Author: Anthony Butler
Star Traks: Waystation
Close to Home
by Anthony Butler
Colonel Martin Lazlo ran for his life.
Half his platoon had been killed, and the other half was in her hands, damn her.
He had managed to escape, just barely, into the turbolift in ops. He wouldn’t be safe for long, however. Her troops were probably already in hot pursuit.
Lazlo had taken the turbolift down to Deck Seven, where the first ring of escape lifeboats were located.
He was hoping he could make it to one of the lifeboats, somehow make it off the station. Maybe he could even get help from a neighboring star system.
One thing was sure. He wasn’t about to let the Mistress have him alive. Anything would be better than that.
“Hi, Craig.” Yeoman Tina Jones said, sticking her head into the science lab. “Whatcha doing?”
Lt. Porter was hunched over a table, sparks flying from a long metal cylinder with hundreds of little blinking lights he was working on. He didn’t answer.
“Hello, Earth to Craig! Come in!” Jones shouted. “I asked you what you were doing.”
Porter put down the phaser torch he was using and turned around. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t hear you.” He looked down at the device he was working on. “I’m working on a more sensitive modulation for the transporter array. If I’m successful, our transporters will have a much greater range, not to mention being safer.”
“Oh.” Jones said. “Can I help?”
“I don’t think so.” Porter replied, turning to look at Jones.
“Don’t you have anything else to do?”
“No.” Jones said, frowning. “Today has been even more boring than usual.”
“I’m really sorry to hear that Tina. I hope that something comes…”
Suddenly there was a huge explosion, blowing Lt. Porter and Yeoman Jones right out of the science lab.
“Commander!” Ensign Peter Grant said from the science console. “There’s been a huge explosion. Upper saucer. Deck Seven.”
Commander Lisa Beck walked over to the science console. “Was anyone down there?”
Grant regarded his panel. “Um. Yeah. Lt. Porter and Yeoman Jones.”
“Damn. Beck to Sickbay…emergency medical team to the science lab.”
“Sickbay here.” Doctor Amedon Nelson’s voice responded. “I’m on my way.”
“Get a repair crew down there too, Grant.” Beck said worriedly.
“Commander?” Lt. Sean Russell asked from the tactical console. “Permission to go down there as well. Just in case there is a security risk involved.”
Beck knew very well that Russell was just concerned about Porter and Jones. She was too.
“Permission granted, Sean. Get down there.”
“Something very not happy just happened on Deck Seven, Mistress.” Lt. Seany-weany Russell reported from the tactical console.
Commander Lisa-love Beck leaned forward in the huge, ornate golden throne that dominated ops, placed right in front of the main viewscreen. The rest of the room was painted in clashing pastels and littered with throw pillows.
Beck adjusted one of the many many buckles on the gaudy pink vinyl jumpsuit she wore. Her love slaves always told her that the purple cape was too much, but she didn’t think there was such a phrase as ‘too much’.
“Well, what is it, my little one?” Beck asked sweetly.
“A breach in the space time continuum, your happiness.”
“I see.” Beck said, stretching out in her chair. “Isn’t that where Lazlo’s turbolift stopped?”
“How long until your men get there?” Beck said, sticking her lower lip out in a childish frown.
“Not long, your happiness. They should arrive in five minutes.”
“A breach in the space time continuum?” Commander Beck asked, looking back at Ensign Grant. “Are you sure?”
“Positive, sir.” Grant said. “It’s huge. It occupies a small portion of Deck Seven and extends three hundred kilometers beyond the station.”
“Damn.” Beck said softly. “Commander Morales…send a warning out to all ships. Tell them to stay away from that area.”
“Commander…” Grant added. “I’m reading a new lifeform down there. The comm badge ID is a little different…but it reads as Colonel Martin Lazlo. Even though the computer says Lazlo is in his quarters.”
Beck raised an eyebrow. “He couldn’t be both places at once.”
Yeoman Jones rubbed her aching shoulder, pulling herself up and staring at the burning wreckage of Craig Porter’s lab.
“Craig?” Tina cried, looking around. “Are you okay?”
“Mmm?” Porter asked, half consciously, laying underneath a collapsed bulkhead.
“Jones to sickbay…medical emergency..”
“I’m already on my way, Tina.” Nelson’s voice replied. “Just hold on.”
Suddenly the air right next to Yeoman Jones began to ripple. Before she could even gasp, a figure emerged from the rippling, looking around.
“Where am I?” the man asked, confused.
Jones strained to see what the man looked like in the flickering lights of the damaged area. “Colonel Lazlo?”
“Yes.” Lazlo said. “Tina-wina?”
“Tina-wina?” Jones asked, confused. She looked at Lazlo’s uniform. It wasn’t the normal uniform of a Federation Marine. It was a bright, loud, painful blue, with a little metal daisy where his comm badge should be. And where the Federation insignia should have been…there was a…smiley face?
“You’re alive!” Lazlo shouted, picking Jones up and twirling her around. “I thought Beck had killed you!”
“Killed…me?” Jones said, gulping. “Is this some sort of joke?”
“But you couldn’t be my Tina!” Lazlo said, putting her down. “This must be some sort of trick.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir.” Jones said, becoming confused.
“It must have something to do with this rippling effect…” Lazlo said, turning around. He stuck his head through, and once again saw the gaudy yellow and pink walls of Playstation. He pulled his head back and looked around. Jones stared at him in amazement, and the walls were now just a subdued grey.
“That’s amazing!” Jones said.
“This must be a parallel universe.” Lazlo said. The pieces were beginning to fall together. “I must bring you back.”
“Back where?” Jones asked with confusion.
“Stop right there!” Lt. Russell cried out, his phaser aimed at Lazlo.
In a swift motion, Lazlo grabbed Jones’s neck and pulled it closer to him. “If you know anything about me, Mister Russell…or whoever you might be…you know that I can snap a neck in an instant. Now put down your phaser.”
Russell sat his phaser down and held up his hands. “Okay, okay, just don’t hurt the girl.”
“She’ll be quite safe, Lieutenant.” Lazlo said, moving forward and picking up Russell’s phaser. “Now…I need you to show me to the nearest weapons locker.”
“Beck to Nelson.”
“Nelson here.” Dr. Nelson said, tapping her comm badge as she made her way down the corridor that led to Porter’s lab.
“You must not go near Lt. Porter’s lab. Is that clear?”
“It’s not safe. Stand by until we contact you again. Beck out.”
Nelson put down her medkit and sat on the floor, looking at her chronometer, wondering how long she would have to wait, and how long those two crewmembers would live without her help.
Lazlo picked up two phaser rifles and a case of twenty type three personal phasers, handing them to Yeoman Jones. “Hold these, Tina.”
“Why are you doing this, Colonel?” Russell asked. “And why those tacky clothes?”
“It would take too long to explain, but suffice it to say I’m not from here.” Lazlo replied. “Now get in the closet.”
“Excuse me?” Russell asked.
Lazlo lifted one of the phaser rifles, pointing it at Russell. “I said…into the closet!”
“Yes sir!” Russell squeaked, jumping into the closet.
Lazlo fired on the door control, effectively locking the Lieutenant inside the closet.
“Come on, Tina.” Lazlo said.
“Where are we going?” Tina asked, becoming scared.
“I cannot completely explain now, Miss Jones, but I can tell you that we need your help.”
“My help?” Jones asked, amazed. “What could I possibly do for you?”
Lazlo laughed as they made their way back to Porter’s lab.
“Even in a parallel universe you’re humble as hell.”
“Huh?” Jones asked.
“Just come on, we don’t have time for this!” Lazlo shouted, grabbing Jones’s arm.
“He could not have just disappeared!” Mistress Katie-love shouted. “He must be somewhere.”
“I think he disappeared through that nifty breach, Mistress.”
Russell said meekly.
“Well…send the security team through the breach…” Beck shouted. “Now!”
Lazlo yanked Yeoman Jones through the rippling disturbance, just as Seany-weany’s security team was running through it.
Lazlo, Jones, and the three officers all hit the ground, in a mess of arms and legs, in front of Porter’s ruined lab.
Lazlo struggled through the pile of fumbling officers, pulling Jones along with him and ducking once again through the rippling wall of energy.
“Follow them!” One of the security officers shouted, leading the group towards the rippling effect.
Just as they were about to enter it, the disturbance disappeared.
“It’s gone!” Ensign Gomes said worriedly.
“Don’t worry!” Ensign Miller said reassuringly. “Be happy!”
