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Five-Minute "Stratagem"

by Zeke

Degra: ...Oh boy.
Archer: Brace for impact! The insectoids are firing!
Degra: Who are you? Where am I? What kind of cheap ship is this?
Archer: We can talk after we escape! Don't just stand there, do something useful!
Degra: I am. I'm so confused right now I'm radiating confusion in every direction, including out at the insectoid pilots.
Archer: Oh, so that's why they keep missing us and hitting each other.

Degra: All right, we're clear. Now who are you?
Archer: I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told. I had squandered my resistance for a pocketful of --
Degra: (mumbles) I hate it when someone is obviously making a reference but I can't tell what it is. Seriously now, who are you?
Archer: Archer. I'm a human. And we're best buds.
Degra: What? Impossible!
Archer: We met in jail. Note our matching prisoner tattoos.
Degra: ...Okay, you owe me about 640 kilobytes of backstory.
Archer: That should be enough for anybody.

Theme Song: I'm usually skipped in fivers, but I'm included in this one to help break up the long string of scenes with just Archer and Degra. It's a difficult task, but I've got faith to believe I can do anything.

Archer: Three years ago, you Xindi successfully destroyed Earth. But then you didn't have a hobby anymore, so you went back to your old way of killing time.
Degra: Killing each other?
Archer: Yep. The insectoids in particular made a killing -- they had been secretly building ships, so they swarmed the rest of you. That's how you ended up in prison, where you met me.
Degra: ...
Archer: Sorry, did I kill the conversation?
Degra: I'm just trying to take it all in.
Archer: Alcohol will help with that. Let's kill this bottle of Andorian ale.
Degra: If I hear one more killing joke....

Archer: We weren't perfect cellmates at first. There was violence and bloodshed. But then, one day, we realized something....
Degra: What?
Archer: That Ben was Glory. Then there was some more violence and bloodshed, and then we realized it made more sense to team up and escape. So here we are.
Degra: You told that story pretty concisely.
Archer: I've had lots of practice. Every twelve hours you forget it all and I have to tell you again.

Degra: Aaak! There's a worm in my arm!
Archer: Prison torture method. The insectoids got some tips from my old CMO. You know, that reminds me of the time he deflagellated the --
Degra: Oh, cut it out. --AAAAAAAAARGH! I didn't mean the worm! And I especially didn't mean with a rusty hacksaw!
Archer: Relax. It got the sucker out of you easy as pie. And I knew you wouldn't be too upset.
Degra: Why?
Archer: No worm in, no cry.

Degra: So where are we going?
Archer: Let's go visit Naala and the kids. Note that I know your wife's name, which proves I'm trustworthy.
Degra: Well, you did get the double A right... still, I have my doubts. Maybe if there were some convenient malfunction forcing us to rely on each other....
Degra: Wow! It's as if whatever transcendent beings steer this universe heard exactly what I said and provided it!
Archer: Don't call them transcendent, it'll go to their heads. Especially Travis's.
Degra: You humans have strangely-named gods.

Coolant Pipe: HISSSSS-- ehh, forget it.
Archer: Crisis resolved. Let's get some shuteye.
Degra: Can I trust you not to do anything sneaky while I'm asleep? Like beaming down to a party planet without me?
Archer: Don't you worry, Degra. I have no intention of leaving the ship I'm on.

Degra: ZZZZZZZ...
Archer: (Psst. Tank, get me an exit.)
Door: OPEN
Tucker: Trip.
Archer: Who can tell those T words apart?
Mayweather: Speaking of which, I hear I'm transcendent. Score!
Archer: I thought your head looked a little bigger.

T'Pol: This is going too slowly. You should just ask him where the weapon is.
Sato: Yeah, because that's such a relevant question three years later when it's already been launched.
T'Pol: Silly illogical human. There are any number of ways to pose the question without rousing suspicion.
Archer: Such as?
T'Pol: "I have a riddle for you. If a Chicken Xindi crosses the road, and he's on the planet where the weapon was being constructed, where is he?"
Archer: Brilliant. But now I think it's about time we gave the viewers a flashback explaining what the heck is going on.
T'Pol: I have alloted 640K of the episode for that purpose. It should suffice.

