Sunday January 8, 2006
Book 7: Emperor Pius Dei — Part IV: Touch and Go
Note: There's a principle known as "brand dilution" in which a brand becomes so successful that all products of a given type end up being referred to by that brand name. 21st-century readers probably buy "band-aids" and "frisbees" without ever sending money to Johnson & Johnson or Wham-O. Naturally, this frustrates the overly-successful capitalists, and nowhere is this more evident than among the already-easily-frustrated French. After all, "champagne" was originally named for a French province. They decided that it should be illegal to call anything "champagne" unless it a) was created in that province, and b) met high standards for pinkness, bubbliness, and whatever else it is that makes champagne champagne.

Entrepreneurial colonists on Celeschul imported large quantities of soil and associated biomass from the champagne province in an effort to circumvent a loophole in the gordian knot of 23rd-century trademark laws. They shortly found themselves stymied by a UNS resolution funded by Neo-Frenchist lobbyists. Desperate, they hired a good marketing firm, established a troupe of "traditional" dancers on their imported french soil, and in good time laid indisputable claim to the trademark "champ du pagne," which translates as "field of the loincloth."

These days the dancing is decidedly second-rate, and rather more naked than it needs to be. The sparkling "champ du pagne" wine, however, is the best in the galaxy. So good, in fact, that by the mid-28th century 95% of the vineyards in California, South Africa, Australia, and France abandoned their businesses entirely. "Champagne" is now the brand name applied to a seasonally popular pink paint. It has no bubbles at all, and may be harmful or fatal if swallowed.


Narrator: The entire company has been assembled in the forward rec-deck aboard their soon-to-be-christened mercenary warship.
Kevyn: Company, Attention!
Kevyn: Per ancient tradition, Captain Tagon is E.V.A. with a bottle of the finest sparkling wine, imported from the Champ du Pagne vineyards on Celeschul.
Kevyn: The vessel will receive her name with the breaking of the bottle.
Schlock: What if it breaks the window?
Kevyn: The window is thousands of times stronger than the bottle, Sergeant. Observe. . .
Captain Tagon: I christen thee. . . Touch-And-Go!
Schlock: Looks like the bottle's pretty tough, too.
Captain Tagon: It's okay, I caught it. Let's try this again.
Captain Tagon: I christen thee. . . Touch-And-Go!
Captain Tagon: Now I'll just open it and pour.
Kevyn: Umm. . . Captain, sparkling wine is under pressure.
Schlock: Best christening ever!
Captain Tagon: It's alright. I'm okay!