Episode 65: “Take Me Out to the Holomatrix”
Written by Dan Carlson, aka “MinutiaeMan”
Published August 12, 2002
“Captain’s Log: After our battle with the evil crew of the evil Excelsior and their new allies, the Vaadwaur, the Relativity has returned to Starbase 47 for repairs. Exactly when the ship took enough damage to warrant repairs at a Starbase, I have no idea. But given that we used up a large portion of the season’s budget on visual effects in the last two-parter, I guess it’s time for one of those oh-so-exciting shipboard episodes.”
On the Bridge, the starbase controller’s voice came over the comm. “Relativity, you are cleared for docking. We’re opening the space doors.”
Braxton looked up. “Hey, wait a minute! Are you telling me that we’re still using the same Spacedock design from Star Trek III?”
Ducane responded, “Well sir, those stations were built to last. Besides, that filming miniature was pretty expensive. I guess they’re still trying to wring some usefulness out of it.”
Braxton scowled, “Oh, very well. Mister Sulu, take us in.”
“How many times do I have to remind you that it’s Captain Sulu! Anyway, I’m taking us in, one-quarter impulse.”
Ducane reacted, “What? No, you imbecile! What the heck are you doing? Regulations specify that ships should use thrusters only while in spacedock!”
Sulu turned around and said, “Well, yeah, I know that. But that fool Valeris took the Enterprise-A out of Spacedock on impulse back in The Undiscovered Country. And I’m a much better helmsman than she was, so I’ve got to be able to do that too.”
Braxton sighed. “Sulu, it just doesn’t work that way. For one thing, we’re a whole lot smarter in the 29th century.”
“Hey! I resent that!”
“Too bad. Just get us into the starbase, okay? And try not to crash into anything on the way in.”
A while later, Yar was sitting in the Relativity’s mess hall, looking bored out of her skull. Dax walked in and sat down across from Yar.
“So, Yar, what’s up?”
Yar sighed. “Unfortunately, not much. Why is it that we’re forced to resort to these pointless bottle shows after every big battle that we fight? It drives me nuts! There’s nothing to do while the ship is sitting in spacedock...”
Dax smiled sympathetically. “I know, we had to deal with the same thing during the Dominion War. We’d fight a pivotal battle, blow the bad guys to hell, and then go back to the station and suffer through one of those horrible Ferengi episodes. Or worse, a Vic Fontaine episode. At least we don’t have any Ferengi on this ship...”
“Shh! Don’t say that! They just might bring on one as a guest star to annoy us all!”
Yar sighed again. “I just wish that we had something to do besides sit around and work on repairs. This is going to be a short episode if we don’t have anything to do.”
Suddenly, a plasma-based illumination device appeared over Dax’s head. “I just may have an idea. I’ll be back later!”
Hours later, Dax gathered the senior staff of the Relativity in Holomatrix One. Moments later, Xaronna walked in.
Braxton was surprised, “Wait, what’s she doing here? She’s not one of the senior staff!”
Dax said, “I know, but we needed her for what I had in mind.”
Xaronna looked concerned and said, “Wait a minute, you’re not thinking of using me as an expendable crew member here, are you?”
Dax responded, “No, of course not! Besides, Starfleet has made great progress in improving the holomatrix safety protocols since the 24th century. Now they only fail when the plot requires it.”
“Oh, okay. Hey! Now just a darn minute...”
Ducane stepped over. “Relax, Xaronna, you’re not going to be killed off. You’re the only recurring character on this ship, and we can’t afford to lose any crew members who are recognizable to the readers. And now that we’re embroiled in this Vaadwaur War—”
“The Vaad War!” Braxton interrupted.
“Whatever. We don’t have time to waste on developing a brand-new character. So you’re safe.”
Dax spoke up. “Why don’t we forget the paranoia and get started? Or do you want to spend the rest of the episode arguing?”
“Hey, there’s an idea! I don’t remember any of the other series trying that!”
“Shut up, Braxton!” everyone shouted.
Ducane asked, “So what’s all this about, Dax?”
Dax explained, “Well, we’ve all been bored because this is a shipboard episode to save on special effects after the last two-parter. On top of that, several of us have lost some valuable screen time because of Braxton’s Plah D’Viz arc a few months ago. I thought it would be a good idea to have an ‘ensemble’ episode that gives everyone a fair chance for some action.”
“Well, it’s about time!” shouted the Doctor. “I’ve only been in three lousy episodes so far this season!”
Damar exclaimed, “Hey, that’s a great idea! I still haven’t gotten my chance to speak to the ship’s schoolchildren.”
