Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Humor: When I Am the Captain

This is another humorous piece I wrote, inspired by years of watching Star Trek and thinking, from time to time, things like, "Boy, I bet that prisoner wouldn't have escaped if he's been guarded by more than one person." I was gratified to find, a few years later, a message board thread that expanded on the list with additional jokes -- though I'd have been more gratified if this had become an annoying e-mail that people forward to each other at work instead of working.

Shortly after this ran I had a series of e-mail exchanges with a guy who demanded that I credit every web site I'd plagiarized this list from. When I told him I'd never seen any such sites, and noted that he hadn't included links to any such sites, and that perhaps any similarities between my list and these hypothetical other lists out there resulted from watching and reacting to the same show, he sent me a final snippy message and then I never heard from him again.

The Internet is weird.

When I am the Captain...

by Chris Galdieri

1. I will not permit my crew to use the holodeck, which constantly malfunctions and jeopardizes the ship. I will teach my crew to amuse themselves by reading ancient data-storage devices called "books", which use no energy and can not, for example, create malevolent beings which can take over the life-support system.

2. I will order my Chief of Engineering to install circuit breakers on the ship in order to prevent control consoles from exploding when the ship is attacked.

3. I will not allow teenagers to fly my ship, no matter how intelligent or precocious they may be, or to which member of my senior staff they are related.

4. If one of my crewmembers has an evil duplicate or twin, I will have a discreet mark tattooed on the crewmember's hand to prevent said evil duplicate from impersonating my crewmember.

5. If a member of my crew refuses to follow orders during a crisis or battle situation on ethical grounds, I will remove him from his post and have another crewmember replace him. I will have my first officer hold a fair and impartial hearing on the matter when the crisis has passed.

6. If a Klingon starts to prattle on about "honor", I will ask him to defend Commander Kruge's execution of a civilian hostage in Star Trek III. Then I will shoot him.

7. If a crewmember must travel to a distant world to grapple with personal issues, I will put him on leave and give him fare to fly there commercially.

8. I will forbid members of my crew from wearing spandex. Uniforms will be outfitted with an ancient feature called "pockets", which will allow them to carry small personal items from place to place.

9. I will have a row of metal bars installed across the front of cells in the brig to supplement the force field in the event of a power failure.

10. I will recommend that Starfleet build a fleet of starships for the specific purpose of defending Earth's solar system so that the fate of the universe will never again depend on "the only ship in the sector."

11. I will call other starships for help if my ship is ever "the only ship in the sector."

12. If a legendary starship captain brought to my time from the past becomes pinned
under large rocks, I will remove the rocks and try to save his life. If I cannot save his life, I will see that he is accorded a proper burial and funeral and not left to rot under a pile of rocks.

13. I will not permit my crew to time travel. If my crew is ever forced to time
travel, we will endeavor to avoid changing history and we will not permit individuals
from the past to return to the future with us.

14. I will not patronize members of less technologically advanced races. I will remind myself and my crew that humans were once technological primitives, and suggest we can learn something from the way less advances races conduct their society.

15. If I ever find myself attracted to a female alien, I will remind myself that inter-species romances are impossible due to physiological differences, and take a cold shower instead.

16. I will make sure that my head of security will be versed in many different methods of armed and unarmed combat.

17. I will have dangerous prisoners escorted to the brig by a team of a dozen heavily armed security guards, who will be under orders to shoot to kill any prisoner who tries to escape.

18. I will install seat belts on every seat on the bridge so that crewmembers can remain at their posts in combat situations.

19. I will find a chief engineer who will be calm, reasonable, and able to speak clearly and evenly at all times.

20. I will replace any science officer who tells me that a planet has one climate.

21. If two of my senior officers have had a relationship in the past, I will ask them to deal with it calmly and maturely during their off-duty hours. If the problem
persists, I will have one of them reassigned to another ship.

22. I will not allow my starship to have a bar that is bigger than the bridge, sickbay, and engine room combined.

23. I will not allow my starship to be carpeted.

24. I will ban pastel colors from my ship. My starship will be painted conservatively and in keeping with the military nature of its mission.

25. I will reinforce my starship's shields by adding armored plating to the exterior of my ship.

26. I will not allow the chief medical officer onto the bridge unless I summon him or her. If the doctor wishes to meet with me, he or she can make an appointment to do so when I am not on the bridge.

27. I will discourage members of my crew from becoming emotionally involved with
residents of newly discovered worlds which are not yet advanced enough to join the Federation.

28. I will prohibit members of my crew from hosting visits from former commanders, old friends from the Academy, or family members, since such reunions inevitably either endanger the ship needlessly or distract everyone from more pressing matters.

29. In any situation where I must choose between a minor violation of the letter of the Prime Directive and the survival of my crew, I will choose my crew and stand for
court-martial afterward.

30. If a primitive society is threatened with extinction, I will try to interpret the Prime Directive in a way that will allow me to save them rather than leave them to die.

31. If I want insights into the psyche of an opponent, I will ask a psychiatrist and not a counselor, since a psychiatrist is a trained medical professional, while a counselor is just someone who calls himself or herself a counselor.

32. If I am being chased through my ship by the Borg, I will not stop to change clothes in mid-flight.

33. If I ever have the chance to destroy the Borg, I will take it.

34. I will require my security officers to engage in intensive, regular target practice and combat workouts.

35. I will teach my security officers to hide and call for reinforcements when they are outnumbered and outgunned.

36. I will not enter into a sexual or emotional relationship with the leader of an alien planet until I learn what side they are on.

37. If a crewmember must enter a radioactive chamber to make a repair that will allow the ship to escape imminent destruction, I will recommend that he or she wear a full radiation suit, and not just gloves.

38. I will not allow synthehol or near beer on my ship.

39. I will not eat Klingon food, ever.

40. I will have landing parties beaming into dangerous situations in alien environments wear camouflage instead of brightly-colored uniforms to make them less obvious targets.

41. I will bring my phaser with me when I go on shore leave.

42. I will not turn off my communicator, ever.

43. I will not ferry Ambassadors, Admirals, scientists, or brilliant scientific prodigies around the galaxy, as such missions invariably result in the pointless death of some member of my crew.

44. I will not permit Starfleet to Beta test software on my ship.

45. I will install shields on all of my ship's shuttlecraft to prevent them from blowing up.

46. If the members of an alien civilization decide that I or a member of my crew is a god, and that perception will facilitate my ship's mission on that planet, I will not presume to question the wisdom of the natives.

47. If my ship visits a planet where another starship disappeared years earlier, I will go into the situation prepared for battle, because if a starship disappears,
it's probably because something bad happened to it.

48. I will require my chief medical officer and medical staff to wear latex gloves during all medical procedures to prevent the spread of germs and illness among the crew.

49. I will have a sprinkler system and fire extinguishers installed in my ship.

50. If a supposedly advanced alien race wants to put me and my crew on trial for the sins of humanity, I will demand that that race demonstrate its advanced nature by providing us with a defense attorney, presuming our innocence until a verdict is reached, following established rules of discovery, giving us a trial by a jury of our peers, and allowing us to appeal a guilty verdict. I will point out that a trial for the past sins of humanity is inherently rooted in the concept of "corruption of the blood," which was banned in America in the 18th Century, and ask why a supposedly advanced race bases its justice system on an invidious and outmoded concept.


Valarie said...

Kickass dude! Look what Google can find for you when you're kicking around in reminiscentville and google (love that that's a verb) Another Universe. Love the chance to read your stuff again!


Chris said...

Thanks, Val! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond -- I tend to go months without updating or checking this site.