"It certainly did." I reply, "But at least Superman apologised for Conner's behaviour. I think I saw the Borg Queen smiling quietly to herself."
Jon, Intergalactic Gladiator is here to join us...
“a Rolling Rock, please,” I said to Guinan.
“Rock star beer,” my wife Patricia added with a smile. “I’ll have a Mike’s hard lemonade.”
“You do realize that you’re asking for drinks that existed a couple thousand years ago, don’t you?” the bartender asked.
“Well, you got ‘em?” I asked.
“Today’s you’re lucky day,” she smiled as she pulled two bottles out and placed them on the bar in front of us.”
“Nice,” Patricia grinned and took a big sip.
“Ah, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator,” Captain Picard approached me from behind and clasped me on the back. “It’s very good to see you and your wife on the Enterprise once again.”
“We’re just glad you offered babysitting services for tonight,” Patricia said.
“Yeah, thanks for that,” I said. “Our daughter Kiera is at her grandma’s but Paxton’s too young to spend the night away from us.”
“Right, yes,” the Captain nodded. “Of course, my ship is prepared for, ahem, all contingencies.”
“Right.” I held up my bottle of beer. “Cheers.”
The three of us clinked glasses and the Captain moved on to meet other guests. Patricia and I looked at each other. I looked into her eyes. They sparkled.
“Merry Christmas, baby,” Patricia said.
“You look beautiful,” I replied.
We heard a bit of a commotion and looked over. Standing in the open doorway was Commander Data, covered almost entirely in food and finger paint. In his outstretched arms, Paxton wiggled and giggled.
“Oh God,” Patricia breathed out as we dashed over to the android.
“I believe this is yours,” he said as he handed our baby back to us.
“Blah!” Paxton gurgled happily.
“Is that…?” I looked at the food caked on Data’s uniform.
“Yes,” Data nodded. “Creamed corn.”
Linda is here now...
With only a few hours until the start of the event, my date for the annual Enterprise Christmas party canceled on me and I was left with the choice of inviting a last-minute guest or attending on my own. It irked me to no end that Q claimed that something of monumental import had come up and he wasn't going to be able to go with me after all as I just wasn't sure if I believed him or not. After all, he was Q for crying out loud - a being who could control every circumstance imaginable and he couldn't find the time to attend a Christmas party with me? Harrumph!
Ah well, going by myself just wouldn't do so I sat down and thumbed through my address book (a bit old-fashioned but I found I liked it a lot better than using a cold modern touch-screen) ... Hmm, who to invite?
Too bad that Admiral Vlict Kenka, one of my very favorite Klingon commanders not to mention a member of one of the most honorable Klingon families, was still out tooling around in K'Lirta under that whole fear of death should he ever return thing; showing up with him on my arm certainly would have made for a lovely evening and put Q in his place should he decide to materialize later.
Wait, here was a possibility - I could invite Kevin, current Praetor of Romulus! Of course that might not be the best idea in the universe what with Kevin being the son of Praetor Shinzon who was the human clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard - who just happened to be the host of the party I was planning on attending . Certainly, though, that was a small thing and could be smoothed over with a case of Romulan ale or two - which I'm sure Kevin would be happy to bring. Besides, Kevin had always expressed an interest in meeting the Alpha Borg Queen who was to be the special guest at this year's party. Hopefully he wouldn't be put off by my last minute invitation but Q hadn't given me much notice that he had "better things to do". Harrumph again!
I quickly placed an interstellar call to Kevin who, luckily, wasn't doing much
except admiring a new flag that he had recently acquired and added to his extensive flag collection. For someone who was the ruler of the entire Romulan Empire, it seemed strange to me that one of the things that pleased him the most was admiring his flags but I guess it takes all kinds, right?
"Good evening your Praetorship, I certainly hope that I'm not interrupting anything. I was wondering if you might relish the opportunity to attend the annual Christmas party aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise and meet the guest of honor, the Alpha Borg Queen?", I asked hopefully.
After all, if Q did manage to show up, it would be good for him to see that I had other friends I could
do things with when his omnipotent presence was needed elsewhere.
