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Achtung, Monster! - KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
Achtung, Monster!
Two years ago, Cross Cult released the cover image for their German translation of my Star Trek novella starring the Starfleet Corps of Engineers, entitled Here There Be Monsters. Here it is:

Thanks to this, I am forevermore the author of Achtung, Monster!

Which makes me happy.

Anyhow, the English version opens with a scene between Duffy and Stevens (with a brief bit o' Gomez) that is one of my favorite scenes I've ever written, and in the interests of -- oh, I dunno, because I feel like it, I present that scene here on the ol' blog. The scene is copyright 2001, 2003, 2017 CBS, all rights reserved.


"I can't find anything wrong with this thing, Duff," Fabian Stevens said from under twelve tons of machinery.

"There's got to be something wrong," Lt. Commander Kieran Duffy said as he peered at his tricorder. "I mean, it's not working."

"I know that, but everything here is checking out."

"Except for the whole not-working thing," Kieran added dolefully.

Fabian climbed out from the hatchway that gave him access to many of the critical systems in the Tellarite generator. "Yeah, except for that." He wiped the sweat off his brow. "I dunno—we've been running around like crazy people for days, and we spent most of the last day repairing this monstrosity. I don't think I'd know a fried EPS conduit if I saw it at this point."

Kieran smiled. "What, you don't like dashing around half the galaxy mapping gateways and fixing blown-out power systems?"

"Over the course of a month, sure. Over four days? Not so much. The captain wasn't kidding when he said this was gonna be a doozy."

Holding up his tricorder, Kieran said, "Well, in any case, these things don't get exhausted, and it says that everything appears to be functioning normally, too."

"Gomez to Duffy."

Grinning, Kieran tapped his combadge. "Duffy here. You're back, Sonnie?"

"We'll be flying the Archimedes into orbit of Tellar within five minutes."

"So the comm relay's all fixed?"

"Yup. Pattie did most of the work by crawling around the thing's outer hull and replacing the burned-out relays. What I'm wondering is where the da Vinci is."

Kieran chuckled. "Was wondering when you were gonna ask. They found a derelict ship that apparently fell through the same gateway that blew out the comm relay you were fixing. The captain's towing it to Starbase 12. They should be back—" he checked his chronometer "—actually, any minute now. Didn't realize how late it had gotten."

"How are you and Fabian coming with the generator?"

"It's, ah, it's coming."

"Still haven't figured out what's wrong yet, have you?" Kieran could hear her smile.

"You know me too damn well, you know that?" he said with mock indignation.

"Do you want a hand, or would you two rather prove your manhood by fixing it yourselves without any help from us?"

"Oho, a challenge. Fine, we'll have it fixed before the da Vinci gets back."


Kieran could hear the dubious note in Sonya's voice. So, apparently, could Fabian, given the guffaw he was trying to suppress.

"Do you doubt me, madame?"

"No, just wondering if you're willing to put your money where your foot is."

"Tell you what, when we have that overhaul at Starbase 96 next month, the winner picks where we have dinner."

"You're on, 'Duff.' We'll be in orbit if you need us. Gomez out."

Fabian frowned. "She called you 'Duff.' I thought that was my nickname for you."

"You take it up with her."

Holding up his hands, Fabian said, "No thanks. I don't mess around with officers."

It was Kieran's turn to frown. "Fabe, I'm an officer."

Fabian snapped his fingers. "Dang. Keep forgetting that." He removed one of the panels from the generator. "I gotta say, I was really worried there for a while. Gateways opening up all over the galaxy, fights breaking out, planets in danger—it was a major mess."

"I wasn't worried."

Shooting Kieran a look, Fabian said, "You weren't?"

"Nope," Kieran said as he opened up another panel. "They put Picard in charge."

"Yeah, so?"

"Soon's I heard that, I knew everything would be fine."

"You're kidding." Fabian was looking at Kieran like he had two heads. "How?"

Kieran opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, and closed it again. Finally, he said, "You've never served with Picard, have you?"


"Then you won't get it. He's just got this ineffable—Picard-ity. When he's in charge, you just know that he's gonna find a solution to the problem."

