Episode 28: “Down Time”

Written by Swordtail

Published April 4, 2007

Author’s Note: Before anyone says anything let me just say this: Too many names ended with the letters “er” to sound reasonable. And damn it, if I want to try to rectify my crappy creativity with names, I can! Hardly anyone ever reads these things anyway.

Scene 1 - Camera watches as the crippled USS Celestial, which is missing a nacelle and a good third of its saucer(ish) section, and covered in holes and burn marks, and with most of the lights out or flickering, and with only the impulse engines on the stardrive section powering it, slowly hobbles by. Camera goes to Main Engineering, where the senior staff are standing around a master systems display table console. Debris still litters the floor, but most of it has been swept into piles. The warp core is nowhere to be seen (apparently ejected) and there are a severe lack of no-names milling around.

Righteous - Captain’s log, stardate 435950.7. We’re still trying to repair our ship after that battle we went through a few days ago. It doesn’t help that Admiral Spot refused to help us, and we’re missing over three-quarters of our crew. We’re holding the briefing in the engine room because the bridge was destroyed, and we can’t get to the main briefing room which was also destroyed.

Senseless - Sir, the main computer is offline, so that log entry didn’t even get recorded.

Righteous - Oh, are we supposed to record these log entries?

Senseless - Argg...

Puker - Now, here’s the question of the day: Lieutenant-Commander Garell, didn’t your name used to be Greaser?

Garell - Yes.

Long pause, everyone is looking at her.

Garell - What?

Senseless - Aren’t you going to tell us why you changed your name?

Garell - No, why would I tell you?

Righteous - Prophets!

Garell - On the bright side, we’re almost ready to transfer the auxiliary warp core into the main warp core’s place. Unfortunately, the remaining warp nacelle is heavily damaged and I can’t give you anything more than warp 4.

Genocide - That’s amazing, considering you said the other day that warp drive was “unrepairable” because the core was fused. When were you going to mention this ship has an auxiliary warp core for just such emergencies?

Garell - Look, I took Montgomery Scott’s Guide To Miracle Working at the Academy. One of the first things they taught us is to always exaggerate damage reports.

Righteous - But doesn’t Ensign Center usually give me damage reports?

Center - I also took that course. And Lieutenant-Commander Garell bribed me a while ago to help her save face.

Senseless - Unfortunately, we’ll need a miracle soon. Even if we could sustain warp 4 indefinitely, it would still take almost 3 years to get to the nearest shipyard which is almost 300 light-years away. I don’t need to tell you that’s a little impractical.

Garell - We don’t have the resources or the manpower to build another nacelle. Even if we manage to fully repair the existing one, we can’t go any faster than warp 4. Simple physics.

Righteous - How simple?

Garell - Well... you’ve got your mass, which despite our damage we still have a lot of. Then you’ve got the off-axis field stabilizer which helps the ship stay on a straight course since the warp field isn’t always in line with the centre of mass on the ship. When you put those two concepts together, you get that you need a certain field strength to go a certain speed. Now, if the starboard nacelle were lined up in the middle of the ship the off axis field stabilizer wouldn’t need to work as hard to keep us going in a straight line and I could give you maybe warp 5 or 5.1 if we’re lucky. But, moving a nacelle is stupid and wouldn’t work anyway since we’ve got nothing to move it with since our shuttlebay was destroyed and the captain’s yacht is melted to the hull. Any questions?

Righteous - I knew that.

Bios - So what do we do?

Baque - Go to Trill, ditch the ship, and then find our way back to our various planets of origin as civilians?

Puker - We could do that... or!

Blavik - Doctor, I believe we spoke about this earlier and came to the logical conclusion it is a very stupid idea.

Senseless - Stupid ideas or no ideas... I’ll take stupid. Go ahead, Doctor.

Puker - Anyone heard about this automated repair station which as I recall isn’t too far from here?

Righteous - Automated?

Garell - Repair station?

Blavik - It was encountered by the USS Enterprise NX-01 in the twenty-second century. They used it after running into a Romulan minefield.

Tener - Okay, there’s two problems I see. First, I seem to remember it was destroyed. Secondly, I also seem to recall that we’re nowhere near the Romulan border where Enterprise was exploring. To get to that station would take longer than to get to the nearest Starfleet shipyard.

Puker - Uh-uh. The station moved itself over the centuries. It’s now about two light-years from our current location. We can get there in only a few days.

Genocide - So how is that a stupid idea?

Blavik - The last time the station was used, it took prisoner one of Enterprise’s crew and used their brain power to augment its computer systems.

Bios - Actually, if I were to install bio-neural gel packs on the station, and teach it how to make its own, it wouldn’t need someone’s brain to run better.

Senseless - You think you could negotiate for that deal?

Bios - I don’t see why not.

Senseless - Well then, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!

Garell - Wait, if this works, does it mean me and my engineering crew will finally get a break?

Righteous - You bet.

Garell - I’m so happy I could cry...

Opening credits. Now with 20% less trans fat!

Scene 2 - Space. The remains of the Celestial warp past.

Righteous - Captain log, supplemental...

Senseless - Sir, supplemental doesn’t apply when it’s a week later!

Righteous - We have finally reached the repair station. It’s a good thing, too. My quarters were destroyed so I have to sleep on the battle bridge. I started to get the feeling the crew would be happier if I had been in my quarters.

No-Name #1 - You’re the loudest snorer I’ve ever heard, sir!

Camera goes to the battle bridge. Bios, Center, Baque, Senseless, Righteous, Genocide, and No-Name #1 are at various stations.

Baque - We’re approaching the station.

Senseless - Take us out of warp.

The ship drops out of warp with a thud.

Senseless - Put the station on screen.

A 25mm film projector turns on and starts projecting black and white grainy pictures at 5 frames per second onto the cracked and dark viewscreen. The station from “Dead Stop” can be seen, fully repaired as was implied by the end of an otherwise mediocre episode.

Senseless - Oooooo-kay, how the hell are we supposed to fit in those repair bays?

Garell - I must say that thing did a remarkable job fixing itself. I don’t suppose it holds a grudge?

Senseless - Let’s hope not. But remember our story if it does: Captain Archer was not acting on our behalf.

Bios - It’s scanning us.

On the screen, the station begins reconfiguring its left docking bay. The crew watches as it gets larger and larger, then splits open when it can’t get any bigger and moves to arrange itself much like the Federation shipyards at Utopia Planitia or the San Francisco shipyards.

Center - Atmosphere now 30 percent oxygen, 70 percent nitrogen, temperature 295 degrees Kelvin. Gravity at 1 Earth’s.

Righteous - That means nothing to me.

Center - Sorry, sir. It’s the same as the ship’s gravity and stuff.

Righteous - Ah.

Senseless - Mr. Baque, move us into that docking port.

Baque - Aye, aye sir.

Camera watches as the Celestial positions itself within the repair bay. Camera then goes to Righteous, Senseless, Garell, and Bios who are walking down a brightly lit corridor on the station. Bios is carrying a bioneural gel pack. They enter the interface room. A holographic display of the Celestial is floating in mid air. A wall console starts beeping and talking.

Station - Please select a payment method to commence repairs.

Garell - Hmmm... three tonnes of duranium, one warp coil, 16 plasma injectors, or a sensor relay module.

Bios - Drat. Is there any way to offer another form of payment?

Station - Your inquiry was not recognized.

Bios - We want to pay by providing this station with bio-neural gel packs which will greatly improve the computational power of the station’s processor.

Station - Stand by.

The officers look at each other.

Righteous - That went well.

Station - Please place a sample on the transport pad.

A short pad slides out from the bottom of the wall. Bios puts the gel pack on it, and it disappears in a transporter beam of some sort.

Station - Working...


Station - A payment option has been added to your list of options. Please select a method of payment to begin repairs.

Garell - 14 bio-neural gel packs. I think we can spare it, especially if we reroute secondary systems through isolinear circuits.

Senseless - Okay, pick it.

Garell touches the screen near the newest payment option and the screen changes to show a schedule.

Station - All personnel are required to vacate areas that are undergoing reconstruction.

Righteous - I’ll take this schedule to Ensign Center.

Station - The recreation area is now available to all personnel.

Camera watches as robotic arms unlatch from the station and start repairing the Celestial. Camera goes to the battle bridge.

Genocide - Oh, cool!

Camera goes back to the station.

Senseless - Alright, keep an eye on everything. According to this schedule it’ll take more than 36 hours to complete repairs. I’m going to my quarters.

Senseless leaves.

Righteous - Well, no point wasting time. Tell everyone shore leave is in order.

Garell - With pleasure!

Scene 3 - The words “Several Hours Later” fade in and the station has almost fully repaired the port warp nacelle and the starboard one is in mint condition. The saucer is still a gaping hole, but with much less burnt metal on the edges. Also, the bridge is back in business.  Camera goes to the bridge.

Senseless - I can’t believe they even fixed the registry plaque to actually show the right registry number.

Righteous - I can’t believe it’s not butter! Just taste this stuff they’re serving in the recreation centre on the station! It’s delicious!

Blavik - That’s margarine, sir.

Righteous - No, no, my naive Vulcan underling: Margins are those things in the sides of paper. This, this is something else entirely!

Blavik mutters something about dogs being smarter than Bajorans and wanders off to the back of the bridge. Garell enters the room, clad in civilian clothes with a martini in her hand and sunglasses on her face.

Garell - Well, holodecks are back online. I’ve booked them for the next 30 hours though. I’m just up here to laugh at you all who still have to do work. Ha ha haha!

Beep, beep, beep!

Center - Uh, guys?

Senseless - What’s causing the beeping this time?

Center - I’m picking up a Cardassian Keldon-class warship heading this way.

Righteous - All hands to battle stations!!!

The red alert lights go off and everyone starts frantically running around.

Genocide - Bad news: All weapons are still offline. The station hasn’t begun repairing them yet.

Senseless - Ensign, when are they scheduled to be repaired?

Center - Last, according to this.

Senseless - Last?!?

Center - Maybe the station learned after what happened last time.

Genocide - Bastards! Stupid Enterprise, ruining everything we hold dear in this galaxy...

Center - Although... according to these readings, they’re almost in worse shape than we are. Their weapons are offline, shields are down, their warp drive is fluctuating. In a word, they’re no threat to us.

Baque - They must be coming to use the station as well.

Senseless - Hail them.

Center - They’re responding. Putting it on screen.

A Cardassian appears on the screen.

Cardassian - I am Gul Upchuck and I have need of this repair facility.

Righteous - May your corpse collect dust since not even the worms will want to touch you!

Gul Upchuck - Uh...

Senseless - He’s Bajoran. Just ignore him.

Upchuck - We ran into an ion storm which damaged our ship.

Genocide - Then how come you’re so far from Cardassian space?

Upchuck - ...It was a very bad ion storm.

Senseless - Alright, but no funny business. We saved your sorry asses from the Dominion, so you guys owe us. Think about that if you ever get it into your head to attack us.

Upchuck - Understood. Nameless Cardassian Keldon-class warship out.

Scene 4 - Garell, Baque, and Tener are sitting at a table in the repair station’s recreation area. A bunch of Cardassians are milling around interacting with the Celestial crew. Three Cardassians come over to the officers’ table.

Cardassian #1 - Well, well, well. If it isn’t a bunch of pathetic Starfleet officers. You couldn’t even destroy a single Breen armada with your precious ship.

Tener - Why I oughta...

Garell - Calm down Lieutenant.

Cardassian #1 - Why, with your Captain I’m surprised you even found a way out of the shipyard. He is the laughing stock of the entire quadrant.

Baque - I’ll drink to that!

Baque downs his beer as the Cardassians exchange confused looks.

Cardassian #1 - And then there’s your ship. It’s so worthless it should be hauling garbage!

Garell - Laddie, you wanna rephrase that slightly?

Cardassian #1 - My apologies. When I said the Celestial should be towing garbage, I really meant to say it should be towed away, as garbage!

The Cardassians start laughing. Garell stands up and faces Cardassian #1.

Garell - Mister, I’ve been saying that since day one...

Garell leaves the room. The Cardassians just look after her dumbfounded, then at Baque, then at Tener who is trying to move the piece of ice in his glass up the side with his straw, then at each other.

Cardassian - Bah!

The Cardassians start to leave the room.

Baque - What better way to avoid unnecessary conflict than to agree with your antagonizers?

Tener - Here, here.

Cardassians (off in the distance) - Let’s get out of here. The putrid smell of their crappy beer is making me sick...

Baque - Oh, it is on!!!


Scene 5 - Baque, Tener, and a bunch of No-Names are sitting in Sickbay as Doctor Puker and Ensign Blavik tend to their injuries. Senseless and Righteous walk in.

Senseless - What happened!?!

Puker - Let’s just say it’s a good thing the station fixed sickbay when it did.

Baque - There was an incident on the station with the Cardassians, sir.

Righteous - I knew they couldn’t be trusted.

Senseless - Alright, in simple terms, what happened?

Tener - Well, they were insulting the Captain and the ship, which we’re fine with. But then they insulted our beer.

Senseless - So you got into a fight?

Baque - Damn straight. Come on, commander, what would you have done?

Senseless - Well, I’ll let it pass this time because punishing you is pointless since you never learn your lessons.

No-Name #2 - Oh yeah, by the way commander, one of the Cardassians I was beating the crap out of—

No-Name #3 - —You mean getting the crap beat out of you by—

No-Name #2 - He said something about them seizing or destroying our ship as soon as their weapons were back online.

Righteous - I knew they couldn’t be trusted!

Senseless - You’ve said that at least 30 times today sir. Senseless to Lieutenant-Commander Garell.

Garell - Wadda want, Commander? (Caribbean music playing in background).

Senseless - Where are you?

Garell - Holodeck 1. It’s back online, remember? Me and my engineering team are having a limbo contest.

Senseless - Alright, how much longer until the weapons are back online?

Garell - How the fuck should I know?

Senseless - Aren’t you paying attention to this stuff?

Garell - Hang on, it’s my turn now. Garell out.

Senseless - Damn it! Senseless to Ensign Center.

Center - Yes sir?

Senseless - What’s the status of the Cardassian ship?

Center - Still broken, but they’re close to getting their weapons online.

Senseless - Alright, call everyone to a meeting in the briefing room in five minutes. Senseless out.

Righteous - Briefing?

Senseless - We need to buy some time.

The senior staff peoples leave sickbay.

Righteous - What do you mean by “buy”? Because I cashed in all my karma chips with the Klingons for that super orb-experience stuff which turned out to be illegal on most Federation worlds...

Scene 6 - Briefing room. All senior staff are present.

Senseless - So, some of the crew have the belief that the Cardassians are going to try to take our ship. Personally I have to say I believe that, kind of. So, what can we do?

Genocide - Kill them all while we still have the chance?

Righteous - Good idea. Suit up! To battle!

Senseless - No sir, we can’t do that. We don’t want another war with the Cardassians.

Baque - Even though we’d kick their sorry asses, and they know it.

Righteous - Well, if we’re trying to eradicate them I say third time’s the charm.

Puker - Eradicate? Well, if you’re trying to commit genocide we might as well use a bio-weapon. I can cook up a nasty little virus that would slowly and painfully shut down their vital organs.

Senseless - Doctor!

Puker - What?! I’d do it in my spare time, it wouldn’t affect my duties at all, I swear.

Genocide - I like it!

Puker - I thought you might.

Senseless - Some days I wonder why I allow this perpetual torment to continue...

Righteous - Is it because you like us all so much?

Senseless - Yes, that must be it...

Bios - Maybe we should just sabotage their ship so the station takes longer to repair them than us.

Senseless - See, this is the kind of thinking you people should be doing!

Center - If we could overload their weapons array, the damage should buy us enough time.

Righteous - Would it kill any Cardassians?

Center - Not if we do it right, sir.

Righteous - Then I don’t like it. Doctor Puker, your plan is a go—

Senseless - Bios, Garell, and Tener: I want you to sneak aboard and find a way to keep us alive today.

Garell - Why me!?

Senseless - Because you haven’t done any work today!

Garell - You said I didn’t have to!

Senseless - No one ever said that!

Garell - Computer, play back dialogue recordings from Main Engineering master systems display console one at time index 12:09.

Computer - Beep!

(From computer speakers) Garell - Wait, if this works, does it mean me and my engineering crew will finally get a break?

Righteous - You bet.

Garell - I’m so happy I could cry...

Computer - No further dialogue was written down.

Senseless - Alright, you don’t have to go. Wait a minute, didn’t you say the main computer was offline back then?

Garell - Hello? Mr. Scott’s Guide To Miracle Working? Didn’t any of you besides the eagerly annoying Ensign Center here take that course?

Genocide - I took the Malcolm Reed’s Blowing Things Up 101 course, does that count?

Senseless - Might I remind you that every minute we waste here is another minute the Cardassians could be plotting to destroy us?

Blavik - How do we know they even intend this? It could have just been an overly egotistical claim from one of their men brought on by the emotional outburst resulting from the fight. If it is true, it still goes to show the Cardassians are emotionally handicapped like most races.

Genocide - This coming from the most emotional Vulcan I’ve ever met?

Blavik puts her face in her hands and starts sobbing.

Blavik - You don’t have to rub it in!!!!

Senseless - Dismissed!!! All of you!!! Out! Now!

The senior staff scramble to get out of their chairs and out the door before Commander Senseless flips out.

Senseless - Computer! Replicate an extra strength aspirin and a glass of water! And don’t you dare ask me what temperature I want it!

Scene 7 - Genocide walks down a corridor and opens a door. He looks inside his quarters, which are tidy and neat, completely repaired and shiny.

Genocide - (Sigh) Well, this just isn’t right.

He pulls a photon grenade out of his pocket and presses the trigger. He steps to the side of the door outside the room and tosses the grenade inside. The doors close and then thud outward. Genocide opens the doors again and looks inside his quarters. Everything is completely destroyed and the walls and ceiling and carpet are burnt to a crisp.

Genocide - Ah, home sweet home.

He goes in and starts toward the replicator.

Voice - Was that truly necessary?

Genocide - You know me.

Genocide turns toward the voice but the person is still hidden in the shadows which are present due to the destroyed lights.

Voice - If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think you were hoping to catch me in here one of these days when you do that.

Genocide - If there’s one thing I’ve learned above all else about you, it’s that you seem to have a natural ability to avoid death.

Shadowy Guy - Comes in handy in my line of work.

Genocide - I bet. Now why are you here?

Shadowy Guy - I have an assignment for you.

Genocide - I told you I don’t work for you. Especially not when I’ve had days like this. There was a fight on the station and I missed it!

Shadowy Guy - I need you to take this data rod and give it to someone on the Cardassian ship.

Shadowy Guy holds out a cylindrical glass rod. Genocide takes it and looks at it.

Genocide - Why?

Shadowy Guy - There’s an Obsidian Order agent onboard who knows to meet you. I just need you to get it to him.

Genocide - Why don’t you do it yourself?

Shadowy Guy - Me? I don’t exist, remember?

Genocide looks down at the rod and studies it carefully.

Genocide - What’s so important about this rod that you want me to risk my afternoon to wander around a stinky Cardassian warship?

He looks up but the guy is gone.

Genocide - Damn. Not again. Oh well...

He pockets the data rod and leaves his obliterated quarters.

Scene 8 - Bios and Tener are sneaking around on the Cardassian ship.

Bios - Do you know where you’re going?

Tener - I thought you did!

Bios - Crap. Which way to the nearest control centre?

Tener - How would I know?

Bios - Don’t you have the schematics?

Tener - Oh, right. This way!

They continue walking down a corridor.

Tener - I’ve finally realized something.

Bios - What’s that?

