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To Save the Universe, We Must Also Save Ourselves

Story by Mary South
Illustrations by Elena Xausa

Elena Xausa

We are the fans of Starship Uprising, and we have gathered together, under the gentle supervision of our godly moderators, to share our love of the hit television show and occasionally rant about politics. Hunkering behind screens, we like and we dislike. Laptops toasty on top of our tummies, we comment. We throw down. We emoji. It’s difficult to surmise our actual number—we may be thousands strong, or we may be one insomniac hacker. These episodes got us through rehab when we craved the sweet relief of fermentation, the self-loathing when we were laid off, the despair of existing alone in this world when our mothers died. Nevertheless, there is a caste system to us outcasts. Prove yourself fluent in Kil’aathi, which is a fully realized language with its own grammar and lexicon, and you shall be deemed worthy of our respect and admiration. Assert that your favorite character is Spambot, the accident-prone bartender android who constantly tries to upsell in the awkwardest of moments and offers unsolicited advice to customers, and you shall be deemed a loser, subject to our derision and relentless mockery. Questions plague us late at night, questions we need answered, such as: If the telepad works by ripping you apart atom by atom and reassembling you in another location, does that mean it is a clone machine? If the replimat converts waste to sustenance, does that mean you’re eating shit? If the empath senses the emotions of the crew, does that mean she knows when you are masturbating? At least there is something we unanimously agree on, that Commander Dinara Gorun, played by Faith Massey, embodies the feminine ideal. Tough yet vulnerable, gorgeous but proudly bearing the scars of battle, she was our first crush. We wanted to bed her, or be her, or both. She made us who we are.

This infatuation can be traced back, for a majority of us, to the finale of season one, entitled “Our Nebulous Past.” The Audacity, a cunning rig of down-on-their-luck interstellar smugglers, was on the run from the Voydals, a ruthless species that enslaved or annihilated every lifeform it encountered in its mission to conquer the universe. With the enemy closing in on their hypertrail and their vessel severely damaged, the captain had the Audacity steered into a nearby nebula. But this was no ordinary cosmic phenomenon: this nebula was sentient, and once it had other beings to keep it company, it didn’t want to let them go. Hallucinations of the dear and departed started to torment everyone on board. So powerful were the hallucinations, so seemingly alive, that those most affected obeyed their hallucinations. They shut off the engines and sabotaged the navigation system. Any who objected were locked inside photon prisons. Only Commander Dinara Gorun, the fearless and straight-talking second-in-command, had the will to resist. She broke out of her photon prison, incapacitated her captors, and restored basic functionality to the Audacity. As the starship moved out of the nebula, she lay down in the arms of her mother, who stroked her daughter’s hair and sang a lullaby. Dinara hadn’t been immune to the hallucinations, but she didn’t give in to their siren allure. Even though she had lost more than anyone, her whole family murdered in Voydal internment camps, she was still the baddest bitch in the galaxy.


Sadly, the actress Faith Massey has fallen far short herself of the feminine ideal in the intervening years. At the supermarket, we heave our groceries onto the conveyor belt and glance at the tabloids that document her fluctuating waistline. There she is on a Maui beach in a bikini, bending to pick up a shell, and in case some of us miss it or don’t see the problem, the magazine highlights her midsection with a red circle. For a spell, she was also a spokesperson for Skinny Friend, the weight-loss company that produces frozen dinners, which definitely aren’t in our shopping carts. What a change from her heyday, when we stared longingly in our living rooms at her figure in that thong leotard and legwarmers emblazoned on VHS tapes of her workout regimen, Commander Dinara Gorun’s THE BODY. When she’s spotted leaving a doctor’s office with an unrecognizable face—her lips puffy and ridiculous as a pool float, her forehead lifted a tad too far, like someone tried to stretch a queen-sized fitted sheet over a king-sized mattress—we judge hard. Commander Dinara Gorun despised falseness, and the sole knife she would be caught dead under is the blade of a sworn foe. We look up the plastic surgeon, and he’s so pretty it’s almost uncanny. On image search, the waiting area of his practice is suffused with a rosy glow, that come-hither boudoir lighting, and decorated with plush pink fainting sofas. It is labia-chic, what we suppose the inside of vagina would look like if a vagina were a doctor’s office. There is also a noticeable swan theme—swan sculptures, a swan in brush pen for the logo, swan paintings on the walls, including an oil reproduction of a swan winding its bird neck up a woman’s thigh.

