Chapter Eight: Assorted Absurdities Added
Disclaimer: Well, I didn't say I owned Voyager, but my laptop exploded anyway…I own a Voyager figurine and a mini-Enterprise-D! And a blue notebook. I do not own the movie Yellow Submarine. throws party to celebrate
Author's Note: To be continued soon, huh? Please don't shoot me. What with computer problems (dumb keyboard!), too many ideas for Sleight of Hand and other stories—including a birthday-fic which was on a deadline—and becoming a freshman (yippidee doo dah…), I've been a little busy. But my keyboard is fixed now! (bows many, many times to Austin and dances in a circle.) Ok, welcome all readers, especially new ones and people who've stuck it out this long and/or have added this to their story alert or favorites lists. (Covers everyone, huh?) I really appreciate you reading this. Anyway…
ON WITH THE SHOW!
When the sign had said "Exit", it had apparently only meant 'exit from the maze', not 'exit from the holodeck'.
"That hologram lied to us!" B'Elanna protested, looking out the window as the darkness lifted. "It said the way to end the program was to get out of the maze!"
The holodeck had changed appearances, now becoming a deserted stone city. Shattered rocks that had once constructed walls and streets were scattered everywhere. In direct contrast to the former colorful setting, everything was grey, brown, and black, with the occasional dingy white, except, of course, their submarine, which stayed stubbornly bright neon-banana yellow.
"So, what now?" Neelix asked, looking out from underneath his tam-o'-shanter.
"Now I hit things with this metal pole," B'Elanna said angrily, and then growled at all of her companions as they pulled cushions off of the seats and placed them over their heads. "That's not funny!" she told them, and whacked the walls instead. Drum-like noises echoed within the enclosed space, deafening the inhabitants.
"Stop it, Maquis," Kim said eventually, stopping the pole with one hand while clinging to his pillow with the other. "Let's think about this, shall we?"
"What's there to think about?" she snapped.
"What to do now?" Tom suggested, removing the cushion from his head now that the storm had died down a little bit.
"Has anyone noticed that no one's noticed that we're gone yet?" Neelix asked. He pulled an old-fashioned analog clock that wasn't there a second ago off the wall and looked at it. "Look! It's dinnertime already! The crew will all starve!"
"Hey, where'd you get that?" Tom demanded. "Let me see." He took it from the Talaxian and examined it. "It can't be dinnertime; look. I don't know what you did to it, but it seems to be running backwards."
"Backwards?" Harry Kim echoed, letting go of B'Elanna's pole. "Give it here." He watched the hands move counter-clockwise for a few seconds before it was snatched quite rudely from under his nose by B'Elanna Torres.
"I'll fix it," she said brusquely.
"Hey, I want it back," Neelix protested, trying to retrieve his find. It made another quick lap around, being grabbed and stolen from hand to hand, before flying quite smoothly out of the apparently now-insubstantial window.
"Is it just me, or is there something really weird about that window?" Tom asked, over Neelix's protest of 'My clock!'
"Well, we don't appear to be underwater anymore, so the point is rather moot," Harry observed.
"Mute," Paris corrected patiently. "The point is mute."
"No, it's not! The correct term is 'moot.'"
"Will you two get your heads back in here and help think about what to do next?" Torres demanded irritably.
"It's too bad you took apart the commbadges," Kim said. "We could really use an SOS signal right now."
"They weren't working anyway!" B'Elanna yelled, reaching for her pole again. Unfortunately for her, but luckily for Harry, Neelix had stolen it, and was holding it behind his back, trying and failing to look inconspicuous.
"Give me that!" she yelped, snatching it back from him.
"Cut it out, B'Elanna," Tom said with a sigh, fiddling with the steering wheel, having gotten back into his seat. "Whoa!"
Abruptly, they were all jerked towards the back of the submarine as it accelerated, weaving between the ruined buildings and through the deserted streets without a hitch. The stones blended into a grey-and-white blur, zipping by outside of the portholes.
"What did you do?" Neelix wailed, held upside down against the back wall of the submarine by the acceleration.
"He didn't do anything!" Kim defended his friend.
"Stop!" Paris ordered, banging on the control panel and pulling levers for all he was worth. Somehow he had managed to stay in his chair. The others were not so lucky, and were currently in a heap at the stern. Spurts of odd behavior from the submarine chronicled his continued efforts. "Stop, I say! Stupid thing!"
