The Children of Vaal


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Episode 16 — The Children of Vaal


[ MEMO:

     From: Executive Producer
     To: Other Executive Producer
     Re: DRG 016 -- A Comedy?

Gul Michael:

     The so-called final script for DRG 016 came across my desk
this morning.  I'd heard a rumour it was supposed to be funny. 
ROTFL -- not.  Enclosed find fifty grand.  Go out and hire the
first Canadian you meet.  They are a funny people.]


[ MEMO

     From: Other Executive Producer
     To: Executive Producer
     Re: Re: DRG 016 -- A Comedy?

Gul Rick:

     The first one I met was Alan Thicke.]


[ MEMO

     From: Executive Producer
     To: Other Executive Producer
     Re: Re: Re: DRG 016 -- A Comedy?

Gul Michael:

     All right.  The second one you meet.]


[ MEMO:

     From: Visual Effects Coordinator
     To: Other Executive Producer
     Re: DRG 016 Credits -- Reuse of STVI Footage

Gul Michael:

     Attached please find retouched STVI footage, as requested. 
In the end all we had to do was change the name and registration
on the ship.  Funny, I'd never caught the _Poseidon Adventure_
reference in The Undiscovered Country before.]


[ MEMO:

     From: Executive Producer
     To: Other Executive Producer
     Re: Gaseous Anomaly

Gul Michael:

     Surely you're not going to use that!]


[ MEMO:

     From: Other Executive Producer
     To: Executive Producer
     Re: Re: Gaseous Anomaly

Gul Rick:

     Chill out.  With Leslie Neilsen around people expect that
kind of thing.  It's a classic Drabek payoff.  They'll love it!

     P.S.  Don't call me Shirley.]  


Last time on Star Trek: Door Repair Guy:


     Door Repair Guy and Atoth the Tamarian scramble down a
service corridor and around a corner.  The camera catches up to
them looking this way and that for a way out of the dead end. 
They stop and stare at each other, the beads of sweat springing
off their foreheads.
     "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the river gorge."


And now this week's exciting episode:


     Phaser fire zings up and down the length of the dead end
corridor between the two white-headed bandits at one end and the
heap of containers concealing Door Repair Guy and the Tamarian at
the other.  Suddenly one of the containers takes a hit and
explodes, filling the corridor with smoke and debris.  The two
intruders hold their fire and wait as the dust settles.  One of
them fires a shot at the scattered barrels.  No response. 
Carefully the two creep down the scorched corridor and step
through the remains of the barricade.  There's no one there.  One
of them flips out a communicator.
     "Tirata to Uzeta.  The defenders have somehow escaped.  Be
on your guard.  We shall revive Shotuka and continue the search."
     *Acknowledged.  Security force fields have been established
around the bridge and engineering.  We are en route to Gamma
Trianguli VI, warp factor nine.  Keep this channel open*
     The brigands head off to assist their dazed comrade.


     Door Repair Guy and the Tamarian materialize in a Borg
transporter effect in a cramped storage room.  The Tamarian lets
go of DRG's ear.
     "Phew!  Boys, that was a close shave.  I wasn't sure if
you'd transport with me, or stay there with my ear."
     "Vincent Van Gogh among the sunflowers."
     "Aw, you flatter me.  What is this place?  Hey, it's a
pantry!  Look, tulaberry extract.  Microwaveable rokeg blood pie. 
This is gourmet stuff!  Hope those pirates don't find us too
soon!  I'm starved!"
     The two begin to break open an assortment of tins and
containers.  View of the Big and Fast streaking on toward Gamma
Trianguli VI.


     Stars approach.  The music is ominous.  We see the words:


                    Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                         Starring

                    Door Repair Guy as
                         Himself

                    Ben Kingsley as
                    Atoth the Tamarian


                    Also Starring:

