Author: Anthony Butler
by Anthony Butler
“Captain’s Log, Stardate 50302.7. After a small hostage situation and a large battle with indigestion, the Secondprize is once again under way. I’ve had some difficulty explaining our delay to the head of the Vadax Prime colony. To that end, I have sent our expert on…diplomacy, Commander Dillon, to smooth out some of the harsh feelings.”
“Let me get this straight, Commander. Your Captain was held hostage by a rogue officer, who, after his aprehension, was kept on as the head chef, who then gave half the crew a terrible case of indigestion?” David Harner, the head of the Vadax Prime colony muttered, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers.
“I know it sounds absurd, Mr. Harner, but it’s the absolute truth.” Commander Dillon said, attempting to hold his posture ramrod straight under the gaze of the head of the Vadax Prime colony.
“Absurd to say the least. We were desparately in need of those supplies. We had some very sick colonists who almost died because of you and your people’s incompetence.”
Dillon rocked back and forth a moment in nervous contemplation. “In all fairness, we haven’t tried his Chicken Marsala yet, and I hear that’s quite excellent.”
“GET OUT OF HERE!” Harner cried, picking up a padd from his desk and hurling it at the commander.
“Assaulting a starfleet officer is a felony, sir.” Dillon said quickly as he slid out of the office and the door wooshed shut behind him, the padd clattering against it and falling to the floor.
“That could have gone better.” Dillon said, walking down the hallway to the lobby of the colony’s operations center.
In the lobby, he found Lt. Commander Jaroch looking over some information on a padd.
“I trust you had an enlightening discussion with the head of the colony, sir?” Jaroch said, with a smirk.
“You could say that. Have all the supplies been beamed down?”
“Yes, sir. We can leave at any time.”
Dillon huffed. “Great, the sooner the better.”
“I don’t know, Commander, I quite like it here.”
Dillon shot Jaroch a sidelong glance and tapped his communicator.
“Dillon to Secondprize…two to…” Dillon was interrupted by a woman running up from one of the adjacent corridors.
“Dillon…Commander Travis Michael Dillon!” she screamed.
Dillon seemed taken aback. “Yes. Who wants to know?”
“Well, you don’t know me, but I’m a huge fan of yours.”
“Really!” Dillon’s face lit up.
“Oh, yes. I’ve heard all about you. From your brave handling of the Joegonots, to your cool headed negotiations in the recent hostage crisis. It’s all very exciting. You’ll be Captain before you know it.”
“Well, what can I say,” Dillon said, blushing slightly. “I was made for command.”
“I didn’t catch your name,” Jaroch said quizzically.
The woman shook Dillon’s hand, still ignoring the Yynsian. “Floria. Floria Demensia. Chief Ad Executive at Frutopia, Demensia, and Blornstein.”
Dillon smiled, straightening his uniform. “So what can I do for you, Miss Demensia?”
“The people at Chanel want to capture your scent.” the woman replied.
Jaroch covered his face with the padd. “You have got to be joking.”
The woman didn’t even look at Jaroch. “No, I’m not joking. You are perfect. Picture this…” the woman made an expansive gesture with her hands, “…‘Command can be a difficult thing, but you can be in command of any situation if you’re wearing…Starfleet Red!’”
Dillon smiled. “I LIKE it!”
Jaroch just shook his head. “You have got to be joking.”
The woman pressed an isolinear chip into Dillon’s palm. “Here’s my card, I’m only going to be on the planet a couple more days. If you’re interested, we can begin shooting tomorrow.”
Dillon just continued to smile. “I LIKE it.”
The woman walked off, saying, “Oh, yes, I can see it now, you’ll be the next Vima Roge, I can just feel it!”
Dillon was still awestruck. He finally snapped out of it when Jaroch smacked him upside the head with his padd.
Dillon looked over at him slyly. “Jealous?”
Jaroch folded his arms. “Of you? Hah! Let’s go.”
“Well…it’s definitely interesting.” Hawkins said carefully as she played with the food on her plate with her fork.
Dillon looked at her from the other side of the table in his quarters. “You could sound a little more enthusiastic…I’m going to be a star!”
Hawkins put her fork down. “How much do you know about this woman? How do you know she’s for real?”
