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--------------------- begin transmission -------------------------------


"Leaptrek" MiSTified

By Chris Street.

Part 2

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Continued from part 1)

[SoL]

Mike: Whew. The best I can say is, we've seen a lot worse.
Tom: I won't argue, but Crow and I have learned something *very useful*
     from today's experiment.
Mike: Really? What's that?
Crow: You remember how we were experimenting, trying to write the worst
      fanfic in the world?
Mike: Seems like ages ago, but yeah, I remember it.
Crow: Exactly! It seems like ages ago... but *why*?
Mike: Well...
Tom: I'll tell you why! The plot moves slower than a herd of land sloths!
Crow: Do you realize, Mike, that the entire story of the portion of the
      fanfic we've read already can be summarized in a *sentence fragment*?
Mike: That sounds about right.
Tom: It's one of the essentials of a hideous fanfic. Whatever plot you *do*
     have, slow it down so much that it: A. makes no sense, B. bores the
     reader to tears, or C. has that much more room for inconsistencies,
     spelling and grammar errors, and unbelievable situations - all the
     stuff we've come to love *so* much!
Crow: Of course, it helps if the subject of the fanfic is so terrifying in
      its execution that you begin to weep for the author, and say a silent
      prayer that he never snaps and does something drastic... like run for
      public office!
Mike: Ugh! Stephen Ratliff as Speaker of the House?
Tom: Stranger things have happened, Mike.

[Fanfic sign!]

Mike: Oh, great. More of that succulent fanfic.
Crow: (yawn) Well, I guess I'll just *casually* stroll to the theater...
Tom: Come on, guys! Freak out already!
All: OH NOOOOO! WE'VE GOT FANFIC SIGN!

[6...5...4...3...2...1]

[Mike, Tom Servo and Crow resume their seats in the theater.]

>
> LEAPTREK
> 
> by Katriena Knights
> 
> PART II
> 
> On the bridge, another person had taken his post behind the captain's chair.  

Tom: H. R. Puffenstuff.

> Sam swallowed a great deal of air

Mike: [Sam] Ummm! That's some good air!

>                                   in his effort to contain an
> exclamation of surprise as he stepped out of the turbolift.  

Crow: Hey! There's a *kid* in my chair!

> In fact, he nearly turned around and got back on the turbolift.
> He wasn't sure he wanted to be anywhere too near this large, 
> dark-skinned creature

Tom: Is Sam a racist?

>                       with a forehead that looked like a beetle's carapace.
> But then the man -- or whatever -- looked at him, and he saw 
> respect in the dark, hooded eyes.

Mike: Not to mention extreme, homicidal anger.

>
> "I am glad you are well, Captain."  The voice was deep and resonant, 
> pleasant in a dour sort of way.  Sam forced a smile.
>
> "Thank you."
> 
> Riker switched to his own chair as Sam approached,

Mike: [Riker] Whoops! The Cap'n's here - I'd better stop goofing off!

>                                                    letting
> Sam take the captain's chair.
> 
> "Mister Data," Riker said, settling back in, "give the Captain a full report."

Crow: [Data] The Mariners lost 3 to 2 against the Cleveland Indians, and
      Dallas won against Los Angeles. And now, weather with LaForge!

>
> The pale android swung around in his chair.

Tom: He waved his arms around, and gestulated wildly.

>                                              Most of his movements,
> Sam noticed, were smooth and precise, but when he spoke his head 
> bobbed back and forth like a robin investigating a wormhole.

Mike: In Star Trek terminology, a "wormhole" is a space/time anomaly, is
      it not?

>
> "The turbulence we experienced appeared to be caused by a spatial 
> anomaly

Mike: [Mr. Rogers] Can we say "spatial anomaly", children?

>         combined with the gravitational effects of our return to
> impulse power from warp speed, as I suggested earlier.  

Tom: 'Cause I'm *always* right, don't'cha know?

> However, it appears now that the anomaly was temporal as well as spatial,
> and has affected our normal placement on the time continuum."
> 
> "You mean we've travelled in time," Sam stated.

Crow: No, actually that's just a fancy way of saying that we drove through
      McDonald's for some fries.

>
> "That seems to be the case, yes, Captain."
> 
> "Any idea how far, or in which direction?"

Mike: [Data] 3000 miles, straight up.

