Author: Anthony Butler
Captain Andy Baxter propped up his feet up on the piloting console of the runabout Raritan. “Well, that was a waste of time.”
“Don’t be such a sourpuss,” Counselor Peterman replied, putting down her padd–a little piece of drivel by Deanna Troi called “Zefram Cochrane: Hero or Alcoholic?”
“You were the one that wanted to see that piece of Khan Singh’s ship so bad.”
Baxter shrugged. “I didn’t realize that meant I’d have to sit through six hours of lectures on the effects of genetic engineering.”
Peterman slid out of her chair and crossed the cabin of the Raritan to wrap her arms around the captain. “The eugenics war was a horrible thing, Andy. We have to remember the mistakes of the past…or something like that.”
Baxter turned in his chair to face Peterman. “It was a tragic affair all right.”
“You know, talking about genetic engineering always turns me on.” Baxter inclined his head toward the flat console before him.
“In the cabin?” Peterman asked, a mischievous twinkle in his eye.
Peterman climbed atop the console and Baxter pounced, devouring her in kisses. Then the console bleeped pleasantly.
“Did you do that?” Baxter asked.
“I don’t know.” Another bleep.
“That’s the hail. Move your butt a little bit.”
“Frequencies open,” the computer announced.
“This is Captain Baxter. Go ahead”
“Baxter. It’s Conway.”
Baxter rolled his eyes. That was a mood-stopper if anything was. “What?”
“New orders just came in from Starfleet. We have to go to the Vendrax system to negotiate a trade agreement.”
“Well it’s not. I’m sending the orders and all the associated information over subspace. You’d better start reading now.”
“But we won’t get back to the ship for another thirteen hours!”
Conway laughed briskly over the comm channel. “I know. Have fun!”
ONE WEEK LATER
Stardate 52106.4. After a few days of extremely complicated negotiations with the Vendraxans, who, and I’m not making this up, have absolutely no verbs in their language, I’m realizing that the job of Captain is not one to be taken lightly.
“I can imagine your frustration,” Counselor Peterman said, rubbing Captain Baxter’s back as he sat at his desk, bent over piles of padds.
“It’s terrible, Kelly,” Baxter moaned. “You wouldn’t imagine how hard it is to give a speech to a group of people without using a verb. And it’s not as if I can just use the universal translator. There’s no way to translate verbs into their language.”
Peterman sat down on Baxter’s couch as he worked. “I really wish I could help, Andy. It just seems like too much work for one man.”
“And Conway’s no help. He would just as soon nuke the whole race,” Baxter muttered, paging through his latest materials negotiations.
“What you need is an assistant,” Peterman said brightly. “Someone who could be at your side during all these intense negotiations.” She folded her arms, smiling warmly. “Someone to take care of all the details. Make your life easier. Someone who loves you, who will look out for your best interest. Someone who–”
Baxter looked up, his expression brightening. “An assistant! That’s a great idea, Kelly!”
“Well, I…” Peterman stammered.
Baxter ran around his desk and gave Peterman a big hug. “You’re wonderful, Kelly, I love you!”
“But where are you going to get this assistant?” Peterman asked, following Baxter out to the bridge and calling after him. “You can’t just make one appear out of thin air!”
“Actually, yeah, I can!” Baxter said, disappearing behind the closing doors of the turbolift.
“You want to what?” Dr. Janice Browning asked, wriggling her toasty dough pretzel in shock.
“Create a being.”
“I see.” Browning made a show of searching the padds on her desk. “Nope. I don’t see an application for that anywhere.”
Baxter grinned conspiratorially. “I’m not looking to go through official channels for this. Now I’ve sat through Eugenics lectures. I know this is possible.”
“But it’s illegal. And with good reason!”
“Are you saying you won’t help me?”
“I wouldn’t even know where to begin!”
Baxter narrowed his eyes at Browning. “Fine. I’ll do it without you then.”
Browning chuckled. “Ha ha. Sure you will.”
Lt. Ariel Tilleran removed her goggles and pushed away from the sputtering glop in the petri dish before her. “And why, may I ask, do you need genetic material?”
Baxter put up his eyebrows. “A little project.”