“Why would she not be? Are you saying I’m not the perfect cologne poster boy?”
“Well, that wouldn’t be the first description to come to mind.”
Dillon just stared down at his own plate. “Well, Captain Rydell has approved my request to keep the Secondprize here a couple more days. I’m going to call the lady. She said we could begin shooting tomorrow.” Dillon pulled out the isolinear chip and fingered it carefully.
Hawkins got up from the table and put a hand on Dillon’s shoulder. “You really want this don’t you, Travis?”
Dillon looked up at her, “Yeah, I really do.”
She leaned forward and pulled the chip out of his hand, putting her arms around him and kissing him. “Well then I want it too.”
Secretly, though, she couldn’t help but be suspicious.
Commander Dillon looked at himself one more time in the mirror before leaving. As he headed out the door, he ran into Lieutenant Hawkins.
“Why, hello Patricia.” Dillon said sheepishly, straightening his uniform. “I was just on my way to the photo shoot.”
Patricia came up and looked him over. “I was just on my way to the bridge. You look wonderful.” Upon examining him closer, she noticed his hair seemed to glisten a little more than usual.
Hawkins put a hand through Dillon’s hair. “What is this stuff? Gel?”
“Yeah. Don’t you like it?”
Hawkins laughed, “I guess.”
Dillon strolled along one of the main throughfairs of the Vadax Prime colony, humming a happy tune. All he could think about was all the attention and stardom he would acquire. He was quite happy about the whole thing.
Coming to a stop, Dillon noted the building number on the isolinear chip he was given and compared it to the building he was standing next to.
“This must be the place.” he said to himself, stepping inside the door.
A small asian man with a ponytail and thick glasses (out of style but nonetheless still worn in some parts of the federation) approached him and shook his hand vigourously.
“Hello, you must be Corporal Beckett. Welcome! My name is Hoshi, and I’ll be attending to whatever you need. Come now, Floria is waiting for us.”
The man didn’t wait for Dillon to speak, simply dragging him by an arm to a room in the back.
Dillon raised his free finger. “Umm, that’s Commander Dillon.”
“Whatever. Come on.”
Lt. Hawkins rapped her fingers along the tactical console nervously.
Lt. Commander Jaroch looked back at her from the command chair. “Is there a problem, Lieutenant, or are you just performing some complicated tactical simulation back there?”
“I can’t stop thinking about Commander Dillon. This whole cologne thing just doesn’t sit right with me?”
“Why should it, he’s a complete…” Jaroch stopped himself, “…professional. Such a mockery of his stature is an insult to his career.”
“You don’t have to act like you like Travis, or even like you think he’s a competent officer. I know how you feel Jaroch. I’m just worried about him.” Hawkins replied.
Jaroch looked down at the readout on the arm of the command chair.
“Hmm. Your feelings may be justified, Lieutenant. I took the liberty of running a check on Miss Demensia’s background. There is no advertisement firm on record by the name of Frutopia, Demensia, and Blornstein.”
Hawkins’s face turned to one of concern. “Permission to beam down and find out what the hell is going on, Commander.”
Jaroch got up from the command chair. “Only if I accompany you. Lieutenant Sullivan, you have the bridge.”
“Welcome, Commander. We’ve been expecting you.” Ms. Demensia
said as Dillon and Hoshi entered the studio. “Let’s get started right away. It’s time to make a star!”
Dillon winked nonchalantly. “Ready when you are, Ms. Demensia.”
“Good, good. Just sit right down here and we’ll begin.”
Dillon looked around. The room was a common studio. It had full lighting and a plain, grey backdrop, with a stool in the center.
Hoshi dragged Dillon over to the stool and forced him down. “Here you go, Commander. Something to drink? Cappucino, perhaps?”
Dillon tried to steady himself on the chair nervously. “Umm.
Hoshi ran over to one corner of the room and began fumbling with the cappucino machine.
“Let’s begin.” Demensia said, picking up a photo imager from a nearby table, along with a glass bottle.
She handed the bottle to Dillon. “This is the scent we developed. Hold it in your hand, let it grow on you.”
