Four Days in the Lives of Some Science Fiction Characters
By Sam Seal
Based on characters created by:
S:AAB - Morgan and Wong (Hard Eight Pictures), 20th Century Fox
X:FILES - Chris Carter, 20th Century Fox
ST:TNG - Roddenberry, Paramount Pictures
ST:DS9 + VOY:AGER - Berman and Pillar, Paramount Pictures
BABYLON: 5 - J.M. Straczynski, PTN Consortium, Warner Brothers
A:LIENS - O' Bannon and Shusett, 20th Century Fox
GOD:ZILLA - TOHO-EIZO Company Ltd.
BAT:MAN - Bob Kane (D.C. Comics Inc.) Warner Brothers
LOST: IN SPACE -
All characters are
the creation of the relevent people mentioned above. If I've got
something wrong, apologies. Email me and I'll make good. No
infringement is intended.
Just a little good,
the Final Frontier. . . "
(Frontier to what, we
don't know yet, but this is unimportant. Indeed, some
people might argue that Time is an even more Final
Frontier - after all, the Human Race has been mooching
around in Outer Space for some
time now, whereas with Time, we are still strictly
"These are the
Voyages of the Star ship 'No Surprise' . . .
"Our on-going Mission
- to Boldly Mix Science Fiction Characters No-One had
Mixed Before. . . "
(Captain Picard sighed,
and turned off his Audio-log in utter disgust.)
How to begin...
This was always a
problem for Picard, particularly when he was introducing
new members of his senior crew both to each other and to
the Non-Player Characters scripted to appear in the
latest adventure. He knew that this was, perhaps, going
to be the toughest assignment any of them had been sent
on so far - and how he managed the prologue would set the
tone. As Commander Riker would have said - A Real Toughy!
But Riker wasn't here
anymore. And neither was Data. Picard still could not
believe the idea that his First and Second Officers had
both eloped with each other. Indeed, Councillor Troi had
been so distraught she'd had to go home to mother - she
was that upset! He knew things would never be the
same again. But as to quite how different they
were going to be?
First there were a couple
of points concerning his new First Officer - he was a
fine officer with an outstanding Military Record (Sousa's
Greatest Hits, as it happened), possibly too good. After
all, Picard didn't have a Purple Heart. He'd had a
pace-maker for a while until Q fixed the problem, but he
didn't think that had counted as a High Military
Honour. And the other thing that was making him uneasy
was the Rank - didn't a Lieutenant Colonel outrank
a mere Captain? He'd have to check with Data...
Or rather, with Data's new
replacement. Not a Second Officer exactly, but a Science
Officer, definitely. And the first thing it should
analyse was itself, as far as Picard was concerned.
Still, it might be worth a shot...
he started, heroically refusing to be intimidated by the
7 foot tall vision in brown paisley that loomed before
him, "Does Colonel McQueen outrank me during this
Kosh paused to consider
(at least, that's what Picard hoped he was doing)
before making his answer. " Bong, jingle, jingle,
twangy, ping... Snack-time." Then he shuffled
off in the general direction of the vending machine
standing next to the turbo-lift...
"Oh, well, er, that
all right, then" Picard said faintly
as he looked about the briefing room for signs of, well,
anything really that might make the coming meeting easier
for him. Sadly, he didn't find anything half so useful,
and so he resigned himself to having to work things out
the hard way...
"What do you mean,
he's only twenty?" Major Kira snapped angrily,
angrily snapping her Kitkat into four precise fingers and
passing them around the conference table. "How can a
Colonel in StarCorp only be twenty years
"Well, it might be
twenty-one," Worf admitting as he tried not to loose
count. "He's not telling, and I am not about ask... knit one...pearl one...knit two...
pearl oh BLAST"
Picard sighed heavily as
he munched on his choccie bourbon. "What I want to
know is, where is he?"
This happened to be the
question McQueen was asking himself as he gave the turbo
lift another suspicious look. It was like no lift he'd
ever encountered before. It wasn't the lack of fag butts
on the floor that bothered him, or even the fact that
no-one seemed to have taken a leak in the corner
recently. The real problem was - it kept talking
The last non-living
thing that had spoken to him had also attempted to blow
him up - and he'd found that that kind of thing
really could really put a crimp on ones day. Though not
as much as the crimp he'd put on the day of the silicate
terrorist when he'd blown its' head off for sheer
insubordination. People didn't respect authority anymore,
that was the trouble. After all, he was a Colonel!
He sighed. Just because he was an I.V.....
...it still hadn't
prepared him for the shock of what faced him as the lift
doors finally opened. Not that the shock showed, of
course. He'd been to the same Stage School that Picard
had attended, and the training held true. All the same,
this sort of behaviour couldn't be ignored. 80 foot tall
mutant dinosaurs could not be tolerated in the
corridors. Especially the ones that, from the evidence
before him, were apparently not house-trained.
McQueen did what he did
second-best - he graced the creature with a Cool Look. He
found it usually did the trick. Where he was from, his
Cool Looks were the stuff of legend. Entire fledgling
Squadrons had been crushed by the tactical deployment of
an Icy Stare.
But on the rare occasions
it didn't do the job, he knew there was always his secret
The Intimidating Silence.
It spoke volumes...
Indeed, if Thomas Hardy had just stuck to an Intimidating
Silence like McQueen's, many A-Level English Literature
students would have lived drunker and happier lives.
But on this occasion the
Cool Look was enough. Godzilla was driven back into
Wesley Crusher's old bedroom, where it sat back down on
its' dog-bed and tried to figure out the dimensional
problems it was currently undergoing. Being only made of
cheap rubber, it didn't stand a chance.
Meanwhile, McQueen headed
off once more in search of the Conference Room.
The Conference had gone
pretty much as Picard had expected. Now nobody was
speaking to anybody else, with the sole exception of Kira
and Worf who had rapidly become bosom buddies, exchanging
Martial Arts techniques and knitting patterns in equal
portion - often during the same fight! But that was by no
means the worst of it.
The replicator had run out
In the old days, Picard
mused as he sat in his Quarters apathetically stirring
his cocoa, he was the only one on the ship that
liked tea. Nowadays, though, it seemed any tea
bags were at a premium. Even Worf's Klingon tea was being
resurrected, as it was marginally better than Bajoran tea
(which was being kept locked in the cells as a security
measure), but he knew things were getting desperate. He
also knew that he just couldn't go on another
mission until the whole tea problem had been dealt with.
The first point was
demarcation - as the only Englishman (masquerading as a
Frenchman) on board, all the Earl Grey should be for him.
Simple. But then, other than the aforementioned Klingon
and Bajoran slop, there was no other type of tea
to be had.
McQueen had originally
insisted on Chinese tea minus both milk and sugar, but
was having to make do with recycled Earl Grey bags and a
lot of mashing, which was not doing his temper any
favours. Now all he would do was mooch around the lower
decks like a disconsolate cat.
Picard also had his
suspicions about Kosh. Who knew what a Kosh drank?
Underneath all that material he might be concealing an
entire bloody samovar, for all Picard knew.
Anyway, all the proto-tea
had disappeared from Stores one way or another, and the
current theory was that some closet tea-drinker
was hoarding. That was intolerable! Something had to be
done before the Earth Delegation arrived demanding
refreshment, and by God something was going
to be done.
Picard pressed his
communicator decisively. "Colonel McQueen report to
my Quarters immediately!" There was no answer. Just
static. Picard repeated the command, but his communicator
still just ate static.
He hung his head in a
resigned fashion, finally realising what had happened. If
he was right, it would also explain the small,
communicator-sized scorch marks on the floor of the
corridors, combined with the sudden depletion of spare
communicators in Security.
"Computer, give me
the whereabouts of Colonel McQueen?"
"Colonel McQueen is
in the Firing Range" the computer replied silkily.
Picard stood, donning his dressing gown, murmuring quietly "Now, why am I not more surprised?"
Kira was finally getting
used to the communication controls. It had only taken 20
minutes of concentrated swearing before she figured out
how to stop broadcasting on all frequencies down to
StarCorp Headquarters on Earth. The effect that this
display of temper was simply that the people on the other
end had become terribly civil, as they assumed that only
a very senior commander indeed would dare address them
so. Earthers exposure to Bajoran Military was still
"I said, can
you tell the delegates to bring a couple of dozen crates
of loose tea with them when they come! Four Earl Grey,
four Chinese and four of anything else that's laying
around down there." She knew there was little hope
of any Bajoran tea being available - and as for Klingon
tea, well, the relevant bio-hazard regulations had yet to
be lifted in this particular quadrant of space...
When she'd finally
finished bawling out the poor com. officer at the other
end of the transmission she pulled the plug and sat back
looking smug. "Who says humans are stupid? You just
have to shout louder, that's all." She turned to
Kosh. "You can tell the Captain to relax - the
tea-supply has been secured." After a moments
thought she added "Oh yes, and tell him the
delegates arrive at 0800 tomorrow, that there's two of
them, and that one of them requests a ready supply of
sunflower seeds. Maybe he's planning on bringing a parrot
or something..." She waved her right hand in a
circling motion next to her right ear. "Delegates?
" Pung! "
Kosh replied shortly, loitering next to the Science
Console. "Time." He drifted into the turbo
lift, jingling quietly to himself...
Kira glanced across to
Worf (who was doing some extensive unpicking with even
more of a scowl on his face than usual), and shrugged.
She'd never seen anyone try to unpluck their
eye-brows before. Well, she thought to herself
philosophically, as her father said as he hung from the
rope, 'Life is one long Learning Curve - and then you
fall over the edge'.
Picard stepped patiently
around the twenty-seventh scorch mark on the carpet that
he had encountered so far on his trip to the Firing
Range, wincing now only slightly at the crunching sound
of communicator fragments as he went. A gleam of
fractured light drew his eye to the vital platinum
component and he stooped to pick it up. The pockets of
his dressing-gown were starting to feel rather heavy - it
was like following a trail of very expensive bread
Looking up from the floor
once more, he realised that he had indeed arrived outside
the Ranges, and through the closed doors he could just
make out the sounds of controlled phaser fire. He
diplomatically decided to wait for a break in the firing
cycle before opening the doors, before suddenly
remembering what McQueen tended to use as targets. He
quickly pressed the door-release -
- and almost had his head
blown off by the Ninja Angel lurking above the door-way.
Picard scowled darkly at the vision in black as it
dropped to the deck in front of him. McQueen scowled
After about twenty minutes
of this Picard felt his eyes start to water. It was like
trying to out-stare a basilisk, he realised, and might
prove as dangerous as it would prove deadly. He began to
smile. "Don't you think this is a little pointless?"
he asked politely.
McQueen's blue eyes
flickered, tactfully breaking eye contact without loosing
face. "Perhaps," he answered cautiously,
lowering his phaser. (The truth was, he'd nodded off
almost ten minutes before - but he had discovered early
in his career that being able to sleep with both eyes
open was a useful talent. It unnerved subordinates when
their CO never seemed to sleep. He had also recently
begun practising the fine art of Having Eyes In The Back
Of His Head - which was more of a challenge as he didn't
wear glasses, but it gave him an interest.) "But
then again, I take it you haven't seen the Galley
recently. I mean, there everywhere!" He was
beginning to look a little paranoid. "A Micro-chip
in the kettle," he continued, "one in the
coffee maker, one in the cooker - ah! And I'm afraid I've
totalled the toaster again."
"What, again! Good
grief - that's the third time in as many days."
Picard looked traumatised. "What do I do if I fancy
a bit of something in the middle of the night?"
eloquently, but decided not to answer that question -
he'd heard things about the British! He decided to
take a shower and go back to bed instead, and told the
Captain as much. As he headed for the exit, leaving
Picard bereft at the table, he vaguely wondered whether
his Quarters had a bolt on the inside of the door. If
not, it was going to be a long night...
Major Kira was having
problems with the delegates, and desperately hoped that
Picard would hurry up and get there. Damn these double
To be honest, she was
having a lot of problems. To begin with - they had
not been on the ship five minutes before one of them had
complained about the food. It was apparently unsuitable.
"Look!" said Kira in exasperation, "We
just thought you were bringing some kind of bird
with you, that's all! I'm sure we'll be able to find
something you'd like in the Galley."
Mulder stirred a finger
around in the bowl of Trill, looking like he was about to
cry. So much for Superior Life-Forms, he thought sadly.
"it's OK," he said tremulously, "I don't
want to cause a fuss..."
The second problem, Kira
rapidly discovered, was the second delegate. Small and
feisty, with an air of overwhelming self confidence, if
not arrogance - she was trouble all right! Also, she
reminded Kira of someone else, but who? Kira couldn't
Dana Scully turned to her
companion in obvious concern. "Mulder... who are you
Mulder turned to face
Scully, momentarily distracted from his tragic lack of
smackerels by her tone. He looked more closely. Scully's
eyes were slightly unfocussed, and she was having great
difficulty lifting her gaze from the floor. It was an
expression he had come to recognise a long time ago. He
turned to the Major and explained. "I'm sorry about
my friend," he said. "It's just that she
sometimes, well, often... er, that is almost always
has difficulty seeing things that she refuses to believe
Kira looked astonished!
"What! You mean to tell me she doesn't believe
in me? Who does she think I am - the Tooth Fairy?"
"I doubt it,"
sighed Mulder forlornly. "She doesn't believe in her,
"And you do???"
Mulder had the grace to
look slightly guilty. This was getting to be a bit too
much for Dana. "Who doesn't believe in whom?"
she inquired suspiciously. "And for the last
time, who are you talking to?" Mulder tried
to explain once more, but to no avail. "Oh God,
Mulder! Not the old We've Been Abducted By Aliens routine
again, surely! Look!" She turned Mulder
bodily towards the Official Welcoming Party. "See? There's
on-one there, Mulder, OK?"
The Official Welcoming
Party stared straight back at her. At least, from what
anyone could tell, they were, anyway. Worf was still
trying to untangle the last couple of dozen knots in his
pony-tail, and there was always the very real possibility
that Science Officer Kosh had gone AWOL again, just
sending it's encounter suit as a representative. It had
happened before, particularly during the times after it
had paid a visit to the ships' Library - it had a great
weakness for Murder Mysteries (Kira and Kosh had almost
come to blows over the only copy of 'Hardy Drew and the
Kira wondered desperately
just how long the Captain was planning to be...
Whilst Captain Picard was
busy worrying about greeting the Earth Delegates in such
a way that they would not suspect him of actually being late,
his new First Officer was suffering a monochrome crisis
of his own.