“I’m not sure I can authorize that,” Tilleran said, swiveling in her stool.
“I’m not asking you to authorize it. I’m the captain. I’m authorizing it.”
“Since when did you get all authoritative and full of self esteem?” Tilleran said, blinking as the emotions from Baxter assaulted her mind.
“I’ve never had such a clear mission!” Baxter said, squeezing his hand into a fist.
“Well, I guess I can’t argue with that,” Tilleran said. “Let’s see what we can dig out of the freezer.”
Baxter clapped his hands eagerly. “That’s what I’m talking about!”
Personal Log, Counselor Peterman,
Stardate 52110.5. I’m really starting to get worried about Andy. He’s been in that science lab that he commandeered for four days now without coming out or responding to my communications. He’s kept the doors locked so no one can get in, and even Lt. J’hana’s security scans have come up with nothing. The most disturbing thing about this is the sounds that have been coming out of the lab. Inhuman, evil sounds. Sounds that chill your blood and curdle milk. Well, I’ve just about had enough.
Lt. Tilleran and Lt. Commander Richards quietly accompanied Counselor Peterman down the corridor.
“Are you sure this is necessary, Counselor?” Tilleran asked, as she watched Peterman mount the photon grenade on the door to the lab.
“Definitely,” Peterman said. “And you should appreciate it the most, since I’m holding YOU responsible.” That shut the Betazoid up.
“I’d like to know what Andy’s been working on myself,” Richards said. “Do you have any idea what this is about, Kelly?”
“Only that he wants an assistant,” Peterman said, adding, “and he’s using genetic material to get one.”
“Transferring a crew member would seem to be easier,” Tilleran said softly as Peterman set the explosive.
Peterman, Tilleran, and Richards took cover as the door to the lab ripped open with a bright explosion.
“I’m coming in, Andy!” Peterman cried, leading Tilleran and Richards into the lab.
Richards cleared away smoke with his hands, trying to see into the darkened lab. All he could make out was a rack of test tubes, some complicated looking scientific devices, and a huge, glowing incubation chamber.
“What in the hell have you done?” Richards asked, looking on as Baxter emerged from the smoke. He was unshaven, his hair was a mess, and he was dressed in a white labcoat.
“What have I done?” Baxter said, in a resounding, almost preacherlike voice. “I’ve done nothing less than create LIFE itself!”
Richards covered his face. “Say it ain’t so.”
Lt. Tilleran peered in the steamy glass of the incubation chamber. “How far are you from finishing your project?”
“You all are just in time,” Baxter said, rushing over to a lab table and grabbing a bottle of champagne. “I was just about to unveil my new creation.”
“I have a bad feeling about this,” Richards muttered.
“I shall not listen to the naysayers!” Baxter shouted. “Do you think Einstein, Cochrane, Marcus, or Shimmerak listened to their critics? Damn right they didn’t , and neither will I!”
“Something is wrong with you, Andy,” Peterman said, gently, touching Baxter’s shoulder. “You really should get some rest. I think you’ve been through way too much stress lately, what with all the negotiations–”
“That will all come to an end soon,” Baxter said, removing his plastic gloves. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes as if gathering his thoughts. Then he twisted back toward the chamber. “Now…let us look upon my creation!”
“This is very interesting,” Lt. Tilleran commented, watching as Baxter worked the controls of the incubator. “I never realized you were such an accomplished scientist, Captain.”
“I’m not!” Baxter laughed. “That’s what makes this so glorious!”
Richards twirled his finger, in the universal “He’s nuts” gesture.
“Stop!” Baxter turned to Richards, an twisted expression on his face. “And watch as I bring you…LIFE!!!!!”
At the press of a button, the incubation chamber creaked open.
The group watched expectantly as steam cleared away.
“Meet my new Assistant Captain.” Baxter gestured at his creation proudly.
Counselor Peterman squinted into the dissipating mist, then recoiled suddenly. “Oh, my God, Andy! What is that?”
Richards moved in front of Peterman, peering into the chamber. Tilleran looked on from a safe position behind Richards.
