Sunday, July 30, 2006

Voice Of The Viper (Part One)

The Enterprise has been situated at Starbase 7 for the last couple of days.

Time for some shore leave; it never seems to end that way, though, and we end up being busier than tackling an alien invasion.

Still, at the moment, it's relaxation time.


I'm walking down to main corridor when a man approaches me; I sense trouble. He quickly removes his phaser, which I see is set to 'maximum'.

In an instant, my life flashes before me; every little "Make it so." seems to be remembered right now.

However, instead of pointing it at me, he turns it on him and vaporises himself.

What's going on?

Worf and his security team quickly come forward, together with Faran, Head of Security on Starbase 7.

I tell them all the story; Faran and Worf both look concerned.

"A little earlier, Captain" says Faran, "I was talking with Lieutenant Worf. A number of people with no apparent motive have been dispatching themselves off. A lot have done it in front of Enterprise visitors around the Starbase."

"I shall investigate this matter immediately" says Worf and takes his Security team away.


I beam back to the Enterprise; it all seems very strange. They can't be doing it because they are fed up with the Starbase. It may not be the best in the galaxy, but it's not worth vaporising oneself over.

Using a scrambled line, I contact Admiral Collins of Starfleet Security; I tell him what is going on. He looks worried.

"Captain Picard" he tells me, "It looks like the work of The Viper."

"The Viper?" I ask, "Who is he?"

"He is a master criminal we have been after for years." Collins explains, "He has a silky voice and can persuade people to do anything. The Viper's usual method is to instruct them to do a task, but only much later, when they hear a codeword. When they hear it, they will go into a trance and carry out the act they are supposed to."

"You mean he turns them into sleepers; time bombs waiting to go off when the codeword is said?"

"Exactly, Captain." Collins continues, "It's my guess that there are a lot of time bombs walking around Starbase 7. You need to get everyone off the base and find The Viper. He is showing off his power to you right now."

So much for relaxation.

I gather the senior staff around, together with Faran and tell them the situation.

"He must be apprehended immediately!" Worf declares in his security-officer voice; as if we don't already know that!

Teams are sent around the base; we go in twos so that The Viper cannot get one of us alone and 'program' them to do something.


At last, in a shadier area of the base, we find a signal. Why does a Starbase HAVE a shady area at all?

"He's here!" Geordi shouts into his Com link, who is with Data, "We've got him cornered!"

We all close in to the area with our phasers, determined to catch The Viper; he surrenders himself. He has a pointed face and is in a dark cloak. All criminals seem to look like that and wear those clothes.

This was all done very easily; another great mission easily done by the Enterprise crew! Another one for the good guys.

If that is so, why is The Viper laughing as he is being led away to the Starbase 7 brig?

"What's so funny?" I ask him.

"Oh my dear Captain Picard" he says in that smooth voice of his, "Your troubles are just beginning!"

I can sense something very nasty coming.

"As soon as the Enterprise arrived on Starbase 7" he tells me, "I programmed one of your staff to do something. He or she is unaware, but will only do it when a codeword is issued. It may be a long time before someone ever says it, but you can never be safe. You cannot obtain the information from me as I have programmed myself to forget who that person was."

The Viper gets dragged away to the brig, laughing away, just like all the evil madmen do at this time.

What do I do now?

To be continued ...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

TWQ: Gadgets

For the TWQ (The Weekend Question), we look at gadgets; those items we have bought that seemed useful around the house.

What gadgets have you had later turned out to be completely useless?

My answer is:

I had a water purifier that still remains in the box; it was a gift, but something we never really wanted to use. The same happened with a ground coffee maker we were given. I did buy a mobile phone for myself, but have rarely used it. Still, it's there for emergencies.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Speeding Ticket

Due to the urgentness of our mission to Tavax, we have gone at Warp 9 through the unknown Sector 133, reputed to be the home of the Dararian race.

There have been a few messages, but nothing the Universal Translator can be sure of.

Suddenly, a dark-coloured starship with a flashing red light appears out of nowhere next to us.

"We are being hailed by the ship, Captain" Data informs us.

The screen flickers on and a rather officious-looking alien is looking at us.

"Hello" I say in my best diplomatic voice, "I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starsh.."

"You will not move" the alien angrily tells us, "You are being cautioned for speeding in Dararian space."

"I'm sorry, but I don't understand" I tell him apologetically.

"It's simple enough!" the Dararian tells me, "Your ship could be clamped and taken away into the Dararian Police Pound, where it will be kept unless you agree to pay a million Credit fine now."

"We did not see anything about a speed limit" I protest.

"There were plenty of signs telling you to stay below a Warp 5 limit" the Dararian tells me, "I am Janta, Head of the Police Force."

"I'm sorry, Janta" Deanna says, in her Couselor style, "The Universal Translator was not able to identify the speed warnings."

"That is no excuse" says Janta, "You will pay the heavy penalty, and have to apply for a new Starship Licence from our office.

"It all seems a scam to get money." Riker whispers quietly to me.

"That may be so, Will" Deanna replies, "But the Federation has to be seen to be law-abiding in international space travel."

"You mean...?" I say.

