by Zeke

Starbase 9
(Engineering. The place is in awful shape: lights flickering, score marks on the walls, you name it.)

Captain Adamson: Can we get any more power to the heating coils? It's freezing in here.

Chief Engineer: I'm givin' 'er all she's got, Captain!

Adamson: Right. Sorry I asked.

(The door opens. Several bedraggled-looking crew members enter the room, carrying crates of food.)

Adamson: You made it!

Commander Bertram: Barely. They threw everything they had at us. We lost Goosefood on the way back.

Adamson: *sigh* Damn. Well, at least you made it to the food stores. We'll be able to hold out for a while longer now.

Bertram: Any word from Starfleet?

Adamson: Not yet.

Bertram: *punches the wall* How long will they leave us here? We sent the distress signal two days ago!

Adamson: Keep your cool, mister. We need to be strong for the others. Help will get here eventually, but until it does --

Voice: Hello? Anyone in there?

(General excitement)

Voice: The door's not opening. Pass me a number three.

Adamson: *running up to the door* The power's out! There's a manual release at the top of --


Voice: There we go. Oh, there was someone here! I hope you weren't too close to that explosion.

Adamson: (knocked on his rear) I'm fine. I'm Captain Adamson, this is my starbase. You must be the MACO reinforcements we asked for.

Voice: Well, no, not exactly.

(The new arrivals step out of the smoke around the doorway.)

Trip: I'm Charles Tucker and this is Malcolm Reed. We're with the Trouble Consultants division.

(Total silence. Everyone in the room is gaping at them.)

Adamson: ...Well. So the, uh, rumours are true.

Bertram: You have got to be #*$@ing kidding me.

Trip: Somethin' wrong?

Bertram: Wrong? Oh, no no, nothing's wrong. Just here we are in desperate need of help and Starfleet sends us the freaking Lovely Angels!

Reed: Hey! We're the Dirty Pair, thank you very much. I don't know what Starfleet was thinking with that official name, but we're far too manly for it.

Bertram: Manly? Manly? In --

Adamson: Take it easy, Commander. Any help is welcome right now.

(Bertram complies, but keeps on grumbling to himself.)

Adamson: I'm sure Starfleet gave you a briefing on what happened here...

Trip: Yeah, but we didn't read it. What's up?

Adamson: *sigh* A short time ago, all our security systems went active and started attacking us. They won't respond to orders, and the computer's stopped listening to us in general. We've been locked out of most vital areas.

Trip: Why not Engineering? It's the most vital area. That's why we came here first.

(Reed mutters something about the arms lockers.)

Adamson: We had to set up here -- if they get at the main reactor, we've had it. We've managed to keep this deck secure so far, but only by cutting the power almost completely.

Bertram: That was the chief's work. He also managed to jam the port shuttlebay doors so you wouldn't have to blast your way in.

Trip: ...Er. Yes indeed, that's sure the shuttlebay we landed in. (I told you to check!)

Reed: (I thought this model of starbase didn't have a port shuttlebay!)

Trip: (There's only one model of starbase! Prequel, remember?)

Adamson: Anyway, we did our best to fight back at first, but without success. Our supplies and ammo ran out, and for the last two days we've been stuck on this deck.

Reed: Why didn't you just evacuate and use the auto-destruct?

Trip: That's not the default solution to --

Adamson: No, it's a valid question. We did get the civilians out, but this base is far too valuable to abandon.

Reed: Why not?

Adamson: It's... made of gold.

(Trip and Reed trade a look.)

Bertram: Super gold. It's worth twice as much.

Adamson: Yes, that was a new discovery. You probably haven't heard of it.

Bertram: We also have platinum shield generators.

Adamson: And diamonds on the soles of --

Trip: All right, all right. We'll help you get this place under control.

Adamson: Excellent. If you can reach the main computer and shut it down, that should disable the security systems. Then we'll be free to leave this deck and get everything working again.

Trip: Sounds like a plan. Off we go!

Adamson: Wait! You'd better know what you're heading into. The automated defenses on this starbase are a little... unorthodox.

Reed: Oh, we know. You have robots, mounted cannons, moving force fields, rooms that fill up with acid...

Adamson: You know about that?

Trip: We paid attention to that part of the briefin'. It was cool.

Adamson: O...kay. Good luck to you.

(Trip and Reed head out.)

Bertram: A question, sir.

Adamson: Go ahead.

Bertram: Why didn't we just die when all this started and save ourselves some time?

Adamson: Now now. They are professionals. I'm sure we can trust... er... do you remember their names?

Bertram: Why bother? Let's just call them by their codena--

Reed: HEY!

(Reed's head pops back in the door.)

Reed: We don't use our codenames! NOBODY uses our codenames! Especially mine!

Adamson: Understood. We meant no offense.

Reed: Glad to hear it. We're off now. No codenames!

(He leaves.)

Bertram: I meant offense.

Adamson: Look, do you really think getting them mad at us will help their competence?

Bertram: Couldn't hurt.

A dark corridor
Trip: Now remember what we talked about on the way here, okay? That nickname "Dirty Pair" may be better than our real name, but it still ain't exactly a compliment.

Reed: I know, I know, they call us that because of the mess we leave our missions in.

Trip: Right. So this time, for once, we make sure there's nothin' to complain about. We get the job done and keep the explosions to a minimum.

(Reed twitches visibly at that last part.)

Trip: An' so far I'd say we're off to a good start.

Reed: You think so?

(He cocks his head toward the smouldering wreckage of several security robots in their wake.)

Trip: Well, we're tryin' to be professionals, not saints.

(They walk on a bit. Trip contemplates the map he's holding.)

Trip: The bridge is a couple corridors to the left. It's not far out of our way. Let's take a look before we go for the main computer.

Reed: Do you think we can regain some control from there?

Trip: Probably not, but I wanna see if the design team took any of my suggestions.

(They turn left. But just as the bridge door is coming into view...)

Giant Robot Spider: GRAAAAAARRR!

Trip: Holy cripes! That robot is guarding the bridge!

Reed: You think maybe it just wants to collect a toll?

(They dodge several blasts of acid.)

Trip: I doubt it.

Reed: No choice, then. Phase pistols on Raid!

(The pair take cover on opposite sides of the hall and start firing back at the spider. Their shots seem to have no effect, but occasionally one gets through. This goes on for a while.)

Trip: Hey Malcolm! I think I've got it figgered out.

Reed: (distracted) Mm-hm?

Trip: See those eight robot eyes it's got? Every few seconds, one of 'em is vulnerable. You can tell by how it glows a bit, see?

Reed: (still distracted) Mm-hm.

Trip: So we just focus our fire on that one and destroy it. I bet once all the eyes are taken out, that thing's weak spot will open up!

Reed: Were you saying something?

(Reed steps out into the open. He's holding a ball of taped-together explosives bigger than his head.)

Trip: What in the --

Reed: Get down!

(He throws it as hard as he can, then drops to the floor.)

Giant Robot Spider: GRAAR?


Reed: There. Easy.

Trip: (knocked over) What the hell was that?

Reed: A better idea.

Trip: But... but the rest of it should have been invincible to all weapons!

Reed: Why would you assume that?

Trip: And what ever happened to minimum explosions?

Reed: You're not being very supportive. Just one by this point in the mission is a personal record.

Trip: *sigh* All right, at least we won. Let's go...

(Adamson notices Bertram pacing back and forth.)

Adamson: Something bothering you?

Bertram: You know full well what! Suppose those two idiots stumble on --

Adamson: Shh!

(A few of the lower-ranking crew turn their heads.)

Adamson: Nothing going on here. Just an innocent conversation. Why, it's so innocent I'm going to start singing. Hmm hmm hmm, na na na....

Bertram: *lowering his voice* This is serious! If those two find out the secret, we're gonna get in trouble. They're gonna start a fight!

Adamson: Na na na na na na na...

Bertram: They're gonna start a fight!

Adamson: Na na na na na na na...

Bertram: We're all gonna get in a FIGHT!

Adamson: So what? We cleared this with Starfleet Command, more or less. Even if they find out, there's nothing they can do about it.

Bertram: Are you sure?

Adamson: Yes. Probably.

(Bertram sighs.)

Bertram: And if they start a fight anyway?

Adamson: *shrug* There's only two of them. We'll win.

