Author: Anthony Butler
HISTORIAN’S NOTE: This book takes place shortly after the re-construction of Waystation.
Some Hippy Idiot
UNITED FEDERATION OF FUN
THE FUNSHIP SECONDPRIZE
“The Multek vessels are closing on us fast,” Andrea
Sulli-fun called out from the helm console. “They’ll
finish off our shields in less than a minute.”
“Damn,” Happymaster Travvy Dillon cursed to himself,
gripping the helm console as another burst from the Multek
vessel pounded the Secondprize’s shields. “And where, pray
tell, are our reinforcements?”
“Emperor Webber has sent the Enterprise to assist,”
Patty Hawkins said happily from the tactical console.
“Picard will help us.”
“You ditz!” Travvy shrieked in panic. “That
insufferable, effiminate, sherrry-drinking bastard has
wanted my job from day one!”
“Happymaster, surely you’re not saying that another
Federation Funship would–”
“I’m not saying anything. What’s the ETA of the
“Just under a minute,” Sulli-fun ticked off.
“Put their approach on the viewscreen and get me an
open frequency as soon as they’re in range.”
Suddenly the doors to the aft turbolift swished open
and the irritating squeak of rubber brushing against rubber
poured onto the bridge.
Travvy didn’t have to turn around to see who was
breathing heavily behind him. “Lisa-love. I thought I
told you to remain belowdecks.”
“It’s awful lonely down there,” Lisa-love said, running a
finger through Travvy’s hair.
Travvy whirled around. “I’m kind of busy now,
darling. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!”
Lisa-love had become more and more annoying ever since she
had given up her command status to act as Travvy’s faithful
love servant. Such had been the price of her loss of
Playstation to the rebels. Without that loss, thought
Travvy wryly, he probably wouldn’t be in the predicament he
was in right now.
“Shields have failed!” Patty called out, glaring
jealously at Lisa-love. “Our hull is compromised on three
“What about the Enterprise?” Travvy called back,
ignoring Lisa-love for the moment.
Commander Zackie Ford looked up from his panel.
“Coming in on a vector of three two one mark zero at full
impulse. They’re fending off the Multeks, Happymaster!”
Travvy smiled fiendishly. “Maybe Picard has a trace
of honor left in him. Get him on-screen.”
The view of scattering Multek ships suddenly gave way
to a view of the Enterprise’s sassy and bright bridge,
decorated with a satisfactory splash of color over sensible
wood-paneled walls and oriental rugs.
Captain Jean-jean Picard stepped into view, causing
Travvy to immediately scrub a hand down his bearded face.
Picard was still wearing that silly sailor’s outfit, along
with its outlandish tassled Captain’s hat. Something about
the Enterprise’s original lineage inspired the warped man to
wear the outfit, and he had once told Travvy that the pants
made him feel powerful.
The Happymaster shivered as Picard addressed him.
“Hello, Travvy. How nice it is to see you again. I see
I caught you in a spot of trouble.”
“Yes, um, thanks for the help,” Travvy replied
Picard nodded. “We can negotiate my…payment later,
sweetheart. What I need from you is a deal. It seems your
ship is damaged and you are almost defenseless. It would be
a shame if it was…beyond repair.”
“What are you talking about, Jean-jean?” Travvy asked
angrily. He didn’t like the sound of this. “Aside from
some hull fractures, the Secondprize is fine.”
Patty suddenly looked up from her panel in horror.
An array of panels exploded behind her, throwing her
over her station and to the ground.
Zackie jumped over the tactical railing and assessed
the situation. “They just knocked out our first and third
command processors, your Happyness!”
On the viewscreen, Picard twirled a hand in the air
happily. “Frere Travvy, Frere Travvy, dormez-vous, dormez
vous? Sonner la matina, Sonner la matina…”
“He’s going to destroy us just so he can take over
your job?” Lisa-love asked angrily from behind Travvy.
“It would certainly seem that way,” Travvy said,
annoyed. “Damn ladderclimber.”
Picard turned again to face Travvy. “Morning bells
are ringing for you, brother Travvy. Will you wake up, or
shall I put you to sleep…permanently?”
With a wave of the Frenchman’s hand, another spread of
torpedoes crashed into the Secondprize.
“Breaches all over the secondary hull. Massive
casualties coming in, Happyness!” Ford called out from
“Well, this is a pickle,” Travvy said thoughtfully.
“This is a pickle?” Lisa-love said frantically. “A
PICKLE? Is that all you can say?”
“What would you like me to say? That I know a way to
get us out of this in one piece? Ha. I wish I did.”
Suddenly Ford looked up from his panel in amazement.
“Happyness, a vessel just decloaked off our bow. It’s the
“As if we didn’t have enough problems,” Lisa-love
Five beams suddenly coalesced on the bridge of the
Secondprize. Before anyone on the ruined bridge could
react, they were felled with phaser blasts, until Travvy and
Lisa-love were the only crewmembers left standing.
One of the members of the party stepped forward,
looking Lisa-love and Travvy up and down incredulously. “Fancy
meeting you two here,” Dr. Singer said ironically. “Call
me sentimental, but I wanted to see my old ship one last
time before it’s destroyed.”
“You’re nuts, Becky,” Travvy said. “What do you
hope to accomplish by being here?”
“If I’m lucky,” Singer shrugged, clamping a hand
down on Travvy and Lisa-love’s wrists. “A sweet ransom for you
two pretties. Singer to Defiant. Pull us out.”
Before Travvy or Lisa-love could protest, they were gone
in an electric shimmer.
“Merde! Where did they come from!” Picard cried from
the command chair, batting its armrests like a child having
Commander Data turned from his position at ops.
“Presumably, they decloaked, Captain.”
“Well, destroy them!”
“That is easier said than done, sir,” Data said.
“They have recloaked, on an apparent course back to
Picard turned back to regard Lt. Woofie at tactical.
“Then transport the Yynsian aboard so we can interrogate
him and destroy the Secondprize. I’ve grown tired of looking at
“The pleasure is all mine,” the towering Klingon said
in a cartoony voice. Picard felt that Woofie had way too
much hostility ever since he had forced him to divide his
ponytail into two cute, girlish pigtails.
Picard watched in satisfaction as beams lashed out at
the Secondprize, burning through its engineering hull and
incinerating the warp core shielding, until the whole thing
exploded in a bright dance of light.
The Captain took his hat off and turned to face his
bridge crew, a solemn expression on his face. “Ladies and
gentlemen, the Secondprize is a loss. As is the former
Happymaster.” He sniffed and wiped a tear from his eye.
“Contact the Emperor with the bad news. Then submit my
application, along with my resume and a few good references.
And try to get the spelling right this time, Woofie.”
Woofie nodded as he carried out the orders. “Shall I
contact our allies in case something should go wrong?”
Picard giggled jovially. “Yes, yes, Mr. Woofie. At
any rate, they will make charming companions at the party I
shall throw once we retake Playstation.”
“Goodie,” Woofie said giddily.
Data turned a gaze up to Picard. “If I may ask, sir,
how can we be sure that Happymaster Dillon is dead? Perhaps
he was beamed away by the team from the Defiant.”
“I’m sure he was, Data,” Picard said, leaning down and
putting a hand on Data’s shoulder. “That’s why we’re going
to chase them all to Playstation and put an end to this be-
damned rebel menace once and for all. You’d like that,
“Yes, sir,” Data nodded.
Picard gave him a little nudge on the chin. “I knew
you would. Now prepare my bath and my ducky. I feel like
splashing around a bit before we reach Playstation.”
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
Waves of joy spread throughout the billowing pink
plasma eternity that was the Crebius cluster. Inside, a
giant eyeball spastically bounced back and forth like a
tennisball. The eyeball represented a link between the
higher, transcendent functions of the beings known to many
in the Delta Quadrant as “The Directors” and the corporeal
beings they liked to call “The Audience.”
The Directors thought they had everything planned up
until and including the moment when the Starship from the
Other Side ripped through their dwelling and seared it with
a weapon that they had not expected. A weapon that pushed
their evolved, transcendent brains past the point of sanity
and well into an unbearable, but happy, oblivion.
The year and a half that passed since that unfortunate
moment saw no ease to the madness that afflicted these
peaceful creatures. Months ago they had reconciled
themselves to the fact that it simply would never end.
Then, finally, the Starship that had afflicted them pushed
into them again, causing their innermost being to be warped
even more. They didn’t know what to do; they’d never
confronted emotions like the ones that surged through them.
Happy-sappy-happy emotions. So they did the only thing they
could as they caressed the hull of that Nebul-class vessel.
They pushed and pulled and tore at the purple clouds around
them…turning the very make-up of the cluster and its
corresponding link with the Bermuda Expanse in the Alpha
If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to
If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.
And the Starship responded by plunging right through
them toward whatever lie on the other side.
:) CHAPTER ONE
Stardate 52605.5. We’re currently docked at
Waystation while the Explorer is resupplied for another trip
into the fringes of Beta Quadrant. It’s been an interesting
few months, but I’m glad to see some familiar sights again.
Space can be a pretty darn lonely place if you let it get to
you. That’s why I’m glad to know that we can return to a
friendly little port of call like Waystation.
“Well?” Lt. Hartley asked, trying to get a glimpse of
Lt. J’hana behind the menu she was reading. “What do you
“Silence,” J’hana barked, returning her eyes to the
menu. She had been looking forward to trying out the
Andorian restaurant on Waystation for quite some time, since
she hadn’t had the time to try it the previous times she had
been in the area. Unfortunately, J’hana had run into Lt.
Hartley en route to the restaurant, and the transporter chief
seemed intent on going along with J’hana to sample the
“I don’t know about you, J’hana, but I’m getting
really worried about that stench coming from the kitchen.
It smells like burning rubber.”
“That smell, Lieutenant, is bashtak, and it only gives
off that odor when it is very fresh,” J’hana said briskly.
“Maybe I’ll just have a hamburger.”
J’hana slammed the menu down so hard it shook the
table. “You are at an Andorian restaurant. You WILL NOT
have a hamburger. There is a Sandwhich Star stand just on
the other side of the food court if that is what you wish to
eat. Otherwise, you will eat what I order and you will not
“I can only hope the food is half as good as the
conversation,” Hartley muttered, picking up her own menu
and trying to make sense of it. “Why couldn’t you get us
Federation Standard menus anyway?”
J’hana made an irritated noise. “I read Federation
Standard every single day. I speak Federation Standard
every day. I hear Federation Standard every day. If I have
the opportunity to speak and read my native tongue, I will
“Gotcha,” Hartley replied, going back to her menu. Her
latest attempt to be nice to the only person on the Explorer
crew that was grumpier than she was not going as well as
“Hello, ladies,” a man in a well-tailored suit said
excitedly, approaching behind J’hana and Hartley and pulling
up a chair. “Here from the Explorer?”
“Go away,” J’hana said, without looking up from her
The man turned to Lt. Hartley withoug missing a beat.
“Could I take a moment to talk to you about being prepared?”
“You heard my friend. Scram,” Hartley said.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” the man replied,
pulling a card out of his jacket and handing it to Hartley.
“The name’s Bradley Dillon, and I am the CEO of Dillon
Enterprises. We are dedicated to advancing exploration,
much like you. You two enjoy discovering new cultures and
“It’s a living,” J’hana muttered, not looking up from
“Well, what if I said I could offer you two the chance
to explore the galaxy without the constraints of Federation
law? We would have a powerful ship, all the equipment we’d
ever need–and adventure beyond your wildest dreams.”
“We get plenty of adventure without your help, Mr.
Dillon,” Hartley said.
“That may be. But you know what you don’t have?
Risk! Sure, it’s all well and good to visit the far reaches
of space in a Galaxy-class starship. Anyone could do that.
Hell, they’re even sending families out there. But we could
go places that even your fancy ship doesn’t dare venture.
What would you say to a trip to the Galactic Core? We could
meet God, have a nice catered lunch, then catch a holonovel.
It would be so much fun!”
“I would say the Galactic Core is off-limits to…adventurers,”
J’hana said, turning a dark grimace on Bradley.
“Sure it is. That’s why they call it risk! How can
you take an authorized risk?” he turned back to Hartley.
“I’m prepared to offer you this trip for a very reasonable
price. I’d even offer my services as guide absolutely
free.” Bradley turned back to J’hana. “And you both could
come. The more the merrier.”
J’hana considered what Bradley said thoughtfully. “So,
Mr. Dillon. You say you are an expert in making
“Then I have something for you to prepare for.
Prepare to have your scrotum ripped off and crammed into
your ears!” J’hana lunged across the table at Bradley and
knocked him back to the floor.
“Help!” Bradley cried, as J’hana pushed him into a dirt-
filled circle at the center of the restaurant. It appeared
to be a sandbox or a rock garden of some sort.
“Mishtak!” one of the Andorian waiters cried out.
“Gather everyone, and place your bets. Mishtak has begun!”
Hartley squeezed past the gathering crowd and looked to
the waiter. His nametag read “Baughb.”
“A traditional Andorian restaurant brawl. I told the
manager that it would be useless to put in the Mishtak
circle–that we didn’t get many Andorians in here. But now
I’m glad he didn’t listen to me.”
Hartley watched in dismay as J’hana rammed sand into
Bradley’s mouth. “And what exactly is the point of this?”
“The winner recieves a free meal,” Baughb explained.
“Mercy! Mercy!” Bradley cried, scrambling out of the
circle and darting off through the crowd.
He slammed right into Lt. Commander Walter Morales, who
had been attracted by all the noise.
“What’s the problem here?” Morales asked, looking down
at Bradley and then over to J’hana, who dusted her uniform off
“That woman attacked me!” Bradley cried. “I was just
trying to make conversation and she nearly killed me!”
“Is that right, Lieutenant?” Morales asked, turning to
“According to Andorian by-laws, I responded to his
challenge within the constraints of custom. And since the
challenge was made in a restaurant, I am entitled to a free meal.”
“Right away,” Baughb said, disappearing into the kitchen.
“Well, I don’t know much about Andorian law, but I
know we don’t condone brawls in any part of this station,”
Morales said. “This will be reported to your commanding
“I will try to recover from that, Commander,” J’hana
said, picking her seat up and sitting back down. “Now,
Lieutenant Hartley, prepare to have an excellent meal.”
Morales raised a hand to say something else, but then
decided to leave well enough alone. He turned on a heel and
left the restaurant.
“You haven’t heard the last from me,” Bradley said, as he
scuttled back towards his store. “I plan on filing an
official protest with the Federation council!”
“Be gone, cretin!” J’hana shouted.
“So, do you feel better now that that’s out of your
system, J’hana?” Hartley asked, watching Bradley scramble
off with satisfaction.
“Much better,” J’hana said. She watched as the waiter
lowered two dishes in front of them.
Hartley looked down at the squirming, furry lump on her
plate. It was drenched in some kind of milky yellow fluid.
“What is this?”
“Smothered Naardit,” J’hana explained as she withdrew
her ceremonial blade and cut into the furry lump, causing
air to seep out of it with a puff. Hartley sniffed as the
steam escaped and immediately thought she would be sick.
“For Pete’s sake, J’hana, it smells like raw sewage!”
“Only when very fresh.” J’hana picked up a fork and
For her part, Hartley pushed the plate away and hurried
over to the Sandwich Star.
Captain Andy Baxter stepped out of the turbolift
and gave a cursory look around Ops.
“Can I help you?” a man in a blue-collared uniform
asked from the science station.
“I was looking for Commander Beck,” Baxter said,
looking the man over a moment. “Hey, I know you. Craig
Porter looked Baxter over a moment, perplexed. His
eye caught on Baxter’s captain’s pips. “Can’t say I
remember you, Captain.”
“Baxter, Andy Baxter!”
Porter looked down. “Not familiar.”
“We served on the same ship together for more than two
years! And we came through here a few months ago and saved
this system from Flarn annihilation. Doesn’t any of that
ring a bell?”
“Well, I don’t really have that great a memory.”
“Sure you do. I remember when we were on the
Secondprize you used to memorize shield prefix codes as a
hobby. It was amazing.”
“Yeah,” Porter grunted, clearing his throat and
adjusting his collar. “Well, that’s numbers.”
“I’ll take it from here, Craig,” Commander Lisa Beck’s
calm voice said from behind Porter. The Lieutenant let out
a long, relieved breath. “What do you want, Captain?” Beck
asked, eying Baxter suspiciously.
Baxter held up his hands in surrender. “Just to talk.
Listen, I know when the Aerostar left here and got tossed to
the Delta Quadrant we weren’t on the best of terms, and I
don’t like being on anyone’s bad side.”