A tiny little man stared back. Not quite a meter tall, bald, and covered with redish purple, wrinkled skin. He cocked his head quizically and looked around the lab at all the people there.
“Now, Kelly, you’ve hurt his feelings,” Baxter said, reaching down and picking the little man up, covering him in a white blanket. “It’s okay, Jabobo. I won’t let them hurt you.”
Jabobo looked up at Baxter and smiled, waving his little
“Jabobo?” Richards asked.
Baxter set the little guy down. “Yes, Jabobo. It’s an obscure Cherokee Indian term that means ‘free spirit.’”
“Oh,” Richardon said, examining the creature carefully. “Is this how he was supposed to turn out?”
“More or less. You know, DNA is so complicated. You misplace a strand here, something goes wrong, you put a peptide chain in the wrong place, something else goes wrong. I never knew it was such a complicated science.”
“I think he’s kind of cute,” Tilleran said. “Hey, little guy!” She rubbed Jabobo’s chin, which made him wave his stubby limbs even more happily.
“That thing is disgusting, Andy!” Peterman gasped, covering her mouth and trying not to retch.
Baxter looked up at Peterman and frowned. “Really now, Counselor. Do you have to be so brutish? He’s a human being. Kind of. Treat him with respect. You’re really not being fair.”
“How’s this for fair?” Peterman asked angrily, turning on a heel. “It’s either Jabobo or me!”
“Oh, really, be mature!” Baxter called out, as Peterman left the room.
“You’ve lost it, Andy,” Richards said, looking down at Jabobo with disgust. Jabobo merely extended his little arm expectantly.
“And what do you want?” Richards asked.
“He’s just trying to be polite,” Baxter explained. “He simply wants you to shake his hand.”
Jabobo continued to wait expectantly.
Richards sighed and bent down, taking Jabobo’s hand and shaking it half-heartedly.
“There, now. That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Baxter asked.
“You need help,” Richards said. “Come on, Tilleran. It’s getting too wierd in here for me.”
“It was a nice try, Captain,” Tilleran said. “But don’t give up your day job.”
After Tilleran left, Baxter bent down and looked at Jabobo.
“They don’t understand us, Jabobo. They simply don’t understand. We’ll have to rely on each other now. Can you do that?”
Jabobo nodded vigorously.
“I knew that you could,” Baxter smiled, patting Jabobo on the head.
The next morning, Captain Baxter stepped out onto the bridge, with Jabobo sitting contentedly on his shoulder.
“Captain on the bridge,” Lt. Commander Larkin stated, vacating the Captain’s chair.
She glanced at Jabobo with interest. “I heard about your experiment, Captain, and may I say, you seem to have had some quite interesting results.”
“Jabobo is not a result,” Baxter said defensively as he took the command chair. “Jabobo is a person with feelings and I expect you to treat him as such.”
“As you wish, Captain,” Larkin said, heading for the turblift.
Commander Conway and Lt. J’hana stepped out of the turbolift as Alpha Shift began.
“He brought the freak with him,” J’hana muttered as she took her station.
Commander Conway made his way to his seat, staring at Jabobo all the way. “I really didn’t believe it when Lt. Tilleran told me, Captain. You actually created life.”
“Yes, I did,” Baxter said. “Jabobo, say hello to Commander Conway.”
Jabobo extended his hand to Conway, who took it immediatey.
“Nice to meet you, Jabobo. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
Jabobo nodded, retaking his position on the arm of Baxter’s command chair.
“Jabobo is writing my speech to the Vendraxans today, Commander. You’ll find him an acomplished writer, poet, musician, and scientist.”
“Amazing,” Conway said, peering at Jabobo.
“I’ve programmed him to be the most intelligent being in the quadrant,” Baxter said.
“I’ll hand it to you, Captain, you’ve done a hell of a job,” Conway said. “Do you think you could make me an assistant?”
“NO!” Baxter hissed. “Jabobo is one of a kind! He cannot be duplicated.”
“Oh,” Conway frowned. “Okay.”
“Now,” Baxter said, standing up, “I must rehearse my speech. Come, Jabobo.”
Once Baxter and Jabobo entered the readyroom, J’hana slammed her fist down on the tactical panel. “Commander Conway, how long will you allow this madness to go on?”
