The extended stay at Starbase 404 actually turned out to be kind of a good thing, at least in terms of everybody's respective to-do lists. Some departments even reported digging into their "someday wishlists". Captain Clerk was no exception. The bees were getting some overdue attention, dossiers were getting read, webinars were being attended, and so on. Finally, he had arrived at the next-to-last thing on his list: Organizing the Ready Room.

Today is the day. This time, for sure!

Clerk stood just inside the door of his Ready Room and surveyed the chaos before him. While it could never be said that he had ever had a clean office, the recent re-modeling exacerbated the issue, especially when it was discovered that the room's new location was adjacent to an old storage closet, and somebody somewhere thought it would benefit the captain to knock down the wall between the two, leaving Clerk with both his mess and the previous captain's.

The longer he stood there, the more intimidated by the task he became. Finally, he turned around and poked his head out the door.

"Info," he said in a bit of a whisper. "Can you come here and help me with something?"

"May I remind the Captain that Fleet Regulation 78, section aa-R, paragraph 15 prohibits junior officers from sorting senior officers' cassette tapes?"

Remind me to make you First Officer as soon as I can get rid of Odor. "Never mind."

Info immediately returned to his task as Clerk sighed and re-entered his office. Finally, it sunk in that he must face this mess... alone.

The first step was easy enough: since there was still a visible seam where the removed wall had been, Clerk began his task by using a roll of painter's tape to divide the pile between my stuff and not my stuff. A quick call to Transporter Room 3 made easy work of the not my stuff pile.

Now... what to do about--

"Hay Cap'm!" spoke a voice via intercom, way quicker than expected.

"Yes, Mr. Jenkins?"

"Thanks fer tha pile o' stuff ta clean up! I been bored outta my gourd! I'll let ya know when I've got it all sorted out."

"No problem. Clerk out." Jed, I think I'm actually starting to like you after all.


A knock at the door woke Clerk up from his nap. Navigating through the precariously-balanced stacks of busted old hard drives, training manuals, and FleetskineTM notebooks, the Captain made his way to the door as quickly as he could. The doors revealed First Officer Odor standing impatiently, with his arms folded and a scowl on his face.

"Is that a new nose?" Clerk asked. "You're getting better at it, you know."

"I've been trying to get through to you for over an hour. What have you been up to in there?"

"Being productive."

"Ah, I see. I take it these stacks are synergistic, then?"

You should have seen the piles. "Odor, as much as I'd love for you to stay here and torment me, I really need to get back to what I was doing. Is there something I can help you with, or is this more of your 'off-duty mockery'?"

"Captain, they pay me to make fun of you. I help you run the ship for free!" Odor cackled. "But that's not why I'm here. A certain admiral has been quite displeased at not being able to contact you. I gather you left your communicator off the hook?"

Oh no. It's just as I feared. The dreaded Return of Nezbomb.

"I really think you should answer, Captain. She's reaching fever pitch."

She? Oh no... "Tell her I'm in."

"Will do... Jimi! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"

Odor continued howling as he walked away, while Clerk facepalmed, retreating into his inner sanctum. Eyes closed, with the words I'm gonna regret this on his mind, he pressed the Answer button.

"Clerk here."

"Jimi! Finally!" the unforgettable voice of Admiral Kathy Safeway chimed. "I was beginning to think you were ignoring me."

"Well, to be honest, I was ignoring everybody, so I guess you're technically correct," Clerk replied out loud by accident.

"Oh, you," Safeway replied playfully. "Anyways, I was calling to let you know I was in town--"


"Work with me here, honey. So... I'm here, in starbase, and I wanted to get together with you."

"Haven't you done enough damage to my psyche?" Clerk's inner monologue malfunctioned again.

"L-O-L! You are on fire today! Anyways, there's this really great band playing on the planet below, and I thought this would be a great time for us to hang out for a bit. I haven't even seen you since I got back and got all promoted and stuff!"

"Well, that's gonna be tough," Clerk replied, trying to sound busy. "We've really had a lot going on lately, so I don't know if--"

"You're not fooling me, Jimi. I'm an admiral now. Never underestimate a woman with access to privileged information."

Touché. "So, when are you wanting to meet up?" Clerk said with the voice of defeat.

"They're playing tomorrow night. I'll send you the details in an email. You do still check your email, right?"

I suppose I could start. "Don't worry, I'll get it."

"Sweet! See you then. Bye!"

As soon as the screen cut off, Clerk sighed, sat back in his chair, and accepted his fate.

It must be Monday. I can never get the hang of Mondays.