Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Picard In Prison (Part Two)

I am now languishing in jail on Talan IV after being accused of murdering Divara, the Regent of the City.

CCTV footage clearly shows me doing the deed, though I remember I was in the holodeck alone at the time. As I result, I am now awaiting to be Disintegrated.


The prison is someone reminiscent of mid-20th Century standard. I have one cellmate, a somewhat crazed individual by the name of Jody Carrot.

"You ain't some no-good copper are you?" he asks me aggressively, as I lie in my bunk.

"No." I reply, "I'm innocent, though, and was framed for murder."

Jody laughs.

"Yeah" he tells me, "We all were in here. Now lissen, and keep yer trap shut. We're going on the lam tonight from the Big House. Do you want in.?"

I think the Universal Translator might be malfuctioning. Eventually Carrot explains that he and a group of individuals are planning to break out from the prison, and I have the chance of joining in.

It's a tough choice; do I want to be a fugitive on the run, or do I want to be Disintegrated?

After half a second of tough deliberation, I tell Jody that I'm in.


A few hours later, it is dark. We have our faces blackened and are ready to go. Jody gets his keys from the crooked guard and we sneak out with his accomplices. All of them of dubious looking, but at this moment, they are my only way out.

Whatever happened to cruising at Warp Speed in the Enterprise? How did I come to this?

We all advance outside, but the lights blaze on; it's all a trap.

The warder comes forward, with the crooked guard smiling behind him. Carrot delivers all manner of choice Talan expletives to both of them. The warder looks at me.

"Picard." he tells me, "As a result of your actions, your Disintegration will be bought forward to one hour from now.


One hour later, I am brought to the Disintegration Chamber. It looks like it's curtains for me, as Jody would have said.

"The crew of your starship will be watching on their videoscreen, Picard." says the warder, "To show them we do not tolerate murder on Talan IV."

Not even a last request or meal. I was turned down when I asked for Earl Grey tea. Not too cheery here, are they?

I can imagine Bev must have run out of tissues up there, if she is watching all this.

"Activate the switch!" declares the Warder.

To be continued....I hope!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Picard In Prison (Part One)

The crew have been visiting Talan IV, an earth-like planet that still retains a lot of 20th century charm, yet it is advanced technologically.

It could always be a recipe for disaster, just like the ill-fated Vista experiment of the early 21st century. It took years to recover from that.


We are all enjoying pleasantries with the local civic dictionaries when some official looking people, obviously law enforcement come in.

"What is the meaning of this?" says the Mayor, while swallowing a vol-au-vant and trying to chat up Seven, "Can't you see we are entertaining important visitors from the Federation?"

"I realise that." says the head man, "But we are here to arrest Captain Picard."

"On what charge?" I reply. I remember that I might have jaywalked across the road with Beverly earlier today. Perhaps they few it quite harshly here?

The leader gets out a document and reads it to me.

"Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise. You are hearby arrested on the charge of murdering Divara, the Regent of the City. earlier today. After you have been found guilty, you will be placed in prison and and then Disintegrated."

That sums it up nicely. The 'innnocent until proven guilty' doesn't seem to apply, as he already had me marked as 'guilty'.

"'Disintegrated'" I ask him.

"Yes," he replied, "You will be placed in a chamber, and your molecules will be taken apart."

What a way to go!

As the head officer's minions put me in cuffs to take me away, Data protests. Riker joins in after finishing his Talan donut.

"There is nothing I can do, gentlemen." says the Mayor, "Talan law must be followed through."


Shortly after, I am in the courtroom, heavily handcuffed down and surrounded by guards. Beverly is weeping away in the public gallery. Data is acting for the defence.

"Captain Picard has not met the Regent of the City, your honour." he says to the judge, "What evidence is the that he has?"

"Roll the film" orders the prosecuting counsel.

The CCTV footage clearly shows me in broad daylight attacking Divara. I'm beginning to think I was guilty myself."

"Where were you when this was taking place, Captain?" Data whispers to me.

"I was on the Enterprise in the holodeck, Data...and no one was with me."


Shortly after, the judge announces his verdict, which is hardly a surprise.

"You will be put in a prison and shortly be Disintegrated."

