The Franchise


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Episode 27 — The Franchise

     Exterior view of Deep Space Nine.
     Cut to a baseball stadium under a drizzling rain.  The field
is empty except for an orange tarp covering the infield.  We get
a closeup of the rainwater channeling along the orange wrinkles
toward the sidelines.  We see a player saunter out from the
locker room into the abandoned dugout, tap his spikes
unnecessarily with a bat, lean out and hold his hand palm up in
the rain, and return to the locker room.  Most of the crowd has
gone home, and most of the rest have moved up under the second
tier, but a few stalwarts huddle under tents fashioned out of
green and yellow ponchoes.  The camera moves in toward two
figures seated all alone in the fifth row behind first base.
     "Dad."
     "Yes, Jake."
     "I know baseball is this great lost art and everything."
     "Uh huh."
     "And I know you said that to really understand it you can't
just show up for the World Series games."
     "That's right.  There are wonderful plays that never
happened in a World Series."
     "But it's been raining for two hours.  Couldn't we just tell
the computer to fast-forward to the part where they resume play?"
     "Jake, baseball has its own pace, its own tempo.  It's a
unique way of measuring time, almost a human timepiece.  To jump
ahead to the highlights is to do violence to the game's very
nature.  Besides, waiting is a part of life."
     "But it's just the first week of the schedule.  Couldn't we
run a game that really matters?"
     "Jake, every game matters.  A win at the beginning of the
schedule makes as much difference as a win in the pennant drive."
     "But it's not like these teams are going to make the World
Series."
     "How do you know that?  You said yourself it's only the
first week of the schedule."
     "I looked at the record book."
     "You looked at the record book!  You told me you wouldn't do
that!  Why would you sit through a game, knowing the outcome?"
     "Dad, you're always reading the stats!"
     "But only to educate myself about the *possible* outcome of
a game.  I don't read them to find out the final score.  That
would spoil all the fun."
     Jake looks ironically from under the poncho to see if he can
catch a glimpse of all the fun.
     "Dad, it's the Mets and the Padres.  They're going to finish
last whatever happens."
     "Jake.  Losing is a part of life.  Besides, there's much
more to a baseball game than what occurs on the field.  Look at
your friend Nog over there.  Only two hours and he's already
learned the local currency, talked himself into one of the food
concessions, and bought out half a dozen vendors.  Now he's
conducting job interviews while he sells hotdogs.  Look.  He just
hired someone."
     View of Nog passing over his hotdog tray to a fan.  The fan
looks around and begins to climb over the seatbacks to get at
some customers.  Nog comes down the steps and along the row,
thumbing through a wad of paper money and grinning from ear to
ear.
     "Jake!  I love this game!  Look at all this money!"
     "That's great, Nog."
     *Ops to Sisko*
     "What is it, Dax?"
     *A Ferengi Marauder has just entered sensor range, Benjamin*
     "Has it made contact?"
     *Message coming through now.  It's the Grand Nagus.  Oh,
that's so cute.  Sorry, Benjamin, he just tried a pick-up line on
me.  (Sounds of raised voices.)  Oh!  He just hit on Kira. 
(Crashing sounds.)  She's throwing things at the screen.  I have
to go.  (More shouting and crashing.)*
     "Sorry, Jake, I'll have to go up to Ops."
     "I don't mind!"
     "Will you stay here and fill me in when I get back?"
     "Ah.  Sure.  Yeah.  No problem."
     "That's my boy!"
     He exits.  Jake puts his chin in his hand.  Nog spots a
player and dashes down the steps, fishing a baseball from his
pocket and shouting, "Sign this!  Sign this!  O-h-h-h!  Sign
this!"


