“Hot Stuff, is anybody in there?”
“Snnnnxxxzzt, lv me ‘lone.”
“Hot Stuff, you’re late for your challenge,” I said. “You gotta get up.”
“Can’t talk. Head hurts.”
“You’re not going to forfeit the challenge are you?” I asked. “Your Starship’s waiting.”
“St’pid hot tub. St’pid party. Hate. Kon, Hate Appletinis. Hate…nnnnnnhgh,” the devil mumbled.
“OK,” I shrugged. “If you don’t get up, you leave me no choice.”
“Uhhhhhh, lv me ‘lone,” he repeated. “I hate you Kon…. I lv you Kon….”
Unable to roust Hot Stuff from the incoherent, mumbling state that he was in, I made my way out of the barracks to address the rest of the contestants.
“Well gang,” I said. “Looks like he’s forfeiting his challenge. He’s going to be the loser for this round.”
“Aww,” Ciera grumbled.
“Maybe I should go console his brai—er, console him,” Sylar said.
“What about whoever wins the challenge?” Nepharia growled.
“Don’t worry about that, I’ll make good to the winner.” I fished a bit of paper out of my pocket and held it up to see. “The winner of the challenge will get this coupon for a free small Blizzard at his or her local Space Dairy Queen, subject to availability, participating stores only.”
The crowd of contestants grumbled again.
“Well what about his ship?” Kon-El asked. “It’s just sitting there waiting.”
“He’s right, why don’t you do the challenge?” Professor Xavier asked.
The group lit up with a chorus of “Yeahs,” “You try its,” and “Come on, Intergalactic Gladiator, show us what you’re made ofs.”
“Me? No, I can’t. I’m the host, there’s no precedence for this.”
“Precedence shmecedence, just go do it,” Mr. Bennet said. “There’s nothing that says you can’t do it, right?”
“What are you a lawyer now?” I asked.
“Pfft, lawyers are terrible at selling paper.”
“You know Jon, just go do it,” Xavier pressed. “You’ll have a good time.”
“Coming from the man who hacked his challenge and programmed his communications officer to give him a Swedish massage.”
“Ah yes, it was wonderful,” the Professor said blissfully.
“OK, OK, fine I’ll do it,” I conceded.
The contestants yelled out a chorus of “Hoorays,” “Awesomes,” and “You go girls.” I’m not sure what was up with that last one.
I keyed my Wristcomm. “Beam me up.”
Instantly, my molecules were broken down and reassembled on the bridge of a starship. As I surveyed my surroundings, and was startled to see Private Hudson standing within inches of me.
“Whoa, Hudson, what are you doing here?” I asked.
“I’m Private Commander Hudson, your first mate,” he said as he leaned towards me.
“Now you’re in my Neutral Zone,” I said as I nudged him back. “And no cracks about the first mate thing from you all, got it?” I added to the rest of the crew.
“Prepare ship for warp speed,” I said. Then I paused to build suspense, all good ship captains know when building a little suspense is proper. “Engage.”
“Captain, we’re receiving a distress signal from the Neutral Zone,” my communications officer stated. “Captain?”
“Zzzz… Huh? What?” I quickly jumped out of my captain’s chair. I guess I dozed off, who knew that flying around in space could be so boring.
“It’s the Kobayashi Maru,” she added. “Their systems and life support is failing. Should we attempt a rescue?”
“Heck yeah, let’s do it!” Hudson said while grinning wildly.
“If I may interject, the freighter is in the Nuetral Zone,” the science officer Sprok interjected. “Crossing into it could set off an intergalactic incident and possibly a full scale war.”
“Intergalactic incident? Full scale war…” I mulled. “Well I don’t mind the first but I’m no fan of the second. Aw heck, let’s just go.”
Our ship sailed towards the source of the signal, but between us and the Kobayashi Maru three Klingon ships were bearing down on us.
“Open a hailing frequency,” I ordered.
“Hailing frequencies open,” the comm officer responded.
“This is Captain Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator of the Starship… uh…”
“Intrepid,” Hudson whispered to me quickly.
“Intrepid,” I repeated quickly. “We are here on an errand of mercy and mean you no harm. Please allow us to pass and we shall leave as soon as we complete our rescue mission.”
“They are not responding,” the comm officer stated. “They are charging up their disrupters.”
“Well that’s a response I would say,” I said back to her. “Charging weapons is a response.”
“Captain,” Science Officer Sprok tried to get my attention.
“I mean, am I right people?” I continued. “Charging weapons is their response.”
“Jon,” Hudson tried to get my attention.
Suddenly the ship was rocked as disrupter fire blasted the hull. I was thrown practically off my feet as the ship lurched and wiring dropped out of the ceiling.
“Somebody take care of that,” I said. “But first, somebody get me full shields.”
“I’m givin’ ‘er all she’s got, Captain, she canna take no morrrrrre,” the engineer said in his wildly inconsistent brogue.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“Chief Engineer Montgomery Suk,” he replied.
“OK, Sukky, just do the best you can,” I said.
