Episode 33: “The Fast and the Furry”

Written by Swordtail

Published May 31, 2007

Scene 1 – Camera is in the Celestial’s briefing room, where everyone except Righteous and Senseless are cursing having to get up so early on a Sunday.

Garell – What do you suppose this is all about?

Puker – Got me, but I have a 9 o’clock surgery that I probably should have scheduled for ten weeks ago.

Genocide – Maybe there’s another war... I hope. I haven’t gotten to shoot anything in the longest time.

Baque – You got to shoot up a whole fleet of Breen ships just yesterday!

Genocide – True... but I still want to shoot something.

Senseless and Righteous enter the room and sit down.

Center – What’s this about, sir?

Righteous – Good news, everyone!

Everyone except Senseless and Center groan.

Blavik – Well, I think we can logically assume this week is going to be the proverbial ninth circle of hell.

Righteous – Does anyone remember a certain episode of TNG where the Enterprise went into a mock battle with another Federation ship?

Tener – I remember it sucked.

Righteous – Well, apparently there’s some confusion in Starfleet as to what is the fastest starship ever built. Now we’re going to settle this dispute once and for all, or at least until another, faster ship gets built.

Genocide – How are we gonna settle this? Destroy every ship that comes close to our speed in a mock battle with real weapons?

Senseless – Nope, we’re going to have a race.

Baque stands up and sort of looks off into space at nothing in particular, tears starting to fill his eyes.

Baque – This... is... the happiest day of my life!

Garell slams her fist down on the table hard enough to crack it.

Garell – DO you have any idea how difficult it will be to maintain those speeds long enough to win a race?!?! I’ll be up to my blue ears in work for the next ten years fixing all the burnt-out systems!

Bios – When is this race?

Tener – This is going to be a dumb episode, I just know it. We’re talking zombie-level dumbness here, people!

Senseless – We’ve got two days to get ready.

Garell and Baque – Two days!?!?!?

Baque – I can’t wait that long!

Garell – I can’t have everything ready by then!

Bios – I could help.

Center – Me too, ma’am.

Senseless – Well, Lieutenant, since you haven’t really broken anything in a while, I guess it’s okay. Both of you can help.

Bios and Center – Yay!

Tener - You’re way too cheerful for eight o’clock in the morning.

Garell – How come the USS Litterbox gets to be the Federation’s flagship?

Senseless – What does that have to do with anything?

Garell – Oh nothing, I’m just trying to take my mind of the fact that I’m fucked!

She gets up and storms out of the room.

Bios – We... should, probably... you know.

Bios and Center get up and quickly follow.

Righteous – Any questions anyone?

Baque – What ship are we racing against?

Senseless – Well, Picard is being a whiner again, complaining he’s always the only ship in the sector, so he’s out. We’ll be racing against the USS Avenger, a Prometheus-class ship.

Baque – The USS Avenger, eh?

Righteous – Yep-er-ee.

Baque – Now it’s personal...

He storms out of the room.

Senseless – We really need to crack down on regulations around here.

Opening credits... new ship! Yay! (Sort of... hey, if the producers of TNG can change the Enterprise-D model halfway through the series, so can I!)

Scene 2 - Camera is watching as a Prometheus-class starship approaches the USS Celestial. The USS Litterbox can be seen sort of off in the distance, dropping buoys of some kind.

Righteous - Captain’s log, stardate 436084.9. Since Admiral Spot hasn’t gotten around to assigning us new orders, Starfleet has curtailed to the incessant requests by the public to race starships on interstellar live TV. However, they’ve enforced a seven second delay on the tape so they can bleep out various words the crew are likely to say. The Ferengi are running a betting pool and word has it we’re not doing well. Looks like we’re gonna make some people really rich because I for one intend to win. That is why I’ve been on my knees for the last four hours, scoring brownie points from the Prophets.

