Whine of the Worrior

“The Whine of the Worrier” by Walter Chmara

Everyone on board the station was in a state of alert. Even all of the
department heads were armed with phaser rifles, jumping and pointing them
at anything that looked the slightest bit suspicious. Which explained why the
station’s innards looked like Swiss cheese.
“This dingaling knows the station as well as we do,” announced Major Kikn
Nerear to no one in particular. “He could be anywhere. Or anything.”
“No sh*t, Sherlock,” answered her comm badge.
Kikn lowered her rifle momentarily. “All right, who said that? Come on,
‘fess up! I can wait here all day until…”
An orangey glob took that opportunity to shoot over her head and disappear
around the next corner by flapping its psuedopods like some kind of plucked
bird.
The blob blended into the face of a shop directory, and waited for a
hapless victim to blunder by. One did.
Dr. Julienne Butchir tiptoed in, crouching with his rifle, whistling the
James Bond theme to himself, when a large mallet formed behind him and bopped
him on the head. The doctor dropped like a sack of potatoes.
Operations Chief Mires O’Bligen popped in, pointing his rifle at the
dingaling, who was re-assuming his familiar humanoid form. “Bang! You’re dead!”
he cried.
“Wrong,” Security Chief Oddo corrected him. “I think I may have hit the
doctor too hard. Bang, *he’s* dead!”
Major Kikn charged into the scene, along with Captain Banjoman Simpo. The
major asked the computer for the time which elapsed since this hunt began.
“*Three days, twenty hours, four minutes,*” came the reply.
Simpo’s left hand grabbed his face. He allowed it to slowly slide down to
his chin. “Schedule another surprise drill. If the Domination tries to
infiltrate this station, I want to be ready for them!”
Oddo grumbled. “Hah! At this rate, you better hope my people don’t invade
for another year! Don’t you realize the Flounders are even better at
dingalinging than I am?”
“What about the doctor?” asked O’Bligen. “Shouldn’t somebody give him
mouth-to-mouth, or something?”
“Don’t look at me,” snapped Kikn, returning to her post. “He’s not my
type.”
“Too early for me,” added Simpo, heading back to his quarters.
“I did my bit,” said Oddo, liquifying and trickling away.
“Oh, that’s just great!” hollered O’Bligen after them. “Just leave it to
me, then, why don’t ya?”
Looking down at the unconscious doctor, O’Bligen’s expression changed to
one of utter distaste.
“Well, here goes.” He knelt down, putting his lips to the doctor’s.
Butchir’s eyes suddenly snapped open. “Why, Chief, I didn’t know you felt
this way!”
The chief’s angry glare was the last thing he saw before something knocked
him unconscious again.

Freighter pilot Crazidy Eights stepped into Simpo’s quarters, and noticed
the romantic dinner for two he had laid out on the table.
“Oooh,” she crooned, running a hand across his newly bald pate. “What
happened here?”
“I’m not sure,” he answered. “Just when I was promoted to captain, my hair
started falling out for no reason. It happens. They say Jerk wore a toup. And
then there’s Retard…”
“I got something for that,” she interrupted, handing him a baseball cap.
Simpo laughed at it. “Piker City Pioneers! They’re at the bottom of the
intergalactic league!”
“It’s my brother’s team,” she frowned.
“…Because all the other teams cheat like the devil,” he quickly added.
“I’ve got something for you, too.”
He handed her what appeared to be a scarf.
“Oh, Ban! It’s *gorgeous*,” she quickly started wrapping it around her
neck.
“Crazidy! No! It’s Tholian silk!”
It was too late. Like everything the Tholians weave, the scarf began to
contract. Eights’ eyes began to bulge, and her protruding tongue began to turn
purple.
Simpo had to grab a knife from the table and shred the scarf before it
strangled her. So much for that present.
“My brother said…” she gasped out, “if you’re ever…on Cestus
Three…he’ll get you seats…in the dugout.”
*Cestus Three?* he thought. *Home of the Gorn Flesheaters? Wow! That’s a game
I’ve got to see!*
The Gorn had a reputation for eating the losers alive. Or even the
winners, for that matter.
“If you ever decide to go,” she continued, “I’ll take you there myself. As
long as you don’t mind traveling by freighter.”
*As if.*
“I just might take you up on that,” he said to be polite. “Have a seat.
You know, my father always said the way to a woman’s heart is through her
stomach.”
Eights sat down with a puzzled expression. “Wouldn’t it be easier to just
go through her ribs?”
“Shut up and eat.”
Their meal was interrupted by the arrival of a swarm of Kinky
battlecruisers surrounding the station. The leader, General Mortalk, demanded
to meet with Simpo in his office. Simpo ordered Major Kikn to join them there.

