Episode 38: “Degraded”

Written by Swordtail

Published July 7, 2007

Computer - Previously, on Star Trek: Celestial:

Shot of the Dominion fleet in the Idran system, in the Gamma Quadrant.

Shot of the Section 31 fleet at warp 5.

Shot of DS9 with the Celestial and the Solaris there.

Shot of Chester playing with a ball of yarn.

Shot of a happy face balloon.

Computer - And now...

Scene 1 - The camera watches as a Bajoran transport ship docks with DS9. Camera goes to the airlock, where an important looking Bajoran guy walks out carrying a briefcase. He is met by Captain Righteous, Commander Senseless, and Lieutenant-Commander Garell.

Bajoran - I am Doctor Jelor.

Righteous - I’m Captain Righteous, this is Commander Senseless and this is—

Jelor (waving him down) - I know who you are. Now, where’s my ship?

Garell - Your ship?

Jelor - I designed the Celestial Class, after all.

Righteous - Celestial Class? What? I’ve been calling it the Opaka Class for years!!!

Senseless - Well... Sisko was right.

Righteous - Sisko? You were talking to him?

Senseless - Uh... in a manner of speaking... visions, you understand.

Righteous - Only too much.

Senseless - Commander, Doctor Jelor is here to help us upgrade the Celestial. We need all the help we can get to stave off the imminent Dominion invasion.

Garell - Okay, but let’s get one thing straight: It’s my ship now, you’re just here to help me.

Righteous - I thought it was my ship!?!

Nelix - No, it’s my ship, and don’t you ever forget it.

Admiral Nelix and Fleet Admiral Spot trot down the corridor and stop to talk with the other people.

Righteous - Kitties!

Spot and Nelix roll their eyes.

Senseless - What are you guys doing here?

Spot - I’ll forgive you for not keeping track of every ship that’s arriving at DS9 these days. There are a lot of them. Anyway, the Ninth Fleet is beginning to arrive, and the Litterbox just got here a few minutes ago. Admiral Nelix here came with the USS Scratchingpost.

Nelix - I want Chester’s new ship, the OSS Hairball.

Spot - I have some news. The Federation Council unanimously condemned the actions of Section 31. They’re hoping, with no support, they’ll turn around and not invade Dominion space.

Garell - Well, let’s see, they’ve violated General Order 7, murdered an entire race, violated the Treaty of Algeron, violated the Temporal Prime Directive, the Prime Directive, the Not-So-Prime Directive, the wishes of the Federation Council, direct orders from Starfleet Command, and are planning to commit genocide. Yeah, I can sure see them turning around now that people publicly don’t like them.

Spot - I didn’t say it was a good idea.

Senseless - Just out of curiosity, how many Ninth Fleet ships have arrived?

Nelix pulls out a tiny kitty PADD.

Nelix - Let’s see... Celestial, Solaris, Borg Buster, Enterprise, Drunk, Weed Plant, Citadel, Saratoga, Avenger...

Garell - The Avenger? Now I know where I’ve heard that Vulcan’s name before! Doesn’t the Solaris’ science officer have the same name as the Avenger’s chief engineer?

Spot - Do you know how many Fred’s there are on Earth?

Garell - Point taken... but for clarity, they are different people, right?

Spot - Yes. So Admiral Nechayev doesn’t like losing, and forced the Ninth Fleet to take the USS Avenger.

Righteous - Sounds to me like the author forgot he’d used that name before.

Nelix - Luckily no one cares what you think.

Jelor - Ahem!

Spot - Oh, sorry doctor.

Jelor - So, let’s go take a look at the good ‘ol NCC-91482...

Garell - Actually... that ship blew up. The one we have is the NCC-80164.

Jelor - Prophets damn it!

Opening credits... heh... he said credits.

Scene 2 - Garell and Jelor walk into the Celestial’s main engineering. Dozens of No-Names are milling around.

Jelor (yelling out) - Ladies and gentlemen, and transgendered species, today... we’re gonna pimp your ride.

Garell - Run a diagnostic on everything. Shut down the warp core.

No-Name #1 - Yes ma’am.

Jelor - So... let’s take a look.

He goes over to a console and starts reviewing status reports. A frown forms on his face.

