The Enemy Within

By tim gueguen

The characters and situations referenced in the following story are the property of their respective rights holders. This story is intended for non-commercial entertainment purposes only, with no intent to violate commercial copyright.

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"Commander! We have a fire alert!" Sandra Benes shouted in alarm from her station in Main Mission.

John Koenig quickly walked to her desk. Fire was a major danger to any space facility, especially one cut off from all sources of outside aid like Moonbase Alpha. "Location, Sandra?"

"In kitchen area A5," she replied, looking at the emergency system display.

"Fire crew is already on its way, Commander," called out Paul Morrow from his position.

"Good," said Koenig. "Sandra, alert Medical to be ready to receive casualties. Paul, with me." With Morrow right behind him Koenig ran out of Main Mission.

They quickly arrived at the scene of the fire. Although thin smoke clouded the air it was obvious the fire crew already had the blaze delt with. Morrow and Koenig watched as they finished dousing an industrial frying unit with chemical fire retardant. The chief of Fire Control Team 3, a beefy, red haired man named Armstrong, walked over to them. "We've got it under control, Commander," he reported.

"Any injuries?" asked Morrow.

"Negative, Mr. Morrow," Armstrong replied. "The cook might have a bit of a cough for the next few days though."

"I'm okay, sir," said Bill Miller, the cook in question, as he walked over. "I'm just glad I spotted the fire before it could spread," he added as he pulled off the chef's hat he was wearing and wiped his bald forehead.

"Any idea what caused the fire, Bill?" asked Koenig.

"It was those...those MORONS!" he snarled, pointing at a pair of scrawny young men standing in one corner of the corridor. Not surprisingly, both wore hairnets, but instead of the standard issue Alpha tunic they wore rock band t-shirts under their aprons.

Koenig rolled his eyes in disgust while Morrow shook his head in disbelief. "Not again," he said in despair. "We're still trying to clean up the mess they made when they depressurised Geology Lab 3 last week. It's a miracle no one was killed."

"They're another problem we can chalk up to Simmonds," said Koenig in annoyance as he remembered it was the late, unlamented Commissioner of the International Lunar Finance Commission who had promoted "Project Bootstrap." If those two were typical of the kind of people the program had recruited it was a small miracle only two of them had been on the Moon when it blew out of orbit. They had been nothing but trouble since their arrival, causing a string of accidents, damaging equipment, and annoying just about everyone on the base.

"Hey, Butthead," said the blonde one. "That smoke is like, making my eyes water and stuff."

"Shut up, Beavis you fartknocker!" retorted the brown haired young man. "It's your fault that frying thing caught fire, 'cuz you put all those soy burgers in it."

"But you told me to, Butthead!" Beavis absentmindly scratched his behind. "This sucks! Now that Commander guy is gonna confine us to quarters and stuff.'

"Yeah, but then we don't have to work!" said Butthead happily as he scratched his crotch.

"Ooooh, yeah." The two broke into the "uhhuhhuh" noises that were their version of laughter.

Morrow looked at Koenig. "You know, sir, Airlock 7 is just a couple of corridors away. It wouldn't be too hard to shove them out of it."

A nasty smile appeared on Koenig's face. "Don't tempt me, Paul, don't tempt me."

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Just another silly idea from my demented brain.