Reed: Hmm. No security robots here... not much damage either.

Trip: *examining the captain's chair* Not bad. Could use a little work, though.

Reed: Hey! Get away from that thing.

Trip: It's just a hobby, Malcolm.

Reed: It's an addiction.

Trip: Aw, come on! What's so dangerous about a ch--

(The chair suddenly explodes, hurling Trip across the bridge.)

Trip: OW! What just happened?

Reed: Someone must have set up a bomb for us!

(A beeping sound comes from one of the consoles. Reed goes to check.)

Reed: That's strange. We're getting a signal!

Trip: What?

Reed: Hold on, I'll put it on the main viewer.

(He does. The starfield vanishes -- replaced by the grinning face of Silik.)

Trip and Reed: It's YOU!

Silik: *chuckle* How are you doing, gentlemen? As you can see, your entire starbase now belongs to us.

(He gestures, indicating the Evil Future Guy behind him.)

Silik: You fools are right on course for destruction!

Trip: What are you sayin'?

Silik: Merely that you have no chance of survival. Better make the most of the time you have left! Ha ha ha ha ha!

(He cuts off the signal. Trip clenches his fist.)

Reed: Are you all right?

(Trip stands up, a new determination in his face.)

Trip: Tucker to Shuttlepod One. Launch all the dogs!

Reed: What?

Voice Over the Comm: RUFF!

Trip: Okay, boys, you know what you're doin'. Move out! Let's bring that slimy bastard to justice!

Voice Over the Comm: RUFF RUFF!

Trip: There. We'll teach him to blow up a perfectly good captain's chair.

Reed: Trip... we don't have dogs. We have a dog. It's not even --

Trip: An' Silik didn't know that till you opened your yap!

Reed: Ah. Here I thought I was the paranoid one.

Trip: Are you forgettin' how this guy has screwed us over before? If he's after the starbase, we've gotta...


Reed: Yes?

Trip: Why is he after this starbase? It's just a regular outpost, ain't it?

Reed: That's true. This sector doesn't have any particular importance.

Trip: So it ain't the starbase. It's somethin' ON it. Somethin' we haven't been told about.

Reed: Hmmmmmm.

(Slowly, both men turn to look across the bridge, where there's a big door clearly labeled "Restricted Zone".)

Trip: Shall we?

Reed: Let's shall.

(They enter the door, only to find a heavy gate blocking their progress.)

Reed: Pity. It looked like this was going to be easy.

Trip: I don't see a lock or anythin'...

Reed: There isn't one. This is a Class VI Wave Gate. Voice-operated, but with password protection. And there's a manual release on the other side in case of emergencies -- see that bulb there? -- but none on this side.

Trip: Huh? Why not?

Reed: We use these gates to seal off hazardous areas. You might have to get out in a hurry...

Trip: ...but probably not in. Gotcha. Okay, what's the password?

Reed: *snort* Hell if I know, unless they were stupid enough to keep the factory settings. Computer, open the gate, authorization code "Hands off my armadillo."

Computer: Access denied.

Trip: *raises eyebrow* There's gotta be a story behind that.

Reed: You're better off not hearing it, trust me.

(They think for a minute.)

Trip: Wait, what'd you say the name of this thing was?

Reed: Class VI Wave Gate. Why?

(Trip steps up to the gate. After a moment's hesitation, he waves at it.)


(Reed's jaw drops.)

Trip: Huh. Guess it was easy after all. You comin'?

Reed: Oh, I am going to send such a nasty letter to R&D when we get back...

Somewhere on the starbase
(A bulky figure is lumbering through the corridors. Hearing voices through a door, it stops to listen.)

Evil Future Guy: The time has come! At last my victory is at hand!

Silik: You don't say.

Evil Future Guy: I've waited so long for a felicitious opportunity like this, and at last it's come!

Silik: Yep.

Evil Future Guy: I'll finally be able to abandon this alias and step into the light!

Silik: Can't wait.

Evil Future Guy: Oh, they told me my mission was impossible. But I knew it wasn't! And now they'll all be answering to me!

Silik: Woo.

Evil Future Guy: ...Silik, why do I get the impression that you've lost your enthusiasm for the project?