Beck looked at Baxter thoughtfully and sighed, turning
on a heel, gesturing toward her office. “Fine. C’mon.”
Lieutenant Sean Russell crossed over to the science
console, watching as Baxter and Beck disappeared behind the
doors of Beck’s office. “What’s he doing here?”
“The Explorer’s in for resupply and I guess Captain
Baxter wants to make amends with the Commander.”
“Poor woman,” Russell said, lowering his head in
“What about me? I had to talk to him too.”
“Listen, their Chief Surgeon pulled skewers right out
of my chest and walked away!”
Porter examined his panel and then looked back up.
“The whole crew is full of crackpots. Why do you think they
were sent to the Delta Quadrant in the first place?
Starfleet wanted to get rid of them.”
Russell nodded. “Yeah, well, I wonder what the
chances are that they’ll get lost again.”
“Don’t hold your breath.”
“The usual, Commander?” Mirk asked, putting down the
glass he was polishing as Commander Conway slumped into a
seat at the bar.
“Um, no. Uh, why don’t you just make it a Yynsian
herbal tea with a sprinkle of umgee root.”
Mirk staggered back, as if he was just hit with a
phaser. “Excuse me? Herbal tea? Are you kidding?
Commander, you’ve ordered the same thing for a year and a
half. Why change now?”
Conway shot Mirk a very serious look. “Man cannot
live by coffee alone. Anyway, it’s important to be open
about your tastes. That’s part of what exploration is all
“Uh-huh. Commander, could you turn around real
Conway dutifully slid off his barstool and turned
around, then resumed his seat. “What was that for?”
Mirk shrugged. “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t
have an alien neural parasite attached to your neck.”
“Enough funny stuff Mirk, just get the damn drink,”
Conway grumbled, pounding the bar in frustration.
The Maloxian ducked down and called up the drink on
the replicator. “There we go, that’s the Commander Conway I
Mirk pushed the steaming drink across the bar to
Conway and moved down the length of the bar to help another
customer, idly wondering what it was that possessed Conway
to change his drink order. Whatever it was, it was serious
At that moment, Dr. Lana Shar, the Explorer’s colony
specialist, seated herself in front of Mirk, just a few
stools down from Conway. “Hi, Mirk. I’ll have a Yynsian
herbal tea with a sprinkle of–”
”–umgee root,” Mirk finished. Suddenly it all seemed
to make sense.
“Yeah, how did you know?” Lana asked with interest.
“Well, it was just–”
Suddenly Mirk heard a loud, gutteral noise from the
general vicinity of Commander Conway. “Over here, Mirk!”
”–a hunch,” Mirk finished, quickly handing Lana her
drink and scuttling over to Commander Conway.
The First Officer immediately grabbed Mirk by his wide
collars and pulled him close. “Listen, I guess you know now
why I ordered the herbal tea. Now I suggest you keep your
little Maloxian mouth shut about it or I’ll punt you out
the nearest airlock. You get it?”
Mirk pulled back, straightening his collar. “You’re a
deeply loving person, Commander.”
“Tell me about it,” Conway said, picking up his drink
quickly and scurrying over to where Lana was sitting.
There was already a crewperson sitting in the left seat,
so Conway darted for the right one, just as a young female
yeoman slid into place on the stool.
“Ahem,” Conway said, burning a gaze down at the
yeoman. “Yeoman Huffmann, I believe Lt. Tilleran
requested your prescence in Science Lab Two to repair the
“I just did that,” Huffmann protested.
“Well, go do it again!” Conway said, in the loudest
whisper he could manage.
Huffmann was about to object, but then she looked
up and saw the burning anger in Conway’s eyes. Without
another word she slid out of the chair and made for the
“Commander?” Lana said, turning. “I thought I heard
Conway quickly dove into his seat and crossed his
legs, trying to look as comfortable as possible. “Lana! I
didn’t know you were even sitting there. And how are you?”
“Fine. You know, no complaints.”
“Refill anyone?” Mirk suddenly asked, appearing behind
the bar near Lana and Commander Conway. “I know
Commander Conway loves that herbal tea. He orders it all
Conway cleared his throat again. “Mirk!”
Lana just laughed. Mirk was about to reply, when
suddenly he jerked backwards spasmodically into a row of
bottles, then flailed forward toward Commander Conway and
The Commander watched Mirk tumble toward him with
concern. “Conway to Sickbay, Medical Emerg-ARRRRRRGGGGH!”
Mirk slammed into Conway’s mug, causing it to flip and
dump its entire payload of herbal tea onto his crotch.
Lana shook her head worriedly as Conway hit the
“That had to hurt.”
“Listen, Commander, I know our procedures might seem a
little odd, but we’re really very much the same,” Baxter
said, eying the model of the Secondprize on Beck’s sparse
desk as he talked.
“How do you figure?” Beck asked dully, sliding a cup
of coffee in front of Baxter and collapsing into her chair.
“We’re both Starfleet commanders…dedicated to duty,
goodness, and the freedom of all God’s little creatures!”
Beck shook her head. Baxter sounded like a Public
Service Announcement. “Spare me, Captain. I’ve read some
of your Starfleet reports. They scare me. Why, the Beldana
Two incident alone–”
“Hey, why do people keep bringing that up? Men have
needs! And that government official threw herself on me!”
”–coupled with your complete disregard for the Prime
Directive, and any other Starfleet rule you come across.”
Beck scrolled through a data padd which presumably carried
some of the reports. “You murdered the leader of a tribe of
“Now that wasn’t my fault. The runabout was out of
“You lost your first officer in the Nexus Ribbon!”
“But we got him back! And had a nice breakfast on top
Beck kept scrolling. “Your ship was embedded in a
“It was a dimensional kind of thing!”
“Your whole crew was driven insane by some kind of
“I wasn’t even there for that. You’ll have to talk to
Commander Conway about–”
“You created an assistant–in a laboratory?”
“Don’t even get me started,” Baxter said with a shake
of his head. “Listen, I’ve been over all of this before
with Starfleet Admirals and fellow officers. If you take a
good look at the records of both the Explorer and the
Aerostar, you’ll see we really did accomplish a lot of good.
We stabilized an entire quadrant for God’s sake.”
“By calling in the Borg?”
“That wasn’t my idea, trust me.”
“The fact that a man like you can be put in command of
a starship–one that’s crewed by people who clearly have no
business aboard a starship in the first place–scares me, Captain.”
“Hey, the Secondprize wasn’t exactly the most
competent ship in the fleet,” Baxter countered.
“I never said it was. But at least over there…well,
there was some kind of order. Some kind of sense.”
“We have sense and order. I think you’re just getting
the wrong idea–”
“Browning to Baxter,” Baxter’s comm badge chirped. Beck
rolled her eyes at this. Her experience with Browning in the
Food Court a year and a half ago was not pleasant.
“Baxter here. What do you want, Doctor?”
“I just thought you might want to know that Mirk is in
some kind of coma over here, and Commander Conway has
second-and third-degree burns all over his crotch.”
“I see,” Baxter said, looking to Beck, who shot him an
“I told you so” look. “Well, can you figure out what’s
wrong with Mirk?”
“Not yet, only that there’s a great amount of activity
in his cerebral cortex. I’m not sure, but it may have to do
with his powers.”
“Powers?” Beck asked.
“Our bartender has certain…special abilities,”
Baxter said, returning to his conversation with Browning. “Put
an ice pack on the Commander and keep me informed on Mirk’s
“Aye, sir. Browning out.”
“You were saying?” Beck asked.
Baxter raised a finger to speak, when another comm
badge bleeped. This time it was Beck’s.
“Morales to Beck. Commander, there’s something I think
you should be made aware of.”
“Go ahead,” Beck said with a sigh.
“One of Captain Baxter’s officers, a Lieutenant J’hana,
was just involved in a disturbance at the Andorian restaurant
in the food court.”
“Uh, yes, Ma’am. How did you-“
“I had an Andorian roomate at the Academy. Who was
the unlucky Mishtakee?”
“Bradley Dillon. He says he’s going to file a complaint
with the Federation Council.”
“Tell Mr. Dillon to take a close look at the sign in
front of the Andorian restaurant. It clearly warns all
customers about the Mishtak custom. Tell him to chalk it up
to a…cultural misunderstanding.”
“Yes, ma’am. Morales out.”
“Commander, I’m very sorry about–”
“Save it, Captain,” Beck said, standing up. “Listen,
I’ll be frank. I don’t like you. And I don’t care much for
your command style. But I do understand that it takes all
kinds to make up this Fleet. Including agressive Andorians
and Doctors with voracious appetites.”
“Does that mean we can be friends?”
“No,” Beck said flatly. “It means I won’t press
charges against your officer. And just be thankful for
“Porter to Beck. Commander, I think you and Captain
Baxter better get out here quick…”
“What is it, Lieutenant?” Beck asked.
“I think you’d better see this one for yourself,
“Sheesh, it’s one thing after another around
here,” Baxter said casually. The look Beck shot him stopped
him from saying anything more.
“At first I thought the sensors had just
malfunctioned,” Porter explained, as Baxter and Beck
examined the swirling melange on the main screen in Ops.
“But it’s no malfunction, Commander. The Bermuda Expanse
“How is this possible?” Beck asked, without looking
back at Porter.
“I don’t know. It shouldn’t be. The entire sector
underwent a gravitic inversion seconds after the Aerostar
came back through it six months ago. The Expanse was, for all
intents and purposes, destroyed.”
“Maybe someone from the other side reactivated it,”
“Someone like the Flarn,” Beck said, her eyes
becoming wide with anger as she turned to Baxter. “Russell,
open an emergency channel to Starfleet Command and fill them
“Hey, don’t look at me like this is my fault,” Baxter
Before Beck could reply, another alarm sounded at
Walker’s station. “Commander, something’s coming out of the
“Damn it,” Beck cursed under her breath. “Go to Red
Alert and put up the shields.”
“Aye, sir,” Russell replied.
“Russel, activate all weapons arrays.”
Baxter squinted at the silvery object that began to
emerge from the Bermuda Expanse. “That’s no Flarn ship,
Commander. Can we magnify that image?”
Beck gave a nod back to Porter. “Do it.”
“Magnifying and enchancing…” Porter repoted.
“Sweet fancy Moses!” Baxter cried, staggering back
against the deck railing.
“Porter, confirm I’m seeing what I think I’m seeing!”
Beck said, looking back to the science station.
Porter looked up from his panel. “Sensors confirmed.
Federation Starship, Nebula class. NCC-83835. It’s the
“Deja vu…” Russell said quietly.
:) CHAPTER TWO
Dr. Shar looked up from her reports. She had just
arrived from the Constellation Cafe, and hadn’t had five
minutes to work before being interrupted. “Enter.”
A portly man in a dapper suit came through the doors
to the Trill’s office, clumsily knocking into her statue of
the Breen Tiki God. To Lana, he looked well-dressed but a
bit disheveled, as if he’d recently been in some kind of
accident or something.
“Whoops, sorry,” the man said, righting the statue and
touching it lightly. His eyes grew wide as he evaluated it.
“This is an excellent piece, Dr. Shar.”
“Do I know you?” Lana asked, looking the stranger up
“You do now.” He offered a hand. “Dillon. Bradley
Dillon. President and CEO of Dillon Enterprises…a
“Is that so?” Lana asked, shaking Bradley’s hand limply.
“Well, Mr. Dillon, if I’m not mistaken, they just called for an
alert on the station, and on this ship. How on Earth did you
get in here?”
“I have my ways. Listen, that’s not important. What
is important is that I happen to know that you’re the
Federation colony specialist assigned to the Explorer. And
as such, I bet you have access to all kinds of great
information. Valuable information.”
“What do you mean?” This man was talking like a
Ferengi. “I have access to some interesting artifacts, and
some planetary scans. That’s all.”
“Well, that’s exactly what I’m looking for. Ameteur
explorers come through the station every day, wanting a
piece of the ‘real thing.’ And how much closer to the real
thing can you get than what’s aboard this ship? I think you
and I can be of great use to one another.” Bradley narrowed
his eyes at Lana and shot her a sly smile. “Now let’s have
a look at some of those artifacts.”
Lana considered the human with great interest. At
least showing him her collection would be a way to bide time
until they got back out to the Galactic Rim.
“Ship…coming through…Bermuda Expanse…Directors!” Mirk
mumbled, as the sensors on his biobed kept track of his
“What are you trying to tell us, Mirk?” Browning asked,
hunching over the Maloxian and examining his brain with a
handheld scanner. “Is the ship in trouble?”
“Directors…” Mirk continued to mutter as he twisted
and turned on the biobed.
“Are the Directors in trouble, boy? What’s wrong with
them?” Browning asked again. “Come on, spit it out, Mirk!”
“Inside-out…twisted…wrong universe.” Mirk
continued to writhe.
“Anything?” Nurse Holly Carter asked, observing Mirk
from the other side of the biobed.
“Gibberish, as far as I can tell,” Browning said, checking
the biobed readings. “His brain looks like it’s been through a
“Hmmm,” Holly said, examining the readings.
“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! If
you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,
if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” Mirk
“He’s bonkers,” Holly concluded.
Browning rubbed her chin thoughtfully as she looked Mirk
over. “There’s only one more thing I can try to bring him
out of it, but it’s risky.”
“What is it, Doctor?”
Browning didn’t reply, she just hauled back and slapped
Mirk in the face as hard as she could. “Wake up, numbnut!”
Mirk suddenly shot up, looking around as if he just
notcied Browning and Holly were in the room. “Doctor, the
Aerostar has returned. I have to get to the bridge.”
With that, the Maloxian slid off the bed and bolted
for the door to Sickbay.
“Glad I could help,” Browning waved as Mirk shot out the
Commander Conway emerged from the turbolift and
waddled as fast as he could to the command chair.
“Are you okay, Commander?” Larkin asked, as she
vacated the command chair and headed for ops.
“No,” Conway huffed, sitting down as gently as he
could in the command chair. “I spilled some hot herbal tea
on my crotch.”
This sent Lt. Ford into a bout of uncontrollable
“As you were, Lieutenant!” Conway shouted. “Larkin,
put that ship on the screen.”
“Aye, sir,” Larkin said, pressing some controls at
“A blast from the past,” Ford said brightly, watching
as the Aerostar loomed closer.
Conway turned gingerly towards Tilleran. “What do we
know about that ship, Tilleran?”
“Based on what the combined sensors of Waystation and
the Explorer can determine, that is the USS Aerostar…”
“But the Aerostar was destroyed…” Conway
“I wasn’t finished. That is the USS Aerostar, but not
of our Federation or our Starfleet.”
“Then what the hell Federation is it from?” Conway
“According to my interpretation of its ID code, the
Federation of Fun,” Tilleran said.
Conway slapped a hand against his forehead. “I should
have known. The happy universe.”
“Yes, sir. The frequency of the trace from their warp
engines tends to suggest that as well.”
“They are approaching the station at a speed of one-
quarter impulse,” Larkin reported, looking up from her
scans. “They should arrive within twenty minutes.”
“Contact Waystation and ask Commander Beck how she
wants to proceed. And find the Captain,” Conway said,
“because I sure as hell don’t want to deal with these
“Something wrong, Captain?” Beck asked wryly. “It
looks like you’ve just seen a ghost.”
“I think I have,” Baxter said slowly.
“The Explorer’s science officer agrees with my
hypothesis,” Porter said. “We are definitely looking at a
vessel from the alternate happy universe we encountered last
“We also encountered an alternate happy Aerostar last year,”
Baxter said thoughtfully. “One of my officers was exchanged
for the alternate one by a transporter accident.”
“So we’ve established that we know where this ship is
from.” Beck folded her arms. “But why is it here?”
Lt. Hartley and Lt. J’hana had just returned from
Waystation when they recieved the call from Commander
Conway. Hartley and J’hana quickly left the transporter room
in order to find out what was going on. As soon as they
were out the door, however, they were slammed into by a
“Need I remind you that there is no running allowed in
the Explorer’s corridors?” J’hana asked angrily, as Mirk
helped her and Hartley up.
“Sorry about that,” Mirk said sheepishly.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” Hartley asked,
dusting off her rear end as she and J’hana followed Mirk
into a turbolift.
“Bridge,” Mirk said, prompting the turbolift to swish
“What a coincidence,” Hartley said. “Commander Conway
just called me and J’hana up there. Do you know what this
is all about?”
“Unfortunately,” Mirk sighed.
“Mind telling us?”
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough.”
J’hana grimaced. “I do not like the sound of that.”
“They’re hailing us,” Lt. Russell announced from
Beck glanced over at Baxter. “Do you want to do the
honors, or should I?”
“It’s your station,” Baxter replied.
“It’s your ship. Kind of.”
“You’re in command here.”
“You outrank me.”
Baxter straightened and pulled the bottom of his
uniform down a bit. “Okay, fine. I’ll talk to them, for
what it’s worth. Put ‘em on screen, Mr. Russell.”
The viewscreen in ops crackled to life as a picture of
the approaching vessel was replaced with a very familiar
“Commander Conway?” Baxter asked, noticing how strange
Conway’s uniform looked. It was black, with a scattering of
pink–only vaguely similar to that of Baxter’s universe.
“Captain Conway. But you can call me Davey-wavey,”
the man on the screen corrected. “What in Happyness’ name
are you doing over there, Lieutenant Baxter?”
“Captain Baxter,” Baxter corrected. “Listen, Captain,
I think we have a bit of a mix-up here.”
“You can say that again. Playstation doesn’t look
anything like we remember it.”
“That’s because this isn’t…Playstation,” Baxter said
with exasperation. “Captain, you’ve somehow wound up in an
“Damn. That would explain the ugly uniforms you’re
wearing. Maybe it would be best if I could meet with you.
We have a lot to talk about.”
“Well, I…uh,” Baxter stammered, looking over to
Beck threw her hands up. “Don’t look at me.”
“Sure,” Baxter said. “You’re cleared to dock at this
station. We’ll send you coordinates where you can beam
aboard and we can discuss this whole alternate universe
“Thank you Captain.” Davey-wavey’s eyes wandered over
to Beck. “And keep that oversexed lunatic clear of us, if
Baxter glanced over at Beck with a raised eyebrow.
“Seems you’ve made quite a name for yourself in that
“Don’t remind me. Cut the channel, Russell,” Beck
Lt. Hartley stopped short as soon as she saw the ship
on the viewscreen. She stopped so quickly that Mirk and
J’hana slammed right into her. “That’s not the…no, it
Mirk weaved his way around Hartley as she took up a
place at the engineering station, while J’hana relieved the
ensign at tactical. “It is. It’s the Aerostar.”
“How?” Hartley asked, staring at it with wonder.
“You should know,” Conway said, glaring up at Hartley.
“You were there.”
“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” Hartley said softly.
“Oh yes,” Conway said. “And some of their
crew is going to meet with Captain Baxter and Commander
Beck. And the Captain has asked that you beam over and talk
to them, since you’re the only one of our crew that’s
actually had contact with them.”
“I want to go too,” Mirk said. “I need to talk to
“Well, I don’t know–” Suddenly a padd flew across the
bridge and smacked into the back of Conway’s head.
“Sorry about that,” Mirk said sheepishly.
Conway grumbled angrily, rubbing his head. “Fine,
Mirk. Get out of here. And stop using your powers to throw
stuff at people.”
“No promises. C’mon, Megan,” Mirk said, dragging
Hartley back into the turbolift.
“His aim’s really improving,” Tilleran noted from the
“Muzzle it,” Conway grunted.
Captain Baxter watched the group coalesce at the other
end of the conference room with a growing sense of dread.
He’d heard reports of other Starfleet officers who’d dealt
with alternate universes, and it was always a big mess. He
wasn’t looking forward to whatever he’d find himself sucked
Captain Conway stepped forward as soon as he
materialized. “Captain Baxter. Nice to make your
Baxter walked over, Beck and Russell at his side. He
wasn’t looking at Davey-wavey at all. The officer next to
him was what had caught his attention.
“This is my Chief of Operations, Lt. Andy Baxter.”
“Hello,” the other Baxter said with a grin. “You must
be Andy Baxter.”
“Nice hair,” Beck said, covering the grin that was
rapidly spreading across her face.
Andy-wandy patted his perm with love. “I thought it
was time for a change, and this seemed to be the way to go.”
Davey-wavey indicated the android next to him. “And
this is my second in command, Lt. Commander Larky.”
Captain Baxter eyed the android skeptically. She
didn’t have quite the same stoic intelligence that his Larky
“Pleasure to meet you,” Larky said. A compartment in
the top of her head opened and a robotic hand emerged,
intent on shaking Baxter’s hand.
Baxter shook the robotic appendage, which promptly
disappeared back into Larky’s head. “Likewise.”
“If you’ll have a seat, we can get to matters at
hand,” Beck said, ushering Davey-wavey, Larky,
and Andy-wandy to their seats. She cast a glance back
at Captain Baxter. “If that’s okay with his Captainness?”
“Quiet, Beck,” Baxter muttered under his breath,
moving around to the other side of the table.
She was enjoying this way too much.
“Grant to Russell. There are two people out here
claiming to be from Captain Baxter’s ship. They say it’s
urgent that they get through.”
Russell looked to Baxter. “Captain?”
“Let ‘em in,” Baxter said. He knew Hartley was coming,
but he was wondering who the other person was.
Moments later, Ensign Grant ushered Lt. Hartley and
Mr. Mirk into the room.
“Watch where you put that hand, big guy!” Hartley
grunted, wrenching herself free of Mumford’s grip.
“Meggy,” Davey-wavey said happily, looking up
“Here we go again,” Hartley sighed.
“What are you doing here, Mr. Mirk? Shouldn’t you be
in Sickbay or something?” Baxter asked, directing Hartley to
a seat at his left.
Mirk approached Baxter’s seat urgently. “Sir, I had a
powerful vision just before they–” he pointed to Davey-
wavey and his officers, “–came through. Sir, there’s something
very wrong with the Directors.”
“The Directors?” Captain Conway asked with interest.
“The beings who control the Bermuda Expanse,” Mirk said,
turning to Davey-wavey. “What did you do to them?”
Davey-wavey sighed heavily. “If you mean the strange
occupants of that cloud, I regret that we had to expose them
to the Happyness beam.”
“The Joegonotizing ray?” Baxter asked. “What effect
did that have?”
“The normal effects,” Andy-wandy said with a smile.
“It made them happy.”
“It didn’t make them happy at all!” Mirk shouted. “It
drove them insane! And it’s the exact reason you all ended
up here instead of in your own universe!”
“Calm yourself, Mr. Mirk,” Baxter said. “Why don’t
you just have a seat and we can sort this whole thing out.”
“Captain, allow me to explain,” Davey-wavey said
calmly. “When your Lt. Hartley crossed over to our world a
year ago, she enacted a series of events that changed our
vessel forever. She was able to adjust the polarity of
Counselor Kelly-bell’s ‘mood stabilizer’ to shift everyone’s
brain patterns to those of Maloxians–”
“By the Directors,” Mirk said quietly.
”–thereby nullifying the effects of the Happyness
beam,” Davey-wavey continued. “Unfortunately, some officers
were so far gone they could not be saved. I was able to
stir up a revolt among the crew, overthrow Captain Riker,
and take command.”
“Wow. I succeeded,” Hartley said in awe.
Davey-wavey smiled. “Yes, you did. And you made some
marvelous things happen for my crew and me.”
“Marvelous things?” Baxter raised an eyebrow.
“Watch this,” Davey-wavey said, concentrating on the
vase of flowers at the center of the table.
The vase lifted off the table and glided toward
Baxter, coming to a soft landing right in front of him.
“You have my powers!” Mirk’s eyes went wide.
“We believe that the beam has refined them, and
brought them into focus,” Davey-wavey said. “In short,
they’ve made some of my crew more than a match for the
psychological powers of Happymaster Dillon and the
“That could be a huge gain for the rebellion,” Beck
said, from her place next to Baxter.
“That’s why we had to return,” Davey-wavey said. “So
we could help out the resistance in whatever way possible.”
“Why did it take you so long?” Hartley asked.
“We had to undo the damage we did in the Delta
Quadrant first,” Davey-wavey explained. “We put the Sulani
and Maloxians back to normal and enlisted their support.”
“You didn’t put the Flarn back to normal, did you?”
Baxter asked frightfully.
“Do I look that stupid?” Davey-wavey asked. “We left
them happy, for eveyone’s sake. Anyway, we have a fleet
waiting near the Crebius Cluster in the Delta Quadrant. All
we have to do is contact them and tell them we made it here
“You may find that easier said than done,” Mirk said.
“If I’m right, the only place the Bermuda Expanse will take you
right now is your universe. You guys seriously screwed up
“That would be unfortunate,” Lt. Commander Larky said.
“Captain, you must help us restore the portal to
normal and get us back to our universe. If we can overthrow
Emperor Webber, we can finally turn our quadrant in the right
Baxter looked to Beck, then to Hartley and Mirk.
“We’ll certainly do all we can to help you, Captain Conway.
Our science officers are at your disposal.”
“One thing troubles me,” Beck said. “What happened to
the people you couldn’t convert?”
“Oh, them,” Davey-wavey said quietly, looking to Andy-
Baxter’s double shrugged. “They’re pretty much taken care
“This is ludicrous!” Counselor Kelly-bell Peterman
shrieked, pounding against the electronic field around the
brig angrily. “I must be set free.”
“If you don’t shut up,” Lt. B’nana said, turning to
face Kelly-bell on the other side of the field. “I’ll come
in there and kill you.”
“In your dreams,” Kelly-bell scoffed.
B’nana growled in Kelly-bell’s face, causing the field
to spark disturbingly. “Since I was freed of your mind-
control device, I have grown quite angry at what you and the
other Counselors have done to Starfleet. I would be more
than happy to take out my anger on you.”
“You and what army, you blue bitch?”
“That is it!” B’nana shouted, throwing down the field
and jumping through the doorway, piledriving into Kelly-bell.
“You are a dead woman!”
“I’m distracting her!” Kelly-bell shouted to her
bunkmate. “Do your thing!”
Lt. Tilly jumped off the bed and lunged for the device
on B’nana’s belt clip.
B’nana turned to grab the device and was met with a
swift roundhouse kick from Kelly-bell.
“Do it, Tilly!” Kelly-bell cried, slamming a fist into
B’nana’s face and pushing her to the ground.
Tilly quickly inserted the device into the collar that
was around her neck and snapped it off. “Do you know how
long I’ve been waiting for this?” The Betazoid’s black eyes
grew bright neon green as she turned on B’nana and fired a
brillant bolt of energy at her.
The Andorian was slammed against the wall.
Kelly-bell ran over to Tilly and hugged her tightly.
“We’re back, Tilly! We’re back!”
“No time for celebration,” Chrissie Richards said as Tilly’s
eyes returned to normal. “We have to get the others and get the
hell out of here.”
Kelly-bell kicked the unconcious Andorian one more time
and followed Chrissie and Tilly out the door. “I can’t wait to see
what’s happened to the Federation since we left.”
:) CHAPTER THREE
“And this is a locust-catcher from Dalban Two,” Dr.
Shar said, indicating the large blue box at the center of the
arhaeology lab. “The ancient Dalbanians used it to protect
“Very interesting. But not profitable. What do you
have in the way of precious metals?” Bradley asked, eying the
box and turning back to Lana.
“Listen, Mr. Dillon,” Lana said, turning to Bradley
angrily, “I will be more than happy to show you some of
these artifacts, but I’m not about to sell you Federation
property just so you can make a tidy profit!”
“And why not?”
“Because, it’s just not…not right!”
“Oh, come on, it wouldn’t be that bad.” Bradley edged
closer to Lana. “I take it you’re the kind of person who
always imagines what it would be like to do something
unseemly, but never has the guts to carry it through.”
“Mr. Dillon, I have had just about enough of you.”
Lana grabbed the portly man by an arm and dragged him out of
the lab. “Now I’m going to escort you back to the airlock
you came from and I don’t want to see you back on this ship,
unless you’re on your way to the brig!”
“You really have no vision, Doctor,” Bradley said
uneasily, as Lana shoved him out into the corridor.
Tilly slammed a fist into the panel near the
Aerostar’s airlock door. “I just accessed the computer
systems here. This is not Playstation. As a matter of
fact, this cannot even be our universe!”
“Then what universe is this?” Kelly-bell asked angrily,
looking around with skepticism.
“If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the one that Meggy
Hartley traded with last year.”
“The one that f***ed everything up?” Kelly-bell asked.
“What I wouldn’t give to…”
“Revenge can wait!” Tilly cried. “We have to get out
of here, and fast. This place is a hotbed for Federation
officers. We won’t be safe here for long.”
“I agree,” Chrissie Richards said from behind
Kelly-bell. He rubbed her shoulders lovingly. “Maybe we can
access one of the vessels that’s docked here.”
Kelly-bell ran hands through her long, dark hair.
“Okay, go for it, Tilly.”
Tilleran squeezed her eyes shut. “I’m searching…yes! We’re
in luck. I’ve found doubles of us…very close.”
“What about that damned Hartley?”
“She’s on the station,” Tilleran said. “But the
others are on a nearby starship.”
“I’ll come back for her later then. We’ll take this
whole damned station in due time,” Kelly-bell said, gesturing
for her other officers to creep out of the airlock. “Come
on, everyone! Lead the way, Tilly!”
Dr. Browning strolled into Engineering, nodding at Ensign
Stuart as she approached the door to Lt. Commander
Richards’s office and pressed the call button.
“Come on in,” Richards’s voice called out.
Browning stepped in and tossed a padd onto Richards’s
desk. “There it is, honey. The perfect cake.”
Richards put his sketch pad aside and examined
Browning’s padd. “Wow, Janice. It’s very…um, big.”
“It’s a WEDDING cake, silly, it’s supposed to be big.”
“But it’s the size of a person!”
“A very small person. An adolescent kid.”
“And it’s almost as wide!”
Browning folded her arms defiantly. “Well, there will be
plenty of guests.”
Richards recalled the guest list on his terminal.
“Don’t I know. You’ve invited half the quadrant, Janice. I
was kind of shooting for a quiet wedding, you know, close
friends and relatives. As it is, we’ll have to rent out the
main auditorium on Deck Twenty-three.”
“I want a big wedding, and darn it I’m going to have a
big wedding,” Browning said.
“Come on, Janice, I really think we can trim the list a
little bit. You’ve got the Chief Medical Officer from the Madison
on here. How long has it been since you’ve talked to her?”
“Me and Casey talk almost every month.”
“Then what ship is she on now?” Richards challenged.
“No, she transferred to the Yorktown three months ago.
I found that out when I tried to send the invitation. And what
about Ezri Dax?”
“Um…you know why she’s invited, Christopher.’
Richards rolled his eyes. “You were only eighteen when you
dated Curzon. Isn’t there some Trill rule where you can’t associate
with new hosts? Dax has been through two since it was Curzon.”
“I don’t care. We’re still very close.”
All sorts of uncomfortable images scrolled through Richards’s mind.
“Listen, either you trim the guest list, or I’m inviting Elliot Finglass.”
“Not your Starfleet Academy roomate!” Browning cried in
horror. She’d heard stories from Richards about the cadet
that had replaced Chris Henricks after that whole “Larkin”
incident. No way he was coming to her wedding.
“Cut the list down to a hundred people or Hurricane
Elliot will touch down here on May 19th.”
“Okay, okay, you’ve twisted my arm,” Browning said
woefully. “A hundred people it is.”
“I knew you’d see it my way,” Richards smiled,
pulling Browning into his lap. “Now help me design the ice
sculpture for the reception.”
“Stop pushing, I’ll go, I’ll go,” Bradley protested, as
Dr. Shar dragged him down the corridor towards the airlock.
“I’ve seen some con artists in my day, but you take
the cake, Mr. Dillon,” Lana said angrily as she stabbed the
“I’m really not that bad a guy,” Bradley said, “I just
want to make a living.”
“Tell it to someone who cares.”
Lana suddenly heard talking in the airlock. Someone
was evidently coming through.
“It’s a Galaxy-class,” a voice said with wonder. “We
should be able to access its systems through Main
Engineering. That’s about ten decks down from here.”
“Lieutenant Tilleran?” Lana asked as the door whisked
Peterman and Tilleran looked Lana over. “Hello…you,”
“What are you guys doing in those wierd outfits?” Lana
asked. Something was definitely wrong.
Tilleran and Peterman pushed by. “Don’t worry about
it,” Tilleran said quickly.
Sensing that something was amiss, Lana tapped her comm
badge. “Shar to security. There’s–”
Suddenly Tilleran’s head whipped back around, green
eyes plunging into Bradley and Lana. “I wouldn’t do that if I
“Erg–” Bradley said, dropping to his knees.
Before Lana could say anything, her eyes rolled back
into her head and she collapsed on top of Bradley.
