Disclaimer: Star Trek, it's spin-offs, merchandise, novels, characters, etc. are all owned by Paramount (and Viacom). Star Traks was created by Alan Decker. Star Traks Silverado is my work, based on Alan Decker's work, based on Gene Rodenberry's work.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2004

It was a beautiful day in Earth orbit. The Sun reflected brilliantly off the planet’s blue oceans and white clouds. Spacedock spun slowly like a giant top. Workbees, shuttles and starships moved on complex flight paths. There wasn’t an ion cloud in sight.

Not far from Spacedock an old box dock orbited. Cradled in it was an Ambassador-class ship, the hull gleaming. Umbilicals detached from the ship’s smooth, shiny skin. Thruster ports ignited, and the ship sailed smoothly out of dock. As the sun hit the saucer the words U.S.S. Silverado, NCC-135060 could be seen, proudly displayed.

There was a sudden burst of sparks from the ship’s port warp nacelle! Electrical discharge danced across the hull and thrusters began firing at random, sending the ship spiraling down toward the planet. A sudden series of explosions rippled across the saucer, shattering the ship’s name and sending chunks of metal flying in all directions. The hull began to glow with the friction of atmospheric reentry.

Just before the ship smashed into the middle of North America there was a sudden, blinding flash of light. The ship’s engineering hull broke apart, spreading pure engine-grade antimatter across the continent. As the antimatter hit the atmosphere it reacted with the regular matter particles creating an explosion of incredible fury.

North America disappeared into the firestorm. Shock waves rippled across the globe. Tsunamis washed islands and coastlines away as the Earth trembled in it’s death throes.


Captain Christopher Stafford bolted up out of bed.

“Bridge! Status report! STATUS REPORT!” he yelled.

“Nothing to report,” came the tired voice from the bridge.

“Nothing?”

“Nothing.”

“Um, is Earth still there?”

“Yes, of course it’s still f**king there!” came the now tired and annoyed voice, “Who the hell is this anyway?”

Stafford closed the channel. Wow, what an awful dream. He’d had nightmares before, but nothing this bad! His ship destroying the world. He was still breathing heavily as he walked over to the replicator.

“Milk, warm,” he commanded.

The replicator sputtered. Nothing appeared on the pad.

“Milk, warm, PLEASE!” he said.

The replicator sputtered again. This time a glass of milk materialized. Like so many things aboard ship the replicator systems had finally been repaired. Unfortunately, the repairs had been rushed and many systems were not completely up to Starfleet standard. The computer’s personality programming had only started making matters worse after somehow getting mixed up with the personality profile for Stafford’s mother. Stafford wasn’t sure how the hell THAT had happened, but suspected Jall had managed it somehow. As much as Stafford loved his dear, sweet mommy he had to admit that he wouldn’t want her running his ship. Fortunately the symptoms were very minor, such as replicators insisting that they be treated with respect and nagging him to make sure to recycle the dishes. Stafford finished his milk, placed the mug in the replicator and hit the “reclaim” button.

“Anything else honey?” asked the computer.

“No thanks mo-, um, computer,” mumbled Stafford as he wandered back to bed.


The next morning Stafford walked into Engineering rubbing his eyes. The place was empty. All the midget engineers were scattered throughout the ship, repairing and upgrading systems. The warp core stood idle at the far end of the compartment. The walls and ceiling had been scrubbed back to their original pristine condition and the master systems display was showing a graphic display of the ship. Two weeks ago the display had been lit up like a Christmas tree with errors and warning icons. (Two weeks and one day ago it had been a shattered ruin.) The number of major problems on the board had dropped considerably, but there were still minor malfunctions and glitches plaguing the ship.

“Looks like the cleaning crew was in here,” Stafford commented as he stepped into Jeffrey’s office. Jeffrey made no reply. He was too busy drooling over a padd he must have been reading before he fell asleep. Jeffrey moaned. His legs started twitching.

“WAKE UP!” shouted Stafford. Jeffrey bolted awake.

“AHHH!!!”

“Bad dream?” asked Stafford.

“Oy, what happened? What time is it?” stammered Jeffery.

“0800h,” said Stafford, “How late were you working in here?”

“Oh, it wasn’t that late. Y’know, Ah was having this terrible dream-“

“How late?” Stafford demanded.

“Um, about 0500h sir.”

Stafford sighed. “Look, Simon, we’ve had this talk. As much as I admire your hard work, you need to get SOME sleep! The last thing we need is to blow up because you forgot to seal a plasma conduit or something!” Stafford shuddered, remembering his nightmare, “That’s the LAST thing we need.”

“Ah understand that sir,” said Jeffery, “But we’re supposed to launch in 3 days! Ah have to have her ready to go! There’s too much to do! We still have to finish getting that dent out of the navigational defle-“

“Aren’t your engineers doing that this afternoon?” Stafford cut him off.

“Aye, but-“

“And do they REALLY need you hovering, well, towering over them the whole time?”

“Well, no, but-“

“Beat it. Scram. Go to bed. If I see you on duty before 1600 I’m going to kick your ass!” Stafford walked out of Jeffery’s office and out of Engineering. “End of discussion!” he called back over his shoulder.


Jeffery stumbled back to his quarters. Truth be told he was exhausted. He’d barely been sleeping for the past 2 days. The nightmares he’d been having had been too intense for any restful sleep. As he approached his quarters he passed T’Parief, who was on his way to the bridge.

“Morning big guy,” said Jeffery as he passed by. The large lizard-like officer grunted a greeting and continued walking.

“Rude,” muttered Jeffery. He entered his quarters without bothering to call for lights. There was nothing to see. His possessions were still in Cargo Bay 3. The walls, floor and ceiling of his quarters were still filthy and his bathroom mirror was shattered. He hadn’t had the chance to have his quarters renovated yet.

Jeffery climbed in to bed and tried to sleep.


Ensign Yanick was sitting in the main dining hall on the starboard side of Silverado’s saucer when Captain Stafford walked in carrying a tray and looking slightly haggard.

“Morning Captain, gonna have breakfast with me?” she asked with a smile.

“Sure, why not,” he said.

“So whatcha doing down here?” asked Yanick, “I thought captains had their own place to eat. I never saw my last captain at mealtimes. He always locked himself in there.”

“It was too quiet,” said Stafford, “I needed some company and some conversation.”

“Well, you sure came to the right place! You look pretty tired. Trouble sleeping?”

“Yes actually. I was having nightmares last night. I feel like I spent the night at a Klingon dance club.”

Yanick giggled. “That would be a nightmare! I’ve been sleeping like a baby ever since Jall fixed up my quarters.”

“So what’s new?” asked Stafford as he picked at his cereal.

“Well, we’ve got the torque sensors realigned, and the inertial dampening field is finally reacting properly to helm commands, so next time we take her out we should have a much smoother ride. Oh, and I think T’Parief’s been avoiding me.”

It took Stafford a moment to register what she had just said. “Huh?”

“T’Parief,” Yanick said, “Y’know, he seemed all interested at the party last week. And he thanked me for watching over him…y’know, to make sure he didn’t choke on his own vomit or something, but now anytime I try to talk to him he has something else to do.”

“Um, well, we have been busy,” said Stafford. Why the hell was his helm officer engaging him in girl-talk? That’s what the ships counselor was for. <Uh-oh> Stafford thought to himself, <Counselor? S**T! I KNEW I forgot something!>

“Yeah,” said Yanick, “But he could at least talk to me!”

“Um, yes, yes he could. That’s not very nice of him at all,” Stafford desperately thought of a different subject. “So, uh, your personnel file shows you grew up on a farm. How was that?”

“Oh, it was great!” said Yanick, “We had cattle, and a couple horses. My brothers played hockey a lot too. My cow’s name was Betsy….”

Stafford spooned soggy cereal into his mouth and tried to nod in all the right places as Yanick went on, and on.

“-oh! And did you hear?” Yanick was saying, “Steven got the poll back from the crew. He’s naming the lounge ‘Unbalanced Equations’. I guess he got the idea when he was taking Commander Jeffrey a late night snack. Something about the warp field equations. Anyway, it was either that, or ‘Ghosttown Grill’, but he thought that would scare away business. He’s doing the decorating now, and wants to open the place up officially tomorrow. “

“Uh-huh,” muttered Stafford. He heard a cool voice from behind him.

“Good morning Captain,” said Dr. Wowryk, “I hope you’re being a gentleman this morning.”

“Oh stop worrying Noel!” said Yanick with a giggle, “The captain and I were having a nice morning chat.”

“Uh-huh.” Wowryk sat down and set her fruit cup down on the table. “So, what’s so interesting?”

“Well,” started Yanick.

<Oh-no> thought Stafford, <Here we go again…>


After excusing himself from Wowryk and Yanick, Stafford rode the turbolift up to the bridge. As usual, Noonan was already there. He was looking especially pale this morning.

“Report, Commander,” Stafford ordered.

“Not much new since last night, “ Noonan said in his smooth voice, “Work continues on the deflector grid. We are expected to have phasers online before lunch. Mr. T’Parief is working on the forward torpedo launchers as we speak. And we finally removed the happy-face from the navigational deflector.”

“Great. Keep it up. I’ll be in my ready room.”

“As you wish.”


Jeffrey was walking along the corridor to Engineering. As he turned the final corner he came face to face with a huge man in a kilt. A HUGE man. With flaming red hair and a reddened face.

“C’mere wee lad!” shouted the behemoth in an accent even thicker than Jeffery’s, “Ah’ve got a surprise for ye!”

The man grabbed Jeffery by the neck and strapped his arms and legs onto a metal rack, pointing them up like four fingers on a hand. He stabbed a long tube into Jeffery’s chest and started blowing. Jeffery expanded like a balloon. The man plugged his fingers into Jefferies eyes, nose and mouth and squeezed his inflated torso. Jeffery made a tortured squealing sound as the man continued to pump and blow. He started pressing his fat fingers against Jeffery’s face.

Simon Jeffery had become a set of human bagpipes!


“AHHHH!!!!!” screamed Jeffery as he jumped up out of bed. “Sweet Mother of God!” He flung his bed sheets away and tumbled to the floor. He collapsed, trembling in a corner.


Stafford was sitting back in his ready room when the door chimed.

“Yeah?”

Lieutenant Jall walked in.

“What do you want?” asked Stafford.

“Well, I found a small problem that you should probably know about,” said Jall, “but if you’re too busy I’ll just keep it to myself.”

“What is it?”

“What is what?”

“THE PROBLEM???” shouted Stafford.

“Well if you really want to know,” said Jall, “somebody f**ked up.”

“Other than you?” asked Stafford.

“Yes, other than me!” snapped Jall. “You know how Starfleet picked a corridor design scheme for the late model Constitution-class and the Excelsior-class, and then stuck with the same damned thing until they launched the Intrepid-class?”

“Yes,” said Stafford warily, “I don’t like where you’re going with this.”

“Yeah well, somebody evidently couldn’t make up their minds,” chuckled Jall, “Because all the odd numbered decks are being renovated with Intrepid style décor, while all the even numbered decks use the older style.”

Stafford let his forehead fall onto his desk with a ‘thunk’. “Please tell me you’re joking,” came his muffled voice.

“Nope,” said Jall, “Although it’s weird that nobody noticed it until now. We’ve been on this ship almost 3 weeks.”

“No,” said Stafford tiredly, “that’s exactly why it’s NOT weird. Stafford to Jeffery!”

Silence.

“Jeffery! What the hell is going on with our corridors??”

More silence.

“Computer! Locate Lieutenant Commander Jeffery!”

“Don’t take that tone of voice with me young man!” barked the computer.

“Oh for the love of Benji!” yelled Stafford. He forced himself under control. “Computer, please locate Lieutenant Commander Jeffery.”

“Lieutenant Commander Jeffery is in his quarters.”

“What’s he doing?”

“I don’t know!” said the computer peevishly; “I don’t have eyes in the back of my head!”

Stafford and Jall exchanged glances.

“Rrright….” said Jall.


Stafford arrived at Jeffery’s quarters alone. He had sent Jall to work on the ODN network on deck 6.

“Simon?” Stafford rang the bell. “You in there?”

No response.

Stafford tapped in his command override, hesitating briefly as he recalled the last time he had entered an officer’s quarters uninvited. With a shudder he stepped inside.

“Jeffery?”

Stafford found Jeffery collapsed in the corner, breathing shallowly. His eyes were fluttering. Stafford slapped his commbadge.

“Stafford to Sickbay, medical emergency! Deck 3, officer’s quarters!”


Dr. Wowryk ran her medical tricorder over Jeffery.

“He’s in shock!” she reported, “I’m picking up lots of neural activity.”

“Can you wake him?” Stafford asked urgently.

“Should be able to,” answered Wowryk. She loaded a hypospray and injected Jeffery. His eyes shot open”

“GET HIM AWAY FROM ME!!!!!” he shouted hoarsely.

“Simon!” snapped Stafford, shaking his friend by the shoulders, “Snap out of it!”

Jeffery slowly relaxed and looked up at Stafford. “Chris? Oh man, what a nightmare!’


Shortly afterward in Sickbay, Dr. Wowryk had Jeffery on the main diagnostic bed and was studying the readouts on the wall-mounted display panel.

“As you can see, neurotransmitter levels were elevated here, and here. This caused an increase in adrenaline and-“

“English please Doc!” interrupted Stafford. “Some of us don’t know squat about whatever the hell it is you’re babbling about!”

“Argh!” growled Wowryk, “I didn’t see you interrupting Fifebee when she was going on about lateral sensor calibrations!”

“Please leave me out of this,” muttered Fifebee. She was assisting Wowryk in analyzing the readings from Jeffery.

“So what’s the deal?” asked Stafford.

“I’m not sure,” said Wowryk. “From what Jeffery has told me he had a nightmare about being used as bagpipes. He woke up; fell out of bed, then fell back into the nightmare. Then you barged in like the ‘big strong man’ you are and called me to his rescue.”

“Is he going to be all right?”

“I think so. I need to analyze this data further, but I’ve given him nice cup of tea. I will be contacting Starfleet Medical since we’re still in orbit. I suggest you put him on duty, I doubt he’ll be getting any sleep anytime soon.”

“Suggestion noted Doctor,” Stafford said dryly, “Scram.”

“I beg your pardon?” asked Wowryk, looking down her nose.

“Just give me a minute, OK?”

“Fine!” she walked into her office.

Stafford sat by Jeffery. “How ya doing bud?” he asked.

“Oy,” said Jeffery as he sat up, “Ah just don’t want to think about it. Y’know how most of the time, when you’re dreaming, you can force yourself awake? Kinda like dragging yourself out of the water. Well, imagine having something yank ye back under.”

“I bet,” said Stafford. There was an awkward silence. “Hey, did you know that the corridors on the different decks don’t match?”

Jeffery collapsed back onto the biobed.