"The Enterprise you say? Isn't that the ship still commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard?", inquired the Ruler of Romulus.
"Uhm, yes, as a matter of fact, it is," I replied thinking that now there was no way on any of
the earths that Kevin was going to want to go and I'd have to go by myself after all. I truly
did hate going to social events solo but I also didn't want to miss the Enterprise Christmas
party which was taking place in a representation of the Borg Cube on the holodeck and
featuring none other than The Strolling Drones, a group I had been wanting to see for eons!
"Excellent! Excellent! I should enjoy a chance to meet up with the man my father spoke of with so much venom and hate on a regular basis and show him that I'm a much more civilized man and ruler then my father, whom he apparently found it necessary to kill so long ago."
Oh yeah ... darn ... I had forgotten about that whole hand-to-hand combat thing that resulted
in Shinzon's death ... that could have bad written all over it but it was a little too late to
withdraw my invitation as that would be downright rude and I've learned through the years
really not a good idea to be rude to a Romulan - especially when said Romulan also happened
to be the Praetor.
"Just let me get my disruptor and a couple cases of Kali-fal and I'll meet you on board the Enterprise once you give me the coordinates. I'm sure that the Alpha Borg Queen will find the aroma to be like nothing she has ever experienced in the galaxy," Kevin said.
********************So far, despite my initial trepidation over inviting Praetor Kevin to the party without
considering that whole "I killed your father before he could kill me" issue, things at the party were going quite well. Captain Picard had been more than gracious when I introduced my
guest even when his date for the evening, Dr. Crusher, dropped her glass of Klingon
Bloodwine and shattered it all over the floor upon meeting the Praetor. One would have
thought that a surgeon would have steadier hands than that!
For the better part of the past two hours now, Kevin had been monopolizing all of the Alpha
Borg Queen's time as they toasted each other over and over with glass after glass of Romulan ale. I would have thought the blue liquid with the potent kick would have interfered with the Borg Queen's circuits but apparently she was a woman who could hold her own when it came
It was actually kind of amusing to watch the Praetor of Romulus laughing at the jokes that the Alpha Borg Queen was telling him but they appeared to be fast friends and I was glad that
Kevin had found someone he could talk to without my fearing he'd have need of the disruptor
he insisted on keeping by his side. However, if I had to hear "Why did the tribble cross the cube? Because resistance was futile!" joke one more time I was going to be in need of a drink
or two myself!
Fortunately it was at that point that The Strolling Drones finally took to the stage and began their opening number "(I Can't Get No) Assimilation" at such a loud noise level that it
drowned out all of the conversation around me. With the crowd on their feet the band next launched into "(Hey You!) Get Off of My Cube" before segueing into the slow dance song
"Wild Collectives" that soon had all of the couples in the room swaying in each others arms as the lead singer crooned "wild collectives couldn't drag me away ..."
When I looked up to see Kevin and the Alpha Borg Queen dancing with the other couples and staring intently into each others eyes with Kevin's disruptor lying forgotten on the table I
figured it was time for me to exit stage-right and leave the happy couple to themselves. After all, two's company, three's a collective ...
As I was making my way to the Enterprise coat-check in order to get my wrap and call it
a night who should appear but the one and only guy who told me that he couldn't make the
party - Q!
"Leaving so soon?", he whispered in my ear.
"I think so. The dancing seems to have taken a rather romantic turn which means it's time
for me to go as there's nothing worse than sitting on the sidelines watching other couples being ... well, couples!", I replied as I indicated all of the people on the dance floor who were totally oblivious to everything around them - Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher, Mr. Data and Jennifer Baxter, Worf and Jadzia, Counselor Troi and Commander Riker ... the Praetor and
the Alpha Borg Queen! "I think it's definitely time I leave. Besides, you said you couldn't
make the party!"
"Ah, but now that my previous business has been attended to and I have arrived, I really
think that you should stay", Q said smoothly as if that made everything better and excused
his canceling on me at the last minute. "After all, I'm here now, I believe this is our dance,
and as the Borg like to say 'resistance is futile', is it not?"
Oh well, when the man had a point - the man had a point! Perhaps this would be a Merry Christmas after all?