As I am led away, I hear the sounds of increased weeping and wailing from the public gallery. Deanna and Jadzia have joined in with Beverly.

I manage to tell Data and Riker that they have to find the truth.

Things are looking precarious right now.

To be continued...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

TWQ: What Did You Do?

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) asks you to remember what happened a week ago.

Can you mention three things that you did last weekend?

Here are my answers:

1: I wrote the 'Plant Problems' story for my Journal.

2: I downloaded the camera disc on to my new computer and experimented to see if it worked properly.

3: I made sure the first two hours of the new '24' season recorded properly while also watching 'Waking The Dead' at the same time.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Plant Problems (Part Three)

Boothby has been causing some problems on his trip from Earth to Epsilon II. He was supposed to help us with the walking plants called Truffids that are starting to march against the inhabitants of the base that has been established there.

However, during the journey, Deanna and Riker have stopped talking to each over after a row they've had. When I've tried to find out the cause, all both of them have said is "Ask Boothby."

When I did, he just mentioned that he mistook Riker for Worf.

I think I can guess the rest.


However, we are now in Transporter Room One; fortunately, Riker and Deanna have kissed and made up, and they are going down with Data, Boothby, Beverly and myself.

We beam down to see a very green planet with beautiful fauna all around. Boothby looks in awe, as it's a paradise for any plant lover.

In the distance, we can see the base, newly set up; the doors are locked and the shutters are down. To the west, things look odd.

"It's like the ground is moving." says Deanna.

"Of course it is, missy" comments Boothby, "It's the Truffids closing in."

Slowly, the walking plants get nearer; we rush over to the ground between the base; as we do, we know we don't have miuch time.

"What do we do." asks Riker, "Destroy the plants or beam the inhabitants off?"

"We don't want to do either." I say, "The Truffids inhabit this world, and have a right to it. However, the scientists on the base want to observe the wonderment of nature."

Had it been James T Kirk who had this problem, he would have simply blasted the Truffids off the face of the planet with a couple of photon torpedoes. Things are so much more complex in the 24th Century.

"We can turn the base into an observatory by shielding it." suggests Data, "The Truffids will be unaware it is there."

"That's perfect, Mr Data." I reply, "But we need time to delay the Truffids while we construct the shield."

"I can help there, sonny." says Boothby, and he gets out his bag a few tiny globules.

"What are these?" asks Beverly.

"Plant repellant explosives, missy." he comments, "Just throw them at the ground before they get here and it will send them back for a while until you get the shield working."

We throw them and smoke risese as the Truffids approach; when it clears, we see they are all disoriented and starting to retreat.

"Well done, Mr Boothby." I tell him.

"It was nothing, sonny." he tells me.

A few hours later, the base is shielded, and the Truffids are walking about happily, none the wiser that they are being spied on by the scientists, and are likely to be the centre spread for 'Federation Gardener' next month.


As we approach Earth, in my Ready Room, Boothby is in angry consultation over the viewer with Admiral Costello.

"Look you young whippersnapper!" he says, "I was the gardener when you were just a pimply cadet. Couldn't you remember to get someone to look after the Gardens for a few days? What did you say? You have seniority? I know a lot more about you than you want to admit. I saw you with Monica Cartwright at the Christmas party. I'm sure you wouldn't want your wife to know about that....and another thing..."

I decide to walk on; there are some things one is just not meant to know.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Plant Problems (Part Two)

Guest Poster: Boothby

Now I'm on the Enterprise undertaking a dangerous mission to Epsilon II, I really rerally rarin' to go.

Some people just think I'm an old guy who looks after the gardens at Starfleet Academy. I tell you this, I'm sharper than all those Admirals and Cadets who think they know it all put together.

What was I saying?

Oh yes, don't interrupt me. It'll come to me.

Yes, these giant walking plants called Truffids have taken a dislike to the inhabitants of this new base that the Federation have set up on the planet, and are starting to march upon them.

The top brass wants me to sort it out; I'm the best one that knows about plant life.

They are right there.


Picard welcomes me on board. A redheaded woman is standing next to him. She's obviously looking at him adoringly.

