Episode 20: Saturday Night Lever

Now wait just a minute…

Clerk stood there dumbfounded as the rest of the landing party looked for ways inside the Chamber of Commerce building. Everybody came back except Ensign Rann Dome, who probably suffered a horrible, unsuspected death.

He’s not usually this resourceful. He’s never had his act this much together…

“Captain,” said Wharf. “We cannot find any way into the building. He’s got it secured very well.”

“Yeah, the Chamber’s shields are designed to be a big bubble, and they’ve made sure there’s no way in or under them. These buildings are probably the most important buildings on this planet.”

“Our only option is to try and penetrate them with our ship’s phaser banks.”

“I doubt that’d work, Wharf. These things are tough. Besides, a weasel like him’s not gonna stay hunkered down in there. I’m sure he’s long gone by now.”

“Where would he have gone?” Klaa’ck asked. “There aren’t any cities or places of business for miles.”

“Yeah, that’s what I don’t get,” Clerk said, stroking his chin. “He’s not behaving the way he usually does. He’s been the king of small-stakes black market stuff for so long. His entire career has been hit-and-run, karaoke included. For him to have set up some kind of base of operations is rather enterprising for him.”

“Maybe he’s finally found the right locale.”

“If there’s any place for that, it’s here,” Wharf interjected.

“These Chamber of Commerce buildings aren’t much of a crime-lord-type base, though. You might have a small office or two, but other than that, it’s restrooms, vending machines, and brochures.”

“Maybe that’s what he’s counting on,” Klaa’ck said. “The fact that nobody would think to look here for a black market dealer.”

“Perhaps. But we still need to track him down. This building may be a red herring. Clerk to Secondprize.

Secondprize here,” Whatsisname answered.

“Can you get a fix on Mr. Sludge? He seems to have eluded us.”

“Sorry, sir. We’re still downloading all the GPS data for this planet. We’ve tried 5 files from 3 different servers and none of them seem to match the planet.”

“Okay, well… let us know when you can track him.”

“Yes sir.”

“Well, that’s a bummer,” Clerk said with a sigh. “I mean, we can spread out and try to look for him, but I don’t like the idea of splitting up the party, and, if he’s still here, we’d have really wasted our time.”

At that point, they all saw a brief flash. The shields were down.

“Finally!” Klaa’ck exclaimed. “Let’s go–”

Clerk held him back. “Hold on. This could be a trap.”

“Well, seeing as we want to see him, we might want to fall into a trap.”

“Maybe, Wharf, but he’s getting unpredictable. It might be more than a net attached to a vacuum cleaner this time.”

“And that was bad enough.”

“No kidding. I still have nightmares about it.”

“Gentlemen!” shouted Klaa’ck. “It is both illogical and cowardly to stand around commiserating over previous encounters. We must act, and quickly at that!”

He’s got a point. “Alright, I’ll go in.”

“Sir, you’re the captain, are you sure–”

“You know how it is, Wharf. Captain’s Bravado outranks Common Sense.”

“Yes sir.”

Captain Clerk walked in through the main entrance, followed closely behind by the rest of the landing party. The place looked pristine, as if it hadn’t been touched in years. Obvious exits were North, West, and the creepy dark hallway to the South.

“Percy?” Clerk called out. “We just want to talk to you! Come on out!”

“Captain,” said Wharf. “I’m getting a reading. Human life forms down that hallway.”

“Anything else?”

“That’s it, sir.”

“Okay, then. Off we go.”

The group headed down the creepy dark hallway to the South. As they walked down, the life signs grew stronger and stronger until–

“Aaaahhhh!” Ensign #7812 shouted as the floor gave way and dropped him down… about a foot and a half.

Everyone else just stood around the trap door, not sure what to make of the situation.

“Um… help?” the Ensign said, embarrassed.

“That’s weird,” said the Captain. “Why would a trap door only–”

“Argh!” Percy Sludge came out, furious. “Never trust a Ferengi to sell you a decent alligator pit!” He furiously pushed buttons on his remote control, hoping to make the Ensign drop to his demise. Finally, he gave up, and threw it down, smashing it into pieces while the landing party just stood there, frozen in disbelief and confusion.

Percy finally opened a nearby door, with a rather large lever in it. “This should work,” he mumbled under his breath as he pulled it. The floor finally dropped a bit more — now the apparently-doomed Redshirt was three feet down.

“Stupid alligator pit!” Percy said as he kicked the hidden door. “It’s worked every single time before. Naturally, it would fail now. I mean, can you believe it?”

The Captain walked over to Sludge. “Well, I for one am glad I haven’t lost this nameless Redshirt. But seeing as you have deliberately attacked a member of my crew, I’m going to have to place you under arrest… Harold.”