Thursday, August 31, 2006

Equal Rights For Plutonians

Why am I always called in to chair these events?

If there's a dispute going on, "Send for Picard" is the traditional response.

I'm beaming down to Starfleet Headquarters, together with Deanna and Data for backup to chair the row that has blown up between Starfleet Astrometrics and the inhabitants of the dwarf planet Pluto and it's sister planet Charon.

Starfleet want to reclassify Pluto as a 'lump of rock', together with Charon.

Naturally, the Ice Men who colonised both these worlds are livid, and are demanding that both are upgraded to full planetary status. As Pluto was downgraded in the early 21st Century, the Plutonian Ice Men have always complained about being treaded as a lesser planet; the latest reclassification attempt will inflame them even more...if you can inflame an Ice Man, that is.


As the three of us enter Starfleet Headquarters, we are greeted by angry protestors supporting the two worlds, with signs like 'Equal Rights For Plutonians and Charonians' and 'Pluto is not a Mickey Mouse planet.'

Oh dear.

Deanna, Data and I sit down in the centre of a large table; on one side are a group of chilly-looking individuals all wrapped up, from both Pluto and Charon. On the other side are a group of Starfleet experts armed with astrometric maps and 3D charts.

"Now then, gentlemen" I say, "Let's look at the problem we have."

"Pluto should be a proper planet!" shouts one icy person, whose ID Badge identifies him as Icee from Pluto.

"We'll get round to that in a moment, Mr Icee." I say calmly.

"Why is Pluto always badly treated?" interrupts the person next to him, who is Cheeley, also from Pluto, "We're the ninth planet, always have been, always will be. You can't turn us into a lump of rock."

"And what about Charon?" says another at the table, who is Frostee, "We Charonians live on the tenth planet, and as we have colonised it, want it to be recognised as a proper world."

One side all start talking at once and saying disparaging things about Starfleet. Finally, I get things under control.

"Perhaps we'd better hear from the Starfleet officials and their proposals." I say, "I'll let Admiral Swanson, Head of Astrometics speak"

Before he gets up, Deanna whispers to me.

"I sense a great deal of hostility in the room, Captain."

"You don't say, Deanna?" I reply, "I would never have guessed."

"Now then" starts Swanson, in his most officious voice, "Starfleet Astrometrics have carefully gone over the criteria required for both Pluto and Charon; as you will see from this projection... "

"What's that supposed to show?" shouts Cheeley.

"It shows" continues Swanson, "That the mass, weight and volume, in proportion to the orbit of the sun and in relation to the requirements needed to classify it as a planet or dwarf planet fail to meet the necessary criteria. Due to the err... revised conditions laid out by Starfleet, it can only be listed as a lump of rock, together with Charon."

Swanson looks like he's digging himself into a hole.

"You changed the definition?" asks Icee.

"Anyone can do that to get the result they want!" Frostee tells them; the planetary visitors all agree.

"Unfortunately" says Data, "Those rules are as they are now by Starfleet."

"It seems to me that you changed the classsification to suit yourself, Admiral Swanson." I ask him, "Is it true there is less upkeep to be given to a Federation Lump of Rock than a Planet?"

"That's true, but.." he splutters.

"Actually, Admiral" says Data, "The Vulcan High Council wanted to reclassify Earth as a dwarf planet some time ago, but changed their minds."

"I should think so!" Swanson answers, "None of their business."

Swanson realises he's painted himself into a corner and stays quiet.

"In that case, I award full planetary status to Pluto and Charon." I announce.

Cheers come up from Icee, Frostee and Cheeley. They come up to shake my hand, but I decline as I'd get frostbite.

"Well done, Captain" says Deanna, "You made a lot of friends there."

Swanson marches up to me, his face red.

"And you wonder why you never get an Admiral's position, Picard" he angrily tells me, then walks off.

"Also a few enemies as well, Counselor." I reply to her.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Back From Shore Leave (Part Two)

We reassemble back in my Ready Room after a break in Ten Forward to discuss what happened in our week-long Shore Leave.

Riker is looking worse for wear after having two Klingon Bloodwines and some donuts.

That visit to Betazed to see Lwaxana with Deanna didn't do him any good.

"How about you, Data?" I ask, "I know you were going to a series of lectures on quantum field mechanics and biogenic research with your friend Jennifer Baxter. What were they like?"

"Actually, Captain," Data tells us, "I only went to the first one, which concentrated on robotics. There, I engaged in a dispute with Professor Szard over Android Rights; he dismissed us from the hall, so Jennifer and I did not visit any more of them."