"Yes, Captain," Deanna continues, "You will need to pay the fine, and eventually get a licence."

I groan; then turn to the screen.

"Very well, Janta." I tell him, "send the charge to Starfleet Headquarters, San Francisco, Earth, and they will pay you the desired amount."

"Excellent, Captain!" he says, as if the cash register is working, "You shall receive note of how to apply for a Starship Licence. Thank you for coming through Dararian space; don't forget to travel slowly and safely."

There seemed a hint of sarcasm there.

"Starfleet will get a nasty shock, Number One" I tell Riker, "When they open their incoming mail and find a million Credit fine for starship speeding and a directive for me to get a Licence."

"As long as they don't dock it out of your salary, Captain"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Surprise Visit

Wesley will certainly enjoy me dropping in on him at the Academy before the Scholastic Year starts.

I know he likes to see him mom; we might be going out for some fun shopping, or have a good chat.


I beam down to the Academy grounds, straight on to the well-kept lawns.

Immediately, I hear the complaints from a very familiar voice; Boothby.

"Listen, young lady," he says to me, "I'm tired for telling everybody not to beam on to my lawns; this isn't a Landing Point. Use the proper co-ordinates and beam there!"

"Sorry Mr Boothby" I say apologetically, and gently walk on the grass until I reaching the main pathway. Boothby growls to himself, muttering a few things that I'd care not to repeat.

Eventually, I find Wes's Academy apartment.

I knock firmly on the door.

"Hi Wes!" I call out, "It's me, your mom, I hoped we could take in a couple of hours at the Starfleet Mall."

The doorway suddenly opens and a red-haired young woman in a warrior costume greets me with a surly look.

"Go away!" she tells me firmly, and closes the door.

I knock the door again.

"Does Wes live here?" I shout, "I'm his mother, Beverly Crusher."

The young woman opens the door, looks at me with great suspicion, and reluctantly lets me in. She doesn't exactly seem to be the friendly sort.

"I am Karena from the planet Wondawowman" she informs me, "Wes is my servant, and will do all my work for the coming year."

Did I hear that right?

I hear a voice from inside; the kitchen area. Wes comes out.

"Gee, hi Mom" he tells me, "I was just cooking lunch for Karena and myself; do you want to join us? I've been rather busy, after cleaning the sitting room and polishing the bathroom."

"Err....who is Karena?" I ask delicately, "Is she your err...girlfriend?"

"Wes is my servant!" Karena emphasises, "On Wondawowman, us Amazons are a matriachal society. Men are just slaves, there to serve us."

"Well, Mom" explains Wes, "The professors at the college thought that Karena might need some help in her first year, as she was used to being served. I was chosen unanimously by all of them to do the job."

"Who is your servant?" Karena asks me.

"I don't have one" I reply, "As Chief Medical Officer on the Enterprise, I am the top ranking medical official there. I even have the power to declare a Captain unfit for duty."

Karena sounds very interested at this.

"Excellent!" she delares, "I shall endeavour to become Chief Medical Officer, or failing that, the Captain of a starship. The crew will all do what I say, or they shall get a taste of my spear."

"When is your Tact and Diplomacy Course coming up, Karena?" I inquire, as she may well need it.

"The Professors seemed to suggest I go there first of all." she tells me, "But I shall ignore that part. It's battle tactics that I'm more interested in, and finding out how to get the other sides to surrender."

Oh dear, I feel she has a lot to learn.

"You and I will get on well, Beverly." Karena informs me, "We are both tough redheads who will not tolerate any disobedience."

She slaps me on the back and goes back inside, leaving just me and Wes there.

"Are you sure you're safe here, Wes?" I ask him, "She looks a little hard to handle."

"Don't worry, Mom" he replies, "We get on alright, though things can get busy at times. I'll have to say goodbye for now, as I'm got to do a little ironing to do."

That's my Wes.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Power Failure

Things are not at the best of times right now.

A few moments ago, the Enterprise passed through the token mysterious spacial cloud. As we emerged, all power was drained, the lights went out and the ship is now floating in space; what a relief we have gravity shoes!

We are all sitting here in the Bridge, with everything in darkness, as if we are waiting for someone to come in and we all shout "Happy Birthday!" when they enter. Fortunately each are carrying a torchlight so we can see one another.

"What do we do, Captain?" asks Riker.

"I'm not sure, Number One" I say, "Suggestions anyone?".

I have to tell them all that when essentially, I don't have a clue.

I feel the blank looks coming forth; inane suggestions are meant to be very likely. Most likely long-range chances, or ideas that have no chance at all.

"The engines need to be revived" Geordi tells us, who is an expert at stating the obvious.

"With what?" I ask, "The kiss of life?"

"Heat might be enough to get get the engines slowly moving."

"What's the best source of heat that you have with you? I inquire.

"Errr...candles." Geordie haltingly replies.

"You're not serious, are you, Lieutenant?" I ask increduously, "That you want a 24th Century starship to be powered by candles?"

"It may not seem practical, Captain, states Data, "The theory is that the cloud carries a lot of energy; if you can take the Enterprise back to the cloud, the ship should absorb it and be fully charged."

