Fri
Apr 16 2010 2:30pm

Tribbles Week: The Next Tribble-ation Contest

Now that Tribbles Week has come to an end, we know what you’re all thinking: I want one! Well we are more than happy to oblige, and give you not one, but two chances at a tribble of your very own, handmade by me. This is one of two contests; the other is here.

One thing you may have noticed this week is that while the original series, the animated series, and Deep Space Nine all had tribble-themed episodes, Star Trek: The Next Generation never did. Eugene and I think that’s a damn shame, and we want to rectify that situation—with your help, of course.

Your Task:

Leave a comment on this post in which you tell us what you think a TNG tribble episode would have been like. Describe (briefly!) the basic plot, and be sure to give it a title! You will be judged on your originality, creativity, and understanding of both TNG and the Treks that came before it. Also, sheer awesomeness.

You have until Monday, April 26th at 12pm EST to enter.

The Prizes:

One lucky winner will receive all three of the items below:


1.   Two tribbles, handmade by me (Torie)

(Click to enlarge)

These little guys were lovingly handcrafted by moi. I am not an expert craftsperson but I think they came out rather well, and it’s my way of thanking all of you who have read and continue to read our little blog series.

The tribbles are made from faux fur (one camel-colored, one white and gray), stuffed with polyester fiberfill, and hand-stitched together. They do not trill, unfortunately, because I am not that talented. But they are very soft and cuddle-able.


2.   The Best of Star Trek on DVD

This DVD includes four episodes: “Balance of Terror,” “The City on the Edge of Forever,” “Amok Time,” and, of course, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” so that you can pop it in whenever you need your tribble fix.


3.   Boarding the Enterprise: Transporters, Tribbles and the Vulcan Death Grip in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, edited by David Gerrold and Robert J. Sawyer

The official blurb: “Trekkies and Trekkers alike will get starry-eyed over this eclectic mix of essays on the groundbreaking original Star Trek series. Star Trek writers D. C. Fontana and David Gerrold, science fiction authors such as Howard Weinstein, and various academics share behind-the-scenes anecdotes, discuss the show’s enduring appeal and influence, and

examine some of the classic features of the show, including Spock’s irrationality, Scotty’s pessimism, and the lack of seatbelts on the Enterprise. The impact of the cultural phenomenon on subsequent science-fiction television programs is explored, as well as how the show laid the foundation for the science fiction genre to break into the television medium.

Contributors include: Michael A. Burstein, Don DeBrandt, David DeGraff, Melissa Dickinson, D. C. Fontana, Eric Greene, Paul Levinson, Robert A. Metzger, Adam Roberts, Norman Spinrad, Allen Steele, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Howard Weinstein, and Lyle Zynda.”


We will also be choosing four (4) runners-up, and each of them will receive two of my tribbles.

Read the rules carefully: only registered Tor.com users who are legal residents of the United States age 18 and over are eligible. Make sure you’re logged in! The contest ends on Monday, April 26th, at 12pm EST.

To those of you who are unfortunately ineligible, all is not lost! After the contest is over, I will create a how-to post on the tribbles that includes a) instructions for how to make your own and b) a random giveaway open to all.

And that should do it! Engage!

*Special thanks to the incredibly talented Jamie Stafford-Hill for the Picard picture that leads this post!


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. To participate in the “ST:TNG Tribbles” contest, post your title and plot summary of a Tribbles-themed Star Trek: The Next Generation episode in the comments for the blog post, beginning Friday, 16 April, 2010 at 2:30PM and ending on Monday, 26 April 2010 at 12:00PM ET. Winners will be selected on the basis of creativity and overall quality. Open to registered users of Tor.com who are legal U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Void in Puerto Rico and where prohibited by law. For complete Official Rules, go here. Sponsor: Tor.com, a division of Macmillan, 175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010.


Winners announced here.

15 comments
Ronald Banks
1. RonaldBanks
I'll participate in this contest for sure:)
N. Mamatas
2. N. Mamatas
Here's the logline: Borg tribbles.

Think about it! Born pregnant, assimilate every species in which they come in contact! It writes itself.

Title: "Them Borgs"

So what happens is that there are some borg tribbles, see, and Wesley brings them on the ship because he's a moron and even Worf likes them but Data explains that old canard about putting a grain of rice on the first square of a chess board and then doubling the amount of rice on every subsequent square and Riker wants to just transport them all into a black hole but the borgribbles have taken over all the systems and then Whoppi Goldberg says something important like, "Borgibbles are people too" and communicates with them and convince them to settle in the Delta Quadrant where we'll forget about them for six years until Voyager comes out.
William Frank
3. scifantasy
Wow, this got long fast. I should post it before it gets any longer...

