Chapter 9

 

Mental Merging with a Pot Flower

 

On the Enterprise bridge the buzzing of the light pillars had stopped and for a moment all those present stood frozen. Then the silence was broken by Chekov’s laughter. “Small wonder they were within our screens, these bad little Borg! They parked their globe right in front of our camera!”

“And we thought they’ve got a giant space ship”, Lt. Uhura cackled and delightedly drummed her desk with both fists.

At this moment came the familiar announcement, only much softer: “Resistance is futile – we will assimilate you!”

Baffled, the hamsters looked at the intruders and for the moment did not seem to know what to think about this. Then they heard Goldi’s voice: “Yea, go on like that and we beat the daylights out of you!”

The uninvited visitors seemed to be irritated for a moment – they looked about them cautiously and squeaked in chorus: “Resistance is futile – we will assimilate you!”

Chief Botchy beckoned Dodo and Goldi to follow him and approached the Borg. All day long he had not been in the best of spirits and these intruders were the last thing he had a mind for. When Dodo and Goldi had joined him, he looked at the troop coming in dispeace. The gerbils he faced numbered 15. This was ridiculous after all because these dwarfs did not even reach the size of a normal hamster – not to talk about a Dodo-sized hamster. Botchy looked these peculiar beings over. They wore a kind of armour and the curious units in their eyes blinked at him permanently. The chief engineer squinted as the light was blinding him which did not heighten his spirits. “Say”, he grumbled, “can’t you switch of that daft gloom of yours?”

The Borg whom he had addressed, looked a little irritated and retorted: “Gloom is irrelevant – moreover the battery won’t work that long. Resistance is futile – we…”

“That’s what you babbled before, you dummy, and if you’re not off this instant, it’s Doomsday for you.”

“Doomsday is irrelevant, we will assimilate you!”

“Something wrong with your ears?! I’ll count down now and if you’re not gone at 3, it’ll be funfair around here.”

“Softly, softly, dear friends”, the mayor now said before the Borg could answer. “Certainly our outhamstish guests want to know so to say who we are. I’m the dingus – er – commander…”

“Dingus-commander is irrelevant, we will assimilate you. Resistance…”

“O yes”, the mayor-commander smiled, “a I always think to have by and by mentioned there is a certain redingus – er – requirement on our end concerning assilidingus. Of course we are – and I’m speaking in a way as representative – absolutely copulating – er – cooperative. So to say there is no need of assidingus – er – milation.”

“Assidingus is irrelevant, we will assimilate you! Resistance…”

“Do you know the trash you’re babbling? Wanna pull our legs?” chief Botchy now roared and towered in front of the Borg. Silence. The Borg seemed to ponder. Now it caught their attention that some of the beams at the head units were flickering and went off.

“Erm, is this so to say a power loss, dear aliens?” the mayor politely asked.

“Power loss is irrelevant – batteries are bitch, not worth their money – resistance is futile!”

In the meantime Flecki watched Goldi with misgiving. She did not miss the glitter in his eyes which was most suspicious. Leisurely he walked over to Dodo, paused at his side and with a malicious grin said: “Won’t you help our guests to put off their coats? We want to be good hosts, won’t we?”

“All right”, Dodo muttered and marched towards the Borg who looked at the big hamster bewildered and seemed to feel panic. “Hand me your coats!” There was a short crack and one of the Borg stood naked without armour.

“The hat, Dodo”, Gold said and soon there was a second crack and the Borg was rid of his head unit. Now he was completely naked and tweeted something about the hat being irrelevant. Now Dodo went to the next one to help him out of his coat. The Borg however had recovered from the first shock and stepped back.

“Resistance is futile, we will assimilate you!” came the chorus again.

Dodo shrugged and looked around, bewildered. “I think they want to keep on their coats. What shall I do, Goldi?

“They’re just shy, Dodo!”

“Enough it enough!” chief Botchy yelled. “I’ve got my fill of you and if you’re not off this minute, I’ll knock you into space.”

“Hey”, Flecke interrupted, “you can’t do that, chief. They are feeling creatures. The Prime Hamster Directive says that you must not hurt other creatures.”

