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Where No Otter Has Gone Before

by on May 18, 2015

Penny Sybil hadn’t wanted Mr. Stamper in her office again. The last job had been a disaster. A major casino starship destroyed, a full-fledged space battle, allegations involving criminal enterprises, innocent squidlings caught in the crossfire…. it had been an unholy mess. Penny was a lawyer. She hated unholy messes. So uncivilized.

But, her clients had been insistent. Mr. Stamper was the one they wanted, no question. So she had made the call. Now the otter sat calmly in her office, staring at the little plastic plant on her desk. “What’s the job?”

“You’ve heard about the Lassiter wormhole?” Penny began.

“Yeah. Fully natural, first one in that sector. Heard it was unstable.”

“Not anymore. They’ve sent through sensor droids already. It’s quite remarkable.  Passage takes 17 minutes. No indications of native life present in the wormhole either, which means there’s likely to be miminal environmental impact.” Penny was quite active in her local chapter of the Society to Protect Wormhole Aliens.

She produced a holo-pad projection of the wormhole, and waited for Mr. Stamper’s eyes to light up with the thrill of the unknown, the sense of discovery. They didn’t. Penny got the sense they hadn’t lit up for some time. With a sigh, she plowed ahead. “It, apparently, opens into another universe. Not another quadrant. Another universe.”


She thought this part would be obvious. Apparently she’d have to spell it out. “So, my clients are outfitting a ship to go through the wormhole and begin exploration. They requested you as chief security and tactical officer.”

“Fine,” said Mr. Stamper. “When do we leave?”

Penny was taken aback. “Wouldn’t you, ah, like to know who the rest of the crew is? The captain, at least?”

“Doesn’t matter. Photon torpedoes don’t ask who’s firing them.”

“Oh…well…” Penny felt oddly desperate. “You might be interested to know that there’s another member of your species on board. She’ll be handling communications. First contacts and so forth.”


“Er, yes. Her name’s Maria Lancaster. Quite an impressive resume.” Penny produced another holo-pad and displayed it for Mr. Stamper. A ghostly blue figure of an otter traced itself in the air.

Mr. Stamper didn’t even blink. “She would be.”

Penny was startled. “You’ve met before?”

“Yeah. She went by another name then. We had drinks once. It’s not important.”

“Oh.” Penny gave up. “Here’s a data chip with all you’ll need about the ship, when it launches, weapons complements, and so on. If you have any further requirements, I would be more than happy-”

“Yeah,” said Mr. Stamper, and he took the data chip and walked out. Penny decided she had to make inquiries. Her clients would not be happy if the grand mission of discovery flopped because of inter-personal conflicts among the crew.


I was listening to a CD of the musical themes from Star Trek over the weekend, and suddenly I decided that I really wanted to write a story of space exploration. Prince Evinrude and Co. will return, later. 

  1. SAVE THE WORMHOLE ALIENS! (This message brought to you by Brownpeace, Intl.

    • Of course, if these wormhole aliens are anything like the Prophets in Deep Space Nine, they don’t much need saving…

  2. I like what you don’t say here–it creates some nice tension.

  3. Poor Mr. Stamper. This line about his eyes was quite touching: Penny got the sense they hadn’t lit up for some time.
    Sniff, sniff.

    • It is tragic. I hope things will work out for Mr. Stamper, I do, but I suppose that depends on where the new story arc leads….

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