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Sailing on a Sunny Afternoon

Posted on Sat Jun 29th, 2019 @ 6:30pm by Lieutenant Junior Grade Steven Friday & Lieutenant Junior Grade Cady van der Kellen MD, & Lieutenant Junior Grade Matthieu d'Arlequin
Edited on on Tue Jul 2nd, 2019 @ 10:55am

Mission: Things That May Never Be
Location: Somewhere in the "Forgotten Frontier" Aboard the USS Don Quixote
Timeline: current

ON

Mediating ongoing disputes between Captain Knox and growing numbers of her crew not to mention babysitting the rescued stranger Ensign Steven Friday was growing increasingly wearisome so Cady vander Kellen had decided to engage in a little rest and relaxation on the Don Quixote's single Holodeck. Having discovered that his future boss Dr. Joshua McClaren had published several holo-programs he'd checked out the man's work: "Sonata Beach" was nice but not quite what he was looking for. (A bevy of naked "wahinis" that were all too pneumatic was a bit too distracting!) "Hana Bey Sail" seemed a lot more in line with something he would enjoy. Cady had grown up sailing on Asswompset and a Pacifican Trimaran had a familiar sail configuration so there wasn't a learning curve. Plus there was the added benefit of learning a bit about how his new superior's mind worked.

"Ahoy Cap'n Cady!" Matthieu d'Arequin, the Don Quixote's Science Officer came bouncing down the dock in traditional Pacifica fashion (au natural) "Hope you don't mind--I brought the Morsel along!" Said "morsel" was Ensign Steven Friday: he'd chosen a somewhat more traditional sailing outfit of white shorts and deck shoes and a nautical-striped polo shirt.

The young Ensign tipped his jaunty blue sailor's cap to Cady. "Hope you don't mind me coming along..." he said diffidently.

"We can always use an extra hand," the man replied. "Welcome aboard! I don't suppose either of you know how to sail?"

Friday shook his head. "I've seen it done on a few worlds--from a distance..." he offered. "I don't suppose that counts?"

"I've been sailing a few times," Matt put in. "Never on a boat like this though. What kind of craft is this anyway?"

"Pacifica Trimaran," Cady told them. "My future boss aboard the Sovereign is something of a holo-designer and I thought I'd run one of his programs!"

Matt nodded. "Already trying to figure out your new boss, eh what? How utterly Counselor-like of you!"

"Like you haven't been researching YOUR boss over there?" Cady knew how Matt's mind worked. "If you haven't been I don't know you as well as I thought!"

Matt gave the Counselor a wicked grin. "You caught me boss!" he admitted. "I've read everything Science Officer D'Augustine has published and memorized her biography as well as anything I could find on the Intelligence Officer--just in case they want to transfer me back there..."

"You really miss it, don't you?" Cady said.

"Don't get me wrong," the odd-eyed man replied. "Working undercover is a non-stop adrenaline rush--and I was happy to be serving the Federation! But that part of my life is over now: my cover was blown after I exposed the Cadrassian 'Lotus' trading operation: if I went back to Intelligence I'd probably be stuck doing analysis at a desk! Luckily I have my Science background--and I love that too: it's just hard to be a Science Officer aboard a ship that doesn't do science under a Captain that actively discourages my work!"

Cady nodded. This post had been particularly hard for his friend Matt but he'd born up remarkably well.

"What's 'Lotus'?" Friday wondered.

"It's a particularly nasty drug that ran the length and breadth of the Federation," Cady told him. "White Lotus is a mild euphoric but anyone under the influence becomes highly suggestible: the stuff just wipes out anything resembling good judgement or self control. 'Red' Lotus is a much stronger and longer-lasting version hallucinogen--again with this suggestibility which leads to obvious problems. Black' Lotus adds violent paranoid delusions to the mix."

"And all three are highly addictive and very taxing to the body," Cady added. "Most people don't survive prolonged use. One of the Officers aboard his last ship had gotten into Lotus and Cady hadn't been able to save his life.

"And you busted up the ring?" Friday exclaimed. Wow, that's awesome!" (He was having a serious "hero worship" moment.) "I guess you couldn't stay in under-cover operations after that--but why did they move you out of Intelligence all together?"

