Warp Happy, Part One

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Episode 23 — Warp Happy, Part One

     "You're watching TVO, educational television for Ontario.
Channel 91 in Carp, channel 124 in Vankleek Hill."
     Opening credits for Saturday Night at the Movies.
     View of Elwy Yost seated in a red plush armchair.  He reads
from a script:
     "In 1972, Groucho Marx told Playboy Magazine: `Those first
two movies we made for MGM (_A Night at the Opera_, 1935, and _A
Day at the Races_, 1937) were the best things we ever did.  After
those two we put out a bunch of turkeys.  Did you see that circus
movie?  They had me hanging upside down!  Me, a man of 50.  We
never should have done some of those pictures, but Chico was
always broke.  He was always running up gambling debts so we had
to keep making pictures to keep him from eating us out of house
and home.  He lived the last ten years of his life on an
allowance.  The accounts department at MGM used to skim off half
his salary and pass it on to Harpo and me, and Chico would come
around and borrow it after he'd lost at cards the night before. 
Of course he never paid it back.  But then it was his money! 
They told him it was the IRS.  But to get back to Paramount.  Our
first movie contract was with Paramount, in 1929.  We did five
pictures with them altogether, up until the war movie which was a
flop (_Duck Soup_, 1935).  Nobody wanted to hear about dictators
in those days!  Paramount said, "We'll never make a Marx Brothers
movie again!"  But years later -- it's after the war now -- this
fellow at Paramount, I forget his name, phones up and says he's
got a science fiction script from a guy called Boysenberry or
something, and there's a part in it for the Marx Brothers.  I
said, "Science fiction!"  But then along comes Chico and he owes
the mob $40,000.  So we started it, but they made the mistake of
paying us before it was finished and it never got finished. 
Yeah, I walked out after a couple days' shooting.  We were
working twelve-hour days on a science fiction movie!  That's when
I went into television.  You Bet Your Life!  That was a second
career for me.  But not many people know that the Marx Brothers
did a science fiction picture at Paramount.'
     "Hi!  And welcome again to Saturday Night at the Movies. 
I'm Elwy Yost.  Tonight's theme is Those Wonderful, Wonderful
Marx Brothers Movies.  As the great Groucho said, not many people
know that the Marx Brothers made a science fiction movie.  In
fact the movie was lost.  Filming was never completed and the
footage gathered dust for nearly forty years before it was
discovered by a film archivist who was cataloging not the Marx
Brothers, but the works of Gene Roddenberry the creator of
television's Star Trek, the fellow Groucho calls Boysenberry. 
Completely amazing.  And the story doesn't end there.  Using
computer image processing, and similar movie magic, the producers
of the latest Star Trek spin-off, Door Repair Guy, were able to
wed the images of those masters of mayhem with video images shot
for the television series to create an all new adventure, and, I
think you'll agree, the match is virtually flawless.
     "So now it's that time once again.  Turn the lights down
low.  Sit back.  And enjoy the Marx Brothers as you've never seen
them before . . . in . . . Warp Happy."

                    *                !    >  *
                    *    $    WARP           *
                    *                        *
                    *         HAPPY     $    *
                    * >     !                *


Door Repair Guy.................as........................Himself
Groucho Marx ...................as....Prof Theodore P Baffleplate
Chico Marx......................as........................Nacelli
Harpo Marx......................as..........................Warpo
Margaret Dumont.................as.....The Wealthy Widow Van Pelf
Avery Brooks....................as................Commander Sisko
Rene Auberjonois................as............................Odo
Siddig El Fadil.................as..................Doctor Bashir
Terry Farrell...................as.................Lieutenant Dax
Cirroc Lofton...................as.....................Jake Sisko
Colm Meany......................as..................Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman.................as..........................Quark
Nana Visitor....................as.....................Major Kira

     Sisko's door chimes.
     "Enter."  He turns toward the opening twin art deco doors.
     Major Kira: "The experimental ship from the Bajoran Space
Command has docked at Upper Pylon 2."
     "Experimental ship?  Why wasn't I informed of this before?"
     "I've only learned of it myself.  Apparently the provisional
government wanted to keep it under wraps.  The engineering staff
will be here for a day or so before doing speed trials in the
outer part of the system."
     "Please see to their requirements and keep me posted."
     "Aye, sir."

