Returning from a well rested vacation, the squadron commander walked into his office, only to see that all heck had broken loose. His once orderly desk had been turned up side down while the newly ordered plush chair was missing the bottom part of the seat.
Another quick survey around the room showed evidence of some kind of scuffle as three of the four hanging light fixtures were dangling from their broken housings. Shattered glass lay cluttered on the floor from two of the previously intact windows.
Wedge Antilles took a deep calming breath and then wished he hadn't. The foul stench that assaulted his senses was overwhelming and threatened to recall his gourmet meal of only two hours ago.
Glancing at was once an end table, he tried in vain to find a flat surface to deposit his suitcase on. Still dressed in his vacation casual wear, he righted a folding chair and sank into it dropping his luggage on the floor. From outside his office he heard muffled voices.
"He'll be back in a couple of hours and we'll need every minute of that to get his office back in some semblance of order," said the first voice.
"Don't you think I know that?" argued the second voice.
Wedge turned his chair so that it faced the doorway and waited to come face to face with the culprits who thought they would get away with him not knowing what had ensued during his leave. Folding his arms across his chest, he put on his best 'you are so dead' look as he waited patiently.
"All I mean is…."
Wes Janson and Garik "Face" Loran froze as they entered what was once Wedge's office. Wes's face contorted into a mask of horror, while Face the ever consummate actor smiled his million dollar smile.
"Boss!" said Face enthusiastically. "We weren't expecting you for another couple of hours."
"Obviously," replied Wedge, bending over and picking up a piece of glass from the floor.
"And how was your vacation?" smiled Face, not missing a beat.
"Oh, fine…that is until I got back and saw this." Wedge gestured about the room with the piece of glass before tossing into the garbage can. "At least that is still operational."
Wes coughed, finally finding his voice. "Wedge we can explain everything—"
"—we sure can," agreed Face putting his arm around Wes's shoulder and pulling him in close as if to keep him from talking.
"But I'm sure you'd like to get back to your room first and freshen up before we get to all that."
"No," said Wedge calmly, folding his arms once again across his chest. "What I'd like is for you to tell me just what went on in my office while I was away. Take your time."
Both men seemed resigned to the fact that there was no escape. Wes up ended a bench and sat down stiffly. "It all started three days ago with the goat—"
-- "actually it started with the idea of the goat," interrupted Face, sitting down next to Wes on the bench and crossing his legs.
Wes shook his head. "Except that we weren't actually looking for a goat at all. We were looking for a gornt."
"To go with the Wroonian ale that we received on the last shipment," added Face. "'Cause we all know, nothing goes better with roasted gornt like Wroonian ale."
"ALE!" roared Wes and Face, knocking knuckles.
Wedge cleared his throat. "So the destruction of my office is due to a gornt and ale?"
"Well, not exactly," began Wes, wiping the smile from his face. "You see we wanted a gornt. Face here knew a guy on Hethar that raises them and tried to contact him."
Face nodded leaning forward. "But the guy I'd done business with in the past had sold his farm and we wound up talking to the new owner. An Ithorian of all species! Well, we tried to make him understand what we wanted and thought he got the idea…"
"…but how can you really tell, ya' know? I mean they're hard enough to understand-having the two mouths and all," said Wes.
"Not to mention they are just wa-ay ugly," added Face.
Wes looked over at Wedge and then continued. "Anyway, we thought everything was fine until yesterday."
"What happened yesterday?" asked Wedge rubbing his eyes. He had felt so relaxed until about 30 minutes ago.
"The shipment from mid rim showed up, but instead of a gornt
the Ithorian must have misunderstood and sent us a GOAT," explained Face, matter of factly.
Wedge looked at each man carefully. "So you ate the goat?"
"NO!" said Wes, his face wide with alarm. "We didn't eat the goat."
"Can you even eat goat?" asked Face, turning to face Wes. "I mean, is it edible?"
"You can drink the milk, but I don't think you can—"
"WHY DOES MY OFFICE LOOK LIKE IT WAS HIT BY A BOUNTY HUNTER?" roared Wedge. He stood, kicking broken glass and light fixtures out of the way.
"That's what we've been trying to tell you, Wedge. We couldn't very well eat the goat, so we put him in here for the night until we could send him back," explained Wes.
"And under what set of circumstances could that have possibly seemed like a good idea to you?" Wedge said sinking back down into the folding chair.
Face grimaced and looked over at his commanding officer. "Well, now it seems like a bad idea…but with a few Wroonian ales in your belly it seemed brilliant."
"So all this…mess was caused by one goat?" Wedge asked incredulously, gesturing at the light fixtures.
"He was a big goat," replied Wes.
"Well, the goat and our attempts to remove, said goat, from your office is what really caused such a mess. He was really fast for a goat," explained Face.
Wedge felt the beginning of a headache coming on as he rubbed his temples. "So this big and fast goat jumped up into the air somehow, broke the light fixtures and shattered two windows?"
"Oh, the goat didn't do that," said Wes calmly. "That was all Runt's doing."
"Runt?" asked Wedge. He couldn't imagine how Wes and Face had talked another Wraith Squadron pilot into their crazy scheme.
"You know how Thakwaash males have that multiple mind thing?
One mind for piloting, one mind for verbal interaction and so on," said Face now going into explanation mode.
"Yes," said Wedge wearily.
"Well, it just so happens that one of Runt's multiple minds is a hunter-gatherer. So when he saw the goat running rampant in your office he went into hyperdrive," finished Face smiling like everything was normal.
"Yeah. He's actually the one who caught the goat— just not right away," said Wes.
"And not before he took out a few things along the way," replied Face looking around the room.
Wedge looked from Wes to Face and then back to the state of his room. "So my office is in a complete shambles because of Wroonian ale, an Ithorian farmer, one big-fast goat, Runt and two idiots who thought all this was a good idea?"
"That's pretty much it, Boss," agreed Face. Wes merely nodded his head.
Wedge stood and picked up his suitcase heading toward the door.
"Get this place cleaned up and requisition the items that are beyond repair. I'll be in the 'fresher taking a shower and then hitting the rack." He stopped as he was halfway out the door. "I don't want to see, hear or smell anything goat-like again, is that clear?"
"Clear, sir," both men answered coming to attention.
Wedge continued down the hall toward the 'fresher, shaking his head and mumbling to himself.
Face looked around the room and then at Wes. "Do you think we ought to tell him that we put the goat in the 'fresher after it destroyed his office?"
"Not if our lives depended on it," answered Wes.