Michael Z. Williamson
  • Space Opera, If It Were Militarily Accurate

    If Starfleet was like the Mo…






    Cue: Theme music.  It’s the theme music from the original series, and it sounds scratchy.  The original series ship flies past in a series of swooshes.  Unfortunately the swooshes are out of sync with the flybys.


    PICARD (voice over)


    These are the voyages of the Starship

    Enterprise. Her five year mission…




    …well, we aren’t really sure what her five

    year mission is.  One year it was something

    about new life and new civilizations, and then

    the next year it was all about army

    transformation and the revolution in military

    affairs.  And then there was the reserve

    restructing program, and the Warrior program,

    which became MLOC which was downgraded to ELOC,

    which was downgraded to IBTS, which isn’t really

    funded for.  And then one year it was all about

    Y2K.  And then they restructured the reserve

    restructuring program.  Sometimes we have ARCON

    in August, but then other times its MAYEX, which

    is now in April…  




    Anyway, it’s all very spacey.



    INT:  The bridge of the Starship Enterprise.  Riker is at the con, Wesley at the helm, Troi at her place beside the Captain’s chair, Data at the science station and Worf at weapons control.  There are many coffee cups on the floor with their rims rolled up. 


    Riker looks annoyed at the theme music, and it cuts off abruptly.



    Executive officer’s log, Stardate 2004.  We are

    on routine patrol in Sector Tango Hotel.  I’ve

    been growing a beard, and now look grizzled and

    manly.  Maybe now Troi will think I’m hot.


    DATA (interrupting)

    Incoming signal from Rigel Seven Sir.  The

    political situation has destabilized and

    revolutionaries are besieging the prime-minister. 

    We have to rescue him to prevent total collapse

    and a humanitarian disaster.



    I sense hostility, Commander.



    Set course for Rigel Seven, warp factor nine.

    Counselor Troi, tell the Rigelians we are on our

    way.  Mr. Worf, organize an away team and meet

    me in transporter room twelve in thirty minutes. 



    At once, Sir.


    RIKER (keys his communicator)

    Sickbay, prepare to receive casualties.  This

    Could get messy.  Data, you’re with me.


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)




    Aye Commander.



    Wesley, you have the con.



    Me?  But I’m not even trained on the




    Look, just push there to talk.  We are callsign

    “Enterprise.”  If anyone calls for Enterprise,

    just tell them to wait-out and wake up the

    Captain.  Clear?



    I guess so.  What if the Captain doesn’t want to

    wake up?


    But RIKER and the others are already out the door.


    WESLEY (looks bemused, then smiles)

    Cool!  I have the con!


    He looks keen and alert for a few minutes, then less keen, then bored,

    then distracted, then finally starts playing Xbox games on the bridge

    display.  Counselor Troi finishes notifying the Rigellians and, lacking

    further direction, puts some Betazoid megaporn on her console.



    INT:  Transporter Room 12, thirty minutes later. WORF is there, ready at the port arms in full Klingon camouflage battle armour with about a hundred kilos of

    weapons and gear hanging off him. DATA is there in just his Starfleet uniform.  Behind the controls is an uneasy looking ENSIGN BARCLAY.  RIKER comes in.



    Where’s the away team?



    This is the away team, Commander.



    I mean the rest of them.  We’re going in to a

    hostile situation.  We need at least a dozen

    armed security personnel, a heavy weapons

    detachment, a negotiator, comms specialist and

    medical support.



    I believe you’ll find them in sickbay, commander.


    WORF just looks disgusted.


    RIKER (keys his communicator)

    Riker to Crusher.


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    Sickbay here.



    What’s wrong with my away team?


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    They’re all suffering from a mysterious gut



    RIKER (suddenly excited)

    You mean we’re dealing with a lethal alien virus

    for which there is no cure, spreading

    relentlessly through the crew at the very time

    we have to handle a dangerous uprising on a

    mysterious world that could destabilize the

    entire Federation!


