Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“Status, Mr. Ortega?” was Captain Edgington’s terse request to his first officer.

“Not good, sir,” replied Commander Ortega. “It appears that Chief Engineer Koshiba had ordered all of his senior engineers into the engine room in his effort to prevent the warp core breach. Although they were able to shut down the reactor, the subsequent radiation burst killed everyone in the engineering section. We are adrift with only battery power, and the computer and sub-space transmitter are irreparably offline. To make matters worse, we do not have a qualified engineer with the knowledge to safely restart the warp core.”

“How about life support,” inquired the captain?

“A few days, at most. And considering the secrecy of our mission, it’s doubtful that anyone will know where to look for us, even if they knew we were in need of assistance.”

“So, if we’re going to get out of this, we’re going to have to restart the warp core without the help of the computer or a trained engineer. Who’s the most qualified warp core expert available?”

“According to my knowledge of the surviving crew members, it’s you, sir.”

“Then we’re in big trouble. I only remember enough to know that if you don’t restart the core in a precise sequence, you end up vaporized. There has to be a better option.”

“Well, sir, there is ‘The Thinking Cap’. We happen to have one onboard. We can use it to imprint the necessary knowledge into someone’s brain. Its effects only last 24 hours, but that should be adequate to reestablish full power. Unfortunately, without the computer’s guidance, we’d have to select the modules by trial and error. We’ll be creating random short term savants until we can isolate the correct protocol on warp core maintenance.”

“Frankly,” noted the captain, “I don’t see that we have any other choice. Ask for volunteers, and have them assemble in sickbay.”

Twelve hours, and twenty volunteers later, Captain Edgington removed the skullcap from Lieutenant Treffert’s head, and asked the all-important question, “What’s the sequence for restarting the warp core?” Treffert simply stared ahead and smiled. “Well, at least he’s happy,” conceded the captain.

Treffert suddenly said, “Girl Happy, staring Elvis Presley. MGM Studios, released April 9, 1965.”

Ensign Wittmann added, “April 9, 1965 was a Friday.”

Ordnance Technician Peterson followed up with, “Sergeant Joe Friday was portrayed by Jack Webb.”

The captain sighed, “Now that’s really starting to become annoying. Please step down Mr. Treffert, and take the empty seat next to Beethoven and his air piano.”

Security officer Rollins replaced Treffert on the examination table, and said with a grin. “Don’t worry sir; twenty-one is my lucky number.”

“Let’s hope so Mr. Rollins,” replied the captain as he pulled the skull cap over Rollin’s head.

“I recommend sequence number fifteen,” offered Ortega. “Protocol C, as in Charlie.”
A half hour later Captain Edgington removed the skullcap, and asked, “What’s the sequence for restarting the warp core?”

Rollins replied, “Depolarize the intake coupler, followed by purging of the containment chamber.”

“Yes,” cheered the captain. “Mr. Ortega, take Mr. Rollins to the engine room and get started before the imprint wears off. I’ll babysit the crew.”

“Crew,” said Ensign York. “Noun. The rowers and coxswain of a racing shell. Also, a group of people who work together on a project.”

Petty officer Hawkins added, “Project Blue Book documented more than 12,618 UFO sightings.”

Nurse Mioni noted, “The square root of 12,618 is 112.32987136109433.”

“On second thought, Mr. Ortega,” said Captain Edgington, “I’ll take Rollins to the engine room. You stay here.”


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows


%d bloggers like this: