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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Stardate 2014 Revisited

I wrote this post in January of 2014.  I'm revisiting it here given the recent death of Leonard Nimoy.  Star Trek will forever be one of my favorite shows.  In so many ways, it boldly went where no man or woman before had gone.  Its crew evidenced diversity hardly seen in its day.  It hosted the first interracial kiss on television.  Earlier in the same year, Petula Clark had stirred up controversy by holding Harry Belafonte's arm as they sang "On the Path of Glory."  (The first interracial dance on film should be credited to Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple in 1935's "The Little Colonel.")  In addition to breaking barriers on TV, Star Trek forged the path of the future with its gadgets.  Much of the technology used on the show, starting with its sliding doors (pulled by two men, off camera, with ropes) to the ever-present communicators are commonplace today.  

Leonard Nimoy had mixed feelings about his role of Spock.  He entitled his autobiography, I am not Spock.  A few years later, he came back with a new book entitled I am Spock.  I prefer to think Spock was Leonard Nimoy.  Although the two were not one and the same, without Nimoy and his development of the role we would not have had the Mr. Spock whom so many of us have come to know and love.

One of Our Schools is Missing, Actually Several 

(A Star Trek Parody)

Teacher's log, star date 2014.1.  A cosmic cloud of charters has been cataclysmically crowding  into the fringes of our public-school system.  The U.S.S. Enterprise, owing to its proximity to the core of the disturbance, has been sent by Starfleet command to investigate.  We are presently situated in the Eva "Success" System, which currently threatens Districts 1,3,7,12 and 30 in our Federation.

SULU:  We should intercept the cloud of charters in the vicinity of  International HS.

SPOCK:  My instruments are measuring the cosmic cloud as extremely well-funded, I mean of enormous size. 

John D.O.E.:  (wearing a red shirt)  Look at its pretty colors. 

KIRK:  It is presently engulfing International HS.  Reading, Spock?

SPOCK:  Most curious, Captain.  It emits a peculiar mixture of gaseous chemicals, including PCBs, and appears to be largely empty matter.  The instruments are recording some very strange data.

Uhura:  Sir, according to our navigation scan, International HS is being crushed. 

SULU:  The charter cloud's course appears to be changing.

KIRK:  How can that be?

SULU:  It is on a collision course with already overcrowded public schools in our system.

Uhura:  If it continues, sir...

KIRK:  Public schools will be strangled.   Increase to warp speed eight, Mister Sulu.  Push her to the limit. 

Sulu:  Yes, sir.

Captain's log, supplemental.  We are on a direct course to intercept the charter cloud before it reaches District 3, but we presently have no plan to deal with this highly destructive force which measures millions of more dollars, I mean meters, than our vessel.


McCoy:  Jim, if we can't somehow diffuse this cloud of charters thousands of students may suffer. 

SPOCK:  Perhaps many more, Doctor.  If school annihilation is part of this thing's nature, it might actually be following a thread, consuming one school after another with an insatiable appetite.   We do not know yet if it has any selective ability.  It may be devouring everything in its path.

MCCOY:  And we're headed straight for it.  Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not an hors d'oeuvre. 

KIRK:  Do we dare tell the students in District 3. They cannot all be saved.  There will be panic. 

Uhura:  They only have four hours and nine minutes left, sir.  Why didn't they try to contact their elected representatives earlier?

KIRK:  They did.  They held rallies, went to public forums and wrote numerous letters, all to no avail.  This cloud just doesn't care. 

The charter cloud begins to wrap tentacle-like extensions around the Enterprise.

Uhura:  This is like nothing from our own galaxy, sir.

KIRK:  Thankfully, so.

SPOCK:  The tentacles are composed of a combination of koinoenergy, almost an ambiplasma with an unusually powerful attraction force and an unusually powerful repelling smell. 

The members of the crew cover their noses and then appear to be thrown from side to side as the ship is held in the grip of the cloud. 

SULU:  Sir, there are separate blobs within the cloud, coordinating their action to try to crush our ship.  We will be pummeled. 

KIRK:  Deflector shields on.


SCOTT:  We can't hold it, Captain.  She's giving out.  The power drain on our shields is too much for her.


Blobs are seen approaching the ship.

KIRK:  Scotty, we'll need an antimatter charge.

SCOTT:  [OC]  Aye, sir, I'll prepare the shields.

SULU:  Ready with the antimatter charge, sir.

KIRK:  Fire.

Two blobs are seen retreating.

KIRK:  Any conclusions, Spock?

SPOCK:  By no means complete, sir, but it appears that the charter cloud is a living organism.

KIRK:  Bones, any opinion?

MCCOY:  It's has macromonetary enzymes.  If the shields fail us, we're mince meat, Jim. 

KIRK:  We must contact the Principals in District 3. 

[Kirk's quarters]

A Principal on the monitor

Principal:  Three hours and twenty-one minutes left, Jim.  That's hardly enough time to evacuate a microcosm of our school, but we must save as many children as possible.

KIRK:  I agree, but what about the teachers?

Principal:  I'm afraid it's too late for them.


KIRK:   In two hours and fourteen minutes, thousands of students and their teachers will suffer.  Your analyses, gentleman?

SPOCK:  It is a living organism that consumes public schools to ensure its own survival. 

KIRK:  I think we already know that.

MCCOY:  Look at the teeth.  They show signs of inner tooth decay.  It obviously doesn't brush its teeth. 

SPOCK:  Once the digestive antimatter enzymes in its mucous interact with the surface structure of our ship we should be as good as gone. 

KIRK:  Mister, Sulu, keep those deflector shields up .

SPOCK:  Captain, we must be very careful.


SCOTT:  We can't hack it much longer, sir.  We're overstraining the engines.  Our reserves are failing.  Sorry, sir.  There's nothing more she can do. 


KIRK:  How much time do we have?

Scott: [OC]:  Seventeen minutes, sir.  No wait.  It's seventeen minutes and five seconds.  Wait.  It's sixteen minutes and fifty-seven seconds now.  The blobs have begun to emit toxic PCBs in our direction.

SPOCK:  If we could obtain a small specimen of the charter cloud's mucous in a cuspidor, we might be able to use it to regenerate our antimatter chamber?

KIRK:  Can you rig a force-field box so that Lieutenant  D.O.E. can obtain a specimen with the transporter? 

SCOTT: [OC]  John D.O.E., the guy in the red shirt, sir?  I resent it.  I do.  Remember, Captain, the next time a red-shirted crew member gets killed performing some thankless task that I, too, wear a red shirt.

KIRK:  Sorry, Scotty.  In all truth though John D.O.E. has been pretty counterproductive for us lately. 

MCCOY:  Dammit, Jim, we're running out of time here.

KIRK:  Can you rig that force field to collect the mucous in a super-sized spittoon, Scotty?

SCOTT:  I'll do my best, sir, but I can't promise you anything.

[Transporter Room]

[a specimen of mucous is obtained through the transporter.  John D.O.E. brings it to Scotty in a force field box, tripping and almost falling as he goes].

SCOTT:  I wish you wouldn't wear those red shirts, D.O.E., you give them a bad name.

KIRK [OC]:  We have five minutes and 38 seconds left, Scotty.

SCOTT:  We've got it, sir, and we're on our way to the antimatter chamber. 


SCOTT [OC]:  We've done it, Captain.  If I hadn't been here to do it myself, I never would have believed it.  I guess you'll be keeping this red shirt around for awhile.

KIRK:  You've given us a longer lease on life, Scotty.  Thank you.

SCOTT:  Just doing my duty, sir.

KIRK:  What is the situation with District 3, Spock?

SPOCK:  I have just ascertained that this well-funded, I mean enormous, cloud has a brain.  There are signs of electrical activity in the upper quadrants of the charter cloud.

KIRK:  Is it intelligent?

SPOCK:  That would be an opinion, sir.

MCCOY:  We must use our photon torpedoes to knock out its living daylights.

SPOCK:  May I remind you of star fleet regulations.  These things are living creatures.

KIRK:  You are right, Spock.

MCCOY:  Dammit, Jim, it's going to destroy the lives of thousands of school children and, then, maybe millions more as it moves on with its slash-and-burn style of existence.

KIRK:  With the kind of energy needed to blow it up, we would surely incinerate the Enterprise.  It is a sacrifice we must make.  Bridge to Scotty.  Prepare the ship's self-destruct mechanism.

SCOTT: [OC]:  Aye, sir.

SPOCK:  There may be one other alternative, sir.  I may be able to reach out with my mind to it with the Vulcan mind touch. 

KIRK:  Uhura...

UHURA:  Universal translator plugged in.  Audio speakers on, sir.

KIRK:  Is there enough time for this, Spock?

SPOCK:  Well, we have only three minutes and forty-nine seconds, sir, but we will have to try.

SCOTT: [OC]  Ready on this end.

KIRK:  Prepare for my signal.  Thank you, Scotty.

SPOCK:  I am ready to try to contact it, Captain.  [Speaking to the charter cloud]:  There are living, breathing organisms here like yourself.  And, there are many students in District 3.

CHARTER CLOUD:  So, what?  Don't like you.

SPOCK:  We are very small, but there are very many of us.  We are inside of you.

CHARTER CLOUD:  Well, get hell out.  Need classroom space to live, not students.  Not you.  Students so small.  Such bad data.  Yuck!

SPOCK:  They deserve to live, too, and receive an education.

CHARTER CLOUD:  Not here.  No good.  Bad Data.  Yuck, Yuck, Yuck!  We are too good.

SPOCK:  If you are so good, then why not take them and try to make them better.  They are living beings, alive, just like you.

CHARTER CLOUD:   Too small.  Such bad data.  NCLB-RTTT.  Must spit them out.

SPOCK:  What is this NCLB-RTTT?

CHARTER CLOUD:  All-powerful.

SPOCK:  It is a false idol. 

MCCOY:  Dammit, Spock, we are running out of time.  There's no use trying to reason with it.  Hell, try the Vulcan neck pinch.  Try something.  Try Anything.  Tell it there are bigger and better buildings to cohabit outside the borders of this System.  Tell it if it eats here, it will get indigestion and die. 

SPOCK:   Is this true, Doctor?

MCCOY:  I have observed signs of tooth decay and gum disease.  Tell it now.  If it keeps eating at this rate without brushing its teeth, it will rot away from the inside.

SPOCK:   Listen, Cloud, listen carefully.  You have signs of tooth decay and acute gingivitis with accompanying periodontal disease.  It may not be too late.  We can help you.


SPOCK:  Yes.  NCLB-RTTT doesn't care about you, but we do.  We will help you find a good tooth brush and paste to clean up that mess in your mouth.

CHARTER CLOUD:  Why help me?  I not help you.

SPOCK:  Because it is the right thing to do.  The best toothbrushes are on the outer fringes of an uninhabited galaxy, second star to the right and straight on to tomorrow.

CHARTER CLOUD:  I will go then now.

[The cloud is seen pulling away at a rapid pace].

MCCOY:  Phew, that was a close one.

KIRK:  It was, gentlemen. 

SPOCK:  It will be back again, sir.

KIRK:  We must be ready.  We must be ever vigilant. 

SPOCK:  The universe is full of wonders, sir, incredible wonders, but also incredible threats, thankfully, some with gum disease. 

KIRK:  This is one episode we won't be ending with a lot of happy banter spilling from our mouths. 

MCCOY:  Dammit, Jim, I'm a Doctor.  I was never a comedian. 

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