Friday, April 27, 2007

who's on first

This remains one of the best Star Trek fanfics I've ever read, doubtless because of the strength of the Abbott and Costello routine. I have no idea who wrote this particular adaptation, though I did modify the ending myself to its current form, back in college, in order to take things to their ultimate conclusion.

"Who's on First?"

Kirk, McCoy, and Scotty are huddled in a corridor near a transporter room, talking with one another, in the distance, Spock rounds a corner and heads toward the group.

McCOY. Shh! He's coming! Scotty, go act like you're adjusting the transporter or something.

SCOTTY. Aye, doctor.

KIRK. Ah, hello Mister Spock.

SPOCK. Good day, captain.

KIRK. Are you familiar with the game "baseball," Mr Spock?

SPOCK. Baseball is a tactical game played on a geometric pattern of four sides with a spherical object. The purpose is to deflect the object with a long wooden stick called a "bat," amidst loud verbalizations of "Hurrah" and "The umpire must be blind!" Is this correct?

KIRK. Indeed. We are in the process of learning about one of the baseball teams from old Earth.

SPOCK. Oh? I am quite versed with old Earth history. Perhaps I may be of assistance.

KIRK. That's the idea.

SPOCK. Very well. Proceed.

KIRK. All right. Who's on first.

SPOCK. I am unable to determine who is on first without proper information concerning the team and year, sir.


SPOCK. Perhaps we could start with who the team is, and I can test the accuracy.

KIRK. No, Who's on first.

SPOCK. I do not know.

McCOY. Third base.

SPOCK. Who is?

KIRK. No, he's first base.

SPOCK. Who is?

KIRK. Correct.

SPOCK. Who is correct?

KIRK. Sometimes.

SPOCK. Who is sometimes?

KIRK. No, Who is first baseman. I'm not familiar with Sometimes' identity.

SPOCK. Whose identity?

KIRK. No, him I know -- he's first baseman.

SPOCK. Who is?

KIRK. That's right.

SPOCK. Perhaps we can discuss the identity of the second baseman.

KIRK. What.

SPOCK. I said the second baseman.

KIRK. What.

SPOCK. This is highly illogical. You have no apparent auditory disfunction, sir. Now, as I asked: who is the second baseman?

KIRK. No, you didn't ask that, and Who is the first baseman.

SPOCK. Very well. Captain, I ask you politely: Who is the second baseman?

KIRK. No, Who is the first baseman. What is the second baseman.

SPOCK. That is incorrect, captain. The second baseman is obviously a sentient being, and therefore should be referred to as who, and not what. "Who is the second baseman?", not "What is the second baseman?"

KIRK. Wrong, Spock. Who is the first baseman, and What is the second baseman.

SPOCK. That statement is most illogical.

KIRK. Wait a minute -- we'll get Scotty. He's Scottish, he must love baseball. Oh, Mister Scott?

SCOTTY. Enters from the transporter room. Aye, cap'n?

KIRK. Who is the first baseman of the team we were talking about.

SCOTTY. Aye, cap'n. It ain't never been any other way!

KIRK. You see, Spock?

SPOCK. Yes ... very well. Mister Scott, who is the second baseman?

SCOTTY. Ach! No, Mister Spock! That be What you're talking about!

SPOCK. I know that be what ... er ... is what I'm talking about. I am very intelligent, and rarely lose track of what I am talking about.

SCOTTY. Ach! Dinna bring track inta this! That be a bloomin' field event.

SPOCK. What has this got to do with field events?

SCOTTY. Ach! No! What's the second baseman.

SPOCK. Again, I note that a person should be referred to as "who" and not "what," Mister Scott.

SCOTTY. Only if he's tha fairst baseman, Mister Spock.

SPOCK. What you are saying is most illogical.

SCOTTY. Ach! No! What's a real bright fella.

SPOCK. Who is a "real bright fella" Mister Scott?

SCOTTY. No, sir. Who ... now he's a real dope, sir.

SPOCK. Who is?


SPOCK. Captain, this is most illogical, and I do not feel as though we are getting anywhere. Perhaps we can discuss the identity of another player, such as the pitcher?

KIRK. Tomorrow.

SPOCK. Tomorrow? If you are genuinely interested in this discussion, today would be much better.

McCOY. Well, Spock, Today is good, but he's the catcher.

SPOCK. Who is?

SCOTTY. Nay, Mr Spock -- Who's the first baseman.

SPOCK. I do not know.

KIRK. Third base!

SPOCK. What?

KIRK. No, he's on second.

SPOCK. Who is?

KIRK. No, Spock, Who's on first.

SPOCK. I do not know.

McCOY. Third base!

This continues on for quite some time until finally we see a medical team in the corridor, gathered around Spock, who is bound in a straitjacket. Spock is babbling incoherently.

KIRK. Bones, do you think maybe we went too far this time?

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