12 July 2013

"Photorps and Emotions"

By Curtis C. Chen

Shut the fuck up, son. I won't allow that kind of talk on my deck. Those officers have earned your respect. Sit down, you're going to get a lecture. Yes, that's an order!

There's a Lieutenant JG up in Science, Spork or something--I can't pronounce Fulcan names. Anyway, couple months ago, he figured out how to stabilize the yield on our new torpedoes, those Unlucky Thirteens. Intermix chambers always went out of calibration after firing and dampened the impact detonation. Annoying as hell.

Of course the captain's interested. He reassigns my entire work crew, including me, to help Spork. Pulls us off vital shuttlecraft maintenance to experiment on three torpedoes. But what really chaps my hide is how Spork struts onto my deck and starts giving orders left and right, telling my people when to jump and how high.

I was ready to give him a piece of my mind. But I'm no dummy, I ain't gonna put my chevrons up against his stripes. So I don't confront him directly. I tell my gang to sabotage his little science project. Nothing dangerous, just a solid fail, enough to make him lose face in front of the captain.

I was wrong. Yeah, you're not gonna hear me say that again in this lifetime, so enjoy it while you can.

Yarrison and Belso got the worst of it. Third-degree plasma burns, toxic inhalants. The rest of us just got thrown back by the explosion. Spork cracked his skull against the deck. I saw him bleeding like a motherfucker, but he didn't hesitate. He yanked on half a hazmat suit, walked right into the burning debris, pulled Yarrison and Belso out before the fire suppression force fields suffocated them.

Anyway, Spork won't go to Sickbay until he's checked the torpedo, and I stay to cover up what we did. But of course I can't. His scanner readings are clear as day; there's no way the intermix went that far out of true without tampering.

But Spork just closes his scanner, looks at me, and says, "It appears one of us miscalibrated the inputs. We should be more careful in our next attempt."

He knows what I did, but he ain't gonna tell. He doesn't have to say anything. I feel bad enough already--I nearly killed two of my own people, and for what? Because I don't like the guy? What the fuck am I, ten years old? I'm an engineering supervisor on a goddamn starship.

So I say, "It won't happen again, Lieutenant."

He nods, and we get back to work.

Forget him saving Yarrison and Belso. He also saved me from myself. I didn't trust the Academy for graduating him, I didn't trust the captain for assigning him, I didn't trust all the evidence telling me that Spork knew his shit.

Yeah, everybody makes mistakes. But don't fuck up the same ways I did, okay? Don't worry, you'll find plenty of new ways to screw up. Just be a little bit better than your old man, that's all I want.


Photo Credit: MATEUS_27:24&25 via Compfight cc