Episode 50: “Double Retardre”

Written by Swordtail

Published November 26, 2007

Scene 1 - The Celestial is zooming through space.

Captain Righteous - Captain’s log, stardate 59834.2. After much deliberation, I’ve finally called a meeting of the senior staff to help me decide a very important decision.

The camera goes to the Celestial’s briefing room. The senior staff file in one at a time and take their seats. Coming in last is Lieutenant Tener, who is still missing most of his right arm, but the stump does appear to be several centimetres longer than it was at first.

Lieutenant-Commander Baque - Hey! Stumpy! How’s it going?

Tener - The first thing I’m going to do when my arm is done growing back is punch you in the face, sir.

Lieutenant-Commander Garell - What?

Tener - I said I was going to punch him in the face. Is that a crime around here now?

Garell - No, before that... how can your arm grow back?

Tener - Uh... you haven’t noticed it’s been getting a bit longer every day?

Garell - Well, no, but I see you everyday... someone want to fill me in here?

Doctor Puker - Since the amputated Lieutenant here was born with two working arms, thus indicating his genetic structure is programmed to have two, I’m simply applying regular doses of stem cells to the area and speeding up the regeneration with a tissue regenerator.

Garell - But... so his arm is going to grow back?

Baque - ...It is?

Tener - Yeah, that’s right, and I won’t be forgetting you calling me “Stumpy.”

Lieutenant-Commander Genocide - I still say you should have opted to go with a prosthetic phaser cannon.

Garell - Wait a minute... how long have we had this medical technology?

Puker - Earth developed it in the middle part of the 21st century, after all those whiny religious groups finally got it through their head that there was a difference between embryonic and non-embryonic stem cells.

Garell - Then how come when Nog lost his leg he had to get a prosthetic one!?!

Commander Senseless - Because the Federation doesn’t have access to Ferengi regeneration research and Nog was too cheap to buy it from them!

Righteous - Gah! Stop yelling! Now, have you all said your daily prayers?

Everyone - No.

Righteous - Then you’ll all burn in hell. Second order of business, Admiral Nelix, against his better judgement apparently, decided to send us out to explore.

Tener - Uh... is that wise, after what happened last time?

Ensign Casey - Why, what happened last time?

Lieutenant Bios - We ended up stuck with you.

Casey - Oh, that... but, like, that isn’t likely to, like, happen twice in one season, is it? People getting, like, vapourized?

Tener - Can we please not risk it?

Lieutenant Blavik - I was under the impression that we were banned from most sectors.

Righteous - Yes, we are, but there’s still a few left, mostly in the Beta Quadrant, which is pretty close to here right now, right?

Baque - We’re in it.

Righteous - Yes, very close indeed. So... where do you guys wanna go? We’ve got, what, three systems that haven’t been explored that show signs of intelligent lifeforms?

Bios - Actually, fifty in this sector alone.

Righteous - Well, that makes my job much easier... set a course for the nearest one! Maximum warp!

Righteous gets up and leaves the room.

Senseless (sigh) - No good can come from this...

Opening credits or sequence or whatever the fuck they call it these days.

Scene 2 - The Celestial drops out of warp and enters a solar system. On the bridge, the entire senior staff are present.

Righteous - So, what’s here?

Bios - Performing scan... alright, there’s a warp capable civilization, primarily located on the fourth planet, although I’m detecting signs of life on several of the other worlds and their moons. Multiple ships are within the system, from dozens of different races. There appears to be a trading station of some sort orbiting the fourth planet.

Righteous - What’s this place called, anyway?

Bios - The Selentra system. The Federation hasn’t had much contact with them, we only just acquired space near their borders after the recent Romulan peace treaty amendments.

Genocide - Are the Romulans still trying to acquire space from us in such a way as to form the words “Feds suck” when viewed from the top of the galaxy?

Bios - Yeah... They’ve got the “F” finished, and they’re almost done the “e” I think.

Senseless - Well as long as no one tells them that in order to form the last “s” they’ll have to give up their home system, we’ll be okay.

Righteous - So... brand new worlds await us then?

Bios - Seeing as this entire area of space used to be surrounded by the Romulans, yeah, we’re the first Federation starship to get here.

Baque - Alas, poor Selentra, we hardly knew thee...

