Episode 57: “A Spectrograph of Heresy”
Written by Swordtail
Published March 6, 2008
Scene 1 - The USS Celestial is parked in orbit of a planet.
Captain Righteous (voiceover) - Captain’s log, stardate 60097.3. Ship is working, crew are in good spirits, so someone decided they’d go tempt fate by sending us on a diplomatic mission. Apparently there’s this planet where these two different religions are both in control of about half the planet each. Anyway, they’ve been making a big fuss for a while, with radical groups on both sides blowing stuff up. They asked for Federation assistance or something. Starfleet decided to send someone who is an expert on religion to resolve the tension. Either that or they just want me to convert them to the Bajoran religion and be done with it. Either that or they figure it can’t make things worse. Either way, I’m happy to oblige and look forward to an exciting encounter.
The camera goes into the Celestial’s briefing room. On one side of the table is one goofy forehead alien with red skin, and on the other is another goofy forehead alien with blue skin. Sitting in his usual spot, with his head down on the table, is Captain Righteous, apparently half asleep.
Red - Unacceptable! We will not reopen the trade of carbonized tritanium because you’ll just use it to destroy lives!
Blue - Our stem cell research is saving lives!
Red - By destroying living people!
Blue - How can you call a few cells in a petri dish a living person? You refuse to negotiate because we destroy possible life while you allow millions of your citizens to die each year because you refuse to allow the life-saving operation of blood transfers!
Red - More sacrilege against the Wise Ones! Our blood is to stay in our bodies, not be passed around like currency!
Blue - There is a limited supply, we must ensure that the most important people receive the first share. Of course, it wouldn’t be such a problem if you were to share with us your refrigeration technology that would allow us to store it for longer periods of time!
Commander Senseless walks in and pokes Righteous awake.
Senseless - They’re still arguing?
Righteous - Well, we almost had it down to the point that if their Wise Ones really didn’t want one side doing something, they’d put a stop to it, then one of them brought it up that the Wise Ones demand that their people put a stop to sinning and injustice, and they went back at it. I think we’ve made progress though.
Senseless - Oh?
Righteous - They’re not trying to kill each other anymore.
Senseless (to the other two) - Hey! I think that’s enough verbosity and blatant stabs at 21st century ethics for one scene. Why don’t I show you to your quarters. We’ve put you on deck 8, and your rooms offer a nice view of the planet you’re supposed to both be protecting.
Blue - I refuse to sleep on the same deck as this barbarian.
Red - And I refuse to sleep on the same deck as this heretic.
Senseless simply walks over to the door and opens it. He taps Lieutenant Tener, who was standing guard outside, on the shoulder and he turns to face the commander.
Senseless - These two don’t want to sleep on the same deck as each other. I understand you set up their sleeping arrangements?
Tener - Yeah, and I’m not going to change them. So you jerks can either learn to live with it or I’ll put you both out an airlock myself. Ka-peesh?
The two leaders grudgingly comply. Once they’re gone, Righteous lets out a sigh.
Righteous - This diplomacy thing is more boring than I thought it would be.
Senseless - Well, someone has to do it. If it weren’t for Starfleet, there would be a hundred meaningless wars going on at any one time instead of just one or two big super-conflicts.
Righteous - Ah yes, the United Federation of Planets... doing our civic duty to get everyone mad at us so they all join together in friendship, stop fighting each other, and then come after us with a vengeance. All is right in the universe.
They both leave the briefing room and enter the bridge.
Righteous - I wonder if Admiral Spot managed to calm everyone down to the point that we can go back into the core of Federation space without being fired upon?
Senseless - They all calmed down when she explained how the zomborg were simply a fluke of nature, then countered a Romulan complaint with a point about the Remans and Shinzon.
Senseless looks up at the rest of the bridge crew, who all look like they’re waiting for him to say something.
Senseless - What is it?
Sa’lol - Rumour has it we have new orders?
Casey - Yeah, like, as in, like, stuff to do?
Senseless - Rumour is wrong then. We’re to stay here until the situation is resolved between the two factions.
Genocide - But Commander.... we’re bored!
Sa’lol - Yeah, this entire sector has been scanned by a half dozen starships over the past half century...there’s nothing to do here!
Senseless - Don’t you all have other work to do? Diagnostics, repairs, overhauls, that report on the status of the EPS grid I asked Casey for when she started working Ops several months ago?
Casey - I, like, finished that!
She reaches takes a PADD from under her chair and tosses it to Senseless. He turns it on and reads aloud.
