The Real World: The Next Generation

Commander Data and Captain Jean-Luc Picard are sitting in the Enterprise ready room.

Commander Data comments, “I find this mission to be highly illogical, Captain.”

Captain Picard replies, “Yes, I know, but we have no choice but to go through with the alliance.”

“But the Enterprise has fought off many worthy adversaries—why should we give up without even firing a single photon torpedo?”

“Listen Mr. Data, we survived numerous adventures over the years, but trust me, this time resistance IS futile. Let’s just get it over with and move on.”

Picard and Data walk out of the ready room on to the main bridge of the Enterprise. The room is empty except for two men poised with cameras. Picard walks over to a waiting camera man, briefly pauses, and starts reading from a script. “This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live on a starship and have their lives holographically recorded, and find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting REAL. The Real World: The Next Generation!”

Picard gestures at the turbolift and continues, “And now let’s welcome the seven young strangers who will be running the Enterprise on her next mission.”

Four girls and three guys in their early twenties sheepishly walk out of the turbolift and on to the bridge. After brief introductions with Captain Picard and Commander Data, the Captain explains the mission. “With the assistance of Commander Data and myself, the seven of you will be in charge of…” The captain rolls his eyes and quietly sighs to himself. “…delivering a shipment of Ramulan ale to the resort planet Risa. While this may not be the most dangerous mission ever attempted, you will have to learn about ship navigation, interstellar communications, and of course… “

“Hey everyone, I just found a ****load of Ramulan ale in the cargo hold,” one of the seven strangers who apparently snuck off during the introductions yelled as he burst out of the turbo lift, “and someone loaded thrity-seven different erotic hot tub programs on to the holodeck’s computer! Let’s get it on!”

The seven strangers start celebrating and giving each other high fives as they head towards the holodeck—completely forgetting about the Captain and their new mission.

The next scene shows the seven strangers getting drunk in the hot tub. Picard and Data are sitting in the tub still in their complete uniforms looking awkward and uncomfortable.

“Dude, I am sooooo wasted on this Ramulan ale… what all is in it?” One of the seven asked.

Sandy and Jill started a conversation. “So if you could do anyone here, who would it be?”

“Honestly?” Jill asked.

Sandy replied, “Yeah.”

“It may just be that I’m really drunk right now,” Jill confessed, “But I think it would be that robot guy.”

Commander Data, hearing his name, cocked his head slightly and addressed the girl’s comment. “I am fully functional, programmed in multiple techniques.”

“Data!” Picard snapped, “We need to get things moving here. We must to get to Risa as fast as possible so we can move on to our next REAL mission—delivering badly needed medical supplies to Barrius 3.”

One of the other women in the hot tub piped up. “It may be because my grandfather did bad, bad things to me when I was young, but that bald English guy is looking pretty good to me right about now if I could just convince him to spank me for not cleaning up my room perfectly. Is that a bad thing?”

The Captain got shivers just thinking how many things were wrong with the entire situation. Picard yelled out, “Enough is enough. Computer—end holodeck program and seal off the cargo hold to everyone but myself and Commander Data. The rest of you will get into a regulation Star Fleet uniform and report the main bridge in ten minutes.”

Captain Picard starting walking briskly out of the holodeck. “Commander, you are with me.” He ordered. Data looked over at Jill, made a telephone gesture with his thumb and pinky and silently mouthed the words “fully functional” before following the Captain to the bridge.

Eventually, everyone finds their way into uniforms and to the main bridge. The Captain starts explaining how to operate various functions on the ship. “Everything can be accessed through voice commands to the computer.” The Captain explained. “For example: computer—plot a course to Risa.”

The computer responded, “Course laid out. At warp eight we will arrive at Risa in three hours.”

Steve, the one who first located the Ramulan ale, piped up, “Hey computer—you sound pretty hot. What do you look like in a bikini?”

The computer responded, “Please restate the command.”

Captain Picard smacked Steve on the top of his head. “This is not a game! Look, all you guys have to do is tell the computer to engage on the course to Risa and we will be on our way. Do you think we could get that done sometime today?”

Jill looked around and asked the Captain, “So which one of us gets to say ‘engage’?”

“What? It doesn’t matter. Someone says it and the ship starts moving.” The Captain explained.

“I think we need to have a ship-wide meeting to decide.” Steve said.

“I give up! Commander Data—you are in charge. If they can’t decide who gets to say ‘engage’ in the next ten minutes Data will say it. I’ll be in my quarters reading Great Expectations until we get to Risa.” The Captain ordered as he walked towards the turbolift.

Three hours later Picard and Data are waving goodbye to the seven Real World members on the planet of Risa displayed on the main screen on the bridge.

“Captain,” Data started, “I found this mission provided me with a unique insight into the human condition.”

“What are you talking about Data?” the Captain asked, “This was nothing more than seven spoiled kids allowed to run around the ship for the entertainment of the holoprojector audience. What is insightful about that?”

“After you retired to you quarters,” Data explained, “with the aid of my newly installed emotion chip, Jill demonstrated several ways to make me even more fully functional, if you know what I mean.”

Not sure how to respond to Data’s last comment, the captain replied, “Plot a course to Barrius 3, warp 9, Commander.”

“Course plotted,” Data replied. “Captain, can I ask you a question?”

“What is it Data?”

“Can I say ‘engage’ this time?” Data asked.

“Sure Data.” The Captain said, with a hint of resignation in his voice.