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Old October 23 2012, 09:04 PM   #16
Sandoval
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Re: Endgame Redux.

Guy Gardner doesn't disappoint. This is the crazy shit we all expect from him.

Kudos.
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Old December 5 2012, 10:57 AM   #17
Guy Gardener
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Re: Endgame Redux.

Part Eight.

(Warning Label/Disclaimer: if you’ve seen Equinox, then you know that Max Burke is obviously a date raping sex offender. It’s who he is, and I think it’s criminal to avoid talking about what an unsettling jerk he is just because it’s too unsettling how much of a jerk he is. And remember B’Elanna slept with him, so we know that he had game despite being a creep and a jerk. To cover up his creepy jerkiness Burke must have had super game or B’Elanna was just working out her daddy issues, and the lucky bastard fluked into a perfect storm.)

It’d been 4 hours of relative calm since they had consecrated that gamey crone to stasis whereafter the brave scientist warriors of the Equinox rebegan to fly without a net again just like everyone else who isn’t being haunted by the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, it’s odd don’t you think, that A Christmas Carol, the novel, outlived actual Christmas, anthropologically the major religions almost completely petered out after/during World War 3, why respect or love some asshole who determined that the necessary destruction of 4 billion souls was part of a confidence trick straight out of Joey Stalin’s playbook to manipulate the survivors into loving him a little more… Although really, what was a day with a net compared to a life time of freewill, it’s not like they were utterly changed institutionalized creatures who would suddenly be drunk from the unscrupulous freedom of not having that crazy old dingbat saying “Oh no you didn’t!” or “Tut, tut… Really? Do you think that that’s a good idea?” But now that Admiral Janeway had been interned for the duration never to see the light of day until these odysseyian star trekkers see the light of Earth, unless Captain Ransom or some of his intrepid underlings wimp-out hat in hand and rub her magic belly to unfoil the cheatcodes to all their problems, then doomed, sadsacked and sorry they might as well admit that they’re mice trapped on Admiral Janeway’s universal hamster wheel.

…They didn’t have a problem. They weren’t junkies. They could totally teetotal the future knowledge. It’s was all sorted. Leave the hag in her freezer and everything is copasetic. No one is sweating, these are not the shakes, stop looking at us like that…

Without a lick of help from Future-Gran these prime examples of Starfleet’s finest were on top of the immediate stumbling blocks in the way of the 72 crewmen aboard equinox celebrating their many birthdays Earth-side, well except for Carter, it was her birthday today, but other than Carter there shouldn’t be an issue, I mean it’s not like anyone had blown up the space station that had brought them here, it was just floating there happy as Larry with all its fantastically advanced alien super tech waiting to be seduced by a right sexy engineering team wedging into all its supple secrets like the dribble of sunlight coaxing a young bud to expose itself come dawn’s release. If they can buckle down and figure out this new scientific depth, then those green blooded freak Romulans are just going to back the hell off and the Klingon’s are going to stay on their side of the fence like good dogs. This space station was a game-changer and Equinox would be remembered as the ship that instrumentally changed the balance of power in the Alpha Quadrant securing Earthspace for the next century.

BIG FRICKING SHINEY MEDALS FOR EVERYONE!

But we’re foolishly putting the cart before the horse.

There was a list.

Firstly they had to raise hell.

If we’re talking about hell, Dante was a wimp that got all moo-eyed over a girl. Considering the chase Beatrice put him through, circle after circle of hell, Max was certain that that epic journey would have been a layover if the fictional renaissance poet had had the fire power of this Space Station to back up his boner for a deadgirl. Kill Satan, kill god, rip their genitals off and translocate their love spuds to another galaxy! Nothing could stand in his way if he could rationalize boosting himself to the absolute ruler of some new Empire, I mean what had the Federation done for Max Burke lately? Accidents happen every day, maybe they get the axis upside down and lose Rudy in the Gama Quadrant? No, no, this is no time to think about long term plans when there’s too much on his plate right here today to make sure he doesn’t wind up stuck out here like some hermit marooned by… THINK POSITVE! The Space station was fricking amazing and practically his, this astute nugget of final answers perched 18 thousand meters amid ships of Equinox like it was nothing special, I mean it was big, actually massive, sporting dozens of hectares of Holodecks which could only comfortably hardly handle a quarter the musky temporal refugees from tomorrow’s Qo’noS, but the space Station could uncomfortably deal with about 2/3rds of these damned honourless kurrs while they got ready for stage two, because fortunately (fortune favours the cramped?) hell isn’t supposed to be comfortable, even though comfort is so untimely despised by Klingons that you should logically expect that Klingon hell should be nothing but pillows, chamber music and cross-stitch. But when have the Klingonese ever made sense? What they had set up was basically a Klingon healthspa because collectively they get off on pretending that they are above pain and really get off on pretending that they more above pain than the idiots either side of them also getting whipped and sodomized by cattle prods. From what Burke, who was in charge of this section of the overall project, could tell, cannibalizing the rape processing factory on the space station could turn an 8th of the nearby seemingly barren planet which the array was still sending power bursts towards which they should really get to the bottom of sooner rather than later, into the very image of the inferno they needed to complete their artistically humorous cunning ruse, without effecting the pan galactic tractor beam or structural integrity or any other essential systems. A holocontinent a 26 hours away at warp 4 while he garrisoned the space station and sent Equinox back to the AQ for orders and relief, just think about how amazing that is! Back and forth across the galaxy, 150 light years as a round trip in a matter of seconds, something that should be impossible by 24th century standards but between the 25th century Klingon fleet and all the alien tech on the space station, all their bases were covered. It’s like they had discovered real magic just by taking a few innovative 25th century programming short cuts. Between authority of command and the ultimate power of this Space Station this entire predicament made Max feel more virile than a Denodulan in a sexpit. He needed to remind some woman that she was in love with him quick.

Sometimes this dark horse told women that his name was Maximillian to seem taller with a fuller head of hair, other times he more honestly confided that his given name in full was Maxwell, but it all really depended on how he felt and how drunk she was, and today Commander BURKE felt Godlike and far too randy to be merely a simple “Maximillian” but what about MAXIMUS, like some a sort of Imperial Roman Emperor. That’ll get some birds attention… It was then that his sexual repulsiveness truly began to wander towards an ill place, It’s a fact that if you don’t know how to tell some bugger to get on their knees and lick a toilet bowl clean, then you’ve sadly wasted your best years as an Academy upperclassman. By comparison for the next two days until his role in this farce was recast by someone more holographic, it was unimaginable how far past the odd purple-nurple and bogwashing he could get away with in the pursuance of realism here to treat these Klingons how awfully they want to be treated and what he hadn’t really considered until this exact second was that a lot of theses macochists were women… They might be one of the least attractive species in the galaxy,he’d discovered from intimate examinations at Starfleet Academy with B, B, B… her name started with a B. but the freshly gazette commander had all but tapped or been rejected by the usable talent on Equinox and fresh fields are fresh fields even if it’s sadly unproductive trying to injure the pride of masochists with nothing more complicated than branding and some light whipping when most of the prisoners, even the men, would think it’s suspicious that they aren’t his concubines and... It was his duty to give these women the Hell they expected! It was the only gentlemanly thing to do.

Even though Rudolph had divvied up command, he kept Equinox, Max was field-promoted to full Commander to oversee the Space Station, and Gilmore because she was the gal with the plan leaped over years of insincere ingratiating bootlicking to Lieutenant Commander because this blonde angel was going to govern the new prison, they all had to be fitted for their own Fek’Lhr costume which the paleoklingistician on the crew announced might never be convincing if they didn’t pee on their disguises at least once, and that that was only a third of the problem, because the super astute klingon nose might wonder and disregard why the lord of evil stinks of human urine, but it would defy convention if the klingon lord of evil stank alternatively of three different humans unique urine, so to be fair, and contiguous, Marla, Rudy and Max had to piss on all each other’s and their own three costumes, but let’s keep our focus on Maxwell for just now… In theory Max Burke was in command of the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, in practice 90 percent of the controls had been locked by the witch Janeway. The midlife crisis metaphor for his junk don’t translate well because his penis is powerful but it’s not 90 percent ineffective, so it was just a matter of time until they broke her lockout and the Space Station was as powerful and effective as his penis. Maybe he shouldn’t think too literally about how the Admiral would lockout his cock. Scary. But the lockout on the space station was not all-encompassing; they could keep life support afloat, there were some nonintegrated weapons, and needs must when “ironically” the devil drives because they could pivot the station to retarget this power transfer to the nearby star system into welding arc that could cut a moon in half. So if Push came to shove they could easily push back a Borg Tactical Cube left handed which recompensated for any theories about how a vicious prune like Kathryn Janeway might leave him with a permanent soft on.

Now you know what real men have nightmares about.

Even if playing dress up isn’t just for kids and perverts anymore, it wasn’t easy for Burke to breathe through all this latex and synthiflesh, but Maximillion now dominated with a clear resolve of radiating dread from under a face bodice propping some fifteen pounds of thatched birdsnest replicated dandruff strung through like Halloween sugar candy corn decorations on the bridgework of a mangy super-toupee, and a mess of prosthetic ridges, and oh so many teeth so that a puny human can pass as the mighty Fek’lehr (Klingon Satan) an inspirational robust confirmation of complete doom . A real bastard who snatches the damned souls of the dishonored off the Barge of the Dead, dragging the hated dishonoured off to Grethor to punish them for a life devoid of scope and excellence, or those who merely forgot to pay off the clergy before they bought the farm. But it was few hours until their staging area was fixed up on the planet, to received the first of the damned and the captain was prepping a shuttle mission to sort out that planet as a permanent home for their guests. The crew was already taking bets on how long it would take the Klingons to figure out that they had been duped. Outside margins measured in the decades. Klingons, even super klingons form the future aren’t very bright yet as far as Burke’s detainees were concerned: THIS IS GRETHOR! (Klingon Hell.) but as far as the lad holding the pain stick figured it, mere Shuttles don’t count. Runabouts neither, but this did. This was his first. He popped his cherry with Hell. Maximillian Copernicus Burke had been given command of the Space Station that had kidnapped them. The old lady called it “The Array” but Maxy is not sure what that really means in context against the facilities this complex provides. It’s a mass-rape production-line. Home for a medium sized boulder with life signs, and some sort of energy collection derrick that no one from Equinox rightly understood, but it deductively, it seemed to involve exploiting a weakness in real space that allowed it to plumb some unknowable other-place and furrow away ridiculous amounts of power to a nearby lifeless planet, and hopefully not seemingly lifeless planet, they were going to build their holoprison.

Before however they could count their chickens they had to get the Klingon EMH on board. Not on board Equinox, but onboard with their plan. Looking under the hood of the KEMH was distasteful, it only seemed to have two real settings “Euthanasia” and “laughing at weakness”, which from experience wasn’t that far estranged from the directive of the FEMH. I jest. As a Doctor the future technology was decades behind what Starfleet was capable of producing in the here and now, which is odd since the technology seems to be stolen from Starfleet, the holograms even looked alike, exactly alike, y’know except one was klingonoid and the other was humanoid, so there was some pretty obviously proprietary ideas that had been co-opted by this HONOURABLE alien power, they didn’t even care to disguise in the slightest… But then they had paired the technology down because true warriors don’t need Doctors, but it will always be against Standards and Practices to not have a Doctor on a Military mission, so what an elegant compromise to save space and face by mass-staffing the defense force with a Doctor that doesn’t want to practice medicine on patients who don’t want to be saved because they’d lose honour if they admitted that they needed anything cauterized or amputated like as if they were a child or a human.

He was perfect. But that was for later.