Noonan was heading down to check on T’Parief’s progress on the forward torpedo launcher. He smiled and nodded at Ensign Dar’ugal as he passed by. Dar’ugal gave a nervous little wave and nodded. At least Noonan thought he nodded. It was really hard to tell, since Dar’ugal didn’t have a head like most humanoids. There were such interesting people on this ship. Noonan was enjoying the chance to sit back and watch the interactions.

“And how goes the work Lieutenant?” Noonan asked as he stepped into the torpedo bay and saw a pair of legs sticking out from an access hatch. T’Parief jerked his head up at the sound, crashing it into a conduit with a loud ‘CLANG!’ and a roar.

“Greeznek!!” shouted T’Parief. “That hurt like a blartch!”

“Excuse me?” asked Noonan, hiding a small grin.

“I scraped my cranial ridges!” complained T’Parief in his low, low voice, “Do you have any idea how much that stings?”

“I thought Klingons and Andorians were raised to deal with pain,” said Noonan

“So are the Gorn, but I still hate it!”

“I see.”

“Commander, I can take pain. But I don’t have to like it!” T’Parief said with a slight snarl.

“I’m sure you can. Wow, the people on this ship need to relax more,” said Noonan, “They’ll live longer.”

T’Parief rubbed his head again before going back to work. “I have been on edge lately. I do not know why, nor do I wish to discuss it.”

“OK,” said Noonan, “how’s the work going?”

“It goes. Weapon systems will be online before we launch.”

“Wow,” said Noonan, “only a couple days left. I’m looking forward to it.”

“Great,” muttered T’Parief. “Is there anything else you need, sir?”

“Um, no. I guess I shall be going now.”

“Close the door behind you.”


Noonan stepped into Stafford’s ready room and was greeted with the sound of loud orchestral music.

“BAAAAAAAAA!!!! Bum-BAAAAA, Ba-dum-bum!…..”

“Beethoven?” he asked as the doors closed.

“Bugs Bunny,” said Stafford. He turned his terminal around to reveal an animated grey and white cartoon rabbit in a yellow tuxedo. It appeared to be conducting an orchestra.

Noonan laughed hysterically as they watched the rabbit conducted himself into frenzy as he tried to catch a fly buzzing around his head.

“That’s incredible!” he forced out, “What’s it called?”

“Looney Tunes,” Stafford said with a grin. “I was looking up some 21st century entertainment after our little…trip. I needed a good laugh today. I’m thinking of having a ‘Cartoon Night’ down in the lounge…. everybody’s been stressed, but lately they’ve been getting really weird. Like Jeffery’s little nightmare. Fifebee says that members of her staff have been jumping at shadows. Hey, are you listening to me????”

Noonan jerked his head away from the screen. “Hmmm? Oh, yes. Crew not happy. Car tuning night. I would definitely attend. Incidentally, Mr. T’Parief was even less talkative than normal when I checked up on him.”

“He doesn’t count,” Stafford said, “Nobody knows what’s going through his head on a good day anyway.

“Wowryk to Stafford,” came the crisp voice over the comm, “Please come down to Sickbay, I have news on Jeffery’s condition.”

“I’m busy right now Doctor,” said Stafford, annoyed, “bring your findings up here.”

“Why? They’re all displayed down here!”

“So? I have a screen too! Besides, I outrank you. Get your butt up here.”

“Fine!” Wowryk barked and closed the channel.

“There,” said Stafford, “You just have to put your foot down with her.”

“I don’t agree,” said Noonan. His eyes were still glued to the screen. “She has a strong will. She could put up an impressive fight if she wanted to.”

“Then why doesn’t she?”

“I don’t know,” Noonan narrowed his eyes as he thought, “most likely she considers you as being unworthy of her attention and so she refuses to waste her energy.”

“Thanks a lot,” replied Stafford.

As they were talking, the rabbit’s cufflinks had somehow starting migrating across his body. To his visible annoyance, his every effort to move them resulted in the orchestra responding to his motions. He took advantage of a particularly impressive musical opening to kick his legs up into the air. The cufflinks sailed up then dropped perfectly onto his uplifted arms. Noonan and Stafford broke into fits of giggles.

“Nice to see the senior officers are taking care of such important matters,” said Dr. Wowryk as she entered the room.

Stafford quickly hit the ‘stop’ button on his terminal. “Um, what’s up Doc?” he asked. Noonan giggled again.

After taking a quick moment to glare daggers at the both of them, Wowryk tossed her padd into Stafford’s lap, electing a short gasp of pain.

“Look at those brain scans,” she said, “the hippocampus is showing a 25% greater activity, and the brain wave patters are-“

“Look, Doc, haven’t we been over this?” Stafford growled, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

“I know,” replied Wowryk, “I just enjoy making you ask me to dumb it down for you.”

There was silence.

Stafford sighed. “OK, fine! Translate please.”

“This isn’t natural. Something is causing it.”

“Oh. That’s really not good!”


“So long story short, something cased Jeffery to become trapped in his nightmare,” Stafford was saying, “Fifebee, what can you add?”

The petite, pale, dark haired holographic officer stood up. “I have run all possible standard scans on the ship, although I am somewhat hampered by the fact that only 76% of the ship’s internal sensors are functional. There has been no report of any unusual dream states from Earth or Spacedock.”

“We’re right at the heart of the Federation!” said Jall, “Why are we worrying about this? Earth is full of specialists and brains far more qualified that these quacks!”

Fifebee and Wowryk glared at Jall.

“I attempted to contact Starfleet for assistance,” Fifebee said, “Their response was, and I quote, ‘go ‘way son, you bother me’.”

“You’re kidding,” Jall crossed his arms.

“They are not,” Stafford sighed, “I tried called Admiral Grant. Couldn’t get past his receptionist.”

“This problem isn’t limited to nightmares,” interjected Noonan, “People have been on edge, bordering on paranoid. About 10 minutes ago I saw Ensign Sage use a phaser welder to kill a fly.”

“Nice,” muttered Jeffery as he rolled his eyes, “so now Ah probably have even more repairs to handle. What’s our plan?”

“We need to stay focused,” said Stafford, “launch is less than 2 days away and we can NOT afford to fail on this one. Fifebee, keep running scans. T’Parief, I want you helping her. Look for anything suspicious. Alert the crew that we are going to triple shifts immediately. Nobody sleeps until we’re out of here. Jeffery, you need to keep everybody busy.”

“No problem there.”

“Are you crazy?’ asked Wowryk, “you can’t do that!”

“Dismissed. Doctor, stay behind.”

The other officers filed out of the conference room. Jeffery turned to Stafford long enough to make the throat-slashing gesture. Wowryk stayed behind.

“You are purposefully endangering the lives of your crew!” she snarled.

“I am doing no such thing! Lack of sleep never killed anybody,” Stafford replied coldly.

“This is a dangerous situation! Something is affecting the health of YOUR crew, and you are doing nothing about it!”

Stafford slammed his fist into the table. “STARFLEET is doing nothing about it! We’re not important enough in their books for them to worry about! We’re doing what we can, but the sooner we get out of here, the sooner we can focus on taking care of this thing!”

“I think you’ve misplaced your priorities, captain!”

“Your opinion is noted Doctor. And if you EVER question me in that manner in front of the senior staff again, I’ll baptize you in open space, so help me!”


Captain’s Log, Stardate 56174.8

“Work is progressing really well on this ship. We may even have her capable of launch ahead of schedule. Of course, the fact that everybody is too scared to sleep and spent the whole night doing repair work really helped. Tempers are rising, crewmembers are squabbling and paranoia is running rampant.”

“Hmmm, doesn’t sound like much has changed…”


T’Parief awoke slowly. He realized he was lying on a soft mattress and mentally cursed himself for weakening long enough to pass out. Then he became aware that he wasn’t alone. Somebody was snuggled up next to him. Opening his eyes, he saw long blond hair. Trish Yanick opened her eyes and smiled at him.

