Fic: "Serenterprise-D" (Firefly/Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover)
By the way, after writing this, I spent a good half-hour of toll booth time pondering the deeper implications of how the Enterprise is always called a "ship" (formal, technical, elegant), while Serenity is a "boat" (simple, essential, to the point). Yeah, I didn't come up with anything.
Captain's personal log, supplemental to official entry regarding transdimensional phenomena around the Coronas Wormhole Field:
Note to self, stop picking up ships that come out of wormholes. It always ends in tears.
"Feyu!" Malcolm Reynolds gasped, which the Universal Translator opted not to translate. Jean-Luc Picard was grateful for the machine's unerring propriety. "You drink this crap?"
"It's called Earl Grey tea."
"Tastes like something Kaylee would drain out of the engine." He made a face and put the teacup down, pushing it as far across the table from himself as he could manage. "Speaking of which, you haven't told her about this replicator thing, have you?"
"I'm sure someone has." Picard tried not to frown at his guest, but really, if one insisted on wearing trousers of that cut, they could at least have the decency to be black, so as not to draw the eye untowardley. He'd nearly lost three ensigns walking the man from the shuttle bay to the ready room. Not to mention Counsellor Troi.
"Uh-oh." Mal sighed and swung his boots up onto the polished desktop. Picard winced. "Any idea how many strawberries that thing can make in an hour?"
"Alive but not alive...is there a soul, and does it dream of electric heavens lit up in neon..." River moved closer, until she stared into his eyes from a mere inch away. Neither of them blinked. "Yellow."
"Are you certain you do not need to see the doctor?" Mr. Data asked with impeccable politeness, making a note in one of his subroutines that the girl moved in a manner quite reminiscent of his cat, Spot.
"Tired of doctors." River slumped back in her chair, and shifted her attention to scowl at the tri-d chess set on the table. "A more complex iteration of an ancient and basic logical puzzle. Three times boring is still boring." She looked at him again, sideways, thoughtfully. "They opened up my head and looked at my brain, you know."
Pleased that they had something in common to discuss, Data immediatley reached for the trigger to open the panels over his positronic net. "I can do that quite easily."
She moved closer and peered at the flashing lights. "Do they stick needles inside?"
"Screwdrivers," Data said matter-of-factly.
River shuddered. "Poor thing."
"I think I know exactly what you mean." William T. Riker nodded and poured himself and his companion another round of synthehol. "Let me guess- he sort of clenches his jaw, stares off into the distance, and says 'This is something I must do, Number One'?"
"Well, he never calls me that, and the accent's different," Zoe replied, draining her glass in a single healthy gulp, "but the jaw and the eyes? Dead-on."
"And then he runs off to put himself in danger." He shook his head in sympathy. "Captains. Enough to drive you crazy."
"Amen," she sighed.
"Oh, my God," Simon breathed, turning in a slow circle in the middle of the sickbay. "It's like Heaven, only with fewer logical fallacies."
"I think you set up a bit of a fallacy there yourself," Dr. Crusher said with a smile, "what with mentioning God and then denouncing Heaven..."
"It's so shiny," Simon breathed, ignorning her. "So white." He touched a counter surface with reverence. "Sterile. I bet you go entire days without anyone trying to borrow your working space to clean engine parts or weapons."
Crusher stared at him for a moment. "You really have to meet my son, Wesley. It might be disturbingly like looking in a mirror, but I think you'll both find it reassuring. Along the lines of discovering proof of your own existence."
Simon blinked. "Huh?"
"Exactly." She nodded. "Let's call him right now."
"It can really make anything I want?" If Kaylee's eyes got any wider, Wash was afraid they might have to borrow this Mr. LaForge's eyepiece to hold them in place.
"Anything," Geordi assured her, and Wash was pleased with the chance to log a real-world example of infinite patience.
"What if I wanted...kumquats?"
"Just ask for it." He gave Wash a tired smile. "You were asking?"
"I was just curious about how you get such a big ship to handle so smoothly." He shook his head in admiration. "I'd love to take one of your shuttles out for a spin, if you'll let me. I mean, obviously I can't get behind the wheel of the big rig..."
Geordi shrugged. "The computer does most of it, actually. It's really not as exciting as you'd think."
Kaylee popped her sixteenth strawberry into her mouth and pointed over Geordi's shoulder at the warp core. "How many amps do you get out of that thing?"
"Now that," Jayne said, with an expression that could only be defined as perfect happiness, so pure that if he'd ever spared a moment's concern for his soul, he might have feared for its safety, "is a knife."
