I tim memoirs of a cook.., p.1
Memoirs of a Cook on a Moon-Sized Planet-Vaporizing Space Battlestation
BY JACK TENG
I, Tim: Memoirs of a Cook on a Moon-Sized Planet-Vaporizing Space Battlestation, copyright © 2015 by Jack Teng
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Cover art adapted from ©Shock77| Dreamstime.com - Cartoon Astronaut Photo
This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...”
-From an unrelated fictional property that wasn't all that long ago or too far away, and that bears only strangely coincidental similarities to this story.
“There must have been a Death Star canteen...”
You probably know how most of this story goes, but I was on the inside when all the drama was happening out there. I was just about to pull the dinner stew off the plasma range when the whole kitchen jolted a massive step forward, leaving me briefly suspended in the air – and then splattered me backwards on to Joe's work area.
“DAMN YOU, Tim!” Joe swore, as he scrambled up from the floor, and straightened his cook's jacket. “Get off my steaks!”
Dazed as I was, I had no illusion that the steakyness of Joe's steaks was only notional; they were little more than cheap galactic roadkill with cosmetic reshaping and distant afterthoughts of flavoring. Nevertheless, I knew better than to upset Joe in his I'm-a-goddamned-Imperial-GOLD-SEAL-certified- CHEF-and-though-I'm-stuck-in-this-shitty-ass-job-I'll-be damned-if-I-serve-food-that's-beneath-me mood, so I placated his diva hysterics with a muttered apology, and got back to my stew, which thankfully had been held in place by the range's auto-clamps and suffered only some mild sloshing.
There was a chorus of swearing in the rest of the kitchen, as we all struggled to get our bearings back and make dinner service. Mind you, with all the hullaballoo going on outside, it was unlikely anyone would be in then mess to be served when the dinner bell blipped; but, the head chef was a re-purposed protocol droid, and you know how anal those buggers are with keeping with schedules and, even more annoyingly, docking credits by the damned micro-second.
Grabbing a ladle, I gave the stew-pot a quick stir, checking to see if it hadn't burnt too badly. Last time I'd singed the soup, I didn't hear the end of it from the crew. I held the salt shaker and my tube of “smoke essence” at ready, as I tasted the thick, sputtering stew I'd concocted. Phew. No burn. I could holster my expensive – and slightly illegal – smoke essence. The stuff was effective in making anything taste good (with some slight hints of euphoria), but use it too often and people get a nasty rash in their nether regions; something to do with the tentacled critter they grind it out of.
Alright. Time to get the stew to the feeding trough. Slipping on a pair ovenmits, I braced myself, took a deep breath, and huffed the stew pot off the range, while gingerly swivelling in the direction of mess hall. It was only about fifteen shuffling steps to get to the serving area, but, at about step four, the kitchen jolted violently yet again... and I found myself blinking on the floor, slowly registering the burning sensation over my arms and legs, as my hands spastically grasped at the emptiness of the air.
“YOU BASTARD!” roared Joe, both hands grabbing fist-fulls of his hair, his eyes bugging out of their sockets. “Tim, you dumb ass! I told you not to mess with my steaks! Do you have any idea how long it took to get the seasoning right on them? Now look at them!” Joe cried, waving his arms and alternatively stabbing the air in my general direction and his steaks, which were now wading in the lake that was my stew. Ah, that's where the pot went.
“Look, Joe. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. It was a pretty bad one. Dunno what's going on out there,” I said as I stood up, wiping the stew off my chest, and examined the fierce reddening of my arms. Shit. That was going be painful tomorrow. Glancing around, it was clear that the kitchen was now filled with small disasters. With random pans, cutlery and broken dishes liberally sprinkled across the entire kitchen, it seemed like a giant kid's hand had poked in, flopped everything around and ran away laughing teeheeheehee.
“You're sorry? You're sorry?” Joe fumed, now grabbing me by my wet, still warm stew-imbibed jacket and shook his free hand in my face. “You stupid hack! HOURS of work. GONE! You useless piece of shit!”
You know? In retrospect, I really should have been nicer to Joe. The pompous ass was a real pain, but he was a good guy; sure, he took himself too seriously, but he was still a good guy. I mean we did have a few great nights drinking together, and, man, when he let loose, he was a real hoot! Not that I regret defending myself when I did. The nutbar was going bonkers right in my freaking face after all, and who could really say they enjoy having someone scream at them point-blank? But, considering what happened to him shortly after, I did feel a little bad for saying,
“Fuck off, Joe! No one cares about your stupid steaks. They taste like piss-soaked conduit-wrapping anyway,” I spat back, pushing him off of me, my fists clenched, fully ready to take him on. The stinging in my arms was getting increasingly painful, but the blood drumming thickly in my ears helped me ignore it.