“So, what brings you here, General?” asked Simpo, ignoring the stench that
Kinkies usually brought with them.
“My new battlecruiser, Captain! I thought you might have noticed it,”
answered the general. “I bring good news and bad news. But first, let us be
sure we are who we say we are!”
The general withdrew a very mean-looking knife and slit his palm with it.
He let the blood drip to the desktop.
“You think we’re dingalings?” protested Kikn.
“No sh*t, Sherlock,” said her comm badge again.
“I gotta find out who’s doing that,” she vowed.
“What I think doesn’t matter,” the general growled. “The blood will tell.”
Mortalk handed the knife to Simpo, who also opened a palm with it. Simpo’s
blood, too, dripped harmlessly to the desk.
Simpo then stoically passed the knife to Kikn. She wordlessly did as the
guys did, to show them she was no whimp, either.
“The good news is…none of us are dingalings,” concluded the general.
“What’s the bad news?” asked Simpo.
“The bad news is…now the two of you have Kinky AIDS, just like me!”
roared the general. “Ha! Ha! Ha!”
The captain and the major simply stared at the general while he had his
bellylaugh.
“Oh, lighten up,” complained the general as he sheathed his knife. “They
don’t call us Kinky *worriers* for nothing, you know!”
He got up, and began to pace the room, while his hand bled all over the
floor.
“We’ve been sent here to help our Federation allies fight against the
Domination,” he continued.
“We appreciate the gesture,” said Simpo, paying no mind to the red puddle
on his desk spewing from his own hand. “But I’m not sure it’s necessary.”
“The Kinky High Council thinks it is.”
“Our comm relay in the Gramma Quadrant hasn’t detected any signs of
Gem’Hoarder activity for quite some time,” Kikn took a step forward, slipped on
her own blood, and landed on her back with a yelp.
Mortalk ignored her. “They will come. And we’ll be ready for them.”

Oddo and Garbrack, the Hardassian tailor, were seated at a table near the
Foodarackacycle at that moment. Oddo appeared to be slurping a cup of coffee,
which was odd because the dingaling claimed he never ate or drank.
“Fascinating,” Garbrack was saying, “so both the cup and the coffee are
merely extensions of your own body?”
“That’s correct. And if I want to, I can even drink the coffee, reabsorb
it, and produce new coffee in the cup. This way I can give the illusion that
I’m sharing the dining experience.”
“In actuality, you are ingesting and secreting yourself?”
“Right.” Oddo demonstrated by gulping down the coffee, then refilling the
cup via the arm holding it.
Once Garbrack fully grasped the concept, the thought filled him with utter
revulsion.
“Ewwwww!” he sniffed. He got up and moved to another table.
“Snob!” cried Oddo after him, burping.

Kikn Nerear sat in a steam room, basically feeling miserable. The doctor
had healed her cut and gave her a quart of blood to replace what she lost, but
he told her that if she was foolish enough to cut herself with the same knife
that was used on a Kinky AIDS carrier, well, there wasn’t much he could do if
she tested positive.
“There you are!” Justinna Daze bounced over to her clad in a towel, with
her arms around two holographic men. “We’ve been looking all over for you! Alpo
here just gave me an amazing massage! If you ask nicely he’ll do the same for
you.”
“No, thanks.”
“Why?”
“Because Alpo isn’t real. He’s a puppet made of holographic light and
replicated matter.”
Upon hearing this, Alpo’s eyes widened. “Y-you mean I-I’m only a-a..?”
He suddenly burst into tears. The other man put his arm around him,
comforting him. “There, there, Alpo, don’t cry…”
The two of them walked out, with the one who wasn’t Alpo shooting dirty
looks at Kikn before they both disappeared behind a curtain.
“You really should try to get into the spirit of things,” reprimanded
Daze. “People from all over Thrill come to visit the Hoopishtinda Baths!”
“But we’ve not on Thrill, and this isn’t the Hoopishtinda Baths. It’s a
hollowsuite. Nothing here is real.”
“Can’t you just use your imagination?”
“I used to imagine all the Hardassians would drop dead. That didn’t help
much.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean-”
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry. You planned a fun evening for us and all I
can do is sit here and worry about Kinkies.”
“Well, they don’t call them Kinky worriers for nothing,” said Daze.
“No sh*t, Sherlock,” said that annoying voice, again.
“Who said that?” asked Daze.
“It’s that voice I keep hearing on my communicator,” explained Kikn. “Are
you wearing one?”
“No.”
“Neither am I. Strange.”

Garbrack’s stomach had settled down considerably since his encounter with
Oddo. He returned to his shop, reopening it. No sooner had he done this he was
visited by four Kinky worriers.
“I am Dreck, son of Mortalk,” their leader told him. “We are going to
thrash you within an inch of your life.”
“But why?”
The Kinkies looked at one another in bewilderment as the theme
from *Jeopardy* began to play in the background. When the music ended, each one
shrugged.
“We do what we like,” explained Dreck.
“Yeah! Yeah!” agreed the others.
Then they all beat him to within an inch of his life.

“Captain!” called Daze’s voice over Simpo’s communicator, “We’re getting a
distress call from the freighter *Bozo*, Crazidy Eight’s ship! She says she’s
being attacked by Kinkies!”
“Tell the crew of the *Defilant* to man their stations. I’m on my way,” was
his reply.

When the *Defilant* reached the *Bozo*, the crew saw a Kinky Bird-of-Paradise
dragging the freighter via a tractor beam.
“Fire a warning shot across their bow,” ordered Simpo.
Kikn’s finger slipped on the smooth control panel causing the horribly
beweaponed battleship to unleash a pounding which blew off the Kinky ship’s
tractor beam emitter. That brought an angry Kinky to the screen.
“Captain, this is outrageous!”
“I agree,” agreed Simpo. “So is detaining my girlfriend’s ship.”
The Kinky swallowed hard. He mumbled something in Kinky which the
universal translator translated as “whoops.”
“I have my orders to search all vessels leaving the station for
dingalings!” he protested.
“Well, I’m not going to let you,” stated Simpo.
The Kinky stamped his foot. “You just wait! I’m telling Growlon on you!
He’ll get you good! He’ll punch your president in the nose! He’ll…”
“Screen off,” ordered Simpo. *Geez! I thought only the legendary Fran
Drescher could hit such annoying vocal frequencies!*”Let’s go home.”

