A World of Fun
Earth Station Bobruisk silently orbits Earth. Suspended inside the station, the USS Condor, formally the USS Tree Weasel is undergoing repairs. The small science vessel looks even smaller inside the colossal station. The gigantic repair arms of the space station firmly hold the ship in place.
Captain Phillip Reming sat behind his desk in his ready room. The ship has been in space dock for repairs for almost a weak now. There wasn't much activity on board since their docking with the station, but that didn't bother Reming. It gave him a chance to read the information that was previously hidden from him. He considered visiting his family for a day or two, but decided against it. He knew thay'd have questions. He didn't feel quite like answering questions until he knew the answers himself. Reming had notified them of his new assignment but had not said much else.
He was scrolling through the hundreds of lines of text describing the communing chip experiment when the voice of Commander Reed disrupted him.
"Commander Reed to Captain Reming." Came Commander Reed's voice from the air.
"Captain, new orders are being sent up from Starfleet."
"Would you like me patch them through to you, sir?"
"Oh that would be fine. Thanks"
The computer terminal on Reming's desk flickered to life. A document now filled the screen. The official Starfleet emblem appeared at the top. Below it read: 'Official Starfleet Directive. Transmitted on star date 53234.4.' Under that, in smaller text was written 'USS Condor NCC 102868.' The reference to the ship's new name made Reming smile.
As Reming read the file, a short tone came from his office door.
"Come in." He said.
The doors slid open and in walked Commander Reed. "All repairs are complete. We are ready to get under way, sir." She remembered how Captain Peterson would always brief her as soon as he received new orders. She wasn't sure if Reming would keep her informed in the same manner. Her curiosity was overwhelming her patients. "What are our orders, sir?"
Without any hesitation, Reming gave Reed the condensed version of what he was reading. "It seems the USS Grissom-B received an odd signal from a class D planet on the edge of the Beta quadrant. She didn't stop to investigate it, but did report it to Starfleet.
Since Reming didn't dismiss her immediately after entering, she decided to take a seat. "What kind of signal?"
"Don't know. I guess it wasn't a distress signal. If it was, the Grissom would have responded, or at the least passed the message off to another nearby starship."
"Maybe there weren't any other starships in the area."
"Well whatever it is, we're elected to investigate it. You said we're ready to leave?"
"Yes. The space dock controller just gave us the O.K."
"All right, let's go. Recall Ensign Smith to the bridge." At that moment, Reming remembered what he read in the crew manifest concerning Ensign Smith's qualifications. He remembered reading that, when the ensign first joined the crew three years ago, the extent of his flight experience was his training as a Starfleet shuttle fight attendant. "He does know how pilot a ship out of the dock, right?" Reming nervously asked.
"Uh, I don't know. I can ask him?"
Don't bother. If he manages to rip a new hole in our hull on the way out of space dock, at least we won't need to go far for repairs."
"Condor? What kind of name is that?" Said Lieutenant Commander Carol Smith as she stepped down off the bio-bed in sickbay. It was the first time she was on her feet since being knocked unconscious in engineering a few days ago.
"I don't know. And the whole idea of a name change came out of nowhere too. I overheard Commander Reed telling Parks on the bridge. She didn't seem to mind the change, though." Said Ensign Nicholas Smith, Carol's younger brother.
"Well, she never liked the name 'Tree Weasel'. Come to think of it, I never did either. But the rest of the crew seems to like it."
"If he was considering a name change, why didn't he ask us for suggestions? I mean I have a few ideas. How about the name 'Nostromo' or 'Millenium Falcon' or...'Voyager'...or"
Carol interrupted her brother's ranting. "The 'Voyager' name is taken."
His thoughts came to a halt. "Huh? Oh I know. But that ship's not coming back. Might as well give the name to another ship."
"I don't get it. Why change the name at all? Besides, what the hell's a Condor, anyway?"
Lieutenant Tedmore, while examining Carol with a medical tri-corder decided to contribute to the conversation. "It's a long extinct Earth bird. Not very attractive, if I remember correctly. You can look it up in the ship's database."
Carol Smith glanced at the Doctor. "How am I, Doc." She asked. She didn't like Tedmoore. To be more accurate, she didn't trust him. Her distrust for him began festering when he implanted the communing chip into her without knowing all the risks involved. She was intensely suspicious of him ever since.
"You check out fine. I think you're ready to return to duty. Just take it easy. If you feel dizzy or get any headaches, let me know. All right?"
"Hear, that? You're good to go." Nick said with a relieved expression.
Nick turned to Tedmoore. "Thanks, Doc."
"You're welcome, Nick."
"Come on Nick," said Carol, "you can walk me back to Engineering. I want to see what's going on down there. By the way, have we received any new orders yet?"
"Uh...no. I don't think so."
Just as he finished speaking, the filtered voice of Commander Reed came through Nick's comm. badge. "Ensign Smith, please report to the bridge."
Nick tapped his comm. badge. "Okay, Commander. On my way." Nick turned to his sister. "I guess we've got orders now."
Over the Ship's address system Commander Reed made an announcement to the rest of the crew. "Attention. The USS Condor, that's us people, will be departing from Bobruisk station in ten minutes. Any visitors on board must go ashore now. Thank you."
"Our illustrious Commander has spoken." Said Carol.
"I'd better get up there." Said Nick as he ran to the turbo lift, giving his sister a wave goodbye.
Ensign Smith stepped off the turbo lift and onto the bridge. Reed and Reming were both standing on the bridge when Smith arrived.
"How's your sister doing, Ensign?" Asked Reming
"Better, thanks. She's on her way back to engineering now."
"Maybe she should spend a day or two in her quarters until she's feeling better." Reed said.