“Nobody?! What?! You asshole...” spluttered Joe, genuinely shocked. Poor guy, he really did think he was the galaxy's best cook – sorry, chef – with his pathetic “Imperial Gold Seal” creds that any one of us could have bought off the datasphere, if we would have had the wherewithal to sit through three weeks of aping cooking holos and memorizing outdated Empire-sanctioned recipes – which of course we didn't since we very well knew we could get the same job with or without the shiny imperial-gold icon flashing up on our permanent datasphere records.
“Get off it, man,” I sneered mercilessly. “You're no different from any of us in this kitchen.”
“No different?! I've got an IMPERIAL GOLD SEAL, you fucker!”
“Don't you mock me! I've worked too hard for some little shit like you to...”
“Oooo! Oooo! Gold seal! Better watch out! Gold seal coming this way! Oooo oooo oooo!
“Fuck you! You don't know me! I'm going to...”
...And then our stimulating banter was interrupted by a loud, metallic blat, followed by, “Is there a problem here, Line Cook Tim and Line Cook Joe? Need I remind you that service is in less than fifteen minutes and 43 seconds, and neither of you
This was our illustrious Head Chef, Dee-Three-Pee-Oh. Committed to promptness, goal-meeting and covering its brass-colored metal rear access-flap, if not to quality and taste. The droid stood an imposing full head over us, uncomfortably probing us through and through with its unblinking flat-panelled visual receptors, as it thrummed its metallic digits over its crossed arms. Of course, it would have been too much to ask for the Chef to uncross its arms and help out a little, possible even cook; managing us sloppy sacks of flesh and analyzing efficiency metrics were the only all-absorbing tasks that it had been programmed to do.
“Note that a late infraction has been indicated on both of your records, and you can expect your monthly credits to be reduced accordingly.”
“But Chef! How can you do this to me? It was Tim's doing!” Joe protested, utterly horrified at the injustice. “My record! My perfectly clean record...”
“Will now have an infraction recorded on it. Correct,” the unblinking droid asserted.
“I won't stand by this! I'll file an appeal!”
“Oh, lay off it, Joe,” I said, trying to pull him away from an increasingly bad situation. The more time we wasted trying to reason with the droid was more credits docked against our pay.
The droid was great at what it did, which was to eliminate any kind of real employer-employee dialogue. Someone in upper-management had rightly calculated that company-staff negotiations were far more effective and disempowering without the troublesome distractions of sympathy and other such squishy emotions that other flesh-beings would be susceptible to. All we could do now is grab whatever insta-food we could from storage and hope for the best. I figured that if I could salvage an armload of the week-old veg-cubes from the compacter, I could pass it off as a 'garden fresh' soup instead of the stew.
“Come on, Joe. Let's go...”
“No! I'm not taking this shit anymore! I am a trained CHEF! I am NOT going to pushed around by some sixty-four-bit droid who can't flip a synth-burger to save itself from the scrap-heap!” Joe cried out, waggling his finger in the air, and leaning aggressively towards the impassive droid.
Rah, rah, Fellow Worker Joe. Really, honestly, and truly, I was fully intending to support the guy, but I could see Chef Dee-Three-Pee-Oh's failsafe employee “management” device quietly deploying behind his back, and I knew better than to be within range of the thing's thousand-volt stun-stick. I took a few steps back, making sure my feet weren't sitting in any puddles of conductive fluid, and watched as Joe pinned Dee-Three-Pee-Oh against the plasma range with his unending flow of righteous demands for justice.
“I deserve no mark on my record! You know it, you stupid machine! You know it!”
“Cook Joe, I have recorded a further infraction for disruptive behavior...”
“What! It's your bullshit that caused this! I demand an appeal!”
“And another for unproductivity. Step back, Cook Joe. You are now entering my physical boundaries.”
“You hear ME, you droid. You're going to clear this all up and you are going to recognize my credentials!”
“Cook Joe, step back, or I will have to restrain you...”
“Do not poke me.”
“Oh, yeah? How about this?”
“I repeat. Do not poke me.”
“Yeah?! No poking?”
“Cease poking me.”
“Don't like it? Don't like the poking?”
“Cease your poking!”
As disturbingly fascinating and volatile as the exchange was becoming, I was grateful to have it end – though not quite in the specific manner it ended – which was by a huge ball of fire that belched out of the plasma range, engulfing and incinerating poor pompous Joe and Chef Dee-Three-Pee-Oh, while throwing me to the ground and charring my arms and face.
Shortly afterwards, a wailing siren and epileptic flashing red lights assaulted whatever remaining senses I had left. As frantic hands grabbed at me and dragged me to the escape pods, I realized that the unthinkable had happened: our battlestation was exploding. The Rebels were on the verge of destroying the most feared battlestation of the Empire, the Deeeeath Star.
I, Tim: Memoirs of a Cook on a Moon-Sized Planet-Vaporizing Space Battlestation by Jack Teng / Humor / Actions & Adventure / Science Fiction have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes