And now, the bi-weekly disclaimer! Star Trek is owned by Paramount and Viacom. Star Traks was created by Alan Decker and expanded by several people. Star Traks: Silverado was created by Brendan Chris, who seriously doubts that Paramount would care enough about this series to sue me even if they did know it exists, which they probably don't. Knock on wood.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2005

“Bridge to Commander Noonan,” Jall’s voice came over the comm.

“Yes?” Noonan replied softly, eyes not leaving the padd he was studying. Noonan had parked himself comfortably in his office on Deck 4 to work through the monthly personnel reports.

“I got a comm here for you from Federation HQ,” Jall replied, “You wanna take it, or should I tell them to bite my-“

“I’ll take it, Lieutenant,” Noonan cut in smoothly, really not eager to learn just what part of his anatomy Jall had in mind.

The visage of a very attractive woman with blond hair, dark mascara and black lipstick appeared on the screen.

“Lydia Thompson,” Noonan said, forcing a small grin as he greeted Silverado’s former Humanoid Resources Representative, “How are you, my dear?”

“I’m great,” Lydia said with a flip of her hair, “I’ve been promoted to Assistant Manager of Federation Humanoid Resources.”

“Congratulations,” Noonan acknowledged, “I see being relocated from Silverado has been good for your career.”

“If you call being unceremoniously shoved out an airlock and left on Waystation ‘relocated’!” Lydia snapped.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” Noonan shrugged, “Now what can I do for you?”

“I’m just passing on some orders that I think you’ll find most interesting,” Lydia said, a sweet yet evil smile on her face.”

“Ms. Thompson,” Noonan objected smoothly, “As I’m sure you recall, Humanoid Resources does not have the authority to give orders to Starfleet ships.”

“Oh yes, and far be it for be to argue with protocol,” Lydia agreed, “Admiral Tunney is on the comm with the prick, I mean, Captain Stafford as we speak.”

“Then why call me?”

“I just wanted to be friendly,” Lydia winked, then cut the channel.

Noonan looked down at the orders Lydia had transmitted, a growing sense of dread in the pit of his stomach.

“Isn’t it kinda weird that Chris AND Matt got called for messages at the same time?” Ensign Trish Yanick wondered from the Conn console, taking her attention away from a e-magazine article on ‘Gristly Gorn Gravies and Goulash’, “I mean, they both go at the same time, kinda like when I was in high school, and these two boys were hanging out with me, then they both left to go play and told me that girls weren’t allowed to do what they planned on doing.”

Fifebee waited patiently for Yanick to finish her story before gently interrupting.

“Ensign, there are many reasons why two people might call two other people at the same time. Coincidences do happen you know. And I’ll remind you that the use of first names is inappropriate on the bridge.”

Jall snorted from his console.

“Coincidences. Yeah, like finding out the hot ensign you took to bed is actually an Admiral’s offspring,” he muttered.

“JAALLL!!!” Yanick whined, “Unless you’re gonna give me all the juicy details, STOP BRINGING THAT UP!”

“And,” T’Parief added from Tactical, “as the rest of us to not want to hear the ‘juicy details’, we’ll settle for you not bringing that up again at all.”

The doors to Stafford’s ready room chose that minute to hiss open, revealing the Captain, eyes wild, hands gripping both sides of the door frame. Seconds later, the aft turbolift doors opened to reveal an uncharacteristically panicked Commander Noonan. The two officers looked at each other, then cried out:


“I bet that was one set of orders that old Tunney was eager to sign!” Jall smirked from his seat at the conference room table.

“It was your bulls**t at Waystation that prompted this!” Stafford hissed, “Anybody who would program a computer to play stripper music during a press conference belongs on Tantalus V!”

Tantalus V, also known as the ‘Federation Funny Farm’, was home to a massive Federation-run mental health facility as well as several smaller private clinics. Beings from across the Federation (and beyond) could receive help for a variety of mental problems.

“I think you’re getting all worked up over nothing,” Dr. Noel Wowryk coolly declared, “You all may be lowly sinners, but you’re not crazy.”

“Thank you for the vote of confidence, Doctor,” Noonan commented.

“Dr. Wowryk has a-“ Fifebee started.

“Actually,” Counselor Yvonnokoff interrupted, “Zere are people vith several neurosis and psychosis on zis ship zat could benefit from time at Tantalus V: Dr. Wowryk, your irrational fear of ze penis,”

Wowryk and Stafford cringed.

“Captain, your irrational fear of ze word ‘penis’,”

Stafford cringed again.

“Crewman Gibson’s obsession vith pointy objects, Ensign Burke’s addiction to Deltan pornography, Lt. Cmdr. T’Parief’s fear of mice-“


“-Lt. Jall’s various issues and Lt. Cmdr. Jeffery’s inability to stand up to Dr. Wowryk,” Yvonnokoff finished.


“Who invited her, anyway?” Jall wanted to know.

“I didn’t” Stafford quickly pointed out.

“Wasn’t me!”

“Not I!”

“I did it,” Noonan confessed. Everybody glared at him.

“We’re on our way to the loony bin,” he shrugged, “inviting her seemed like a good idea, since she’s a shrink and all.”

“Why are we going willingly?” Jall wanted to know, “Let’s put up a fight!’

“We’re going willingly,” Wowryk snapped, “in the hopes that you’re the only one they want!”

“I doubt they plan on committing all of you,” Yvonnokoff shrugged, “Commander Noonan, for example, is the perfect image of mental health.”

“Even if we did put up a fight,” Jeffery broke in, “They’d just hunt us down and drag us there anyway!’

“Kind of like your girlfriend taking you for dinner,” Stafford chuckled, earning a glare from Dr. Wowryk.

Captain’s Log, Stardate 57300.6:

“We’ve reported to the Tantalus V Mental Health Facility as ordered. I’m not sure who we’re sending down there, but I really hope it’s not me. I really, really hope it’s not me.”

“Ah, good,” Dr. Pascal said over the main viewscreen, “we’ve been expecting you all for some time, Captain,”

“Thanks,” Stafford said weakly.

“I think you’re all in for a real treat!” Dr. Pascal said happily, “Now, I’ll need the following officers to beam down: Matthew Noonan,”


“San Jall,”




“and Christopher Stafford,” Pascal finished.

“NOOOO!!!!!” Stafford wailed, squeezing his eyes shut and falling to his knees, “I’m not crazy! I’m just fun-loving! I don’t wanna be committed!”

“What the hell are you going on about?” Pascal asked, annoyed, “Really, it’s just a two-day session, how bad could it be?”

“I’m not…what?” Stafford opened one eye.

“Didn’t Admiral Tunney tell you why you were ordered here?”

“Uh, no. We just figured he thought some of us needed to be committed.”

Pascal laughed.

“Hardly! One of our patients needs to give a seminar on Effective Coaching Skills, as part of her treatment. We asked Starfleet if they wanted to send somebody, and a very nice lady said she knew a ship in need of some leadership coaching.”

“Lydia Thompson?” Noonan guess dryly.


“Great!” Yanick exclaimed, “So nobody’s crazy, and you get to learn stuff! Cool! Can I come?”

