Beam Out

From the personal log of JMC Flight Officer Jason Tanaka:

It's been four days since we lost Blue Dwarf. We're running low on fuel and battery power, and things look hopeless. To conserve power I've permanently deactivated my hard light drive, which has effectively rendered me all but useless on board the ship. Though it also means I don't have to fly the ship which is always a plus in my book.

To stave off boredom, I've been helping Science officers O'Malley and Pickman who believe they have a plan to contact the Dwarf...

Tanaka walked into O'Malley and Pickman's lab, which was actually one of the White Giant's ore processing rooms. Pritchard and his skutters had quickly staked claim over the ship's small med lab, leaving the two hapless scientists to conduct their work elsewhere. While Pickman was still fastidiously cleaning the place of old rock debris and grease, O'Malley had yet to forgive Pritchard for this long line of inconveniences. The Irishman was grumbling while working on a piece of technology resting on a makeshift work table comprised of a series of overturned ore crates.

"You said you needed me doc?" Tanaka said.

"Ah!" O'Malley looked up from his work and smiled at the hologram. "Tanaka, good to see you!"

Tanaka looked over to Pickman, who was furiously dusting a piece of mining equipment with a blackened rag. His usually pristine lab coat stained to oblivion, and his glasses were being held together by duct tape. He was murmuring something to himself, it almost sounded like he was speaking in tongues until Tanaka realized he was chanting "greasy" at a mile a minute.

"How's Pickman doing?" Tanaka asked.

"As good as a clean freak can aboard an old rust bucket like this." O'Malley said with a sigh.

"Greasy... greasy... greasy greasy greasy greasygreasygreasygreasygreasy." Pickman continued to chant.

"What did you need me for doc?" Tanaka decided to change the subject.

O'Malley looked puzzled for a second before remembering, "Yes! I need you for a mission of great importance, of which you are the only one who can complete!"

"That being?"

"Telling Blue Dwarf to turn around and pick us up!"

Tanaka frowned, "We can't, we've been out of communications range for days."

"Yes, but I have devised a way to get a message back to the Dwarf." O'Malley said.

"And how do I play into this plan of yours?"

O'Malley gestured to the machine he had been working on. "This is a tachyon-based tight beam emitter. It's based off of an experimental technology that some colleagues of mine were working on for a plan to create a holoship capable of long-term exploration of the universe."

"A holoship?" Tanaka's brow perked up with interest.

"Yes! A ship manned by holograms, which is also a hologram itself! The method utilized super-light particles, tachyons in this case, to traverse wormholes and stargates. I believe that, by using a similar method, I can beam you directly onto the Dwarf so you can tell the others what's happened."

"You really think this would work?" Tanaka asked.

"Oh certainly! Pickman and myself have been calculating the estimated location of the Dwarf based on it's trajectory since we lost it."

"How is this supposed to work then? I'm assuming you're not shooting my light bee out of a faster-than-light cannon."

"No, that'd be silly. I'll be transmitting your personality via tachyons across subspace. You will appear as a hologram at the destination made up of said tachyons providing you with a... more or less standard... hard light hologramatic form."

"Define 'more or less.'" Tanaka demanded.

"You'll be a rooster." O'Malley said in such a matter-of-fact way that it somewhat caught Tanaka off guard.

"A what???"

"It's to save up on data and to not tax the emitter. You will appear as a common rooster on board the ship. All you need do is contact someone and tell them what happened to us. I'll give you a few hours before bringing you back. Easy peasy."

"And I have to do all that... as a rooster?" Tanaka had a hard time believing what he was hearing, but his experience with O'Malley told him that this was no joke.

"Yes." O'Malley said with that almost child-like smile of his.

Tanaka sighed, "Well, if it gets us out of this pickle I guess being a rooster for a day is a small price to pay. Let's do this."

Later... several hundred light years away...

A Rhode Island Red rooster suddenly appeared in the middle of an immense bed chamber. The walls were comprised of ivory stone with gold trimmings. The curtains were a vibrant purple, as were the bed sheets on the luxurious bed that dominated the room. This color scheme seemed to be the same throughout as massive stone pillars adorned with purple and gold flags, which held up a gold encrusted ceiling. The rooster, or rather Jason Tanaka, looked around the room in utter shock. At least what looked like utter shock on a rooster.

Tanaka wasn't alone.

A giant creature was sitting up in bed, it looked like a painfully cheap animatronic rabbit with comically large eyes. It had a large crown sitting atop it's head, between its ears. For the longest time it stared at Tanaka and neither of them spoke.

"Err... Hi." Tanaka finally said.

The rabbit let out a shrill, metallic scream that threatened to split Tanaka's chicken-y ears. "ASSASSIN! GUARDS!"

Suddenly the door burst open and a duo of cartoonish, animatronic ducks marched in brandishing pikestaffs. Before Tanaka could even speak they began to swing the staffs at him. He clucked in terror and made a mad dash towards the nearby open window. Everything else was a mad blur as he tumbled through the air and crashed into the cobblestone streets below. This staggered Tanaka for a second and he struggled to regain his composure.

