ContagionBy Marc Richard
Posted at December 25, 2004 - 5:14 PM GMT
See Also: 'Contagion' Episode Guide
Riker: Sir, the U.S.S. Yamato says they're having shipwide system failures. They're requesting our help.
Picard: Very well...set course to intercept. Mr. Data, connect us to their computer and download their database so that we can run a diagnosis.
Data: Link established. Their database contains an executable attachment -- shall I download that too?
Picard: Yes, we don't want to miss anything that might tell us why the Yamato is malfunctioning.
Picard: Donald, what's your ship doing in the Neutral Zone?
Captain Varley: (on static-filled viewscreen) At the moment, no more than one kilometer per hour.
Picard: I mean, what's your purpose here? I hope you weren't looking for some mythical planet like Eden.
Varley: Actually, I was looking for Iconia.
Picard: I stand corrected.
Varley: Can you repeat your last transmission, Jean-Luc? Our comm link is breaking down and I'm having trouble picking up your sarcasm.
Worf: Sir, sensors are detecting catastrophic events on the Yamato!
Worf: An exploding wall console has killed several Bridge officers, and Captain Varley has apparently ordered his Betazoid Counselor to take the helm!
Picard: My God! Donald, can you hear me? Your ship is in...
Yamato: (on viewscreen) KER-BLAM!
Picard: ...several hundred thousand flaming pieces.
Data: One million seven hundred and seventy-one thousand five hundred and sixty-one, to be exact.
Romulan Subcommander Taris: (on viewscreen) Your presence here is illegal.
Picard: So is yours. What brings you to the Neutral Zone?
Taris: Our warp engines, of course.
Picard: Sigh. I can tell this is going to be a long day.
Riker: Maybe you should just drop that line of questioning entirely, sir.
Picard: What caused the Yamato to lose antimatter containment?
La Forge: My guess is that Galaxy-class starships have some kind of design flaw.
Riker: A design flaw in the most advanced space vessels ever built? That isn't possible.
La Forge: I'm afraid it is. It's a well-known fact that the more you overtake the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
Riker: Maybe so, but how do you get from a clogged drain to a destroyed starship?
La Forge: That's what we're trying to figure out. I've got my engineers checking the ship's blueprints to see if the plumbing drainpipes and the emergency antimatter ejection system use any of the same conduits somewhere along the line.
Picard: Computer, replay Captain Varley's last log entry.
Varley: (on screen) The ancient artifact discovered on Denius III has allowed us to locate Iconia. We are heading there at maximum warp to prevent its secrets from falling into the hands of the Romulans. Because of the emergency, we have had to delay installing the patches that will fix the most recently announced critical security flaws in our Windows 2365 operating system.
Riker: Based on this information, sir, I think it's clear what our first priority is.
Picard: Agreed. Helm, set course for Iconia!
Picard: Ancient legends say that the Iconians had the ability to travel to other planets instantly, without spaceships, using some kind of stargate.
Wesley: That seems pretty improbable, sir.
Picard: Yet archaeological digs on several worlds in this sector have found unmistakable evidence of common cultural influences.
Wesley: Gosh, maybe there's evidence like that somewhere on Earth...like in Egypt, for instance.
Picard: Now you're talking improbable, Wes.
Picard: Tea, Earl Grey, hot.
(The replicator delivers fruit, exotic, cold)
Wesley: Weird. Have you ever heard of a replicator playing a practical joke like that?
Picard: Only some off-the-record rumours that it once happened on James Kirk's Enterprise.
Wesley: It's too bad those kinds of unconfirmed stories never make it into Starfleet's official textbooks. If they did, history class would be a lot more animated.
Captain's Log: The Enterprise is beginning to experience minor but widespread system failures. I can only hope that this log entry will not be affected by th... -- FRITZZZ! -- ...erators are standing by to take your call! Order your copy of "Phlox's Hottest Decon Videos" today! We now return you to tonight's adults-only broadcast of... -- CRACKLE! -- ...fore we arrive at Iconia, or else we may be in serious trouble.
Riker: It's too bad we've lost contact with Engineering. I wonder why Geordi sounded so alarmed when we told him a probe was launched towards us from Iconia's surface?
Picard: Here it comes now. It looks oddly similar to the one that scanned the Yamato just before their systems started failing.
(Sound of turbolift car screeching to a halt; its doors fly open.)
La Forge: (catapulted out) AAAHHHHHH -- ooompf!
Riker: Damn -- he's out cold. Look, sir...there's a message on the PADD he's holding. The display keeps putting two and two together.
Picard: I'm open to conjectures about what that's supposed to mean.
La Forge: The first Iconian probe used a software weapon against the Yamato. The probe we destroyed nearly did the same thing to us.
Data: We did, however, become infected by the virus when we downloaded the Yamato's database. It is now rewriting our entire computer network.
Picard: So that would explain the system failures we're experiencing.
Data: Yes, but not the mysterious Aztec objects that have started appearing throughout the ship.
Pulaski: How am I supposed to treat all these injured crewmen when my biobeds don't have power and my dermal regenerators are on the blink? I might as well be working in the Middle Ages!
Ogawa: Doctor, I've brought you some stone knives and bearskins I found in the paleontology lab on Deck Five.
Pulaski: Well, it's a start. Give the furs to anyone who needs a blanket while I get this patient ready for surgery.
O'Brien: The transporter's out of action, sir. So are all the shuttlecraft.
Picard: We have got to find a way to get Worf, Data and me down to the Iconian control complex on the surface.
O'Brien: No problem. I keep spacesuits, a winch and a very long rope next door for just this kind of situation.
Taris: Leave this planet or we will destroy you!
Riker: Drop the bluff, Subcommander. We know you're in no position to fire because most of your systems are malfunctioning.
Taris: What makes you believe that?
Riker: Because your windshield wipers keep switching on and off and your tail-lights keep signaling that you're making a right turn.
Troi: The tension level on the Enterprise is very high. I suggest you give everyone something to do while we wait for the Captain.
Riker: Good idea. I'll check the entertainment channel to see if any interesting videos are playing right now.
Troi: Make sure they're rated for family viewing. We don't want the children aboard exposed to gratuitous scenes of half-naked Starfleet officers groping each other.
Picard: Data, can you read these control panels based on the similarities between ancient Iconian and its related languages?
Data: Only partially, sir. This one says that during the Reckoning the Bajoran people will either "suffer horribly" or "eat fruit." I cannot determine which translation is more accurate.
Picard: And I can't decide which statement is more meaningless. What about this console over here?
Data: The one which may or may not read, "Planetary self-destruct button"?
Picard: No, the other one!
Data: I believe I have found the control panel for the stargate which has just opened.
Picard: Data! Are you all right?
Data: I am not certain. I feel an overwhelming urge to transmit messages to everyone in my address book.
Worf: It appears that Commander Data has been infected by the Iconian computer virus.
Picard: So much for the reputed security advantages of Soong-type operating systems.
Picard: Worf, take Data through the gateway. With luck, you'll both end up back on the Enterprise.
Worf: Suppose we end up going nowhere?
Picard: Then this will be your big chance to get away from it all.
Worf: Amazing. In all my life, I never thought I would ever hear a kas-volch'iq-nedah't.
Picard: A what?
Worf: In Klingon it means, "pun worthy of instant death unless it comes from a man with his finger on a planetary self-destruct button."
La Forge: Commander, I know how we can get rid of the virus! All we have to do is shut everything down to clear the circuits, then re-initialize our computers!
Riker: That's brilliant! Did you figure it out by seeing how Data rebooted himself?
La Forge: No, actually, I remembered that last night I was watching an old movie about dinosaurs running amok in a computer-controlled amusement park, you see, and there's a scene where....
Taris: (on viewscreen) You are indeed a devious man, Picard. You've sabotaged my Warbird, you've destroyed the Iconian base, you've appeared on my ship through a dimensional gateway in order to gloat and you've beamed out again before we could arrest you. Had you been born on our world, you would have made a fine Romulan.
Picard: I'll try to take that as a compliment.
Taris: I suppose you will now add to our humiliation by telling us how to purge the Iconian virus from our computers.
Picard: Yes, and as I bonus I'll even throw in Aunt Adele's remedy for the common cold.
(The mortified Romulans head for home at Inglorious Speed)
Marc Richard is one of the contributors of Five-Minute Voyager, where sci-fi episodes are reduced to "fivers" of one-twelfth their original length.