Captain's Starlog, Three Days Ago: We captured Degra's ship. Boy, I'm way behind on my log entries.

Sato: The Xindi managed to erase most of their files right before we boarded them. They used a sabotage program -- Sisko something.
Archer: Did anything survive?
Sato: Just a letter from Degra to a planet called Azati Prime. It's addressed to his nephew Wormwood.
Archer: Degra, you devil!

Tucker: This is a cool ship. I bet we could make good use of it.
Archer: Come on, look how badly armed it is. What would we ever need it for?

Degra: I'll never talk! Never!
Archer: Not even if I do the airlock thing?
Degra: NEVER!
Archer: Fine, then I guess I won't waste my time.
Degra: Whew. -- Never!

Archer: What other options do we have? Could we use a truth serum?
Phlox: I have one, but I'm afraid it's on loan to Ensign Sato.
Archer: Hoshi....
Sato: There are some things I need to know for sure before I enter a relationship. What if Travis is secretly an alien Nazi?
Archer: (rolls eyes) Alien Nazis. Right. But fine, no truth serum. What else could we do?
Phlox: I do know how to perform frighteningly exact memory alterations on Xindi.
Archer: Oh, reeeally? That gives me an idea....

Degra: (chewing a carrot) Ehhhhhh... what's up, Phlox?
Phlox: I admit it's funny making him think he's Bugs Bunny, but what good does it do?
Archer: Okay, we'll try my other idea.

Archer: And that's how Degra came to be on Enterprise in a fake shuttle thinking he's my best friend. The End.
Porthos: Ruff!
Archer: Don't worry, boy. He only thinks he is. You know you're my real best friend.
Voiceover: This has been your gratuitous Porthos appearance.

Degra: ZZZZ-- whoa! What's all that shaking?
Archer: Anomaly field. I don't think the anomalies like us.
Degra: Seems a safe bet.
Archer: Rats! We'll never get through it. And it's too big to go around, which is pretty impressive in three-dimensional space. We'll need to send a distress call.
Degra: We can't let the insectoids hear it. I'll use my special top-secret primate Xindi comm frequency.
Archer: Sweeeeeeeet. -- For, you know, saving us and such.

Reed: There's a Xindi ship approaching. Which response: fight or fight?
T'Pol: Flight. We will hide in the debris field and hope the radiation does not cause problems with the simulator, which, pfft, we know it will.
Reed: You know I said "fight" both times, right?
T'Pol: Look at my ears and ask me again.

Sato: They're drinking now, I see.
T'Pol: It is a time-honoured interrogation technique. There is an old Vulcan proverb: "In vinum veritas."
Sato: Especially if there's also serum in the vinum.
Mayweather: Huh?
Sato: Nothing, Trav. Hey, want to come to my quarters at 2100 for a drink?

Degra: I watched the probe rip into Earth, and I said to myself....
Archer: "I am become Death, destroyer of worlds"?
Degra: I must have told you this one before. Hey, what's that flashing light mean?
Archer: Incoming hail! Neat!
Archer: (Stop it, Trip. I didn't mean the weather.)
Tucker: (over the subdermal transceiver) Aw. It's fun throwin' rocks at the shuttle.

Sato: (over the comm, through the voice-distorter, up the long ladder) Degra! We were afraid we'd never hear from you again.
Degra: It's good to --
Sato: Okay, we've heard enough now. Come to Azati Prime. Your family misses you.
Degra: I've missed them t--
Sato: Whatever. Fake Xindi Name out.
Degra: Well, they respect me about as much as they did three years ago.

Archer: Ready to plot a course?
Degra: I don't know. I'm just so confused about Azati Prime still being intact when it was an obvious place for the insectoids to hit.
Archer: That explains the confusion radiation our sensors are detecting. Anyway, just try to have a little faith. Faith, one might say, of the --
Degra: All right, all right. I'll enter the coordinates.
Archer: Great. So is confusion radiation a particle or a wave?
Degra: Both. It's confusing.