"Triple Tribble Trouble"
TNG episode 6x04.5

Captain's log, stardate 46144.5. The Enterprise has been ordered to explore the Armagosa Diaspora, but we have interrupted our mission to examine a historical curiosity...which may have become a present emergency. A Federation-built cargo freighter dating from last century is on a ballistic near-lightspeed course that may disrupt operations on Federation Outpost K-47.

Red alert. The Enterprise is "stutter-pacing" the old ship, jumping in and out of warp in order to keep pace without letting relativity affect it--Data exposits that the ship's velocity and direction suggest it comes from what was formerly the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone during the days of the Organian Peace Treaty, and has been traveling since 2270 or so (though he does not list the exact stardate, a mark of his sophistication in later seasons); though, as Riker muses, thanks to relativity, "it's probably been a couple of years at best" for the crew of that ship. However, as La Forge reports from Engineering, "the engines can't take much more of this, Captain!" Data suggests a plan: at the next drop out of warp, they're going to grab onto the ship with the tractor beam and begin to reverse--at warp. With luck, they might be able to overload the ship's engines, and slow the ship down, losing almost no time themselves. "Make it so," orders Picard.

One fancy visual sequence and cool music later, the freighter's engines are fried, but they're frying the rest of the ship. Mr. O'Brien is able to find one life sign, and transports it aboard just as the ship goes up in a fiery boom. The transporter beam resolves into a familiar face...Cyrano Jones, holding a metal box.

"Oh, thank goodness," he exclaims. "I'm alive, and I still have my cargo." Close up on the "cargo," the metal box, as it makes familiar purring sounds...

"Space. The final frontier." &c.

As we return from the post-title-sequence commercials, the title of the episode is on screen (giving viewers a moment of glee), as Cyrano Jones is in the ready room explaining to Picard, Riker, Troi, Data, La Forge, and Crusher that he was fleeing some Klingons after what he describes as "a misunderstanding" when their parting shots hit his engines, leading to their being stuck in "on" for what amounted to "a hundred years? Oh, my." Oh, well, he's a resourceful type. He'll make do--especially with his cargo. He leaves, and Picard muses, "that's the second historical refugee in two weeks."

Riker wryly comments, "maybe it's for the best that Worf is off at that tournament, because after what happened with Scotty..."

La Forge agrees with a smirk, but Troi is perturbed. "He's an outgoing, friendly individual, Captain," she says, "but he's not as happy as he seems. He's troubled by something."

Beverly points out that he hasn't let that metal box out of his sight, and he hasn't let anybody open it up. Data adds his voice, finding it impressive that whatever that box is made of, even the Enterprise's scanners can't penetrate it.

Picard decides to keep an eye on Jones, and assigns Troi and Data to help him "settle in" to the new century--and figure out what he's up to. "Dismissed," he says, but asks La Forge to stay behind.

"I've never heard you be so melodramatic about the engines, Mr. La Forge," he says.

La Forge shrugs. "Must be something I picked up from our last historical refugee," he says with a grin.

Picard smiles back and dismisses La Forge. "Let's hope we can avoid picking up anything permanent from this one."

The next sequence takes place in Ten-Forward, with Data, Troi, and Guinan standing in (to a point) for Uhura, Chekov, and the bartender from "Trouble." When Jones finally opens the metal box to reveal two of the familiar purring balls of fur, Troi is charmed, Guinan is concerned, and Data sees it as a curiosity. Though Jones is perturbed that the economic system has changed, Guinan makes him a deal (the details of which we don't know). Each of the three take a tribble. Data goes to his quarters to see Spot, wondering how the cat will respond to the other furry thing. (He'll later say that "The tribble was quite taken with Spot...but Spot was not. And unfortunately, Spot was hungry.")

Troi takes the other tribble, and asks Jones what it will eat. "Oh," he says, "they're pretty calm. They'll eat just about anything. But they're very fond of wheat, especially modified strains such as quadrotriticale."

Troi calls some up for her little furball, and is pleased to hear the purring.

However, on the bridge, trouble has arrived. An Klingon vessel has dropped out of warp--actually, "vessel" is pushing it; it's an old, barely spaceworthy ship, easily fifty years old, and no real military threat. But it's still a legal threat: its captain demands that the Enterprise turn over "the ecological terrorist Cyrano Jones for crimes against the Klingon Empire."

As the two ships head to K-47 for a hearing, Jones freaks out. This is what he was afraid of. He admits that he didn't get caught in the future by accident--he was trying to run from his past. And now it's caught up with him...


The rest of the episode is a combination of a TNG courtroom drama (see "The Drumhead" or "Measure of a Man") and a classic tribble farce, with tribbles beginning to proliferate all over the Enterprise-D just as they did in the original. The highlight is when Picard orders his drink from the replicator, removes the mug from the output tray...and sees a tribble floating in it. Yuk.