“Now, now”, Goldi tried to calm down raving Flecki, “that are broad rules. A little face smashing…”

“Face is irrelevant”, the Borg now shrieked. “Resistance is irrelevant – assimilation also is irrelevant!”

“See”, Botchy grumbled. “Changed you invasion plan – or what?”

“Exactly!” Goldi cried. “What about resistance and all that?”

“Does that mean they don’t want to put off their coats after all?” Dodo asked, bewildered. “Do they just want to anaesthesize us?”

“They will assimilate nobody today”, Fleck spoke up again. “Somehow they’re bonkers.”

“Erm, yes, as you say. I already noted so if I may stress this. Well, dear Borg-visitors, may I as commander of this ship now ask you to tell us about the reason of your visitors – er visit?”

One of the Borg-gerbils – maybe their leader – who just had escaped Dodo’s attempt to help him out of the coat, answered in a sad voice: “We are junior Borg. We rather do that not to be kicked by everyone.”

“Well, lads, that’s been rather the wrong way”, chief Botchy grumbled.

“Yes, erm, as I additionally would like to add how did you get the idea to attack this space ship?”

“We had counted on the surprise effect”, the Borg-gerbil whispered, embarrassed. “We thought if somebody hears the name of Borg, he will surrender immediately.”

“Right”, Goldi chuckled, “we were surprised enough when we saw you pipsqueaks.”

For a moment nobody knew what to do. There they were, the Borg-Gerbils, quite aware that their surprise attack had gone very much awry. Also the hamsters did not really know how to handle the matter. Well, gerbils – the hamsters had had trouble with gerbils often enough but at the same time they pitied them. Obviously they did not have much fun recently. Did not look well nourished. All right, gerbils they were but they looked like needing help. On the main screen everybody still could see the warrior-ship globe by which the would-be Borg-gerbils arrived. It looked gigantic which was only due to the fact that it was parked right in front of the camera. The mayor cleared his throat but when he felt the eyes of all those present on him, he quickly stared at the main screen for he had no idea whatsoever. Finally Flecki stepped forward.

“You said you have been kicked. By whom?”

“O yes, do tell us!” Goldi bawled. “In all detailed details!”

The Borg-gerbil leader looked at the floor bashfully. Then he took off the unit at his left eye so that the eye became visible: swollen and black. Only with difficulty he was able to blink – the sight was pathetic. His neighbour now opened his armour and they could see the bandage at his right shoulder. The leader sadly looked at the hamsters and said:

“Our neighbours, these villains. They call themselves Klingon-hamsters and don’t have anything in their minds but badness. They steal our food, plague us, pee into our water. They are stronger than we and we can’t defend ourselves against them.”

Thunderstruck, the hamsters glared at the uninvited visitors. Uhura looked at the events spellbound and even Chekov had since long stopped to play at his monitor. The situation had completely changed. They mayor excitedly fidgeted on his chair and cried: “Klingdingus – er – hamsters! I think I heard about them but I thought them to be a legend or something.”

“Apparently not”, Flecki remarked. “They’re said to be related to us but not true to type. Commander, we’ve got to help these poor Borg-gerbils, it’s our duty.”

“Erm, harrumph, erm – well, why that, Flecki?”

“Because we are related to the Klingon-hamster, it’s our duty to guide them back to straight and narrow! They are our brothers and sisters after all and we have responsibility for them!”

“That’s it!” Goldi happily cried. “And if they don’t want to be straight and narrow, we’ll smash their brotherly faces!”

Now all eyes were on the mayor-commander. Here and now a decision of far-reaching consequence had to be made. However, nothing much seemed to happen. The mayor nervously tapped the floor with his paw and shouted: “Erm!”

“Erm – what?”

“Well, er, Flecki, that’s not easy, that’s rather difficult – if I may put it like that. On the one band – er – hand there are so to say our visitors, the Bordingus, and on the other hand the Klingon-hamsters. Well, here we are, if I may put it that drastically.”

“Oh, great, the answer is right in sight”, Flecki jeered. The mayor reddened, tapped the floor more nervously yet and once more turned to the Borg-gerbils.

“Erm, well, by the way: Where do you come from?”