Although his efforts were all in vain, the runaway submarine finally screeched to a halt, throwing them all towards the front. Once he'd picked himself up, Tom carefully peered out the front window, nursing a cut lip.
"I hate you," he told the submarine, which, if it cared, didn't show it.
"Now where are we?" Kim asked, coming up beside him.
"I have no idea whatsoever."
"That helps, Tom. That really helps."
In direct contrast to the rest of the dingy, dirty, disappointing city all around them, it would seem that one building had remained standing despite it all. And, it seemed, had prospered. Blinking neon lights were mounted on the exterior of the store, disclaiming AAA to whoever might chance by. Within the building, lights were on, although obscured by pamphlets apparently glued or otherwise adhered to the glass windows that faced the street. A red pay-phone booth stood next to it.
"Ay-ay-ay?" Neelix said skeptically.
"Wasn't that a map company back in the twentieth century?" Tom asked rhetorically, knowing that no one else had a clue. After being duly reminded of this fact for perhaps at least the fifth time today, he proposed an experiment.
"Let's go in there and talk to whoever's inside," he suggested. "I'm getting really sick of this little yellow submarine."
"At the first sign of anyone saying 'ahoy,' I'm out of there," B'Elanna warned as they exited through a door that hadn't been there ten seconds ago.
Ding, dong, went the doorbell as they entered.
"Anyone home?" Tom called cautiously, looking around. Apart from the apparently omnipresent, garishly colored brochures and pamphlets on the walls, there were no decorations, and the only furniture was a series of desks in a rough semicircle against the back wall, and an assortment of seriously mismatched chairs that had been scattered to the four winds while remaining miraculously upright.
"Ahoy there!" a cheery voice hailed them from nowhere. Almost instantly, B'Elanna spun about on one heel and was halfway out the door before Harry Kim caught her sleeve and half-dragged her back inside. They were so occupied with their little tug-of-war, neither saw the eight men sneak out of the small red phone booth and creep over to the yellow submarine.
"Hi," a cheerful, fat man in a twentieth-century British policeman's outfit continued, bustling out of the door at the back of the room as Harry firmly closed the door at the front and leaning against it to prevent B'Elanna from leaving. "Who might you be, and how may I help you? I'm Jonathan."
"Are you? Well, you must be wearing the wrong name tag," Harry observed.
"Your name tag reads 'Andrew.'"
The man in the police uniform squinted down at the nametag. "Why, so it does. Well spotted, sir! How silly of me." He slapped his forehead softly. I was Jonathan yesterday. I must be Andrew today, then."
"Well—Andrew—we were wondering if you could give us a few directions," Neelix said with a grin. "We're a little lost."
"Where were you going?"
"Uh…" The four from Voyager stared at each other, mouths half-open. Outside, the men continued to swarm all over the yellow submarine.
"You see, we're so lost, we don't even know where we're going," Neelix said cheerfully.
"That's pretty lost," Andrew agreed. "Unfortunately, I don't think I can help you."
"Wait a second," Tom protested. "I thought this was a map company."
Andrew looked askance at him. "Whatever gave you that idea?"
"Well, it says Triple A on the front window, doesn't it? I seem to remember a company by the name of Triple A being a map vendor."
"Perhaps, but I believe you must have the wrong AAA. I don't know what your AAA stands for-"
"American Automobile Association," Tom muttered.
"-but this is Assorted Absurdities Added. I'm sorry you came to the wrong place—so we won't charge you for the modifications."
"What modifications?" B'Elanna demanded abruptly.
Andrew's eyes flicked involuntarily over their shoulders and out the windows, plastered as they were with pamphlets. The Voyager foursome spun around as one and stared. Outside, the eight men in black ninja suits froze, looking like lizards clinging to walls.
"Hey!" Tom shouted, leading the charge out of the double doors. "What do you think you're…"
His voice faded from Andrew's hearing as the doors swung closed. "Have a nice day," he said to the empty room.
"Shoo! Go away!" Neelix yelped, waving his hands as if to swat the men in black like mosquitoes. "Shoo!"
