"Banished?" Clerk asked. "Oh, you mean how I saved your neck by dropping you off here, where the Romulans couldn't get to you? They're still upset over the drain-clogging scam, you know."

"I was handling the situation just fine, man. I didn't need your help."

"Whatever. You called me, crying, because they had you holed up on Rutabaga III in a penal colony. I'm starting to regret having volunteered to respond to the extradition request."

Lionel leaned back against the wall again, and took another sip of his root beer. Suddenly, he felt a strange tingling sensation. He looked at the can, and to his shock, he saw he was drinking the one he'd marked for his brother. His eyes widened and he turned a little pale.

"You okay, Lionel? What's wrong?"

Without missing a beat, Lionel immediately spoke up. "I was worried because I just noticed that I was drinking the can of root beer that I had marked for you, which I had put some hypnotic suggestion serum into. I did that so you would be forced to take me away from here and do as I was going to order you to do."

"You little twerp," said Clerk. "So what was your plan, then?"

"I was going to use your ship to help me distribute Blubbles."

"What are Blubbles?"

"They are cute little blob-like creatures that some people keep as pets. However, due to their rapid breeding, they quickly infest any locale they encounter."

"Just like Tribbles?"

"Hence the name."

"Do you ever do anything original?"

"No, not really."

"Okay," Clerk sighed. "So you have off-brand Tribbles you're ripping people off with. What's the catch?"

It was painful, but Lionel couldn't help continuing. "The catch is that these are tinier and harder to clean up. My plan was to go around selling these pesky things, and then make the rounds later on, making money from extermination."

"Wow," said Clerk. "You're worse than Percy here."


"So you were going to set up a protection racket involving an infestation of icky but apparently cute pets? What made you think you were going to get away with this?"

After a moment's pause, Lionel said, "I hadn't really thought that far ahead."

Clerk laughed. "I'll assume you aren't lying, due to the serum, so... yeah, that's probably the worst stunt you've ever come up with."

"Not so fast, Jimbo," Percy butted in. "Have you heard of some of the antics he's been up to here?"

"No, and I probably don't want to know."

"You're right, Jimi. You don't."

Lionel's sudden candor was a welcome breath of fresh air. With the mood lightened, Clerk finally walked over to the fridge to get something to drink.

"I assume you only spiked one drink?"

"That's correct."

Clerk laughed as he cracked open a can. "You guys are terrible. Of all the crazy stuff I've seen in this galaxy, leave it to my own brother to take the cake. I gotta tell you, you guys are so dumb and crooked you deserve each other, and this planet of misfits."

Percy perked up. "So... maybe this means you might just leave us here instead of arresting us?"

"Yeah," Clerk said, sighing. "You've found a society messed up enough to fit into, and seeing as you're the textbook definition of 'harmless bumbling crooks' you're no danger to anybody, at least around here. So yeah, just stay here, and behave, or I'll be back. That means no more alligator pits, by the way."

"Fine," Percy grumbled. "So you're leaving, then?"

"I'm leaving, alright, but don't worry, I'll come back in a season or two and check up on you. I have no doubt you'll have something even nuttier after you've had some more time for scheming."

"So what are you going to tell the Fleet?"

"I'm gonna tell them the truth. They still think you're some dangerous criminal. I'll let them know that just being here is punishment enough for you."

"There goes my reputation."

"Anyways, goodbye. As much as I'd like to stay here and see what kind of messes you guys get into, I've got to go."

"You'll come back and visit every now and then, won't you?" Lionel asked with a tinge of sadness.

Clerk smiled. "Of course I will, little bro. You know I miss ya."

"Thanks Jimi."

Opens you up to suggestion and reveals your true feelings. This stuff is dangerous. "You don't happen to have any more of this serum, do you?"

"No," Percy replied. "That was the last we could find."

"Good. Anyways, I'm out of here. Try to stay out of trouble."

At that, Clerk turned and headed for the door, relieved. The situation was resolved, nobody was hurt, and he was going to get back to the ship in time for Bajor's Funniest Home Videos. Just before he got to the door, however, he stopped and turned back around.

"Hey Lionel... when we were kids, whatever happened to my Albert Einstein Collectible Plate that you kept insisting the dog ran off with?"

"I broke it because I was mad that you'd borrowed my science project idea, then got an A on it."

"I knew it."