Episode 68: “Wavefront”

Written by Swordtail

Published December 24, 2008

Scene 1 - As it is typically found doing, the USS Celestial is warping through space. The camera goes to the mess hall, where Lieutenant-Commander Genocide, Captain Righteous, Lieutenant-Commander Baque, and Lieutenant-Commander Garell are seated around a table, bickering about something.

Righteous - All I’m saying is that from a completely logical standpoint, the Prophets have to have been the supreme architects of the universe! It just makes sense!

Garell - What are you basing that logic on?

Righteous - Well, there was this really old book which says so—

Genocide - See, right there: The problem with religion is that it ignores the obvious flaws in its own belief system. How do you know that book wasn’t written by some drunk college drop-outs in order to get some quick and easy money?

Righteous - Uh, ‘cause the Prophets actually exist? Your own science says so!

Garell - Just because a bunch of noncorporeal beings live inside a wormhole and can mess with time at will doesn’t mean they created the universe or that we should worship them.

Righteous - I didn’t understand half of what you just said, but yes it does!

Baque - How many fundamentalists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? It’s irrelevant, since they’re all blind anyway! I think we should all just keep an open mind and not worship things just because they can mess with subspace and the timeline and such.

Genocide - Personally, I’m agnostic. I don’t think we’ll ever understand the nature of existence since our brains are too small to handle it. Thus, our only option is to blow up as much of existence as possible so that the remains are small enough to fathom.

Righteous - Pbbbt, you’re all stupid.

Garell - Fine, if we’re wrong, let the Prophets smite us right now.

Righteous crosses his arms and puts on a pouting face. The rest of them go back to drinking their coffee. Genocide puts his down and then looks at it, frowning.

Genocide - Guys, why are there ripples in my coffee?

Baque - The inertial dampeners are probably misaligned, or the off-axis field stabilizer needs to be recalibrated.

Garell - I ordered both of those looked at just yesterday. Maybe there’s a problem with the warp core intermix ratio.

Righteous - Or maybe it’s that really weird light show going on outside the window.

They all turn around in time to see the warp field collapse and the ship comes to a halt. However, by now every dish and chair in the room is vibrating, as are the deck plates.

Baque - Okay, definitely not the ship doing that.

Genocide (pointing out the window) - What the hell is that?

They all look in time to see a massive shockwave moving towards them.

Baque - My... God...!

About twenty coffee cups smash to the floor as the crew scrambles to get out of the room. The red alert klaxons go off. The camera goes to the bridge, where Commander Senseless, Lieutenant Sa’lol, Ensign Casey, and a bunch of no-names are freaking out.

Sa’lol - Judging by gravity wave frequency, I’d say it’s at least a level 6 shockwave, maybe higher!

Casey - Like, aren’t our shields, like, only supposed to, like, handle level, like, five?

Senseless - Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.

Sa’lol - The wavefront is composed of high-energy protons, neutrinos, and enough radiation to fry everything on the ship to a nice black colour.

Senseless - Helm, get us out of here, warp 1.

No-Name #1 - I can’t sir, for some plot-based reason we can’t achieve a stable warp field!

Senseless - Then turn us into the wave, and divert all power to the forward shields!

Righteous, Genocide, Baque, and Garell run onto the bridge.

Righteous - What in the Celestial Temple is going on here?

Sa’lol - Everyone hang onto something solid!!

Everyone braces themselves as the shockwave approaches. The camera goes into space and watches as the shockwave hits the Celestial. The ship is tossed backwards like a fly hitting a windshield. The shields flicker and fail as the wave of matter and energy passes over the ship. Hull plates buckle and are torn off in many places. Explosions ripple across the ship, sending it into a slow yet uncontrolled spin. Finally, the shockwave passes and the ship is still in one piece, barely. Camera goes to the bridge, where fires from destroyed consoles provide the only illumination. The burnt corpses of several no-names, including No-Name #1, remain lying on the floor as the senior staff and a few surviving crewmen pick themselves up and go back to their stations.

Senseless - Damage report!

Genocide - Shields have failed. We have hull breaches on decks 4, 8, 9, and 15. Main power is offline. Emergency power is keeping the forcefields in place for now.

Righteous (rubbing a bump on his head) - That really hurt.

Senseless - I want a full damage report for Lieutenant-Commander Garell, a casualty list for Doctor Puker, a medical team up here to tend to everyone’s injuries, and a dry pair of underwear for Casey.

Casey (still hanging on to her console, white-knuckled) - T-t-thanks, s-sir.

Everyone then turns to look at Sa’lol.

Sa’lol - What?

Baque - Where did that shockwave come from?

Sa’lol - How should I know?

Baque - Because you’re the scientist here.

Sa’lol - Fine, I’ll figure it out and we can have a time-wasting meeting to discuss it all later.

...I forgot what goes here... It’s been so long...

Scene 2 - Briefing room. All senior staff are present.