Back inside his office — which had been cleaned up from all the blood —
Simpo was having a private conversation with Daze, when General Mortalk burst
in on them and slapped a knife down on the desk.
“Oh, no, not again!” complained Simpo. “I just had everything cleaned from
the last time!”
The Kinky barked something in his own language which sounded like “suck
that” before storming out.
“What was *that* all about?” wondered Simpo.
Daze looked the knife over. “This belonged to the captain of the
Bird-of-Paradise. Mortalk is telling you he executed him.”
Simpo grinned. “Well, I suppose *somebody* had to, sooner or later! God,
that guy could whine.”
“This Kinky problem is getting a little out of hand, Banjoman,” said Daze.
“Cursin once told me the only people who can handle Kinkies are other
Kinkies,” said Simpo. “Get me Starfleet Command…”

Commander Wort took a step into the space station’s interior through the
airlock. A familiar face greeted him.
“Chief O’Bligen,” responded Wort. “It has been a long time.”
“Too long,” grinned O’Bligen. “Say, did you know that Commander Spiker
stopped in here, once? I tried to be nice to him and the bloody jerk nearly
bites my head off!”
“I was led to believe that the man was *Thomas* Spiker, in reality.”
“If you’re gonna try to sell me that `evil twin’ nonsense, don’t bother;
I’m not buying it. The next time he comes to this station, well, he just better
look twice before he uses the officer’s latrine, that’s all I’ve got to say.”
The two of them walked past the bar as they conversed. The Earringi
working there stopped in his tracks as he noticed an unmistakable odor.
“Just what this station needs,” muttered Quirk. “Another Kinky worrier!”

“Welcome aboard, Mr. Wort,” greeted Simpo.
Wort stood at attention before the captain inside his office. “Thank you,
sir.”
Simpo grinned at him. “At ease, Commander. I was sorry to hear about the
*Interloper*. She was a good ship.”
“Yes, sir. I worried about that for days. I’m *still* worrying about it.”
“Well, they don’t call you guys Kinky worriers for nothing.”
“True, sir. But you should know I am different from most others. Kinky
worriers usually worry others. I worry myself.”
“Not so,” contradicted Simpo. “You’re beginning to worry *me*. But beggars
can’t be choosers. I assume you’ve read my situation report?”
A puzzled look crossed Wort’s face. “Actually no, sir.”
Simpo’s brows went up. “Play along with me, then. I’m not about to bore
the reader with a rehash of everything up to this point.”
“Understood, sir.”
“I can’t help feeling that General Mortalk hasn’t told me the whole truth
about the Kinky task force. There are too many unanswered questions.”
“Then I will attempt to find you the answers,” Wort turned to leave.
“Commander, before you go, I just wanted to say I thought about resigning
from Starfleet once, too. If I had, I know now I would have regretted it. I
guess what I’m saying is…don’t make any hasty decisions.”
Another puzzled look crossed Wort’s face. “But, sir, I never said anything
about resigning!”
“You didn’t?” Simpo scratched his head.
Wort shook his head.
“Hmm,” Simpo rubbed his chin. “Walt must’ve left that subplot out. Never
mind.”
Wort left the office a little more worried than when he came in.

He sat down at the bar. Quirk came over to take his order.
“Let me guess,” said the Earringi. “Kinky targ urine wine?”
“No.”
“Kinky porga sweat brandy?”
“No.”
“Kinky drool beer?”
“No.”
“Okay, I give up. What’ll ya have?”
“Metamucil. And put it in a dirty glass.”
The Earringi was impressed. “Man! You are one hell of a regular guy!
While Quirk shuffled off to get the drink, the doctor and O’Bligen waddled
over with darts in their hands.
“I do not play games,” Wort told them.
“It’s like poker with pointy tips,” prompted O’Bligen.
“You must think me a fool!” roared Wort. “How does one deal a dart face
down?”
“All right. Think of it as target practice,” Butchir explained, offerring
him a dart.
Wort took it and threw before anyone could tell him to aim for the
dartboard. A bar patron squeeled. It was Norm. Norm stood up with the dart
buried in his nose, spun around in place, and hit the floor.
“I can’t believe you did that!”
That came from one of a pair of women who were exiting from one of Quirk’s
hollowsuites dressed in fairy-tale princess gowns, complete with pointed hats
and veils.
“He didn’t leave me any choice!” complained the other in her own defense.
“What did she do?” asked the doctor of them.
“She knocked out Prince Charming,” explained the Thrill.
“He *kissed* me!” claimed the Badgeran.
“Well, how else was he supposed to wake you?” inquired the Thrill.
The Badgeran folded her arms, cynically. “If that’s his cure for sleep,
imagine what he might’ve pulled if he thought I was in a coma! The pervert.”
The doctor grinned at Wort. “This is Justinna Daze and our first officer,
Major Kikn Nerear.”
Wort figured he’d better give the major a compliment. “Nice hat.”
The major pulled the dunce cap off her head and handed it to him. “I don’t
want you should think I always dress like this. We just came out of the
hollowsuite…”
Wort saw a pattern here, so he decided to take a chance. “Nice shoes.”
She quickly pulled her shoes off and handed them to him, too.
*Yes!* thought Wort, pulling an imaginary lever with his right fist and
sneaking the shoes into his uniform when no one was looking.
“You used to be Cursin Daze,” he observed of the Thrill. “Cursin’s name is
an honored one among my people.”
When Daze answered him, it was in the Kinky tongue: *”Yes. Jock itch is
such a pain, ain’t it?”*
Wort’s eyebrows went up. “I suppose so. Excuse me.”
He spotted a few Kinkys he needed to have a serious word with, so he moved
toward them.
“This targ urine wine is cold!” whined Dreck to an Earringi waiter. “I
want another! Body temperature!”
Wort stepped forward. “You are Dreck, son of Mortalk.”
“Why, yes. I am,” smiled Dreck.
Wort hauled off and flattened him with one punch. He took Dreck’s dagger
and walked out with it.