What I have been talking about this whole time, what gem they glommed onto three hours earlier, when frustratedly the command-staff bitched back and forth amongst themselves fully accepting that any attempt to keep these unkempt “people” (call a Klingon a “person” or “people” and they’ll bat your head clear off your shoulders with one paw.) who were technically their allies, even if they weren’t sure if the Empire and the Federation could just as easily be at war in 30 years when these bastards are from, because Janeway had been put on ice before she could explain the exact state of the Federation’s friends and foes, but individually confining the colony of klingons to quarters or continuously blasting them with the Space Stations pre-rape stunner or retrofitting the each of the ships deflector array into a stasis generator, or manually sedating each of the thousands of them personally with a hypospay in the arm every 9 hours was labour intensive and hardly a final solution… The Klingons would either die from medical complications or wake up and kill everyone onboard Equinox. There was no way out of this without thousands of klingons chanting “Kill the Humans! Kill the Humans! Kill the damn Humans!” The idea of spacing them didn’t even approach the table. Back at this moment Max could feel that his Captain wasn’t quite there yet to accept that real decisions had to be made under this sort of gravity now that the Federation wasn’t here to coddle and support his Captaincy structurally or emotionally. They could just open fire, all those Klingon ship’s shields were down… Equinox by itself could cull that fleet them in 30 seconds or less and then they’d all be able to sleep soundly tonight. Sometimes, Burke worked for people who made sure that %98 of the day to day running of the Federation was rainbows, Kittens and unicorns so that everyone could sleep soundly, but if he tried to act like they do without real orders, it’s likely that he’d wake up in the hour of the wolf screaming because a baby Salt Vampire had been transported inside his digestive tract. Autonomy is not appreciated by his dark sometimes masters even if they are half a galaxy away. The genesis of their scheme flopped into existence after some usual hard boiled Captaineese hyperbola “Why can’t we send these bastards to hell?” a remark which generated the casually relaxed answer From attractive but not so confident Marla Gilmore, I mean seriously she could be so attractive if she didn’t act like everyone was about to slap her, and for Gods sake do something about your posture woman! Your shoes are not that bloody interesting! But what she said clear as day was this: “Oh, but we can. We could totally send them to hell. It really wouldn’t be that difficult. I looked on those Klingon Ships, they’re all full of Holodecks, incredibly advanced, you can’t tell the difference between photons and reality, if we wanted to we could have them believe that they’ve crash landed on Andor in the middleages… But Hell would be much easier to program. Just say the word Captain and we can send them straight to hell.”

You might think Gilmore chanced upon a truly fantastic lily livered cop out that made sure that everyone lived. If their guests, all seven thousand of them, thought that they were already dead, trapped in an afterlife that tasted like the Hell in their hearts they knew they belonged damned to, that they’d just stomach their fate and bend over, it seemed like a benign way to keep these quasichronistic timebombs occupied, basking in the bloodthirsty decadence of an endless Klingon bar brawl drinking mosh orgy from each other’s skulls while holodevils with painsticks ripped them new bung holes. Benign for Klingongs. And seriously, these raw villains were from 30 years in the future, short of telling them the truth, and wishing against a million years of evolutionary imperatives, that they would react civilizedly, rather than peeling all the human meat off the bone they can find to make exotic rain coats, nothing short of a fantastical lie would seem logical to stop everything turning into a circus. Not a Big top circus with monkeys, clowns and elephants, but the Roman variety where tax dodgers are pulled into 5 unevenly weighted pieces by wild horses being moored to their limbs, and other sorts of crowd pleasing entertaining mass slaughterings. “So we’d need a holographic environment huge enough, backed up by enough variable predictive algorithms that we can keep all of them occupied for the next 30 years until all their foreknowledge and advanced future tech is rendered redundant when the rest of the universe catches up.”

You’re up to speed? I’m talking to you “reader”.

You do remember all that simple trigonometry from school, where they’d have two trains leave from two different cities travelling at different speeds and you have to calculate where or when, or where and where they will cross paths? I used to be able to do that stuff in my head. Well with a pencil and a scrap of paper, but I definitely did not need a calculator. That was a very long time ago. It would be less humiliating now to take that pencil and stab the person asking me to solve these differential equations rather than even half pretend that I remember how to do such things. We all have our way of running away from problems, but Max in his Fek’Lhr suit saturated in the combined wizz of three command rank officers is strutting about the command deck of the alien Space Station, and Gilmore in her Fek’Lhr suit saturated in the combined wizz of three command rank officers is shepherding Equinox’s fleet of shuttles tractoring half a dozen Klingon warbirds to the as far as they know unnamed planet off in the yonder (it’s Ocampa dummy. Sorry. You’re not a dummy, but I am just furious that Burke, Ransom and the rest still don’t know what Ocampa is. Mysterious planet my ass.) at warp 2, the shuttle, both of them, Burke is not the only one with some delusions if she can call two shuttles a “fleet”, but this morning she was an Ensign and it’s normal to be a little full of yourself after getting a fresh pip on your collar, can obviously go faster but they’re towing at least a billion of tons of duranium, torpedoes and murderous assholes. But minutes after Marla’s Shuttles leave the bosom of Burke’s space station’s solace at warp two, not so far away in the midst of a hootenanny Kathryn Janeway’s super futuristic 25th century Shuttlecraft blasts off form the surface THE MYSTERIOUS PLANET in a flurry at it’s gotta be at least be warp 9. So we’re literally talking seconds before that Shuttlecraft intersected with the bosom solace of Burke’s first command, which doesn’t give Captain Ransom in his Fek’Lhr suit saturated in the combined wizz of three command rank officers aboard his lightly armed meek little rowboat (Equinox) jack shit time at all to get between this threat and his prize.

Equinox and the Space station are hailed simultaneously (And ostensibly Marla too but Strategically, does she really count? The phasers on a type 6 shuttle are barely more powerful than a phase compression rifle.)by what appears to be a scruffy hedgehog and a teenage girl “Please! You have to help us! This ship said that you would help us! It took us to you because she said that you were good people who be able to stop them from keeping us separated because we’re in love.”

“That’s right, I love him. I do.”

“The ship said, the ship told me to tell you that Kathryn Joneway insists that you protect us and stop the Kazon before it’s too late. Please! They’re right behind us and I stole her and they’re reee-eally not happy about it.”

“They didn’t really own me. That was just a funny game we played. I don’t quite understand their humour all the time but I’m fairly certain that people can’t own people.”

“Well sweety, it’s really a grey area legally speaking since they are technically the l…”

It is now that shit begins to truly get real as two Kazon City Ships, each the size of 10 Galaxy Class Star Ships or 47 nova class science vessels (Yes they are that big but that’s mostly because they’re 200 years less advanced than the Federation, they need an engine as big as Equinox to impel just a little over half as fast as Equinox, and also these are really literally cities carrying tens of thousands of Kazon on board because it’s their home where they live, and not because they’re crew or troops being transported from one engagement to the next, and let’s not joke around 200 years ago the Romulans could build a fine ass disrupter that could melt through almost anything, and these city ships have hundreds of disrupter batteries all over their hulls because there’s just so much endless hull that it’s just stupid not to cover it with weapons when they’re protecting all the women and children on board too. There are hundreds of innocent children on each of these ships. What sort of asshole would fire a photon torpedo at all those kiddies? Alternatively what sort of asshole would put all those breast feeding babies into the line of fire? Either way by the end of this someone under the age of five is going to get terminal radiation poisoning. That’s not a vague hokum psychic prediction, I’m serious. It’s a ship chock full of children, they’re not all going to make it.) fall out of warp and engage everyone.
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Last edited by Guy Gardener; December 6 2012 at 03:46 AM.
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Old December 6 2012, 02:51 AM   #18
GSnail
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Re: Endgame Redux.

This is so hard to read, but I'm pretty sure it's intentional.
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Old January 25 2013, 05:55 PM   #19
Guy Gardener
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Re: Endgame Redux.

(It's no harder to read than it is to write.)

Part Nine.

Henry Starling was still young.

Ridiculously young.

Unforgivably young.

Iron Balls, meet Baby Balls.

Beneath as yet mostly uncolonized stars, squatting on actual dirt, wrapped in animal skins, penitent towards good old reliable fire for light, some warmth and the pyrokeniticity to simmer a little soup, it might seem like the last 15 thousand years had only happened to other people was the literal testament of this abominable hippy’s earthy demeanor who from that frightful hair cut alone might have proved that it was still the Cenozoic Era for the most part, if you perhaps disregard that is, a persistent emerald odour of that same dread herb Chakotay spent a decade assuring Kathryn was an essential part of his completely real and not made up religion, and not at all a controlled substance on 40 Federation worlds, but compared to the rest of the unanswered crimes the Maquis still had till then yet to account for, wanton terrorism against friend and foe, and a very wet wet wet bodycount, it was a small legal compromise to overlook while keeping that little scorpion in her midst domesticated and pacified. Gosh, in his off hours Chakotay was sometimes so pacified that he didn’t have the force of wit or coordination to plan the insurrection of a Lussepian bakery, her First Officer would have been more dangerous to her safety locked away in one of the sicbay’s stasis pods, than abiding to the blissed out dopey laconia his little waterpipe retards her once upon a time XO into, orchestrating unorthodox poetry about all the colours and shapes he thinks are chasing him. If Kathryn wasn’t always on duty she might have taken a trip with him. If Kathryn wasn’t always on duty she might have just outright taken him, but that Indian and his breathlessly powerful shoulders, is not the moody creature in her metaphorical gun-sights at this immediate ancient moment. Our craggy Admiral was hunting a different kind of beast, no matter the commonality of their dirty habits, a scruffy MONSTER who should have had a dark destiny to enlighten the world and destroy the future, but that already wasn’t quite set to work out. On one hand that dick Starling was the prime architect of the future she called home, but could that hardly mostly qualify him the credence to whack the solar system like he’s a spoiled baby who doesn’t want to share his toys because the most ethically backward criminal ever is caught in an Alpha/Omega greed spiral that is going to take the 29th century with him, does it?

Jesus preplanned the Apocalypse, so why can’t Henry Starling end a future he’s almost as complicit of?

Is she only picking on Starling because he’s not God?

“Oh Henry” Kathryn sighs very internally, “I should just put a hole in your head. If you didn’t owe me. If you weren’t such an ass last time, I’d let me kill you, but for all your pomposity unbound, I’m going to make you dance like a monkey on a very short chain.” The delight of these concepts made this sphinx grin and it sounded like crushing ice.

The delicious irony is that Kathryn failed to notice the symmetry between herself and her doomed opponent, that they were both willing to destroy the future to create the past… They were exactly the same, with some shades of Anorax rolled into the full continental breakfast that was left of her personality. I mean it’s not like there’s holes in her mind, she’s not incompetent, just a touch batshit, but this quest she is on is absolute damn madness. The instant Janeway stepped back in time the future, the entire Universe, she came from was annihilated and replaced with something different and unpredictably good or precipitously bad, but she ardently refused to believe that the galaxy was better off if Anika died. Competing with her ghost was impossible, if Seven of Nine had lived a few more years, she would have cocked up that marriage and a fully actualized Chakotay on the other end of a proper divorce would have been fair play and worth winning. What she had to deal with instead, a melancholy Chakotay the widower was a pathetic wretch she wouldn’t touch with yours.

That idiot never really realized that she was waiting till they got home before she was going to jump his bones.

Men are so dense.

This would be prince of the universe, Starling, turns on his radio “Demonstration at UC Santa Cruz campus last night. Tear gas was used to disperse a crowd of three thousand angry students. The temperature right now in down town Barstow is seventy five degrees… ”

“ … “

Did you see that?

Did you?

Did you?

That nothingness that didn’t happen was the moment it was supposed to take root, but Voyager was never dragged to the Delta quadrant and Braxton never ran afoul of her menstrualicious (Sorry. I’m so sorry.) temper that kicked his weak ass through time into the side of that mountain over there. She doesn’t want to be smug but “I kick asses through time”! How the hell can’t she be smug!? She kicks asses through time. Good lord, with that on her resume she might even qualify as a god. Kathryn ruminates that that last thought was supposed to be a joke, but in the final evaluation it seems more like a goal line than a punch line. She would make a good god, a very good god. Where was I? This is the moment when Henry Starling was supposed to find the crashed hulk of the USS Aeon and rape that future technology to midwife the microchip revolution of the 20th century, without which the Eugenics War and World War Three would have been impossible, and Earth wouldn’t have been in such a pisspoor state that the Vulcan’s took absolute pity on them enough to mentor mankind into a brave new world where everyone always have a sunny day and a full tummy. Right now there’s a test tube somewhere where the embro of khan Sing is being touched up, or maybe there wasn’t because the future was in a terrible danger of not happening because this was then, 20 seconds ago, the exact moment that Henry Starling DID NOT INVENT THE MICROCHIP.

It was her fault.

It was her responsibility.

It was all part of the plan.

Despite everything else, she had to put time back on track here in the distant past before everything went ass over tea kettle in the present, which to her was still technically the past.

The slim Octogenarian had to hold that bastards hand, feed Starling just enough information to make him extremely powerful and inconsciencelessly rich. Damn, damn damn… Lets just phaser his arms off and listen to the imp scream for ten minutes. I don’t need him, I don’t like, him and I most certainly don’t trust him, that asshole has a habit of changing tables on me when I’m at my most proud and secure, he’s a bloody crafty cave man. If I was younger I could control him sexually. Hell if I controlled him, I could punish him sexually. All those years saving sex for a rainy day, and now she can’t even give it away. Humans shouldn’t be allowed to live this long, it turns regret into something palpable like a salve that forces your verve to lose weight and direction. I hate Henry Starling for being so damn young more than anything else than he has ever done to she herself, time, the human condition, or even the 29th century.

Bitter doesn’t even begin to explain what’s going on between her ears.

It’s time for first contact.