Jelor - You’ve gone through at least three warp cores, have had nearly every section of the ship replaced at least once. There are microfractures along the duranium endoskeleton! And they’ve been there for months!

Garell - Yeah, I was getting around those.

Jelor - Fixing them? You don’t fix a duranium crystal endoskeleton.

Garell - And that’s why they never got fixed. You should have thought about repair when you designed the damn thing!

Jelor - If I didn’t use a duranium endoskeleton, the ship wouldn’t be able to survive ramming another object!

Garell - We’ve only used that a handful of times, and we could barely move after it anyway!

Jelor - You didn’t see the damage that happened to the Enterprise after it rammed that Reman ship?

Garell - What exactly are you going to be updating?

Jelor - Weapons, warp drive, shields, sensors, and computer interfaces.

Garell - It took me over a year to fine-tune this ship to meet everyone’s needs. I’d rather not have to do it again.

Jelor (sigh) - Commander, I respect your engineering competence, but I designed this ship. I know it like the back of my hand. In fact, I doubt you remember me, but I was on Utopia Planitia while you were stationed there. I think you were a Lieutenant at that time. You were in charge of testing, weren’t you?

Garell - ...Maybe. I don’t care if you engineered the universe. On this ship, my word in engineering matters is law, so you’d better clear everything you do with me before you do it... or so help me I’ll kill you.

No-Name #1 - She’ll do it, she’s killed dozens of us before!

Jelor swallows loudly.

Scene 3 - The camera pans by the station, where even more Federation, Klingon, Romulan, and Cardassian ships have arrived. Scene jumps to an office onboard the station, where Admiral Spot is meeting with all the other Fleet Admirals that have arrived.

Spot - Now, I know it’s not standard procedure to take the top brass into the line of fire, but in this case we might not have a choice. We know the Dominion can scramble transmissions, so we need you guys nearby to give direct orders to your fleets.

One of the admirals raises their hand.

Spot - Yes, Admiral?

Admiral #1 - Do we get cupcakes at this meeting? I was told there would be cupcakes!

Spot (rolling her eyes) - There are no cupcakes.

Another admiral raises her hand.

Admiral #2 - What about ice cream? Can we at least get some ice cream?

Spot - No! No ice cream, no cupcakes, and no more stupid questions!

Several admirals shift uneasily.

Nelix - What about Righteous, Picard, and Shields?

Spot - What about them?

Nelix - They’re idiots. I don’t think their ships should be put in command of battle squadrons.

Spot - And on that note, back to the matter at hand. All ships larger than 500 crew will be made command ships in the fleet. Orders will be delegated from each of your flagships to each command ship, and they will in turn control the smaller ships and fighters.

Admiral Ross - Can I get a bigger ship?

Spot - No. It’s not my fault you like Defiant-class ships.

Ross - Sisko got to control other ships and all he had was a Defiant!

Spot - Sisko was competent.

Ross looks at his boots.

Ross - I used to be competent...

Spot - So did Sisko. Note I said “was.” So, battle drills every day from now on until—

Nechayev - Are we planning on engaging the Section 31 fleet that’s coming this way?

Spot - We can’t afford to. You didn’t hear this, but they’ve got Reman cloaking devices and transphasic torpedoes and ablative armour from the future. We wouldn’t stand a chance.

Nechayev - Does the Dominion?

Spot - That remains to be seen... and frankly I couldn’t care less.

Scene 4 - Jelor is crawling at full speed through some Jefferies tubes, turning corners without so much as reading the signs on the hatches and stopping to make adjustments to controls and relays along the way. Behind him is a distraught Garell, who is out of breath and trying to keep up.

Garell - What... are... you... doing... now!?

Jelor - Recalibrating the ODN relays on this deck.

Garell - What? I thought you just did that an hour ago!

Jelor - That was on deck 14. We’re on deck 2.

Garell - How can you fly through these tubes so quickly?

Jelor - A strict exercise regiment and a keen mind.

Garell - Whatever. Can we take a break?

Jelor - You’re welcome to leave, I don’t need your help with most of this.

Garell - Oh no, the Commander told me to keep an eye on you and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Jelor - Alright. Break’s over. Time to realign the phaser emitter lateral running strip.

