Thursday, January 31, 2008

Filming On The Enterprise (Part Three)

Steven Spolberg the film director, together with his crew have been irritating everybody on the Enterprise with his invasive questions and general poking around. He is here to record the activities and interview staff so that a record of life on a galaxy class starship can be kept for posterity.

Not that anyone would want to watch it of course. I think they would rather watch 'Honey I've Transported The Kids To Vulcan.'


As a deal for Spolberg, I gathered the senior staff together so that we can be filmed and answer questions. Afterwards, he can get off the ship and we can resume normal life.

Spolberg enters with the crew, while we get in position.

"Okay boys, get the camera set up and we'll start rolling. Captain, do you think we can have all the women sitting up front, to give more glamour?"

"No." I tell him.

"Oh, well." he answers, "Just a thought."

"Now, Captain Picard." he starts, "You're a veteran Officer, have you ever thought you'd like to take an easier job? It was only your birthday earlier this month."

"No I don't." I reply tersely, "I intend to remain in the post for a very long time."

"You have a lot of fine Officers, Captain." Spolberg, "I'm sure Commander Riker would be capable of replacing you. From what I read, he's been in this position for a long while. Do you think he needs a chance?"

"Commander Riker is more than capable of captaining a starship." I say with a fake smile, "But it won't be this one."

I feel the tension of annoyance in the air coming from Riker.

"Have you thought of applying elsewhere, Commander Riker?" Spolberg inquires.

"Can we move on, Spolberg?" I say irritatingly.

"Okay, "Now Lieutenant Commander Data, you're a robot, aren't you?"

"That is incorrect." he answers, "I am an android created by Doctor Soong. I have a positronic brain and.."

"Is it true you can't do contractions?" asks Spolberg.

"That is true."

"Do you want to give it a try? While in front of the cameras."

"Spolberg!" I say irritatingly, "Ask something sensible or we stop filming."

"All right." he answers, "Now Deanna Troi, in a starship like this, people are in a very enclosed space. Surely that means crewmembers must start getting attracted to each other. Have either of you noticed this?"

Beverly looks at me in alarm, as Deanna does to Riker. Also Jadzia does with Worf, Jennifer with Data, Geordi with Trisha and so do a lot of other couples.

"This stops right here!" I announce, "Spolberg, this isn't the sort of filming I wanted. You can leave the ship now."

Spolberg is about to pack up when there is a flash of light.

"My, Jean-Luc." he declares, "Whatever do we have here?"

An astonished Spolberg explains to Q what he has been doing.

"Well, Mr Spolberg." Q says, "If Jean-Luc and his minions don't want to be interviewed, you can always talk to me."

A grateful Spolberg invites Q to sit down. The cameras start rolling and Q is ready.

"Now then, Q." he asks, "You are a being that has control over..."

Suddenly Spolberg notices there are lots of giggles from the film crew; he looks down and notices that all his clothes have vanished. He quickly uses his clipboard to cover himself.

He and his crew run out with sounds of "Destroy that film." coming from Spolberg.

Q turns around.

"Well, Jean-Luc." Q tells us, "I thought I'd have a little fun on someone else for a change."

With that, he vanishes into the white light.

Sometimes Q can do just the right thing!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Filming On The Enterprise (Part Two)

Guest Poster: Seven Of Nine

At this moment on the Enterprise, many of the crew are annoyed, including Locutus, as a film crew have come on board to record the activities and do interviews with some staff to be kept for posterity.

The director is a strange individual named Steve Spolberg; with him is a slovenly group of individuals.


I have been summoned to attend a meeting a holodeck. There, I find Spolberg and the crew, and sitting with them is T'Pol and Ensign Britney.

"What is going on here?" I ask acidly.

"Ah, Seven Of Nine!" Spolberg comments, "Please sit down next to the other women and we can start."

"Start what?" T'Pol asks him.

"Well, Ladies." Spolberg answers, "I thought I'd do this special interview with you three, as you are all 'rebels' on the Enterprise. After all, none of you are typical Starfleet members, nor wear their uniforms."

"I am a member of the Terran Empire!" T'Pol declares forcibly.

"I am Borg!" I answer.

"...And I'm err....Britney." Ensign Britney answers as she starts on some more chewing gum and reties her Dr Martens boots.

"Exactly!" Spolberg tells us, "We want viewpoints from you three."

He then whispers to his crew, "Besides, they are good eye-candy."

"What is 'eye-candy'?" I ask him.

Solberg chooses noy to answer; slightly disoriented, he starts with me.

"Now Seven Of Nine, you were put on the Enterprise to study human behaviour for the Borg Queen. In turn she agreed not to assimilate the members of the crew while you were on board. What have you learnt about humans so far."

"That they ought to be assimilated right away." I answer sharply, "Resistance is futile. We are Borg."

"Err..yes, Seven." Spolberg continues, "Now do you think it would be possible to get an interview with the Borg Queen? I'm sure it would be an excellent addition to the film."

"I'm sure she would agree if you could be assimilated in return."

The film crew laugh and shout "Go for it, Steve!"

"Maybe it's not such a good idea after all." he answers, "Thank you, Seven."

He turns his attention to T'Pol.

"Get shots of the midriff, boys." Spolberg whispers to the crew so I can bearly hear him.

