Crossroads


<  PrevNext  >

<<    43    44    45    46    47    48    49    50    51    52    53    54    >>


Episode 45 — Crossroads

"The one to watch.  Channel 12, Montreal."

     Midnight at the New Zealand Penal Settlement.  Maltz the
Klingon leans back in a straightbacked chair on the porch of his
quarters and heaves a sigh.  He plucks a harmonica from his
breast pocket, and begins to blow the lonesome blues.

     "ghom Hemey.  lanvetlh vItu'.
          qIvDu'Daq jIpum.
      ghom Hemey.  lanvetlh vitu'.
          qIvDu'Daq jIpum.
      pung yIghaj qeylIS vItlhob.
          matlh yItoD DaneHchugh."
      
     ["I went to the crossroad,
          fell down on my knees.
       I went to the crossroad,
          fell down on my knees.
       Asked Kahless, "Have mercy,
          Save poor Maltz if you please."]

     Elsewhere Paris and DRG lurk through the shadows.
     DRG: "So what's this Skanky in for?  Is he Maquis?"
     "Shh.  No.  He predates the Maquis."
     "Oh yeah?  Is he really an Admiral?"
     "Keep quiet.  Yes.  He used his position at Starfleet
Command to run a Romulan Ale smuggling ring.  He had many
highplaced customers and a distribution system covering the
entire planet.  But then he fell afoul of the Temperance League.
And that was that."
     Cut to black and white film noir flashback.  A dapper,
cigar-smoking, Brylcreamed Admiral Skanky turns in his chair just
as a squad of phaser-rifle-bearing security guards burst through
the door and Admiral Nechayev wearing her Temperance League
ribbon steps forward to point him out and speak his crime.  He
calmly moves the cigar in an arc of cigar smoke to the ashtray,
then makes a grab for a hand phaser and tries to shoot himself as
two guards wrestle him to the floor.  
     "Romulan Ale?  You know, I never understood why that stuff
is illegal."
     "Are you dense?  It's obvious to anyone with half a brain."
     "Well, duh, I guess.  Explain it to me."
     "It's illegal because it leads to stronger intoxicants."
     "But there are no stronger intoxicants."
     "Quiet.  There are sensors all over the place.  Look, it
comes from the Romulan Empire.  We're always at war with them."
     "Not right now."
     "Well, there's an embargo, isn't there?"
     "So what are the Feds afraid of?  Commerce?"
     "If they legalized it, everybody would be drinking it."
     "Only at parties and stuff."
     "Are you being intentionally obtuse?"
     "You're obtuser."
     "You're the obtusest."
     "You're worse."
     "You're really starting to bug me."
     "The feeling's mutual."
     "Shut up.  Here we are."
     Paris knocks three times.
     DRG: "Is that the secret code?  Jeez, I hope the Warden's
men don't crack it."
     "Shut up."
     "You shut up."
     Paris shoves DRG.  DRG shoves Paris.  The door opens a crack
and Admiral Skanky's eye looks them up and down.  They slip in. 
DRG looks around at the squalor.  Every surface is heaped with
papers, leaves and twigs.
     "Whoa.  Skanky."
     "That's my name.  Don't wear it out, scout."
     Paris sits, then stands and wipes the seat of his pants.
     "I think I just sat in a nest."
     DRG notices a kiwi peering out from behind a can of shoe
polish, then another in a coffee pot and another in a coffee cup. 
He gets a chill.
     (To himself): "This could be me in ten years."
     Fade out on close-up of DRG making "Yikes" face.


     Grainy black and white film clip of the chain gang swinging
mallets under the suspicious eye of a shotgun-toting marshall. 
National Geographic footage of club-wielding Maori warriors. 
Sepia-tone photo a la Cheers of late-nineteenth-century revelers
lifting glasses of Romulan Ale.


     "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."