Radiation: Hi. We heard all this talk of radiation and thought we'd drop by.
Tucker: That's fine with m-- wait a minute!
Mayweather: Too late! The simulator's shaking like a 007-approved martini!
Tucker: T'Pol, get us outta this debris field, T'Pronto!
T'Pol: (over the comm) I hate you.

Degra: That was suspicious. We had the turbulence of a lifetime but there was nothing out the window.
Archer: Crazy. Maybe the window's broken.
Degra: (with knife behind back) Say, old buddy old pal, what are my children's names?
Archer: Uh... uh... gimme a minute to, you know, mentally (ahem) look it up in my mind....
Sato: (over the transceiver) What? You want me to look it up? Solve your own problems.
Archer: Uh... uh... the kids have no names! It's a running joke, like the Doctor or Calvin's parents!
Degra: Lucky guess. But I'm still going to kill you.

Tucker: Shoot. Better bust 'im out of the sim. Computer, Alt-F4.
Computer: Close program Sim Shuttle without saving changes?
Tucker: OK.

MACO: Freeze! You're under ar--
Archer: S'okay, boys, I've got him.
MACO: Whoa. I have to say I'm surprised. Lieutenant Reed told us you were a big pansy.
Archer: It's a common misconception about masochists. So don't feel ashamed, Degra.
Degra: Kill! Stab! Maul!
Archer: Yeah, he'll probably be like that for a while.

Degra: I knew it was a trick the moment you started to say "faith of the heart." I'd never befriend a man who would say that.
Archer: Nice of you to give us the coordinates anyway.
Degra: Ha! Those were fake coordinates. Really. I swear.
Archer: Uh oh. I never thought of that. But wait... what if you're lying? How do I know? How can....
Degra: Wow, I can feel the confusion radiation from here.

Sato: Mmm. 2110 was a good year. So, what's your favourite animal?
Mayweather: The killer bee. Why do you ask?
Sato: Because I'm testing the truth serum I slipped into your glass. -- AAAA! Why did I tell you that?
Mayweather: Because of the truth serum I slipped into your glass.
Sato: What the--! Phlox told me he only had one dose!
Phlox: (over the comm) Fortunately, lying about truth serum is easy. And fun.

Degra: What's going on?
Archer: We're using one of your vortexes... vortices?
Degra: You're crazy! You'll destroy your ship trying!
Archer: We'll see. Come on up to the bridge.
Degra: And it's "vortebrae."

Reed: We've arrived. Detecting lots of eminently fire-on-able Xindi ships and a red sun.
Archer: Red? Shoot, my powers won't work here. Anyway, take us in.
Degra: This... this is impossible!
Archer: And yet here we are. Sucks to be your weapon.
Degra: No, seriously, this is impossible! I entered the coordinates of the Xindi Public Library and Candy Store! Azati Prime is at totally different coordinates!
Archer: Is that so?
Degra: Yes! Watch! (enters coordinates) See? Totally different!
Degra: My men are going to kill me, and I don't think I can justify stopping them.

Captain's Starlog: We've wiped all the Xindi's memories and put them back on their ship. Phlox was right -- it IS fun to play God.

Archer: Let's go stop that weapon. Ens-- hey, where's Travis? And Hoshi?
Mayweather: (arriving) Sorry, sir. There was a little incident with truth serum.
Sato: We had to ask each other as many embarrassing questions as possible before it wore off.
Archer: (sigh) I smell Phlox in this.
Mayweather: I can't believe you know my imaginary friend's name now.
Sato: And you know about my Everquest problem. This was important for us, Travis. Now the air is clear, and the way is paved for an open, honest --
T'Pol: If it's not an open, honest BOTH OF YOU SHUTTING UP, I don't want to hear about it.
Archer: Well said, Subcommander, well said.
(Enterprise heads for Azati Prime at Veracious Speed)


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This fiver was originally published on May 29, 2004.

DISCLAIMER: A lot of stuff in here is copyrighted by Paramount Pictures. My intent isn't to infringe on that; I and those like me are just having a little fun in the universe Gene Roddenberry created. I don't think he'd mind.

All material © 2004, Zeke.