Rated PG-13 for language
Note: This is the threatened "Voyager meets Australians" story. It should be noted that most Australians live in 3 bedroom houses on quarter acre blocks on the East Coast of Australia, very rarely use any rhyming slang and only see kangaroos and wombats in zoos. They do eat Vegemite, though. They do not wrestle crocodiles or sleep on the floor habitually. This story, of course, features caricatures. Thanks to those on the PTFever List for their "interpretations" of colloquialisms. An illustrated glossary is at the end of the story.
More Aussies than you Can Poke a Stick At
It was not a typical day on Voyager. Typical days involved travelling the vast distances of the Delta Quadrant, charting the unknown territory, fixing minor system failures. Typical days were when the Captain drank her coffee, BElanna swore at her beloved engines and Neelixs food remained barely edible.
No, today was anything but typical.
It had started with Seven detecting a faint signal recorded in a form of Basic that only Tom Paris seemed to be able to comprehend. It had originated from a planet only a few light years off their course yet did not seem to be directed at them. Further studies showed that the signal was definitely not Starfleet. It seemed to pre-date the era of the Federation.
At first Tuvok had recognised the language but had found the idiom completely incomprehensible. Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok had both spent hours in the ready room trying to understand the nuances.
"Bloody hell. You shoulda seen the old Bag she went completely berko!"
"Too bloody right. Reckon she earbashed him from here to tomorrow."
"Serves the stupid old fart right. Hed been rooting round like a homeless wombat!"
At this point the Captain interrupted:
"Pause there. A wombat. I seem to remember hearing of those on Earth."
"Yes." Tuvok accessed Voyagers databanks. "A marsupial native to Australia. They became extinct in the twenty second century after the climatic crisis."
Chakotay looked at the other two "I wonder if this is an Australian dialect, then, Captain?"
"If it is, Id like to know what a group of Australians are doing out in the Delta Quadrant. Lieutenant Paris spent that time in New Zealand. I wonder if he could assist us?"
Chakotay reached towards his comm.-badge: "I guess well soon find out. Lieutenant Paris, please report to the Captains ready room."
Tom was having a good day. He and BElanna had shared breakfast in his quarters and had plans to meet later on. With the Senior Officers off the Bridge the mood there had lightened considerably and he and Harry had been trying to one-up each other with private messages between their two stations. They had been speculating as to the nature of the message received by Tuvok. Tom had been off the bridge at the time and had missed it. Linguistics had never been his strong point, anyhow.
He walked into the Ready Room expecting to hear instructions as to the co-ordinates of the source of the message and how he was to approach. The last thing he expected was to be asked to be a stand-in Universal Translator.
"Tom, as you know we picked up a transmission from a nearby planet. Were heading there to investigate but the Translator cant process a lot of the phrases as they seem to be idiomatic. We have reason to believe that they might be Australian in origin. Seeing as you spent some time in New Zealand we were hoping that you might know what was being said."
Tom began to laugh, immediately earning a disciplinary look from Chakotay. He hastened to explain:
"You know youre lucky Im not from New Zealand because most Kiwis take extreme offense at being compared with their larger next door neighbours. Thats one of the reasons why Oceania took so long to become one nation." Tom looked thoughtful "I always thought it was unfortunate we didnt have an Aussie on board Voyager it would have made for some interesting Drinking Competitions. Theyre not very found of synthehol, you know."
The Captain felt it was prudent to interrupt Tom at this point:
"Well Tom, national rivalries aside, have a listen and see if you can help. Tuvok, please continue with the recording."
The Vulcan started the play back once more:
"So he got sprung shagging a scrubber did he?"
"My oath. He was spewing severely. Serves him right, hes lower than a snakes armpit."
"Okay mate. Im going to make tracks. See you at the pub?"
"Yeah mate, if the trouble and strife lets me."
