Episode 4: We Meet Again, Herr Doktor

Clerk arrived at Deck -4, home of Quirk’s Pizza Panorama, hungry and at wit’s end. He sat down at a table and waited for the server to come by with a menu. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a familiar face…

“Well, hello there, Jimi,” said the elderly gentleman, walking over to Clerk’s table.

“I’ve told you a million times, don’t call me that,” groused the Captain. “Besides, didn’t you die last season?”

Dr. Flüshaht sat down. “Do I look dead to you?”

“Well, no…”

“There you go.”

“Come on, it was a two-part episode.”

“You sound like such a noobie,” replied the Doctor. “Everybody knows that nobody who dies in a two-parter really dies. Or at least, they always get a fair shot at returning. It’s when you get bumped off in a random episode that you have to worry.”

You’ve got a point there. “But where have you been all this time? We’ve been having to use one of those Downloadable Doctor programs in your absence.”

“Well, I somehow got stuck on this floor, and I had no idea how to get back down. So I just started treating people up here, and there’s been plenty of work… eventually I just forgot about coming back down.”

“You never tried the elevator?”

“Well, I wasn’t quite sure what to tell it. I’ve never been able to work that thing since they put in the voice controls. And besides, it’s nice and quiet up here. No fights, no drama, no cliffhangers. I figured a guy could retire in a place like this. So I did.”

Just then, the waitress showed up. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“Diet Citrus, if you’ve got it,” said the Captain.

“Coming right up!”

As the waitress walked off, Clerk leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. “So you’re retired, are you?”

“Well, not totally. I treat the occasional broken arm or something every so often, to keep my license current.”

“Any chance I could talk you into coming back into active duty? We could really use you down there.”

Flüshaht sighed. “Well, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve thought about it, ‘What if they ever found me up here’ and all that. I gave up hope after a while, and really just settled in and accepted my fate. Now that we’re ‘discovered’ as it were, that’s all fresh in my mind, but…” the doctor’s voice trailed off as he gazed into the distance.

Captain Clerk sat in silence for a few minutes, trying to think of something to say — preferably something that was more hopeful than the mass toilet-clogging — but came up short. The doctor snapped back to reality as the waitress returned with the diet soda.

“What’ll ya have to eat?” she asked.

“Medium pepperoni, thin crust,” Clerk said.

“Ah, why don’t ya be a bit more adventurous?” Flüshaht prodded. “They’ve got some great specialty pies here. The burangabeast pizza is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!”

“I have a rule about pizza restaurants,” replied Clerk. “Get something simple first. If a pizza place can’t handle the basics, don’t even bother with the exotic stuff.”

“Bah! Suit yourself,” the doctor said, turning to the waitress. “I’ll have a slice of buranga, extra cheese.”

“Will that be all?”

Clerk and Flüshaht both nodded.

“Okay, I’ll put your order in!” the waitress said as she turned and rushed off toward the kitchen.

“So… I hear you’ve solved the toilet-clogging mystery,” Flüshaht said after another moment’s silence.

“Well, not really solved. We’ve got some suspects. Just some emo goth kids who sneaked on board somehow. I don’t think–”

“You better watch those kids, son,” interrupted the doctor. “They’re dangerous!”

“I can’t imagine them being able to do much of anything.”

“Ah! But that’s where they get ya. They cultivate that helpless, shy demeanor, then they gum up the woodwork while you’re not looking. They’re sneaky like that. And they’re infectious.”

“Yeah, we’ve seen that already. They got to Jenkins,” Clerk replied.

“Oh, that maintenance guy? Well, he was easy pickings, but I mean they can get any of us if we let down our guard at the right moment.”

“Do you know how to deal with them?”

Nobody really knows what to do with the Bord, Captain. You just have to get them off the ship and get away at Warp Factor 20 or whatever. I’m not joking with you, Jimi. They’re no small threat.”

“Well, Doc, since you’re familiar with them, you need to come down and help us. We could really use your insight.”

“I was afraid you’d say that,” Flüshaht said with a sigh. “Alright… I’ll do it. Let me get a good night’s sleep first and then reacquaint myself with the Medical Area. With all that software-based stuff they do nowadays, I’ll probably need to pursue another degree just to do vaccinations.”

Clerk smiled a bit. “Good to have you back on board.”

Flüshaht couldn’t help smiling back. “It’s good to be needed.”

The rest of the evening was spent with the two old friends shooting the breeze and enjoying the pizza. When Clerk finally laid his head down at the end of the evening, he was actually not stressed out for a change. It was a strange, but welcome, feeling.

You know what that means…