     An icy asteroid rolls by, spewing cometary material.
     "Crawlspace.  The final frontier.  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."
     Deep Space Nine space station drifts into view.  A runabout
shoots past, revealing the words:


               Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                         Starring

                    Door Repair Guy as
                         Himself

                    Avery Brooks as
                         Commander Sisko

                    Rene Auberjonois as
                         Odo

                    Siddig El Fadil as
                         Doctor Bashir

                    Terry Farrell as
                         Lieutenant Dax

                    Colm Meany as
                         Chief O'Brien

                    Armin Shimerman as
                         Quark

                    Nana Visitor as
                         Major Kira

                    Natalia Nogulich as
                         Admiral Nechayev

                    Wallace Shawn as
                         Zek

                    Max Grodenchik as
                         Rom

                    and Aron Eisenberg as
                         Nog

A runabout shoots past the station's curved pylons just as the
wormhole opens and closes.  A moment later a second runabout
curves by, closely followed by a third.  Hey, it's a race! 
They're doing laps around the station!  Cut to Quark presiding
over a boisterous crowd of betters in front of a viewscreen above
his bar.  He spots Odo and a gang of security guards crashing the
door, hastily shoves a heap of latinum into the arms of another
Ferengi who disappears out the back, then grabs the remote
control and switches to 


[Commercial:

     London, 1967.  Guy with five o'clock shadow and supermodel
deplane and are besieged by paparazzi.  They escape in a cab. 
They buy some jeans.  The paparazzi find them in a caf.  They
escape down an alleyway.  Now they're in a sumptuous hotel.  They
open a door and are blinded by flashbulbs.
     Majel: "I told you we should've gone to Expo!"
     Gene: "RrrrrRRrr!"]


     A Jefferies tube.  O'Brien comes barreling along with his
toolbox in one hand.  He glances down just as he walks past the
camera and out of the frame.  We hear:
     "What the . . . ?"
     He walks back into the frame with his eyes on a spot on the
floor.  He circles it, crouches down, opens his toolbox, takes
out a tricorder and points it at the floor.  The camera leans
down too and takes in O'Brien's knees, the tricorder and . . . a
pair of footprints imbedded in the deck plate.


     Odo enters the Infirmary.
     "You called, Doctor?"
     "Yes I did.  Somebody's been into the medical records
again."
     "It's happened before?"
     "Yes.  Yesterday I logged off at this terminal just before
meeting Garak for lunch at the replimat.  I was gone half an
hour.  When I returned I logged on and found the words 'DRG file
restricted: enter access authorization' at the command prompt.  I
was not looking at that file before I went for lunch."
     "Interesting.  What does DRG stand for?"
     "Door Repair Guy."
     "Him!  Do you have any idea who would want to read his
medical file?"
     "I'm pretty sure who.  I took the precaution of leaving a
medical scanner on record-mode before I went for lunch today on
the chance that he'd make another attempt."
     "And?"
     Bashir accesses the picture-file.  We get a colour-enhanced
silhouette of the circulatory system of a Ferengi sidling up to
the computer terminal.   It removes the cylindrical shape of an
isolinear rod from what must be a vest pocket and inserts it in
the computer.  Finely capillaried digits input commands.  The
figure waits, smiles and nods, exhibits a fascinating change of
blood flow to the ears, slips the rod back into the vest pocket
and departs.
     "As for why, I can only believe it has something to do with
those cybernetic implants of his.  They're the reason his file is
restricted."
     "Industrial espionage.  I think I'll have a word with the
usual suspect."


     "Quark!"
     Quark slows down and sees Odo bearing down on him along the
Promenade.
     "What is it Odo?  I'm a busy man."
     "Where were you between 12:00 and 12:30 today?"
     "Lunchtime?  Now let me see.  Where could I have been? 
Perhaps I was in the bar serving -- who would it be? -- I know!
The lunchtime crowd."
     "You deny you were in the Infirmary downloading restricted
files?"
     "Really, Odo, you're such a card.  Why would I do that when
I can download them from the comfort of my own bar?"
     "Mm.  You've got a point there.  Can you offer any evidence
which would serve to substantiate your alibi?"
     "I have security camera recordings of the whole lunch rush. 
Don't you?"
     "I'll go and see."
     "You do that.  A pleasure as always, Odo.  Ta ta!"
     Odo grunts and walks off.  Quark heads for the bar.
     "Quark!"
     Quark stops dead in his tracks and turns to see Grand Nagus
Zek bearing down on him along the Promenade, followed by an
agitated DaiMon Tong and, farther back, Zek's towering Hupyrian
manservant, Maihar'du.
     "Grand Nagus, what a pleasant surprise."
     "Cut the crap, Quark.  I'm here for a surprise inspection. 
Here, you forgot to kiss this.  How are your liquid assets?  I
hope I don't find you cash poor?"
     "My books are your books, Grand Nagus."
     "You're damned right they are.  And the sooner I get my nose
in them the better.  Follow me!"
     Zek charges off to the bar, followed by Tong, Maihar'du,
and, after a moment's indecision, Quark.