“The swan,” claims the copy on his website, “is the perfect symbol for the process of metamorphosis. The proverbial ugly duckling grows up to be a swan. A swan is ungainly on land, a lumbering beast, but becomes the picture of supreme elegance on water, as stated in the immortal 1956 movie The Swan, starring Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness. Helen of Troy, the most breathtaking woman to ever be born, according to myth, was hatched from a swan egg after Zeus, in the form of a swan, seduced Leda.” We compose scathing, one-star reviews on his business page. “Faith Massey would look better if she were hit by a bus,” we opine. “Faith has been infested by the Dolospores,” we hypothesize, “the outer space parasite that kills you by burrowing through your nose into your brain and then reanimating your corpse until you decay.” We think she should sue. “You are a quack, a charlatan,” the more sophisticated among us accuse. “Swan fucker,” the less-than-sophisticated insult, before the reviews are removed. We mourn the end of our childhoods. “Thanks for ruining our childhoods,” we write. On social media, Faith Massey condemns our behavior, but that doesn’t bother us. “Commander Dinara Gorun,” she scolds, “defended the oppressed against the powerful. She would never hide in the shadows, flinging hateful slurs.” A photo of Commander Dinara Gorun posed arms-on-hips in a heroine stance accompanies the post. “Cunt,” we reply. “Thanks for ruining our childhoods.”

Anyway, we still binge watch (or rather, binge re-watch) the show. We continue to collect the Starship Uprising memorabilia, the uniforms of the crew or regalia of the various aliens; the mugs, the three-ring binders, the lunchboxes with their incredibly shiny cartoon boobs; the prosthetic silicone forehead of concentric crop circles that was worn by Faith Massey herself and we purchased at a bargain (in terms of what it’s really worth) on an auction site; the Commander Dinara Gorun action figurines and dolls, some of them adult dolls that are anatomically accurate, which we like very much. Our enthusiasm for the conventions is also steady. Donning our costumes, we are a rambunctious horde of spandex and leather, a crushing throng of selfie sticks that poke each other in the back. When the day is over, we descend upon the nearby overpriced bistros and trendy bars, where we order artisanal cocktails in character. But until we hit the town, we wait in line to meet Faith, to have her autograph her headshot for forty dollars or an item of the aforementioned memorabilia. If we’re one of the kookier types, we might present a sonogram of our unborn baby and proclaim, “We’re naming her Dinara!” To which, Faith might blink a lot and mutter, touched, we’re sure, “I’m honored.” She’s smaller in person, and that brings out our protective side. Before parting, we clasp her hand between our sweaty palms and we demonstrate our appreciation with a sincere, “Thank you.” In heartfelt tones, we say, “Thank you for our childhoods.”

Often, we joke that the pageantry of the conventions is like that episode of Starship Uprising entitled, simply, “Surfaces.” In it, the Audacity is visiting Concupiscens after the successful delivery of a weapons cache into territory dominated by the Voydals. Concupiscens is a pleasure planet renowned not only for its flora and fauna, but also the orgies hosted by the Scensates, its native humanoids. Despite the paradise that surrounds her, Commander Dinara Gorun is unable to relax and participate in the sexcapades. A hunky waiter delivers gourmet replimat rations to her capsule quarters and strips, assuming she wants to mate, and she stops him to ask, “Where are the old people?” Turns out, the society of the Scensates is a hierarchy founded on beauty. Those who are most attractive get to procreate in the orgy pits and lead the government. Those who are least attractive, including the elderly—for what is more hideous than mortality?—are forbidden from producing offspring and forced to work far beneath the surface of the planet, to become invisible. Strangely, the rest of the crew isn’t that disturbed by the notion of banishing a homely faction of your population to be slaves. Everyone shrugs and admits they had a fun time. Are we any better than the Scensates? True, not that many of us could be considered particularly beautiful, but we parade around in our outfits with an air of superiority and rip on ensembles worse than ours. We vow to be better fans.