“Morning, handsome,” she said.

T’Parief felt a slow smile coming on, “Good morning.” Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a voice behind him spoke up,

“I was good, wasn’t I?”

T’Parief rolled over to find himself face to face with Lieutenant San Jall

“AHHHHHHH!!!” roared T’Parief.

“AHHHHHHH!!!” screamed Jall.

“EWWWWWW!!!” squealed Yanick.

“GRISNAR!!” hollered T’Parief, “Son of a-!” Please, tell me, we didn’t-“

“I don’t know!” wailed Jall, “I-I-I don’t think so!”

“You better hope for your sake that we did not!”

“What the f**k is wrong with you, you PERVERT!” screamed Yanick,” Hasn’t anybody ever told you that THREE IS A CROWD???”

“Hey,” shouted Jall, “it wasn’t MY idea to wake up next to a walking lizard and his blond bimbo!”

“I am NOT a bimbo” shrieked Yanick. She started tossing knick-knacks off the nightstand at Jall. “You take that back!”

“Yes,” growled T’Parief as he wrapped a clawed hand around Jall’s throat, “take it back.”

“I take it back! I take it back! Just please, don’t hurt me!”


“Captain, you better get out here,” came the voice of Lieutenant Fifebee, “T’Parief and Yanick are unconscious!”

Stafford bolted out of his ready room onto the bridge. Dr. Wowryk was just stepping out of the turbolift. He felt a sudden jolt of fear as he saw her and took and involuntary step back. T’Parief and Yanick were both slumped over their consoles. T’Parief was twitching slightly and soft growls were escaping his blunt snout.

“Can you wake them?” he asked.

“I am not sure,” said Fifebee, “they are more seriously affected than Jeffery was.” She pressed a hypo into T’Parief’s shoulder. Nothing happened.

Suddenly he bolted awake and pounced on Fifebee, knocking her to the deck. “WHAT DID YOU SAY???” he bellowed in rage.

“Lieutenant T’Parief,” snapped Fifebee, “you are destabilizing my holographic fields.”

T’Parief looked around and realized he was on the bridge.

“Sorry Lieutenant,” he said as he climbed to his feet.

“Be grateful you did not try that on the captain,” she replied, “you would have broken four ribs, punctured his lung and shattered his pelvis.”

“Thanks for that pretty picture,” muttered Stafford.

Yanick suddenly shot awake at the helm.

“Get him away from me! Get away!” She looked around.

“Oh my God, that was awful!” she wailed.

Dr. Wowryk ran over to her.

“It’s OK Trish, I’m here to help you,” she said reassuringly.

“Noel, it was awful,” Trish said through her tears, “It was T’Parief. We were in bed together-“

“You PIG!” snarled Wowryk at T’Parief. She turned back to Yanick and put her arm around the other woman’s shoulders, “It’s OK. I know you’re feeling violated and used, but it will be OK. It was only a dream.”

“You don’t understand!” cried Yanick, “Jall was there too!”

Wowryk’s mouth opened and closed as though she was trying to speak. Her eyes rolled into her head and she passed out.

“Man,” said Stafford, “I sure wish I had a camera! I could watch that over and over again….”

“Strange,” said T’Parief, “I had the exact same dream. Nightmare, really.”

“What? Describe the dreams to me.” said Fifebee. She stood from where she had just finished pressing a hypo against Dr. Wowryk. She scanned Trish, then walked over and scanned T’Parief as they told their tales.

“This is disturbing,” she said, “accounting for difference in species, you both have identical disruptions to your neurochemistry.

“Is that bad?” asked Stafford.

“Very,” said Fifebee. There have been documented cases of dreams being shared among members of many different races. It is most common among Betazoids, but can occur in other species as well. However, it does not usually occur across those of different species. T’Parief and Yanick should NOT be having the same dream in this fashion. “

“Could it be a coincidence?” asked Stafford.

“Yes,” said Fifebee. “Logic suggests that we find Lieutenant Jall and determine whether or not he also shared the dream.”

“You’re sounding really Vulcan lately, you know that?”

“Yes. The Vulcan scientist in my database has been very prominent as of late.”

“Ah.”


Captain’s Log, Supplemental

“We’ve confirmed that Lieutenant Jall shared the same dream as T’Parief and Yanick. After several hours locked in Sickbay, Dr. Wowryk and Lieutenant Fifebee emerged to inform me that this has horrible implications, something about how we could all be influenced by whatever is doing this and that it could do something bad to our brainwaves. Whatever. If Starfleet doesn’t care, it can’t be too bad. Anyway, I’ve called another meeting.”


“Get it away from me! Get it away!” hollered T’Parief. He was standing on the conference room table as Yanick and Jeffery chased ‘it’ around the floor.

“It’s just a little mouse, you big baby!” Jall said with just a hint of annoyance.

“How the hell can we have mice on a starship anyway?” snapped Stafford.

“The same way we can have Vulcan ants, Rigellian zorniks and Albarian eels,” called Jeffery, “the ship was infested!”

“I got him!” yelled Yanick triumphantly. She held up the tiny mouse by its tail.

“That’s it?” asked Jall. He walked over to Yanick and took the mouse from her.

“He’s so cute!” said Jall, “Don’t you think so big guy?” He dangled the mouse in front of T’Parief, who scurried back off the table and fell to the floor with a loud crash.

“Mr. T’Parief has just proven a very interesting point,” said Fifebee, “the level of tension is increasing. I doubt a rodent would bother him on a normal day.”

“Um, yeah,” said T’Parief as he picked himself up, “of course not.”

“Stop sounding so Vulcan!” Stafford snapped, “You sound like…hey…your ears are pointed!”

Indeed Fifebee’s ears had begun to develop a slight point, and her eyebrows were beginning to rise on the outer edges

“Hmm?” she felt her ears, “How strange.” Her eyelids fluttered briefly and her appearance returned to normal. “I’ve repressed the Vulcan personality,” she said with a much more relaxed air, “he was getting pretty boring anyway.”

“Rrriiight,” said Stafford, “so, any new ideas?”

“I have detected some sort of small spatial anomaly. It seems to be limited to the ship only. I don’t know what’s causing it; only that it’s getting stronger. If it gets strong enough I should be able to pinpoint the source.”

“That would be good,” said Jeffery.

“Oh yeah,” said Stafford, “ anything else from Starfleet?”

“They suggested I investigate the anesthazine gas systems.”

There was a pause.

“And did you?” asked Noonan.

“Of course I did!” she said peevishly, “I’m not Lieutenant Jall you know!”

“Good point.”

“Hey!” snapped Jall, “I resent that!”

“Whatever,” said Stafford, “How long until you can pinpoint the anomaly?”

“At least 48 hours.”

“Fine. So we last for two more days. Wowryk, start distributing stimulants. Stafford to Steven!”

“Yeah, what?” came the voice of the Silverado’s lounge manager.

“Fire up your espresso machine,” Stafford ordered, “It’s gong to be a long night.”


“Yuck,” winced Stafford, “this stuff tastes AWFUL!”

“Tastes like cappuccino to me,” said Yanick as she took a sip from her own mug.

“Maybe that’s half the problem,” muttered Stafford.

Stafford, Yanick and Noonan were sitting in the big comfy chairs in Unbalanced Equations looking out the large windows that faced out between the ship’s massive nacelles. Jeffery had developed a sudden fear of crowds and banished all his would-be helpers from assisting him with the final repairs. All the major repairs had been completed with the exception of cosmetic repairs. Still, there were enough glitches and upgrades left to last for a good long while.