"Cut it out, Neelix," B'Elanna groaned. "I'll do this." She charged the retreating workmen with her metal pole, which she had left leaning against the outer hull, and a Klingon war cry. They scattered like chaff in the wind.
"Much better," she said smugly.
"Right, let's get out of here," Tom said, opening the door and stepping inside. "What the—"
"Whoa!" Harry gasped. "It's huge! This is so much better!"
Where at first the interior of the submarine had been cramped and uniformly black, it was now spacious and all sorts of colors, ranging from dark pastel purple to lime green and beyond. Now, pipes wound everywhere, although there was little to no danger of tripping over any of them. Three extra doors had materialized in random walls, most bracketed by circular portholes. However, one thing was the same. The levers, buttons, and steering wheel had not changed at all.
"Much better," Neelix pronounced as they got underway in a random direction once more. "I approve."
"We're thrilled for you," B'Elanna retorted, leaning absently against one of the newly installed doors."Awk!"
The reason for this undignified squeak was readily apparent. Unlike all the other doors, this one very obviously opened inward—and had not been properly locked.
"AAARGH!" Tom, Neelix, Harry, and Torres screamed. "SINGING PEOPLE!"
Four people in overly colorful and garishly ill-matched suits had burst from the compartment with a burst of music. Dancing over the fallen engineer without stepping on her, they began to gyrate madly around the greatly expanded space, singing all the while.
One, two, three, four
Can I have a little more?
(Author's Note: This song drives me nuts. Sorry, person reading this, especially if it drives you nuts too. I'm going to find that movie and stomp on it, I swear…)
"Back in the closet!" Tom shouted, leaping from his driver's seat and running after them, waving his arms as if to herd them back in.
Five, six, seven eight nine ten
I love you.
The Voyager crewmembers ran all over the submarine chasing the people in bad suits, screaming to block out the addictive, irritating music.
A, b, c, d
Can I bring my friend to tea?
E, f, g h I j
I love you.
Boom, boom boom, added sound effects from nowhere.
"I can't hear you, I'm not listening," Harry sang counterpoint and off key, hands over his ears.
Sail the ship
boom, boom, boom
Jump the tree
boom, boom, boom
Skip the rope,
boom, boom, boom
Look at me!
"Silence! Silence! SHUT UP!" B'Elanna added to the din, having picked herself up and found her trusty metal pole.
All together now...!
The men in mismatched outfits continued to echo this most recent line as they were herded back into the closet by the three men and Torres. The instant the last passed the threshold, having launched into the next verse. Luckily, the door was slammed hard at that exact moment. A padlock popped into existence and fastened itself onto the doorknob.
"Phew," they all sighed, mostly simultaneously.
"I don't think I have anything to say," Neelix said, obviously lying through his teeth. "There is nothing to say."
"Good idea," Paris agreed. "HEY! Someone's messed with the controls!"
"That would explain why we were moving throughout all that," Harry sighed. "I wonder what this is supposed to be?"
The city was gone. Good thing, too. The dirty white and grey was getting very tedious, although the dash of color in the form of bad suits had hardly been welcome. Instead, visible out the portholes was a landscape that resembled more a coral reef than anything else, although they were demonstratably, by way of sticking a hand and then Neelix's head out of the window, not underwater again. Coral-like formations bloomed in all colors of the rainbow, and then some, reminiscent of Tom's Hawaii shirt. An intimidating number of brightly glittering eyes were just visible within the nooks and crannies of a substantial number of, for lack of a better word, corals.
"Does anyone feel like we're being watched?" Harry asked.
"Or that we're about to get a big surprise?"
"And that we're not going to like it?" B'Elanna followed up on Tom's prediction.
"Or that a whole horde of misshapen rainbow-hued creatures are chasing after us howling for our blood?" Neelix said, sticking his head out of the window again and looking behind them.
Tom jumped back into his seat. "Needless to say, hold on tight," he said with a daredevil grin, giving his companions just enough time to grab hold of pipes before leaning on the gas pedal hard.
The yellow submarine shot ahead unexpectedly, leaving a horde of multi-colored monsters momentarily puzzled. Then, with a roar, they set off after the submarine, charging rather stupidly in its dust.
"There's gotta be phasers or something on this boat," Tom yelled over the noise of the engine.
