Tentorp Amadeus Olid was having a bad day. He was sulking in his captain’s cabin aboard the star ship Splinter, twiddling his five-and-a-half thumbs, and watching his crew scuttle about their duties on the monitor in his desk. Everything was going smoothly, and Captain Tentorp did not like it one bit. He mashed the green loudspeaker button with his second-right fist.
“Croso you buffoon, stop sniffle-snotting, I want that glass to sparkle! Difnet, get that vomit cleaned up faster or I’ll have you ejected! Kik, stop fromping around and adjust our holding pattern 2 degrees!”
He sat back in his chair and folded his six arms across his chest with a frown; not even berating his crew had made him feel better. He massaged his temple with his first-left hand. What to do?
In times of stress and dark-dark moods, Captain Tentorp turned to his one safe haven, the one thing he loved and treasured above all else: cheese. Cheese crackers, cheese soup, cheese sandwiches, cheese-on-cheese on a stick, it didn’t matter, he loved it all. He flipped the galley’s communication switch.
“Gurn, make me a five layer cheese sandwich and have it brought to my cabin.”
The captain didn’t yell at Gurn because Gurn was a Goberarian, and you don’t aggravate them unless you want a face-full of blue mucus that melts your eyes, or at least causes severe discomfort depending on the Goberarian’s mood.
When Gurn signed on as ship’s cook, he lied. He said he was the best cook on this side of the Twizorp galaxy. Everyone knows that the Goberarians of Gamruth are stupid, self-important creatures (and for some reason all their names begin with the letter “G”), but what they don’t know is that Goberarians are also terrible cooks. That is, unless you like socks for breakfast and cast-iron bricks for dinner.
When Gurn heard the captain’s request, he rolled out of his hammock and fell on the galley floor, face first. He performed an awkward roll to his feet and strutted to cold storage like he had just jumped off the NeverEnding tower and landed on his feet, which is, of course, impossible, but that wouldn’t stop a Goberarian from trying.
Gurn opened the door to cold storage with a flourish and stepped inside. He danced around and pretended to juggle a tomato and two lemons, but dropped them on the first pass. Shrugging, he reached the door at the opposite end of the room. The door had been crafted with the utmost care. With three locks and an alarm that went off if the temperature was even a teenth of a degree off, the door was a cheese enthusiast’s dream.
The alarm had been beeping for eleven days. When Gurn unlocked the last lock and opened the door, the smell would have killed him on the spot if Goberarians had a sense of smell, or even a nose, which everyone knows they do not.
Gurn chose five cheeses off the many shelves and waltzed back to the galley, forgetting to lock the door. He scooped and sliced and molded a cheese tower of five layers and sandwiched it between two slices of pungent grut bread, then placed it on a plate and cushioned it with some feathery herbs just for pretty. He rang for a fetcher and sent the sandwich on its way to the captain, then tried to hop back into his hammock. He succeeded on the seventh try.
The fetcher ran with the stinky sandwich from the galley on deck G-1 to the captain’s cabin on C-1. By the time he managed to get to the cabin, the captain was in a mood most foul. The fetcher knocked on the captain’s door.
“If that is my sandwich, get in here NOW,” the captain thundered. “If not, GO AWAY!”
The fetcher burst through the door before the captain had finished screaming. He placed the plate gingerly on the small table by the door.
“Five layer cheese sandwich, as re-“
The fetcher ran through the still open door and straight into the wall, slumping to the ground. He picked himself up and ran to hide underneath the towels in the laundry room on L-1 for the rest of the day.
The captain slammed the door and turned to the cheese sandwich on the small table. It smelled a little stronger than usual, but he decided that must be the yok-yok cheese he picked up in Orion’s Belt. Licking his lips, he reached for the sandwich with his second-arms, and lifted it to his mouth.