The thing nobody tells you about signing up to those big, flashy, multi-year interstellar missions is that little oversights suddenly matter a lot.

Don’t get me wrong – being on a starship is great. Life’s comfortable, and we can fabricate just about anything we need, even though we’re in the void of deep space.

We discover new planets and alien life. We’re constantly finding new and innovative ways to meddle in their affairs, kill them and/ or get with their women.

Strange new phenomena pop up on an almost daily basis. We have the skills, expertise and equipment to deal with it all in a calm, measured way, furthering humanity’s cause throughout the universe.

Yes, life’s good.

So why, then, did not one man jack one of us pack frigging nail clippers?

Not only that, but the computer is unable to accept new schematics to have one printed. The system needs to be updated from the base on Earth, several thousand light years away by now. We’d be dead by the time the request had been accepted and the plans uploaded.

We can 3D print everything from food to weapons and spare parts for an interstellar cruiser, but we can’t sort ourselves out with nail clippers. Six people have lost digits through various innovative, but ultimately ill-fated, ways of trying to keep their nails in check.

In fact, losing a finger is the third-largest medical complaint on the ship after radiation poisoning and being ordered to your death on one of the Captain’s ill-fated “jaunts”. We have to go to sick bay so someone can go at them with a scalpel. Appointments are booked solid months in advance.

It’s a stupid problem to have.


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