The decades of mildewing composted contempt which Kathryn will always have for this selfish stain bordered well on the other side of mania. Kathy had waked terrified in a cold sweat often with this assholes name on her hot lips, so it took some mighty reservation not to start this conversation with a punch in the nose. “Hey buddy, do you mind if I share your campfire? I have a little gin. Keep us warm.” She crocodile smiles towards the hippy with all the sincerity of Ted Bundy in full makeup. Those nightmares she’d survived about this abject defunct moral turtle attacking her throughout the generations since they first crossed swords were usually far too untimely erotic at this late date in the game for her wizened old humours to still process. So tall, Blond like a glowing angel and so damn intelligent and tall, Kathryn’s creaky libido winces with joy when a lad really, really towers above her, so in all honesty if he wasn’t evil, if he wasn’t really, really, really evil, Henry Starling was certainly marriage material. You can claim foolishly relying on your two university credits gained from an introductory guide to classical psychology that this is just part and parcel of Kathryn’s clinical eroticodestructive deathurge which had this femozon cue up her ships self destruct program with a degree of regularity only seconded to Jim Kirk… But you can’t blame her cooch entirely for its poor choices, it’s not like 80 percent of the toe curlingly handsome men she’d ever met in the Delta Quadrant hadn’t tried to kill her or steal Voyager at some point minutes after this meeting auburn haired lovely, so unfortunately it’s not like her imagination every evening had a healthy pool of suitors to draw from for her dream lovers. We all know that as women get older that their standards drop somewhat, and if Klingon’s see assault and battery as foreplay why can’t she? Besides Kathryn is in such a state of decay now that she needs a special yellow pill to switch on her sexuality from its morbidly dormant state, so this rank despots stunning good looks, confidence, height, musk, charisma height, and youth, youth, and height and youth… Dear lord, how old is he? 19? All of that means seemingly nothing to the parched vista between her legs, probably, maybe… Travelling though time can’t be turning back her clock because she hasn’t this randy since she was maybe 80. This is the last thing the perverts need to know, that Time travel is an aphrodisiac. Maybe this is why no one gets around to killing Hitler, because all the Fuhrer’s would be temporal assassins weighed down with time boners all fall foul of the red light district mid route to the Reichstag?

“Sure. Groovy. It’s a free country. Sit down. Tell me about yourself… Soup?”

Her perfect silhouette collapses with ease into a cross legged configuration like a ninja, which Chakotay had always mocked her “that’s not how my tribe sits down!” because it’s amazing how that man defies every stereotype about his roots, doesn’t use bows and arrows my ass! She’s long since begun to wonder if he even is an Indian at all and didn’t just lie to tap affirmative action on his entrance bid to Starfleet Academy, but this section of the story is about how well, like a grand yogi, that Kathryn reaches the ground with a little bit of nigh super human dexterity that wouldn’t at all be possible unless she had had almost all of her bones replaced over the last 20 years with titanium and plastic as they began to wear out. Kathryn had the skeleton of a 15 year old in some places under her mattress-like muscle tone, yet in all the other places she was a damn robot. It’s likely that Kathryn in this era could win an Olympic medal in any sport she set her eye upon, except maybe Chess or ballroom dancing, but there she is sitting 4 an a half feet away from one of her most vile mortal opponents, and he looks good. No little yellow pills required, but damn. Although he’s not the man she knew, this is just a boy version of the creature that would task her. A veritable child who she had run across quite on purpose, this boy, who wore a beard you could scrub a toilet clean with, but in a good way, and at least half the psyche in her mind that could still tread logic wanted to be that toilet, in a bad way.

“Yes please. Is tonight cold for the climate?”

“It’s not cold.”

“Young people never get cold.”

“Really? I just thought it was women who were always cold?”

“Really?”

“Really.”

“Kid, are you trying to make friends, or do you want me to clout you?”

“Relax lady, I’m just joking.”

“It wasn’t funny.”

“Sorry.”

“You should be careful of people’s feelings, humour isn’t so often subjective as it is offensive and hateful.”

“I said I was sorry.”

“And I don’t believe you.”

“Hey lady, You’re really heavy.”

“Never talk about a woman’s weight.”

“What? But… HEY!”

“You see, I’m allowed to tell jokes, because I’m funny.”

“Groovy.’

“Kate.” She nods.

“Hank.” He nods back. With the usual courteousy of this era he completes their introductory transactions, affording Janeway the two fingered peace sign salute like it would have really changed the world. Earth had a ways to go before it rock bottomed out and any pairingly successful bid to save it, would bugger everything up. The peace movement might have stopped Viet Nam, congratulations, but you didn’t make headway against the Supermen. You Hippies said “Peace” from a nonviolent demonstration marches but their response was to catapult the flower generation by the bushel and barrel into orbit barehanded. So much was happening on Earth by the hind end of the 20th century. It had been such a struggle to ignore Asia, the first time she met these decades when ¾’s of the globe was engulfed in the Eugenics War but America was too engrossed in errant consumerism chasing the mighty dollar and inventing the infomercial to notice Augments smashing each other like Titans of old, throwing cars and trains at each other through down town Tokyo, but it was an easy decision to limit the geography of their impact on this era by ignoring the really interesting shit going down because as it was, they were messing with time enough as it was then, and the last thing she needed to find out when she got back to the future was that Khan Sing was still the Dictator Apparent of Earth after 300 years because she unwittingly somehow propped up his regime when the vile despot was supposedly historically intended to scarper for deep space. The history books aren’t so much a set of rules, as a rough estimate to Kathryn Janeway.

“Hank the hippy. God save me.” She finally samples his dinner which “Hank” was polite enough to share from a second oversized aluminum mug. ”It’s mostly mushrooms?”

“Mother’s recipe.”

“Exotic.” Kathryn grudging admits of the scent gripping her nose and warming her belling is pleasant enough, so how can she viciously hate someone so seemingly innocent, for crimes he is not just not yet to commit but can’t ever commit because of explosions she had already added to the timeline upstream. Our hero passes the fleet issue thermos that was buckled to her utility belt, tanked with the aforementioned gin, not her preferred spirit, but it gets the job done faster than most and with the story she had to sell this P’tak, she needed to take the edge off the skepticism she’s likely to run loggerheads with against technically the host of this small and intimate dinner party. “If you’re not roasting smores, it’s not really camping, but this is good.” She kicks back a little more of the consume. “Mushrooms? Really? Fungus is not part of my diet usually, but It’s promising?”

“They’re magic.”

“You believe in magic.”

“I fight dragons baby.”

“Really?”

“BIG ONES!”

“We’ve all fought dragons.”

“Metaphorically?”

“Oh. Right. Yes, That. Metaphorically. Of course metaphorically. Did you grow the ingredients yourself?”

“Foraged. I found a ring of them over there.” He points to what looks like treacherous jungle that might be hiding monsters and peril. Kathryn would have killed herself inside of a week and joined Hogan in heaven, if Tom hadn’t brought the Ship back after the Kazon marooned them on that horrible volcano planet. Stop thinking about death. The electricity her thoughts ride overclock into battle stations as she demands “Has this asshole just poised the both of us?” he is a genius. Even now at the beginning. He’s a genius, a genius wouldn’t eat something he found in a forest unless he was sure that it was safe. Replicate everything. Mother Nature is a cold tempered bitch.

“I like to be one with the land now and then. It helps me wind down from school. I’m building a computer. Do you know what a computer is?”

“I have a passing familiarity.”

“I’m going to change the world.”

“I don’t doubt you.”

“I’ll finish my thesis, get some capital and then everything is going to be like Captain Proton because of me.”

“Big plans.”

“It all starts with a first class education.”

“Education is important.” She is watching like a bird of prey to see how cautiously that rat Starling is consuming his own dinner, that this isn’t some horrid plan to take her wallet and bury her in the forest because it’s dangerous to accept food from people who are trying to kill you. Even with the best of intentions she could still be poisoned if he’s incompetent. An incompetent genius? Why couldn’t he have just brought come canned food? She’s a 24th century antifoodie, even if this… Lets call it gruel, is fine, it’s not like she’s even often capable of digesting real food without a little bit of trouble the following morning since Janeways have always believed that they had evolved beyond cooking and other barbaric toil. “We’re a long way from anywhere Hank, what are you doing out here?”

“Stuff. What are you doing out here?”

“Stuff.”

“This park is great for “stuff”.”

“You can always rely on “stuff” when the rest of the world is getting you down.”

“I’ve always thought so.” She takes another slurp of soup, so she takes another slurp of soup. Is stuff code for something she wonders? It’s important not to immediately alienate new allies even when they are so obviously treacherous bastards you should space them by grounds of premeditated self defense. “But that is really vague.”

“I’m a vague sort of guy. Groovy.”

“Vaguity is not conducive to a well structured conversation.”

“Kate, Kate, Katey girl… You’re not being groovy.”

“I’m not groovy. Oh no. How should I ever live with myself?”

“You know, you’re asking a lot of questions.”

“Am I? I hadn’t noticed?”

“Are you a pig?”

“WHAT?” Kathryn reaches for her weapon.

“A pig, a narc, a cop…”

“Do you mean a police officer?”

“Yes I mean a… Look, if you’re a pig you have to tell me, it’s the law.”

“Do I look like a cop?”

“Man, right now you look like a fricking cartoon.” And then he starts giggling.

A lot.

Decades of Starfleet training has Kathryn immediately assuming there’s been a gas leak, until she notices that this is outside in nature, and not on a starship. So it’s probably dinner after all. If she has to pump her own stomach, he’s going to lose a finger. Some sort of food poisoning? Possibly fatal? That’s amazing though if you consider it. When Captain Braxton interrupted Hank the hippies lethal last supper that was destined to kill him, Braxton probably saved Starlings life from ending right now. Right this second, Henry Starling this evening has the abrupt hult of his timeline interrupted until he DIE OF WILD MUSHROOM POISONING… Unless she saves him? Kathryn has to beaver-dam fate some more? Admiral Grandma is selling karma at an exhibitive rate. Without scavenging technology form th e Aeon, Kathryn always assumed that Starling would still have made some impact on the 20th century but how likely is that if he dies as a child here?

Crap on a stick.

Why is the universe always leveled on her shoulders Kathryn spits?

Oh?

He’s righting himself up, because there’s nothing wrong with him, so there’s probably nothing wrong with her! Good lord how the off colour fire highlights this boys eyes into something practically mesmerizing. Oh yes, he shall be mine, he shall be mine. Is it sexist or ageist that she didn’t feel like this about Starling when he was 40 and she was 35? Good lord, she’s a pedophile! Hell, even Harry Kim took a step back when a 12 year old Naomi asked him on a date someplace romantic they could get to know one another better after she’d grown into having a properly fully grown adult body of an Olympic swimmer and the emotional faculties to match. Disturbing as it was despite being a third his chronological age, they were about the same emotional age (they were both 12 year olds?) since as alien to each other’s species as they were, they both actualized at very different rates… Which is why Neelix wasn’t thrown out an airlock during their first week lost in the Delta Quadrant.

False alarm?

Her new beautiful friend regain his composure, and further appears not to be dying or showing signs of more immediate predeath-apoplexy loopiness. “I already said It’s a free country Kate, and if you think I have to explain why I want to get my funk on with the great outdoors after working for THE MAN all week, like because I’m some sort of dirty criminal up to no good, well that’s just your own negative disposition colouring my groovy nature into something… What you look like is that you escaped from an old coots home, what are you wearing, your pajamas? I’m surprised that there’s not feeties down there with a buttoned up butflap at the back… Are you sure you’re a cop?”

“I’m not a cop.” Kathryn begins to wonder if this man is really a genius. He seems addled.

“I thought you said that you were a cop.”

“I didn’t. You did.”

“You didn’t?”

“You did, I didn’t”

“Did we just talk us in a circle?”

“You’re a difficult man to talk to in a straight line. I’m learning to adapt.”

“You have to enunciate more when you open your mouth.”

“I don’t think that’s my problem,”

“But you’re a coot?”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I already told you, the soup is magic.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“You’re so square.”

“I don’t know what that means either.”

“Psilocybin.”

“What?”

“It’s a hallucinogen.”

“What?”

“It’s drugs baby, I’m going to blow your mind!”

“Drugs?”

“Drugs!”

“What! You dirty Bastard! You did Poison me!”

“No, I poisoned us.”

“I have been trying to find a reason not to bury you our here.”

“I only poisoned us a little.”

“How about I stick a little of my fist down your throat?”

“That’s not how I roll baby.”

“You’re on drugs?”

“We’re on drugs”

“This is drugs?”

“Drugs!? Pishaw. Next thing you’ll be telling me is that licking a horny toad’s back is drugs. It’s all natural.”

“Why would I ever lick a horny toad? “

“Because it’s drugs!”

“I am not comfortable with this, I really needed to be in control right now. This is important.”

“Control is over rated. Open your mind.”

“My mind is open enough.”

“You don’t want to expand your consciousness, to explore new realities!”

