(Horribly mangling 'Some Enchanted Evening' from South Pacific) Some enchanted evening, You'll read this disclaimer. I wrote this disclaimer, Inside a crowded room. And just so you'll know. Viacom owns Trek. And Alan Decker He own Star Traks.

Author: Alan Decker
Copyright: 1998



“You May Meet A Stranger”

By Alan Decker

“Renovations” concept by Alan Decker and Anthony Butler

Commander Lisa Beck opened the hatch leading from the connecting tube to the cargo module containing the make-shift operations center for Waystation Village and walked inside, bonking her head against the hatch frame for the 78th day in a row.

“God damn it!”

“You’re just too tall for this place,” Lieutenant Craig Porter remarked from the science/operations/environmental systems/food service/holovision reception control board. While Waystation was under construction, everyone was being forced to take on a few extra duties.

“I could see about having the hatch enlarged,” Lieutenant Commander Walter Morales, Waystation’s First Officer offered.

“That’s okay,” Beck said. “I need to learn to duck. Anything going on?”

“Not so much as a rogue comet,” Morales said. “Construction will resume at ten hundred hours when the work crews finish their contractually-mandated five course buffet breakfast. The early shift completed no work, since we were out of fresh scones, which their contract specifically states shall be provided for all shifts starting before nine hundred hours.” Morales’s voice was almost starting to quiver with irritation. “Furthermore, the night shift left two hours ahead of schedule due to their sudden decision to observe the traditional Feast of the Five-Testicled Bull being held today on Kufmub Prime! A planet, I’d wager, not one of those over-grown pack mules has ever even been to, much less followed the religious teachings of!”

“Sounds like they’re getting to you, Walter,” Beck said with a laugh.

“Just a bit.”

“Stay on them. They work for us, remember. Meanwhile, anything actually Starfleetish for me to handle.”

“Sorry, Commander. We’re fresh out of galactic crises today,” Porter said. “I put Colonel Lazlo’s daily complaint list in your waste reclamator as usual.”

“Thanks. Well, sounds like you boys have things well in hand. I’m going to go bash my head against a few more airlocks.”

“Everyone else has been taking some leave, ma’am. You should get away for a while,” Morales said. “Surely, you’ve got some time saved up.”

“Plenty,” Beck said. “I just don’t like taking vacations alone.”

“Then take someone,” Morales said.

“I’ll come,” Porter offered quickly. “Just lend me some of that leave.”

“That what you get for going to that Parisis Squares tournament last month,” Beck said as she headed toward the hatch again. “I’ve got an idea, though.”

“You and Lazlo finally going to take that romantic getaway,” Porter said.

“Not funny, Craig.”



“I love it!” Lieutenant Stephanie Hodges, Beck’s close friend and a member of the Federation Marine Corps battalion posted to Waystation, exclaimed. “Anything to get away from the colonel for a week. Where are we going?”

“I’m not sure yet,” Beck said, raising her mug of coffee to her lips as she and Hodges sat at a table in what was now passing for the Starfleet Square Mall food court. Of course, each store now had it’s own module, so window shopping had become much more of a hassle. “Raisa seems so overdone.”

“But never boring,” Hodges said.

“It’s hard for me to unwind there. Too many other Starfleet people milling about.”

“Keeps you stuck in officer mode, huh?”

“Pretty much.”

“Okay then. No Raisa. How about Sargonis?” Hodges asked.

“Never been there.”

“It’s quaint. Fairly scenic. Good skiing.”

“Ice planet?” Beck asked warily.

“Sort of. It’s more just cold. But think of it like Switzerland or something. Quaint folks. Hot chocolate.”

“I’ve never been skiing…”

“So this is your chance! Besides, you’ll look good in ski bunny gear.”

“Ski bunny?” This did not sound good.

“Never mind. I’ll go book us a place to stay. You handle transportation.” Hodges practically leapt out of her chair to get back to her quarters and start planning.

“I figured we’d just take a runabout,” Beck said.

“Riding in style…and on Starfleet’s credits. Perfect. Lisa, this is going to be the best vacation of your life. I personally guarantee it!” Hodges raced out of the food court leaving Beck to contemplate her coffee.

“Commander…” Bradley Dillon’s voice said from behind her.

“May I help you, Mr. Dillon?” Beck said flatly, turning to Bradley. She still was experiencing a bit of resentment at Bradley’s sudden riches.

“I just wanted to offer my services to help you get outfitted for your trip. Consider it a small gesture to thank you for everything you’ve done for me over the years.”

Beck shook her head and turned back to her coffee. “Thank you, but I don’t need…”

“Ski equipment and clothing will cost you several hundred credits otherwise.”

“A gift!” Beck said, perking up suddenly. “That’s very kind of you. When can we start?”

“Just follow me to my shop. I have some wonderful items in the J. Bond brand. Top of the line merchandise. And we’re now carrying some adorable Ski Bunny Express snow gear.”

“What is with this ski bunny crap?”

Bradley ignored her and tapped the communicator unobtrusively strapped to his wrist. “Giselle, have the Ski Bunny simulator running in my holosuite when I arrive. And get Bambi and Buffy operational to demonstrate the gear.” He turned to Beck. “Have you ever had lessons?”

Beck shook her head.

“And get Olaf and Sven online. The commander is going to require lessons and most likely a massage afterwards.” Bradley tapped the communicator again, closing the channel. “Don’t worry, Commander. You’ll be the star of the slopes when I’m done with you.”

“I’m more worried about ending up as a bloody splotch on the slopes.”

“Nonsense. Never happen.” He wrapped his arm around hers and walked towards the exit hatch. “If you’ll follow me…”



“Watch your head there.”


“What about that one?” Hodges said, nodding her head towards the man sitting at the bar. She and Beck were sitting a table in the lounge of the ski lodge they were staying at after a day cruising down the slopes of Mount Wapok on Sargonis. Beck had to hand it to Bradley Dillon. The lessons did the trick…and Olaf’s massage afterwards was pretty helpful as well.

“He’s okay,” Beck said noncommittally.

“Come on, Lisa. I’m trying to have a little fun here.”

“Sorry, Steph. I just feel uncomfortable in this outfit,” Beck replied, shifting in her pink ski suit. “I know I’m covered, but I feel half-naked.”

“It looks fine.”

“It’s like it molded itself to my body.”

“That’s what it’s supposed to do,” Hodges said. “Guys love it.”

“No doubt. It ain’t hiding much.”

“That’s why you’ve been getting looks all evening. Half the men in this place are dying to come have a drink with us.”

“Sure. We’re having to keep them at bay with phasers.”

“Well, if you’d quit looking so damn stern and intimidating, they might come over here,” Hodges said.

“Officer mode again?”

“Big time. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were nervous. When was the last time you had a date?”

“Define date,” Beck said, dodging the question.


“A while. My first year on the Secondprize probably.”

“That’s almost five years!”

“I’ve been busy,” Beck said defensively.

“You’ve been hiding. What the hell’s happened to you? You are not the same Lisa Beck who disabled Ted Hanson’s hoverbike engine so he’d have to ask you for a ride home.”

“That was high school,” Beck said.

“So? The same rules apply…and we aren’t getting any younger. Hello!” Beck followed Hodges’ gaze to the door. Hodges eyes were locked on a man who had just entered the lodge. He was dressed all in black, with black slicked-back hair and dark eyes. His clothing obviously covered a powerful build. He looked around the room, searching for something, then, satisfied at either finding it or not finding it, sat down at the bar.

“Go talk to him,” Hodges said.

“Right. Sure.”

“Go on! What’s stopping you?”

“I have no idea who he is,” Beck protested.

“That’s the whole point.” A glint of evil flashed in Hodges’ eyes. “I dare you.”

“Don’t do this to me, Steph.”

“You know the rules. I dared you.”

“You can’t…”

“I did. Don’t make me push this to a double dare. I never had to double dare you about anything.”

Beck stared at Hodges, determination filling her face.

“You want to play this way? Fine. He’s all mine. Just watch.”

Beck tossed down the remainder of her margarita and sauntered over to the bar, swishing her hips as she walked. Between her outfit and the slight buzz she was feeling, seducing this guy should be a piece of cake.

“Hi,” Beck said breathily as she sat down on the stool next to him. The man turned toward her, obviously startled. He quickly looked her up and down, then nervously looked around the bar again.

“You have the wrong guy,” he said. His voice was deep and resonant, more so than Beck was expecting. It was…nice.

“You look right to me,” Beck said. “Lisa Beck.” She extended her hand to him. He tentatively took it, looking at her more closely. “I’m on vacation.”

