Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters and Star Trek: The Original Series characters are the property of their original owners.
Bill Landers smoothed down the front of his new uniform, as he admired his trim appearance in the cabin door mirror. At last satisfied he’d present today to his new boss the proper image of a dedicated member of Starfleet, Ensign Landers waved a hand in the proper gesture, and the door’s outer surface shifted back into its neutral position of a bland portal the same beige color of his former uniform. Giving one final glance around at the tiny living quarters he shared with his assigned bunkie and newfound friend, Bill tried to ignore the remembrance of George Chan’s appalled expression last night when this other ensign had learned of his roomate’s requested transfer into another department on the starship Enterprise.
Over the next hour, Bill and George had vehemently argued about his new career plans. Throughout it all, Bill justified to his concerned friend that this wasn’t any kind of hasty decision. Over the last couple of weeks, this young human had already come to the conclusion that he was stuck in a dead-end job, all having to do with his undistinguished grades throughout attending Starfleet Academy. Not that he wasn’t intelligent, afraid of hard work, or unwilling to learn. In virtually any other educational setting, Bill would’ve been among the top ten percent of his classes.
Unfortunately, this was Starfleet Academy, which attracted the best and brightest of not merely one planet, but from hundreds of them. Bill had worked his ass off every year, but while competing against the really talented, truly smart, and ultimate go-getters, the sad fact was that he barely scraped by. Like it or not, every graduating class from the Academy had to have one person who occupied the very last spot in the school standings, and in that year, William P. Landers, of Chillicothe, Ohio, North American Union, had been it
A newly-minted and very glum ensign had then received his orders for his first posting, not really expecting anything better than earthside duty at one of the Federation’s Terran bases. At best, even if he got into space, it’d probably never be further than Luna or Mars, much less out to the stars. However, a totally stunned Bill then learned he’d been assigned to one of the most famed starships in existence, the Enterprise
herself. Getting sent there during that vessel’s latest home-port visit just had to be sure proof the Great Bird of the Galaxy had finally blessed Momma Landers’ only child.
Bill’s elation had continued all through his thrilled arrival by transporter to his first posting, up to the exact moment of being informed about his specific appointed duties while serving in the Maintenance Department on this starship. Whereupon a very dismayed junior officer became speedily cognizant of Starfleet’s most shameful secret. Namely, even with all this futuristic organization’s advanced technology, it didn’t matter how much computer power, automation, and robotics were on hand, because sooner or later, someone
had to do the actual scutwork.
It soon became evident that rather than blessing Bill Landers, the Great Bird of the Galaxy had instead thoroughly evacuated its bowels right onto his head. This wasn’t just an attempt at a clever remark, given how the newest ensign on the Enterprise
was now in charge of the starship’s toilets. Or as set forth in the regulations, the ‘biological waste collection/treatment facilities.’
If Bill had ever wanted to be essentially a plumber, he could’ve just stayed home for that.
After a few nasty experiences of ‘to boldly go’ while performing his quickly-detested job, Bill had started discreetly investigating the likelihood of transferring into another department forthwith. Any
department, in fact. Regrettably, in the main the positions open there were those he wasn’t qualified for, and everywhere else was basically full and not looking for any new applicants.
With one major exception, though. When he’d dropped in there just yesterday, the department head had been more than happy to meet with Bill. After a very convivial chat with this older officer, involving a great deal of extolling by him of how many exciting opportunities of seeing new worlds there’d be for the awestruck ensign, Bill had been speedily won over, and he’d signed his formal transfer request right on the spot. In turn, he’d been provided with a different uniform than the beige one he was currently wearing, and instructed to come back for his first shift tomorrow. The exact details of his duties would be gone over then, and a very cheerful Bill had returned to his living quarters with an actual spring in his step while carrying his new color-coordinated attire.
He hadn’t expected at all his roommate’s reaction right after entering their cabin, when George had screamed with real horror at seeing Bill’s latest set of Starfleet clothing, especially the garment for his upper body. Exactly what was so scary about the Security Department’s red shirts?
The next morning, Bill strode out of his shipboard cabin on the way to work while wearing his new scarlet uniform, still somewhat convinced George had been totally putting him on last night. His skeptical attitude started manifesting itself back when George had been listing every single fatality for the vessel’s protective detail over the Enterprise’s
five-year mission up to now. Yes, it was clearly a dangerous job, but that came with the territory. What wasn’t reasonable was the utterly ridiculous cause for which the rest of the starship’s personnel superstitiously attributed to these Security Department losses. Apparently, it was believed by the entire crew, save for those unluckily belonging to this particular department, that donning one of their red shirts was akin to a death sentence.
Stopping in front of the elevator leading to the ship’s other levels, Bill absently mentioned, “B deck,” before glancing down at his bright red shirt. Shaking his head in sheer disbelief, the ensign wondered if he could get away with casually mentioning to the other guys in Security what he’d just learned about his outfit. Maybe this was some kind of Enterprise
in-joke played by the rest of the crew on the newcomers to the ship? He’d heard about things like that, so was he supposed to just go along with the gag, or what?
Abruptly distracted from his thoughts, Bill looked up at the sound of the elevator door opening. A split second later, too quickly for him to observe anything else or even consider dodging, a small fist shot out from inside the elevator, aimed right at his jaw. An explosion of pain burst through his head when this very hard fist clobbered him, lifting his entire body off the deck. Right after, darkness swallowed Bill’s consciousness, even before he limply collapsed onto the corridor floor.
He must’ve been out for merely an instant, because the next thing a barely-aware Bill dazedly experienced, while still keeping his eyes closed, was his body being dragged a short distance somewhere. During this, a young man’s voice came from overhead, delivering in a tone best described as a whiny complaint, “You didn’t have to do that!”
Another voice from on high then answered the first speaker. Except, this reply was uttered by an equally young woman apparently in a vile temper, as she snarled back, “Aw, shaddup! Ya hadda drag us alla over this heap, ’cuz ya bragged ya knew where to find what we hadda grab, only ta wind up with zilch! I wasn’t gonna pass up the chance of gettin' my hands on this, not with the guy walkin’ in on us!”
Through the dense mental fog in his head, Bill then felt his upper body being yanked and tugged in a most inexplicable fashion. Feeling more than a bit fragile at the moment, the Starfleet ensign allowed himself to thankfully sink back into unconsciousness.
Again, this period of oblivion must’ve lasted only briefly, with Bill soon becoming aware through his closed eyelids a bright light in the distance. Which was immediately followed by a deep voice austerely stating, “Ensign Landers, you are out of uniform.”
Blearily opening his eyes, Bill glanced up from lying flat on his back on the elevator floor, with this small enclosed room containing only himself in there. However, outside on the bridge and right before the open elevator entrance now stood Commander Spock, and looking over this Vulcan’s shoulders were Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy. Who were one and all clearly expecting some sort of explanation for everything, right now.
Still on the floor with a seriously aching head, Bill Landers peeked down at his bare chest, which had been decently covered a minute ago by his Security Department red shirt, just before this supposedly cursed item of clothing had mysteriously vanished. Along with whomever had done this to him.
Giving a very sad sigh, the latest victim of the Great Scooby Scavenger Hunt then fatalistically requested, “Can I at least have a new mop when I get transferred back to Maintenance and my old job for the next couple of years?”