                    Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                              Starring 

                         Door Repair Guy as
                              Himself


                              Also Starring

                         Robert Duncan McNeill as
                              Tom Paris

                         Tom Waits as
                              Admiral Skanky

                         John Larroquette as
                              Maltz

                         Natalia Nogulich as
                              Admiral Nechayev


[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     Bob Cratchit (Rom): "Brother!"
     Scrooge (Quark): "That's Sir to you, Cratchit."
     "Do you think I might have tomorrow off?  It's Christmas you
know."
     "Christmas?  Christmas?  Just another excuse for overpaid
lackeys to fritter away their undeserved wages."
     "No, Brother.  I mean Sir.  Christmas is really quite
economical at Canadian Tire.  Look, I got this Remington Deluxe
Tooth Sharpener for only $19.95."
     "I always wanted one of those."  (Grabbing it.)
     "No!"  (Grabbing it back.)  "It's for Tiny Tim."
     Tiny Tim (Nog): "God bless us, every one."]


     Stock footage of Starfleet Command headquarters.  Cut to the
corridor outside the committee room.  Exhausted members of the
committee on committees stagger out and head toward home, one of
them tapping a commbadge and disappearing in a transporter
effect.  Admiral Nakamura shuffles out and stretches his aching
lower back muscles with a groan.  Nechayev follows after and
makes a beeline for an aide-de-camp bearing towel and water-
bottle.  She sprays water into her mouth and all over her face
and head, then towels off.
     Nechayev: "I really aced that meeting."
     Nakamura: "I have to hand it to you, Admiral, you showed
great style in there.  And tenacity.  Those scientists really dug
in their heels."
     Nechayev: "That Spooner is a cuff tookie."
     Nakamura (tapping the universal translator behind his ear):
"I think it's time I took this thing in for servicing.  It
started shorting out as soon as the Daystrom Institute people
made their opening representation."
     Nechayev: "But I got 'em.  Combat simulation has nothing on
this.  Did you like the priority message from Starfleet
Security?"
     Nakamura: "Prearranged?"
     Nechayev: "Prearranged nothing.  I made it up.  My screen
was blank."
     Nakamura: "The nerve!"
     Nechayev: "And the beautiful thing is: they all think they
got their way.  I'm up for squash.  How about you?"
     Nakamura: "Ooph.  Forfeit."
     "Nadmiral Echayev."
     "Ah.  Professor Spooner."
     "I simply wished to extend the hand of recongratulation and
conciliate you on a cleanly bought fattle.  Though you sose the
losing chide you acquilted yourset with admirable face and
grortitude.  Do would you me great honour if you were to accept
my invitation to twine at delve."
     "You're on.  Until tomorrow, Admiral.  You'd better have
somebody look at that back of yours.  Lieutenant, run along get
Admiral Nakamura some A-535."
     "Aye, aye, Admiral."
     Spooner: "You certainn't mustly allow it to bechrome a
pronic coblem, Admiral."
     "No.  Indeed."
     They disperse leaving Nakamura tapping his skull just behind
the ear and muttering, "Damned universal translator."
     

[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     Scrooge's darkened chamber is illuminated by a strange
light.  He awakes and sits bolt upright in his armchair.
     "Marley, is that you?"
     "No.  I'm Commander William T. Riker of the starship
Enterprise.  And this is Lieutenant Worf."
     "You are spirits from another world!  Torment me not!"
     Worf: "You would think he'd seen a Fek'lhr.  Stop cringing
and look at these.  They are pattern enhancers.  The set of three
is available for only $39.95 this week at Canadian Tire.  They
will make it easier to beam your holiday guests in and out of
this . . . darkened chamber.  They are a must for the festive
season."
     They beam out.
     Scrooge: "Holiday guests.  Humbug."]


