Author: Brendan Chris
With contributions by Anthony Butler and Alan Decker.
Author’s note: This story takes place a several weeks after the events of Silverado 1.16, ‘Catfight’ and shortly after Silverado Book 1. If you haven’t read those items, this one will make no sense. If you have read those it’s going to be confusing anyway, so here’s the deal:
Characters will be referred to using their actual names and genders, even though the gender of the body they currently inhabit is likely different. If I feel I need to remind you of who’s in what body, I’ll generally use the Mind/Body format. IE, for Wowryk, who is currently in Jall’s body, I would write Wowryk/Jall.
I hope this makes sense!
Captain’s Log, Stardate: 56400.4
“We have, at long last, bid a fond and hopefully permanent farewell to the planet Matria, Matrian space, Dreamland, the Sisters of the Realm and all the assorted bull-s**t that we’ve been forced to endure since launching this damned ship. Thank God! Thank the Directors! Hell, thank the Q, whatever works! We did make a small pit-stop enjoy a quick shore leave at Senous. Man, when they’re not trying to take over our ship, those people sure know how to party! I still have nail marks on my back that haven’t fully healed!”
“Sylvia,” Stafford/Jeffery said, “Could we transfer that line over to my personal log?”
“Of course,” Sylvia said, then more sharply, “After which I’m going to make a point of pretending I never heard it!”
“Thanks,” Stafford turned back to his log.
“On a negative note, relations between crewmembers are taking a bit of a downturn. Pretty much every single person on this ship had a chance to, uh, fully enjoy the open, um, arms of Senousian hospitality. This of course has led to several disputes over the uses to which our borrowed bodies were put. I really think T’Parief is going to murder Jall. Of course, even if he doesn’t kill him for what he did on Senous, he will kill him over the incident the other night with the French Maid’s uniform and the marching band.”
“On a positive note, at least one crewmember is benefiting from that whole situation: Counselor Yvonnokoff. Before the body switch, she had a total of about two clients. Now she’s booked solid. Beyond solid. That lady is busy!”
“I feel nothing but raw hatred and pure disgust,” T’Parief/Yanick stated from where he lay on the couch in Yvonnokoff’s office, “I wish to perform a ritual Andorian disembowelment on him, after which I will proceed with the Gorn ceremony of Slishness.”
“I see,” Yvonnokoff muttered as she tapped frantically on her padd, “And vhat does zis ceremony entail?”
“I will consume his disemboweled organs. He will witnesses this consumption as he spends the last few moments of his life in complete agony,”
“I see,” Yvonnokoff made a mental note to never visit the Andorian or Gorn homeworlds, “Vhy do you zink you feel zis way?”
“I have said it already!” T’Parief snapped, slamming Yanick’s fist down on an end table. The floral arrangement quivered slightly, “He defiled my body on Senous! He had deviant intercourse with twelve different Senousians!”
“Interesting,” Yvonnokoff muttered, “And if he had had standard intercourse with them instead, what would your reaction be?”
“I would still be infuriated!” T’Parief hollered.
“But not disgusted?”
“Perhaps not,” T’Parief admitted after a moments thought, “his stamina was admirable.”
“I see. Vhat ve haff here is a cross-culteral misunderstand,” Yvonnokoff crossed her long, slim legs, “You believe that vhat Jall did vas deviant. But you must understand that by his upbringing, he eez merely expressing heez needs in heez own vay. He may feel zat you are not respecting heez uniqueness as an individual.”
“I DO NOT RESPECT HIM AT ALL!” T’Parief shouted.
“You must,” Yvonnokoff said flatly, “According to ze Federation Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It eez your duty as Security Chief to uphold zose ideals and to protect ze feedoms zey represent.”
“You are correct,” T’Parief said, grudgingly, “I will admit that I never considered the situation from Jall’s point of view. However, I may still loathe and despise him for other reasons?”
“Of course,” Yvonnokoff smiled, “I suggest a holodeck program in which you bash his head in repeatedly.”
“An excellent choice,” T’Parief said, “I will admit, Counselor, I have found this session to be much more helpful than I had thought.”
“I am here to serve. Now, about zeez fears of ‘deviant behavior’…were you perhaps touched inappropriately as a child?”
“No!” T’Parief stormed out of the office.
“Quack,” he muttered as the doors closed.
Thus Yvonnokoff has proven, once again, that on Silverado no matter how close to competence you may come, you’re ALWAYS going to screw it up in the end!
Sighing in frustration as T’Parief stormed out, Yvonnokoff reflected briefly on her stint as Silverado’s ship’s counselor;
Despite the bizarre, messed-up people making up her crew, Yvonnokoff had seen very few patients during her time on the ship. Most of the crew preferred to solve their problems with pranks, arguments or the generous application of synthehol. Hardly healthy ways to nurse one’s psyche. Only after the incident at Matria did she start getting patients. Most of their problems, like T’Parief’s, were the results of simple misunderstandings and could be easily solved. But every time she tried to dig deeper she encountered hard resistance. Stafford refused to admit that he hated his family. T’Parief refused to admit that he had been badly mistreated as a child. Yanick refused to admit that deep down she harbored lesbian tendencies.
Maybe she was mistaken? Perhaps there were no deeper issues for her to explore, and that rather than helping, she was instead offending her colleagues?
Author’s note: For the record, T’Parief was NOT abused as a child, Stafford does NOT hate his family, Yanick does NOT have lesbian tendencies (that I know about, anyway) and Yvonnokoff is indeed offending and annoying her colleagues.
The terminal in front of her came to life as the computer-generated image of Sylvia’s face, that of a friendly woman in her mid-40s or so, appeared on the display.
“Hello, Counselor,” Sylvia said, “I believe it’s time for my appointment?”
“Jes, of course,” Yvonnokoff said, putting her professional face forward as she adjusted the tight bun in which her blond hair was pulled, “Now, during our last session ve made progress in vorking through your matronly feelings towards ze crew. Vere you, perhaps, abandoned by your own mozer?”
Commander Noonan was settling into a large armchair in the corner of Unbalanced Equations, a glass of what looked like wine in one hand and a book in the other. He had borrowed ‘The Nephew of the Sister of the Cousin of the Great-Great-Granddaughter of the Queen of the Damned’ by Anne Rice from Captain Stafford. It was a fascinating read. He had no idea how it was that Anne had picked up on so many things that most humans would have completely missed.
“Excuse me, Commander?”
Setting his book down, Noonan turned to find Counselor Yvonnokoff standing next to his chair.
“Yes, how may I help you?” he asked, smiling politely.
“Quite frankly, Commander, I am finding myself run into ze ground,” she said, “Aside the ze victims of the body svitch, I now have a variety of crewmembers coming to me vith zere problems.”
“I think it’s great that they’re starting to make use of your expertise. Isn’t that your job?” Noonan asked, not unkindly.
“It is,” Eva agreed, “But zere are simply too many of zem! I do not haff time to get into deep detail with each patient!”
“Perhaps you should concentrate on immediate issues and leave the probing for a less busy time,” Noonan suggested.
