Star Trek is the property of Paramount and Viacom. Star Traks was created by Alan Decker. Star Wars was created by George Lucas. Looney Tunes is the property of Warner Brothers. Star Traks Silverado was created by and is owned by Brendan Chris, who is far too lazy to think up a good disclaimer today. But by now I bet you know this story is going to be an odd one! Deal with it.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2005

Author’s Note: If you haven’t watch the Star Wars trilogies or the Road Runner Show, then many parts of this story may not make sense…


Captain’s Log, Stardate 57990.3:


“With the successful completion of our mapping mission, we’ve set a course for the Klingon/Federation border. It would seem that Starfleet feels that after the intense monotony and boredom of a mapping mission, we need the intense monotony and boredom of a patrol assignment to help set us straight. On the bright side, we’re close in to the core of Federation space rather than running around the outskirts. I choose to take this as a sign that Starfleet is no longer so embarrassed by us that they feel the need to keep us at arms length.”


“Sylvia, pause recording,” Stafford ordered, then leaned forward in his command chair to address his Ops officer, “Jall, if you don’t stop giggling I’m going to order you gagged!”

“And I would be pleased to follow that order,” T’Parief added. The large hybrid officer was standing at the tactical station behind Stafford’s chair, while Jall manned one of the twin consoles towards the front of the bridge. Ensign Yanick, manning the other console, also started giggling.

“Aw, c’mon guys!” Stafford whined, exasperated, “How am I supposed to finish my log if everybody is snickering in the background!”

“Actually, Chris,” Sylvia chimed in, “the log recorder only records your voice. All the ambient noises are screened out, including giggling, moaning, mechanical sounds and the grinding of T’Parief’s teeth.”

At this the stifled giggles from the bridge crew broke into loud laughter.

“I think,” Sylvia added, “that you people have way too much free time on your hands right now. Why don’t you do something constructive, like learning how to play a musical instrument? Or maybe you could start correcting the interior design problems on the even numbered decks!”

“I though it was the odd numbered ones that were coloured wrong,” Yanick mused.

“No,” Jall said, “The warm creamy colours are SO last decade. The cool blues and greys are designed to convey a professional atmosphere, without making the place feel like a cruise ship.”

Ignoring the boring conversation, and choosing not to wonder just why his Ops officer knew so much about interior design, Stafford resumed his log.


“To help keep everybody entertained, Jeffery has some special holodeck program he wants to show us. Apparently it’s supposed to be something really neat. Also on the subject of holodecks, Commander T’Parief has reserved a large block of holodeck time for security training. I kinda preferred our planetary war game thing last year, but using the holodecks IS Starfleet’s standard procedure.”


As Stafford finished his recording, the turbolift doors hissed open the moment the ship’s chimes sounded the shift change. Lieutenant Stern, Ensign Pye, Ensign Day and Lieutenant Quintane piled out of the turbolift to relieve the senior staff. Commander Noonan, who made a habit of working late, was making his rounds of the various departments contained in the very large starship.

“So is anybody else going to Jeffery’s holo-extravaganza?” Yanick asked, “I wanna go…but not by myself.”

“I would be pleased to escort you, my lady,” T’Parief said formally.

“Oh brother,” Stafford sighed as Yanick blushed and gave T’Parief a peck on the cheek.

“Don’t they make a cute couple?” Jall asked.

“Oh shut up,” Stafford muttered.

“Feeling a little lonely…as usual?” Jall teased.

“Not that it’s any of your business!” Stafford snapped, “Why don’t you worry about your own love life and leave mine alone? I haven’t exactly seen YOU dating a lot of women lately either.”

“I think my reason for that is a little different,” Jall smirked.

“Yeah, I bet,” Stafford grunted, “Let me guess, you find some nice young girl, woo her, take her to fancy dinners at pretty places, talk her into having sex with you then NEVER BOTHER TO CALL AGAIN??!!??”

“Not quite,” Jall chuckled, “but is sure sounds like you’ve been down that road a few times!”

“Even women can be players,” Stafford snapped as the turbolift eased to a halt.

“Right, and you didn’t play the ‘one-night-stand’ game with Prefect Telfidi then, hmmm?” Yanick teased, referring to a Senousian leader Stafford had had a tryst with.

“We both knew what it was!” Stafford shot back as they neared Holodeck 1.

“The Senousians are not a monogamous race,” T’Parief pointed out, coming to his captain’s defense.

“Oh don’t worry,” Yanick smiled, grabbing hold of T’Parief’s hand, “You’ll find somebody.

Stafford only rolled his eyes.


“Remind me again why I’m doing this?” Wowryk asked as she finished dressing little Luke (AKA Lord Stalart), “I’m pretty sure there’s something about this whole thing that’s sinful. Of course, I’d know for sure if Jeffery would tell me what was going on!”

“You’re doing it because Simon wanted to include you in his little pet project,” Nurse Kerry said, using a dermal regenerator to reattach Ensign Marsden’s thumb after a disastrous attempt at cooking, “and because you guys decided that if Luke was to have a happy family life, the three of you need to do more together as a family.”

“I meant attending Mass when I brought that up,” Wowryk grumbled, “But Yvonnokoff insists that I stop using sin as an excuse to avoid experiencing life.”

“About time,” Veeneman muttered as she put the finishing touches on Crewman Wonk’s medical report.

“What was that?”

“A hint of lime,” Veeneman lied, “I was thinking about dinner.”

/<One day,/> Lord Stalart of Arcania (AKA Luke) declared, /<my race will conquer the galaxy and rule you all!/>

“Give Aunt Leslie a hug before you go!” Kerry picked up Stalart, hugged him and gave him a kiss. As she handed him back to Wowryk, she started.

“What is it?” Wowryk asked.

“I think he just groped me!”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Wowryk scoffed, “He’s not old enough yet to be a horny pervert!”

/<Yes, you just keep thinking that…MWA-HA-HA!/>


Shortly before Jeffery’s scheduled show time, everybody converged on the entrance to Holodeck 1.

“Heya kiddo!” Stafford bent down to address Luke with an unconvincing smile, “How’s the little guy been?”

“He’s been good lately,” Wowryk said with a small grin, “No peeing on the computers or screaming fits for weeks. Although I did catch him playing in the jefferies tubes the other day.”

/<I was looking for the self-destruct, to put an end to this pathetic existence you all call your lives!/>

“So what does old Jeffers want?” Jall asked, “Is he gonna do a bagpipe demonstration?”

“Dear God, I hope not,” Stafford groaned, “Last time he did that I had migraines for a month!”

“Maybe we’re having a slumber party!” Ensign Yanick squealed happily.

Both Wowryk and Stafford answered together:

“If that’s it then I’m leaving!”

There was a moment of silence.

“Well, that was spooky,” Trish finally said.

“Eerie even,” Stafford agreed.

“You’re all idiots,” Jall muttered.

“We hate you too,” Wowryk replied with a dark smile.

“Allo, gents!” Jeffery said happily as he walked down the corridor, a broad smile on his face.

“Ok, we’re all here,” Stafford said, hands on hips, “So what’s this big surprise you have for us?”

“Well,” Jeffery almost bounced with excitement, “Ye know how before holodecks were invented, people used to sit down and watch stuff on television, right?”

“Of course we do,” Jall was peeved, “We do it weekly on Cartoon Night!”

“Loved ‘Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ the other night,” Stafford spoke up.

“It wasn’t a cartoon,” T’Parief pointed out.

“We’re broadening our horizons,” Stafford shot back.

“ANYWAY!” Jeffery said, regaining everybody’s attention, “Ye probably also know then that once holodecks got going, people started making holo-novels…kinda like movies, only ye play the main character.”

“Bored now,” Jall said flatly.

“Let him finish!” Wowryk hissed.

“Ah’ve combined the two!” Jeffery said proudly, “Yer about to be the first people to enjoy an old 20th century movie…in holographic Jeffery-vision! Ah’ve taken the film and converted it to full holographic 3-D-“

“Been done before,” Jall pointed out.

“Aye, but always with ye as the main character. With this 3-D conversion, ye’ll be sitting in the middle of all the action, not watching it on one wall. This time, it’s more like a movie theatre experience.”

“But we get a movie theatre experience,” Stafford said, “At Cartoon Night. And besides, I’m pretty sure somebody’s done this before-“

“Just get in the Holodeck!” Jeffery snapped.


Jeffery pushed the group through the wide doors to Holodeck 1. Inside was nothing but an opera-house type box with a dozen seats in two rows. A small food replicator sat to one side of the box. For refreshments during the movie, Stafford assumed. Hopefully the lavatory facilities would be somewhat more private. The rest of the holodeck was just a bare grid.

“Sylvia, initiate program!” Jeffery called out. The lights in the holodeck went out. Wowryk became aware of tiny pinpoints of lights…stars, she realized. She nearly jumped out of her seat when trumpets sounded and a huge logo hovered in the air above them. Text started scrolling from somewhere under the seating box and moving out into the distance.

“Star Wars?” T’Parief said thoughtfully, “Hmmm. I am intrigued.”

“The Phantom Menace?” Jall asked, “What the hell is this?”

“This,” Jeffery explained, “Is one of the most incredible film series ever created! Ah had to dig through the archives at Memory Alpha for weeks to find it. Ah can’t understand why such a spectacular piece of work would be buried so deep.”

“Galactic Republic?” Stafford said to himself, reading the lines. “As in a whole galaxy?”

/<I must put myself out of my misery,/> Lord Stalart thought to himself. With Wowryk concentrating on reading the introduction to the movie, Stalart slipped over the edge of the observations box, falling through space…

…and landing right back on his chair, courtesy of Sylvia and the holodeck safety protocols.

“Careful there sweetie,” Sylvia said, voice coated with sugary motherly sweetness, “Wouldn’t want you to get hurt!”

/<Damn you mechanical witch!/>


As the movie started, Stafford found himself impressed with Jeffery’s work on the movie, if not the movie itself. Everything was in true holographic 3D, with the theatre box subtly moving from place to place to give the best view of the action.

Two hours later, everybody was stretching backs and working to bring sleeping legs back to life.

“Well, those weren’t the WORST two hours of my life,” Jall said, “But only because I once spent Spring Break on Pluto!”

“I’m with him,” Stafford said to Jeffery, “Sorry Simon, but that movie just didn’t make any sense. What’s with the damned kid? And who the hell was the creepy old guy? Too many unanswered questions, bud.”

“Indeed,” T’Parief added, “That ‘war’, if you can call it that, was nothing more than a minor land skirmish! I expected space battles! Heroic campaigns! Fleets of-“

“Well, y’know,” Simon shot back, “They did call it ‘Episode 1’ for a reason! This is just the first part!”

“There’s more?” T’Parief asked, almost fearfully.

“Aye, five more episodes. And the sequel trilogy, I suppose. They get a lot-“

“BYE!” Everybody scrambled down the corridors like Jawas running from a Tusken Raider.

“-better,” Jeffery finished.


The next evening, after a truly boring bridge shift, Stafford sat sipping apple cider in Unbalanced Equations. The high point of his day had been stopping a freighter crossing the Klingon border for a routine customs check. The freighter, as it turned out, was running a shipment from Delta IV to some of the more lonely Klingon outposts, and was carrying a large amount of material of such explicit nature that Stafford had ordered all tricorders shut down, for fear that Sylvia might be monitoring via the tricorders uplink to the main computer.

“So whatcha wanna do?” Yanick asked, seated as she was across from the Captain.

“I dunno, what do you wanna do?” Stafford asked.

“I dunno. You wanted to hang out this evening!” Yanick shot back.

“Yeah, well, it’s been a while since we did anything together,” Stafford said, slightly defensive, “What, with your boyfriend and all.”

“Don’t be jelous,” Yanick advised, “Y’know, I bet the minute you stop keeping your eye open for the perfect girl, one will just drop in out of nowhere.”

“Oh yeah,” Stafford said, sarcasm dripping from his voice, “And Jall and T’Parief will don tutus and dance around the bridge!”

“Jall might,” Yanick muttered to herself.

“Let’s take a walk,” Stafford grumbled.


“So, how was your day?” Noel asked. Jeffery had stopped by her quarters at the end of his shift. She replicated a nice cup of tea for him (which he was stealthily pouring into the potted dieffenbachia next to her couch) and was working hard to follow Counselor Yvonnokoff’s ‘relationship advice’. Basically, be nice to your significant other and understand that his carnal masculine desires were normal and healthy.

“T’was OK,” Jeffery replied, “Ah’m starting to work on a self-contained processing unit to house Sylvia’s gel-pack. Y’know, just in case.”

“How very thoughtful,” Noel said with a smile. I have no idea what the hell you just said, she mentally added to herself, but it sounds thoughtful.

“And how’s my little man?” Jeffery asked with a smile as ‘Luke’ padded softly into the main room, looking up at Jeffery with big green eyes as the engineer bent over to pick him up.

/<She’s never going to put out, you know,/> Lord Stalart said, /<An antimatter explosion couldn’t force her legs apart!/>

“Has he started talking yet?” Jeffery asked Wowryk, oblivious of Lord Stalart’s rant.

“No,” Wowryk sighed, “Although he threw a screaming fit this morning when I tried to cut his hair, but it was just baby-talk-“

/<I’ll show you baby-talk, you wretched b->/

“-it would sure help if we had some idea how old he is,” Wowryk went on, “I mean, he looks to be around one or two, but he could be six months or five years. Depends on his species. We don’t have an adult of his race to compare his bio-readings to, so I just can’t tell.”

“So, what do you plan on doing tonight?” Jeffery asked, ready to change the topic.

“Oh, I was just thinking of taking a stroll through the corridors. And yourself?”

“Ah’m going to head down to the Holodeck, run through Episode 2. Wanna come?”

You’ve got to be kidding, Wowryk though. Me, a medical doctor who spent half a dozen grueling years at Starfleet Medical, stoop to watching ridiculous science fiction trash?

“I’d love to,” she said with a smile. She frowned, “I mean, I wouldn’t. Yes I would! No I wouldn’t!”

