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 “Three is a crowd”

by Lord Thanatos


10/06/12 – 17/12/12







1. Day 49 - Reinventing the wheel

2. If three is a crowd, then what the heck is five?

3. Risky phase

4. Isenberg, dead ahead!

5. Gravity brings me down

6. It seems to be the man’s field of expertise

7. Charge!

8. Shack attack

9. Day 57 – Flying, negotiating, flying, negotiating, flying, buying a Vulcan





SCENE 1: Day 49 - Reinventing the wheel


Serrag is sitting next to Bock’s shuttle. He’s using a simple pocket knife to cut some smaller branches off of a 2 meter long, perfectly straight log with a diameter of about 10 centimeters. Eisinga comes walking up to the Vulcan.


Serrag: “Ah, good morning, commander.”


Eisinga: “Hey, Serrag… I see you already put some kind of plan in motion…”


Serrag: “Indeed.”


Eisinga: “Say, why don’t you use your phaser? That’s probably a lot easier than using a knife…”


Serrag: “I will be needing the energy of the phaser later on. In fact, I’ll be needing everyone’s phaser…”


Eisinga: “What is it you’re building anyway?”


The engineer stands up and grabs a freshly made paddle wheel with 4 blades and shows it to the commander.


Serrag: “A paddle wheel generator…”


Eisinga: “Oh, that’s brilliant…”


Then it sinks in…


Eisinga: “But wait… How are you going to charge the batteries? The river is a long way from here…”


Serrag: “I know. That’s why I need everyone’s phaser…”


Eisinga looks at the Vulcan with an uncertain look.



SCENE 2: If three is a crowd, then what the heck is five?


John Mansfield and Petra Isenberg are sitting near the water’s edge… They appear to be having a lot of fun; they’re laughing loudly… Stuckman is walking alongside the river and comes up to them… The sitting duo doesn’t notice him until Eric just about there. Stuckman stops a few meters away and opens an uneasy conversation with a happy sounding tone of voice.


Stuckman: “Hi!”


Petra and John look over their shoulders and reluctantly answer, clearly uncomfortable with the new arrival.


Mansfield: “Hi…”


Isenberg: “Hi…”


Stuckman: “Lovely weather, isn’t it?”


Mansfield: “Yes, brilliant… The same it has been every day for nearly 2 months…”


Stuckman briefly looks at the star which warms up the planet he’s on and proceeds to look around at the trees, feeling the breeze…


Stuckman: “Such a lovely day…”


Isenberg: “Yes, well, why don’t you move along now, Eric?”


Stuckman acts like it wasn’t a semi unfriendly request and answers in a continued positive intonation.


Stuckman: “Okidoki! Bye now!”


Mansfield: “Yeah, bye…”


From the other direction 2 guys are approaching.


Mansfield: “What was all that about?”


Isenberg: “I don’t know… Perhaps Stuckman just wanted to annoy me because of what happened yesterday.”


Mansfield: “You mean the fight between him and Bynes?”


Just about 10 meters away from Petra and John, Stuckman meets Bynes and Stilson.


Isenberg: “Yes. And speak of the devil…”


The group of men is apparently also having a lot of fun; they’re laughing even louder than Petra and John were before. The 3 guys continue goofing around, cracking jokes, throwing rocks in the water… and Stilson as well. The cheerful mood Petra and John were in evaporates.


Mansfield: “Well, anyway… I promised Doctor Shelley I’d drop by today for a routine checkup…”


John stands up and pats the sand from his clothes.


Isenberg: “Alright, John…”


Petra copies John and brushes the sand from her uniform after she erected herself.


Isenberg: “I’ll have a little talk with those monkeys…”


Mansfield: “Don’t get yourself into trouble now…”


She manages to produce a faint smile.


Isenberg: “They’re the ones in trouble.”


John also shows a little smile. Petra gives John a little kiss and they both depart. The lady walks to the boisterous boys. Stuckman and Bynes are still on the shore laughing loudly when Petra rudely breaks into their fun. She addresses the 2 dry guys.


Isenberg: “I already knew you 2 were immature pricks…”


Stilson, in the river, interrupts her sentence for a short while.


Stilson: “Don’t forget me!”


The other 2 laugh loudly yet again... Petra throws a short and obviously fake smile at Stilson and then raises her voice to top those of the men and continues her sentence.


Isenberg: “…but you could have had the decency to go and hang out somewhere else…”


After the laughter dies down, Bynes tries to respond in a serious tone of voice.


Bynes: “Can I see your contract, please?”


Isenberg: “Contract? What on Earth are you talking about?”


Eric replies in a soft voice.


Stuckman: “This ain’t Earth, lady…”


Bynes and Stilson laugh yet again. Before long, Bynes answers the question.


Bynes: “Yes, I assume you rented the whole beach for the night… We’ll gladly leave if so.”


Isenberg: “Oh, ‘ha-ha’… I’m glad we can all be mature about it…”


Stuckman: “Oh, well, speaking of decency and maturity: I distinctly heard you say yesterday you didn’t have an interest in immature guys who fight like a couple of adolescents…”


Isenberg: “Yes, indeed!”


Stuckman: “Oh, that’s funny… Because, I’m pretty sure I just saw you kiss John Mansfield…”


Stilson rubs his chin and fakes a ponderous look.


Stilson: “That is odd…”


Bynes mimics Stilson’s motion and facial expression.


Bynes: “Quite…”


Stuckman: “Was there anything else?”


Petra shakes her head and walks off…


Stilson: “Goodbye, misses Mansfield!”


All 3 guys laugh at this latest insult.



SCENE 3: Risky phase


Serrag is mounting the freshly made axle to the paddle wheel. Captain LT is now the one to approach the busy engineer.


Serrag: “Ah, good morning, captain.”


LT: “Hey, Serrag… I see the device is coming along nicely…”


Serrag: “Indeed.”


LT: “Say, I heard you needed all of the phasers?”


Serrag: “Correct. Bock’s plan was a good one in theory; I need them to charge the shuttle for its first flight… We need to get this shuttle down to the beach.”


LT: “All the way to the river? Isn’t there some alternative?”


Serrag: “Yes, finding 2,813 meters of conductive wiring in the bowels of this shuttle without rendering it useless.”


LT: “Hm, I see your point. But it is very risky… You don’t want to run out of juice halfway there, it’ll crash in the woods and destroy any chance of getting out of here.”


