Author: Cory Parker
Star Traks: Next Frontier
“Book 2: All Star”
By Cory Parker
“Captain’s Log, stardate 51460.7. After a rather unpleasant greeting by members of the former Jyinion Assembly military, we have come across what appears to be the site of a battle, a battle where numerous ships were destroyed. We believe that two vessels have escaped, and we are currently searching for one of them. On another note, we are suffering from massive systems failures. We’re having loads of fun. Hopefully, nothing else major will occur.”
“You have one hour of air remaining,” stated the computer on board the tiny Jyinion shuttle. Princess Cimorene sighed and started to bang her head against the bulkhead. “Now sit back, and enjoy this flight’s presentation of `Have Custard, Will Travel,’ starring J’San Bokep and Cerey LaHue.” The movie started on the main control panel. Cimorene started to bang her head harder.
“Why me?” she cried as she slumped to the floor in defeat. “Why did the Assembly have to fall right when I was going to take over? Why do I have to die in this tiny, miserable shuttle that is showing one of the worst Jyinion films ever made? WHY???” She started bawling her eyes out, completely forgetting her princess training. She started pounding the floor with her fists as the tears streamed out of her crystal blue eyes. “I REALLY hate it here…”
“ETA?” inquired Halloway.
“Four more minutes; we have the ship on sensors,” reported Halvox.
“On screen.” The tiny red shuttle was motionless in the void. “Life signs?” asked LaCroix.
“One, very faint. It seems that life support over there is almost gone,” said Bannon as he examined his readings.
“Transporter room, as soon as we’re in range, lock on the life form and beam it aboard. I’ll be down there to meet it. Halloway out. Gabriel, as soon as the life form is on board, tractor that ship into the shuttle bay.”
“Aye, sir,” responded the leathery security chief.
“Sir,” asked LaCroix, “are you sure that we should bring an unknown life form aboard? I don’t want to catch what passes off for measles around here.”
“Point taken, Commander. We’ll have Dr. Clinton meet us down there.” Halloway stood and headed for the turbolift. Rachel remained in her chair. “Problem, Commander?”
“No, not at all,” she replied sarcastically as the two entered the turbolift and went down to the transporter room. Clinton was already there waiting for them. He tried to hide a laugh as his eyes fell on LaCroix. She glared at him.
“Something funny, Doctor?” Scott coughed nervously and bit his lip.
“Uh…nope, nothing at all, Commander.”
“Out with it!” she ordered, startling Halloway.
“Um, well Commander, I just heard this rumor that you and…um.”
“Me and WHO?”
“You and…Lt. Abbott were, you know…”
“WHAT IS IT!?!” she screamed. Halloway swore that he could see veins popping out of her otherwise perfect forehead. Clinton closed his eyes and prepared himself for the coming attack.
“You and Lt. Abbott were doing the horizontal mambo!” he said quickly, as he held up his arms in defense. LaCroix pulled back her fist to deliver the first blow when the transported began to hum. All three officers turned and watched as a young woman in a tattered pink dress materialized on the transporter pad. She was laying on the ground, unconscious. Clinton took out his medical tricorder and began scanning her. “She’s disease-free, but her heart rate is slowed. It’s safe to deactivate the forcefield, Captain.” Halloway nodded and motioned for it to be turned off. The transporter chief nodded and did so, causing the air to briefly shimmer where the field had been. Halloway and Clinton rushed up onto the pad, standing over the woman. Scott gave her a stimulant, and she started blinking her eyes.
“Where…am I?” she asked quietly as she attempted to stand.
“You’re on board the Federation starship USS Haymaker. I’m Captain Bobby Halloway.” Cimorene trust her head up high and attempted to look proper.
“I am Princess Cimorene, heir to the throne of the Jyinion Assembly. I order you to return me to my homeworld at once!” she declared.
“Sorry to tell you this, Princess,” spat LaCroix, “but your Assembly is no more. So, in effect, we don’t take orders from you!” Cimorene arched one of her eyebrows at Rachel, but said nothing. Instead, she turned to Halloway. “Captain, I must insist that you follow my orders! As long as you are in my space, I tell you what to do!” Halloway shrugged. “As my…over exuberant first officer explained to you,” started Bobby as he threw a glare over to Rachel, “your empire has fallen, and it seems that you are our guest for the time being.” Cimorene opened her mouth to argue, but she quickly shut it. She could recognize when she wasn’t going to get her way. Yet.
“Alright, Captain. I’ll do as you say. Will someone please show me to my lodgings, if I am to be on board this vessel `for the time being,’” she echoed mockingly.
“Doctor, if you would be so kind as to show our guest to some quarters?” Scott nodded and motioned for the princess to follow him. She gave a quiet `haruph’ and strolled past Halloway and LaCroix.
“Well, she’s a treat, isn’t she?” snorted the commander as she followed Halloway out of the transporter room.
“Jealous, Commander?” asked Bobby slyly as Rachel began to fume again. Bobby grinned and headed back to the bridge.
