The room is nearly ready—the furniture is in place and hydroponics are installing the last of the plant displays. They're doing an absolutely fantastic job.
The Greeting Party is all set too, and so is the menu thanks to a wonderful response from crewmembers. Replicators may be able to produce the raw materials but only a real person can do the presentation justice, so we've set up a makeshift kitchen to prepare the dishes. There was also a wonderful suggestion to provide dips for the Dirrians to try. That sounded like a great idea to me, a chance for them to sample some of our dishes if they wish, and I do recall that Traeth was rather partial to riata.
The Captain still needs coaching too, bless him. He has no idea how often he stands either with his hands on his hips or his arms folded in front of him. It's reached the stage now that he no sooner sees me than he starts to twitch!
It's not all plain sailing though. While there is an air of excitement on board, it is also tinged with sadness. News has reached us of the USS Earhart, lost over a year ago in Quadrant 624. She disappeared without warning or trace, just like her namesake over 400 years earlier. The area was scoured for months but no clues were ever found that might suggest what happened to her... until two days ago. She was found adrift, four sectors away from her last known position. How she got there or where she has been is a complete mystery and will probably remain so. Initial investigations reveal that her databanks stop abruptly without explanation, and her crew is nowhere to be found. She was a Marie Celeste, adrift amongst the stars.