“Vell, that does make sense,” Yvonnokoff said, leaning against the wall, “But zere is anozer problem.”
“Yes?” Noonan asked, sipping his ‘wine’.
“Most of ziz crew has serious problems with face to face interaction!” she fumed, “Ve start to make progress, zen zey fly right out ze door! It’s as though zey are scared to talk!”
“Have you tried anything in regards to this?”
“Yes. I conducted a session vith Crewman Shwaluk via comm-link. He vas involved in some sort of project and could not come to my office. It vas,” she admitted, “my most productive session to date.”
“Then perhaps you should give more sessions like that,” Noonan said, picking up his book.
Yvonnokoff looked thoughtful, “Jes. Also, I could-“
“I have complete faith in you, Councilor. Do what you think best.”
The next evening, Stafford pulled himself out of his command chair after a truly boring shift. Traveling through space at Warp 3.5 was really NOT exciting when one thought about it.
“She’s all yours,” he said to his relief, “Have fun,” Most of the other day shift officers had already taken off. Stafford moved to follow them.
At that moment Ensign Burke burst from the rear turbolift, arms full of popcorn, Buffalo wings and bottled beverages.
“All right, who gets the…oh. Hi Captain,” he said sheepishly.
“Um, evening entertainment?”
Stafford glared at Burke.
“I know it’s not really regulation, sir,” Burke stammered, “but do you have any idea how frigging boring it is? Sitting up here all night with nothing to do?”
“Actually I do,” Stafford said, “Next time, bring enough for the day shift!”
“Oh. Aye sir.”
“So what’s on the screen tonight?”
“‘The Federation’s Funniest Vid-Clips.’”
Stafford scratched his head.
“Must be a new one.”
“It’s new on the Associated Worlds Network,” Lieutenant Stern piped up, “They’re trying to compete against Krinorkor’s ‘Win or Else!’.”
“Thank God,” muttered Ensign Day as he slid into the Ops console, “The Klingons at Krinokor don’t know the first thing about comedy!”
“They’re running a five day special,” Burke said, “‘Starfleet’s Finest?’ We’ve got a bet going to see what poor boobs got snagged.”
Grinning, Stafford settled back into his command chair.
“What are our odds?” he asked.
“We’ve been a bit out of touch,” Stern admitted, “The odds of us making the show are slim.”
“Got it!” Day announced.
The main viewscreen came to life as an annoyingly cheesy show tune began to play. The show’s title hovered briefly before the camera panned over a studio audience and onto an overweight Trill sitting on the stage.
“Hello, and welcome to the Federation’s Funniest Vid-clips! I’m Sod Regath. This evening, we’ll be taking a close look at those who are trusted with protecting our sovereignty and exploring new frontiers, the pride of the Federation, Starfleet! And I’ll think you’ll find that ‘Starfleet’s Finest’ really live up to their titles!” He gave an exaggerated wink as the studio audience broke into applause.
“This guy isn’t even funny,” Stafford muttered as he walked over to where Day was hogging the popcorn, “His monologue is about as entertaining as Fifebee’s science briefings.”
“It’s the clips you want to see, sir,” Day muttered back.
“And so,” the fat Trill was saying, “Without further joking, here’s our first clip! Please meet the crew of the U.S.S. Aerostar!”
Commander David Conway sat down in the command chair, on the bridge of the U.S.S. Aerostar-A.
“Okay, people, what have we got today? More exploring and whatnot? Good. Carry on.”
“Sir,” Lt. Commander Zack Ford piped up from the helm. “Could you come over here for a second? I’ve got some funny readings here on sensors.”
Conway rolled his eyes. “I JUST sat down, Ford. Why couldn’t you tell me these things BEFORE I sit down.”
Conway leaned out of his chair, then his eyes bugged out when he realized there was some resistance. His pants were stuck to the chair!
Immediately, the bridge broke down into guffaws, as suddenly Conway jerked forward and yanked himself free, tearing off the whole back end of his uniform pants and revealing Dale Earnheardt “Intimidator” boxers.
He calmly walked over to the helm, his shredded pants flapping.
“Mister Ford. Know anything about this?”
Ford smothered his laughter. “About what, sir?”
“The GIANT HOLE in my PANTS!”
“Oh. That. No sir, no idea.” And he laughed even harder.
“Oh, I get it. Practical joke.” Conway giggled. “Funny. You guys really got me. That was a good one.” His smile disappeared as he wrapped his hands around Ford’s neck and shook him vigorously. “You little–!”
Oddly, the rest of the bridge crew kept laughing.
Popcorn was scattered across the bridge carpet at loud laughter and guffaws filled the air. Stafford clutched the arm of his command chair to keep from falling while Stern and Burke was doubled over the Tactical console.
“What a sucker!” laughed Ensign Pye from the helm, “What a total dumbass!”
“Have some respect for your superiors,” Stafford forced out through fits of giggles.
The next evening, Stafford could hardly wait for his shift to end.
“Hey, boss,” Jall called.
“This is a Starfleet ship,” Stafford said tiredly, “Don’t call me ‘boss’.”
“OK, your Majesty. Just thought you’d like to know that Councilor Yvonnokoff has just put thought a request for several subspace comm channels and an increase in her communications bandwidth.”
“What for?” Stafford asked.
“Doesn’t say. Just says that she has approval from Commander Noonan.”
“Eh,” Stafford shrugged, “Can we spare the resources?”
“Sure,” Jall said, “We’re barely using a quarter of our-“
“Yeah, whatever. Shift change!”
Stafford remained firmly seated in his command chair as the rest of his senior officers filed out of the bridge.
“Aren’t ya coming down for dinner?” Ensign Yanick asked from the helm.
“No,” Stafford said, “I think I’ll, um, just hang out around here for a while.”
Noonan and Yanick exchanged glances, then turned to Stafford.
“You never stay late after your shift!” Trish said, crossing her/Stafford’s arms as she glared down at him, “You’re usually out of here as soon as humanly possible!”
“Yes, well, I thought I’d take more of an interest in what the night shift is up to,” Stafford said defiantly, “Captain’s prerogative. Now scram!”
Shrugging, Noonan and Yanick started for the turbolift, only to run into Ensign Day. This time it was Day’s turn to bring the snacks, and his arms were loaded with a stack of at least half a dozen pizzas.
Yanick turned angrily to Stafford.
“CHRIS!!!” she whined, “You were throwing a party WITHOUT ME???”
“No, no,” Stafford said quickly, “Of course not! I, uh, just thought you’d rather be with T’Par-“
“Screw that!” Yanick snapped, grabbing an entire pizza from Day and dropping down into Noonan’s chair, “Where’s the beer?”
Rolling his eyes, Noonan proceeded into the turbolift.
“Beer,” Stafford said flatly, crossing his arms and trying to look stern, “Is not permitted on the bridge of MY ship!”
“Is vodka OK?”
“NO! Now go grab me a root beer or something!”
Grumbling, Yanick trudged to the replicator and started filling drink orders.
“I’m getting the feeling,” Burke muttered to Stern, “That our party has just been crashed.”
