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Star Trek TNG: Alternate Season 5 [Part 2]

July 23, 2012

‘Unengage,’ said Picard.
The random ensign looked to Riker for help. Riker raised an eyebrow and turned to Picard. ‘What?’
Picard breathed out heavy. ‘Stop the ship for God’s sake.’
The random ensign said ‘aye, Captain’ and pulled the Enterprise out of warp.
Picard turned to Troi and asked her what was next. Troi pulled the list out of the arm of her chair and skimmed through. ‘It seems…we should be picking up a Bajoran…she’ll pilot the ship for the next few seasons.’ Troi paused. ‘No, wait…she’ll sometimes pilot the ship.’
‘Understood.’ Picard looked at Data, who had sleeves on his uniform again. ‘Commander, where are we?’
Data tapped some buttons on his console. Picard waited. A minute passed and still no answer.
‘I am not certain, Captain. According to my readouts, we are somewhere near Vulcan.’
‘Vulcan?’ Picard turned to Troi. ‘Is this where the Bajoran is?’
‘It doesn’t say, Sir.’
Riker stood up and walked over to Data, looking over his shoulder at the console. ‘He’s right, Captain. We’re near Vulcan.’
‘Thank you, Number One.’
Riker walked back to his chair and put his foot on it. ‘Orders, Captain?’
Picard put his finger on his chin and said ‘hmmm.’
Riker waited, looking at Worf, looking at Troi, looking at his foot. Actually, his foot was getting tired so he switched to his right. He looked at Worf and Troi again. Still no answer from the Captain. He thought about looking at some of the ensigns hanging around at the back, but didn’t. His other foot got tired, so he sat back down and hung one of his legs over the arm of the chair. No-one seemed to mind.
‘If I may, Captain, I think I know what has happened.’ It was Worf. Picard turned round and stared at him, confused.
‘It is highly probable that we have skipped forward in time and missed a number of episodes. Unless I am mistaken we are currently near the end of Episode eight, which means…’
Worf stopped, blinked and looked at Data. ‘I apologise, Commander.’
‘It is fine, Lieutenant.’ Data nodded to Worf then adjusted his face a little so he was focused on the Captain. ‘If I may, Captain, I think I know what has happened.’
‘Yes, yes, get on with it…’ said Picard.
Data continued. ‘It is highly probable that we have skipped forward in time and missed a number of episodes. Unless I am mistaken we are currently near the end of Episode eight, which means the Romulans are about to attempt an invasion of Vulcan.’
‘Wait,’ said Picard leaning forward, a hopeful expression on his face. ‘You mean, we’ve missed the disaster episode?’
‘Correct, Sir.’
Picard leaned back and smiled. ‘Thank God.’
‘If the Romulans are about to invade Vulcan, shouldn’t we do something?’ It was Riker again. He was lying on the railings running down the side of the bridge.
‘Very well, Number One.’ Picard looked at the random ensign. ‘Scan for Romulans, ensign.’
The ensign scanned.
‘Nothing, Sir.’
‘Scan again,’ said Riker, appearing behind the ensign and draping his arms over her shoulders.
The ensign scanned again.
‘Still nothing, Sir.’
Riker got down on his knees and ran his hand up the ensign’s left leg, stopping somewhere on her thigh. ‘Keep scanning until you find something.’
‘Yes, Sir.’
The ensign kept scanning, but didn’t find anything. There were no Romulans. Only black, empty space.
‘Something’s not right here, Captain,’ said Troi.
‘What is it, Counsellor?’
‘I’m getting a strange feeling from Vulcan.’
‘What kind of feeling?’
The crew waited. The camera moved closer to Troi’s face, but nothing happened.
Finally, Troi changed expressions. The camera recorded it then moved back to a wide shot.
‘Captain, something has changed. Spock is no longer on Romulus.’
‘Where is he then?’
‘I’m not sure, but I believe…I mean, my feeling is telling me…that he’s in the Children of Tama…on the Children of Tama…among the Children of Tama…damn, what’s the preposition for that?’
Everyone looked at Data, who shrugged.
‘Anyway, he’s in that area,’ said Troi.
Data looked slightly to the left and computed something, perhaps an idea.
‘Captain, I have a theory,’ he said, raising a finger.
‘Go ahead.’
‘By running away from episode two, we have caused a shift in the space-time continuum. The Children of Tama have apparently declared war on the Federation and Ambassador Spock has been sent to mediate the situation. Therefore, the Romulans have been unable to manipulate events as previously scripted.’
‘But…if what you’re saying is true, ‘said Picard, standing up and moving closer to Data, ‘then we’ve seriously compromised the whole season. The Spock episode was supposed to be huge. Without it, we’re…’
‘…fucked, Captain?’ offered Riker, back in his chair again.
‘Exactly, Number One.’
Picard walked round the back of the bridge and stood next to Worf. ‘Lieutenant, I want you to take us back to episode two immediately.’
‘Me, Sir?’
‘Yes, you, Lieutenant. You’ve been out of shot too long, we’ve got to get you doing something.’
‘I don’t understand.’
Picard put his hand on Worf’s shoulder. ‘Don’t let this go to your head, Lieutenant, but you’re one of the two most popular characters on this ship. People want to hear you say something or do something, even if it’s just basic, quotidian stuff.’
‘Oh.’ Worf looked at the other crew members, clearly embarrassed.
‘So…take us back to episode two, Lieutenant.’
‘Aye, Sir.’
Worf looked at the console, deliberated internally then pressed his favourite button.
On the view-screen a photon torpedo left the ship and cruised towards Vulcan.
‘Lieutenant, what was that?!’ Picard barked, aghast.
‘Wait, Captain…’ Worf replied, pointing at the screen. ‘Just wait…’
Picard watched as the torpedo disappeared into Vulcan’s atmosphere. They’d shoot it down, surely. Wouldn’t they? Picard scratched his chin. Not that he really cared. Vulcans were cold, detached…impossible to talk to. Actually, now that he really thought about it, maybe Worf was doing them all a favour?
The torpedo impacted on the surface somewhere. They could see a tiny, little smoke cloud on the viewscreen, but it was difficult to tell what had been hit.
They waited.
Nothing happened.
Vulcan kept on spinning.
‘Sir, I must confess something.’ Worf straightened his uniform and faced the Captain. ‘I do not know how to return us to episode two.’
Picard nodded and looked around the bridge. Of course, Worf was a fighter, not a temporal physicist. ‘Data, get over here.’
‘Captain, it might be more cinematic if I operate the ship from my current position.’
‘Okay, Data.’ Picard slapped Worf on the shoulder. ‘Get over there, Lieutenant, stand next to him, say something…’
‘Say what, Captain?’
‘I don’t know. Whatever it is you usually say. I am a Klingon or…Klingons do not bluff…something like that. Just make sure you’re in shot.’
Worf nodded and hurried over to Data’s console. Together they pressed some buttons, looked at the viewscreen and then said ‘done.’
‘Great,’ said Picard, returning to his chair. ‘Are we in the right place?’
‘Let me check, Sir,’ said Data.
Worf stood where he was, half looking over Data’s shoulder, half looking at the Captain. Was he supposed to do something else?
‘Well, Data?’ asked the Captain after a few seconds.
‘I have bad news, Sir.’
‘Not the disaster episode…’
‘No, Sir. It is worse than that.’
‘What is it, Data?’ asked Riker.
‘Well, Sir. It appears we are no longer in season five.’
‘No longer in season five…’ repeated Picard, seemingly going into a trance.
‘No, Sir. We have left that season and journeyed into season six…somewhere around episode 14 if my calculations are correct…’
Riker looked at Troi, both of them smiling. ‘We got another season.’
‘That is correct, Sir. The problem is…it is presently unscripted. All of the episodes are at the basic conceptual stage, which suggests that a lot of the following events will be very confusing.’
Picard stroked his head. ‘So what do we do, Data?’
‘I do not know, Captain.’
Picard slumped back in his chair and stared at the floor. The camera moved closer and recorded the moment. ‘The journey to the end of the night is a strange and fierce one,’ he said.
Riker leaned in from the side. ‘What’s that?’
Picard snapped out of his close-up and looked at the crew. Everyone was staring, confused by his random quote.
‘The journey to the end of the night is a strange and fierce one. Twentieth Century literature, Number One. Celine, one of the great French writers.’
Riker nodded. ‘Lecture, Captain?’
Picard looked at the others and shook his head. ‘Nah, forget it.’
‘You just said the line without knowing its meaning, Captain?’
‘What? No, I could bullshit a little, but…there’s no time.’ Picard stood up and walked over to Worf and Data. ‘We have to get back to season five, people. Make it so.’
Data and Worf glanced at each other, neither of them knowing what to do.
‘Oh for God’s sake…’ Picard pushed Data out of the way and sat down in front of the console. ‘I’ll do it.’
He did it.
The Enterprise went to warp and the viewscreen showed some pretty colours. Five minutes later, Picard pulled them out of it.
‘Where are we now?’ asked Troi, standing up and joining Picard, Data and Worf by the console. It was getting quite crowded there.
‘I don’t know,’ said Picard, staring at the viewscreen.
It was understandable that he didn’t know. The picture on the viewscreen was white. No designs or patterns, just the colour white.
‘I have a theory, Sir,’ said Data.
‘I take it we’re not in season five,’ said Picard.
‘No, sir. Try season eight.’
‘Season eight…but…’
‘Yes, Captain. That season does not and will not ever exist. What we are looking at is nothing. What we are flying through is…nothing.’
‘Nothing is white?’ asked Riker, joining the rest of them by Data’s console.
‘It would seem so, Sir.’
The whole crew slouched. ‘Oh no,’ they said, all at the same time.
Five seconds later, the turbolift doors opened and Geordi came skipping onto the bridge.
‘Guys you’ll never believe it…’
No one answered.
Undeterred, Geordi walked to the centre of the bridge, right near the Captain’s chair and spread his arms as if he were about to burst into song.
‘I just had sex!’
Riker turned, eyebrow raised. ‘With who?’
Geordi opened his mouth to answer when…the ship suddenly started moving. The white on the viewscreen disappeared and was replaced with normal space again.
The ship stopped moving.
Data pushed the Captain out of his chair and pressed some buttons. ‘Ah,’ he said then turned back to the others.
‘Sir, I have good news. We have returned to season five.’
‘Cool,’ said Riker.
Everyone returned to their usual positions, except Geordi.
‘Wait, Data…everything that happened…it still happened, right?’
Data shook his head. ‘I am afraid not, Geordi.’
‘LaForge, what are you doing here?’ said Picard. ‘Get back to engineering.’
Geordi did as he was told, but slowly. ‘Fine, I’ll be hanging out by the warp core if anyone needs me. You know, just hanging out…being nice…not having any sex…’
Picard pressed his badge. ‘Security to bridge. Commander LaForge is taking an exceptionally long time to leave the scene. Need assistance.’
Geordi heard the threat, muttered ‘yeah, yeah, I’m going’ and disappeared into the turbolift.
Picard cancelled security and settled back into his chair.
‘Data, what is our exact position?’
Data pressed some more buttons. ‘It appears we have stopped somewhere near the end of the season, Captain.’
‘You mean everything is changed?’
‘No, Sir. It seems everything is the same as it was. Or as it was meant to be.’
‘I cannot. This whole season has been very confusing.’
‘Number One?’
‘Yes, Captain.’
‘Oh, right. Well, why don’t we hail something and see what happens?’
‘Good idea.’ Picard gave some kind of hand signal to Worf. ‘Hail something, Lieutenant.’
‘Aye, Sir.’
Worf hailed something. They had to wait a few seconds, but finally there was a response.
‘It’s from another Federation starship, Sir.’
Worf read the message again.
‘It’s from someone called Frasier. He wants to know why we’re not talking to him.’
‘Frasier?’ asked Data, looking left and doing some quick fact checking. ‘Ah, yes, Frasier. A twentieth century sitcom popular in the North American state detailing the prosaic day to day life of an affluent, homosexual psychologist in deep denial about his sexuality.’
Riker leaned towards Picard, his eyebrow raised [again]. ‘Is this the one I’m supposed to fuck?’
‘I’m not sure, Number One.’
‘I don’t like it, Captain. Suggest raise shields and fire photon torpedoes.’
‘I concur,’ said Worf, his finger already on the button.
‘Hold, Lieutenant. Let’s see what this Fraiser has to say first.’
‘Captain, I don’t…’ Riker started, but Picard put a finger to his mouth.
‘It’s okay, Will. Beverly can give you sedatives…it’ll be over before you know it.’
‘Oh God…’ Riker put his face in his hands.
There was a beep from Worf’s console.
‘Wait, Captain…’ said the Klingon, leaning over his console. ‘We’re being hailed again.’
‘No, he’s gone, Sir. I’m not sure where.’ Worf read something on his console. ‘We’re being hailed by…’
There was a bright flash of white light.

Patrick Stewart woke up, covered in sweat. He wiped some off, got out of bed and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
He drank all of it.
‘Season five…season five…season five…’ he mumbled as he returned to his bedroom.
In his bed was a man.
‘Who the hell-…’
The man was wearing Riker’s uniform, but he wasn’t Riker.
‘Hello, Captain.’
‘Who are you? What are you doing in my bed?’
The man pulled off the blanket and revealed Worf curled up by his legs. ‘I’m Commander MacDuff. I’ve been trying to persuade your tactical officer here to help me take over the ship near the end of the episode.’
Patrick stared at Worf, confused. ‘Michael, what are you doing in my bed? What episode? What’s going on?’
Michael Dorn shrugged.
‘Don’t blame him, Captain. Blame this story. You see, I was all set for my episode and then I find out it’s already happened without me. My whole career, killed in an instant.’
‘I don’t understand. Season Five was years ago…’
‘I don’t care, Captain. I want what was mine. And if I can’t get it…’
MacDuff threw the blanket off the bed and lunged at Patrick Stewart, grabbing him by the throat and throttling him.
‘Why is this happening?’ said Patrick.
‘I don’t…know,’ replied MacDuff.
There was another flash of white light.

Picard woke up in his quarters. Everything seemed to be normal again. He got up and splashed some water on his face.
His badge made a noise.
‘Picard, here.’
‘Captain, there is a situation on the bridge,’ said Worf.
‘A ship from the future has just materialised in front of us. The pilot claims to be from the 26th Century.’
‘I’m on my way.’
Picard turned to his uniform lying on the chair, took a breath and prepared himself for episode nine of season five.
‘Only eighteen more…’ he muttered, dressing himself, practising French, polishing his head. ‘Or seventeen and three quarters if you count the ten minutes already gone in this one…’
Yes, that was a better way of looking at it.
Damn, I’m smart.
The Captain looked in the mirror, smiled then left his quarters, ready for anything and everything that lay ahead.

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