DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Momthing and is copyright (c) 2000 by Momthing. Herb Tanzer and Moira are the creation of Diane Duane and are featured in her book Spock's World. This story is Rated PG.

Technical note: Much of this is going to be based on chat boards that I had experience in about 10 years ago. I don't think things have changed that much but for the record: /user name means a private message. The software I'm most familiar with was called Galacticomm. I don't think it's still in use, but ya never know.

Ain't Nuthin' Like the Real Thing, Baby

Momthing

It started out innocently enough. Christine Chapel had gotten an e-mail on her private email account inviting her to log into the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe, an online chat room that was being run by Herb Tanzer of Recreation Services.

Christine smiled to herself. She hadn't been on an online chat room since she was a teenager and kept her cellputer hooked up and turned on as she wandered the mall with her girlfriends picking up guys via online chat. In fact, she had been so addicted to chat boards, that her mother had once taken it away for a week ... the longest week of Christine's then young life.

She had outgrown such foolishness, she thought, but she didn't delete the e-mail that had the link to the chat room. Who knows?* she thought to herself. *It might be fun, especially since there's only 430 people onboard, so it shouldn't be hard to guess who was who. Sort of like a masquerade ball.

The day passed quickly and uneventfully, and at last, Christine was back in her quarters, dressed in her most comfortable sweat suit and seated in front of her monitor. She sipped on a cup of chocolate as she logged onto the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe:

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WELCOME TO THE BLUE MOON CYBER CAFE

Please read the rules. Because we want everyone to have fun, no real names will be used. So pick a nice handle that you want everyone to know you by and have a good time!

Your Friendly SysOps:

Boogie Bear & Molly B

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Christine quickly scanned the rules and regs page and accepted the terms ... now for a handle ... something unique, something that no one would associate with her. Then she remembered the handle that she'd used as a teenager. It was so long ago, that she felt sure no one would connect it with her ... so she filled out the application, was quickly accepted, and logged in:

Handle: Foxy Lady Password: * * * * *

Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cafe. The following persons are in the room with you: Nefertiti, Space Pirate, Gonzo, Lady Fatima, and Blue Fox.

Foxy Lady: Hello everyone!

Nefertiti: Hey, Foxy Lady, welcome to the club!

*Space Pirate whispers to you: "Hey, cutie, what's a cute fox like you doing in a place like this?"

/space pirate: Captain Kirk, is that you?

Lady Fatima hugs Blue Fox! Blue Fox hugs Lady Fatima!

*Space Pirate whispers to you: "That's for me to know ... and for you to wonder about..."

Space Pirate is winking at you!

Lady Fatima: Hey, Blue Fox, are you alive out there? Say something!

Blue Fox: Something

Lady Fatima is glaring at Blue Fox!

Lady Fatima: Very Droll Blue Fox!

*Blue Fox is whispering to you: "What is a beautiful fox such as yourself doing in a place like this?"

/blue fox: Captain Kirk, is this you?

*Blue Fox is whispering to you: "Perhaps ... and perhaps not..."

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Christine blinked at the monitor. There was something awfully familiar about this Blue Fox ... she was going to have to watch this one very carefully ... very carefully indeed...

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Space Pirate is kissing your hand, gallantly!

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Christine frowned. That had to be Captain Kirk, she thought to herself as she typed in her response:

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/curtsy Space Pirate

*You are curtseying to Space Pirate!

Blue Fox is whispering to you: "You have not answered my question, beautiful foxy one."

/blue fox: my, but aren't you the sly one?

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Christine watched idly as other people came and went into the room. Gonzo had yet to say anything, she noticed, and Space Pirate was busily flirting with any one who even remotely resembled a female. She tried to see if she could figure out which crewmembers were behind the handles, but without much luck, except she knew that Nefertiti just had to be Uhura.

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*Lady Fatima is pinching Blue Fox!

Blue Fox: ouch.

Blue Fox is whispering to you: "I must go now, beautiful one. I hope to see you tomorrow.

*Blue Fox is gallantly kissing your hand.

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For some reason, Christine found herself blushing. She didn't know what it was about that Blue Fox person, but she found him intriguing.

It just has to be Captain Kirk, she thought to herself.

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/blush You are blushing! Blue Fox has left the room.

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And so should I, thought Christine, as she noticed the time: 1100 hours. She had been online for almost four hours! She had forgotten how engrossing chat rooms could be. She quickly logged off and got ready for bed, shaking her head wryly. Blue Fox, indeed! She was too old and much too mature to be thinking of an online romance ... still, he had sounded kind of cute.

Meanwhile, down the hall in another officer's quarters, a hand reached out to turn out the monitor screen. Spock stared thoughtfully at it. Interesting. He remembered looking over his roommate's shoulder years ago at the Academy while the person was logged onto an online chat board and watching the transactions with interest.

He had almost not logged into the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe, but decided at the last moment, that it might be an excellent opportunity to observe human behavior unobserved. While he did not understand the use of "handles", he welcomed the anonymity. He had chosen his former roommate's handle. It had not been hard for him to learn the software after he'd read the information page. And he had found himself "flirting" with the only female in the room who had almost the same name as he. It had been very educational indeed.

Of course, it was not an activity he intended to indulge in too often. Totally illogical ... but totally fascinating, just the same.

* * *

Christine got her tray from the replicator and looked around the main mess hall. The tables were pretty full and from the lively buzz of conversation, she would guess that the topic of discussion was the new online chat room that had just opened up the night before. She spotted Uhura sitting at a nearly empty table and walked her way.

"Hey, Nefertiti, is this seat taken?" she asked lightly as she sat down across from Uhura.

"Who are you calling Nefertiti?" Uhura asked. "I'm not Nefertiti ... I thought you might be though..."

Christine chuckled. "Do I look like a Nefertiti type to you?"

Uhura laughed. "So, I take it you were at Blue Moon last night?"

"Of course, wasn't everyone?" Christine smiled. "From what I can hear by the conversations going on around us, it seems like everybody and their mother was on line last night. I never saw so many people coming and going in and out of the chat room!"

Uhura agreed. "I haven't had this much fun since I was a teenager and used to hit the cyberchats at home ... I remember hanging around with my pals at the mall with my Nokia 3000 ... my folks gave it to me for my 16th birthday and then kept threatening to take it back because I was staying up til all hours just cruising the chats."

Christine nodded. "Same here... In fact, I'm still using the same handle I used back in those days..."

"Me, too!" Uhura exclaimed.

Uhura looked at Christine. Christine looked at Uhura.

"I'll tell you mine if you'll tell me yours," they both said simultaneously, and then burst into giggles.

"I'll do better than that," Christine said, as she took her napkin and her stylus and wrote it down. Uhura grinned as she saw it.

"OK, now you," Christine said, and gasped as she read Uhura's user name. "Oh, come on, now ... really?"

"Yep, I was quite a name around the chat scene ten years or so ago ... of course, I was only 16, you understand..."

"It's a cute name," Christine said. "So, I wonder who else was online last night besides us?"

"What I want to know is who that Blue Fox is," Uhura said. "I tried whispering to him and he just ignored me."

"That's funny, he didn't ignore me," Christine said, pensively. "In fact, he flirted with me."

"Really? What'd he say?"

"Something about what was a lovely fox like me doing in a place like this, or words to that effect. I wonder if it's the Captain?"

"No, I wouldn't think so." Uhura took a sip of her iced tea. "I think that's Space Pirate. I mean, he was flirting all over the place, and it's no secret that he's quite a ladies' man."

"Well, that's true, but remember, things aren't always what they seem to be like in chat rooms."

"Ain't that the truth," Uhura laughed. "Why I remember one time when.."

"Miss Chapel, Miss Uhura." The tall Vulcan came over to their table holding his meal tray. "Do you mind if I join you? The mess hall seems rather crowded today and my usual table seems to be occupied."

"Of course, you can join us, Mr. Spock," Uhura indicated the seat on the other side of Christine. Spock sat down and began eating his meal.

"I trust I am not interrupting anything," he said. "Please continue with your conversation. Do not let my presence disturb you."

"Oh, no, Mr. Spock, you weren't interrupting anything important," Christine replied as she picked up her fork to resume eating. "We were just talking about the new online chat room that Recreation Services opened up last night."

"Online chat room?" The Vulcan's eyebrow went up.