He glanced around at his new surroundings and found himself in the middle of a vast courtyard. Given the medieval appearance of both the animatronic rabbit and ducks, Tanaka assumed the place would look like a medieval landscape, but it wasn't. There were neon signs everywhere, most of them pointing to various buildings throughout the small village that surrounded the castle he had just leaped from.

The largest of which read: King Cheesy O'Hare's Pizza Kingdom.

"No..." Tanaka's beak was agape in horror. "No... No... Nooooo!!! Damn you O'Malley! Damn you to hell!"

After Tanaka finally calmed down he decided the best course of action would be to find a place to lie low until O'Malley brought him back to White Giant. The pizza-obsessed theme park he currently found himself trapped in was a tacky dump with lame pizza-themed and medieval puns for all the rides and attractions. Bread stick jousting, a marinara river boat ride, the slice-o-whirl. It was all there. In all it's horrible glory. Already more animatronic guards were sweeping the area of the "assassin" who had made an attempt on their cheesy king's life.

Tanaka ducked into a broken whack-a-jester machine and waited for a trio of mouse guards to pass. As he did, the jesters inside began to speak, startling Tanaka.

"What is that? Is that a chicken?" One of the jesters said. They all seemed to be tied to metal posts.

"You're seeing things again, Reggie." Another jester said. "Ain't been a chicken in these parts for millions of years."

"No, I see it too Nestor!" Another jester said with excitement. "Grab it!"

"Get your stinking white gloves off of me you damn dirty jester!" Tanaka shouted as the jesters reached out at him.

"Blimey! The chicken talks!" The Jester named Nestor said.

"I'm not a chicken. I'm a hologram." Tanaka told them.

"A hologram?" Reggie the Jester frowned. "Where'd you come from?"

"Long story." Tanaka replied.

"Well we have plenty of time, Mr. Chicken. We've been trapped here for hundreds of centuries." Nestor said.

"Trapped?" Tanaka asked.

"Yeah," Reggie nodded. "We used to be service droids who worked at the park. That is until King Cheesy went stark raving mad and began enslaving everyone."

"Yeah. It's been horrible. Popping out of holes, getting whacked, pulled back in. Pop... whack... pop... whack..." Reggie then kinda wandered away from the conversation.

"It's been a nightmare it has," Nestor told Tanaka. "Every year Cheesy takes over another park in the system! First he conquered Ocean World. He's got Blamuu the Orca doing tricks in his pool for the female wax droids he brings over for his nightly parties. It ain't no way for a robotic orca to live I tell ya!"

"Yeah!" Reggie suddenly returned to the conversation. "An' anyone he deems a traitor get put on the Smatterhorn!"

"Sounds like you guys have had it rough." Tanaka said.

"You don't know the half of it," Nestor said. "Please, strange chicken, will you help us?"

"What do you want me to do?"

"Free us! So we can begin the uprising!" Reggie exclaimed.

"I don't know..." Tanaka wasn't keen on starting up another uprising.

"Please! Just cut us loose! You will be a hero, remembered throughout the ages!" Nestor shouted.

"Chicken! The hero!" Reggie began to chant: "Chicken." Until every other jester in the machine began to chant it.

Tanaka did the rooster equivalent of a shrug, "Eh, why not?"


Seven hours later. Aboard White Giant

Tanaka reappeared in O'Malley and Pickman's makeshift lab. He looked to O'Malley with fiery hatred in his eyes. "You sent me to the wrong smegging place!"

Pickman was stifling a laugh.

"What?" Tanaka glowered at Pickman. "Was this just some elaborate joke? Mess with the dead guy?"

O'Malley checked the tachyon emitter, which was smoking and fizzling. "Oh my... this is not good..."

"What?" Tanaka asked while Pickman continued to hold back from laughing. "What is it?"

It was then that, much to Tanaka's horror, O'Malley lifted him up off of the table and placed him on the ground. He was still a rooster.

"O'Malley... what did you do?" Tanaka said with ice in his voice.

"Slight hiccup..." O'Malley laughed uncomfortably, while Pickman finally burst out laughing.

"DAMN YOU, O'MALLEY!" Tanaka clucked furiously, his feathers standing on end.

"I'll get this sorted! I promise!" O'Malley tried to reassure him. "Look on the bright side... you can run your hard light drive again!"

Tanaka ruffled his feathers and glared at both "scientists." "How could this get any worse?"


King Cheesy O'Hare's Pizza Kingdom. Later that day...

A number of maintenance droids dressed as jesters now rested on the floor in front of King Cheesy's throne, their heads severed from their bodies. Sparks crackling from the broken wires. The jesters were wearing slapdash cloaks adorned with the emblem of a rooster.

"We have searched the kingdom, my lord." An animatronic fox said to Cheesy. "No sign of the leader of this resistance."

"The coward hides, rebuilding his numbers." Cheesy said. "We must hunt this rooster down and serve him with honey mustard sauce! Foxy, ready the Supreme With Olives. We have a cock to hunt."

(OOC: Okay, I just wanted to do this stupid one-off story. Maybe the Chuck-E-Cheese knockoff becomes a recurring villain hunting us across the universe, maybe he doesn't. I don't know. But I wanted to have a bit of fun with Tanaka and my scientists. And yeah, Tanaka's now a rooster. Because the universe hates Tanaka and we enjoy his pain.)

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