                    David Soul as
                         Makora
                    
                    Linda Hamilton as
                         Uzeta

                    Brett Hull as
                         Demoga

                    Alexie Yashin as
                         Shotuka

                    Silken Laumann as
                         Tirata

                    Clyde Kusatsu as
                    Admiral Nakamura

                    Natalija Nogulich as
                    Admiral Necheyev

               And a Special Guest Appearance by
                    Leslie Nielsen 

     
     The last words fade out and the tardiest of the moving stars
trails off the screen.  Suddenly in the upper left-hand corner
there is a huge detonation which expands rapidly and fills the
screen with light before contracting into the form of a bright
star and two expanding rings of fire.  The concentric shock waves
spread wider and wider.  The leading edges sweep past us off the
lower right-hand corner of the screen.
     A cup of tea.  A hand reaches down and lifts the teacup to
the lips of Leslie Neilsen.
     Voiceover:
     "Stardate 49654.8.  Captain's Log, USS Poseidon, Frank
Drabek commanding.  After three years I have concluded my first
assignment as master of this vessel, cataloguing gaseous
planetary anomalies in Beta Quadrant.  We're heading home under
full impulse power.  I'm pleased to report that ship and crew
have functioned well."
     The first officer leans down with a portable computer pad
for the Captain's inspection.  The teacup begins to jump around
on the tea-table.  (All Excelsior-class starships are equipped
with tea-tables beside the Captain's chair.)
     The bridge rocks.  The teacup breaks on the floor.
     The first officer dashes to a science station.  
     "I have an energy wave at 204 degrees mark 6, sir!"
     "Visual!"
     Drabek rises from his chair.
     "Oh my God!"
     The bridge is inundated.  View of the Poseidon rolling
before the wave.


     Door Repair Guy makes a face.
     "Phwuff!!!  Sorry about that.  Too much rokeg pie, I guess."
     The door to the pantry bursts open, and Door Repair Guy and
the Tamarian find themselves staring down the barrel of a phaser
rifle.
     "Come with me!" demands a white-haired brigand.  "Oh! 
Pyoo!"
     "I guess things can only look up from here," admits Door
Repair Guy, glancing down at a copy of the script.


[Commercial: Plug-In Air Fresheners]


     Two white-haired guards bring Door Repair Guy and Atoth
before their leader.
     Uzeta looks them up and down.
     "Are there any others?"
     "No, Uzeta.  The Pakleds all transported to the other ship."
     Uzeta leans forward, eyeing them.
     "Who are you?"
     "Mot the barber."
     "He is lying, Uzeta.  I have accessed ship manifests.  This
one is Atoth, a Tamarian.  This one is called merely Door Repair
Guy.  He is from Enterprise."
     "Enterprise?  Name of infamy!"
     "Let me incinerate him!"
     "No, he may be valuable."
     "That's right!  I may be valuable!"
     "Jack and the cow, going to market."
     Pause.
     "Tell me," resumes Uzeta, "What do you know of the history
of Gamma Trianguli VI?"
     "Oooooooooooooooh, this and that."
     "Nothing, you mean.  Let me educate you.  One hundred years
ago a ship named the Enterprise arrived at our planet.  At that
time our people had been living for centuries in symbiosis with a
planetary computer network named Vaal."
     Demoga: "Vaal the Provider."
     Shotuga: "Vaal the Just."
     "The captain of the Earth ship, profoundly ignorant of the
environment of our planet, and operating under heavy-handed and
arcane first-contact procedures, landed, and almost immediately
began to lose members of his away team in natural accidents.  He
became irrational and panicky and, learning of the existence of
Vaal and of the Feeders of Vaal, placed the blame for his
predicament on them.  He set out to disrupt the social structure
of the inhabitants, thus triggering the defense routine of the
computer entity Vaal.  Vaal, like any self-aware life-form whose
dependents are in peril, began to strike back.  The starship
captain turned his phasers on the main computer interface and
destroyed it.  Our people, small in number and torn from their
heritage, were then subjected to decades of Federation
indoctrination, anthropological study and social engineering,
until the point where now, though we have grown somewhat in
numbers, we know next to nothing of our past or of our own
destiny."
     Demoga: "Only sex."
     Uzeta: "Yes, we are obsessed with sex."
     DRG: "Oh, I know the answer to that!  Hockey playoffs."
     The Children of Vaal blink.  They exchange glances that say,
"You know, he may be on to something."
     The Big and Fast streaks onward.


[Commercial: Hockey Night in Canada.  The tradition continues.]


