Are you a Star Trek addict? If so, you probably know that Star Trek was created by Gene Rodennberry and is owned by Paramount. If you would like a cure for Trek addiction, I suggest Star Traks. It was created by Alan Decker and is far more humorous, with none of the made-for- network-television side effects. Star Traks: Silverado was created by Brendan Chris. Former Trek addict.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2008

Banshee concept and characters by Brad Dusen.

Commander Matthew Noonan sat motionless in his quarters aboard the USS Banshee, eyes closed. His breathing had slowed, as had his heart rate, until he appeared to be nothing more than an inanimate statue; a carefully sculpted piece of marble in a Starfleet uniform. As he exhaled, a glass orb floated slowly off the coffee table to join a few other knick-knacks as they hovered in the air.

Noonan wished that the meditation posture and the habit of floating objects in the air was some ancient custom held sacred by his ‘people’, but truth be told one of them had watched ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ sometime in the late 20th Century and thought the whole thing looked pretty cool.

With that thought, Noonan’s concentration was shattered. So was the glass orb as it fell out of the air and struck the corner of the table. No sooner had the shards of glass tinkled to the carpet when the door hissed open.

“FREEZE!” Security Chief Dan Smith snapped, jumping into the door and waving his phaser rifle in front of him.

Noonan just looked calmly back at him.

“May I help you?” he asked.

Smith’s eyes darted around Noonan’s quarters, taking in the source of the sound he’d heard, the trinkets scattered on the floor and Noonan’s completely non-threatening position. He slowly lowered his rifle, then stepped back out of the room, allowing the doors to hiss shut.

Noonan sighed.

“Noonan to Vorezze,” he said, tapping his comm-badge.


Noonan ignored the lack of proper communications protocol. In a way, it was almost refreshing…a pleasant reminder of certain other officers he’d recently served with.

“Captain, it isn’t necessary to have your security chief stationed outside my quarters. I assure you, I’m not a threat. At least, not as long as the modifications to the replicator in my quarters hold out,”

“Yeah well…keeping an eye on you is making him feel better,” Vorezze replied. ‘And making me feel better too.’ Vorezze didn’t say this aloud, but Noonan knew he was thinking it.

“I am to be left alone,” Noonan said firmly, exerting just the slightest pressure on Vorezze.

“I’ll get rid of him,” Vorezze said, sounding slightly dazed.

“Thank you, Captain. Noonan out.”


With that disruption handled, Noonan once again composed himself. He needed to know what was happening on Matria Prime. If he could just reach out to one of his collegues…

Of course, he’d being trying for the past week without luck. Perhaps, as they grew closer, he’d be more successful.

Commander Smith stood outside Noonan’s quarters, glaring at the closed doors.

“Vorezze to all senior staff. Get up to the conference lounge. Meeting time.”

Smith brought his hand up to his comm-badge to protest, only to have it fall by his side. He found himself turning, then walking towards the turbolift.

“Keep an eye on him,” he called back to the remaining guard, unsure of what was happening. And, more disturbingly, not caring.

Smith was joined in the turbolift by Tactical Officer Vince DiSanto.

“Keeping an eye on the new guy?” Vince asked politely, his voice still somewhat sibilant, despite the voice changing lessons he’d been taking.

“Section 31 has him classified as a Type-13 Sentient,” Smith said simply. “I don’t care if he’s in Starfleet, I don’t care which organizations he’s worked for in the past, I don’t trust him.

Section 31 was the super-secret branch of the Federation. Nobody in the Federation was supposed to know it existed, especially not Starfleet. With highly advanced technologies and a lack of moral restraints, Section 31’s job was to protect the Federation from any and all threats. The Banshee and her crew had joined Section 31 years ago by faking their own deaths and the destruction of their ship.

Recently, Section 31 had ordered them to the Rigel VI Salvage Depot where they were to pickup a ‘Mission Specialist’ who would give them further orders. What they’d found was Noonan, a pale, quiet yet forceful Starfleet officer who had informed them that they’d be rendezvousing with a fleet at Waystation, at which point they would lead said fleet in the liberation of Matria Prime. He’d also informed them that they were to be operating undercover, pretending to be Starfleet officers. The Banshee crew hadn’t been happy to learn that all their advanced and illegal technology was now off-limits. However, Noonan had informed them that the enemy forces were somewhat below Federation-level when it came to technology.

What Noonan hadn’t mentioned was the fact that the Federation fleet they would be leading was made up of old, outdated ships that, despite their upgrades and modifications, were not up to standard.

Anyway, Smith was complaining to DiSanto about having to play host to Noonan before we took off on this exploration of Exposition Boulevard.

“Vorezze isn’t happy about having him aboard either,” Smith went on, the rant somewhat unusual for the normally quiet man, “Or this bizarre mission off to the middle of nowhere!”

“Or about having to repaint the hull,” Vince added, “He’s sent Rachow out there three more times to touch up the new name.” As part of the ‘undercover’ part of the operation, the Banshee crew had quickly scratched the ship’s name off the saucer and replaced it with ‘USS Medusa’. Unfortunately, since the painting had been done at warp speeds and since unprotected warp exposure did nasty things to the humanoid nervous system, the actual print had wavered somewhere between USS Medusa and USS Medamusal.

“You were on the mission with the Deimos,” Smith said to DiSanto, ignoring his comment and referring to a past mission that had seen them dealing with cult obsessed with Type-13 sentients, “You know what these people are capable of. They’re not natural!”

“I sort of figured you’d like that about the guy,” DiSanto shrugged. Smith’s obsession with all things occult was well known around the ship, “I thought you’d have a tonne of questions to ask him.”

“Section 31 classified him as Type-13,” Smith said again, “I don’t WANT to know anything else about him. Knowing too much can be dangerous…even for Section 31 members.”

“Great organization we all belong to,” Vince muttered as the turblift doors hissed open.

“OK everybody, welcome to mid-point,” Captain Jad Vorezze said, addressing his officers as they gathered in the Banshee’s spacious conference lounge. The Sovereign-class ship was the absolute pinnacle of Federation technology, and had darned cushy accommodations to go with it. Of course, the Banshee also had a ton of fancy and illegal Section 31 technologies, such as the phase-cloak, the cataclysm torpedoes or the ‘non-fat yet still perfectly tasting cappuccino’ machine. The Banshee crew had changed into standard Starfleet uniforms, packing their black leather Section 31 uniforms in the bottoms of their underwear drawers, where the crews of the other ships were unlikely to look.

“We’re now officially halfway to the Matrian system,” Vorezze went on, “Celebratory sandwiches and quiche will be served this evening in the officer’s mess, along with those fruity cocktails with the little gummi-bears Vince likes so much-“

Somebody snickered. Vince turned beet-red.

“That doesn’t prove anything,” he muttered.

“-but until then, we have a few things to go over,” Vorezze finished.

“Commander Tagel isn’t here yet,” Commander Charlotte Burns, First Officer, pointed out.

“Ummmm yes.” Vorezze said uncomfortably, “Well, if you really feel like going down and bringing her up here when she’s in one of her moods, you go right ahead,”

“Never-mind,” Burns said quietly, looking down at the table.

“OK, Vince,” Jad said, taking his seat and pouring himself a cup of raktageeno, “How’s the tactical planning coming?”

“Um, well we have almost no information on Qu’Eh fleet strength, ground force strength, fleet movements or much of anything. So our plan is basically ‘let’s drop out of warp and fire everything at them’.” Vince swallowed nervously.

“That’s it,” Vorezze said flatly, “That’s your plan. We’ve got half a dozen other starships waiting for us to ‘let drop the nuggets of our boundless brilliance’ and the best I can take to them is ‘we’re going to drop out of warp and shoot everything in sight’,”

“Nuggests of our boundless brilliance?” Dr. Lang commented dryly, “Who’s mind did you borrow that from?”

“The captain of the Champlain,” Vorezze replied, “But I’m pretty sure he was being snide when he thought it,”

“PURPLE!” Lt. Cmdr Ben Rachow shouted suddenly, still suffering the after-effects of unprotected warp exposure, “Strawberry yogurt feels purple on my ears!”

“Of course it does,” Dr. Brian Issac said soothingly, patting Rachow on the arm.

“Vince smells like rainbows,” Rachow muttered, slumping in his seat.

“Is he going to get better anytime soon?” Commander Charlotte Burns asked, “As much as I enjoy the new, quieter Ben, these funny outbursts are getting almost as disturbing as those tight pants he’s been wearing.”

“Ohh, worse case scenario I’ll just pop his brain out, run it through a cleansing static subspace field and pop it right back into his head,” Issac shrugged, “It’s a routine procedure. For Section 31, anyway.”