>
> "Analysis of star positions in this sector indicate late 
> 20th century, Captain."

Crow: Interceptions of television broadcasts back us up. There is no
      intelligent life in the quadrant, Captain.

>
> "Any suggestions on how we might get back?"
> 
> "If the anomaly still exists, we may be able to utilize it to 
> create a reverse effect.  Otherwise, we can make use of the slingshot 
> approach by accelerating around the planet.   

Mike: So, you can travel through time by accelerating around a planet?

> However, given the unlikelihood of the first possibility and the
> inherent dangers of the second,

Mike: You mixed those up.

>                                 it would be worthwhile to
> investigate further."
> 
> "How long will it be before we have enough information to make a decision?"
> 
> "One could spend an infinite amount of time analyzing the possibilities, 
> Captain.

Tom: Knowing this fanfic's pace, that is a pretty good approximation.

>           And even then, given the difficult nature of the problem,
> one could never be certain of a definitive answer . . ."

Crow: A commemorative answer is a distinct possibility, however.

>
> "Take two hours," Riker broke in.  "Come up with a couple of 
> reasonable alternatives

Mike: Let's just disband and end this fanfic.

>                         with input from Geordi

Crow: Isn't Geordi a disease you get from drinking bad water?

>                                                and Worf.

Mike: Gesundheit.

> Then we can meet and discuss."  He looked at Sam, awaiting confirmation.
> 
> "That seems appro --"
> 
> "Holy Great God Almighty!"

All: This fanfic's *awful*!

>
> "Captain, I have detected an unusual reading off our port bow."

Tom: Apparently, Bullwinkle Moose is delivering poetry off the port bow.

>
> Sam jerked around in his chair, trying to look like he was responding 
> to the announcement from the non-human officer behind him.
> In truth, Al's sudden exclamation had just about sent him out of his skin.

Crow: You mean, Picard's skin.
Tom: Seems to me Sam does a lot of jumping out of his skin.

>
> "What the hell is that?" Al continued.  Apparently Picard made some 
> contribution,

Mike: $2.50 for World Vision.
Crow: 75 cents for Goodwill.
Tom: A Canadian cent for the Republican campaign committee.

>               for Al turned his head away from Sam.
> "Oh, I see.  That's Lieutenant Worf, Sam.

Mike: [Sam] Oh, Lieutenant Worf-sam.

>                                            He's a Klinger.
> What?  Oh, sorry.  Kling -_on_.  God, is he ugly."  
> He gave Sam a knowing look.  "Makes me glad I'm a hologram.  
> Don't get this one mad, huh, Sam?"
> 
> Sam dropped his face to one hand.

Crow: [Sam] Oh, poopie! There goes my face again!
Tom: Maybe he's going to give it to Worf as a peace offering...?

>                                    "Can we see it on the screen, Mister Worf?"

Mike: [Worf] Not a snowball's chance in hell, sir.

>
> There was some beeping and clicking from behind Sam's shoulder as Worf

Tom: ...played with his Simon game.

> fiddled with the controls.  "Negative, Captain.  Composition still
> uncertain, but it is not visible."

Crow: It's cut time, and in F minor, though.

>
> "Do some checking," Sam said.  "See if you can figure out what it is.  
> Data, you find out what you can about alternatives for dealing with 
> this situation,

Tom: Data, collect some data.

>                 and have Commander LaForge provide information on
> the ship's ability to manage any of them.  
> We'll meet in two hours formally

Mike: Now, that's two *formal* hours!

>                                  to discuss our findings."
> 
> Sam looked at Al.  He was talking to thin air, apparently 
> discussing something with Picard.

Crow: Talking to Picard *is* talking to thin air.

>                                    At his station,

All: [singing] Down at his station, early in the morning...

> Data stood and turned toward Sam.
> 
> "Permission to join Commander LaForge in Engineering, Captain.  
> I believe it would be easier to make judgements on viable alternatives if 
> we work together."

Crow: Alternative one, I condemn you to three years of manual labor!
Tom: Alternative two, you are to be hanged by the neck until dead!
Mike: Alternative three, be exiled forever to the island of Yak'e'epaapa!

>
> "Granted," Sam said.
> 
> "You need to get to your little office over there, Sam, so we can talk," 
> Al put in.  "Picard here says he doesn't like the idea of you 
> impersonating him,

Tom: Why? I always love it when somebody steps into my place in the middle of
     a terrible crisis!