     Dax and Kira are at the airlock as it rolls open.  Mrs Van
Pelf steps out.  She is an elegantly attired Bajoran woman of a
certain age and no small influence.
     Kira: "Welcome to the station, ma'am.  I'm Major Kira and
this is Lieutenant Dax."
     Dax: "Ma'am."
     Van Pelf: "How do you do?  I am very happy to be here.  This
is indeed a momentous occasion.  I cannot tell you how it pleases
me that our poor little planet of Bajor is at last on the
threshold of great discovery.  I speak of the greatest invention
of our century: the metawarpic engine!  In a time when the very
fabric of the universe is endangered by conventional modes of
propulsion, there is no more pressing . . ."
     Groucho stalks out of the airlock with a suitcase in one
hand and a shirt balled up in the other.  He has large dark
eyebrows and moustache painted on and a cigar.
     "Which reminds me.  Where does a fella have to go to get a
shirt pressed around here?"
     "Why, Professor!  I'm sure this station is equipped with all
the facilities you require."
     "I hope so.  The last time you put too much starch in the
     "Indeed!  Allow me to introduce Professor Theodore P.
Baffleplate, inventor of the metawarpic drive."
     "I'm very pleased to meet me.  I must say this is a pleasant
surprise.  It's not often one gets to meet such a distinguished
intellectual.  I'm looking forward to many happy hours together."
     A small man in a short jacket and conical hat steps out of
the airlock and bows, smiling, to everyone.
     "Now you're talking.  I love happy hour.  Two lagers."
     "And this is my assistant, Signor Nacelli.  We're
continually at lagerheads.  Say hello, Nacelli."
     "Howjado.  Nice to see you.  When do we get paid?  Hey,
boss, you gotta dollar?  It's happy hour."
     A man in a plaid shirt, trenchcoat, wide-legged trousers
(with cuffs), staved-in stovepipe hat and strawberry blonde wig
and approximately two dozen suitcases and containers strapped to
his back staggers out of the airlock.
     "And this piece of interstellar debris is Nacelli's
     Nacelli: "He no talk much, but he's a good guy.  Ha ha! 
Hey, Warpo, what's that?  You got an assistant too!"
     Warpo looks down and follows the bulge moving around inside
his shirt.  A rhesus monkey looks out.  Warpo digs into a pocket
and brings out some candy.  The monkey snatches it up.
     "Hey!  They're rhesus' pieces!"
     Baffleplate: "ET, if you're within the sound of my voice,
call home.  All is forgiven."
     Van Pelf: "Professor Baffleplate!  Allow me once again to
express the deeply felt gratitude of the Bajoran people for your
selfless contribution to our planetary advancement."
     "I'll allow you, but believe me I won't believe it til I
hear it straight from the horse's mouth.  Oh, I'm sorry, I just
did.  And another thing!  Just where do you get off spreading
around that `selfless contribution' millarky?  I have my
reputation as a man of finance to think of!  By the way, have you
got a dollar?  No!  No!  I'll not stand idly by and watch the
work of a lifetime plundered by an ungrateful public!  A cheque
for $49.95 will do.  And if you don't have a cheque I'll take a
Slovak, and if you don't have a Slovak I'll take a Pole.  I'll
take a Pole right now.  How many here are in favor of retiring to
the beverage room?  I'd retire now but for these two leeches
eating me out of house and home.  Here, take a card."
     He opens a fan of playing cards and presents it to Kira. 
She reluctantly reaches for a card but he pulls the deck away
from her and thrusts it into his pocket.  He doesn't notice as
Warpo removes it again.
     "You would take one, wouldn't you!  And break up a perfectly
good set!  I think we see here a perfect example of what I'm
talking about!  Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you, is
it justice when a leader of the scientific community is thrown
upon the tender mercies of a pack of wolves?"
     Warpo and Nacelli are doubling over with laughter as Warpo
fires the cards into the airlock and down the corridor in both
directions.  He eats one and pulls it out of his pants leg.  He
scratches his ear with it and accidentally pushes it in all the
way.  He sticks out his tongue with the card on top.  The card is
blank.  Warpo looks ill.
     "Hey, you swallow the pips."
     Warpo eats the card and spits it out again.  Ten of
     "That's better."
     Warpo throws five cards in the air, draws a pistol, and
shoots them.
     "Five card draw!"
     Warpo pulls out a bottle and drinks.
     He pulls out a second bottle and drinks from both.
     "Gin rummy!"
     Warpo staggers around.  He pulls out a picture of the
Brooklyn bridge and a gavel and begins to pantomime an auction.
     "Auction bridge!  I whist I thought of that."
     Baffleplate: "When they got into astronomy it was according
to Hoyle."
     Van Pelf: "Gentlemen, please!  The speed trials await!"
     Baffleplate: "When do the betting windows open?"
     Dax: "If you'll accompany me, I'll show you to your
     "There's just one thing I no understand."
     "What's that?"
     "Why a Dax?"
     "Dax for her to know and you to find out."
     "Hey!  Thatsa my kinda girl!"
     They proceed past the camera, Kira and Dax bringing up the
     Kira to Dax: "I hate them."
     Dax: "I love them."