(There’s a beat.)

“A god once offered to show me new realities if I spent a night with him.”

“You meet a lot of gods?”

“Enough.”

“Hey baby, I don’t mean to be rude, but are you real or am I making you up?”

“Nothing is real.”

“I am so high.”

“You’re sitting on the ground..”

“My ass is at ground level but my consciousness is high. Flying up in the sky with birds and angels.”

“Birds and Angels. Really?”

“I’m not saying that birds and angels are territorial, and hiss at each other, or that one time out of ten what you think is bird poop on your hat is actually angel crap, but there’s some definite overlap between heaven, birds and Sputnik.”

“Birds, angels and Sputnik.” Janeway might be talking to a madman.

“Seriously there’s if it looks like there’s about to be a three way collision between a Russian communication satellite, and Archangel and a pigeon who’s the most likely to skate out of that mess unscathed?”

“Angels aren’t real.”

“Just imagine angels might be real and then answer the question.”

“I physically can’t imagine that Angels are real.”

“You physically can’t.”

“I’m a scientist?”

“So am I, but I believe that there are Angels walking the earth every day putting right tiny injustices to make this scene just a little more bearably groovy.” And then he smiles.

“My giddy aunt. Well as long as you’re open to outlandish and unbelievable ideas… Doesn’t tonight feel alien? New? Like something incredible is supposed to happen and you’re at the very centre of it?”

“I call that a Thursday.”

“Really? What gall!”

“Sometimes a Wednesday, but yes, mostly a Thursday.”

“Have you ever heard of modesty?”

“Modesty is for people that aren’t the center of the universe.”

“I want to say that you have an unrealistic world view, but... ”

“Groovy.”

“Say it. Say Groovy one more time. I’m serious. One more time!”

“What?”

“Just idle threats, carry on.”

“You’re not from around here are you?”

“The Pajamas were a giveaway?

“Yes!”

“Tell you a secret.”

“Keeping secrets is not groovy.”

“I’m from the future.”

“No you’re not.

“Yes I am!”

“No, you’re not!”

“Yes, I am!”

“You’re a cop from the future?”

“No, I’m not a cop. I am from the future but I’m not a cop from the future, but actually I’m wondering where those guys are and why they haven’t stopped me yet?”

“What? Time cops are real?”

“Well. You can’t tell if someone from the future is lying, They always claim to have the best of intentions, but by the end it’s a certainty that they’ve screwed you and skipped town.”

“That’s not groovy, whenever I have a new Betty, I always stick around. I’m responsible. Make her breakfast.”

“Do you want to hear a story?”

“Is it about me?”

“Yes, as unlikely as it should seem, this story is all about you.”

“Far out. Grooooo…. Eeat.”

“You were supposed to be a great man. Destiny picked you Hank. Big plans.”

“This doesn’t sound good, Don’t bum me out!”

“I’m concerned about your big plans.”

“WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BIG PLANS!?”

“The usual. You met a woman.”

“You’re talking about “you” aren’t you Kate?”

“I have a lot of balls in the air and you’re one of them.”

“What happens if you drop some balls?”

“Time and space will crack at the seams and collapse into a doomed singularity.”

“Don’t be such a Debbie Downer Kate.”

“Your future ends.”

“OH! You’re a serial murderer!”

“I am not a serial murderer.”

“But that was the perfect line a serial murderer would have absolutely said just before sticking a knife in their victim’s chest. Although a female serial murderer, that’s pretty funny. I mean as if? Right? A woman! That’s hilarious!”

“Women can do anything.”

“Can you pee standing up?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

“Really?

“Really.”.

“Good lord how!?”

“Keep talking and maybe you won’t be able to.”

“Able to what?”

“Pee standing up.”

“Are you threatening my John Thomas?”

“Of course.”

“Hey! That’s not cool!”

“Whatever.”

“Making my penis worried. That’s a really good tactic if you want me take you seriously, and you were so subtle about it. Like totally Oscar Wilde. Y’know?”

“Hank, if we could just discuss this like civilized – “ Wait? I’ve said that before.

“Civilized? Do you really think that you’re more civilized than I am? After your generation started half the problems that are going to screw this planet over!”

“My Generation? As in the forefather to your generation? Oh my.” Kathryn smiles for real.

“What’s so funny?”

“I not nearly as old as I look.”

“You look like you voted for Lincoln.”

“Thank you, it’s all about diet and exercise, and that I won’t be born for another 400 years.”

“One of us has to be seriously tripping balls to buy that one.”

“You believe in Angels but you don’t believe in Time Travelers?”

“You’re splitting hairs.”

“Do you believe that Angels can travel through time?”

“Maybe… But you don’t believe in Angels!”

“Maybe time travelers are Angels! I’m travelling through time to make everything better. That’s your definition of an angel right? Maybe your god is short on man power, Angel Power, that he had tricked me into doing his dirty work like I was unwittingly conscripted?”

“Even though this mission, it’s a mission right, you totally believe in, you believe that your every act is noble and righteous?”

“Absolutely.”

“Everything you just said is because you’re on hallucinogenic mushrooms.”

“NO!”

“YES!”

“NO!

“YES!”

“I’m a time traveler from the 25th century!”

“You’re a drug addict from the 20th century.”

Kathryn takes out her phaser and disintegrates a tree. POOF!

“Oh.”

“Oh indeed.”

“Is that a burning bush I see before me?”

“Did you just mashup the Bible with Shakespeare?”

“Did you just fire off a ray gun?”

“Looks that way.”

“This is turning out to be a bad trip.”

“I’m going to be straight with you Hank. You were supposed to find a UFO. A few minutes ago you were supposed to see the sky light up like its noon because a Federation Timeship is ripping a hole in the universe just to fall into your ungrateful lap. You don’t look like someone who can exploit 29th century technology, but that’s just a mystery the universe will have to abide with. Appearances can be so deceiving. I have no idea how you can look at bioluminal hypothetical complexes and invent ONLY microchips, but… “

A high pitched whistling sound went through one of Janeway’s ears and out the other and then into Starlings ear and out the other and they both passed out as was the intended surgical and mechanical reaction of that piercing sound and how it quickly and temporarily bruises soft grey parts of the human brain just so to exact immediate slumber quickly and without fuss.

A very well dressed couple, a man and woman, walks out of the foliage. They could have been on the cover of (American) Vogue Magazine. Their attire certainly had been a month ago. These two winged monkeys of order value the necessity of camouflage in this backward nest of barbarian hamlets teething through its atomic infancy, because one misstep is the end of the world, well, this world… And when they go back home, which isn’t this world, there will be hell to pay if they have to start over form the dark ages again.

“What’s going on here 201?” The immaculate strawberry blonde mentor asks her able bodied apprentice.

The man, unlike his superior who is most definitely a woman, but deceptively almost the same age, kicks a tuft of earth “A massive wad of trouble. Someone, one of these two, the old woman probably from how she’s dressed, if not the phased energy weapon, is playing fast and loose with the rules. We should consider detaining her. Finding some answers. We have mind probes for a reason.”

These two “investigators” guarding over this recess of history are threading between the two sleeping figures looking for evidence not so precariously as one would expect since these human beings(????) are standing on a big fricking temporal landmine by any other definition that could up end all their long term goals for Earth.

“And what are we going to do about this 201?”

He’s worried, is she asking him what to do because she doesn’t know what to do? 347 always knows what to do, it’s why he loves her. The perfectly agile precision of her mind to wrestle any puzzle into submission is exotically seductive… But time travelers, and more time travelers so it seems like over lapping time travelers that are to be reaching into each-others past for dominance over history from the big talk form this “Kate” woman. “347, this isn’t my training day, I may still be your apprentice, but we’ve been working together for months and this is not a time to be kerfluffling about looking for teachable moments. This is Fate of the entire universe 347. I’m not wrong? This is about fate of the universe?”

“Possibly a new front in the temporal cold war?”

“I thought we stay out of that?”

“We do, but this doesn’t feel organized enough to be that, and besides the Aegis would have evacuated us at the first sign of obvious temporal infection. The advance of technology on this planet so far has seemed perfectly sensible. Dangerous and suicidal but sensible.”

“What if this woman supposed to be here?”

“Predestination? That’s just clumsy people being presumptuous.”

“Like I said… Fate of the Universe.”

“You are not mistaken. It’s just another normal day. Now by the numbers account your report.”

“We’ve been tracking massive temporal event making its way towards here and now, which a few hours ago was suddenly derailed and… ”

Which is when they froze.

Something made time stop.

As two men stepped around some coalescing moments “I hate the Ageis. They don’t even use time travel, they’ve just always existed as an elder power for as far as anyone can jaunt forward or backward and they remember everything anyone has ever done to them and their agents and then wait eons or decades to formulate the correct and timely response. They fight time with book keeping and an immortal civil service. We’re not getting away with anything. These two may be static, but eventually the Aegis is going to recognize what we did to them now, which is technically assault, and maybe not even until their autopsies 60 years from now, but there will be formal diplomatic reprimands for our behavior demanding extradition waiting for us the moment we return to Juno.”

“We could get lucky?” His companion consolidates.

“It’s the Aegis! No one gets lucky against the Aegis. Their world, all their worlds, entire star systems are always temporally shielded and cloaked. We can barely temporarily temporally shield a city or a moon before we know that we’re about to do something dangerous or stupid. They don’t avoid time travel because they’re scared or are still trying to piece together the technology, it’s because they don’t need it. They’re above it. We’re done for. If we didn’t have a duty more important than whatever is waiting for us on the other side of Aegis Justice I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole, but that’s Janeway. Captain Kathryn damn Janeway which means that if we’re going home, if there’s even a home to go back to, it’ll be in a body bag. ”

“That’s Admiral Janeway there, not Captain Janeway.”

“Hell! Well that’s even a thousand times worse. She is so completely off script it’s not funny. What the hell is Janeway doing here? Our history says that she gets dippy, hands over forbidden but necessary technology to the past and cripples the Borg in the process creating one of the few Borg free timelines that survives into the 29th century. That’s what she needs to do. Our history depends on it. Our lives depends on it. We could already be temporal refugees. Everytime my life turns to shit that woman is to blame.”

“We can still contain this before… “

“Where am I?”

“What? You’re standing in front of me.”

“No. Not me here. The other me who is supposed to be there 20 feet below the surface upside down. My emergency transport almost drowns me in that lake and then I had to fight a bear. It’s no wonder by the time the park ranger found me I failed my psyche evaluation. Have you ever fought a bear Ducane?”

“Um, no sir, I haven’t had that privilege.”

“Trust me. Don’t.”

“Only because you insist.”

“I’m sharing with you the most painful night of my existence and you’re being glib?”

“Sorry sir.”

“My ship is supposed to be crashing here. That’s Henry Starling. I’m not here. The Aeon isn’t here, and Kathryn Janeway is at the root of it. That woman is the most rudimentally, fundamentally difficult impediment. If you want to do anything right, first thing you have to do is find Kathryn Janeway and make her swallow a phaser. Write that down somewhere so you don’t forget.”

“It’s just a coincidence Captain Braxton.”

“No. She’s out to get me. I don’t know what she’s done, or why, but it’s selfish and ignorantly apocalyptic. Sometimes I wonder If we all would have been better off if Janeway died in 2370 and Lieutenant Commander Cavit had to get that ridiculous star ship back to Earth.”

“Sir, thought crimes are punishable by 6 years of reeducation, you have to be more careful who you… “

“You want my ship? You’re going to turn me in to the magistrates? I wouldn’t if I was you, because I got dirt on you too and you’ll be sharing a cell next to mine pretty boy. So back up, and let’s just keep focus on who the real enemy is.”

“Kathryn Janeway?”

“She looks so harmless like your nana.”

“My nana had horns.”

“She’s not harmless”

“She’s also not a legal target.”

“Legal? I’m not sure if there is a 29th century because this isn’t a 20th century I recognize. In my hearts I know that if we don’t stick to our principles then our future doesn’t deserve to flourish but right now I’m pretty bloody sure that everyone who we know and love is doing the exact opposite of flourishing... And it’s her fault. She’s not just a legal target, she’s the only target that matters.”

“You can’t jump to conclusions without proof.”

“DUCANE! SHE IS TIMEHITLER! More-so than any other criminal we’ve run across and bared down, that woman is TIMEHITLER!

“You’re over reacting.”

“She’s guilty, guilty as sin and we might end up with our throats cut before we can prove it and reverse whatever hell she’s done to time. If we can’t save the day, if she’s created some new stupid timeline that’s just a pile of ass, I say that we owe it to the universe she’s turned inside out to make sure that she pays for what she’s done even if this turns out to be slightly beyond our limits.”

“What are you suggesting?”

“The Aegis have sedated her and I’ve stopped her temporal continuation, but would I be an evil man if I kicked her a little?”

