Captain Clerk struggled to keep up with Admiral Nezbomb, who was on a collision course with the Bridge. I really hope you're doing something up there, Lieutenant... whatever your name is.

They stepped onto the elevator. Wasting no time, the Admiral uttered the command.

"Bridge, please."

The elevator was silent and motionless.

Nezbomb cleared his throat. "Bridge, please."

"Yeah, um..." the elevator said nervously. "That totally doesn't work."

"What do you mean, it 'doesn't work'?"

"Just what I said, sir. All 'up' circuits are offline at the moment."


"And just why are said circuits 'offline'? They were working just minutes ago." Even an elevator could not escape Nezbomb's fury.

"Beats me, sir," the elevator said cavalierly. "All I know is it's a no-go. I can't interpret the error codes."

With clenched fists and a loud sigh, the Admiral tried not to punch the panel's lights out.

"Well, does down work? Or are we stuck here?"

"Oh, yeah, down is all great and happenin' and stuff," the elevator bubbled. "We can go wherever you want down there!"

Well, not wherever...

"Alright," Nezbomb fumed. "Crew quarters."

"Good choice, sir. A fine destination if I say--"

"Don't say."

Clerk almost chuckled.


Since the crew quarters were fairly high on the "Not-So-Bad" list, Clerk felt a tinge of relief. Those planning sessions weren't useless after all...

Standard Fleet procedure was to have the computer generate a random list of rooms the inspector would visit. It was a guideline more than a rule, naturally, but nearly every admiral did it. Not so with Nezbomb, who preferred to use (as closely as he could approximate) the Fibonacci sequence.

This took up the bulk of the day, which was fine by Clerk. He'd given the crewmembers plenty of warning to clean their rooms before inspection time, so most of the rooms were in about as good a condition as to be expected. As they walked past Klaa'ck's quarters, the requisite flurry of bangs and clangs resounded throughout the hallway.

"And just what is going on in there?"

"Oh, that's our new First Officer, Commander Klaa'ck. He's... meditating."

"He calls that meditating?"

"Well, he is half-Klingon, sir."

"Oh... that guy. I've heard of him."

An uncomfortable silence followed.

"So... shall we go in there?" Admiral Nezbomb said at last.

"I don't think I want to interrupt that, to be honest, sir."

"Good point, Jimi. I don't think I want to either."

As bad as Clerk wanted to meet his new First Officer, now certainly wasn't the time.

Onward the pair went until they stopped at another room, though it didn't match the numeric sequence. The Captain's blood pressure rose a bit. The name tag read: CAPT. JAMES R. CLERK.


"Still haven't gotten your middle initial corrected in the system?"

"I've given up on trying. It's not worth the hassle anymore."

"I'll see if I can pull some strings. No sense in going by a name that isn't yours, even if it's just an initial."

The first thing they saw upon entrance was how messy the Captain's room was. Granted, he kept it better than he used to, but his reputation for having the messiest room in the rattiest dorm on campus had by now become the stuff of legend.

"Some things never change," the Admiral said, sighing just a little.

"Well, what with all the hubbub lately, I haven't had the--"

"Don't go there with me, Jimi. You and I both know better than that."

Touché. But just once, I'd like to hear you call me James again. One play on a jukebox and I'm marked for life...

Naturally, the Admiral had to examine this one more closely. Clerk was his protégé, after all.

"Let's see here... non-standard bedding... non-standard room configuration... unacceptable cleanliness level... bee hives..."

That's when he did the double take.

"Bee hives? You're keeping bees in here?"

"Y-y-y-yes sir," came Clerk's sheepish response.

"I thought you were over that whole beekeeping phase." Now Nezbomb's more fatherly tones were coming out.

"I've never been over it, sir. I have been, and always shall be, an apiarist."

The Admiral crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes as he turned back to the buzzing box in the corner.

"Jimi... I do not know offhand of any Fleet regulation that forbids beekeeping in one's quarters..."


"...but I'm sure there is one, and rest assured, I'll find it."

No rush, sir.


Meanwhile, panic on the bridge had reached fever pitch, with Whatsisname and Wharf doing their best to control and minimize the chaos.

"We're getting too many complaints about the elevators. We have to turn them back on."

"And risk the Admiral getting up here before we're ready?" a very stressed Whatsisname responded. "I'm sorry, we just can't risk that. I mean, look around!"

"We can't put him off forever. He'll suspect something's up."

Just then, another txt from the Captain came in.


The cats weren't all herded, but Wharf was right. They had to do it.


Wharf switched the elevators back to fully operational status.


Clerk walked up to Nezbomb, afraid to give his news, but equally afraid not to.

"24 violations, Clerk," the Admiral announced. "That's 25 too many. I won't put you on probation this time, but I will file a Minor Infraction Report ASAP."

That was the least of the Captain's worries. He cleared his throat. "I've just received word that the elevators are back to normal functionality now."

"Good." Without another word, the Admiral immediately took off toward the door. The two got back on the elevator.

"Hey, guys! I've got great news! The--"

"We know," Clerk interrupted.

"Can you at least let me finish the sentence?"

"No," the Admiral thundered. "Bridge. Now."

Grumbling a bit, the elevator took them to their destination. Clerk closed his eyes. Don't hyperventilate. Don't hyperventilate. Don't hyperventilate. Don't hyperventilate...