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Animated Earth Chronicles: The Legend of Darla Dimple


    I smiled as Max led Danny into the enormous sitting room of my mansion. "Thanks for coming over, Donald," I said. 
    "Uh, it's Danny," Danny said. 
    "Sorry. Danny. Do you want an animal cracker?" I asked. Danny hesitated to respond. "No? More for me," I said before I bit off the head on the rabbit-shaped animal cracker I held and tossed the rest of it on the table in front of him.
     "I wanted to apologize for what Max did the other day," I said as I gestured for Max to put out his hand. He did. "He's so bad sometimes," I said as I slapped Max on the hand. 
    "It's all right, Miss Dimple," Danny said. 
    "No, no. It's terrible! Awful! Cruel! Inappropriately violent," I said, biting off the heads of more crackers and throwing the bodies on the table in front of Danny. "And I want to make it all up to you."
     "You don't have to," Danny said. 
    "I insist!" I said. "Is there anything you need?" 
    "No," Danny said. 
    I reached for a cat-shaped animal cracker, but held back not wanting to scare Danny off. "Isn't there a certain someone who runs a certain studio that I could introduce you to?" I asked. 
    "Well, is there a way that you can arrange for me and the other animals to perform for L.B. Mammoth?" Danny asked. 
    "Why, Dennis! I'd be delighted!" I said, reaching for the cat-shaped cracker. "Idea! Maybe you can all do a number in my movie!" 
    "You mean it?" Danny asked.
    " It's just what the picture needs!" I said. "I'll give you full use of my soundstage, my ark and anything else you may need. You just get all your little friends ready and I'll make sure L.B. sees your SPLASHY debut."

    Danny accepted my proposal. After Danny left, I dismissed Max so I could work about my evil plan in peace. Alone in the sitting room, I decided to take a little nap. As I slept, I could see another entity, wearing some kind of uniform and with a series of ridges on the bridge of the nose. 
    "I'm disappointed in you, Darla," the mysterious entity said. "Before the accident, you wouldn't be planning this cockamamie plan to mess over Danny.
    "Who are you?" I asked.    
    "I'm your conscience," the entity said. "When next we meet, in the waking world, we will be one." 
    I woke up with a start and screamed for Max. 
    "Yes, Miss Dimpool?" Max said. 
    "Max, when we first met, was I like this?" I asked him. Max thought for a moment, then shook his head. "Was I....nicer?" I asked. Max nodded. "Hmmm...." I said.

    The next day, Max and I hid in the shadows of the huge special effects booth of Soundstage 13, my own personal soundstage. Below, Danny and the other animals were busy getting ready for their audition for L.B. Mammoth. The male penguin was running through the pre-scene checklist. Max and I crept into the light, tied up the penguin, and gagged him.
    "Sorry, penguin. But, into each life, a little rain must fall," I said. "Max! Man the valve!" 
    "Yes, Miss Dimpool," Max said. Max turned the valve. Rain started to come from the shower heads on the ceiling of the stage. 
    "More water, Max! More water!" I said. Max turned the valve as far as it could go. The shower heads bulged, then burst open, flooding the stage.

    Next, I called for Max to turn on the wind machine. Max tore the guards off the seven large fans, one at a time, then started them like you'd start a plane by spinning its propellers. After Max started the thunder and lightning, we decided to make a break for it. We did not see the mayhem that followed, but we knew the result. L.B. ordered every animal thrown off the lot.

    As Max drove me off the lot, I saw the animals. A microscopic part of myself felt sorry for the animals who suffered as a result of my quest to keep Danny from stardom. The rest of me thought that the ends justified the means. I rolled down my window and saw Danny. I hugged him. "Nice working with you, Danny," I said.

    Danny recalled what happened as I drove away:

"All the animals were upset at me for what happened. When you hugged me, they knew what had happened. They knew of your reputation after the Darladdin incident. They were horrified that you were the "little angel" I spoke of who set the whole thing up."

    With Danny seemingly out of the way, I focused on the final days of filming on Lil' Ark Angel, then got ready for the world premiere the following Saturday. It would be my Judgment Day.



