Ursus Major


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Episode 17 — Ursus Major


     Foliage bends and thrashes below racing storm clouds.  A
voice whispers:
     "Crawlspace: the final frontier."
     The camera moves up among the clouds, moving higher and
higher, always looking back.  The voice continues:
     "These are the voyages of the Door Repair Guy.  His mission:
to install and maintain proximity-activated entranceways, to
stake out new rooms and new service conduits -- to boldly go
where no one with a pass key has gone . . . before."
     We are in space, still moving, still looking behind.  The
stars streak past us, gathering toward the centre of the screen. 
We see the words:


               Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                         Starring

                    Door Repair Guy as
                         Himself


                    Also Starring


                    Bob Hoskins as
                    Atoth the Tamarian

                    Kelsey Grammer as
               Captain Bateman of the Bozeman

               The Cast of _Northern Exposure_ as
                    the Crew of the USS Cicely


               Plus a A Cast of Thousands


                    And a Bear.


     On board the evacuation ship USS Cicely the occupant of the
top bunk looks over the edge and asks, "Are you talking to
someone?"
     DRG jumps.  "No.  No."  He turns around the other way, and
continues his log entry, switching from voice-activated mode to
keyboard and looking over his shoulder every couple of seconds in
case anyone is watching him.
     
     In the bunk across the aisle Atoth is writing a postcard.
     "Dorothy and Toto, somewhere over the rainbow.  Thelma and
Louise, on the road again.  Horatio Nelson at the Battle of
Copenhagen, turning a blind eye.  The windshield-wipers slappin'
time, me and Bobby Magee.  Noah, leading in the animals two by
two.  Tony Orlando and Dawn, a yellow ribbon round the old oak
tree."
     [Conceivable translation:
     "Interesting trip.  Spot of trouble.  Carrying on
regardless.  Learning many things.  Rain.  Miss you."]
     The director gives us an overhead shot of the entire
recreation deck made over as an evacuation shelter.  We pick out
two Starfleet officers who are making their way along one of the
crowded, noisy aisles.  Both officers are gesticulating.  They
seem to be having a disagreement.
     "Flieschman, you are the most contrary, egocentric,
unthinking . . . New Yorker I have ever served with!"
     "What."
     "Don't say, 'What,' as if you don't know what I'm talking
about.  These people have just been turfed out of hearth and home
by a bunch of computer hackers, and all you can say about it is
that they might have *prepared* for it a little better?"
     "House and home."
     "What?"
     "The expression is 'house and home'."
     "Flieschman!"
     "O'Connell, I don't know what you're getting worked up
about.  All that's needed is a little objectivity.  You're a
pilot, right?"
     ". . . Right."
     "Which means you've had all sorts of training covering all
kinds of emergency scenarios, am I correct?"
     "Yes."
     "Because something could come up."
     "Sure."
     "So, don't you think it's reasonable to expect that a bunch
of colonists who are living on a planet that's totally wired into
an unfriendly computer network should have a better idea of what
to do if that computer should someday, for whatever reason, came
back on line?"
     "Flieschman, there is no way anyone could have predicted
this emergency."
     "Oh, I suppose that's what the crew of the Titanic were
telling each other as they were getting a good look at the bottom
90% of the iceberg."
     "Rrr!  You drive me nuts!"
     "I'm just being sensible.  I don't know why you're getting
all upset."
     "All right, Mr Sensible Doctor, what about all those people
in Manhattan who get killed every day jaywalking?  Wouldn't it
more reasonable for everyone to obey the traffic signals?"
     "That's entirely different."
     "How?"
     "It's New York!  That's just the way things are!"
     "Oh, I see.  So, if you're the physician on duty when a
jaywalker is brought in on a stretcher, you wouldn't say, 'You
really ought to know better than to jaywalk in a busy place like
New York'?"
     "No, I'd say, 'Did you get the license number?'"
     "The license number?"
     "Sure.  Sue the bum."
     "You're impossible!  Impossible!"
     The ship's science officer lopes over through the crowd.
     "Hey, guys."
     "Hi, Chris."
     "Chris."  
     "I was just taking a stroll down to Engineering to see about
replicating a Mark 4000 isolinear microcoprocessor" -- he
sheepishly hoists up a piece of equipment -- "and I thought I'd
scope out your refugee camp.  Man, talk about your rivers of
Babylon.  I guess this is what they mean when they say you can't
go home again.  The mind boggles, it really does.  I mean, is
this the end of something big or the beginning?  Someday some kid
here is going to look back on this and say, `This is where I
started out, man, this is where it all began.'  The big wheel
turns, and who knows how far old Fortuna, that beguiling lady,
will bring down the great or raise up the meek.  Hey Joel, did
you know there's a woman giving birth three aisles over on top of
a pool table?"
     "Ah, thanks, Chris."
     "So, which are you going to tell her: 'You should have been
a little better prepared' or 'Sue the bum'?"
     "I swear, O'Connell, you just follow me around in the
jealous hope of scoring some tiny, meaningless debating point to
reaffirm your dangerously precarious sense of self-esteem."
     "Follow you around?  I'll have you know that the shuttle bay
is right through that door.  For some reason that completely
defies explanation I find it necessary to try to strike up a
civil conversation with you every once in a while.  Why I persist
is completely beyond me!"  She charges away in the direction of
the shuttle bay.
     He shakes his head.
     "I don't know, Chris.  What is it with some women?"
     "I don't know, Doctor Flieschman.  But that one over there
is having a baby on top of that pool table."
     "Oh, right, right."
     They head off through the crowd of evacuees.
     View of evacuation armada in orbit above Gamma Trianguli VI.
     [Music: Star Trek theme on harmonica]


[Commercial: Freedom 55
     "Imagine you could meet yourself twenty-five years in the
future."
     Pop!
     "Hey, wait a minute, you're me!"
     "Hold on a moment, if I'm you, and you're me, how can we
exist in the same time continuum?"
     Pop!]


     The bridge of the Cicely.  Admiral Minnifield stands
frowning with his feet planted in the middle of the floor, his
hands on his hips, his chin stuck out and his eyes squinting at
the main viewscreen where the computer is continuously updating a
visual tactical schematic of the rescue operation.
     "Minnifield to USS Bonaventure.  You've got ten seconds to
get your ass out of Lisbon's flight plane or I've got half a
dozen photon torpedoes that'll do it for you."
     He smiles and turns back to the captain's chair.
     "That moved him."
     The Captain, a mature, rugged man with a blonde Caesar cut
and patrician nose, is sitting there with his arms and legs
crossed and his mouth pressed into a Puritan pout in annoyance at
having his bridge taken over.  He says:
     "For heaven's sake, Maurice, this is supposed to be an
evacuation, not a grand naval display.  The fella knows how to
fly his ship."
     Maurice rolls his eyes up to the ceiling.
     "Any service in which the phrase 'fly his ship' can be
spoken in all seriousness has got to suffer from real
organizational dysfunction.  Ensign, take a memo.  'Air Force
terminology to be employed in all ship-to ship communication.'
Got that?"
     "Okay, Maurice."
     "That's 'Aye aye, sir', Chigliak."
     "Okay.  Aye aye, Maurice."
     The turbolift doors open, depositing the ship's counselor on
the bridge.
     "Hey, babes!  Bitchin' emergency measures.  We took in three
hundred wet, homeless and hungry down on the recreation deck and
in ninety minutes they're blowdried and burping.  Those displaced
persons are getting primo aid and comfort.  I'd say this vessel
is in for some serious citation.  And check out these bear paws!"
     She displays the plate of cookies with a Vanna White tilt of
the shoulders, and passes them around.
     Holling takes a cookie and says soto voce, "Shelley, do you
think you could have made ginger bread men or something?  You
know how Maurice gets when he thinks about that bear."
     "Ooops!  Sorry, babe."
     View of the Admiral staring wistfully off into the past,
nibbling at his bear paw.
     "Captain, there's a message for you on line one."
     "Why, thank you, Marilyn.  Put that on screen, if you would
be so kind."
     *Cicely, this is Captain Bateman of the USS Bozeman.  We
have just completed our survey of abandoned and derelict orbiting
vessels, and we have a Pakled transport in tow.  However, our
sensors have been unable to discern any Pakled lifesigns on board
or in this system.  Furthermore, our away team has turned up a
number of suspicious items on board the ship*
     He holds up an eight-track of _Toys in the Attic_, a dog-
eared copy of _Paddle to the Amazon_ and a blood-stained cribbage
board.
     *Genetic analysis of the cribbage board shows the blood to
be of a type specific to Gamma Trianguli VI.  Furthermore, the
ship's logs indicate that the crew abandoned ship in order to
look at a bear.  Taken all together I'd say it paints a pretty
suspicious picture*
     The Admiral's ears prick up.
     "What did you say about a bear?"
     *Look, the bear is not the point.  What I'm trying to find
out is whether this ship was used by the terrorists who activated
