Episode 73: Star Sick Into Motion

Captain’s Blog, Stardate OH MAN. YOU GUYS. I’M AN ADMIRAL. I got back from my 5-season mission, and the higher-ups reviewed my performance, and lo and behold, I got a promotion! I don’t really understand why, but I think it’s best not to ask questions in this case. No sense in looking a gift sehlat in the mouth. Admiral Nezbomb said something about me “doing less damage” here. I don’t get it. At any rate, being an admiral rocks! I get to wear a polo shirt even when it’s not a Friday, the local starbase has a docking bay with my name on it, and I got a real neat watch! And if I don’t wanna wear the polo shirt, the new Fleet uniforms are practically pajamas. Pajamas! What luxury! What thread count! I got a nice cushy desk job, I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and I’m loving life!

It was Friday afternoon, around 4pm, and Admiral Jimi Clerk had nothing to do, which suited him just fine. He sat back in his ergonomic desk chair, with his feet propped up on his desk, and with a copy of the latest issue of Aspiring Apiarist magazine in his hands. He was one hour away from a three-day weekend, and time had slowed to a crawl. Like, a serious crawl. We’re talking a sleepy-burangabeast-with-a-full-belly crawl. But it had been a slow day all day. He hadn’t even gotten so much as a peep from his secretary, who relished every opportunity to interrupt whatever he was doing. Just one more hour…

…and like clockwork, he had an incoming call. But it was from Admiral Kathy Safeway-Clerk, so it was totally fine.

“Hey sugarbabe,” said Clerk as he pressed the Answer button on his communicator. “You packed and ready to go to Europa Falls State Park? It’s 4:00 already, and—“

“Jimi!” Safeway-Clerk said excitedly. “Listen! Something’s come up!”

What? Are you telling me something’s gonna interrupt our vacation at the last minute? Is this another one of your father’s—”

“No, it’s not like that! It’s a great opportunity! The state park can wait.”

“Oh no you don’t,” Clerk said. “The last time you told me about a ‘great opportunity’, I spent six months in an Andorian prison. No dice.”

“Listen, you dolt!” Safeway-Clerk said. “A massive cloud-like entity is headed toward Earth right this very minute! Our long-range Doppler radar says there’s an object at the center of the cloud, and I’ve been asked to check it out.”

“You mean we.”

“Of course, honey. When I say I, I mean we.”

Clerk thought for a moment. “Another space cloud? Didn’t we do this episode already?”

“This is different!” said the former Ms. Safeway. “We think it may be one of our own. It’s transmitting signals to us. It’s probably really old. Isn’t that exciting?”

“So an old satellite came back. Big deal. Why do I have to do garbage disposal?”

Kathy rolled her eyes. “It’s not garbage, honey, it’s vintage.”

“Now what have I been telling you about these hipster tendencies of yours?” Clerk said with a sigh. “Come on. This is a mission, and I don’t have to do that anymore!”

“But it’s so exciting! You, me, this cloud thingy, the Secondprize, it’ll be great!”

“Now wait a second,” Clerk said, holding up his hands. “Isn’t that ship being remodeled? Plus, she’s got a new captain and everything. I don’t wanna step on anybody’s toes.”

“Dear, you know the Secondprize is the only ship they’ll let you use. Plus, I… kinda already told them you’d do it.”

Clerk facepalmed. “Of course you did.” Huge sigh. “So let me get this straight. I gotta go out there to check out this old satellite, which probably has villainous intentions, in a ship that’s in even worse shape than before due to the remodeling they’ve been doing, plus they haven’t had time to re-decorate, and I suppose this is the best of all possible scenarios?”

“So you’ll do it?”

Clerk whimpered. “Yeah, I’ll do it.”

“This is gonna be great!” Clerk’s loving wife exclaimed. “You’re not going to regret this!”

Are you kidding me? I regret it already.


Nobody really thought Commander Billard Doubledecker was captain material, but since literally nobody else wanted the center seat of the Secondprize, he got volunteered. Being a naturally accommodating person, he rolled with the punches and got to what was real. Therefore, he was plucked from the Science division and unceremoniously placed in front of a TV with a VHS tape of “Captaining and You” and a three-ring binder full of miscellaneous memos on the latest HR disasters. And that, ladies and gentlemen, made him a Starship Captain.

Admiral Clerk, of course, was naturally reluctant to steal anyone’s thunder, whether the person in question wanted the thunder to begin with. But orders were orders, so he boarded the shuttle, headed toward the ready-or-not vessel. But he wasn’t above a little procrastination.

“Ensign,” said Clerk. “Take the scenic route.”

“Aye, sir. Taking scenic route.”

After approximately 15-20 minutes of meandering, the shuttle did indeed finally dock at the Secondprize. A further 15 minutes of meandering — this time unintentional — occurred as Admiral Clerk attempted to find the new break room. At last, Clerk arrived at his destination, and found Captain Doubledecker sipping his coffee and ignoring his loudly-beeping communicator.

“Captain,” said Clerk. “Are you gonna answer that?”

Doubledecker sighed. “It’s just my girlfriend. She found out she’s assigned to the Secondprize, so she’s been complaining nonstop about how her career is ruined.”

“She’s not excited about being on a ship with you?”

“She’s been referring to that as her consolation prize.” Doubledecker paused for a few seconds. “So… are you here to take the Secondprize away from me?”

“Wait,” Clerk stammered. “How did you know that?”

“I didn’t. I’ve been asking that to everybody who’s come in here today. Did I get it right this time?”

“Yeah, I’m afraid you did. I’d say I’m sorry, but you don’t look too tore up about it.”

Doubledecker stood up and walked over to Clerk, then he slapped him across his back. “Tag! You’re It!” he exclaimed, running full tilt out of the break room and out of sight.

Well, that went about as good as could be expected.