Chief Engineer Monty hummed to himself as he entered the main shuttle bay, followed by two of his engineering staff. “Well boys,” he said to the other two officers, both of whom happened to be female, “this is it, start taking readings while I examine the interior.” They both nodded and started to work. Monty swaggered around to the back of the craft where he found the main hatch. A simple touch on the control pad caused the door to open with a `hiss’. “Avon calling,” he murmured to himself as he took a glance inside. “Computer, adjust emitters to allow me to enter.”
“Holoemitters adjusted. Grid displayed is area that you can remain in with full cohesion,” said the computer’s voice as a yellow grid system appeared inside the shuttle.
“Thank you.” Monty stepped inside and started scanning the interior. When he approached the pilot’s chair, he placed the tricorder onto a control panel. The interior lights flooded on as the weakened batteries of the tiny craft began to receive power from a connection to the Haymaker that had been rigged up. The computers started to come back on line. “Hmm…” pondered Monty as he looked over the control console. “Computer, what does this button do?” asked Monty as he lightly pressed it. “Self-destruct armed. This vessel with be destroyed in twenty kelnars.” Monty bit his lip as he thought of what to do. “Computer, how long is a kelnar?” “A kelnar is twenty microkelnars.” “Thanks for the clarification.” “You’re welcome.” Monty turned his head to face the open door. “Hey, guys, this ship is about to blow to smithereens, cut the power!”
Both the women outside tugged on the power cord that connected the shuttle to the ship’s power. Tugging with all their might, it finally popped out, causing the engineers to tumble to the floor. Inside the shuttle, all of the systems were shutting down. “THANK YOU!” he hollered with a grin. “So, my little red friend, what could possibly go wrong now?” Suddenly, the door behind him began to close. “I guess that answers that question,” he yelled as he ran and dove out of the shuttle, just barely escaping before the doors shut. “Um, it’s your ship now, ladies. I’m going back to Main Engineering, where the warp cores roam, and the matter-antimatter injectors play. Where I never heard a discouraging word, and…”
“Go!” yelled the two engineers. Monty smiled and walked out the door.
=Asteroid Belt, Somewhere in Jyinion Space=
“Admiral?” Fallow turned and walked towards Mennol. The two were waiting inside an asteroid belt in Fallow’s yacht.
“What is it?”
“Apparently, one of our shuttles escaped the destruction of the ship. It is emitting a weak homing device,” reported the Betazoid as he examined his readings.
“Can you tell who it was on the shuttle?”
“Not from here. We would have to get closer to…” Mennol’s jaw dropped.
“What? What is it?” insisted Fallow as he tried to see what had stunned his second-in-command.
“The…the shuttle is docked on board that Federation ship we observed earlier,” he stammered. “Admiral, if the princess was on board that ship.”
“I know what that would mean, Mennol.”
“But how can we get her? That’s a Federation ship, Fallow. We just can’t barge in there and take her!” Fallow suddenly grinned and patted Mennol on the shoulder.
“Oh, yes we can. Contact the rest of my fleet. Tell them to come here immediately. If you can’t get the princess from the Federation ship by negotiations, then we simply pound them until they do. We haven’t much time.” Mennol gave a sharp military nod and proceeded to contact Fallow’s fleet. Fallow’s grin widened. “We have you this time, your highness.”
“Touch me again, and you’re a dead man,” threatened Kerry as Scott stopped trying to stitch her back up. The two were in Sickbay, and Halvox was ranting like a hyperactive child on speed. Her left arm was a bloody mess, with three gashes traveling its length and stopping at her hand, where two of her fingers were broken.
“Oh, it can’t hurt that much, ya big sissy…” he muttered as he tried to continue. “Quit squirming so much, or else this arm will end up shorter than the other.” Halvox grunted and stopped her excessive movement. “Now explain to me again what EXACTLY you were doing on the holodeck?”
“I was just practicing my self-defense training.”
“With the safeties off?” The Chief of Operations shrugged and rubbed her forehead with her other hand.
“I get the most out of it that way.” Dr. Clinton finished up his work and patted his patient on her left shoulder. She winced in pain and glared at him.
“Oops, sorry. That arm will be a little sore for a day or two, so avoid using it, that’s an order.” Halvox mumbled something obscene and left. Clinton started to put his tools away. He was walking back to his office when the lights flickered off, plunging Sickbay into complete and total darkness. Clinton let out a yelp as he ran into a bulkhead, dropping his tray of tools with a loud `clang’. He rubbed his head and then tapped his communicator. “Clinton to bridge. Sickbay’s lights just switched off.”
“Sorry about that, Doctor,” came the calming voice of Captain Halloway. “Chief Monty tells me that more and more ships systems are failing. He’ll get to it when he can, Halloway out.” Scott cursed under his breath and fumbled through the dark as he searched for his fallen tools.
“Tell me that you are joking,” asked Halloway. He was sitting in his ready room, staring at Commander LaCroix.
“I’m afraid not, Captain. Monty said that with the current rate of system failures, we will be at total system failure in a week.” Bobby groaned and stood.
“Computer, activate the EEH.” The air shimmered as Monty appeared, looking unusually dirty and haggard. “You’re not looking well, Chief.”
“Je ne me sens pas bien, capitaine,” said the hologram as he brushed some of the holographic dirt off of his uniform. Both Halloway and LaCroix did a double take.
“What the hell did you just say?” inquired LaCroix.
“J’ai dit que je me sens comme le merde!” he replied exasperatedly.
“Chief, we can’t understand you; you’re speaking in a foreign language,” said Halloway with a sigh as he plopped back down into his seat.
“Tenez une minute, laissez-moi executer un diagnostic sur mon programme.” Monty froze as he checked his systems. “Is this better?” he asked after a minute.
“Much. What was that, French?”
“Regretfully, Captain. It appears that my program has been affected as well. Hopefully, we’ll fix most of the problems, that is, if the remaining replicators don’t fail on us. I hate the French.” muttered Monty at the end of his report.
“Commander, make these system failures the ship’s number one priority. I want every available crewmember, trained or otherwise, to assist in the repairs. Hopefully, we will weather the storm.” Suddenly, the alarm klaxons started to blare loudly. Very loudly.
“Self-destruct armed. This ship will self-destruct in 60 seconds,” trumpeted the computer over the wail of the sirens. Monty raised his eyes to the ceiling and walked over to the wall.
“One moment.” He shimmered away as the two remaining officers rushed to the bridge.
“Status!” ordered Halloway.
“The injector ports are frozen open, an uncontrolled reaction is occurring within the warp core,” yawned Ensign Bannon as he awoke from his nap. “I recommend that we dump the core.”
“Not an option, Ensign, and wipe that drool off of your chin.” Blake removed the saliva with his sleeve while Halloway tapped his communicator. “Halloway to Monty, is it fixed yet?”
“Il est presque…I mean, it’s almost fixed, Captain. Un moment.” The klaxons silenced as the room brightened. “Fixed, Captain.”
“Like I said earlier, Chief, fixing the ship is our number one priority. Get it done.”
“Aye sir, Monty out.”
“Never a dull moment, is there sir?” asked Lt. Benn as she turned away from the conn. Halloway laughed slightly and rubbed his forehead.
“You’re not kidding, Lieutenant.”
Cimorene held her head high as she exited the turbolift onto the bridge. Heads turned as she took two steps out of the `lift (just like she was taught), surveyed the crew (also taught), and turned and entered the ready room with a sigh (you guessed it). Her dark blue gown was rather small compared to her other dresses back on Jyinus, but Cimorene figured that she would have to make do with what the ship’s replicators had given her. Captain Halloway stood, by Commander LaCroix, who was the only other person in the room. “Your highness, have a seat,” offered Bobby with a wave of his hand.
“Thank you, Captain Halloway.” She sat down on his couch, and stared at him with the best puppy-dog eyes that she could muster. LaCroix laughed and rolled her own eyes as she leaned against the bulkhead. Halloway walked over and sat down beside the princess. “I must apologize for my attitude when I came on board. I must have been suffering from severe oxygen depletion.”
“Ha!” Halloway darted a quick glance at his XO, then focused his attention on the princess.
“Captain, let me tell you about what has been happing in the Jyinion Assembly. For about 50 years now, my people…” Bobby started to tune her out while he examined her body. The way her eyes brightened up her youthful face. The way her lips were as smooth as silk. The way her dress hung off her slender frame, allowing her gigantic…
“Huh? Oh, yes, please continue, Princess.” LaCroix now threw a glare of her own at the lustful Halloway.
“I have been finished for the last few minutes. Tell me, do all the males of your species act this way towards females?” asked Cimorene as she turned to look at LaCroix.
“Regretfully, yes.” Halloway started to object, but he quickly shut his mouth. He stood and stared out his window, deep in embarrassed thought.
“So, Captain, what do you say?”
“To my request.” Bobby gritted his teeth and thought. What the hell had she said? He thought furiously as Rachel stepped beside him.
“She wants to know if you will be taking her back to Jyinus,” she whispered into the captain’s left ear. He gave a silent `ahh’ and turned back to the princess with a beaming smile. She returned it as she flashed her eyes at Halloway.
“You will be staying with me until we find out what happened to that other ship.”
“What other ship?”
“The one that we detected also heading away from the battle site,” chimed in LaCroix. Cimorene crossed her arms and slumped down on the couch. Crocodile tears started to roll down her soft face.
“Way to go, now you pissed her off,” mentioned Halloway softly to his XO.
“Look, I’m not the one who’s in love with her!” she shot back.
“I am not!”
“Too!” The two officers began to get louder and louder, ignoring Cimorene and her faked anguish. The louder Halloway and LaCroix argued, the louder Cimorene would bawl, as she tried to regain their attention. They suddenly stopped and turned when they heard the doors open.
“I came at a bad time,” stated Gabriel after a tense moment of silence. He turned to leave when Halloway rushed down to stop him.
“Not at all, Commander. What is it?” Both Cimorene and LaCroix quickly tried to make themselves presentable.
“Captain, we have detected a ship on a intercept course with us.”
“I’ll be right there.” Gabriel nodded and left, his dark red frame barely fitting through the door. “Princess, I have to go to work now. You are free to stay on the bridge and observe, but don’t touch anything.”
“Haruph! I have better things to do that stay on your stuffy bridge all day! I’m going back to my quarters! When you are ready to take me home, I will be waiting.” She stood and walked out of the ready room, her head held just as high as before.
“Don’t hold your breath, Princess!” shouted LaCroix after her. Halloway arched his eyebrow and walked to the bridge.
“Captain, they are hailing us,” reported Halvox as the two senior officers took their seats.
“On screen.” The view of the craft was replaced by a stocky, gray-haired man who smiled warmly at Halloway. “I am Captain Halloway of the Federation Starship Haymaker.”
“Jona Kene, regional…well, formal regional magistrate of the D’Narin system. The capital planet has been plagued by…a plague, I suppose.”
“He must not speak in public much,” remarked Halvox.
“Since the government is in a state of reorganization, we can not guarantee help from them. So, I have come seeking your help.”
“Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Magistrate, but the Jyinion Assembly has collapsed.”
“Oh, I’ve heard that rumor, too. But have no worries, they will be back on their feet again soon, I assure you.” Halloway arched his left eyebrow in confusion as he glanced at LaCroix, then turned back to Kene.
“Well, Mr. Kene, we’ll be glad to render assistance to your system.”
“Oh, thank you! I’m transferring a map of our space so that you may find my planet.”
“You’re not coming back with us?” inquired LaCroix.
“Are you kidding!?! I don’t want to catch that dreadful disease! I’m going into retirement, effective immediately! Good luck, Haymaker!” With that, Kene disappeared off the viewer. The red ship shot into warp, leaving a brief streak of reddish light behind it.
“That was rather odd,” remarked Halloway with a smirk.
“His fly was open,” stated Lt. Benn matter-of-factly. The rest of the bridge crew wisely didn’t make any remarks.
“Halloway to Clinton,” said the captain as he tapped his badge.
“Clinton here. Sickbay’s still dark.”
“Monty’s working on it, Doctor. We are about to travel to a planet where a disease is running amok. We need a cure.”
“I’ll be more that happy to whip up a cure, once my lights turn back on!”
“Use the main science labs if necessary, Halloway out.” Scott could be heard grumbling to himself as the computer cut off communications. “Miss Benn, bring up the new star maps.” The Trill checked her console.
“They are not uploaded yet.” Halloway sighed and turned to look at Ensign Bannon, who was asleep again.
“Commander…?” asked Bobby to Gabriel. The security chief nodded and calmly walked over to the science station, where Blake was snoring away. He slowly placed his mouth two inches away from the ensign’s ear. By this time, the entire bridge crew was watching in utter silence. Jenna could barely contain herself.
“RED ALERT! BORG ATTACKING!” roared Gabriel loudly. Bannon woke up with a start, his eyes wide open. He tried to stand suddenly, resulting in a sudden tumble to the deck.
“Everybody run for your lives! The Borg are coming, the Borg are co…” He fell silent as the entire bridge crew erupted in laughter. Even Lt. Comm. Halvox let out a bellow or two. Lt. Benn was rolling on the floor laughing her head off, nearly choking as tears streamed down her face. Bannon tried to compose himself as he rose to his feet and sat back down in his chair.
“You awake now?” asked Gabriel with a grin, patting Blake on the shoulder with a leathery claw. He nodded `yes’, and the Lt. Comm. returned to his duty station.
“Uploading maps now,” reported the ensign calmly. Halloway smiled and turned to Lt. Benn.
“Aye, sir. Course plotted.”
“Warp factor 7, engage.” The USS Haymaker entered warp, leaving the sector of space that they were previously occupying empty. For about five seconds. A massive armada of Jyinion warships suddenly dropped out of warp right where the Haymaker had been.
“Where is it?” asked Fallow impatiently.
“It seems that they have entered warp,” answered Mennol.
“I could have answered that one, you fool! I mean, where did they go?”
“One moment, the computer is calculating their heading.” Mennol was thrown across the bridge as the panel exploded.
“What the hell?”
“Sir, twelve of our ships are attacking the rest of the fleet!” reported the officer at Ops.
“Evasive maneuvers! Fire back! And pick yourself up, Mennol. You’re setting a bad example.” The Betazoid grumbled as he stood up, only to hit the deck again when Fallow’s ship shook. He then leaned himself against the wall, grumbling to himself.
“Forget that. I’m staying right here.”
“Sir, we have crippled five of the traitor’s ships, but the other seven have gone into warp.” Fallow, his eyes blazing with rage, stormed over to the reporting officer and grabbed his neck.
“Tell our fleet to follow them, after capturing the crippled ships,” he said through clinched teeth. The unfortunate officer struggled to speak, but all that escaped his lips were gasps. Fallow cursed in Jyinionian as he let go.
“I’ll get right on it, sir,” stammered the officer, who rubbed his neck as he quickly walked away. Fallow pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance.
“Good help is so hard to find these days.”
“Fallow, what about the Federation ship?” The admiral turned and looked at his second-in-command, who was still sitting on the floor.
“We have traitors to deal with, Mennol.”
“But we can track the ship…!”
“Not until we destroy the traitors. Is that UNDERSTOOD?” Mennol picked himself up and nodded his head. “Good. Once we repair our ships, we’ll be on our way. Besides, there are only so many places that they can go. What, you think that they are going to get lost?”
“Where the hell are we?” Captain Halloway and Lt. Benn were in Astrometrics, examining the map that Kene had given them. They had been there for the last 30 minutes, trying in vain to retrieve the map from the computer.
“Frankly, Captain, I have NO idea.” Bobby frowned as he sat down at the main terminal.
“I really don’t see what the big problem is. We had the course laid in, then suddenly, the warp engines cut out for a minute or two, and now you’re telling me that you don’t know where we ARE!?! What kind of navigator are you, anyway?” Jenna suddenly frowned, her spots becoming enveloped in her blonde hair.
“Look, CAPTAIN, it’s not my fault that the map is faulty. Why don’t you just stop somewhere and ask for directions??”
“Listen, LIEUTENANT, I am not going to stop for directions! That’s why you’re here!”
“What is it with men and not stopping for directions? Tell me, is it some pride thing or what?”
“Haven’t you been a man before?”
“That was a long time ago, and my other hosts didn’t like to talk about him.”
“HIM!?! You mean, you’ve only been a man once?” Jenna folded her arms and turned her back to Halloway.
“Maybe? What do you.wait, wait, wait. This is getting us nowhere. Let’s just assume that the map was correct.”
“But it wasn’t.”
“ASSUME, Lt. Benn! If it was CORRECT when we loaded it into our main database, then what happened to it?”
“Well, while we are assuming, we might say that Mr. Kene wasn’t as trustworthy as YOU assumed him to be!”
“I ASSUMED nothing! I was just trying to help out a species in need, a.k.a. the details of our job!” Through all this bickering, neither of them had noticed Lt. Comm. Gabriel enter. He watched the scene for a moment, then walked up between them.
“Ready room, take two…” he mumbled as he handed Halloway a PADD.
“What is this?”
“Status report from Monty on the ship’s systems. He says that we have less time than we thought.”
“How much less?”
“About five days, give or take an hour.”
“Why couldn’t you just tell me this over the comm system?”
“It’s off-line.” The captain rubbed his forehead and sighed loudly.
“Okay, this is what we are going to do. Jenna, you remain here and figure out where we are and where we should be going. Gabriel, go to Engineering and check on their progress. I want it in detail. I’m going back up to the bridge and…say, since you’re down here, who’s in charge? Commander LaCroix?”
“She’s off-duty, sir. It’s Lt. Comm. Halvox.” Both Benn and Halloway dropped their jaws in horror.
“You’d better hurry, Captain. God knows what the other bridge officers are going through,” said the Trill seriously.
“Point taken, Lt. See ya.” With that, Bobby rushed out of the Astrometrics lab.
“I’m off to Main Engineering, Lt. Say, what were you two arguing about when I walked in?”
“Just a run-of-the-mill pissing contest, Commander.” Gabriel arched his eyebrow as he tried to visualize it.
“That would have been interesting to watch,” he remarked as he left. Lt. Benn ignored him as she set to her work.
“Where is that damned REPORT!” screamed Halvox to the hapless Ensign Bannon. She had the science officer backed in a corner, while the remaining bridge crew sat in terror, watching with unblinking eyes.
“Um…uh…um…” Blake tried to find the right words, but he was so flustered by Kerry’s badgering that he kept forgetting what he was going to say. The half-Hellian continued to back the young ensign into the bulkhead, causing him to cower in fear.
“LIEUTENANT!” Halvox whipped around to see Captain Halloway standing behind her, his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. If looks could kill, Kerry would have been dead in seconds. It didn’t faze her a bit. She merely blinked and walked over to her station, where she casually checked the sensor readings.
“Captain on the bridge,” she announced quite plainly. Halloway sighed and helped the terrified Bannon to his feet.
“Are you okay, Ensign?”
“Mommy…take me home, the clowns frighten me…please mommy.”
“Ensign?” It was becoming clear to Bobby that Mr. Bannon was not at all well.
“Please sir, may I have some more gruel? Just a little more.”
“Ensign Smith, if you would take Mr. Bannon to Sickbay, it would be most obliged.” The female nodded and softly grabbed Blake’s right arm. He was still mumbling to himself as he was lead into the turbolift. Halloway then turned his attention to the now subdued Halvox. “Lt., a moment.”
“You sent that poor boy over the edge, and now you are calmer that a puddle! What the hell is the matter with you?” whispered Halloway.
“I’m going through the `Hon’Du,” she whispered back.
“What is that, exactly?”
“The Hon’Du is what Hellian females have every month once they reach maturity.”
“But you are only half-Hellian.”
“True, but with Human/Hellian females, the chemical imbalance is sometimes a bit…overpowering.” Halloway thought for a moment.
“I thought that you were always…you know…pissed?”
“Yes, and usually my Hon’Du is less noticeable. But every few months, it kicks into overdrive. Simple fact of my biology.”
“So, is there any treatment for it?”
“Oh. Okay then. How long does this Hon’Du last?”
“A few days, a week at most.”
“Well, try not to yell at anybody again, okay?”
“Aye, sir.” Halloway, satisfied with her answer, turned and took his seat. Kerry appeared as calm as ever. If an officer had entered the bridge at that moment, they would have thought that everything was normal, except Lt. Comm. Halvox was actually smiling. Lt. Benn soon entered and took her place at the conn.
“I retrieved the rest of the map, and have plotted a new course,” she said as she turned to face Halloway. He smiled and mouthed `See, I told you so.’ Jenna huffed and turned back to face the viewscreen.
“Let’s get a move on, then. Miss Benn, if you would be so kind?” The Trill tapped the engage button rather hardly, sending the USS Haymaker into warp.
Cimorene sat down in defeat once more. “Stupid hair! Why can’t you be as beautiful now as the rest of me is all of the time?” she asked out loud. Her quarters were too bare for her tastes, but they would have to do for now. She was already late for the dinner appointment in Captain Halloway’s quarters, but she had been taught to keep potential suitors waiting at least 10 minutes, and the captain was kind of the same as a suitor. Kind of. After another few minutes of fiddling with her auburn hair, Cimorene finally let it go down with the tiny curls at the end that she had always had, ever since she was a little child on Jyinus. Her mind suddenly flooded with memories of her homeworld. Her palace, her subjects, her father, all came back in a myriad of imagery. She quickly snapped out of it, and wiping the wetness that now surrounded her eyes, she stood and prepared to leave. “Remember, in order to be successful, you must project an image of success,” she stated to herself as she walked out into the hallway and towards the cabin of Capt. Halloway.
Bobby Halloway smiled and hummed along to the music that softly filled his quarters as he waited for his guest. He checked the clock by his bed once again, and it still showed that she was late. Although this was only a formality, Bobby secretly hoped that she would show. The ring of the doorbell answered his question. “Come in,” he called out. The doors swished open, revealing Cimorene, decked in a tight, dark red dress that only went the length of her knees, and then not by much. Her hair dangled over her shoulders, where two thin strips of fabric kept the dress from falling away. Bobby pretended not to notice and stood. “Thank you for coming, your highness.”
“Thank you for inviting me into the private area that you call `home’. It is an honor, Captain Halloway.”
“For the purposes of this dinner, you may call me Bobby.” He helped Cimorene take a seat across from his chair. Two lit candles stood in the middle of the otherwise bare table.
“Then you may call me Cimorene, Bobby.” The captain nodded and walked over to the replicator.
“Computer, dinner selection Halloway-67.” Two plates of food, followed by two empty glasses and a bottle of wine materialized. Bobby smiled and grabbed the plates first, then returning with the wine and glasses; he proceeded to pour the crimson liquid.
“What is this dish called, Bobby?”
“Chicken Alfredo a la Halloway, old family recipe. The replicator doesn’t do it justice.” Cimorene placed a bit in her mouth and chewed it tentatively.
“Very…delicious, Bobby. Your ancestors were excellent cooks.” She then raised the glass to her lips, and taking a rather large sip, nearly choked and spit it out. All over Halloway. He calmly took his napkin and tried to clean the wine off of his clothes and face. “Oh my…I am so sorry, Bobby. Please forgive me. It’s just that this…drink is rather strong.”
“That’s all right, Cimorene. No permanent harm done. There’s more dress uniforms like this one.” he muttered as he completed his wiping. The princess looked truly sorry. “Don’t the Jyinions have fermented beverages?”
“Is that what this is? We do, but I have never tried one before.” Bobby’s eyes lit up like wildfire.
“Yes. I am truly sorry about your uniform.”
“It’s okay, really. Just enjoy the rest of your meal.” She nodded and the two of them finished their meal in relative quietness. For the rest of the evening, the talk was normal diplomatic chitchat, little white lies, and general bulls**t. Soon the clock chimed 0100 hours.
“Goodness, Bobby. I seem to have forgotten my manners. You need to get to bed. You work and I do not.” Her brilliant smile flashed as she got up from the couch where the majority of the evening had been spent. Bobby rose and followed her to the door.
“It’s was a pleasure, Princess. Please come again,” he said as he leaned against the frame of the door. Cimorene flashed her smile again and headed down the hall, the edge of her skirt flaunting with Halloway’s imagination.
“I’ll do so.” He watched her until she turned the corner, then he went back inside and plopped on the bed. He immediately fell into deep slumber, with one thought on his mind: Cimorene butt naked.
Dr. Clinton shook his head as he watched Ensign Bannon slept in a biobed. He had to sedate him heavily when he came in, and Scott made a note to talk with Lt. Comm. Halvox about possible treatments to her raging hormones. While he was on the subject, he made another note to ask Blake what he meant by `Do I make you horny, baby’. He said it multiple times to Nurse Jessing, which disturbed both the nurse and the doctor, because Nurse Jessing first name was Brian. “And I thought LaCroix was bad…” he said to himself as he worked on Bannon’s medical report.
“I’m going to get some sleep, Doctor. Good night.”
“Good night, Mr. Jessing.” Mark nodded and walked out of Sickbay, leaving Scott alone with Blake. A suddenly scary prospect, considering the ensign’s current mental health.
“Well, at least the lights are back on.” As soon as he finished his sentence, Sickbay was plunged into darkness. “Oh, great.” Scott got up and headed over to check on Blake, only to find that he was gone. He turned around to see the sickbay doors close. Scott grabbed the nearest hypospray that he could find and dashed off after the wandering science officer.
“Look at all the colors.” Ensign Blake Bannon danced through the halls of the Haymaker, humming to himself while grasping at thin air. Several crew members looked at him oddly as he continued dancing through the hallways.
“Watch out, coming through, I’ve got a package people!” yelled Clinton as he hurried through after Bannon. He finally caught sight of him heading into the mess hall. Following him in, Scott ducked as a cherry pie flew three inches from his head, splattering against the bulkhead. Blake was merrily throwing all the food he could replicate at the diners, who started to leave in food-covered droves. The doctor crept along the floor, inching closer and closer to demented science officer. Just as he was about to jump him, Blake turned and fired a banana cream pie at his face.
“Gotcha, doc!” he cried with glee. Scott suddenly leapt at his knees, tumbling the two of them to the ground. He quickly injected Blake with a sedative, and once he was soundly asleep, Clinton rolled off of his patient and caught his breath. He picked himself off of the pie-covered floor, and wiping bits of cherry off of his face, grabbed Bannon by the arm and began to drag him back to Sickbay. “I don’t get paid enough for this.”
“We have arrived, Captain.” Halloway stood as the Haymaker entered orbit of the plagued planet.
“Thank you, Lt. Benn. Halvox, hail them.” The Ops manager nodded and pressed a few buttons.
“I have Governor Jessen LaGran on the wire, sir.”
“Good, patch him through.” A young woman sat at a table on the viewer. She looked only about 30 or 35 years old, but she was clearly suffering from the epidemic. Her red hair was matted down with sweat across her forehead, where a series of small, horizontal ridges protruded. “Hello Governor, I am Captain Bobby Halloway of the Federation Starship Haymaker. We had heard that your people were experiencing an outbreak of some sort of virus.”
“You are correct, Captain Halloway. Over 75% of my people are infected with this…BULEH!” Commander LaCroix turned away as Jessen vomited behind her desk. She wiped off her mouth gently with her sleeve. “I apologize for that. As you can tell, I have fallen victim to the disease myself.”
“How many fatalities are there?”
“Fatalities? None, just constant…oh, no.” The screen blanked out for a moment, leaving only the sound of continuous vomiting transmitting over the comm channel.
“That is the most disgusting virus I have ever witnessed,” commented Rachel, who looked like she needed a space sickness bag herself. Bobby patted her on the shoulder.
“Don’t worry. I’m sure that Dr. Clinton will find them a cure. Halloway to Clinton.”
“Have you been examining the transmission we have received from the planet?”
“Yes, and frankly sir, it’s disgusting. I would need a sample from one of the victims in order to synthesize a cure, but it shouldn’t take more than…oh, I’d say, two hours, at most.”
“We’ll get you a sample ASAP. And, by the way, how is Ensign Bannon?”
“He wandered off earlier, but I caught up with him in the mess hall.”
“When will we see him on the bridge?”
“As soon as he wakes up, and cleaned up.”
“Cleaned up? What happened?”
“Just a little food fight, Captain. I’ll call back once I’ve made a cure. Clinton out.” By this time, the governor was back on the screen. “Ah, Governor, we need a sample of the virus.” She produced a small paper bag, which was closed at the top.
“Will this much do?” As she sat the bag down, a small trickle of green ooze squirted out of the soaked bottom. “Oh God…Now I AM going to throw up.” LaCroix quickly headed for the turbolift, covering her mouth with her right hand.
“Why they didn’t invent toilets on the bridge, I’ll never know.” inquired Halloway rhetorically. “Miss Halvox, lock on to that…bio-matter and beam it directly to Sickbay.”
“Yes, sir. Transport complete.”
“Governor, we will be getting back to you in a couple of hours.”
“Thank you, Captain, for all your…UMPH!” She threatened to hurl again, but Lt. Comm. Halvox cut the communication. “I have had just about enough of that,” she murmured as she started her other duties. Commander LaCroix re-entered the bridge, looking a little worse for the wear.
“Not really. Did we get the bag of…um…”
“Vomit?” suggested Benn.
“Yes, thank you, Lieutenant. Vomit.” The Trill nodded and focused on the conn.
“Dr. Clinton is analyzing it as we speak. If I were you, Rachel, I’d steer clear of Sickbay for the next few hours.”
“No objection there, Captain.”
=Somewhere in Jyinion Space=
Fallow stormed into his ship’s brig with a scowl on his face. Mennol followed closely behind him, mentally scanning his mind and trying to keep Fallow’s anger in check. “Drop the forcefield,” he ordered bluntly to the guard standing at the controls. The air hummed for a brief moment as the field fell and the admiral and his second-in- command walked in. The lone occupant, a young male with dark skin, hazy eyes and short, wavy hair stood to face them. “Rothgar, I should have known that it was you. Why did you and your `supporters’ attack my fleet? WHY!?!”
“Because you want the old way back, Fallow. My men and I want a new government, one run by the people of this once great Assembly. No more control by aristocrats or dictators. The people have overthrown the old regime because it was crumbling! I am not the only one who believes this, Admiral! We have supporters on every world in every system, and we will prevail! Your fleet is nothing compared to the power of the Jyinion people. We simply want to be a democracy, and live in peace.” Rothgar held his head high with pride as Fallow contemplated his words.
“You know, Admiral, the young man does make sen…” That was as Mennol got before Fallow produced his disruptor and disintegrated Rothgar without a word.
“You were saying, Mennol?” inquired the admiral as he replaced his weapon. “Never mind.” Mennol shook his head as he followed his leader back to the bridge.
On board the USS Haymaker, the one place Dr. Clinton didn’t want to be was Sickbay. Unfortunately for him, he was the chief medical officer and one of only two medical personnel on board (well, three, if you counted the EMH, but Clinton was worried that if activated, he would be so sufficient that Scott would be out of a job). “This is the most disgusting thing I have ever had to do in my entire career…” mumbled the doctor as he took a sample of the vomit out of its primitive container and placed it underneath a scanner. Nurse Jessing looked on with mild disgust. “Hmm.”
“What is it, Doctor?”
“This virus. It’s not formed like a normal flu virus.”
“What does it look like?”
“It’s…not normal, that’s all I can tell you. Let me run a simulation on this to see what the ultimate effect is on humanoid tissue.” Scott scanned the bag with a tricorder, then he plugged it into a computer port. It took seconds for the computer to analyze the data and display the simulation. “Mild vomiting first 24 hours, increased vomiting for the next 48 hours.” Both medics’ mouths dropped when they saw what popped up on the screen next.
“My God. Can it really do that?” inquired Brian.
“Um, let me run another test.” The same result happened again. “Oh, no. Nurse, put that stuff into quarantine now and begin synthesizing the antigen. I need to warn the captain.” Jessing nodded and hurried to his work, while Scott dashed out the door.
In Main Engineering, Monty thought he had died and gone to hell. Over 35% of the ships systems had failed or were failing, and the rate was increasing. “Have I ever mentioned how much I HATE the French!?!” he yelled loudly to nobody in particular. Lt. Abbott ran up to him and handed the hologram a PADD. “What the hell is this???”
“Status report, sir.” Monty rolled his eyes and tossed the PADD across the room.
“No time for fancy reports, Abbott. It’s crunch time, every engineer’s nightmare. Tell me the contents of that PADD in fifteen words or less. You have ten seconds.” Monty started to count while Lt. Abbott’s mind raced.
“In less than three days, all major systems on this ship will have failed…Chief.”
“Fifteen exactly. Good job, Lieutenant. Every system?”
“Every single one, sir. Unless we get to a starbase before the warp drive gives out.”
“Or we replace every single system using our replicators.”
“Right.” Monty gritted his holo-teeth and rubbed his head. “Headache, Chief?” inquired Abbott.
“Yeah, just a…wait a minute, I’m not programmed to feel pain! Computer, run diagnostic on EEH.”
“EEH program failure in t-minus 5 seconds, 4…3…” Monty’s form began to flicker and fade.
“Computer, close EEH and save program in unaffected memory,” ordered Abbott as the countdown finished. Monty disappeared with a frown on his face.
“Program saved,” reported the computer after a tense moment of silence. Lt. Abbott sighed and continued his repairs.
Captain Halloway smiled as he surveyed the bridge. Lt. Benn was casually checking her system every ten minutes while she played a game of checkers with the computer. Lt. Comms. Halvox and Gabriel were enjoying a lively conversation, and Commander LaCroix was busy checking her eye makeup. “Well, so far so good, eh?” he asked rhetorically. Just then, Scott burst out of the turbolift and ran up to Bobby’s seat.
“Captain,” he said through heavy breaths, “That virus down there.In less than 6 hours, every person infected on that planet will be dead.”
“What!?! Are you sure?”
“Positive. I checked and double-checked the results. Nurse Jessing is preparing the antigen as we speak, but we need an awful lot to fix all 4 billion of them.”
“How long until we get enough of the cure replicated?”
“Well, if nothing goes wrong, in about three hours.”
“So we have three hours to administer it to the masses. No problem.” Without warning, the lights on the bridge went out.
“Big problem,” muttered Clinton.
“Halloway to Engineering. Monty, what the hell is going on down there?”
“Lt. Abbott here, sir. Monty’s program had to be shut down because of computer core failures.”
“Where are my lights?” The red emergency lights flickered to life.
“That was fast,” exclaimed Halvox.
“I’m sorry, Captain, but systems are failing all over the ship. Astrometrics, transporters, replicators.”
“Helm,” added Lt. Benn as the conn control panel went dark.
“Wait, did you say `replicators?” Scott’s eyes were wide with panic.
“Yeah, they just went out two minutes ago.” The doctor turned to Halloway with a look of terror.
“Captain, if we don’t get that antigen, all of those people will die.”
“And speaking of dying, the ship’s heading is stuck going towards their sun, half impulse. We’ll be destroyed in less than ten minutes,” reported Jenna.
“I hate the French,” exclaimed Kerry with a frown.
“Ditto,” added Gabriel.
“Well, it looks like we’re screwed now, Captain,” remarked Rachel casually as she continued to fiddle with her hair. Bobby rubbed his forehead and sighed deeply.
“Oh, boy. Is this fun, or what?”
TO BE CONTINUED…