Dax smiled patronizingly. “Exactly. This will let everyone get a fair shot at a good scene, at the very least.”
Ducane spoke up, “This sounds like a brilliant plan, Dax. What exactly did you have in mind?”
Dax smile grew. “A game of baseball! Computer, activate program Dax Alpha-four-seven.”
As a baseball field suddenly appeared around the assembled crew, everyone else looked at each other in confusion. “A game of what?” Braxton asked. “What’s that?” Xaronna wondered. “I’m nearly omnipotent, and I’ve never heard of that game,” Kes said.
Dax explained, “It’s a game from 20th century Earth. Ben Sisko was a big fan of baseball. I figured since we do so much time traveling, it would be instructive to play a historical game. Besides, I had lots of fun the last time I did this, back in ‘Take Me Out to the Holosuite.’”
Yar rolled her eyes. “You just had to explain the episode’s title for us, didn’t you?”
Ducane looked concerned. “Uhm, Dax? Shouldn’t we all be working on repairing the ship, so that we can get back to the front lines? The Vaadwaur are out there attacking hundreds of starbases across the Delta Quadrant! Why should we waste time playing a game in the holomatrix?”
Dax laughed. “I wouldn’t worry about that, Ducane. We did the same thing all the time on DS9. I swear that Bashir and O’Brien spent more time screwing around in their silly ‘Alamo’ program than at their duty stations. Besides, we need to do something to fill up this episode. Do you really think the readers would want to get an episode about repairing the Relativity?”
Braxton spoke up. “I think you’ve hit on a good idea, Dax. We could all do with a bit of relaxation. I’ve just got one question... how do we play?”
Hours later, Dax was on the verge of tearing her hair out in frustration, as various scenes unfolded across the field.
On the pitching mound, the Doctor threw the baseball up in the air, and sent it hurtling towards home plate... with a tennis racquet.
“Doctor, you idiot! You’re supposed to pitch the ball, not serve it!”
The Doctor tried again, this time managing to throw the ball properly. Braxton, standing at home plate, swung his bat and, surprisingly, managed to hit a low ground ball into the middle of the field. He then promptly dashed across the field... towards third base.
“No, no, no! You’re running the wrong way, you fool!”
But Braxton wasn’t listening, and continued his headlong rush in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, Damar scooped up the ball near second base, and threw it towards Braxton... and beaned him upside the head with the speeding sphere.
“Yes! He’s out, right Dax?”
Dax rolled her eyes. “Uhm... yeah, I guess so. Sure.”
She then looked towards the outfield, where Kes and Xaronna were tossing balls back and forth. Things seemed to be proceeding normally (or abnormally, since the norm was for everyone else to be playing abnormally). Kes especially seemed to be doing quite well, making a rather spectacular catch.
Ducane approached Dax. “It’s not quite what you imagined, is it?”
“Yeah, I should’ve known that this bunch would screw things up somehow...”
“Well, maybe we can do something to get even.”
As Dax gave a quizzical glance, Ducane gave an almost evil smile...
The next day, the Relativity crew gathered in the corridor outside the holomatrix. Dax was in the middle of a pep talk for the teammates.
“...And I know that most of us have just yesterday learned how to play the game, but I’m sure that we can all make a barely decent effort here and at least have some fun. But first, we need to decide on a team name.”
The team pondered for a moment. Then Braxton spoke up.
“How about ‘The Timers’?”
Everyone groaned. But no one ventured another suggestion, and so Dax finally had to accept it.
“Okay, ‘The Timers’ it is. Now, we need to have a team captain.”
Sulu got excited. “Ooh! Ooh! I’m the perfect man for that job! That’s because I’m a captain!!”
Dax, Ducane, and Braxton glanced at each other for a moment, and then nodded.
Yar said, “Okay, Sulu. You can be the team captain... but only because it’s totally pointless, just like your job as Captain of the Excelsior.”
”Hey! That’s not fair!”
Dax interrupted. “Okay, that’s enough with the Sulu-bashing. Are you guys ready?”
Everyone cheered, and rushed through the doors and onto the baseball field for their special ensemble episode...
...And everyone but Dax and Ducane stopped in their tracks. On the far side of the field, they saw a horrible, horrible sight.
Braxton panicked, “What are they doing here??? Braxton to the Bridge, Red Alert! We have intruders on the Holomatrix!”
Ducane spoke up, “Belay that order, Bridge. The ‘intruders’ are only holograms.” He closed the comm channel and explained to Braxton, “They’re the visiting team, the Anti-Timers. You can’t play baseball without a team to play against.”
“Yeah, but why them? They’ve nearly destroyed the galaxy dozens of times!”
