Star Trek was created by Gene Roddenberry. He built the boat, floated the boat, watched the network sink the boat. Then there were movie boats, and spin-off boats, and pretty much a Trek Fleet. Then JJ sunk that fleet...or at least moved it to an alternate ocean, and built a shinier, flashier boat. Star Traks was created by Alan Decker. He built the boat with warped wood, duct tape and possibly a Jolly Roger. The boat never sank, but it sure went wandering off in some odd directions. Then there were more boats, a few collisions, strange new directions and the events that led to the motly Traks fleet. Star Traks: Silverado was created by Brendan Chris. That boat's full of holes. But it has a reasonably good pump system. And life jackets.

Author: Brendan Chris
Copyright: 2016

“No!” Captain Christopher Stafford snapped, blocking the door with his body, “Absolutely not. Not after what happened the last time!”

“Oh come on!” Jall whined, “I just want to get clean!”

“This city has thousand of shower stalls,” Stafford said, “Pick one!”

“Uh, Abela is being a total bitch about access control to empty quarters. And we only have one fitness center operating, and…and he’s always there!”

“That body-builder that intimidates you?” Stafford crossed his arms, “Jall, you’ve been in Starfleet for years! You’ve been showering next to aliens who look more like the shower mop than they look like you!”

“OK, look, I can’t shower if he’s around because last time I…laughed,” Jall admitted.

“Laughed? What? Why?”

“At the tattoo right next to his…look, he said if he ever saw me in there again, he’d beat the crap out of me.” Jall said, “So just let me use your shower! Mine will be fixed any day now!”

“No!” Stafford said, “Go use Jeffery’s!”

“I don’t want to use Jeffery’s,” Jall said flatly.

“Then ask Valtaic!”

“Have you seen his shower? With the electro-whatever he uses to sort out his weird energy thing? It’s a death trap!”

“Wait, why did you see his shower?”

“Because I didn’t want to use yours!”

“Oh. What about T’Parief?”

“Noooope,”

“Well then go find some random crewman and hijack their shower,” Stafford started closing his door, “But I look forward to reading the security incident report on that one,”

And the door closed.

“Asshole,” Jall muttered.


Jeffery had just gotten home from a long day at the shipyard. You’d think that he’d be bored, what with all the work being done by construction bots. But no, he and his staff were kept busy double-checking the work the bots were completing, confirming they had the correct programs for the upcoming tasks, and dealing with all the administrative crap that went with rebuilding a ship. He’d come back to his comfortable apartment, kicked off his boots and collapsed on the couch. Well, the Matrians probably had a different word for it, but to him it was just a couch. The Matrians had a lot of ideas about living spaces that didn’t quite match the Starfleet version…but for the most part, they revolved around making living aboard Haven more like living down on a planet. And energy efficiency. And reducing waste. And a few other things that he just didn’t have to worry about in the relative luxury of modern starship quarters.

He briefly thought about getting up to get a drink, but a glance into his kitchen reminded him that he hadn’t done anything about the dishes in a few days. Finding a clean glass would probably be a challenge. Almost as bad as finding clean underwear, since yesterday was supposed to have been laundry day. On a Federation ship, he simply would have tossed soiled plates in the matter reclamator and uniforms in ship’s laundry. But aboard Haven, his apartment had a compact kitchen complete with sink, cupboards, and a somewhat strict usage limit on the matter reclamator.

He was about to call Wowryk to see if she wanted to get a just-friends bevvy somewhere when his door pinged. Or ba-wooped. He still wasn’t sure what to call that Matrian sound.

He tapped the open tab and stepped back in surprise as Jall walked into the apartment.

“Hey Jeffery,” he said, his expression polite but not exactly happy, “I need to ask a favour…good Lord, what is that SMELL?”

“Smell?” Jeffery blinked, “Whot smell?”

“That smell like rancid, rotten,” Jall was homing in on the kitchen, “Meat? No…more like…ah hah!”

Jeffery followed him.

“Look, mate,” he said, “This is sort of me private space so could ye…och, ye wallaper! Did ye stir up a jobby?”

“What? No!” Jall had pulled something out of the sink, “It’s the drain plug from your sink! Haven’t you ever cleaned it? It’s full of rotten food!”

Jeffery looked at him blankly. Jall sighed, grabbed some cleaning solution and proceeded to solve the problem. Jeffery sniffed, and had to admit that the rancidness of his kitchen had gone down a little.

“Now,” Jall said, wiping his hands, the reason I’m here is that my shower is broken, Haven maintenance is taking forever to fix it, Stafford won’t let me use his anymore and I need to get clean!”

Jeffery blinked.

“Any…more? Yer not…makin’ a move on me best mate, are ye?”

“Shut up, it wasn’t like that,” Jall poked his head in Jeffery spare room, trying to find the bathroom, “Is that…why is there a dirty bicycle in your spare room?”

“Well, before they let the air out of the dome, there were some right nice cycling paths!”

“There is still MUD on the…oh forget it!” Jall eyed the remaining two doors, not sure he wanted to see what was behind either one of them, “Which one is your shower?”

“Ah don’t recall invitin’ ye into me home,” Jeffery said.

“Come on, I got rid of your rotten food stench,” Jall thought for a moment, “Most of it. Some of it. Come on, Simon! We usually get along fairly well, right?”

“Aye, Ah suppose,” Jeffery pointed, “There’s a towel under the sink,”

“I brought my own, thanks,” Jall said. He opened the door, braced himself and stepped in.


It wasn’t too bad. The auto-wash had kept the tiled walls of the shower fairly clean, and of course the toilet was self-cleaning. The sink was an unpleasant combination of dried toothpaste and shaving cream…apparently Jeffery wasn’t a fan of beard suppressor. But Jall couldn’t blame him for that…using a razor was a great exfoliant, after all.

No, what he couldn’t get over was the…the…

“Oh, God!” Jall gulped. He quickly undressed and stepped over the large pile of Jeffery’s dirty underwear that had piled up in the corner where the shower stall met the wall. He tried really, really hard not to see what could have been a skid mark.

He really, really tried.

Jeffery, despite having a decent head of hair, had even less in his shower than Stafford had. Jut a bar of standard replicated soap and a bottle of Starfleet replicated hair-care formula #3. Basic Mammalian Humanoid, non-greasy hair, moderately dry scalp. He grabbed his toiletry kit, quickly finding a decent facial scrub, a decent shampoo, a conditioner particularly suited to the thick, dark hair that came from his background as one of the slightly Arab-esque flavours of the Trill.

And his own bar of standard-issue soap.

Jall was nowhere near the preening, picky, vain image he often presented to Stafford and the rest of the crew…more for his own amusement than anything else. His personal grooming was a level above most of them…but they’d probably be very surprised that Lt Comd Stern actually had a far more extensive collection of personal grooming products than Jall had ever had.

He quickly cleaned himself, enjoying the hot water as it ran over his skin. The Matrians, as Jall had also discovered, could be oddly stingy about certain things, particularly if they had an environmental impact. But not when it came to running water. A sonic shower would have been far simpler than the plumbing required for the water version. But for whatever reason, the Matrians had not only designed Haven for water showers, they also hadn’t set any of the normal quotas you’d see on a space station or ship.

Of course, most ships and stations didn’t have a lake worth of water reserves, either.

A banging at the door shook Jall out of his reverie.

“Oy, mate! I gotta pish!” Jeffery called.

“Then go find a holodeck!” Jall called back, “They’re still refilling the lake, and I don’t think it’s stocked with fish yet!”

“Whot? Nae, I have to use the loo!”

“I’ll be done in a minute,” Jall grumped. He rinsed off the last of the suds. He was about to step out to grab his towel, when his eye caught that sickening pile of dirty underwear. The pile that definitely didn’t have a skid mark. Definitely, definitely not.

