Chapter Six: The Trouble With Turse
Stardate 69670.01 (just before lunch).
Captain's log incidental, Captain 'Buck' Kirk reporting.
At 06:52 today one of the Enterprise's escape pods was jettisoned unexpectedly after the ship's control system was overridden. The escape pod's trajectory swiftly took it behind the van Halen belt and therefore out of tractor beam range. An all-decks scan has indicated that the only person missing is the passenger, intergalactic journalist Roy Turse.
Turse was on board at the request of Starfleet Command to record the story of our epic journey. However, after only a few hours he retired to his cabin and was seldom seen in general quarters.
At 07:21 a holocube recorder was located in a pot plant on the escape pod deck. Examination of the recorder indicates that it is damaged but contains an audio-only log recorded by Turse whilst on board. In the interests of clarity I have submitted a complete transcription of the recoverable content into the ship's log.
Ship's Computer Note: Voice analysis identifies speaker as Roy Turse, who's journalistic credentials include a 3rd class degree in Applied Tweeting from the Jean-Luc Picard Virtual University.
Hey wow! This ship is massive! I've got lost twice just trying to find the ship's head. Anyway, Buck Kirk, who is the ship's head, met me in conference room gamma on the seventh deck.
"Buck Kirk - pleased to meet you," he said.
"No - you're Kirk, I'm Roy Turse, Chief Reporter for Intergalactic News and Sport, sponsored by Syco." I replied.
We shook hands and sat down next to one-another on the far side of the ridiculously shaped table that identified us as being in the future. Kirk took a minute to pass a glass of water, so I looked away until he had rebuttoned his fly. Then he was straight down to business.
"So Turse, you're writing about my ship and my crew."
"Yes, Captain, and I'm hoping for something new and exciting."
Kirk looked at me in that sarcastic smiley way that reminded me of the old videos of his Granddaddy. "Haven't you ever been on the Internet? It's all been done; the TV, the films, the stories, the poems, the gay erotica, the songs, the conventions, the gay erotica…"
"I know, Captain," I replied, "but I'm aiming at something a little different."
"OK, Turse," he told me, "Well if you need anything just ask the ship's computer. Oh, and I never want to see you again. Ever."
With that, he flounced from the room, eliciting a final 'shwip…shwoo' from the sliding door.
I was un-phased - which was probably just as well. I rushed back to my cabin, charged with excitement that the Captain was so fully supportive of the project and confident I could do him proud. If I ever did, I thought, I'd film it for one of those Internet Star Trek gay erotica sites.
Back in my cabin the reality of the situation hit home. I realised that I was not going to get to talk to all the important people who ran this ship. I was stuck with getting my information from the ship's computer. At best I might get an interview with Ensign Expendable, just before he beams down to a hostile planet with the real protagonists and gets himself eaten or melted of zapped or something.
For the next few days I trawled through information from the computer. It seemed that Romulans or maybe Klingons had been on board, pies had been consumed, toilets had been blocked and the crew had got up to all sorts of high jinks.
But none of this was of interest to me. I was looking for the big one. The story I could retire on. The one to get me a Wurlitzer. I kept looking through the details of everything that had taken place.
What's this, I thought; Ensign Skoob has punched Yeoman Ghard in the Recreation Area? While they were on the bridge? That was a bit below the belt. I asked some questions of the computer to be told that Ghard had foolishly suggested that the Barcalons of S-Panya were 'not all bad', even though they had beaten the United Federation in battle in the Romulan capital recently. Poor Skoob was coming to terms with the defeat but didn't want his nose rubbed in it, hence the punch. Ah well, I thought, maybe that's not the big story.
What about recent news events? Delegates of Starfleet Command were being questioned about their expenses, and at least one had been claiming a quadrillion credit mortgage on a second planet in a solar system he didn't represent. He deserved to get life. But not as we know it. No good as a story for me though - people have seen that all before.
OK then - Entertainment. The big story was 'Tentacled Angel loses Universe's Got Talent, Goes Beserk and has to be Restrained Backstage'. Apparently she was then transported to a Rehab Colony in the Orion Nebula for psychiatric evaluation and emergency epilation.
No, everyone would be writing about that. Back to the ship's news feed. There must be something else…
Then I saw it. A simple message signalling a miscount on a container manifest on the ship. The dock's manifest indicated 40271 items in the container, but the ship's manifest showed 40272. Paydirt! I immediately left my cabin and headed for the cargo hold. I found the container concerned. Well, I would be concerned; this could be important.
I approached the door and then broke open the seal with all the fervour of a Canadian hunter. I attempted to shoot the bolts. That didn't work, so I shot the bolts. The door creaked back on its hinges and I stared into the gloom. I could hear a purring noise from inside - quite a strange thing in a container full of prophylactics, but enough to get many an old-school Trekkie onto the edge of his or her seat, (let's just assume his, shall we?) in anticipation. Suddenly, a small furry hat-shaped alien appeared, complete with comedy sound effect - 'boing!'
I couldn't believe my eyes. A Trilby! I grabbed the alien, perched it on my head and then ran back to my quarters. Once I was back in my cabin, I placed the Trilby on my desk and gave it a saucer of Altair water. Then I went to find Buck Kirk for an explanation.
I arrived to find Captain Kirk cutting an imposing figure on the Bridge. It was a large 9, part of 'Free the Deep Space 9' he'd scratched on the wall using the Enterprise's ignition key, and he covered it up when he saw me approach. I was impressed just seeing him in his element. Kirk continues to stun his critics - in spite of the court injunction. I sauntered over.
"Hi Captain," I said, "Were you aware that there was a stowaway on board this ship?"
"If you're talking about the Trilby in the cargo hold, then yes. We've been told to secure it without access to food and to drop it off on Whin-dohs Seven in the MSPC System. It's going to be used to deforest the planet, and provide food for the mineworkers."
I became a little uneasy about having let the Trilby out, but continued: "How can one little hat-alien do all that?"
"Come on - everyone knows about Trilbies. They may look like harmless furry felt hats but they can reproduce asexually and can eat almost anything. As soon as we let it out it will start eating and will reproduce at a ridiculous rate. They are born already pregnant, you know."
Gulp. "Ah, excuse me Captain, I just remembered I left my trousers in the trouser-press, and if I don't get back they'll have belled out at the bottom and shrunk to a silly length." I looked down at Kirk's trousers, shrugged and ran back to my cabin…
…where all hell had broken loose. The door could only just open because of the weight of thousands of Trilbies piling up behind it. The door to my food replicator was open - Oh Ghuy'cha', I'd left it set on 'Donut'! - and as fast as donuts appeared in the machine, Trilbies ate them. The full Trilbies were then splitting in half with a pop, making two new fully grown (and pregnant) Trilbies. Then they were going back for more food. The never ending donut supply had triggered a runaway population explosion!
I wrenched the control panel off the food replicator and it stopped producing donuts. After a while the Trilbies stopped producing more Trilbies.
What on Earth-12 was I going to do? There were thousands of them, and it was only a matter of time before they found more food. I realized that without swift action on my part, the ship was doomed. I started collecting up the Trilbies and taking them to the Escape Pod. It took me several hours, but by then I had all the Trilbies in the Pod.
But to release the Escape Pod I would have to be inside it. I would have to sacrifice myself for the good of the ship and the cheers of the cinema-going public. There was just time to record this information to a holocube recorder and leave it somewhere where th……zzt….zzzzt…
Captain's Log Incidental - Captain Buck Kirk summarizing.
That's where the damaged recording cuts out. With over six seconds of audio missing, it looks as though we'll never know what actually happened. Anyway, I've got more important things to worry about. If anyone asks about Turse we'll just say we never saw him.
Anyway, onwards and upwards! Or along-wards, maybe. You can't really tell in zero gravity. So, back to the mission. As Granddaddy used to say: Let's Boldly Go. Kirk Out.