“You plan on making your mind up anytime soon?” Jeffery asked, a concerned look on his face as he watched Wowryk argue with herself.

“Let’s go,” Wowryk snapped, grabbing him by the arm.


“What are you guys doing here?” Jall asked, putting his hands on his hips and regarding the other officers hovering around Holodeck 1.

“As First Officer,” Noonan said coldly, “I have the authority to go where I want and do what I wish!”

“Calm down,” Stafford admonished, a little surprised. He’d never seen Noonan push his authority on somebody else before. At least it was Jall on the receiving end.

“We just went for a walk,” Yanick piped up, giving Jall a hello hug, “and kinda ended up here…”

“I was just getting ready to plug in Epsode Two: Attack of the Clones,” Jeffery said, “Noel here was joining me. Y’know, spending quality time together and all that.”

“Well, great minds think alike and all that,” Stafford shrugged, “Let’s watch the..” Stafford trailed off as a group of crewmen came around the corner.

“Uh, sorry to bother you, sirs,” one of them said, unusually polite, “But we were wondering if we could join you.”

“Join us?” Stafford asked.

“We kinda found Lt. Commander Jeffery’s program last night,” another admitted, “We wanted to see the next part, but all the holodecks are in use.”

“Um,” Stafford looked over at Jeffery, who simply shrugged.

“Sure, why not?” he said. May as well spend some personal time with other crewmembers for a change.

“Great,” the guy smiled, then reached behind the corner of the corridor to wave.

No fewer than fifty crewmen and women proceeded to file around the corner, down the corridor and into the holodeck.

“Oh, this just figures,” Stafford grumbled, following them in, “I invite half a dozen, I get half a hundred. Bastards better not take all the good seats!”

“Mr. Jeffery,” T’Parief interrupted, stomping around the corridor, his antennae stubs grazing the ceiling, “I wish to speak with you regarding your holographic projects,”

“We’re just about to start part two,” Jeffery made a welcoming gesture towards the holodeck doors, “Why don’t ye join us?”

“I shall,” T’Parief nodded, “But I wish to know: can you reprocess any two dimensional film in such a fashion?”

“Sure,” Jeffery shrugged, tapping on the Holodeck panel as he pulled up Episode Two of Star Wars in Jeffery-Vision, “Sylvia and I worked out a conversion program. Just tell me what ye want, and the computer will put it together.”

“How do you account for the huge amounts of extra data needed to generate a true holographic environment from a two dimensional film?” Jall asked.

“Sylvia and I came up with subroutines that fill in the extra spaces,” Jeffery said, “Holoprogrammers usually input all the extra environmental info manually, but I have other stuff to do-“

“So he forks the extra workload off on me!” Sylvia interjected.

“What did ye want us to process?” Jall continued, ignoring Sylvia.

“We shall discuss it after the movie,” T’Parief said, settling into one of the seats in the significantly larger theater box that had appeared in the holodeck, “I hope this chapter has more bloodshed than the previous one…”


Two hours later…


“Wow…” T’Parief murmured as he watched platoons of clone soldiers marching off to war.

“What happens next?” Stafford demanded, “I mean, c’mon! You can’t end the movie right when the good stuff is finally starting!”

“Boys, please,” Wowryk rolled her eyes, “Clearly you missed out on the touching love story-“

“Touching?” Jall snapped, “What a load! I haven’t seen writing that cheesy since that Bolian play…what was it…‘Passions of the Cheddar’?

“Let’s just come back tomorrow night,” Yanick suggested.

“I want to see more. NOW!” T’Parief rumbled.

“I don’t think so,” Stafford stood and stretched the kinks out of his frame, “It’s almost 2300h, and we’ve all got duty shifts tomorrow morning.”

“Ah’ll book the holodeck for tomorrow night,” Jeffery put in.

“Very well,” Noonan nodded as he took his leave.

“So, big guy,” Jeffery slapped a hand against T’Parief’s back, “What’s this project ye wanted me to do?”


Episode 3:


“WAAAHHHH!!!!” Yanick, Fifebee and Wowryk cried, tears streaming down their faces.

“Cool!” Stafford and Jeffery declared. T’Parief just rubbed his hands together in glee.

The eight crewmates had just witnessed Anakin Skywalker’s painful transition to Darth Vader and the death of his wife, Padme. The men were on the edge of their seats, watching the spoiled and annoying Anakin as he was horribly mutilated and encased in a gleaming metal suit. The women were sobbing as poor Padme expired after giving birth to her twins.


Episode 4:


“Trish,” T’Parief said softly.

“Yes, hun?” Yanick asked.

“If you’re even unsure of what to buy me for my birthday, a Death Star would be REALLY nice!”

“That Vader character,” Noonan mused, “He’s just so deliciously evil. The power…the authority.” Noonan continued muttering to himself as he wandered out of the holodeck.

“At least things are finally starting to look up,” Stafford muttered, “This whole series was just getting way too depressing.

“Pity the battle station was destroyed,” T’Parief mused.


Episode 5:


“WAAAHHHH!!!!” Yanick, Fifebee and Wowryk cried, tears streaming down their faces.

“Oh for crying out loud,” Jall snapped, “You can’t take you two to ANY kind of movie that involves love or couples being separated without the waterworks kicking in!”

“But Han and Leia,” Wowryk sobbed, “They were such a cute couple…and they haven’t even given in to their primal urges!”

“Han’s still alive!” Jeffery snapped.

“But he’s frozen in carbonite!” Yanick wailed.

“This is all your fault,” Stafford muttered to Jeffery.


The next morning:


Stafford tapped his foot as he waited for the turbolift to deliver him to the bridge. He couldn’t really explain why, but it seemed like the past week he’d lost any patience he possessed. Maybe it was from waiting to finally see the end of that damned series Jeffery was subjecting them to. He had to admit that he really was enjoying it…‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was especially good. If only he was as good with women as that Han Solo character…charming a princess, of all people! One the other hand he DID have sex with a Prefect, which was almost as good.

Stafford was jerked out of his reverie as the turbolift doors hissed open. As soon as he stepped onto the bridge, loud music started playing.

DUM, DUM, DUM, DUM DE DUM, DUM DE DUM!

Stafford recognized the Imperial March from last night’s movie in a second. Playing along (and fighting hard not to burst out laughing) he brought himself to attention then marched to his command chair, carefully keeping time with the music. He settled into his chair just as the tune climaxed and ended.

At which point he and everybody on the bridge (except for Noonan) lost the battle and broke into giggles.

“Who’s bright idea what that?” Stafford asked, tears streaming down his face.

“J…J…J…” Yanick tried to get a word out.

“Me!” Jall declared laughing loudly.

After a few moments, things calmed down.

“Well,” Stafford finally said, “Your timing was great.”

“Hmph,” Noonan grumbled.

“Problem, Commander?” Stafford asked.

“You are mocking our proud anthem,” Noonan declared.

“Our what?”

Noonan frowned, blinked, then shook his head.

“I dunno where THAT came from,” he said finally.

T’Parief only grunted.

