Excerpts from the Journals of the Emperor Smith

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Man in a hat that's got the word 'mad' emblazoned on it.

Stardate XXXX.X.X:1: These are the voyages of the SSS2Winnie-the-Pooh. Its continuing mission: to reach uncharted spaces, where that smeghead King Robin has never been, to spread the gospel of Smith Logic to the farthest reaches of space, to boldly split infinitives and hairs no human has split before…

Stardate XXXX.X.X: Morale continues high. A rigorous programme of calisthenics has been instituted by Morale Officer Eric the Definitely-Not-Idle, consisting of pushups and physical jerks done in double gravity, followed by a brisk jog around the upper decks. There is some complaining, notably from the ship's parrot, which invariably falls down during this exercise, but I take no notice. Chin up, stiff upper lip, and all that.

Stardate XXXX.X.X: We have reached the planet of XXX3 Having awakened our comrades from their frozen sleep in the cryobeds, First Officer Vasco da Cleese took an away team down to XXX, leaving myself and Second Officer Michael Palindrome in orbit.

Da Cleese, as was proper, named the planet XXX after myself - a flattering, though completely understandable, act - and set about exploring, while I busied myself with my favourite pursuit of cloning ants.4 Alas for science! My academic leisure was soon to be interrupted by a startling discovery.

Da Cleese soon called me on the ship's communicator, informing me that my presence was urgently required on XXX. What he said, actually, was 'Cor blimey, guv, there's a lot o' little nekkid whatsits down here, you gotta come and take a gander.'

Pausing only to reprove my subordinate for his unmilitary manner of conversation - 'guv', indeed, he knew he was supposed to address me as 'Your Exalted Magnificence' on all such occasions - I donned my best uniform (the one with the peacock feather crest) and betook myself to the transporter room, and thence to XXX. Arriving at the coordinates given by my somewhat impetuous First Officer, I looked around me - and gasped in astonishment.

I felt like Darien, when with eagle eye he stood upon the peak of Cortes.5 There, in the clearing of a sylvan glade, was a village - usual sort of thing, thatched cottages, the odd cow, nothing to write home to Avalon about. But wait - what to my wondering eyes did appear, but miniature people, riding on deer?6

These little creatures, none about four feet in height, were, indeed - as my colleague da Cleese had less elegantly put it - in a state of nature. Their only concession to the need to decorate the body was the gold circlet which each wore about his or her head.

They were slim and lovely. They looked fairies - the ones we used to see in the garden as children - only a bit bigger.

Like the fairies, they had no - er, fiddly bits. Indeed, the males were difficult to distinguish from the females, except for their long, flowing hair, and the tiniest little…

Ahem. for the sake of delicacy I omit further description of these beings - called, I was informed, Gaels,.

Da Cleese introduced me to their leader - such as she was, for I believe they are the veriest anarchists, and indulge in no form of government whatsoever. But the matriarch of this improbable group of laughing beings is called Mairead, a tiny figure with flowing red hair and wide blue eyes. When I was introduced to her, with due pomp and ceremony, by da Cleese, as the Emperor of the Galactic Seas, I detected a spark of interest in her twinkling eyes. She obviously appreciated the honour being done to her 'people', such as they are, by our visit, and with due ceremony she announced her intention of throwing a feast in our honour.7 I graciously consented to be wined and dined by the creatures, who instantly set about making me comfortable on a makeshift, but quite appropriate throne of goose down pillows, which they (no doubt lamenting the primitive state of their décor) adorned with cuckoo feathers8.

I sent for my associates, Graham of the Chapped Lips and Terrycloth Jonestown, to join in the feast. Together with Vasco da Cleese, I believe I may modestly say we made an impressive sight on our seats of honour, as the Gaels served us a quite delicious meal of pancakes with fruit compote, honey, and whipped cream. They seemed to intuit our desire for sweet things, after the long deprivation caused by the Unfortunate Incident with the Sugar Rations.9 The queen herself served me chocolate-covered bananas, as a special treat, the while whispering endearments that would bring a blush to the cheek of the modest, were I to repeat them.

Indeed, the Gaels have proven to be most…er, affectionate beings. A bit of instruction was needed, at first, to divine the particulars of exobiology, but since then, we have gotten along famously.

I am considering keeping a few as pets, but have not yet broached the subject with Mairead, as I fear she might not like to part with any of her brood, although there seem to be enough of them. How would she miss the odd one? (And they are all odd, hah, hah, hah.

Stardate XXXX.X.X: Still in orbit around XXX. The Gael toms, as the males are called, are most provoking. One of them laughed at me, when all I did was to point out the absurdity of what he was doing - sitting in front of a crystal and humming to himself. He'd been doing it for hours.

Later, when I asked Mairead for a sample of the fruits we were having for 'supper', as they call it, to take back to my hydroponics laboratory, she gestured to that same tom, Ardal. Who, wearing the crystal around his neck, sprang into the air - and flew away!

He returned within the hour with the desired seedlings.

This gives me food for thought, as well as 'supper'…

EDITOR'S NOTE: The significance of the initial discovery that Gael technology involved a crystalline-humanoid interface will not be lost on readers of this future generation. Followers of the adventures of the CSS Mariposa, in particular, will find it enlightening.

It is hoped that further decipherment of the Emperor Smith's journals will shed more light on the origins of Starfleet. Collating the manuscript is a difficult task, considering the state of the very thin paper used, and the problem of reading the Emperor's writing, shaky at best, executed in red crayon. The owners of the manuscript, the archivists of the Institute for Old-Time Research on Conitex 7,10 have done their best to preserve this document, which was discovered recently by their archaeologists among the ruins of the Temple of Polydorus the Bewildered, the god of hopeless lunatics.

The reader's patience is humbly requested.

A pixie

1Stardates in the Emperor Smith's journal are not helpful as a point of reference, as the Emperor designed a stardating system that began with the year of his own birth. As other civilizations have stubbornly refused to recognise the significance of this momentous event, the system has fallen into disuse. The editors regret.2 Guess what the first 'S' stands for. Go on, guess.3It is impossible to determine the actual location of planets visited by the SSS Winnie-the-Pooh, for two reasons. One is the erratic astrogation method used by Helmsman Graham Chapped-Lips the Navigator, which involved a complicated system of Undead Reckoning, using an Ouija Board. The other is the fact that the Emperor promptly named all planets he 'discovered' after himself - an act of toponymy that was as futile as it was misleading, as all of the planets visited (save one, the ill-fated Smith-37) unreasonably persisted in using their old, quaint appellations.4This fascinating tidbit of information about the Emperor's early biological experiments is here revealed for the first time. The ramifications of this discovery are, needless to say, profound. See Dr Radu Popescu's extensive work on Romulan Army Ants.5 We assume the Emperor is referring to the famous widow's peak of Cortes, remarked upon by the Aztecs.6It will be clear from this passage that the Emperor Smith was a wide, though indiscriminate, reader.7The Emperor, being an explorer, and the first to encounter an Ur-Gael, may be forgiven for not recognizing the meaning behind the twinkle in a tabby's eye.8Note by the Emperor Smith: I was never able to determine the significance of the cuckoo in their mythology.9 Dealt with elsewhere in the Emperor's journal.10 A wholly-owned subsidiary of a well-known cybernetics corporation.

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