Silik: You've been villain-ranting for the last five hours. It's boring.

(With a satisfied bark, the listener takes off.)

Silik: Did you hear a satisfied bark just now?

Evil Future Guy: At the fringe of my consciousness, perhaps. Which is where all my enemies will soon be relegated! The time has come!

Silik: *deep sigh*

(It's been hours now. Everybody is getting impatient, but Bertram is still the grumpiest.)

Bertram: Remember all your bad dreams? Not far from reality.

Adamson: Would you --

Voice: Adamson! What the HELL!

Adamson: Uh oh.

(Trip charges in, mad as a stack of Reptile Xindi.)

Trip: What kinda game are you playin'? Do you know how dangerous the stuff you're messin' with is?

Adamson: Er. What stuff? We have nothing dangerous on this sta--

Reed: *muffled screams*

(Reed stumbles into the room with a Metroid on his head.)

Trip: You were sayin'?

Adamson: ...Oh no! Your friend got his head stuck in a big Jell-O mold!

Trip: Give it up!

(Reed finds a wall and starts bashing his head into it. After a while, the Metroid gets annoyed and releases him.)

Metroid: (floating away) SKREE

Reed: Oh, you're not going anywhere, pal! *stuffs a bunch of grenades up the Metroid's orifice*

Metroid: SKREE! SKREE!

(The grenades explode, as does the Metroid.)

Trip: You okay, Malcolm?

Reed: Yes, and thanks for all your help.

(Trip turns back to Adamson, arms crossed.)

Adamson: Gosh! How did a Metroid get on the starbase? That's pretty wacky!

Trip: Come off it! You're cloning the damn things!

Adamson: What a silly idea. We would never conduct bizarre and illegal biological experiments.

Trip: Then explain THIS!

(Trip produces a large, glitchy-looking creature shaped like a backwards L.)

Bertram: Oh God, they found the Missingno.

Adamson: The what? Don't listen to him, guys. We haven't --

(Wild MISSINGNO. started to glow!)

Adamson: Uh oh.

(Wild MISSINGNO. used Sky Attack!)

Adamson: OWWW!

Bertram: Captain!

(Satisfied, the Missingno. heads out the door.)

Trip: I can't believe you were keepin' one of those! Have you got any idea what they can do to your files?

Adamson: *still winded* All right, all right. You win.

(Adamson gets up and tries to look authoritative.)

Adamson: As you can see, the Federation is conducting a Metroid breeding program. For peaceful application only, of course. Please understand.

Trip: Uh huh. And the rest of your repository of dangerous things?

Adamson: All perfectly legitimate research. Sure, it may be illegal now, but science marches on. Eventually we'll be allowed to do all of this. So why wait?

Reed: They're never going to legalize cross-breeding Nausicaans with hobo spiders!

Adamson: Not while people like you are so closed-minded.

Trip: Oh, SHOVE it! Your reactor is powered by alien corpses! You're making particles that blow up subspace! You dump your antimatter into open space and hope no one notices! These are things BAD guys do!

Reed: And not for a couple hundred years, at that.

Adamson: What?

Trip: Yeah, that's right! Humans aren't supposed to have this tech yet -- and that kind of thing gets the attention of a certain slimy opportunist we know!

Adamson: Are you done insulting --

Reed: No. But we don't mean you.

(They explain about Silik.)

Adamson: Oh. This... this is bad.

Trip: No shazbot.

Bertram: But they said the Temporal Cold War was over!

Reed: As long as it lives on in the hearts of its fans... *sniff*... the Temporal Cold War will never die!

Trip: "Fans"? Are you mouthpiecin' again?

Reed: Those noble time-travel adventures involved some of the greatest weaponry it has ever been my privilege to wield!

Trip: Ah. Okay then.

Adamson: Stop being happy about this! We're up against a manipulative genetically-enhanced alien commander with a far-future sugar daddy!

Bertram: Yeah, who is that guy, anyway?

Reed: It's a funny thing -- we never found out. Silik himself doesn't seem to know.

Trip: I have a coupla theories, though.

Reed: Please. You have wild guessing at best.

Trip: Aw, c'mon! How about the one where he's from a planet where all the trees have epilepsy?

(They start bickering again. Adamson loses patience.)

