Dream of: 06 January 1997 "Beverly Crusher"

After arriving in Mexico City, I had boarded a crowded train and traveled south, deep into the primitive interior of Mexico. It hadn't been my intention to travel so far from Mexico City, and only slowly did I realize that I had gone too far, and that I needed to get off the train. At the very next stop I debarked the train, and as the train pulled away, I looked around at where I was.

What I saw wasn't comforting: one little hut in the middle of nowhere. I walked into the hut, thinking I might be able to at least spend the night here. After briefly speaking to some natives, and being unable to communicate well with them, I stepped back outside and decided on a different course of action.

Stretching off toward the east was a rocky plane. I started walking across the plane, not knowing where I was going. I wasn't terribly worried. I didn't feel threatened, and I thought I would eventually find another town. My only concern was reaching somewhere before dark.

After walking for quite a long distance, I came to a rocky rise, and had to climb up a low cliff to the top. When I reached the top, I could look out beyond at what still lay ahead. It looked like more of the same – rough brown arid land, with no sign of people anywhere. Then I noticed something strange. On the other side of the rise, about three meters below at the bottom of the cliff, was some kind of marker with pictures and designs on it. I dropped down to take a closer look.

The marker seemed made of concrete, but was in the form of a large flat cushion, about two meters square. On its top was a colorful map which I began to study. I now saw my problem. From the map I could see a portion of the train track had veered off the normal route and traveled to a dead end. That was clearly where I had been let off. Just as I had already concluded, the map showed I was out in the middle of nowhere. As I continued looking at the map, trying to decide which way to go next, I saw I was right on the border of two Mexican states. That was the reason this map was here, to act as a marker between the two states, and to welcome anyone coming the way I had traveled into the new state.

Now with the help of the map, I had to make my decision: should I go on traveling the way I had been going, or should I turn and go back? Neither alternative was attractive. I didn't particularly want to go back to the little hut and wait for another train, but from the map, it looked as if it were a very long way before I would come to a town, and I was unsure I could make it across the rest of the barren plane. Reluctantly I finally decided to turn around and go back.

I climbed back up the ledge to the top of the small rocky rise, ready to set out back to the hut. I suddenly stopped in my tracks; from behind one of the large rocks on the top of the rise stepped a husky American solider. Then another soldier and another stepped out. They kept coming until probably 20-30 were standing there. All were dressed in green camouflage outfits, and all looked strong and muscular. They paid little attention to me, and they seemed unconcerned that I was there.

I couldn't understand what so many American soldiers would be doing in the heart of Mexico. I finally concluded that they were on military exercises, and that they weren't actually engaged in a mission at the moment. Whether the soldiers had the permission of the Mexican government to be there, I didn't know, and I didn't ask because I didn't think they would tell me if I did.

I did however speak to them, and learned they were going to be traveling across the desolate plane which I had just turned away from. I had the feeling they would let me go along with them if I wanted, and I debated whether I should go. Finally I decided not to join them, concluding that such a journey was too uncertain, and I would be better to go back the way I had come.

I was just about to continue on my way, and they on theirs, when I noticed someone who looked completely out of place with the other soldiers: Beverly Crusher (the character played by the actress Gates McFadden in the television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation"). Dressed in her blue Star Trek uniform, appearing so delicate among the hulking soldiers, she walked up to me as naturally as could be and began talking.

It was quickly clear that she thought I was making a mistake by going back to the hut. She thought I should join the soldiers and travel out across the arid plane. What she offered made the trip seem more enticing: according to her, somewhere out on the plane was a large number of Star Trek memorabilia that I could have if I were to take the journey. Even more alluring, she said actual Star Trek episodes, episodes which had never been seen on television, awaited me out on the rocky plane. This last statement was rather enigmatic, and I wasn't completely sure what she meant. Did she mean I would find video cassette tapes with Star Trek episodes on them? Or did she mean I could actually take part in a Star Trek episode? Whatever she meant, it looked as if I would take her up on her offer and head across the plane with her and the soldiers.

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Copyright 2001 by Steve Collier