     The turbolift delivers Dax to Ops.  She bounces into Sisko's
     "You look pretty pleased, Old Man.  Something obviously
appeals to your well-seasoned sense of absurdity.  Can it be the
metawarpic team?"
     "Benjamin, they are either absolute geniuses or the most
original frauds I've come across in three or four lifetimes."
     "Have you any idea what the metawarpic engine might entail?"
     "Not a clue.  I've come across nothing in my reading that
would suggest the direction of their research.  But I have a
hunch it may have something to do with chaos theory.  Either that
or banana peels."
     "Banana peels?"
     "Very low friction."
     "Hm.  Please keep me posted."

     Quark's.  Warpo swaggers in, looking around and smiling
mischievously.  He takes the seat beside Morn at the bar, slaps
the bartop and furiously waves his finger in the air like a
dissatisfied customer.  A Ferengi bartender comes over and Warpo
gestures to what Morn's having.  The bartender brings a stein of
draft, puts it down, and waits.  Warpo drains half of it and sits
back, smiling and lolling on the stool like a man full of beer. 
The Ferengi holds out his empty hand.  Warpo grabs it and
examines it closely.  He draws a finger along one of the palm
lines, his mouth open in amazement.  He whips off his hat: the
bandanna tied over his head completes the fortune-teller look. 
He continues the palm-reading, making faces of intense scrutiny,
surprise, astonishment and extreme happiness at the fellow's good
fortune.  He furiously shakes the Ferengi's hand in
congratulation.  The bartender tries to pull free and it becomes
a back and forth struggle.  Warpo falls back, grabs his hat as if
to leave and then sits down again as the Ferengi walks away in a
huff.  He leans toward Morn, rolling his eyes and tilting his
head toward the Ferengi.  They sit together drinking and
commiserating.  Warpo catches Morn's sombre mood, becomes glummer
and glummer, begins to sniff, and in no time is crying into his
beer.  He drinks and cries, nodding his head.  He puts the beer
down on the counter and shakes with sobs.  Cut to the beer.  Its
surface splashes in the torrential downpour.  Warpo cries and
drinks, and cries and drinks, and then begins to notice that if
he keeps this up he can drink forever.  This cheers him up, but
then that cuts down the flow of tears so he makes miserable faces
trying to start them up again.  By now the Ferengi are returning
in force.  He sees them coming, downs the last of the beer and
runs out.  As he's passing the dabo table everyone shouts "Dabo!"
and he pauses to throw his arms in the air and celebrate until he
sees the bartenders closing in and he spurts out the door and
down the Promenade.