Righteous - Has everyone remembered to thank the Prophets that we were spared?

Puker - It’s on my to-do list. Oh, and we lost 47 crew members.

Senseless - Noted. Garell?

Garell - I’ve got main power back online, and we’ve sealed all the hull breaches with temporary bulkheads and airlocks. We’re moving into the decompressed sections now and should have the hull fully repaired within 36 hours, tops.

Righteous - You’ve got 38. Make it a priority.

Tener - My security teams were bored so we went around putting out all the random fires there were.

Righteous - Excellent show of initiative, guy I promoted for no reason.

Blavik (to everyone except Righteous) - It appears that although he suffered a concussion from the ordeal, his intelligence level has not substantially risen. Thankfully, it is already zero and thus could not drop any lower.

Righteous - Ah, shucks, you’re making me blush...

Sa’lol - Is it my turn now?

Senseless - Yes, by all means.

Sa’lol gets up and goes to the wall monitor. She activates it and it shows a schematic of the galaxy.

Sa’lol - As you all know, the core of our galaxy contains billions of tightly-packed star systems. Many theorists theorized that, in theory, a large enough supernova could theoretically set off a chain reaction of novae which would propagate outward from the core several thousand lightyears.

Genocide - Damn, yet another massive explosion that I didn’t cause...

Sa’lol - Tens of thousands of years ago, this chain reaction occurred. We just ran into the wavefront of the shockwave. There will certainly be more to follow, probably more powerful than this one was.

Casey - But, like, there are inhabited star systems around here! What about all those people?

Senseless - This is a natural disaster. Starfleet’s official policy is that the Prime Directive prevents us from assisting people. Unofficially, the Natural Disasters department of Starfleet is being run by FEMA.

Tener - Um, I hate to point out the obvious flaw here, but isn’t our mission to gather allies to help us in our coming fight with the Borg?

Genocide - He’s right. If we help these idiots, we can guilt them into being cannon fodder for us later on.

Righteous - I for one enjoy helping total strangers! Helm boy, set a course for the nearest nameless planet with people on it, maximum warp!

Garell - Warp drive is offline.

Senseless - Why didn’t you mention that in your damage report!

Garell - Oh, the core and the field coils are fine, but we can’t achieve a stable warp field due to some stupid gravimetric thing caused by the shockwaves.

Righteous - Fine, achieve an unstable one then, duh!? Gods, what would you people do without me?

Garell - If we die, I’m going to kill you...

Scene 3 - The Celestial drops out of warp, sideways, near an M-class planet.

Righteous (voiceover) - Captain’s log, stardate 60267.1. The nearest planet turned out to be some stupid colony with only 10,000 inhabitants. I was hoping to save billions, but I guess this will have to do.

The camera goes to the bridge, where the bridge staff are at their stations while some goofy forehead alien is chatting with them on the screen.

Alien - I am First Minister Who-Gives-A-Shit, but you can call me First Minister. We’re glad you’re here. Our telescopes have detected the approaching wavefront. It will be here in a matter of days.

Sa’lol - Five, to be exact.

First Minister - Well excuse me if I thought I’d leave it generalized since our days are probably not the same as yours!

Senseless - Do you have ships capable of transporting your people to another planet? Our calculations show the wave will cause considerable damage to your planet’s biosphere, rendering it uninhabitable.

First Minister - We have two small transports, leftover from when we colonized this world two hundred years ago. Unfortunately, we have nowhere to go to. Any other planet will just be destroyed by the wave, and the range of our ships is limited. By the time they get far enough to reach a world the wave won’t be powerful enough to destroy, the wave will have hit ours, and they can’t take everyone with them.

Sa’lol - We’ve found a M-class moon orbiting a gas giant, about 2 light-years from here. It’ll be a little cold, but the moon’s orbit will take it behind the planet at the time the wave hits. You should be safe there.

First Minister - Well, beggars can’t be choosers. But our ships will take over four days to get there. There won’t be time to get back for a second load.

Righteous - Our ship is faster! We’ll take the rest in trips.

Garell - We may also be able to increase your ship’s top speed, but probably not by enough to make it worth my time.

Genocide (turning to her) - Then why did you even offer?

Garell - Just trying to feel helpful.

First Minister - I’ll set up an evacuation plan. How many can you take at one time?

Senseless - Unfortunately, no more than 500, and it will be a tight squeeze.

Sa’lol - At our top speed, warp 9.936, we’ll be able to evacuate no more than 6,200 colonists before the wave hits.

Casey starts counting on her fingers, a confused look on her face.

First Minister - It’s better than none. Our transports can take 500 each, so that brings the saved count up to 7,000.

Casey does some more counting, then scratches her head, looks at Sa’lol, and mouths “what the fuck?”

Genocide - Meh, the other 3,000 are expendable anyway.

