Better Red Than Dead

Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2148

Well, I’ll tell y’all true, I ain’t never gittin’ in a beam agin. Think I’da learnt after the last time the universe went ta hell’n’back, but nosiree. Worse things, some pig in a snit’s taken the helm o’ the ‘porter, and you cud hear a fly sneeze in his skull. Well, maybe if he waren’t hollerin’ all the time, leastaways.
Back to tha story though, we wuz all set ta give an escort ta some emdee who fixed brains down planetside on a rock fer crazies. Damn hog-boy screws up, ‘n’ we’s all got stuck habitin’ bodies o’ some o’ the jailbirds. Yeah, so’s that meant o’ course, thanks be ta the god o’ poor luck, our bodies were up ta some serious shenanigans, but ah’ll get inta that in a tad.
First things, we panicked a bit, I’m not ‘shamed to ’mit, ’cuz our new suits had their share o’ troubles. Met up wit’ Krusks, but he musta been brain damaged or some such, ‘cuz I don’t remember him bein’ such a hard arse. Made like he planned the whole thing, he did, but that seems total barkin’ mad. If I hadna seen Sarge, god rest ‘is soul, blow him ta hog slop, I woulda sworn he were an evil Krusk from… elsewhere.
Had a run o’ luck though, in that ol’ cowboy doc had a brain left in ‘is ’ead, so we had one person ta convince we weren’t yer run-o-the-mill crazies. He got us out, right ‘nuff, but like I said, fryin’ pan ta fire.
Yed have thunk folks’d be useta dopples runnin’ around after last time, but no, one bolted it, couple got brigged, and ‘parently, my boy’s a klepto stealin’ from dead VIPs or somethin’, cuz he gets his hands on some illegal suit and legal rakes me over coals.

Well, I think that’s it fer me. I’m out o’ pocket payin’ fer that damn snake-tongued lawyer, and I’ll be thrice damned if I ever step on a pad agin. My two years were up a month or so ago; jest stickin’ around fer the boys in my squad, but this’s it. I’m out. God bless the rest o’ yeh, and don’t git yerselves kilt, ya hear?

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2132ish

Well, life on this ol’ hunk o’ tin’s bin better, I kin tell yeh that. None o’ us kin git over losin’ the boys, ‘n’ our games’re quiet where they useta be fulla hollerin’.

Don’t stop us from workin’ none, though, although the Cap’n gave it a shot when he took his team down ta the new planet we wuz scoutin’. Them aliens took him an’ his whole team captive, and then demanded some anti-matter somethin’. Now ol’ Jack weren’t hearin’ none o’ it, ‘n’ fed ‘em the party line o’ not negotianinatin’ wit’ terrorists. That meant, o’ course, that we wuz sent down ta try ta get ’em out.

O’ all the damn troubles, the Cap’s crew had the beam handler in it, ‘n’ her second died in the scuffle, sos we git some drunk bint in charge o’ the beam room, ‘n’ after last time damned if I’m goin’ near the place. I come up wit’ a plan to avoid it like the plague, sos we take a shuttle and head down to the rock, hailin’ ‘n’ cussin’ up a storm.

Now, our pilot’s lost ‘is skills since the last time we brought ’im out, cuz he tries a few fancy flyin’s while we get nearer the ground and damn near breaks the ship in two. ‘parently, the other xenos done took over the mountain where Team 1 went AWOL, and gave us some ceremony o’ welcome at which our leadin’ lady gave insult by wavin’ off ‘n’ holdin’ ears durin’ what wuz supposed ta be their anthem. I took a few giggles at that.

Any which ways, we did some talkin’ with our new host types, not terrorists, eh, they’re the other folks. Anyhoo, while we wuz talkin’, we learned they wuz settin’ up nukes ta blow the bits off the gravel heap we wuz on, and that put hotsies under our feet, I’ll tell ya.

Nerdboy musta bin jonesin’ fer his toys, cuz he found a net hookup jest outside the base ‘n’ took a look see round the place with the cams. Looked like buddy aliens had a dude or two in the base already, but even fightin’ ’em he done found our boys inside.

Well, long story short, we struck a deal with aliens #2 ta give us an escort down in exchange fer meetin’ our boss with a good word. Troops went in, Cap’n came out, ‘n’ fer some reason, that’s all I ’member ’bout the run.

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2125ish

CLASSIFIED***********
Required Clearance: Angel 0/A
*****************************

Sos we’s been down on this rock fer a few hours now, and I’m feelin’ sicker’n’a cold-sleeped monkey. Turns out we’re in some kinda sideaways universe, ‘n’ everyone we know is tryin’ ta kill us. Not that different than when I wuz run off Gedi Prime that one time, really, heh heh. Anyhoo, first some Bravos beamed down ‘n’ Sgt-boy blew ‘em to high hell, then we scarpered inta the native’s shuttle, which got its own self blowed to bits. Gears had a chance ta looksee the data we’d picked up from the comm at that point, and turns out we had less’n a week ta get beamed back or we’d be pickin’ up our pensions right here (well, the way things’re goin’, I don’t ‘spect that’d hon’stly be much of a concern.)