>                    but as long as you seem to have the welfare of
> his ship in mind, he'll help you out.

Mike: You don't really *have* to have the ship's welfare in mind, you just
      have to *seem* to.

>                                        But you need to get some
> information from him as soon as possible."
> 
> Sam turned and gave Al a questioning look over his shoulder.  
> Worf apparently thought it was aimed at him and began 
> poking at his control panel again.

Crow: [Worf] Hey, Captain! Come here! This control panel is squishy!

>
> "Tell them you want to do some investigating yourself.  Give Riker the conn."

Tom: Conn? As in Connecticut?

>
> Sam nodded.  From behind him, Worf announced, "The anomaly appears 
> to be unchanged, Captain.  It also appears to be stationary.  

Crow: [Worf] See? The envelopes are over there, the floral-imprint paper is
      just below it, and there's some pretty decorative seals right there!

> Shall I continue monitoring?"
> 
> "Yes, please do."  He stood, administering a yank to the perennially
> creeping tunic.  "I'm going to do some investigating, myself.  

Crow: Aw, Mike! I'm dying!
Mike: *Not one word!*

> Commander Riker, you have the conn.

Tom: ...ecticut!

>                                      I'll see you in two hours."

Mike: In two hours, formally!

>
>    ****

Mike: Look, more stars!
Crow: Purdy.

>
> As usual after a long session of brainstorming with Data, 
> Geordi LaForge was beginning to feel as if he had a head full of oatmeal.  

Tom: Oh, he'd better get to the sick bay and have Beverly take a look at that!
Mike: [Beverly] Hmmm... you *seem* to have a head full of oatmeal!
Crow: [Beverly] Is it Apple & Cinnamon? That's my favorite... let me lick
      your ear!
Mike: Crow!

> He had reached his limit about twenty minutes ago,

Mike: I reached my limit about twenty pages ago.

> what with the continuous tingle of residual pain in his mended
> wrist and the deeper ache of pain from

Tom: ...his appearance in this fanfic.

>                                        other recent events.
> He had about forty minutes until they were due to meet in the 
> conference room,

Mike: ...so the question is, how long into the brainstorming session did
         Geordi reach his limit?
Tom: One hour.
Mike: Good!

>                  and it was just past the time he had been
> starting his sessions with Counsellor Troi.  
> Normally, under an emergency situation, he would have foregone anything else.  

Crow: What are we talking about?

> But lately he felt like his own systems were working on little more than
> auxiliary power,

Mike: He'd better switch to Energizer.
Tom: Duracell!
Mike: Energizer!
Tom: Duracell!
Crow: Don't you guys realize by now they're one and the same?

>                  and he wasn't sure he could make it through the day
> without at least a few minutes with Troi.

Mike: And, now... "A Few Minutes With Troi", the new hit talk show on A&E.

>                                            Besides, Data and Ensign
> Lara had things well in hand, and anything was better than sitting
> here next to Lara, trying not to think about what had passed between 
> them and been ended so abruptly three days ago.  

Crow: *What are we talking about here?!*

> And today, for once, he had something else to discuss with the Counsellor.
> 
> Geordi swiveled his chair away from Data's, rubbing his wrist.  

Tom: [Geordi] Data! Why'd you try to take a bite out of my wrist?

> "If you think this is all under control, I'm going to slide down

All: Wheeeee!

>                                                                  to
> sickbay and have this wrist looked at again."

Tom: This wrist is *starved* for attention!

>
> Data answered without looking up.  "That would be advisable, 
> Geordi, if your wrist is still causing you distress."

Crow: [Geordi] Hmm. It's blue and swollen. Does that mean "distress"?

>
> "Right."  Geordi allowed a glance at Lara.  "Keep up the good work."
> 
> "Aye, sir," the ensign replied.

Tom: Jawohl, mein Fhrer!

>                                  She didn't return his glance.

Mike: Here. Here's your glance... oh, wait. I'm *not* returning it.

> He forced himself not to look at her again, though the delicate
> curvature of her faced danced at the edge of his vision, daring him.  

Crow: So, her delicate curvature faced him and danced?
Mike: Oh, that *really* came out wrong.

> Resolutely turning his back,

Tom: [Geordi] I can't *stand* looking at her curvature.

>                              he left Engineering and headed for the turbo lift.

