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Story 53

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A day at the Zhian Zoo

Your first officer starts a conversation, “When I was a kid and visited the zoo with my Dad, one of the things that stood out to me was the compactness of each animal’s habitat. At the time, I spent a majority of my time on a small scout ship out in the deep dark, so I reasoned that they probably adjusted to their confined space just like I did. But this,” says your first officer while motioning to the large sprawling exhibits, “makes me rethink that assessment.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. These animals seem so at ease in these large spaces with trees and open sky. It could take a couple of days to thoroughly check out all the exhibits.” You say this while taking another photo, tagging it and sharing it with the rest of your crew.

Meanwhile, you and your crew have been quite the interesting exhibit for many of the Zhians, as most of them have never seen a human in real life before. A couple of the more bold Zhians even asked if they could pose for a photo with you.

“Do you think we have enough photos yet?”, your first officer asks while looking at the newest picture you just sent.

“Probably, we should find a public dining area and try some local grub.”

“This is a zoo, it’s going to be this planet’s equivalent to fries and chicken nuggets.”

“I’m ok with that. I’m not sure I’m ready to be all that adventurous.”

“Says the mighty space explorer.”, your first officer quips.

– – – –

Upon finding a table at the zoo’s cafeteria, you send the geotagged photos to the small drone that you had carefully stashed behind some bushes when no one was near you. Your engineer had taken the time to mod it so it looked like the drones the zoo uses for giving the animals injections and drawing blood samples.

The drone goes about its mission without arousing too much suspicion. At the end of its circuit through the zoo it unloads the shaving cream canister and hides it in the same bushes where you had originally stashed the drone. As a final act, the drone flies out over an unpopulated area where it initiates a small explosion just large enough to destroy itself. The explosion was small enough that it didn’t attract any attention at all.

You recover the canister on your way back through. Once you return to the Space Zoo you will receive another ([d4]+2)x1,000 credits for the DNA samples that you gathered in addition to what you will have earned for the DNA gathered on the Aether Processing Station.

When you return to the Space Zoo if your crew is primarily human or Strayon, listen/read Story 54.

When you return to the Space Zoo if your crew is primarily Ilex, listen/read Story 70.