     Mrs Van Pelf's suite.  The door chimes.
     Van Pelf: "Enter."
     Professor Baffleplate sticks his head in the door, looks
around as if on guard for the late Mr Van Pelf, and enters.
     "Ah, Mrs Van Pelf!  At last we're alone!  You adorable
pixie.  May I call you Margery?"
     "Why, Professor, please do."
     "Margery.  Darling Margery.  I'm all a-twitter.  And it's
your doing.  Don't try to deny it.  Your eyes are like stars. 
Your arms are like galactic limbs.  I'm not making this up! 
Shall I tell you how I have admired you from afar?" 
     "Oh, my, yes, do go on."
     "The Hubble Space Telescope."
     "But enough of these mad lovers' games!  What I want to know
is: can you find it in your heart to love me?  Can you find your
heart?  Do you have a pulse at all?  Doctor!  Doctor!  Is there a
doctor in the house?"
     Dr Bashir transports in and begins to open his medical kit.
     "I'm a doctor."
     Baffleplate: "What's your handicap?"
     Bashir: "Oh, for heaven's sake."
     Baffleplate: "Prayers will do you no good now.  You
charlatan.  You'll never practice in this sector again!  Though
they do say that practice makes perfect.  Perhaps if you alter
your stance."
     Exit Bashir.
     "Where was I?  I remember.  Practicing on the rich dame. 
     Van Pelf: "It's no good.  I don't believe a word you say!"
     "And so you shouldn't!  If I listened to everything I said,
where would I be today?  The very idea.  You toy with me, madam! 
I've a mind to pack up your money and leave right now!"
     Makes to go.
     "Oh, Theodore, what of the metawarpic drive?"
     "Well, I never met a warpic drive I didn't like.  All right,
I'll stay.  But you must promise me one thing."
     "That you'll make me the happiest man on Earth."
     "Oh!  Theodore!  This is so sudden!  What shall I say?"
     "That I'm on the wrong planet."
     "Oh!  It's all so confusing!"
     "You're confused?  I'm the one who's gotta come up with a
metawarpic engine by tomorrow morning.  Say, you wouldn't have
any ideas, would you?  I'm willing to play twenty questions. 
I'll start.  Is it bigger than a breadbox?  A simple yes or no
will suffice."
     "I . . . I don't know!"
     "Oh, fine, play dumb.  If that's an act.  It's all very well
and good when the inventing is left up to the scientists.  I want
music!  Gaiety!  Insouciance!"  He says this last word with a
nasal honk, somewhere between French and a duck.
     "Theodore, the speed trials."
     "You are a fast operator, aren't you.  Very well, have it
your way.  I must go now and cook something up.  I go.  Adieu. 
So long, cupcake.  We'll always have Paris."
     Mrs Van Pelf fans herself rapidly.

     Sisko's quarters.  The door slides open and Warpo peers in. 
He decides the coast is clear and enters, spinning a ring of
skeleton keys on one finger.  He spots a baseball on the table
and dives at it, rolling across the table and tumbling over the
far edge.  His hand appears, holding up the ball.  Slowly he
stands, assuming a batter's stance.  With his eye fixed on a
pitcher across the room he pulls out the front of his trousers
and draws a baseball bat up out of his trouser leg.  He swings
experimentally with his tongue stuck into his cheek and his jaw
thrust out.  He holds the bat up behind his head with one hand
and with the other tosses up the ball.  He pivots and grabs the
bat at both ends.  It's a bunt!  The ball bounds off the far
wall.  Warpo drops the bat, looks this way and that, reading the
play, and dashes around the room, touching each wall.  At the
third wall he stops and starts and makes a dash for home.  He
slides and disappears under the table.  He reappears, pointing at
home plate and arguing with the umpire.  He walks away, scuffing
at the ground and muttering.  In mid-stride he pauses and rubs
his stomach.  He goes over to the replicator.  He looks inside,
raps at it with a knuckle, whistles at it and eventually slouches
away defeated.  Then he has an idea.  He pulls a restaurant menu
out of his shirt, walks over and puts it in the replicator, which
almost immediately fills up with main courses.  Warpo loads his
arms and runs between the replicator and the table, spreading it
with steaming dishes and stuffing a drumstick into his mouth.