    Meanwhile, the part of myself that was Ensign Sito Jaxa, Alpha Shift Tactical Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D, was facing her own Judgment Day. It was time for the quarterly crew evaluations, where two of the senior officers (most of the time Executive Officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Lt. Commander Deanna Troi) were evaluating the junior officers to see who deserved promotions.

    I sat in Ten-Forward, the Enterprise's lounge area, talking with three of my friends-Sam Lavelle, one of the ship's CONN officers, Taurik, a Vulcan and one of the ship's engineers and Alyssa Ogawa, a nurse-when we saw Commander Riker and Counselor Troi discussing something. Most likely, it was the crew evaluations. Sam heard Riker and Troi laughing. 
    "What could be so funny?" Sam asked.
    "What's so funny about crew evaluations?" Alyssa smiled. "Don't worry about it, Sam," she said.
    "Can't we just try and have a good time here?" I asked.
    "How can I have a good time when my career is being decided across the room?" Sam asked. He then held crossed fingers to his head and started to chant, "Think 'promotion.' 'Promotion.'"
    "You can't really believe that what you're doing will influence the outcome of your evaluation," Taurik said. Sam only responded by chanting louder. 
    "It's a time-honored strategy," Alyssa said. 
    "The Vedeks of the Janalan Order maintain a round-the-clock chant for the benefit of the Bajoran people," I added.
    "Considering the history of your planet," Taurik responded, "that doesn't exactly validate what he is doing."
     "Promote me please so I can make Lieutenant and have my own room," Sam said.

    I smiled. We Ensigns had to share a stateroom. And, evidentially, Sam and Taurik were sharing one. "If you are unhappy sharing quarters with me, then you should put in for a new room assignment...just in case you're not promoted," Taurik said.

    Ben, a civilian waiter, walked up to our table after delivering coffee to Riker and Troi's table.
    "So, are they working on crew evaluations?" Sam asked.
    "Yep," Ben said.
    "Who are they talking about?" I asked.
    "It's not my place to say," Ben said.
    "Come on, Ben. Please," I said, a sentiment echoed by Alyssa and Sam. Taurik, being a logical, unemotional Vulcan, remained silent.
    "All right, but I'm not sure you two are gonna like it."
    Ben leaned between me and Sam. "Apparently, you two are up for the same job," Ben said. Sam and I shared worried looks. We were in for one heck of a ride.

    A few days later, Commander Riker decided to add a battle drill to the evaluations. 
    "Lock phasers on target," Riker ordered. I tapped a few buttons on the Tactical panel I stood at. "Phasers locked," I said in confirmation. 
    "The enemy is firing," Lt. Commander Data, the senior OPS officer said.
    "Hard to starboard," Riker ordered. Sam echoed the command. "Fire phasers," Riker ordered. I hesitated for a moment, unsure of where the "fire" button was on the panel configuration I was working with. Finally, I found it and pushed it. "Firing," I said.

    "The target is destroyed," Data said.
     "End simulation sequence. Secure from drill," Riker said. Checking the display on the arm of the command chair, Riker frowned. "Alpha shift, your response time was seven percent slower than Gamma shift. All departments, submit drill evaluation reports by 0900 hours." Riker then turned to face me. "What happened back there, Ensign?" he asked me.

    "I'm sorry, sir," I said. "When we changed course, I had to relock phasers before I could fire."
    "Next time, try letting the locking relay float until the actual order to fire is given," Riker said. "They may not teach that trick at the Academy, but it works."
    "Thank you, sir," I said. Riker then ordered Sam to resume the previous course and speed, so we could rendezvous with the U.S.S. Clement.

    The Captain's Ready Room opened and Captain Picard walked on the Bridge. "Helm, change course for the Argaya System, maximum warp," Picard said.
    "Aye, sir," Sam said.
    "What happened to our rendezvous with the Clement?" Riker asked.
    "I've just recieved new orders from Starfleet. We'll discuss it in the Observation Lounge," Picard said, gesturing for Data and Lieutenant Worf, my superior officer, to follow him and Riker.

