Episode 61: “Dark Art, Part II”
Written by Swordtail
Published April 24, 2008
Computer - Last time, on whatever the hell we’re calling this now...
Doctor Puker - Hey! Grave robbers stole our metal lizard friend!
Sa’lol - Hey! Someone made a bacteria that can eat through metal!
Doctor Puker - Hey! Grave robbers stole our metal lizard friend!
Bad Guys - Excuse us while we disintegrate this Sovereign-class starship, thus causing it to crash into Sigmus V and kill 4.7 million people or more.
Federation News Service - You’re excused.
Doctor Puker - Hey! Grave robbers stole our metal lizard friend!
Vice Admiral Nelix - How come every time something bad happens to the Federation, you jerks and your pathetic starship somehow are our only hope?
Lieutenant Tener - Shits and giggles, probably.
Senseless - Let’s send our entire medical staff down to Sigmus V and then take the Ninth Fleet and go up against the bad guys.
Doctor Puker - Hey! Grave robbers stole our metal lizard friend!
Captain Ketrell - Well we sure lasted long in that fight.
Doctor Puker - Hey! Grave robbers stole our metal lizard friend!
Bad Guys - Did we mention we have a cloaked ship? But we don’t like it so we’re going to take yours.
Captain Righteous - Ha! You and what army?
Computer - And now, the conclusion...
Scene 1 - In the large warehouse on one of the moons of Sigmus VII, the entire Celestial crew, which is quite lacking in blue-shirts by the way, watches in horror as a ten centimetre thick door composed of solid steel is ripped open. Three gleaming metal lizards, each about two metres long, 200 kg, and covered in thick metallic armour, all wielding spiked claws and tails, and razor-sharp teeth, bound into the room.
Righteous - Ah... that army.
No-Name #1 (he found another bunch of doors) - Everyone! This way!
The entire crew, about 600 strong, starts panicking and running for the various exits as the metal lizards make quick work of the stragglers. The camera watches as Lieutenant-Commander Garell pushes no-names out of the way, trying to reach the exit.
Garell - Out of my way, out of my way, women and essential personnel first!
The camera goes to Senseless, Genocide and Tener who are more calmly ushering crew past them.
Senseless - Guys, we need those weapons that guy said were here, if they actually exist.
Genocide - No problem, I can smell nadions a mile away. James, grab some gold-shirts and follow me.
Tener and Genocide round up as many security guards as they can find and head off. Senseless turns around in time to see one of the lizards spin in a circle, eviscerating about a dozen no-names with its lashing tail.
Senseless - We need to buy some time...
He spots a Betazoid red-shirt and grabs her arm.
Senseless - Hey, right now you telepathic types are our only defence. Is there anything you can do?
No-Name #2 - Maybe... hang on.
She closes her eyes and starts concentrating really hard. Suddenly, one of the lizards flinches and hesitates before ripping open an unlucky crewman.
No-Name #2 - It’s working sir, but I don’t know how long I can hold this up.
Senseless yells over the rush of moving people.
Senseless - Hey! Any telepathic people here should seriously start trying to do something with their powers! Yes, I know we often ignore your abilities, but this isn’t the time for nitpicking!
Several other Betazoids and Vulcans just shrug and all start concentrating as well. The lizards start to look more and more uncomfortable. Over by Lieutenant Sa’lol, Casey jumps behind her.
Casey - Like, I’ll just stay safe behind you.
Sa’lol - Casey, I don’t think I have the mental discipline to do that kind of thing. You’re no safer behind me. Come on, over there, the third exit, it’s almost clear now.
She runs by and heads for said exit. Casey spins around to follow but gets dizzy and loses her bearings. One of the lizards singles her out and lunges at her. Sa’lol turns just in time to see the lizard’s claw hit Casey in the side.
Sa’lol - Ensign! I did not give you permission to get yourself killed!
Casey falls to the floor, blood flowing from a wound on her side. The lizard raises an arm and is about to finish her off when a half dozen phaser blasts hit it so hard it flies backwards. Sa’lol turns to see Tener and Genocide and about thirty yellow-shirts, all carrying compression phaser rifles. The lizards, dazed from telepathic assault as well as from the near-ineffectual phaser blasts, lag behind enough for Sa’lol to grab Casey and run out of the room with the rest of the crew. The security force move to cover the exits and then backs into them. Once inside they close the doors and melt them shut with their phasers. Genocide runs into Righteous.
Righteous - Ah, Commander, how’s it going?
Genocide - Those doors are made of solid neutronium. They should slow our friends down a bit. Here, take a phaser.
He tosses him a hand phaser.
Righteous - Thanks. Now, how about stopping those Prophet-forsaken things before they kill any more of my loyal underlings?