"So what did you do instead?"

"Jennifer and I went to the local nightclubs there." Data continues, "The Groovy Klingon Club was a most enlightening establishment, with an 'all you can drink' policy. The owners were not happy when they found that alcohol has no effect on me."

"How about you, Ro?" Jadzia asks her, "Was your Bajoran trip of the moons as good as you thought it would be?"

"It was disgraceful!" Ro snorts, with all the signs of a disgruntled customer, "The tour organisers are all con artists; the entire trip was full of optional excursions. A person has to pay a lot of Credits to go on them by taking a shuttle to see the beautiful sights, or remain stranded on the main ship. I tell you, if the reps ever try to join the Maquis, they'll be sorry!"

"They should be assimilated!" declares Seven. Ro agrees.

I roll my eyes.

"Did you have a good week, Beverly?" I say to her, "I know you went to see Wesley about Karena, the Amazon girl he's been forced to serve."

Bev bursts into tears; I give her a tissue.

"I think I've lost him to that girl!" she wails.

Does that mean he won't be trying to save the ship that only seems to fall apart when he is on it?
"When I went to see him" Beverly continues, "I was greeted by that Amazon barricading the door with her spear; she refused to let me in to see who she called 'her servant'. It was only when Wes agreed to cook a banquet for all her Amazonian friends next time they visit that she backed down and let me in. While she polished her battle armour upstairs, Wes told me that the Academy authorities insist I introduce her to Academy life, as she may be nervous in her first year."

"I believe that may be unlikely, Doctor." states Data.

"What about your visit to the Borg Cube, Seven?" asks Deanna, "We're all interested in what sort of report you gave to the Borg Queen."

"I informed her that I have learnt a lot about behaviour" replies Seven Of Nine in an expressionless tone, "I mentioned that however there is still a lot to find out before the Queen returns to assimilate you all."

"Well that's comforting to know!" says Riker in a dry manner. Seven fails to understand this comment.

"All that's left to talk about is your trip to Torquay, Captain." Geordi observes, "What happened there?"

"I went to the horse races." I tell them, "My hovercar was parked right next to the track so that as the horses went past, I could virtually touch them. As currency is no longer used, there was nothing to bet on. There was an aeriel display by the Red Starships over the town. I always had difficulty parking my hovercar there; it was even worse in the old days, of course, when we couldn't park on top of each other."

"Anything else, Captain?" asks Riker.

"Errr...I was accosted by a bride-to be who was with her friends for a pre-wedding walk around town, and kissed me on the cheek as a victim for their holographic camera."

I redden a little. Bev laughs.

"Sorry." I tell her, "I don't have any pictures!"

She smiles and whispers in my ear.

"The best ones never do."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back From Shore Leave (Part One)

"Did everyone enjoy their Shore Leave" I ask the senior staff as we gather in the refurbished Ready Room. It always looks much better after the cleaners have been in it. All that space travel must collect a lot of dust.

"Trisha and I enjoyed our stay at Rigel IV, the pleasure planet" says Geordi, "But when we went to the nightclubs we hit some problems. The staff would not give us any drinks as they cost 200 Credits each. As we live in a currency-free soociety, this proved difficult.. I tried to explain, but they laughed and gave us glasses of water instead."

We all laughed, although the same thing happened when I tried to gain admission to the Green Lady Orion Night Club some time ago.

"How about you, Worf?" inquires Beverly, "What did you think of Deep Space Nine when you went to see it with Jadzia?"

Worf looks a little annoyed that he has to recall what happened.

"I found it rather pleasing eventually." he grudgingly concurs, "But it took some time to see it, as a rather officious shapeshifter, who was in charge of security there, immediately decided to throw me in the brig because I was a Klingon because some others had been causing trouble there. It took some hours of convincing by Jadzia to get them to release me."

We all laugh again, much to Worf's displeasure.

"If I ever go back to that space station." he continues, "I'll have something to say to that shapeshifter. It's fortunate that I'm not an officious security officer like him."

We do our best to maintain straight faces at this comment by Worf.

I turn my gaze to Deanna Troi and Will Riker.

"How was your trip to Betazed?" I ask them, "I recall you saying that you said you were going to tell Mrs Troi that you would decide when to marry, and not her."

Riker looks despaired.

