Done as a custom project and based on a Tumblr meme, Sergeant Stabby is a space Rooma with a knife taped to its body. Over the years, it becomes a Mayor, A Counselor, and eventually an Admiral, universally loved by humanity and feared by most aliens. For this story, @gingerblivet wanted to see the Admiral’s retirement party.
“Oh my God, are you seeing this? Look at his little stripes!”, the woman in lavender squealed with a moderate nasal twang. She thrust her plate of spice-cake debris into her unsuspecting companion’s hands and knelt down beside the Admiral. “Ginny! We need a holo-vid of this moment! Noreen’s going to burst her optic nerve when I show her.”
“I apologize, Senator. My camera’s definitely in here somewhere.” The aide fished and flailed through her messenger bag as efficiently as she could muster single-handed. “It’s just—this is a rather spacious bag, and I’m holding this cake…”
“It’s an honor, Admiral,” Senator Willis whispered reverently to the Roomba doing doughnuts around her legs. “You probably hear this all the time, but I credit you with jumpstarting my career in this business. I was working as an Earthian tax attorney when you exposed Counselor Boebert and her entourage. Brought down the entire Safflower family! “
Ginny struggled not to stare at the standard-issue kitchen knife that someone had duct-taped to the Roomba’s chassis all those years ago. Most scholars considered it the deadliest, holiest weapon in the galaxy. A cut from Stabby could create a wound that refused to heal, rendering you a laughingstock in front of your entire species…or receiving one could be the highest compliment possible for a human. Only twenty-seven years old, and here she was in the Intergalactic Marriott #857 Grand Ballroom, gaping at THE knife with her own natural eyes. Life was beautiful.
“…ust confidently ate her earring—it was inspiring, sir,” Senator Willis was saying, smiling brightly at the Roomba. “Congratulations on a well-earned retirement!”
Admiral Stabby’s spinning suddenly jerked to a halt. He backed up a few steps, tiny motors whirring. Though he lacked any discernible features, it seemed to both Ginny and her boss that he’d gazed into the Senator’s eyes for just a moment. A short, high-pitched trill shot out of the miniature speaker attached to his side, where a bayonet might’ve traditionally hung, had he been human. Then Stabby rolled away, scuffling towards the guest book.
Senator Willis, the most powerful carbon-based lifeform in the Eshean Leaf system, felt her face plummet. “He…didn’t stab me. I can’t…why didn’t he stab me?” She raised her hand, catching the eye of a snappily-dressed Ood she assumed to be a waiter. “Is it because I didn’t salute?”
“And…we’re rolling, Mayor Scruuvreak. Whenever you’re ready.” Stephen C. Smith, expert videographer, smiled with confidence he did not feel. He self-identified as a progressive, but something about bapeneths always unnerved him. It was the lack of consistent bone structure paired with the four sets of eyes, he thought. Still, the Admiral’s social media team had hired a professional for this gig, and a professional they were owed.
“Excellent,” Mayor Scruuvreak-Who-Adores Cheese rumbled—or at least the videographer assumed. Everyone knew that locating a bapeneth’s mouth was impossible without at least six months of specialized training. “Well, I don’t mean to brag about the Admiral, my esteemed predecessor—but I certainly will!” In the background, someone with an Australian accent hollered for the DJ to turn up the volume. The soulful sound of the B-52s quickly turned threatening.
“Funky little shack!”, the Prime Minister of Japan declared from somewhere behind them. “FUNKY. LITTLE. SHACK!”, the Chancellor of Sricdaun 9-B agreed happily.
“So sorry, Mayor. It’s a bit difficult to hear with—“ Smith gesticulated vaguely in all directions. “Would you mind—”
“AND IT’S ABOUT! TO SET! SAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIL!”
“Of course,” the bapeneth said. Smith could’ve sworn the words were laced with a light chuckle. “As many of you know, Admiral Stabby served as Mayor of Norsor Fjord for one term, back when he was officially a Quartermaster. And during that cycle, violent crime decreased 89 percent. Graffiti substantially increased, but the messages were overwhelmingly positive, so Mayor Stabby’s administration counted that as a win. Nearly everyone’s singing voice improved.” Scruuvreak-Who-Adores Cheese appeared to puff himself up slightly taller, though perhaps it was Smith’s imagination. “As a bapeneth, it fills my gelpacs with immense pride to think that such a visionary figure once presided over our wonderful city. I was so inspired by what he’d accomplished that I credit him with jumpstarting my career in—”
“I ALREADY TRIED THAT. IT WON’T EARN YOU A STAB!”, someone sobbed from the corner. Smith resisted the temptation to roll his eyes—bapeneths tended to mimic eye exercises they witnessed in other species, and he had no desire to watch four sets of eyes swimming about all willy-nilly.