McQueen had always been a
bit of a loner. It came with the territory - the
Loneliness of Command and so on. He'd never really
imagined the possibility of forging a close relationship
with a female, it just wasn't his style, there would be
too many insurmountable difficulties involved - who'd do
the cooking, which side of the bed would you sleep on,
could he keep his socks on all night. Those kinds of
And then, as if out of the
blue, eyes had met across a crowded closet and all the
decisions had suddenly been made for him. For them.
Two days of utter blissful happiness. They'd been
inseparable, it seemed nothing could come between
And then just as suddenly,
something did. Some two things, as it happened.
"Look, I've tried
to be reasonable," he said, adopting one of his more
effective Stern Poses, "and I really have struggled
to adapt to the situation - but things can't continue like
this." He turned to glance out of the cabin window,
incidentally casting his face into noble shadowy profile.
"I know it's hard for you to understand," he
continued steadily, resisting the temptation to gnaw at
one of his thumbnails, "I'm not sure I fully
understand this myself. I don't deny that our sharing my
Quarters hasn't been...mutually agreeable, but I do
know this - our... relationship... has got to stop, right
here and now. Before you do something we'll both
regret." There was a small, pathetic whimper from
behind him, followed by a forlorn silence.
Followed by the sound of
McQueen's left slipper slowly being digested.
Followed by a highly
distinctive whiffy smell.
It seemed it was already
too late, Fate - and the Forces of Nature - seemed
invincibly united against him. And thus McQueen, too, was
finally forced to accept the inevitable. He winced,
delicately wrinkling his nose against the general fug of
sulphur and smoke.
It was time to empty
Godzilla's Litter Tray again.
Mulder and Scully were
settling into the Ambassadorial Suite in their own unique
Mulder had just finished
turfing all the scatter cushions onto the floor in a
great heap and replacing them on the couch with a large
pile of folders and manuals. He was already down to his
skivvies and making himself comfortable in front of the
view screen in time for the nightly edition of 'Ripley's
Believe It Or Not' when Dana emerged from the en suite
bathroom, a towelling turban perched precariously on top
of her head, hairbrush and heated rollers in hand, and
proceeded to unplug the monitor in order to plug in
Mulder sulked. He had once
again been deprived of yet another source of vital
information, just because Scully couldn't accept the fact
that they were both in the bowels of a futuristic
spacecraft which was, in turn, keeping close
geo-stationary orbit around the Earth, which was clearly
visible in all its' glory outside the view port - the one
Scully had drawn the blinds down firmly over as soon as
they'd first walked in!
She had then insisted they
descend to the 'Cruise-Liner's' restaurant for dinner
that evening, to pay their respects to the Captain, who
had been unable to welcome them on board personally, due,
he had explained smoothly, to 'pressures of work'.
"Isn't it about time
you started getting ready for dinner?" she enquired
in her most supercilious tone. "We wouldn't want to
keep everyone waiting - " She was interrupted by a
'knock' at the door. She rose to her feet, opened the
door and spoke a few words to the man outside before
shutting the door once more, and returning to the foot of
her bed to finish drying her hair. Mulder raised an
eyebrow enquiringly. Scully looked a bit dazed, but
rallied well. "The Cabin Boy says Dinner will be in
ten minutes. You can join us in the restaurant
when your dressed." She got to her feet and slipped
her shoes on, picked up her clutch-bag and headed toward
the door with a final reassuring glance at the dressing
table mirror. "Don't forget to wash behind your
ears!" she sniggered.
Mulder climbed wearily to
his feet and slouched off into the bathroom - where he
discovered that not only was there no hot water
left, but that all the towels were soaking. Lip
trembling, he braced himself for the quickest, coldest
shower in the history of StarCorp, only to find Scully
had also used all the shampoo. He eyed the bar of soap by
the basin thoughtfully. "What the Hell," he
decided, and went for it.
Worf wandered along the corridor of the Ambassadors Level, looking curiously at the piece of green paper the red haired female had just placed conspiratorially into his palm, and shrugged... Humans! Sometimes they could really mess with your head. And with a head like Worf's, that was a lot of messing.
McQueen was sat at a dimly
lit and unobtrusive window seat in the Galley, fingering
a large tome the Captain had lent him and looking
absently down at the Earth. As he didn't wish to damage
what was obviously one of Picard's favourite books
McQueen had erred on the side of caution and opted not
to try reading it in his Quarters. As the 'slipper'
episode had clearly indicated, Godzilla seemed to be
teething again. Nothing was safe. He'd already had to
rescue his dressing-gown off her for the third time in as
many days and, naturally enough, it was getting rather
frayed. But he didn't want to get a new one yet, in case
someone started to ask awkward questions. The fact was,
he didn't dare tell anyone else about his new and only
('though he entertained an alarming suspicion) pet. He
had a feeling Major Kira wouldn't approve - and the
Klingon would probably try and eat her. Godzilla - that
was - not the Major.
He sighed. He noticed he'd
been doing a lot of that recently, indeed everybody had.
He wondered if they were homesick - or Timesick? Exactly
what was the date in this particular aspect of the
Universe, anyway? He knew he was the oldest in that
respect - strictly 21Century. He thought about it. Kosh
was 23rd C - Picard, Kira and Worf were 24th. Oh yes,
actually he wasn't the oldest on board at the
moment, Mulder and Scully were late 20th C's. Come to
think of it, little Godzilla was only mid 20thC -
just a kid, and not even latex!
But he wasn't sure that
visiting dignitaries and rubber monsters really counted.
Shoulders drooping a fraction - just enough to subtly
convey dejection without drawing overt attention to
himself, he turned his attention back to the book.
"I have of late, and wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth," (he read)
"And, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition
That this goodly frame - The Earth -
Seems to me a Stellar
(He peered once more
down at the gently spinning Earth so far below.)
"This most excellent canopy - the Air - look you!
This brave or hanging firmament
This majestical roof - rented with gold and fire -
Why, it appears nothing to me
But a foul and pestilent
congregation of vapours."
(Which reminded him,
he'd have to get some more Cat Litter from somewhere
without anyone knowing - a small/huge dinosaur/monster
got through the stuff like nobody's business, and he
intended on keeping it nobody's' business for as long as
"What a piece of work is a Man. (Particularly when genetically engineered!)
How Noble in reason.
How Infinite in faculty.
How like an Angel in Apprehension (Not any Angels HE'D ever known...)
How like a God! (Hmmm.....)
The Beauty of the World - (WHAT!!!)
Paragon of Animals... (Oh, good grief! Who wrote this stuff?)
Yet to me what is this quintessence of dust?
Man delights not me.
No, nor women neither...
McQueen closed the book
firmly (now even more dubious about the Captain's
night-time activities than he ever had been), and lifted
his gaze just in time to make eye contact with Dana
Scully, who had been watching him reading from a (not
terribly) discreet distance for the last five minutes.
Being a gentleman as well as an officer, he immediately
got to his feet, book in hand.
There was the sound of a
distant moan, and Scully swooned to the floor at his feet
in an embarrassingly idolatry fashion. McQueen glanced
around swiftly - and then sloped off quietly before
anyone noticed. Small, foolish dinosaurs could get terribly
possessive, he cautioned himself.
Come to think of it - so
could little Godzilla.
The voice seemed to come
to her from across a vast and shadowy distance. It seems
familiar, she thought, I wonder who... "
Mother..." she whispered faintly, turning over
onto her right side comfortably, " Mother? Is it
time to get up now..." She opened her eyes just
a fraction against the brightness of the light. It all
seemed rather too bright to be her childhood bedroom, she
thought as she slowly surfaced from unconsciousness.
Perhaps something had happened and she was in hospital or
something. There was only one way to find out, she
Opening her eyes once
again she came nose to nose with Fox Mulder, who had been
diligently mopping her brow and trying to force water
down her throat at the same time. It had not been a good
idea, however - Mulder was one of those people who were
totally unable to simultaneously rub their stomach with
one hand while patting their head with the other, so the
upshot of his bed-side manner was that Dana now had a
large, grubby hanky pressed over her mouth and extremely
wet hair! " Gworfff!!" she squawked,
struggling to sit up and batting Mulder's hands away
Mulder looked hurt - he
had only been trying to help. He nervously selected a
sunflower seed from his pocket and started nibbling
apprehensively. Scully could be scary when
aroused. He turned to The Doctor, his expression a silent
A warning which The Doctor
either didn't see or chose to ignore. "Well!"
he said, briskly washing his hands of the whole Medical
Emergency. "It seems you friend has recovered
sufficiently from her little... episode... to return to
her quarters and leave the rest of us in peace." He
smiled blithely. "I recommend you stay in your rooms
for a few hours, and keep clear of certain..." he
struggled to be tactful, it wasn't easy, "...certain
Scully was outraged.
" What disturbing individuals?" she
cried. "What happened to me?"
The Doctor looked mildly
bemused. "You mean you don't remember?"
Scully shook her head,
trying to clear it. "I... I'm not sure. The last
thing I remember is going down to the Dining Room to meet
the Captain for Dinner... and then... "she
hesitated, suddenly beginning to feel light headed again,
"and then... somebody... " At this point in her
recall her brain seized up in an act of self-defence. She
sighed. "I don't remember."
"I do," Mulder
sniffed. "You swooned! "
"I DID NOT!!!"
She was gob-smacked at the whole suggestion. "I
would never do such anything so... so embarrassing!
I must have... just been overcome by the heat or
"Your wrong, Scully.
I saw you," Mulder selected another seed and grinned
cheerfully down at his erstwhile companion. "I'm
afraid you simply folded up like an origami penguin. You
quite definitely swooned!"
Science Officer Kosh and
the new ship's cook, Neelix, had eventually come to a
simple understanding. Kosh had discovered that as far as
ship-board food went, it was pretty much restricted to
spaghetti, noodles, soup or anything else it could suck
through a straw. Neelix claimed he could arrange special
meals at no extra cost in return for a favour. In return
for these special requirements Kosh was, on special
occasions, willing to play the part of drinks trolly,
shuffling from table to table, pouring drinks (no-one
ever really knew how, since it didn't appear to have any
arms, hands, tentacles or whatever) chosen from its'
special selection carried in the cabinet built into its'
chest. It seemed a fair deal.
Neelix had been having a
field day trying to cater for all the specific tastes of
such a diverse crew and company. Whilst he had some
limited experience with Klingon, Bajoran and, of course,
Earther food, Kosh had proven a real challenge.
Now Neelix hovered
anxiously by the snack-bar while Kosh sampled his first
semi-solid meal in almost 1,000 years (and even that had
only been a pot noodle), and was relieved to find Kosh
nodding in approval at the dish. " Jangle tingle
bong, ping!" Kosh commented after due
Neelix beamed. "Why
thank you, Mr. er... that is, Officer Kosh," he
replied, full of enthusiasm at this new culinary
challenge. "Tonight I will be serving a fine spinach
puree laced with pieces of Arctural rattle snail and
served with a side salad of new potatoes, lettuce, grated
carrot and... that sprig of leafy green stuff people will
insist on having, even when they don't quite know what to
do with it. I hope you will give me the pleasure of your
company for this veritable feast of flavours - "
Kosh interrupted apologetically, turning to leave.
Neelix was stunned.
"What do you mean you only want liquidised hot dogs!
I've been experimenting with the blender all week!"
Mulder had been walking
Scully back to their Quarters, glad of a chance to do
some unsupervised exploration of the ship, when another
dizzy spell seemed to overcome her. She staggered
slightly, clutching at the wall and looking somewhat wan
in the false glare of the neon lights. "Scully, what
is it?" he inquired solicitously, grabbing her arm
before she fell.
Scully looked around her,
puzzled. "I don't know, Mulder. It's like... I
blacked out there for a moment or something..." She
was peering up the corridor into the distant shadows.
"I thought I saw something, just for a second."
Mulder asked, also peering into the distance and vaguely
aware of surreptitious noises coming from the shadows
ahead - shuffling feet, a grunt of exertion and, what? A
yelp? Like a small dog getting its' tail trodden on,
maybe? Surely not! Even he knew of the strict ship-wide
ban on pets that Major Kira had so recently instigated
due to her fur allergy. It would be a brave man who would
try to keep something like that secret on a ship
Deep in the darkest corner
of the broom closet, McQueen was keeping a look-out
through the smallest possible chink in the door and
thanking his lucky stars for all that Black Ops training
in stealth and subterfuge. It had been hard enough
lifting a 500 kilo sack of A-Grade Kitty Litter and
carrying it this far without being seen, but even the
toughest Black Ops course hadn't demanded that he try
sneaking around under-cover whilst being dogged by a
(currently) five foot long unruly lizard which had a
tendency to light up like the Fourth of July every time
it got over excited. Or, in this case, when it got it
tail stood on by mistake.
He regarded little
Godzilla coolly. "I told you to stay in our
room!" he seethed, trying ineffectually to stuff her
behind the litter sack for cover. "What if we'd been
spotted? What then? Well, I'll tell you - lizard burgers
all round with a side of fries, that's what!" He
turned in profile to check the coast was clear before
hoisting the sack once more to his shoulders. "Now this
time - keep out from under my feet!"
Captain Picard looked
around the bridge of the 'No Surprise' with an air of
self-satisfaction. It seemed that after a few initial
teething problems (like the still unexplained tea
shortage episode) things were finally beginning to settle
down. People were starting to work together, learning
each others limitations and valuing each others special
abilities, just like a real crew should. He was also
relieved to find they'd all managed to reach Chapter 6
pretty much intact, with not so much as a single NPC MIA,
DOA or having wisely AMF-ed off.
Also, it was good to see
that the new Navigation Officer was settling quickly. He
had actually thought the ship was up to full compliment
until the moment he said the all important word 'Engage'
- only to find the ship still floating around in
geo-stationary orbit around the Earth because no-one
actually knew how to fly her! He'd hastily put in
a request to StarCorp for a pilot, and had been
exceedingly fortunate that a certain Navigator was at
that time looking for passage back to her home world,
that she was fully qualified to pilot the 'No Surprise'
and that she was also broke enough to be willing to work
passage on the Fleets' most infamous white elephant.
To Boldly Ferry
Dignitaries Where Every ones' Been Before - he sighed. So
much for the prologue. (As an afterthought, he decided it
might also be a good idea if they picked up an Engineer
before too long - this was the 'No Surprise',
after all, ready to fail at any moment deemed vital to
adding an air of suspense to the plot-line.)
He stepped over to
Navigation Control. "Lieutenant Dax, set course for
the Omicron system, warp six" he instructed lightly.
