Author: Anthony Butler, Alan Decker
AUTHORS’ NOTE: Could it be true? Is one of the real “Survivor” contestants a Star Traks fan? Well…no. This was really just a cheap plot to get you to read the Authors’ Note. Now that you’re here, Alan would like to take some time to rant about the atrocities CBS has committed against the houseguests on Big Brother…but we’re not going to let him.
SURVIVOR TRAKS VI By Alan Decker and Anthony Butler with Daniel McNickle
JEFF: It’s Day Fifteen on the planet, and with so little time and few people remaining, you’d think tensions would be high. They’re not. We’ve got two women and two men left. There’s sexual tension everywhere, and what’s happening? NOTHING! Not a damn thing! They just sit there. How the hell did I let myself get dragged into this hosting gig?
But I’m a professional. I’ve tried to make the best of it. I even allowed Beck and Prosak a chance to spend time with me. Did they do the smart thing and jump at the chance? NO! Oh, let this end! Forget it. Nothing’s happening. They’re sitting on the beach sunning themselves and being pleasant. Let’s just move on to Captain’s Council and get it over with.
The remaining four castaways were rather abruptly snatched from their scenic beach to the wooden deck deep in the jungle that was the site of the dreaded Captain’s Council.
“So much for beach volleyball,” Beck said.
“A pity,” Prosak said, holding up a roughly spherical-shaped mass of palm fronds. “I had almost finished constructing the ball.”
“What’s the matter with you people?” Jeff demanded. “You’re supposed to be sniping at each other. Where’s the anger? Where’s the passion? Where’s the drama?”
The group just shrugged. “We kind of like each other,” Morales said.
“Well, STOP!” Jeff shouted. “That’s it. One of you is out of here. Let’s see if that shakes you out of your complacency. GO VOTE!”
“Jeeze,” Beck said as she headed for the voting area. “Somebody doesn’t know how to handle rejection.”
A few minutes later, everyone had voted and returned to their seats. Jeff retrieved the voting bin and brought it back to the main council area.
“All right. Let see who got backstabbed today,” he said, rubbing his hands together eagerly. “The first vote is for Prosak. And now…Beck…and Rydell…and Morales. Now wait just a damn second. You planned this, didn’t you?”
The castaways smiled innocently.
“You think you’re so clever. No more Mister Nice Host! You get over there and really vote or we’ll blow up your respective ships and station. Got it!”
“You’re looking a little tense there, Jeffy,” Rydell said.
THE REAL VOTES:
RYDELL: Duck duck duck duck duck duck goose! Damn. Sorry, Prosak. It was fun, but the gods of random chance have decided it’s time for you to leave.
MORALES: Rydell! With him gone and Prosak off doing whatever it is she does, I’ll finally be able to spend some time alone with Lisa.
PROSAK: Considering the tension I have observed between Commander Morales and Captain Rydell, I will choose Captain Beck. With Beck gone and Morales and Rydell worried about each other, it will be easier for me to win.
BECK: Well, I really don’t know Prosak all that well, so I guess I’ll go with her. No hard feelings.
Jeff returned to the Captain’s Council area again with the voting bin and one hell of a serious scowl. “So help me, if these are all different…” He waved his fist at the group, then counted the votes. “Prosak…Rydell…Beck…I’m going to kill all of you!” He pulled out the last vote. “PROSAK! Thank the Great Bird!”
“We live to make you happy,” Rydell said.
“I really thought you guys were out to get me for a moment there,” Jeff said, obviously relieved.
“Wait a moment. I lost?” Prosak said stunned.
“Looks like it,” Jeff said. “Bye bye.”
“But I have survival skills. No one dislikes me. Removing me is SO not logical!!!”
“You’re right,” Beck said unconcerned. “Ain’t that a bitch?”
Prosak’s body vanished before she could reply.
“Congratulations to the rest of you for making it this far,” Jeff said. “But we’re at crunch time now. It’s time to get vicious.”
“Uh…sure,” Beck said. “Can we go now?”
“All right. But please, for my sake, have at least one fight.”
Rydell scooped up Prosak’s makeshift beach ball. “We’ll see what we can do.”
“That’s all I ask.”
An instant later, Beck, Rydell, and Morales were back in their camp. Rydell took a quick look around to make sure that the volleyball net they’d built out of sticks and palm fronds was still up. He then gave the ball a couple of test bounces.
“Looks like we’re good to go.”
“Shouldn’t we have that fight we promised first?” Beck asked.
“Nah. Let’s do it later.”
“No. I want to do it now and get it over with.”
“Later!” Rydell said forcefully.
“NOW!” Beck retorted, going toe to toe with him.
“I said later!”
“I said now!”
“Fine!” Rydell shouted.
“Okay!” Beck practically screamed. “Cool. That should do it,” Rydell said, reverting back to instant calm. “One on one volleyball, winner stays?” Beck suggested.