"My mother said how pleased she was to see us again." says Deanna, with a resigned expression, "Then continued by saying she has picked the flowers for the wedding, has composed the Guest List, and the choice of meal for the dinner afterwards. My mother did ask us if there were any people we wanted to add on afterwards. Will and I tried to get a word in edgeways, but ended up agreeing on the Guest List...even though Will and I haven't even agreed to get married!"

Riker looks more depressed, as if he knows the mother-in-law he will have isn't his perfect choice, and Lwaxana's just put some shackles on him.

"Let's take a break in Ten Forward." I suggest, "And meet back here to know how the others got on."

"Agreed." replies Deanna, "I could do with a Chocolate Sundae."

"I could do with a Klingon Bloodwine." says Riker in a depressive voice.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

TWQ: Holiday Stories

As I'm back a day earlier, here is another TWQ for this weekend. Normal Starship service will be resumed after that!

Can you tell any funny holiday stories that have happened to you?

My answer is:

Last week, while I was in Torquay, I was walking out at night with my father. About 20 girls in their mid-twenties came up. They were wearing basques, stocking and suspenders. One of them had a bride's veil on and an 'L' (for Learner) in a certain place. She was a bride-to-be who was having a night out with her friends before she got married (a Hen Night). The bride-to-be gave me a big kiss on the cheek, which was recorded on her camera. I duly gave her a kiss back, which was also taken on her camera. Sadly, I did not have my picture with me!

Now it's over to you...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

TWQ: Week-Long Game!

As I'm currently on vacation until 27th August, I have a week-long TWQ for you all to partake in:

I'll list a film and actor. What the next person has to do is list another film with that same actor in, together plus another actor from that second film , and so on.

Is that ok?

You can return to it as many times as you like and make the list longer!

I'll start it rolling with.

'The Towering Inferno' - Steve McQueen

The first person will need to find another film with Steve McQueen, and another actor.

Hope you enjoy playing!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Prelude To Shore Leave

The senior staff are having a meeting before we all go on our Shore Leave. The Enterprise is being cleaned out. After millions of miles though space, the ship needs it!

Especially with the Bolian lavatorial habits; I don't think I'll mention that.

"We'll everybody" I say, to open the meeting, "What are you all going to do in the time you are away from the Enterprise?"

"I'll be visiting my old friends on Deep Space Nine" replies Jadzia, "I'll be taking Worfie...I mean Lieutenant Worf along with me, as he's always wanted to have a good look around."

Worf looks a little embarassed, as if Jadzia has told us something she shouldn't have done.

"Err..yes....I shall be going with Lieutenant Dax." he declares rather formally.

"How about you, Data" asks Riker, "Going to have some fun?"

"No, Commander" he replies, "I shall be going to a lecture on quantum field mechanics and biogenic research."

"Wow, Data" laughs Beverly, "You know how to have a good time!"

"Well my girlfriend Jennifer Baxter will be going along with me." he informs us.

"You know how to look after a lady!" remarks Deanna.

Data looks confused.

"What about you, Geordi?" asks Riker, "Will you be going anywhere with Trisha Lewis?"

"Absolutely!" he tells us, "We are going to the Rigel IV pleasure planet"

"Isn't it the height of the tourist season?" asks Beverley, "Will you be able to get in?"

"We booked it months ago" assures Geordi, "It'll be Fun City, Arizona!"

"What about you, Beverly?" I ask. I'd like her to say she isn't doing anything, but Wes always gets her away at holidays.

"I'm going to have to check up on Wes" she replies, "I've been worried about him ever since Karena, the Amazonian girl from Wondawowman chosen him to be her servant at the Academy."

"I'll be off to the headquarters of the Maquis" says Ensign Ro, "They are planning a lovely holiday package for a tour around the Bajoran moons."

"Will and I will be going to Betazed" states Deanna, "We've got to tell my mother that we'll be getting married when we feel like it, and not when she decides."

"I shall be visiting the Borg Cube Unimatrix 01" Seven tells us, "I need to present my latest report to the Borg Queen and tell her whether you should be assimilated yet. Then I can have a few days rest in my alcove."

We all look uneasy for a few moments.

"What about you, Captain?" asks Deanna, "Where will you be going?"

"I shall be resting in a quiet hotel in Torquay, England, where a lovely breakfast is served. Lots of places to see, and also some peace and quiet."

"What about your Journal?" asks Riker.

"I'll give my Intern something to put in it on Saturday." I reply.

"How much do you pay your Intern?" inquires Beverly.

"Sssh!" I reply, "He doesn't know I should pay him. Meeting closed; have a good vacation, everyone."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mother And Daughter

I think it's time to visit my darling daughter on the Enterprise again.

