On October 1st of 2010
A baby girl, to Joyce and Glen,
Was born in Chicago, Illinois
And broke the heart of many a boy
(Featured in many hot dreams)
When she grew up into her teens.

Not only looks did this girl gain,
Also a rare, distinctive name.
Parents, strange, do sometimes get
So called their daughter Juliet
(From a certain play, you know,
That also starred one Romeo).

As well as looks and name we find
She also had a brilliant mind.
So, one day, it did dawn on her
To move to California
Where she studied hard all day
In the halls of UCLA.

An astronaut she wished to be
So majored in Astronomy,
Also math, including sines,
And spaceship innards and engines.
I'm sorry about that previous line
But it's awful hard to make this rhyme.

{short description of image}She quickly gained her Phds,
As well as sev'ral more degrees,
So SpaceCorps, therefore, did accept
This girl with major intellect,
And Juliet was promptly mad e
A scout ship engineer (3rd grade).

Soon afterwards her orders came
To take herself, looks, smarts and name,
By a shuttle up to the moon
Where Pleides was arriving soon.
She packed her bags and quickly went
Into the starry firmament.

At last the Pleides she found
And went aboard to look around.
It was an old and battered ship
Held together with luck and spit.
To be called a 'ship' it was not fit,
It was, in fact, a piece of shit!

The crew, it seemed, were all inept
Which shows why it was so poorly kept,
Still, they seemed a friendly bunch
They even brought her up her lunch.
And so she spent a pleasant day
Unpacking things to put away.

The change in mood was hard to spot,
T'wasn't till well past Mars they'd got
Before Juliet did realise
Just how much she was despised.
They bullied, pushed, and forced her to
Do all the chores that they should do.

Pretty soon it came to pass,
As the crew sat on their collective ass,
Poor Juliet, that girlish slip,
Did have to run the whole damn ship;
Cook their meals and do their jobs
And wash and clean. The lazy slobs!

Now she was a woman, that was true,
And the youngest, she'd grant that too,
But she was almost as qualified
As Einstein was (before he died).
So even though they showed her hate
She'd prove that she could pull her weight.

Eleven months of thankless work
For Captain Snert, that ugly jerk.
She flew the ship through starry voids
And mapped out loads of asteroids,
And kept the reactor burning right,
All that on three hours sleep a night.

The afternoon of June the 12th
Was no so great for Juliet's health.
Her vital signs went for the worse
When the reactor core upped and burst.
It blew her to a tiny heap
(But at least she finally got some sleep).

She lay there in a pool of blood,
Which didn't do her that much good.
But for Juliet, in her hour of need
The crew acted with unusual speed.
To her aid they did run
(Once the Superbowl was done).

Into the autodoc they dumped,
The battered, broken, bloody lump
And fairly quickly turned it on.
Then, as the 'doc began to hum,
They prayed it would not be her grave
(Well it's awful hard to lose a slave).

The autodoc, with zest and zeal,
Carefully took out each piece of steel
That had pierced her fragile flesh
Making her look a frightful mess.
With drugs it filled her to the gills
Trying to cure her many ills.

It ticked and hummed for days on end
Getting Ju back on the mend.
The crew, that sordid bunch of goons,
Hoped Juliet would get well soon.
(If that seems somewhat out of character
Remember, they had to do some work without her).

Now fate, you may say, has not been nice
Treating Juliet with a heart of ice.
So just for you we'll even score
And short out the computer core.
Off went the reactor w arning
And to the lifeboat the crew went pouring.

As for Juliet, they neglected her
And jumped ship like the rats they were.
Captains die with ships is the usual notion
So they gave Juliet a field promotion.
Then as they fled into the void
They were atomised by an asteroid.

At this point I think we'll take
A well deserved commercial break:
Drink Coke, eat Spam, drive Ford's new car,
And brush your teeth with Gibbs SR,
Get your gob 'round Wrigley's gum,
Use Andrex tissue on your bum.

Let Beecham's Powders cure your ills
When you've drunk too much Holsten Pils.
Buy some tickets for Les Mis,
And make the BBC what it is,
Now after all that selling time
We'll go back to the storyline.

When Juliet gained consciousness
She knew she was in a dreadful mess.
Her muscles ached, her bones all cracked,
Her brain was tired; she was completely whacked.
She lay awhile, just to revive,
Thankful that she was alive.

Eventu'lly she wandered out
And round the ship she looked about.
She checked the ship from tip to stern
And realised there was no one herm.
(I know that rhyme was a load of shit
But it's very hard to make things fit).

She didn't really have her doubts
'Till she saw the computer core had shorted out.
Now this may not seem so bad,
She was alive, she should be glad.
But it don't exactly make your day
When home's ten million miles away.

If that wasn't enough to put her in a funk
The radio too was a pile of junk.
Also trashed; the astrogator,
Essential tool for a navigator.
So, unless she wanted to be dead,
The math she'd do inside her head.

Now if you're twelve yards to the right
A tower, of which, you need the height,
A protractor to measure angles with,
A book of sines, some long divis.
Trigonometry will do the biz
And say how high the tower is.

So Juliet set about her task
Of trying to save her pretty ass
By turning the crippled ship around
And landing on some earthly ground.
She worked the problems all about her
With nothing but a calculator.

The positions of the stars she spied
And found out where she was (or tried).
Some other factors did she need;
9 million miles a day (her speed),
Her destination in the stars;
It had to be the planet Mars.

She scribbled hard on pads galore,
Used seven pencils, maybe more,
To work out what she had to do
Not to mention when to do it too.
It's lucky Juliet's so bright,
Other folk wouldn't get it right.

She fired the engines right on time
Changing course to a Mars-bound line
Or at least where Mars was going to be
When she arrived on July 3.
Hoping she was on the path
And not made a balls up of the math.

Twelve days went past, really slow
And pretty soon she would know
Whether she had got it right
Or if she'd sail past in the night.
She'd have to be spot on time
'Cause these ship's don't turn on a dime.

It wasn't 'til July 1st
That Juliet discerned the worst
Her course was perfect, but then
She hadn't enough oxygen.
It was rather tough to believe
There wasn't enough air to breathe.

She sat and got real depressed
What a rotten, frightful mess.
So booze she got from the medibay
And got rat-arsed in a major way.
I know you're thinking it's not fair,
But then again life's tough, so there!

With computer down and sensors none
Poor Juliet sat there all alone
Knowing she was about to die
And philosophic'ly wond'ring why
When 'Hey you'!' from the speaker blared
And Juliet, shocked, fell off her chair.

'Get out the way, ya stupid dame
This is a major spatial lane.'
See Pleides while on it's way
Had cut up a stellar motorway
And it had almost hit
A pretty big container ship.

So in the end it all worked out fine
And Juliet became next in line
For engineer, chief no less
Aboard the Grissom (USS),
And so we leave this tale my friend
At this point, which is the end.

 

Poem by D. James Sanderson, illustrated by Claire.©