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To Boldly Go Where We've Gone Before

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"And of course, with the visual appeal of a weasel and the intellect of a rat who's really figured out this wheel thing... Always and contractually to my left, it's little Alex Horne!"

The audience were generous with their applause, leaving Alex (to Greg's delight) nodding until the banter could ensue. Greg waited a second or two longer than strictly necessary, more than happy to leave Alex in pre-dialogue limbo.

"So, little Alex," he finally began, "what's happened to your little throne?"

Alex shifted, radiating discomfort from the dog bed where he sat, cross-legged.

"My throne's not that little," he protested weakly.

"It is. It's an appropriately tiny throne for an equally tiny man. Hardly a throne at all, really."

"It is a throne, it's a good throne, thank you for letting me use it."

"As long as you remember who owns it. Now, what have you done? Why's your bed out?"

"My throne's um, it's being cleaned, unfortunately. Someone—"

"Someone?"

"I, er, spilled something. So I thought I'd just... use my bed for today."

"Reckless boy, not caring properly for my things. If you're hoping for a nap, you'll be sorely disappointed."

"No, no, of course not, I would never sleep on the job."

"And haven't you forgotten about something?"

Alex looked up at him, nervous about where this bit was going.

"The camera men! God, so self-centered. We are making TV, y'know, and your bed is out of shot."

"Oh. Right, sorry, I'll just..."

He awkwardly stood (not that he was ever suave, but all the elements of this setup seemed to be working against him) and stored his bed behind Greg's throne. Momentary self-centeredness rectified, he clutched his tablet and settled in for a long recording session.

"Better," said Greg. "Wow, you're almost at my eye level now."

Obviously untrue, considering Greg had to look upwards to deliver his taunt. Alex would have pointed that out, but the audience's laughter did the work for him.

"So, what's the prize task this evening, Alex?"

"Thank you, Greg. Tonight we've asked our—"

Greg cut him off, making the sound of an angry alarm. Alex shut his mouth so fast he heard his teeth click together.

"No fidgeting!" Greg chastised.

"Sorry!"

Alex had slightly shifted from one foot to the other. That counted as fidgeting? Either way, he fixed his posture and froze. He got the feeling he did look a bit like a plank standing this way.

"Sorry. Um." He cleared his throat and explained the episode's prize category.


After a lively part one, Alex, who usually prided himself on his ability to follow orders, found he was having some trouble. It was getting harder and harder not to fidget.

"Welcome back to part two," Greg announced, "where we've been playing with our rubber ducks. Catch us up please, Alex."

He couldn't shake the feeling that everyone's eyes were on him. Being a few heads higher than anyone else on stage only exacerbated the discomfort.

"Alex?"

He had his short throne for a reason! He liked feeling small, he liked the feeling of people looking down at him. It was comfortable, and demeaning in a satisfying sort of way, and funny.

"Alex!"

The infuriated sound of his name paired with a swat on his arm from Greg's notes finally got Alex's attention. He quickly made eye contact with Greg and regretted it even quicker.

"Where are you today?" Greg asked.

He sounded so genuinely irritated it sent a shiver down Alex's spine. Alex couldn't answer, but did an excellent impression of a goldfish.

"Nevermind, I don't care. You know, if you can't handle standing still for a few minutes you could have just told me. I can be very accommodating when I so wish."

Alex tilted his head and tried to broadcast empty-headed confusion. He wasn't far from it, even if he knew what was happening—the whole scenario was affecting him a little more than anticipated.

"Can you?" he asked, to scattered laughter.

Greg smiled and, in answer, opened his arms and uncrossed his legs.

"Take a seat and find out."

Escorted by the hoots and hollers of the audience and the less well-mannered contestants, Alex approached Greg, hesitated (mainly for the theatrics of it—Greg's lap wasn't new terrain for him), and sat. He shifted around a bit, trying to make himself comfortable.

"So," Greg prompted with a lascivious grin, "do you find me accommodating?"

"Very—"

Alex's response was halted by Greg drawing circles on his back. He wasn't sure the audience could even see it, though they clearly got the gist.

"Very accommodating, Greg."

"Why thank you," Greg answered, voice like honey. Then he slapped Alex's back and declared, "On with the show!"

(Greg's leg was numb within ten minutes. He wouldn't dream of complaining.)