“Find a closet and shove them in. We’ll deal with
them later,” Peterman ordered. “We’ve got bigger fish to
fry right now.”
“We’ve got to get the Bermuda Expanse put back in order, or
these folks will be stuck here forever,” Baxter said grimly
from the viewscreen on the bridge of the Explorer.
“I think the problem is even worse than that,
Captain,” Tilleran said from the science station.
“Everything I’ve seen so far leads me to believe that what’s
happened to the Bermuda Expanse is two-sided.”
“Do you mean to tell me we’re open to attack from that
“I’m afraid so, Captain.”
Conway sat back in the command chair and folded his
arms. “Then we have to put it back the way it was, sir. We
have enough problems as it is without having a warped
Federation breathing down our necks.”
“I agree, Commander,” Baxter said. “Lt. Tilleran, I’d
like you to beam over and coordinate your efforts with Lt.
Porter and his science staff. Maybe the two of you could–”
Suddenly a loud alert siren screamed through the
bridge. “Richards to bridge,” came Richards’s voice over the
comm. “We just had a spike in the warp core. Our containment
fields are fluctuating and I don’t think I can keep them up for long.”
Conway shot up in the command chair. “What are you
telling me, Richards?”
“I’m telling you the Explorer is going to explode in less
than five minutes! We need to separate the ship now!”
Baxter’s eyes went wide on the viewscreen as he heard
this new information. “Commander! You have to get clear of
the station!” Beside Baxter, Beck barked orders at the man
at the docking console. “Release docking clamps on the
“Lt. Ford,” Conway said quickly.
“On it, Commander!” Ford said, jerking the Explorer
into impulse speed and steering it away from Waystation.
Conway snapped on the all-call button. “All hands,
this is Commander Conway. The warp core will breach in less
than five minutes. All hands report to designated safe-areas
immediately. The ship will be separated as soon as everyone
is clear. Please be calm and file in an orderly…ah, you
know the damned drill. GET MOVING!”
Nurse Holly Carter scrambled with the few patients that
were in Sickbay, heaving them onto the anti-gravs and
shoving them out the Sickbay doors. “Dean, come on!”
Crewman Wilcox slung Ensign Dawson over his shoulder,
since her broken leg hadn’t quite healed yet. “Coming, Ha-
Carter noted that Dean was getting quite close to being
able to pronounce her name, from “Humma” to “Ha-ha.” Or
maybe he was just laughing, she wasn’t quite sure.
“Careful! I break easily!” Dawson protested as Dean
lugged her out of Sickbay.
“Quiet girl will get a present!” Dean said happily,
smacking Dawson on the rear end as he helped Nurse Carter and
the other med-techs push the patients to a nearby turbolift.
Carter had almost made it to the turbolift when a pack
of screaming kids flew by her, knocking her into Ensign
Sanchez, who had been in a coma for almost three weeks due to
cranial trauma from slamming his head into one too many
“Who the hell are all these kids?” Carter asked as she
gathered up Ensign Sanchez and shoved him back onto the cart.
“Kindergarten class,” Lt. Gellar explained, shoving
kid after kid into a vertical pile in the turbolift. “On a
field trip from Earth. Guess who gets to be their
“Well, we’ve got sick patients here that need to be
“Shove ‘em in,” Gellar said as he wrenched a teddy
bear from some poor little girl’s hand. “Sorry, kiddo. Mr.
Fluffers here has got to go. Living beings only.”
“NOOOOOOO!” the kid yelped. “Mr. Fluffers can’t die!”
“Mr. Fluffers was never alive in the first place,
sizzlechest. Now get in the freaking turbolift!” Gellar
cried, cramming the kid into the lift.
Carter sighed and hauled the leaden body of Ensign
Sanchez into the cramped turbolift, grabbing Ensign Dawson and
shoving her after him.
“Hey, watch it!” Dawson said, as a five-year old
Starfleet Scout shoved his elbow into her side.
“This is going to be fun,” Carter said sarcastically,
pushing Dean into the lift and sucking in a breath, leaving
just enough room for the doors to close. As the lift slowly
sighed its way up through the Explorer’s innards, she idly
wondered where Dr. Browning was.
Captain Baxter watched the Explorer angle away on the
viewscreen nervously, fearing what might happen to Counselor
Peterman and the others.
“Lt. Porter,” Beck said from behind Baxter. “How long
until they reach a safe distance?”
Porter did the calculations. “About three minutes.”
“Raise the shields just in case, and order that the
Aerostar do the same. I don’t want to take any chances.”
Baxter watched woefully as the Explorer moved away.
“I only had her for six months…”
“You’ve certainly got a way with starships, Captain.”
Beck let out a tiny, stressed giggle from behind Baxter.
Counselor Peterman tumbled out of the turbolift, her
hair clinging around her face in wet, dark clumps. “Did I
hear right? Is the ship going to explode?”
“Your timing is impeccable, Counselor,” Conway said
from the command chair.
“I was stepping out of the shower when the alert
came,” Peterman explained.
“Have a seat and watch the fireworks,” Conway replied.
“How long, Tilleran?”
Tilleran looked up from her panel. “Two minutes,
“Is everyone clear yet?” Conway asked, drumming his
fingers on the arms of his chair.
“Not as yet,” J’hana replied. “I am reading ten
lifeforms still remaining on the stardrive section.”
“Where?” Conway asked with irritation.
“Two on Deck Twenty-six and eight down in Main
“They may have been knocked unconscious
somehow,” Peterman suggested.
“Lock onto them with the transporter and get them
the hell out of there,” Conway ordered.
Tilleran pounded her panel in frustration. “No good,
sir. I can’t get a lock with all the radiation coming from
the warp core.”
Conway stabbed a button on the command chair. “Bridge
to Engineering: Richards, you have to get out of there!”
“Not enough time!” Richards replied. “You have to
“But–” Conway said.
“No buts! I don’t know how much longer I can keep
these fields up. You have to go now!”
Peterman looked up from her side-console. “Dr. Browning
is down there with him and Stuart…and there are some lifesigns
the computer can’t quite identify!”
Conway let out a long sigh. “They’re not going to be
lifesigns for much longer. Larkin, initiate saucer sep now.”
“Aye, Commander,” Larkin said emotionlessly.
“Janice…” Peterman said quietly.
Captain Baxter watched the viewscreen in Ops in
stunned silence as the magnetic locks pulled back from the
top of the stardrive section. The saucer lifted up into
space with a small puff of released gas and space particles.
The stardrive section then listed backwards as the saucer
engaged its impulse engines and angled away at a steady clip
of full impulse.
Baxter clenched his hand into a tight fist as the
saucer sped away. “Come on, guys…get out of there!”
“Warp core breach in less than thirty seconds!” Porter
“Will the saucer section have enough time to get
clear?” Beck asked.
“They should be okay…it depends on the magnitude of
the blast, how much deuterium and anti-deuterium is in
Captain Baxter held his breath.
“We’re at forty thousand kilometers, sir,” Ford
Commander Conway leaned forward. “All power
to structural integrity and aft shields.”
“They’re losing warp containment!” Tilleran called
out. “Warp core breach in five…four…”
Peterman tightened her fingers around her seat as she
watched the stardrive section tumble away on the screen.
The counselor covered her eyes, prepared for the
imminent wave of blinding light that was about to hit the
A few moments later, Peterman lowered her arms and
stared at the stardrive section on the screen. It was still
“Warp core levels returning to nominal,” Tilleran said
from the science station, staring at the readings in
disbelief. “Commander, I don’t understand. A minute ago
they were about to–”
Suddenly, the stardrive’s impulse engines fired up,
stopping its clumsy listing and turning it on a course away
from Waystation and the saucer section.
“What the hell?” Conway asked, snapping his
head back to look at Tilleran.
“Good question, sir.”
“You did it, Commander,” Kelly-bell said with a broad
smile, wrapping her arms around Lt. Commander Richards’s
neck and giving him a long, passionate kiss.
“You don’t think I overdramatized towards the end?”
Richards asked, as he turned back to look at the warp core
with satisfaction. “I mean really, ‘You have to go now’?
Don’t you think that was a bit much?”
“It was perfect, Chrissie,” Kelly-bell said. “Now
we have to get to the battle bridge and take full control.”
“What about these little annoyances,” Chrissie
asked. “Shall we kill them?”
The other Lt. Commander Richards fought at the
electronic bonds that had him, Browning, and Stuart bound
together. “You may be a handsome fella, but you’re not very
“That’s because I’m evil!” Chrissie said happily,
as suddenly a huge beard erupted around the bottom half of
his face. “And since I’m an evil villain, I must have an
“What a wacko,” Browning said.
“You look more like a lumberjack,” Stuart said.
“Enough!” Kelly-bell cried. “Bri-Bri, Fresca, take
these three and put them in the brig.”
“Yes, Counselor,” Lt. Bri-Bri Gellar said, as he and
Fresca dragged the unwilling prisoners out of engineering at
“Wait a minute!” Browning said. “Fresca?” She eyed the
Bajoran suspiciously. “But you’re–”
“A loyal officer of the Federation of Fun!” Fresca
said, winking at Browning. “I couldn’t possibly be anything
else. And don’t you forget it.”
“You tell her, Fresca,” Gellar said, as he lugged the
group into the turbolift, shoving a phaser into their backs.
“Now let’s be nice and cordial on the way up, or I’ll fry
the lot of you.”
“B’nana, I expect a good explanation for this,”
Captain Conway said sternly, looking up at the very
unsettled Andorian on the viewscreen in Ops.
“Kelly-bell jumped me, and Tilly got my key to the
mental collar. That’s the last thing I saw before I was
blasted into the wall.”
“Damn! The psychoblast…” Conway said fearfully.
“Are you all right?”
“I will live,” J’hana said shakily.
“Psychoblast?” Baxter asked from behind Conway.
“What the hell is a psychoblast?”
“I’ll explain later. Right now we have to find your
ship. If Peterman and the others succeed in taking it back
to our universe, they could use it to do all kinds of
Baxter looked to Mirk, who had taken up a position
next to Lt. Porter at the science station. “Mr. Mirk?”
“It’s possible, Captain. The Bermuda Expanse has
become a two-way portal between our universes. All they
have to do is fly through.”
Beck looked back to Russell. “Lieutenant, what is the
position of the Explorer’s stardrive now?”
“They’ll reach the Bermuda Expanse in about fifteen
“We have to go after them,” Baxter said, turning to
Conway. “What condition is the Aerostar in? Will she stand
up to a beating?”
“She’s all we’ve got, Captain. Let’s hope so,” Conway
said, shaking Baxter’s hand vigorously. “Let’s go. The
longer we wait the farther away they’ll get.”
“You know, I like you a lot more than your
counterpart,” Baxter said, tapping his comm badge. “Baxter
to Conway. I’m going after the Explorer.”
“What the hell do you expect me to do until you get
back? Twiddle my thumbs?”
Baxter shook his head. “No, I need you to protect the
civilians here and keep an eye out for any intruders from
the other universe that might try to come through the
“And all I have for protection is a remodeled space
station and a powerless saucer section?”
“You’re catching on,” Baxter replied wryly.
“Starfleet won’t be able to get support out here in less
than two days, so you’re on your own.”
“Just peachy. And I suppose you’ll also want Lt.
Tilleran here to find a way to repair the Bermuda Expanse?”
“Wouldn’t hurt,” Baxter said with a shrug. He pointed
at Hartley and Mirk. “You two are with me. Let’s move,
Beck stood in the way of the turbolift as the group
moved toward it. “Wait a second. I’m coming with you.”
“Don’t you think your place is here with the station?”
Baxter asked, then added, “Not flying around with someone
as unlucky and idiotic as myself?”
“Our first officers can take care of the situation
without me. Besides, I have a score to settle with my
“Okeydoke,” Baxter said, ducking into the turbolift.
“But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Things could get wierd.”
“I’m counting on it,” Beck said wryly. “Mr. Morales,
you have Ops.”
“The Aerostar is moving off,” J’hana said from
“Just great,” Conway griped, gulping down a mug of
coffee. “That leaves me here to babysit a saucer section
full of kindergartners.”
Peterman tugged at her matty hair fitfully. “Well, at
least your boyfriend isn’t aboard.”
“Yep,” Conway said, starry-eyed. “My boyfriend is
right here. Right, Ford?”
“Hey!” Ford said. “I resent that remark.”
“Stop trying to hide your emotions, Lieutenant. We
all know why you got that promotion!”
“Really, Commander,” Peterman said. “That’s a little
more than we needed to know. If you don’t stop, I’ll tell
“That’s not funny,” Conway said, his face becoming
“Peterman to Shar,” Peterman said with a smile.
Conway waited for the Trill to respond, then grew
worried when she didn’t. “Conway to Shar.”
Peterman stopped smiling. “Computer, locate Dr. Lana
“Dr. Lana Shar is not aboard the Explorer.”
Tilleran looked up from her sensors. “Commander,
according to my records, Lana was aboard the Stardrive
when we separated.”
“So she is aboard the Explorer,” Conway muttered.
“Just not this half.”
Peterman clapped Conway on the shoulder. “Well,
Commander, it looks like we’re both in the same boat.”
:) CHAPTER FOUR
Captain Baxter surveyed the bridge of the Aerostar.
It was much brighter, much more colorful than the bridge of
his Aerostar, but the layout was basically the same.
“We had to rearrange a lot of stuff after we got our
minds back in order,” Davey-wavey explained from the command
chair. “They used bean bags and inflatable chairs at most
of the stations.”
“Freaky,” Baxter said, collapsing into the chair
beside Davey-wavey with a sigh.
“We just lost the Explorer’s signal,” Lt. B’nana said
from tactical. “They have disappeared through the
“Pursuit course, maximum impulse power,” Davey-wavey
Andy-wandy looked up from the ops panel. “I’m
adjusting our shield modulation for a trip back through the
“So, Commander, how much of your crew is actually on
our side?” Baxter asked, as he watched the Bermuda Expanse
loom closer on the viewscreen.
“Out of the senior staff, me, B’nana, Larky, Brownie,
Andy-wandy, and Meggy were able to be normalized.
Out of two-hundred crew, fifty are still loony.”
“But all of Peterman’s people didn’t escape, right?”
“Affirmative,” Larky replied. “Peterman was only able
to release the five officers from her cell block.”
“So they’re going to have to run the Explorer with
five people. That should be to our advantage,” Baxter said.
Hartley shook her head. “Not if their Richards is
anything like ours. If my guess is right, he’ll have that
thing totally automated before they emerge from the
“That has been our guess as well, Lieutenant,” Larky
“Then we’ll have to be prepared for anything,” Baxter
said. “The Explorer’s a powerful ship.”
“But she’s never had to fight the Aerostar under my
command,” Davey-wavey said. “We’ll bring her in.”
“I sure hope so,” Mirk said.
“We’re entering the Bermuda Expanse,” Ensign Susie
Madera announced from the helm.
“Hold on everyone,” Davey-wavey said. “Things may get
a little bumpy.”
“We’ve done this trip enough to know that,” Baxter
Mirk looked around as the Aerostar shook and rattled
around him. He could feel the anguished song of the
Directors cry around him:
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
It was maddening.
“Captain, we have to help the Directors,” Mirk said
urgently. “They’re insane!”
“One thing at a time, Mirk,” Baxter said. “First we
have a stardrive to catch.”
Counselor Kelly-bell Peterman watched the tiny
viewscreen on the battlebridge as Playstation loomed closer.
The wonderful feeling of being back in her home quadrant, in
her home universe, was overshadowed by the unreality of what
she saw. A Galaxy-class vessel, the Enterprise according to
the ship’s sensors, was doing battle with Playstation.
Somehow, Kelly-bell sensed that a lot had happened
since she left.
“Open a channel to the Enterprise, Tilly,” Kelly-bell
“Open,” Tilly reported.
Captain Jean-jean Picard appeared on the viewscreen.
“Hello, what’s this? Counselor…Kelly-bell! What are you
doing back from your mission in the Delta Quadrant so soon?”
“It failed,” Kelly-bell muttered bluntly. “What’s
“The resistance has taken Playstation, and I’m afraid
they’ve murdered the Happymaster. What has happened to the
“Lost to an unhappy revolution, Captain. But I was
able to steal a vessel from the other universe.”
“Other universe?” Picard thought to himself a moment.
“That’s extraordinary, Kelly-bell. Will you help me break
this station’s defenses? Then we can discuss the whole
thing over Earl Grey tea and nice hot blentzes.”
