Captain’s Blog, Stardate: Date night. I can’t believe I’m going through with this. “Admiral” Kathy has asked me out to go see some band I’ve never heard of, and then get some pizza afterwards. I’m really nervous. She says it’s “just a friend thing”, but I’ve heard that from her before…
Captain James Edgar Clerk did not know what to wear.
Not that he was one of those people who would look at a closet full of clothes and say he had “nothing to wear”, of course, but he was in a bit of a quandary. His closet didn’t have a whole lot in it; mostly it was just a few uniforms (including that horrid green “captains only” tunic) and those last few band t-shirts that don’t fit anymore, but he can’t bring himself to dispose of them. None of this, of course, was appropriate for a “date with an admiral”.
Sure, he could just go down to the replicator area and have it make anything he wanted, but he hated doing that, for a number of reasons: first, he hated having more clothes than was “necessary”. Next, the self-service kiosk was removed during the last refit, so he would have to actually talk to a salesbeing if he wanted to get anything, and that was parsecs out of his comfort zone. Finally, somebody put 6 of 1 in charge of decorating the place, so now it’s all dark and neon-y, with loud Andorrian techno playing nonstop. Clerk got a headache just thinking about the place.
Standing in front of his closet, with less than 20 minutes to go, he finally bit the bullet and made the hard decision to just go ahead and wear the horrid green tunic. It at least had the distinction of never having been worn before…
“So, like, I mean, it was totally, like, Captain’s Blog, Stardate: Bad Hair Day, you know what I mean? I mean, here I was on my ‘big assignment’, you know, and everything was going wrong. First off, I got a dinky little ship with the worst name in the fleet. Traveler? Really? ‘But it lands on planets’, they said. That’s why we invented transporters, lamebrain! Then, by some weird accident, we get shot off to the other side of the galaxy, where it was supposed to take at least seven seasons to get home, and nobody believed me when I told them that… and finally, I counted at least six ex-boyfriends assigned there with me. I’m not sure what regulations I broke, but they must have been serious.”
Clerk and Safeway were sitting at the best table M*Press’s Pizza Emporium had to offer. Safeway had been talking since before the concert even ended — in a stream-of-consciousness feat unrivaled by even the most well-respected Tellarite rappers — but Clerk hadn’t heard a thing since he saw the glaring grammatical barbarity on the restaurant’s sign. This phenomenon, as often as it occurred, never impeded any of the pair’s often lengthy conversations, as there never were two sides to any of them. In fact, Clerk often wondered if there was even one. He theorized that maybe these were simply words traveling through the galaxy, looking for a place to happen, and Safeway was simply a more prolific receptacle for them.
The Caitian waiter’s timing couldn’t have been better, as his “Meeeeow, you’re pizza’s ready” was uttered right as Safeway was about to comment on Clerk’s glazed-over eyes. The smell of piping-hot buranga-sausage pizza snapped the Captain out of his trance, and the conversation moved immediately to the meal at hand.
“Kathy, you know I–”
“Save it, Jimi. I’ve heard your Pizza Policy a thousand times. Just enjoy something exotic for a change.”
“Well, I guess I can violate the policy just this once.” I certainly violated my music policy tonight, that’s for sure.
“You know,” Safeway said with a wistful sigh, “you and I never do this anymore. I’ve missed it.”
“That’s called breaking up, Kathy. You might remember one or two of the eight or so times we’ve done it.”
“Eight? Are you sure? That time–”
“Yes, the time on Rigel IX where we fought over who won the card game still counts.”
“But we made up, like, an hour later.”
“I keep a list, you know.”
Safeway narrowed her eyes. “You would.” Sigh. “Anyways–”
“Even if we hadn’t, our separate assignments would have kept us apart.”
“I know…” Her voice trailed off as she picked up a breadstick and played with it. “We really could try it again, you know. We wouldn’t have to be apart so much. I have my own ship. I could come see you more often…” The RED ALERT klaxon in Clerk’s head obliterated anything Safeway said after that. Once again, the still-fresh smell of pizza returned him to reality.
“Time to dig in,” he said with an artificial grin as he picked up a slice of… what was it again? Oh well. It didn’t matter. At least it was better than that time Safeway introduced him to Kelvan “sushi”…
Back on Starbase 404, at the end of the evening, Clerk walked Safeway back to her room. “Ugh,” the Admiral said as she unlocked the door. “I’m so tired. Got a bunch of seriously boring upper-level staff meetings to attend. Wish I could just send my assistant, and spend the day with you.”
Um, wait… wait… no… did we… hold on…
“Thanks for the date, Jimi. I had a great time!” She planted a kiss on his cheek just before she opened the door. “Love you. Good night.”
As the door closed, the captain of the U.S.S. Secondprize stood petrified, unable to move, reeling from what had just occurred. But it wasn’t as if, like… you know… I mean, did they just…? Suddenly, Clerk’s eyes became as big as deflector dishes.
It’s a trap!