Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, June 8, 2014
Enterprise, Stardate: 42073.1
Recent days have spawned at outbreak of what ship’s science staff are calling “nostalgia” – for lack of a more precise definition. (Can one call it nostalgia if one has not ever experienced it in the first place? Lieutenant Commander Data posits that in the same way he, an android, has learned to emote, humanoids can long for what they have never had. Fascinating concept; and one I shall have to pursue in a personal journal entry.)
What began as a contest on the holodeck [three-dimensional programmable theater whereby any reality’s coordinates can be morphed] to see who could come up with the most appealing locality, has ended with surprisingly significant consequences for the ship. We are hopeful Counselor Troy and medical personnel can adequately see to the dozens of staff afflicted and unable to attend to their duties, notably First Officer Riker who has been quarantined due to a fever and inconsolable rantings regarding a “rainbowfall.”
The trigger to this epidemic of deep longing and ensuing fantasizing appear to have been the holodeck coordinates corresponding to the 2nd day of a month called June in the gamma sector of a range of volcanic mountains in the southwest of the state of Colorado, in the former United States of America. Earth coordinates 37.9392° N, 107.8163° W. Stardate -308578.99235794, or AD2014 as they would have referred to it back then.
Ensign Byron Folsom, the “winner” of the contest, admits to having come across a short video clip unearthed randomly in a history lesson for his son Anton, which immediately “captivated” them both. The following day, Folsom, against school and Starfleet policy, furthered the lesson by virtualizing it on the holodeck, at which point his own enthusiasm spawned 55 replays by various staff, resulting in a viral infestation of the ship. Folsom, lucid enough to describe his own spontaneous longing for this particular alpine locus, entreated me to experience the hologram, which I have agreed to do tomorrow at 0900 hours.
Currently, the aforementioned holodeck time/space coordinates have been erased from the public system and I have requested a temporary memory dam for Folsom. Anton appears not to have suffered any of the deleterious adult symptoms, which raises a fascinating query into the roots and nature of nostalgia per se.
Troy’s nightly report shows 9 of the 26 afflicted have undergone full spectrum light treatments with some slow but quantifiable measure of success. Other treatment for what we are calling Earth Mountain Paradise Syndrome or EMPS will include a mild course of anti-depressants, reality-based quotidian reorientation, and (amusingly) a substantial dose of caffeine first thing in the morning.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: The power of the Earth mountain paradise is substantial. I shall try to describe it for the record. A bucolic scene, in the beginning of what appears to be the summer season in a deep valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It is verdant beyond belief. There is a majestic waterfall cascading to the ground in the distance, like a veil. Other waterfalls spring forth from red rock. The leaves – of the brightest and most light-filled green I have ever seen — create a soft whispering in the wind, and as I turn my head towards a breeze caressing my cheek, I see to the left another waterfall, gushing then misting over the edge of red cliffs. It is drenched in a rainbow of light, the full spectrum spilling over the rocks in a flow of color, all under the bluest umbrella of sky. The sensation of this… rainbowfall… is a delicious oneness with the natural and supernatural world.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Absence of scientific language noted, above entry. For the record, Troy has prescribed two cups Ethiopian Harar first thing in the morning for me. All feelings of longing have been quantified and registered – as have those of the others — on a scale specifically developed by Chief Science Officer Tuvok.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Data has proposed he experience the hologram and file a complete report tomorrow. First Officer Riker, responding well to light therapy, has resumed his duties. Coordinates have been set for twin planets in the Coalition of Medina where a Klingon cruiser is reportedly collecting unidentified debris from their upper atmospheres.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: 22 of the staff reportedly asymptomatic.
Captain’s Log, Supplemental: Lieutenant Commander Data’s monograph, Peaks and Pitfalls of Utopian Exposure as Relates to Humanoid Brian Function, has been submitted to the Federation science team along with the time/space coordinates of Mountain Paradise, once called Tellurium. I have been cleared as asymptomatic, except for a penchant for exotic coffees, which I shall explore further as personal journal entries. Note to self: tomorrow, Ethiopia, Kaldi Estate.
Author’s note: Rainbowfall seen near Via Ferrata June 2. Dreamy and surreal, it lingers with me still.