Senseless (rolling his eyes) - Try to call in other ships to help. Send us transport coordinates for the first group, and let’s get started.

First Minister - One more thing. We have a complex and complicated geothermal generator that we brought from our homeworld or something. No one here is competent enough to figure out how it works. It provides power for the entire colony, and we can’t afford to leave it behind. Could you maybe send down someone to figure it out?

Senseless turns to look at Garell.

Garell - Oh no, you’re not leaving me down there. What if you guys break down and don’t come back in time? I refuse to die on some nameless colony in the middle of nowhere.

First Minister - Actually our colony is called—

Garell - Nameless!

Scene 4 - The Celestial warps away, loaded down with refugees (I think?). On the planet, in a cavern deep underground, Garell, Casey, Sa’lol, and some no-name engineers are standing in the doorway looking down at the massive generator towering sixty stories up to their level, its base anchored within a pool of molten rock. Giant electromagnets slowly rotate around its 40-metre-diameter central axis. Arcs of lightning occasionally shoot off from static buildup and discharge into metal rods driven into the solid rock walls of the cavern.

Casey - Like, cool!

Garell - I knew this was going to be difficult.

Sa’lol (tricordering) (hey, it should be a word) - That thing produces enough energy to power a population a thousand times as big as the one we’re evacuating!

No-Name #1 - Looks like they planned for the future.

Sa’lol, Casey, and Garell look at him.

Sa’lol - I thought you were dead.

No-Name #1 quickly scratches out the “1” on his name-tag and writes a “2” next to it.

No-Name #2 - Is that better?

Sa’lol - Why do you still look like the dead guy?

No-Name #2 puts on a funny hat with a spinning propellor on top.

Sa’lol - Good enough.

Garell starts to descend the metal stairway built into the side of the generator.

Garell - Well, there’s no way we can move this thing. It looks to be nearly 200 metres high.

Casey - I know! Let’s fold it in half! Then it would only be, like, 150 metres high!

Garell - First, Casey, you’re an idiot. Secondly, you’re an idiot.

Casey - Oh good, so you guys can do simple math! Because, like, you had me confused, like, earlier.

Sa’lol - Well the Celestial won’t be back for 10 hours, we might as well learn all we can about this thing. Hopefully someone in the colony has enough skills to just recreate it.

Everyone stops and looks at her funny.

Sa’lol - Yeah, that last part sounded smarter in my head than it did out loud.

Scene 5 - In some random hallway on the Celestial (on deck 7, apparently), Doctor Puker and Lieutenant Blavik leave sickbay and start walking in between the numerous goofy forehead aliens who are all sitting against the walls, holding their baggage, pets, or crying babies.

Puker - Sheesh, it stinks out here.

Blavik - The environmental systems can’t accommodate this many extra passengers.

Puker - I’m not looking forward to coming up with a thousand new vaccines to hand out once this is all done. Every time we make first contact, it’s the same thing... a dozen new colds, bacterial infections, STDs...

They pass a small group of the refugees who are trying to light a campfire.

Puker - Hey! No fires!

Refugee #1 - But how do we cook our meals?

Blavik - The mess hall is providing free rations at each meal period.

Refugee #1 - But that line is so loooong!

Puker - Go early next time, then.

Refugee - No. We have the right to feed ourselves.

Puker - Alright, we warned you...

They continue to walk away. Refugee #1 manages to finally start a fire. Just as he starts to feel pleased with himself, a klaxon goes off and a forcefield engages over the fire, and around Refugee #1’s head, which was over said fire. Both slowly suffocate. Other refugees start screaming for help.

Blavik - Shouldn’t we attempt to revive him?

Puker - Nah, if we do that he won’t learn anything.

Scene 6 - Bridge. Righteous, Senseless, Genocide, Baque, and Tener are present.

Genocide - Keeping the refugees calm is proving more difficult than we expected.

Baque - It would probably be working better if you weren’t going around killing the rowdy ones.

Genocide - My methods of crowd control are time-proven effective!

Baque - Only because there isn’t anyone left alive to complain!

Senseless - Enough! We’ve got plenty of problems without you two bickering. Mr. Baque, how much damage are we doing to the engines?

Baque - This ship wasn’t meant to travel at maximum warp this long. Without Garell keeping a close watch on the propulsion systems, it’s anyone’s guess before some no-name stupidly breaks something.

Righteous - Well, this ship does a lot of things it was never meant to do. Travel through time, through water, fight meaningless battles, glide through atmospheres, and other interesting things.

No-Name #3 - Sir, I’m getting a report that—

BZZZZT! Genocide fires his phaser at No-Name #3 and kills him. Everyone else looks at him, shocked.

Genocide - I have a headache and that guy’s voice is annoying as fuck.

Senseless - Can you at least tell us what he was about to tell us?

Genocide (checking his console) - Something about a riot breaking out in Cargo Bay 2. A bunch of the refugees think we’re not feeding them enough. I’m getting sick of this. Can I just open the doors and blow them all into space?