     DRG: "So, I guess you're the kiwi man of Alcatraz!"
     Skanky: "Ah, yes.  The flightless bird.  Not unlike
yourselves, I'd say."
     Paris (disconsolately): "It's true!  I used to be one of the
most promising pilots in Starfleet.  But I screwed up and lost my
wings.  God, I need a drink.  When does the bar open?"
     Skanky: "Oh, I think I have a little something here."
     He produces a bottle of Romulan Ale.
     "Where did you get this?"
     "A little birdy sent it."
     DRG: "Romulan Bird of Prey, more like?"
     Paris: "Give me that."
     DRG: "Careful!  It leads to stronger intoxicants."
     Paris (drinking from the bottle and then wiping his mouth
with the back of his hand): "*Cough*, *Cough*, *Cough*!!!"
     Skanky: "And for yourself?"
     "An ice beer."
     (Pouring himself a drink): "Oh, I think I'm fresh out."
     "I'm sure Queen Victoria could arrange something."
     Skanky: "*Cough*, *Cough*, *Cough*!!!"
     "Say it, don't spray it."
     Paris: "Queen Victoria?  I don't get it."
     Skanky: "*Cough*  Here, Mr Marseilles, why don't you try out
the special reserve?"
     He fishes out another bottle and refills Paris's glass. 
Paris sniffs it and drinks.
     "Whoa!  This stuff goes right to your head."
     He describes a small circle and falls over.
     DRG: "Great.  Now I gotta drag him home.  Without being
seen."
     "Well, before you go, we'll have a little talk."
     He brushes aside a stack of newspapers and produces a
Romulan disruptor which he points at DRG.  Closeup of DRG looking
surprised but not really really surprised.


     Sunrise over Copenhagen.  Blonde commuters hurry through the
snowy early-morning streets of the Lego District.  In a loft
above the street a woman in a white martial arts outfit moves
through the intricate steps of Klingon tai chi, performing
finally the difficult bIQtIqDaq rupwI' yIqeng [Carry Tax-
collector to the River] maneuvre when the communications terminal
bleeps.  She cross the room to the pine work-station and
activates the screen.
     In Danish: *The turbot are running.*
     She replies: "Fortunately the boats are out of drydock."
     To conclude: *Transmission ended.*
     She locks down the terminal, crosses the apartment, and goes
into the bathroom, where she steps into the sonic shower and
dematerializes in a transporter effect.
     Sundown over San Francisco and Starfleet Command.  Cut to a
briefing room.  The doors swoosh open to admit the martial
artist, this time in a mustard-shouldered Security uniform.  Two
high-ranking members of Starfleet Security are already there.
     "Special Agent Braun.  I'm Commander McSorley.  This ugly
guy is Commander Baumgartner."
     "Commander.  Commander."
     McSorley: "Are you up on the DRG file?"
     "Klingon-trained proximity door maintenance technician. 
Born Nepean 5 colony.  Borg elective implant test model.  Co-
developer of top-secret interdimensional gateway.  Currently
serving 25-year sentence in New Zealand Penal Settlement for
conspiring with the Children of Vaal."
     "You served with him on the Enterprise.  How would you
describe him?"
     "He's a nut, Commodore."
     McSorley: "Short and sweet."
     Baumgartner: "Yeah, but the Daystrom Institute guys have
their shorts in a knot over him.  How do you explain that?"
     McSorley: "There's that gateway thing."
     Baumgartner: "Yeah, but it doesn't work!"
     McSorley: "His one worked!"
     Baumgartner: "But it's not reproducable."
     McSorley: "Cold fusion!"
     Baumgartner: "Cold fusion!  Which is why they want to get
their gloves on him, so he can show them how to do it."
     McSorley: "The Daystrom Institute."
     Baumgartner: "Yeah, what do you think?  The Daystrom
Institute."
     McSorley: "Okay."
     Baumgartner: "Okay."
     The two commanders are standing chest to chest.  McSorley
sticks out his tongue with his upper bridge on it.
     Baumgartner: "You're ugly."
     They come back to the point in question.
     McSorley: "So he's a flake, eh?  Sort of an albatross, a
floater?"
     Braun: "Door Repair Guy is an erratic, a free agent, the
exception that seeks to disprove the rule.  He is like a strange
force of nature from some other reality, an anomalous anti-
graviton fountain or a retrograde moon.  He's an eccentric who
affects his surroundings until they too share his eccentricity."
     Baumgartner: "Whoa.  You've thought about this."
     McSorley: "So?  Is he a good guy or a bad guy?"
     "Neither.  I think he embodies Chaos.  Door Repair Guy is
the proverbial monkey wrench: in the right hands he can be a
useful tool, but left to his own devices he's guaranteed to slip
into the works.  The record's clear."
     "Oh yeah.  So how do you think he'd do in . . . the Maquis?"
     Braun is startled, then slowly nods as she turns the idea
over in her head.
     "They'll surrender within the year."