Garell - What’s the population of this system?

Bios - Roughly three billion.

Baque (cringing) - Oooh... that’s gonna look bad in the news headlines...

Senseless - Knock it off, we don’t always end up destroying the races we encounter.

Baque - Yes, but we always end up killing at least some of them.

Righteous - Well, that means we can only improve. Set a course for that trading station you mentioned, full impulse!

The camera watches as the Celestial flies toward the fourth planet, and slowly enters a zone filled with hundreds of other ships of various origin. They pass a sign that says “Welcome to Selentra Prime: A Higher RNI Than You Since System-Date 99212.” The camera goes back to the Celestial’s bridge.

Senseless - Commander, try not to hit anyone: Our insurance doesn’t cover exploration anymore.

Baque - Gotcha.

Casey - Like, incoming hail.

Righteous - On screen.

Beep! The viewscreen changes to show an important looking guy sitting in a room filled with consoles and monitors.

Space Traffic Controller - Unidentified vessel, state your identity and reasons for being here.

Righteous - I’m Captain Righteous Lee, of the Federation starship Celestial. We’re here to meet you guys and convince you to follow the ways of the Pro—

Senseless quickly slaps his hand across Righteous’ mouth, shutting him up.

Senseless - We’re here to meet you and learn about your culture. Is there any diplomatic team we could speak with?

Space Traffic Controller - Oh great, explorers again... You never buy stuff and after you’re gone we’re always left with a dozen new diseases to deal with... but it ain’t my problem. I’m sending transport coordinates within the station, where a member of our government will meet with you. We’re also sending a set of docking instructions. Please follow them. If you don’t, your ship will be towed at your expense.

The channel cuts.

Puker - Friendly bloke, isn’t he?

Tener - Meh, at least they haven’t opened fire on us. That’s a good sign.

Baque - A good sign that our reputation hasn’t caught up with us?

Tener - Yeah, that too.

Senseless - Okay, Mr. Baque, park us wherever they want us to go. Doctor, Lieutenants, you’re with me.

Righteous - I’m coming too.

Senseless - Sir, Starfleet regulations say—

Righteous - Don’t care, don’t care, Prophets want me to go. Best not to question the guys who are standing between us and the Dominion.

Senseless (waving his arms around) - What Dominion!?! The faction that attacked us was wiped out over two months ago!!!

Righteous - Whatever, I’m still the captain here, so I say I’m going... you can come too if you want.

Senseless rolls his eyes.

Senseless - Fine, but I just know we’ll regret this. As for the rest of you, try not to break anything.

Casey - Can we, like, go shopping?!?

Righteous - Yep, just don’t waste all our latinum on frivolous stuff. But if you happen to see anything related to the Prophets, feel free to purchase it. Come on, Jack, James, Vaughn, girl who breaks stuff a lot...

Senseless, Righteous, Bios, Tener, and Puker leave the bridge.

Scene 3 - With the Celestial parked amid a dozen other ships in a large partially enclosed area of the trading station, the camera goes to the airlock where crew are piling out. Baque, Genocide, Garell, Blavik, and Casey stroll out into a large atrium, filled with beings from hundreds of races.

Garell - Wow, considering the number of people here, I’m surprised the Federation has never heard of this place... oh look, some Ferengi!

Baque - Yeah, well, everyone from Earth to Ocampa knows the Federation isn’t into buying things, so who would bother telling us?

Garell - Still, you’d think we’d have heard about it eventually. Is that a shoe store?

Casey - Where?

Genocide - Well, I can see this is going to be boring fast, so we’ll split up here. Have fun!

Baque and Genocide move away towards a shop that looks like it sells alcohol of some sort, leaving the other three to do whatever.

Garell - Come on Casey, let’s check out that shoe store.

Casey - Okay!

Blavik - What would be the purpose of purchasing shoes? The Starfleet dress code requires us to wear Starfleet standard issue boots at all times, and our opportunities to wear civilian clothes are severely limited. Spending latinum on useless items would be illogical.

Garell - No one said you had to buy any... you can carry our bags though.

Casey and Garell practically run towards the shoe store, and Blavik follows at a dawdle.

Blavik (muttering) - Surak damn it...

