Episode 137: “A Renaissance of Parody”
Written by Dan Carlson, aka “MinutiaeMan”
Published November 25, 2006
Warning! This episode features obscure references to an old fan fiction series, Star Trek: Renaissance. Why? Just because!
In his quarters aboard the Relativity-H, Captain Albert Braxton was going about his usual morning routine. ...Or whatever part of his routine he hadn’t forgotten today, anyway. Entering the main living area from the washroom, he walked over to the replicator, talking as he went.
“I’ve got something really special for you this morning, old friend! The Doctor recommended it personally. I’m sure you’re going to love it!” Of course, he was talking to his pet cat, Helix.
He pushed a couple of buttons on the replicator panel, and a large bowl of dark liquid appeared in the alcove. Braxton picked it up and placed it on the deck next to Helix. Helix took one sniff, immediately turned up his nose, and ran off.
Braxton said to himself, “And I thought for sure that Helix would like to try a bowl of prune juice. And why, if he never eats what I give him, does he still manage to survive?”
His thoughts were interrupted by the comm. “Dax to Braxton. Sir, you’d better get up to the bridge.” “I’m on my way,” Braxton responded, and immediately left.
As the doors closed, Helix dashed back in, jumped up onto the replicator console, and pressed a couple of buttons with his paw. Soon, a whole tuna fillet and a bowl of light cream materialized...
On the Relativity bridge, Braxton entered, and immediately noticed the big, swirling temporal anomaly centered on the viewscreen. He cooed, “Oohhhh, preeettty...” Dax just rolled her eyes, and said, “It appeared off our port bow about three minutes ago. Results from my initial scan are just coming in.”
T’Lenol noted some readings on her console. “How odd.” Dax asked, “You mean that we’re actually doing a time travel episode so soon in the season?” “No, I mean it’s odd that we seem to be in another parody of ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise.’ I thought that had already been done.” Braxton chimed in, “Who ever said we can only do one parody of a previous episode, Ducane?”
If T’Lenol weren’t Vulcan, she would have rolled her eyes. Instead, she merely responded, “You do have a point, sir.”
Yar grumbled, “As long as I don’t get clobbered by some psycho this time...”
Dax’s console beeped. “Sir, a ship appears to be emerging from the anomaly.” T’Lenol asked, “Can you identify that ship?”
Dax read from her panel in growing disbelief, as dramatic music started to play. “It says here that ship is the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-G!”
Meanwhile, at the Retirement Home for Cranky Old Disembodied Starfleet Admirals, the disembodied head of Admiral Picard was continuing to rant, as he had been doing since he’d retired two years before. The disembodied head of Admiral Delfune continued to listen, since she didn’t have anything else do to, her being a disembodied head and all. “...And then there was this time when I sent Braxton on a suicidal mission to take on a fleet of Vaadwaur fighters, but he managed to blow them all up by sending them a chain letter!”
Suddenly, Delfune stiffened. “I sense something... a presence I’ve not felt since... ...Well, nuts! I can’t make a dramatic exit. Nurse! Get me my robot body!”
Back on the Relativity, Braxton stared at Dax confusedly. “How can that ship be the Enterprise-G? Don’t we have the Enterprise-X in our shuttlebay?” T’Lenol sighed, “No sir, we have the Enterprise-Z. And since we’re in a parody of ‘Yesterday’s Enterprise,’ it’s also quite obviously a time travel episode. Therefore, the Enterprise-G has been brought forward in time through the temporal anomaly.”
Dax announced, “The Enterprise-G is hailing us, sir.” Braxton exclaimed, “Not again! They’ve ruined our streak of not replacing the windshield!” Yar muttered, “And just when I thought that joke had finally been forgotten...” “On screen,” T’Lenol ordered.
On the viewscreen, a Human male in his late thirties appeared, wearing a never-before-seen but distinctively Starfleet uniform. A female Romulan sat next to him, wearing the same uniform. “I’m Captain Neil Cross of the Federation starship Enterprise. Identify yourselves.” Braxton answered, “I’m Captain Albert Braxton of the Federation timeship Relativity-H. Are you in need of assistance?”
