Star Trek is owned by Viacom Star Traks is owned by Alan Decker Such as it is, the rest is owned by Don Rae.

Author: Don Rae
Copyright: 2002

Star Traks - Secondprize: The New Adventures

“The Continuum Hazard”

By Don Rae



“Captain’s Log, Stardate 51386.5. The Secondprize has been ordered to the unexplored edge of Federation space to investigate the discovery of some kind of spatial anomaly. Based upon Lieutenant Commander Jaroch’s analysis of the long-range probe scans, it is suspected that this particular anomaly might even turn out to be another wormhole. Because those things really give me the heebie jeebies, I’m keeping the Secondprize well out of reach at a very safe distance.”


On the viewscreen, the center of the anomaly glowed a pulsating bright white.

“Status report on the anomaly,” said Rydell.

Jaroch consulted the science station readings. “It certainly appears to be a fold in the fabric of space/time, but its characteristics don’t seem to precisely match the properties of a stable wormhole, like the one near Bajor.”

“Never mind that. Is it getting any bigger?”

“No.”

“Good,” Rydell sighed with relief.

“Shall I continue with my scans?” asked Jaroch.

“Will that put us in any danger?”

“I highly doubt it.”

“Go ahead then. How long is this going to take?”

“We will require several hours to chart the anomaly, and to determine precisely what it is.”

“I’m not sure I really want to know. Just as soon as you’ve completed your scans, we’re out of here. Starfleet can send in a science ship to poke and pry at that thing, if they really want to do it. I want nothing to do with getting ourselves completely lost in the Gamma quadrant, or another galaxy, or something even worse than that. Lieutenant Commander, you have the bridge, and I’ll be in my ready room.”

“Aye sir.”


Lieutenant Patricia Hawkins stared at the anomaly through the observation window in Seven Backward.

“Travis, doesn’t it look beautiful?” asked Hawkins.

“MMPH,” replied Commander Travis Dillon as he shoveled a heaping fork load of lasagna into his mouth.

“Travis, are you paying attention?”

“BUURRRRP,” said Dillon.

“Travis, that’s disgusting.”

“Infinity plus infinity is still infinity, just like disgusting plus disgusting still equals disgusting,” said Trinian as she reached down to pick up Dillon’s empty plate. “Would you like a hose to wash yourself off with?”

“Can I have some more?” asked Dillon.

“Travis, you are such a pig,” said Hawkins.

“I have no idea why I’m so hungry. It just feels like I haven’t eaten in days,” said Dillon.

“Why don’t you take a break and watch the stars with me? They’re so shiny and lovely tonight.”

“Maybe in a bit,” said Dillon as he shoveled more lasagna down his throat.


Lieutenant Emily Sullivan sat down at the bar, just across the room from Hawkins and Dillon. She was really in the mood for a real drink, and none of that wimpy synthaholic stuff.

“Give me a Marcasian Kram Slammer.”

“Hey, it’s your life,” replied Trinian as she set down the drink in front of Sullivan.

Sullivan drained the drink in one gulp.

“Another one,” she said.

Trinian stared at her in amazement. “Do you have any idea what that stuff is going to do to you if you drink too much of it? You could use it to scrub plasma off the warp nacelles!”

“A real kick it has, huh? Just pour me another one.”

“Okay, just don’t whine to me when your head falls off.”

Sullivan slammed another drink down her throat.

“Ahhhhhhhhhh,” she said as purple steam oozed from her mouth.


Commander Scott Baird was in a Jeffries tube, attempting to twist a bolt on the secondary plasma relay. His wrench slipped, and he banged his knuckles on the edge of the access panel.

“F***ing son of a b****!” he yelled in pain.

“Are you ok, sir?” asked Ensign Terry Walker, who was adjusting the tertiary junction settings a little ways down the shaft.

“F*** c*******ing son of a b****,” said Baird.

“Does it still hurt that badly?” asked Walker in concerned tone.

“S***?” said Baird in a bewildered voice.

“Do you need some help, Commander?”

“P**** f*** s*** motherf*****?” asked Baird.

“I think I’d better get you to sickbay, sir,” said Walker.

“C*******er p**** f*** s***,” said Baird in a dismayed voice.


In transporter room one, Lieutenant Monica Vaughn was feeling…well to put it bluntly…extremely and insatiably horny. Slowly and playfully, she stripped off all her clothes, and touched herself daintily in several interesting places (and not where you think, you dirty minded person you).

“Mmmmmm, it feels much better to be free of that awfully confining uniform,” she said.

She walked over to the transporter pad, carrying her commbadge in her hand. The transporter pad felt delightfully cool under the naked soles of her feet. She thumbed the commbadge.

“Computer, activate Vaughn Transport Program One and set the destination point for Lieutenant Redway’s quarters.”

The transporter activated, and Vaughn disappeared in a beam of light.


“Hmmmm. It looks as though the anomaly is emitting several kinds of tachyon signatures at once,” muttered Jaroch to himself. “Utterly fascinating. The tachyons are forming into recognizable patterns, which is also very unusual. Ensign Carr, take a look at this.”

Ensign Andrea Carr’s head jerked up suddenly.

“Huh? Sorry about that, sir. I was feeling a little tired before I came in for the bridge shift, so I guess I still must be a bit drowsy,” said Carr.

“Never mind, just come over here.”

“All right.”

“Look at this thing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Notice how it pulsates, and sends out multiple competing tachyon waves that continuously overlap each other?”

“Zzzzzzzzzz,” said Carr, who had her eyes closed.

“Ensign Carr!” shouted Jaroch.

“What?” she said as she jerked herself awake.

“How can you not find this anomaly utterly fascinating?”

“I sort of do, sir. I just feel so tired…so…sleepy right now,” Carr’s eyes began to close again.

“You’re not going to be any use around here in this kind of state. Go back to your quarters, and get some sleep.”

“Thank you sir,” she mumbled drowsily as she stumbled toward the turbolift doors.

“Incredible!” exclaimed Jaroch as he fine-tuned the sensor scan.


Rydell paced around the ready room, completely unable to relax. He always felt a certain amount of anxiety about being anywhere near these kinds of anomalies. And right now, he just couldn’t shake his feeling of paranoia. In his experience, these things always turned out to be unstable and dangerous - and here he was, too close for comfort. His instincts told him to set a course for Risa, and find something he didn’t actually mind being close for comfort.

Rydell searched his mind for a valid excuse to do just that, but couldn’t come up with anything that would allow him to circumvent a direct order from Starfleet. If the Secondprize was in immediate danger, he could just hightail it out of there, since his first duty was to protect the ship. But he really needed a valid reason, which he didn’t exactly have right now.

Rydell just wished that Jaroch would hurry up and finish the damned survey, so they could just get the hell out of there.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light directly front of him, and a tall man dressed in a Starfleet Captain’s uniform appeared out of thin air.

“Don’t you have anything else better to do than to hang around sewer pipes? Shame on you. Why don’t you run along and play in your own little playground in some other corner of the galaxy?” admonished the tall man, shaking his finger at him.

“Who are you?” demanded Rydell.

“You mean you don’t know? I thought all of you Starfleet types knew everything about each other, since you’re all so drearily involved with each other’s affairs. It’s an extremely terrible intergalactic soap opera, hardly entertaining at all,” said the tall man.

“No, I’m afraid I don’t. What ship are you from?” asked Rydell.

“What ship? Oh that’s truly marvelous. It’s the uniform, isn’t it? I truly admire how it offsets and diminishes every facet of my omnipotence. Does that give you a clue?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

“Oh dear, it looks as if we will have to be more properly introduced,” said the tall man, rolling his eyeballs upward in a bored fashion. He snapped his fingers.

A flash of light sparked beside the tall man, in which appeared a bald man in a Starfleet Captain’s uniform. The bald man was faced away from Rydell, speaking to the wall.

“Mr. Data, perform a long range scan on…what the devil is going on here?” he turned quickly around and saw the tall man first.

“Hello Jean Luc!” said the tall man boisterously, waving his fingers prettily at him in a toodle-loo fashion.

“Q! What are you doing on my ship?” demanded Captain Jean Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise.

“Now now, mon capitaine. As you can see for yourself, we are not on your ship. I suggest that you take a good look around you.”

Picard turned to look around him.

“Uh, hello there Jean Luc,” said Rydell, feeling very confused.

“Alex Rydell? Then I must be on the Secondprize,” guessed Picard. “Q, what’s going on here?”

“I was merely hoping you could properly introduce me to your fellow Captain here,” said Q.

Picard’s head swiveled to face Rydell.

“You don’t know who this is?”

“Uh, no.”

“Don’t you keep up with the Priority One reports at all?” admonished Picard.

“I must’ve missed a few memos here and there,” admitted Rydell.

“Wonderful,” said Picard.

“Yes indeed. And here I thought all you Starfleet types were pillars of efficiency, just like Jean Luc here,” said Q. “How peculiar, in a limited sort of way. Do humans become more responsible as they lose their hair? Does this allow the human brain to breathe more freely, perhaps?”

Picard ignored him, and spoke to Rydell in a rapid, urgent manner.

“Alex, you must understand that Q is a very powerful and dangerous entity. He is one of several such entities that exist in what they call ‘The Q Continuum’. The Q appear to have no known limitations, as they seem to have complete control over all matters of space, energy, and time throughout this universe, among others. This particular Q has caused mayhem wherever he goes, and appears to have no other purpose in life but to cause trouble for less powerful lifeforms throughout the galaxy, simply because he claims to be bored with his state of omnipotence. Q is the one who was responsible for putting all of humanity on trial, and for introducing the Borg to us.”

“What a marvelous introduction! My, you do have a good memory, Jean Luc. And you summarize me so very well in your crude language, I certainly give you that!” exclaimed Q.

“What do these Q people normally do with all their power?” asked Rydell.

“Anything - we - want,” answered Q, slowly emphasizing each syllable.

“Alex, you’d better let me handle this. I’ve had much more experience in dealing with Q’s shenanigans, tricks, and antics,” said Picard. “Q, what is it that you want from me this time?” he demanded.

“Oh please, Jean Luc. I already told you. And since you’ve served your purpose here so well, I will gratefully send you on a nice long vacation. You truly need one, being as uptight as you are,” said Q as he raised his hand.

“Q!” protested Picard.

Q snapped his fingers, and Picard disappeared in a flash of light.

“What did you do with him?” asked Rydell.

“Oh, I’m very certain Jean Luc is enjoying himself thoroughly by now,” answered Q mischievously.


Jean Luc Picard was dressed in French lieutenant’s uniform of very ancient design. A battle raged all around him. Cannons fired, and the men surrounding him looked very nervous. A very short man in a very elaborate and stylish looking uniform barked orders abruptly in French, urging everyone to reform their lines and charge the enemy.

Picard recognized the place all too well from his studies of human history, as well as his own heritage.

“Waterloo,” Picard sighed.


Rydell was just about to say something, when Q snapped his fingers again. All time, energy and space instantly froze throughout all of the dimensional universes, except for the universe that you, the reader, occupies.

“Whoever you are, the one who’s reading this right now, I am sure you’re just dying to know what happens to Jean Luc at the Battle of Waterloo. I just felt like telling you that Jean Luc’s little adventure isn’t going to be detailed in this story anytime after I’m through talking with you. Oh yes, I know you’re reading my words, and yes, I am speaking to you. You really had no idea that I was aware of your presence, did you? I am perfectly aware that this is ‘just a story’ to you, and that you are ‘simply reading a mildly amusing bit of fiction’ in one of the many dimensional universes out there. Why? This shouldn’t really require an explanation at all, but because you are human, I suppose I should offer one anyway. It’s quite simple, really. I am Q. I’m ‘omnipotent’, so of course I would know you’re out there, reading these words, right now.”

Q paused for dramatic effect, then resumed in a conversational tone.

“By the way, did you know that your own particular universe is highly unique? Of all the infinite dimensions that humans ever existed in, it’s the only one that did not eventually develop any sort of ‘faster than light travel’, ‘advanced technology’, or ‘Starfleet’ at all! Instead, in your universe, these very simplistic of concepts exist only within your fiction, your television, movies, books, and other such nonsense. Too bad, really. The humans of your particular universe could have learned a few things from the rest of the other dimensions around you, if only you had bothered to do so. Instead, you will spend a good portion of your limited existence watching and reading these ‘fictional tales of the future’, keeping yourselves very amused, while the rest of the universe is growing and expanding around you in ways that you cannot possibly imagine. I won’t bother to tell you which one of the Federation’s enemies eventually conquers and occupies your Earth, a few hundred years from now, simply because none of this really matters much to you at all. You’re just reading a story, after all.”

Q grinned.

“You will even convince yourself that this little narrative of mine is just a writer’s clever trick, an excuse to play around with your mind for little while. But I am the one person who can assure you that the writer of this little tale is actually being compelled to write all of this down, just so that you will eventually read it, just like you are actually doing right now. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Anyone who claims to have any kind of imagination or creative talent is merely tapping into the reality of someone else, somewhere else, and sometime else within the endless dimensions of the multiverse. Believe me, it truly amuses me to know that you doubt and disbelieve in everything I’m telling you right now. However, in a very miniscule way, you’re actually considering the possibility that what I’m saying could actually be true! But in typical human fashion, you will never truly know for sure, simply because you won’t be able to completely suspend your belief that this is just ‘a simple work of fiction’. Such limited thinking. You’re just as stubborn as Jean Luc, Commander Riker, and all the rest of you humans, which is why your species will never amount to much of anything at all. Well, not in your little universe, anyway.”

Q buffed his fingernails, smiling an all-knowing smile.

“I suppose you’ll want to read the rest of the story now. If it’s one thing you humans have in abundance, in all of the universes you exist, it’s insatiable curiosity. Forget about Jean Luc, he’ll be fine. He escapes his little predicament, he eventually gets back to the Enterprise, and then he sulks for a few days, as usual. How boring. It’s the rest of THIS story that gets more amusing and entertaining over time, which is why I’m hanging around to witness it for myself. Because you humans are so hopelessly linear in your thinking, I’m not going to tell you what happens in the end. And, if you’re rereading this story just to see if I’ll say something different to you the next time around, be assured that you’ll just end up reading this exact same little speech from me again. Why would I want to do anything that might spoil the fun for someone else who’s reading this for the first time? I truly do have a fine sense of continuity, even though I do like to dabble with it from time to time. And Jean Luc believes I’m not consistent in anything I do at all. Oh, how I just love to disappoint him!”

Q snapped his fingers, and space, time, and energy throughout all of the dimensional universes resynchronized with each other, and resumed as normal.