Scene 4 - In another part of the station, Senseless, Righteous, Tener, Puker, and Bios materialize before an important looking guy and two of his bodyguards. He does some weird gesture with his arms that appears to be a greeting of some sort. Righteous tries to emulate it and ends up punching himself in the face.

Righteous - Ow... uh, let’s just do it our way.

He walks up and grabs the guy’s ear and starts squeezing.

Righteous - Your pagh is strong...

Senseless rolls his eyes more.

Senseless - I’m Commander Jack Senseless, second in command. I’d suggest you address any important questions to me.

Ambassador Frooth - I’m the guy my name tag indicates. Welcome to Outpost One. On behalf of the entire Selentra Trading Consortium, we welcome our new friends from the United Federation of Planets. I must say, we’ve heard about your organization for some time, and have been dying to meet you.

Tener - So, you’ve heard of us but we haven’t heard of you... someone hasn’t been doing their job properly.

Frooth - Would you like a tour?

Righteous - Sure, and I’d also like to know more about your local religion. Tell me, do any of your sacred texts mention anything called the “Celestial Temple"...?

As they all move out of the room, Tener spies a maintenance worker sweeping the floor. While that isn’t odd in itself, Tener notices that the guy seems really happy to be doing it, whistling to himself as he mops up some pinkish stuff that looks like blood and vomit mixed together. Tener rolls his eyes and joins the rest of the group.

Scene 5 - Meanwhile, back on the Celestial, the entire ship is being run by no-names. The camera moves down a corridor, which is nearly empty, then stops by a ventilation hatch. Through the grate, two glowing eyes can be seen. A no-name walks by and as soon as she is out of sight, the hatch is pushed off and Chester the evil cat hops out, a small phaser dangling from a string around his neck and a pouch tied to a harness around his body. He looks up and down the corridor and then starts trotting along. He starts singing:

Chester - The Starship Celestial had troubles of its own, there was an evil cat that they just wouldn’t leave alone; they tried and they tried to kill the cat each day, they left it on a planet very far awayyyyy!!!

Now quite pleased with his cleverness, he picks up his pace and starts singling a little louder.

Chester - But the cat came back, the very next day, the cat came back, they thought he was a goner, but the cat came back, I just couldn’t stay away...

Chester walks into a small alcove alongside the corridor and opens a Jefferies tube hatch, then crawls inside.

Chester - I love being evil!

He closes the hatch with a loud clunk.

Scene 6 - Baque and Genocide are in a dark and abandoned part of the station, meeting with a shifty-looking alien wearing a trenchcoat. Genocide is trying to buy weapons from him. Baque keeps looking around as if expecting to be caught any second.

Dealer - Eighty-megatonne thermonuclear blast, ten-kilometre instant-kill radius, variable yield, of course. You could level a city or shoot a space fly between its wings. Also, auto-return function means if you miss, it’ll disarm itself and home in on a pre-determined spot on your ship so that you’ll never waste a shot.

Genocide - What kind of fall-out are we talking?

Dealer - Standard fusion reaction, high energy neutrons, mostly confined to the initial blast radius. Short-lived alpha particles as well, although they’re minimal. I’ve sold tonnes of these to empires that want to knock out military installations without causing too many civilian casualties. Great for families.

Genocide - Hmm... and you say this would fit in our torpedo tubes?

Dealer - Guaranteed.

Genocide - How much?

Dealer - 600 bars of gold pressed latinum each.

Genocide - You gotta be kidding me!!!

Baque spies someone trying to slip by them and tugs on Genocide’s sleeve.

Baque - Hey, Genocide, look over there?

Genocide turns in time to see the guy freak out and start running.

Baque - I’ve seen that guy before... isn’t he one of Chester’s lackeys?

Genocide - Yeah you’re right... he’s got “evil yet incredibly dumb henchman” written all over him.

Sure enough, as he runs, the guy’s trenchcoat falls off revealing a t-shirt that says “Evil yet incredibly dumb henchman. If found, return to Orion Syndicate.”

The two Starfleet officers look at each other, then back at the guy, then they take off running after him. Genocide turns around to yell at the weapons dealer.

Genocide - I’ll think about it!

The two officers continue chasing the henchman.

Baque - Hey! Stop! We just wanna hurt you!