Mike: Turbo lift... away!

>
> Of course, he did not go to sick bay.

Tom: Of course.

>                                        Deanna
> Troi was in her quarters when he arrived.

Crow: She had just gotten out of her nickels and dimes.

>
> "I'm sorry I'm late," Geordi said as, smiling, she waved him in.
>
> "Oh, not at all, Geordi.  I assumed you wouldn't be here because 
> of everything else that's going on.  Come in and sit down.  I was just 

Tom: ...stashing the bodies in the closet.

> watering my plants."  She gestured with the small watering
> can she was carrying. 

Tom: See! I can prove it! The watering can... see?! Heh, heh...

>
> Geordi did as bidden.

Mike: [Geordi] Yes, master! I will do as you bid!

>                        He was certain, after some limited research, that
> Deanna had the most comfortable furniture on the ship.  

Crow: Of course, everybody else had bucket seats... but so what?

> Of course, it was logical, considering her job,

Tom: She *is* the Head of Furniture, after all.

>                                                 but a nice perk nonetheless.
> Deanna disappeared into her bedroom for a moment, letting Geordi settle in.  
> When she came back, she had her Counsellor face on.  

Mike: [Deanna] Help! Get this Counsellor face off of me!

> She sat down across from him.  She always looked so
> relaxed when she sat down;

Crow: It comes from a lifetime of it.

>                            it was hard not to follow her example.
> 
> "So, how are you doing today, Geordi?"
> 
> "I don't know.  I was feeling all right this morning, but now. . ."
> 
> "I do sense a great deal of turbulence."

Mike: [Deanna] (sniff, sniff) I also sense a terrible smell! Gross, Geordi!

>
> Geordi laughed mirthlessly.  "Yeah.  Turbulence.  That's a word

Tom: [Deanna] You know, Geordi, you're right! Turbulence *is* a word!
Crow: A gold sticky star for *you*!

>                                                                 for it,
> I guess."  He paused, looking at his hands.  "I've been in 
> Engineering all morning brainstorming with Data and . . . 
> Kylaree.  It wasn't easy."
> 
> "Have you spoken with her at all?"

Crow: Who?

>
> "No.  She doesn't want to talk.  She won't even look at me.  
> It just makes it that much more difficult to understand."
> 
> Deanna nodded.  "As much as we hope these things won't happen, 
> sometimes they do.  And when they do, sometimes they take a long 
> time to heal.  But it will get better.  I promise."

Tom: All of a sudden came "a wail of claxons"!

>
> Geordi took a deep, slow breath, trying to get his insides to settle down.  

Tom: He felt like his bowels were full of oatmeal.

> He had heard the words before, and from anyone else he would have
> considered them patronizing.  But from Deanna

Crow: ...they were downright insulting.

>                                               he could take them to heart,
> because he knew she knew exactly how he felt.

Tom: Like a tweety bird! Wheeeee! Chirp, chirp; chirp, chirp!

> He was not certain what exactly had gone on between her and Will Riker, 
> but he knew she must have suffered something similar to 
> what he was feeling now.

Mike: A bad fanfic?

>
> "I think it would be easier if it hadn't been so sudden.  
> I mean, it all came out of nowhere and it was one of the most intense things 
> I've ever experienced.

All: WHAT, ALREADY?!

>                         Then she just . . . decided it had to be over . . ."
> Vaguely, he felt Deanna's light touch on his hand as his words trailed off.  
> More than anything, he wanted to ask her if Lara had been coming to see her, 

Mike: Should be easy enough to tell. Listen for "Lara's Theme".

> if she was hurting the way he was.  But Troi wouldn't tell him even if he
> had the nerve to ask.  He put his hand over his VISOR, 
> blocking himself off for a moment.

Crow: [Geordi] Self! Self! Get outta here! Back off! Stay away! I'm blocking
      you!

>                                     Forcefully, he turned his mind to the
> other reason why he had decided to keep his appointment with the counsellor.

Tom: He wanted to borrow a cup of sugar.

>
> "Have you sensed anything unusual from the captain lately?  
> I mean, since we struck the anomaly?"
> 

All: [gasp]
Mike: Uh-oh.
Tom: Deanna'll figure out the imposter in no time.
Crow: Gee, how convenient.

