Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reboot

“It’ll take me a while to get the power restored,” Crimson advised her reclining captain, her glowing blue image once again hovering over the Temper Mettle’s main console. She looked irritated about something. “I’ve run into a few problems. I’ll keep you posted.”

“Cool,” Roker replied lazily, hands behind his head as he gazed into the dazzling starscape. Crimson winked out of existence.

The ship was silent. The only sound other than Roker’s own breath was the near-inaudible whir of air system and the occasional metallic clinking as the ship’s hull reacted to slight temperature variations on its surface. Even Cassie was silent, perhaps snoozing comfortably on a warm air duct.

Roker was bored.

He pulled an electronic pad out of its holder by the console and activated it; the surface lit up, blank but for its virtual buttons, awaiting his input. His mind went blank.

“Rrrg! I don’t know where your ship learned to communicate," Crimson said, her voice coming through the console despite the absence of her holographic image, "but it has the most peculiar dialect; I can’t touch the power core. We’re going to have to reboot.”

“Reboot,” Roker murmured, tapping the pad pensively against his knee. Suddenly, he sat bolt upright. “That’s it!”

“What? You know what’s wrong with the power core?”

“No! I can use it for my next story,” the captain ranted excitedly. He dropped his voice an octave in imitation of movie-trailer voice over. “Johnny Ion is sitting at God’s keyboard—and it’s time to reboot! Kapow! Kaboom! And then there’s shots of Johnny getting loaded up with guns, and there’s explosions, and a hot but otherwise unnecessary love interest in a hot but otherwise unnecessary sex scene, and then there’s ships and weeeooooo rattattattatta!”

Roker riddled the console full of imaginary bullets, using the data pad as an impromptu assault rifle.

“It’ll be awesome!”

There was a long silence.

“Crimson?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t you think it’ll be awesome?”

“I think,” said Crimson, her words deliberate, “that I’m going to get on with this rather difficult technical problem that could potentially end your life, while pretending that you are, in fact, devoting your time and attention to not dying, as opposed to dreaming up ridiculous movie ideas.”

“Oh ok. I’ll let you get on with it then.”

“Thank you.”

The ship once again fell silent. Roker began tapping happily on the pad.

Minutes passed.

“BOOM! Auugh! You are not my dad!”

“You’re writing out loud again.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“Alright. I’ve got the system rebooted—we’ll have to reinstall some software and I’ve lost all your save-game files for GalaxyBabe Interactive.”

“No!”

“Yeah, tragic,” Crimson commented dryly. “Anyway, I’m about to restore power and save your life. I just thought you should know.”

“Thanks, Crimson!” Roker beamed.

“Anytime.”

There was a low whirring sound that increased in pitch and volume as indicator lights began to flicker all over the ship. Crimson popped into existence over the console.

“She’s coming up,” she said. “I didn’t think it was going to work for a minute there, but now it’s running perfec—”

Texas Hold’em!” a foreign voice suddenly screamed. The hologram of a pudgy man in an Uncle Sam costume popped into the cabin, causing Roker to cringe in horror. “Sign up now and get fifty free credits—”

A blonde woman in a low-cut red dress materialized on the starboard side of the cockpit.

“—enhancement, without resorting to surgery! Just one tablet a day and fifteen minutes with our patented pump—”

Hologram advertisements were hitting the ship like a swarm of small missiles.

“Crimson!” Roker yelled over the chaos. “What the hell is going on?”

“—weekdays at two-thirty—”

“—blonde with a donkey—”

“What?”

“—for five monthly payments of just twenty-thr—”

“—AngelSoap leaves your skin fresh and—”

“I said, ‘what the hell is going on?’”

“—for immediate download from the comfort of your own ship—”

“—gird your loins with little blue rockets—”

“Well, it looks like you’ve got a virus.”

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