An enraged Mortalk stormed into Wort’s quarters, later.
“I have come for my son’s *falik s’mbol*. Give it to me or I will take it
from you!”
Wort slapped the handle into the other’s palm. “Now that you are here, I
have no further need of it.”
“You robbed my son of his honor just to get my attention?”
“You cannot take away what someone does not have.”
“Are you saying my son is without honor?”
“No sh*t, Sherlock,” said that strange voice, again.
“Show yourself!” demanded Mortalk. “By the beard of Kluless, I will slay
you!”
Wort ignored the voice, addressing Mortalk. “I am saying your son is a
coward and a liar.”
Mortalk looked at Wort. “What have we done to earn your disrespect?”
“Your son beat up a Hardassian tailor. You ordered your men to detain and
search ships in neutral space. You executed one of your own officers for
whining too much.”
“Hey, you never heard him! That guy could hit the precise whine frequency
that makes your teeth vibrate in your head! But that’s beside the point.
Whatever we’ve done has been in the best interest of the Alfalfa Quadrant!”
“You must take me for a fool to make your lies so transparent!”
“Of course! So what’s your point?”
Wort sighed. “I need to know why you are here.”
“I am here under the authority of Growlon himself. That should be all the
explanation a Kinky worrier needs.”

Wort needed to work out his frustrations in the hollowsuite. As another
imaginary monster whipped him in a fair fight, Justinna Daze, still in her
fairy-princess outfit, couldn’t resist commenting.
“You shouldn’t drop your left arm like that.”
“I do not recall asking you for your advice.”
“That’s a relief! I don’t recall you asking, either. At least I can
corroborate your story. So, how do you like my program?”
“It’s only adequate.”
Daze picked up a spare *bat’lax*. “So fight me.”
Wort burst out laughing. “It would not be a fair match!”
“Okay, so a groin kick to me is less effective than it once was, so what?
Are you chicken?”
Wort assumed the battle stance. “Defend yourself!”
They clanged their weapons together repeatedly, but after several minutes
of combat, neither one of them was able to get the upper hand.
“If it helps,” panted Daze, “think of me as a man. I’ve been one several
times.”
“How can I? In that getup, you look like Maid Marion!”
No sooner did he say that, Wort spotted his opportunity and pounced on it.
Daze landed painfully on her back. She began screaming and crying.
Dr. Butchir burst into the suite. “What’s going on? Daze! What happened?”
“Wort beat me up with his *bat’lax*!” cried Daze.
Butchir shot an angry look at Wort. “Oh, big man! On a station full of
Kinky worriers, all you could find to fight is a woman!”
Wort dropped his weapon. “B-But she asked for it!”
“Right, blame the victim. Real honorable, Wort!”
“I can’t feel my legs!” screamed Daze.
Butchir ran a scanner over her legs. “Bad news, I’m afraid. You might
never walk again!”
Wort turned and fled from the suite in terror. As soon as they were sure
he was gone, Butchir and Daze high-fived each other and laughed themselves
silly.

*Asian toffee deja E,
Asian soap talk ghosts vas scrote biting!
En bo chacha la poosh,
Chacha Kluless Moldor me hork chew roo!*

