Monday, August 12, 2019

Star Trek: Federation Installation Nine, Episode 23 Phobos


It is most likely that all sane, living creatures have at least one fear. With the possible exception of Klingons, remember, I DID say SANE! And that is NOT a bad thing! Fear or it's milder cousin Caution keeps one from undue danger and it is only when that fear grows so big that it begins to interfere with a person's life that a problem arises. Living and working in space, brings with it MANY very real "fears", the fear of death being the main one and that fear breeds healthy caution. Other fears are not so "Logical" although for those afflicted with them, they are just as relevant. Humans seem to think that "Facing" their fears is a good thing BUT I as a felinoid am NOT convinced of that! The way most of Nature's Children are taught is RUN AWAY AND LIVE ANOTHER DAY!

I try to keep an informal smell on the station. In other words, I do NOT require my crew to come to attention when addressing me or even call me "Sir" unless they wish to. One visitor we had to FI-9, a military historian, equated it to what was the norm on ships called Submarines of mid-20th century Earth. Because of the cramped and difficult conditions of those vessels, the usual "Spit and Polish" was ignored. Crew were not expected to salute or even come to attention when the captain addressed them and a less than crisp uniform was not noticed. Of course the captain expected, even demanded that when he gave an order it was carried out quickly and efficiently! I think this "We Are All In This Together, I Have Got Your Tail" mind set works well day to day, as long as everyone knows when to bring out the polish!

This is why I was so confused by the demeanor of a recent transfer to the station as I held my usual getting to know the new personnel meeting with him. Lieutenant Commander Reginald Katz's Service Record was VERY average. There were no citations or reprimands in it although all his superiors agreed he was a "good" and "capable" officer. He had graduated from the Academy AFTER the war so he saw no action in it. He had served on only one vessel, a small scout assigned to star mapping missions.

We met in my office after the end of his first day on duty. From the start he seemed nervous, on edge. Jacobs would have described him, "As nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs", she had to explain that painful Human saying to me. I invited him into my office and asked him to sit. Instead of settling into the chair like most humans do, he remained on the edge as if, like a felinoid he had a tail the chair had not been designed to accommodate. I tried to lighten the mood by commenting that with a last name like Katz and how it sounds, he was lucky his parents did not employ a sense of humor in naming him. He seemed not to understand until I said, "Your first name could have been Tom or if you were female, Kitty!" His reaction to my joke was warm at best. I figure he might have heard such things before and was just being polite. As the meeting progressed he became more and more nervous and nearly leaped out of his pelt (Jumped Out Of His Skin, Sef) when Security-Chief poked his tiger stripped head in to inform me he had some data I had asked him to collect. "Forgive me D'Sefet-Commander! I was unaware you were busy.", Security-Chief says. Figuring my meeting with Lieutenant Commander Katz is almost over and needing to talk with Security-Chief I say, "No problem Security-Chief, come in! I want you to meet our newest Engineerrr Lieutenant Commanderrr Reginald Katz." Lieutenant Commander Katz does NOT make eye contact with Security-Chief but he does nod his head in recognition. Security-Chief makes a slight bow and says, "Have you FINALLY decided to replace that FEMALE then D'Sefet-Commander?" "No! Commanderrr Jacobsss IS ssstill Chief Engineerrr! Lieutenant Commanderrr Katz isss new memberrr of herrr Engineering team.", I answer much to the disappointment of Security-Chief. Then addressing Lieutenant Commander Katz, I conclude, "Well, I know you are off duty and I sssuspect you have had, how do Humansss put it? A Long Day? I know Commanderrr Jacobsss can be bit demanding (Security-Chief nods his head in agreement). So I will not keep you any longerrr. Rememberrr, as you can sssee, my doorrr is alwaysss open!" "Thank you Commander.", Lieutenant Commander Katz answers as he backs out of my office and hurries away. "What IS wrong with that Human?", Security-Chief asks, "I have NOT seen a Human so jumpy since my last Kzintosh Barbecue!" I think he WAS joking!

After Security-Chief and I conclude our business, I head to Sick Bay to pick up Sarrah. Since we got back from Feresa I have had occasion to wonder if Jacobs had been correct in questioning whether or not I had brought back the right Kzinrret? Our relationship has, at the same time gotten more simple AND more complex! She has moved into my quarters and we spend the nights together. However there has been no ch'rowling (having sex/mate), not that there has NOT been opportunities and in the eyes of the Kzinti Sarrah WAS given to me as a mate but I am from the old Feresa where mating came AFTER your Pledging Ceremony. For the non-felinoids a Pledging Ceremony is a simple marriage. It can be just between the male and female or it can be a family event. Basically it consists of the male saying to the female, "You are my mate." three times. If the female answers back with, "You are my mate." three times then the couple are considered mates. I have thought about beginning the ceremony a number of times but after what Sarrah had endured in Kzinti society I want to give her as much time as possible to "find" herself.

Reaching Sick Bay, I find Sarrah and Doctor Selar busy. After a few moments they finish and Sarrah says, "Sorry Commander. Selar-Doctor was helping me with a problem I was having in my studies." "Not problem Kitten.", I reply, "Take all time you need! I know I can not help with them!"

Before Sarrah and I leave, remembering the strange actions of Lieutenant Commander Katz.

"Have you had chance to examine ourrr new Engineerrr Lieutenant Commanderrr Katz?", I ask Doctor Selar. "Yes, I had to certify he was fit for duty when he reported aboard Commander.", she answers, "Why?" "I just had my Greeting Meeting with him and he ssseemed . . ., well . . ., bit more nervousss than he ssshould have been.", I explain. "I shouldn't tell you this, it is a violation of Doctor/Patient Privilege but since you have seen it, Lieutenant Commander Katz suffers from Ailurophobia.", Selar explains. Not knowing what that is but gathering it is some sort of disease I respond, "I am sssorry to hearrr that. Is there cure?" "I believe Lieutenant Commander Katz thinks by being assigned here he will find a "cure"", Selar answers, then sensing my puzzlement continues, "Ailurophobia, is the irrational fear of cats, felines and/or felinoids Commander. Lieutenant Commander Katz has one of the worst cases I have ever seen!" "Why would he ask to be transferred to a post where he knew he would not only be around felinoids but be under the command of one!", Sarrah asks unbelievingly? "Yesss, that seemsss bit illogical to me also.", I add. Getting an eyebrow rise from the good Doctor for my "illogical" statement, she answers, "Humans believe if the confront their fears that they can over come them. Most Illogical. If you think his fear will be a problem I can recommend his reassignment and you can transfer him off the station Commander." Being a member of a species that admires a person for being a good fighter, I say, "No, let usss give him chance to find hisss cure, as long as it doesss not interfere with hisss dutiesss."

Things go by peaceably for a few days then . . .