As AWN again appeared on the screen the bridge crew was treated to a seemingly endless series of commercials, the last of which featured a Rigillian male standing in front of a comfortable looking living room.
“She’s cool! She’s sexy! And she wants to talk about YOU! The Doctor is IN! So tune in for the series premier of ‘The Vonna Show’! Coming soon, only on AWN!”
“Another new series?” Burke groaned.
“Another TALK SHOW?” Stern whined, “Why can’t they do anything interesting, like ‘Vulcan Veskenth Vixans’?
“Shut up, it’s on!” Stafford called back.
Once again the screen was filled with the logo for ‘Federation’s Funniest Vid-Clips’ as the cheesy music again played in the background. The camera panned around the studio audience as they went wild with applause before zooming in on the fat Trill host.
“Hello everybody! Ba-da bing! And welcome to another installment of ‘Starfleet’s Finest?’ on Federation’s Funniest Vid-Clips! But hey, how many Starfleet officers does it take to change a light bulb? Seven! One to man the helm, one to shout orders, one to activate a deflector pulse, one to create a static warp field, one to ask the computer for an illumination analysis, one to blow up the old light bulb with a quantum torpedo and two to screw the light bulb into the waste reclamation unit! Hyuk-hyuk-hyuk. “
“Man, this guy STINKS!” Yanick complained.
“We’re here for the clips, not the host,” Stafford said.
“And so,” the host was saying, “without further adudo, I bring you tonight’s installment of ‘Starfleet’s Finest?’! And I tell ya, those folks out at Waystation are ‘way’ funny!”
The entire bridge crew groaned at the horrible joke.
With Starfleet Square Mall’s zero-gravity hover-rink far below him, Lieutenant Commander Craig Porter carefully maneuvered himself into position near the ceiling with his own pair of zero-G boots. Of course, his pair had a self-contained anti-grav source as opposed to the ones being used by the hover-rink’s patrons, which were activated via the hover-rink’s systems.
In all honesty he would much rather be on the ground, but when the fluctuations in the internal sensor relays in this sector showed up on the Operations status board, Porter realized that it was his turn to take the call. Sure he could have assigned it to one of his staff, but he was a firm believer in the idea that you shouldn’t order people to do things that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.
So here he was, well above both levels of the mall concourse, prying open a panel positioned between two of the skylights that looked out at space beyond.
The panel hinged open, allowing Porter to scan the systems inside with his tricorder. One of the sensor relay junctions had obviously been knocked out of sync somehow. He just needed to get in there with an attenuator and realign the field. Keeping the tricorder in one hand, Porter reached into the tool pouch at his side, felt for the attenuator, then brought it up into the panel and activated it.
Getting back to the junction box itself would be a little bit of a stretch, but if he could just get around this…
The active attenuator banged against a conduit and was knocked from his hand. It dropped in the bottom of the access hatch, bounced off of the edge, then plummeted down toward the hover-rink below.
Porter watched the descent with growing dread. From this angle it looked like the attenuator was going to land on… No. Not there. Please not there.
It was going there.
The attenuator slammed into the primary control unit for the hover-rink and actually pierced the unit’s housing, sending the device’s active end inside the hover-rink’s circuitry.
Porter let out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding. If that attenuator had survived the fall and started affecting the precisely tuned fields of the hover-rink, the results would…
…look exactly like this:
The two dozen odd hover-skaters circling the rink suddenly began accelerating wildly, spinning around and around until one-by-one they were launched across the mall. A few patrons who had been flung upward screamed and failed wildly as they arced and smashed down onto tables in the food court on the second level overlooking the rink.
The carnage continued with living projectiles rocketing up and down the mall, slamming into kiosks and panicked shoppers. One poor soul crashed through the Andorian restaurant’s front window and landed square in the Mishtak pit, where he was instantly set upon by a snarling Nausicaan determined to win a free meal.
At last the rink had completely emptied, ending the horror. Porter wondered if maybe he could just stay up there forever, because there was no way he was going down to face these people now.
Porter didn’t get to ponder the thought for long as, unbeknownst to him, the damaged hover-rink field had expanded and was at that very moment causing his boots to shut off.
He figured it out pretty quickly, though.
And down he went.
The bridge was once again rocked with laughter as the various holo-skaters were flung about and Lieutenant Porter plummeted to the deck.
“That poor guy!” Yanick forced out as she giggled hysterically, “That poor, poor guy! He seemed so nice when we met him! This is SOO not funny!”
“Then why,” Stafford gasped, “are you laughing?”
“Because it’s hilarious!”
Finally, as the laugher subsided, Stafford turned to address Ensign Day.
“Ensign, send the following message to Waystation, text only:” He cleared his throat, “To Captain Beck and the crew of Waystation from Captain Stafford and the crew of the U.S.S. Silverado. Way to go!”
“Message sent,” Day say with a chuckle.
“So are we gonna watch the rest of the show?” Yanick asked.
“Naw,” cut in Burke, “It’s kinda boring. I mean, how many times can you watch a Klingon get hit in the balls?”
“At least three or four times,” Stern said, pointing at the screen, “And once more!”
Indeed the current vid-clip was showing a massive male Klingon chasing after a child in what looked like the Klingon version of a living room.
“You will put that toy bat’leth away and sleep now, pathetic child!” he roared.
Charging his parent, the Klingon kid gave a high-pitched battle roar before swinging his toy bat-leth straight up into his father’s crotch, bringing a furious roar of agony as the larger Klingon fell to the floor.
“Dishonourable…p’tak,” he wheezed, “You will die for this!”
“I hate to interrupt,” called Ensign Day, “But we’ve got a reply from Waystation, text only.”
“Oh yeah?” asked Stafford, “What do they say?”
“To Captain Stafford and the crew of the U.S.S. Silverado from Captain Beck and the crew of Waystation,” Day read, “BITE ME!!!”
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the ship, two figures were looking over a complex bank of equipment.
“Does ze Captain know what’s going on?” asked one figure.
“No,” replied the other, “I’ve taken steps to ensure that he finds this incident to be a…surprise.”
“Do you zink he’ll be angry?”
“Oh, very likely. But that will only add entertainment value. Now, I have chosen an accomplice for you in this. Be sure he has this equipment up and ready for tomorrow. If we fail, our contact on Waystation will be very angry.”
Yanick pulled herself out of bed with a loud half groan/half sob. She had stayed up WAY too late, having gone down to the lounge after the show and proceeding to drink herself silly with a gang of security officers. Bumping her head against the shelf she had mounted over her bed and cursing Stafford’s annoying tallness she moved towards her bathroom.
After enjoying a long, luxurious water shower, complete with fruity-scented bubbles, she emerged and toweled herself off, noticing in disgust the hair covering her/Stafford’s legs and chest.
Stafford had forbidden her to shave, paint, polish or otherwise decorate any part of his body. Yanick had been trying to respect that, she really had. But seeing those hairy legs every morning was really getting to her.