the Vaal network, and whether they had the assistance of any
Federation citizens*
     "What were the co-ordinates of the crew transfer, Captain?"
     *For heaven's sake, will you forget about the bear?!  What
we're dealing with here is sabotage on a planetary scale!*
     "The co-ordinates, Captain!  Or do I have to initiate an
investigation into the space-worthiness of certain antiquated
Soyuz-class starships?"
     "Oh, all right!  There you go.  Transmitting!  I should have
known better than to try to talk sense to a bunch of dogsled-
driving salmon-packers.  I must say the psychological profile of
Starfleet command personnel has certainly taken a turn for the
worse in the last ninety years!*
     "Got those co-ordinates, Ed?"
     "Aye aye, Maurice!"
     "Lay in a course."
     *Oh, Ed!  Oh, perfect!  Bozeman out!*
     

[Commercial: Freedom 55
     "Imagine you could meet yourself twenty-five years in the
future."
     "Hey, you're me!  Oh my God, open your mouth!  You haven't
been to the dentist once in all that time!  Oh, it's disgusting!"
     "We're afraid of dentists!"
     "When did you get that tattoo?  Who's Susan?"
     "Angela left us."
     "Jesus Christ!"
     "I suppose you don't want to hear about the tertiary
syphilis?"
     "E-e-e-u-u-g-g-h-h-h-h!"]


     Doctor Flieschman storms out of the turbolift.
     "Holling, am I to understand we broke off a rescue operation
to go hunting for a bear?"
     "That's right, Joel."
     Minnifield saunters over.
     "Not just any bear, Doctor.  *The* bear.  Ursus Major.  The
bear on the flag."
     He gestures grandly toward the flag of Alaska and its starry
constellation.
     "Maurice, I, I know the name of the bear on the flag.  What
I don't understand is how you could drag us away from a planetary
evacuation for some kind of, of warp speed big game hunt."
     "See here, Flieschman, that bear is no ordinary ursine. 
It's the one and only genuine ursoid in existence, the work of
the cybernetic genius Doctor Ninian Synge Minnifield, who just
happens to be a not-so-distant relation of mine.  Granted, the
old professor was a bit of a crackpot, and the rest of the family
didn't have the time of day for him, especially after that anti-
plutonium fission reaction incident, but that bear was the
pinnacle of his life's work, and if we can lay hands on it you'll
see a boom in microgrizzly technology that'll make your head
spin.  In five years time the Alaskan cybearnetics industry'll
make those Korean-built positronic bruins look about as quick on
the uptake as Winnie the Pooh."
     Holling leans over and says:
     "Doctor, the planet's evacuated and everyone on board's in
fine shape.  Whether we get them to Starbase in one day or two
isn't going to make a stick of difference.  The Admiral here has
been tracking that bear for twenty-odd years.  I think we owe it
to him to just go and have a look see."
     "Fine.  No problem.  I'll just go down to sickbay and get
ready for whatever gunshot wounds or bear bites or broken ankles
you have in store for yourselves.  Don't worry about me.  I can
take it.  I know when it's useless to fight.  I could have had a
lucrative practice, but, no, I had to join Starfleet Medical.  I
can recognize a chain of command when I see one.  Hey, I interned
under Katherine Pulaski."
     The turbolift door closes behind him.
     "Sickbay."
     He slumps against the turbolift wall, exhales, and rubs his
eyes.  From behind his hands he groans:
     "Five year mission!"