Wort had fled to the bar, where he met an old Kinky family friend to get
drunk with and sing ancient Kinky worrier ballads, like that one. To them, it
was a very honorable song, but to anyone who spoke Standard, it sounded quite
strange indeed.
CLUNK!
The traditional way to end such a song was to knock heads with your
singing partner. Unfortunately, both Wort and his friend were quite inebriated
and unable to align their skull ridges properly. They knocked each other out.
When they both grogily came to, hours later, Wort’s friend swayed in his
seat, looking as if his digestive system had every intention of suddenly
slamming into reverse.
“Your father and I used to sing that song when you were just a small boy.
Then your mother would brain us both with the targ tenderizer for singing it in
front of you. Did I ever tell you how your father saved my family’s honor
during our blood feud with the House of Duracell?”
“Many times,” groaned Wort. “You’re no doubt going to tell me, again,
aren’t you?” *That’ll make seven times, tonight. Please don’t throw up on me.*
“It is a good story!” roared the other fellow, almost agitating himself
into hurling. He leaned forward, right into Wort’s face, moaning.
Wort quickly ducked left. But the old Kinky also leaned that way, keeping
Wort in his sights, as his lips formed the pre-spewing spout. Wort ducked
right. The old fellow zeroed in on him, again.
Wort spent the next minute or so bobbing and weaving, but it turned out to
be a false alarm. The old fellow settled back down into his seat.
“Your father was a great worrier,” continued the elder. “My family owes
him everything that we have. Naturally, however, if you try to take any of it,
I will have to kill you. If only there was some way I could repay him.”
“There is,” said Wort. “Tell me the real reason the task force is here,
not that B.S. Mortalk gave the Federation!”
“I suppose you have a right to know. You are a Kinky worrier, and it would
be wrong to keep you from the biggest worry this part of the galaxy is every
likely to see. Come closer, I must whisper it into your ear.”
Wort leaned forward. Then he was unexpectedly covered with vomit.

Wort needed a place to clean himself off. He passed a door marked “Women.”
Then he passed a door marked “Men.” Then he passed a door marked “J’naii.” Then
he spotted a door marked “Kinkies,” and went in.

Later, he reported his findings to Simpo in his office.
“Hardassia!” bellowed Simpo. “Why would the Kinkies want to invade
Hardassia!”
“According to my source, their central command has been overthrown and
power has been transferred to civilian authorities,” explained Wort.
“This source of yours is reliable? No substance abuse problems?”
“Absolutely, sir.”
“Hmm. Even if your source is correct, what does that have to do with
Kinkies?”
“Growlon and the High Council believe that the coup was engineered by the
Domination.”
“Do they have any proof?”
“None that I am aware of. They are convinced that the civilians could not
have overthrown the central command without help.”
“So by attacking Hardassia, the Kinkies think they are protecting the
Alfalfa Quadrant from the Domination?”
“No sh*t, Sherlock!”
Simpo, stunned, stared at Wort.
“That wasn’t me, sir,” Wort protested.

Simpo called General Mortalk over to meet with him and Wort. The general
sat down beside the briefing room table, making himself comfortable. When he
withdrew his knife and attempted to reopen his palm with it, the captain drew
his phaser and made the general put his knife away.
“General, I want you to call off your planned attack on Hardassia,”
demanded Simpo.
“And what do you propose we do instead?” argued the general. “Sit on our
fannies while the Domination takes over the quadrant?”
“You have no proof that there are any Flounders on Hardassia,” insisted
Simpo.
“The change in government is all the proof we need,” was the general’s
reply.
“And what if you are wrong?” asked Wort.
“We are not barbarians. We will issue a formal appology for levelling
their cities, murdering their people, and poisoning their planet. Hardassians
don’t hold grudges.”
“Be that as it may,” said Simpo, “I will advise you to reconsider. The
Federation Council has informed Growlon that if the attack goes forward, it
will jeopardize our treaty with the Kinky Empire!”
Mortalk lit up like a kid in a candy store. “I will consult with Growlon.
You will have his decision within the hour.”

The general returned to his battlecruiser. Inside of two minutes, Daze
summoned Simpo to Ops. She drew his attention to the viewscreen, which showed
all of the Kinky ships moving off and cloaking.
“Report!” ordered Simpo.
“As soon as Mortalk beamed back to his ship, he sent a message to the
Kinky fleet,” reported Daze. “It was just one word. *En-chu*.”
“Was there a reply, Old Bag?” asked Simpo.
Daze shook her head.
“Get me General Mortalk on priority channel!” Simpo ordered.
When the general’s rather peeved face appeared on the screen, Simpo smiled
at him.
“*Gesundheit*,” said Simpo, pleasantly.

Later, Simpo called a meeting of all senior staffers in the wardroom to
discuss this turn of events.
“The Kinkies are still our allies,” Daze reminded everyone. “If we warn
Hardassia about what’s heading for them, we would be betraying them.”
“Besides, what if the Kinkies are right?” added O’Bligen. “What if the
Domination *has* taken over the Hardassian government?”
“Who’d notice any difference?” grumbled Oddo. “If anything, I think they’d
become a better people for it!”
Major Kikn couldn’t agree more. “Forgive me if I sound insensitive, but
after all the Hardassians put *my* people through, I feel like celebrating!
Champagne’s on me!”
Wort gave her a really dirty look. “The true issue is not if there are any
Flounders on Hardassia. There are many Kinkies who worry that we have been at
peace for too long, that the empire must expand in order to survive.”
“So, if I were you,” said Daze to Kikn, “I’d be worried about Badger.
You’ll be next.”
Major Kikn gulped.
“Why are we just sitting around, people?” she suddenly demanded.
“We’re in a crisis here! We need some answers!”
“Well, the way I see it,” said O’Bligen, “we only have two choices, both
of them bad. If we stand by and do nothing, we’ll be next. If we warn the
Hardies, we may end up starting a war.”
Simpo had that same look on his face that he had whenever an unorthodox
idea hit him. “Which means we need a third option…”

Garbrack was summoned to the wardroom, and advised to bring his tailor’s
kit.