What the hell. She wore pants all day anyway….Stafford would never know…
“Wowryk to Stafford, please report to Sickbay,”
“Oh man,” Stafford groaned, sitting in the cargo bay that had been converted into a temporary Officer’s Mess, “What the hell could SHE possibly want?”
“Ah dunno,” replied Jeffery around a mouthful of bacon, “But if Ah were you Ah’d get right down there.”
“Hey, I’m her Captain, not her boyfriend,” Stafford said, indignant as he stood from the table, “I don’t take orders from her!”
“Right,” Jeffery said, swallowing, “That’s why you’re not walking away from a plate full of breakfast to do her bidding,”
“I’m leaving because I want to, not because Dr. Wowryk is telling me to!” Stafford called back as he walked out the door.
“Yeah, right,” Jeffery muttered, pulling Stafford’s abandoned stack of pancakes to his side of the table.
“What’s up, Doc?” Stafford asked as he walked into Sickbay. His casual attitude immediately dropped as he saw his own body lying on the bio-bed.
“Now isn’t the time for jokes, Captain,” Wowryk said, running a dermal regenerator over Yanick/Stafford’s leg, “Your helmswoman just tried to kill herself!”
“Stop being so dramatic!” Yanick snapped before Stafford could respond, “I had a tiny accident with my shaving phrazer. That hardly counts as suicide!”
“Razors are a traditional tool for those wishing to thwart God’s plan by ending their lives early,” Wowryk said coolly.
“Excuse me,” Stafford interrupted, “but WHAT HAPPENED??”
“I was trying to shave my legs,” Yanick started, a guilty look on her face as she fidgeted with the bio-bed pillow.
“Yeah,” Wowryk scoffed, tossing her head, “With the phrazor turned up to max! These legs have deep tissue phrazer burns all over! A bit more juice and the leg would have come right off!”
“The Captain’s got hairy legs!” Trish objected.
“AND I LIKE THEM THAT WAY!” Stafford roared, “Hairy, and attached to my body! NO MORE SHAVING!”
“Yes, sir,” Yanick pouted.
“It’s nothing permanent,” Wowryk assured Stafford, “I’ll fix her…you…” she frowned, “What was I saying?”
“You’ll fix the burnt legs?” Yanick said helpfully.
“Right,” Wowryk nodded, “But I want her in therapy or confession until those suicidal impulses are gone!”
“I’m not suicidal!” Yanick objected.
“I think I’ll side with her on this one,” Stafford said to Wowryk, “However, therapy to get rid of her fear of hairy legs wouldn’t hurt.”
“Counselor Yvonnokoff is trying out some new counseling techniques today,” Wowryk said thoughtfully.
“Whatever,” Stafford muttered. Then, louder, “Trish, go see the counselor. Get over your fear of hair and for God’s sake, leave my legs alone!” He stormed out.
“Maybe I could wax…” Yanick said thoughtfully.
Stafford sat in his command chair at the end of his shift as the ship’s bells sounded the shift change. Day, Stern and Pye had already reported to the bridge and were waiting to take over for the day shift.
Nobody was moving.
“Uh, guys,” Stern said, arms crossed, “it’s gonna be hard for us to take over for you if you WON’T LEAVE!”
“We’re not going anywhere,” Jall said from the Aux console, “Trish told us all about the show, so we’re gonna watch with you guys tonight.”
“Can’t you do that from your quarters?” Pye asked, hovering beside Trish’s helm console.
“We could,” said T’Parief from tactical, “But not with a seven foot high viewscreen and leather bucket seats.”
“Um, we stand at tactical,” Stern muttered to the Security Chief.
“Silence,” T’Parief snapped softly.
“We’re just staying for the first clip,” Stafford assured the night crew, “Then we’ll be out of your hair.”
“I’m gonna go get some chairs from the conference lounge,” grumbled Stern.
“Here I am!” Burke announced as he eased out of the turbolift, arms laden with Chinese food.
“Better get extra,” Pye sighed.
The bridge was feeling more than a bit crowded with two full shifts sitting, standing or leaning as they faced the main viewscreen. The smell of fried food and rice filled the air as the screen flickered on, playing another ad for the upcoming ‘Vonna Show’. Nobody paid any attention, focusing on filling their faces.
Finally, the ads were replaced with the now familiar logo and theme music of ‘Federation’s Funniest Vid-clps.”
“Greetings one and all,” gushed the fat Trill host, name still unknown, “and welcome to the ‘Federation’s Funniest Vid-clips!” Hey, have you heard the one about the Klingon, the Ferengi and the bottle of soy sauce?”
“Hey, I know this one!” Burke piped up, “It’s actually really funny!”
“I thought this guy was incapable of funny,” Yanick asked.
“Eh, every once in a-“
“Do you mind?” Stafford cut off the blond ensign, “You made us miss the joke! Shut up!”
“And now,” the host was saying, “We’ve got a pack of Starfleeters who bring whole new meaning to the word ‘embarrasment’!”
“Man, I wonder who they’ve dug up this time?” Stafford wondered.
“Many of you who keep in touch with the news on our wonderful Associated Worlds Network may already know this particular group as the crew of the ‘U.S.S. S**tbox, PU4-EVER!”
“Oh dear,” Noonan said softly.
Jall/T’Parief, Yanick/Stafford, Jeffery/Wowryk and several minor characters came marching down the corridor, Jall/T’Parief in the lead. He was dressed in a black and white French maid’s uniform, complete with frilly hat and swinging a drum major’s scepter. The others had pulled marching band uniforms over their regular off-duty cloths and were continuing to sing, very horribly, at the top of their lungs as they marched/staggered drunkenly down one of the curved corridors ringing the saucer section.
Around the rings and under the sun!
Here we come!
Full of rum!
Looking for someone to spank on the bum!
Jall took up the tune:
Tall, ugly lizard!
He’ll rip your apart, and eat your guts!
Especially your gizzard!
There were assorted guffaws as the group came across another corridor, shoving some poor crewman out of the way as they turned the corner.
The Captain, The Captain,
Feeble timid prick!
Every time he opens his mouth,
It makes me feel sick!
The helmsman, the helmsman,
Dirty old Yanick!
She talks so much, that all the men,
Run off in a panic!
“ALL RIGHT, STOP IT!” came the scream as the group turned another corner to find T’Parief/Yanick standing in the corridor with a phaser rifle, flanked by two security guards, “You will follow me to brig, where you will spend the night for being drunk and disorderly! AND YOU!” he pointed a quivering, enraged finger at Jall, “How DARE you-“
“Batter up!” Jall called out drunkenly as he swung the scepter up, ready to use it as a shield. Snarling, an odd expression on Yanick’s sweet face, T’Parief chocked up on his phaser rifle, gripping it like a club and swinging at Jall. Jall parried drunkenly with the scepter, stumbling as he overcompensated. He swung as hard as he could with the scepter, missing T’Parief completely and smashing the heavy staff into the computer panel on the corridor wall, electing a screech of protest from Sylvia.
Unfortunately, beneath the gleaming new panels, the corridor in that section of the ship consisted of very old, very stressed and very weak duranium. The shock of the impact shook loose one of the long ceiling panels. The panel swung down, smashing right into Jall/T’Parief and sending him sprawling back, landing flat on his tail and crushing several crewmen beneath him.