Dax nodded, "Of
course, Captain - Omicron system... laid in, sir."
finger of authority pointed dead ahead.
Dax pressed the BRB (short
for Big Red Button) and they all felt the subtle lurch
beneath their feet as the 'No Surprise' shot to warp six,
breaking all sorts of StarCorp regulations about not
entering warp until clear of the system, but looking very
impressive in the special effects department. Dax also
supposed she had better take a look at the inertial
dampers while she was here - you were definitely not
supposed to feel a surge like that during acceleration.
Pressing the security cap
back down over the BRB (to avoid any unfortunate
accidents when the ship was in close orbit to anything
and pointing the wrong way!), she took the opportunity to
assess her current situation. Here she was, well into her
5th or 6th symbiotic incarnation, the knowledge of all
those previous lives stored handily in her brain, and all
they had needed her skill for was to press the BRB. It
was a criminal waste of resources! She headed
purposefully toward the turbo-lift, pausing only to get
the nod from Picard in passing and then have a quick chat
with Kira, who was covering Ops with a particularly
impressive patch-work bed-spread, embellished with a
design of crossed daggers dripping blood and gore above
the gliyptic of the Klingon's War Prayer - 'What Doesn't
Kill You, Can Only Make You Stronger - So Eat It All Up.'
Impressive, she decided, wondering if Klingons dreamed in
colour. Very probably, she concluded, but only purples
The lift doors slid open
and she stepped in.
She decided to take a
reccie around the ship, now that her duties seemed to be
over for the next... 22 hours and 27 minutes. The time
would also be useful for catching up on some sleep,
checking out Engineering and getting to know her new
shipmates better. Also, she desperately needed a bath.
(Trells tried to spend at least 3 hours a day immersed in
water - they claimed it was vital for maintaining the
health of the symbiote, but the truth was, well, Trells
just loved baths.)
Fox Mulder was onto a
mystery. In fact, as far as Captain Picard had been
concerned during the general meeting that morning, it was
the only mystery. It seemed that that very morning people
had been going to the replicator for their early morning
cuppa, only to discover than not 3 days out of the Terran
system there was once again NO tea. Picard had selected
Fox for the task, knowing his reputation for keeping an
open mind and his habit of leaving no possibility
And from the goings-on of
the night before, Mulder felt that he had definitely
found the place to start. By the beam of his ever-present
flash-light he had discovered, in amongst the general
detritus found at the back of any really useful
store-cupboard, a moist, leaky and lightly chewed packet
of PG tips.
And squarely placed in the
middle of a large pile of ersatz tea-leaves there sat a
small, but perfectly formed, foot-print. And it wasn't
human. (Or Klingon, Bajoran, Koshish, Trell or whatever
Neelix was. Or The Doctors', either, as a hologram
allegedly doesn't leave footprints.) After a moments
reflection Fox took a quick look at his own feet - no, it
was OK, he still had the regulation number of toes for
the average human, and his toenails were all neatly
He took a flash-photo of
the print for further consideration, and departed - in
search of a Dark-Room and a bigger flashlight. This
was getting interesting.
Lieutenant. Col. McQueen
sat at his desk, focused of nothing and shaking his head
slowly from side to side, eyes tightly closed against the
vision of yet another impending disaster happening with
slow but deadly inevitability beneath his bunk. It was
getting too dangerous, he decided. If he hadn't been
alert last night, if he hadn't known where the
dust-buster was kept, if he hadn't spent the last 3 hours
back-tracking his route from Stores to his Quarters
through mercifully empty corridors... the tea-leaf trail
would have led straight to them.
He opened his eyes just
long enough to allow him to pick up his mug of hot,
steaming coffee. He sipped at it distastefully - he hated
coffee, but that was all that was left now. Even the
cocoa was running low. Tea leaves, tea leaves everywhere,
and not a drop to drink, he mused ruefully.
Finally girding his not
inconsiderable courage (Above And Beyond the Call of
Duty, as it were) against the onslaught ahead, McQueen
turned to face this latest crisis full-on. In reality, he
could face it full-on only if he knelt on hands and knees
and used a torch to peer into the dark recess that Little
Godzilla - now no more than two feet long - had retreated
to, far beneath his bunk.
Where she was busily
making her bower-bird style nest out of meticulously
arranged tea bags, laid on top of a wide, low mound of
loose tea. She was starting to look distinctly pregnant.
All his worst fears confirmed, he returned to his chair and wondered where he was supposed to sleep from now on. Slowly selecting a notepad and pencils, McQueen started making plans for an uncertain future...
The 'No Surprise' hurtled
across the cold, black reaches of space, heading with
near-mindless determination toward the Omicron system -
with only the faintest self-awareness of its' purpose and
When Picards' old ship,
the 'Enterprise', had unexpectedly given 'birth' to an
offspring of its' own, no-one had been more startled than
the Captain himself. True, he had in his time encountered
many strange and unfathomable forms of life, from Armus
the Talking Tar Pit to Silicon Avatars to the erratic
occupants of the Q Continuum - even Data had got in on
the act at one point, creating his own version of a
child, a female android named Lal. But when your own ship
went and laid a metaphoric egg...
The Captain had been happy
enough to let the new-born shipling go free into the huge
and turbulent ocean if the Universe itself - but
unfortunately, StarCorp had been less than impressed by
Picards altruism, and sent him back to catch it again. It
had not been easy, but with diligence, patience and the
call of the mother-ship itself, Picard had managed to
recapture the shipling and return with it, now much
grown, to StarCorp for further study and intensive
And thus the 'No Surprise'
was named - the scientists thought they knew everything
worth knowing about the little ship, and had been happy
to let Picard have it back when they'd finished with it.
Perhaps they felt it would progress much faster with its'
mother-ship to teach it the important lessons of life in
And so it had proven. When
Commanders Riker and Data had finally managed to write
off the 'Enterprise' (by letting the woman drive, thus
crashing it into an inconveniently placed planet during a
run-in with a mad scientist), Picard and co. had returned
to StarCorp, only to find the 'No Surprise' waiting in
the wings with the tiresome inevitability of yet another
Dax and Neelix were
contemplating the proposed menu for that evenings meal.
So far, all the respective orders had been reasonable -
steak tatare for most of the Earthers, live Bleurgh for
Worf, and Kira's particular favourite - chilled caviar on
a bed of dried lug-worm, Dax had decided to go for the
Telaxian salad along with Neelix. At least it was safely
dead, whichever way you looked at it! And, of course, the
Delegates choice that Neelix had had the most trouble
with but had finally perfected to his satisfaction -
burgers and fries, with two scalding coffees served in
the obligatory Styrofoam cups.
It was the last order that
had caused the most problems. "Tell me Dax,
"Neelix said as he plunged another portion of
reconstituted potato into the deep fat fryer, "as
one who has had considerably more experience with
Earthers than I have, perhaps you might be able to
shed some light on our First Officers' eating habits? I
must say, I really think fifteen pounds of raw steak,
five pints of milk, two dozen eggs and a packet of
digestive biscuits seems rather a lot for one meal - and
room service every-day too, if you please! As if I had
the time..." He shook the fryer basket agitatedly.
Dax nodded sagely,
piggling a French fry and then wishing she hadn't.
"I do agree it does seem a little... anti-social I
suppose. But then, maybe he's just not naturally a social
person - I mean we're not all as StarCorp brain-washed as
Picard and the others."
the little Telaxian replied. "Some of the things
Captain Janeway used to put us through, ugh! They'd make
your toes curl, trust me. There we all were, most of us
lost in a distant quadrant of space with no way home and
no resources but whatever yours truly could come up with,
and did they play it safe? Oh no." He heaved scowled
broodily at the memory. "Let's explore that anomaly
and get trapped by giant amorphous blobs, why don't we?
Let's start a war with a race of people who both
out-number and out-gun us, rather than give them a
replicator to play with. Let's go... go... oh
bugger!" He regarded the somewhat over-crisped fries
disparagingly, then ingeniously thought to dumped them
onto Worf's plate when Dax wasn't looking. The Klingon
wouldn't know, Neelix reasoned.
Dax hadn't really been
paying attention for the last couple of minutes. She'd
been quietly employing herself in reconsidering a number
of interesting facts and suppositions she'd managed to
accumulate in the last couple of days, and was coming to
an interesting conclusion. "You said he ordered
room-service every day?" she
"Every day, bang on
seven p.m. A creature of habit, that one, I think."
Dax smiled privately to
herself. "I'm not convinced it's entirely his
choice..." she murmured thoughtfully. "I'll
tell you what," she said, suddenly jumping to her
feet and scouting around the room for the service
trolley, "as your obviously run off your feet at the
moment dealing with everyone else, why don't you just let
me take the meal down to Col. McQueen's Quarters.
It'll save time, and I'm planning on going that way
Neelix grinned with
relief, "Are you really? How terribly
convenient!" And he proceeded to load the trolly up
with the required rations.
"Isn't it just!" Dax said, and headed for the door, trolley in hand and curiosity in check.
Fox Mulder was somewhat
startled to look up from his wanderings to discover a
huge and heavily laden trolly thundering toward him with
no apparent means of control. He dived for cover into a
handy doorway, recovering only just in time to witness
Lieutenant Dax shoot past him, riding shot-gun on the
offending vehicle and whistling jauntily to herself.
Things were quite
definitely getting far too weird, he concluded. Swooning
FBI Agents, missing tea, and now a crazed Trell woman
rampaging through the corridors without any hint of
Mulder climbed swiftly to
his feet and trotted, hot-foot, in pursuit.
Things had started to get
interesting around 1900 hours.
Picard approached the view
screen for a closer look. Etched against the dark
backdrop of a peculiarly wobbly star-scape, there lay a
small, blank 'disc'. If he hadn't known better, he might
even have gone so far as to say 'saucer' - but everybody
knows there's no such thing as flying saucers...
The vessel appeared to be
floating dead in space, spinning very slowly on its
vertical axis. Very... very... slowly... coming into
sight was the name of the ship. J... U... P... I... T...
E... R... 2.
And that's when all the
lights came on.
"Any signs of life,
Mr. Worf?" Picard enquired through the communicator
to the away team. Worf looked to the Doctor (who had been
conveniently projected aboard by use of cunning
techo-babble for the sake of the plot). The Doctor
shrugged non-committally, and went back to peering at the
broken cryogen capsules in the professional manner of
someone who doesn't want to admit when their beaten.
Worf then turned to Kira
and Kosh, who were busy prodding buttons at random and
going 'bugger' or 'bong', according to their nature. Kira
looked up from the controls long enough to shake her head
the Klingon reported truthfully enough. "I believe
the lights may have been activated purely automatically
by some kind of Proximity Alert."
Back on the bridge of the
'No Surprise', Picard frowned with frustration. He'd
really been hoping for some kind of miracle here - the
Jupiter 2 was a real piece of science-fiction history. If
only they could find some survivors...
"I think we may have
found some survivors!" Kira's voice squawked over
the com. link suddenly. "Two, sir. One humanoid...
and one... er... that is... er..."
immediately. This was more like it! He knew there were
all sorts of rules and regulations regarding the proper
transportation of potentially contaminated material, but
- Hell - these were survivors from a classic show.
"Beam them directly to Medical, Major," he
instructed them confidently. He knew that when it came to
times like this, no mere health hazards were going to
slow the story down.
While Picard was busy with
the newest arrivals on the ship, Dax and Mulder were
loitering with intent outside Col. McQueen's Quarters.
Once Mulder had finished admonishing the Trell with
regards to Responsible Trolley Control, the pair of them
had discovered the mutual interest. They had been
hob-nobbing for the last ten minutes and were becoming
desperate for a resolution to their present social
impasse, both horribly aware that time was running out.
The trouble was, going by
the bizarre noises emanating from the inside of the room,
neither one of them was overly willing to be the one to
open the door.
hissed desperately, "it's almost five past! He's
going to start getting suspicious if we don't hurry up
and make our move."
Mulder was suddenly
over-come with a bout of chronic good manners.
"Ladies first," he suggested brightly, showing
the way forward with the sweep of an arm.
Dax scowled. She reached
for the door buzzer - but her movements were quite
abruptly halted mid-way by a particularly ferocious
sounding snarl from the other side of the door. She
swiftly withdrew in order for them to reconsider their
actions. She regarded her new companion worriedly.
"Mulder," she began slowly, "exactly what
are you planning to do with that flash-light?"
Fox hurriedly ceased
waving the torch around like a light-sabre.
"Nothing!" he replied, hastily switching it off
again and hiding it behind his back in a guilty fashion.
(Life with Scully was definitely starting to leave him
feeling repressed!) Dax looked unconvinced, to say the
least, and just regarded him evenly until the offending
object was grudgingly reproduced. "Look! It just
makes me feel safer, OK?"
Dax was mollified.
"All right, then. Whatever works for you, I
suppose." She reached once more for the buzzer. It
seemed a little quieter in there, she decided, but that
could of course only be the calm before the storm, so to
speak. Oh well, she thought resignedly, here goes
Gritting her teeth against
the expected onslaught, and knowing all she had in
reserve was a rabbit with a flash-light, Dax buzzed.
On the third buzz, McQueen
finally completed the amazingly difficult feat of
traversing the entire length of his Quarters without
touching the floor (over-furnishing was not a StarCorp
failing), leapt dynamically from the sofa and
successfully hit the 'open' switch before tucking into a
roll position and making it back onto an armchair, all in
one fluid motion.
As soon as the door opened
Godzilla gave up her futile attack on the Colonel's
ankles and, snarling a surprisingly loud snarl for a
creature barely two foot long, turned on Dax and Mulder
It was only the food
trolley that saved them. It was quite remarkable just how
high a person can jump given the right incentive and a
terror-induced surge of adrenaline. Dax crouched atop the
drinks section like a scalded cat, whilst Mulder flailed
wildly at the irate dinosaur with his torch, eventually
succeeding in giving Godzilla a hefty whack around the
back of the head.
Godzilla squealed, and
shot back under the bed like a reversing torpedo. At once
McQueen retaliated. "There was no need for
that!" he growled, in an almost aggressive (yet
still remarkably heroic) manner. Jumping lightly down to
the floor he easily disarmed Mulder, clipped him neatly
round the ear and then proceeded to ignore the pair of
them. Carefully selecting a raw patty of beef-burger from
the chill section he then ever-so-softly crept back to
his bunk, got on his hands and knees and began the
delicate task of teasing out a badly frightened, savagely
hungry dinosaur without loosing any fingers.
