At last it's time to try out my birthday present in the holodeck.
It's called The Shakesperian Holoprogram, and is said to be more realistic than the usual sort we have. I can choose any role from any play.
As a result, I have got my sword and crown at the ready, and am going in on my own to play Macbeth.
The mists are all around. A holographic Banquo is with me as we walk on the moor. I'm determined to get my money's worth out of this. They are so realistic!
First witch: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second witch: When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.
Third witch: That will be ere the set of sun.
Good. I'll be ready soon for my first line with them on the heath. I'll have to put on my very best ek-tor voice.
We're in Scene III, at the heath. Time for my official meeting with the witches.
"So foul and fair a day I have not seen." I declare, in my Macbeth voice.
Banquo: How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her chappy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.
"Speak, if you can: what are you?" I tell them. I'm enjoying this. I think I'll try Hamlet next.
First witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
Second witch: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
Third witch: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!
The program freezes for a second than carries on, as Banquo says his speech. The witches look at me piercingly.
First witch: Picard shall be no more as ruler of the Enterprise.
Second witch: Picard shall be no more as ruler of the Enterprise.
Third witch: Fare ye well, doomed soul.
Hold on. What's happened? They were all supposed to shout "Hail."
The witches draw their power and a lightning bolt throws me across the heath. The witches all emit a mad cackle.
"Freeze program!" I exclaim. No effect.
My shoulder is hurt. It looks like the safety protocols have been disabled in this program. Banquo comes marching towards me, his sword drawn.
Banquo: I fear that your time upon this earth is soon to be no more, Picard. I shall deliver the blow that will cast you forth as Captain of the Enterprise.
Him as well. What next? This program is definately very defective. I struggle up and engage in a desperate swordfight. Fortunatly I manage to run the sword through him, and he vanishes.
I turn round, Ross and Angus are here.
Ross: We have lost our friend Banquo at the hands of Picard. Let us take revenge so that his soul may rest.
Another swordfight follows, this time against two. Fortunately they are not so good, and I kill them off.
They vanish also. There are more swordfights here than in a Robin Hood film.
The scenery is due to change soon. Before it does, I try and stop the program.
"Arch!" I shout. Nothing happens. Fortunately, I still have my Com badge on, and I explain the situation to Riker.
"We can't beam you out or stop the program, Captain." he says, "The only way it will stop is if you let the program run to an end."
"I can't let that happen, Number One." I reply, "All the Macbeth cast seem to be aware of who I really am, and want to dispose of me. I can't win every swordfight. Besides that, Macbeth isn't meant to live to the end."
As I switch the Com off, I hear Deanna say to Riker, "I thought there was something suspect about that program."
To be continued...