Data takes Jones's defense, mostly because he is bothered by the idea that even a hundred years later you can't outrun your sins. (He explains that since he will basically live forever, he would like the idea that his regrets--and he has some--won't always haunt him. Though, of course, he says it without emotions.) The Klingon captain and crew are belligerent, and a royal pain in the neck; kind of the Klingon version of an obstructive bureaucrat. The Enterprise's database reveals that the captain and crew are on the outs with the Empire, and may be trying to regain their honor by settling an old score. It's kind of an Inspector Javert thing, or maybe (to use an analogy that's more modern than the show) Prince Zuko. But they're being smug bastards about it.

Data eventually finds a legal loophole in the Khitomer accords, something about how the treaty invalidates outstanding vendettas. It was intended to stop blood oaths against Starfleet captains (such as one Kirk, James T.), but it isn't specific. The warrant is void. However, and by this point this is necessary anyway because the tribbles are everywhere and the Klingons are being even more annoying than usual, the Klingons demand satisfaction somehow, and Picard hits on a solution--"We are prepared to extradite to you the real ecological terrorists. Please lower your shields."

They do so, and as they howl with rage when they realize what exactly has been transported over, the Enterprise warps away. Jones, however, stays on K-47, working...as a bartender.
Jeff Weston
4. JWezy
Quibble
It turns out that the tribbles are actually created by Q, and hs really enjoys petting them. For this horrible sin, he is drummed out of the continuum and forced to grow fur.
Jacob Silvia
5. aethercowboy
Post Tribble-ation Rapture:

After an away missions to a petting-zoo sort of planet, Wesley Crusher sneaks aboard a toy procured from the souvenir shop. Turns out, this plush ball of fur is no toy, but rather a wayward tribble. Now, with ready access to the ship's replicators, the enterprise must deal with overpopulation. Worf takes a holiday, for obvious reasons, and before the engineering team can erect a shipwide tribble-proof fence, a wayward Borg cube attacks.

Things sort of clean themselves up after that.
Jeff Raglin
6. JeffR
Tribbunal

See, remember those mind controlling parasite-things that were trying to take over the federation and then never followed up on? Turns out that they were evolved Combat Tribbles. (The Klingons, it turns out, were absolutely right about them and did in fact have a downright nasty fight in supposedly wiping them out.) Anyhow, they're back, and have take over a proto-Maquis unauthorized colony in the Badlands with the parasites, and the Tribble-ships have started to arrive. The solution involves the last-minute discovery that Cardassians consider Tribbles a delicacy and will heartily eat them just as fast as they can breed...
lane arnold
7. lanearnold
---wow! you guys are sneaky--i tune in on thursday expecting to read another re-watch only to find the whole week is tribble week?--sorry to burst your tribble bubble, and i know i am in the minority but, this is not one of my favorite episodes---it's an o.k. episode--i understand how iconic and important it is to the franchise--the script is strong and the acting is compelling but, it's a little like lobster to me--many people love lobster- i am more tepid---if lobsters looked like tribbles, we wouldn't have the heart to boil them----allow me to make amends--and not to steal your thunder torie--but i don't think anyone mentioned angora rabbits----http://therealowner.com/exotic-unusual/the-real-life-tribble-the-angora-rabbit/
N. Mamatas
8. a-j
lanearnord@y
While I'm not with you on 'Trouble with Tribbles' I do have sympathy. I'm not wild about 'City on the Edge of Forever', a sentiment I find is not allowable in ST fandom. But I do like my tribbles.
Torie Atkinson
9. Torie
@ 7 Lane Arnold & @ 8 a-j

Our post on "The Trouble With Tribbles" is a much more appropriate place to discuss this. This post should just be contest entries and discussion on the contest.

Thanks!
Marcus W
10. toryx
The following episode occurs after "Captain's Holiday" and before "The Best of Both World" in season three.

A Terror of Tribbles

Enterprise has been sent to the planet Jerrold which, after decades of experimental terraforming techniques, has finally shown results. The formally arid, virtually inhospitable, environment has been sufficiently transformed into an efficient ecosystem with a self-sustaining agriculture. Federation colonists have been living on Jerrold for the past year, and Enterprise has been sent to check on their progress.

On their arrival Captain Picard, Data, Counselor Troi and Keiko Ishikawa (O'Brien's future wife) beam down to the planet and are greeted by Dr. John Merrick, the distinguished ecologist and engineer who has is responsible for the successful terraforming operations.

Dr. Merrick gives them a tour of the small town in which the colonists live before showing them the large fields of grain, corn, and other plants that the new ecosystem supports. "I'm particularly proud of the wheat," Dr. Merrick tells them. "It's not only an outstanding demonstration of our efforts to create an agricultural paradise out of what had once been little more than a rock; it also produces an exceptionally healthy grain that I'm confident will make Jerrold a particularly important new additional to the Federation."