Issac seemed oblivious to the horrified stares he was getting from the rest of the staff.

“The biggest problem is getting all those tiny little nerves back in the right place!” he went on, “I mean, one wrong connection and his penis might end up wired to his left hand, or something.”

“That would make playing the piano a lot more interesting…” Burns said thoughtfully, considering the possibilities.

“Strategy! I have strategies!’ Vince said loudly, cutting off the vertically-challenged doctor and the trailer-park trash First Officer before they could go any further, “Tonnes of strategies! Oodles of strategies! In fact, let’s talk about them all, RIGHT NOW!”

“We’re going to have to come up with one hell of a good story when we contact the rest of the fleet,” Burns muttered.

“Yup,” Vorezze agreed, “Good think you’ve got talent covering your ass,”

“Thank you…wait, what’s that supposed to mean??”

“Nothing. Now who’s got the Wikipedia padd?”

“You mean the Wikipaddia,” DiSanto corrected.

“Why, what did I say?”

“And so,” the image of Jad Vorezze said, displayed as he was on the main viewscreen of the USS Stallion, “After our advance reconnaissance party reports their observations, our plan is to exit super luminous travel at a position corresponding to the L2-stable orbital point, relative to Matria Prime. The Ban…uhhh the Medusa and the Vendome will begin immediate target assessment and polarization-“

“Prioritization,” the woman next to him whispered loudly, nudging him with an elbow and leaving a stain of some kind on his uniform.

“Prioritization,” Vorezze corrected himself, “Then the Ban…er, the band of perfectly normal officers aboard the Medusa and the Champlain will deploy to the high-risk targets, while the Vendome, Montreal and Elfman assault other targets. The Stallion and the Stouffer will be making a run here,” he pointed to a display, “to assess planetary defences, which by our last intel report were self-destructed anyway.”

“Any questions?” the woman asked.

“No?” Vorezze said immediately, “Good. B-B-B…Big Medusa out!”

The screen went dark.

Captain Elizabeth Simplot stared at the viewscreen from her solitary command chair in the center of the Stallion’s circular bridge.

“What the hell does he mean by that?” she wondered aloud. Simplot was a fairly average woman. Slim, meter-and-a-half-ish. She’d recently dyed her hair jet black, but was seriously contemplating changing it to something a bit more exciting. Maybe silver. Or blue. She’d been in command of the Stallion with virtually no changes in crew since they’d taken on the Operation Salvage ship over three years ago.

“It means,” Commander Iron Kren called from his seat at the Environmental Control station, “That they want to come barging right into the system and blast everything in sight!” It was one of his pet peeves that the bridge design of the Constitution-class ships didn’t include a second seat for the First Officer. Simplot lorded over the bridge crew from her solitary throne, while he, a joined Trill with lifetimes of experience, was stuck off to the side!

“No,” interrupted Lt. Commander Hurken, the Tellarite tactical officer, “It means they don’t have a plan yet, and they’re just covering their asses. Idiot human. Did he think we wouldn’t figure it out?”

“I think he was a Betazoid,” said Lt. Tereneth, the dual-gendered, Hermat helmsman, “Didn’t you see the black eyes?”

“We weren’t staring deeply into his eyes, we were listening to what he laughingly called a tactics briefing!” Hurken said.

“Then you were missing out,” Tereneth shot back.

“Something’s fishy,” Simplot said, leaning back in her chair.

“Yah, that woman standin’ next to ‘im!” said Lt. Cmdr. Bianca Sinclair, operations officer. Sinclair was a solid, muscular, one-point-eight meter Caribbean woman. She’d actually gone to great lengths to hide her first name, believing that it was just far too feminine for a woman of her strength and power.

“Kren, what do we have on the Madusa? Who’s running that ship?” Simplot asked.

Kren tapped at his console for a moment.

“Captain Dontar Honeycut,” he read, “Graduated Stafleet Academy, blah, blah, blah, assigned USS Madusa.”

“Not a very detailed record,” he concluded. “It says here that it was commissioned from the Antares Shipyards…how interesting,”

“Neat,” Simplot said, “I didn’t know they built Sovereign-class ships there.”

“They don’t,” Kren said simply.

“Oh. Well, you learn something new everyday, right?” Simplot shrugged.

“Well here’s something for you to learn, you upstart kid,” Kren said angrily, “Antares Shipyard is the name used by Starfleet Intelligence when they want to hide something about a ship’s REAL origins!”

“Really? Why would they do that?”

“Because it’s out of the way!” Kren said, “My last host was a dockworker there! You have no idea how many comms we were sent, asking about ships that we never actually built!”

“Sooo, Starfleet Intelligence is involved in the mission?” Tereneth perked up, her small, pointed ears standing at attention, “Because an SI officer is still on my ‘to-do’ list,”

“So why would SI want to get involved in a minor skirmish waaay out in the middle of nowhere?” Simplot asked.

“Regard this,” Hurken said, tapping his console. He’d brought up an image of the Sovereign-class ship, taken days ago as the two ships warped through space mere kilometres from each other. He zoomed in on a space-suited figure as it worked on the detail painting of the ship’s name.

“We’re going to have to keep a very close eye on the USS Medusa,” Captain Simplot decided, rising dramatically from her chair as the viewscreen changed to a real-time view of the other ship, “A very close eye indeed. And the instant she makes so much as a suspicious move, we’re going to-“

Suddenly, the ship vanished from the screen.

“Hey, where’d she go?”

“Ah, oops,” Sinclair said, “They dropped out of warp to assist the Champlain with an overheating nacelle. They messaged us about five minutes ago, but we were having such an interestin’ chat-“

“Well turn around and go after them!” Simplot said. She sat in her seat and crossed her arms. “And the NEXT time they do anything suspicious, we’re going to be all over them like Klingon lice!”

“Ewww,” Tereneth muttered.

Down in Engineering a few hours later, Lt. Josh Shurgroe was hovering over the dilithium chamber like a mother hen over her eggs. A very nervous, very twitchy mother hen. The rest of the engineering staff, knowing damned well that a mis-alignment in the crystals at warp speed would vaporize half the ship, had retreated behind the engineering blast doors and called the one person who could be counted on to calm the man.

“Josh, it’s time to take your meds!” Dr. Janet Annerson said firmly, standing outside the radiation shielding surrounding the room holding the Constitution-class ship’s crystal chamber. “You’re scaring your subordinates.”

“H-h-h-h-huh?” Lt. Shurgroe jerked in surprise, looking over at Annerson. The entire engineering team held their collective breaths, certain the ship was about to be destroyed.

“I-I-I don’t need them,” Shurgroe stuttered, reaching for a hydrospanner, “Now s-s-stop bothering me and let me finish thi-i-i-is recal-cal-calibration.”

“We’re at warp speed, sweetie,” Annerson said gently, “You shouldn’t be doing this anyway.”

“The c-crystals are singing o-o-offkey!” Shurgroe insisted.

“Bollox this,” Annerson muttered. She hit the override button on a nearby panel, causing an emergency warp-core shutdown. The crystal chamber under Shurgroe went dark as the plasma stream died. The engineering team let out a relieved breath, even as the ship tumbled like a leaf in a hurricane, the hull groaning under the stresses of the far-too-rapid deceleration. Annerson pushed off a bulkhead, stormed towards Shurgroe and jabbed him with a hypospray. The effect was immediate.

“Whoah,” He said, one hand rising to rub his head, one finger unconsciously checking to make sure the pattern he’d shaved into his hair that morning was still there. (Like it would go anywhere?) “Thanks doc, I feel a lot better,”

“You’d ALWAYS feel a lot better if you’d just take the damned hypo every morning!” Annerson snapped.

“I know,” Shurgroe sighed, “But for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to even touch one of those things when I wake up in the morning,”

“You WILL bring yourself to touch them, or I’ll drag your ass to sickbay and implant it with an automatic medication injected!” Annerson threatened, gathering up her med-kit and preparing to leave, “And it won’t be a nice hypo either!”

“Oh?” Shurgroe looked interested, “There’s an easier method?”

“No,” Annerson called over her shoulder, “But a few weeks with automatic suppositories the size of baseballs and you’ll be BEGGING me for a hypo!”

The doors to engineering hissed shut behind her.

Shurgroe shuddered.

“I need to stop pissing her off,” he reminded himself.

“We probably need to restart the warp core too,” one of his engineers said, “The bridge has been calling us for three minutes, but…”


A few minutes prior…

Up on the bridge, Captain Simplot had been staring again at the image of the ‘Medusa’ on the screen.