     Ops.  The viewscreen contains a from-below view of the
experimental ship docked at Upper Pylon 2.
     Sisko: "What do you make of it, Chief?"
     O'Brien: "From what I can see it's just an old Bolian
     "Anything unusual about the propulsion systems?"
     "That they work at all.  I'm reading extremely low power
output even for a systems shutdown.  I'm not even sure they've
got everything plugged in.  Their anti-matter pods are
practically empty."
     "Do we have sensor records of their journey from the
     Sisko: "Major, what can you tell me about this project?"
     Kira: "There are people in the provisional government who
are ready to hitch their career to any bandwagon that shows up. 
I hate to think of the resources that have already been wasted on
this white elephant."
     "I was under the impression that most of the money has come
from this widow Van Pelf.  Who is she?"
     "She comes from old money.  She married a Terran shipping
magnate at an early age, and left Bajor before the Occupation. 
After her husband died she returned and is now one of the
weathiest people on the planet.  Or was before these con artists
got their hooks into her."
     Sisko: "I take it you doubt the workability of the
metawarpic drive?"
     "You got that right."
     O'Brien: "Commander, I have the sensor record of the
freighter's approach.  They weren't coming from Bajor.  They were
dropping out of warp just before they arrived."
     Sisko: "Can you tell what warp factor they were going?"
     "Nine point nine four!"
     "That's beyond belief!  I think it's time we gave this
experiment a closer look."
     However, the wormhole opens and a large ramshackle transport
     Kira: "Commander, a vessel of unfamiliar design has just
come through the wormhole."
     "Can you make contact?"
     "Hailing them now."
     "Chief O'Brien, what is their weapons status?"
     "Minimal armament.  Energy readings are very low.  I don't
think they can use the weapons they have."
     "They are responding to our hail."
     "On screen."
     We get a view of a crowded bridge.  A humanoid with a rather
long face reminiscent of a grasshopper's speaks:
     *We are refugees from the Dominion.  We request aid and
political asylum*
     "How many of you are there?"
     *Five thousand two hundred and forty-one*
     O'Brien whistles.
     "Are you alone?"
     *There are two more ships within a day of us*
     Sisko swats his commbadge.
     "Dr Bashir, get your medical emergency people together. 
Constable Odo, you'll want to look one this over.  I'd better get
Starfleet on the line.  Oh.  Dax.  Would you alert the vendors on
the Promenade?  They'll want to lay on extra staff."

     "Hey!  Hey!  Boss!  Come here!"
     Baffleplate: "What is it, Nacelli?"
     "Change a ten?"
     "Oh no you don't.  Last time I fell for that one you got the
ten and I got the change.  Well, a change is as good as a rest. 
So do me a favour and give it a rest."
     "Hey, boss.  We're friends.  You do me a favour and I do you
a favour.  I tell you what I do.  I give you this key and you
open up this door."
     "What's inside?"
     "I dunno."
     "So how do I know you're doing me a favour?  There could be
a ferocious tiger in there."
     "No.  There's no tiger."
     "No tiger, eh?  Lion?"
     "Cross my heart."
     "How about a bear?"
     "Sure!  I'll have a lager."
     "What about a man-eating school of piranha fish?"
     "No.  Not last time I look."
     "So you've been inside?"
     "Just to make sure I didn't know what was in there."
     "Strange, I understood that.  Where did you get this key
     "That Ferengese fella, he lend it to me."
     "So this is a holosuite!"
     "That's a right."
     "A holosuite."
     "Uh huh.  Holosuite."
     "You do know what a holosuite is, don't you?"
     "Sure.  Lifesaver."
     "Resistance *is* futile.  You say he lent you that key?"
     "I lend it back when I'm through."
     "I thought as much.  Gimme that."
     He tries the key.
     "Just as I suspected.  A deadbolt."
     "Hey!  Who you calling a deadbolt?"
     "Oh, you figured that one out, did you?  You must be a Yale
man.  I never took you for the college type.  I suppose you have
a `Beat Harvard' pennant?"
     "No, I no like Harvard beets."
     "And they say there are no heroes left."
     "Ha!  Well they wrong.  I got one here."
     Holds up a hero sandwich.
     "But no Harvard beets."
     "No Harvard beets."
     "Strange.  This key doesn't seem to be . . . maybe if I just
give it a . . ."
     "You got to push some buttons."
     "Now you got it."
     Baffleplate plays with the controls.
     The door opens.  Door Repair Guy emerges, annoyed.
     "That wasn't half an hour."
     "Time she's a fly when you're having fun."
     "Hmph."  He stomps away.
     "There you go, boss.  She's all yours."
     "I don't know.  Do you think it's all right?"
     "It's a fine, boss.  You have a good time."
     "They do say these programmes are stimulating."
     "Hey, boss!  I got an idea!  You lend me ten dollars.  I go
and get change from the Ferengese fella.  That way he no come
bother you."
     "That's a swell idea, Nacelli.  I must say you think of
     He give Nacelli the ten and enters.  Nacelli walks away,
admiring his prize.  The door closes and the Battle of Klach
D'Kel Brakt resumes.

