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Star Trek - Free Enterprise

The scene....empty space. A familiar looking starship drifts into centre screen, bearing the identification NCC-9001. The disembodied voice of Capt. James T Kirk introduces us to this week's episode.......

KIRK: Captain's log, star date some time in the future. These are the voyages of the Starship Free Enterprise - its mission, to seek out strange new world and life forms. To make sure they carry out their activities according to a clearly defined Quatily Strategy, and that their actions conform to Federation Standard 9001. To boldly go where no man has gone before (although not before completing a mission plan and having it reviewed according to the guidelines set forth in the Starfleet Exposition, the Space Quatily Procedures and the Starship Local Operating Procedures).

Cut to bridge, where regular Star Trek characters are looking busy and adjusting lots of things with flashing lights.

UHURA: Captain, I am picking up a faint distress signal.

KIRK: Patch it through on audio.

UHURA: Hang on Captain, I'm just filling in a Telecom Record.....

KIRK: Look, just hurry up will you - peoples lives may be at stake here. I might even have to battle a ferocious alien or something.

UHURA: That may be Captain, but I have to keep the paperwork up to date. There's no point in having a Quatily Standard if you don't......

KIRK: Yes, yes, I know. Just patch it through will you?

A faint voice, swamped by noise and interference, emerges from the bridge speaker.

VOICE: Help! This is space station <crackle crackle>...we are being attacked by Klingon hordes. Shields are getting low and they're going to ......... AAAARRRRRRGGGGHHHH.....

The voice fades away to be replaced by muffled screams and explosions.

The bridge is quiet and the signal disappears.

KIRK: Mr Sulu, plot a course for the source of that signal, warp factor 9 - we must save those people!

SULU: I can't just at the moment Sir.

KIRK: Why ever not Mr Sulu?

SULU: Well Sir, the computer is down at the moment. Mr Spock is installing SpaceOS 98 upgrade, but there are a few bugs in the installation routine. He should have finished it in the next couple of days though.

KIRK:(With a steely glint in his eye)In a couple of days, Mr Sulu, those people will be vaporised! They don't even have a couple of hours!! Take control manually and point us in the right direction.

SULU: (Happily) Aye aye, captain.

KIRK: Bridge to engine room.....(long pause)...BRIDGE TO ENGINE ROOM!

The voice of a junior engineer comes back over the intercom.

ENGINEER: Err.................Yes Sir?

KIRK: Where is Mr Scott?

ENGINEER: Er...he's in a meeting Sir, it's his weekly project progress meeting and everybody's there but me.

KIRK: What!!! There are thousands of people about to be massacred by rampaging Klingons and you're telling me Mr Scott is at a MEETING!!

ENGINEER: Well I can't help that Sir, it's in the Quatily Plan. He has to have weekly Progress Meetings otherwise Quatily Officer Paperlova will issue us with another Corrective Action.

KIRK: Right then. I'm giving you a direct order to push the warp factor 9 "forwards" button.

ENGINEER: I can't do that Sir, it's in the Quatily Plan, it's in the "Role and Responsibilities" section if you care to look. My objectives don't include......

KIRK: Listen here. If you don't push that button I'm going to come down to Engineering and kick your feckin' head in. And you know how good I am at fighting because I do it every week and no one ever beats me. I can even fight aliens, even if they are bigger than me and have fangs and all that. So push the button.

ENGINEER: (Frightened) Yes Sir, Right away Sir.

KIRK: Mr Sulu - how long will it take to reach the source of that distress signal if we travel at warp 9?

SULU: About minus 6 weeks Sir.

KIRK: Have you taken leave of your senses? How can it take minus 6 weeks to get somewhere?

SPOCK: If I may interject at this point captain, I think Mr Sulu's console contains an Intel Pentium II Microprocessor. The correct answer would appear to be twenty minutes.

KIRK: Thank you Mr Spock. Mr Sulu, full speed ahead.

SULU: Aye aye, Captain.

The Free Enterprise whooshes across the screen, despite the fact that space is a vacuum and nothing can go whoosh. The scene cuts to show the crew, twenty minutes later, peering intently into the bridge display. The bridge display shows nothing but distant stars. Threatening music plays ominously in the background.

CHEKHOV: Keptyin, our sensors detect nothing out there. It's just a woid.

KIRK: A what?

SPOCK: I think he means a void, captain.

KIRK: Oh, well, increase magnification, fiddle with the settings and stuff like that.

Suddenly the background music reaches new heights of foreboding. On the screen, a mysterious shape shimmers and wobbles into view. The crew are mesmerised as the image eventually becomes that of a Klingon Bad MuthaF*kka Class Cruiser.

KIRK: Klingons!!!

SPOCK: Yes Sir, It appears they have developed an advanced cloaking device which renders them invisible to our sensors. They have to switch off the device in order to communicate or fire their weapons, one of which they will probably do very soon.

KIRK: Thank you for that clarification of the plot, Mr Spock.

UHURA: Sir - I have the Klingon commander on visual.

The bridge display switches to show a smug looking Klingon officer surrounded by his equally smug-looking subordinates. He seems blissfully unaware that Captain Kirk wins every week.

KLINGON: Ah, the legendary Captain Kirk. What a pleasure it is to finally meet with you. What an even greater pleasure it will be to melt your filthy earthling ship with my PlanetShagger Death Ray.

KIRK: You murdering scum! You'll never get away with this! Mr Sulu, lock phasers on to the Klingon ship, full power please.

SULU: I'm afraid we can't do that Sir.

KIRK: Why ever not man?

SULU: Errrr.....we've sent them off for calibration Sir.


SULU: Well, Sir, we have to have the phasers calibrated annually, it's in the Quatily Plan. I mean, if the phasers were not calibrated correctly, someone could get seriously hurt.

KIRK: Not much chance of hurting bloody Klingons though, is there? I despair sometimes I really do. How about photon torpedoes?

SULU: Errrr.......we're out of stock at the moment. We tried to buy some last week, but our Purchasing Card is on credit hold with Weapons'R'Us. Something to do with an unpaid bill, apparently.

KIRK: Very well. Spock, could you do something really clever with some dilithium crystals and a few bits of wire? Maybe connect the engines to it as well for a bit of extra welly?

SPOCK: Well I could, Captain, but by the time I've written the design spec, had a design review, ordered the Long Lead Time Items, rewritten the design spec, drawn the design, reviewed the design drawings, re-ordered some different Long Lead Time Items, bought the other components, built the circuit, written a test plan, review the test plan, tested the circuit, filled in a test pack, reviewed the test pack, completed a Trial Installation, reviewed the TI, modified the design, retested the circuit, put it under configuration control and had a windup meeting, the Klingons would probably have shot us.

KIRK: Hmmmmm. This calls for one of my cunning bits of lateral thinking which I usually come up with every week. (Kirk speaks into the intercom). Bones - meet us in the transporter room - bring Quatily Officer Paperlova with you as well.

McCOY: Right you are, Jim.

KIRK: Spock, Chekhov, follow me to the transporter room.

CHEKHOV: Aye Aye keptin.

The transporter room. Chekhov is at the controls, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Quatily Officer Paperlova are standing in the transporter ready to be beamed.

KIRK: Congratulations Mr Paperlova. You have been selected this week as the character nobody recognises, to be beamed down with us senior officers on some dangerous mission.

CHEKHOV: But keptin.....

KIRK: Be quiet, Chekhov.

PAPERLOVA: Thank you Captain. It is a great honour, although I can't help but observe that many of the characters nobody recognises don't seem to come back.

KIRK: Oh, I wouldn't worry too much this week. We're going to the Planet of Buxom Wenches - apparently they sent out a distress call, something about not being able to put a plug on their new video. We thought we'd just pop down and introduce ourselves, sort of thing.

Kirk nudges Quatily Officer Paperlova in the ribs.

PAPERLOVA: (Relieved) Oh, well, obviously I wasn't scared or anything, anyway.

KIRK: Right then, Chekhov, beam us down.

CHEKHOV: But Keptin, these co-ordinates.....

KIRK: Just get on with it Chekhov, we haven't got all day.

CHEKHOV: Aye Aye Sir.

The transporter starts up, but only Quatily Officer Paperlova disappears. The others are standing around smirking, except for Chekhov, who looks perplexed.

KIRK: Neat trick, eh Chekhov?

CHEKHOV: But how did you do that Keptin. I was very careful to push all the right buttons.

KIRK: I just got Mr Spock to do a spot of rewiring before Paperlova got here. Thanks Spock.

CHEKOV: And those co-ordinates - they were wery suspicious. I'm sure we are not really within transporter range of the Planet of Buxom Wenches.

KIRK: Correct! Paperlova should be arriving at the Planet of Man Eating Ugly Slimy Tooth Beasts as we speak.

Chekhov beams with enlightenment as he realises what has happened.

CHEKHOV: A brilliant move, Keptin Kirk. Now, without the burden of the tiresome Paperlova, we ken get on with the business of killing Klingons!

KIRK: Right, gentlemen, I think we have some unfinished business with our Klingon friends. Spock, go and do some of your rather clever improvised wiring and fashion us a rudimentary weapon. Bones, come with me to the bridge. Bring some spare underwear, its going to get hairy up there!

Back on the bridge, Kirk is in his swivelling chair facing the Klingon warlord on the display screen.

KLINGON: Are you ready to hand over Free Enterprise, Kirk? (Looks at fellow officers with glee). I hope the warranty is transferable.(The Klingon crew are besides themselves with merriment at this jape).

KIRK: Not so fast you murderous scum. I'm afraid you've fallen into the give-him-fifteen-minutes-to-surrender trap, a common plot device whereby heroes like myself find some devious method to escape the clutches of people like you.

The Klingon commander is enraged by this riposte, and his look of smug superiority is quickly replaced by one of fury.

KLINGON: Well then, my friend, you have rejected my kind offer to enslave your crew and ravage your ship - its time for you to die! Fire the PlanetShagger Death Ray immediately!!!

A nasty death ray pops out of the Klingon craft and makes leisurely but determined progress towards the Free Enterprise. At the last moment, the ray suddenly does an about-face and heads back towards the Klingon ship.

KLINGON: NO!! It can't be !! you have built a Death Ray Reflector system in only fifteen minutes! Surely your Quatily Control procedures cannot allow ........... AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGHH!!!!!

The Klingon bridge now erupts into bright yellow flame, causing the Free Enterprise crew to shield their eyes, then rock from side to side in unison as the blast hits them. The screen gradually clears to show a few bits of scrap metal twirling about in space.

McCOY: Well done Jim, Oh, and Spock I suppose. I guess it is time for our self congratulation and laughter at the end of an episode.

All the crew laugh robustly as they do every week. The Free Enterprise turns and heads off into space for yet another exciting episode.


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