“What are you up to, Captain Honeycut?” she wondered, steepling her fingers and trying to look thoughtful and intelligent, “If that IS your real NAME!”

“Not likely,” Commander Kren grumbled from the Environmental console. He was running scan after scan on the other ship and coming up with a whole lot of nothing. “Maybe you’d like to try doing something other than just staring at them, Captain?” he added a little extra stress on the final word.

“I am doing something,” Simplot sniffed, “I’m…considering…things. And strategizing!”

“You’re wondering if Captain Honeycut is single,” Tereneth smirked from the helm.

“Well, that too,” Simplot admitted, “I like his eyes,”

Kren exchanged a look with Lt. Gonzolaz, the ship’s Hispanic science officer.

“In any event,” Simplot returned her attention to the screen, “We’ll figure you out, Honeycut! We know you’re up to something, and we’ll get you, even if-“

“We’re dropping out of warp!” Terenet announced suddenly from the helm.

“Yes, even when we’re…hey, where’d they go!?” Simplot jumped to her feet. The Medusa had vanished from the screen, replaced by a slowly spinning starfield.

Kren brought one hand to his forehead.

“Somebody in Engineering triggered the emergency core shutdown,” Sinclair reported from Ops, “Probably just somebody tryin’ to stop Shurgroe from muckin’ around with somethin’.”

“Get a hold of engineering and order them to restart the core!” Kren ordered, “Send a message to the fleet, tell them we’ll catch up in-“

“Belay that!’ Simplot snapped, rising to her feet. “Hey, cool. That was TOTALLY dramatic! I’m totally writing about it in my diary tonight!” She sat back down.

The bridge was silent for a moment.

“And why are we belaying me?” Kren asked sharply.

“Oh! Right.” Simplot rose from her chair again, “Hail the Medusa and tell them we need a tow. They’ll have to bring us into their warp field, nice and close. Then we can figure out what exactly they’re up to!”

“That’s” Kren rolled his eyes. Then he paused.

“That’s actually a pretty good idea,” he admitted, now angrier then before.

A short time later, Burns, Lang and Vorezze were standing in a rear-facing lounge, watching as the much smaller Stallion was tractored in between the Banshee’s warp nacelles.

“Whose bright idea was it to send a half-dozen weak, outdated ships way outside the border of Federation space to fight against a new enemy?” Vorezze fumed, “They’re going to think all our ships suck!”

“Actually,” Lang said, “We’re in Federation space. The border was redrawn to include Senous and Matria Prime after they became member worlds.”

“So what?” Vorezze asked, “We’re still out in the middle of nowhere!”

Burns had pulled up a map of the border on the Wikipaddia.

“Look,” she pointed, indicating a long, thin protrusion of territory extending from Waystation all the way to Matria Prime, “We’re travelling through the Federation’s penis!”

Lang tapped a button, zooming out the map so it showed the entire Federation. The protrusion wasn’t even visible.

“I hope not,” Lang said, “Or the Federation is going take a serious ribbing in the locker room,”

There was a soft squeak.

“You’re right of course, Zeke,” Lang said, addressing her hamster, “That’s completely irrelevant. I don’t know why I let Charlotte pull me onto that train of thought.”

She went back to checking the tractor beam calculations while Zeke sat chittering away on her shoulder. Jad was scratching his upper back.

“Problem?” Burns asked pleasantly.

‘“I think I’m getting a rash,” he grumbled, “Must be that new cleaner they’re using on the seats.”

“Oh, you want topical cream #67 in the replicator,” Burns said, “Not to be confused with #76. That’s better for poison ivy. Oh, and #93 is great for carpet burns!”

“It’s scary that you know all that,” Vorezze said, still scratching.

“Topical cream #67,” Dr. Issac said, addressing Commander Dave Riley, the Banshee’s Chief Engineer, “And don’t scratch. I haven’t figure out what this is yet, so you might spread it to other body parts!”

“Eww,” Riley said, trying to hold his hands away from his body. He succeeded for about five seconds before reaching down and scratching one leg. Issac smacked him.

“Stop it!”

“OK, right,” Riley said, forcing his hand back by his side. No sooner had Issac turned to address another crewman then Riley was again scratching. Without looking, Issac swatted at his hand.

“Stop it, or I’ll confine you to quarantine with Rachow!”

Riley looked over to one side of Sickbay, where a transparent containment box now held the helmsman. His brain was still a bit scrambled, and he was trying to scratch his armpit with his big toe.

With renewed purpose, Riley kept his hand away from his body.

At least until he was able to scramble out of Sickbay.

“This has gotten beyond creepy, woman. Ya do realize this, do ya not?” Sinclair said to Captain Simplot. With the Stallion being tractored by the ‘Medusa’, the ship’s visual sensors were in a perfect position to capture what was going in the in various windows visible to the smaller ship.

“Is that guy masturbating right in front of the window? That’s just sick!” Simplot exclaimed.

Gonzolaz looked up at the screen for a moment.

“No. He’s a Kuthraplan,” he said after a moment, “He’s just scratching his nose, which happens to be located in a fairly unusual spot.”

“Oh.” Simplot tapped a panel on her chair, panning the view around to the next window. This one showed yet another crewmember scratching frantically at the bottom of his foot.

“Looks like the Medusa has a lot of scratchy body parts today,” Tereneth observed from the helm.

“No, that one really is masturbating,” Gonzolas said, turning back to his station, “Goslens have their erogenous zones on the pads of their feet,”

“Really?” Sinclair demanded, “And how does he go runnin’?”

“With great pleasure, I assume,” Gonzolas shrugged, not looking up.

“He is sorta cute,” Simplot mused.

“He, or rather, it, is sexually incompatible with most humanoids. Sorry.”

“It sure is a good thing we’ve got a science officer to tell us these things, isn’t it?” Tereneth said.


The bridge doors hissed open and Dr. Annerson stormed onto the bridge. Really, she tended to storm everywhere, but since we haven’t seen her in a while, it doesn’t hurt to bring it up again.

“Liz, you were supposed to meet me down in the Wreck Deck half an hour ago!” she complained, leaning against the circular bridge railing, “It’s charity night!”

“I know, Annie, and I’m sorry,” Simplot said, still not turning away from the viewscreen, “But I just know there’s something wrong with these Medusa people, and I’m going to find it!”

“Aside from that officer pressing her buttocks against the window, I think you’re exaggerating,” Annerson said.

“Is that a rash?” Tereneth squinted.

“If it is, I want it noted down in our observation log, along with the nose-crotch person and the foot-masturbator!” Simplot snapped.

“Oookay,” Annerson said, her eyebrows now in the vicinity of her hairline, “Somebody is coming off-duty, joining me in the Wreck Deck and donating credits to charity!”

“Was that tonight??” Sinclair and Tereneth exclaimed together, “Gamma-shift to the bridge!”

“But-“ Simplot insisted.

“Doctor’s orders!” Annerson insisted, grabbing Simplot by the arm and hauling her off the bridge.

“Must be some charity event,” Gonzolas muttered.

Three hours later, Simplot was sitting near the broad, square windows on the lower level of the Stallion’s multi-level recreation deck. As the ship had been designed before holodecks were invented, the designers had included the huge compartment filled with games and other diversions. When the Stallion was refitted, they’d moved the ship’s library and lounges into that space in order to make room for a few small holo-decks. (Why they hadn’t just used the damned rec room as a holo-deck had been chalked up to Starfleet bureaucracy.) The current result was that Simplot was sitting glumly next to a window, shelves full of library padds to either side of her, while Annerson swatted away two muscular men dressed only in Speedo’s and intent on dancing upon their table.

Oh yes, the fund-raiser that night happened to be put on by the ship’s water-polo team, in support of Bendii Syndrome research.

A waitress in a bikini and thong stopped by.

“Y’all know that if you don’t give them a donation, they’re not gonna come back, right?” she asked, innocently chewing a wad of bubble-gum.

“Who?” Simplot asked absently. She’d been eyeing the Madusa’s port warp nacelle, the only part of the other ship visible from this part of the Stallion. There were no windows, thus no crewmen visible and she had no sensors to speak of at her bar table. But she just felt that is was a sinister warp nacelle. Very evil, and nasty, and-

Simplot suddenly found herself lifted out of seat. Next thing she knew, she was dangling by one ankle, face to upside-down-face with Taps, one of the two-meter-plus Lemnorians on the security team and Simplot’s current…repeat gentleman caller.

“Perhaps if we shake this one, credits will fall out!” Taps said playfully, shaking Simplot gently by the ankle.

“Taps, I’m just really not in the mood,” Simplot said, “Just put me down and I’ll thumb over a few credits, OK?”

“Does that mean that sex later is out of the question?”