“Our home is Epsilon Lyrae.”

The mayor’s colour changed from red to pale. “Erm, well, I just forgot where that is exactly. Er, Yoohoo, where is that?”

Lt. Uhura laughed merrily and replied: “Epsilon Lyrae is in the Lyra constellation, north-east to Vega.”

“Vega!” the mayor croaked and hopped from one paw to the other. “Vega, that’s it, dear hamsters, we’ve almost reached our destination!”

Now the mayor had the undivided attention of all. However, while he hopped around cheeringly, nobody but him seemed to understand what was what. Why had they almost reached their destination?

“He surely is enlightened again”, Tuffy breathed, enrapt.

“He surely is completely wrong in his garret”, Flecki hissed.

By now the mayor had stopped his silly hopping and with embarrassment looked at the hamsters who looked at him, bewildered. He had the impression that this was the time for an explanation.

“But don’t you see?” he trumpeted. “Vega! The Veganic system! Home of our dingus – er – vegetarian friend of the Beta-Geranium system who went astray on our dinugs-planet. There we will find Tririllium which will rescue him and all the galaxy!“

Lt. Uhura was the first one to answer this: “Commander-love, you’re not talking about the miserable veggie whithering in sickbay?”

“That’s exactly what I mean, Yoohoo. That’s our mission which we have to fill full – er – fulfil. We will land on Vega, get the Tririllium and all the galaxy will be grateful to us.”

Before Flecki could say that all the galaxy would probably be roaring with laughter rather, there was a giggle from Navigation.

“Sir, Vega, that’s a central star – a sun. That’s boiling hot!” Ensign Chekov chuckled and faced problems to keep on his chair.

“So what, Mister!” the mayor gnarled. “We’ll land there at night, where’s the problem?”

While Goldi tried to stop Flecki from strangling the mayor and while Lt. Uhura and Ensign Chekov rolled on the floor, laughing, and while the rest of the crew goggled, the mayor had scrambled back onto his seat. He looked at the main screen and said: “Borgs, you’ve got to park your ship elsewhere, I can’t see anything. Security, fetch our vegetarian friend of the Beta-Geranium system from sickbay, his – er – presence on the bridge is needed.”

The troop set moving, and while two Borg-gerbils vanished in the transport beam, Dodo and Dasy travelled to sickbay to fetch the pot plant back to the bridge. The remaining hamsters and Borg-gerbils as well as the two humans watched how a short time later the Borg-ship moved away from the camera and cleared the sight to space again. By the time the lift-door opened and the security team carried in the whithered plant, the two Borg-gerbils had beamed back to the bridge. The mayor-commander nodded, satisfied, and turned to Chekov who just was busy playing ping-pong against the computer.

“Navydingus, lay in course for Vega!”

“Now, Sir?”

“Of course now. Every second counts!”

Ensign Pavel Chekov nodded and interrupted his ping-pong game. With deft fingers he typed a number of orders into the computer and shouted: “All right, Sir, we’re on course.” And returned to his game. Dodo and Dasy left a clue of earth behind them, dragging along their heavy burden across the bridge up to the commander’s seat. Panting, both hamsters paused there and looked up to the chair expectantly. A nod signalled them to put the plant onto the box in front of the seat. Then there was silence on the bridge. Everybody looked at the main screen and fascinatedly watched the light spots passing by. After some time it became boring to stare into the blackness of space and Goldi finished the silence.

“What about some food and party? Hey, Taty, you’re the cookhouse wallah, get us some munchies. Tealeafy, you’re the party organizer – when will we start?”

“Well – erm – I also think we have deserved a little something. Er – Dingus and Dingus, see what the kitchen has to offer.”

“Hey, commander-love, why don’t you take the replicator?” Lt. Uhura remarked and winked at Flecki.

“Yes – erm – excellent idea, dear Yoohoo. So get you gone, security, order some sunflower seed! Und what – er – do our guests eat?” he continued, turning to the gerbils.