    As Riker walked to the Observation Lounge, he said, "Ensign Sito, take over at OPS."
    "Yes, sir," I said as I walked down to OPS. When I was seated at OPS, I leaned over to Sam. "The Argaya system is close to the Cardassian border. I wonder why we're going there? How'd you like to be a spider under that table?"
    Sam chuckled. "What? Is that like a fly on the wall?" he asked me.
    "I guess so," I responded."You did really well during the drill."
    "Apparently, Commander Riker didn't think so," Sam said. "I swear he's got it in for me."
    "You're imagining things," I said.
    "Yeah? Then how come you're sitting in that chair instead of me?" Sam asked.
    "I guess he figured I need more practice than you do," I said.

    Later, after Picard, Riker, Data and Worf returned to the Bridge, I made my way down to see Counselor Troi for my weekly appointment. "Ensign, have you had any new dreams about Darla Dimple?" Deanna asked.
    "As a matter of fact, I have," I said.
    "What did they involve?" Deanna asked.
    "Well, as I said at our last meeting, Darla had just sabotaged the soundstage water pipes, flooding the stage and placing the blame on Danny and the rest of the animals," I said.
    "So, what happened next?" Deanna asked. I then explained to Counselor Troi about the Lil' Ark Angel premiere.



    Grauman's Chinese Theater was ready for the premiere of my latest film, Lil' Ark Angel. I had received no further visits from the saw-nosed woman in the odd uniform. In fact, my only priority was to get dolled up for my big night.

    I wrote "My day has come. Darla Dimple," then put my hand prints in wet cement, as was the custom at a Hollywood premiere. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little boy run up to me, holding a pencil and paper. He wanted an autograph! Naturally, I gave him one and posed for a photo with him. "Miss Dimple, we need to go inside," Flanigan said.

    In our balcony overlooking the theater, we sat, watching the movie. When it was over, the audience cheered. I stood, accepting the accolades being heaped on me. Suddenly, a familiar-and unwelcome-voice yelled out, "Ladies and gentlemen!" I looked down and saw Danny. What was he up to?
    "Today, we've come to honor Miss Darla Dimple," Danny said. "And because Darla Dimple cares, she's arranged a special treat for you!"
    "Have I?" I said, not knowing what was going on.
    "A special live show with an all-animal cast!" Danny said. I then knew what Danny had done.

    After Danny pointed to the back row of the theater, gesturing for people-I mean, animals-that weren't there, everyone in the theater started to laugh.
    "Well," I started with a yawn, "it is kinda getting kind of more or less rather late." The curtains exploded open, revealing Danny. "You couldn't be more right," he said. "Hit it, Pudge!"

    A portion of the curtains opened, revealing the male penguin, playing a saxophone. As Danny began to sing, I hoped no other surprises were hidden behind the curtain. But, when Sawyer appeared, I knew that I only had one chance to keep my career intact. So, I snuck to the backstage control area and flipped a switch marked "Curtain." I thought it would close the curtain. But, instead, it opened the curtain wider. When I heard the audience reaction, I knew something was wrong.

    I pulled another switch. For a moment, the lights dimmed. I knew my career was safe. But, when the lights came back on, bigger and brighter than ever, I started to get a little desperate. So, bucket in hand, I climbed a service ladder, gathering the light bulbs as I climbed. When I reached the top of the ladder, I looked down and saw Danny and Sawyer dancing. I started to throw the light bulbs down to the stage like hand grenades. Danny and Sawyer danced around every one of them, causing a pyrotechnics display that did nothing but impress the audience.

    After I had extinguished every button, switch and object in the area, I thought that it was over. Then, I saw a huge switch labeled "Grandaddy of all Switches." I knew that this one switch would save me. I climbed to the top of the switch and, using what strength I had left, used my entire body to flip the switch. I laughed maniacally, but then looked on in horror as the grand finale blew the audience away, but not in the way I had hoped. The cannons on the Navy ship set piece blew me into a service elevator cab, which plummeted to the basement.

    I finally clawed my way back up on stage and grabbed Danny by the vest. "I'm the star, you stupid, stupid cat! I should have drowned you all when I flooded the stage!" I screamed. I heard an unnatural echo and saw that I had ended up with a boom microphone strapped to my back. My voice had been projected throughout the entire theater. The male penguin threw a switch marked "Trap Door." A door opened up beneath me, bringing an unceremonious end to my Hollywood career.