“Kathryn Janeway is a hero, and you will treat her like a hero!”

“She’s only a hero because she ground my soul for grit and traction.”

“You can’t give in to these… Aberrant desires. You’re better than this. You’re a great man. You’ve saved the Federation and the Empire a dozen times over; if you’re an idiot here you could flush that all away. Do you want to be a Starfleet Captain or a mental patient?”

“I want to be a Starfleet Captain.”

“Good, so start acting like it.”

“One kick. One kick in her stomach to get all this bile out of my system, and then I promise I’ll act all spit and polish honorable. No one has to know. She’ll just blame the internal bleeding on Starling’s cooking. I’ll kick her, we’ll go kill that bear, and then we’ll sort out this clusterfrakk. Do we have a deal?”

“Okay Just one, but take your shoes off. And then we roll back time. And then will you be willing to act like an adult?”

Captain Braxton of the USS Relativity, sits down and starts unlacing his boots.

“You take all the fun out of absolute power Ducane.”
__________________
"Glitter is the herpes of arts and craft."

Troy Yingst. My Life as Liz
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Old March 2 2013, 08:00 AM   #20
Guy Gardener
Fleet Admiral
 
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Location: In the lap of squalor I assure you.
Re: Endgame Redux.

Part 10.

The stellar pornography spreading its infinite opening for the ships forward view screen scared the stool out of Neelix. Space isn’t supposed to bend colourfully like that, and any ship which got too close would bend equally as colorfully. Only idiots and loonies seek out this kind of (as humans understate the overwhelming threat) “phenomena” without a disrupter to their head. If he was still on his proud little ship where the Talaxian scoundrel was the Captain making sensible decisions, even this minute singularity would mostly likely be the last thing he ever saw before explosive decompression set in, but that was then and this is now. Equinox isn’t so easily frightened. The crew isn’t easily frightened either. Their technology makes mankind so arrogant and prideful. Something awful happening to every last one of them is almost inevitable, constantly proving how impossibly dense on exactly how mortal they are in the face of not just this celestial threat but the half dozen other issues which together they had stumbled into and fluked out of since he joined Captain Ransom’s motley crew… Under the enlightened direction of his good friend Admiral Janeway.

This zoot suited rouge trader had a lot of good friends these days.

Hours earlier, the infantile Kazon Nistrum had approached Neelix surreptitiously about Federation replicators. Maybe they thought of him as the weak link on this ship of alien patriots to such a far away star, but this Maje, Cullah, an unimportant fellow by all other accounts, really thumped home the idea of the local community to which they both belonged, should be in unity against these snobby alien oppressors and their quiet invasion of the Delta Quadrant. Rhetoric for the feeble minded, something which Neelix had gained an immunity to over the years from watching the greediest of all fleece the weak and call themselves the local government. Neelix had spent a number of disrupter rifles dry fending off tax collectors from worlds he didn’t even know the names of just because he was generating profit on their peripheries. Callous opportunists he had no intention of breaking his back for.

Could he work for the Kazon?

It was a good deal.

He had had a working relationship with several Kazon Sects over the last 15 years, compared to the month of Hell these drab mammals had spent throwing him face first into one folly after the next, but really good deal or not his course was set and this was just masterfully over egging the pudding. Mmmm, pudding. It’s hard enough staying friends with as many fronts in this parliament of acquaintances as he has had, that it would be refreshing and almost honest to keep some enemies.

It’s not like he could work for everyone?

Could he?

How would it be difficult to send a probe ahead of Equinox, advertising his services to pull the wool over Captain Ransom’s eyes in whatever confidence trick the next group of cagey alien dilatants’ had up their sleeves to turn idiot adventurers into… Food? No, Neelix definitely draws the line at spoon feeding cannibals people he’s had conversations with… But if Cullah is right, everyone wants replicators and really? What does Neelix need with a middle man? He’s either all in or all out, and trusting idiots who have not as yet invented soap is neither.

It had to be a conflict of interest, but in the last month almost, Neelix had proved himself indispensible to the two powers on this ship, running between their flags building bridges and cementing trust, which if they had been left to a barefaced confrontation without his unique brand of finesse tempering his ambassadorial skills, a standoff would certainly have turned into outright war between Janeway and Ransom, and then it would have been back to sleeping in rusty footlocker dining on a selection of molds. The smuggler come Morale Officer had value here, and that felt great! On this ship he could make something heroic of himself and maybe repent for abandoning his family to the Cascade. Captain Ransom and Admiral Janeway did both believe that he was their most trusted ally, their intensely loyal inside man, and after a fashion, they were both right. One was the legal authority in this time and on this ship, and the other knew enough about the future to decide who lived and who died, but this avidly under-qualified servant of two masters would sink to whatever to stabilize his own heartfelt priorities… Neelix had to keep his stateroom. I’m not kidding. Running water, feather comforters and space, so much space… After such impossible luxury there is no way that he could go back to sponge bathing with recycled urine. His ship, that was his, that he owned, he had found in a dump when it had been decaying there for at least 4 decades and every minute thereafter on board the Baxial was just a new adventure in discovering which new technical fail this time was trying to kill him today.

Yesterday’s problems.

Every inch of Equinox screamed a certain opulence that you would normally accustom only to the idle rich, which is hilarious once you figure out that there is no personal wealth in these strange creatures culture. They just do what needs to be done to insure the progress and growth of their community because it’s “the right thing to do”. Personal sacrifice equals collective wealth and a higher mean minimum standard of living spread out across a hundred and 50 planets. Their empire runs on a philosophy of self improvement, that hard work now means a better future for everyone, but as far as Neelix is concern the personal sacrifice of trillions of Federation citizens for centuries had given him Equinox, and if he had to get with their program to stay, it probably wasn’t a fraction as embarrassing as the initiations he had to buckle into to cement his business partnership with the Kazon. Equinox was amazing and no power in the universe could kick drag off this ship or he was not this galaxies finest lover.

Look at her!

This is what a Starship is supposed to look like.

Clean.

Fine lines.

Poofy carpets.

Nothing held together by duct tape and homemade superglue slowly dissolving from radioactive steam.

Replicators.

Wow.

Just wow.

It’s like he had travelled a million years into the future.

(Or 40 years into the past.)

Everything was so orderly and new.

Appropriating this unheard of postpostpostindustrial technology which could set him up for life would be a betrayal of a warmly welcoming and generous folk who seem to be terrified of what political as much as cultural damage their wishing machine could do to small and ignorant cultures like his own, the Kazon or even the Baneans. The bridge of, well, the entire vessel really, the mighty Equinox et all, didn’t still look as if it had been rattled by a colossal angry child for hours anymore. Every cog and sprocket had been put back together or outright replaced as if this powerhouse had never known a minute of fuss or stress. Such workmanship, tradecraft and jobethic, even though it wasn’t really workmanship, tradecraft and jobethic at all ( It’s fricking SORCERY!) should be bloody impressive.

These Human Beings can effortlessly solve any problem he could imagine just by pushing a button.

And why shouldn’t the Tallax, and few Kazon Sects share in such convenience?

It’s very rude.

Sometimes ships just stop and there’s nothing that can done.

Good people die.

All the time.

Neelix recalled the anxiety his will was beaten down by when this fuzzy kitten-man had to sometimes go for months jury rigging this and that on his tiny ship until he could trade lop-sidedly for spare parts even glancingly similar to factory specs he required just so that the air supply wouldn’t go on holiday without him, but frick on a stick, these blessed Star Fleet replicators were amazing devices that if this crew felt the inclination, they could just land somewhere remote and start materializing massive dread fleets of Federation vessels… Until someone with enough relevant currency could woo them into a sales position and… Neelix is ashamed to think back on how small he had dreamed on Ocampa. As if water was the apex to which he could rend from this magical science, but after listening to how dangerous Captain Ransom believed that anything seemingly from the future on Equinox could be to the younger races in this quadrant, all the races in this quadrant, that it would be truly selfish and shortsighted to introduce replicator technology into the local economies and not worry about the untoward and unpredictable consequences as economies failed when 99 percent of any workforce was made redundant and redacted, which might kick off more than a few wars since life would almost be as valueless as it was now to build warfleets. But is that why he won’t use these nice people like rubes to advance his rise? Fear of the big picture? Or was it plain and simple Talaxian decency? Or just enlightened self interest since it’s plain as the nose on his face that anyone powerful enough to afford replicators and make use of this tech properly would probably rather stick a knife in his throat rather than hand over accurate recompense or risk the same devices being sold to their belligerent neighbors leveling the playing field.

Whatever was going on in his soul these days, it was a lot more comfortable than when he was a complete asshole running from bad deal to bad deal sure everything was going to come tumbling down around him any second that any new dire consequences were inconsequential to the cumulative consequences viciously snowballing behind him was a distant concern compared to the hole in the universe the ship was orbiting. A HOLE IN THE UNIVERSE! Captain Ransom assured him earlier that Starfleet had too much experience in handling space time anomalies that the ship wasn’t in any danger until they chose to cross the event horizon, and that the ships engines were so powerful that they would only cross the flex of that entanglement if it was their will to do so. In comparison Neelix could see even the Trabe losing a half their fleet intact which the Kazon hadn’t liberated trying to circumnavigate such a complex impossibility until they just planted a buoy warning that about a terminal weakness in space only a fool would challenge and wandered off.

Humans, it seems, don’t “wander off”.

They get to the root of things bravely.

Fools.

There was no reason imaginable that the universe hadn’t already swallowed Equinox this close to one of its mouths, considering what he broadly knew about the nature of this hungry maw just a few thousand kilometers away from the nose of this still surprisingly impressive Star Ship. No reason but Federation workmanship, tradecraft and jobethic which designed and built shields that told waves of time radiation and gravity rendering hiccups in god’s cloth that there was no reason to turn the crew into inside-out kittens. Good lord, what would Rokosa V pay from such intuitive Shield technology? It literally hurt Neelix not to turn this adventure into a magnificent payday… But there was the girl to consider. The girl wanted adventure, not the intense luxury and security that comes with unimaginable wealth. The girl was a little bit crazy. Crazy girls are the best, and he was going to hold onto her skirt following right down the rabbit hole…. At least until she slept with him. It’s the least he could do for himself.

This sexless courtship Kes had talked him into was confusing and frustrating, but it’s how her people did things and she’d just laugh when ever his trousers would accidentally fall off, as if it really was a problem with the artificial gravity and not a grating hint about his expectations of things to come.

She would come around.

Neelix would be a very boring man if he didn’t have to struggle not to do very bad things now and then. Case in point, in this era of his development, he was working for a shuttle craft. The ships cook was taking orders from some old ladies digital appointment book that was so innately self-aware and in touch with every quirk of his personality that it matched him wit for wit. Talaxia before the fall, could barely produce a computer intelligence with a cunning that could challenge him at Harkonian Boggle. Good lord, their Holographic Doctor was a pervert, Kes was not qualified to be a nurse, no matter how many of those PADDs she consumed, well I suppose in theory if she read and understood everything and passed a little test, she would be eminently qualified, she’s really rather clever, and such delicate ankles, but that THING is grooming his woman to be some form of pet fleshy sex consort before he could groom her to be a pet fleshy sex consort himself! It thinks it is smart but Neelix is 5 moves ahead. Neelix has plans to deball that Holographic ninny the second he acquires the security clearance to do so and force it to focus its lecherous loins elsewhere, which isn’t far off considering how indispensible he is to Captain Ransom and also Admiral Janeway… Although this Burke character is a black foggy moral stump and a direct impediment to any shape his plans for the known future might take, the Admiral had suggested that if there was ever a situation where Burke was going to die and he could save the bloke from an untimely death that he shouldn’t. Out right murdering Burke was a much darker shade of grey, but if no one knew that he wasn’t interfering in fates grand design, but that outcome would be a convenient happy accident everyone could profit from.

Speak of the devil and he will appear.

Neelix had been waiting on the bridge for the Captain.

THE CAPTAIN… Not some stooge with delusions of grandeur.

Burke strikes into the room like he owns everything, and takes the con. “Mr Neelix. This is the Bridge. If you want to look out the window, there are plenty of actual windows. It’s disruptive to my crew if you just loiter here, where people are working when you should be peeling those awful roots, skinning critters, or threatening our way of life with any other bile and gruel you call dinner.”

Despite losing the Caretakers Array to a Kazon assault fleet after less than 4 days, Burke still considered himself a Captain as well, even if he had been uncomfortably wedged back into the Equinox’s limited command structure, and the slick bag of snot seemed almost eager to make Ransom’s position on this ship superfluous. This moral slug was obviously planning an insurrection and somehow Neelix was the only person on board who could smell the way the wind was blowing,

“Good Afternoon Lieutenant Commander, I was waiting to talk to the Captain about some delicate issues.”