"Nah. She can't relax unless she's in engineering. That's just the way she is." Said Smith as he took his seat at the helm station. Once Smith took his place at his station, Reed and Reming took their seats as well.
"All stations report ready, Captain." Said Reed.
"Good. Mister Parks, inform the station controller to release docking clamps."
"Aye, sir." Replied Parks. As his hands glided across his controls, a rumbling sound could be heard coming from the ship's hull.
"Repair arms are fully retracted, sir. We are floating free."
"Good. Helm, take us out of the space dock. One quarter impulse power." As he gave the command, Reming was feeling apprehensive. He wondered if he wore his apprehension on his face. He hoped no one else would notice. He glanced over at Reed. She gave him a quick nervous glance before turning her attention back to the view screen.
"One quarter impulse." Smith examined the panel in front of him looking for the right contacts. It always seemed a lot easier piloting when he was 'communing' with the helm controls. Using his mind was a lot easier than using the controls. His hands finally settled on the right spot. "Aye, Sir."
Slowly, the ship emerged from the huge station. Minutes later, Earth Station Bobruisk was several kilometers behind them.
"We are clear." Announced Parks.
Both Reed and Reming let out an audible sigh of relief. It was loud enough that Parks and Smith looked a one another before turning their focus back to their stations.
"Mister Smith, set course for..." Reming stopped in mid sentence. He had forgotten the course settings. He knew if he intended to succeed as captain, he would have to try and remember such little details. Reed was there to save his skin.
"Set course for 453.72 mark 553.3. That right, Captain?" She looked over at him, trying to erase the smile on her face.
With a look of appreciation, Reming said. "Yes, thank you Commander. Set course for 453.72 mark 553.3. Warp seven.
Once again Parks and Smith mentally linked with the ship. Both placed one hand on a control panel in front of them. Together, they controlled the ship's course and speed using only their minds. As soon as the ship was traveling at warp, both Parks and Smith broke the link between mind and ship. It was the second time Reming witnessed the 'communing' procedure. Even though he knew more now than he did the first time, the whole operation still seemed bizarre to him.
Parks pushed up his wire-rimmed glasses before turning to face Reming. "Captain, We should reach our destination in four hours."
"Fine. Thank you Mister Parks. Commander, if you need me I'll be in my Ready Room. You can go inform the crew of our mission or do...whatever is standard procedure."
As Reming spoke, Reed was already in the process of passing along the information to the proper personnel through the use of a small panel to her left. "Yes sir." Said Reed.
Lieutenant Commander Carol Smith leaned a shoulder against the wall of the Chief Engineer's station in Main Engineering. As she gazed across the area, she could see Lieutenant Masters monitoring the power regulators and Lieutenant Terry checking over the status of the warp field. While her officers worked, the warp engine churned away almost without notice. As Carol watched her officers work and felt the pulse of the warp drive permeate her body, a warm feeling filled her. It was a feeling of contentment. There was no other place on the ship she felt more comfortable. Indeed, there was no other place in the universe where she felt more comfortable. Engineering is her home.
Lieutenant Masters looked up from her console and noticed Smith's presence for the first time. The petite woman walked to Smith. Masters was shorter than she was. To Smith, Masters reminded her of a child. Of course she wasn't. She was only a year younger than herself. "Hello sir. How are you feeling?" Said Masters.
"Hey Lieutenant. I'm doing fine, thanks. I see you and Commander Reed reinstalled the old power transfer systems. How's it working?"
"I've been keeping an eye on it, but everything looks fine. Oh, here you are sir. Our new orders." Masters handed a PADD to Smith.
Smith glances at the text. "What's is it? Give me the short version."
"We are off to investigate an anomalous signal. You know, the usual."
"Oh how interesting." Said Smith sarcastically.
Captain Reming sat alone in his ready room. He decided to pass the time by trying to acquaint himself with some of his duties as captain. Some time had passed before he figured out how to properly enter his logs.
Oh...damn...I hope I'm doing this right...Captain's...uh...Captain's Log. Stardate 53234.7. We are en route to investigate a mysterious signal coming from a class D planet near the Beta quadrant. If I remember correctly, a class D planet is the type of planet categorized as a gas giant. The gravitational forces of such a planet are incredibly strong. How could anyone or anything exist long enough to transmit a signal? Could the signal be a message from a new civilization? I guess we won't know until we get there.
Huh? Come in. Oh damn.
Standing in the doorway was Lieutenant Commander Parks. "We are approaching our destination, Captain. We should be in visual range of the planet in five minutes."
Reming stood up. "Fine. I'm on my way." He closed a contact on his computer terminal before following Parks back to the bridge.
On the bridge, Commander Reed stood up from the captain's seat and took a step aside.
"I know Commander, you were just keeping it warm for me." Reming said.
Reed nervously attempted clear up the misunderstanding. "Uh Captain, it's common practice for the first officer to take the captain's chair when the captain is off the bridge."
"I know. I know. Relax, I was just kidding." Reming quickly answered.
Reed sat down in her own seat. She had forgotten how difficult it was getting used to a new captain. It only took her a few days to adjust to Captain Peterson. Reed knew this captain for over a week and still hadn't adjusted to his style. She was resigned to the fact that it would take time for her to adjust to a captain that didn't seem to know what he was doing half the time.
"Helm, take us out of warp." Reming said.
On the view screen, the rainbow colors of the streaking stars suddenly became single points of white light against the vast emptiness of space.
"Mister parks, center the planet on the viewer."
The view screen changed. Now the image of a planet appeared. The planet didn't seem that large, but it was still somewhat far away. Even from their current distance, wide bands of yellow and orange gasses could be seen covering the entire planet.
"Mister Parks, are sensors picking up any kind of signal?" asked Reed.
"No not yet." Parks said.
"What do we know about this system?" Asked Reming.
"Its designation is JX 5464. That's it. Starfleet has not yet had an opportunity to thoroughly survey it.
"Activate the ASA." Said Reed.
Reming was about to ask Reed what an ASA was, when he remembered. The USS Condor is a science vessel. Much of the space utilized for weapons on other ships was occupied here by highly sensitive sensor equipment. All the enhanced sensor instruments fell under the title of ASA or Augmented Sensor Array.
Parks placed his hand on the console. "ASA is active. We are getting something now, but it's barely detectable. There's a lot of interference."
Reming was caught by surprise. He didn't realize that the sensor array was one of the systems Lieutenant Parks could control with his mind. He found himself wondering if he'd ever get accustomed to life on board this ship. "The signal...can you clean it up."
Without touching any controls, Parks had an answer. "No sir."
Reed turned to Reming. "The Grissom must have been pretty close in order to detect anything at all."
"You're right." He turns his attention to Ensign Smith. "Smith, get us a little closer. One quarter impulse."
Slowly, the planet grew larger on the viewer.
"I've got it" announced Parks. "It's audio only."
"Put in on speakers."
At once, the bridge was filled with the sound of a flat high pitched tone. Reed and Reming looked at one another. Both looked as if they were trying to understand a problem that was far beyond their comprehension.
Reed turned to Parks. "Turn it off." The sound disappeared. "Could it be naturally occurring?"
"No sir. It is a constructed signal"
"And it originates from there?" asked Reming, pointing at the huge planet displayed in front of them.
"No sir. It doesn't appear that way anymore. The signal is originating from the planet's moon."
"The moon?" Asked Reming. "What do the sensors say about it?"
"It's class M. That's all I can tell from here. Interference from the planet is effecting our sensors."
"Mister Smith, move us closer to that moon."
Reed was amazed at Reming's reckless order. "You think that's a good idea? Maybe we should launch a probe first."
"A probe?" Reming wished he had thought of that. Instead of endorsing Reed's plan, he decided to bolster his own. "It can't hurt to move in a little closer. If our sensors don't improve after we move in, we'll try the probe. What could go wrong? Smith, move us in slowly, about five thousand kilometers."
"Aye sir," said Smith in an uneasy manner, "using maneuvering thrusters."
Slowly, their ship inched its way closer to the sphere. Half way through its five thousand kilometer trek, something unexpected happened.
Parks looks up at the two senior officers. "Something's happening."
Suddenly, a mysterious force struck the ship. The impact shook the bridge.
"What was that?" Asked Reed.
"Some kind of tractor beam. It's got us. We are being pulled toward the moon."
"Shields are not responding."
"Back us away. Full impulse." Ordered Reming.
"It's no good sir. We're being pulled in toward that moon." Said Smith.
"Go to warp. Get us out of here. Any heading." Said Reed anxiously.
Smith slammed his hand onto the tactile bio-neural connection panel. Without the physical connection, the communing chip embedded in his brain could not link his thoughts to the ship. This was true for all crewmembers with the chip. Physical contact was necessary for the bond to form. The instant Ensign Smith's hand hit the panel he was in control.
"It's not working!" said Parks.
"Maximum warp! Engage!" Reming shouted.
"Yes sir." Said Smith
The ship began to shake violently. Reed and Reming reached for their seats and tightly griped the arm rests. Reming hit is comm. badge and tried to imagine what Captain Kirk would say in this situation. "Bridge to Engineering. Lieutenant, can you give us any more power?"
The voice of Lieutenant Smith answered him. "What? What's the matter, you think we're holding back down here? No sir, you've got it all. Listen Captain, we have to disengage now. We are risking serious hull damage."
"Helm, All stop." Shouted Reming.
Methodically, the ship's engines powered down. As they did, the violent vibrations that shook the ship gradually dissolved.
"No change in our course. We are still moving forward." Said Parks.
Reed leaned forward in her seat. "Can we talk to them?"
"We could try. I don't know if anyone will hear us."
Reming took the initiative. "Open a channel. This is Captain Reming of the USS Condor. We ask that you release us from your tractor bream." Reming hoped it sounded forceful, but not too forceful.
"No good. We're still moving." Said Reed, leaning back in her chair in disappointment.
By mow, the image of the moon nearly filled the entire viewer. It's green vegetation and bluish green waters were becoming more and more visible.
A feeling of uselessness filled the bridge. The room fell quiet. Reming couldn't decide what to do next. It all felt like one of those Starfleet Academy simulations, only it wasn't. For him, it wasn't pass or fail anymore. It was life and death.
Parks broke the silence. "Wait, I've got something. Sensors are detecting an object in orbit. The beam is originating from it."
Reming jumped to his feet. "Lock phasers on it and fire."
Parks used his thoughts to power the phaser banks and fire, but nothing happened. "Phasers are not responding either. Both the shields and weapon systems are disabled."
Reming emotions sank all the way down to his feet. He turned to his first officer, hoping she was formulating a plan for escape. "Commander, what do you think?"
Reed stood up, beside him. He could see flames burning behind her eyes. "I think we should have launched the probe, like I suggested."
Reming tried to think of something to say. His mouth opened but nothing came out.
Parks cracked the tension between Reed and Reming. "The tractor beam is guiding us into a stable orbit around the planetoid. Captain, the satellite is hailing us. It's audio only."
Reming turned to Parks. "Hailing us? Are you sure? Put it on."
