NOTE: Possibly the worst episode in Trek history if you don’t count those Ferengi episodes from DS9…it’s not horror specifically, but maybe it qualifies as its own kind of frightening…
Tom Paris sat in a shuttle, pressing some buttons, talking to Harry Kim and the half Klingon through his badge.
‘Warp 9 point 5…9 point 6…9 point…’ He paused. ‘Wait, what are we doing again?’
There wasn’t enough time for anyone to answer. Something technical on the shuttle, possibly the Nay-cells, came off and the whole thing blew itself to pieces.
Tom Paris sat on his ass surrounded by black squares and yellow lines.
Harry and the half Klingon said they were sorry, it was so close, but Tom didn’t seem to be listening. Either the dialogue was too tedious or he was amazingly self-involved.
‘What the hell is this bullshit?’ he said to his hands. ‘Warp Ten? Lizard sex? Directed by David Lynch, maybe, but not this guy.’
‘I’m right here, RD,’ said the director.
‘Sorry, man. I’m just depressed, ignore me.’
‘It’s the script. I’m getting a serious ‘TNG season 1′ vibe, know what I mean?’
‘I don’t know though…maybe you could go across the lot and ask Ron Moore to take a quick swing at it?’
‘Doubtful. No Klingons, see.’
‘He could add some…’
‘Sorry, RD, best just to keep your head down until big tits turns up.’
‘Nah, the Borg lady.
‘We’re gonna go plant the cameras in the next scene.’
‘Don’t get too down.’
‘Yeah, I know. At least I’m working, right?’
‘That’s the spirit.’
The camera crew and director tidied up the holodeck set and shuffled off to the mess hall, one of them regaling the others with the tale of how he built the sun temple set from ‘Masks.’
Tom stayed where he was, trying to remember his agent’s phone number.
‘Man, that pilot episode,’ he muttered to himself, dialling. ‘I was right there, on the station, with good characters. Good writers. Good scripts.’ He got up and thought about the next scene he had to do. Conversation with Harry Kim. ‘Jesus…why didn’t I take that guy Ron offered…the creepy Bajoran monk dude. Anything’s better than this…this ‘rogue who’s never actually a rogue’ bullshit.’ The phone connected. Someone breathed heavy static and asked him if he wanted a handjob. ‘Sorry, wrong number.’ The voice said never mind, he’d be around all day.
‘All day huh?’
‘Yeah…as long as the director doesn’t call me in for extra scenes.’
‘And by extra scenes I mean sitting in that fucking chair next to Space Thatcher, telling everyone what they can already see with their own damn…’
‘Shit…Robert? Is that you?’
Tom and Harry and the half-klingon sat in the mess hall, saying words none of them really understood.
‘Fake science, fake science, fake science, warp ten!’ said Harry Kim.
‘Yeah, but, fake science, fake science?’ asked Tom.
‘Oh. You’re right, it won’t work.’
They all shrugged and looked around, depressed. They saw the walls and the extras and the overwhelming greyness of the whole room, and felt even more depressed.
‘I’m tired of eating in this place,’ said the half-Klingon.
‘I’m tired of looking at the same damn extras,’ said Tom.
‘I’m really happy to be here,’ said Harry.
Neelix lurked nearby for a few seconds before moving in for the kill. ‘Hey guys, I know almost nothing about how this spaceship works, but tell me your problems and I’ll gurn.’
‘I’m gonna eat in the kitchen,’ said the half-Klingon.
Neelix sat down and said something vaguely analogous to Tom and Harry’s problem. Tom stood up and said ‘that’s it!’
‘What is it?’ asked Harry.
‘Don’t you see, Harry. Fake science, fake science, fake science. And if we fake science this and then attach some fake science there, we can go to warp ten!’
They stood up and ran out of the mess hall so fast the crew didn’t have time to build the next set.
Five seconds later, the half-Klingon came back carrying a pot noodle.
