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Cool Green Hills of Earth

Posted on Tue Feb 14th, 2012 @ 2:40pm by Captain Zartog

Mission: Raw Materials
Location: Cargo Bay One

{Cargo Bay One}

Marcel Smida stepped into the common area, later one night. A crowd started gathering, since he was carrying his guitar. "Built it myself," he said, "on a long stretch out along the Rim."

"A moment," he said, as he sat down. Blowing into a pitch pipe for a starting note, he rapidly tuned the guitar and strummed a few bars of a nonsense song. He had an audience now, as colonists filtered in, and as Starfleet crew gathered on the edges.

"This selection is from a long time ago, inspired by an author named Robert Heinlein. Any errors are mine, and I apologize for the liberties I've taken."

Humming again, he struck up the first chords of the song, and began singing in a clear tenor voice.

He was just sixteen and had never seen the Galaxy's starry shine,
But he signed his slip and and he packed his grip and he got himself in line.
A five year stay would take him away
From the cool green hills of Earth.

He did not know much, but there was little, such, that did not get by his ken
So he studied hard in the engine's yard till his knowledge grew again.
And the months went fast as the light-years passed
Away from his place of birth.

He would stay right by the engine's cry as he travelled here and there;
He could tell by feel what the engine's squeal would tell him, fair and square -
And he'd tell the men, from whe'er he'd been
Of the cool green hills of Earth.

A mechanic's bench, with an oily wrench, was where he called his home,
Far across the space there was no such place that would stop his lonely roam -
But he always said he would lay his head
On the blue green hills of Earth.

"I'll go back to stay," they'd hear him say, "And live there all my life,
But the ship depends on my daily mends, or the damage would be rife
So I'll fix it, now, and let time allow,
When I've given what I'm worth."

By his fifteenth year he was nowhere near to returning back to Sol.
When a meteor strike blew a hole in the dike of the engine's inner wall.
Of that nuclear hell no man could dwell
In the radioactive score.

If they did not mend the meteor's rend everyone on board would die
But he saved their fate when, without a wait, he said that he would try.
He could tell by feel what he had to heal
In the darkness of the core.

By the afterglow that would only show the least that he could see,
He fixed the gash that was burnt to ash so the people all could be
Safer, then, and, once again,
Returned to a gentler shore.

"The patch is done and we're on the run, and I'm feeling quite alright
I'll check it, then, and fix it again -- if you'll you just turn on the light."
But he couldn't see his reality
When they turned them up some more.

A mechanic who can't work his due can never pay his ride
So they lifted ship at a lively clip and left him on the side.
He had no stock at the lonely dock
And there was no place left to go.

He'd swab a deck just for a check and a trip on down the line
So they'd let it be when he couldn't see anyplace that he should sign,
And he didn't know where the ship would go
But it got himself a berth.

I saw him live in a lonely dive that was smaller than its size
He was sitting there with disheveled hair and a blindfold for his eyes
For a single beer he'd bend your ear
Of the old green hills of Earth

He wanders still, and he always will, say the stories that they tell,
And he talks real good, like he always could -- though he's wrapped up in his hell
But I believe he will always grieve
For the cool green hills of Earth.

The song ended, echoing back the last few melancholy notes among the humming machinery, and a few people clapped.

"A livelier tune," he said. "Let's have a request."


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