Dillon stared at the bottle. It was in the shape of the starfleet emblem and communicator , with the triangular apex and the hollow rectangle behind it. The top screwed off to reveal a button, which Dillon presumed activated the spray.
“Neato.” Dillon smiled, looking the bottle over.
“Okay,” Demensia continued, taking position directly in front of the officer. “I want you to hold the bottle next to your face and smile. There ya go, perfect.” She snapped a few pictures and moved from side to side, continuing to coax him.
“Marvelous, just marvelous. Now, I want you to squirt yourself. A lot. Show that you aren’t afraid to go over the edge.
Explore your manly side.”
Dillon did as he was told happily. He was really getting into this whole modeling thing. “Like this?” Dillon asked, squirting the spray.
“Yes.” Demensia said, dropping the imager on the floor, her face suddenly becoming much more stoic. “That’s perfect.”
Dillon looked from Demensia to the floor. “Hey, why did you drop the…” Suddenly his face became completely blank. “I am yours to command.
“Perfect. The stuff actually worked.” Demensia smiled, running a finger along Dillon’s chin. “Just perfect.”
Hoshi walked up behind her, and evil grin spreading along his face. “Just as I told you it would, Mistress.”
He turned her around and kissed her, passionately. “The Secondprize will soon be ours.”
Demensia pushed the asian man away and turned her attention back to Dillon. “Yes, yes. But first we have to find out some information. Tell me, Commander…what is the prefix code of the Starship Secondprize?”
Jaroch and Hawkins materialized in the lobby of the building where they had located Dillon’s comm badge signal.
“This way…” Jaroch said, looking at his tricorder.
Hawkins pulled out her phaser, just in case. “I hope we’re wrong.”
They made their way to the studio. There Jaroch saw the woman who had approached Dillon the day before, with a man he didn’t recognize. Their backs were to Hawkins and Jaroch as they hovered over Commander Dillon.
“What’s wrong with him?” Hawkins whispered, staring at Dillon’s blank face.
“He is under the influence of some sort of drug.” Jaroch said, examining his tricorder readings.
Dillon seemed to be muttering something. “…code is 011874”
Jaroch seemed to suddenly seem extremely annoyed. “Those digits represent Captain Rydell’s birthday. Why would they be…”
“They’re also the Secondprize’s prefix code, you moron!” Hawkins shouted with exasparation.
Suddenly, both the woman and the man with the ponytail turned around.
“Ahh, you are correct, Lieutenant.”
The woman snapped into action. “Hoshi, contact the ship and give them the prefix code. Dillon! Kill them!” She jammed a phaser into his hand.
“Yes, mistress.” Dillon said, jumping from the stool.
“We’d better make a strategic retreat!” Hawkins shouted, running out of the room, Jaroch behind her.
Captain Rydell entered the bridge, fresh from a long nap. He looked around quizzically. “Where the heck is everyone?”
Lt. Sullivan stood up from the command chair. “Commander Dillon is on the surface getting his picture taken, and Lt. Commander Jaroch and Lt. Hawkins went down there to check up on him.”
“Oh. Well, it’s not like we’re in a Red Alert situation. Resume your post, Lieutenant. Rydell sighed as he sat down in his command chair. Before he could get comfortable, the ensign at tactical cleared his throat.
“Sir, we’re picking up a ship decloaking fourteen kilometers off the starboard bow. They are on an intercept course.”
“What? Raise shields and go to red alert, mister…”
“Marsh, sir, Ensign John Marsh.”
“Right, whatever. Hail them too.” Rydell muttered, shifting in his seat.
“Aye, sir.” The ensign pressed a couple of buttons. “No response.”
“That’s odd. Are their comm systems funct-“
“Hawkins to Secondprize.”
Rydell stabbed the button on his chair, annoyed at having been interrupted. “What is it, Hawkins?”
“You have to change the ship’s prefix code! You’re about to be attacked! No time to explain!” Hawkins cried, in between phaser blasts.
“Change the prefix code?” Rydell said rubbing his chin. “What the hell’s going on?”
“JUST DO ITT!”
Rydell walked back to tactical. “You heard her, Marsh. Let’s see, what do you think is a good prefix code?”
Marsh thought a moment. “Gee, sir, I don’t know.” He was starting to feel the pressure of the moment. “Um…123456?”