Senseless runs up from down the corridor, out of breath.
Senseless - We lost fifty people, and we’ve got about a dozen more injured, including Ensign Casey.
Righteous - Funny girl? Well, that just won’t do. Have Doctor Puker look after her.
Senseless - Uh... don’t you remember that we sent our entire medical crew down to Sigmus 5?
Righteous - No, I remember that you gave that order, so I’m going to blame you if we have to find another new officer.
Genocide - Commander, we can’t hold those lizards back forever. Sooner or later they’ll find a way in, and these phasers won’t even scratch them.
Righteous - Why are the crazy metal lizards here anyway?
Tener - Maybe this is a training facility, and we’re meant to train them. Could explain why those jerks went through the trouble of telling us there were weapons down here.
Senseless - Alright, I want you to take Garell and have a look around, see if there’s anything here we can use to either escape or kill those things.
Tener - Yeah, yeah, go off in a small group, because that’s always safe...
Scene 2 - The camera pans around the USS Solaris, Saratoga, and Citadel. All three ships are missing large portions of their hulls. The camera goes to a corridor on Solaris, where Lieutenant-Commander Dalarsh and her engineering team are inspecting the damage. Captain Ketrell walks up to her.
Ketrell - At the risk of jinxing us, I won’t ask why we’re not dead, but please tell me anyway.
Dalarsh - Antimatter radiation, from the core exploding. Doctor Samson is inoculating the crew and I think he’s also examining the dead bacteria to try to figure out exactly how they work.
Ketrell - That’s funny, I just saw him poking an iguana with a stick and having a coffee.
Dalarsh - Yeah, he does that on his breaks.
Suddenly the lights get a bit brighter and the hum of the impulse engines starts up.
Dalarsh - Ah, about time. Captain, it is my pleasure to inform you that our sublight engines are now online.
Ketrell - Good work. Let’s go help the Celestial.
Commander Ren (comm) - Captain, we just received a distress call from a Tellarite freighter. Apparently the USS Celestial attacked it using that same energy beam that nearly destroyed us as well.
Ketrell - On second thought, let’s go help destroy the Celestial.
Dalarsh - With what? If they fire that weapon again, it’ll just start eating away at our hull, and we’re fresh out of warp cores.
Ren (comm) - Not to mention we wouldn’t last five minutes against the Celestial in a fight.
Ketrell - You’re right. There’s only one ship here that would. Ren, meet me in the transporter room in five minutes.
Scene 3 - On Sigmus V, Doctor Puker, Lieutenant Blavik, and numerous blue-shirts are tending to the sick populace of Dalian City.
Puker - More radiation poisoning. If those relief supplies don’t get here soon we’re looking at another five million dead. What a waste of time this will end up being if that happens.
Blavik - Most civilian ships are staying as far away from this area as possible. No one wants to go up against that biological weapon.
Puker - Whatever happened to the spirit of friendship and self-sacrifice that made the Federation so hated by other cultures?
Blavik - I blame the younger generation’s inability to control their less desirable emotions.
Puker - Aren’t you technically part of that generation?
Blavik - Case in point: My sister.
Meanwhile, up in space, the USS Celestial is orbiting the planet and under heavy assault from the starbase. On the exploding bridge, Fredren and the various others are trying to keep the ship in one piece.
No-Name #3 (working Tactical) - Fredren, our dorsal shields are failing. We can’t hold up anymore.
Fredren - Have you located him yet?
No-Name #4 (ops) - Yes sir, he’s in a make-shift medical facility in Dalian City. There’s someone else there too, but I can’t get an individual lock on him. Should I try a wide beam transport?
Fredren - Yes. Drop ventral shields and divert the power to the dorsal ones. Beam them both to the brig.
The camera goes to the brig, where Puker and Blavik suddenly materialize.
Puker - Oh, this is new.
Back on the bridge...
No-Name #4 - Got them!
Fredren - Cloak the ship and get us out of here!
The camera watches as the Celestial takes evasive manoeuvrers and vanishes. The Starbase continues to fire blindly, trying to hit them. Several missed shots impact the surface of the planet and kill even more civilians.
Scene 4 - In the briefing room of the USS Saratoga, Captain Farfetched, Commander Shelby, Lieutenant-Commandre Garsh, and Lieutenant Scratcher listen to Captain Ketrell’s plan.
Garsh - Ah, hell no! Are you out of your Bajoran mind?
Ren - Hey, it’s a good idea.
Shelby - We’ve got a hole the size of Texas through our hull thanks to those pirates, and I’m not eager for round two.
Ren - We have a plan to neutralize the threat of their bacteria, you twits!
Farfetched - Oh do tell, this should be interesting.
Ren goes to the computer monitor.
