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Cdr Alces

From the Logs of Zar Alces

Stardate 10809.16


Cdr Alces sat in commissary, slowly eating a large bowl of Iocastan grapefruit. A half-empty bottle of Altair water sat on the table next to him. This was day six of his twenty-one day grapefruit and water diet, an age-old routine for purging one's flesh of toxins. His body felt out of sorts after consuming 312 memory supplements, so he decided to endure this ritual that was introduced to him by a holistic guru on Earth in the 22nd century. The man had been a perfect specimen of health up until his 32nd birthday when he got hit by a truck. Life was short, thought Alces. The guru should have enjoyed more steak.


Alces wanted a steak the way a drowning man wants air. Not only the steak, but cheddar scalloped potatoes and asparagus with hollandaise, accompanied by a nice bottle of Merlot and half of a New York cheesecake drenched in raspberry custard. He would have gladly consumed this gluttonous feast, except that Lt. Bryant had day 6 in the pool, and he was determined not to give her that satisfaction. She sat across the lounge, smiling at him, almost as if she could read the hunger in his mind. No, he wouldn't cave on day 6. Ens. Prieto had day 7, and Alces didn't like him any more than he liked Bryant. Yeoman Alba had day 8. She was blonde and perky. Maybe he'd break his diet for her benefit?



Thoughts of the Yeoman were pushed out of his head as quickly as thoughts of food. He was the 1st Officer. Technically, everyone worked for him. His second-favorite vice was just as off limits as his first. It wasn't really against regulations anymore. Deep space expeditions caused that rule to be broken so often that it fell into the "don't run with scissors" category. But it was something worse than being against regulations ... it was tacky.



But still, there was a restlessness in him that he found irritating. Maybe it was due to the piles of replicated fruit doing their job in his system. Or maybe it was all the dalliances he had been witnessing. He could barely go anywhere in the ship without this one wagging their tail at that one, or this one pouting in his beer while that one went to dinner with some other one. But he had to admit that the crew had been working hard, and there were limited ways of relieving stress on a starship. God forbid anyone should try exercise.



Alces needed a diversion, and the astrophysics research they were gathering just wasn't it. He needed to play, and it needed to be something unique. There were only so many times he could sneak powdered dye into Marx's antique water shower and still be amused. He stared out the window, watching the stars drift by, and wished for inspiration.



Suddenly, a constellation caught his eye, and in a single moment, his wish was granted. The Triton cluster was right there, not 100 light years away. And right on the border of Triton was the Cloud of Pacifica and New Atlantis. The Cloud of Pacifica was the only place where you could find flying space serpents. Aside from the skins and the oils they produced, the flesh of the space serpents was a delicacy on 27 known worlds. They fetched top dollar on the open market. You couldn't travel through the cloud by warp, and impulse engines drove the beasts away. The antique space sailing vessels used for harvesting were no match for the creatures if they caught wind of what you were doing and decided to stampede. This made them difficult, expensive, and dangerous to catch.


New Atlantis grew around the serpent trade. After all, the sailors needed somewhere to sell their catch, and an even bigger somewhere to spend their loot. It was a rough spaceport. In spite of the wealth, everyone there was transient. Fortunes were made and lost in an instant. Some people were trapped there waiting for the next big score, others took off the second the check cleared. And everyone had a deal for you to buy into There were too many bars, and gambling halls. Alces remembered one in particular called Cleo's where they employed Cameliod hostesses who would change their sex and features based on the preference of their clients. He wondered if it was still there. He wondered if he'd be allowed back in. Alces had won a large amount of money once from the owner, who was running a rigged poker game ... or so he had thought. Well. that shouldn't be a problem. It was over 150 years ago. And besides, Alces had a different body now. No one would recognize him as the woman who had cheated a boss who was probably long dead or gone.



Yes, a vacation. A fishing trip. It's exactly what everyone needed. Well, it was what Alces needed, and the crew needed him not to be crabby. It sounded like a win / win for everyone, provided he could get the Arcadia to New Atlantis. Arphazad would never agree to a fishing expedition, the bleeding-heart pacifist vegetarian that he was. No there had to be a scientific reason. They were the only starship within days of the sector and they were studying the astrometric effects of solar radiation. Solar radiation could endanger the serpents. The entire economy of New Atlantis would collapse if the serpents disappeared. Maybe they were lucky and there were poachers. It was worth a visit as long as there were there anyway. Alces was an excellent spin-doctor. He was confident that he could find a reason why it was time for a Federation starship to pay a visit to this out-of-the-way seedy port-of-call.


Thoughts of food and other vices aside, Alces left half his grapefruit sitting on the table and went to look for Captain Lo'Ami.


Zar Alces

First Officer

USS Arcadia, NCC-1742-E

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