Dax was impressed.
"I'm impressed," she said, to prove it.
"That's some pussy-cat you've got there. Er... What
is it?" she added, climbing down off the trolley and
making her way behind McQueen in order to get a look
under the bed as well. She took Mulder's flash-light back
and turned it on, careful to angle the beam away from the
darkness a little so she could take a look using only the
ambient light it cast, rather than the focal-point
"I don't know,"
McQueen admitted ruefully. "She was here when I
arrived, and she seems to like me, that's all." He
wafted the meat around temptingly, and was rewarded by
the sound of toothy sucking from below the bed. "She
also seems to be pregnant," he added wearily,
"and is trying to nest under my bunk. I've been
sleeping on the sofa for the last 3 days."
sympathetically. "I'd been wondering where she'd got
to," she said conversationally, grabbing a piece of
meat off the trolley before resuming her position on the
floor. McQueen regarded her quizzically, so she explained
further. "I spent yesterday looking up some old
files in the Engineering section and I found a couple of
pages from one of Wesley Crusher's old exercise
books." She let Godzilla take the meat gently.
"She was going to be a Biology Exercise in genetics,
but he couldn't get the scale right, it was unstable or
something. So when he eventually went off on his own
dimensional travels, I guess he just left her behind...
bastard," McQueen muttered shortly. By now Godzilla
had progressed to eggs, and the sounds emanating from the
darkness were becoming disgusting.
Mulder finally decided it
might just be safe enough to get down from the trolley
now - his backside was getting distinctly numb. He, too,
sidled over and took a peek. He then judiciously removed
himself to the sofa, where he sat with his feet up on one
of the arm rests, wishing he'd thought to reclaim the
torch when he had the chance. "What are you going to
do with it - ah, her?" he corrected himself swiftly,
aware that he was swimming in silent but dangerously deep
waters here. This was the Colonel's Pet they were
referring to, after all.
McQueen rose cautiously
from the floor and waved a hand nonchalantly in the vague
direction of a paper-strewn desk. "Don't
worry," he said, with a not-very-reassuring glance
at the panoply of diagrams and charts, "I have a
The Doctor was fascinated
by the idea of treating a woman who had been in suspended
animation for the last 300+ years. He had hoped the
prolonged exposure to cryogenic suspension would have
exposed her to some interesting and unusual side-effects
at the very least, or some weird and wonderfully obscure
mutation at best. Even a little muscular atrophy would
have been a start.
But much to his
disappointment there didn't really seem to be anything
wrong with her. He huffed, folding away his tricorder and
returning his pen to the front pocket of his medical
coat. Finally he allowed the patient to sit up.
"Well, Mrs. Robinson, I'm glad to say that I can
find nothing untoward about your physical condition at
this time," he said with practised smoothness.
"As far as I'm concerned, your free to go."
Mrs. Robinson looked
relieved. She was an attractive platinum blond with a
fine figure and an exceedingly maternal approach to life.
Not overly bright, of course, but as she had explained to
Picard as they made their way from Medical to the Galley
in time for lunch, all that thinking had been best left
to the menfolk in her Age. It gave them something to do,
she continued, and kept them out from under her feet on
Captain Picard smiled
understandingly, whilst strangely assailed by a vision of
Major Kira standing over a huge barrel of hot, soapy
suds, industriously at work on the grass-stained knees of
a StarCorp uniform with a bar of lye-soap and a
wash-board. She was singing something... something from
'South Pacific', he suspected darkly.
He was roused from his
somewhat surreal musing to discover Science Officer Kosh
loitering outside the Galley's entrance, seemingly
"Can I help you,
Kosh?" Picard asked, curious at Kosh's seemingly
" Quangle Wangle
Quee!" Kosh replied mystifyingly, and somehow
managed to hand Mrs. Robinson a foxed and slightly
battered-looking envelope without the benefit of suitable
appendages. "A Message From Another," the
translator unit attempted gamely, shortly before it
started to smoke. Kosh exited stage right, rather
swiftly, and Picard noticed that it had somehow taken a
fire-extinguisher from the wall as it passed.
He turned once more to
realise that Mrs. Robinson was crying a little as she
regarded the envelope in one trembling hand. She was
smiling, however, so Picard just put it down to nerves,
exhaustion or the menopause, or any number of other
secret female conditions he had managed to avoid finding
out anything about. (All he knew was that at certain
times of the month it had been an unwise man who had
tried to get between Councillor Troi and the chocolate
vending machine by the door to the Ladies on deck 8.)
uncomfortable, he took her lightly by the arm and led her
to the turbo-lift doors. "Perhaps we'd better
investigate this over a nice cup of Earl Grey?" he
suggested soothingly. "If I can find any, that
Meanwhile The Robot was
getting familiar with Engineering. Worf was trying to
help, but unfortunately Klingons and delicate pieces of
electrical sensory equipment tended to have brief (but
Worf regarded the
fractured fuel rod worriedly, as he strongly suspected he
wasn't really supposed to be handling radio-active fuel
rods without at least a pair of gloves on, but it had
just worked out quicker to pick it up this way. That was
what happened when you'd been trained with Dilithium
Crystals. It had always been an anxious time when he did
something untoward in Engineering during the old days.
There had always been the danger of Commander Data coming
out with some feeble quip or dire pun that only drew
attention to the problem. He eyed The Robot expectantly.
The Robot failed to
deliver anything other than vague commiseration's,
however, and Worf slowly started to relax. "I'll,
err.. just put this in the bin then shall I?"
"That would appear to
be the approved procedure," The Robot replied
blandly, waving one clawed arm toward the designated bin
(labelled 'Broken or Leaky Fuel Rods Only. No Paper!')
while neatly inserting a replacement rod in the slot with
The Robot was trying very hard to remain calm. He realised that in the old days of Jupiter 2 he would have been ricocheting around the bridge by this point, arms akimbo and going on about impending Danger Danger ect... But that had been before he had discovered the remarkable calming effects of gin and Mogadons - in short, he was buzzing like a Bee in a blender. Now The Robot was happy, Worf was happy and the 'No Surprise' was in safe hands.
First of all, I need to
tell you how sorry I am if my disappearance caused you
any distress. I admit it was the wrong way to handle the
situation. It's just that, at the time, I could see no
other solution to my growing dilemma. Even at the the
tender age of twelve I realised I was different, that I
was not like the other boys at school. I hated the rough
games we had to play, I always felt uncomfortable in the
showers, and the amount of hair growing all over my body
frankly disgusted me.
So you see, I simply had
to run away and join the Mimbari. Since doing so I have
become fulfilled. I know my appearance might shock you a
little, but I also know that you will come to understand
and accept me for what and who I now am. Mom, growing the
bony ridge on by head was the best thing that could ever
have happened to me. And I promise, after a while you'll
hardly notice the fishy smell...
I finish now by saying how
much I look forward to seeing you once again when I
Officiate at Commander Riker and Luitenent Commander
Data's Wedding Ceremony. It will be my first Wedding,
Mom, and I'm sure to be nervous - but I also know that
you will be there rooting for me. I only wish Dad could
have been there too, but having a 300 year old corpse at
the Reception might not be such a good idea.
Again I send my regards to
William Lennier Robinson.
Mimbari Home World
The 'No Surprise' had
finally reached the Omicron system. Even now it was in
geo-stationary orbit around Omicron Theta, Commander
Data's Homeworld and the place where the android and
Commander Riker had decided to set up home. It made sense
after all. There were plenty of deep caverns to inhabit,
a ready-built advanced science lab. to hand for Data to
play in, and lots of high rocky escarpments for Riker to
climb, reminiscent of his native Alaska.
consideration the crew had agreed (by a majority vote of
everyone's 'Nays' to no 'Ayes') against allowing McQueen
to go to the wedding. Picard figured that the odds on
Data being absently blasted into just so much fused glass
and plastic before formal introductions had been made
were too high for comfort. He'd occasionally wondered
where McQueen had got his extensive collection of
obsidian paper weights from - now he knew.
All this bothered McQueen
not one iota - although he was officially from the
Anchorage Facility, he'd never 'consciously' been to
Alaska and was not very interested in comparative
geology. He was quite willing to leave the mountains to
Riker. He had more important things to do than throw
himself off a big lump of rock. (If McQueen considered
anywhere as Home, it certainly wasn't Earth. Actually,
Home for him was none too far from where they were now.
And being the only one left on the 'No Surprise' during
the ceremony was going to be a window of opportunity the
Author was finding impossible to resist...)
Neelix was too hot!
At first he had simply assumed it was the effect of standing too close to the cooker, where The Wedding Cake (an edifice fully deserving the capitals) was rising to a culinary crescendo of mixed fruit, nuts and spice-dough. So the Tylexian irritably cranked the setting of the air-conditioning higher - ignored the distressed hissing sound that this created - and continued preparing the
hors d' oeuvres as if
everything was normal.
But it wasn't. Giving up
on the scotch eggs in a fit of gastronomic disgust he
scuttled over to the air vent for a look-see. Nothing. No
heat going in, no cool air coming out. Even the hissing
had stopped. It appeared and well and truly broken.
Or was it? Taking a closer
look, Neelix realised suddenly that the shaft behind the
grill had been tightly blocked up with something. He
puffed out a breath in frustration. "Not very
hygienic, I must say," he muttered, rooting around
in a back pocket for a tea-spoon with which he attempted
to unscrew the grill.
He had managed to get the
first couple of screws off before coming to the equally
sudden but far more disturbing realisation that the
ventilation shaft was not so much 'blocked' as 'occupied'...
Scully was in all of a
tizzy. She'd suddenly found herself invited to a Very
Important Wedding and she hadn't got a thing to wear.
Nothing she considered suitable, anyway. She dived back
into the bathroom for the umpteenth time with the
umpteenth outfit to get changed once again.
Mulder tried to help,
sitting at the foot of the bed, eating seeds and making
encouraging noises about each of the outfits Scully
presented. As far as he was concerned Scully could go to
the Wedding of the Century (as he mentally billed it) in
a boiler suit and a bee-keepers bonnet and she'd still
look nice, er, smart... that is, intimidatingly competent
in an attractive sort of way, if you like that sort of
thing. Personally, Mulder preferred brunettes. Especially
if they were brunettes called Dax.
Scully trotted out the
last of her short-list selection. It was purple. Mulder
suspected that she was testing his honesty with this
particular choice. She detested purple. He knew she
detested purple. She knew that he knew that she detested
purple (which was why he was insisting on wearing his
favourite mauve shirt to the event). He couldn't resist
Dana," he said brightly, valiantly trying to keep
the smirk out of his voice. "Very... very you."
Scully screamed by way of reply and dove at him, wielding
his own flash-light, no less, as a club.
complained bitterly as the torch made heavy contact with
the back of his head. "Why does everyone delight in
whacking me around the head every time I innocently voice
"Because you usually
deserve it, Mulder." Scully climbed off the bed and
adjusted her clothes primly. "I mean, did you really
think I'd wear purple with hair my colour?"
nonchalantly. "I thought you were maybe planning to
make a fashion statement," he replied, rubbing his
bruised ear ruefully. Then he had a bright - or possibly
a not so bright - idea. "Hey, Scully, didn't Picard
mention something about the former Ship's Councillor
leaving most of her wardrobe behind, or something? She
sounded about your size, too. Maybe we should take a
Scully was taken aback by
the surprising good sense of this suggestion (even though
it did make her wonder when Mulder had suddenly become
interested in the size of women's clothing). "That's
a good idea, Mulder," she grudgingly admitted.
Mulder looked modest.
"I always said I was not just a pretty face... lots
of girls think I've got a pretty - "
"Just... just don't
say it, Mulder!" Scully warned him dangerously.
"Don't say anything!" Mulder looked mock-hurt,
and Dana smiled faintly, starting to come out of her
disastrous haut couture mood. After all, he had come up
with a possible solution to her dilemma. But she wisely
restricted herself to simply going "Hmmm...."
Dax was being furtive with
Mulder. Mulder didn't mind. The idea of his being
anything with Dax appealed to Fox enormously. In this
particular case, being furtive with Dax meant they were
huddled together in the back of a darkened closet,
whispering urgently about an unforeseen glitch in The
Plan. The glitch being this - Scully wouldn't let Mulder
get out of accompanying her to the Famous Wedding.
Mulder had tried
everything - toothache, migraine, having this bone in his
leg. Even a variation on the oldest Public School excuse
of all time ('Sorry I'm late, but my head fell off') had
failed to convince. Dax had experienced no trouble in
opting out of the celebrational excursion - she had just
said that her symbiote was moulting and the others,
bewildered and more than a little nauseous, had gone
along with her request to remain on board the ship for
the relevant period, no questions asked.
"What am I going to
do?" Mulder hissed desperately, absently polishing
the toe of his left shoe on the back of his right
trouser-leg, leaving a nasty mark.
Dax shrugged. Her brain
was already worn out from thinking down to Mulder's level
- she was jolly glad she wasn't an empath. It had been
difficult enough arranging things up to now as it was,
making slight navigational adjustments to fit in with
McQueen's cunning yet strangely elegant Plan for dealing
with Godzilla and her Litter when the time arrived. She
could do without having to solve anyone else's petty
suddenly groaned, noticing the small shoe-polish problem
amid an ocean of woe." This was my best suit too.
All the rest are grey, except for - EUREKA!" he
squawked, unexpectedly leaping in the air with
excitement. "I've GOT it!"
"Got what, " Dax
replied, inching away as far as the close confines would
allow. "Whatever it is, don't give it to me!"
Mulder scowled. "What
I MEAN is, I've got the answer." He indicated the
offending trouser-leg gleefully. "There's no WAY
Scully's going to let me go to this blasted Wedding in a
dirty suit. You've no idea how fussy she is about
personal grooming. Besides," he admitted with an
evil grin, "it might detract from that dress she's
going to wear. Or rather, not wear. There's not much of
it." He glanced at Dax. Fortune favours the Brave,
as the saying goes. "It might suit you
Dax wasn't listening (luckily for Mulder - he'd run out of unused 'clippable' ears.). Instead she was mulling over the probability of Mulder's ruse actually working. It might, she supposed. If it were handled correctly. Things were getting critical.
Things were also, she noticed absently, getting rather warm...
Godzilla was going
berserk. McQueen couldn't figure out why. She'd been fed
recently, her nest was completed and reasonably clean -
after a quick once-around with the vacuum cleaner - and
all her favourite toys and chews were readily to hand. Or
paw, in this case. But she had been unusually restless
for the last couple of hours. And now this.