Ren - The USS Celestial survived the bacteria because of certain elements in their outer hull. Mainly, chromium. Our science officer says that chromium is lethal to the bacteria. In high enough concentrations, it could even kill the bacteria before they start to eat the tritanium.
Farfetched - So you want to chrome-plate the entire hull of the Saratoga? Do you know how long that would take? Why not do your ship, it’s smaller after all.
Ketrell - Our ship doesn’t have nearly enough fire-power to neutralize the Celestial, and we have no warp core. They just kidnapped Doctor Puker from Dalian city and cloaked. We’re now utterly certain the pirates have hijacked the ship. That, and when they flew into orbit they didn’t hit a single satellite, which kinda proves Lieutenant Baque isn’t flying.
Farfetched - Do you jackasses have any idea how big this ship is? It would take weeks to do what you’re proposing!
Ren - Not with the combined efforts of three vessels working together, asshole! Are you gonna help us stop these jerks or not?!?
Ketrell - That’s enough, Nezna.
Farfetched - Exactly, jackass, enough. Frankly, I think this is a stupid idea because for all we know the bacteria will just build up a tolerance to the chromium. But, hey, screen time never hurts. Let’s get started.
Scene 5 - Back on the barely-habitable moon, Sa’lol and a few other people are tending to the injured crew who are all lying in a large room. Yellow shirts and Commander Senseless are guarding the doors. Sa’lol finishes checking on Casey and walks up to the commander.
Senseless - How is she?
Sa’lol - It’s hard to say at this point. All I know about medicine is what Blavik used to go on and on about back in the Academy. Casey’s got a punctured kidney, a fractured rib and it looks like there’s internal bleeding.
Senseless - But she’ll be alright, right?
Sa’lol - I don’t know. Keep in mind she only has half a name. No one’s been able to find out her last name, so she’s only got a 50% chance of surviving. As for the rest of the injured... no hope in hell.
A no-name walks up to them.
No-Name #5 - Sir, we’ve tried connecting together a bunch of commbadges, but it doesn’t look like there’s enough power to boost the signal beyond the ionization in the planet’s rings.
Senseless - That little message our friends sent to us sure made it through, keep trying.
No-Name #5 - Fine! Give me a useless task, why don’t ‘cha?
Meanwhile, in another part of the research facility, Garell, Tener, and a bunch of yellow-shirts are wandering around looking at stuff.
Garell - What we have here is a refueling station... I think. That tank there is full of deuterium.
No-Name #6 - Um, ma’am? There’s a control station of some sort down this other corridor.
Garell - Alright, let’s get going before—
The familiar sound of metal scraping against metal rebounds down the corridor.
Garell - God damn it.
No-Name #6 - Do we run?
Tener - Sure, for all the good it’ll do us: They’ll just catch up to us once we reach that control room you said you found. Ma’am, any ideas?
Garell looks around the room.
Garell - As a matter of fact...
Scene 6 - Puker is pacing back and forth in the holding cell him and Blavik are in. Suddenly, the brig doors open and Fredren comes in.
Fredren - Ah, Dr. Vaughn Puker, so nice to finally meet you. And you must be...
Blavik says nothing.
Fredren - No matter, your ship’s computer will tell us soon enough. Sorry I had to grab you with such short notice, but we’re not very well liked around here.
Puker - You killed 4.7 million people! Another five million are dying of radiation sickness!
Fredren - The USS Mont-Blanc gave us no choice. Our cloak failed and we were forced to defend ourselves.
Puker - By killing 4.7 million people!?!
Fredren - We deeply regret those deaths, but it was the Mont-Blanc that decided to land on the planet.
Puker (sarcastically) - Oh, my mistake, you only meant to kill 700 people. That makes it all better!
Fredren - I’ve followed your career with great interest, Doctor. I know for a fact you’re not one to blink twice about violating your Hippocratic oath in order to serve a greater good, whether that good be for scientific morality or comedic value.
Puker - Two things which you guys seem to severely lack.
Fredren - Well, then you can help us. Tell me, do you remember a certain virus known as contrivitus revivitie?
Blavik - The zombie virus? What could you possibly want with that?
Puker - He wants me to help him prefect it.
Fredren - Think of the possibilities, Doctor! With the virus under our control, we could conquer the last frontier of medicine! We could cure death itself!
Puker - There are three things in medicine man was never meant to know: How life started, why the emergencies happen every time I go on break, and how to live forever. I will never help you control the zombie virus.
Fredren - Oh, trust me, you will. By the time our current mission is complete, you’ll have no choice.
Blavik - You’re planning on releasing the virus into a large population? On a planet?
Fredren - Not just any planet. Any backwater world and Starfleet could just bombard from space to solve their problems. We’re going to release this on the one world no one would dare sacrifice.
