Original link: here
Before you read, a little background: remember way back when Ferengi lockboxes dropped like crazy?
Captain [email protected] buried his head into his desk. He sighed, took a deep breath, and reached for his PADD. At least here, in the comfort of his ready room, he could be himself.
The oddest things kept happening to him and his crew. The odd things began about two years ago, when quite suddenly, the strangest names started appearing in Starfleet's command ranks. Back then, when he was in the Academy, his classmates often poked great fun, at his expense, of his strange, double-barreled, symbol-ridden name. Soon, however, he wasn't the only one. In the latter years of his tenure at the Academy, his dormmates included [email protected] and, extremely oddly, [email protected]
But this wasn't the odd part. The odd part was how strangely Starfleet Command had been acting. Recently, Command had this new obsession with these peculiar boxes. Perhaps it was the doings of these Vice Admirals who, merely a month prior, were Lieutenants manning Shi'Kahr class starships. Or perhaps it was the doing of some strange, omniscient, cryptic entity attempting to create a perfect world.
But at least here, in Earth Spacedock, he didn't have to worry about those things. He reached for his PADD and began to dictate. [email protected] felt the need to write this particular log entry out, as speaking it aloud would only add to his uneasiness.
"Captain's personal log, Stardate 1337900.1." he began, but paused. He stared in anxiousness at that Stardate. Surely something was incorrect about that. He shook his head, chalking it up to the strange, cryptic entity, and continued his dictation anyway.
"Far be it from me to question Starfleet Command's mandates, but this new system of boxes is most...peculiar. Starfleet recently implemented a new system by which all starship captains and flag officers - anyone who is in command of a ship, really - receive new equipment. While it is not my position to argue Starfleet Command's directives, it is at this point by which I choose to begin to raise serious questions.
The system involves creating these large, metallic boxes, and then setting them adrift into interstellar space. Various interested parties retrieve the boxes, which somehow survive the destruction of their vessels or the deaths of their holders. We are then to retrieve the boxes and give Starfleet Command a portion of our dilithium in order to retrieve a key, which we may use to open the box.
My crew and I are now completely swamped by these...lockboxes, as they're known. They make tribbles seem like an endangered species. I believe the other powers of the Alpha and Beta quadrants are beginning to grow weary of them as well. Just the other day I was engaged by a Romulan Warbird; rather than fire torpedoes, I believe the ship's captain fired one of the lockboxes at my vessel. It then cloaked and retreated. Shields dropped to 90% after that - apparently the things hit hard when fired out of a torpedo tube.
My fellow captains have shown increasingly peculiar behaviour with regards to the lockboxes. Some are calling it the "New Star Trek Lottery"...whatever that means. Others feel that it's a completely valid way for Starfleet to obtain dilithium. Some captains, however, seem to have gone overboard on the subject...their Chief Engineers are filing formal complaints against their captains for consuming the ship's entire dilithium reserves in an attempt to purchase a key. Their ships floated, dead in space, without warp drive for about thirty hours before they were rescued by friendly ships - ships that were powered by the very dilithium they sold."
[email protected] picked up one of the boxes, which seemed to vary in size from something you could stack ten high and carry effortlessly, to something the size of a large shuttlecraft. He examined the box carefully, noting where the rectangular key he just purchased fit to open it.
The door made its usual chime.
"Enter." [email protected] said.
One of his friends entered - [email protected]
"You'll never believe what I got from one of the boxes," [email protected] said eagerly. "Take a look!"
He produced an object so massive that, as soon as it left his pocket, it immediately consumed [email protected]'s ready room with its size.
"A deflector dish." [email protected] said flatly. "I'm not even going to question how..."
"What do I look like, a Vulcan?" [email protected] replied defensively. "My chief engineer says this thing will make the USS Enter_Prize nearly twenty percent cooler!"
"You don't say," [email protected] murmured to himself.
"Man, you suck." [email protected] said dismissively. He somehow squeezed the giant deflector back into his pocket, leaving [email protected]'s ready room in shambles. "I'm gonna show this to [email protected]"
And at that, he left.
[email protected] stared in shock at what just happened. He ultimately decided to worry about it later, and continued with his log entry.
"Just to amuse Starfleet Command, I gave them enough dilithium to obtain one key. This lockbox appears to be different from the others. It seems to be gold, but I somehow doubt that its exterior changes whatever is inside. As soon as we get underway again, however, I'm giving the order to blow all the lockboxes out the airlocks. We may have to restrict access to the shuttlebay first and then decompress it, but I'll do whatever it takes to never see one of these things again."
At that, he put down the padd and produced the golden, rectangular key. He carefully slipped the key into the lock, and turned it.
A huge explosion engulfed the interior of Earth Spacedock. One of Starfleet's finest ships had just been split in half in a spectacular explosion. In between the two halves stood an oddly-shaped, orange vessel that looked almost insectoid in appearance.