“Must go,” I almost whispered as I left the bridge.   Read to me every night.  I wonder what he will pick to read.   Somehow, I need to explain to him my feelings about Blake. Perhaps, Drake can make him a bit more human.  Time to head for my last meal.  I hope the ship will be here in ninety-one days when I awake.

Eventually, I found my way to the galley.  It was deserted except for Michelle.  Two places were set at the table.  The smell from the kitchen was ethereal.              

“Now, Lieutenant, what are we having?”

“Just a moment, Captain.  Have a seat, and Galley Master Delheim will bring the food.”  Michelle disappeared into the galley which was forbidden territory.  Delheim only allowed Michelle and his assistant chef in his galley.  I sensed there was something cooking between Delheim and Michelle.

Michelle returned and sat opposite me.  Master Chief Delheim brought the steaming plates and placed them in front of us without expression…  As usual, he was all business as he glided back into his galley rapidly.

“This smells heavenly, Michelle.”

“Thank you, Captain.  Gungo pea patties were Grandmother Hill’s favorite Saturday night dish.”

“Fresh garlic?”  I asked with a memory from the family farm.  I loved garlic in any form.

“Yes, Captain.  Master Chief Higgins grows it.  She has a green thumb.”

I smiled.  “Is it growing serious between Ms. Higgins and Mr. Davis?”

“They are in love.”  Michelle replied.  “I love your pun about growing”

“Thanks.  It wasn’t intentional.  It’s natural when a man and woman spend time together for attractions to grow.  They need to remember that their primary task on board is to maintain our food supply.  Love has to be a secondary interest.  This has always been the rule of the sea.”

“Understood, Captain.  I will keep a watchful eye on their growing romance in the gardens.”

She said it so seriously, but I detected a slight laugh in her voice.  This growing pun was a good one.

As we ate the delicious repast, Michelle popped a question.  “Are you attracted to Sergeant Major Drake?”

Swallowing my mouthful of food very slowly, I felt warmth spread over me.  Looking up, I replied without emotion, “I’m his superior officer.  It would not be appropriate for me to entertain feelings toward him.”

Michelle nodded and went back to her meal.  A few moments later she asked, “Do you believe that he’s attracted to you?”

I placed my fork down and looked sternly at Michelle who was drinking Concord grape juice and returning her look through the glass.  “I have no idea.”  I picked up my folk and went back to the meal. 

It wasn’t more than a minute when Michelle asked, “Have you taken the Proust Questionnaire since we left lunar orbit?” 

Why in the solar system is Michelle asking me about Marcel Proust and his infamous questions on the human psyche? “No! Why do you ask, Michelle?”

“I was just wondering if your answer to what qualities you most admire in a man has changed in the last 665 days.” 

I looked at my first officer and smiled, “Michelle, it is possible that the qualities that I most admire in a man can be found in Gregory Drake.  Can we talk about something else now that I have satisfied your curiosity?”

“Yes, Captain.  We could go over the duty roster for the next three months.”

“Sounds practical and more appropriate, Lieutenant.”

For the next hour we talked about the crew and what my expectations will be for the next three months.  I returned to my cabin and prepared for my long sleep.

To Be Continued….  


G. D. Williams       © 2011