Camera goes to the Litterbox’s transporter room, which is large and well-furnished and looks like Starfleet actually put some effort into it. Righteous, Senseless, Genocide, Garell, and Baque materialize and are met by Admiral Spot, Captain Spot Jr. and several No-Name high ranking officers: Two human males and a Vulcan female.

Righteous - Kitties!

Spot Jr. - You say that every time you see one of us, don’t you?

Senseless - One would think the novelty would wear off, but we are talking about Lee.

Baque’s eyes narrow as he looks over the officers from the Avenger.

Spot - Righteous, Senseless, Genocide, Garell, Baque, please meet Captain Jones of the Avenger. This is his chief engineer Lieutenant-Commander Sa’lol, and their helmsman Lieutenant-Commander Edward Wong.

Wong - Well, well, well, that you, Toc?

Baque - It’s been a long time, Ed...

Senseless - You two know each other?

Baque - You could say that, sir.

Jones - Excellent, then that should help matters. Well, it’s been a pleasure meeting all of you, and I’ll see you in, um, 44 hours. I hope you’ll have enough time to get your ship up and running.

Wong - If you want my advice, don’t bother. It will save you time and energy.

Captain Jones and Lieutenant-Commander Wong step onto the transporter pad.

Jones - Energize.

Bzzzzzzzzt! Senseless, Righteous, Genocide, and Baque walk away, Baque practically foaming at the mouth.

Righteous - That was rude of them.

Senseless - Oh, it’s just a little friendly competition banter.

Baque - It was more than a little friendly competition banter, and Wong knows it... Tell me we’re gonna kick their asses, Commander?

Senseless - They won’t know what hit them.

Genocide - We’re using weapons?

Senseless (shaking his head) - I try, I try...

Camera goes over to Garell and Sa’lol who are shaking hands out of courtesy.

Sa’lol - It’s agreeable to meet you, Lieutenant-Commander. I am eager to trade notes. I imagine you have much experience in the field of quantum slipstream technology that I would be interested in hearing.

Garell - We’re not allowed to use anything but warp engines in this race.

Sa’lol - I know that. On that note, I would be willing to help you increase your engine efficiency. I should be able to increase your top speed to a point where you won’t lose too badly.

Garell’s eyes narrow.

Garell - ...I don’t like you!

She stalks off and follows the rest of her colleagues. Sa’lol simply stands in the middle of the transporter room and raises and eyebrow. Camera moves to the Celestial crew, who have been joined by Admiral Nelix.

Nelix - So... think you can beat them?

Genocide - Nope. They’re the fastest class of ship in Starfleet. Four nacelles is always better than two.

Garell - Oh, we’ll see about that. Their chief engineer is a total ass. I could see the arrogance under all that logic, she’s not hiding anything!

Baque - ...I... never mind.

Nelix - Well, in case you didn’t know, the USS Avenger is from the Fifth Fleet. Know Fleet Admiral Nechayev?

Senseless - That hard-assed Fleet Admiral that pissed Picard off for years?

Nelix - That’s the one.

Righteous - Hey, if she’s the same rank as Admiral Spot, how come Admiral Spot gets to tell her what to do?

Nelix - Superiority by species and position. That, and the author doesn’t know of any rank higher than Fleet Admiral to promote Spot to.

Genocide - How come you’re not a Fleet Admiral, sir?

Nelix - Because the Ninth Fleet only consists of 47 ships. I can name most of them on one paw...Celestial, Saratoga, Citadel, Enterprise... um... Scratchingpost... um... No, that’s it I guess. Anyway, I’ve made a huge bet with her that you guys will pull this off. Don’t ask me why, I can’t remember. We were both totally wasted at some bar for Admirals, and I wasn’t thinking clearly when I said you guys could actually do something that requires competence. Now, don’t screw this up.

Baque - We’ll beat them or die trying, sir!

Nelix - Good, I love win-win situations. Oh, here’s my stop.

He trots over to a turbolift and gets in.

Nelix - Deck 36.