Very, very carefully, he lifted one foot to step over and well clear of the sickening pile.


Jeffery was waiting, not yet desperate but well on his way.

THUMP!

“Whot are ye doin’ in me shower!” Jeffery demanded.

Silence.

Jeffery cautiously put his ear to the door, not sure he wanted to hear what Jall might be doing in there. Listened carefully…nothing? Nothing. The water wasn’t even running!

“Jall? San?”

No answer.

Jeffery tapped the privacy override code and the door slid open, revealing Jall collapsed across the floor, a small trickle of blood starting to ooze across the floor.

“Jeffery to Wowryk! Medical emergency, my apartment?”

“On my way,” Wowryk replied at once, “Wait what’s your address? And do you have directions? Are you near a port where we can dock the hover-ambulance, or should we just take the tram?”

“This was so much easier on the ship,” Jeffery muttered, leaning down to start first-aid, “Ooch, that’s rancid! Ah thought Ah threw those drawers in the hamper!”


“Concussion, laceration to the scalp, but no skull fracture,” Wowryk said, running a dermal regenerator over the side of Jall’s head, “I’ve repaired the damage, but the brain is a funny thing, You’ll probably have some strange mood swings over the next few days. Maybe a headache or two,”

“And ye can clean the blood out of me couch,” Jeffery added.

“Do you remember anything else about what happened?” Wowryk asked.

“I don’t…I was showering. I don’t remember what happened next,” Jall said.

“Some memory loss is not uncommon,” Wowryk said, starting to pack up her equipment. “But do let me know if you forget your name or birth date. That’s generally a bad sign,”

“Maybe somebody needs to be a wee bit more careful in somebody else’s house,”

“Maybe YOU need to get a shower mat!” Jall snapped, “Oh…ow. Too loud.” He was wrapped in a towel, sitting on Jeffery’s couch while Wowryk worked on him.

“A whot?” Jeffery looked confused.

“A shower mat. A thing in your shower to keep you from slipping,” Jall explained, albeit more quietly, “I have one! Even Stafford has one!”

“Never heard of the thing,” Jeffery grumbled.

“Yeah,” Jall looked around the filthy apartment, “I can believe that.”

“And whot do ye mean by that?”

“I MEAN YOU LIVE LIKE A FILTHY PIG!” Jall jumped to his feet, snarling in Jeffery’s face. Jeffery jumped back, startled.

“I’m sorry! I”m sorry!” Jall bit his lip, “I don’t know where that came from!”

“Concussion,” Wowryk said, pulling him back onto the couch and double checking her work, “Jeffery, apologize,”

“Apologize? Me? He’s the one that-“

“That nearly died in your bathroom and may have even suffered brain damage,” Wowryk cut him off crisply, “And in this…apartment…” she looked around with an expression of disgust similar to the one Jall had worn, “It’s a wonder he’s not suffered from sepsis either,”

“Ah’m sorry,” Jeffery said, looking at his feet, “But it’s yer fault,”

“Close enough,” Jall muttered.

“So…Noel…” Jeffery’s eyes didn’t raise, “How about we have a just-friends drink before ye call it a night?”

“Right, just-friends drink,” Jall muttered, “Next it’s just-friends spooning. And just-friends kissing!”

“As opposed to yer people and yer just-friends sodomy?” Jeffery shot back.

Jall sprang.


“What do you mean two concussion victims?” Stafford asked tiredly, “I thought you told me Jall fell in Jeffery’s bathroom,”

“Right, well,” Wowryk cleared her throat, “Then Jall tried to rearrange Jeffery’s face,”

“What?” Stafford frowned, “That doesn’t sound like Jall…he’s harmless! A bit perverted, but harmless!”

“Concussion, maybe some minor brain damage,” Wowryk sighed, “Definitely mood swings for a bit,”

“I guess that could explain why he’d hit Jeffery,”

“Oh, no I was talking about Simon,” Wowryk said, “But yes, Jall is in the same condition,”

“So what do we do?” Stafford asked, “Other than filling out a ream of paperwork?”

“Oh, they’ll heal naturally, unless God decides to strike them dead of an aneurysm,” Wowryk shrugged. Staffor’d eyes widened. “Not that I think that’s likely,” Wowryk added quickly. Then, under her breath “He would have done it a long time ago, if He had planned to,”

“So we just sit back, wait, and everything will sort itself out?” Stafford asked.

“Yes, that’s generally best with this sort of concussion,” Wowryk nodded, “Some rest, some quiet and no bright lights are exactly what they need.”


Next day…


“I’M GOING TO RIP YOUR FUCKING LUNGS OUT!”

“NOT IF AH TEAR YER ARMS OFF, TALLY-WASHER!”

There was a crash, then Jeffery landed square in the middle of Stafford’s table, knocking his coffee all over his chest and sending his lunch sliding onto his lap. He barely had time to scurry back before Jeffery pushed back and charged back at his assailant, knocking him to the floor. The two of them rolled around the floor of the small café, pushing chairs and tables to the side. Several Matrian patrons moved quickly towards the door, but the Starfleet personnel just seemed resigned.

“Ow, my head!”

“My head too…but DIE!”

“What’s going on?” Stafford rushed over to where Wowryk and Yanick were watching the scene unfold, brushing the remains of his admittedly unappetizing sandwich from his pants.

“Jall and Jeffery are going at it again,” Yanick sighed.

“I can see that! Why isn’t anyone trying to stop it!” Stafford demanded.

“Because this is the third time it’s happened today,” Wowryk said, snagging her coffee off the table before a flailing leg from Jall bumped it hard enough to topple everything else on it, “This isn’t good for their concussions, but they haven’t really been able to hurt each other. Too evenly matched,”

“That, and T’Parief is just in the bathroom,” Yanick added.

The bathroom door opened on cue and T’Parief looked over to the two women with a very annoyed, ‘why have you let this happen again’ expression. He then marched firmly over and picked the two combatants up by the collars of their shirts, one in each arm.

They flailed and fought for a few seconds, then started looking around. Their expressions were dazed and somewhat confused.

“Did it happen again?” Jall asked.

T’Parief rumbled.

“Ach, mate, Ah’m sorry,” Jeffery said, swallowing, “This is gettin’ nuts,”

“Me too,” Jall said.

T’Parief let them down.

“What started it this time?” he asked Wowryk.

“Jeffery didn’t empty his leftovers into the organic recyclables bin before returning his dishes,” Wowryk said, “And when Jall pointed it out, he said ‘it doesn’t matter, this thing has enough energy to replicate a rainforest’.”

“It does!” Jeffery said, “Ah mean, maybe not the replicator mass, but with the antimatter reactor output-“

“That’s no excuse!” Jall shot back, “It takes two seconds, and not only do you save power on waste reclamation, you don’t have to replicate fertilizer for the dome parkland! They compost it! The waste heat-“

“Why ye-“

T’Parief grabbed them both before another battle could start.

“Wowryk, isn’t there something you could give them something to calm them down?” Stafford asked.

Wowryk looked unsure.

“This sort of behavioural problem isn’t really something I have experience with,” she said, “And I’d rather not sedate them, given their injuries. Especially given that Jall is part Trill. I need to do some extensive research before I start with any mood-altering medications. By the time I finish, the problem will likely resolve itself on it’s own.”

“We could ask Yvonnokoff,” Yanick suggested.

“So she can televise this? Are you KIDDING???” Stafford gulped, “She’s just itching for the right special case she can use to re-launch her show! AWN put her on hiatus during the Qu’Eh invasion, apparently.”

“I…I miss her show,” Jall said sadly. He started sniffling.

“Me too, mate,” Jeffery said, chocking up, “Ah think…ah think…things just won’t be the same until The Vonna Show is back!”