All four officers looked at each other blankly. Tom spoke up:
"I recognise a few of the phrases. But theyre, um, kind of, um, oh- how can I say this? Um, Indelicate."
The Captain seemed to enjoy Toms discomfort.
"Really? Perhaps you can enlighten us?"
Tom blushed bright red.
"Um I think that theyre talking about someone being caught with someone he shouldnt have been, um, with if you get what I mean. The next part makes sense lower than a snakes armpit."
But Mr. Paris, a snake does not have an armpit, or arms for that matter."
"Yeah but if it did itd be down on the ground and a low act is, well, a low act."
"The comparison is not logical."
Chakotay intervened at this point:
"So what else was said, Tom? Making Tracks? Road building?"
" Im not sure Commander. A pub is a bar. But Im not sure what kind of trouble would stop an Australian from getting to the pub! It must be pretty dire!"
The Captain intervened. "Mr. Paris prepare for an orbit around the planet of origin of the signal. All others prepare the ship for a possible landing. I want to find out why there is a group of people speaking Australian in the Delta Quadrant, but I dont want Voyager damaged."
Tom had maneuvered Voyager into orbit around the Earth-like planet. It was drier in places than Earth, but still pleasing to the eye. Tuvok opened communications
"Greetings. My name is Captain Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager."
"They are returning your hail"
The view of the planet was replaced by that of an obviously human male. He was wearing what looked to be a cotton shirt and pale coloured pants. Boots, not too dissimilar to those of Starfleet issue, were on his feet.
"Gday Captain Janeway. Barry Smith of New Australia. How are you?"
"Well, Mr. Smith. To be honest, were curious. How did you come to be in the Delta Quadrant?"
"Ah, now. Thats a bloody long story. How bout you come on down and we can have a chin-wag about what were both doing out here? Tell you what, well even fire up the barbie and have some good Aussie tucker. How does that sound?"
Being honest with herself, Kathryn really had no idea whether she was being invited to a virginal sacrifice or a meal. Trusting in the fact that virginal sacrifice was less common than dinner invitations she accepted the offer.
"Excellent. Well see you there then. Ill send the co-ordinates to your Lieutenant."
Janeway, Tuvok, Neelix and Tom beamed down to the planet surface and were met by a motley looking group. Most of the men wore the favoured cotton shirt and cream coloured trousers that Barry Smith favoured, a couple of the men were in blue singlets stained with sweat with indecently tight shorts not quite covering their protruding guts. Some of the women were dressed like the men while others were in an array of dresses.
The planet was dry and orange. Scattered here and there bits of shrub poked their heads out of the dirt and looked as if theyd regretted that decision. A large homestead with a wide verandah sat nearby. Flies settled on the Voyager crewmembers as soon as they materialised.
Mr. Smith walked forward and greeted the party.
"Gday there. Let me introduce you to my family. This is the missus Sheila, my son Gazza and my daughter Kylie. Over here are some of our other upstanding citizens Colin Kearney, our surveyor; Emily McTavish, our head of education; Pete Collins, head of development and Professor Franks our astronomer."
Captain Janeway introduced her crew in turn. Barry then led the party around the back of the homestead where a long table was set near a large hot plate with sizzling meat. Kathryn was glad to see there was nary a sacrificial altar in sight.
"Come and sit down. I bet you septics havent had a good Aussie meal ever."
"I am sure I have not participated in an Australian meal, but I can assure you that we are not unwell, let alone "septic"."
Barry looked puzzled until Emily intervened:
"Mr. Tuvok, we have been isolated here for so long most of us dont realise that we dont speak Basic like you do. A "septic" is rhyming slang for "American". "Septic tank" equals "Yank". You all sound American to us!"
The crew members of Voyager all looked taken aback by the comparison, so much so that Emily spoke up again:
"Dont worry, its used affectionately here."