"This is Doctor Crusher" says Picard, "If you don't feel well, she'll help you."

"Listen, sonny." I say, "I'm not Old Father Time. I'm as fit as a fiddle."

"Of course you are." comments the redhead condescendingly, "But just in case you do, call the SickBay."

"Missy, is your name Beverly?" I ask her.

"Yes it is." she replies, "But how did you know?"

"I caught Picard writing 'I Luv Bev' on one of my trees the other week." I tell her, "He's done that before. I gave him a right piece of my my mind."

They both blush like a couple of teenagers. You'd think they would know better. Anyway, he won't be able to write that phrase on the Truffids. I can't see 'em taking too kindly to that!


Once I get my things sorted out in my quarters I take a look around.

I come to a brunette who I met a while back in the Academy Gardens; she is holding hands with a bearded guy who is the Commander, judging by his stars.

"Hello Mr Boothby!" she says, "Do you remember me?"

"I sure do, missy" I reply, "You're err....umm.....Deanna."

"That's right." she says, "Glad to see you on the Enterprise."

"You must be Worf" I say to the bearded guy, "I remember Deanna telling me that she was seeing him and enjoying his company."

Deanna goes red and the bearded guy looks annoyed.

"Actually I'm Commander Will Riker." He informs me, "Worf and Deanna are no longer together."

The two march off; it sounds like there is an argument brewing between those two. I don't fancy Worf's chances.


A female Borg drone suddenly approaches me.

"You must be Boothby, the guest we have" she says, "I am Seven of Nine. I am studying human behaviour on behalf of the Borg Queen on this ship."

"In that case, we have a lot in common." I reply, "I find that when I tend the Academy Gardens, I see many forms of human behaviour; courtship, double-dealing and all manner of back-stabbing."

"Really?" comments Seven, "I must visit the Gardens sometime. The Queen will be most interested in what I observe."


My Com badge is activated.

"The Enterprise is approaching Epsilon II. Will Mr Boothby, Lieutenant Commander Data, Doctor Crusher, Counselor Troi, Commander Riker join Captain Picard in Transporter Room One in order to beam down."

Time to go and meet the Truffids.

I'd better take some plant spray.

To be continued....

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Plant Problems (Part One)

I am summoned to Starfleet Headquarters by the Admirals.

It looks as if the Enterprise has drawn the short straw for another dangerous mission again. I don't know why it seems to be us. Any other starship just routinely cruises the galxy with bearly a scratch, while ours seems to get patched up and sent off again with alarming regularity.

I open the doors and Admirals Costello and Abbot are there.

I wonder if they know the 'Who's On First' comedy routine.

"Ah, Captain Picardo," says Costello, "Glad you could come."

"Thank you, sir." I reply, "Actually, it's Picard."

"Whatever." Abbot tells me, "That's not important right now. However something has come up on the fauna planet Epsilon II."

"Yes," continues Costello, "We set up a base for people to live there. Everythingthing was going well until the ecology started fighting back."

"Sorry, sir?" I say with a puzzled look."

"What my colleague is referring to," Abbot tells me, "Is that giant plants, named Truffids have started to threaten the inhabitants. They are hiding in their base. The Truffids are on the march. In a few days, they will reach the base."

"We don't want to destroy them." Costello takes up the talk, "We want to have peaceful relations with the Truffids."

First Contact with a plant; whatever next? A rose bush?

"I see, sir" I reply, "Lieutenant Commander Data should have an expert knowledge of fauna life, it should be a good..."

"That's not what we want, Captain." Abbot informs me, "We want you to take a human expert along; who we have in mind knows more about plant life than anyone else."

"Who's that?" I ask.

"Send him in." Costello informs a guard. The door opens.

It's Boothby, the Head Gardener of Starfleet Academy.

"Hello sonny." he tells me, "Let's get going on this mission. I'm already packed and ready to go."

"Admiral Costello." I say hastily, "Do you think it is safe for Mr Boothby to go on this mission? After all, he is a little frail."

"Are you trying to say I'm old, sonny." Boothby barks at me, "Let me tell you, I'm sharper than anybody else in this room."

He then looks at the Admirals.