Serrag: “Yes, that possibility had crossed my mind, sir. But I cannot think of any alternative.”


LT: “Another drawback is we won’t have any phasers left for defense.”


Serrag: “Yes, the kleptomaniacal joknors have been a problem of late…”


The captain snickers shortly…


LT: “No, I was mostly concerned about Suder in that regard.”


Serrag: “I’m sure security will keep an extra close eye on him.”


LT: “8 eyes to be exact; I’ve doubled security on Suder’s little jailhouse…”


Serrag: “That seems sufficient.”


LT: “Anyway, I’ve already sent someone to collect all the phasers. He’ll deliver them to you within the hour.”


Serrag: “Thank you, sir.”


LT: “I’ll be in my shack making preparations for the departure off of this damn planet.”




SCENE 4: Isenberg, dead ahead!


Isenberg sports an angry yet determined look in her eyes. She walks in a brisk pace across the beach along the river. A colleague she apparently is friendly with sees her rushing by.


Colleague: “Hey, Petra… How are you to…”


The colleague doesn’t finish her sentence as Petra is either ignoring her or she’s too focused on her mission. She doesn’t even think about knocking on the door and just storms into the captain’s hut.


Isenberg: “Captain, I need to report a disturbance caused by Bynes, Stilson and Stuckman.”


LT: “Come in. Oh, you’re already here… I thought this case was closed…”


Isenberg: “That’s what I had hoped…”


LT: “Well, Bynes and Stuckman seem to be best buddies now; which is more than I expected…”


Isenberg: “That was not the intention of the punishment.”


LT: “No, but a nice side effect. Just let it go, ok? It’s not going to go away if you keep fighting.”


Isenberg: “I was just having a good and especially quiet time with a friend and they just came along and started making a ruckus. Deliberately!”


LT: “It’s not like it’s murder, Isenberg… No harm was done… Listen, I can’t intervene in every personal, little squabble among the crew. And it has to stop somewhere. Why not be the one to end it? Just take it up with Eisinga, if you really need help, ok? I’m busy with something a little more pressing…”


Isenberg, arms crossed, sighs and rolls her eyes.



SCENE 5: Gravity brings me down


A pile of phasers can be seen on the floor of Bock’s shuttle. Serrag disconnects another phaser from a cable. The other end of the cable is attached to an outlet in the wall.


Serrag: “There we go, Mr. Bock. The last phaser has been drained…”


Bock, sitting in one of the 2 chairs checks a monitor.


Bock: “The ship now has a charge of .21%... That’s not a lot…”


Serrag: “Will it be enough to fly to the river in your estimation?”


Bock: “Maybe… Engine startup takes a lot.”


Serrag: “We’ll stay low and be as efficient as possible. You may start her up, if you like…”


Bock: “Alright then… Switching on engines…”


Alarms are suddenly heard and several indication lights start flashing. Bock quickly shuts them off.


Serrag: “I’ll never understand why they make such power consuming power level warnings…”


Bock: “Here we go…”


The shuttle takes off, turns in the right direction and skims over the tree tops towards its destination.


Bock: “I think we might just have enough power, Mr. Serrag…”


The lieutenant commander sees the stream of water looming in the distance.


Serrag: “It seems so, Mr. Bock. There’s the river…”


Bock: “Good… Preparing to land…”


The shuttle approaches the sandy river beach. Another alarm…


Bock: “Uh-oh…”


Serrag: “Uh-oh?”


Bock: “Hold on to your ears…”


The shuttle loses all power. Lights, screens, alarms and unfortunately also the engines all switch off. The right aft corner of the ship just touches the crown of the very last palm-like tree they need to clear. The shuttle tips forward and dives nose first into the sand 4 or 5 meters below. It stands on end. Serrag and Bock are tightly secured into their seats; else they would have been smashed into the window right now.


Serrag: “Mr. Bock? Are you ok?”


Bock: “Yes, Mr. Serrag. It appears I am fine. You?”


Serrag: “Fine too.”


Bock: “Good!”


The ship then decides it wants to be level on the beach. The rear end of the ship, sticking into the air, falls backwards. With a loud thump the shuttle is now in an almost proper horizontal position on the surface.


Bock: “I didn’t like that last bit of our trip, but I guess this makes it easier to leave the vehicle…”


Serrag: “Let’s do just that before the shuttle decides to move on its own accord again.”


Moments later, the both of them exit the vehicle unharmed. A medical crew comes rushing in and starts to find that out for themselves.



SCENE 6: It seems to be the man’s field of expertise


Eisinga: “Did you expect privacy on this planet?”


Isenberg: “Frankly, I didn’t expect to be on this planet. Privacy or no, a little decency is probably not too much to ask.”


Eisinga: “Further downstream it’s pretty quiet… You could have just moved down there… Success assured for you and eh… your guy.”


Isenberg: “John.”


Eisinga: “John.”


Isenberg: “John Mansfield… And also…”


Eldert exclaims his surprise in the middle of Petra’s sentence…


Eisinga: “Mansfield?!”


The commander sighs and shows a wry smile.


Isenberg: “What?”


Eisinga: “Oh, nothing…”


A short silence. Isenberg keeps looking at the commander to signify she wants more of an answer than that. It seems to work.


Eisinga: “It’s just that Mansfield always seems to get into these situations…”


Isenberg: “Situations? What do you mean? He’s not at fault here…”


Eisinga: “I’ve spent way too much time in discussions with his name in it. Just go and ask his wife or Halstead…”


She now really looks puzzled…


Isenberg: “Wife?”


Eisinga: “Wife.”


Isenberg: “Well, I don’t care if he has a wife… Nothing was happening between us. It’s not like that…”


Eisinga: “Then why the need for privacy? Listen. If Bynes, Stuckman and Stilson are going to continue to bother you, let me know.”


Isenberg: “You’re not going to do anything either?”


Eisinga: “What do you want me to do? Slap them on the wrist? Flog them? I’ve got other things to worry about than boys being boys.”


Isenberg: “Boys being boys? This was a deliberate disturbance!”


Eisinga: “Sounds like boys to me… Anyway, like I said, Isenberg… If they continue to bother you, let me know…”


Petra sighs in discontent.



SCENE 7: Charge!


The captain looks worried. With crossed arms he observes Serrag and 3 of his engineers as they check Bock’s crashed shuttle for damage.


