Lt. Jason Smegg: "Games for a rainy day"
NOTE: This post contains some actual science-based fiction so too bad if
part of it is really boring!
Lt. Smegg walked through the corridor near the holosimulator where he had
earlier trapped the mercenaries who had been trying to take over the
ship. He saw a white can of paint lying on the ground near a storage
locker. Oops, he must have left it there while painting the inside of the
Then he noticed that someone had painted some letters and numbers on the
wall. Odd. This was a mining ship, not an insane asylum. (Well, except
for the Ionian penal colonists on deck 24... why hadn't they been dropped
off already? The ship was billions of miles past Io. Must be the
incompetent captain. But it wasn't an engineering problem so Smegg hadn't
brought it up. Besides, they could be used as chaingang-style workers in
case of a loss of lower level repair staff.) What was painted on the wall
was "GTGB-T, BRB2RD&T", in bright white letters. He wondered what that
But somehow Smegg knew that this was a message for him. Then he shrugged
off the idea. Secret telepathic writing? Perhaps he should go see the
ship psychologist. Naah, he'd leave that for later; he didn't want to
hear any of that junk about Oedipal penile-industrial complexes or
whatever it was. Instead of a Rorscach, he'd have a Big Mac. With
horseradish. The McDonalds on board the Blue Dwarf was one of the few
that would let you have it your way. Or maybe that was the Burger
Monarch. (Side note: he'd heard it had been gender-neutralized, like
everything else, during the Age of Political Correctness 1998-2027 and
had never been changed back.) Whatever. Wait! He realized he didn't even
like horseradish. He felt confused. Must be the telepathic writing, he
Smegg stumbled into the Wendy's on the promenade clutching his head and
saying "Psy" repeatedly in a duck-like voice. He was about to order a
filet garcon with poached proton juice when suddenly he snapped out of
his confused trance. What was he doing in Wendy's?! Then he remembered
everything that had happened. It must have been the paint fumes.
Realizing he wasn't hungry, he left the Wendy's and began to think about
the writing on the wall. He still thought it had something to do with
him. A message, perhaps, but what could it mean? Could it be a
substitution cipher? He pulled out his datapad and ran a program which
gave him no meaningful results. Perhaps an acronym? He thought for a
moment and came up with "Go to Garbage Bay Ten, Bring Red Bag to Red
Dwarf and Trot!" Didn't make much sense, but it was an amusing mental
And Smegg was bored. So he thought, on a whim, to take a walk around the
ship and visit Garbage Bay Ten as well as any other sites he could think
of that could possibly pertain to the "message." Sort of like a scavenger
hunt where you don't know the clues and there may not even be a prize.
Just something to do on a boring day.
He reached Garbage Bay Ten and poked around in the dumpsters. He found an
old MIDI-based music synthesizer and some coils of fiberoptic cable. He
thought of what he could build with these components. He remembered that
new crew member, who was it, who had posted a message on the ship's BBS
about needing to fix her Epson P80 dot-matrix printer. Maybe he could do
it, and impress her with his technical expertise, heh heh heh. Maybe he
could actually get a date!
Then he remembered his "goal" in this "mission." He poked around a bit
more and found a red satchel. The red bag! Of course he couldn't deliver
it to the Red Dwarf (or the king of the Potato People, but then he
wouldn't want to get anywhere near Potatoland considering how many french
fries he'd eaten in his lifetime), but maybe there would be something
interesting inside. He opened up the bag to find... a McDonalds Happy
Meal! Oh well, he hadn't really expected to find the bag in the first
place. So he decided to eat the Happy Meal, meager though it was. He
opened up the box, unwrapped the hamburger, and took a bite. Not bad for
salvage from the trash. He hoped no garbage scutters would come by. Then
he opened up the chicken nugget package. But instead of a chicken nugget
(cheap! in the good old days when he was a kid there were two!), he
The Happy Bomb!
It was a small spherical device, about the size of a golf ball, with a
green blinking light on one pole and a red blinking light on the other.
But its small size and harmless sounding name belied its true power.
Smegg had read about the Happy Bomb. It had been used as a last resort in
World War IV to make the Iranian Empire surrender. Millions had died, and
the survivors... well, it would be best to tell the whole story.
It started in the year 2000 with the formation of superheavy element 118.
Scientists were elated because they had created an atom of the first
transuranic element of group 8-A, which includes the noble gases such as
helium and argon. It had taken a tremendous amount of energy to form this
element, many times what it took to form the next lightest element and
even several heavier elements which were discovered later. They wanted to
study the properties of this rare substance but unfortunately could not
because it was so expensive to produce even a single atom in a particle
Fast-forward to 2267. The scout ship Nova was scanning in the area of the
recent freak supernova of the star Amadaeus. Suddenly an atmosphere leak
occurred and the crew began to suffocate. The rescue ship arrived too
late, but they were able to retrieve from the ship's logs that in their
last few minutes of life the crew was giddy and oblivious to their
impending doom. Furthermore, the star remnant's corona was found to
contain high quantities of element 118.
What was found was that element 118, or "Xeon," as it came to be known
(it was easily confused with Neon and Xenon, but scientists never admit
to making typos so therefore they never do, right?), is highly
radioactive, like all other transuranic elements, but that it emits a
unique type of radiation. This radiation, which came to be known as
Epsilon radiation, is perfectly harmless except that it interacts with
human nerve cells in such a way that it causes the affected person(s) to
become extremely giddy and carefree, and willing to accept any sort of
demands because what the hey, it really doesn't matter does it?
Essentially like acid-crazed hippies.
Now military strategists immediately found a use for this strange and
newly abundant substance. It blew up, and the people it didn't blow up,
it turned them into brainless idiots. You could drop one of these new
nuclear bombs on a city and it would kill half the people and the other
half would immediately surrender if you just asked very politely. Because
they like being oppressed and ruled by foreign powers.
Now Lt. Smegg held one of these devices in his hand, and wondered how it
had got on board the ship (MORE terrorists?!), and what lucky or unlucky
circumstances had driven him to find it...
"Let me get this straight - you want to fly on a magic carpet to visit
the king of the
Potato People and plead for your freedom? And you want me to believe
you're perfectly sane?"
-Psycho Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf, "Quarantine"
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