As the Christmas Party is winding to a close, and everybody is so shattered, they look like zombies on the loose, or competitors in a year-long dance marathon, we get TWO belated viewpoints.
Firstly, from Lahdeedah
Very very late. I'm so very late for the Enterprise Christmas Party, and I've GOT to be there this year, I just have to.
This year, I've got a mission.
I'm having a hard time getting a job here in the 21st Century.
So Plan B.
I'm going to get a job in the 24th Century.
From what I understand, you don't really need to work, you just work for well, pleasure. I'm not quite sure I am up on the concept of 'work' for pleasure, but who knows?
So I know it's going to be on the holodeck, and I've got an understated, 'I'm a good 24th century worker' outfit. Well, I'm not really going to 'work' in the 24th century, but there is something there that can help me get a job here...
And I'm smashing in my dress. I love this time period, and picking out the dress was the best part of my week!
Unfortunately, it's the same color most of the women seem to be donning: stellar red. Great. But it's okay, I am stunning in red. Short, because I can't wear heels more than 1 ½ inches high, but stunning. To go along with my Stunning Stellar Red dress is my nifty party-portfolio… a briefcase disguised as a purse. It's very small, as it only contains lipstick, a small thing of mace, one never knows, and key to my plan, my small key drive, containing my resume and cover letter. I take a deep breath. I can do this.
I arrive at the Enterprise and avoid the congregation of Stellar Red Dresses over in the corner. A bunch of woman gushing over each other's taste in color is always fun, but I need a job. And a martini. I head over to the bar and ask for one, relieved that in the 24th century everything is free. I'll need the martini, for the first part of my plan is quite daring.
I order another. It's quite, quite daring.
I see her, down the martini, gag, martinis are not meant to be guzzled, sidle off the bar stool and head toward Seven.
"Ah, Seven. A Borg."
"Observant" she says. "Your skills may come in handy when we assimilate you."
Was that sarcasm? I wonder, but can't be sure. I brush it off. This is vital to my employment plan.
"Well, actually that's what I want to talk to you about. Assimilation. I am wondering perhaps, if the reason you find it so er, uh, difficult to assimilate humanity is we are, er have been, partially assimilated by our own ahhhmm, doing."
She looks down at me. "This is most interesting. I have not heard of humans already being partially assimilated."
"Well, it's really just a theory. I mean, here, see…" I rummage in my Stellar Red Purse for my key drive. "Here, if you ah, um, just assimilate this, you'll see."
She stares at the key drive, and I smile uncomfortably. I give her my best, "I'm a harmless skinny kook" look, the one that worked best when I was 15 pounds lighter.
It still works. She takes the key drive and sticks it into some weird mechanical type cybernetic appendage.
"This is very interesting human," she says. "What is the purpose of these redundant words, and why this senseless formatting?"
"Oh, those are what we call 'key words.' They come up in the databases of employers searching for people to interview. If you use the right combination of key words and formatting, you will get an interview."
"I see, but yours is flawed. Your key words are not optimal, but what does this have to do with assimilation?"
"Well, see, in my century, it is our, um, hm, duty, you could say, to wake up and go to our 'cubes' just like your 'cube' only our cubes don't travel through space. Actually, most of our cubes resemble your larger cube, but not as optimal. Our cubes exist enclosed in tall buildings, well the better ones, anyhow, and we don't have to stay there all the time, but the time we do spend there, it is, ah, well, very B'orgish, you could say. We work as unappreciated individuals and are told continuously to be a functioning cohesive unit. The good ones, who've lost their individuality, do well in their cubes. The others, they require more time in the cubes. The goal of Employers, quite similar to your Borg Queen, is to assimilate all employees to the point where they no longer go home for anything other than sleep."
"That is a start toward assimilation, but as it is humans who conceived of the notion, clearly, it is flawed. You are not one. You are not Borg. You are not part of the collective. If it is your wish to truly know what it is to be in the collective, I would be willing to assimilate you. I admire the purity and simplicity of your thought."
"Ah, um, you know, I really would love to, but my true goal is to help others pave the way for human assimilation on our own terms. Really, I need optimal keywords and formatting to show the Employers how assimilatable I am."
"Hm. A noble cause, a fault most humans are prey to. But I will help you, as it will only take .033 seconds for me to do this."