“Me too,” the man said. “Banyon Kovacs.”

“Banyon. Now that’s a name. Very…manly.” Beck glanced over at Hodges who was smiling and giving her a thumbs up. Beck smiled back, then leaned in a little closer to Banyon. “I have a problem.”

“What’s that?”

“My margarita escaped. I need another.”

“Are you asking me to buy you a drink?”

“That’s one translation,” Beck replied smiling. Banyon signaled the bartender and ordered Beck another drink.

“What do you do?” Beck asked.

“Traveling salesman,” Banyon said quickly, once again glancing around the bar. He then checked the chronometer on the wall. “Look, I need to go. Nice talking to you. And tell your boss it’s not that easy.”

Banyon stood up and headed toward the door in one fluid motion, his movements mesmerizing Beck for a few seconds. Then, she realized what was happening. She turned to Hodges and shrugged.

“Go after him!” Hodges mouthed. Beck chugged the rest of her margarita and set off in pursuit.

Outside, Banyon was swiftly walking away from the lodge. Beck had to jog to catch up. The cold air and soft snowfall was quickly pushing through the effects of the synthehol.

“Hey! Wait up!” Beck shouted. Banyon stopped and turned around.

“I don’t want any,” Banyon said, heading toward the corner of a building and getting ready to turn down a side street. Beck caught up with him just as four men also dressed all in black came around the corner. Banyon stopped in his tracks and backed up into Beck.

“Somebody miss an appointment?” the lead man asked, his face spreading into a snide grin. He was obviously several years older than the three men accompanying him. “Could it be, Harco? Sorry, he’s feeling a bit dead right now. I hear it’s going around, though. Better watch yourself, Banyon.” The three other thugs chuckled ominously.

“Our business is finished, Reilly,” Banyon said.

“Not yet. Not by a long shot.” Reilly turned his gaze on Beck. “Well well well. Who’s the ski bunny?”

“Nice try. Her ploy was transparent…even for you guys.”

“Enough banter. Fellas, give Mr. Kovacs his payment for services rendered.” The three thugs walked past Reilly, advancing on Banyon. Banyon instinctively crouched in a defensive position. Beck, shaking off the rest of the synthehol, quickly sized up the opposition.

“Better run, sweety,” Reilly said. “This is about to get messy.”

“More than you think,” Beck replied, suddenly leaping at the lead attacker. She took him down with a quick flying kick to the chest, then jumped to her feet and slammed her boot down on the man’s face, knocking him out cold. Banyon and Reilly both watched in stunned astonishment as Beck quickly roundhouse kicked the second attacker, sending him flying against the side of a nearby building. The third attacker, realizing that Beck was more of a threat right now, ran at her. She deftly side-stepped his advance and slammed her fist down against the back of his head as he sped by. Within ten short seconds, all three men had been reduced to prone, moaning mounds of battered flesh. She turned on Reilly, eyes flashing angrily.

“Your turn, sweety,” she said, barely even breathing hard.

“Called for backup, eh Banyon?” Reilly said, backing away. “Come tomorrow, an entire army won’t be able to save you.” He ran off around the corner just as two of the Sargonis constabulary arrived.

“What’s all this then?” one of the police officers asked.

“These men accosted my wife and I as we left this fine establishment. I was forced to defend my good lady,” Banyon said before Beck could get a word in. For some reason, he’d suddenly started speaking in a British accent. “Are you all right, muffin?” he asked, turning to Beck, his face filled with concern.

“Peachy, sugar lump,” Beck replied, playing along.

“Such ruffians on Sargonis?” the officer said aghast. “Our deepest apologies. Please try to enjoy the rest of your stay, sir. Madam.” He bowed deeply, then cuffed the thugs as a police hovervan flew up. “You won’t have to worry about these hooligans ever again.” The police tossed the thugs into the van, had Banyon thumbprint a padd that had recorded his statement, then sped away.

“Very efficient planet,” Banyon said in his normal voice once the police had gone. “Generally,” he added a moment later.

“Who are you?” Beck asked.

“I should ask you the same question.”

“Commander Lisa Beck. Starfleet.”

“Banyon Kovacs.”

“You told me that already.”

“Starfleet Intelligence.”

“Oh boy. So those guys were…”

“Orion syndicate.”

“Oh hell.”

Stephanie Hodges heard the soft beeping of someone tapping the access code into her and Beck’s hotel room door and quickly put down the padd she was reading. A moment later, Beck burst into the room.

“How’d it go?” Hodges asked hopefully. Then, Banyon entered the room. “Do you two want me to leave?”

“Not at all,” Beck said. “We were hoping you could join us. It’ll be fun.”


“Is she safe?” Banyon asked.

“Banyon Kovacs. Lieutenant Stephanie Hodges, Federation Marines.”

“Is she safe?”

“Yes, she’s safe,” Beck snapped. “But are we safe?”

“For now. They don’t know who you are.”

“Who?” Hodges asked.

“What did they want?” Beck asked.

“Me. Somehow, my cover got blown. I was supposed to meet my contact in that bar. He was supposed to have transportation waiting for me.”

“What cover?” Hodges asked. “Contact?”

“That’s no problem,” Beck said, pulling back the room curtains just a little to peer outside. “We’ve got a runabout in orbit.”

“I can’t leave yet. I’m not finished,” Banyon said.

“With what?” Hodges asked, her irritation almost at the breaking point.

“You said you were meeting your transportation,” Beck said.

“Yeah,” Banyon replied. “But I was going to tell him I hadn’t obtained the item.”

“What item?” Hodges demanded.

“Where is it?” Beck asked.


“THAT’S IT!!!!!” Hodges screamed. “Somebody tell me what the hell is going on!!”

“Not now, Steph. We’re in a crisis!” Beck shouted.

“You’re in a crisis; I’m nowhere. Now, fill me in before I kill you.”

“He’s Starfleet Intelligence.”

“Oh hell,” Hodges said softly.

“Yeah. Thanks for picking him out for me. Now the Orion Syndicate wants us dead.”

“Us?!? They never even met me!”

“You aren’t helping,” Beck said.

“Stephanie, I was sent here to infiltrate and gather information a Syndicate ring here on Sargonis. I was also sent to retrieve an item of great value to my superiors that the Syndicate had obtained.”

“But now they know who you are and want you dead,” Hodges said.


“And us along with you,” Hodges added.

“Well, just Commander Beck right now,” Banyon said.

“But I’m sure they’ll be after you too once you start helping us,” Beck said. She turned to Banyon. “And please call me Lisa.”

“All right,” Banyon replied smiling warmly. “Lisa.”

“Great. Now she’s suddenly a sex goddess,” Hodges said. “Can it until we’re off this iceberg, will you, Lisa?”


“Right back at you.”

“Okay,” Banyon said, as he, Beck, and Hodges hunched over a padd displaying a schematic of a small house. “This is Reilly’s place. The item should be in his bedroom on a dresser.”

“Is it something we can beam out?” Hodges asked.

“The house is shielded from transporters. This is going to have to be done in person. I just need you two standing by to pick me up when I get out of the place.”

“Do you ski?” Beck asked.

“What’s that got to do with anything?” Banyon said.

“Look at this place. It’s a ski cabin on the side of a mountain. You’re going to have to ski to get there. Walking’s going to make you look pretty suspicious, and a snowmobile will make way too much noise.”

“Damn that Reilly. He put his house on a mountain on purpose!”

“Uh…probably,” Beck said. “I’d better take care of this.”

“Lisa, they don’t know me,” Hodges interrupted. “I should go.”

“You’re the better pilot. Take Banyon and get the runabout out of the orbital docking facility. I’ll see to this ‘item.’ What am I looking for?”

“It’s about a foot tall. Four inches wide. And it has a bronze figure on top of a white marble base,” Banyon explained.

“And this thing is valuable why?” Hodges asked.

“I’m afraid that’s classified.”

“Naturally,” Beck said. “I’m going to go check the place out. I’ve got my commbadge in my pocket. I’ll wait until you have the runabout free and I hear from you to do anything.” Beck pulled down her J. Bond brand ski goggles, checked the fastenings on her J. Bond brand boots, and trudged out of the hotel room into the night.

“I like her,” Banyon said matter-of-factly once Beck had left.

“Naturally,” Hodges replied smiling.

Commander Beck peered through the darkness at Reilly’s cabin, trying to ascertain how many people were actually inside. This would have been a lot easier with a tricorder. She made a mental note to always keep one with her, especially on vacations.

Suddenly, the lights glowing through the cabin windows went out, and three men emerged. She could tell from the greying hair that one of them was Reilly. They climbed aboard a large snowmobile and drove off.