“WHHHAAAAHHH!”

Stafford winced.

“OK, I’m all for guys expressing their emotions, but this is just getting scary,” he said.

“Yes, I’m also getting a bit concerned,” Wowryk said, tapping at her medical tricorder, “But there’s no sign of any cerebral trauma beyond what was already detected. No pressure on any parts of the brain, no bleeding, nothing dangerous,”

“OK, we need help,” Yanick declared firmly.

“Ah love ye, man!”

“I love you too, buddy,”

“Wait…are ye goin’ fruit on me?”

“What? No! Why, I aughta-“

“-totally gonna-“

“DIE!!!”

“Let’s do this quickly,” Stafford sighed as T’Parief once again separated the two.


“Yes, may I help you?” Lt Comd Fifebee asked tiredly as Stafford, Jall, Jeffery, Wowryk, Yanick and T’Parief walked into Science Complex One. The Department of Research and Knowledge tower held much of the scientific and research facilities the city staff needed, but the Silverado science team had been safely tucked away in a larger, somewhat more corporate research facility not far from Shipyard Three. Fifebee still looked human, but something about her holographic projection was…different. Lines around the eyes and mouth, and she had a stoop to her posture that none of them could recall seeing before.

“We need you and Sylvia to help us with some…research,” Stafford said.

“Of course you do,” Fifebee sighed, “What is it this time? You want to give Wowryk a hypospray that causes clitoral enlargement?

“Why would I…oh. That whole me-growing-breasts thing a few years ago,” Stafford chuckled, “No.”

“Assistance with T’Parief’s sex drive? Or perhaps you simply want me to cease the ageing process?”

“Uh, why are you being such a bitch?” Jall asked.

“Oy, be nice!” Jeffery snapped.

“Quit it,” T’Parief shook them both before they could start.

“I apologize,” Fifebee appeared to take a deep breath, then her appearance resumed its normal state, “Sylvia and I had been distracted by the incidents with the shipbuilding bots for some time, and I had assumed that the science team had taken the opportunity to indulge in relaxing idleness in the meantime,”

“Uh-oh,” Stafford bit his lip.

“Indeed. They…became bored.”

“Do I have to start worrying about crimes against humanity?” he asked quietly.

“I do not know yet, but I will have a report for you soon,” Fifebee said grimly, “But as you are here, you may as well come in,”

She led them into the lab, a large open space with several workstations scattered around. Some were enclosed in transparent quarantine panels, others were simply wide open. Most of them had half-finished devices of various appearances and states of completion. All of them had one or two science team members looking down at the floor like scolded puppies.

“For example,” Fifebee started, “Ensign Furry was attempting to recreate the device stolen by the insane Klingon K’Eleese from Dillon Enterprises on our first visit to Waystation,”

“The one that crushes planets down to the size of a walnut??” Stafford demanded.

“Indeed,” Fifebee glared at a contrite-looking Orion male, “And WHY did we do that?”

“Well, the Matrian scientists said that the maximum density you could achieve-“

“Wait, you mentioned that thing to the MATRIANS???” Stafford shouted.

“The security breach paperwork is on your desk,” Sylvia interjected, walking over from where she’d been consoling a very upset Silverado scientist, “And luckily, the Matrians don’t believe him anyway. Which is why he was trying to prove it,”

“What’s his problem?” Yanick asked, pointing to the man Sylvia had been comforting.

“Fifebee turned half Klingon and yelled at him,” Sylvia said primly.

“He was manipulating Parian reproductive tissues!” Fifebee exclaimed, “If his changes had been disseminated to their population, the result would be an out-of-control explosion in population that would turn them into a locust-like plague of devastation that would sweep over the entire galaxy within a century!”

“Really?” T’Parief looked interested.

“Well, there was a 65% chance that it would reduce their life-span below the minimum reproductive age. Which would have resulted in complete extinction.”

“Oh.” T’Parief looked less interested.

Stafford briefly considered asking just where the scientist had gotten his hands on Parian reproductive tissues, but decided maybe he didn’t want to know.

“This one is more interesting,” Sylvia said, leading them towards a contraption that looked like a mix between a bio-bed and a navigational deflector. Crewmen Smedi and H’Kspada were tinkering at one end of it.

“Oh, I’d finally managed to convince myself that those two didn’t exist!” Wowryk said, massaging her temples.

“What is it?” Jeffery asked curiously.

“It’s a device to scan your DNA and brainwaves and try to read alternate timelines!” Smedi said proudly, “It sort of links to you, then pokes a hole in space-time to see what you’d be doing in other realities! See, this other ship had a thing happen where their Captain’s brainwaves got linked to his ancestor, and they nearly changed reality and destroyed the Federation as we know it, but-“

“BAD IDEA!” Stafford declared loudly.

“But-“

“BAD IDEA!” Fifebee seconded.

“Oh just give it a try!”

“T’Parief?” Stafford gestured towards the device. The hulking reptile’s eyes ran over it briefly, then he smashed several components to rubble.

Smedi’s eyes narrowed.

“You clearly don’t appreciate genius!” he sneered.

“Sure we do,” Stafford said, “In fact, that’s why we’re here.”

“Yes, why are you here?” Fifebee asked, gesturing for the two crewmen to depart.

“These two got their brains scrambled a bit,” Stafford said, “We’re looking for something to calm down the mood swings until they can heal,”

“I am admittedly somewhat out of my element,” Wowryk admitted.

“And we don’t want to talk to Yvonnokoff about it,” Yanick added.

“Well,” Fifebee brightened, “That’s certainly less dangerous than tampering with alternate time-lines, particle-crush physics or a nano-dissassembler plague. Let me establish a link to the Starfleet Medical database, and I’m sure between Dr. Wowryk, Sylvia and myself we can come up with something that will do the trick.”

“Thanks,” Stafford said, relieved. His eyes widened, “Wait, WHAT kind of plague?”

“Oh, don’t worry, the prototypes were de-molecularized. Every single one.” Fifebee assured him. Then, under her breath, “I think,”

Around the corner, somebody hadn’t fucked off quite as far as everyone had hoped.

“Mood swings, you say?” Smedi murmured.


“Commander Jall?” Dr. Wowryk pulled the hypospray away and started running her tricorder over the officer, “Do you feel any different?”

Jall looked thoughtful for a moment.

“I feel the same as I did before,” he said. He paused, then added, “I mean, before I wiped out on Jeffery’s bathroom floor,”

“So you don’t want to pound the living snot out of him anymore?” Yanick asked cheerfully.

“No, I just wish he’d clean up his mess,” Jall said. His tone was perfectly even, his face fairly neutral, “Hey, can I go? I’ve got stuff to do,”

“Hmmm?” Wowryk was looking at her tricorder, “Yes, I suppose. Nurse Veeneman is giving Jeffery his medication,”

“Thank you. I really need to do some tidying up,” Jall stood and walked calmly out of the room.

“Well, I’m glad that’s over with,” Yanick said.

“I guess,” Wowryk still couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was off, “I know Fifebee and Sylvia said this drug is approved by the Federation Pharmaceutical Safety Board for humans and Trill, but something just doesn’t seem right,”

“Oh, let’s go check on Jeffery,” Yanick said, “Then we have time for a drink before you have to go do evening prayers and I have to feed Allona,”

“Yes, as soon as we check in on Simon,”


“C’mon mate,” Jeffery was saying as Wowryk and Yanick walked in, “We haven’t done a right-well bender in AGES! Ah’m talking pints, lasses, maybe even wee mite o…OH! A big, greasy haggis to finish it all down!”

“Jeffery,” Stafford said, “We did that several months ago. That’s when the Engineer Collector lady showed up, beat us both to a pulp and tried to steal the saucer from our ship,”

“Aye, but what are the odds that could happen again?”

