Upon arriving at the Golden Horseshoe Inn, another problem presented itself, this time one of currency. Currency that the Enterprise away team, who’d never expected to need it in the first place, lacked.
“Well you can’t stay here, not unless you can pay,” huffed the proprietress, a thin, long legged mare named Customer Service. Data looked perplexed as he tried to quickly figure out what to do.
“I have an idea… I’ll spot y’all tonight, and tomorrow you can come work on my apple farm to work off your debt.” suggested Applejack and Data nodded.
“That would be acceptable. One room please.” he said, turning back to Customer Service. She showed them to a room on the second floor… not a good room but not a bad room either. Data thanked her and the away team went inside to discuss what their strategy was going to be.
“Having fun?” asked a familiar voice. In a puff of smoke, a creature appeared, lounging on one of the beds. It had a spiraled horn on one side of it’s head, on the other something that resembled an antler. The body seemed to be a mishmash of different creatures–lion, serpent, pony. But the voice was unmistakable: Q.
Data blinked. “Q,” he said simply and the creature slithered to the floor, landing near Data’s feet as he propped his head on his hand, his elbow resting on the floor.
“Here they call me Discord… they think I’m an evil spirit or something.” Q giggled.
“Discord is an appropriate name… seeing as that’s all you ever do.” Moskevitz growled softly. Discord/Q shook his head and made a tut-tut noise.
“Now come on Moskevitz… a little while ago you were quite happy to be turned into ponies. I was only doing what you wished.” Discord/Q said in a wheedling, almost whining, tone. Moskevitz started to cross his arms… then fell over on his face as he realized he could no longer do so unless he was already sitting down. How irritating, he couldn’t help but think. S’Jene raised one thin, slightly pointy eyebrow.
“The question isn’t whether we are happy at being turned into ponies. The question is what will it take to convince you to turn us back. We cannot, at present, contact our crew, because you have taken both our uniforms and our comm badges. You almost always ask for some kind of ‘payment’ in order to get what you want. Therefore it is only logical to assume you want us to do something for you, and when we do it, you will return us to our natural forms as well as give us back our clothing and comm badges.” S’Jenes said, summing up the situation logically.
“Quite right, my little Vulcan.” Q/Discord tweaked S’Jenes nose, leaving him looking insulted. “You have three days… three days from this moment right here… to figure out why I turned you into ponies. Because I had a reason, and it’s a good one. Ooh, it is EVER so much a good reason.” Q/Discord was giggling and rubbing his fore limbs together (one ended in a lion’s paw, the other a goat-life hoof).
“Will you give us any clues to help us figure out why you have done this to us?” Data asked and Q/Discord shook his head.
“Nope. That would make it all too easy for you to figure out the answer, my dear walking pile of circuitry,” Q/Discord cooed, stroking Data’s cheek with the forelimb that ended in a large golden lion-like paw.
“But I am more than… ” Data started to say, then blinked. He wasn’t a pile of circuits, tubes and wires anymore. He was flesh and blood, oddly enough. He almost couldn’t stop himself from leaning into the alien touch of Discord’s forepaw on his face. He found that he craved touch… from Discord, from the other team members, from ANYBODY. Whoa. He’d have to store that sensation for later, so he could analyze it further.
“Have fun, kiddies!” Discord/Q chuckled as he disappeared in a cloud of smoke that left them all choking and coughing on it. S’Jenes let out a very un-Vulcan like snort of irritation. If he didn’t tell them what they were looking for, how on earth could they be expected to find it, he wondered to himself.
Moskevitz drew one hoof across his eye, trying to keep it from watering after the smoke had gotten into it. Or at least that’s what he told himself. The situation seemed hopeless, and while he liked and admired both S’Jenes and Commander Data, he didn’t have faith that they would be able to pull themselves out of this mess. The beings on this planet had chosen well when they decided to call Q “Discord”. Everywhere he went, every time he appeared to the Enterprise crew, he caused havoc and discord wherever he went on the ship. This time it was no different… he was playing with them like they were mechanical wind up toys to go or stop at his pleasure. Typical Q behavior.