Surprisingly, though perhaps it should not be so surprising, there are some among us who do not wish to be better fans. They are the truly lost, those who delight in hate and embrace chaos. Beneath the troll bridge of their IP addresses, they grind their axes and fashion their memes. As their mascot, they have adopted Chokut Sar, leading general of the Voydals and a gleeful advocate of torture. He laughs at us from the tiny rectangle of their profile pictures, if it were possible for him to laugh. In contrast to the Kil’aathi such as Commander Dinara Gorun, a bunch of purple, peaceful hippies forced into war against their nature, the Voydals look like insects, with mantis legs and bulging glossy eyes. Hive-minded, they communicate telepathically from antennae notched with thorns that are also used as weapons and thus they have no mouths. What they have in place of a mouth resembles an anus. The mouth-anus sort of clenches and releases when they project their thoughts into another’s thoughts. It is supposed to be intimidating, but we consider their proboscises about as scary as a bouquet of flaccid penises. These groupies of evil post screencaps of Chokut Sar interrogating rebels, his antennae fastened to their temples. “I will break you,” Chokut Sar promises. Or he’s covered in blood, having paid a visit to the internment camps, and declaring, “The lesser races are meant to serve.” Gangs of these angry young men (they are always angry young men) in their pathetic masks of extraterrestrial bullies purposely bump into us at events and harass us in the bathroom. Meanwhile, they chant the mantra of the Voydals: “We are gods. Obey or die.”

Pasty as the bottom-feeders that feast on outer space trash, with genitals as unused as those of the Celebos, geniuses that went extinct from the galaxy because they regarded bumping uglies as icky—that is how we imagine these Voydal worshippers. It’s easy enough to block their accounts until one of us, a fan famous in his own domain, a gamer called GangrenePete, unwittingly instigates a controversy that makes them impossible to ignore. GangrenePete is the creator of a video channel with millions of subscribers where he documents himself playing through vintage console favorites such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or, more recently, Starship Uprising: The Voydal Apocalypse. At some point, GangrenePete was asked why he decided on the name GangrenePete, and he said he decided on the name GangrenePete because he is “raw and disgusting.” For several hours (curated into a playlist of fifteen-minute installments), GangrenePete controlled the tiny, pixelated avatar of Commander Dinara Gorun and gleefully slaughtered Voydals with her raygun, simultaneously noting what a fox the actress Faith Massey had been and how he had spent his adolescence beating his Pete meat to a poster of her or the covers on the VHS tapes of her workout regimen, Commander Dinara Gorun’s THE BODY. Whenever she died, forcing him to restart the level, he would shout, “That Voydal is raping her!” In response, the hostess of a feminist web series entitled Nerd Girls Resist! proceeded to shame GangrenePete for essentially being an insensitive asshole who normalized sexual assault. Immediately, the Voydal army leapt to the defense of GangrenePete and argued that the overreaction by Nerd Girls Resist! to GangrenePete minimized the experiences of those who had actually been sexually assaulted and that maybe she’d stop with the self-righteous attitude if she were properly boned. Nerd Girls Resist! struck back with a long montage of female characters being brutalized in games, interspersed with statistics on violence against women. Then a conservative media pundit picked up the story for his “Kids These Days” segment and said that no one cared about Faith Massey, as she was a washed-up actress from the era of the dial-up modem who had put on a not insignificant amount of weight and that this “uppity” web series hostess should shut up and determine “better things to do with that mouth.” Horrified as well as amused, we were inseparable from our electronics while we proposed a myriad of ideas, both series and absurd, for what anything with a mouth could do with that mouth, such as sticking as many Peep marshmallows inside, or a big shark mouth noshing on a baby seal, et cetera. One of us went as far as to share a gif of a Voydal mouth doing its sphincteresque dance along with the question, “What if you don’t have a mouth?” Reluctantly, we were obligated to remind everyone to “Check your mouth privilege.”

Some of us also felt obligated during this GangrenePete fiasco to remind the others that not all the fans of Starship Uprising were straight white men, as evinced by Nerd Girls Resist! We hailed from every demographic, and we adored Faith Massey because, in her, we got to see ourselves on television. Yes, Commander Dinara Gorun was stunningly attractive, but her looks weren’t her defining characteristic. She was tough yet vulnerable, purple and weird and still out-of-this-world sexy; she didn’t fit into any established mold. So whenever Faith Massey was reduced to a body (or, simply, the VHS tapes of THE BODY), it made it seem like Commander Dinara Gorun—and, therefore, we—never really mattered, as though women should just be tossed out of the airlock when their twenties are over. And we knew there were those among us who griped that they would have been involuntary Celebos or in the Concupiscens slave caste but who nonetheless picked apart Faith’s appearance. Who cared about her plastic surgery or her weight or her tits? We thought we were here to celebrate a thing we loved that somehow, miraculously, got made? Shut up, we were told, everyone has moved on. We were so whiny, possibly menstruating. But those directly involved would not move on, not GangrenePete, who continued to avow that he was a good guy beneath the rotting persona, not the hostess of Nerd Girls Resist!, who had been accumulating death threats from Voydals, and especially not Faith Massey.

Faith Massey was invited to be a guest on the talk show The Alcove, where she was interviewed by Cindy Withers, previously a prominent reporter but currently on The Alcove. “How are you holding up?” Cindy asked, then nodded profusely as Faith replied, “Honestly? It’s been difficult.” In her gray cashmere sweater that she hugged comfortingly around herself, with sleepless gray circles around her gray eyes, Faith came clean about her struggle with addiction and clinical depression. She was healthy and sober—here she raised a wrist ringed by a bracelet that chimed with recovery coins—but the GangrenePete thing had brought back some extremely painful memories. It was common internet lore that on the set of Starship Uprising she had a brief romance with Jake Knight, her co-star who went on to have a fruitful career in car insurance commercials. (Though when we got wise to that piece of trivia, we were a bit obsessed and created our own fan art depicting what they looked like in flagrante delicto, supernovae blazing in the background.) When it ended, she was devastated that she had to continue to be entangled romantically with the cocksure yet tender captain of the Audacity on screen when they were no longer entangled off screen. As she waited in wardrobe, preparing herself to film a kiss, she started crying and explained the story to the man applying her forehead. What happened next she had discussed ad nauseam: how she and the makeup artist fell in love, had a wedding with a cake shaped as a starship, conceived a daughter. But what she had been too scared to discuss was how he became a jealous husband, how he hit her and gave her bruises, and how, as she sat before him in the prep chair, he covered up the purple that he had made with more purple.

“He threw our dog off the deck,” Faith confessed, impressionistic with tears. “He threw your dog off the deck?” Cindy Withers asked unnecessarily, a rhetorical tactic she frequently deployed throughout her stint on The Alcove. Yes, Faith said. He threw our dog off the deck. After the finale of season seven, when Commander Dinara Gorun is taken hostage by the Voydals and is tortured telepathically for her refusal to cooperate in tracking down the Audacity, they hosted a wrap party at their house in the Hollywood Hills. Her husband saw her chatting with—guess who—Jake Knight and accused her of cheating. She denied it, but it’s possible she was slightly tipsy and it’s also possible that she was flirting a little. As punishment, he threw the dog off the deck. The pooch fractured a paw, the canine metacarpal bones. Post-fracture, the dog had this goofy gait; families at the park would kindly inquire as to whether she had rescued the dog from an abusive situation, and she was tempted to inform them that she was the abusive situation. “You were not the abusive situation,” Cindy Withers nasally consoled. “No, I was the abusive situation,” Faith disagreed. Throwing the dog off the deck was not the last straw. Divorce wasn’t on the table until the show was cancelled. During the interim, her daughter was forced to see her mother hurt over and over, and then when the physical abuse was over, she was forced to see her mother abuse herself with booze, then with prescription painkillers and assorted muscle relaxants. Faith Massey was not a good mother.

“My daughter cut me out of her life,” Faith lamented. Her ex deviously and sociopathically turned their daughter against Faith. He had lied and said that Faith had been having an affair with Jake Knight for their entire marriage, that she had screamed at him how she wished their daughter had been her daughter with Jake Knight. “I want her to know,” Faith choked out the words, staring directly at us, “Ashley, if you watch this, I miss you so much and I’m sorry I wasn’t there when you needed me.” She reminisced about their first holiday together after the divorce, that Halloween her daughter had requested to dress up as Commander Dinara Gorun. It wasn’t cool to go as Commander Dinara Gorun anymore, but Faith dug out her forehead and her dusty raygun from storage. (Now we absolutely do not regret paying so much on an auction site for the bona fide silicone prosthetic forehead worn by Faith Massey in Starship Uprising.) Here, savvy editors at The Alcove displayed a faded and crinkled photo of Faith standing beside the girl Commander Dinara Gorun, one of those photos from a disposable camera once conveniently printed in the pharmacy next to tubes of hemorrhoid cream. “Isn’t she cute?” Faith was syrupy and melodious, the voice of nostalgia—a feeling to which we were not unaccustomed. “That is the best compliment I’ve ever received, her trick-or-treating as me.” We’re not too proud to admit that we shed a tear ourselves when she described smearing purple powder across her daughter’s cheeks and lowering onto her precious upturned face the silicone forehead as though it were a sacred crown. As Faith did her daughter’s makeup, she was overwhelmed with love.


We are overwhelmed with love for Faith Massey. It is interesting how her story compares to the plot of the episode she mentioned on The Alcove that inadvertently caused her dog to get thrown off the deck, the finale of season seven, entitled “The Secrets We Keep.” When Commander Dinara Gorun is telepathically tortured by the Voydals, Chokut Sar himself conducts the interrogation. The Audacity is en route into the headquarters of their empire to rescue her, despite the risks. Besides, the safest place to hide is often in plain sight. In between mind probes, Commander Dinara Gorun bonds with her fellow prisoners. They, too, are hiding in plain sight. The Voydals can’t torture them for information if they don’t know anything, so the rebels have figured out a method to embed critical communications into tumors that are grown inside the bodies of those who volunteer to be runners. Lucky runners who reach their intended destinations will have their tumors painlessly harvested and decrypted. Unlucky runners must make peace with destiny, that either the Voydals or the tumors will kill them—whichever comes first. Their sacrifice has been worth it, as the Voydals have been unable to crack the cancerous code. But the cruel twist is this: after the Audacity arrives, Commander Dinara Gorun refuses to leave with her crew. Chokut Sar possesses some of her memories, and she some of his. Torture acts like a narcotic for both torturer and victim, and it is highly addictive. Such violence can wipe out your body as well as your spirit, is the lesson we learn, like it did to Faith Massey. What’s amazing is how Starship Uprising has stayed topical and relevant to this day, so ahead of its time.


Our faith in Faith Massey has been betrayed with yet another very public fracas—and we tried so hard to get over ourselves, our distaste of her atrocious plastic surgery and her disappointing career after the run of Starship Uprising. There was supposed to be a spinoff focused on Commander Dinara Gorun! There was supposed to be a dark and edgy Oscar-bait movie where we could ogle her tits! Instead, there were occasional spots on lawyer procedurals, cameos as herself on sitcoms, and, of course, Skinny Friend. After her raw and moving tell-all on The Alcove, which garnered considerable clicks and advertising revenue, we reached out to Faith and expressed our sympathy. We risked our dignity and our privacy as we related our own paths through rehab when we craved the sweet relief of fermentation, the self-loathing when we were laid off, the despair of existing alone in this world when our mothers died. Some of the messages we composed using pen and paper, which we then sent in the mail using postage we bought with money! For our online shops, we crafted Commander Dinara Gorun tote bags and pins. Who will buy this unwanted stock? No one is who, not since one of us has courageously come forth, an erstwhile personal assistant who must unfortunately remain anonymous due to strict nondisclosure agreements, to reveal that everything Faith Massey divulged in that interview was a total fabrication. The Voydals gloat as though there is no tomorrow. Their leader, the merciless Chokut Sar, doesn’t pretend to be someone he’s not—he’s a bigoted and genocidal giant bug, that’s who he is.

To begin, the personal assistant had to make it clear that Faith Massey was by no means sober. She was still a pill-popping drunkard, though the substance of choice during the assistant’s tenure was weed. The assistant wasn’t concerned about the weed, not as much as the opioids anyway, so she became the contact for the weed dealer. The weed dealer was friendly, almost overeager to help, which made sense because Faith consumed enough weed weekly to satisfy the needs of a minor campus fraternity. He had the assistant examine a mole on his back, right above the band of his underwear, to see if she thought he “should be worried.” His underwear was a pair of Calvin Klein lime green boxer briefs. So that was a fact the assistant would never be able to forget—she knew the brand of underwear worn by Faith Massey’s weed dealer. Secondly, the assistant had held back our beloved celebrity’s hair while she vomited an eclectic combo of benzos and tequila, and in between her gagging, Faith let it slip that her daughter probably was her daughter with Jake Knight. And Jake, by the way, was quite the douchebag. Both Faith and Jake were invited to be panelists at a futuristic film festival in Miami, where they debated inspiring activism via outer space allegory. When the panel was finished, as they were chauffeured to the hotel in a limo, he hung his torso through a window and shouted at ladies in the street, “I’m Captain John Augustus Flint from Starship Uprising! Don’t you want to fuck me?” At the hotel, the assistant was relaxing in the sauna when he walked in and urged her to suck his cock. That’s why she was fired—full disclosure: Faith was not happy that Jake Knight was more into the assistant than her, even though the assistant didn’t want anything to do with his decrepit sci-fi herpes dick.

Lastly, the assistant confirmed that Faith Massey was estranged from her daughter, but the estrangement was one-hundred-percent Faith’s fault. The daughter had been dating a focus puller in Venice Beach who was into “unexpected creampies” and had gotten her pregnant. Faith begged her daughter to have an abortion, but the daughter decided to keep the baby. Then Faith said, okay, keep the baby, but break up with the boyfriend, I’ll support you. When the daughter refused to break up with the boyfriend, Faith cut the daughter out of her life, and not vice versa. It had nothing to do with the makeup artist ex-husband, who was abusive; that wasn’t exaggerated. Speaking of the makeup artist ex-husband, Faith had been so glad to indulge in the narrative of doing her daughter’s makeup for Halloween. What she somehow failed to mention was the incident when she was super wasted—again—and insisted the assistant do her up as Commander Dinara Gorun. They used her ex-husband’s makeup kit, which she inexplicably had kept. In a fluffy bathrobe with a towel wound around her hair, Faith looked like a retired Commander Dinara Gorun on a cruise. As Faith caught sight of her purple reflection, she sobbed. She buried her face in the assistant’s shirt and left a permanent impression from the expired professional cosmetics, as though the shirt were a Kil’aathi Shroud of Turin. Her ex-husband had enjoyed screwing her after tapings as Commander Dinara Gorun. No one had ever loved her for herself. Pressing his forearm into her windpipe, he demanded that she recite her famous catchphrase, so she moaned, “To save the universe, we must also save ourselves.”


Guilt haunts us as we comment, as we like and we dislike, as we throw down, as we emoji. Though we are not as responsible as some for having messed up Faith Massey, we cannot deny that we have not loved her for herself. (Some of us have been attempting for a while to point out that our love is fickle, but when we try to point out that we’ve been pointing that out, we are told to shut up and that we are probably menstruating.) It’s like that episode of Starship Uprising that opens with the death of the ship’s counsellor from a random telepad accident, entitled “Mirror, Mirror.” Until a new empath can be located, the crew has to make do with a holographic counsellor, otherwise known as a Computerized Affective Relating Lifefacsimile, or CARL. How CARL works is that it scans your brain in order to take bits and pieces of those you love—your mother’s smile, your dad’s dad humor—and project the ultimate composite of a person you’re most likely to trust. Then it uses a technique invented by famous 20th-century psychologist Carl Rogers, wherein the CARL merely repeats back to you what you said so it can get you to spill your guts. “I’m feeling sort of disconnected from everything lately,” you’ll say, and it will repeat, “You’re feeling disconnected lately.” You’ll say, “I’m upset because Portia dumped me,” and so it will repeat, “Portia dumped you.” Perhaps you’ll say, “I don’t need therapy. I know what’s wrong with me. A genetically engineered virus wiped out our colony on Rentathus Nine. That’s what’s wrong with me,” so it will repeat, “A virus wiped out your colony on Rentathus Nine.” The crew stops socializing with each other, preferring to spend their recreational allotment with CARL, a portion of them becoming smitten with the holographic counsellor. When the replacement empath arrives, she promptly turns off the program.

However, the guilt only lasts a remorseful thread or so before one of us points out that no matter what she is going through, Faith Massey chose to deceive her fans, and we are once more consumed by rage. We say adios to our lingering inhibitions and team up with the Voydals for some seriously off-the-hook trolling. On social media, we manipulate pictures of Commander Dinara Gorun to include block lettering of “Cheater” or “Junkie” or “Terrible Mother” and we tag Faith. To the covers of Commander Dinara Gorun’s THE BODY we add “of lies” so it reads Commander Dinara Gorun’s THE BODY OF LIES. To Skinny Friend frozen dinner packaging, we change Skinny Friend to Not So Skinny Friend. The drawing entitled “The Rape of Commander Dinara Gorun” depicting the rape of Commander Dinara Gorun by a Voydal is taking it too far, we agree, but we require catharsis. “Thanks for ruining our childhoods,” we write, and we send messages composed using pen and paper, using postage we bought with money! When the tabloids document her stumbling out of a bar and a breast with nipple hanging out of her shirt along with the headline FAITH MASSEY MELTDOWN, it is what she deserves. And hey, we finally saw her rack, even if we had to wait decades. Jake Knight issues a statement, in which he pledges his eternal affection for Faith Massey. Also, he does not have herpes, and certain ex-employees might want to be more circumspect about what they blab about on the internet, as someone, such as an attorney, might put two and two together.

An announcement is planned at Comic-Con in San Diego, where there will be a cast reunion for Starship Uprising. We speculate as to what it is, but many of us are adamant that we must boycott. That said, we are too curious for our own good and can’t stay away. Donning our costumes, we are a rambunctious horde of spandex and leather, a crushing throng of selfie sticks that poke each other in the back, and this time we have brought signs. Our signs are inscribed with “Nerd Girls Resist!” or “I Have Faith” or “I am Captain John Augustus Flint, don’t you want to fuck me?” On stage, the crew of the Audacity gathers holding hands while the trumpety theme song warbles through the air. When Faith Massey is introduced, there are boos, but she silences us with a finger to her lips and shushing noises. “The story of Commander Dinara Gorun is one of survival,” she whispers into the microphone, “of fighting for what’s right, the odds be damned. It’s a story that’s desperately needed by another generation.” And then it happens—a Chokut Sar mask sails across the sea of us, and it almost floats (that’s how we will recall the altercation later, while we upload our phone video) as it pauses for a second in front of a frightened Faith Massey, like it was deciding if this is really what it wanted to do, before thwapping her in the face with its floppy insect antennae dildos. A brawl breaks out between Voydals and a purple posse of jacked Kil’aathi as she flees the scene, hysterical. Alas, the rest of us do not find out what was in the announcement.

Allegedly, we were to be told there was a completely fresh season of Starship Uprising in development to debut on a popular streaming service. Elatedly, we practically soil ourselves with anticipation and pray that our actions have not jeopardized the triumphant return of our favorite show. To our relief, production moves forward, minus Jake Knight because of increasing evidence regarding his sexual harassment, though we assume this will have no lasting ramifications. He is Jake Knight, and how can anything challenge a man like that? And when does Faith Massey not confront a challenge? Faith Massey takes selfies on set as she’s done up in the purple skin and silicone concentric crop circle forehead of the Kil’aathi by a man who is not her ex-husband. She also takes a selfie with her daughter and her baby, Joey, and captions it thus, “I have reunited with Ashley. My grandson is a joy. One day, I hope my fans can also share the gift of forgiveness.” When the episodes premiere, we build a nest of blankets, memorabilia, and food (with, yes, Skinny Friend frozen dinners) in our couches and settle in for the long haul. In the first episode, Commander Dinara Gorun is thrown back in time and discovers that the woman who rescued her from the Voydal internment camps was herself. With gravitas, we recite to our televisions, “To save the universe, we must also save ourselves.” The following episode, the main computer is endowed with sentience and goes crazy, so they provide it with porn from a race of sadomasochistic shapeshifters to chill it out. “Put on the ball gag and turn into a gorilla,” a shapeshifter instructs. “Now bark like a dog, as a gorilla.” This thrills us, and we hashtag up a storm. Even the Voydals are impressed and pleased. Starship Uprising is as wonderful as it ever was. We forgive.

You Will Never Be Forgotten book cover

You Will Never Be Forgotten

FSG Originals, 2020

In this provocative, bitingly funny debut collection, people attempt to use technology to escape their uncontrollable feelings of grief or rage or despair, only to reveal their most flawed and human selves

An architect draws questionable inspiration from her daughter’s birth defect. A content moderator for “the world’s biggest search engine,” who spends her days culling videos of beheadings and suicides, turns from stalking her rapist online to following him in real life. At a camp for...

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