While Keiko is exclaiming over the wheat and Data is asking Dr. Merrick a number of technical questions, Captain Picard receives a message from Commander Riker that a small ship has dropped out of warp. It appeared to have been severely damaged and was not responding to their hails. When Picard asks if there is any sign of danger from the ship, Riker responds that it did not appear to have any weapons.

Picard tells Data to stay with the Counselor and Keiko and continue his survey, apologizes to Dr. Merrick for the interruption and returns to Enterprise.

In the transporter room Picard learns that the life support on the ship appears to be failing and that sensors have detected one life form, a human. Picard orders O'Brien to beam the human aboard.

Moments later he is startled to find himself staring at the familiar face of Vash. (From "Captain's Holiday," an unscrupulous archaeologist and relic hunter. Yes, this would contradict the later episode of "Qpid" when the Enterprise crew meets Vash for the first time.)

Vash is carrying a small, fancy looking mechanical box and looks simultaneously relieved and discomforted to find herself staring at Picard.

A few minutes later, Picard, Riker and Worf are talking to Vash in a small conference room. She explains that the damage to her ship is the result of a small misunderstanding, and holds the small box a little tighter.

When Picard asks what is within it, she gets evasive. "It's nothing, Jean Luc. Just a personal item I bought from an old friend. Perfectly legal, I assure you."

Before Picard can get anything else out of her, they are interrupted by the bridge. A Klingon warbird has just dropped out of orbit. Vash goes pale.

On the Bridge, Picard has a transmission opened and finds himself staring at an unfamiliar Klingon who looks especially pissed off, even for a Klingon.

After a brief, tensely exchanged, introduction the Klingon Captain, Kaloss, informs Picard that he is in pursuit of a criminal who has in her possession a great weapon against the Empire and he demands that Picard turns her over or risk a serious diplomatic incident.

While Picard tries to calm Kaloss down and get an explanation, Vash is running for the transporter room and manages to beam herself down to Jerrold.

On the planet, Vash sneaks into an unoccupied warehouse full of grain and places the box on a table. She studies it for a second before touching a few squares on the surface. There's a whining sound, some light and the box opens up from the top, letting out some white mist that makes Vash cough.

She waves away the mist and finds herself staring at a small fuzzy brown thing. "What the...I went through all that for this?"

She reaches out to touch the fuzz ball and starts back when it suddenly shakes and begins a light trilling sound. Her disgust turning to fascination she reached for it again and starts to smile as the trill turns to a pur.

Meanwhile Data, Troi and Keiko are in another room surrounded by a number of middle aged men and women, all scientists and engineers and new colonists who are demonstrating the results of their work. Data's communicator goes off and he steps away from the group.

It's Picard. He instructs Data that a human female has beamed down to the planet and needs to be found before there's an interplanetary incident.

Data leaves the building and waits as Picard and Worf beam down from Enterprise. Picard is agitated; the Klingons refuse to say what exactly it is that Vash supposedly stole and cannot stop them from beaming down to Jerrold to look for her themselves. He wants to find Vash before they do.

Dr. Merrick appears and demands to know what's going on. He'd just been informed that a party of Klingons had beamed down and were insisting on being given access to the houses and warehouses.

While Picard is trying to explain, Vash suddenly hurries up. She's carrying the metal box and quickly takes it to the Captain.

Klingons show up immediately after, disrupters drawn and ready to fight for the box, which Vash quickly hands to Picard.

"Here. It's not worth the trouble, whatever it is. I swear, Jean-Luc, I had no idea that it was stolen property. I bought it from a reputable dealer. I don't even know what it is!"

After a few threats from the Klingons, Picard hands it over. Kaloss immediately sets it down on the ground and the whole group point their disruptors at the box.

In Klingon, Worf asks what could possibly be worth all the trouble and bother. Kaloss's response makes Worf step back and draw his phaser.

"Mr. Worf, what is going on here?" Picard asks.

Before Worf can respond, Kaloss kneels down and reaches out keeping as much space between himself and the box as he can manage. He presses a few squares and the box opens just as it had for Vash. Only this time there is no mist and when it's flat on the ground there's nothing there.

Kaloss stands and turns the disrupter on Vash. "Where is it? Where's the Tribble?" He roars.

Vash tries to insist that she must have been swindled but the Klingons don't accept her dismissals.

"Captain Picard," Kaloss finally says, doing his best to calm down a fraction. "This is a beautiful world, with such beautiful crops. Do you want to see that laid waste? That creature is a vicious enemy of the empire! And if I do not have it soon, this entire planet will suffer its ravages!"

Vash scoffs him. "Oh come on. You're afraid of that harmless little thing?" When she realizes what she was saying, she shut up and stepped back. "Jean-luc..."

Dr. Merrick is looking at her in horror. "What did you do? You brought something like that here, to my planet? My life's work!"

