Challenge #02192-F003: Operating SoundtracksteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  last month


The ship's human brought a ukulele on board, now they've infected the gravity drive. -- Anon Guest

Many Galactics assume that Humans are naturally musical. The fact is that it rather depends on the Human, and the truth of the matter is that a Human involved in jobs that require waiting for something to happen will take up a hobby for something to do. Some take up fibre crafts. Some take up art forms. Others... take up instruments.

Many wish that the Human would put them down, too.

"She pulls her hair all down behind/ Then pulls down her... never mind/ And after that pulls down the blind/ When I'm cleanin' windows..." Human Jef was playing in the only place ze was permitted to play, in the Gravity Generator Chamber. Idly drifting from wall to wall as ze strummed. "In my profession I'll work hard/ But I'll never stop--"

"We wish you would," complained Kazark. "We need you now."

It wasn't that Jef was bad at the ukelele. Just... annoyingly persistent, like a child with a slide whistle or a kazoo. Every spare hour Jef had, they were playing something on their ukelele. According to the crew of the Fabulous Frenzy, Jef had entirely too many hours to spare.

Things went on like that for the entirety of the six-month tour that Jef was the Ships' Human for. What happened after ze left that the real trouble began. The Gravity Drive of the Fabulous Frenzy started to sulk. It became reluctant to either engage or disengage. It would clamber slowly up or down from off to on or back again.

Nae'hyn were called in to examine the drive. They were yet another batch of insane Humans, but they were also insane Humans whose insanity could make the Gravy Drives go.

The chief Engineer/Priest of the roaming family went all around the drive. Tapping this, knocking that. Peering through holes. Listening to the drive with a stethoscope. Finally, coming up to specific panels and licking them.

"Ze misses the music," announced the senior Engineer/Priest.

"Music," echoed Kazark. "Any music or... a specific music?" The growing vertigo of dread told them that they were going to regret asking that question.

"They want the musical Human back... or the Human's music. Either way, ze has decided to like a few tunes while ze works."

"That wasn't music, it was an affront to sound waves!"

The Engineer/Priest got a toe grip on some handles. "Nevertheless, your engine wants music. Preferably the kind of music your last Human's been playing."

"Oh, sweet Powers, we're doomed..."

"You or your crew have adverse reactions to Human music?"

"No, we just find it incredibly irritating. This chamber really carries sound."

The Engineer/Priest laid a gentle hand on Karzak's exposed carapace. "I strongly suggest you find a way to deal with it."

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / andreasberheide]

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