Chapter 3

 

The new Enterprise Crew

 

“Won’t put down your daft plant somewhere?” Flecki hissed when they were back on the bridge, and she looked at the mayor angrily.

“Formidable idea, Number One, do take it to sickbay!” he retorted and Flecki held the smashed pot plus damaged plant and all the earth in her paws. Doubtfully, she looked at what she had between her paws and tried to remember that she dealt with a sick hamster under shock. If not so, this mayor-commander would now have this trash right in his face.

“We’ve got no sickbay, Mayor!” Flecki gnarled.

“Oh, haven’t we? What a pity? Why haven’t we?”

The mayor waddled up and down the bridge. His glance fell on the Captain’s seat which due to Kirk’s absence was vacant, of course. The grinning of the remaining Enterprise-crew made him nervous, he scampered towards Chekov, pointed at him and asked:

“You – have you nothing to do? What is your full name and rank?”

“No, Sir, I’ve nothing to – grrpfffff – do at the moment”, was the cackled reply. “Navigator Pavel Andrejwitch Chekov waiting for your orders – grrpfffff!”

“Erm, yes, a navigator, how nice.”

“What might our selfappointed navigator do just now?” Flecki thoughtfully asked.

“I hope he must not endure such terrible hunger as we do”, Goldi lamented. “Where is the kitchen? What I mean: As a cook I have to have my working place.”

“Deary, why don’t you use the replicator?” Lt. Uhura now purred, and eleven hamsters looked at her with big eyes.

“And who are you?” the mayor asked, struggled to his feet after he had stumbled over a skirting board and faced the woman.

“Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, just to please you, my little cuddle-ball”, the Enterprise-officer replied with a smile and fondled the mayor’s ears.

“Codingus – er – commander, that’s what I want to state I am. Henceforce – therefore I have to rebuke you in this line and order you not to call me a cuddle-ball. That is an – er – er – subversion of moral and discipline of this ship.”

“Crew – not ship”, Flecki hissed.

The mayor-commander’s paw nervously tapped the floor of the bridge and he continued: “What are you doing here?”

“I’m running communication, darling.”

“Just like Flecki”, Goldi remarked. “If she could, she would all day long…”

There was a slap and Flecki met the glance of the mayor-commander with a most innocent look, purring: “Pity he stumbled…”

“Yea, hum, that shows that, as I several times mentioned, it is unevitable to have a sickbay with trained staff. Yoohoo, can you do such thing?”

“I could glue a plaster to your sweet little paw, darling…”

“Excellent, Yahoo – er – Yoohoo, so you are the chief medical officer. Flecki, please hand her our vegetarian friend of the Beta-Geranium-System!”

Bored, Flecki gestured in the direction of the Captain’s seat. “I put his mortal remains under that seat there.”

Lt. Uhura got up, swaggered to the named seat, knelt and patted the battered plant. “Hello, sweetheart, you got a name? Come along, my pet, Nyota takes you to sickbay.” She put off her jacket and shovelled earth, remains of the flower pot and what was left of the plant into it. Then she rolled up everthing, stuffed it under her left arm and saluted with her right arm. “Permission to retreat for operating, Sir!”

The mayor silently nodded and watched how Lt. Uhura staggered to the door, how the door opened if by magic and closed again. Then Lt. Uhura and the mortal remains of the alien plant were gone.

“Er, what shall we do now?” Dodo wailed. “What I mean is, how will we get back home?”

“Don’t worry”, Tealeafy shouted, “we’ve got a navigator who will manage that, won’t he?”

“Sure!” Chekov delightedly cried.

“He will know all the routes”, Trample cheered.

“Sure!”

“He certainly takes us back to Hamsterton!” Tuffy rejoiced.

“Sure!”

“You got a kink in your attics? Hamstilidamst is on his way with these other comedians! We can’t leave him behind!” chief Botchy raged and gave Tuffy furious glances.

“Moreover, my dear friends”, the mayor now shouted, “we have a mission. Our destination is the planet of the moss beavers. We have to get tririllium from the Moss Beaver planet so that our vegetarian friend and all the galaxy with him can survive. Navigator, will you take us to that planet?”

“Sure”, Ensign Chekov grinned, still in the grip of the laughing gas and checking nothing at all.