[Bob:
     "Back to Star Trek: Door Repair Guy in a sec.  I guess
you've noticed the number of celebrity guest stars this season. 
Let's go to Hollywood and interview one of them right now.  Come
on."
     He climbs back up onto the back of the couch and beckons to
the camera.  It follows reluctantly.  It closes in on Bob's face
and beckoning hand.
     "Come on."
     Wavy effect.
     Fade to closed circuit feed of Linda Hamilton seated on a
hotel sofa.  Bob is seated across the coffee table from her
thanks to a fairly crude and obvious video splice.  He has a
serious interview face on.
     "So how does Door Repair Guy compare to the Terminator?"
     "Well, Bob, the character I play in this episode has a lot
in common with Sarah Connor.  Both are committed to the survival
of their worlds, they both have strong feminine instincts yet
neither is afraid of employing traditionally male methods."
     "So, you mean, this is the only kind of part you can get?"
     Hamilton looks exasperated and says, "Where did you say
Pembroke is again?"
     Wavy effect, returning us to Bob with his feet up on the Bob
couch.
     "I'll be back."]


     The Big and Fast enters orbit around Gamma Trianguli VI.
     "Uzeta, we are being hailed.  Federation planetary control."
     "On audio."
     *Pakled freighter, this is planetary control.  Please
identify yourself."
     Two Children of Vaal point phaser rifles at Door Repair Guy.
     "Answer."
     "Ah.  Rm.  We are Pakleds.  We look for things."
     *What is your vessel's designation?*
     "Our ship is Big and Fast.  It is . . . big and fast."
     *Acknowledged.  Please assume standard orbit and observe
orbital stationing protocols*
     Uzeta motions to the exit.
     "Transporter room.  Bring the prisoners and the Part."


[Commercial: Brett Hull for lawnmowers.]


     Transporter effect.  The four Children of Vaal plus Door
Repair Guy and Atoth materialize in a cavern beneath the planet's
surface.  They are greeted by other heavily-armed insurgents with
Albert Einstein hair.
     "Uzeta!  Your mission is a success?"
     "Yes.  We have secured the Part, and made our return under
cover of Pakled identity.  Have you gotten anywhere with the
vestibule?"
     "No, it's still a mystery to us.  I'm afraid we'll never
unlock its secret."
     "That damned door."
     DRG and Atoth exchange glances.
     "Lassie, her ears pricked up."
     "What did he say?  Just a moment!  This one is called Door
Repair Guy!  Is that a joke, or do you understand doors?"
     DRG examines his cuticles.
     "He might be able to unlock the vestibule for us!"
     "That's right!"
     "Hold your horses!  Give me five good reasons."
     Instantly five phaser rifles are pointed at his head.
     "Those are good reasons."
     "Linus and Lucy at the Christmas concert."
     "Wait!"
     An ancient man totters over, supported by a cane.
     "I am Makora, the last of the Feeders of Vaal.  No doubt my
daughter Uzeta has told you the story of our people, but perhaps
you have not felt it in your heart.  Come, walk with me."
     They separate from the others.
     "When I was young, the world was perfect.  We had no
poverty, we had no illness.  And most of all . . ."
     He takes DRG by the arm and looks deep into his eyes.
     "And most of all we had no sex drive."
     He pauses for effect.
     "When James Kirk arrived he destroyed Vaal.  He showed us
the meaning of male and female.  It seemed that we had wasted our
lives serving the computer.  Oh, I was in love, I thought the
world was just beginning.  We looked around and saw a lovers'
paradise.  But then it all began.  Jealousy, betrayal,
possessiveness, broken hearts.  Life became an endless one night
stand.  Every morning was the morning after.  We were drunk with
desire.  When we had done with one another we turned on the
teachers and doctors and technicians the Federation sent.  We
couldn't be seen with another of our own kind.  Our tastes became
more and more exotic until we could no longer stand our own
world.  We began to explore the galaxy, forever searching for new
and stranger love affairs.  I, I myself have had liaisons with
forty-seven different species!  The galaxy was no longer big
enough.  We had become not merely world-weary, but universe-
weary.  Our young people could see no future.  Now they do
nothing but sit around in darkened clubs, dressed in black,
drinking cup after cup of coffee and smoking cigarettes."
     "So you want to reactivate Vaal."
     "And you will help."
     "Or else be evaporated from five different directions?"
     "No!  No!  Because you want to!  Because it would correct a
long-standing wrong!  Because it is the right thing to do."
     "Well, it's against my better nature, but . . . okay.  On
one condition."
     "What is it?"
     "That you sign a paper saying I didn't help you, and if I
did help you I didn't want to, and if I wanted to it wasn't
anything important, and if it was important I didn't know it, and
if I did know it I was drunk, and if I wasn't drunk I was
possessed, and if there's no such thing as evil spirits it was
all just a dream."
     "You drive a hard bargain but . . . I agree."