“No!” Stafford said quickly, “Uh, your leadership skills are already good enough,” he amended.

“Which patient is this?” Noonan asked.

“Um, we’re supposed to keep that a surprise,” Pascal said nervously, “Here are the beam-down coordinates. See you soon!”

Stafford, Noonan, Jall and T’Parief materialized in a quiet reception room. The theme was ‘soothing’. Soft colours, plants everywhere, muted light and even gentle musak dominated, well, more like submitted to the room.

“Is this supposed to help?” Jall asked, surveying his surroundings, “or drive people even MORE crazy?”

“Welcome to Tantalus V,” Dr. Pascal greeted them as he approached. A large human, Pascal had a very solid frame along with an equally impressive gut. His graying hair was thinning slightly and he had a distinct ‘hospital’ smell about him.

“Thanks. I think,” Stafford said.

“Can we please get this over with?” Jall muttered, “This place is giving me the creeps.”

“This way,” Pascal led them down a corridor. One side was made of clear panels, looking into a beautiful courtyard dominated by a waterfall and pond.

“Pretty,” Noonan commented.

“It’s part of our ‘Sensuous Soaking’ treatment,” Pascal explained, “The water is quite hot. Many of our more…excitable patients are often calmed by a hot soak.”

“May we throw Jall in?” T’Parief asked.

Pascal eyed the seven-foot tall behemoth uneasily.

“Perhaps later.”

The Silverado officers were led into a small auditorium, where they were seated facing the stage. Jall and T’Parief immediately left their seats to raid the refreshment table, returning with sandwiches, fruit punch and bagels.

“That looks good,” Stafford commented, reaching for an egg salad sandwich on Jall’s plate.

“Get yer own!” Jall objected, moving said plate quickly out of reach.

“But I’m already comfortable!” Stafford whined.

“Too bad!”

“T’Parief, bring me food,” Stafford ordered.

“I will not demean myself,” T’Parief said flatly.

“This from the man who won’t use his private dining room because ‘he doesn’t want to make his crew serve him hand and foot,” Noonan commented.

Grumbling, Stafford trudged over to the table and loaded a plate.

As he sat, Dr. Pascal walked out onto the stage, microphone in hand.

“Um, and now,” he said, clearing his throat and looking nervously around, “I present to you ‘Effective Coaching Skills’, brought to you by the Tantalus V Review Board.”

Everybody’s jaws dropped as the curtains parted to reveal over a dozen patients dressed in colourful show tune outfits, at the center of which was a Klingon woman.

A very familiar Klingon woman.

And then the music started…

(to the theme of ‘Copacabana’)

Her name is K’Eleese! She was a pirate,

With bright red ribbons in her hair, and frilly under-things down there,

She’d pillage planets, and blow up starships,

But when she tried to get it all, she took a nasty fall,

She made a big mistake, she put too much at stake,

Now she’s been treated, now she’s a groovy gal,

And she’ll share her ways with you!

Here at the Coaching, Coaching Cabana,

The greatest lesson you could have-ah!

At the Coaching, Coaching Cabana,

Well train you right up with a passion!

Here with K’Eleese-ah, WE’LL HAVE FUN!

The song ended with K’Eleese doing a back flip off the stage and into a seat across from the Silverado officers.

“So,” she smiled, “What do ya think?”

“I think it’s great,” Fifebee commented dryly.

“Ah figured ye might,” Jeffery grunted as he stood on a hover-platform near the bridge ceiling, “

“We’ve been in space for almost a year,” Fifebee carried on, “My holo-relay is only designed for short-term planetary use and for occasions when I am off ship.”

“Ah know,” Jeffery said, pulling wires from a small access port he’d opened, “but the relay was working so well. Besides, we’ve kinda been too busy with other problems up until now.”

“As I understand it,” Fifebee replied, crossing her arms, “Engineering is still struggling to keep everything running smoothly.

Lieutenant Ovens chuckled softly from his station.

“We’re not struggling!” Jeffery replied indignantly, nearly dropping the holo-emitter he was holding, “It’s an old ship, she’s bound to have a few problems.”

“I heard that,”

“Butt out, Sylvia!” Jeffery growled, “yer supposed to be compiling the emitter control protocols!”

“I’m finished,” Sylvia said, sounding bored.

“Then take a nap! Anyway,” Jeffery went on, “Noel’s been tracking some…medical problems that have been cropping up among the crew. Guess what she found out?”

“Holy Water cures the common cold?”

“Nay. She found that if ye look at the room assignments, all the affected crewmen live between Impulse Engineering, where we keep yer holo-relay, and the bridge, where ye spend most of yer time.”

“We’ve never studied the long term effects of humanoid exposure to the energy emitted by the holo-relay,” Fifebee said thoughtfully, “what kind of medical problems did they experience.”

“Um,” Jeffery turned red.


Jeffery mumbled something Fifebee couldn’t make out.

“Excuse me?”

“He said,” Yanick piped in, “‘low sperm count and erectile dysfunction’.”

Fifebee sighed.

“In other words,” she said, “You’re finally starting to install holo-emitters because I make men soft, limp and infertile.”


“This is not good for my self-esteem.”

“You could call ‘The Vonna Show’!” Trish added helpfully.

“Oh yes, and broadcast my humiliation to the entire quadrant,” Fifebee turned back to her console, “what a novel idea,” she muttered.

“That’s the last one,” Jeffery said, slamming the access port shut, “We’ll test these out, then Ah’ll move on. We’re gonna start with the bridge then do the Science Labs, yer quarters, Engineering, Computer Core Control-“

“I have the schedule,” Fifebee cut in.

“Oh. Aye. Well,” Jeffery scratched his head, “Um, Sylvia, please transfer Lieutenant Fifebee to the bridge holo-emitters.”

Fifebee fizzled out for a moment before stabilizing.

“Looks fine to me,” Yanick said with a smile.

“Aye,” Jeffery smiled, “How do ye feel?”

Fifebee opened her mouth, closed it, then frowned.

Suddenly the holographic officer started wavering and flickering, growing to twice her normal size, then shrinking down, down, down, until-“


“Uh-oh,” Jeffery muttered.

“What is she doing here?” Stafford hissed to Dr. Pascal while K’Eleese, Noonan and T’Parief introduced themselves.

“She’s a patient,” Pascal said, “She tried to-“

“She crushed a planet and wanted to conquer the Klingon Empire. I know what she tried to do!” Stafford cut him off, “We’re the ones that sent her here!”

Nearly a year ago, K’Eleese had sabotaged Waystation while Silverado just happened to be in the neighborhood. Captains Beck and Stafford had teamed up to catch the pirate after she stole a dangerous piece of technology from Dillon Enterprises. K’Eleese had been caught, after inflicting serious damage to both Silverado and Waystation. She’d also used the device to crush a small planetoid down to the size of a large walnut.

“Ohhh,” Pascal nodded, “So that’s why Lydia didn’t want me to mention her name.

“That bitch,” Stafford swore.

“I suggest,” Pascal said, “that you put your personal feelings aside and enjoy the session. She really is a very…um, interesting person.”

“I bet,” Stafford muttered.