Garell grabs him by the boot to stop him.

Garell - Stop. We’re not going anywhere until you tell me how you got so well-versed in Federation technology. The Opaka Project was in operation well before Bajor entered the Federation.

Jelor - Well... who said I was on Bajor at the time? For your information, I already had a doctorate degree when the Cardassians employed me. I didn’t want to build stupid yellow Cardie ships, so I annoyed the Cardassians so much with my incessant banter and annoying quirks that they kicked me off the planet. I went to the Federation and started working at the Utopia Planitia Shipyards around Sol IV.

Garell - So by being an annoying little pissant, you got lucky and built this pile of crap?

Jelor - Yep! Now, let’s go realign some phaser emitters.

Garell just shakes her head and crawls after him.

Scene 5 - Celestial’s bridge. Righteous, Senseless, Genocide, Baque, Center, and Bios are present.

Righteous - What’s a battle drill?

Genocide - I can’t believe this...

Righteous - Seriously, someone please tell me.

Genocide - I vote for me to run the drills.

Senseless - You’ll get no argument from me.

Baque - Why did my console just rearrange itself?

Senseless - Explain.

Baque - The “Go” button used to be in the upper right corner. Now it’s in the middle left.

Garell (comm) - Garell to bridge, sorry for any inconvenience, but our good Doctor Jelor decided to reinitialize the operating system.

Bios - He’s into the computer systems?!?

Garell (comm) - Yes, he is.

Bios - Son of a bitch!

Bios runs for the turbolift.

Bios - Deck 14.

The doors close and the turbolift drops.

Baque - Stupid... Bajorans...

Righteous - Bajorans are not stupid! We’re all smarter than you guys!

Center - I agree, sir.

Righteous - Exactly. See, even one of your own agrees.

Senseless - Captain, the Bajoran temple on the Promenade got a new orb in a while ago.

Righteous - ...

Before anyone can say anything else he engages a site to site transport and disappears.

Center - Commander, Captain Ketrell of Solaris is asking to meet with you.

Senseless - Okay... Ketrell, Ketrell... where have I heard that name before?

Genocide - He’s probably related to that Ketrell Eden guy who was making those antimatter inversion bombs 247 years ago.

Senseless - Oh yeah... more name recycling.

Baque - Bllllt... Paramount did it all the time.

Scene 6 - A table in a room. Only a single light over the table illuminates the card game that’s going on. Commander Jack Senseless, and Captain’s Ketrell Valen, Leon Farfetched, Amy Castanea, Spot Jr., Jean-Luc Picard, Benjamin Sisko, and Captain Jones of the Avenger are playing “Cheat.”

Picard - One ten.

Sisko - Two jacks.

Castanea - Cheat.

Sisko - Damn it!

Jones - One queen.

Senseless - Two kings.

Ketrell - Three aces.

Castanea - Cheat.

Ketrell - Prophets damn it!

Spot Jr. - What are you, a telepath?

Castanea - Heh, heh, heh. Nope, you guys just have crappy poker faces.

Farfetched - Two two’s, you jackasses.

Castanea - Four threes.

Spot Jr, Sisko, Picard, Farfetched - Cheat!

Castanea flips over her cards, revealing four threes. Spot Jr., Sisko, Picard, and Farfetched’s eyes go wide. They two turn over a card each, revealing a three.

Senseless - What did you do, bring an identical deck and hide it in your uniform?

Jones - That’s cheating!

Castanea - Duh! The game is called Cheat!

The door opens and Admiral Nelix walks in.

Nelix - What are you idiots doing!?!

Farfetched - Playing cards, jackass... I mean sir.

Nelix - Half the fleet is out doing battle drills and you’re all playing cards?

Senseless - It sure looks that way, sir.

Nelix - Why isn’t anyone from the Borg Buster here?

Castanea - Because Captain Shields is an idiot and Commander Homicide would have killed us all by now.

Nelix points toward the door.

Nelix - Battle drills... Now!

Everyone groans and leaves the room.

Scene 7 - Camera is in space where several dozen ships are flying around some moon. And by several dozen ships I mean the entire Ninth Fleet. Camera goes to the bridge of the Celestial, where the bridge staff is having a grand old time watching imaginary Dominion ships fly across the viewscreen and get destroyed.