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    No, I mean none of them have any guts.  One has

    A toe blister, another has a headache, one has a

    funny feeling in his nose…


    RIKER (in disbelief)

    A funny feeling??


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    In his nose, commander.


    RIKER (in even more disbelief)

    In his nose??


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    The left nostril, to be specific.


    RIKER (truly stunned disbelief)

    The left nostril??


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    It doesn’t help when you repeat everything I say,




    It doesn’t help when… (he shakes himself) 

    Don’t tell me you believe any of that.


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    No of course not.  The real problem is there was

    a rumour it was raining down on the planet.


    RIKER (in even more disbelief, were it possible)

    A rumour it was raining??!!??


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    It doesn’t help when you repeat…


    RIKER (cuts her off)

    I know, I know… (he shakes himself again)  OK Dr.

    Crusher, I understand.  Get the malingering sons

    of banthas up here.  Stat!


    DR. CRUSHER (off camera)

    Unfortunately I can’t, commander.  If one of them

    got hurt I could be held responsible.  That’s why

    I’m not coming myself.  I have to be here to watch



    RIKER bleeps off his communicator with an obscenity.



    Forget it, we’ll go ourselves.



    Excellent decision, commander.



    Technically sir, the troops are correct.  We are

    speaking of an entire world.  It is certain to be

    raining somewhere down there.



    Shut up Data.



    Also, Banthas are from Star Wars.


    RIKER gives him a look.  They all stand on the transporter disks.





    BARCLAY (looking slightly embarrassed)

    I can’t sir.



    What do you mean you can’t?



    I’m only qualified to transport non-dangerous

    goods. I can’t transport troops, or dangerous




    You used to transport troops.



    I have to requalify every year.  I’m not

    qualified his year.



    Didn’t you just run a transporter course?



    You can’t get the qualification when you’re the




    Get Mr. LaForge up here.  Is he qualified?



    Yes sir, but Starfleet Regulations prevent him

    from leaving engineering when…



    Chief OBrien then.



    Yes, but he’s off duty.



    Well call him and get him on duty.



    Sir, he worked a full shift last night and is on

    mandated downtime until twenty hundred. Starfleet

    Regulations clearly state that…



    Never mind, we’ll take the shuttle.


    They all troop down to the shuttle bay and load up the attack shuttle.

    Then they realize they can’t carry live phaser power cells and personnel

    in the same shuttle.  They unload the power cells and load them on the

    cargo shuttle.  Then there is a discussion over who is qualified to pilot

    a cargo shuttle with phaser power cells in the back.  It transpires that

    WORF can only pilot attack shuttles, while DATA can only pilot cargo

    shuttles, and he has to be supervised if it’s carrying phaser power cells.

    WORF is qualified to supervise him, but then he can’t fly the attack

    shuttle. While RIKER looks up the regs in more detail, DATA and WORF do

    daily inspections on the shuttles.  Unfortunately the attack shuttle has

    to be grounded due to missing emergency flares (which PICARD borrowed for

    the volcano at the 10-Forward Hawaiian Luau party and forgot to replace).