> Deanna looked puzzled, probably as much by the sudden change of subject
> as by the question.  "I can't say I've been concentrating too 
> strongly on the captain since I went off duty this afternoon.

Mike: [Deanna] Have *you* been concentrating strongly on the Captain, Geordi?

> Everything seemed to be well in hand.  Why do you ask?"
> 
> "Well . . ."  Geordi considered, trying to figure out how to 
> explain this without sounding foolish.  "I saw him in sick bay 
> just after we took that jolt and he just didn't look right.  

Tom: I can understand. That "Jolt" stuff is *loaded* with caffeine.

> It was like . . . well, it was like his image was coming from
> a different set of wavelengths.

Crow: Is it just me, or is this a mere plot contrivance?
Tom: I'd wager on the plot contrivance.

>                                 And when Dr. Crusher was
> checking him to be sure he hadn't suffered a concussion, 
> the scanner registered the wrong blood type."
> 
> Troi shrugged.  "It could have been a defective scanner."
>

Tom: Yeah, it *could* be, but Geordi's got a better idea! He thinks that
     somebody else has taken over the Captain's body! That's *much* more
     plausible, isn't it?

> "Yes, you're right.  It could have been.  But when Dr. Crusher
> tried to get another one, to double check, Captain Picard 
> effectively ordered her to leave him alone."

Crow: Well, he *is* the captain, and all.

>
> "Well, that sounds typical.  You know the captain hates being fussed over."
> 
> "I don't know.  It just seems weird."  He shook his head.  

Tom: Typical? Weird? *YOU* decide!

> "Maybe I'm reading something into nothing, just because I'm wound up."
> 
> "That's possible."

Mike: And probable.

>
> "Well."  He stood.  "I think I'll go have Dr. Crusher take a look at my 
> VISOR, just in case it's malfunctioning.  
> Although it seems odd that it would malfunction only on Captain Picard."

Crow: Machines generally break down in the presence of a force of unspeakable
      evil.

>
> Deanna smiled.  "That sounds like a good idea.  
> And then see if you can get some rest before the briefing."

Tom: You're clearly delirious. Chee, expected me to believe that rubbish about
     Picard? He's only trying to further the plot - and you *know* we can't
     have any of that!

>
>      ****
> 

Mike: (Sigh) Yet *another* word that's been censored out!
Tom: I'd bet those are the most interesting lines of dialogue in this fanfic!
Crow: Four letters, too! Those are the best kind!

> After a briefing from the real Captain Picard -- via Al --
> Sam felt much more sure of himself.  

Mike: He now had deodorant under his arms.
The Bots: Sure! Sure! Sure! Sure!

> The briefing, however, had not changed the magnitude of the
> problem he was facing.  It had only given him an idea about how to handle it.

Crow: Seems to me that's usually the case.

>
> When he arrived at the conference room, all the requested 
> participants were there except Geordi LaForge.  

Tom: He's still smarting from that last chapter.

> Sam watched them while they waited, reminding himself of names,
> ranks, and functions.

Crow: Unfortunately, he reminded himself out loud, blowing his cover
      immediately.

>
> Commander Will Riker, Second-in-Command; 

Mike: ...and known leach...

> Lieutenant Commander Data, android, repository of multitudinous information,

Mike: ...convicted of draft-dodging in '71...

> useful and otherwise; Lieutenant Worf, Klingon, head of security,

Mike: ...with an E.R.A. of 3.59 and 37 RBI's this season...

> inclined to assume hostility from anything unfamiliar; Deanna Troi,

Mike: ...former sideshow freak...

> ship's counsellor, half human, half Betazoid,

Tom: ...from the Ford galaxy.

>                                               who according to
> Picard could often supply unique insights in situations dealing 
> with alien intelligences.

Crow: *Unique* insights, not applicable ones.

>                            Sam was not completely certain why she was here,

Mike: The author said so.

> but Picard had said she was usually included in these meetings.
> Sam had already braced himself for Al's reaction to her presence; 
> she was an extremely attractive woman, and the low cut of her 
> tunic flattered her nicely.

Crow: Meaning to say, politely, that she was built.

>
> Al, however, was surprisingly restrained.  He walked around her a 
> couple of times, going through the table to get all possible views, 

Tom: And *under* the table.

> sucking thoughtfully on his cigar.

Mike: It's got to be hard to look thoughtful when you're sucking on a cigar.

