Episode 23: The Chat Room

Plan?” asked Captain Clerk. “I just heard you say you had no operation.”

“Well yeah,” Lionel said, shifting in his chair. “I mean, you gotta get through plan phase to get to operation phase.”

Sigh. “Okay, fine. Tell me your plan.”

“You don’t want to hear it.”

“Yes I do. I asked, didn’t I?”

“But you don’t want me too. You just want to get it over with so you can call me names. Any time you start with ‘Okay, fine‘ I know you–”

Just tell me, okay?

Lionel crossed his arms and sulked for a while.

“Are you done being five years old, or are you still brewing up a tantrum of some sort? We can just beam you out of this rock and take you away from your comic books, you know,” Clerk finally said.

“Captain, should we… um…” Wharf fumbled for words. “You know…”

“Yeah, you guys just wait outside for a bit. This may take a while.”

Wharf, the security officers, and Percy began to make their way to the door.

“Not so fast, Sludge,” Clerk interrupted. “You’re part of this conversation.”

“Well, Captain, I hardly need to be part of a sibling argu–”

“You got me into this mess, so you’re in this argument, whether you like it or not.”

Grumbling, Percy took his place by the lava lamp. As the door closed, Lionel finally acquiesced. With a light sigh, he got up and headed for the fridge.

“You want something to drink, Jimi? We don’t have much, but–”

Clerk gently raised his hand. “I’m fine.”

“Suit yourself.” Lionel grabbed one of the few remaining sodas and leaned against the wall. “So… the plan…”

“This better be good, Lionel. Just so you know, your pal here nearly killed one of my nameless Redshirt ensigns while evading us. Or was that all ‘part of the plan’?”

“Oh, you mean that no-good aftermarket alligator pit? He’s been trying that out for weeks to intimidate the locals. I told him from the outset it wasn’t worth the price they–”

“What part of nearly killed didn’t you get?”

Relax, bro. It didn’t work, did it?”

“Ya see, Jimbo?” Percy interrupted, laughing nervously. “Intimidation, okay? No… no killing! Just intimidation!”

“Yeah, and you failed there too. I can still arrest you on Villainous Intent, so don’t think you’re off the hook.”

“Percy’s delusions of heinousness aside, this whole situation really isn’t as bad as you think,” Lionel continued.

“Mmm-hmm. I’ve heard that one before.”

Lionel sighed. “Anyways, I’d heard you were coming out here, so I figured now was as good of a time as any to do it.”

“Wait a minute. You knew we were coming? How?

“You’re not exactly on a Top Secret Mission here, Jimi. It’s not that hard to get that kind of info.”

So much for the element of surprise.

“Now look… I know this looks bad…”

“That’s an understatement.”

“Will you let me finish a sentence? I get the feeling not a lot of sentences get finished around you.”

Clerk sighed. This mission was going way better when I wasn’t believing a word Sludge was saying.

Flustered, Lionel continued. “Percy and I have been working together since he got here. We were getting started on the record store idea when I got word that you were on your way. Once I knew you were on the planet, I sent him up there to bring you down.”

“Which naturally involves death traps and turning the shields on over the only entrance to your lair.”

“You know me, Jimbo,” Percy said with a smile. “A flair for the dramatic.”

Right… next you’re going to tell me that phaser wasn’t loaded.”

“Well, now that you mention it, Captain…”

“Never mind.” Clerk turned back to Lionel. “So let me get this straight… your plan was to get me down here to talk?”

“That’s just Step 1.”

“Step 1 of what? A family reunion?”

“No, Step 1 of revenge, goofball. Or did you somehow forget that you banished me to this lousy rock?”