Senseless - “EPS Grid Status Report: The EPS grid makes really hot gas go from the warp core to the other places on the ship that need it. It is very important. It is right now still working so we should be thankful. This has been a report by Ensign Casey.” Look, I’m thankful that you actually ran it through a spell checker, but seriously, is this the best you can do?
Casey - Like, Kiesha proof-read it!
Baque - Who the hell is Kiesha?
Senseless - My point is you all have things you could be doing. I think you’ve been spoiled by us constantly flying by the seats of our pants, requiring you do basically do the fun parts of your job and nothing else.
Baque - No seriously, who the hell is Kiesha?
Senseless - Now, that being said, I’m constantly doing the shitty work around here so I’m going to take a vacation before Dr. Puker tries to put me on that disgusting high-blood-pressure diet again.
Righteous - And I’m going to go ask the Prophets for guidance in this matter of upmost importance regarding the red people and the blue people and their hedonistic ways. Taa taa!
Both officers leave the bridge.
Genocide - I hate to say it, but he’s right... I suppose I could do a ship-wide inventory on weapons. James has been bugging me about it for weeks now.
Casey - And I could figure out what this little green light does. Every time I, like, turn on my console, or, like, any console, it’s, like, there! And it like goes away like every time I like turn it off!
Genocide - Ensign... that’s the power indicator light, and it’s supposed to... know what? Never mind.
Baque - ...She must be a low ranking and seemingly unimportant crewman doing a fairly safe job...
Sa’lol - Alright, fuck the database. I’m going to go to that stupid moon and learn everything there is to learn about it.
Baque - And I’m going to track down this Kiesha person!
They all finish up what they’re working on as quickly as possible. The camera, meanwhile, goes to an armoury somewhere where Lieutenant Tener and a no-name yellow shirt are loading phaser power packs into a weapons locker.
Tener - I think Garell wanted some of the spent ones to try to increase the capacity of the backup batteries, so take a few to...
He trails off in mid sentence.
NoName #1 - What’s wrong sir?
Tener - I just got a weird vibe that it’s going to be one of those episodes...
New, Opening Credits! Now with 20% more credits! (Batteries sold separately, some assembly required. Offer void where prohibited by law.)
Scene 2 - A shuttlecraft flies out of the Celestial’s shuttlebay and veers towards the planet’s only moon. Onboard, Sa’lol finishes putting the shuttle on autopilot and slumps back in her seat. The latest hit single by some 24th century rock band is blaring out of the shuttle’s speakers, while Dr. Puker paces around in the back of the cabin and Lieutenant Tener is obviously irritated, spinning back and forth in his seat, arms crossed.
Tener - What the hell are we listening to?
Sa’lol - Damned if I know, I just turned on the radio.
Tener - Why do I have to be here again?
Sa’lol - I didn’t want to go down to a strange moon in the middle of a holy war, even with the government’s tentative approval.
Puker - Because when bad things happen to the unsuspecting gold-shirts, it’s often amusing.
Sa’lol - That, and my pansy-ass sister made up some lame excuse about having “real” work to do.
Puker - She gets to deal with the multitude of minor and aggravating cases I must normally deal with on a daily basis in Sickbay. Bloody noses, broken fingers, paper cuts... sooo many fatalities.
Tener - Okay, why is he here?
Puker - Shits and giggles. Besides, if you lose an arm again, you’ll need someone there to save your sorry life.
Tener - If that happens again, I’m seriously going to quit.
Beep, beep, beep! The shuttle’s helm console starts spazing out.
Sa’lol - What the hell?
Computer - Warning. Unidentified vessel approaching on an intercept course with weapons powered. Recommend putting your head between your legs and kissing your ass goodbye.
Sa’lol - Opening hailing frequencies. This is the shuttle B’hala to the unidentified ship approaching. We are on a scientific mission and have your government’s approval. Please stand down.
Boom, shuttle rocks, sparks.
Enemy Ship (comm) - We do not follow orders from the infidel pretenders who claim this holy moon as their own territory.
Tener - Just out of curiosity, when you said we had the government’s tentative approval, were you talking about both governments, or just one?
Sa’lol - Uh... just the Blue’s.
Puker - Perfect...
Boom, shuttle rocks, stuff breaks.
Sa’lol - Direct hit to our engines. We’re venting plasma!
Tener - Returning fire. Crap, they’ve damaged our weapons.