Baque - Woo hoo!

Genocide - Take that, sensor ghost Dominion pieces of crap!

While everyone except Senseless laughs at the made-up carnage, the USS Borg Buster crosses the viewscreen, really close.

Baque - Ah ha ha oh shit!

CRASH!!! The two ships collide, sending everyone bouncing across the room.

Righteous - Oops! Open a channel.

Center - Channel open sir.

Righteous - Sorry, guys!

Homicide’s face appears onscreen.

Homicide - Beam over here and say this to my face, shit heads!

Shields - Maybe we should remember our anger management exercises. Breath in, and breath out, breath in, and AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

Homicide jumps Captain Sheilds and Gunner, Lucky, and Gribble join in the bridge brawl before the screen goes to a sign that says “We are experiencing technical difficulties.”

Righteous - Ah yes, it’s nice to see everyone getting along so well.

Senseless - Lieutenant-Commander, please try not to crash us into anything else.

SMASH! The Celestial rear-ends the Saratoga and bounces off its shields. CRASH! The Citadel is hit by the Saratoga and goes spinning end over end. WHAM! The spinning Citadel hits Solaris, which pitches downward violently and broadsides the Avenger, which slides sideways and scrapes against the Enterprise. Camera goes to DS9 where Admiral Nelix has both his front paws on his forehead and is shaking his head while sighing. He turns to another nameless admiral.

Nelix - Is it too late to request a transfer?

Admiral #3 - I thought that Knocked Up was a fairly decent movie and was a worthy summer comedy film.

Nelix - What are you talking about?

Admiral #3 - Oh, sorry, wrong show.

Admiral #3 taps his commbadge and is beamed away. Nelix just goes back to shaking his head as he watches his fleet try to get rearranged.

Scene 8 - Garell is still following Jelor as he makes modifications to systems. The ship is still slightly shaking around them as the Ninth Fleet gets tangled up once again.

Garell - You haven’t made any major modifications to the systems yet! All you’ve done is adjust things slightly and recalibrate other things a little more.

Jelor - Trust me.

Garell - The last Bajoran that said that to me ruined my life. I think you know him, his name is Righteous Lee.

Jelor - Prior to working on the Celestial, you were scrubbing waste transfer conduits, so frankly this is the best thing that ever happened to you.

Garell - Why are you such a pain in the ass!?!

Jelor - I don’t know, I was about to ask you the same question. All you’ve done since I got here was to question my decisions and make fun of my species.

They realize that they’ve been standing in front of Lieutenant Tener for the entire conversation.

Tener - Uh... just a thought here, but could it have something to do with the fact that you two are so similar?

Tener walks away. Garell and Jelor look at each other.

Garell - I still hate you.

Jelor - The feeling is mutual.

Scene 9 - In Spot’s office, all the fleet admirals are sitting around listening to Spot talk about how screwed they all are.

Spot - ...And the fact is the Dominion could potentially use any method to open that wormhole. We need to be ready. That is why, we’re going to use...

She opens a desk drawer with her paw and tries to lift out a book, but it’s too big and heavy.

Spot - Hello? A little help here?

Admiral Ross - Huh? Oh, right!

Admiral Ross goes and takes the book out of the drawer and drops it on the desk next to Spot with a loud “thud.” On the cover is written The United Federation of Planets’ Big Book of Plans That Didn’t Quite Work But Still Could, 2381 Edition. Spot flips to a page.

Spot - This is the same book Section 31 used, by the way. Here, entry six million, three hundred fifty seven thousand, one hundred forty seven: Mining the Bajoran wormhole.

Admiral Janeway - I know I’m not a fleet admiral, but it should be stated that the said plan didn’t quite work. And I want to be in this episode.

Spot - Hence the title of the book. It didn’t work because Sisko overlooked a tiny flaw in his plan: The mines could be deactivated using something here on the station. We’re going to shield every mine from almost every form of radiation.

Nechayev - So who are we going to send to deploy the mines?

Ross - Not the Ninth Fleet, I hope.

Nelix - Yeah... and call it feline intuition, but I have a good feeling about the crew of the USS Solaris...

