The Long Dark Fidget (A Frasier Crane Story In Space)

INT. BRIDGE OF THE USS BOZEMAN (NCC-1941)

In this Starfleet bridge there are four people, at their stations, in uniform. They are Communications Director Roz Doyle (human), Navigational Officer Niles C.R.A.N.E. (android), Security Enforcer Mah’Tin K’hrain (Klingon), and Captain Frasier Crane (human).

Frasier is sitting in his captain’s chair, visibly frustrated. Niles is behind him, at the navcom desk, spinning a fidget spinner, using a lot of force initially and letting it spin until it stops, then spinning it again. Roz is slowly running the edges of a fidget spinner across the communications console, “walking” the spinner across the console. Martin sits in his wheelchair quietly, the hubcaps of which are giant rotating fidget spinners. He also has a small tribble named Eddie in his lap. This continues for a few moments.

FRASIER

Is this the thing that strips me of my command? A child’s toy?

Niles begins rocking in his seat as he looks at and spins his spinner.

NILES

It’s from the 21st century, and gained public traction among both children and adults for both medical stimulation and personal amusement. It’s nothing new.

FRASIER

There’s thirty Romulan ships coming this way, and I somehow don’t think toys are going to help us avoid starting a war.

Roz spins around in her chair, puts her hand on her side, and glares at Frasier.

ROZ

Frasier, we’ll talk to them, it’s no big deal. They’re a bunch of softies.

FRASIER

Director Doyle might I remind you again to address your fellow officers by their title, I am a Captain and I worked very hard to get to this position. And Romulans aren’t pushovers anymore, not since the last time.

MAH’TIN

That’s cause you mistook one for the driver that had our takeout last shore leave. Only you could cause an intergalactic incident over sesame chicken.

Eddie makes a grumbly squeak, as tribbles do. Frasier sighs.

FRASIER

Can’t we just… escape them? We’re in a high-tech top of the line Starfleet ship, hit the Warp 5 button or something!

Niles stops spinning his spinner and also glares at Frasier.

NILES

If you worked so hard to be Captain, then how come you refer to an inter-stellar hyperdrive with multiple levels of control able to transport an entire ship and its crew instantaneously as “the Warp 5 button.”

Frasier looks disgruntled.

FRASIER

Well I don’t need your input anyways, that’s why androids aren’t in charge.

He pushes a button on his chair. Nothing appears to happen. He continues to push buttons, getting increasingly angry.

NILES

It’s the blue one by the edge of the armrest.

Frasier glares back at Niles, then pushes the comm button.

FRASIER

Engineer Moon, we are debating using the warp drive to run… bypass the Romulans when they arrive, how is it looking down there?

The voice of Chief Engineer Daphne Moon (human) is heard amidst static.

DAPHNE

Nae good Fras, tha’ crystals eent workin’ so hot this morn! Why doncha use yer words? Werked for them blokes on the Enterpr-

Frasier turns off the comm using the same button, and pinches the bridge of his nose for a moment.

FRASIER

Well what about fighting them? Enforcer Mah’tin, how would we fare in a direct fight?

MAH’TIN

We wouldn’t. You don’t have the money to pay for that fare.

An alert sound goes off inside the bridge.

FRASIER

They’re here! Roz, bring them up on the main screen.

Roz turns around and smirks.

ROZ

I guess I’m no longer the communications director if you’re going to be so formal about it now.

Frasier turns his arms up and has a shocked look, in a “can we not” motion. Roz turns back around and starts pushing buttons.

ROZ

It’s General Ayleth, and he wants some clarification as to why we’re in hostile territory.

At the front of the bridge, a white floating screen appears, with two displeased Romulan humanoids in view. Frasier puts his elbow on the side of his chair and smiles.

FRASIER

Welcome Ayleth, you’re on the air with Captain Crane. I hear you have a location dispute to discuss?

Ayleth remains stone-faced.

ALYETH

Your ship is in direct violation of treaties placed by your own superiors. You must have been aware of this when you entered the sector, your navigational computer should have given you ample warning.

Frasier turns around and looks at Niles. Niles ignores him, spinning his fidget spinner instead. Frasier sighs.

FRASIER

I’m afraid our navcom has been a little distracted at the moment, and for that I’m sorry. We’ll get him fixed soon, I can promise you that.

Ayleth’s face turns to a scowl.

Unfortunately we’ve made enough promises to your kind. We have our weapons at the ready, and we will make a lesson of you, Frasier.

Frasier makes the “what gives” motion with his arms and body.

FRASIER

Even in death I can’t get an ounce of respect for my position.

A distant humming sound is heard as behind the view screen, in space, dozens of points of light can be seen growing from Romulan ships, about to fire.

AYLETH

Death is too good for… wait what are you all doing?

Niles, Roz, and even Mah’tin are spinning their fidget spinners as fast as possible. Frasier is confused, and starts looking back at his crew and back at the view screen. Ayleth looks concerned and increasingly panicked.

AYLETH

What are those? Is that even Starfleet technology? Why do they move like that? What kind of scheme are you trying to pull?!

He turns to the side, looking at someone off-camera.

AYLETH (CON’T.)

Fall back! They are planning something and I am too proud to fall for a human’s miserable trap! Disengage!

The points of light fade and the view screen dissipates. There’s a still air lingering in the bridge. Frasier breathes the largest sigh of his life.

NILES

You know I did warn you about the Romulans in the mess hall a few hours ago, but you replied to me with “I’m hungry and I don’t care right now,” so I was just following your orders, Frasier.

Frasier gives Niles the meanest look.

NILES

Sorry, I meant Captain Crane.
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