Characters: Dr. Kaldo Lanconi, Paul Maxwell, Peter Carlacci
The morning after arriving on the Phoenix, Dr. Lanconi got dressed and proceeded to the ship’s galley to eat. Looking around, he didn’t recognize anyone so he selected the nearest empty seat. “Excuse me. Is that seat saved for anyone?”
The person in the next seat, a male human with long, greying hair tied back in a ponytail, smiled at him. “No, it’s all yours. You must be new aboard — welcome. Name’s Paul Maxwell — but you can call me Max. Most people do.”
“Thank you, Max. Yes, I’m very new as I arrived yesterday. I’m the new CMO, Dr. Kaldo Lanconi. You may call me Kaldo although I’ve found that it seems to be a human custom to call all doctors, doc. If you don’t mind my asking, what do you do on the ship and how did you come by your nickname? Is it just a shortening of your last name?”
“Yes, it is,” he said. “I can’t really remember how it got started … about the only people I can ever remember calling me ‘Paul’ were my parents. I handle the maintenance and repair work on the Starfury fighters. Now and then I pitch in on the Zen’thas, but they usually don’t need much help. The Minbari sure know their stuff when it comes to shipbuilding.”
“Can’t argue with the Minbari craftsmanship. What is the Zen’thas?”
“It’s a fighter ship … just barely out of prototype status. They tried to incorporate some of the same Vorlon tech that was used in the Phoenix. They pack a pretty heavy wallop — which is saying something, considering how powerful even the standard Nial class fighters are.”
“I see. Although, I know little about fighters and their operation. Vorlon tech? I wonder if anyone has had any success with the tech of the other first ones other than the Vorlons or Shadows?”
“No one that I know of,” Max said. “But if you ever hear of anything like that, be sure to let Cat Rosha — she’s Storm Sqadron leader — hear about it. She’s really intent on anything to do with the First Ones.”
“I noticed that you haven’t done one other thing I’ve become accustomed to. The request for out of channel medical advice.”
Max grinned and chuckled. “One thing I learned quite a while back, that sort of thing tends to drive doctors nuts. Even if they are too polite to say so.”
Dr. Lanconi almost choked on his food at that reply. Laughing he replied, “That’s quite interesting. So, what do you do in your free time?”
“I’m a musician. A few of us here on the ship got together and formed a band, even. Been thinking about putting on a show, since our newest members are really sounding good.”
“Be sure to let me know if you do or for that matter, if your group wouldn’t mind someone listening to one of their practice sessions.”
“Sure, I’d be glad to. We don’t have a regular rehearsal schedule at the moment, so I’ll just copy you on the message when we call for the next one.” He finished his coffee and slid his chair back. “I better get moving. But again, welcome aboard … Doc.” He grinned.
Doctor Lanconi offered his hand. “It’s been my pleasure meeting you, Max. I look forward to meeting the rest of your band.”
The human took it in a firm clasp and said with a smile, “Pleasure’s been all mine, Doc. See you at the next rehearsal.”
“I’m looking forward to it. Take care, Max.” He continued eating.
A little while later, another human male, this one with short, dark hair — with a striking white streak along one side — approached him. “Doctor Lanconi? I’m Peter Carlacci, ship’s navigator.”
“Hello, Mr. Carlacci. I am pleased to meet you.”
“I have to admit,” Carlacci said, “I’ve got a question for you … it’s not so much a question for a doctor as it is for a Centauri. Would you mind?”
“Go right ahead and ask.”
“How do the Centauri males keep their hair standing up? Is there a biological reason for it being like that, or is it all an ornamental thing? And if it’s an ornamental thing, what do they use to keep it standing up?”
Dr. Lanconi laughed, “It’s a gel that we use. It’s a byproduct of a native Centauri animal that is believed to work as a aphrodisiac. Not that there been any true test to prove such a story.”
Carlacci blushed, then tried to cover it with a laugh. “It’s probably just a human thing, then … ” Taking a deep breath, he said, “I ought to explain. I was on Centauri Prime a little over a week ago. Undercover, in disguise, obviously — and the stuff I used on my hair itched like all get out.” He passed a hand through his hair, almost as if trying to remember with his fingers. “Supposedly an aphrodisiac, though, huh? I guess Mira never had the heart to tell me.”
He glanced at his wrist chrono and grinned again. “Shift’s almost starting. I’m due up on the bridge. I hope we can talk again soon, Doctor Lanconi.”
The doctor finished his meal and headed for Medlab. It would soon be time for his appointment with Kordieh.
Copyright (c) 2004 Sidney Kuhn and Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.