Problem Child

By Amy Chused and Charles Dickson

Page 3

  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 
  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 
  Scribonia: Are you getting any other life sign readings 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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

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