I suppose you’d call it a conundrum.
After last week’s drinking binge and the ensuing abuse of the ship’s tannoy system, the Captain ended up flying the lot of us into some weird nebula.
Nothing unusual on that front. Barely a day seems to go by without strange nebulae.
Anyway, hungover and with his new best mate Reg in tow, he decides to beam down to some planetoid that had popped up on the scanners. He was mumbling in the announcement, but I definitely made out the words ‘nubile’, ‘pulsating’ and ‘skin’. So it was obvious what he was after.
Off they went. The Captain, Reg – now the proud owner of the first “Captain’s Ingenuity Award For Ingenuity” – and a few of the Captain’s other lackeys. Six people in total.
I used the time to type up my letter of resignation.
Yeah – I know. Here we are, in the future, navigating space and using voice-controlled computers and that, and I still have to use a bloody typewriter for official stuff. Mental.
Eventually, I get word they’re back, and off I go to see the Captain.
In their time off the ship, they’d all grown goatees and become helpful.
Paperwork is done with the utmost efficiency. Everything is running smoothly. Reg has become disarmingly quiet and polite, and even managed to wrangle a date with that girl he got the cheeseboard for.
Now, I know damn well what’s happened. There’s been documented proof of it going on before. We’ve crossed over with an evil parallel universe.
My issue is that it is blindingly obvious that we’re the evil parallel universe.
So while I’m enjoying all the benefits of living under the rule of an iron fist, some poor sod, out there in the vast infinite expanse of space, is having to listen to Reg tell them another ‘fascinating’ adventure, like the time he tried to moon a Moon. I mean, yes, there’s the odd beating and that now, but everyone’s terribly polite about it and, most importantly, I actually got paid on time this month for once. On balance, it’s a much better system.
The last time all this happened in the fleet, it took them a fair bit of time to work out how to undo it, but at least they wrote down how to sort it. Unlike when they managed to reverse time by “slingshotting around the sun” or whatever it was.
But then, I don’t think anyone ever had the heart to tell them they didn’t actually do it. It was a gas leak, apparently. Caused a shared hallucination.
So anyway, ultimately my conundrum goes like this: we could fix it. But… do we want to?
A lot of the lads in engineering agree it might be best to… delay things a little. I mean… wouldn’t it be easier – and better for everyone – if we just asked the new arrivals to shave their goatees off? Then we could just… ignore the problem and hope it goes away.
Besides, Reg and the Captain and that are probably having a lovely time in the parallel universe. Assuming they’ve sobered up enough to notice they’re in a parallel universe.
Ok, so – slight snag.
Me and the guys from Engineering decided to float our idea to our new Captain.
Unfortunately, he’s so much of a sucker for the rules now that he insisted we fix it.
Even by his own admission, they prefer it here. It’s not even like they really have anything they want to get back to in their universe. But no; rules are rules.
So we’ve sort of had to lock him in the Brig a little bit. And the others, too – all six of them.
It looks like a bad facial hair convention in there. Maybe not convention… seminar?
Anyway, that’s all fine, but now something else is bugging me. Does this mean, in the parallel universe, that the Captain, Reg and the other four from our universe have locked the entire crew of the other ship in the Brig? Because there’s not much space in there. I can just imagine all these relentlessly polite fascists crammed into a tiny space… But I don’t really know how these things work, and my head hurts just trying to think about it.
I think we’ll just leave them there a while. This’ll blow over soon.
I hate Reg.
He’s only gone and earned himself another Captain’s Ingenuity Award For Ingenuity by fixing everything on his end.
Apparently, they got kicked off the planet of nubile whatevers for warmongering. No surprises there.
Then they decided to come home, figuring that in their own, non-parallel universe, they’d be hailed as bringers of peace and the natives would be – and I quote – “throwing their daughters” at them.
So they got back, and went straight down to the planetoid again. They’ve been there for days now. Meanwhile, we’ve been unable to answer six distress calls and two planets have blown up. Another ship has even sent – and cheerfully withdrawn – a request for our support in wrangling a wish-granting intergalactic unicorn that, according to Clive in Comms, literally s–ts money.
I despair. I really do.