Puker - Not Earth again...
Fredren - Exactly. We’ll reach Earth in one week. You have that long to decide whether the virus will cure death when it’s released, or turn the entire population into mindless zombies. Let me know your decision.
Fredren and his guards leave the room.
Puker - We’ve got to get out of here and stop them.
Blavik - I’m open to suggestions. Preferably ones that don’t involve us using untested ship’s systems which may end up killing us. I shall save that one for when I’m staring down the barrel of a phaser rifle.
Puker - Alright, they’ll no doubt take us to be interrogated and probably tortured for any information we contain that they can’t get out of the computer. While that happens, we should try to ascertain their numbers and how much control they have over the ship. Even if they managed to put some kind of virus into the computer I doubt they have total control over it.
Blavik - I should inform you, sir, that in the event they attempt to probe my mind I will be forced to kill myself in the interest of galactic survival.
Puker - What? Why!?
Blavik - I can’t tell you, since they’re probably monitoring us.
Puker - Way to take the easy way out...
Scene 7 - Back in the refueling area, Garell, Tener, and the no-names finish setting up a highly elaborate and overly complicated trap for the metal lizard things.
Tener (scratching his head) - Wanna explain this to me again?
Garell - Alright. When the lizards enter the room, they’ll trip that wire there. The wire will activate a high-pitched and very annoying alarm on the left wall. While they turn to look at it, the sound will have set off a sonic sensor which will drop that brick from the ceiling. The brick will hit the trigger of that cross-bow thing, which will release an elastic band and fire that arrow at the same time. The elastic band will depress the trigger on that phaser which is attached to the arrow. As the arrow flies across the room, the phaser will melt open the deuterium storage tank and ignite the deuterium. The extreme heat will then melt the lizards.
Tener - Why not just shoot the tank as soon as they enter the room?
Garell - Lieutenant, please, leave the engineering to us engineers. The “shoot it and be done” method works perfectly fine, which is why it obviously doesn’t have enough features yet. Besides, what if you miss? My way is better. Everyone ready?
The no-names all give the thumbs up. The entire team then runs through the opposite corridor and hits around a corner.
Garell (whispering) - Here goes... (louder) Hey! Morons!
The door at the other end of the refueling room bursts open and the three lizards run in and look around. They step over the wire and start sniffing around the middle of the room.
Tener - They... didn’t trip the wire.
Garell - Thanks, I can see that... Time for plan B.
No-Name #6 - What’s plan B?
Garell - Plan B is we sacrifice one of our own so the others can run like hell!
She shoves No-Name #6 around the corner and then the rest of them take off running like horses out of the glue factory as the lizards dismember No-Name #6.
No-Name #6 - Damn it, this is not a good day! GAK!
Scene 8 - In the Celestial’s sickbay, the doors open and several guards shove Dr. Puker inside. Fredren is standing over a biobed which has that incompetent helmsman from the previous episode strapped onto it.
Fredren - Ah, my good doctor. I’d like you to meet Seveern. He’s responsible for nearly giving your bridge a new skylight.
Seveern (panicking) - It was an accident! The attitude thrusters were malfunctioning! The Celestial moved! My hand slipped! The voices told me to do it!
Fredren ignores him and then injects him with a hypospray.
Puker - Wait, wait, don’t tell me...
Seveern starts getting feverish.
Fredren - Zombie virus. He has about an hour to live, at most. That means you have an hour to come up with a way to turn the virus into a cure for death or I’ll infect another subject.
Puker - You people are sick. Coming from me, that’s a big insult. I’ve killed no-names because I was having a bad day, but I never deliberately made them suffer.
Fredren - All in the pursuit of knowledge, doctor. Evolution requires sacrifices. If we choose to cling to our ethics, they’ll be our undoing.
Puker (scanning the dying Seveern) - I seem to remember a group of people saying that same thing about six months ago. Now what happened to them... oh right! Their sheer arrogance led to their utter annihilation!
Seveern - My eye fell out!
Fredren, Puker - Shut up!
Fredren - Doctor I won’t pretend what we’re doing is morally good in any way, but in the long run look at the lives we’re improving!
Puker - You mean your lives! How did you get that equipment? How did you get that ship? How many people died in order to get enough money to buy that stuff? What kind of biological and chemical weapons do you people sell? Did you buy wholesale? No? So how much did you pay? How much does it cost, Fredren, before it becomes wrong!
Fredren - Look, we could stand here and argue about this till we’re both blue in the face but it would serve nothing. You have your assignment, get to it.
Fredren starts to leave while the guards move to block Puker from doing the same.
Fredren - And I’d suggest hurrying up. If we run out of test subjects, we’ll just have to use your little Vulcan friend instead.