“A few things though,” Pascal went on, “Your doctor gave her a pretty good mind-wipe; she’s not going to remember you or what happened. Still, it would be a very good idea if you could avoid reminding her of anything that happened in her old life.”

“I can live with that,” Stafford said, moving back to the table.

“Welcome back,” K’Eleese boomed in her hearty, deep Klingon voice, “Here, since you were busy when we did ours, I have made you a name tag!” She peeled the back off a sticker that said ‘Hello, My Name is Chris’ and slapped it on Stafford’s chest, knocking the wind out of him. K’Eleese had penciled in small flowers and a happy face on the tag.

“Uh, thanks.”

“Now then, let us begin…”

As she spoke, Stafford tried to recall whether K’Eleese has seemed so…big when he last saw her. He hadn’t seen much of her; he’d spoken to her over the bridge viewscreen and dropped by the brig once when she was being transferred to the vessel transporting her to Tantalus, but this was his first time up close and personal for an extended period.

K’Eleese was a typical Klingon is many ways. Her build was best described as ‘muscular’. Klingon body armor wasn’t part of the dress code allowed by the facility, so she was instead wearing a thick, leather suit of the kind Stafford had once seen when watching a Samurai movie in the lounge. The leather tunic could barely contain her very, very ample chest, which he suspected was half of the reason why most of her former crewmen had signed up with her in the first place. Her hair was think and long, her skin swarthy. She was maybe a bit short for a warrior, but the thick biceps stretching the material of her tunic were clear signs that short didn’t translate to weak.

But here the resemblance to other Klingons ended.

Rather then letting her hair fall back in a tangled mess, K’Eleese had carefully braided her hair until she had two thick braids running down her back, each one tied with dozens of blood-red ribbons. Her teeth were white as snow, and Stafford was certain she was wearing lipstick. Small happy-face earrings dangled from each ear, matching the broad smile that K’Eleese herself wore. Her nails were perfectly manicured, her toes pedicured.

But it was her behavior that really put the icing on the cake.

Klingon discipline is typically brutal, painful, often fatal and involves an impressive variety of clubs, sharp objects and pain-causing devices.

K’Eleese’s discipline involved whips, chains, electro-torture devices and depths of physical abuse that turned the stomachs of even the most twisted S&M masters.

No wonder the Klingon High Command hadn’t objected when Starfleet had sent her to Tantalus for ‘rehabilitation’!

Dr. Noel Wowryk stepped out of the turbolift onto the bridge.

“Trish?” she called, “Did you-“


“DON”T LET HER OUT!” Jeffery and Yanick cried as a small shape zipped into the turbolift, barely clearing the closing doors.

“She’s switched back to the holo-relay!” Sylvia called out.

“What’s going on?” Wowryk demanded.

“Um, we had a bit of an accident-“ Jeffery tapped the call button, trying to summon another turbolift car.

“Why is there a duck running around the ship?’

“Um,” Yanick looked at the floor, “that was Fifebee.”

Wowryk look at Jeffery incredulously.

“You turned our Science Officer into a DUCK???” she demanded.

“Sylvia! Shut her down!” Jeffery cried.

“Her program is not responding,” the computerized personality replied, “Would you like to abort, retry or ignore?”

“Nice job, sweetie,” Wowryk chuckled.

“You have the conn!” Jeffery forced out, diving into the turbolift.

Wowryk was quiet for a moment.

“I have the conn?” she asked softly.

“Yup,” Trish giggled, “weirder things have happened.

Wowryk sat down in the command chair, crossing her legs.

“Can I order the crew to start praying?” she wondered.

“That would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Ensign Bith pointed out from Tactical.

“Oh,” Wowryk frowned, “Can I prohibit sex?”


“Well, this sucks then!”

“You could order everybody to do pushups, though,” Yanick giggled.

“Hmmm,” Wowryk was thoughtful for a moment.

“I’ve got a sensor contact,” Ensign Bith reported, “Just came into the system.”

“Oh. Um. Well, what can you tell me about it?” Wowryk asked.

“It’s two meters long, one meter wide. One lifesign, very faint.”

Wowryk bit her lip.

“Is it in transporter range?”


“Isn’t there supposed to be somebody sitting here to give me advice?” Wowryk whined, pointing at Noonan’s empty chair.

“Like you’d ever take it,” Yanick giggled.

“OK, fine,” Wowryk seethed, “if you’re so smart, what would you do?”

“Get Simon back up here.

“Fine! Wowryk to Jeffery,”

“I’m kinda busy!” Jeffery called out. In the background could be heard the sound of angry quaking and breaking glass. The line went dead.

“Any other bright ideas?”

“OK,” K’Eleese said happily, “this exercise will help you to prove your trust to each other.”

“But I don’t trust Jall,” Stafford pointed out.

“Me neither,” grumbled T’Parief.

“But you’re the senior officers of a starship,” K’Eleese insisted, “you must trust in the honor of your fellows to succeed.”

Jall, Stafford, Noonan and T’Parief looked at each other, then began laughing loudly.

“Stop it!” K’Eleese insisted, “SILENCE, FILTHY P’TAKS!”

Everybody stopped laughing.

“Oh my,” K’Eleese frowned, “what came over me? Oh well! T’Parief, stand up on the stage. Chris, San, you stand over here,” she led them to a patch of floor below T’Parief, “Good. Now, you two face each other, yes, like that. Now, when I count to three, T’Parief will fall backwards, into your waiting arms.”

“‘Our waiting arms’? That sounds kind of…romantic?” Stafford cracked.

“You have a problem with that?” Jall frowned.

“One!” called out K’Eleese.

“I don’t know if this is a good idea,” T’Parief muttered.

“Well, I just think that there’s no point, what with women being more fun and everything,” Stafford shrugged.


“That’s a matter of opinion!” Jall snapped.

“What?” Stafford was shocked, “You’re not into that kind of thing…um, are you?”


K’Eleese gave T’Parief a firm shove off the stage.


“You were supposed to catch him!” Noonan chucked.


While T’Parief was being patched up in the facility hospital, Stafford and Noonan broke away from the auditorium for their own chat.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Stafford started.


“She’s crazy! She’s insane! She belongs-“

“In a mental institution?” Noonan smirked.

“I…yes.” Stafford said.

“Like Tantalus V?”

“OK, OK, I see the point you’re making!” Stafford snapped, “She’s getting help! But it’s been less than a year! How can they think of releasing her!”

“They plan to release her?” Noonan was worried.

“Yeah, if she can deliver her little coaching session, they’ll let her out.”

“That’s a bad idea,” Noonan warned, “she’s unbalanced.”

“Is this your ‘special intuition’ kicking in?” Stafford asked.

“No,” Noonan admitted, “Those talents don’t always work well on other races. They don’t work at all with K’Eleese.”


“We can’t forget that she’s a Klingon. Their idea of mental health is very different from our own.”


“For our next exercise, you shall be beating each other with sticks,” K’Eleese announced.

Stafford and T’Parief immediately exchanged grins before turning to look at Jall.

“Um, excuse me?” Jall asked weakly.

“With these,” K’Eleese snapped, thrusting several foam bats towards them, “You will take out your frustrations on each other and build a more solid relationship. With each blow, you must express a reason for your frustration.”