“Sunflower seed is irrele… - er – yes, yes, we like that, too!” the leader quickly tweeted and fumbled at his damaged armour in an embarrassed way. After Dodo’s kind assistance it could not be repaired. Security, that is Dodo and Dasy, walked slowly and anxiously into the direction of the replicator while the gerbils made room for them as anxiously. After several trials they really could convince the replicator to give them quite a portion of sunflower seed and some biscuits. Lt. Uhura and Chekov also went to the replicator because for them, too, it was high time to take a meal. Munching noises filled the bridge while the Enterprise raced towards the Lyra constellation with warp speed.

“Nav, status report”, the mayor-commander shouted and burped gently.

"All’s right”, Chekov replied, smacking, “slight course correction and we’re on.”

“Shouldn’t we indicate then?” Dodo asked with big, wondering eyes and Ensign Chekov whooped.

“Don’t you remind me of indicate”, Goldi groaned and shook his head.

“Oh, shouldn’t he?” Flecki curiously asked. “What was on there?”

Goldi scowled at her, angry about his own forward remark. Then he snorted and said: “Those daft HAMPO-cops. When the other day I went out for a hop, they followed me. Don’t ask me why. Close to the motorway to Hamsterjelly I’d to turn off. Well, there they stopped me. Indication was defect.”

“He he”, Flecki giggled gleefully, “and then they diddled you, didn’t they?”

“Almost”, Goldi grinned. “They walked around my car with long faces and said the defect indication would be 50 Sickles. Great, I said, okay with me. Workshop wanted to have 80 Sickles.”

“And then?” Flecki breathed.

“Well, they rang up their operations centre ‘cause they didn’t know what to do. Operations told them they’re muppets and HAMPO don’t do repairs. Then they were really fed up and probed my car and found more defects and told me they’d have an eye on me. That went on and on till the cops saw they were off after hours. Well, so I saw that I drove on.”

“There you see it!” Flecki nagged. “If you need the police – can’t rely on them! And did they have an eye on you?”

“Nope”, Goldi muttered, “next day I sold that car.”

“What?” Trample shrieked and goggled at Goldi reproachfully.

“Sorry – in all earnest, Trample”, Goldi mumbled. “How should I know that HAMPO was going to confiscate your new car the very next day?”

“I had to pay 50 Sickles penalty”, Trample wailed.

“Chief Botchy’s indication once has been defect, too”, Tuffy remarked, “and right in the middle of an urgent repair job. Police stopped us, too.”

“But a repair job must be different”, Tealeafy cried. “That’s a kind of emergency.”

“That’s what the chief told the officers”, Tuffy shouted, “but then they started a fight. Right in the street! My, that was awful!”

“Tuffy”, chief Botchy gnarled, “nobody is interested in that…”

“Yes, we are! Go on, Tuffy!” the other hamsters chorused.

“Well, it wasn’t much more”, Tuffy continued and ducked when the chief engineer walked towards her in a threatening fashion. “Or wouldn’t have been. Police said he was not to drive on that way. Unfortunately the chief then went out of his mind and shouted that he would repair the indication at once.”

“Well, all was all right then, wasn’t it?”

“No, Flecki, it wasn’t. Chief Botchy took a hammer and smashed the indicator. Then he fell on the police car and made mincemeat of its indicator, too. When the cops took him away, he roared that they were not allowed to drive with a defect indicator.”

“Get this!” Flecki jeered. “That wasn’t by chance the week they said that the chief suddenly had taken a holiday?”

“Hey!” Goldi shouted. “Talking about jokes: What is black and…”

“We know that joke, it’s a lousy electrician”, Trample snorted.

“All right, all right”, Goldi said, “but what is red and hanging beside it? His assistant, still glowing!”

While chief Botchy still wondered which parts in Engineering urgently had to be scrubbed by assistant Tuffy within the next days, a wanton spirit was ruling the bridge.

“What might Hamstilidamst be doing just now?” Flecki wondered.

“Oh, I’m sure he has a fine time”, Taty dotingly said. “Being in beautiful Scotland for a real holiday. He’ll certainly show this Kirk and his folks all the sights.”

“Perhaps they’re in trouble. What a pity that we can’t help them now.”

“We help them, Goldi?” Flecki hissed. “We’re in a sort of trouble that we hardly can hold our heads above the ground.”