Now, here is Nic
"Baby? What in the world is this . . . cube doing floating in the living room?"
I turned to look at the handsome man with the perplexed look on his face. Finally, after many years of being in the state of single-hood, I had found someone worth having in my life. Now I just had to find a way to tell him about the Enterprise Christmas Party. This, after all, had
pretty much been my little secret the past few years.
"Well, hon. Ummmm, you see, there's this little Christmas party that I go to every year aaaaaaaaand, they send the invites in different ways and this just . . . happens to be this year's delivery method."
I walked over to look at the cube and I put my arms around my man in reassurance that
it was all okay. It wasn't until I reached out to take it in my hands that the top of the invitation opened up and a hologram of this horrific black, gray and blue metallic Christmas tree popped out. It looked like some twisted Tim Burton creation. A monotone voice droned out the
invitation to the Enterprise Christmas party for me and a guest and then the cube dissipated with very little fanfare.
"Damn Borgs. I hate when they try and take over the Christmas party. Everything is going
to be dull this year, unlike two years ago." That year's party they had actually made some
sort of an effort to make the party a fun event, but it seemed like everything would be going according to THEIR plan this year.
"Baby? Does this mean I have to wear a tux?"
"Yes, love, it does. And there is no saying no to this. I am NOT showing up there alone
AGAIN." My eyes flashed a bit of a challenge to my strapping honey. I didn't care if he
was over six feet tall and built well, I was going to make absolutely sure that he would go.
"Damn! There's no getting out of this for me is there?" He looked a bit sheepish and I knew
that even though he was one heck of a handsome man, he never really felt like he fit in much
"Nope." I turned to go take inventory of my wardrobe to find a dress.
He reached out and grabbed my hand and pulled me back to him. "Well, as long as you're there, I guess I can handle anything." He pulled me close and held me in his arms for a minute and then, with his chin resting on top of my head muttered in his lovely West Texas drawl, "A tux. Lovely. I'm used to jeans and t-shirts and leather jackets."
"C'mon you big baby, it's just clothing. I have a feeling you'll look just fine." I actually knew he would look more than fine. He'd already been compared to a young Burt Reynolds and Josh Brolin with an "edgy side".
"I don't s'pose we can get there on my Harley can we?"
"No, baby. This is one place that you definitely CAN'T reach by conventional means." I tickled him and had him chasing me around my large apartment in no time, me laughing and squealing like a little kid. Honestly, I hadn't felt this good in years.
When we arrived at the Enterprise, we were greeted by my dear friend Captain Picard. He usually made it a point to try and come to meet my arrival personally. I think he has a bit of a soft spot for me, personally. And, what can I say? I absolutely adore him.
"Nic, what a pleasant sight! I am so glad to see you. That black dress is rather fetching –
though you do sort of look like an avenging angel of sorts." My dress was a strapless affair
made of leather, lace and had a fluffy tulle skirt that went down to my feet.
It served to hide my knives well. He gave me a warm hug and turned to my date. "And you must be Oscar. I've
heard so much about you that I feel I almost know you already. Welcome aboard. I hope the journey wasn't too much of a shock for you."
Oscar looked around and said, "Thank you. It was an . . . interesting experience but not an unpleasant one. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's in store."
We walked into the holodeck and, well, it was as I feared. Everything this year was done in the dark colors of a Borg cube. The tree WAS just as dismal and ugly as in the invitation hologram. Holy mackerel! I saw some of the kids from the Enterprise and that had been brought by other non-Enterprise personnel looking for presents under the tree and when I saw what appeared to be parts for assimilation my entire being shuddered in revulsion. Some of the kids were crying, others looked fearful.
Being a member of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse), and being a mother myself, I became downright furious with the whole affair. After all, how DARE they ruin probably the best loved holiday for these kids!? No child deserves to live in fear – and no child should have their favorite holiday tarnished forever.
I stomped over to Oscar and when he saw my face he said, "Bayyybeeee? What are you gonna do?" He knew me only too well.