Both pull out their phasers and try to take pot shots at him, but keep missing and stun homeless people, whom they then nearly trip over when they reach them. Finally the guy rounds a corner and goes out of sight. Baque and Genocide continue running and round the corner a second later, only to find themselves back in the heavily populated trading portion of the station, which is now filled with a massive crowd. The henchman is nowhere in sight.

Genocide (putting away his phaser) - Great. Just great. And to think, we could have robbed him of all his money and paid for those torpedoes.

Baque - You do realize buying weapons is illegal in the Federation?

Genocide - Are you sure about that? Because I’m pretty sure Voyager tried to do it at least once. Damn. If that guy was here, Chester must be nearby. I didn’t think he’d stay on that crazy planet for long.

Baque suddenly comes to a realization.

Baque - Hey... what if we captured Chester?

Genocide - We’ve been down this road, okay? It doesn’t work.

Baque - No, capturing him is easy... it’s keeping him locked up that’s the hard part... So, what if we turned him over to the Gorn? I hear they’ve put quite a price on his head for screwing them over.

Genocide - Hey... you’re right! I mean, it’s obvious the Federation is incompetent in this regard, let’s try giving him to someone who might be able to actually put him out of our misery... how much they offering for him?

Baque - Enough to buy several of those warheads you want.

Genocide - Alrighty then...

He pulls out his phaser again.

Genocide - Let the hunt begin!

He starts walking forward, trying to push his way through the crowd.

Genocide (hidden by the crowd) - Sorry, pardon me, excuse me, sorry, sorry, excuse me, terribly sorry, oh pardon me-

PZZZZT! A phaser beam flies out of the top of the crowd.

Genocide - Sorry! My mistake!

Scene 7 - Righteous, Senseless, Bios, Tener, and Puker are still following Ambassador Frooth and his two bodyguards around the station. Little do they all know that Doctor Puker has been taking tricorder scans this entire time. Finally, they reach a laboratory, which apparently doubles as a sickbay.

Frooth - ...And that about covers the tour of the station. Are there any questions?

Tener is looking around and sees another janitor, who looks identical to the one he had seen earlier, but is wearing different clothes, yet still quite happy with his job.

Tener - Yeah I have a ques—

Puker - Perhaps you could answer one of mine first: Is your entire population clones?

Tener lowers his hand.

Tener - Well, I was going to ask if that guy was following us, but yeah your question sounds more interesting.

Senseless - What’s that, Doctor?

Puker - I’ve been running scans of some of the people on this station to help build up a genetic database for this area of space, since I had nothing better to do. If I hadn’t of been doing it, I might not have noticed that although we’ve come across over fifty different Selentrans in our short travels, they’ve only shared 15 different strands of DNA between then. So I ask again: Is your entire population clones?

Righteous - Woah, am I the only one getting déjà vu here?

Tener - TNG did an episode on this kind of thing.

Frooth - To answer your question, yes, and no.

Bios - Thanks, that helps a lot.

Frooth - To fully explain, I’ll need to give you a history lesson.

Righteous (whispering to Senseless) - Good, that’s the one class I didn’t fail in high school!

Frooth - Over a century ago, our race developed warp technology. We left our solar system with a total population of over eight billion people. However, things kinda took a turn for the worse shortly after our first encounter with an alien species. They had a virus, which they were long immune too, but which we had never even seen before. Our exploration teams unwittingly carried the disease back to our homeworld.

Bios - Wow... Enterprise’s decon scenes suddenly make sense...

Tener - Wait... that’s what those were for?

Frooth - While there were relatively few deaths from the disease, which had symptoms ranging from a mild rash to an intense urge to buy stocks in Enron, whatever that is. However, one lasting side effect of the virus was that it left over 95 percent of our population sterile.

Tener - Yeah, buying stocks in Enron would do that...

Frooth - In less than 70 years our population dropped to one billion people. Our infrastructure was on the verge of collapse, our government had toppled and the planet was in anarchy. We were facing total extinction when our scientists made a discovery.

Righteous - You found the Prophets?

Frooth - No, they created matter-energy transmission devices.

Righteous - Which are...?

Senseless - Transporters, sir.

Righteous - Ah... what did that do?

Frooth - One of the side effects of the creation was that we found with... well, why don’t I show you?

Senseless - Show us what?