Instead of answering the question, though, Cross seemed perplexed. “The Relativity-H?” He turned to the Romulan, obviously his first officer. “Did you hear anything about this, Talora? Since when is another Starfleet ship so important that it gets more namesakes than the Enterprise?” Talora rolled her eyes, and responded, “He said timeship, sir. Obviously, we’ve traveled into the future.”
She then turned to address the viewscreen, “Yes, Relativity, we are in need of assistance. Our passage through the anomaly has damaged several of our primary systems.” Braxton responded, “We’ll beam over to provide any help we can, then send you safely back to your own time period.” “That will be acceptable, Relativity. Enterprise out.”
As the connection turned off, Cross could be heard mumbling, “I thought that the Enterprise was the only ship that got an extra letter after its name...”
In the Relativity’s transporter room, Braxton, T’Lenol, Damar, Dax, and Xaronna prepared to beam over. Braxton said breezily, “So, let’s pretend for the benefit of the readers that I have never heard about the Enterprise-G.” Yar muttered, “That wouldn’t be too hard...”
T’Lenol spoke up, “Actually, sir, you don’t have to pretend. Although there obviously must have been a ship called the Enterprise-G, our canonical database has no record of its service.” Dax piped up, “What, don’t you read fan fiction?”
Braxton cried out, “No way! The first time I tried searching for fan fiction, I found this sick story that paired me up with Admiral Janeway!”
Everyone just stared for a moment, disgusted at the mere thought of a Braxton/Janeway ‘ship. Dax continued, “...Anyway, the Enterprise-G was the main ship of a story called Star Trek: Renaissance. It explored the aftermath of the Dominion War, and the philosophical divisions in Starfleet that ended up causing the Federation Civil War.”
Yar exclaimed, “There was a Federation Civil War and I missed it? Why didn’t anyone tell me?!” Damar remarked, “I remember that story now. But did they even get to the civil war part before they stopped publishing?”
T’Lenol interrupted, “Never mind that now. Thank you for the briefing, Commander. However, we should proceed with transport and return the Enterprise-G to its proper time as quickly as possible.”
Braxton replied, “Good idea. I didn’t want to have to bring up that crazy ‘Rand and Valtane Theme Song Virtual Verse’ project, too. ...Wait, did I just say that out loud?”
“Energize!” T’Lenol exclaimed.
In the Enterprise-G’s transporter room, the Renaissance senior staff watched as the Relativity crew materialized on the platform. Braxton, naturally, was the first to open his big mouth as the beaming process completed.
”Wow! Look at the freaky aliens, Ducane!”
Sure enough, alongside the humanoid crew stood Narv Ozran, the Gorn transporter chief, and Y’lan, the squid-like Q’tami ambassador.
T’Lenol replied, patiently, “Sir, I wouldn’t make comments like that. It’s against the politically correct nature of the Federation to remark on biological differences in such ways. ...And my name is T’Lenol, not Ducane.” “Well, yes, but look! They’re so freaky!”
Ignoring her babbling captain, T’Lenol stepped off the platform and approached Cross and Talora. “I’m Commander T’Lenol, first officer of the Relativity.” Cross replied, “Welcome aboard, Commander. You’ve already met Commander Talora. This is Lieutenant Dojar, our tactical officer.” Dojar, the friendly-looking Cardassian, raised his hand in greeting.
Cross continued, “And Ambassador Y’lan of the Q’tami Hegemony...” “The who?” Braxton interrupted. T’Lenol replied soothingly, “Don’t worry, sir, I’ve never heard of them either.” Y’lan replied, “Most curious. These specimens from the future have not heard of the Hegemony? I must investigate immed—”
“Not now, Y’lan!” Cross interrupted. “And finally, meet Lieutenant Grey, our chief engineer.” Grey was off to the side, ranting his head off to Narv Ozran. “I told Cross not to take the ship into the anomaly, but would he listen? Nooooooooooooooo!”
T’Lenol replied, “Since this scene is getting a bit long and we need to move the plot, I’ll just briefly point out our staff in turn. That’s Dax, our science officer, Xaronna, our helm officer, and Damar, our chief engineer.”
Dojar exclaimed, “By the bones of my ancestors, you’re Legate Damar? The hero of Cardassia? Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
”Hey! That’s my line!” Braxton shouted.
Damar got a silly grin on his face. “Finally, someone who appreciates me!” He took Dojar by the arm and walked towards the door, “Show me to Engineering so we can start the repairs, and I’ll tell you how I survived...”