Finally Picard takes charge and insists that Vash show them what she'd taken from the box. Reluctantly, but seeing no way out (the Klingons are visibly trembling with rage or panic and even Worf looks uncomfortable) she takes him to the warehouse.

They open the door and...tribbles are everywhere.

As one, the Klingons gasp. Worf curses. "Not just one? A whole Terror of the creatures?"

Things only go downhill from there. The tribbles start to shriek, the Klingons all step away and several drop their disruptors in alarm and Picard barely gets the warehouse door closed before a massacre of disruptor fire can begin.

Data institutes a quarantine of the building and Picard invites Kaloss to Enterprise to discuss the situation. The Klingons want to destroy the building on the spot but Picard points out that it could be construed as an attack on Federation property and if they want to keep relationships between the Federation and the Empire civil, they better calm down and be ready to discuss the situation rationally.

They set up a time to meet aboard Enterprise before beaming back to their ship (with two left behind to guard the warehouse). Picard turns to Vash.

"How was I to know the Klingons would get so upset? It's such an innocent looking creature! All I knew was that I was buying a one-of-a-kind relic. That's what he told me. I didn't know it was alive!"

Against his better nature, Picard manages to get inside the warehouse long enough to take one tribble and they beam up to Enterprise.

In the conference room, before the Klingons arrive Picard meets with his executive staff and Dr. Merrick. Data, Troi and Crusher are each holding and petting a tribble. Worf is standing in the corner, as far from the tribbles as he can get.

Dr. Crusher begins. "Jean-luc, I can't understand why the Klingons would be so upset. It's an adorable creature, though how it evolved I cannot begin to comprehend. It's essentially a harmless eating reproductive machine. You feed it and it reproduces. And purrs. As far as I can tell, that's all it does."

Worf growls under his breath. "They're vermin! They should all be dead but somehow one must have survived!"

Troi looks at him with shock. "How can you kill such a sweet creature? It's adorable!"

Worf starts to speak but Picard stops him. "We can discuss that later. First I need to know, doctor, is there any way to get them to stop reproducing? This could completely undermine the efforts of everyone on Jerrold."

"That's exactly my concern, Captain." Dr. Merrick says. "I wish these creatures no ill will but I cannot risk their getting loose on Jerrold. The environment is far too fragile."

Dr. Crusher shrugs. She explains that the box Vash had carried must have been some sort of portable stasis device. It kept the tribble alive but slowed it's metabolism and therefore it's reproductive system almost completely. But she had no idea about how to do the same for all the tribbles that were already on the planet.

Data does a quick calculation and gives them all a number that makes their jaws drop.

Taken aback, Riker says, "We need to get those three on ice right now. There aren't any more, are there?"

Data assures him that they haven't been fed. So far as he can tell, anyway; the tribbles seem to eat just about anything.

Picard orders Troi and Crusher to take the three tribbles and put them in suspended animation immediately. Troi takes the purring tribble from Data and they leave, though as they're exiting they got a little too close to Worf and the tribbles start shrieking.

When they're finally gone, Worf shudders.

Then they turn the matter over to solutions. Dr. Merrick has an idea. "Before I began the terraforming practices on Jerrold, we did a test run on part of Jerrold's moon. There are labs and an entirely self-sustaining environment right there. We've not gone back in some time but if we could somehow transport the entire population there, they'd at least be safe from doing any greater harm elsewhere until a better solution can be found."

Worf disagreed, saying that the tribbles, all of them, must be destroyed. But Picard refused to accept exterminating the entire species. He agreed with Dr. Merrick completely, and ordered Data and LaForge to work out the details of transporting the entire contents of the warehouse to the moon. He just had to find a way to satisfy the demands of Kaloss and his crew without causing friction between the Federation and the Klingons.

Data had an idea. "I have been studying the historical records for all instances of a 'Tribble.' As it turns out, the original Enterprise had not one but two encounters with the creatures. The second, on Stardate involved the creation of a creature that could act as a natural predator. Though a lot of information has been lost on exactly what that creature is, we do have some genetic details in our database. Perhaps we can turn that information over to the Klingons for them to develop as a potential counter to the existence of the tribble."

Though Vash and Riker were a little uncomfortable about the notion of a creature that ate a tribble, Picard had to admit that it was as ethical a solution as they were likely to have. Dr. Merrick agreed.

A few hours later, with the tribbles safely installed in the old moon labs and with a number of scientists from Jerrold set-up to study them, the Klingons left with the available genetic details for a tribble predator. They were not entirely satisfied but the idea of such a predator that might be raised as a pet interested them.

Enterprise left Jerrold and headed to the nearest space station where Picard and Vash had a final moment. Witty lines were exchanged, Vash promised not to buy anything until she'd gotten a good look at it, and they had a Romantic Moment before their farewells.