[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     A snowy Christmas choir serenades the door of Scrooge and
Marley.  We see Cratchit (Eddington) humming along at his ledger.
     Scrooge (Odo): "Cratchit!"
     Cratchit (in a panic): "Yes, Mr Scrooge?"
     "Are you deaf?  There's an unlawful assembly disturbing the
peace in the street.  Put a stop to it."
     "Aye aye sir, ah, Mr Scrooge."
     The door opens.  Cratchit attempts to shoo away the
choristers but only manages to encourage them to new vocal
heights.  He retreats.
     "They won't go, sir.  They want a donation."
     "Bribery, is it?  Bah.  Here.  Take these self-sealing stem
bolts.  I got a box of them at Canadian Tire.  Only $3.99 per
dozen."
     Shot of Cratchit handing out the stem bolts to the grateful
choristers.]


     DRG: "Paris was wrong.  You are Maquis."
     "Not a bit of it.  They work for me.  And now you do too."
     "I don't recall applying for the job."
     "Just think of it as workfare."
     Skanky moves around the room, keeping the disruptor on DRG
with one hand and searching for a cigarette with the other.  He
lights it and takes a long drag.
     Skanky: "The Romulan Ale trade is something that exists
whether the Federation likes it or not.  People want their
Romulan Ale, and they'll have it.  With your help."
     "What'd'you expect me to do?"
     "You'll be a errand boy, as it were."
     "Yeah, right.  With the dampening field and guards and all
that."
     "If you've met Queen Victoria you can guess about the
guards.  As for the transporter dampening field" -- he takes
another pull, causing the disintegration of at least an inch of
the cigarette -- "it doesn't always work so well.  In fact I know
a fella feels it may be down tomorrow for a brief period."
     DRG lifts his leg and grips the personal transporter
dampening anklet significantly.
     Skanky: "You're assuming it works."
     DRG looks at the anklet in a new light.
     "You're right, you know.  I never tested it."
     "There's a thing or two I could teach you."
     (Aside): "There may be something to his mad scheme.  What
better cover for a crime than jail?"
     "You can stop muttering to yourself.  Here's the plan.  Be
in the potting shed tomorrow at 0700 hours.  There you'll find a
parcel on the workbench.  When you pick it up you'll trigger an
automatic transporter relay.  You'll materialize by a sheepshed
seven kilometres from the Settlement.  There you'll meet an
associate of mine, name of Frank Fannakapan.  He'll be playing a
saw.  Give him the parcel.  After that you'll be beamed back."
     "Why do I have to go?  Just beam out the parcel."
     "Fannakapan wants to look you over."
     "And if I refuse your evil plan?"
     "I'm sorry, am I holding a disruptor?"
     "Oh yeah."


[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     Scrooge: "Spirit, what is this futuristic contraption I see
before me?"
     Ghost of Christmas Future: "It is the Toshiba Replicator
4000.  Simply name any item you desire, be it food, drink, tool
or clothing, and the Replicator shall provide it free of charge. 
Available at your neighbourhood Canadian Tire store, only
$79.95."
     Scrooge: "Can it be true?  Have all my dreams come to their
fulfilment?  Spirit, you have warmed an old miser's heart. 
What's the catch?" 
     Ghost: "The service department doesn't open for five hundred
and three years."]


     Morning.  Maltz comes out of the mess hall, belches, takes
out the harmonica, and plays.  He sings:

          "pagh qagh ghaj chaH,
           pagh qagh ghaj chaH, qeylIS.
           chay' jISoplaH
           pagh qagh ghajDI' chaH?"

          ["They got no serpent worms,
            They got no serpent worms, oh Lord.
            How can I eat
            When they got no serpent worms?"]

     Paris and DRG trudge out after.
     Paris: "Wow.  My head.  That Romulan Ale is a killer.  I
couldn't look at anything except the Oatmeal Crisp."
     "It's a bonny cereal, but it's not oatmeal.  Got the time?"
     "Five to seven.  Hey, where are you going?"
     "I just remembered I forgot something."
     "What?  Am I missing something?"
     "No.  I've just got to go someplace."
     "You've got to help me with the sprinkler system at 0730."
     "Right.  I'll be there.  Take care of yourself."
     "Sure.  I can take care of myself til seven thirty."
     DRG dashes away.  Closeup of Paris's perplexed features.