They started the meal with bread and butter. The colonists plastered a thick black paste over their bread and, not unwilling to try new things, Tom and the Captain did likewise to the raised eyebrows of the "natives". The locals were soon rewarded by the look of absolute horror that passed over their faces. Tom delicately spat his into his napkin and exclaimed:
"Concentrated leola root!!!!!"
At this Neelix tried some of the local paste
"I do believe youre right, Tom. Such a creative way of serving it! We should try this as a sandwich spread on Voyager! And we can stock up on some more!"
Kylie looked astonished:
"You mean you like Vegemite?"
"Is that what you call this? It tastes just like leola root extract. Youll have to give me the recipe!"
Tom, Kathryn and Tuvok all looked at each other with dread. Kathryn decided it was a good time to change the subject as they were presented with plates full of barbecued meat, vegetables and salad.
"So Professor. Im still unsure as to how you came to be so far away from your native home."
"To some extent its still a mystery to us as well. The colony seems to have been founded approximately three hundred years ago. Most of the original inhabitants were single people who wound up here after attempting to cross the Nullabor Plain through South and Western Australia. As early as the twentieth century it was an area known for UFO activity. The environment here was remarkably similar to that of home. So since then weve been building a life for ourselves. Although we definitely dont have technology such as yours! How did you come to be here? Tell us of what has happened on Earth since we left!"
The rest of the evening passed uneventfully from a diplomatic viewpoint although some of the dishes did lead to raised eyebrows. Even Neelix looked somewhat pale when presented with a pie floater the meat pie floating in the sea of gravy with peas surrounding it was almost too much even for his adventurous tastebuds.
Dessert was a huge success with Pavlova and lamingtons being enjoyed by all, even Tuvok commenting on the meringue and fruit being a "logical combination".
The next day was taken up with trade negotiations and updating the Australians with the progress made since their ancestors had been abducted. It seemed that, like the 37s, the New Australians had been abandoned to their fate by their kidnappers. Comparisons showed it was probably the same species.
After a survey had been made the crewmembers of Voyager began to take shore leave. Like the original Australia, New Australia had something for everyone. The crew of Voyager sometimes had trouble understanding the "strine" what the locals called their dialect but could generally make themselves understood.
Tom and BElanna found that they had reached a happy medium on a sandy beach where Tom could water-ski while BElanna baked in the warm sun. BElanna in particular had had trouble with the strine whilst working on an Engineering problem with one of the Australians.
"Bloody hell! Youve been out this long. Its a wonder your ships not completely cactus! Youre a bloody game lot trying to get back home."
Tom had stepped in and translated for her saying that the Aussie meant it was amazing that Voyager had not stopped working and that the crew was very brave trying to return home. BElanna had thanked him and got on with the negotiations, keeping Tom nearby whilst they proceeded.
The crew of Voyager was relaxing for the first time in weeks. Tonight they were invited to a B&S in one of the smaller towns. Tom had discovered that it meant a "Bachelor and Spinster Ball" but seemed to be an excuse for a night out. Talking to Gazza he heard that usually the girls and blokes got "pissed as farts", drove their utes to do "doughies" and then "went and got shagged".
He thought this sounded like an excellent evening out.
Tom and BElanna, along with Harry and Seven went down to the planet. Seven had been less than popular with the colonists, her lack of social graces really "getting up their noses" to which Seven had, of course, responded that she had been nowhere near anyones nostrils. Harry had been having fun petting the native animals, although when an emu pecked him on the head he had not been impressed.
Harry and Seven gravitated towards the quieter crowd, although Sevens attributes extracted many comments from the inebriated males. Tom and BElanna went across to Gazza and his mates Bazza and Daz, and met his girlfriend Shazza. BElanna and Sharon (Shazs real name) soon hit it off, comparing troubles with men who spent too much time with their cars. The fact that they were drinking Bundaberg Rum did lubricate the friendship. The ball was in a hall next to a huge open, cleared paddock. A huge line of utility trucks ("utes") was parked out the side, Fords on one side of the hall and Holdens on the other. Young men were spinning their cars round and round throwing dust into the air "chucking doughies" formally known as "circle work". Competition was fierce. Tom was invited to have a go and had great fun but was nowhere near winning. The real alcohol was a shock to his system after all the synthehol on Voyager.