“So – er - full seed – er – full speed – erm…”

“Energize!” Botchy whispered to the mayor-commander. “The term is energize!”

“O yes, of course: fully energize, Nav!”

“Sure, Commander!” Chekov grinned, pressed buttons, pushed controls and smirked. “Drive’s off!”

“Erm, why’s the drive off? So it’s no drive-in but a drive-off! Well, well, what now?” The mayor looked about him in a bewildered style and nervously tapped with his paw. “We need a masochist – er – machinist! Somebody has to start the motor!”

“Warp drive, you mean, Sir?” Chekov smiled.

“That’s it, somebum has to start the burpdingus. Who knows anything about this… er – drive?” He looked around wildly but all the hamsters around him seemed to busy themselves with most important matters. Nobody had heard him, they all were fully occupied studying the walls and floor of the space ship.

“Chief Botchy knows his way with machines…”, Tuffy proposed in a whisper.

Terrified, the chief’s eyes widened when the mayor-commander pointed at him. “Get moved, machinist, start the burp-drive!”

“But I’m a chief engineer and not a machine-driver, I…”

“The existence of the whole galaxy depends on us and you puff up here! Security team, take the machinist to his place of work – erm, wherever that is.”

“No problem”, Chekov grinned, “I’ll play the guide.”

“And the munching replicator with the kitchen? Will you guide me there, too?” Goldi bawled and ran behind the Ensign, closely followed by chief Botchy, nagging Tuffy and wailing Dodo.

“Shut up, I said. You come along, I need assistants whom I can blame!” Goldi heard the scolding of the chief engineer. Then the hydraulic door closed with a soft hiss.

“Ey, you, Sample!”

“Hum, my name is Trample, Sir!”

“For my sake”, the mayor grumped. “Follow them quickly and tell them to hurry. A long distance is ahead of us.”

Happy to get such an important order, Trample ran to the door of the bridge like Chekov just had done. Unfortunately he was not Chekov but a hamster and unfortunately the hydraulic door did not react to a lightweight like a hamster. So nothing happened. That is, something did happen: Trample was stopped by the door with an ugly sound.

“Erm, what does this mean?”

“This means the door does not open, Sir”, Trample groaned and rubbed his aching nose. Nobody said anything for it seemed obvious that they had to await the return of Chekov whithout having any means to leave the bridge.

The mayor privily decided to take the next opportunity to reprove Chekov for not informing them. Then he pointed at be big screen which filled the head part of the bridge and shouted:

“Why is there no TV? Ey, Yoohoo, switch on the news! Why does the door not open any longer?”

“She takes care of the alien veggy”, Flecki groaned in a miffed voice. “Moreover that seems to be a control screen.”

“Erm, yes, of course. – Trample, I herewith promote you assistant communicator.”

Trample’s eyes were bright with joy when he climbed up to the com station and looked at the blinking controls. Then there was a splutter and Trample, shrieking, was hurled through the room.

“Hit the wrong button?” Dasy asked sympathetically and together with the other hamsters watched how Trample got up with a moan and looked at his singed fur.

“That happens to the poor chap in each book”, Sasy added when she and Dasy dragged Trample back to the com station. “No fur can grow that fast.”

In the meantime Goldi lived the blackest and most disappointing minutes of his life. Ensign Chekov had shown the chief engineer the way to Engineering and as he could not be of assistance in starting the Warp-drive, Chekov had walked on to the kitchen with Goldi.

“This is a kitchen?” Goldi groaned and deep disappointed was written in his big eyes. “Were is the fridge – where is the pantry, were are the supplies?”

“Don’t need them”, the Ensign smiled, “got a replicator. All we need is the raw material.”

“Much better”, Goldi hopefully grinned. “Where is it?”

“Well, here – behind this hatch are the…” Chekov turned his head and held his nose close with two fingers, “…remains of the last journeys. You regularly dump them into the main replicator and new meals can be replicated on every deck.”

“That is the future?!” Goldi yelled, horrified. “Rubbish as food? Come on, Chekov, get a spade and dig a little. Somewhere about here your future must be buried.”

