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Earth-ship (standard:humor, 2060 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Jul 25 2005Views/Reads: 2633/1455Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Stardate: 3015. Earth-ship Centipede. Somewhere in the universe. (Warning: contains twenty-first century language)


©2005 Ian Hobson 

All but one of the officers on duty came to attention as the lift doors
chimed and glided gently open.  'Good morning, folks.'  Captain Russell 
P. Slogg, a short but stocky Texan, stepped purposefully onto the 
bridge of the Earth-ship Centipede and made his way to the 
command-chair.  The Centipede was several light-years from Earth and 
more than half way into its three-year mission, yet Captain Slogg 
always knew the exact time on good old planet Earth  Texas time, 

As the other officers returned to their duties, Mr Spook, an older and
much taller man, with a hound-dog expression, vacated the command-chair 
with a hint of reluctance.  It was one of the few ways he could express 
his disgust at being passed over for promotion. 'Good morning, sir.'  
He emphasised the word 'morning'. 

'Good morning, Mr Spook.'  Captain Slogg frowned as he brushed biscuit
crumbs from the chair with his right hand before taking his seat.  
Then, lifting an empty plastic coffee cup from the chair arm between 
thumb and forefinger, he held it towards his second in command.  'Yours 
I believe.' 

'Sorry, Captain.'  Spook took the coffee cup and placed it in a nearby
waste disposal aperture and pressed the start button.  The machine made 
a clicking sound but the cup failed to be disposed of. 

'I thought you were going to get that thing fixed,' said Captain Slogg,
with more than a little irritation in his voice. 

'I've called Engineering three times on the subject, Captain,' replied
Spook, tiredly.  'Mack promised it would be fixed by now.' 

'I called Engineering, too, Captain,' said Lieutenant Loveseat, as she
swivelled in her chair and pointed her ample bosom toward her 
superiors.  'The one in my cabin has been acting up for light-years, 
but nothing ever gets done about it.' 

'We have the same problem in the married quarters.'  First Mate Hobbs
joined the debate.  'I reckon it's what you females put down them 
that's the problem.'  He looked pointedly at Lieutenant Loveseat. 

Loveseat gave Hobbs a look of disgust.  'Listen, Hobbs.  If I want your
opinion, I'll...' 

'I'll deal with this,' interrupted Captain Slogg, as he tore his eyes
away from Loveseat's attributes and looked towards the huge rectangular 
screen that faced his chair.  'Get me Engineering, Loveseat.'  He 
drummed his fingers on the chair arm as he watched the command-screen's 
network of coloured pipes dissolve and then begin to redraw themselves. 
 Slogg fancied himself as a student of history and had installed a late 
twentieth century screensaver from a long-defunct company called 
Microsoft.  Suddenly the image changed to one showing the whole of the 
Engineering deck, but there seemed to be no one on duty. 

'Engineering, this is the bridge.  Please respond.'  Somehow Captain
Slogg knew that he was going to have a bad day.  'Mack, respond 

'Prabably in the shidder,' suggested Mr Subaru, Chief Gunner, and the
only Ausi crew member on board. 

He was right.  A door in the corner opened, and a fat and balding and
very irritated looking Chief Engineer McDonnell appeared; glossy 
magazine in one hand and fastening the zipper of his overalls with the 
other.  'Och, Captain!  I canny even have a shit in peace!  What do you 
want now?' 

'I want you to get these God-dammed waste-disposal units fixed, Mack. 
And I want a full report...' Suddenly Slogg's angry tone was 
interrupted by a loud intermittent alarm. 

'Captain, we're under attack!' announced Lieutenant Loveseat.  'Enemy

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