Seveern - I can’t feel my toes... My toes fell off!!! I want a hug... Man, this is the worst pain ever!!!
Puker (smiling) - Oh, now you guys are gonna get it.
Pause. Nothing happens.
Puker (sighs, goes back to scanning) - Never a Klingon around when you need one...
Scene 9 - Senseless is watching Sa’lol tend to Casey in the room where the survivors are holding up.
Sa’lol - Hey, Ensign, (snaps fingers in her face) Wake up! I have to change your bandages.
Casey - Can I, like, have a Spiderman bandage?
Sa’lol - I’m going to attribute that statement to blood loss and not stupidity.
Genocide walks up to Senseless.
Genocide - Commander, we might have a problem.
Senseless - Just one?
Genocide - Have you seen the captain?
Senseless - He was just...
Senseless looks around the room, but Righteous is nowhere to be seen.
Senseless - What the..?
Genocide - Update, I’m sure we have a problem. He’s not answering his comm either.
Senseless - Damn it. Go find him.
Genocide - Those lizards have a pretty good sense of smell. If he finds them, his scent will lead them all the way back to us.
Senseless - Somehow I doubt finding 500 terrified men and women would be hard with or without a trail to follow. Speaking of which, have you heard from Garell and Tener yet?
Genocide - No, and the lizards have stopped scratching at the doors too.
Senseless - Go find them, if you can.
Genocide - I’m not going out there! Not without some serious firepower, and in case you haven’t heard, I left my flak cannon at home!
A no-name yellow-shirt finishes tinkering with a piece of equipment and passes it to Genocide.
No-Name #7- Here. Use this.
Genocide takes the bowling-ball sized object and examines it.
Genocide - What is it?
No-Name #7 - A one-hundred-megaton improvised explosive fusion device.
Pause. Genocide holds the bomb a bit further away.
Senseless - Where did you find this?
No-Name #7 - I built it, out of light fixtures, phaser power cells, and the radioactive material they put in smoke detectors. Hey, don’t look at me like that! No-names can be just as productive as main characters. More, even. Who do you think keeps stuff running in the background? Vive la no-names!
Everyone in the room goes silent and just looks at him.
Genocide - I won’t point out the obvious error with your last sentence. But thanks for the bomb, I’ll be sure to set it off a few kilometres away so we can at least see the explosion that will then kill us!
No-Name #7 (to someone) - Hey! Kiesha! Where was that mineshaft you said you found that goes all the way down into the core of the planet?
No-Name #8 - Like, down that hatch you said you found!
Casey (yelling) - Kiesh? That you?
Kiesha - Hey girl! How’s it goin’?
Casey - Like, you know, it’s all cool.
Senseless - Well, on one hand we’re pretty much fucked as it is, and on the other hand someone could easily accidentally transport these lizards off the moon and release them onto Sigmus V or somewhere else. We’ll all be long dead by then, so maybe we should take these lizards out with us. Meh, beats being eaten or having to listen to the conversation that is about to ensue. Genocide, go blow up the moon before we end up with more recurring characters.
Genocide - Blowing things up is my speciality. One lunar flambé, coming right up.
He gives a quick salute, then trots off through the crowd carrying the massively powerful bomb. Everywhere, people back away from him.
No-Name #8 - Dude, how can you carry that thing so easily? I’d be scared to death of dropping it.
Genocide - I once lugged around an matter inversion weapon that had the power to blow up an entire solar system. This thing is like Diet Coke and Mentos by comparison.
Senseless watches him leave. Suddenly, Captain Righteous walks up besides him.
Righteous - Why is crazy weapons guy so happy?
Senseless - Where the hell have you been, sir? We were just about to send out a search party!
Righteous - I was on the bridge trying to call Admiral Spot. But I couldn’t afford the long distance charge they wanted me to pay. The lizards were nearby, but I don’t think they saw me because they were too busy running for exercise. Good for them, I say!
Senseless - Bridge?
Righteous - Oh yeah, I forgot. Turns out this complex is actually a spaceship. Probably so the bad guys could just get up and leave when needed. We should get blue woman to see if it will fly.
Sa’lol - I’ll take a look at it too. Speaking of blue woman, where is she?
Garell - AHHHHHHHHHH!!!
Uh... Scene 10. Garell, Tener, and a few remaining no-names run through the hallways of the complex. Suddenly they run by a console next to a exterior window. Tener hesitates for a moment and then continues running.
Tener - I think we’re in a ship! I recognized the impulse control systems back there.
Garell - Don’t care! Run!
They continue running like crazy. Suddenly they enter an intersection.
Garell - Which way?
Tener - I thought you knew?
Garell - No, I took a few wrong turns. We’re so lost right now.