>                                     Sam tried not to watch him,
> though he, too, was intrigued by Troi.

Crow: Mainly because of her fascinating finger puppets.

>
> After a time, Al removed the cigar, looking thoughtful.  

Mike: He does a lot of "looking thoughtful".

> "I wonder if she's just like a human woman."
> 
> Sam shook his head and wondered why he had expected anything else.
> 
> "Oh, don't tell me you don't look at her, too."  
> Al was talking to the empty space next to him again.  

All: [sigh]
Mike: We need to get rid of this man...
Tom: Talking to thin air again, are we, Al?

> "Man, if I was captain of a ship full of women like that I'd . . ."

Mike: It's the wackiest ship in the Navy!

> He broke off.  "You," he said, pointing emphatically to nothing with the

Crow: You know, really, it's not *nothing*. He's pointing to Captain Picard;
      the *real* Captain Picard, not this pansy fake.

> cigar,  "are worse than Sam Beckett.  I'm stuck in a world of prudes . . ."
> 
> _So that's what I look like talking to Al_, Sam thought.  
> _No wonder everybody thinks I'm nuts._

Mike: So, doesn't Sam have a mission to fulfill in Picard's body?
Tom: We haven't figured that out yet.
Crow: [sigh] And, at this rate...

>
> Geordi appeared then.  He sat down next to Troi, who smiled at him.
> 
> "Well, we're all here, so let's begin," Sam said.  
> "Commander LaForge, what conclusions have you come to?"

Mike: [LaForge] This fanfic's *awful*.

>
> LaForge nodded to Data.  "I'd like to allow Commander 
> Data to summarize, if I may."

Tom: Translation: he has too much tact to give an honest opinion about this
     fanfic.

>
> Sam nodded approval to the android.  Data was sitting very straight, 
> his too-white hands folded primly on the table.  
> His head rotated precisely to face Sam.
> 
> "Captain, analysis of the anomaly indicates that
> it is a rudimentary form of time bubble."

All: [snicker, jeer]
Crow: Made out of multi-dimensional soap suds.
Tom: Oooh, pretty rainbow-colored time bubble!
Mike: Guys, I think we've hit a "plot bubble".

>
> Al's attention jerked from Troi to Data.  "_What_ did he say?"

Crow: Al's attention "jerked"?

>
> Data had more bombshells to drop.

Tom: The blonde sitting in his lap was the first to go.

>                                    "Its shape and size
> are remarkably regular, implying that its source is artificial.  

Mike: Actually, I think bubbles are supposed to be regular in shape.

> In addition, it appears to be stationary over a particular point
> on the planet, indicating a source from the planet's surface."

Crow: Gee, how clever.

>
> "What point on the planet appears to be the source?" 
> Sam put in, but he had a feeling he knew the answer.

Tom: Of course. Greenwich Village.

>
> "It appears to be emanating from somewhere in New Mexico."

Mike: What a startling revelation.

>
> _Oh, boy_, Sam thought.  Al was poking furiously at the handlink.  

Tom: Hey, Sam! This handlink feels like mush! Try poking it!

> "I'll be back," he said.  "I'm going to check this out."
> 
> Sam nodded to him.  Across the table, Deanna Troi was watching him rather 
> closely.  He wondered if he had betrayed something in his face when 
> Al had spoken.  The Counsellor's expression was neutral -- 
> almost too neutral, like a poker player holding a royal flush.

Mike: [poker player] Yee-haw! Fellas, I just got dealt a royal flush!

>
> Data was continuing his discourse.
> 
> "In any case, Captain, if we were to try to duplicate the effect 
> which led us here,

Crow: ...we would explode in a logic loop.
Tom: ...we would have *two* bad fanfics instead of one.

>                    we would have to strike the bubble while returning from
> warp speed.

Tom: Oh, pop the time bubble at warp speed? Sounds like a, uh, great idea
     to me.

>              I see no reason why we would not be able to reproduce this
> combination of factors, but I cannot 
> guarantee it will produce the desired results."
> 
> "And what about the slingshot approach?  What's the viability of that?"

Crow: Slim to none!
Mike: Gee, I'm just going to travel in time by flying around this planet!
      Here I go! Watch my speed, George!

>
> "I have calculated the necessary acceleration to achieve the appropriate 
> length of time leap using the slingshot technique.  

Tom: First, we get Bart Simpson out astern, and when we give the signal...