Serrag: “Well, captain… There’s no damage to the hull or any other external feature, save some scratches in the paintwork.”


LT: “Engines?”


Serrag: “Bynes?”


No reply…


Serrag: “Bynes?!”


An unintelligible, muffled reply is coming from somewhere… A little while later a tiny hatch on the side of the shuttle opens and a head pops out. The hatch is barely big enough for his head to stick through.


Bynes: “Sir?”


Serrag: “What’s the deal with the engines, ensign?”


Bynes: “They seem to be in perfect condition, sir.”


LT: “Good, good… Then I’ll forgo the planned spanking.”


Serrag: “You are too kind, sir.”


LT: “Yeah, I know… So, how about recharging the shuttle?”


The captain nods to Serrag’s device near the water’s edge.


LT: “I see you’ve got the paddle wheel attached to it already?”


Serrag: “Indeed…”


They walk over to the thing.


Serrag: “This device will convert the current generated by the wheel, magnets and a coil. And with these wires it’s connected to the ship’s batteries. Very primitive technology.”


Serrag puts the blades into the flowing water of the river and rests the axle on 2 upright Y-shaped branches stuck in the ground. He fiddles with the rest of the assembly while instructing Bock.


Serrag: “Mr. Bock, can you plug her in?”


Bock: “Of course, Mr. Serrag.”


The Deish enters the shuttle and plugs in the connector at the end of the wires. Serrag and LT soon join him in the shuttle.


Bock: “I think we’re in business…”


The Vulcan checks a screen in the wall.


Serrag: “Indeed we are, Mr. Bock.”


LT: “How long will this thing need to fully charge?”


The lieutenant commander pushes some controls just below the aforementioned screen.


Serrag: “Well, it’ll take quite a while… 8 days or so…”


LT: “Hmmm… Well, not too bad, I guess… What’s another week when we've already spent 7 weeks down here?… At least we now have a chance to get off this planet…”



SCENE 8: Shack attack


John Mansfield once again bugs Eisinga. He knocks on the door of Eldert’s shack.


Eisinga: “Yeah, come in.”


John steps inside and turns around to close the door when Eisinga takes a quick, unnoticed peek who it is. He returns his eyes to the PADD and keeps working. Mansfield walks up to the rickety desk. After a few awkward seconds of silence, Eldert speaks in a calm voice.


Eisinga: “What can I do for you, crewman?”


In an equally calm and thus uncharacteristic voice John answers.


Mansfield: “I heard you sent Petra away when she came to you for help, sir.”


Still not looking up from his work, Eisinga replies in the same calm tone.


Eisinga: “No, Mansfield.”


Mansfield: “No, what?”


Eisinga: “Just no.”


The commander now finally looks Mansfield straight in the eyes. The placid look in his eyes matches his calm voice.


Eisinga: “I’ve had my last talk with you about anything related to relationships.”


Mansfield is clearly annoyed. Before he can reply, Eisinga is again concentrated on his PADD and makes a kind request.


Eisinga: “Please leave my fancy office.”


Mansfield: “Thanks a lot, buddy… I’ll be sure to make…”


Eisinga’s voice is still calm, but now has some added volume to be able to interrupt the crewman.


Eisinga: “What you are doing is not leaving, Mr. Mansfield. It’s called talking. Try again.”


Mansfield: “You just be sure the captain will…”


Eisinga: “No, that’s still talking… Please try leaving now before I show you how.”


Mansfield gives up and slams the ramshackle door behind him which causes the entire shack to rock back and forth for a while.



SCENE 9: Day 57 – Flying, negotiating, flying, negotiating, flying, buying a Vulcan


Captain LT walks into the shuttle followed by Bock and then Serrag. LT sits down in the right chair and Bock in the left.


Bock: “Alright, let’s get this machine going…”


LT: “Right.”


The both of them fiddle with some buttons and controls. Serrag is standing behind the 2 occupied seats and raises an eyebrow.


Serrag: “Ehm… Sir?”


LT: “You managed to get those sensors fixed, Mr. Bock?”


Bock: “No, not really… Let’s hope it’s the only damage caused by our crash landing on the beach.”


Serrag: “Sir?”


The captain swivels his chair around 90 degrees and looks at the Vulcan.


LT: “Yes, lieutenant commander?”


Serrag: “Sir, where do I sit?”


LT: “Oh!”


He swivels his chair back and reaches to his right. He picks up a makeshift stool and hands it to the chief engineer. Serrag places the stool on the floor between the 2 comfy chairs and sits down. The stool is so small that the Vulcan’s eye level is well below the edge of the control panels and any view of the outside world.


Serrag: “Thanks.”


The ship takes off vertically. Noticing the vibrations Serrag quickly grabs hold of the back edge of both chairs. As soon as the shuttle clears the trees it starts moving forward, causing the Vulcan roll all the way to the back of the shuttle.


Bock: “Everything seems to be stable, captain.”


Serrag: “I beg to differ.”


The shuttle can be seen flying high up into the sky towards the edge of the atmosphere. Without looking at his chief engineer, and apparently unaware of the Vulcan’s tumble into back of the shuttle, the captain addresses Serrag.


LT: “Well, Serrag, you get the first chance to get some sleep. I’ll wake you as soon as it’s Bock’s turn to get some shuteye.”


Serrag, still in an awkward position in the corner of the cramped shuttle, replies calmly.


Serrag: “I’m already down, sir.”


LT: “Good, good…”


Several hours later, the Vulcan wakes up. He gets on his feet and walks the few paces required to reach the chairs.


LT: “Ah, good morning, Serrag.”


Serrag: “Good morning, captain, Mr. Bock. How are things?”


Bock: “We haven’t experienced any malfunctions in terms of engine operation. However, we do have a lot of difficulty regarding the sensors…”


Serrag: “As in?”


Bock: “As in we haven’t got a clue where we are, Mr. Serrag.”


Serrag: “I see, I see…”


LT: “Furthermore, Bock was able to get into contact with his people…”


Serrag: “Was that a wise move? The Deish didn’t seem to be very appreciative of our interference.”


LT: “Bock spoke with Axxo Jakuchar, commander of the Deish fleet. He didn’t reveal you and I were onboard also.”


Serrag: “Probably wise.”


Bock: “I had to tell Axxo Jakuchar it was a matter of planetary security to find the Greate Pier, else he would never have told me anything…”


With a mix of enthusiasm and concern in his voice, the captain quickly appends the Deish’ sentence.


LT: “We know where the Greate Pier is, Serrag…”


Serrag: “Really? That is splendid news.”


LT: “Jakuchar’s scouts came across the ship at another planet in this very solar system, if this indeed can be classified as a solar system…”


Bock: “Their scan of the Greate Pier revealed there were no humans or other Federation species left onboard. The inhabitants of that planet the captain mentioned, Rew as it’s called, have taken possession of the ship.”


Serrag: “So no Inj…”


LT: “No Inj…”


Serrag: “Interesting… I wonder what mess they left behind on the ship…”


LT: “I fear for our warp drive. And our souped up Inj canon…”


Serrag: “Either they took everything warp related or they abandoned their pursuit to reverse engineer warp drive. In both cases I think there’s not much left to salvage. Anyway, what are those people from Rew like, Mr. Bock? Could we ask for our ship back?”


Bock: “They are close neighbors to us Deish, but we’re not really sure what they are like. The captain told me about your prime directive. We have a similar code regarding other species with limited technological development. They have begun to venture into space, but they haven’t been able to travel between planets.”


Serrag: “I see…”


LT: “As soon as the sensors are sorted we’ll make our way to Rew.”


Serrag: “Was Jakuchar not able to help out with navigation?”


Bock: “Well, they weren’t particularly willing to help… I wasn’t willing to tell him why I needed to locate the Greate Pier again after I told him I had crash-landed on the desert planet. I can call myself lucky to have gotten the Greate Pier’s location. Besides, the Deish government, or what’s left of it, had already declared me dead, my spy mission a failure and the Greate Pier unimportant since no humans were left onboard. It would probably require a ton of paperwork to even acknowledge I’m still alive before some kind of rescue mission would be mounted.”


Serrag: “Lovely. Well, Mr. Bock, it’s your turn to get some rest; I’ll see what I can do about those sensors.”


Bock: “I could do with some rest.”


Bock relinquishes the chair to the Vulcan and finds his way to the makeshift bed in the back. There’s only room for one such facility on the small ship.


Several hours later, the Deish wakes up. He gets on his feet and walks the few paces required to reach the chairs.


LT: “Ah, good morning, Bock.”


Bock: “Good morning, captain, Mr. Serrag. How are things?”


LT: “You’re just in time… We will arrive at Rew shortly.”


Bock: “So you managed to repair the sensors, Mr. Serrag. Well done.”


Serrag: “Well, for as far as I was able to. It was enough to bring us to Rew anyway. If you look outside the window, gentlemen, the Greate Pier can be seen at the 10 o’clock position.”


LT: “Finally! Let’s head straight for our ship, Serrag.”


Serrag: “I’m on it.”


While the Vulcan changes course a repeating beep can be heard.


Serrag: “What’s that, Mr. Bock? Did I push a wrong button again?”


Bock: “No, that’s an incoming transmission… A primitive radio signal. Push that triangular button on the top left of your console.”


The chief engineer finds the button and pushes it. An audio message is heard.


Man: “To the approaching craft, this is Commander Dihofe. This is restricted space. Please state your intentions. We have a legal claim to this vessel.”


LT: “How do I answer, Bock?”


Bock leans forward and pushes a button and then signals the captain he can speak.


LT: “This is Captain LT speaking. We do not mean to violate your restricted space, commander, however, we do feel like we have a more convincing claim to the ship you have there.”


As they come closer to the Greate Pier some activity can be seen around the vessel. A number of individuals are on a spacewalk inspecting the outside hull of Greate Pier while still attached to their own ship via a tether.


Dihofe: “Stop your approach immediately. We are able to defend ourselves if necessary.”


LT: “Serrag, stop the shuttle.”


Serrag: “Aye, sir.”


The shuttle holds position.


LT: “Commander Dihofe, we have come to a full stop. We mean you no harm. Our weapons are not powered up and we have no intention for any sort of conflict.”


Serrag pushes the button Bock previously pushed on LT’s console.


Serrag: “Sir, they have no weapons whatsoever. There is no threat unless they plan to ram us.”


LT: “Thank you, Serrag.”


Dihofe: “I certainly hope so.”


It’s now LT’s turn to push that very same button again to re-open communication.


LT: “How did you get a hold of this ship, if I may ask, commander?”


Dihofe: “I see no reason to discuss this with strangers.”


LT: “You see, the vessel you hold here is actually mine. It was hijacked by a rather unpleasant bunch.”


Dihofe: “We found no-one onboard. Therefore we have claimed this ship. It was adrift in our orbit.”


Commander Dihofe can be seen sitting in front of a microphone. A concerned colleague stands behind him. This other man whispers to Dihofe.


Other man: “Who are they? Are they Stamwey?”


The captain with a concentrated look on his face seems to pick up the words.


LT: “Stamwey? I don’t know who Stamwey is, but I do know you have my ship…”


Dihofe addresses his colleague.


Dihofe: “No, where would Stamwey get such a shuttle? They don’t have that kind of technology…”


He turns back to the microphone.


Dihofe: “Captain LT, Stamwey is a competing organization… If you’re not Stamwey then who are you?”


LT: “We are the owners of that ship…”


Dihofe: “Or so you claim…”


The captain hastily turns to Bock after muting communication.


LT: “Bock, is it possible to fire your weapons into open space on my command?”


Bock: “Of course.”


Communication is resumed.


LT: “Listen, commander…”


Bock changes places with Serrag and starts preparing the weaponry.


LT: “We can keep on expressing distrust for a while or we can just meet face to face and talk. Shall we meet on the bridge of the claimed vessel in 5 minutes?”


Dihofe: “No, do not approach us any further. We will fire.”


LT: “Commander, commander… We both know you have no weapons. We do.”


The captain nods to Bock. The Deish fires his weapons into open space in a show of force.


Dihofe: “Holy shit!”


LT: “No need to get your panties wet, we choose not to use them on you. We’re actually quite peaceful you know… We just want to talk.”


Serrag pushes the button again.


Dihofe: “Panties?”


Serrag: “May I point out that meeting these Rew would be a breach of the prime directive?”


LT: “They have our ship, lieutenant commander. That in itself is reason enough on its own. But it also means they have warp technology in their hands.”


Serrag: “I’m not too sure. The Inj have probably torn everything related to warp drive out of the ship…”


LT: “You might be right… And the warp core is gone at least; they tractored it into their Behemoth.”