“Hey, shut up! Nobody’s supposed to know about that!”

“Ohh, right,”

The hulking Lemnorian set Simplot gently down, then waited as she thumbed over her donation to one of the water-polo boys. Annerson was now looking strangely at her.

“What?” Simplot asked, “It’s not like the news hasn’t reached the ship’s rumour mill fifty times,”

“You have got to the be LEAST professional captain in the fleet,” Annerson said, shaking her head, “Picard almost had a coronary deciding whether or not he could date a scientist, never mind bang a member of the security team!”

“We’re not dating,” Simplot said, “I like big men, he likes small women. That’s the end of it,”

“It’s just a bad idea,” Annerson said, “Intra-ship romances rarely work out,”

“Tell that to Tereneth, Sinclair, Gonzolas, Jim in Stellar Cartography,” Simplot started counting down senior officers.

“They take their cue from you, you know!”

“Please! Those scamps have me beat!” Simplot said dismissively, “Just don’t tell Tereneth I said that. Besides,” she shrugged, “I hear the ancient Earth Greeks had an army that was totally made up of lovers. You know, so they’d bond closer. So really, I’m just living up to Earth culture!”

“Um, I don’t know if it was the Greeks or not,” Annerson grimaced, “But when they said ‘lovers’ what they meant was-“

Simplot’s head snapped around to face the window. Outside, the Medusa was…distorting?

“What the…”

A wave of energy slipped, almost unnoticeably, through the lounge as the whole room seemed to somehow twist without actually changing.

“What the hell was that?”

“Bridge to Captain Simplot,” the voice of the Gamma-shift commander came, “We have a…a something happening here,”

“What kind of ‘something’?” Simplot asked, heading towards the exit. She snagged Gonzolas by the back of the neck and dragged him away from a female Andorian water-polo player currently performing what was either an Andorian lap-dance or some kind of gymnastics routine. She looked around, trying to spot Tereneth.

“Um, we’re changing course. We’re heading…well, I don’t know where. But it’s not Earth, and it’s not Matria Prime!”

“Hold on! I’ll be up as soon as I find everybody!” she spotted Sinclair, the dark woman now wearing a bikini and gyrating for a table of engineers.

“I didn’t know she was on the team,” Gonzolas remarked calmly, still allowing himself to be dragged around by Simplot.

“She isn’t, but most of the team has been on her, from what I hear,” Simplot said, “Where the hell is Tereneth? Hurken?”

“You know, as Captain, you could order the DJ to stop the music,”

“Oh, I don’t want to interrupt the party,”

“Or use the computer,”

“Computer, where is Tereneth!” Simplot demanded.

“Lieutenant Tereneth is in the Wreck Deck,” the computer replied.

“See? Not all that specific, is it!” Simplot said.

“Lieutenant Tereneth is currently dancing between Crewman Spo and Crewman Swatis,” the computer added helpfully, “And is likely to depart for their quarters in fifteen minutes and thirty-five seconds for ‘coffee’,”

Simplot looked over at the dance floor. Yup, there s/he was, grinding away with the two twenty-something year-old crewmen.

“That SLUT!” she snapped, “I WANTED SWATIS!”

“What’s going on?” Simplot asked some time later, jumping into her command chair. On the main screen the Medusa was still visible, cruising along as if nothing was the problem.

“What took you so long?” Commander Kren demanded, “If this was an attack, we’d be dead by now! If you hadn’t wasted so much time-“

“We came as quickly as we could!” Simplot snapped.

“Well, we could have been quicker if you and Tereneth hadn’t gotten into a hair-pulling match over Crewman Swatis,” Gonzolas said, tapping at his panel.

“I’m telling Starfleet!” Kren said indignantly.


“We’re cloaked,” Gonzolas said, frowning.

“What?” Simplot started.

“Federation ships aren’t supposed to have cloaking devices,” Kren said, his irritation with Simplot suddenly forgotten.

“Except the Defiant,”

“That’s not the Defiant,”

“Oh, I was wrong,” Gonzolas said, still glued to his panel.

“We’re not cloaked?”

“We’re phase-cloaked,” he clarified.

There was a moment of silence.

“Starfleet doesn’t have phase-cloak technology,” Sinclair said, “And as far as we know, neither does anybody else.”

“Indeed,” Kren agreed, “There is something seriously wrong with that ship!”

“HA!” Simplot exclaimed, jumping to her feet, “I KNEW IT!”

As Simplot performed a victory dance around the command chair, Kren moved to Gonzolas’ panel.

“What else are you getting?’

“Weird energy readings. Enough to disrupt our transporter without proper recalibration,” Gonzolas said.

“But you can recalibrate?”

“In about twelve hours, maybe,”

“Hey we should maybe hail them, huh?” Simplot said, pausing in her dance.

“Hailing,” Sinclair said, trying to find the correct button. She kept craning her neck and shifting her weight.

“Is your bosom blocking your view of the panel again?” Tereneth asked pleasantly.

“This is not a work bikini!” Sinclair snapped, finally finding the button, “Hailing frequencies open!”

No response.

“Well, that was a waste of time,” Hurken said from tactical, “I say we blow up the SI idiots!”

“Hmm? Oh, I almost forgot you were here,” Simplot said, “No, I don’t want to blow them up yet,”

“They’d probably blow us up first anyway,” Hurken grunted, “Our ship is weak and pathetic,”

“Thanks for that.”

“Maybe we should go ring the doorbell,” Simplot mused.

“If by ‘ring’ you mean ‘induce a phase shift’, and if by ‘doorbell’ you mean-“

“Look, enough with the exposition. We have the start of a plan, let’s just get started, OK?”

Half an hour later, Simplot, Hurken, Taps, Annerson and Gonzolas were standing in the forward observation lounge, right next to the big windows. Less than fifty meters away they could see a similar, aft-facing lounge aboard the Medusa.

“If this doesn’t work, it’s gonna be hell banging out the dents,” Annerson observed.

“It’ll work, right?” Simplot asked Gonzolas.

“If Sinclair and Terenth can pay attention to what they’re doing, instead of dissecting the latest issue of Mode Magazine,” Gonzolas replied.

“Ohhh, we’re screwed.”

“Twenty-five meters,” Hurken said, listening to the comm, “And Sinclair says that Gonzolas can expect…I forget. It was something foolish and degrading,”

“Focus up there!” Simplot snapped.

“Fifteen meters. Adjusting SIF field,”

The plan was to use the ship’s structural integrity field to disrupt the Medusa’s tractor beam and to get the Stallion just slightly out of phase with the Medusa.

“Ohhhh, maybe this is a bad idea,” Simplot decided.

“None of your ideas are bad,” Taps said, tapping her on the behind.

“Hey, not on duty!”

“Ummm,” Annerson said nervously, pointing out the window.

“Sorry, I just thought…”

“What? That I just brought you along so we could do it in a janitor’s closet or something? I’m not that kind of woman!”

“Adjustments complete,” Gonzolas said quietly.

“Well, you’ve gotta admit, that would be hot,” Taps was saying.

“Maybe. But the point is-“

“AIIIEEEEEE!’ Annerson squeaked as the lounge windows crashed into the hull of the Medusa. And kept going. The Stallion passed right through the Medusa, the outer hull of the larger ship sweeping over the away team with just the slightest of tickles then coming to a halt. The Stallion members were now presented with the bizarre image of a lounge aboard the Medusa/Banshee, overlaid with the observation lounge of the Stallion.

“Creeeeepy,” Annerson said, still clutching her sides.

“Grab my hand,” Gonzolas said absently. They did so, and he adjusted a small device. The Medusa suddenly cut into sharper focus while the Stallion blurred slightly.


The Stallion moved off, Annerson and Simplot both giving a little jump as the formerly solid lounge windows passed right through them. They were now standing aboard the Medusa, looking out as the Stallion resumed its place between the Medusa’s nacelles.

“That never would have worked if we weren’t already phase cloaked,” Gonzolas commented, entering a few notes into his tricorder,” I have friends at Starfleet Science that would give a left cajone for these readings,”

“But what would you do with it?” Taps asked.

“Shut up,” Simplot rolled her eyes. “OK, let’s find out what’s going on here!”

Gripping her phaser rifle, she marched through the nearest door, gesturing for them to follow her. Ten seconds later there was a minor traffic jam as she abruptly reversed direction. Gonzolas skidded to a halt, nearly falling over as Taps ran into him.

“Liquor storage,” Simplot said sheepishly, slipping past Gonzalas and back into the lounge proper. She pointed at the softly glowing exit sign.


