Starship Train: Object Lesson

“Entering the sovereignty sphere of planet Angel One, Captain. The crew is due for shore leave.”

“Thank you, Mr. Srock. But I think we’ll leave this one for the next generation. How are your studies of Earth history coming along?”

“I am always looking for opportunities to improve my skills, as you know, Captain.”

“Only too well, Srock. Does the name Betty Friedan mean anything to you?”

“I believe you’re referring to one of the leaders of what the females of your species considered to be an ’emancipation’ movement, in the middle years of your 20th century. It was she, was it not, who said that a woman without a man was like a fish without a bicycle. A fascinating quotation, especially for a species that did not then possess cloning technology.”

“Well, if ever there was a society in which the men needed to have their consciousnesses raised, it’s the society on Angel One.”

“Did not Earth’s social organization itself once approach the extreme matriarchy of Angel One?”

“On several occasions, actually, dating back to Earth’s earliest historical records, and with the most recent occurrence in our twenty-first century, when, in several subcultures, males devolved to roving bands of rogue stallions.”

“It is always hard to strike and maintain a balance.”

“Yes it is. That we’re still here, and touring the galaxy in flying saucers to boot, shows, I guess, that we can make just about any social system work, good, bad, or ugly, if enough of us choose to support it.”

“From earliest days, Captain, the Vulcanian Science Academy ranked your species tops among all the ones we have encountered in ‘creative adaptability’. Had you ranked anywhere near as highly in ‘knowledge’ and ‘discipline’, we would have been far less diffident at first contact.”

“Back o’ me hand to you too, Mr. Srock.”

“I would raise an eyebrow to that, Captain, were I working in a medium in which you could see it.”

“Well, one day, I reckon, Angel One will figure out how to achieve a balance. But not now, and not from us. Warp five, Mr. Solo. Engage.”

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