“I’m liking the Klingon idea of mental health,” Stafford muttered to Noonan.

“Oh no,” Noonan corrected, “this is a human concept. The Klingon version involves razor-sharp bat-leths.”

“You may begin,” K’Eleese informed them.

“You’re always late for your duty shift!” Stafford cried, swinging his foam bat at Jall and connecting with a loud <TWAP>.

“You insult my parentage three times a week!” growled T’Parief, bringing his bat down over Jall’s head.

“Your perverted thoughts soil my mind!” Noonan commented, carefully restraining himself lest his superior strength crush the battered Operations officer.


“You’re insubordinate!” Stafford cried.





“We’re approaching the pod,” Yanick reported from the helm.

“On screen,” ordered Wowryk.

A small, cylindrical object appeared on the main viewscreen, tumbling slightly as it glided through space.

“It’s on a direct course for Tantalus,” Ensign Bith reported.

“No sign of any engines,” Ensign Burke yawned, having been dragged out of bed to cover for Fifebee.

“I’d hate for that to crash on somebody,” Wowryk murmured, “Unless of course, this is God’s way of punishing somebody on Tantalus V for their many sins.”

“I think Starfleet regulations state that we’re supposed to prevent things from crashing into planets,” Lieutenant Ovens pointed out.

“Oh, fine,” Wowryk sighed, “bring it into Shuttlebay 2 then take us back into orbit.

“It looked bigger on the screen,” Wowryk commented, stepping around the alien pod.

“It’s called magnification,” Burke replied, “That’s what the viewscreen is for, otherwise we’d just put a big window on the front of the bridge.”

The two of them were in the shuttlebay, Wowryk having turned the bridge over to Lieutenant Ovens.

“There’s some kind of writing,” Burke noted, tracing his finger over symbols emblazoned on the side, “Doesn’t look familiar. Tricorder says it’s not in the database.”

Wowryk shrugged.

“Take it to the science lab and see what you can do.”

“Lieutenant Fifebee would really be better for this kind of thing,” Burke whined, attaching the small anti-grav discs he’d brought to the pod.

“Yes, but she’s a duck right now. Unless you need help laying an egg or making duck a l’orange, you’re on your own.”

The beautiful doctor turned on her heel and started walking towards the exit.

“So, you’re not helping me?” Burke called out.

“No, I’d rather go boss more people around.” Wowryk replied over one shoulder.

Muttering to himself about power-hungry tyrants, Burke started pushing the alien pod down the corridors towards the turbolift.

“What is it with the women on this ship,” Burke mumbled, “they all want to be in control, they all want to push me around, just poor, feeble little-“


Looking down, he saw the feathered figure of Lieutenant Fifebee looking back up at him.


“Piss off!” Burke chuckled, “Yeah, that’s right, I told you off and you can’t do anything about it, can you! What’s it like to be the lowly subordinate now?”

Burke’s tirade turned into a yelp of pain as Fifebee bit him firmly on the ankle.

Shaking the crazed duck off, Burke started running down the corridor, pushing the pod in front of him.

“She’s just leaving the shuttlebay,” Sylvia informed Jeffery as the latter jogged down the corridors, “She’s moving in your direction-FAST!”

“I’ve got her now!” Jeffery declared, clenching his fists through the thick gloves he had pulled on to protect himself from Fifebee’s new beak. Her bite was now officially worse than her bark. He’d already chased her through the arboretum, where he’d found her swimming happily in the coy pond, through Stellar Cartography, Unbalanced Equations (breaking Steven’s collection of antique 20th-century Ikea glasses) and then around the matter injection assembly three times before she fluttered down the warp core shaft to Main Engineering. Jeffery, panting and wheezing, had climbed into the turbolift, arriving too late to catch the errant waterfowl.

“Fifteen meters…ten meters,” Sylvia counted down, “She’s right around the-“

Jeffery screamed in panic as a large, oblong object came barreling down the corridor, bobbing on anti-gravs as it plowed into him.

Impaled as he was, Jeffery could only grunt at Ensign Burke as the blond man pushed the alien pod down the corridor.

“She’s pissed now!” Burke gasped, “and I’m running out of corridor!!” As if to demonstrate, he spun the pod around a corner. Jeffery groaned as pretty lights spun around his head. Two crewmen dived out of the way as Burke sped by.

“Stop,” Jeffery groaned.

“Yeah, great idea,” Burke wheezed, “then she can eat me from the ground up!”

Having done a full circuit of the deck, Burke and Jeffery flew out of the corridor and into the empty shuttlebay.

“Quick!” Burke cried out, “Climb onto the runabout!”

“She can fly!” Jeffery objected.

“Ohhh….right. Well, hide!”

Jeffery looked around.

The Fifebee-duck was gone.

“Captain, certain members of the crew have noticed that your body has a…um, distinctive odour,” T’Parief forced out, fighting to keep a smile of his face.

“Really,” Stafford replied flatly.

“Yes. Is there perhaps a medical cause I should know about? D-Does your species have a v-v-volatile endocrine system?”


“I-I see,” T’Parief lost the battle, erupting into a full fit of deep belly laughter.

“Then perhaps,” he gasps between chuckles, “you-you may want to b-bathe more frequently.” Falling off his chair, the reptilian officer crashed to the floor, roaring with laughter.

“Would anybody,” K’Eleese forced out between clenched teeth, “care to comment on Mr. T’Parief’s coaching method?”

“It would be more effective without the laughter,” Noonan said immediately.

“No s**t,” Stafford muttered.

The current coaching exercise had brought up the ages old question: Just how do you politely and professionally tell an employee or subordinate that they stink? Stafford had been forced into playing the part of said subordinate.

“If you think it’s so easy,” T’Parief chuckled, pulling himself off the floor, “why don’t you show us how it’s done?”

“Please do,” K’E’leese added.

“Very well,” Noonan shifted to face Stafford.

“Captain,” he started, “It has been brought to my attention that your-your body has-has a..AHH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!”

Tears started streaming down Noonan’s face as he burst into giggles.

“This is really starting to hurt my feelings,” Stafford smirked.

“YOU ARE NOT GRASPING THE CONCEPT OF THIS EXERCISE!” K’Eleese bellowed, “You will learn coaching skills, or I shall crush you like a-“

“Planet?” Jall smirked. K’Eleese twitched.

“A what?” she asked.

“A bug,” Stafford said quickly, “crush us like bugs!” Then, softly to Jall, “Shut up you idiot, we can’t do anything to remind her of what happened! If she remembers what she did…”

“Ohhh…” Jall said slowly, realization dawning on his features.

“San, why don’t you try,” K’Eleese demanded.

“Um, right, OK,” Jall looked her nervously, suddenly reminded of how badly she had traumatized his good friend, Skoteth. K’Eleese’s crimes would have sent her to a penal colony. Her treatment of her subordinates sent her to Tantalus V.

“Uh, well, Captain,” Jall floundered, hunting for the right phrase, “Um…you stink. You need to shower more. Can I go to the bathroom?” Without bothering to wait for permission, Jall bolted for the door, barely missing Dr. Pascal.