    RIKER comes back with a legal solution to fly both shuttles, only to find

    it is now useless because the attack shuttle can’t go.  They all get into

    the relevant Starfleet Regulations and discover that if RIKER declares an

    emergency war situation DATA can pilot a cargo shuttle with both phaser

    power cells and personnel on board if WORF supervises him and RIKER

    supervises WORF.  WORF argues that they should take the attack shuttle

    anyway, since they might well see combat.  RIKER agrees, but points out

    that while Starfleet Regulations allow him to permit DATA to fly a cargo

    shuttle with both phaser power cells and personnel if properly supervised

    in an emergency war situation, they do not allow any shuttle to fly

    without a full complement of safety gear at any time under any

    circumstances no matter who pilots it. WORF tries putting the cargo

    shuttle’s emergency flares In the attack shuttle’s emergency flare tubes,

    but they’re a different version and don’t fit.  RIKER immediately begins

    filling in the paperwork to declare the emergency war situation.  He signs

    as requesting authority since PICARD is sleeping, and they uplink it to

    Starfleet HQ for approval.  Unfortunately HQ is shut down since it’s

    Friday afternoon on a long weekend.  After frantic hours trying phone

    numbers they get a junior officer who says he thinks the sector commander

    has gone to his cottage.  RIKER is about to pop a cerebral artery, when

    DATA rereads the regs on emergency war situations (Section 51-5,

    Declarations) and learns that PICARD, as captain, can approve the

    declaration as long as the mission involves fewer than five people.  Since

    PICARD is asleep RIKER is acting captain anyway, so with the vague feeling

    that he’s setting himself up for trouble later, he signs his own emergency

    war situation request as approving authority.  They crossload everything

    back to the cargo shuttle and take off.



    EXT: Rigel 7 planetary surface.  It is raining.  In the background are burning buildings.  In the foreground an alien grandmother is pushing an alien grocery cart, picking up alien trash.  Suddenly the Enterprise cargo shuttle screams into the scene under maximum deceleration.  The landing skids come down and it

    slams into the landing zone, throwing fountains of

    dirt in all directions.  The alien grandmother ducks.



    INT:  Shuttle cockpit.






    Dismount dismount dismount!


    EXT:  Shuttle landing zone. There is a slight pause while DATA unchains the back ramp and lowers it.  WORF launches himself out the back with a war cry and dives to the ground on the port side, weapon in the shoulder in the approved manner, scanning for the enemy.


    WORF (yelling)

    Port side CLEAR, Sir!


    However DATA has lost the momentum with the delay in unchaining the ramp,

    and is more leisurely in securing the starboard side.  He looks vaguely

    around. RIKER follows him.



    OK, we’re good.


    DATA (still looking around)

    It is raining.


    RIKER ignores him.  WORF gets up and joins them.



    That alien look hostile.


    (he raises his weapon and points it at

    the grandmother)


    Shall I engage?



    Lets not start anything.  We have to locate the

    Prime minister ASAP.  Data, what’s our



    DATA (consulting a gadget)

    According to the satellite locater system, we are

    twelve hundred metres beneath the Rigelian Sea.



    Well obviously that can’t be right.



    Sir, the satellite locater system is accurate

    to the nearest metre.  It cannot be incorrect.


    RIKER (sarcastic)

    Do you see twelve hundred meters of water here?



    It is raining sir.


    RIKER (exasperated)

    Rain, Data.  Just rain.  Not really an ocean,

    is it?



    No sir.  Obviously some force or creature has

    removed the entire Rigelian Sea.  Fascinating.



    Did you have a power surge or something on the

    way down?



    No sir, why do you ask?



    Never mind.  Let’s get going.  We have to find

    the Rigelian prime-minister.


    WORF (looking at the alien grandmother)

    Commander, I recommend we take prisoners and

    interrogate them.


    He smiles evilly on the word ‘interrogate’ and his fingers go to the

    wickedly curved (and strictly non-regulation) Klingon Vengeance

    Dagger on his belt.



    Cut to:


    INT: Enterprise Bridge.  WESLEY is busily evading copdriods in a game of Grand

    Theft Skycar XXXI – Vice Planet.  TROI had moved on from the megaporn to a bad Betazoid science fiction movie which is only slightly less lurid.  The door slides open and LAFORGE comes in, oblivious to Starfleet Regulations that require him to be in engineering at all times when the ship is in orbit.



    I got a call from Ensign Barclay.  Something

    about needing a personnel-qualified operator in

    transporter room twelve?



    Commander Riker said something about that, I



    He doesn’t look up from his video game.  LAFORGE nods and keys his

    communicator for CHIEF OBRIEN, oblivious to Starfleet Regulations

    mandating downtime for technical personnel who have worked a full shift

    the previous night.



    Chief OBrien, report to transporter room

    twelve for duty watch.



    Cut to:

    INT:  Chief OBrien’s quarters.  CHIEF OBRIEN is lying on his bed looking ill.  He’s just been awakened by LAFORGE’S call.



    Vodka, why do you hate me?


    He looks at his clock.  It isn’t twenty hundred yet.  He pulls a pillow

    over his head and tries to go back to sleep.



    Cut back to:

    INT:  Enterprise Bridge.  LAFORGE is waiting for CHIEF OBRIEN to answer, but gets distracted when a space-creature with a lot of suggestive tentacles ramps TROI’S bad Betazoid science fiction movie up to a luridity level that even megaporn would find disturbing.



    That looks… interesting…


    He keeps his voice low so WESLEY won’t hear and puts a hand casually on

    her shoulder.  She turns around.



    Wanna see my impulse drive?



    I sense arousal, lieutenant commander.



    Cut back to:


    Ext: Rigel 7 Landing Zone.  It’s still raining. RIKER, WORF and DATA are huddled around the back of the shuttle.  The alien grandmother has hobbled off

    somewhere.  DATA has full raingear on and looks dorky.


    RIKER (plaintive)

    Look, all I said was you didn’t have to carve

    up the first alien grandmother you saw.



    No, you said only a Klingon would want to

    carve up an alien grandmother.



    He is correct sir.



    Whatever, it means the same thing.



    Except the way you said it is discriminating

    against my species.



    He is correct sir.



    Well I didn’t mean to.  What I meant was…



    I don’t care what you meant.  What you said




    I know what I said already!



    Well, it’s harassment, and I object.



    He is correct sir.



    Shut up Data.



    That’s harassment too, sir.



    Can we just get on with the mission?



    Cut to:

    INT:  Enterprise Bridge.  WESLEY has achieved the rank of Uninsurable in Grand Theft Skycar XXXI – Vice Planet and looks very pleased with himself.  Voices come from behind the command console


    TROI (off camera)

    I sense turgidity, Lieutenant Commander.


    LAFORGE (off camera)

    Energize me, baby!



    Cut to:

    EXT:  Ruined alien city.  WORF, RIKER and DATA are moving single-file down an alleyway full of rubble.  WORF is on point moving in the approved tactical manner, weapon in the shoulder at all times, covering his arcs, taking a

    knee when he stops and passing signals back to the other two.  RIKER is moving tactically but without WORF’S keen-ness.  DATA is just following along with a vague air of caution.  DATA’s rainpants make a noisy swishswish as he walks.



    Must you wear those?



    It is raining.


    WORF (sarcastic)

    So what?  Afraid you’ll rust?






    Where are we?


    DATA (checks his locator)

    We are approaching the remote island of Engolia. 

    Depth now four hundred meters.


    WORF (rolls his eyes, and points at

    an imposing, half-ruined


    That’s the prime-ministerial palace there,



    A chanting mob of aliens runs past dragging a bloodied body.



    I don’t like the looks of that mob.


    WORF drops to cover behind some crates and takes a fire position.



    Away team! Range three hundred, quarter right,

    alien mob moving right to left! Request

    permission to engage!


    RIKER considers it, but realizes if a firefight starts he’ll have to kneel

    in a puddle.  Unlike DATA, he doesn’t have rainpants on.



    No Worf, they trained us for these situations

    at Starfleet Academy.  Lets try diplomacy first. 

    We have to show them that violence doesn’t work.


    (he steps out into the open, where the aliens are

    stringing their twitching victim from a lamp post)


    Rigelian friends!  I am Commander Riker of the

    Starship Enterprise.  I come in peace!


    The aliens scream in bloodlust, turn as one, and advance behind a barrage

    of stones, Molotov cocktails and sporadic small arms fire.  RIKER, WORF

    and DATA run like rabbits.



    Cut to:  Enterprise Engineering Section.  LAFORGE and BARCLAY are partly working on a disassembled dilithium crystal resonator chamber, but mostly just socializing.



                      Right there on the bridge?



    Behind the command console!



    Cut to:

    INT:  Chief O’Brien’s quarters.  The pillow is still over his head, but he isn’t sleeping.  He looks like he’s about to barf.