BOOM! The sound of gushing air can be heard somewhere in the back of the cabin. Puker ignores the obvious hull breach and starts collecting up medical supplies and grabs the subspace transmitter out of its charging station.
Sa’lol - Hull breach! That’s it, I’m making an emergency landing. We won’t make it back to the Celestial now.
Tener - I’m sending out a distress signal.
As he taps some buttons, another shot hits the shuttle and the console goes dead.
Tener - God damn it!
Through the window, the Red ship can be seen lining up for another pass. It fires nearly point blank, and the three officers are yanked out by a dumb-looking purple transporter beam just in the nick of time.
Scene 3 - Briefing room. The remaining senior staff are present.
Righteous - What do you mean we lost another shuttle!?!
Senseless - We picked up a brief distress signal before the shuttle was destroyed.
Blavik - Were there any survivors?
Senseless - No, the Reds don’t take prisoners.
Blavik - Does that imply that I will be required to work full duty in Sickbay until a replacement doctor can be found?
Senseless - Uh... yes?
Garell - Well that shuttle had a transporter and that moon has an atmosphere. I don’t think we should give up hope just yet.
Righteous - Woo hoo! Does that mean we don’t have to find new officers?
Genocide - Problem is those jerks won’t let us go near their moon. Apparently it’s sacred... would have been nice of the Blues to tell us the Reds would kill to protect it...
Senseless - I’m going to have a word with our “guests” after we dismiss. I feel confident I’ll be able to convince them to let us investigate the moon.
Genocide - Ooh, are you gonna torture them? I bet you’re going to torture them.
Senseless - Even if we were allowed to do that, I’m not sure we’d have the facilities onboard for that kind of thing.
Righteous - I’m gonna read some scripture to them and hopefully they’ll see the error of their ways and help us willingly!
Senseless - ...I stand corrected.
Scene 4 - In a dark, dreary room, with only a single lightbulb illuminating the place, Sa’lol, Puker, and Tener wake up on the hard stone floor.
Tener - Ow... did anyone else just have a strange dream involving a shuttle exploding and us being beamed out in the nick of time?
Puker - Judging by the symptoms, which so far include dizziness and unconsciousness, I’d say we were pulled out by a narrow beam highly focussed transporter beam.
Sa’lol - Surak’s logic, it’s cold in here!
The other two look over to where Sa’lol has curled into a ball with her teeth chattering.
Puker - It’s a bit chilly in here, probably four degrees Celsius, but nothing life threatening.
Sa’lol - Says the guy who evolved on a temperate planet where it usually went this cold... I’m from a god damned desert world! Cut me some slack.
Puker - You’ll live. In the meantime though, let us attempt to find a way out of here.
Suddenly, a previously hidden door begins to open.
Puker - Ah, right on cue.
Three goofy forehead aliens of the same contrived variety as the Red and the Blue ones, enter the room, one female and two male, the former being of the typical leader type, and the latter two being typical guard types. The only real difference between these three and the others is that these guys have purple skin.
Tener - Wait a damn minute... I know we’re always told we need to accept people regardless of how they look... but I’m not sure I can take seriously anyone with purple skin.
Leader Girl - It’s dye, it’s not our natural skin colour.
Puker - What’s your natural colour then?
Leader Girl - Black and white stripes with large pink spots.
Puker - Can we call you the spotted zebra people then?
Leader Girl - You can call me Netrin. These two aren’t important enough to have names.
Sa’lol - Why are you holding us against our will and torturing us?
Netrin gives her a puzzled look.
Tener - She’s just a wimp, ignore her.
Sa’lol - I’m freezing my damned ears off here!
Netrin - You’ll have to apologize for our lack of heat...
Tener - Forgot to pay the electric bill?
Netrin - Can’t produce any emissions that might alert the Reds or Blues to our presence here. However, we sometimes break that rule, especially when the Reds attempt to destroy ships that approach the moon. We don’t normally get aliens though.
Tener - We’re new to the neighbourhood... sort of...
Netrin - Sort of?
Puker - Our vast interstellar empire totally surrounds you on all six sides!
Netrin - Good to know... come on, it’s a bit warmer in the main chamber.
She leads them out of the stone room and motions for the guards to go away. In a large chamber, dozens of purple-people are milling around, working at consoles or building small devices of some sort.
Netrin - As you can by now see, we have reason to be cautious. If the Reds found out that we had set up a base on their “Holy Celestial Orb” we’d be eradicated, and I doubt the Blues would stand in their way.
Tener - Which begs the question, why are you even here?