When he entered the wardroom, Simpo told him to take his measurements.
“But, Captain, I already *have* your measurements!”
“Take them again,” instructed Simpo, giving him a very overacted stage
wink. “I believe I’ve put on a little weight.”
Garbrack shrugged and went to work with his tape measure.
Daze spoke up. “Altogether, we’re talking about well over a hundred
ships.”
“Did you get that, Garbrack?” asked Simpo, while the tailor measured his
sleeve.
“Absolutely! Sleeve length — no change.”
Simpo’s jaw dropped. “You were saying, Old Bag?”
Daze continued. “I was saying that between ground forces and warships, the
Kinkies have commited almost a third of their military to this invasion.”
“Did you get *that*?” Simpo nudged the tailor, who was now measuring the
captain’s waist.
“Yes, Captain! You *have* gained a little weight, but it’s nothing the
elastic in your pants can’t handle. Yet.”
Simpo slapped his forehead. “How long before they reach their target,
Mr. Wort?”
“The task force should enter Hardassian space within the hour!” answered
Wort loudly enough for the furniture to hear.
Garbrack had been taking Simpo’s inseam measurement when Wort replied,
causing the tailor’s fist to involuntarily jerk upwards into the captain’s
crotch.
“Eeep!” yelled Simpo, in a high-pitched voice.
“I believe I have everything I need,” Garbrack said quickly, dashing out
of the room.

Back inside his shop, Garbrack locked the doors and opened a secret
compartment which contained an illegal subspace transceiver. Activating it, he
made contact with his home planet.
The former Hardassian governor of the station, Gold Ducat, appeared on the
screen. Garbrack informed him of what he overheard in the wardroom.
“The Kinkies?” Ducat was outraged. “Why would the Kinkies want to
invade *us*?”
“They probably think Hardassia has been taken over by the Flounders,”
postulated Garbrack.
“That’s ridiculous!”
“Is it?”
“You have to talk to Simpo! Tell him he has got to find a way to stop
them! We have enough problems right now!”
“Having trouble keeping the civilians in line?”
Ducat’s eyes narrowed. “How would *you* know about that?”
“I’m afraid that since the fall of the Obscenian Order, Hardassian
security is not what it used to be.”
“Yes,” Ducat shook his head in mock pity. “Shame about the Order. I
suppose there won’t be much demand for your services, anymore. Looks like
you’ll be hemming women’s dresses for the rest of your life. Big fat alien
women. With elephantitis.”
Garbrack shuddered. “We could stand here all day reminding ourselves how
much we hate each other, but you don’t have the time. The Kinky fleet will
reach Hardassian territory in less than an hour. I suggest you prepare for
them.”
Garbrack turned the transceiver off, grabbed a bottle of Hardassian booze,
and guzzled it down.

Based on Kinky transmissions intercepted by the station, the outlying
Hardassian colonies were overrun almost immediately. While some Kinkies quickly
divided themselves into teams and began to play squash with severed Hardassian
heads, the rest continued on to Hardassia Prime. But once the Hardassian fleet
was mobilized, the Kinkies met stronger resistance. It was almost as if
somebody finally got his butt in gear and heeded the warning he got almost an
hour ago.
Captain Simpo grimly stepped outside of his office to address everyone in
Ops. “Bad news, people. The Federation has decided to condemn the Kinky
invasion. In response, Growlon has expelled all Federation citizens and
representatives from the empire. Even Shirley Temple. Then, he recalled his own
ambassadors and has withdrawn the empire from the Snitnomore accords. The peace
treaty between the Federation and the Kinky Empire has ended.”
There was a moment of silence.
Suddenly, the air was shattered with balloons, confetti, noisemakers,
horns, and those rolled-up party favors that unroll when you blow into them.
The band struck up the theme from ST-TNG, and everyone began to dance.
Chief O’Bligen cut the festivities short. “Hold it! You’re not going to
believe this! A Kinky ship is decloaking off of upper pylon three, requesting
permission to dock! They claim to have Chancellor Growlon on board! And he’s
demanding to speak with Mr. Wort!”

When Wort stepped inside Growlon’s ship, the chancellor looked so happy to
see him that Wort had to ask him if the bulge in his trousers was actually his
disruptor.
“No! It is not!” cried Growlon, bear-hugging him. “I always said that
tight Starfleet uniform you wear would get you into trouble one day!”
Wort’s eyes widened.
“It seems you were right,” he said, quickly slipping out from the
chancellor’s grasp. “But I do not appologize for my actions!”
Growlon threw his arms up in a grand shrug. “Yes. You did what you thought
was right. Though you may have made some enemies, let me assure you I am not
one of them!”
*Darn!* thought Wort. “I’m glad. Your friendship means much to me.” *It
means, if we are ever showering together, I am not bending over to pick up the
soap.*
Growlon put a too friendly arm around Wort. “It has been too long since
you last fought at my side. I must tell you, it gets very lonely in those
trenches…if you catch my drift.”
“You want me to go with you,” surmized Wort, gloomily.
“Yes! Glory awaits us on Hardassia!”
“If there is any glory to be won, Growlon, it will have to be yours alone.
I will not go with you.”
Growlon grabbed one of Wort’s buttocks. “Wort, you are not looking at the
big picture. A Kinky with your…qualifications…could go far in the empire.
Hey, we’re talking about your career, here!”
“No!” Wort slapped Growlon’s hand away. “We are talking sexual harrassment
here! And I don’t have to take it!”
Growlon became enraged. “So be it! For as long as you live, you will no
longer be welcome in the empire! Your family will be removed from the High
Council! Your land will be seized! And your House will be stripped of its
titles! You will be left with nothing!”
Wort thought it over. He bent over, and began to undo his buckle.
“Too late!” growled the chancellor, booting him back through the airlock.