“I’ve brought dessert,” he announced as a member of the facility staff wheeled in a fresh food table, “I’ve got Maple Walnut ice cream,”

K’Eleese twitched.

“Apple Crunch,”

K’Eleese twitched again.

“Rice Krispie squares,”

K’Eleese twitched a third time.

“And these neat little cookies with cute little happy faces on them.”

K’Eleese frowned, trying to remember what she was doing. She was…she was…giving a coaching session for Starfleet cowards??? Something suddenly felt seriously wrong. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she was sure there was somewhere else she should be, something else she should be doing.

But what?

K’Eleese had stepped out to use the little Klingon’s room. The second she left, the Silverado officers converged on Pascal.

“Are you sure she-“

“Twitches like Wowryk when somebody mentions-“

“Maple walnut ice cream? What were you thinking? Butter pecan is SOO-“

“Screwed up beyond belief!”

Finally, Pascal was able to get everybody’s attention again.

“Look, we’ve been working with her for over a year! Counseling, intensive psychotherapy, electro-shock treatments, hypnosis, neural realignments-“

“Neural realignments?” Noonan gasped, “You’ve brainwashed her!”

“Well, technically-“ Pascal started.

“Whatever you did, she’s going down fast!” Jall cried out, “That woman is NOT sane! And probably never will be.”

Pascal shrugged.

“Of course not,” he said, “Why else would we take such extreme measures? But I assure you, we’ve made great progress in returning her to normal, functioning society!”

“She’s a Klingon! You’re trying to make her act like a human!”

“She was a pretty insane Klingon too!”

“I don’t believe this-“

“I’m back!” K’Eleese announced happily, “For our next activity…”

The next activity Noonan actually found very interesting. Each participant was given several pieces of paper of varying shapes. The goal was to exchange pieces with other participants until you had the pieces necessary to form a perfect square. The catch was that you were completely unable to talk to your partners or point at the piece you wanted.

Noonan reached out gently with his mind, urging T’Parief to give him the black square he was holding. Without realizing it, T’Parief immediately gave Noonan the piece, in return for a pink pentagon. He was able to obtain the teal U shaped piece from Stafford simply by catching Stafford’s gaze and in return gave the captain a yellow square that would fill a hole in his shape.

Stafford was across the table from Noonan and was eyeing a blue octagonal piece sitting in front of Jall. He nodded towards it, then gestured at his own pile of pieces. Jall blinked, then pushed a yellow triangle towards Stafford. Frowning, Stafford pushed it back. Jall pushed an orange L-shaped piece back at him. Clenching his fists, Stafford pushed it back. Jall started to push a green rectangle towards him, but Stafford swung out with his arm and slammed Jall’s face into the table, his nose landing squarely on the piece Stafford wanted. Groaning slightly, Jall pushed the blue octagon over to Stafford.

“I think that is cheating,” K’Eleese growled, “And what is the punishment for cheating?”

“I get a time out?” Stafford squeaked.

“Yes,” K’Eleese growled, thrusting her face towards him, “A time out…IN MY BEDCHAMBERS!”

Dr. Pascal rushed towards her, a small device gripped in one hand. He pressed it against the back of K’Eleese’s head, creating a soft buzzing noise. K’Eleese shook her head, then frowned.

“What was I saying?” she asked.

“You were telling the Captain that he must not assault his fellow officers,” Pascal soothed her, “It’s not very nice.”

“Yes,” K’Eleese replied robotically, “not very nice.”

“She has mild reversions to her old self now and then,” Pascal whispered, “Easily controlled with medication.”

Everybody exchanged uneasy glances.

Jeffery and Burke walked carefully out of the shuttlebay, eyes and ears alert for the ruffle of feathers or the click of a sharp beak. Pulling the alien pod behind them, they made their way to the turbolift.

“I don’t think this is going to work,” Burke said doubtfully, eyeing the size of the turbolift compared to the two meter length of the pod.

“Tilt it on one end,” Jeffery advised, “Haven’t ye ever helped anybody move a couch up a flight of stairs?”

“We used a transporter,” Burke muttered.

“Well, Ah’m not authorizing a site-to-site transport just because yer too lazy to move this thing!” Jeffery snapped, “Y’know how much power those suck up? Or how hard it is on the equipment? There’s a reason why they’re for emergencies only!”

“I know, I know, I get it,” Burke shot back, “Man, you’ve been hanging out with Sylvia too long, you’re starting to sound like my mother!”

“Help me tip this over,” Jeffery growled, grabbing the pod.

Together the two men heaved, tipping the pod into the turbolift.

“Uh, where do we fit?” Burke wondered.

“Ah don’t think we will,” Jeffery admitted.

The pod filled the turbolift to the point where the two of them would have to squeeze in between the pod and the doors to fit.


“Yes, Simon?”

“Could ye please do me a favour; send this turbolift car up to Science Lab One, then hold it there till we unload it?”

“Of course, I’d be happy to.” The doors snapped shut as the turbolift departed.

“Showoff,” Burke muttered.

“Ye’d be amazed how far good manners can get ye,” Jeffery admitted.

“You have definitely been hanging around Sylvia too long,” Burke repeated.

“They keep Noel happy too,” Jeffery smirked, “She let me kiss her on the cheek when I asked nicely.”

With that, Jeffery stepped into the newly arrived turbolift car.

“Whoop de f**king doo,” Burke grumbled.

Burke and Jeffery arrived in the corridor outside the science labs to the sound of an alarm going off.

Rushing around the curve, Jeffery found that the pod had falled out into the corridor, blocking the turbolift doors and setting off the ‘close the frickin’ door, NOW!’ alarm.

“Aw, crap,” he muttered, tapping at a nearby control panel and silencing the ear-splitting noise.


Looking down, Jeffery saw an arm protruding from beneath the pod.

“Who’s under there,” he growled.

“Crewman….Shwaluk,” Shwaluk gasped, slowly being crushed to death by the pod.

“Did ye try pulling this thing out of the turbolift,”


“Ye idiot! Ye banged up the corridor wall, and yer bleedin’ all over the carpet!”


“Oh, right. Jeffery to Transporter Room 1, emergency transport; send Crewman Shwaluk directly to Sickbay.”

As Shwaluk disappeared in a haze of transporter sparkles, Burke turned to Jeffery.

“You know,” Burke commented, “I really think we should have just used the transporter on this thing in the first place.

Jeffery glared at Burke, then turned to resume his hunt of Fifebee.

“I guess that means you’re not going to help me move it into the science lab?” Burke called.

Jeffery crept carefully into the anti-matter storage facility. All around him were the storage pods that stored the volatile material. Anti-matter was so reactive Silverado used less than a thimble-full on a typical day. The instant any amount of anti-matter, from single atoms to fist-sized chunks, came into contact with normal matter both would immediately annihilate each other in a devastating explosion. For that reason, anti-matter had to be stored in special magnetic containment fields inside the pods. The pods were stored on the lowest desk of the ship, and the entire section could be jettisoned into space if it looked like the pods were going to breach.

Jeffery ducked carefully under one pod, trying not to think of the gallons of anti-hydrogren slush that would come pouring down on him if the pod were to rupture.

