The Cameron Column #85
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The Alarm
Copyright 1999 W. Bruce Cameron
http://www.wbrucecameron.com

SYSTEM:Attention. Alert registered.
CENTRAL:Alert? Number One, report!
NUMBER ONE:Sir! We're picking up loud music.
CENTRAL:Music? We were just asleep!
NUMBER ONE:Yes sir. Ears report it's "The Last Train to Clarksville."
CENTRAL:Good lord, are we being tortured?
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Eyes are functional and request instruction.
CENTRAL:Tell them to open up and try to find out what is going on.
NUMBER ONE:Scope! Okay, I see darkness... darkness... Wait, there's a woman sleeping there.
CENTRAL:A woman?
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Libido Station wants to know if it is Kathy Ireland.
CENTRAL:Forget about Libido. What can you tell me?
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Memory reports a near perfect match to "wife," sir.
CENTRAL:Well of course. Keep looking.
NUMBER ONE:Sir, urgent report from Stomach on the horn, do you want to take it?
CENTRAL:Stomach, what's going on?
STOMACH:Sir, we've taken a hit, it... it looks bad, sir.
CENTRAL:Get hold of yourself, man!
STOMACH:Yessir. It looks like a burrito, sir. It exploded at about 1900 hours and we've been out of action ever since. I don't... I don't know if she can take much more, Captain.
CENTRAL:Stomach! Now you listen to me, son. We're all counting on you up here. Don't give up now. Remember the chili of '94? We made it through that, we can make it through anything.
STOMACH:Yessir. You can count on me, sir.
CENTRAL:Good man.
NUMBER ONE:Sir, I've got a visual on the clock!
CENTRAL:Tell me, Number One.
NUMBER ONE:Oh my God, sir. It's horrible.
CENTRAL:Dammit sailor, get a grip on yourself!
NUMBER ONE:It's... It's six thirty, sir. In the morning.
CENTRAL:In the morning? Not again. I thought... I thought that we'd had the worst of it yesterday.
SYSTEM:Sixty seconds to consciousness.
CENTRAL:This is madness. Do you know what's going to happen if we go conscious now, this early?
NUMBER ONE:Work, sir?
CENTRAL:That's right, Number One. It'll be work, all right. I don't... I don't know if I can live through that hell again.
SYSTEM:Fifty seconds to consciousness.
NUMBER ONE:Sir? Do you have orders?
CENTRAL:Hmmm?
NUMBER ONE:Orders, sir. Do you have orders for us?
CENTRAL:Orders? Orders, Number One? Damn right there are orders! Let's get ourselves moving.
NUMBER ONE:Aye aye, sir!
SYSTEM:Forty seconds to consciousness.
CENTRAL:Shut that damn thing off, I'm trying to think. Get our remote stations on line. I want a Search and Acquire on anything that feels like a snooze button. Tell them to MOVE. Bladder!
BLADDER:Yes sir?
CENTRAL:How are you holding?
BLADDER:All systems are flush and ready, sir. We can go another three hours, easy.
CENTRAL:Very well, Bladder. Number One, get me Nose on the horn.
NOSE:Sir, Nose reporting, sir!
CENTRAL:Good to hear from you, Nose. How are you doing up there?
NOSE:Sir, ah, we registered cat breath about twenty minutes ago, but it was pretty faint and I didn't think...
CENTRAL:Steady on, nose. You were right not to trigger an alert.
NOSE:Thank you, sir.
CENTRAL:Nose, I'm afraid I have bad news for you, son. We took a burrito last night.
NOSE:Oh no, sir, not again!
CENTRAL:I said steady! You're going to have to hold on, you hear me? Hold on, and it will pass. I don't want ANYTHING getting through to Consciousness.
NOSE:Yes sir. I'll try, sir.
CENTRAL:That's the spirit. Stomach!
STOMACH:Sir?
CENTRAL:How are you doing down there?
STOMACH:We've been breached, Captain. The whole alimentary is in flames. I'm trying to keep it contained, but I can't promise anything.
CENTRAL:Damn!
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Libido Station reports it is ready for battle!
CENTRAL:Tell Libido to calm down, I'll call him when I need him. Any report from our search party?
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Fingers report they located and toppled a glass of water, a pair of glasses, and a box of Kleenex. No luck on the snooze, sir.
CENTRAL:Number One, I don't mind telling you, if we don't get this under control we're going to lose her.
NUMBER ONE:Yes sir. Sir, Libido requests positive verification that the woman sleeping next to us is not Kathy Ireland.
CENTRAL:For crying out loud.
NUMBER ONE:Sir, Ears reports the song is over. It's going to commercial, sir.
CENTRAL:How much time on the system clock?
NUMBER ONE:Ten seconds to consciousness, sir. We've lost smile control in the lower facial and we're developing a frown.
CENTRAL:Brace yourself, Number One. I'm afraid we've had it.
NUMBER ONE:Sir! Fingers has located target. Repeat, Fingers is on target!
CENTRAL:Fire!
NUMBER ONE:Hit! Sir, direct hit!
CENTRAL:Ears!
NUMBER ONE:It's gone, Captain! Ears reports the music is gone!
CENTRAL:We've done it!
SYSTEM:Consciousness canceled.
NUMBER ONE:Sir, all systems are ready for sleep mode. Repeat, sleep mode now ready.
CENTRAL:Trigger sleep mode NOW.
NUMBER ONE:Sleep mode triggered, aye aye, sir.
CENTRAL:Shut Eyes.
NUMBER ONE:Eyes off, sir. Frown relaxed, smile restored.
CENTRAL:By golly, that was a close one.
NUMBER ONE:Yessir. Sir, Dream Team requests selection. Libido asking for something naked, sir.
CENTRAL:Request denied. Let's roll the one where we show up for church wearing only our underwear, I like that one.
NUMBER ONE:Roger that, sir. Dream selection completed and tape is rolling, sir.
CENTRAL:Good work, Number One. You take the helm.
NUMBER ONE:Aye aye, sir.HitHit! WE ffHkkkk


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Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1999
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