The sound of a comical cartoon voice flooded the bridge. Behind the voice could be heard the sounds of an amusement park. "Welcome to Happy Fun World. We are so glad you have come. We invite you to visit and have fun! Woo Hoo! Yipee!"
Reming spoke out loud. "This is Captain Reming of the USS Condor, we demand you release us!"
The cartoon voice came back. "Welcome to Happy Fun World. We are so glad you have come. We invite you to visit and have fun! Woo Hoo! Yipee!"
"It's no good, sir. It's an automated message." Said parks.
Reed began to pace behind Reming. "Happy Fun World?" She said to herself.
Parks and Smith turned to their leader for guidance. Reming blankly stared back at them. His head was empty. He didn't have a clue as to what to do next. He took a step back and met Reed in mid stride.
"Are you familiar with any of this?" Asked Reming.
"No, I can't say that I am."
"I don't suppose you have any ideas."
"Well the message is an invitation to come and visit. I think we should go and take a look around. It seems like our only course of action."
Reming look up at Reed with renewed enthusiasm. "Good idea Commander. Okay, field trip. Who wants to go?"
Both Parks and Smith quickly turn to the Reming with an arm raised in the air. "Oh I do! Me! Me!" They both shouted.
"Now somebody has to mind the store. Ensign Smith, you can come. You have the bridge, Mister Parks."
Parks turned back to his console in disappointment as Smith stood up. Before joining Reming and Reed, Smith leaned over to Parks and gave him a pat on the back.
Reed and Smith stepped into the turbo lift. Reming stopped a moment just before entering. "Commander, we'd better be sure the transporters are functioning. I mean, if that beam can disable our weapons and shields, why not our transporters." Reming tapped his comm. badge. "Bridge to Engineering."
"Yes sir." Answered Lieutenant Smith.
"I assume you are aware of our situation. We are planing to transport down to the surface. Has that beam affected our transporter functions? Are they still on line."
"Wait, let me check." A moment later, Lieutenant Smith answered. "All indications suggest the transporters are still on line."
"Thank you, Lieutenant. And Lieutenant, while we are gone, see if you can learn anything about that beam holding us. If you find out anything worth while, let us know."
"Got it. Engineering out."
Reming turned to his team. "Okay, we're on."
On the surface of the planetoid, three sparkling energy beams appeared. Slowly, the sparkling particles of energy transformed into Captain Reming, Commander Reed and Ensign Smith. All three turned in circles to look at their surroundings for the first time.
They were standing in a field, or someone's interpretation of a field. Below their feet was thick piled, well-manicured grass. Large trees stood in even distances to one another all around them. Above their heads, small birds flew through a cloudless sky. A cool, light breeze rustled the small branches of the surrounding trees. It appeared to be mid day. The sun was shining high above their heads.
Reming turned to Reed. "Is this the place? The Condor is in orbit directly above this spot?"
Reed pulled out a tri-corder and waved it around in the air. "This is the right place."
"It's not what I expected."
Smith knelt down for a moment to feel the grass. "It reminds me of a golf course."
"What do you mean?" Asked Reming.
"Look at the grass and the way the trees are evenly bunched together. Everything looks too perfect, like on a golf course. I'm expecting to see little white balls rolling passed any second."
"Interesting." Reming was impressed by Smith's observation. He didn't expect such a keen assessment from him. Reming selected Smith over Parks for this mission only because he was afraid to leave Smith alone on the bridge. If left alone, Reming half expected Smith to accidentally pilot the ship into the sun or something. Now he was beginning to think that maybe under the moronic exterior lied the presence of an intelligent officer.
"I like miniature golf myself. You know where you have to hit the ball passed the spinning windmill and into the clown's mouth. It's Fun." Said Smith with a grin.
After hearing Smith's last comment, Reming watched the kernel of an intelligent Starfleet officer disappear in a cloud of ozone.
"Captain, we should check in." Said Reed.
Reming gave his comm. badge a tap. "Away team to Bridge. We've arrived on the surface." To his surprise, he received no answer. He tried again. "Captain Reming to Condor. Can anyone hear me?"
Reed tried her comm. badge. "Commander Reed to Bridge. Condor, Please respond."
Finally, Smith tried his. "Hello Condor...hello?"
"I guess the beam is effecting communications too." Said Reed.
"We just found that out the hard way." Said Reming. "It looks like we're stuck down here. Maybe we can find a way to shut down that satellite from down here."
"Let's go that way, I'm picking up faint energy readings in that direction." Said Reed, holding her tri-corder in the direction she suggested.
"Lead the way, Commander." Said Reming.
Lieutenant Commander Carol Smith stepped off the turbo lift and onto a vacant bridge. Well, it wasn't completely empty. Lieutenant Commander Parks sat slumped in the Captain's chair. Smith walked over to the First Officer's chair and sat down next to him.
She looked up at the view screen. Instead of the usual stars and space scene, a large tic-tac-toe board was displayed in its place. Smith looked back at Parks. "Having Fun?"
"Not really. I wanted to go down to Happy Fun World, but the Captain picked your brother over me." Said Parks in a quite voice.
"Oh poor baby." Said Smith. "Look, I need you to do something. I want you to take another look at that satellite."
"Fine." Parks returned to his S/O station and displayed the satellite on the viewer. He then placed his hand on the tactile bio-neural connection panel and activated the ASA. "What do you want to know?"
"Can you tell me what's powering it?"
"I am detecting small amounts of Gamma and X-rays produced from Plutonium decay. It must be using a fission reactor for it's primary power source. It appears to be heavily shielded, but a small amount of radiation is leaking through. Why would it be heavily shielded?"
Lieutenant Smith rubbed her forehead. "It's possible that large amounts of radiation would disrupt the beam. I wonder, can we use that to our advantage somehow?"
