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Fine, Fat Friend

Part One
By: Rebekah "Tato" Hicks

As the crew quietly slept, they were unaware of the mysterious shuttle
approaching their ship.  The small craft made its way into the landing
bay.  When the vessel landed, a large, laughing figure walked out.  It
started to walk through the corridors and went into a side room to 
hide.  

"What was that?" Radu said as he sat up suddenly.  He heard an 
unfamiliar set of footsteps tiptoeing down the corridors.  

"Huh?" Bova said sleepily.  "Radu, go to sleep."  

"But...I swear I heard something.  Someone wandering the 
ship."  

"Radu," Harlan mumbled, "It's probably nothing.  The commander and Ms 
Davenport are probably doing a routine check of some kind."  Harlan 
plopped back down on his bunk.  

"No.  It's a footstep I've never heard before.  Its...alien to me."  
Radu looked around only to find that nobody was listening to him.  He 
lay back down uncomfortably.  He still wasn't sure about it. He closed
his eyes and tried not to think about it.  But it was no use.  He 
couldn't take his mind off of it.  "I'm going to check it out just in 
case," Radu stated.  But by then, nobody was awake.  He walked out 
and saw a small person wandering the hallways.  He looked closer and 
found that it was only Rosie.  

"Oh, its you Radu." Rosie said a bit relieved.  "What are you
doing up?"

"I...I heard footsteps.  I wanted to check it out. I guess it was just
you."  Radu looked at Rosie curiously.  She looked worried.  "What?" 
he asked with sudden interest.  

"Well...how long were you up Radu?"

"I just got up.  Why?"

"I was in the team room, and I heard someone roaming the halls.  Are 
you sure you weren't up earlier?" Rosie asked, slightly anxious.

"Y-yea, I'm sure.  I-I just got up because I heard unfamiliar 
footsteps."  Radu and Rosie stood for only a moment in silence.  

"Then that means--" Rosie began with a quiver in her voice, "that some
ones on the ship.  Well," Rosie said with a nervous laugh, "maybe 
they're just scared."

"Yea.  Maybe we should wake up the others.  Just in case, you know?"

"Good idea, Radu.  I'll go wake up Catalina."  Rosie raced off to her 
bunk-room.  Radu walked back to the boys bunk-room and turned on the 
lights.  Harlan sat up, frustrated.  

"Radu!  Turn out the lights!" Harlan whined.  

"There's something on the ship," Radu said with anticipation.

"Who cares?" Bova said angrily.  He threw an extra pillow at Radu.  
"Probably just Ms Davenport or Commander Goddard doing  something.  

"No, its not."  Harlan looked at him for a split second and looked 
away.  

"Right Radu.  Go to bed.  We'll handle it in the morning."  Harlan 
closed his eyes frustrated.  Great.  Now he'd have a harder time 
getting asleep.  Andromedans, Harlan thought.  They're all 
crazy.  Radu tried to lie back down, but he couldn't.  He made his
way back to the team room and sat down.  Rosie entered.  

"Hi Radu.  Catalina's not coming.  She says that it's my imagination."  

"Yea, Harlan and Bova don't really care either."  Rosie sat down next 
to Radu.  

"What are we going to do?"  

"I-I don't know..."  Radu and Rosie decided to relax, in hopes of 
them actually getting some rest too.  Maybe it WAS their 
imaginations.....  They played 2 games of Minbar Chess and surfed the
space net.  

******	

"Morning," Catalina said sleepily.  

"Hello!" Rosie said in her cheerful, favorable tone.  

"What are you guys doing up so early?"  

"We're....just hanging out." Radu said trying to think of a reasonable
excuse.  

"You couldn't sleep, huh?"

"No," Radu said sheepishly.  

"Is it because of what you two heard?" Catalina said glancing at the 
two.  

"Well...yea." 

"Oh Grozit!  Is that it?"  

"Well Catalina, you weren't in here last night.  You don't know how it
was."  