Using his tricorder, he had tied into Fifebee’s holo-relay and was using it to track down the exact location of the holographic officer. He needed to get her to engineering so he could figure out what the hell had happened.


“C’mon, Fifebee,” Jeffery groaned, “Ah’m trying to help ye! Why do ye keep runnin’ away?”


Fifebee slowly waddled out of the space between two storage pods, looking at Jeffery inquisitively.

“Good duck,” Jeffery murmured in what was, he hoped, a soothing a voice, “Nice duck,” he moved closer, slowly reaching out with one hand.

Fifebee darted forward, biting down hard on Jeffery’s outstretched hand. The thick glove he was wearing protected him to an extent, but it still hurt!

“AARRRGGGHHH!!! Ye damned beast! Ah’ll be serving ye for Christmas dinner!”

“QUACK!” Fifebee screeched as she waddled away at full speed.

“No, wait! Come back! Ah didn’t mean it!”

Speeding after her, Jeffery rushed past more storage pods, past several conduits through which the volatile antimatter was carried and through a heavy door.

Catching a flash of tail feathers from up ahead, Jeffery skirted around the squat shape of the antimatter injector assembly, the glow of the warp core up above bathing the small chamber in flickering blue light.

Once again in the corridor, Jeffery put on a burst of speed, trying to catch Fifebee before she could get lost in the maze of corridors and storage rooms.

Firebee looked back and, Jeffery was certain, winked. With a loud QUACK she jumped up, stuck out her tongue and put on a burst of speed that only a hologram could possibly achieve, leaving Jeffery in the dust.

K’Eleese sat, a pleasant expression on her face as she listened to Stafford and his officers sharing their coaching experiences. Pascal had stepped out to check on another patient, and K’Eleese found herself much more relaxed without him watching her. The whole time though, something was nagging at her. She felt the strangest feelings towards these people. To Stafford and his First Officer, there was a sense of déjà vu; the sense that she had met them before. Had they gone for coffee sometime? Did she attack a ship they were on, or perhaps at some point slaughter a beloved family member?

For the tall, beefy reptile, she found her feelings easier to identify: lust!

“And so,” Noonan was saying, “I explained to Crewman Shwaluk that installing sensor feeds in the woman’s locker room was not only a violation of Starfleet regulations, but an invasion of their privacy as well.”

“Excellent point,” K’Eleese responded, “explaining not only the regulation violated but the impact as well. Captain Stafford, your thoughts?”

“Huh?” Stafford fought to rouse himself from what had very nearly been a pleasant nap, “Oh! I, uh, don’t think Crewman Shwaluk really cared about the ladies’ privacy. He’s sort of a pig that way. He’s lucky we didn’t court-martial him!”

“Um, I see,” K’Eleese frowned, “How then, did you address that issue?”

“I told him that if he did it again I’d assign him to waste processing,” Noonan replied with a grin.

“And it worked?” K’Eleese asked.

“Like a charm,”

“I think,” Jall said with a grin, “that you should have threatened to sic Dr. Wowryk on him.”

Stafford laughed.

“Yeah,” he said, “Remember when he won the Karaoke contest and tried to get her underwear? Man, I have NEVER seen fingernails draw so much blood!”

Something stirred in K’Eleese, a sudden memory of screams, fingernails and blood. Sweat-covered flesh, a ship. A Klingon ship? The name ‘Jubilant Death’ popped into K’Eleese’s head. The name of the ship? Or just a good party?

“I hardly think that kind of torture could be an effective disciplinary method,” Noonan objected.

“C’mon,” Jall laughed, “I think he liked it. Most guys don’t mind taking a bit of punishment from a chick!”

“You,” T’Parief growled, “Are one sick little targling,”

“Maybe we should change the topic,” Stafford interrupted, eyes darting towards K’Eleese.

Little did he know, the damage was already done. Dr. Pascal’s memory blocks, already straining under the presence of so many familiar enemies, snapped like a twig. Images came flashing back to K’Eleese: her ship, her crew, her daily ‘disciplinary’ sessions with her mate. She remembered plotting to steal…something from Waystation, and the way Stafford and his crew of misfits had interfered. Obviously, she’d been caught and locked up in a Federation facility, her ship impounded and her crew released.

She had to get out of this brainwashing facility.

“So the moral here,” K’Eleese broke in, ending the argument and trying to stay in character “Is that when disciplining subordinates, threats are far more effective than quoting rules or regulations. And if subordinates put up a fuss, they must be beaten severely. Or confined to the brig,” she quickly amended.

“Our last item today,” she continued happily, “will be another trust exercise.”

“Didn’t we already do one of those? asked Jall.

“You can never have enough trust!” K’Eleese snapped.

“Heeeere ducky, ducky, ducky!” Jeffery chanted as he moved slowly through Deck 18, near the base of the ship’s ‘neck’, the connector between the saucer and engineering hulls.

He tapped at his tricorder, which told him that Fifebee was right ahead, in the Forward Torpedo Control Room. Stepping as softly as he could, he stepped into the chamber.

The Fifebee-duck was perched atop the Quantum Torpedo Loader controls. The actual torpedo launchers were accessible from the front of the control room, with the actual torpedoes being stored on the deck above, heavily shielded to prevent a lucky shot from damaging them. Although fueled and ready to go, the actual explosive components were stored separately until the order was given to arm the torpedo tubes, at which point the explosive components were added to the rest of the torpedo, the entire package then being delivered to the launching mechanisms; magnetic coils that propelled the torpedo out the tube at high speeds after which the torpedo’s own propulsion systems took over.

“Nice ducky,” Jeffery moaned softly, taking a careful step forward.

The Fifebee-duck shifted her weight, accidentally activating the launcher’s maintenance mode: access hatches to the torpedo tubes snapped open. Through the open hatches Jeffery could see the launching mechanisms and the actual torpedo tubes. The outer doors were open, with the stars visible beyond force fields.

Enough was enough! Jeffery had to get her off that panel before she accidentally shut down the fields, venting the room to space!

He lunged at the duck, missing and hitting the panel. Fifebee screeched, flapping her wings and running for the first open space she could see: the torpedo tubes.

“NOO!” Jeffery cried, rushing forwards.

But Fifebee was aleady making herself comfortable at the far end of the tube, beyond Jeffery’s reach.

“Ach! Don’t do this!” Jeffery moaned, “C’mon Fifebee, Ah know yer not very happy with me right now, seeing as how I messed up your program and all.”


“But ye need to get by that! Ah know, yer probably being controlled by the duck personality, but somewhere in there is the real Fifebee, and Ah really want to make things right with her!”


Jeffery rambled on.

“Cuz, well, y’know, I respect you, and Ah think yer a valued member of the team and all that. Ah know Burke wants ye back, cuz he doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing with that pod. And when the Captain gets back, he’s gonna want ye back to!”


“Aye. So, c’mon out of that tube, and we’ll get ye fixed up.”


Jeffery reached in, straining to get a grip on Fifebee.

Fifebee jumped forward, bit him hard, then darted back. Jeffery gasped in pain, gripping the damaged limb.