The doors close and the Celestial officers continue on their way.

Righteous - Hey, helmboy, what’s the deal with you and the guy with the generic name?

Baque - You really want to know?

Genocide - No, but you’ll probably tell us anyway.

Baque - Years ago, that snide fucker and I were big rivals for the position of top pilot in our class at the academy. After we graduated, it continued until one day we pulled up at an intersection at the same time. Anyway, long story short, the last words he said to me were, ‘I don’t have to outrun the cop hovercar, I just have to outrun you.’ That’s how I ended up in prison for nearly six months, and he gets a promotion to Lieutenant-Commander several weeks later! I just wanna wipe that smug expression off his face for once and prove I’m a better pilot!

Genocide - Wow... that’s incredible... Did we just have a character-building moment?

Garell - If I didn’t know better, I’d say yes.

Righteous - Well, so you wanna beat their helmsman, and blue woman here doesn’t like their chief engineer. This could be the start of a beautiful friendship between our two ships. Isn’t it nice when everyone gets along?

Spot Jr. walks past just in time to catch that last paragraph.

Spot Jr. - Captain Jones released a paper a while ago saying he believed the Prophets and the Pah-Wraiths were essentially the same.

Righteous (raising a fist) - It’s on...

Spot Jr. (Walking out of view) - My work is done.

Scene 3 - In the Celestial’s astrometrics lab, Bios is going over the race course when Senseless comes in.

Senseless - You wanted to see me?

Bios - Yeah, take a look at this course.

Senseless - What should I be looking for?

Bios - Here, a group of subspace anomalies that would collapse our warp field and burn out the warp core if hit. Here, a class-seven supergiant star at the final stage of its life. The course requires us to practically fly through its corona . Here, a black hole. Here, a dense asteroid field. And that’s just the beginning. We’ve got ‘turn hard to port or smack into a planet’ and ‘fly blind through this nebula’ and ‘one ship at a time’ narrow subspace corridors. Who in the name of all that is binary chose this course?

Senseless - Admiral Spot, Admiral Nelix, and Captain Spot. Jr. led a team on the Litterbox to come up with this...

Bios - I think the cats are out to get us.

Senseless - I’ll look into it. In the meantime, go over this course with Baque and Garell. I want them prepared.

Bios - Ooookay...

Senseless leaves the room.

Scene 4 - Senseless walks into a room aboard the USS Litterbox. Everywhere, cats are working consoles or setting up machinery, or just lounging around chatting in cat talk. Senseless searches through the dozens of furry uniform-wearing quadrupeds until he finds Fleet Admiral Spot.

Senseless - Ma’am, can I have a word with you?

Spot - Sure. (turning to a lieutenant cat) Just amplify it with another power cell. (Turning back to Senseless) What can I do for you, Commander?

Senseless - First of all, why are there so many cats involved with this race?

Spot - You don’t know? Cats run practically every race and always have, albeit sometimes undercover.

Senseless - What?

Spot - NASCAR, F-1, the early shuttle races... felines have influenced them all. Our involvement goes back as far as the Roman chariot races and even further to ancient Egypt.

Senseless - Um... why?

Spot - Racing is in our blood. Ever wondered why cats sort of run for no reason and dart after things they have no intention of eating?

Senseless - Actually, I tend to see cats as creatures that sleep sixteen hours a day and generally don’t do anything in the way of physical activity unless they have to.

Spot - I’ll let that slip due to your tiny human brain.

Senseless - Right, ma’am. Second question: What is up with the course? Isn’t it kind of... dangerous?

Spot - You clearly have no knowledge of the principles involved with getting high ratings.

Senseless - This could easily kill us!

Spot - No knowledge... Commander, doom and gloom is what people want to see! It makes them happy knowing that their miserable lives could always be a lot worse. Why do you think people watch the news? And don’t pull the ‘because they care what’s happening around the quadrant’ line, I’ve heard it a million times before.