I've used my role as Betazed Ambassador to request an important meeting with the Captain; it'll make him nervous, but Jean-Luc doesn't have to be concerned this time.


Beaming on to the Enterprise Transporter, the Captain is all ready to receive me, along with the rest of the staff, including Deanna. He has that nervous look that I always seem to see.

"Ambassador Troi" he starts, "Welcome aboard the Enterprise. I am concerned to know what was so important."

"Oh, stop fussing, Jean-Luc" I lightly tell him, "There is nothing here for my Ambassadorial role; I just need to have a little chat with Deanna."

Jean-Luc looks amazed.

"Mother!" exclaims Deanna, "The Enterprise had to be diverted off an important mission in order to come to Betazed and collect you!"

"Don't be so uptight, Deanna" I reply, "It's time for a friendly mother-daughter chat. Jean-Luc, can we borrow your Ready Room? Commander Riker, I need you to come as well."

Jean-Luc nods his head in agreement, as if he is too stunned to speak.


In the Ready Room, I invite Will Riker and Deanna to sit down.

"What is this, mother?" says Deanna angrily, "And don't talk telepathically; Will is a part of this, so don't cut him out."

"So he is" I tell them, "The question is when are you two going to get married?"

The two look at each other, with slightly red faces.

"That's between us, mother; Will and I have chatted about it."

"With all due respect, Mrs Troi.." Will hesitantly continues.

"Oh tosh!" I tell them, "I want you going down that Betazed aisle very soon and a grandchild soon after!"

They both go even redder in the face.

"Mother!" exclaims Deanna, "You can't go embarasssing poor Will and myself by talking about children yet; it's not something we've...."

"Well you'd better do so soon; the Betazoid biological clock doesn't tick all day" I tell them.

"But..." she protests.

"You want to look your best on your wedding day; you know the wedding photographer won't miss anything."

"What does that mean?" Will asks Deanna.

"Have you forgotten" I remind him, "That Betazoid weddings are done without clothes? Now I suggests that you and I, Deanna, visit the Betazed Spa before the wedding, so that..."

"Mother" Deanna tell me slowly, "Will hasn't even asked me to marry him, yet you're getting the wedding ceremony planned and the children's nursery decorated!"

"I'm sorry, Deanna," I say to her, "I'm being too forward. Will, why don't you ask Deanna to marry you right now, so that we can press on?"

"I hardly think it's the right moment, Mrs Troi." protests Will.

"Oh, call me Lwaxana" I tell him, "Or Mom; after all, you're practically family now"

The two look in despair.

"Now you two think about it" I say, "And, Will, I want to see a ring on my daughter's finger. You understand?"

"Yes, Mrs Troi...I mean Lwaxana"


I return to the Transporter Room, where Jean-Luc is still there.

"I'm beaming back down again, Jean-Luc." I cheerily say, "Thanks for having me here. By the way, you might be at a wedding soon as Best Man. Don't bother measuring yourself for a suit. Byeeee!"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Industrial Action

The senior staff are about to start negotiations with Norman Stubbins, who is the local Shop Steward on board the Enterprise. He represents the Starfleet Union of Employees (SUE).

Stubbins comes in the room with his assistant Albert Smith. Despite the fact that all on board wear the official Starfleet outfit, they insist on wearing overalls and a flat cap to show their 'solidarity'.

"Now then, Norman" I say, "I understand that you have a grievance."

"Yes I do!" he replies, "And address me as Mr Stubbins. We are not friends here at the negotiating table; you are the Management and we are the Union."

I groan; I sense trouble ahead.

"Get to the point, Stubbins!" Riker impatiently tells him.

"It's Mr Stubbins and Mr Smith!" they reply in unison.

"Very well, Mister Stubbins." I say, "Why are you here?"

"We have several grievances" answers Stubbins, "One of which is that we are not paid enough.". Albert Smith nods his head in agreement, as it seems he always does.

"You are not paid at all" I reply, "Do you not recall that money was abandoned years ago, and we now live in a currency-free society?"

"Well our members think this is contrary to union practices" states Stubbins, "Unless we are paid a salary, we shall be forced to withdraw our labour."

"According to my records." answers Data, "You and Mr Smith do not actually do any work aboard the Enterprise. Most of your time is spent on tea breaks or away on union business at the Rigel IV pleasure planet."

Both Stubbins and Smith look angry.

"Management is insulting the union, Brother Stubbins!" Smith says to his colleague in a quivering voice, "I think we should ballot the members and recommend industrial action immediately."

"I'm inclined to agree with you, Brother Smith!"

"How about if I assimilate the both of you now?" Seven asks them.

Oh dear. This doesn't seem to be going the way of careful industrial negotiations.

"That's it!" shouts Stubbins, "Come on, Brother Smith, let's tell the others that we have been threatened physically by management. They will all down tools. There won't be a starship flying for ages until SUE get what they want."

"Come back, gentlemen!" I plead, "I'm sure we can work out something that is suitable. Currency in the Federation is out, but I'm sure there are some other priveliges you may want."

Stubbins and Smith look at each other.

"Longer tea breaks?" asks Stubbins.

"I'm sure that can be arranged." I reply.

"Increased holodeck time for err...executive union members such as myself and Brother Smith?"

"Of course."

"More union business meetings at the Rigel IV pleasure planet for executive union members.?"


Stubbins shakes my hand.

"Excellent." he says, "Union and Management have thrashed out a fine deal for union members, due to our good negotiations."

They leave with their briefcases and clipboards.

"The 'fine deal' they thrashed out, Number One" I say, "Seemed to be more for their benefit than their members."

Riker smiles and agrees.

"Do they have unions in The Borg, Seven?" asks Beverly.

"Yes" she replies, "But when the drone Shop Steward came to the Borg Queen with his list of demands, he was deactivated. It wasn't a job that wasn't well sought after in a Cube."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

TWQ: Movie Quotes

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks at memorable lines from the movies:

What famous movie quotes do you like most?

My answers are:

Apart from those in 'Casablanca', which seem to be one memorable quote after another, others that come to mind are:

'Make him an offer he couldn't refuse' (The Godfather movies)

'Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore' (The Wizard Of Oz)

'What we've got here is failure to communicate' (Cool Hand Luke)

'Made it Ma! Top Of the world!' (White Heat)

Now it's over to you; what are YOUR favourites?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sent To The Enterprise

I'm in trouble again.

Just because I had a little bit of fun with a planetary system, making time go backward then forward for them every couple of hours.

They didn't know if they were coming or going!

Those in the Q Continuum have absolutely no sense of humour. I'd say to them ,"Get a life!", but of course, the beings that we are, we don't exist that way.

I'm in front of the Disciplinary Panel; I think I've been here quite often.

"It simply won't do, Q" Q tells me, "We in the Continuum have a sense of responsibility to those lesser creatures that inhabit the universe"

"I was only having a laugh" I tell him.

"You may well call it 'having a laugh', but we take it seriously" Q replies indignantly, "The human Picard has a strong sense of discipline; you will be sent to the Enterprise for 24 hours and ordered to do what he says, otherwise you will be stripped of your powers."

I contain my glee; a day with Jean-Luc is ideal!


I appear in front of Jean-Luc as he is on the Bridge.

"What do you want, Q?" he says somewhat aggressively. The Captain is never very welcoming.

"Q reporting for duty, mon Captain!" I exclaim.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he replies.

I explain the situation, and Jean-Luc smiles to himself. Riker and all the other bridge staff join in the laugh as well.

"It doesn't surprise me that you got into trouble, Q" he says, "You're so irresponsible. Very well, you shall do exactly what I tell you to do for the next 24 hours."

"I'll do any menial job, Jean-Luc" I tell him, "I'll even do Riker's job. I'm sure he would rather be with Counselor Troi."

Riker looks angry, and Deanna looks red-faced.

"You're not having my job, Q" Riker snaps at me.

"Ah, what a pity, Commander." I tell him, "I think you've disappointed Deanna."

"I know what you can do, Q" Jean-Luc, "You can go and help someone."

"Who might that be?" I ask, "Is it the delightful Beverly?"

"NO!" he shouts, "You can help Guinan in Ten Forward and serve drinks."

"Not her!" I exclaim, "Captain, I've told you before, she is a dangerous imp and will only cause trouble if.."

"I know who causes trouble around here" he replies, "Now go to Ten Forward!"


When I get there, Guinan is laughing away to herself. She would. She always did when she got the better of me in the past.

"Now listen here, Q" she tells me, "These orders are coming from Captain Picard; you will not use your powers in any way to serve the drinks or the food. You will do it just as any other normal waiter would. Now get to it!"

I mumble a few Q expletives only found in the Continuum and start serving.

I hear a finger snapping and a voice.


It's Riker, with Troi.

They have both got wide grins on their faces as they get me running backward and forward. On one occasion I fall over with the drinks.

"That's coming out of the tips you get!" Guinan tells me. That would be a fine thing; no one gives me any. They are all so ungrateful here on the Enterprise.

During the next 24 hours, I am run off my feet, with members of the Bridge coming in wanting a Chocolate Sundae, Tequila Slammer, Screwdriver and a Klingon Bloodwine. I think Jean-Luc has sent them all down here and got me to serve them. I've noticed that all of the other waiters have left from their shifts early.

At last, the day is over; Jean-Luc comes to me and smiles.

"Well Q" he says with a grin, "I hope you've enjoyed our visit to the Enterprise. Remember to watch your step, otherwise the Continuum could have you working in Ten Forward for good."

Not if I can help it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Starship Licence (Part Two)

I'm still in the Dararian office trying to get my Starship Licence.

The amount of time I've spent in here makes me feel as if I've been put in suspended animation and someone's forgot to turn the 'on' switch on.

Everyone looks sad in here, as if it is Limbo, and that this is where they will be for all Eternity.

Having being directed by the officious looking man at the counter, I am now taking my DSS1/LDS form to the counter that bears that title.

Only there's a queue twice as long as the one I've been in.

In front of me, there is a Vulcan. I talk to him about how long I have to wait.

"These queues are a test of patience." he replies, "They are good for the Vulcan spirit, to see if they can maintain their lack of emotion. Many Vulcans have sapped under the conditions."

"How about Klingons?" I ask, "Surely their patience is very slim?"

"You are correct." he reples, "No Klingon has ever had a Dararian Starship Licence as they have never made it to the front of the queue. They go berserk, assault a few officials and are taken out."

A long time later, I reach the front of the queue; slightly earlier than expected, as the Vulcan ahead of me, and an Orion Slave Girl both buckled under the pressure and had to be taken out screaming.

Triumphantly, I produce my DSS1/LDS form; somewhat reluctantly, the woman accepts it.

"Where's your photograph?" the Dararian asks with a sneer.

I'm ready for her, and produce this picture I was carrying.

She looks at it for a while and smiles to herself.

"That's not sufficient." she tells me, "The picture must have you in your official uniform, and you are not allowed to smile. The photo booth is over there."

I'm starting to crack.

However, I get my picture taken, looking very officious, and after an eternity, I am back at the head of the queue. The form is stamped, and I am given another one to take to the 'Starship Licences' counter.

I'm starting to buckle...everything is looking very hazy....four lights....

Though on my knees, I make it to the head of the queue and my Starship Licence is issued. As I grasp it, everything starts to go dizzy....


"Are you all right, Jean-Luc?" I hear a voice; it's Beverly.

Groggily, I wake up in the Enterprise Sick Bay. Beverly is tending to me.

"What happened?" I ask her.

"According to witnesses" she replies, "You passed out as soon as you received your Starship Licence. We thought it would be a routine matter."

"Beverly" I say to her, "If we ever pass through Dararian space again, make sure we are going at Impulse Speed. I don't want to apply for another Licence again."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Starship Licence (Part One)

I'm on my way to Dararia after that unfortunate incident recently.

The Dararians accused the Enterprise of speeding through their space, and I was haned a million Credit fine, and ordered to apply for a Starship Licence.

Despite my protests, the Starfleet authorities have insisted that I go through this in the interests of interplanetary harmony.

It all sounds like a Dararian scam to me.

Anyway, I just land on Dararia, when I'm greeted by ban official.

"Ah, you must be Captain Picard, the notorious speeder" he says, "I am Yeltar, and I will be conducting your test today."

Though I'm tempted to comment on his 'notorious speeder' remark, I think it best to say nothing, as it may harm my chances. Best just to get this over with as soon as possible.

We go to a shuttle that he has borrowed for the occasion.

"Step in please, Captain." says Yelter, "And we see how familiar you are with the controls."

We take off and I perform all the directions he asks me to with ease. A good Captain never forgets how to operate a shuttle. Yelter ticks off the movements with ease.

After about half an hour, we land again on Dararia; I expect to be handed that Starship Licence and then I can get out of here.

"Well done, Captain" Yelter informs me, "You have successfully passed the required flights, and now qualify for a Dararian Starship Licence. Just pay the half a million Credit charge, and..."

"What!" I exclaim.

"Naturally, Captain, You have to pay for the Test Instruction that I am giving you."

"This is a flagrant con!" I shout, "You do the same for any starships that pass by."

"They have to adhere to the regulations." Yelter says in an officious tone, "Should you not pay immediately, the cost will be doubled."

I bite my lip, as I feel determined to say something; reluctantly, I tell him that Starfleet will pay right away. Any other action might result in a fine so high that Starfleet would go bankrupt.

"That's good, Captain." says Yelter, as if he is pleased that the Dararians have got another victim, "Just go along to the offices to collect your licence."

"Can't YOU give me the licence?" I ask.

"Certainly not!" Yelter replies in an amazed voice, "This is a very official procedure. Here is your DSS1/LDS form; take it along to the office and get your Licence.


After looking around, and asking many people, I find a grey, drab office, where I am told I will get what what I want.

I enter there to find it absolutlely packed; so many, they can barely move; I wish I would beam them all out and go to the front of the queue.

I see one counter with a sign saying 'STARSHIP LICENCES' over it. There is a long queue of individuals waiting to apply; about as many as there are planets in the Federation.

After what seems an eternity, I am at the counter, and triumphantly hand my DSS1/LDS form to the person the other side.

"What's this?" he asks me.

"It's the DSS1/LDS form for a Starship Licence" I reply.

"I don't want that" he tells me as if I am a Gazonian Flea Parrot, "You've got to go to the counter marked 'DSS1/LDS' before you can come to me."

I look, and that queue is twice as long as the one I was waiting in, and has now grown again.

I could be here some time.

To be continued...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

TWQ: Party Piece

This week, TWQ (The Weekend Question) looks at what you would do in a party.

You have gone to a party, and everyone has to get up and do their 'party piece'. What will you be doing, assuming any facilities are there?

My answer is:

I would be telling a few jokes, as I cannot sing at all. One joke would be "What goes clop, clop, clop, bang, bang, bang, clop, clop, clop?". ""An Amish drive-by shooting." Usually, I like longer story jokes, rather than one-liners.

Now it's over to you...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Meet The Parents

I've tried to put this off for ages, but I've got to go.

My girlfriend, Trisha Lewis wants me to go and meet her parents.

I've ran out of excuses, so the two of us are beaming down to Earth, where Trisha and I will meet them. I'll be spending a couple of days at their house.

To be honest, I'd rather be tuning up the Warp Drive in Engineering.

"Sometimes I think you love those engines more than you do me!" Trisha said to me earlier this week.

Anyway, the two of us have just beamed down to the designated landing point; we are greeted by two figures. Trisha rushes forward.

"Daddy!" she exclaims, "Mom! So good to see you again."

The two figures look at me sharply. It's assesment time.

"Daddy" she says carefully, "This is my boyfriend, Geordi; Geordi, this is my father."

"I'm Lou" he replies sharply. He is a tough, large man.

"Geordi" continues Trisha, "This is my mother"

"Charmed, I'm sure" says the lady, "You can call Mary."

We all go over to their house; they seem to like me, after all.

For a long time we have a friendly chat, although I sense that Lou is a cauldron waiting to explode at a particular moment.

After the meal, Mary takes Trisha into the kitchen; that's always a bad sign when the boyfriend is left alone with the father.

"Right then" starts Lou, "What are your intentions towards my daughter?"

"Excuse me?" I reply.

"You know what I mean" he continues, "Do you intend to marry her and can you support her on your salary?"

"I'm the Chief Engineer of the starship Enterprise!" I protest, "It's a very prestigious job, Mr Lewis."

"Don't give me that!" he sneers, "When are you going to get a decent job? I'm not having my Trisha chasing you all around the stars. If you're an engineer, get a job fixing hover-cars, while Trisha can look after the house."

"With all due respect, Mr Lewis" I say, "I think you're being a little old fashioned about it all. Trisha and I have a good relationship aboard the Enterprise."

"Well you'll be sleeping on the sofa tonight" he tells me, "I'm locking Trisha's door. Don't think that you will...

The kitchen door bursts open; Mary and Trisha come in.

"Are you boys getting on?" asks Mary, "Having a friendly chat?"

Lou mumbles angrily to himself.

The front door then opens; a young woman with long brown hair and wearing a micro-mini dress comes in and sees me.

"Well!" she exclaims, "Who do we have here?"

Trisha immediately looks angry and rushes over to her.

"You said you wouldn't be in tonight!"

"Dear sister" she replies, "You know I can always change my mind."

She comes towards me.

"Hello. I'm Tania Lewis; Trisha's sister." she says in a seductive mannner, "No wonder Trish kept you under wraps; you're a real hunk."

"Tania!" shouts Trisha, "Keep your hands off Geordi; he's mine!"

The two women glare at each other.

"Tania." says Lou, "You were always a bad lot; making your mother upset."

I can sense a family conflict coming up. Why is it that here in the 24th Century, family squabbles have yet to be sorted out?

I press my Com badge so that a buzz goes off in both mine and Trisha's.

"What's that?" asks Lou.

"Errr...emergency." I tell him hurriedly, "It means we are both needed on the Enterprise urgently. Come on, Trisha, we'll have to go."

Once out of the house, Trisha kisses me.

"Thanks Geordi" she says, "We get along just fine on the Enterprise."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Voice Of The Viper (Part Two)

With master-criminal 'The Viper' imprisoned, one would have thought we could all rest easy in our beds.

But no; he has programmed someone to do something nasty when a codeword is heard; and it will be one of my crew. As the person is unaware, there is no way of finding out before.

I might as well walk around in a suit of armour; not that it would do me any good. A phaser would soon cut into that. I must be going paranoid.

At the senior staff meeting, I go over the situation.

"Well I know it isn't me!" says Worf, "Klingons cannot be hypnotised into mind control."

"Are you sure, Worf?" asks Geordi. Worf looks indignant.

"The only person we can be sure who hasn't been programmed by the Viper's voice," I tell them, "Is Commander Data"

Everybody agrees.

"Therefore, I am appointing him to oversee the situation; he needs to watch carefully for any unusual behaviour."

"What about me?" asks Seven, "A Borg drone cannot be programmed either. Had The Viper tried to program me, he would be assimilated by now."

I think that's why he chose someone else, personally!

"You may be right, Seven" I reply, "But we cannot be sure."

"The Borg would be supreme against such an attempt," she triumphs, "A drone cannot be programmed."

"Can you sense anything, Deanna?" Riker asks her, "Perhaps something in one of our minds?"

"No, I can't" she replies, "At the moment, the programming is buried deep into the subconsciousness of one of us."

This isn't getting us anywhere. I call an end to the meeting.

"Remember to travel about in twos or threes" I advise, "If one starts acting strangely, run quickly and get security."


Riker, Deanna and myself are later in Ten Forward discussing the event.

"It could be years before someone says the codeword." says Deanna, "In the meantime we are all worrying here everyday in case someone says it. All this is making me hungry."

"Do you want a chocolate sundae, Deanna?" asks Riker.

Deanna's body stiffens slighly.

"CHOCOLATE!" she shouts. We look puzzled.

Deanna walks out of Ten Forward; at that time, we have just figured it out. Why are we always so slow in getting the answer.

"Calling all Security teams!" I say on my Com, "Seize Deanna Troi; she is the programmed member of staff!"

What is she doing to do?

After telling Data, we isolate her signal, and the force fields cut her off in the ship. When we arrive, all we find is her Com badge.

Why do crew members always remember to discard their Com badges when we want to catch them? One would think Starfleet would find a way around this.

"What do you think Deanna will do, Mr Data?" I ask.

"As she left Ten Forward" he says, "The Counselor does not intend to harm just you. It may well be the ship. Two locations that are possible are Engineering and the Bridge."

I call the Bridge; no sign of Deanna reported. Then I try Engineering; no answer.

"Everyone to Engineering; she may be forcing a Warp Core breach."

Why is it that the Enterprise is always so near to having a Warp Core breach. It must be a design fault that it is all so fragile. We'd be a lot safer if the ship was powered by coal.

When we get to Engineering, we see the staff all unconscious , having been stunned. Deanna is at the controls.

"Warp Core breach in fifteen seconds" the computer says.

It looks like either a last second rescue coming up, or this is my last Journal entry....

Data fires his phaser on her; no effect, as Deanna has set up a force field around herself. That's another thing they always remember.

"Warp Core breach in ten seconds" we are reminded.

Seven pushes through and adjusts her Borg shielding with the forcefield and walks through. She knocks Deanna out and stops the Core breach.

Whew! Still in one piece.


Later, I am telling Admiral Collins on the screen in my Ready Room about what happened.

"Counselor Troi is being treated by Doctor Crusher in SickBay." I tell him, "She should be fine, soon. How is The Viper?"

"He is under heavy guard, Captain." he replies, "We are making sure that no one listens to his voice."

"How are you doing that?"

"We are putting a soundproof screen all around his cell" he continues, "We call it a Screen Viper."

I say nothing; is that Admiral humour, or is he serious?

It's best not to ask.