“Why, we never hold our heads much above the ground, except our super cool commander on his super cool chair. Say, what is he doing all the time?”

There had indeed not been anything from the mayor-commander for quite some time. The hamsters had not missed it but it was unfamiliar. Slowly the hamster-crew walked over to the commander’s seat where the mayor was sitting beside the battered pot flower. His eyes were closed and one of his paws rested on one of the leaves. Curious and marvelling, the hamsters assembled around him. The gerbils were standing a little aside and did not know what to begin with all this, same as Lt. Uhura who followed the events with an inquiring look. Only Ensign Chekov did not notice anything because he just had lost his game against the computer and started a new ping-pong sequence. Chief Botchy was the first one to find his voice again.

“Mr. May… er, commander, don’t you feel well?”

Mayor-commander appeared to hear nothing. Disquiet spread between the hamsters – what was it now again? Silence, except the clacking of Chekov’s keyboard. Now a low sigh, and excitedly everybody goggled at the mayor-commander who now began to move again. His eyelids fluttered and he took a long breath.

“Commander, everything all right?”

The so addressed did not seem to notice Flecki’s question. Anyhow, he opened his eyes and looked at the plant beside him. Potting soil was spread on his seat like everywhere on the bridge. Lt. Uhura had risen from her chair, came closer and shouted:

“Hey, commander-wooly, what’s on, you okay?”

Only now the mayor-commander seemed to realize that he was addressed. He slowly turned his head and first looked at the incredulously staring hamsters before his eyes wandered to Lt. Uhura. He nodded several times and slowly said: “It’s all right, Yoohoo, I feel fine. I had a mental merging with our Veganic friend. Now I now everything he knows.”

The mayor-commander looked bewildered at Goldi who was rolling on the floor, laughing. Then he went on: “Navigator – course correction to 1-4-7-2, full power!”

Pavel Chekov started up and cursed. He had almost succeeded in beating the computer. He turned to the helm, gave a short “Ay, Sir!” and put in some orders.

“Talk sense, Navigator!”

“Sir?”

“Don’t talk about you private wishes on duty.”

“But I only said ‘Ay, Sir’.”

“That’s what I mean!” they mayor-commander redheadedly barked.

“B-but that means ‘Yes, Sir’ and…”

“No, you said ‘Icer’ and not ‘Yes, Sir’ and if you talk…”

“Oh, commander-wooly, don’t fret”, Uhura said, giggling. “You’re looking so ruffled when you’re fretting. It’s like this: Ay – new word – Sir. That’s bord language and means ‘Yes, Sir’ and we always say so.”

Slowly the situation relaxed as the mayor-commander understood. Things were complicated enough as it was and he was sick of having his competence in doubt. He hardly had calmed down when Chekov spoke up again.

“Sir, the course must be wrong.”

“What do you mean, Mister, why is it wrong?”

“Well, Sir it isn’t correct.”

“How not correct?”

“We’re heading towards a black hole.”

“Perhaps with your mental merging you forgot the universal translator”, Goldi bawled and got a censorious look.

“2-7-4-1?”

“No, Sir, then we’re heading for the Delta Quadrant.”

“Well, erm.” The mayor-commander was clearly bugged. Once more his decision was doubted. “Mental mergings are difficult… 7-2-1-4?”

Chekov put in the data and shook his head.

The commander’s colour changed from red to green. “In a way it seems necessary to me to repeat the mental merging. Have you ever done something like that, Navigator?”

For the first time since long the grin died on the Ensign’s face. With frightened eyes he stared at this amazing hamster who looked at him so curiously and with trembling voice said:

“7-2-4-1?”

“Ay, S… - er – I mean: Got it, Sir! That’s a class M-planet around Vega.”

“You see”, the mayor-commander purred. “Set course, Naivgator!”

Relieved, the Ensign put in the data to the helm’s computer and took a deep breath. On the main screen the change in star constellation could clearly be seen. For some seconds there was silence on the bridge which however was soon interrupted by a well-know voice: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are so to say on a historical journey. We are on our way deep into the Veganian system. You all can be proud and happy to participate.”

“Shall I scrub the machines now, chief?”

“Just don’t, Tuffy, isn’t worth the while.”