"That sounds rather theoretical, Mr Data" I tell him, "How can you be sure that all this will happen?"

"We used to conduct tests on the holodeck on the effect of candle power on ship controls before this happened., and chances are that everything will work." he replies.

"Just how sure can you be?" I ask carefully.

Data isn't too keen on answering.

"The chances of success are slightly limited, Captain." he informs me.

This means the odds are very much against us; I would be safer betting on the 200 to 1 outsider in a horse race than on our success.


Everybody is sent to get their candles; some seem to have more than others; perhaps they have a great liking for them? I wonder what they do with them all in their quarters?

They are lit within the engine room.

"I sense great optimism here, Captain" says Deanna.

Actually, I sense great idiocy.

Eventually, the engines begin to creak, and the controls start to light up. Swiftly, Geordi programmes the Enterprise to take us into the cloud.

As we enter, there is a crackle of lights all over the ship as if it is New Year's Eve at Starfleet Headquarters.

Full power is resumed, and we pull away, completely restored.

"Perhaps there is a place for candle power, Captain?" asks Data, "I could enter it into the Starfleet Manual?"

I think Starfleet might believe Data had a circuit or two loose.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

TWQ: Cars

This weekend, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks into car tastes.

If money were no object (and you could drive), which car would you select? It does not have to be a car that exists now.

My answer is:

I would choose is a '70's style Stingray Corvette (below)

Alternately, an old-style VW Beetle would be good as well.

Now it's over to you....

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Attitude Adjustment

Today, I'm taking two members of the crew on an Attitude Adjustment Course in the holodeck.

They are Seven Of Nine and Ensign Ro Laren.

When Seven has always had a superior viewpoint over everyone, Ro Laren looks down on just the Cardassians. We have to confine her to her Quarters if a Cardassian happens to visit. Much as I dislike this race, we can't have Ro sneering at them and spitting.

It's just not diplomacy.

So Seven, Ro and I are in the holodeck, where I am going to instruct them on Attitude Adjustment. I would have had Riker do this, but he is too easy-going, and the Admirals have dictated that such courses must be carried out by the highest ranking officer.

"Now then, Seven and Ensign Ro" I start, "This course is designed to emphasise that a change in your general attitude and behaviour is required by you both here on the Enterprise."

"The Borg are supreme." Seven states coldly.

"Cardassians are filth." Ro says afterwards.

"Now you see" I tell them, "That's just the sort of thing we want to cut out. You may both have your own private feelings, but you should not display them in front of others."

"How can I when it's true?" asks Seven, "The Borg will eventually rule the galaxy and assimilate every being."

"And it's true that the Cardassians are the lowest form of life." Ro tells me, "The Bajorans will drive them away. Take my advice, Seven. Don't assimilate them, as it will only lower the quality of the Borg."

The two women start chatting together, ignoring me.

"Ladies!" I shout, "You are first and foremost part of the crew of the Enterprise. That is the most important feature. Seven, you must not look down on others and have a superior attitude over the other crew members."

Seven looks disappointed and rolls her eyes.

"Ro Laren" I say to her, "You must be more friendly towards Cardassians. While we have a treaty with them, you will have to treat them with respect."

Ro looks disappointed and rolls her eyes.

"Now then, ladies" I continue, "To see if you have understood my message, we will act out a scenario here in the holodeck to see what your reaction is. We'll start with Seven."

The holodeck changes to to an image of the transporter room.

"Certain people will emerge from the transporter" I tell them, "You must welcome them."

An 'Admiral' is created ans steps from the holographic transporter.

"Welcome to the Enterprise" says Seven, "I am Seven Of Ni..."

"A Borg drone!" says the Admiral, "Is it safe to come on board, or you going to assimilate me?"

Seven looks angry.

"The Borg are supreme." she shouts, "Resistance is Futile!"

The Admiral's image disappears.

"You see, Seven" I tell her, "You were goaded into making that error. You should have held your temper and smiled, welcoming him aboard. Now it's Ensign Ro's turn.

Seven sits down, muttering a few Borg expletives, as Ro Laren gets up.

A 'Cardassian Diplomat' beams on to the holographic transporter. Ro's face changes to extreme dislike. nonetheless she stays calm.

"Welcome to the Enterprise" she says, "I am Ensign Ro Lare..."

"A Bajoran!" exclaims the Cardassian, "Were you not in one of the work camps we built?"

Ro looks livid and gets her phaser and zaps the holographic Cardassian.

I groan.

"Class is over, ladies." I tell them, "Clearly you both need more work to be done on your attitude adjustment."

As we leave, Seven and Ro chat away together.

"That was excellent shooting, Ensign Ro." says Seven, "That Cardassian was not worthy of living. I would not have bothered to assimilate him."

"Too right" agrees Ro, "The Borg do seem to have good taste in who they choose to assimilate."

They walk off talking and laughing.

Why do I think the Attitude Adjustment Course didn't quite work out?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rivalry For The Borg Queen (Part Two)

Dear Seven Of Nine,

This is what happened next in the story..


I am looking distinctly worried. The Borg Queen Deanna Troi certainly had some attraction that the drones hadn't seen before, and their loyalty was starting to waver. I suppose me threatening to disconnect them if they didn't perform up to standard might have turned them off me slightly.

