Episode 15: I Stood on the Bridge at Inspection, As the Admiral Was Berating the Crewmen

Slow down, will ya?

The elevator, naturally, was in a hurry to get to the bridge, but Captain Clerk wished it’d savor the journey. In the scarce moments before they arrived, Clerk tried some of those relaxation techniques the Ship’s Counselor keeps trying to get him to do. At least he managed to keep from noticeably panicking.

The doors opened up to the Bridge, where the crewmembers — who were still scurrying around trying to get things together — promptly froze in place. Even the computers seemed to have turned the volume down on their normal beeps and bloops.

Except one.

The DVR component wasn’t a standard feature of ships’ Bridge consoles, but Clerk didn’t see anything in Fleet Regulations specifically against it, so… you get the idea. Unfortunately, being nonstandard equipment, it didn’t follow all the protocols the other ones did… like shut up when the Admiral is around.

Captain, your prerecorded program is ready! Would you like to view it?

“No, not right–”

Yes,” the Admiral interrupted.

Clerk tried frantically to come up with some kind of response that might dissuade the Admiral from going forward with this, but Nezbomb’s “yes” was the unpleasant, definitive sound of inevitability. Staying silent, the Captain accepted his fate.

Coming right up!” the DVR console happily responded, immediately displaying the show on the Main Screen.

And in this corner, weighing 320 lbs, the J’Tim’blak Regional Champion, T’Kobor the Maleficent!

Klingon boxing?” the Admiral asked indignantly over the prerecorded sounds of cheering. “You’re using the Bridge’s Main Screen to watch Klingon boxing?

As bad as Clerk wanted to say “Well, what else is a sweet HD screen like that for?”, he knew better, but the only alternative he had ready was his usual nervous babbling, which wasn’t a particularly effective response either.

“Turn that mess off!

Ensign Tolstoy promptly did so, and scurried off to hide behind Wharf.

Admiral Nezbomb’s tone mellowed slightly — but only slightly. “Jimi, I’m disappointed in you. Not surprised, not angry…” Uh huh. “… just disappointed. It’s one thing to leave your room a bit untidy. It’s another thing altogether to engage in blatant misuse of Fleet resources. I nev–” Nezbomb stopped in his tracks. That’s when he saw the clown.

The Admiral’s face was a mix of confusion, surprise, and wrath. He slowly walked over to the Science Station, where before his vigilantly inspecting eyes was a full-bore, dyed-in-the-wool, full-makeup-and-everything clown. He stood there for several seconds, staring wide-eyed. Once he’d seen enough, he quickly spun around and marched back to the Captain.

“Do my eyes deceive me,” he said evenly yet angrily, “but do I see a clown on the Bridge?”

“Yes, sir. That’s Ensign Kazoo.”

“Tell me, Captain James Clerk, why Mr. Kazoo is not wearing a standard uniform?

“Well… I… uh…”

“It’s Casual Day!” Ensign Kazoo uttered enthusiastically, honking his horn.

You’re not helping, Ensign.

“Oh really?” the Admiral responded. “Well why didn’t I put on my Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt? Oh, that’s right! Because when I went to the Academy, they taught me that we always wear our uniforms when on duty! So might I suggest you leave your post right now and go dig through your wardrobe until you either find something you were issued when you became a crewmember, or get whisked away to a magical land of make-believe! At this point, I don’t care which!

Kazoo looked to Clerk, who put on his best “there’s-nothing-I-can-do” face.

“Sorry… standard uniform, Mr. Kazoo,” the Captain said softly as a very sad clown walked across the Bridge to the elevator.

As the Bridge Crew continued to stand in silence, Admiral Nezbomb walked over to Clerk and put his arm around the Captain’s shoulder.

“Now Jimi,” the Admiral said in an uncharacteristically soothing tone. “It might seem like I’m being a hard-nosed jerk about everything…” Then he turned to face Clerk directly. “BUT THAT’S WHAT I DO!

The Captain froze in place as Nezbomb stormed off the Bridge. He continued to stay there, like a statue, until 15 minutes before the end of the shift, when “Happy Trails” began to play on the ship’s intercom. Slowly, he relaxed and finally got his bearings.

“That really happened, didn’t it?” Clerk, still in a daze, said to Lt. Whatsisname.

“I’m afraid it did, sir.”

The Captain sighed heavily. Getting fired may be the least of my troubles. “So… where did he head off to?”

“I don’t know, sir. He didn’t say and we were all afraid to ask. And to be honest, I know I for one didn’t even want to know.”

“Can’t blame you there. Computer?”

Yes, Captain?

“Where is Admiral Nezbomb? Or rather, where has he been, and where is he going?”

After leaving the bridge, Admiral Nezbomb went to inspect the Main Conference Rooms, the Biology Labs, and the Topiary Gardens. Currently he is en route to The Port.

“Oh no…” Clerk, Wharf and Whatsisname all said in unison.

Boy did I ever pick a lousy time to quit taking my blood pressure medicine. “Wharf, come with me. Lieutenant, call Dr. Flüshaht and Yeoman Rind and have them meet us at The Port.”

“Yes sir.”