“What are you talking about?” Conway asked. “I don’t see a problem.”
“Thanks for coming here,” Counselor Peterman said, handing Lt. Tilleran a cup of mint tea and sitting down. “I need your help.”
“What do you want?” Tilleran asked, taking a sip.
Peterman leaned closer. “I want you to tell me what is going on in the minds of the Captain and his monstrosity.”
“As for the Captain,” Tilleran said, taking a deep breath. “He’s definitely…unbalanced. But his mind is sharp. I think the best way to put it is that his mind has taken on a new dimension.”
“I preferred him with one dimension,” Peterman muttered. “Can’t we fix it?”
“You’re the Counselor,” Tilleran said. “Isn’t that more your department?”
Peterman rolled her eyes, thinking a moment. “Yeah, I guess it is. What about the freak?”
“Jabobo? That’s a different story. I don’t know what to say about him. He’s placid, restful…intelligent. His mind is like an oasis, an eden of thought if you will.”
Peterman ripped at the pillow on her couch in frustration. “That’s not what I wanted to hear! I want to know how I can get grounds to relieve the Captain of duty and destroy his little creature. I want things to get back to normal!”
“Then you have quite a job ahead of you,” Tilleran said, putting her tea down and standing up. “And I’m the last person who can help.”
“Great. Just great,” Peterman said, pacing her office as Tilleran left.
Suddenly the viewscreen flickered on in her quarters.
Captain Baxter appeared on the screen, standing on what appeared to be a sidewalk on Earth. He was obviously on the holodeck.
Standing next to him, on top of a garbage can, was Jabobo.
“Hello there, my beloved crewmates,” Baxter began. “Captain Andy Baxter here to tell you about a new name on the street.”
Peterman sighed, looking up at the screeen exasperatedly.
“Jabobo. That’s right, you’ve seen him in the corridors, you’ve seen him in Engineering, and you’ve seen him on the bridge. You may be wondering, ‘Who is this amazing little guy?’ Well, simply put, he’s my best buddy and my Assistant Captain. And he’s here to stay. So welcome Jabobo to our team, and let the good times roll!”
Suddenly three women appeared behind Baxter, dressed in sequins. They raised their hands up in praise.
“Halleluja, Jabobo’s here, he’s the man of the year!
Amen brothers and sisters, that Jabobo guy!
He’ll make you smile and make you cry!
He’s the Captain’s friend, the Captain’s aide,
Hug Jabobo when you see him, please don’t be afraid!”
Jabobo began to dance rythmically along with the backup singers. Captain Baxter grinned and danced along with him, shaking his butt vigorously.
Once the music was over, Baxter hoisted Jabobo onto his shoulders. “Friends and crewmates, remember this important message: Jabobo is the key to love and happiness. And don’t be afraid to touch him!”
With that, Baxter’s image flickered off the screen, just as one of Peterman’s shoes clattered against it.
“Damn Jabobo,” Peterman muttered. “He’s driven my boyfriend nuts.”
Later that day, Captain Baxter addressed the mass of Vendraxan nomads that lined the Explorer’s main auditorium.
Jabobo sat in a tiny little chair at Baxter’s left, Conway, to Baxter’s right, in a normal-sized chair. And despite the importance of the negotiations, Conway couldn’t keep his eyes off Jabobo.
“…And in conclusion…” Baxter continued, “…commerce, trade, benefits for the Federation and the Vendraxans. Important for both… Federation powerful! Federation good! The love here, there, and elsewhere. The profit, always. Freedom…forever!”
The blue-mottled, spindly, angly Vendraxans rose to their feet and waved their hands in the air in the Vendraxan equivalent to applause.
Baxter bowed, gave the victory sign with both hands, and left the stage, with Jabobo and Conway at his side.
“Always leave them wanting more,” Baxter said, as he led the way out the back exit. “That’s what Jabobo taught me.”
“Did he talk to you?” Conway asked. “I thought Jabobo didn’t talk.”
Baxter stopped, turning to face Conway. Jabobo did the same, mimicking Baxter perfectly.
