Furlough Journal: Here we go…out the door

I really didn’t need all this fuss to let me know that my job is “non-essential,” you know.

Since Congress couldn’t come to an agreement on a new government spending plan by the deadline last night, we have a partial government shutdown and that includes NASA and the Johnson Space Center in Houston, where I work as a contractor in television production for the public affairs office.  Since we’re talking about the federal government, that means there’s bureaucratic silliness involved—we had to come to work this morning in order to be told we had four hours to complete an orderly shutdown and go home.  Ah, just enough time for me to change my voice mail greeting and turn off the TV!

When this happened in 1995 the contractor company for which I worked found something for us all to do, and we didn’t miss a day’s pay.  This time around, I am told, we are not on furlough—only the civil servants are—and we can work, but we cannot work in the government offices or use government equipment; we are also allowed to use vacation hours to avoid missing a paycheck.  I have more than a month’s worth of vacation available, so I’m reasonably confident.  Of course, if reason were to be trusted we wouldn’t have a partial government shutdown now, would we?  This conveys the feeling of some of the people at work this morning:

Khangress

The rest of us are a little less stressed.  I’m headed for lunch and then for the golf course…I could use some time off.

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Resurrection without revolution not likely even in the 23rd century

I saw the new “Star Trek” movie this weekend, and I’d recommend it to Trek fans without reservation.  (If you want to see it but haven’t yet, don’t read on—thar be spoilers here.)

I’m still not comfortable with the whole “let’s reset the timeline” thing introduced in the 2009 movie, which I suppose means I don’t like it.  While I appreciate that the new writers and producers don’t want the new stories in what they hope will be a whole string of movies to be constrained by the history established in six previous television series (counting the animated series, 726 episodes in total) and ten previous movies, so far I can’t help but think “that’s wrong” each time I see something that didn’t happen in the original timeline, especially the lovestruck Uhura.  Maybe I’ll get over it.

With that in mind, I have to say I was disappointed in myself for taking quite so long to see the parallels between the new movie’s story and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”  Of course I remembered Khan (“I grow…fa-tigued again.”  “ADMIRAL?  ADMIRAL Kirk?!  “I’ll chase him round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares maelstrom and round perdition’s flames before I give him up!”), but I didn’t recognize the hero-selflessly-saves-the-Enterprise motif, with Kirk and Spock exchanging roles and dialogue, until it was completely unmistakable to anyone who saw the 1982 movie.

Back then it took another whole movie to bring the hero back from the dead, but today it just took the last ten or so minutes of this flick.  And I took it all in as presented, jumping right from resurrection of the captain to the relaunch of his ship a year later without giving any consideration to what probably would really have happened in the wake of McCoy’s greatest feat of medical prestidigitation.  Fortunately, our friends at The Awl have turned up the good doctor’s own recollection

Ridiculous, to think it all started over a tribble. A lifeless bundle of fur. I always kept a dead tribble in my Curio of Maladies in those days, for medical reasons, and was especially glad of it when they finally hauled Khan’s body aboard for study after the battle.

Kirk was particularly dead that day; I remember because everyone was crying and the science woman kept all of her clothes on. As is my habit, I injected several of Khan’s more personal fluids (super-fluids, if you’ll pardon the medical terminology) into the tribble to see what would happen.

The tribble returned almost immediately to life. I remember because I thought to myself, “Ah, I seem to have conquered death. Tremendous,” at the time.

As a doctor, this made my job a great deal easier.

As I mentioned before, Kirk was dead—terribly dead—being chock full of radiations and so forth, so I decided he’d make an excellent second test subject for my Home Death Remedy and plugged him with a bit of the super-blood a few minutes later.

(snip)

Within a week, the Federation had clawed itself into thirteen warring factions, all ready to destroy entire star systems at the prospect of getting their hands on that serum.

Kirk was immediately taken to a research-torture facility by a group of scientists from Section 31. In a way, I think we all failed to take into account the interest this shadowy government organization, with the resources to build a super-advanced death-ship in absolute secrecy, might take in a serum that reverses death.

I tried to tell them I was a doctor, but it didn’t even slow them down. They killed most of the crew in their raid, which I thought damned inconvenient, until I remembered the immortality serum I had developed, from super-blood.

(snip)

The rest you undoubtedly know. The wild-eyed men and women who took to showing up at my offices at all hours of the night, bearing the fresh and mangled corpses of their loved ones in their arms, begging for serum. The armies of the frozen half-dead, the resurrected children brought back to crazed and formless life by their deranged, grief-stricken parents, the Blood Colonies.

You wanna talk about changing history…