Adamson: WHAT DO WE DO?

Trip: Geez, take it easy. Musky'll be back any minute now.

Adamson: Musky?

Trip: It's short for Musketeer.

Adamson: Okay, but who is --

Bertram: AAAAAAAA!

(An enormous robot dog has just galloped into the room.)

Trip: There he is! Here, boy!

Bertram: *draws phase pistol* What in the damn HELL is that thing?

(The dog notices the gun. It jumps excitedly toward Bertram.)

Bertram: Gah! Stay back, you --! *fires*

Musky: RUFF!

(Dodging the beam, the dog somehow fires back from its open mouth.)

Bertram: OW!

Musky: RUFF! *tackles Bertram*

Bertram: Hey! Get off!

(The dog licks Bertram with its solid metal tongue.)

Trip: Sorry. You shouldn'ta fired at him. He thought you wanted to play.

Bertram: You -- get off! -- you play with your dog using live phaser fire?

Reed: Sometimes. When he needs a real workout, we --

Bertram: Shouldn'thaveasked don'twannaknow GET HIM OFF!

Trip: Right. Here, boy!

(Musky runs over to his masters.)

Trip: Good dog.

Adamson: That's not a dog!

Trip: What's it look like? An inverted capital G?

Adamson: It's a robot! It's three times the size of any non-robotic dog!

Reed: Very astute.

Trip: Musky's our pal. We built him ourselves.

Adamson: But how? Why?

Trip: Havin' a dog around sometimes came in handy at our old job, but we didn't wanna endanger a flesh-and-blood one.

Reed: As for how, that's classified. But suffice to say that Musky is the prototype for a Starfleet defense force.

Bertram: Defense? What kind of attacker can you counter with a robot dog?

(Trip and Reed share an ominous look that speaks of past terrors.)

Trip: We don't wanna talk about it.

Reed: Just stay away from Risa.

(Adamson and Bertram blink.)

Trip: Awright, let's get down to business. Didja find the place, Musky?

Musky: RUFF! *nod nod*

Adamson: What place?

Trip: We figgered Silik's transmission must've come from inside the station -- there weren't any other ships around when we got here. So we sent Musky lookin' for the source while we checked out your forbidden lab.

Reed: So where is he, boy?

(A printout issues from Musky's mouth.)

Reed: Perfect. He's near the centre of the station. We just need to follow these directions.

Trip: Good doggy! *pets Musky*

Bertram: I'm getting close to my weirdness capacity for the day, here.

Reed: Time to go stop Silik. We'll leave Musky with you just in case.

Adamson: Do you need help? I still have a few security --

Trip: Nah, we can handle it. We're the experts. And we've fought this guy before.

Adamson: All right. Good luck, then.

(They leave.)

Bertram: So what do we do now? Just go back to pacing and complaining about those two morons?


(The dog bares its fangs. Which are made of lasers.)

Adamson: You might want to stick with just pacing, actually.

Station's core
Reed: Step 16, turn right at this next intersection. Step 17... swim across the Atlantic Ocean?

Trip: Dang! Thought I fixed that bug. Just ignore it.

Reed: In that case, it's the next door on our left.

(They stop in front of it. There's a big sign that says "No Humans".)

Trip: Yep. Central control room.

Reed: We should -- HEY!

Trip: What?

(Glaring, Reed stabs a finger at the door across the hall... which is clearly labeled "Arms Locker B.")

Trip: Awright, you win. From now on we'll check those first.

Reed: Good. So what's the plan?

Trip: The door ain't locked, but we'll haveta act fast once we're inside. Silik goes down first -- we don't want him usin' those powers of his. Then we shoot anythin' else that's movin'.

Reed: Oh, I like this plan.

Trip: Thought you might. Okay, I'm gonna open the door on three.

Reed: Can we do the battlecry this time?

Trip: Eh, what the hell. One... two...

(Trip hits the button.)

Trip and Reed: *jumping into the room* Greetings, little worms! EAT FLAMING DEATH!

30 seconds later
Silik: Did you enjoy yourselves?

Trip: (tied up) Oh, yeah. Good times all round.

Reed: Ungh... what hit us?

Trip: Silik. I told you the damn battlecry takes too long to say.