Frooth - How we did it. Would anyone one like to volunteer? I assure you, you won’t be harmed in any way.

Righteous - Ooh, ooh, pick me!

Frooth - Alright, just step on this pad here.

Senseless - Are you sure this is safe? You haven’t even told us what you plan on doing yet.

Frooth - Don’t worry, nothing can go wrong. We’ve totally perfected the technology. Your captain will not be harmed in any way, you have my word.

Tener - I’ve got a baaaaad feeling about this...

Righteous - Ooh, pretty lights.

One of Frooth’s bodyguards presses a button and a wall opens revealing five tubes, all equipped with a transporter pad of some sort. One is a different colour than the others.

Frooth - Just step in that one and we’ll show you how it works.

Righteous - Okay!

Righteous gets in the different coloured alcove. Frooth goes over to a control panel and starts pressing buttons. The other Celestial officers look on with more than mild apprehension. Bios starts scanning the device.

Bios - I’m not detecting any pattern emitters, or anything that would create an annular confinement beam... how does it transport the matter stream? It is a transporter, right?

Frooth - No, it’s a pattern duplicator. Watch.

Senseless, Bios, Tener, Puker - No!

Too late. Frooth hits a button and Righteous dematerializes. Two of the other pads light up and two identical Captain Righteous Lee’s materialize. Both look at the other officers, who are standing there with their mouths open.

Both Righteous’ - That was fun.

They both hear the other and turn to look at the source of the voice.

Both Righteous’ - Hey! It’s me! Hi me!

Senseless (at Frooth) - What did you do!?!

Bios - He duplicated them! The pattern buffer fed into a glorified photo-copier and sent the data in two streams to each pad.

Frooth - Of course, and now there are two where before there was one. That’s how we increased our population. If someone could perform a task, such as maintaining infrastructure, we duplicated them until all the jobs were filled. We’ve done it with hundreds of our people.

Both Righteous’ - Woah... this is cool! (Each pointing at the other one) So he’s a copy of me? (Taken aback) No, you’re the copy, I’m the real one! Hey! Stop that! (Looking at Senseless) Commander, tell him I’m the real one!

Senseless - Uh... which one is the real one?

Frooth - Both are, right down to their atomic structure. Don’t worry, differing personalities will set in soon and they’ll stop saying the same thing... actually, it should have happened by now.

Bios - Well, I doubt you’ve replicated anyone this stupid before.

Tener - Great, just what the universe needs: Two Captain Righteous’.

Frooth - Oh, that’s no trouble. We’ll just destroy one and recycle its matter into our feed stock buffers. (Starts looking at two different switches) Let’s see... enee menee miny—

Before he can hit the button, Tener pushes his hand away from the console.

Tener - Oh no you don’t, not until we figure out which one is real!

Senseless - Doctor, figure out which one is the real one.

Puker goes over and starts scanning each of the Righteous’, who are still arguing over which one is the real one.

Both Righteous’ - Stop saying everything I say! Don’t make me hit you! That’s it!

They both lunge at each other and fire a punch. Both land squarely on the target’s jaw.

Both Righteous’ - Ow! Why I ought to...

Bios rolls her eyes and decides to put an end to it.

Bios - That’s enough of that...

She pulls out two sticky notes and a pen, then writes a number on each.

Bios - You will be Righteous #1 (sticks the note to his uniform) And you will be #2 (sticks the other note to the other one).

Righteous #1 - Hey, how come he gets to be #2!

Righteous #2 - Ha ha, I’m special.

Puker - I’ve got bad news. Both are identical, right down to their DNA. I can’t find anything different about them, except from the place they’re standing.

Righteous #1 - And the sticky notes!

Righteous #2 - Yeah, what he said. Besides, you guys know I’m the real one. Jack, remember last month when you said—

Righteous #1 - Yeah, you said that we could have pumpkin pie again this year for Thanksgiving, and then you forgot! And I had to run around replicating tonnes of it at the last second!

Bios - Okay, not only would you both know that just from the scientific principles involved here, but the entire ship knows that because you felt it necessary to announce it over the intercom.

Righteous #1 and 2 - Quiet, girl who breaks stuff a lot. Hey! Stop that!

Senseless - Okay, Mr. Frooth, find a way to tell us which is the original.

