Cherchez la Femme


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Episode 53 — Cherchez la Femme

     Archival black-and-white footage of the London Blitz.  We
see firefighters hosing a smoking facade, then breaking for cover
as the building folds in on itself in an avalanche of bricks, and
the camera shakes and jolts.  To our surprise Chakotay and Jonas
step through the tilty shot.  Jonas grabs Chakotay's arm, points
to the camera, and the pair of them hurry away with their hats
over their faces.
     Return to Panavision.  The two Maquis duck into a boarded-up
shop doorway and look out balefully.
     Chatokay: "This is going from bad to worse.  Now we're in
the historical record."
     Jonas: "I don't like it!  I don't like it one bit!  First we
lose the time travellers!  Then that air raid warden ends up in
an ambulance!  Now Seska is missing!  Every second we spend here
twists the timeline more and more out of shape!  And people keep
staring at me!"
     Chatokay: "What do you mean?"
     Jonas: "They're looking at me!  They can see I've never been
to sea in my life!  I can't do the walk!  And where is
Stittsville?  East coast?  West coast?  I don't have the faintest
idea!  I'm no Canadian!  I'll bet I'm doing that walk all wrong
too!  I just don't know how long I can keep this up!"
     Chatokay: "Get a hold of yourself."
     Jonas: "I'm freaking out!"
     Chatokay slaps him.
     Jonas (taking a deep breath): "Thanks.  I needed that."
     "Chatokay to Stargazer."
     Tuvok: *We are receiving you, away team.*
     "Please scan London for Bajoran life signs."
     *Stand by.*  (Pause.)  *Stargazer to away team.  Results of
your search are negative.*
     "Can you reconfigure sensors so as to pinpoint a dead
Bajoran body?"
     *Standard nucleotide scans would indicate any mass of
Bajoran genetic material, living or dead.  Am I to infer that Ms
Seska has succumbed to the blanket bombing?*
     "With all due respect, I've seen Seska under a blanket.  It
would take more than an airstrike to put her off her game.  We
have become separated from her and I believe she may have left
the vicinity on some mission of her own."
     *I shall expand the search area to include the region
commonly referred to as the Home Counties.  Please stand by.*
     Chatokay and Jonas stand hunched over in the doorway.  A
small boy in knee pants comes up and stares at them.
     *This is Stargazer to the away team.  Our search of the Home
Counties has produced no Bajoran life sign.  We are expanding our
search parameters to include all of the United Kingdom and the
Republic of Ireland.*
     Chatokay: "I don't think we want to wait here for the
results.  When is the next chroniton maximum?"
     *Particle buildup would indicate a temporal event in
fourteen hours three minutes at a distance of three point two
kilometres from your present location.*
     "Noted.  Stand by to beam up two.  On my mark."
     Jonas and Chakotay turn their eyes downward to the small
boy.  He stands there and stares upward, scratching his leg.
     Chatokay: "Oh!  Isn't that Rudolph Hess?"
     The boy's head whips around.  A man is crossing the street a
block away.  The boy runs after.
     Chatokay: "Beam us up now."
     A transporter effect lifts them out of the street scene.
     View of Stargazer in Earth orbit.  Cut to transporter room. 
Tuvok and Dennis Madalone stand at the console.  Chatokay and
Jonas materialize and step down from the pad.
     Chatokay, removing his hat and throwing his leather gloves
into it: "I wonder.  What would it take to hide an alien life
sign from an orbital scan?"
     Tuvok: "There are a number of techniques available.  A
cloaking device would serve the purpose admirably, but the energy
outlay required would be daunting."
     "There must be some inexpensive, low-tech method, and I'm
sure Seska, given her experience fighting the Cardassians, is up
on it.  Some kind of particle discharge perhaps."
     "I shall investigate that possibility."
     They step toward the door.  The transporter activates behind
them.  Dennis Madelone returns to the console, perplexed.  Tuvok
joins him.
     Tuvok: "This transporter system would appear to have been
programmed to activate automatically on instructions from the
ground."
     Chatokay: "Looks like Seska is about to get a chance to
explain herself."
     Jonas: "And not a moment too soon.  This teaser has gone on
way too long."
     They wait while the shimmering annular confinement beam
resolves into humanoid form.  Not Seska but Door Repair Guy
materializes.
     Chatokay (doubly annoyed): "You!  Just where have you been?"
     DRG (as Dennis Madalone mounts the platform and lays hands
on him): "The pub?"
     Chatokay: "You've been to the surface?  Is there no one else
on this ship concerned about preserving the timeline?"
     DRG: "I only had a couple!  Nobody went without!"
     Chatokay: "Huh!  Follow me.  I want to keep an eye on you."
     They exit the transporter room.  Cut to an English pub.  A
middle-aged Englishman in a cloth cap lifts a pint and winks at
the barmaid.  The camera circles past him to the corner where
patrons hoisting glasses of nut brown ale are gathered around the
old piano, joined in song:

