Thursday, August 31, 2006

Equal Rights For Plutonians

Why am I always called in to chair these events?

If there's a dispute going on, "Send for Picard" is the traditional response.

I'm beaming down to Starfleet Headquarters, together with Deanna and Data for backup to chair the row that has blown up between Starfleet Astrometrics and the inhabitants of the dwarf planet Pluto and it's sister planet Charon.

Starfleet want to reclassify Pluto as a 'lump of rock', together with Charon.

Naturally, the Ice Men who colonised both these worlds are livid, and are demanding that both are upgraded to full planetary status. As Pluto was downgraded in the early 21st Century, the Plutonian Ice Men have always complained about being treaded as a lesser planet; the latest reclassification attempt will inflame them even more...if you can inflame an Ice Man, that is.


As the three of us enter Starfleet Headquarters, we are greeted by angry protestors supporting the two worlds, with signs like 'Equal Rights For Plutonians and Charonians' and 'Pluto is not a Mickey Mouse planet.'

Oh dear.

Deanna, Data and I sit down in the centre of a large table; on one side are a group of chilly-looking individuals all wrapped up, from both Pluto and Charon. On the other side are a group of Starfleet experts armed with astrometric maps and 3D charts.

"Now then, gentlemen" I say, "Let's look at the problem we have."

"Pluto should be a proper planet!" shouts one icy person, whose ID Badge identifies him as Icee from Pluto.

"We'll get round to that in a moment, Mr Icee." I say calmly.

"Why is Pluto always badly treated?" interrupts the person next to him, who is Cheeley, also from Pluto, "We're the ninth planet, always have been, always will be. You can't turn us into a lump of rock."

"And what about Charon?" says another at the table, who is Frostee, "We Charonians live on the tenth planet, and as we have colonised it, want it to be recognised as a proper world."

One side all start talking at once and saying disparaging things about Starfleet. Finally, I get things under control.

"Perhaps we'd better hear from the Starfleet officials and their proposals." I say, "I'll let Admiral Swanson, Head of Astrometics speak"

Before he gets up, Deanna whispers to me.

"I sense a great deal of hostility in the room, Captain."

"You don't say, Deanna?" I reply, "I would never have guessed."

"Now then" starts Swanson, in his most officious voice, "Starfleet Astrometrics have carefully gone over the criteria required for both Pluto and Charon; as you will see from this projection... "

"What's that supposed to show?" shouts Cheeley.

"It shows" continues Swanson, "That the mass, weight and volume, in proportion to the orbit of the sun and in relation to the requirements needed to classify it as a planet or dwarf planet fail to meet the necessary criteria. Due to the err... revised conditions laid out by Starfleet, it can only be listed as a lump of rock, together with Charon."

Swanson looks like he's digging himself into a hole.

"You changed the definition?" asks Icee.

"Anyone can do that to get the result they want!" Frostee tells them; the planetary visitors all agree.

"Unfortunately" says Data, "Those rules are as they are now by Starfleet."

"It seems to me that you changed the classsification to suit yourself, Admiral Swanson." I ask him, "Is it true there is less upkeep to be given to a Federation Lump of Rock than a Planet?"

"That's true, but.." he splutters.

"Actually, Admiral" says Data, "The Vulcan High Council wanted to reclassify Earth as a dwarf planet some time ago, but changed their minds."

"I should think so!" Swanson answers, "None of their business."

Swanson realises he's painted himself into a corner and stays quiet.

"In that case, I award full planetary status to Pluto and Charon." I announce.

Cheers come up from Icee, Frostee and Cheeley. They come up to shake my hand, but I decline as I'd get frostbite.

"Well done, Captain" says Deanna, "You made a lot of friends there."

Swanson marches up to me, his face red.

"And you wonder why you never get an Admiral's position, Picard" he angrily tells me, then walks off.

"Also a few enemies as well, Counselor." I reply to her.


The Curmudgeon said...

All the best controversies drag on for centuries, don't they, Captain?

And leave it to the Admiral to give the game away and then be mad at you for recognizing it.

But what about the other pseudo-planets in the Sol System? -- Particularly in light of Wes' roommate, or at least the uncanny resemblence that Wes' roommate bears to another person, perhaps we will soon be hearing about Xena? Or do you call Xena "2003 UB313" in the 24th Century?

Lahdeedah said...


Pluto, poor pooor Pluto, all because of a funky orbit.

Is it Pluto's fault it's disadvantaged orbitally?

slskenyon said...

Leave it to Picard to easily solve this problem so that we all aren't sitting here saying "what the hell" and "what a waste of time" in reference to the Pluto debate.

nettie said...

And he was always so good to Mickey too.

Nic said...

Well done dear Captain! You'll go down in history for sure now!

UngaMan said...

Why ... oh why our beloved Captain didn't live on 21st century?... perhaps we can arrange some time-travel for him and his valiant crew and fix this matter once and for all.

Well done Captain, as usual, you're the best! and don't worry about that promotion... you will always make the difference while in command of the Enterprise!

emi said...

Wonderful to have Pluto restored to her former glory! Some things just shouldn't be messed with, like planetary status. If it could happen to Pluto, it could happen to you!

However, I fear I put on a few pounds during my vacation and may be in danger of gaining planetary status myself. Time for a walk...

Merlyn Gabriel said...

Such a strange discussion....I am glad that you at least made people happy. I woudl hate to be told I live on a lump of rock... almost as bad as hearing one lives on a giant sand box.

xxs and oos

see you next week I being carted off again to do goodness knows what... work work work!

Ellee Seymour said...

I have found a nice site for you to visit written by a real would-be astronaut, check it out and let me know what you think:

Paperback Writer said...

If only it were that easy.

Trinity13 said...

If you were Admiral, when would you have time to see Bev?! I think Swanson has done you a favor.

Jen said...

"I sense a great deal of hostility in the room, Captain."

"You don't say, Deanna?" I reply, "I would never have guessed."

This had me LITERALLY laughing out loud! Love it!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Curmudgeon, the planet Xena ouyght to be tagged with a twin planet named Gabrielle.

Siskenyon & Ungaman, always great to hear from someone new; hope you like it.

Nettie, What can I say?

Nic, probably in Pluto history, at least.

Emi, time to walk off those pounds you gained.

Merlyn, hope you have a good time.

Ellee, I'll go and take a look.

Trin, if I were Admiral, Bev would be my 'Executive Assistant'.

Jen, I liked that line as well.

Busted Flip Flop said...

Nice site!

Michelle sent me.

Professor Xavier said...

Why are you always called in? It's called passing the buck. In the future I suggest you stick Riker in a shuttlecraft and let him handle it.


You must be a level headed person to be always chosen.
Thanks for passing by.

Squirrel said...

I knew changing Pluto's planetary status would cause trouble in the future! Glad you were there to make things right!

RainbowCatcher said...

Didn't I hear Picard say, "I'm a captain, not an astronomer!"?

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I always said Pluto's orbit was a little goofy. Maybe they can classify it as a Minnie planet. People seem so dopey when they get all grumpy about that place. You know, that snow white planet.

Carmi said...

I'm very upset about the whole planet demotion thing. Who are they to ruin our fun?

Nice to know it's an issue in Starfleet's context as well. Maybe we'll have it figured out soon. One can only hope.

Michele hopes, too.

Florence said...

Even though I've known Pluto's been considered an iffy planet for some time, I've become so attached to it. The times they are a changing...

Pearl's Eaten Up said...

Here, here.
Good call.

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