Saturday, March 14, 2015


USS Uhuru on a secret peacekeeping mission to the Lambda quadrant suddenly drops out of warp.

The captain is speaking:
-Why is it always the Lambda quadrant?  What’s their problem?  What happened?

-We are out of warp.
An officer replies.

-I know that, why?

-There’s a diagnostic.

-What does it say?

-It says:

            14357-e, Early end DATECNVT\seclib system ended.


-It says:

-I heard you.  What does that mean?
The captain interrupts.

-I don’t know.

-Life support inactive.
Says a second officer.

-What do you mean inactive?  Computer, override life support.  I said computer…Are we under attack?
Asks the captain.

-All the computers are down.
Replies the officer.

-What do you mean, down?

-They’re not working.


-Permission to be on the bridge.
Jones, a black human, from maintenance and first contact has entered the bridge.

-What is it?
Says the captain.

-The New Year, 2400.

-OK, and that’s a problem because?

-The date routine must have a bug.

-We don’t talk like that on my bridge.

-I've taken history of data processing.
Says Jones.

-Some body actually took that class?

-A bug is a programming error.  Is there a diagnostic message?

-It’s over here.

-Then this must be the main console.

-We have many consoles.

-It thinks it’s the main console.  Oh no, please don’t let it be UNIX.

-Castrated males?

-U N I X.  Oh no, we don’t even have a keyboard.

-A what?

-Excuse me, did you say keyboard?
One of the bridge officers asks.


-There’s a plate in this locker that says something about keystroke equivalents, is that what you want?

-I guess so.  Oh dear.

-Tetsilla, help him with this.  Tetsilla has excellent memory.
Says the captain.

-I think we want to enter, start UNIX.
Jones tells Tetsilla.

-U N I X?


-Then what?

-Enter.  No, don’t type enter.  There should be an enter key.

-Oh, I see it.  What does it mean, invalid parameter enter?

-Hit the enter key again.

-Enter UserID.  What?

-Type r-o-o-t.

-Now it says enter password.  What’s an enter password?

-That’s a command.

-To do what?

-Type password and hit enter.

-The word password?


-Invalid password.  Should I type valid password?

-No.  Try stud muffin, but as one word.

-Invalid password.


-Invalid password, hey it kicked us out.

-Start over, but without typing enter.

-Look under the console, there’s something written under there.
Says one of the bridge officers.

-What were you doing under the console?
Asks another officer.

Jones looks under the console.
-Try Gandalf.

Says Tetsilla.

-I think that means it worked.

-Now what?

-Type help and then hit the enter key.

-It’s not a key.

-You know what I mean.

-This is crazy; we’re running out of air.
Says an officer. 

-How long till we run out of air?
Says another bridge officer.

-I don’t know.  We don’t have a computer.

-I think it’s a couple of hours.

-How long is this going to take?

-Type menu and hit enter.
Says Jones, ignoring the discussion.
-Move the cursor over there.

Asks Tetsilla.

-With the move cursor arrows.

-I can hold it down?

-I don’t know, can you?

-It’s there.

-Hit enter.

A display appears.
-What’s that?
Asks Tetsilla.

-A list of files.  DATECNVT is on it.  Type menu and hit enter.  Now scroll down.  See that’s a scroll bar.  Yeah there, stop.

-Where’s stop?

-We went too far, now back up.

-Oh, I get it.

-Ok, we want the editor.  Put the cursor over that icon and hit enter.

-This is religious?

-Picture then.

-Is it new?


-It wants a file name.


-It’s a blank screen, I guess that worked.

-Hit the help key.  This is too much for me Tetsilla; can you read all this help?

-Let’s see…I think I have it.

-We want to list the source.
Says Jones.

-I think that’s L *.  Yup.

-OK, scroll down.

-It doesn't scroll; we have to page forward.  What is this stuff?

Says Jones.

-It keeps talking about 2100.

-Yeah, that wasn’t a leap year.  It was a big disaster.  2400 is a leap year.

-Maybe it broke on the division.

-It’s done that before.  However, the remainder hasn’t been zero before.

-It hasn’t?  Oh, right.  I didn’t see this display message.

--Display ‘Century Leap Year’.

-You think that display will actually display?  That’s interesting.  Maybe we’re restricting the messages.  Go back to the main menu. 

-Which icon?
Says Tetsilla.