Camera jumps to the Solaris’ bridge, where an Andorian woman wearing Starfleet standard issue pajamas and holding a toothbrush, walks out of the turbolift.

Lieutenant-Commander Dalarsh - Just a heads up, the warp core won’t be back online for another few hours... I overslept. Again.

Camera goes back to Spot’s office.

Spot - No, I’m going to personally see to this. The USS Litterbox will deploy the mines and some nameless ships from some nameless fleets run by you nameless admirals will protect her.

Admiral #1 - I like it! I have Sovereign-class ships in my fleet! Go me!

Admiral #2 - Idiot! We all do! They’re like the Galaxy class of the 80’s!

Nelix - I don’t have any... well, unless you include the Enterprise... I used to have the USS Asskicker, but the Celestial had to go screw that up.

Spot - You were the one who insisted on connecting that half-built Opaka Class ship to your beaten-up Sovereign saucer section.

Nelix - It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Spot - Enough chit-chat. The Section 31 fleet will be here in god knows how long. They’ve cloaked. The bastards. Stupid Remans. God, I’m getting irked at this situation. Fucking Founders! Dismissed!

Scene 10 - Quark’s bar, Deep Space Nine. Baque, Garell, and Bios walk in. Quark freaks out and rushes over to them.

Quark - Perhaps I could interest you in a holosuite, rather than another boring game of Dabo?

Garell - Relax you stupid Ferengi, we just want a drink that’s not full of synthehol.

Quark - Bad day?

Baque - Piss off, no body likes you.

Bios - And for your information, it was a shitty day.

Garell - It put the shitty in shitty day.

Baque - Who knew fighting in a fleet was that hard? I don’t remember it ever being this hard before.

Bios - That’s because we’ve never had to deal with this many ships before. Half the Federation fleet is here getting ready for a Dominion invasion which may never come.

Quark - I don’t know about you, but it’s times like this when I like to remember the 19th Rule of Acquisition: Satisfaction is not guaranteed.

Baque - What?

Quark - Or was it the 65th: Win or lose, there’s always Hupyrian beetle snuff.

Baque - How about #59: Free advice is seldom cheap. What do you want?

Quark - Oh... nothing... but, if you happen to know when that rogue Federation fleet is due to arrive at the station...

Garell - No we don’t, and even if we did, it would be top secret information which we wouldn’t be able to tell you—

Bios - As early as tomorrow.

Quark - ...Tomorrow?

Bios - That’s considering a cruising speed of warp 6, assuming they spread out enough to allow it.

Garell - Why did you tell him that?

Quark - You mean as early as tomorrow, we could all be dead?

Garell - Oh cheer up, I’m sure you’ll be able to make a tonne of profit before that happens. After all, just think of all the people who will be looking for transport away from the Federation?

Quark - Rule of Acquisition #125, You can’t make a deal if you’re dead! I have to start packing!

Quark leaves the room.

Garell - Finally... good thing you remembered the “when in doubt, lie” rule, Bios.

Bios - Lie? Who said I was lying?

Baque - Wait... you were serious? They could be here as early as tomorrow?

Bios - Yep. They enter the Gamma Quadrant tomorrow morning, we have another war on our hands by the afternoon. The karmic cycle closes. Kiss your proverbial ass goodbye.

Baque - Rule of Acquisition 25: There’s always a way out. Think we’d get in trouble if we went AWOL?

Garell - Commander! I’m shocked at you!

Baque - Oh come on, I know you were contemplating it too!

Garell - No, I’m shocked that you know so many of the Rules of Acquisition. I’m all for going AWOL.

Bios - Then what are we waiting around for? I’m thinking, Nyberrite Alliance?

Scene 11 - Celestial’s ready room. Senseless is yelling at Baque, Garell, and Bios.

Senseless - What the hell were you thinking!?! Stealing the St. Lawrence right out of our shuttlebay?!? Where did you think you could get in a runabout!?!

Baque - We were hoping to get to the Nyberrite Alliance.

Senseless - You were trying to run away from the fight?

Garell - It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Bios - They made me do it!

Garell - You suggested our destination, dimwit!

Senseless - We’re on the eve of the Federation’s most important battle since the Borg invaded. Do you know how cool the fight is going to be? Do you? We’re talking finale-level coolness here! The battle to end all battles, until a better one comes along! Look at these specs.

He picks up a PADD.

Senseless - 950 Federation starships, 300 Klingon ships, 200 Romulan, 250 Cardassian ships, we’ve got the Tholians too.

Baque - And we’re still outnumbered almost five to one.

Senseless - Oh lighten up. We all know how crappy Dominion ships are. Just look out that window and still tell me we have no hope in hell of beating them.

The other three officers glance out the ready room window in time to see a Cardassian Galor and a Romulan Valdore-class ship collide and both explode.

Bios - I’m suddenly feeling confident.

Senseless - That’s the spirit. Now, march out there and set a good example for the nameless extras we keep on hand for stunts.

The other three roll their eyes and leave the room. Senseless calls after them.

Senseless - Oh, and you’re not allowed to leave the ship anymore.

Garell - God damn it!

Scene 12 - Camera is on the USS Litterbox as it deploys self-replicating, cloaked, shielded mines at the entrance to the wormhole.

Spot - Chief of Defence Staff’s log, stardate 436147.9. It’s lunch time and I’m hungry.

Scene 13 - The Litterbox is almost done the minefield.

Spot - Chief of Defence Staff’s log, supplemental. Lunch was good. I had some bread pudding and a bowl of vitamin-enriched milk. We’re nearly done the minefield, so maybe the Federation Council will finally get off my back. There is now no way the Dominion can get into the Alpha Quadrant unobstructed... and I’ve just probably jinxed the whole thing.

Camera goes to a random corridor on DS9. Sisko and Admiral Spot walk up to Odo and some of his security officers. On the wall, in red crayon, is a flaming happy face.

Odo - They call themselves the “Cult of the Pah Wraiths.” They’ve annoying little jerks with nothing better to do. They believe the Pah Wraiths are the “true Prophets” and seek to release them from the fire caves. However, none of them like the cold so they go nowhere near the caves.

Sisko - Tighten security around this section.

Odo - Already done.

Sisko - And try to round up a few of these cultists for questioning.

Odo - Already done.

Sisko - And post more security near the Bajoran temple on the Promenade.

Odo - Already done.

Sisko - And get me a raktajino.

Odo (passing him a cup) - Already done.

Sisko - If you keep this up, I’m going to stop issuing orders.

Spot - Already done.

Sisko - What?

Spot - Just kidding... I couldn’t help myself.

Sisko - Didn’t the Cult of the Pah Wraiths used to use a different symbol?

Odo - It was too hard to spray paint onto walls, so they changed it. Besides, they probably realized the old one looked too much like a Federation starship.

Scene 14 - Bridge of the Celestial. The viewscreen is showing the Ninth Fleet nicely arranged in rows of ships.

Righteous - Congratulations, everyone! We did it! Admiral Nelix will be so pleased.

Senseless - Now we just have to manage to do this same thing in front of the wormhole among over a thousand other ships.

Baque - Sir, I’m picking up a ship heading this way at full impulse. It’s a Bajoran transport.

Center - What are they doing here, Bajor is a million kilometres in the other direction.

Bios - It’s probably heading for the moon we’re orbiting.

Genocide - Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that moon uninhabitable?

Baque - Well, it didn’t used to be!

Genocide - How was I supposed to know a tricobalt torpedo would do so much damage to the atmosphere?

Baque - He’s in visual range.

Righteous - Onscreen.

Beep! The Bajoran transport comes onscreen, and flies right between several ships. Captain Picard’s face appears on the screen.

Picard - Did you guys see that as well?

Righteous - Sure did! I thought all space traffic was cut off to this region because of the battles we’re pretending to fight.

Picard - We should check it out. You all stay here, we’ll go after it.

Righteous - Okey dokey.

The camera watches as the Enterprise-E turns away from the rest of the fleet and goes after the transport. Half way to the moon, it turns around and fires at the Enterprise, blowing a hole in the saucer section. Camera goes to the Enterprise’s bridge.

Picard - Status report!

B4 - We’re in a room; it’s shaking.

LaForge - Main power is offline! The power grid on decks 5 through 8 are fused.

