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From: Charlotte Lilienne O'Day Beckett, Beckett House, Fep City outskirts, Lafa II, Lafa System

To: Naurr, NX-04, Ariane

Date: April 1, 2158 

Dear Naurr: 

It was lovely to hear from you as always. I’m glad you and Philippe weren’t hurt but man, how awful. Battles always make me sad and scared; Doug is a retired soldier and I’m just relieved that he doesn’t do that anymore. The news reports were pretty sketchy but it was obvious that it was a big one. I got a note from Hoshi Sato that there were some losses and poor Brian broke his arm.

We had some casualties while I was on the NX-01 and it is so very hard. I remember Major Hayes the best; he was one of those people who never seemed to let anyone ever get close to him but I recall he used to always be the last in the chow line. One of the MACOs, Frank Todd, he said he thought it was that the Major had liked me but I never saw it. Still, I was in the Major’s will. When he died, he gave Malcolm Reed a book and I was given – it’s so strange to say it – a nickel, minted in 2012. I guess he liked it. My old roommate Jenny Crossman (she’ll be Jenny Ramirez soon) joked that it was a bad tip. I don’t know. It was years ago. I keep it on me; I guess I’m a little superstitious so I consider it to be my lucky nickel. 

Speaking of money, yes! We impressed the investors enough and the restaurant is a go!!! It’s very exciting around here now.  They gave us several thousand Calafan Los (that’s their unit of currency) for the specific purpose of getting our act in gear. 

Treve and I decided to not build a brand-new building as that would be expensive and it would take a while. We found a likely looking place at the corner of Enne Street and Dary Street. Enne is the Calafan word for water and Dary is their word for fire. The building needs some renovations and some updating but we think we’ll be able to get in and start up some time in August or September or so. Funny thing is, my baby is due to arrive in late August or early September so we are going to be very, very busy. I hope I get some sleep! Doug says he’ll be glad to take care of the baby; he is really, really looking forward to becoming a father for the first time. He’s 55 years old so he came to it late but he’s very enthusiastic. 

Oh my gosh, your confusion about the word bear made me laugh a little, too, I admit. There are a lot of words in our language that have more than one meaning. Plus we have lots and lots of words with really similar meanings. I think you’re doing really well in English, I will tell you right now. God knows I don’t know any Caitian. And being able to read some basic Tellarite as well. I grew up speaking French and English at home so I have a little experience with bilingualism, but those are two fairly similar tongues. I bet I’d be really lost trying to learn Caitian. 

I don’t know as I’ve ever played cricket or seen it played. I used to play baseball when I was in High School. I was the shortstop on my school’s team and sometimes played second base. That was all back when I was younger and skinnier and a faster runner. Right now, I just feel like a whale. Or maybe a Xindi Aquatic. Either way, I’m getting over my morning sickness for the most part, or so it seems, and now I feel like I just want to eat everything in sight. Doug went hunting on Lafa XII recently and brought home a perrazin. It looks kind of like a big, blond buffalo but it has fangs. Ask Cassandra or Philippe what a buffalo is if you’re unsure, or I can send you a picture if you like. Anyway, I ended up eating about 2/3 of it in four days! The meat tastes a little like pork if you’ve ever had that. 

I still haven’t tried prako. And now we’re on a much tighter budget so I don’t think it’s in the cards, at least not for now. Particularly if I start eating that much perrazin on a regular basis. Oh! I should tell you what to do with olowa. 

Olowa is different colors, and those colors tell you what the flavor will be. Really dark purple olowa is immature and it tastes like pears. You can make a tart with it; just bake it in a pastry shell. Medium-aged olowa is a kind of reddish-purple and it tastes spicy. You can add it to your Cajun dishes or you might want to make Mexican specialties. Have you made tortillas yet? You can get the tortillas pre-made and just fill them with whatever you like. You could use raw medium-aged olowa or you could batter it and fry it if you liked. Maybe add some protein like some shredded chicken, and a little salad, too. Serve guacamole and black beans and seasoned rice on the side and you should be good to go. The oldest olowa is light lavender and it tastes like peanuts. You can grind it up, mix it with sugar and ground ginger and canola oil and red pepper flakes and mix the whole mess with cooked angel hair pasta or ramen.  Toss in some protein and serve with soy sauce on the side and you can call it Chinese. I think most people will accept that. 

Oh, my! I do go on so. I’m sorry this letter is so long. Today is April Fools’ Day, do you know it? I seem to be the only person in the Lafa System who does. I mentioned it to Treve and he thought it was rather silly. 

I also want to thank you for your incredibly kind offer. I think I’ll take you up on it – and hopefully it won’t be too long from now that the war will be over. I hope you don’t mind us traveling with a baby. 

I’m glad we’re friends. You be careful out there, okay? 

As ever, 

Your friend, 

Lili



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