The sound of the lizards can be heard behind them.
Garell - Uh... um...
She picks a direction randomly and they all keep running.
Tener - Why do things like this always happen to me?
Suddenly, they round a corner and find themselves face to face with the three lizards.
Garell - Hi, you wouldn’t happen to know which way it is back to the main chamber, would you?
The lizards all growl.
Garell - Didn’t think so.
She shoves a no-name at them and then turns around and runs down one of the many parallel corridors. The lizards kill the no-name and then take chase. The camera watches as they all start running back and forth across the main hall way through various doors, like has been done too many times in television. Finally Garell, Tener, and the only remaining no-name manage to lose the lizards and take off down the hallway again. It doesn’t take long for the lizards to catch up with them. One spins in mid-air and pulverizes the remaining no-name’s head against the wall.
Tener - Alright, we’re out of cannon fodder. Now what?
Before she can answer, they run into that room with their elaborate contraption set up in it. Unfortunately, the lizards are hot on their tail so they don’t even notice where they are until Garell trips over the wire and Tener falls on top of her. The lizards stop and raise their claws to strike when suddenly a high-pitched noise fills the room. The lizards all swing their heads toward the sound, only to hear another sound:
Crossbow - TWANG!
Phaser - BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT!!!!!
Deuterium - BOOOOM!!!
A plane of super-hot flame jets across the room, following the path of the phaser. It engulfs the lizards and sets everything in the room on fire. The intense heat quickly starts melting the metal skin of the lizards. They writhe in agony and collapse into a distorted heap on the floor, dead. Tener finally gets up off of Garell and pats his burning sleeve out on the wall.
Garell - Ha! Told you that would work!
Tener - When this is over, I owe you a drink. Come on, let’s get back to the others and tell them what we’ve found and done, before they do something drastic, like blow up the moon.
Scene 11 - Bridge of the Celestial. A frazzled-looking Fredren walks out of the ready room and takes the Captain’s chair.
Fredren - Change of plans. Turn us around. We’re going back to Sigmus VII.
Helm Person - Um... why?
Fredren - Someone alerted Earth. The Spacedock and the other orbiting stations have set up a tachyon detection grid. It’s too dense to pilot the Celestial through, so we’re going to go back and set it on autopilot, making it do as much damage to Sigmus V as possible. By the time it’s destroyed, a lot more than five million people will be dead.
Helm Person (understanding) - While... we meanwhile take the smaller SS Sparrow through the grid! Brilliant, sir!
Fredren - Take us to maximum warp.
Helm Person - That will require dropping the cloak.
Fredren - I know, I want them to know where we’re going. Tell our team to prep the Sparrow for launch.
Scene 12 - Back in the facility/spaceship, Genocide is standing over an open hatch, holding the bomb.
Genocide - Bombs away...
He drops it and it falls quickly through the hole.
Genocide (sigh) - And we all die in ten... nine... eight... hey! What the hell?
He looks down the hole. The bomb has slowed its descent and is barely twenty metres down the hole, accelerating slowly.
Genocide - Son of a bitch!
He angrily slams shut the hatch just as Tener and Garell run in from an adjoining corridor.
Tener - Ah, commander, good to see you, we’ve got great news.
Genocide - Apparently this facility has artificial gravity! This moon is barely a thousand kilometres in diameter! The gravity is pathetic! It’ll take minutes for that bomb to reach the core!
Garell - You dropped a bomb down there!?! What on Bolias for?
Genocide - I... shit, I don’t even know! Some no-name handed me a fusion bomb and I figured I had nothing left to live for so I might as well go out with a bang.
Garell - We’ve killed the lizards and I think I can get this ship working! Turn the bomb off!
Genocide - Can’t. It’s programmed to detonate on impact.
Tener - How long until that happens?
Genocide - At its almost funny rate of acceleration, and adding in the fact that will slow down as it approaches the moon’s core, I’d say twenty minutes, tops.
Garell - Well then, I have twenty minutes to turn this frozen hunk of half-cannibalized metal into a working starship.
She runs back the way Tener and her came, muttering under her breath. A short time later, Senseless and Righteous are talking to Garell over the comm.
Garell (comm) - She’ll fly, but the structural integrity field is totally shot. We’ll lose most of the ship as soon as we take off, and if that moon blows before we can get behind Sigmus VII, we’re toast.
Senseless - Good to know. Oh, something else: Casey’s unconscious. Blood loss. Sa’lol says she has an hour to live, at best. If this thing will fly now, I’d suggest doing so.
The camera goes to the control room, where Garell has jury-rigged the entire room and wires litter the floor.
Garell - Alright... here goes nothing.
She hits a button and the whole facility shakes. As the shaking continues, Righteous stumbles over to a window and looks out at the slowly receding landscape.