Xaronna sighed, “Poor guy. He has no idea what he’s getting into...” She then followed the pair out.
Grey noticed that the engineers had already left, and shouted, “Hey, wait for me! And have I told you how bad a captain Cross is yet?”
T’Lenol said, “As for the rest of us, it would be prudent to examine your sensor logs, and determine a way to send you back to your own time. But we should do that in another scene.”
Y’lan commented, “Most intriguing. What are these ‘scenes’ you speak of?”
In an Enterprise-G turbolift, Damar, Dojar, Xaronna, and Grey were headed towards Engineering.
“...And so, the temporal agents replaced me with a lifelike replica just before I would’ve been killed, and brought me into the 29th century. Soon after, I was recruited to be the chief engineer of the Relativity.”
Dojar listened raptly. “Amazing!”
Braxton, T’Lenol, Dax, Cross, Talora, and Y’lan filed into one of the Enterprise-G’s science labs. Scattered about the room were strange, semi-organic devices, including a large central table that emitted unearthly yellow-green light.
Once again, Braxton blurted, “Ducane, why can’t we get such bizarre equipment on our ship?” T’Lenol simply ignored him.
Y’lan inquired, “In what way is my sensor table bizarre? It is merely a dev—” “Not now, Y’lan!” Cross interrupted.
Dax walked over to one of the Starfleet-issue consoles on the wall. “We should start with your sensor logs from your side of the temporal anomaly. I’ll set up a remote connection to the Relativity’s computer so we can cross-reference our respective readings.” Y’lan replied, “I have already instructed my table to do so. Based on the available data, it appears that the anomaly was the result of a collision of parodions and anti-parodions, creating a spatio-temporal bridge between our respective space-time coordinates.”
Dax turned to Talora, who was observing a few feet away. “This is why you guys don’t have a regular science officer, isn’t it? He put them out of a job?” She turned back to Y’lan. “I guess you’ve got a way to get the ship back already, too?” Y’lan answered, “Unfortunately, I have not been able to do so. The quantum signature shift in our inter-universe transition has disrupted my calculations in that respect. Your assistance in determining the ideal method of reverting this vessel to its proper relative position would be appreciated.”
“Does this guy ever not speak in compound sentences?” Dax wondered aloud.
Left out of the loop, Cross turned to Braxton and T’Lenol and asked, “So, is there an Enterprise in your century, too?” Braxton replied, “Yes, we have the Enterprise-Z parked in our shuttlebay.” “The Enterprise-Z?!” Cross exclaimed. “Your Enterprise is just a tiny shuttle?” “Well, yeah.” Braxton answered. “But it’s lasted longer than the Aeon, at least.”
Cross started whining again. “Was it something I did wrong? Was it because all those evil admirals rewrote the history books? It’s probably because I’m a horrible captain, isn’t it?”
Talora sighed, “Here we go again...”
Meanwhile, in Engineering...
“...And my first major contribution to the crew was my discovery of what kind of FTL engine the Relativity had. I got so drunk that I passed out on the Engineering deck, and found the ship’s technical manual hidden behind a console when I came to!”
Still enthralled, Dojar breathed, “Incredible...”
Braxton and T’Lenol entered the Enterprise-G’s Recreation Deck, escorted again by Cross and Talora. As they approach the drinks bar, they were greeted by Hal, the Saurian bartender. “You’re the guys from the future ship, aren’t you?”
Braxton, predictably, overreacted once again. “Ducane, look! It’s another freaky alien! I demand that once we get this mission over with, we have more freaky aliens assigned to our ship.” T’Lenol sighed, “Sir, my name is—”
But Hal was already objecting, “Freaky? You want freaky, go check out our drunk pilot at the other end of the bar.” Sure enough, Jennifer Quinlan, the smart-mouthed helm officer, was nursing a stiff drink again.
Talora sighed, “Not again. And it’s the third time this season, too.” Braxton asked, “Have you guys ever tried sending her to AAA?”
Cross, puzzled, replied, “The car-towing service?”
“...And did you know that in a way, I’m actually the co-inventor of the LCARS operating system? Dax and I had to start a predestination paradox to prevent all the Federation’s computers from crashing back in the end of the 23rd century. We used an archival copy of the system, but we don’t know exactly where it came from. Still, even though it was never noticed, I thought it was pretty neat!”