     View of the Cicely coasting up to the orca-shaped vessel
from two episodes ago.
     "Holling, somebody is hailing us on line one."
     "Would you be good enough to put that on screen, Marilyn?"
     "Okay."
     "Thank you very kindly."
     Malakod appears on screen, much the worse for wear.
     Maurice steps up to the viewscreen, adjusting his belt.
     "This is Admiral Maurice C. Minnifield of the USS Cicely. 
To whom have I the pleasure?"
     "I am Malakod.  We are Pakleds.  We have lost our ship. 
Have you seen it?"
     "I've seen it.  At this present moment it's halfway between
Gamma Trianguli VI and Starbase 41, under tow.  I'm interested in
talking turkey, if that suits you.  Say, your ship for a bear."
     Malakod looks around, and several other Pakleds, all equally
scratched up, edge into the shot and confer.  At last Malakod
says:
     "We have a bear."
     "Well, then, how about it?  The spaceship for the bear."
     The Pakleds gather in a cluster and talk it over, with
plenty of repetition.  Eventually, Malakod turns back to the
screen and says:
     "We will trade you the bear."
     "Now you're talking.  Prepare to beam it over."
     The Pakleds turn around and look at one another.  Malakod
turns back to the screen and says:
     "Beam us over, and then come and get the bear."
     Another Pakled leans forward and says:
     "Yes.  Beam us over, and then come and get the bear."
     Malakod adds:
     "Yes."
     Minnifield: "Hold on.  You do have the bear?"
     Malakod (after consulting the others): "We have it.  It is a
bear."
     Another Pakled confirms this: "It is a bear."
     "All right then, you've got yourself a deal.  Transporter
room!  Beam the Pakleds over."
     Shot of the Pakleds as seen on the Cicely's viewscreen.  As
a man they wipe their forehead, say, "Whew," and are transported
away.
     Science officer Chris leans toward the screen and remarks:
"The bridge of that ship looks a lot like a storage closet."
     Minnifield turns from the screen, adjusts his belt, and
declares, "That is as may be.  Landing party.  Ed, Chris,
transporter room three in ten minutes." 


[Commercial: Freedom 55
     "Imagine you could meet yourself twenty-five years in the
future."
     "You're me.  I'm beside myself."
     "Twenty-five years in the future."
     "How can we afford all this?  Did we rob a bank?"
     "Yes."]