Righteous - We’re flying! Wheeeee!
Scene 13 - Up in space, the USS Celestial drops out of warp and approaches the ringed gas giant Sigmus VII. The camera goes to look at the back of the ship, where the SS Sparrow is bungie-corded to the shuttlebay landing strip. Its back end is poking through the forcefield and people are moving in and out of it. The camera goes to the bridge, where Fredren is giving orders.
Fredren - ...And make sure the navigation charts are up to spec, I don’t want this thing missing its target.
Helm Person - Um... sir... our research facility is lifting off of the moon.
Fredren - Impossible! The lizards can’t possibly have gotten the engines working.
Helm Person - No, but the crew we left there could have.
Fredren - Impossible! The lizards can’t possibly have not eaten them by now!
Helm Person - What should we do?
Fredren - They must have somehow killed the lizards. No matter, we can always make more. Lay in an intercept course and prepare to destroy it.
Suddenly, the turbolift doors open and Doctor Puker and that Seveern guy (looking much better) walk onto the bridge holding phasers.
Fredren - What the hell!? You should be dead!
Seveern - I’ve had an epiphany! What we’re doing is wrong. There must be another way besides running around infecting people with Rigellian fever in order to try new antidotes, making morphogenic viruses to wipe out the Founders, and synthesizing bacteria to eat starship hulls.
Puker - That, and I gave him the anti-virus I developed over a year ago.
While Seveern holds his weapon on Fredren and the others on the bridge, Puker runs over to a console and starts typing away.
Puker - They’ve ripped open the computer systems, but my codes should still hold some weight... wait, there’s a ship approaching. I’m detecting 487 lifeforms aboard... it’s our crew.
Just then, the other turbolift opens and three guards come out. As soon as they see Seveern and the doctor, they raise their weapons. Puker and Seveern spin around and shoot them, but it gives Fredren enough time to take out a concealed weapon and kill Seveern. Puker dodges behind the ops console and starts taking pot shots at Fredren and the Helm Person. Fredren jumps behind the helm console and returns fire, and also activates his communicator.
Fredren - Fredren to all personnel, whoever has access to tactical systems, destroy the incoming ship. Everyone else, eliminate all security threats.
The camera watches as several guards enter one of the Celestial’s cargo bays, where a bunch of homeless-looking people are waiting to be turned into test subjects. The guards don’t say a word as they start killing everyone. The camera then goes to the brig. Two guards enter the room just as Blavik gets up from the bed.
Guard #1 (sneering) - Any last words?
Blavik - Actually, yes. Computer, activate internal security measures. Eliminate all unauthorized personnel.
The two guard’s eyes go wide as ceiling hatches open and phaser turrets descend from them.
All over the ship the turrets start gunning down the guards and the rogue scientists. In the cargo bay, the two executioners are killed before they can finish their jobs. Back in the brig...
Blavik - Computer, lower forcefield, authorization Blavik epsilon three alpha.
The forcefield drops and Blavik calmly leaves the room, giving the dead guards a last glance.
Blavik - I’ll be sure to tell Lieutenant Tener how effective his security upgrades proved.
Scene 14 - Back on the bridge, phaser pulses have quickly killed the Helm Person and everyone else on the bridge except Fredren and Puker. Fredren, seeing his defeat, hits his communicator again.
Fredren - Sparrow, beam me out!
He dematerializes and Puker gets up and goes to the helm.
Puker (checking the ship’s status) - Computer, lower shields. Lock onto all lifeforms aboard the approaching ship and beam them aboard.
Computer - Warning: Emergency transport will require all ship’s power. Auxiliary power has been drained by cloaking device.
Puker - Damn. Lock target on the ship attached to the shuttlebay and destroy it.
Computer - Unable to comply. Weapon targeting system has been encrypted. Unable to change target lock.
Puker - Then begin transport, save as many as you can. Man, Admiral Nelix is gonna kill me if Righteous gets saved over anyone else...
Scene 15 - On the SS Sparrow, only Fredren and a few people who were on the ship at the time the security systems opened fire are still alive. The ship detaches from the Celestial and moves towards the moon, Fredren at the helm/ops/tactical station.
Fredren - On the bright side, this does eliminate all evidence that could blame the Dalian City disaster on us, right?
Several of the no-names chuckle as Fredren fires a photon torpedo directly at the weird-looking ship (Kinda looks like that one from that Enterprise episode where the moon-base took off). They watch as the torpedo flies toward it. In the station’s control room, Garell is watching the same torpedo.
Garell (cringing) - Ah oh... ouch time.
Suddenly, a phaser beam comes out of nowhere and takes out the torpedo before it can hit the flying facility.