“Sounds good to me. Walt?”
Morales snapped back to alertness. He’d drifted off a bit as he watched Rydell and Beck engage in their bizarre yet brief altercation. “Um…okay.”
JEFF: That so-called fight was about all the excitement that happened for the rest of Day Fifteen. Oh, Beck creamed both Morales and Rydell at volleyball, but otherwise they ate leftovers from the buffet a couple of days ago and basically just acted like this place is Club Med! We’re having Survivor Traks II on Rura Penthe, dammit! We’ll see how they like that! Anyway, we’ll re-edit the hell out of that fake fight and try and make it look vicious. In the meantime, we’ll move on to Day Sixteen. The castaways think they’re getting their usual day off after Captain’s Council. HA! Not this time!
“I was thinking,” Rydell said as he, Morales, and Beck sat in the camp’s makeshift kitchen area having breakfast, “maybe we could build a bowling alley.”
“I don’t think the beach ball will roll across sand real well,” Beck replied.
“We could find some of those coconut things.”
“They were full of some goop that blew up as soon as air hit it.”
“So? It’ll be good incentive not to throw too hard.”
“Okay. I guess we don’t have anything else to do today.”
As had been the case most of the last 24 hours, Morales was silent.
“What’s going on in there, Walt?” Beck asked, tapping him gently on the side of the head.
“Nothing,” he said glumly.
“Oh come on, Morales,” Rydell said, wrapping a friendly arm around the commander’s shoulder. “Take a look around. It’s beautiful. And here we are, just the three of us, to enjoy it. We can all spend our time together relaxing and having a good time as a trio.”
“Don’t remind me,” Morales muttered.
Rydell looked at Beck and shrugged. “I guess he’s not a beach guy.”
Morales’ eyes widened in anger as he rose from his seat. He was about to haul off and let Rydell have it when Jeff appeared right in the center of the campfire. Seeming not to notice the flames licking his legs, Jeff took a step toward the group.
“Morning, Survivors,” Jeff said.
“What of it?” Morales snapped, his fists clenching and unclenching frantically.
“What’s with him?” Jeff asked.
“Sand in his shorts,” Rydell replied.
“He’s going to need to be tougher than that.”
“AHHHHH!” Morales screamed, diving at Jeff and tackling him into the fire. In a blur of uncontrolled fury, Morales began pummeling the host repeatedly, lefts and rights slamming into Jeff’s face again and again until Rydell and Beck (who took a few moments to enjoy the attack on their ever-smug tormentor) pulled a seething Morales off of him.
“Woah there, Rocky,” Beck said. “Just relax. Breathe. Breathe.”
“Sorry,” Morales gasped. “Could…not…take…anymore!”
Rydell helped Jeff up to his feet. “I’m glad he doesn’t feel that way about me,” Rydell commented, drawing another angry glare from Morales.
“Since I’m unharmed, I’m going to let it slide rather than smiting you on the spot,” Jeff said.
“What are you doing here anyway?” Beck asked. “Our challenge isn’t until tomorrow.”
“Not this time. We’re nearing the end, so things are getting more intense.”
“Intense?” Beck said. “Oh great. What is it today?”
Beck, Morales, and Rydell instantly found themselves inside a darkened arena. Each of them was standing in front of a kitchen set up complete with sinks, ovens, stoves, etc.
“Jeff? Jeff!” Rydell called.
“Right here,” Jeff said, stepping out of the darkness.
“What the hell are we supposed to cook?” Rydell asked.
“Why the hell are we supposed to cook?” Beck said.
“I can’t cook!” Morales cried.
“All shall be revealed,” Jeff said. He turned to Morales. “But you may be screwed. And now I present, our IRON JUDGES!”
Suddenly, as booming music blared through the arena and smoke billowed from the floor, a bank of lights illuminated a raised stage at the front of the arena, dominated by a large red curtain. A long table slowly rose up from the floor as the music grew even louder. Behind this table, five Asian men, four of whom wore garishly colored chefs outfits, complete with tall hats, rose up out of the floor. The man in the middle, an especially intense man with wavy black hair who was not wearing a chef’s outfit, stood up dramatically, threw the multicolored cape he wore behind him with a flourish, and took a huge bite out of a raw, yellow pepper. His smile afterwards gave the castaways the chills.
In sync, the five men sat down at the table to watch the cooking to come as Jeff stepped to the base of the stage. “You will be given one hour to fix a meal that you feel best exemplifies our ingredient of the day. At the end of that period, our panel of IRON JUDGES will taste your efforts and pass judgment! The winner will spend tonight in a luxury room at the Starfleet Suites Hotel on exotic Waystation.”
“Exotic? Two thirds of us live there,” Morales said.
“Oh, be quiet,” Jeff snapped. “And now we present, the INGREDIENT!”