"Yes, Mr. Spock," Uhura said. "The Blue Moon Cyber Cafe. Didn't you get the e-mail?"

"Ah, yes, that." Spock said. "I deleted it. I see no logic in talking on a computer to people I see every day."

"Oh, come on, Mr. Spock, don't tell me they didn't have chat boards on Vulcan when you were growing up," Christine protested. "Why, they were all the rage on Terra when I was a teenager, and that wasn't too long ago."

"We did indeed have 'chat rooms' as you call them on Vulcan," Spock intoned. "But they were used for the exchange of ideas and were part of our academic endeavors. Unlike humans, Vulcans have no need to engage in extraneous chatter."

"Well, I, for one, get a kick out of extraneous chatter," Uhura grinned as she got ready to go back on duty. "And I've decided I'm going to get a response out of Blue Fox if I have to stand on my virtual head to do it..."

Christine laughed. "I should think your famous dance of the seven veils ought to do it, no? Or didn't you have one of those?"

Uhura also laughed. "But, of course! And if that doesn't get his attention, nothing will!"

Spock looked at Christine, puzzled, as Uhura left.

"Dance of the seven veils? And why should Ms. Uhura want to get this ... Blue Fox's attention?"

"Well, the answer to your first question is that chat rooms are more like multi-user role playing game where the user gets to assume an on-line persona," Christine explained. "Of course, the rule is that the other users go along with the role playing. And as for the second, well, I guess she just wants to see if she can find out who he is. We think he's Captain Kirk."

"Indeed," Spock said. "Most illogical. And it is highly doubtful that the Captain would engage in such activity. It would be most undignified."

"Don't knock it til you try it, Commander," Christine picked up her tray. "You really should, you know. It might be fun, you never know."

Spock watched the nurse walk away, in silent amusement. Ah, Christine, if only you knew, he thought as he went back to eating his lunch.

Later that evening, Christine sat in front of the monitor again, ready to log in. She found herself giggling as she entered the chat room, knowing at least who one person was behind the handle.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cafe. The following persons are in the room with you: Gonzo, Lady Fatima, Hush Puppy, Braveheart, and Lady Starlight

Foxy Lady: Hi everyone!

/lady fatima hi nyota!

Lady Fatima is whispering to you: "Hi Christine!"

Gonzo is kissing your cheek.

Gonzo is whispering to you: "Hi, Beautiful!"

/gonzo hello yourself. What's a handsome Gonzo like you doing in a place like this?

Lady Fatima: Hey Braveheart, is it true you're Scottish?

Braveheart: Aye, lassie, that I am and proud of it.

Lady Fatima: Is it true what they say about Scotsmen and their kilts?

/lady starlight: Hi, Beautiful, want to come look at my etchings?

(author's note: Looks like Gonzo just had a case of rented fingers!)

Lady Starlight is slapping Gonzo! Lady Starlight is slapping Gonzo!

Gonzo: Hey, what you do that for?

Lady Starlight: I'm NOT that kind of girl!

Foxy Lady is laughing at Gonzo!

Lady Fatima is laughing at Gonzo!

Hush Puppy: Well, hush mah puppies, son. Looks like you in a heap of trouble!

Gonzo is kissing Lady Starlight's hand!

Lady Starlight: Apology accepted, Gonzo

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Meanwhile, back in his quarters, Spock was sitting in front of the computer, frowning. He had been attempting to meditate for the past half hour, but to no avail. He kept hearing Uhura's voice saying that she intended to get Blue Fox's attention. And he wondered if she were Foxy Lady. Finally, he sighed and turned on the computer.

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Welcome to the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe Please enter your handle: Blue Fox Please enter your password:**********

You have 3 messages in your inbox. Retreive now? Y

Message 1: From: Lady Fatima Re: Hi! I hope I didn't offend you last night with my whispers. It's just that you were awfully quiet, and I was trying to include you in the conversation. I'm sorry if I came across as being forward. I'm really not, I'm just a friendly person. Well, ta-ta for now. See you in chat!

Lady Fatima

Reply now? Y

To: Lady Fatima From: Blue Fox Re: Hi! No, you did not offend me. I was just preoccupied. Apologies for not responding. I am somewhat new to this. I shall see you online.

Blue Fox

Your message was sent to Lady Fatima!

Message 2: From: Foxy Lady Re: Last Night

Sorry you had to leave so early. It's not often I get to run into another fox on these chats, and, well, you know, we foxes have to stick together. Hope we have a chance to talk again soon.

Foxy Lady

Reply now? Y

To: Foxy Lady From: Blue Fox Re: Last Night I, too, regret having to leave so early. However, I should have more time to talk tonight. You are correct, we foxes do need to stick together.

Blue Fox

Your message has been sent to Foxy Lady!

Message 3: From: Boogie Bear To: Blue Fox Re: Welcome

Hello, Commander Spock, welcome to the Blue Moon Cafe. Don't worry about seeing your real name on this letter. Molly B and I are the only ones who know who you really are. In fact, every user who logs on today has received this letter and has seen his, her or its real name.

Let me reassure you that your identity remains strictly confidential, but be aware that the Front Room is open to the public and is monitored daily by the staff to ensure proper behavior.

Please take the time to read the attached rules and FAQ list (frequently answered questions) before deleting this mail. No reply is required. Enjoy your stay at The Blue Moon Cafe.

Boogie Bear & Mollie B

(Spock quickly filed the attachment on his hard drive for future reference and deleted the letter)

There is no more mail in your mailbox. Do you wish to go to the Front Room? Y

Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cafe. The following people are in the room with you: Foxy Lady, Lady Fatima, Lady Starlight, Sherlock, and Space Pirate

Lady Fatima: Blue Fox! Hi!

Lady Fatima is hugging you!

/hug

You are hugging Lady Fatima!

Blue Fox: Greetings, Lady Fatima

Foxy Lady: Hello, Blue Fox

Blue Fox: Greetings, Foxy Lady

/greet all You are greeting everyone in the room! Lady Fatima has left the room. (the computer has just notified her that Blue Fox sent her an email) Foxy Lady has left the room (same thing)

Lady Starlight: how are you this evening, Blue Fox?

Blue Fox: I am well, thank you, and yourself?

Lady Starlight: Doing okay ... have you been having a good day?

Blue Fox: It has been most productive.

Space Pirate: Hey, Lady Starlight, wanna see my etchings? <g>

Space Pirate is leering at Lady Starlight.

Foxy Lady has entered the room. Lady Fatima has entered the room.

/foxy lady how are you tonight?

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: I'm fine, thanks, how about you?

Lady Starlight is whispering to you: Is this Mr. Spock?

(Spock blinked, startled. How had she known? Could Lady Starlight be Nurse Chapel? She was very perceptive. He would have to be really careful if he wanted to keep his identity a secret)

/lady starlight Why do you say that?

Lady Fatima: Hey, Blue Fox, have you ever seen the dance of the seven veils?

Lady Starlight is whispering to you: You sound an awful lot like Mr. Spock. So formal and stilted. No offense.

/lady starlight none taken. And no, I Am Not Spock.

(Spock decided he'd better log off before he made another blunder and gave away his identity)

/wave all

Blue Fox is waving good bye to everyone in the room!

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: Leaving so soon? But you just got here

/foxy lady something unexpected has come up. I shall return at a later time.

Blue Fox has just left the room.

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Spock lost no time. As soon as he logged off, he said, "Computer."

"Working," the computer replied.

"Access all data pertaining to chat room etiquette on Terra circa ten to fifteen years ago."

"Working. All data transferred to your screen."

Spock looked at the files as they appeared in his monitor. Obviously, he was going to have a lot of studying to do this evening. If he wanted to maintain his anonymity in the chat room, he was going to have to undergo a radical personality change in his online persona.

Perhaps he might even have to draw on his human half to help him in this. He knew it wasn't Vulcan. He knew it wasn't logical. But he suddenly found he didn't care. He was having fun. For the first time, in his life, he had found a medium in which he could let out his inner actor without worrying about appearances. A secret vice that he could indulge in. In fact, he admitted to himself, he hadn't enjoyed himself this much since the time he played a gangster on Sigma Iotia.

He began to read.

* * *

James T. Kirk walked into Conference Room A at precisely 0800 the next morning. He poured himself a cup of coffee from the heated thermal decanter in the middle of the table and took a sip before turning to the two other men in the room with him. He sat down at the head of the table, barely managing to stifle a yawn.

