Friday, April 07, 2006

The flux capacitor

There's a deeply held belief in the army (or was when Kirk was in) that one of the best ways to raise troop morale is to bring in some ranking officers and give them a tour. The idea is the enlisted people feel they are appreciated and get a chance to demonstrate their skills and knowledge. What actually happens is the poor officers get to review endless rows of identical soldiers, the soldiers spend weeks polishing bits of metal no one will ever see, and the company commanders work themselves and everyone around frantic under the belief that this one moment is the most vital of their entire career.

There was the company commander, for example, who decided to impress the visitors with a choreographed salute. It's a nice idea in theory - simple, elegent, traditional. Only he wanted to salute with the enormous, 20+ foot atennae on the tracks. For two weeks the company practiced raising the darn things in a massive, enormously noisy, coordinated phallic gesture. They just might have pulled it off except the motors that drove the antennae all had slightly different powers. On the day, the unit dutifully hit the buttons in perfect unison, and the visiting officers politely tried to ignore the sudden burst of noise that drowned out their conversation while twenty some antennae meandered their way skyward.

Kirk impressed the general though. The man was doing his best - trying to meaningfully engage a couple of dozen people in a ten minute walk through. He pointed to something on the track. 'What's that there soldier?' 'That sir, is a flux capacitor.' Kirk said there was a small choking sound from the general's aide, but no one else made a sound. 'Excellent! And what does it do?' 'Sir, it validates the throughput from the archelon vacillator.' 'Solider, that's superb, just superb. Carry on.' The general was happy, Kirk was happy, and the company commander, who had never heard of what makes time travel possible, felt validated as a leader even though he couldn't quite get his antennae up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. Really funny!! I don't think I'll ever think of all things flux in quite the same way again.