Righteous - Nah, they’ll just make a mess on the front of someone’s hull. I have a better idea. Give me a couple hours with them and I’m sure they’ll see that we’re doing the best we can.

Righteous gets up and heads for the turbolift. Senseless stands and is about to stop him when Genocide gives him an evil look.

Genocide - Either he’ll calm them down or they’ll rip him limb from limb. Either way, we benefit.

Senseless shrugs and sits back down.

Scene 7 - The Celestial drops out of warp and enters orbit around a gas giant.

Senseless (voiceover) - First Officer’s log, stardate 60269.9. After a rather annoying journey, we’ve finally reached our destination, a moon the refugees have dubbed “New Nameless Colony.” We’ve transported down some pre-fabricated shelters, along with all the supplies we could spare. We’re now in the process of beaming down the 300-some colonists who are stinking up the ship. Um... computer, delete the last six words.

The camera goes to a transporter room, where two no-names work the controls as a group of about 10 refugees are dematerialized.

No-Name #4 - (phew) Finally, that’s the last of them. I dunno about you, but I could really go for some random silliness right about now.

Suddenly, Chuck Norris materializes in the room and roundhouse kicks No-Name #4, killing him and his entire extended family instantly. The camera goes out into space and watches as the Celestial leaves orbit and jumps back to warp.

Scene 8 - Back on the planet, Garell, Casey, Sa’lol, and Tener are examining the gigantic geothermal generator.

Garell - I’m bored. Why are we here again? We should be out looting the city!

Sa’lol - You know, I don’t think this thing was built by the colonists. It’s too old. By the looks of it, it’s been here for nearly thirty thousand years.

Casey - Like, you can tell that just by, like, looking at it? Wow, you have, like, good eyesight.

Sa’lol (waving her tricorder at Casey) - I was speaking metaphorically.

Tener - Don’t bother, she doesn’t even know what that word means.

Casey - I do to.

Tener - Alright, what does it mean?

Casey - It means the phoric acid is only meta-stable.

Sa’lol - How can you be so smart yet so stupid?

Casey - Um... Genetics?

Garell - Seriously, this entire world is about to be destroyed. What would be the harm in a little looting?

Tener - I guess you’ve got a point there. We could always scavenge from the houses what have already been evacuated.

Casey - Like, awesome!

Tener, Garell, and Casey start running up the metal staircase, then turn around when Sa’lol doesn’t follow.

Garell - Coming?

Sa’lol - Nah, I think I’m going to stay here and see what I can learn about this thing.

Garell - Alright, while you do that we’ll go topside and learn what we can about what these people have in the way of valuables.

Casey - Or food!

The three of them continue ascending the stairs, leaving Sa’lol to deal with the slowly turning generator, alone with three no-names, including the one who has now become dangerously preoccupied with the little propellor on the top of his hat.

Sa’lol - Alright, I think there’s an access hatch somewhere near the base of this thing. Let’s try to find it and open it for no reason other than I’m bored and you guys need to be put to work.

Scene 9 - In the middle of the deserted town, Garell, Tener, and Casey walk by. Garell and Tener are carrying bags full of jewelry and other trinkets, while Casey is stuffing her face with cupcake-things and various other sugary foods.

Garell - Casey, lay off the junk food or you’re going to get fat.

Casey - Nah, I do this all the time. I just, like, turn up the gravity on, like, deck 10 and run laps.

Garell - Wait, you’re the one who’s been doing that!?!

Casey - Sorry, sometimes I, like, forget to turn it back down again.

Garell - Do you know how many times I’ve arrived at work all sweaty and out of breath because of—

Tener - Quiet! Listen!

They all shut up and listen. Off in the distance, voices can be heard.

Casey - Like, it’s coming from that building!

The three of them run silently towards the building, then Tener kicks in the door and they jump into the room.

Tener - Police! Nobody move!

Thee goofy forehead aliens, all carrying burlap sacks filled with valuable items, stop what they’re doing and look at the three Starfleet officers.

Garell - Was that really necessary? They’re just doing the same thing we are.

Goofy Forehead Alien #1 - Yeah, the colonists said that in exchange for the use of our ship to help them evacuate, we could take whatever they left behind.

Casey - Like, awesome! That’s, like, what we were doing!

Goofy Forehead Alien #2 - Yeah? Then hand over the loot. We claim this neighbourhood and everything in it as our payment!

Garell - Fat chance, we got here first! Get your own stuff! We stole this fair and square!

Goofy Forehead Alien #1 (dropping his bag and advancing on the officers) - Why I oughta—

Tener pulls out his phaser and aims it at the advancing alien.

Tener - Ah, that’s far enough. No reason for anyone to get hurt here. Violence isn’t necessary.

Goofy Forehead Alien #2 - Maybe not, but it sure is more fun!