     The Promenade is packed with refugees and their belongings. 
Quark is walking up and down on his bar, shouting at the pressing
     "This is a restaurant!  In here you pay!  Out there are the
public replicators!  Those are free!"
     A grasshopper shouts: "The crowds are too great, and we have
no money!"
     "Well, who invited you anyway?  Odo!!  Odo-o-o-o-o!!!!  Why
is that shapeshifter always around when he's not wanted, and
nowhere to be found when there's an emergency?  Oh, great,
they've brought bats with them!"
     He swats at the flying rodent, which swoops around the bar
and then transmogrifies into the chief constable.
     "Well, I thought you'd never get here."
     "Do you think it's so easy to learn how to fly in two
minutes?  Just because you can turn into a bat doesn't mean
you're instantly possessed of all the appropriate skills.  That
sonar gives me a headache."
     "These hordes are giving me a headache in four different
cranial lobes!  Can't you get them back on their ship?"
     "Talk to Commander Sisko.  He let them disembark.  If it
were up to me they'd have been sent straight back through the
wormhole.  The Jem'Hadar needn't invest in any heavy battle
cruisers or phased energy beams if they can just keep scaring
these mobs through our frontline defensive positions."
     "Not to mention the property of law-abiding business
     "Ahem.  Attention everyone!  This is Chief of Security Odo
speaking!  All non-residents are to evacuate these premises
immediately on pain of incarceration!  Move out quickly and
quietly!  You have one minute!"
     A grasshopper: "Is there any food in your jail?"
     Quark: "Yes!  And it's free!  Just go out that door and turn
     This does little more than set up a current of people, those
leaving being replaced by an equal number coming in.
     "Odo!  It's not working!  Turn into a mugato or something!"
     "This may be a circus but I'm not the main attraction."
     Quark makes a gesture of disgust, turns, loses his footing,
falls off the bar and begins to mosh involutarily across the
     At this point we see a couple of refugees jostle into the
bar carrying a harp above their heads.  The camera picks out
Warpo who is also caught in the crowd.  He spots the harp and
does a double take.  Then he rises out of the crowd, seated on an
antigrav (_Star Trek Encyclopedia_, page 11).  He duckwalks
across the room on the crowd's heads and shoulders and gestures
enthusiastically to the harp-carriers to head for the bar.  Warpo
and the harp arrive at the bar at the same time.  He sets it up
and strikes a chord.  The crowd grows quiet.
     Baffleplate climbs up on someone's shoulders and addresses
the camera:
     "Run for it, folks.  He's found the harp."
     Warpo strikes up the Deep Space Nine theme, followed by a
set of variations ornamented with glissandoes.  We get a close-up
of him through the strings: his face is a study in happy
concentration.  The grasshopper people are enrapt.  He plays for
a couple of minutes and closes off with a flourish, starting up
in the wee tiny strings and progressing all the way down the harp
in shimmering arpeggioes.  He lays his palms against the strings,
his eyes smiling.  The whole crowd bursts into tears.  Warpo's
dumbfounded, but dives into "I've Got a Message From the Man in
the Moon" and that cheers them up a bit.  Quark and several
barkeepers appear at the far end of the bar, shouting at Odo and
gesturing toward Warpo.  Odo cocks his ear in their direction,
nods, and begins to stalk toward the harpist.  Warpo scrambles
onto his antigrav, and disappears out the door over the heads of
the cheering throng.

               [Keep reading.  It's a two-parter.]

Written by Douglas McLeod, ai919

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Krell and
Brothers, Doorhangers, or of the Klingon Guild of Doorhangers. 
}}:-)  Douglas A.McLeod ai919@freenet.carleton.ca  )-:{{

Episode 23 — Warp Happy, Part One

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