“Simon, go home,” Wowryk said, running her tricorder over him, “So near as I can tell, the medication is doing what it’s supposed to do and is stabilizing your mood. Still, I’d avoid Commander Jall for a few days, to be safe,”

“Fine,” Jeffery said, jumping to his feet, “But hey, Chris? When’s the last time ye had something good for dinner? Not like, good for ye, but something just soooo delicious that ye couldn’t help yerself?”

“I don’t get where you’re going with this,” Stafford looked confused.

“Our replicator rations roll over day after next. Just sayin’, tomorrow’s the day to feast!”

“Yeah, ok. Whatever.”


Both Jeffery and Jall did, in fact, go home. And both went to sleep, feeling slightly odd, but at least without the strange mood swings that had them ready to kill each other. Bright lights were still a bit painful, and Jall at least still felt a twinge of dizziness. But overall, both felt better.

Neither was really aware that they hadn’t actually slept more than half an hour before they rose. But each felt very different. Calmer, clearer. Their purpose was laid out in front of them. They would correct the wrongs of this world, and they each knew exactly how to do it.

As he snuck down out of the lobby of Jall’s downtown condo building, Crewman Smedi tucked a hypnopaedic device into his pocket. Smash his carefully devised invention? The senior staff would be far too busy to meddle in any more of his work for a while!


The next day largely passed without incident. Work on the ship continued, though the 3CC staff were delighted yet confused when Jeffery showed up with two big boxes of doughnuts. Stafford didn’t see most of his senior staff…Valtaic was off doing whatever it was he was doing, Yanick was helping Lt Comd Sage with maintenance checks on the runabouts, Fifebee was still getting her big pile of violation-detailing paperwork ready, and T’Parief had decided that the airless surface of the moon Haven had landed on would be perfect for the Hazardous Team to practice low-gee tactical manoeuvres. By the end of the day, Stafford was ready to go home…even more so because of what Jeffery had said. His buddy had been right: it was time to enjoy something special. Since the start of the Kallar IV mission he’d been eating a mix of low-replicator draw rations, Matrian cooking and healthy, Starfleet Medical (and Dr. Wowryk) approved replicated meals. It was time to have something tasty. Something special. Something from his childhood. Something that spoke to his culture as a resident of the northern half of North America.

He’d spent a brief fifteen minutes in his kitchen preparing the meal, from replicated ingredients to final, glorious, bright orange results and was just sitting down when the lights abruptly went out.

“Are you really,” a voice said calmly, “Going to eat that?”

A single light came on at the other end of the room, revealing a shadowy figure. The figure was male, but covered from head to toe in some sort of tough-looking fabric. A geometric pattern of lines, black on dark grey, ran symmetrically along the figures torso and down the limbs, the eyes were simply dark circles.

Stafford’s eyes darted towards the exit, but the figure drew a small blade.

“I’m not here to hurt you,” it said, “But really…do you know how much artificial colouring is probably in that?”

“It’s just replicated Kaydie,” Stafford said slowly. The figure tapped at his arm, and Stafford realized there was a small input padd there. The figure cocked his head, as though listening.

“Actually, it used to be called KD, short for Kraft Dinner,” the figure said, “Really? This is how you treat yourself? I’ve met your family, I’ve seen the traditional family treats they can create. Perogies? Cabbage rolls? Those little potato-filled buns? If you’re going to have a cheat-night, shouldn’t you embrace your culture?”

“Hey, Kaydi-“

“Kay-Dee!” the figure snapped.

“It was Canadian culture, back in-“

“Oh grow up!” the figure snapped, “And look at that mess you left! You didn’t even rinse the orange goop, which is NOT cheese by any definition, out of the pot first! Do you KNOW how much harder that’s going to be to wash??”

Stafford’s jaw dropped as he finally recognized the voice.

“Jall? What the heck-“

“I AM NOT JALL!” the figure snapped, jumping to his feet angrily, “I AM…CAPTAIN FABULOUS! AND YOU WILL NOT EAT THAT SHIT, UNTIL YOU MAKE SOMETHING HEALTHY TO GO WITH IT!”

“Aw, f**k my life,” Stafford groaned.

Stafford’s door abruptly burst open and a second figure bolted in. This one was wearing a suit of similar fabric, but where Jall’s was carefully fitted, this one sagged oddly here and there, as though the maker didn’t quite understand what he was doing. There was no careful pattern of stripes, curves and shapes, but a random assortment of patches and logos. Stafford recognized the logo for Romulan Distilleries, Snak-O Replicator Snack Patterns and some racing shuttle company he was vaguely familiar with. The second figure ran straight at Jall, who barely managed to get himself into a defensive stance.

“If he wants to eat that slop, then he bloody well may!” Jeffery’s Scottish brogue was unmistakable, “Mate, eat yer orange crap while I keep this buzz-kill off of ye!”

“Are you two out of your gourds…” Stafford trailed off, “OK, obviously you two ARE out of your gourds, but Simon-“

“Ah’m not Simon!” Simon declared loudly, “Ah am…THE ENABLER! And Ah shall enable ye to enjoy yer delicious junk food in piece!”

“Don’t touch that bachelor-chow crap!” Jall insisted, “Do you know how many calories are in that? And it’s nothing but fat and carbs!”

“Ye only live once!”

“Stafford to-“ Stafford had barely reached for his comm-badge when Jeffery threw a small device at him. It popped, and everything electronic in the room abruptly died.

“HEY!” Jall complained, tapping at his now-useless wrist padd, “My InfoSearch! Do you KNOW how annoying it was to program this? That’s why people like YOU shouldn’t have access to-AH-HAH!”

He flicked his wrist and the blade shot towards Jeffery…and simply stuck to him. The blade was too dull to do much more than scratch, but apparently it had held some sort of energy charge, because Jeffery abruptly started to shake, then fell to the deck.

“Simon!” Stafford jumped towards the fallen engineer.

“Yes!” Jall exclaimed, leaping for the cold and quickly congealing bowl of orange pasta, “You will not live to clog another artery! He ran through the kitchen, dumping the food in the organic waste collection bin, set the bowl next to the dishwasher, rinsed the pot in the sink, and then he was gone.

“I needed this like a hole in the head,” Stafford sighed, watching as Jall gleefully ran out the door and down the corridor, cackling like a mad-man, “Simon, are you-“

Jeffery was also gone. Stafford looked around, briefly spotted an odd distortion moving out his door, the heard Jeffery’s voice, fading as he moved down the hall.

“Ye’ve won this round, Captain Fabulous! But Ah’ll get ye next time!”

Stafford walked over to his comm-panel, found it had been out of range of Jeffery’s little disabling gadget, then tapped the call button.

“Senior staff, report to my quarters,” he said tiredly, “And bring the butterfly nets,”


Crewman Gibson stepped out of the bathroom, canni-vapourizor in hand, only to find a stranger seated on his kitchen counter. A stranger, wearing a grey and black outfit, complete with face-mask.

“Spaghetti and butter? Seriously? THAT’S your supper? You’re even worse than the Canadian!”

Gibson looked at the vapourizor briefly.

“Dude,” he called in the general direction of Crewman Shwaluk’s room, “I think this stuff just kicked in.

“MMPH! MMPH!”

Gibson was somewhat surprised to see Shwaluk tied to his chair and gagged.

“You two are terrible roommates,” the masked intruder said, “Why didn’t you move in with Lt Bithe, Gibson? I know you’re not involved anymore, but really, she could have taught you a LOT about living on your own. Or you, Shwaluk? Nurse Veeneman…well…she’d definitely whip you into shape. And tell her I said ‘Thanks’ for leaving all this bondage gear here. Made things easier. Now don’t worry, Captain Fabulous will sort you out!”