     DRG is playing with his feet.
     He sits on the edge of his bunk with his knees together and
his boots side by side.  Slowly he raises the toe of one foot and
the heel of the other.  He lowers them.  Then he reverses the
movement, raising the other heel and toe.  He repeats this a
number of times at various tempos.  Next he swivels both heels to
the left, then both toes, both heels, both toes, as far as he can
go without losing his seat, then reverses his direction, going
all the way to the right, and finally back to the centre.  He
tilts both feet so that the soles are angled toward one another,
and rocks his feet from heel to toe.  He twists his body sideways
with the ends of his toes pointing straight down toward the deck,
and tiptoes as far as he can while still keeping his seat.  Next
he puts one heel on the other toe, then pulls out the lower foot
and puts it on top, repeating the process several times so that
he looks like he's trying to walk up an invisible greased wall. 
He sits up, crosses his thighs and brings one foot around the
back of his other calf.  He unwinds and tries it the other way
around.  Success.  He puts his knees together, turns his heels
upward, spreads his feet apart and walks across the deck on the
tips of his toes.  With difficulty he reaches the opposite bunk,
turns around awkwardly and hobbles back to his own, where he
collapses.
     Atoth: "Napoleon at St Helena."
     "You're telling me.  I wonder what's going on around the
ship."
     They get up and sidle over to the exit.  A security guard
steps in the way.
     "Evacuees are requested to remain on the recreation deck."
     "Is that right?  Well, I guess I can see that.  Yes, sir. 
Hey, what's that over there?"
     He says this loud enough that everyone on that side of the
room looks to the far corner.  When they look back DRG and Atoth
are gone.
     The guard's gaze shifts back and forth several times,
suspiciously.  He taps his commbadge.
     Atoth and DRG materialize in a corridor elsewhere on the
ship.  Atoth steps away from DRG, releasing the handful of
overall he has surreptitiously grabbed just as DRG transported.  
DRG twists around and makes an attempt at smoothing out the
clutch of wrinkles.
     "That's what I call seat-of-the-pants flying, for sure! 
Hey, look out!"
     Someone is approaching.  Atoth and DRG scramble down a side
corridor.  Maurice, Chris and Ed barrel past, hauling all manner
of equipment toward the transporter room.
     Maurice: "Now remember.  I want this jasper taken undamaged. 
The first man who dings it can head up the next exterior hull
paint scrape.  Got it?"
     "Aye aye, Maurice."
     They enter the transporter room.
     "Good.  Activate your positronic synapse neutralizers. 
They're as good as tranquilizers as far as that bear's concerned. 
Ed, got those gravimetric wells?"
     "Aye, Maurice."
     "They're your beartraps.  Keep the phaser fire to a minimum,
but watch your back.  Okay?  Energize."
     Back in the corridor DRG says: "They're loaded for bear. 
Where's a window?"
     They infiltrate a nearby guest suite.
     "Mmm!  Smell that cedar panelling!"
     They cross the darkened room to the window.  Across a small
area of empty space is the orca-shaped vessel.
     "I think it's time we had a boo at this popular bear. 
Whadya think?"
     "Ben Johnson, his muscles twitching."
     "Okay!"  He assumes a sumo posture.  "Clinch!"
     They lower their heads and lock shoulders.  DRG reaches
under and activates the control.  As the green Borg transporter 
effect surrounds them he says: "Fare thee well ye bunks of
Cicely."
     Security personnel dash into the suite and come to a
skidding halt, look around, and scratch their heads.


[Commercial: Freedom 55
     "Imagine you could meet yourself twenty-five years in the
future."
     "Hey, wait one darn minute.  You look like me."
     "Damned right I do, idiot."
     "You're rich.  How did you do this?"
     "By giving you this book: _The Big Book of Sports Records,
1950-2000_.  You use it to place bets on all the games, and amass
a huge fortune.  In fact you become the richest man on earth. 
You marry your greatest enemy's girlfriend and turn your home
town into a lawless, horrible parody of its former self.  But you
don't count on Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and their
time-travelling DeLorean, and in the end all you wind up with is
a mouthful of horse dung."
     "Oh."]


[Bob:
     "Back to Star Trek: D-e-e-o-o-o-r Repair Guy in just a sec. 
This season has been remarkable so far for, well, for all sorts
of reasons, but more than anything else for all the celebrity
guests who have appeared in it week after week, especially in the
role of Atoth the Tamarian, who seems to be played by a different
Oscar-calibre actor every episode.  Not that you can tell the
difference, with all that makeup.  So, without further ado, let's
go off to Hollywood for another . . . celebrity . . . interview."
     Wavy effect.
     "Bob Hoskins, you've been in a lot of big-budget
extravaganzas in the last few years.  _Who Framed Roger Rabbit?_
and the Mario Brothers movie, and _Hook_, all come to mind, but
I've gotta say your Iago in the BBC _Othello_ was the best."
     "Oh, you're a Shakespeare fan, are you?"
     "Man, that scene where you were doing that soliloquy thing
and you kept putting your thumb through the candle flame.  Boy oh
boy!"
     "Well, you know, the thing about Iago is that, if it were a
comedy, 'e'd be the clown.  'E's full of tricks, like.  So I
played 'im as a bloke 'oo just couldn't turn it off, you know. 
Always up to something.  I think I done all right, if I do say so
meself.  Bit of a break from Hopkins' Moor."
     "That'd be Anthony Hopkins."
     "Yeah, that's right.  Sir Anthony now."
     "So, Bob, I guess what all your fans are wondering is: when
will Genesis get back together?"
     Hoskins shifts around in obvious displeasure.  He half-
rises, tapping himself on the chest with an index finger, and
says, "I do not look like Phil Collins, got it?  'E looks like
me, mate!"
     "Okay!  Back to Star Trek: Door Repair Guy."]


     Maurice, Ed and Chris materialize in a corridor of the orca-
shaped vessel.  All three crouch down, looking in all directions. 
Maurice puts his nose up and sniffs.
     "No scent."
     "Would a cybernetic bear have a scent?"
     "Good question.  Ed, get those gravity traps laid. 
Lieutenant, you're with me."
     "Maurice, what do I do if I see the bear?"
     "Tap your commbadge twice and stay downwind of it."
     "Okay, Maurice."
     They move out.
     DRG and the Tamarian materialize nearby.  DRG yawns.  Ed
hears the yawn and moves downwind.  DRG's stomach growls.  Ed
taps his commbadge twice and takes off to find Maurice and Chris. 
DRG steps into one of the gravity traps.
     "Hey!  My foot weighs a ton!"
     He grasps his leg and tries to lift it, trap and all.  He
tries dragging it.  He steps into another trap.
     "Oh, man!"
     "Godel, Escher, Bach, making cat's-cradles."
     "Oh, thanks."
     Further on, Chris catches a glimpse of a bear's behind going
around the corner.
     "Maurice."
     They follow stealthily.  Maurice catches an impression of
brown fur out the corner of his eye.
     "This way."
     Ed comes up.
     "I found the bear."
     "Let's go."
     They start off in three directions.
     "Hold it.  That way."
     "That way."
     "That way."
     Meanwhile, back at the gravity traps DRG is wriggling his
toes, attempting to use the second toe of each foot to reach over
and flip open the levitation control planted under the big toe of
each foot.  It's not working so well.
     Atoth: "Josephine Baker, her eyes rolling."
     "If you don't have anything positive to add . . . ."
     The Tamarian takes the hint, embraces DRG below the armpits
and begins to try to hoist him upward.  An awkward scene ensues,
terminated only by the appearance of the bear, who has been
watching for some time before either of them notices.
     The bear:
     "Good afternoon.  Permit me to introduce myself.  I am
Doctor Ninian Synge Minnifield.  I believe I see a solution to
your dilemma.  You should be able to extricate yourself if you
simultaneously depress the second and fifth controls at the base
of each unit."
     The Tamarian does so and Door Repair Guy instantly brains
himself on the overhead deckplates.
     "Ow!"
     "Dear me.  That was unforeseen."
     "You're a talking bear!"
     "Oh, indeed I am!"
     Door Repair Guy deactivates his toes and hits the underfoot
deckplates.
     "Ow!"
     "That, I fear, was foreseeable."
     Elsewhere on board:
     Chris: "Hold on to your hats, campers.  My tricorder is
picking up three lifeforms."
     Ed: "It's the Three Bears."
     Maurice: "This scenario is getting more and more farfetched. 
Ready neutralizers.  We'll surround 'em and bag the whole damned
family."
     DRG: "There's three fellas out lookin' for you."
     The bear: "Well I know it.  However, they have yet to
appreciate the thoroughness of my preparations.  I have foreseen
this exigency and planned accordingly.  I am, if I may be
permitted the liberty of saying so, smarter than the average
bear."
     The Engineering section of the Cicely.  Amid the purposeful
activity a bear unexpectedly materializes and begins to roar. 
Engineers land on their arses in sheer surprise, then scramble
for the doors.  They all tap their commbadges at once and begin
shouting to the bridge about the bear in Engineering.  The camera
dips and swoops around their confusion until all the doors have
closed and the bear is the only one left.  Then the bear ambles
over to a replicator and noses the controls.  A heap of ham
sandwiches wrapped in wax paper tumble out and the bear eats some
of them.
     On the bridge Holling says: "This bear business is getting
out of hand.  Marilyn, be so kind as to patch me through to
Admiral Minnifield."
     "Okay."
     *Minnifield here*
     "Maurice, your bear is in my Engineering section."
     *What?  By all the!  Minnifield out!*
     "Come on, men!  Back to Cicely!"
     The three transport back.
     The bear, having eaten, transports out of Engineering and
materializes next to Ninian Synge Minnifield Bear.
     "Permit me to introduce my lovely assistant, Madeline."
     "Ma'am."
     "Are we out of here or what?"
     "Yes, dear."
     "Wait!  Where are we going?"
     "North, to Alaska.  I always wanted to say that."
     The orca-shaped vessel rotates, gathers steam, and leaps
into high warp.
     Back on board Cicely the three members of the away team step
off the transporter pad and drop their gear on the deck.  Maurice
goes over to the viewscreen and punches the control, catching the
last dwindling glimpses of the escaping bear.
     "What was it our old pal Pooh said?  'Sing ho, for the life
of a bear.'  I'd say that about explains it."  Chris smiles and
shakes his head with satisfaction at having fit this episode into
his (admittedly all-inclusive) philosophy of life.  Ed thinks
about it, then nods solemnly.  Maurice gazes off regretfully in
the direction of the disappearing ship.
     "So long, big fella."