While the Ensign, grinning, wondered about the sense of this, Goldi left the kitchen and set out for Engineering. Chekov followed him. It was not difficult to find the way as from the distance chief Botchy’s painful wailing was audible. He just had learned that never you should switch on an electrode beam if you are standing right in front of the electrode canon. Dodo and Tuffy were helping the chief engineer up when Goldi approached the Warp-drive, most interested.

“Hands off!” Botchy bawled. Goldi gave the chief a look and grinned.

“Quite right, should leave it to experts.”

“Ey, you”, Botchy shouted at Chekov, “how do you switch that bloody Warp-drive on?”

Smiling, the Ensign walked over to a control and pointed at a large red button with on “ON”-lable.

“That’s English and means…”

“I know that that is English but why doesn’t anybody tell me that it isn’t Hamstish? In Hamstish this means ‘NO’ and if ‘NO’ is written there, I won’t touch it!” the chief interrupted the Ensign. “Well, whatsoever, everybody having nothing to do in here – out. It might become dangerous. I’m going to press that button now.”

Slowly and cautiously, he approached the control.

“Tuffy and Dodo, you watch the indicator minutely, okay? Tuffy? Dodo?”

When chief Botchy turned round he discovered that he was all alone in the big room. He cursed himself that he had not be exact as to leaving Engineering and having nothing to do here. Once more he looked around and felt very, very lonely when he pressed the red button on the control panel. At first nothing happened and the chief gave a relieved sigh. Then the whole room began to vibrate slightly, the big, transparent thing, called Warp-core, started to radiate in vivid blue. The lights on the control started to flicker and an unpleasant shrill sound joined the vibrating of the room.

The chief’s nerves were close to snap, his beady eyes bulged like two little baloons, he lifted his paws like in self-defence, uttered a frightened shriek and ran out. He wanted nothing but to get away from this spooky place. Botchy seemed to fly through the Enterprise-passages, dived left and right into side passages until he reached the lift and with it the bridge. The sill stopped his run and shrieking he was hurtled trough the air, passing Chekov who had just stepped into the door, and landing right in front of the Commander-chair where the mayor was sitting.

“Report, machinist!”

“He he, Commander, no problem at all. A snap so to say, Warp-drive’s on.”

The mayor-commander nodded and turned to Goldi again. “Erm, where were we? O yes, on the bridge! Well, what does that mean: don’t feel like it?”

“Nothing on in the kitchen, I’m quitting. I want to be where some action is!”

“Erm, yes.” The mayor began to brood. His eyes were on the big main screen where the Earth became smaller and smaller and the blackness of space bigger and bigger. Soon they would be in unknown areas. They had been in an unknown area for some time now but space was something very different. The hamsters had made their first experiences in space research in the past but that, too, had been very different. This thing was something absolutely new and the mayor by and by realized it. Perhaps they would meet dangers they even could not imagine. What they needed was safety, yes, that was it!

“Goldi”, the mayor-commander drawled, “on my authodingus I make you weapon officer. In case of emergency you will defend this ship by force of arms!”

There was a clear ‘Plop’ in the background. That had been Flecki who had toppled over in shock. Sasy and Dasy helped her up.

“You got a problem with that, First Officer?”

“He’ll blow us up!”

“Nonsense, Number One, he is a reliable and careful officer!”

“Reliable for disaster”, Flecki hissed. “Careful is an exaggeration. Short time back HAMPO got him because he drove too fast. Policeman asked him if he knew that he had been too fast.”

“Well?” Sasy breathed. “What did he say?”

Flecki gave Goldi a look a reproach.

“He said to the policeman: Can’t be, I was much too slow. Otherwise you couldn’t ask me now…”

There was a crash and they all turned round. Ensign Chekov had fallen from his chair laughing.

“Erm, now we are in orbit. All to the stations!”

“Which stations, Mayor?” Sasy and Dasy chorused.

“Exactly, Taty and I also don’t know what we’re to do”, Tealeafy indignatedly cried.

“It’s Sir! Or Commander!” the mayor-commander snarled and furiously looked round. He put his little paws to his hips and looked determined. “That’s dizzydingus – er – discipline it is what I expect of my hamsters. We now will make further appointments regarding crew.”

He made to slide down from the seat, gave a yell, made a somersault and crashed onto the floor of the bridge.