Sa’lol - Can I get a frigging blanket or something?
Netrin - We’re what you’d call... social outcasts. We don’t prescribe to either sect of the mainstream religion on our world.
Puker - So you don’t follow the Way of the Wise Ones or whatever it’s called?
Netrin - Certainly not. Why would we want to follow a millennia-old, deeply flawed belief system which was basically meant to placate the ignorant hunter-gatherer slash farmer-herder masses?
Tener - So I’m guessing you guys don’t really believe in the whole creationist ideology?
Netrin - Oh, we do. We believe the entire universe and everything in it was created and is controlled by a powerful being known as Binky.
Tener - No offence, but that’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day, and that’s saying something because I had a meeting with Captain Righteous this morning.
Sa’lol - Why is it bothering no one that I’m freezing to death over here!
Puker - Maybe because we all know Vulcans have much higher metabolisms than humans. Despite the fact you’re uncomfortable, you’re in absolutely no danger. You could probably handle temperatures up to thirty degrees Kelvin below this.
Sa’lol (muttering) - Doesn’t mean I have to like it...
Puker - So... since we’re all friends now, how about giving us back our commbadges so we can contact our ship?
Netrin - Sorry, we can’t allow anyone to find out we’re here.
Tener - You do realize our ship will search this moon for us.
Netrin - The Reds will prevent that.
Sa’lol - Are you trying to tell me that we’ve got to stay here... for how long?
Netrin - Until we can convince the Reds that this moon is not sacred, at which point you’ll be allowed to leave.
Tener - How could the Reds possibly stop our ship? You people have barely broken warp 1.2.
Netrin - True, but as you’ve seen first hand, our weapons are more than a match for yours. The Red ships are small, fast, and heavily armed, so even if your ship could—
Sa’lol grabs Netrin by the front of her shirt and nearly lifts her off the ground. Several guards tentatively raise their weapons.
Sa’lol - Maybe you haven’t been listening, but that’s a Celestial-class battlecruiser up there. It’s got Type-12 phaser strips, rapid-fire pulse cannons, fore and aft quantum torpedo launchers, and multi-adaptive shielding. It has a top impulse speed of 0.21 times the speed of light, and our weapons officer just recently got to blow up an entire cubic lightyear of space in the most powerful non-Omega explosion this galaxy has ever seen, so he’s still a little trigger-happy.
Tener - Uh, we’re not supposed to talk about the Omega—
Sa’lol - Can it, Lieutenant. Now, honey, you’re going to give us our commbadges and any other equipment you beamed out of our shuttle, and we’ll do our best to use an encrypted signal to contact our ship. Even if the Reds do detect us, we’ll be sure to tell them that it was just us down here. You have nothing to worry about so for the love of your god, either give me a fucking thermal blanket or I’ll warm myself up by tearing you to pieces.
Netrin (calmly) - As I was saying, the Reds have ships orbiting this moon at all times. The second they detect any kind of signal they’ll open fire on the location with everything they have. We’ll all be killed before your ship even knows you’re here. They’re very jumpy, we’ve seen them attack volcanos before.
Sa’lol lets go.
Sa’lol - Oh.
Puker - So how long do you think we’ll need to stay here.
Netrin - That depends on whether you help us or not. The United Federation of Planets is all the proof we need that the Way of the Wise Ones is wrong. Hundreds of different cultures all coexisting without the wrath of their individual gods wreaking havoc? Has to show something.
Tener - So you want us to basically help you disprove your local religion? I don’t think we’re allowed to do that.
Netrin - You’re here acting as intermediaries between the Red and Blue governments, aren’t you? Doesn’t that violate your non-interference policy as well?
Tener - Not really, they both asked us to come. Despite their differences, neither one wants a war.
Netrin (seemingly surprised) - Really?
Tener - Yeah, they’ve been making great progress last I heard. They’re no longer at each other’s throats in the meetings.
Netrin - Well... that’s great news. Why don’t I show you to your quarters?
She leads them down a passageway and into a room.
Netrin - You must be tired from your ordeal. We’ll continue our chat later. I’ll have someone send in some food later on.
After the three officers are inside, Netrin bows and leaves, shutting and locking the door behind her. The other three simply shrug and look around at the sparsely decorated room. Three cots lay along one wall, and a small door leads off to a bathroom on the opposite side of the room.
Sa’lol - Yes! Blankets!
She quickly swipes all the blankets from all three cots.
