Captain’s Blog, Stardate: about 15 minutes ago. We have requested Emergency Exit Clearance from Deep Dish $9 due to the fact that the area below The Port has now filled up and is in danger of rupturing. They were, of course, happy to grant it so we don’t get anything on the newly-cleaned dock. We are now faced with a risky prospect regarding the Port. Our new Gornish Chief Engineer, Cecil, is going to suit up in an attempt to open a hatch below the pipe that was never connected. We have him tethered to the hull so he doesn’t fly out.
Everyone stood in the Port Room, nervously waiting while the ship backed out of the dock. Everyone, that is, except for Cecil, who was already in the thick of the mess, trying not to think about all the germs surrounding him.
“You’re doing great, Cecil!” said Captain Clerk. It had been 22 seconds since Cecil’s last attempt to get out of the room.
Time moved about as slowly as it does during Vulcan Council Meetings. After what seemed like a month (and only 6 more attempts at escape by Cecil), the ship was finally clear of the starbase.
“Fifteen seconds to safe unloading distance,” said Wharf. “Sanitizer pumps are at the ready.”
“Alright, Cecil, here’s what I’m going to need you to do,” Clerk said into the intercom. “Turn on your X-Ray Goggles and find where the pipe ends. It should be right in front of you, about 20 feet away.”
Cecil pressed the On button. “I CAN SSSSSEE IT, CAPTAIN!”
“Good! Now move over toward it and find the gap between the pipe and the floor.”
“Better him than us,” muttered Dr. Flüshaht under his breath.
“Shhhh!” Clerk whispered. “Or I’ll send you in to retrieve him.”
“WHAT WASSSSS THAT, CAPTAIN??”
“Just talking to the Doctor. Keep on going.”
Moving through the deck was painfully slow. The buildup was extremely thick, and Gorns aren’t known for their speed anyways. Clerk, Jenkins, Flüshaht and Wharf stood focused on the computer screen, which kept track of Cecil’s position. Cecil, however, couldn’t help turning his head periodically to see what was around him.
“HEY CAPTAIN! THE FURNITURE IN HERE ISSSSS REALLY NICSSSSSE!”
“Focus, Cecil! We don’t have much time!”
The pressure was increasing at an exponential rate. Instead of 12 hours, they now had mere minutes. The structural damage that would incur if it exploded was calculated to be even higher than expected. In short, the Secondprize would be totaled, and the Fleet would still have to pay for it.
“Fifteen more feet. Keep going!”
“YESSSSS SSSSSIR! I’M GOING AS FASSSSST AS I CAN!”
The pipes in the Port Room were so bloated now, it looked like they could burst at any time, which also kept the officers nervous. The Transporter Room was at the ready in case that happened, but Clerk had been in way too many episodes to trust the response time of a Transporter Chief.
“Ten more feet, Cecil. Can you see the opening?”
“Can you open it?” A bit too late to ask that question, isn’t it?
“I THINK SSSSSO CAPTAIN! IT’SSSSS HARD TO TELL FROM HERE THOUGH!”
Jenkins had never before bitten his nails, but he’d always heard that’s what people in stressful situations did, so he decided he’d start. As far as he knew, it might be the last habit he’d ever take up. However, he didn’t really know how to did it, and wound up biting a bit too much.
“Cap’m, I’m bleedin’.”
“What are you– never mind, just get to Sick Bay. We can handle things from here.”
Jenkins made his way to the elevator, still trying to grasp the nail-biting concept. Clerk just sighed and shook his head, returning his attention to Cecil’s position just in time to see him reaching down for something, about ten feet from the pipe.
“Cecil, what are you doing? You still have ten feet to go!”
“CAPTAIN! THERE’SSSSS SSSSSOMETHING ON THE FLOOR HERE!”
“Leave it alone! You’ve got to get to the hatch!”
“20 minutes to rupture,” interjected Wharf.
“Get going, Cecil! That’s an order!”
Flüshaht and Wharf looked at each other, eyes wide. This was the first time they’d ever heard Captain Clerk shout.
“SSSSSORRY SSSSSIR! I’M GOING!”
Finally, Cecil reached his goal. He knelt down to where the hatch was.
“10 minutes,” said Wharf.
“Okay, Cecil, what do you see?”
“LOOKSSSSS LIKE A REGULAR HATCH SSSSSIR! I’LL HAVE TO UNSSSSSCREW IT!”
“Can you do it?”
“I THINK SSSSSO SSSSSIR!”
“Go for it!”
Cecil began to turn the handle on the hatch. It was moving, but not fast enough.
Cecil turned with all his might, then…
“WAIT, NEVER MIND, I–”
Before the next syllable came out, the hatch came open, and the contents of Deck X began emptying out into space.
“Down the hatch!” Clerk exclaimed in excitement. Flüshaht and Wharf groaned.
“You’ve been waiting for that all this time, haven’t you?” Flüshaht groused. Clerk couldn’t argue with it, so he remained silent.
Suddenly, they noticed that not only was the waste headed for the hatch, but so were all the furnishings. Everything was headed toward the hole. Cecil, meanwhile, held on to the wall to keep from getting sucked out, but his strength was starting to give way…