They stepped into the deserted corridors of the Medusa/Banshee. The ship was clearly on its night cycle, as the lights in the corridors had been dimmed. But the main lighting was still active, the emergency lights hadn’t come on-line, and the red-alert indicators were all dark. Whatever was happening on the ship had either happened so quickly the crew had been unable to react, or…what?

“I’m picking up life readings,” Gonzolas said, “But there’s something…off…about them.”

“Annie?” Simplot turned to Dr. Annerson.

Annerson consulted her medical tricorder for a few moments.

“Sleepwalking,” she shrugged, “There are people on the deck above us moving around, but their bio-readings indicate a state of light sleep.”

“We need access to the ship’s log,” Simplot decided.

They’d been wandering the empty halls of the Medusa for nearly fifteen minutes before they came across an active computer panel. Gonzolas was immediately waved up to take a look. He tapped for several minutes.

“This is the last entry I can find,” he reported, “The time-stamp is from ten minutes before the Medusa changed course,”

The screen crackled for a moment. Captain Honeycut’s clean-cut features appeared on the screen.

“Log recorder visual, USS Banshee, Stardate-“

“USS Banshee?” Hurken snarled, his pig-like features becoming even more pronounced, “There is no USS Banshee! Idiot human,”

“Betazoid,” Annerson pointed out.

“I care not,”

“Shhh!” Simplot shushed them.

“-Captain Jad Vorezze recording. We’ve-“

“Vorezze? Damnit!” Simplot cursed, “I thought Honeycut was such a sexy name! Figures, all the best met are big, fat phonies!”

“Hey,” Taps sounded slightly hurt.

“Yes, you’re hurting the feelings of your toy,” Hurken said snidely.

“Now I have to rewind the stupid log recorder,” Gonzolas sighed, showing more emotion than he had the entire trip.

“Captain Jad Vorezze recording. We’ve reached the half-way point on our flight to Matria Prime where we will, in theory, push back the Qu’Eh forces that have occupied the planet. With what, of course, remains to be seen. The Champlain is down to two out of her four warp nacelles for at least the next two days, the Stallion’s been taken in tow and the crew of the Montreal have spent the entire trip so incredibly drunk that we’ve had to slave their helm console to the Vendome just to keep them on course. The Banshee-“

“It’s the Medusa now!” somebody, a female voice, pointed out helpfully.

“I’m doing my own frickin’ log!” Vorezze snapped back, “We’re not letting any of these Starfleet people aboard the ship, and we’re DEFINITELY not giving them access to our logs! Now shut up and see if you can’t help Isaac figure out how to cure this damned rash you’ve started!”

“You can’t prove it was me!” the woman objected.

“It’s a rash,” another male voice spoke up, “It’s a rash that starts on the buttocks and spreads from there. It’s got to have come from you!”

“I’ll show you a rash!”

There was the sound of scuffling as, presumably, the woman wrestled the man to the deck.

“Computer, make sure you omit this part,” Vorezze said tiredly, “I really don’t feel like explaining to Section-31 why we need to…to…”

Something in Vorezze’s gaze had changed. His eyes drooped and his head lolled forward. In the background, the sounds of scuffling abruptly stopped. Vorezze’s eyes re- opened, but there was no sign of life in them. Instead, he stared forward with the dead gaze of a corpse, or a military academy student during final exams. When he spoke, his voice was a flat monotone.

“To feed,” he finished. The log cut out.

The away team from the Stallion exchanged glances.

“OK everybody,” Simplot said, “Anybody who’s feeling seriously creeped out right now, raise your hand.”

All four hands went up.

“So this is the USS Banshee,” Gonzolas said thoughtfully, returning his attention to tapping at the panel.

“Why would they be masquerading as the Medusa?” Taps asked, scratching his head.

“There is no USS Banshee,” Gonzolas said, “The last one was destroyed during the Dominion War. And it just happened to be Sovereign-class,”

“And Kren says there probably isn’t a USS Medusa either,” Simplot noted.

“Vorezze,” Hurken grunted, “I have heard that name before, but it was many years ago,”

“You remember stuff like that?” Taps asked.

“I remember some human names,” Hurken said, “Especially if they sound particularly stupid,”

“But who’s Section 31?” Simplot wondered.

“The Federation Baton Twirlers,” Taps said happily, “They have many deliciously petite women,”

Simplot smacked him.

“That’s Section 32!” she said, “Hurken, keep this lug under control! Senior officers are trying to speak!”

“I could have him neutered,”

“Meep,” Taps squeaked, quieting down.

The group was quiet for a moment.

“I don’t know about the ship or the captain,” Annerson finally said, “But is anybody else bothered by what happened at the end of the log?”

“You mean the whole zombie thing?” Simplot asked, “Yeah, I was wondering about that. It would seem to explain the whole sleepwalking thing your tricorder picked up, wouldn’t it?”

“No, it damned well wouldn’t!” Annerson snapped, “In fact, it just raises further questions! Disease? Parasite? Possession by an alien intelligence? All we saw was that it seemed to affect the whole bridge crew at once! And it seems to have spread through the whole ship!”

“Well, I think the first thing we should do is find one of the crew and examine him,” Simplot said.

“Or her,” Annerson pointed out.

“No, definitely him.”

“The first thing we should do is contact Kren on the Stallion and give him an update,” Gonzolas said, stroking his pencil-thin goatee.

“Ohhhh, I don’t wanna!” Simplot complained. But she was already reaching for her comm-badge. She contacted Kren and quickly updated him on their situation. There was a moment of silence, then;

“Get out of there now,” he said quickly, “We’ll bring the Stallion back up against the Banshee and you can transfer back over. But you have to get out of there!”

“Kren, don’t be a baby,” Simplot said, annoyed, “Rescuing other Federation ships is one of those things we’re supposed to be doing all the time! We’ve just never had the chance!”

“Elizabeth, you have to listen to me!” Kren insisted, and Simplot was certain she could hear a note of panic in the Trill’s voice, “The more time you spend on that ship, the more danger you put the entire fleet in! You’ve got to-“

“Look, Kren,” Simplot cut him off, “This is the first time in three years that Starfleet has let us outside of Federation space! What would they say if we came back missing an entire Sovereign-class ship? We’d be lucky if they ever let us leave the Sol System again! Now shut up and stand by!”

“Simplot, you have to listen to me!” Kren snapped, “Section 31 is-“

“Simplot out!”

She shook her head.

“I really hope I’m not that much of a cry-baby when I get old,” she muttered.

“I dunno, Liz,” Annerson said, “It sounded like he knew something,”

“He always wants to sound like he knows something,” Simplot shrugged off the comment, “Besides, considering that this Section 31 comes in between the Section 30 Parade Organizers and the Section 32 Baton Twirlers, how much trouble could it really be?”

Back on the Stallion, Kren was almost having heart palpitations.

“Kren to Simplot!” he tapped at the com-panel, “Kren to Simplot! Kren to Gonzolas! Kren to Annerson!”

“They’re not listening to you,” Tereneth said from the helm, “As usual. Why don’t you just put your feet up and take a nap!”

“You’re going on report for insubordination!” Kren snapped.


Section 31. With those little words, Simplot had explained the Medusa, no, the Banshee’s actions almost perfectly. The phase cloak, the attempts at disguise, the limited communications with the fleet, it all made sense. What it didn’t explain was why the Banshee was there to ‘help’ them in the first place, or why they’d suddenly changed course. Even if they’d been called off the mission, they would have had to come up with some kind of cover story for the fleet. Just cloaking and taking off would raise suspicions. In fact, the last they’d seen of the fleet on long-range sensors, they had dropped out of warp and were holding position, probably wondering WTF?

Section 31. Kren had never, through three different Starfleet careers, had direct contact with the Federation’s super-secret shadow organization. But still, he had heard…things. Quiet rumours about ships being destroyed, only to be pop up years later for mere seconds before vanishing again. Stories about attack fleets that had apparently been defeated before even approaching Federation space. Rumblings of highly-advanced technology that Starfleet Science was still years, if not decades, from perfecting. Nobody but a joined Trill could have possibly been around long enough to pick up the rare, subtle hints.

He had nothing concrete, no proof and he didn’t know anybody who actually belonged to the purported shadow organization. But he’d heard enough that he really didn’t WANT any proof. His many lifetimes of knowledge had at least given him the wisdom to know that sometimes, the less you knew the better.

Of course, now here he was being towed by a Section 31 starship equipped with a phase-cloak and who knew what other ‘non-existent’ technologies.

“What was that all about, Commander?” Sinclair asked from Tactical.

“Nothing, Sinclair,” Kren said, forcing himself to calm down, “I know nothing,”

“Could have told you that,” Tereneth muttered.