[Bob:
     "Okay.  The new season continues and with it our series of
celebrity interviews.  So let's get right to it because live from
Hollywood via closed circuit television are Ben Kingsley and
Leslie Neilsen."
     "Hello."
     "Hello."
     "Now, Leslie Neilsen, you're best known for your role of
Frank Drabek in the Naked Gun movies, but this isn't the first
time you've done science fiction."
     "No, that's right, Bob.  I played the part of Commander
Adams in the 1956 science fiction classic _Forbidden Planet_, a
movie that in many ways anticipated or need I say inspired the
Star Trek phenomenon."
     "You mean they ripped it off."
     Neilsen smiles.
     "Okay.  Ben Kingsley, you've won the Oscar for _Gandhi_,
you've played all sorts of great parts -- why Door Repair Guy?"
     "One can't always do Shakespeare.  But, having said that, I
think that we sometimes forget how the popular culture of one age
becomes the literary canon of the next.  If I were to hazard a
guess I might say that come the twenty-first century people will
look back on the Star Trek programmes as examples of television
culture at its best, much as we have come to revere the jazz
masters, the black and white films of the thirties and forties,
and the detective novels of Raymond Chandler.  It often surprises
people to learn that even the operas of Mozart were at one time
banished from the Hapsburg imperial court for being . . ."
     Fffffffffffffaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrtttttttttttttt.
     Kingsley sits there like a rabbit in headlights.  Leslie
Neilsen smiles charmingly.
     Bob: "Back to Door Repair Guy in a moment."]


[Commercial: John Olerud for snowblowers.]


     Door Repair Guy, Uzeta, Demoga and Atoth proceed down the
main street of Vaalsburgh, passing a variety of Federation-built
institutions: the Vulcan School for Gamma Triangulan Studies, the
Vaalsburgh Institute of Technology, the Grace Maternity Hospital. 
There are walled gardens everywhere, hanging with native and
imported flora.  The four pass Federation citizens decked out in
the uniforms of the colonial bureaucracy: policemen, bankers,
lawyers, unemployment officers, each one wearing a patch bearing
a gamma, a triangle, and a six.  There is even a postman in short
trousers and knee socks, delivering actual paper mail.  It is all
very orderly.  There are polite little signs all over the place,
each reminding the pedestrian of some municipal bylaw.  A
rectangular yellow reminder appears at every corner: FOR SAFETY'S
SAKE, DON'T JUMP OFF THE CURB!
     They enter the seedier part of town.  Here the shocking
white hair of the native population is more in evidence.  Door
Repair Guy and especially Atoth find themselves becoming the
objects of intense sexual interest -- from both sexes.
     "Man, the old guy's right.  They've got it bad.  And that
ain't good."
     "Madonna, her coffee-table book open."
     Uzeta directs them down a side street.  A sign reads BATTLE
OF VAAL HISTORICAL SITE.  They pass through a turnstile, pause to
buy a few postcards and troll dolls in native costume for
appearance's sake, and crunch away along a crushed gravel path
through an area of preserved and well-tended natural woodland. 
Presently they come to a clearing.  There, surrounded by a brown
split-rail Federation Parks Department fence is the serpent head
of Vaal, much bruised and scorched by the phaser banks of the
earlier Enterprise.
     Uzeta places her wrists together and bows, then pulls out a
phaser and motions the two captives over the fence.  They follow
her into the mouth of the tunnel with Demoga bringing up the
rear.  Their voices echo in the empty space.
     "This is the vestibule.  There you see the main computer
interface, or what's left of it."
     Behind a red velvet rope stand the charred and melted
wreckage of Vaal's computer interface and ore-processing intake
chute.
     "This stuff is wrecked.  You'll never fix it."
     "Vaal is a planet-wide system.  The central interface is
ruined, yes, but all sorts of auxiliary systems remain perfectly
intact.  Federation scientists have been studying them for years,
along with a few specially-chosen native students.  There is an
undamaged auxiliary power node right along here."
     By now they have climbed over the railing marked "Authorized
Personnel Only" and are proceeding further down the echoing
gullet of Vaal.  Uzeta finds the place she means and opens an
ancient access panel.
     "Wait a minute.  You're telling me the Federation science
geeks never found that panel?"
     "Sure they have.  They've written volumes on the planetary
computer network.  I helped.  Computer archaeology is a
fascinating field."
     Behind the panel rest circuits of unfamiliar design awaiting
a resumption of the power supply.  Uzeta pulls the Part out of a
knapsack and hooks it up.
     "What's that part?"
     "A multiphasic ambient neutrino polarity condensor.  It
comes from an archaeological site three hundred light years from
here, but from everything we've learned it is compatible.  It
will solve our power problem.  All we need now is the on switch."
     "And where's that?"
     "Behind that door.  The one even the science geeks have been
unable to open.  This is where you come in."
     "And the plan breaks down, more than likely."
     She points her phaser.
     "Don't be pessimistic."
     DRG screws up his face and examines the door.  There is
nothing visible but a rectangular crack in the wall.  He staggers
back in an astonished posture.
     "Where's the knob?!"
     Uzeta and Demoga exchange looks.
     DRG rubs his hands together, delighted, and begins to root
through his toolbox.
     "Don't say I never hand out any straight lines."
     He sets to work.  He runs his fingers along the joint, then
presses his nostril up against the crack and inhales deeply.  He
feeds a fibre-optic strand into the crack and takes pictures with
a handheld viewer.  He taps the door all over with a rubber
hammer.  He bites the door.
     "You never know what your five senses can tell you."
     "I know what mine are telling me."
     He does a complete tricorder scan.  He attaches a number of
suction-grip handles at strategic points and spends several
minutes heaving and pulling from various directions.  He adds
half a dozen anti-grav attachments and tries again, to no avail. 
He tries a credit card.  Nothing.
     Atoth: "Napoleon at Waterloo."
     "Don't you be pessimistic.  I still haven't applied Law of
Door Repair Number Fourteen."
     Uzeta puts her hands on her hips.
     "Don't try and tell me they have Laws of Door Repair."
     "All right, I won't.  All I'm saying is that in a situation
like this it never hurts to say 'Open Sesame'."
     The door swings open.
     DRG looks as innocent and underappreciated as he can.
     Uzeta and Demoga shoulder past him into the inner sanctum.
     "The switch!"
     The Part lights up.  A loud machine rumble fills the air.
The ground shakes.  Pebbles and sand rattle down the walls. 
Atoth and Door Repair Guy lurch back and forth.
     DRG: "Close Sesame!"
     The door closes.
     Atoth: "Burt Reynolds, his pedal to the metal!"
     "Ten-four!"
     They hightail it down the tunnel, dodging falling stones.

     
     Starfleet Command.  Admirals Nakamura and Necheyev are
strolling along a wide corridor.
     "What a lunch."
     "What a life, eh?  Twelve years on the Cardassian border
moving heaven and earth for promotion and still I had no idea it
would be this soft."
     *Subspace Monitoring Centre to Admiral Nakamura.  Come in,
please*
     "Nakamura here."
     *Planet Gamma Trianguli VI has just issued a planetary
distress signal.  The Vaal indigenous computer network is on line
and is disrupting planetary weather, geology, trade, shipping and
tourism.  Evacuation of all Starfleet personnel is under way*
     "Damn!  Divert all available ships to that system to assist
in the evacuation!  Set up a command centre in the Blue Room. 
No, make that the Green Room.  Better snack-bar.  Nakamura out."
     "Well, Admiral, I'd like to stick around, but you know what
they say: Not my sector."
     "Ah!  My squash game at 1500 hours!  I suppose I'll have to
cancel.  That's twice this week.  Was it this bad when we were
Captains?"
     "Those were the days!"
     "I'll say!"
     "So long!"
     "See you later!"


[Commercial: Freedom 55]


     Stormclouds race above the thrashing treetops.  At the
emergency transporter points evacuation leaders cup their hands
around their mouths to be heard by the people gathered to beam
off the surface.  Evacuees huddle against the gale-force winds
and wait their turn, clutching what small amounts of luggage they
can manage.  In the middle of the crowd are Door Repair Guy and
Atoth, both looking a little shifty-eyed and self-conscious.  A
baby cries, just a little louder than the storm.
     Atoth: "Bernie and Lonie at Landsdowne Park."
     DRG: "Ouch."
     View of armada of rescue vessels in orbit.


[Music.  Credits.]

--
Written by Douglas A. McLeod (ai919@freenet.carleton.ca)
--

Episode 16 — The Children of Vaal

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