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Fiction by Pen . . . . . not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment
Star Trek is not mine and I make no claim on it

The Educated Pig

Mayday! Mayday! Dot, er, dash, er HELP! Is anybody there? Help!

After three minutes of earnest sensor scans, the crew of the Enterprise located the source of the distress signal. Four seconds at warp speed sufficed to bring into view a small spacecraft apparently constructed from the leftovers of half a dozen garbage dumps. A rapid assessment by Commander Data at Ops ascertained that life support aboard the vessel was down to three point seven minutes, that this was unimportant as the craft was on a direct course for the nearest star and at its present speed would impact in two point four minutes, and that in any case a warp core breach was in progress. In a mere nine point one seconds the ship would explode and the sole occupant a human, whose life signs were very faint, probably due to the excessive levels of loose radiation in the living quarters would be killed.

Captain Picard considered the situation, and after some cogitation required his crew to beam the sole occupant aboard the Enterprise, raise shields against the blast, and resume the mission.

"Make it so," he stated, with just over two seconds to spare. Then, signalling his bridge officers to follow, he headed for the transporter room, summoning his Chief Medical Officer as he went.

The occupant of the little craft was even tattier and less kempt than his spaceship. Wild-eyed and scarecrow-clad he staggered down the lowered ramp and into Beverley’s waiting tricorder. From the flare of his Chief Medical Officer’s aristocratic nostrils Picard deduced that their rescuee was as pungent as his appearance suggested. He left the doctor to deal with ‘Ben Gunn’, as he had privately dubbed the new arrival—for he was a well-read and cultured individual, quite wasted on patrol duty—and returned to the bridge, trailed by his officers.

Beverley Crusher’s report was brief. The Enterprise’s unexpected passenger had given his name as Gamaliel Doofus, and had told her of the lonely, boulder-strewn planet on which he had been forced to abandon The Machine, last and finest fruit of his genius, and had implored her to save it for the Federation. He had babbled also of an educated pig and beseeched her to let it join Starfleet. He had taught the pig to speak, and administered evening courses in practical mechanics and elementary woodwork. Unfortunately, Doofus died of technobabble disease on the way to Sickbay.

Picard and his officers were inclined to dismiss the information as the ravings of a demented space hobo, but a perfunctory check with Starfleet Headquarters caused them to revise their opinion. Doctor Gamaliel Doofus was, it appeared, renowned in certain strictly circumscribed circles, and it was deemed to be of the utmost importance that his Machine be located with all dispatch. The Enterprise was duly relieved of patrol duty and ordered to carry out this task at once.

With a galaxy to pick from, the Enterprise took several minutes to locate the planet on which Doofus had abandoned his Machine. Commander Riker and his select Away Team of irreplaceable senior officers beamed down at once to begin their search.

The planet was barren of all but a selection of unprepossessing rocks. With such a vast area of bleak terrain to cover, would the Away Team be able to locate The Machine? With furrowed brows they peered at the unconvincing scenery, and began to consult their tricorders.

"Use me squay," said a voice, politely. The members of the Away Team cast about for a self-confident child, but failed to observe anything at waist height. At knee level, however, a small, pink, four-legged creature raised a delicately porcine snout inquiringly. Riker stared down at it, confused.

"El come weigh." There could be no further doubt. The little creature had made those curious sounds.

The first officer touched his comm badge. "Riker to Enterprise. Captain, we’ve found something."

Picard was a man of endless patience, and displayed no annoyance at the inadequacy of this report. "What kind of something, Number One?"

"’Bout forty centimetres tall, pink, looks like a miniature "

"Of course!" LaForge broke in, grinning. "It’s Doctor Doofus’ ‘educated pig’. Looks just like a piglet, and it makes kinda cute noises, almost like it’s talking."

"At smee they," agreed the educated pig.

"Is it sentient?" asked the captain.

They looked at each other. "Deanna?" said Riker.

The counselor stepped forward, and looked constipated. Then she shook her head regretfully. "I sense nothing," she reported.

"It is possible that you are unable to communicate telepathically with this species," suggested Commander Data, emotionlessly.

