"Wesley and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat"


"The Naked Never"

Captain's Log, Stardate Unknown

The Enterprise is trapped in a rift in space.

Since the return of Hugh to the Borg, their collective has been shattered. Splinter collectives, usually no larger than a single ship, have been raiding Federation border worlds. One of them dropped out of warp near the Enterprise while we were visiting the all-female colony of Theta Iotia Three.

The Enterprise pursued the Borg at warp nine. But deep in interstellar space, the Borg ship disappeared through a strange hole in the space-time continuum.

The Enterprise was unable to stop before it, too, fell into the same bottomless pit.

Captain Picard turned off the log recorder and scowled at the viewscreen. Weird bands of color and energy discharges danced around the Borg ship, just a few short kilometers ahead. "Well, Mr. Crusher, it appears your field trip from Star Fleet Academy is about to be more exciting than you thought."

The young Ensign spun the chair around to face the Captain. "Sir, we've tried everything we can think of to get back to normal space. But nothing-warp, impulse, thrusters, or tractor beams-seem to be able to budge us from this spot."

"Keep on it, Wesley."

"Aye, sir." Wesley spun the chair back to face the viewscreen. The bridge was silent for a few moments. Then: "Sir, medical crewmen report a disturbance in the Arboretum."

"Is it the Borg, Mr. Worf? A boarding party?"

"No, sir. Apparently, several children have been affected by a mysterious illness." Worf frowned. "Sir, there must be something wrong with the comm channel. They reported that...that the children were transforming into something else. But it makes no sense."

"Number One, you have the conn. I'll go examine this mystery illness myself."

"Aye, sir."

Doctor Crusher met him outside the Arboretum. "Whatever this is, it doesn't seem to be contagious. Three of the children are still perfectly normal. Several of the crewmen have been near the children, with no ill effects. But the results are...well...shocking. See for yourself." The door slid open, and Picard stepped inside.

Near the small pond a small animal was trying to work its way to its feet. It was a brightly colored brown, with dark spots on its back and wide soulful blue eyes. It stood, shakily, and smiled; then it shouted "Flower!" A smaller animal, grey, with long ears and large feet, scampered over to where Picard and Beverly were standing. It smiled up at them. Then it beat one foot against the deckplate a dozen times in quick succession.

"The tricorders don't know what to make of them, Captain. One second they read as normal, preschool age children. The next, the readings make no sense at all. I even tried focusing the tricorder on one for an extended period at close range." She held up a melted, blackened box, shaped roughly like a tricorder.

The grey animal was rubbing up against Picard's trousers when Worf walked up. "Sir?"

The grey animal scurried away from Worf in a panic, running between the unsteady legs of the brown animal. The brown one followed the grey one with his eyes, and then looked back at Picard. When it saw Worf, it took three steps and leaped into the bushes. Panic drove it though the leap perfectly, despite its shaky legs, but apparently couldn't support it for the landing. Leaves and twigs flew through the air, and crashes sounded from behind the leaves.

Picard turned from the carnage to see Worf's troubled face. "Sir, we are receiving reports of other such...transformations...all over the ship. Some of them have turned violent, though no serious injuries have been reported yet. I have dispatched security personnel throughout the ship, but there is no guarantee of personal safety at this time. The incidents are too widespread."

Picard understood the unspoken comment: as Security Chief, Worf saw Picard's safety as his personal responsibility.

"Understood, Mr. Worf. I'm returning to the Bridge. Keep order as best you can."

"Yes, sir."

The Bridge, at least, was still calm. Riker vacated the Captain's chair as Picard entered. "Captain," he said, "I believe Data has located the cause of our problems." He stepped over to the Science station, and began calling up images on the screen.

In Ten-Forward, a grey cat was chasing a brown mouse, scattering dishes and overturning tables. In Sick Bay, a large orange headless creature wearing tennis shoes was chasing nurses around the room. In Engineering, a brown creature that vaguely resembled a coyote was tinkering with parts removed from the matter/antimatter control panel. Intermixed with the modern technology were pieces from containers marked "ACME."

"Sir, I have reason to believe we have become trapped in a Disney Vortex. It is very similar to a Tykon's Rift, and is named after the physicist who first theorized it's existence." A smiling face appeared on the screen. "The physicist was frozen in the late twentieth century, and defrosted twenty-seven years ago."

