Octavio Briswald’s field notes
July 5, 2112
As one might expect, I woke with an exceptional enthusiasm and thirst to get the final leg of our journey underway. Despite the early hour, I had no trouble rousing Fitzmurdle; one dexterous shake to the jar of Ithunic screaming crickets near his pillow had him out of bed and ready for action in no time.
At 0600 hours we began our climb up the verdurous and vertiginous volcano. Our ascent was uneventful, but took us the full twelve hours I had anticipated. It is possible that the trek could be done more rapidly under different circumstances, but dear Fitzmurdle’s pace was slowed by the encumbrance of all our gear.
Just before dusk, we came upon a glade near the prominent overhang the villagers had described—a sparkling russet outcrop curled upward like a beckoning finger. Though somewhat fatigued by our declivitous climb, at the first sulfuric flash of light in the darkening gloom my spirits and energies were completely restored. With a boisterous cry of “Tally-ho!” I sprinted into the dense foliage, leaving my trusty companion to set up camp.
Sadly, that first yellow flash was a false alarm, and I spent an hour or more carving my way through the jungle in a large and unproductive semi-circle, till finally the dwindling energy reserves of my laser pistol forced me to head back toward my original starting point.
But upon returning to the glade, my eyes beheld the most miraculous sight! There was Fitzmurdle, fine fellow, sitting calmly on a rock with drawing implements all about; and parading before him were the very beasts we had come to find—the elusive Luhvian quail!
Just as we had hoped, the creatures were proudly displaying the curiously altruistic behavior for which they are famed. The alpha bird hung upside down from a low tree branch, motionless except for the rhythmic swinging of his head. His elegantly long head-plume, with its signature bioluminescent yellow glow, dangled downward, twitching merrily back and forth. Scuttling around on the ground below him was the rest of his family, feasting rapturously on the myriad insect lifeforms that circled the spark of the alpha’s shimmering feather.
I watched this display for what felt like an hour while Fitzmurdle drew. Finally, worried that the whole covey might escape into the night, I crept through the glade and grasped the tractor net. In short order we had six plump specimens enclosed in sturdy containers; a prodigiously fruitful ending to our evening’s quest!
Leonard Fitzmurdle’s personal log
July 6, 2112
In retrospect, it was fortunate that I had sketched the animals when I did. The next evening, after our descent from the volcano, I discovered that Commander Briswald had ordered all six birds be roasted and prepared in the traditional style. I found him in the common room, sucking the meat from a final delicate thighbone with great enthusiasm. The data he was able to record for the use of protein resequencers will be invaluable; however, it was a lesson for me that, when it comes to edible fauna at least, I must be speedy in capturing my artistic renditions.
Happily I was able to posthumously fill in the colors of the birds, as it turned out that Commander Briswald had sat on my bed while plucking the creatures prior to consumption; thus, all their plumage was still available for a full and thorough inspection.
Other mentions: Seven of Nine prepared these with truffle sauce (VOY).