Senseless - Why do I get the feeling this has more to do with than just figuring out what ship is the fastest?

Spot - Good deduction, Sherlock. If this pulls as many viewers as we hope it will, we’ll launch it full swing! Imagine, every week, massive starships race each other around dangerous courses while billions of screaming fans watch. Think about the advertising implications!

Senseless - But the Federation doesn’t use money!

Spot - True, but we do use resources, and Starfleet could really use some good resources. There are plenty of external factions who would love to cough over some metal and dilithium for a little screen time. We’ve already signed a deal with the Ferengi for this race.

Senseless - This is ridiculous, ma’am. We could easily die.

Spot puts her paw to her forehead and shakes her head.

Spot (sigh) - Commander, I didn’t get to be the head of Starfleet by not thinking things through. Starfleet needs external funding because the Federation is broke. That’s what you get for being communist and letting in races with absolutely no resources to speak of... *cough*Bajor*cough*. Now, we’ve done a lot of work on this and we’ve all come to the conclusion that it is no less safe than NASCAR or practically every other race we’ve done. As long as you stick to your wits you’ll be fine... and if you do die, hey, look on the bright side!

Senseless - There’s a bright side?

Spot - At least you’ll go up in flames and it’ll be seen by hundreds of billions of people! Now go, I’m busy.

Senseless, shocked and with his mouth hanging open, leaves the room in a daze.

Scene 5 - Camera is watching the Celestial and the Avenger line up between some flashing buoys. The words “two days later” flash across the screen. Hundreds of non-Starfleet ships are lining the course and a mobile Starbase has been moved in, with huge transceiver antennas on the top. Camera goes to said station, where the entire crew of the Celestial, Captain Jones, Lieutenant-Commander’s Wong and Sa’lol, and Admiral’s Spot, Nelix, Nechayev, and Captain Spot Jr. are chatting away.

Baque - Ed, your ass is toast, you hear me?

Wong - Bring it, bitch!

Genocide and a No-Name restrain Baque and Wong before they can rip the stuffing out of each other.

Genocide - Toc, there will be plenty of time for this after we win.

A very, very large orange tabby cat walks in, a scar across his left eye and missing part of his right ear.

Spot - Ah, you’re here. Everyone, I’d like you to meet Mittens.

Puker - Mittens?!?

Mittens (deep voice) - It’s a pleasure to meet you all. I will be announcing this race.

Righteous - ...What does that mean, Jack?

Senseless - It means when we explode in a ball of fire, he’ll be the one saying ‘Oh, what a spectacle!’ and getting paid a lot.

Mittens - Hopefully that won’t happen... at least not until near the end of the race.

Camera goes over to a corner where Garell is talking quietly to Blavik.

Garell - Alright, Ensign...

Blavik - Yes, ma’am?

Garell - Did you complete the mission?

Blavik - I have found nothing that would evoke the emotion of total humiliation from her. I’m afraid you’re on your own, ma’am.

Garell - Damn it, there must be some way to screw with her head and make her mess up on the job.

Blavik - Why did you ask me to do it?

Garell - Because I don’t know the first thing about Vulcan psychology. Damn. Alright, now, here’s what I want you to do...

Blavik - I’m sorry, ma’am, but I refuse to take part in this. You’ll have to manage without me.

Blavik walks away.

Garell - Ah, who needs you?

Garell hops over to Sa’lol.

Garell - My warp engines are gonna kick yours in the ventral exhaust port!

Sa’lol - We have three warp cores.

Garell - Ours is bigger than yours put together!

Sa’lol - Must you be so illogical? This is simply a friendly competition.

Garell - Yeah, you keep on saying that, but I can see it: This race means the galaxy to you! You can’t stand the thought of losing to a ship full of emotional non-Vulcans!

Sa’lol - There are several dozen Vulcans serving on the Celestial. I can assure you–

Garell - Our ship is gonna show you who’s the superior species!

Tener - Ma’am, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so confident in the performance of the Celestial.

