Mostly Useless

(Or: The Strange and Evil-Smelling Adventures of Crewman Ifans)

Disclaimer: We don't own 'Enterprise'. If we did, it would star Ioan Gruffudd, have more ripped shirts, Malcolm would be allowed to blow something up twice an episode and the theme tune would not happen.

Note: This is not intended to be offensive to Welsh people. We noticed that Star Trek has a lot of token Brits and no Welshmen. Crewman Ifans is just what most British men are like when left to their own devices (the exceptions are public schoolboys, into which category we are putting Malcolm, who, when left to their own devices, dress up in drag and sing rugby songs).

Important Note: In Welsh 'w' is pronounced as 'u' (well, in the context here). Remember this for later.


Captain Archer was having to hold his first disciplinary hearing of the voyage.

"So. I don't think I've had occasion to meet Crewman," the captain consulted his notes, "Spike Ifans."

Trip, T'Pol and Malcolm looked at each other. "We have."

"Then you can fill me in."

"T'Pol, why dontcha start off."

"The crewman's behaviour is most illogical. Even for a human. His main aim seems to be to attract the attentions of the opposite sex, but he does not seem to realise that his actions repel them. At times the nasal suppressants are not enough when Crewman Ifans is present. I on one occasion ordered him to take a shower, and his reaction was to request that I accompany him."

"I'm not going to court martial a man for having body odour."

"We could always reclassify it as assault on a senior officer."


"Sorry sir, but you haven't met him."

"But whaddabout when the guy does take a shower? He's down by the armoury, so you see him about the place, and he goes of to the shower in these y- fronts." Trip tailed off, his powers of description having deserted him.


Malcolm tried to fill in. "Starfleet regulation ones. They're... well, I checked his records. He indented for a pair of regulation y-fronts when he joined the academy."

"So did we all."

"Yes, but we have all indented for other pairs since then."


"We did try ordering him to wear other things..."

"So, the next time I sees him he's wearin' the y-fronts and his lucky socks."

"How do you know they're his lucky socks?"

"The Doctor tole me. Said when he went down on shore leave a couple'a months back and had to go through decon he refused to take the socks off because they were his lucky socks. So anyways, I ordered him to wear somethin' else."

"And the next morning I bumped into him and he was wearing a t-shirt as well. A t-shirt reading 'Sex - The Breakfast Of Champions.' I'd rather not have to deal with that in the morning."

"Ok. We have a picture of a crewman who is fairly objectionable on a personal level, but nothing too serious. Is there anything else you'd like to add? Something we could discipline him for?"

"Hey, we're savin' that for last. We want you to know all the other stuff first."

"Do I really want to hear this?"

The others nodded. "There is the matter of the crewman's conduct at work. If I have cause to visit Engineering he will persist in referring to me as 'hot stuff' rather than my rank."

Both Trip and Malcolm were doing very well in suppressing their giggles.

"His behaviour towards me has been generally inappropriate. Especially at the 'getting to know you' party."

"I was at the 'getting to know you' party. Why didn't I see him?"

"You did arrive late. We'd locked him in a cupboard by then."

"I was only an hour late. And anyway, why didn't you put him in the brig?"

"I like my brig the way it is. It's... clean. He can go in there after it's been used a bit." Malcolm was even more protective of weaponry when Crewman Ifans was around.

"So what did he manage to do in the hour?"

"It was 40 minutes, actually."

"First he turns up reelin' drunk. Then he tries to drink a whole bottle o'orange juice in one go. Covers himself in orange juice."

"Why did he try and drink it?"

"I think he thought it had vodka in it."

"His roommate, the late Mr. Daniels, tried to persuade him to go back to their quarters to recover. However, crewman Ifans merely embraced Mr. Daniels, and repeatedly informed him that he was his 'best mate'."

"Then he takes out this whistle and a couple'a glowsticks and starts wavin' them round his head like he's tryin' ta fend off a swarm of killer bees."

"I think he may have been trying to dance."

"Then he sees the sub-commander on the other side o' the room. D'you wanna tell this part T'Pol?"

"The crewman approached me and enquired as to whether I had any Welsh in me and whether I wanted any."

Trip and Malcolm were now definitely losing the battle against bursting out laughing. The captain was having trouble not smiling, so decided to move matters on. "And then...?"

"He engaged in inappropriate physical contact."

"She means he started humpin' her leg."

At this point Trip and Malcolm unwisely made eye contact, and lost it, collapsing into fits of giggles.

"Gentlemen, we are trying to discuss the disciplining of a crewman. Please compose yourselves. What did you do about it?"

"I got my security team to lock him in a cupboard." Malcolm looked a little shifty.

The captain looked at him sternly. "How long for, Malcolm?"

"Only six hours, well nine. Butthat'sonlybecauseIaskedtheCommandertolethimoutandheforgot. Sir. He slept most of it."


"Spent the rest of it throwing up, I think."

"Who did let him out?"

"The doctor."


"I think he may have heard the retching. If not, he probably heard the thumping. And the shouting."

"The post of 'tactical officer' does not mean you can lock people away indiscriminately."

"But I had orders from a senior officer, sir."

"Who would be..."

"Commander Tucker, sir."

"He was assaultin a senior officer cap'n."

"Hmm." Captain Archer was receiving a worrying insight into how his senior officers behaved when he wasn't around, and while he admired their initiative he thought that he should put something about whether the ends justified the means as one of his new ideas for directives to starfleet. "How is he as a worker?"

"Seriously, I had no idea you could actually screw up the job of Third Class Conduit Maintenance Engineer. I've seen him try to put things on backwards, upside down, he's even tried to take the lid off the warp core whilst it's runnin'. The man's a menace to the ship."

"I caught him taking all the targeting scanners out of alignment. When I asked him what he was doing he said he was trying to get it to play 'Quake'."

"I have observed the crewman become stuck in a pair of doors while attempting to repair them."

"Ok, so he's incompetent, personally offensive and has no concept of personal hygiene, but what is it exactly that we're disciplining him for?"

"I think you should tell this one Malcolm."

"Last week when he was repairing the conduits in the armoury I had to ask him to move his toolbox from the middle of the floor so that I could actually get into the torpedo tubes and he called me a, what was it, 'stupid, tight-arsed, stuck-up English bastard'."

"You mean he actually turned round and called a senior officer that? He doesn't sound like someone who respects authority, but even coming from him it's a little far fetched."

"He said it in Welsh, sir. He didn't think I'd understand."

"You speak Welsh?"

"A little, my Grandma's Welsh."

"She called people tight-arsed bastards?"

"Well, mainly my Grandfather. And my father. And the Hendersons at number 43. And her at the post office... Sorry, I was miles away."

The more the Captain found out about Malcolm's family, the more he was seized with a strong desire never to meet them.

"So, back to the matter in hand. We're disciplining Ifans for insubordination?"

"And olfactory assault on a senior officer."

"And mutiny."

"Now to be fair it doesn't seem like anyone else spends enough time around him for it to be called a mutinous assembly."

"How about intent to mutiny then?"

"How about we just leave it at insubordination since it's the only one that wouldn't be laughed out of court on Earth?"

The rest of the senior officers agreed, although somewhat reluctantly and only on the condition that, whatever his punishment, it didn't involve spending time in the Brig.

"Just before we call him in, how did we manage to end up with him on board? This was supposed to be a hand-picked crew, what was he, a lucky dip?"

"More or less..."

"What do you mean, 'more or less'?"

"Well, we did hand-pick a crewman S. Ifans, Third Class Conduit Maintenance Engineer. Crewman Selwyn Ifans, real nice guy who just happened to be one of the best Conduit Maintenance Engineers in Starfleet, had this trick he used to do at parties with a half empty bottle of red wine..."

"Yes, thank you Commander, I get the idea. So we got the wrong man?"

The senior officers nodded.

The captain sighed, rather despondently. "And Starfleet haven't given us any sign we're expected home soon."

"Nope. Looks like we're in for a long ride. Good job ah got m'sister to feed J.R., Miss. Ellie, Sue Ellen and Bobby."


"My goldfish."

"J.R.? What does that stand for?'

"J.R. o'course. Y'know. Dallas?"

"Dallas? The town?"