A short while later, on the Greate Pier’s bridge the captain’s face can be seen on a screen at the communications station.


Dihofe: “I still can’t believe it. Alien beings... We kind of were at a loss to ascribe all this technology to any Rew organization. But... people from another world?”


Serrag: “3 worlds to be exact… As you may have observed, we represent 3 different species.”


Dihofe: “Yes, I noticed some differences between the 3 of you…”


The Rew looks at the screen.


Dihofe: “It says here you are human, captain.”


LT: “That’s right. I’m from the planet called Earth. Serrag is a Vulcan from the planet Vulcan and Bock is a Deish from the planet Deish. Not very imaginative names, but there you go.”


Dihofe: “I’m still shaking…”


Bock: “I’m actually your neighbor. Our species has been observing you from the next planet…”


Dihofe: “Amazing…”


LT: “May I get to the point, commander? We have established that we are the owners of this ship and we would love to take possession of it once again. We need to rescue some 500 stranded people from a desert planet.”


Dihofe: “Well, it is hard to deny your ownership… but my organization has invested incredible amounts of money into this operation.”


Serrag: “And what exactly is this operation? Stripping this ship? Reverse engineering of the engines?”


Dihofe: “Our engineers have studied the engine room and came to the conclusion that the propulsion systems were most likely built for interplanetary travel.”


LT: “Shall we take a look in the engine room?”


Moments later the doors to the mentioned area open and the quartet walks inside. Several Rew engineers are studying the consoles and other technology. All of them look at the new arrivals. Some of them even express fear with just their eyes.


Dihofe: “It’s ok, folks… No need to fear.”


LT: “What have they done?”


Dihofe: “I’m terribly sorry, captain, but…”


LT: “I don’t think your people have caused all of this damage, commander… The Inj have.”


Dihofe: “The Inj? The people who hijacked your ship?”


LT: “Yes, indeed… Not very gentle folk.”


Serrag: “Especially when it comes to reverse engineering… Look at this mess…”


Dihofe: “This project would ensure a stable future for our families, captain. Lots of new technology, new materials, new propulsion techniques… Each priceless…”


LT: “That’s another thing, commander Dihofe… We cannot let you have our technology. It’s not that I don’t like you, but I am not allowed to do that. In fact, I wasn’t even allowed to speak with you. But as you can imagine, this ship means a lot to me and my crew… But…”


Dihofe: “…but also to us…”


LT: “Problem.”


Dihofe: “Problem.”


LT: “Maybe there’s something else we can arrange for you…”


Dihofe: “Well, I’m not sure… I don’t think so anyway… We all need to eat, captain…”


LT: “What if we supply you with something else that is profitable… Because, let’s be honest… You’re after money, not the further advancement of your race…”


Dihofe reluctantly semi-nods…


LT: “I mean, what would you do with warp drive once you have it? Besides satisfying your curiosity about what’s beyond the next corner in the universe… Space exploration costs tons of cash, something you actually wish to gain.”


Dihofe: “I guess…”


Serrag: “What material could we possibly supply that has a great monetary value to you?”


Dihofe: “Well, I don’t know… Ehm…”


LT: “Gold? Diamonds? Colored beads?”


The Rew man thinks for a bit…


Dihofe: “Liqium?”


Bock: “If you have none, captain, Liqium is available at Fowen, the trading planet…”


LT: “How much would you need in exchange for my ship?”


Dihofe: “50 liters… No, 100 liters, 98% pure…”


Unbeknownst to Dihofe Serrag nonverbally signals to the captain he doesn’t know how they’re going to pay for that…


LT: “I think we can arrange that…”


Dihofe: “Are you sure? I mean, that’s a lot of Liqium…”


LT: “No problem. Anything to get my ship back… Speaking of which, we really need to get going… My crew is probably sick and tired of baking in the sun chewing on birds…”


Dihofe: “That’s nice and all, captain, but I cannot let you take this ship just yet…”


LT: “I can’t pick up my crew using any shuttle, as you might imagine… What if we leave some insurance behind?”


Dihofe: “Like what?”


LT: “I’ll leave a shuttle behind. Our shuttles have warp too.”


Dihofe: “How about 2 shuttles?”


LT: “I guess I can throw in Bock’s shuttle as a bonus. Then you’ll have 2 different approaches to warp. If we don’t return in 1 week they’re all yours. You can strip ‘em, reverse engineer ‘em, whatever…”


Dihofe: “I’m sure that would be a cheap deal; buying your ship back with just 2 shuttles… I think I need a better deal come to think of it… Leave your chief engineer behind as well… He can teach us how to use this technology if you don’t return…”


LT: “No, I don’t think…”


The captain halts mid-sentence as the engineer in question breaks in.


Serrag: “I’ll be perfectly alright, sir…”


LT: “Well…”


Serrag: “Alright, that’s settled then.”


Serrag starts fiddling with the console.


Bock: “Ehm, captain? Did you just give away my shuttle?”


LT: “Eh, no, I fully intend to return for both shuttles as soon as we can. All we want in return for this deal is our ship and all the personal effects of my crew. The rest of the things you’ve already stripped are yours, at least if the Greate Pier is space worthy.”


Dihofe: “Alright…”


Serrag: “Captain?”


LT: “Chief engineer?”


Serrag: “The warp core, sir…”


LT: “Yes, the Inj have it, I know… We’re stuck with impulse…”


Serrag: “No, it’s in the cargo bay…”


A surprised look appears on the captain’s face.


Serrag: “It appears to be in relatively acceptable condition despite being examined Inj style…”


All off a sudden a voice is heard via the commander’s communication device.


Communications guy: “Commander, there is another ship approaching.”


Dihofe: “Another ship? What type?”


Communication’s guy: “Also unknown, but this one is much bigger. Much, much bigger… I must be dreaming, sir. It must be kilometers long!”


Serrag and LT look at each other and simultaneously come to the same conclusion.


LT: “The Inj!”


Serrag: “The Inj!”


Dihofe: “Ah, the ship hijackers…”


LT: “Please, commander, we really need this ship and right now… These Inj aren’t diplomats, they’re relentless and vicious killers.”


Dihofe: “Alright, but I will have to keep you to the promised guarantee.”