Aboard the Banshee, Smith and DiSanto were crawling through one of the ships many, many Jefferies tubes. Like the majority of the crew, they were moving around with a purpose. Unlike the majority of the crew, they were completely lucid. (If somewhat panicked.) Smith was clutching a large phaser rifle while DiSanto held another device, this one looking disturbingly jury-rigged. Actually, it looked strangely like somebody had ripped apart one of the tanning beds in the gym and planted the one of the bulbs onto a small Type-1 phaser.

“Did you hear that?” DiSanto asked, stopping in his tracks.

“No, I didn’t hear anything,” Smith replied, “Why, should I have?”

“I thought I heard…people,” Vince replied, clutching his funny gun.

“You’re imagining it,” Smith shook his head, moving on, “Look, Vince, the hardest thing about dealing with things like this is not letting yourself get jumpy. Yeah, they’re creepy. Yeah, they’re like something out of a Halloween special and yes they’ll enslave you, eat you or just plain kill you. But you’ve got to…oh come on!”

Vince’s eyes were now as big and as round as golf balls. His upper teeth were pulling on his lower lip and his whole body was starting to tremble just a bit.

“We’ve dealt with worse than this,” Smith shook his head.

Vince raised a finger, pointing past Smith’s back. Smith spun around.


It was Commander Burns. Her eyes were open, but dead to the world. Her hair, her skin, the surface of her cloths, everything seemed to be rippling with parasites, like a pool with a single swimmer. Her hair was moving of its own accord and her flesh looked like something was climbing around underneath it. Which it was.

“Joooiiinnn usssss….” she breathed, her teeth glaring in Smith’s flash-light.

“No means no!” Smith cried, firing his phaser at her. He struck her several times on stun and while she seemed staggered, she didn’t fall. Wait, Smith realized, she had sort of fallen. Her head now lolled limply and her eyes were closed. But her body was still moving towards them. She curled one hand, as though preparing to throw a prize pitch.

“VINCE!” Smith cried.

DiSanto raised the UV gun and fired just as Charlotte flung her arm towards them. In the dim light neither of them could see what she was throwing, but as DiSanto’s UV beam came on they both saw around a dozen crackling sparks, looking for all the worlds like a cloud of sparks thrown up after somebody had tossed a new log on a campfire.

“She’s trying to infest us!” Smith shouted.

“So what else is new?” Vince shot back. He was holding down the trigger on his UV gun. Everywhere on Burn’s body that the beam touched, the slow rippling movement stopped. But the instant the beam moved on, it started again.

DiSanto cocked his head suddenly.

“This time I know I hear something,” he said.

Almost directly beneath their Jefferies tube, Simplot and Annerson were debating the possible nature of Section 31.

“Look,” Simplot said, “If you include the Section 12 Figure Skater’s Association, it’s obvious that the entire Federation organization is over 68% biased towards female displays and organizations. Clearly, if there’s going to be any kind of balance, they need more male-dominated activities! Maybe Section 31 is the Federation All-Male CrossFit Club? That would be…pretty sexy, actually.”

“I done CrossFit,” Taps said confidently.

“I know, I’ve re-aligned your spine twice already,” Annerson said, annoyed, “And Liz, you’re grasping at straws here. I doubt the Federation would have an All-Male anything. And this theoretical all-male whatever definitely wouldn’t have their own Sovereign-class starships complete with phase-cloaking devices!”

“Hmm. I guess you’re right,” Simplot conceded, “Gonzolas, anything?”

“Keep following this corridor,” the scientist replied calmly. He’d long since grown used to the arguments Simplot, Tereneth, Annerson and Sinclair tended to get into, even participated in a few himself in some half-hearted gambit to defend the male gender. He’d become accustomed to Simplot’s tendency to switch back and forth between the matter at hand and something completely frivolous, such as debating whether the Klingon pirate attacking their ship had a six pack in between ordering that the torpedoes be fired. In any event, as Simplot and Annerson moved on and began debating the possibility that Section 31 was the Federation Male Andorian Water-polo Team, he tapped at his tricorder.

“There are several life-signs converging in the Jefferies tube directly above us,” he said.

Flip! Like a switch was thrown, Simplot pulled out her phaser.

“There and…there?” she asked, pointing at the ceiling.

Gonzolas nodded.

In the conduit, Smith and DiSanto were hunched over Charlotte’s body. DiSanto was still shining the UV ray at her while Smith followed his instructions.

“Try rolling her over,” he said.

Hesitantly, careful to keep his hands in the safe zone denoted by the UV beam, Smith pushed Charlotte onto her side. They caught a brief glimpse of movement on and under her skin as the parasites retreated from the lights. The ones on her skin sizzled and popped like grease on a pan, but the ones buried underneath had plenty of time to retreat around to her back.

“The densest colony is on her ass, right?” DiSanto said aloud, “Maybe if we-“

“I refuse to go anywhere near that sort of dangerous territory,” Smith said firmly.

“Hey, do you hear…”

“Enough!” Smith said angrily, “You’re just hearing things…wait…no, I hear it to,”

What he heard was the sizzle of a phaser beam, right before the floor dropped out from under them, spilling them down into the corridor below.


Smith fired his phaser, stunning the largest of the attackers. The rest ducked behind a pair of support struts. Smith immediately stopped firing, but Vince was squeezing the trigger of his UV gun repeatedly, shouting and kicking his legs in the air.

“Vince,” Smith said, “What are you going to do, tan them to death?”

“I could blind them!” Vince cried, “Eventually!”

“Hey!” the voice was female, light and sounded more curious than annoyed or angry, “Gonzolas, these guys aren’t sleep-walkers! I thought you said…”

“Any second now,” this voice was male, with a slight Hispanic accent.

Wait, what?

There was a roar as two infested Banshee crewmen fell from the ceiling. Phaser beams from the strangers struck them dead-on, but as with Charlotte, they only slowed them down a little.

“Phaser’s don’t work!” another female voice.

“We could have told you that!” Vince yelled, firing his UV gun and dropping one, temporarily, to the deck.

“Then why didn’t you?” the first female voice again.

“Cuz we don’t know you the hell you are!” Vince shouted back. He’d dropped the second with his UV ray, but the first was staggering back to his feet. Vince recognized the two as working for Xeno-Linguistics.

“Oops. I’m Captain Elizabeth Simplot, USS Stallion,” the first woman said, “This is Dr. Annerson, Science Officer Gonzolas and the one you shot is just some lowly security peon. Nobody I’m interested in at all. And we’re definitely not sleeping together!” Taps, recovering from the stun shot, was climbing slowly to his feet.

“Um, OK,” Smith said, “Um, I’m Security Chief Leopold, and this is our Tactical Officer, Bubbles,”

“I hate being Bubbles,” DiSanto muttered, “Always Bubbles. As soon as this is over, I want a better under-cover name!”

“He’s Dan Smith, the other is Vince DiSanto,” Gonzolas said calmly, “And we may want to start running,”

Leaving the infested Charlotte along with the other two, the group made a quick retreat down the corridor.

“How did you get our real names?” Smith demanded.

“We’ve seen your computer records,” Simplot shrugged, “The gig is up! We know you’re with the Federation All-Male Competitive Disco Troop!”

“Section 54? DiSanto frowned.

“No! Section 31!”

“Uh-oh,” DiSanto groaned.

“I told you they weren’t part of an all-male anything!” Annerson said, “Didn’t you see that multi-gendered person they were with?”

“That was Commander Burns,” DiSanto said, “She’s not a multi-gendered. She’s just…”

He looked at Smith, shrugged.

“Special,” Smith said, an odd expression on his face.

“And there used to be an all-male ship,” Vince said, “The USS XY,”

“I thought that was just a myth,” Simplot said.

“Naw, I used to serve aboard her,”

Annerson took a closer look at Vince, then nodded.

“Why am I not surprised?” she said.


“So what’s wrong with your crew, anyway?” Simplot asked.


“Where do we begin,” Vince muttered.

The rash had started with a few members of the bridge crew, then spread like wildfire, Smith explained. Within a day, the entire crew had it. Dr. Isaac had identified the cause fairly easily; a strain of Klingon skin parasites. The source was harder to track down, though Commander Burns was the prime suspect. Regardless, the method of transmission had been identified as well: seat cushions.

“I never thought I’d be so happy to work at the tactical station!” Vince cut in, “If I’d sat down on duty, even once, I’d be one of those poor infested bastards!”

Of the entire crew, only three of them had seemed to escape infection; Smith and DiSanto, neither of whom sat while on duty, and Commander Carn, the ship’s resident android. Dr. Isaac made his rounds with skin creams and shampoos, but as with any kind of skin parasite, one had to wait until ALL sources of re-infestation could be cleansed. And what he hadn’t realized was that the current strain of parasites had been feeding off somebody who was a bit…different.

