It’s that time of the year again, Telegram Sam has launched another Pod and Planet Fiction contest. Since I’ve thoroughly beaten the pants off of Random McNally in the past, I felt the need to continue the streak (despite the fact that his stories are much better than mine); guess the judges like crude “fart” humor after all. Below is a true a story and it all happened several thousand years from today. Enjoy. -Kyle Yanowski
“I don’t like them smug Capsuleer types. They don’t care nothing for no one, especially if you are one of us mere workin’ mortals. No, them capsuleers never look out for the worker, the guys and gals that wrench the pipes, clean the filters, feed the damn fedos…”
Private Higeru shuddered at that last part. He detested Fedos, but couldn’t exactly avoid them in his line of work. The Capsuleers liked to keep the slimy creatures in their ships, despite the protests from humans, crew, or anything with nostrils; the current Captain of “The Fedora” wasn’t an exception. Higeru, only being stationed on the Algos class destroyer for a week, had little knowledge about fedos when he signed up, however, he now considered himself an expert. The little beasties were in every room of the destroyer, including the sleeping quarters and the mess hall. On his second night of service, Higeru had been woken up in his bunk to find a fedo orifice awfully close to his face. On his third day of service, he found himself wrestling his protein ball lunch from one of the creatures underbelly viscera. In a short time, the crimes of the fedo began to mount.
“You paying attention Greenie?”
Higeru snapped his attention back to the grizzled Chief. The older Chief Petty officer had two fedos in his hands, and was waving them around; arms and fedos alike flagellating in the thick mess hall air as he continued his daily rage against the Captain. The older man was working up a froth when he lowered and pointed one of the creatures at Higeru.
“You know what this is Greenie? the Chief queried.
“Uh, a fedo?”
“A fedo.” the Chief paused. “A fedo he says. No kiddo, this is not a fedo… This is oppression! This is tyranny on the ship!” The chief continued to wave the fedos around wildly. The rest of the crew in the mess hall ignored the rant, clearly jaded.
“That bastard came in here a week before you, and brought these things on board. These smelly, disgusting, oozing things, that WE have to suffer, while he sits in his liquid tight capsule.”
The older mans eyes flashed as some fedo slime dripped onto the mess hall floor.
” Worse yet, he takes control and renames the ship after those ridiculous hats he wears! Well I’ve had enough, and I’m going to get even with that immortal jerk.”
“And just how are you going to do that?” mocked another Chief Petty Officer from across the mess hall. “He’s a capsuleer, if you kill him, he’ll come back like some ghost and haunt you; and we’ll be without a pilot.”
“You don’t worry about that, I got a plan, and I just need greenie here to help me out.” The other petty officer shrugged and continued munching on his lunch. The Chief tossed the fedos on the ground, making plopping noises, and grabbed Higeru by the shoulder. “C’mon, I’m going to teach you about small victories.”
“It’s called blowing san.”
The Chief chuckled. “I guess they didn’t teach you about that at the academy. Blowing san is what happens everyday when you rap on the Captains pod and tell him the system is ready to be purged.”
“So it means a system purge.”
“Partly. Blowing san means blowing sanitation into space, which is part of the system purge. Just where do you think the shit from forty-two crew members goes everyday?”
Higeru thought for a moment. “ So, how does blowing human waste out of an airlock get back at the captain?”
“I thought you would ask that. In order to blow san, the plumbing of this ship needs to be pressurized. When the system is pressurized, every part of the plumbing on the Algos is under enough pressure to turn a protein meatball into tritanium. The pipes, the pressure valve, the toilets, and even the backup waste disposal line connected to our Captains pod.”
The Chief waited for a reaction. Higeru looked at the older man with a blank stare. Shaking his head with disgust, the Chief continued, “When you notify the captain that the system is ready to be purged, thats when I pressurize the system, lock the outer waste disposal port, and blow it.”
Higeru still didn’t understand. “Lock the waste disposal port? But that means the waste will have no where to go…”
“Oh it will go somewhere alright. Right through the valve that can handle the least amount of pressure; which just so happens to be the captains backup waste disposal line.”
“But won’t the nanites in the pods hydrostatic fluid dissolve the, uhh, fecal matter?”
“Guess you did pay attention in the academy after all,” the Chief replied. “But with the amount of matter we are going to pump into that capsule, it will take the nanites a week to render the hydrostatic fluid clean, and we will have our victory. Now come on.”
Higeru followed the chief onto the Fedoras bridge and walked over to the communication console that interfaced with the pod. He glanced over at the chief, who made a “get on with it” gesture. Gulping, Higeru pressed a red button on the console.
“Sir, the system is ready to be purged.”
“Very well, purge the system.”
Higeru, nervous, looked toward the Chief who was grinning madly while manipulating the dials on the sanitation console. He watched intently as the wild eyed Chief lifted a clear plexi cover over a large red button. The blow sanitation button.
The Fedoras P.A. system barked with the Captains voice. “Chief, I am reading that the waste disposal port is currently loc….”
The Chief pressed the button. Higeru shifted his gaze from the chief who was hopping up and down with excitement, to the traveling sound of a tidal wave of fecal matter rushing through the pipes around the bridge. He followed the sound as the waste flowed behind the metal bulkheads, under the bridge floor, and finally to the pods waste disposal valve. There was a muffled pop and then silence. Higeru and the Chief looked at each other, then slowly made their way to the pod and placed their ears against the smooth metallic surface. Suppressing a giggle, the Chief waved Higeru over to where his ear was pressed and motioned for him to take his place. Obeying, he placed his ear on the pod. A smile came to Higerus face as heard muffled, fluid like swear words emanating from somewhere inside the pod.
“Small victories for us mortals.” the Chief said. “ Small victories.”
Just then the Fedoras P.A. system crackled to life with the synthetic voice of the capsuleer Captain. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Fedora. This is your captain. It seems we have had a… malfunction… in the ships plumbing. Being that we are a considerable distance away from our destination, I have decided that our current mission is no longer worth my time.”
The Captain mentioned something about having to buy another clutch of fedos when the ships Artificial Intelligence faded in.
“Self destruct sequence initiated. You have 60 seconds to evacuate. Have a nice day.”
Higeru opened his eyes and tried to make out the blurry figures in his field of vision. Knocked unconscious in the frantic dash to the Fedoras escape capsules, he figured he was lucky that someone brought him to safety. As his vision began to clear, he could make out the Chiefs face.
“Greenie. What I said about small victories… forget every stinking last word I said.”
Higeru place his hands on the capsule floor to prop himself up and felt something slimy and squishy. He recoiled and brushed the capsules ceiling with his hand and again, felt the same texture. Everywhere he placed his hands in the two person capsule, there was a soft, spongy feeling. His vision fully cleared about the same time his sense of smell came returned. Inhaling, Higeru recognized the unmistakable and pungent odor of fedos. A lot of fedos.
Higeru looked at the the Chief who was covered in the creatures. The only part of the older man that was visible in the cramped capsule, was his face.
“The Fedora wasn’t built with one of them Fedo chambers…” The Chief was briefly interrupted as a fedo slid down his face, muffling his words. “So the Captain converted this capsule to breed the little beasties.”
As the life capsule drifted aimlessly through space and amidst the alternating sobs of the chief and the chirps of the fedos, Higeru suddenly realized that the Fedora wasn’t named after a stylish head garment after all.