Now make sure my Academy gardens are looked after while I'm away, or you'll have to answer to me."

"Let's go, Mr Boothby" I say with impending dread, and get ready to beam up with him.

To be continued...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TWQ: Live Concerts

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks at live concerts.

What are your three favourite live concerts that you've attended?

My answers are:

Judith Durham (Birmingham Symphony Hall). The former lead singer of The Seekers gave a stunning performance with many favourites and covers of classics from famous singers.

Nanci Griffith (Birmingham Symphony Hall). This singer really came into her own with many memorable songs.

Carmen (Covent Garden Opera House, London). This opera was not an individual performance, but a collective experience. Even if one is not an opera fan (I'm not), anyone would marvel at the sheer spectacle.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Life With Kirk (Part Three)

It is highly dangerous been a redshirt crewman in the 23rd Century on Captain Kirk's Enterprise.

Since Q took me back there, to show me how tough things were, I've had to be very careful. When we investigated events on the desolate planet of Zargon III, a fellow crewman has been killed by a mysterious blood-sucking alien. Kirk has taken an Orion Slave Girl named Thada that we have found back to the Enterprise to show her what love is.


"A blood-sucking creature, Spock?" comments Doctor McCoy, "Maybe it's a taxman? Perhaps we ought to send you? The creature might not like green Vulcan blood!"

"That is not logical, Doctor." replies Spock, "Evidence suggest that the creature will feed on all sorts of blood."

"Oh, get a sense of humour transplant, Spock!" replies McCoy, "Don't suppress it all of the time!"

I wish I had Bev and Riker with me; at least they don't squabble all the time like these two.

We look in the cave where we found Thada; at the back, we see some alien skeletons that are near a fire.

"Fascinating." comments Spock.

"Stop saying 'fascinating', you pointy-eared Vulcan." McCoy tells him, "What does it all mean?"

"It means that Thada is the mysterious alien who killed Crewman Hunter and other visitors to this planet." states Spock.

"She could have special powers," I add, "Or be a shapeshifter."

We beam up hurriedly; Captain Kirk could be killed by that creature. As I know he is supposed to last until the inauguration of the Enterprise B some years from now. We can't have the timeline disturbed.

"Where is Captain Kirk?" we ask Scotty, who is at the transporter controls.

"He says is he showing that green girl around" he replies, "And her says that he canna be disturbed while he has coffee with her in his quarters."

"Unfortunately, we must do so to save the Captain." comments Spock, "Arm yourselvers everybody."


We reach the Captain's quarters; there is a lot of noise inside.

"Spock." says McCoy, "What if you're wrong and the Captain is just pursuing his usual interests?"

"It's a risk we have to take, Doctor." he replies, as he kicks the door down.

A huge monster is towering over Kirk; it has long claws and is covered in furm like a giant grizzly bear. Kirk'd shirt is torn, and there are scratches on his chest.

We all use our phaser, and the monster disappears into nothingness.

"I guess there are some women I don't get on with." laughs Kirk, "Spock, please inform Yeoman Janice Rand that she has been re-booked for tonight."

I suddenly see a blinding flash of light.


I am back in my own quarters of the Enterprise D in the 24th Century with Q.

"Well, Jean-Luc." he asks, "Did you find it easy living in the 23rd Century?"

"Not really, Q." I reply, "I found it most enlightening, and it shows how far the Federation have come since then. Now just let me rest for the evening as I wanted to."

Q disappears at last; now I can take it easy for the night after that party.

The alarm clock goes off; it's morning already!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Life With Kirk (Part Two)

Guest Poster: James T Kirk

Captain's log, Stardate 26647.4.

The Enterprise has arrived at Zargon III, where we are carrying out routine checks on the planet. Hopefully I can find a few aliens to zap and some pretty girls to rescue and fall in love with.

I'm taking Bones and Spock with me down to the surface, along with a few expendable redshirt crewmen. One of them, Michael Foster has been acting strangely. He talks of making peaceful First Contact with any inhabitants. He called Spock 'Number One' on a couple of occasions.

That made Spock's eyebrow raise!


We all beam down to the surface; it looks rather barren, and the sky has a kind of orange glow. The rocks look as if they are created out of papier mache. It's odd how a lot of planets we visit seem to look like that.