As Garell’s mood lightens, back on the Sparrow, Fredren’s hits rock bottom. He swings the ship around, looking for the source of the phaser blast. Just as the turn finishes, the sunlight falling on Sigmus VII hits something very shiny. The glare nearly blinds everyone on the bridge before Fredren can adjust the viewscreen brightness.
Fredren - What the hell!?!
The camera goes into space. As the bright object falls back into the shadow of the planet’s rings, it is revealed to be a Galaxy-class starship, completely covered, stem to stern, in reflective chrome hull plating. Only the windows and various lights and stuff aren’t as shiny as a silver-backed mirror. The camera goes to the Saratoga’s bridge.
Shelby - ...You know, we’ve totally pimped out our ride...
Back on the SS Sparrow, Fredren finally calms down.
Fredren - Nice paint job, but it’ll more than a little light reflection to deter us. You, fire the emitter, full power!
The Sparrow fires its bacteria-beam directly at the Saratoga. It hits the ship nose-on but doesn’t do anything. On the Saratoga’s bridge...
Scratcher - OPS REPORT, SIR! OUR CHROMIUM PLATING HAS INDEED PROTECTED US FROM THE BACTERIA, SIR! NO DAMAGE, SIR!
Farfetched - Good... Mr. Garsh, show them our thoughts on mass murder.
Garsh - With pleasure...
The Saratoga fires its main phasers and hits the Sparrow. On said ship’s exploding bridge...
No-Name #9 - Weapons had no effect and are now offline! Shields are failing! AHH!
A console explodes and kills No-Name #9.
Fredren - Engage the cloak! Get us out of here.
On the Saratoga’s bridge...
No-Name #10 (helm girl) - They’re cloaking.
Farfetched - Damn! Start firing blind!
Garsh - No need. They’re leaking anti-protons like a faucet. Their cloak is utterly useless.
Farfetched - Then by all means, show these jackasses that their little experiments did not impress the judges and certainly didn’t win first place in the science fair!
Garsh hits a button. The Saratoga fires a quantum torpedo. It zooms through space. Fredren, feeling quite pleased with his last-second escape, does a double take when he looks at his console.
Fredren - Oh, fu—
BOOM! The SS Sparrow explodes violently.
Scene 16 - On the Bridge of the Celestial, Righteous, Senseless, Tener, Genocide, Baque, and Sa’lol walk off the turbolift and take their stations. Several no-names follow.
Puker - Glad to see everyone back, Commander. How was everything down there?
Senseless - Slightly contrived. Get to sickbay, Casey needs your help.
Puker leaves the bridge.
Genocide - Oh look, the Saratoga’s here.
Righteous - Ooh! Shiny!
Suddenly, Genocide’s commbadge starts frantically beeping.
Senseless - What does that signal?
Genocide - This reminds me I should soon inform you how fucked we all are if we don’t leave orbit very, very quickly.
Senseless - Right. Hail the Saratoga.
The viewscreen changes to show the Saratoga’s bridge.
Farfetched - So what have you jackasses been up to today?
Senseless - We’ll chat later, right now, I’d run if I were you. Fast!
The camera watches as the two starships turn and leave orbit. On the moon, a column of light suddenly flares from somewhere near where the facility ship had come from. A second later the moon practically explodes. An equatorial shockwave of dust and atmosphere obliterates the facility ship and buffets the Celestial and Saratoga around a bit too.
On the Celestial’s bridge, everyone gets back into their chairs.
Genocide - No damage... that could have been much worse.
Righteous - Helmboy, please set a course for Sigmus whatever-it-is so we can get our blue-shirts back.
Baque - For the love of God, would you please stop calling me that?
Righteous - God? No. Prophets? Maybe, but only if you ask nicely. Now, I think there’s a lesson to be learned today. Sure science and stuff is fun and should be pursued, but I think we can all see that if we take the stupid “ends justify the means” stance, we’ll all end up blown up by a quantum torpedo in orbit of a moon about to be destroyed. But on the other hand, if we try to suppress knowledge, we’ll just drive it underground, where people will be forced to make compromises and forfeit their morals in favour of the end result. We should just keep a good eye on what people are doing but never scoff at any new field of science just because we think we have more important things to do or it offends our cultural beliefs.
The rest of the bridge crew stare at him.
Senseless - You realize only the first bit of that actually applies here. The second part doesn’t even make sense.
Righteous - Don’t make me demote you.
Sa’lol - Rock.
Baque - Huh?
SMASH! The Celestial is broadsided. Sa’lol, being the only one braced, is the only one not thrown out of her seat by the impact.
Sa’lol - Rock, moon fragment, it’s all the same to me.
Senseless - You really do take some kind of perverse pleasure in that, don’t you.
Sa’lol - You have no idea.