Back on the starship…

Well, we were off to an illustrious start until the dulcet tomes of the Chief Engineer rang through the bridge, uttering those fateful words, “the warp coil has had a catastrophic failure”.

This was et with alternately, the Chief Engineer is prone to hyperbole, to ‘they just don’t make warp coils like they used to’.

Looking at the screen, we can see the planets taunting us :

I was curious about M75, but the helmsman, a rather taciturn chap who seemed to resent the fact he was assigned to this ship, just shrugged and said, “it’s something, somewhere, but not of much interest,” then went back to his console, probably in the middle of a solitaire game.

If this was Star Trek we’d be ejecting the warp coil by now, but in the space dock, that didn’t seem to me to be a viable option.

“How long before we can get this bucket of bolts moving,” I ask the Chief.

“I’m going as fast as I can.”

Yes, words ripped right out of the script of a Star Trek episode, I thought. A sad case of life imitating art.

A strange whistling sound emanated from the speakers, then the whoosh of the elevator just before the doors opened. OK, new ship, squeaky doors, an item to be put on the ‘look at’ list after the shakedown cruise.

It’s the Captain.

“Why are we still in dock, Number One.” For a moment there, I thought I was talking to John Luc Picard.

“Faulty warp coil. You know how it goes, save a billion by sub contracting to the Chinese.”

The Captain doesn’t appreciate my sardonic humour, or my apparent disparagement of the Chinese manufacturing sector. Maybe that’s because he is of Chinese descent. “I’ll be in my quarters. Let me know when we’re about to leave.”

He doesn’t wait for acknowledgement, and disappears through another squeaky door. More repairs.

The Chief’s voice comes over the speakers. “I can give you impulse speed, warp speed will take a little longer.”

“Doesn’t that refer to miracles over the impossible,” I ask.

“Perhaps. I need a specific spanner, and the replicators are down. So, now we have to fix them, before moving on. Might take a while.”

I look around the crew, seeing their expectant faces drop with disappointment.

Outer space was going to have to wait a little longer.

© Charles Heath 2020

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