    Is it because I’m not Russian?



    Cut to: 

    INT:  Transporter Room Twelve.  It’s empty.



    Cut to:

    EXT:  Alien dumpster in an alien alley.  The alien mob runs past, chanting and screaming for Federation blood.  After they’ve gone by three heads emerge from the dumpster, RIKER, DATA and WORF.  They are covered in chunks of alien garbage dripping nameless alien slime.



    …so I said “Request permission to engage.”  But

    then you said…



    I know what I said Worf.  Let’s focus on the



    WORF (sarcastic)

    “We have to show them violence doesn’t work.” 

    That’s what you said.



    He is correct, sir.



    Violence sure worked for them.






    He is correct, sir.






    Maybe it would have worked for us too.






    Did they teach you to plan like that at the




    Come on guys.  We still have to find the

    Rigelian prime-minister.



    Actually sir, I believe we no longer do.


    RIKER (he’s had it with DATA)

    And why is that, turbo brain?



    Because that was the Rigelian prime minister

    they were stringing up right before they came

    after us.


    Long pause.





    Longer pause.



    Now what?



    I believe we should leave.  That mob is

    coming back.


    RIKER (toggles his communicator)

    Enterprise, this is away team.  Three to beam



    Nothing happens. 


    Enterprise, this is away team.  Three to beam

    up.  Immediately!


    Nothing continues to happen.  Angry chanting rises in the background.



    Sir, I suspect the problem is that the

    communicator is set to the wrong frequency.



    You have got to be kidding me.



    They usually are.



    Nobody could be that incompetent.


    The chanting grows louder.



    Well, the communicators are very complicated.



    You’re telling me that with your positronic

    brain technology you can’t figure out how to

    program the communicators?



    That is correct sir.  There are two encryption

    modes, plus plaintext mode, one frequency

    hopping mode, two fixed frequency modes,

    over-the-air rekeying for hop keys and both types

    of encryption keys, direct keying, datalink,

    three power settings, multi-frequency retransmit

    mode, emergency zeroize mode for each key set and

    over fourteen thousand possible frequencies. 

    Malfunctions are indicated by sixteen different

    tone sequences.  When networked in a vehicle with

    Control Indicator boxes…


    RIKER (looking wildly around)

    Just shut up and fix it will you.  We’re trapped



    The alien chanting grows still louder.



    It won’t do any good.



    Why not?



    Because even with all modes correctly set, the

    portable communicator has a maximum range of

    only three kilometres.  Less if it’s raining.


    RIKER (totally snapped)

    It’s raining Data.  It’s raining!



    That is correct, sir.



    I brought my cell phone.



    Starfleet Regulations expressly prohibit the use

    Of personal cellular phones on operational…



    Shut up Data.  


    He takes WORF’S phone and starts to dial, then stops to look at it more

    closely, looks at WORF..


    Who do you know at 976-FOXY??


    WORF would blush if he could.  He grabs the phone back.



    I will dial, commander.


    The alien chanting grows ominously loud.



    Cut to:

    INT:  Enterprise bridge.  A phone is ringing, but the sound is masked by roar of simulated engines as WESLEY wildly evades the copdroids in Grand Theft Skycar XXXI – Vice Planet. 



    Cut to:

    INT:  Sickbay.  A dozen perfectly healthy red-shirt security guards are lying on examination tables.  One is boots-off to air a toe-blister, another has a bandage covering his left nostril.  TROI and DR. CRUSHER are hanging out at the reception desk.



    Thirty seconds?



    And I’ve seen bigger Arcturean




    Cut to:

    INT:  Chief OBrien’s quarters.  He’s sitting on his bed with the pillow on his head like a misshapen hat, and he looks like he’s about to die.



    We can’t all be Chekov!


    He throws up messily.



    Cut to: 

    INT:  Transporter Room Twelve.  It’s still empty.



    Cut back to: 

    INT:  Enterprise Bridge.  WESLEY has finally heard the phone ringing.  He fumbles around, punches buttons wildly.


    WESLEY (very excited)

    Hello!?  Starship Enterprise Bridge!  Ensign

    Crusher at the con!  Wait out!


    He punches what he thinks is the hold button, then hurries over to

    PICARD’S ready-room door.  He pauses, knocks gently.



    Captain?  There’s a call…


    No answer.  WESLEY tentatively knocks again.





    Still no answer.  WESLEY looks around, unsure what to do.  Finally he goes

    back to the console, only to discover that he pushed DISCONNECT when he

    meant to push ANSWER.  There’s no-one on the line.  He looks around

    sheepishly in case TROI or LAFORGE saw, but they’re gone.  Finally he

    shrugs and goes back to the Spaceyard Mission in Grand Theft Skycar XXXI –

    Vice Planet.  If he can shave another minute off his time he’ll gain the

    rank of Road Hazard.


    Cut to:

    EXT:  Rigel 7 surface.  It’s still raining.  The alien mob is closing in on our heroes.


    WORF (puts the cell phone down,

    looking worried)

    They don’t answer, Commander.



    We’ll have to fight our way back to the shuttle. 

    Mr. Worf!  Set phasers to meltify and ENGAGE!.






    Come on you stupid Klingon!  Blast them!





    RIKER (wild eyed and losing it)

    What’s wrong now!?



    The phaser power cells are dead.


    RIKER (lost it)

    What do you mean, the power cells are dead?? 

    We went into combat with dead phaser power

    cells??  I had to declare an emergency war

    situation just to get them on the shuttle!



    Well, the charger was broken from last time, so

    we put a non-servicable tag on it and sent it

    back to Starfleet.  They sent us a new one, but

    it wasn’t working either so then…



    Shut up!!  Fusion rockets!  Now!



    These are just drill rounds…



    Plasma grenades!



    No fuses…



    You idiot!  Why did you bring all that firepower

    if none of it works!?!?!?



    Uhhh… it looks cool?


    The aliens reach the dumpster and grab them.


    Cut to:

    INT:  Starship Enterprise bridge. The captain’s ready room door slides open and PICARD emerges in his pyjamas.  He yawns and stretches and goes over to the

    food materializer.  WESLEY quickly clicks off Grand Theft Skycar XXXI and puts the main screen back to navigation mode.



    Did I miss anything?



    Commander Riker took an away team down to

    rescue the prime-minister of Rigel Seven.  We’ve

    lost contact with them, but local broadcasts

    show extensive rioting throughout the capital.


    He brings up a local broadcast on the main screen to prove he wasn’t

    playing videogames the whole time.  As advertised it shows an alien city

    full of alien rioters.


    The door slides open and TROI and LAFORGE come in, slightly disheveled and

    breathing hard.  They stop, obviously surprised to see the captain on the




    I was just, uhhhm, counseling the patients in

    sickbay.  With empathy.


    LAFORGE (not oblivious to Starfleet

    Regulations preventing

    sex on duty)

    And I have the dilithium crystals almost fixed!



    Counselling with empathy. 


    (nods rapidly)


    I’m an empath.  Those poor patients.  One has a

    funny feeling in his nose. 



                      A funny feeling?


                                  TROI (nodding more)

                      In his nose.



    In his nose?


    TROI (nodding even more)

    His left nostril.



    His left nostril?


                TROI (nodding lots more) 


                      To be specific. 


    Dr. Crusher was there, she’ll tell you. Nothing

    happened with any nanoworm. I was very empathetic. 


                LAFORGE (looks at her, offended)



    PICARD (oblivious to everything)

    Oh…  Well…  uhhh… don’t let me interrupt.


    He turns to the food materializer.


    Tea, Earl Grey, hot.


    The tea materializes, he takes it and starts back into the ready room. 

    Wesley punches buttons, and the main screen shows a struggling trio in

    Starfleet uniform, being dragged through the streets by a screaming mob of

    aliens.  DATA looks confused, RIKER is badly wounded, WORF has lost all

    his cool gear.



