AOH :: GEIGER06.TXT|
"Q and A" 6 of 16
"You don't mean to tell me that you actually
"Now, now, Doctor. We have no reason to doubt them,"
"Indeed, Doctor, your attitude is not logical. They
have shown us their ship and have not acted in any way
hostile toward us."
"But Spock, can your damn green-blooded Vulcan logic
explain away the Klingon lifesign your sensors registered?"
"Obviously the sensors had a malfunction or there is
indeed a Klingon on the Houdini as a prisoner," said the
"Alright Spock, what about their power levels? You
said that they didn't register on your scanners. Don't you
think that if Starfleet had come up with a ship like that
that somehow we would have heard of it?"
"Please, Doctor, even you must be familiar with the
department of Starfleet entitled `Security.' One of their
main jobs would have been to keep this ship a secret. Their
energy levels may merely be a ruse to intimidate their
enemies, just as their cloaking device is. All the data on
hand point to this conclusion," finished Spock.
Chekov turned from his console long enough to whisper
to Sulu, "I bet the technology was inwented by Russians."
Sulu just rolled his eyes and concentrated on his own
"Captain Kirk, the Houdini is hailing us," said Uhura.
"Audio only, sir," said Uhura apologetically.
"Okay, let me hear it."
"Captain Kirk, this is Captain Riker. I regret to
report that we must leave you now. Starfleet has ordered
us to investigate reports of a Klingon secret weapon in
the Vexis Corinhi system. The Enterprise is to return to
Earth as per instructions. Riker out."
"You heard the man, Sulu. Let's go home. Warp
"Aye, Captain, warp 5."
"The Enterprise slowly moved away from the Houdini
and, trailing a bright rainbow of colors, accelerated to
Warp 5 and was gone.
"Mister Gawron, did your plan work?"
"I think so, Commander. The subliminal message that
Lieutenant Commander Data and I worked on was broadcast with
your farewell message. Every time their communications system
is used, it will be broadcast ship-wide. Soon no one on their
Enterprise will remember that they ever met us," answered
"And you say that it works like a computer virus,
only in this case, the message will stop being transmitted
after a few months?"
"That is essentially correct, sir. Like a
computer virus, it will move onto any communication system
that comes in contact with an infected one. It will not only
transmit a message erasing the memories of us from organic
beings, but will also destroy any records of us in the ship's
computer banks," answered Data, standing with Gawron and
Riker at the Communications station.
"Good work, Data."
"On the contrary, Commander. Ensign Gawron came up
with the idea. I merely wrote the software," corrected Data.
"I'm sorry. Ensign Gawron, good work."
The Turbolift doors opened to allow Worf onto the
Bridge. He walked to the Communications station and relieved
"I yield to your experience and skill, Lieutenant
Worf, and am honored to have been given the opportunity to
serve in your place."
Gawron entered the Turbolift after Riker dismissed
him. Data walked down the ramp to the lower Bridge. He
took the place of Ensign Harris, who entered the Turbolift
with Gawron. As an afterthought, Riker tapped his combadge
and said, "Bridge to Ensigns Gawron and Harris. Be ready,
we may require your services again before we're done with
this mission. Bridge out."
"Mister Data, status report."
"All systems operating within acceptable limits.
Shields are not yet functional because of our cloaking
device. Commander LaForge is working on it now and
estimates full defensive capabilities within 10 minutes."
"Alright, Mister Crusher, resume course and speed
to the Corinhi system."
"Riker to Sickbay. Doctor Pulaski, how's the
"He's awake and asking questions again. What should
"If you think he's strong enough, fill him in on
what's happened up to this point."
"I think he can handle it, Will. I'll take the
chance. Pulaski out."
"Now entering Klingon space. Sensors show no
vessels within range," reported Data as the connection to
For hours they flew on. From time to time Riker
asked for status reports from the various department heads
including Geordi in Engineering and Pulaski in Sickbay.
Everything was working normally on the Enterprise, all
systems running at or near peak efficiency. In addition,
Captain Picard's condition was improving.
In short, things where looking up for the Enterprise,
when, true to form the ship was struck by a barrage of phaser
fire. Once again, the red alert klaxons filled the Bridge
with their grating blare.
Riker leapt into action immediately. "Worf, damage
report. Data, shields up. Full sensor sweep of the area.
Mister Crusher, full stop."
"All decks reporting in. No damage, sir," reported
"Full sensor scan reveals no ships in the area other
than ourselves. Shields at full strength," said Data.
"Pulaski to Bridge. Can you stop all that knocking
around up there, Commander? I have some patients in critical
condition and your bouncing around is not improving their
health! Pulaski out!" snapped the Doctor.
On the viewscreen, the empty starfield shimmered to
reveal six Klingon Birds of Prey as they decloaked. The
Enterprise was surrounded.
"Commander, the Captain of one of the Klingon vessels
is hailing us," Worf rumbled from the rear of the Bridge.
"One-way visual. Don't let him see us," responded
The viewscreen lit up to show the dark, mist filled
Bridge of one of the Klingon ships. In the center seat sat
an imposing Klingon, heavily armored for battle as was the
custom among Klingons. His black hair fell about his
shoulders, moving as if infested with vermin, which it
"Federation vessel, if that is what you are, your
ship is new to me, but I recognize the name Enterprise. It
shall be a pleasure to destroy our hated enemy, Captain
James T. Kirk. Respond, Kirk. I will hear your pleas for
mercy before I open fire," the Klingon commander said in a
deep, rasping voice.
"Worf, change into some Klingon battle armor. Wesley,
help Worf in programming the replicators for this era,"
As Worf and Wesley left, Deanna said, "Something
doesn't feel right, Commander. I did not feel any emotions
from the Klingon commander. No hate, no curiosity, nothing."
Tapping his combadge, Riker urged, "Get a move on
Worf, Wesley." Then to Troi, "What do you mean, the Klingon
Commander had no emotions? He sounded excited enough."
"It is as if nothing was there. I can sense the
emotions of the Enterprise personnel, but I get nothing from
the Klingons. At this range I should be able to sense
something," insisted the Counselor.
"Mister Data, scan the Klingon ships for lifesigns,
power sources, anything," said Riker.
After a momentary pause, the android reported,
"Sensors do not register any ships other than the Enterprise
in this sector. As far as the computer is concerned, there
are no Klingon ships."
"In that case, lock phasers on the Klingon ship in
front of us and fire when ready."
"Phasers will not lock on target, Commander. Firing
phasers manually," informed Data.
On the viewscreen, a bolt of searing red light shot
out of the lower collimator ring of the Enterprise. It
lanced toward the nearest Klingon ship and passed through it.
All six Klingon ships shrank to nothingness and disappeared.
"Commander, sensors register an immense energy source
approaching from behind us. It is on an intercept course."
"Thank you, Data. Lieutenant Worf, Ensign Crusher,
to the Bridge immediately," Riker said into the overhead
Bridge speaker. "Mister Data, reverse angle on the screen
The viewscreen changed to show a blue and orange
sphere approaching rapidly. All of the Bridge crew knew
what this meant, so no one had to tell Worf and Wesley what
was happening when they arrived on the Bridge. Inevitably,
the red mesh of a giant forcefield surrounded the Enterprise.
In a flash of light, Q appeared on the Bridge, this
time dressed in the ceremonial gown and mortarboard of a
college professor from Old Earth.
"You have done well, students. You have passed two
of the tests that I have set for you. I must admit that you
humans are very resourceful. Especially you, Riker. I didn't
think you were capable of the level of deceit you used on
Captain Kirk and were about to use on the Klingons. I'm
really very impressed," said Q, in a tone of voice that
passed for sincerity.
"Just what do you want, Q? Why have you come back
in time to bother us?" demanded Picard as he strode from the
Turbolift. The only sign of his injury was a small patch of
synthoskin covering the wound on his temple. He stopped
directly in front of Q.
"Ah, Jean-Luc. I'm glad to see you again. To tell
you the truth, Riker is no where near as much fun to deal
with as you are," said Q.
"You mean humiliate and mock!" snapped Picard.
"By no means. I find humans fascinating, and since
you've been one nearly twice as long as Riker, I find you
twice as fascinating," explained Q smugly.
"Enough, Q. Why are you here?"
"Patience, mon capitaine. I'm here to tell you
about the next phase of your quest, if you'll allow me a
word in edge-wise," said Q sarcastically.
"In order to complete your mission, one of you must
go on a quest. There will be many perils and great danger.
I will choose the questor myself. Let's see...your Tin Man
and microbrain are too strong, Riker has too much experience,
Picard is too old, and the boy and the Counsellor would never
stand a chance."
"Q, why not let Lieutenant LaForge go. He is as
close as any of us to average human physical condition,"
"No, Captain. His blindness would be too great a
handicap. The questor must have a chance to complete the
quest if this is to be a fair challenge," said Q.
"A fair challenge?!? You've eliminated all of the
Bridge crew from contention. Who's left?" asked Riker.
"I never said it had to be an officer, did I? You
forget that there are over 1000 people on this ship to chose
from, not just you seven. My choice is Ensign Cristopher
Gawron. I like him for some reason. He appears to be the
least pretentious of the Bridge crew."
With a flash, Ensign Gawron appeared on the Bridge,
dressed in his gold uniform and fitted with a tricorder and
hand phaser. He looked disoriented until he realized where
"What happened? How did I get here? I was playing
billiards on the Rec Deck and then ZAP..." he asked,
"I am of the Q and you have been chosen to undertake
a quest. The rules are simple. Usig only your phaser and
your wits you must find the ships dilithium crystals." The
ship's entire supply of dilithium crystals suddenly appeared
in a pile in the center of the Bridge. "They will all be
located in one spot. Just touch them and you will be
instantly transported back here and the crystals replaced.
"There will be no pressure placed upon you to under-
take this quest. Just know that the lives of the Enterprise
crew and consequently the future of the Federation depend
"You can't be serious, Q. This man is just an ensign.
He has no experience in this type of thing and you have no
right to subject him to it."
"Alright, Picard, let me put it this way. Would
all the omnipotent beings present raise their right hand?
There, see. I only see one hand up, and oh look, it's mine.
Can you beat that? It looks like you've been outvoted."
"Be careful, Picard, or I may just decide to leave
you here in the past. No one tells me what I can or can't
do. Are you ready, Ensign?"
Before he could answer, both Gawron and Q vanished.
Q's head reappeared a moment later to say: "I will allow you
to watch Mister Gawron's progress on the viewscreen. Good-
bye, crew." Q's head winked out of existence.
"Captain, the Enterprise has been transported into
orbit around a large planet," reported Data.
As soon as Q had vanished, the energy field on the
screen was replaced by a huge brown planet.
"Sensors show what appears, at one time, to have been
a small town or village. Reading one human lifesign, and
many large, primitive animals," reported Worf.
"Thank you Worf, Data," Picard said. "Now all we
have to do is watch and wait."
"LaForge to Bridge."
"Go ahead, Geordi," acknowledged Riker.
"Commander, I don't know how, but the dilithium
crystals are missing. Both Warp and impulse engines are
down. We have no maneuvering capabilities whatsoever,"
warned the Chief Engineer.
"Captain," interjected Data, "Our orbit is decaying.
Estimate 8 hours until we enter the atmosphere, and an
additional 3 hours until planetfall."
"Can our shields handle the atmospheric friction,"
"Captain, we have no shields. If we enter the
atmosphere, we'll most likely burn up," cam Geordi's voice
over the intercom channel.
"And if we don't burn up, we will be travelling at
an estimated 200 meters per second upon planetfall. The
Enterprise will not survive," said Data somberly.
The viewscreen changed yet again. This time it
showed Ensign Gawron at the edge of an old, tumbled down
town. He entered, cautiously.
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