Captain’s Log, Intergalactic Date 676921.05
One of the frustrating things about being in a time-critical, near-death situation is that I don’t have time to get long-winded technical explanations from my crew. It means placing a lot of trust in my crew – who, I’d like to say, have never let me down – but it also means holding back my curiosity until after the crisis.
Once again, the bridge crew met in the conference room for a briefing, while the second-string bridge officers were manning the fort and giving each other high-fives and pats on the back. Loreli had left her quarters walked trip-free to the bridge, gave them warm congratulations and thanks, and joined the bridge crew. With the Inconceivable and the Rational Plausibility listening on the viewscreens, she explained her insight.
“While Commanders Deary and Jardin were looking for structural reasons for the odd malfunctions of the replicators, I researched all the reported anomalies and found a curious commonality. The toilet paper order, for example, was originally programmed by a Kitenski, who, having traits similar to felines, prefer to lick their genitals clean. The turkraken reacted according to human legend. The talking fish, I found in the historical archives; it was apparently a popular and beloved gift in Earth’s late twentieth/early twenty-first centuries.”
“And the ear drops?” Jeb asked.
“There is a saying among Logics about losing their ears.”
Loreli refrained from stating the actual saying, which she’d only learned in the comparative sexuality course she’d taken while the ship was in dry dock. On the viewscreen, several of the Rational Plausibility crew shifted their stances. It seemed a casual enough motion, but she knew even the hint of ear-fondling had made them uncomfortable.
She pretended not to notice and continued smoothly, “This led me to believe there was at least a species-specific link between the programmers and the unusual actions of the things they replicated, and possibly an individual link. Thus, the actions of the NO-BRAINR were not just a result of the external suggestions of their conversations, but were specific to the unique personalities and experiences of Commanders Deary and Jardin.”
Deary nodded. “I see. So, since together, we had discovered how to reverse polarity by 90 degrees, our new device sought to do something similar.”
“Right,” Doall chimed in. “And since the experiment was happening at a thread level, it made sense that the alterations were, too. Since it wasn’t affecting all threads, we looked for threads like those found in you – hence, the transporter scans. It’s a good thing Chief Dour is such a devoted telesubstantialist.”
Captain Vizzini clapped his hands together and rubbed them. His gleeful expression was reflected in the faces of all his bridge crew. “We’ll be writing papers on this phenomena for years! Speaking on behalf of my crew, we could not be more pleased with the results.”
“The experiment was a complete failure,” the Logic captain noted.
“I know! Isn’t it wonderful?”
The Logic captain allowed himself the luxury of a sigh, a testimony to his deep exasperation with humans in general and those of the Inconceivable in particular.
If Vizzini noticed, he chose to ignore it. “Before we all go our separate ways, we’d like to have the science teams gather on our ship to go over notes and observations – plus, Ensign Doall, too. Her insight was most enlightening.”
Commander Deary added, “I’d like to go, too, Captain…Captain. Once we’re sure physics is completely back to normal, I’d like to shut off the NO-BRAINR and fetch it back to the Inconceivable to study it against the second one we created. Perhaps if we can find differences between the two, we might figure out what’s going on.”
Jeb nodded. “Now that we have normality, that is our top priority. All right, then. Take Ensign Doall and a shuttle and retrieve the device, then head over to the Inconceivable.”
“I look forward to working with you further, Ensign,” Fle’ek said.
When the screens went dark, Enigo cooed, “Oooo! Someone’s gonna have his ears drop off.”