Seven closed her eyes for, oh, about .33 seconds, and hands me the key drive.
"Here, human, Employers will not ignore you now. You will be assimilated to the best of the 21st centuries paltry abilities."
"Thank you, Seven, thank you."
I am positively giddy now. With Seven's rewriting my resume, I should be a member of some Dull Corporation, receiving a dully earned but much desired paycheck.
I've only been here for 30 minutes and my plan has been accomplished!
I go back to the bar and ask for another Martini and scan the holodeck for some cuties in uniform. I ignore Capt. Picard, while we often converse, I feel I am not quite up to his normal snuff. There's Worf, but remembering last year's party... yeesh.
Ah, the heck-n-crap with it all. I finish my martini and give off a nice flirty laugh and find Data. If I tell him I can't dance, he'd be more than happy to show me how!
And, with my killer-get-hired resume in my keydrive, I can't wait to dance in my Stellar Red Dress!
And now, the definate last Party entry of the year is from the SF Girl herself, Nina Munteanu, who you can find more about here , and has been touring Canada promoting her latest novel Darwin's Paradox
Harry, my 1.5 metre high robot, and I hastened down the long corridor, eyes darting to the signs directing us to the Christmas Party on the Holodeck. We were very late. When we reached the main door, I straightened, drew in a long breath and wiped some invisible dust off Harry's shiny bald head. As I nervously adjusted the rather low décolletage of my slinky black gown, Harry quipped, "How do I look?"
I gave Harry a hasty appraisal as his round green eyes peered up at me like giant neon lights. "You look fine," I assured him. Then I added in a voice edged with plea, "Promise you'll behave."
He was sliding his metal hands over his sleek head as though it had been slicked back with hair cream. What a rake he was! Harry had made a pass at every single female who'd visited my sentient ship. He looked like he was gearing up for more conquests. I sighed. The circum-popo-stabilizer hadn't worked and I wondered what foolish cell in my brain had compelled me to bring him along. I then hastily reminded myself that I'd built him like that—so he could enjoy life too.
My gaze drifted down to the wrapped present for Jean-Luc clutched in my hand and I felt a crooked smile slide across my lips. I was hoping for more Picard wine…I had only one bottle left from the time he'd visited my ship.
Inspired with thoughts of wine, I wrenched the door open.
We were greeted with the booming voice of a 20th Century crooner singing "White Christmas" mingled with an alluring cocktail of desultory conversation, laughter, the velvet sparkles of the Sands Hotel, and the scent of pine and spilled Traglet wine.
It was obvious that the party had been in full swing for some time and had settled into that mellow place where everyone—at least the older crowd—was basking in the haze of traglet wine euphoria.
"Hello," an even tenor voice to my right startled me.
I turned and recognized Data, the ship's android.
"Hello," I returned. "I'm SF Girl. You're Data, right?"
"Yes." After offering me a tight grimace, which I took to be his best effort at a polite smile, Data turned with curious interest to Harry. "You are a model X9-B utility bot made by Zeta Industries, aren't you?"
"I am not!" Harry said in a strident tinny voice. "I am an organic-mechanoid of unique character." He pointed to me. " She made me!"
"Oh!" Data looked suddenly impressed with me. I smiled, suddenly self-conscious. Harry was right; he was unique. I'd built him five years ago from a dream I'd had.
"You have a positronic brain, don't you?" Harry asked Data.
"Yes, I have ten trillion connections, which fire in synchronous waves of autopoietic replicatory—"
"Have you ever played the game Texas Holdem?" Harry cut him off.
Data looked a little pleased with himself I thought. "Well…I have been known to play a few good hands…"
And without a second glance at me, the two sauntered off into the crowd.
I smiled. This might distract my little robot from more mischievous pursuits, I thought as I wandered into the crowd, looking for my host. My sweeping gaze caught sight of Guinan at the bar, dispensing drinks to two very drunk Borgs. I stared for a moment at the strange centre-piece of the Enterprise…It was made entirely of oranges! As Guinian placated the Borgs with a lively story, Guinan served a very happy mother and daughter. The girl eagerly asked for more of Guinan's atrocious vol-au-vonts, meantime secretly handing them to the feline pet next to her. It didn't seem to mind the fact that Guinan's vol-au-vonts tasted like a dead traglet.
As I tracked my gaze further afield, my attention was caught by a small clutch of youths in the far corner beside a huge Christmas tree. The night had just begun for them; ignoring the now annoying chanteur dressed in a tight Santa Claus suit still crooning out "White Christmas", they had formed a circle around two break-dancers. The dancers slid and twirled with beyond-human flexibility to a hypnotic staccato beat that wailed out of Wesley Crusher's boom box.
Not to be outdone by these upstart youths, Commander Worf pushed his way into the ring and demonstrated his prowess at dancing like a madman. And to give him credit, Worf performed some incredible gymnastic feats, though they more resembled a martial art form. The crowd nevertheless cheered him on. Within a few heartbeats, Commander Riker shoved his way into the ring even as Deanna Troy tried to pull him back. Worf nodded respectfully and let Riker take the stage. He proceeded to step out a few ambitious moves and just as I was beginning to reassess his abilities, Riker slid down into a dangerous bolero move and froze in mid-slide with a tight wince and then an awful grimace. Deanna lunged in to his rescue and urged him to limp off the floor. I silently laughed and continued to look for my host.
I spotted Harry and Data, huddled with intense deliberation over a small table, holding cards. Data had donned his poker vizor and looked…well…serious. They were thick at the card game and attracting a crowd of avid gamblers, among whom I recognized Batman, Wonder Woman and Lois Lane. Several alien girls were fawning over Harry already and I guessed that bets were flying.
Just behind them I spotted Ensign Britney and T'Pol ruthlessly teasing some young Romulan men. Britney must have said something terribly rude because one of the Romulans puckered up his face in a rage and swung hard at her. He never connected. T'Pol floored him in a blur of her fist. As he fell, she caught the drink from his limp hand. "No sense in wasting a good drink," she said then high-fived Britney.
"Sistah, T'Pol!" Britney shrieked with glee. "We are so making this party!"
I finally spotted the Captain standing by the pastry table. A Santa Claus hat sat rakishly on his head as he beamed at nothing particular. He was leaning dangerously against Doctor Crusher, resplendent in a red wool strapless dress. I'd never seen Jean-Luc drunk before but I think he was close—if not from liquor so much as the lady of his heart who didn't seem to mind that he was using her bare shoulder as a pillow. No need for those stress pills, eh, Jean-Luc…
I was about to stride toward them and greet my host, when the singer, Vic Fontaine, finally turned in my direction and I could see his face—
I couldn't believe it! I was looking directly at the man who'd ruined my life!...Okay, okay…just being a little dramatic. But he DID cheat me!
Fontaine caught site of me at exactly the same moment and I saw his expression drop. I wasn't surprised; I was the only person who knew his secret. Vic Fontaine was really Vic Travolta, the dance sensation of LB-59 in the Fomalhaut system; a planet that specialized in the coolest organic technology that I coveted. Vic was also the man who had deserted me and left me with a thousand universal credit bill for NOTHING five years ago. Considering he was a hologram, that had been no mean feat. He and I had been partners in a dance competition and we'd just won first prize…
Before I had a chance to grab Harry and scram out of there, Vic called a break and came beside me.
"Howdy, doll!" he said, taking my hand. "Long time no see. Why did you run out on me five years ago in the Club Zazi?"
"But you're the one…I-I—" I stuttered out, not sure what to say. Just as Vic and I were about to receive our prize money for coming in first, LB-59 police charged the club. Holograms were against the law, they said. They were going to dismantle him so Vic panicked and ran, leaving me with the entrance fee bill for a thousand credits and a stupid jail term in his stead. The shmuck! I spent two days in solitary confinement, drugged under some kind of interrogation. I actually can't remember it, thank goodness.
Vic took my other hand and held both of them tight. I noticed that the Captain and most of his crew had closed in on us.
"I asked Jean-Luc to invite you. So I could explain…When you were being 'interrogated' you were secretly receiving technical information in a dream that permitted you to build Vinny your ship and Harry over there." He pointed to my cheerful robot, schooling Data at poker. "That's what you really paid for!" Then he added as a smile of understanding slowly crept across my face, "Happy Christmas!"
With that, the Enterprise Christmas Party for this year really does draw to a close. Thank you so, so much to all the entrants who have submitted. It wouldn't be the same without you! The variety and quality in your submissions was outstanding.
To those, and to all my readers, I wish you a Happy Christmas.