STRANGER FROM THE PAST - ACT TWO
by Darrell Dumas

ACT TWO

FADE IN:

08 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAYS

Janeway strolls slowly down the hallway, holding a commbadge second to the one on her chest. She walks up to the door to Paxton's quarters and presses the annunciator...nobody answers...she tries again...still no answer...faintly, in the distant background, a soft piano song can be heard...

09 INT. PAXTON'S QUARTERS

Immediately after. The doors open, Janeway strolls in quietly and looks at the surroundings. The lights are dimmed to ten percent, and several soft, inviting dark-colored chairs and sofas line the walls of the room. And in the middle, a dark-wood upright piano, Mark sitting at it, playing it with eyes half closed, flowing to the music...presently he notices the captain standing a few feet away watching, and quickly stands up, embarrassed...

PAXTON
Captain! I-I'm sorry! I didn't hear you come in...

JANEWAY
(Neutrally) You disabled your door annunciator.

PAXTON
I like to have virtually unbreakable silence when I play. It helps me absorb myself in my music.

JANEWAY
I brought you your commbadge (Handing the device to Paxton)

Paxton takes the badge enthusiastically -

PAXTON
Oh, thank you! Wow! I always dreamed of wearing one of these! (He pins it on his shirt, and taps on it; a chime emits from it) Paxton to Janeway!

JANEWAY
(Smiling warmly) Reading you loud and clear, Mr. Paxton!

Paxton laughs quietly -

JANEWAY
What was that song you were playing there on the piano?

PAXTON
Oh, that? That was a Prelude by Friedrich Chopin. He was a composer from twentieth century Earth. (Note to Reader: This song was meant to be the Prelude by Frederic Chopin, Op. 28, No. 6; it is not necessary for it to be this particular piece, but I believe a slow, sad song fits the mood best.)

JANEWAY
You play it quite beautifully.

PAXTON
(Blushing a little) Oh...well, thank you.

JANEWAY
What else can you play?

PAXTON
Well, I learned a few waltzes in my spare time. (Sitting back down at the piano bench) Tell me if you know this one.

Paxton then begins to play a waltz tune with a dancing tempo to it. Janeway leans on the side of the piano, watching his fingers dance across the keys (Note to Reader: This waltz was meant to be one of the 12 waltzes from Franz Schubert's "Waltzer", Op. 9, D 365; Again, it is not necessary for it to be any of these particular waltzes.) -

PAXTON
(Finishing) Have you heard that one before?

JANEWAY
I think I might've heard it somewhere...it sounds familiar... like one of the more historic ones...

PAXTON
It's by Schubert, a composer from the nineteenth century on Earth. He wrote a lot of waltzes. Do you know how to dance the waltz?

JANEWAY
(Chuckling) I don't really, no.

PAXTON
I could teach you, if you'd like...

JANEWAY
Oh, I...

PAXTON
Don't worry, it's not as hard as it looks. Computer (Confirming chime from the computer) Isolate last composition played and repeat (Acknowledgement chime from computer). Here.

Paxton shows Janeway the dancing position, and the computer replays the waltz, Paxton leading Janeway in the dance steps -

PAXTON
One, two, three. One, two, three. One two three.

10 EXT. VOYAGER (OPTICAL)

Voyager once again cruises peacefully through the nebula.

11 INT. CREW LOUNGE

Seconds later. Tom Paris walks into the lounge and heads over to the counter where Neelix is preparing an exotic drink...

PARIS
Neelix?

NEELIX
(Looking up at Paris) Oh, hello, Mr. Paris. What can I do for you today?

PARIS
Neelix, I need your help. It's about the talent show.

NEELIX
What about it?

PARIS
I know just what I want to do in it, but I'm not so sure I can. You see, I want to form a twenty-first century rock and roll band.

NEELIX
(Eyes lighting up) Ooh! That should be exciting! Who's in it?

PARIS
That's the problem. Other than me as the bass guitarist, I don't have anyone else to play in the band. I thought that maybe you could recommend a couple guys to me.

Neelix falls into deep thought -

NEELIX
Well...there are several ensigns and crewmen who have skills in that area, but if I were to recommend someone...well, I myself had some brief experience on the Talaxian Inxabas.

PARIS
What's that?

NEELIX
It's a loud percussion instrument from my homeworld, similar to the one used in your rock and roll bands...

Tom's eyes seem to glow -

PARIS
Come with me, Neelix.

Tom quickly strides out of the lounge, Neelix hurrying to keep up.

12 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAYS

Tom strides quickly through the hallways, Neelix struggling to keep up.

NEELIX
B-but where are we going, Mr. Paris?

PARIS
To the holodeck.

NEELIX
What for?

PARIS
You'll see. If these Talaxian drums you played are anything like the rock and roll drums from Earth...

Tom walks up to the door of the holodeck -

PARIS
Computer, activate Paris program 261.

The computer chimes in acknowledgement, and the door to the holodeck opens... Paris strides in, Neelix on his heels -

13 INT. HOLODECK REPRESENTATION OF STAGE

Paris and Neelix walk up onto the stage, where a large set of drums is set up...

PARIS
Okay, Neelix, sit down.

NEELIX
Well...all right.

Neelix sits down at the drum set and Tom hands him a set of drumsticks -

PARIS
OK. These are the drumsticks. Now, you have your base drum down there, played with your foot, and your three cymbals up here...

NEELIX
(Looking more relieved) Don't worry, Mr. Paris. The Talaxian Inxabas and these Earth Drums are more alike than I thought they would be.

PARIS
All right, then. Go ahead.

Neelix begins to bang away at the drums like a professional, and immediately Tom is grinning from ear to ear. When Neelix has finished, he walks up to him -

PARIS
Neelix...are you doing anything in the talent show yet?

NEELIX
(Mocking deep thought) No, I don't believe I am yet.

PARIS
Great! You've just gotten yourself into the best act in the house! (Extending his hand so that Neelix can shake it)

NEELIX
(Taking Tom's hand and shaking it warmly) Thank you, Tom!

PARIS
Now...(Neelix standing up) all we need is a lead guitarist.

NEELIX
Well, there are several on board that have skills on acoustic Earth guitars, but I think you're looking for someone who has talents on the electric version, correct?

PARIS
I've heard acoustic rock and roll. Not too interesting.

NEELIX
Well, then...shall we create a hologram?

Paris shrugs -

PARIS
We wouldn't have to. I already have one in my database, but I'd like to do something a little more...

Paris' voice trails off and his face lights up -

PARIS
Wait! I've got a better idea.

Paris motions for Neelix to come closer. Neelix moves closer, and Tom whispers something in his ear... Neelix seems shocked...

NEELIX
By the stars! Paris, that's criminal! If we were to do that, we'd run the risk of setting off another of her memory surges, and then the captain would find out and put us both in the brig...

PARIS
Yeah, yeah, I know... I just wish there was some way we could get her to be our lead guitarist without getting into deep trouble...

NEELIX
I don't think she would agree to it any way you put it...

PARIS
...Unless we don't use the real her!

NEELIX
You aren't really suggesting we create a hologram of her?

PARIS
C'mon! We'll need to get a physical scan of her before we can create a hologram.

Tom once again strides out of the holodeck, Neelix struggling to keep up.

14 INT. VOYAGER HALLWAYS

Seven strolls down the hallway, carefully examining the readouts on the PADD she is holding...

NAOMI
(Running towards Seven from behind) Seven! Seven!

Seven stops walking and turns around to face the little girl, now keeled over in front of her, panting...

SEVEN
Naomi Wildman.

NAOMI
(Between gasping breaths) I...was just...just wondering...if you're busy...

SEVEN
Fairly...I need to bring this data to the cargo bay so I can continue recalibrating the long-range sensors. Is there...something you wish to do?

NAOMI
Oh nothing too important...just maybe a couple recreational activities...(Tightening her face, as if trying to refrain from saying something; then bursts out) are you doing anything in the talent show yet?

SEVEN
(A bit taken aback) No.

NAOMI
Yes! Great! Will you perform with me, then?

SEVEN
What is it you wish to perform?

NAOMI
A magic show. You know, illusionary magic tricks? Pulling a bunny rabbit out of an empty hat?

SEVEN
You wish to perform prestidigitation?

NAOMI
Yeah. I've been practicing really, really hard on some good tricks. Here, (Pulling out a deck of playing cards from a pocket in her dress) let me show you this one. (Fanning the deck out, face up) pick a card.

Seven pulls a card from the deck -

NAOMI
OK, now look at it, remember it, but don't tell me what it is.

With vague reluctance, Seven looks at her card for a few seconds, then back at Naomi, who is smiling broadly -

NAOMI
(Turning the deck over, face down) OK, now put it back in the deck face down.

Seven places the card back in the deck, and Naomi cuts the deck down the middle, placing the bottom cards on top. She then holds the deck to her forehead, eyes closed, as if in deep concentration, and pulls the bottom card from the deck.

NAOMI
Was this your card?

SEVEN
(Somewhat shocked) Yes.

Naomi grins from ear to ear -

NAOMI
What do you think?

SEVEN
It is... quite deceiving.

NAOMI
So will you perform with me? I'll teach you all the tricks I know (Naomi's happy mood seems to disappear and be replaced with apprehension, as if dreading a declination).

SEVEN
(A ghost of a smile crossing her lips) I find no way I could decline such an offer.

NAOMI
Yes! (Jumping into the air excitedly)

SEVEN
I must drop these variables off at the cargo bay (Indicating the PADD). Go to the mess hall, I shall join you there shortly to practice.

NAOMI
OK! See you there.

Naomi hurries off, and Seven turns to walk off in the opposite direction. Presently, Tom Paris and Neelix appear at the end of the hallway, Tom with a tricorder in his hand...Seven does not notice them, as she is absorbed in the figures on her PADD... as Tom passes her, he taps something into his tricorder... Seven seems to feel, rather than see or hear, that she has been scanned... she stops and turns to Paris and Neelix, walking away from her

SEVEN
Lieutenant Paris?

PARIS
(Stopping, turning around) Yeah?

SEVEN
Why have you just scanned me?

PARIS
What?

SEVEN
Your tricorder has just emitted a polaron scan directed at me. Why are you scanning me?

PARIS
That? Oh, that didn't happen on purpose. My tricorder isn't scanning properly, it's doing random close-angle scans all over the place and I don't know how to stop it. I was on my way down to engineering to see if B'Elanna could help me fix it.

Seven looks from Paris to Neelix, who is looking away to avoid eye contact, as if reluctant to believe...

SEVEN
... Very well. Proceed.

Seven walks off down the hallway, and Paris and Neelix hurry off in the other direction...

NEELIX
That was close.

PARIS
I'll say. I didn't think she would be able to detect my scan.

NEELIX
I still don't think this is a good idea.

PARIS
Don't worry. It'll be all right.

Paris and Neelix approach the door to the holodeck -

PARIS
Computer, run Paris program 261b.

The computer chimes in acknowledgement, and the door opens...

15 INT. HOLODECK REPRESENTATION OF STAGE

The two walk into the same stage as before, only this time, there is an electric guitar and an infra-guitar sitting on it...

PARIS
Computer, access Paris character 23-982, and replace physical appearance with that of this physical scan...

He plugs his tricorder into the holodeck console... Instantly, a hologram of Seven appears, a distinctly different look on her face than usual... Neelix and Tom take their positions - Neelix at the drums, Tom at the Infra-guitar. Tom motions to Seven...

PARIS
That's yours, right there (Indicating the guitar).

SEVEN
All right (Climbing on to the stage)! It's great to be practicing for a real concert again.

Seven picks up the guitar and begins to randomly pluck at the strings, as Tom adjusts the settings on his Infra-Guitar, and Neelix adjusts the drum set to fit his somewhat short height... presently, Seven finds a phrase of notes she likes and begins to repeat them, plucking at the guitar with natural ease. Soon Tom follows suit and plays a bass chord in the same key, and Neelix joins in with a rhythm, until all three of them are rocking away like crazy. For several minutes, they jam, without singing, without vulgar lyrics, just plain music... presently, none of them notice the real Seven of Nine walk into the Holodeck and stare at the scene with shock... Finally, the three of them finish playing, exhausted, excited and happy... Tom finally notices Seven standing below the stage, and stiffens considerably...

SEVEN
Lieutenant Paris...Neelix...

PARIS
(Very quickly, to hide his embarrassment) Computer, deactivate Paris character 23-982.

The holographic Seven disappears, and the guitar she was holding falls to the floor with a loud clang -

SEVEN
Is this what you were utilizing those "random scans" for?

PARIS
(Blushing) I, ah, well... yes. (Hangs his head)

SEVEN
(In an angry voice) In the future, I would appreciate it if you were to ask my permission before using my physical figure as a holographic musician in some wretched music performance.

PARIS
Well... may we, Seven?

SEVEN
No.

With that, Seven turns on her heel and marches out of the Holodeck. Paris and Neelix look at each other, disappointed...

NEELIX
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Tom places his Infra-Guitar on the stage, and he and Neelix walk out of the Holodeck.

FADE OUT.

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