“Enough,” Stafford snapped, “Ensign Yanick, come right to course 216 mark 4, Warp 4. Lieutenant Fifebee, keep an eye open for any Rebel vessels. I’ll be in my ready room.”

Yanick and Fifebee blinked.

“What the hell was that?” Yanick asked.

“He was being…very assertive,” Fifebee replied, “For him,”

“You will not question the Captain,” Noonan said coldly, standing from his command chair, “Mr. T’Parief, you will begin your training exercises. Call Lieutenant Commander Jeffery to the bridge to take the conn. I wish to retire to my chambers.

“Yes, sir,” T’Parief nodded as Noonan left the bridge.

“Wasn’t that slightly…odd?” Yanick asked after several moments of silence.

“Authority types,” Jall shrugged, “Always pushing us lowly peons around,”


Ensign Rengs Aris jogged lightly down the corridor towards Holodeck 2, catching up with the rest of the Hazardous team.

Lieutenant Stern, Ensign Dar’ugal, Ensign Marsden and Crewman Kreklor had already fallen-in in single file formation along the corridor wall next to the holodeck doors. Ensign Rengs fell in next to Kreklor, wrinkling his nose as he caught a whiff of Klingon body odor. Ensign Simmons arrived moments later, panting from his run.

“You were almost late, again,” Rengs murmured out of the corner of his mouth, “if Big Green catches you again…”

“I know,” Simmons muttered, “I was just-“

“Just what, Ensign?” T’Parief asked quietly from behind Simmons.

“Ohhh….” Simmons groaned, “How long were you behind me?”

“Since you exited the turbolift,” T’Parief stated, “Fortunately, you made it with three seconds to spare.”

Moving down the line, T’Parief spoke up.

“I have crafted for you a training scenario that will test your daring, your creativity and your imagination. You will need to use every strategy in your pathetic brains to defeat the program and win the day. If you win, glory and honor. If you loose, insults and ridicule.”

“Like that’s anything new,” Marsden whispered to Kreklor.

“Your mission parameters are as follows:” T’Parief continued, “You have no time limit. You have access to any equipment you desire including but not limited to munitions, energy weapons, explosives, traps, missiles, bombs, energy fields and so forth. The terrain will be Class M desert, minimal vegetation and water.”

“Sounds pretty easy,” Simmons muttered, “Let’s just dial up a planet-cracker and blow the whole thing!”

“This may sound easy,” T’Parief went on, oblivious to the smart-ass comments, “but I assure you, it will be quite a challenge.”

“So what’s our mission objective?” Lieutenant Stern asked.

T’Parief smiled, showing his fangs as the holodeck doors opened, revealing Arizona desert.

“You must capture a Road Runner!”


The Hazardous Team looked at each other, then around at the cartoon landscape surrounding them. A two-lane highway stretched off into the distance, stovepipe cacti dotted the landscape.

“You remember that thing about Commander T’Parief maybe watching too many cartoons?” Marsden asked.

“How could I forget?” Simmons grumbled, poking at a cartoon cactus.

“I think this removes all doubt.”

BEEP BEEP!

“What the hell-“

Something flashed by, knocking the entire Hazardous Team to the ground. A blue and purple bird, nearly as tall as a person, stopped in the middle of the road and regarded them all with eyes that seemed to spark of inner intelligence.

“BEEP BEEP!”

The Road Runner took off down the road, leaving the Hazardous Team coughing up dust.

“He mocks us!” Kreklor snarled, “How dare he! I will rip his heart from his-“

“Gizzard,” Simmons interrupted.

“Bless you,” Stern said.

“No,” Simmons shook his head, “When you’re dealing with birds, you usually threaten to rip out their gizzards, not their hearts.”

“Oh,” Kreklor looked thoughtful, “And what is a gizzard?”

“Stomach, I think,” Simmons shrugged.

“Thank you,” Kreklor nodded politely, “I wish to be correct when threatening living creatures,”

“I think you’re safe to go with gizzard,” Marsden chuckled.

“I shall tear his gizzard from his steaming corpse!” Kreklor snarled, “I will rend his head from his shoulders! I will-“

“Now that the peanut gallery has been dealt with,” Stern crossed his arms as Kreklor continued to rant, “Any thoughts on how we’re supposed to deal with a bird that runs faster than a speeding bullet?”

“Shoot a bullet at him from the front,” Marsden suggested, “He can’t outrun it if he’s heading right for it.”

“Perfect,” Stern nodded, “Now we just need to find him. Mardsen, Simmons, Rengs, you’re all on scouting duty. Dar’ugal and I will find a weapon.”

“What about the Raving Klingon over there?” Simmons gestured to Kreklor, who was shouting something about flinging pancreases across the desert.

“I think he’s doing fine where he is,” Stern decided.


“Were you followed?” Yanick asked, looking carefully around the empty cargo bay.

“No,” Jall whispered back, “why did you want to see me?”

“Things are deteriorating rapidly,” Yanick said sadly, “the Federation principals I’ve served for so long are falling apart! People like Noonan and Stafford, they’d rather turn things into a dictatorship, run the show all by themselves!”

“That kind of talk is treason!” Jall hissed, “you don’t want to get on Noonan’s bad side!”

“We need to get somebody they trust on our side,” Yanick said, “Somebody who can inform us of their plans, their schemes.

“Fifebee,” Jall whispered back.

“Are you insane?” Yanick pulled back, “She’s one of the most loyal officer they have!”

“How long will that last?” Jall asked, “You know how the Empire despises non-humans! She has to come around to our way of thinking!”

“We’ll keep it as an option,” Yanick decided, “But only if we can be sure she’s ready to defect.”


“Time?” Stern asked.

“He should be coming over that hill in sixty seconds,” Marsden reported.

Stern, as the Hazardous team’s sharpshooter, was lying on a bluff overlooking the highway, an old projectile sniper rifle setup in front of him. He sighted carefully, targeting the exactly section of highway where he expected the Road Runner to make his appearance.

“10, 9, 8,” Marsden counted down, “3, 2, 1…” Stern pulled the trigger!

The shot flew faster than the speed of sound, on a direct course to intersect with the Road Runner’s rapidly beating heart.

Road Runners stopped.

The bullet hit the pavement and ricocheted off to the right. It bounced off a rock face, zipped back over Marsden’s head, hit another rockface-

And nailed Stern square on the left buttock.

“AHHH!!!!!” Stern screamed, “Get it out! Get it out!”

Guided by their first aid training, Simmons and Rengs quickly turned Stern onto his stomach.

There was no blood, not even a hole in Stern’s pants.

“Holodeck safeties are on,” Rengs reported, “No damage.”

“Well it still f**king hurt!” Stern screamed.

“I think we just learned something,” Marsden said thoughtfully.

“Bullets hurt!” Stern snapped.

Dar’ugal laughed silently.

“Well, yes,” Marsden agreed, “But I think Commander T’Parief has changed the environmental constants of the holodeck. The fact that the bullet would ricochet so precisely is really not possible.”

“Cartoon laws of physics?” Simmons made a face, “Give me a break!”