Garell - I’ve been up for fifty hours straight! I’ve drank so much coffee that I would say anything just to hear myself talk! My god, there’s a stain on the carpet!

Garell runs screaming from the room. Everyone looks at her. While everyone has their back to her, Sa’lol gives the “up yours” signal to Garell.

Righteous - What in the Celestial Temple was that all about?

Senseless - Best not to worry about it.

Mittens - Wow, look at the time. Get to your ships, everyone!

Senseless - Senseless to Celestial, eleven to transport.

The Celestial’s senior staff plus Admiral Nelix are transported to the Celestial. They leave the transporter room and head for the bridge.

Righteous - Stations, everyone!

Garell - Let’s take names and kick ass!

Baque - There’s only one name I’m taking, and only one ass I really want to kick. Structural integrity to maximum, weapons at standby, shields to half power! All available power to the engines! Prepare for maximum warp.

Senseless - Yellow alert.

Tener - Hey, guess what? This is the first time we’ve gone to yellow alert that I can remember!

Bios - Shouldn’t you be at your station?

Tener - My station is wandering around the ship. Today I feel like patrolling the bridge. Bite me.

Bios - Alright, calm down.

The intercom activates, and Mittens and Spot can be heard talking as music plays in the background.

Mittens - Good afternoon, race fans! It’s a beautiful day, on Risa at least, I can’t speak for the rest of the 200-some Federation worlds out there! We’re here with Fleet Admiral Spot, head of Starfleet, who has graciously allowed us to race two of Starfleet’s fastest starships in the most dangerous course ever devised! There will be explosions, there will be mayhem, there will be lots and lots of noise! And! We’re catching it all on live camera, fed directly to a subspace relay near you!

At that, five cameramen materialize on the bridge and start setting up tripods or turning on head-cams.

Righteous - Yay! We’re on TV!

Cameraman #1 - Actually this is mostly for status displays and the explosions that are bound to happen.

Senseless - In other words, Captain, keep your mouth shut.

Nelix - Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Genocide - I hope I get to shoot something.

Back on the station...

Mittens - So, tell us Admiral, what is the top speed of these ships?

Spot - No one’s quite sure. The Celestial had a manufactured maximum speed of warp 9.936, but I know for a fact they’ve gone faster on occasion. They just need the right motivation. Threatening them helps. The Avenger is, by design, faster, but they’ve never managed to churn out more than a few hundredths of a warp factor more than their top speed.

Mittens - That’s incredible. So, for those of you watching back home, these vessels will be moving at over one billion kilometres per second! That’s fast!

Camera goes to Senseless, who rolls his eyes.

Senseless - You’d think by the way this guy is talking that half the viewers are uneducated rednecks. I pity the scholars who choose to watch this crap.

Bios - If people are still reading these episodes, they’ve probably been desensitized to the crappy writing by now.

Righteous - Now, helm boy, rev the engine please.

Baque - We’re in space, what good would that do?

Righteous - Oh, you’re no fun.

Mittens - Pilots, start your engines!

Baque - Already on, now hurry up!

Mittens - And................

The lights hanging just outside the starting place and in between the two ships start count down through red, then yellow, then–

Mittens - Go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Baque hits the antimatter and the ship jumps to maximum warp. Everyone is thrown to the back of their seats as the Celestial undergoes extreme acceleration.

Tener (holding onto the railing behind the command chairs) - This episode suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Righteous - This is really funnnnnnnnn!!!!!

Baque - I need more power!

Garell - You’re crazy!

The Avenger can be seen pulling ahead on the viewscreen.

Garell - Oh... Okay, more power coming up.

Camera watches as the two ships approach a field of spacial anomalies.

Bios - Baque, adjust course, bearing 4 mark 0.

Baque - Got it.

The Celestial narrowly misses a spatial anomaly.

Bios - We’re flying a two million metric tonne hunk of metal at a billion kilometres per second: What could go wrong?