"It's a sword, actually," Worf said as patiently as his nature would allow, wincing at the way the other man was handling the priceless thing. ""A ceremonial blade, symbolic of much history and honor."
"Whatever." Jayne stepped sideways, evading Worf's attempt to seize the blade, and held the bat'leth up to the light. "I bet this thing could take a guy's head off easy as spit."
Worf nodded solemnly. "Indeed it can," he said with no small amount of pride.
Jayne's eyes widened. "No shit?"
"Computer," Worf said, glancing at the holodeck's control panel. "Run program Worf eight-six-alpha. The battle of Qat'lan."
Jayne sighed happily as the enemy charged. "Oh hell yes."
"Are you feeling better?" Inara asked, holding out a glass of water. "You didn't hit your head, did you?"
"Much better, thank you." Deanna Troi made a face and took a careful sip of the water. "I didn't hurt anything but my dignity."
"A lot of people have very strong reactions to meeting River," Inara said, fluffing out her skirts and settling herself beside Troi on the couch. "But no one's ever actually fainted before."
"There's just so much going on in her head. It was a bit overwhelming." She shook her head. "You must have realized that a high value is placed on discipline and emotional control around here."
"Yes," Inara said, glancing around the breathtakingly neat little room. "It's certainly a change."
"Some things are the same everywhere, though," Troi said, looking thoughtfully down at the floor. "For one thing, your people do the same thing as the ones around here- just run around feeling all the time and never do anything about it."
"Oh, I know!" Inara said, throwing her hands in the air and flopping back against the cushions. "I swear, they're only happy when they're making themselves miserable."
"And of course they'd rather die than take our advice."
"What do we know? We're only trained professionals."
Inara glanced over at Troi and grinned. "You know, I could do just the cutest thing with your hair..."
"I think there's really only one thing I've learned after all these years of wandering around the galaxy." Guinan stared dreamily out the window at the stars.
Book smiled faintly and sipped his drink. "And what's that?"
She grinned. "People are funny."
"I'll drink to that." They toasted each other and settled into silence for a moment.
"Nice people, your crew," Guinan said.
"They do all right." Book rolled his glass between his palms. "Get themselves into more trouble than you'd think possible, but they always seem to come through."
"We have a saying around here," she said, looking out the window again. "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships named Enterprise."
"Ours is called Serenity," Book murmured, taking another sip.
"Well, yes, but you have fools, don't you?"
"In full supply."
"You realize, Number One," Picard muttered sourly as they walked toward the shuttle bay, "that they've probably stolen everything that's not nailed down."
"I protest!" Mal said from a pace behind them.
"Sir, he has a point," Zoe murmured.
"All right, I'll check Jayne's pockets before we leave."
"And who'll check yours, sir?"
Riker glanced back over his shoulder and grinned. "I don't know, Captain, I enjoyed the visit. A change of pace, anyway."
"Yes. Well." Picard paused at the bay doors and turned to Mal and Zoe, attempting a smile. "Mr. Data assures me that the wormhole will take you precisely back to where you came from."
"That's great. And I do apologize for what River said about your head. She ain't quite right, you know. Myself, I think you look quite distinguished."
"Given Miss Tam's...unique circumstances, I of course took no offense. Number One, if you don't stop smirking, I'll send you with them."
"My apologies, sir." Riker did his best to look contrite, but he and Zoe exchanged grins when the captains turned away.
"All right," Mal called to his crew as they entered the shuttle bay. "She ready to fly?"
"All set, sir," Kaylee chirped, stashing a box of contraband fruit inside the main doors. "I even souped her up a bit. Wash is going to be able to make her do everything but cook us dinner."
"Are you sure Jayne should have that thing?" Simon stared anxiously at the bat'leth that rested on top of the mule. "It's a very small ship...we don't want any accidents..."
"It's mine and I'm keeping it," Jayne snapped, taking a menacing step toward the doctor.
"Hey!" Mal shouted. "I'd like to get this boat moving sometime today. So...make it so."
They stared blankly at him. He shrugged.
"Just something new I'm trying out."
Captain's personal log:
Our guests have left us, and things are gradually returning to normal. Geordi assures me that it should only take a few days to convince Mr. Data to stop speaking in aphorisms and rubbing soup in his hair. I can only hope Mr. Crusher's sudden fondness for vests as off-duty wear is as short-lived.
Although, I must say, I rather like the new thing Counsellor Troi is doing with her hair.