"I'm going to look for the person responsible for putting this entire debacle on and give them a piece of my mind!" With Oscar hot on my heels I stalked off to look for the dear Captain. Certainly he could shed some light on this.
I found Captain Picard next to the drink station with Isaac the perennial Christmas bartender. He looked a little frazzled and distraught. Poor Dr. Crusher was trying her hardest to distract him but as Captain Picard looked around and saw the growing dismay of the party guests he really wasn't focused on the Doctor's more prominent, ahem, assets. The mood of the party was just as dark as the atmosphere in the holodeck.
The crying children were getting on the nerves of the more warring visitors, the scowls of those warring visitors were making the parents of the children extremely nervous, and while the Strolling Bones were trying their best at playing music, well, this year their efforts were clearly influenced by the Borg-like feel and look of the holodeck. It was rather discordant.
I sighed. "Captain, just what in the blue blazes is going on here?"
"My dear Nic. Well, this is a rather quietly kept secret but the Alpha Borg Queen 'requested' to be in charge of the party this year. She may or may not be planning on making an appearance and the rest of the Borg are doing everything in their power to make it as 'Borg-like' as
possible. This is turning into a disaster and I fear that this might ruin the rest of the Enterprise
Christmas parties to come. People will stop coming to them out of fear that this is what they'll get. Frankly, I'm not sure just how to put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak." He uncharacteristically gulped down a large snifter of brandy. Eyes watering from the burn and after a little cough, he looked at me and said, "I don't want to offend the Borg but I can't let this continue."
I looked at the Captain. My run-in with the Borg from the Christmas party two years ago was well documented. I'd brought my knives for a reason. Sharp enough to slice a strand of hair just by laying the hair over the blade, they certainly would work well in the matter of "negotiation". "Leave it to me, my friend. Nobody will ever know you were involved."
I left my darling Oscar with the Captain and Dr. Crusher. Not that I didn't think he could take care of himself, on the contrary, I knew he could more than adequately do so, but I needed to be able to concentrate solely on my mission and if I had to worry about him being used against me in the "negotiations" I wouldn't succeed.
Walking down one of the corridors I finally found what I was looking for. The Alpha Borg Queen had arrived. Flanked by several Borg fighters she looked imperious, cold, and a bit arrogant. Hmmm, I thought, we'll just see how high and mighty she feels after I get done with her. I quickly detached the skirt of my dress to reveal tight leather pants and thigh-high leather boots with my knives strapped to the right thigh. Shimmying up a cross section to a darkened part of the ceiling, with a knife clinched between my teeth, I braced myself against some crossbeams and waited for them to pass under me.
Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. As I felt my muscles start to feel the first signs of strain and perspiration started to dot my brow, out of the corner of my eye I finally
saw the Queen and her escorts. It wouldn't be easy to get the drop on her and it would be a
tight fit, to say the least, but I was more than ready for the challenge. Knowing I'd face the Borg again some day, especially after having gone face to face and toe to toe with one of the lesser queens
at the party two years ago, I knew that I was on their radar and wanted to be as prepared as possible.
Four . . . three . . . two . . . ONE . . .
I dropped down right behind the Queen as she passed under me. I had transitioned my knife to my right hand mid-drop so I would be ready. Grabbing the tubes that hooked to her support system I held my knife to them, ready to sever them.
"Back off or I'll kill your Queen without hesitation!" The Borg security escorts looked perplexed as if it didn't register just what was happening. Since the Borg weren't really supposed to show emotion, that seemed a little strange to me. But, they backed away, leaving me free to "negotiate" with the Queen.
"Let Us guess, this is the infamous Nic who foolishly went up against one of Our queens two years ago – "
"And won. Don't forget that part." My heart was thundering. Surely I'd just consigned myself to death by this action. I'd never see my daughter again, never be held by Oscar again, never laugh with my friends again, never hug my mom again. Crapperjacks! This was NOT one of my better ideas! I hated acting on emotion and realizing the consequences later! I had to keep up my bravado though because the children and Captain Picard were counting on me.
"Yes, and won. Don't think that has escaped Our notice. And you're threatening to kill Us this year because?" Her voice was low, cold and deadly without a shred of emotion in it. My palms were starting to sweat a little bit now. Double damn!