Puker - So, hands up, who here thinks we haven’t been told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Scene 5 - Bridge, middle of the night. The ship is at yellow alert. Baque, Casey, and Genocide are at their stations when Senseless, looking tired, walks onto the bridge.
Senseless - What’s going on?
Baque - Lots of things. First, I found out who this Kiesha person is! She works in Stellar Cartography! She’s the one who uses our hardly-seen astrometrics lab on a regular basis.
Senseless - You called me out of bed at 0100, and threw the entire ship into yellow alert, for that?!
Genocide - No. A few minutes ago a bomb went off along the Red-Blue border. Heavy causalities on both sides.
Senseless - What?!?
Genocide - Both sides are blaming the other. We’re detecting military buildups.
Senseless - If these people fall into civil war, Starfleet procedures will require us to leave the system until it blows over. We’ll never find our missing comrades then.
Genocide - There’s something else... the explosion was too precise.
Senseless - Too precise?
Genocide - Yeah... it doesn’t make sense for terrorists to use a bomb this clean. No radiation, no toxic trace elements... in fact, aside from the blast radius, very little has been damaged.
Senseless - Do these people possess photonic warhead technology? What you’ve described practically matches how our photon torpedoes work.
Genocide - Yeah... I’m gonna do a few more scans.
Senseless - Alright, I’m going to go talk with our guests.
He leaves the bridge.
Scene 6 - A meeting room somewhere. The Red and Blue leaders are screaming at each other, while yellow-shirt security guards hold them from killing each other while Righteous tries to calm them.
Red - How dare you use these peace talks as a facade for mass murder!
Blue - How dare you try to blame us for something that is obviously your fault!
Righteous - Be quiet! Both of you! Neither one of you could be to blame because why would you hurt your own people?
Red - Maybe to make it look like the other side was to blame!
Blue - Exactly!
Righteous - Alright, why, in the name of the Prophets, would either of you do that? I mean, it’s just bad governing! How can you get reelected if all your voters are dead?
Senseless walks in.
Senseless - Wow, I figured I’d need to declare a medical emergency for sure.
Blavik walks in behind him.
Blavik - You called, sir?
Senseless - What? No, I just said I figured I’d need to but I guess not. Why are you even here anyway?
Blavik - Sickbay is far less interesting than I anticipated. Is there any word from the away team yet?
Senseless rolls his eyes, goes to a monitor, and switches it to the sickbay security cameras, to show that the room is completely empty.
Senseless - No, no word, but we’re going to keep looking. By the way, if you’re bored, you can get to work filling out the numerous death certificates that Dr. Puker never does.
Blavik simply raises an eyebrow, then leaves the room. Senseless shakes his head and turns back to the two leaders.
Senseless - Speaking of our away team...
Red - No.
Senseless - (sigh) That’s what I thought.
Righteous - Now, if the yelling is done with, let us try to figure out who would do such a thing as blow stuff up.
Scene 7 - Main Engineering. Garell walks in and goes up to one of her subordinates who is working at a console.
Garell - What did you want?
NoName #2 - The shuttle’s debris field isn’t massive enough. A large amount of mass is missing from it.
Garell - Yes, yes, antimatter explosions will do that. Get to the point.
NoName #2 - The shuttle wasn’t destroyed in an antimatter explosion, it was destroyed by the Red’s energy weapons. The warp core, as well as the entire micro-torpedo magazine, is missing.
Garell - Since when do Type-9 shuttlecraft go on exploration missions carrying photon torpedoes?
NoName #2 - Since Lieutenant-Commander Genocide ordered us to install them.
Garell - Figures. Now, where’s that ODN diagnostic I asked you for yesterday?
NoName #2 - Uh... I figured this would be more important.
Garell - There’s this amazing thing called “delegation.” It’s where you get a lower-ranking person to do something you don’t want to do.
NoName #2 - God damn it.
Garell - Exactly. Now go scrub all the Jefferies tubes on the ship with a toothbrush.
NoName #2 - No!
Garell - Wrong answer!
Smack! She slaps him so hard he spins around three times before falling unconscious to the floor.
Garll - That’s no ma’am to you, ensign!
She taps her commbadge.
Garell - Garell to Genocide, your insistence on arming everything and its dog may have just started a holy war.
Scene 8 - In their “room” on the moon, Tener, Puker, and a still wrapped up Sa’lol are playing some game involving moving pebbles around.
Puker - Although our Starfleet uniforms are designed to protect us against some of the harshest climates, they were never intended to do so for long periods of time. I’m starting to get cold.