“Listen, Commander. People yackety yack a streak, each and every day. Mr. Jabobo, on the other hand, will never speak, unless he has something to say.”
“I see,” Conway said, nodding. “Well put, Captain, well put.”
“Of course,” Baxter said, moving off down the corridor.
“I’ve convened this meeting so that we can make a ruling on the mental stability of our Captain,” Counselor Peterman said, looking out from her desk at the group assembled in her office.
The group was comprised of the Explorer’s top officers: Lt. Commander Larkin, Lt. J’hana, Lt. Tilleran, Lt. Commander Richards, and Doctor Browning.
“I have a question,” Larkin said, looking a tad uncomfortable in Peterman’s furry Gus the Dog chair. “Where is Commander Conway?”
“I’m sorry to report that Commander Conway has somehow been affected by the Captain’s strange dementia as well,” Peterman replied, hitting a control on her desk. “This clip is from the flight recorder in the Captain’s readyroom. It was taken last night when the Captain and Commander Conway were having a staff meeting.”
“Looks fine to me,” Dr. Browning said, as the group watched Baxter and Conway converse over a pile of padds on the viewscreen.
“Watch as the camera pans down,” Peterman said worriedly.
The group looked on to see that Baxter and Conway were sitting in their boxer shorts. It appeared that their feet were soaking in a warm creamy substance.
“That substance is oatmeal, everyone,” Peterman cried angrily. “Cinnimon and raisin OATMEAL!!!”
“I fail to see the nutritional value,” Tilleran noted with a touch of a grin.
“It’s idiotic,” Peterman said. “Furthermore, I’ve learned that Jabobo told them to do all that. He says it decreases stress.”
“Does it?” Browning asked, amused.
“For them, maybe. Not for the rest of us,” Peterman replied. “We have to figure out a way to relieve the Captain and Commander Conway from duty so we can put them in some damn intensive counseling.”
“We must kill them,” J’hana grumbled. “No mercy for the mentally divergent.”
“I don’t think so,” Peterman said. “As much as that idea appeals to me, I’m not going to kill my boyfriend.”
“We can use anestezine gas,” Tilleran said. “It’s harmless and effective.”
“Good idea. Now all we have to figure out is how to get them all together in one room.”
“Shouldn’t be hard,” Richards replied. “They’re always conspiring together lately anyway.”
“I’m still not sure I buy this whole ‘unfit to command’ thing,” Dr. Browning said. “I mean, maybe the Captain is just responding to stress in a reasonble way. I for one love cinnimon and raisin oatmeal.”
Suddenly the comm system chirped happily. “Captain Baxter to all senior officers. Jabobo has requested that you all report to the recreation center for immediate soaking in warm bubbly saline tanks.”
“Saline tanks?” Richards asked. “Why?”
“Because you all reek of negative energy. You need to purify those emotions and raise them to a higher plain. Besides, Jabobo says so, and what Jabobo says goes.”
“I shall prepare the anesthezine,” Larkin said, standing up and heading for the doors.
“And I shall get my phaser, should plan ‘A’ not suffice,” J’hana said.
Lt. Commander Richards crept onto the bridge with Peterman, J’hana, and Tilleran close behind him.
“Where is everybody?” Tilleran asked, looking around. The bridge was empty.
Captain Baxter stuck his head out of his readyroom door, causing steam to seep out from inside. “I dismissed the rest of the bridge crew. Jabobo is handling all bridge functions now.”
Richards made his way down to the front of the bridge, to find Jabobo waving pleasantly. He was engulfed in the huge command chair.
“This is insane,” Richards muttered.
“You should come enjoy some steam,” Commander Conway’s voice said amiably from inside Baxter’s quarters. “Jabobo says it’s quite good for tension.”
“We’d better do what we came to do,” Lt. Tilleran said, briskly walking over to the science station.
Richards and Peterman joined Tilleran at the science station as J’hana manned tactical.
“Is Larkin ready on her end?” Richards asked.
“I can’t tell,” Tilleran said. “All command functions have been locked out.”
