The Captain is Dead Commission of Inquiry by Douglas Sun

The Commission of Inquiry cites the following crew log entries as especially relevant:

 

FIRST OFFICER

We all know that space travel is stressful. Every one of us, I think, has felt the strain of a mission making us a little crazy at some point. The Admiral has been very reassuring on this. He seems to take little alarm at much of anything.

Today the Captain got up from his chair and wandered about the bridge, looking over the crew’s shoulders and pushing buttons on their consoles. The crew promptly undid whatever the Captain had done. Shortly thereafter, we received an alert from Engineering about an unidentified hissing noise coming from the main engine. The Chief Engineer is looking into it — at least, I think he said so, it’s hard to tell with his odd Scottish accent.

tcid-admiral
FIRST OFFICER

The Captain returned to the bridge and stood by his chair. “Red Alert! Order the crew to general quarters! There is a thief on this ship!”

“A thief, sir?” I said.

“Someone has stolen my pants!”

“Sir, you’re wearing your pants.”

“Oh. So I am. Someone has stolen my strawberries!”

Just then, the Cyborg came onto the bridge, working a floor buffer. “Coming through. Don’t mind me, folks; just making the floors shiny and smooth.” Several bridge crew crossing his wake slipped and fell.

“Sir, our stores of fresh food were depleted long ago,” I said, “The galley is currently consulting the ‘cooking with protein bars’ chapter in the ship’s documentation.”

The Captain pointed to the Cyborg. “You! You did it!”

“What? You can’t prove anything!”

“You took my strawberries!”

“Oh. I thought you were talking about something else. Naw, that wasn’t me.”

“Don’t let him fool you,” the Captain said to me. “This man is an impostor! He’s a bioengineered life form designed to look exactly like us so he can infiltrate the Galactica and subvert us from within!”

“Sir, he’s a cyborg.

“Oh.”

“Carry on,” I said to the Cyborg.

“Whatever. Sniff you jerks later.”

The Cyborg left the bridge. The Captain sat down in his chair again, muttering  to himself.

Let this log entry record that I am now concerned about the Captain.

 

CYBORG

So I’m buffing the floor in the science lab, just like the First Officer ordered. So I knocked over the terrarium with the big spiders. So I knocked over a jar full of radioactive whatchamacallits. You know what? It ain’t my job to

clean it up.

Those meat bags are always telling me, do this, do that. Well, if they don’t like the job I do, they can bite my shiny metal —

Oops. Hello there, First Officer. How ya doin’?

 

CAPTAIN

I have searched this ship from stem to whatever they call the back part, but have found no trace of my strawberries. I proposed interrogating the entire crew, breaking them on the wheel until they revealed the truth. But the Counselor told me that we don’t have a wheel, and that it would be illegal in any event.

I therefore draw two conclusions:

1) The entire crew is against me.

2) They are in cahoots with aliens, who have taken my strawberries to their home world for purposes that remain obscure.

I asked the ship’s computer for advice. But it kept telling me that searching the ship’s inventory found 0 strawberries, and asking me if I wanted to play chess. I pressed various keys in an attempt to reboot it, without success. Then the screen turned blue and it stopped responding.

Piece of junk. I knew I should’ve upgraded to a Pentium. The video card’s crap. too.

 

FIRST OFFICER

It was horrifying.

We received an alert from Security that the Captain was seen heading toward the teleporter room.

The Admiral was on the bridge at the time. I suppose that his experience and seniority make it easier to maintain a calm, detached demeanor.

I immediately ordered that the main view screen shift to the teleporter room. The Cyborg was there, buffing the floor. “Don’t mind me,” he said to the Teleporter Chief. “Just making sure the floors are nice and smooth and shiny, just like my metal— oops.” Just then, the Captain stormed into the room, and the Cyborg slipped out behind him

“Beam me down to the surface,” the Captain said. “Those aliens have my strawberries, and I’m going to get them back, or die trying.”

“Um. Sir, there isn’t a planet within a thousand parsecs of here. I’d be teleporting you into empty space.”

“Are you disobeying an order from your Captain?”

“Wait. Did you say, ‘strawberries’?”

“Why… yes….  Don’t know how they got them, but they’re serving them in the galley right now. Better hurry if you want some.”

“Hot damn!”

The Teleporter Chief ran out of the room.

“Idiot,” the Captain muttered. He fiddled with the teleporter controls, evidently setting the timer. “Alright, you aliens,” he said as he went to the platform, “I’m coming for you now.”

Then he stopped. “Hold on — this is crazy. There isn’t a planet within  thousand parsecs of here.” But as he turned around, he slipped and fell back onto the dematerialization beam mark just as the beam activated.

Then he was gone.

No one on the bridge said anything. In the background, there was a loud rumble over the intercom feed from the engine room. The Chief Engineer yelled. “She canna hold much longer!”  From the science lab. the Science Officer shouted something about glowing giant spiders, then screamed, “Game over, man!” The computer was singing “A Bicycle Built For Two” in a dirge like voice. No one could believe what we had just seen.

Then the Admiral put his hand on my shoulder. “It’s all right, son. He’s in a better place.”

“But, sir—“

“I know. The Captain is dead. But have you seen what they’re serving in the galley? Protein bar casserole and protein bar compote for dessert. He’s in a better place.”

 

The Captain is Dead is an upcoming new release from AEG that features co-operative gameplay as players race against time to repair malfunctioning ship systems, deal with hostile aliens, and warp the ship out of danger. Releasing in 2017.

Douglas Sun has been a gamer since the late ‘70s and a professional writer, designer and developer since the late ‘90s. He contributed to Decipher’s Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings roleplaying games, and was line developer of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG. During the D&D 3rd Edition open license boom, he contributed to many d20 books for AEG and Eden Odyssey. He blogs about gaming and other nerdy things at “I Think We’ve Been Playing It Wrong” and he is running a Kickstarter campaign for a series of modules for D&D 5th Edition, called Places by the Way, until December 18.

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