“One way to test it,” Stern grunted, pulling himself to his feet and gingerly rubbing his bruised butt. He walked behind a boulder, finding a catalogue with the word ACME stamped on the front. He’d found the catalogue shortly after arriving in the holodeck and had used it to obtain his sniper rifle. Quickly flipping through, he found a promising looking sledgehammer and tapped the picture with his finger. The desired object appeared as his feet.

“What’s that for?” Marsden asked.

Stern said nothing, simple eased the hammer back, swung, and hit Marsden square on the top of the head. Mardsen yelped in surprise as he was driven three feet into the ground.

“How did that feel?” Stern asked.

“It hurt,” Marsden snapped, working to free his lower half from where it was buried in the dirt, “But not badly.”

“Great,” Simmons nodded, “So we can’t die, and we can’t be badly injured,”

“Cartoon physics all right,” Stern agreed.

“Hey, what if you’d been wrong?” Marsden asked as the team started walking down the road, “Hey…guys! What if that hammer had killed me? GUYS???”


“You know, we must have sat through about six hours of these shows in the lounge,” Simmons said, leaning against the side of a solid rock wall.

“Yes, we have,” Stern replied, concentrating on the force field generator he was tinkering with.

“The coyote never caught the bird,” Simmons went on.

“I still have no idea what any of this has to do with starship security,” Ensign Rengs sighed, his Bajoran earring jingling softly in the breeze.

“We have over three hundred years worth of technology that the coyote never had access to,” Stern said, ignoring Rengs and making a few final adjustments, “We’re also smarter than him.”

“Hazardous Team: Omnipotent Geniuses!” Marsden cackled, rubbing his hands together. Stern, Simmons and Rengs exchanged glances.

“Don’t blame me,” Simmons said, “You were the one that hit him over the head!”

“Right, well,” Stern stepped back, “It’s ready. As soon as the Road Runner gets within range of the motion sensors, the containment field will activate.

“I’m pretty sure Wile E. Coyote did the same thing with a pop up iron wall in one episode,” Marsden said.

“Yes, well, force fields are harder to spot than a solid iron wall.”

“Kreklor to Stern,” chirped Stern’s communicator badge.

“Stern here,”

“He just passed me. He will be at your location in about twenty seconds.”

“Everybody hide!” Stern snapped. Everybody bolted for a convenient nearby boulder, slipping behind just as the Road Runner came speeding around a corner, right past the carefully laid out force field grid.

Nothing happened. The Road Runner sped right past the field generator, which sat quiet as a little old lady in church.

“Well,” Simmons remarked, walking up to the generator, “I sure wasn’t expecting THAT to happen! It’s only what happens to EVERY trap that the coyote-“

Simmons was cut off as a large rock, which had been loosened by the vibrations of the Road Runner’s passing, tumbled from the rock face and landed squarely on his head.

“I was expecting the field generator to explode,” Marsden chuckled to Dar’ugal.

“You know,” Rengs said, heavily sardonic, “Bajoran cartoons are far less violent and actually endeavor to teach children values and morales!”

“I promise I’ll get Steven to play some Teddy Ruxpin or something for little, um, what did you call the kid again?”

“Gerenis,” Rengs replied, “And I think I’ll stick to Bajoran entertainment.

“If you housewives are finished with your little tea party,” Stern said, “Some of us would like to actually finish the scenario and leave the holodeck at some point!”

“Right.”


One hour, two jackhammers, four shovels, a sheet of duranium disguised as concrete and a high power anti-grav later, the Hazardous team stood back to admire their handiwork.

“Traps are dishonorable,” Kreklor stated.

“Yes, thank you for the stereotypical Klingon remark,” Stern snapped, trying to rub dust out of his eyes, “Tell you what, if this doesn’t work we’ll check the ACME catalogue for a bat’leth.”

“Earth-made bat’leths? “ Kreklor was scornful, “Please, I may as well try whacking him with a wet pasta noodle.”

“I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be offended here or not,” Rengs said to the red, furry non-human security officer next to him. Dar’ugal shrugged. The large Barudan officer had been a big help with the planning, but he was suffering from heat exhaustion under his heavy fur coat. He also never spoke, which made him somewhat ill suited for witty banter.

“Should we maybe test this thing out?” Marsden wondered.

“Yup,” Stern said, grabbing an always-handy rock from the side of the road. He gave it a gentle toss and it rolled right onto the camouflaged plate.

Propelled by the powerful anti-grav, the plate flew straight up in the air, slamming into a rock formation overhead. It slowly floated to the ground, the rock Stern had thrown broken into three pieces.

“See? Works like a charm,” Stern said, “far more effective than an anvil,”

“I just feel like there’s something we’re missing,” Simmons said.

“Shh,” Stern hissed, “The Road Runner’s gonna be here any minute!”

“Where are we gonna hide?” Simmons asked. Sure enough, the stretch of highway that ran under the overhead rock formation was strangely free of boulders.

“I think that’s what we missed!” Marsden cried.

With a rush of wind, the Road Runner zipped past Stern and Marsden, coming to a stop right in front of Kreklor.

“BEEP! BEEP!”

“DIE, MOCKING DEVIL BIRD!” Kreklor screamed, darting at the purple bird. The Road Runner stuck his tongue out at the Klingon and took off with a burst of speed.

“ARRRGGGHH!” Kreklor screamed.

“LOOK OUT!” everybody warned. Too late. Kreklor stepped right on the hidden plate. The anti-grav fired, slamming the Klingon into the rock overhead.

“Oh,” Marsden winced sympathetically, “I bet that really had to hurt.”

There was an ominous creaking from overhead. Bits of gravel started pelting the team members.

“I think I just remembered what we forgot,” Simmons said in a soft voice.

“RUN!” Stern shouted.

They made it all of two steps before the rock ceiling collapsed, burying them beneath tons of holographic rubble.


“Mr. T’Parief,” Stafford said crisply, “What word is there from the holodeck? I understand the Alpha Security Squad is undergoing maneuvers.”

“The Hazardous Team? Yes, sir,” T’Parief replied.

“Mr. T’Parief,” Stafford said coolly, “While it might be acceptable for the troops to use such nicknames, I won’t stand for it on the bridge of an Imp…um, Federation starship.”

“Yes, sir. It won’t happen again, sir.”

“See that it doesn’t.”

Straightening his uniform, Stafford stepped softly around the bridge.

“The bridge of a starship is a place for professional, loyal officers,” he said more loudly, walking over to the twin conn and ops consoles at the front of the bridge, where Yanick and Jall sat, “Don’t you agree, Ensign?”

“Oh, yes sir. Yes indeedily do.”

“Excellent. I would hate to have to punish any of my valued officers for behavior that was…unseemly.”


Noonan stepped into Main Engineering, noting with satisfaction that the short Nicondii engineers were attending to their tasks with quiet efficiency. Frit Naketh tapped diligently at the main warp drive control console, facing the pulsating warp core behind a curved wall of protective transparent aluminum. Her brother Frat was elbow deep in one of the consoles, repairing a faulty control circuit. Frek, one of the other Naketh siblings, monitored ship’s status from the Master Systems display while Finn helped Jeffery with the theta-matrix control unit on the second level. Riding the small elevator to the upper deck, he gently reached out with his mind and sent into Finn the certain knowledge that he should leave.