Picard - Mother fucker! Why does this always happen to us!?!

Camera goes to the Celestial’s bridge. Everyone is freaking out at the damage to the Enterprise.

Senseless - Since when are Bajoran transports armed!!!

Genocide - Since when can Bajoran weapons blow holes through Federation starship hulls!

Baque - The transport is heading back for the moon.

Senseless - Shields up! Red alert! All hands to battlestations! Mr. Baque, lay in a pursuit course.

Righteous - Shouldn’t we bring some backup?

Senseless - Of course, sorry, I’m just so used to us being the only ship in the sector. Tell the Saratoga and the Citadel to form up on our wing and follow us at a close distance.

The Celestial and the Saratoga and Citadel fly toward the Bajoran transport, which turns around and fires at them.

Boom, ship rocks, sparks.

Senseless - Target their weapons, return fire!

Bios - They’re using a focussed verteron beam, highly powerful. No known power uses such weapons.

Genocide - They’re cultists. Look at the emblem on the side of the ship.

Righteous - Hmm... they’ve never caused us problems before.

Senseless - You knew they were kicking around out here?

Righteous - Meh, if they want to throw away their lives worshipping false Prophets, so be it. But they’ve never gotten their hands on weapons like this.

Genocide - Why aren’t we in weapons range yet!?

Baque - They’re moving too fast. I can’t catch them... crap... they’ve entered the planet’s atmosphere. We’ve lost them.

Righteous - Damn it. Well no use crying over spilt spring wine. Let’s go back and resume our position in the fleet.

Senseless - Captain? Shouldn’t we be worried about this?

Righteous - Mr. Genocide, what’s the status of our shields?

Genocide - 99%. Looks like that weapon can’t go through shields that well.

Righteous - Exactly. Nothing to worry about. Engage.

Senseless - Ooookay...

Scene 15 - The camera watches as the entire Federation, Romulan, Klingon, and... I can’t think of anything else... yeah all the ships are formed up at the mouth of the wormhole. Camera goes to Fleet Admiral Spot’s office, where Spot is talking with the Federation president.

Spot - That’s right, Mr. President. We’re in position to blow the Jem’Hadar ships out of the sky as they exit the wormhole. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

President - Excellent. So everything is taken care of then? Nothing to worry about.

Spot - Well, not that I see. Our first line of defence, of course, is the Prophets. Frankly I think they’re just a bunch of useless wormhole aliens, but Captain Sisko seems to like them so they can’t be all good. If the Dominion makes it through the wormhole, our next line of defence is the minefield, then the Federation and Klingon fleet. If any ships get past that, they have to deal with the Romulans and the Tholians and the Cardassians. If they get past that, they have to deal with DS9. I don’t think we have anything to worry about.

President - Famous last words.

Spot - What?

President - Oh nothing, just seemed like the best thing to say at a time like this.

Scene 16 - Bridge of the Celestial. Everyone is present. Doctor Jelor pulls his head out of a gutted console and puts the cover back on.

Jelor - All done.

Garell - All done?

Tener - Cool. About time.

Bios - So... what exactly did you change?

Jelor - Try it all out.

Baque starts hitting buttons on his console, a smile creeps across his face.

Baque - The helm is at least twice as responsive now! And the engines are showing a 12% increase in power!

Genocide - Weapons systems activate faster, phaser recharge rate is increased slightly,

Bios - Sensor resolution is way better, as is sensor range!

Garell (astonished) - Well... I’m impressed!

Jelor - Thank you, Commander.

Garell - So how exactly did you do all that?

Jelor - Simple. Since the ship was built I’ve been running simulations and tweaking various systems. I think I’ve found the best mix of form and function available on this class of vessel.

Senseless - On behalf of the entire crew, we thank you for your time and effort. Let’s all celebrate with a bottle of champagne.

Jelor - You’re welcome. Oh, one more thing... I had to take the replicators offline, but I’m sure you can get them back before the war breaks out. Also, I’ll charge the bill to Starfleet Command, and they’ll probably take it out of your ship’s latinum reserves. Bye!

Jelor leaves the bridge.

Senseless - God damn it! Why does nothing ever come free anymore!?!

The End