((Over the Rainbow?))
It felt as if Maz was standing in a marsh, or bog-like field. Mist and vapour swirled around his feet like a bad fog machine in an old play. In fact the whole setting seemed like a play. He was standing on his own, with a spotlight on him. He seemed to be waiting for someone in the darkness to shout 'Action!' and he'd get to work.
He was relieved to see that he was himself again; that is, when he looked down at his hands they were his hands. Connected to his arms and his own body. He brought his fingers up to his face and felt his own nose, his own bed-head hair his mother always pleaded he'd cut shorter.
The smog cleared and the darkness receded. Maz was standing in a field. A field of golden wheat. Seemingly endless from his position but he noticed a collection of houses in the distance. They were elegant, classically designed and looked sparkling in the hot evening summer sun. Maz looked around further to get his bearings. He seemed to be in the countryside, and the vague smoky memories of Artinus Serinus told him that he was in the agricultural suburbs of Roma, the Capital City of Magna Roma. A rich and wondrous city, elegantly mixed with modern and classical elements, it was as true a representation of ancient Rome on Earth, but with modern twists.
Over his shoulder he heard an excited shout, so he turned to see who was approaching. Two boys were running through the wheat fields. Mid-teenagers, the pair, or maybe a little older. It was hard to tell at this distance. The Magna Roman memories were starting to fade now, but Maz instantly recognised the younger boy to be Serinus. The other, his older brother, who had challenged him to a race back home in time for supper. The boys ran like the wind through the field - their eyes on the prize. Maz raised his hands above his head and waved frantically to them, even calling out to Serinus to get his attention but the boys ignored him. Perhaps they didn't see him. They raced past like lightning and Maz was almost out of breath himself watching them run.
This was a Serinus memory. Fading now, as fast the setting sun in the distance as evening approached.
Rodan: I remember running in this field. Or Artinus running in this field... I don't remember who won that race though. Curious.
Ever the explorer, he wanted to know more about what was happening. Why was he here? He remembered falling in the gym on the Arrow. Was this some kind of dream-state? If so, why was he still piecing Serinus' memories together but he was Maz Rodan in the field? Shouldn't he be the boy racing against his brother?
He shook his head. He knew he had to find some way of getting out of this mess. He had to get back to the Arrow. Wake himself up.
Maz took heavy steps through the wheat but wasn't getting anywhere. He had made no movements. Sighing, he shielded his eyes from the sun and watched the boys race back to the streets of Roma.
Then it happened. The scene changed. The wheat, the houses, the boys, even the clouds in the sky melted away like ink being dropped in water... cloudy and murky. The smoke changed and he was now in another setting. This was a Rodan memory. It was the Ruling Chamber of the Symbiosis Commission on Trill. Official cases brought before the Commission were sent here before the Board.
Maz was still fixed in his spot, standing now in a large dark marble room. He felt like he was on trial. Faceless dozens were watching him from the gallery. He couldn't see them, it was dark, but he could hear them. Their whispers carried around the room. He took a gulp of breath as more inky-smoke appeared around him and became solid as people standing around him in a circle.
The Symbiosis Commission. Except... this was wrong? Instead of people he had met before, these Trill were faceless. No eyes. No noses or mouths. A clean blank face framed by Trill spots and a dark hood and cape. The faceless Trill loomed over him and he felt incredibly small and weak in their presence.
He looked around and mustered a sum of courage from... somewhere.
Rodan: Where am I? Who are you?
One of the faceless Trill tilted their head in his direction.
Trill: That is the question. "Who are you?"
Another Trill: ::Whispering:: Who are you?
The voices were ghost-like and creepy. Maz didn't like this. Was this a memory or a nightmare?
Rodan: Who am I? I don't understand...
Trill: You have been given the Gift. The Gift of Immortality. The Gift of Unique Knowledge and Experience like no other.
Another Trill: You are Trill. You are one of the Many. Many Hosts. One Being. Who are you?
He understood the dogma. He'd preached it enough. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. This was akin to the old Trill custom of 'State Your Names'.
Rodan: I am Maz Rodan. Science Officer of the USS Arrow.
Another Trill: WHO ARE YOU!?
The voice boomed around the black marble room. It made Maz quake a little in his boots, but he held fast. This was a strange memory. It wasn't Maz's. He was sure it was the Symbionts, but a fractured memory from many times being in this place.
Rodan: I am Maz Rodan! Beyond that... ::He threw his arms up in the air in despair and slumped his shoulders.:: I don't know what to tell you. I am part Shona, part Zosha, part Rafi and part Jareth. Which part is which? I don't know! I have memories from four different people and I remember things I shouldn't possibly remember! This is new to me! I'm just a boy from Mak'ala City who suddenly has to be as wise as Jareth, or free-spirited as Rafi. I don't know who I am yet! And now I've got Artinus' memories too. Hot summer days running through fields. Baking bread and drinking wine... What am I supposed to say?
Trill: You are not Serinus.
Another Trill: ::Whispering.:: Not Serinus!
This took him aback, slightly. Of course he wasn't Serinus. He might be temporarily inhabiting his body... but he wasn't Serinus. He was Maz. The faceless Trill also posed it as a statement. Not a question. The Trill was telling him he wasn't Serinus. The mix-up, the body-swapping, the altered brainwaves, it was starting to unravel.
Rodan: I'm Maz. M-A-Z!
And that's when he felt the cortical stimulator send a jolt to his brain. He fell to his knees and grasped the side of his head in pain. The faceless Trill evaporated into inky smoke, leaving him alone in the Ruling Chamber. Another jolt caused him to scrunch his eyes closed and he collapsed to the marble floor of the dream Symbiosis Commission. And then he was back on the Arrow...
Lieutenant JG Maz Rodan
USS Arrow, NCC 69829