I arrived late for the group briefing. Xavier and Kon both looked at me as I stepped in.
”Ah good,” Xavier began; “Now we’re only missing one of the team.”
I coughed and cleared my throat as I took my seat. “Oh,” I piped up, “Erifia told me that she wasn’t going to make it and to start without her.”
Xavier looked at me and squinted. “Nepharia, I sense that you are not telling the entire truth.”
”You’re right,” I answered. “That’s not anywhere near the truth.”
”So where is Erifia?” Kon asked, sitting forward in his chair.
”Well, to be totally honest, I’m not sure,” I answered. “I told her to meet us at Fire Island near the house – but that we weren’t going to be getting started until later today.” I smiled cheerfully.
Xavier covered his eyes with his hand momentarily in what appeared to be despair. Kon actually laughed out loud, but quickly stifled it when Xavier shot him a sharp glance.
Xavier looked at me, not a little unhappy. “Fine,” he said, “Let’s get started then.”
We began a brainstorming session on how to manage the rodent problem at the house. I personally would have loved to just set the entire place on fire, but Xavier reminded me that we were supposed to build a mousetrap to capture them while keeping the house intact. Although I’m not exactly sure that was a stipulation of the challenge.
Kon suggested several great things, of which my favorite was, giant space cats or something to that effect.
”The challenge is to build a trap to capture them, Kon, not have them eaten,” Xavier corrected.
”It’s all semantics,” I said. “Jon wants the mice gone, does it matter how we do it? Besides,” I continued, “I’ve seen some of the traps that were left out there by others, and they didn’t have the intended results either.”
Xavier pulled out the paper with the challenge on it. “It clearly says here ‘Your job is to invent a new space mousetrap, catch all those little buggers that you can!’ “
He looked up at me, shaking the paper in my face. “We will not have you attempting to cheat again this round,” he glared at me. “Especially when it can potentially harm the other contestants – is that clear?”
I was rather surprised by his reaction, but figured I might have been a little too rough with him during our post-challenge #2 festivities.
”Ok, fine,” I said, putting my hands up defensively. “So do you have any ideas?” I asked finally.
”Well, it just so happens that I think we can create a small worm hole that will suck them all in,” he said. “Here are the parts we will need,” and he passed us another paper with a short parts lists.
I raised my eyebrows in surprise. “So if you had this idea already, why didn’t you bring it up before you shot down ours?”
”Well,” he said, “I wanted you both to think you could intelligently contribute to the conversation.”
I rolled my eyes and looked back at him. “Fine,” I said in disgust. “What is it you want me to get?”
”You can get the anti-matter that we’ll need,” he directed. I shook my head and headed out the door.
Where the hell am I going to find anti-matter? I thought. We haven’t used anti-matter in over a millennium.
Then it occurred to me: the Starship Enterprise uses anti-matter in its engines. Bingo! I would have to go back to the future to obtain a small sample.
Pulling out my portable flux capacitor, I installed it on my ship and set the time and coordinates for the year 2153. While the Enterprise of that era had lower grade antimatter and less of it than later iterations of the ship with the same name, they were also less capable of detecting my activities in their engine room.
After the required pleasantries of meeting the officers, dinner, and a complete tour of the ship, I was showed guest quarters and left alone. I donned a stealth field generator and slipped from my cabin.
After getting lost several times around the ship, I did manage to finally find the engine room. I discovered the anti-matter containment area and figured these humans have never had their fuel siphoned before; otherwise, they would have kept a locked fuel cap.
I managed to get a better part of their anti-matter and place it in a secret panel upon my ship. I returned to my quarters and finished out the night with some sleep.
Then next “day” I went to the bridge to thank my hosts and bid them goodbye when I found the captain rather upset.
Captain Archer was leaning over a panel and tapping the anti-matter gauge. “Gees, guys, we just filled up! I can’t afford to fill up every time you go joy riding about the galaxy.”
I whispered to Commander Tucker, “He seems to be rather unhappy today.”
“Yeah, it seems all this starting and stopping is affecting our mileage,” he mumbled back.
”I believe it is time that I leave,” I responded. “Please let your captain know I appreciate his hospitality.”
I made a quick beeline back to the landing bay and a quick escape before they could figure out where their fuel had gone. Making a quick landing back on Hacknor I met the others at the house on Fire Island.
”Why didn’t you just go to the Hacknor Space Academy?” Kon asked me. “They keep plenty of it there.”
I smacked my head then threw the container to Xavier.