> However, the accuracy of these calculations is, as always, questionable.
> In addition, under these conditions there is always the danger that the 
> massive gravitational forces will destroy the ship."
> 
> "I see."  Sam couldn't help but feel a little smug.  
> They were from the 24th century, and they still obviously had very little 
> knowledge of controlling time travel.  

Crow: This is *reassuring* to him?
Mike: Boy, talk about snotty.

> And Picard had had the nerve to call Project Quantum Leap quaint!
> "Well.  Those are the options.  Any further input?"

Crow: [Johnny-Five] Must have input! Input!!!

>
> "I would like to comment, Captain."  

Tom: [Geordi] This fanfic sucks!

> Geordi leaned into the table as he spoke, looking past Data.
> Sam nodded for him to continue.  "I would suggest attempting 
> the former option simply because the danger to the ship is less.  
> We were travelling at warp 6 when we came out and contacted the anomaly.  
> Recreating this situation would cause very little stress to the engines.  

Crow: But immense stress on the audience.

> Attempting a slingshot effect would produce considerable strain.
> But, in any case, before we attempt anything, I would like to 
> run a diagnostic test on the engines to be sure no hidden damage was 
> done in the initial jump."
> 
> "That seems wise.

Mike: Yeah, good idea, Geordi. Wait until *now* to check for hidden engine
      damage?!

>                   Does anyone else have anything to add?"

Crow: Yeah! What's the sum of 24,536.234 and 324,675.8?

>
> Riker and Troi shook their heads.  Worf cleared his throat.

Tom: It made a sound very much like his name.

>
> "Captain, has it occurred to you that this might have been 
> a trap set by the Romulans to prevent our arrival on Earth 
> to discuss the reconfiguration of the Neutral Zone?"

Crow: What, the border of Saudi Arabia and Oman?
Mike: Ah, this must be what the legendary Enterprise was doing just before
      it got sucked into the anomaly.
Tom: Thanks for telling us now.

>
> Riker shrugged.  "He does have a point, Captain.  
> It seems odd that we encountered this problem so close to Earth, 
> and while engaged in so important a mission."

Crow: [Riker] *Very* odd, wouldn't you think?
Mike: Oh, so you guys see where this is going too, don't you?
Tom: Yep. Any moment now...

>
> "If this is the case," Worf continued, "then it might be wise for us to 
> approach the anomaly very cautiously.  It may be a trap."
> 
> "Agreed.  Thank you, Lieutenant Worf."  Sam stood.  

All: Gesundheit.

> "Mr. Data, continue to monitor the bubble and let me know
> if there are any changes, or if you are able to derive
> any additional information.

Tom: [Data] Oh goody! Thank you, Cap'n! I just *loooove* bubbles!

>                             I'd like to know as much as
> possible before we make a final decision.  Mr. LaForge, run your 
> diagnostics and let me know the results.  The rest of you may 
> return to your stations.  Thank you."
>

Crow: [Sam] Uhhh, you're all dismissed... or something official sounding
      like that.

> As they walked out, Troi took hold of Geordi's arm and began to
> speak to him in a low voice.  Wondering what that was all about, 
> Sam sat back down in his chair and leaned back, pondering. 

Tom: You're toast, buddy.

>
> Al popped back in before Sam could form a coherent thought.  

Mike: Not a very difficult feat.

> "Oh, shoot, she's gone."
> 
> Sam swiveled in his chair to face the hologram.  
> "What did you find out?"

Mike: [Al] M & M's melt in your mouth, not in your hands.

>
> "Ziggy says it's very likely that this bubble 
> thingama-whatcha-hoosie

Tom: Hoosie? The bubble's from Indiana?

>                         is caused by Project Quantum Leap."
> 
> "He can't tell you for sure?" Sam was not only disappointed, but amazed.  
> Ziggy always had an opinion, calculated to at least two decimal places.  
> He was as bad as Data.

Tom: But I thought data is *good*...
Crow: Isn't Ziggy a comic strip character?
Mike: Hey, don't forget Ziggy Stardust!

>
> "Well, Ziggy's not concentrating too well.  
> He's not used to transmitting signals into space."

Mike: He had to contact Shirley McLaine and get a pyramid crystal and
      *everything*!
Crow: He says the aliens are landing soon!

>
> "Well, hopefully this will all be over soon.  