The three aliens lunge at the three officers. Tener, caught off guard, fires his phaser but the shot goes wide and only manages to blow out a lightbulb. One of the aliens lands a punch square in his face and he drops his phaser. Another alien punches Casey in the stomach and she spews half-chewed cupcake all over his face.

Garell - Fine, take this then!

She punches the third alien in his goofy forehead, then cradles her hand as a grimace of pain crosses her face.

Garell - Ow! I think that was my hand I heard cracking.

Before she can complain further, the alien she just punched picks her up and throws her across the room. Meanwhile, Tener and his assailant are wrestling for the phaser, which goes off and nearly misses Casey, who is beating her attacker over the back with her bag of loot.

Casey - Like, it isn’t, like, nice to, like, assault a lady!

Garell grabs a bar stool (yeah apparently this is all happening in a bar) and swings back in order to hit Goofy Forehead Alien #1, but he ducks at the last second and she only manages to hit air, causing her to spin in a complete circle, get dizzy and fall down with a loud crash.

The camera goes back to the generator cavern, where Sa’lol and the three no-names have found an access panel and opened it. Sa’lol is prodding various circuits with tools and suddenly something sparks.

Sa’lol - Ah oh.

The massive generator suddenly grinds to a halt, causing the whole thing to vibrate so much that stalactites start falling from the ceiling. Sa’lol and two of the no-names manage to get under the cover of one of the rotating parts of the generator, but No-Name #2, still preoccupied with the propellor on his hat, doesn’t notice and is skewered by a massive stalactite. More rocks utterly destroy the staircase, trapping the three officers at the bottom of the cavern, which is now dark except for the dim glow from the magma far beneath them.

No-Name #4 - Oh, good job.

Sa’lol - I didn’t mean to!

The camera goes back to the bar fight, where the lights have all gone out.

Casey - Like, huh?

Goofy Forehead Alien #2 - Our species can see in the dark!


Tener - Ow!

Garell - Let’s take this outside.

The three officers stumble towards the door, except Casey, who ends up crashing through a window for dramatic effect. The three goofy forehead aliens follow them out onto the street, still attacking them. Suddenly the earth shakes momentarily, just long enough to throw everyone to the ground.

Garell - What the deuce?

Goofy Forehead Alien #1 - Run away!!!

The three attackers high-tail it down the road, leaving the three Starfleet officers bruised, battered, and confused as they watch them run for their worthless lives. Tener turns around on a hunch.

Tener - I think I know what caused that earthquake.

The other two turn around.

Casey - Oh, like, the Celestial’s back.

The camera spins around to where the three are looking and sees the USS Celestial parked in the middle of the town a few kilometres away. It obviously came down hard since one of its landing struts has buckled and the ship is tilting at an odd angle.

Garell - Toc, you idiot...

They all start walking towards it when their commbadges start talking.

Sa’lol (comm) - Lieutenant Sa’lol to anyone who can hear me, we are in need of assistance.

Senseless (comm) - We hear you, lieutenant, what’s the matter?

Sa’lol (comm) - Well, the generator suddenly stopped working—

No-Name #4 (comm) - She broke it—

Sa’lol (comm) - Shut up! It broke, then there was a cave-in and we’re stuck down here.

Senseless (comm) - If you’re about to ask for a beam-up we can’t oblige, our transporters are broken so we had to land to load the next group of refugees.

Garell - Why are the transporters broken?

Senseless (comm) - Look, it’s a convenient plot device, just go with it, okay?

Sa’lol (comm) - Then how the hell are we supposed to get out of here?

Righteous (comm) - You’re Starfleet officers, for Prophet’s sake, just do what you were trained to do and make some shit up.

Tener - Can you at least wait there long enough for us to get to you? We’re only a few klicks away.

Senseless (comm) - Hurry up then, we’re not waiting any longer than we have to.

The three bruised officers start running as fast as they can, Casey pulling ahead thanks to her many runs through the ship at odd hours. They approach the landing site, which is a large park in the middle of town. Lines of refugees are entering the ship through hatches in the 8 (well, 7 functioning) landing struts. The last of them boards the ship just as the three officers run into the park. However, just as Casey reaches the nearest strut, the ship lifts off, throwing a windstorm of dust into Tener, Garell, and Casey’s faces. The ship lifts off about a hundred metres, then turns and goes to warp, taking a large mass of air with it and causing even more wind.

Casey (cough, cough) - Like, hey!

Sa’lol (comm) - Let me guess: they left you there.

Garell - Yep.

Sa’lol - Well for us, anyway, that’s a good thing.

Garell - Why’s that?

The camera goes back to the cavern, where the no-names have started trying to climb up the rock walls while Sa’lol stands still, looking downwards.

Sa’lol - Because I think frying the generator somehow dammed up the lava tube it was sitting on.

The camera pans down and shows lava starting to rise at the bottom of the chamber.

