Standard disclaimer applies; not my characters or settings or backgrounds. But they are my words.

No one knew how the chicken had gotten into the gardens, much less onto the station in the first place. There were regulations on the importation of livestock onto a space station; pages and pages of them which could be boiled down to the simple declaration: No.

Still, reports had come in from various sources of a ground-bound bird of some kind, white feathers, red wattle hanging down from a yellow beak, clucking vocalizations…it sure sounded like a chicken. Two security guards had been sent to search for the errant fowl, but had come up empty. That led to another series of reports, mostly from the aliens on board, of humans wandering the gardens, flapping their arms and clucking. Most thought it was some obscure mating ritual, and left the two guards strictly alone.

The security staff finally decided it was a joke of some kind, or a pet that had been smuggled aboard and escaped. It was nothing to be taken too seriously, in any case. Even if it was a chicken, how much harm could it do?

The chief of security, however, saw an opportunity where others saw annoyance or amusement. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a fresh egg for breakfast. He only knew that it had been way too long. If there was a chicken roaming free in the gardens, there was also the possibility of a nest full of eggs, waiting to be boiled, scrambled, fried or poached. He took to spending his free time wandering the gardens, a fistful of corn grits from his personal stash in his pocket. He used them to make polenta, but he figured a hungry chicken wouldn't mind the origin of its meal. Scouring the areas where low shrubs and hedges would make attractive nesting areas, scattering feed and calling 'coosh, coosh' under his breath; he strove to appear nonchalant in his quest, never quite succeeding. After a few days, he decided his subordinates had been right; there had never been a chicken, and he gave up looking.

The very next morning, he was complaining bitterly to his fellow officers about the quality of breakfast fare served in the mess hall. The greyish slop they were served day-in and day-out was repellent, although he was assured it contained all the basic nutrients and calories necessary to keep an EarthForce officer going. He was still grousing, when a covered dish was brought over and placed in front of the second in command. She read the attached note, and grimaced. The Captain, meanwhile, was sniffing the air, and both their jaws dropped as they simultaneously recognized the scent of…bacon-and-eggs! It couldn't be! After a show of renunciation, the two of them watched hungrily as the woman wolfed down the impossible treat. He could barely stop himself reaching over and snagging a strip of the crispy bacon, fried to crackling prefection.

Breakfast was barely over when his comlink sounded. "Garibaldi here," he snapped into the wrist unit.

The words were slightly overlaid with static but the last sentences came out crystal clear.

"We have a report of a group of hairless pink quadrapeds of some kind, down near the incinerators, Sir. They've gotten into the garbage and made quite a mess."

"Marcus!" Garibaldi roared, as he sprinted from the room towards the incinerators in the Grey Sector, ready to play the Big, Bad Wolf to the Ranger's illegal herd. Vowing to snatch every hair off the delinquent's chin, he raced towards the turbo-lift. On the way down, he wondered how PPG scorching would affect the flavor of fresh pork.