More smoke billowed into the room as a large covered pot appeared on each stove in a sparkling swirl of color.
Rydell, Beck, and Morales stared at Jeff in confused silence.
“I said, GUZIMAKK!”
“We heard,” Beck said. “What the hell is a Guzimakk?”
“You’ll find out. Survivors ready…BEGIN!”
Morales, knowing that he was going to need all the time he could get, dove at his stove and ripped the lid off of the pot. Almost instantly, four purple tentacles lanced up, wrapped around Morales, and yanked his down into the pot.
“Woah!” Rydell exclaimed, jumping backwards before his “ingredient” could strike at him.
“We’ll just see about this,” Beck grumbled, rolling up her sleeve and grabbing a rolling pin. She used the pin to smack off the lid of her pot, then charged in swinging.
As Beck thrust and parried with her guzimakk and Morales struggled for his very life with his, Rydell wandered off to see what other supplies were available for this meal he was supposed to be preparing.
JEFF: We’re about halfway through the Guzimakk battle and… “Fukisan!” JEFF: Who said that? “Fukisan!” JEFF: I don’t know who you are, but you’d better leave now. “FUKISAN!” JEFF: Oh all right. WHAT? “Captain Beck has mixed Guzimakk with white white, shallots, and angel hair pasta.” JEFF: Great. Thanks. Now as I was saying… “Fukisan!” JEFF: Why me?
The hour passed all too quickly for Beck and Rydell but not soon enough for Morales. Finally, time was called, and the IRON JUDGES prepared to sample the dishes created by the castaways.
“First,” Jeff said as plates were set down in front of the IRON JUDGES, “we have Captain Lisa Beck’s Guzimakk with Wine, a light dish designed to tempt the palate with succulent bits of Guzimakk and clams over pasta covered in refreshing white wine sauce. And now IRON JUDGES, JUDGE!!!!”
All five men dove in with gusto, consuming their meals in mere seconds. Then all at once they were perfectly stoic again.
“Right…well,” Jeff said, looking a bit flustered by this performance. “Moving on we have Captain Alex Rydell’s Guzimakk-inspired souffle, a rich, hearty combination of potatoes, cheese, shrimp, scallops, peas, and broccoli. IRON JUDGES, JUDGE!!!”
The five judges looked at the plates set in front of them a bit suspiciously after hearing that list of ingredients, then, after a synchronized shrug, dove in. After two bites, they shoved the plates away.
“NO GUZIMAKK!” they cried.
Rydell smiled weakly. “Yeah. Well, I just couldn’t bring myself to kill the little guy.”
“You have disgraced our profession!”
“What can I tell you? I’m just not that into squid.”
Jeff stepped in before the IRON JUDGES could finish pulling out their fillet knives. “All right. Let’s see what Commander Walter Morales has to offer.”
“Here!” Morales spat, slamming the pot down on the table. His hair was a complete wreck as tattered strips hung off of his uniform. “Eat!”
The caped IRON JUDGE tentatively lifted the lid off of the pot and was immediately ensnared by tentacles. The other four sprung into action to free their leader as he was pulled in by the Guzimakk. In the background, Morales rolled on the floor in unstoppable insane laughter.
“I think you win,” Rydell said to Beck.
“Yes she does,” Jeff said happily. “You and I will now spend a wonderful night at the luxurious Starfleet Suites Hotel on Waystation, compliments of Bradley Dillon.”
“Ha!” Beck laughed. “You and I are not going anywhere. I am sleeping in a soft bed tonight. You can run off to whatever pit of hell you live in when you’re not tormenting us.”
“Oh,” Jeff said rebuked. “I see.”
“You’d better. Now let’s get cracking. Later, fellas.”
“Have a nice evening,” Rydell said as Beck vanished on her way to her evening of comfort. A moment later, he and Morales were back on the beach, Morales still doubled over with laughter. Rydell sighed and went over to help Morales back to reality.
“Hey, bud,” Rydell said, giving Morales a shake as he forced the commander to stand. “Game’s over.”
Morales suddenly snapped fully alert, his eyes darting back and forth. “Where’s Lisa?” he demanded.
“She won. She’s in a hotel room by now, probably stripping down to take a nice warm bubble bath, stretching out those long, silky legs as she…” Rydell realized that Morales’ face had completely glazed over, his eyes bugging out slightly. “Never mind. Anyway, it’s just you and me tonight.”
Morales tried to hold onto the image of Beck in a tub for as long as he could, but was eventually forced back to the present. A night alone with Rydell. Joy.
“Don’t you worry,” Rydell was saying. “I made a deck of cards out of fronds, we’ve got shells for chips. It’s poker night!”
Morales took a longing look at the ocean and wondered how hard it would be to drown himself.
AND SO ENDS SURVIVOR TRAKS VI (With Apologies to “Iron Chef,” which is a great show BTW)…