The Captain is Dead Listen to Reason by Matt Forbeck
Captain’s Log. Science Officer reporting.
The Captain is dead. It didn’t have to turn out that way, but that’s what happens when people refuse to pay attention to science.
By now we know that wearing a Crewman’s uniform on an away-team mission is tantamount to marching off toward your own execution. Statistical analysis has shown that those dressed in their standard red shirts are at a risk of death or dismemberment (or both) at least three hundred percent higher than those crewmembers in other uniforms.
The chance of an early and violent demise increases to over six hundred percent higher if a member of the bridge crew is on the away team. It skyrockets to a full one thousand percent higher if the Captain joins the team.
Meanwhile, senior crew members seem immune to these risks. In fact, the more Crewman that are with such a crew member, the less likely that crew member is to be hurt.
The Science and Engineering Departments have several conflicting theories about this, and we are still in the process of weeding through them all. I told the Captain more than once that only by rigorous experimentation would we be able to ascertain the true reasons behind this disturbing phenomenon.
He chose to ignore that information at his own peril.
Despite that, we still can’t be sure of the underlying reasons behind his death. Is there an all-powerful being monitoring the ship? Have we perhaps wandered into a zone of improbability? Does the universe treat the color red as a bull treats a cape waved by a matador? Or does it simply favor people in positions of authority—like the Captain—until they break some other unseen rule?
The Captain himself has unwittingly benefitted from this odd effect so often that many Crewmen regularly fake an illness when requested to accompany him on any mission at all. They know that to leave the ship at his side means an uncomfortably high peril.
To be fair, not all such away-team missions feature casualties, but they do happen far more often than they statistically should. The Crewmen are clearly justified in their actions.
But the Captain didn’t see it that way. In fact, he took offense at the theories swirling around this anomaly, seeming to believe that they were fashioned as an assault against his authority. “Do you think I’m intentionally putting my crew in harm’s way?” he asked. “Or do you believe that I’m somehow orchestrating this for my own benefit?”
No one dared to confirm that latter point for him, but by now, he’s cleared himself of that charge in the worst possible way.
I’d hoped to get back to port before he did something rash like this, but the Captain wanted to clear the air first. “I’m not reporting in with a cloud like this hanging over my head,” he said. “Besides, it’s the holidays. Lighten up!”
I should have stopped him. I should have had the Medical Officer declare him unfit for duty and confined him to his quarters. Maybe the Counselor could have talked some sense into him.
But he was never the sort to listen to reason. Not when he had a point to make.
So he put on that damn costume, and he went to visit the planet below. He marched down to the Transporter Chief and gave her a direct order to send him away. No one dared go with him, so he went alone.
“I’m not going to miss this celebration over some kind of silly superstition!” he said.
He didn’t last the hour down there.
I’m not from Earth, so perhaps I don’t comprehend its traditions fully. I understand this Christmas in the abstract, how it’s to celebrate the birth of a great religious and philosophical leader. But I’m unclear on exactly why that somehow made the Captain feel that he had to dress up in a bright red outfit and a fake white beard. It turned out to be an effective albiet disastrous disguise.
Or so it would seem. Whatever forces are at play here, were they fooled by the Captain’s outfit? Did they see him as a Crewman? Or did they know who he was and figured that this was finally their chance to get rid of him too?
At this point, I might even suspect the crew of being complicit in his demise. When the report of his death reached the ship, not a single Crewman wept. Several audibly sighed with relief.
I suppose that’s no proof of anything though. Given the circumstances, their reaction is entirely understandable, and I am, if nothing else, a scientist.
I just wish I had more time—and more data to work with. But all that is secondary now because the Captain is dead.
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.
Matt Forbeck is a legendary talent with hundreds of published works in fiction and tabletop gaming. He has worked for every major company in the gaming industry, and recently authored a best-selling young adult novelization of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.