Wort returned to the bar to get drunk, again. Presently, he was joined by
Mires O’Bligen.
“You look like you could use some company,” noticed O’Bligen, putting his
own drink beside Wort’s on the table, and sitting down.
“Chief, do you remember the time we rescued Captain Retard from the
Bored?” asked Wort.
At the time, the starship *Interloper* had encountered a cube-shaped vessel
which housed thousands of humanoids who were all dressed alike in three piece
suits and carrying briefcases. The Bored travelled the galaxy committing
corporate take-overs and making their new employees dress as they did. When
they got hold of Retard, they made him Chairman of the Bored, and forced him to
serenade his former crew with his rendition of “I Did It My Way,” until
Commander Spiker was left no choice but to blast the cube into smithereens.
Fortunately, the captain survived without a scratch. Unfortunately, Spiker was
served with a subpoena from the Bored homeworld, which Spiker had yet to honor.
“How could I forget?” replied O’Bligen. “There were a few moments when I
thought we were all going to wind up working for the Bored.”
“Yes. We worried like the worriers from the ancient sagas,” agreed Wort,
nostalgically. “But those days are gone. I have decided to resign from
Starfleet.”
“Resign? Where will you go?”
“I suppose I could get a berth on a Neighborite Alliance cruiser. I hear
they take all kinds, even Kinkies.”
“That’s a long way. What about your son?”
“He is happier torturing his Earth grandparents than he ever was staying
with me. They have begged me countless times to take him back, but I don’t want
him any more than they do. The suckers.”
“So, you’ve decided to run away from *all* your troubles, eh?”
Wort nodded emphatically. “Sometimes I think if just one more little thing
happens to me, I’m just going to scream.”
Quirk chose this moment to show up. “Seventy-two decibels! Now *that’s* what
Quirk’s should really sound like!”
“I think I liked it better when it was quiet,” muttered O’Bligen, picking
up the wrong drink and taking a sip.
“You want quiet, go to the Foodarackacycle! And am I glad to finally be
rid of all of those smelly Kinkies!”
Wort stood up, grabbed one of Quirk’s ears, and screamed full volume into
it, before storming off in a huff. Quirk’s eyes bulged even more than Growlon’s
were capable of doing.
“I think you lost a customer,” mentioned O’Bligen, looking oddly at what
he was drinking. Oddly enough, the drink was looking right back at him.
“What?” said Quirk.
“I said — oh, never mind.”
“What?” said Quirk.
“When you go to relieve yourself, Chief, I would appreciate it if you
would kindly hold off on flushing,” came Oddo’s voice from the glass. “I think
you drank my left leg.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Wort,” said Simpo, inside his office. “I cannot accept
your resignation at this time.”
“I do not understand. What further use could I be here?”
“I’m not sure yet. As long as the fighting continues, I need you here.”
Major Kikn burst in on them. “Captain, we just got word from Badgeran
intelligence that the Kinkies have broken through the Hardassian fleet!”
“How long before they reach Hardassia Prime?” asked Simpo.
“Fifty-two hours,” she answered.
“I think it’s about time to have a talk with the Hardassians,” he
surmised.

Simpo was surprised to find Gold Ducat on the screen. He had been trying
to reach someone in the civilian government. Ducat, it seems, was now the chief
military advisor to the new Untoppled Council.
“Ducat, you’ve got to get those council members to safety before the
Kinkies reach Hardassia Prime!”
“I’m open to suggestions, Captain.”
“If you can get a ship and meet me at…” Simpo tapped some figures into
his CALCULATOR and showed the results to Ducat. “…these co-ordinates…I’ll
do what I can to escort you through the war zone.”
“That is a very generous offer. I must say I’m touched. By saving the –”
“Forget the speech. Just meet me at the rendezvous point.”

Simpo took his place at the center seat of the *Defilant’s* bridge. Everyone
was at their stations. Then he noticed Wort with a worried look on his face.
“Something wrong, Mr. Wort?”
“No, sir. It’s just that I’ve never been on a Federation starship that had
a cloaking device. It’s a little strange.”
“LIAR ALERT! LIAR ALERT! LIAR ALERT! LIAR ALERT!” screamed the computer.
“Turn that racket off!” ordered Simpo.
Daze silenced the alarm with a single touch. “According to this readout,
Wort, you were on board the *Interloper* when she had the *Peggy Sue’s*
interfazing cloak installed.”
“Oh, yes. I had forgotten about that,” mumbled Wort.
“LIAR ALERT! LIAR AL-ur-r-rk!”
Daze turned to Simpo and shrugged appologetically.
Dr. Butchir — who, for the moment, was standing around doing nothing —
said, “I hate to bring this up, but our treaty with the Ramalamadingdongs
expressly forbids the use of cloaking devices in the Alfalfa Quadrant.”
“So what do you want me to do?” snarled Simpo. “Go into a war zone fully
visible? Or maybe you’d like me to confess my sin to the Ramalamadingdongs? Who
do I look like…Captain Retard?”
Butchir’s eyes strayed to the top of Simpo’s bald head.
“Don’t answer that,” Simpo quickly added.

