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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Having an Episode: Balance of Terror

The wedding day is here! The wedding day is here! I'm so excited. We haven't had a wedding on this ship in, oh, well never! And it is sooooo needed; after all, morale on this spaceboat is about as low as the captain's standards in women! Robert and Angela are such a lovely couple. They met right here on our little love boat. They are both weapons specialists working in phaser control. They got to know each other in those long hours when there was absolutely no one out here to shoot at and realized that they were just meant to be together. I have never seen a couple so blessed by destiny. It's as if the universe itself existed only to bring them together as one.

The wedding is going to take place today in the ship's chapel (and I ain't talking about the nurse-BaZing!). We almost never use that room, what with almost everyone on the ship being post-theists. Why, here in the 23rd century strong religious belief is largely a thing of the past as everyone simply loves one another (sometimes with abandon!)--excluding, of course, Klingons and Romulans; they simply don't appreciate life the way we do. Anyhoo, there are a number of religious people on board the Enterprise. The bride being among them.

"Alvis, my Lord, is big, pistols waving" (thanks to JoeAdonis at deviant art for the pic!)

Angela Martine, our young bride, is an Alvian--you know one of those latter day followers of Alvis. As religions go it's fairly new--really only took off in those undersea labs in the 21st century. Well, Angela really wanted to have a traditional Alvian wedding followed by an Alvian hootenanny reception, full of ham and liquor and pomp. Since we have so few weddings the captain agreed and as the ships rec officer I naturally took over the planning. I did manage to convince Angela to abandon the traditional Alvian vows. (Who wants to hear the groom promise to never pistol whip the bride--I mean, who uses a pistol anymore? Or the bride promise, and I quote "Nay, I shall never smite thee upside yer no-good head with a cast iron skillet, unless commanded by the Lord! Nay indeed, I even spit upon the prospect!") They are going to write their own vows, which should be fine. Robert isn't Alvian and I really think Angela is only a high holy day Alvian anyway. She certainly doesn't drink enough to be an Alvian fundamentalist.


So, back to the wedding! Mr. Scott has been so involved in everything. Both Angela and Robert see Mr. Scott as their engineering mentor. Angela also likes him because he likes a good drink! (No, it's not that our young bride is blushing, she, like all Alvians, keeps her sacred hip flask on her at all times.) Angela asked Mr. Scott to give her away and he's absolutely beside himself with pride! He's also been very helpful in getting the chapel ready for the wedding (And I don't mean our dear nurse--BaZing!). He set up the camera from an old mars rover we had on board so that everyone could watch the ceremony. (Biggest lens you ever saw! High magnification capablilities! Why, you can see every follicle in the brides head, one at a time! Which I certainly took into account when styling her do.) Mr. Scott also helped me change the light settings in the hall from "Fuscia" to "Stained-glass" so we could have more of a religious look. I just love stained glass, don't you? And there is no better place for it than a spaceship!

Even though she is leaving soon, Rand is helping out with the wedding. She's going to light the "Blazin' Candelabra of Lord Alvis."  We rewove her hair just for the occasion. I even suggested she borrow my dress tricorder to wear to the service; it just looks so lovely on her and gives her an air of authority.

I have repeatedly told the ladies not to sleep in their uniforms.
The maid of honor looks lovely--her hair looked so wonderful just out of the curlers that she wouldn't even let me comb it out! As for the bride, well, I never go into space without my own personal protein replicator--not all of them have a marabou feather setting, which is absurd, should be a factory standard; A twenty-third century lady who is further than an over night express package delivery from a reliable source of marabou feathers can hardly call herself civilized. Using marabou feathers as decoration is really what separates us from lower beasts. Anyhoo, that is exactly what we gilded this lily with--white marabou wedding feathers! It was either that or replicated polar bear fur and that would have just been silly!


Enough for now. I've got to run off to the wedding. I'm already late----What's that sound?
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Hell's bells! The dream of a white wedding gave way to a ship-wide red alert. Everyone was hustled back to their posts. The captain came on the com to let us know how serious things were. The outposts monitoring the Romulan Neutral Zone had been attacked. We can, for no reason, violate the neutral zone and the captain made clear that our lives were on the line. We were called to battle stations. During ship-wide red alert, all non-essential personnel; you know, cooks, custodial staff, hair dressers; are required to remain either in their cabins, in the rec rooms, or in the gym or bowling alley. We may be called at anytime during red alert to assist medical, engineering or, of course, to evacuate the ship. I grabbed Tina and Rand and my portable manicure kit and we headed for the captain's quarters. His com-screen is directly linked to the bridge. We could pass the time there and be on top of anything that might happen.

We got to his cabin just in time to see outpost four disintegrated! We were stunned. "Do you think it was the Romulans?" Janice asked.

"It certainly wasn't one of our vessels. I've never seen a ship like that." I told her. "What color do you want your nails."

