**************** scene change: on board the HVR ship. The seven of them beam into position, wearing protective garments and headlights. Everyone is armed with phasers except Counselor Jiapa and Speaker for the Dead, who carry long staves. They pause for a moment to look at the carnage and debris around them. The walls are torn and cracked, large beams and pipes litter the floor, and bits of metal and paper are scattered all about. The whole scene is poorly lit by faint emergency lighting. Scribonia: CrimsonTunic and Redshirt, you guys are the points. CrimsonTunic, lead off and Redshirt, cover us with phasers. yaz and Ananda, stay towards the center. Speaker and Counselor, hold your staves at the ready. Any ideas where we should go first? Counselor Jiapa (manipulating a tricorder, 24th century style), Well, there's still only one lifesign other than us. It's a child, and it's that-away. Scribonia: Ok, that's where we'll go. If there's really only one person on board, we'll put the ship in tow and explore it later at our leisure. Oh, and we can give Ensign Metag something to do, checking out this ship's artificial gravity.
But it still seems to be working, doesn't it? CrimsonTunic, lead off. Everyone: general motions of agreement that the artificial gravity is working. yaz jumps around a bit and the Counselor and Speaker thump the ground with their staves and remain floor-bound. Ensign CrimsonTunic, who has been trying to push open a door in the direction indicated by Jiapa, manages to get it open and the away team follows him out into a corridor. He leads off through various parts of the ship, with Jiapa giving directions from the Tricorder. Scribonia: Are you getting any other life sign readings Counselor? Jiapa: No not yet. But have you noticed, we haven't encountered any bodies yet? Speaker for the Dead: I've been looking in all of the rooms that we go by, and I haven't seen anything. yaz: How strange. Do you suppose they all beamed to some other location? That seems unlikely considering what we know of HVR technology. Scribonia: Well, maybe we'll find something up ahead. We seem to be heading towards the bridge. They stop at a set of red-painted sliding doors with a Rancher's insignia painted in the center. Scribonia: CrimsonTunic, open the door carefully. CrimsonTunic pushes the door open slowly and peeks through the crack, his phaser at the ready. As the door opens enough to admit his head, a bucket of water splashes down on him. This startles him so that he jerks the door the rest of the way open. a voice: EEEEEE_YAAAAAAAH!!!! A small foot lashes out and strikes CrimsonTunic in the shin. Half blinded by the bucket and the water, he falls to the floor in the doorway clutching his leg. He hits his bucket covered head on the floor, knocking himself out cold. The rest of the away team stands in a circle around the door, the Speaker and Counselor with their staves raised and the rest of them holding their phasers at the ready. In front of their eyes appears: A small Hidden Valley Rancher. If he were human he could be said to be about 6 years old. He is wearing a plastic cowboy hat, a bright new red bandanna around his neck, a flannel shirt, denim jeans and knee-high plastic cowboy boots with bright shiny spurs. The spurs have scratches at the edges where they look sharpened, but are otherwise completely new. Under the edges of the hat can be seen shaggy blonde hair, and his face is a mass of freckles. The Kid: Oh Boy! Real Life Federation Wimps! Ensign Redshirt: Wimps?! The Kid: You Bet. Especially this guy here (he nudges CrimsonTunic with his foot). Ensign Redshirt: (from behind, trying to get a glimpse of his downed comrade) Yeah? We destroyed your ship didn't we? Jiapa: Redshirt, shush. Kid: If it's so destroyed, how come it hasn't fallen apart? Redshirt: Because we're holding it together with our tractor beam, squirt. Want us to turn it off? Kid: I dare you! Scribonia: Ensign! Redshirt (lower, as if to himself): Oh well. I don't take dares from little brats who don't know a thing about politeness and don't know when they're beat. Kid: Well, dickhead, you don't have politeness or brains. (Turns and begins to shake a conduit against a nearby wall. Dust begins to fall from the ceiling, and a metal plate comes down, hitting Redshirt in the head with a loud CLANG.) Speaker: (conversationally to Ananda) This is why Scribonia took Redshirt and CrimsonTunic. They always get into trouble and save the rest of us from having to deal with it. Scribonia: Ok, everybody fan out! yaz, check out the bridge. Jiapa, do something about this kid! (Tries to rouse CrimsonTunic and Redshirt, unsuccessfully, then activates her communicator) Transporter Officer, please transport Redshirt and CrimsonTunic to the infirmary. Dr. Hertzman, prepare for Redshirt and CrimsonTunic. Dr. Hertzman (from communicator): AGAIN?! Geez, those two get into more trouble.... Ah, here they are. Jiapa: (kneels down, tilts her head gently to the side and holds her staff unobtrusively to her side.) Okay child, what's your name? Kid: Not Telling! Who are you anyway? Jiapa: (oozing gentleness even more) My name is Counselor Jiapa. This is Commander Scribonia and our Speaker for the Dead, Michael, and his assistant Ananda. The man in the aviator helmet is our science officer, yaz. Now, child, please tell us your name. Kid: Look lady, I don't have to tell you anything. Just get off my ship and leave me alone. Jiapa: (super-ooze. Even her shipmates are starting to look mildly nauseous despite having seen this act before.) I know you're lonely and scared because your ship was hurt. As soon as you tell us your name we can start to help you. Now please help us and give us your name. Kid: Lady, I don't need any help. Ananda: Counselor, his name is Bloocheez Lite. Bloocheez is his uncle and Lite is his nickname. Jiapa (shortly): Thank you Ananda. Ananda (meekly): Sorry... Lite: Hey, how'd you know that? Jiapa: Ananda is occasionally telepathic. Lite: Well, don't read MY mind. Ananda: I'm sorry Lite. I won't do it again. Jiapa: Now, Lite, Lite: (moan) I hate that name. Jiapa: Well, whatever you want to be called, where are all the other people from this ship? Lite: (innocently) *I* don't know. yaz (returning): Captain, the bridge is completely clear. The rest of the ship seems to be empty too. Scribonia: Hmmm. yaz, do you think you could find out where the crew went from the ship's auto-logs? yaz: Sure, if there was anything left of the main computer. All of the terminals I've seen so far have been shorted out, and besides, there isn't even power on this wreck. Your best bet is to get engineering over here and see if they can salvage anything. Scribonia: Ok, I'll get Lt. McDonagh on it. You take the Speaker and the Assistant to the Speaker and make one more search of the ship. Jiapa, let's take young Lite back to the ship and see if we can learn anything more from him. Heisenberg, three to beam up. Lite groans again at the mention of his name as the transporter beam activates **********