Once the ship was underway, the trip to the rendezvous point was
uneventful until Wort spotted something on his scanners ahead.
“Weapons fire, Captain! Sensors say three Kinky vessels are attacking a
single Hardassian vessel!”
“I’m getting a distress signal from Gold Ducat,” reported Daze.
“Put it on,” ordered Simpo.
“…shields failing…engines dead,” came Ducat’s voice. “Coke machine
taking money, but no Coke…”
“Drop cloak and raise shields,” ordered Simpo. “And set phasers to `open
Coke machine.’ We’ll teach those big corporations to cheat the little guy! Take
us in!”

Meanwhile, back at the station, Garbrack sat down at the bar and ordered a
Hardassian beverage. Quirk gave him the whole bottle on the house.
“I’ve got a supply room full of the stuff,” he explained. “The way things
are going, I’ll never unload it. Except to you, maybe?”
“I’m not *that* crazy about this stuff,” said Garbrack, downing it in a
swallow.
“Nobody is! That’s my problem! Hey, I want you to try something for me…”
Quirk produced a bottle of dark carbonated liquid, pouring some into
Garbrack’s glass.
“What is it?” the Hardassian asked, suspiciously.
“Just try it,” Quirk prompted.
Garbrack drank it. He smiled.
“Amazing!” he said. “A pause that refreshes!”
“One might say it’s the real thing,” added Quirk.
“That is it!”
“Always.”

Meanwhile, back at the scene of the rescue…

“Battle stations!” hollered Simpo.
The *Defilant* disabled one Kinky battlecruiser, beamed aboard Ducat and the
council members, and high-tailed it away from the Hardassian ship as it blew
up. On the journey back, they each enjoyed a thirst-quenching bottle of Coke.
Nothing like it after a hard rescue mission. Why not pick up some today? (Paid
for by the people who bottle Coke.)
Two Kinky ships pursued the *Defilant* all the way back to the station,
where they were joined by dozens more.
Most of the civilians on the station had been removed to Badger. The rest
huddled in an emergency shelter to wait out the Kinky assault, leaving the
command staff to do all the fighting.
When Simpo returned to Ops, Growlon and Mortalk came on the screen to have
a few words with him.
“Hand over the Hardassians!” demanded Growlon. “Or suffer the
consequences!”
“Nothing doing,” said Simpo. “We tested them all for dingalingness, and
they all tested negative.”
“Who cares?” said Mortalk. “We just want their heads for a decent game of
Kinky squash. Is that asking too much?”
“I’m afraid so,” replied Simpo. “If you attack us, we’ll have to hurt
you.”
Growlon’s bulgey eyes widened some more. “Oooh! I’m sooo scared!”
Mortalk and Growlon erupted into Kinky guffaws.
“All weapons!” barked Simpo. “Fire at will!”
O’Bligen opened his mouth to ask which one was Will, but changed his mind.
It wasn’t that funny in *Degenerations*.
The Kinky fleet pounded the station. The station pounded the Kinky fleet.
In the midst of the battle, no one noticed the wormhole opening up and
admitting a very familiar-looking *Insipid*-class Federation ship back into the
Alfalfa Quadrant, from which it had been missing for years.
“The one in a million chance maneuver worked, Captain,” reported
Lt. Toospock on the bridge of that ship. “We have somehow emerged on the
Alfalfa side of the Badgeran wormhole.”
“You mean we’re actually *home*?” gasped the captain.
“Yes, Captain. We are home.”
The crew began to cheer. Tears of gratitude formed in the captain’s eyes.
She had managed to bring them home! Everyone would be reunited with their
friends and loved ones! Starfleet would probably pin a medal to her chest!
Sadly, what prevented all that from actually happening, however, was a
nearby crippled Kinky battlecruiser. It suddenly exploded, sending a shock wave
against the Federation ship, pushing it back into the wormhole, which closed
back up.
“Two of our shield generators have just been disabled!” warned Daze.
Wave after wave of Kinkies armed with *bat’laxes* began to materialize all
over the station.
Major Kikn — who, for some unknown reason, was wearing a fedora with a
coiled-up whip at her side — turned to behold a large Kinky worrier,
laughingly demonstrating his prowess with his *bat’lax* by deftly swooshing it
through the air before him in an intimidating fashion. Tilting her head almost
in pity, she disintegrated him with her phaser.
This was how, pretty much, all the boarding Kinkies were defeated.

In minutes, Growlon and Mortalk were back on the screen in Ops.
“Had enough?” Simpo asked them.
Growlon held up a finger. “You think you have won, but you haven’t. The
battle is yours, but the war will be ours. I’ll be back to menace you again!
You will be vanquished! I will punch your president in the nose! I’ll –”
“Screen off,” sighed Simpo.
Daze switched off the screen. “Looks like the Kinkies are here to stay,
Banjoman.”
“So are we, Old Bag. So are we,” said Simpo. “Unless we get cancelled.”
“No sh*t, Sherlock,” said Gilbert Gottfried, walking onto the set.
After a quick vote, they dumped him out an airlock.

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