We start again with another exciting episode of Space Traipse! I hope you’re enjoying them. I had toyed with the idea of canceling this blog and going straight to publishing, but truth be told, I enjoy posting here and it keeps the pressure on to come up with new stories. You may have noticed that lately, said stories are not as parodyish, and that even when I write a parody, it takes a life of its own. Never has it been as apparent in this parody of “Journey to Babel,” from the original series. The characters had their own ideas about what needs to be done, and as people know, I never argue with my characters. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do!
The thing about exploring the galaxy is that in-between studying the wonders of nature and physics and dealing with the dangers of alien contact, there’s a lot of mind-numbing travel. The crew of the HMB Impulsive handled it in their own ways. Captain Jeb Tiberius and First Officer Phineas Smythe caught up on paperwork and made sure they were familiar with any changes the Chief Engineer had made to the ship as a result of whatever their last scrape was. Chief Engineer Angus Deary checked the engines so he could assure his commanders that whatever seat-of-the-pants modifications he’d made to save the ship were not only genius innovations that should already have been incorporated, but also that they will not blow the ship up later.
Security Chief Enigo LaFuentes conducted training, which usually meant stunning at least one person for asking a stupid question or making his security personnel don space suits and do laps around the ship—on the outside. Ops Officer Ellie Doall usually had three or four projects going on, from scientific and tactical analysis to running the ship’s many betting pools. Always, there was the question about how to use kuricrearrogance against the Cybers. Still, lately, she spent a lot of time daydreaming about her finance, Todd.
Of course, there were promotions to study for, physical fitness exams to pass, and, thanks to the destruction of all their janitorial robots, chores.
And so it was that Jeb and Phineas were discussing the latest repairs to the ship, Enigo was drawing up a new intruder exercise scenario, and the second-string crew were polishing all the shiny surfaces of the bridge. Things had gotten messy on multiple levels when the entire crew had been infected with a virus that removed everyone’s inhibitions. The crew, completely at the mercy of the space loonies, would likely have partied themselves to death had it not been for Ensign Gel, who was immune, Lt. Doall, who had called Todd to seduce him virtually, and Todd, who realized this was not like his Elliebean at all and managed to keep her centered enough to save the ship.
In fact, Ellie was working on new protocols for what to do when the entire crew was out of control while a part of her mind daydreamed about getting loose with her Toddybear. An alert popped up on Ellie’s console, snapping her to the present.
“Captain, I’m picking up another ship, closing on our location. Baychimo-class freighter…Sir, it’s the UFS Chotskey.”
The surprise and confusion in her voice made the Captain turn to look at her with a raised brow.
She blinked at her instruments as if she didn’t believe them. “That’s Todd’s mother’s ship, sir. We’re being hailed.”
“Main screen, then.” Jeb turned around. The second-string officers quickly tucked away cleaning rags and equipment and returned to their positions.
The image of a forty-something woman appeared on the screen. She wore no makeup and had her hair in a ponytail. Her red shirt bore a logo of a ceramic mule pulling a wagon. The bottom rocker read, “Chotskey,” while the top declared her captain. Her smile hinted at mischief and promises of Good Things.
Jeb found himself smiling back. “Captain Ahndmor. I’m Captain Jebediah Tiberius of the HMB Impulsive. To what do we owe this pleasure?”
Her grin grew wider. “Caroline, please—and pleased to meet you, too. Well, Captain, it seems my cargo hold is full of CleanSpace Janbot 3400s with the Impulsive’s name on them. I don’t suppose you’d like to take them off my hands?”
A cheer went up around the bridge. Even Commander Smythe let out a whoop. As the son of British nobility, the only other time he’d ever had to clean his own room had been his first year of the Academy.
Captain Ahndmor laughed at the enthusiastic response. “I’ll take that as a yes. We should be alongside in about two minutes. We can get the whole shipment plus a technician over in one shuttle if you can handle a Class G?”
“For this, I think we’d make room if we needed to, but yep, your shuttle will fit just fine. Lieutenant Cruz can send your pilot the details.” He nodded toward his helmsman, who gave a thumbs-up in response.
“Terrific!” Captain Ahndmor clasped her hands together. “But, Captain, if I could trouble you for one more favor? I’d dearly love to meet my future daughter-in-law face to face…”
He didn’t have to look behind him to know Ellie was pleading with her eyes. “Captain, considering the gift you are bringing, you are more than welcome on this ship. In fact, I’d appreciate the opportunity to tell you how highly we regard your son.”
“Music to a mother’s ears, Captain,” she said, then a retching sound from offscreen made her turn and snap, “Darmond, behave, or you can stay and tend the engines.”
With a smile worn by many a patient mother, she returned her attention to Jeb. “We’ll see you soon! Chotskey, out.”
Jeb stood. “Commander, will you make the arrangements to receive cargo? Lieutenant Doall, shall we go meet your future mother-in-law?”
“Yes, sir! Thank you, sir.”
She practically skipped into the lazivator beside him. He wondered if Todd would feel the same about meeting her parents. The two had fallen in love and gotten engaged at warp speed, and her family had been stalling on meeting him.
As the lazivator took them to the shuttle deck level, Jeb asked, “Have you had a chance to meet Captain Ahndmor?”
“Just once, sir, on a group call. I was going to take some leave and go back to Europa to meet them but…”
But the Impulsive had been called away on a mission, and then they were too far away for her to make the trip. “Yeah, I am sorry about that.”
She shrugged. “It’s the nature of HuFleet, sir. They understand. But it’s so nice the Chotskey could make the delivery of the Janbots.”
They entered the shuttle observation area. Around them gathered a team of logistics personnel led by Chief Loggy Loggins. They looked almost as eager as Ellie for the contents of the shuttle.