Scene 10 - Somewhere in space, the camera pans by a rocky planet of some sort. Suddenly, a shockwave hits it, shattering the planet into a trillion pieces. One hits the camera and the scene goes to the “Stand by, we are having technical difficulties” picture. The scene then jumps to the cavern on that colony, where Sa’lol and the two remaining no-names are trying to climb up the rock face.

Sa’lol - Where the hell are you guys?

Tener (comm) - How the hell should we know? It isn’t like we bought a map when we passed the tourist bureau!

Sa’lol (sigh) - Looks like we’ll have to do this the hard way.

She stops trying to futilely climb the walls and goes back to the generator’s circuitry panel.

Sa’lol - Alright, the turbine is connected to the cooling system, which is connected to this do-hicky here which looks like a elephant... so logic dictates that if I jab my tools in here

BZZZT! Something else sparks and the lava starts rising faster.

No-Name #4 - Oh brilliant!

No-Name #5 - We must offer the Fire Gods a sacrifice to calm their anger!

He then pushes No-Name #4 over the side of the catwalk, where he falls screaming into the lava. Of course it doesn’t stop the lava.

Sa’lol - It’s getting fricking hot in here too.

She jabs something else out of frustration and the cavern shakes.

Sa’lol - Ah!

The turbine shakes violently and then starts spinning again, and the lava stops rising and starts dropping.

Sa’lol - Oh thank goodness, because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Garell (from far above) - Hey! Anyone alive down there?

Sa’lol and No-Name #5 look up and see the three officers at the top of the cavern. Casey throws a rope down towards the two at the bottom. Unfortunately, she forgot to take the grappling hook off the end and it ends up hitting No-Name #5 in the head. He stumbles around, loses consciousness, and falls into the lava.

Casey - Like, oops.

Tener - Well, these things happen.

Sa’lol - Meh, he deserved it anyway. Pull me up.

Scene 11 - The Celestial is flying through space.

Righteous (voiceover) - Captain’s log, stardate 60278.1. We dropped the third from last batch of refugees off, and thanks to some well-thought-out preaching from your’s truly, they won’t burn in the Fire Caves for all eternity.

Camera goes to the bridge.

Genocide - You converted them to Bajoran religion?

Righteous - Sure did!

Genocide - It’s a shame we’re out of weapons range. Ah well, this will have to do then:

He picks up his phaser and aims at Righteous.

Righteous - Ooh, a convenient plot device!

He bends over to pick up a rank pip someone had dropped as Genocide fires the phaser. The shot misses Righteous and hits the science console, sending feedback into the EPS grid. The camera goes to some random deck where a work station suddenly explodes and kills a no-name.

Righteous - Be careful with that, Lieutenant-Commander, someone could get hurt.

Baque - I hate to break up the pointless time-killing bullshit, but we’re approaching the colony again, and Lieutenant Sa’lol is urgently hailing us.

Senseless - Put her on.

The camera goes to the town, where Sa’lol, No-Name #5, Garell, Casey, and Tener are walking around, stuffing their faces with cupcakes, cookies, and other stolen junk food.

Senseless (comm) - Lieutenant, good news: The transporters magically fixed themselves.

Sa’lol - Gee after four days that helps us so much. Hey I’ve been doing some investigating and have good news, too. Turns out the generator is only one of many spread out around the planet. They were built by an ancient and now extinct civilization. We’ve managed to get some advanced energy-phasing technology from the generators which will help us fight the Borg. Maybe.

Senseless - How many of these generators are there?

Garell - We’re not so sure they’re generators, actually. They might be oversized cake mixers, in which case this entire planet is one giant birthday cake.

Everyone else turns to look at her. On the Celestial’s bridge, Senseless and the other crew wear a confused look.

Senseless (comm) - And that would imply...?

Garell - How the hell should I know? I just made that up on the spot. Just trying to contribute.

Sa’lol - Anyhow, I think if we send a properly-modulated tachyon pulse at one of them, it will activate the entire network.

Camera goes to the bridge.

Righteous - What would that do? Would it help us worship the Prophets?

Sa’lol (comm) - I’m not entirely sure. It could, in theory, generate a shield which might protect the planet. The refugees could move back once the wave passed, meaning they wouldn’t have to rebuild their entire world on that pathetic rock we moved them to.

Senseless - Well, if that’s the case then figure out that tachyon pulse frequency.

Sa’lol (comm) - On the other hand, it could blow the whole planet to kingdom come.

Genocide suddenly snaps to attention.

Genocide - I vote we send the tachyon pulse.

No-Name #6 (working at the Master Systems Display console) - I vote we don’t because—

PZZZT! Genocide shoots No-Name #6 and vapourizes him before anyone can finish turning around.

Righteous - Hmm, I could have sworn there was a crewman there...

Genocide - Nope. No one there. Just that burn mark on the carpet.