[Commercial: Freedom 55
     Q: "Imagine you could meet yourself twenty-five years in the
future.  What a sorry sight.  You're old and bent, you have
iromodic syndrome or some other pathetic human defect, you walk
into public places in your nightclothes.  And to top it all,
you're responsible for the destruction of humanity.  It's enough
to make you put a gun to your head.  But there's one thing that
keeps you going despite everything, one tiny light at the end of
the tunnel.  You've got a retirement savings plan.  Oh, joy."]


     A river.  DRG and the Tamarian are flyfishin'.  They stand
in chestwaders in a calm pool, DRG providing terminology learned
in his flyfishin' days on the Klingon homeworld.
     He casts.
     "jiwoD."
     He reels in.
     "jiboS."
     He holds up the rod to show the live bait wriggling on his
hook.
     "qagh."
     Atoth nods, taking it all in.  He casts, and the line
describes a lazy sine wave toward the centre of the stream.  He
heaves a great sigh of contentment and remarks:
     "Stout Cortez, upon a peak in Darien."
     He has found his calling.
     Further downstream the river picks up speed.  White water
crashes and jumps between the forested shores.  On a rock
outcropping a bear swings its head from side to side, watching
for that elusive flash of orange.  A salmon leaps out of the
flow, passes under the bear's nose in midair, and vanishes into
the white froth again.  The bear jumps forward, checks itself,
then dives into the water and bats a huge paw through the cascade
in a wide, watery curve.  The salmon twists and curls straight up
above the bear's head, falls to the rocks behind the bear, and
slithers through a rock pool into the flowing stream, escaping. 
The bear looks behind it, first one way, then the other, walks
around once in a circle, gives a bearlike shrug, sets its
forepaws in the stream and begins to watch for the next salmon. 
Madeline lounges close by, finishing off a bag of flour and a
side of bacon stolen from a nearby camp.
     [Song: "I'm a-goin' fishin', yes I'm goin' fishin', and my
baby's goin' fishin' too.]
     [Music.  Credits.]

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

Episode 17 — Ursus Major

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