"Late night, Jim?" Leonard McCoy, his Chief Medical Officer drawled. "You know, if you keep hanging around that chat room til all hours, I'm gonna have to tell Herb here to deny you access"

Kirk grinned. "It wasn't the chat board that kept me up last night, Bones ... it was that latest communique from Star Fleet. It seems they received a copy of my authorization to allocate computer space for an interactive communications medium within the ship, and they want to know why. I stayed up late trying to think what to say, before I gave up and called you gentlemen to meet with me this morning."

McCoy scowled in sympathy. "Damn bureaucrats! They love to push paper! You'd think they had nothing better to do, wouldn't you? In that case, I take back what I said about Herb denying you access."

"I wouldn't have taken you up on that anyway, Bones," Herb Tanzer, the Chief Recreation and Morale Officer spoke up. "Even ship's captains need a safe place where they can let their hair down and hang loose for a while, and it's not always feasible to wait for the next shore leave for him to do that. Besides, your psych staff is thrilled with the chat room idea Moira and I came up with. They're having a blast getting online and observing the other participants' behavior."

"I take it your experiment's a success, then," Kirk smiled. "It's nice to know I'll have some way to justify granting your request to allocate computer space for a 'chat board' ... especially considering how credit-conscious Star Fleet has been recently."

"I don't see how they could object," Tanzer protested. "We're using the Rec Room's main computer, which is completely separate from the main computer."

"And the chat board doesn't really use up that much of my memory," a disembodied warm female voice spoke up. "Really, Captain, it's just a drop in the bucket and Herb and I are having so much fun!"

"Thank you, Moira," Kirk smiled. "And don't worry, I'm not going to be taking away your toy." Turning to Dr. McCoy he said, "Well, Bones, let's hear your take on this whole chat thing."

"As you know, Captain," McCoy said, all seriousness now, "One of the dangers that ship's crew face on a deep space assignment is boredom after the novelty of being in deep space wears off, especially when things are relatively quiet, like they have been lately. And with eighteen months left until the end of mission, my psych department was reporting more and more cases of depression and violent outbursts of temper among the crew. Not enough to be alarmed about, mind you, but enough to send up warning flags. And enough for the Recreation and Morale Officer to be involved."

"And," Tanzer added, "I wouldn't exactly call it a frivolous use of space. Already I've had requests from the Geology and Physics Departments for chat rooms of their own so that they can communicate amongst each other. I told them that I would be more than happy to give them their own forums with their own individual chat rooms within the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe format, but I wasn't going to create a whole system just for them. Of course, the handle requirements remain. They grumbled but they accepted. A couple of folks from those departments agreed to act as list moderators.

"Starting next week, you'll be able to log into the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe and link up to the Silicate Tetrahedron Room (geology) and Chaos Theory Chamber (physics) and any other department who wants to set up a meeting place for their people is welcome to apply for a room."

"Sounds good to me," Kirk grinned. "Well, then, Bones, Herb, I'm going to need you to write that up for me so I can append it to my report to Star Fleet ... by the way, what's Spock's take on all this? I haven't really had a chance to talk to him about it."

McCoy snorted. "From what Christine tells me, he sat down to lunch with her and Uhura the other day and pooh poohed the idea ... said it was illogical to engage in extraneous chat and that Vulcan chat rooms were used for more academic pursuits."

"Oh, really?" Tanzer grinned. "Well, he's not going to be too happy when I forward this request to him from members of his own team. Seems they want a general sciences room too, where members of all disciplines can get together and hash things out. They've even got a name for it... The Vulcan's Lair. I have a feeling he'll grant the request, but not the name."

Moira, the recreation room computer had her own thoughts about the idea, but did not voice them. Suffice it to say that a certain Blue Fox would be receiving a very interesting letter in his inbox the next time he logged in.

"At any rate," McCoy said, seriously, "some of my staff members have logged in as assistant sysops and have agreed to monitor the public areas. They're using handles, too, of course, and no one knows who they are, but they're there to keep an eye on things. Hopefully, by giving the crew a forum to express their creativity, things will be a lot calmer."

"Sounds good," Kirk said. "There's only one other thing I'm concerned about, however, and that is how this diversion is going to affect ship's efficiency ratings."

"I think I can answer that," Tanzer spoke up. "While you may see a slight drop in efficiency at first because of the novelty, as crew members get used to it, it'll gradually get back to within normal levels. Moira and I have noticed that many of the crew have had prior experiences with chat rooms before, notably as teens, especially if they come from planets where the chat craze was in fashion not too long ago. It's only the newbies that seem to be carried away with it."

"Fair enough," Kirk said. "I think I have enough ammunition here to keep Star Fleet from forcing me to shut it down. Moira, I'm going to want some consumption figures from you, too."

"You've got 'em Captain. They're already in your main e-mail account."

"In that case, gentlemen, and lady, I think we've about covered all the bases. Keep me posted on your progress."

"Sure thing, Jim" McCoy drawled, and Tanzer nodded.

"Happy Chatting, Captain," Moira said, just before he walked out.

"Dr. McCoy, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

"I never mind a question asked by a pretty lady, even if she is a computer," McCoy grinned. "Go ahead, ask."

"Why haven't you set up an account with us yet? Not that you have to, but I just wondered."

"Well, heck, I spend enough time in front of a monitor reading reports as it is. I'm not exactly thrilled at spending an evening reading yet more things in front of a monitor no matter how much fun it is. Besides, I've really got enough to keep me busy."

"I understand, Doctor ... and just like Mr. Spock, you probably think it's a frivolous waste of time..." Moira sighed, sounding almost hurt.

"Now wait just a blasted minute!" McCoy barked. "I didn't say that, and don't you go putting words in my mouth, young lady! I just said I hadn't logged on yet because I haven't had time, that's all!"

"Oh, all right. Sorry, Doctor. Well, anytime you're ready let me know and I'll help you come up with a suitable alias."

"Fine. Now if you two will excuse me, I've got a Sick Bay to run!" and with that, he left the conference room.

"Moira," Herb said. "You're an wicked woman. Remind me to give you a raise."

"Herb," Moira said. "I need to set up a separate account for Mr. Spock. Let him log in as First Officer so he can go into the Vulcan's Lair without having to give up his secret identity as Blue Fox."

"Did I say wicked? I meant evil ... you've got it. Set it up ... poor Spock, he never stood a chance with you around."

"Oh, Herb, that poor man is having so much fun! Lady Starlight almost nailed him, though ... I never saw a man backtrack so fast!"

"Really?" Herb grinned. "That Lady Starlight is an astute person, but then she should be ... she is after all, the head of the Psychology Department."

"I'll show you the transcript if you like," Moira offered.

"Never mind, I'll look it up if I have time today," Herb nodded. "Now we better get back to work ourselves. I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of email to sort through when we get back to the office."

As he walked back to his office, Herb reflected on how much work being a sysop could be. He hadn't told the Captain and the Doctor, that as the System Operators of the Blue Moon Cyber Chat Cafe, he and Moira were like mini-deities... they could see everything that went on at the system at any given time including private messages that the users sent to each other.

In fact, they were able to log on in invisible mode so that they could wander around undetected. Oh, well, he shrugged, what the other users didn't know wouldn't hurt them, and it wasn't like he and Moira were the kind who would abuse the privilege. They both had too much regard for other people's privacy for that ... but that didn't mean that they weren't human enough not to enjoy the show that was being played out before their eyes on a daily basis...

* * *

Herb Tanzer sat in front of the two monitors on his desk and sipped slowly on his after-dinner coffee. He stroked a key on the computer console on his desk to deactivate the screen savers of both monitors, both of which were dedicated to The Blue Moon Cafe Cyber Chat Board. One monitor was showing the Entry Page so that he could track the log-ons and log-offs of his guests, and the other displayed the Front Room so that he could see conversations as they were taking place.

"How's it been going, Moira?" he asked the rec room computer.

"Pretty quiet, Herb," Moira responded. "Seems to be picking up a bit, though. You'd think they'd be out and about, it being a Friday night."

"Weekends are a relative term onboard a ship," Herb commented. "I mean, it's not like they can get dressed up and get away from the same four walls ... it may be a different room, but still the same four walls. This way, you can have fun without leaving the comfort of your own room."

"I've set up Mr. Spock's second account. He'll be ready to get on it next week when the Vulcan's Lair officially opens up."

"Oh, he let you keep the name, eh?" Herb grinned.

"I had to do a little ... creative persuasion, shall we say..." Moira admitted. "But he was amenable to the idea once I pointed out the value of having an 'official' handle as well as an unofficial one."

Herb chuckled. "Moira, you're definitely some piece of work ... and speaking of the devil ... looks like our friend, Blue Fox is logging on ... think I'll peek over his shoulder for a few minutes."

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cafe. These persons are in the room with you: Nefertiti, Hecate, Nightingale, Big Al, Al's Gal, Gonzo, Foxy Lady and Space Pirate

Blue Fox: Hello lovely ladies! Have no fear, the Blue Fox is here!

Gonzo: (rolling eyes) Oh, brother.

/hug Nefertiti

You are hugging Nefertiti!

/hug Al's Gal

You are hugging Al's Gal!

Big Al is growling at you!

Big Al: Hey! Stay away from my woman!

Al's Gal is whispering to you: "Hi, Cutie, how's it going? Wanna get together later for drinks?"

Al's Gal is smooching Big Al! Big Al is smooching Al's Gal!

/al's gal But what would Big Al think?

Foxy Lady: How have you been, Blue Fox?

Blue Fox: Never better, lovely lady ... want to come over and see my etchings?

/leer Foxy Lady

You are leering at Foxy Lady!

Foxy Lady: Huh?

Al's Gal is whispering to you: "Never mind him. What Big Al doesn't know won't hurt him. Besides, I have a nice blue drink that I know you'll just love! Just the color of your fur..."

/al's gal No thanks, some other time perhaps, when we're on shore leave...

Hecate: Gonzo, why so quiet?

Gonzo: Just admiring the many beautiful women here.

Hecate: Flatterer!

Hecate is smiling at Gonzo! Gonzo is blowing Hecate a kiss!

/hecate ah, the goddess of wealth and blessings ... will you bestow your blessings on me fair one?

Hecate is whispering to you: "In your dreams! Besides, life is just a masquerade ... how do I know if you are what you seem? What kind of person lies behind the mask of the blue fox?"

/hecate Only the most sincere person in the world, my lady.

Hecate is whispering to you: "Would you rescue a damsel in distress from a castle, m'lord Fox if her life depended on it?"

/kiss Hecate

You are kissing Hecate!

;Hecate I would do anything for you....

Blue Fox: ;Hecate I would do anything for you...

Lady Fox is gasping! Nefertiti is gasping! Gonzo is laughing his head off!

Big Al has just gone into Al's Room for a private chat! Al's Gal has just gone into Al's Room for a private chat!

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "All right, who are you, and what have you done to Blue Fox?

Space Pirate is flirting with Nefertiti! Nefertiti has gone into Nefertiti's Budoir for a private chat! Space Pirate has just gone into Nefertiti's room for a private chat!

/foxy lady What do you mean? This is Blue Fox!

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "You don't sound like the person I was talking to the other day! Are you sure?"

/foxy lady yes, I am sure. I am Blue Fox. Fox's honor!

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Herb Tanzer was laughing so hard, he had all he could do to keep his seat. Poor Spock. It seemed he couldn't win for losing. He didn't blame Spock for wanting to change his online persona. He was going to have to sic Moira on him to see if she couldn't straighten him out. Meantime, he spotted an old friend logging on, and quickly validated the account so that the user could enter the Front Room.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cafe. The following persons are in the room with you: Snow White, Space Pirate, Hush Puppy, Lady Fatima, Blue Fox and Molly B

Bulldog: Hello

Lady Fatima: Hi Bulldog! Welcome!

Bulldog: thanks ... I'm kinda new to this.

Molly B: Oh, don't worry we'll help you.

Hush Puppy: Well, hush mah puppy Bulldog, ya made it!

Bulldog: Yes, I did...

Hush Puppy is whispering to you: "Hi, glad you could make it after all"

Bulldog: How do you send a whisper?

Molly B: type /"user" only without the quotes. And then your message

Lady Fatima: /user name

Blue Fox: type /user name

Snow White has just gone into Snow White's Castle for a private chat! Space Pirate has just gone into Snow White's Castle for a private chat!

/hush puppy That's the worst southern accent I've ever heard.

Hush Puppy is whispering to you: "Well, what'd you expect! I only had lions in my back yard! And I don't do mint juleps like some I could mention!"

Lady Fatima: pat the Bulldog!

/action words (there follows a long list of action words available to the user ... use your imagination; it's too long a list for me to put on this story)

/smile Lady Fatima

You are smiling at Lady Fatima!

Snow White has just entered the room. Space Pirate has just entered the room.

Snow White: Bye y'all. I'm off to find my Prince Charming!

Lady Fatima: bye bye hon.

Molly B has gone into Molly's Place for a private chat! Blue Fox has gone into Molly's Place for a private chat!

/hush puppy don't knock mint juleps til you've tried one .. anyway I've got to go. I've had all the excitement I can stand for one night...

Bulldog: Well, this old dog needs his beauty sleep. Nice talking to you folks. See ya around.

Lady Fatima: Sleep Well, Bulldog.

/wave all You are waving to everyone in the room! Bulldog has left the room.

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Herb noted the log-off. Fifteen minutes. Short visit, but he had a feeling the user would be back sometime in the future when he wasn't so tired or when he couldn't get much sleep. Herb yawned. It had been a long day. He decided to peek in on Foxy Lady. He had noted that Moira had taken Blue Fox aside. Hopefully, Spock was being receptive to Moira's advice. He'd read that transcript in the morning. Tonight, he'd look in on one more chat and then leave it all in Moira's capable hands.

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/who

Blue Fox..................... Molly's Place

Molly B...................... Molly's Place

Sherlock..................... Front Room

Midnight Caller.............. Front Room

Nightingale.................. Front Room

Foxy Lady: sure is quiet around here

Sherlock: Think everyone's ready to call it a night.

Midnight Caller: I know I am

/midnight caller: Rough day?

Midnight Caller is whispering to you: "You said it. My feet are killing me, and I'm having problems with my latest romance story. Want to beta read it for me?"

/midnight caller: Oooh, another bodice ripper? You bet!!

Blue Fox has entered the room. Molly B has entered the room.

Nightingale: Well, I see somebody's been busy! Should I offer you a cigarette, Blue Fox? How about you, Molly B?

Molly B: Sorry, I don't smoke, but Blue Fox sure does ... ooooh, baby!

Molly B is stroking Blue Fox! Molly B is hugging Blue Fox! Blue Fox is kissing Molly B!

Foxy Lady: Well, well ... hmmph!

Nightingale is gasping at Blue Fox! Nightingale is laughing at Blue Fox! Nightingale is pulling Blue Fox's tail! Nightingale is giggling at Blue Fox!

/nightingale do you mind if I ask what's going on?

Nightingale is whispering to you: "I told Blue Fox if he didn't behave I'd yank his tail real hard, and he told me to try a little tenderness ... and I might be surprised at what comes UP, if you know what I mean...<g>

/gasp Nightingale

You are gasping at Nightingale!

/blue fox well, gee, that's nice ... how come she gets to pull your tail and I don't? what happened to we foxes have to stick together?

Blue Fox is whispering to you: "Believe me, I still think that I really would like to get to know you better. Please say you'll go into my private room?"

/blue fox I wish I could, but it's getting late and I have to go to bed. Maybe next time we're online..."

Blue Fox is sighing wistfully! Blue Fox is sighing wistfully!

Lady Fox: Well, goodnight all!

/blowkiss Blue Fox

You are blowing Blue Fox a kiss!

Foxy Lady has just left the room.

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Herb Tanzer shut off the monitors and dimmed the lights in his office, as he prepared to go to his quarters. He couldn't help chuckling at Foxy Lady and Blue Fox. He could see them being drawn to each other more and more ... he just hoped that by the time each found out who the other was, they'd have a good online friendship going. Frankly, he'd always suspected Christine Chapel was just the kind of woman Spock needed. Now, if only Spock would see it that way...

* * *

Almost a week had passed before Spock was able to get back to the chat board. His duties had prevented him from logging on as often as he would like and because he had found that if he logged on even just to check for messages in his inbox, more often than not, he would find himself staying on far longer than he intended. Unfortunately, the one time he had been online, Foxy Lady had not, so he had not yet had the opportunity to talk to her.