"Now then, T'Pol." he asks, "Your wear a very different uniform because you come from the parallel universe of more than 200 years ago. Is that right?"

"YOU are the parallel universe!" she snaps, "The Terran Empire of my universe is how things really are. This Federation is just a poor reflection."

"There was a T'Pol in this universe as well, at that time." Spolberg reminds her.

"A Vulcan with no spirit!" she comments dismissibly.

"Have you made any friends since you've been here, T'Pol."

"Just one." she replies, "My soulsistah Britney here!"

The two of them do that strange high-five action that I have yet to understand.

Spolberg moves on to Britney.

"Now then, Ensign Britney." he continues, "You've had a tough time with discipline on the ship, haven't you? It seems you've been in the brig more than you've been out of it."


"Guess so." answers Britney economically.

"Why do you think that is?" Spolberg asks.

"People from the planet Delta are free thinkers." she says, lying back in her chair, "The rules on a starship are very stifling.I don't like conforming."

She blows a bubble with a chewing gum.

Personally, I do not care for Britney. She needs the strict rules of the Borg to put her right. What I am concerned is that if we ever assimilated her, her thoughts might do untold damage to the Collective Hive Mind.

She stands up.

"Well, it's getting boring here." Britney continues, and looks at T'Pol, "I'm outta here. Sistah, are you coming with me? The Enterprise Cinema is showing The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I just fancy doing The Time Warp. Seven? Do you wanna come along as well?"

"What is The Time Warp?" I ask.

"You'll find out." she answers, and the three of us walk out, leaving Spolberg and his crew with no one to talk to.

To be continued...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Filming On The Enterprise (Part One)

"You cannot be serious, sir?" I say increduously, "It will never work."

"I am and it will." replies Admiral Hollister on my videoscreen.

"The crew won't like it." I warn him.

"You can tell them that the Federation President has authorised it." Hollister reminds me, "He wants the actives lives of the flagship of the fleet recorded, with interviews. It is to be preserved for posterity. Count yourself lucky that it's you, Picard."

"Yes." I reply withb a sarcastic tone, "Lucky me."


A few hours later, we are in the transporter room, about to welcome the film crew and the director on board. I can tell there are a few rumblings of discontent.

"Now I can tell you're unhappy about this." I say, "But we can't argue against it, so let's just make the best of it all and go with the situation."

As I finish that, the film crew appear, led by a very strange looking individual.

He takes a look around the transporter room, casts his eye at each of us, then turns round to address the film crew he has.

"Boys, it looks like a great set-up here." he starts, "We can get some good interior shots in this place, and the crew look ideal for a few interviews. Take a look at the Klingon and the surly Vulcan. They'll get a few laughs."

Worf and T'Pol start to fume.

I move forward to welcome him.

"Hey, you must be Jean the Captain." he says, "I'm Steven Spolberg, the famous movie director. Perhaps you've heard of me?"

"No I haven't." I tell him flatly, "My name is Jean-Luc Picard. You will address me as Captain Picard or just Captain."

"Sure." Spolberg replies, "I didn't know you were Belgian."

This causes my temperature to rise to boiling point, but Deanna wisely steps in to diplomatically diffuse the situation.

"I'm Deanna Troi, the ship's Counselor." she tells them, "Whenever you like, I'll be happy to take you on a guided tour of the Enterprise."

"Wow!" exclaims Spolberg to the crew, "Now that's a good looking girl. We'll have to make sure we get plenty of shots with her in!"

Deanna moves forward and slaps Spolberg on the face, just before Riker was going to do something nastier.

"I am not here to be ogled at by your cameras!" she declares, "I am a respected member of this crew, and you will treat me as such. I was not put on the ship to glamourise your film."

With that, the Betazoid storms off in a huff. The film crew are happy that they managed to capture the entire altercation in their cameras.

"That incident was worth the slap on the face, boys." Spolberg tells them.

Spolberg has only been on the ship a few moments, and already he has caused a near riot. At this rate, he'll be the most unpopular person on the ship since Q made our clothes vanish during Admiral Lancaster's visit.

To be continued...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

TWQ: Annoying Phrases And Cliches

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) asks about those phrases that annoy you.

What irritating phrases and cliches really annoy you?

My answers are:

1: To be honest.

2: Let's face it.

3: At the end of the day.

(or even worse)

4: All three of the above coming one after the other.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Starfleet Academy Exam (Part Three)

Guest Poster: Karena

My pumpkin, Wesley and I are sitting the Stafleet Academy Exam. We've just gone through the Written Test, and are now moving on to the Practical Part. This will decide who goes through to be an Ensign and who fails.

If the two of us can get through, Wesley and I can get married, and he can be my Life Servant.


With us in the group competing are a Bolian named Norm, a human called Flushman who basks in the title of Academy Bully (though my spear put him in his place a couple of days ago) and a female Andorian.

It is this female Andorian with whom I am concerned. She is named Tarah, and I have noticed that she has been making eyes at my pumpkin.

I ought to nip this in the bud.

"You will stop making movements on my fiance, Tarah." I tell her, "Wesley and I are engaged to be married."

"Oh, really?" she replies sneeringly, "I'm sure if your fiance spent some time with me, he'd drop you right away. I know how you Amazons from Wondawawman treat your men. Wesley would get VERY different treatment from me."

I am incensed. If only I had my spear with me.

Before I can reply with a well-placed fist, the exam head calls us into place.

"All right, students." he starts, "For the Practical Part, you will be placed in a holographic Starship Bridge. Names have been drawn for the roles to play. This test will cover all the roles, so the Captain will be tested on the same level as the others. Karena is the Captain, Tarah is is second as Commander, Wesley is Tactics, Flushman is Lieutenant Commander on Com and Norm is Engineering"

Flushman grumbles that he should have been Captain. I am annoyed that Tarah is my Number One, but pleased she is taking orders from me.


We are on the holographic Bridge, and cruising through space, encountering various problems. The crew report what they see, and I tell them what to do. Tarah takes a delight in contradicting me and giving me alternative ideas. I remember to listen to them, as a Captain is supposed to do that.

"Borg Cube coming up on sensors" Flushman tells us.

"It must be heading for Earth." Tarah mentions.

"Weapons at full complement." my pumpkin announces.

"Engines are weakening." Norm announcers, "We may not be able to keep up with them and stop them."

"Suggestions?" I announce.

"Hit them with all our weapons." Wes comments.

"I agree." Tarah says, looking round with a smile and a wink. I'll get her for that later.

"We have to do it now, Captain." Flushman orders, "We're running out of time."

"I don't think it would work." Wesley tells us, "Our weapons would not be powerful enough. Only the explosion of a Starship would stop it."

"You mean we kill ourselves in the process?" Norm asks.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." I tell them. I'm glad I read that Spock biography.

I ask everyone if they agree, and eventually they all do.

"Well, it's only a pretend Bridge." comments Tarah sniffily.

We set the ship to ram the Borg Cube. As it hits it, the holodeck program ends.

"Well done." says the exam head "You recognised that sometimes a Starfleet Officer has to give their own life in order to preserve those of many more. You have all passed, and are now Starfleet Ensigns!"

Wesley and I kiss each other, and I see Tarah glaring away. I'll get her later.

"Well, honeybunch." he says, "We've both graduated from Starfleet Academy. We can start laying the plans for our marriage."

"I'll be around, honeybunch." Tarah whispers quietly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Starfleet Academy Exam (Part Two)

Guest Poster: Wesley Crusher

My honeybunch, Karena and I are about to enter the hall for the first part of the Starfleet Academy Exam. If we both pass, will be Ensigns, and also we'll be able to get married.

I can tell Mom and Captain Picard were really pleased when they smiled and waved us goodbye. At least I THINK they were pleased.

As I go through the door, I am approached by Flushman, the Academy Bully.

Flushman has gained a notoriety amongst the Cadets, and likes to terrorise them all. He is so professional at his activities, he has the official title of 'Academy Bully' printed on his Cadet uniform. He towers six foot tall, and is generally all muscle...including his head.

"Crusher!" he bellows, "I want a word with you."

"What is it you want, Flushman?" I ask.

"You will address me as Mister Flushman or by my official title as 'Academy Bully'!" he corrects me.

"Sorry, Mr Flushman." I reply.

"That's better." he comments, "Now then, Crusher, you are supposed to be rather good at these exams. When I whisper to you, I expect you to reply quietly with the answer that I require."

"Are you intimidating my pumpkin?" shouts an angry female voice from behind.


"You will feel the effects of my spear!" she yells, and applies it to Flushman.

I think he will have difficulty in sitting down for the exam after that.

"Are you all right, pumpkin?" she asks me, showering me with kisses.

"Fine, thank you, honeybunch." I reply. "Let's go in for the exam."


A group of us sit in the hall. Karena, myself, a sore Flushman, a male Bolian, and a female Andorian, who winks seductively at me, and blows me a kiss.

"Now then." says the exam head, "Here are you test papers. Turn them over. You have one hour to complete them."

We turn them over, and I look at the first question.

If it takes one Klingon 75 minutes to dig a hole with a shovel, how long will it take to dig half a hole with a shovel twice the size?

I read that one again. I hope all the questions are not like that. I think I'll come back to that one.

A shuttle travelling at Warp Four meets a Starship travelling at Warp Seven. How many light years would the two have to be apart when they first started?

Maybe it's a trick question?

How many Jeffries Tubes does a Galaxy Class Starship have?

That's easy-peasy, and I write the answer down. Geordi told me that on the Enterprise. It was impotant to know when I was saving the ship every week.

Who won the World Series in 2009?

Ah, an Ancient History question. Now who was it? Ah yes, it was them.

I go through the rest of the questions and reread the first ones. I turn over my paper at the end of the hour.

Flushman looks like he hasn't done too well. The Bolian and Andorian seem unsure of how well they've done.

I look at Karena. She gives me a smile, and gives a hard look at the Andorian.

"You have now completed the written exam." says the exam head, "Later in the week, you will move to the Practical Part, which will determine whether you succeed or not."

To be continued...


Author's Note

Elizabeth on Table For Five has just given me the above Award. Thanks so much You're a great blog and Facebook friend!