Catalina smiled and walked away to get some breakfast.  "That's silly 
isn't it Suzee?" Catalina said talking to the air on the side of her. 
"Well, I know it's possible.  But we would've detected something on 
the scanner by now."  Catalina paused.  "Yea, I agree with you Suzee."

"Still talking to your imaginary friend?" Harlan said appearing at the
other end of the hall.  He had been watching her talk to Suzee the 
entire time.  

"She's not imaginary.  She's invisible.  There's a difference." 
Catalina said in defense for Suzee.  

"Sure," Harlan said laughing.  "Sure.  She's invisible."  He walked 
along with her to the food wheel.  "Oh, I agree."  Catalina looked at 
him curiously.  

"Agree?  With who?"  

"My invisible friend Yani." Harlan said pointing over to the right 
side of him.  

Catalina rolled her eyes.  As they passed by the engine room, they 
could swear they heard a cheerful giggle for a split second.  They 
looked over and saw nothing.  They shrugged their shoulders and moved
on.  

******

"What a miserable day," Bova said as he walked into the team room 
after eating.  

"Good morning, Bova!" Rosie said cheerfully looking up.  Bova rolled 
his eyes.  He sat down and started to talk to Harlan on what a 
"terrible" dream he had.  

"Hey Bova.  What was that dream you were talking about?" Harlan asked 
as he faced the pessimistic child.  

"It was terrible.  I dreamt that we were at a circus of some kind."  

"But circuses are fun!" Rosie said aloud.  

"Maybe for you," Bova said pointing at Rosie.  "But there were..." 
Bova shuddered, "clowns there too!  And boy, were they ugly!"

Harlan laughed.  "I had a great dream last night, but I'll tell you 
about it later."  

Ms Davenport walked in the team room.  "Radu, Catalina, and Rosie.  I 
believe you are sheduled for a bio-lab today?" Ms Davenport said 
pointedly.  

Radu, Catalina, and Rosie looked at each other.  "Oops," Catalina said
aloud.  "Oh grozit.  We're late!"  The three got up and raced toward 
their sheduled classroom.  Ms Davenport walked behind them.  

"That's two demerits for all of you!" she yelled out knowing that at 
least Radu could hear and tell them.  

"Great," Radu said as he ran behind Catalina and Rosie.  

"What?" Rosie said turning around.

"Two demerits for each of us."  

"Wonderful," Catalina said.  She faced the wall and started talking.  
"You're lucky Suzee.  You don't have to put up with Ms Davenport."  
Catalina laughed.  Apparently, Suzee had made a joke about Ms 
Davenport.   They reached their destination and entered.  

******

Radu was at his post watching the navigational systems to see if they 
were in order.  He watched as Harlan steered the ship.  

"Harlan, go more starburd." Radu said with only a hint of shyness in 
his voice.  

"Why?" Harlan said looking back at Radu.  This had been going on all 
morning.  Harlan constantly questioned Radu's decisions.  But he tried
to make the best of it.  

"Because otherwise, we'll hit that satellite," Radu said pointing at 
the screen.  Sure enough, they were heading straight for a satellite.

"Whoa!"  Harlan pulled the controls up to dodge the large metal 
floating in space, and barely missed it.  "That was close!"  

Radu shook his head.  Well, if you listened to me in the first
place, we would've had no problem missing it, Radu thought.  He didn't
dare say that out loud.  Harlan barely trusted him.  He couldn't risk 
even that little of trust with him.  

******

Radu and Rosie stood in the engine room.  They talked about that 
morning.  "Well the commander said that he doesn't know how the 
shuttle craft even got into the Christa without detection.  THELMA 
says that she detects another life form aboard.  But for some reason, 
she can't track it."  Rosie explained what information she had 
gathered.  

"I wonder who...or what it is," Radu said cautiously.  

"I don't know.  All I know is that it's been hiding out for a long 
time.  Commander Goddard said that he's going to try to fix the 
Christa's scanning systems, and that may help us find the intruder.  
I think the intruder is nice.  Maybe its just scared to come out."

"Maybe," Radu said half listening.  "But...."

"What?" Rosie asked noticing the look on Radu's face.  

