Author: Anthony Butler, Alan Decker
AUTHORS’ NOTE: We hope you’re enjoying Survivor Traks so far. The reader response has been incredible…something in the neighborhood of 50 million. Oh, wait…that’s the final Survivor episode. Well, anyway, on with this week’s installment…
SURVIVOR TRAKS IV By Alan Decker and Anthony Butler
JEFF: It’s the day of the third Captain’s Council. Already, two people have been ejected from the game, and the numbers on our planet are starting to dwindle. Alliances are forming as our remaining survivors become more resolved to see this contest through to the end. Do any of them have what it takes to survive to the bitter end? How the heck should I know? I’m a career game show host!
Captain Baxter swore for the tenth time as he tried to erect a campfire. Prosak had disappeared into the forest earlier that morning to collect large palm leaves for costuming for the afternoon’s production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and she was the one who had the lighter.
Not to be pegged as someone who couldn’t survive in the wilderness…and he used the term “survive” with great revulsion…Baxter was determined he would show his worth to the group.
“Problems, chap?” Captain Reginald Bain asked from behind Baxter, slapping him so hard across the back he fell forward onto the pile of sticks he was busily trying to set afire.
Baxter picked himself off and brushed the dirt from the front of his uniform. “I’m trying to get this damn camp fire started. Your first officer disappeared with the lighter.”
“No worries, I’ll take care of it,” Bain said and knelt by the fire. Two seconds later, after rubbing sticks together, the older Brit had started a blazing fire.
“Good…show,” Baxter said half-heartedly and turned to walk toward the beach, just as Prosak emerged from the foliage loaded down with palm leaves.
“Okay, who wants to be Titania?” she asked, setting down the leaves.
“Don’t plan on having Baxter or myself for this little show, Prossie. I’m going to teach the lad how to build a boat over on the south beach.”
“Which is the south beach? We have no idea of directions here, sir.”
“Whichever one is that way,” Bain said, and pointing. “I’ve drawn up a map. I’ll show it to you later. At any rate, have a great time.”
“Would you like my assistance?”
“Not necessary. Baxter will be able to get the hang of it in no time.”
Prosak turned back to face the beach, where she saw Baxter running from an oversized, green crablike creature. “I somehow doubt it.”
Bain turned to look on with Prosak. “That’s it, lad! Exhaust it, then beat it into submission! That’ll be delicious!”
Morales was bent over a stretch of the south beach (in the opposite direction, luckily, from where Baxter’s crab encounter was happening). He was studying a poem he was composing for Captain Beck, by carefully carving the letters into the wet sand.
He wanted to use this opportunity to develop some kind of hobby that he could share with Beck. Something that could make him stand out as a real person, as woman-chasing and ship- building did with Russell and Porter.
So far he wasn’t entirely pleased with his progress:
O, Beck, with the big red hair,
O, how I wish I could be there,
To help you command and…
That was as far as he’d gotten. He couldn’t figure out what he wanted to do other than help her command. He could certainly go into detail about some of the…physical…things he wanted to do. But he found it difficult to write about Beck that way, even though he had those thoughts all the time, they weren’t thoughts he felt comfortable imparting–at least not yet.
He was going through these ruminations about the time that a blur passed in front of his face, leaving a trail of footprints smeared throughout his beautiful lyrics…well, throughout his lyrics anyway.
He turned to see who had come running by, and was not at all surprised to see Captain Alexander Rydell.
“Captain?” he called out. Rydell stopped jogging and turned back to face Morales.
“Oh, hi, Walt!” Rydell said absently, jogging back to join Morales. “How goes it?”
Morales stared down at his ruined work. “Um…fine.”
“What were you doing?” Rydell knelt to observe the random slashes in the sand.
“Oh…nothing,” Morales sighed.
Rydell rubbed his chin. “Hmm. Abstract art? The footprints are an interesting…oh. Sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry. It was nothing that great.”
“Anything I can help you with?”
“No…no, I will be able to handle this completely on my…my…” Morales stuttered as he heard splashes behind him, and he and Rydell turned simultaneously to see Captain Lisa Beck emerge from the crashing waves, her long red hair matted down across her chest, framing her ample breasts perfectly. The swimsuit that had been underneath Beck’s uniform was remarkably form-fitting for Starfleet standard-issue
“Humma,” said Morales, mouth gaping.
“My sentiments exactly,” Rydell said.
Morales couldn’t take his eyes off all the patches of perfect white skin where rivulets trickled down, down, down…as Beck leaned over and shook head as if in slow motion, running her hands through her hair. She then threw her head back and yanked the wet strands of hair back into a ponytail.
When she glanced up to notice Morales and Rydell leering at her, she folded her arms. “Can I help you two with something?”
“Um…” Morales looked at Rydell.
“Well…” Rydell grinned, then looked at Morales, and immediately stopped grinning. “Not a thing, Captain. Mister Morales and I were just admiring that…shell over there.”
“What shell?” asked Morales.
“Oh, I’m sure there’s one over there somewhere,” Rydell said. “I’m hungry. Anyone want to go forage with me?”
“I need a towel,” muttered Beck.
Rydell and Morales looked at each other, then darted off in opposite directions in search of said towel.
That evening, at Captain’s Council, Baxter sat down next to Prosak, covered in red pinch-marks. “Ow,” he said.
“Problem?” asked Prosak.
“Pinchmarks on my ass.”
“My apologies,” Prosak said coldly.
“Yeah, I can see you’re real upset about it.”
“Perhaps if you hadn’t been prancing around trying to impress my captain, you would not have been attacked by that crab.”
“I was NOT prancing. Anyway, that crab was good eating, wasn’t it?” He turned to where Bain had just sat down and put up a hand. “Right, Reggie? High five? Huh? You’re the MAN!”
Bain frowned at Baxter. “Yes, well. Uh, right.” He absently patted Baxter’s upraised hand, not really understanding what he was doing.
Rydell, Morales and Beck took their seats in the row behind Prosak, Bain and Baxter. Prosak shot them a dark look.
“Sorry about the palm leaves,” Rydell said amicably.
“We were trying to dry off Captain Beck,” explained Morales.
“Indeed,” Prosak said, folding her arms. “Well, that is the last time I try to put on a show for you people. You obviously don’t appreciate the arts.”
“Depends on your definition of ‘arts,’” muttered Morales.
Just then, the figure the group had come to know only as “Jeff” appeared at the front of the group, looking smug in his beige shorts and shirt.
“Well, here we are again.”
“There’s a brilliant observation,” muttered Baxter.
“It’s the third night of voting,” Jeff continued unimpeded, pacing back and forth in front of the group. “Tonight, one more of you will go off to–”
“That brings up an interesting question,” said Rydell. “What exactly happened to the last two guys who got voted off?”
“Yeah, what happened to Dillon and Conway?” asked Baxter.
“Suffice it to say, they were eliminated from the competition,” said Jeff.
“You killed them?” asked Morales.
“That’s not cricket,” Bain said, clicking his tongue.
“No, we didn’t kill them,” Jeff said, holding up his hands defensively. “They’re being held in temporary stasis. But you’ll see them again soon enough. When this group is narrowed down to two, all of the folks who’ve been eliminated will return to pass judgement on who will be the final…survivor!”
The group glanced around as booming tropical music, including tribal chants, pounded from all sides.
“Isn’t that a bit melodramatic?” asked Rydell.
“Perhaps,” said Jeff. “Now…are there any observations before we vote?”
“This game sucks,” said Beck.
“All right, it’s time to vote. Beck, you’re up.”
BECK: I’m voting for Baxter. Mutual understandings and Starfleet camaraderie aside, I still hate him. This shouldn’t surprise any of you. Who the hell am I talking to? Are there viewers? If there are, can someone please call Starfleet and have them send in a rescue team? This whole thing is ridiculous.
RYDELL: One jumja, two jumja, three jumja, four. Five jumja, six jumja, seven jumja or…my mother told me to pick the right one and…Bain…is it. There. Boy I don’t know why people say this voting thing is tough.
MORALES: I don’t care if he does say nothing is going on between him and Captain Beck, Rydell is still an obstacle, and this could be my only chance to be alone…well, kind of alone…with Lisa on a beautiful, lush planet.
BAXTER: I voted for Prosak because she’s getting in the way of my relationship with Captain Bain. I kind of like this father/son connection I’ve built with the old Brit. My dad worked all the time so I really never had the chance to hunt and gather and build with him…Bain is just like a second Dad…even though he is from the future and I’ll never see him again after this contest. Still, it’s a nice sentiment, huh? Bye, Prosak. Get bent.
BAIN: No offense, Baxter old chap, but you are seriously knotting my knickers. You haven’t given me a moment’s peace since this adventure began. I’m more of a loner, and besides, the boat he built sank.
PROSAK: Get Baxter out of here. Rydell, Beck, and Morales have a clique I just can’t break into, and Baxter has totally taken up Captain Bain’s time. My captain is the only person on this island I can relate with. The logical solution is to kick Baxter off this planet.
Jeff surveyed the crowd after they’d returned from the voting booth. “All right. Remember, whoever gets voted off the planet must leave immediately. Not that you’ll have any choice.”
Everyone glared at Jeff. No laughs. Tough crowd.
“Ok. I’ll tally the votes.” Jeff rifled through the bin of voting slips. “Baxter…Bain…Rydell…Prosak…Baxter…Baxter.”
Baxter stared at his fingers, counting again and again. “One, two…no, wait…two…three.. Oh. Uh-oh.” He looked up in dismay.
“Bye now,” Beck said, waving, as Baxter dematerialized in an instant. “Thanks for playing.”
“Indeed,” Prosak said, a glint in her eye. She shared a look of gratification with Beck.
“Well now, that is a shame,” Bain said, slapping his legs and standing up. “Well, on with the show.”
“Get a good night’s sleep, folks,” Jeff said. “You have a challenge coming up day after tomorrow that will really test your physical skills.”
“Like the skiing didn’t?” asked Morales.
“G’night!” Jeff said with a maniacal grin as the group was instantly transported back to their camp.
JEFF: As dawn breaks on Survivor Planet, the group must adjust to having one fewer presence among them.
All in all, they didn’t really seem to mind. The lazy bastards slept all day. Bain and Prosak hunted for a bit, which seemed to please her to no end, and Morales and Rydell went swimming with Captain Beck, which seemed to please everyone with the exception of Beck.
We have some footage of Bain scratching himself, but we’ll spare you that experience. Let’s just go on to day eleven.
Captain Alexander Rydell rolled over, shivering as a draft blew over him.
“Somebody close the hut,” he called out groggily. Then he opened his eyes to find that he was staring over the edge of a cliff that stretched downward to the ground below, easily hundreds of meters.
“Well this is a hell of a way to wake up,” he muttered.
Bain was suddenly looking over his shoulder. “Look lively, boy, you’re about to take an awful spill!”
Rydell rolled back over, taking Bain’s hand as the sturdy Brit captain heaved him to his feet. “That last step is a nasty one,” Bain said conversationally.
Rydell looked back over his shoulder. “I’d say so.”
Beck was up and rubbing her eyes. “Okay, whose turn was it to guard the beach?”
“Not mine,” muttered Morales. “Apparently, we were transported during the night.”
“By whom would seem to be the question,” Prosak said, ruffling her green satin pajamas.
“Guess,” came a voice from below the cliff edge. And with a soft whoosh, Jeff hovered up to eye-level from below the edge of the vast crevasse.
“Rocket boots?” asked Rydell wryly.
“Of a sort,” Jeff said proudly. “These are called the Spock Sportsters, by Rybok.” He turned to face an unseen camera. “Vulcan engineering at its finest. Buy logical. Buy Rybok.”
“Well then, we’ve established what footgear you’re wearing,” Bain said. “Blast it, let’s get on with the show.”
“Tell us you have some Ryboks for us,” Beck pleaded.
Jeff smirked. “Afraid not.” He glanced downward. “Today’s challenge is simple. Make it to the bottom. I’ll check in on you later.”
“But–” stammered Morales.
And Jeff was gone.
“Well then,” Bain said, rubbing his hands together. “Who’s over the edge first?”
“Over the edge?” Beck demanded. “Are you insane? It’s a sheer cliff?”
Bain glanced over the edge. “Nonsense. I see some footholds.”
“Don’t we even get rope?” asked Rydell.
“No!” came a shout from Jeff from below.
“Ingenuity would seem to be the key to this exercise,” said Prosak.
“What kind of ingenuity?” asked Beck. “We need rope. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any rope around.”
“On the contrary,” Bain said, with a gleam in his eye.
Ten minutes later, everyone was naked.
A seeming eternity after that, the group was shimmying, bare naked, down a rope o’ clothes.
As they reached the bottom of the rope, the group’s collective gaze settled on Bain, who was at the bottom.
“Hey, Bain,” Rydell called out. “Would you mind telling us what we do next?”
“And what are we winning, anyway?” Morales asked. “Did anyone find out?”
“Forgot to ask,” Bain grimaced, staring down at the impossible distance from where they dangled to the base of the cliff. “As for what we do next, it’s anyone’s guess.”
“Isn’t this supposed to be individual competition?” Beck said.
“Oh. Right. Forgot about that,” Bain said. “Well, then. Off I go. Cheerio.”
“Wait…what the–” said Rydell, as Bain undid a knot in the sleeve of Beck’s duty jacket and plummeted toward the bottom.
The group dangled embarrassingly for several seconds until Bain’s landing was signaled by a small puff of dust at the cliff base.
“That was SO illogical,” Prosak muttered.
“That’s it. I’m outta here,” Beck said, shimmying back up to the cliff ledge. Morales made every attempt to not look at her naked body. Instead, he studied some birds off on the horizon. Pretty birds.
“Jeff put my ass up here,” Beck continued. “He can get it back down.”
“And a nice ass it is too,” Rydell remarked.
“Hey!” Morales shouted.
“What? You don’t like my ass, Walt?” Beck asked.
“No. I love it…er…no…um…AHHHHHH!!!” Morales let go and plummeted to earth.
“Hmm…” Rydell said, watching Morales’ descent. “At least Bain’s down there to break his fall.”
“Technically, I probably should have jumped, attempted to overtake Commander Morales, and protect Captain Bain from the coming impact, but seeing as how Captain Bain is most likely the consistency of his beloved shepherd’s pie at the moment, I will adjourn to the summit,” Prosak said.
“You, me, and Lisa,” Rydell said, following behind her up the makeshift rope. “I like those odds.”
That’s when Prosak’s boot hit him in the face.
Moments later, Prosak and Beck were transported down to the bottom of the cliff where Bain, Morales and Rydell were already sitting around a campfire with Jeff.
“Glad you could make it,” Jeff said, holding up a stick with a marshmallow smouldering on the end. “Have a marshmallow?”
“No thanks,” Beck said flatly. She looked over at Rydell. “Are you okay?”
Rydell shook his head. “No.”
“Neither am I,” Morales sulked, leaning his chin on his fist. Then he winced. Both Morales and Rydell were covered in scratches.
“Luckily the cliff sort of inclines as you get toward the bottom,” Rydell said.
Morales nodded, then winced again. “Yeah, it was pretty much like rolling down a hill for the last hundred meters or so.”
“A very jagged, rocky hill,” said Rydell.
“What about…” Prosak began, then turned to see Bain, without a scratch on him, grinning.
“That was my kind of competition!” Bain said cheerily. “Now, then, Jeffers…what’s the prize?”
“I’m glad you asked,” said Jeff. “For you, Captain Bain, we have an opportunity for you to see a loved one for a short time.”
“What about the runners up?” Morales asked weakly.
Jeff didn’t spare a glance their way. “Medical attention,” he said flatly. He looked at Bain. “Ready for your big moment? Your wife Rosalyn is standing by.”
“First-rate!” Bain exclaimed. “How long do we get?”
“What?” exclaimed Beck.
“Starting now,” Jeff said, and Rosalyn Bain suddenly appeared in front of Bain.
“Dearest,” he said.
“Win,” Rosalyn said simply, and kissed him on the cheek. She then promptly vanished.
“That was LOVELY!” Bain exclaimed.
“Okay, that wraps up your eleventh night on the Survivor Planet,” Jeff said, then turned to walk away. “Get some sleep. Even greater challenges await you.”
“What about that medical attention?” asked Rydell.
Jeff said nothing. But as he disappeared, the group heard laughter.
None of them joined in.
AUTHORS’ NOTE: As usual, the voting in the Captain’s Council isn’t a perfect reflection of who was voted for or what percentage of votes they received. For those of you who must know, Baxter received 40% of the votes last week, which was enough to get him booted off-planet.