Episode 63: And So, Having Re-Re-Refitted the Starship…

Captain’s Blog, Stardate… uh… sigh. Figures my communicator would die right now. Sometime I should actually put a clock in here. Anyways, we are just finishing up our latest refit, and while I’m dreading having to learn my own ship all over again, at least they finally granted my request to have the Captain’s Shuttle re-instated. Not that I’ve ever needed to use it in an episode ever before, but I miss my FleeT Cruiser. Sure, the thing is leaking oil like crazy, and the CD player doesn’t work, and I haven’t seen my keys since Season 1, but still… it’s a little slice of home, and I’ll take what I can get. Plus, Jed Jenkins is working on it right now, and says it oughta be purring like Tolstoy’s kitten by the time we ship out.

The Fleet has had a troubling trend regarding Academy graduates the last several stardates, and that is the rising number of Ship Design majors versus the dwindling number of Ship Repair majors. As a result, many starbases have had no other way to deal with damaged or otherwise-in-need-of-upgrading vessels than to simply do a refit every time. While some people — mostly admirals — enjoyed the fact that practically the entire Fleet got a facelift on a regular basis, none of them have had to actually serve on any of those constantly-changing ships… except, of course, for the technical writers, who have plenty of work to do continually revising the Ship Operating Procedure manuals.


As Captain Clerk woke up, he half-expected to see his quarters completely remodeled. To his disappointment, they weren’t.

The captain’s route to the bridge was a little longer this morning, and it wasn’t due to renovations: he had finally caved in to the elevator’s suggestions to try out one of the new locally-owned and operated coffee shops. Clerk estimated that he had lost between 14-17% efficiency in terms of his travel route… but then again, he couldn’t deny the benefits of shopping locally, Intergalactic Free Trade, and so on. Plus, the barista gave him a free scone for being a regular customer! And, admittedly, the coffee wasn’t half-bad either.

Clerk’s mood, however, was quickly soured when he tried to order his favorite food for breakfast.

“Spring rolls are not a breakfast food,” the food kiosk told him in a friendly but non-negotiable way. “Between 0500 and 1100 hours, only breakfast foods are available for replication.”

“But we’re on a starship,” the Captain insisted. “The time-of-day is arbitrary. And besides, why are certain foods limited to certain times anyways? Seems ridiculous to me. What if you had a culture that–”

“Spring rolls are not a breakfast food. Between 0500 and 1100 hours, only–”

Sigh. “Captain’s override,” Clerk interrupted the kiosk’s interruption. He took a deep breath. “Now, I would like to order–”

“This kiosk is not programmed to recognize Captain’s Override.”

Oh really? We’ll see about that. “Would you like to be replaced with one of Jed Jenkins’ pet projects? He has nothing to do today, and all I have to do is give him permission.”

A few seconds of silence passed, then a brown paper bag coalesced into existence inside the kiosk. “Enjoy your spring rolls, Captain,” chirped the kiosk in a more friendly tone.

“Thank you,” Captain Clerk said, satisfied. He balanced the hard-won bag in his arms along with his scone and two cups of coffee, plus the FleetPad full of notes from Yeoman Rind that he’d planned on ignoring this morning, and headed on to Elevator 2.


“Lt. Eric, do you like scones?”

The navigator turned around at the Captain’s question. “Well…” he said with unsurety. “I don’t think I’ve ever had one, sir.”

“Well, here you go,” Clerk said, tossing his newly-acquired one clear across the Bridge. Eric’s third arm reached up and grabbed it mid-air. “I just got this one for free this morning, and I can’t stand the things. I hear they’re all the rage these stardates, though.”

“Thank you, sir!” Lt. Eric said excitedly. He hadn’t had time for breakfast, and now he was going to enjoy a trendy, exotic treat! Captain Clerk didn’t know it, but he’d just made the Edosian’s day — nay, his entire week — with just a simple quick bread.

Clerk set his stuff down in the Big Comfy Chair, and took his last item — the 2nd cup of coffee — over to Lt. Commander Info’s station. Ever since the android had learned that the Captain was frequenting his favorite coffee shop, the two struck a deal: Clerk would bring the morning coffee, and Info would go to work 15 minutes earlier every day.

As he set the cup in the cupholder, Clerk leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. Info turned and looked up. “Is there something I can help you with, sir?”

“I’ve been meaning to ask you something… Why is it that you drink coffee, anyways? I mean, you’re an android. You don’t need food and drink, right?”

“Well, no, not like you do, sir,” Info replied. “But I do need fuel. When I was first admitted into the Academy, we had to work this problem out. We discovered that the two most efficient fuels were: a complex blend of minerals mined from a single small facility on the edge of the Neutral Zone… and coffee. We went with coffee since it’s cheaper and tastes better.”

“And the creamer?”

“It serves as a lubricant for my internal mechanical systems.”

“Cheaper than oil?”

“Not really,” Info said with a bit of a shrug. “It’s just that oil tastes horrible with coffee.”