Current Track: Blabb

So then, why not have us some doggerel to go along with the various escapades of the Star Patrol? I enjoy doggerel, because it's about all I can manage. I had this idea, though, that in the future poetic ballads will come back. Robert Heinlein had that idea, too, come to think of it. Anyway, with apologies to Rudyard Kipling, here's:

"The bloke in the engine room"

Ye can ‘ave ye yer gods an’ yer ‘eroes
King Arthur ‘r ‘Erakles
Give ‘em tribute an’ carve to ‘em statues
An’ whatever so else ye please
Rave all ye want to a spaceman
But ‘e’ll swear to ‘is very doom:
The mightiest god in that universe broad
Is the bloke in the engine room!

I were shipped on me very first cruiser,
As a young machinist’s mate.
An’ the ship were a hundred an’ seven years old
An’ the chief were a hundred an’ eight.
Came a call from the bridge from the captain
(A brash and excitable gent):
I have the conn and the journey’s on —
Reactor to fifty percent.

Now I know we’d left RAH Station
With Leonis in our sight
But their ain’t so much margin for error
When yer travelin’ faster’n light.
Came a call from the bridge to the captain
(Not as wise as ye’d ‘ope from ‘is rank)
Our track’s not far from a neutron star —
Engines, all ahead flank!

The chief engineer were a grizzly
‘Alf a ton if ‘e weighed a pound
But ‘e leapt like a hare to ‘is station
An’ he swung the levers ‘round.
Together we opened ‘er up to full —
The reactor was all aglow —
Then we’ll meet our lord with the throttle floored:
Captain, I’ve made it so!

It wasn’t enough by Tsiolkovsky
It wasn’t enough by a prayer
We was ‘eaded for ‘ell in a hurry
An’ I ‘eard the ol’ grizzly swear:
We need thirty percent over rated
But by love of Montgomery Scott
One twenty-four an’ there’s nothing more —
I’ve given ‘er all she’s got!

Then ‘e looked to the fuel restrictor
An’ its five-ton safety lock
I knew what ‘e wanted and who could say ‘no’
When it’s death at the end of the clock?
So we pulled like a steam locomotive
’Til the safety gave way with a snap
Can’t live by regs when they chain yer legs —
‘Ere’s a hundred and forty, cap’!

When the cruiser was clear outta danger
The captain came down to see
Like ‘e thought we’d be dead at the throttle
That invincible grizzly an’ me.
Chief were ‘oldin’ a bottle of whiskey
An’ ‘e raised it right up with a grin:
Well you son of a gun, that were awful fun —
When should we do it again?

So ‘ere’s to yer ‘eroes of legend
Enkidu and Gilgamesh
They don’t ‘em now like they used ta, nay,
But I saw one in the flesh.
An’ I’ll say from the day that I met ‘im
To the day that I’m laid in my tomb:
Ain’t a one o’ yer tales what could tip the scales
From that bloke in the engine room —
Aye: the mightiest god in the universe broad
Is the bloke in the engine room!