"Split up everybody." I say, "And look for anything unusual. You redshirts go over there; try not to get killed. I've used up my quota of redshirt replacements already for this year, and Starfleet won't be sending me any more for quite a while."

"Perhaps we ought to be going with you, Captain." suggests Foster.

"No, Crewman." I reply, "It makes it more dangerous for us, and we can't afford to get killed off."

Bones and I go looking in a hilly part of the planet.

"What do you think about Foster?" I ask him, "He seems to have undergone a personality transplant. He appears to have a very authoritive air all of a sudden."

"Don't ask me, Jim." Bones snaps at me, "I'm a country doctor, not a behavioural psychiatrist."


A terrible scream comes from the direction of the redshirts. We all go to investigate.

Crewman Will Hunter's skin has turned a weird colour, with all his blood removed, according to Bones. Another redshirt bites the dust.

"Fascinating." says Spock.

A great contribution HE makes!

"Now what did I tell you!" I groan dispairingly, "I told you redshirts not to get killed; I'm on a tight budget with staff here. The Enterprise is getting a bad reputation for crew turnover."

Everybody goes out to look around further, but there is an air of tension.

Crewman Michael Foster comes to me.

"I've found something here, Captain." he tells me, and leads me to a cave, and shows me what is inside.

Wow! It must be my lucky day. I've hit the jackpot!

"I am Thada, an Orion Slave Girl." she says, "I was abandoned here many years ago by my masters."

"Why is that?" I ask, "Did no one love you?"

"What is love?" she replies innocently.

"Come back up to the Enterprise, and I'll do my best to explain it to you."

It's tough being a Captain in the 23rd Century!

"What about the creature that killed Crewman Hunter?" asks Foster, "Shouldn't we all be looking for that, Captain?"

I'll let you do that, Foster." I reply, "I've got to look after this lonely young lady."

As the others look around, Thada and I beam up to the Enterprise.

Another day, another, woman!

I'll postpone Yeoman Janice Rand until we've delivered Thada to her homeworld.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Life With Kirk (Part One)

My birthday party was a lot of fun; it was a great surprise having that party in Ten Forward was really enjoyable, although I would have been in a bad mood if there wasn't one.

The highlight was when Bev put her Marilyn Monroe dress on and blonde wig, and sang "Happy Birthday, Captain Picard"

Well, now the day is over, and it's time to relax in my quarters after all the noise and excitement of they day.

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light.

"Happy Birthday, Jean-Luc."

It's Q.

"Go away, Q" I tell him, "I just want to relax."

"Don't be like that, Jean-Luc." he replies, "I came to wish you a wonderful birthday."

"Thanks very much. Now go back to the Continuum."

"I've got a nice pressy for you here." he continues.

Suddenly a marching band appears in the room, playing 'Happy Birthday' at an ear-shattering volume.

"GET THEM OUT!" I shout as loudly as possible.

They disappear.

"The trouble is with you, Jean-Luc." comments Q, "Is that you are never grateful. Here you are, in the comfort of a Galaxy-class starship. You could never survive in one from a century ago."

"Nonsense, Q." I say, "Of course I could."

As soon as I said that, I knew it was the wrong thing to say.

"Oh, really." Q tells me. He smiles, and there is a flash of light.


The next thing I see is a much smaller room, very primatively built. From my history lessons at the Academy, I recognise it as a 23rd Century Starfleet vessel.

I look in the mirror, and am shocked at what I see.

I am much younger, with hair, which is good; alarmingly, though, I have a red shirt on; they were expendable in those days, especially on Captain James T Kirk's Enterprise. I hope I'm not on that one.

Upon examination of the room, I find I am inhabiting the body of Crewman Michael Foster, who has just been on the Enterprise and has narrowly escaped death three times on missions with Kirk.

My worst fears are realised.

The Com on the wall activates.

"Crewman Foster to Transporter Room One. Required for Landing Party with Captain Kirk, Science Officer Spock, Doctor McCoy and a few redshirts."


I arrive at Transporter Room One, where Kirk, Spock and McCoy, plus three other redshirts are getting ready.