[Commercial:
     "It's wonderful!"
     "It's so dreamy and elegant!"
     "It's Bright Pink Stuff For Girls!"]


     Sisko paces up and down in front of his office.  At last he
leans on the railing and says:
     "I thought you said the Grand Nagus was coming up to speak
with me."
     Dax: "His exact words were, 'Clear a docking port,
sweetcakes, I've got some business with the big enchilada.'"
     "Hm.  Nothing ambiguous about that.  I wonder where he can
be.  Computer, locate the Grand Nagus."
     *Grand Nagus Zek is in Quark's Bar*
     Close-up of Sisko looking surprised, affronted, puzzled,
bemused and curious all in the space of a second.
     "Then perhaps I'd better go down and visit the big enchilada
myself.  Major Kira, you're with me."


     "What do you make of it, Doctor?"
     "Those are the soles of a pair of boots all right, not to
mention the soles of a pair of feet, imbedded directly into the
deckplate."
     "Ouch."
     "I wonder how they got there."
     "It must have been some sort of transporter malfunction. 
But feet in the deckplate should never occur.  There are far too
many safeguards built into the standard transporter system
nowadays for that to happen.  It's like something from the first
days of transporters."
     "Ah.  Paleotechnic."  
     "Excuse me?"
     "Surely you've read Lewis Mumford, Chief.  He was one of the
founding theorists of technological change.  He divided the
evolution of tools into three stages: paleotechnic, the earliest,
primitive stage of development, but not without the virtues of
craftsmanship; eotechnic, the stage in which mass production has
been introduced, but sophistication, variety, and adaptability
have not been attained; and neotechnic, in which the tool has
become versatile, individual and even smart."
     "Like today's transporters."
     "Oh, really, Chief, come on.  Transporters won't be
neotechnic until people can site-to-site transport at any time
day or night without the bother of walking to a transporter
room!"
     "Oh, well, excuse me!"
     Odo walks up.
     "You called?"
     O'Brien: "Look at this.  We think it's a transporter
malfunction."
     "Then why call me?"
     Bashir: "Didn't you tell me there's been a string of
unexplained break-ins around the station?"
     "You're right.  The other day I came home to find my bucket
kicked clear across the room."
     Bashir: "There you go then."
     "I don't understand."
     Bashir: "Transporter experiments.  Someone is using the
station is a target site for transporter experiments of some
kind."
     O'Brien: "But I don't get why anyone would bother.  The
transporter is a perfected technology."  He glares at Bashir. 
     Bashir: "I don't know how it all adds up, but it's got
something to do with that Door Repair fellow, I know that." 
     Odo: "Perhaps I'd better have a word with him.  Constable
Odo to Door Repair Guy.  Report immediately to the security
office."
     *Acknowledged*
     The holosuite.  DRG throws down his programme, shifts a wad
of chewing tobacco from one cheek to the other, looks around,
lifts up the seat beside his, spits, then picks the tarry blob
out of his mouth with his thumb and middle finger, sticks it
under the seat, and gets up and heads along the aisle toward the
exit, wiping his fingers on his overalls.  On the way he passes
Nog, who is holding up a contract and enthusing over the reserve
clause to one of his clients.
     View of Deep Space Nine.  The horns play that four note
musical tag which, if you haven't before realized it you will now
never be able to forget, say 'Door Re-pair Gu-u-u-u-uy'.
     

[Commercial: Zellers Toyland.

