Author: Alan Decker
“The Mad Booter
by Alan Decker
Commander Travis Dillon, First Officer of the Federation starship Secondprize, was walking down the corridors of G deck softly reciting regulations in order to commit them to memory. The new supplement had just arrived over subspace, and Dillon wanted to be sure he was prepared if any situations arose where the new regulations were required. As he practiced the new regulations on dental hygiene, Dillon didn’t pay much attention to the footsteps approaching from behind. The footsteps got even closer. Dillon hit the section on molars. Closer still. Brush up and down, not side to side.
“Boot to the head,” a voice said suddenly.
“What?!” Dillon exclaimed as he tried to whirl around. The last thing he saw was a regulation boot directly in front of his nose. THUD! Blackness.
Several hours later, Ensign Larkin sat quietly in Seven Backward staring out the windows into the infinite void of space. The lounge was deserted due to the late hour. She didn’t even bother to turn around when the doors whooshed open. Someone entered and slowly approached. The android was looking forward to having some company. The person came closer. Kris’s etiquette program told her to turn and greet the newcomer.
“Boot to the head,” the person said softly. In the following second, Larkin’s positronic brain mused over the meaning of this statement. A boot slammed into the back of her head dislodging it and sending it flying into the window. Larkin comprehended the meaning of the statement just before she lost power and shut down.
Lieutenant Patricia Hawkins was summoned to the ready room of Captain Alexander Rydell early the next morning. She stepped onto the bridge rubbing the last bits of sleep from her eyes and walked down the sloping floor to the door of the ready room.
“Come,” Captain Rydell called from inside after Hawkins pressed the door chime. Hawkins stepped forward and entered as the doors whooshed open for her. Commander Dillon was seated on the sofa, and Chief Engineer Scott Baird sat in a chair in front of the captain’s desk. Commander Dillon’s nose was bandaged, and Commander Baird was holding a large, round object in his lap. The object was a head; Ensign Larkin’s to be exact. “Lieutenant, we’ve got a problem.”
“We’ve got a maniac,” Dillon wailed nasally.
“What’s going on?” Hawkins asked puzzled.
“In the last twelve hours, two people have been attacked by an unknown assailant,” Captain Rydell explained. “Commander Dillon was the first victim. He was walking down a corridor when someone came up behind him, said ‘boot to the head’, and then gave him one.”
“A what?” Hawkins asked stifling a laugh. The whole thing seemed crazy.
“A boot to the head!” Dillon shouted indignantly. “And it isn’t funny!” Hawkins caught a glimpse of Captain Rydell trying to keep from laughing, and she lost it. That set Captain Rydell off. The two of them started laughing uncontrollably. Commander Baird soon joined them. Dillon’s cries of ‘This isn’t funny!’ were completely ignored. Five minutes later, they regained their composure. Dillon crossed his arms and sulked.
“Is that what happened to Larkin?” Hawkins asked finally.
“Yep,” Baird replied. “Trinian found her body seated in Seven Backward this morning. Her head was ten feet away by the window.” Baird handed Hawkins the ensign’s head. “As you can see, the back of her head’s completely f**ked, and her nose ain’t doing too well either.” Hawkins saw the clear imprint of the heel of a boot on the back of her head. She turned the head around. Larkin’s nose had been smashed completely flat.
“I want this psycho found and thrown in the brig,” Rydell ordered.
“Yeah!” Dillon said. “I want to return the favor… with boots made out of steel plates!” Hawkins handed the head back to the chief engineer.
“I’ll have this taken care of before lunch,” Hawkins said.
“I’m counting on it,” Rydell said. “Dismissed.” Hawkins turned and left the ready room. She walked up to the turbolift.
The doors opened, and Hawkins stepped inside.
“Deck 6,” she said. The turbolift began its descent. Hawkins stood there and thought about how to go about capturing this boot maniac. She glanced down. Ensign Sullivan was lying on the floor. Hawkins continued her thinking. Two seconds later, her brain registered the meaning of what her eyes had seen. She kneeled down to the ensign. Sullivan was unconscious, and there was a large bump forming on the back of her head.
“Hawkins to sickbay,” she said slapping her commbadge.
“Singer here,” Dr. Singer replied. Hawkins explained the situation to the doctor. The turbolift stopped, and Hawkins exited. She walked toward her quarters preoccupied.
“Boot to the head,” a voice said suddenly. Hawkins was knocked unconscious before she even had a chance to react.
“She’s coming around,” Hawkins heard Dr. Singer say as she drifted back into consciousness. Hawkins was lying on a bio-bed in sickbay. She tried to sit up, but her head protested painfully. She lay back down with a groan. So much for getting this wrapped up before lunch. She looked to the beds on either side. Ensign Preston was lying in one, and Lieutenant Vaughn was in the other. This was starting to get out of hand. She had to do something and fast. As she lay there staring at the ceiling of sickbay, the beginnings of a plan formed. Oh yeah, this was going to work.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Commander Dillon said after Lieutenant Hawkins had explained her idea to the captain and Commander Dillon.
“Shut up, Number One,” Rydell snapped. “I think it could just work. Proceed, Lieutenant. We’ll help in any way possible.”
“Thank you, sir,” Hawkins said and left the ready room. All she had to do now was bait the trap and hope that it worked.
Lieutenant Hawkins stepped into Holodeck Three and was pleased to see that the computer had followed her instructions to the letter. She went in and started her workout.
Outside the holodeck, news spread like wildfire that Lieutenant Hawkins had found a way to stop the Mad Booter and that even now she was hard at work on it. Things couldn’t be going better.
Hawkins sat on the holodeck floor facing away from the holodeck door deep in meditation. She heard the doors open and shut. She continued meditating. Now was not the time to be hasty. The footsteps came closer. She waited. Closer. Just another second.
“Boot to the…”
“Head!” Hawkins shouted and dove forward out of the way. A boot as large as a shuttlecraft dropped from the holodeck ceiling and hit the Mad Booter right on top of the head. The Booter collapsed to the ground unconscious.
Captain Rydell, Commander Dillon, and Lieutenant Hawkins stood over the prostrate form of Lieutenant Commander Jaroch as he lay in sickbay. The Secondprize’s science officer was recovering from a huge concussion after being squashed by the boot.
“I don’t get it,” Dillon was saying. “Why the hell would Jaroch go around doing something like that?”
“I bet it wasn’t Jaroch,” Hawkins replied. “He’s said that J’Ter isn’t the only person he used to be. This was probably one of his other lives.”
“What was he, a disgruntled shoe salesman?” Dillon asked.
“The All-Yyns Quan-leep champion,” Jaroch mumbled. “I had the championship five years running with that boot to the head move.
I apologize for Tikos’s behavior, Captain.”
“Not a problem, Jaroch,” Rydell replied. “Lieutenant Hawkins took care of the whole situation quite nicely.”
“One good boot deserves another,” Hawkins said smiling.