Crow: My thoughts exactly.

> I'll see if I can find out from here if there's a connection.

Tom: Uh, are you stupid, Sam? Project Quantum Leap. Time bubble. You. Captain
     Picard. There are several connections in there already!

> If there is, Data should be able to come up with something."
> 
> "That's right, I forgot.  You've got your own little version of 
> Ziggy up there keeping you company."  He poked idly at the handlink.  

Mike: People *love* to poke things in this fanfic, don't they?
Tom: Yawn! I'm bored, and I'm a character in this fanfic! I think I'll go
     *poke* something!

> "I hope it's over soon," he said, lowering his voice.

Crow: You know, they just said that, but it sounded just as sweet the second
      time?
Tom: [dreamily] Yeah...

> "I'm getting sick and tired of this Picard guy."
> 
> "Oh, come on, Al, surely he's not that bad."
> 

Mike: Yes he is, and don't call me Shirley!

> "Well . . ." Al hesitated.  "Tina thinks he's sweet."
> 
> "Ah.  Jealousy strikes again."
> 
> "Yeah, well, he could have the decency to not be so friendly."

Crow: I'd rather have him as a callous, uncaring, nasty *jerk*!

>
> "Why?  What's he doing?"
> 
> "Oh, he's been, you know, talking to her."
> 
> Sam gasped in mock horror.

Mike: While the audience sat in genuine, unmitigated terror!

>                             "Oh, no!  Not that!"
> 
> "Oh, come on, Sam.  What is a highly educated guy from the 
> 24th century going to talk to Tina about?"
> 
> "I don't think you give Tina enough credit.

Tom: After all, she's got a high-paying job, no debt, and an impeccable
     reputation!

>                                              She's a very sweet girl."
> 
> "Oh, what do you know?  You can barely remember your own name."
> 
> "Sam Beckett," Sam said defensively.

Mike: Whoops. Dead-giveaway there.

>
> "Yeah, but what's your _middle_ name?"
> 
> Sam opened his mouth, then closed it again as he found himself 
> mentally staring down another of the many gaping holes in his 
> selectively edited memory.

Crow: Al carefully sneaked behind him, and pushed him over the edge...

>
> "Ha!" said Al.
> 
> "Well . . . I do have one, don't I?"  
> Encounters with the empty spots in his memory always left 
> Sam feeling insecure, and this example was particularly disquieting.

Tom: [Sam] Aw, did somebody reformat my brain while I was asleep or
     something?

>
> And Al was no help.  He shrugged.  "I don't know.  You never told me."
> 
> "Al . . ."  Sam started, but he was interrupted by the return of 
> LaForge and Troi to the conference room.  

Mike: They're on to you now, Sam. There's nowhere to hide. Confess, and make
      it that much easier on yourself.

> Which was just as well, because he was not at all certain what
> he had been about to say.
> 
> "Look sharp," said Al.  "They look worried."

Tom: [Sam] Look sharp... look sharp, darn, where'd I put my pocketknives?

>
> They did, indeed, look worried.  Sam stood.

Crow: Gee, I'm glad to know he didn't faint with terror or anything.
Tom: Just a reminder: Sam is *still* standing.

>
> "Some final concerns?"  he asked.
> 
> Geordi looked at Troi, who looked back at Geordi and nodded once.

Mike: [Troi] Go ahead and ask him...

>
> "Yes . . . Captain," said Geordi.  
> "We'd like to know just who the hell you are."

Mike: He's a Magic Man!
Tom: I am the terror that flaps in the night...
Crow: I'm Batman!
Mike: I am little people!
Tom: Maxwell Smart, CONTROL Secret Agent 86!
Crow: Bartholomew J. Simpson. Who the hell are you?
Mike: We are... V.R.!
Tom: My name is Indigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Mike: I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me!
Crow: We are... the Knights who say... 'Ni!'
All: Ni!

[The 'bots begin laughing.]

Mike: Boy, we were ready for *that* one, weren't we, guys?
Tom: Saw it coming a mile away, Nelson!

[Mike scoops up the 'bots and heads out of the theater.]

Crow: [chuckles] Hey, wait! I'm not finished! "My name... Jose Jiminez!"

>
> "Oh, boy," said Al.
> --------

Tom: To say the least!

[Mike and the 'bots leave the theater.]

(Continued in Part 3.)
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