Godzilla was climbing the
walls - literally. Her claws were starting to make a
terrible mess of the paint work, he noticed worriedly,
gnawing away on a thumb nail in his concern. She seemed
curiously determined to get to the air-vent. He quietly
sauntered over to get a better view of the goings-ons,
his brows furrowed slightly (but not too much, of course)
Immediately the little
monster turned to face him, hissing violently, though
making no move to attack. It was almost as if she were
trying to protect him from something... He backed off
again. She automatically ignored him in favour of
assaulting the wall again. He approached again. She
turned again. He reversed again. She ignored him for the
Salvaging his lukewarm cup
of coffee (now loathsome to the power of ten), McQueen
once more returned to the sofa in order to study the
situation more thoroughly. He was starting to get a bad
feeling about this...
Dana Scully was
incandescent with rage. Though with what she was wearing,
the rage bit was turning out to be wholly superfluous.
"What do you mean, you can't take me? Look at
me! I'm all ready to go. We're supposed to be...
docking... in a couple of minutes. Our hosts are
expecting us! I can't go without a proper escort!"
Dax cut in smoothly, not
only salvaging the moment but actually managing to turn
it to their advantage. "I've spoken with Captain
Picard," she explained in her most soothing tone.
"He says he would be Honoured to be your gallant
escort on such a momentous occasion." Seeing
Scully's suspicious glower, she began add-libbing
furiously. "Indeed, he told me that he had secretly
been virtually praying for the opportunity to delight in
your company socially." Dax kept her fingers tightly
crossed behind her back and hoped Picard would one-day
forgive her for this.
But it seemed to mollify
Scully. With a victorious parting glance at Mulder, she
quietly made her way to the Transporter room. Dax's mind
boggled at how Scully's defensive imagination was going
to cope with that bit, but that wasn't her problem any
more. Mulder, McQueen and a Mother-to-be were.
Sometimes she wished her
distant ancestors had never left the seas.
Major Kira and Lieutenant
Worf had been placed in charge of The Presents Pile. Worf
had naturally considered this position of trust as a
momentous honour. Kira was less impressed, however. Until
the advent of Dana Scully, Kira had been under the
distinct impression that she was going to be
Captain Picard's companion for the afternoon. She had
therefore dressed accordingly.
She couldn't quite
remember where she'd obtained the pair of skin-tight faux
snake-skin trousers or the rhinestone-studded bolero
jacket from, but they were entirely suitable for a
Wedding like this, she had decided. And they went so well
with the kinky stiletto boots made from finest alligator
skin. She had fully expected to be the Belle of the Ball,
as it were.
And now here she was on
Security Detachment with a damn great kimono-clad Klingon
with a phaser in one hand and a bouquet of red roses in
the other. The original idea had been that it would be
Kira presenting the flowers at the appropriate moment in
the proceedings. But since that was not going to be for a
couple of hours yet she had chosen to delegate - the true
sign of leadership - and dumped the whole fragrant bundle
on Worf. It left her free to investigate the remarkably
large and... suspiciously regular... pile of gifts
intended for the Groom and Groom.
"Hey, Worf!" she
called invisibly from behind the pile. What exactly did
you get them in the end?"
Worf frowned, trying to
think. (Worf tended to frown a lot.) "A
toaster." He nodded with relief. He knew there could
be no argument with a present like that.
Kira peered around the
side of the heap. "What did you go and get them a
Worf considered that one
carefully, before replying momentously - "To toast
things with. Bread and such. I believe Humans like burnt
Kira stood back and
critically surveyed the pile once more. She had a very
bad feeling about it. "I'm giving them a toaster
Worf grunted. "One
each. That's... nice."
Kira then hesitated before
asking the million-dollar question. "And, ah... what
about everyone else?" she continued. What are they
planning to give?"
Even for Worf, that one
was easy. He smiled confidently.
Even as Picard and co.
were being joyously welcomed down on the surface of
Omicron Theta, the 'No Surprise' was leaving orbit on
it's Secret Mission to give a family of miniature mutant
monsters a new and environmentally friendly home of their
Dax, Mulder and McQueen
were gathered around the desk in the Conference Room,
tidily arranging maps of the local stars, then relevant
planets, their land masses, and ultimately a particular
system of caves in descending order of immediate
relevance. Mulder, being new to inter-stellar flight, was
merely fascinated. Where-as Dax was utterly intrigued.
"So wear are we
heading?" she asked, using yet another depressing
obsidian paper-weight to pin down a curly corner of the
local star map, which had been neatly labelled 'Cetus'
along one edge for easy reference.
McQueen pointed. Mulder
peered closer. "Omicron Draconis?" he read,
mystified. "Where's that?"
Dax explained briefly. Or
at least, briefly for her. "Look, you understand
that there are groups of stars which form constellations,
OK? For example, Betelgeuse and Rigel are in Orion,
Sirius - the Dog Star - is in Canis Major,
etcetera..." Mulder nodded, so far so good.
"Well, we are currently travelling through the
constellation of Cetus - The Whale. Now, there are a
couple of other stars worth mentioning in Cetus. First
there's Beta Ceti in the 'tail', and there's Alpha Ceti,
which makes the 'nose'." Dax was getting into her
stride now. "And as well as those there is Omicron
Ceti, which is the brightest star by far," she
continued. "That's the star that provides the 'Sun'
for the planetary system we are now in. And around that
Sun are twelve planets, Omicrons Alpha, Beta, Gamma,
Delta - "
" - Epsilon, Zeta,
Eta, Theta, Iota - and Draconis," McQueen finished.
Dax looked puzzled.
"That's not right! That's only ten! And what
happened to - ?"
"I'm afraid the Sixth Planet had an accident. It's
not there any more."
Mulder looked aghast.
"Your telling me this system has a whole PLANET
the Colonel corrected him briefly. "They managed to
blow-up the Twelfth one decades ago - over mining,
apparently. That's how Draconis got its' name. Being so
near to the explosion knocked it out of orbit quite a
bit. It's not a very nice place any more, either way too
hot or freezing. Dreadful climate - we were glad enough
to be below ground."
Mulder took a moment to
digest this statement. "Your telling me you used to
work there? You lived there?"
McQueen expression was
bleak. "Worse that that," he sighed. "I
was Born there."
Unbeknownst to Dax and co.
there were a couple of other people onboard the 'No
Surprise' as it pulsed its' way creakily toward Omicron
Draconis. First there was the Doctor, who had begged off
going to the Wedding, claiming that he was too busy
re-calibrating all the medical scanners after Worf's last
offer to 'help out' in Medical went it's fully predicted
course. (Captain Picard was unwilling to prevent these
little acts of altruism, however, because he was under
the mistaken impression that such deeds went toward
making Worf a better person. He had never really grasped
the fact that Klingons were already greatly superior to
Humans - and that Worf was only acting out of the equally
misguided idea that Humans need all the help they can
The second unknown
passenger was a stow-away. It had been spending the last
couple of months innocently (for it) hiding out in the
Air Conditioning pipes and living quite happily off
Canteen leftovers and the odd unwary NPC. It had also
discovered a Mate, and had a successful breeding session.
Now it was simply biding its' time, awaiting the Great
Down on Omicron Theta
meanwhile, things did not Bode Well for the Happy Couple.
The unwrapping of the 1,000 odd assortment of Toasters
had passed relatively uneventfully. (Data kept unwrapping
them, feigning delight and then replacing each toaster
back in its' box - and re-stacking them all again in his
'Useful Spares' section of the Lab.) Even the Cake had
been cunningly hidden from prying eyes until after the
Ceremony by Neelix - it had been disguised as a walk-in
Took Box for Data to use in experiments with Cybernetics,
as a sort of collective Gift from the whole Crew. There
had been an anxious moment at the beginning, when Data
had wanted to unwrap this present too, but he had been
convinced to wait until after the Wedding by an earnest
Things really started
going pear-shaped during the Ceremony. For a start no-
one had really been able to agree on WHICH particular
marriage ritual was to be adopted, in which God's name
(or no-ones) they would be joined, and worst of all, who
would have to wear the lacy white dress. (It had been a
near thing for Kosh, but as no-one had managed to find
the nerve to ask it to accept the dubious honour of being
Chief Frock-Wearer the matter was quietly dropped.)
After a little trial and
error in the Gents toilet, it was finally decided that
Lennier would get the frock as he generally wore one
anyway. (Lennier had insisted in vain that the outfit he
adopted was nothing more than a Mimbari Robe of the
Religious Order of En-til 'Zha - but since his mother had
now become fixated with the idea of a long white frock
and a veil, he concluded glumly that he couldn't really
let her down a second time. Mrs. Robinson was terribly
The Marriage Ceremony was being held outside out of necessity - there were over 1,000 crew members on the 'No Surprise' and Riker and Data had solved the delicate problem of who was to be Invited to the Ceremony rather than just the Reception by simply inviting every-one to both!
As far as the Ceremony went, the only thing everyone did agree on was that under no circumstances was it going to be the Betazoid Sky-Clad Special. Picard refused to do it as it offended his sense of Personal Dignity - everyone else refused to do it on the grounds that Omicron Theta was currently doing a brilliant imitation of a faux Alaskan winter and Data's Humorous Comments outdoor thermometer (a gift from Blackpool) was currently sitting at 'If You Can Read This Thermometer - Your Probably Freezing To Death!'
Colonel McQueen wandered
along the corridor, minding his own business and not
thinking of killing things (or dying horribly) for a
change. Indeed he was starting to feel quite positive
about the way the Plan was panning out. Dax was running
the Ship, Mulder was happy as a sandboy in Engineering,
looking through back copies of Worf's favourite monthly
magazine - 'Phasers and No Ammo', and now he was himself
on his way to visit Godzilla, in order to keep her
company during the Hatching.
So when the Turbo-lift
door slid open to reveal a hissing, drooling Alien
grinning at him toothily from its' position three foot in
front of his nose, McQueen found himself quite
surprisingly surprised. (He also found himself wondering
briefly why hissing toothy things liked hanging around
elevators, and suspected that it might be in order to
prevent vandalism. He imagined it worked rather well!)
Still, this didn't go any
way toward resolving his current dilemma - he wanted to
use this Turbo-lift to reach his Quarters quickly. Time
and Hatchlings wait for no man, after all. He started
wishing he'd remembered to pack his gun, but he'd
mistakenly assumed there would be no need for it on an
empty ship (a mistake he would never make again - one way
or another). So, it was going to be a real knife-fight
Now, if only he'd thought
to bring his knife...
The Alien sat in the Brig,
feeling rather sorry for itself. Nobody on LV-426 had
ever thought to warn him that his species had goolies
too, or that the sudden forceful application of a size
nine steel-toecapped flight boot in the groin dept. could
be quite so disabling...
The Doctor watched his new
Patient thoughtfully. He'd dealt, in his time, with a
wide assortment of alien creatures suffering from one
complaint or another - but this was entirely new. A
chitinous fighting-machine with acid for blood and a
murderous gleam in its' eyes - and a painful limp...
He sighed and turned
dutifully to select the proper tools from his Medical
Trolley for the job ahead. He discovered that he was
feeling quite relieved he was a Hologram under this
particular set of circumstances, the Alien couldn't harm
him in the slightest.
Or so he'd been told...
The 'No Surprise' slid
cautiously into orbit around Omicron Draconis, took the
precaution of raising its' shields against any fall-out
that still chose patronise the local gravitational field,
and started to play 'Spot The Asteroid'. After all, if an
omelette couldn't be made without the breaking of a few
eggs, then it was only reasonable to deduce that the
annihilation of a couple of planets in the vicinity was
also bound to have a few repercussions...
Dax and Mulder loitered
around the Bridge, checking the odd screen, adjusting the
occasional dial and generally pacing about as they
awaited News from McQueen's Quarters. So far the eggs
were still an enigma wrapped inside a tea bag draped
conundrum, and Godzilla was being almost deliberately
Mulder checked to bouquets
for the fifth time. "Are you sure she likes
roses?" he asked worriedly. "you know, with the
thorns and everything...?"
Dax shrugged. "She
liked the ones in the Captains' Ready Room well enough to
eat the vase as well... I really don't think a couple of
thorns are going to bother her. And as for the Hatchlings
- " she paused thoughtfully, "if they're
anything like their father I'd be more worried about the
integrity of the hull! You know how much babies
Mulder looked startled.
"You don't think their saliva's corrosive too, do
you? It'll be bad enough when they start getting
nose-bleeds." He whimpered. "I mean, shouldn't
we put them down on the planet now, just to be safe? God
Alone knows what their diapers will be like!"
Dax looked bemused. "I don't think diapers will be an issue, do you? Unless your planning to volunteer for Changing Duty?" She frowned. "Come to think of it, maybe it IS time we tried to convince the Colonel to transport the lot of us down to the planets' surface before they start hatching, just in case..."
"Well THIS is a Fun
Place!" Mulder griped as the three of them trudged
up yet another rocky outcrop toward their eventual
destination - the entrance to the Uranium Mines of
Omicron Draconis. "I wonder if McDonalds thought to
set up a Concession Stand here?"
McQueen smiled thinly.
"If you want excitement I should take you on a Grand
Tour of Number Three Shaft sometime. That's where we dug
up the Coffinate."
"Umm..? Oh. It's an
ore-baring mineral. On Earth it's about 60 percent proof.
Here it's more like 68, 70 percent. Trust me," he
added as they finally crested the brow of the hill,
"it can be more exciting than Disney World."
They paused to catch their breath and the Colonel took
the opportunity to point out a couple of local landmarks,
including the Mineral Processing Plant squatting half a
mile to their right. "When the people who ran this
place figured I was too smart to waste in the Mine Shaft
itself they sent me there and let me handle some of the
chemicals. Made a change from the explosives, I
Dax let her gaze drift
across to the left, toward the entrances to the other two
Mines. "Are they Coffinate Shafts, too?" she
asked as settled back against a handy rock and used her
binoculars to get a closer look.
McQueen shook his head in
negation. "No, over there we did it the hard way,
using Sulphuric and Nitric Acid to dissolve Pitchblende,
which contains about 2 parts per million. Once dissolved
it forms Uranyl Sulphate while the Radium and other
metals get precipitated out as sulphates.
Incidentally," he added after a moments
contemplation, "that rock your sitting on is also
about 70 percent Uranium, so I think we won't hang
around, don't you?"
Mulder climbed quite
rapidly to his feet and looked himself up and down some-
what apprehensively. "Let's go!" He suggested,
heading off down the slope again at an impressive rate.
The others had to trot to keep up.
Once they had regrouped
about halfway down, McQueen opted to continue his
dissertation. "Then," he continued as they
detoured around a loosely soil-filled depression marked
with a faded and paint-peeled wooden cross, "Then
you add Sodium Hydroxide," he explained, not missing
the beat, "and the Uranium gets precipitated out as
Sodium Diurinate, better known as Yellow Oxide of
Uranium, which then gets shipped back to Earth for use in
war-heads, Power Stations and so forth." He paused
once more to regard first the cemetery, and then his
companions. He smiled mirthlessly. "Having Fun
yet?" he enquired.
Back on the 'No Surprise'
the Doctor was most definitely NOT having fun. The Alien
shifted his grip on the Hologram's throat to his other
fist, and continued to employ an electronic probe as a
means of shorting out the lock mechanism on the door. As
usual when the Plot demanded, the shorting-out of the
lock caused the door to open. Only when it was necessary
to allow the Heroes to evade capture did a lock EVER
short out in Closed mode...
The Alien dropped the Doctor unceremoniously onto the floor before exiting the cell, re-locking the door again (in a manner that was never made clear in any of the previous episodes, so why worry about it now?), and stepped out into a Brave New World...
(Meanwhile, at Gotham City
State Penitentiary... Commissioner Gordon was deeply
involved in explaining to Batman and Robin - the Boy
Wonder - the finer details of the Jokers' latest
dastardly plot to take over the World... quite probably
involving Mind Controlling Laser Beams transmitted from
every T.V. set in the nation. Ect...Ect...Ect...
Fortunately for those already involved with this story,
most of these characters will never be mentioned again,
so try not to worry about it...)
While back on Omicron
Theta it was finally Cake Cutting Time. The Groom and the
Other Groom stood back to admire the impressive
dimensions of the Cake, and looked around for Neelix in
order to congratulate the Cook.
But Neelix was laying low
- very low - any lower and he would have been
sub-terranian... The reason for this reluctance to come
forward and take credit for his creation was simple - he
was, simply, too scared...
At the time the discovery
of the giant eggs had seemed a god-send. He had already
had to call it quits vis-à-vis stuffing the Scotch Eggs
because the whole concoction had offended his higher
senses of culinary decency; besides which, they were far
too fiddly. But the Cake had required something extra -
and the advent of the Eggs had seemingly provided that
Little Extra Something he'd been hoping for. Two
L.E.S.'s, as it happened!
Riker and his new (and
unique) Bride decided that they could wait no longer.
Wrapping one hand each around the grip of the
laser-cake-cutter they saluted the Toast (proposed by
Picard, who knew the Form for such occasions and, being a
man of tradition, refused to allow a few little
biological discrepancies get in the way) and reached to
cut the Cake.
"To the Groom and the
er... Other Groom!" everyone cheered with a
forgivable lack of co-ordination but plenty of
Riker and Data cut the
Then all Hell let loose...
The Alien had finally
succeeded in locating the Bridge. It regarded the Map on
the wall of the corridor thoughtfully. It knew from
bitter experience that the lifts on this ship didn't work
in the same way that the ones on LV 624 had - with these
ones it was necessary to state ones destination and the
lift would do the rest. The trouble was, the Alien
couldn't speak - not Human, anyway. It therefore had to
find another way to get to the Bridge - one that involved
no pre-requisite ability for speech. The Alien considered
the whole situation to be quite unreasonably Species-ist;
but, since he was in a minority of one, he very much
doubted his feelings would count for much on this ship...
After all, no other Minority did! (The Alien rather
suspected that those responsible for the construction of
this particular ship had been unfamiliar with
He looked about himself
carefully and considered his options. Lift-shaft? Too
painful in his present condition. Ventilation system?
Been there, done that, bought the Souvenir Dead Rat!
Then his eyes fell to the
floor - a hatch beneath his very feet that he had failed
to notice before suddenly gave him a cunning, not to
mention an unpleasant, idea.
Little Godzilla was
feeling restless. She was also starting to feel lonely.
She missed the company of her Pet Human - she had gotten
quite attached to him over the last few weeks; sometimes
rather more attached than he would prefer. But on the
whole he seemed quite... entertaining...
And now he had Gone Away
with his New Friends - and she discovered that she missed
the little things about him that had made him special;
the way he was able to avoid getting his fingers bitten
off during Feeding Skirmishes; the way he had of looking
down at her disapprovingly from a great height (usually
the top of the wardrobe) whenever she had eaten one of
his favourite books on Eastern Philosophy, and, most of
all; that certain way he had of dynamically rolling
across the floor in order to get from his bunk to the
teapot, refilling his mug and then rolling back again -
without spilling a drop!
Godzilla sighed. She
wasn't (quite) as stupid as she often looked, and fully
realised that the three of them had gone to visit a
Special Planet solely for the benefit of herself and her
Hatchlings. Even so, she felt instinctively that there
was Something Very Wrong up here on the ship.
She regarded the Nest
anxiously, only to find her instincts coming into play
once again - only this time it was her Maternal Instinct.
It was a deep-seated instinct, and couldn't be ignored.
She began to suspect that Time might be running out...
It was at this point that
a very small (1 watt) metaphorical light bulb 'pinged' on
in her brain. From her vantage point beneath the bunk she
had heard all about 'How To Make A Plan' from her Pet
Human and his friends in the last couple of days, but was
so astonished to find that she had managed to come up
with such a Plan all by herself that she lit up like the
Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square - and nearly banged
her head on the ceiling as she momentarily forgot her
Dimensional self-control and shot up to a height of over
10 feet - not unlike a reptilian Alice in the White
She came to a decision.
She lumbered swiftly over to the door and, adjusting her
scale back down again to an appropriate size, used her
nose to press the lock. The door opened. She peered
cautiously around the edge of the frame - all clear in
both directions - before turning to regard the trolley
that The Pet's friends had left behind, considerately
laden with provisions for the time they had planned to be
Away. She looked back at her Nest. She looked again at
the trolley. She came to a momentous decision.
Using her paws as best she
could, Little Godzilla redistributed the food so that it
was arranged in a heap on the top shelf. Then she
returned to her Nest and very carefully started to remove
some of the superfluous tea bags. When she was sure she
had accumulated enough she edged the pile gently over to
the trolley and proceeded to position them carefully on
the lower shelf...
Picard and the others
huddled behind the Toaster barricade that Data had
managed to swiftly erect in front of the door to the
Useful Spares room of his Laboratory. The Captain would
occasionally risk a quick peek over the top of said
barricade - just long enough to observe the lay of the
land - before silently sinking back down again like a
Boldly Burnished Bathysphere in reverse...
"Any sign of them,
sir?" Riker asked sotto voce as he hunkered down
beside his erstwhile Captain. Picard shook his head -
negative. Riker sighed softly and returned to his
position in the centre, next to Major Kira, who was busy
protecting what she (quite mistakenly) believed to be the
weaker members of their group; i.e. Mrs. Robinson,
Neelix, Scully, Lennier and Kosh, who had recently begun
to hum the theme tune from 'Scooby-Doo' to himself in a
singularly irritating fashion.
Riker checked the setting
on his phaser for, it seemed, the thousandth time,
causing Kira to huff in exasperation. "Stop fiddling
with it before it goes off!" she hissed in
Riker blushed, and had the
grace to look sheepish, before realising the Major had
been referring to his phaser. He retreated again to join
Data and Worf at the rear of the party.
'Huh! Some Party!' he
thought. 'First we don't get to take our clothes off,
then we get a thousand toasters, and finally we get
attacked by our own Wedding Cake! It doesn't seem fair,
Such depressed ruminations
were abruptly interrupted by the sudden arrival of
Captain Picard in their midst's.
Captain hissed urgently. "Over to the left!"
The others peered toward
the barricade and readied their collective weaponry in
preparation for the expected Assault. Picard had to fight
a curious desire to lead the group in a rousing chorus of
'Men Of Harlech' - but he doubted anyone else present
would understand the reference, so he saved his breath...
Besides which, if they'd
been singing they would never have heard the sounds of
furtive scuttling coming from above their heads. They
gazed collectively up at the ceiling in perplexity -
- until Scully was
suddenly galvanised into action. "Quick!" she
cried as she battled to fight her way forward.
"Unblock the exit!"
The others gaped at her in
amazement. "Are you MAD!!!" Riker demanded,
trying to reach forward and grab her before she reached
the barricade. "It's Hideous Death out-there!"
Scully turned on them like
a cornered rat. "And it'll be an even more Hideous
Tongue-lashing from ME if you don't unblock the
door!" she yelled. "Haven't you seen the
Movie?" They all gazed back at her blankly. Scully
took a five second paused for Dramatic Effect before
roaring - "They're coming through the roof!"
With this she started to
feverishly pull at the barricade. "Mulder was
RIGHT!" she added in sheer amazement, even as she
budged over to make room for as many fellow demolition
enthusiasts as she could. "For once in his pathetic,
Alien-ridden life - Mulder was ACTUALLY right!"
Speaking of which, or perhaps whom, the Lone Alien aboard the 'No Surprise' had reached a bit of an impasse on his journey up to the Bridge. He had never taken the opportunity to familiarise himself with Advanced Structural Plumbing (he'd dropped that particular course at his Public School in favour of Performing Arts - his 'Othello' had been considered rather good...), and thus he now found
himself utterly perplexed
by the unexpected advent of the U-Bend...
Elsewhere on the ship The
Doctor had managed to successfully re-boot his Operating
System and now stood, mostly intact, down in Engineering.
He was currently attempting to communicate to The Robot
his idea of the level of threat posed to their physical
well-being by the escape of the Alien from the brig. As
far as he was personally concerned, it had recently
advanced up to Def-Con 4!
The Robot was experiencing
some not inconsiderable difficulty in grasping the
concept of Personal Danger, however. This was partly due
to the fact that no robots had ever been programmed with
the concept of Self-Preservation, and partly due to the
fact that the Doctors' Linguistics Program was, literally
as well as metaphorically speaking, All Greek To Him!
But mostly it was due to
the fact that The Robot was currently completely Out Of
His (poly-alloy) Skull on an intoxicating combination of
whiskey and some of the more exotic chemical combinations
he had recently familiarised himself with, as lifted from
the Engineering Section Medical Kit.
Eventually The Doctor gave
it up as a Bad Job and made do with scribbling a Readers
Digest version of current events on a sunshine-yellow
post-it note that he then proceeded to stick onto the
front of The Robots' face-plate - figuring it would have
to be the first thing The Robot would see when it finally
returned to its (somewhat debatable) Senses. Even so, he
had a sneaking suspicion that these was something
fundamentally wrong with this Plan!
He sighed heavily (as he
was wont to do in these kinds of situations) and knew the
Liberation of the 'No Surprise' was probably going to be
Down To Him...
Mulders' legs hurt.
Mulders' back hurt.
Mulders' head hurt.
Mulders' hair even hurt,
and he gloomily suspected that this was not physically
"My HAIR hurts!"
he grumbled experimentally.
impossible!" Dax replied blithely as she sped up a
little to walk beside him. "There aren't any nerves
in hair - it's just keratin." She waved her
pony-tail under his nose to emphasise her point.
"Don't worry - I expect your probably just
hallucinating, that's all."
"Oh, that's all right
then," Mulder replied despondently. "For a
moment, I thought I might be in trouble..." He
regarded the Trell dourly. "Aren't YOU tired?"
Dax shrugged. "Not
really - I think Trell have a much more robust
constitution than most Humans. Plus, we're both a lot
fitter than you."
"Well - Yah-Boo!
Sucks to you!" Mulder responded sarcastically.
griping!" McQueen snapped, taking a couple of
moments to get his barings before heading off down a
side-passage that appeared to be identical to all the
other side-turnings they had so-far ignored. Mulder and
Dax had no real choice but to follow...
Mulder continued to trudge
dutifully down this All New collection of seemingly
endless tunnels, passing yet more of the seemingly
identical side-turnings and regarding with low-level
malevolence the back of their seemingly unstoppable
"Don't you EVER
stop?" he suddenly burst out in frustration.
McQueen thought about this
as he (deliberately) continued walking, trying as he did
so to 'get a grip' on his Bad Mood (he was, after-all,
deep in the bowels of his Least Favourite Place In All
The Universe), before he eventually replied with his
usual Infinite Patience "Only when we get where
philosophical" Mulder sniffed, not willing to give
up. "And out of interest - exactly where ARE we
Without turning, McQueen
answered evenly - "We'll know when we get
there." ('Just think of him as one of the 58th', the
Colonel cautioned himself silently. 'One of the less
bright ones - well, no, actually ANY of them could have
filled THAT criteria. Just think - Cooper Hawkes! They
don't come any thicker than that without corn flour! So,
just assume he hasn't had Proper Training, doesn't know
what a Direct Order is, doesn't realise what a pain in
the - ) "I know what I'm doing," he added
Mulder looked sceptical
"I wish I did!" he muttered darkly.
The Colonel wisely chose
to ignore this, however, causing Dax to snigger into her
hair before dropping back to her position as 'Tail-end
Mulder glanced back at
Dax, infuriated. Dax glanced back and shrugged
non-commitally, still trying not to laugh - and failing
Mulder sighed. He decided
to give up Authority Baiting ( a favourite hobby of his
back on Earth - even if he did usually wind-up being
beaten to a pulp during the follow-up), and simply go
with the flow...
It was at around this
point in the proceedings that Fox Mulder came to a
strangely unexpected conclusion about Inter-Galactic
Travel in general, and Omicron Draconis in particular.
And the conclusion was this; it was, for the most part,
Boring! Even watching Scully flossing her teeth had to be
more interesting than this unremitting tedium. He was
about to say as much when he unexpectedly found himself
ploughing into McQueen's back.
Their Trusty Leader had
Godzilla was having a bit of difficulty getting the
trolley up the steps and onto the pad of the Transporter.
Why they couldn't have had a ramp here was beyond her!
Suddenly she paused. Had
there been the faintest of sounds from outside the door?
She wasn't sure, but she backed strategically into the
farthest corner of the room, atop a small pile of
assorted Engineering Equipment (that some red-shirt NPC
had not been bothered to put away), just in case.
Godzilla listened a while
longer, but the sound wasn't repeated. She breathed out
again with silent relief, then took a moment to look down
from her coign of vantage in search of Inspiration.
Alas - Ensign Inspiration
was currently 'On Vacation' with Wesley Crusher in
Another Dimension and was of no immediate help.
But, instead of
Inspiration, it just so happened (somewhat fortuitously)
that Yeoman Serendipity was on Duty, and took the
opportunity to discreetly point out to the little monster
that she was currently perched on top of a small pile of
Back on the 'No Surprise'
The Robot was going cross-eyed trying to interpret The
Doctor's post-it note as it hung, leech-like, in front of
'The Ship has been taken over by an Alien Creature which has Acid for blood and a nasty limp!' The Robot finally managed to translate ( - remarkably well, considering his Galaxy-sized hang-over) Nasty limp what, though? he worried. He felt compelled to read on...
'I believe it is
attempting to get to the Bridge, in order to pilot the
ship away from the planet below which, for some unknown
reason - why doesn't anybody TELL me these things! - is
NOT Omicron Theta, as I had been led to believe, but
Omicron Draconis; known, I gather, amongst the Lower
Ranks as the Discharge Pipe To Nowhere!'
(The Robot paused to
consider - if this was the Edited Version of events, what
would the Complete and Unabridged Version have looked
'I shall, therefore,
endeavour to gain control of the Ship myself, and then
attempt to work out What The Hell Is Going On! While I am
busy achieving this end, YOU will be busy apprehending
our Hostile Hitch-hiker.
'In doing this I would
advise you use EXTREME CAUTION - this Creature has the
unusual capacity to damage Holograms, can dissolve most
types of metal, and can single-handedly - '
said The Robot aloud, reading no further. "Who does
he think I am - Colonel McQueen? Sod this for a Game of
Soldiers - I'M OFF!"
The concerted attempt to
Break-out en masse from behind the Toasters had not
proved 100% successful. Actually, it had barely scraped
80%. Data had tried to work out the exact percentages - 2
casualties out of the original 9 = ? He suspected 4.5
came into the equation somewhere along the line, but the
actual Solution was quite beyond his ability to process -
because the batteries had gone flat in his calculator...
He returned it to his pocket with a faux sigh, the best
he could come up with under the circumstances.
The Circumstances being
that he currently had a giant albino Horse-shoe Crab
attached to his face, trying to lay an egg in his throat.
It wasn't having much luck though, because Androids
don't, as a rule, have bio-cellular tracheae, so the egg
found itself with nothing to attach to. The Face-Hugger
then decided to give the Android's Voice Synthesiser one
last try, but when all it got for its' efforts was a
Terminal Renditioning of Data's (by now infamous) Toccata
and Belch in D Minor (with flugelhorn counter-point). At
which point it came to the dispiriting conclusion that
Darwin HAD been right all along - Survival Of Species
really WAS influenced by its Environment - as a direct
result of which the Face-hugger promptly gave up, fell
off and expired.
Captain Picard regarded
his former Second Officer with some concern. "Are
you all right, Data?" he asked with an air of
The Android nodded.
"I appear to be functioning at Maximum Efficiency,
Picard nodded with relief
as he watched Data climb nimbly to his feet. Then he
turned, with some trepidation, to regard Commander Riker.
This was not unusual, of course, or in anyway
reprehensible, but here and now their working
relationship was going to be even more under strain than
He looked down at the
Face-Hugger enveloping Riker's head - then he turned and
faced the others. "Suggestions, anyone?" he
Colonel McQueen was in a
He didn't like that. It
unnerved him, and that wasn't an easy thing to do. He
suspected he hadn't sweated like this since the Winslow's
Apology Incident. Compared to that, going out later to
blast Chiggy von Richtofen (the Enemy's Fighter Ace) to
smithereens had been a doddle. Plus (being exceptionally
Exceptional), he'd succeeded using only Conventional
Weapons, too! To quote Mulder "Yah boo! Sucks to
But right now he would
have given a right arm, possibly his own, for his trusty
Swiss Army 'Double-Barrelled Pump-Action Pulse-Laser
Rifle' (with ALL the attachments, including the
Ubiquitous Special Device for getting stones out of a
horses' hoof - chronically useless in Deep Space).
Instead all he had was a
He regarded said Phaser
with disdain. It had initially taken him twenty minutes
just to figure out how to load it, and then he'd kept
mislaying the damn thing all the time - until he'd
ingeniously thought to attach it to one of those Beeping
Key-fobs. After that he had only to whistle to make it
give away its location - usually somewhere under the bed,
or at the bottom of the inside pocket of his Other Flying
Jacket, or, on one singularly unpleasant occasion, the
inside of one small, constipated rubber monster...
All this was of no
consequence, however, when confronted with (yet another)
Hideous Visage of Acid Dripping Death - only he figured
this had the be the Economy Size edition, what with the
triple set of dog-teeth, elegantly crested head and more
arms and legs than he could currently be bothered to
count, what with it being 30 foot tall and everything.
He decided to try the
Phaser anyway. It couldn't hurt, he thought, and he was
right. It didn't. It went 'Phussssssst' ineffectually
once or twice, and then it ceased doing anything at all.
(He'd once heard, via Ensign Scuttlebutt, that all
Phasers had a habit of doing this when The Plot demanded
it, and he was thus not terribly surprised when it
happened now. He recalled upbraiding the young Ensign at
the time for spreading rumours, yet it seemed, for once,
that Ensign Scuttlebutt had been right all along!)
Pinning the Alien Queen
with one of his best Cool Looks - whilst also rapidly
re-assessed his Party's present situation - the Colonel
did what he did third... or possibly forth... best. He
consulted Military History. After a couple of seconds
brief consultation he turned in the general direction of
the position Mulder and Dax had opted to cower behind and
enquired - almost casually - "I don't suppose either
of you happen to have a large elastic band on you?"
The Robot was also rapidly
re-assessing his situation. After five minutes or so he
came to the conclusion that he, too, was 'in the poo'.
Godzilla had gotten a bit over-excited when he'd arrived
in the Transporter Room just as she was about to leave,
and then they'd accidentally beamed it all down with
"I hope your not
thinking of going in there," he asked worriedly as
they arrived at the entrance to the Mine.
Godzilla bounced up and
down a bit, rather too affirmatively for his liking, and
indicated to him quite clearly that he should start
pushing the Hover-mat, with its Precious Cargo, into the
The Robot loitered
disconsolately a little longer before adding hopefully
"It'll be pitch black in there - how will we ever
see where we're going?"
Godzilla turned and regarded her Mechanised Muscle witheringly (not an easy thing to pull off when your only 3 foot high and badly manufactured in cheap rubber, but she managed it with remarkable aplomb - which only went to show that her time with McQueen had NOT been entirely wasted). Then, heaving a weary sigh, she ignited her Spinal Crest as brightly as Special Effects allowed, and
headed off into the
The Robot trailed along
with the Trolley, concluding ruefully that he had nothing
better to do with his time right now. After a few minutes
he started whistling a cheery little ditty he'd once
heard Worf sing down in Engineering, about a Wild Rover
who'd spent all his money on Women and Beer. Worf had
claimed it to be an Ancient Klingon Battle Hymn, but The
Robot remained unconvinced...
The freshly liberated
Alien had eventually defeated the U-bend conundrum, by
the simple expediency of spitting on it until it had
dissolved enough to let him out! Now it stood in the
center of Captain Picard's very own Ready Loo, trying,
unsuccessfully, to wash the worst of the unspeakable gunk
off before IT started to dissolve instead.
After an unproductive hour
or so it decided to give up and go find someone to eat...
...and that someone looked
likely to be The Doctor, who had arrived on the Bridge at
much the same moment as the Alien was emerging - like a
New-born from Hell - out from the waste-pipe.
It would have had him too,
if the smell hadn't given it away!
As it was, The Doctor had
it in the cross-sights of his Holo-Phaser before the
Alien was half-way across the floor. "Ah-Ha! There
you are," The Doctor cried triumphantly,
"you... putrescent collection on amino acids!"
He raised an eye-brow imperiously. "So you thought
to take over the Ship, did you? Well! I have News for
you, you grotesque abomination that knows no equal - with
the exception of Commander Riker first thing in the
morning, but I digress -" he took a second to
mentally recap the Situation So Far before continuing.
"This entire Vessel is now under MY control, and
once again heading AWAY from Omicron Draconis and back
toward Omicron Theta - where I shall take great personal
satisfaction in single-handedly rescuing Captain Picard
and the rest of the Crew from the Hideous Fate you - no
doubt - had intended for them!"
At this point he
(mercifully) ran out of breath (not to mention
metaphors), and was obliged to silent wave the Alien away
from the Control panels and into the Turbo Lift -
whereupon he swiftly shut the doors on the Creature and
ordered the 'No Surprise' to place a Level 4 Containment
Field around the entire shaft...
The Doctor mopped his brow
with relief - fortunately for him the entire episode had
passed so quickly that the Alien had not had time to
recollect that it was, in truth, totally impervious to
any and all forms of Holographic Threat. Or to notice, in
the View Screen, that they were still in geo-stationary
orbit around Omicron Draconis after all.
"Now, Ship!" The Doctor said brightly as he surveyed the Bridge in a Masterful fashion and prepared to exercise his Vocabulary a little more. "Kindly tell me how I am supposed to navigate us back to our quondam location!"
Those left still standing
on the surface of Omicron Theta had retired to one of the
complexes many spare Guest Suites for warmth. After
half-an-hour or so spent recovering from the sub-zero
temperatures outside, some bright spark or other had
suggested that they might think about bringing Riker in,
too. After they had spent another twenty minutes in doing
so, they agreed (by a majority of Data and a Phaser set
on Bloody Annoyed) to fetch him in out of the snow.
They had laid Commander
Riker and his 'new friend' supine upon the long-table so
recently laden with the trimmings of the Wedding Banquet.
This meant the others could indulge themselves in
demolishing little paper plates covered with
sausage-rolls, canapés, cheese straws, sushi and any
other finger-food they could find with a clear
consciences - declaring piously that it would be a crime
to let such good food go to waste! Plus it also, it gave
them something vaguely diverting to do as they
contemplated Riker's distressed condition.
Major Kira ambled over to
regard Riker with a jaundiced eye - she never had been
able to forgive him for failing to try to seduce her on
the rare occasions they'd worked together. She had taken
it as a personal insult - and was probably right to -
when the Commander had spent most of his time instead
hanging out with Dax, teaching the Ferengi how to play
"I think he looks
better with it on, personally," she commented
caustically to anyone who happened to be within ear-shot.
"It's a vast improvement on that beard, at any
Neelix (now with two 'e's)
was forced to agree. "Yes, indeed," he said,
around a mouthful of vegetable quiche, "anybody who
can do a thing like that to half-a-dozen perfectly
innocent o-aan egg deserves everything he gets!"
Kira prompted, intrigued.
"Oh yes! Worf once
told me how Commander Riker had prepared scrambled eggs
for his friends using o-aan eggs, and prepared them so
badly that only a Klingon could eat them!" He shook
his head sadly as he finally managed to swallow the
mouthful, "which reminds me - I MUST remind him to
use chicken eggs next time he makes a quiche for general
consumption - caviar is all very nice in the proper
place, but its place ISN'T as the major component of a
"Ummm... " Kira
winced, "I though this tasted funny!" She
scowled darkly as she wipe a hand across her mouth in
Neelix took a moment to
scan Kira's plate before explaining patiently "No, I
believe Klingon Haggis Pasties are SUPPOSED to taste like
that!" And with this parting shot he trotted off,
just as Data arrived, with Kosh and Scully in tow, to
consult with Kira about the possibility of freezing the
Face-Hugger off the Commanders' face by the simple
expediency of bunging him outside again.
Scully's Medical Soul
cried out in out-rage. "But it's minus two-hundred
degrees out there right now - it would kill him!"
Major was forced to agree as she thought about the ice
and snow now piled against the window by the force of the
howling gales now sweeping across the surface of the
Then she thought about it
even more, before adding brightly - "I'll take his
feet, if you two carry his body!"
Mulder had checked every
pocket, rummaged through every turn-up and even offered
to help rummage through Dax's pockets, too! But alas, no
elastic band was forth-coming.
"Hey, Dax!" he
hissed conspiratorially, not wanting the attract the
attention of the Queen Alien away from McQueen's hypnotic
gaze, "Didn't we pass some-thing back down the
corridor? About 100 meters back?"
"?" Dax queried
silently. Then she snapped her fingers in enlightenment
(very, very quietly) and nodded. "Yes, Mulder - I
think your right! Stay here, I'll go and see..." And
with that she vanished back the way they had come,
leaving Mulder feeling very much 'All Alone In The
The 'No Surprise' circled
Omicron Theta sulkily. That was the impression The Doctor
had about its attitude, at any rate; but he was finding
it all up-hill work trying to get the mile-long Starship
to 'snap out of it'.
"Look," he said, addressing the otherwise empty Bridge in general, and the Ship in particular, "I realise your feeling guilty about leaving the others down on Draconis like that - actually, I don't feel too good about it myself - but I assure you that it really WAS absolutely necessary for the Safe Resolution of this Plot-line! Now, all we need to do is beam the Captain and the others back up from the
surface of the planet and
we can head back to the others before anything too
serious happens to them. All right?"
"WARNING - HULL
BREACH IMMENENT!" the tinkley voice of the Shipboard
Computer said suddenly.
The Doctor span around,
much alarmed, and started frantically checking every
switch and console he could find. After a couple of
minutes of frenetic activity he stopped. He turned
accusingly to address the room once more snapping
"Ha! Ha! Very Funny, I don't think!!! I suppose you
think your getting even with me for making you miss the
Hatching Time. Well, that's just too bad! We're here to
rescue the Wedding Party, and, by God, we're GOING to
rescue the Wedding Party. Right now!"
He regarded the salient console once again, trying to fix a lock on the rest of his erstwhile companions. "Strange..." he mused to himself, "it looks like all but one of them have withdrawn inside the Habitation Structure. I wonder who they could have left out in the cold." He instructed the Ship to lock-on to the co-ordinates. The Ship just sat there. "Very well," he sighed. "Then I'll just have to figure our how to do it myself..."
Data had been unable to
totally abandon his Amour to the elements, and had opted
to stay with Riker out in the desolate wastes of Omicron
Theta. He sat in the snow and attempted to revive the
Commander with the combination of sympathetic
hand-patting and the passage recital of his favourite
character from 'Macbeth'.
"Out, damned spot!
Out, I say! One: two: why, then 'tis time to do it. Hell
is murky. Fie, my Lord, fie! A soldier, and afeared? What
need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power
to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man had so
much blood in him?
"The Thane of Fife
had a wife. Where is she now? What, will these hands
never been clean? NO more of that, my lord, no more of
that! You mar all with this starting.
