Captain’s Blog, Stardate: Wedding Day. I never thought I’d begin a recording that way. Not that I never wanted to, mind you, but— never mind. She’s right; I can’t shut up. At any rate, of all the times in my life that I’ve been nervous — which is most of my life, now that I think about it — this beats them all. The last several stardates have been both exciting and terrifying, and that’s putting it as mildly as I can. I’ve only had to be talked out of taking a shuttle and speeding away to parts unknown once. No wait, twice.
The Academy’s North Banquet Hall was filled to capacity. Friends, family, co-workers, and skeptics (those who still believed this was all an elaborate hoax) not only took up every available seat, but also began to spill out into the nearby hallways, which already had heavy traffic due to the Annual Janitorial Sciences Seminar, which had been scheduled for the same day and time.
Head of Maintenance Jed Jenkins was torn. Really torn. After a bit of uncharacteristically intense internal debate, he ultimately chose to attend the wedding ceremony, though it did disappoint him slightly that there was no liveblog for the seminar this year. At the last minute, however, he managed to talk Lt. Reely O. Riley into taking pictures of the event, and uploading them to a shared folder on his FleetBoxTM account. “Better’n nuthin’ at all,” he said to himself.
Ultimately, the wedding went off without a hitch… much to everyone’s surprise. The wedding reception, however, was another matter altogether.
During a lull in the proceedings, Captain Clerk stepped outside the principal locus of activity, and saw his First Officer/Best Man Klaa’ck standing by himself, silently observing the joyous hubbub.
As Clerk approached, he gave a lighthearted sigh. “This togetherness is a mess.”
“Pardon?” Klaa’ck returned, eyebrow raised inquisitively.
“Oh, it’s just something Daddy used to say whenever there was a family get-together or anything like that.”
“I see. If I may ask, Captain, has a decision been made regarding, uh…”
“Her outranking me?”
“Indeed,” Klaa’ck replied. “As your First Officer, it would be very beneficial for me to be made aware of any changes to the chain of command.”
Clerk shrugged. “To be honest, we don’t know. With everything else that’s been going on, we haven’t really taken much time trying to figure all that out yet. I’m sure the Board of Directors will give us some kind of ruling eventually.”
“And in the interim?”
“I don’t know that either,” Clerk answered, shaking his head slightly. “She’s not really into the whole admiral thing anyway… other than having her own flagship; that’s right up her alley. For the time being, she’s taking a Leave of Absence. Beyond that… all I know is that we’re shipping out in a few weeks to investigate a temperate anomaly of some sort. We’re hoping there’ll be no need for her to pull rank.”
“Excuse me, sir… but don’t you mean temporal anomaly?”
“Oh no, it’s very self-restrained. That’s why it’s an anomaly.”
As a gift, Info had offered to sing a special song at the reception. Clerk and Safeway thought it was a lovely idea, and in theory, it should have been relatively uneventful.
Having gotten the crowd’s attention, Yeoman Rind gave Info the go-ahead. The band began to play, and Clerk’s favorite artificial officer began crooning some old standard, the name of which Clerk could never remember. It was a sweet enough song — quite syrupy, actually — and it was appropriate for an event such as this. It certainly pleased the majority of the attendants, and that was all well and good.
Near the song’s climax, however, the band switched to a higher tempo, and that did it. 2Vac, who had thus far been simply nodding his head along to the slow groove, got excited. This was something he could work with. In an instant, he jumped up on the stage, grabbed a microphone that wasn’t in use, and proceeded to interject what would eventually go down in history as the best freestyle verses of his career.
At first, Info was confused. He quickly ran a search subroutine, arriving at a rather staid encyclopedia entry for “The Hip-Hop.” It was informative enough, however, so Info got into it as well, though he didn’t so much rap as attempt a form of sing-speak using pitch correction software. This energized 2Vac even more. The security officer then switched roles from MC to hype man, sprinkling “yeah yeah”s and “that’s right”s liberally throughout the verses.
All of this provided an atmosphere in which the backing band thrived. The ensuing jam lasted an estimated 9 minutes and 23 seconds. The rhymes were flowing, the band was in high gear, and the majority of the guests had no idea what to make of it.
The rest requested downloads.
Clerk was still recovering from the performance when he heard a gruff voice calling to him. The voice belonged to Dr. Flüshaht, who held a small, hastily wrapped present in his hand.
“Good to see you here,” Clerk began.
“Well, I was bored, and you did invite me, so…” It was tough for Flüshaht to feign cheerfulness, especially when he had fishing to do, but he tried his best. “It’s not much of a wedding present, but I figured it’s high time I gave it to you.”
“What is it, Doc?”
“Don’t call me Doc anymore, Jimi. I’m retiring.”
“Retiring?” Clerk asked, astonished. “I haven’t been informed of this. I’m happy for you, don’t get me wrong, but… who’s gonna be the one to bust my chops if you’re not around?”
“Her name is Jetski. Dr. Kate Jetski. She’s a tough old bird. A top notch curmudgeon. You’ll like her. She’s just the kind of pain in the neck you need.” Flüshaht was practically beaming now.
“Oh, well… okay. Believe it or not, I’ll miss you. I can only hope she lives up to her reputation.”
“She will, Jimi. You needn’t worry about that. At any rate, here’s your present. Just be careful who you show it to.”
Clerk opened the box to find a DVD. It was in a plastic case with no paper insert of any kind, and it had Episodes -20 and -19 scrawled on the label.
“What is this? I don’t get it.”
Flüshaht put a hand up. “Don’t ask. Just watch.”
All color left the Captain’s face. He started to open his mouth to speak, but thought better of it, choosing instead to smile nervously and nod his head in recognition of the doctor’s request.
“Besides,” Flüshaht said with a snicker. “Nobody will believe you. Just saying.”
Captain Clerk never really enjoyed getting his picture taken, so when the first round of wedding photos was over, and his presence in front of the camera was not required for a while, he escaped as quickly as he could, lest the photographer get any more ideas that involved him. Besides, Kathy Safeway-Clerk was the star of the show… which suited him just fine.
Wandering amid the crowd, Clerk walked past his newly-minted father-in-law, who was talking to a group of old family friends. With a guffaw, Fleet Admiral Safeway exclaimed, “Give the bride away? I tried to give her away years ago! I don’t know why it took this long for him to take her!”
Oh boy… and this is just the beginning. At least he’s apparently forgotten that time during our senior year when we almost eloped.
As he reached the back of the room, his eyes rested on a device he never would have thought would still be around, though it really shouldn’t have surprised him that no one had ever thought to remove it from the premises. It was a jukebox, after all, and those things were known to stay in their respective locations for decades — centuries, in many cases — regardless of their state of disrepair. This one was still quite operational, however… and that could have surprised anybody. As he perused the jukebox’s selection of songs, an old memory resurfaced.
On the day of his graduation from the Academy, he was pouring over the exact same selection of material, looking for the right song to fit the mood. He’d settled on G11, which was for ”Straight from the Heart” by Bryan Adams. Why Clerk’s aversion to sentimental fluff abandoned him at that moment, he wasn’t really sure. It did seem like the sort of song one might select for such an occasion, so he went with it.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as Clerk had inadvertently pressed F11 instead, resulting in a playback of Jimi Hendrix’s ”Manic Depression.” This led somebody to wisecrack about how “Jimi” would be a hilarious nickname, and it ballooned from there. It certainly didn’t help that the song’s content, for the most part, applied to him as well. So, despite his protests over the years, the Captain never could shake the appellation.
Clerk’s finger hovered over G11 for a moment. He was determined to right the wrong he’d committed all those years ago… until a mischievous little smile asserted itself. Of all the embarrassing things to come out of his Academy days, that nickname was the one thing he’d never let himself get over… yet somehow he did. After all this time, he realized it wasn’t the mistake he’d always made it out to be. In fact, he’d actually grown to like the name “Jimi Clerk.”
It was then that he’d decided the festivities had had enough sentimental fluff. It was time to rock this house. Taking a quick look over his shoulder to make sure nobody suspected anything, he chuckled a little to himself… and pressed F11.
THE END. FOR REAL THIS TIME.