Force of NatureBy Marc Richard
Posted at December 25, 2004 - 7:30 PM GMT
See Also: 'Force of Nature' Episode Guide
La Forge: Data, please tell your cat to come out from under my bed.
Data: Spot does not respond to verbal commands.
La Forge: Then you need to train her.
Data: To do what?
La Forge: To act more like a dog.
Picard: Starfleet wants us to find the missing medical ship Fleming.
Data: It was last seen entering a region of space containing a dangerous tetryon field, and in which the Ferengi have recently been observed.
Riker: And Starfleet wonders why they've lost contact with this ship?
Data: The Fleming is probably in the Hekaras Corridor. It is the only route which offers warp-driven starships a safe way to traverse the tetryon field.
Troi: Personally, I'd have called it the Northwest Passage. I wonder how it got such a hard-to-pronounce name.
La Forge: Well, there's an inhabited planet nearby called Hekaras II.
Troi: You think its people might know the answer? Maybe we should ask them about it if we get the chance.
Data: How are your efforts to improve engine efficiency going, Geordi?
La Forge: Not bad. The slow part is plugging all these colour-coded components into these multi-layered circuit boards.
Data: Fortunately, each modular zone of the boards bears a letter designation which easily identifies it. Shall I help you assemble the circuitry which is still missing?
La Forge: Sure. The biggest hole is in the top layer of the "O" zone -- can you see the main part for it anywhere?
Data: Yes, I believe this green piece is what we need.
DaiMon Prak: Our ship's warp drive was disabled by a Starfleet verteron mine laid in the Hekaras Corridor!
Picard: You must be mistaken. Starfleet has no such weapons.
Riker: Besides, what do the Ferengi know about how mine warfare is waged?
Prak: Are you kidding? As an acquisitive society, we take the word "mine" very seriously!
Data: Sensors are picking up a metallic object ahead. I cannot ascertain its function.
Riker: Is it smaller than a shuttlecraft?
Riker: Is it bigger than a breadbox?
Riker: Could it be a verteron mine?
Warp Engines: Fizzzzzzzz....
Data: Signs point to yes.
La Forge: (over the comm) Captain, two alien intruders have just beamed aboard!
Picard: Are they armed?
La Forge: No, but they're carrying picket signs and they're handing out leaflets to my engine room crew.
Rabal: Our research shows that warp drive is damaging the fabric of space near our planet. Its use in this region must be abandoned.
Serova: We've shown our data to the Federation Science Council, but they refuse to listen. They've even rejected our proposal to call this phenomenon "The Omega Effect."
Picard: Did they say why?
Serova: All they told us was that the name was already copyrighted.
La Forge: I resent the damage you've done to my engines.
Serova: What we did was justified by the cause to which we have dedicated our lives.
La Forge: Well, can't you find some other cause to support? Like saving the whales?
Rabal: That's already been done.
Data: Serova and Rabal believe that millions of cumulative exposures to warp fields will eventually cause a subspace rift to form in this area.
Picard: Can their theory be verified?
Data: Not without more research. Perhaps they should conduct an experiment in which a warp-driven ship would travel back and forth across this area millions of times.
Serova: That's unacceptable! It would take much too long!
Rabal: And getting a research grant application approved would take even longer!
Data: Serova's ship is moving off.
Picard: She probably intends to get started on that back-and-forth research project.
Rabal: That's not her style. I'm sure she wants to do something more dramatic -- like handcuff herself to the nearest area of subspace instability.
Picard: What effect is that likely to have?
Picard: Good answer.
Data: I have located the Fleming. It is dangerously close to the subspace rift.
Picard: Can we move close enough to the ship to beam the crew to the Enterprise?
La Forge: Well, the problem is that we'd need to get to the Fleming at warp speed without using our warp engines.
Picard: If it's their only chance, let's do so. I'll leave it to you and Mr. Data to work out the details.
Rabal: I'm deeply troubled by Serova's fate.
La Forge: Always remember that she was a woman of high principles. She was willing to destroy subspace in order to save it.
Rabal: That's the part I'm having the most trouble with.
Data: We are approaching the Fleming, sir. It is directly ahead.
Picard: Why can't we see it?
Data: Probably due to some unusual property of the spatial rift.
Riker: Let's start the rescue anyway. Transporter Room, energize!
Transport Technician: (over the comm) Energizing.
Riker: Well? Is the first group aboard?
Technician: The instruments say yes, but for some reason they're all invisible. I'm hesitating to transport the next group until we know why.
Riker: We'll figure that out later! Now get the rest of these people off that ship and snap to it!
Picard: In order to prevent further damage to subspace, the Federation Council has restricted all starships to a maximum of Warp Five from now on.
Riker: But at that rate we'll never get anywhere!
Picard: Actually, we should be grateful. The Vulcan High Command wanted to impose an even lower speed limit on us.
Riker: Boy, those guys never let up, do they?
(The Enterprise sails away at Less-Than-Ludicrous 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.