“We…we have a Type-13 sentient aboard!” Vince blurted out. The Stallion crew looked at him blankly.

“They’re not Section 31, Vince,” Smith said, “They don’t know what that means!”

“A life-form that seems to display attributes or abilities that appear to be beyond the comprehension of Federation science to explain without invoking the supernatural.” Gonzolas cut in, reading from the files he’d downloaded from the Banshee’s computer.

“How’d you know that?” Simplot asked.

“Somebody left their Wikipaddia lying around,” he said, raising the padd.

“So these bugs fed off this guy?” Annerson asked.

“We think so,” Smith said.

Nobody had made any connection between the infestation and Commander Noonan until, at the very instant the ship changed to night cycle, the entire crew had changed. Zombie expressions and an overwhelming urge to infest anyone or anything close to them had made it fairly clear to Smith, DiSanto and Carn that Noonan was somehow involved. Of course, they also knew he had beyond-human strength, could sense danger and was able to influence the minds of the living.

Naturally, they’d sent Carn to deal with him.

They’d raided the ship’s tanning salon for UV bulbs and sent Carn on a mission to take out Noonan. They’d then lost all contact with him.

“We were trying to make our way to find him when we were ambushed,” Smith finished, “We think that if we can take him out or incapacitate him, the parasites will go dormant. Stunning the infested crewmen slows them down, but they keep coming. We can kill the bugs with UV light, but we don’t have anything that can penetrate clothing, and only prolonged exposure takes care of the bugs that are buried in deep.”

Simplot was looking downright smug.

“We’ve got just the thing to help you boys out,” she said.

“We do?” Annerson cocked her head.

“Remember New Years Eve?”

“Yes, I….oh no. No, no, no,” Annerson squeezed her eyes shut, “Liz, you do this, nobody is ever going to take us seriously again,”

“Like they do now,” Simplot asked.

“Good point.”

“We have a device on our ship that can help,” Simplot said to Smith, “We need to contact them so they can get out of phase with the Banshee, crash her saucer into yours, then send somebody over with a phase-shifter to board the Banshee, then-“

“Why don’t I just cut power to the cloak and the warp drive?” Smith suggested, “Then you can beam over whatever it is you want,”

“Or we could do that,” Simplot shrugged.

Five minutes later, the Banshee coasted to a stop and de-cloaked, bringing the Stallion with it. Two minutes later, Simplot was holding a strange, phaser-like device in one hand. Bizarre attachments had been added to the emitter, making it look like something from Duck Dodgers or Captain Proton. They’d snuck back to the Banshee’s health spa to test their theory.

“OK, now we just wait for some infested bugger to come along and-“

“UNNNGGGG!!!!” a voice cried.

“There we go,” Simplot finished.

“And what does this beam of yours do?” Smith demanded.

“You’ll see,”

A shambling figure came around the doorway, arms outstretched, skin crawling with parasites.

“Captain Vorezze!” DiSanto exclaimed.

“Yes!” Simplot hissed. She pulled the trigger. A bright green light speared out and struck Vorezze in the chest. At first, nothing seemed to happen. Then, like a mirror struck with an RPG round, his uniform shattered.

“Ewww,” DiSanto grimaced.

“You’ve got a Nudism Ray?” Smith asked.

“It was a New Year’s Eve thing with our Science Department,” Annerson explained.

“Oh yeah! HAPPY NEW YEAR, BABY!” Simplot giggled. She took a closer look at Vorezze’s naked body, “Hmm. Well, OK. I guess it wouldn’t be a very happy New Year after all,”

“That’s disappointing,” Annerson agreed.

“I think there’s something really wrong with these people,” Smith whispered to DiSanto.

“Like we can talk?”

DiSanto started firing his UV gun at the captain, incapacitating him long enough for the group to push him into a tanning bed. He spun the old-style timer dial to five minutes and proceeded to sit on the top, preventing Vorezze from escaping.

“This should do the trick,” he said.

Five minutes later, the tanning bed dinged, making a sound like an easy-bake oven. A loud thumping suddenly came from inside the bed.

“LET ME OUT OF HERE!” Vorezze shouted, “I’ve got a fragile complexion!”

Ten minutes later, complete with three more UV guns and Simplot’s nudie-ray, the group of Banshee and Stallion officers snuck through the corridor outside of Noonan’s quarters. Vorezze, now wearing a borrowed pair of pants, was arguing with Simplot.

“Look, it was cold in there, OK?” Vorezze insisted, “Those bugs were totally sapping my body heat!”

“You don’t have to defend yourself,” Simplot said, “I’m sure you’re perfectly…adequate,”

“Don’t lie to a Betazoid!” Vorezze snapped.

Smith and DiSanto had each taken one side of the door, weapons ready. Taps was still stumbling a bit from the phaser stun. Gonzolas had his tricorder pointed at the door while Annerson stood nearby with her arms crossed. Noticing that Vorezze and Simplot weren’t likely to stop arguing anytime soon, she grabbed the nudism gun from Simplot’s hands.

“Maybe if you’d been more of a lady, you wouldn’t have been looking at me naked!” Vorezze said.

“Maybe if you were more of a gentleman, you wouldn’t have been infested with butt-lice!”

“HEY! It’s not our fault Charlotte has a thing for Klingons!”

“Move on three, two,” Smith counted down.

“STOP!” Gonzolas snapped, “Hold on,”

“Huh?” Smith shook his head, “Hey! You totally killed our dramatic fight scene!”

“Or it would have killed you,” Gonzolas said. He tapped a button next to the door.

The doors hissed open, revealing a buzzing force-field. Noonan’s quarters had been trashed. The table was in three pieces against the far wall and pieces of Carn were scattered across the floor. An android-fist-sized hole in the window had vented the room to space. Nearby, Carn’s headless torso was draped over a toppled chair.

“Crap. It’s going to take Riley all week to put him back together,” DiSanto sighed.

“Where’s Noonan?” Smith demanded.

They found him in seconds. Noonan was lying against one of the side walls, bloody scratch marks showing where he’d tried to claw his way out of the airless room. His right leg was clearly broken, probably by Carn, and several tears in his uniform revealed healed or partially healed gashes where the android had broken through his defences.

“Is he dead?” DiSanto asked.

Smith shook his head.

“Dormant,” he said, “As soon as we warm him up he’ll be fine. But there’s no way he’s controlling the parasites in that kind of state,”

“Soooo…who’s controlling the parasites?” Annerson asked.

They went on a decontamination spree.

They tracked down crewmen one at a time. Simplot stripped them and Smith, DiSanto and Taps doused them with UV light until no trace of the parasites remained on (or in) their bodies.

“Well, Dr. Isaac wasn’t controlling them,” Smith said, shaking his head.

“Hmmm,” Simplot made a note on a padd she’d dug up, “Not bad for such a tiny guy,”

“Cut that out!” Vorezze snapped, “I know what you’re doing!”

“What am I doing?” Simplot asked innocently.

Vorezze swiped the padd and crushed it under one heel.

“Recording…personal information,” he said.

“Damned mind-reader,” Simplot muttered.

Gonzolas and Annerson were tapping away at a computer panel.

“Decks 1, 2 and 3 are clear,” Annerson said, “Look, can you change this so we can see where they’re concentrating now?”

Gonzolas tapped at the panel. At first, the infested crewmen had been roaming the ship. After Smith had cut the engines a few groups had moved into the bridge and engineering, but they were unable to break the command lockout he’d used. They’d hunted down the more isolated crewmen first, replicating more nudism rays and UV guns as their numbers increased. After they’d freed more than a hundred crewmen, they’d noticed that the infested crewmen were pulling back, converging somewhere on Deck 8. They hadn’t been able to pinpoint exactly what the infested crewmen were protecting, but as their numbers decreased, they pulled in tighter and tighter.

“Science lab,” Gonzolas finally said.

“Dr. Lang!” DiSanto exclaimed, “She’s the…the Bug Queen! We’ve got to help her!”

“Saddle up,” Vorezze said, grabbing a nudism ray.

It wasn’t Dr. Lang.

They found her ten feet from the doors to the science lab, infested with parasites.

“Good thing Ben’s still out of it,” Vorezze said, pointing the nudism ray in her direction.

“Ummm, sir, why don’t you let me take care of that,” DiSanto asked.

Vorezze looked at him strangely.

“Look, we’re friends,” Vince said, “You know she’s a private sort of person. If anybody has to see her naked…”

“Fine, I guess if I can trust anybody with a naked woman, it’s you,” Vorezze shrugged.