“Dude. Uh, this isn’t cool. You gotta get out,” Gibson said.

“Oh, I’ll get out,” Fabulous kicked his legs and slid casually across the counter, “Right as soon as we sort out that disaster you call a laundry pile. Then we’re going to get a jumbo-sized scented candle for that bathroom, then-“

“Uh, we’re out of replicator rations,” Gibson said.

“Then we’re going start,” Captain Fabulous flipped up his repaired InfoSearch padd with a flourish, “by setting you up with a budgeting program!”


“Can’t this wait until morning?” Yanick yawned, “It’s getting late,”

“No,” Stafford said firmly. He turned, “I’ll have the Terran waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. And make sure the coffee isn’t decaf,”

“Earthling tire tracks with the slapped milk and the red seeded fruit nuts,” the waiter replied promptly, “And you ma’am?”

“I’ll have the Idanian spiced pancakes,” Wowryk said, “Easy on the spice,”

“Spicy flats with less spice, got it,”

“Why are we meeting at a Matrian waffle house?” Valtaic asked.

“Because it’s the only place that’s still open and serves Earth food at this time of night,” Stafford snapped, “Now order,”

“I will try the…Klingon sausage?” Valtaic looked uncertain.

“Phallic warrior meat, coming right up.”

Yanick blew coffee out of her nose while Wowryk looked on disapprovingly.

“Coffee with that?” the waiter asked, non-plussed while Yanick cleaned up with a napkin.

“Please,”

“And I need a refill,” Yanick said, “Oh, and how about the Matrian oatmeal?”

“Home-style mashed grits, right,” the waitress departed.

“She really needs to fix her translator,” Fifebee observed.

“OK, let’s just try to get this newest mess fixed so we can get to sleep,” Stafford sighed, “Wowryk? Fifebee? What the hell?”

“Well, this sort of mental instability is NOT on the Federation Medical list of known side effects” Wowryk said immediately.

“Fifebee?”

“I would have suspected perhaps it had something to do with Jall’s Trill side,” Fifebee said thoughtfully, “But that doesn’t explain the impact on Mr. Jeffery. There is something we are missing, which the Doctor and I will of course research. It will tie in nicely with Crewman Milth’s illegal experiments on hallucination-inducing Matrian toad excretions,”

“Wait…what?”

“For possible medicinal use,” Sylvia immediately clarified, “Or at least it would have been, if he’d filed any of the necessary permits before he started,”

“But the test subjects will be fine,” Fifebee assured him, “And the paperwork is-“

“On my desk,” Stafford did not look happy, “That doesn’t help us right now. Why are they running around dressed like…like…wanna-be superheroes?”

“The Enabler. Captain Fabulous,” T’Parief said dryly, “Is it not obvious? That is exactly what they have become, in their current state. Wanna-be superheroes.”

“Yeah, OK,” Stafford sighed, “So how do we keep them under control long enough for Fifebee and Wowryk to figure this out?”

“Their suits are sufficient to block any attempt at forced medication,” Valtaic said thoughtfully, “We could attempt to detain them, but as Jeffery has shown, they seem to have outfitted themselves with the usual array of superhero tricks. And of course using phasers would alert Haven security.”

“Ladies?” Stafford asked, turning to Yanick and Wowryk as they quietly conferred.

“You guys are going about this all wrong,” Wowryk said with a sigh, “If you try to overpower them, they’re just going to do something annoying and unexpected that’ll make it ever harder to get close to them next time. It is simply the way these things work,”

“And?” Stafford leaned back as the waitress put a plate full of waffles in front of him, “What’s your bright idea?”

“Didn’t you pay attention to WHAT Jall was doing?” Wowryk asked. T’Parief’s comm-badged chirped, and he stepped away to take the call.

“He was being an ass, as usual,”

“No,” Yanick said, “Noel’s right. He was being…well…how do I put this? He was criticizing your lifestyle habits,”

“That’s rich!”

“She may have a point,” Valtaic said, “He attempted to prevent you from eating junk food, and chastised you on your poor housekeeping,”

“And he has forced Gibson and Shwaluk to create a replicator credit budget, along with properly sorting their laundry,” T’Parief added, closing a comm link.

“Frankly, you guys needed somebody to come along and sort you out,” Wowryk said, crossing her arms.

“So he’s turned into some sort of…crazy mother-in-law?” Stafford said, through a mouthful of waffle, “What about Jeffery?”

“The Enabler. Doesn’t that say it all? He’s taken on the opposite persona,” Wowryk said, “Encouraging juvenile behaviour and general slobbery,” she sighed, “I never could get him to pick up his dirty clothes,”

“The question,” Valtaic asked, “Is ‘why do we care’? Clearly they are not likely to do any harm and are merely…annoying. Let them play out their foolish fantasies until the medication, or whatever is causing this problem, wears off,”

“If they pull this sort of stunt on any of the Haven crew, or the Matrian civilians living in the city…” Yanick trailed off.

“We’re going to have another station to add to the list of places we aren’t welcome,” Stafford sighed, “OK. I’ll handle Jeffery. He was trying to talk me into beers earlier. I’ll just call him up and say I changed my mind. I should be able to keep him busy for a while,”

“Getting drunk?” Wowryk looked disapprovingly, “Is that your solution to EVERYTHING?”

“Hey, don’t start with me on substance abuse issues right now, Doc!”

“What about Jall?” T’Parief grumbled, “May I simply crush him?”

“Noooo…” Stafford looked thoughtfully, “Who do we have that could keep him busy for a while with his delusional nagging?”

“I think I know just the security team for the job,” T’Parief allowed himself a small grin.

“This is actually quite delicious,” Valtaic said as he finished off his Klingon sausage, “I would not be opposed to future staff meetings at this restaurant,”


“OK,” Lt Rengs Aris surveyed the living room of the large two-level, three bedroom apartment he and his wife shared on the Inner Rim, “Lt Comd Stern, sir, the kitchen?”

“I’ve tossed the fresh produce in the garbage and the dishware in the compost,” Stern reported, “I’ve got crumbs on the counters, dirty dishes in the rinse sink and the replicator materialization chamber is obstructed with an empty coffee cup,”

“Perfect. Simmons? Bathrooms?”

“It looks like a bomb went off,” Simmons gave a mock salute, “A shaving cream bomb, to be exact,”

“Good. Keklor?”

“I have ensured that the waste materials for recycling have been incorrectly sorted,” the hulking Klingon said, “I have also started a ‘Brew Your Own Blood-Wine’ kit, with enough targ bile slopped to ensure maggots within the day,”

“And Marsden? The temperature controls?”

“Set to minimal overall efficiency,” the tech-expert assured him, “And the thermostat is at least four degrees too hot for this time of day,”

“Excellent,” Rengs nodded, “Now, I’ll just put a question out on the ships social media net asking if anybody knows if ten minutes is long enough to marinate a steak, and he’ll be here in no time,”

“It’s a good thing one of us is married,” Stern remarked, “I never would have thought of this stuff,”

“Actually, you would have. Isn’t that the whole problem?” Marsden asked.

“Just…go fiddle with the thermostat some more!”

“My wife is going to be very, very angry when she gets home,” Rengs sighed.


Stafford sat in the bar next to the Silverado Steakhouse temporary crew lounge, sipping a glass of water. Steven and most of his staff had gone home for the night, the restaurant portion was closed down, and only a few crewmen were sitting in the room while Mary worked the bar.

“Get you another glass of water?” she asked him with a smirk.

“Please,” Stafford said, “But have the good stuff ready. This is all part of a genius plan we have to…actually, never mind. There’s no way I can spin this situation so any of us look good,”

“You look better than that guy, at least,” Mary said, gesturing towards the door.

Stafford turned to see Jeffery…er…The Enabler striding into the bar, his ill- fitting outfit sagging in some places and way too tight in others.

“Water? Why are ye drinkin’ that when there’s all this great beer on tap? Do ye know how much trouble the barkeep went to ta do this? Ye gotta show yer appreciation, mate!”

Acting time.

“You’re right,” Stafford said, trying to look disappointed, “But I promised Yanick and Wowryk that I wouldn’t drink tonight. They say it’s bad for my liver, even if it is synthehol. And of course they won’t let me touch the really good stuff…the real alcohol…”

“Go take a runnin’ f**k at a rollin’ doughnut! Have a beer! Ohh…or better yet, is that real Polish vodka I see on the shelf?”

Mary was just staring.

“Is that Lt Comd Je-“

“Quiet,” Stafford said out of the side of his mouth. He cleared his throat, “Gee, Jef…Enabler, I’m not sure I can do that. Wouldn’t my dear friends be upset?”

“With one little drink? Nawww….they’d never know, right? And besides, why would ye agree ta that? Yer not datin’ them. They don’t have any business telling ye what ye can and can’t do, right?”

“That is true,” Stafford said, pretending to think, “Well, maybe I could have one small sip,”

“Mix up a double, me good lass!” Jeffery slapped the bar-top, “What’s yer mixer? Och, whot am Ah sayin’? With that stuff, ye can’t mix it with sugary crap. Straight up!”

Stafford suddenly wondered just how long he’d be able to stall Jeffery.


“We haven’t seen him yet,” Rengs reported to Wowryk and Fifebee over the comm, “The message is out, we’re ready to go…he just hasn’t shown up,”

“Yanick? Can you poke around with the sensors? We’re sort of occupied at the moment,” Wowryk said. The women were back at the science complex, Wowryk going over the logs for the pharmaceutical synthesizer, wondering if there was some quirk of its Matrian design she had missed. Fifebee was examining the nearby workspaces and experiments to see if there was anything that might have accidentally contaminated the medication before they’d given it to their patients.

“Lieutenant Yanick to all Silverado personnel,” Yanick said, “Make sure you let us know if you see Comd Jall or Lt Comd Jeffery. They’re…well, if you see them, you’ll understand why. Yanick out.”

“TRISH!” Wowryk snapped, “Are you NUTS???”

“What?” Yanick twirled a strand of hair in one finger, “I don’t know why we didn’t do that sooner. They’ve got to be with someone from the crew,”

“They ARE Silverado personnel!” Wowryk pointed out, “You just tipped them off!”

Yanick put her hands on her hips.

“They ALREADY know we’re looking for them!” she shot back.

“Oh…good point.”

“Staf…Stafford to Yanick…” Stafford’s voice was slurred but hushed.

“Captain?” Yanick asked.

“Jeffery is here, as planned. But send…hic…send Valtaic or someone. I need backup. And be quick! Jeffery’s in the loo!”

“The what?”

“Bathroom…Staf…hic…Stafford out!”


Valtaic arrived in the nearly empty lounge and immediately caught Mary’s worried eye. She nodded to the end of the bar, where Stafford and the badly- dressed Enabler were raising their glasses in a toast.

“To good times!” Jeffery said, tapping his glass to Stafford’s, “And to doing whatever we want, no matter what other people say!”

“To…times…say…” Stafford slurred, then downed his drink.

“Hey, Spark-light!” Jeffery greeted Valtaic, “Get you a drink? It’s the good stuff,”

“Please,” Valtaic nodded. As Jeffery turned, Valtaic caught Mary’s eye again and gestured towards the far end of the bar, hoping to get some space for him and the Captain. Fortunately, Mary caught on immediately and moved to the far end.

“Oy! Barkeep!” Jeffery, well, The Enabler called, “Come back with that!”

“May I be of assistance?” Valtaic offered politely.

“Help,” Stafford muttered, his head falling onto the bar, “I over…over…overeshtimated what I could handle,”

“Why didn’t you ask Mary to switch your vodka for water?” Valtaic asked curiously.

“Shit,” Stafford muttered, “Good idea. Except I didn’t know he’d pick vodka…wait…I should have. I usually drink vodka, don’t I? Do I? I don’t remember.”

“May we simply apprehend him and end this ill-advised attempt at distraction?” Valtaic asked.

Stafford tried to shift his weight, but simply fell off the stool in a heap.

“Do as you…hic…think best,” he groaned.

“Yer drink!” The Enabler said cheerfully, handing Valtaic a glass full of something bright blue.

“Thank you,” Valtaic accepted the glass, raised it to take a drink, then caught Mary shaking her head in the background.

Thinking fast, he tossed the drink in Jeffery’s face then shot his arm out, going for the throat. Jeffery moved to block, grabbing his arm with both of his.

Valtaic surged, letting energy flow down his outstretched arm. Jeffery grunted, his grip tightening as Valtaic poured out power, sparks flying and bright blue bolts shooting out in all directions, but as he’d feared the stupid suit Jeffery was wearing was insulating him from the worst of it.

“Pretty,” Stafford muttered from the floor.

Valtaic extended his fingers, making contact with the wet portion of Jeffery’s suit, just above his breastbone. The effect was immediate, Jeffery flying back and falling to the floor, body jerking and spasming as rivulets of energy ran over him. Valtaic walked over and peeled off the mask, checking for a pulse and confirming that he’d knocked him out without killing him.

“Valtaic to Yanic,” he tapped his comm-badge “I have Jeffery. Please send somebody to collect him,”

Stafford groaned.

“And the Captain,” Valtaic added.


They got Jeffery back to the lab without incident. Once he was in position and suitably restrained, Wowryk started taking readings.

“There’re no cameras in here, are there?” Stafford asked, rubbing his head and sipping a glass of water. Wowryk had shot him up with an alcohol counter-agent and he merely felt like he should be dead.

“Why?” Wowryk asked.

“Because if anybody sees him like this, we’re going to be investigated for war-crimes,” Stafford said flatly.

The lab didn’t have any bio-beds, but it did have a maintenance rack for working on the Matrian construction bots. It was the right size and shape, and had a metal sheet for Jeffery to lie on. But the various tools and cutting arms for examining and repairing the bots were menacing, to say the least. And it didn’t help that Jeffery was secured to the frame with multiple metal shackles.

“It’s all we have at the moment,” Fifebee replied tersely, running a tricorder over Jeffery.

“Stern to Yanick,”

“Yanick here!” Yanick said brightly.

“We still haven’t seen Jall. And this Blood-wine kit that Kreklor put together is starting to fester,”

“You mean ferment? That’s what booze does,”

“No, from the smell we’re certain it’s festering.”

“It is supposed to smell like that!” Kreklor’s voice could be heard in the background.

“Seriously, we need him to show up and sort this out,” Rengs’ voice cut in, “If Maris sees the place like this, I’m dead,”

“Why didn’t you use Stern or Marsden’s place?” Yanick asked, “Aren’t they already messy?”

“My gaming rig is irreplaceable!” Marsden declared, “Do you know how long it takes for parts to arrive here?”

“And none of us are willing to go into Stern’s bedroom,” Rengs added, “So have you guys heard anything yet?”

“Nope,” Yanick said.

“Where is he?” Stafford wondered.


“Let me just explain to you how simple this is,” Jall…er…Captain Fabulous was saying, “You take off your shirt. And where do you put it?”

“Uh…”

“OK, I know, you clearly just toss it on the floor,” Jall, looking in disdain at the heaps of soiled cloths filling the small space, “How can you live in such squalor? And the SMELL? It’s like…a whole soccer team’s worth of sweaty socks! OK. Let’s try this again. Where SHOULD you put your laundry when you finish with it?”