"No, no, the tv show. One of the greatest works o'the twentieth century." The others still remained blank, so Trip pressed on. "Y'know, 'dah daah dah daah dah daah daah daah daah da daah DAAH dah dah dah daaaah';" Trip took a breath and changed key, "dah daah dah daah dah daah daah daah daah da daah DAAH dah dah dah daaaah; dah dah dah dah dahdahdahdahdahdah dah daah dah dah dahdah dah daDAAAAAAAAH."

The other three looked at Trip in stunned silence. It was both the song and the dance which had deeply disturbed them.

"Perhaps you could give Crewman Ifans dancing lessons," commented Malcolm drily.

The captain tried desperately to get the conversation back to the matter in hand. "Thank you, Trip, for enlightening us about twentieth century TV tunes, now is there anything else anyone would like to add before we call Crewman Ifans in?"

The others all shook their heads. The captain pressed the comm and asked for the crewman to be brought in. He duly slouched in, looking more than a little hungover, sporting a stained and distressed starfleet uniform and beard.


"Good Afternoon Crewman."

Crewman Ifans did not seem to notice this.

"Do you know why you are here?"

"Yeah, these three great big security blokes turn up at my quarters, get me out o'bed and drag me down here."

The captain tried another tack. "Do you have any idea why you are being summoned for a disciplinary hearing?"

"Disciplinary hearing? When? First I've heard of it, like."

"Crewman Ifans. You are here. In front of a disciplinary hearing. Now."

"It wasn't me."

"It wasn't you who did what?"


The Captain felt that he was somehow losing control of the situation. "Crewman, you are here charged with insubordination. Do you understand?"

Light dawned. "I'm here cos I called him an English bastard aren't I? Well how was I supposed to know he spoke Welsh?"

"The point is that it is not Lt. Reed's ability to understand the insult, it is the fact that you insulted a senior officer."

"Oh. Well, I'm sorry. He can't help being English. He was born that way."

The captain looked sideways at Malcolm, who seemed to be twitching slightly.

"Crewman. You do not seem to feel any remorse for your actions whatsoever. You have problems with authority, punctuality and hygiene. In fact, do tell me, how did you ever pass Starfleet exams?"

"Ah, well, it's my cousin Dafydd, see? Works in the filing department at Starfleet, got me all the exam papers a week before the final exams."

"And how did you get onto Enterprise? Cousin Dafydd?"

"Course not. It was my auntie Myfanwy, works in personnel, set it up as a birthday surprise, see? Knew I always wanted to see the universe. You know there's this planet where the women have three..." he waved around his chest. Then a thought seemed to strike him. "Hey, I'm not going to get them into trouble am I?"

The Captain wasn't really sure how to reply to this one, so decided to ignore it. "As a punishment for you actions, you will be confined to the Brig pending further investigation."

There was a small strangled noise from Malcolm. "Surely it would be better for him to be confined to his quarters? We may meet hostile aliens and need to use it."

"But that really ain't fair on his roommate. He's already complained."

"There is a large, lockable cupboard on deck four. It would be more logical to confine him there."

"Then it is agreed..."

"But I don't want to be locked in a cupboard! I don't agree!"

"Shut up. You will be provided with food, drink and other facilities."

"Can I bring all my tapes of 'Pobol Y Cwm' with me?"

There was a look of horror from three of the officers.

"I think it's a soap opera, sir. In fact, I sincerely hope it's a soap opera, sir."

"Whatever, I don't think you should be allowed recreation. In fact, I think you should start studying to take your Starfleet exams again, since you cheated the first time."

"Actually, that was the third time."

"And no communication will be allowed between you and your family to exclude the possibility of cheating."


Malcolm walked down the corridor humming the 'Dallas' theme to himself. After the disciplinary hearing Trip had decided to start showing all the episodes of Dallas at the same rate as they had originally gone out in the twentieth century. Malcolm was currently annoyed at not knowing who had shot J.R. He'd tried looking it up, but Trip had blanked the appropriate databases. He was thinking of waylaying Trip and giving him Chinese burns until he confessed. He opened a familiar cupboard.

"Good morning Ifans. Another communication from Starfleet. You've failed. Again."

"Again? When's the next time I can take it?"

"Another four months." Malcolm gave a horrible grin. "Keep up the good work."


Pobol Y Cwm really exists. Here's the website:

We really suggest you click on 'Fun' and then try out the movie maker.