"I don’t think it’s sentient," Deanna said firmly. "But it is adorable." She knelt beside the little creature and stroked its plump flank.

"Atch me scray," pleaded the piglet, winsomely. Deanna patted its rump gently and stood up.

"If that’s Doofus’ educated pig, I guess The Machine can’t be far away. Let’s spread out and look for it," said Riker. The Away Team, functioning like a well-oiled machine (especially Data), split four ways and wielded their tricorders to dramatic effect.

"Ee, thanks jay," muttered the educated pig, and trotted after Geordi, who was heading towards a clump of boulders in the middle distance. The piglet veered sideways and disappeared behind a rock.

"Eerie tis hay!" called the educated pig.

Geordi looked up. "Poor little fella probably stubbed a trotter, or something," he muttered to himself, and went to investigate. He found the piglet sitting neatly in front of a small grey cuboid attached by cables to a sizeable but blank display screen. "A-Ha! Commander, I’ve found it!" he informed his communicator.

"Oo hay ound it fey?" said the educated pig, sounding a little peeved. Geordi, by now crouched in contemplation of The Machine, scratched it absently between the ears.

"Or may! Ower lay!" begged the educated pig.

Geordi bestowed a final pat, and stood up, just as Riker, Data and Deanna rounded the nearest boulder.

"Otter ray," said the educated pig resentfully.

"It really sounds like it’s talking," said Geordi cheerfully. "No wonder Dr Doofus was confused."

"He sure was," said Riker, with a grin.

Geordi grinned back. "Yeah," he admitted. "It’s kinda cute, but I don’t think it’ll be joining Starfleet any time soon.

"Oh say ot way," said the educated pig, very quietly.

Commander Data, meanwhile, had applied his tricorder to an examination of The Machine. This proving unhelpful, he and Geordi began to examine it, prodding at the smooth plastic surface, examining the notations on what looked like a hand-held control set, and attempting to deduce function from form. However, there being little one can deduce from a grey plastic-covered cuboid (except, possibly, lack of aerodynamic and elastic properties), they attempted to turn it on. There seemed to be a spare cable, which when interfaced with a tricorder...

"Doesn’t seem to be working," said Riker unnecessarily.

"Ick it kay," suggested the educated pig.

Geordi scratched his head. "Maybe it uses some other kind of input," he offered.

The educated pig insinuated its small body between Geordi and The Machine, and administered a sharp backward blow with its left hind leg. Data, who had been manipulating the handset, looked pleased with himself as the screen flickered into life.

"Good work, Commander," said Riker. "Now, can you find out what it does?"

"Ay low hay icks tea say I’ve fey," the educated pig informed them. "It's an aim gay."

The Away Team stared in bewilderment as strange images flitted across the screen.

"Ess it pray," urged the educated pig, as Data, still clutching the handset, stood paralysed with astonishment he did not, of course, feel.

"What... what is it?" whispered Counselor Troi.

"I do not know."

"Beats me."

"Ugger me bay," complained the educated pig to itself, "but air they ick thay."

Riker took a command decision. "Someone back on Earth thinks this thing is important. Let’s get it back up to the ship. We can worry about what it does later."

"What about —" Geordi indicated the piglet.

"I don’t see there’s anything we can do about Doofus’ pig," Riker said. "It’s obviously indigenous to this planet. It’s not sentient, so it probably won’t remember us after we’ve gone."

"We’re just going to leave it here?" said Deanna, shocked.

"It’s not like it’s going to be any use to us aboard the Enterprise," said Riker.

"Oo yea ink not thay?" said the educated pig. "Evel lay icks teen say!"

"And just imagine what the Captain would say," Geordi pointed out, "if we beamed back aboard with a piglet!"

Deanna, sighing, crouched down to pat the piglet again. It squirmed hopefully.

"Bye bye, little piggy," she said, then stood stiffly, ready to leave.

"Ut bay " began the educated pig, but the whine of the transporter had taken his visitors, and The Machine, away.

"Uck it fey," said the educated pig, and went home.

Some time later the Enterprise crew figured out what The Machine was for. And there was much rejoicing aboard the ship. And all the crew efficiency ratings went down.


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