The three security guards looked around the strangely familiar, yet unfamiliar corridor and immediately dropped to fetal positions.
“I want my mommy!” Ensign Gomes cried. “This place is scary!”
“Another lifeform has emerged from the breach…” Seany-weany reported. “It’s Colonel Marty-mart, Mistress.”
Beck smiled. “Excellent. Have your men take him into custody.”
“That’s going to be a teeny weeny problem, Mistress.” Russell reported meekly.
Beck turned around and looked at her officer. “What do you mean?”
“The breach is gone, Commander.” Grant reported from the science console. “And so is Yeoman Jones and the other Colonel Lazlo.”
“Damn.” Beck said. “I want to know what was on the other side of that breach.”
“Maybe you should ask the three people that came out of it…”
“What?” Beck asked turning around.
“Three new readings emerged from the disturbance just as Jones and Colonel Lazlo went in. They read as security officers Miller, Gomes, and Satterfield.”
Beck rubbed her eyes tiredly. “And let me guess…those three officers have the same strange comm badge ID, and are also somewhere else on the station.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Grant said.
“Beck to Russell.” Beck said tiredly. “I need a team down on Deck Seven immediately.”
“Okay, Commander.” Russell’s voice replied. “But could you have someone let me out of the closet first?”
Lazlo pulled Jones down the corridor, which was once again as gaudy and tasteless as he had remembered it.
Finally, Lazlo reached the escape pod he had been searching for. He blew the door opened with his phaser rifle and opened the hatch that led inside.
Lazlo quickly pulled Jones inside and closed the hatch, pressing several buttons that would launch the pod.
With a soft hiss, the pod launched, floating off into space.
Next, Lazlo ripped out the transmitter that would allow ops to pick up the pod’s signal, and altered its engine emitters so that they would be harder to trace. It would give them a little extra time, but not much.
He then rigged the pod’s long range transmitter to broadcast a broad-band signal.
“This is Colonel Martin Lazlo, to whoever can hear my voice. I am rebelling against the United Federation of Fun. If there are any rebels within the sound of my voice, please answer me! I am in need of serious help!”
Several moments passed by without an answer. Lazlo was about to give up hope, when a message came in.
“Thank God someone else is out there…I’ve been flying around in this thing for days.”
“Who is this?” Lazlo asked suspiciously.
“My name is Doctor Rebecca Singer. Formerly of the USS Secondprize. I managed to escape a short time ago, when we were docked at Neat Place Nine. I was able to steal a ship when I was there.”
“Really?” Lazlo asked, raising an eyebrow. “What ship?”
“I’m nearing your position. Let me beam you aboard and I’ll tell you everything.”
Lazlo thought a moment. This could be a trap. Did he really want to trust this Singer person?
Suddenly the little lifepod jerked slightly and transporter beams grabbed Lazlo and Jones. They reappeared on the starship’s bridge. Lazlo knew where he was.
“You stole the Defiant?” He asked incredulously.
“Yep.” Singer said from the command chair. “I was even able to get it to cloak. But I could never get it to de-cloak.”
“Don’t worry.” Lazlo said, sitting down at the helm. “I’ll take care of that.” Although trained as a Federation marine, Lazlo’s job required that he know how to operate the latest assault craft, Starfleet’s and otherwise.
“Do I know you?” Singer asked angrily, looking at Yeoman Jones. Jones had been studying her ever since she had beamed aboard.
“You used to serve aboard the Secondprize in my universe.” Jones said.
“In your universe?” Singer asked. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“We’ll explain later.” Lazlo said, looking down at the helm controls. “It won’t take Mistress Beck long to find us using your comm signal.”
Suddenly the Defiant shook violently.
“Took her less time than I had thought.” Lazlo said. “Ablative armor is holding. I’m dropping the cloak and raising shields. Jones…do you know how to operate weapons controls?”
Jones sat down at tactical and looked at the controls. “I think so. These look kind of like the ones on Waystation.”
“Then target Playstation and blow the crap out of it. Try to get the shields down!”
The Defiant flew towards Playstation, pounding away at its shields.
“Shields down to fifty percent!” Russell cried as Playstation was rocked by the Defiant’s fire.
Beck picked herself up and climbed back on top of her throne, brushing her hair out of her face. “Where did she get that ship?”
Playstation rocked again.
“The Defiant was reported missing from Neat Place Nine a week ago, Mistress.” Russell said quietly.
“The nerve!” Beck said. “Destroy that ship!”
“Their shields are down to thirty-five percent…” Jones reported from tactical.
“Good.” Lazlo said, steering the Defiant closer to Playstation. “I’m scanning for my surviving troops.”
“Troops?” Singer asked, leaning forward in the command chair.
“Yes, I commanded a battalion of Federation Marines. I had organized a rebellion, but Mistress Beck found out about it before I had a chance to implement my plan.”
“That evil bitch!” Singer cried. “We’ll kill her!”
“First things first…” Lazlo said.
“Their shields are almost down. Ours are holding at sixty-five percent.” Yeoman Jones reported from tactical.
“They’ve almost blown through our shields!” Seany-weany shouted.
“You incompetent fool!” Beck shouted. “Don’t you know how to destroy a teensy weensy starship like that?”
“B-but…” Russell said as Playstation rocked. “That’s the Defiant!”
“‘B-b-b-b-but’!” Beck said mockingly. “Don’t give me buts! Give me a handful of wreckage to sort through…NOW!”
“Their shields are down.” Jones announced from tactical.
“Lowering shields and energizing transporter.” Lazlo said, pressing some buttons at the helm.
“Raise the shields and resume firing!” Singer shouted.
“No!” Lazlo said, turning around. “We may have a powerful ship, but we still aren’t powerful enough to take on all of Playstation. Besides, I don’t plan on destroying Playstation.”
“Oh no?” Singer asked skeptically. “Then what do you plan on doing?”
“We’re going to take over Playstation.” Lazlo said, steering the Defiant away and engaging the cloaking device.
“They’re gone, sir.” Russell said sheepishly. “They’ve cloaked. And the Federation Marines you had in the brig are gone.”
Beck stepped down from her throne and walked over to the tactical station, leaning forward until her face was centimeters from the security chief’s. “You’ve disappointed me, Seany-weany.”
Russell gulped. “Yes, sir?”
“You know the routine. To the office.” Beck said, smiling and following Russell to her office, preparing a strict plan of discipline for the Lieutenant.
“What happened…” Lt. Craig Porter said slowly, opening his eyes slowly and rubbing the sore spot on his forehead where the gash had been.
“Your lab exploded, Lieutenant.” Nelson said calmly. “Now take your hand away from there. I’m not finished patching you up.”
“Yeoman Jones…is she okay?”
“I don’t know.” Nelson said, continuing to run over the wound with her regenerator.
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I mean…” Nelson sighed, putting the regenerator down. “You’d better have a talk with the Commander.”
Commander Lisa Beck sighed, staring across the brig at the three officers behind the forcefield.
“Let’s go over this again from the top…”
“No!” Miller shouted. “We don’t want you to touch us again!”
“I’m not going to lay a finger on you,” Beck said tiredly. “I promise. I just want you to answer some questions.”
The three officers huddled together, hugging each other tightly.
“Okay,” Miller said in a childlike voice.
“Now, you say you work for an organization called the United Federation of Fun, is that correct?”
“Yes, ma’am.” Miller said.
“And it’s run by a woman by the name of Webber. And she’s from a ship called the Secondprize. Am I getting all this right?”
“And you work on a station named Playstation, commanded by someone named Mistress Beck. Is that right?”
“And she looks just like me.”
“Except she wears tight, loud clothes and is a flaming nymphomaniac.”
“Well, I wouldn’t…” Miller said.
“Yes.” Gomes said, glaring at Miller. “She calls it ‘officer training.’”
“Oh boy.” Beck said, standing up and stretching. “We’ve got a real mess here.”
“AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!” Seany-weany cried, as the whip cracked across his naked back.
“You will do better, Sean.” Beck said, cracking the whip again. “You will work harder, Sean. You will not disappoint your Mistress again, Sean. You will make your Mistress proud.”
“Yes Mistress Beck, I understand.” Russell said, tears streaming down his face as he pulled at chains that had him bound to Beck’s wall.
“Porter to Beck.” Lt. Craigy-waig Porter said meekly over the comm system.
“I thought I told you never to interrupt me during one of my disciplining sessions!”
“But you have a subspace message coming in…” Porter protested.
“It can wait.” Beck said, staring at Russell hungrily.
“But it’s the Happy Master General!”