"Oh, do you think red is too much with my red uniform?"

"Probably", I said. "You know, we have no idea what those Romulans look like, they could be right here on this ship." Rand and I looked at Tina who had been awfully silent through this whole conversation.

I went over to the captain's computer and pulled up an amateur sketch that dated from the time of the Romulan Wars. This sketch came from the description of the one human ever to see a Romulan. With his last breath he described what he had seen and someone had the good sense to make a quick sketch. (Actually, his last words have always been somewhat cryptic. Just before he crossed the veil he said "I want to know where the gold at." What could he have meant?)

Looking at the sketch I said, "Well, all this tells us is that they have two eyes and they wear hats....or they have strange growths on their heads."

The only known depiction of a Romulan at the time of our encounter

Just then we started receiving a transmission from the bridge. "What's this then." Janice asked. It didn't appear to be on our ship although everything was bathed in a fuchsia light.

"Merciful Zeus," I said, searching through my mind for who this guy reminded me of, "he looks just like..." I stopped myself before the name could leave my lips. The three of us just stared at each other. I'm sure they thought I meant to say what they were thinking: "He looks just like a Vulcan!" But, no, I was thinking the commander looked just like Ambassador Sarek, Spock's father! Yes, it's true, the Romulans look just like the Vulcans and, what's worse, this one looks just like Spock's daddy! I knew him back in the days when I was a docent at the Alien Anthropology Museum in San Francisco. (You can read more about that here.)

Well, the three of us stayed in the captain's quarters and did each others nails. I got Janice to paint mine. Tina was in such a state that she'd have lacquered all the way up to my elbows with her shaky hands. We didn't talk much. The threat of death was enough to make even a good manicure seem pointless; but of course it wasn't. If you're gonna go you want your nails to look good. If you're buried and your not dead not only can strong nails help you claw your way out of the casket, but you'll look classy doing it. Anyhoo, at least the ship remained steady through the process. Janice left us for the bridge and Tina wanted to go down to the rec room to tell everyone what she had seen.

I didn't know what to do. Should I go to the bridge and tell the captain that the Romulan commander not only looked like a Vulcan but he looked exactly like Spock's father? It had to be just an incredible coincidence. Sarek was such a lovely man. You know, he married an earth woman and no common one at that. She used to volunteer as a docent at the Alien Anthropology Museum so we'd often lunch together and that's how I got to know them both. Oh the stories she would tell about her years on Vulcan. She'd say "Kitten, Love always trumps logic." That's what she called me, Kitten. We grew to be such good friends.

The ship started bouncing all over the place so I decided I'd just go to my cabin and and strap myself to my bed. I needed to put on some false eyelashes and dab some color on my lids anyway. If anyone was going to find my cold dead body floating in the debris of the Enterprise here along the neutral zone, by God, they were going to find old Moxie floatin' in a cloud of glitter looking like a living glamour shot photograph of a supermodel angel.
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I am soooooo bored. Who knew instant death could take so long. I just wish we would all die or that we could continue with our little wedding. I mean, I can only read hair magazines for so long. If I'm not frozen by the void of space soon, I'm going to have to shower and start with a clean canvas.  I'm heading back to the captain's cabin to see if I can pick up on what's going on on the bridge.

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Ok. At least now something is happening. We've moved in on the disabled Romulan's. I got to the captain's cabin just in time to watch the Romulan commander blow up his own ship; so it's all over. Unless, of course, there's a flock of invisible warbirds heading our way. Spock, as it turns out, has saved us all. All except our, groom, Robert Tomlinson. . I don't really know the details. Something about noxious fuchsia phaser fumes (NFP), yet another of the thousand ways to die in space. I wonder if Spock realized the irony of killing a man who looked just like his father. Boy is this ship just becoming one big Shakespeare play, or what? Oh and not one of the funny ones either.

So here we are. All alone out by the neutral zone. We've got a ghost on board (remember, last time I told you about Karidian and that traveling actor troupe). Janice is leaving us. The universe has denied our celebration of love and our chapel will go unused (and no, I don't even get any pleasure in pointing out that by "chapel" I don't mean our dear nurse. *sigh* not even a BaZing can lift my spirits). Why I doubt that even replicated marabou can make this mess any better. Prettier and more civilized, yes of course, but better, I'm just not so sure.

Poor Angela, she can't even retire to the Alvian widows feed-store gun commune at Old Fort Klugman now since she didn't actually marry. I suppose she does have the comfort of whiskey and the loving embrace of ham to help her through this sad time. Oh, and of course revenge, best served cold like so many uneaten replicated wedding shrimp cocktails. Oh well, this will certainly test her faith. We'd better keep the fire arms from her until she gets a little better.

Anyhoo, it just goes to show you. What, I'll never know, but it sure does show you. Anyhoo, I'm taking the wedding cake back to my quarters so no one has to look at it.

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