“I…I just…”

“IF YOU’RE ABOUT TO SAY THAT YOU JUST THROW THEM OUT AND BUY A NEW ONE INSTEAD OF CLEANING THEM, I PROMISE YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE A VERY, VERY BAD DAY!” Jall bellowed.

Lab Technician First-Class Smedi shrunk back as Jall stalked around the small space, “And I don’t even SEE the dirty underwear! What did you do with it, Mister? Is it buried underneath? Did you put it in the matter-reclamator? That’s NASTY! That’s not what it’s for!”

Smedi groaned.

“Please leave,”

“NEVER!” Jall declared, “Not until we have this sorted out!”

“Yanick to all personnel,” Yanick’s voice came through Smedi’s comm badge, “Oh! I mean Silverado personnel! Sorry Haven folk, I probably woke a bunch of you up. Computer, remove all non-Silverado personnel from this call. OK people, we have The Enabler in the science complex! Keep an eye out for Ja…I mean, Captain Fabulous! Let me know if you see him!”

Jall’s eyes narrowed behind his mask.

“Sorry,” he said to Smedi, “We’ll take this up again, later.”

He left.

“This was not one of my better ideas,” Smedi muttered.


“Definitely a contaminant in the medication,” Wowryk was saying, “Some sort of organic compound, no idea what it is though. This computer can’t figure it out either.”

Fifebee leaned over to take a look.

“That’s the toad-based hallucinogenic,” she said, “But how…it’s in the quarantine lab down the hall? How in the name of nVidia did it get into the pharmaceutical synthesizer?”

“Worry about it later,” Stafford said tensely, “If he’s been listening to Yanick’s transmissions, he’ll be here any minute!”

They waited. And waited. And waited a little bit longer.

No sign of Jall.

“Stafford to Rengs,” Stafford tapped his comm-badge. He was feeling somewhat better, merely wishing to be unconscious instead of dead, “Any sign of him?”

“None,”

“I don’t get it,” Stafford said closing the channel, “We’ve got his nemesis all trussed up for him. We’ve got the perfect pit of filth just waiting for his…uh…special touch. Where is he?”

They thought for a moment.

“Comd Jall is aware that Lt Rengs is married?” Valtaic asked suddenly.

“Everybody is,” Stafford nodded.

“And in Terran culture, it is single, young, unmarried males who are more likely to be…in possession of poor life habits?”

“I had this girl roommate who thought that it was OK to pee in the shower,” Yanick spoke up.

“I see where you’re going with this,” Stafford nodded, “No, Trish, not you, that’s disgusting. But yeah, Valtaic. Shit. Why would he show up at the Rengs’ place? His wife is a school teacher, for crying out loud! You could probably eat off their floors!”

“Or you could have before his squad-mates got to them,” T’Parief chuckled.

“But we have Jeffery-“

“Jall…Captain Fabulous must have something more important in mind than defeating his arch-enemy,” T’Parief grumbled.

“Well, if Jeffery counts as an arch-enemy, Yanick giggled, “I mean, we got him fairly easily, right? Besides, I think Jall’s probably more concerned with muddy footprints than beating up Simon,”

“But beating up Simon was almost all he could think about when he had the mood swings!” Stafford frowned.

“And yet,” T’Parief said, “He is not here.”

They all frowned.

“What would draw him?” Stafford wondered, “How do you get the attention of a man obsessed with stamping out…I don’t know. Unhealthy eating? Lazy housekeeping? General slobbery?”

“And he knows that the one man most likely to stop him,” Valtaic gestured to Jeffery, “Has been restrained.”

“Oh!” Yanick jumped up, “The miners!”

“What? Kids? They still live with their parents,” Stafford shook his head, “Or in the Matrian communal creches, whatever,”

“Miners, sir, not minors,” Yanick said.

“Hey, that’s somebody else’s joke. But what about them? The miners?”

“You head Jeffery talk about the replicator credit roll-over, right?”

“Yeah,”

“Well, the mining teams they brought up to Haven after it landed on this moon?” Yanick asked, “Last replicator credit roll-over night, they booked one of the empty lounges near the ore processing center between Shipyard 4 and Shipyard 5. They brought up strippers from Matria Prime, got one of the Shipyard One crew to DJ, and bribed a Haven technician to override the synthehol limits on the replicators. The only thing they didn’t do was arrange for a clean-up crew,”

“Would Jall know about this?” Stafford demanded.

“They asked if he’d be willing to be a stripper, for the last one,” Yanick shrugged, “I dunno about this one,”

“Did he say…no. I don’t want to know. But why didn’t he go straight there?”

“Too many people?” T’Parief mused, “He is only one man. Attempting to annoy so many, and with the risk of Jeffery showing up…”

“Why didn’t Jeffery go there?” Stafford asked.

“I doubt they needed MORE enabling,” Wowryk offered still working away at her station.

“If he’s not there already, we’ll try to beat him to it,” Stafford ordered, “Wowryk, Sylvia, Fifebee, try to figure out how to reverse the effects of the medication. Or the contaminant. Whatever. The rest of you, with me,”

They quickly left.

“A countering agent for the toad secretions is easy,” Fifebee said to Wowryk as Sylvia checked that Jeffery’s restraints weren’t too tight, “That had to be created before testing it could even begin, even Crewman Milth knew that.”

“Right,” Wowryk replied, “But it can’t be that simple. His test subjects acted erratically, but not with the…er…conviction that Jeffery and Jall are showing. What else could be at play here?”

“Sylvia? My analysis engine is currently processing another query,” Fifebee asked.

“It could be a result on their fixation on each other post-concussion,” Sylvia said, after a moment of thought that represented an inhuman level of data processing, “Or external suggestion influencing him. Possibly hypnotic,”

“I don’t feel like I’m under the influence. In fact, I feel pretty good,” Jall’s voice rang out.

“Fifebee!” Sylvia warned, but too late. Jall tossed a device the size of a grenade between the two holographic women. It popped with a dull sound, like a watermelon hitting pavement, then the two of them started flickering in and out, their features blurring, colours bleeding.

“Ionization grenade,” Captain Fabulous explained to Wowryk, pulling one of his electrified knives out of his belt, “Won’t damage a thing, not even a mark on the floor. But it screws up holograms something fierce,”

“Their programs are still in the computer,” Wowryk said defiantly, “They’ll be fine,”

“Oh, sweetie, I’m counting on it!” Capt Fabulous gave a reassuring gesture, “Sylvia has been my greatest ally among this crew, her efforts to save you from yourselves have been nothing short of heroic! Well, OK, she shouldn’t let the Canadian eat so much cheese, but still! And Fifebee is just so…so…CLEAN! It’s too bad her staff got her into this current mess!”

“What’s a Canadian?” Wowryk asked, trying to stall him as she reached for the comm-panel.

“Stop!” Capt Fabulous snapped, gesturing with the knife. Wowryk lunged for the panel, but the knife flicked out. It barely scratched her, but the electric shock still knocked her to the ground.

“Well shoot,” Jall muttered as he accessed a panel, shut down Fifebee’s program and Sylvia’s data link, “Now I’ll have to carry her,”


“Sylvia to Stafford,”

“Stafford here,” Stafford tapped his comm-badge. They were almost at the miner’s event, and he was breathing a bit heavy from the rush.

“I think we may have a prob-“ The channel abruptly closed.

“Stafford to Sylvia,” he tried. No answer.

“Stafford to Fifebee? Stafford to Wowryk?”

No answer.

“Uh-oh,” Yanick muttered.

“Do we go back?” T’Parief asked.

“We don’t know if it’s Jall, or if Jeffery escaped,” Valtaic pointed out.

Stafford thought for a moment.

“T’Parief, you and I will check out the mining crew event,” he said, “Valtaic, take Yanick and head back to the science labs,”

“Ohh, yeah, let’s split up!” Yanick said, “Cuz that always works so well,”

“Got a better idea?”