Sa’lol - Ha! I knew it was only a matter of time!
Tener - And where’s that food they promised us over an hour ago?
Sa’lol - One thing I don’t understand is that if these people are trying to convince their race to ditch this “Wise Ones” crap, why are they up here on a moon rather than down there running an underground resistance cell?
Tener - Maybe because they have purple skin and would stand out like a Smurf on Qo’noS?
Puker - They said it was dye, they obviously choose this colour for a reason.
The door suddenly opens, and Netrin and her two nameless guards enter, all smiles.
Netrin - Well, it looks like you might be getting out of here sooner than you expected. Oh, and here’s some food.
The two guards pass the three officers bars of brown stuff. They each take a bite.
Sa’lol - These are Starfleet ration bars.
Netrin - That they are. We beamed them out of your shuttle with you, but had to keep them locked up to be sure they weren’t weapons.
Tener - You might wanna lock them back up, these things can give a person terrible gas.
Puker - What did you mean we might be getting out of here sooner than we expected?
Netrin - The tensions between the Reds and Blues is escalating. Pretty soon, the governments will fall.
Tener - I see.
Netrin - And we have you to thank for it. We were able to smuggle one of your shuttle’s torpedoes into one of the border cities and detonate it. Each side is blaming the other.
Puker, Sa’lol, Tener - What!?
Tener - Are you out of your god damned mind!? Do you know how much destructive power those torpedoes have? What if someone was killed?
Netrin - Hundreds were killed! A necessary sacrifice, I assure you. After all, all revolutions are paid for in blood.
Sa’lol - You know, somehow I think this “Binky” person you worship would frown upon the use of violence to bring about change.
Netrin - It’s necessary. We knew you wouldn’t understand, which is why you weren’t consulted. However, there’s no way to implicate us so civil war is inevitable. You’ll be free to go soon. I believe your non-interference policy will forbid you from interfering in the war?
Tener (fuming) - Something like that...
Netrin (smiling even more) - I thought so.
The three purple people leave the room and re-lock the door.
Puker - Isn’t it convenient how religions can be warped and stretched to justify the petty ambitions of those who follow them?
Tener - Frankly, I couldn’t care less if a bunch of primitive back-water savages want to kill each other, but allowing them to do it with our weapons is just wrong. We have to stop them.
Sa’lol - Agreed. First, we need to get out of this room.
Tener - How?
Puker - We could pick the lock. It doesn’t look that complicated.
Tener - Okay, with what?
Puker - Well, they don’t call these things “Ration on a cleverly-concealed-stick” for nothing.
He says this seconds before Tener bites into said stick.
Tener - Ow...
The other two dislodge the wooden chop-stick from their ration brick and give it to him. Puker goes over to the lock with the three sticks and starts prodding the keyhole.
Puker - Just like a coronary bypass... but less messy.
Tener - Thanks doc, I think I just lost my appetite.
Puker - Good, we’ll need to save one of the rations to use against the guards.
Sa’lol - ...What?
Puker - They don’t call these things ration bricks for nothing, either.
Scene 9 - Bridge of the Celestial. Righteous and Senseless walk onto it. The rest of the senior staff are already present.
Senseless - Our guests just left to try to placate their populations... or to organize military strikes, but at this point we are pretty much out of options here. Starfleet will not be pleased.
Righteous - Meh, they never are. Bunch of over-achievers...
Genocide - Did anyone tell you that the explosion was caused by a Federation micro-torpedo?
Righteous - No, no one did, should I be angry?
Garell - Someone swiped them from our shuttlecraft just before it exploded. Along with the warp core, a bunch of other stuff, and probably our missing officers as well.
Senseless - Perfect... Ensign, hail the two governments.
Beep! The Red and Blue leaders appear on the split viewscreen.
Senseless - Sorry to disturb you, but there’s been a development. Turns out the weapons used in that explosion came from our destroyed shuttlecraft.
Red - Are you telling me you’ve been supplying the Blues with your weapons!?
Righteous - Nah, we don’t do that sort of thing. They were probably stolen.
Blues - I knew it! The Reds stole them! That’s why they attacked your shuttle in the first place!
Senseless turns to Genocide.
Senseless - Commander?
Genocide - I did a scan of the Red fighter ship. Its shields never dropped.
Senseless (back to screen) - Nope. Not the Reds. Or the Blues.
Red, Blue - Lies!
Blue (To Red) - You only used this conference as an excuse to secretly negotiate with the Federation for our destruction!
