… the Caricaturist travels to Qo’noS, 2375!
Last evening I received a missive bearing the insignia of the Klingon High Council. I was directed to appear before Martok the Chancellor. Armed with this little piece of information, I foraged the Internet and discovered that accepting this invitation would mean traveling forward in time and arriving in the year 2375. I also checked out Chancellor Martok’s picture on Wikipedia. I am used to meeting pseudo-humans of both the earth-dwelling and the alien variety, still his bizarre physiognomy with his ridged forehead left me a little dazed. I wanted to decline the invitation, but my curiosity pushed me to throw a couple of sketch-pads, two overalls, my box of Derwent color pencils, my Intuos tablet, my laptop, and a few other electronic knickknacks into a backpack, and climb into the pod they had so kindly sent to pick me up.
This particular time-pod was nothing like the clunker that I bought in a garage sale, years ago. This was a state-of-art machine with gleaming edges, softer than the softest cushions, organic air-conditioning, hidden pantries that automatically assessed your hunger-quotient, combined it with your other biometrics, and served you the right food that looked and tasted exactly like your favorite dish. All in all, the interiors were super-impressive! The ETA was 9:00 PM, which meant that I had about half an hour to relax.
I wondered if time-travel in this pod, allowed for Internet access. The moment the thought popped up in my head, I heard the Donkey-voice of Mike Myers tell me that I could access Internet during my journey through the wormhole, but the access won’t be available on the other side, so I’d better hurry.
I thanked him, and was about to pull out my iPad from the backpack when the donkey suddenly materialized in front of me. He looked as real as he does in Shrek. I shrieked and almost fainted as he brought his face close to mine, and with that hurt look in his eyes, he said to me, ”Please! I don’t wanna go back there, you don’t know what it’s like to be treated as a freak!… Well, maybe you do… but that’s why we gotta stick together! You gotta let me stay!”
I sort of agreed with his assessment of my freakiness, but I recalled him saying something similar to Shrek, so a small voice told me that the donkey wasn’t real, and it was a futuristic computer program playing 3D tricks on my mind. That calmed me down. I looked straight into his eyes and said, ”No you can’t, because you are a computer program, and you’ll automatically be left behind, when I leave this pod.”
The donkey’s routine was obviously written by a programmer who suffered from the frog-in-the-well syndrome and didn’t expect regular time-travelers to be smart, so the moment the donkey heard me, he flickered and then disappeared.
I took a deep breath, gathered my thoughts, pulled out my iPad, typed “Martok” in the Google search box of Safari.
It was all there…everything about him. About his humble beginnings, about his abduction in 2371, just four years ago in the future when I was supposed to meet him. About his becoming the chancellor, and about his family. I committed their names to memory. Lady Sirella and Drex.
I didn’t realize how much time had passed, until the door of the pod slid open. I hadn’t felt it decelerate so the opening of the pod door and the realization that the pod was now standing still on the ground, surprised me a little. The Clunker that I have at home…oh, never mind!
I hauled the bag up on my shoulders and stepped out in a large dome-shaped room where the floor gradually sloped up into the walls that converged to form the roof. As my eyes adjusted to the light conditions, I realized I was inside a sparkling white hemisphere, with no door or window, or anything else in sight – it was an endless, unbroken, and closed expanse of white in all three dimensions. I panicked and turned, thinking that I’d rather wait inside the pod, but…the pod had vanished. I was left standing there in the middle of white nothingness. A wave of nausea hit me and my knees gave way. Why in the name of caricatures, did I accept this idiotic invitation?
I knew the answer. Martok’s message had made me gloat. It told me that my fame had grown beyond the earth, beyond Atlantis, beyond the constraints of time, into the future…and let us be serious, who in his right mind would refuse an invitation by the Chancellor of Klingon High Council?
I heard the footsteps but I tried to ignore them because at this point, I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Artists hallucinate all the time – this could be another hallucination. The footsteps came closer. I still didn’t open my eyes, I wanted to be sure that there indeed was someone or something – I really didn’t care if it was Jabba the hutt…or actually I did, but then Jabba existed in a different paradigm…of Star Wars and not Star Trek, and so he couldn’t be there any way. My mind was mixing stuff up and feeding my anxiety and my fear!
A soft, soothing voice in my head found way through the confusion that raged in my mind. The voice told me to open my eyes and stand up. The charisma of the voice washed over me leaving me clean – devoid of negativity and fear.
I opened my eyes and saw them. They were smiling. All three of them were smiling, and Martok looked a lot less intimidating when he smiled. Lady Sirella raised her hand and the white around us cleared. Now we were standing in their cosy living room that had a rich oriental look. She motioned me to sit, and then she poured me a steaming hot cup of tea. Just what was needed to soothe my nerves. Chancellor Martok, in the meantime, got up and went to one of the cupboards that lined the walls. He came back with an arm-load of albums.
“Lady Sirella and I wanted to commission you for a few caricatures,” he said.
So…ladies and gentlemen of this blog’s viewership,
I am in Qo’noS the home planet of Martok. I’ve been given a comfortable to place to work, and my job is to create caricatures and portraits of Martok and all his near and far relatives. I try to make them look as nice as possible, but very often it’s impossible. The good news however is that they consider me downright ugly and they deem themselves to be the most beautiful people in the entire universe. I hope they never learn what I think. If you’ve not seen my perspective on perspectives, go here.
I’ll return soon, I promise…only about a dozen more to go.