This particular evening, he found himself with a little breathing space, and since he had been notified in his e-mail that the Vulcan's Lair, the general sciences chat room, was now ready to go online, he decided to log in using his "official" handle.

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Please enter your handle: First Officer Please enter your password: ********

WELCOME TO THE BLUE MOON CYBER CAFÉ

News: Stardate 5457.3 NEW CHAT ROOMS OPEN

Starting today, those of you who have expressed the wish to have your own areas so that you can chat about your special interests will be able to access the following rooms:

Silicate Tetrahedron: This chat room is dedicated to those crew who currently serve in the geology department. If rocks and other geologic phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes and the environment are of interest to you, this is the place to go. Your List Moderators: Rock Hound & Rolling Stone

Chaos Theory: This is the official chat room for the physics and astrophysics departments. If you are interested in lively discussions of matter and energy and of interactions between the two, this is the place for you. Topics include acoustics, optics, mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism, as well as atomic and nuclear physics, cryogenics, solid-state physics, particle physics, and plasma physics Your List Moderators: Gandalf the Grey & Bilbo the Hobbit

The Vulcan's Lair: General Sciences. This is an official chat room moderated by First Officer Spock. This is the place to look if you want to be kept abreast of what's going on in the Sciences division. Your List Moderators: First Officer and Sherlock

Bulldog's M*A*S*H Pit: The medical sciences department lives here. This is the place for medical personnel to meet and discuss topics of interest to them. A lively forum to discuss the latest medical advances and other issues. Your List Moderators: Bulldog & Lady Starlight

Coming soon for you archeology buffs: King Tut's Tomb. Moderators: King Tut and Cleopatra

Any other departments or individuals wanting to host their own chat room, please drop us a line in our Inbox.

Boogie Bear & Molly B

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Spock took a few minutes to check in at the Vulcan's Lair. He greeted those few users that were there, engaged in desultory discussion, and then left. Frankly, he was bored, although he did not want to admit it to himself. He decided to look in on the Front Room, since he noticed that Foxy Lady had just logged in.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyber Café. The following persons are in the room with you: Foxy Lady, Platypus, Lady Fatima, Nefertiti, Gonzo, and Sherlock

Lady Fatima: Mr. Spock, is that you?

First Officer: Yes, I am Spock.

Gonzo is whispering to you: "Hello, Spock. Are you up for a game of chess later tonight?"

/gonzo I believe that can be arranged.

Gonzo is whispering to you: "Fine, I'll see you in rec room 3 at 2300 hours."

/nod Gonzo

First Officer is nodding to Gonzo.

Lady Fatima: Mr. Spock, would you like me to do my (in)famous "Dance of the Seven Veils" for you?

First Officer: I fail to see the purpose behind such an activity since I cannot "see" anything but words on my monitor…

Lady Fatima is sighing wistfully.

Lady Fatima: I forgot…there is no moon on Vulcan, is there?

/lady fatima: Forgive me, Miss Uhura, I meant no offense.

Lady Fatima is whispering to you: "None taken, Mr. Spock. I was just trying to make conversation."

First Officer is bowing to Lady Fatima.

Ben Dover has just entered the room.

Ben Dover: HIYA HOT CHICKS! HAVE NO FEAR THE MAN IS HERE…IVE GOT 12 INCHES OF LONG HOT LOVIN' RIGHT HERE FER YA!

Foxy Lady: Is that all? Honey, turn off your caps, we're not deaf!

Ben Dover: WATCH WHO YOU TALKIN' TO, HO! IF I WANT ANY LIP OFFA U I TAKE IT OFF MY ZIPPER…

Lady Fatima: Ben, honey, you really need to tone it down and quit talking trash!

(At this point someone has paged the Sysop)

Gonzo: Watch your mouth, mister! There are ladies present in this room!

First Officer: Your language is most offensive, Mr. Dover.

Ben Dover: YO MAMA SUCKS TITS! WHICH OF YOU HOT MAMAS WANTS TO GO HOTCHAT WITH ME? I NEED TO GET MY ROCKS OFF…

Foxy Lady is slapping Ben Dover! Lady Fatima is slapping Ben Dover! Nefertiti is slapping Ben Dover!

Boogie Bear has just entered the room.

Boogie Bear: Howdy folks, how's it going?

Foxy Lady: It's getting a little loud in here, Boogie Bear.

Platypus is whispering to you: "What's going on? I'm new to all this… I haven't got a clue as to what's happening…why is everybody so mad at Ben Dover?"

/platypus: Apparently Mr. Dover is being rude and obnoxious to the ladies in this room by referring to them as sexual objects.

Ben Dover has just vanished from the room! (The Sysop knocked him offline. Some drunk ensign is going to find a nasty letter waiting for him in his inbox next time he logs in)

Boogie Bear: Sorry about that, folks... carry on!

Foxy Lady: Well! That was interesting... Reminds me of a guy I met once in a bar on Alpha Centauri IV... wish it had been that easy to get rid of him!

Nefertiti: LOL! Ain't that the truth! Poof, he's gone!

Platypus is whispering to you: "What does LOL mean? Look Out Loser? I'm s-o-o-o-o confused..."

/platypus: LOL = Laughing Out Loud ... there is a very useful section in the historical section of the database that covers internet etiquette ... circa late 1990's -2000 ... I believe the same terms are in use, from what I have observed. You may find a study of them helpful.

First Officer: Well, as interesting as this has been I have other duties to attend to. I wish you all a pleasant evening.

/wave all

You are waving at everyone.

First Officer has left the room!

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Spock had wanted to talk to Foxy Lady and flirt with the other ladies, but he quickly realized that he couldn't without compromising himself and possibly revealing his alter ego. For safety's sake, he decided to wait thirty minutes before logging in as Blue Fox. In the meantime, Christine had wanted to say something to Spock, but she didn't feel comfortable revealing her alter ego. Besides, there was Blue Fox ... someone interesting with whom it was just possible that she might develop a friendship with offline, and who would help her get over her infatuation for the unattainable First Officer. She decided to stay on a while longer to see if he would come on tonight. He had after all, promised her a private chat.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyber Café. The following persons are in the room with you: Foxy Lady, Hot Choklit, Melana, Sherlock and Braveheart.

Blue Fox: Hello everyone!

Foxy Lady: Hi, Blue Fox, long time no see!

Foxy Lady is hugging you!

/hug foxy lady You are hugging Foxy Lady!

Blue Fox: I've been kind of busy, but I'm here now, to talk to all you lovely ladies!

Hot Choklit is whispering to you: "Hi, handsome! My my, what lovely blue fur you have ... I wouldn't mind being castaways on a desert island with you ... or even in a cave on a mountain."

/Hot Choklit: ah, but that could be a never-ending saga ... don't you think?

Hot Choklit is giggling at you!

Foxy Lady: Somehow, Blue Fox I get the feeling that talking to the ladies isn't all that's on your mind, to judge by the way Hot Choklit is giggling at you.

Blue Fox: Can I help it if I am but a charming fox, Foxy Lady?

/smile Foxy Lady

You are smiling at Foxy Lady!

Melana is whispering to you: "Gosh, it's too bad I'm allergic to fox fur, or I would suggest that we might go someplace and engage in a little indiscreet behavior...

/Melana What a pity ... I'd have a hard time finding a few stolen moments right now, but it does sound tempting...

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While Spock found that he enjoyed flirting with the other women, he definitely wanted to chat with Foxy Lady. He decided to invite her to join him in his private room.

Christine was getting annoyed with Blue Fox. It had been a long day for her and she was about ready to go to bed. The only reason she was still online was that she'd seen Blue Fox log on, and thought maybe tonight would be the night they would finally get to have their private chat. But, no, there he was flirting with all the other ladies.

Well, if he thinks I'm going to wait around any longer, he's got another think coming, she fumed silently as she got ready to say her goodnights to the other online members in the Front Room.

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Foxy Lady: Well folks, it's been real, but it's late and I need my beauty sleep.

Blue Fox is whispering to you: "No, wait, don't leave yet!"

Blue Fox has just invited you into his private room. To enter, type /join <user name>

/join blue fox

You are now in Blue Fox's private room.

Blue Fox: Hello, Foxy Lady. Thank you for coming to my room.