Frooth - I already told you, they’re both identical. If you don’t want two, just choose one and we’ll destroy it.

Tener - Ooooh god, why do I get the feeling this is going to bring up the moral implications of cloning...

Frooth - None of the other people we did this for complained when we just destroyed one of the copies.

Puker - Yeah, well, we have this thing called a conscience which messes with your head if you do that kinda thing.

Senseless - Ambassador, your government will be getting an angry letter from ours: You’ve done the one thing that may still be eligible for the death penalty: Creating another Captain Righteous.

Frooth - You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!

Senseless - Whatever. We’re confiscating this equipment. Try to stop us and I’ll sick my one-armed security officer on you.

Tener - Yeah... right after I finish my target practice sessions.

The camera goes to the Celestial’s holodeck, sometime earlier, where Tener and a few of his security guards are playing Velocity. Tener is trying to line up a shot with his left hand.


No-Name #1 - AHHH! (Dies)

Tener - Sorry!

SMACK! The disc hits him in the head and knocks him out. The camera goes back to the station.

Tener - Yeah...

Senseless - Lieutenant, Doctor, stay here and see what you can dig up about this machine. Bios, um... sirs, come with me.

Both Righteous’ - Okay!

With both Righteous’ bickering behind them, Senseless turns to Bios as they leave the room.

Senseless - Any suggestions? I’m not even sure this kind of thing has ever happened before.

Bios - It has, but the victims have never both materialized in the same place. There really isn’t any difference between then.

Senseless - Well we can’t keep both, and frankly I don’t want to pick and choose and get the wrong one. I’m no expert in quantum mechanics but I’m pretty sure that two identical particles can’t exist in the same universe together without mutual annihilation happening. Therefore, one of them was created from matter different than the original stuff. Is there anyway to figure it out?

Bios - Possibly not... wait... verterons!

Senseless - What?

Bios - The captain’s head is flooded with verterons, remember? That’s how he got that headache right before we were flung into the future a few months ago! When the temporal anomaly opened, it created a field that aligned the verterons in his head and caused internal cranial pressure. Now, verterons are nearly impossible to duplicate accurately, so we could use scans of the wormhole to identify the proper flux pattern and then scan both Captains back there for the matching one!

Senseless is just staring at her.

Bios - What!?!

Senseless - Sometimes I think that the more the author learns about science and technology, the less he actually uses that knowledge to come up with plausible technobabble. How can you figure out the alignment of the verterons?

Bios - I suppose I could use a quantum resonance imaging device.

Senseless - Do we have one?

Bios - Yeah, there was one in science lab five, but I think Casey was playing with it so who knows where it is now...

Senseless - Why the hell would Casey be playing with it!?!

Bios - Because I told her that quarks were classified by their “colour” and she took the literal interpretation of that.

Senseless (rubbing his head) - Argh... alright, take these two and go find it. And whatever you do, don’t tell them what you’re doing, or else you might get a riot on your hands from the fake. I’m going to go call Admiral Nelix... he is not going to like this...

Scene 8 - Casey and Garell are walking through the mall, each carrying a hand bag. Behind them is Blavik, who is loaded down with enough bags and parcels to fill a small shuttlecraft. She finally catches up to the other two.

Blavik - Ma’am... may I please set these down?

Garell - Why didn’t you beam them back to the ship?

Blavik (straining to hold the stuff) - Can’t... transport.... inhibitors.... in.... this area....

She finally collapses and is buried under a pile of boxes. Baque and Genocide spot the mess and walk over.

Baque - What the hell, Lieutenant?

Blavik - They’re not mine, sir.

Baque turns to Garell.

Baque - Lieutenant-Commander, what the hell? How did you afford all this stuff?

Garell - It was real cheap. Actually, Casey managed to get some of it for free. She won’t tell me how she did it.

Baque looks at Casey, who just smiles. He then shudders.

Baque - I’m not sure we want to know. Now, have any of you seen Chester?

Casey - Like, which one is he again?

Genocide - Oh that’s right, I don’t think you’ve ever met him. Let’s just say he’s bad news. Evilest cat ever, and we know Admiral Nelix, so that’s saying something.

Casey - I, like, saw a big cat a while ago.

Baque - What? Where?

Genocide - What did he look like?