---

Okay, so I'm not a comic writer and I'm running out of time so the ending lacks a certain something. Sorry it was so long. Fun exercise in imagination though!
Dayle Dermatis
11. Cyvarwydd
IF YOU LOVE TRIBBLE...

Worf ducks as a glass flies past his head. Without hesitation he strides into the middle of the mayhem that's engulfing Ten Forward, and takes a deep breath to bellow for order.

Has everyone gone insane? It's as if they've been possessed by battle fury. In the din, he hears a cry of pain. Riker clutches his hands to his face; blood seeps between his fingers from his broken nose. Deanna's dark eyes flash as she holds the weapon--her own fist--at the ready for another strike.

Captain Picard, of all people, screams at a waitress. Screams curses that almost impress Worf. The woman snarls and dumps a drink over the captain's bald head. Picard stops in mid-curse, blinking in surprise at the liquid dripping down his face; then he launches into a fresh litany of abuse.

Only Data seems unaffected. "Curious," he says to no one in particular as he observes the chaos.

Guinan reaches behind the bar. Worf lunges forward to prevent the El-Aurian bartender from pulling out a weapon.

The clamor seems to fade; Worf now hears the yelling and cursing and breaking chairs as if from a distance.

This is curious. He feels...relaxed. He should be wading into the fray, breaking up the brawl. He should be suppressing his own instinct to join in.

Instead, his only thought is to protect the sweet little tribble, sitting there all innocent on the bar, the ends of its brindle fur sticky and reeking from the pool of various spilled drinks.

He picks up the tribble and cradles it against his massive chest. He strokes it with one finger. It purrs contentedly, as if it has found a home.

Worf feels normally unused muscles in his face stretch into a beatific smile.

*

The Enterprise rocks under the fury of the ion storm. The ship is docked at a repair station, which isn't built to withstand a storm of this length and magnitude, and both are suffering. Captain Picard orders every available person to assist in keeping the station from falling apart. Everywhere Worf goes, engineering crews--when they aren't bickering amongst themselves--struggle to keep up with the repairs as something breaks here, and then there, and then over there...

*

Lights flicker on and off as Worf enters his quarters. The air is chilly, because climate control is as erratic as the lights right now.

He pulls an unused pillow--Klingons have no need for soft cushions--from the back of a closet and plumps it up. Gently he sets the tribble on the pillow.

It purrs again, and he sighs. Is this what humans mean when they speak of bliss? It is a very nice sensation.

An unusual sensation. It is not something he is used to experiencing. It is not part of the warrior's way. Klingons do not feel tranquil. It is...unKlingonlike.

He should not be enjoying these feelings.

The tribble chirrups, almost questioningly. Worf feels a rush of...another unfamiliar emotion. Is this affection? He should be disgusted by it, but he can't bring himself to be.

He has duties to attend to. The fury of the ion storm is wreaking havoc all over the station. But he doesn't want to leave his newfound friend behind.

After a moment's consideration, he removes from his sash three of the many weapons he carries on his person at all times. The action leaves just enough room in which to tuck the soft creature. Worf can feel the vibration of the tribble's purr.

"I shall have to give you a name," he says. "Something fitting." He smiles as the perfect idea comes to him. "I shall call you Precious."

The newly named Precious hums in agreement.

*

Whistling Puccini (why has he never noticed how beautiful this music was before?), Worf enters Engineering. Doctor Crusher and Keiko flank a harassed O'Brien, who has his eyes closed against the onslaught.

The station shudders, rocking the ship. From somewhere comes the keening sound of tortured metal.

"Your devotion to your job is the problem, Miles." The normally soft-spoken Keiko has a strident edge in her voice. "Right now, you need to be home with your family."

"I need to know the status of life support," Crusher insists. She grabs his arm. "People are panicking. I'm panicking. What if we lose life support!"

"Please, both of you, calm down." Worf puts a hand on each woman's shoulder. They turn equally ferocious glares on him. A lesser man would have instinctively stepped back.

"Chief O'Brien's duties do keep him in Engineering right now," he tells Keiko. "That is how he is keeping his family safe."

Red suffuses Keiko's face. "What the hell do you know, Worf? You've never been in love!" She aims a kick at his shin, which does no damage to him. Not at all mollified, she limps out.

O'Brien uses the distraction as a chance to escape to the other side of Engineering, where he pounds a wrench in frustration against a console.

He doesn't know about love? How can Keiko say that? Worf cradles the tribble, who fits perfectly in his large palm.

"Dammit, Worf!" Crusher's redhead temper has finally come to the fore. "How can you stand that...that cacophony?"

"I do not understand. Precious is purring. It is very soothing."

"That thing is NOT purring. I've heard tribbles purr before. This one is...damn, the noise is so irritating. It's grating. Like fingernails on a chalkboard. I can't even think straight."