Red - Stop pretending, we all know it is you who are the ones at fault here. You will allow our Holy armies will wipe you from existence as penance for your sins—
Blue - Your Holy armies are no match for ours! Unlike you, we don’t cower behind false interpretations of the Wise One’s words and try to live like cave spotted-zebra-people!
Red - How dare you say our interpretation is wrong! We have the original “Way of the Wise Ones for Dummies” book and you know it!
Blue - It’s a forgery! It’s got as much fact in it as a Wikipedia article on Scientology!
Back on the Celestial’s bridge, the crew are getting dizzy switching their eyes back and forth so much.
Baque - When Starfleet said to resolve the situation, did they mean by any means necessary?
Genocide - I’ve got a quantum torpedo primed and loaded in the tube, sir.
Senseless - Not yet...
Righteous - Look, you’re all gonna burn with the Pah-Wraiths, so give it a rest, okay? Now, how about you let us go get our missing crew members and we’ll be on our way and you can go back to hitting each other over the head.
Back on the viewscreen, the Blue leader has folded a piece of paper into a paper airplane.
Blue - Allow me to demonstrate how our forces will smite you so hard you’ll think the Wise Ones themselves have shat on you.
He tosses the paper airplane to his right. It crosses the screen, lags a bit, then proceeds to hit the Red leader in the forehead. The bridge crew all blink.
Blavik - Are you both in the same room?
Red - Well, yeah, how else could we afford to yell at each other so much?
Blue - Long distance rates here are crazy.
Righteous - Alrighty then, we’re going to that moon. Bye!
Red - Approach that moon and you will be fired upon.
Righteous - Oh boo, hoo, what are you gonna do? Throw paper at us? Give me a break.
The Red leader, furious, slams his hand down on a console in front of him. Genocide’s console starts beeping.
Righteous - That doesn’t sound good.
Genocide - Raising shields!
No sooner has he finished the sentence then there is a massive explosion and the ship lurches violently to the right.
Blue - Oh no you don’t! You just want their technology to use against us! We will never allow you to have them!
Genocides console starts beeping as soon as the Blue leader hits a similar console on his desk.
Genocide - Ah... incoming.
Boom, ship rocks, sparks.
Senseless - Helm, get us to that moon, full impulse.
Another explosion rocks the ship as the Celestial leaves orbit and flies towards the moon.
Casey - Oh, like, poo, I just, like, remembered: Lieutenant Sa’lol hailed us from the moon. I’ve had her on, like, hold while we, like, talked with the Red and Blue people.
Everyone on the bridge roll their eyes.
Senseless - Put her through.
Sa’lol appears on the screen, her back turned to the camera, arguing with Dr. Puker.
Sa’lol - No, I don’t care how little physical harm it would do, we can’t just go around torturing people because we’re bored. (she spies her comrades on the screen) Oh. It’s about time!
Righteous - Sorry! We were in a very important call.
Sa’lol - Why don’t you have the ability to open multiple channels at once?
Baque - It took him nearly two years to break down and get us call waiting. Be glad you didn’t have to listen to a busy signal this whole time.
Senseless - Regardless, good to see you. Is everyone alright?
Sa’lol - I’m freezing my ass off but other than that we’re fine. Turns out these people don’t fight very well in hand to hand combat. Escaping from our “cell” was easier than playing ice hockey with a tribble.
Tener (Pushing a clearly pissed Netrin into view) - Yeah, and we got to capture their leader, who, by the way, apparently orchestrated some big explosion using our own weapons.
Netrin - And we would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids and—
Tener - Yeah, we know, shut up.
Senseless - The entire planet is in chaos right now and everyone is preparing for civil war. Stand by, we’re beaming you up. Leave your “prisoner” where you found her... I have an idea.
Genocide - Ooh! Does it involve torturing her!?!
Senseless - Why are you so obsessed with that today?
Genocide - I’m bored.
Casey - They’re, like, aboard now.
Senseless - Good. Now—
Baque - We’ve got company! Five Red fighter craft off the starboard bow and closing rapidly.
Genocide - Permission to vapourize them, sir?
Righteous - Denied. No vapourizing today. Not by us anyway.
Senseless - Open a channel to those ships.
Casey, as well as her console - Beep!
Garell - You don’t both need to say it, Ensign.
Casey - Sorry, I can’t find the mute button.
Senseless - Red ships, guess what? There’s a bunch of terrorists residing on your sacred moon. They’re the ones who set off that bomb.