    Wait, I found them.


    PICARD turns around to watch the screen.  All looks hopeless as the aliens

    prepare to string up RIKER, WORF and DATA beside the still-twitching

    prime-minister.  Then suddenly the Enterprise attack shuttle screams into

    the picture, phasers blasting.  It slams into the crowd, and skids to a

    halt beside the captives in a shower of alien body parts.  The back ramp

    slams down and ENSIGN RO charges out with her phaser rifle set to




    Fucking die you fucking fuckers!


    With short, accurate bursts she takes out the aliens holding the away

    team.  A well-aimed shot cuts loose the prime-minister, who falls to the

    ground in a heap.  While WORF scampers aboard the shuttle she heaves the

    wounded RIKER over her shoulders, kicks DATA in the ass to get him moving,

    and grabs the alien prime-minister with her free hand.  Carrying RIKER,

    dragging the prime-minister, and laying down one-handed cover fire, she

    backs up the ramp.  Once inside she kicks the ramp retractor lever, dumps

    RIKER on top of the cowering WORF and dives for the cockpit.  She punches

    the Flare Launch button and a salvo of plasma grenades fountains from the

    emergency flare tubes.  Even before the ramp is closed the shuttle is

    lifting out.  A cascade of explosions covers their take-off as they head

    skyward.  The few surviving aliens are too stunned to get off a shot.


    RO (on communicator)

    Enterprise, Enterprise, this is Attack Shuttle

    Delta, inbound with two pri-one casualties. 

    Approach bearing two-seven-zero mark

    three-three, arrival in ten mikes.  Clear the

    pattern and prepare sickbay. Ro Laren out.


    PICARD (to no-one in particular)

    Were those plasma grenades in the emergency flare launcher?



    Looks like it, sir.



    Do Starfleet Regulations allow that?


    WESLEY (clicking keys, eager to please)

    No sir.  Also, she’s was on shift with

    Chief O'Brien last night.  She’s supposed to be on

    mandated downtime until twenty-hundred.



    Well we can’t have that.  Mr LaForge, write up a

    recorded warning for Ensign Ro will you? 

    Something about downtime and safety gear. 

    And bad language.


    LAFORGE frowns.  He doesn’t want to do the paperwork.



    Are you sure we want to do that, sir?  If she

    fights it we might look bad.



    I suppose you’re right.



    Ensign Ro has her name in for that promotion spot on Deep

    Space Nine.  We could just not approve it.



    Plus then we wouldn’t lose her.  Our numbers are

    pretty low.



    Just tell her we lost her file.



    We have to send them someone though.



    How about Chief O’Brien?  He’s… uhmm… good.



                      But isn’t he an alco…


    TROI   (gives WESLEY a look

    like a terawatt phaser beam.)

    Quiet, you!



    What was that?


                LAFORGE (hurriedly)

    I was just saying that I’m going to write Chief

    O’Brien a stellar performance review.



    The crew is emotionally ready for him to be




    OK, we’ll give them Chief O’Brien.  Oh, and send

    a signal to Starfleet and tell them the mission was




    Yes sir.  Should I clear the pattern and inform

    sickbay of the casualties?



    That’s good too.  I’ll be asleep if anyone needs



    He goes back into the ready room and the door slides shut.



    Cut to:

    INT:  Chief OBrien’s quarters.  CHIEF OBRIEN is now lying on the floor, face down in a puddle of his own vomit.


    CHIEF OBRIEN (mumbling semi-coherently)

    Damn you, Chekov.



    Cut back to:

    INT:  Enterprise Bridge.  The main screen shows ENSIGN RO’S attack shuttle sliding deftly into the hanger.  The hanger bay doors slide closed behind it.


    WESLEY (looking around)

    Uhhmm… do we have a course or a direction or



    LAFORGE ignores him.  He’s still pissed at TROI.


    LAFORGE (offended)




    I sense futility, Captain.




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