     "Mommy, will all my Christmas wishes come true?"
     "We'll see."
     Mom tucks her in and leaves.  The Teddy bear comes to life
and says, "Your Christmas wishes [voiceover: *may*] come true!"
     "Zeddy!  What kind of a promise is that?"
     "It's the only one our lawyers will allow.  Come on, let's
go-o-o-o-o!"
     They fly off to Zellers Toyland.  Voiceover lists this
week's specials.
     Morning.  Mom comes in.  Kid sits up in bed.
     "Zeddy took me to Zellers Toyland!"
     Mom picks up a Zellers Toyland sheriff's badge.
     "Jennifer, where did you get this?"
     Kid: [voiceover: giggles.  Originally: "Zeddy says that if I
tell you where then all the kids will want a free one and they'll
have a class action suit on their hands."]]


     Sisko and Kira enter Quark's.  Almost immediately Rom jumps
at them waving his hands and exclaiming, "Closed!  Come back
tomorrow!  O-o-o-o-o-h!  Thank you for your co-operation!  Oh!"
     Sisko looks down at him in complete surprise and continues
on into the back.
     The Nagus is seated at a computer console stroking his chin
and cackling.
     "Quark!  I knew I liked you!"  He leans toward DaiMon Tong
who is craning over Quark's shoulder trying to get a glimpse at
the computer screen.  "He's got this place depreciating by 150%
per annum!"  He sees Sisko looming up behind them.  "Huh?  Who
let him in?"
     "I showed myself in, Nagus.  No need to get up."
     "I wasn't going to."
     Quark: "Commander, on behalf of Ferengi everywhere allow me
to say how deeply gratified I am by your courteous interest in
the Nagus's visit, but I hope you'll believe me when I tell you
that this is not a good time!!"
     Kira, who is standing there with her hands on her hips,
hoists a finger in the air preparatory to laying down the law.
     Sisko: "Major."
     Zek: "Not to worry!"  He exits Quark's ledger in a few
geriatric jabs at the console and totters to his feet with the
help of his staff of office and Maihar'du.  "You're going to hear
this anyway, so you may as well get it from the zorbreb's anus."
     Sisko: "Isn't that the horse's mouth?"
     "Eh?"
     "The horses's mouth."
     "Yeah, well, wherever you get it from where you come from. 
Where was I?  Oh yeah!  I have an announcement!  As of today
Quark here is the franchisee for the Bajoran sector for my new
line of personalized cybernetic implants: ZekWare!"
     Quark is flabbergasted.  Tong's eyes widen with anger and
shoot poisoned darts at Rom, who quails and slips around a
corner.  Zek takes Quark by the shoulders and gives him a
fatherly shake.
     "Tong, I wanted you to see this.  Loyalty is a rare
commodity and it's very difficult to buy outright.  But Quark
here knows the value of a loss leader.  He was brownnosing me
back when it wasn't even worth anything to him!  Which is more
than I can say for you, you pernicious little scrounger!  You've
been pirating my personal transporter designs since we left the
Cuniculi Cluster!  Don't think I didn't notice, cause I did! 
Well, see where it gets you now, Tong!  I'm gonna hit you with a
patent infringement suit that'll make you the Alpha Quadrant's
leading authority on deficit financing!  How d'ya like them
tulaberries, DiaMon?"
     Tong doesn't.  He stands with his fists at his sides,
looking this way and that in a fury.  He raises his left forearm
and jabs it with his right forefinger.  He disappears in a
transporter effect.
     Up in Ops Dax blinks and does a double-take at a computer
terminal.
     "Computer.  Enhance area 134 mark 37."
     The computer brings up an image of a uniformed Ferengi
kicking and thrashing in the vacuum of space, several hundred
metres off Upper Pylon Two.
     "Transporter Room.  Lock on to figure and transport directly
to the Infirmary.  Dax to Doctor Bashir.  Please report to
Infirmary.  Medical emergency."
     Cut to Bashir, Odo and O'Brien coming along the Promenade
toward Security.  Bashir taps his commbadge.
     "Acknowledged.  You'll have to excuse me, gentlemen."
     He veers off to the Infirmary.
     O'Brien, under his breath: "Gobshite."
     Odo: "Eh?"
     "Oh.  I was just thinking of, ah . . . the Biblical story
about . . . Julian the Gobshite."
     "Ah."
     The Infirmary.  Tong materializes on an examination table
and immediately topples over the far side.