"Right." says Kirk to us all, "If you see any mean looking aliens, don't forget to zap them. Set your phasers on kill."

"Captain" I say, "Should we not try to establish First Contact with any aliens we meet in order to promote peace and harmony between planets?"

Kirk looks bewildered.

"Foster, have you been on something?" he asks me, "We are supposed to zap any bad looking aliens and find any Princesses from other planets to take home, so I can fall in love with them."

He talks to the man at the transporter controls."

"All right, Scotty." he tells him, "Beam us down."

To be continued...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

TWQ: Birthday Events

As January 14 is my birthday, TWQ (The Weekend Question) is asking you to look at births, deaths and events on your birthday with the help of Wikipedia

Go to Wikipedia and type your birthday (but not the year) in 'search'. You will see a list of births, deaths and events. Copy a couple of each in the comments. Can we hear what happened on your birthday?

My answers for January 14 are:


1690 - The clarinet is invented in Nuremberg, Germany.
1955 - Marilyn Monroe weds Joe DiMaggio.
1975 - Teenage heiress Lesley Whittle is kidnapped by Donald Neilson, aka "the Black Panther".


1875 - Albert Schweitzer, Alsatian physician, Nobel laureate (d. 1965)
1892 - Hal Roach, American film producer (d. 1992)
1941 - Faye Dunaway, American actress


1957 - Humphrey Bogart, American actor (b. 1899)
1986 - Donna Reed, American actress (b. 1921)
2006 - Shelley Winters, American actress (b. 1920)

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Computer (Part Two)

Guest Poster: Data

Captain Picard has been very annoyed since Sid has fitted the new computer in the Enterprise. It is apparently an old model that was used in the latter part of the twentieth century called the Giganticon 6000.

He has contacted Starfleet and they have informed him that budgeting has meant that slightly older models are now being installed.

Captain Picard asks me to press the 'Start' button to commence it's activation.

Nothing happens.

"Hold on, mate." Sid tells me, "You've got to wait for the valves to warm up a bit. The Giganticon isn't going to come on right away."

"We could have been destroyed by an alien vessel while we were waiting for this machine to 'warm up a bit'" complains Worf.

Everybody mumbles and agrees; I decide to ask Sid a question.

"Do you think the circuitry and database of the Giganticon will allign to my positronic brain pattern so that information may be freely passed?"

Sid looks hesitant.

"Err...it does do Beginner's Level Chess." he replies, "As long as other functions, such as Life Support are cut out."

"Are we safe?" asks Doctor Crusher, with concern.

"Don't worry, missus." Sid assures, "We've got the back-up system over here."

"It looks like an Assimilation Chamber." Seven states, with affection.

There is a clanking sound, and a green light appears in the Giganticon.

"It's up and running." Sid declares proudly, and turns to me, "Give it an instruction."

"Computer." I say, "Take the Enterprise to Starbase 6."

Another clanking sound is heard; the Enterprise starts to move forward, then shudders to a halt.

"Knight to King's Pawn 3" states the computer, before switching itself off.

"That's it!" shouts Captain Picard, angily, "Sid, I want to to remove every inch of what you bought in, and put back the computer we had before, together with the latest upgrades...and no arguments!"

"Come on, lads," Sid tells his helpers, "We'll put this lot in the USS Madagascar instead; maybe they aren't as fussy."


A few hours later, and our former computer is back in place.

"Well, Mr Data" the Captain asks me, "You must be pleased to have our old computer back."

"Indeed." I reply, "The chess matches will be more challenging than the ones with the Giganticon."

Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Computer (Part One)

Starfleet have ordered that the Enterprise be fitted with a new computer, so we are returning back to Earth.

This sort of things seems to happen so often; they tell me that the one we have is 'out of date' and we need upgrading.

Geordi isn't happy about it, as it upsets the engines and the optimum performance. I can't say I'm keen either. I have to try and figure out the instructions. Usually I only find out after I have been coached by one the children who live on the ship.

We await for the installer to beam on. A flash and he appears.

"Morning, mate."

It is Sid, the engineer who always tends to visit us. He has a bag of tools, including a hammer and screwdriver.