“Well…no.”

“C’mon,” Stafford said to T’Parief.

It didn’t take long to find the mining event. The Matrian miners may have been part of an alien race, but they were still a race of social primates that had followed an evolutionary path similar to humans. The music was alien, but it was loud. The smells coming from the refreshments were not appetizing, but they were still food. And the collection of miners would have put any human male labourers to shame, but they were still making their best effort to use up any remaining replicator rations any of them might have had left.

“Do you see Jall?” Stafford asked.

“No,” T’Parief replied. He continued to scan the room, “Look!”

He pointed at a small glint of metal sitting on the floor near one corner. Stafford moved closer, then realized it was a Starfleet comm badge. He reached to pick it up, only at the last second hearing T’Parief’s startled cry and noticing the wire that ran from the badge.

There was a jolt of pain up his arm, then everything went black.


Stafford woke up feeling terrible. Between the alcohol, the antidote, whatever had just hit him, and the fact that it was way past his bedtime, it was really turning into a crappy night.

“Wow, that sucked,”

“Oh good,” a familiar voice said, “You’re alive. And apparently you don’t have brain damage. At least nothing significant.”

“Wowryk?” he asked.

“Not just me,” Wowryk said.

Stafford opened his eyes and found himself on a small bunk, in a small room with a number of illuminated bars obstructing the exit. A brig.

“Me too,” Yanick’s voice, also not sounding happy, “And T’Parief is tied up in his own cell,”

“I as well,” Valtaic said. There was a sloshing sound.

“Why…why are we in a Matrian brig?” Stafford asked.

“You thought I was going to rush in to get The Enabler? With all of you just waiting to pounce?” Captain Fabulous strode calmly into view, his carefully tailored outfit still fitting perfectly, “You realize I’m fairly smart, right? I know what bait is.”

“Apparently I don’t,” Stafford grumbled, eyeing the red comm-badge shaped mark on his hand.

“Apparently you don’t,” Captain Fabulous went on, “All I needed to do was bide my time, and wait until you started to split up! Now, I can bring you all to justice!”

“Us? What did we do?” Wowryk demanded.

“There’s the matter of an entire laboratory full of illegal experiments!” Captain Fabulous snapped.

“Ohhh, goody,” Stafford groaned, “Somebody else’s fuck-up coming to bite me in the ass,”

“As Captain, responsible, crew, command, yada-yada-yada,” Capt Fabulous said, “But really, you people just prove my point! First it’s improper disposal of food scraps, bad hygiene and piss-poor housekeeping, the next thing you know you’ve got flesh-eating bacteria run amok, dangerous technology threatening to destroy the known universe and genetic plagues ready to wipe out whole species!”

“Or turn them into an unstoppable wave of destruction,” T’Parief pointed out.

“Just as bad,” Fabulous rolled his eyes.

“I beg to differ,”

“He has a point,” Wowryk said, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,”

“So what now? You kill us?” Stafford demanded

“No, of course not,” Fabulous looked surprised, “I’ve left an anonymous little note with Haven security. They’ll be here any minute now.”

“And you’ll just hand us over?” Stafford asked.

“That’s the mature thing to do,”

“Gee, OK then Captain Fabulous,” Stafford tried to look contrite, but was having a hard time keeping the smile off his face, “We give up. We’ll just sit quietly until they arrive.”

Fabulous was suspicious.

“Why-“

WHAM!”

The Enabler slammed into him from behind, knocking him to the ground. Pieces of the improvised restraints that had held him to the bot frame still dangled here and there, shiny edges showing where something had cut through them. Probably the broken off piece of metal that looked like it used to be part of said bot frame and was now being brandished by The Enabler like a club.

They struggled, rolling across the floor, arms reaching, legs kicking and heads either head-butting, or turning to avoid head-butts.

“Wait, I’m confused,” Yanick said, “Why is Jef…uh, The Enabler trying to help us?”

“Because his stated purpose is to enable us to indulge our bad habits,” Valtaic exclaimed. Stafford could see now that inside his cell he was half-submerged in a tub of water, probably to prevent him from zapping anything. Or anybody.

“But WE tied him up!”

“That was YE!!??” The Enablers head snapped towards Yanick, “Ah thought it was part of HIS plan!”

“Oops,” Yanick muttered.

The Enabler didn’t have time to further contemplate the issue, as Fabulous attempted to flatten his nose.

“Shouldn’t we be trying to escape?” Wowryk asked.

“Oh, I think I have it covered,” Stafford said, “Something Jall mentioned earlier.”

“Really,” Wowryk did not appear confident.

The doors to the brig area hissed open and a mix of Starfleet and Matrian security personnel stormed in, led by a man who looked like each muscle probably needed its own area code.

“What the hell?” he demanded.

“Yeah, hi,” Stafford waved politely, “We’re being held against our will. Could you stun those two and let us out?”

“What’s this about illegal experiments?” the man, presumably Haven’s security chief, demanded.

“They’re both nuts,” Stafford said.

“Uh-huh,” the security guy looked doubtful.

“You’ve got it covered, huh?” Wowryk muttered.

“Also,” Stafford pointed at Jall, “He was telling us about this tattoo you have that he thinks is just hilarious,”

Jall never even knew what hit him. But it was the security guy. Throwing him into a wall.

Hard.

Jeffery tried to run, making it all of two steps before three different security guards had him pinned to the ground.

In less than ten seconds, it was all over.


Captain’s Personal Log:


“OK, that wasn’t the best way to resolve that issue. After Lt Stoneryder pasted Jall to the wall, we managed to convince him that everything was fine, there were no illegal experiments, and Jall and Jeffery were just the victims of contaminated medication. After he let Wowryk out, she got Fifebee and Sylvia back online and, using proper bio-beds this time, restrained the two until the effects wore off. Then I got to send off the big pile of paperwork to Starfleet explaining all about the illegal experiments, how we shut them down, dealt with the perpetrators, etc, etc.”

“Needless to say I had an unpleasant visit with Captain Simplot. Then the Matrian Science Ministry. Then the Federation Ambassador decided to weigh in. So all in all, it’s been a pretty bad day,”


“How did Jeffery escape, anyway?” Jall asked.

“Please, he’s an engineer,” Stafford said, “And both of you were listening in on our comms calls. As soon as I realized he’d been left alone, I knew it was just a matter of time before he’d break free and come after you.”

“I can’t help but notice,” Jall said, “That most of the problem was Fifebee’s staff’s fault, not me or Jeffery. Did they figure out how the medication was contaminated, by the way? Or why we fixated on what we did?”

“No,” Stafford said, “They were too busy filling out the ‘Man, we really screwed up, but we really, really promise not to do it again’ paperwork.”

“Well, I’m sorry I zapped you with an electro-knife,” Jall said.

“Never mind that you threw out my only box of KD!”

“Which is why,” Jall brandished a wooden spoon in Stafford’s direction, “I’m making you REAL macaroni and cheese!”

“Goody,” Stafford grumbled.

“Rengs to Jall,”

Jall juggled the cooking implements he was holding and managed to hit his comm-badge,”

“Yes?”

“Sir, I really, really need your help!” Rengs hissed. In the background, they could hear the sound of angry, female shouting “My marriage depends on it!”

“Oh yeah,” Stafford winced, “I forgot about him. Man, I bet his wife is pissed.”

“Be there shortly, I just have to get this casserole in the oven!” Jall said cheerfully.

“I’d really appreciate it if you hurried! Rengs out.”

“Please, don’t stress on my account,” Stafford said, looking at the pile of pasta and uncooked cheese.

“Well, here then,” Jall handed him the wooden spoon and a cookbook padd, “You cook it. As for me, it’s Captain Fabulous, to the rescue!”

“Just GO!”



Tags: silverado