The image changed again, showing the Enterprise and the Borg ship in a roughly triangular area of space. One band around the Enterprise glowed. "A Disney Vortex is an area where reality and imagination intertwine. Each of the colored bands represents a particular era of imagination or literature. The band currently surrounding the Enterprise is apparently roughly associated with twentieth-century Earth, and the effects we see will approximate the popular fiction of that period."

The band surrounding the Borg ship illuminated. "We are very lucky to have landed in human terms. The Borg ship is trapped in an area equivalent to pre-spaceflight Klingon entertainment." The view changed, to show a live view of the Borg cube. It was bouncing back and forth, with puffs of smoke in various locations. As Picard watched, a piece of the cube broke away and drifted deeper into the Vortex.

"According to the data we have on the Vortex, several physical laws are placed on hold. For example, physical harm is impossible, due to the nature of the Vortex. Unfortunately for us, physical motion of the ship is also impossible.

"Sir, this is the first time anyone has ever been trapped in a Disney Vortex. The opportunities for scientific exploration are endless. It will, however, get harder and harder to maintain order."

"Understood. Well, Mr. Data, Mr. Crusher, please work together with Mr. Laforge, and figure out a way for both the Enterprise and the Borg ship to leave the Vortex." On the screen, a man with very large forearms and a pipe in his mouth was juggling two-hundred pound barbells in the exercise chamber while singing "I yam what I yam!"

"To all hands: The area of space we are in has many bizarre effects, and will undoubtedly make it difficult for each of us to do our jobs. In any case, I know that you are Starfleet's finest crew, and will do your best under any circumstances. Picard out." Picard sat back down in the command chair.

Captain's Log, Supplemental:

We have been trapped in the Disney Vortex for thirty-six hours. The patience of the crew is beginning to wear thin. So far, the Bridge has been the least affected by the disturbances...but I fear that is merely because there are so few people on the bridge, and our turn is coming soon.

'Too soon,' Picard thought. Worf was now sporting a long, drooping red moustache, and Wesley appeared to have sprouted large, round black ears from the top of his head.

Commander Riker walked onto the Bridge, but Picard had to look twice to recognize him. He was wearing an old-fashioned uniform of some kind, covered in splotches of green, black, and brown. There was an antique firearm over his shoulder, and he was staring at his hand. "I can't straighten my fingers out, sir," was all he said as he took his place.

Data stood, examining Riker closely. "Commander, it would appear you have been modeled after a toy. Accessing further...Last name Joe, first name George, middle initial I. A military entertainment of GLEEP! BONG! between ages of ZIINNNGGG! Blip! GONG! with Kung-Fu Grip." Data returned to his seat, seeming quite pleased with himself.

The intercom chimed. It sounded like a foghorn. "Captain, this is Sickbay. I think you'd better come down here."

"On my way, Doctor." Picard stood, looking at Riker. "Will, I want a full meeting of department heads in twenty minutes."

Riker saluted. Then he shouted "Yo! Joe!"

As Picard was leaving the bridge, a scaly green creature about waist-high casually strolled in. It had small wings, and smoke wafted out of its nostrils. It slouched over to Worf, and gazed up at him with sad, soulful eyes. Worf glared at it, and it cringed.

Then it sneezed, and the tactical station caught fire. "Yow! My biscuits are burnin'!" Worf shouted, beating the flames out with his hands. He glared at Riker through the smoke, and muttered through his singed red moustache "Dragons is SO Stupid!"

Picard entered the Turbolift, only to find a creature there. It was less than two feet tall, mostly white, with long black ears. "What floor, sir?" it asked, in a depressive monotone.

Picard tried to ignore it. "Sickbay," he said. Then he found himself plastered against the ceiling. The Turbolift was moving down at something approaching Warp Six. It came to an abrupt halt, and Picard came to a second halt-on the floor of the Turbolift.

"Your floor, sir." Picard stepped-or rather, fell-out of the turbolift, dropping two full feet to the deck. The doors snapped shut, and the lift shot away. He let out a sigh, and straightened out his uniform with a brisk tug. Sickbay was just a few meters down the corridor.