“T’Parief to Security. Cleanup on Deck 9.”
Nobody was laughing this time.
Well, nobody should have been laughing.
Everybody turned to stare at Ensign Burke as he giggled and pointed at the screen.
“Those poor bastards!” he gasped, “Man, I bet that-“
Jall reached beneath his console, pulling out the tiny Type 1 phaser he kept there and proceeded to stun Burke.
Normally, Stafford would have been infuriated by Jall’s itchy trigger finger, but at the moment he had larger problems to consider.
“This,” he said, very calmly, “is NOT good!”
“No s**t!” Yanick yelled, “Do you know what my parents are going to say when they see me-well, my body anyway, shooting somebody!”
“YOUR PARENTS?” roared T’Parief, “WHAT IS MY FAMILY GOING TO SAY!?!”
“Oh come on,” Jall said, “It’s not like they ever watch AWN on Qu’nos. Or Andoria. Or whatever.”
“That’s true,” Yanick said reassuringly, “If AWN tried to broadcast to Qu’nos, Krinorkor would gut them. I’m sure nobody saw your body in that cute little skirt.”
“My family,” T’Parief said coldly, “lives on Nisus. In the Federation. Where AWN broadcasts. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start looking up the procedures for Andorian ritual suicide.”
“Don’t Andorians have to have that stuff memorized?” asked Stern, “I remember this Andorian chick at the Academy-“
“I’m only 1/4 Andorian,” T’Parief said as he walked towards the turbolift.
“Gorn methods are less painful,” Fifebee called out as the turbolift doors closed, “Although less creative,” she muttered under her breath.
Stern and Day turned to look at her incredulously.
“What?” she asked, “I’m a science officer. It’s my duty to know these things.”
“Yeah, we just didn’t realize you were still here,” Stern said.
“He’s, uh, not really going to go kill himself, is he?” Yanick asked, “Cuz if he does, Noel’s gonna send him into therapy.”
“Can we please focus on the problem at hand?” Stafford said, annoyed. He’d been brooding in his chair, face in his hands, “We’re about to become the laughing stock of the Federation!”
“Actually,” Day piped up, “whoever wins the show is gonna be the laughingstock, so it could be us, Waystation or Aerostar.”
“Jall?” Stafford gestured towards Day. Jall pulled out his phaser again and stunned the poor Ensign.
“OK, clear the bridge!” Stafford called out, “Anybody who isn’t on duty get the hell out.”
Rather then heading to his quarters or to the lounge, Stafford was pacing in his ready room.
“Sylvia,” he called out, “open channels to Waystation and the U.S.S. Aerostar. I wanna talk to Captains Beck and Conway.”
“What do we say?” Sylvia asked pointedly.
“Of course. Channels open.”
Stafford waited several minutes.
“I have Captain Conway. Captain Beck is apparently unavailable,” Sylvia reported.
“Put Conway on.”
A grumpy looking officer in Starfleet command-red pajamas appeared on the screen.
“Who the hell are you and what do you think you’re doing calling me at this hour!”
“Captain Chris Stafford of the U.S.S. Silverado,” Stafford said, “And it’s only 19:00 hours!”
“Not on this ship, buddy,” grumbled Conway, “Now what the hell do you want?”
“We have a problem in common-“
“Uh-huh. I’ve heard about you, Captain,” Conway said, yanwing and stretching, “I really don’t think a pack of newbies in a seventy year old ship can have much in common with a ship of the line like the Aerostar.”
“It’s only fifty years old!” Stafford objected, “And I’ll have you know that this ‘pack of newbies’ just saved the Federation a few weeks ago!”
“Whatever,” Conway grunted, “Now, I’m going back to bed. If you need anything else from me, kindly f**k off!”
“Are you wearing your Dale Earnheardt “Intimidator” boxers, Captain?” Stafford asked before Conway could change the channel.
Conway looked at him in shock.
“How do you know about those?” he snapped.
“Sylvia,” Stafford said with an evil grin, “Please transmit the recording of Conway’s little problem.
As the clip of Conway’s pants ripping was played over the channel, Stafford had the joy of watching Conway indulge in a very impressive display of profanity.
“How did you get this?” Conway finally asked.
“It was broadcast to the entire Federation,” Stafford filled Conway in on the ‘Federations Funniest Vid-clip’ show, concluding with “These people must die.”
“I have better things to do then chase after some fat Trill,” Conway grumbled, “I’ve had nothing but trouble when Trills are involved.”
“So what, you’re just going to this bastard get away with humiliating us?” Stafford demanded.
“Yup,” Conway shrugged, “I really don’t care what happens to you or Waystation.”
“But they got you too!”
“Yup. And somebody on this ship is going to die a slow, painful death for sending them that recording!” Conway vowed, “Now get lost, and don’t EVER call me again!”
The next morning, Stafford sat in the conference lounge with his senior officers as he relayed his conversation with Conway.
“So he doesn’t care that his butt was broadcast across the quadrant?” Wowryk asked thoughtfully, “That’s very noble and forgiving. You could learn a lesson from that man.”
Stafford gave her an annoyed look as Yanick chuckled into her hand.
“He does care,” he said tiredly, “but he’d rather destroy the member of his crew that sent in the recording then chase some fat Trill. An idea I very much agree with.”
T’Parief/Yanick straightened up in his seat. Evidently he hadn’t been very thorough with his ritual suicide.
“Somebody on this ship sent in that recording?” he snapped. He’d decided to follow his Klingon heritage this time and had wanted to spend an hour in the holodeck with an army of Klingon warriors carrying painsticks. Yanick had vetoed that idea, claiming that the energy discharges would dry her skin. “I will destroy them!”
“Conway’s plan exactly,” Stafford said, “T’Parief, your job is to find the culprit and carry out suitable punishment. Suitable for Starfleet, that is.
“With pleasure,” T’Parief said.
“Anything else we need to discuss?” Stafford asked, looking around the room.
“OK, meeting adjourned.”
Just because there wasn’t anything to discuss as a group doesn’t mean that everybody wasn’t busy. Jeffery was trying to keep the damaged warp engines running and arranging what repairs he could. Fifebee and Wowryk were spending most of their time locked in Science Lab 1 with the captured Matrian SID, trying to figure out how to switch everybody back to their own bodies. Stafford was trying to help Jeffery and Fifebee, but was in reality doing a better job of getting in the way as opposed to actually helping. Yanick was bored stiff. Jall, who should have been as busy as Jeffery, was instead spending what time he could terrifying various crewmembers with T’Pariefs claws and teeth. Noonan had developed a habit of disappearing completely when his bridge shift was over, which surprised (and relieved) most of the night shift. They’d grown used to him staying for extended shifts, but still preferred to have as few senior officers around as possible.