     "It's a boy, Mrs Walker, it's a boy!
      It's a boy, Mrs Walker, it's a boy!
      A son-n-n-n!  A son-n-n-n!  A son-n-n-n-n-n-n!"

     They cheer, slap one another on the back, pause to sup their
ales, and then cock their ears at the sound of a distant train
whistle.  Stock footage of the train crossing the English
countryside.  Cut to a woman in a cloche hat seated in a railway
carriage, her head turned toward the window.  We hear the
continuous patter of steel wheels on tracks as the autumnal
English countryside flows by.  The door from the corridor opens
and a valise-laden airman looks in.
     "I wonder.  Is that seat taken?"
     Seska turns from the window and smiles.
     A dire look crosses the airman's face as he notices the
bridge of her nose, but in true British fashion he overcomes his
distress and smiles back.
     "What a damnable war," he offers.
     "I have no doubt it shall come to some sort of conclusion,
sooner or later."
     "I'm afraid that's all we can say in these dark days.  But
surely England will prevail.  Don't you think so?"
     "Oh, to be sure."
     "I'm so glad you feel that way."
     Her eyes sparkle.
     "Why don't you lower the blind?"
     Stock footage clip of train entering tunnel.


     "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."

     A pair of Maquis raiders shoot by hotly pursued by a
Miranda-class Federation starship.


                    Star Trek: Door Repair Guy


                              Starring 

                         Door Repair Guy as
                              Himself
 
     The two Maquis shoot past in the other direction now with a
Cardassian Galor-class warship on their tail.

                         Also Starring

                         Martha Hackett as
                              Seska

                         Robert Beltran as
                              Chakotay

                         Tim Russ as 
                              Tuvok

                         Roxann Biggs-Dawson as
                              Torres

                         Jerry Seinfeld as
                              Jonas

     The Federation and Cardassian ships nearly pile up chasing
Maquis ships into the middle of the screen.  The Maquis loop
around and shoot off, one of them coming right past the camera
and leaving behind a glimmering ion trail which fades to:


[Commercial: Borg Collective for Rice Crispie Squares]


