We’ll need a password in this episode, and gone are the days of “Riker-Omega-3,” which sounds fishy, anyway. I figure they’re more like this now. You’ll see why this is important to note.
Captain’s Log, Intergalactic Date
Despite a minor setback, Commander Deary and his team have refitted the ship for travel to Filedise space. In the meantime, Loreli, LaFuentes, Doall and Doctor Pasteur have come up with a rudimentary plan for infiltrating the computer systems. Now that his conditioning is broken, Doctor Pasteur is more forthcoming with information, but he continues to wear the mouthguard.
For the rest of the crew, however, it has been a long, boring couple of days. The one bright spot has been a shipwide rumor about a romance between Lieutenants Loreli and LaFuentes. Officially, of course, I’ve done my best to dissuade such gossip, but we are of course tracking the spread of chatter. Once it reaches critical mass, they will enact the big reveal in accordance with regulation 2-<3s-:0-:).
Our first priority, however, is to save the galaxy by rescuing Filedise.
The Impulsive sat still in space.
On the bridge, the crew tapped toes, drummed nails on consoles, and glanced at their pilot.
Lieutenant Cruz glared back. “Ai! What do you want from me? I put in the course. I hit the accelerator. Now, I’m waiting for the spines to finish reticulating. When they do, we–”
There was a sudden flash and the feeling of being pulled two inches to the right.
“—will be there,” Cruz finished. “See? What’d I tell you?”
On the screen was an Earthlike planet of blues and greens and puffy white. This, of course, was a holographic representation of the world supplied by the sensors which were created with designs purchased from Filedise. It didn’t really matter; the image was soon replaced by the same vaguely human female-ish image from the call center. It smiled placidly at them.
“Attention, Unauthorized vessel. Congratulations! You’ve discovered Filedise – from which all things good and useful come. We applaud you on your ingenuity in navigating spacetime to reach us. However, in accordance with section 2-K0-d of our Terms of Agreement, it will be necessary to destroy you. If you believe this finding is in error, please speak your code or say ‘one for assistance.’” The message then spoke in a different language – basically, “to continue in Coldorathan, say, ‘two.’” This was one of the customer service initiatives resulting from the ECSOP Pasteur had lived through as a child.
Jeb and Smythe exchanged glances. “One,” Smythe called out.
“Sir, missiles coming from the planet,” Lt. LaFuentes reported from the security station.
“One for assistance!” Jeb said, but the message simply repeated itself. “Bridge to Sickbay. Doctor, if you have an access code, this would be a good time to use it.”
“Yes, sir,” Pasteur’s words were muffled from the mouth guard. “I’m looking it up now…”
“Looking it up?” The screen now showed a holographic image of sixteen missiles streaking toward them. Jeb recognized them – Xena 350-mark7 shipbusters with the full targeting package. He felt a pang of jealousy. Even LaFuentes whistled in admiration.
Meanwhile, the doc was saying something about not memorizing all his passwords.
“Wait!” the doctor said. “Sending it now.”
They heard a long moment of garbled tones – the verbal equivalent of “*******************,” then the message changed. The missiles stopped, then exploded in a beautiful pyrotechnic display.
“Welcome home, Guy Pasteur. We are unable to connect to your supervisor at this time. Please proceed by shuttle to medical research headquarters, building 105, suite 135, in the Excedrin district. Your shuttle will be guided by remote control. Only authorized personnel on the approved guest list may join you. Teleporter use is forbidden. Any violation of these terms will result in you being blasted from the sky. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Jeb turned to his away team. “Bridge to Away Team, you’re up.”
Shortly after I graduated from college, I had an experience where I felt like the whole world shifted out from under me, two inches to the left. It was a freaky, vivid feeling. I was in a Kinkos at the time, getting a resume printed, and to this day, I can’t escape the feeling that I was moved to an alternate universe where my resume was useless. (I bagged groceries that summer.) Now and then, I wonder what my life in that other universe would have been like.