Sure enough, the evil crew of the evil Excelsior was gathered on the field. Holographic versions of Old Captain Braxton, Old Psycho Braxton, Young Psycho Braxton, Rand, Valtane, Dark Helmet, Hawk, Dukat, Yoda, Galvatron, and Harvey the Wonder Hamster were leering at the Relativity crew members.
“Well, if A leads to B, and B leads to C...”
”VOYAGER GO BOOM!”
Yar groaned, “Oh, does this bring back memories...”
“No, this brings back memories.”
Dax spoke up, “Well, this should give us all some incentive to win the game. We can all beat those morons again, can’t we?”
Braxton said reluctantly, “Well, sure we can. But if they drive me insane again, Dax, I’m holding you personally responsible!”
“Now then, let’s defeat our mortal enemies once again!”
Across the field, Galvatron could be heard laughing maniacally. “Bwahahahahahahaha!”
The game had started out smoothly enough. With his superior holographic hand-eye coordination, the Doctor skillfully pitched successive strikeouts to the first three Excelsior batters, Dark Helmet, Hawk, and Dukat.
But things quickly went downhill, of course.
Braxton was first up to bat for the Timers. Yoda, standing on the mound, used the Force to levitate the ball and send it hurtling towards home plate.
”Strike!” yelled the holographic umpire, who coincidentally looked exactly like Admiral Picard.
Braxton yelled, “Hey, that’s not fair! How come he can use his superpowers?”
Yoda scowled, “When this short you are, any advantage you take, hmm?”
So Yoda pitched again, and this time Braxton swung, hitting the ball far into left field. Amazingly, he remembered to run in the proper direction this time, running as fast as he could towards first base, carrying his bat with him.
Dax yelled from the dugout, “Braxton, you’re supposed to drop the bat before you run!”
“No, you’re supposed to drop the bat before you run,” shouted Old Captain Braxton, who was the Anti-Timers’ first baseman.
”VOYAGER GO BOOM!” shouted Young Psycho Braxton.
However, the reason why Braxton had not dropped his bat was soon made clear, as, rather than turning the corner and continuing to run towards second base, Braxton stopped and began furiously pummeling Old Captain Braxton with his bat.
On the far side of the field, Dark Helmet scrambled after the ball. It had rolled into the far corner, and he was running furiously to catch up to it before Braxton managed to score a run. Unfortunately, Dark Helmet was running too fast to stop himself as he reached the ball, which was sitting right at the edge of the field, and he ran head-first into the wall — leaving his helmet seriously dented.
By this time, Ducane and Damar had finally managed to pull Braxton off of his holographic temporal clone, and Braxton finally continued on towards second base. Dark Helmet was out cold in the outfield. Braxton continued rounding the bases and returned home, to the increasing cheers of his teammates.
”Touchdown!” yelled Xaronna.
Everyone else turned to stare at her.
“Uh, isn’t that what you’re supposed to say when we score a point?” she asked.
Dax simply shook her head and walked away...
It was the bottom of the ninth inning. Miraculously, the Anti-Timers had managed to score some points, despite their usual difficulty in taking any reasonably intelligent action, and the game was tied at 3-3. Kes stood up to bat. Yoda pitched the ball, and Kes took a mighty swing, sending the ball hurtling into far right field.
Just as the ball was about to clear the fence, though, a voice shouted, “Computer, freeze program!” On cue, the ball stopped in midair, and the Excelsior crew froze in their tracks.
Braxton turned to see Admiral Picard in his usual jar of nutrients perched on top of a cart, being wheeled into the room by an aide.
“Braxton, just what the heck do you think you’re doing?”
“Well sir, my crew and I are taking some time off until the repairs are finished. Dax had the idea of playing this game, called baseball.”
“I know all about baseball, Braxton! The DS9 crew’s attempts to screw around during the Dominion War are well documented. Your ship has been ready for more than three hours, and here I find you, wasting time when there’s a war to be fought!”
“Well sir, I...”
“Well nothing! The Relativity is needed back on the front lines immediately!”
Ducane spoke up, “Admiral, how can there be a front line in this war when the Vaadwaur can pop out of their subspace conduits anywhere they please?”
“Shut up, Ducane! Everyone get back to your stations!”
Braxton sighed, “Yes, sir. Computer: end program.”
The baseball field faded away, and the Relativity crew slowly filed out of the holomatrix, as Admiral Picard floated in place, looking annoyed as usual.
A short time later, the Relativity pulled away from Starbase 47, on its way to continue the battle with the Vaadwaur...
Next time on Star Trek: Series ?, the evil crew of the evil Excelsior set out to drive every Star Trek fan in existence insane!