‘What’s that?’ asked Neelix.
‘Pot Noodle,’ said the half-Klingon.
She sat down and started eating while Neelix stared at her forehead.
For some reason, the scene didn’t change.
‘So…what do you do for fun?’ asked Neelix.
‘Nothing much.’ She sucked up a noodle. ‘Fix stuff. Look at consoles in engineering. Bleed.’
‘Ah. That reminds me of the time when…’
He stopped and stared at the kitchen. What was he gonna say? He couldn’t think. The time when…what? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t remember anything. What was he again? Balaxian? Romulan?
‘Never mind,’ he said finally.
She smiled at him. He smiled at her. She looked at the yellow paint on the side of his head. He looked at her tits.
The doors slid open and Chakotay walked in. He saw the cameras and checked the doors behind him, seeing if he was in the right place. No, he was. But what were the cameras doing there? Wasn’t it Paris’ episode?
He checked for the red light at the side of the cameras, making sure they were definitely switched on. No, they were, it was a real scene.
Ah well, this is a chance, he told himself, and sat down next to Neelix and the half-Klingon. He opened his mouth to speak:
Captain Janeway visited Tom Paris’ quarters and told him he couldn’t fly the mission.
‘Your brain is weird. You might die.’
‘I said, the doctor thinks if you fly at warp ten you might die.’
‘I won’t, I promise.’
Janeway walked over to Tom and sat on his lap, running her hand up and down his thigh.
‘Captain, what are you doing?’
‘You know, Tom…I had a dream last night. We were alone on a jungle planet and somehow we were lizards. You looked at me, I looked at you. Then we had sex.’
‘Don’t say anything. ‘Janeway stood up, went outside for a few seconds then came back in holding two lizard costumes. ‘Let’s suit up, Lieutenant.’
Tom ignored the costumes and asked her if he could fly the mission.
‘You can’t. You might die, remember?’
Tom sat in the shuttle and started up the engines. Janeway gave him permission to leave Voyager so he left.
A minute later, the shuttle accelerated all the way to warp ten. On the bridge, Chakotay got a line.
‘Wow, warp ten.’
Tom disappeared from sensors and for a brief moment the whole crew thought he’d gone forever.
‘Man, there goes half my scenes…’ said Harry.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Janeway, picturing the lizard costumes in her quarters. ‘We’ll think of something for you to do.’
A hole opened in space and Tom’s shuttle returned.
‘Wow, hole in space,’ said Chakotay, improvising.
Everyone looked stunned. Tuvok put a tractor beam on the shuttle and guided it back onto the ship. Chakotay stood up, clapped his hands, excused himself from the rest of the episode and headed for the strip bar across the street. If he was lucky, Chanice would be there. If he was super lucky, she might even sit on his face.
Tom sat in sickbay, being smug.
The doctor appeared, matched him smug for smug, examined him and said he’d be okay.
Janeway asked Tom what had happened.
‘It was incredible, Captain. I was looking at the velocity thingy and it said warp ten, and then I was looking at myself looking at the velocity thingy and…then I was everywhere. You know, I was back on Voyager, I was with the Kazon, back home, with the Klingons. I was in every single part of the galaxy at the same time. I don’t know how to explain it even though I just did.’
‘Great, Paris. You’ll be super famous now,’ said Janeway, stroking his leg.
‘Yeah, as long as they don’t press the reset button at the end of the episode and make it so none of this ever happened…’
‘Nothing, Captain. Yeah, this will change everything.’
Five minutes later, Tom was sitting in the mess hall talking to the half-Klingon.
There was a flash of white light.
Actually, there wasn’t.
Tom looked at the table, blinked and when he looked back up he was surrounded by Kazon.
The Kazon noticed him and said, ‘hey, what are you…what are we…what’s going on?’
Tom shrugged, blinked and was back in the mess hall again.
‘What’s wrong, Tom?’ asked the half-Klingon.