“Sir or Commander, are you okay?” Flecki asked, hurrying towards him.

“Erm, yes, thanks, Number One. I’m not used to such high chairs. Now we make the appointments.”

Followed an hour of ferocious discussions, accompanied by the giggling of Chekov who was still lying on the floor. Finally the ranking of the crew was agreed upon:

Flecki: First Officer

Goldi: Weapon Officer

Botchy: Machinist; Assitant: Tuffy

Trample: Acting Communication Officer

Dodo, Dasy: Security

Taty: Science Officer, Kitchen

Sasy: Quartermaster

Tealeafy: Party Organizer

By now Lt. Uhura had returned to the bridge and informed the mayor-commander that the vegetarian friend had fallen into a coma-like sleep and should not be disturbed. Then she walked over to her com-station, fondled the waiting Trample and explained to him the different buttons and switches of com.

With a sigh the mayor-commander leaned back in his seat after he had slipped on the plain bolster twice when climbing up.

“Erm, who’s steering, by the by?”

Ensign Chekov, just having got over his fit of laughing and looking at the monitor, feet on the desk, cackled loudly, toppled over with his chair and was out of sight.

“Your’re just swell, you hamsters! Stoj! Nobody steers. None! Njet! Goldi and the HAMPO – hahaha!”

“That way we’ll get nowhere, Commander”, Flecki nagged and disgustedly watched the Ensign who literally rolled on the floor of the bridge and drummed it with his fists. “You’ve got to do something, Commander!”

“Well, erm, yes, well, what shall we do now, what shall we do now?”

The mayor-commander desperately looked around. Everybody hid as well as possible and so his glance came to rest on Dodo.

“You, Dododingus, come here!”

“I didn’t do anything wrong, Commander”, the big hamster said with a frightened look and came closer.

“What are you doing at the moment, man?”

“Nothing”, Dodo whimpered.

“Very good”, the mayor-commander replied and pointed at Chekov who was by now lying on his back, roaring with laughter. “We so to say have a problem with navigation. Take over the helm!”

After a few minutes chief Botchy, Goldi, Trample, and Flecki had succeeded to tansport the wailing, struggling Dodo to helm control.

“And now? What shall I…”

“If we’re not on course in a minute, I’ll throw you out, you jerk-off”, Botchy thundered who felt quite nerved by the whole thing now.

“But I, but I… Shall I pull this lever perhaps, Boss?”

“Commander it is, Navigator Dodo! If you call me Boss again, I’ll have you arrested because of lack of dizzydingus – er – of discipline.”

“Do something”, Goldi urged him, “but stop weeping on the carpet!”

Desperately Dodo pulled the lever. At first nothing unusual seemed to happen but to the loud “Oh!” and “Ah!” of the hamsters the monitor suddenly showed a change of course. At the beginning all stars seemed to move sideward with high speed; then the scenery calmed down. The stars which just had been moving away from them now seemed to fly towards them.

“Great, darling, now we’re flying into the right direction”, Uhura laughed and applauded so that Trample fell down from the panel with shock.

“Your’re undermining my authority, Yoohoo”, the mayor hissed and pointed at Lt. Uhura who had some problems not to roar with laughter. “You call me ‘Sir’ or ‘Captain’ or ‘Commander’ or ‘Sir’ or ‘Commander’ or ‘Captain’, got that?”

“Quite clear”, she giggled as an answer, “I’ll try to remember that.”

Warily, the mayor-commander looked at her, then something came to his mind and he added: “Another thing: We can’t we pass that door.”

“Sir?” Uhura war close to snorting.

“That damned hydraulic door! We can’t go through it!”

“Oh, that damned hydraulic door, Commander, I see. I will in person take care that that lousy door also opens for little commanders and other lightweights. Ay, Sir!”

She saluted and turned to a control a few paces off. Satisfied, the mayor watched her making some adjustments. Then he turned back to the main screen and folded his short paws over his fat paunch. A few minutes later he had fallen asleep.

“Time for a little something”, Goldi cried. “Ey, Chekov, show me how this replicator works…”

The two of them retreated for a while and Goldi listened carefully. He was certain that he was going to busy himself quite some time with this most interesting unit.