Foxy Lady: I can't stay on too long. I really do need to get to bed, and I wouldn't want to keep you from your many admirers.

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Spock raised an eyebrow at that remark. Could she possibly be jealous?

Christine groaned. Damn! Why did she have to say that? Now he was going to think she was some kind of possessive shrew

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Blue Fox: There is no need to apologize, Foxy Lady. I assure you it is not inconvenient at all.

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Christine took a deep breath. He sounded a bit miffed at the tone of her remark.

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Foxy Lady: Sorry, Blue Fox. That was a rude thing to say. Anyway, we kind of got off on the wrong foot, it seems.

Blue Fox: Indeed. Well, then what can I do to make sure that we get back on the right foot?

Foxy Lady: Maybe we should start over. Hi, I'm Foxy Lady... :-)

Blue Fox: I am pleased to meet you. I am Blue Fox.

Foxy Lady: Well, now I'm curious. What part of the ship do you work in?

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Spock frowned. He would have to be very careful here. He didn't want her to know who he was just yet; certainly not before he had found out who she was first. For all he knew, she could be some lowly ensign named Mary Sue.

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Blue Fox: I work in the science department.

Foxy Lady: Oh really? Then you must know Mr. Spock?

Blue Fox: Yes, I suppose you could say that I do; at least as much as anyone is capable of knowing Mr. Spock.

Foxy Lady: Well, he's not an easy man to get to know, but he seems nice enough.

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Change the subject, Christine! she chided herself. Otherwise, he's bound to figure out who you are. Everyone on the ship knows I have a crush on Spock.

Spock smiled to himself. Ah, if she only knew, he thought; still it pleased him that she thought of him as being nice.

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Foxy Lady: So what kind of books do you like to read?

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They talked about books for twenty minutes or so until Christine looked at her chronometer.

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Foxy Lady: Oh my goodness! It's almost 0200! It's late, and I do have an early shift tomorrow!

Blue Fox: Wait! You didn't tell me where you worked?

Foxy Lady: Oh, I work in the lab next to sick bay.

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A lab technician? Spock wondered. Or possibly one of the medical staff? It couldn't be Nurse Chapel. He had already decided that she was Lady Starlight.

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Foxy Lady: I really must go! Good night.

Blue Fox: Good night. Sleep well.

Foxy Lady has just entered the Front Room! Blue Fox has just entered the Front Room!

Foxy Lady: Good night all!

Foxy Lady has just left the Front Room.

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Spock decided this would also be a good time for him to make his exit and quickly logged off. He couldn't help thinking about the conversation he'd had with Foxy Lady. He had been pleasantly surprised that she seemed to genuinely want to get to know him better without any of the flirtatious games that the other ladies on the chat board liked to engage him. It was one of the reasons why he hadn't engaged in private chat with any of them. Somehow, however, he had sensed that Foxy Lady would be different, and she did not disappoint him. He was going to enjoy getting to know her very much indeed, he thought just before he fell asleep.

* * *

Six weeks later, Spock was still just as intrigued with Foxy Lady as he had been the night he first chatted with her. They had chatted in each other's private rooms several times since that night, yet he still knew very little about her, other than the fact that she was not some lowly ensign named Mary Sue. He also knew that she liked reading romance novels, but that she was not interested in any serious relationships, and the romance novels were a form of stress relief for her. It was late on a ship's "Saturday" night, and since he didn't have to report for duty the next day, he decided to log on to see if Foxy Lady was online.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyber Café. The following people are in the room with you: Sir Galahad, Danny Boy, Sherlock, Wild Thing, Basket Case and Queen Victoria.

Blue Fox: Hello everyone.

Wild Thing: Hi handsome!

Basket Case: Hullo Fox, how goes it?

Sir Galahad is bowing to Queen Victoria!

Sir Galahad: Your Majesty honors us with her presence.

Danny Boy: Hey, Vic ol' gal, give us a kiss, why don't you?

Queen Victoria: We are not amused, Danny Boy. Off with his head!

Queen Victoria is whispering to you: "Hello, Blue Fox. I'm a friend of Foxy Lady's. She told me if I saw you online tonight that she'd be online later."

/queen vic: Thank you for telling me. I will be waiting for her.

Queen Victoria is whispering to you: "Well, you'd better be good to her. She really likes you, I can tell! Too bad I'm still waiting for my lover's return, or I'd give you a whirl myself. I have a 'thing' for foxes, don'tcha know."

/kisshand queen vic

Blue Fox is kissing Queen Victoria's hand!

Wild Thing is whispering to you: "I bet you would have more fun with me than you could with the Queen, Blue Fox, if you were willing to try to tame me."

/Wild Thing: Ah, but love with a Blue Fox is not something to be taken lightly. It is nothing like puppy love. Are you sure you are willing to take the risk?

Wild Thing is whispering to you: "Hmmm ... better not. After all, I wouldn't want Foxy Lady getting mad at me. She and I are old friends you know."

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Spock suddenly sat up, interested. This was the second person who had admitted to knowing who Foxy Lady was. Maybe he could find out more from her and Queen Victoria. But before he could do so, he got a whisper from Basket Case.

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Basket Case is whispering to you: "Hey, Fox, you sound like a swinging guy ... want to hear a juicy tidbit 'bout my cousin?"

/Basket Case: why would I want to hear a juicy tidbit about your cousin?

Basket Case is whispering to you: "Because everyone thinks she's such a straight arrow, and she's not. She has an imperfect past. In fact, you'd be surprised ... snicker."

/Basket Case: I see. Well, that is certainly informational.

Basket Case is whispering to you: "I can see you're not impressed. Well, here's a news flash for you ... next time you see Foxy Lady, ask her about a band called Albino Dreams ... snicker."

Basket Case is snickering at Blue Fox! Basket Case has left the Front Room!

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Now Spock was getting a little annoyed. Did everybody know who Foxy Lady was except him?

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Foxy Lady has just entered the Front Room!

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "Sorry, I'm running late and won't be able to chat with you tonight. Just came in to say good night."

Foxy Lady is hugging you! /hug foxy lady

/foxy lady: does everyone on this ship know who you are except me? I have already run into 3 people who say they know who you are.

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "Well, that's better than me. I haven't run into anybody who knows who you are, and if they do, they're not talking. Then you know who I really am?"

/foxy lady: No, I don't. They haven't told me your real name.

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "Look, I've got to go to bed. Maybe next time, we can talk about whether or not we want to actually meet each other or just keep this an online friendship."

/foxy lady: Fair enough. Good night.

Foxy Lady is blowing Blue Fox a kiss!

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As Spock turned off his computer he realized two things: one: that some of the people on the chat board already thought of his alter ego and Foxy Lady as a couple; and two: that the idea didn't perturb him as much as it should have. Perhaps meeting her would be a wise thing to do under the circumstances. It would, at least, put things in perspective for him.

* * *

Christine undressed wearily and got into the shower. It had been a rough day for her ... not that it had been any kind of drastic emergency, just a lot of little things that added up to a stressful time ... Leonard McCoy, her boss swearing because he'd gotten a memo from Star Fleet Medical requesting a complete inventory of supplies, which Christine had no problem in giving him. Being the organized person that she was, she kept a running inventory of what was needed.

Once that minor crisis was over, there was an influx of crewpeople coming in with minor injuries, everything from sprained ankles to ear aches. Christine sighed as she allowed herself the luxury of a water shower instead of a sonic shower for a change. The crew was bored and ready for action, any kind of action; it seemed that the novelty of the chat board had worn off somewhat, she mused, as she dried off. It had for her too, actually except for one thing ... Blue Fox. He was the only reason she still logged on as often as he did, and now he was wanting to meet her. She had mixed feelings about this, as she told her friend a few minutes later when she logged on.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe. The following persons are here with you: Opal Essence, Danny Boy and Sir Galahad.

Foxy Lady: Hi all!

Danny Boy: Hello, lovely lady!

Opal Essence is whispering to you: "You just missed Blue Fox. He was online for quite a while. I think he was waiting for you. He spent a lot of time in his private room alone."

/opal essence oh really? He wants to meet me in person, but I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Opal Essence is whispering to you: "It's a tough decision to make. You have to trust your feelings. But at the same time, remember that too many reflections can be a dangerous thing."

/opal essence what do you mean by that?

Opal Essence is whispering to you: "Only that you could be missing out on the opportunity of your life. He seems like a nice person. He might actually be as nice as he seems."