The evening viewings of ‘Federation’s Funniest Vid-clips’ had ended. Somehow, having something happen to you just wasn’t as funny as watching it happen to somebody else. The night shift once again had free reign of the bridge. The next evening, Stafford was sitting with Yanick and T’Parief. He’d spend much less time with Yanick after she and T’Parief started dating. Any time he had, the two had spent the evening making goofy eyes at each other and generally making him feel like the odd man out. Now that they were in different bodies, their romance had cooled considerably.
Stafford sipped his hot chocolate and listened as Yanick described, in great detail, the article she had read. ‘Losing Weight Through Fear-Induced Sweating’ really didn’t sound like fun to Stafford. He said so.
“Yeah, me neither,” Yanick admitted, “I read it in an Andorian healthy living magazine.”
“Why the hell would you read that?” Stafford chuckled, “They’re idea of a healthy meal…” he trailed off as he remembered T’Parief’s partial Andorian background.
“Yeah,” Yanick said before T’Parief could respond, “But I figured I should be learning more about T’Parief’s culture.” She frowned, “Cultures,” she then amended.
The holographic vid-screen kicked in at the other end of the lounge as somebody or other decided they wanted to watch some show or other.
“AND NOW, WE WELCOME YOU TO “THE-“
“TURN THAT DOWN!” Stafford roared.
“STARRING EVA YVONNOkoff…” the sound trailed off.
Stafford’s eyes widened, his breath caught and his heart skipped a beat.
“Did just say ‘Eva Yvonnokoff?’” he asked, sitting ramrod straight in his chair.
“I think so,” Trish replied.
“TURN IT UP, TURN IT UP!” Stafford cried, running to the screen.
Displayed on the screen was an image of Counselor Yvonnokoff, seated in a very comfortable looking office. Stafford stook in front of the screen, jaw hanging open, ignoring the calls of ‘move it’ and ‘get out of the way!’ from the viewers behind him.
“Velcome all to ze premier of ‘Ze Vonna Show,” Eva was saying. Her hair was in it’s usual tight bun, but she had exchanged her Starfleet uniform for a more formal business suit, “During ziz show, ve will explore ze psyche of sentient beings from across ze Federation as ve attempt to free zem from problems impacting zere everyday lives. So, call in on subspace channel 6466. All names will be replaced with aliases to protect ze privacy of our callers. Remember, I am here for you. Our first call is from ‘Cory’. ‘Cory’ is calling us from ze starship Silverado and he’s having problems with his Commanding Officer.”
“Oh dear God,” Stafford whispered as he passed out.
“Vell, Samantha,” Yvonnokoff said, looking at the holocam in her studio as she gave what she hoped was a welcoming smile, “I vould suggest that you confront your mate immediately and tell him how his unfaithfulness has made you feel.”
“But he’s Andorian!” wailed the hysterical woman over the comm-link, “If I confront him, he’ll gut me like a fish!”
“Perhaps you should have thought about zat before you married him,” Yvonnokoff said flatly, “In any case, ze Federation Embassy on Andor can provide you vith ze protection you need.”
“Oh, thank you Dr. Vonna,” said Samantha, “I love your show!” There was a click as the line disconnected.
“Zank you for your call,” Yvonnokoff said, “Bart, who do we have next?”
Bartholomew Gibson, Yvonnokoff’s new assistant, was a bald headed young crewman with nose and ear rings that swung gently as he looked up from his control panel behind the holocam.
“We’ve got ‘Craig’ calling in from the starship Silverado,” Ben said, a glimmer in his eyes, “He’s having trouble with one of his subordinates.”
“Hello ‘Craig’,” Yvonnokoff said with a broad smile, “I’m here for you,”
“NO YOU’RE NOT!” screamed Stafford/Jeffery’s voice, “YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOWN IN YOUR OFFICE HELPING THE NUTCASES ON THIS SHIP, NOT ON THE AIR IMPORTING FRESH WACKOS FROM ACROSS THE QUADRANT!!!!”
“Please, Cap, um, ‘Craig,’” Yvonna said, looking very annoyed as she glared at Bart through the transparent divider, “Control yourself. I am here to help you. Let’s begin with using ‘I’ statements. ‘I think’, ‘I feel,’ and so forth.”
“OK,” Stafford said, his voice taking on heavy sarcasm, “I feel that YOU are airing this ship’s dirty laundry to the world for your own cheap thrills!”
“I see,” Yvonna addressed her audience, “Ziz is an unfortunate misunderstanding. Let me take zis oppurunity to explain my position better.”
“I am ze ship’s councilor for ze U.S.S. Silverado. As such, I vork vith ze crew to resolve zier issues. Vith ze approval of ze First Officer, I now take calls from on and off ze ship for three hours every day. You can see the first hour nightly here on AWN, vhile ze rest is broadcast on ze sister network, AWN Radio. I continue to serve as ship’s councilor and provide full support for zis ship.”
“Allo?” Yvonnakoff asked.
“I think we’ve lost ‘Craig’,” Ben said with a grin.
“And now for these important messages,” Yvonnokoff sighed, switching over to an ad for the ‘Dillon TerryFormer Jr.”
“You are supposed to be screening zese calls!” Eva accused Gibson.
“I’m supposed to give priority to Silverado calls,” Gibson replied with a smile, “especially the juicy ones!”
“I vish you vould have told ze captain to go stuff himself instead.”
Stafford was marching down the corridor intent on one goal: Noonan’s office.
“Hey Cap-“ started a young, blond ensign.
“Not now,” Stafford snapped, brushing past.
“I just wanted to say how much I liked this ship…” Ensign Kregar said, lip quivering as Stafford stormed off.
Stafford didn’t bother knocking, storming right into Noonan’s office.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve!” he snapped.
Noonan looked up from where he was engrossed in a crew report.
“In what way?” he asked politely.
“Yvonnokoff said you authorized her to do a talk show!”
“What business do you have letting her spread our problems across the galaxy! Don’t you think we’ve got enough bad publicity, between the Funniest Vid-clips and Lynch’s paint job prank!?”
“I doubt it would be bad publicity,” Noonan said calmly, “We’re accepting calls from across the quadrant, not only from Silverado. And Starfleet has ordered that all body-switching inquires be confined to Counselor Yvonnokoff’s regular sessions. They want to keep a tight lid on that situation.”
“You had no right to do this!” Stafford snapped, “You should have put this through me first!”
“The First Officer is in charge of personnel,” he said, “Starfleet’s PR department approved the idea. I assumed you had enough to worry about.”
“You assumed wrong,” Stafford sat across from Noonan, “I want anything, ANYTHING that could impact this ship or crew brought to me, first! And I want Yvonnokoff off the air!”
“She has,” Noonan said, “signed a contract. She will be on the air for some time.”
Stafford blew out a frustrated breath, rubbing his forehead.
“At least,” he said finally, “can we have her stop telling everybody where her callers are from?”
“Of course,” Noonan said with a smile, “And Captain, I think you’ll find that having her on the air will be very good for our image.”
“God knows it couldn’t get any worse!” Stafford picked up a carafe of what looked like wine from Noonan’s desk and poured himself a drink.
“Um, Captain-“ Noonan started.
“Shush,” Stafford cut him off, “Now, what are we going to do about the vid-clips thing?”
“Mr. T’Parief is investigating, but-“
“Yeah. He did pretty good with those bodies we found a few weeks ago. I guess he’ll figure this one out.”
“I’m sure,” Noonan was starting to sweat, “But-“
“I just can’t stand the way Starfleet thinks of us!” Stafford said, pacing again, his ‘wine’ in one hand, “They ignore us, abuse us and insult us! We work hard and finally get an ounce of credibility, and it gets blown away! We got some respect after we stopped that pirate at Waystation, then became total laughingstocks when our plumbing disabled the whole ship! We defeat the Matrians, but now we have a video of our crew doing really stupid stuff on AWN. Where does it end?”
“We just need to do our best,” Noonan said, not really paying attention to what Stafford was saying, “But Captain, that-“
“F**k it,” Stafford said finally, “We’re just going to hold our heads high and to hell with what everybody thinks. But you’ve crossed the line here, bud!” He threw back the ‘wine’ in one gulp, then promptly spit it out all over Noonan’s carpet.
“Man,” he gasped, “I think your wine’s gone bad or something.
“Or something,” Noonan sighed.
T’Parief commandeered the conference lounge the next morning and promptly began interrogating suspects. Never since the incident at Matria had he wanted his razor-sharp teeth back so badly.
“So,” he said in Yanick’s cute, girly voice, “What were you doing on Stardate 564600.6?”
“I was on duty,” Lieutenant Jall reported, smirking at T’Parief with the security officer’s own face, “Why?”
“That was the deadline for the contest entry.” T’Parief replied, tapping on his padd, “Did you, at any time access the security logs of Deck 9 between the Stardates of 564595 and 564600?”
“Nope. Y’know, I was wondering, just how do you get your hair so silky soft?”
“Shut up,” T’Parief said simply, “I have reviewed the security logs. They show that you accessed the security database at 14:00h on Stardate 564597. Explain.” He crossed his arms smugly, unaware of how incredibly cute Yanick looks when she tries to look smug. Jall burst out laughing.
“What is so funny?” T’Parief/Yanick snapped.
“You just,” Jall choked, “You…you’re…”
“ARRGGHHH!!!” T’Parief snarled in anger, bringing another round of laughter from Jall, “FINE! You don’t think I’m scary? I will show you scary!” He lept at Jall, only the element of surprise allowing him to knock the Ops Officer’s borrowed reptilian body to the floor. Twisting his arm up, T’Parief quickly located the two tiny nubs behind the cranial ridges that would have been antennas on a floor blooded Andorian. Since T’Parief’s body was only 1/4 Andorians, the antennas had been reduced to small nodes.
Small, sensitive nodes.
Jall screamed in pain, bucking T’Parief/Yanick off and gripping his head.
“DEAR GOD!” he hollered, “WHAT DID YOU DO?”
“Trade secret,” T’Parief said, resuming his seat at the head of the table. “Now, tell me what I want to know.”
“OK,” Jall said, defeated, “I was trying to get security logs from the locker room in the gym….”
“What? Why?” T’Parief demanded, “Wait. No. Do not tell me. Just leave. NOW!”
The next several interrogations went pretty smoothly. Most officers and crew had more respect for ship’s security that Jall, plus T’Parief had stationed Dar’ugal near the conference room door. Indeed, his biggest problem was something he had not expected.
“Crewman Shwaluk,” he said, gritting his teeth, “You will take your eyes off my, I mean, my girlfriend’s breasts this instant or I shall have Ensign Dar’ugal fold you in half!”
“Oh, uh right,” Shwaluk forced his eyes up to meet T’Parief’s gaze, “Um, what was the question?”
“Um, I’ve been too busy trying to get Vonna setup for her show,” Gibson said, scratching his crotch.
“You could have orchestrated this as a publicity stunt,” T’Parief said, eyes narrowing.
“Right. Did you not see me getting flattened under Jall’s,” Gibson scratched his head, “well, I guess it’s your fat ass. But either was, I was flattened under it when that panel knocked him over! Do you think I’d want to send in something like that?”
“Why the hell am I here?” Stafford demanded, annoyed, “I ordered this investigation! What is the f**king point in interrogating ME???”
“You accessed internal sensor logs at 03:00 hours on Stardate 564598,” T’Parief said, pacing behind the chair in which his current victim was seated.
“I did,” Fifebee replied calmly.
“I was,” Fifebee said, “Attempting to track sabotage of my holo-relay. Somebody had tampered with it, causing me to take on the appearance of a Leprechaun.”
“03:00 hours is very early in the morning for such an investigation,” T’Parief pointed out, turning to face Fifebee.
“I don’t sleep.”
“Oh,” T’Parief deflated, “right. So, who did it, anyway?”
“Ensign Simmons,” Fifebee replied promptly, “If you check the logs, you’ll see he entered Impulse Engineering and accessed my relay earlier that day.”
“Do you think,” T’Parief asked, sitting down and leaning across the table towards Fifebee, “that his love of practical jokes would extend to sending footage of our crew into a comedy show?’
“If he had,” Fifebee replied, a small smile on her face, “you would know about it. The man is NOT capable of covering his tracks!”
“Glorx,” T’Parief cursed flatly. After a few moments of silence, “Did you get even with him??”
“Indeed. I altered his favorite holodeck program so the Orion slave girls he had programmed would hold him down and pluck out his leg hairs, one at a time.”
“You’re vicious,” T’Parief said with a grin, “Wanna work in security?”
“I think not, no.”
Later in the evening, T’Parief slumped, exhausted, into a chair in Unbalanced Equations. His interrogations had revealed more immature pranks and stunts then he had ever thought possible. But nothing useful towards his investigation. He’d gone over the access logs for the internal sensors on Deck 9 more times than he could count. He’d had his staff go over the logs again. He’d had them analyzed in case somebody had tried to hide their tracks. But nothing.
Captain Stafford sat in a nearby chair, drink in hand, staring out the window.
“Captain,” T’Parief started.
“Don’t talk to me,” Stafford said softly.
So, Stafford was still pissed about the Yvonnokoff thing. T’Parief couldn’t blame him for that. But it was completely irrelevant to his investigation.
Simon Jeffery/Wowryk sat down between T’Parief and Stafford, with the obvious intention of trying to cheer Chris up. After Stafford warned him off too, he sat awkwardly for a moment before turning to T’Parief.
“So, while I’m here, anybody else need cheering up?” he grinned.
T’Parief was silent for a moment.
“I have,” he said, turning to face Jeffery, “thoroughly gone over all our security records. I have interrogated those crewmembers prone to immature behavior. But there is no motive, except for Jall’s desire to humiliate me. His alibi checks out, however. I cannot help but feel I have overlooked somebody.”
“Eh,” Jeffery shrugged, “Why don’t you ask Sylvia to help you out? She’s been pretty good at keeping an eye on engineering stuff for me.”
“‘Keeping an eye’?” T’Parief raised an eyebrow.
“OK, she’s a nag,” Jeffery sighed, “She watches EVERYTHING! I can’t leave a phaser inducer out of alignment without her pointing it out…hey!”