Bit o’ a hike later, we got ourselves to the “Rebel Base”. Not much o’ one, really, some carved out rock heap. Guys wuz friendly enough though. Well, we’s all not likin’ much the way Starfleet is doin’ things in this here ‘verse, so we offer our help in causin’ havoc, hopin’ we can get some infos from the Potty while we’s at it. That damnable pig is apparently makin’ everyone’s lives miserable at some fancy shmancy hotel in the other cap… the first one bein’ slagged to space dust by now. So we go ‘n’ make some plans, but a few o’ the boys ‘n’ girls got all their panties in a knot and we don’t use any of ’em.

Well, they say stuff ‘bout mice ’n’ men, but when you don’t have a plan to begin with is really when the whole thing goes to hell, and it shore did. We got recognized in the lobby, afore we’d even found the bastard we wuz lookin’ fer, and the hofficer I was chattin’ with made some ridiculous contortation from a light-speed laser he couldn’t have possibly seen. Meanin’, o’course, I missed him entire. But I swears ma card sharkin’ ain’t bad enough fer him ta… well, never you mind.

After that, o’ course, we got some company inbound fast. We done found boar-breath by now, shakin’ his fat booty in some par-tay in the lounge, but ol’ Krusk ‘n’ some buddies packing some serious heaters beam in and blow seven kinds of hell outta anythin’ and everythin. Cap’n stays behind and saves all our asses by drawin’ their fire; hell, last I saw o’ him he blasted Krusk inta bits. Heard him scream though, and gave a prayer up, when I sees Rookie yellin’ and hollerin’ and runnin’ out inta the middle of it all. Bastard didn’t stand a chance. He was down in seconds, and I could see his insides from behind the wall. Bloody fool.

What wuz left of us gone dragged the Amb-ass-ador out and sent up a “distress” call ta get us beamed up. We zipped up, dropped the engy, Gears grabbed the data with a damn nice set of slicin’, and we beamed down. Oh, and I left a lil’ present behind fer the kind folks up top.

Once we’d got what we needed, we called in our ride… I wuz impressed with his parallel parkin’ skills, since he were blowin’ in at half a Mach while doin’ ‘er. Barely clipped that buildin’ at all. Then, crazies o’ crazies, after we escape Starfleet, we go knockin’ on the door o’ some Klingons. Yeh know the world’s messed up then.

Some crazy scarred chick started attackin’ Priest-gal ‘n’ she started flingin’ stuff back, ‘n’ I was saying my final prayers when they started gibberin’ at each other. Shoulda payed more ’tenshun in that language class, I guess.

Long story short, we got ‘em ta help us go back home, but they wanted me special suit as part o’ the price. Well, I weren’t about ta let that go without a fight, and I got ol’ Chaplain ta git me a deal with these ugly grunts. Ah wagered my services permanent AND mah suit ‘gainst their helpin’ us fer free. A sorta double-r-nothin’ type dealie. Well, no scar-face is goin’ ta turn down a challenge like that, so we had a real tense game goin’. Reminded me o’ when I signed on ta Starfleet, like. Wells, I won, but it were a closer game than I’d a liked. I wuz worried fer a bit.

Well, whatever Slice did, worked out; we got ourselves back to where people waren’t shootin’ passer-bys and then ah spent the next two days drinkin’ in memory of those we lost. If there is a Machine God, mebbe he’ll take pity on their poor bastard souls…

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2124ish

So we’s been on this ship with our ambassadorian type for a few days as now, an’ I kin sure as dirt say it’s no sippin’ beer and playin’ cards. Now, I like chattin’ much’s the next folk, so’s me an’ the guy get along better’n most, but walkin’ ‘round the ship’s like farmin’ raindrops in a thunderstorm. Everybody’s off ‘is salt, and I haven’t bin able to get a decent game together in days; spent more time screamin’ at each other than lookin’ at the pot. Had to fall back on playin’ ‘gainst the comp, and that jest ain’t no fun.

Finally beamed down today though, ‘n’ like usual, transit lady looked off her game. Muttered somethin’ bout ion interference or some such, and when we get down, o’course, we’re again in the middle o’ a firefight. Somethin’s a lil’ off though, cuz Krusky answered when Cap’n called in fer orders. I’d thunk he got retired somewhere… everyone else wuz freakin’ out ‘bout it, but ’s far as I know, he’d be a good one to know ‘bout now. Not sure the Bee’s ever bin shot at… might muss ’er hair.

But… I’m not cool with this killin’ surrendered enemies bit. And retributive strikes…? This… ain’t the starfleet I remember…

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2108ish

Ah’m still not real sure how we didn’t plant ourselves all over that rock garden, but I’m guessin’ ol’ Recruit shaped up a mite when the chips were down, so ta speak. We was dinged up jest once more the rest o’ the trip, though there were a few close saves by Guns.

I gotta say that this crew don’t feel right at home in subtlety, but I guess they did well ‘nuff, ’cuz we accomplished our mission the way we was requested to. Handed over that there CARE package o’ goodies… made me feel real… good… ta know I’d been riskin’ life ‘n’ limb for some sandwich.

Well, after donatin’ the ship and crew we “acquired”, we headed back out ta the Potty. Ah’ll need a month o’ Sundays to recover from this’un.

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2107ish

So we met us our new leadin’ lady this week and she’s a real piece o’ work. Kruss was a bit o’ a bastard, but this dame’s fetchin’ to git us all killed in short order. She’s not just a social climber, she’s takin’ god damn flyin’ lessons. An’ who’s the wind beneath her wings? Well, better damn well be us or we’ll be seein’ whatfor. A real damned if yeh do, damned if yeh don’t.

First order o’ bizness is ta deliver some meanin’less cargo to some ol’ rock in a asteroid field. We was gunna be honour guards or some such, but that’d be too sweet an assignment fer littl’ ol’ us. Plus, I gotta admit, we can’t march two feet without trippin’ on somethin’.

Anyhoo, PO lady put Rookie in charge… I gotta say it were a whim, cuz there ain’t no good reason for it otherwise. The guy sez that we jest need a co-pilot fer drivin’ through these floatin’ speedbumps, but as it turns out, he’d never bin outta the sim his own self. I thought we was goners jest leavin’ the damn ship.

Well, we turned over the cons to the copilot toot sweet, but that didn’t save us more’n a coupla bumps. Still got shook around a mite, and blew half our systems to the big digital disk in the sky. Luckily, we only have ’bout 3 times as far ta go. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, among that list might jest happen to be space pirates, a few of which we ended up runnin’ inta. They near blew us a new airlock, but Rookie bedazzled ‘em inta thinkin’ we’d be minions, then I blew a hole in their ship. Left us with a prizner and a new ship, ‘n’ hopefully we won’t be doin’ anything near as dangerous fer a while.

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2099ish

Well, I gotta say, it was worth callin’ in those favours. This resort’s a real sweet piece o’ work. That Krusky ain’t all that bad a fella after all; he may be gettin’ the creds, but I’m not complainin’. I don’t need no brouhaha, I jest like sittin’ here in the sun.

Word ta the wise; always tip yer bellboy high… specially on planets like these. They know where all the big boys play their games. Got meself inta a couple o’ them and money passed around like water. Didn’t do too badly, neither. Made a few on the side… mebbe I’ll pick up a bottle o’ something fer tha boss while I’m around.

Went out ta do a lil’ shoppin’ while I was here too… the market ain’t as dark as it all makes out.

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Randy's Personal Log, Stardate 2086ish

Well, I ain’t too mispleased ‘bout gettin’ bumped outta command, but I hafta say, I ain’t in no barrel o’ fun now neither. I didn’t mind me much when ol’ Starch-britches were in charge; say what ya will ‘bout the guy, he’s a pain in the arse but he knows his stuff. The new CO is that lil’ religious dame, and she gives crackpots a bad name.

We’re gettin’ sent down to this dinosaur planet, see, and the absolute firstest priority is to req a camera from the boys in the lockers so we can all have our pictures taken with the dinos. Now, I ain’t sure if that’s a joke at first, but after a damn drunken officer beams us on top of 8 bloody lizards having bad nail days and one o’ us is bleedin’ out, what’s the first thing on her mind? Still snappin’ some shots o’ the occasion!

Now, I ain’t one for formal command or nonesuch, but a lil’ discipline can go a long way in keepin’ us alive, and that’s what I call in my best interests. She did manage to quiet her obsession a tad when we found the lizard folk, but only until we discovered they were worshippin’ the damn comp we’d been sent downta find.

Here’s the genius, though. They got this abstract little circle-line doodad all the folk’re wearing and carryin’ on about, so we make a ginormous replication of one outta ferns ‘n’ duct tape (ain’t nothin’ like duct tape for monkeyin’ up religious gimmicks) and carry the damn thing into their neck o’ the woods. Blow me for a hogswalloper if they didn’t go all buckwild on’s. Some o’ the freaks were bowin’ like fiends, others were runnin’ like the fires o’ the nine hells trailed after ‘em. Little missy did her whole religious schtick on the… priestess… and the rest o’ us slapped them stickers on the box.

Damn lucky to be alive after all that, but damn me if I’m goin’ down there unprepared like that agin.