Casey - Like, over by the water fountain, trying to catch fish or whatever. He was like that one that like showed up the day I like took over the Ops station, right?

Genocide - But that sounds like... Mittens!?!

Baque - Hey, maybe he can help us then!

Genocide - No way, no way in hell! He tried to kill me the last time!

Baque - No, he didn’t, stop saying that.

Garell - Uh, back to the matter at hand... did you say you saw Chester?

Baque - No, we saw one of his henchmen, but he can’t be far away.

Garell - You do realize all of Chester’s henchmen went into hiding after he fell from grace within the Orion Syndicate. Did if ever occur to you maybe he was hiding out on this station?

Genocide - Well... no, not really... but come on, what are the chances of that?

Garell - Well, assuming, and I use that word lightly, that you’re right, he probably doesn’t even know we’re here. We’ll just go back to the ship now and guard it. I doubt he could have gotten on board anyway, and even if he is, we’ll just run an internal scan for feline biosigns. Easy as that.

Genocide - Okay... but if we find him, Toc and I get to keep him.

Garell - Uh... whatever for?

Genocide - Money, of course! We’ll give you 10 percent.

Garell - 20%.

Genocide - 10%.

Garell - 10%.

Genocide - 20%, and that’s my final offer.

Garell - Deal.

Baque - You idiot...

Genocide - Huh... Damn it!

Scene 9 - A science lab somewhere. Senseless walks in. Bios and a large clunky-looking machine are already there.

Senseless - You wanted to see me?

Bios - Yep. Finished my analysis. Thankfully Casey didn’t break the imaging device or I would have had to spend time to fix it.

Senseless - Yes... thankfully that wasn’t necessary... Now, did you figure out which one is the real one?

Bios - Neither are. Both are duplicates. Either the real Captain Righteous was destroyed, or they have him somewhere else.

Senseless - Oh... well... this could be a problem then. Somehow I doubt they’re the “Keep stuff around” type. I’ll contact Tener and tell him to try to find the Captain. You see if there’s a way to fuse the two we already have if it becomes necessary, at least then we’ll only have one.

Scene 10 - Tener is talking with the janitor guy in the room with the duplicator machines.

Tener - So you’re happy mopping up after everyone?

Janitor - Sure am. Gives great job satisfaction, seeing results instantly.

Tener - But it just gets messed up a few hours later.

Janitor - Which leads to more getting to see results. It’s a never-ending cycle of happiness! You should try it!

Tener - Uh... no thanks.

Janitor - So what happened to the arm?

Tener - Oh. Lost it in a firefight. Frankly I don’t know how it happened, seeing as this kind of thing has never happened in Starfleet history, as far as I know. Stupid Romulan disruptors, being so damn inconsistent...

Janitor - You’re lucky, if that had happened here to someone like me, we’d just be recycled and they’d make another.

Tener (raising eyebrows) - Oh realllllly.... so they consider you disposable?

The janitor looks around to make sure no one is within ear shot.

Janitor - Well, they don’t send us into overly dangerous situations, but they don’t exactly go out of their way to help us if we get injured on the job. “Waste of resources” they call it.

Tener - So the entire Selentra Trading Consortium is based on the exploitation of workers because they have no job security and all value has been stripped from them since an equally educated and skilled worker can just be replicated if one of you decides to complain?

Janitor - Well, I wouldn’t say it that way, but it’s pretty accurate.

Tener - Hmm... now, there’s something my commander wanted me to ask you: That machine over there, what does it do with the original?

Janitor - Oh, it keeps it in a long-term storage pattern buffer for safe keeping. They update the pattern every now and then, but it’s necessary to have the original or you’ll end up making copies of copies, and it will cause a build-up of errors, which could lead to unpredictable behaviour or total genetic failure.

Tener - How do I rematerialize the original?

Janitor - Simple, just hit the replicate button.

Tener - No, no, no, I want to remove the original from the buffer and materialize it, just like with a normal transporter.

Janitor - Not possible. The buffer doesn’t lead into the materialization system. There is never any reason to do so.

Tener - Figures. Alright then...

Tener raises his phaser and points it at the Janitor, who raises his hands in the air.

Janitor - I figured you’d do this... oh well, more of a mess for me to clean up if you fail! Happy days are here at last!

Tener taps his combadge.

Tener - Tener to Senseless, he’s still in the pattern buffer, but we can’t rematerialize him from here. Can you get a lock on the entire buffer?

Senseless (comm) - Stand by.

The camera goes to one of the Celestial’s transporter rooms. Puker, Senseless, and Bios are standing behind the console.

Bios - I’m running a trace of the electronics in the duplication room... looks like it leads into a planetary computer network of some sort. Crap, I’m picking up almost 80 patterns in this one alone, and I have no idea which one is the Captain’s...

Puker - Beam them all out then.

Bios - We’d have to do it all at once, or they’ll probably notice and shut the system down. Do we really want to do this though? I mean, without the raw data they won’t be able to replicate any of these people for a while.

Puker - Is that really such a bad thing?

Senseless - Well, the Prime Directive makes this a simple enough decision, but I can’t seem to remember the last time we even bothered following it, so I’m willing to forgo the ethical discussion in favour of getting one Righteous instead of two. Speaking of the other two, what did you do with them?

Puker - We tried to fuse them into one...

Senseless - ...And?

Puker - It... didn’t go well. I’ll show you pictures sometime if you’re interested.

Senseless - Ugh, never mind... Lieutenant, lock onto the entire pattern buffer and energize when ready.

Bios hits some buttons and the hum of the transporter can be heard. The camera goes to one of the empty cargo bays, where 80-some people suddenly materialize, quite confused. One of them is Captain Righteous.

Righteous - Well... it beamed me to the Celestial... that isn’t very impressive...

A few moments later Senseless, Bios, and Puker run in.

Senseless - You alright sir?

Righteous - How did you guys get here?

Senseless - It’s a long story, right now we have to get you out of here and these people back onto the station... somehow I think we’re not welcome here anymore. Bios, if you run across Baque or Blavik in your travels tell them to get to the helm and get us the hell out of here, maximum warp.

Scene 11 - In a Jefferies tube somewhere, Chester, who is now looking quite ill, finishes attaching what is obviously a bomb to a plasma conduit. He then reaches inside his pouch and pulls out a hypospray, which he injects himself with, causing him to start looking a little better.

Chester - This will teach them...

He closes the conduit and runs down the tube. Just as he is about to leave the tube, Casey, Garell, Genocide, Blavik, and Baque walk down the adjoining corridor.

Garell - It’ll take just a few seconds to reconfigure the internal sensors. If Chester is onboard, we’ll know instantly. Then Casey will get a transporter lock on him and beam him into the brig, where Genocide, you have to be ready to stun him if he somehow tries to escape., blah, blah, blah, I still think this is a huge waste of time.

Chester (whispering) - Shit!

As the officers move out of sight, Chester takes off down the opposite direction as fast as his legs will take him. He finally runs into a large crowd of Selentrans who all look highly confused as Celestial security guards herd them down a corridor. Managing to get lost in the confusion, he is finally able to leave the ship. Once departed, he rounds a corner and lets out a sigh. Out a portal, the Celestial can be seen disconnecting from the station and pulling away. A low-power phaser blast hits it, just enough to say “And don’t ever come back!” After it jumps to warp, Chester starts to laugh.

Chester - Ha, ha, ha, revenge will be mine! Ha, ha, ha!!!

He continues to laugh evilly as he walks along the financial district, causing pedestrians to give him odd looks. Little does he know one of these people is Mittens the large tabby cat, who would give chase but is currently stuck on the end of a fishing pole, clinging on for dear life as some carnivorous fish jump at him from the water below.

Mittens - What the...?

Chester continues walking and laughing. He walks down a corridor and stops at an airlock. He is still laughing as he opens the hatch and walks onto his ship. He keeps laughing and laughing, even more evilly, as he jumps up onto the helm console. He moves, still laughing, toward the ignition switch which contains a key hole. He keeps laughing as he opens his pouch and starts digging through it, then suddenly stops laughing and his eyes go wide. He quickly peers into the pouch, then turns it over and empties it onto the console: The hypospray, a remote detonator, and several tools fall out. Chester sits up, a look of shock on his face.

The camera suddenly goes to the plasma conduit onboard the Celestial, where a bomb is planted, and a ring of keys is sitting beneath it. The camera goes back to Chester’s shocked face.

Chester - Damn it! God damn it!

The End