The rest of the night was spent drinking and dancing, as BElanna queued for the toilet and listened to the incomprehensible gossip Shaz told her the story of two nurses who catheterised themselves so they could pee directly into the bag and keep drinking rather than queue for the loos. (BElanna had quickly learnt that a "loo" was a toilet and had also learnt that the Australians called her "Leftenant Torres".)
As the evening wore on and the slow songs began to play Tom and BElanna drifted together. Gazza supplied an old blanket and they wandered off into a dark corner of the paddock to make love under the stars.
Seven had not been enjoying herself. Her attempts at social conversation had not been successful. She had difficulty understanding phrases such as "Pull the other one it plays jingle bells" when she told of her assimilation by the Borg or when told "hang on to that Harry, good men are scarce as Rocking Horse Shit".
Seven and Harry returned to Voyager, Harry with a severe headache and Seven even more puzzled about human behaviour.
Eventually, though, it was time for Voyager to move on. Fond farewells were said, Neelix got his stock of Leola Root Extract and Tuvok secreted away the recipe for pavlova. No members of the Australian colony asked to join Voyager, much to Toms disappointment. Jokes at the expense of every "Loo-tenant" were rife for days especially those that had drunk too much "amber nectar" and wound up "driving the porcelain bus".
One thing all the crew agreed on, though was
"Those accents really start to grate after a while!!!"
"Bloody" used as an adjective to add emphasis to whatever is being said. Occasionally now being replaced by "F*ing"
"Bag" old lady especially wife or mother-in-law
"Fair dink short for "Are you fair dinkum? Are you telling the truth?
"Too bloody right." affirmative agreement
"Reckon" I believe
"earbashed" yell at or talk to
"from here to tomorrow." a very long way
"old fart" another bloke, not necessarily old . Also "Old bastard" and "old bugger"
"rooting round like a homeless wombat!" to root is to have sexual intercourse, a wombat is a creature who digs out its hole
" sprung"- caught in the act.
" shagging" to have intercourse
"scrubber"- an unattractive female
"My oath"- You are telling the truth "On my oath"
"spewing severely"- very dissapointed. From the concept "he was so upset he was vomiting continuously"
" mate." most people are your mate. Saying to someone "Im not your mate" means that you dont think that they are dealing with you fairly
"Im going to make tracks."- Im going to leave
" pub"- hotel and bar, also known as "the local" or "the waterhole"
"trouble and strife"- the wife
"hooroo" old fashioned Australian goodbye
"Gday" good day to you. Otherwise "Owyagoinmate" How are you going, mate?
"chin-wag" a chat
"Vegemite" its full of Vitamins and Australian kids grow up with it. Noxious to other cultures
"pavlova meringue topped with cream and fresh fruit
"Lamingtons" sponge cake coated with chocolate icing rolled in coconut
"cactus" no longer functioning, stuffed, kaput
"pissed as farts" very drunk, also "as pissed as a newt"
"utes" utility trucks
"doughies" doughnuts, put the handbrake on and spin your car in tight circles ( usually by "hoons" young men driving too fast
"got shagged". had sex (can also mean very tired if youre English which can lead to some interesting confusion)
"Gazza" = Garry
Yes this really does happen!!!
"Pull the other one it plays jingle bells" pull my other leg, you are kidding me
"Scarce as rocking horse shit" pretty self-explanatory
Bundaberg Rum" "Bundy and coke" Australian rum
"Amber nectar" beer
"Drive the Porcelain Bus" throw up in the toilet
"Those accents" most Australians find American accents difficult to tolerate and are very surprised when Americans come over here and complain (whinge) about ours!