Tener - All our missions go the same way, week after week. We go on a mission, get the crap beat out of us, go get repaired, go on another mission, get the crap beat out of us, repair, on and on. No wonder Admiral Spot wouldn’t let us use the shipyard again. She’s probably fed up filling out the same work orders day after day. You know, I’m getting bored of it too. I’m starting to think I should quit Starfleet.

Bios - And do what? All you know how to do is be a security guard.

Tener - Maybe I could go into private security somewhere.

Bios - Have you forgotten that the Federation is communist? The only form of any kind of security is Starfleet!

Tener - Damn it!

They round a corner and literally walk into Genocide who was looking behind him for Cardassians.

Genocide, Bios, Tener - AHH!

Bios - Sir! What are you doing here?

Genocide - I could ask you the same question, Lieutenants.

Tener - The commander told us to sabotage the Cardassian’s weapons.

Genocide - Oh yeah, it slipped my mind. Well, I’ll just be off then...

Genocide strolls down the hallway whistling the Pinky and The Brain theme song.

Bios - What do you suppose that was all about?

Tener - With him, I usually try not to suppose things. Oh, here it is!

They duck into a small room with consoles inside.

Tener - Funny how we’ve never come across any Cardassian security guards. I wonder where they all are?

Camera goes to the repair station’s recreation room where most of the Cardassian crew are all getting piss drunk on kanar and singing Klingon drinking songs poorly. Camera goes back to Bios who is trying to dismantle a console.

Bios - Now, all we need to do is bypass the alarm systems and send the weapons array into an unstoppable power loop which will fry the circuits and blow every fuse on the ship.

Tener - Woah, hang on, ships have fuses?

Bios - Well, duh!

Tener - Then why do consoles explode every time there’s a power surge!!???!!!

Bios - Where do you think they put those fuses? I know it’s stupid, but it helps with the over population problem...

Camera goes to a press conference on Earth, where journalists are questioning the Federation President.

Journalist - Mr. President, what is the Federation Council doing to help the overpopulation crises in the Federation?

President - That’s, uh, classified.

Journalist #2 - Still?

President - What?

Scene 9 - Cardassian briefing room. Gul Upchuck and his senior staff are having a meeting.

Upchuck - Are you sure you heard correctly?

Injured Cardassian - Yes, sir, I distinctly remember one of the Starfleet officers saying that they were going to seize our ship and imprison us, and if we attempt to escape they would destroy our ship.

Upchuck - Their captain is a Bajoran, so I’m not surprised. What’s the status of their weapons?

Cardassian #2 - Still offline, but at this point the station could repair them at any moment.

Upchuck - Drat. We have to ensure that we can get out of here before they do. It’s bad enough they probably suspect us of spying on them. I’m still not buying that a simple ion storm could throw us hundreds of light-years in a matter of hours.

Undercover Obsidian Order Agent - Yes, seems... strange, doesn’t it?

Cardassian #3 - Maybe we deserve to be imprisoned. I mean, first we occupy Bajor and almost commit genocide, then we get into a war with the Federation, then we get into a cold war with the Federation, then we join the Dominion, then we get into another war, then we switch sides, and now we’re back to cold war again more or less.

Upchuck - Let’s pretend to not care. Now, get our weapons back online ASAP! I don’t want them outgunning us when push comes to shove. Also, get our crew back aboard, for Cardassia’s sake!

Scene 10 - Genocide stumbles into a dark room aboard the Cardassian ship. The undercover Obsidian Order agent is already there.

Undercover Obsidian Order Agent - Do you have it?

Genocide gives him the data rod.

Genocide - Any idea what it is?

Obsidian Order Agent - Not a clue. You?

Genocide - I seem to be on a need to know basis.

Obsidian Order Agent - Listen, we know your crew is planning on seizing our ship, is there any way you could prevent that?

Genocide - What? We think you are going to attack us!

Obsidian Order Agent - Huh? One of your no-names told one of our no-names that you were planning to imprison us.

Genocide - One of your no-names told one of our no-names something similar!

Obsidian Order Agent - Well, I guess it still proves no-names are still incompetent.

Genocide - Sheesh... well, some of my crew have sabotaged your weapons.