“You do make good blentzes, Jean-jean. We’ll do what
we can.” Kelly-bell closed the channel.
“He’s lying!” Tilly said it so suddenly that it made
“What do you mean he’s lying?”
“The Happymaster is alive, and Picard wants to kill
“Where is the Happymaster?” Kelly-bell asked, grabbing
Tilly by the shoulders. “We must find him!”
Tilly concentrated hard. “I can feel him…he’s not
far. The Defiant!”
Kelly-bell whirled around. “Bri-Bri?”
“Picking up the Defiant bearing 087 mark 114,” Bri-Bri
reported. “It’s defending Playstation.”
“Defending? That doesn’t make any sense,” Kelly-bell
“He’s trapped there!” Tilly said, then she began to
shudder. “And…by the holy rings…Mistress Beck is there
“Very well, intercept the Defiant. Chrissie, tell
me what you know about this vessel’s capabilities.”
Chrissie looked up from the engineering panel and
stroked his beard thoughtfully. “It’s amazing, Counselor.
This vessel easily matches the Defiant or the Enterprise.
It has quantum torpedoes, high-powered phaser systems and
ablative armor just like the Defiant, but it has the power
and size of a Galaxy-class. A remarkable ship.”
“Well, then. Let’s put her to the test,” Kelly-bell
said, stroking the command chair amorously. “Mr. Gellar,
ready all weapons and unleash them on the Defiant as soon as
we get within range.”
Commander Conway stormed out of Commander Beck’s
office, pulling at his hair in frustration. “That was
Admiral McGrath. He said we may have to wait up to four days
for help. The Venture and the Dartmouth got caught in an
“Great,” Lt. Porter huffed. “Meanwhile, we’re stuck
with a spacial rift that could spit out attacking vessels
Lt. Tilleran grunted slightly as she worked beside
Porter at the science station.
“Do you have something, Lieutenant?” Conway asked.
“Maybe,” Tilleran said. “Give me another second.”
“Don’t take too damn long, Lieutenant,” Conway griped,
turning to Russell, who was grouped at the tactical console
with Lt. J’hana and Lt. Commander Larkin. “You guys better
have those runabout deployments ready soon. We may have to
defend this station in a matter of minutes.”
Lt. Commander Walter Morales leaned against the docking
console and watched Conway bark orders at his staff. In all
fairness, it was he that was put in command of the station
after Beck’s departure, not Conway. “You have Ops,” Beck
had said. What right did Conway have to come in and take
“You daydreaming, Morales?” Conway asked, tapping the
station’s Executive Officer on the shoulder.
“N-no, sir,” Morales said, inwardly flinching. He
should be standing up to this man. Sure, Conway outranked
Morales, but that gave him no right to barge in like he owned
“Okay, everyone, I need a way to protect all the
innocent lives out here before some happy bastard comes
through the Bermuda Expanse and blasts us to hell. What have we
got?” Conway asked, facing the crew in Ops from a position
in front of the viewscreen.
“We have some good news and some bad news,” Tilleran
said, finally looking up from Walker’s console.
“Let’s here the good news first,” Conway sighed,
crossing over to the science station.
“Well,” Tilleran said, taking a deep breath. “The
nature of the problem with the Bermuda Expanse is essentially
that its subspace pathway has been regenerated, by a beam
from the Aerostar that originated in the alternate Delta
“Sure,” Conway said. “What’s the point?”
“Due to the Director’s confused state, the pathway was
reoriented across the time-space domain and broke through to
“And…” Tilleran made an impatient sound. Conway
could be very difficult sometimes. “If we can generate a
powerful enough subspace field around the rift, we should be
able to close it. It’s only a matter of creating a strong
“Can we do it?” Conway asked.
“If we combine the warp fields from the two runabouts
aboard Waystation and the three aboard the Explorer, that
should suffice,” Larkin announced.
“So what’s the bad news?” Conway asked, looking from
Porter to Tilleran.
Porter sighed. “The bad news is, if we close the
rift, we’ll have no way to reopen it from this side. We’ll
have no way to get Captain Baxter, Commander Beck, or
anyone else back.”
“I’ll be a son of a bitch!” Singer cried, as the
massive stardrive section soared towards them on the
Defiant’s viewscreen. “What is that?”
“Records indicate it’s not part of the Funfleet, sir,”
Seany-weany Russell reported from tactical. He’d been
coerced into joining the rebellion after Singer took over
Playstation. “But it has weapons similar to the Defiant’s.
Sir, they’re opening fire on us!”
At the rear of the bridge, Happymaster Dillon smiled
broadly. “Finally. The cavalry.”
“That ‘cavalry’ isn’t even registered with the
Funfleet!” Lisa-love said indignantly. “Where could it have
“Shut up!” one of the security guards said, jabbing
them both with the butt of his phaser rifle.
“You can use that Happy mind trick of yours any time
now!” Lisa-love cursed under her breath.
“Patience, Lisa-love, I know what I’m doing!” Travvy
The Defiant spasmed under the assault of the
“Defiant…this is Counselor Kelly-bell Peterman of the
Federation Funship Explorer. You will release Happymaster
Dillon to us immediately, or you will be destroyed!”
“I’m not giving up that easily,” Singer muttered
angrily as the Defiant pitched beneath her. “Evasive
“It’s no use!” Seany-weany reported. “Our shields
“Send a distress call to Playstation. Tell Lazlo
to call us in some support–and fast!”
“Negative,” Russell said, looking up from his panel.
“The Multek and Cardassian forces are engaged in skirmishes
along the Klingon and Romulan borders.”
“Damn!” Singer cursed. “We’re out of options!”
“This is your last chance, rebel!” Kelly-bell’s voice
“Helm, lay in a collision course with the Explorer.
If we’re finished, we’re taking them out with us.” She
glared back at Travvy. “No way you’re getting out of this
thing alive, scumbag!”
“Really?” Travvy asked calmly. He glanced over at
Ensign Bobby at the helm. “Bobby, you’re not
going to lay in a collision course.”
Bobby looked up from the helm, his face blank.
“No, not the mind trick!” Singer shouted. “Fight
“I’m not going to lay in a collision course,” Bobby
Singer dove from the command chair and grabbed the
helm, turning the Defiant towards the Explorer herself.
“Shoot him, Seany!”
Seany turned his phaser on Travvy, but it just shook
in his hands.
“Don’t shoot me, shoot her!” Travvy ordered happily.
“Major Singer…I’m sorry!” Seany said helplessly
as he turned the phaser toward Singer. “Get out of the
Singer ducked as Seany fired the phaser, vaporizing
poor Bobby and fragging the helm console.
“Enough games,” Kelly-bell’s voice said, as suddenly
Lisa-love and Travvy began to dematerialize.
“Ta-ta!” Travvy said fiendishly.
“I don’t think so!” Singer cried out, leaping across
the open space between her and Travvy, clambering into him
just as he disappeared.
“Get her into a brig!” Travvy ordered, pushing
Singer aside and pulling himself to his feet. He looked
at Kelly-bell approvingly. “Good work, Counselor.”
“Picard’s trying to kill you, you know,” Kelly-bell
said, as Singer was dragged away kicking and screaming.
“I know,” Travvy said, straightening his uniform,
pushing the cape out of his face and walking toward the
center of the bridge. “Disable the Defiant’s engines and
get that bald twit on the viewscreen.”
“Yes, Happyness,” Bri-Bri said dutifully.
“The Explorer, of course, is yours,” Kelly-bell said,
stepping next to Travvy as he prepared to talk to Picard.
“Of course it is, though I didn’t think it would be
ready yet. And why is it so drab around here?”
“We got it from the other universe,” Kelly-bell
“Resourceful, aren’t we?” Travvy said proudly.
“You’ll go far, Counselor.”
“We haven’t won yet, Mr. Happypants,” Lisa-love
pouted, collapsing into one of the command chairs.
“Oh, be quiet,” Travvy said, as Picard flashed onto
“Oh, look, you’ve found the Happymaster…erm, uh,
thank goodness. Welcome back, your ah, Happyness,”
Jean-jean said nervously from the viewscreen.
“Can it, Jean-jean,” Travvy said dryly. “It’s over.”
“Oh, it’s far from over, Travvy,” Jean-jean said, victory
in his voice.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Travvy asked. “My
vessel easily outguns yours.”
“Very true, very true. Well, what if I were to tell
“So’…chagh?” Travvy said to himself. “Well, I’d say
it sounds like Klingon…”
“Happymaster!” Tilly shouted, pointing at the
Travvy, Lisa-love, and Kelly-bell watched the screen,
mouths agape, as dozens of Klingon vessels–Birds of Prey
and battlecruisers alike–decloaked around them.
“We’re surrounded!” Bri-Bri called out, looking up
from a tactical display.
“Retreat! Retreat!” Travvy cried.
“To where?” Kelly-bell asked, looking at the screen in
“To the only place we can go,” Travvy said resolutely.
“Back to Earth!”
Kelly-bell nodded down at Ensign Fresca, who promptly
whirled the Explorer around and sent it through a wall of
firing Klingon ships.
“This is just a piece of damn cake!” Lisa-love cried
Captain Conway resumed his seat in the command chair
and handed Baxter a cup of hot, steamy coffee.
“Wow, I guess some things will never change,” Baxter
said, eyeing the cup conspicuously.
“Does your Conway drink coffee as well?”
“Sure does,” Baxter took a sip and recoiled instantly.
“Though he doesn’t put so much sugar…and…ugh…what is
that I’m tasting?”
“A hint of nutmeg,” Davey-wavey said with a twinkle in
his eye. “That’s what gives it zing.”
“I’ll have to mention that to my Conway,” Baxter said,
putting the cup aside.
Mirk and Hartley stood near the science station,
watching the viewscreen aimlessly as the purple mesh of the
Bermuda Expanse streaked by.
“This is awful, Lieutenant Hartley,” Mirk said, leaning
against the panel for support. “The Directors are in
jeapardy. No, it’s worse than that. They’re in double
“I’m sure the Directors will be okay, Mirk,” Hartley
said, watching the science console uneasily. “I’ll just be
glad when we get back to our own universe. This whole
situation gives me the creeps.”
“We have emerged from the Bermuda Expanse,” Larky
reported from ops. “We will be within sensor range of
Playstation in under two minutes.”
“You know, it amazes me that Playstation could be
taken over by the rebels,” Captain Conway said
incredulously. “When we left, Playstation was a stronghold
of Federation Funtroops.”
“Evidently they were kicked out,” Commander Beck
explained, walking around to the front of the bridge. “I’ll
wager a lot has changed here in a year.”
“I was thinking, Captain Conway,” Baxter said, “that
it seems that this ‘Happy’ Federation isn’t so happy after
“It’s happy all right,” Davey-wavey said. “The leaders
are happy because they oversee an empire of willing, always-
cheery subjects. And the subjects are happy because the
leaders hit them with a powerful happy-beam.”
Baxter turned to Beck. “It almost makes sense.”
“No, it makes no sense at all!” Beck replied.
“Oh, dear,” Larky said, looking up at the viewscreen.
“What is it, Larky?” Davey-wavey asked, looking over.
Davey-wavey’s question was answered when the
viewscreen snapped up a view of swarming Klingon warships
attacking a retreating Explorer stardrive.
“I wonder whose side they’re on,” Davey-wavey said
“Well, they’re attacking the Explorer, which is right
now being commanded by our enemies,” Beck reasoned. “So
doesn’t that mean they’re on our side?”
“The Klingons were on the side of the Federation the
last I heard,” Davey-wavey said.
“Maybe a lot HAS changed,” Baxter offered.
“We are being hailed,” B’nana reported.
Davey-wavey approached the viewscreen. “Let’s see
The smiling visage of Captain Jean-jean Picard graced
the viewscreen. “Davey-wavey…how nice to see you again.
Where’s my Binkyboo?”
“Uh-oh,” Davey-wavey said.
“What’s wrong?” Baxter asked. “Is the Picard here
good or bad?” Regardless, he was definitely a snappy
“Very, very, bad,” Davey-wavey said under his breath.
“Ready on weapons,” he grunted back to B’nana in such a
garbled voice it sounded like a cough. “Uh, Captain Picard,
I’m sorry to say that…uh, well… some things happened on
the Aerostar, and, um, your ‘Binkyboo’ as you, um, call him,
“Compromised?” Picard’s face went ashen. “How so?”
“Um, Captain Riker’s brain went a little funny.”
“Oh, Riker…my baby!” Picard covered his mouth in
horror. “Beam him to my Sickbay immediately.”
“I’m sorry, Captain. I can’t do that,” Davey-wavey
said. “You see, I’m here to retrieve a ship from the other
universe and help the resistance in any way possible.”
“Then you won’t let me see my Riker?”
“Afraid not,” Davey-wavey said weakly.
“Tracking the Explorer,” Larky reported. “On a course
of 012 mark 008. They are having trouble getting clear of
all the Klingon ships and are unable to enter warp.”
“Intercept them,” Davey-wavey ordered.
“Might I remind you that we will have to cross the
whole field of Klingon warships to–”
“Do it!” Davey-wavey ordered.
Picard blinked back on the viewscreen. “You are not
nice!” he said in a thundering voice. “But I can’t destroy
you–not if I want my Binkyboo!”
“Sorry,” Davey-wavey said, returning to the command
chair, just as the first disruptor blasts hit the Aerostar.
“Return fire, B’nana, all weapons!”
“What’s going to happen now?” Mirk asked.
“They’re going to wear down our shields until they can
board. Then it all depends on whether it’s a Klingon team
that beams aboard or if it’s Picard himself.”
“Why? Didn’t they hit the Klingons with that happy
beam?” Hartley asked, hunched over the science station.
“Oh, they’re happy all right,” Davey-wavey said
grudgingly, holding tight as Ensign Susie maneuvered the
Aerostar. “But they’re still killers. They’d murder the
whole bridge crew.”
“So we’d be better off if Picard beamed over,” Beck
Davey-wavey laughed hideously. “Oh, no. You don’t
know Jean-jean. We’d be begging for death by the time he was
finished with us.”
“Shields down to thirty percent,” B’nana reported
“Wonderful,” Beck grumbled. “We’ve got a choice
between death and–” she looked to Davey-wavey.
“Don’t ask,” Davey-wavey snapped back.
More streaks of light blazed through space on the
viewscreen, lighting up the bridge at the same time as
panels exploded all around.
“Our shields have failed!” B’nana cried out.
“Sensors indicate that the Explorer has engaged into
warp,” Larky reported from ops.
“So we bought them time with our hides?” Baxter asked
Hartley grimaced. “See, every cloud does have a silver
Suddenly, six beams of light appeared on the bridge–
three blue and three red. The blue beams formed Captain
Picard, Lt. Woofie, and Lt. Commander Data, the red ones
formed angry, yet happy, Klingon warriors.
“I guess we get the best of both worlds,” Davey-wavey
griped, leaping out of the command chair and smashing head-
on into one of the Klingon warriors.
Baxter was paralyzed with fear. The Klingon warriors
were dressed in long, feathery, pink tutus, powder blue
tights, and big Peter Pan shoes.
“Hey, little guy,” one of them said happily, stabbing
a dk’tang knife into Davey-wavey’s shoulder.
“I want him alive!” Picard chanted, withdrawing his
sword and stabbing it into Ensign Madera.
Lt. Commander Larky was instantly on her feet. A
compartment in her chest opened up, firing a grappling hook
at Picard. The hook wrapped around the Captain’s neck and
jerked him back.
“What scullduggery is this?” Picard asked.
Woofie moved to assist Picard, and was immediately hit
by a phaser in the back from Commander Beck.
“My thanks, Commander,” Larky said, as her eyes slid
away to reveal two phasers which lashed beams across the
“She’s like a damn Swiss Army knife!” Baxter said,
ducking as a Klingon soared over him in an elegant jetee,
crashing into the command chair.
Lieutenant Hartley lept over the science station,
barely missing a phaser blast from Lt. Commander Data. The
android aimed again, just in time for Larky to plow into him.
Data hopped back, preparing to do battle with the
other android. “I see the unhappys reprogrammed you,
“It is Lieutenant Commander now, and yes they have,”
Larky said, as beams seared from her eyesockets.
“A pity,” Data replied. The phaser beams bounced
harmlessly off a field that surrounded the android. “You
were formidible. Primative, but formidible indeed.” Data
cocked his head, and suddenly emotional fire crackled into
his eyes. “You see, I too have made improvements to my
systems, including Dr. Soong’s emotion chip. It is quite
envigorating. I feel so much. You could feel it to. A
trip to my lab, a chilled sherry, or a nice kiante perhaps?”
Smoke filled the bridge as Baxter lunged towards the
helm. “Gotta get us out of here!”
Baxter fumbled with the helm contols as Picard grabbed
the wounded Davey-wavey. “Tell me where my Binkyboo is!”
Lieutenant Woofie struggled to his feet, clambering to
Jean-jean’s side. He shook off the effects of Commander Beck’s
stun with a grunt. “Captain?”
“Search this ship from stem to stern!” he cried.
“Find my Binkyboo and any other Federation citizens who are
“Aye, Captain,” the Klingon said as he moved to the
Beck struggled with two Klingons, desperately trying
to avoid being stabbed. “This is such fun!” she growled.
“We must do this again some time!”
“Don’t blame me, Beck!” Baxter cursed, pushing a
Klingon away as he steered the Aerostar into a tight roll.
“You were the one that wanted to come along so badly in the
“What was I thinking,” Beck snapped, plowing one of
the Klingon’s heads into a bulkhead. Before she could turn,
the other one drew his knife high above his head, prepared
Lt. Hartley scrambled over the tactical console, just
in time to avoid a flying batleth. “I’m coming to help,
The transporter chief lept onto the back of one of the
Klingon warriors, ripping his blade out of his hands.
“Step off, girlie!” the massive Klingon grunted,
tossing Hartley away as if she weighed nothing.
Hartley landed at Mirk’s feet, just in time to see a
Klingon descend towards them.
Mirk squinted his eyes shut and concentrated. “Don’t
worry, Lieutenant, this fellow is all taken care of.”
Hartley winced as the Klingon crashed into both of
“You were saying?” Hartley croaked, sliding out from
under the Klingon and dragging Mirk away.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Mirk replied.
“There’s something wrong with my powers.”
Meanwhile, B’nana struggled with two Klingons hanging
from each arm in an attempt to help Commander Beck. “The
old B’nana would have reached out and hugged you. But the
new B’nana just wants to crush your fwarking skulls!”
“Don’t you have some kind of powers from that
normalizing beam that you can use on these guys?” Beck
“Afraid not,” B’nana grunted. “However, I have found
that, since being hit by the beam, I have become quite adept
“Well, that’s not helping us now!” Beck cried, ramming
her shoulder into the nearest Klingon.
Captain Baxter gripped the helm as he spun the
Aerostar around again, moving to the side as a phaser blast
seared by him.
“You are tenacious, otherworlder,” Jean-jean said. “I
can’t wait to get you back to my ship. You’ll be a
Baxter shivered as he worked the controls. In his
peripheral vision, he noticed Larky hovering behind him.
“Thank goodness you were able to take care of Mr. Data,
Larky. Go see if you can get the shields back up.”
“Lt. Commander Data has corrected my programming
errors. Have a beeee-utiful day, Captain!” Larky said
joyfully, lifting Baxter into the air and hurling him into a
“Captain Baxter!” Hartley called out, as she recovered
her fallen phaser and blasted an onrushing Klingon.
“We have to get out of here!” Mirk cried from behind
“No kidding!” Hartley said. “I’m up for suggestions.”
Suddenly the Aerostar rocked again. But it was a
different kind of rock. Like a wave of energy passing
through the entire system.
And that energy filled Mirk like he was a lightening
“Take my hand!” Mirk cried, reaching out towards
Hartley. “I’m not sure what’s happening, but it’s something
Hartley grabbed Mirk’s hand, just as a Klingon warrior
lunged towards her. “Could you be a little more specif–”
And in a blink the light was gone, as were Mirk and
Without anything to stop him, the Klingon slammed
painfully into the bulkhead.
:) CHAPTER FIVE
“Report in, Cumberland,” Commander Conway said,
taking a long sip from his cup of coffee and staring up at the
viewscreen in Ops.
“Engines at ninety-five percent, Commander,” Lt.
Porter’s voice replied. “Yadkin, Roanoake, and Algonquin
are maxed out as well.”
“What about Susquehanna?” Conway asked, leaning
forward with interest.
“Moving into position now,” came Lt. Commander
“Great,” Conway said. “Lt. Tilleran, what response are
we getting from the rift?”
“It’s closing to four thousand meters, sir. A marked
improvement. I’d say we should see full closure in another
“Hey, toadboy! I’ve got a bone to pick with you!”
Counselor Peterman said, emerging from the turbolift.
Conway edged back as Peterman approached.
“That’s…um…Commander Toadboy to you.”
“I heard you were closing the rift.” Peterman backed
Conway against one of the bulkheads.
The Commander squirmed slightly. “Yeah, what if I
“My boyfriend’s over there!”
“Hey, a lot of people that we care about are over
there, but the security of the Federation is more
important,” Conway said, backing up a little more, carefully
holding his coffee as far away from Peterman as he could.
“Security of the Federation my ass.” Peterman grabbed
Conway’s collar and lifted him up against the wall. “You
just want to be Mr. Hero, at the expense of everyone who’s
trapped over there.”
“Watch the coffee, watch the coffee!” Conway said
frantically, balancing his mug as Peterman shook him.
“I’ll watch the coffee all right, buster,” Peterman
said, letting Conway drop to the deck, grabbing the coffee
and dumping it onto Conway’s crotch.
“Arrrrrrgggh!” Conway cried, as the hot coffee soaked
into his uniform. “You are way out of line, Counselor!”
“Well, then, allow me to get a little more out of
line,” Peterman said, tapping her comm badge. “Peterman to
Algonquin. The word is ‘go’.”
“J’hana here. Acknowledged.”
Conway lept forward to grab Peterman as she disappeared
in a flurry of blue particles.
“J’hana!” Conway growled.
“Sorry, Commander,” J’hana returned over the comm.
“Honor always comes before duty. Is there anything you’d
like for me to bring back from the other side? A t-shirt, perhaps?”
“Conway to Susquehanna,” Conway cried, slapping his
comm badge. “Intercept the Algonquin before it reaches the
“Aye, sir,” Larkin responded. “But Commander,
should I succeed, do you wish for me to fire on them?”
“I don’t care what you have to do, just stop them!”
Conway limped towards the viewscreen, watching as
Larkin’s runabout maneuvered after the Algonquin.
“Would you like me to get the doctor up here,
Commander?” Lt. Commander Morales asked from behind
“Please,” Conway croaked, falling back to his knees.
“The Algonquin has outmaneuvered my phaser beams and
entered the rift, Commander. Shall I pursue?” Larkin’s
voice crackled over the speakers.
“No, break off, Susquehanna. Break off,” Conway
grunted. “Resume your position and continue to close the
“Are you okay, sir?” Morales asked.
“I can’t believe she made me dump coffee on my
crotch!” Conway muttered. “That has to be a Court Martial
“You have a very…unique command style, Commander,”
Morales commented, as Conway grasped at his burned genitals.
Captain’s Happy Thoughts,
Stardate 52605.7. While my Klingon compatriots go to
work taking control of Playstation, we have set course to
pursue Happymaster Dillon. In the meantime, I have some
unfinished business to attend to.
“THANK you for saving me, Captain Picard,” Manservant
Jaroch said, pacing back and forth in the small quarters he had
been assigned to. “Thank YOU for saving ME, your
Happyness!” he said again. “No, that’s not right. Thank
you for SAVING me, monsieur! That’s it. He will like the
Suddenly the doors to Jaroch’s quarters signalled a
visitor from outside with a pleasant, Jetson-esque “doo doo
“Come,” Jaroch said, straightening his hair and folding
his hands behind his back neatly, putting on the biggest
fake smile he could manage.
Captain Picard pushed through the door, his sword
clanging at his side. “Greetings, Mister Jaroch. It has been a
Jaroch bowed graciously. “Thank you for SAVING me,
“Think nothing of it. I needed someone I could trust
and who knows Travvy well. I hope you’ve found the
“Very much, sir. The rumors of your treatment of
prisoners are quite erroneous.”
Jean-jean clapped Jaroch on the back and squeezed him
tightly. “Don’t think of yourself as a prisoner, cher.
Think of yourself as a guest. You’ll be treated well by my
staff and me, and all I ask in return is that you help me
stop Lisa-love and Travvy from reaching Earth. If they do, my
place as Happymaster General is endangered. And we wouldn’t
want that, would we?”
“Perhaps, if I do make Happymaster General, there will
be an administrative position at my side for you. Would you
“Oh, yes sir!” Jaroch said excitedly. “I shall do all I
can to assist you.”
“Excellent,” Picard said with a smile. “We will
intercept Lisa-love and Travvy in five hours. In the meantime,
I have another little assignment for you. One that will put
all your scientific skills to use.”
“Scientific skills?” Jaroch asked with a gulp.
Manservant Jaroch rounded the bend to the adjoining
corridor and stopped dead in his tracks as soon as he heard
the anguished grunts from the room at the end.
“Keep a-movin’,” the security officer said pleasantly,
nudging Jaroch onward with his phaser.
Jaroch came to a stop at the set of doors at the end of
the corridor and had to stop himself from jumping back when
he heard another anguished grunt.
“Computer, be a sweetheart and open up this door,
security authorization Betty Boop One,” the security guard
said. The doors promptly swished open, and the guard
unceremoniously shoved Jaroch through. “Have a good time,
Upon being shoved inside, Jaroch tripped and fell flat on
his face. The Yynsian squinted up at the dark shapes in the
dimly lit room. “Computer…lights.”
The lights sprung on, causing Jaroch to stumble back as he
groped his way to his feet.
As his eyes adjusted, he saw a dark shape move towards
him and knock him back over the couch.
“Errg?” a voice asked.
Jaroch pulled himself up and looked into the face of his
assailant. “Captain Riker!”
Willy-nilly had changed a lot since Jaroch had last seen
him. His beard was bushy and his hair was wildly unkempt.
And his eyes…they reflected a warped and twisted mind that
swirled behind wide corneas.
“Fox in sox knocks blocks from docks and watches
bottled beetles battle with paddles in puddles!” Willy-nilly
cried, leaping over the couch and jumping on top of Jaroch.
Jaroch wiped a spray of drool off his face and squirmed
out from under Riker. So this was what Picard meant by a
little assignment. He had to put right whatever was wrong
in poor Riker’s head. And he only had a few hours to do it.
“The goose grabs gooey globs of gross gunk!” Willy-
nilly said pleasantly.
“Not a problem,” Jaroch muttered.
“You win again,” Lt. Commander Richards said with a
sigh, handing his cards to Bradley Dillon. “You’re pretty good
at this game, Mr. Dillon.”
“It’s a hobby,” Bradley said with a smile. “Cards are a
nice way to pass the time.”
“Excuse me,” Dr. Browning said from the cell across from
them. “But I was just wondering when we were going to stop
playing cards and find a way to get out of here?”
“If you have a suggestion, hon, I’d love to hear it,”
Richards said. “You want to go again, Stuart?”
“No, I already owe Bradley here two bars of latinum,”
Stuart said grumpily.
“That is if we ever get out of here alive,” Bradley
From her place on the cot next to Browning, Lana Shar
crossed her arms and made an angry noise. “He’s cheating,
Stuart turned to Bradley and narrowed his eyes. “Is
Bradley backed up a bit. “Of course not. My
gorgeous friend is mistaken.”
“Listen, pudgy, I didn’t live five hundred years
without learning a thing or two,” Lana said resolutely.
“You have a microscopic implant in one of your fingers that
is capable of changing the number and suit of the cards in
“That’s ridiculous,” Bradley said. “I’m offended that
you would think such a thing of dear old Bradley Dillon.”
“Check him,” Lana said.
Stuart grabbed Bradley’s hand and rubbed his fingers
over the brig’s wall, and sure enough, a tiny, red, “ten”
“Just a parlor trick. I wasn’t actually going to
collect,” Bradley said innocently.
“Why you…” Richards muttered.
“Hello, friends,” a voice said, as the doors to the
brig swooshed open. Richards turned to see Ensign Fresca
approach the two cells. “I trust you’re all happy with the
“Thrilled,” Browning said with a plastered-on smile.
“Good,” Fresca said, smiling even wider. She leaned
closer to Richards’s cell. Without moving her lips, she
said, “I understand you are well versed in this ship’s
functions, Mr. Richards.”
“I’d like to think so,” Richards replied.
“Just what I wanted to hear. Watch for my signal,”
Fresca said, still smiling wide. She backed away from the
cell. “Stay happy and nothing will happen to you. Pleasant
“What was that all about?” Stuart asked, as Fresca
left the brig.
“It makes perfect sense,” Browning said. “She couldn’t
possibly be named Fresca, since that was just the alias Lt.
Commander Preston worked under when she was on our Aerostar.
Fresca is obviously her alias in this universe too.”
“But who does she work for?” Lana asked.
“Good question,” Richards said, rubbing his chin.
“Whoever it is, I’m more inclined to trust her than
“You can say that again,” Browning said.
“Back already?” Travvy asked, as Fresca made her way
down to the front of the battle bridge.
“Yes, sir,” Fresca said sweetly. “Everyone’s still
“Goodie.” Travvy leaned back in the command chair.
“Ready a Priority One communication for the Emperor. Tell
her Picard and the Klingons have betrayed us and call for
“Aye, sir,” Fresca said, entering the commands into
“Well, what do we do now?” Lisa-love asked from her
place next to Travvy.
“We wait,” Travvy snapped. “Unless you have a better
“Not at all. This is your show, Happyness.”
“Damn right. Don’t ever forget it.”
Lieutenant Hartley fought her eyes open and tried to
ignore the throbbing in her head. “Captain Baxter? Captain
“Here, Megan,” Mirk said, leaning over her. “You
took a bump on the head when we landed.”
“Landed?” Hartley asked, leaning up and rubbing the
bump on her head.
“Yeah. Sorry about that,” Mirk said. “I projected us
about ten meters above the planet’s surface.”
“Wait a minute. Projected?” Hartley asked. “The last
thing I remember is being on the Aerostar as it was attacked
by Picard and the Klingons. We were about to be taken over
when you started glowing and…”
“Then we ended up here,” Mirk said, gesturing to the
green foliage around them. “As near as I can tell, some
kind of energy inversion in the Bermuda Expanse supercharged
my powers for a moment and gave me the ability to transport us
out of there.”
“You mean you used your powers to beam us here?”
“Not really beam. I just…‘thought’ us here.”
“Neat trick,” Hartley said. “Well, genius, where
exactly did you ‘think’ us?”
“Good question. I was wondering that myself. I don’t
recognize the planet.”
“Me neither. Do you even know if we’re near the
“Not a clue. We could be anywhere. Maybe even in
“Just great. What about the rest of the Aerostar crew?”
“I don’t know. I assume Captain Picard took them
“Meanwhile, we’re powerless to help them.” Hartley
through her hands up in frustration. “Thank goodness for
little Maloxians and their magical powers.”
“You know, I did save your life, if you recall,” Mirk
“Believe me, I couldn’t thank you more. But right now
we need to find a way to help the Captain and the others.”
Hartley grunted as she slid off the rock. “Maybe there’s
some civilized life around here.”
Mirk looked around at the towering trees that
surrounded them. He had a very bad feeling about this
planet. “That’s a nice thought, Megan. But somehow I
When Captain Baxter came to, he was immediately made
aware that he was spinning rapidly.
“What the hell is happening?” Baxter asked, as he
whirled around dizzily.
“Nice of you to join us again,” Beck’s voice said
nauseously. “They put us on some kind of damned gyroscopes.
A quick, dizzying, look told Baxter that Beck’s
observations were correct. His arms and legs were stretched
out and attached to some kind of hollow, metal, spherical
ball–kind of like the ones they used to prepare cadets for
zero-g work at Starfleet Academy. But this ball was
spinning far more rapidly.
“I think I’m going to puke,” Beck said.
“Other than that, have you found anything out about
where we are?” Baxter said, trying to suppress the vomit
that was churning in his stomach.
“Very little, actually.”
“Just great. Well, obviously we weren’t successful in
getting the Aerostar away from the Klingons.”
“We made a darn good try at it, though.”
“And accomplished little, I’m afraid,” a voice said
from somewhere in the room. Baxter couldn’t locate it
because he was spinning so fast, but it was unmistakably the
voice of Captain Picard.
“Hope you all are enjoying my…hospitality.”
“Where is everyone else?” Beck asked.
“We left the Aerostar in the tender care of my Klingon
enforcers. You two came along because…well…this other
world intriuges me.”
“What about Mirk and Hartley?” Baxter asked.
“You mean the other two people from your universe?
They seem to have disappeared. I’d like to know why…but
maybe you could tell me that.”