With her skin-tight outfit, she was starting to appeal to them.

"Come on drones" she says alluringly, "We don't need this Borg Queen as your leader. Rally behind me, and we shall crush all in our path."

"Don't be fooled by imitators from another universe" I tell the drones, "I have always treated you well, let you rest in your alcoves so you regenerate. This creature will keep you going until you drop, never letting to rest."

The drones are starting to get confused; before, life was simple. I just told them what to do, they went and assimilated people, came back and regenerated. We were all happy. We didn't want any trouble from this one.

I have to exert some authority, otherwise I might end up in the Borg Brig, or being disconnected by the Troi Borg Queen.

As the drones look entranced by her speeches, and the male ones by her body, I sneak up and grab her. She lashes out, but I hit her firmly, pinning her to the floor so that she is unable to move. She struggles vainly.

"I am the true Borg Queen!" I tell her, "You are just an interloper from another universe."

The drones get up, unsure of what to do at first, with the Troi Queen lying on the floor confused, but decide to stay still in case I notice their loyalty isn't what it was.

While she looks up at me, I tell her what her alternatives are.

"Now listen, Troi" I say with a menacing tone, "This is what you can do; the Borg can always use a good Borg Queen. You can either get put back in your Escape Pod and let go or we can give you another Cube to command. However, you can't go near the Enterprise while Seven is on board."

She looks disappointed.

"What about Deanna Troi, who is on board?" she asks, "I want my revenge on her."

"Oh, you can get her" I say, "If you can find a subtle way of doing it; perhaps when she's away from the Enterprise."

The Troi Queen smiles.

"Agreed." she says, "I will serve the Borg well."

"I'm sure you will." I tell her, "I look forward to knowing how you get on. I shall put you in control of the Unimatrix 02 Cube, as the leader has just retired and is now enjoying her pension."

"Excellent!" she says, "A lot of assimilating will be coming from that Cube from now on."

I 'm sure there will; the Troi Queen does seem to be heavy-handed, doesn't she? Perhaps she needs a course in Cube Management and Diplomacy?


That's it, Seven. Currently, the Troi Borg Queen is going around with her own Cube, assimilating to her heart's content, enjoying life to the full. Should she ever come across Deanna Troi, there will be trouble.

Best Wishes,

The Borg Queen.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rivalry For The Borg Queen (Part One)

My dear Seven of Nine,

I hope you are picking up lots of information about human characteristics while you are on the Enterprise. It will come in useful when I return to collect you and we assimilate them.

I'm sending you this account of an incident that just happened on Unimatrix 01, which is my Cube, and where we sent you from.


Everything is going normal for me today; I have just composed a list of planets and races that I would like to be assimilated by the end of the week. The drones will plot a course to take them all in the fasted way, so we can all be resting in our alcoves without a problem.

Suddenly the Cube scanners identify a Borg escape pod; the strangest part of it is that the signature of it is not from this universe. It seems to have come from somewhere else.

With curiosity, I send out a hail and ask the passenger to identify themself; eventually an image flashes on the VidScreen.

"She looks like that annoying Deanna Troi from the Enterprise." I said to myself.

"This is the Borg Queen Deanna Troi" she continues, "I request to come aboard your Cube."

Naturally this amazes me; where did this Borg Queen come from? I use the tractor beam to bring her in.

When she emerges, I see she has a slight injury, which the drones repair; afterwards, we start talking.

"I come from a parallel universe" Troi told me, "When I came through to this one, I had an encounter with the Enterprise. I'm determined to get my revenge. We shall go and assimilate them right now...especially that Deanna!"

This Borg Queen is very aggressive; a little headstrong, perhaps; no diplomacy. not the sort who would smile while assimilating someone.

"Hold on a moment!" I tell her, "I have one of my drones on there right now, providing an important function for the Borg."

"Drones are expendible!" Troi tells me dismissively, "The Enterprise must me assimilated NOW! It's clear that the Borg in this universe are far too week. What they need is a strong Queen like me to lead them. You can serve me."

I can't believe what I'm hearing.

"Are you challenging me, Troi?" I asked her, "May I remind you that I am the Queen here, and you have been rescued. You can't be that good a Queen if you had to get away in an Escape Pod after an encounter with the Enterprise."

She starts to look very angry; I can sense trouble here.

"The drones here will support me." Troi says, "They respect a good leader."

I look at the drones; they seem to like that figure-hugging outfit she is wearing.

I'm starting to worry.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

TWQ: Newspaper Cartoons

This weekend, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks at newspaper cartoons:

Which newspaper cartoons are your favourites and why?

Here are my answers:

Despite being British, I have always found that American newspaper cartoons are more my sort. They are sharper, with good humour and drama. I have imported daily desk calendars for Dilbert and The New Yorker; the former is in my office, and the latter is next to my computer. Dilbert reflects often how life is in my office, while the sheer variety of cartoons in The New Yorker make them a must.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Federation Gazette

I've been summoned to Starfleet Headquarters.