After watching them move away, Beck pulled the commbadge out of her pocket.

“Beck to Hodges.”

“Go ahead.”

“They just left. Where are you guys?”

“In customs. Banyon tried to leave with a couple of packs of Sargonis hot chocolate. Evidently, they’re real protective of that stuff.”

“How much longer?”

“No clue,” Hodges’ voice replied. “He’s refusing a strip search.”

“I can’t wait. This could be our only chance. I’m going in. Beck out.”

“Lisa, don’t…”

Beck closed the comm channel before Hodges could finish telling her what a crazy idea this was. She knew that already. No phaser, no tricorder, no backup. But dammit it was exciting. Hodges was right. Beck had let herself become so bogged down in Starfleet procedures that she’d stopped having fun. Maybe that was why she often felt listless and plain bored. She wasn’t letting herself enjoy her job or the opportunities it presented. Well, she was in the middle of one hell of an opportunity now. True, it was risky, but, as one wise Starfleet officer once said “Risk is our business.” And in this case, it could be pleasure as well. Beck hadn’t felt this energized in months.

She took a quick glance around the area to check for any unwanted guests, then headed over to the cabin. Not surprisingly, the door was locked, but the frame was just plain wood. She pulled one of the J. Bond brand extendo-poles out of her pack (the ones Bradley Dillon assured her were absolutely indestructible) and activated it. With the pole out at full-length, Beck jammed it in between the door and the door frame and tried to pry the door open. In a few short seconds, the wood gave way with a groan, then cracking of planks.

Satisfied with her handy-work, Beck cautiously entered the cabin, holding the pole up like a club in case anyone should still be there. Considering the cabin was supposed to be some Orion Syndicate stronghold, the place seemed awfully normal. A few logs still glowed softly in the fireplace, where a roaring blaze probably crackled a less than an hour ago. The rest of the decor was unextraordinary: a sofa, a few chairs, some skis leaning against a wall. The place was…quaint.

Beck moved back into the bedroom and scanned the dresser tops. She quickly found an item matching the description Banyon gave her and picked it up to examine it.

“This has got to be a mistake,” Beck muttered to herself. She pulled out the commbadge and activated it.

“Beck to Hodges.”

“Hello,” Hodges replied brightly. “We’re through customs. We should be at the ship in no time.”

“Get Banyon on the line.”

“Everything okay?”

“Just do it.”

“Banyon,” the Starfleet Intelligence officer said.

“What the hell is this?” Beck demanded.

“You found the item.”

“It’s an Astroleague Anti-grav Bowling trophy.”

“Excellent. Now get out of there.”

“A freakin’ bowling trophy?”

“They’re probably detecting this signal, you know?” Banyon said. “You’d better leave…NOW.”

“A bowling trophy!!!”

Suddenly, Beck heard the sound of an engine approaching. After stuffing the trophy in the small pack she had strapped to her sides, she rushed out into the living room and spotted a small red light flashing on a tiny console attached to the side of the fireplace. She hadn’t even noticed the console when she entered the place. Time to leave. Rapidly.

Beck ran outside just as Reilly’s snowmobile, along with two others, pulled up to the cabin.

“It’s the bunny!” Reilly shouted, spotting Beck. “Get her!”

“Activate skis,” Beck said, praying that Bradley’s fabulous merchandise would not choose now to go on the blink.

“Skis activated,” the J. Bond brand computer voice said softly from the speaker mounted in her ski goggles as the skis extended from her boots. Beck pulled out the two extendo-poles, activated them, and raced off down the mountain with the snowmobiles close behind.

“Beck to Hodges!” Beck shouted, fumbling with both ski poles in one hand while she held the commbadge with the other.

“Just a few more minutes. They’re inspecting the runabout,” Hodges replied.

A phaser blast ripped by Beck’s head, searing a pine branch off a tree in front of her.

“Are you in trouble?” Hodges asked.


Beck went around a curve and saw that the ski trail split in two. Both new trails had little signs with black diamonds on them posted at their starts. Expert slopes.

“Oh hell,” Beck said. She’d done fine so far on intermediate slopes, but she hadn’t even dared to go near an expert one. Who was the genius who decided to put a couple of expert slopes at the bottom of a nice intermediate? Stupid bastards!

Beck veered right and immediately found herself on a steep sheet of ice.