Beck’s eyes widened. “My goodness. In that case, I’ll definitely take it in here.”
Beck quickly freed Russell from his bonds and shooed him away.
“Get out of here. I’ll see you in my quarters later so that you can redeem yourself to me.” She stared down at Russell’s crotch. “Show me how much of a man you are!”
“Yes, Mistress.” Russell said, bowing his head and leaving the office.
Beck put her whip back in its place and sat down at her desk, pressing a button on her viewer.
The Happy Master General of the Federation of Fun stared back at her.
“Captain Dillon, what a surprise!” Beck said. “To what do I owe the honor of this call?”
“I am not amused, Commander.” Dillon said sternly. “You may have killed the Counselor, but I still have eyes and ears on that station.”
“Whatever do you mean?” Beck said, looking shocked.
“You let Colonel Lazlo escape, along with half his battalion …aboard the Defiant no less! I am not happy, Commander!”
“With all due respect, Captain Dillon, if you had not let your Doctor get away aboard the Defiant, none of this would have happened.”
“You may be right.” Dillon replied. “Which is why I’m coming there personally to take care of the situation.”
“I assure you, Captain, that won’t be necessary…” Beck said worriedly. “I have the situation under control.”
“It’s no secret that you run that station as your own private charnel house, Commander Beck. We’ve been kind enough to look the other way, because you have been able to keep the Multeks in line.
But our patience is not endless. This problem will disappear, whether you handle it or I do. Do whatever you can until I arrive, and hope that Counselor Troi is feeling lenient.”
Beck gulped. “You’re bringing Troi here?”
“You heard me.”
“But…” Beck said, but it was too late, Dillon had closed the channel. ***
“I’ll say one thing for sure…they have no sense of color.” Russell said, as everyone took their places in the briefing room.
Lt. Porter took a seat, still limping slightly. “This isn’t funny, Sean. We lost a crewman here.”
“We don’t know that…” Beck said, at the head of the table.
“Jones could still be alive…in some other universe.”
“We have to find her, Commander.” Dr. Nelson said. “Who knows what kind of evil people she’ll come in contact in that parallel universe.”
“I agree.” Beck said, steepling her fingers. “If we know anything, it’s that parallel universes are seldom very happy places to be.”
Beck didn’t know how very very wrong, or how right she was.
“Honey, I’m home.” Mistress Beck shouted, entering her quarters, removing her cape, and unzipping the front of her jumpsuit.
“Ah, Mistress. How was your day?” A voice said, from the other room.
“Terrible.” Beck said, walking into the other room. “I trust you’ve been behaving yourself?”
The Yynsian once known as Lt. Commander Jaroch, now known only as Manservant Alpha, got up from his mat on the floor and walked over to Mistress Beck. He was dressed in a head-to-toe black leather suit, complete with leather head covering, with stitched holes where his eyes and mouth were. “As always, Mistress. I have cleaned the quarters and prepared your nightly bath.”
“That’s nice, Alpha. But what I really need now is a massage.” Beck said, sitting down on her couch.
Jaroch nodded, walking over to the oil dispenser and selecting the proper massaging oil from the forty odd selections. “Of course, Mistress. I do excel at the massages.”
“I know, Alpha, I know.” Beck said smiling. “Just hum softly to me darling, I need to think.”
“As you wish, Mistress.” Jaroch said, humming as he massaged Beck’s neck. “You know I am the only one that truly understands you.”
“Well, Colonel, I’ll say this for you, you’ve got balls.” Doctor Singer said, staring at Colonel Lazlo’s plans on the viewer in the Captain’s readyroom.
Lazlo smiled. “Thank you. Now, if this is to work, we’re going to need someone with great diplomatic skills.”
“That’s where Jones comes in?” Singer asked.
“Exactly. She’s called a Liason Officer in her universe. I don’t know exactly what that job entitles, but I assume it entails some diplomatic skill.”
“Naturally.” Singer said. “I still don’t know if I buy this whole parallel universe thing.”
“Why not?” Lazlo asked. “Starfleet is no stranger to alternate universes. As a matter of fact, I believe it was your treasured Captain Kirk of Starfleet that first ran into a parallel universe, if I’m not mistaken.”
“I’m a doctor, not a historian, Colonel.” Singer said.
“The point is, the Tina Jones of this universe is dead. And the only chance we have for success here is utilizing the Tina Jones that we have.”
“She meant a lot to you, didn’t she?” Singer asked.
“Maybe. But I don’t see that it’s any of your business.”
“I take it our Tina Jones wasn’t a Liason Officer?”
Colonel Lazlo’s face darkened. “No. She was a…Counselor.”
“I’m sorry.” Singer said. “That must have been hard.”
“Jones to Lazlo. We’re nearing our destination.” Lazlo’s communicator suddenly beeped.
“Don’t worry about it,” Lazlo said, turning to leave the readyroom. “Right now we have some people to contact.”
“Are you sure you’re up to this, Craig?” Commander Beck asked with concern, watching as Lt. Porter worked in one of the science labs that wasn’t currently blown to bits.
“I’m positive, Commander. It was my fault that this whole thing happened to begin with.”
“Don’t go blaming yourself, Craig. It was an accident.”
“At least I know what caused it now.” Porter said, looking down at a twisted lump of metal he had been scanning.
“Really?” Beck asked, inspecting the lump. “This thing?”
“Yep. That’s the image enhancement module from our transporters that I was working on. It has a multi-phasic ion scanning device. I tried to adjust it so that it was omni-phasic, so we could get better resolution and a greater range. When I fed power to the image enhancement module, I forgot to initiate the computer’s maintenance test mode. That’s what caused the explosion.”
“I’m out of my element here, Craig.” Beck said, staring at the device.
“Basically, the module thought it was transporting, so it began its scan. Without a target to image, it went into a feedback loop, absorbing power for each time the loop initiated a scan. The risk of using omni-phasic technology, one I failed to consider, is that every aspect of the device accounted for an infinite range of parameters. Because it couldn’t find a target to scan, it scanned deeper into space, beyond this universe and into another one.”
“So what caused the breach?”
“Omni-phasic scanning relies on an active tachyon scanning beam, as opposed to the passive ones used on most starships and stations.”
“And this active beam, given the proper circumstances could, well, might…”
“Get to the point, Craig.”
“It cut a hole right into the space-time continuum.”
“And the stored up energy inside the device blew the hole open.”
“Exactly, Commander. It was really a one in a million accident. If I tried it again, it might not happen.”
“Care to try and make it two and a million?” Beck asked.
“I knew you were going to ask me that.” Porter said, pulling out another device, this one rectangular in shape. “Have you ever seen one of these before?”
Beck picked up the device and looked at it. “No, I haven’t. What is it?”
“Nobody knows for sure. It’s a duplicate that Starfleet R and D made of a device that someone from a parallel universe used to get aboard Deep Space Nine and kidnap Captain Sisko. Sisko stated in his report that the device was waved over a transporter console, causing its buffer controls to be altered to a specific phasic variance.”
“Like tuning into another channel on an old TV?” Beck asked with interest.
“Exactly.” Porter said. “What I’ve been working on is finding out which channel Yeoman Jones is on. I’ve been using the signatures of the three security officers from the other universe as a guide.”
Porter continued to work. “It’s not the one that Captain Sisko visited, that’s for sure. But we should be able to narrow down the phasic signature within the hour.”
“Great.” Beck said, heading out of the lab. “Keep me posted.”
“Report, Admiral.” Frequoq Juletz, the leader of the Multek Enclave said, his eyes boring right out of the viewscreen at Admiral Wuddle of the Multek Enclave Warship Sequaa.
“Well, your Frequoqness, I think you are going to pretend to be very upset about this.”
“Go on telling me what you know didn’t happen, Admiral.”
“Well,” Wuddle said uneasily. “The imaginary Federation has not only not overrun half our territory, but they’ve also pretended to kill over one third of the citizenry on half our colony worlds, and imaginarily enslaved the other half. Their forces are not gaining more and more territory every day. I predict that within the next month the entire Enclave will be not under their control, and all of our territory will be not occupied by their fleet of imaginary warships.” “And your squadron?”
“We were barely able to escape a pretend attack by an imaginary fleet of pretend Klingon and Cardassian vessels. My own ship was also not damaged fairly severely, but we should be able to repel another imaginary attack within the day.”
“This does not disturb me greatly, Admiral.”
“As it should, your Frequoqness.”
“I want you to pretend to take care of this imaginary invader, and please, for goodness sake, save our not dying empire.”
“But, Frequoq, you don’t know what a huge, impossible, pretend task that is.”
“You heard me. Juletz out.”
Admiral Wuddle sat there stunned. He liked the promotion to Admiral that came when all the other high ranking Multeks were imaginarily killed by the imaginary Federations, but he hated the idea of commanding a whole squadron, especially when they were on the run and vastly outnumbered. What Wuddle could still not understand was how an alliance of hundreds of races that did not exist could destroy the one and only race in the entire universe.
“Admiral, we’re not receiving a signal from an imaginary ship that just didn’t appear off our port bow. It wasn’t there a minute ago, and now it’s not there again. And they are sending us an imaginary hail.” Trebok, his communications officer said, stirring Wuddle from his thoughts. “Should I pretend to put them onscreen?”
“Definitely.” Wuddle said, leaning forward. “And raise the shields.”
A man in a Federation uniform that Wuddle found unfamiliar appeared on the screen.
“Hello.” The man-that-was-not-there said. “I’m Colonel Martin Lazlo of the Starship Defiant. We have broken away from the Federation, and we wish to help you in defeating their forces.
I understand that they are currently invading your territory. We have a powerful ship, but we need your help. If you are interested, I would like to discuss plans to take over the Federation station near your borders.”
Wuddle listened to this pretend Colonel with interest. “So what you’re pretending to suggest is a not real alliance?”
“Absolutely.” Lazlo said. “I think we can be of mutual benefit to one another.”
“I’m intrigued by your imaginary plan. Let me confer with my other officers, and I will pretend to contact you at a later time.”
“Understood.” Lazlo said, smiling. “Defiant out.”
“What the hell was that all about?” Singer asked, staring at Lazlo from the command chair.
“You obviously haven’t had much experience with the Multeks, ma’am.” Lazlo said. “They believe their race is the only race in the universe, and that the Federation and all the other races of this quadrant is imaginary.”
“And we’re going to get these lunatics to help us?” Singer asked incredulously. “We’re doomed.”
Commander Beck strapped the phaser to her belt and checked its settings, as Lt. Russell distributed the phasers to the rest of the team, which was composed her, Lt. Porter, Lt. Russell, and three of his officers.
“I really wish you wouldn’t do this, Commander. I’m the first officer, I should be out there risking my neck.” Lt. Commander Walter Morales said, following Beck out of the briefing room.
“I’ve made up my mind, Commander. It’s my prerogative to go on certain missions that pique my interest.”
“Besides, from what our visitors tell us, my counterpart is one bad bitch. I have to meet her and get some pointers.”
“Commander…” Morales continued to protest.
“I’ve made up my mind, now if you don’t…”
“Can I see you a moment, Commander?” Colonel Lazlo asked, stepping out of the turbolift and onto the ops deck.
“Be quick about it, Colonel. We’re about to embark on a serious mission.”
“That’s what I came to see you about.”
Beck rolled her eyes. “Don’t tell me, you want to come along to the parallel universe too.”
“How did you know?” Lazlo asked.
“Call it woman’s intuition.”
“Listen, Commander, I know you and I don’t exactly get along.”
Lazlo said, following Beck around ops as she checked the readings on Morales’s docking console.
“Hah!” Beck said, heading into her office.
“And I know we don’t see eye to eye…” Lazlo continued, following Beck. “…ever. But I heard one of the people that crossed over into this universe was an alternate version of me.”
“There are probably alternate versions of most all of us over there, Colonel. I can’t let everyone who’s always wanted to meet themselves go along with me.”
“This isn’t an ego trip, Commander. This man kidnapped one of our crewmembers. And if you fail in getting her back, I’ll feel responsible.”
Beck smiled, looking at something on her viewer. “Listen, Colonel, I think Lt. Porter has the guilt department covered. And we aren’t going to fail in getting Yeoman Jones back, so we will not require your help.” She looked up from her viewscreen, as if she wondered why Lazlo was still standing there. “Okay?”
“Think about it, Commander.” Lazlo said, turning to look out Beck’s viewport. “You’re going to be invading a station exactly like this one, with people similar to us aboard. You know this station’s defense systems, as do I. So you should know that that station will probably be heavily guarded.”
“Right, but their security officers are petrified of me. They practically begged to tell me everything I wanted to know about their defensive systems.”
“Still. You’ll need a team of well armed, well trained men over there. And that is not something you have in abundance.”
Beck smiled. “And that’s where you come in, right, Lazlo?”
“Case closed…bye bye then.” Beck said, heading out the doors to her office, leaving Lazlo alone, still looking out the viewport.
“I have your answer.” Admiral Wuddle said, looking slightly uncomfortable in his command chair on the Defiant’s viewscreen.
“Wonderful.” Lazlo said, smiling. “I hope we can work together.”
“We consent to forming a temporary, imaginary alliance between ourselves and no one.”
“Is he turning us down?” Singer asked, confused.
“I don’t think so.” Lazlo whispered. “So that means you’ll help us?”
“We will help you conquer your imaginary space station, in return for you helping us rid our territory of the pretend menace of your imaginary Federation.”
“Sounds like a yes to me.” Lazlo said victoriously. “That’s wonderful, Admiral. We will convene to develop an attack plan immediately.”
“If it’s all the same to you,” Wuddle said uncomfortably. “I’d just as soon communicate over a secured subspace channel, rather than risk beaming onto a ship that is not really there.”
Lazlo looked at Singer, who still seemed very doubtful. “Don’t worry. This will work.”
“Nice outfit, Commander.” Lt. Russell said, whistling as Commander Beck walked into the transporter room.
Commander Beck glared at Russell, adjusting the straps on the pink vinyl outfit she had replicated based on the descriptions of Miller and the other security guards.
“Shut up, Russell.” She said, looking at the other security officers assembled in the transporter room. “And I don’t want a word from any of the rest of you either, or you’ll all be wearing outfits just like this.”
“Bad enough we have to wear these.” Ensign Gomes (of the normal universe) said. “We look like a bunch of freaks.”
“I don’t know,” Commander Morales said, laughing. “I think canary yellow suits you guys.”
“What kind of sick universe would have officers that dress in neon pink, canary, and baby blue?” Lt. Porter said, looking at his own alternate uniform with disgust.
“I guess you’re about to find out, Mr. Porter.” Morales said, eyeing the device that Porter waved over the transporter console. “Are you sure this thing is tuned right, Lieutenant?”
Porter joined Beck, Russell, and the other security officers on the transporter pad, keeping the device with him for the return trip. “Positive. Just beam us to the designated coordinates.”
“Okay, if you say so.” Morales said, energizing the transporter. “Good luck, guys.”
“I still don’t know why I’m here.” Yeoman Jones said, turning around from the helm station at the front of the Defiant’s bridge.
“What could I possibly do to help you guys?”
Lazlo said nothing, merely walking over to the replicator and pressing some buttons. There was a low hum, then a neatly folded uniform appeared in the slot. “Here, put this on.”
The Colonel threw the uniform into Jones’s lap. She picked it up and looked at it, feeling as if her eyes might be permanently damaged by the brightness of its pink color.
“Why do I need this?” Jones asked.
“Because,” Lazlo explained. “You’ll need it to complete the impersonation.”
“Who am I impersonating?” Jones asked.
“Tina Jones.” Lazlo said. “Is that too much of a stretch for you?”
“No.” Jones said weakly. “But I still don’t understand my part in this.”
“Me neither.” Singer said, staring at the stars as they rushed by on the viewscreen. “She’s just dead weight, Lazlo. I think you’re letting your emotions get in the way of our revenge.”
“What is it with you and revenge, Singer?” Lazlo asked.
“I thought doctors were supposed to be supportive and nurturing. You’re vengeful, hateful, and just plain unpleasant.”
“Sympathy has no place in a war, Colonel. You’re a military man, you should know that.”
Jones stared at Singer agape. “If you knew how weird that sounded coming from you, you’d be amazed.”
“Get dressed.” Singer said impatiently. “We’ll be there soon.”
“Okay,” Jones said, heading for the readyroom. She didn’t want to upset these people, they were obviously quite hostile. Maybe if she had ever bothered to learn what liaisoning was all about, she’d be able to deal with them, but as it was, they scared her. As a matter of fact, this entire situation scared her.
“You look marvelous, Mistress.” Manservant Alpha said, adjusting Beck’s cape as she regarded herself in the mirror.
“I didn’t ask.” Beck said, pulling herself away from her servant.
“You’re tense.” Alpha said worriedly. “I thought I had worked every bit of that tension out.”
“Not hardly.” Beck said, as Alpha attached her huge, gaudy smiley-face earrings. “Not with the Secondprize docked here, with Captain Dillon AND Counselor Supreme Troi aboard. You realize, darling, I could be ruined.”
Alpha pouted, looking down. “The Captain does not like you, does he?”
Beck sighed. “No, we’ve never seen eye to eye.”
Alpha suddenly thought back to a time when he had been known as Lt. Commander Jaroch, and served aboard the Secondprize as its science officer. Those had been good times, and now they were over. He had even helped the crew of the Secondprize Jogonotize the Earth, and how did they repay him? They sent him off as Beck’s personal love slave. And why? Because that godawful bastard Dillon despised him. What had he ever done to deserve this treatment? He had always been kind to Dillon.
Alpha knew the real reason though. The Captain knew that Lt. Hawkins really loved Jaroch. That’s the real reason he had been sentenced to this dull existence. Dillon had always sought after Hawkins, without much success. But now that he was Supreme Commander of the Federation fleet, and the Happy Master General, she was drunk with the power that he possessed and intrigued by the love he showed her. But if Jaroch had learned anything from his service aboard the Secondprize, it was that power comes to those who wait. He would have his moment. It was only a matter of time.
“I am ready, Alpha.” Beck said, fixing her hair. “You may escort me to the docking arm.”
“Yes, Mistress.” Alpha said, putting on the metal sash that Beck had gotten for him to wear on the rare occasions that he was allowed out of the quarters. Once that was secure, Alpha put his hands behind his back and strolled in front of Beck, leading her out of the quarters.
Lieutenant Commander Waltzy-walt Morales looked out over the promenade that led to the docking section that the Secondprize was currently stationed at and smiled broadly as the crowds surged around the airlock. “Morales to Russell. Are the happy little details of security ready?”
“Indeedily doodily!” Russell said over the comm system. “We’re stationed at the airlock. No one will get past us.”
“Good.” Morales said, looking around. “We don’t want to ruin the Captain’s day.”
“I know. He likes nice stuff.”
“Yes he does.” Morales said. “Just make sure all his stuff stays nice. Morales out.”
Morales gazed out over the railing at the crowds, catching a flash of shiny pink pass by in the periphery of his vision.
“Mistress Beck?” Morales asked, turning around.
Beck turned to look at him. “Commander Morales!”
“Shouldn’t you be at the airlock, Mistress? The Captain’s party should be coming through any minute.” Morales asked.
Beck thought a moment, unsure of how to respond.
“And what are Lt. Russell and his men doing with you?” Morales looked at the group around the Commander with confusion. “I thought they were supposed to be stationed at the airlock.”
Beck’s gaze suddenly hardened. “Are you questioning my judgment, Commander?” She approached him and ran a finger up his neck and to his chin, pulling his head closer and whispering. “I do hate it when my servants question my judgment.”
“N-not at all, Mistress. I was merely confused.” Morales said, fear in his eyes.
“I’m feeling generous today, Commander.” Beck said. “I want you to go back to your quarters and bang your head against the wall fifty times. And when you’re done, take a nap. A long one.”
Morales looked confusedly at Beck. “Whatever you say, Mistress.” With that, the first officer quickly moved off towards one of Playstation’s adjacent corridors.
“That was too close.” Russell whispered.
“You’re not kidding.” Beck said, looking down over the promenade. “Begin scanning, Lieutenant Porter. See if you can pick up Yeoman Jones’s comm badge.”
Porter examined his tricorder carefully. “Nothing. I’m reconfiguring the tricorder to scan for Tina’s phasic signature. It should be quite different from everything else here.”
Russell tapped his foot impatiently as Porter scanned, unhappy to be standing still for so long a time. This mission was very risky. Something could go wrong at any…
“Commander!” Russell shouted, watching the two figures approach. “Move!” In a swift motion, Russell managed to shove Commander Beck into an open access panel just as Mistress Beck and Manservant Alpha walked by.
“Make way, gentlemen, you are in the presence of the great Mistress Lisa-Love Beck, gentle goddess of all that is sick and twisted.” Alpha quoted in a dull monotone, signifying he had said this often before.
Mistress Beck shot a glance at Russell, and she paused a moment. “Russell. Shouldn’t you be at the airlock?”
Russell looked around fearfully. “Um, Commander Morales told me to watch from up here. In case of…um…snipers.”
“And where is he, child?” Beck asked sweetly.
“He said he needed to get something out of his quarters, I think.”
“Damn him.” Beck cursed. “He will be dealt with later. Carry on.” With that she moved towards the lift that would take her down to the docking level.
As soon as she had disappeared, Russell knelt down and opened the access panel, helping the other Beck out.
The Commander coughed violently, dust all over her vinyl suit.
“You enjoyed that, didn’t you, Lieutenant?”
“Not at all, Commander.” Russell said, smiling sheepishly.
“We’ve got to move to a more secure location.” Beck said. “Before anyone else spots us.”
“Agreed.” Russell said.
“Wait.” Porter said, looking at his tricorder quizzically. “This doesn’t make sense.”
“What?” Beck asked with concern.
“Well, I’m picking up Jones’s signature, but it’s quite weak.”
“Is she injured?” Russell asked.
“No…” Porter replied, pressing some button. “Her signal is coming from outside the station.”
“Outside?” Beck asked. “You mean she’s on a ship?”
“I can’t tell. If she’s on a ship, it’s cloaked.” Porter said.
“The Multek squadron is holding their position just outside Playstation’s sensor range.” Lazlo said, looking up from the tactical readouts. “So far so good.”
Doctor Singer bent over the sensor console, pressing several controls until a schematic of Playstation came up. “They managed to get the shields partially restored, they’re holding at seventy percent.”
“Very well.” Lazlo said. “Get ready for the fireworks.”
Mistress Beck, with Alpha waiting behind her, watched patiently as the airlock door slid open.
Captain Dillon stepped out of the airlock, in full dress uniform. He was followed shortly by Counselor Troi, Lt. Hawkins, and the rest of his entourage.
He stared at Beck, his face plastered with a completely fake smile. “How nice to see you, Lisa-love. You make my day so much happier just by being present.”
“You as well, beloved Captain and Supreme Commander.” Beck said, her smile just as fake. “You know my Manservant, Alpha.”
“Yes, of course.” Dillon said, darting his eyes towards Alpha. “And you are familiar with my friends, Dee-Dee Troi, and Patti-cake Hawkins. Both offer me unlimited amounts of sex and love.”
Alpha grunted almost imperceptibly underneath his leather mask.
“Shall we adjourn to my office to discuss the happiness of our Federation of Fun and love?” Beck asked sweetly.
“I’d love to!” Dillon exclaimed, following Beck.
As Beck headed towards the turbolift, she noticed Lt. Seany-weany standing by the airlock. Wasn’t he on the upper observation level?
Beck dismissed the thought and lead Dillon through the throng of loving followers.
As Dillon moved down through Happy Funtimes Mall, he stopped at once particular storefront that was closed off, its only feature a door with a tiny slot.
“I trust you’ve been taking care of my dear brother, Mistress?” Dillon asked, approaching the door.
“He’s given me no trouble.” Beck said. “Although he will sometimes be heard howling long into the night. It’s quite disquieting to the customers at the mall.”
“I’m sure.” Dillon said, opening the slot and peering in.
Light filtered down into the prisonlike room in tiny streams from the grating above. In one corner, dressed in rags and huddled in a fetal ball, sat Bradley Dillon, entrepreneur extraordinaire. Well, ex-entrepreneur extraordinaire.
“Bradley?” Dillon asked sweetly. “It’s big brother.”
“Mmm?” Bradley said, shifting. He opened his eyes, squinting at the ray of light that poured in through the tiny slit. “Trav-is?”
“Yes, little bro, it’s Travis. How are you?”
Bradley struggled to stand up, which seemed like a huge effort unto itself. He walked slowly over to the door, bracing himself against the wall. “It’s…it’s…dark. Why, Trav-is? Why? I never…did…hurt… you…”
“I’m sure.” Dillon said. “Have a happy day, my dear little brother!” With that, Dillon slammed the tiny slit closed.
As the group moved on, anguished howls could be heard from within the dungeonlike room.
“You know,” Beck said, as they continued to the turbolift. “You could at least authorize him to be let out on special occasions. Maybe some holidays?”
“Your show of concern for my brother is heartwarming, Mistress.” Dillon said, still smiling. “However, it fails to move me.”
“Damn.” Beck cursed, as they entered the turbolift.
“The coast is clear…” Lt. Porter said, looking out over the promenade. “The crowd is dissipating again.”
“What on Earth were those howls?” Beck asked with concern. “It sounded like a cat being tortured.”
“I don’t know.” Russell said, looking around suspiciously. “But the sooner we get out of here, the better.”
The group moved cautiously along the upper observation level
“According to what we know of Waystation,” Russell said, as they walked. “There should be a Jeffries tube that leads directly to ops several meters ahead.”
“Okay. Then that’s where we’re going.”
“Are you sure that’s wise?” Porter said. “We still don’t know where Jones is, only that her readings are intensifying.”
“Well,” Beck said, as they moved, “In our universe, Ops is always where the action is.”
“And this is a good thing?” Russell asked.
Before Beck could respond, a familiar hooded figure stepped out in front of the group, blocking their path.
The figure removed its hood, revealing a very familiar face.
“Leximas?” Beck asked. The mystic was the only thing about Playstation that seemed exactly the same as on Waystation.
“You are not from this plane.” Leximas said calmly. “There is a disturbance in this continuity.”
“That’s what we’re here to fix, your holiness.” Beck said, unsure of how to address the mystic.
“Do what you must…” Leximas said, floating back into her chamber. “…but beware, what is the same is often not the same.”
“Gee, thanks for that helpful little tidbit.” Russell said, opening up the jeffries tube access hatch.
“Can the commentary, Mr. Russell. It’s a long climb up to ops.” Beck said, wondering exactly what it was that Leximas meant.
“I trust you had a pleasant trip…” Mistress Beck said, as she followed Dillon into her office. He had instructed Hawkins and Troi to wait in Ops with Alpha while he met with Beck. The rest of his entourage was receiving a tour of the station’s lower saucer.
As soon as the doors to Beck’s office closed, Dillon turned on a heel to face the Mistress. “You have disappointed me one too many times, Beck.”
“I don’t know what you…” Beck said, as Dillon held his fist up and made a tight squeezing motion, his leather glove squeaking as he squeezed.
Beck dropped to her knees, clutching her throat. “Captain, I…”
She had heard that Dillon had received some sort of strange mind-power from the Joegonotizing ray, but she had never believed it until now.
“Save your pathetic words, Mistress.” Dillon sneered. “And listen carefully. If you want your life spared you will hand me the still beating hearts of Lazlo and Singer. Is that clear?”
“Very…” Beck choked.
Dillon stopped squeezing and smiled. “Good. To answer your question, the trip was fine.”
Beck rubbed her still sore throat and stood up. “Why did you have to bring the two women, Captain? You could have delivered this threat yourself.”
“As a gift to two beautiful women, Commander.” Dillon hissed.
“If you do fail, they get to have what is left of you. You’ll find that Counselor Supreme Troi can do amazing things with a mind.
You saw what she did for my brother.”
“You’re so evil, Captain.” Beck said, regaining her composure. “I could never understand why you would never have me.”
Dillon sneered again. “Because you disgust me, Mistress. You are vile and low and base, a boil on the ass of womankind. Besides, I’ve never been a fan of redheads. Now…” Dillon said.
“You must tend to…”
Suddenly the dark space outside of Playstation lit up as a photon torpedo streamed towards Ops.
Commander Beck almost lost her grip on the ladder as the station began to shake.
“What the hell was that?” She asked.
“Photon torpedo if I had to guess.” Porter said, pulling out his tricorder. “As a matter of fact…Commander!”
“Tina is on the ship that’s attacking the station. And you won’t believe what ship it is.”
“Surprise me.” Beck said blandly, continuing to climb.
“The Defiant?” Mistress Beck asked, stumbling out into ops, followed by Dillon.
“That’s correct, Mistress.” Ensign Petey-weety Grant said from the science console. No one was currently manning tactical.
“God damn it.” Dillon muttered. “Singer.”
“I thought you said she was taken care of!” Troi said angrily. “Now I find that even this is a deception!”
“Silence!” Dillon said. “Patti, you take tactical. It is time for me to finish this once and for all.”
“What are you going to do?” Beck asked, following Dillon around ops.
“What I should have done in the first place. I’m handling this matter myself. Dillon to Secondprize.” Dillon said, tapping his comm badge.
“Secondprize. Commander Preston here.” Came the voice of Commander Charlie Preston, the Secondprize’s first officer.
“Intercept that vessel and destroy it!” Dillon barked.
“Aye, sir. Preston out.”
Dillon smiled fiendishly. “See? We have nothing to worry about.”
“My love!” Hawkins shouted from tactical. “I’m reading a squadron of Multek warships heading this way. They will be here in minutes!”
“Multeks?” Dillon asked. “What terrible timing. Aren’t we keeping them busy enough as it is with that whole invasion thing?”
“Obviously not.” Troi sneered.
“Stay out of this, woman.” Dillon barked, turning back to tactical. “Concentrate your fire on the Defiant, Patti. Contact the Secondprize and have them break off and intercept the Multek squadron before they can get here.”
“How on Earth did they manage to ally themselves with Multeks?” Troi asked. “They don’t even believe we exist!”
“Mister Lazlo is quite resourceful, Counselor.” Beck said, leaning against her throne. “I would have told you that.” She glared at Dillon. “Had he given me the chance.”
“Will the incompetence never end?” Troi asked angrily. “Emperor Webber will find out about this, don’t you worry.”
“I said be quiet!” Dillon screamed. “I have to think.”
“Their shields are buckling!” Singer said, staring at the readouts on the science console. “Keep on doing what you’re doing, Colonel.”
Lazlo continued to fire on Playstation, as Yeoman Jones brought the ship around and around the station, deftly avoiding the fire of the station’s many phaser banks.
“Wow, this flying stuff is really fun.” Jones said, holding onto the panel as she maneuvered the Defiant. “And it’s not so hard, when you get used to it.”
“According to our floorplan, the tube branches off right here,” Lt. Porter said, as the group stopped at a junction in the Jeffries’ tube, “leading to the ventilation ducts for the briefing room and the Commander’s office.”
“That’s where we’ll attack from.” Beck said. “Russell, you take Gomes and Palmer through the briefing room, Porter, Miller…you two are with me.”
“But, Commander, what if we don’t fit?” Russell asked.
“Suck in your gut, Russell.” Porter said, following Beck into the shaft that led to her office.
“Very funny.” Russell said, ducking into the shaft that led towards the briefing room. “Come on, guys.”
“Our shields are down!” Hawkins cried. “Damage to the main reactor!”
“What??!!” Dillon cried, running his fingers through his hair. “This can’t be happening.”
“You failed, Captain.” Troi said, sneering. “Just as Beck did before you.”
“I have heard quite enough from you, Counselor.” Dillon muttered, trying to find a way out of this.
“What are you going to do, use your puny mind power on me? Please! I could crush your mind without a second thought, and I could crush this pathetic witch just as easy.” Troi glared at Beck.
Mistress Beck could feel Troi invading her mind. It was like being held underwater and punched rapidly. And, for some reason, she found it invigorating and somewhat satisfying.
“Mistress!” Alpha shouted, running to Beck’s side.
“I’m horny, Alpha.” Beck croaked, as Troi assaulted her.
Troi looked away from Beck, stopping the assault, and stared at Dillon. “So don’t cross me, you puny little worm.”
Suddenly a phaser beam lanced across ops, hitting Troi in the chest and disintegrating her in a red ball of light. She barely had time to scream.
“So much for mind games, bitch.” Lt. Hawkins said, holstering her phaser.
“Thank you, Patti.” Dillon said. “I was getting tired of her anyway.”
“What are you going to do now, Commander?” Mistress Beck asked, looking at the Defiant as it weaved and bobbed on the viewscreen. “We’ll either be destroyed or boarded in moments!”
“I’d put my bets on boarded!” Commander Beck shouted, bursting out of Mistress Beck’s office, followed by Porter and Miller.
“What the-?” Mistress Beck said, when suddenly Russell and his men leaped out from the Briefing Room.
“Nobody move!” Russell shouted, looking to his Commander Beck and smiling. “Commander, you have ops.”
“What is the meaning of this?” Dillon asked, looking around.
“And who the hell are you people supposed to be.”
“They’re from an alternate universe.” Mistress Beck said, looking at Commander Beck with disdain. “And I see my counterpart has no makeup skills.”
“Can it, you hussy.” Beck said. “All of you get into the briefing room until we can sort this thing out.”
“Alternate universe?” Dillon asked, as he, Mistress Beck, Lt. Hawkins, and Ensign Grant were herded into the briefing room. “How lovely. So where is my counterpart?”
“Don’t know.” Beck said, shoving Dillon into the room. “But I’ll tell you this much: He’s a great big weenie!”
“I don’t believe it!” Dillon said, hitting the ground roughly.
Russell holstered his phaser, running over to the tactical station. “Palmer, Gomes…you two watch the Briefing Room.” Russell tapped some buttons on the panel. “We’re being boarded, Commander.”
“Correction…” Beck said, studying the other Beck’s throne with disgust. “They’re being boarded.”
Lazlo and his men moved through Playstation with precise movements, herding its confused occupants into empty cargo bays and storefronts along the Happy Funtimes Mall.
Playstation’s security forces did not put up much of a fight, probably because they didn’t have much experience fighting people that weren’t under the spell of Joegonotization. Lazlo and his marines never quite caught on to that whole philosophy.
The marines pushed through the mall, making their way through the throng of frightened people towards the turbolift, stunning whatever few security officers put up a resistance.
The group stopped at a closed up storefront, where they could hear anguished grunts and fitful pounding within.
Jones approached the door to the storefront and cautiously opened the slot, peering in. “Good lord…”
“What is it?” Lazlo asked impatiently. “We don’t have time to waste!”
Jones stared through the slot and gasped. “It’s Bradley Dillon!”
“Oh, him.” Lazlo said. “That’s one of Counselor Troi’s victims.”
“Tina?” Bradley asked quietly, looking through the slot. “Tina bad! Tina good? Hee hee! Want…out!”
Jones quickly closed the slot. “If we’re successful, promise me you’ll try to get him help.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Singer said, “Now let’s go!”
The group continued to move, arriving at a turbolift. He turned around, looking out over the mall as marines continued to subdue the station’s occupants. “Okay…Copeland, Kintasa, I want you to secure the upper saucer. Hodges, Banks…you guys take a team down and secure the lower saucer.”
“Where are we going?” Singer asked, cradling her phaser rifle in her arms lovingly.
“Ops.” Lazlo said, pulling her and Jones into the turbolift.
“I still don’t see where I fit in here.” Jones said worriedly. She had helped Lazlo and Singer fight their way in through the airlock, but she hadn’t enjoyed it very much. She had never signed on with Starfleet to fight with people. Especially people in a really scary alternate universe.
“You didn’t notice how the security officers ran like hell at the sight of you?” Lazlo asked as the lift rose.
“Well, I figured it was this ugly uniform…”
“Your counterpart in this universe was a Counselor.” Lazlo explained. “Counselors are the most feared people in this quadrant. They administrate the Emperor’s discipline.”
“So I wasn’t nice?”
Lazlo smiled. “No, you were. That’s why Beck killed you.”
Jones gulped. “K-killed me?”
Lazlo nodded gravely. “I don’t know how, but she found out you were conspiring to help us take over the station.”
So what do we do now?” Singer asked impatiently.
“We’re going to scare the living shit out of our friend Mistress Beck.”
“The Secondprize is headed back here, Commander.” Russell said from tactical. “With about a half dozen Multek ships in hot pursuit.”
Beck stared at the approaching vessel on the viewscreen with confusion. “For once I think I’m rooting for the Multeks.”
“Me too.” Porter said quietly from the science console.
“Fire aft torpedoes.” Commander Preston said, gripping onto the big, clear, purple, inflatable command chair. He liked the way it bounced back up when he sat in it, but it always stuck to his legs when he wore shorts.
“Baird to bridge. We have a cute little problem with the coolant system.”
“Specify, Baird.” Preston said. “Are we going to have a not so happy day?”
“I don’t know.” Baird said worriedly. There was definitely an edge to his voice. As a matter of fact, he kind of sounded like a panicked little kid. “It’s making all sorts of funny noises and it scares me.”
“Keep me posted.” Preston said, hitting the button on the command chair that cut communications.
“The Multek ships are gaining on us. Our lead won’t last long, and our shields are down to thirteen percent.” Ensign Marsh said from tactical. “Another hit on our aft quarter and we’ll have a first class ticket to unhappyville.”
“Oh, fiddlesticks.” Preston said standing up and walking towards the front of the bridge. “Time to Playstation, Lt. Sullivan?”
“We’re almost there hon.” Sullivan replied sincerely. “Don’t worry about a thing.”
“Commander…” Ensign Carr said from ops. “The Defiant is now docked at Playstation. And our scans indicate that the station is being taken over. Scattered phaser fire on several decks.”
“What?” Preston asked, turning to look at the ensign.
“The imaginary vessel was no match for us.” Admiral Wuddle’s first officer, Nubbid said proudly. “We have pretended to fight well.”
“But that was only one imaginary vessel. We still have many other vessels that don’t exist we must not battle as well. Continue to follow this imaginary vessel to the not real station, so that we may assist our nonexistent comrades.” Wuddle ordered, watching the Secondprize on the Sequaa’s viewscreen as it approached Playstation.
“What do we do now, fearless leader?” Mistress Beck said angrily, spinning around in one of the chairs in the briefing room.
“We can’t call for help…they took our communicators.”
“Every time you annoy me, Mistress Beck, your lifespan is shortened. Don’t continue to shorten it.” Dillon said angrily. “The Secondprize will take care of the situation. And then you will receive your proper punishment.”
“Sure, sure.” Beck said. “I have complete faith in Mister Preston’s capabilities.”
“You’d be wise not to talk to my commanding officer in such a tone, you slut.” Hawkins said angrily. “You’re open lust for him disgusts me.”
“Lust?” Beck asked. “Yeah right. Alpha is all the satisfaction I’ll ever need.” Beck put her hand on Alpha’s shoulder.
“Him and the rest of this station’s crew.” Dillon laughed. “Male and female.”
“Are you calling my Mistress a tramp? And a lesbian?” Alpha asked angrily.
“What are you going to do about it, slaveboy?” Dillon asked.
Something long forgotten began to rise through manservant Alpha’s mind. “Do not test me, Captain. You are not quite as powerful as you might think.”
“I’m more powerful.” Dillon said, smiling. “I have everything I’ve ever wanted: Power. Glory. Respect. And of course, the beautiful Lieutenant Hawkins. All things you’ll never have.”
“Why would he want that gutterslut, Captain?” Beck asked innocently.
“I’ve got a six pack of ass whuppin right here, Beck!” Hawkins shouted, rolling up her sleeves. “Want some?”
“Let’s drink up!” Beck said, leaping for Hawkins. The two fell to the ground, rolling around and clawing madly at each other’s hair and eyes.
Ensign Grant just looked the other way and whistled quietly, trying to pretend as if he wasn’t there.
“This will quickly grow tiresome.” Dillon said, yawning. “But you must enjoy this, Jaroch…oh, I’m sorry, I mean Alpha. What’s it like to watch your beloved Mistress and your secret, deep, dark object of lust fighting to the bitter death? Must be hard to pick a side!” Dillon was enjoying this way too much.
Alpha began to tremble with anger. “I am warning you, Captain. I can only stay calm so long. There is a line and you are coming close to crossing it!”
Dillon made an expression of mock fear. “Oh, I’m really scared! What are you going to do? Beat me up?”
“Should I fire on the Secondprize?” Russell asked, staring at the viewscreen as the ship approached. “I mean, they are the bad guys here, right?”
“It’s not our fight, Mister Russell, we can’t just…”
“Wait…Jones’s readings are getting closer…” Porter said, looking at his tricorder. “I mean a lot closer…”
Suddenly the turbolift door opened, allowing Lazlo, Singer, and Jones to emerge.
“No one move, this is a hostile takeover!” Lazlo shouted, putting his phaser to Beck’s throat. “We’re in charge now.”
“Been there, done that.” Beck said nervously, eyeing Lazlo’s phaser. “We’re not your enemies, Mr. Lazlo.”
“Oh, you’re not?” Lazlo asked.
“Tina!” Porter said, shocked, as he stared down the barrel of Yeoman Jones’s phaser.
“Craig?” Jones asked, confused.
“Doctor Singer?” Lt. Russell asked, his phaser drawn, aimed at Lazlo, while Singer’s weapon was trained on him.
“Mistress Beck?” Lazlo asked.
“Commander Beck.” Beck corrected.
“Craig!” Jones said with excitement.
“Tina?” Russell asked, looking over at Jones.
“Sean?” Jones asked, looking over at Russell.
“Colonel Lazlo…” Beck said, trying to break into the conversation.
“Commander Beck?” Lazlo asked.
“CAPTAIN DILLON!” Everyone looked to the briefing room as there was a loud roar of anger. “You will die!” The voice said, following that statement up with several loud thumps against the briefing room door. Palmer and Gomes turned around and stared at the door, pulling out their phasers fearfully.
“What the hell is that?” Lazlo asked, his phaser still aimed at Beck, fear in his eyes.
The thumping continued, until the door was busted open, and Captain Dillon was tossed as if he was a ragdoll right past Ensigns Palmer and Gomes and into the viewscreen at the opposite end of the room.
“Behold the mighty J’Ter, ruler of ancient Yyns. I am back.”
Alpha/Jaroch/J’Ter said, standing in the doorway and ripping off his leather mask and letting his hair down. Palmer and Gomes just stood there motionless, their phasers shaking in their hands, not sure what to do.
“The more things change…” Beck sighed, watching as the leather clad warrior walked over and proceeded to pummel Dillon unmercifully with his fists.
“Honey?” Hawkins asked, stumbling over to the door, watching as her boyfriend was beaten to a bloody pulp.
“I’m not finished with you!” An equally disheveled Mistress Beck said, pulling Hawkins back into the briefing room.
“If that’s Mistress Beck…” Lazlo said, looking at Commander Beck. “You must be…”
“You catch on fast, Colonel.” Beck said. “And let me say, you have yourself one f**ked up universe here.”
“Jaroch…Hawkins…Dillon…Singer…” Russell said, looking around. “This is like a Secondprize reunion gone horribly wrong.”
“I’ll say.” Porter said, smiling at Yeoman Jones as she put her phaser down. “I was really worried about you, Tina.”
“I was worried about me too.” Jones replied sheepishly.
“Captain Dillon honey!” Mistress Beck grunted, lurching out of the briefing room, her face streaked with blood and her uniform torn. “Your girlfriend’s bleeding all over the carpet!” Beck was about to help Alpha/Jaroch/J’Ter pummel the Captain when something caught her eye. “Tina?” she asked. “No…”
“Yep.” Jones said. “I hear you’ve been a bad girl, Miss Beck!”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHH!” Beck cried, pulling at her now completely messed up hair. “What’s going on here?”
Commander Beck smiled. “Your worst nightmare, ma’am.”
Suddenly the station shuttered. Russell ran to the tactical console and checked the readings. “The Secondprize is back.”
“This is Commander Patrick Preston of the Funship Secondprize. You will turn over our officers immediately and surrender that station.” Preston’s voice crackled over the comm system.
“Let me talk.” Lazlo said, walking over to the tactical console.
“Commander?” Russell asked.
Beck nodded. “This is his show, Lieutenant.”
“Thank you.” Lazlo said politely, tapping a control that put Preston onscreen. “Mister Preston, if you’d be so kind as to look behind you, there is a fleet of Multek warships that say we don’t have to surrender jack squat.”
“I am aware of that, Colonel. However, I do think we can work out a deal that would make us all come out of this looking good.”
“I don’t think so, Commander.” Lazlo said. “They’re staying right here, where they will receive every hospitality I can think to offer them.”
Everyone in ops, including Lazlo and Russell was busy looking at the viewscreen, so no one noticed when a badly beaten Lt. Hawkins crawled out of the briefing room and grabbed at Lazlo’s legs, knocking him off balance and pulling him down.
Mistress Beck took the moment of confusion to hit Commander Beck with a roundhouse kick and leap towards the tactical console, slamming her hand down on the shield control button.
“Now Secondprize!” Mistress Beck shouted, before Russell could react. Commander Preston looked off to the side of the screen a moment and nodded. Suddenly Mistress Beck, Lt. Hawkins, Captain Dillon, and Alpha/Jaroch/J’Ter disappeared in a happy blue sparkle.
“Our people are safely aboard, Commander.” Ensign Marsh said.
“Get our shields up and destroy the station, Ensign.” Preston said, leaning forward in anticipation. “Hurry.”
“Darn.” Marsh said. “They got their shields back up. And the Multek ships will be in firing range in thirty seconds.”
“Poop.” Preston sighed. “Helm, take us out of here. Maximum warp.”
With that, the Secondprize angled around and engaged into warp.
“We lost them!” Dr. Singer said, running her hands through her hair in frustration. “I can’t believe we lost them!”
Lazlo walked over and put his hands on Singer’s shoulders. “But look at all we’ve gained, Tina! We have a squadron of Multek ships at our side and a station to command, not to mention a powerful starship at our disposal.”
“It looks like you guys have a lot of work ahead of you.” Commander Beck said, turning to Porter, Russell, and Jones. “I think it’s time we headed home.”
Stardate 50625.3. Thanks to Lt. Porter’s marvelous device, we have returned to our own universe, much to my relief. In addition, our three visitors have been returned to their alternate universe where the alternate Colonel Lazlo assures me they will be treated fairly. I have to admit, after my experience on Playstation, I’m looking forward to the more…normal life aboard Waystation.
Commander Beck took another sip of Andorian coffee as she read Yeoman Jones’s report, occasionally looking up at the crowds as they passed by the Andorian restaurant.
“Commander?” Lt. Commander Walter Morales asked, stirring her from her concentration.
Beck looked up. “Commander. Sit down. What’s on your mind?”
“I just wanted to tell you, sir. We got a subspace communication today from Commander Dillon.”
Beck smiled, amused. “And what did he have to say?”
“He heard about your team’s experience with the ‘evil’ Dillon and wondered if it had any kind of negative effect on our respect for him.”
“Is that so?” Beck said, chuckling. “What did you tell him?”
“I told him it would be impossible for us to have any less respect for him than we do now.” Morales said, breaking into a laugh.
“I’ll say. He probably took it as a complement.” Beck’s laugh died down as she continued to read the report.
“So what do you think will happen over there, Commander?” Morales asked.
Beck looked up, pausing a moment. “Frankly, Commander, I don’t know. Colonel Lazlo, at least the one in that universe, seems to be a good man, and, as funny as it seems, I think he and Dr. Singer will make excellent revolutionaries.”
“I still can’t believe how vastly different those people are from us, Commander. I mean Dillon…an evil villain? Singer…sane? You…a dominatrix?”
Beck raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know, Commander Morales, sometimes I think Mistress Beck and I aren’t that different. I mean, I know some people who I’d love to beat into submission.”
At that moment, Colonel Lazlo and some of his aides walked by Beck’s table. Lazlo stopped just long enough to glare down at Commander Beck. “Regarding your mission to the alternate universe, my formal complaint has been lodged with Starfleet, Commander. Expect to hear from them shortly.”
As Colonel Lazlo moved off, Beck gave Morales a conspiratory nudge. “Him for instance.”
Morales stood up, smiling. “I see what you mean, Commander. I’ll see you in ops.”
“I’ll be there with bells on.” Beck said, returning to Jones’s report.
“What is troubling you, my dear?” Leximas asked, as Yeoman Jones stood in the doorway of her meditation chamber, rocking nervously on her heels.
“I was just thinking of something you…I mean the alternate you…said to Commander Beck in that other universe.”
“And that is?”
“You said, ‘what is the same is often not the same’. I was just wondering, you know, what you meant by that.”
“You are asking me about this statement as if it was one that I made, child.” Leximas said, continuing to float there amongst her candles.
“I just…well, I kind of thought you…”
Leximas’ silver eyes glistened. “Thought I could be two places at once?”
Leximas laughed, something Jones had never seen her do. “We are often in two different places at the same time, without even knowing it. Sometimes, we are two different people as well.”
“Will Colonel Lazlo and Dr. Singer be successful in restoring the Federation?”
“Only time will tell, my dear. But in the meantime, I suggest you focus on this plane, for this is where you belong.”
Jones smiled. “You’re right. Thanks, Leximas.”
“Do not mention it.” Leximas said, returning to her meditation as Yeoman Jones left the chamber.
As Jones made her way back down to her office, she bumped into Bradley Dillon.
“So are the rumors true? Am I some kind of twisted freak in that other universe?” Dillon asked urgently.
“You don’t want to know.” Jones said, continuing to make her way through the mall.
“I have a right to know, Miss Jones.” Dillon said, following the Yeoman.
“It wasn’t pretty!” Jones protested.
“I can take it.” Dillon promised. “Now tell me…how bad was it?”
Jones stopped walking a moment, rubbing her chin thoughtfully.
“Let me just say this: What is the same is often not the same.”
With that, the Yeoman moved off through the crowds, leaving a completely befuddled Bradley Dillon in her wake.