Silik: Actually, I heard your entire conversation. Don't talk right outside your opponent's door next time.

Trip: Especially an opponent with futuristic hearin' aids, right?

Silik: *grumbling* Those were confiscated several failures ago.

Evil Future Guy: By me!

(They look. Yep, it's the Evil Future Guy.)

Reed: Pleased to make your acquaintance.

Evil Future Guy: Likewise! History has much to say about the exploits of the Lovely --

Trip and Reed: Dirty Pair!

Evil Future Guy: Right. But to be more precise, history has much to say about you for now. You won't even recognize history by the time I get through with it!

Trip: Can you avoid using words like "time" and "now" when you talk about alterin' history? It's really confusin'.

Reed: And when Trip's confused, he hammers himself half the time.

Evil Future Guy: Silence! I've been waiting a long time for this moment, and I intend to take full advantage.

Reed: Meaning?

Evil Future Guy: I'm going to villain-rant at you like you've never been villain-ranted at before!

(He does. For half an hour.)

Evil Future Guy: And that's my plan to alter history, starting with killing you two and releasing the horrors on this station to destroy --

Trip: We KNOW! You just told us! For half an hour!

Reed: I wouldn't have believed it was possible to make time travel so incoherent and so boring at the same time!

Evil Future Guy: You're entitled to your opinion. But I'm in charge now, and I say my plan is just what this universe needs!

Trip: Why do we need a disaster like you're plannin'?

Evil Future Guy: To shake things up! Make them interesting again! Honestly, don't you find your lives predictable?

Reed: Not really.

Evil Future Guy: You wouldn't understand. This is the present to you. Where I come from, it's the past -- and every time we look at it, it's the same. Why bother examining 2154 when we know where things stand in 2155?

Trip: That's just how history works, ain't it?

Evil Future Guy: Not on my watch! I'm going to start a whole new timeline! This station is just the beginning -- I'll destroy planets, kill famous people! I'll do whatever I want with no restraints!

Trip: Uh oh.

Reed: What?

Trip: This is soundin' familiar. I can't put my finger on it...

Reed: Probably because your arms are tied up.

Evil Future Guy: Oho! You're curious, are you? Intrigued? Caught up in the mystery? I should just leave you to rationalize me for the rest of your lives!

Trip: But --

Evil Future Guy: But I won't! This time I'll go for a dramatic revelation scene instead of extending the suspense further! This time you're going to find out WHO I AM!

Reed: Really?

Trip: No foolin'?

Evil Future Guy: None! Silik, deactivate the image and sound filters!

Silik: About time. You have no idea how often I've been tempted to do that as a prank. You'd be all "Good morning, Silik's assistant!" and he'd be all "Hey, you're that guy."

(Silik fiddles with some settings on a console. The Evil Future Guy's image begins to flicker...)

Evil Future Guy: At last! Ha ha ha!

(And gradually, another image comes into focus...)

Trip and Reed: *gasp*

(The image of...)

Trip and Reed: J. J. Abrams!

J. J. Abrams: That's right! Creator of hit series! Master of audience-confusing! Winner of the eTrektion!

Reed: Remaker of the universe in his own image?

J. J. Abrams: Exactly! And you two will be the first to go!

Silik: *sigh* This has become much stupider than I was prepared for.

J. J. Abrams: Just embrace it, Silik.

Silik: And if I don't?

J. J. Abrams: Then I'll confiscate... hmm. Have you still got the enhanced sense of smell?

Silik: I never had one of those.

J. J. Abrams: Perfect. I'll provide you with one and then rip it back out.

Trip: Yow!

J. J. Abrams: Oh, are you two still here?

Reed: Don't worry, we'll be leaving in a moment.

J. J. Abrams: Uh huh. Silik, it's time we got moving. Prepare the monsters for a final assault on those leftover -- hey, what are you doing?

(Reed has just stood up. His arms and legs are still tied, though.)

Reed: Did you know that every great villain in history has made the same mistake?

J. J. Abrams: Was it letting their prisoners talk?

Reed: I'm serious. Check any history text. Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, token in-universe example...

Trip: Khan Singh?

Reed: Sure, he'll do. All of those villains made the same mistake. A mistake that you have also made.

