“Your Highness I must protest.”
“I appreciate your concern, Major Rocksun,” Queen Galacta replied. “But I assure you that I will be quite safe on the journey.”
“But madam,” the elite officer leaned close. “I don’t entirely trust those guys, or at least their abilities. The marine’s been a private for over 8 years and the other is just a civilian. I don’t trust civilians on military ops.”
“It is only a holiday party in the future, Major,” the Queen reassured. “I will be on the flagship of Starfleet, under the command of Captain Picard. I cannot imagine anything dangerous happening there.”
“Still, I would be neglecting my duties if I did not insist on an armed escort accompanying you.” Rocksun remained stoic. “I will lead the escort personally.”
“Major Rocksun, it is the holidays,” the Queen replied. “I think that it would be best if you took leave for a week and visit your loved ones.”
“But your Highness, I—”
“Rocksun, that is an order.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rocksun conceded, but then he said silently to himself “I have nowhere else to go.”
I helped the Queen into the Danger Sled and into a passenger’s seat. Private Hudson was sitting in the copilot’s seat with his feet up on the console.
“Oh this is gonna be a sweet gig, huh Jon?” he grinned. “Bring the Queen to the Enterprise, have a couple drinks, hit on some hot green chicks. Badabing badaboom.”
“You know, we have to keep on our toes,” I replied as I sat down in the pilot’s seat. “The Queen may be treating this as a diplomatic mission, but we still have to make sure that she stays safe.”
“Oh yeah, I’m with you. I’m totally frosty.” Hudson leaned forward and started punching buttons on the control panel. “Come on, let’s get going. Let’s do the time warp again!”
“OK, stop hitting the buttons. We’re ready to take off.” Fortunately for me and my ship and unbeknownst to Hudson, I deactivated his side of the control panel. He was just pushing blinky lights. Maybe I could hook it up somehow to dispense banana pellets when he hits the right one.
With Queen Galacta, Private Hudson and I set to go, I shot the Danger Sled into space. I punched up the coordinates into the controls and the ship leapt into warp. Time bent around us as we flew to the future towards the Enterprise and its Christmas party.
“Remember last year?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Hudson answered. “That was fun.”
“You spent most of the party avoiding Lt. Worf.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve got a plan for that.”
“Really?” I asked. “What are you going to do?”
“I can’t say,” he replied mysteriously. “It’s top secret. Tippy top top secret!”
My space plane exited the time warp and I quickly found the Enterprise on the scanners. I then returned the starship’s hail and received instructions to land in the shuttle bay. The Danger Sled nudged to a halt and I dropped the ramp for your exit. Lt Worf was standing on the deck, ready to meet us.
“Welcome to the Enterprise and,” Worf paused and clenched his jaws. “Happy holidays. It is good to see you again, Jon.”
“Good to see you again, Worf.” I shook his hand. “Allow me to present Galacta, Queen of the Galaxy.”
The Queen regally stepped off my ship. Worf bowed curtly towards her and she returned his show of respect with a nod.
“It is my honor to meet you, Warrior,” she said to him. “I have heard many tales of your greatness and you are a credit to your captain and your ship.”
“Thank you, your Majesty,” Worf replied. “It is a true honor to have you aboard.”
Private Hudson stepped off the ship next. He looked nervous.
“DaHjaj ghaH QaQ jaj Daq Hegh,” the private blurted towards the security officer.
“SoH quv jIH tlhej Hegh,” Worf replied. “You honor me with your knowledge of the Klingon language.”
“Th-thank you,” Hudson managed to respond.
As we walked through the corridors towards the Ten Forward, I leaned towards Hudson.
“How did you learn Klingon?” I asked in a hushed tone.
“Oh, I found it on the InterN.E.T,” he whispered back.
“You should be careful, though,” I responded. “If a Klingon smells flop sweat, he’ll go into a battle rage.”
“Really?” Hudson squeaked. “Uh, oh, uh, really? That’s interesting.”
We stepped into the lounge and I announced the Queen’s entrance. She exchanged pleasant greetings with Captain Picard, and then stepped over to a table where Professor Xavier was sitting.
“Hey, there’s Cyclops over by the buffet table!” Hudson said excitedly. “He’s talkin’ to a couple of green girls!”
Before I could respond, Hudson darted over towards the group. Shortly thereafter I heard Cyclops and Hudson yell “We are… the Wyld Stallions!” together.
I grabbed a beer from off the bar and made my way back towards the Queen and Xavier. I made small talk with the two and we recalled our recent first contact mission together where we met the living ship Sargon. As we talked, Galacta and Xavier engaged each other more and more, which in short order made me feel like the third wheel. Deciding to leave these two alone to talk, I excused myself to mingle with some of the other party goers.