"Hello Sid." I say, "I hope you know how to put this latest computer in."

"Don't worry, mate." he replies, as he puts his cigarette behind his ear and picks up his toolbox, "We'll soon get this new computer up and running, and have a real 21st Century style system running."

"But it's the 24th Century!" I protest, "We need one that is suitable for a Galaxy-Class starship, not an old crate."

"All right mate," says Sid, "Keep your hair on. Once I've finished, you'll have top level machines running here.

I leave Sid and his minions to bring the parts on board, while I go for a drink in Ten Forward with the others.


"Do you think the computer will be an up-to-date one, Captain?" asks Riker.

"I'm not sure, Number One." I reply, "I somehow have my doubts when Sid is installing anything."

"I did see some of the men bringing transistor parts aboard." comments Data, "I do not believe they comply with 24th Century technology."

"Agreed." says Worf gruffily, "They may be cutting corners in costs."

"That's what I've heard as well." Jadzia tells us., "The cost of building statships has gone up lately. Starfleet possibly thinks they will work with older equipment."

"If Starfleet had contacted the Borg," snorts Seven, "You would have a far more efficient computer; we have assimilated the best minds in the universe and would easil..."

Seven's pro-Borg rantings are cut short when Sid walks in and tells us all that the computer is installed; we are all led in to see it.

"It's enormous!" I shout, "This is the size they used to be in the mid-twentieth century."

"This machine is called the Giganticon 6000" states Sid proudly, "It stores 6 MB of memory and is capable of delivering calculations in less than half an hour."

"We need something better than that." complains Geordi.

"Don't worry, mate." Sid assures him, "There will be an upgrade out soon.."

He points us to the computer keyboard.

"Now this is a real up-to date model." he proudly declares.

"It's ancient!" I tell him, "I'm going to complain to Starfleet and get the old computer put back in."

"Hold on, mate." Sid says, "Don't be hasty; give it a chance. You might be surprised to see how well the Giganticon works."

I press the 'Start' button, and we all wait to see what happens next.

To be continued...


Author's note:

As you may have guessed, I'm having a new computer fitted. The engineer will be installing it, and afterwards, it will require broadband connection and data transfer. As a result, Part Two will be shown when I am reconnected; this may take two or three days from Tuesday.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

TWQ: Famous People

TWQ (The Weekend Question) asks about people you may have encountered...

Who is the most famous person you have ever met? By all means name more than one if you wish.

My answers are:

The famous people I have met have generally been on the streets of London. My parents and I could not find a theatre, so we picked someone to ask, who turned out to be the actor Timothy West! On another occasion, in Hatchards' bookshop in Piccadilly, we talked to the globetrotter Alan Whicker, and got his autograph.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Restructuring (Part Two)

I'm here at Starfleet Headquarters applying for my own job!

Since Admiral Jensen told me there is a 'restructuring program' going on at Starfleet, I've been preparing for the interview. Beverly has been helping by playing the interviewer and me answering.

Bev was too tough! I couldn't answer her questions.

I'm here now in my best outfit, waiting to go in. Beverly is with me, holding my hand.

"Now listen, Jean-Luc" she tells me calmly, "There is nothing to be afraid of; just be your normal self and answer carefully."

"I don't want to end up commanding a cargo ship in deep space, or something like that." I say in a halting manner, "I like the Enterprise."

"Don't be afraid." Beverly replies, "Besides, if the worst comes to the worst, even a cargo ship needs a doctor."

We laugh at that. Bev has a good sense of humor.

The interview room door opens, and Captain Collinson of the USS Delaware comes out. He's a tough man, but he is red faced and quivering. Some of his officers take him away as he mentions the Captaincy of a leaky radioactive chemical vessel.

A voice barks out from the room.


I slowly walk in; the are two figures there; Admirals Fenner and Z'Var. Two of the people who opposed my Captaincy to the Enterprise in the first place.

That cargo ship is looking very real.

"Now I know we didn't exactly approve of you when who were given the Enterprise, Captain Picard." says Fenner, "But you can be sure that Admiral Z'Var and I will overlook that and will give a balanced assesment on this interview. Isn't that right, Admiral?"