     Quark's.  Quark is pacing back and forth, wringing his
hands.  He blurts:
     "But, Nagus, what about my vision?"
     "Vision is what this is all about, Quark!  You're the best
little bootlicker I know to carry this new technology to Bajor
and on into the Gamma Quadrant!  Or isn't that what you meant?"
     "No, no, that's what I meant."
     "Good.  Pioneering spirit is what I look for.  Why, when I
was out there conquering the Cuniculi Cluster do you think I was
worried about always getting my ten percent?  No!"
     "What *is* this job worth?"
     "Six percent.  Less expenses.  But don't you worry!  You'll
make a million!"
     "But I don't know anything about cybernetic technology!"
     "Don't worry!  I brought experts!"
     Zek leads the way to the front of Quark's Bar.  He takes out
a solid gold communicator.
     "Tell the experts they can come over now."
     Three figures appear in a green transporter swirl in the
middle of the Promenade.  The passers-by freeze, then dash for
cover, several drawing phasers.  [Dramatic music.]  The camera
dollies up to the three Borg glancing tensely this way and that. 
Fade to commercial.


[Bob:
     "Okay, back to Door Repair Guy in a moment.  People ask me,
'What ever became of the Door Repair movie?  Are they going to
make one?  Who'll be in it?  Can I have a free ticket?'  Well,
this just in off the Internet: a complete first draft of the Door
Repair Guy movie.  Look, it says here at the bottom, 'Has Rick
Berman seen this yet?' and underneath, 'No, I haven't,' so you
know it's hot.  Apparently it starts with a scene from Star Trek
Generations.  Have we got that clip?"
     
     Bob: "And it goes on from there.  Production starts in . . .
hey, who are you?"
     Two guys in suits, carrying briefcases with the Paramount
logo, have walked onto the set.  One of them touches a device on
his forearm and Bob freezes in a contorted position  la Captain
Kirk.  The other takes the script and puts it in his briefcase,
then bends down and says, "Back to Door Repair Guy after this."]
      

[Commercial:
     "It's awesome!"
     "Megamorphic!"
     "It's Destructive Crap For Boys!"]


     The tension is palpable.  Bajorans and Starfleet personel
have taken cover along the two sides of the Promenade.  Dozens of
weapons are pointed at the unexpected newcomers.  The three Borg
stand in a defensive circle, their little mechanical thingamajigs
whirring nervously in the pregnant silence.  Zek totters into the
no-man's-land waving his staff of office and shouting:
     "I'll sue the ass of the first Hu-man who fires!"
     Two hands close on Zek's jacket and lift him into the air.
Sisko tells him, face to face:
     "I'm *not* having Borg on this station!"
     Sisko's commbadge beeps.
     *Ops to Sisko.  There's a priority message for you from
Starfleet Command*
     "I'll be right there.  Kira, keep an eye on these people.
Make sure they stay where they are.  At the first sign of trouble
fire."
     KIra holds up her phaser and wonders what she has to do to
get a line in this episode.
     Ops.  Sisko arrives via turbolift and disappears into his
office.  He comes around his desk and swings his computer console
toward him.
     "Sisko here."
     *You *are* going to have Borg on that station.  Nechayev
out*
     He hits his desk.  He walks over and hits the window frame. 
He comes back and hits his viewscreen.  He sets it up again and
says:
     "Get me Starfleet Command.  Admiral Nechayev."
     A moment later: *Nechayev here*
     "Have you completely taken leave of your senses, Admiral? 
First you hand the station over to the Jem'Hadar, and now you
want me to allow the Borg to set up on the Promenade!"
     *I never handed the station over to the Jem'Hadar*
     "Well, we all thought you did.  And it was in character."
     *Benjamin, clearly you have not been fully briefed on the
discoveries in the Cuniculi Cluster.  In addition to the best
damn chili in the universe it is home to a colony of
individualized Borg who have begun to develop a service economy
based on surgical cybernetic technology.  It is imperative that
the Federation gain full access to this technology.  We cannot
allow it to become the exclusive property of a few Ferengi
businessmen.  Who knows who they'd sell it to.  At the same time,
we must not interfere with the development of this postcollective
Borg society.  It's the future wave for the Borg, and I think
you'll agree it's a lot better than the . . . old wave. 
Therefore the Borg must be allowed to set up on your Promenade. 
And we have to get our people in there and buy that cybernetic
expertise*
     "What idiot would want to get wired up to a lot of Borg
machinery?"
     Cut to Door Repair Guy seated on the security console,
kicking his feet and wondering where everybody went.