Obsidian Order Agent - Um... what kind of sabotage?

Genocide - I’m not sure, all I know is our science officer tampered with your weapons control systems. Knowing her, the second your turn them on your entire ship will explode in a ball of fire.

Obsidian Order Agent - I don’t need to tell you how important it is to both our governments that the Cardassian Union gets this data rod.

Genocide - Alright, I’ll see what I can do, but I can’t call attention to my workings with Section 31. If I do, they’ll kick me out and stop sending me the annual pie I always look forward to.

Genocide leaves the room, stumbling over the raised floor under the doors.

Genocide - God damn it, who would build these dumb things!?

Scene 11 - Briefing room of the Celestial. All senior staff are present.

Senseless - Alright Lieutenant-Commander Greaser, how long until we’re fully repaired?

Garell - I’m not Greaser anymore, remember?

Senseless - Well, it’s annoying to remember that.

Garell - Hey, it’s pissing me off far more than you. I have to change everything now! All my name tags, all my log entries, my passwords, the thing that lets you set up a two way communication between commbadges...

Blavik - I know what you mean. But at least I got the t-shirt.

Garell - T-shirt?

Blavik pulls off her tunic revealing a Starfleet standard issue t-shirt imprinted with the words “I had a crappy name so the writer decided to confuse everyone by changing it and all I got was the replicator pattern to this lousy t-shirt.”

Garell - ...Email that replicator pattern to me when you get the chance.

Righteous - We still use email in the 24th century?

Baque - (sarcastically) No Captain, we just put all our letters in little shuttles and send them in every direction at warp 9.

Righteous - Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought! Email... what a load of crap...

Senseless - So back to my earlier question?

Graell - Yes, our shields are back online, and the station has started working on the phaser emitters. We should have weapons within the hour.

Genocide - And then we can high-tail it back to Trill so the Cardassians don’t try anything.

Everyone looks at him like he just said something in Breen.

Genocide - What?

Tener - In all the years I’ve pretended to know you, I’ve never once heard you say you want to run away from a possible battle.

Genocide - Well, maybe I’m just all battled out from our near-death experience.

Center - Normally that makes you even more bloodthirsty, sir.

Puker - Are you feeling alright, Commander? Maybe I should go a full brain scan on you just to make sure.

Genocide - I’m fine! I just... um... would rather not get yelled at by Admiral Nelix for starting an interstellar incident... again.

Senseless - I’m actually in agreement here. We’re peaceful explorers, after all, despite the fact that every week people die and stuff explodes, and we haven’t done any exploring in months. Let’s just high-tail it back to Trill and let them stop the Cardassians if they come looking for a fight.

Garell - Hear, hear, I’d rather not have to fix this ship after the station worked so long and hard on it.

Baque - And going really fast is a lot more fun when you’re not being chased by Sector Patrol, or Breen, or zombies, or deranged cats, or deranged cats with high ranks, or bio-ships, or whatever else has chased us over the last two years.

Righteous - You guys are missing the point here! Those are Cardassians! They’ve illegally entered Federation space and... They’re Cardassians! No! We stay, we fight, we win, or die and go to the Celestial Temple. Either way is fine by me, but I’m the captain so what I say goes!

Others - (Groan)

Genocide - Now he gets a backbone...

Righteous - Hey, my species had a backbone long before yours did. And possibly a trunk, but that’s off topic.

Senseless - Fine... Bios, Tener, did you manage to sabotage the Cardassian ship?

Bios - I think so.

Senseless - You think so?

Bios - Hey, everything was in Cardassian, and I broke my universal translator.

No-Name #4 - Bridge to Captain Righteous, the repair station has taken our payment. It beamed 14 bio-neural gel packs off the ship.

Out the window, the docking clamps and the automated repair arms start to retract.

Puker - That was a really quick hour.

Graell - I said “within the hour,” remember?

Righteous - To the bridge! All hands, battle stations!

Everyone goes onto the bridge and takes their stations.

Puker - You know, it’s occurred to me that there is no medical station on this bridge...

Blavik - Our battle station is sickbay, Doctor.