No doubt, they want to thank me for the superb job I did at the Zarn/Braken Peace Conference. I'll tell them it was nothing,, really, although of course I won't mention the 30th Century renegade, due to the Temporal Prime Directive.

Still, I won't say 'no' to a medal. My official uniform could do with another one.


I beam down to Starfleet Headquarters; there is just one surly looking Lieutenant who tells me to report to Admiral Hollingsworth. No rousing band around to welcome me there. It's all rather strange.

Admiral Hollingsworth is responsible for Starfleet Publicity; he probably wants to congratulate me and tell me how they are going to release the peace conference news accross the Federation.

I arrive at the office and see Admiral Jennings, who is responsible for Discipline with him; an odd combination.

"Sit down, Picard." says Hollingsworth in a gruff manner.

When I'm called "Picard" by an Admiral, there is trouble.

"Hello" I say, "The Zarn/Braken Peace Conference went down well, didn't it?"

"Never mind that." Jennings icily says, "Take a look at this copy of the Federation Gazette."

He slides it across the table for me to pick up; I read the headlines:

'All Aboard The USS Loveship!!" by Hal Wallace is the main title. I groan.

"Read more, Picard" demands Hollingsworth.

I read more:

'If you think our starships are just defending the Earth and the rest of the planets in the Federation, you'd be sorely mistaken' it starts, 'It's fun all the way for the senior officers of the USS Enterprise, as they make sure they don't get lonely in the long voyages they have. Captain Jean-Luc Picard ensures he has a date with the fiery haired Beverly Crusher, who is the ship's doctor; his First Officer, Commander William Riker has the shapely Betazoid affections of Counselor Deanna Troi. Then there is...'

I put the Gazette down.

"Errrmmm" I say with hesitation.

"Captain Picard" Hollingsworth tells me, "We sent Hal Wallace of the Gazette to the Enterprise so that we could could get some good publicity for Starfleet, and show everyone what the flagship of the Federation was like. We did not want a commentary on all your love lives."

"That was the fault of Mr Wallace, Sir." I say, "He was only interested in lurid publicity and scandal, not how the Enterprise performed."

"That may be so" commented Jennimgs, "But your over-amourous senior officers gave him the material that he wanted."

"It's only human nature, Sir" I say.

"Hmmph!" snorts Hollingsworth, "Bring in Wallace."

The doors open, and Hal Wallace is brought in, flanked by two security guards; he is still wearing his 20th century outfit with 'PRESS' sticking out of his hat.

"Take it easy, you guys!" says Wallace, "No need to be so aggressive; I'm a member of the press."

He sees me.

"Hi Captain" he waves, "Good to see you again. Have they hauled you here as well?"

I don't reply.

"Mr Wallace" Hollingsworth tells him, "You were sent aboard the Enterprise to obtain a story for goos publicity of our organisation. Instead, you came back with tabloid-style journalism of the lowest grade."

"Hey, fellas" replies Wallace, "You gotta think what sells more papers; the people don't want starchy reports. They want to know the latest scandal. The recent one with Angelina Aniston sold like hot Bajoran cakes."

"You will print a retraction in your paper, saying you were given false information" Jennings tells him.

"What about freedom of the press?" protests Wallace.

"You should think about your own freedom Mr Wallace." smiles Jennings, "A Penal Colony is waiting for you."

"No need to be rash, fellas" says Wallace, "Sure I'll print a retraction; it never happened."

With that, he is escorted out of the room.

"You can consider yourself to be very lucky, Picard." Jennings tells me, "Had Wallace not agreed, more 'severe' actions might have had to be taken."

"You can leave us now, Picard" Hollingsworth glares at me, "Watch your step."

I leave the room and beam back to the Enterprise....or is it the USS Loveship?

Just in time for my date with Beverly.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Timeship Terrapin (Part Two)

I'm now back on the Bridge of the Enterprise after my chat with Captain Gordon and Lieutenant Arden on the Federation Timeship Terrapin.

There's a dangerous Brakenese fanatic named Tega who has escaped from the 30th Century and will try to sabotage the Zarn/Braken Peace Conference that is about to start on Tarsal IV.

As things would be, I'm the only one who can stop him. It's at times like this I wish I was on vacation.

I discreetly talk to Lieutenant Worf, and give Tega's description to him; tough, with long wild hair and a manic look.

"What has he done, sir?" asks Worf.

"I can't tell you that, Mr Worf." I reply, "He's a danger, and your security teams need to be on the lookout for him while the conference goes on."

Worf looks puzzled, as he always does when he hasn't got enough information, but circulates the description to the team.


Shortly after, I beam down in my best Captain's outfit, that I had cleaned in the laundry last night; with me is Deanna, Riker, Worf and Crewman Jenkins. I figured we might need a spare man for this, in the best traditions that had been practised by Captain James T. Kirk.

Before the conference starts, all the delegates are drinking, getting ready for the impending talks. The Zarn representatives are all very friendly to the Brakenese; not long ago it would have been a fight to the death.

I am looking pleased with everything, as I know I'll get the credit if all goes well; however, inside I am feeling uneasy that Tega may be somewhere about. If he succeeds, it'll play havoc with my Starfleet pension.

I use the communicator to talk to Worf.

