said.
“Yes! She won’t admit it, though.”
“Of course not,” Beck said, trying very hard not to let a smile cross her face. “Beck to Porter.”
“Porter here,” the science officer replied from his console.
“Scan Leximas’ room and her meditation chamber. See if you can detect anything odd.”
“I’m on it,” Porter said. “Hold on…no…no…nope. All clear.”
“Thank you, Lieutenant. Are you satisfied, Colonel?”
“Not by a long shot,” Lazlo said. “And you’d be more concerned too if your friend Stephanie Hodges had resigned with the others.”
“Maybe,” Beck said. “But right now, it seems to me that your troops are experiencing a spiritual awakening. You should try to be more supportive.”
“I give orders, not support,” Lazlo said, heading toward the door.
“That could be your problem right there.”
Leximas returned to her meditation chamber the next morning, hoping that her followers had lost interest. She had foregone all of her usual rounds and activities on the previous day in favor of just meditating. She had hoped that her followers would become bored, then leave. They didn’t.
She did not look forward to another entire day of meditation.
While Leximas enjoyed meditation, there were other activities that she would like to indulge in. For instance, she still had much ground to cover in her study of the great philosophers of the Federation.
All of Leximas’ hopes disappeared as she approached her chamber to perform her morning meditation ritual. The followers were there…and they smelled.
“We stayed here all night,” Banks said smiling as Leximas approached.
“We will not leave until we have inner peace,” Sheppard added.
For a brief moment, the idea of just packing up and leaving Waystation crossed Leximas’ mind. She scolded herself for being so weak. This was a test of her conviction to her destiny. She knew that she must remain on the station. This minor annoyance was just that…minor.
“I find you all quite repulsive at the moment,” Leximas said, walking past them.
“We are lowly and repulsive because we don’t have inner peace,” Banks said. “Help us, great master.”
“Go bathe, and then look within yourselves,” Leximas said.
“We’d rather stay here,” the group said.
The next day, they were still there.
“Master, we wrote a song for you,” Banks said, running up to Leximas as she approached.
“I wish that you had not,” Leximas said, forging ahead despite the smell of unwashed bodies.
“Ready, everyone,” Banks said. The group began to sing:
Gather round, our brethren,
to hear all that we say,
Inner peace is waiting,
Leximas is the way.”
“That is very disturbing,” Leximas said, entering her chamber.
“Wait, master,” Banks called after her. “We have twelve more verses!”
The next day, Leximas approached holodeck three. It was unoccupied. Normally, Leximas did not use this Federation recreation device, but this was an emergency situation.
“Computer,” she began hesitantly. “Please recreate the meditation chamber in Starfleet Square Mall.”
The computer was silent for a moment, then it spoke.
“Program complete. Enter when ready.”
Leximas stepped forward. The holodeck doors opened, revealing her meditation chamber. With relief, Leximas entered to begin her morning ritual.
“How did you get by us, master?” Banks said, peeking his head into the chamber. “We’ve been waiting. We each composed a sonnet to you.”
Leximas felt something unusual building up inside her: rage. She picked up one of the lighted candelabras and stormed out of the chamber into the holodeck representation of the concourse of Starfleet Square Mall. Holodeck versions of her entire group of followers were there. That was it. She couldn’t even get away from them on the holodeck. Something inside Leximas snapped.
“I detest you all!” she shouted, swinging the candelabra at the crowd. Leximas felt the satisfying thunk of the candelabra against the skull of one of her followers…then another…and another.
The group started up another chorus of “Kumbayaa,” but that only fueled Leximas’ fury. The singers went down one by one under the wrath of the guru and her candelabra. Finally, Banks went down, leaving nothing but a pile of stinking bodies in blood- splattered robes that had yellowed from days of not being washed.
Feeling much better, Leximas dropped the candelabra.
“Exit,” she said. The holodeck door opened revealing the hallway of Waystation. Her entire group of followers was standing there waiting for her.
“You didn’t come to meditate, so we asked the computer where you were, master,” Banks said. His eyes fell on the mass of bodies behind Leximas. “What is that?”
“You! All of you!” Leximas shouted. “I don’t want you following me! How many times do I have to tell you that the road to inner peace lies within? Look within yourselves!” She grabbed Banks by the front of his robe and hoisted him into the air. “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” Leximas dropped Banks and stormed out of the holodeck, pushing her way through the mass of astonished followers.
“I do not think that Leximas can lead us to inner peace until she has achieved it herself,” Banks said. The group nodded in agreement.
“Station Log. Stardate 50290.3. This morning, just as mysteriously as they resigned, all of Colonel Lazlo’s marines returned to duty. Evidently, they hit a wall on their journey to inner peace. In any case, Colonel Lazlo has decided to give up his idea of assigning a marine observer to Leximas. I guess he decided that Leximas is more of a risk to his marines’ minds than she is to Waystation.”
Leximas walked out of the turbolift onto the concourse of Starfleet Square Mall in what could only be described as a fantastic mood. She had seen her way through the test that the Guides had set down for her. While her solution was not well thought-out or even very nice, it had the wonderful plus of having worked. The crowd of followers was gone.
She was surprised to find someone waiting for her outside of her chamber. Bradley Dillon was there holding a small, black case.
“Just the woman I was looking for,” Bradley said, walking over to her with a big smile on his face.
“How may I be of service?” Leximas asked, grateful not to be talking to a marine.
“I was thinking, since you didn’t want to cash in on your popularity, why shouldn’t I do it? What do you think?” Bradley opened the black case and pulled out a small statuette. It looked exactly like Leximas.
“I’ll have at least one of these on every ship that goes out of here,” Bradley continued. “They bring good luck, wisdom, and guidance to those in need. What do you think?”
“I do not want you to sell it. That is my image.”
“Come on. It’s the Leximas, the Galactic Guru doll. We’ll sell a ton of them. And I can charge more if you sign them.”
“I do not think so,” Leximas said, pushing past him toward her chamber. “Galactic guru, indeed.”
“Hey, I could have called it the Weirdo of Waystation!”
Leximas ignored Bradley and went into her chamber to meditate, all the while reminding herself that this was only a test.