Noonan was sipping a glass of red wine.

“Is that such a good idea?” asked Stafford, “that stuff can make you drowsy if you drink too much.”

“I’m only having two glasses.”

“Steven!” called Stafford, “Do you have anything with caffeine in it that actually tastes good?”

Steven walked over carrying a frosted glass. “Here,” he said, “try this.”

Stafford took a sip. ENERGY! He felt a sudden surge in power! His leg began to jitter and his head twitched around like a nervous squirrel.

“Wow,” he said, “what the hell is that stuff?”

“Jolt Cola,” replied Steven.

“Keep them coming. There’s still another 8 hours before we launch.”

Dr. Wowryk walked in and sat down next to Yanick. Stafford felt a sudden jolt of fear and jerked away from her.

“What was that?” asked Yanick with a giggle.

“Um, I dunno,” said Stafford. He looked at Wowryk, and shuddered.

“I think the captain may have developed an irrational fear of his own,” stated Noonan.

“No, I’m not scared of her!” said Stafford.

“Really?” said Wowryk. She leaned close towards him. He shrank back into his chair.

“OK,” Stafford said in a small voice, “Maybe a little.”

“Oh, this is too good to be true,” said Wowryk with a big grin. She started poking at Stafford, who jumped out of his chair.

“Cut it out!” he yelled.

“Ha-ha-ha!” laughed Wowryk as she chased him around the table, “Divine justice is served!” She chased Stafford for a few more minutes.

‘Well, my break is over,” she said, “time to get back to Sickbay. Thank you so much for that, Captain!”

As she departed Nurse Kerry stepped in. “Anybody snoozing?” she asked.

Stafford watched as she walked over to a young female ensign who had passed out on a couch and injected a hypo into her neck. The ensign jumped up and started screaming.

“Bugs! Bugs! Get them off of me! They’re in my hair!”

Nurse Kerry managed to calm the frightened ensign down. She checked for any other sleepyheads and started to head out. Stafford intercepted her.

“How’s it going?” he asked.

“Not good,” she replied, “people are wearing out. They’ve been stressed as it is. It’s taking larger and larger doses of stimulant to wake them up to. Sooner or later the stimulants will lose their effect. And flying a starship while you’re high as a kite isn’t exactly a great idea.”

“Thank you Nurse,” said Stafford, “carry on.”

He turned to Steven.

“We need something to pass the time and keep everybody awake,” he said, “did you install the holoprojector I asked for?”

“Yeah, I did,” answered Steven, “and I’ve got over 500 hours of Loony Tunes, Tiny Toons and Animaniacs waiting for you.”

“As much fun as that sounds, I’ve got something different in mind.”


Six hours later, after enduring Friday the 13th, 28 Days Later and The Ring, sleep was the last thing everybody in Unbalanced Equations was thinking of.

As the movie ended, Stafford gulped the last of his Jolt and tossed the empty glass over his shoulder onto the large pile behind him. Releasing a loud belch he walked (jittered) over to the counter.

“S-S-SStill two hours to go,” he said as he drummed his fingers on the counter, “what do we have left?”

“This was a really bad idea you know!” Dr. Wowryk said quietly behind him. Stafford jumped and took several steps back. Dr. Wowryk had come in earlier during Friday the 13th but promptly ran out screaming about pagan witchcraft.

“W-W-W-Why? Everybody is still awake! It doesn’t look they’ll be able to sleep for awhile.”

“True. But this trash caused sleeping disorders in normal people who watched it. What do you think is going to happen to us?”

“Well…” Stafford trailed off, dozens of fascinating new nightmare possibilities running through his head, “S**t”

“Exactly,” Wowryk said smugly, “Sweet dreams,” she walked back out.

“I really hate her sometimes,” muttered Stafford.

“Bridge to Captain Stafford,” came an unfamiliar voice over the comm, “Sir, the dignitaries have been up here waiting for you for the past half hour.”

“What? On my way!” Stafford closed the channel and dragged Noonan out into the corridor and towards the turbolift.

“I didn’t know we were getting dignitaries,” said Noonan.

“Me neither!”


Stafford and Noonan arrived on the bridge in record time. Admiral Grant and another man Stafford didn’t recognize were standing in the command deck while Grant’s aid hauled Fifebee’s holo-relay onto the bridge and started tinkering with it.

“Glad you could finally join us, Captain,” said Grant with his signature false cheer.

“Uh, yeah, hi Admiral,” said Stafford. He was still jittery from the caffeine, “So good to see you again. And who’s this guy?”

“This ‘guy’,” said Grant, “is the Federation Liaison to Operation Salvage, Mr. Drek Jeba.”

“Hi,” said Drek.

“Hi,” replied Stafford. Noonan nodded his greetings.

“So, what are you guys here for anyway?” asked Stafford.

“The launch.”

“Oh, right, that,” said Stafford, “Well, we’re pretty much ready to go, here. Other than the whole nightmare and irrational fear thing.”

“Yeah, whatever,” said Grant, “You know, I have a really hard time believing you people on that. We’re in Earth orbit! What could possibly go wrong! No, I think you’re just stalling.”

Stafford sputtered. He gestured wildly with his arms, but was too flabbergasted to speak.

“The captain assures you that our concerns are sincere and is distressed by Starfleet’s lack of response on this issue,” Noonan interpreted. Stafford nodded.

“Well, I’m sure that if this pesky little problem persists after launch that you will be able to take care of it like any COMPETENT Starfleet crew,” replied Grant.

“Oh, yeah,” Stafford finally said with a frown, “W-W-We’ll be JUST fine.”

“In any event,” broke in Drek,” the bottle is on the way and FedNet News is ready for the broadcast. In 90 minutes, you’ll either launch this ship or humiliate us all trying.”

“Bottle?” asked Stafford.

“Broadcast?” asked Noonan.

“Yes, captain,” said Grant. His false cheer was becoming very strained, “it is customary to break a bottle of champagne when launching a new vessel.”

“I know the tradition!” snapped Stafford,” What do you have for us? Root Beer?”

“No Captain. We have a lovely Chateau Picard.”

Stafford groaned and rolled his eyes.


Captain’s Log, Stardate 56175.6

“Oh my God, 10 minutes until launch. I sure hope Jeffery knew what he was doing when he put everything back together; otherwise this is going to be a very short adventure. Not that I’m scared or anything, no, not at all. Not in any way, shape or form.”


Silverado floated serenely in dock. The umbilicals had all been detached, the gaping holes in her hull repaired. Power was supplied now by the ships own reactors rather than the box dock generators. She was still in bad need of a paint job, but all the graffiti had been removed, at least.

“Report, Mr. Jeffery,” said Stafford from his command chair. Admiral Grant and Mr. Jeba were standing on either side of T’Parief at the rear bridge rail.

“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be,” came Jeffery’s voice from engineering.

“Great,” said Stafford, “let’s get this show on the road.”

“One moment please, Captain,” said Grant, “Mr. Elliot?”

The aide hit a control on Fifebee’s holo-relay and a holographic image of President Dillon appeared.

“Welcome to Dillon’s Supply Depot!” the holo-Dillon said cheerfully, “What can I do for you today?”

“Just stand there and look pretty,” said Grant. “Operations Officer, open the channel to Fednet News.”

“Do we really have to do this?” sighed Jall.

“YES!” snapped Grant.

“Channel open.” The display screens on the port and starboard auxiliary consoles switched to show the live broadcast and an image of the ship floating in dock.

