Captain’s Briefing Room, USS
"You’ve got to be kidding me!" Stryker
exclaimed, a shocked look on his face.
That was the only response to the
bombshell that Captain T.E. Lawrence had just dropped into the
weekly Department Head meeting. All around the large table there
were stares, grins, and perplexed looks—mostly there was silence.
"That’s the word from Admiral Evans."
T.E. replied with a lopsided grin. "We’re going to load up the
PHOENIX with dependent wives, husbands and children and take a Tiger
Cruise to the grand opening of Starfleet’s only custom-built R&R
station: the just completed asteroid Xanadu."
She leaned forward and tapped the table
top just in front of Stryker’s bowed head with her finger. "That
means that you, Commander Wolphbayne Stryker, get to organize this
"Oh, my aching ass," Stryker mumbled.
He looked up suddenly. "That means I’ll need to delegate authority,
Lawrence shrugged. "If you need to, of
"Oh, I need to. I really need to."
Stryker looked slowly around the table as if sizing up victims for a
human sacrifice. "This will be a critical evolution which will
require maximum effort from everyone involved. And believe me—"he
grinned evilly, "—all of you will be involved. Heavily
LCDR McConnell and Kora Natevera
groaned at the same time. LCDR Stringfellow Hawk, the Logistics
Officer, pretended to drop something on the deck and disappeared
beneath the table.
QaS had a puzzled look on his face.
"What is ‘Xanadu’?"
"You’ve never heard of Xanadu?"
Mon'Teith asked incredulously. "Where have you been for the last
QaS waved his hand dismissively. "Some
of us have real work to do."
Mon'Teith snorted. "Yeah. Right."
"Quite a snappy comeback, Commander.
I’ll bet you worked on that one for days," QaS retorted.
"Now, children. Do learn to play
together well, won’t you?" Lawrence laughed.
"Xanadu, to answer your question, QaS,"
Seabrook began. "Was an asteroid in orbit around the star Johnstone
268, not too far from here, as distance goes in space. Five years
ago Starfleet made a deal with the Columbine Consortium to take the
asteroid, terraform it, and create a complex designed to give
Starfleet personnel and others who wish to pay for a place to play,
to unwind, to—how does the saying go?—‘let their hair down.’ "
"On an asteroid?" QaS was dubious. "How
much fun can someone have on an asteroid, even if it was terraformed?"
"Xanadu is 50 miles in diameter, which
gives a surface area of over 7,800 square miles." Seabrook replied.
"Oh!" QaS said, the expression on his
face became thoughtful.
"Evidently it was designed to be a
combination of Mardi Gras, Disneyland, Times Square at midnight on
New Year’s Eve, Earth’s World’s Fairs, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Feast
of Santa Carolina, the Winter and Summer Solstices, and the
Land of Oz." Seabrook explained. "Based on initial reports,
Starfleet and Columbine have succeeded beyond their wildest
"And we’re going to this Xanadu?"
"Us and everybody we can pack aboard,"
Lawrence grinned. She patted the First Officer on his back. "Perk
up, Commander. Just think how much fun we’re all going to have when
we get there. Of all the ships in Starfleet, we were chosen for this
special honor. Two weeks in ‘La La Land’."