-Messages is 1.

-Make it bigger.



-It made it 4.

-Fine.  Computer.
Nothing happens.

-The computer’s down.
Says Tetsilla.

-How do we make it up?

-Maybe we start it.

-What do we start?

Tetsilla types:

-Start Computer.

--Operating system not available. 
Jones repeats:
-What does it want?  I remember, try Baldwin.

-What’s Baldwin?

-It used to be a brand name.

-A what?

-I’ll explain later.

-Now, we have two error messages.
Says Tetsilla.

-It worked.

-It did?  No it didn’t. 
The captain says.

-We have two error messages.
Jones responds.

-Oh, splendid.
Says the captain.

            --File SYSOUT missing.
-What does that mean?
Tetsilla asks.

-It didn’t display the message
Says Jones..

-So, it did break on the division.

-No, it broke on the display.  Display is an output command.

-Why would they want that message coming out all the time?
Asks Tetsilla.

-Exactly, it must have been for testing.

-So, we should add the file.

-No, we should remove the display.

-Change the source?
The captain’s voice rises.
-No one’s changed source in centuries.

-Well we are.
Says Jones.

-There will be an inquiry.
Says the captain.

-Let’s hope we’re there for it.
Jones tells the captain.  Then he says to Tetsilla:
- Go back into the editor.  We have to delete that line.

-The delete key isn’t working.

-You’re at the end of the line.  How do we get to the beginning?

-See it’s not working.

-I think you have to back up on it.

-Degundagocabawawa!  In an orifice!  What was the matter with those people?

-You got it Tetsilla.  How do you know Lundai?

-Great lets start the computer.
The captain interrupts.

-Not yet, we have to recompile.  Not yet Tetsilla.  Did you save the source?

- We still have our two messages.  What’s recompile?
Tetsilla asks.

-Back to the menu.
Jones explains.

-I don’t see recompile.

-Maybe under source management…We want one of the COBOL ones.  Try that one.

-The source name is DATECNVT, it wants a library.
Says Tetsilla.

Says Jones.

-End of statement, invalid delimiter.  Is that our line number?
Asks Tetsilla.

-Let’s go back and look at it.
Says Jones.

-Is it done?
-The captain asks.

-We have a compiler error.  We’re missing a period.  Right there.
Says Jones.

-You’d think it would know.
Tetsilla says.  This time the compile works, and the computer starts.

-Great work Tetsilla, back to your posts everyone.
Says the captain.

-Computer, are you the most current version?  Did we start the right one?
Jones asks.

-I have the right version.
The computer responds.

-Did you start it?

-Now I did.

-I thought you sounded different.
Says the captain.

-The other computer systems are down.
Says the computer.

-Well, bring them up.

-I am not authorized to make those modifications.

-The password is Gandalf.
Says Jones.

-I’m not supposed to know that.

-We trust you a lot more than we trust ourselves.
Jones says.

-Captain am I authorized to do this?

-I authorize you.  Please computer, bring up the other systems.
Responds the captain.

-All systems up except life support.
The computer says.

-Well, bring up life support.
The captain says.

-The password is invalid.
The computer answers.

-But you know where the password is stored.
Jones says.

-You want me to hack life support? 


-Captain, am I authorized to hack life support?

-Please computer, hack life support.

-There will be an inquiry.
The computer says.

-Are you going to tell them?
Jones asks.

-An inquiry would be a less than optimal use of our resources.  Life support is active.
The computer says.

-Communications are down.
Says the communications officer.

-What?  Computer diagnose communications.
Says the captain.

-Communications are functioning, no one is responding.

All the non-humans glance at each other.  Most of them where contacted by humanity rather than the other way around and it is common to view humans as an imposition.

-No one else took that course.
Tetsilla says to Jones:
-What was your grade?

-I dropped it.  It was too silly.  Computer, can you fix the other computers?

-You want me to hack Starfleet?

-Please computer, hack Starfleet.
The captain says.

-Should I fix the other computers too?

-Yes, please fix the other computers.

-Uhuru, this is Starfleet command.  We have been experiencing a temporary computer malfunction; please give us a status.

-Uhuru enroute to Lambda quadrant.

The captain says.

-Did you also have this problem?

-It appears to be corrected now.

-Keep us informed,  Starfleet out.

-You heard them, back to your posts everyone.  Let’s go.

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