"I don't see how."
"Could we detonate a small thermonuclear device? Maybe the radiation would disrupt the beam?"
Parks thought about the Lieutenant Commander's suggestion for a moment. "Maybe, but how would we deliver it? The beam is producing some kind of damping field around the ship. It's disabled our weapons."
"Yeah, you're right. If the damping field wasn't there, we wouldn't even need to think about a nuclear device. One quantum torpedo would do the trick."
Smith made her way back to the turbo lift. "I guess we are back to square one. I'm going back down to engineering. Maybe we could somehow use the deflector dish to bring down that beam just long enough to fire our weapons."
On the surface, Reed, Reming and Smith continued walking. Just ahead of them lay what looked to be a wide road flanked by small colorful buildings. To Reming, the architecture of these buildings appeared to be of a somewhat dated design. The structures were more like cottages. Each had low sloped roofs, a few windows and a single door in the front.
All three walked to the middle of the road. The road was fairly wide and very empty. Other than the team, no living thing was apparent.
Reming couldn't help but look back in the direction from which they came. All that open space bothered him for some reason. What it supposed to be a park? Was it to be used for something else?
Reed held a hand over her eyes and looked ahead. She then turned to look in the opposite direction. "The whole place looks deserted."
Smith folded his arms. "Yeah, and boring too. Nothing fun, that's for sure." This was definitely not what he was expecting. He expected to be greeted by happy, laughing people. He expected food and games. "I thought this place was called Happy Fun World? Where's the fun?"
Reming chose to ignore Smith. "It doesn't necessarily look deserted, Commander. It almost looks brand new. Look at those houses. There's no sign of wear or age. Look at the road. It's smooth and clean." Said Reming. "Commander, is this the location of the energy readings you detected?"
Reed activated her tri-corder once again. Her voice took on an unsure tone. "well I'm not sure. The readings appear to be all around. The energy source seems to get stronger in that direction. If we follow the road for about another kilometer, we should see something."
"The road slopes down in that direction. Maybe we'll see something once we reach the top of the hill."
"Jeez, more walking? My feet are killing me." Whined Smith.
"Oh come on. A little exercise won't hurt you." Reming said as he began to sprint up the street. Reed looked up to see Reming and started running after him. Smith watched them run, but didn't join in.
Reming reached the top of the slope first. Reed met Reming a moment later. "Oh you beat me." She said with a smile. She waited for Reming to respond but he didn't. He just kept staring ahead. "What's wrong?" She asked, but he did not respond. Since the answer wasn't on his face, she decided to follow his gaze.
Finally Smith reached Reming and Reed. "Hey, can we rest a minute? I'm tired. What...what are you guys looking at?" He looked at each of them and then straight-ahead. A wide grin grew across his face. "Oh now that's what I'm talking about."
Just ahead of them lay a great park, but it wasn't an ordinary park. Several major structures caught their eyes. The first was a huge wheel, about three hundred meters high. As it went around, they could see small seats lined the outer edge of it. Rolling hills of metal tracks snaked around the huge wheel in all directions. At several points, the track rolled and wrapped over onto itself. From their vantagepoint, they also could see carriage like objects attached to very high beams. The carriages bounced up to the sky and down to the ground with great speed along the beam. Growing outward from the middle of the park were thousands of other unusual rides designed for the mere purpose of amusement. Smaller parks, rides, and amusing structures covered the land for as far as they could see.
Reming was stunned by the view ahead of him. "That's...that's called a Ferrous-wheel I think."
"And that's a...a...bouncy up and down thingy." Smith said.
"And that's a roller coaster, right?" Said Reed.
Ensign Smith took off toward the amusement rides like a warp shuttle. "The last one there is a rotten Catarian egg." Shouted Smith as he ran.
"Wait! Come back here!" Shouted Reed. Reed felt her blood pressure rising every second. " I thought he was tired. Where does he think he's going?"
"I'd shoot him, but then we'd have to carry him." Said Reming, half-kidding. "Come on, we'd better go get him before he gets into trouble."
Reed and Reming started running after Smith, but they couldn't catch up to him. Smith had too much of a lead. By the time they reached the entrance to the park, he was already inside.
"Do you see him?" asked Reed.
"No, he could be anywhere."
Both could not help but be overwhelmed by the park. The various attractions were even more impressive up close. As they looked around, Reming noticed something interesting. "You know what's missing?"
Reed was struck by his question. "Huh? What? What did you say?"
"You know what's missing? People, there are no people that I can see."
Reed looked around the area. "You're right. Where could they be?"
"I don't know. Right now I'm more interested in finding my crewmember. We'd better start looking for Smith."
"Maybe we should split up."
"No, I've got a better idea. Let's got on that Ferrous Wheel. We can see more of the area from up there."
Both made their way toward the biggest structure in the area. As they walked, Reming made another observation. He pointed in the direction of a particular ride. "Look at the basic design of that ride. Look at the design of the compartment for the rider. To me, those compartments appear to be designed for a humanoid body type. All the rides are designed for the same type of being. Who ever the inhabitants are, they must look a lot like us."
Reed nervously grabbed hold of Reming's shoulder. "Look over there. Look, it's someone. Do you think he sees us?" Meeting new alien species always made Reed anxious to the point of fear. She got the same feeling whenever she found a spider crawling around her room at night. "What should we do?"
Reming reached up and pried Reed's hand from his shoulder. "Calm down. Maybe he's seen Smith. We should ask."
"Well...uh...what about the Prime Directive? You know, no direct contact with any pre-warp civilization."
"Oh yeah. I forgot about that. Too late, he spotted us. He's coming over here."
The being looked almost completely human. Except for his odd light blue skin tone, Reming and Reed would have thought he was born on Earth. He wore a gray uniform. Only his head and hands were exposed. The man also wore a look of profound depression on his face.
Reming spoke first. "Hello there. My name is Phillip Reming and this is Donna Reed. How are you? I don't suppose you saw a friend of mine. He looks like me and he's wearing a uniform like mine. Have you seen him?"
"Who are you? Where did you come from?" Said the blue man said in an Ill-tempered manner.
"Well that's hard to explain. We are travelers from far away. We've come to look for our friend."
Suddenly, the man's temperament changed. He became exited and joyful, as if he'd just won the lottery. "Oh I know. You must be part of the new attraction. Oh I'm so glad you're here. Finally, we will soon have our new attraction. Our prayer's have been answered." He then tuned to look up at the Ferrous Wheel. "Thank you, great wheel. Thank you."
Reming and Reed looked at one another and then back at the strange blue man. Reed finally got the courage to speak. "'Attraction'? What do you me by 'Attraction'?" She asked.
"Oh you know, the new attraction. The ship from above the sky. We've been told it's coming. Here, let me take you to one of custodians. They can explain it better than me." Reed and Reming decided to follow the blue man.
"What's going on here?" Asked Reed
Reming tried to put the puzzle together, but he just couldn't. The conversation with the blue man confused him even more. "He said something about a 'ship above the sky'. Could he mean our ship?"
Reed was also searching for answers that were not there. "He must be. But how could he know?"
The blue man stopped and pointed to a man standing just ahead of them. "There's bunny man. He can help. He always helps."
Reming and Reed listened to the man and then looked up. They were surprised by what they saw. By initial appearances, the man looked like he was dressed in a rabbit suit. He was covered in white fur over his entire body. He wore white gloves over his hands. He didn't have a normal human head. Instead he looked like he was wearing what looked to be a fake head, with long white hears, a small pink nose and two large black eyes. Their surprise turned to shock when they saw the bunny-man's eyes and mouth move naturally. At that moment, they both realized the man wasn't wearing a fake head. That was his head.
The rabbit-man angrily yelled at the blue man. "Get out of here, Carl! This doesn't concern you! Go play!" At that, the blue man ran off in fear. The rabbit-man then turned his attention to Reed and Reming. He pulled out a silly looking gun and pointed it at them. "Ah, Captain Reming and Commander Reed. I've been waiting for you."
Lieutenant Commander Carol Smith slammed her fists down hard on her engineering console in anger. She had just about run out of both ideas and patients. No matter what idea she attempted to put fourth, none worked. The energy beam was too powerful. There was no way for her to punch a whole trough the damping field.
Lieutenant Masters timidly approached Smith. "No luck, sir?"
Smith lifted her head off the console and turned to face Masters. Despondently, she answered. "None what so ever. That beam has completely shut down deflector controls and the weapons systems. I've been trying to find some deflector sub-system still functioning. I found nothing."
"Well if I may ask, what systems are functioning?"
Smith propped her head on her hand and rolled her eyes. "Let's see, internal power, life support, transporters, the warp core..." In a flash, Smith jumped to her feet. She now spoke with renewed energy. "How stupid I am! Why didn't I think of that before?"
Captain Reming and Commander Reed found themselves being led to a dark corner of the park, being directed at gunpoint by a large rabbit-man. Reming glanced behind himself to get another look at the gun pointed at him. It was a silly looking pink and blue device.
"You don't really think that gun can hurt us, do you?" Said Reming to his captor.
"You don't think so, huh? I'm warning you, don't try anything or you'll find out." Said rabbit-man.
"I demand you tell us where you're taking us." Said Reed.
"You'll know soon enough. Wait here." At that, rabbit man walked over to the side of a building and closed a hidden contact on the wall. A segment of the wall slid open revealing a flight of stairs leading down. "Get going." He said as he waved the gun in the direction of the steps. Reming and Reed understood his meaning and started down.
At the bottom of the stairs, they found themselves in a well lit, but sterile looking corridor.
"Keep moving" demanded rabbit man. Reming and Reed did so. Reming considered spinning around to attack the six foot rabbit, but decided against it. His fighting skills were less than remarkable and he wasn't feeling much like being shot. Rabbit-man led them to a doorway. Behind the door was a large room. Along one side of the room were jail cells. Along the other side were various kinds of medical equipment. Inside one of jail cells sat Ensign Nicholas Smith.
Ensign Smith jumped up and grabbed hold of the cell bars at the first site of his captain and commander.
Rabbit-man led them over to the cell and unlocked it. "Get in!" he said as he pushed the Captain and Commander inside.
Smith smiled to his friends. "Captain! Commander! Don't worry, They didn't break me. I didn't tell them anything."
"We know your ship is named the USS Condor, formally the Tree Weasel, registry number NCC-102868. It is a Starfleet vessel capable of warp speed." Said Rabbit-man while locking the cell door.
"Way to hold out, Smith." Said a disappointed Reed.
Smith merely shrugged his shoulders and studied his shoes. "So a few things slipped out."
Reming's attention was still on his captor. "I demand some answers! What's going on here? What's with this world? What do you want with us?"
"You will get your answers, Captain." Rabbit-man then turned to the other side of the room and spoke in a loud voice. "The prisoners are secure. You can come in now Mister Whiskers."
A door at the back of the room opened and in stepped a man. Well, not a man precisely. He appeared to be covered in black and white fur. He had paws for hands and feet. Over his fur, he wore a small orange uniform-like jacket. His most distinguishing feature was his head. Instead of a human-like head, he had an oversized feline head. Only the seriousness of the situation kept Reming from laughing out loud.
"I am Chief Custodian Mister Whiskers. You may address me as such."
Reming spoke, hoping he could keep from laughing as he said the cat-man's name. "Mister Whiskers, we are citizens of the Federation. I demand that you release us."
"I have no concern for your Federation. I am sorry, but I will not release you. We have plans for you." Said cat-man in a commanding manner.
"Well can you tell us, where we are? And where are all your people?" Asked Reed.
"So you'd like a little history lesson, huh? For what we have planned for you, it would be well worth your while to have this information." Cat-man began to pace the floor as he gathered the appropriate words in his head. A moment or two later he began to speak. "A century ago we had an industrious society. People worked hard all their lives for their own personal gain. Whenever their tedious lives got to them, they'd take a vacation. Many people took vacations in entertainment parks, such as this one. These parks catered to every possible joy a man, woman or child could imagine. The parks were a marvel of engineering. Each one self-cleaning, self-powered and self-maintaining. After a while, it seemed that people were spending more time at the parks and less time at their jobs. Oddly enough, world governments did nothing to stop people from visiting the parks. As a matter of fact, they decided to give the people exactly what they wanted: A life of recreation. Millions of people were employed just to construct entertainment parks all over world.
For a time, our world was a utopia. But, after a while, the people got bored. The same rides and attractions became tedious. They wanted more. So the constructors built more and more exotic rides, but nothing eased the boredom. As time wore on, the populace fell into a state of deep depression. There wasn't even anything we, the custodians, could do to entertain them. Many took their own lives to escape the boredom."
Smith broke in. "I guess that explains the empty houses we saw."
Cat-man faced the person that interrupted him. "Yes, all those houses are empty. But the self-sufficient park keeps the houses clean and looking new, even though no one occupies them."
Cat-man collected his thoughts once again and returned to pacing the floor. "Over time, our population dwindled. Birth rates dropped. Then something happened. Our space ears" he pointed a claw up in the air "normally used for communicating with other parks around the world heard something new." He turned a claw in the direction of Reming. "We heard you. Well, not you specifically. But communications with other flying ships like yours. That's when we got the idea to capture one of your ships and bring it down to us." A huge smile stretched across Mister Whiskers' face. "What a magnificent attraction your ship will be."
A deep bubbling anger began growing in Reming. He felt the heat rising up his body and radiating out. He was only captain for a few weeks, but he'd already come to think of the ship as his ship. And Reming could not face losing his ship to a talking cat. He fought hard to control his anger. He fought hard to control his fear. "Listen to me, fur ball. You can't do this. You don't have the right! You don't even have the technology!"
Mister Whiskers smile grew larger. "We have the technology. We're using the best there is - we're using park technology." Cat-man turned his furry head to face rabbit-man. "We should make the captain and his fellow travelers honorary custodians. Captain Reming will make a fine...Weasel-man, won't he?"
Lieutenant Commander Parks sat in the Captain's chair sound asleep, oblivious to the trouble his fellow crewmembers were in. He was awakened suddenly by the filtered voice of Lieutenant Commander Smith. "Wake up!"
Smith sprang to his feet and spun around. "What? Who? Where?"
"Jeez, I knew you were asleep. I'm in engineering. Get to your post. I need you." Parks knew from her tone that Smith was irritated to the point of striking him. He was glad he was on the bridge and she wasn't. Parks wiped the drool from his chin and jumped to his station.
"I'm connecting now." Parks placed his hand on the bio-neural connection panel but quickly took it off. "Yuck." He said to himself as he wiped the drool from his hand and onto his uniform. He went back to the panel, now with a dry hand. "Now I'm ready."
"Okay here it is. Earlier, we dropped the idea of creating a thermonuclear bomb because we didn't have a delivery system. Right?"
"Then I realized we do have delivery system. We can use the transporters. We can transport it close to the satellite and have it detonate using a timer."
Parks shook his head to be sure he wasn't dreaming. He hoped he was. "What? Why don't you beam out a probe with a gamma ray field emitter? It's a lot safer."
"Because we can't be sure that the beam coming from the satellite won't nullify the probe's systems like it's nullified ours." Lieutenant Smith was beginning to lose her patients with Parks. She couldn't stand the fact that she was being questioned by someone who was asleep just a few minutes ago. "Damn it, don't you think I considered all that! Look, we've been unable to communicate with the away team for some time now. We have to do something soon. Now I've notified the doctor to have hyronalyn at the ready to treat the crew for radiation sickness, but maybe that won't be necessary if you do what I say. As soon as the bomb detonates, I need you to simultaneously raise our shields and fire a torpedo at that satellite. Can you do that?"
"Of course." Said Parks, confidently.
"Good. Now I was able to replicate a small amount of Plutonium 239. It's fairly stable. As far as the bomb itself is concerned, I had to consult the database to figure out how to build the damn thing. As far as I can tell, it should produce a small yield...I think."
"I'm filled with confidence." Parks replied sarcastically. Lucky for him, the lieutenant ignored it. She was concentrating on her mission at hand.
Down in engineering, Lieutenant Smith was standing over the nuclear bomb at her feet. She was in the middle of scanning the bomb and setting the detonator. Her hands worked to complete the job in front of her, but her thoughts were elsewhere. All her concerns lied with the team on the planet's surface. She wasn't able to reach them at all. Were they in danger? She had no way of knowing. "Okay Parks, I'm ready down here. I've set the bomb to go off in thirty seconds after transport. I'm transporting it now. Be ready." She gave the nuclear device a pat and then backed away. "Computer, initiate program Smith dash zero-one" Slowly, the bomb disappeared off the deck. As it dissolved, Smith quickly made her way to the bridge.
Lieutenant Smith didn't wait for the turbo lift doors to open completely. As soon as they began to open, she forced her way through and onto the bridge. She could hear the computer counting down the seconds to detonation. It was down to ten seconds when she finally got to Parks' station.
Parks looked up at her in fear. "Lieutenant, we've got a problem. The beam from the satellite is changing. It's pulling us in closer to the planet. Right now, the bomb is closer to us than that satellite."
As the count down neared zero, Smith quickly slapped her comm. badge. "All hands brace for shock wave."
As soon as she got the words out, the bomb went off. A flash of brilliant white light filled the bridge. The entire ship rocked violently. The force knocked both Smith and Parks backward and onto the floor.
Beneath surface of the planet, in a room somewhere below the fun amusement park, Captain Reming, Commander Reed and Ensign Smith lay strapped to medical tables. The three pulled and struggled against their restraints, but it was no use.
Reming glared at the cat-man. "You can't do this to us. Other ships will come looking for us."
"Oh I hope so. We could use other attractions like your ship for other parks around the world. Oh by the way, you're going to see your ship again very soon. It's being forced down onto that empty field you arrived at." Cat-man reached for a hypodermic needle. "Now, this injection will restructure your DNA. Soon you'll look like one of us. Hold still now, the transformation doesn't take that long, but I'm afraid it's quite painful."
As the cat prepared to inject the Captain, the blare of alarms went off. Cat-man looked up at his rabbit medical assistant. "Something's wrong." He rushed to stick Reming, but was unable. His three captives dissolved into beams of light and then disappeared completely.
Cat-man was furious. He forcefully threw the hypodermic needle down to the floor and bellowed an ear-piercing meow.
Captain Reming, Commander Reed and Ensign soon found themselves in transporter room two, on board The USS Condor. Lieutenant Smith and Doctor Tedmoore were both present to greet all three.
"It's good too see you all." Said the Lieutenant.
"Thanks, Lieutenant. You're timing couldn't have been better." Said Reming as he and his team members stepped off the transporter pad."
"Doc, check them out. Make sure they're okay."
"You got it." Said Tedmoore. He quickly pulled out his tri-corder and scanned each of them. After a few seconds of awkward silence, the doctor reported his findings. "You're all in fine shape."
"Good. Doc, I think you're done here. Why don't you head back to scanning the rest of the crew in the forward sections for radiation sickness." As the doctor exited the room, the Captain, Commander and Ensign Smith all stared at the lieutenant with expressions of deep concern.
"Radiation sickness? What the hell happened up here?" Questioned Reed.
Lieutenant Smith raised her hands half way in an effort to settle them down. "Everything's fine. To make a long story short, we had to resort to detonating a thermonuclear device to bring down the satellite holding us. My intention was to use the bomb to disrupt the beam only. As it turns out the explosion completely vaporized the satellite. Parks got the shields up fast enough so that the ship wasn't damaged. I have the doctor checking people out just to be sure everyone's all right. Well, now that you know what happened up here, how was it on the surface? Did we have fun?"
Ensign Smith looked at his sister with piercing eyes. "We had loads of fun, Carol. Maybe you want to go down too. I'm sure Mister Whiskers would love to meet you."
Reming and Reed suppressed a laugh and headed out of the transporter room. "Nice work Lieutenant. I look forward to reading your report." Said Reming.
"I'm looking forward to reading yours."
Reming took his seat next to Reed on the bridge. He never thought he'd miss the bridge of the Condor as much as he had. He was finally coming to the realization that this ship - his ship - was fast becoming his home.
In front of him, Parks was talking to Smith. "I hear you had quite a time down there, huh buddy."
"Yeah. Next time you go on the away mission and I'll stay here on the ship and sleep." Smith sharply replied.
"Look, I only dozed off once."
Reed sat back in her seat and turned to Reming. "So what do we do now, Captain?"
"Do?" Replied Reming with raised eyebrows. "We don't do anything. We report everything to Starfleet and let them worry about it." Reed nodded in agreement.
Captain Reming sat far back in his seat and took a moment to recall the events of the day. He wondered if all the missions would be this interesting. Deep in his heart, he hoped they would. "Ensign Smith, take us out of orbit. I've had enough fun for one day."
Borg Like Me, part deux, part two
|Episode Thirteen - Deep in the Delta Quadrant the Condor crew find an exploded Borg cube. With help from The Resistance they take action to find their missing crew in Borg space! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wonder why it took 10 years to write 44 pages. Second half of Story One of Three in the Delta Story Arc|
|Launched December 2004, TrekFiction.com (Version 1.0) is a readers resource from Trek Writer's Guild. This website is a collaboration between the many TWG/SotF authors and Mediaboy Productions. All stories are original and copyrighted by the respective authors under United States law, as well as every other country that matters. (Including Canada) All graphics are original and copyrighted, either separately or collaborativly, by Mediaboy Productions and/or others as specified. The stories and graphics on this site may not be copied, reprinted, or reposted without express and written permission of the original creators. Trek Writer's Guild is in no way affiliated with Paramount Pictures Inc. Star Trek : Enterprise ( Archer T'Pol Reed Tucker Hoshi ), Star Trek ( Kirk Spock Bones McCoy Scotty Enterprise ), Star Trek: The Next Generation ( Picard Data Riker Worf Enterprise ), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ( Sisko Dax O'Brian Odo Quark Kira Defiant ), Star Trek: Voyager ( Voyager Janeway Chakotay Tuvok Paris Torres Be'lanna Neelix Seven of Nine ) are property and copyright of Paramount Pictures Inc. These properties are used in good faith by the authors of Trek Writer's Guild, to further the human adventure through positive storytelling.|