     "These --"
     Close-up of a mauve and amber Okudagram of thousands of
gyrating particles.
     "-- are frissons."
     The camera draws back to reveal Tuvok standing beside a
wall-mounted computer display with a pointer in one hand. 
Chatokay, Torres, Jonas, DRG and Dennis Madalone are seated
around a conference table.  Dennis Madalone still has DRG by a
fistful of orange overall.
     Torres: "I've heard of frissons.  They're a byproduct of the
phased energy rectification process.  The earliest phasers used
to emit small quantities of them until it was noticed that they
could interfere with certain tricorder functions.  Improvements
in phaser casing design eliminated the problem."
     Tuvok: "You are correct, Ms Torres.  As a onetime instructor
at Starfleet Academy may I say that such a ready response would
have earned you valuable in-class marks.  More's the pity you
impulsively decided to 'drop out.'"
     Torres: "I didn't know the Maquis were recruiting social
workers!"
     Tuvok: "On the contrary.  I was merely expressing --"
     Chatokay: "Let's concentrate on these frissons.  You say
they interfere with tricorder function.  Could they have a
similar effect on the ship's sensors?"
     Tuvok: "Affirmative.  By the simple expedient of removing
the phaser casing a steady source of frissons would be
established.  This in itself would not be enough to inhibit the
ship's sensors.  However, if a nearby tricorder were set to emit
a particular subspace signal the frissons could be rendered
sufficiently excited to confuse our readings."
     Chatokay: "Then shouldn't we just scan for frissons?"
     Tuvok: "Therein lies the difficulty."
     DRG: "Oh!  Oh!  I know this one!  It wouldn't work because
frissons are so short-lived.  They degenerate rapidly, producing
quantities of low-grade morons."
     Jonas: "From an expert."
     Torres (to DRG): "You're the spy, aren't you.  He has to be
the spy."
     Tuvok: "Unhappily, he is correct.  The end-product of
frisson breakdown is termed a moron."
     DRG: "Ha."
     Torres: "I still say he's the spy." 
     Chatokay: "I feel we're drifting off topic here.  Seska,
like Jonas and me, was equipped with a tricorder, and I saw her
with a phaser just before she vanished.  She may have known this
frisson trick from her experience in the Bajoran resistance."
     Jonas: "But why?  Why would she abandon us?  And how did she
slip away like that?  It's like she vanished into thin air!"
     Torres: "Why are you so jumpy lately?"
     Jonas: "It's these wake-up pills!  I can't get to sleep
anymore!  I'm hooked on them!"
     Torres: "Then stop taking them!  We really have to get some
doctors in the Maquis!  This self-prescribing is getting out of
hand!"
     Chatokay: "Strange, I don't see medical policy on the agenda
of this meeting.  I for one would be very happy to hear about the
transporter and your part in transporting Seska from the bomb
site."
     DRG: "My part?  I didn't have nothing to do with it!"
     Chatokay: "Does that double negative constitute a
confession?"
     DRG: "Not on my planet!"
     Dennis Madalone: "He had nothing to do with it."
     General surprise.
     Dennis Madalone: "Allow me to demonstrate."
     He rises, borrows the pointer from the Vulcan, and goes to
the computer display.
     "Computer.  Security log, Transporter Room One, time index
747.3."
     We see a security-camera-angle view of the empty transporter
room.  A light flashes on the console.  The annular confinement
beam appears and resolves into a brick-dust-covered Seska.  She
brushes herself off, points a portable control at the console,
and is transported out.  There is a moment of inactivity and then
Door Repair Guy enters.  He steps up to the platform, activates
the console with a device similar to Seska's, and is transported
out.
     Jonas: "There it is!  Proof!  He's got the same device as
Seska!  They're in cahoots!"
     Dennis Madalone throws one on the table.
     "I have one too.  Half the ship have them."
     Chatokay: "What is the source of these remote controls?"
     "They're $14.99 at Radio Shack."
     Tuvok directs a tricorder at DRG.
     "I am receiving high readings of Newcastle Brown Ale."
     DRG: "Can I be excused?  I really have to leave the room."
     Chatokay (drumming the table): "Meeting adjourned." 


[Commercial: Roberto Alomar for Handy Wipes]


     A corridor in the Stargazer.  Jonas and Torres walk toward
the camera.
     Jonas: "Did you get a load of the way Dennis Madalone took
over that meeting?  
     Torres: "Yeah.  That was odd.  He's usually so quiet."
     Jonas: "Kind of a non-talker if you ask me."
     Torres: "I wonder what got into him."
     Jonas: "Well, if it's any indication of things to come I'm
booking on to another ship.  I don't want to be part of any crew
where the stuntmen call the shots."
     Torres: "Why do they call them stuntmen anyway?"
     Jonas: "Did you ever see a tall one?"
     Dennis Madalone steps out of a side passage.
     Torres: "Oh!"
     Jonas: "Hello, Madalone."
     Dennis Madalone: "Hello, Jonas.  I was just about to walk
down this corridor on my hands.  Care to make a competition of
it?"
     Jonas: "Oh, you stuntmen think you're so athletic.  I accept
your challenge.  But why don't we make it more interesting?  The
first one down to the end and back again wins B'Elanna's hand in
marriage."
     Torres: "What?"
     Dennis Madalone: "Very well.  On your mark."
     He bends and stands up on his hands.  Jonas does likewise.
     "Get set.  Go!"
     Dennis Madalone charges off down the corridor.  Jonas starts
off after him, but quickly crashes sideways into the wall, does a
roll and ends up in a heap on the floor.
     Torres, fists on her hips, glares down at him and then turns
and strides away.  Dennis Madalone comes back into the shot,
walking on his hands and grinning triumphantly.
     Jonas: "B'Elanna!  B'Elanna-a-a-a-h!"


