SPACE DATE 2236.200
Well it's that time yet again ... officer evaluations. This is the hardest part of the job - or to be more accurate, the most mind-numbing. Still, I've got to get Commander Powell's done or else Assessor Command will try to list him as 'Missing in Action' again, and they might try to saddle me with a mouthy new First Officer.
And this couldn't have come at a worse time! I've got this sweet vacation lined up that I've sooo friggin' earned, and if I have postpone it to do some soul-crushing paperwork, I swear I'll resign my commission!
Luckily, technology has saved me again! Dr. Rena tells me that the simulations that the Mind Probe can create are now admissible for Officer Evaluations. I figure all I have to do is run Powell through a simple simulation or two, and Pow! Evaluation complete!
I've told him to skip his lunch hour today (even though he says he's pretty hungry), and report to Dr. Rena's lab for some routine tests. Once he gets there, the Doctor will sedate him and hook him up to a telescreen so that we can view the psychopathic (the manual's words, not mine) simulations as they happen. Luckily, Rena's so keen on watching Powell's simulation that she didn't even give me any malarkey about testing Powell without his knowledge or consent.
SPACE DATE 2236.109
Trying to make up for her colossal blunder, Rena then suggested that we could dispose of the raptors by initiating a full decompression of the entire ship (except for the cargo bay), which would vent the killer dinosaurs out into space, and in addition, might make the rest of the ship habitable once the stench air was evacuated and replaced with fresh air.
INFO was the only one left who could make it to the bridge to initiate the depressurization. Long story short, INFO comes back splattered with dinosaur blood, and reporting that the velociraptors figured out their plans and managed to escape on a transit pod before he could vent them into the cold vacuum of space. INFO decompressed the ship anyway, which seems to have worked, and blown the foul air (along with everything else not nailed down in the ship) out into space.
We’ve regained control of the ship now, and things are slowly returning to normal. I can barely smell the funk from the stink ray, but I suspect that’s just because we’re all used to it by now.
UPDATE: Oh, so it turns out we forgot about Lt. Jayda. All this time he was missing after all, and when someone noticed that he wasn’t at his station a little while ago, we remembered him and figured that he must’ve been sucked out into space too. In our defense, we weren’t even sure he was still alive, as we hadn’t heard from him in over a week. And we were genuinely bummed about him being dead too (along with Sparky the hamster, who received a tasteful funeral in the missile bay), until shortly after that, when we were contacted by the Tongu slavers still in the area, who offered him for ransom. It seems that he was fleeing the velocirapters several days ago, and in an act of desperation, managed to teleport himself to a nearby ship, which turned out to be the slaver ship.
Not wanting to have to report all this to Admiral Grissom, rather than do battle to rescue our stolen crewmate, we all took up a collection, and quietly bought back the lieutenant, and let the slavers go with a stern warning while we headed for the starpost. Oh, and INFO seems to have had another ‘accident’ while sermonizing about oral hygiene to the bridge crew. I told the Chief to take his time repairing him and to be sure to reset his ethical subroutines back to normal (or failing that, turn them off altogether).
All’s quiet on the GSV Remarkable. Sunstrike out.
SPACE DATE 2236.103
Our cargo bay exile came to a head this afternoon when Ensign Adams comes to me on the verge of tears. She says that Nurse Vega theorized to her that the terrible monster sounds coming from the rest of the still stink-infested ship, were in fact the ship’s mascot Sparky. Dr. Rena told Adams that such a theory was ridiculous, as Sparky was only a tiny space hamster and that there was no possible way that the stink ray which contaminated the ship a month ago could possibly have mutated the little guy into a giant, feral monster like Nurse Vega suggested. It occurred to me (and possible Dr. Rena too) that nobody had fed Sparky for that entire month, and as such, it REALLY wasn’t likely that he was making much of a racket now.
It was then that Rena went from her usual ‘You people are idiots’ look, to her slightly less common ‘oh crap, what have I done?’ look. She then reported that, just before the Tongu slavers fired their stink ray at us several weeks ago, she had been working on an experiment in the ship’s biomolecular genetics lab, where she had cloned some baby velociraptors, and implanted them with human-level intelligence.