“Aa-are y-you J-Jon the Inter-guh-galactic Gladiator?” I heard from behind me.
“Yes I am,” I replied as I turned and stuck out my hand. “And you are?”
“R-R-Ruh-Reg B-Barklay,” he stammered as he tried to shake my hand. “I-I’m j-just such a huge f-fan!”
“Really?” I smiled. “I’m flattered. It’s always great to meet a fan.”
“Y-y-y-y-y you remember that one time y-y-y-y-you fought the Megataur? Th-th-that was cool.”
“Wait a minute, you’re Reg Barklay? The Reg Barklay?”
“Y-y-y-yah, er, yes I am.”
“Wow, I didn’t realize!” I pumped his hand excitedly. “I’m a huge fan of your work!”
“You bet,” I answered. “Your work is instrumental in getting Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant.”
“Wait,” I stopped to think. “Maybe that didn’t happen yet. All this crazy time traveling is getting me confused.”
“If you didn’t get them back, then just forget I told you this,” I said.
“That way it’ll be a surprise!”
“Er, I, uh…”
“You don’t sound so good,” I looked him up and down. He was getting kind of pale. “You need a drink.”
“I-I-I-I, w-w-w-w-w-w--- N-n-n-n-n-n-n.” Reg took a gulp from his glass. “Y-you’re right. Hey, I feel better now!”
“Great. Well, keep up the good work,” I looked towards the buffet table and saw that Hudson was getting into some sort of altercation with a green woman.
I rushed over and tried to intervene. It quickly devolved into them pushing into me.
“Filthy pig!” she spat at him. “How dare you insult me and my people!”
“OK OK, hold it,” I tried to reason as I held them apart. “What happened?”
“You tell him, you son of an antenna-less Andonian!” she spat again.
“I just asked if I could lick all the green paint off,” Hudson said innocently. “What’s wrong with that?”
She yelled at him again in a language I couldn’t understand. I’ll just assume it was an insult in her native tongue.
“Well geez, don’t get yer tubes in an uproar,” the marine shrugged.
That was the proverbial final straw for the Orion. She took an angry, wild swing our direction. I ducked out of the way and crashed into a Borg drone caterer, who fell over and sent a tray full of appetizers into the air.
The Orion woman took another wild swipe at Hudson, he dodged it and she spun around and crashed into a conveniently-placed cake on the buffet table. From out of nowhere, a large Orion male flew into Hudson and they both smashed into the table, which collapsed to the ground, covering the two with its contents.
Orions and security personnel converged on the scene. Hudson stood up and punched the nearest person, which turned out to be a Starfleet officer, unfortunately. Meanwhile, I too was swamped with angry aliens. I was able to fight off the first two, but then I was quickly overwhelmed by a pile of them. I tried to fight my way out, but then I heard an electronic whining sound and my senses overloaded.
Later, Hudson and I were sitting in our very own cell in the brig. He sat in a corner scowling to himself while I spent the time bouncing a rubber ball against the forcefield door. I have no idea how long we were there; my wristcomm was confiscated and I could not see any control panels or readouts.
“Well merry Christmas to me,” Hudson grumbled.
“Shut up,” I replied. “Your little stunt got us in a lot of trouble with the Queen and Captain Picard. Who knows when we’ll get out of here. Man, I hate getting locked up in the brig!”
“But I didn’t do nothing,” Hudson protested. “I was just talking to the woman and then she started slapping me and then we were jumped by those Orion day traders.”
“You should be grateful that Galacta’s a benevolent ruler,” I thought out loud. “Or else she might lock us up in her space dungeon, and not one of those sexy space dungeons that you hear about-- one of those torture kinds.”
“Oh man, I don’t want her to lock me away,” the lifer lamented. “My LT would totally mark me AWOL.”
“Picard’s gotta be steaming, too, that was a pretty big mess in Ten Forward,” I added, disregarding Hudson’s anguish. “Oh man, I just thought of something!”
“I hope Picard’s not so mad that he’ll refuse to participate in Last Gladiator Standing II this summer,” I said. “He’s a real ratings-getter for females aged 34 to 58 as well as males living in their parent's basement.”
The entrance to the brig hissed open and Queen Galacta furiously stalked in. Worf followed her with the angriest scowl I have ever seen.
“I cannot believe you two would behave like this!” she hissed between her teeth. “I was going to leave you two here to rot away in the future, but the Captain wants you off his ship.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Hudson and I said.
“You are going to go apologize to the Captain right now and then we are going home,” she fumed. “And if you so much as look at an Orion, Borg, or anyone else, I’m going to launch you into space while we are in warp. Got it?”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said.
“Yes, ma’am,” Hudson said.
Queen Galacta sighed. “Maybe I should have brought Major Rocksun along instead.”
Sunday, December 10, 2006
“Your Highness I must protest.”