"Everything all right, Mr Worf?"

"Yes, sir, no sign of the man you describe." he answers.

"Captain." says Deanna, "I sense great unease in you, as if you feel something bad will happen; surely this will be a time of great joy?"

"Just a little nervous, Counselor." I reply. Deanna looks suspicious.

I then go to talk to Crewman Jenkins on my Com. No reply. I try again and alert Worf with the Security team.

Eventually, we find Jenkins lying unconscious in the bushes away from the conference area; his uniform is missing, but wearing a prison outfit.

"What is going on here?" asks Worf.

"Temporal Prime Directive." I say to him, using the line Captain Gordon tried on me. It's actually quite effective, as no one questions it anymore.

"Just be on the lookout for the man I told you about." I tell him, Riker and Deanna, "He'll be wearing a Crewman's uniform; he's dangerous."

With the conference due to start in a few moments, we've got to find Tega. I'm not letting him spoil my chance of getting brownie points with Starfleet.

As the delegates assembe at the conference table, I see a tough tall man with long hair and a manic look in a Crewman's uniform that is too small for him; he's got a phaser and is aiming it at the Zarn representative.

I get my phaser and zap him quickly, like the marshal in a lawless wild west town.

Everything changes; I am back on the Terrapin. The body of Tega is next to me.

"Well done, Captain Picard." says Gordon, "The impending timeline disruption has been saved, and everything can now go on."

"Very adequate." sniffs Lieutenant Arden.

I guess there's no pleasing some people.

"We'll send you back to the conference now, Captain." says Gordon, "It will be a great success, but remember the Temporal Prime Directive."

How can I forget? I think I'll use it as a reply when I can't think of a good answer.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Timeship Terrapin (Part One)

I hope it's going to be a stress-free day today; in fact I ALWAYS hope it's going to be a stress-free day.

It never is, though. Today, there will be a big peace conference.

After getting up, I'm on my way to the Bridge via the turbolift. At least nothing is going to happen there.

Suddenly I reappear in a strange vessel.

I step down off the transporter and see that the equipment around it is like nothing I've ever seen before. Two figures step out from behind the control panel, wearing an unfamiliar uniform, although they are wearing Starfleet badges of a different design.

I can safely forget about that stress-free day.

"Who are you people?" I ask them.

"We apologise for taking you out of your alloted stardate, Captain Picard" says one of them, "I am Captain Gordon, and this is my female assistant Lieutentant Arden."

"Where...and when am I? I inquire.

"You are on the 30th Century Federation Timeship Terrapin" Gordon tells me, "We need your help about a matter that has come up."

"You're obviously time travellers" I say, "Why can't you fix these things for yourself?"

"We can only view events; the Temporal Prime Directive prevents us from interfering in matters of your own time, but we can give help to those who live there." Arden tells me.

"You mean like me." I grudgingly say.

"Err...yes, Captain" Gordon concedes, "Let me explain to you what has happened."

"Go on then." I say, "Can I have some Earl Grey with a stress pill?"

One appears in my hand; I almost drop it.

"Our methods are a lot more advanced, Captain Picard." Arden tells me with a superior air in her voice.

"This is the situation, Captain" Gordon continues, "On the stardate that we took you from, you are scheduled to chair the conference between two rival races; the Zarn and the Braken. As you know they have been at war for centuries. What you do will bring peace forever to the sector of space and do great things for the Federation."

"At last I got something right." I comment.

"Indeed you did, Captain" says Gordon, "However, there will always be resistance, and a few hours ago, Tega, a leading Brakenese agitator, who despises the Zarn, broke out of prison and gained access to a time portal and sent himself to a point just before the conference. It's our guess that Tega will try to sabotage the conference and destroy this one chance of lasting peace. We need to send you back armed with the knowledge and stop him."

I groan; more trouble for me to sort out.

"I'll go back and tell the others all about it!" I say.

"No, Captain." says Arden firmly, "Due to the Temporal Prime Directive, you cannot inform others; we want this kept to a minimum; even after this, you must tell no one."

"You use the old 'Temporal Prime Directive' line to cover up a lot of things, don't you?" I say to them both sarcastically.

They show me Tega's picture; he looks tough, with long wild hair and a manic expression. A typical fanatic.

"Now it is time to send you back, Captain Picard." says Gordon, "Good luck, just remember that the future of the sector, and possibly the Federation is at stake by what you do."

Just the thing to calm my nerves.

I step back into the transporter and instantly reappear on the turbolift. The doors open and I am on the Bridge.

Riker sees me.

"Just approaching Tarsal IV, Captain, "The Zarn/Braken Peace Conference will be underway soon."

To be continued...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

TWQ: Which Time Period?

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks at preferred time periods:

Which time period in the past and where in the world would you like to have lived in (not the future), and for what reason?

My answer is:

The late Victorian era and Edwardian era in London was a fine time (if one was rich!). There was a certain style and grandness that disappeared after the First World War.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Interview For The Press

Starfleet have sent a reporter to the Enterprise. It's another one of those attempts in which they want us to get to know the people.

Sigh. Why us?