Tom couldn’t be bothered explaining so he fainted.
Back in sickbay, the doctor rubbed his hands together and said, ‘incredible, an operation. Quick, Jennifer, the scalpel.’
‘Doc, I’m fine…’ said Paris, sitting up on the bed.
‘Quiet, Ensign. I’m supposed to be evil…malfunctioning…one of the two.’
‘No, that’s Season 3.’
‘This is season 2.’
‘I know, I know…the pre-7 of 9 eps all bleed into one another. It’s tough. Pass me my clothes, will you?’
The Captain appeared, wearing a lizard costume. ‘Belay that order, doctor.’
‘Captain,’ said Tom, sitting up. ‘I was on a Kazon ship and I have no idea why.’
‘What? Kazon ship? Why? How?’
She looked at the doctor.
‘Don’t ask me. I’m a doctor, not an escalator.’
Janeway looked around sickbay. ‘Where’s Tuvok?’
‘Dunno,’ said the director.
She hit her badge and called Tuvok to sickbay.
A few minutes later he appeared. One of his ears was loose, and there were dark circles under his eyes.
‘Captain, I think I know it’s happened…what happened. I know it. I know what’s…’
Tuvok opened his mouth to speak, but it was no good. The lines, they were too fucking hard. He looked at the director.
‘Sorry guys,’ said Tuvok. ‘I was with Chakotay at the…I mean, Robert…I was with him at the…you know…that place over…’ He pointed at one of the sickbay walls, but realised the thing he was trying to indicate wasn’t visible so dropped his hand back down. ‘Just give me ten minutes, okay?’
The crew nodded. Tuvok left the room and went to the coffee machine, checking the script while he was there. Janeway and the doctor went to the bathroom and jumped on each other. Paris stayed in sickbay and told everyone how great he was and how sooner rather than later none of this shit would matter as his career was on the verge of going supernova.
‘Doesn’t that mean your career will die?’ asked the director.
‘No. It means…’ Tom thought about the word supernova. ‘Oh, you’re right. Scratch that. I meant, I’m gonna be huge.’
‘Huge like Michael Dorn?’
‘Who? Oh him. Hell, no.’
‘Huge like Nana Visitor?’
‘No. Shut up. She’s…I’m different.’
Ten minutes later, everyone was back in position. Tuvok still looked rough, but said he was okay to continue.
‘Action,’ said the director.
Tuvok cleared his throat.
‘The lieutenant has gone to warp ten and been everywhere at the same time and now he is still everywhere at the same time, but only in echo form. It is my guess that he will go somewhere else soon and it will keep happening until we fire some fake science at him or put some fake science in him or do something with the warp core.’
‘I see. So if we put Tom inside the warp core, he’ll…’
‘No, what?’ said Tom. ‘You can’t, the warp core, it’s…it’s too blue.’
The Klingons stared at Tom like he was a ghost.
‘Oh hey…’ said Tom, blinking. Nothing changed. He blinked again and again, but the Klingons didn’t disappear.
‘Kaplah!’ said one of them.
‘Kaplah, what’s that…is that Jewish?’ asked Tom, looking around.
The Klingons growled.
It was no good, he was on a Klingon ship without reason or permission and he knew what Klingons would do about it.
The lead Klingon pulled out his knife and advanced.
Tom blinked and suddenly he was floating in white space.
There wasn’t much else to say.
Janeway sat in her quarters, looking at a CCTV photo of Tom in the shower.
Her badge made a noise. She tapped it.
‘Captain, can you come to the bridge?’ asked Tuvok.
‘Why? What is it?’
‘Nothing urgent. It’s just more dramatic up here.’
‘On my way.’
On the bridge, Harry Kim stared at the sensors.
‘I don’t get it.’
Tuvok came up beside him and pushed a button. The screen lit up.
‘Oh,’ said Harry. ‘I never knew about that. Usually, I get here and it’s just on already.’
Janeway appeared and ordered something to happen.