"Nothing.  Never mind."  Radu looked at the heart of the engine and 
adjusted several levers.  "There.  All finished."  Rosie and Radu 
walked away.  At last.  Free time.  Radu and Rosie walked into the 
team room.  There was a face off with Harlan and Catalina with Minbar 
Chess.  Harlan was winning. 

"Come on Catalina!" Bova said cheering her on.  Harlan had beaten him,
and he wanted someone else to beat the over-confident Harlan.  

"Oh Catalina!  Look!" Harlan exclaimed.  He had won the game.  

"You were just lucky Harlan Band!" Catalina said back to the 
undefeated Harlan.  Harlan rose up and stood on his seat.  

"Yes!  I'm the champion!"  

"What's going on?" Rosie said as her and Radu entered the room.  

"Aha Harlan!  You haven't beaten everyone yet."  Catalina looked over 
towards Rosie and moved out of the chair.  "Get him Rosie!"

"Me?" Rosie said astonished.  "I don't know..."

"Come on Rosie.  You have to beat him."  

"Oh....all right."  Rosie made her way over to the game and started to
play against Harlan.  Radu looked over to them.  Catalina and Bova 
were "cheering" her on.  Bova kept saying that it was hopeless and she
might as well give up then.  But she ignored him. Radu went to his 
compu-pad and started his homework.  He figured that he could get a 
head start on it while he had the chance to.  Not that he had any clue
to what he was doing, but he felt it was something.  He had almost 
finished when he heard a loud shout in the room.  

"Ha!  I am and always will be the champion!" Harlan said as he stood 
back up.  Catalina and Bova looked at him with thoughts running
through their mind.  

"You're right Suzee," Catalina said, "Harlan IS full of it."  Then 
Catalina spotted Radu.  "Wait Harlan.  Wait a second.  There's still 
one more person before you become the champion."  Catalina pointed to 
where Radu was sitting.  

"Me?" Radu said with a hint of fear in his eyes.  He didn't want to go
against Harlan.  He didn't want to chance anything with Harlan.  "No, 
I don't think so." Radu said bashfully.  With that, he gracefully 
exited the room.

Radu smiled to himself as he walked back to the bunkroom.  He had
nothing to prove to Harlan, and it was best to avoid any confrontation
with Harlan.  He briskly walked in the bunkroom, and sat himself on 
his bed.  Something didn't hear right, he suddenly recalled.  It felt
as if someone were in the room with him, but all other crew members
were accounted for on the ship.  He looked up slowly, and to his 
horror saw the giant creature standing before him.....

******

Catalina huffed in frustration towards Harlan.  "You arent the champ,
Harlan, not until you beat everyone on the ship.  That includes
Radu," she said matter of factly.

"Hey, I'll take him on any day, he's just too chicken, that's all,"
Harlan stated cockily.  

Catalina just rolled her eyes, ignoring Harlan's banter.

"Mr. Bova, Mr. Band, please report to the command post immediately,"
Goddard's voice bellowed out of nowhere.  

Harlan smiled to himself, and with a 'miss america' wave, exited the
room with Bova.

******  

Radu looked up at the gigantic figure.  "S-special friend?" Radu said 
with slight interest in the offer.  

"That's right," the fat, immense configuration standing before him 
said joyously.  

"Well..." Radu hesitated.  He never had met anyone who wanted to be 
friends with him.  He had always been categorized by his race.  And 
here was his chance.  Here was a...thing that wanted to be friends.  
Special friends, in fact.  He couldn't pass the offer up. "I-I guess 
so."

"That's super!" the silhouette cried out.  "Now, would you like to 
play a pretend game?"  Radu looked at the immense, purple body with 
fear.  

"Uh...." Radu paused.  Oh no.  What have I gotten myself 
into?

******

Harlan walked with Bova to the command post.  Goddard was waiting for 
them to speak to them about something that seemed to be urgent.  

"Ah, there you are." Goddard said greeting the two as they walked in.

"Why did you need to see us Commander?" Harlan asked with no interest 
in what Goddard was about to tell him.  