[Commercial: Roberto Alomar for Kiwi Shoe Polish:
     "It's better than spit."]


     Soundtrack: "Tequila Sunrise."
     B'Elanna Torres walks along a corridor, brushing past other
Maquis who turn and watch her knowingly.  A door slides open and
Dennis Madalone steps out and gives her a torrid look.  She sets
her jaw and pushes him back through the door, then hurries on,
exclaiming -- we read her lips -- "As *if*!"  She comes into
Engineering.  Jonas swivels in his chair and holds out his arms
in a melting lovelorn gesture.  She walks away pointing her
finger down her throat.
     The train.  Seska slips from her compartment, adjusting her
tweed suit, looking this way and that.  Over her shoulder we
glimpse a half-dressed and apparently unconscious member of the
RAF.  We follow her down the corridor, where she stops and
exchanges a few words with the guard, who consults his watch and
makes reference to his timetable.  She smiles.  He touches his
hat, and frowns momentarily once her back is turned.
     Captain's ready room, USS Stargazer.  Chatokay leans back
behind the desk, and gazes out the window at the Earth beneath. 
The sun is just sinking behind the planet.  There's no dialogue,
just one of those 180 degree tracking close-up shots designed to
establish a character's mood.  He looks glum.  Is he thinking
that he'll probably never sit in a captain's chair for real?  Or
perhaps about the temporal crisis developing on the surface?  Or
is he brooding about Seska?  It could be he's just bummed out by
the Eagles.  Face it, those guys Henley and Frey are bleak. 
We've just gotten to the lines

          Every night when the sun goes down
          Just another lonely boy in town
          And she's out running round

when Chatokay blinks, frowns, swivels in his seat and says,
"Computer.  Who programmed this playlist?"
     Majel Barrett Roddenberry: *Last entry was made by Door
Repair Guy, 17 minutes, 3 seconds ago.*
     "That guy needs something productive to do.  Chatokay to
Tuvok.  Please join me in the ready room.  And bring your
personnel files."
     *Acknowledged.*
     Wipe.
     Tuvok and Chatokay are seated opposite each other.  Chatokay
examines a computer pad.
     Tuvok: "Regrettably, these entries are of a rudimentary
nature.  A more extensive database would be difficult to
conceal."
     "This information is certainly sufficient to our needs. 
Where in your tricorder do you hide it, if I may ask?"
     "I have it piggybacked on the auxiliary hinge lubrication
control."
     "Appropriate.  So, am I to understand that this man
possesses the ability to transport site-to-site at will?"
     "Affirmative.  There are limitations, however.  He would
appear to be restricted to a 50-kilometre transport horizon when
not assisted by some manner of ancillary power enhancement.  And
his effectiveness in targeting destinations is limited by his
ability to bring them to mind."
     "A serious disability, potentially."
     "And might I add: dangerous.  Several times in recent weeks
I have had occasion to observe Mr Door Repair Guy staring
vacantly into the distance.  When I asked him the topic of his
reverie he invariably answered, 'Nothing.'  Should such a paucity
of mental activity overcome him in the midst of a site-to-site
tranport the consequences could be dire."
     "You mean he could disappear without a trace?"
     "Indeed."
     "Well, I'm willing to risk it.  Let's get him in here."
     Wipe.
     Now Chatokay, Tuvok and DRG are seated around the desk.
     Chatokay: "Our mission on the surface has taken a serious
turn.  Not only must we intercept the time travellers at their
next appearance, but someone has to go and find Seska.  I'm
assigning that task to you."
     DRG: "Cool.  Where is she?"
     Chatokay: "We don't know!"
     DRG: "How do I find her?"
     Tuvok: "That we do not know either."
     Chatokay: "Use you head, and your personal transporter, and
see what you can come up with.  And stay out of the pubs."
     DRG: "Unless she's in one or more."
     "Just stay out of the pubs."
     "Suit yourself."