“Commander Noonan,” Jeffery said with a slight bow, his accent barely noticeable “How my I serve you, sir?”

“I require a device to be built for my use,” Noonan said softly, “the specifications are here,” he handed over a padd, “Can you do it?”

“Aye sir,” Jeffery replied, “I’ll modify one of the contained energy torches from Maintenance. I should be able to get what you need,”

“Excellent,” Noonan said, “Your services will be remembered.


Dr. Wowryk sat in her office, having just completed her evening prayers. Luke was playing quietly in the playpen she had setup for him in the corner of her office. He looked at her for a moment before returning to the picture padd she had given him to play with. She wasn’t sure why, but something in his gaze gave her chills. She turned on her computer terminal, expecting to see the medical report she had started earlier.

Instead she saw a cloaked figure on her display.

“Noel Wowryk,” it said. The voice was clearly female, and vaguely familiar, but it had a guttural croak that gave it a sinister quality.

“You were once known as Queen Wowryk,” it said “Leader of a great army. You slaughtered your crewmates, though they came back to defeat you,” It wasn’t a question.

“I was under the influence of alien technology,” Wowryk said.

“But that powerful spirit lies within you,” the figure croaked, “You will help me secure my power here. In return, I will raise you high in my councils. I will give you means to punish the sinners and heretics, as you so strongly desire to!”

Wowryk looked thoughtfully at the screen.

“Let me think about it,” she said.

The cloaked figure nodded.

“Very well. But time is short. Think quickly,”

Her monitor switched off.


“That hurt,” Rengs said simply, brushing dust out of his hair. He bent down to help pull Kreklor out of the pile of rubble. The holographic rocks moved away easily, and nobody had been injured aside from a few bumps and bruises.

“A warrior does not complain about pain…OW!” Kreklor shouted.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Simmons said, “I must have accidentally pinched your leg, totally by accident.”

“P’tack,” Kreklor mumbled.

“Any other bright ideas?” Marsden asked Stern.

“I think it’s Simmons’ turn to come up with a plan,” Stern said.

“It is,” Simmons said, “And it’s time for you amateurs to take a lesson from the master,”

“Uh-huh,” Stern said skeptically, “What’s your bright idea?”

“We need to stick with simplicity,” Simmons said, “All these fancy gadgets and doo-dads…more failure points,” Simmons started flipping through the ACME catalogue Stern had found, “Let’s see…here!” Simmons help up the catalogue, pointing at his choice.

“ACME quantum torpedo,” Rengs read, “Patrick, you’ve got to be kidding. Stern nearly got himself killed with a primitive projective weapon. I dunno about you, but I have a wife and kid!”

“I thought we were supposed to catch the Road Runner, “Marsden added, scratching his head, “not vaporize him!”

Dar’ugal tapped Stern on the shoulder, then pantomimed a boom, then a large circle.

“He has a point,” grumbled Kreklor, “the beast will never escape the blast radius.”

“I dunno about this,” Rengs said, holding up his hands, “I think I’ll just go stand over there behind that hill while you play with explosives!”

“No,” Stern said sharply, “We do this as a team. We make or break as a team,”

“Or get blasted to pieces as a team?” Simmons asked, putting through his ACME order.

“Something like that,” Stern muttered as a large crate landed in the middle of the road.


“Look, there is no possible way this can backfire on us,” Simmons said after they had pulled the Styrofoam and plastic sheeting away from the gleaming black torpedo casing, “The bullet ricochet could have been weird coincidence. The rock on the head could have been knocked loose by a tremor. And the anti-grav, well that was just a bad idea from the start,”

“Don’t get too cocky,” Stern warned, “There’s no guarantee your brilliant plan is going to work out any better,”

“Don’t be stupid,” Simmons chuckled as he attached a timing mechanism to the detonator circuit, “I checked the specs that came with it. Triple redundancy detonator safety, internal inertial dampeners for anti-shock protection and the quantum singularity doesn’t even prime until you-“

KA-BOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simmons was blasted straight back into Kreklor, the two of them slamming into the ground several meters away. Rengs, Marsden, Stern and Dar’ugal went spinning off in the opposite direction, Marsden landing hard on a stovepipe cactus that just happened to get in the way.

Gasping and coughing, the team members pulled themselves to their feet, brushing soot from their faces. Kreklor tossed back his thick black locks of hair, ignoring the clumps of dirt.

Stern, Marsden, Kreklor, Rengs and Dar’ugal all looked angrily at Simmons, who only shrugged.


It was Rengs’ turn.

“It’s time to try energy weapons,” Rengs said, reading the ACME catalogue, “Just a phaser would do nicely. It’s nearly impossible for a phaser to richochet. Or slam me into rock cliffs.”

“Or explode?” Simmons asked, his hair still blasted back from his previous experience.

“Ohhh, right,” Rengs flipped through a few more pages, “What about the extremely primitive? Slingshot? Catapult?”

Everybody turned to stare darkly at him.

“Have you even WATCHED the Road Runner show?” Kreklor snarled.

“I think we can rule out slingshots and catapults,” Stern said firmly.

“Yeah,” Simmons muttered.

“Seconded,” added Marsden.

“How about an old phase pistol?” Simmons asked, thumbing through the catalogue.

“No,” Rengs said, “They were less powerful, but FAR less efficient. The power source in modern phasers is smaller and much safer,”

“BEEP BEEP!”

“Quickly!” Stern urged.

“Fine!” Rengs selected a type-two hand phaser. A small box materialized at his feet. Over the horizon a cloud of dust was rapidly moving towards them. Rengs tore frantically at the wrapping, pulling off the brown shipping paper, then fighting to pull the tape off the cardboard box. He flung aside the bubble wrap and pulled out the phaser.

The Road Runner zipped past, a whirlwind of dust and wind an debris, pulling at the hair and cloths of the Hazardous Team members and flashing past.

“NOW!” Stern shouted.

Rengs pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

He pressed it again.

POP!

And again.

POP!

Held it down.

POP!

He turned the phaser around in his hands.

POP!

Tapped at the beam width and intensity controls.

POP!

“WILL YOU GIVE IT A REST WITH THE FWARKING BUBBLE WRAP??!!??” Kreklor screamed.

“Oh,” Marsden blushed, “Sorry,” he tossed the bubble wrap aside. A small packet fell out. Simmons frowned, then bent to retrieve it.

“What is it?” Stern asked.

Simmons shook his head.

“The power cell,”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Stern groaned. Dar’ugal shook his shoulders in dismay.

“Give me that!” Rengs growled, snatching the power cell from Simmons and ripping off the plastic wrap. He flipped open the phaser’s power cell compartment and slammed the cell in.

BOOOOOM!!!!


“I give up,” Simmons sighed, sitting on the side of the road.

“That is the explosions talking,” Kreklor muttered.

“C’mon guys,” Stern said, slapping his knees and rising to his feet, “C’mon, one more try, then we’ll turn in for the night. Marsden? Darg? What do ya say?”

“Do we have to?” Marsden whined.

