Episode 1: Strange, New Rooms

Captain’s Blog, Stardate, um, Tuesday, I think, about 4:30 pm. The U.S.S. Secondprize is en route to starbase Deep Dish $9 for repairs. The wifi is down, half our cable channels are showing nothing but static, and all of the toilets are currently backed up, though nobody seems to know why. The situation, needless to say, is tense.

Captain Clerk pressed Stop on the recorder and looked around the bridge nervously. It always made him self-conscious to do his podcast on the bridge, but he’d already forgotten to do his last two episodes, and this was the only time he had today to do it. Never mind the fact that his ratings were plummeting. He had already accepted not being first in the Captains Listings, but now he wasn’t even the top-rated podcaster on the ship any more. How The Redshirt Show beat him consistently every week made no sense. They don’t even have the same host every week.

He handed over the recorder to his assistant and turned his attention to the main screen, which was still showing static. Probably going to miss Vulcan’s Got Talent again, he thought. We have got to talk to somebody in Billing. I know we paid the cable bill this month.

“Change it to the See Where We’re Going Channel, I guess,” Clerk said, finally. “Watching the stars shoot past us is better than this.”

“Aye sir.” Lt. Whatsisname replied.

The screen changed to what Clerk was sure was a screensaver, but it didn’t bother him. It was actually kind of soothing, and, all things considered, soothing was a welcome state of being right now. With everything breaking down, his inbox was filled to capacity with complaints, and he couldn’t even keep up with them by holding down the Delete button. This was going to be a long ride.

“Lieutenant, what’s our estimated time of arrival?”

“We’re at least two commercial breaks away, sir.”

Figures. “Thank you, lieutenant.”

The captain was just about to pull out his tricorder for a game of Sudoku when the intercom came on. It was the Security Chief. This was never a good sign.

“Security Chief to Bridge.”

“Captain speaking. What’s shaking?”

“We’ve got a… um… situation up here.”

It was the wording that worried Clerk. A call from Security is bad enough, but when it’s a situation, you may as well give up on having a good day.

“Can you be more specific? Is this a we’re-gonna-need-more-firepower situation or a we’re-out-of-diet-soda-again situation?” Both were roughly equal in the Captain’s mind.

“Well…” the Security Chief stammered. “It’s just… kind of… weird, and, um… embarrassing. Can you come up here?”

Clerk’s stomach turned. “Where are you?”

“I’m by the elevator, three floors above you.”

“You’re aware the bridge is on the top floor, right?”

“That’s what’s so weird about this, Captain.”

Captain Clerk choked down a Klonopin and got out of his seat. “I’ll be right there.”

Sighing, he stepped into the elevator, and wondered how to word his instruction as the doors closed.

“Up three floors, please,” was all he could think of.

“Pardon?” the elevator politely responded.

“Up three floors, please.”

“Are you sure about this? There’s nothing but–”

“Yes, I’m sure,” Clerk interrupted. “Go on up.”

“But there’s no more–”

“Just do it.” At this point, the Captain didn’t even care if there were no more floors and he wound up out in the depths of space. It’s not like the day could get any worse at this point.

Oddly enough, the elevator went up without any problem.

“Well, what do you know!” it chirped.

The door opened to a huge hustle and bustle, with swarms of confused security officers roaming the area. In the middle of it all was Security Chief Wharf.

Brow furrowed, the Captain looked around what appeared to be a normal, functioning part of the ship… that shouldn’t be here.

“So… what is all this?”

“We’ve made an astounding discovery,” said Wharf. “Apparently, there are twelve floors above Deck A that none of us knew about.”

Twelve floors?” Clerk exclaimed. “What’s up here?”

“Lots of stuff, sir. Plenty of science labs, a bowling alley, two pizza restaurants, Stellar Cartography…”

I’ve always wondered where Stellar Cartography was.

“…some really nice coffee shops, an under-construction beauty salon, and an entire floor with nothing but a bunch of empty cubicles. Frankly, sir, we’re flummoxed.”

“How did you find this?”

“Well, Ensign Nubiee was doing his regular patrol but went to the wrong floor by mistake. Somehow he wound up six floors up and was having a latte before anybody noticed.”

Clerk’s jaw dropped as he paced around the floor. Twelve extra floors of activity? Is that where our budget keeps disappearing to?

“We’ve just finished our initial security sweep, sir. Here’s the report.”

Wharf handed over the report, and the captain flipped threw a few pages. “Astounding, it’s like– hey, Dr. Flüshaht’s up here? I thought he died last season. And what’s with the–”

The intercom went off again. This time is was the Head of Maintenance.

“Cap’m! Cap’m!” said the most annoying accent in the history of annoying accents.

“Yes?” Clerk said with a sigh.

“You’re never going to believe this!”

By now, there wasn’t much that would have surprised Captain Clerk.