"This is no Christmas party! What were you thinking? Were you thinking to 'sway' the guests to your side with this monstrosity of a joke? Nobody in their right mind would want to be assimilated after experiencing this hell you've bound them to with this party. There are countless races in there who will never willingly join you now."
"We can always take them by force if need be." The queen's voice was steady and unworried.
"But now they will be prepared for you. How many of your people will you sacrifice? You have nothing to fight for and they have everything to fight for and a people united together for a common goal, to fight for everything they know and hold dear, to fight for their freedom are
the most dangerous people of all. If you want to have more than a snowball's chance in hell of winning ANY of these people over to your side in the long run, you'd better do quick work of changing the atmosphere in there or they just might kill each other over it."
"You speak passionately and your words are eloquent. You would make a good recr –"
I yanked sharply on the tubes to shut her up. "Stifle it Edith. You know as well as I do that it is forbidden to go to the past to change the known history so don't even try it. And you can shove your platitudes about me where the sun don't shine. It didn't work so well with your lesser queen now did it? While you can't change the past, this future hasn't happened yet in my time and really, nobody will miss you too much so I could go ahead and do away with you now. . ." I let the sentence trail off, figuring that the Alpha Borg Queen might have at least a little survival instinct in her.
Precious seconds ticked by. The Queen's escorts stood still as rocks. I don't know if it was the collective mind telling them to be still, or at least be patient for an attack on me or if they were
in some way concerned that I would actually kill the supreme, head, high-honcho Queen of all the Borg.
"Fine. We will let you win . . . this time. You will have your Christmas party the way you want
it. But know this, little Earthling, next time We may not be so generous with you. Do not go making this a habit."
"And I am free to go, without interference, safe and whole?"
"Yes. Provided you do not tell anyone what happened."
"And you and ALL the Borg down to the most insignificant will leave my family and friends and their families completely alone?"
"Yes. On that you have Our word. After all, you are several centuries in the past and, as you indicated, it is forbidden."
"When I get back into the holodeck, everything had better be changed." I let go of her tubes, backed up to where I had stashed my skirt, re-sheathed my knife and re-attached the tulle skirt, all the time with my eye on the Queen and her escorts. After a moment they turned as one, the escorts surrounded the Queen and off they went in the direction of the holodeck.
Oh, Lordie, I sure hoped that things were back to "normal" when I got back. I needed a stiff drink after that ordeal.
As I entered the holodeck, the atmosphere had perked up immensely. The traditional
Christmas tree trimmed with tinsel and lights and red and green and silver and gold was there. Mistletoe hung from the door ways, the music was pleasant and fun, a little bit of rock, a little
bit of choral, a little bit of traditional all rolled into one. Best of all, the kids were smiling and laughing once again as the horrific presents under the tree were no longer there. Instead, in
their place were festively wrapped gifts with sparkly bows. One for each child.
I made my way to the Captain, Dr. Crusher and my own wonderful man. Captain Picard looked at me with a puzzled gaze. "What just happened, my dear?"
"Captain, let's just say that I am a skilled negotiator . . . and that's all I can say. Man, I need a drink!" I turned around to find Oscar there, looking absolutely breathtaking in his tux,
holding a whiskey and coke for me.
"Baby, how did you know I would need this?" I took it from him, my fingers brushing his, and then took a rather large drink from it.
"Because I know you. You don't need a man to handle any problems for you that come your
way, you can do that on your own. But I do know that you need to be taken care of when
you're done handling those problems."
"And you take care of me so well. Thank you baby, for everything." I set my drink down, took his hand and led him to the dance floor and settled into his arms to glide around the floor, my cheek on his broad chest. His cheek on the top of my head. The love of a lifetime, right there beside me. Never once questioning what I had to do but always there to take care of me no matter what. As I listened to the faint laughter of the kids as they played in the snow center,
the happy murmur of the crowd and the steady beat of Oscar's heart, I realized just how truly blessed I was.
I pulled back to look at him and as I looked into his eyes, I knew I could see forever in them. I pulled his head down to mine and put my lips next to his ear. "Merry Christmas, baby. I love you." I whispered. He shivered in my arms like I knew he would. Sensitive and ticklish ears.
A small giggle escaped me.
He smiled down at me and winked. "Merry Christmas back at you baby. I love you too." We continued to dance body to body as if we were the only two souls on the floor.
Yes, all was right with my world.
Wow! I think Jennifer Baxter, our leather-clad Ensign would be proud of Nic there!
And lastly....from me....
I had been getting very nervous. After all, with the leader of the entire Borg race visiting, I had to be careful that offering a vol-au-vant at the wrong time might mean assimilation for the entire crew!
That's diplomacy for you.
With the countdown to the party, I go to collect Bev, my escort.
She wears a beautiful black, satin dress, that goes to the floor.
"Disappointed I'm not wearing Six's dress, Jean-Luc?" she asks me.
"Well...err..." I answer. She knows just what I'm thinking.
"Would you REALLY want me to go to the Party in a micro red transparent dress that all the crew could see?" she asks, "Or would you like me to keep it for when we have a private dinner between us?"
"You're right, Bev." I concede, "You look great."
With the party well underway, Seven approaches me.
"Locutus." she tells me, "The Borg Queen informs me that our Leader is here."
I cough, and go with the entourage to meet her.
"Greetings, your Majesty." I say to her. Seven coached me on the proper etiquette, "I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the..."
"You are Locutus of Borg?" she says, interrupting me, "The Captain of this ship who helped the Borg defeat the Cylons in the recent war?"
"Errr...yes I am." I admit.
"Then I an the rest of the Borg race thank you for your actions." she comments, "You would indeed be worthy of assimilation."
"Perhaps another time, Leader." says the Borg Queen 01, who is next to her in full grovelling mode, "Shall we go to the Party?"
"Indeed." the Leader says, "I am most curious to see what this Enterprise Christmas Party is about."
The entourage goes into the main dancing area, where The Strolling Drones are playing It's Only Assimilation (But I Like It) extra loud to the delight of Ensign Britney and T'Pol who are whooping it together on the floor with air guitars.
"Very strange." comments the Alpha Borg Queen, "I have not seen behaviour like this before."
"Oh, we are very used to it." Ro Laren answers, as she offers the Leader a Klingon Bloodwine. She staggers back, but the Queen 01 is there to hold her.
"This is a most powerful concoction." the Borg Leader says to herself, then has another drink, empties the glass and asks for another.
"I don't think you should have another, you majesty." advises the 01 Queen.
"Quiet!" she replies, "I like it....now give me a party hat and let's dance, Locutus!"
Much to Bev's annoyance, I escort the Alpha Borg Queen just as a slow smoochy number is coming on.
"Why are the dancers close together, Locutus?" she asks.
"Because this is a romantic song, your Majesty." I reply, "The dancers are meant to be romantically together."
"I see." she says to herself, and pulls me right up to her, as we move slowly. I can just about make the steam out in the corner where Bev is.
The Leader then glimpses over and sees Deanna Troi.
"You have a Deanna Troi here, I see, Locutus." she says to me, "The Borg version from the alternative universe is most troublesome. If you would care to do a swap, you could do what you like with the one I gave you. We would give Deanna her own Cube and set of drones."
"Err, I don't think so, your Majesty." I reply, "I believe she is happy where she is."
"Very well." she answers, "Although there might be a time when Troi would have no choice."
"Can I cut in?" Bev says, and I quickly get Riker to dance with the Alpha Borg Queen."
"Bev!" I exclaim, "You could get us all assimilated!"
"No souped-up Borg is going to stop me dancing the smoochy records with you, Jean-Luc." she says, and pulls me closer than the Queen could.
I check to see if the Alpha Queen and 01 are all right. Ensign Britney and T'Pol seem like they are telling the Borg one of their lewd jokes. As both the Queen and her subordinate are laughing uncontrolably, it looks like it went well.
"C'mon, Jean-Luc." says Bev, "Lighten up for Christmas."
I agree and give her a big kiss.
"Happy Christmas, Bev."
"Happy Christmas, Jean-Luc"