Center - Ha! The Avenger grazed an anomaly! They’re losing speed!

Senseless - Punch it!

Baque - Punching it, sir!

The Celestial puts in a burst of speed and takes the lead.

Scene 6 - The Celestial is still in the lead as both ships fly through a nebula.

Righteous - Captain’s log, stardate 436090.8. I’m bored.

Camera goes to the Celestial’s bridge. Baque and Garell are looking incredibly stressed out, while Righteous slouches in his chair looking very bored.

Righteous - How much longer!?!

Center - Probably another forty-five minutes, sir.

Righteous - Prophets damn it, how can anyone stand this crap? I’ve got a perfect seat and I’m still bored out of my skull.

Baque - Would you mind shutting up? I’m trying to drive!

Bios - I wish the sensors were working. I have a feeling we’re going the wrong way.

Baque - Yeah well as long as the Avenger keeps following us, emphasis on follow, we’re fine.

Center - We’re leaving the nebula. Sensors are coming back online.

Bios - Finally. Triangulating our position. Amazing, we’re right where we’re supposed to be. The black hole is next.

Genocide - We’ve had bad experiences with black holes, if I recall.

Nelix - Admiral Spot says it’s safe.

Senseless - Didn’t Admiral Spot used to hate you?

Nelix - Oh, she still does. She’s just better at hiding it.

Senseless - Doesn’t seem like she hates you at all.

Nelix - Trust me, if Admiral Spot liked me, you guys wouldn’t be part of the Ninth Fleet.

Senseless - Makes sense. Garell, how are the engines holding out?

Garell - You don’t wanna know.

Camera goes to engineering where the warp core is glowing red hot and the No-Names are sweating like pigs.

No-Name #1 - Boy, is it just me, or is it getting hot in here?

The No-Name behind him suddenly bursts into flames and vaporises. Camera goes back to the bridge.

Senseless - Can we keep up our speed?

Garell - Probably not, but I have an idea.

Righteous - Oh, do tell, I could use some amusement.

Garell - Well, if we swing around that black hole, which we should do anyway, we could gain quite a bit of speed.

Bios - Correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t that also slingshot us backwards in time?

Garell - Exactly! We’ll end up on the other side of the black hole but several minutes or seconds earlier! It’ll throw us ahead of them.

Senseless - If you’re wrong, we’ll end up hundreds of years in the past.

Garell - Don’t worry, I’ve calculated this out. Besides, I doubt a ship this big can travel more than a few minutes back in time, and the event horizon of the black hole will probably prevent time travel anyway, but it’s worth a shot.

Righteous - Sounds fun. Do it.

Bios - Fine. Calculating now.

Baque - ...Got it. Hang on.

Bridge of the Avenger.

Wong - What the hell?

Jones - Why are we detecting two Celestials?

Bridge of the Celestial. Everyone is being pushed back into their chairs.

Garell - It’s working! We’ve gone back five, six, ten seconds!

Baque - We’re leaving the gravity well.

Garell - Yeah! We’re way ahead of them! As long as we keep up our speed, they won’t stand a chance!

Foom!!!!!! The lights flicker.

Genocide - You had to open your mouth, didn’t you?

Garell - We’re losing speed! I can’t figure it out! I’d better get to Engineering.

She leaves the bridge.

Camera goes to the Avenger’s bridge.

No-Name #2 (at Ops) - Sir! Look out!

Too late. The Avenger’s warp field collides with the Celestial’s fluctuating warp field and things explode on both ships, killing No-Name #2. In the end, both vessels drop to impulse and start drifting. Camera goes to the station.

Mittens - Ladies and gentlemen, and transgendered species, there seems to be some kind of difficulty involving the ships. They’ve both dropped to impulse. —Scratch that, they’ve both stopped moving altogether. I think now would be a great time to go to a commercial break.

Spot - Knowing them, make it a long one...

