Captain's Blog, Stardate:  Mid-morning on the last day of Convention Week! It's about time! After all that's gone on these last several days, I am beyond ready for what is always the highlight of the week for me: the Captains' Brunch! Few things invigorate a Starship Captain better than getting together with other captains to hang out, share ideas, and tell old war stories. Though I gotta say, I'm glad they backed off from quarterly brunches, 'cause some of these guys are better for you in smaller doses.

Captain Clerk put on his nicest uniform (which only ever gets worn to these brunches) with a smile, a deep breath, and, it must be said, a little lingering nervousness. Sure, he'd gotten used to these things for the most part, but old neuroses die hard (and Clerk's really only take vacations). Plus, not every captain is as chummy as Captain Johnny "Golden" Arches -- there are always the Feltys and the "Old School" Nezbomb wannabes. This time, however, Clerk was prepared with a fresh bottle of Klonipin, after finally relenting and calling Lt. Ethel at the last moment.

He was pretty sure he heard her weep for joy upon hearing him ask to schedule an appointment.

Strolling down the hallway of Commodore Matthew "Matt-Dogg" Doubledecker Memorial Hotel and Convention Center, Clerk met up with Admiral Placãrd, who was one of the only Admirals still invited to these gatherings.

"Ah, good to see you, my dear Jimi," Placãrd said with a smile. "You're actually a little early for a change."

"Yeah, Janet's been setting all my alarms even earlier lately."

"Is she still doing the... uh..."

"Periodic 2am alarm just to keep me on my toes? You know it."

"Some things never change. I remember her doing that to me when she was my yeoman."

"I hear that's become standard training at the Academy now. They're even calling it 'The Rind Method' if I recall correctly."

"Well, I don't know about that," Placãrd said, glancing around. "If it is, it certainly wasn't at my suggestion. I still wake up at that hour randomly to this day, despite whatever sleeping pills I'm on. Anyways, I was meaning to ask you: I haven't seen Captain Safeway yet. She never misses these things. Do you have any idea what's going on?"

Clerk rolled his eyes and sighed heavily. "Yeah, I heard from her. She called earlier to tell me she couldn't make it because she's on the other side of the galaxy or some such nonsense. Like it's going to take 70-some-odd years to get back and blah, blah, blah. I'll tell you what, that woman will come up with any excuse."

"Attention, please. Attention, please. The Captains' Brunch will begin in five minutes."

"We'd better get a move on," said Placãrd.


The Brunch started off well, despite the now ritual heckling of Clerk in which he has to recount -- again -- the story of how he got his nickname, though it wasn't as bad this time since he has gradually become desensitized to it. The food was on par with previous Brunches, though everybody in attendance lamented the lack of Kzinti Danishes.

Once everybody had had a good while to chatter, Admiral Nezbomb -- fresh from his lengthy galaxy-trotting vacation -- stood at the lectern at the front of the room to make an announcement. While he wore the shirt part of his uniform, he was still in his Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, though nobody said anything, what with his being the senior officer in the room (and, perhaps, some residual fear of a return of his old self).

"Good morning, everybody," Nezbomb began. "As much as I don't want to interrupt everybody's good time, we do have one Important Official Item of Business to discuss." Moans and groans came from scattered locations in the room. "I know, I know. But we gotta do at least one of these things, or we can't call it an official function. Regulations are regulations."

Captain Arches raised his hand. "This isn't about the proposed uniform redesigns, is it?"

"No, not this time. All the top brass are still arguing over whether or not to make the command color Red. Why they want to switch it with Gold, I'll never know. Anyways... this is about a new regulation that's going into effect immediately, concerning the communication of complaints, suggestions and other issues from crewmembers to officers. We've been concerned about effective inter-crew communication for months, what with all the complaints we've received about the email system. A lot of captains don't read theirs, certain ships have perennial connectivity issues, and with all the other emails we all get, they're easy to miss."

I hope this means email-checking is going back to being optional.

"So, as a result, we're all going back to--"

To every Captain's horror, Nezbomb reached into his binder, then pulled out and held up the one thing everybody was afraid he was going to hold up... a sheet of paper.

"--hard copies."