“NOT GOOD ENOUGH!” Rydell shouted in his face, pushing him to the side. “You’re going to have to be more creative than that. Hmmm, how about 101464? That’s the date of the first time I…well, never mind.” Rydell punched the numbers in just as a stream of phaser fire came from the other ship.
“They’re firing on us, sir!” Marsh said.
“No shit, you have tactical back, Ensign, return fire. Try to disable them.” Rydell said, walking back down to his chair.
“Sir, we have identified the vessel.” Ensign Kristen Witzmann said from ops. “It matches the description of the vessel the Enterprise-D encountered at Ventax Two.”
“I’ll be damned. The Ardra impersonator escaped.” Rydell mused.
“The vessel was no match for our weapons, sir, she has been disabled.” Marsh said proudly from tactical.
“Good job, Mister. Now have a boarding party go over there and secure that ship.” Rydell replied.
“Travis, will you please stop shooting at me? I’m your girlfriend for christ’s sake!” Hawkins shouted, ducking behind a desk.
Dillon just blindly continued firing.
“That did not seem to work.” Jaroch said, adjusting the setting on his phaser.
“What are you going to do, Jaroch?” Hawkins asked.
“I am preparing to do what we should have done in the first place. Stun the hell out of him.”
“I can’t watch this.” Hawkins exclaimed, covering her face.
Jaroch stood up from behind the desk, dodged a phaser blast, and hit Dillon square in the chest, knocking him on his feet.
Jaroch looked at his phaser, a smile spreading across his face. “My, I did enjoy that.”
“Quick, the other two are getting away!” Hawkins shouted, seeing the the woman and man duck out the rear door.
“You have completely screwed up, Hoshi!” Demensia screamed, running down the alley behind the building she had rented out.
“It is not I that screwed up, madam. The formula worked perfectly. I would blame the incompetence of your crew which has now been twice beaten.”
“No, both of you shut up!” Hawkins cried from behind them, dropping them both with a phaser blast.
Hawkins and Jaroch approached the two immobile forms.
“This is for making my boyfriend try to kill me, you bitch!” Hawkins said, kicking the woman swiftly in the gut.
Jaroch looked over at her. “You realize that she did not feel that in her stunned condition.”
“No, but she’ll sure as hell be sore when she wakes up.”
“Captain’s Log, Stardate 50303.5. We have captured the alledged Miss Demensia’s ship and crew, again, and we are towing them, lock, stock, and barrel, to Starbase 220, where they will stand trial and be put away in cold storage, again. I can only hope that this time Starfleet will do a better job of holding on to Miss Demensia.”
“So that’s your report, Commander?” Rydell asked, looking his padd up and down.
“Yes sir. Demensia and her friends escaped from the penal colony on Jaros Two and managed to rescue their ship from a scrapyard. She then became enamoured with the alleged Mr. Hoshi and concocted a scheme to capture a starfleet vessel and sell it to the highest bidder.”
“Like that’s ever worked.” Rydell laughed, “So how could you possibly be dumb enough to fall for such a scheme?”
“Well sir,” Dillon said, still at attention, “I guess I couldn’t see the proverbial forest for the trees.”
“Sounds to me like your head is made of wood. Dismissed.” Rydell said, still laughing.
Later that night, Commander Dillon arrived at Lt. Hawkins’s quarters with a boquet of roses. When she opened the door, he offered them, smiling broadly.
“Gee, I’m sorry I tried to kill you, Patricia.”
Hawkins took the flowers and beckoned for Dillon to enter. “Think nothing of it. Has the mind control drug completely worn off yet?”
Dillon collapsed on Hawkins’s couch, rubbing his head. “Doctor Aldridge says that most of it is out of my system. She also said that I may feel the aftereffects for the next few days.”
Hawkins thought a moment. “Interesting. Travis, put these flowers in a vase.”
Dillon snapped up and grabbed the flowers, ran over to the replicator to replicate a vase full of water, then jammed the flowers into the vase.
“Did I do that?” Dillon asked incredulously, looking at the vase.
“I don’t believe it. Now clean my quarters and make dinner.” Hawkins laughed, wishing that the effects of the drug would last just a little longer.