Puker - Oh that’s why. Bye guys, try to keep yourselves out of my sickbay!

Baque - My goal in life...

Center - The Cardassian ship is moving away from the station, they’ve been fully repaired also.

Righteous - Lock our weapons on their weapons.

Camera goes to the bridge of the Cardassian Ship.

Gul Upchuck - Target their weapons! Prepare to return fire!

Camera goes to the Celestial’s bridge.

Center - They’re targeting our weapons.

Camera goes to other bridge.

Cardassian #1 - They’re targeting our weapons!

Camera gets tired of flipping back and fourth and just splits the screen two ways, one bridge on each half.

Righteous, Upchuck - Fire!

Nothing happens. Both captains spin in their chairs.

Righteous - Genocide, I said fire!

Upchuck - Weapons officer, I gave you an order!

Genocide, Weapons Officer (who happens to be Undercover Obsidian Order Agent) - I’m trying!

Genocide - Wait, I think I got it!

Agent - There! Firing!

Camera watches as pitiful dim beams of light fly slowly out of the phaser emitters of both ships, and totally dissipate as they cross the several kilometre divide between the two ships.

Righteous - What just happened?

Genocide - The bastards sabotaged our weapons array!

Camera goes back to... ah screw it.

Agent - Something’s wrong with our weapons systems! I think they’ve been sabotaged!

Camera goes... you get the idea.

Senseless - Get them back online before they do!

Bios - The morons installed Windows Vista onto our main computer! It’s using up so much memory and processor power just to keep itself running that we’ve lost our weapons systems to compensate!

Tener - Why haven’t they fired yet?

Bios - ...Because I did the same thing to their computers...

Awkward pause.

Center - We’re being hailed.

Righteous - On screen.

Gul Upchuck appears on the main viewer.

Upchuck - It seems we’ve reached in impasse... We may not be able to fight back but we’ve prevented you from destroying us!

Righteous - As if. It is us who have prevented you from destroying us... (counts on his fingers) ...yeah.

Upchuck - Stop being stupid, we know of your plan to imprison us! We have every right to defend ourselves!

Righteous - Don’t be absurd, and stop pretending. We know of your plan to destroy our ship! Bios, reformat the hard drives or whatever you people do and get our weapons back!

Senseless - Uh, captain?

Upchuck - Yeah, I’m sure your superiors will buy that story, but we won’t! We know you just want to imprison us for the hell of it!

Righteous - That’s exactly what a guilty person would say! We know you’ll just destroy us and then tell everyone it was in self defence!

Senseless - Um, Lee?

Upchuck - I will not let you illegally imprison my crew! I’ll ram you if I have to but you will not take us!

Righteous - Ram us? Not if we ram you first! Helm, full impulse!

Upchuck - Helm! Full speed ahead!

The two ships start heading for each other at full speed.

Senseless - That’s it! Baque, full stop! Guy who’s piloting the Cardassian ship, do the same!

Just the tone of his voice causes both officers to slam on the brakes.

Senseless - This is getting ridiculous! We’re no longer at war, we need to stop this “preemptive strike” bull crap. Neither of us wants to destroy the other, it’s just mutual mistrust that has caused our idiotic no-name crews to hear things as they got bopped on the head with a bar stool. We’re going to all go back to our respective areas of the galaxy and leave each other alone? Ka-peesh? Lieutenant Baque, set a course for Trill, warp 7. Engage!

Upchuck - ...Uh, set course for Cardassia, warp 6.

The channel cuts as both ships jump to warp.

Genocide - Is now a good time to tell you I got the weapons working?

Bios - How?

Genocide - I just gave administrative access to the targeting systems.

Garell - Well, I think that went well. So, what’s to fix? Blown EPS conduits? Hull breaches?

Center - Nope, you’ll be happy to know that we’re in perfect condition. The ship is as good as new and everything is working smoothly. There’s nothing for you to do.

Garell - But... I’m obliged to work now... surely there’s something?

Center - Nope. Nothing. Just relax and enjoy the down time.


Garell - God damn it, now I’m bored!

The End