Showing posts with label Picard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Picard. Show all posts

Friday, 27 March 2020

The Existential Pain of Living with The Consciousness of Death






Dr. AGNES JURATI :
Hi.
Oh.
You're reading.
I won't, uh -

Capt. RIOS :
Be my guest.

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
So, space turns out to be super boring.
Go figure.

Capt. RIOS :
What were you expecting? 

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
I don't know.
It's so empty.
I mean, of course, right? It's right there in the name.
"Space".
It's not like it's called 
"vast quantities of stuff".

Although, come to think of it, there are over three billion stars in our galaxy alone and ours is one of two trillion.
There are a septillion known planets, so maybe it should be called "vast quantities of stuff".
Like, why focus on the negative? 

I caught up on two years of back issues of the "Journal of Theoretical Cybernetics", including the Festschrift for Professor Kwok.

I watered your plants.
You're welcome.

I was gonna watch a holo, but weirdly, all you have on board is Klingon opera.

Capt. RIOS :
Long story.

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
I used to live with a guy who liked paper books.
I bothered him, too.

Capt. RIOS :
(resigned, closing his book)
What did he used to do about it? 

Dr. AGNES JURATI :
He was My Dad — He had to put up with it.
What's your book about? 

Capt. RIOS :
The existential pain of living with the consciousness of death, and how it defines us as human beings.


Dr. AGNES JURATI :
.....
...Well, •that's•. not a conversation killer at all.
I •totally• want to talk about the existential pain of living with the consciousness of death.

Auntie RAPHIE :
Rios! 

Capt. RIOS :
Oh, Thank God.




Are you having a good laugh now, Q? 
Does it amuse you to think of me living out the rest of my life as a dreary man in a tedious job?

Q: 
I gave you something most mortals never experience. A second chance at life. And now all you can do is COMPLAIN? 

PICARD: 
I can't live out my days as that person. That man is bereft of passion and imagination. 

That is not Who I Am. 

Q: 
Au contraire, he's the person you wanted to be. One who was less arrogant, and undisciplined as a youth. One who was less like me. 

The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did not fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember. 

That Picard never had a brush with death, never came face to face with his own mortality, never realised how fragile life is or how important each moment must be. 
So his life never came into focus. 

He drifted for much of his career, with no plan or agenda, going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves. 

He never lead the away team on Milika Three to save the ambassador, 
or take charge of the Stargazer's Bridge when its Captain was killed. 
And no one ever offered him a command. 

He learned to play it safe. 
And he never, EVER got noticed by ANYONE


PICARD: 
You're right, Q. 
You gave me the chance to change and I took the opportunity. 

But I admit now, it was a mistake. 

Q: 
Are you asking me for something, Jean-Luc? 

PICARD: 
Give me a chance to put things back the way they were before. 

Q: 
Before you died in Sickbay. 
Is that what you want? 

PICARD: 
I would rather die as the man I WAS than live the life I just saw.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Deep Blue




“It is customary to list indigo as a color lying between blue and violet, but it has never seemed to me that indigo is worth the dignity of being considered a separate color. 

To my eyes it seems merely 
Deep Blue.

— Asimov

Dr. Sojii Asha :
I was just contemplating 
The Logic of Sacrifice.


Admiral JL Picard :
I don’t think I like the sound of that.....




Very few readers of the Golden Bough have pierced Sir Prof. Dr. Frazer's veil of euphemism and surmised the exact method used by Isis in restoring life to Osiris, although this is shown quite clearly in extant Egyptian frescoes. 








Those who are acquainted with this simple technique of resurrecting the dead (which is at least partially successful in all cases and totally successful in most) will have no trouble in skrying the esoteric connotations of the Sacred Chao—or of the Taoist yin-yang or the astrological sign of cancer. 

The method almost completely reverses that of the pentagrams, right or left, and it can even be said that in a certain sense it was not Osiris himself but his brother, Set, symbolically understood, who was the object of Isis's magical workings. 







In every case, without exception, a magical or mystical symbol always refers to one of the very few* variations of the same, very special variety of human sacrifice: the "one eye opening" or the "one hand clapping"; and this sacrifice cannot be partial—it must culminate in death if it is to be efficacious. 

The literal- mindedness of the Saures, in the novel, caused them to become a menace to life on earth; the reader should bear this in mind. 

The sacrifice is not simple

It is a species of cowardice, epidemic in Anglo-Saxon nations for more than three centuries, which causes most who seek success in this field to stop short before the death of the victim. 