"Uh, okay."

"Might I add that he did find a solution to the problem?"

"True," Fabian said as he peered more closely at the circuitry he had exposed. "Is that—? Oh, no, that's fine. Damn." He closed the panel then opened another one. "Of course, he wasn't alone. As I recall, certain former crewmates of mine on Deep Space 9 did a nice job disrupting the gateways."

"For all of ten minutes."

"Yeah, but from what I hear, that was a pretty useful ten minutes. Helped expose those fake Iconians for the frauds they were. And it was engineered by one Lieutenant Nog. You remember Nog, right, Duff? The 'kid' you were so condescending to on Empok Nor? The one whose plan you wouldn't even listen to? The one who made us all look like idiots?"

"Yes," Kieran said in a tight voice, "I remember. It should be pointed out that I did apologize and offer him a spot on the team."

"Actually, it was Captain Gold who offered him the spot on the team, and would you take it if you were treated the way you treated him?"

Kieran sighed. "Is there any way I can win in this conversation?"

Fabian looked like he was pretending to consider it. "No, not really," he said.

"Just checking."

"All kidding aside, though, I'm especially glad we didn't find ourselves in the middle of any major wars. I mean, bad enough that the gateway that connected this place to Andor led to that little bit of thievery…"

"What little bit of thievery?"

Fabian turned to look at Kieran. "Duff, we've been on Tellar for a day. All anyone's been talking about are the Andorians who came in and stole the colAndor Scrolls."

Kieran shrugged. "It's best to just tune out Tellarites complaining about Andorians. You'll live longer."

"Good point."

"I was more worried about that nonsense between the Carreon and the Deltans. Not to mention the Markanians and the Aeron."


"Couple of former members of the Thallonian Empire."

"Oh, okay. I don't follow all that post-collapse Thallonian stuff. I tried, but it just got too complicated. I lost track, is Captain Calhoun still dead?"

"As of this week, he's alive," Kieran said with a grin.

"Okay, just checki—" Fabian cut himself off.

"What is it, Fabe?"

"You're not gonna believe this."

"Believe what?"

"I mean, you're really not gonna believe this."

"I certainly won't if you don't tell me what it is."

"This is really unbelievable."

"So I've been led to understand."

"You know how the gateway on Tellar started draining power from this generator?"

"Considering we just spent most of the last twenty-four hours fixing the damage done by the power surge, yes, I do know. Get to the point, Fabe."

"Well, when that surge hit, it knocked an isolinear rod out of whack. Not much, only about a millimeter or so."

"So that's why this thing won't work?"


"This entire piece of twelve-ton machinery is dead because an isolinear rod is a millimeter out of alignment?"


Kieran hesitated. "This is the part where I say, 'I don't believe it,' right?"

"It would bring the joke full circle, yes."

Sighing, Kieran put his head in his hands. I suppose I walked right into that one. Then he looked at Fabian, who was simply standing there. "Uh, Fabe?"


"All we need to do to fix this is put that rod back into place, right?"

"That's right."

"So, uh—why haven't you?"

"I was waiting for your order. After all, you are an officer, second in command of the S.C.E. team, third in command of the da Vinci, and all-around important person. I am but a humble engineer, a mere cog in the mighty wheel of Starfleet. I would never presume to circumvent the chain of command by proceeding without an order from you."

Okay, it's official, Kieran thought, we need shore leave, and soon. That damned overhaul at 96 can't come soon enough. "Mr. Stevens," he said in a mock-formal voice.

"Yes, Lieutenant Commander Duffy, sir?" Fabian said in a like tone.

"Would you be so kind as to put the isolinear rod back in place?"

"Yes sir, right away, sir!" Fabian saluted sloppily, then reached into the generator.

Two seconds later, the large piece of Tellarite machinery hummed to life.

"Congratulations, Mr. Duffy," Fabian said, "it's a generator."

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Thick as a Brick" side 2 by Jethro Tull

1 comment or Please comment
vulpine137 From: vulpine137 Date: January 25th, 2017 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my, that was epic. Picard-ity, I'll remember that one. And to check that all the isolinear rods are 100% in alignment.
1 comment or Please comment