Episode 57: Discount Away Team

It had been several months since Captain Clerk finally got up the nerve to ask Lt. Commander Info what his real name was,but he still had a hard time actually referring to the android by it. The Captain’s primary habit was simply a “hey, you” or “do this or that, Lieutenant”, and he had largely rid himself of that, but his internal habit of thinking “I need to get Whatsisname to do this” was the harder one to work out. Though Clerk was still elated to be able to know his right-hand android by name, it still made him somewhat nervous to actually say it out loud.


“Yes, Captain?”

“I’d like for you and a couple of redshirts to accompany me and Dr. Pullum on this away mission. Go on down to his office and get prepped to beam down. Tell him I’ll be there as soon as I clear it with Fleet Headquarters.”

“Aye, sir.”

Clerk turned to go to his ready room, and it was at this point that he realized that his “autopilot” had still not gotten used to the new Bridge layout.

After walking past Science Station 2, he turned to his left, and to his surprise, once the doors opened, he was faced with a few tables, each with its own closed-circuit TV, around which were officers of various sorts, drinking coffee and generally talking shop. Each TV was zeroed in on a given station on the Bridge. As soon as a Bridge officer moved a muscle towards leaving their post, a whistle blew and someone from that particular table would jump up and sprint out onto the Bridge as a replacement.

I’ve always wondered how they get there so fast.

Suddenly, one of them looked up to see their Captain standing there.

“Captain! It’s so good of you to come see us.”

“Th-thanks,” Clerk replied nervously.

“We never know when we’re going to get to see you! It’s a pleasure to serve with you, sir,” said another.

“Thanks.” Awkward pause. “Well, uh… I gotta go, so I can’t stay. Keep up the good work, everyone.”

“Yes, sir!” they all shouted, practically in unison, before immediately returning to their respective screens.

I need to watch where I’m going more often. Now, to find my ready room…


The admiral on the other end of the phone call was quite surprised.

“You’re still there? Oh. I thought we’d sent you out on a mission, like, a week ago. Sure, go on and get your dental supplies. That should give us enough time to think of something else for you to do.”

“Thank you, Admiral,” said Clerk. “We’re on it.”

Minutes later, the Captain was in the Dental Center, nervous from the sound of drills mixed with soothing music going on in the background.

“Shouldn’t take us more than an hour or so once we get there,” Dr. Pullum began. “I already have my shopping list ready, and the place is very well organized.”

“You’ve been here before?” asked the Captain.

“No, but they’re a galaxy-wide chain. One’s usually just as good as another.” He paused. “Also, the manager here is an old dental school buddy of mine.”

Ahh… I see. Is that why you need the whole hour?”

Dr. Pullum grinned a sheepish grin. “Uh… yeah.”

“Heh, alright. That’s cool. I mean, it’s not like there’s any rush. Take your time. We’re looking at what’s probably gonna be the least eventful away team mission ever. Anyways, we’re already on our way to the planet. We should arrive within the hour.”


Captain’s Blog, Stardate: just in the nick of time! I never thought a trip to the pharmacy could be so dangerous! Apparently this planet has… I mean, there were… sigh. I’m just too distraught to talk about it. Those… I mean, it… let’s just say nightmare fuel has been taken to the next level.

Clerk, Pullum, Info, and the redshirt that survived were all sitting on the floor of the transporter room, recovering from (and trying not to think about) what had just happened on the planet below. Dr. Flüshaht, Yeoman Rind, First Officer Odor, and Lieutenant Yarrrrr got there as soon as they’d heard about the situation.

“What happened, sir?” Yarrrrr asked.

“Well,” Clerk began, still a bit out of breath. “Let’s just say we were met with… how should I put it… less than ideal circumstances.”

Sensing exaggeration, Flüshaht butted in. “What, like that planet that smelled really bad?”

“No, this was way worse than that one. I’ll take a putrid smell over… what we saw down there…”

Janet Rind folded her arms. “This isn’t anything like that the Zombie Ballerina Planet, is it?”

Clerk pointed at her. “Don’t. Even. Talk. About that. To this day, I still have nightmares about that freaky place.”

“At least we had President Warren G. Harding and The Great Carless to help us out of that mess,” Info interjected.

“Yeah,” Clerk replied. “I don’t know what we would have done without them.”

Odor sighed. “Did you at least get what you came for?”

“Yes,” Pullum said, holding up a large shopping bag filled to capacity. “What happened, happened on our way out.”

“So we’re all good, then?”

“Inasmuch as we now have a well-stocked Dental Center, yes.”

As everybody got up off the floor and headed out, Info — the only one who wasn’t affected emotionally by the whole affair — added one last comment:

“At least on this planet, the trees didn’t spit on us!”