I’ve taken the shuttle inland to investigate a secretive cabal which seeks to feed this far flung planet to the void. Mirror universe or not, it is my duty as a Starfleet officer to put an end to this madness. If I fail to return, this will be my final log entry as Captain. It has been an honor to serve with my crew thus far. I wish them all the best.
Unless they are traitors. Or antimatter beings. Then they can go catch their rays in the dilithium chambers.
The journey to the rendezvous coordinates was almost pleasant, bizarre piloting customs of these people aside. In fact, I wonder if that behavior and other strange reports can be explained by the predicament I’ve found myself in. People who travel to planet Florida may slip into the mirror universe more often than they know…
Away from the void there are many miles of forests and swamps to be found. Peaceful scenery, but there are also less peaceful signs. One area I pass is littered with trophies of war. Federation battle cruisers and light interceptors decorate the side of the highway like yard art.
There are no Klingons in this sector. And this is exactly the type of display of power I would expect from someone capable of devising a way to devour entire planets. I can only assume my theory is a theory no more. Discovery may join their ghostly ranks if I’m not careful here.
The meeting location is a non-descript building hidden away among mundane warehouses which appear to be part of the local industry. An ideal way to disguise their true nature.
Once inside, I find the front office empty which gives me a good chance to look around. There’s a book with names. Visitors? Prisoners? I’m not sure which. A small desk holds a computer, a treasure trove of intelligence. I glance down a side hallway before approaching the desk.
“Computer, show me your personnel records.”
“Do you need assistance?” Funny how the stock computer response uses a soothing female voice even here.
“Yes. Personnel records,” I say, my whisper a little too loud.
“She’s…not there. She’ll be back in a moment.”
Apparently, in the mirror universe they’ve also gone straight from smart AI to one sentient enough to have a dissociative disorder.
“Understood. While she’s gone could you show me the personnel records?”
A woman steps out from the side hallway. “Can I help you?”
“Nice hardware. We have one just like this on our Starfleet cruiser….the evil Starfleet. Our computer has a more vile temperament though. Gritty, villainous voice. You should upgrade.”
She looks at me suspiciously. “Why are you here?”
“Yes, of course. I am here to assist. To feed the insatiable hunger of the gulf. The whole planet!”
“That’s very ambitious of you. Someone will be in shortly to get you started. Sign in over there.” She points at the book.
Prisoners it is.
I turn to seal my fate. Paper and pen? There might as well be a quill and an inkwell. I wonder if I’ll be forced to sign in my own blood? That’s when I notice another woman by the door.
She looks at me with terrified wonder. I pick up the pen and begin to sign. “It will be okay,” I whisper.
“No,” she says. “I don’t think it will.”
Her voice matches the computer’s exactly.
We sit in awkward silence until another person enters from an adjoining room. She appears happy, pleasant even, in her planet-devouring duties. The twisted nature of this place could surely drive someone mad.
“We’re all ready for you guys! Come on in!”
The warehouse beyond is filled with shelves. Never ending rows of them. Photon torpedoes? Warheads? Crates of phasers? I gaze into an open box for a closer look.
“Corn?” I say. The word just slips out. There’s can after can of the stuff.
“Yeah, it has it’s own box.” She smiles at some sort of private joke. “Over here are the condiments, breakfast foods, canned vegetables…”
She continues her tour. Every box I can see is filled to the brim with food. Canned fruit, juices, soups, cereal, more corn…an assortment of beverages fills a pallet. Finally, she comes to a wheeled container.
“This is the trash-”
“We put it all there, right?” Now I’ve figured this out. Devious.
“Uh…” the friendly staff member’s smile falters, but only for a second. Behind her, the girl with the computer voice stares, her head slowly shaking back and forth. “Just the bad stuff. Expired, smashed, open, anything which might make it dangerous to eat.”
“So they will eat it. The Gulf.”
“That’s the plan,” she said, slowly, as if I needed time to process the idea. Which I did. Because when it hit me, it was like being mowed down by the clue freighter. “And she’s the computer voice,” I say, pointing.
The woman from the waiting room shrinks away in horror, then starts sorting cans, never quite taking her eyes off of me. The staff member comes closer.
“Are you alright?”
I had fallen forward, my elbow propped on a box full of pie filling. “Um, sure. Blood sugar, you know, looking at all these, uh, carbs. I’ll be fine. What can I do? I’m here to help.”
She smiles and pats me on the back. “That’s the spirit! The incoming food is over there. Just sort, get rid of anything that isn’t safe to eat, and we’ll be one step closer to…”
“Feeding the people in the Gulf not to the Gulf.”
The girl with the computer voice kept a close eye on me the entire shift.
So, yeah, I joke. Funny or interminable smartass, I’ll let you decide. What isn’t funny though are the conditions down here in some of the hardest hit communities in Florida’s panhandle. I know the twenty-four hour news cycle has everbody’s attention on fires in California. And yes, that’s also a terrible circumstance which deserves our help, but just remember the tragedy doesn’t end when the cameras inevitably turn elsewhere. If you’d like to help the victims of hurricane Michael, you can give to the Feed the Gulf charity directly. Food donations are great, but as many charitable organizations can tell you cash is king since it offers them immediate value and more flexibility in achieving their mission goals. Plus, people won’t necessarily have to find a way to make meals out of canned corn…