"Well, we've found more about the intruder.  They have a complete log 
in their ship.  But it needs to be de-coded."

"Why?  Is it in a different language?" Bova asked.  

"No.  Its in english."  

"That's easy, Commander!" Harlan said with ease.  

"But its stranger.  There are so many nonsense words in there.  
There's no way we can read it that easily.  Bova?  You, Harlan, Rosie,
Cat, and Radu work on it."

"But commander," Harlan complained.  "We have so much work from Ms 
Davenport.  There's no way we can do that and work on de-coding this."

"Well, you're excused from your work.  I'll speak to Ms Davenport 
about it.  But get that de-coded as soon as possible.  We need to find
out what this creature wants."  

"Right, Commander."  

"THELMA!" Goddard yelled to summon her.  

"Yes Commander?" THELMA said coming out of nowhere.  The commander 
jumped.  He sighed.  

"I wish you wouldn't do that.  Can you please retrieve the compu-pads 
with the information needed to be unscrambled on it?"  THELMA 
processed what was needed to be done.  She quickly disappeared to find
them.  

"Commander Goddard," Davenport said as she walked into the com-post.  
"What's this I hear about canceling classes?"

"Here they are, Commander." THELMA said appearing out of nowhere as 
she usually does.  The commander jumped again.  He grabbed the 
compu-pads and handed them to Harlan.  Harlan and Bova quickly 
scrambled out of the room.  They decided to leave the commander alone 
to talk with Ms Davenport.  

******

Harlan and Bova walked out of the com-post and went back into the team
room.  There, Catalina and Rosie were waiting for their return.  

"So?" Catalina asked curiously.  "What did he need to talk to you two 
about?"

Harlan dropped the 5 compu-pads with the information needed for 
unscrambling.  "We're excused from classes.  The commander want's us 
to de-code this stuff."  Catalina picked one up and looked at it.

"Wow," she said shocked. "This'll take a long time to do."  

"Tell me about it," Harlan said grabbing a compu-pad  to de-code.  
Each one took one into their hands and noticed that one was still 
there.  Rosie looked around.  

"Where's Radu?"  Rosie said searching for him around the room.

"He left for the bunks," Bova said.  "That figures," Bova said looking
at his compu-pad.  "I probably have the hardest one here!"  

"Well, we should go get him."  Rosie looked around only to notice 
that each of the others were busy trying to make sense out of what was
on their compu-pads.  

"'I'll have a toodley doodely yum yum doodle dum super special 
friend'?" Catalina said aloud.  "What is this stuff?"

Bova looked at his in disbelief.  "'And a super duper spiffy yippee 
ship to scoodley doodley take'?  We have a lot of work to do."

Rosie got up and walked over to the boys bunk-room.  She entered and 
saw Radu.  "There you are!  The commander gave us an assignment and--"
Rosie stopped when she saw Radu's expression on his face.  He seemed 
to be gazing out at nothing in particular.  His eye's were widened, 
and he had a wide grin on his face.  "Radu?  Are you okay?"  Rosie 
came up to the andromedan and shook him.  "Radu?"  Rosie backed up.  
Radu fell to the floor not moving.  Rosie ran out of the bunk room 
shaken up.  She didn't know what to make of it.  In all the time she 
had been doctoring on the Christa, she had never seen anything like 
it.  She came back into the team room and looked panicked.  Harlan 
looked up.  

"What is it Rosie?" Harlan asked concerned with the way Rosie looked.
She looked pale.  Pale for a mercurian, that is.  Rosie tried to catch
her breath.  

"Radu.  He's....he's...."  

"He's what?" Catalina said.  She started to get worked up.  "We're 
dying in suspense!  What about him?"

"He's not coming is he?" Harlan said frustrated.  Rosie nodded and 
tried to get something out of her mouth, but she still had to catch 
her breath.  "Andromedans are so lazy." Harlan said.  

"No!" Rosie finally managed to say.  Everyone stared at her in 
anguish.  "He's....well, come see how he is!  I-I can't explain it 
enough to tell you!"  


Part 2 of "Fine, Fat Friend"!:
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