Anything less than death—that is, complete oblivion—simply will not work.** 
(One will find more clarity on this crucial point in the poetry of John Donne than in most treatises alleging to explain the secrets of magick.)


* Fewer than seventy, according to a classical enumeration.

** The magician must always identify fully with the victim, and share every agonized contortion to the utmost. Any attitude of standing aside and watching, as in a theatrical performance, or any intellectualization during the moments when the sword is doing its brutal but necessary work, or any squeamishness or guilt or revulsion, creates the two-mindedness against which Hagbard so vehemently warns in Never Whistle While You're Pissing. In a sense, only the mind dies


The essential and original meaning, of course, is a program for a ritual, and the ritual is magick. 
The four letters are simply the four beats in Wilhelm Reich's formula: 

muscular tension   
electrical charge   
electrical discharge   
muscular relaxation 

In short, as Freud once noted, every sexual act involves, at a minimum, four parties. 


The father and son provide a "fist" and a "nail"; 
the mother and daughter provide two "windows." 

The case of the Chicago schizophrenic killer William Heirens, who experienced orgasm when climbing through windows, demonstrates that this symbolism does not have to be taught and is inherent in the human mind, although always subject to the distortion exemplified by the Saures.

Finally, the universal blessing given on page 218 is intimately involved with the YHVH formula:

I bless Ra, the fierce sun burning bright I bless Isis-Luna in the night
I bless the air, the Horus-Hawk
I bless the earth on which I walk

The fiery father, the watery mother, the airy son, and the earthy daughter are all there, just as they are in every alchemical formula.* But we say no more at this point, lest the reader begin seeking for a 5 = 4 equation to balance the 5 = 6.

We conclude with a final warning and clarification: Resort to mass sacrifice (as among the Aztecs, the Catholic Inquisition, and the Nazi death camps) is the device of those who are incapable of the true Rite of the Dying God.


* In this connection—and also, en passant, as an indication that Adolf Hitler's link with the Illuminati was not invented for this work of "fiction"—we suggest that the reader look into The Morning of the Magicians, by Pauwels and Bergier.

The Tao of Data


He had a Child’s Wisdom.



PICARD: 
Au revoir, Natasha. 
The gathering is concluded. 

(Everyone but Picard and Data leave, sniffing a bit) 

DATA: 
Sir, the purpose of this gathering confuses me. 

PICARD: 
Oh? How so? 

DATA: 
My thoughts are not for Tasha, but for myself. 
I keep thinking how empty it will feel without her presence. 
Did I miss The Point? 

PICARD: 
No, you didn't, Data. 
You got it.




PICARD: 
Commander Data, at your convenience, I would like to talk to you in my Ready room. 
Counsellor?

[Corridor]

PICARD: 
I insist we do whatever we can to discourage the perception of this new android as a child. 
It is not a child. 
It is an invention, albeit an extraordinary one. 

TROI: 
Why should biology rather than technology determine whether it is a child? 
Data has created an offspring. 
A new life out of his own being. 
To me, that suggests a child. 
If he wishes to call Lal his child, then who are we to argue? 


PICARD: 
Well, if he must, but I fail to understand how a five foot android with heuristic learning systems and the strength of a ten men can be called a child. 

TROI: 
You've never been a parent.

[Ready room]

PICARD: 
What you have done will have serious ramifications. 
I am truly dismayed that you told no one of what you were doing. 

DATA: 
I am sorry, Captain. 
I did not anticipate your objections. 
Do you wish me to deactivate Lal? 

PICARD: 
It's a life, Data. 
It can't be activated and deactivated simply. 
This is a most stupendous undertaking. 
Have you any idea what will happen when Starfleet learns about this? 

DATA: 
I have followed all of Starfleet regulations to the best of my ability. 
I expected they would be pleased. 

PICARD: 
Well, you have taken on quite a responsibility, Data. 

DATA: 
To prepare, I have scanned all available literature on parenting. 
There seems to be much confusion on this issue. 
One traditional doctrine insists, spare the rod and spoil the child, suggesting a punitive approach. 
While another more liberal attitude would allow the child enormous freedom. 

PICARD: 
Data -

DATA: 
And what Klingons do to their children - 

PICARD: 
Data! I'm not talking about parenting. 
I am talking about the extraordinary consequences of creating new life. 

DATA: 
Does that not describe becoming a parent, sir? 

PICARD: 
Data, you are seeking to achieve what only your own creator has been able to achieve. 
To make another functioning, sentient, android. 
To make another Data. 

DATA: 
That is why I must attempt this, sir. 

I have observed that in most species, there is a primal instinct to perpetuate themselves. 