Dojar, looking less enthralled than he did previously, said simply, “I see...”
Meanwhile, Grey was trying to get Damar’s attention. “...He’s such a bad captain that he got us in trouble just guarding the Klingon border from a bunch of civilians! We were so on Starfleet’s list after that little encounter...”
As Damar continued to babble at Dojar, and Grey ranted at Damar, Xaronna performed some scans on the ship’s quantum induction core with Lieutenant Boyle, the assistant engineer. Xaronna asked, “So, I see the ratio of psychos to normal people on this ship is similar to ours...”
Boyle responded, “Yeah, definitely. It seems like half the senior staff is psycho in their own special way. Cross is a manic-depressive, Dojar’s got self-esteem issues, Elris, our doctor, can’t decide whether or not to get over the Captain, Quinlan’s a drunk, and Grey’s a closet raving ex-Marine. It’s buckets of fun!”
Xaronna grumbled, “Yeah, I was stuck being the Token Recurring Character on my ship for the first three years.” Boyle gasped, “Your ship has only one recurring character?” “Yeah, why? How many do you guys have?” Boyle exclaimed, “On the Enterprise, practically every crew member is a recurring character! I even got my own character arc!”
Xaronna whipped her head around to stare at Boyle. “You have my complete attention...”
In the Enterprise corridors, Braxton, T’Lenol, Cross, and Talora were heading back to Y’lan’s lab. Suddenly, a weasely little man appeared from around the corner and whined, “Hey, can I do an interview?”
Talora immediately walked up and slapped the man in the face. “Carter, did I tell you that you could leave your quarters yet?” Carter whimpered, “No, Commander.” “Then get back in there right away!” He immediately dashed off.
Cross commented, “Good job, Talora.” They continued along the corridor. Braxton asked, “So who was that, anyway?” Talora responded, “Absolutely nobody.”
Braxton and the others entered Y’lan’s lab. Cross asked, “Have you guys made any progress?”
“Definitely,” Dax confirmed. “We started by analyzing the intermix ratio of the mixture of parodions and anti-parodions in the anomaly.” T’Lenol asked, “I’ve heard of parodions by reading previous episodes of Series ?, but what is an anti-parodion?”
Y’lan answered, “An anti-parodion is simply the elemental opposite of a parodion particle. And because parodions cause the creation of parodies —” Cross interrupted, “—then anti-parodions create... tragedies?” Dax responded, “Yup. And if there’s any perfect example of a tragedy in Trek, it was Renaissance!”
“Hey, I think I resent that!” Cross shouted. “I know I resent that,” Talora retorted.
Fascinated, Y’lan mused, “I am intrigued by your response to these specimens’ derogatory resp—” “Not now, Y’lan!” Cross shouted.
“...Then there was this time that I helped get the new Relativity launched on time by retrieving our stolen computer core from the Breen homeworld. We didn’t bring gas masks because we didn’t realize that their atmosphere smelled so bad, but I managed to save the day and we got away without getting killed. Only I fell down the stairs on the way back to my quarters when we returned to the starbase, so I ended up having to spend a night in sickbay anyway...”
Finally, Dojar screamed, “Oh, will you just shut up already?” Dumbfounded, Damar could only ask, “What?” Dojar cried, “You’re completely lame! Every one of your stories is dumber than the one before it! I can’t believe that you were my childhood hero!” With that, Dojar ran out of Engineering, sobbing.
Damar just stood there, nonplussed. “Hmm. I wonder if it was something I said?”
In Y’lan’s lab, Dax took a moment to talk to Braxton. “Captain, we’re almost ready to send the Enterprise back to its own time. But before we go... I’ve been talking to this Y’lan guy. He seems to come from a really advanced species. They’ve been all over the universe, and they’ve got these really advanced world-sized ships. I think you should ask him about the you-know-who...”
Braxton, more befuddled than usual, asked, “You mean the Teletubbies?” “No, you fool, I mean the Progeny!” “Oh, those ‘you-know-who’...” Braxton walked over to Y’lan and asked, “So, Y’lan, have your people ever met the Teletubbies?” “—The Progeny!” “Oh, right... the Progeny?”