You are nodding to Opal Essence.

/opal essence thanks, I'll keep that in mind.

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Christine leaned back. She knew the woman who called herself Opal Essence slightly. She worked in the psychology department and was a very practical woman. She sat back and watched the comings and goings for a few minutes, thinking of getting off.

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Danny Boy is whispering to you: "Lovely lady, are you by any chance Irish? You strike me as a bonny Irish lassy ... I'll take you home again, Miss Fox...(wink)

/danny boy It's possible I have some Irish blood in me, my dear ... grin

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Christine smiled in amusement. There was only one person who Danny Boy could be...

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Sir Galahad is whispering to you: "Lovely lady, let me transport you away to a garden of delights."

You are kissing Sir Galahad on the cheek!

/sir galahad That's a very generous offer, kind sir, and I may take you up on it some day, but not tonight. Forgive me?

Sir Galahad is whispering to you: "Ah, you can be forgiven anything, my lady. It is well known that your heart belongs to a certain Blue Fox ... but if you should ever tire of him..."

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Christine blinked. Was it that obvious? Had she and Blue Fox been spending so much time together online that everyone now thought of them as an online romance?

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/sir galahad I assure you, you'll be the first to know...

Serendipity has just entered the room!

Serendipity: Greetings, everyone!

Foxy Lady: Hello, Serendipity, long time no see!

Danny Boy: Ah, another lovely lady, I see.

Serendipity is whispering to you: "Blue Fox was looking for you earlier. He said to tell you he might be online a little bit later on tonight and he had something important to talk to you about."

/serendipity Thanks. He probably wants to talk about meeting in person, again ... sigh

Serendipity is whispering to you: "You're not sure you want to? Well, I can understand your not wanting to go off the deep end ... but on the other hand ... you two could rule the night ... it's something to think about."

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Christine nodded thoughtfully as she pondered Serendipity's words.

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/serendipity Thank you, I'll keep it in mind.

Serendipity is waving at everyone.

Serendipity: Gotta go! Night all!

Blue Fox has just entered the room!

Blue Fox is whispering to you: "We must talk. Come into my private room."

(Christine entered Blue Fox's private room.)

Blue Fox: Have you thought any more about our meeting in person?

Foxy Lady: Yes, I've given it a lot of thought, but I'm still a little leery about it. I'd like to meet you, but at the same time, I'm afraid that our online friendship may not last once we meet off-line.

Blue Fox: I hardly think that would be the case. You seem to be an intelligent woman and I feel comfortable talking to you. Not like with other women. Please consider it.

Foxy Lady: All right, I tell you what ... I'll be in the Main Rec Room tomorrow night at 0800. I'll be the blonde woman in the red silk blouse and black trousers wearing black ballet slippers. Come up and introduce yourself and we'll see what happens.

Blue Fox: I will definitely be there! And now I must go. It is late.

Foxy Lady: Me too! Good night!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Christine quickly logged off. Well, she thought as she got ready for bed. The worse that can happen is that he won't show up.

* * *

The next evening Christine stood in front of the mirror and gave herself one last inspection. She had to admit she looked very attractive in the outfit she'd chosen, adding a touch of red lipstick. It was her favorite red silk blouse, and she liked the way it looked on her.

She took her time getting to the Main Rec Room. There was no point in being there too early, she thought. It took her a few minutes to find an unoccupied table to sit at, as she nursed her drink. Who would have guessed it would have been this crowded on that particular weeknight?

Fortunately, she was the only woman wearing a red silk shirt, although she wasn't the only woman dressed in civilian clothes. She glanced around the room looking for anyone who might be Blue Fox. She almost stood up a couple of times as men approached her table, but they always moved past her to sit with someone else. She wondered if he was going to show after all.

She tried not to feel disappointed as she saw Mr. Spock coming into the room. He looked around for a moment and then began to walk towards her table. For a moment, she almost thought he might actually be ... but no, not given the way he felt about Chat Boards. She'd only seen him online a few times and mostly he went to the General Sciences section of the chat board. Nevertheless, he stopped in front of her table.

"Good evening, Nurse Chapel," he intoned. "Do you mind if I sit here?"

"Well, I'm kind of waiting for someone," she said hesitantly, then... "Sure, why not? You're welcome to sit here, Mr. Spock."

"I shall try not to intrude," Spock said. "Do you mind if I ask who you are waiting for?"

"Someone I met online," she admitted sheepishly. "He made such a big deal about wanting to meet me, and now he's not here." She sighed irritably. Spock raised an eyebrow at that.

"Indeed? Do you make it a practice to make online assignations?"

"Not that it's any of your business, Mr. Spock. It's just that I've been talking to this particular person for quite some time and I find him intriguing. I'd like to know if he's as charming in person as he is online, that's all. Is that such a crime?"

"Forgive me, Nurse," Spock said, taken aback by the vehemence of her response. "I did not mean to pry into your personal affairs."

"That's all right, Mr. Spock," she said. "I guess I'm relieved in a way that he chickened out. But he's going to have some explaining to do next time I see him online!"

"Indeed. I should not want to be in his position," Spock said, ruefully. "Ah, excuse me, I believe I see the Captain." He stood up abruptly. "Have a good evening, Miss Chapel. I hope your friend makes an appearance."

"Thanks, Mr. Spock, but somehow, I don't think he will," Christine said, getting up also. She felt rather disgusted with herself for going to all the trouble of dressing up for someone who didn't even have the decency to cancel out on her ahead of time instead of leaving her feeling and looking like a fool. She walked out of the rec room with her head held high and didn't look back.

Spock watched her leave and cursed himself for three kinds of a fool.

He should have told her who he was, but he had been so surprised to find out that she was Foxy Lady that he couldn't quite bring himself to reveal his identity; especially since he now had to admit to himself the possibility that her feelings for him might not be all that one-sided. He had hurt her in the process without meaning to, and he would have to make it up to her, somehow. He wondered what he was getting himself into.

* * *

It was with some trepidation that he logged on to the chat board the following night. He didn't see Foxy Lady online, but he was pleasantly surprised to see an old friend ... that is, if it was the person he thought it was. He decided it might be time to seek a little advice about his current situation.

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyberchat Cafe. The following people are in the room with you: Lady Fatima, Nefertiti, Gonzo, Bulldog and Dragoness.

Blue Fox: Hello everyone.

Dragoness: Blue Fox! Sweetie! Long time no see!

Blue Fox: Nessie! It's good to see you again also. I didn't know you were here.

Dragoness: Just got assigned here, Blue Fox. Short term. I'll be getting off at Starbase 12.

Blue Fox: Ah, I see. We must get together before you leave, then.

Dragoness: Count on it! I'll challenge you to a game of darts! I'm an expert dart player you know...<Evil grin>

Blue Fox: Ah ... darts ... yes, well ... er ... maybe some other night...

Dragoness: Why Blue Fox, honey, don't you trust me? (Looking innocent as only a dragon can look!)

Blue Fox: I trust you, of course, but it is your aim I don't trust.

Dragoness: Nonsense! My aim is better than ever ... watch! (throwing darts) thud... thud..

Blue Fox: Dragoness ... I'm sure you didn't mean to pin me back to the wall by my ears ... would you mind taking the darts out? It's quite painful.

Dragoness: Well, that's what you get for getting in the way of my darts, Fox! (unpinning Blue Fox's ears)

Dragoness is whispering to you: "Hello, Spock m'love, how've you been?"

/dragoness I am well, and you? How did you know it was I?

Dragoness is whispering to you: "Well, it sure as heck couldn't be Blake! You two haven't been roommates for years, and besides last I heard he'd left Star Fleet and was working as a bartender on Rigel IV."

Dragoness is smooching you! You are smooching Dragoness!

Dragoness is whispering to you: "So, how'd it go with you and Foxy Lady last night? I saw you talking to her in the Main Rec Room."

/dragoness you were there? I did not see you there!

Dragoness is whispering to you: "Well, if you'd bothered to look in the corner where the dart board was, you would have seen me ... but you seemed kind of busy. Was she shocked to find out who you were?"

/dragoness Not exactly. That is to say, she didn't know it was I.

Dragoness: "You didn't tell her? Chicken! What's wrong with you, boy? Christine Chapel is a fine woman. What's the matter, she's not good enough for you, is that it?"