“Same here,” J’hana grunted, circling around to the command area. “Listen here, little man!” The Andorian picked up the little creature and shook him vigorously. “You are not the Captain of this vessel. I need to have control of my station!” J’hana shouted.
“Don’t hurt him!” Captain Baxter cried, stepping out of his readyroom, with Conway close on his heels. “He’s my little friend!” J’hana wrapped her hands around Jabobo’s neck, squeezing the life out of him. “Here’s what I think of your little friend!”
“Get rid of that evil little vermin, Andy, and give us control of the ship,” Peterman pleaded.
“If you don’t, we’ll get rid of him for you,” Richards added.
“Look at him, J’hana. Think about what you’re going to do. Do you really see vermin?” Baxter asked, ignoring Peterman and Richards. “No, you just see a tiny little guy with a lot of heart. I bet he wants to give you a big hug.”
J’hana looked into Jabobo’s eyes, mezmerized. “I d-do… not… know.”
In the Andorian’s moment of weakness, Jabobo reached his stubby arms around her neck and hugged her.
“Awww,” J’hana said, blushing a darker blue.
Suddenly Jabobo began gnawing at J’hana’s face.
“Arrrggghhh!” J’hana cried, lurching around the bridge, blood spurting from her face. “Get this blasted creature off me!”
“Stop this insanity, Andy!” Peterman cried, confronting Baxter, flanked by Richards and Tilleran. “Return control of the ship to us and call your friend off. You need help. Serious psychological help!”
“No…no…no!” Baxter screamed. “It’s you that need help!”
Baxter and Conway turned to flee the bridge through the far turbolift. “Come on, Commander!” Baxter shouted, hurrying into the opening doors.
“Stop him!” Peterman cried. “Before he hurts someone!”
“Stop!” Richards shouted, firing his phaser at the turbolift just as the doors closed.
“Help me!” J’hana cried, still flailing around the bridge.
Richards turned to fire at Jabobo but refrained, realizing that he couldn’t shoot him without shooting the security officer as well.
Suddenly Lt. Commander Larkin stepped out onto the bridge from the turbolift opposite the one Conway and Baxter had taken.
“I have returned command access to normal,” Larkin said. “Might I note that it took quite a bit of ingenuity on my part.”
The android was so busy patting herself on the back that she didn’t notice Jabobo leap from J’hana’s face, scurry along the floor, run between her legs, and dive into the turbolift she had just left.
“Get him!” Richards cried, firing at Jabobo just as the doors closed.
Lt. J’hana wiped the blood off her face with her sleeve and ran up to the tactical station. “Tracking turbolift two. It stopped at deck twelve, the battle bridge.”
“They’re going to try to separate the ship!” Peterman shouted. “You can’t let them do that!”
J’hana nodded, tapping her comm badge. “J’hana to security. Captain Baxter and Commander Conway have been relieved of command and should be considered highly unstable. They are headed for the battle bridge. Apprehend them with all possible speed.”
“This is Lt. Gellar. I suppose this has something to do with Jabobo?”
“It does indeed, Mr. Gellar. Now get moving,” J’hana said, looking to Larkin. “I assume you are the acting Captain for now, Commander.”
“I am next in the chain of command,” Larkin said. “And as my first order, I would suggest that Commander Richards, Counselor Peterman, and Lt. Tilleran follow after Jabobo, while J’hana and I attempt to stop the Captain and Commander Conway from here on the bridge.”
“Agreed,” Peterman said, grabbing a phaser and tapping her comm badge. “Peterman to Transporter Room One.”
“I need you to transport me, Richards, and Tilleran to deck twelve, section nine-c.”
“Why can’t you use the turbolift like everyone else?” Hartley asked in annoyance.
“One word. Jabobo,” Peterman replied.
“Gotcha. Energizing now.”
Captain Baxter slammed his hand against the door to the battle bridge in annoyance. “We’re locked out!”
“The computer won’t recognize my command code either!” Conway said, looking up from the door panel. “What do we do now, Captain?”
Baxter shook his head. “I don’t know. Without Jabobo here, I feel lost.”
“Me too,” Conway sighed.
Suddenly Baxter’s eyes lit up as he saw Jabobo scurrying towards him. “Yay!” Baxter exclaimed. “Jabobo’s here!”