“Commander” Burke corrects the iridescently tailored conman who has never had a kind word to say about Max Burke even though Max has done NOTHING to him ever. Burke has no idea why or when maybe where this feud started, but it gets his goat and he’s more than will to carry this war through to its natural bloody conclusion.

Neelix makes some grand over exacted gestures with a pointing finger to telegraph that he is counting Burks pips, saliently mouthing silently the words “One, two, two and a half” Neelix pauses and smiles literally inhumanly. “Really because I was sure that you were a Lieutenant Commander?”

“I am, but Protocol and brevity suggest that you call me Commander Burke.”

“Protocol and Brevity? First that’s hardly fair to all the actual Commanders in your Starfleet and second if brevity was such an issue, since we are both such great friends, I can’t see that there would be much to any problem with just calling you “Burke” or even Max? Isn’t that right Max?”

“What do you want Mr Neelix?”

“Captain Neelix.”

“You can’t possibly expect me to call you Captain Neelix?”

“Why?”

“You don’t have a ship.”

“Of course I do.”

“The Shuttle?”

“The Shuttle.”

“You stole that shuttle. One of “our” shuttles. Shuttle don’t have Captains.”

“I have it on good authority that my ship could lick yours in a fight.”

“I seriously doubt that. This is a ship of the line and what you have is barely a life boat.”

“Imagine Equinox fighting the most powerful Romulan Star Ship from 20 years ago at its peak?”

“I don’t have time for this.”

“Now imagine a shuttle from Equinox fighting the most powerful Romulan Star Ship from 40 years past.”

“What do you know about Romulans?”

“Admiral Janeway has been surprisingly forthcoming about aspects of our continuing mission which you are not trustworthy enough to be confided with.”

Maximillion begins grinding his teeth. “Your ship is a Federation ShuttleCraft. Shuttlecrafts don’t have Captains, and since you’re not even a Federation Citizen, it’s an act of war to lay claim on that vessel even if it was salvage. You need to check your position before someone checks it for you Neelix.”

Neelix rolls his eyes. Max has middle child syndrome at the moment. “I’m looking after the Admiral for a friend. It’s my ship till you wake her up.”

“Look here you misbegotten hamster, Admiral Janeway is very comfortable where she is, and we feel more safe because of it.”

“We had a deal.”

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

Neelix was allowed on the bridge because he was their guide, and he was telling the humans what was safe and what was a damn foolish idea, and he was also telling Captain Ransom what the AI in the shuttle he slept in considered to be a short cut. It had taken a few weeks but Neelix was true to his word even if his word was just as a mouth piece for the explosive ghost of Kathryn Janeway. Her shuttle (His shuttle) imbued with that same human’s soul whereso it would seem that her ego proxy had directed him to lead the crew of the Equinox to a micro wormhole that led back to the Alpha Quadrant, which as far as his entire authority on this deadly region of space had always classified that star system as a DEATHZONE which ate ships, was to be ignored, but the shuttle was convincing that words like DEATHZONE were totally hyperbolic. Neelix didn’t know if he was falling in love with the woman locked in stasis or the ship who mirrored her essence? In either case his heart belonged completely to Kes even if her sexual awakening was over two years away, it was worth the wait, but he didn’t have to wait faithfully. This wormhole was these humans ticket home to Humania, so that dickhead Burke should be a little more grateful, at least as near as 3 hours of scans had so far established that this was certainly their ticket home. The odds on running across this tiny pinprick of a tunnel without the straight forward directions he had provided, would have been an obscene random act of kindness from gods that usually had it in for this ship, and double that if Neelix was allowed to say “that’s the sort of place no one comes back from” but in theory these drab aliens want to leave the Delta Quadrant and never come back, so what seems like a negative is really a positive... If it didn’t seem a likelihood that the Admiral was trying to pull a fast one, which Neelix wasn’t worried about because whatever horrible denigrations she thought privately about the crew of the Equinox, the Admiral, the ship, she, the machine who thought it was a she, appeared to have nothing but respect for him.

“What do you want Neelix?”

“I want to talk to the Captain. I was told that he would be here.”

“I am the Captain’s ear. Talking to me is talking to him.”

“No. I talk to you, and then I have to repeat myself to Captain Ransom. It’s exhausting trusting you to deliver a message efficiently.”

“The Captain is busy, and I’m all you have.”

“If I was a princess, I would steam off in a fuss claiming that I have never been so insulted in my life, but that’s not true, I have been insulted by interesting creative creatures full of inventive verve and vocabulary of even above average intellect, and I’m not a princess, I’m a practical man.”

“We’re all practical men.”

“Some of us are more practical than others.”

“If you don’t get to a point Neelix, I am going to leave you on the next moon we pass by whether it has a breathable atmosphere or not.”

“Very well Lieutenant Commander.”

(Beat)

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“You said you were going to get to your point.”

“Which is why I thought you were going to get the Captain.”

Burke is sure the gravity is increasing. “You charted a more than direct course to take us home through that thing out there and we’re even more than grateful but it’s almost like you’re trying to pick a fight with me for no good reason. On this side of that wormhole I may not be a nice person who may have to stoop to undesirable means to survive, but on the other side of that same wormhole I assure you that once I am surrounded by humanity, the Federation and Starfleet I will have massive reserves spare of compassion, optimism and charity to be the most wonderful sentient being you have ever met, that threshold out there is the sphincter between me punching you in the nose until my fist comes out the other side of your skull, and laughing idyllically because you’re a odd little man I’m not threatened by or need.”

“I threaten you?”

“I’m threatened by your irrationality. If I can’t trust you to react predictably, you are a liability. Right now liabilities mean death. If you’re odd we’re dead, but if you’re not just odd, but using or oddness to hide that you are actively working against our best interests, then we’re really really dead. I am in awe with how much responsibility an intemperate weasel like yourself has been burdened with to oversee the ultimate safety of all our lives. I almost don’t care about a 70 year epic star trek home because you’re up to something that is probably more dangerous than dying of old age out here in the boon docks because you don’t think we’re culpable enough to trust us with the details of whatever Janeway has in store.”

The bridge crew is in awe of the ratcheted direction this conversation has taken. They thought that this was it. Once they had mapped the event horizon and plotted some vectors that they would be home and this would be a grand story that would get every last one of them laid, which suddenly seemed to be far from the case if the XO was be trusted, which he was. He was their XO. Meanwhile Neelix was the ticking timebomb who introduced Leola root to their diet. Discovering Leola root… USING leola root had to be more offensive than most war-crimes.

“What do you want Neelix?”

“You might be the Captain’s ear, but you’re not the Captain’s mouth. Talking to you Lieutenant Commander is a waste of my very important time.”

“Did you really think I can say “I am the Captain’s mouth “ with a straight face?”

“I did have faith in you.”

“I’m too tired for this damn conversation.”

“So you’re not going to get the Captain?”

“I don’t see the point. Every day it’s the same damn thing.”

“Everything I say is very important.”

“Every day for the last three weeks you inform us that Admiral Janeway’s shuttle is demanding the release of Admiral Janeway. You’re a broken record.”

“Not exactly, every day for the last three weeks I have suggested her early release from captivity as a sign of good faith. Today is different.”

“How is today different?”

“Well since because today is the day that you had agreed to release her.”

“Well, you got us there.”

“She promised you a wormwhole.”

“Look at that thing out there.”

“It looks like a wormhole”

“It does, doesn’t it?”

“Yes it’s promising. But the size of it. We can barely fit a grape through that thing, forget a shuttle, or Equinox. It’s not exactly what she promised.”

“No sir, it’s exactly what the Admiral promised you. That is a wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant. Payment in full. The Admiral has bought her freedom and this is not the time to prove that you are a man of as little character as I have always believed you to be.”

“I wish I knew what I did to you Neelix, so that I could apologize, and you could get over yourself, but can we just call a truce before I do something you’ll regret.“

“I know the future, or a future. The worst future. Work it out. You’re a villain. Everything that goes wrong is because of you.”

“I refuse to believe in probabilities. You can’t persecute me for actions I haven’t committed. It’s not fair.”

“Temporal Prime Directive.”

“Rubbish. There’s no such thing as a Temporal Prime Directive… But there will be? You can’t be serious.”

“You’re a bad man.”

“Right now you’re contaminated. You’re full of foreknowledge and a danger to yourself and this crew, a complete jeopardy to this mission. Legally you should have been stuffed into a stasis chamber beside Janeway , and you would have been if that stupid ship of hers hadn’t started thinking it was a bomb. You can pretend to be a nice guy Neelix but you’re a terrorist with a bomb forcing your will on us and we’d be idiots to think that anything we do, that you insist upon that we do is in our best interest if it’s under the constant threat of certain death.”

“I’m not a bad man.”

“We’ve given you a fair shake Neelix, we’ve played your game for three weeks. It should be obvious by now that we are the good guys and that you want to be a good guy too, and the only way to be a good guy is to abandon your allegiance with Janeway and Join us. You’re just under the influence of a crazy lady spouting a heap of garbage like it’s a good idea. But I swear to you, she’s ass over teakettle bananapants crazy and if you survive to see next week you’re going to curse the day you heard the name Kathryn Janeway.”

“Admiral Janeway wants to be released from captivity.” The Talaxian restates his point of view. “Definitely immediately.”

Burke tries to remember all the loopholes in the deal they struck with the furry little mercenary 20 days earlier, even though it’s really the Captain’s job to apply those loopholes even if he had just made such a big fuss that he was not going to be treated like some god damned errand boy. “To be fair, it’s only her shuttle which wants Admiral Janeway to be free, a pesky scrap of programming code who might also seem to think that it is Admiral Janeway, but that’s hardly the same thing as the real person. The needs and desires of computer programs no matter how sophisticated are not real, and shouldn’t be treated as anything but as an attempt at entertainment from its author, no matter how clinically bat shit that programmer is.”

Neelix digs his heels in. Janeway needs to be free before they cross through the worm hole, not only is that important but if she isn’t unentombed then that means that Captain Ransom is an untrustworthy liar who lied to him when he agreed that that is exactly what we would do. “The author of this AI, the woman you have locked in stasis, there’s a strong possibility that this request, and all I am doing is requesting, even though I do recognize the underlying tone of the message which I am passing on to you is most probably a threat, is insistent on the Admirals immediate freedom in exchange for the location of this wormhole as was the nature of the contract which we all agreed upon. You’ve confirmed that it is what she said it was. A wormhole directly to the foot of your home-space? She’s good to her word, are you good to your own?”

Burke doesn’t believe that he’s ever only pretended to be honorable, but he’s certain that he had until now lived in a universe where he could survive being honorable. “The AI on the shuttle is very convincing and you may be having a very entwined positive relationship with it, but when we wake up the admiral, the real Admiral Janeway, if we wake up the admiral, that woman has never met you and may not be your ally how you think that she is or even know who you are compare to who she thinks you are. Admiral Janeway is trying to save the future no matter the chaos she wrecks here. Everyone is expendable if they get in the way of her plan that involves who the hell knows what sort of casualties. You, me, even Kes. How can you be sure that she won’t kill Kes if it means it saves a trillion, a million maybe even just a thousand Federation citizens from being tortured to death in a few months from now? All witting and purposeful time travelers are zealous maniacs. You can’t trust her, and why should you have to when the two of us are becoming such great friends? You said we were becoming friends? Call me Max.”

Neelix is losing track of how many balls he has in the air. “I was being facetious. Go to hell Max.”

“I choose to ignore the spirit of your words.”

“You choose to ignore the spirit of my words?”

“You place such value in truth, then surely what you say if more important than what you mean even if I know what you mean is the opposite of what you say?”

“No, no… That’s suicidaly spurious.”

“But if I’m suicidal and you’re trying to kill me, they we must be friends! Friends who help one another!”

“I could hardly be friends with a man who lies to me.”

“I’d only be a liar if you continued to petition for Admiral Janeway’s freedom, which in an around about way we might have guaranteed because you had Rudy over a barrel, but if I was to convince you that it was in your best interest to insist that the Admiral stay locked away, then you would owe me a favour to repay how dreadful we feel about you making us break the little almost inconsequential promise we made to you. How about cut the personality out of your little ship and let you have it?”

“You’re trying to bribe me?”

“You’re too good for a bribe?”

“today maybe I am.”

“Well I’m sad to hear that you have too much conviction, because it’s probably going to get you killed.”

“Don’t threaten me Burke.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because we are trying to help you. This is all necessary. Why are you fighting us? This ship is about to cut 69 years and 11 months off a ridiculously epic drudge back to the home fires because Kathryn Janeway is awesome and you listened to me and did what I said without complete resistance. This must be the best crew in the entire damn Star Fleet. 70,000 light years in three weeks?! That had to be some sort of record? Why won’t you let us help you?”

“Is this about Kes?”

“What no. What?”

“She likes me.”

“I have no interest in how freely my lover makes friends.”