J. J. Abrams: And what's that?

Reed: They assumed their prisoners didn't have ARM BLADES!

(Huge metal blades pop out of the sides of Reed's arms, cutting his bonds.)

Everyone: What the --

Reed: Hi-yah!

(Reed decks the Evil Future Guy. He goes down.)

Trip: Arm blades?! Since when the hell do you have arm blades?

Reed: I didn't mention?

Trip: Oh, whatever. Get me loose.

(He does. The two of them face down Silik.)

Silik: Well, this incident has been rather embarrassing for everyone. I propose we forget about it, go back to our lives, and have our final confrontation some other time.

Reed: Or we could take you into custody.

Silik: Do you really want to do that? If you think about all that's happened, you'll realize I'm really on your side.

Trip: Whoa. Now that you mention --

(Reed slaps Trip.)

Reed: He tries this trick every time. He's not on our side.

Silik: But what if I am?

Reed: You're not!

Silik: All right, I'm not. But I'm classy about it.

(The station shakes.)

Trip: Oh, great. Power core's finally goin'.

Reed: You know what we have to do, right?

Trip: Oh yeah. If those monsters downstairs get free, galactic civilization will end. We gotta send 'em to oblivion.

Reed: (taps comm badge) Musky, we need you to lead the starbase crew to our ship right away. Is your objective clear?

Musky: (over the comm) RUFF!

Silik: And how do you propose to destroy the station? All the vital systems are still responding to me. You have no way to activate the auto-destruct.

Trip: No way to what?

Silik: Activate the auto-destruct.

Computer: Auto-destruct activated. Ten minutes to main reactor overload.

(There's a long silence. Then Silik, taking advantage of his Suliban flexibility, kicks himself in the head.)

Trip: Shall we get goin'?

Reed: One moment. *punches Silik unconscious*

Trip: Aw, why'dja beat him when he was down?

Reed: I didn't want him realizing he could just cancel the autodestruct.

Trip: Point.

Starbase 9: FOOOOOOM

Trip and Reed: Woo!

(The pieces of the starbase -- and the genetically-engineered monsters -- drift away. Shuttlepod One maintains a safe distance.)

Reed: Nothing like the satisfaction of a job well done, eh?

Trip: Will you retract those damn arm blades already? But yeah, this was a happy endin' all 'round.

Reed: Do you think Silik made it?

Trip: Sure. He can survive in the vacuum. Otherwise we'd have brought him with us.

Reed: ...We would have?

Trip: Yes.

Bertram: Excuse me.

Reed: Hmm?


(The starbase crew are crammed into the back of the shuttlepod like sardines.)

Trip: Hey, if you don't like the accomodations, you're welcome to go back to the station.

Bertram: *long sigh*

Reed: But yes, let's go to warp. Time to return home... as heroes!

Starfleet Headquarters
President Archer: YOU IDIOTS!

(Trip and Reed sulk in their chairs.)

Archer: You *&#$@ing dsokdpachical blunderheads! You're incompetent! You're worse than incompetent! I oughta give your jobs to Mayweather!

Trip: Isn't he still in training?

Archer: SHADDUP! Do you realize what you clowns have done?

Reed: Saved the galaxy from a threat?

Trip: Rescued a bunch of people?

Archer: Destroyed an entire starbase! Do you know how expensive starbases are? And those experimental lifeforms! My God, you have no IDEA how much it cost to create them!

Reed: But they --

Archer: I'd take it out of your salaries, but you don't get paid that much! Nobody does! I'm gonna have to abolish the whole concept of money just to keep us from going bankrupt!

Trip: Huh? How's that w--

Archer: And THEN! Then you left without checking where the pieces of the station were heading!

Trip: Oops.

Archer: Most of them landed in the next solar system over, on El-Adrel 4! And then they exploded again! It was an M-class planet!

Reed: *gulp* Was?

Archer: Now it's radioactive!

Trip: That can't be good.

Archer: You think? Ask the local civilization! Just don't expect much of an answer! You irradiated the language right out of them!

Trip and Reed: *wince*

Archer: You two screwups are THROUGH! I'm taking your goddamn badges! You'll never work in this Federation again!

Trip: Yessir.