“And joining us now,” said a pretty, auburn-haired reporter, “is Admiral Grant, the office in charge of Operation Salvage. The Admiral is coming to us live from the bridge of the U.S.S. Silverado, the first ship to be reclaimed by this controversial program. Admiral, can you-“

“Now Ms. Nicholson,” said Grant, “There will be plenty of time for questions during our interview later. For now, let’s celebrate the launch!”

The view centered on a dark bottle as it tumbled end-over-end through space. It spun towards the leading edge of the ship’s saucer. It skimmed along the lower edge, missing the saucer entirely and smashed against the starboard nacelle grill. The nacelle flickered for a moment then stabilized. Stafford groaned and rolled his eyes.

“Captain, take her out,” ordered Grant.

“Ensign Yanick,” said Stafford, “thrusters at station-keeping. Running lights on.”

Yanick ran her fingers over her panel, electing a sharp BEEP!

“Oops,” she said, “how did that happen? Hold on, I’ll fix it in just a second…”

Stafford looked over at the panel showing the broadcast. It showed the ship in dock with her running lights flickering on and off like a Christmas tree.

Stafford signed and rubbed his temple. “Forget it. Thrusters ahead. Get us out of here. GO!”

Silverado eased carefully out of dock. With a slight wobble she angled away from Earth. Her impulse engines roared to life and she shot into the depths of space.


“All right, end transmission, let’s get out of here,” said Grant. He grabbed a plaque and a padd from his assistant and handed them to Stafford.

“Congratulations and all that,” he said, “Grant to Spacedock, hurry up and beam us off this deathtrap before we’re out of range.”

Grant, Drek and his assistant vanished into a haze of transporter sparkles. Fifebee deactivated the holo-Dillon.

“Well, that was fun,” said Stafford sarcastically. He looked at the plaque.


U.S.S. Silverado
NCC-135060
Ambassador Class
Recommissioned Stardate 56175
Captain Chris Staffort Commanding
“You can’t be late when you’re going nowhere…”


“Prick spelled my name wrong,” muttered Stafford.


Captain’s Log, Stardate 56175.9.

“‘Fly around for awhile and make sure nothing is going to explode.’ Whoever is in charge of writing out mission objectives just isn’t trying anymore. Oh well, this gives us a chance to deal with the paranoia, fears and nightmares plaguing the crew. Lieutenant Fifebee is confident that she will soon be able to track down the source of the disturbance, which for some reason is following us wherever we go. Unfortunately people are succumbing to fatigue and Dr. Wowryk is no longer able to revive them.”


Stafford was in Sickbay, as far away from Wowryk as he could get. She was too exhausted to even try to make him squirm.

“That’s it,” she said, “Stimulants aren’t working. He’s in God’s hands now.” Lieutenant Jall was lying on the biobed.

“Well, I can actually live with that,” said Stafford, “but how long until the rest of us go?”

“Probably within the hour,” replied Wowryk.

Stafford turned to Fifebee. “You realize that means you’re gonna have to solve this on your own. We’re counting on you to find and disable whatever is causing this.”

“I understand,” said Fifebee, “but you should know that Commander Noonan has reported no drowsiness, nightmares or fatigue.’

“Really?” asked Stafford in surprise, “I thought everybody was being affected. I’d like to know how he manages that.”

“Don’t we all,” replied Fifebee, “unfortunately he has not been cooperative as far as medical testing is concerned.”

“Hmm, well, nobody is perfect. Dr. Wowryk, what do his records show?”

Silence.

“Dr. Wowryk?” Stafford asked again. He turned and found her slumped over her desk.

“It’s spreading,” said Fifebee as Wowryk tumbled to the floor.

“Yeah, but it sure picked a great place to start!” Stafford walked out of Sickbay humming a tune to himself which Fifebee identified as “Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!”


Stafford’s momentary cheer quickly faded as he walked through the corridor to the turbolift. He found 3 crewmen slumped on the floor, and could feel his eyes growing more and more heavy. He arrived at the bridge to find Yanick slumped over the helm and T’Parief lying on the floor. Noonan was tapping away at an auxiliary console.

“Any luck?” asked Stafford.

“Not yet,” Noonan replied.

“Why the hell aren’t you sleepy?” Stafford demanded.

“Um, I don’t know,” said Noonan.

“Bulls**t!” muttered Stafford, “There’s something creepy about you and I want…to…know….” Stafford fell to the ground.

<Phew> thought Noonan.


Stafford awoke with a start and looked around. He was on a planet. It was dark and dreary out. Lightning flashed in the distance. Strangely enough, this time he was fully aware that the scene around him wasn’t real.

As he stood up he noticed that the ground seemed closer than normal. Whatever. Stupid dreams.

“Captain!”

Stafford turned around. T’Parief was coming up behind him. He looked strange. Well, stranger. He was a mottled brown with lime green highlights, rather than his usual greenish-brown. His scales were smaller, and he looked about a foot too short.

“What the hell happened to you?” asked Stafford, “Get into a fight with another can of paint?”

“What happened to you? T’Parief shot back. His voice was almost up to human level. “Get hit in the face with a shotgun?”

Stafford was taken aback. T’Parief had NEVER spoken to him like that. He reached up to his face and felt the acne pock marking his skin.

“Wha-?” asked Stafford.

“My apologies Captain,” T’Parief said, “I’m having some problems controlling myself. “

“I’d say that’s the least of your problem,” said Stafford, “what happened to you?”

“It’s not just me,” T’Parief replied, “all crewmembers in this realm seem to have returned to their teens. Follow me. We’ve gathered together in one building. It’s safer that way.”

“Safe from what?”

“You don’t want to know.”


T’Parief led Stafford to a large brick building. He could see Silverado crewmembers on the roof, holding rocks, knives and what looked like kitchen utensils. T’Parief suddenly jerked his head.

“Hear that?” he asked.

“No…” Stafford stopped to listen. Slowly, a soft, guttural muttering could be heard. He looked back.

The thing was once human. It looked half starved as it stumbled towards them. It growled and muttered to itself. It’s clothing was wet and tattered, and most of its face was hidden in the tangled mass of hair. Behind it, several more dark forms were approaching.

“This isn’t a sightseeing tour!” snapped T’Parief as he grabbed Stafford’s arm, “Run!”

They ran into the building. Ensign Dar’ugal, about 4 feet tall with bright orange fur, closed and barricaded the door behind them. Inside, the building looked like a Klingon starship. T’Parief led Stafford to a huge gymnasium where Wowryk, Yanick and Jall were gathered around a table.

“Captain!” Yanick said with relief, “I’m so glad we found you! I was scared you were going to be caught by the Possessed.”

“The what?” asked Stafford.

“Those miserable things outside,” said Jall, “The doc here doesn’t have a clue what they are, but they scratch and bite. One bite and you catch whatever the f**k they have.”

“Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this all just a dream?” asked Stafford.

“I don’t know what the hell this is, other than that I was right and watching scary movies WAS a stupid idea,” said Wowryk, “Dreamers aren’t usually aware of the fact that they are dreaming yet we are. However, that could work to our advantage. Sometimes lucid dreamers can obtain some control-“

“Oh shut up!” snapped Jall, “You just said you don’t know what’s going on, so can it! Look, Captain, Fifebee is going to get us out of this. I say we just sit back, relax, and wait.”

There was a loud pounding from the door, then scratching and moaning.

“Brace the doorway!” bellowed T’Parief, “let none of them in!”

“There could be other people out there!” wailed Yanick, “We can’t just leave them!”

“Who f**king cares?” asked Jall, “It’s all a dream. It doesn’t matter what happens,” he ran over to T’Parief, slapped him across the face and turned to Stafford. “See? It’s just a f**king dream!”

“Don’t do that again, little man.” T’Parief growled.

“Oh c’mon you big lizard! You know you liked it. Welcome to Dreamland! Let your fondest wishes and most desperate desires come true!” He turned back to T’Parief and gave him a good boot in the ass.

T’Parief let out a roar of pain and outrage, spun around and raked his claws across Jall’s torso. Jall screamed as he was eviscerated from sternum to crotch and started falling to the ground. Before he even hit his body disintegrated and blew away.

“What the hell was that?” cried Yanick.

“One of the many reasons not to piss off anybody with teenage Andorian blood in them,” muttered Stafford as he backed slowly away.

“I-I-Is he dead?”

“I doubt it. We could never be that lucky.”

“Oh.”

The thudding at the door grew louder and the doors began to buckle.

“This is not good!” yelled Dr. Wowryk.

“No s**t!” wailed Yanick.

The doors flew open and crowds of the Possessed started pouring in.

“T’Parief, how about some of that teenage Andorian blood rage?” yelled Stafford.

T’Parief waded through the crowd of creatures, ripping and tearing as he went. Other Silverado crewmembers joined the fray bashing at the Possessed with clubs, table legs and frying pans.

“There’s too many of them!” roared T’Parief.

Stafford, Yanick and Wowryk backed up against the far wall as the Possessed came closer and closer. Yanick shrieked as one grabbed at her. She ducked under its grasp and gave it a solid kick. The thing fell away.

Stafford looked at Wowryk. She had her eyes closed and was praying with all her might. Suddenly a gleaming machete materialized in her hand. She raked it across the nearest creature, slicing it in two.

“How the f**k did you do that?” yelled Stafford as slapped and battered at what was once a very fat kid.

“It’s a lucid dream!” Wowryk shouted back, “Focus on what you really want and you can get it!”

“What?”

“Just do it!” she hacked an arm off another creature.

Stafford tried to focus his mind. <Phaser….phaser….phaser….phaser….>

A huge, bulky weapon materialized in his hands and a massive storage tank appeared on his back.

“Oh yeah!” Stafford screamed in triumph, “Take this you freaks!” He cocked the weapon and pulled the trigger releasing a high-pressure stream of water that pushed the Possessed back about half a foot.

“Oh for f**k sakes!” he whined, “The doctor gets a huge sword and I get this piece of junk?” He quickly backpedaled as the Possessed kid stalked back toward him.

Suddenly its head went flying as Wowryk’s machete sliced through its neck. “It’s all a matter of self-control and mental strength!” Wowryk said smugly as the decapitated thing fell to the ground.

Suddenly she shrieked as one of the Possessed came up behind her and clamped its grimy hands on her shoulders. She reached back and grabbed its head, working desperately to avoid its sharp teeth. She screwed her eyes shut and screamed out a prayer as she wrestled with it. “Oh Lord, give me the will, the strength and the POWER to send thy enemy back to the hell from which they came!”

There was a sudden roar as an explosion of twisted blue light erupted from Wowryk. It spread out, racing around the room, tearing the dream reality into a million different directions and sending Stafford spiraling into a tornado of insanity.


Noonan and Fifebee worked on the bridge of the Silverado. Fifebee was at the rear science station while Noonan occupied the starboard auxiliary console.

“We’re at all-stop,” Noonan reported, “all systems are stable. Stable enough, anyway.”

“Understood,” replied Fifebee, “I’m still searching for this thing….hmm…this is odd.”

“What?”

“This is very unusual,” Fifebee replied.

“Let me see.”

Noonan walked up behind Fifebee. She pointed to the screen.

“Here are my readings from before. They show a spatial disturbance that looks very familiar to me,” she said, “but around the time Lieutenant Jall passed out I started picking up this.”

Noonan studied the readout. “That looks like psionic energy.”

“It does,” replied Fifebee. She arched an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you were so familiar with life sciences.” Psionic energy was the energy created by all living things and was as close to a ‘life-force’ as science could identify.

“Um, lucky guess.”

“In any event this psionic energy is somehow creating a cortical induction field.”

“Ok, now you have lost me.”

“Cortical induction technology was a predecessor to holodeck technology, transmitting information directly to the user’s brain. This field could be what caused the shared dreams between Yanick, T’Parief and Jall. They weren’t truly dreaming, although it’s pretty close.”

“Great, so what do we do?’ Noonan asked.

“I believe I can now track down to source of both the disturbance and the field.”

“Jall to bridge!”

“Bridge, Noonan here,” Noonan responded, “How is it that you’re awake?”

“T’Parief killed me!” snapped Jall, “That bastard sliced me up like a fish, then I woke up in sickbay!”

“We’ll be right down.”


“Do you have any idea how disturbing it is to have all your guts flying out?” Jall asked Fifebee as she scanned him with a tricorder.

“Actually,” she replied, “no. You see, holograms don’t have guts!” Jall gave her an annoyed look.

“How is he?” asked Noonan.

“Fine,” replied Fifebee, “Strangely fine. He is no longer being affected by the cortical induction field.”

“The what?” asked Jall.

“The psionic energy phenomenon that is creating the nightmare realm you spoke of,” replied Fifebee.

“Oh,” said Jall, “Nice to know you were able to figure out part of what’s going on. Did you figure out the anomaly thing?”

“No. It’s very close to another disturbance I have on record, encountered by Spock of the original Enterprise, but there are substantial differences.”

“Did you factor in the effects of the psionic energy field?” Jall asked.

“No, I didn’t,” Fifebee frowned and started tapping on one of the Sickbay panels. “Spatial interphase!” she said triumphantly.

“Who-what phase?” asked Jall.

“A spatial interphase was discovered by the original Enterprise a century ago. It caused extreme paranoid and rage aboard the starships Defiant and Enterprise, almost leading to the death of the Enterprise crew.”

“You know,” interjected Noonan, “you’re such an annoying person that it’s easy to forget that you actually have a brain.”

“Bite me,” muttered Jall.

“So this ‘spatial interphase’ caused the fears and paranoia, then the psionic energy field helped us use those fears to create a world of nightmares,” said Noonan, “How and why?”

“I don’t know,” said Fifebee, “the phenomenon has never been artificially created, but we know that the field affecting us is artificial. As for why, we’ll have to find out who before we can determine why.”

“Let’s start looking.”


Noonan and Jall followed Fifebee as she walked through deck six. She suddenly stopped at the entrance to Cargo Bay 2. Jall, who wasn’t paying attention, crashed into the back of her.

“Hey babe,” he said with a grin.

Fifebee gave him a quizzical look and moved on.

“Didn’t think she was your type,” muttered Noonan.

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

“Oh, nothing.”

“Here it is!” said Fifebee. Her tricorder had led her to a large unlabeled crate. It was sandwiched between the crate containing Ensign Dar’ugal’s hat collection and Nurse Kerry’s antique credenza. Fifebee opened the crate to reveal a glittering, beeping, flashing gizmo.

Fifebee studied her tricorder. “The field is growing in intensity! What the… I’m reading some kind of…neural link?”

“What the hell does that mean?” asked Jall.

“I’m picking up neural patterns consistent with a human brain. Somehow this device has integrated itself with the brainwaves of a specific person.”

“Well shut the damned thing down!” Jall shouted.

“NO!” barked Noonan, “We don’t know what that would do! Do we?”

“Most likely whoever it is linked with would suffer irreversible brain damage,” stated Fifebee.

“So?” asked Jall, “One person vs. 600. Needs of the many and all that.”

Fifebee looked at him with a questioning expression. “You are disturbed, Lieutenant.”

“And you’re a frigid b-“

“What do you suggest we do?” Noonan interrupted.