“You were saying?” asked Q.

“You know, I was just thinking that I might actually know something about you after all. I remember buying a drink for a Lieutenant named Tasha, quite a few years ago at Starbase 45. I wasn’t getting anywhere with her at all - she was a bit too uptight for me. She seemed really upset, and she was going on and on, telling me something about a cue and being stuck in a penalty box. At the time, I thought she might have been talking about some new kind of domjot game. I guess I must’ve been a little looped,” Rydell smiled at the memory.

“How droll indeed. You truly fascinate me, did you know that?” asked Q.

“Really?”

“Why certainly! Most humans in your line of work don’t have a sense of humor at all. You do. How interesting it is to finally meet a Starfleet Captain who understands the value of having a bit of fun. You’re certainly much more pleasant than Jean Luc or Janeway is on the average day.”

“Thanks, I try. Well, as long as you’re our guest, would you care for a drink?” asked Rydell.

“How about a little game, instead?”

“Sure, I think I could be up for a little fun. I would do anything to get my mind off that damned anomaly out there. That thing gives me the creeps.”

“Anything? How wonderfully open-minded of you!” exclaimed Q.

“Uh…just as long as it doesn’t involve Joegonauts, Borg, Multek, or anything else that would kill us outright,” added Rydell, suddenly realizing the magnitude of what he was dealing with here, just a bit too late.

“Oh nothing that drastic, I assure you. Tell me Alex, have you been noticing any unusual behavior among the members of your crew?” asked Q, mysteriously.

“That goes without saying.”

“Well, I can guarantee that you’re going to find them acting a bit more unusual than what you might consider to be normal, as of right now. This brings us to the little game we spoke of. I will promise to protect you, and you only, from the unusual effects your people are experiencing, starting right now. If you and your crew can discover the reason why this is happening, and solve it on your own accord - I will let your ship go unharmed.”

“And if I don’t?”

“Let’s just say that it’s highly unlikely that you would be able to leave the vicinity on your own, anyway,” smiled Q.

“Looks like I don’t have much of a choice then,” said Rydell.

“No, not really,” admitted Q.


Trinian was reaching for some more glasses from underneath the counter, when she paused, suddenly. She gazed blankly around the room. She sensed something…different, yet very familiar to her. It was a feeling she had felt before, a certain presence she recognized all too well.

“Think I’ve got gas coming on,” she complained.


Vaughn smiled at the very exhausted man who was nearly passed out on the bed.

“Now you just rest there for a little while, and I just might be back for you later. Computer, activate Vaughn Transport Program One and set the destination point for Ensign Calloway’s quarters.”

The transporter activated, and she was gone.


Rydell walked purposefully out of the ready room, and Q followed close behind.

“Where is everyone?” he asked Jaroch.

“Captain, I’m so glad you’re here. Look at this thing! It actually has temporal overlap on so many competing levels, that it might take several years to analyze them all! Can we stay and map them all? Please? Pretty please?”

“Jaroch, is something wrong with you?” asked Rydell.

“I’ve prepared a little demonstration of the anomaly’s characteristics. Just look at this amazing pattern,” said Jaroch as he flipped a switch on the science console.

The main viewscreen changed to show a spectral rendering of the anomaly. Rydell watched as the image pulsated and sent out several representations of waves which the computer neatly labeled: “tachyon surges” and “neutron particles” in a very colorful fashion.

“Notice how the tachyons intermix on a radiant curve, suggesting that the protonic technobabble is gesticulating the fundamental fabric of space/time. Isn’t it peculiar how the wave flux patterns….”

Jaroch explained on and on as Rydell tuned out what he was saying.

“Do you understand any of this?” Rydell asked Q.

“More than you can possibly imagine,” answered Q.

“He doesn’t appear to notice you at all, and he seems to be totally absorbed in his work,” said Rydell.

“Strange, isn’t it?” smiled Q.

“Well, as much as I hate to admit it - yes. I never thought I’d actually say that around here, given that ‘strange’ is usually an everyday occurrence on this ship.”

“Only you can see and talk to me for now, as much as the others will completely ignore you if you decide you want to talk to me. I don’t want anyone else to spoil this little game for us,” said Q.

“Jaroch isn’t usually this obsessive about anything. I wonder why he’s behaving so oddly?” wondered Rydell.

“This is just the beginning, Alex. Shall we watch what’s going on with some of other members of your gallant little crew?”

Q snapped his fingers, and they disappeared from the bridge.

“The tachyon readings indicate a severe disruption in the…” Jaroch continued to explain to the empty bridge, peering intently at the science console readings.


Q and Rydell reappeared in Seven Backward.

“Whoa!” said Rydell as Lieutenant Jersat barreled into him. Rydell watched in amazement as she walked right through his chest, and out the door.

“Consider us to be invisible and intangible observers for the next little while,” said Q. “I wouldn’t want you to miss anything important due to unnecessary distractions. Isn’t that your first officer over there? Watch carefully now!”

“Do I really have to?”

“I guarantee it.”


Several plates of food were stacked on Dillon’s table. In front of him was a virtual smorgasbord of intergalactic chow. Rek’tov snake tails. Charbroiled Socasian sunspiders. Rokegg blood pie. Fresh liverworms. Baked Helian highglider droppings. Cream corn.

“MMMM yummy,” said Dillon as he scooped a huge handful of liverworms into his hand, tilted back his head, and dropped them mostly in his mouth. The rest of them wriggled around on his uniform, where his belly was beginning to stick out very noticeably.

“Such beautiful patterns on this silverware,” said Hawkins as she picked up a fork, ignoring Dillon completely.

“Want some blood pie?” asked Dillon between dripping mouthfuls.

“I wonder how the star light would reflect off of this,” wondered Hawkins. She picked up a knife off the table, then got up and walked over to the observation window. She smiled brightly as she watched the twinkling reflections dancing off the gleaming metal.

“Sure you don’t want any of this?” munched Dillon, as he stuffed more snake tails into his mouth.

Hawkins turned her head, and began to admire the patterns of the wallpaper.

“Such lovely colors, they go so well with the décor in here,” she cooed to herself.

“Suit yourself,” said Dillon. He took a big bite out of a steaming highglider dropping.


“I had no idea that food could be so incredibly revolting,” said Rydell.

“Eating - a very nasty habit the human species developed. How much easier it would be to simply absorb the nutrients you need. But no, you humans had to develop this unnecessarily complex, distasteful process of energy consumption, completely contrary to common sense. Evolution has not been kind to you at all,” said Q.

“Dillon seems to be fixated on eating, and it looks like he’s actually gained some weight. After watching that display, I just wish he had picked more palatable choices.”

“Mastication and consumption is rarely pretty, regardless of species.”

“Speaking of ‘pretty’, I’ve never seen Hawkins act so…flaky before. She’s usually headstrong, a no nonsense sort of person. Well, excepting where Dillon’s concerned perhaps, which is amazing enough.”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed. Oh my, just look at this one over here!”


“One more fer…fer the warp trail,” hiccupped Sullivan.

“Get it yourself, I’m in pain over here,” snapped Trinian, holding her lower abdomen.

“Hokay! Plezyer to follow yer odors, sir!” smiled Sullivan crookedly, raising her arm in a salute. She stumbled over to the replicator.

“Mar…marcasian krammm sssslammer…(hic),” Sullivan ordered.