“He is right,” Kreklor said, “One day, we will gather in your prissy bar and drink your weak human drinks and sing songs to our great victory!”

“How many pieces will we be in when we’re doing that?”

“The more, the merrier!” Kreklor said, pulling Simmons onto his feet.

“Oh, fine. What next?”


A casual observer wandering through the Arizona desert would be very confused with what he saw. Or he’d be laughing hysterically.

The Hazardous Team had relocated to a small cave, half a kilometer away from the highway. The better to prevent their prey from learning their plans. Stacked outside the cave were a number of empty packing crates:


1 ACME 4 Seat Golf Cart

4 ACME Anti-Gravs

1 ACME Impulse Engine

2 ACME Steering Jets

1 ACME Shephard’s Crook

1 ACME Inertial Dampener


Everybody stood back to admire their handiwork. The impulse engine, steering jets and anti-gravs had been mounted firmly to the chassis of the golf-cart, resulting it a lightweight but fast hover-vehicle. The inertial dampener would reduce the inertial effects of sudden starts, stops and turns. And hopefully, crashes.

The tem gingerly climbed aboard, Stern taking the steering wheel attached to the impulse engine and Kreklor holding on the golf bag rack with one hand, the crook held in the other, ready to snatch their quarry. Dar’ugal took control of the two steering jets that had been mounted to the front of the vehicle.

“Seat-belts everybody,” Stern said, buckling up.

“Seat-whats?” Simmons asked.

“Belts. Like crash restraints,” Stern explained.

“Ohhhh,” Marsden was awed, “What a clever idea. I wonder why we don’t those on Silverado? Or the runabouts? Or the shuttlecraft? Or the-“

“Let’s go,” Stern punched power to the engine.

The cart took off, flying out of the cave like a bat out of hell.

Heading right for a very large rock.

Stern pulled at the wheel, frantically trying to steer around the rock. He succeeded in avoiding the rock, but managed to put the hover-cart into a flat spin.

Working as co-pilot, Dar’ugal worked the steering jets, helping Stern bring the craft under control. But not before Marsden let loose a spray of vomit across the ground.

“Sick, dude,” Simmons groaned.

“WATCH OUT!” Stern shouted at Dar’ugal. Dar’ugal desperately tried to steer the craft out of the path of a large tanker truck as it came down the road. Skipping off the highway, the lower corner of the cart caught against a large rock, sending Kreklor catapulting off the vehicle and over the side of a cliff.


Simon Jeffery swallowed as he neared Commander Noonan’s office, his special assignment held gingerly in one hard. Jeffery had put in extra hours after his shift to finish the project, eager to avoid Noonan’s wrath. He’d been too busy even to finish the processing of Episode 6, which he had planned to finally unveil to the crew. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he just had this nagging sense that even causing Noonan the slightest inconvenience would be very, very bad.

Swallowing again, Jeffery walked up to the door to Noonan’s office and tapped the door chime.

“Enter,”

The doors swished open.

The office was unchanged.

Jeffery wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting. Maybe a dead body or two, or perhaps really dim lighting. But everything was normal. Noonan’s assorted knick-knacks, including his old NX-class starship model and pads and documents dating back to the 22nd century will still sitting on the same shelves, the large display screen across from Noonan’s desk was displaying a cutaway schematic of Silverado, her internal workings neatly labeled and color coded.

Noonan on the other hand, was less than normal. Or perhaps more normal, which for him was abnormal.

The first thing Jeffery noticed was the rigid way Noonan was holding himself. Noonan usually moved with a grace that was so fluid, Jeffery half expected that the strange man had oil in his veins rather than blood. But as the Commander rose from his desk chair, he was carrying himself with a military precision that was more suited to a Starfleet cadet.

“Mr. Jeffery,” Noonan’s voice was crisp and clear, the smooth rhythms of his speech replaced by something that was almost…cold, “You’ve finished so soon. I’m very pleased.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jeffery nodded, handing the device over to Noonan.

Noonan examined it carefully.

“Excellent craftsmanship,” he murmured, “It may be well and good for the Jedi to build their own, but I demand nothing less then the best. And I will admit that your skills with such things far exceed my own.”

He thumbed the activation switch and a bright red beam of energy emerged from one end of the cylinder.

“Excellent,” Noonan repeated.


By the time the rest of the Hazardous team reached the flat plain at the bottom of the cliff Kreklor had not only recovered, he’d found time to set up camp at the base of the cliff. A small fire was already started. An iron spit, probably of ACME construction, was already setup. Some kind of animal was turning on the spit as Kreklor stoked the fire.

“What are you doing?” Stern demanded.

“I was hungry,” Kreklor said simply, taking down the spit and tearing a leg off, “And you were taking too long.”

“Fair enough,” Stern admitted.

“Come, eat,” Kreklor gestured, “Then we will continue our hunt of that vermin!”

Rengs, Stern, Simmons and even Mardsen proceeded to hack off pieces of whatever unfortunate creature Kreklor had snagged.

“Not bad,” Rengs admitted, “Take out?”

“No,” Kreklor looked insulted, “I caught it! As I will catch that foul bird!”

“What is it?” Stern frowned, “It’s tastes kinda gamey, but I haven’t seen any wildlife out here, other than the Road Runner.”

“Let us just say,” Kreklor said, an evil gleam in his eye, “that the coyote is much less wily than the Road Runner.”

After finishing dinner, (Kreklor finished dinner, the rest gagged and decided they weren’t hungry), the Hazardous Team climbed back on board their vehicle and took off down the highway.

“Anything yet?” Marsden called to Kreklor, who had a pair of ACME binoculars in his hands as he scanned the horizon.

“Nothing…nothing…there! Come to a heading of twelve degrees!” Kreklor shouted over the wind.

“Are you kidding?” Stern asked, “Do you really want to go off-roading again?”

Kreklor considered.

“Yes!” he shouted back.

“Screw that!” Stern snapped, “I’ll wait for the next right turn!”

“Do you want to catch that bird or not?” Kreklor demanded,

“He’s a road runner,” Simmons pitched in, “The best way to find him is to stay on the roads!”

Kreklor grunted.

True to his work, Stern swung the hover-cart hard to the right on the next turn. Not far ahead was a familiar-looking cloud of dust.

“There he is!” Rengs cried out.

Kreklor handed the binoculars to Simmons and took hold of his crook.

“Prepare to die, filthy beast!” Kreklor screamed.

The Road Runner looked back at them then put on an extra burst of speed. Stern followed suit, increasing power to the impulse engine.

“We’re gaining on him!” Simmons announced. Stern and Dar’ugal were too busy trying to steer the cart around the curves of the road to respond, but Marsden let out a whoop of victory.

“Don’t celebrate just yet,” Simmons shouted back, “We’re not quite there!”

Slowly, they inched closer and closer to the Road Runner, despite his best attempts to out run them. Even Simmons couldn’t shake a sense of impending victory.

Nobody noticed that the terrain was getting pretty familiar, or the very familiar bolder that was coming up fast.