I award this to Linda on Are We There Yet? for being a good friend and Scrabulous player and to Titania Starlight for the uplifting posts she produces.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Starfleet Academy Exam (Part One)

Bev and I are at Starfleet Headquarters to wish her son Wesley and his fiancee Karena the best of luck for their Academy Exam this week.

If they pass, they will be able to get married, and also be Ensigns.

Bev dragged me along to this. I didn't want to be here.

"Don't be slow, Jean-Luc." she tells me as we walk through the Japanese Garden section, "We want to give our best to the lovebirds, don't we?"

"Sure." I say with about as much sincerity as a Romulan at a peace conference.

"Come on, then!" she says, as I accidentally step on a plant.

"Hey!" shouts out a voice, "Do you know how long it took me to grow that?"


"Hello Boothby." I say, "Sorry about that."

"So you should be...oh, it's you two." Boothby comments when he sees us, "It's Mr Boothby to you. And remember not to carve your name on the tree this time. I'll be watching you."

"Do you know where my son Wesley and his fiancee Karena are Mr Boothby?" Bev asks.

"Probably kissing in some secluded part of the garden if I know them!" he replies, "I threw a bucket of water over the pair of them when I caught the two of them kissing and whispering pet names to each other. Honeybunch and pumpkin! How awful!"

I must say, I agree with him there.

The two of us leave Boothby and follow the trail round the Garden. We eventually hear some sounds.

"Oh pumpkin!"

"Oh honeybunch!"

"Wesley? Karena?" calls out Bev discreetly.

After a few moments, the pair emerge from behind a bush. Both are covered in water.

"Hello Mom...hello Captain." says a disorganised Wesley, "Boothby accidentally spilt some water on us."

"How unfortunate." I comment with a sly smile.

"We're here to wish you two all best for your exam this week." Bev tells them.

"It won't be easy, Cadets." I tell them in my official capacity, "But I'm sure you will get through."
".....And then later this year we can married!" say Wesley and Karena together, as they look at each other.

Both Bev and I wince together.

To be continued....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

TWQ: Around My Computer

TWQ (The Weekend Question) is looking at what is right in front of you: your computer.

What items are around the computer that you work on?

My answers are:

1: Speakers eiether side of the panoramic screen, with a bass box underneath.

2: Garfield desk calendar underneath.

3: New Yorker desk calendar in front of speakers

4: Compter system on floor to my right.

5: Useless remote control for computer.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Macbeth: Picard's Birthday Present (Part Two)

Guest Poster: The Doctor

Isn't it typical!

That Doctor Crusher always gets me to do the menial jobs in the SickBay. Only when she WANTS something is her behaviour any different.

"Oh, Doctor." she wails, tears, running down her cheeks, "You have to help us, the Captain is in terrible trouble."

You see. NOW they want me.

Commander Riker follows and explains that the Captain is trapped in a holodeck where a Macbeth program is playing. All the characters in the play are aware of who he is, and have turned on him. He needs medical assistance. He can't be beamed out, and none can be beamed in. Only a hologram could go in and help him.

I sigh, and agree to help. Wait until Crusher gives me another menial job.


My appeearance is changed to that befitting the play. I have a sword and a medic bag with me. Now I beam in.

I am in a castle. I see a strange looking woman. She places a crown on her head, then holds a dagger, ready to strike.

Lady Macbeth:Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?

Picard, thy must be gone like the scurvy that you are.

I see the Captain lying down, already injured from some wounds.

Stepping in front of Lady Macbeth, I speak to her.

"I'm sorry." I tell her, "I cannot allow you to do that."

She strikes at me, but it goes through.

Lady Macbeth: What manner of man art thee, hologram!
Not mortal, but protector of the infernal Picard,
Who should be vanquished from this Program!

I reach up and grab the dagger from Lady Macbeth, who runs off wailing around the castle. In the meantime, I tend to the Captain.

"Thank you, Doctor." he tells me, "The entire cast are trying to kill me. It's worse than being the negotiator in a peace deal between the Klingons and the Romulans."

"Yes." I tell him, and apply a band-aid, plus a hypospray, "Is there long to go in the play?"

"We might need to fight against them?" he replies, "Are you good at swordplay?"

"Well, I have a sword." I tell him.

"You're halfway there!" he comments.


Lady Macbeth has returned, this time wearing a golden nightgown. From my knowledge of the play, she is now very unhinged.

She grabs the Captain from behind.

Lady Macbeth: To bed, to bed, Picard! there's knocking at the gate:
come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What's
done cannot be undone.--To bed, to bed, to bed!

She tries to kill the Captain with another dagger, but I disarm her.

"Come, my Lady." I tell her, "This is no time for violence. Have a stress pill."

Again she runs off screaming.

The Captain gets up. "It's coming to the tough part. A lot of the remaining cast will come. Macbeth is supposed to get killed now. Malcolm and Macduff will be out to get me."

"I'll have to be between them." I sigh. Why do I end up doing this? I never get thanked for it?

Macduff steps forward:

Macduff: Then yield thee, cowardly Captain Picard,
And live to be the show and gaze o' the time:
We'll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted on a pole, and underwrit,
'Here may you see the tyrant.'

"You're not having my head on a pole." says the Captain, "I prefer to keep it attached to my neck."