“STEPH!!!” Beck screamed, plummetting to the bottom. She smacked into snow at the bottom of the ice sheet, the force of which sent her commbadge flying out of her hands and against a rock. The small device shattered into glittering fragments.

“Perfect,” Beck mumbled. The headlights of the snowmobiles then flashed on her. Those psychopaths were going to drive down the ice sheet!

Beck scrambled to her feet, recovered her poles, and raced off down the slope as best she could, narrowly avoiding another barrage of phaser fire. Skiing a slope like this in daylight would have been bad enough, but at night it was almost impossible.

“Warning,” the computer said. “Computations indicate this slope is above your ability. Would you like to engage autoski?”

Autoski? What the hell was that? Who cared at this point?”

“Yes! Do it!” Beck suddenly lost control of her feet. The skis were moving by themselves.

“Warning. Visible distance at unacceptable levels. Engage night vision?”

“Hell yes!”

“Digital display?”

“Yes! Yes! Do it all!”

A dark shield appeared over her goggles, obscuring the world for a few very disquieting seconds, then the slope returned to view as bright as if it were daytime. A continual readout of distances, velocities and obstacles scrolled down the sides of the lenses.

“Remind me to kiss Bradley Dillon when I get back,” Beck said.

“Reminder logged.”

“I wasn’t serious.”

Two more phaser blasts seared by Beck’s head, then another melted a significant patch of snow in front of her. Her instincts made her want to swerve, but the skis wouldn’t let her. Just as she thought they were going to drop into the melted snow crater, the skis made her jump over the hole.

“Warning. Pursuers gaining. Please suggest course of action.”

“What do you mean?” Beck shouted. “I thought you had this under control.”

“These J. Bond skis are designed for recreational use only. Stunt-filled escapes from enemy agents should only be attempted by trained professionals.”

“We don’t seem to have any of those around right now,” Beck said. “Ski better!”

“Incredibly useful suggestion logged.”

“Remind me to kill Bradley Dillon when I get back.”

“Reminder logged.”

“Where the hell is she?” Banyon demanded as he stared at the runabout’s sensor display.

“No clue,” Hodges said. “I can’t find her comm signal.”

“Then they’ve killed her.”

Hodges turned on Banyon angrily. “Not a chance, pal. You don’t know Lisa Beck. She can handle this.”


The skis had just sent Beck flying into the air off of a particularly large mogul just before more phaser blasts obliterated it.

“Your ‘Ski better’ suggestion seems to be ineffective.”

“Who programmed you to be a smart ass?”

One of the snowmobiles pulled up on either side of Beck.

“Stop, or you’re dead,” the driver of one shouted.

“Give me manual control,” Beck said softly.

“That is unwise on this slope.”

“Just do it!”

“You have manual,” the computer replied. Beck suddenly felt her feet shifting wildly. The snowmobiles were right with her, but there was one move she bet they wouldn’t be counting on. Of course, the idea of making herself crash on purpose while moving this fast was less than appealing.

Beck suddenly sat down on the snow, bringing her to a violent stop. The two snowmobiles sped forward, their drivers looking back in astonishment. They should have been looking at the grove of trees ahead of them. Oh well. Two crashes and knocked-out drivers later, Beck was alone…for about five milliseconds. The third snowmobile, Reilly’s, raced over the hill behind Beck, bearing down on her. Beck leapt to her feet (as quickly as she could wearing skis) and veered off to the left, followed closely by Reilly.

“Wait. I’ve got her!” Hodges said. “A human on skis about half a kilometer from here.”

“Then beam her up.”

“She’s moving too fast. I can’t get a lock.”


“Hold on. I’ve got an idea.” Hodges sent the runabout into a nosedive towards the mountain range.

Beck spotted the cliff ahead of her just moments before computer warned her about it. A grim look of determination crossed her face.

“Nowhere to run, bunny!” Beck heard Reilly shout from behind her. “You’re mine!” As much as she wanted to go back there and kick his ass, Beck decided that his snowmobile and, more importantly, his phaser, gave him too big of an advantage.

Instead, Beck was going to try something a bit less risky…but not by much.

“Are you nuts?” Reilly shouted just as Beck soared off the cliff into the air.

“Activate autoski,” Beck said.

“What do you expect me to do?” the computer said.

“Uh…well…LAND ME!” Beck said angrily.

“Right. As if we will survive a fall from this height.”

“I wish you would have mentioned that before I went off the cliff!”

“I expected you to have common sense,” the computer replied. “Who purposely skis off a cliff?”

“Me, obviously.”

“Nice knowing you.”

Beck suddenly smashed into something with a bone-jarring thud. She couldn’t have gotten to the ground that fast. And if she had, she’d certainly be dead. Beck looked down. She was on the roof of a runabout. Looking up, she saw Reilly parked on the edge of the cliff glaring down at her in astonishment. That quickly turned to fury as he drew his phaser.

“Get her inside,” Hodges said.

“I’m going. I’m going,” Banyon said as he moved to the runabout transporter console.

The ship rocked slightly.

“What was that?” he demanded.

“Phaser hit,” Hodges said. “We’ve got to move.” Her hands raced across the runabout controls.

“Hold on. I don’t have her yet.”

Too late. The runabout lurched forward.

Beck’s safe landing spot suddenly shifted forward, sending her sliding to the rear of the craft. Dropping to the roof, Beck desperately tried to find some hand hold to grab onto. Reilly fired again, this shot missing Beck by millimeters. The heat melted part of her ski outfit.

“Play dead,” Beck thought. “That was so close, maybe he’ll think he hit me.” Another blast landed near her head. “Maybe not.”

The runabout lurched again, sending her off the back. She managed to grab onto the edge just before slipping off into oblivion. Two more quick phaser blasts slammed into the back of the runabout.

Beck desperately wanted a commbadge so she’d have somebody, anybody to scream at right now. She hated being helpless like this, especially while some nutbar was shooting at her. Why didn’t they beam her inside?

To answer her question, her body dematerialized in the comforting grip of the transporter, and…

…she fell right into Banyon’s arms.

“Got her!” he said. Hodges turned the ship around sharply and roared up and over the cliff, missing Reilly by inches.

“Next time, bunny!” Reilly screamed as the runabout rumbled past. He didn’t notice the vibrations it set off in the snow all around him. Before he could react, the snow gave way beneath him sending him tumbling down the cliff while being encased in an ever-growing ball of snow.

And he tumbled…

And tumbled…

And tumbled…

And the ball grew…

And it grew…

And it grew… The ball rolled to the bottom, then down another hill, then around a curve. Finally, it slammed into the ski village constabulary office, smashing into bits and leaving a battered Reilly for the police to pick up for defacement of public property. Turns out the Sargonites are a bit sensitive about snowball fights.

Beck, Hodges, and Banyon stared at the trophy sitting on the table in the runabout’s rear compartment as the ship sped off towards Starbase 78 where Banyon was supposed to meet with his superiors.

“That’s it?” Hodges asked.

“Stow it, Steph,” Beck said. “There could be anything hidden in there.” Banyon looked at her confused. “There is something hidden in there, isn’t there?” Beck said. Banyon shook his head as Beck turned angry. “I know I just didn’t risk my life for some cheap bowling trophy.”

“This isn’t just some cheap trophy,” Banyon said. “This was won by Admiral Janice Graham against incredible odds.”

“So?” Hodges said.

“What the hell does the Orion Syndicate have to do with this?” Beck demanded.

“They felt their team should have won. They stole the trophy right out of the admiral’s office at intelligence headquarters in an attempt to claim what they felt was rightfully theirs,” Banyon explained. “Some of our analysts also think they were trying to send us a message that even our headquarters wasn’t safe, but most of us don’t lend too much credence to that theory.”

“Of course not,” Beck remarked.

“But now that the mission is over,” Banyon said, flashing a charming grin at Beck, “we can get back to that conversation we started in the bar.”

“And that’s my cue to exit,” Hodges said, quickly retreating towards the cockpit.

“You want to start over?” Beck asked, a trace of seduction in her voice.


“No stupid trophies.”

“Never happened.”

“Well…” Beck suddenly lashed out with her fist, catching Banyon with a right to his jaw. He fell back to the deck. “Now it never happened.”

“Can I still buy you a drink?” Banyon mumbled, cradling his jaw.

“You’d better. And I expect you to somehow make me not miss the six days of skiing I’m not going to be getting because of all this.”

“No problem,” Banyon said standing up.

“And you’d better supply an equally-good looking friend for the pilot,” Hodges said, poking her head back into the compartment.

“Goodbye, Steph,” Beck said.

“Sorry,” Hodges said. “But I’m not kidding about the friend.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Banyon said. “All of it.”

“Like I said,” Beck said, taking Banyon’s head it her hands. “You’d better.” She leaned in and kissed him.

“I thought the secret agents were the ones who were supposed to do the seducing,” Banyon said.

“Welcome to the 24th century,” Beck replied. And welcome back Lisa Beck, she thought to herself as she kissed Banyon again.

“Personal log. Stardate 51695.3. Steph and I have returned to Waystation…or actually Waystation Village feeling quite rested and relaxed. I’ll probably be able to tolerate my temporary roommate’s Bracktian music for another month or so without snapping and killing her. I think I liked Dr. Nelson better before she went home and had the oh-so-wonderful bonding experience with her parents. In any case, should any of this happen again, Lazlo be damned, I’m rooming with Steph.

In other news, the station construction seems to have progressed while I was away, and the cargo module village is still in one piece. I knew Morales could handle things while I was away.”

“Morning everyone,” Commander Beck said entering ops.

“Oh hi, Commander,” Lieutenant Porter said. “I didn’t hear you come in. Must have been the absence of that familiar bonk.”

“I learned to duck.”

“So it was that kind of vacation,” Porter said. Lieutenant Commander Morales walked in from the airlock joining ops to the ready room/conference room module.

“Welcome back, Commander,” he said warmly. “Nice trip?”

“A little bumpy at first, but things improved. How were things here?”

“About the same,” Morales said, exchanging a meaningful glance with Porter.

“Right. I expect a full report,” Beck said, heading back towards the airlock. “And I mean FULL.”

“Are you relieving me?” Morales asked.

“Hell no. I’ve still got five hours of vacation time left. Have fun, boys.” Beck exited, leaving a stunned Morales in her wake.

“Does she seem different to you?” Morales asked Porter.

“Yeah, but in a good way,” Porter replied smiling.

“If you say so.”

Beck pounded on the locked airlock of the module holding Dillon’s Supply Depot with her one free hand. The other held a jumble of battered ski equipment.

After a few moments, Bradley Dillon opened the airlock.

“Commander! Come on in. I was just training some new employees.” Bradley led Beck inside the module where two teenaged Vulcans were arranging a product display.

“They’re the new sales staff?” Beck asked.

“I’m working on their selling technique, but they’re the most honest race in the galaxy,” Bradley said.

“Thank you,” one of the Vulcans said.

“Although, they have an annoying tendency to eavesdrop,” Bradley said loudly.

“Our apologies,” the other Vulcan said.

“So then, Commander, how was the skiing?” Bradley asked.

“All too brief,” Beck replied.

“Did we meet anyone…special?”

“Actually yes.”

“And where is this mystery man now?”

“Back to his own life,” Beck replied. “We had a fun couple weeks. It was exactly what I needed.” She shoved the ski equipment into Bradley’s arms and turned to leave. “Thanks for the help.”

“Anytime,” Bradley said. He then noticed a light blinking inside the ski goggles. “Commander, the goggles have a message saved for you.”

“For me?” Beck asked confused. She took the goggles from Bradley and put them on.

“Replaying two saved messages,” the computer said softly. Beck heard the two reminders she gave herself on the ski slopes. Smiling, she handed the goggles back to Bradley.

“Anything important?” he asked.

“They’re really for you,” Beck said.

“For me?” Bradley wondered. Suddenly, Beck grabbed him and kissed him. Before Bradley could recover from the first assault, Beck pushed him away and decked him.

“Thanks for the loan,” Beck said with a chuckle, then left. That whole thing had felt surprisingly good. Maybe it was just pent-up resentment about Bradley’s wealth. Maybe it was leftover stress from work. Maybe it was just plain fun. Deciding on the last option, Beck smiled and went to get some breakfast. Baughb and Ih’mad would be delighted to have their favorite customer back.

Bradley sat on the floor watching Beck leave. “What’d I do?” Bradley demanded, glaring at the stoic Vulcans. The Vulcans could only stare back at him and shrug.

And Next Time in Renovations:

Just what was Lieutenant Commander Morales doing while Commander Beck was away on vacation? Well, she was having a hell of a lot more fun than he was; I can tell you that much. Between labor strikes and lawsuits, Morales has his hands full. Come see the carnage next time in…