Reed: Sorry, sir.

(Archer slumps his head in one hand. Reed and Trip get up to leave.)

Archer: ...Oh, by the way.

Trip: Yes?

Archer: They're having trouble with some alien saboteurs in the Vagra system.

Reed: We'll get right on it.

Archer: You'd better.

(They leave.)

Archer: *sigh* Kathy, put me through to the interplanetary economics committee, would you? I have something to talk to them about.

Reed: Another day, another mission.

Trip: Hope these alien saboteurs are as much fun as Silik was. But this time --

Reed: I know, I know. No explosions. *sigh*

Trip: Don't give me that look. You wanna go meet the El-Adrelians now?

Reed: What's one more planet on our no-fly list?

Trip: Just don't be so hasty next time.

Reed: Hasty? If you hadn't been holding me back, I would have finished the mission in half the time!

Trip: You're such an arrogant jerk!

Reed: You're an uptight priss!

Trip: Blatch!

Reed: Tool!

Trip: Catfish!

Reed: Dead honky!

(They continue to bicker, not noticing Adamson and Bertram walking up to them.)

Adamson: Excuse me, gentlemen. I'd just like to thank --

Trip: *spinning on Adamson* Who's prettier? Me or him?

Adamson: Uh...

Reed: This isn't a hard choice!

Bertram: You're both ugly. Will you just put this on hold for a minute?

Trip: *sigh*

Reed: Fine.

(They stick their tongues out at each other.)

Adamson: Right. Um, anyway, I wanted to thank you two for your help. Without you, it would have been a disaster.

Bertram: Well, a worse disaster.

Adamson: Slightly worse.

Bertram: Probably.

Trip: Happy to be of service. Give us a call next time you need a hand, and try givin' us the whole story up front, okay?

Adamson: Right. Sorry about that.

Reed: No problem.

Trip: We'll look forward to next time, then.

Adamson: Well, I hope it won't be necessary. I mean, I really, really hope it won't be necessary.

Trip: But if it is, just call up TC HQ and ask for us.

Adamson: Really hope not.

(He thinks for a moment.)

Adamson: But just out of curiosity, would I ask for you as Tucker and Reed, or as Spike and Ya--

Reed: HEY! HEY! *draws phase pistol*

Trip: Sorry. Malcolm's kinda sensitive about his codename.

Adamson: What's wrong with "Yaoi"?


(Reed goes into the shuttlepod and starts punching things.)

Adamson: Huh. Isn't it just some foreign name?

Trip: Best just to drop it, really. Hey Bertram, you okay?

(Bertram looks like he's trying very hard not to say something.)

Bertram: Oh, fine, I give up. I can't not comment on this. You're telling us the codenames embarrass you two.

Trip: Not so much me, but yeah.

Bertram: Embarrassment, as I understand it, requires a sense of shame.

Trip: Right.

Bertram: So your contention is that the two of you have a sense of shame.

Trip: Yeah.

Bertram: Then why the hell are you wearing nothing but boxer shorts?

(Adamson winces. The unspeakable has been spoken.)

Trip: Oh, is that all? A while ago we were talkin' to some of the female Trouble Consultants. They felt that their outfits, compared to the men's, were needlessly skimpy and revealin'.

(It's true.)

Trip: So we decided it was only fair to balance things out.

Bertram: (sputtering) And you couldn't balance them the other way?

Trip: Hey, you're the first complaint we've had.

Bertram: But... but you could at least wear something! A wacky shirt or... but... why... huh?

(At a loss for words, Bertram takes off.)

Adamson: Well, good luck to both of you. We're in your debt.

Trip: Buy us a beer sometime an' we'll call it even.

(They shake hands, and Adamson leaves. Trip gets in the shuttlepod.)

Trip: Got the course laid in?

Reed: Long since. *pets Musky*

Trip: Then let's hit it!

(The shuttlepod flies off into the distance.)

Reed: I'm prettier.

Trip: You just go on thinkin' that.

Reed: He was going to say me.

Trip: Yeah, yeah....


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This fiver was originally published on April 1, 2010 (April Fool's Day -- oh hey, it really was!).

DISCLAIMER: Love is zero-G, baby.

All material © 2010, Colin Hayman.