The sequence of events was so fast that anybody watching would have sworn that the hover-cart had appeared from thin air. The Road Runner raced by in a cloud of dust, followed less than half a second later by the hover-cart. The hover-cart, unlike the Road Runner, triggered the motion sensors that had been placed hours before, activating a force field containment unit. The cart slammed into the forced field at full speed, only the combined protection of the inertial dampening unit and the holodeck safety protocols preventing the riders from being liquefied by the impact. Bounding off the field, the cart ricocheted back, striking the rear of the containment box and proceeding to bounce from surface to surface until it finally lost momentum and crashed to the ground.


Stern was the first to drag himself to the side of the road, after deactivating the containment field generator.

“That really sucked,” Simmons groaned, still a little green from the rough ride.

“Yes, yes it did,” Stern agreed.

“I can’t do that again,” Rengs confessed.

“Me neither,” agreed Marsden.

“Let’s turn in for the night,” Stern suggested, “We’ll come up with some fresh ways to torture ourselves in the morning,”

Nobody felt like arguing. Unwilling to trust their nights rest to the somewhat troublesome ACME camping equipment, they found the nearest cave to settle in for the night.

“Too bad T’Parief disabled all the holodeck commands,” Mardsen mused, “Some music might have been nice.”

“What’s with that?” Simmons mused, “Like, what if there was an accident or something?”

“He has Sylvia monitoring us,” Stern guessed, “Just in case.”

“Hmm,”

“Has anybody ever, y’know, wondered what would happen if Sylvia got, like, REALLY pissed off?” Simmons asked.

“Pissed off?” Rengs asked, “Sylvia? She’s a computer. A sentient, self-aware computer, but still a computer.”

“Holograms are computers,” Mardsen said, “But they can get angry. So can androids.”

“Good point,” Rengs nodded, trying to find a comfortable patch of floor to curl up on.

“I mean,” Simmons continued, “she IS the ship. Every internal sensor, every turbolift, every replicator is in some way connected to her.”

“Are we talking hypothetically here, or do you think she’s a security risk,” Stern joked.

“Oh, hypothetically,” Simmons said, “I mean, c’mon. She’s far too sweet to be a security risk.”

“She reminds me of my mommy,” Marsden said dreamily, “Especially when Yvonnokoff was kidnapped. She just knew what to say to make me feel better.”

“Excuse me,” Stern said, “did you just say ‘mommy’?”

“Momma’s boy!” Simmons started to chant.

The conversation degenerated into pointless taunts, before exhaustion finally overwhelmed them.


THE NEXT MORNING, AFTER EVERYBODY IN AND OUT OF THE HOLODECK HAD A GOOD NIGHT’S REST…


“Hey, anybody home?”

“Mwah?” Stern grumbled, rolling over on the hard ground, muscles protesting.

“I got it,” Masden said, dropping the ACME catalogue he’d been holding to the ground. Obviously the younger officer had already been awake.

“Two twelve piece buckets, three boxes of fries and three tubs of salad,” an acne-spotted boy in a red and white uniform was standing in the entrance to the cave.

“Thanks,” Marsden muttered, taking the bag from him.

“What are you doing?” Simmons asked.

“Ordering breakfast,” Marsden replied as the rest of the Hazardous Team started to stir, “I was hungry!”

“What the hell…chicken?” Stern demanded, opening one bag and taking a sniff, “Who the hell orders chicken for breakfast?”

“I would,” Kreklor stated.

“That’s because the Klingon food groups are Red Meat, White Meat, Poultry and Fish,” Stern shot back.

“I don’t care,” Rengs declared, “I’m starving!”

“And you forgot ‘Blood’,” Kreklor added.

As soon as his hand reached into the bucket there was a soft chime and the computer voice, not Sylvia’s, announced:

“Mission objectives complete. Holodeck command codes restored. Congratulations players! Please enter your initials into the high score list!”

“What the hell?” Rengs gasped.

“Marsden,” Stern said slowly, “Where did you get this?”

“Here,” Marsden flipped the ACME catalogue over, showing a back cover filled of advertisements. The most prominent was for ‘Poppa Jake’s Poulty! If it flaps, we’ll fry it!’

“I just ordered the special,” Marsden went on, holding up an ACME Portable Telephone and an ACME credit card.

“Let me guess,” Stern said dryly, “Kentucky Fried Road Runner?”

“I guess. I didn’t really pay attention,” Marsden shrugged, taking a bite out of a leg, “Seems pretty easy though, come to think of it. I wonder why the coyote never tried ordering out? He had the money to buy all that ACME crap.”

“We’re idiots,” Rengs sighed, “T’Parief never said catch THE Road Runner…he said to catch A road runner,”

“And we assumed that meant we had to go after the same one as Wile E. Coyote,” Simmons finished.

“So what’s the lesson?” Marsden asked.

Stern thought very carefully.

“Pay close attention to your mission objectives,” he said, “Never make assumptions,”

“And our Chief of Security watches FAR too many cartoons,” Simmons finished.

“That too,” Stern nodded.

“At least we’ve got that over and done with,” Marsden said, “Sylvia, exit please,” The holodeck doors appeared in the middle of the cave wall.

“Please,” Kreklor said, “This was a humiliation, nothing more.”

“You killed and ate a coyote,” Simmons pointed out.

“Good point,” Kreklor nodded, “Perhaps it was not a complete dishonor,”

“I’m ready for some nice, quite everyday security boredom,” Rengs sighed as the group walked down the corridor.

Two crewmen in white body armor complete with helmets came marching around the corner, pushing the Hazardous Team members to the side.

“What the-“ Stern started.

“Out of the way,” said one.

“Lord Noonan is in a hurry,” the other said.

“Now hear this,” Jall’s voice came over the intercom. His voice was clean and cool; his standard sarcasm nowhere to be heard, “Now hear this: Beta, Gamma and Delta shift Sciences and Stellar Cartography personnel to report to Commander T’Parief for reassignment and stormtrooper training. Ensign Pysterzykz, Ensign Pye and Ensign Glenn, report to the main hanger for fighter drills. All civilians are confined to quarters until further notice, repeate, ALL civilians are confined to quarters,”

Marsden gasped as Noonan came around the corner. He was wearing black body armor with a cape that billowed behind him like roiling thunderclouds. His boots clicked harshly against the deck and he wore an expression of grim contempt.

“Uh, Command-“ Stern started.

“Lord,” Noonan corrected harshly.

“Uh, Lord Noonan then,” Stern continued uneasily, “what-“

“You’ve finished your training?” Noonan cut him off.

“Yes, but-“

“Excellent. The computer reports a high score. Clean yourselves and report to the secondary hanger deck. The parade drill of our security team is pathetic. You either need to practice and shape up or your own, or we’ll send you right back to boot camp.”

“Drill?” Simmons whined, “You mean marching-“

Simmons was cut off as Noonan made a slight waving gesture. An unseen force flung Simmons against the wall.

“I will not tolerate this insubordination,” Noonan said coldly, “Lieutenant Stern, see that he is suitable punished,”

“Y-yes sir,” Stern stammered.

Noonan stalked out of site.

“What the hell was that?” Rengs said softly.

“I don’t know,” Stern replied, “But something is really wrong here…”


TO BE CONTINUED