Conway tapped Baxter on the shoulder. “Captain, security’s here too!”
From the other end of the corridor, Lt. Gellar leveled his phaser at Baxter, Conway, and Jabobo, keeping a cautious distance between them.
Gellar held a hand up to the security officers behind him. “Don’t do anything until I give the order. Captain Baxter! Commander Conway! I have orders to take you guys to the brig. Please don’t make me fry you!”
The Captain turned to head the other way, stopping as soon as he saw Peterman, Richards, and Tilleran coming toward him from that direction.
Peterman leveled her phaser at Baxter as well. “Andy, you have to stop this insanity. We only want to help you!”
In a desparate gambit for a solution, the Captain looked down at his treasured friend Jabobo. “What do I do, Jabobo?”
Jabobo made a simple gesture with his hands that Baxter seemed to understand. The Captain looked at Conway and smiled.
“The backup plan!” they both said in unison.
“Don’t do anything stupid!” Gellar called out.
“I give up!” Baxter and Conway said, raising their hands. Jabobo did the same.
Gellar and Peterman inched closer cautiously from either side, phasers aimed carefully at Baxter, Conway, and Jabobo.
“Computer…” Baxter said quickly. “Execute Subroutine Jabobo One!”
“No!” Peterman screamed, as her and Gellar both fired their phasers.
Anticipating, Conway and Baxter squatted down to avoid the beams, which promptly found their marks on one of Gellar’s guards and Lt. Tilleran.
At the same time, Conway, Baxter, and Jabobo were transported away in a blue sparkle.
“Peterman to Hartley,” Peterman said quickly, as Richards checked on Tilleran. “Trace the Captain’s transport!”
“They used a transporter on one of the runabouts, Kelly! That’s why I wasn’t able to block their command. It’s a separate control system.”
“Damn,” Peterman said. “Transport Richards and me to the main shuttlebay, and have a medical team sent to our current location.”
“Here goes. Good luck, Kelly. We’re all rooting for you!” Hartley said, as Peterman and Richards dissolved.
“Prelaunch check complete, Captain,” Conway said from the pilot’s chair of the runabout Raritan.
“Great,” Baxter said. “Have you found a way to bypass the command lockout on the shuttlebay doors?”
“Yep,” Conway said. “We’ll have to use the phasers.”
“Sounds pretty damaging,” Baxter said, rubbing his chin.
“Well, it’s not our ship to worry about anymore!” Conway said, throwing up his hands joyfully.
Baxter threw back his head and laughed insanely. “I almost forgot! Come, Jabobo, let us secure the entry hatch.”
Jabobo obediently scuttled after the Captain and into the aft compartment.
As Baxter ducked into the aft compartment, he felt a hand grip the back of his uniform and throw him against the bulkhead.
“That’s for being so wierd lately,” Peterman said, as Lieutenant Commander Richards opened the Raritan’s hatch. “And this is for Lt. J’hana’s face!” She kicked Baxter square in the backside, knocking him out of the compartment and onto the painfully hard shuttledeck.
“Attack, Jabobo!” Baxter said weakly, trying to pick himself up from the deck.
Jabobo quickly latched himself onto Richards’s chest, digging in with razorsharp teeth.
“Arggh!” Richards cried, as he was knocked out onto the shuttledeck with Baxter.
Commander Conway emerged from the cockpit, eying Peterman angrily. “I’ve been waiting for this matchup for a long time, you bitch!”
“And I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time,” Peterman said, kneeing Conway in the crotch and tossing him out the Raritan’s hatch.
“This is not love!” Richards cried, as Jabobo gnawed at his chest.
Peterman, Conway, Baxter, and Richards grappled on the floor of the shuttlebay for several minutes until, finally, Gellar’s security team arrived to break up the fight.
It took three officers just to get Jabobo off Richards’ chest.
Security officers held Baxter and Conway back as Richards inspected Jabobo’s struggling form.
“You’re about to get flushed, you little bastard!” Richards exclaimed, gesturing for the three officers that held Jabobo at bay to follow him.
“What are you going to do?” Baxter asked frantically, as Richards opened up the disposal hatch.
