‘Listen, old man,' hissed the burly, hunched over miner, his words barely heard of the loud chatter of Parrotts Bar. This was 1st Technician Saxon. Big, loud, and with an odour that could floor an elephant. Thick lips clenched a short cigar, half a tobacco ration, and a bristling unkempt forest of hair sprouted around his mouth. ‘I want the rest of that nova-shine before the days out.'

Thomas sat at the bar, perched neatly on a stool. In his hand was a small glass of a tiny sliver of strong, cheap whisky, the last of his alcohol ration. ‘Saxon, I can't make it any faster than I can, you know?' he said calmly, downing the last of his drink and straightening the collar of his olive-green jumpsuit.

‘I don't care how you make it, I paid for it and I want it!'

‘Don't try to threaten me, please,' said Thomas as he stood up, throwing on his short brown jacket.

Saxon growled and leapt forward, grasping Thomas by the collar of his jacket. Thomas stumbled under the wait and crashed into the patron at the bar beside them, her beer spilling over the bar top.

‘Hey!' she cried, ‘Watch what the smeg you are doing! Can I get another beer over here?'

‘Sorry, ma'am, only one alcohol ration per registered crewmember,' the bartender said with a shrug.

‘But I only got a sip of it!'

‘Take it up with the Captain.'

‘For smeg sakes! You two!' she pointed at Thomas and Saxon, who were both slowly starting to rough each other up into a fight. ‘You better have another ration on you.'

‘Listen, doll,' began Saxon, but the woman had no time for anything else and threw a sharp jab at Saxon. The huge brute of a man sank to the floor clutching his broken nose.

‘If I'd known he would go down that easy, I'd have punched him myself,' Thomas chuckled, but he only received a punch of his own for his troubles.

‘Listen you jumped up garden hoe,' the woman said, leaning into Thomas as he leant against the bar, ‘You better get me some alcohol by the end of the day, or I'll report you to that fruitcake Gardening Officer Renton.'

‘For what?' Thomas gasped as he rubbed his nose, ‘And who are you to order me about?'

‘I'm 1st Officer Ingrid,' she said angrily, ‘Can't you tell by the ticks?' She ran her finger across a row of bright tick and pips on the left of her chest. ‘And I'll report you for… obstructing a superior officer's duties.'

‘Right, fine,' Thomas said, finally standing up, ‘An alcohol ration will be with you by the end of the day, ma'am.'

‘Good,' Ingrid said, and she stormed out of Parrotts.

‘Right, where is she?' moaned Saxon as he pulled himself to his feet. He wildly swung out his fist and decked an innocent bystander. Seeing the quickly rising tension between Saxon's friends and the friends of the now floored bar patron, Thomas made his quick exit.

Thomas crouched over the banks of steel drums that he had tucked away in the back room of a mining station on Deck 16. They softly bubbled and shook as heated coils boiled the liquid, resulting in a small but constant drip of alcohol into a large bucket. Thomas had patched together the stills with material swiped or confiscated while on duty in the many Blue Dwarf Gardens. From the Arboretum to the Botanical Gardens, Thomas walked along the hills and through the trees of the ship.

It was the best job available for someone who had dropped out of nowhere with nothing but a hat and the knowledge of how to plant a tree. Sure, there was the Blue Dwarf Constabulary to consider. But the idea of marching up and down the corridors looking for trouble was not something Thomas wanted to do in his old age. Besides, the uniforms were too formal.

The stills worked as well as they could, considering they were made by someone who had about as much idea on how to make alcohol as a church priest. It may have tasted like Russian paint stripper, but people got drunk on it and they were still able to see the next morning, so everyone won. And the demand for alcohol now that the rationing had started was high. Sure, everyone had enough rice, beans and After Eight Mints to go around, but it was the alcohol people were craving.

‘This a ship-wide announcement,' announced Holly over the ship's intercom, ‘Could all personnel please report to your local Quarantine Station.'

‘Better get a move on,' said Thomas, flipping the switch on the power for his stills. He spun around to leave when he saw a tiny toadstool, hopping and jumping around at the door.
‘Yup, going to be one of those days, isn't it?' Thomas said to himself.

There was a crash behind him as another toadstool kicked over the bucket of alcohol that had come from the stills. The toadstool bent down to touch it, but his small fingers burnt away to nothing upon touch. It squealed in pain as it ran from the spilt puddle of super strength nova-shine.

‘This is a ship-wide announcement,' said Holly again, ‘Do not approach those little mushroom buggers, they've gone off in the back of the fridge and smell a bit strange. Also, do not approach the toadstools. Report to the Medi-Bay if you have done so.'

Thomas snatched up a bottle he had been left aside for a special occasion. He took a swig and nearly coughed up his stomach, but he managed to settle himself. Thomas then dashed out of the room, making his way to the Medi-Bay. Hopefully, this would be of some use to the Jade and the rest of the medical crew.

<<OOC – Strong alcohol kills fungus, right? Gives us something to fight this infection with, hopefully!>>

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