Problem Child

By Amy Chused and Charles Dickson

Page 9

  Scene HVR ship, bridge. Mreen sits in a pile of wires, test 
  equipment, and probes spilling out from an opened panel. Ensign 
  Topaz lounges in the overstuffed captain's chair, swiveling 
  around with one foot, and picking at a fingernail.
  Mreen: Yeah, this storage crystal system can take practically a 
  direct hit and retain the data. Really, one of the most robust 
  technologies ever invented. Too bad the storage capacity is so 
  stinky, or we'd still be using it. I dunno about these HVR guys, 
  I mean who in their right mind would run the secondary frequency 
  at more than twice the primary, I don't know.  Well, I guess 
  we'll have to just use it that way, it would take too long to 
  change it around. (welds a few more leads on.)
  Suddenly the transporter beam glows in the bridge. Topaz and 
  Mreen look up to see Lite, in a rather flat prone position beam 
  in. He gets up and slowly dusts himself off before spotting the 
  two. He shakes his spurs defiantly.
  Lite: Yessir, it's good to be back! I had enough of that stupid 
  federation ship, yes sirree!
  Mreen: Oh, it's that kid that they found here when we arrived.
  Topaz: (getting up and going over to Lite) Hi there little boy! 
  What's your name? 
  Lite: Hmmph! Who are you? You weren't sitting in my captain's 
  chair, were you?
  Topaz: Your chair? Where is the rest of the crew, little boy? 
  Were you sent here alone?
  Lite: No! I mean, yes. I mean...Hey! You're trying to get me 
  to talk, aren't you!
  Topaz: You mean they didn't find out over on the ship? What are 
  you doing here?
  Lite: I'm a Rancher, lady, and I don't have to talk to you! 
  Just don't let me catch you in my chair again or I'll have to get 
  Topaz: Oh that's cute! What is your name?
  Lite: (looking around to find something to pay attention to 
  besides Ensign Topaz, and spotting Mreen) HEY! What are you 
  doing over there? (rushes over)
  Mreen: Well kid, this is complex computer stuff. You probably 
  wouldn't be able to understand it.
  Lite: Yeah, right. It looks're, uh, soldering 
  wires to a computer console?
  Mreen: Very good! Except I'm using molecular bonding since the 
  traces here are made of a deposited polysilicate material. You 
  see, I'm bridging corrupted sections of the main core and also 
  inserting inductive probes into the circuits to check for logical 
  discontinuities which would indicate recessive damage to the 
  cybercrystal circuits, which might have occurred as a result of 
  some of the high energy arcs that apparently occurred in this 
  console. But probably not.
  Lite: Uh, right. Why don't you just turn it on?
  Mreen:  Very Funny! Look at all that carbon in there! 
  Doesn't that tell you something? Besides, I need half of this 
  equipment just to map out the controls on this damn panel! Don't 
  you guys ever label anything?
  Lite: Ha! You Federation pantywaist! Only wimps label their 
  switches. Stand aside, I'll fix this for you! (jumps up on the 
  console and starts to throw all the switches he can get his hands 
  Sound effects: Explosions and spark sounds. The lights dim for 
  a second.  Mreen, who had both his arms in the repair panel, 
  jumps out angrily and stares at his hands for a second to make 
  sure he's okay. Topaz looks over his shoulder
  Mreen: Now what did you do that for?
  Lite: Sorry! Jeez, don't get so touchy! (jumps down and runs 
  across the bridge) I'll just stand over here, okay? I won't be 
  any more trouble, honest!
  Mreen: Yeah. Right. 
  Topaz: You know, I think you should be sent back over to the 
  ship. This is really no place for a kid to be playing. What 
  reason could they have had for beaming you over in the first 
  Lite: No! No! Don't make me go back there! Uh, they told me I 
  could stay here as long as I didn't bother anybody! I'll just 
  stand here and not touch anything more, okay?
  Topaz: Well, okay... Just stay RIGHT there.  Let me look at 
  your hands, Mreen. I can get the first aid kit if you have any 
  She turns towards Mreen, and as soon as their backs are to him, 
  Lite jumps on a chair and starts throwing switches and pushing 
  buttons on the panel he is near. Nothing happens. He dashes 
  over to the next one and tries that, with the same results.
  Lite: (Wailing) Hey! They're all dead! I thought you fixed the 
  Mreen: Those are the navigation controls, shorty. What did you 
  think you were doing?
  Lite: I don't want to stay here any more! This is no fun!
  Topaz: I'm sure we can arrange that, young man! (touches 
  communicator) Topaz to Heisenberg!
  Lite: Don't bother, lady! I don't need your stinking 
  transporter! (runs over to another panel which is showing some 
  lights and pushes some slide switches up and down, then runs over 
  to a gold plated disk in a corner of the bridge where a 
  transporter beam is starting to take shape) And don't sit in my 
  chair! (shimmers out of existence)
  G. O'for: This is the ship! What's going on over there?
  Topaz: Never mind, Heisenberg. Topaz out.
  Mreen: Well! He sure seemed smarter than he looks, didn't he? 
  I wonder how much of that he did on purpose?
  Topaz: At least he's gone. Kids! Did he mess up the computer 
  too much?
  Mreen: Yeah, but its only molybdenum storage crystal. Come on, 
  give me a hand. I'm sure we can get it going again. (flirt, 

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