“We need to get everybody out of the dream state, and then shut down the device,” replied Fifebee.

“Amazing deduction,” muttered Jall.

“So how do we get them out?” asked Noonan.

They looked at Jall.

“What?”

“You escape unharmed,” said Fifebee.

“I was slaughtered like a sheep!” protested Jall.

“Whatever works!”

“F**k that!”

“Can we re-immerse him in the psionic field?” Noonan asked Fifebee.

“Yes, I believe we can.”

“Then it’s settled. Lieutenant, you will return to the dream realm and let the Captain know how to escape.”


Stafford struggled to hold down his lunch as the world spun around him. “What the hell is going on!” he shouted.

“The dream realm has destabilized!” answered an unfamiliar ensign in a blue uniform, “We’re bouncing between different people’s dreams!”

“Who the hell are you, and how do you know that?” demanded Stafford.

“Ensign Cornwall, science staff. It’s my job to provide convenient answers and exposition!”

“Right. Where are we?”

“Look around and see for yourself.”

Stafford looked around. He was on the Silverado bridge. Alarms were blaring and Earth was growing on the screen as the ship spiraled down.

“Oh please! Been there, done that!” groaned Stafford.

“Not like this you haven’t!” Ensign Cornwall opened her mouth revealing sharp fangs. She jumped at Stafford.

“AHHHH!!!!”


Ensign Yanick was in her bedroom at her parent’s place on Earth. The walls were a soft creamy hue. Stuffed animals littered the floor. T’Parief had returned to his normal appearance and was sitting on the bed.

“Here we go again,” he said.

“Oh brother,” muttered Yanick. She opened the closet door and looked inside. She walked looked out another door into the hallway, then out the window.

“What are you doing?” asked T’Parief.

“Checking for Lieutenant Jall,” she said.

“Oh. Wanna do it?”

“Hey! I’m not that kind of girl!”

“Why not? This is your dream after all.” T’Parief stood and walked to Yanick. He took her in his thick, muscular arms and gazed at her with his deep red eyes.

“I…I….I…” Yanick stuttered. Her willpower crumbled. It was a dream after all. She kissed T’Parief, remembering just in time to be mindful of the razor sharp teeth.

“SINNERS!!!” came the scream from the door. Yanick broke away from T’Parief and turned to confront the intruder.

Dr. Wowryk was standing in the doorway. She was dressed in black robes and wore a large pointed hat.

“Daughter of Gomorrah! Repent and be saved! But you, you evil, scheming, horny MAN! There is no hope for you! Behold your punishment!! MWA-HA-HA-HA!”

Wowryk cackled as she raised her hands. Bolts of lightening speared from her fingertips and writhed around T’Parief. He gave a mighty roar, which quickly petered out as he began to shrink. Before Yanick’s horrified gaze he was transformed into a small, green frog. Wowryk snapped her fingers and the frog exploded with a pop.

Yanick’s eyes started to tear.

“Oh, don’t worry honey,” said Wowryk, “that wasn’t the real T’Parief, only your dream version. I’ve just been dying to try that out!”


Jeffery ran at top speed through the corridors as his large friend chased after him again.

“C’mere wee lad! I’m not gonna hurt ye, much!” shouted the behemoth.

“Noooo!!!” wailed Jeffery. He ran into an armory and grabbed a phaser rifle. He pointed it back over his head and started firing shots. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the huge man was still chasing him. He aimed more carefully and fired off another round. It sunk deep into the man’s massively fat stomach before bouncing back at Jeffery. Without bothering to wonder about how energy bolts could bounce, Jeffery ducked down and barely avoided the shot.

He ducked around the corner to find Dr. Wowryk standing there in bizarre clothing.

“Doc, ye gotta help me!” he gasped.

Wowryk twirled her hand and a wall of energy appeared in front of the fat man, blocking him from getting at Jeffery.

“Better?” she asked.

“Yes, thank ye Noel! Thank ye so much!”

“Hmmm…now how shall you repay your debt?” she asked.

“Debt?” asked Jeffery, “What debt?”

“Silence!” snapped Wowryk, “Or I’ll let your friend here finish with you!”

“Right, debt. Gotcha.”


Stafford opened his eyes. He was in a dark but disturbingly clean cell. T’Parief was slumped over a cot on the far wall. Looking around he could see about two dozen other male members of the Silverado crew crowded into the cell, with more cells visible down the hallway. Everybody was dressed in plain, white outfits.

“What the hell is going on now?” he said in a resigned voice.

Everybody looked at each other in puzzlement then started talking. The general feel Stafford had was that everybody had been in the gymnasium fighting the Possessed, then whisked away to some nightmare world before being dropped down into the cell.

There was a commotion at the door. Two women in tight leather outfits walked in brandishing phasers, shackles and chains. Stafford recognized them as Ensign Jones and Ensign Martub of Stellar Cartography. Jones held Stafford and T’Parief at gunpoint as Martub snapped shackles on their wrists.

“What the hell are you doing Ensign?” barked Stafford. Martub backhanded him across the face.

“You will speak when spoken to, you disgusting little worm!” she snapped.

Stafford was taken aback. He had only met Martub once before in Unbalanced Equations. She was normally a very quite girl. Shocked, he allowed himself to be led out of the cell.

Jones and Martub led the two men through the rough but spotless stone walls of the dungeon, up a series of stairs and into a luxurious wood paneled corridor. After several turns they emerged into a huge throne room filled with silks, tapestries and red velvet. Dr. Noel Wowryk sat on a huge throne, now wearing a blinding white and gold robe and a matching white and gold pointed hat. Jeffery was chained to the floor beside her, wearing a dark pair of shorts.

“Bow before Her Majesty,” ordered Jones.

“Not likely,” muttered T’Parief.

Wowryk clapped her hands gently. Stafford felt a powerful force bending his knees.

Wowryk chuckled and sent him to the floor with a gesture, “So, who’s in control now, Captain?”

“What? How?” Stafford demanded, as he lay pressed into the floor.

“I’ve transformed this realm,” said Wowryk as she stood and walked towards them, “I’ve created a world of paradise. Clean, safe and secure, where we can live our lives and fulfill our dreams.”

“Yeah,” said T’Parief, “I’ve always dreamed of being used as a rug.”

“Your dreams are irrelevant,” snapped Wowryk, “The Sisters of the Realm are all that matter. We will live in a world of luxury, while you fulfill our every command.”

“Sisters of the Realm?” asked Stafford.

“Yes,” said Wowryk with a beatific smile, “Here we can live untouched by the diseased and oppressing hand of man!”

“What the hell did you do to Jeffery!” snarled Stafford, “Looks like he’s the one being oppressed!”

“Every great Queen needs her consort,” Wowryk said with a smile, “I rescued him from an unpleasant situation. He has agreed to serve as my willing slave.”

“Geez Simon, I had no idea you were into that kinky s**t,” said Stafford with a smirk.

“Silence!” snapped Wowryk before Jeffery could respond, “His servitude is but the first line of repayment owed to women by men for years of repression and servitude!”

“Um, I hate to break it to you,” said Stafford, “but sexism hasn’t existed in the Federation for centuries.”

Wowryk snapped her fingers. A shiver of energy ran over Stafford, who let out a wince of pain.

“Don’t question my divine plan!” she snapped. “We will live in paradise, and you will suffer in HELL!! “

“I have a bad feeling about this,” muttered T’Parief.

Next: Will Stafford and T’Parief defeat the maniacal Queen Wowryk? Will Fifebee and Noonan save the crew from their bizarre fate? Just how many times can Lieutenant Jall die? Find out next time, on Star Traks: Silverado!