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Political farce aboard the Starship Ostracise

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Starship EnterpriseIt is the weekend of the big storms. Rain hammers on the roof. I'm home alone with only one task: 'Turn the oven off when you hear the timer.' So I have no choice but to watch the AFL footy final on TV. Sydney's charismatic Brett 'Captain' Kirk is dominating against the Blues.

A quick channel surf brings only interviews with 'the three Independents' or a doco about sound effects on Star Trek, so it's back to the game, lulled by the crackling fire and the rhythm of the rain ...

I gaze around the flight deck of the Starship Ostracise whose mission is to boldly go where no other starship has gone boldly or otherwise. It is stardate four thousand eight hundred and ninety point six three, or numbers to that effect. I never could get the hang of that system.

My name is Quirk, Captain Quirk. My brow is dark and a small muscle on the left side of my face is rippling beneath the tanned skin. I am concentrating on a report, just handed to me by the jaw-droppingly beautiful Lieutenant Yoo Hoo Hoo, which says we are heading into the Nebulae Policii — a force field of nebulous policies.

I am also deliberately grinding my teeth. The resultant quiver of jaw sinew is called 'acting'. Occasionally I lighten the end of an episode with a weary half smile.

'Position, Mr Zoo Loo?' I bark.

'We have an inter-galactic chronicity of five thousand cycles, Captain, and our cosmic format is PS/2 and compatible.'

My frown deepens. I do the muscle trick.

'But where exactly are we, Mr Zoo Loo?'

'I have no idea, Captain. We are surrounded by haemorrhoids and they are cutting off our passage.'

'He means asteroids, Captain.' It is the silky, insinuating voice of the Vulcan, Mr Schlock, that intrudes. 'The haemorrhoid,' he continues, 'is swollen venous tissue near the anus — in humans, that is. My relentlessly logical intelligence, uninfluenced by emotion, tells me that it would be very unlikely for us to encounter such phenomena in deep space. The asteroid, on the other hand, is a ...'

'Thank you, Mr Schlock.' I pass a tanned hand across my frowning brow. 'Mr Zoo Loo, tell McScotty and Dem Bones to report immediately.'

'Why, Captain?'

'Mr Zoo Loo, I want them on the Flight Deck because, well, they always come to the Flight Deck. We desperately need McScotty's bluff, Caledonian good humour, and we need Dem Bones to throw a huge tantrum about some obscure matter of cosmic medical principle. Don't we? Right! Now — Mr Schlock, check the ionic crystal reading and have a nameless extra come in with a purple foaming fluid in conical glasses which is what we drink under stress instead of coffee in this part of the illimitable future.'

'With respect Captain, I do not think it advisable for ...'

Before he can embark on another tedious and invariably correct analysis, Lieutenant Yoo Hoo Hoo grabs me in a tight embrace. The 'smart' chip in her bra vibrates and the thinking fabric tightens up so quickly there's scarcely time to withdraw a roving hand. Her breath comes in hot gasps from her purple mouth. She's been overdoing the galactic 'coffee'.

'Jim,' she whispers, even though my name is Quentin. Her hands curl round my neck, down the back of my tight-fitting Star Trek T-Shirt, but just then Dem Bones bursts through the hissing door.

'Warp speed four, Captain,' he shouts, 'or I'll kill myself. This is a matter of galactic principle.' He throws himself randomly round the Flight deck.

'What is the cause of your perturbation?' says Schlock serenely.

'Nothing special, Schlock, you cold blooded, heartless humanoid apology. I just spend every episode in a delirium of anger.' Realising he has stopped shouting, he adds, 'Aaaaarggghhh' at the top of his voice.

'Captain!' screams Mr Zoo Loo, 'We're receiving unintelligible messages from the Nebulae.'

Lieutenant Yoo Hoo Hoo leans forward seductively so she can read the tape: 'Gillard offers Katter trip to Russian Space Station'.

'You are number one with me, Jim,' breathes Yoo Hoo Hoo.

'I am not a number, I am a free man,' I reply mysteriously, but our voices are drowned out by a persistent beeping sound. The specially engineered Windsor-Oakeshott Thrusters have split and the Ostracise is going into reverse. Beep, beep, beep.

I wake. Back on Earth, the Swans have scraped home. With the Saints having already qualified, the universe — at the remote margins of which the Ostracise no doubt continues its lonely voyage — can for the moment at least resume its equilibrium.

Well, not quite. A loud beeping noise has pursued me from deep space and there is a strong smell of burning coming from the kitchen. Only one thing to do.

'Beam me up McScotty, for God's sake.'

Brian MatthewsBrian Matthews is the award winning author of A Fine and Private Place and The Temple Down the Road. He was awarded the 2010 National Biography Award for Manning Clark — A Life

Topic tags: brian matthews, star trek, gillard, oakeshott, windsor, crook, katter



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Brian, to quote Captain Kirk, you make my heart smile.

Ian C Smith | 08 September 2010  

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