The Soong Kachina

I have been trying to ascertain
the meaning of the Sun Kachina’s
Data remarked to Counselor Troi
as they sat at the small table in his quarters. He
gently swept a thick dollop of turquoise paint
with his brush onto the bare, fallow edge
of the mask he had made after his return. The
electric hue of the paint was sonorous, lusty,
and vivid — the closest match Data could create
to what he remembered from the face

of the strange being who had pronounced
his cryptic prophecy to the android. Counselor
Troi studied the android’s careful and graceful
brushstrokes as he performed his art before her.
He labored for a few moments in silence,
remembering the kachinas, the effervescent Hopi youth,
and the brooding poet he had left behind
in 1968. Data then remembered

Jim’s sardonic question during a conversation
before he had returned to his own century:
Your name isn’t really Mr. Soong, is it? Data,
unable to lie, had answered cryptically instead:
it is a name of my choosing. Jim had laughed
and said, Don’t worry, man. Your secret’s safe
with me.
Jim had then winked and wandered
over to Una, sliding his arm around the
thin, dark-haired mystery of a woman before
they kissed and walked away. Data pulled

himself away from his memories and
began speaking again. When I first began
to dream, Captain Picard said I was a
culture of one and that I must find meaning
of my own, rather that searching for it
in other cultures. Perhaps the Sun Kachina
knew this about me. He may have called on me
to make another leap of faith.
Data applied

the last of the turquoise paint to a sliver-thin edge
of the mask. What do you mean, Data? Troi
asked. After he finished his work, he laid the mask
on the table and looked at Troi, whose
kohl-lined sable eyes reflected soft light
from the ceiling overhead. The kachinas seemed
to be extraordinary and advanced beings. Perhaps
they might possess advanced abilities to sense and
gather information – abilities not limited
by space and time.
He paused for a moment, and then
continued. Before my experience, I believed
that most myths and legends were a civilization’s attempt
to explain what was beyond their understanding. Now,
I wonder if that is not always true in every
Troi nodded in understanding and then

looked down at the mask Data had created of
the Sun Kachina, crowned in feathered glory
with a corona of black-tipped white feathers,
his face emblazoned with the fevered colors of sun and sky,
and mouth frozen in a perpetual black triangle grin. It’s
Troi said. Thank you, Data replied. I wanted to
commemorate my experience with something
physical and tangible.
They rose from their chairs

and walked towards the door. Do you know
what happened to the boy and the young man
you met?
Troi asked Data as the door parted
fluidly before them, hissing softly and cleanly
as they passed through. The boy became the leader of his
Data replied as they walked down the hallway.
He married and had many descendants, including
Ensign Namingha, who was just stationed here.

Data paused, stopped walking, and turned

to look at Troi. However, the young man was
not so fortunate. Although he continued as
a songwriter and poet, he encountered legal
and inflicted considerable damage on
his body and mind before dying several years later
in Paris, France.
The two began walking again
and approached the turbolift, its doors emitting a soft hiss
as they entered. Deck Ten, Troi announced, and the lift
began its descent. Were you tempted to say
anything to him that might have saved his life?

Troi asked, and for a moment, Data paused
and remembered Jim’s last words to him
before Wikvaya’s uncle had taken him
back out into the desert in the little, dusty red
truck: take care of yourself, man. The future’s
uncertain, and the end is always near
turned to Troi and replied, I considered
advising him to heed Kokopelli’s warning
for about zero point six eight seconds.

Data paused, and then added as the
lift landed on Deck Ten and they exited
the doors: And for an android, that is nearly
an eternity.

Written 9/27/13
© 2013 Nicole Nicholson. All Rights Reserved.

This poem was written for We Write Poems Prompt #176: The Doors of Perception. This is the final poem in the series, and I asked poets to wrap up their stories by considering the following: a) did the perceptions of their characters change, and if so, how? b) what happens to their character now? I decided to bring good old Data home back to the Enterprise, and I think his perceptions have definitely changed. If you haven’t read the series, check out “Portal“, “Mr. Soong“, and “The Visitors” (in that order).

Did you enjoy this month’s prompts? And what did you guys think of my “Data in the Desert” series? And what about my guest “cameo” appearance? Leave me a comment below.



About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
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4 Responses to The Soong Kachina

  1. Pingback: The Visitors | Raven's Wing Poetry

  2. Irene says:

    Impactful last line. A novella in the making, Nicole?

  3. You kept my attention all along. Interesting use of the Kachinas. I liked the picture. Yes, you have a novella in the making,

  4. Thank you, Irene and Marian. I’d like to turn this into a novel, and I really think it would be a cool story. A part of me is a little concerned about what a publisher might ask that I do to this novel, and I’ve heard that the Star Trek novel publishers are looking for established authors with agents. But, I may not give up so easily.

    Data is a very popular and likeable character, probably one of the most popular on ST:TNG. I identify a little with him because of his neverending quest to understand humans and human behavior. Being an Aspie, human behavior has sometimes mystified me too.

    I also grew up in the Southwest for part of my childhood. One scene I will remember in my mind as long as I live is when I was about ten and we were driving through Albuquerque to move back to Milwaukee. We stopped at a small trading post outside the city and i looked at two shelves full of kachina dolls — the Sun Kachina doll on display caught my eye. That image stuck in my mind and after that, I began to have a mild fascinating with kachinas.

    And of course, anyone who has read about Mr. Morrison will remember that he spent part of his childhood in the Southwest as well — I think for a time his father was stationed in Los Alamos, NM. I have a feeling that those “Indians scattered on a dawn’s highway, bleeding” were probably either Hopi or Zuni.


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