    After I found Max, who was sighted on a runaway hot-air balloon version of myself, I said to him, "Someday, Max, I will get my revenge on that cat!" I quietly made my way to Rustboro City, a town in the far-away Hoenn region. I needed a place, a quiet place, from which to plan my revenge on Danny and Sawyer. Nine years later, when two people-a boy with short-cropped blue hair and a girl with long red hair-and a cat Pokémon arrived in Rustboro City I knew that my time had come.




    "I haven't had a vision since," I said.
    "I see," Deanna said. "Well, if you have one, don't hesitate to call me. My office is always open."
    "Thanks, Deanna," I said as I left her office. As I turned the corner, I ran into a familiar face. "Oh, sorry, sir," I said. "I didn't see you." Lieutenant Andrew Powell smiled.  "It's all right, Ensign Sito. Anyway, I know you are friends with Alyssa. May I ask you for a little advice?" he asked me.
    "I'd be glad to help in any way I can, sir," I said. Powell held up his hand.
    "We're off duty, Sito. Please call me Andrew," he said. "Know a quiet place where we can talk?"
    "Yeah, I do," I said, gesturing for Andrew to follow me.

    We reached the holodeck. I pressed a button on the control panel. "Computer, give me Grauman's Chinese Theater, circa 1939 A.D. Old Earth Date," I said. "Program complete. Enter when ready," the computer said. The doors opened. Andrew and I walked in, the doors closing and disappearing behind us. "So, Andrew, what did you need to ask me?" I said.
    "Well, you know Alyssa and I have been going out for a while now," Andrew said. I nodded. "Well," Andrew continued, "I'm thinking about asking Alyssa to marry me."
    "That's so great," I exclaimed.
    "Ensign Sito, this is Lieutenant Worf. I'd like to talk to you in Ten-Forward. Come at your earliest convenience. "
    "I'll be there in 10 minutes, sir," I said. "Sito, out."
    I stood up to leave. "Andrew, ask her. I know she'll say yes. Computer, exit." The doors reappeared and opened. "Good luck, Andrew," I said as I left.

    As I entered Ten-Forward, I saw Worf at the bar. He was drinking prune juice of all things. "Ensign Sito," Worf said. as I took the adjoining seat
     "I'll have what he's having," I told the waiter.
    "So, how was your shift at OPS?" Worf asked.
    "I only filled in at OPS for a half hour while you were in the briefing, but I had to degauss the main deflector dish, recalibrate the navigational grid AND use internal sensors to find a lost puppy," I said. "OPS is a very different challenge from Tactical," Worf said.
    "I can't figure out why I'm even being considered for this assignment," I said.
    "I'm a Security officer." "I recommended you," Worf said.
    "I'll try not to let you down, sir," I said, surprised by the vote of confidence Worf had made.

    A few hours later, I was sent to Sickbay with orders not to let anyone but senior officers in. Alyssa was passing by and paused to ask, "What are you doing here?"
    "I'm not supposed to let anyone but the senior officers inside Sickbay," I told her.
    "Do you have any idea what's going on?" Alyssa asked me.
    "No. Do you?" I asked back.
    "I better go," Alyssa said. She left as Captain Picard approached.
    "Sir," I said back. As soon as Picard recognized me, his face shifted to a disapproving look . He walked into Sickbay as if we never met. I turned my attention back to the task at hand.

    A few minutes later, Picard walked out of Sickbay. "Ensign, you're with me," he said. I began to follow Picard to a turbolift. "Bridge," Picard said. "You are a certified pilot, Ensign?" he asked.
    "Yes, sir," I said. Once we reached the Bridge, I followed Picard into his Ready Room. "How long have you served aboard the Enterprise, Ensign?" he asked.
    "Seven months, sir," I replied.
    "I understand you've been recommended for the OPS position. Do you think you're up for it?"
    "I do, sir," I said confidently.
    "I'm not so sure. I'm concerned about your record," Picard said. "Sir?" I asked, knowing full well what Picard was referring to. "The incident you were involved in at the Academy," Picard said.
    "With all due respect, sir, that was three years ago," I said. "My record since then..."
    "It doesn't matter how long ago it was, Ensign," Picard interrupted. "Would you do something like that again?"
    "I can assure you, sir, that I would never, ever, jeopardize lives by participating in..." I started to say before Picard interrupted again. " a daredevil stunt? I certainly hope not," he said. "But what concerns me is that you participated in a cover-up that impeded an official investigation into the death of a cadet."
    "Sir, I know that I should have told the truth from the start..."
     Picard interrupted yet again. "Yes, you should. But you didn't. Instead you joined with the others in pretending that it was simply an accident," he said. "What do you think that tells me about your character?"
    I told Picard what my life was like after the Nova Squadron Incident. Picard responded by saying, "I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your time at the Academy. As far as I'm concerned, you should have been expelled for what you did. Quite frankly, I don't know how you made it aboard this ship. You're dismissed." I left the Bridge and pondered what Picard said.

    The next day, I went to Lieutenant Worf's mok'bara class. After class, Worf pulled me aside. "I also teach an advanced class. I believe you are ready to participate. But before you can join the group, you must pass the gik'tal," Worf said.
    "'Gik'tal?'" I repeated.
    "Yes," Worf said. "It is a very ancient Klingon ritual that tests your knowledge of the forms of the mok'bara."
    "I should practice first," I said.
    "No practice is permitted. That is part of the ritual. The test must be unannounced," Worf said before he started to tie a blindfold across my eyes. "Can you see?" he asked. "No," I said. "Good," Worf said.
He led me to the center of the training mat. "The gik'tal has begun," Worf said. "Defend yourself!" I went into a mok'bara stance. But, several times, I felt myself being thrown to the ground. After the third fall, I took off the blindfold. "Replace the blindfold," Worf commanded.
    "No!" I yelled. "It is not a fair test."
    "Very good, Ensign. You have passed the challenge. It takes courage to say the test is unfair."
    I was relieved, but knew something was up. "One thing I don't understand," I said. "Doesn't 'gik'tal' mean 'to the death?"
    "You speak Klingon," Worf said approvingly.
    "Sir, is there really such a thing as a 'gik'tal challenge?'" I asked.
    "No, there is not," Worf said. "But perhaps next time you are being judged unfairly, it will not take as many bruises for you to protest." As Worf walked off, I smiled. I knew what I had to do.

    I went to Captain Picard. "All I've ever wanted was to make a career in Starfleet. I can't change what happened at the Academy. No one can. All I can do is work hard and try to earn the respect of the people I serve with. If you're not going to give me that chance, then I respectfully request that you transfer me to another ship," I said.
    "If you're looking for a more lenient commander, I don't think you'll find one," Picard said.
    "Permission to speak freely, sir?" I asked. Picard leaned back in his chair. "Please do," he said.
    "If you didn't want me on your ship, you should have said so when I was assigned to it," I said. "It's not your place to punish me for what I did at the Academy. I've worked hard here. My record is exemplary. If you're going to judge me, judge me for what I am now."
    "Very well, Ensign. I will," Picard said as he rose from his chair and came over to stand before me. "It took courage to come here and face me after what I said to you the other day. I didn't ask you here because I was assessing your qualifications for the OPS position."
    "I don't understand, sir," I said.
    "I was harsh with you because I wanted to assess you for a very important mission-one that could put you into a situation that would be far more unnerving than a dressing-down by your commanding officer."
    "Can I ask what the mission is, sir?" I asked.
    "Join the senior officers in the Observation Lounge at 0900 hours. We'll discuss it then," Picard said.
    "Yes, sir," I said. As I turned to leave the Ready Room, Picard added: "And Ensign? I do know why you ended up on the Enterprise. I asked for you. I wanted to make sure you got a fair chance to redeem yourself."
    "Thank you, sir," I said before the Ready Room doors closed behind me.

In our next installment....Darla begins her quest for revenge on Danny and Sawyer and Sito's mission is revealed.