LT: “Serrag, launch a shuttle. Bock, get back to your own shuttle. The both of you accompany the Rew ship and get to safety. If you stay here you’ll be easy targets if the Inj decide to attack. I’ll try and lure the Inj away from here if I can.”


Serrag: “Will you be alright, sir?”


LT: “Fine. Just go.”


Serrag and Bock hastily leave for their respective shuttles.


LT: “Commander Dihofe, may I retake command of this vessel?”


Dihofe: “By all means.”


LT: “Computer, release security lockout of command functions. Code Omicron 107, release.”


Computer: “Code confirmed. Security lockout released. Awaiting auto destruct confirmation.”


Dihofe: “Who’s that? Are you talking to the computer?”


LT: “Yes, don’t you do that? Computer, cancel auto destruct, Rho Omega 5-12, cancel.”


Computer: “Auto destruct canceled.”


Dihofe: “Auto destruct?”


LT: “Yes, just before we left the ship I tried to let the ship auto destruct.”


Dihofe: “It can do that?!”


LT: “In case of a hostile take-over… Computer, locate Mr. Endersby.”


Dihofe: “Who?”


Computer: “Bart Endersby is currently not activated.”


LT: “The bartender.”


The Rew throws up his hands…


Dihofe: “Bartender? I’m lost now…”


LT: “Computer, activate Barty here on the bridge, please.”


The bartender appears close to the 2 men on the bridge. Dihofe is so incredibly startled he stumbles backwards and falls over.


Endersby: “What’s with him?”


LT: “I guess he didn’t expect you. At least not in this form…”


Bart is still in female mode…


Dihofe: “Where did she come from?”


LT: “Long story… But you better get back to your shuttle, Mr. Dihofe.”


Bart yells at the alien.


Endersby: “I’m a he!”


A short while later, the Greate Pier is finally flying under the command of the captain again. Bart is manning the operations station while the captain pilots the ship at the conn station.


Endersby: “It seems to be working, captain. The Inj are following us rather than picking on the defenseless Rew. But we have no weapons and very little energy…”


LT: “We’ll manage, Bart. Or you will manage, I should say.”


Endersby: “What do you mean? You aren’t going to leave me alone with those Inj on our tail, are you, sir?”


LT: “I’ve pointed the ship at the desert planet and it will enter orbit automatically.”


Bart puts his elbows on the console and buries his holographic face in his hands.


Endersby: “I don’t believe this…”


LT: “Come on, Bart. You’ve spent weeks onboard this ship surrounded by hundreds of Inj.”


Endersby: “Yes, and that was quite enough, thank you very much!”


LT: “When you arrive, contact Commander Eisinga. He will take charge of the ship and transport the crew onboard. Instruct the commander to head for Rew.”


Endersby: “Where are you going to be then?”


LT: “I’ll be heading for Fowen… Somehow I need to get my hands on 100 liters of Liqium. I hope they will remember our assistance in capturing the Ferengi gold thieves; we haven’t got much to trade since both the Inj and the Rew turned this ship inside out.”


Endersby: “I can’t operate this ship alone!”


LT: “Keep the speed at 99.7% of that of the Inj ship so they think they can overtake and just sit there and do nothing.”


The captain gets up and heads for the turbo lift.


LT: “If you get bored serve yourself a drink.”


Bart shakes his head as the captain enters the turbo lift carriage…


Endersby: “This is certain death… I just know it.”


A voice from the carriage can be heard just before the doors completely shut.


LT: “Death over defeat.”


The captain is calmly whistling a tune while traveling through the bowels of his ship. Bart then seeks contact through the com system.


Endersby: “Captain, we’re losing speed.”


LT: “Halt. Bridge.”


The turbo lift obeys both commands. The captain resumes whistling. As soon as the doors fly open he steps back onto the bridge.


Endersby: “We’re down to 97.3% of the Behemoth’s speed, sir.”


The captain checks the read-out on Barty’s console with his hands casually behind his back.


LT: “Hmm, I see… The energy problem may be slightly worse than I anticipated. It can’t sustain this speed.”


Endersby: “What are we going to do, sir?! If we get within reach of their blaster gun thingy we’re history! We have no weapons, no shields, nothing!”


The captain stares into infinity for a few moments… The anxious Barty waves his holographic hand in the path of the captain’s gaze…


Endersby: “Helloooo…”


LT: “Hold on, Bart, I need to sit in my thinking chair.”


He walks to the captain’s chair and parks his behind. Many seconds pass before any words can be heard again. The captain checks something on the mini console on his arm rest.


LT: “We’re fully stocked on photon torpedoes, but I don’t think that will be enough.”


Endersby: “It was enough the last time.”


LT: “The last time the Behemoth was in orbit. Once we bombarded them with torpedoes and Kaneda phaser fire their engine output decreased and their orbit decayed. It burned up in the atmosphere and whatever was left crashed on the planet below. We don’t have that advantage here; we’re out in open space.”


The captain walks back to Barty at the operations station.


LT: “Can you show me a map of the solar system, Bart?”


Bart taps a few colorful buttons and the schematic appears as requested.


Endersby: “We will be passing relatively close by this planet on the way to the desert planet, sir.”


LT: “I’m not looking for an orbit to try the same trick again, Bart… Chances are they know how we destroyed the other Behemoth.”


Endersby: “We can at least try, can’t we?”


LT: “No, I don’t think so, Bart… If it fails we’ll have lost too much energy.”


Endersby: “Sounds like you’re about to give up, sir…”


LT: “Well, Bart, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea…”


The captain smiles broadly…


LT: “But not just yet…”


The bartender mutters to himself.


Endersby: “Oh, I don’t like the sound of that…”


LT sits back down, but this time at the conn again.  He taps a few buttons on the big console in front of him.


LT: “It won’t be long now, Bart… Be patient.”


Bart looks at the captain over to his left in disbelief but stays quiet.


LT: “In the meantime I’ll change course and reduce the speed…”


Endersby: “You do know they’ll be overtaking us much sooner then, right?”


LT: “Yes, Bart. You can’t surrender at full speed, can you?”


Endersby: “Captain, I must say, I’m disappointed in you… I wouldn’t have thought you’d give up… I mean you said ‘death over defeat’ mere minutes ago…”


LT: “Yeah, I guess I did…”


Barty now increases the volume of his voice…


Endersby: “And why change course? You want to decide the exact place to die at?!”