“They’re coming after us and they’re gonna kill us!” Hudson cried.
“OK, prepare ship for the Picard Manuver,” I said as I tugged on the base of my Captain’s tunic. “These coordinates. Engage!”
The ship leapt into warp speed and instantly leaped out of it behind the Klingon ships. The stunt made it look briefly as if there were two starships instead of just one. Don’t ask me how it works, that’s just what the script says.
“Fire to disable!” I commanded. “Fire!”
Phasers and photon torpedoes shot out of the ship and crippled two of my adversaries. The engines gave out and the shields dropped on the flanking ships, but the lead avoided our onslaught.
“Prepare the Omega 13,” I ordered.
“Not the Omega 13, mon!” Sukky cried.
“Captain, using the Omega 13 is dangerous at best,” Sprok interjected. “That device may destroy us all and possibly take the universe with it. Destroying the universe is most illogical.”
“I don’t need a lecture,” I growled back. “This isn’t Omega 13 101 and you aren’t Professor Sprok.”
“Actually, I do hold a position at the Yugopotomia Academy of Laser Engineering.”
“Damn you Yalies,” I growled again. “Just do it.”
The science officer shrugged and activated the device. We were instantly shot back in time exactly 13 seconds. The Klingon ship, firing 13 seconds into the future to us, missed completely with what could have been a deciding shot.
Our ship fired again. “Their shields are weakening, Oh Captain me Captain!” Sukky cried.
“Prepare the Alpha 13,” I said.
“I’m sorry, Captain, we do not have an Alpha 13,” Sprok apologized logically.
“Well how are we supposed to leap 13 seconds into the future now?” I asked.
“I dunno,” Hudson shrugged.
“Wait, I have an idea, open haling frequencies.”
“Hailing frequencies open,” the communications officer responded.
“Nak P’tal, spittlelick von grah grah v’cccggkkkgg!” I called out. Instantly, the Klingon commander’s image appeared on screen.
“What do you mean my Aunt Polly’s goat ate all the guacamole?” He spat. “You must be a madman!”
“I though I was saying something else,” I whispered to the side to Hudson. “Uh, that’s was just a little friendly greeting to break the ice a little.”
“You want to break the ice, do you?” he growled. “My ship may be damaged, but this fight is far from over. You shall soon learn how cold it is in space!”
“His shields are gonna back online!” Sukky screamed. “I dinna noo how he dood it!”
“If I may, Captain---?” I paused to allow him to identify himself.
“Klang!” he rumbled.
“Klang?” I repeated. “Now why does that name ring a bell?”
“If memory serves me, and I have no logical reason to believe it won’t,” Sprok interjected. “Captain Klang is the disgraced captain from the battle of Puppy 305.”
“What of it?” he barked. “I still have my honor, I still have my ship, and I will soon have a victory as I dance on your graves. Er, metaphorically speaking of course. I plan to blow you up and you really won’t have graves.”
“Captain Klang, it is my right as Captain of this vessel to challenge you to Mn’gulhapach, one on one combat with the lives on that ship as the prize,” I stated. “Name the place and I will beam there.”
“My ship!” He grunted. “After I kill you, I will take that freighter as my prize.”
“Your ship? I was hoping for something a little more neutral, you know.”
“You will beam to my ship or I will destroy your ship and that pathetic freighter!” the Klingon gurgled.
“If I may… just one moment.” I held up my finger to him then turned to my crew. “On my signal, crisscross the Heisenberg Compensators with the Neutrino Array Couplers, then recalibrate the main deflector array and flood it that and the antimatter from the warp core and aim it at that ship, creating a phased carrier wave that will destroy it.”
The rest of the crew looked at me blankly.
“Well?” I asked.
“I canna do something like that, Captain,” Sukky said.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “And are you getting larger?”
“We could never jury-rig the ship to behave in such a manner,” Sprok logically stated. “In fact, it sounds like you made most of that up.”
“Really?” I thought for a moment. “OK, fine. Initiate a transporter lock on the crew of the Kobayashi Maru and prepare for simultaneous transport. When I go over there, bring them over here.”
“Aye, Captain,” Sukky said.
“I’m waiting,” Klang gargled.
“I’m ready to beam over,” I said. “Except there’s just this one thing you see, I Mn’gulhapached just last week and my shoulder’s really sore from it.”
“Ha!” Klang laughed. “Now you are trying to weasel out of this like some sort of scared space rabbit. You have no honor.”
“No no, it’s not that,” I insisted. “I have honor, but I am sending my loyal second over to fight instead.”
“Ha ha ha ha!” Klang laughed more. “Send him over, I will wear his spine as a collar.”
“Great, get ready Hudson,” I said.
“Hey, wait! No!” Hudson cried.
“Energize!” I yelled.
“Wait! Nooooooooooo!” Hudson’s screams digitized and then disappeared along with his molecules.
“All Kobayashi Maru survivors aboard, sir,” the communications officer announced.
“Set a course out of the Neutral Zone, warp 9, engage!” I commanded.