The camera watches as the Red ships waste no time in changing course. They fly towards the moon and open fire. In the Purple base, Netrin looks up as the ceiling starts to cave in on them all.
Netrin - Son of a bitch...
CRUSH! The camera goes back to the bridge of the Celestial, where Sa’lol, Tener, and Puker have joined the rest of the crew.
Puker - As I always say, all’s well that ends well: With the resistance out of the way, maybe the Blues and Reds can finally learn to trust each other.
Genocide - Um... or not.
The camera goes to the planet’s surface. On either side of a giant wall, hatches open on the ground and large cannons of some sort extend and aim towards the other side. Magazines of large missiles are loaded into each launcher. Back on the Celestial, Genocide has just finished explaining that the missiles are nuclear.
Righteous - Nuclear, nuclear... which one is that again?
Baque - That’s the one that kills all life on the planet regardless of which side wins.
Righteous - Ah that one. Hail their leaders please. Oh, and crazy weapons person? Prepare to fulfill General Order 24 and a half.
Genocide - 24 and a half? What’s that one?
Righteous - That’s the one where we kill almost all life on a planet. And if I recall correctly, 24 and three quarters is where we come back and finish the job. 25 is the one where we blame it all on the Borg.
Genocide - Woohoo! Mindless destruction!!!!
Senseless - I should point out that in all of Starfleet history, General Order 24 has never been carried out even once.
Genocide - Well, there’s a first time for everything!
Righteous - Oh wait, did I say 24? Whoops. Nearly killed billions of people. Just do the one where we target military installations or whatever.
Genocide - You are no fun, you know that?
Casey - Like, they’re, like, responding.
Senseless - Onscreen.
Red Leader - We must thank you for helping us to eradicate the scourge infesting our sacred moon.
Blue - I knew you were working with them!
Senseless - We’re not working with either side. In case you’ve forgotten, you both called us to request our help negotiating a peace between your two peoples. Frankly, I see no reason why that still can’t be. Is it really your right to judge people just because they don’t believe exactly the same as you do?
Red, Blue - Yes.
Righteous - No, it’s not. However, seeing as I have the eternal blessing of the Prophets, as well as an insurance clause from Starfleet, I can judge: I judge you all to be crazy people, and shouldn’t have access to the level of technology you have.
Red - How dare you imply we’re primitive! You think by insulting us you’ll strengthen the Blues, whom more closely follow your own line of thinking? Admit it, you claim to uphold the principals of freedom and diversity, but you just go around influencing lesser races in order to meld them into your own image. If you think you can achieve this with us by allying yourselves with the Blues, allow me to demonstrate just how wrong you are! Blue! Prepare to die!
Blue - Not if you die first!
Both leaders hit buttons on their consoles. Righteous just shakes his head while the rest of the bridge crew look on in a mixture of amusement and terror.
Righteous - Mr. Genocide, fire.
The camera goes to the planet’s surface, down to that border city, to where the two missile launchers, just two of thousands all over the planet, aim at each other and power up to fire. Seconds before launch, dual phaser beams slice down from the sky and vapourize both launchers. More phaser beams and torpedoes fly through the sky, hitting warehouses, airfields, space ports, and munitions depots. Back on the bridge, the viewscreen is showing the shaking government offices where both the Red and Blue leaders are presiding.
Red - My console! It just went dead!
Blue - Mine too!
Righteous - We’ve disarmed you. Feel free to hit each other with sticks and clubs.
Sa’lol - Sensors show minimal radiation and light casualties on both sides. Not bad, considering the alternative.
Righteous - The way I see it, and I of course could be wrong, but you’ve got nothing left to fight with. Also, your earlier attacks against this ship will be seen as acts of aggression by the rest of the quadrant. I wouldn’t expect any aid for a while, if I were you. Why not start working together? Clearly your “Wise Ones” didn’t see any need to protect you from us. Anyway, we’re out of time so I’m gonna say bye bye! Good luck!
Casey cuts the channel and Righteous goes back to his seat. The rest of the crew just stare at him.
Righteous - What? Starfleet said to prevent a civil war, and that’s what we did. Now, helmboy, set a course for Sector 548, warp 7.
Senseless - You know, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you actually knew what you were doing back there.
Garell - But of course, you know better.
Tener - We certainly got lucky: That could have gone a lot worse.
Righteous - It’s a gift.
Long pause while Baque lays in the new course.
Puker - Admiral Nelix is gonna be pretty pissed at us.
Righteous - Meh, what else is new?