     The Promenade.  Sisko appears out of a turbolift, and
approaches the group of Borg.  He extends his hand.
     "I am Benjamin Sisko.  Welcome to Deep Space Nine."
     The three Borg exchange looks, checking rapidly to see if
any one of them has a right hand.  The one with one steps
forward.
     "I am Not Fragile, surgical implant specialist.  This is my
lovely assistant Madeline.  And this is our esteemed leader,
Empress Natasha Polaroid."
     She steps forward with a pneumatic hiss.
     Sisko: "I understand you all come from the planet Cauda
Linea.  I'm afraid I've never heard of it before today.  Perhaps
you could describe it."
     Empress Natasha makes a frowning face, searching for the
right words and wrinkling her brow in concentration.  There is a
little whirring sound and a polaroid picture rolls out of one of
the wrinkles.  She takes it in a mechanical hand and extends it
to Sisko.
     "Ah, thank you, thank you very much."


[Commercial:
     "M-a-a-a-a-h-m!  These batteries are dead!"
     "A-a-a-ah!  It won't go!"
     "Just a minute!  There's someone at the door!  Yes?  Who are
you?"
     "Call me . . . Yuri.  How you like some batteries never
die?"
     "Sure!  What parent wouldn't?"
     "Here.  I sell you."
     "They're heavy."
     "Good quality.  Never die."
     "Guaranteed?"
     "Mutually assured."
     "M-a-a-a-a-h-m!!!"
     "All right.  How much?"
     "Sixty thousand cash."
     "Okay.  Here kids!"
     "Aw, cool, they glow!"
     Voiceover: "Never Die Batteries.  Made for war, now
available for Christmas."]


     The Infirmary.  Tong is hooked up to about a hundred
different machines and encased in a transparent osmotic membrane,
the better to repair his freeze-dried tissues.  He breathes in. 
A few moments later he breathes out.  In.  Later: out.  Rom
sidles into the room, ducking and peering in hopes of avoiding
detection.  He edges up to Tong's bed and gapes at the
technological array.  Then he takes an isolinear rod from his
vest pocket.
     "Tong.  Can you hear me?  It's Rom.  I brought the
information you wanted.  Do I get paid now?"
     Tong stirs.  His eyelids flutter.  He raises a faltering
hand.  His lips move.  Rom leans down.
     "Yes, Tong?  What is it?"
     Tong grabs Rom by the throat with both hands, causing tubes
and wires to snap out of their monitors and countless alarms to
start sounding.  They struggle until Tong overcomes Rom, forcing
him to his knees and falling off the bed on top of him before the
medical staff arrive and begin to pull them apart.


     The holosuite.  Jake is leaning on his elbow, the green and
yellow poncho draped over his head.  He stares forward unseeing
in a state of paralytic boredom.  Sisko drops into the seat
beside him and slaps him on the leg.
     "They're warming up in the bullpen.  Did I miss anything?"
     Nog runs up, delirious with happiness, and waving a two-
hundred page deed of sale.
     "Jake!  Look!  I bought the New York Mets!  This is the best
programme ever!  I love baseball!!"


     Security.  The doors open and Kira leans in.
     "Odo in?"
     DRG: "Nope.  Only me.  Wanna stop and chat?"
     She considers her options for a moment, then shakes her head
and exits, deciding that one line is a far far better fate than
the kind of hare-brained plot development those writers might
rope her into on the strength of one heart-to-heart with that
Door Repair Guy.


     Next week, on the season finale of Star Trek: Door Repair
Guy:
     Dax fires a phaser.
     Two vessels drift apart, one of them covered with blue bolts
of lightning.
     The Door Fek'lhr grasps its belly and roars.
     Morn raises his hand to ask a question.


     [Music.  Credits.]


------------
Written by Douglas McLeod, ai919@ncf.carleton.ca
------------

Episode 27 — The Franchise

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