I stumbled on this in my desk drawer today. A few years ago, I was working early one morning, and this network admin broadcast message popped up on my screen:
It struck me funny at the time, so I printed it out and saved it. I had absolutely no clue what it meant. I did know, however, that there was a story buried here somewhere. I just wasn’t sure what it was. I sent the screenshot to my friend. Who was JaQueen? Who was Phillippe? What was Stargate? And Laserpro? He had none of the answers. He told me that he would await the results of my research.
After checking into it, I decided that the most probable explanation was that this message did not originate on our network, but rather was inadvertently intercepted by us as a result of immense electrical disturbances caused by recent solar flares. It had actually come from an alien ship in a distant galaxy. I am pretty sure this is what happened:
JaQueen glanced at the com-screen. A message from Phillippe, using her commID. He was incompetent, subservient, spineless and brainless, she thought. He was, however, her only engineer. She should have had him killed and replaced long ago.
She punched up his comm-channel and spoke.
“Phillippe! I need Stargate and I need it NOW,” JaQueen commanded. “Unless you repair the weapon systems and get Laserpro back on-line, we are dead. The Scrotians have us trapped. If you cannot do it, I will find someone who can. And do not use my command console ID again. Ever.”
“Yes, my Queen,” Phillippe replied. “I apologize profusely. I used it because it was convenient, and I -- ”
“SILENCE!” JaQueen commanded. “Do not waste my time by talking. Do your job. I expect Laserpro will be available – WITH remote function – within ten minutes. If it is not, there will be consequences. If not by by me, then by the Scrotians. Either way, you will not like the result.”
She killed the comm connection before he could respond. Let him sweat, she thought. It will make him more diligent. She started the countdown timer on her chrono, and turned her attention back to the mainscreen at the front of the bridge. She needed to stall for time. She opened a channel to the Commander of the ship that was currently holding them in stasis. She looked at the insectoid head that appeared on her viewscreen, and tried not to vomit.
“Commander Sporn. I….agree to your terms of surrender. I have one request. Please allow us ten minutes to make peace with the gods of our afterworld. Then, we will lower our remaining shields and allow you to board."
A series of clicks and whistles emanated from the console speakers, and the universal translator kicked in, converting these strange sounds to intelligible speech.
“If we wish to board, we will, regardless of the status of your shields,” the translator relayed in a metallic voice. “However, we grant you eleven minutes. We are not, after all, barbarians.”
She killed the channel, and sat, waiting for Phillippe to do the impossible.
Exactly ten minutes and 50 seconds later, the following message appeared on her console:
That idiot had used her console ID AGAIN. If he had actually repaired Stargate, she would forgive him. Maybe.
She turned to her command panel, and punched up the Stargate weapons system console. Laserpro was armed, and indicated full power. Phillippe had actually done it. JaQueen was pleased.
She would have to time this right. The Scrotians would have to drop their own shields to board, and she was counting on this. She keyed the com console and opened a channel to the Scrotian commander.
“We are ready to be boarded,” JaQueen said. “Please have mercy on our very young and very old.” JaQueen dropped her shields. Her ship was totally vulnerable.
“Very well,” the Scrotian commander replied. “Death will be quick. Prepare to be boarded.”
The screen went blank.
“Weaponsmaster! Laserpro ready,” JaQueen commanded. “Target the Scrotian ship at the base of the shaft. It’s their most vulnerable spot. Wait for them to lower their shields, then fire.”
The instant the Scrotians lowered their shields, the Stargate weapons console danced under the fingers of the weaponsmaster. Twin beams of white light shot out from the front of the ship, striking their intended target exactly where planned.
The base of the shaft withstood the barrage for a second, then the protective shield collapsed. Laserpro tore through the skin of the Scrotian ship. JaQueen wanted the spectacle to last, but unfortunately the scrotian ship exploded prematurely, ending her enjoyment.
She checked her chrono. Still time for a late dinner. Looking at it reminded her that Phillippe was almost one full minute late getting Stargate back online. This would not do. And he had used her console again.
He had saved her ship, however, so there was that.
She decided to let him live a little longer.