Senseless is sitting there grumbling.

Righteous - Okay. Let’s do the tachyon pulse thing.

Sa’lol - Alright. I’m sending you the frequency.

She starts fiddling with her tricorder.

Tener - Hey, can we be beamed up before you do this?

Senseless (comm) - Sorry, but we’re still transporting up refugees. You’ll have to wait. Oh, and we’re targeting the generator the colonists used with the pulse now.

Casey puts her hand up.

Casey - Like, question: If this, like, does make a shield, like, how will we, like, be able to beam out?

Sa’lol - Gooood question.

They look up at the sky in time to see a massive energy field project up from the generator’s location and cover the entire town. In space, the camera watches as at numerous spots the same thing happens until the entire planet is covered. On the Celestial’s bridge...

Righteous - Preeetty!

Genocide - Well, fuck. I was hoping for a lot more fireworks.

No-Name #7 - Captain, commander, and everyone else within ear shot: sensors just picked up over 3 billion new lifeforms on the planet’s surface. They appeared out of thin air!

Senseless - Celestial to away team, what’s going on down there?

The camera goes to the planet’s surface, where the four officers are huddling in a circle, phasers drawn, as four metre tall armoured creatures move around them, looking angry.

Creature #1 - Intruders! Grab them!

Tener fires his phaser, but the blast only annoys the creature he hits. As he tries to reset the power setting, one of the creatures swipes at him, throwing him into a nearby wall as his phaser goes flying. A creature grabs it and crushes it in his massive claws.

Sa’lol - Hundreds of big smelly aliens just materialized out of nowhere!

Senseless (comm) - Try to negotiate with them, we can’t beam through the shield, but we’ve gotten the last of this group of refugees and have to head for the new colony.

Sa’lol - But you won’t be back for ten hours!

Senseless - Sorry we— (static) are already (more static)...

Sa’lol - Damn, they already went to warp, the bastards.

She turns to the mass of angry looking creatures that’s approaching them.

Sa’lol - I don’t suppose you guys know the way to Starbucks?

Creature #1 - Put them with the other intruders!

The creatures grab the four officers and carry them, kicking and screaming, off towards the centre of town.

Scene 12 - The USS Celestial drops out of warp and enters orbit around the colony, which is still surrounded by a shimmering energy shield.

Righteous (voiceover) - Captain’s log, stardate 60280.8. After dropping off the second last batch of refugees and dawdling a bit for dramatic effect, we have returned to the planet. We’ve been in contact with the nameless aliens who now occupy the world like a bunch of worthless Cardassians. Turns out they were all in transporter stasis for thirty thousand years and were waiting for their nonexistent gods to send a signal which would wake them up. I guess they didn’t like the notion of the Prophets sending us to send the signal to awaken them, because they’ve taken the last of the refugees and my four loyal underlings hostage, and are threatening to kill them unless we meet their demands.

The camera goes to the bridge, where Righteous turns to Senseless.

Righteous - Jack, what are their demands anyway?

Senseless - That’s why we came here, to find out!

Righteous - Right! Hail the planet!

Genocide - Opening hailing frequencies.

A torpedo launches from the Celestial and flies harmlessly off into space.

Genocide - He he, whoops, “hailing frequencies” and “fire” are two phrases I always got mixed up easily.

No-Name #7 (ops) - We’re being hailed now. Onscreen.

An angry-looking creature appears on the screen.

Creature #1 - We have your people. We’ve placed them in an easily escapable and highly contrived death trap from which there is no escape except unless they figure one out! If you don’t meet our demands, we’ll leave them there! You have ten minutes until we’ve annoyed the guppies enough!

Righteous - I’m Captain Righteous Lee of the Federation starship Celestial. What exactly are your demands?

Creature #1 - We demand...

He pauses for dramatic effect. The camera looks at each of the anticipative looks on the crew’s faces.

Creature #1 - A shrubbery!

Everyone on the bridge is shocked.

Senseless - A what?

Creature #1 - You heard me. Replay the footage if you are in doubt. And make sure it’s a good one! You have ten minutes!

The camera goes to the creature’s makeshift command centre, where he/she/it deactivates the comm system and turns to another of the aliens. Out the window, more aliens are dismantling the town and planting dumb-looking trees everywhere.

Creature #2 - They’ll never be able to get a shrubbery in time.

Creature #1 - Who cares? We were going to kill all the hostages and everyone on that ship anyway.

The camera goes to the bridge.

Baque - There’s no way we could get all the way back to Earth, pick up a shrubbery at Home Depot, and get back here in ten minutes.

No-Name #7 - 9 minutes 14 seconds.

Genocide vapourizes No-Name #7.

Senseless - We don’t have a choice. Starfleet policy is to always negotiate with terrorists. Clearly these people own this planet and we could technically be seen as invaders. We have to get that shrubbery. Maybe something from the ship’s arboretum will do.

Righteous - What exactly is a shrubbery, anyway? And why don’t we just go in there with phasers firing?

Genocide - You, sir, are a genius!

Righteous - Oh good, I wasn’t sure if it was a good plan or not.

Senseless - Ah, it isn’t.

Righteous - Please Jack, I pay him to tell me when strategic ideas are worthwhile. I pay you to fill out the reports I’m supposed to fill out. Target the shield emitter nearest to our people and destroy it.

Genocide - Finally, some action!

The camera goes out into space and watches as the Celestial turns and enters the planet’s atmosphere. It unleashes a barrage of pwnage at the shield emitter, which, of course, is shielded. The camera goes to the makeshift command centre, where Creature #1 is counting down the minutes until he gets to watch several hundred people get murdered.

Creature #2 - Sir!

Creature #1 - What?

Creature #2 - The Federation ship is trying to punch through the shield grid!

Creature #1 runs out of the room, enters a nearby building, and goes over to where a cage holding all the refugees and the four officers hangs dangerously over a pit of acid, with acid-resistant giant guppies hungrily jumping at the cage.

Creature #1 - Your ship is attempting to break through the shield grid. They will not succeed, and in a few moments their hull will be smashed against it like a pebble hitting an asteroid.

Casey - Like, guys, if we’re, like, about to die I just, like, want to say that I, like, love you all, or, like, whatever.

Tener - Casey? Shut up.

Sa’lol - Now might be a good time to mention that the generator nearest here, the one that the colonists have been using for power for two hundred years? I had to make some rather hasty repairs to it.

Garell - How hasty?

Creature #1’s eyes go wide seconds before the camera goes to the air and watches as a torpedo from the Celestial finally punches through the shield and blows a hole in the ground above the generator. On the bridge...

Genocide - We’re through.

No-Name #8 - I’m scanning for the refugees and the away team... I’ve found them!

Senseless - Drop shields and begin transporting them up. Tell sickbay to prepare for causalities.

Puker (standing right behind him) - Tell me what?

Righteous jumps, startled.

Righteous - Don’t do that! And get back to sickbay!

Puker - Lieutenant Blavik has it all taken care of.

The camera goes to sickbay, where Blavik is fast asleep on the floor. Camera goes back to the bridge.

Puker - Oh right, haha, I’ll be right there... Ah, that anaesthetic, it can be tricky stuff. Hard to tell the difference between it and air freshener.

He leaves the bridge. The camera goes to the holding cage.

Goofy Forehead Alien #1 - If you let us out of here, we’ll give you all the loot we stole from these idiots.

Refugee #2 - Hey! He insulted us, and we’re already pissed off! Let’s take our anger out on these three!

The refugees start beating the crap out of the three goofy forehead aliens. Suddenly, the entire building shakes. Everyone stops and goes quiet.

Creature #1 - What was that?

Sa’lol - Apparently everyone forgot that there is a massive shockwave approaching. That was just the gravitational wavefront from it.

Suddenly, dozens of refugees start dematerializing.

Creature #1 - They’re rescuing them! Spring the trap!

Two creatures salute and then start turning a massive crank which lowers the cage slowly into the acid.

Garell - Not going to be good for the reproductive system.

They all start climbing up the sides of the cage as the shaking gets worse and the refugees continue being beamed away. Finally, the last of the refugees and the four officers are beamed away. The camera goes to the Celestial’s bridge, where Sa’lol, Casey, Garell, and Tener walk in and take stations.

Tener - Nice timing.

Righteous - Good, now let’s get out of here and drop off these last refugees.

Sa’lol - Guys, there’s a level nine shockwave about to hit the planet. Looks like the wavefront magnified and this entire planet is about to have its atmosphere ripped off.

Senseless - I thought you said the shields were going to protect it!

Sa’lol - Yes, well, that was before you damaged the grid! The whole thing is failing now, it won’t protect them from space dust, much less an energy wave.

Senseless - How come every time we meet a new technologically advanced civilization they either try to kill us or get killed themselves or both?

The camera watches as the Celestial flies out of the planet’s atmosphere as fissures erupt across the surface and a massive windstorm levels everything taller than a shrubbery. Suddenly, multiple explosions detonate simultaneously at evenly-spaced intervals around the planet, and the whole thing proceeds to crumble apart into rocks and dust. The Celestial jumps to warp just as the shockwave reaches them. Back on the bridge, everyone looks at the rear view with a sombre expression.

Righteous - Well, no point crying over destroyed planets.

Genocide - That was so cool!

Sa’lol - It looks like the shockwave caused a chain reaction in the generators and the planet disintegrated.

Puker (coming out of nowhere) - As I always say, all’s well that ends well...

Everyone jumps and turns towards him.

Righteous - Stop that! Everything is not well! Three billion um... something... what was their name again?

Senseless - We never found out.

Righteous - Oh okay, all is well then.

The End