"You just steer, ok?" Kim stopped him, sitting down next to him. "Let me see…"
"Too slow, Starfleet! Here they come!" B'Elanna yelled, leaning out of the window with her pole. BANG! WHACK!
"Ah!" Harry said, having found the projectile weapons by pressing random switches. "Fire at will!"
The creatures were still coming.
Torres squinted hard, trying to see.
"Oi! Flyboy, turn this ship around!"
Tom's startled knee-jerk response almost did. "Say WHAT?" Admittedly, not his most articulate of responses.
"Just turn the darn thing around!"
"Whatever you say," he muttered, and spun the wheel in a circle. The engine sputtered in protest for a few seconds, then charged back into the middle of the crowd of startled monsters.
"Eight, nine, ten," Torres counted as she laid about with her pole like the end of the world, scoring a hit nearly every swing. "Come on, just a little closer…"
Paris nearly lost his grip on the steering wheel at both the unusual noise and B'Elanna's Klingon victory cry. "What was that?"
"Got it!" she shouted. "Look at that!"
Probably inadvisably, Tom left his post at the helm and came to look, along with Kim and Neelix. A dead indescribable creature was lying on the playground-gravel floor with Torres' pole embedded in its head, which was leaking—computer code?
"It looks like a computer virus," Kim said.
"It is! Now this type of virus fighting I like!" B'Elanna said happily.
"Does this mean we can get out of here now?" Neelix said hopefully.
Before anyone could answer, a succession of sounds reverberated throughout the landscape, shaking everything. THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, in a rhythm like footsteps. In a matter of seconds, a creature, walking on two legs, striped a horrible shade of electric blue, and with a suction nozzle for a nose and mouth combined, appeared over the horizon. It paused some distance away.
"Uh oh," Neelix said in the momentary silence. "Is it just me, or is this really not a good place to be right now?"
"Ain't just you," Tom assured him, leaping back to his seat. "Come on…" For a frightening second, the engine spluttered uncooperatively, then roared into life just as the Suction Beast inhaled.
Shreds of landscape flew by the yellow submarine's windows as it pulled against the suction. The motor was audibly straining now. Looking back, Kim could see everything in them landscape, being pulled into the monster's mouth. Within seconds the once colorful and varied coral-reef imitation was a barren, empty plain. Not even content with that, the gluttonous creature lowered its mouth to the earth and inhaled. With a ripping sound, the landscape was tugged away into the depths of the Suction Beast, leaving the black-on-yellow-on-grey grid pattern of the ship's holodeck.
"Everyone out!" Kim yelled in a burst of inspiration. Such was the confidence in his voice that everyone instantly obeyed, piling out in a heap.
"Get behind it!" he continued, and they scurried quickly to stand behind the electric-blue creature.
Luckily, the Suction Beast failed to notice them, its attention caught by the odd yellow contraption right before its eyes. With a few more echoing steps, it went a little closer and inhaled. The submarine vanished, to the small regret of four very annoyed people.
The Suction Beast continued to look for something to eat. In a burst of absolute idiocy, it found something.
And, being the stupid creature it was, proceeded to inhale its own tail…then legs…then torso…then, with a popping noise, its own head.
Now, doesn't that take the prize for brainless?
That evening, Tom Paris sat in his quarters, a newly replicated ancient videotape in hand. With the computer virus soundly defeated by B'Elanna Torres, the party was a go-ahead, although Captain Janeway had insisted that he review the parameters before opening it to the crew in two days.
With a sigh that took his life in his hands, he leaned forward and inserted the tape, labeled The Beatles' Yellow Submarine into his imitation television. It crackled to life as he pressed the 'play' button on the 'VCR'.
"Once upon a time…" a sonorous voice intoned perfectly seriously—
"Or maybe twice…"
Afterword: Yes, actually, that is how the movie begins. Threw me for a loop for about five seconds. Then I laughed. Again, sorry for the long update wait—I've been very busy! Oh, by the way, Austin, when you get to this, take note: This story is all your fault! And that's not a good thing!
And with that, I need to go finish Sleight of Hand: another absolutely insane crossover! What is it? Star Trek: The Next Generation- Yu Yu Hakusho crossover! Really. No kidding. This should be fun… Go click on my profile link if you want to watch the chaos. YYH explanations included for the YYH-impaired. Thanks a lot for reading!