[Commercial: Roberto Alomar for Armorall:
     "It's better than spit!"]


     Transporter Room One.  Chatokay enters in his USAAF uniform
and stops short at the sight of DRG in a tweed suit and academic
gown.
     "What are you supposed to be?"
     "I'm an Oxford don."
     "Specializing in what?"
     "Cosmology.  Temporal-spatial anomalies.  Black holes.
Interdimensionality.  Stuff like that."
     "I absolutely forbid you to discuss black holes with anyone. 
They're just about to be theorized."
     "Brown holes?"
     "No."
     "Biege holes."
     "Well.  I doubt you'll find anyone capable of grasping biege
holes."
     "All right!"
     The doors swoosh open and B'Elanna Torres enters very self-
conscious and uncomfortable in the uniform of the Women's Royal
Navy.
     Chatokay: "What happened to Jonas?"
     Torres: "I had to hurt him.  We really need a doctor on this
ship."
     Chatokay: "More and more I come to realize that command is a
process of bowing to circumstances beyond one's control.  Just
keep your cap pulled down."
     DRG: "So when do we go?"
     Tuvok (from transporter console): "The next temporal event
will occur in approximately three hours, seven minutes." 
     Chatokay: "I want you to go on ahead.  You have a tricorder
and a phaser.  See if you can duplicate Seska's sensor trick.  If
you can, figure out how to track her using it.  Use your personal
transporter to triangulate to her location.  You'll need a map,
or preferably an atlas with pictures.  You may as well begin your
search in Oxford as anywhere else.  At least there you're
guaranteed to find a bookstore to buy them.  We've replicated
some currency of the period.  Here."
     DRG stuffs pound notes into pockets, then holds up a British
penny. 
     "You could really whip one of these babies.  Who needs a
phaser?"
     Tuvok: "Kindly refrain from introducing soccer violence
before its time."
     DRG (examining coin further): "I say.  King Edward VII!"  
     He strokes an imaginary beard and waggles an eyebrow at
Torres.
     "Have some Madeira, m'dear?"
     Torres (pushing him up the steps to the transporter pad, on
which he lands on his arse): "Energize!"


[Commercial: Roberto Alomar for Oil of Olay:
     "It's better than spit!"]


     DRG materializes on a hilltop overlooking the Thames Valley
and the spires of Oxford.
     "Door Repair Guy the Obscure."
     He touches his forearm and disappears again in a swirl of
sauerbraten-coloured transporter effect.
     Elsewhere a train pulls into a station.  Amid clouds of
steam Seska descends to the platform.  She is carrying one of the
airman's valises.  She approaches a guard.
     "Pardon me, is this Grantham, Lincolnshire?"
     He nods.
     "Thank you."
     She walks away.
     A man from the Survey of English Dialects approaches the
guard.
     "Excuse me, did many cars made it up the long hill?"
     Guard: "Veree foo cahs made it oop the long ill."
     "Thenk kew."


     Oxford.  DRG strides along the pavement, craning his neck
for a bookseller's sign.  Picture of DRG after 52 episodes: tweed
suit, black academic gowns, work boots, orange baseball cap worn
backward, South Seas tattoos.  He slows and stops beside a US
soldier leaned up against a building reading a copy of Stars and
Stripes.  The soldier, who is also wearing academic gowns, turns
and gives him a dirty look.
     "Imitator!"
     "Ha!  I'm post-modern.  I can imitate anyone I want."
     "Git outta here before I flatten ya!"
     "PetaQ."
     DRG spots a bookseller's and goes in.  The shoppe is dark,
crammed with books to the ceiling, and a little musty.  The
shopkeeper glances at him over reading glasses and thereafter
ignores him.  DRG pokes around a while, and discovers a box of
Ordnance Survey maps and a another of nineteenth century
postcards.  Bertrand Russell, Joseph Bronowski, Stevie Smith,
W.H. Auden, Vera Brittain, Graham Greene, Frances Yates, Evelyn
Waugh, John Betjeman and Georges Orwell, Barker, and Formby are
all in the shoppe as well, but say nothing germain to our story. 
DRG purchases the maps and postcards and steps out to the street
just as two Military Police haul away his literary ancestor.  DRG
takes out his tricorder, scans for alien lifesigns, immediately
picks up a faint reading to the north-north-east, consults his
maps, shuffles through the postcards until he finds a picture of
Banbury, activates his personal transporter, and disappears.  
     

[Commercial: Roberto Alomar for the State of Maryland Tourist
     Authority:
     "Maryland: It's just spitting distance away!"TM]


     A grocer's shoppe in Grantham, Lincolnshire.  Two women are
working behind the counter, a teenager and a middle-aged woman. 
The older woman hands a parcel to a customer who pays and
departs.  The two begin to wipe down the display case.
     "Mummy?  Why hasn't Mr Churchill made the South Americans
join the war effort?"
     "He's a very busy man, dear."
     "I think South American neutrality is very very wicked!"
     "So it is, Margaret."
     "They must cease rendering aid and comfort to the Nazi U-
Boats!"
     "That's a very good point."
     "Their men should be fighting in North Africa!"
     "So they should."
     "Their bananas are supplying valuable potassium to the Axis
diet!"
     The older woman straightens and glances toward the meagre
fruit display with a hard eye.  Somewhere in Germany there is a
grocer selling bananas.
     "Margaret.  Do be so good as to bring up some more of those
crab apples."
     "Yes, Mummy!"
     The bell over the entrance rings and the older woman smooths
her apron.  Seska enters, hauling the airman's valise.
     Seska: "Is this Robert's Grocery?"
     "Yes, this is Robert's Grocery.  How may I help you?"
     "And would you be Mrs Roberts, then?"
     "Yes.  What are you selling?"
     "I've come about your daughter Margaret.  I'm from
Somerville College."
     "Oxford!  Please forgive me!  Margaret?  Margaret!  You will
excuse me a moment?  Margaret!"
     In Mrs Roberts' absence, Seska opens the valise and calmly
examines the airman's revolver.  She slides it into a pocket and
closes the valise.
     Mrs Roberts reappears, pushing an unaproned Margaret along
ahead of her.
     "Shall we sit down in the front room?  I'll close the
shoppe."
     Seska: "Please.  I have no wish to disturb your business.  I
should like a moment alone with your daughter, however, for an
interview.  May we?"
     "Oh, yes, by all means.  I'll prepare the tea!  Margaret,
remember what I said."
     "Yes, Mother.  Shall we?"
     She hurries on ahead.  Seska smiles at Mrs Roberts and
follows.  Mrs Roberts puts her hand to her cheek, having noticed
the bridge of Seska's nose for the first time, then snaps out of
it and hurries to the pantry.
     
     
     A stony hillside.  DRG appears in a More Than Just You
personal transporter effect and looks around.  A shepherd in
gumboots and cap is whistling to a Border Collie in the valley
below.
     DRG: "Is this Lincolnshire!?"
     Shepherd: "Art tha lakin'?  Tha'rt in York."
     DRG: "Sorry!"
     He waits til the shepherd turns his back, then disappears.
A man from the Survey of English Dialects climbs over a stone
wall and addresses the shepherd.
     "My good man, how many cars made it up the long hill?"
     "Veri few cahs mehd it oop the long ill!"
     "Thenk kew!"


     Grantham.  Shot of Seska and Margaret seated on either side
of a tea table.  Now the camera is trained on young Margaret.  It
slowly zooms in on her through the rest of the interview, all of
Seska's lines coming from off camera.
     Margaret: "Excuse me, please, but however did you come by
that horrendous injury?!"
     Seska: "I received it in the Argentine in 1926.  A gaucho
lost control of his bolo and this was the result."
     Margaret: "Horrible gaucho!  I have very strong feelings
about their wicked neutrality.  It is only through sacrifice and
leadership that this war will be won.  Leadership!  Perseverance!
And enterprise!  It is no wonder the Falkland Islands are
English, not Argentine!  Horrid gaucho!  Did he break your
heart?"
     Seska: "Margaret, you confirm the reports I've read of you. 
May I ask.  How would you like to be Prime Minister of England?"
     Close-up of Margaret seated politely, hands folded in her
lap, squirming with anticipation. 


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

Episode 53 — Cherchez la Femme

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