Challenge #02070-E246: Noncogniscent, Noncommissioned Officer
How did Stabby (from Challenge #02032-E208) get his rank? -- さむらいでわない
Shipwide notice, said the message that went to all the crew. Any further referral to ship's equipment by any name is unauthorised. Only registered crew with names, ranks, and files in the ships' staff listings are permitted to be referred to by name, nickname, or rank.
Evidently, Captain Thork'z had grown tired of the Human crew chatting about 'Stabby', the altered vacuum-bot roaming the halls. Also as evident was the fact that Captain Thork'z had not been warned about Human stubbornness, obstinacy, or ingenuity. All three of those were about to come into play.
Crewman Registry. Name: Stabby A. Vroomba. Age: 15 GalStand Years. Identifying gender: Male (he, him, his). Planet/Base of Origin: Saturnalia Station Manufactory. Rank: Trainee. Duties: Maintaining crew alertness levels. Contemplating ship-wide dust issues.
Captain Thork'z glared over her desk at Admin Assistant and indicated the form in question. The question was, "Why?"
"You banned us from talking about him, so I added him as official crew."
"Erase this record at once."
"Excuse me, sir, but Johannsen already filed it via Ghiishem. This is forever, sir."
Ghiishem. Flakk. There may be no greater hive of scum and villainy, but there also was no deeper labyrinth of red tape and administrivia. Again, the question arose. "Why?"
"He thought it would be funny, sir."
Let's see how far his retroactive humour extends after a week or three on punishment detail. On the other hand, the Humans had won this round. "Very well. But I'd better not hear any more about this."
Fortunately for Captain Thork'z, this was exactly the right thing to say to a Human. Humans had a unique brilliance for not letting the heads of staff find out about things. They excelled at it. They invented ways for any and all paperwork containing the name and current rank of one S. A. Vroomba completely to themselves.
It was almost a game.
Until the Vorax attack, when the armed vacuum bot pierced a Vorax livesuit and contaminated the Warleader inside it with the most toxic substance known to intelligent life: peanut oil. The Warleader's violent, frothing death made such an impression that the entire fleet surrendered on the spot.
It was only then, when Captain Thork'z was obligated to give a promotion to enlisted crew-member S. A. Vroomba that she found it all out.
They had had to make Stabby an enlisted crewmember because of all the praise heaped on it via all the Human crew. Otherwise, Stabby would quickly outrank the entire ship, and have to serve in the Admiralty Headquarters. Far, far away from Human love, and what passed for their understanding. Therefore, Stabby couldn't rise through the ranks any further than Sergeant.
Stabby was given a medal of honour, glued to his plastic carapace, and the honorary rank of Sergeant At Arms.
The human crew would tape braids to his exterior for the rare inspection parades.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / amnachphoto ]
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