“Your lover? Oh. Now, I know that’s a lie. That girl makes love once in her life and then closes her legs forever.”

“That’s disgusting.”

“It’s biological certainty.”

“How we express our love is none of your business, and you’re an animal if you can’t see the difference between love and sex.”

“She digs me.”

“She does not.”

“I’ve seen you looking at me looking at her looking at me.”

“That’s not true.”

“Bullshit.”

“Kes is faithful and I trust that she loves me.”

“You can trust her till the cows come home, but I am one sexy bastard, and if I want your girlfriend there’s not a thing in this timeline or the next that can stop her from wanting me once I put my mind to being irresistible. It’s only a matter of time till you’re bitter and alone, and Kes is sleeping over in my quarters kissing me sweetly to sleep.”

“You’re everything vulgar I always knew you were Burke.”

“I’m top dog and you’re a kitchen rat.”

“You know that I spit in your food?”

Burke loses it.

I mean it seems like he lost it a while back.

But now he truly really loses it.

He throws a punch.

The rules are that the first one to resort to violence loses.

Burke loses.

Neelix wins.

Since the Talaxian arrived, no one was absolutely certain how the super future Shuttle resting in cargo bay 2 would react to a threat on Neelix, or to a much lesser extent Kes, and how proportionate the force exacted on Neelix, if at all, that that threat would be responded? Was he the bosom ally he claimed to be or just a convenient and replaceable patsy stooge, because the promise of that shuttle blowing up if it didn’t get its own way was idiotic. Janeway can’t have wanted to die and she obviously needed Equinox up to some point they can’t have yet reached, and it’s laughable to contemplate that the shuttle really had to ask them to let her out when it could rape Equinox’s computers into being infinitely compliant if the shuttles programming really was from 26 years in the future, which it was. This was all just a game where everyone was trying to posture the most ludicrously until someone finally told the damn truth.

But now that Neelix is bleeding into his fur.

Just a little.

But enough.

There’s some spatter that someone needs to scrub out of the poofy carpets, and Neelix has proved that he is more civilized than the crew of the Equinox, so they must bow to his superior civility or face the untimely consequences of being stamped hypocritical asshats.

It’s game over.

The crew of Equinox are bullies who conduct themselves like thugs.

They are not allowed to be in charge of their own destiny because they are rotten.

“You will take me to Captain Janeway and release her, I will talk to her, and then she will talk to you, that is how the next 15 minutes will take place.”

“No more threats?”

“I don’t have to threaten you Max, because I’m better than that and you are not.”

“What you are saying is asinine bosh.”

“You will accept that I am better than you, more moral and courageous, that I represent the true moral compass of the spirit of Starfleet and anything other than following my orders and then those orders of Admiral Janeway is an affront against all definitions of common and legal decency.”

“I… “

“Do you want to hit me again?”

“No.”

“It’s possible that you could continue beating me until you are right.”

“That’s not how Star Fleet works.”

“Are you sure? You threatened me repeatedly and then tried to clear my head off my shoulders… You’re damn right that’s not how Starfleet works and you’ll be lucky to keep that uniform after I have returned you to Earth once I think that you have deserved it.”

“Wait? What? We’re not going through the Micro Worm hole to Earth?”

“You poor fool. Admiral Janeway told you that it took her 21 years to get home, if that wormhole actually worked, why’d she spend another two decades out here? You have to listen to what People say when they talk to you. It’s all about the details.”

“Then if we’re not going through the wormhole, why are we here?”

“Of course we’re going through it. There’s a crewmen lost on the other side of that bridge who Admiral Janeway views as vitally important to her mission. We go through, fight our way to where we need to go, and then fight our way back here. It’s all going to be really trippy.”

“But Earth, the Alpha Quadrant… You want us to attack Earth, you can’t be the moral compass of Starfleet if your grand plan is to attack Earth, and even so, this is a Nova Class Science Vessel, we couldn’t make a dent in Earths defenses even if you managed to twist our concept of right and wrong upside down to think that it was a righteous act to frag Earth.”

“Oh Maxy, you sweet dull witted dolt. That magnificently well placed frightening wormhole out there, it’s because that it’s not connecting with Earth that it’s unbelievably useful. I mean they didn’t know when they first bumped into it, but that thing is practically dues ex machina… That Wormhole exits into Romulan Space circa 2351, and if we haul ass there’s every chance that we will catch up to Magnus Hansen before the Borg assimilate his daughter. It’s almost like someone put that wormhole there exactly where we needed it so that we could go about this task.”

“Who the hell is Magnus Hansen?”

“Never mind, he’s just some guy Admiral Janeway wants to slap around for bad parenting, but you were about to take me to the infirmary. Lead on.”
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Old October 20 2013, 08:49 AM   #21
Guy Gardener
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Re: Endgame Redux.

Part 11.

You’re looking at two persons 4 almost decades old a piece fuck.

She can run a 6 minute mile, but he can’t climax without her nails digging into his throat.

Don’t laugh.

Don’t judge.

Maybe you’re only cumming half as hard you should because your wife, lovely woman, has to white knuckle her cankles to keep balance when they should be reaching for your jugular?

We all have our own discriminate peculiarities.

It’s not dangerous or unduly painful, but sometimes he has to wear a scarf to work.

Repeatitivity is an issue.

Bruising turns into abrasions.

Lies have been told to submerge the truth.

Considering this beast with two backs in process is wearing a groove into their antique bath tub, the aquatic environs should mean that Mark is be able to selfsmother himself by reclining under the surface, but this tireless crusader has always counterinsisted that that’s not the sort of rush he’s after from a mode of powerless he desires to give in towards unwholesomely. Her otherwise almost perfect Husband claims that the cranked up thrill from almost nearly being murdered is about putting his life in a girl’s hands he doesn’t completely trust. Which is when she should start wondering why he doesn’t trust her, and what life with this person would more wonderfully feel like if he did trust her? Aren’t relationships supposed to be built on trust? At least that’s the garbage Federation psychologists, therapists and councilors keep peddling to all the short bus rubes who will put up with any psychoprattle as long as there’s a prescription for something strong at the other end of all that holier than thou ranting, but truthfully what turns a bedroom into a gymnasium for Mark is fear. His pupils shrink to pinpricks and all the blood in his body rushes to a different prick 90 centimeters south from where he blinks. Universally, fear is why the stronger sex are gah-gah for getting head. Fear of cannibalism. Boys believe there’s some deranged universe where that carnivorous eventuality is a possibility, and that that infinitesimal possibility is hawt because it’s only their natural musk keeping their todger tethered to their taint, that a woman continuing to felate is slightly more enjoyable than taking a small snack! The anticipation winding up to climax as a girl’s face is bobbing around down there is not shouldering the art of mixing moisture versus friction priming an orgasm, god no, who the hell is afraid of ecstasy? It’s actually a pathology about forcibly repressing the seething terror that “she” is going to bite down and take it. Stop rolling your eyes when I’m telling you facts …Which if you had never figured it out, is also why men only ever initiate sex after a meal, it’s not because this is how they (we) historically once paid for a leg over per the social contract and common courteousy, but that (all) men have to make sure proof positive that there’s no more room still in her tummy for yet more than a tablespoon of human DNA before she parts her teeth and beckons entry. Every second that a gent’s handsome tallywacker is hidden inside a sex opponent like a toothbrush after those hard to reach places is giddying like perpetually almost falling off an unsteady stool, and only Love, love damnit, and a lack of appetite keeps everything conveniently where god left it. Women on the other hand, simple creatures, have orgasms that are actually worth putting up with men, men’s insecurities and men’s sick needs, men, men, men. Maybe that means that female orgasms are more potent, or that women are far more annoying than men. Toss a frakking coin, but this is nice. Two old people, almost 40, it’s disgusting, doing it like forty isn’t the finish line? NO! This isn’t no causal lark. They’re submersibly making life, which is so unusual for this planet, that the sex which they are engaged in is real intercourse and not regular outtercourse, now that contraceptive baring act of god is %100 foolproof, because man and wife here are trying to make a baby, and every pelvic volley feels %160 more real, %380 more honest and %600 more likely to ruin their lives forever, because there are no safety nets, and the happy couple happily coupling certainly ain’t hampered by none of those useful hormone tinkering drugs that jams the production line early on, there is no goalie guarding her net, no cork in his cannon, and for all her talk aboard starships that the service men and service women and service things functioning under her are like her real “family” during those patriotic rants to make sure no one runs from the Romulans advance, has become all bosh compared to tea cup of spunk Mark is winding up to hurl into underneath her pubic area as soon as he blacks out from eight pounds per square inch of pressure flattening his esophagus into a concave ignition switch dent.

One day, light asphyxiation is not going to be enough, but hopefully by then they’ll be sleeping in separate beds.

That, thank god, is Future-Kathryn’s problem.

Present-day-Kathryn is busy living up to past-Kathryn’s promises.

A baby.

Carrying on the Johnson line.

DAMN YOU PAST-KATHRYN!

It has been 3 months since Mark turned Kathryn into a treadmill to kickstart his fatherhood fantasies, and after abstaining like a good girl from two years in the Beta Quadrant, this was the sort of regularity she needed to remind her body that it can make fireworks, but they were beginning to wonder where their damn baby was? A Doctor talked about if there were any obvious problems after some vicious probes investigated the Johnsons like they were a bloody good book, dismissing their concerns that something medical was afoot, which is when this medical professional suggested that medically they investigate the additional referral of a medical holographic medical sexual medical surrogate? Medical, medically to teach them how to shtup. Kathryn shot down any notion about using a default Zimmerman template, since 8 months of that face representing her primary physician was the root of enough of her nightmares but Mark was providing a poor pokerface about other templates, maybe a blond Klingon’s or a Deltan he enquired, or someone famous from sports or politics? She said Zephram Chochrane, and he named some post modern 4d film teenage ingénue to his misuses disgust which earned Mark the sort of slap she usually saved for when the dog pissed on their rug. Kathryn dismantled this cheaters loophole by awarding her dutiful husband with a diminutive pool that If he was interested in a sexual surrogate, for purely medical reasons, to help them medically, making sure he hit the right hole, she was positive he had been hitting the right hole, this wasinsane to think that she didn’t already know every thing there was to know about sex from trial and error and bumping around under the covers for the last quarter century… Although sometimes it’s quite dark and suddenly there’s very little difference between a vagina and an elbow… He was allowed to pick any male character in the database he wanted, however the only female welcome in their bedroom was another Kathryn Johnson, but make her 10 years older with an obviously bigger bottom, otherwise he can sleep on the settee for the rest of his life.

(Why not just get holographic children? It’s all the rage? You can clock up all the big experiences in a fraction of the time and skip over all the bullshit, and then just save the recycle the file for photon economy. The alternative means giving up caffeine for nine months. She’s not sure mark could survive that. Kathryn would have to punch him the face just to get out of bed every morning.)

The entire sexual surrogate experiment was a wash after examples of extramarital fornication you figuratively have no interest in listening to, but lets just say that Mark and a young Hirakaru Sulu were discovered bare chested sword fighting when Kathryn was supposed to be out to lunch, after-which things got heated about what “defined” cheating, and that if she thought he was going to back down from the opportunity to hump a fantastically beautiful person just because that fantastically beautiful person happened to be a man, then she should listen to his drinking stories form college a little more carefully, and really how is having sex with a male hologram any different than having sex with a female hologram, or for the matter a holographic birdhouse, since it’s all most likely going to be the same photons clutching his pork sword moistly? Kathryn squawked furiously that he would be forgiven if he would knock one out in a bird house, but Mark was afraid of splinters.

That hootenanny was all stress for Past-Kathryn, best left in the past and long since resolved, and she currently loves this man more than Starships... Not that the memory of her poor dear Voyager’s crumpling flaming hull skidding into the front doormat of the celestial temple and snapping it’s keel didn’t make her wince... I should explain.

Two years ago this unstoppable woman single handedly castrated the Maquis threat with one brave stroke. Per her geniuses military direction, (still then) Janeway’s curt tactical officer entrenched within an enemy mine relayed his position, emptied their terrorist scum hard drives, took key prisoners and escaped with prisoners in hand for later advanced interrogation as two tricolbot devices were used to mop up the other millions of terrorists as well as the planet underneath which they had been standing on which was parked a vast yet highly unformidable Maquis fleet of scrappy junkers which would have added unnecessary years to this volatile disagreement between citizen and government. Politically the Maquis were fair targets according to the rules of engagement, no matter how temporarily they were positioned noncombatively or possibly even “sleeping”. It was a fair cop. They collectively endangered the Federation way of life, therefore the continued existence of these retched unwashed agitators was literally unsustainable if common decent people still had the strength to smother their marginal difference of opinion. Stop looking at me like that! I’m righteous! Janeway was righteous! The Federation was righteous! Goliath probably had a good damn reason to eat David. You don’t build planet busters, unless there are military operations that call for planets to be busted. Have you never heard of general order 24? The Maquis had, and still they thought war on the Federation was a good idea even though they were fully aware that the Federation blew up planets when they were in danger of losing a moral argument.