LT: “Calm yourself, Mr. Endersby… No need for all that…”


Bart reduces the volume again, but turns the sarcasm dial up a few notches.


Endersby: “Ah, you know, you’re right… I stand a decent chance of surviving anyway. You’ll be the one torn limb from limb…”


The captain pushes a single button on the control panel.


LT: “This is Captain LT of the USS Greate Pier. Please reduce your speed, we wish to discuss the terms of our surrender.”


Inj: “Yag-Gog, Inj leader. There will be no terms discussed, Inj slayer. Your surrender will be unconditional. Stop your vessel and prepare to be boarded.”


LT: “Okidoki…”


The ship slows to a crawl, but doesn’t stop just yet… The Inj vessel follows suit.


Endersby: “’Okidoki’?”


LT: “Bart, raise the shields, please.”


Endersby: “The shields?”


LT: “The shields.”


Endersby: “I really don’t get it. Why would…”


LT: “Now, please.”


Bart does as he’s requested but finds another reason to question the captain’s actions.


Endersby: “Shields up, but eh, sir, we’re still moving…”


LT: “Yes, we’re at 6 kph…”


Endersby: “Shouldn’t we stop?”


LT: “Not yet.”


Yag-Gog: “Yag-Gog, Inj leader, to Inj slayer vessel. Stop your ship immediately.”


LT: “Yeah, we’re working on it, buddy… LT out.”


The captain checks his console read outs.


LT: “Just a few more seconds… They’re following nicely.”


A puzzled look on Bart’s face. After those few more seconds, the captain stops the ship.


LT: “There we go. We’ve come to a complete stop.”


The sarcasm dial is still at the same level.


Endersby: “So, this is the wonderful place you want to die. Brilliant!”


LT: “Yeah, I guess this is a good place to die, Bart…”


Endersby: “Well, it was nice knowing you, captain… I’ll shut myself down before they see me and decompile me.”


LT: “Don’t turn yourself off, Bart. You’ll want to see this…”


Endersby: “See what?”


LT: “Switch on the main viewer and show me the Inj vessel.”


Endersby: “I don’t think I can get all of it on the screen with that floating planet this close.”


LT: “Try. Oh, they want to talk again… Lovely.”


Yag-Gog: “Captain LT, lower your shields or we will blast your ship to pieces.”


LT: “Yeah, we’re experiencing some technical difficulty, Mr. Snack-Dog.”


This taunt makes Barty facepalm. He sighs deeply and shakes his head slightly.


Yag-Gog: “You are testing our patience.”


LT: “Be sure to send me the test results, honey. Bye now.”


The captain cuts communications off. At that same time an alert is heard but LT quickly silences it.


LT: “Bart, check the screen.”


Bart removes the hand from in front of his eyes and does as the captain suggests.


Endersby: “Hm? What’s there to see? And what was that sound?”


LT: “Proximity alert. Be patient.”


Mere seconds later an 800 meter long oblong shaped asteroid smashes right through the Inj Behemoth devastating most of it almost instantly. Bart jumps up almost as fast.


Endersby: “Holy cheese 'n rice!”


The asteroid continues on its path pretty much in one piece as if nothing happened. The captain also stands up, leans forward and rests his arms on the console with a huge smile on his face. But as the shields are immediately bombarded with debris, he quickly sits back down and gets the ship moving again.


LT: “I’m moving us away a bit…”


After that he stands up again and starts walking in a seemingly random pattern between the conn station and the main viewer shaking his clenched fist and muttering several celebratory exclamations laced with profanity topped off with a loud shout at the end.


LT: “YES! That felt good…”


Endersby: “That was brill, sir!”


Bart comes over to the randomly wandering captain to shake his hand.


Endersby: “Well done, sir!”


LT: “No time to celebrate further, we need to get to our crew before energy runs out. Switch off the main viewer will you?”


Endersby: “Of course.”


The both men… well… the captain and the currently female-ish Bart return to their seats. The main viewer goes to black. Suddenly an idea springs to Bart’s mind.


LT: “Changing course to the desert planet again…”


Endersby: “Sir, maybe we should do something else first.”


LT: “Like what, Bart? We can’t bury the few Inj remains we can find…”


Endersby: “No, of course not, sir. But we could look for something to exchange for the Liqium in the debris field.”


2 short seconds pass.


LT: “Bart, you’re brilliant!”


The Greate Pier is flying through the enormous debris field. Most of the debris has been knocked far away by the gigantic asteroid, but there is plenty to harvest from the remains.


LT: “Captain’s log, stardate 64064.06. The last Behemoth was destroyed only minutes ago. We gave them a whip with an asteroid belt… It cost the necessary energy beaming the goods onboard from the extensive debris field, but it was worth it. We were able to collect no less than 118,000 kilograms of gold; over 6 cubic meters… There is plenty more there, but we have cannot stay any longer. All the gold has been crammed into a shuttle which I will fly to Fowen. The holographic bartender will be in charge of the Greate Pier, believe it or not. He will pick up the crew at the desert planet and instruct commander Eisinga to go get the Greate Pier back to Rew and await my arrival.”


The shuttle approaches Fowen and is stuck in a space traffic jam. Soon enough he is contacted.


Trader: “Welcome to Fowen, the biggest trading planet in the known universe. My name is Zjewmink.”


LT: “Captain LT, USS Greate Pier, good day.”


Zjewmink: “Ah yes, I see… I just processed your ship identification. Welcome back, Captain LT.”


Already knowing the answer, the captain smiles as he opens trading talk.


LT: “Thank you. I wondered if you’re still interested in gold.”


Zjewmink: “Haha, of course we are, captain. I’m glad you returned with some more; I see you sold us some 40 kilo’s a while back.”


LT: “Indeed, but this time I have a bit more.”


Zjewmink: “That is most welcome. What would you like in return this time, sir? Some more components for your ship?”


LT: “Not this time. We’re looking for about 100 liters of 98% pure Liqium.”


Zjewmink: “Oh dear…”


LT: “Ah, you have none.”


Zjewmink: “Oh, no, we have plenty, but it’s 100% pure I’m afraid, haha…”


LT: “Hahaha, I’m sure my contacts will not mind.”


Zjewmink: “However, prices for Liqium have gone up since the last time you were here, sir. Considerably even… So I hope you have a cargo ship with a cargo of gold coming in?”


LT: “Oh dear…”


Zjewmink: “I will take that as a no then, haha… Well, on the bright side, it says here you are a preferred customer, sir. Something about you helping with the apprehension of some Ferengi gold thieves. So, let’s see what kind of a nice deal we can manage…”


After millions of kilometers of travel…


LT: “LT to my wonderful ship.”


Eisinga: “Captain! Welcome back…”


LT: “Thank you, commander… Is my seat pre-warmed?”


Eisinga: “I’ve personally seen to it, sir.”


Moments later the turbo lift doors swing open and the captain walks onto the bridge once again.


LT: “Hey everybody… Good to see everyone back where they belong.”


Eisinga: “Including Suder.”


LT: “Ah, what a pity. But it can’t be helped I’m afraid. So, what’s the status, commander?”


Eisinga: “It looks like warp drive can be restored in a matter of days…”


LT: “Good, good…”


Eisinga: “And the Rew were kind enough to give us a little charge so we can actually get somewhere once we leave. We were running on empty when we arrived.”


Maresca: “Sir, I’m not sure you’re in the mood, but the admiral is trying to contact us.”


LT: “Figures… Best not put that off… Put him through, crewman.”


The visage of grumpiness personified appears in all its inflated glory on the main viewer.


Grant: “Captain LT… Suppose you tell me where the hell you have been for the past 2 months...”


LT: “Good morning, sir.”


The captain waits for the admiral to reply with a similar greeting, but to no avail. After a few awkward seconds of the admiral intently staring at the captain, the latter uneasily continues.


LT: “Well then… Ehm… In a nutshell the ship was hijacked by the Inj and we were subsequently forced to work on our tans on the surface of a nice, sunny planet…”


The face of the admiral still isn’t a happy one.


Grant: “I’m not in the mood for amusing descriptions, captain. I’ll read your report in 1 hour.”


LT: “I can’t make a full report in 1 hour…”


Grant: “You’ll have to manage it. Anyway, after that I want you to turn your attention to finding the 3rd Inj Behemoth. At least if you can hold on to your ship this time… No more delays. Grant out.”


LT: ”Gotta love that guy…”


Eisinga: “Well, everything seems to be back to how it was before.”


LT: “I could’ve done without this particular bit, honestly… Anyway… Maresca, please take a message for the admiral.”


Maresca: “Of course, sir. Hold on.”


Maresca pushes some buttons.


Maresca: “Go ahead, sir.”


LT: “Dear admiral. It filled our hearts with warmth to hear of your delight in our safe return to the ship. And now for the requested report. The Inj hijacked the ship, we spent 8 weeks or so on a planet and then had the last Behemoth destroyed. We had ice cream. It was fun. The end. Hugs, Captain LT.”


A few smiles can be detected on the bridge.


Maresca: “That’s it, sir?”


LT: “Yes, make sure he receives it exactly 1 hour after he mentioned the report in the call.”


Maresca: “Understood.”


LT: “If the admiral calls to complain about it, don’t answer the call but send him the complete logs of the hijacking and everything since. Add that we are having technical difficulties with communications.”


Maresca: “Aye, sir.”


LT: “He wanted a full report; let him sort those damn logs out. Anyway, let’s deal with something actually important right now. We need to pay the Rew.”


A short while later the captain meets Serrag, Bock, Dihofe and a few of his men on the Rew ship.


LT: “Commander Dihofe, good day. Serrag, Bock, good to see you 2 again as well. There you go, 100 liters of Liqium.”


2 redshirts put the heavy, clear container down. A broad smile appears on the Rew’s face.


Dihofe: “Wow… That looks really cool… 100 liters; I can’t believe it… 98% pure, right?”


LT: “Not quite…”


Dihofe: “What do you mean? We need it at least 98% pure, else it’s useless…”


LT: “It’s 100% pure…”


Dihofe let’s out a single syllable of laughter in amazement while his smile broadens even further.


Dihofe: “There’s no way we can process Liqium into such a pure state here on Rew. This will provide for all the organization’s families for at least a decade or more!


LT: “I’m glad you’re happy… So, can I now have my ship and the crew’s personal effects back officially?”


Serrag goes into overacting mode and jumps up and down like a kid and waves his arms…


Serrag: “Oh, sir! Sir! Please, sir!”


LT: “Oh, and perhaps also my chief engineer?”


Dihofe keeps staring at the container of valuable liquid.


Dihofe: “Yes, of course, of course… Is this really 100 liters of 100% pure Liqium?”


LT: “It certainly is… Glad we could help…”


Dihofe: “Ha! This helps so much; you have no idea…”


LT: ”Allow me to help you even further then… But before I do so, promise me something…”


Dihofe: “What would that be?”


LT: ”Keep the existence of warp technology… and aliens quiet… Whether or not your planet is ready for it, you should develop this technology on your own.”


Dihofe: “Only people from our organization have heard of warp and know of the existence of at least 4 alien species… We’ve kept this potential cashcow quiet from the public and even the government. The government thinks we’re just a band of misguided opportunists and pay little attention to any sort of space program. They’ve got too much politics and war to think about.”


LT: “Getting our ship back means a lot to the crew of this ship, but it especially means a whole lot to the captain… For over a year this ship has been our home and literally our vessel to adventure…”


Dihofe: “I’m glad we could help each other then…”


LT: “Now then, it’s time to say goodbye.”


Bock and Serrag join the captain.


LT: “Thank you for returning our ship to us. Be well and enjoy the Liqium.”


Dihofe: “Thank you again as well. Safe travels.”


The captain taps his badge.


LT: “Party of 3 awaiting beaming.”


Soon after they disappear from the room.


Dihofe: “Look at that, man… 100 liters of the purest of pure Liqium! HA!”


Other man: “Yeah, absolutely brilliant… But I thought the captain said he’d help us further…”


Dihofe: “Hmm, you’re right, he did say something like that… I’m not sure what he meant though.”


At that precise moment 2 additional and identical canisters of Liqium are beamed over. As soon as the Rew set eyes on these containers they are lost for words. The only things that speak are their widening eyes. Back on the Greate Pier…


LT: “Have they arrived, Amato?”


Amato: “Yes, sir, confirmed.”


LT: “Good, good…”


Serrag: “Thank you for buying me back, sir.”


LT: “Yeah, despite tipping the sellers just now I still think I got a good price…”


Serrag: “Oh, no argument there, sir… I’m priceless.”


The USS Greate Pier is back. The saga continues…



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