Y’lan responded, “The Hegemony first encountered ships piloted by the ethereal sentient energy specimens self-designated ‘Progeny’ approximately fifty thousand of your years ago. The Hegemony has been repeatedly impeded from collecting sufficient relevant data due to their nonphysical existence. Consequently, we have been restricted to making minimal optical and auditory observations through the most primitive means of biological communication. What little we have been able to determine of their cultural and anthropological status indicates that despite their advanced state of being, their psychological and societal advancement appears starkly minimal. Their unnecessarily strict sense of justice, for example, coupled with their surprisingly contradictory mastery of temporal mechanics while simultaneously simplistic understanding of its principles, indicates a collective mentality of exceptional density and a resistance to alternative concepts that is generally described in colloquial human language by referring to extremely deep cranial structures.”
Braxton simply nodded knowingly, as if he completely understood everything Y’lan said. Dax shook her head. “You didn’t understand a word he said, did you?” “Well... no, not really.” Dax turned to Cross and Talora. “So what did he say?”
Cross frowned. “I certainly don’t get all of the technobabble that he continuously spouts, but I think the gist of what he said was, ‘Stupid noncorporeal aliens!’” Braxton shouted triumphantly, “Aha! I knew it!”
“An intriguingly accurate, if simplistic, summary,” Y’lan observed.
Finally, the Enterprise-G was ready for its return trip to the 25th century. The away team had beamed the Relativity, and gathered on the bridge.
T’Lenol asked Dax, “Can you explain the procedure for us, Commander?”
Dax explained, “Sure, it’s simple. I’ve made a few modifications to our own chronometric singularity generator, and helped Y’lan adjust the Enterprise’s structural integrity field to emit an anti-ambiguity signature. That circumvents the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which would normally be invoked due to the fact that the Enterprise comes from our own universe, but is at the same time from a non-canon timeline. They’d have been ripped to shreds from the quantum ambiguities. So anyway—”
Xaronna retorts, “Dax, I think you picked up a bad habit from Y’lan while you were over there!” “Oh... yeah, sorry. Anyway, I just push this button and they get sent back,” Dax answered.
Muttering, Xaronna continued, “I sure wish I could’ve left you losers behind and stayed over there! Did you know that even their minor characters get their own story arcs? I’m going to be demanding some more screen time from now on!”
T’Lenol cooly replied, “I think we can save the complaints for the next performance review, Ensign. Commander Dax, please proceed.”
And so Dax activated her console, and everyone watched on the viewscreen as the Enterprise-G was enveloped in bright flashy lights, and quickly disappeared.
Braxton sighed. “Well, at least that’s over with. They’re even crazier than we are!”
Dax’s console beeped. “It appears we’re not quite done with the episode, sir. There’s another Starfleet ship approaching... it’s the Leviathan-J. They’re hailing us.”
Braxton started to shout, “Oh n—” before T’Lenol gave him a swift elbow in the gut and ordered, “On screen!”
On the viewscreen, the Disembodied Head of Admiral Delfune appeared, already in mid-rant. “—don’t think I’ve forgotten about that time that you refused my direct order to accept those Marines on your ship, Cross!”
T’Lenol tried to interrupt, “Sir? Admiral? The Enterprise-G has already returned to its original time frame.”
“...And if you think I’m going to put up with your whining again, you’ve g—” Delfune paused. “Did you just say that you’ve already taken care of Cross and sent him back where he belongs?”
Gasping for air, Braxton answered, “Yes, Admiral. Per Starfleet policy we rendered immediate aid and ensured the Enterprise-G’s quick return to its proper time.”
A big, big grin appeared on Delfune’s face. “You mean that I’m not going to have to deal with that morose twerp and his gang of misfits again? At all? I’m putting you all in for a medal!” With that, she closed the comm channel.
Yar was dumbfounded. “Wow, did she even know who she was talking to?” T’Lenol responded, “Doubtful. But I wouldn’t worry about it too much. How else could Captain Braxton ever win decorations from Starfleet?”
Braxton complained, “Hey, take that back! I get a Christmas tree from Starfleet every year!
Dax sighed, “I know exactly what you mean...”
On the next episode of Star Trek: Series ?, an experiment gone horribly awry brings the Relativity crew to its knees! Worse yet, their only hope lies in the hands of... Captain Braxton?!