“There are fifteen varieties of this beverage on file. Please specify further parameters.”

Sullivan squinted at the replicator in delight.

“Wooeee! Less try thems all, shalls we? Keeps em coming!” she slurred happily.


“She’s really plastered,” commented Rydell.

“Did you know that she’s already consumed eight of those beverages?” asked Q.

“She’s going to kill herself if she drinks too much.”

“Maybe she just hates her job. Or her boss.”

“I think I’m beginning to see why Captain Picard was worried about you,” replied Rydell, somewhat irritated.

“How amusing of you to notice,” said Q.

“Trinian seems to be in a perpetually bad mood, but that doesn’t seem very unusual for her,” said Rydell.

“Don’t I know it,” answered Q.

“What?”

“Nothing important. Why don’t we visit someone else for awhile?”

Q snapped his fingers. They disappeared, and then reappeared in a corridor on deck twelve.


Carr walked out of the turbolift at deck twelve, and stood in front of holodeck two’s control panel. Carr’s eyes were completely shut, so she didn’t notice the hand written sign tacked just above the panel, which read:

‘Danger - do not use this holodeck until further notice. This holodeck does not shut down until programs are finished, and a certain someone has completely wrecked the safety interlocks on it AGAIN. We won’t mention any names, will we…right, Mr. Walker?’

“Please specify holodeck program,” said the computer.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzz,” snored Carr.

“Program Rydell-Five, Zzzzzzzzzzz selected. Program complete. You may enter when ready,” said the computer as the holodeck doors opened for her.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzz,” answered Carr, as she slowly walked inside.


“Sleepwalking,” muttered Rydell.

“Confused yet? Oh how I love these little games,” answered Q, amused.

“That holodeck is dangerous right now, Q. She could get killed in there, especially with that particular program running!” Rydell wasn’t feeling very amused at all. Things were getting way out of control here.

“You humans are excessively fragile, yet always playing around with very dangerous toys. If you expect me to have any sympathy, you will find that it is completely beneath me.”

“Q, I really need to help her out, before she gets hurt.”

“Oh, she’ll be fine for the moment. You will have ample time to deal with everything that’s going on, I assure you. Ready for your last little clue before I turn you loose?” asked Q.

“Let’s get on with it,” said Rydell, with real urgency.

“Now you’re starting to sound more like Jean Luc. How very interesting indeed,” said Q.

Q snapped his fingers. They disappeared from the corridor and reappeared in sickbay.


Baird and Walker arrived at sickbay. The doors opened at their approach.

THUMPA THUMPA THUMPA!

The pounding beat of dance music inside nearly blasted them back out again.

“F*** s*** p**** c***,” muttered Baird.

Dr. Beth Aldridge danced around the room, shaking her hips seductively to the beat.

“Boom a cha ka boom a cha ka,” she sang to herself.

“Is everything okay, doctor?” asked Walker.

“Sure! Wanna dance?” yelled Aldridge over the steady pounding of the drums. She spun around in a circle, her arm knocking over some petri dish samples to the floor.

“No time, doctor. I think Commander Baird has hurt himself very badly. Since he banged his hand in the Jeffries tube, he’s been swearing a blue streak ever since,” shouted Walker over the noise.

“P*** c*******er p**** f***,” said Baird.

“Just a second while I get my medical tricorder, ooh yeah baby.”

Aldridge swiveled her hips over to the diagnostic table, picked up a tricorder, then boogied back over to Baird. She began to wave it at his wrist as she swayed back and forth to the beat.

“Nothing really wrong here. Just a small bruise.”

Baird shook his head. He pointed to his forehead.

“F*** p**** motherf***ing son of a b****,” explained Baird.

“Does your head hurt?”

“F***!” Baird shook his head again.

“Just a second…here it comes!” said Aldridge.

The music did a downbeat, and cut in with a female chorus that sang “ooh ooh ooh ooh”…then the beat picked up again. Aldridge closed her eyes, shook her hands in the air, and thrust her hips as she squatted lower and lower to the floor.

“Doctor!” exclaimed Walker.

“B****!” exclaimed Baird.

“Sorry about that, but I just can’t resist that part. Walk this way please,” she said, doing a complex shuffle step over to the bed. Baird looked at Walker. Walker shrugged.

“She’s the doctor,” he said.

Both Baird and Walker repeated her shuffle step, and Baird climbed onto the bed.

“That’s the spirit!” exclaimed Aldridge. “Now let’s turn this thing on.”

The bed activated at her touch, and a cranial scan of Baird’s head appeared on the monitor.

“Would you look at that! It looks like you’ve got a party going on in your cerebral cortex!”

“S***?” asked Baird.

“Something is heavily stimulating the impulse centers in your brain, and it really looks like it’s stuck in some kind of neural loop,” said Aldridge.

“Is he going to be all right?” asked Walker.

“I’m not sure. Scott, have you been able to say anything else besides your colorful vocabulary?”

“F***ing son of a b****,” answered Baird.

“That neural loop just might be some kind of obsessive pattern, forcing him to swear all the time. Hmm. I wonder if this kind of thing is contagious,” said Aldridge as she slapped her hips, shaking herself back and forth.


“Baird is unable to say anything at all except to swear in an obscene manner, which is a slight, but significant enough alteration from his normal self. Mr. Walker seems like he’s stuck in worrywart mode. I had no idea Dr. Aldridge could dance like that. Her taste in dance music isn’t all that bad, either.”

“Coming to any conclusions yet?” asked Q.

“It really looks like nearly everyone on the ship is experiencing some kind of irresistible compulsion that’s forcing them to continuously act in a certain way,” answered Rydell.

“Very good Captain! You’re very perceptive, even when considering you’ve only got five senses to work with. Let’s just see if your miniscule perspective is going to be enough to solve the mystery at hand, shall we? You’re on your own now, Captain. Have fun!”

Q snapped his fingers. Rydell disappeared and then reappeared back on the bridge. Q was nowhere in sight.

“…and each tachyon wave increases exponentially as the conductive fields overlap each other. Captain, have you ever seen something as fascinating as this?” asked Jaroch.

“That isn’t the word I’d use right now,” said Rydell.


“Now that’s a good boy. Sleep, sleep tight,” Vaughn purred. “That’s a dozen down, but I think I need a real challenge. Hmmm…before I attempt it, I think I should have a little shower first, and freshen up a little bit. Hmmm…perhaps Lieutenant Pranden would like to join me while I prepare…”

She thumbed her commbadge.

“Computer, locate Lieutenant Pranden, get a transporter lock on him, and activate Vaughn Transport Program Two. Don’t forget, I like lots of hot steam and bubbles in my shower. Engage.”

Smiling in anticipation, Vaughn disappeared in the transporter beam.


Rydell thought fast.

“Jaroch, do you think the anomaly’s tachyon waves might cause any kind of adverse effects among the crew?”

“It’s impossible to know for sure. We’ve never seen this kind of phenomenon before. Notice how unusual these tachyon signatures are, how they seem to…”

There was more like this as Jaroch rambled on and on in this kind of manner, so Rydell tuned it out completely. He went over to the navigation console.

“My gut tells me that we should get away from this thing, once and for all. I’ve got a very bad feeling about this,” Rydell murmured to himself, setting a course directly away from the anomaly. He activated the impulse engines.

There was a whining noise, and nothing happened.

Rydell brought the warp engines online, and engaged.

Still nothing happened.

“Rydell to Engineering, why aren’t we going anywhere?”

“Hey there Captain, Ensign Garrett here. Anyone up there seen a contact lens? I’ve been searching the entire ship for hours. I need to find it right away. Have you got any idea what it’s like to see with just one focused eye? Man, what I would give to…”

Rydell cut him off and sighed. He addressed the thin air around him.

“Q, is this your way of telling me that we’re going nowhere?”

Q flashed into existence beside him.

“Not at all, Alex. I did indicate that you wouldn’t be able to leave the area, but don’t look at me for the answer to that one. It’s not my doing at all. I’m sure you might find out the real reason if you were to try and use the resources of your own crew, such as they are,” Q smirked.

“Captain, I’m looking at these readings from our own systems. It looks as if the tachyon waves from the anomaly are interfering with our warp engine’s dilithium reaction chamber. Because of this, we are unable to generate a warp field right now. It also looks like they’re interfering with our impulse power coils as well. Amazing! Incredible!” exclaimed Jaroch, fiddling with the controls at the science station and anxiously analyzing the readings in a very enthusiastic manner.

“There you go,” said Q.

Rydell turned to look at Q.

“The anomaly is also causing all of the behavior changes in the crew, isn’t it?” asked Rydell.

“Of course. Wasn’t it obvious?” asked Q.

“I hate spatial anomalies, they’re always nothing but trouble. If I had my way, we wouldn’t have been here to begin with.”

“And miss out on all of this? That certainly would be boring, wouldn’t it?”

“You could help us get out of here.”

“And why would I want to spoil all your fun?” said Q.

“Thanks a lot.”

“Oh you’re very welcome. Anytime.”

Q snapped his fingers, and disappeared in a flash of light.

“Great,” said Rydell. He opened up a shipwide communications channel.

“This is the Captain. Hello everyone. Hope you’re all doing fine, despite the confusion you may be experiencing right now. Please understand that all of you are likely to be experiencing some very unusual personality changes and side effects, which is entirely due to our current proximity to the spatial anomaly. The anomaly has rendered our engines completely inoperative, so we don’t have an avenue of escape at the moment. Engineering staff, senior bridge officers, and Dr. Aldridge, please report to the bridge to work on the problem. We’re going to need to crack this nut as soon as possible, before we all go completely nuts. Rydell out.”

“I will endeavor to continue my analysis of this incredible gift to science,” said Jaroch.

“Do you think you are going to be able to work on our escape with the others once they arrive?” asked Rydell

“It’s an extremely interesting part of this whole fascinating puzzle of the anomaly, for certain.”

“That’s good enough for me. Please see if you can come up with any answers with that in mind, so we can get the hell out of here.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Rydell walked toward the turbolift.

“Jaroch, you have the bridge, such as it is. I’m going down to help out some of the others, before they get themselves into any serious trouble.”

“Uh huh,” said Jaroch absentmindedly, completely absorbed with the sensor readings.


“Zzzzzzzzz,” said Carr as she strolled down a dark forest path, carrying a basket of goodies.

“Hello Little Red Riding Hood,” said a very odd-looking sheep at the side of the road. “Going to Grandma’s place?”

“Zzzzzzzzzz,” answered Carr.

“You really shouldn’t be walking through these woods alone,” said the sheep, slyly. “There are big bad wolves in these woods, and they’re liable to hunt you down and eat you all up.”

“Zzzzzzzzzzz,” said Carr.

“It’s your life, Little Red Riding Hood,” said the sheep as it bounded away into the woods.

“Zzzzzzzzzzz,” answered Carr. She strolled down the path lazily.

Deep inside the woods, the sheep unzipped its chest, and a wolf stepped out of the suit. He picked up a rock and sharpened his fangs with it.

“See you for lunch at Grandma’s house, Little Red Riding Hood,” he said.

The wolf bounded through the forest, taking the short cut to Granny’s place.


“F*** s*** p****,” mumbled Baird as the group from sickbay stepped onto the bridge.

“We’re really going to be dead if we can’t get out of here, aren’t we?” moaned Walker.

“Not me. I feel like staying alive, staying alive, ah ah ah ah, staying alive,” sang Aldridge, now wearing a set of headphones and listening to an isolinear walkman. She boogied her way across the bridge.

“S***,” said Baird.

The turbolift doors opened again with a whoosh sound.

“It always sounds so nice when the doors open like that,” said Hawkins as she stepped out the doorway. “Oh look at the lighting in here. It’s so delightful.”

“Wheech light yoo mean?” asked Sullivan, stumbling onto the bridge. She carried a texas mickey size bottle and a very tall glass of bubbling liquid.

“I only see one pretty light up there. How many pretty lights do you see?” asked Hawkins.

Sullivan squinted hard at the ceiling with as much concentration as she could muster.

“I - SEE - FOUR LIGHTS!” she yelped, spilling most of her drink on the deck.

“Coming fatso?” snapped Trinian, stepping through the door.

“Coming,” answered Dillon, with bits and pieces of twinkie falling out of his mouth. He tried to step on the bridge, but didn’t quite make it.

“URG,” he grunted, being completely stuck in the doorway.

Baird, Aldridge, and Walker stared at Dillon in amazement. Dillon had grown to enormous size, mostly girth. His big wide arms carried a two big buckets of fried chicken, a few dozen doughnuts, a half eaten slab of chocolate, some cream pies, and a large assortment of twinkies and ding-dongs.

“S***,” said Baird.

“I think you actually meant to say that, didn’t you?” asked Walker.

“Someone help me,” pleaded Dillon.

Baird and Walker each grabbed an arm, dropping Dillon’s horde of food to the floor. They each braced a foot against the edge of the door, and pulled on Dillon’s arms with all their strength.

“Ugh!” grunted Walker.

“F***!” grunted Baird.

“Ow!” complained Dillon.

Dillon’s huge frame popped inside. His body rolled forward onto his stomach, which continued to roll onto his face.

“Ow!” Dillon yelled again as his nose hit the floor. He flailed his arms and wobbled around like a water-filled beachball.

“Can you get up, Commander?” asked Walker.

“I feel terrible, and I’m hungry. Can someone please pass me a ding-dong?” whined Dillon.

“I think there’s a very huge one on the floor already,” said Jaroch.

“Where?” Dillon rolled around, searching frantically.

“What are you doing here, Trinian?” asked Aldridge, shaking her hips back and forth.

“I thought I had gas, but I was wrong. So I have a sneaking suspicion I’ve got an urgent reason to be here right now,” answered Trinian.

“Hokay…whatever you say,” said Aldridge, not understanding the logic of that at all.

“Anyone want to review my very fascinating data on the anomaly before we get started?” asked Jaroch.

“Is it pretty?” asked Hawkins.

“In a sense, yes,” said Jaroch.

“Oh good! I would just love a nice show right now!” exclaimed Hawkins, clapping her hands together.

Jaroch dimmed the bridge lights, and began his amazing and interesting briefing with a very informative and entertaining analysis of the tachyon waves on the main viewscreen.


Rydell got off the turbolift at deck eight. He heard music filling the corridor, and he recognized it immediately. Someone was playing the “Mission Impossible” theme over the comm system on this deck.

“DUM DUM, DA DA DUM DUM, DA DA DUM DUM, DA DA…”

He ran quickly in the general direction of his quarters, his mind focused on the display case he kept in his living room area. It contained a variety of different sharp objects he had collected from tourist traps all over the galaxy. He knew he was going to need a choice item from it, right away.

“Help! Help!” yelled someone frantically from around the corridor junction.

“DIDDLELOOOO, DIDDLELOOOO, DIDDLELOOOO…DA DUM,” played the music.

Rydell turned the corner, to see a young man in an ensign’s uniform, struggling in vain to escape a monstrous bear hug from Counselor Webber.

“Feel better! Feel BETTER!” yelled Webber.

“AHHHHHHHH!” yelled the young ensign, the life being slowly squeezed out of him.

“DUM DUM, DA DA DUM DUM, DA DA DUM DUM, DA DA…”

Rydell didn’t have very much time to waste on an argument with a highly obsessed Webber. He karate chopped her left shoulder, causing her to lose her grip on the ensign. The young man bolted down the corridor in obvious fright.

Webber gave chase, jogging after him.

“Wait! Feel BETTER with me!” she shouted.

“YAAAAAH!” screamed the ensign as he ran away in panic.

Rydell figured he had done more than enough to help him, given the current circumstances. He ran towards his quarters, and the doors opened for him as he ran inside.

“DIDDLELOOOO, DIDDLELOOOO, DIDDLELOOOO…DA DUM…”

The doors shut behind him as Rydell skidded on the carpet, then headed straight for the display case in the far corner of the room.

A transporter whine sounded, and a very incredibly naked Monica Vaughn materialized directly in front of him.

“Hello…Captain,” she purred.

“Great Bird, help me now,” breathed Rydell in alarm.

“What do you think of my outfit?” asked Vaughn.

“What outfit?”

“You see my point, among other things…” said Vaughn.

“Monica, please listen to me, I really don’t have time f-for this,” stammered Rydell.

“Oh my Captain, you never find enough time for me. I feel so lonely and rejected. I’ve always wanted you…so…very…much. Don’t you find me attractive at all?” asked Monica as she slinked slowly over to Rydell. The subtle sections of her entire anatomy seemed to beckon to Rydell in one fluid motion.

“It’s not that, Monica. It’s just…just…” Rydell’s knees felt very weak.

“All of this can be yours. You look like you’re having trouble standing, sir. Do you need something to hold onto?” asked Monica, thrusting her chest forward in Rydell’s direction.

Rydell felt his resistance fading as he reached out with his hand, and squeezed Vaughn’s shoulder gently. She moaned, and collapsed in a heap on the floor.

“What do you know - that Vulcan nerve thingy sometimes comes through in a pinch situation,” said Rydell, feeling very relieved.

Q flashed into existence beside Rydell.

“Sex and violence, is that all you humans ever think about? Don’t you have something more important to do?” asked Q.

“As a matter of fact, I’m getting on it right now,” answered Rydell, stepping over Vaughn and opening up the display case.

“And what do you propose to do with that?” asked Q.

“Watch and learn,” answered Rydell.


“…and that’s what we know so far. Does this shed any more light on this incredibly engaging subject?” asked Jaroch.

“FOUR! FOUR LIGHTSH!” Sullivan hiccupped. She slid off her seat down to the floor.

“Whoo! Ish sher feels much bedder down here. That sher shtopped the ship from shpinning so much,” croaked Sullivan.

“Anyone else?” asked Jaroch.

“The tachyon waves really look a lot like the neural patterns I saw inside Baird’s head,” said Aldridge, doing a quick hip thrust, wagging her head from side to side. “I think Captain Rydell was right. The tachyons from the anomaly are also causing the compulsive behaviors in the crew. I don’t know how he figured that one out, but it certainly would explain why I’m feeling so damn groovy right now. Ooh ooh baby,” she kicked a leg up in the air, then turned a pirouette.

“We are going to need to find a way to move the ship away from the anomaly, with or without the use of our engines. This is going to be a very fascinating study indeed, but I still want to get some more input from everyone before I get started on it,” said Jaroch.

“F*** s*** p*** son of a b**** c***sucking p****,” commented Baird.

“Anyone understand that?” asked Jaroch.

“NO,” said everyone else.

“Commander Baird, maybe you should go back down to engineering, since your input doesn’t seem to be very valuable at the moment,” said Jaroch.

“F***!” smiled Baird.

Baird didn’t appear to be too unhappy with the idea. He walked across the bridge and entered the turbolift.

“S*** c***,” he said.

The doors stayed open.

“F***!” he said.

“I think he might have meant that one. I’ll help Commander Baird get down to engineering, where we’ll get ready to act when you need us,” said Walker. “Are you okay with that, commander? Do you need help? Should I accompany you?”

“F***!” said Baird.

Walker entered the turbolift.

“Engineering,” he said.

The doors finally closed.

“Any other comments on this amazing and spellbinding piece of science? I really need to get back to my incredibly fascinating work,” said Jaroch.

“Your presentation was very pretty. I liked your choice of colors on the tachyon waves. You have so much artistic talent, Jaroch,” said Hawkins.

“Uh, thank you, I think.”

“BURRRRRRP,” said the gigantic Dillon sitting on the floor, coughing up a few soggy pieces of doughnut onto his enormous belly. He reached a fat arm into the fried chicken bucket, pulled out a drumstick, and frantically gnawed on it.

“Commander, your capacity to provide meaningful input hasn’t changed all that much,” said Jaroch.

“Dillon is metabolizing everything he eats at a fantastic rate, which suggests that the anomaly is probably affecting all of us physically in some kind of harmful way. We really need to get out of here and soon, before it’s too late,” commented Aldridge as she shuffled to the beat in her headset.

“Yesh, I’m very sher there are FOUR lightsh up there, or ish it really FIVE? Hee hee hee! Lookit them shwirl around and around, don’t they ever shtop?” mumbled Sullivan gaily, stretching out on the floor and staring at the ceiling.

The sharp pain in Trinian’s lower gut region seemed to intensify a little more.

“I must be right about this, I’m sure of it,” Trinian said to herself.


Carr walked down the path, which eventually ended at a little log cottage at the edge of the woods. Her forehead bumped on the door.

“Come in, Little Red Riding Hood!” said a voice from behind the door. It opened for her.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzz,” snored Carr as she walked inside. The door shut behind her.

“Hello Little Red Riding Hood, did you bring those goodies for me? How nice of you! Why don’t you sit closer next to Grandma?” asked the wolf in Granny’s nightdress, lying down on the bed.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz,” said Carr as she sleepwalked over to the edge of the bed, and sat down on a chair.

Silence filled Grandma’s house for awhile.

“Aren’t you going to comment on my big eyes?” asked the wolf.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzz,” answered Carr.

“What about my large nose? Aren’t you even going to ask me about that?”

“Zzzzzzzzzzzz,” said Carr.

“I suppose my big sharp teeth aren’t particularly interesting to you either,” said the wolf, desperately trying to hide the disappointment in his voice.

“Zzzzzzzzzzz.”

“Well, that was a waste of time. Some fun you are, Little Red Riding Hood. Well, the script says I gotta eat you, so I might as well enjoy my lunch.” The wolf’s jaws opened wide, his fangs gleaming in the sunlight shining in from the window.

The door suddenly opened, and Rydell charged into the room. He quickly swung his souvenir Bat’leth at the wolf’s head, which came off clean at the neck.

“Ouch, that really hurt,” said the wolf’s head as it rolled around on the floor.

“Program complete,” said the computer as everything in the room disappeared. Carr slumped to the grid-lined floor as the chair vanished underneath her.

“Zzzzzzzzzzzz,” Carr said.

“I really need to change my bedtime story sometime soon,” muttered Rydell, reaching down to pick up Carr.


“I’m getting very tired, but I just can’t quit dancing. My body isn’t going to be able to handle this for much longer. In fact, I think I’ve had it,” Aldridge said as she tapped her last beat. She collapsed to the floor, unconscious.

“I’m running out of food!” complained Dillon, rolling around in search of the missing cream pie.

“FOUR LIGHTSH, FIVE LIGHTSH, WHAZ THE DIFFERENSH ANYWAY?” moaned Sullivan, and then she passed out.

“My eyelids are stuck open, since everything looks so pretty to me. How am I supposed to ever sleep like this?” worried Hawkins.

“I’m fairly sure Ensign Carr could give you a tip, if she were awake right now,” said Rydell as he entered the bridge, carrying Carr up next to the unconscious Aldridge and Sullivan. He laid her sleeping form gently down to the floor beside them.

“I have some fascinating news for you, Captain, even though it isn’t all that pleasant,” commented Jaroch.

“Go for it.”

“I’ve finished my analysis of the anomaly, and of our current situation. The anomaly is some kind of interdimensional wormhole, but its qualities are highly complex and completely undeterminable. We are completely unable to resolve our engine problems, since the tachyon surges will prevent us from taking any kind of remedial action. Even if we tried to detonate torpedoes next to the ship and ride the shock wave out, we would not be able to obtain sufficient velocity to propel ourselves beyond the gravitational reach of the anomaly. I believe we’re stuck here, Captain.”

“We’re all going to go completely nuts eventually, and we can’t do anything about it. Looks like Q might win his little game after all,” muttered Rydell.

“Q? Did you say Q? I knew it!” exclaimed Trinian.

“You know him?” asked Rydell.

“We used to date. It was a long time ago. We used to explore space and time together, and hang out occasionally in the Q Continuum. We broke up eventually. He was a real pain in the ass, so I suppose I should have known it right away when I started feeling that sensation again.”

“You sure get around, don’t you?”

“Q! Come on out you coward! Show yourself! Or are you too afraid to face me?” shouted Trinian.

Q flashed into existence beside Rydell, still wearing a Captain’s Starfleet uniform.

“You have no idea what she really is, do you Alex? You shouldn’t let her stay on your ship. She’s dangerous, spiteful, and completely incapable of forming relationships.”

“Cut the crap, Q. You just can’t handle rejection.”

“If you’d like, I can get rid of her for you. I would be more than happy to help you with that,” said Q, waving his arms at Trinian in a mystical fashion.

“I’d like to see you try,” answered Trinian, waving her arms right back at him.

“I hate to break up this little lover’s spat, but we really don’t have time for this,” said Rydell.

“Who is this Q, Captain?” asked Jaroch.

“Omnipotent, all powerful, no time for details, I’ll explain later,” replied Rydell. “Trinian, since you seem to have a different perspective on all of this, do you think you can help our current situation at all?”

“I think so, if that’s what I think it is out there,” answered Trinian.

“Don’t listen to her, Alex. She lies all the time,” said Q.

“I’m listening,” said Rydell.

“Did Q ever mention anything about the anomaly at all, anything you can remember?” asked Trinian.

“He mentioned something about a sewer pipe, and that we were playing too close to it,” answered Rydell.

Trinian turned angrily over to Q.

“So! Are you going to tell him what that really is out there, or shall I?”

Q rolled his eyeballs upward.

“Oh very well. Who am I to resist your feminine whiles and charm any longer?”

“Get on with it, Q.”

“All right all right. Your Yynsian friend is only partially correct with his analysis. The anomaly is actually a type of interdimensional corridor to the Q Continuum,” said Q in a very bored tone.

“And!?” prompted Trinian.

“It really is a kind of sewer pipe, for lack of a better term for it. It’s where we dump excess abundance of desires, wants, obsessions, and excess compulsive energy back into this universe.”

“What do you mean by that?” asked Rydell.

“I will try to explain it in a way your limited mind can understand. When you can do anything you want, all the time, you end up with an excess of wants and desires just lying around, taking up space, and generally becoming annoying. There are several Q in the Continuum, and they all end up creating piles and piles of unwanted excesses. Since we can’t have that kind of thing cluttering up the Continuum, we simply flush it back out into normal space/time. The waste is propelled along by a quantum frequency, which carries it to the entrance of the wormhole. This excess of compulsive energy dissipates into the normal universe, where it eventually becomes harmless.”

“But it’s not harmless, if you happen to be sitting too close to the anomaly itself,” said Rydell.

“Congratulations dear Captain, you have solved the mystery. But since you had to have my help in solving this little puzzle for you, I’m afraid you still lose the game. Too bad. As a consequence, you forfeit my help in getting you out of here,” said Q, smugly.

“Okay, you won that one, I have to admit it,” said Rydell.

“And very handily, I might add!” said Q, very pleased with himself.

“Maybe you might like to play another little game? One of my own design?” asked Rydell.

“Do tell! How I enjoy hanging around with you, Alex. You are a veritable fountain of fun!” exclaimed Q.

“Okay. Here are the rules. If we can get out of this situation on our own, without any interference from you - you will promise to return everyone in my crew back to their normal state of mind.”

“And if you don’t?”

“You can watch us rot here in insanity for the rest of our natural lifetimes.”

“Deal!” grinned Q.

“All right,” said Rydell, with a twinkle in his eye.

“BUURRRRP,” said Dillon. He nervously shoveled down the very last twinkie, anxiously looking around for any crumbs he might have missed.


“Commander, the bridge is asking us to strengthen the shields with all available power,” said Walker.

“F*** son of a b****,” said Baird.

“My sentiments as well, sir. I think they’re about to do something crazy up there,” worried Walker.

“F***!” exclaimed Baird.


“That isn’t going to help protect your little ship, nor your people from the effects of the wormhole, Alex,” said Q smugly.

“What makes you think that I want to do that?” asked Rydell.

“It’s what you humans do anytime you’re in a difficult situation. You cower in fear in caves, just like your primitive ancestors,” answered Q.

Rydell smiled.

“Lieutenant Hawkins, would you mind manning the weapons console for a little while? I’d ask Dillon to help, but I’m not really sure he could stand up if he tried. I can’t even see where his feet are anymore. And besides, he really looks like he’s enjoying his little snack at the moment, and I wouldn’t want to bother him.”

“Thank you sir,” munched Dillon.

“Can I press the pretty red alert button?” asked Hawkins.

“By all means,” answered Rydell.

The lights on the bridge changed to red.

“Oooh! Ahhhh!” cooed Hawkins.

“Jaroch, you did complete your analysis of the anomaly, did you not?” Rydell asked.

“Yes sir.”

“And you found the quantum frequency of the wormhole, perhaps the very one that Q was just talking about a moment ago?”

“Ah. I think I see where you’re going with this, sir. Very interesting idea, indeed,” answered Jaroch, smiling.

“Jaroch, please route that pattern to the weapons console. Lieutenant Hawkins, please configure a series of quantum torpedoes to match that frequency.”

“What a wonderful display. It matches very nicely now, sir. The patterns are so much in sync. They look incredibly beautiful, vibrating in tandem like that,” Hawkins sighed.

“What do you think you are you doing?” asked Q, with a tone that indicated a hint of worry.

Rydell smiled at Trinian, and winked. She nodded back in complete understanding.

“If you have a sewer pipe that’s messing up your neighborhood, you gotta plug the drain. Lieutenant Hawkins, you may fire at the wormhole whenever you feel it is a beautiful moment to do so.”


Several quantum torpedoes streaked from the Secondprize, heading straight into the wormhole opening.

They reached the center of the aperture, and exploded. With a bright flash of white, the anomaly expanded rapidly for a split second, then collapsed completely into nothingness, sending out a monstrous shockwave in all directions.


“All hands brace for impact. Hang on!” shouted Rydell.

CRRRRRRRAAAAAASSHHHHHHHH!

The Secondprize flipped and turned like a stick thrown through the air.

“Inertial dampeners are overloading!” yelled Jaroch.

“The explosion was beautiful!” shouted Hawkins, hanging on to her console.

“WOOOAAAAHH! OW! YIPE! OUCH!” yelled Dillon as he rolled and bounced around the bridge, smacking into chairs and walls like a fat pinball in a maze. Bouncing off the ops console, he rolled past the unconscious forms of Sullivan, Aldridge, and Carr on the floor.

“Shields failing!” shouted Jaroch.

“Emergency power to the shields!” answered Rydell.

Trinian tripped and fell into Q’s arms.

“Get your hands off of me!” exclaimed Trinian.

“As you wish,” said Q, dropping her to the floor.

“We have engine control back!” said Jaroch.

“Thrusters! Stabilize the ship!” said Rydell.

Jaroch brought the Secondprize back to a stable cruise.

“There! Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” asked Rydell.

Dillon groaned painfully from underneath the navigation console, firmly wedged in and stuck there.

Rydell turned to face Q.

“Hmmm. Sure looks like I won that one,” he said. “Return my crew back to their normal state of minds, please.”

“Oh very well,” said Q. He snapped his fingers.

There was a bright flash.

Aldridge, Sullivan, and Carr were awake and standing up.

“Where am I?” asked Carr. “I had the most peculiar dream. I was walking through a forest and…” she trailed off, mumbling to herself as she sat down at the ops console.

“Whew, I think I’m going to need a foot massage,” said Aldridge as she painfully limped to the turbolift.

“I just can’t believe I was acting like that,” complained Hawkins. “Captain, can I go soak my head for awhile? I think I need some private time right now.”

“Go ahead,” said Rydell.

“Oh my aching head. I am so hung over. Permission to leave the bridge and throw up, Captain?” asked Sullivan.

“Granted. Get some rest Lieutenant,” answered Rydell.

They all left the bridge.

“Engineering to bridge, what the f***ing hell was that anyway? Are you trying to kill us all?” demanded Baird over the intercom.

“Sounds like you’re back to normal down there. I’ll explain everything later. Rydell out,” chuckled Rydell.

“Help,” squeaked Dillon. Dillon was still shaped like an enormous round ball, still completely stuck underneath the navigations console.

“Q, you promised to return them all to normal,” said Rydell

“I did. He doesn’t have any kind of desire to eat uncontrollably anymore,” answered Q.

“Q…” warned Trinian.

“Oh all right. I’m only doing this because it suits me to do so, even though this wasn’t part of the bargain.”

Q snapped his fingers, and a large needle appeared between his fingers.

“What are you going to do with that?” asked Dillon, fearfully.

“Don’t worry, this won’t hurt a bit. Oh, who am I kidding,” said Q, and jabbed Dillon in the rear end.

BANG!

PSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH!

Dillon flew around the bridge like a balloon losing air, smacking into the ceiling (“OW!”), the floor (“OW!”), the walls (“OW!”), and everything else in the room that was sharp and pointed (“OW! OW! OW!”). Upon exhausting all his fuel, now completely back to his own normal size again, Dillon finally fell down to the floor.

“OOOF!” he said as he impacted heavily.

“There, are you happy now?” asked Q.

“Oh yes indeed,” smiled Jaroch.

“All…better…now,” said Dillon weakly, and passed out.

“You really haven’t changed at all, Q,” smiled Trinian.

“You think so?” said Q.

“Yes. You still are a real pain in the ass,” laughed Trinian.

“I’ll take that as a compliment, coming from you,” said Q.

“Well Q, I’ve got to hand it to you. You’re being a very good sport about this. Looks like the score is one to one,” said Rydell.

“Would you like to play one more time, just to see who comes out ahead?” Q grinned.

“I don’t think so, Q. Not right now, since I think you’re going to have much more important matters to concern yourself with for the next little while.”

“Oh? And what do you mean by that?” asked Q, genuinely curious.

“Well, let’s see. You didn’t help us escape the anomaly when we asked you for help, forcing us to resort to more drastic measures to save ourselves from it. That means we’re not really responsible for causing the wormhole’s destruction, since we really had no other choice at all. On the other hand, you just stood around here and watched while we blasted the wormhole out of existence. So who do you think the rest of the Q are going to blame, when all the Continuum’s sewer lines stop up and backfill all at once?” smiled Rydell.

The sound of several angry voices began to fill the bridge.

“Oh no,” said Q.

“It looks like you’ve got some explaining to do,” commented Rydell.

“I promise I’ll be back to settle the score, Rydell,” said Q, as he fearfully looked all around him in a state of panic. The angry voices got louder and louder.

“Not until you’ve finished fixing the plumbing, I think,” answered Rydell.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” yelled Q as he snapped out of existence in a blazing flash of heat and fire.

“That’s that. Not a problem at all,” said Rydell. “Ensign Carr, set a course for Starbase 78. Engage at warp six.”

“Aye sir,” answered Carr.

“Trinian, do you think you could give me a hand with Dillon?” asked Rydell.

“Sure, why not.”

Rydell and Trinian picked the unconscious Dillon up off the floor, and started to carry him to the turbolift.

“We’ll put Dillon to bed. Jaroch, you have the bridge. Please remind me to read through all the Priority One reports for the last few years, especially anything written by Captain Picard. If we ever run into Q again, I think I want to be bit better prepared the next time around.”

“I will, Captain,” answered Jaroch.

“Oh yes, and one more thing Jaroch, can you please send someone to make sure that Monica is able to leave my quarters under her own steam. I’m afraid I was a bit rough on her,” said Rydell.

Jaroch raised his eyebrows, not quite knowing what to think about that.

The Secondprize sailed past the stars.


Q snapped into existence, wearing a very dirty set of blue jean overalls and carrying a big pipe wrench in his hand. He had dark stains all over his face and body.

“And that’s the miserable end of this little story,” he said, addressing you directly. “I have every intention of returning to visit Rydell in the near future, once I’m finished with a few…‘minor chores’. Believe me, I still want to get ahead in our little game.”

“Q! GET BACK TO WORK!” yelled a very deep voice, shaking the foundations around him. Q staggered for a bit, then turned his head back towards you.

“Well, I suppose its back to the grind for me. Of course, I don’t begrudge Rydell’s minor little victory at all. I can assure you, it will just be much more difficult for him the next time around. Until then, I bid you farewell.”

Q winked, snapped his fingers, and disappeared.

“I’ll be waiting,” said the faint echo of Q’s voice.



Tags: alternate