The Last Voyage of Captain Christian White - The Hugo Issue - Additional Material
The Last Voyage of Captain Christian White
The Hugo Issue - Addional Material
“I’m not gay,” he snapped back, buttoned his uniform, and marched in strictly regimented steps to the turbolift, where he stood resolute and firm-jawed while the cheerfully obsequious elevator boy used a lint brush on his manly shoulders, without being too gay about it.
Reaching the bridge, and accepting the senior staff’s unified cry that they were not gay, he continued to march in lockstep to the center chair, where he took command while thinking about sex with women. “Report, Mr. O’Fay!”
The irrepressible ensign, whose blonde hair and pale complexion had put him on the fast track to command from the very first medical determination that he was not gay, reported, “It’s a SJW vessel, Captain. They’re demanding our surrender!”
Captain Christian White grimaced, heterosexually. He remembered the last time a Federation vessel had allowed an SJW cruiser its way, sashaying across the universe at multiple times the speed of light. The Federation's resolve had weakened, the rockets had sagged a little on their pads, and one of the medals for valor that year had actually gone to somebody with a slightly ethnic last name. Only the keen perception of Captain White and his fellow cabal had recognized that this was the sign of a vile conspiracy, and allowed the institution of safeguards to make sure that this would never happen again.
He straightened in his chair, not thinking of sodomy at all, and barked, “Viewscreen! NOW!”
The Captain of the enemy vessel appeared on the screen, and for a horrible moment, Captain White almost committed a faux pas by asking an ensign to adjust the contrast. But no, it was an accurate image. The creature was THAT alien, separated from baseline humanity by a slightly higher percentage of melanin. No doubt he’d ascended to his own command by having people vote for him to feel good about themselves.
Captain White had to remind himself that he was completely surrounded by people who looked just like himself and had opinions just like his own, operating according to free market principles. It was the only way to tamp down the growing panic that went along with the personal peril he felt, being reminded that there were such people in the universe he prized for providing him so many targets to shoot at, as he’d been doing in pretty much the same way for seventy years. It was outrageous! The people of Earth hadn’t designed a space program and built an entire fleet and sent its vessels to the far corners of the universe, just to be confronted with anything different! Burning with rage, he shouted, “We will never surrender!”
“We’re not asking for your surrender,” said the Captain of the other ship, daring to look a little puzzled. “We don't have to be enemies just because our ship runs on different fuel. We just wanted to explore some places you haven't been to. Certainly there’s room in the universe for us to do what we do and for you to do what you do, without us threatening each other."
Captain White’s bridge erupted with dismay. Exploring places that hadn’t been seen before? Why, it was all the places they’d seen before, and revisited, constantly, sometimes under different names, but always doing pretty much the same things, that had historically, and always, been the point of space travel! Offended beyond reason, but with enough presence of mind to also picture firm bosoms, Captain White cried, "LETTING YOU DO THAT WOULD BE A SURRENDER! All weapons, fire!"
Burning with the heat of a thousand suns, beams of coruscating Caucasian energy erupted from the ship’s weapons array, and engulfed the enemy vessel….and for one glorious moment it looked like the brave crew of the Lily had made their point, but they had reckoned without changing conditions in this region of space, because though the weapons discharge did poison the general stellar neighborhood for the foreseeable future, the immediate backlash was fatal. The illuminating glow that bathed the LILY immediately revealed it as what it secretly was: a remnant from a prior time, not nearly as capable of dominating the stars as without challenge as it once had been. Ensigns were tossed from their stations, as their instruments blew up. The bridge was engulfed in flames.
The Captain found himself confronted with the body of his First Officer, a half-human, half-alien whose main purpose on the ship was always being reminded in the snarkiest possible terms that everybody looked down on his culture and that the human way was best.
Clearly dying, that First Officer gasped, “I have been…and always shall be…your friend…”
Captain White found his voice going shrill. “But not in a gay way! Say that! Not in a gay way!”
(Reprint with permission of Adam-Troy Castro)