“What I should have done the second this little menace was created, Andy,” Richards muttered.
“NOOOOOOOO!” Conway screamed. “You can’t!”
Richards shoved Jabobo into the open hatch, noting that the ugly little creature fit perfectly.
“Computer…” Richards stated, turning to look at Baxter with disgust. “Raise the shuttlebay door.”
The door to the shuttlebay slowly rose, displaying the beautiful vista of space to everyone gathered in the shuttlebay.
“Eject the garbage,” Richards said finally.
The group watched through the transparent forcefield as Jabobo spiraled out into the vast expanse of space, blown from the ship’s refuse system like so much solid waste.
“No!” Baxter cried. “You can’t do this! He’s my friend!”
Peterman stared at Jabobo as he twisted in space. The little creature was still alive, waving his stubby arms happily. He seemed totally unfazed by the fact that he was floating in an airless, frozen vaccuum.
“See!” Conway said. “You can’t destroy pure love!”
“Wanna bet?” Peterman asked, tapping her comm badge. “Peterman to J’hana. Jabobo is floating about ten meters off shuttlebay two. Lock phasers and fire at will.”
“Gladly,” J’hana said zealously.
Baxter and Conway struggled free of the security officers’ grasps, scrambling across the shuttlebay floor as if they could stop J’hana from firing.
“Noooooooooooo!” Baxter cried, as the world around him suddenly turned to slow motion.
Baxter and Conway watched in horror as rapid fire phaser bursts ripped through Jabobo, spreading little purplish bits across the cosmos.
Baxter could swear that he had waved goodbye before he was obliterated.
“Ventilate them,” Peterman said dispassionately, staring with disgust at Baxter and Conway as they screamed out in agony at Jabobo’s death.
Seconds later, two phaser blasts felled Conway and Baxter, finally bringing some semblance of order to the shuttlebay.
Peterman stared down at Baxter and Conway, tapping her foot in annoyance. “Well. It looks like I’m going to be one busy girl.”
Stardate 52124.3. After a couple weeks of intense counseling, Counselor Peterman has returned Commander Conway and me to duty, with the assurance that the mental instability that we suffered is all but gone. I can’t do much to explain my actions. I can only say that sometimes stress plays funny tricks on a man. One moment he’s Captain of a starship, the next he think’s he’s the Great Bird or something. As for Jabobo, I cannot say I am not saddened by his loss. I can only hope that one day we will be ready to accept such pure love in this society. Until then, I’ll have to accept the ravenous sexual love that Peterman and I share, which, I’ll admit, I missed during the Jabobo period.
Addendum: As part of my therapy, I hearby promise that I will never speak the name “Jabobo” again. Not in this log, not ever.
Captain Baxter looked up from his terminal. “Come.”
The doors to the Captain’s readyroom parted to reveal Commander Conway.
“What can I do for you, Commander?” Baxter asked, as Conway sat down.
“I was just wondering, Captain,” Conway said. “I was wondering, if they hadn’t stopped us, and we had been able to escape with…um, you know who. What do you think we would have done?”
Baxter considered that a moment. “I honestly don’t know. In the mental state we were in, it could have been almost anything.”
“It was a little scary sir. Especially the part about us agreeing on everything,” Conway said.
“Well, the love of…well, you know who…does strange things,” Baxter conceeded.
“Yes, sir,” Conway said, standing up to leave. “I guess I’ll get back to the bridge. You know, lots of catching up to do after two weeks off.”
“Yes, I know what you mean,” Baxter agreed, looking back down at his staff reports.
“Do you think there’s any chance he’s still out there somewhere?”
“Best not to think about it, Commander. Remember Kelly’s orders.”
“Yes, sir,” Conway said, and ducked out of the readyroom.
And as the crew of the Explorer returned to their normal daily routine of space exploration, a bright star shined in space, watching over them, giving them hope–giving them love.
That star’s name?
NEXT: Dr. Browning must compete with the Emergency Medical Hologram for medical supremacy over the Explorer. Sure, he’s got the brains and ability of every great doctor since Hippocrates, but she can make a mean omellete.