Scene 7 - Messhall. Tener is sitting amidst the fires and debris sipping a cup of coffee. Garell comes in.

Garell - Hey! Shouldn’t you be helping to repair the engines before the Avenger does?

Tener - Nope. I’m taking this episode off.

Garell - Dare I ask why?

Tener - Because the plot sucks. It’s been done before a million different times and I’m getting sick of it. I read ahead in the author’s mind and I get to have next episode practically to myself, which means work, work, and more work. So with all due respect, ma’am, fuck off.

Garell backs out of the room.

Garell - Sadly, he has a point.

Scene 8 - Garell walks onto the bridge to find Baque still trying to get the ship to move and Senseless barking orders at No-Names. Righteous is fast asleep, snoring loudly.

Garell - Good news and bad news.

Baque - Give me both at the same time.

Garell - Good news is we’ve got warp drive back online. Bad news is that we’ve been pulled so far into the gravitational pull of the black hole that we can’t break free. We’ll need a stronger warp field and it’ll take a long time to manage that with our damaged engines.

Center - Commander, the Avenger is hailing.

Senseless - On screen.

Captain Jones appears on the screen.

Jones - Do you have the same problem we have? Warp field not strong enough?

Senseless - Yes. I don’t think we’re in any danger, but we’re stuck here until we can get a stronger warp field, and that could take hours to achieve.

Jones - If we work together, we can both break free in time to finish the race.

Baque - Uh, uh, no way in hell I’m working with him!

Wong - Same here! We’ll find our own way out, Captain.

Jones - We don’t have a choice. Commander, why is your captain asleep?

Senseless - He got bored. How can we work together?

Jones - If we bring our ships really close and merge our warp fields, we can produce a strong enough one to break free of the black hole’s gravity.

Senseless - Okay, let’s do it. Lieutenant Baque, work with their helmsman.

Tener walks onto the bridge.

Tener - I’d like to point out to those still paying attention that this was so utterly inevitable I threw up half an hour ago when I realized it. That is the reason I’m not puking my guts up all over the carpet right now. God, I hate these dumb character-building scenes.

Garell - I thought you were taking the day off?

Tener - I am.

Tener hops over to Bios’ station and sits on the console, much to her annoyance.

Tener - Can you get HBO on this thing?

Bios - Leave me alone, I’m trying to pretend to work... and yes, here’s the remote.

Senseless - Baque, just get us out of here.

Wong and Baque glare at each other but go ahead and move the ships so that the Celestial is right beneath the Avenger.

Garell - The warp field is stabilizing.

Senseless - Go to maximum warp!

Camera watches as both ships jump to warp with only a few metres between them, leading to a double flash. Camera goes to the announcing station.

Mittens - Ladies and gentlemen and transgendered species, the contestants are moving again! Our ratings are saved.

Spot - It’s stuff like this that makes me gain faith in Righteous, but then something usually happens to destroy it all again.

Camera goes back to the Celestial’s bridge.

Jones (screen) - Good work, everyone. Now, let’s come to a stop and then start up again–

Baque - Eat my ions, assholes!

The camera watches as the Celestial veers away from the Avenger, separating the warp fields and nearly crushing both ships. On the bridge, everyone gets back in their chairs.

Righteous - Prophets damn it! Who woke me up!?

Baque - Garell, any more bright ideas, because they’re gaining on us again.

Garell - Sorry, we’re fresh out of time travel devices, and our engines are still overheating.

Center - Um, they’re almost ahead of us.

Genocide - Shall I destroy them, sir?

Senseless - I thought you had left.

Genocide - Nope, I wouldn’t miss us getting our butts kicked for the world.

Baque looks at his console and realizes the Avenger is right next to them.

Baque - Oh, no you don’t!

He veers slightly to port and slams into the Avenger, throwing it off course momentarily. It comes back and slams into the Celestial even harder. Everyone on both bridges gets thrown around, except the helmsmen.

Senseless - Holy shit! Watch it, Toc!