“Mirk’s powers must have malfunctioned again,” Baxter
“Intruiging. I’d like to hear more about this later.”
“Could you please stop this God forsaken spinning?”
Baxter pleaded. “It’s driving us nuts.”
“Mmmmm…precisely,” Picard said, clapping his hands
together. “You two are simply delicious. We’ll have your
brains so scrambled soon that you won’t be able to tell your
left from your right. Then we can be friends.”
“I don’t want to be friends, Mister, I just want to
get my ship back and get the hell out of here.”
“Oh, you’ll get your ship back, all right. We can
even make you Captain of it again. But first you’ll have to
undergo a little …attitude adjustment.”
“Oh for the love of Pete!” Baxter cried out.
“There will be time for love later, big boy,” Picard
said. “For now, enjoy the amusements.”
“How the hell are we going to get out of this one,
Captain Intelligence?” Beck asked, as Picard left the room.
Baxter responded by puking loudly and uncontrollably
all over the inside of his sphere.
J’hana’s voice, mixed with alarms and computerized
bleeps, buzzed around Peterman.
“We’re caught in a gravitic flux!” J’hana cried out.
“Attempting to adjust the warp field to compensate!”
Peterman’s field of vision warped and clouded up as
she tried to make sense of the swirling world around her.
“Can we get through?”
“Uncertain. I cannot even–”
Then everything stopped. All the sounds inside the
runabout disappeared, along with the feeling of the deck
bucking under Peterman’s feet. Suddenly it was all just–
“J’hana?” Peterman asked, looking around at the
swirling purple eternity around her.
<Thank goodness someone came.>
Peterman looked around. “Who’s there?”
<We’re all nuts. And you have to save us.>
Peterman shook her head to clear the feeling of
confusion that set in, but, oddly, she had no sense of
amusement. “Where are we?”
<In the eye of the storm.>
Suddenly an eyeball carreened by Peterman, almost
slamming into her.
J’hana flew after it, fists curled. “Transport me
into a funky purple mental plain, will you? You damned
eyeball! Wait until I’m finished with you!”
<Counselor, can you please call the blue one off?>
“J’hana!” Peterman called out.
The Andorian whirled around. “What do you want? I’m
“Don’t you see where we are? We’re with the
“That may be, but no one sucks me into a dream world
against my will without answering for it!”
“Calm down, J’hana! Remember our talks about your
temper?” Peterman said as she hovered there helplessly.
“I’ll calm down the second we–”
<You must help us…time is running out…> the eyeball
said, as suddenly the purple eternity transformed around
Suddenly Peterman felt herself descend through a
strange multicolored world, struggling to stop her fall as
she felt plastic slide past her face.
“Where are we?” J’hana’s angry voice asked. “Where
are those Directors?”
Peterman suddenly realized that she was in a giant
tank that was filled with little plastic multicolored balls.
“Kelly, honey! Be careful in there,” a voice said.
“Who is that?” J’hana asked, as she writhed through
the thick surrounding balls.
“My mom,” Peterman said in confusion. “Hey, that’s
where we are. Playtime Place! On Earth!”
“Playtime Place? Was this some kind of torture
facility?” J’hana asked as she pushed up through the balls.
“No, it was a place where kids went to play. Hence
the name,” Peterman replied, struggling for footing.
“Charming,” J’hana grunted. “Why are we here?”
“You’ve got me.”
Peterman struggled against the current of balls until
her head emerged. “Mom?”
“There you are, sweetie. It’s time to go,” Peterman’s
mom said, extending a hand. “Come on, baby.”
“What is this bedamned nonsense?” J’hana asked, as her
head emerged beside Peterman.
“Watch your mouth, Melody, or I’ll be on the phone to
your mom in a jiffy!” Peterman’s mom warned.
“Melody?” J’hana asked. “And who the hell is Melody?”
Peterman climbed out of the balls and scratched her
head thoughtfully. “Melody was like my best friend when I
“You won’t be eight until March, sweetheart,”
Peterman’s mom said.
“I’m seven?” Peterman asked, taking her mom’s hand and
following her down the steps to the rest of Playtime Place.
“Amusing,” J’hana said. “I am sure you were a pretty
little girl, Counselor.”
“If I’m seven, and you’re Melody, that would make you
six, so shut up.”
“Be nice!” Peterman’s mom said with a wave of her
Peterman stopped at a row of funhouse mirrors and
gasped. A dark haired, seven year old girl in a flowery
pink and yellow jumper and white panty-hose stared back at
her. “This is not happening,” Peterman said, rubbing a hand
over her face.
J’hana looked over Peterman’s shoulder and laughed.
“You were a pretty little girl, Couns–” the Andorian
stopped when she saw her own reflection in the distorted
mirror. “By the hive mother!”
“Melody” was decked out in canary Osh Kosh overalls with a
big, purple bow in her hair.
“I am a freakish human child! How could this have
“Don’t ask me,” Peterman said.
“And who is this B’gosh that my overalls belong to?
He sounds like an Andorian religious figure.”
Peterman grabbed J’hana’s hand and led her away.
“Come on, we have work to do.”
“Kelly, Melody!” Peterman’s mom called out. “Come
on, kids. We have to go now!”
“This is greatly disturbing,” J’hana said as she
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Peterman said. “Wait
until you see my room.”
Happymaster Dillon watched the onrushing stars on the
viewscreen impatiently. “Have we received a reply from the
“Not yet, sir,” Fresca replied.
“Well, what’s taking so damn long?”
“I don’t know, Happyness. Perhaps it got stuck in
“If I want to hear jokes I’ll hire a comedian. Dillon
“I need you to take a look at the primary
communications relay. I sent a message to Emperor Webber
an hour ago and I haven’t heard anything yet.”
“That’s odd. We’re only a few hours away from Earth
at this speed.”
“Very good, Chrissie. Now, the question is, can
you fix the f***ing problem?”
“Yes, Happymaster,” Chrissie said. “I’m on it.”
“Lt. Bri-Bri, what is the position of the Enterprise?”
“Well behind us, sir,” Bri-Bri replied from tactical.
“We will reach Earth twenty minutes ahead of them.”
“And once we reach Earth, they will be powerless to
stop us,” Travvy said, laughing maniacally.
:) CHAPTER SIX
“Hello, Major,” Mistress Beck said, looking with
satisfaction at the brig that held Major Becky Singer at
bay. “I trust the occupation of my station is going well?”
“Well enough to assure you happy bastards will be out
of commission within the year,” Singer grunted.
“That may be. But your friends will do it without your
Singer threw her head back and laughed. “Do your
“Honey,” Lisa-love said in a sultry voice. “You can’t
imagine what my worst is.”
Lisa-love suddenly whirled at the sound of opening doors.
“Happy day, Mistress Beck,” Ensign Fresca said with a
smile. “I’m here to check up on our prisoner.”
Lisa-love folded her arms and glared at Singer. “Make
it quick, my precious.”
Ensign Fresca walked over to the security console and
tapped in a few commands.
“Chrissie to Fresca. I need you down in Engineering.
Someone’s sabotaged the comm relay and I need your help to
“Right away, Commander,” Fresca said, making some
final adjustments to the panel in front of Singer’s cell.
“What are you doing, anyway?” Lisa-love asked, walking
over to where Fresca was working
“Just some routine maintenance,” Fresca said.
Lisa-love peered at the monitor. “You’ve shut down the
security sensors on this deck and rerouted the feeds to a
stand-alone data feeder…why would you–”
Fresca didn’t let Lisa-love finish her question. She
slammed an elbow into her chin, sending the Mistress reeling
backwards, then she pulled out her phaser and shot her,
sending her down for the count.
Then she holstered her phaser and deactivated the
field around Singer’s cell.
“I thought you’d never let me out of here,” Singer
said, climbing out of the cell. “I heard the rebels
assigned you to infiltrate the Aerostar. How did that go?”
“It was horrible. Now get Lisa-love into a cell and
follow me,” Fresca replied, tossing a phaser to Singer.
“We have some other guests to liberate before we can take
out the Happymaster.”
“More bubbles, Data! More bubbles!” Captain Jean-jean
said joyfully, squeezing his rubber ducky as his android
First Officer dutifully dumped more bubbly solution into the
Captain’s lavishly huge tub.
“Captain, it strikes me that you are undertaking a
grave risk by threatening the throne of Emperor Webber. Is
it not possible that you will fail and kill us all?” Data
“Risk is all part of the game, Mr. Data. I thought
you would have learned that by now. The universe is a
constantly expanding, constantly changing entity. We must
respond to this by adapting accordingly.” Jean-jean pursed his
lips in a smile. “Don’t you think?”
“Yes, sir,” Data said, and continued to stir the warm,
“Manservant Jaroch to Captain Picard,” came the nervous
voice over the comm system.
Picard reached up with a toe and hit a control.
“Captain Riker is…er…responding favorably to the
electrical therapy I am administering to him. However, I am
not sure if he will recover total use of his brain.”
“It’s not the brain I’m interested in,” Picard said
with a mischievous grin. “Can he speak yet?”
“I am afraid not. All I have gotten so far is a
string of garbled sounds approximating words. Whatever
happened when the Aerostar crew revolted seriously
compromised the neuron chains in his cerebellum.”
“I don’t want to hear your technobabble, Mr. Jaroch,”
Picard said, splashing the water angrily with his hand. “I
want results. You must find out the secret of the
Aerostar’s mind reversal tool. If we can find out how to
reverse the effect of the happy beam, we’ll have enough
leverage to knock Emperor Webber out of office.”
“Aye sir. I will keep you updated on my progress.
“Shall I give you your evening foot massage now, sir?”
Data asked, once he was satisfied that the water was bubbly
“I’m not getting any younger, am I?” Picard said,
sticking his feet up in the air so that Data could go to
Fresca, Singer, and the group from the non-happy
universe quickly made their way to Engineering.
“Thanks again for letting us out, Fresca,” Browning said
quietly, as Richards led the group down the corridor.
“You’re welcome. Now hurry!” Fresca whispered back.
“As soon as the other Richards sees what I’ve done to the
comm relay, he’ll fix it and send the message on to Emperor
Webber. After that it’s just a matter of minutes before I’m
discovered to be a traitor.”
“We’re almost there,” Richards whispered, leading
the group around a corner.
Richards crept into Engineering with Fresca and the
others on his heels.
“Commander,” Fresca called out. “Happymaster Dillon
sent me to help you.”
“Groovy,” Chrissie replied from behind one of the
bulkheads. “I’m here in the Jeffries’ tube.”
Fresca keyed the door open. As soon as the doors
swished open, the other Richards stuck his head out.
“It’s really weird. Someone sabotaged the primary–”
“Suprise!” Richards cried, punching Chrissie in
“That felt good, didn’t it?” Browning asked, looking down
at the other Richards’s unconcious body.
“It sure did. Serves him right for having such an
ugly beard,” Richards said. He ran over to the master
systems display and began working.
“What’s our next step?” Bradley asked excitedly, looking
over Richards’s shoulder. He really seemed to be enjoying
“We have to reroute control down to Engineering and
seal it off. Then we can take the Explorer back to the
Bermuda Expanse and get back to our own universe,” Richards
“Oh, that reminds me,” Fresca said. “Your Captain
Baxter and some of his friends followed after us, but Picard
captured them before they could do much good.”
“And you just now thought to tell us this
information?” Lana asked angrily.
“It slipped my mind, jeeze,” Fresca said. “Anyway, I
suppose you’ll want to rescue them.”
“Easier said than done,” Browning said. “We can’t just
ask Picard nicely to give them back to us.”
“Maybe we won’t have to,” Major Shwartz piped up. “I
think Captain Picard is going to make a move to overthrow
Emperor Webber. Evidently he has the backing of the
“So?” Richards asked as he worked.
“So,” Fresca chimed in, “Picard will most likely
attempt his coup when he reaches Earth.”
“And?” Bradley asked.
Fresca let out a long sigh. “And, instead of fighting
him, we’re going to give him exactly what he wants:
Chirpy music thudded against the walls of the Battle
Bridge’s readyroom as Happymaster Dillon danced on top of
his small desk, singing happily along with the song that was
currently being piped in. “…When the end comes I know I
was just a gigolo. Life goes on without me ‘cause I ain’t
got nobody. Nobody cares for me…”
“Haggar?” Counselor Kelly-bell asked from the doorway.
“Roth,” Travvy corrected, straightening his uniform.
“Don’t you know how to knock? This is my private playtime.”
“My apologies,” Kelly-bell said. She curled up in the
small couch beside Travvy. “I thought we might talk
about…certain career opportunities.”
“What kind of career opportunities?” Travvy asked,
standing up and moving to the desk.
“It’s come to my attention that you have placed
Mistress Beck in Couselor Troi’s old position. Do you think
“Why, do you have someone else in mind for that…position?”
Travvy asked. He moved around to the couch to face Kelly-bell.
Kelly-bell pulled Travvy down onto the couch. “I just
“Report, Larkin,” Commander Conway said as he slid
off the biobed in Waystation’s infirmary with a wince of pain.
Larkin crossed her hands behind her back. “The rift
in the Bermuda Expanse has been repaired. There is no sign of
any kind of fluctuation in the phenomenon, and no sign that
the ionic disturbance surrounding the former position of the
rift will appear again.”
“Good,” Conway said, limping forward. “Thanks for the
skin grafts, Dr. Nelson.”
“Don’t mention it,” Nelson replied as she put her
Just before Conway reached the door to the infirmary, the
doors opened to reveal Lt. Commander Walter Morales.
“Sir,” Morales said. “There’s someone from the Explorer
here who wishes to speak with you.”
“Later,” Conway said. “I don’t have time to deal with
a sniveling scientist who ‘never signed on for this.’” Conway
made air quotes with his fingers.
“That’s not exactly–” Morales replied, as he was
suddenly shoved aside.
Conway looked down to see who had pushed Waystation’s
First Officer away, to realize with astonishment that it was a
five year old child in a red-on-black Starfleet Scout’s uniform.
“I’ve been patronized long enough, Commander. Now I
want a moment of your time.”
“He’s an insolent little bastard, isn’t he?” Conway
said, looking to Larkin with a smile.
“Sir, he is just a child…”
Conway ignored Larkin and bent down. “Okay, little
fella. Tell Uncle Dave what your problem is.”
“I object to your handling of this entire situation
Commander. Since I have come aboard your vessel I have
been misled and misdirected at every turn. I simply asked to
talk to my Uncle about the current situation and your
Lieutenant Gellar called me ‘Spanky’ and told me to go play
with a box of crayons. Now I demand satisfaction!”
“Okay, okay. We’ll let you call your uncle. Who is
“Admiral Frank McGrath.”
“Son of a bitch!” Conway said, smacking his head.
Larkin put a hand on Conway’s shoulder. “You are
hardly making this situation any better, Commander.”
“Larkin, why don’t you shut up and get this
little…” Conway looked down at the child and tried to
compose himself, “angel..a chocolate sundae while I take him
up to Ops to call his uncle.”
“Aye, sir,” Larkin said, and moved off to a
“Now…” Conway said tiredly.
“Now, Robby, let’s go make that call.”
Happymaster Dillon rushed out onto the bridge, jerking
up his uniform pants at the same time. “Report, Bri-Bri!”
“Sir, we’ve stopped!” Bri-Bri said from tactical.
“What do you mean we’ve stopped?” Kelly-bell asked,
shrugging on her uniform top and zipping it as she ran to
join Travvy on the bridge.
“I mean we’re not moving anymore,” Gellar replied.
“Obviously,” Travvy said. “Well, what’s the problem?”
“All the command pathways to the bridge have been
severed,” Tilly said. “It would appear it was done from
“Dillon to Chrissie!” Travvy growled.
“This is Engineering,” a voice that sounded almost
exactly like Chrissie Richards said. “I’m afraid your
friend is unconcious right now. Maybe when you meet up
with him in the brig you can chat with him.”
“In the brig?” Travvy asked. “And just how do you
At that moment, a hiss of gas could be heard
throughout the bridge.
“F***!” Travvy cried, and dropped to the floor.
Mirk pushed leaves aside and hovered up to the higher
branch, his feet barely brushing against the tree trunk. “I
almost have it, Megan!”
“Be careful!” Hartley cried from the ground. She tried
to keep herself from looking away as Mirk hovered
precariously above the treetops.
“I think I see something!” Mirk cried out, hovering up
a little higher.
“What do you see?”
“Um–” Mirk said, when suddenly he dropped out of the
air, hitting several branches on the way down.
Hartley hopped back as Mirk plummeted to the ground
with a thud. “What happened?”
Mirk grabbed a branch and pulled himself up, dusting
off his outfit carefully. Of course he’d have to be wearing
his hunter green suede suit today of all days. It was
completely ruined now. “Well, I kind of lost my
“I’d rather not say,” Mirk said defensively. “It’s a
private matter.” Truth was, he had let some rather steamy
thoughts of Amara, the waitress back at the Constellation
Cafe, seep into his head. Thinking about sex always either
activated his powers or messed them up, depending on which
would work out worse for him.
“Fine, fine,” Hartley said. “Let’s at least keep
moving. Maybe we can find shelter or something. I’d rather
not have to spend the night lying in a bed of pine cones.”
“Listen, I didn’t mean to transport us here. Anyway,
it’s better than being captured by that lunatic Picard,
“I guess so. I just wish we could figure out where we
Mirk looked around as the two proceeded through the
woods. “Well, you’re the Federation officer. Presuming
that I at least transported us somewhere within the
Federation, you should have a pretty good handle on where
“These trees look darn familiar, but I can’t quite put
my finger on where I remember them from.”
“Trees look the same all over the galaxy. That’s not
going to help us.”
Hartley picked up a stick and examined it. “Okay then,
genius, what do we do?”
Mirk bent down and picked up a handful of soil,
lifting it up to his nose and smelling it. “Hmmm. It’s got
a trace of sulfur–maybe a little carbon. This is probably
a planet with an industrial or geological base.”
Hartley peered through the trees and squinted. She
could barely make out a large, red shape. While Mirk
talked, she pressed forward, studying the long struts and
“Damn it, how could I have been so stupid!” Hartley
cried. “I know where we are! Come on, Mirk!”
The transporter chief grabbed Mirk’s hand and dragged
him through the forest.
“Hold on! Where are you going!” Mirk huffed, trying
his best to keep up with Hartley.
Hartley didn’t answer, she just kept running, until
they reached a clearing. Beyond, over a large, grassy hill,
clear blue water dug into a well-developed stretch of land.
And over that clear blue water, a large red bridge joined to
sections of that land.
“That’s the Golden Gate Bridge, Mirk!” Hartley cried,
jumping up and down. “You sent us to San Francisco. We’re
“San Francisco?” Mirk asked. “Wow. What a treat.”
Lt. J’hana ripped the head off the fluffy pink
elephant doll and threw it across the room. “I demand to
know why we are here, you damned eyeballs! I know you can
hear me! Why did you do this to us?”
Peterman grabbed Mr. Ed L. Fant’s body from J’hana and
put it back on her daybed. “Stop it, J’hana. I doubt the
Directors can hear us and you’re not helping matters by
messing up my stuff.”
“Perhaps this is an indirect result of the Directors’
twisted state,” J’hana said thougtfully.
“Of course,” said Peterman. “Mirk said something about
the damage the happy-beam did to the Directors. Could it be
possible that, by kidnapping us, they were somehow asking
“I suppose so,” J’hana replied. “But why send us
here? What’s the significance of this place and time?”
“Maybe it’s just a way for them to speak in our terms.
They’re such an advanced race, maybe this is the only way
they can communicate with us.”
“I refuse to accept that. They conversed with the
Captain on several occasions, and if he can understand them,
anyone can understand them.”
“You’ve got a point.” Peterman hopped up onto her
daybed. “They must have doen this for a reason. Somehow,
by being here, we can help them.”
“I fail to see how we would go about that,” J’hana
replied grimly. “We are two children living on a ranch on
Earth. What can we do here to help a race of omnicient
beings that are twenty years in the future and on the other
side of the galaxy?”
That’s when the eyeball appeared above Peterman’s
<First of all, you can stop applying those petty human
terms to our existence. We are non-corporeal. Thus, we do
not exist in time or space as you know it. You will have to
first accept that before you can help us.>
“Uh-huh,” Peterman said. “Listen, I’m just a
Counselor, and J’hana here is a Security specialist.
Wouldn’t a scientist be better equipped to help you?”
<You do not seem to understand the nature of the help
we need. We are disassociated and in desparate need of
something to pull us back together.>
“Uh-huh. Like a multiple personality disorder?”
<Not exactly. You see, we live across the plain of
multiple universes. We experience the insanity of those of
us unfortunate enough to occupy the universe where your
friends have traveled, but until recently, we have not been
affected by it. When the alternate Aerostar traveled
through what you call the Bermuda Expanse, our insane
counterparts tore themselves apart in an attempt to stop it,
only succeeding in ripping apart the fabric of space-time
“Well, that is a problem,” Peterman said.
Just then, Peterman’s mom stuck her head in the door.
“Girls, Dinner!” She turned to look at the eyeball.
“Kelly, are both your friends eating with us?”
<That won’t be necessary, the eyeball said. I already
“Come on, it’s deviled ham!” Peterman’s mom said with
The eyeball looked down and considered the
proposition. <Okay, I’ll have a little plate. But go light
on the honey glaze, please.>
“Sure thing. Now come on down before it gets cold!”
J’hana and Peterman picked at their dinner and tried
to consider all that the eyeball had told them.
Meanwhile, the eyeball ate three helpings of deviled
ham and conversed amiably with Peterman’s parents.
<It was then that I decided that the subspace elements
were too volotile to be introduced into normal space. I
tried to convince my colleagues of that, but they laughed.
Little did they know that I was already coming up with a
plan of my own.>
“What a charming fellow!” Peterman’s dad said.
“Maybe one day you’ll find a guy as nice as this one,”
Peterman’s mom said.
“I have a boyfriend, mom!” Peterman protested.
“Sure you do, honey. I bet he’s sitting in this empty
chair, isn’t he?” Peterman’s mom turned to the empty chair.
“Mr. Bumpkins, would you like some ham?”
“Mom, would you stop that! You’re embarassing me!”
<Listen, Sheila, dinner was wonderful, but I really
should be going,> the eyeball said, pushing back from the
“Now, come on, Ike. I know you want some of my
gourmet cheesecake,” Mrs. Peterman replied.
<Well, maybe a little piece.>
Peterman’s mom pushed away from the table and scuttled
back into the kitchen. “I’ll go get it!”
“This charade is ridiculous!” J’hana grunted under her
breath. “How long will we be made to endure it?”
“Until we get the eyeball straightened out, I guess,”
“Well, I’d sure as hell like to know how we’re going
to do that.”
<I’m glad you asked,> the eyeball said. <Come with me.>
Suddenly, Peterman, J’hana, and the eyeball
disappeared in a flash.
Mrs. Peterman emerged from the kitchen moments later
with a big plate of cheesecake. “Ike? Kelly? Melody?
Where’d you all go?”
Mr. Peterman didn’t look up from his newspaper. “You
say something, Sheila?”
Visibly perplexed, Mrs. Peterman plopped down into her
chair and sat the cake down. “Ron, don’t we have a
daughter? Seven years old, about so high?”
Mr. Peterman turned the page and examined the previous
night’s football scores. “Beats me.”
Stellar cartography was alive with disco music and the
sounds of wild, unrestrained reverie.
Captain Picard had converted the room into a
discothecque during one of his more eccentric phases, and
ordered the crew to join him there for parties at his whim.
Many of the crew had danced to exaustion, only to be prodded
to further dancing by security officers. “Dance until you
can dance no more!” Picard would say. Four officers met
their end on this dance floor. Occasionally, their bodies
would be permanently contorted into the shapes “Y,” “M,”
“C,” and “A.”
Tonight, Picard was in a particularly festive mood,
since he was certain that it was the eve of his appointment
to Happymaster…possibly even Emporer. He had ordered the
most annoying, screeching, electronic music piped into the
giant room, and had ordered all his top officers to meet at
the center of the dance floor for a furious dance-off that
would put their mettle to the limit.
At the center of this bumping and grinding orgy,
Picard–decked out in a shimmering yellow plastic outfit,
gigantic pink plastic pink-tinted glasses, and shoes that
had seven-inch soles–girated with reckless abandon, almost
knocking Mr. Gorgeous La Forge into the orbitting image of
“Where it’s at! Got two turntables and a microphone!”
Picard chanted along with the music, thrusting his pelvis
first against Dr. Bevvy Crusher and next into the
unsuspecting Reggie Barclay from Engineering.
Suddenly the music ground to a halt as the doors to
Stellar Cartography swished open, allowing Manservant Jaroch
and Captain Riker to enter.
At Picard’s request, Jaroch had put on his customary head-
to-toe leather outfit, and had dressed Riker in a sporty
white leisure suit.
“Report,” Picard said briskly, looking Riker up and
“I have taught him a move made famous in a twentieth
century Earth movie known as ‘Saturday Night Fever,’” Jaroch
said with satisfaction.
“Let’s see it,” Picard said with a smile.
Jaroch jammed his electroprod into Riker, who immediately
jabbed a finger up into the air, and then down to the floor.
Picard clapped his hands vigorously, which prompted
everyone in the room to do so as well. “Bravo, Mr. Jaroch.
Dee-jay…back to the music!”
The buzz of electronic music once again filled Stellar
Cartography as Picard whirled Riker onto the dance floor.
“Let’s get down!” Gorgeous La Forge cried with a
Mr. Woofie hung from the balcony that looked out over
the Stellar Cartography screen, letting out a shrill howl
and diving into the audience.
“Dance, Jaroch, dance!” Picard cried, as Lt. Commander
Data caught Woofie and whirled him back into the air,
finishing off the movement with a fast-spinning break-dance
Jaroch performed the only Earth dance he was familiar
with: The Hand Jive.
Upon seeing this, the crew immediately caught on, and
quickly they were all caught up in a hurricane of hand-
“Born to hand-jive, baby!” cried Jean-jean.
The furious dancing was interrupted by a shrill beep
from overhead. “Bridge to the Discotheque. We have
detected the Explorer directly ahead.”
Picard immediately stopped hand-jiving and tapped his
comm badge. “This is Picard. Come to a stop and go to
“Woofie, Data, Jaroch, Riker. You’re all with me. The
rest of you, keep dancing!” Picard said merrily, skipping
toward the exit.
Data removed his stylish beret and took the ops
station. “Captain, the Explorer is within visual range
“Put her on-screen,” Picard said, removing his plastic
glasses and taking off his rubbery jacket to reveal a white,
frilly pirate shirt.
Data did as he was told and examined the readings on
his panel. “Sir, she appears to be adrift.”
“Adrift?” Picard asked, stepping forward and looking
at the ship on the viewscreen. “What about her systems?”
“Fully operational, sir. It seems as if they simply
cut their engines.”
“How strange,” Picard said, rubbing his chin. “Mr.
Jaroch, what do you think Travvy is up to?”
“It could certainly be a trick, sir,” Jaroch said.
“Mr. Riker?” Picard asked hopefully.
Riker just repeated his John Travolta move.
“That’s very good, Will. But can you tell us anything
about the ship out there?”
Riker shook his head and began gnawing on the material
of his chair.
Picard snapped a look over to Jaroch. “He hardly seems
competent, Mr. Jaroch. What do you have to say for yourself?”
“I am not a miracle worker, sir,” Jaroch said with a gulp.
Picard sighed. “Very well. I suppose this will have
“Captain…I am detecting several lifesigns aboard the
Explorer,” Mr. Data reported. “Among them is Happymaster
“Very good, Data,” Picard said with a smile. “Have
everyone you can find beamed aboard so we can..mmmm…add
them to our happy little family. And put a tractor beam on
“Aye, sir. Transferring coordinates to the transporter room.
They are energizing now.”
Picard tapped his foot on the bridge carpet several
moments until his patience was at an end. “Picard to
transporter room, what on Earth is taking so dreadfully
“Transporter room here. Happyness, I can’t seem to
resolve the matter stream…oh pooty!”
“Pooty?” Picard asked, raising an eyebrow.
Suddenly panels began exploding all over the bridge,
causing several unlucky ensigns to be knocked off their
Picard held fast and looked back to Woofie. “What in
Happyness’ name is happening?”
Woofie looked up from his panel, “They somehow managed
to piggyback a destructive microvirus on the transporter
beam. It’s working it’s way through the entire computer
“Stop it!” Picard ordered angrily.
“I cannot!” Woofie replied.
“Captain, this is the transporter room. I’m still
reading several patterns in the buffer. Should I
“Transport them directly to the bridge. Perhaps then
we’ll have some answers.”
Suddenly Lt. Commander Chrissie Richards,
Counselor Kelly-bell Peterman, Commander Lisa-love Beck, Lt.
Ariel Tilly-ran, Lt. Bri-Bri Gellar, and Happymaster Travvy
Dillon all appeared on the bridge, tied and gagged in a very
primitive fashion, which seemed to please Picard to no end.
“Oh, rapture!” Picard cried with a shriek of glee. He
ran over to Travvy and tore the tape forcefully from his
mouth. “What do you have to say now, Happymaster?”
“Untie me, you British fruit! I’ll rip your lungs
out!” Travvy cried angrily.
“Now that doesn’t sound very happy to me,” Picard
said, feigning disappointment.
Suddenly an ominous-sounding alert came from Woofie’s
“Captain!” Woofie said urgently. “Engineering reports
that the cascade has spread to the warp control systems.
They report a warp core breach is imminent!”
“Jettison the core, then!” Jean-jean ordered, jumping about,
arms flailing gaily in the air. “Puse Alert! Puse Alert!”
Beside Travvy, Commander Chrissie seemed to be
making quite a fuss.
“Oh, what is it? Do you have to go to the bathroom?
Now really isn’t the time,” Jean-jean said tiredly, ripping the
tape off of Chrissie’s face.
”–we did the same thing to the Explorer. It’s a
trick, Captain! They’re going to try to steal the battle
section of the Enterprise like we took theirs!”
“And how do you know this?” Picard asked.
“Because I heard them planning it, and their engineer
is essentially me. He thinks the same way I do.”
“Woofie! Gather a security team and take it down to
engineering,” Picard ordered. “And send some men to the
battle bridge and to auxilliary control. We’re not going to
be taken so easily.”
“But what about the breach?” Woofie asked.
“We will go along with the separation as planned,”
“But what if it isn’t a ruse?”
“Then you and your security forces will die a gruesome
death,” Picard said. “Do you have a problem with that,
The honorable blood in Woofie that had long been
buried slowly rose to a steamy boil. “No, SIR!”
“Quickly, Christopher! They’ll be on to us any second
now!” Dr. Browning said urgently, as Richards worked to free
the security systems of the door to Captain Picard’s
happyness lab aboard the Enterprise. They had used the
confusion that their cascade had set upon Picard’s ship to
give them the time to sneak aboard and retrieve Baxter and
“I’ve almost got it…” Richards said, ripping
wiring out of the door panel. “There!” The doors swung open.
Richards ducked into the room, while Browning swung her
phaser around to make sure no one in the corridor had seen
All Richards could make out in the dimly lit room
was faint beeping and twinkling neon lights, and the light
of the forcefields that surrounded the two cells at the back
of the room.
“Computer, lights,” Richards ordered.
“Please restate request.”
“Of course, I forgot myself for a moment there.
Computer, I need lights to light up my already happy life.”
“That’s the way!” responded the computer.
Lights flickered on all around the room, illuminating
the insides of the two cells as well.
“Andy!” Browning cried, running to one of the cells.
Baxter looked up from his bench and smiled. He was
idly twiddling his thumbs. “Oh, hi there, Janice!”
“We’re here to rescue you, and all you can say is ‘hi
“Stand back!” Richards said, aiming his phaser at
the field controls. As soon as Browning was clear, Richards
Baxter and Beck emerged from the cells, looking as if
they had just awaken from a long night’s sleep, but their
eyes were wide open, giving them a very doe-like appearance.
“Are you guys okay? You look like you’re on Regalian
Pleasure Products or something!” Richards said worriedly.
He stared at Baxter and ran a hand in front of the Captain’s
eyes while Browning ran a tricorder over both he and Beck.
“We’re groovy tunes,” Beck said brightly.
“Where are the people that came with you?” Richards
asked Baxter, ignoring Beck.
“I think the other Aerostar blew up!” Beck exclaimed.
“And Hartley and Mirkie went bye-bye!” Baxter said,
waving his hands. “Bye-bye!”
“Christopher, I don’t like the looks of this,” Browning
“We’re so happy to see you,” Beck said, a twinkle
glowing in her eye.
“Real happy,” Baxter agreed, grabbing Richards in a
tight bear hug. “Be our friends, kay?”
“F***,” Richards croaked.
TO BE CONTINUED. . .