"Curious," Worf says. "I do not hear it like that at all."

Crusher's jaw visibly clenches as she grits her teeth. "Just get it away from me before I turn it into a hat."

Worf complies. "Poor little Precious," he says. "Why does everyone want to do that to you? Do not worry, I will not let that happen."

The situation really is curious. Worf has had experience with other tribbles, and the noise they made was much like what Crusher described. Hearing that sound, Worf's shoulders had tightened, his scalp had crawled. He had wanted to smash something with his fist.

Precious, on the other hand, touched something he has never really felt before. Maybe this was what humans mean by "opposites attract"?

No. Worf is not stupid. Something is not right. And he is pretty sure he knows who is to blame.

*

"Ensign Crusher, I need to talk to you," Worf says.

"Hey!" Wesley shouts. "Don't use that tone of voice on me!"

Worf shakes his head. Will this madness never end? He carefully extracts Precious from his sash and holds it out.

"Ensign Crusher. Where did this tribble come from?"

Wesley rears back away from Precious, lip curling in a snarl. "That stinking piece of lint? I spent good credits on that thing and then Robin didn't even want it! I'm never buying anything for a girl again. And I was beaming the damn thing back to the seller and it didn't go for some reason. Just sat there on the transporter pad. Idiotic thing."

"When was this?"

"Yesterday. Just before you came into the bar and stole it--which reminds me, you owe me for it. Now, go away and leave me alone."

Transporter... Something about that niggles in the back of Worf's brain. Transporters...and ion storms...

"Computer. Is there any record of transporter malfunctions during ion storms?"

"Affirmative," the computer's placid voice responds. "In the twenty-third century, several members of the Enterprise NCC-1701 crew were sent to a mirror universe when they attempted a transport during an ion storm."

Mirror universe. Now he remembers from his history studies. Everything there is the opposite of this universe.

Which means...Worf looks at Precious, a sinking feeling in his chest. Normally, tribbles and their purring calm humans, but are offensive to Klingons. Precious is the opposite--a mirror tribble.

Precious doesn't belong in this universe.

*

Alert klaxons blare across the ship and station.

Life support is failing.

It is Precious's fault. Precious is causing everyone to overreact, from headaches to outright fistfights. Data manages to break up one altercation before someone is killed. The closer Precious gets to someone, the more stressed and irrational the person becomes. Everyone on the ship and station is affected somehow. Crucial jobs are not getting done--further threatening the safety of the inhabitants.

With a sinking heart, Worf knows he will have to send the tribble home. Otherwise, his friends and comrades will die.

*

"Ensign, please find the coordinates for the tribble that Ensign Wesley Crusher transported yesterday."

The delicate blonde smashes her fist against the transporter controls. "I hate this stupid job! Transport this, transport that... There's got to be more to life."

"Ensign," Worf says gently. "Please."

Muttering, she taps the console. "All right, I've got them. I suppose you want me to do something else."

"Set the coordinates, and then you may leave. I will handle the rest."

That seems to mollify her slightly, at least.

She leaves. Worf is alone with Precious, for the last time.

He strokes her fur and listens to her thrum with pleasure. The thought of sending her away hurts. Already he feels the void that her absence will leave behind.

It isn't as if he hasn't felt this before. First there was K'Ehleyr. She had been his match and his mate. Together they'd made a son, whom Worf does care about with a deep paternal attachment. Then there was Deanna: a mismatch, to be sure, but a deep bond nonetheless.

When he'd lost each of them, he'd buried the emotions. Klingons have no time for such things. Sacrifice is part of life, not something to dwell upon.

Worf watches the transporter beam shimmer and dance. As Precious begins to fade away, he turns and leaves the room. He does not want to be here when the normal tribble arrives, tainting his sacred memories of Precious.

He has done what is right, but it doesn't necessarily make him feel any better. As the old Klingon saying goes, "If you love something, set it free..."

END
Ruth X
12. RuthX
"The Imperfect Pet"

It all started when someone let Wesley Crusher go on Shore Leave with the rest of the crew. A pretty local girl who looks human except the slight bump on her nose ridge and the spots on her ears asks Wesley if he gets lonely being the only person his age on the ship. When he says yes, she offers him a Tribble, calling it "the perfect pet." She assures him that it won't need to eat or drink and it doesn't get any bigger.

Of course, they're born pregnant and pretty soon the Crusher rooms are infested with the little fuzzies. Wesley can't kill them so at first he tries hiding them from his mom. Unfortunately, they start to escape through the ducts and begin showing up all over the ship. We see Wesley chasing them down, using the computer's internal sensors to track and retrieve them.