‘I could fire some photon torpedoes, Captain,’ said Tuvok returning to his post.
‘Perhaps.’ She looked at the pilot’s chair, where Tom used to sit. ‘Will it kill the last ten minutes of the episode?’
‘I’ll switch to continuous fire. It should be sufficient.’
Suddenly, there wasn’t a bright flash of white light, the budget for the episode was too low, but there was a klaxon noise and now Tom was back in the pilot’s seat.
‘Belay that order,’ shouted the Captain. ‘Tom, you’re back!’
Tom looked at the controls and the chair, checking to see if he was sitting on someone. Janeway noticed what he was doing and said it was fine, no one was sitting there.
‘So…who was flying the ship?’ asked Tom, confused.
Janeway looked at Tuvok, who shrugged. She looked at the other members of the crew, all of whom did the same. Finally, she looked at Harry.
‘Exposition, Harry,’ the Captain demanded. ‘Who was flying the ship?’
Harry ducked under the console and flicked through the script. Shit. It was the lizard version. That was no good. What was he gonna tell the Captain?
He stood back up, looked at the others and shrugged.
‘Tuvok, put Ensign Kim on report. And take away his food rations for a month.’
‘But Captain, he’ll die of starvation.’
Janeway swatted away the protest and told him to just do it. She was sick of these distractions, what about Tom?
‘Tom, where the hell have you been?’
‘Everywhere, Captain.’ He stopped and looked at his hands, examining them as if they weren’t real. ‘I think what’s happened is…’
Tom disappeared again.
‘Tuvok, bring him back.’
‘Fake science, press buttons, anything!’
Tuvok pressed a button and waited to see what happened. Nothing. It was just what he had expected.
Janeway collapsed on her chair and slouched. ‘You don’t understand, there are only two minutes left…if Tom Paris isn’t back by the end of the episode…I don’t know what will happen.’
‘Captain, I believe I have the answer.’
‘Go on, Tuvok.’
‘Lieutenant Paris is shifting through all the points he experienced while travelling at warp ten. It is a kind of echo effect. No, wait, more like a ripple effect. He is no longer anchored onto a singular point of time or space, so he is skipping between many. However, it might be possible to spray him with some kind of anti-proton shit the next time he appears and make him stay here permanently.’
‘And if it doesn’t work?’
‘Mr. Paris will drift in and out of the rest of the series, never being a permanent member of the cast, interrupting episodes focused on other characters…’
‘We can’t deal with that kind of continuity arc, not on this show. Fire up the anti-protons.’
Tuvok set up the anti-proton gun in Engineering and waited for Paris to reappear. While waiting, he got Neelix to bring him a snack.
Neelix entered Engineering holding a tray with a pot noodle and gave it to Tuvok, who took it and said thank you.
Neelix stood there a while longer, looking at the warp core.
‘Is there something I can do for you, Mr. Neelix?’
‘No, Mr. Vulcan.’
‘Then what are you doing here?’
‘Beats me. I don’t know any science, I’m annoying, I can’t cook, I can’t fight. I’m sleeping with a girl who they keep telling me is two years old. What am I doing here?’
Seven years earlier, on board the Enterprise, Tom Paris sat on the floor on the bridge of the Enterprise as TNG began its first season. The bridge crew didn’t seem to notice him.
‘Oh God,’ he thought. ‘Not the whole season…please.’
He put his hand up to tell them his situation, but no-one noticed. Well, almost no one.
‘Hi there, stranger,’ said a child in a grey jumpsuit. ‘I’m Wesley Crusher. Are you okay?’
Tom shivered, unable to speak.
‘Wowsers, you look like you could use a friend,’ said Wesley, picking Tom up and leading him into the nearest turbo-lift. ‘Don’t worry, I’m really clever and everyone loves me.’ He smiled, an annoying smile with annoying lips and annoying teeth. ‘I think you’ll love me too.’
End of Episode.