The two of us engage in a lot of swordplay. Their swords go through me. Eventually they tire and I manage to get them and they vanish.

When all are vanquished, the cast call out in voices:

Hail, King of Scotland!

The holodeck returns to being a black room.


I am returned to the SickBay, where Doctor Crusher thanks me profusely for saving the Captain.

She also reminds me to clean out the bedpans.

Isn't it typical!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Macbeth: Picard's Birthday Present (Part One)

At last it's time to try out my birthday present in the holodeck.

It's called The Shakesperian Holoprogram, and is said to be more realistic than the usual sort we have. I can choose any role from any play.

As a result, I have got my sword and crown at the ready, and am going in on my own to play Macbeth.


The mists are all around. A holographic Banquo is with me as we walk on the moor. I'm determined to get my money's worth out of this. They are so realistic!

First witch: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second witch: When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won.

Third witch: That will be ere the set of sun.

Good. I'll be ready soon for my first line with them on the heath. I'll have to put on my very best ek-tor voice.


We're in Scene III, at the heath. Time for my official meeting with the witches.

"So foul and fair a day I have not seen." I declare, in my Macbeth voice.

Banquo: How far is't call'd to Forres? What are these
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her chappy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so.

"Speak, if you can: what are you?" I tell them. I'm enjoying this. I think I'll try Hamlet next.

First witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second witch: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third witch: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

The program freezes for a second than carries on, as Banquo says his speech. The witches look at me piercingly.

First witch: Picard shall be no more as ruler of the Enterprise.

Second witch: Picard shall be no more as ruler of the Enterprise.

Third witch: Fare ye well, doomed soul.

Hold on. What's happened? They were all supposed to shout "Hail."

The witches draw their power and a lightning bolt throws me across the heath. The witches all emit a mad cackle.

"Freeze program!" I exclaim. No effect.

My shoulder is hurt. It looks like the safety protocols have been disabled in this program. Banquo comes marching towards me, his sword drawn.

Banquo: I fear that your time upon this earth is soon to be no more, Picard. I shall deliver the blow that will cast you forth as Captain of the Enterprise.

Him as well. What next? This program is definately very defective. I struggle up and engage in a desperate swordfight. Fortunatly I manage to run the sword through him, and he vanishes.

I turn round, Ross and Angus are here.

Ross: We have lost our friend Banquo at the hands of Picard. Let us take revenge so that his soul may rest.

Another swordfight follows, this time against two. Fortunately they are not so good, and I kill them off.

They vanish also. There are more swordfights here than in a Robin Hood film.

The scenery is due to change soon. Before it does, I try and stop the program.

"Arch!" I shout. Nothing happens. Fortunately, I still have my Com badge on, and I explain the situation to Riker.

"We can't beam you out or stop the program, Captain." he says, "The only way it will stop is if you let the program run to an end."

"I can't let that happen, Number One." I reply, "All the Macbeth cast seem to be aware of who I really am, and want to dispose of me. I can't win every swordfight. Besides that, Macbeth isn't meant to live to the end."

As I switch the Com off, I hear Deanna say to Riker, "I thought there was something suspect about that program."

To be continued...

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Ah well, today's my birthday. Another mile on the clock.

Best not to think like that. After all, it is 'my day'. Never mind the fact that it's another digit.

I get a video call from Admiral Hollister.

"Ah, Captain Picard." he announces cheerfully, "May I wish you a Happy Birthday?"

"Thank you sir." I answer. I can see what's coming here.

"Another year older." he comments, "Before long, it'll be time to receive that gold watch and head off into the sunset."

"I have no plans to retire, sir." I answer sharply.

"Ah well." he answers, "I know we have many fine young officers here in Starfleet who are waiting to fill.."

"Thank you for your good wishes, Admiral." I say gruffily, and switch the viewer off. I I get any more of those sort of messages, there will be trouble.

I head out of my quarters. Deanna sees me and walks with me to the Bridge.

"Happy Birthday, Captain!" she says in a friendly manner and gives me a peck on the cheek, "It's good to see you're still here. After all, the responsibilities of being the Captain of the Enterprise must weigh heavily on a man of your age."

Aaaaggh! I say nothing.

We reach the Bridge, and everyone there wishes me a Happy Birthday. Riker congratulates me on reaching this age. Is he trying to say something?

"No one would have reached your age in the Terran Empire." comments T'Pol, "They are deemed unsuitable to command a ship and are removed."

I dread to think what 'removed' means to T'Pol.


A few hours later, we are all in Ten Forward, enjoying the birthday party that has been set up. The hologram Vic Fontaine is leading everybody in a song:

"Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Captain,
Happy Birthday to you."

There is a big cheer and Bev steps forward with a present.

"This is a present that we thought you would really like, Jean-Luc." she says to me.

I open it and see what it says.

Do you have a holodeck? Are you a pontential actor? Congratulations! Live out your fantasies in this, The Shakesperian Holoprogram. All the plays are here. You can live any role in them. This program is more real than typical programs. It's like no program you've had before!!

"It's wonderful, Bev" I tell her, "Just what I wanted." We kiss.

The dancing starts, and I lead Bev off in a waltz, while the others dance away.

While getting a Klingon Bloodwine, I hear Riker and Deanna talking to each other about something.

"Are you sure it's safe?" Deanna asks him, "I heard that you had to get it from someone in an alleyway."

"Don't worry, Deanna." Riker replies, "He assured me it was perfectly alright, just a little bit experimental, and hadn't been officially released. We were lucky to get the Program ahead of release time, or we wouldn't have had anything to give him."

Deanna notices I am listening, and she nudges Riker. They suddenly start talking about the good food that was served at the party.

I wonder what that was all about? Anyway, I'll be looking forward to trying the Program soon.

Time to get dancing with Bev again. The smooch numbers are coming up!


Author's Note:

As 14th January is my birthday, I''ve received the unabridged version of Philippa Gregory's novel 'The Boleyn Inheritance', as it is what I asked for. There were no Shakesperian Holoprograms available!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

TWQ: Collections

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) is asking about the sorts of items that people collect.

Throughout your life, what sort of things have you collected? What are you collecting now?

My answers are:

1: American DC magazines. In the late 1960's to midway through the 1970's, I collected all variations of magazines connected with Superman & Batman. At the time, they existed in Action Comics, Adventure Comics, Brave & The Bold, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Detective Comics, Supergirl, Legion of Super Heroes, as well as those under their own name.

2: From the early 1970's, for some time I collected American Mad Magazines. At first, I could only get the British edition, but managed to subscribe to the superior American version.

3: British comics of the 1960's, like Dandy, Beano, Beezer, Topper, Sparky. Some of them would be deemed politically incorrect now!

4: I have a good collection of Royal Doulton bone china.

5: Nowadays, I tend to collect a lot of books and novels.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Present For The Captain

Guest Poster: Beverly Crusher

I've called a meeting of the senior staff while Jean-Luc is in the holodeck.

"What is this all about, Beverly?" Ro Laren asks. The others talk among themselves in speculation as to the possible answer.

"Surely you must know." I tell them, "Next Monday on the 14th of January is Captain Picard's birthday. We have to decide what to get him."

A sound of realisation plus a few groans run around the table.

"Well, I have no idea." Riker says, "He seems to have everything."

A few more nods of agreement are seen.

"Has anyone any ideas?" I ask.

"You are closer to him than anyone else, Beverly." Deanna comments in a delicate manner. I hear a few giggles. "Perhaps it is you who have the answer?"

"I suppose you're right, Deanna." I answer, "But the opinions of others will always help."

"In the Terran Empire." T'Pol suddenly says, "Our birthday present to the Captain was that we let him live another year."

"Yes, T'Pol." I reply, "I think that situation won't apply here."

"In the Borg Cubes." Seven of Nine tells us, "If we forget the birthday of the Borg Queen, we are deactivated. She certainly gets a lot of cards that way."

"I'm sure she does!" Geordi says drily.

"We're going off course here." I remind them, "We need suggestions about what we can get the Captain."

"The Captain has always been a man of culture." Data observes, "We might need to get something very cultural."

The staff nod their heads in agreement.

"Data is right." Jadzia tells us, "What cultural item would the Captain enjoy?"

"He likes acting and plays." adds Riker.

"That's true." I answer, "We're doing well. We might be getting a solution. Is there anything in the Galactic Gazette 'For Sale' column?"

We call it up on the screen and see an interesting entry:

Do you have a holodeck? Are you a potential actor? Live out your fantasies in The Shakesperian Holoprogram. All the plays are here. You can live any role in them. The program is more real than typical programs. It's like no program you've had before!!

"That sounds perfect!" Jadzia says. All the others agree.

"Very well." I tell them, "We'll all put in for that and present him with the program when he has his party on the 14th."

We all break up to leave. Deanna holds me back to whisper something.

"What is it?" I ask.

"This program" Deanna tells me, "I have bad feelings about it."

"Don't be silly Deanna." I tell her, "What could go wrong?"

Sometimes a brash statement like that isn't a good idea.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Picard's Driving Test

I am speaking to Admiral Hollister on my video viewer regarding the incident two days ago, when the Enterprise was caught speeding in Harvalen space. Three points were put on my licence and I was fined.

"I have good news, Captain Picard." Hollister informs me, "After some negotiation and a great deal of grovelling, the Harvalen authorities have decided to cancel the fine and remove the three point penalty."

"That is good news, sir." I reply, somewhat relieved.

"Err, yes, Captain." Hollister says, "But this only comes with an explicit condition. You must take a driving test in one of our shuttles with a Harvalen Instructor. If you fail, you will not be allowed to Captain a starship. You'd have to take a desk job."

"WHAT!" I exclaim, pouring my earl grey tea over my uniform and desk, "That's scandalous!"

"It may be so, Captain." Hollister tells me, "It is the best deal we could get. Besides, there is no way you can fail. You've been piloting shuttles for years."

"That's true, sir." I reply, "But when the consequences are the Captaincy of the Enterprise or a desk job in some out of the way place, it puts a lot of pressure on anyone."

"Ah well." Hollister says, with a shrug of the shoulders, as if he is getting the interviews ready for Captaincy applications.


I explain the situation to the rest of the staff. Riker starts feeling his collar as if it's time for an extra star to be added on to it.

"The Instructor is due to arrive in 30 minutes." I inform them.

At that time, we go to the Transporter Room to welcome the Harvalen Instructor.

"I am Manheim, the official Harvalen Driving Instructor." he announces, "Which of you is Picardo?"

I step forward.

"It's me, sir." I tell him, "The name is Picard, not Picardo."

"If you say so." Manheim brusquely says, "Listen carefully. I will not tolerate bribery of any manner, be they financial, sexual or any other manner. I will not be threatened with violence in any manner, be they financial, sexual or any forms of personal endandangerment. Should this happen, you will be instantly disqualified. Is that clear?"

"Yes it is", I reply.

"Good. Let's get to your shuttle."

The two of us settled in, and I conducted a check that that systems were working properly. Fortunately I had remembered this, as it was something that Instructors will fail a pilot on the spot if they don't do.

"Very good." he mumbles, and put a tick on his pad, "Now take the shuttle out of the bay."

Feeling like a young teenager out on his first test, I gradually fly the shuttle out of the Enterprise bay, thinking it was going to hit the sides of the bay at any moment.

We were out, and I am ready to fly, though the beads of sweat were already so evident, I would need a bucket to hold them all.

"I want you to travel at Warp Three." Manheim instructs, "Then suddenly come out, shut your systems down and do a three point turn reverse."

"We don't usually do anything like that!" I protest.

"That may be true." he tells me, "But you must be ready for the time you do. Of course, if you don't think you can execute such a manouvre, just say so, and I will fail you now."

"I'll do it." I grudgingly tell him.

The shuttle lurches forward to Warp Three, I then switch all the systems off, restart and do the three point turn, though the shuttle seems like it will pull itself apart.

"Good." Manheim informs me, "You may need to practice more on that, but you managed the manouvre. Now I want you to go to Warp Nine towards the planet Varla and approach it head on. Come out of Warp just as you approach and go into orbit."

"That's very dangerous." I tell him, "If I fail, the Varlans could have a catastrophe."

"Then you had better not fail, Captain." Manheim says with a smile.

I mutter, then start the shuttle off, powering it to Warp Nine and setting a course directly for Varla.

The sweat on me now is more than a Bzyanta sauna. The shuttle heads off, with the System stating to come into view. As we enter it, I switch the Warp Drive off and we all lurch forward. I open my eyes and Varla is right in front of us. I put the shuttle into orbit.

"Well done, Captain." Manheim tells me, "I don't think we need to do anymore. I have pleasure in informing you thast you have passed your driving test."

He hands me a Pass certificate.

"Would you mind taking us back to the Enterprise?" I ask Manheim, "I think I've piloted enough today."

With that, I collapse in a heap of sweat.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Caught Speeding In Space

The Enterprise is in a hurry. We have been called to Starbase 22 to deliver some medical supplies before they run out.

As a result, we are passing through the Harvalen System, a largely unexplored section of space. It's somewhat of a risk. Aliens don't like us intruding on their doorstep and tend to take offence. As a result, we are on Yellow Alert.

"How long will it be before we leave Harvalen Space, Number One?" I ask, somewhat nervously.
"Not long, Captain." Riker replies, "I estimate it is another 20 minutes."

"22.3 minutes to be exact, travelling at our current speed of Warp Nine, Captain" pipes up Data, in his determination to be just right.

"Approaching vessel coming up behind us." Worf tells me, "It is sending a voice hail."

"Let's hear it." I reply, and an authoritive message comes over the speakers.

"This is the Harvalen Speed Police" it starts, "You have been caught speeding in our region of space. You will have your starship come to a halt so that it may be boarded."

"What nonsense!" I comment.

"It may be advisable to stop, Captain." Data tells me, "After all, we are in their space, and it is us who may have been committing the offence."

I really dislike it when he is right!

The ship comes to a halt, and a figure beams aboard.

"I am Gira" he says, "The Space Traffic Officer in this area. I would like to speak to the driver of this starship."

"I suppose that's me." I reply, "I'm Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Stars.."

"Where are your papers to fly this?" Gira interrupts brusquely.

"I don't have any." I tell him, "I'm was appointed by Starfleet to be the Captain. If there is anything, look at the records on the computer. It tells you who I am."

Gira looks at the computer, which confirms what I said.

"We've been watching these Starfleet vessels from our system." Gira grumbles, "Going from one place to another at speeds, with no thought for anyone else. You do realise you were going at Warp Nine in a Warp Three restricted area of space?"

"We were unaware of those restrictions. We are on an urgent mission to deliver medical supplies to a Starbase." I protest.

"Ah, they all say that." Gira answers, "I'll have to write you a ticket."

"A ticket!" exclaims Worf, "That is unacceptable!"

"It might be wise to accept." advises Deanna, "In the interests of intergalactic co-operation."

Gira writes 'NCC-1701D' on the ticket, together with my name. He rips it off his pad and hands it to me.

"That will be three points on your interplanetary driving licence plus a fine which you can pay later." Gira informs me, then adds, "Mind how you go."

He beams off the ship.

"Starbase 22, Warp Three, Mr Data." I say glumly, "I'll send the ticket to Starfleet."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

TWQ: I Know What You Did Last Weekend

This weekend's TWQ (The Weekend Question) is asking what happened last weekend.

Name three or more things that you did last weekend.

My answers are:

1: Wrote features for my Journal

2: Played Scrabulous on Facebook

3: Talked on phone to friend about what happened over Christmas.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Alexander's Little Talk (Part Two)

Guest Poster: Worf

Right now, I would rather be facing a fleet of Borg Cubes than the task I am about to do.

Jadzia and I are taking Alexander down to Counselor Troi's office, where she can help me talk to him about the Facts of Life. Klingons are not used to doing things in this manner, but as Alexander is on a Federation ship, this is the best way. It follows an incident where his teacher, Miss Forrester reported that Alexander tried to kiss a girl who did not like him.


"Where are we going, father?" asks Alexander, as the three of us approach the doorway of Deanna Troi's office.

"We are all going to talk about a rather delicate subject." I reply.

"What is it?" he asks, "Are you and Jadzia splitting up so you can get back together with Deanna?"

"NO!" answers Jadzia sharply, "We are not splitting up. We are just seeking the Counselor's help with some issues."

"Oh." he says, "The two of you are having relationship issues and you want Deanna to help sort it out."

"NO!" exclaims an even more irritated Jadzia, "You're the issue!"

We enter the office and Deanna greets us, and we are all invited to sit down.

"Are you going to kiss Deanna, father" asks Alexander.

"No, I am not." I inform him, "We all wish to discuss the kissing that went on in the schoolroom. It was unacceptable."

"Why don't you let me handle this, Worf?" Deanna calmly informs me, then turns to my son.

"Now, Alexander, I want to have a talk with you about the facts of life, and how men and women make babies."

"Sure, Deanna." he replies, "What is it you want to know?"

Jadzia collapses in a fit of giggles, Deanna looks red-faced, and I am disgusted.

"It is us who should be informing YOU." I tell him, "Where do you pick things up."

"Well, I have been with you and Deanna, then you and Jadzia." he tells me calmly, although this produces a guilty look in all of us, "It gave me a pretty good idea. Besides that, the children in the claasroom are very worldy-wise"

We all sigh, then Deanna talks about the incident in the classroom when Emily refused to kiss Alexander, and he refused a kiss off Sharon.

"Emily is the attractive one." comments Alexander, "All the boys in class like her. I think she was just playing hard to get. As for Sharon, she will kiss anyone. I wouldn't like you to think I was someone who accepts a kiss off that sort of woman, father. I do have moral standings."

"But Emily and Sharon are only eleven years old." Deanna tells him.

"Yes." comments Alexander, "But you never know where these things leads to."

"I think Alexander has said enough, Worf." Deanna tells us, "He is quite a bright little boy with good standards. I don't think you have anything to worry about."

Jadzia and I leave the office with Alexander, and let him go back to the classroom. The two of us continue to talk.

"However did Deanna come to that conclusion." I tell Jadzia, "I'm going to keep an eye on that boy."

"Let him grow up, Worfie." Jadzia tells me, "Although I get the idea he's more grown up than a lot of the adults here."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Alexander's Little Talk (Part One)

Guest Poster: Jadzia Dax

Worfie and I have been summoned to a meeting with Miss Forrester, who is Alexander's teacher on the Enterprise.

This has sent Worfie into his usual worrying state.

"It sounds as if his grades might be slipping." Worf tells me as we walk towards the school, "If they are, he will be severely punished. Alexander must not bring shame on the family by having failing grades."

"Don't get uptight about that, Worfie." I tell him, "You know it never does Alexander any good when you inflict that Klingon philosophy into him. He wanted to be a ballet dancer at one stage."

"He is meant to be a Klingon warrior!" protests Worf.

We enter ther schoolroom.

"Hello Lieutenant Worf and Jadzia." says Miss Forrester as she greets us.

"Whatever Alexander has done." Worfie blurts out, "I can assure you that he will be punished most severely. In addition to that, he will be denied replicator priveliges until he is at least 30."

"Sssshh" I whisper, "Let's hear Miss Forrester first."

"Err...yes," starts Miss Forrester in a hesitant manner, "This is a little delicate, but yesterday, Alexander was err...pestering a female student named Emily he was sitting with."

"What do you mean?" I ask.

"Well" she continues, "Alexander wanted to kiss her. Emily refused. This lead to a lot of trouble in the classroom."

"How so?" Worf asked.

"Another little girl, named Sharon said she wanted to kiss Alexander, but he did not want to kiss her."

"Oh dear!" I exclaim, but trying to supress a giggle, while Worf is looking disgusted.

"I've spoken to the other parents." continues Miss Forrester, "And they have agreed to have 'the talk' with their children. It leaves just you."

"What do you mean by 'the talk'" asks Worf. I sigh.

"It means when a parents and children have to talk about the birds and the bees." I tell him with exasperation.

"The birds and the bees?" Worf asks, with increasing bewilderment.

"Reproduction!" I shout out.

Finally Worf gets the idea.

"I cannot talk to Alexander about that!" Worf protests, "In Klingon society, men and women find out for themselves when they meet up."

"That may be true, Worfie," I say, "But that can't happen with a young boy on a starship."

"But I don't know how to approach telling him." Worf admits.

"In that case." I admit, "As much as it annoys me to say this, "We might need the help of that Counselor, the Troi woman."

To be continued...