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Space Opera
by Doug Hawley

Space Opera Logdate LSMFT. This is Captain James T. Pickard of the Starboat Entropy.  I’m teaching starboat operations and culture to Ensign and captain in training Horace Green. 

Green:  I have so many questions.  I don’t understand why we are not crushed into atoms when we accelerate at gorp or insane speed? 
Captain:  See that red doohickey on the wall behind you? 
Green:  Yes.  The blinking one? 
Captain:  It adjusts gravity. 
Green:  How does it work? 
Captain:  No idea, but you could ask Drinky, our chief engineer.  The one whose accent keeps shifting.  Some days he’s Welsh, sometimes he’s Bostonian.  He’s a little crazy, but good with widgets. 
Green:  What’s the difference between gorp and insane speed and how do we go faster than light? 
Captain:  Long laughing fit.  The difference between gorp and insane is just the special effects.  Gorp is kaleidoscope with wahoo sounds and insane is purple with banshee screams.  When we found that all the physics books claimed faster than light speed was impossible, we threw out the books.  Easy fix. 
Green:  How do you decide which planets to visit where no man or woman has gone before who wasn’t wearing cheap alien makeovers? 
Captain:  I must admit that I had a lot to do with that.  It is not a coincidence that they usually have semi-human dynamite women who usually fall for the captain – me.  I did make a couple of mistakes.  Planet Sappho showed no interest in me, but Yeoman Sally Twist had a great time there.  We had to stop for triberyllium crystals there after only getting a trillion kilometers on our last 100 gram fill up.  Depending on which way you swing, you might want to take a pass on planets Bear and Twink. 
Green:  It seems that you see a lot of action in combat and romance. 
Captain:  Rank has its privileges.  I have had some dalliances with the crew as well.  You might say unprofessional, but I say hubba hubba.  My great regret is the princess that we picked up who was escaping the Abominable Asteroid and its leader Dark Rader.  I was ready to marry her until I found out that she was my sister.  Major bummer. 
Excuse me, for a moment.  Our Diversity Officer Ababao wants my attention.  What is it? 
Ababao:  Captain, I’m from Detroit.  I just can’t get the Nigerian accent right.  What should I do?   
Captain:  Let me check.  Google says that we have only 3,234 Nigerians watching the show.  You do you, no problem. 
Ababao:  Another thing.  We don’t have any nonbinary, Bulgarian or short crew members and we can’t afford three more personnel. 
Captain:  We can afford one more.  Get a short nonbinary, Bulgarian, three for the price of one. 
Ababao:  Genius.  I’m on it. 
Captain:  Back to you, trainee Green. 
Green:  I’m puzzled.  According to the manifest, there are only ten crew members, but I’ve seen 112 since we took off. 
Captain:  We get a lot of turnover, particularly for the ones with plaid shirts, and others who tell their agents that they want off.  They only last about a week, so we stream crew on and off as needed. 
Green:  One more thing and I’ll go back to cleaning toilets.  When I got onboard, it was 2021, but now it’s 2567.  How did that happen.” 
Captain:  It’s because of a Newtonian-Einsteinian quantum time shift relative to the expanding universe and relativity.  Whispers – We didn’t want to make the same mistake that Space 1999 and Space Odyssey did and pass the dates the movies represented without anything like anything in those movies happening. 
Loud noises interrupt the conversation. 

Captain:  That’s enough training for one day, and I can’t hear anything anyway.  The crew is still working on replacing doorknobs with whoosh machines.  Three years now and nowhere near complete.  We can put a man in orbit around the Big Dipper, but we can’t finish a simple maintenance job. 

Appears in Medium