Halfway to Sickbay, a green glowing figure passed him. Less than ten feet behind it, a small group of adolescents and a large brown dog were cautiously following the footprints the glowing creature had left behind. "Roobie Rooo!" the dog said.

Just outside the door to Sickbay, Picard passed Ensign Barclay. He was carrying a laser rifle, and he seemed...shorter...somehow. He smiled at Picard. " wery, wery quiet. Hahahaha..." Barclay stalked around the corner.

Picard shook his head, and walked through the doors to Sickbay.

When he reached Beverly's desk, he was munching on a carrot and had grown two long, floppy ears. "Nyahh...what's up, doc?"

Then he frowned at the carrot. It wilted. Then it disappeared. The ears followed. Then he looked at Beverly. She was dressed in the red costume of a medieval princess. There was a small bird perched on her shoulder, and squirrels kept jumping in and out of her lap. She was staring at a holo of Picard, humming under her breath; Picard caught the word "Prince" once or twice.

"Oh! Captain!" She hurriedly hid the holo and picked up her tricorder. "Captain, we have to get out of here soon. According to these readings, after fifty or so hours stuck here, some of the changes will start becoming permanent."

Commander Data strode in to Sickbay. "Gleep! Zinnggg! DingDingDINGDING!"

The Sickbay doors opened again, and Barclay charged in. He was much shorter now. "Now I've got you, you wascawwy wobot!" he shouted, dropping the weapon and leaping for Data.

A cloud of dust and debris filled Beverly's office. When it cleared, Data was standing, with Barclay's ankle in one hand. Barclay was swinging his fists, but he was now too short to hit anything but air.

"Mr. Data, are we ready to begin the briefing?"

"Whoop! WHOOOP!"

Picard sighed. "Very well. Let go of Mr. Broccoli, and we can go to the briefing. Beverly?" He turned, but Beverly was lost in her holo again. "I suppose Medical can sit this one out."

Data let go of Barclay, and the lieutenant crashed through the deck, causing quite a fuss in Ten-Forward. Picard and Data strolled out, and Beverly laughed at the little white powder-puff tail attached to the back of Picard's uniform.

This was the strangest briefing Picard had ever attended. Lieutenant Laforge seemed to have put on over four hundred pounds overnight. Commander Data was unintelligible. Worf held an Ancient West six-shooter in each hand, trying to spin them on his index fingers; every now and then, one would go off, and the projectile would ricochet around the room until it broke something. Commander Riker had painted his face in green and black, and was honing an eighteen-inch long penknife on a grey stone while staring suspiciously at the rest of the senior staff. Counselor Troi was wearing a very revealing evening gown and loudly proclaiming to anyone who would listen that "She wasn't bad, she was just drawn..."

"Hey, hey, HEYEY!" Laforge shouted. "Le's get this show on the road."

"Zip! ZIP!" Data commented. Picard put his head in his hand.

"Captain?" Laforge said. Picard looked up-at least one of his bridge crew could still talk to him. "Mr. Data says he has a plan."

"You can understand him?"

"He's easier to understand than Old Weird Harold, back in Philly." Laforge sat back, and put his feet up on the table. It groaned under the weight.

Data made a sound like a siren. "WoooWooooWooo. Ding! Ding! Swish, Zoom!"

"He says we need to wait till the last minute," Laforge translated. "Say, about forty-nine and a half hours."

Picard asked for details, and the android made a noise that sounded like a train wreck. He then launched into a series of sounds that not even Laforge could comprehend. The Captain closed his eyes, and simply said, "Make it so."

Captain's Log, Supplemental:

We are at forty-eight hours and counting. Mr. Laforge and Mr. Data have begun to carry out their plan for our escape. I fear we may be cutting this extremely close, perhaps even risking permanent damage, but we have little choice.

The helmsman now bore no resemblance to the doctor's son. His ears wiggled. He suddenly stood, and walked to the viewscreen. Picard and the rest of the bridge crew could only watch in astonishment as he pulled a writing instrument from some pocket of the voluminous robe he was wearing and drew a doorway on the surface of the viewscreen.

He opened the doorway, stepped through the viewscreen, and closed the door behind him. He quickly dashed forward across the disk of the Enterprise main hull, past a startled Data, who was already outside the ship.

"Magnification!" Picard ordered. The view followed Wesley as he hopped off of the front of the ship and onto a large rock outcropping. He placed a large, floppy-brimmed pointed hat onto his head and began waving his arms. Stars began dancing around the Enterprise. Comets and fireballs circled around Wesley, and splashes of water soaked his feet. Then something blocked the view.

"Down in Front!" Riker shouted, as Data strolled in front of the viewscreen. He apologized, stepping through the makeshift airlock Wesley had created, with his head bouncing around on the end of a spring. The apology sounded like a dying calliope.

The show ended, and Wesley strode back to the Bridge. When he walked back in, he was carrying both the floppy hat and a broom, which he sheepishly offered to Picard.

Picard took the hat, and then the broom. When Wesley turned around to go back to his station, Picard let him have it with the broom; Wesley landed in the chair, and it spun six times.

The intercom chimed. It said, "SOMEONE'S AT THE DOOR!" Laforge strode in, and things shook and fell off of the consoles with each step. Data made a noise like a cannon going off.

"Hey, hey HEYEY! The man says it's time to begin!"

"Very well. Mr. Crusher, please attach a tractor beam to the Borg ship. I would prefer not to leave them behind."

Wesley said, "Haha." and pulled a large lever.

Deep inside the ship, parts began to move. At the very front of the Secondary Hull, the sensor array snapped downward, leaving a darkened opening.

A mechanism appeared, looking rather like a large cannon, with the words "ACME Super-Duper Sucker Beam" written on the side. The mechanism moved slowly, targeting the Borg ship, and fired.

Something flew away from the Enterprise, and the cannon stuck out a banner that read "BANG! (because you can't hear anything in space, stupid!)" The projectile was wider at the front than at the back. It was cylindrical, and very narrow, except where it flared out suddenly at the front. Most of it was brown, except from the flare forward, which was red. It trailed a string back to the Enterprise, which pulled taut as the projectile hit the Borg ship with a squish.

The Borg cube tried to escape. The top third of the ship rotated ninety degrees. Then the third on the right side. But the projectile had stuck dead center, so it couldn't escape.

"Mr. Data, Mr. Laforge, you may continue."

The two had gotten the assistance of the coyote in Engineering for this. The rear third of the secondary hull popped open, and an enormous hand popped out, at the end of a long, hinged arm. The hand reached down into the ship, and came up with a container of some sort, and reached out over the nose of the ship.

As it did, Picard could finally see what Data had done while he was outside. There was an eyeball painted in the zero of "1701" and another in the "D". The "N" in "Enterprise" had been painted over with a nose.

The giant hand held the container up for inspection. It said "Pepper." A liberal amount was sprinkled on the front of the ship.

"All Hands, Brace for Impact!" Picard shouted. He was answered by a chorus of chirps, sqwawks, beeps and giggles.

The bridge bucked. Again, further this time. The front hull of the ship buckled, and the viewscreen cracked.

They all heard a sneeze loud enough to shatter stars, and the great starship was propelled backwards-towards the entrance to the Disney Vortex-at warp seven. The Borg ship was pulled along with it.

In moments, everything was back to normal.

"Well. Number One, Mister Worf, please coordinate damage repair crews. And hail the Borg ship-let's see how well they survived.

"Sir, no response to our hails. The channel is open, but they appear to be ignoring us."

"Perhaps they need to hear a language they can understand." Picard straightened out his uniform, and strode to the viewscreen. "Borg Ship, this is Locutus of the Enterprise. Prepare to be assimilated into the Federation."

The screen changed, and the Borg that appeared filled the viewscreen. With a shiver of recognition, Picard recognized the laser-sight apparatus he had once worn, but this Borg looked...different, somehow. He was distinctly yellow, instead of the more common white, and he literally sneered at Picard.

Then he spoke. "Assimilate my shorts, dude!"

The Borg ship moved off at high warp.

Picard looked at Wesley. "Mr. Crusher, please set course for the nearest Starbase where we can initiate repairs." He straightened his uniform one more time, and pointed his index finger at the viewscreen. He said "Engage."

Or, at least, he tried to. He meant to.

But what came out sounded distinctly like "Bedee bedee bedee That's All, Folks!"