“What the hell was that?” he shouted, “That was supposed to be our heart-to-heart! Ah appeal to yer better nature, tell ye how loved ye are, and yer supposed to come back to me! What’s wrong with ye?”


“Moooo!” Stafford called out, feeling thoroughly ridiculous.

“Oink!” Jall replied in the same tone.

K’Eleese’s finale exercise was simple: To feel comfortable around other people, you first need to completely humiliate yourself in front of them. She likened it to the foolish hazing rituals practiced by something called a ‘fraternity’.

“We’ve all done that already,” Jall had pointed out.

“You will do it again!” K’Eleese has snarled back.

And so the lights had been turned off and each officer assigned an animal; pigs for Jall and Noonan, cows for Stafford and T’Parief. The goal was to locate your matching animal in the dark auditorium going only by sound.

“Moooo!” rumbled T’Parief. Well, he mused to himself, at least the trip to Yanick Farms is paying off. Stafford had little trouble locating him; his voice was the most distinctive one in the room. Noonan and Jall quickly located each other as well.

“OK, K’Eleese, you can turn the lights back on!” Stafford called out.

“That was kind of fun,” Jall murmured.

“If you have the mentality of a kindergarten student, maybe!” T’Parief shot back.

The lights were still off.


No answer.

The door hissed open, letting a shaft of light into the room.

“Well, how did the first day…who turned out the lights?” Pascal asked as he reactivated them.

“Where’s K’Eleese,” he asked slowly, “and why were you all sitting around in the dark?”

Alarms sounded throughout the facility as Stafford and his officers followed Pascal down the corridor. Guards were running around frantically, searching the huge facility.

“I don’t understand how one Klingon woman could escape four Starfleet officers!” he said again.

“Don’t try to pin this on us!” Stafford snapped, “You’re the one who insisted she was safe! And that we participate in her little games!”

“Oh, yes,” Pascal said snidely, “Let’s all turn off the lights when there’s an insane killer in the room!”

“You did insist she was cured,” Noonan pointed out.

“Shut up!”

K’Eleese giggled softly to herself as she overheard the exchange. Hiding in the janitor’s closet, Pascal and crew had walked right past her.

She quickly located and donned a set of maintenance overalls, barely able to close the zipper over her ample bosom. She tucked her hair into her clothing, hiding her long Klingon locks from casual view. She checked her reflection in a shiny metal mop pail. Hmm….something still wasn’t right. Oh! Her cranial ridges! Her bumpy forehead was a dead giveaway.

Ten minutes later, a stocky woman with a dark complexion and a do-rag stepped out of the janitor’s closet, a Dillon ShurCleen Dust Vaporizer slung over one shoulder.

Pascal had led Stafford and crew to the facility’s main control center. The room wasn’t much bigger than Silverado’s bridge, despite the fact that the facility was several times bigger. It was a hospital after all, not a starship. Most of the day-to-day running of the facility was done from a wing of administration officers, where countless bureaucrats worked tirelessly. Only during emergencies was the command center used.

“Attention all personnel,” chanted a slim Bolian woman from one station, “This is not a drill. We have a patient escape. Patient is Klingon, about one point six-seven meters in height and one hundred kilograms. Patient is happy and extremely dangerous.”

“Another one, huh Doc?” asked the Tellerite on duty as Pascal led the others in.

“Another one?” Jall jumped in before Pascal could respond, “How may flipping patients escape this place??”

“We’ve had to reduce our security force after we had some budget cuts,” Pascal admitted, “President Dillon doesn’t seem to care much for mental health.”

“He’ll do anything to save a buck,” Stafford agreed.

“Patient has been spotted in Sector 23!” snapped a Vulcan male, tapping frantically at his console, “Heading for Sector 34!”

“Damn!” Pascal and the Tellerite swore together, “Right for the hanger bay!”

“Lock it down!” Noonan suggested.

“We did,” replied the Tellerite, “But our security system isn’t really top of the line.”

“Budget cuts?”


“Captain,” T’Parief broke in, “I suggest we allow Tantalus Security to handle the situation here while we return to the ship. If she does escape, we should be able to catch her.”

Stafford looked inquiringly at Pascal, who made frantic ‘shoo’ gestures as he turned to consult with one of his colleagues.

K’Eleese cursed herself for stopping to ask for directions. She’d been perfectly polite with the orderly she’d questioned; she only broke his arm after he first refused to direct her to the hanger bay. She’d only had to break a leg and establish a firm grip on his testicles before he broke and pointed her in the right direction.

Slipping through the corridors, she quickly located the passage to the hanger bay, guarded by four solidly built security guards. K’Eleese grinned and cracked her knuckles. It was time to show them why she was the most feared woman in the Empire!

She walked nonchalantly towards the quartet, the Dust Vaporizer in one hand.

“Hold it right there,” snapped the man in charge, “This area is off-limits until further notice!”

K’Eleese continued walking.

“Last chance!” snapped the guard, “Stop right there!”

She moved closer.

“OK, drop her!”

Just as they fired, K’Eleese flung the Vaporizer at the guards. Four phaser beams struck the device, overloading its power supply and blowing it to smithereens. Before the guards could recover, K’Eleese was on them.

She took the first guard out with a solid punch to the face before spinning and blocking a chop from the second. Delivering her knee into his groin, she sent him sprawling to the floor.

The third and fourth guards came at her together from both sides, trying to flank her. She jumped back, reaching out and slamming the guards against each other.

The two men rebounded, turning to face her. One moved to attack her while the other dove to the floor to retrieve his phaser.

“Ooohhh, smart boys,” K’Eleese said happily, dodging a roundhouse kick from the guard attacking her. She dodged in behind the kick, using the guard’s momentum to spin him around, gripping him from behind.

“Mmmm,” she purred, “how often do you work out?”

“Every day,” growled the guard.

“It shows,” K’Eleese murmured approvingly, “Oh, the things I would do to you if I only had the time!”

“Let him go!’ snarled the other guard, holding her at phaserpoint.

“Fool!” K’Eleese snapped. She flung one guard at the other, sending both off-balance. Darting in, she knocked the phaser out of Guard 4’s hands, delivered a solid shot to the back of his head and still managed to find time for a couple of not-so-gentle gropes.

Finally, it was down to K’Eleese and the guard she had found so appealing.

“Why don’t you let me go?” she snarled, “I could make it worth your while!”

“Hardly!” he snapped back, “I don’t need money!”

“I wasn’t talking about money!” K’Eleese said, easing the zipper on her overalls down. The guard’s eyes went wide.


K’Eleese was once again on track for the hanger bay. The last guard wouldn’t be telling anybody her location anytime soon; like most men she ‘played’ with, he had been knocked unconscious long before she was finished.

Making short work of the door lock, K’Eleese eased inside, holding the phaser she had stolen from her now-badly-bruised guard.

Sitting to one side of the bay was either a very small starship or a very large runabout. She immediately recognized the insignia as belonging to Dillon Enterprises. Most likely somebody from the company was doing business at Tantalus V. Her other choices were a Federation runabout, an Andorian shuttle and a workbee.

K’Eleese considered her options. The Andorian shuttle would be well-armed with powerful shielding, but she had studied Dillon Enterprises extensively when she had been preparing to steal something from their headquarters. A Dillon ship, especially one belonging to somebody high in the company, would probably be packed with high-tech stuff she wouldn’t find in most ships.

Bypassing the security lockout, K’Eleese entered the ship. The luxurious furnishings strongly hinted that yes, this ship belonged to somebody important. She quickly located the cockpit and started tapping away at the controls.

“Captain on the bridge!” chimed Sylvia pleasantly as Stafford stepped out of the turbolift.

“Thanks mom, er Sylvia. Yellow Alert! Jall, Fifebee, I want full sensor sweeps, find out where she is and what…she’s…” Stafford trailed off as he found his command chair occupied by Dr. Wowryk.

“Who the hell put her in charge??” Stafford demanded, “And where’s Fifebee?”

“Uh, that would be me,” Jeffery said in a small voice, deciding that now was the wrong time to bring up Fifebee’s…condition.

“Dumbass! Doctor, get out of my chair!”

“What if I’m not ready to give you command back yet?” Wowryk asked with a sly grin.

“It doesn’t work that way!”

“Oh,” her smile faded, “Ah well, being in command is an overrated experience.” With that, she pushed past Stafford and left the bridge.

“Jeffery, I thought I left you in change,” Stafford said, “But whatever. K’Eleese may be trying to escape the planet; I want you up here in case she has any surprises in store for us. And if you EVER put your girlfriend in charge of my ship again, I swear, I’ll-“

“I’m picking up a small vessel leaving orbit,” Jall interrupted, “Looks like a long-range transport,”

“Looks like she’s runnin’, “ Jeffery called from the starboard Auxiliary panel, “Readins’ getting’ funny, I think she’s powering up some kinda sensor block!”

“T’Parief, lock phasers and fire!” Stafford ordered.

Beams of energy shot out of Silverado’s weapons array, one scoring a glancing shot against the shuttle while the others went wide.

“She’s taking evasive maneuvers,” T’Parief reported, “And her sensor block is interfering with my targeting scanners.”

“Fire a torpedo,” Noonan advised, “She won’t be able to dodge one of those.”

“I don’t know if that-“ Jeffery started.

“Firing,” T’Parief stated, tapping his controls.

Everybody looked to the screen, expecting to see a ball of destruction closing on the shuttle. Instead-

“What the hell is that?” Stafford demanded.

“Ohhhh…” Burke moaned as he checked his scanners, “Sir, we just launched a holographic duck at her. Whoops, it’s gone now. Must have gone out of range of the holo-relay.”

“Ah’m not pickin’ up her ship at all,” Jeffery reported, “She’s foolin’ our sensors.”

There was a shower of holographic sparks as Fifebee appeared by the science station, back in her humanoid form.

“I am Jane 5-B, sentient hologram,” she stated, then frowned, “Has somebody been tampering with my program? My subroutines are a mess!”

Stafford turned to look at Jeffery.

“Don’t ask,” advised the engineer.

“Don’t tell,” Stafford sighed, slouching down in his chair.

“So when she went out of range of the relay, her program was reinitialized,” Sylvia concluded as Jeffery tinkered with the holo-emitters he was installing in Sickbay, “Once that happened, it reset everything to the original parameters and purged the duck personality.”


“About that,” Sylvia said, “I still can’t figure out where that duck came from.”

Jeffery shrugged.

“Probably somebody’s holodeck program,” he said, “Some little girl is probably crying because Daffy’s gone missing.”

“Daffy Duck is black,” Sylvia pointed out, “Fifebee was grey with a green head.”

Fifebee was standing in Commander Noonan’s office, ready to give her report. She found the deep red colours Noonan preferred to be strangely relaxing, and the various knick-knacks scattered about were very interesting to her as well. On one shelf was a scale model of the Vulcan Kir’Shara sitting right next to a model of an NX-class starship. A solid bookcase held everything from old paperback novels to heavy hardcover volumes; everything from ‘Lord of the Rings’ to ‘Ancient Egypt - A History’. Padds dating all the way back to the 22nd century filled the lower shelves, Fifebee could see the big, bulky models used in the 23rd century right next to the small, compact modern-day version.

“What have you learned about the artifact?” Noonan asked, playing around with a small sphere that Fifebee identified as a Bolian Fertility Idol.

“Nothing,” Fifebee said flatly, “I have analyzed and catalogued the symbols on the artifact, but they do not match anything in my database or the computer records.”

“You mean Sylvia’s records.”

“Sylvia is the personality,” Fifebee replied immediately, “The computer records are still just computer records, the same way my personality database is a personality database.”

“Point taken,” Noonan conceded, “But you can’t find anything on this object?”

“Nothing,” Fifebee affirmed, “And the Universal Translator can’t make any sense out of the symbols.”

“Interesting,” Noonan mused. He stood and paced behind his desk for a moment.

“Continue analyzing the object,” he ordered, “I’ll fill in the Captain. I’m confident that given enough time you’ll figure it out.”

Crewman Gibson pulled himself out of the swamp muck for the third time.

“Look, dude,” he snapped, “It’s not here! You missed it!” He’d been slogging through the tress, mud and grass for hours, trying to find the damned thing. Now their holodeck time was almost up, and for what? Did he get to make out with a supermodel? NO! Did he get to shoot any bad guys and save the world? NO! All for Roscoe’s inane hunting program!

“I so did not!” Crewman Roscoe snapped back, “I was aiming right at the damned thing and I saw it disappear when I fired! That duck is dead, and we are going to f**king find it, roast it and eat it!”

“Dude, you suck!” exclaimed Gibson.

“What we need is a hunting dog,” Roscoe decided, “Sylvia, could we get a hunting dog in here please?”

“What breed, boys?” Sylvia asked.

Roscoe and Gibson exchanged glances.

“Uh, I dunno.”

“Well, how does a nice pit bull sound?”


The dog materialized and promptly began sniffing at the ground.

The holodeck doors appeared in the middle of the swamp, disgorging Crewman Shwaluk into half a meter of muddy water.

“You’re late!” Roscoe called out over Shwaluk’s squawk of surprise.

“I was in Sickbay!” Shwaluk snapped back, pulling himself onto firmer ground “After being crushed to death by a big-“


“What was that?” Shwaluk asked in a small voice, turning to see a very large, very angry dog right behind him.


Captain’s Log, Stardate: 57318.6

“We’ve spent several days combing the area for K’Eleese’s ship, but haven’t found any sign of her. Nothing. Not a single painted happy-face or sexually abused crewman. At least she’s on her own; whatever she has planned can’t be too major.”

“Fifebee still hasn’t figured out the alien pod. She has detected a stasis field, so whatever is in suspended animation. Doesn’t matter whether it takes us days or decades, to open that thing, so I’m not making a big deal out of it. I’m sure she’ll figure it out sooner or later.”

Several systems away:

Ha! She was free! K’Eleese giggled with joy as her small, stolen ship cruised through space. In a few days, she’d be in the Acturan system. A few carefully planned deaths here, a forged will there and she’d be back on her feet. With carefully planning and just a bit of luck, she’d find some way to reach her goals.