[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     Quark as Scrooge: "Boy!  Boy!  What day is it?"
     Boy: "Why, it's Christmas Day!"
     Quark: "It's not too late.  Tell me, what planet is this?"
     Boy: "England, sir!"
     Quark: "A remarkable boy!  A delightful boy!  Here's a
guinea.  Go down to the grocer's and bring back the largest ball
of wing beetle secretion you can find!"
     Boy: "Eeeeuuuuuoooooohhhh!"  (Flees.)
     Quark (watching him go): "There's a shilling in it for
you."]


     The potting shed.  DRG peers in.  He spies the parcel on the
bench.  It's obviously a bottle of Romulan Ale, wrapped in brown
paper and tied up with string.  He takes a deep breath and picks
it up.  A figure materializes in front of him, becoming Special
Agents Braun pointing a phaser at him.
     DRG: "I knew this was a trick.  Skanky's working for you."
     Braun: "He doesn't know it.  Actually, he's working for the
Maquis, too.  He's what you call a double agent."
     DRG: "Huh.  I'd check into him.  With those Romulan
connections he could be a triple agent."
     Braun: "You leave him to us."
     DRG: "Wait a minute!  The smokes!  He's a quadruple agent
for the tobacco lobby!  It all comes clear!  The Temperance
League doesn't know the half of it!"
     Braun (looking a little concerned): "Let's just focus on the
here and now, can we?  I've just caught you trying to escape. 
When the Judge Advocate General sentences people to jail he
expects them to stay there.  You'd better be prepared to co-
operate."
     "You want me to testify against Admiral Skanky."
     "Look.  Just forget about Skanky.  Let's talk about the
trouble you've been causing Starfleet Command."
     "We went over all that at the court martial."
     "No, I mean since then."
     "I'll return those spoons to the mess hall first thing!"
     "No, I mean the petition by the Daystrom Institute."
     "Huh?"
     "Don't you pay attention to the news at all?"
     "A-a-a-a-h."
     "Hmph.  Here it is in idiot mode.  You're a cause celebre. 
The Daystrom Institute has represented your conviction as an
attempt by Starfleet to suppress the interdimensional gateway and
has orchestrated a Federation-wide petition for your reprieve."
     "Huh.  Is it true about the gateway?"
     "I'm not at liberty to say.  The Judge Advocate General has
agreed to commute your sentence on the condition that you join
Starfleet Security's Special Maquis Unit."
     "You mean I'm outta here?"
     "Affirmative.  As soon as you sign this contract."
     He signs without reading it.
     "Wait'l I tell Paris!"
     "Under no circumstances are you to divulge this to anyone."
     "Oh, okay.  When do we leave?"
     "You're a spy now.  Try thinking like one.  We have to
manufacture your accidental death."
     "Yikes!"
     "Shut up while I brief you.  We haven't much time."


[Commercial: Canadian Tire.
     "Surprise!  Happy Christmas, Father!"
     The Nexus.  Captain Picard takes in the Dickensian scene
with a look of confusion and a growing sense of joy.  Guinan
steps forward.
     "Guinan, is that you?  Aren't you on board the Enterprise?"
     "Think of me as an echo of the Guinan you know.  I'm here to
tell you about some of the great Christmas shopping ideas
available at Canadian Tire this week.  Like a Proctor Silex
twelve-speed blender, only $29.95, or how about this Roadmaster
emergency spare tire kit with flares and roadside reflectors,
only $48.95?" 
     Daughter: "Oh, thank you for the five-speed reversible power
ratchet with snap-on heads, Father.  It's beautiful."
     Picard looks around and scratches the back of his head.]


     Paris is on his knees wrestling with the sprinkler system. 
DRG runs past.
     Paris: "Hey!"
     "There's something I just have to do for a minute if you can
just hang on because I'll be right back in just a sec!"
     "Take care of yourself!"
     DRG stops short.
     "I'm not going anywhere."
     "I didn't say you were."
     "All right."
     "All right."
     Door Repair Guy dashes off to their quarters.
     Paris shakes his head and gets back to work.  A shadow falls
across him.  He looks up.
     Admiral Skanky: "Where's your roommate?"
     "He went that way.  What do you want with him?"
     "I have a bone to pick with that guy.  We had an
understanding."
     Cut to a pastoral scene.  A man is seated next to a sheep
shed, playing a saw.  He pauses, gets up, looks in the shed,
checks his watch, mutters, sits, and begins to play again.
     Cut to Earth orbit.  We see the blue arc of the planet
below, and the secondary hull of a Nebula-class starship above. 
A small asteroid materializes in space.  The ship emits a tractor
beam which stabs the asteroid and causes it to immediately lose
momentum and begin to descend.  We follow the asteroid as it
tumbles toward the Earth.  The atmosphere rises up.  The rock
begins to redden and burn.  It streaks across the Indian Ocean,
the Australian continent, the Pacific, and zeroes in on New
Zealand.  The North Island looms up, the Penal Settlement, and
Paris's hut.
     DRG: "Computer.  Time Index.  *Sniff*  Dum-de-dum-de-dum. 
Oh, yeah.  No computer.  I guess I'll just try it and see what
happens."  He prods his transporter control.
     The meteorite flattens the hut.
     DRG materializes in a wine-vinegar-coloured personal
transporter effect in the low human igloo of a rugby scrum.  The
ball hits him in the head and several dozen cleated boots begin
to trample him into the mud before suddenly rushing off in one
direction.  An official comes over and blows a whistle at him. 
Two burly players, swearing, hustle him off the field to the
sound of the crowd's disapproval.  He lands on the turf at the
feet of Special Agent Braun.
     DRG (when he gets his wind back): "You oughta recruit from
those guys."
     "We do.  The meeting place was behind the stands.  Come on."
     She hauls him firmly but inconspicuously away.


     Tom Paris stands outside his ruined quarters and scratches
the back of his head.  Admiral Skanky hunkers up beside him.
     Paris: "One thing I've learned here.  Life is nasty, brutal
and short.  Not unlike yourself, Admiral."
     Skanky: "I ain't so short."
     Maltz stumps up, surveys the wreckage, then pulls out a
harmonica and wanders off playing the lonesome blues.

     "ghu' SuD vIghaj,
      ghu' SuD vIghaj.
      bIghHa'vamDaq jIba'
      'ej pagh be' vItIvbe'."

     ["I've got a blue situation,
       I've got a blue situation.
       I'm sittin' in this prison,
       And I ain't got no woman."]

     "qa'vam wIneHpu',
      qa'vam wIneHpu'.
      'a mutojta' jaghwI'
      QumwI' lo'ta'DI'."

     ["We wanted Genesis,
       We wanted Genesis.
       But my enemy tricked me
       When he used the communicator."]

     "tugh qaHoH,
      tugh qaHoH lay' ghaH
      'a jIHeghbe'taH
      jIHeghbe'taH."

     ["I'll kill you soon,
       I'll kill you soon, he said,
       But I'm still not dead,
       I'm still not dead."]


     San Francisco.  Starfleet Command.  An aged Admiral McCoy
paces his office, muttering irascibly and banging the furniture
with his cane.
     "Blasted Fannakapan.  Paid good money for that deposit.  Two
hundred year old triple-distilled.  Bah!  Blasted double-dealing
snake-oil salesman.  Why, I oughta turn him over to Security! 
Yes, sir, that's just what I oughta do.  Call in the redshirts!"
     He pauses and raises an eyebrow.  (Close-up.)
     "What am I thinking?  Crazy old physician.  Letting your
emotions run away with you.  Always too hot-headed.  Spock was
right.  Could always see beyond the tangle of emotions.  Spock. 
Where . . . where do you suppose he is now?"
     Romulus.  A darkened table in the back corner of an out-of-
the-way eatery.  The camera looks past the square shoulder of the
Romulan watching as a hooded figure approaches.  The figure sits
and pushes back the hood.
     Romulan: "Can I order you an ale?"
     Spock: "Indeed." 


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

Episode 45 — Crossroads

Return to Annex

<<    43    44    45    46    47    48    49    50    51    52    53    54    >>

<  PrevNext  >