"Yes, I suppose so." Z'var comments reluctantly.

"Now then," starts Fenner, "Can you tell me how well you've done with the Enterprise, and why you think you should stay in chatge of it?"

"Well" I say, "We've made a number of First Contacts with other species, saved the universe a few times, and..."

"While that's true, Captain" interrupts Z'Var, "It has been the Enterprise, not just you who have done these things. Many of your own crews action has resulted in things working out. The acting Ensign Wesley Crusher has saved the ship a number of times. Maybe we should make him Captain?"

I grate my teeth hard.

"Ensign Crusher did perform a lot of these tasks, Admiral" I comment, "But only because I had the foresight to appoint him to that position."

It pained me to say all that, but Z'Var grudginly accepts it. Fenner tries another tack.

"The Starfleet Prime Directive is our number one priority, is it not, Captain."

"Yes, Admiral." I reply, knowing what Fenner is going to say next.

"In that case, why have you consistantly broken that rule?" he comments, "On Stardate 43218.6, the Enterprise interfered with the development of the Goldran race, and on Stardate.."
"That was necessary, Admiral." I say quickly, "Otherwise the Goldran would not be here now. Also, if you remember, Admiral Z'Var, that it was them that rescued your race, the Valden, when the Golos threatened to invade."

Z'Var hesitates; I've got him on the defensive. He quietly confers with Fenner, who shakes he head. After more intensive whispering, Fenner nods his head grudgingly and turns towards me.

"Captain Picard." he states, with the air of a man who has won a lottery but has lost his ticket, "We have decided that your application to retain the Captaincy of the Enterprise has been successful."

I get up and leave; Beverly is waiting for me, eager to know the result.

"Forget the cargo vessel, Bev." I tell her with a smile, "I think we'll settle for the Enterprise."

We both laugh and head back to beam up.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Restructuring (Part One)

I've just been called to my Ready Room for a personal video chat with Admiral Jensen, Chief of Starfleet Human Resources.

I don't know why they still call it that; a lot of Starfleet personnel aren't even human!

Never mind; I always get bad feelings when a one-to-one meeting is called for. It usually involves something unpleasant, for the Enterprise, for me or for both.

I put my code in, which the computer acknowledges; Jensen's face appears. he doesn't look happy and beaming.

Definately trouble ahead!

"Captain Picard" he says, "It looks like the Federation President has approved of a number of changes within Starfleet. He wants the system restructured."

"What does that mean, Admiral?" I ask, although I know enough executive double-speak to make a guess."

"Well, err..." he starts, not keen on saying much more, "The President would like to reassess the positions of the current Captains within Starfleet and see if they are suitable for their position."

"You mean us Captains have to apply for their own jobs, and if we don't measure up, we are fired?" I shout.

"I w-wouldn't p-put it as strongly as t-that." Jensen replies, sounding like Reg Barclay, "A Captain who wasn't quite suitable might find himself commanding a different vessel, or enjoying a well-earmed retirement."

"What sort of vessel were you intimating at, Admiral?" I ask him.

"A deep-space cargo ship would be one idea." Jensen tells me, although looking like he didn't have to.

I'm not keen on commanding a leaky old refuge ship on the edge of the Delta Quadrant; there's no other Federation ships around there.

"What would happen then to the ships who didn't have the Captains?" I ask.

"Well, err....Captain Picard." the Admiral goes on, "The likeliest scenario is that the senior officer, like the Commander would take over; then someone would take his position. Eventually the loss will be absorbed by the senior staff, hence the restructuring in the organisation."

It all becomes very clear; Starfleet is trying to cut down on it's staff.

"What do I do?" I ask him, although I would really like to hit Jensen on the nose.

"Report to Starfleet Headquarters for your job interview in two days, Captain." says the Admiral, "Jeansen out."

The screen goes blank, and I think about it all. Another job interview? I hate those. The one I had for the Enterprise Captaincy was torture enough. I thought most of the interviewers disliked me and would have preferred Boothby the gardener to have it rather than me.

I march out of the Ready Room; Riker is sitting in my Chair directing events on the Bridge.

"Off my Chair, Number One!" I call out, "You're not the Captain yet!"

To be continued....