Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Well, Eleanor, have you figured out why the warp drive isn’t working?”

“Yes Seb. Believe it or not, this star system is in the center of a super large dark matter donut, and we’re in the hole. Apparently, it’s creating erratic gravity waves that are preventing us from initiating a new warp bubble. There’s no record of this phenomenon in the database. It looks like we’ll have to use impulse power until we can get beyond its effects. Damn, that could take years. This really sucks!”

“Now, now, Eleanor, that’s exactly why the dean put me in charge of this expedition instead of you. I happen to have a positive attitude. I believe in the old saying ‘When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade’. Look at the bright side dear; they’ll probably name this dark matter donut phenomenon after you.”

“Oh yes, I see your point,” replied his wife. “I’d be like Lou Gehrig. Oh, I forget, dear, how’d that work out for him?”

Ignoring his wife’s snide remark, Seb continued to argue the positive aspects of their predicament. “Look, sweetheart, we’re only a few million kilometers from a beautiful, unexplored Class-M planet. We might as well check it out while we’re here. That is why we took the sabbatical, isn’t it?”

It was a valid point, Eleanor conceded, so she instructed the computer to land the ship on a small island in the northern hemisphere.

After landing, as Seb was preparing to open the hatch, Eleanor stopped him. You can’t go out Seb. According to the sensors, the oxygen atmosphere is oscillating rapidly between ozone and diatomic molecular oxygen. At any instant, 50% of the oxygen is triatomic. It’s the Chapman cycle gone crazy.

“Fascinating,” Seb remarked.

“Fascinating? Are you mad? It’s attacking the hull.”

“Merely removing that filthy outer surface. It’s like an exfoliation treatment for the ship.”

“Well, I’m not waiting around for it to start attacking the o-ring seals.” Then anticipating Seb’s inevitable positive spin, “even if it’s time to replace them. Now, prepare to takeoff.”

The ship blasted off and started its long tedious voyage to escape the effects of the dark matter donut. Later the next morning, while preparing breakfast, Eleanor discovered that the replicator was malfunctioning. “Hey, Mr. Sunshine,” she sniped, “it looks like the dark matter phenomenon has also locked-up the replicator. It’s stuck on your midnight snack. It looks like we’ll be eating nothing but pepperoni pizza for the rest of eternity.”

“That’s not so bad dear,” he replied.

“How so?”

“Eleanor, hasn’t being married to me for 31 years taught you anything about looking for the positive side of things?”

“Oh, sorry, dear. Should I have said ‘Honey, for the rest of eternity, minus one lousy day, we’ll be eating nothing but pepperoni pizza.’ You mean like that?”

“No dear. Don’t you see, pepperoni pizza has all four food groups in it; grain, dairy, vegetables, and meat. We can survive on that. After all, it could have been stuck on something much less desirable.”

“You’re absolutely right, Seb,” she replied with a smirk. “I hadn’t thought of that. After all, the replicator could have been stuck on lemons.”

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