T’Parief had suddenly stood and marched out of the lounge.
“Sylvia, I would speak to you now!” T’Parief called, pacing in his security office.
“What can I do for you?” Sylvia asked, her face appearing on a wall display.
“I wish for you to retrace your steps between Stardates 564595 and 564600,” the security chief said, turning to face Sylvia, “I want to know if you accessed the internal sensors to Deck 9.”
“Honey,” Sylvia sighed, “I AM the internal sensors! Of course I accessed them…constantly!”
“And did anybody else?”
“Just you,” Sylvia replied, “And no, nobody has covered their tracks, or anything silly like that.”
“So nobody sent the recording into ‘Federation’s Funniest Vid-clips’?”
“Of course somebody did,” Sylvia said, “How else did it get there?”
T’Parief grunted in frustration. Stupid machine. Circumlocutions, twisted answers. Damned machines never gave you anything unless you knew exactly what to ask.
“Sylvia,” T’Parief said slowly, “Did you send the vid-clip in?”
T’Parief snapped back to meet Sylvia’s gaze.
“Then why the hell didn’t you say so before??”
Sylvia gave a small smile.
“You didn’t ask.”
Captain’s Log, Stardate 56404.3
“I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or not, but at least in some way, the name of Silverado has caught the attention of the Federation.”
“On the one hand, we, well, Jall/T’Parief and the marching band mostly, have been totally humiliated. Fortunately, because only one senior officer was involved Starfleet has pretty much said ‘f**k it’. Besides, it’s not like we were the only ship snagged in that damned thing. Still, between this incident and the whole ‘U.S.S. S**tbox’ thing we’ve generated our share of bad press. That can’t be good. As far as what actions to take against the instigator that sent in the clip, well. We’re kinda stuck on that one. We can’t exactly throw her in the brig, and even if we could it probably wouldn’t be a very suitable punishment. I’ve decided to start a file for her in our crew manifest, starting with this incident.”
“On the other hand, we’ve already received almost a thousand fan-mail transmissions for Counselor Yvonnokoff. Turns out ‘The ‘Vonna Show’ is a huge hit. Her biggest audience appears to be middle-aged women eager for fresh gossip. Although we did get one message came from a Klingon male named ‘Karthos’ who praised her ‘brusque manner’ and asked for her hand, among other body parts, in marriage. Takes all types, I guess.”
“I’m somewhat displeased over Commander Noonan’s decision to OK Counselor Yvonnokoff’s plan. He may be technically correct in saying that crew assignments are part of his job, but dammit, this should have gone through me!”
“Sylvia,” Stafford said, pacing in his ready room, “Switch me over to my personal log.”
“OK, Chris,” replied the computer.
“And try to stay out of trouble from now on,” he admonished her.
“OK, Dad,” Sylvia teased.
Captain’s Personal Log:
“Somewhat displeased my ASS! What the hell was he thinking? That woman is a f**king quack and has about as much business running a counseling show as I do! How could he go behind my back like that? Did he think it would be funny? Did he just not care? What the f**k?”
“And on Channel 2 we have ‘Seth’ from Waystation,” Bart said cheerfully, “He’s having problems attracting women.”
“Um, am I on?” came a nervous sounding voice.
“Jas,” Yvonnokoff said with a smile, “I am here.”
“Well, ya see Doc,” ‘Seth’ went on, “I can’t get any women. They just run away! In fact, you might know this one chick…she’s a doctor on your ship, threw a beer mug at my head when I tried to get her into a threesome.”
Eva’s smile became strained.
“Have you tried NOT discussing sex vhen you are approaching a voman?” she asked.
“What’s the point?” ‘Seth’ asked, “There’s no point in talking to women if you’re not gonna get into their pants sooner or later!”
“Seth, I don’t like saying zis to a patient,” Eva sighed, “But I cannot help you. You need therapy. Intensive therapy.”
“That’s what my last counselor said,” ‘Seth’ sighed, “Say, doc, I, uh, don’t suppose you’re single, huh? I hear your ship’s gonna be passing though Waystation soon.”
“Zank you,” Eva said, “But I’m not zhat desperate.” She cut him off and turned to check her chrono.
“And zhat is the end of our show today,” Eva said, “Stay tuned tomorrow for more of your insecurities, psychoses and paranoid ravings here on ‘Ze Vonna Show’.
As the on-air light switched off, Stafford stepped into the small studio Noonan had helped setup on Deck 12.
“Interesting broadcast,” he said grimly, “I especially liked the Lieutenant from the Enterprise who was convinced Picard was a changeling.”
“Keptain,” Eva said nervously, “What can I do for you?”
“Y’know,” he said, “if you really wanted to do a show like this, why didn’t you just ask me?”
Eva looked at him.
“I did not have ze plan to do ziz until Commander Noonan gave me ze idea,” she said, “After he put me in touch vith Starfleet PR and ze Associated Worlds network zey showed great interest in ze idea and implemented it as soon as possible. I had no clue it vas without your permission.”
“Ya, I figured that our for myself,” Stafford said, examining the holo-cam and recording equipment, “I guess asking for AWN to stop broadcasting the show is out the question?”
“Starfleet Public Relations and myself ‘ave entered a contract vith AWN.”
“Thought so,” Stafford bit his lip, then sighed.
“Just do me one favor,” he said finally.
“Stop telling everybody where your callers are from. The last thing we need is for the entire Federation to know which nutcases are on this ship.
“Zat,” Eva said with a grin, “I can do.”
Tantalus V Mental Recovery Facility:
“Good morning, dear,” Doctor Pascal said cheerfully as he entered his patient’s room, “Sleep well?”
“Oh, yes Doctor!” his patient replied cheerfully, “These down-filled comforters are just so soft! In fact, I think I’m going to upholster my ship with them when I get out of here!”
“Uh, right,” Pascal shifted his feet nervously. His goal in life was to turn the unstable, the slightly psychotic or the criminally insane into normal, happy members of Federation society. Although this patient was starting to really make him re-think the ‘happy’ part, he had to admit she was showing remarkable progress.
“So,” he said, “Why don’t we start with those Vulcan calming mantras we learned last week?”
“Oh,” the woman pouted, her eyes framed by the large Klingon cranial ridges on her forehead, “I know they’re for my own good, but Vulcan is such a boring language!”
“Your review is coming up soon,” he reminded her, “If you can demonstrate to the review board that you’re a calm, happy member of society, they may grant you an early parole.”
“Oh, very well,” she closed her eyes and started chanting.
Pascal smiled. K’Eleese was a strange Klingon, that was for sure. But with a little work, she’d be a harmless, happy person who wouldn’t hurt a fly.
K’Eleese chanted the boring Vulcan words, mind intent on two things: Large, fluffy bunnies and galactic conquest.
Again, special thanks to Alan Decker and Anthony Butler for their contributions.
Next: Silverado pays another visit to Waystation to try to undue some of the damage they’ve done to Starfleet’s image and to hopefully get their minds back where they belong. Stay tuned for Silverado 2.2: ‘Back in Sight’.