Ensign Jones and the Orange Juice

Having recently written about my recurring character, Sam Jones, I thought it would be fun to share some excerpts featuring Jones from a very old Star Trek story I wrote.  This was a long Star Trek serial, and Jones frequently appeared as a supporting character.  It leaned toward a parody, so sometimes very odd things happened–often to Jones.

If you’re not familiar with Star Trek, all you really need to know here is that Kirk is the captain of the Enterprise, Spock is the eternally calm Vulcan first officer, Jones is a security guard aboard said-Enterprise, the Klingons are the villains, and the replicators are these fairly awesome machines you can walk up to and request food, and it’ll appear.  At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work…

********************************

           It was coming on towards ship’s night, and the Mess Hall was deserted as Ensign Jones walked over to the replicators to order his drink.

            “Orange juice, please.”

            “Specify quantity,” the computer said crisply.

            Jones shrugged.  “Oh, lots of orange juice, lots and lots.”

            Orange juice began gushing out of the replicators at an alarming rate.  And kept gushing.  And gushing and gushing and gushing.  Jones began to feel alarmed, as the orange juice spread rapidly across the floor.

            “Stop, stop, that’s enough!”

            “You specified ‘lots of orange juice, lots and lots.’  You do not yet have lots.”

            The computer had an interesting definition of lots, as by now the orange juice had spread across most of the Mess Hall floor.

            “I said stop!” Jones shouted, vainly trying to stem the flow of orange juice with his hands, and getting soaked for his trouble.  “That’s enough!  STOP!”

            The replicators didn’t listen.  If anything the flow of orange juice increased, until the replicators were hidden by a deluge of frothing juice. 

            Outside the Mess Hall, Spock was walking down the corridor.  The Mess Hall doors opened, and he stepped aside just in time to avoid a foaming torrent of orange juice.  Fortunately for him, the corridor slanted somewhat, and he had the foresight to step to higher, rather than lower, ground. Inside the Mess Hall, the level of orange juice had risen to chest height, with ever more pouring out.  Suddenly having an outlet via the door, a great wave swept down the corridor, carrying the struggling Ensign Jones with it. 

            “Heeeeelp!” shrieked Jones as the wave of juice carried him out of sight around a bend in the hallway.

            Spock watched for a moment as the juice continued to pour out of the Mess Hall with no signs of letting up.  Then, still as calm as he had been before he opened the Mess Hall doors, he stepped over to the comm unit, and called the bridge.

            “Kirk here,” came the reply.

            “Captain, I believe we may have a slight problem.  The Mess Hall seems to be flooded with orange juice.”

*****

They eventually rescued Jones, repaired the replicators, and mopped up the orange juice.  But about fifteen chapters and some months later, in a part of the story when Klingons had boarded the Enterprise and taken most of the crew hostage, I decided to return to the subject.

*****

               In the Mess Hall, Jones was arguing with himself.  Two Klingons were coming down the corridor outside; he had checked a minute ago and seen them in the distance.  He knew what he was supposed to do.  Now he just had to convince himself to do it.

               First he pointed out that if he didn’t follow the plan the Klingons would probably find him and kill him anyway.  Then he sternly told himself that this was his duty as a Starfleet officer.  Then he reminded himself that Captain Kirk was depending on him to carry out his portion of the plan. 

             That last one finally got him to poke his head out the Mess Hall doors.  The Klingons, just a few feet distant, spotted him immediately.  Jones gave a yelp of only half-feigned terror, and retreated.  The Klingons followed.  He was halfway across the Mess Hall, aiming toward the back wall with the replicators, when a voice stopped him in his tracks. 

            “Stop!  We’ve got you covered!”

            Jones’ hands shot up over his head.  He wasn’t armed anyway.  He risked a glance over his shoulder, and saw two very large Klingons with disruptors walking towards him.

           Jones inhaled.  This is fine, this is okay, this is what’s supposed to happen, he told himself.  “So, you going to kill me straight off?” he asked, as lightly as he could manage.  He surprised himself at how lightly he did manage it.

          “Nah,” one of the Klingons said.  “The captain’s taking prisoners.”

         “Oh.”  Good.  Problem Number One, the possibility of his immediate death, averted.  That fact lent him strength to ask his next question.  “So, if I’m going to be hanging around here a while longer, could I get a drink before you haul me off for holding?”

         The Klingons looked at each other.  They could respect a drinking man.  It was a Klingon sort of request, to ask for a drink while facing impending captivity.  They nodded.   “All right, but don’t try anything.”

         “Thanks.” Jones willed his legs not to shake, and walked over to the replicators.  The Klingons followed him, disruptors still drawn and pointed vaguely in Jones’ direction, but they were relaxed.  Jones had a harmless look about him much of the time.

         Jones stepped up to the replicators, and took a deep breath.  “Computer…I want…orange juice.”

        “Specify quantity.”

        “Lots!  Lots and lots and lots!”  The last ‘lots’ was barely out of his mouth when Jones dropped to the floor, rolled under the nearest table, grabbed a leg and held on for dear life.

         The Klingons were just reacting to this peculiar movement when the replicators whirred, and out splashed gallons upon gallons of orange juice.  A great jetting stream of it hit the Klingons in the face.

          “Shut this thing off!” one spluttered, outraged.

           The computer didn’t listen, and out poured more and more orange juice.  The Klingons battled the tide without success.  Within moments the juice level had risen to waist high, and Jones was forced to move up to the top of the table, which he clung to with no less vice-like of a grip.  One of the Klingons decided that all of this was clearly Jones’ fault, and started to move towards him.  But it is no easy thing to move through orange juice.  The Klingon slipped, lost his footing, and went down.  The tide of the orange juice picked him up, and he was carried—kicking, splashing and cursing—across the room. 

            The other Klingon had the sense to grab onto the nearest table—not Jones’ but the one next to it—and watched his companion in horrified fascination.  Jones decided he’d better do something about that.  He sat up, the orange juice level now lapping at the edge of the table and continuing to rise, and grabbed at a chair that floated by.  He managed to drag it up, and toss it in the general direction of the still standing Klingon.  It fell far short, but the Klingon ducked instinctively anyway, let go of the table, lost his balance, and was swept away.  It wasn’t long before one of the thrashing Klingons—it was growing hard to tell them apart—was carried near the door.  The automatic sensors opened it, and the orange juice thundered out and down the corridor, carrying the two howling Klingons with it.

              With an outlet, the level of juice started to drop appreciably.  When it was at knee height Jones came down from his table, and sloshed his way to the door, in search of the Klingons.  He finally found them fetched up at a dead end, knocked senseless and half-drowned.

              Jones grinned.

Jones spends the rest of the chapter stained orange, but in a wonderfully triumphant mood…

6 thoughts on “Ensign Jones and the Orange Juice

  1. Dennis

    Wonderful little story, and you gotta love poor Ensign Jones. It can only be hoped that he doesn’t meet the usual fate of other Enterprise crew members who wear red shirts.

    1. You don’t have to worry about Jones–I very rarely kill off a character. Back when Jones and I were active in the Star Trek fanfiction world, sometimes people would request to borrow Jones for a story. My rule was always that they were welcome to borrow him, but they weren’t allowed to kill him. And even if I did kill Jones in a story, I don’t think that would be any kind of barrier to bringing him back in another story…

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