Episode 3: The Pump Don’t Work ‘Cause the Vandals Took the Handles

Captain Clerk picked up the nail polish, reminding himself of what his mentor, Captain Placãrd, always said: “No matter how weird your day gets, on the Secondprize, it can always get weirder. Always.”

He looked up and saw one of the ceiling tiles had been pried open. Clerk reached for his communicator. “Security, we need a team down here at the Port, stat!

“Sir, stat is the word for the Medical team,” Wharf replied.

“Well, what’s the word for Security?”

“On the double, sir.”

Fine. “We need a security team here at the Port, on the double.”

“We’ll be right there.”

Within seconds, Wharf and a few Redshirts materialized in the Port Room.

Now that’s just cheating.

“What seems to be the problem, sir?”

Clerk pointed up. “Somebody’s messed with the ceiling tile, and–”

“That’s a maintenance problem, sir.”

AND, I suspect it may be intruders sabotaging our systems.” How saboteurs could clandestinely build extra floors Clerk didn’t know, but he figured it was as good a theory as any other.

Intruders?” Wharf snapped to attention. “That’s our specialty! We’ll get right on it!”

Clerk stepped out of the way as the Security team leaped into action. He was almost to the elevator door when Jenkins showed up in his hazmat suit.

“Hay Cap’m!” he shouted. “What’s with the Security team?”

“I think there may be intruders down here, if you look–”

“Who in their right mind’d come down here? Even I don’t–”

If you look at the ceiling tile, it’s obviously been tampered with.”

“Ohhhhhh,” said Jenkins, very slowly. “I see whatcha mean. You want me to keep lookin’ at the facilities, Cap’m?”

“Yeah, go ahead. We still need to figure out what to do about this mess.”

“Alrighty rooty, Cap’m!”

As Jenkins dashed off to investigate, Clerk turned to the elevator once again, deciding that now he was going to take two showers.


Freshly showered and dressed, Captain Clerk walked over to his bed with some 90% cacao and a stick of incense. Before he had a chance to lie down, his communicator beeped. Like clockwork. Reluctantly, the Captain pressed the Answer button.

“Clerk here. You found something?”

“Yes sir. We have detained three individuals we believe are suspects.”

“Vandals, eh?” the Captain half-joked.

“Worse than that, sir. It’s goths.”

This I gotta see. “I’ll be right down.”

Clerk arrived at the Port Room and saw the Security team standing by a trio of gangly, pale teenagers. The youths, dressed all in black, hair half spiked and half covering one eye, stood there quietly, gadgets hanging off various body parts. As Clerk sized them up, he noticed that their fingernails were all painted black. This is the first thing that’s made sense all day.

“So, who are you?” Clerk said, addressing the group.

The three looked at each other nervously. “We are the Bord,” said the one in the middle.

“So, you have nothing better to do, that’s great,” the Captain said sarcastically. “But who are you?

“We are the Bord.”

Wharf pulled Captain Clerk aside. “You can’t talk to these guys as a group. You have to go one-on-one with them.”

“Okay, but who are they?”

“They are the Bord. A bunch of scraggly kids from the far side of the galaxy. They don’t normally get out this much. Frankly, sir, I’m surprised they left the house at all.”

“So, you’re familiar with them?”

“Yes, sir. I roomed with one in college.”

“What was he like?”

“He didn’t do much, sir. Mostly he just sat there, feeling all gloomy, listening to the Cure and complaining about how nice the weather was. Always had the lights turned off. I’m pretty sure he got sunburned under a fluorescent lamp once.”

Sounds like my younger brother. “Do you think these guys are responsible for this?”

“I don’t know, sir. Usually their M.O. is simply spreading their misery around and trying to get people to feel sorry for them. Sabotaging a ship is really enterprising for kids like these.”

“What do you suggest?”

“You can try to talk to them, I guess,” Wharf replied. “Though I’m not sure if you’ll get anything out of them. They’re not a very talkative bunch.”

Clerk decided he’d go for it anyways. He walked right up to the one in the middle. “What’s your name, son?” Ugh, Admiral Nezbomb is right. I am starting to sound like my father.

Clerk’s target started looking at his companions, again, very nervously.

“Don’t look at your friends, look at me. What’s your name?”

“6 of 1,” he sheepishly responded after a long pause.

Avoiding the obvious joke, Clerk turned to his left. “And you? What’s your name?”

“0 to 60.”

The Captain was almost afraid to ask the other one, but did anyways. “What about you?”

“2 of π.”

I could go for two of pie right about now. Clerk’s stomach rumbled, reminding him that he hadn’t had dinner yet. He motioned for Wharf, who walked up to his side.

“So these Bord kids, do they all have number-related names?” Clerk whispered.

“Yes, sir. Surprisingly, they’re all terrible at math. One of the great ironies of the universe, in my opinion.”

Turning back to 6 of 1, Captain Clerk had to devise some way of getting information out of the dark-clad introverts ahead of him. “Do you know anything about this?” he said, pointing to the clogged pipes.

6 of 1 glanced over in that direction, then quickly resumed staring at the floor.

“Well? Do you?

Just when he thought he might get an answer, Clerk realized that the other two Bord were gone. After looking around the room, he saw them off in the corner, standing by Jenkins, who was no longer wearing his hazmat suit, and was inexplicably wearing all black, nail polish included.

“Jenkins! What are you doing?”

“I am the Bord too, now, Cap’m,” Jenkins replied in a mopier version of his usual drawl.

Clerk facepalmed. “Wharf!”

The Security Chief looked up from his sandwich. How anybody could eat in a place like this eluded Captain Clerk, but he wasn’t about to press the issue.

“Sorry, sir!” Wharf said, running over to the Bord and the strangely silent Jenkins.

“It’s begun,” Wharf lamented. “We need to put these kids somewhere.”

“Agreed,” the Captain replied. “Do we have one of those rooms? You know… what are they called?”


“Yeah, do we have one of those?”

“Yes, sir. But it wasn’t getting much use, so we’ve been having Bingo Night in there.”

“Well, clear it out and put them in there. We can’t have these guys going around putting a damper on everybody.”

“Right away, sir!”

Once the Bord (Jenkins included) were stashed away, Clerk decided he’d check out one of the pizza restaurants in the newly-discovered upper decks, desperately hoping for at least one uneventful hour before the end of his shift…