Until now, I have been the last of my kind. If I were to be damaged or destroyed, I would be lost forever. 

But if I am successful with the creation of Lal, my continuance is assured. 

I understand the risk, sir. and I am prepared to accept the responsibility.





Everything has its own Inner Nature - unlike other forms of Life, however, people are easily led away from What’s Right For Them, because people have ‘Brain’.

And ‘Brain’ can be fooled - Inner Nature, when relied-upon, CANNOT be fooled.

But many people do not look at it and do not listen to it, and consequently do not understand themselves very much.



Having little understanding of themselves, they have little respect for themselves — and are therefore easily influenced by Others.

- The Tao of Pooh.



[Ten Forward]

LAFORGE:
So, do you want to talk about it? 

DATA: 
Are you referring to the foreknowledge of my death? 

LAFORGE: 
Yeah. 

DATA: 
I have no particular desire to discuss the matter. 
Do you need to talk about it? 

LAFORGE: 
Yeah. 

DATA: 
Why? 

LAFORGE: 
Data, this has got to bother you a little. 

DATA: 
On the contrary. 
I find it rather comforting. 

LAFORGE: Comforting? 

DATA: 
I have often wondered about my own mortality as I have seen others around me age. 
Until now it has been theoretically possible that I would live an unlimited period of time. 
And although some might find this attractive, to me it only reinforces the fact that I am artificial. 

LAFORGE: 
I never knew how tough this must be for you. 

DATA: 
Tough? 
As in difficult? 

LAFORGE: 
Knowing that you would outlive all your friends. 

DATA: 
I expected to make new friends. 

LAFORGE: 
True. 

DATA: 
And then to outlive them as well. 

LAFORGE: 
Now that you know that you might not? 

DATA: 
It provides a sense of completion to my future. 
In a way, I am not that different from anyone else. 
I can now look forward to death. 

LAFORGE: 
I never thought of it that way. 

DATA: 
One might also conclude that it brings me one step closer to being human. 

I am mortal. 

PICARD [OC]: 
Picard to Bridge officers. 
We're approaching the Devidia system. 
Report to your stations. 

LAFORGE: 
I'll see you later. 
Let's get together for a game of chess or something, okay? 

(Data leaves) 


[Corridor]

TROI: 
I heard about Data. 

RIKER: 
Yeah. 

TROI: 
It's having an unusually traumatic effect on everyone. 

RIKER: 
Yeah. 

TROI: If you don't want to talk about it, it's okay. 

RIKER: 
I'm fine. I'm just 

TROI: 
Angry. 

RIKER: 
I'm not angry. Yeah, I'm angry. 
Why should I be angry? 

TROI: 
Maybe because it reminds us of our own mortality. 

RIKER: 
I just don't want to believe it. 

TROI: 
Have you ever heard Data define friendship? 

RIKER: 
No. 

TROI: 
How did he put it? 

•does The Voice•
As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. 
The inputs eventually are anticipated and even missed when absent.


RIKER: 
So what's the point?

TROI: 
He's used to us, and we're used to him. 
It's like finding out someone you love has a terminal illness and -

(The turbolift arrives, the doors open and -

RIKER: 
Data. 

DATA: 
Counsellor. Commander.




[Turbolift]

DATA: 
Would either of you mind if I made a personal inquiry? 

TROI: 
Personal inquiry? 
No, go right ahead. 

DATA: 
I am perceiving an apparent change in the way others behave toward me. 
For example, people abruptly end conversations when I appear, just as you did when the turbolift doors opened. 
Is that an accurate observation? 

RIKER: 
Not at all. 

TROI: (same time) 
Yes. 

RIKER: ....Yes. 

TROI: 
You're right, Data. 
And it's not a very nice thing to do. 

RIKER: 
It's just - that our mental pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns. 

DATA: 
I understand. 
I am also fond of you, Commander. 
And you as well, Counsellor.



DATA: 
Sir, I need temporary lodging. 

BELLBOY: 
Looks like the missus booted you out in the middle of the night. 

DATA: 
I understand the source of your misperception. 
However, this is not sleepware and I do not have a missus. 

BELLBOY: 
Well. 

DATA: 
I am a Frenchman. 










Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Secrets & Lies








And so she has undergone the transformation, and what is her initiation? 

Typically, it is to sit in a little hut for a certain number of days, and realize What She Is.

She Sits There. 
















Why?
What the fuck do You want from me?
I fucking hate You!
I hate You.


He can't hear you, you know.
That's why we needed you.

Why didn't you tell me?

Would you...
Could you have believed me?
It was something you had to come to gradually.

Only after everything you've seen...
everything you've heard... could you possibly be able to accept The Truth.


I don't want this.
It's too big.


That's what Jesus said.
I had to tell Him.

And you can imagine how that hurt the Father...not to be able to tell the Son Himself... because one word from His lips would destroy the boy's frail human form.

So I had to deliver the news to a scared child who wanted nothing more than to play with other children.

I had to tell this little boy that He was God's only son...
and it meant a life of persecution and eventual crucifixion at the hands of the very people He'd come to enlighten and redeem.

He begged me to take it all back.
As if I could.
He begged me to
"make it all Not-True."

I'll let you in on something, Bethany, something I've never told anyone before.
If I had the power...I would have.

It's unfair.
It's unfair to ask a child to shoulder that responsibility and to ask you to do the same now.

I sympathise. I do.

I wish I could take it all back.
But I can't.

This... is Who You Are.

Everything I am has been a lie?

Knowing what you now know doesn’t mean you're not Who You Were -

You are Bethany Sloane.
No one can take that away from you, not even God.

All this means is a redefinition of that identity.
The incorporation of this new data into Who You Are.

Be Who You’ve Always Been.
Just... be this as well — from time to time.



She’s now a Woman. 
And what is a Woman? 
A Woman is a Vehicle of Life, and Life has overtaken her. She is a Vehicle now of Life. 

A Woman’s What It is All About; the giving of birth and the giving of nourishment. 

She’s identical with The Earth Goddess in her powers, and she’s got to realize that about herself.”



[Ready room]

PICARD:
Come.

TROI:
Captain, I just wondered if there's anything you wanted to talk about.

PICARD:
I don't think so, Counsellor.
TROI:
I would have thought having a Borg on the ship would stir some feelings.

PICARD:
I'm quite recovered from my experience, thank you.

TROI:
Sometimes even when a victim has dealt with his assault there are residual effects of the event that linger.
You were treated violently by the Borg.
Kidnapped, assaulted, mutilated.

PICARD:
Counsellor. Counsellor, I very much appreciate your concern for me, but I can assure you it is quite misplaced.
I have carefully considered the implications of having a Borg on this ship.
I have weighed the possible risks, and I am convinced that we are doing the right thing.
Now, I am quite comfortable with my decision.



TROI:
I see. Well, if at any point you want to talk more.

PICARD:

I shall certainly avail myself of your help. 
















ROBERT: 
I was always your brother, watching you receive the cheers, watching you break every rule our father made and get away with it.

PICARD: 
Why didn't you break a few rules?

ROBERT: 
Because I was the elder brother, the responsible one. It was my job to look after you.

PICARD: 
Look after me? You? 
You were a bully.

ROBERT: 
Sometimes. Maybe. Sometimes I even enjoyed bullying you.

PICARD: 
All right. Try it now.

ROBERT: 
Did you come back, Jean-Luc? 
Did you come back because you wanted me to look after you again?

PICARD: 
Damn you!
(And he punches his brother, sending him flying over some barrels into the vineyard proper. There they fight in the muddy irrigation ditches, through the vines until they finally fall back laughing)


PICARD: 
You were asking for it, you know.

ROBERT: 
Yes, but you needed it. 
You have been terribly hard on yourself.

PICARD: 
You don't know, Robert. You don't know. 
They took everything I was. 
They used me to kill and to destroy, and I couldn't stop them. 
I should have been able to stop them! 
I tried. I tried so hard, but I wasn't strong enough. 
I wasn't good enough. 
I should have been able to stop them. 
I should! I should!


 BORG QUEEN :  
What's wrong Locutus? Isn't this familiar?
Organic minds are such fragile things. How could you forget me so quickly? We were very close, you and I. You can still hear our song
.
PICARD: 
Yes, ...I remember you. You were there all the time. But that ship and all the Borg on it were destroyed.

BORG QUEEN: 
You think in such three-dimensional terms. How small you've become. Data understands me. Don't you, Data?

(Data is standing in a Borg cubicle)

PICARD: 
What have you done to him?

BORG QUEEN: 
Given him what he always wanted, 
flesh and blood.

PICARD: 
Let him go. 
He's not the one you want.

BORG QUEEN:
Are you offering yourself to us?

PICARD:
Offering myself? 


...That's it. I remember now. 

It wasn't enough that 
you assimilate me. 

I had to give myself freely to the Borg, ...to you.


BORG QUEEN:
You flatter yourself.
I've overseen the assimilation of countless millions.
You were no different.


PICARD:
You're lying. 
You wanted more than just another Borg drone. 
You wanted a human being with a mind of his own, who could bridge the gulf between humanity and the Borg.
You wanted a counterpart, but I resisted. 
I fought you.

BORG QUEEN:
You can't begin to imagine the life you denied yourself.

PICARD:
It's not too late.
Locutus could still be with you, just in the way you wanted. An equal. 

Let Data go and I will take my place at your side, willingly without any resistance.

BORG QUEEN:
Such a noble creature.
A quality we sometimes lack.
We will add your distinctiveness to our own.
Welcome home, ...Locutus.




ROBERT: 
So, my brother is a human being after all. 
This is going to be with you a long time, Jean-Luc. A long time. 
You have to learn to live with it. You have a simple choice now. 
Live with it below the sea with Louis, or above the clouds with the Enterprise.

PICARD: 
You know, I think you were right after all. 
I think I did come back so that you could help me.

ROBERT:
You know what? 
I still don't like you, Jean-Luc.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

COUNTERPART


Let’s talk about love.

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: 
Let’s talk about love, fine.

BILL MOYERS: 
But it’s such a vast subject, that if, in mythology, that if I had come to you and said, 
“Let’s talk about love, but where should we begin?” 
— what would your answer have been?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: 
I think my answer would have been the troubadours in the 12th century, let’s begin there.

BILL MOYERS: 
Why the troubadours?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: 
Well, because they’re the first ones in The West that really considered Love in the sense that we think of it now, as a person-to-person relationship.

BILL MOYERS:
You’re talking about romantic love?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: 
Yes. It’s the seizure that comes in recognizing as where your soul’s counterpart in the other person, and that’s what the troubadours stood for, and that has become the ideal in our lives today.





[Enterprise-E engineering]

BORG QUEEN : 

What's wrong Locutus? 
Isn't this familiar?

Organic minds are such fragile things. 
How could you forget me so quickly? 
We were very close, you and I. 
You can still hear our song
.
PICARD: 

Yes, ...I remember you. 
You were there all the time. 
But that ship and all the Borg on it were destroyed.

BORG QUEEN: 

You think in such three-dimensional terms. 
How small you've become. 
Data understands me. Don't you, Data?

(Data is standing in a Borg cubicle)

PICARD: 

What have you done to him?

BORG QUEEN: 

Given him what he always wanted, 
flesh and blood.

PICARD: 

Let him go. 
He's not the one you want.

BORG QUEEN: 

Are you offering yourself to us?

PICARD: 

Offering myself? ...That's it. I remember now.
It wasn't enough that you assimilate me.
I had to give myself freely to the Borg, ...to you.

BORG QUEEN:
You flatter yourself.
I've overseen the assimilation of countless millions.
You were no different.

PICARD:
You're lying. You wanted more than just another Borg drone.
You wanted a human being with a mind of his own, who could bridge the gulf between humanity and the Borg.
You wanted a counterpart, but I resisted. I fought you.

BORG QUEEN:

You can't begin to imagine the life you denied yourself.

PICARD:
It's not too late.
Locutus could still be with you, just in the way you wanted. An equal.
Let Data go and I will take my place at your side, willingly without any resistance.

BORG QUEEN:
Such a noble creature.
A quality we sometimes lack.
We will add your distinctiveness to our own. 


Welcome home, ...Locutus.
...Data, you are free to go.



PICARD:

Data, go.

DATA:
No. I do not wish to go.

BORG QUEEN:
As you can see I have already found an equal.









Thursday, 20 February 2020

TAXIARCHY

So Infernally Touchy....
 
I am Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. 
Surrender now, and we can avoid bloodshed.




In times of spiritual trial, Oppenheimer would search the Bhagavad-Gita, a sacred Hindu text, for meaning and comfort. 

He often turned to the story of the warrior Prince Arjuna, who to fulfill his destiny must Fight and Kill.


“In battle, in forest, at the precipice in the mountains,
On a dark great sea, in the midst of javelins and arrows,
In sleep, in confusion, in the depths of shame,
The good deeds a man has done before defend him.”

(The tunnel seals behind them.)

ACE: 

Doctor?


DOCTOR: 

Don't worry, Ace. 

It's only a trap.


[Clearing]


(The Brigadier and Lavel run from the helicopter, which then explodes.)


BRIGADIER: 

Five million pounds worth of aircraft, and we've lost it.


LAVEL: 

They’ll make us pay for that


BRIGADIER: 

We'll be poor for the rest of our lives.


(Lavel's leg hurts.)


BRIGADIER: 

Pulled a ligament?


LAVEL: 

Oh good. I thought it might be something serious.


BRIGADIER: 

I'll see if I can get some help from the village.


LAVEL: 

But sir, we don't know what the situation is here.


BRIGADIER: 

The situation, Lavel, is normal

And it doesn't get much worse than that

You know, I think I'm rather enjoying this.


(The Brigadier takes his service revolver from its holster and heads off.)


[Churchyard]


(Mordred is reading the names on the war memorial.)


MORDRED: 

‘Tis a shrine to those fallen in battle.


MORGAINE: 

So, they are not the savages you led us to believe. 

You fought on their soil without proper respect for the dead.


MORDRED: 

Mother, I —


MORGAINE: 

You have dishonoured us, Mordred. 

What is victory without honour? Leave us!


(Mordred walks through two lines of knights. The Brigadier walks up the road by the church.)


MORGAINE: 

What manner of man are you?


(Morgaine and the Brigadier meet at the church gate. The Brigadier points his revolver at her.)


MORGAINE: 

A Warrior, no less. 

How goes the day?


BRIGADIER: 

I've had better.


MORGAINE: 

I am Morgaine, The Sun Killer. Dominator of the thirteen worlds 

and 

Battle Queen of the S'Rax. 

What say you?


BRIGADIER: 

I am Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. 

Surrender now, and we can avoid bloodshed.


*****


BRIGADIER: 

Let me see if I've understood you correctly. 

You are holding a Remembrance ceremony for the dead of our World Wars, a ceasefire, to remain in force for the duration of said ceremony, right?


MORGAINE: 

Your words are strange, 

but that is the meaning, yes.


BRIGADIER: 

Right. What must I do?




MORGAINE: 

I wish you to know that I bear you no malice.


BRIGADIER: 

I understand.



MORGAINE: 

But when we meet again, 

I shall kill you. 





Morte D'Arthur

by Alfred Lord Tennyson




So all day long the noise of battle rolled

Among the mountains by the winter sea;

Until King Arthur's table, man by man,

Had fallen in Lyonnesse about their Lord,

King Arthur: then, because his wound was deep,

The bold Sir Bedivere uplifted him,

Sir Bedivere, the last of all his knights,

And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,

A broken chancel with a broken cross,

That stood on a dark strait of barren land.

On one side lay the Ocean, and on one

Lay a great water, and the moon was full.


Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:

"The sequel of today unsolders all

The goodliest fellowship of famous knights

Whereof this world holds record. Such a sleep

They sleep -the men I loved. I think that we

Shall never more, at any future time,

Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds,

Walking about the gardens and the halls

Of Camelot, as in the days that were.

I perish by this people which I made, -

Though Merlin sware that I should come again

To rule once more -but let what will be, be,

I am so deeply smitten through the helm

That without help I cannot last till morn.

Thou therefore take my brand Excalibur,

Which was my pride: for thou rememberest how

In those old days, one summer noon, and arm

Rose up from out the bosom of the lake,

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

Holding the sword -and how I rowed across

And took it, and have worn it, like a king:

And, wheresoever I am sung or told

In aftertime, this also shall be known:

But now delay not: take Excalibur,

And fling him far into the middle mere:

Watch what thou seest, and lightly bring me word."


To him replied the bold Sir Bedivere:

"It is not meet, Sir King, to leave thee thus,

Aidless, alone, and smitten through the helm.

A little thing may harm a wounded man.

Yet I thy hest will all perform at full,

Watch what I see, and lightly bring thee word."


So saying, from the ruined shrine he stepped

And in the moon athwart the place of tombs,

Where lay the mighty bones of ancient men,

Old knights, and over them the sea-wind sang

Shrill, chill, with flakes of foam. He, stepping down

By zig-zag paths, and juts of pointed rock,

Came on the shining levels of the lake.


There drew he forth the brand Excalibur,

And o'er him, drawing it, the winter moon,

Brightening the skirts of a long cloud, ran forth

And sparkled keen with frost against the hilt:

For all the haft twinkled with diamond sparks,

Myriads of topaz-lights, and jacinth-work

Of subtlest jewellery. He gazed so long

That both his eyes were dazzled, as he stood,

This way and that dividing the swift mind,

In act to throw: but at the last it seemed

Better to leave Excalibur concealed

There in the many-knotted waterflags,

That whistled stiff and dry about the marge.

So strode he back slow to the wounded King.


Then spake King Arthur to Sir Bedivere:

"Hast thou performed my mission which I gave?

What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"


And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

"I heard the ripple washing in the reeds,

And the wild water lapping on the crag."


To whom replied King Arthur, faint and pale:

"Thou hast betrayed thy nature and thy name,

Not rendering true answer, as beseemed

Thy fealty, nor like a noble knight:

For surer sign had followed, either hand,

Or voice, or else a motion of the mere.

This is a shameful thing for men to lie.

Yet now, I charge thee, quickly go again

As thou art lief and dear, and do the thing

I bad thee, watch, and lightly bring me word."


Then went Sir Bedivere the second time

Across the ridge, and paced beside the mere,

Counting the dewy pebbles, fixed in thought;

But when he saw the wonder of the hilt,

How curiously and strangely chased, he smote

His palms together, and he cried aloud,


"And if indeed I cast the brand away,

Surely a precious thing, one worthy note,

Should thus be lost for ever from the earth,

Which might have pleased the eyes of many men.

What good should follow this, if this were done?

What harm, undone? deep harm to disobey,

Seeing obedience is the bond of rule.

Were it well to obey then, if a king demand

An act unprofitable, against himself?

The King is sick, and knows not what he does.

What record, or what relic of my lord

Should be to aftertime, but empty breath

And rumours of a doubt? but were this kept,

Stored in some treasure-house of mighty kings,

Some one might show it at a joust of arms,

Saying, `King Arthur's sword, Excalibur,

Wrought by the lonely maiden of the Lake.

Nine years she wrought it, sitting in the deeps

Upon the hidden bases of the hills.'

So might some old man speak in the aftertime

To all the people, winning reverence.

But now much honour and much fame were lost."


So spake he, clouded with his own conceit,

And hid Excalibur the second time,

And so strode back slow to the wounded King.


Then spoke King Arthur, breathing heavily:

"What is it thou hast seen? or what hast heard?"


And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

"I heard the water lapping on the crag,

And the long ripple washing in the reeds."


To whom replied King Arthur, much in wrath:

"Ah, miserable and unkind, untrue,

Unknightly, traitor-hearted! Woe is me!

Authority forgets a dying king,

Laid widowed of the power in his eye

That bowed the will. I see thee what thou art,

For thou, the latest-left of all my knights,

In whom should meet the offices of all,

Thou wouldst betray me for the precious hilt;

Either from lust of gold, or like a girl

Valuing the giddy pleasure of the eyes.

Yet, for a man may fail in duty twice,

And the third time may prosper, get thee hence:

But, if thou spare to fling Excalibur,

I will arise and slay thee with my hands."


Then quickly rose Sir Bedivere, and ran,

And, leaping down the ridges lightly, plunged

Among the bulrush-beds, and clutched the sword,

And strongly wheeled and threw it. The great brand

Made lightnings in the splendour of the moon,

And flashing round and round, and whirled in an arch,

Shot like a streamer of the northern morn,

Seen where the moving isles of winter shock

By night, with noises of the northern sea.

So flashed and fell the brand Excalibur:

But ere he dipped the surface, rose and arm

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

And caught him by the hilt, and brandished him

Three times, and drew him under in the mere.

And lightly went the other to the King.


Then spoke King Arthur, drawing thicker breath:

"Now see I by thine eyes that this is done.

Speak out: what is it thou hast heard, or seen?"


And answer made the bold Sir Bedivere:

"Sir King, I closed mine eyelids, lest the gems

Should blind my purpose, for I never saw,

Nor shall see, here or elsewhere, till I die,

Not though I live three lives of mortal men,

So great a miracle as yonder hilt.

Then with both hands I flung him, wheeling him;

But when I looked again, behold an arm,

Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,

That caught him by the hilt, and brandished him

Three times, and drew him under in the mere."


And answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:

"My end draws nigh; 'tis time that I were gone.

Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight,

And bear me to the margin; yet I fear

My wound hath taken cold, and I shall die."


So saying, from the pavement he half rose,

Slowly, with pain, reclining on his arm,

And looking wistfully with wide blue eyes

As in a picture. Him Sir Bedivere

Remorsefully regarded through his tears,

And would have spoken, but he found not words,

Then took with care, and kneeling on one knee,

O'er both his shoulders drew the languid hands,

And rising bore him through the place of tombs.


But, as he walked, King Arthur panted hard,

Like one that feels a nightmare on his bed

When all the house is mute. So sighed the King,

Muttering and murmuring at his ear, "Quick, quick!

I fear it is too late, and I shall die."

But the other swiftly strode from ridge to ridge,

Clothed with his breath, and looking, as he walked,

Larger than human on the frozen hills.

He heard the deep behind him, and a cry

Before. His own thought drove him, like a goad.

Dry clashed his harness in the icy caves

And barren chasms, and all to left and right

The bare black cliff clanged round him, as he based

His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang

Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels -

And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,

And the long glories of the winter moon.


Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge,

Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern,

Beneath them; and descending they were ware

That all the decks were dense with stately forms

Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream -by these

Three Queens with crowns of gold -and from them rose

A cry that shivered to the tingling stars,

And, as it were one voice, an agony

Of lamentation, like a wind, that shrills

All night in a waste land, where no one comes,

Or hath come, since the making of the world.


Then murmured Arthur, "Place me in the barge,"

And to the barge they came. There those three Queens

Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.

But she, that rose the tallest of them all

And fairest, laid his head upon her lap,

And loosed the shattered casque, and chafed his hands,

And called him by his name, complaining loud,

And dropping bitter tears against his brow

Striped with dark blood: for all his face was white

And colourless, and like the withered moon

Smote by the fresh beam of the springing east;

And all his greaves and cuisses dashed with drops

Of onset; and the light and lustrous curls -

That made his forehead like a rising sun

High from the dais-throne -were parched with dust;

Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,

Mixed with the knightly growth that fringed his lips.

So like a shattered column lay the King;

Not like that Arthur who, with lance in rest,

From spur to plume a star of tournament,

Shot through the lists at Camelot, and charged

Before the eyes of ladies and of kings.


Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere,

"Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?

Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?

For now I see the true old times are dead,

When every morning brought a noble chance,

And every chance brought out a noble knight.

Such times have been not since the light that led

The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.

But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved

Which was an image of the mighty world;

And I, the last, go forth companionless,

And the days darken round me, and the years,

Among new men, strange faces, other minds."


And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:

"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,

And God fulfills Himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

Comfort thyself: what comfort is in me?

I have lived my life, and that which I have done

May He within Himself make pure! but thou,

If thou shouldst never see my face again,

Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

But now farewell. I am going a long way

With these thou seest -if indeed I go -

(For all my mind is clouded with a doubt)

To the island-valley of Avilion;

Where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow,

Nor ever wind blows loudly; but it lies

Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard-lawns

And bowery hollows crowned with summer sea,

Where I will heal me of my grievous wound."


So said he, and the barge with oar and sail

Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan

That, fluting a wild carol ere her death,

Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood

With swarthy webs. Long stood Sir Bedivere

Revolving many memories, till the hull

Looked one black dot against the verge of dawn,

And on the mere the wailing died away.






[DOOR CHIMES.]

Come.

Jean-Luc.



Kirsten.



Hello.


May I? 




Apparently, you have urgent Federation business.

I understood you to have left affairs of state behind.

I am staying as far from it all as I can.

So then what can I do for you? - Bruce Maddox.

- What about him? I believe that he is using neurons from the late Commander Data to create a new organic synthetic.

Well, that's not far from all of it, it is all of it.

The Romulans are involved.

This gets better and better.

Commander Data was not only my colleague, he was my dear friend, and he gave his life, body and soul, to the Federation.

And if there is a chance that some part of him still exists, then I think we have an obligation to investigate.

There is no "we", Jean-Luc.

Kirsten, I know we have not always seen eye to eye.

Nevertheless, I have a request to make.

Based on my years of service, I want you to reinstate me, temporarily, for one mission.

I will need a small warp-capable reconnaissance ship with a minimal crew, and if you feel that my rank makes me too conspicuous, well, then, I am content to be demoted to Captain.



The sheer fucking hubris.

You think you could just waltz back in here and be entrusted with taking men and women into space? 

Don't you think I was watching the holo the other day along with everyone else in The Galaxy? 



I should not have spoken in public.



The Romulans were our enemies, and we tried to help them for as long as we could, but even before the synthetics attacked Mars, 14 species within the Federation said, 

"Cut the Romulans loose, or we'll pull out".

It was a choice between allowing the Federation to implode or letting the Romulans go.




The Federation does not get to decide if a species lives or dies.




Yes, we do.

We absolutely do.

Thousands of other species depend upon us for unity, for cohesion.

We didn't have enough ships left.

We had to make choices.

But the great Captain Picard didn't like his orders.

I was standing up for the Federation, for what it represents, for what it should still represent.



How dare you lecture me? 


Ignore me again at your cost.



My cost?


You are in peril, Admiral.



There is no peril here, only the pitiable delusions of a once-great man desperate to matter.

This is no longer your house, Jean-Luc.

So do what you're good at: GO HOME

Request denied.