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Stevie's log - Wrigley's planet

PO 3c McAuley’s personal log, Stardate 2093

That went great. I talked Ivan into doubling with me – frankly all I had to mention was a pretty girl (and I think “pretty” may have been superfluous).

As I suspected, Vanessa tracked me down, unfortunately it was quicker than I thought. She had chased Harran away from the restaurant where we had made our reservation. (That letter she sent me was kinda crazy, I think she may need some help).

Ivan wasn’t cutting it as a distraction (that girl has a serious grip on her). Luckily Sandy and Kerry were at the bar, with a bunch of friends, and I called them over. I managed to extricate myself for a moment, fast-talked my way past Harran’s annoyance and had a pretty good night. Ivan made out pretty well too – he’d put the sign up on our room – muscles seem to make up for a lot. Gotta love the knucklehead.

PO 3c McAuley’s personal log, Stardate 2098

Payday! Thank goodness. Tips for the maitre’d, Starbase food and Gorovsky’s drinks had pretty much cleaned me out.

Wrigley’s Planet was supposed to be shore-leave. It is for everyone else, but for us it’s apparently a mission. Kerry’s in charge. The resort planet is in neutral space and absolutely does not have a secret base under one of the resorts. We have to make sure that the 3 Klingon cruisers that happen to be visiting don’t find that non-existent base.

Claude is on this mission with us. He’s so far up Krusty that you can only look him in the eye if Krusty says ‘aaaah’.

We have to stay under the radar, so the whole ship gets paid shore-leave at a bunch of different resorts. Ours is the Purple Star, the one without a sealed subbasement base under the power generators in the basement. So, we get 4 days in a resort and we just have to keep a few Klingons distracted.

PO 3c McAuley’s personal log, Stardate 2100.2

Mission ridiculous failure. Probably going to work as barrista on Earth for rest of my life. At least got to drink Bloodwine on Klingon ship. Something to tell kids. Got glass of Romulan Ale too. Bit cinnamony for my taste. Ate <gagging>…no, no <pronounced_gagging>…no, dammit. Stupid machine! G-A-G-H. Weird wiggly Klingon food.

Kroftag liked Hawaiian shirt. Was wearing it over armour. He beat us fair and square. That was a big boom. … … … … Oh Hell! Did everyone make it out?

PO 3c McAuley’s personal log, Stardate 2101

So many people dead. If I hadn’t been such a coward I could have blown that forcefield if I was willing to blow myself up and Kerry could have rushed in and shut down the prevented the bigger explosion. I thought everyone would make it to transporters. Stupid! The life of one is completely outweighed by the life of so many.

I’m going to see if something needs to be cleaned. Something disgusting. Maybe the air scrubbers.

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Kendall's personal log stardate 2100
Oops!

Well, that was a disaster. I should have told Krusky at the start that I’m not up for being in charge of a mission, let alone one that involves sneaking about and spying on people. I don’t get people at the best of times; they’re not straight-forward and easy to understand like machines. You can’t just open them up and take a look around to figure out what’s wrong. Plus, even if I could, I think Stevie would get mad at me if I tried that. So, instead of putting Sandy in charge – the only person who’s led our team on a successful mission – I had to pretend to be on vacation at the Purple Star, figure out how we could stop the Klingons finding the secret base and also stop Harviss from messing it all up and getting everyone killed. Krusky was right about her… she blew our cover right at the beginning; as if I would take a bribe! Though I think I fooled her enough that she doubted her conclusions by the end. I tried to be all sneaky by changing rooms and getting Beauchamp to crash the security system spying on us… but even though Sandy and Stevie did a great job at befriending the Klingons, the whole thing fell apart really quickly. We weren’t even half-way through dinner when Kroftag beamed away and next thing you know the place is about to blow. Krusky was a bit busy – enjoying leave at one of the other resorts – and Harviss was missing. Thankfully most of the team beamed away safely – good old Paulson – but unfortunately Stevie and I could do nothing to avert the explosion of the rigged fusion reactor … at least not with less than 30 seconds on the clock. We would have been blown to smithereens if it hadn’t been for my trusty communicator allowing the ship to beam us up. I don’t know how I could have forgotten I had him all along; maybe he snuck into my pocket for his own vacation? I thought I’d be court-marshaled for sure so when the Klingons invited us over to their ship I jumped at the chance. She was very beautiful. The hooch was pretty good too. I was sad to hear the next day that Krusky was gone – I hope he doesn’t get into too much trouble. Also, I heard a bunch of people died in the explosion. Stevie has been avoiding me. I think he blames me for all those people dying… Hopefully he’ll forgive me someday… I still can’t believe I’m not in the brig or scrubbing the hull with a toothbrush wearing a second-hand vacuum suit. Plus we have two more days of shore leave! I think I’ll go visit the cousins.

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