"Here's the smell of
the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not
sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh, OH! Hello Commander
Riker! Are you feeling any better?"
Commander Riker slowly
propped himself into a semi-sitting position and took a
slow, thoughtful look around. The Face-hugger slid
resignedly into the snow and perished in a gloom of
Shakespearean melodrama. (The Android's recitals had been
known to cause premature dementia in certain members of
the Crew before now, which was why Picard had banned all
such exhibitions until there was a delegation present
from a Hostile Society, and plenty of ear-plugs for the
favoured amongst the audience...)
"What the Hell is
that?" Riker demanded agitatedly as he poked the
corpse of his deceased symbiote experimentally. "And
is it edible?"
Data clapped his hands
with glee. "Oh! Frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! Your
back to normal, my sweetling!" And he leant across
to plant a smacker on one hirsute cheek.
Picard and the others had
come out of the sheltering building just in time to
witness this touching Reunion of Souls, but, mercifully,
The Doctor managed to get a fix on the Guests and swiftly
transport them all back aboard the 'No Surprise' just in
time for them to miss the Consummation of Mutual Undying
Picard reviewed his Bridge
Crew critically, before turning to face The Doctor.
"Excellent timing," he commented, before
reclining gratefully into the Captain's Seat of command.
"Anything interesting happen while we were
The Doctor considered this
momentarily, before replying "Nothing too out of the
ordinary, Captain. Though, if I might suggest you refrain
from employing the services of the Turbo Lift until
Lieutenant Worf has had an opportunity to re-confine a
certain... visitor... back in the Brig."
Picard raised an eyebrow
in surprise. "What? Not the damn Romulans
The Doctor shook his head in negation. "No sir, I am referring to a fully grown Alien, sir. I have it contained in the elevator shaft, sir. And incidentally..." he shuffled his feet uncomfortably, "about two hours ago the Ship started to intercept Communicator transmissions from Lieutenant Dax, who is presently deep under the surface of Omicron Draconis, with Agent Mulder and Colonel McQueen, and - I gathered from a quick reference to the Ship's complement - The Robot from Lost In Space. And, according to one of her more recent
transmissions, they seem
to have encountered some considerable resistance and are
in critical need of one large elastic band."
"We're not going to
make it," Mulder whimpered forlornly from behind his
rock, his lower tip trembling tremulously. "It's
going to tear us all limb from limb, and then we'll
"That's what usually
happens when you get torn limb from limb," McQueen
replied with the Voice Of Experience, trying desperately
not to blink. He'd been using The Cool Look for years
now, and was quite an expert at it - but even so...
"Tell me, Agent Mulder, exactly how long have I been
doing this?" he inquired in a conversational tone as
he strove to keep Mulder from bolting altogether.
Mulder consulted his
watch, counted on his fingers, and replied "A
smidgen over two and a half hours."
McQueen frowned. "How
Fox sighed heavily and
recalculated, adding his toes to the equation, before
coming up with a rather more accurate "Two hours,
thirty-seven minutes and... do you want the
"Oh, um... forty
Heroically. (He wasn't sure if that was technically
possible, but it had never stopped him before...)
"You supposed to say 'Ready...Ready... Hack',"
he corrected automatically.
"Well In that case
it's going to be um... oh hell! Hang on! Um... Two hours,
thirty-eight minutes and thirty seconds...er,
Ready... Ready... Hack!"
"Hmm... That's a
Personal Best," the Colonel mused, chewing
introspectively on a hang-nail before adding mildly
"No sign of the Leiutenent, yet?"
Mulder peered down the
corridor with optimism, but there was nothing to see.
"No," he admitted, being an Honest Soul. He
reversed quietly and sat back behind his defensive rock
again. After a moments hesitation he knew he just had to
"Because she might
have discovered something useful," McQueen answered
with a commendable amount patience, considering their
Mulder frowned. "No,
I meant, why 'Hack'?"
The Colonel had long been
dreading that question. "I don't know!" he
answered in an aggrieved voice. "You just DO, all
"Oh." Fox Mulder
slumped back against a convenient wall to put his socks
back on. After a while he had a Happy Thought, rummaged
once again and, offering to pass the bag, said brightly
"Would anyone like a sun-flower seed?"
"They're not going to
make it, are they?" Major Kira sighed sadly as she
lean across to flick the 'off' switch on the
Communications station. "We'll never get there in
She sat and pondered Dax's
last communication. From the description of the situation
in the depths of Omicron Draconis it very much sounded
like Curtains for the four Crew stranded down there. (She
was also vaguely puzzled by the ability of Dax's
Communicator transmissions to punch through a mile or so
of solid, mostly radio-active rock and then successfully
travel across the vast emptiness of Space in order reach
the 'No Surprise' with no sign of any signal degradation
what-so-ever - when everybody knew that during the normal
course of things a StarCorps Communicator couldn't punch
its way through a greasy chip bag...)
She was going to raise
this very point with the others, but when she turned she
found herself confronted with a scene of almost Biblical
proportions, with Kosh, Worf, Lennier and Scully in a
huddle around Captain Picard like The Three Wise Beings
(and Token Politically Correct Female) around the Infant
King, or whatever... So, instead, she climbed to her feet
and sauntered, with a certain studied casualness, over to
eves-drop on whatever it was they were all planning to
hatch - seemingly without her input - but arrived a
fraction too late to catch any of the finer details.
However, she noticed
Picard looking positively thunderstruck as he turned to
her and gave the order "Set a parabolic course
around the nearest star - and then sound 'General
Quarters'." Kira obeyed dutifully. "Good!"
the Captain continued as he surveyed his domain with
proprietary glee Now, Major, put the peddle to the metal!
Crank her up to Warp Ten!"
Now it was Kira's turn to
look flabbergasted. "Warp Ten?" she cried out,
"but isn't that...?"
"That's right, Major," Picard answered cheerfully, "Time Warp!"
The 'No Surprise' had
brightened up considerably upon hearing the latest News
from the Bridge. 'At last,' it thought gleefully kicking
into warp, 'back to the realms of PROPER
Little Godzilla held up a
paw to signal a halt in their progress down the tunnel.
The Robot brought the trolley to a halt and rolled
forward silently to stand next to his small rubber
companion, wishing for the four-hundred-and-fifty-third
time that he had stayed on board the Ship and taken the
Option One instead.
Upon reflection that
particular Option didn't appeal to him all that much
either, and he concluded ruefully that he had been a lot
happier when he'd be drifting alone in space on board the
Jupiter 2. If only that had been Option Three...
He watched as Godzilla
raised her snout in the air and sniffed cautiously, then
turned a little and sniffed again. After a few minutes
repetition she began to bounce up and down jubilantly and
finally bounced herself off down the tunnel once more.
The Robot grabbed the
trolley and shifted into third in a bid to keep up.
" I wish I'd thought to bring my Stash with
me," he grumbled.
Dax was pretty certain
that she had reached to spot Mulder had been referring to
with regard to the suspected whereabouts of the Vital
Elastic Band. Turning on her torch she scanned the floor
fastidiously. The beam of light illuminated some
discarded seed-cases, a dented hard hat, a variety of
loose chippings, a rusting Geologists 'sample' hammer,
and a rusting Geologist, who had been trying to read his
map upside-down when he expired. Not a very promising
She turned back toward the
Cavern where she had left the others, and was just about
to switch off the torch again when its light chanced upon
something quite unexpected...
Leiutenent," Captain Picard said pleasantly,
stepping out of the shadows. He was holding out one large
elastic band toward her. "Looking for this?"
Little Godzilla had to
stifle a squeak of excitement. She knew from the weird
blend of aromas wafting up the passage toward her that
there was terrible danger ahead, but also... HE was very
close now... She turned and motioned to The Robot that he
had to be very quiet now. She didn't want The Others to
know she was there... Not yet...
Little Godzilla slowly
tip-toed forwards once more...
Mulder chewed his final
mouthful of seeds ruminatively. He knew he was most
likely going to die very soon, so he was determined to
enjoy the last snack of his life if he possibly could. He
checked his watch again - almost three hours had elapsed
since they had encountered the massive Alien Queen, and
things were beginning to look hopeless.
He started suddenly,
smothering a scream of horror as he felt something small
and acrid-smelling slither past his legs, brushing
briefly against him before it disappeared into the
enveloping darkness ahead.
He'd barely recovered from
the experience before he felt something drop lightly onto
his right shoulder. Almost paralysed with terror, he
reached up slowly in anticipation of... he wasn't sure
what, but he knew it was going to be horrible.
And it was.
Initially. It wasn't until
he heard Dax's whisper of reassurance in his right ear
that he finally realised what it was he was now grasping.
Colonel McQueen had known
he was going to die very soon. Several times, in point of
fact, and yet here he was again, his Life flashing before
his eyes in the Traditional Manner... It turned out to be
brief but eventful. Got born, got sent here - got
irradiated; joined the Marine Corps - got blown-up, got
shot-down, got grounded, got re-instated, got blown up
again... Got to be torn limb from limb by an
"C'est la vie!"
Mulder inched his way
slowly and cautiously across to there McQueen and the
Alien were busily engaged in their little tête-à-tête,
and passed the Colonel the elastic band with much
trepidation, tempered by honest curiosity.
"???" he asked,
Mulder retreated, by no
means reassured - knowing from experience that when the
Colonel smiled like that, Justifiable Xenomorphicide
It wasn't until he had
made it halfway back to his position of alleged safely
that Mulder finally noticed the way in which the walls
around the Cavern all seemed to be... writhing...
He sighed, knowing that he
would have to go back and tell the Colonel about this
recent development. Retracing his steps back to the
centre of the room, he whispered conspiratorially "I
hate to rain on your parade, sir, but..."
"One thing at a time,
Agent Mulder," McQueen replied serenely, as he
allowed his right hand to drift down to his waist,
patting a small scaly head en route, and liberate the
defunct phaser that he had returned to his pocket all
that time ago. "After all," he continued,
stringing the elastic band between the thumb and
forefinger of his left hand and tensing it
experimentally, "Isn't it you who's forever telling
us that 'We are not alone'?"
Mulder gulped, finally
realising what McQueen had planned to do all along. He
wracked his brains trying to think of something
Inspirational to say - but finally settled for "I'll
be going now..." and beat a hasty retreat.
McQueen ignored him.
Ignored everything but the job in hand. Literally. He
slowly nestled the phaser into position, used his right
hand to pull back the middle of the elastic band, then
The phaser smacked the
Queen Alien squarely between the eyes!
She keeled over onto her
side with a sound like the falling of a Giant Redwood,
and continued to lay on the ground, motionless.
McQueen, very, very quietly.
Then, unsurprisingly, All
Hell Let Loose.
The Alien Hosts attacked
them from all directions - a seething tornado of Acid-
Dripping Death - only to be confronted by the sudden
advent of a thirty-foot high, equally aggrieved Godzilla,
venting fire and making certain that it was SHE who would
be doing the 'tearing of bodies limb from limb' - and
Even more astounding was
the appearance of The Robot from Lost In Space, sporting
green camouflage face-paint and a red bandanna, trundling
into the melee with a triumphant shout of
"INCOMING!" and proceeding to lob a fluid,
lethal stream of Godzillas' unhatched eggs at any Alien
too slow or too stupid to get out of the way.
The effect of this was
incredible - upon impact the shell of the egg would burst
apart - each to reveal one fully developed, irate and
exceeding hungry baby Godzilla, which automatically shot
up to a height of about fifteen feet and tried to eat the
first thing it could lay its paws on - namely the
Unfortunate Alien it had all too recently impacted.
All this, combined with
some selective phaser-fire from Picard and co. - who had
arrived 'just in the nick of Time' due to their timely
manipulation of Time - made the entire glorious spectacle
of the Battle of Omicron Draconis one that Industrial
Light and Magic would have had to bankrupt themselves to
And possibly will...
Mulder and McQueen sat on
Mulder's Rock at the back of the Cavern, dodging the
occasional dismembered limb, and trying to brush all the
dust and grime off of their respective outfits - one with
rather more success than the other, it must be said!
After half an hour or so
the action at the centre of the Cavern seemed to be
slacking off a little, and Mulder took the opportunity to
have a quick look round for signs of Agent Scully. He was
relieved to see her still deeply involved in the Thick of
it all, cheerfully zapping Aliens with a phaser in each
hand, and so he returned, circumspectly, to his Rock,
where he found the Colonel leaning against the wall,
watching the Battle with a speculative eye...
"Thinking of getting
them all to Enlist, Colonel?" Agent Mulder enquired
as he clambered higher up the Rock for an improved view.
McQueen adopted an
'innocent' expression. "I'm thinking of getting
myself a cat," he replied instead, discretely
pocketing an as-yet unhatched egg that had 'accidentally'
found its way across them from The Robot's Ammo Dump.
"What do you think?"
Mulder was still
formulating a printable reply when Picard arrived, with
Kosh and Major Kira in tow, and asked McQueen what he
planned to do with the Alien Queen, who had slumbered
peacefully through the entire Campaign, but was beginning
to show signs of recovering consciousness.
Picard indicated the
looming form of Kosh. "Science Officer Kosh is
curious about the creature - and would like to take a
closer look," he explained.
"Be my guest!"
the Colonel replied.
"You see," the
Captain continued, as they all stumbled their way across
to where Kosh and The Robot had managed to haul the Queen
into a slightly more up-right position, "as we were
on our way over here to rescue you, Kosh revealed to us
his True Identity. The truth of the matter is that he is,
in fact, none other than - "
Everyone chorused in amazement. "And Fred...
Thelma... Shaggy and... and the other one!"
'Kosh', removing the head of his Encounter Suit with a
flourish. "We've been on the trail of this Queen
Alien for weeks!" Fred explained. "We managed
to track her down here, but we couldn't reveal the Man
Behind The Mask until now."
And with that, the
erstwhile Science Officer wrenched off the head of the
Alien Queen to reveal it was none other than -
Commissioner Gordon snarled, stepping out of his Costume
and allowing Worf to triumphantly slap on the handcuffs.
The Commissioner glared at them all furiously. "I
wanted this Planet for myself, so that I could re-open
the Mining Operation and undercut Inter-Galactic Trade
Prices by employing all that cheap, Alien labour."
Mulder frowned. "What
do you think they are - deaf Mexicans?" he demanded.
"Who cares WHAT they
are!" the Commissioner snarled. "I would have
been Rich! RICH - do you hear me? And I would have gotten
away with it too, if it hadn't been for all you Meddling