“Thanks. HEY!”

After Lang had been de-bugified, the Banshee and Stallion officers stood in front of the door to the science lab.

“Your ship is pretty messed up,” Simplot said to Vorezze, “I just want you to know that,”

“MY ship?” Vorezze crossed his arms, “Lady, I’m flying the top of the line here. That thing of yours barely made it out of the junkyard!”

“I’ve seen several of your logs,” Gonzolas cut in calmly, gesturing with his tricorder, “You people have issues,”

“So do you,” Vince said cattily, “We don’t need to see your logs to know that much!”

“Oh, we know that,” Simplot shrugged, “I just wanted to make sure we all knew where we stood with each other.”

“Yeah, about five minutes from a memory wipe,” Vorezze muttered.

“What was that?” Simplot asked.

“I said,” Vorezze glared, “That despite what you might think, the Banshee is full of highly trained Section 31 specialists-“

“You still haven’t explained this Section 31 thing to us,” Annerson said, annoyed.

“Who will stop at nothing to complete our mission,” Vorezze went on, ignoring the interruption, “Whether that’s the destruction of a Voran war fleet-“

“A say-what-now?” Taps frowned.

“-testing out ultra-transwarp engines-“

Gonzolas’ eyebrows jumped.

“What kind of engine?” he demanded, losing some of his customary cool.

“STOP INTURRUPTING MY DRAMATIC DIALOG!” Vorezze seethed. He looked around. “Where was I?”

“You were about to tell us how the Banshee has been and always will be better than the Stallion,” Simplot rolled here eyes, “Believe me, we’ve heard this speech before.”

“Your whole fleet sat around for weeks waiting for us to get here,” DiSanto pointed out, “Sounds to me like you need us pretty badly,”

“And yet,” Annerson put her hands on her hips, “Who wound up racing to your rescue?”

Smith, bored of the argument, was double checking his UV ray, getting ready to open the science lab door and hopefully confront whatever was controlling the parasites. Gonzolas, looking somewhat reluctant to leave the insult battlefield, hefted a nudity ray and joined him by the door.

“We’re dealing with alien parasites enhanced by feeding off a Type-13 sentient!” Lang was saying, sufficiently recovered to join the conversation, “Very, very few ships have had to deal with this sort of thing,”

“Yeah, then you tried to kill the guy!” Simplot shot back, “And it turned out he wasn’t even controlling the things! If you’d gone for HIS help, none of this would have happened!”

“Hind-sight is twenty-twenty!”

“That’s funny coming from you, four-eyes!” Annerson snapped.

“HEY! How did you know about that?” Vorezze demanded, “I don’t even wear glasses anymore!”

“Gonzolas looked up your medical record.” Annerson said, “My sympathies, by the way,”

“You bitch!”

Smith turned to the group.

“If you’re done bickering, we’d like to reveal the master host of the parasites so we can get this thing finished,” he said.

There were assorted grumblings of agreement.

Smith tapped the door panel, then leapt into action, Gonzolas right next to him.

“What the…”

“GET ‘IM!”



They could hear the sound of the nudity ray firing, then the flicker of odd, purplish light as the UV rays fired. They could hear the two men jumping around in the science lab. What they couldn’t hear was whatever they were fighting.

“PARASITE SWARM!” Smith shouted.

“They’re coming out of his mouth!”

More firing.


A tiny shape rocketed out into the corridor at full speed, zipping right through Vorezze’s legs. In one smooth motion, Simplot drew, aimed and fired her hand phaser, dropping whatever it was to the ground.

Smith and Gonzolas emerged, tiny scratch marks covering their arms and faces.

“We might want to go lie down in the tanning beds,” Smith said, “Just to be safe,”

“What was that thing?” Gonzolas demanded.

Annerson and DiSanto returned from where they’d been UV-raying the creature, a small yet chubby hairless lump in one hand.

“Well, the nudie-ray made his fur fall off,” Vince said, “But it looks like it’s…”

“ZEKE!” Lang cried rushing forward and grabbing the hamster, “OHHH, MY POOR BABY!”

She clutched him to her chest then moved off, “Did those nasty bugs hurt you Zekie? Ohhh, don’t worry. I’ll make it all better…”

As she moved off, the Stallion crew stared blankly at her retreating back.

“Did we just save you all from a possessed hamster?” Simplot asked incredulously.

“It’s more common than you’d think” Vince said, slightly defensively.


“Why do I care what you think, I’m wiping all your minds anyway!” Vorezze muttered to himself.

“What was that?” Simplot asked.

“Ohhh, nothing,”

USS Banshee:

Captain’s Log, Supplemental:

With the help of the Stallion we’ve eliminated the parasites and locked Charlotte in a tanning bed. She might be a bit sunburnt, but Dr. Isaac is confident that between the UV radiation and the various injections and creams he’s been administering, she’ll be making the transition from ‘filthy whore’ to ‘moderately trashy trailer-park trash’ within a day or so. Commander Noonan is fully recovered, though somewhat annoyed that we tried to kill him. But since that apparently happens a lot, he’s willing to let bygones be bygones. Unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to explain to us what a bygone was.

As for the Stallion officers themselves, we wiped their memories clean, implanted a nice, false memory that didn’t have any mention whatsoever of Section 31, then sent them back to their ship. A quick trip over to their computer core by Commander Smith ensured that their sensor readings confirm our cover story, so there’s really no need for us to kill any of them.

Finally, there was a bit of good news. While the parasites were rooting around with Rachow’s mind, they managed to undo some of the damage he suffered during his warp field exposure. He would have healed anyway, but now we’ve got him back a bit sooner.

Wait, that’s not good news. That’s not good news at all!

“F**k you,” Rachow muttered from the helm.

“I don’t think so,” Vorezze said mildly.

“Did we even figure out where the bugs were taking us?” DiSanto asked.

“Noonan thinks they were sensing an inhabited planet somewhere in that direction and wanted to feed on the population,” Smith said.

“Well, another day, another adventure,” DiSanto said, standing at the Tactical panel.

“You’d like to go on my adventure, wouldn’t you,” Rachow grumbled, “Fruitcake,”

“That didn’t even make sense, f**k-tard,” Vince shot back.

“We’re positive we sterilized all the seat cushions, right?” Rachow asked, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

“I supervised the clean-up crew myself,” Vince said, giving Rachow a smug grin.

Rachow squirmed again.

USS Stallion:

Captain’s Log, Supplimental:

We’re currently on course to rejoin the fleet en route to Matria Prime, along with the USS Medusa. As it turned out, they had a malfunction in one of their bridge consoles that sent them off course and activated an experimental Sensor-Reflective shielding system. I know they’ve been installing SR shields on some ships, but really. If we’re not allowed to use cloaking devices, why can we use SR shields?

Simplot paused for a moment. Cloaking device. Why was something about that bothering her? Shrugging, she continued recording.

After returning from the Medusa, I’ve been convince that there’s nothing abnormal about them at all. Captain Honeycut was nothing if not professional, his crew was perfectly charming, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to work together to accomplish our mission in Matrian Space.

“So, who’s up for Crossing Over tonight?” Tereneth asked from the helm.

“Crossing Over?” Hurken snorted, “Isn’t that the horribly inappropriate Terran cartoon, replete with racism, sexual innuendo and violence?”


“I am in,” Hurken nodded, “Closest thing I can find to Tellarite entertainment on this ship,”

“Oh, and every time something gets bleeped out by the auto-censor, we have to finish our drink,” Sinclair added.

“Sounds good to me,”

As the Stallion officers made their evening plans, Iron Kren sat very quietly at the Environmental Control station. None of the other bridge officers had been paying much attention to the goings-on aboard the Banshee, and so when Captain Vorezze had called them up to discretely see just how much they’d learned about his little secret, Kren had simply played dumb. No, Captain Honeycut, we didn’t see anything suspicious while you were unconscious. Yes sir, we’d be more than happy to follow the Medusa back to the fleet. You’re right, the Starfleet Annual Ball was a lot of fun this year.

He’d known damned well as soon as they’d started co-operating with the Banshee crew that the away team was either going to come back in boxes or with some shiny new memories. (He’d suspected the latter, though hoped slightly for the former.) Some part of him was relieved that Simplot, Hurken, Gonzolas and Annerson had returned, unaware of just how much danger they’d been in. The rest of him, however, couldn’t help but stare at the image of the USS Banshee and wonder just devious and horrifying plan Captain Vorezze and those other Section 31 agents were concocting.

USS Banshee:

“So, who’s up for beer pong tonight?” Vorezze asked.


Written in part in sunny and beautiful Jamaica!