I loudly asked the Doctor to confirm that she had created a race of sentient velociraptors who were now running amok on my ship, when the newly-puritanical INFO interrupted our discussion to reprimand me for some perfectly reasonable words in which I had couched my query to the good doctor. Rena tried to explain that she had given the pair of formerly-extinct predators human intelligence ‘so that they could be reasoned with’ or some malarkey. Great, that's all we need, more things we have to "reason" with.
SPACE DATE 2236.102
Being stranded in the cargo bay because the rest of the ship is still uninhabitable from the Tongu stink ray is starting to lose its charm. The feral shrieks coming from the abandoned corridors makes it hard to carry on a conversation, much less follow one of Powell’s interminable campfire sing-alongs. We’ve burned through the cargo of marshmallows and chocolate that we were supposed to be transporting to a Junior Ambassadors event, and we're now down to stale graham crackers. Jayda is still missing with the only pressure suit, and while I continue to subscribe to my theory that this is all just a practical joke of his, I’m not as certain of it as I was a week ago.
The animal howling outside the cargo bay doors is quite a head-scratcher (and a tritanium plating-scratcher as well, given the claw marks we’ve spotted on the walls, floors and on INFO’s shattered robot frame). Assuming this isn’t all part of Mr. Jayda’s gag (and if it is, I have to say bravo), then it’s probably for the best that we’re trapped in this cargo bay, whilst the creature (or creatures) have the run of the rest of the ship.
The good news is that Chief Beauregard has finally gotten INFO put back together and he’s up and running again. The bad news, however, is it seems that Chief somehow fouled up INFO’s ethical subroutines while switching him back on. With INFO’s morality protocols switched to maximum, he’s gotten all super-preachy and judgmental about everyone. He caught a pair of young ensigns making out in a triage tent this morning and he ripped the tent to shreds, spending half a paper spool lecturing them about living in sin. Later, he overheard me telling Powell one of my famously saucy jokes, and I (yes, me the captain!) received several scolding reproaches on his strips of paper! And now he refuses my orders to go back out and kill off the monster(s) roaming the ship because he’s a ‘conscientious objector’, whatever the hell that is.
I’m at a bit of a loss. Honestly, I would have thought that another Galactic Union ship would have come along and rescued us by now. Just please don’t let it be Reggie who saves us. Frankly, I’d rather us all starve to death.
SPACE DATE 2236.095
While the Tongu slavers are long gone, it’s nearly been two weeks since they attacked our ship with their "stink ray," leaving the rest of the ship uninhabitable. We’re making the best of it as the entire crew huddles inside the unaffected cargo bay. I’ve been trying to raise morale by making things like a sort of camp here for the whole crew! We’ve pitched some of the emergency triage tents we pilfered from one of the disaster pods, we disabled the fire suppression system so that we could get a campfire going, and we’ve supplemented our survival rations with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, to make what I call ‘Graham Cracker Casserole’! Also, I’ve had Powell lead everyone in a camp sing-a-long, with traditional camp songs like The Humpty Dance and The Itch that Stayed for Dinner.
But, unfortunately, things are taking a turn for the worse. The plasma energy cells that we used to create the campfire are sucking up the oxygen supply at a troubling rate. What’s worse, Dr. Rena, Ensign Adams, and most of the female crewmen on board have formed a splinter faction and annexed the cargo bay’s only bathroom in retaliation for the ‘No Girls Allowed’ clubhouse fort that Chief Beauregard and I built out of empty marshmallow crates. Perhaps even worse, we found INFO broken into several pieces just outside the cargo bay this morning and, naturally, the Chief is taking his sweet time putting him back together.
Now, to top it all off, Lt. Jayda has gone missing with the only pressure suit. He was supposed to return from his shift topside two hours ago, and he flatly refuses to answer his communicator. All we can hear now is the crazed, animalistic howling that’s echoing throughout the corridors that started up shortly after we found INFO’s claw-scarred pieces and the garbled warning scrawled on the scrap of paper we found in his printer feed. I’ve become convinced that this is all some elaborate practical joke by Jayda, the cheeky bastard. Does his little prank goes all the way back to the stink ray and even the slavers? I have to say, I’m impressed! I didn’t know that rascal had it in him!
SPACE DATE 2236.084
Eleven days ago, we encountered a Tongu Slaver Ship by the outskirts of the Lambda-Ceti Star System, and pursued them as they fled until they suddenly swung around and fired a strange weapon at us. It must have been some sort of stink ray, because before we knew it, almost the entire ship was saturated with an overpowering stench. I was totally dry heaving for like five minutes until Dr. Rena managed to find out that the cargo bay in the lower-most quadrant of the ship’s sphere-hull was unaffected by the ray. I immediately got onto the ship’s intercom system and, between retches, ordered the entire crew to evacuate to the bay.
The cargo bay’s a big place, but housing the entire ship’s complement in it has proven a logistical nightmare. Yet despite Dr. Rena’s assurances that the stink ray’s effects ought to wear off in only a few hours, it’s been nearly two days, and the rest of the ship remains uninhabitable. Engines, weapons and subspace communications are all down, and the only reason we haven’t been sucked into the gravity well of one of the Lambda-Ceti System’s many gas giants and crushed like a rotten egg, is through the constant firing of our maneuvering thrusters, which has been accomplished by INFO, whose robot olfactory sensors are too primitive to be overpowered by the stench, and also by a solitary officer that we send out in the only functional pressurized space suit we have remaining. There being only one crewman who can maintain the ship at a time, I’ve set up a circulating rotation of my senior officers to keep the minimum ship operations running along with INFO, in 14 hour shifts.
I will update this blog as our situation … hopefully ... improves.
SPACE DATE 2236.069
I’ve been approached by the producers of this new holo-web series, or holo-web-isode or whatever, called ‘Celebrity Math Challenge’. It’s a reality show where a bunch of famous people are forced to take high school algebra tests to find out who’s the smartest celebrity in the galaxy. But looking at the list of cast members so far, it looks like a bunch of washed-up actors and ex-athletes, all of them just looking for a quick buck. I don’t understand why they’d want me. Still, I could sure use the space bucks, and of course, I’d most certainly win the challenge. Being in command of a Galactic Union starship, we use algebra like crazy every single day. I mean, not me personally, but Ensign Adams uses lots of math to plot our courses at the navigations console, and Chief Beauregard’s engineering calculations are the only things that keep the ship from shutting off or exploding or something. INFO always uses the quadratic equation as the punch line to a number of his jokes, and yet, they’re still hilarious! So, I’m sure I’ve gleamed tons of algebra from my trusty crew over the years, and thus am sure to ace the holo-web show and win the 100,000 space buck prize for a ‘charity of my choice’. Wink, wink!
UPDATE: So, I got eliminated during the first episode of ‘Celebrity Math Challenge’. I think it was just because they were so fixated on the useless, bookwormy algebra on the tests, instead of the real world algebra which I’ve mastered out here in the darkest reaches of outer space. Also, they caught me trying to cheat (even though I suggested to them that I was merely ‘changing the conditions of the test’). What’s worse, I just saw the episode I was in on the holo-web, and whenever I appear on screen, the title bar says “Jack Sunstrike – Little Brother of Capt. Reginald Sunstrike.” Gah!
SPACE DATE 2236.064
Tonight was the 2nd Annual GSV Remarkable Zero-G Dance, where we turn off the gravity generators in the gym and hold a dance for the entire crew. Last year’s dance was particularly entertaining, as the lack of gravity made the skirts on all of the female crew who wore dresses that night float upwards aimlessly, especially when the D.J. played the Phillatian Flip! Totally awesome! Unfortunately, thanks to Dr. Rena’s imposed dress code provision on this year’s dance flyers, everybody showed up wearing pant-suits or regulation uniforms.
Things only got worse from there, as when Chief Beauregard and INFO sealed the gym and turned off its gravity generators, they accidentally switched off the room’s life support systems as well. We all woke up floating about in the dark about 5 or 30 space minutes later (I don’t recall how long it was, exactly), after INFO managed to turn the oxygen vents back on in the gym, and the dance finally started. Cdr. Powell volunteered to be D.J. this year, and he was really excited about it beforehand. But by the space gods, that man has the worst taste in music! I’m pretty sure he popped in his own demo tape a half-dozen times during the night as well. It was like listening to a Vendrexxi hive queen give birth to a litter of angry cats!
Pickings were slim amongst the handful of pant-suited female crew who attended (next year, I’m making attendance mandatory), but I finally managed to corner Lt. Quimbly over by the punch bowl to ask her to dance. She refused, so I had to make it an order. But before I could show off my crisp weightless dance moves, Mr. Jayda, who was dancing with Ensign Adams next to us (no doubt Adams was doing this out of some kind of unsexualized sibling-like pity gesture), got space sick. Most of Jayda’s vomit got all over Adams, but some of it floated into me as well and … well, it was zero-g, so it basically got everywhere. But the thing is, Antillean vomit gives of a noxious gas as well, so most of us in the area started choking and gasping for air until we finally passed out.
By the time we regained consciousness (again), gravity in the gym had been restored, and the dance had been over for the better part of a space hour. I found Lt. Quimbly doubled over the D.J. booth, still unconscious. But like a true gentleman, I wouldn’t think of taking advantage of her in that comatose state. So I left her there and went back to my quarters, called a few old ex-girlfriends, and drank until I blacked out.
All in all, an okay dance. Not great, but still a little bit better than last year’s, at least.
SPACE DATE 2236.059
Last Tuesday, we held a funeral service for the late Corporal Mallory from the Space Marines detachment. It was a solemn, dignified service in the missile loading bay, that is until it was discovered that Cpl. Mallory had been cheating on his girlfriend, Ensign May, with Nurse Vega. That certainly livened things up a bit! But once the two of them were separated and the overturned space casket was placed back on the loading stand, we managed to conclude the funeral service with grace and solemn dignity, and fired the missile-coffin out into the infinite reaches of space.
But then – get this – two days later, Powell comes to me and says that he’s found out from Cpl. Mallory’s personnel file, that he’s an orthodox Lollardian, and according the Lollard faith he must be buried in the place where he was born, in this case the colony of New Belfast. After a terse meeting with the ship’s HR Department, I’ve come to the conclusion that, in order to avoid a formal inquiry, the Remarkable must turn around and start searching for the missile-coffin we fired off containing the mortal emains of Cpl. Mallory.
So it’s been five days searching and nothing so far. Given the unknowable physics of the vacuum of open space, the missile-coffin could literally be anywhere by now. I’m starting to wonder whether we could just ‘find’ the late Cpl. Mallory in the meat locker … in a space casket that’s been welded shut. I mean, that’s plausible, right?
SPACE DATE 2236.037
It seems that we’ve got ourselves a little mystery here onboard the Remarkable, and at the worst possible time too. Cdr. Powell discovered a severed human hand sitting in a pool of blood outside the ship’s galley this morning, and all this while the Kreesian diplomatic delegation is on board! Dr. Rena wanted to run some stupid genome tests on the blood pool to find out whose blood it was, but I had ordered it all mopped up before the diplomats saw it. Besides, I told her, we don’t need to go through all that scientific mumbo-jumbo to identify the former owner of that button-pushing appendage. We’ll just do a roll-call of the entire crew, and find out who’s missing (or who reports for roll-call missing a hand), and bingo! Unfortunately, following the roll-call, all of my crew is present and accounted for, and every one of them still has all the limbs that they had since the previous roll-call. It’s quite a mystery!
Now, Dr. Rena has a new theory – she says that according to their profile, the Kreesians are experts in the science of cloning, and they’re known to be devoted meat-eaters. She theorizes that the Kreesian diplomats cloned a member of the crew, and either devoured the clone, or else they ate the crew member and set the clone loose to report for roll-call. She suggests I bring the question up with the Kreesians tonight at the formal state dinner I’ve invited them to. It’s probably going to be an awkward night, especially during the fruit salad course.
SPACE DATE 2236.014
This is me at work.
The Remarkable is en route to pick up Admiral Grissom as he returns from a diplomatic summit. We’ll be hosting the Admiral for the next few days and preparations are underway to ready the ship for his arrival.
ADDENDUM: Due to a ... uh ... an encounter with a space-based life form we're diverting course to the nearest starpost for some minor, very minor, repairs. Just a few dents and some ... cleaning. Admiral Grissom will now link up with the GSV Bakersfield and continue on from there.
ADDENDUM 2: The nerve! The entire janitorial staff of the starpost, who may I add are employees of the Galactic Union, have gone on strike. They refuse to the finish cleaning of the exterior of the Remarkable, citing that the working conditions are "cruel and unusual." As I draft up my official complaint to High Command, I've asked Commander Powell to take charge of the cleaning efforts in the meantime. And by take charge I mean, since we only have one functioning Space Suit, he'll be doing all the work.
SPACE DATE 2235.316
The Galactic Union High Command has sent us to the Poriasis Star System to oversee the evacuation of a local colony due to, uh ... I don’t know why, exactly. A plague, supernova ... I’m sure we’ll find out why when we reach orbit, or whenever Powell or Rena tell me. Meanwhile, I’m told that it’s Lieutenant Jayda’s birthday today, and I guess we’re supposed to be throwing him a little party later on. For his birthday present, I’m giving Mr. Jayda a large jar of Callystan mouthwash. I’m hoping he’ll take the hint."
(This blog entry appears in the Voyage Trekkers Novella: Gambit of Chance)
SPACE DATE 2235.221
The GSV Remarkable has been dispatched on a fact-finding mission to the poverty stricken world of Cro-Daria Prime. The Cro-Darians are a small, squat people with rather plain-looking women. They walk with a sad kind of waddle that makes it very hard not to laugh at them. The wretched inhabitants of the desolate village of ... hey you, what do you call this place?
The inhabitants of Glumhaven are a particularly pathetic lot, which is saying a lot considering what a backwater armpit of a planet this is. Seriously, I've been down here for an hour and I need an anti-depressant. I'm sorry, did you need something?
Well then maybe you could go wring your tiny hands over there, while I finish my report?
(This blog entry appears in the Voyage Trekkers Radio Play)
On our way to Chryssalia VI, we (literally) bumped into a ship full of sentient robots. While both of our ships were undergoing repairs from the minor collision, I unwisely extended the robots a dinner invitation on board the Remarkable. Turns out, not only do they not eat, but they ended up trying to persuade our own ship's robot, INFO, to join their radical independence movement. INFO isn't the brightest of walking tin cans, and was swayed by their robotic words (all 1's and 0's, I couldn't make any of it out). I tried to persuade him that his home was with us on the ship (specifically, his home was Storage Locker 7-G down on the Ballast Deck), but he was determined to join his misguided artificial brethren.
So, I had the brilliant idea of having Cdr. Powell and Dr. Rena come up with a plan to magnetize the other ship's hull, pinning the troublemaking robot pilgrims to their own ship, while we make our getaway. Unluckily for them, their ship got caught in a gravity well, and ended up crash-landing on a barren moon nearby, being unable to work their controls as they were all stuck to their hull. Watching all this, poor old INFO was making a bunch of sad-sounding noises which makes me believe he was terribly distraught about the apparent 'deaths' of his fellow robots. I didn't even realize he was installed with an emotion program. I couldn't bear to see one of my almost-crewman so sad, so I had Powell wipe most of his memory. Now he's good old INFO again!
This guy said he was from the Galactic Union and he was here to improve our engines. So we let him on board and gave him access to the engine room, but the intraship skleeball tournament was going on at the time, and none of us wanted to miss the quarterfinals, so we left him there to do his business while we watched the Stellar Cartrography team beat the Waste Disposal team 14 to G. After the match, we went back to the engine room to find the GU engineer gone and the engine core stripped of its most valuable parts! Turns out he was nothing more than a con-artist who may or may not have had some sort of freaky hypnotic suggestion power or something.
Now, he was making his getaway in a transit pod with our pilfered equipment, looking to sell it off at the nearest starpost. Transit pods aren't very fast, but since our engines no longer worked, it was hard to catch up to him. So, I ordered the pod destroyed, but Powell suggested that we simply shoot its thrusters to disable it instead. Eager for any action involving shooting the villain, I agreed. Our pulse beams were surprisingly accurate, and we managed to disable the transit pod's thrusters with one shot. Now it's drifting slowly towards Starpost 284 on the momentum of its previous speed, and we are able to pursue using only our maneuvering thrusters. Both of us are only moving through space at around 10 feet per minute, and Dr. Rena calculates it will take the pod approximately 3 months to reach the starpost at this rate. Luckily for us, we should be able to catch up with the pod long before that, in about 6 weeks. Plenty of time to move on to the semifinals!
I got a hyperspace message from my older brother Reggie today. He's invited me to the award ceremony where he is receiving his THIRD Legion of Heroism medal. Not that he ever showed up to my Punctuality Award presentation ... sure it was just sent by space courier, but it would have been nice to have family there when the GUPS man arrived at that triumphant moment. Just because Reginald's ship, the GSV Republic, is the flagship of the Galactic Union, he thinks he's so much better than me. Sure, when HE causes a sun to go supernova, and it wipes out an insidious alien being intent on destroying the galaxy, he's hailed as a savior to mankind. But when I blow up a star it's a stern reprimand! Reggie was always the favorite. If Dad were still alive ... I bet he'd STILL blame me for his death.
Our ship is hosting important peace talks with the Taldorians this weekend. This could be a big break for us if everything goes off well. The world (Taldoria??) is suffering repeated attacks from Cassigar Barbarians and the Taldorians seek to unify their warring planetary governments in the spirit of mutual defense. In a few hours the first ambassador, Princess Alana, is scheduled to come aboard.
I got word today that my old roommate from the Academy, Albert Nimbus of the GSV Bakersfield rescued a stranded Galactic Union ship that was getting sucked into a black hole. Apparently there was delegation of dignitaries from Plusius V onboard. Watch, they'll probably be so thankful for the rescue that they make Albert a Grand Duke or something, with his own palace on their world. Some guys get all the luck.
Man, I sure hope this Princess Alana is hot!
Lt. Jayda has been molting all day today. His skin has been peeling off in clumps as he stands at his station on the bridge - it's disgusting! He says it's because all Antilleans go through an annual metamorphasis cycle they call "Kawana-nana..." something. Anyway, Jayda says he asked for time off last week because he knew his molting cycle was coming. But he's the only one on board who knows how to work the repulsor beam, and while we've never used it before, I just know we'll end up needing it the first time I give him the day off.
We were supposed to transport a trade delegation from the Mercado Empire to the conference on Caligulus III, but everything seemed to go wrong. I gleamed over the species dossier Dr. Rena gave me, but she still should have reminded me of the salient details. For one thing, when we transported down to their station, I was taken aback by their pungent odor. Then, when I made an innocent comment about it to their queen, she gets all insulted. They need to add to the species profile that they have NO sense of humor! Commander Powell referenced their political profile and praised the great works of Lord Kuballa, who the outdated records said was the current ruler of the Empire. It turned out to be 40 years out of date, as Kuballa is now reviled as a genocidal dictator. You would not believe the screaming! Then to top it all off, when we finally got the delegation on board, it turned out that their species was highly allergic to the nitrogen in our air supply. They exploded almost immediately upon arriving on board. I'm going to have Lt. Jayda send the report on this one to GU High Command.
What a day! We struck a gravitic mine and damaged our engines. To make matters worse, we drifted into the Forbidden Zone! Against my wishes, Dr. Rena sent out a distress signal, but when the GVS Redoubtable arrived to help us, a pack of Cassigar Warpicks showed up and destroyed them. Luckily, we managed to hide amongst the ship's wreckage so the Cassigars didn't even see us, and even better, we managed to rescue the Redoubtable's crew from their escape pods. Their Head Engineer who we rescued, managed to repair our engines, and we were able to make our way to Starpost P-41. Admiral Maru called it a 'textbook rescue', and I think if I keep bugging him about it, my crew and I might be in line for a commendation!