A figure beams on board; he has wearing a 20th Century outfit on, with a trilby hat that has the label 'PRESS' sticking out of it.

"Hi!" he says eagerly, "I'm Hal Wallace from the Federation Gazette. I'm here to do a report on your great space ship."

"It's a starship." I correct him, "You seem to be dressed in a rather unusual manner."

"Whatever" he carries on, "We reporters tend to dress like this to maintain the traditions of our ancestors. We're a very old fashioned paper, although we are thinking of having computers next year."

"Really?" I say.

"Yeah" he replies, "You can't beat the good old pad and pencil, though."

"What do you want to ask me about." I inquire.

"Well, the Enterprise is a very important flagship for the Federation" he says, "Our readers will want to know all about where it's been etc. Plus, Captain..."

He whispers to me.

"...any scandal that's been going on. It's the juicy gossip that sells the papers, you know."

"I'm not going to tell you anything like that." I say indignantly, "This is a respectable starship, that sort of thing doesn't happen here."

"Of course it doesn't, Captain Picard." he says in a sarcastic manner, "Don't worry, I'll get the info from the other crew members."

Worf approaches.

"Hey, bud!" exclaims Wallace, "Got the lowdown on the action around here?"

"What are you talking about?" replies Worf, "The Universal Translator does not seem to be functioning."

"Get real, Mr Klingon" he continues, "What juicy scandals are going around in this Starship? I should imagine there are quite a few."

Worf starts to look as if steam is coming out of his ears.

"If shall escort you off the ship immediately." says Worf.

"Sorry, Mr Worf" I tell him, "We are under orders to let Mr Wallace see the ship so that he can do a story about it."

"Thanks Captain" says Wallace.

"But there will be no scandal searching." I tell him, "You will just report on the ship and how we work during the day."

Wallace seems depressed, but reluctantly agrees.

I take him down the corridors, with Worf following, in case something happens.

Jadzia shows up.

"Hi Worfie." she says, "All right for our date tonight?"

Worf blushes, but says everything is all right. Wallace's eyes and ears light up and he is writing feverishly in his book.

Geordi and Trisha walk by, they are holding hands. He tells me he has swapped shifts with Lieutenant Fox so that Trisha and Geordi can go on a double date with Data and Jennifer Baxter.

Wallace can't believe it, and continues to write.

Commander Riker and Deanna are kissing in an alcove; I have to cough discreetly in order that they notice and separate.

As I get near to the Bridge, Beverly comes towards me.

"Which program are we having for our holodeck date tomorrow evening, Jean-Luc?" she asks, "Will it be the twin sunset of Kyana or the Waterfalls of Bayed?"

I go red a little, but tell her the former.

"Thanks, Jean-Luc" she says, "See you there."

Wallace writes away in as if there is no tomorrow.

"Now, Mr Wallace" I tell him, "You will now see what happens on the Enterprise."

"I've got a pretty good idea already, bud." he replies, "My book is full right now; I'll have to get back to my editor. He'll be eager to see what I've written."

I wonder what he could have wrote; after all, he never saw anything about life on the Enterprise at all."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Holographic Freedom

At last, liberty for holograms!

After much campaigning by HUD (the Holographic Union of Doctors), holoprojectors are being fitted throughout the Enterprise. This means I will be able to walk freely around the ship, instead of being imprisoned in SickBay.

What it means is that I can assume proper medical duties, and be there for the organics when Dr Crusher are sleeping at night, or if she is on the Bridge in her Commander role.

Well, this is the first day, and the last holoprojector has been fitted. I walk slowly out of SickBay, thinking that I might get dissolved. I'm alright, though, and even now am seeing new things in the outside corridor.

"Well done, Doctor" says Picard, "I hope this will be a good investment. It will use a lot of power up in keeping those holoprojectors running."

That's typical of Picard; thinking of trivialities instead of the beneifit to me. Well look out, Enterprise, the Doctor is ready to assume his duties!


It's late at night, and no one is in SickBay; I'm, waiting for the first emergency so that I can rush to their Quarters to aid them.

Come on, somebody! Fall ill.

Suddenly, the Com is activated.

"Doctor" a voice goes, "We need you in Lieutenant Marsh's quarters right away."

I spring up and grab my medical kit. This must be serious if the patient couldn't come to SickBay. I pick up every I can and run down the corridors to and go on the Turbolift to Deck 12, where Lieutenant Marsh is. The surroundings are all new to me; fortunately I know my way, due to the map in my programming.

Running into the Marsh quarters, I encounter Lieutenant Felicity Marsh; her daughter Kimberly is lying in bed."

"What's the emergency?" I ask, "Is Kimberly suffering from a fever?"

", Doctor" replies her mother, "I've got to go on my Engineering shift in a few moments. Kimberly can't sleep, and no one else is available. Could you read her a story, please?"

"What??" I say in disbelief.

"Just read her a story, "Flubber and the Fire Dragon" was always a favourite.

Reluctantly, I sit down and read Kimberly her story. Is this what holograms have fought for? The right to read stories to children?

Later, I trudge back to SickBay, hoping that my next call will involve lots of blood and that my true talent as a master surgeon and doctor will be recognised.

Another message through the Com comes through.

"Doctor!" it says, "Come quickly to Ensign Mulligan's quarters on Deck 11 right away; I'm bleeding badly."

This is more like it! Blood everywhere and me with a chance to put everything right with my advanced 24th Century medical skills.

Arriving at the Mulligan quarters I rush through; will the floor be covered with blood? I don't want to lose anybody while I'm duty.

There are a couple of spots of blood on the floor.

"Thank goodness you've come, Doctor" says Ensign Mulligan, "I've just incurred a paper cut on my finger."

"There are only a couple of spots of blood" I protest, "It will heal up in no time."

Instead of using 24th Century technology, I throw her some 21st Century sticking plaster.

"That should do the job!" I tell her, and walk out.


"How did you like your first evening as full time medical doctor" Beverly Crusher asks me. I can't be sure if there's a hint of sarcasm there.

"They were for such trivial things." I tell her.

"It's always been like that in the past." she remarks, "You just never knew. Welcome to the real world of medicine on the Enterprise, Doctor."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sloan And Section 31

Can't anyone get a good night's sleep around here?

Recently it was Q who appeared from the middle of nowhere to disturb me as I was catching some zzz's. Now it's another character.

"Good evening, Captain" says this mysterious figure, "Sorry to wake you up in the middle of the night, but this is rather important."

"Who are you?" I reply indignantly, "The security monitors will note that you have beamed on, and Mr Worf will soon put paid to you."

"Oh, I don't think so, Captain." he continued, "We in our group are equipped with special devices that allow us to circumvent that sort of thing."

"So just who are you, then? I ask.

"Ah, allow me to introduce myself" he says, "I am Special Agent Sloan from Section 31."

"I've never heard of Section 31" I tell him.

"Of course you haven't." Sloan replies, "We are an ultra-secret covert organisation that operate on behalf of Starfleet, although technically we don't exist."

"I've never read about Section 31 before, Sloan" I say.

"That's the point, Captain" he says, as if explaining to a child, "Our existence is only known to a handful of people. Not even the Head of Starfleet knows of us."

"So why are we talking now, and telling me about Section 31 now?" I ask suspiciously, as if I think I know what the answer might be.

"The truth is,Captain" he answers, "Is that you've impressed us recently with your covert activities. The mission you went on with Doctor Crusher and Seven Of Nine was very good, and we at Section 31 think you would make a fine addition to our number."

"I'm a starship Captain, not a spy!" I tell him.

"Oh, now, Captain." Sloan replies, "The word 'spy' is far too crude. We prefer the term 'Section Operative' to what you say."

"Well, I don't want to be a Section Operative, either." I clearly say.

"Think about it, Captain." he presses, "You could still have your own position and be a Section Operative at the same time. It means you would be covertly working for us, and none of your crew would be any the wiser. Actually, you could start by investigating your own staff."

"What does that mean?" I reply angrily.

"We have had our eyes on them for sometime" he tells me, "One can never tell when outside forces might have got to them."

"Give me an example." I challenge him.

"Look at Worf." he goes on, "He's a Klingon; we've always had trouble with that race. Data might have had his programming altered by a computer expert, or he might actually be his brother Lore. Geordi La Forge's visor might have affected his judgement. Deanna Troi's mind might have been altered by a telepath. Seven is only restrained from assimilating us on instructions from the Borg Queen. Jadzia Dax may have been affected by some of the Dax hosts..."

"...And I suppose Beverly Crusher is suspicious because of her red hair?" I sarcastically tell him.

"Now you're getting the idea." Sloan continues, "Believe me, Captain, you'll be perfect at Section 31. We need devious people who will stab their friends in the back, both literally and physically."

"You're crazy" I reply.

"We can send you on a Section 31 Induction Course." he enthusiastically says, "It'll be great fun."

"I think it's time for you to go, Sloan." I angrily tell him.

"All right, Captain." he smiles, "Potential recruits always have the same initial hostility, but after a while, they can't wait to join. I'll be talking to you again sometime in the future."

I turn round to tell him to forget it, but Sloan has disappeared.

I ask Worf if any beam-ins have been registered and he says negative.

It seems to me that Section 31 might be a problem for me; as if I don't have enough already.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

TWQ: Plane Stories

TWQ (The Weekend Question) stays on a vacation theme similar to last week, and asks about planes:

Have you got any good plane stories, about what happened to you or to a friend? Did you have an awkward passenger next to you? Was the plane a problem?

Here are my answers:

On my very first plane journey, I went in an old propeller one that had clearly seen better days. It was not a good way to begin. As the plane struggled to take off, the ornaments on the wall fell off as it rattled.

On another instance, a man went on the plane in a wheelchair so that he could be first. When it was time to disembark, he ran right to the front of the queue to get off.

One one journey, a man who sat next to m y father and i picked up all the free newspapers so that he could read them. He read a large newspaper that had the page half over my father's seat. He still wanted to read while we were taxiing to disembark!

Now it's over to you....

But before you go......

For all those in my 'Federation' Frapper Map: Don't forget, you can answer my question set in The Forum: Which Federation Race Would You Like To Be'. Look on the map page to answer this and click the Forum question.