Baque - Mess off, Commander, I’m not losing to this bastard again! Garell! I need everything you have in the way of power!

Garell - You’re gonna get us all killed!

Nelix - Excellent... Hey, I’m still on the ship! Oh, crap!

Baque - Feel free to leave.

He hops over to the briefing room and is about to open the escape pod when he spies the Avenger broadside the Celestial again and decides against it. Nelix goes back to the bridge.

Baque - Enough of this. Computer, activate the manual steering assembly.

His console pulls away and spins into the floor. It is replaced by two joysticks, one which controls pitch, yaw, and roll and the other which controls the x and y axis thrusters. Two pedals controlling forward and reverse or z axis engines raise up from the floor. Baque grabs both joysticks and puts his feet on the pedals.

Baque - Computer, activate multi-directional viewing monitor.

A device similar to the portable viewscreens the Dominion uses materializes on his face and activates.

Baque - That’s better!

Genocide - When the hell did you install that!?!

Baque - Shut up, I’m trying to drive.

He pulls the yaw and x axis controls to port and rams into the Avenger again, but doesn’t bounce off this time. Camera watches as the warp fields of both ships fizzle wildly, and lights flicker in the windows. Camera goes to the station.

Mittens - They’re neck and neck, grating against one another, heading for the finish line. They’re on the final stretch, it’s gonna be close!!

Spot - They’re entering the no-warp area. How did either of those pilots manage to get past ground school?

Both ships drop out of warp. Without the warp fields, they slam into each other’s shields. Camera goes to a freaked-out Genocide.

Genocide - Shields are falling fast!

Baque - I can taste the finish line.

Righteous - Oh, I sure hope the Prophets aren’t all on vacation...

Camera goes to Spot and Mittens who are peering through the window on the station at the two ships approaching at a quarter the speed of light, still crashing against each other.

Mittens - Everyone, it’s gonna be a photo finish! I can’t watch!

Spot - They’re heading right for us!!!

Sure enough, both ships barrel through the finish line, so close it’s impossible to see who won with the eye. They finally bounce off each other. The Avenger plows right into the station, sending it spinning wildly. The Celestial, being larger and heavier and less inclined to stop, plows right into an array of civilian ships which are parked by the starting line. One is a Tellarite freighter, the same freighter which has been seen in numerous episodes, always getting damaged.

Tellarite #1 - Oh, not again!

SMASH! The Celestial finally comes to a stop after nearly destroying said freighter. Camera goes to the bridge. Everyone has been tossed from their seats.

Garell - Congratulations, the warp core is offline.

Baque - Did we win?

Genocide - Shields are down. Hull breaches on decks 6, 10, and 19.

Center - The station is hailing us.

Righteous - On the seeing thing, please.

Admiral Spot, bouncing around the room as the station spins, yells at them.

Spot - Congratulations! You won! By a nanometre!

Baque - We won!?!

Garell - Barely...

Baque - A nanometre or a lightyear, it’s still a win! Excuse me, Admiral, I have to gloat.

The screen splits and Captain Jones and Lieutenant-Commander Wong appear on half of the screen.

Baque - In your face, Ed! Take that!

Wong - You cheated! You rammed us! Your ship was bigger, you had the advantage!

Baque - Oh, this is rich! He’s pouting! Bios, record this conversation, I’m gonna replay it over and over for the next couple decades!

Wong - This isn’t over, Toc, I’m still a better pilot!

Baque - The large trophy we’re getting would say otherwise. I don’t think a person could be more happy than I am right–

Nelix - Nechayev owes me money! Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes! Score a million for the furry people! I told her cats were naturals at picking the winning team! Nothing could ruin this day!

Spot - Admiral, the USS Scratchingpost is on important Federation business right now. Ride back to Earth with the Celestial.

Nelix - Damn it! God damn it!

Tener - Worst... episode... ever... I think we’ve set a new low.

Nelix - Son of a bitch! Damn it!

The End