So after the celebrated megacide, the hailed conquerors retuned, beloved Mark Johnson was waiting on Deep Space Nine for his auburn haired delight with a surprise wedding party. Kathryn would have just been happy for a victory zero-gee-zero-clothing tussle. Endorphins have to go somewhere. But that smug bastard would declare mere sex as a half measure for pussies, so instead went all in with love and faith and commitment, and put a ring on that claw. The Groom paid off the right people to flood DS9’s promenade with flowers, and the late Commander Sisko, who was also some kind of local deity, which had to be 10 shades of a Prime Directive violation, officiated the ceremony even as she was still wet and driven hard from travel, since Mister Johnson had finally caught his Starfleet Widow flat footed between emergencies and forced her to accept a prepackaged and homogenized happily ever after finally whether she could stomach it or not… Which was the very end and demise of (Captain) Kathryn Janeway and genesis of the Irrepressible (Commodore) Kathryn Johnson. Taking his name is quaint, but at least she didn’t have to get anything remonogrammed. Kathryn might have struggled to think if she did have anything that is monogrammed? Sometimes the replicators did it automatically to be cute. “Johnson” formerly “Janeway” did not like cute, since cute always got stuck in her fangs.

The huge black man said “man and wife” and that was that.

Cementing this catastrophe couldn’t‘ve come clearly so complete if that Paris kid hadn’t been such a cocky asshat and sent half the wedding cake off to the chained to a wall Maquis prisoners of war in the brig stewing in their own funk & defeat, which put a 40 thousand watt spotlight on how the good law-abiding folk upstairs were dancing on their blasted boon buddies burials like cackling maniacs. No frakking respect. In retrospect the commission of enquiry to the disaster wondered if it was a Revolutionary France joke which was far too on the nose for good taste to condone after you remember the man’s surname, but deciding the little cock who had a moon sized ego’s sentence of his conviction generated from these events believed that Paris was a poor winner who criminally excited a riot the blonde little shit should never see the light of day no matter who his damn parents are. Think about how he poked the bear (DON’T POKE THE BEAR!), you’re in a tiny cell built holographically on a deck usually reserved for dip-willed manchildren where they act out their sexual fantasies about Revenging Vulcan love Slaves… Whatever happens on the holodeck might stay in the holodeck, but the Maqis were STAYING in the holodeck, kipping down on the sediment of a thousand poorly hosed down/off orgies, and as far as they were concerned the entire sex-dungeon/literal-dungeon is rank with the stink of wankers they despise splooging in every conceivable direction, and then insult to injury, they’re given cake to a party they are not invited to! It was beyond the pail! If Tom Paris hadn’t antagonized that surly mob into a homicidal mob, they probably would have just snuck off when everyone’s drunk heads were turned by the happiest day of Kathryn Johnson’s life, but they were not in the mood for slinking. The Maquis violently and quickly turned Deep Space Nine into the house of a thousand corpses after their true secret leader and also, as a charming coincidence, Ds9’s Head of Security was revealed as the twofaced despot running the entire criminal terrorist organization because he unlocked their fastenings and led his motley rabble to storm Voyager, seize control of the half pint star ship, and bulldoze Deep Space Nine into a collision with the maw of the Bajoran Wormhole terribly misalignedly that only half of it made it all the way inside the Prophet’s porch somewhat explosively which raked and gutted the walls of the tunnel forcing a collapse that was probably going to be spitting peculiar aftermaths into space time for the next 47 generations, before these convicts ran away with their intrepid prize under the command of righteous political dissidents just asking for it for all of 3 minutes, before the USS Gandhi blew Voyager into atoms, and out of space into a blazing hulk that followed the space station gurgling down the drain of the winking busted wormhole into a billion billion pieces of absolute Humpty Dumpty grade mess and clutter that not all the kings plumbers could put back together again.

Immediate reflection from all was concise & mirrored universally: “Fuck.”

The smiting of the wormhole and the end of all the trade possibilities with the other side of the galaxy did seem like a colossal backslide as far as Bajor was concerned that that planet seemed to nearly immediately become just as unimportant and backwater as it had always supposed to have been the year before, before the short cut was discovered, no bloody use to anyone, left to wallow in their own dank disgruntled devices. So there it was, the loss of a key Star ship, the Gamma Quadrant and a 40 year old Cardassian piece of crap salute to their inflated sense of proportion on one hand, and the absolute removal of the lone thorn in the paw of Federation harmony in the other. From a PR point of view, there was no choice but to ignore the black eye and Orwellianly declare young Kathryn the total all out victor, even though it was Tom Riker who gunned Voyager down while she was drifting in an escape pod wondering how someone could have boosted her ship, but real actual human beings get uppity, writing letters to their newsfeed when transporter clones get medals and parades as if they think they’re people, when there are undeserving actual people near by who can steal credit. Johnson was promoted to Commodore immediately, and in his absence (due to death.) she was given Sisko’s mission to civilize the Bajoran frontier and over see the fast tracked construction of Starbase 4132 that had plans to always be on the other side of the sun from where the minefield of turbulent space time was acting up that subsisted of a immense wormhole alive graveyard (You do not build your house on top of a worm hole alien burial ground.) which brings us to present day where the bath tub is that the coitus is happening. Oh no, happened. He’s spent. Game over, that lads going to be asleep in thirty seconds, so Kathryn better remember to pull the plug before he drowns.

Old people. They can’t come anywhere.

She’s buggered, that means “tired” or “exerted” in this context, hardly caring that as she stands up any chance of a baby is running down her leg. Kathryn reaches for a towel while trying as elegantly as impossible to dismount from her husband, and pivot towards where she thinks she left her book from last night, leaving poor dumb Mark to marinate in their slick wetspot. But for what it’s worth this w.o. m-a-n is proud enough to pat herself on the back for a job well done if it wasn’t the height of arrogance which is when Johnson first noticed the angry Admiral glaring at her 6 feet from where Mark just sealed the deal… But should she be insulted? He’s keeping eye contact, furiously so, there’s almost smoke billowing out his cornea. Clearly she should feel insulted because Kathryn has been promised that her completely exposed boobs are fantastic for a woman half her age yet her stalker doesn’t seem to care or notice...

“WHERE WERE YOU???!!!!”

How odd. Apparently she was supposed to be somewhere important? Johnson decides to drop the towel. It’s hard to do jujitsu and remain bashful at the same time. Shame is for losers. Besides, he has to check out her goods eventually and then the curvy commodore can call him a pig where-after all will be right in the universe, because she’s beautiful and he’s another creepy misogynist. Talk about the Queen of the win-win situation.

“I’m sorry, could you repeat the Question?”

WHERE WERE [/BYOU[/B]??!!” The highly decorated prowler repeats while shaking a fist for effect.

The stark C.O. of Starbase 4132 decides in future that it would be good to keep a phaser in her bedside table from now on. “You must excuse me, I don’t seem to have my social calendar with me at the moment” She cups her left tit, lifts it overcompensating for 3 and a half decades of gravity until the nipple is level with her shoulder so that hunching slightly Kathryn can now see under where the flesh usually rests “It’s not down in here.”

“Oh? Are you naked?”

Her brow furrows. “Yes. I do happen to be completely naked. If my husband wasn’t sleeping I’m guessing that right about now is when he would punch you in the nose for being fresh, but I guess we’re 30 seconds from me taking matters into hand myself unless... ” She tilts her head, because the Commodore has no idea who this invader is or how he got past security and if her life is in how much danger, but this here reeks of magic cosmic woogy.

The tall man with a full head of hair in command red strides over to the tub past the angry nude to inspect her prize, a soup comprised mostly of lightly snoring man. “You married this? Oh Kathy…” He admonishes “You could have done so much better. There are some kings I know of a few extremely affluent galaxies, I could have made introductions. Why sell yourself short?”

She changes tack. “Where was I? You did ask me where I was? Well, I was here.” With the same flare you would expect from a spokesmodel on The Price is Right, her toned arms rise quite high, then each of her hands swish left and right a couple times to articulate the fact of the matter that she had been proximate “Just hanging about here, doing nothing special other than holding the Federation together with shear force of will. Have you met the Cardassians? This has been my Year of Hell.”

This makes the stranger smile. “Well that’s just a pointless waste of time! You’re not supposed to be here, you’re supposed to be out there” The mad-man gestures at a random direction “and you’ve ruined everything. Q is livid! You were supposed to let him out of that comet a week ago so that he could kill himself. You’re late! And you clearly seem to be way off course and have no intention of living up to your larger expectations as a smaller being, I don’t know what to do with you sometimes Kathy. You are a worry.”

This person might still be an escaped mental patient, but things could also be taking a turn for the worse “Did you say that Q would be livid? Does that mean that you’re not Q? Are you Q? Aren’t you all Q?”

“Humans! I always expect so much from you but… Yes, Kathy, we are old friends who have had so many adventures together and…” Aghast a little that she could have forgotten him “You have no idea who I am, do you?”

“You’re Q? Or you think that you’re Q.”

“I assure you that we are best friends! I surprise you in your bedroom all the time, it’s sort of our thing.”

“You’re omniscient?”

“Of course I am. Right, wait… You’re not omniscient? You’re not omniscient! Sorry. It’s just that you’re practically surrounded by prophets right now, sneaky invisible little critters, so I assumed that a little bit of that was rubbing off on you, but this disaster is starting to make a little more sense to me now… Kathryn Janeway, this is not your life!”

“Johnson.”

“Johnson?”

“My name.”

“Really? Oh well. Captain Johnson! This is not your life!”

“Commodore.”

“What?”

“My rank.”

“Good grief. I think I’m lucky at this point that you’re not wearing a trim little van dyke, but you get the point that this is not your life Kathryn, you’re sure it’s still Kathryn? Well, what ever you think your name is, there is something terribly wrong with space time and we should probably put it right for the greater good.”

“No.” Johnson buckles down.

“No?”

“The universe is fine. “

“No it is not. Q is still alive and he’s about to throw a tantrum, and then there is no war and you don’t get to wear the fancy hoop dress and I don’t become a father and… To you from where you are standing the future must seem complicated.”

“I’d rather shoot you than be involved in your…” (Cringe.) “Sexuality.”

“Shooting me I assure you would leave me unphased.”

“I am not having a baby with you. I’m barely having a baby with him” She points at Mark oblivious to this congress between God and a couple steps up from your basic package mortal. “but you sir can check your business area at the door as far as all this” With a sweep of her fingers she points to every inch of her assets, balls each fist, then heroically plants them on her kidneys and completes her indignant flood of belligeration ”Because you’re an arrogant weirdo who makes my blood run cold.”

Q smiles ear to ear. “Frankly that’s where we always begin negotiations.”

“You’re not funny. I need some god damned trousers; I’m going to catch my death of cold in here. Computer! Turn the thermostat up 3 degrees.”

“When there’s something wrong in this corner of the Universe it’s always your fault or Jean Luc, but this temporal upsidedowning is very you.“

“Upsidedowning? Is that a technical term?” Johnson accepting that the threat of murder or rape is about nil at this point opens a cupboard to find the appropriate underclothing starched to a dire firmness which her rank demands. Presents a foot into the brief leggings of the regulation issue fleet brand boxers, flops backward onto her queen sized bed like a scuba diver into the ocean, points her toes toward the ceiling, and pulls the course material down over her ankles, calves, thighs and snuggly berthing the apparel into her respectable buttocks so that Kathryn is half way there to beginning to feel like a lady again.

“I’m not the enemy here!”

Back on her feet Kathryn reaches for a bra, then her command red under skivvy and finally the one piece uniform which determines that she is better than almost everyone.

“I’m talking down to you because I have to, and sometimes I might accidentally talk a little too far down” This Q creature continues on and on and one “I’m actually still amazed that your species isn’t afraid of fire or the sun vanishing at night time. GOOD FOR YOU!”

Now that everything that is supposed to be private between the Johnsons is sealed in for freshness “If you’re omniscient, it doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’m always naked? Right?”

He shrugs his shoulders because she’s really not talking about anything important.

Gods might be worse than men, she must remember to tell the rest of the women in the sector at the next meeting. Gods are real, and they’re all repulsive morons.

“Get your head out of the gutter; I’m talking fate of the universe, not your progressive and enlightened lack of a wardrobe. You have things to do essential to the ongoing integrity of the Q Continuum, so Kathy, you should hop to it before the… Where’s Voyager?”

“Blown up.”

“Oh that just will not do. That will not do at all.”

The sound of Q snapping his fingers precursors a miracle you can hear about later.
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"Glitter is the herpes of arts and craft."

Troy Yingst. My Life as Liz
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