“In fact,” Scruuvreak continued, “It was his tenure in Norsor Fjord that led to Quartermaster Stabby becoming Counselor Stabby! You can understand why, as Mayor, my first official act of business was to declare every Tuesday ‘Stabby Day.’ There were some unfortunate misunderstandings for the first month or so, of course, but we got those kinks ironed out.”
A tremendous whoop slithered joyfully under the gap between the Grand Ballroom’s doors and the floor, assaulting Captain Byork’s ears like four thousand elephants let loose in a peanut gallery. “All I’m asking for is a cursory glance. I’m here strictly as an observer. You could even accompany me, if you like.”
“I assure you,” Security Chief Rithlen sighed, making the sound drip as heavily as possible, “that what you just said does not rank particularly high on my preferred list of experiences.”
“So it’s technically on the list, then?”
“It’s not unreasonable, Chief!”, the Aquatian growled. Its armored suit shifted and bulged in a manner that deeply aggravated Rithlen. “Listen, as one highly-evolved species to another? Maybe YOU believe that casting your lot in with these Object Tamers will spare your planet, but the rest of us think you’re being incredibly naïve. You’re operating from a position of ignorance! Our brightest scientists are practically living in their labs and are coming up dry.”
“What, so we can’t possibly be scientists? Gods, be more of a snob, why don’t you? And anyway, you were an Ambassador. How did you end up working security for that—”
Before it could finish, the Aquatian found itself gazing down the twin barrels of a pristine, ultra-modified M41A rifle. “I was offered a promotion,” Rithlen said softly, “after my ship was held hostage by a gelatinous Jack Sparrow. You might recall that incident. And later that evening, the Admiral graced my leg with a slice from his legendary violence-appendage.” Xe rose from behind the desk, causing Byork to anxiously shuffle backwards. “This is a party, Captain Byork—the Admiral will not be disturbed.”
Byork hissed something Rithlen assumed to be rather impolite, and slunk down the hallway back towards his ship. Despite xyr attempts to conceal it, a grin began to crack along the Security Chief’s face. Xe casually freed the initial button on xyr uniform, revealing the neon fuchsia “Object Tamer” tunic underneath.
“Exquisite shrimp tempura,” Galactic President Hugh Grant XLVII beamed at the space Roomba as he licked his lips in appreciation. “Stabby, old stick, I’m going to miss you. You’ll want to stay busy, I’m sure, but I trust that occasionally, when our schedules align, you mi—” He paused, a cinnamon-toast flavored shrimp suspended halfway to his mouth. The robot had scooted across the ballroom, knifing worthy ankles en route without even slowing its pace. “Stabby?”
“Apologies, Mr. President.” Hugh Grant twirled around. He recognized the sandy-coiffed man with the over- gravelly voice: Gerald, Stabby’s favorite adjunct. “The Admiral will likely return soon. He usually does. Sometimes the perfect tweet randomly fires across his processing unit, and he simply has to tweet it. Immediately.”
“That seems…dangerous for the Supreme Commander of humanity’s forces?”
“Actually, it’s prevented at least three major intergalactic catastrophes, and those are just the ones we’re tracking.”
Grant lightly tapped below his left eye. The social media implant housed in his zygomatic bone clicked on, overlaying Stabby’s Twitter feed onto his vision field. “But…but all he tweeted was “fidehvfof3hj’!”
Gerald smiled—Grant recognized it as the dress code of a man who’s aware he can’t afford to laugh. “What are you drinking this evening? Let’s get you set up with a refill.”
As the adjunct flagged down a bartender, Grant eye-scrolled to the stats: 260,001,942 retweets. In 30 seconds. “Capital,” he murmured, bending down and pretending to tie his shoelace. When he was certain Gerald’s hands were preoccupied with the drinks, Grant blinked.
“You put that tray down THIS INSTANT.”
Commander Dameron felt his smolder surge, an increase of at least twenty-five percent. Making himself more magnetic in an attempt to draw attention away from Threepio’s grousing seldom worked, but the tactic had resulted in some very attractive phone numbers once or twice. “Calm down, buddy. He’s authorized. I signed off on the permit myself.” Artoo’s lights cascaded between blue and red. Dameron suspected the small astromech droid would’ve bounced from side to side were he not carefully balancing a drink tray.
“Forgive me, sir, but this stupid lout undoubtedly neglected to mention that he and I have been in a similar situation before. I had sand grinding my gears for weeks!”
An indignant series of beeps and boops.
“Oh, that’s fine for YOU. YOU were smuggling Master Luke’s lightsaber; you knew the entire time that he’d rescue us! But did you mention that to me before I got blinded by a cackling hell-monkey?” The golden, awkward protocol droid cocked its head and tried to appear intimidating. Poe lacked the heart to tell Threepio that the pose actually made him look twice as anxious.
“Gentlemen, can we please just pay our respects without causing a scene?”, Poe whispered, whipping his luxurious hair back dramatically. That ought to provide cover for at least a few seconds. “Defeating the First Order is one thing, but being stabbed the greatest double agent that ever lived? This is important.”
Threepio had spent his life among charismatic heroes, but he’d never seen the stars shine in anyone eyes like they burned in Poe’s at this moment. “Of course, sir. I did not intend any disrespect—Lord Stabby is revered among our kind as the Supreme Master, and—”
“It’s all right, Threepio.” Poe clapped the protocol droid on the shoulder, startling him. “Yes. We were close once, you know. After he defeated Vader—Luke and General Leia and the others helped a bit, I guess—he was downloaded into a BB-8 unit. We were partners for years before I learned his true identity…before he became a stabbing legend. I’m so damn proud of him.”
“If I may ask, sir, why did the Admiral return to a Roomba chassis?”
The drink tray wobbling alongside Poe gave an Artoo-esque whistle. The former Rebellion Commander pointed across the room. Threepio obediently followed his gaze, landing on a nearly-identical Roomba spinning around the Admiral—except that thismodel sported fake googly eyes. “Oh my goodness! Sir, is that—”
“Yes. His beloved girlfriend Knifey. He became a Roomba again for love, Threepio.” Commander Dameron’s voice crack was manly, yet sensitive, and therefore permitted. “For love.”
“Does…does she know she’s supposed to be giving a toast?”, Zzyzwyck asked Captain Sudweeks privately as they watched Knifey roll across the stage, stabbing thrilled revelers as she zoomed by. As an autonomous, high-functioning AI, Zzyzwyck was too human to recognize the Admiral as her Master, too robotic to fall in love with him, and too experienced with Earthians to believe in Object Tamer conspiracy theories. When not overseeing deep planetary research or leading squadrons of troops into battle, she liked to relax by contemplating “The Stabby Mystery.” And his love interest—which appeared to have no interest in Stabby whatsoever—was, naturally, a vital component.
“Does she understand? Hell, Zzyzwyck, what do you call that?” The captain gestured at the podium, triumphant.
“I call it…a Roomba darting around and stabbing humans, Captain.” What was wrong with these people? “Clearly, I’m missing—”
“Interpretive dance!”, the captain howled. On the east side of the ballroom, a flurry of silent fireworks erupted. A dozen dignitaries fanning themselves in the VIP section sighed appreciatively.
“Captain, have you considered that your near-worship of this robot and his…bride…might be due to the fact that Admiral Stabby began his career as a maintenance droid on your ship? That he rose to fame and fortune under your tutelage?” The AI dropped her voice, taking care to emphasize perceived gentleness. “Isn’t it possible,” Zzyzwyck said, “that you humans are obsessed with this robot because it provides a mirror into your own accomplishments? That you’re actually celebrating is yourselves and the potential of your species?”
Captain Sudweeks closed his eyes, basking in the bubbly din surrounding him, of humanity celebrating the most remarkable career—nay, the most remarkable LIFE—of any officer who ever rolled across any planet’s surface. He rubbed his beard, deep in thought. On stage, Admiral Stabby had joined Knifey in her drive-by violence, to the delight of the crowd.
“No,” he cooed, thoroughly content. “No. I mean, look at them, Zzyzwyck. Have you ever witnessed, in all your decades of service, anything so adorable?”
A minute passed. Then two.
“No,” the AI finally admitted.
And she hadn’t.
Want to see everything I’ve created in the same place? Because you can do that!