"Mainly because a certain Admiral--who shall remain nameless except to say his initials are Ethan Faraday!" Matt told him. "He managed to take credit for busting up the operation--as if he hadn't delegated the work to a huge team of which I was a critical part: everyone involved ended up either retired, removed or shipped off to some forgotten corner of the Federation where they couldn't contradict his story. That's why I ended up on the 'Donkey'!"

"Doesn't seem like the brightest move..." For all the knowledge the Oblivians had crammed into Steven Friday's head there was still a refreshing innocence about him. He clearly hadn't become suspicious and jaded like the two older men: Cady hoped he never would. "Why wouldn't they keep you where your talents were best suited?"

"Morsel--your naievte is delightful!" Matt laughed. "Star Fleet is a vast bureaucracy! There are literally THOUSANDS of ships int fleet plus at least as many science stations and outposts! Everything has to be staffed, dear heart, and sometimes those the bureaucrats in charge don't always make the right connection. Cady here got on the bad side of an influential Captain so he got himself a demotion and shipped off to the 'Donkey'. Me--they decided I needed to lay low for a while since my part in busting the Lotus trade became so public! It didn't help that all the publicity I got took away from the glory he wanted for himself. That's why I ended up here."

"This really isn't such a bad job," Cady put in. "All the big ships and stations need support craft like the 'Don Quixote' to keep doing the business of the Federation. Captain Knox is actually pretty decent at her job--at least she was until her retirement loomed on the horizon. I'm content to do my job here where I am clearly needed."

"And this, Morsel," Matt commented, "is how a Ship's Counselor turns Chicken SHIT into Chicken SALAD! It's a unique form of Mental Judo that only Counselors and maybe Pandas have mastered! Be most wary young Grasshopper!"

But Friday was frankly confused. "Pandas?" he said. "You mean those black and white critters they reverse engineered and reintroduced to China? Sorry Matt--I don't get it!"

"Frankly," Cady put it, stopping his sail preparations for a moment, "you've lost me as well Matthieu! I presume that Pandas aren't what we think so would you care to enlighten us?" He wasn't at all perplexed by the term "Grasshopper"" Matt used that when he was telling a story to younger crewmen: it was his way of telling them that he was about to impart a bit of hard-won wisdom.

"Yes, Pandas are cute little Asian leaf-eaters," the odd-eyed Science Officer replied, "but the Solemn and Secret Order of the Panda is a much different creature! The word 'Panda' is a a corruption of the word 'pander' or maybe 'panderer'. They first became known back on Earth during the Eugenics Wars--they were among the first resisters to the genetic supermen. Since then--if one knows WHERE and HOW to look--one can find them on the edges of galactic society pushing and prodding us toward their idea of a better world. Most people--at least those who know them at all--know them as party-planners and procurers of rarities!"

"So--why are you bringing this up?" Cady wanted to know.

"Because a Panda has installed himself on the Sovereign!" Friday said.

So it seemed Matthieu wasn't the only one who had been spending time studying the crew manifest. "Really?" Cady said. "Who is it and what is he doing aboard a Federation Starship?"

"And why would Captain Kirk even allow someone like that aboard her ship?" Friday asked.

"I can think of three reasons," Matt replied. "ONE: Captain Kirk doesn't know what she has in Panda Conn: Panda Conn was assigned there as Media-Relations Officer--and he's been doing that job to perfection so she'd have no reason to question him. TWO: she knows what she has and doesn't care: Pandas get around quite a bit and they CAN be useful! THREE: someone in Star Fleet forced him on her: the Pandas are generally on the side of the Federation even if they don't serve in an official capacity and both have worked together several times--usually in a covert capacity."

"How did YOU learn all this? Friday asked--just the question Cady was about to ask. He'd never heard of any of this either.

"My Mother worked with them sometimes," Matt replied. "She helps young trainees master the Mystery of Pleasure!"

Friday stuck his fingers in his hears. "La, la, la, la. la, la!" he exclaimed. "Don't think I want to hear this!

Cady most definitely DID want to hear--but this wasn't the time or place. Still, he realized he was going to have to do some deep digging into Panda Conn so he could find out what this man was doing aboard the Sovereign. Something was going on there and, good or ill, he resolved he was going to find out what it was--after they finished their sail...

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