Challenge #01519-D058: Watch What You Say
[Person #1]: (after describing the expedition) Won't be any fighting or danger, just research
[Person #2]: (who's seen this shit before) Yes, it will be totally safe. Nothing can go wrong. At least it won't be raining.
[Person #2]: You could just as well held up a sign that says "Fuck Murphy" on it, and expect less trouble. -- RecklessPrudence
"It's an exploratory mission into uninhabited territory. The entire system is incapable of hosting life. What could go wrong?"
"O Powers... you had to say it, didn't you?" Patty smacked her forehead. "Look. The universe hates people who ask rhetorical questions with clearly obvious and very painful answers. If you keep going on like this, your mission is going to be filed under 'mysteriously vanished without a trace'. Stop. Talking like that. Please."
"I do not understand," said the Ch'vothi named Grekz. "How can my utterances increase your risk assessment of this mission?"
"Better," allowed Patty. "My species has a law. Murphy's Law. It states, anything that can go wrong, will. And at the worst possible moment. My people fear this law and anyone who blatantly risks its activation by saying flakking foolish things like 'what could go wrong'. We prepare for things that could go wrong, and they still do. Often in unpredictable ways. So don't ask questions when you're not prepared to endure the answers, thankyou."
"But we have prepared for everything," said Grekz.
"I'll be the judge of that," said Patty. She went through their entire hold of emergency supplies, found them wanting, and outlined a brace of extreme emergency equipment and an entire crate of ductape. Because humans could do amazing things with enough ductape.
Four months later, the Examining Eye limped back to port. Two weeks overdue and heavily damaged. Most of the repairs were ductape and space debris that happened to fit. Some were pure ductape. Before the station tug vessels got to it, the Examining Eye was powered entirely by a kludge system made out of three disparate machines that should never have worked together to power a hot water system, let alone a scientific vessel.
Once it made it into drydock, the local engineers swarmed just to see what had been done and how it actually worked.
The crew inside were all wearing breather assistance masks, which used the thinned atmosphere inside and concentrated it to the point where the wearer could actually function. Patty tore hers off first upon the exposure to a proper atmosphere. "Made it," she breathed, and turned on Captain Grekz. "Never. Taunt Murphy. Again."
"My lesson has been learned," sighed Grekz. "We owe all of you the remainder of our lives."
"You can start by buying me a week in the Spa and all the Sushi I care to eat," sighed Patty. "I need me some deep-tissue revitalisation after all of that."
'All of that,' according to the Examing Eye's logs, was a surprise attack by the Vorax, a micrometeor storm, and a shockingly large gravity well for a planetoid of its size. Followed by a shockingly advanced attack for a civilisation of that level on the selfsame planetoid. The Examining Eye was lucky to escape in the shape that it was.
What could go wrong... definitely had. And a sole human had simply dealt with it all.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Rastan]
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