/dragoness do not be angry with me, Nessie. I wanted to tell her but I was uncertain of her reaction to my revealing myself to her. It is well known that she has feelings for me, but she might have reacted badly to finding out I am the person she has been talking to the past few weeks.

Dragoness is whispering to you: "Well, that's true enough. She might have thought you were playing her for a fool. Hmmm.... well, here's a suggestion for you...

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Spock "listened" intently as his old friend outlined a plan of action for him to follow with Christine; if his friend was right, then everything would work out for the best and he wouldn't lose his newfound friendship with Christine.

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Dragoness: Well, it's been fun, boys and girls, but this old dragon needs her beauty sleep!

Foxy Lady has just entered the room!

Dragoness is whispering to you: "here she comes; go get her, hon!"

Dragoness is smooching Blue Fox! You are smooching Dragoness!

Dragoness has left the room!

/foxy lady: Forgive me for not meeting you last night! Something came up at the last minute and I was unable to make it.

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "Think nothing of it. I spent the evening talking to a friend."

/foxy lady will you allow me to make it up to you by going to the holovid with me tomorrow night?

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "I guess so. After all, everybody deserves one more chance. But be warned, if you stand me up again, that's IT for us! No more online friendship or anything!"

/foxy lady I won't let you down. Meet me in front of the holovid theater at 1930 hours.

Foxy Lady is whispering to you: "I'll be there. I'll wear the same outfit I wore last night."

You are hugging Foxy Lady

/foxy lady I'm looking forward to it!

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Spock breathed an inward sigh of relief as he logged off for the evening. Dragoness was right. He had been too much of a coward to tell Christine the truth. But by tomorrow night everything should be settled between them one way or the other; he hoped in his favor.

* * *

Christine waited in front of the holovid suite trying not to look as if she were staring at every male that walked by thinking, "Is that him?"

"That's what I get for getting here five minutes early," she thought. But she hadn't wanted to risk being late and missing him. She saw Spock walking down the corridor in her direction and groaned inwardly. She uttered a brief prayer that he wouldn't stop and say hello because she didn't want to have to answer any awkward questions about why she was hanging around in front of the holovid theater waiting for her date like a teenager. To her chagrin, he stopped right in front of her.

"Nurse Chapel, you look aesthetically pleasing tonight," he said, and she could almost swear she saw a twinkle in his deep brown eyes.

"Thank you, Mr. Spock, she said. "I was waiting for a friend, but I guess he didn't make it ... again..."

"Ah, your friend from the chat board I presume? I was talking to a certain person ... who calls himself Blue Fox online this evening. He asked me to meet someone named Foxy Lady here and convey his apologies."

"All right, that does it!" Christine snapped. "I told that man that if he stood me up one more time, that was it for our friendship. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!"

"So you are Foxy Lady? In that case, since this Blue Fox could not be here, perhaps you would consider attending the holovid with me?"

"I'd love to, Mr. Spock!" Christine said, stalking into the theater in front of him. She'd be damned if she'd go back to her quarters and sulk. If Mr. Spock was willing to spend an evening with her, even if it was only out of pity, well, at this point she'd take it. He sat beside her as they waited for the holovid to start. It was a light-hearted romance, a remake of a popular twentieth century movie called You've Got Mail.

It wasn't until they reached a certain point in the story, that the light dawned for her. It was the scene where the heroine was supposed to meet the hero at a restaurant. The hero was there, but couldn't bring himself to meet her, and so she thought she'd been stood up. At this point, it occurred to Christine that Spock had been there both times that she was supposed to meet Blue Fox. What if...? She turned and looked at him, only to find him looking at her with that familiar raised eyebrow. She leaned closer to him.

"Blue Fox, I presume?" she asked. A small smile played at the corners of his mouth as he nodded once. She leaned back in her seat and tried to keep from laughing out loud. As it was a small giggle escaped her. She supposed she should be angry. He certainly had her fooled, but she certainly wasn't the only one he'd fooled. But then again, she thought to herself, what was the harm, really? Where else could he let his hair down except within the confines of a chat board? He wasn't the only one who'd ever used a chat board to relieve stress and indulge in a little playacting.

She remembered talking to a famous actor once online when she was a teenager. She'd only found out who he was by accident and had never breathed a word to anyone about the man behind the handle Harlequin. She'd gotten a secret thrill out of being the only person on that board who knew who he really was. It struck her that it might be the same here.

After the holovid, she invited Spock to the main rec room for a cup of tea, which he accepted, much to her relief. "Well, now that the cat's out of the bag, so to speak," she said taking a small sip of tea, "where do we go from here? Do we remain online friends or...?"

"This has been an enjoyable evening," Spock said. "You are a most excellent companion. I should like to do this again in the very near future, if you have no objections."

"You mean that the Blue Fox wants to start dating the Foxy Lady offline?"

"If you wish to put it that way, yes, but I should hope that off the board we would simply be Spock and Christine."

Christine grinned. "I think that would be very nice, Mr. Spock. Very nice indeed."

And so it began...

* * *

Three months later....

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Welcome to the Front Room of the Blue Moon Cyber Cafe. The following persons are in the room with you: Blue Fox, Foxy Lady, Gonzo, Wild Thing, Nightingale, Midnight Caller, Al's Gal, Hecate, Melana, Hot Choklit, Platypus, Basketcase, Serendipity, Opal Essence, Queen Victoria, Lady Fatima, Nefertiti, Bulldog, Hush Puppy, Space Pirate, Sherlock, Braveheart, Danny Boy, Lady Starlight, Boogie Bear and Molly B.

Dragoness: Howdy, y'all what's gnu? Full house tonight!

Foxy Lady: Hi Dragoness

Blue Fox: Nessie!!!

Dragoness: Sweetie!!! SMOOOOOCHH!!!!

You are smooching Blue Fox!

Blue Fox is smooching you!

Foxy Lady is growling! Foxy Lady is growling!

Foxy Lady: Stay away from my man, you shameless hussy!

Dragoness: YOUR man? Since when? I knew Blue Fox when he was jut a pup!

Blue Fox: Er... Nessie, Foxy Lady has just agreed to become my wife.

Dragoness: Really? Well, congratulations, both of you!

Foxy Lady: Thanks, now get your claws off my man!

Dragoness: Oh, all right. Sheesh! Foxes!

Dragoness is flirting with Gonzo! Gonzo is flirting with Dragoness!

Blue Fox is smooching Foxy Lady! Foxy Lady is smooching Blue Fox!

Blue Fox is caressing Foxy Lady! Foxy Lady is caressing Blue Fox!

Nightingale: You guys want to take it to a private room? It's getting a little too warm in here if you ask me!

Foxy Lady: I've a better idea ... coming, Blue Fox?

Blue Fox: I am following your behind ... er behind you, Foxy Lady!

Foxy Lady has just logged off! Blue Fox has just logged off!

Molly B: And they lived happily ever after!

THE END

OK, as promised, here's the chat room story cheat list.

The TOS Characters:

Blue Fox........Mr. Spock

Foxy Lady.......Christine Chapel

Gonzo...........Captain James T. Kirk

Lady Fatima.....Lt. Uhura

Nefertiti.......Yeoman Janice Rand

Bulldog.........Dr. Leonard McCoy

Hush Puppy......Dr. M'Benga

Bravehart.......Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery Scott

Sherlock........Lt. Sulu

Space Pirate....Ensign Pavel Chekov

Sir Galahad.....Lt. Kyle

Danny Boy.......Lt. Kevin Riley

The Ladies of the SAC List:

Al's Gal.........Jill

Hecate...........Jackie B

Midnight Caller..Jackie Bielowicz

Nightingale......Cherpring

Hot Choklit......Cheree

Platypus.........Dynie aka Diane

Melana...........Ronda

Wild Thing.......J. M. Lane

Basketcase.......Leigh Chapel

Opal Essence.....Kathy (who wrote Reflections)

Queen Victoria...T'Kuht

Serendipity......Catherine Kay

Hope you had as much fun reading this as I had writing it!

Love,

Dragoness (Momthing)

A Queen Dragon, *NOT* a Drag Queen! :-)

Dedicated to the Memory of 30Something and its fabulous Sysop, Roy, who was a real cutie!

(And, from Cheree, another dedication to Diane "Dynie" Marchant, who was Platypus in this story and who lost her fight with cancer early in 2006. We miss you, lady!)