The moment of truth comes when Picard finds his ready room infested with Tribbles. He chews out Wesley and orders that the Tribbles be kept in the holodeck until they can figure out what to do with them, hinting that he's willing to beam them into space. The holodeck malfunctions, as always, and Troi & Data become trapped in the holodeck with the Tribbles. Data ponders the human need for non-sentient companionship and compares Tribbles to his cat Spot, deciding that Spot is a preferable companion even if Spot sometimes ignores him. He then turns his attention to analyzing Tribble biology.

He discovers to his surprise that Tribbles ARE sentient and argues to the captain that they can't possibly destroy members of a sentient species. The Tribbles appoint a chief negotiator and reveal that they're actually the second half of an ancient symbiotic culture whose other halves were destroyed in a supernova. They wanted humans to be their new symbiots.

Picard makes a noble speech about cooperation but tells the Tribbles it just won't work out. In the end, the Tribbles agree to let the crew return them to their old homeworld. Shots of Tribbles sitting happily in a cozy children's tv-like setting.

But wait....there's still on Tribble sitting in an air duct on the Enterprise...biding it's time. *ominous closing music*

I'm not quite sure where I was going with this...but it's noon.
Leigh Smith
13. LAR1975
Wow, some great entries. My knowledge of Trek is clearly not as deep, but carpe diem anyway.

Thanks much!
Leigh
----

Never Quibble with a Tribble
Data accompanies Cmmdr. Riker on a short jaunt to Raisa for some R&R. Data is there, unbeknownst to Will, to prevent him from letting his eye wander (prompted by Counselor Troi, of course!).

Geordi LaForge, as Data’s best friend, agrees to cat-sit Spot for the short time. Geordi, however, has just had his visor adjusted by Dr. Crusher, which makes for some interesting antics. (He opted to not yet have an experimental procedure involving the use of Borg stem cells to correct his blindness.)

One evening Geordi discovers that Spot is having difficulties and the kitty hacks up what appears to be a hairball. Little does Geordi know, but his newly adjusted visor is malfunctioning—or perhaps it’s receiving rogue transmissions, some kind of directives from a Klingon Bird of Prey trying to tap into it.

In his typical easygoing fashion, Geordi nonchalantly asks the computer for the location of Data’s cat brush and prepares to pick up and discard the cat’s hairball into the ship’s refuse-recycling unit.

“Here you go, little fella,” he says as he crouches to retrieve and dispose of the hairball.
Just then, what he’s seeing as a hairball suddenly begins to purr and that sound propels it across the floor of Data’s quarters on the Enterprise and into a hair—I mean air—duct. Spot, in true queen cat fashion, lazily eyeballs the critter as it egresses, not deigning to chase it.

“Computer,” Geordi questions, “what was that and why didn’t your sensors detect it.” The computer, being a computer, does not take offense to Geordi’s increasingly indignant tone.

Neither does the ship’s computer answer Geordi’s questions, so he must tramp all the way down to Engineering to figure out what’s happening, for he also has lost contact with the Bridge.

Since the Prime Directive is moot in this situation—because the Tribble has engaged the Enterprise crew rather than the other way around—Geordi aims to discover the nature of the nebulously furry anomaly with some help from his crewmates.

Then, a funny thing or two happens on the way to Engineering, including Geordi’s stop at Ensign Ro’s quarters (only to find she is whitewater rafting with Captain Picard and Worf on the HoloDeck, but Geordi presses into action and saves her from some raging rapids by locating her canoe with help from his improved, albeit still slightly wonky, visor, shouting “Ro, your boat” as he pointed).

Later, enlisting O’Brien’s help, Geordi lays a tribble trap based on Spock’s theories about his immunity to tribbles’ wiles, data Geordi gleaned from records of an earlier encounter. Little did we know heretofore that one of Tribbles’ favorite snacks is—you guessed it, hair’s favorite feast—black cotton shirts, not the fancy-pants polymer kind the crew currently wears. We also learn that they intrinsically prefer to dine while listening to music played in treble tones.

Although Geordi may not be the early bird that catches the tribble, he does learn that in some cases persistence is futile.

Now, I won’t reveal the surprise solution to this creature conundrum, but, for animal lovers like me, I will note that no tribbles were harmed in the making of this plot, for we didn’t let Worf near them with a 10-foot Bat’leth.

However, let’s just say that the ending involves a steaming pot of Earl Grey and one ferociously frivolous tribble, but suffice it to say, we and Geordi soon find out that it’s best to never quibble with a tribble. (Much less be a yeoman or to wear a red shirt on the Enterprise.)
###
j p
14. sps49
Aw fudge.

So much for my linking Riker's beard with the Tribble Universe.
Ruth X
15. RuthX
It's too late now, but one thing I did mean to do was a whole bit involving Troi, empathy & Tribbles. Also, Wesley redeems himself by fixing the holodeck. Since it was under the wire I didn't get a chance to revise, but telling my husband about it just a few min ago I realized those were two bits I'd left out.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment