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Fractured Fairy Tales

The Salamander Pilot, Continued

(Inspired by The Frog Prince Continued, by Jon Scieszka)

The Doctor restored the salamander's DNA (under the watchful eye of Princess Janeway). He turned into a prince, er, a pilot. And they lived happily ever after . . .

Kind of. Sort of. Well, at least they were out of Kazon space. Truth is, Princess Janeway and her Pilot were absolutely miserable.

"Stop changing the atmosphere in our quarters to 80% nitrogen and 20% acidichloride," nagged the Princess.

"How come you never look at pictures of the kids anymore," whined the Pilot.

The Pilot and the Princess were so unhappy they didn't know what to do.

"I wish you wouldn't crawl all over the furniture," snapped the Princess, giving him the Look. "And it might be nice if you left our quarters once and a while to pilot the ship or get injured by some aliens or whatever."

The Pilot didn't feel like getting injured by anything. He just felt like running away (or hiding in Sandrine's). But then he remembered their adventure together, passing the Threshold, mutating into a new lifeform. Becoming a father. And he knew that every adventure was supposed to end: "And they lived happily ever after." So he stayed in their quarters and drove Princess Janeway absolutely batty.

Then one day, Princess Janeway really lost her temper, giving him the Look and then the Look again.

"You keep me awake all night chasing bugs around the bed. Now I find that you've constructed a pond in the corner. I can't believe that I actually kissed your slimy salamander lips. Not to mention bearing your offspring. Sometimes I think we would both be better off if you were still a salamander."

That's when the idea hit him. The Pilot said, "Yes! Of course -- still a salamander!" And he ran off into the ship's corridors, looking for a witch, or even a crewman, who could turn him back into a salamander.

The Pilot hadn't gone very far when he ran into someone he thought might be perfect for the job: a very tall, dark skinned, pointy-eared witch. "Excuse me Miss . . . er, Mister Witch, I was hoping you could help me."

"You do not happen to be attempting to extrapolate the location of a young, fair female with hair as dark as night, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow?"

"Why, no. I'm not interested in a young female ... did you say she was fair-looking ... Actually, I was hoping you could turn me back into a salamander."

"Are you absolutely positive that you are not seeking to rescue this female."


"Even so, it would be illogical for me to allow you to continue. I had planned on giving this apple to another individual. Now I believe that it should be consumed by you."

Knowing a poisoned apple when he saw one, the Pilot didn't even stay to say, "No thank you." He ran down corridor after corridor until he saw another individual who might be able to help him.

"Ahem. Mister Witch, I was wondering if you could help me. I'm looking for a way to be turned back into a salamander."

"Eh? Are you a prince?" The young male witch leaned forward, scrutinizing the Pilot.

"No, I'm a Pilot. And I want you to turn me back into a salamander."

Observing the Pilot's striking appearance, particularly his beautiful blue-gray eyes, the witch said, "Are you sure you're not a prince? I can't have any princes coming along, waking up Sleeping Beauty. You do know that every babe in this quadrant has been designated as mine. I was voted as one of the 50 most beautiful witches in the galaxy, after all. I've even been told that my Inner Light is absolutely dazzling . . ."

Not bothering to listen to the rest of the witch's self-aggrandizing, the Pilot continued along the corridor until he saw an area that appeared to be made of candy. And there, in the middle of a lollipop garden was a witch who was strangely ... attractive.

Smoothing out his hair, the Pilot said, "Mmmm . . . Excuse me, Miss Witch. I was wondering if you could help me . . ."

Before he had a chance to say anything else, the brown-eyed, brunette witch said (in an alluring voice), "How nice. Company for dinner. I was expecting a couple of kids to come along but you'll be ... even better."

The Pilot could have sworn he heard the sultry witch growling under her breath, but continued, "What I'd really like is for you to turn me into a salamander."

"Salamander, schmalamander. After dinner, we could do a little reading. Have you ever read Warrior Witches At the River of Blood?"

Noticing that the witch was reaching for a piece of candy shaped suspiciously like a bat'leth, the Pilot thought it would be in his best interests to get on his way. He hadn't gone very far when he noticed a glittering bubble descending slowly from the ceiling. The bubble grew larger and larger until he found himself staring at a lovely, blonde, elven-eared woman wearing a radiant white gown.

"Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" asked the blue-eyed pixie.

"I'm not a witch at all. I'm a Pilot. The Salamander Pilot -- perhaps you've heard of me. And I was hoping that you could take that wand of yours and turn me back into a salamander."

"Did you try clicking your heels together, saying, 'There's nothing like being a salamander, there's nothing like being a salamander, there's nothing like being a salamander . . ."

Casting her gaze upon his shiny Starfleet issue footwear, she remarked, "It wouldn't work anyway -- wrong shoes. Perhaps you'd like to phase with me to a new plane of existence instead?"

The Pilot briefly considered the good witch's offer but opted to continue on his way. He walked for what seemed like hours until he saw something in the distance. Clad in a garish, multi-hued gown was the hairiest, spottiest witch he had ever seen.

Hoping that this witch would be more helpful than the others, the Pilot started to speak, "Miss, er, Mister Witch, I was wondering if you could help me. You see, I'm the Salamander Pilot. The Salamander Pilot. You know, the one who broke the Warp Ten Barrier, mutated into a new lifeform, etc. Anyway, I was hoping that you could possibly turn me back into a salamander. Life as a mammal just isn't what it's cracked up to be. Think you can do it?"

"Sounds like you have a real morale problem. I've got just the thing for you. I was on my way to see a young ensign about a ball on the holodeck -- how would you like to go, too? You're the funniest looking salamander I've ever seen but I bet you'd have an exhilirating time just the same. Now, what can we do about those drab clothes of yours . . ."

Growing red in the face, the Pilot said, "I am not a SALAMANDER. I said I would like you to turn me INTO a salamander. Can you do it?!"

"Well, I've never done salamanders before, but I'll give it a try. Hold on."

With that, the Fairy Godmother waved his magic wand and turned the Pilot into ... a steaming bowl of Leola root stew. He could not believe his rotten luck.

Time passed. Crew members came looking for meals. Thank goodness he wasn't turned into something more appetizing. He thought about what an idiot he'd been. How he could have been crawling around his warm quarters with Princess Janeway, living happily ever after. But no. Now he was stuck as a bowl of Leola root stew forever. He contemplated a future of mold, mold, and more mold (no chance someone would eat him and put him out of his misery). He thought these depressing, miserable thoughts until, far away in the holodeck, the clock struck midnight.

Turning back into his former Pilot self, he ran down the endless corridors until crashing into yet another witch. This one was wearing a black dress, black pointy hat, and bore a distinctive facial tattoo.

"I'll get you my pretty, and your little Princess Janeway, too. Hell, forget you. I'll settle for Princess Janeway. Let's see what nasty spell I can cast to get you out of the way ... Receding hairline (looking at Pilot) ... nah. Warts -- no. I've got it -- Impotence!"

As soon as the Pilot heard the witch's chosen spell, he hurried over to the nearest replicator and (since he was well-versed in the cinema of the twentieth century) replicated a Super Soaker 2000. Just before the spell was cast (Thank God), he aimed and fired.

"I'm melting, I'm melting. What a world, what a world. Never even got to be captain ... Never got the Captain ... What a world, what a world ..."

Now saddled with a massive headache (as well as the unpleasant aftertaste of Leola root), the Pilot decided to give up his foolish quest and accept his fate. Just as he passed through the doors to Sickbay, he discovered that Princess Janeway was there along with the Doctor.

"Where have you been? I've been worried sick. Why are you such a mess -- and why do you stink of Leola root?"

The Pilot looked at the Princess who had been with him when no one else on the ship had (of course, he had to kidnap her, render her unconscious, drag her onto a shuttle, and mutate her into a new lifeform). The Princess who had actually kissed (and then some) his slimy salamander lips.

The Pilot said, shame-faced, "I was trying to find a way to turn into a salamander so we could live happily ever after."

The Doctor suddenly piped in, "Well, that would be easy enough."

Shocked, the Pilot said, "Doctor, YOU are a witch?"

"Don't be ridiculous. I'm a doctor, not a practitioner of the black arts. I'm simply saying that you could steal a shuttle, reach Warp 10, and mutate back into salamander form."

The Pilot looked at the Princess. The Princess looked at the Pilot. Then the two of them stole a shuttle, broke the Threshold, and rejoined their offspring in the family swamp.

And they slithered off happily ever after.

The End