Lieutenant Commander Katz and I are again sitting in my office and like the first time he is on the edge of his seat. "I'm sorry Commander.", he begins. There has been a problem! "I know about yourrr Ailurophobia.", I say, adding, "I admire yourrr efforts to conquerrr it but . . ." Lieutenant Commander Katz nervously interrupts, "Licking this is VERY important to me Commander, you see my cousin, a great guy, has been like a father to me, is a Star Freighter Captain and has a Pa'UR as a mate and I don't want the fact that when I am around them I want to crawl under a rock and die to cause problems between us!" I wonder how licking his trouble will help but I assume Humans like Felines will use their tongue on something painful. Then Remembering, I ask, "Thisss would not be Capt'n Don of S.S. Hanford would it?" "Yea! Have you met I'Aisha and him?",Lieutenant Commander Katz asks, adding, "I'Aisha is a great engineer and is teaching their half Human/ half Caitian son about engineering and they have the cutest little kit of their own. I'm so ashamed how I feel when I'm around them!" The information about a half Caitian Kit interests me. I was unaware Humans and Caitians could successfully breed so I try and scratch a little deeper, "So Capt'n Don hasss olderrr Caitian Kit? That isss half Human asss well?" "Yea, his parents were apparently killed in the war and he was living on a mining colony, New Wheeling with a Vulcan couple. Don was contracted to return him . . . Tom to his Caitian Grandfather on Cait but when they got there the Grandfather would not except his daughter's "Halfling" so Don and I'Aisha decided to raise him themselves. I gather Tom's father was a Human Starfleet officer, missing in action. His mother was a Caitian civilian engineer, taken prisoner by the Dominion and presumed dead. Given his background, Tom dreams of becoming a Starfleet Engineer and tries to ask me questions about my job when the families get together. Even though Tom looks more Human than Feline, his face has that angular appearance of a feline, with the nose and mouth combined like a cat and he has whiskers and a stubby tail! All of which just gives me the WILLIES!" Not knowing what "Willies" are, I ask, "How old isss Tom?" "Well let's see . . . He was between five and six when Don and I'Aisha got him . . . I guess that would put him around nine or ten now. I'm sorry Commander! Give me a Anti-Mater Intermix Equation and I am a whiz but dates and ages are difficult!", Lieutenant Commander Katz answers. "You have the right to remain silent Reg!", a voice from the door interrupts. Jacobs enters and continues, "Security-Chief told me you were here. "AND did Security-Chief tell you WHY Lieutenant Commanderrr Katz isss here?", I ask. "He said Reg activated the Force Field on his Holding Cell while he was in it.", Jacobs answers. "AND while trying to deactivate Force Field, ssshorted out controls leaving Security-Chief stuck in Cell for OVERrr an hour!", I add as Jacobs erupts in waves of laughter. Seeing that I am NOT similarly amused she says, "Come on Sef! Tell me that you have NOT wanted to throw that Walking Orange Hairball into a Cell and loose the key more than once eh!" "WELL . . . Maybe once orrr twice eh.", I say, mocking her as my tail indicates my amusement. "It wasn't Security-Chief's fault Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz says, "It is just those Kzinti are SO damn intimidating! I panicked!" "REG!", Jacobs says, trying to protect him, "There is no need to go into details!" "I know about Lieutenant Commanderrr Katz's Ailurophobia.", I inform Jacobs. "Well then you know it isn't Reg's fault then!", Jacobs, although surprised, defends. "Tell that to Security-Chief Commander! By the time I got him out he was mad enough to chew through Transparent Aluminum!", Lieutenant Commander Katz says. "Maybe, BUT you DID get him out!", Jacobs encourages, "So what do you say Sef? I can smooth things over with Security-Chief!" "Save your breath Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz begins, "We all know why we are here! It is just a question of where you can ship me off to, right Commander D'Sefet?" "Do you wish to be transferred?", I ask. "Come on Reg!", Jacobs says, "You don't want a transfer eh! Sef, I need good engineers like him around here!" "I agree.", I begin as a shocked look appears on Lieutenant Commander Katz's face. "BUT . . .", Lieutenant Commander Katz begins. "Lieutenant Commanderrr . . . Reg, when you entered my office I WASss considering transferring you but, asss we talked I noticed something that encourages me to think you just might "Lick" asss you sssaid, yourrr problem." "WHAT?", both Jacobs and Lieutenant Commander Katz ask at the same time. "You might not know Felinoidsss and felinesss in general use non-verbal communication more than we do verbal. Ssso we notice things others might misss. All during ourrr first meeting and at beginning of thisss one you were literally sssitting on edge of your ssseat but look at your-self now! Sssitting deep in that chair, calm and relaxed and I, A CAT, IS still in rrroom! If you can rrrelax in front of me Reg, you can rrrelax around other felinoidsss too!", I comment. "There you go Reg!", Jacobs encourages, "Everyone wants to help you eh!" "SssO back to my question, DO you want transfer eh?", I ask, again mocking Jacobs. "I WOULD REALLY like to be able to be around I'Aisha, Tom and cute, little Patrick Roo without breaking out in a cold sweat! AND from what I can see, the Universe IS filled with cats so . . . NO! I DON'T want a transfer Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz replies. "Very well!", I begin, turning to Jacobs a continue, "I will leave it up to you to pet Security-Chief and I believe you ssshould keep Reg and him FARrr apart for foreseeable future!" "Not a problem Sef!", Jacobs replies. Finally, turning to Lieutenant Commander Katz, "Reg, rrremember, my doorrr is always open! I am happy to assist you in ANY way I can."

Things have a way of getting back to normal very quickly on FI-9 and with in a few weeks everything is running as smoothly as usual, oh well (sigh). As the News Stalker on Ferasa predicted, I have been asked to do what I can to assist the Patriarchy in their efforts to open up their territory to more contact? NOT an easy assignment! The Patriarchy is sending a Lord Gurr-Riit to tour the station and have a meeting. Musing to myself, I think the Kzinti are as Humophobic as Reg is Ailurophobic. That leads me to wonder how he is progressing in his hunt to lick his problem and gives me an idea.

"What do you think Sarrah?", I ask. "A reception? Like the one we attended on Ferasa? At the memorial service Sef?", Sarrah questions back. "No, not that elaborate, just sssimple meal, here in our quarters, just you and I, Jacobsss and Reg, and maybe Doctorrr Selarrr.", I explain, "I want to sssee how Reg'sss fight against hisss fearrr is progressing." "I think I can arrange that, when?", Sarrah questions. "I will have to check with guestsss but maybe after watch day afterrr tomorrow?", I answer as Sarrah nods.

The Door Announce squeaks and answering it I find Jacobs and Reg. Looking around, Jacobs asks, "Are we early?" "No, rrright on time.", I answer. "As good guests should be!", Selar adds as she follows Jacobs who is pulling Reg inside. Getting everyone settled Jacobs announces, "I'll play Bartender! Sef you want a Squeak Ale right AND Doctor you want a glass of that fruity Vulcan wine? What do you want Sarrah, Reg?" "I will have a glass of sour milk thank you.", Sarrah replies. "And you Reg?", Jacobs asks. "Squeak Ale? Sour Milk?", Reg repeats softly and then says, "Oh! A Screwdriver Commander!" " A Screwdriverrr?", I say with surprise, "There isss no equipment that needsss rrrepair Reg." Jacobs explains that THIS Screwdriver is constructed of a liquid called vodka combined with the juice of a fruit called an orange. Jacobs makes the request to the Replicator and passes out the drinks as they appear. Reg, nervous but not as bad as at other times is also restless and after getting his drink, he gets up and begins moving about the room. "You have some interesting carvings Commander.", Reg comments studying my collection. "You seem surprised Commander.", Selar comments. "Well it's just I never considered a cat collecting anything except dead mice and birds.", Reg replies. Seeing a pained look on Jacobs face and a raised eyebrow on Selar's I say, "Well forrr creature that had to ssspend most of itsss waking momentsss looking forrr food those "collections" were important but as with Humansss, when we had progressed enough to assure ourrr sssurvival more easy, we began collecting thingsss of lesss practical purpose." "Is this a real Catrellan War Pole Sitter!", Reg asks as he continues to inspect my collection. "Yesss it isss.", I answer, "You ssseem to know much about carvingsss." "Well maybe not a lot but I remember Capt'n Don telling me how once one had been stolen and how every civilian ship captain in the quadrant had been alerted to be on the look out for it!", then looking at Jacobs' expression, "Not that I am suggesting you had anything to do with that Commander!" "Actually I WASss involved AND that Isss the very Pole Sitter!", I respond to shocked looks all around, "I was asked by my friend, Catrellan Chief to recoverrr carving. I did and he gave it to me forrr sssave keeping."

All awkwardness aside, the evening went well and I think Lieutenant Commander Katz, had a good time.

The Kzinti vessel carrying Lord Gurr-Riit arrives the next afternoon and I get ready for our meeting. I expect him and his staff to beam over but at the last minute I was surprised to learn he would be arriving by Shuttle. Apparently Humans are NOT the only creatures that dislike Transporters I think, remembering a Doctor of a ship I once served on! A grumpy Human from the a place called "the south".

Sarrah comes up behind Lieutenant Commander Katz in the corridor and grabs him by his uniform top. "Come with me!", she commands as he struggles to get free of her claws. "WHAT? HEY? Sarrah what are you doing!?", he sputters in panic. Sarrah is smaller than most Kzinti Kzinrrets BUT as I once heard a Human describe her, "Built Like a Brick Cat Box!". I had to consult Jacobs on the description which she said meant the Human thought she was powerfully and strongly built. She pulls Lieutenant Commander Katz along with her and says, "We will be needed Commander!" Further along the corridor they encounter Security-Chief and before he can say anything, Sarrah commands, "Yebp (come)! T'kzintar (warrior)!" Not understanding exactly why but filled with curiosity, he follows.

A still struggling Lieutenant Commander Katz finally breaks free of Sarrah's claws as they reach FI-9's Shuttle Bay. "Ok! What . . .", he begins and is cut off by the sound of a LOT of metal smashing against metal and the station's Kzinti Klaxons going off! The three rush into the Shuttle Bay, as they do, Lieutenant Commander Katz realizes he has been walking along side Security-Chief for some time! His stomach ties itself into knots and he breaks out into a cold sweat!

Chaos is the order of the day in the Shuttle Bay! Two Kzinti Shuttles have tried to land. The one carrying Lord Gurr-Riit, his assistant and his guards landed safely but the other has not. It is sitting upright but at an angle to the Landing Target and smoke is poring out of its open hatch. No one is moving, Sarrah thinks as she sizes up the situation. Seeing three intruders, Lord Gurr-Riit's guards move to stop them. Sarrah ignores them and pulling Lieutenant Commander Katz along, heads for the Shuttle's Hatch. As Security-Chief holds back the Kzinti Guards, Sarrah enters the Shuttle, Lieutenant Commander Katz yelling something about an immanent explosion follows her in. The smoke is thick and acrid, Sarrah tends to the Shuttle's pilot as Lieutenant Commander Katz strains to see what the rest of the compartment holds. Then he freezes! Sarrah sees this and pauses helping the pilot to see why. Through the smoke and flame she sees the frightened faces of a young Kzinrret and her baby. They are trapped by some fallen wreckage in the back of the Shuttle close to where the fire is. "Help them Commander!", Sarrah growls. Lieutenant Commander Katz, rooted to the spot, his mouth dry, his palms sweating, his stomach churning whispers, horsily, "I can't!" "If you do not, they will die Commander!", Sarrah states flatly as she helps the pilot out of his seat and toward the hatch. Lieutenant Commander Katz looks into the frightened, feline faces of the Kzinrret and her baby. All of a sudden their faces are replaced by those of I'Aisha and little Patrick! He moves toward them, hoping the Kzinrret doesn't panic. He sees her make a move and stops. She picks up her Kit and holds it out toward him, her eyes pleading for him to take it! He does and carries the squirming, mewing bundle to the hatch and gently places it on the deck where there is cool, smoke-free, air. He then turns for the mother! "CHSS (no)! CHSS (no)!", he thinks he hears her saying but Kzinrrets can't talk forgetting about Sarrah for a moment! But whatever the sounds she is making, the meaning is clear as she violently shakes her head. "No baby is going to grow up without a mother! Not if I can help it!", he says to the Kzinrret, not caring whether or not she can understand him. He grabs the fallen wreckage, he will have to shift it slightly for the thankfully smallish Kzinrret to squeeze by. To late he realizes it is red hot! He stifles a scream as the material sears into his flesh, not wanting to panic the Kzinrret any more than she already is. Clearing a path, he grabs the Kzinrret's paw and pulls her toward the hatch. He pushes her out, stoops down to grab the Kit and jumps. He pushes the Kzinrret to the deck and joins her, his body covering the Kits just as the Shuttle's interior explodes and a blowtorch like ball of flame erupts from its hatch!

Lieutenant Commander Katz lays, face down on the deck. His hands feel like they are on fire but he doesn't move! Beneath him a squirming Kzinti Kit is mewing, LOUDLY! All of a sudden there are hands, covered with fur! They help him up. Looking he sees other hands helping the young Kzinrret up. Hands gathers up the Kit and return it to its mother. Her hands hold it tight to her body. Sarrah is busy checking everyone for injuries. The Pilot was stunned by the impact but thanks to Kzinti physiology is not seriously injured. The Kit and its mother have breathed some of the smoke but not enough to have a long lasting effect. Examining Lieutenant Commander Katz, Sarrah says," We need to get you to Sick Bay! Security-Chief!" As Security-Chief joins them, " Katz-Lieutenant Commander is injured, help me get him to Sick Bay!"

With Security-Chief steadying Lieutenant Commander Katz, and Lieutenant Commander Katz not caring he is being held by a Kzinti, the group try and exit the Shuttle Bay but their way is blocked by Kzinti. "Out of our way!", Security-Chief orders Lord Gurr-Riit's guards, "This Human is injured and the Doctor wants him taken to Sick Bay!" "Doctor?", Lord Gurr-Riit's Assistant-One questions, "That is a Kzinrret!" Both Security-Chief and Sarrah let out a low growl and get ready to fight when, "Is there a problem here?", Lord Gurr-Riit questions, "Allow these Federation Personel do their job Assistant-One!" "But . . . My Lord! What about the Kzinrret?", Assistant-One asks in panic. "What Kzinrret?", Lord Gurr-Riit questions, "All I see here are three T'kzintar (warrior) I owe much to! Let them leave with my everlasting gratitude!"

As the doors open and Lieutenant Commander Katz, Sarrah and Security-Chief exit, other Federation Personnel including Me rush in. As things calm down, Lord Gurr-Riit whispers to Me, "D'Sefet-Commander, I need to speak with you in private." I nod in acknowledgment as I direct the Emergency Response Team.

"Some Engineer you are Reg!", Jacobs chides as she regards her assistant as he lies in a bed in Sick Bay an hour or so later, "Never heard of the laws of Thermal Conduction eh! Now look at you! Out of commission AND with that mess in the Shuttle Bay to clean up!" "Oh Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz replies, "With all that was happening at that moment, I was lucky to remember which way was up! By the way, do you know how the Kzinrret and her baby are?" "Why not asks Karie yourself Commander?", a familiar female Kzinti voice asks. Jacobs and Reg look to see stepping through the Sick Bay doors are Commander D'Sefet, Sarrah and clutching her baby tightly, the little Kzinrret, Karie. Without warning, Karie hands her baby to Sarrah and jumps into the bed with Lieutenant Commander Katz. She pins him to the bed and begins to "mark" him as Humans describe it, in other words rub her forhead and chin on parts of Lieutenant Commander Katz's body. All the while saying over and over, "Thank you My Lord! Thank you My Lord!" For someone with a sever case of Ailurophobia, that IS either his WORST nightmare or proof he has "Licked" it, I think and wonder which it is. I do not have long to wait, as Lieutenant Commander Katz lifts his bandaged arms, wraps them around Karie's body and holds her tight to his chest, "Are you and the baby ok?" Karie answer is to gently nip at Lieutenant Commander Katz's exposed skin. After a few moments I ask, "Reg can I ssspeak with you privately?" "Go a head Commander.", Sarrah says to Lieutenant Commander Katz, "I want to check Karie and her daughter for any ill effects of that smoke!"

"It looks asss if you have "Licked" yourrr fearrr Reg.", I observe. "I had no other option Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz replies. "True. But how do you feel toward Karie and herrr Kit?", I press. "I'm not sure what you are asking Commander.", Lieutenant Commander Katz answers. "I have never been good at Whacking around Shrub (Beating around the Bush SEF!), no Felinoid isss so . . . Do you want Karie as mate Reg?", I ask. "WHAT?!", Lieutenant Commander Katz responds, "A MATE! She HAS a mate, doesn't she?" "Herrr Kzintosh was killed ssshortly afterrr they were mated.", I answer. "I thought Lord Gurr-Riit was her mate or owner or whatever the Kzinti call it!", Lieutenant Commander Katz says. "Lord Gurr-Riit wasss fatherrr of herrr mate.", I inform, "He isss frightened forrr Karie and herrr Kit, you saw that she iss Intelligent One like Sarrah. And herrr Kit ssshows sssigns of intelligence also." "I don't understand Commander.", Lieutenant Commander Katz answers, his mind spinning. I try to explain to Lieutenant Commander Katz about what I know about the Black Priests and how under Kzinti Law, ANY Kzinrret of ANY age showing signs of higher intelligence is killed. I also says that, "This isss why Lord Gurr-Riit brought Karie and herrr kit along with him, in hopes of finding herrr 'Federation' mate." "WOW Commander!", Lieutenant Commander Katz begins, "When you don't beat around the bush, YOU REALLY DON'T!" "Like I sssaid Felinoidsss ARE bad at it. It not like you would have to ch'rowl (have sex/mate) with herrr Reg, if you did not want to, what ssshe needsss is sssort of an owner to care forrr herrr like Kzintosh would.", I say. "Ch'rowl (have sex/mate) with her Commander?", Lieutenant Commander Katz asks fearfully. "Yesss to mate with, oh what DO you humans sssay? Oh yesss, to have sssex with.", is my shocking answer, "I can not orderrr you to except herrr and herrr kit Reg, I would NOT even if I could! If you do not want herrr, I have promised Lord Gurr-Riit I will try and find sssomeone before he hasss to leave and take Karie and herrr kit back with him to Patriarchy. He isss worried that even with hisss high rrrank he will not be able to protect them much longerrr." Lieutenant Commander Katz is stunned as he puts Commander D'Sefet's proposal into Human terms! An instant family! A wife and child to care for and . . . LOVE? AND to top it off a KZINTI wife and daughter to boot! What would Capt'n Don say? What would I'Aisha say? Finally Lieutenant Commander Katz realizes there is ONLY one other that has a say. "Karie, would you come here?", he asks as he gets out of bed. Karie followed by Jacobs and Sarrah holding the baby come, "Yes My Lord Katz?" "Do you understand what is being arraigned for you and your daughter?", Lieutenant Commander Katz questions. "Yes My Lord! I know, Lord Gurr-Riit is trying to protect my kit. She is the only kit of his only kit. PLEASE My Lord Katz! I care little what happens to me and if you do not want me I understand but PLEASE take my Kit!", Karie pleads. Do you remember what I said to you in the Shuttle after I got the baby to safety and came for you?",Lieutenant Commander Katz asks Karie. "I remember trying to tell you to leave me and get my kit to safety and you saying something in Human I could not understand at the time My Lord.", Karie answers. "I said, No baby is going to grow up without a mother! Not if I can help it! And . . . I believe a baby should have a father too. So if you if you can stand to be around this Human . . .", is all Lieutenant Commander Katz can say before Karie throws her arms around him and rubbing her chin across his chest, accepts his proposal. "Just one thing Karie.", Lieutenant Commander Katz adds. "What is that My Lord?", Karie asks. I'm NOT a Lord. I'm NOT even a full Commander! My name is Reginald Thomas Katz! Please call me Reg!", Lieutenant Commander Katz requests. "Yes My Lor . . . Reg.", Karie answers as she worships him with her sparkling cat's eyes and he gently strokes the orange stripped fur between her umbrella-like ears with his bandaged hand.

"You know Sef, I never got around to testing the space worthiness of the Volga after its repair after we crash landed it.", Jacobs begins, "Reg isn't going to be much good to me here but to earn his pay maybe he could take her out for a few days of Space Trials." "Of course he will need a nurse to go along.", Sarrah comments, adding, "Karie you have some experience in caring for helpless individuals correct?" "Come on Commander! You not making sure a Runabout is NOT in top condition!", Lieutenant Commander Katz says. "Do not question your superiors Reg!", Karie quickly advises. "Good advice, ssshe will add Riit to yourrr name in no time Reg!', I observe, adding, "And I just happened to notice S.S. Hanford isss scheduled forrr an extended lay overrr in Federation port not to farrr from here!" "Reg-Riit.", Karie says, "I like the name! "Speaking of names, I think our daughter should have one too! Don't you?" Lieutenant Commander Katz discovers THAT IS A BAD thing to suggest, especially around three females!" All of a sudden, he is surrounded by Karie, Sarrah and Jacobs, all throwing names at him!

Station Log Supplemental:

Lord Gurr-Riit has returned to the Patriarchy to advise the Patriarch on the New Openness. It is going to take a while before anything substantial comes from this and other meetings BUT, it is a good sign that there ARE more meetings planned!

It turns out Lieutenant Commander Katz is a VERY traditional Human and asked me to marry Karie and him right in the Sick Bay. Jacobs, being what Humans call a "romantic" was not happy with the impersonal setting so an hour later a small gathering was held on the Holodeck as it ran a wooded environment program. There I preformed the Human, Federation version of the Pledging Ceremony.

Lieutenant Commander Katz, wife and kit are still testing the space worthiness of the Volga. I understand he met up with his relative, Capt'n Don, commanding the S.S. Hanford and spent a pleasant time visiting him and his family. He told me to inform Jacobs and Sarrah that they decided on Kleio as the name of their Kzinti daughter. Although after reviewing a little Kzinti data, Reg said he calls her his Little Terrenkrret (Terrenk - A rather strong, fast animal that fights ferociously when cornered and Rett - Female.) The name Kleio intrigue me, it did not sound Kzinti so I looked it up. It is Greek, it means, the Proclaimer! and is the name of the Greek muse/goddess of history. I hope that one day these talks with Gurr-Riit will give her something wonderful to proclaim!

I stop recording and call up a picture of Sarrah on the computer. Four saved I think. How many more I wonder. Then . . . How many lost I shudder!

Star Trek: Federation Installation Nine, Episode 22 SKItrip

Tellu Tellarite
(When Pigs Ski!)

The more I learn about the universe, the more I realize just how much of a sense of humor the Great Fanged One must have. To exist, beings, at least carbon based ones must have, oxygen, liquid water, nourishment and a safe environment. For this "gift" of existence, they are required by the Great Fanged One to do only one thing, produce a replacement being for themselves or as it was written, "Go and increase". According to "logic", although Doctor Selar might disagree, ANY activity not related to this edict is wasted effort. It seems however as one goes up the Ladder of Life, the more "distractions" there are to carrying out this command. Ignoring the activities aimed at securing the means to exist, water, food, shelter, etc. Many activities would seem to be wasted energy. I must confess, I have and do indulge in some of those activities as do all the beings I know and without them I would now be sitting in the grass of Ferasa waiting for my next meal to wonder by. But, some of those beings and the activities they follow, do come under the heading of just plain illogical!

"Just look at it Commander!", Gerve exclaims with a sweeping gesture of his hand, "Isn't it magnificent!" This trip is one of the rare times both Gerve and I are off FI-9 at the same time. We have just materlized in a plaza in the capital city of New Colorado to attend a conference on mine safety. I am lost in thoughts of concern about leaving Doctor Selar in charge of my station and Gerve has to repeat what he said before I realize he is speaking. Not understanding what he is referring to, seeing just a modern city, I ask, "What isss magnificent Commanderrr? One Human city looksss much like another to me." "Not the city! The mountains! Look at those beautiful snow capped peaks!", Gerve gushes, "I'm glad I brought my skis." I do not understand what "skis" are however, even though Ferasa is a temperate world, there are places where frozen water falls from the sky. Having experienced the feeling of cold, wet feet that this snow gives, I like most felines are less than enthusiastic about it. "I can't wait to hit the slopes!", Gerve continues. More confused than before I ask, "Hit ssslopes with what Commanderrr?" As we make our way to our planet-side quarters, he explains. Like many long term "visitors" to Earth, he became interested in some aspects of Human culture while he attended Star Fleet Academy in San Francisco. While sightseeing with a group of cadets, he discover the odd human activity of sliding down snow covered mountains on narrow rails strapped to the feet. Gerve spoke with some pride when he explained in how he and another cadet, an engineering student designed the mechanisms called "bindings" that held the rails to the feet. He explained the usual bindings were designed for feet with toes but Tellarites feet are hooved so an entirely new mechanism was needed.

"We WILL have a little time for things other than the conference, Won't we Commander?", Gerve asks with hope sounding in his voice. My crew IS the best in Star Fleet, YES I KNOW, EVERY Commander feels that way about those that serve under him, so I like to indulge them whenever possible. The main reason we were invited to the conference is our experience with Kzinti Miners. With the Patriarchy showing signs of a willingness to open up to the rest of the galaxy, there is great interest in what they are like and what accommodations have to be made for them. "I do not think we will need to ssspend ALL ourrr time at conference.", I answer as Gerve grunts with happiness

After getting settled in our rooms, I check the conference's schedule. It will last seven days and we are not mentioned until late in the week! When I inform Gerve of this he says, "Good! Even some time to get you on skis Commander!" Shocked, I reply, "Oh no! You are not getting me ANYWHERE nearrr that frozen water!" "Come on Commander, with your feline agility and sense of balance you would be a natural! Although like me you will need special bindings for your digigrade feet."

Both Gerve and I attend the opening ceremonies. Afterward, Gerve hurries away, saying something about a ski shop and bindings. As I am exiting the auditorium, I stumble over something. Looking down I see a large piece of rock. "I am sssorry!", I begin, "I did not sssee you there." "Its ok, I'm use to being stumbled over.", the rock says with a sigh, "I hope I didn't injure you!" "No I am fine.", I answer as I look closer at the rock, "You are Horta are you not?" "Yes, my name is Igneous and you are a Caitian correct?", the rock replies. "Yesss, I am Commanderrr D'Sefet.", I say. "Of Federation Installation Nine?", Igneous inquires, "I was hoping to get an opportunity to meet with you informally! Those Kzinti miners sound magnetic." "I was on my way to hunt forrr sssomething to eat. You are welcome to accompany me.", I invite. "HUNT?!", Igneous replies, sounding a bit concerned, "Where?!" "I thought I would ssstart in hotel.", I begin as I think I see the Horta becoming nervous, then add, "At rrrestaurant." "Oh!", Igneous says, sounding relieved, "Please Commander! I have yet to understand even HUMAN humor!"

We have a leisurely meal as I try and answer Igneous' questions. I dine on Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Horta on rocks. AS we finish our meal, I say, "You ssshould come visit FI-9 sssometime." "That would be sparkling!", Igneous replies, "Is there a good and bad time for a visit?" "Only bad time ISss when Kzinti are eating!", I say. "MORE Caitian humor Commander?", Igneous questions. "NOT completely.", I answer truthfully.

After I leave Igneous, I spend sometime exploring the city and then as the hour grows late, I return to quarters.

Gerve is out even later. When he returns he is carrying a large package. "Here Commander, try these on.", he says as he opens the package, extracts a odd looking piece of equipment and places it on the deck. I go over to where he is and he says, "Just slide your foot in here." "What are these?, "I question. "Digigrade Ski Bindings Commander.", Gerve answers. "I told you Gerve! Felinoidsss do NOT like to be in frozen water!", I say even as I slip my foot into the binding. "WELL SOME species with digigrade feet DO! These are stock items at the ski shop!", Gerve informs me. He has me lean to the right, then to the left, then forward and finally back while he checks the bindings and asks me how do they feel. They are tight but NOT uncomfortable is the way I describe them. Finally satisfied, Gerve says, "They seem to support your ankles well. Tomorrow we will go to the ski shop and get you some boots." "I HAVE bootsss Gerve!", I protest. "NO Commander you can't ski in your uniform boots! You need ski boots!", he instructs. "Thisss ssseems like lot of trouble to go through to go from top of mountain to is base!", I complain. "PLEASE Commander! Make JUST one run down the Beginner's Slope with me! If you hate it I will NOT bother you again!", Gerve pleads. Thinking back to ALL the odd things I have done with my crew, from sleeping high in the branches of a tree to chasing ghosts, his request does not seem strange so I say, "All rrright Gerve, I will ski where no Caitian has skied before!"

Early the next morning Gerve and I visit the Ski Shop where I get fitted with Ski Boots that look like they are made from the same material Federation Armor is made from and a pair of skis with poles. The shop also has a Holoroom so Gerve and I spend a little time in there where he tries to teach me to ski!

We run a program called 'Kiddie's Slope', which is suppose to be the easiest level. I quickly find out it IS NOT! To my surprise, this skiing is harder than it looks! The first thing Gerve did was to wax the skis to make then even more slippery. I slip my boots into the bindings and immediately the skis begin their voyage down the mountain. I on the other hand fall backwards landing on my tail! Gerve rushes over to me and seems happy that the bindings performed as they should by detaching me from the skis! After helping me to stand and retrieving the skis he instructs and drills me on the basics of down hill skiing. Finally my skis do go down the mountain with me attached! And after three more 'runs', Gerve is confident I am ready for the real mountain. I am not sure I share his opinion!

There are a couple of events I think we should attend so day three of the conference is a 'WORK' day for Gerve and I. After checking with me to make sure there are no conflicts, Gerve schedules us for an afternoon session of skiing the next day.

Day four dawns bright and clear. The sun striking the snow capped mountain peaks makes them sparkle like gems. After one more session in the Ski Shop's Holoroom, Gerve and I make our way to the slopes. We ride on what is called a Chair Lift to the top of the mountain, the view from there is impressive and a bit intimidating even though this IS the Beginner's Slope. There are adults here but most are with kits, teaching them to ski. It appears only Gerve is trying to teach another adult to ski! I 'strap' on my skis and use my poles to remain upright, for a second or two. THEN as one ski goes one way and the other does NOT follow, DOWN I GO, on my tail! My 'dance' amuses some of the others around us. It has also amused Gerve although he tries to hide it as he helps me to my feet, "Sorry Commander! Remember to cross the tips of your skis! AND use your poles!" Soon it is our turn to go down the mountain, with me in the lead, we begin. About half way down the slope, just as I think I am beginning to understand the mechanics of skiing, something happens and I end up with a mouth full of snow! Gerve again helps me to my feet and after making sure I am alright and retrieving my skis, we continue our journey to the base of the mountain.

We spend some time at the base sitting and watching others, many kits successfully reach the bottom of the mountain. "I'm sorry Commander.", Gerve begins as we watch another group of Kits slide past us. "For what?", I ask. "For making you come skiing with me.", he answers, "I can see you hate it as much as I love it!" "I thought you knew me betterrr Commanderrr.", I begin, "First, NO ONE forcesss Caitian or Felinoid forrr that matter to do ANYTHING he doesss NOT want to! At least no SANE person! This skiing is ssstrange Human activity and I thought trying it might help me to understand Humansss betterrr." "But I see the embarrassment in your eyes and ears every time you fall! As you watch children successfully making it down the slope.", Gerve observes. "Everyone falls sssometime Commanderrr. Any REAL embarrassment would come IF I did NOT get back up and try again! NOW, Caitiansss are also stubborn! Let usss get back up to top of the mountain and try to ssslide down WITHOUT falling!", I say as I rise and reach for my skis. Gerve grunts has approval as we get in line for the Chair Lift. We made a few more runs and I did NOT fall on any of them! Gerve DID though!

Most of the day of day five of the conference is taken up with events and meet ups I think we should attend but after night-meal Gerve talks me into a night ski run. Skiing by torch sounds interesting so I agree. The sight is impressive, every skier is given a light to carry or wear as they slide down the slope. We are again on the Beginner Run, I had enough trouble on it in the day and I did NOT feel upgrading to a more difficult run at night a wise idea!

We wait to begin our run behind a Human female and her two kits, one male and one female. The male is pulling something black and leathery out of has pocket and eating it. I do not know what it is but it looks and smells VERY unappetizing! Seeing me looking at him the kit smiles and asks, "Want some licorice kitty?" I politely thank him and refuse his offer.

About half way down the slope we have to stop because another beginner in front of us has fallen. Before we can resume our run, I hear a rumble, looking up the slope I see what is called an avalanche begin. Gerve sees it too and says, "Come on Commander I think we can out run it!" I notice some others near us that have the same idea but, I do NOT think I can! Instead I start for the side of the run where there are some large trees. "Come on!", I command Gerve. We reach the trunk of a large tree just before the snow reaches us. My instinct as a felinoid is to climb high into the branches but I know my Tellarite friend can not do that! "Grab tree!", I command, Gerve obeys. I reach around him, not an easy task on a Tellarite, and dig my claws into the bark of the tree just as the avalanche engulfs us. For what seems like forever we are surrounded in a cold, wet, thick, suffocating white blanket of snow. Then it is over! For a second there is a deathly silence then I hear a female begin to scream! "Are you all rrright Gerve?", I ask my unmoving First Officer. "I . . . I think so Commander! You?", he replies. I am cold AND WET! Both conditions NO feline likes but I answer, "I am well." The interaction of snow with tree had done what I had hopped it would, leaving us standing in a hollowed out place in the down hill snow flow. I estimate between three and four feet of new snow now covers the slope. Using my claws I climb up the tree until I am on the new surface and then help Gerve out. Before he grabs my paw, he taps his Com Badge and says, "Emergency! Avalanche!" and gives our location. As I get him to the surface I hear someone answer his call.

There is chaos on the slope! Where there are skis protruding from the snow there are people digging! Knowing how the skis are designed to come off in a violent fall, I wonder if anyone is still attached to them. There is the human female screaming, "My babies, my babies!", and pointing at the snow. Gerve and I hurry to her. Gerve noting where she is pointing goes to the area and begins to dig. "NO Gerve! SssMELL!", I yell. "What Commander?", he replies, not understanding. I know a Tellarite's sense of smell is almost as good as a Caitians so I answer, "Use yourrr nose! Humansss smell differently than sssnow!" Understanding, Gerve gets down on his hands and knees, sticks his snout in the snow and begins searching. Every skier is required to wear a PLB (Planetary Locater Bacon) and when the Ski Patrol arrives they will be able to find buried people in seconds BUT they have NOT arrived yet! The PLB also emits a high frequency audio signal for the canines the Ski Patrol uses. Knowing Both Gerve and I can also hear those signals, I grab the female by both shoulder and get her to be silent! I then go to the area where the female was pointing and began listening and smelling too.

"FOUND SOMETHING!", I hear Gerve yell. I see the human female run to where he is and begin frantically digging. I do not go to him though because just as he yelled I smelled something! Not a human sent but, the smell of the black, leathery food the little male human was pulling out of his pocket and eating! I then hear the PLB he had hanging around his neck and hoping it is still in the same location, I begin clawing at the snow! I am joined by an adult human male, he asks, "You got something?" "I think there isss human kit here!", I answer. Before the human begins digging he motions to others and yells, "OVER HERE!". With every clawfull of snow the sound grows louder and then my claws strikes something hard! The PLB! Thankfully still around the kit's neck. I rush to uncover the kit's mouth and head as the human uncovers the rest of him. I do not think he is breathing as I paw him up to waiting arms.

The human male climbs out of the hole and then helps me out. Others are already working on the kit and I see that the Ski Patrol is now on the scene and seem to have everything under control. Gerve walks over to where I am standing and as he rubs his nose, trying to warm it he reports, "The girl is ok Commander, what about the boy?". Before I can answer, he coughs, flails his arms and begins to cry. "I think that isss good sssign.", I answer. I AM EVEN COLDER AND WETTER THAN BEFORE! My arms are beginning to ache and my claws hurt although examining them, they seem undamaged. Gerve manages to locate all of our equipment and with the Ski Patrol now here we decide to finish our trip to the bottom of the slope. Seeing us getting ready to leave, one of the Ski Patrol comes over to us. "Uh can I get your names before you leave?", a human female asks. "Of course Gerve answers, "I am Lieutenant Commander Gerve and this is Commander D'Sefet of Starfleet. We are here for the Mining Conference." The female seems to know about the conference and were it is located after getting our room number she says, "Could we get you to come to our office tomorrow and make a formal report?" "Of course!", I answer, "We will be happy to!" She thanks us, we walk to where the slope is stable and Gerve and I finish our run.

A few hours later Gerve and I are in our quarters, I have FINALLY gotten dry and warm however, my fur is a tangled disaster! As I try and do something with it, Gerve is stretched out on his bed.

"Commander, can I ask you something?", Gerve begins. "Of course Gerve! What?", I reply. "How did you know to tell me to use my sense of smell to locate the girl?", he questions. "Gerve you MUST alwaysss rrremember sssomething! We may live with, look and act sssomewhat like Humansss BUT WE ARE NOT HUMANSss! They call usss Animal-Humansss forrr good rrreason! Allow your human ssside to watch over your animal ssside BUT never let human tame animal! Rememberrr when Captain Kirk was sssplit into two separate beingsss, one good and the other described as 'evil' in that Transporterrr accident. It was found that 'evil' ssside was just as important to complete person asss good side.", I answer. "I know you are right but, it is hard to trust the animal! Sometimes, at night, after a hard day, I can hear him in the dark recesses of my mind, loudly squealing in anger and digging at the earth in frustration! He scares me!", Gerve confides. "I know, I hearr rrroars in night asss well! BUT if we had only ourrr 'Human' ssside to rrrely on, two human kits might not be alive tonight!", I say, "By way, how isss yourrr sssnout?" "I finally got it thawed!", Gerve answers with a grunt as he rubs it.

Today, day six is our big day at the conference! Before it starts for the day Gerve and I go to the Ski Patrol Office and make our formal reports. After being told what others had reported we had little more to add. We were happy to hear that thanks to the quick action of the people on the slope, there were no deaths and that all injured were already out of Sick Bay.

We then hurry to the conference. Gerve and I enter the main assembly hall and find it filled to and beyond capacity! I let Gerve handle the introductions and give the audience an over view of the mining operation at FI-9. After he finishes he introduces me, "Now to inform you about our Kzinti Miners, Commander D'Sefet!" "Thank you Commanderrr.", I begin, "I have heard that Humansss say, one image isss worth a thousand descriptionsss (Very Close Sef, One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.) so hologram must be worth twice that!", I say as I walk down from the stage and set a piece of equipment Jacobs put together for me on the deck, "I doubt any of you have everrr ssseen Kzinti Kzintosh so I would like to introduce you to Federation Installation Nine'sss Kzinti, Chief of Security, Security-Chief!" I step back and activate the device. The crowd gasps as a life size hologram of that male Kzinti appears. "I believe thisss says EVERYTHING I could sssay about Kzinti so I will open up meeting forrr questions.", I say.

"Is that hologram life-size and what range of sizes do Kzinti come in?", Is my first question, from a Horta in Igneous' delegation. "Most Kzinti males are around nine feet tall. Security-Chief is nine feet, three inches tall so yesss the Hologram IS life-size. However most Kzinti Minersss I have met tend to be little under the nine foot mark. I guesss to accommodate cramped space they work in.", I answer.

"You call this one Security-Chief and you say he IS your stations's Chief of Security.", a Vulcan begins, "Doesn't he have a name?" "Kzinti are NOT named at birth and unlesss they perform some great, heroic, deed, theirrr name isss their job. Forrr example leader of miners I deal with is called Head Miner. However among themselves, they use and answer to what Humans call 'Nick Names'. Forrr example, I have heard onesss being called, Black Face, Dirt Scratcherrr and Rock Eaterrr. My apologizes to our Horta guests forr last one!", I say as laughter ripples through the crowd, "They seem to even except Nick Names from humansss. Most of time my Chief Engineerrr rrrefers to Security-Chief as "THAT WALKING ORANGE HAIRBALL". Although I would NOT rrrecommend Human calling or giving Kzinti Nick Name until they get to know them!"

"I have heard Kzinti are undisciplined, volatile and down right dangerous!", A Human comments. "First NO one working dangerous job like mining can be undisciplined and expect to live long! I think ANY miner will agree with me on that! Asss far as being volatile and/orrr dangerousss, I have found them no more so than Klingons I have encountered. I believe there isss Human 'Golden Rule' that goesss, treat others like you would want them to treat you. I find thisss good advice when peacefully interacting with ANY life-form!", I instruct.

I answer MANY questions and as the meeting nears the end someone asks, "Bottom line, do Kzinti make good miners?" "Kzinti take pride in ANY job they do and derive great deal of sssatisfaction in job well done. On top of that, they know that doing good job will count positively toward theirrr sssome day getting name. SO YESss, Kzinti make good minersss, ditch diggersss, pilotsss, and EVEN Chiefsss of Security!", I answer, ending our formal presentation.

The meeting does not end, many want to get a closer look at Security-Chief's Hologram and there are MANY more informal and personal questions to answer.

"Can I have your attention please!", the voice of the Conference's organizer interrupts, "I don't know how many of you are skiers but you might have heard about the avalanche that happened last night. Thanks to the quick actions of two of our guests, although people were buried by the snow, no one died. I have three people that want to thank Lieutenant Commander Gerve and Commander D'Sefet!" As all watch, the Human female and her two kits from last night appear.

The female rushes to Gerve, wraps her arms around him and begins to cry. Gerve like me has never had a mate and I expect, he has no idea how to respond. I see the panic in his eyes! Fortunately she regains her composer in a moment or two. Unfortunately by then both of the Kits have followed their mother's example and have wrapped their arms around his legs! "How can I ever repay you Gerve?", she asks, still holding on to him and looking into his eyes. "Uh . . . I mean we . . . COMMANDER!", Gerve answers in panic as he looks toward me. "We are Starfleet officersss, we are sssworn to protect Federation and its citizensss in ANY way we can. We rrrequire no more rrreward than to know you and your kits are well.", I explain but it does little good to improve Gerve's situation. "Why don't you take us out to eat and we can talk more?", The female asks as she hugs him. Feeling a bit devilish I say, "Go ahead Gerve, I think I can handle sssituation here." The human female takes Gerve by the hand and leads him away, followed by her two kits as someone in the crowd comments, "They make a fine looking family!" Gerve's return to our quarters is VERY late!

Today is the final day of the conference! About the only event we will attend is the closing ceremony that is being held first thing this morning. After that, we plan to spend one more night at the hotel and leave for FI-9 in the morning. Of course this leaves the afternoon and evening free for skiing! Gerve IS in what I once heard a Human say, "HOG HEAVEN!". Even with the memory of the avalanche fresh in his mind he can not wait to "Hit the Slopes!". He begs me to join him, assuring me that avalanches are rare occurrences. Finally I relent but tell him to go ahead and that I will meet him on the slope. This trip has been educational. One thing I have learned is there is more than one way to get from the top of a mountain to the base!

Some of the options include skis, avalanches AND "A Snow Board Commander?", Gerve exclaims as I find him on the Beginner's Slope. "Yesss, I think thisss is betterrr way forrr me to get down mountain.", I explain. "I don't think they are allowed on the Beginner's Slope Commander.", Gerve says. "I KNOW they are not but, all along I have noticed yourrr ssskiing ssskills are farrr above beginner and I know you did not go to more advanced slopes because of me. Well I tried thisss board at Ski Shop on intermediate ssslope and only fell once ssso why not sssee if I am as good on rrreal thing!", I ask. Gerve smiles and grunts happily as we make our way to the more difficult slope. I was correct, NOT having your two feet trying to go in two different directions at once IS a better and FASTER way to get down the mountain! By our evening session, Gerve has a Snow Board of his own!

We bid a fond fair well to New Colorado the next morning and soon we are back on FI-9 which I am happy to say is JUST as I left it! More or less. Oh yes, I kept my Snow Board, DO NOT tell Gerve!

Star Trek: Federation Installation Nine, Episode 21 New Again


Admiral Kirk was once quoted as saying, "People like us, meaning those that have literally chosen to live among the stars, do NOT have families." And for many that is somewhat true. The problems of having a Mate somewhere while you are away on a Five Year Mission are many! There are an equal number of problems if your Mate is also in Star Fleet serving on another vessel or with you on yours. However that being said, one remembers Admiral Kirk had a brother, Sam so usually there IS some family somewhere.

I am in sort of a unique situation in my family, even with life spans reaching 150 years, not to many families have relatives that have known so many generations and still have the mental capacity to recall with clarity the members of those generations. I had not realized this until recently when the last of my siblings, my youngest sister died. She was four years my junior when I was lost aboard the Bozeman. She died a few weeks ago at the age of 140. Making me feel ancient even though I AM barely 60, at least in physical years!

I have not yet found anyone to talk to Sarrah about what happened when I was attacked by the Trill but I thought some time away from FI-9, with me would do her some good. So when I was informed of my sister's ending, I requested and got a furlough to go to Feresa and attend her memorial and invited Sarrah to come along.

Gerve wanted to take us the Feresa on the Bastet but, beside needing her to patrol the area around FI-9, Star Fleet growls at captains using large ships for personal use. I did however think that borrowing a Runabout for the trip WOULD be a transgression easily forgiven, all things considered!

The trip is a long one but pleasant. Sarrah and I spend most of the time talking or looking at the stars however I did see to it that she continued with her studies to become a fully certified doctor. The Auto-Pilot was on most of the time but I did take the controls occasionally and even let Sarrah fly the Runabout for a while, under my watchful gaze! I wonder if taking Sarrah to what is essentially a funeral will do anything to help her and consider diverting us to Wrigley's Pleasure Planet but she seems excited to meet my family so I shelve that idea for another time. Maybe our honeymoon I catch myself thinking just for a moment!?

"U.S.S. Tigrisss to Feresa Space Control.", I transmit as we enter the star system of 15 Lyncis, "Request permission and clearance to land." "Permission granted Tigrisss. Clearance to land on Pad 26. Afterrr landing please rrreport to office of Ssspace Port Administratorrr.", is the reply I receive.

We land and exit the Tigris and make our way to the Port Administrator's office. As Sarrah and I walk through the Space Port, I notice many people staring at and quietly discussing us. I know a black furred Caitian, even a Star Fleet Officer is NOT an uncommon sight so I assume the people are surprised by the Orange Furred, Tiger Stripped Kzinrret that walks slightly to the left and three steps behind me.

Reaching the Port Administrator's Office, we go in. The Receptionist looks up and says, "Enter, he expecting you." I open the door and we enter. The back of the Administrator's chair is facing us but he begins, "Come in Commanderrr. We have had number of disturbing rrreports about you." My ears folding back rapidly in shock, I answer, "I have no idea what you are rrreferring to sirrr!" "Theft of Federation property, transporting proven dangerousss life formsss are among most ssserous of accusationsss . . . BUT then what can be expected of crrrazy, old, Caitian. Right Uncle Sef?", the Administrator says as he turns to face Sarrah and I. "L'Set!", I say as I recognize the owner of the voice, the Grandson of my older sister, "Always the tricksterrr!" L'Set stands, his tail curling in amusement, walks up to me, grabs me by the shoulder and Bumps Heads with me. "And thisss must be Aunt Sarrah!", L'Set says as he bows toward Sarrah. "I Kzinti! Not Insect!", Sarrah replies, not understanding the Human homophone. "No Sarrah. Insect spelled "ANT". L'Set referring to mate of Uncle.", I explain before I realize what I just said. Sarrah looks at me questionly so I say, "I will explain it laterrr Kitten." Hoping against hope that I can!

L'Set bids us to sit and orders refreshments as he continues, "I wanted to be first to greet you Uncle and warn you, your exploitsss have become legend on Feresa. There were some that wanted to greet yourrr arrival with public ceremony of sssome sort. I knew you would not have wanted such fusss so I discouraged that but you have MANY fansss! There WAS one request that I could NOT rrrefuse nor did I think you would have wanted rrrefused . . . Lady M'Rress would like to sssee you after you get sssettled in." Happy to hear my old ship mate, mentor and Feresa's distinguished, formerrr member of the Federation High Council was still around and wanting to see me, I quickly agree.

"D'Fellah (the sister we are here for's Grandson) is on his way. I informed him of yourrr impending arrival but farm isss over 45 Cycles (minutes) away ssso getting here will take sssome time.", L'Set explains, changing the subject.

Through L'Set I get caught up on the family happenings and get an idea of what is planned for the memorial.

"Administratorrr", L'Set's Receptionist interrupts on the office com net, "D'Fellah has arrived." "Good! Sssend him in!", L'Set responds. My youngest sister, H'Mest married into a very old, very wealthy and very powerful landed Caitian family. D'Fellah lives on and manages one of their large agricultural operations near the Capital and that is where her memorial will take place in a few days. "Uncle Sef!", D'Fellah yells as he enters and goes straight to Sarrah for an embrace, "You have not changed a bit!" Sarrah is a bit tense until she sees amusement displayed in his curling tail. "Our family is truly blessed!", I comment, as I grab him away from Sarrah and bump heads with him, "WITH TWO TRICKSTERS!" I try to explain to Sarrah what is going on but, with her ears and tail twitching with laughter, she says, "Tosh (male)-family are the same everywhere! My Lord!" She then she again surprisers me by pulling D'Fellah to her for a proper hug.

L'Set questions D'Fellah as to whether he is in a hurry to get back to the farm or has time to sit and visit, he has time, so we all sit down again. D'Fellah goes into detail about the planned memorial including the impressive guest list that includes several high government officials, active and retired as well as members of both the Caitian and Federation Star Fleets. Then he surprises me by saying, "Of course Uncle Sef, asss oldest memberrr of family now you will be honored in leading memorial ceremoniesss." I had NOT planned on this BUT, I understand tradition so I silently except the honor. After a bit more conversation, D'Fellah observes, "It getting late and journey to farm isss long. I know you and Sarrah want to get settled and rrrest after your long trip." We say our goodbys and head for D'Fellah's transport vehicle. We make a stop at the Tigris to pick up our luggage and then head west, out of the city, toward the Cold Foot Mountains. The farm is located in the foothills.

Feresa is a beautiful place and only gets more beautiful as one leaves the cities. It is planting season and in every field work is being done. Sarrah, never having seen farming has many questions. What ones I can not answer D'Fellah does.

The "FAMILY FARM" occupies almost thirty square miles of cleared, farm land and another forty of managed forest. The Main House sits in the center of the cleared land. Around the Main House there is a small village of other buildings used for Worker Housing, Equipment Storage/Maintenance, Product Warehousing, and all other needs of a modern farm.

As we approach, we see there is a large gathering of people in front of the house. "I sssorry Uncle Sef!", D'Fellah says as we come to a stop, "I told them not to bother you and Sarrah until you have had chance to rrrest!" "No problem D'Fellah.", I answer as I open the transport's door. Most of the crowd are relatives that have and are gathering for the memorial service, some of the older ones I recognize. When I took a year off after reentering Starfleet Academy to update my training in 2371 they were kits! The confusion ends as a loud, powerful and female voice strikes out saying, "ENOUGH! You will have plenty of time with Commanderrr D'Sefet! For now give HIM sssome peace!" I look to see the voice is that of D'Fellah's mother M'Mut. She wades through the crowd, wraps her arms around me and says, "Mmerrrv (welcome) home Sef!" Releasing me, she turns to Sarrah and says, "And thisss must be Kzinrret we have all heard about!" Wrapping her arms around Sarrah, M'Mut says, "Mmerrrv (welcome) to mmmy home Sarrah."

With M'Mut leading the way and D'Fellah bringing up the rear, carrying the luggage we are escorted into the house and shown to "OUR" room. After we are left alone and Sarrah is sure everyone is out of ear shot she begins, mostly in Kzinti, "Ta'k (she) hrung (thinks) k'tze (I) ch'rowl (have sex/mate) with chojj (you) My Lord! To'kzi (they) all do!" Sarrah's fur begins to flatten and her tail lashes about wildly, I can tell she is worried. "I know Sarrah! When I wrote H'Mest telling her about how you entered my life I guesss I did NOT think they would assume we became mates! What you want me to do?", I ask as I take note of the king size single bed, "I am sure house is full up with guests but I can find bunk sssomewhere." "Well . . . ", she begins as I note a slight lidding of her eyelids (Slyness), "K'tze (I) WAS always taught that chss (no) smart Kzinrett would throw a big, strong, hansom, important T'kzintar (warrior) out of her bed! If chojj (you) swear chssee (not) to treat me as a Prret (concubine) and keep your skceri (penis) under control K'tze (I) guess chojj (you) can stay My Lord." As her tail and ears begin twitching with laughter, I bow and say, "Thank you, gracious AUNT Sarrah! But you keep that tail tip of yoursss underrr control too!"

A normal Caitian family usually eats a sit down dinner together. However with a house full of guests of all ages, dining has been modified. Food selections are put out on long tables and a person serves themselves. The young, with all their energy, eat first so they can be gotten out of the way. Then it is the adults turn to gather their food and find a quiet place to eat. There is so much food one does not know where to begin! As Sarrah stands at the tables she seems to be having a hard time choosing. "I sssorry for poorrr choice of meatsss Sarrah.", M'Mut like a true hostess begins, "We understand Kzinti are not grass eatersss! We tried to orderrr some Zianya meat but could not find supplier in Federation." "Please! Do not be sorry M'Mut- My Lady! There are many things here I like or after hearing what My Lord has said about them, want to try but with so many choices I do not know where to begin!", Sarrah explains. Finally, with my help she fills her plate and we find a place to eat.

I tried to find a quiet place for just Sarrah and I but, some of the older kits joined us. From their questions I find they have been following my career closer than expected! "Do you Really have a Borg as Friend?" "How close is FI-9 to Kzinti Homeworld? and "Does it REALLY look like paw print floating in space?" are just some of the questions I try and answer. There is a theory that Caitians are related to Kzinti just as Vulcans are related to Romulans. Because the Kzinti have had little contact with Ka'sskin (aliens), Sarrah is the first living Kzinti the kits or for that matter ANY Caitian have seen. The kits have been taught what little is known about them including that kzinrrets have minimal intelligence but when they find out Sarrah is "different" and her brother is Chief of Security on FI-9 she gets more questions that I do! I find to my surprise that Sarrah, who spent most of her life sequestered in a hareem, knows more about Kzinti Society than I thought. The questions, some about family history that I am not prepared to talk about, out last the food and although both Sarrah and I do not mind satisfying the kit's curiosity, it is M'Mut that thankfully ends the meeting by shooing the kits away.

The memorial is day after tomorrow and I was surprised by being told that, as the oldest family member, I would be leading the ceremonies! I was NOT prepared for this! We leave the Dining Room and Sarrah starts for the room, seeing that I am heading in a different direction she says, "Our room is this way My Lord!" "I know Sarrah.", I answer sounding even to me, a bit dejected. "What is the problem My Lord?", she asks, her fur flattening and tail moving with worry, "Where are you going? Have you chosen not to spend the night with me? Have I offended you?" "No kitten.", I comfort, pointing toward the trees not to far away, "I thought I would take little walk! It not often I can go forrr walk in forest without carrying Phaserrr!" "May I be permitted to accompany you My Lord?", Sarrah asks. "Of course Kitten!", I answer, taking her paw in mine.

What seems like a long time ago, I took command of FI-9 and met my first Kzinti, Security-Chief. His untamed, primal, Kzinti outlook on life had an effect on this "Domesticated" felinoid and as I observed, as I went about marking the station so its Kzinti computers would recognize me in command, I found myself experiencing a unfamiliar, wild, almost primal feeling. It was as if the station disappeared and I was transported back to the primordial jungle my prehistoric ancestors prowled. I could almost feel the weight of hundreds of pairs of fearful eyes watching as THE CAITIAN begins the patrol of HIS territory! Now, with a strong, beautiful, loving, sexy Kzinti Kzinrret by my side, in this lush, green, pristine forest, I no longer have to imagine how my prehistoric ancestors must have felt! IT IS GLORIOUS!

We wonder the forest for what seems like hours. It grows dark but both of Ferasa's moons, Rea and Sura rise in their full phase giving the two prowling felines plenty of light. We stop to rest in a small clearing, Sarrah and I sit on an old, fallen tree trunk, under the stars, in the middle of a grassy meadow filled with scented wild flowers. I reach out and pull Sarrah to me and hold her in my arms. It is fortunate that I am a Caitian and NOT a Kzinti as well as a Star Fleet Officer. For in that moment, in that place, with that female with all the scents swirling around us, if I had not been, I would have found it impossible to keep my "skceri (penis)" under control! I make a mental note to get a scan of this place so Sarrah and I can enjoy it again in the Holodeck when we return to FI-9. I will call the program, "A Night In Cat Mint Meadow".

We sleep late the next morning, lovingly entwined in each other's arms. Reluctantly I get up, leaving Sarrah sleeping. I go get some food and returning to our room, Sarrah and I have breakfast in bed. While getting the food, I sent and received a message. After breakfast, when we are prepared for the day, I borrow a transport and Sarrah and I head into the city.

Lady M'Ress, for all her achievements, Star Fleet Officer, retiring with the rank Admiral, long member of the Federation High Council, lives in a modest dwelling on a quiet street in Feresa's Capital city. It is so unassuming that after all the things I told Sarrah about her, as we walked up the walkway to the entrance, she asked, her ears and tail displaying disbelief, "This is where a great Lady of Feresa lives My Lord?" Not answering, I knock on the plain, wooden door. We hear sounds from inside and soon the door is opened by a Kit. "Greetings.", I begin but before I can say anything more the Kit's eyes grow wide and it says, "COMMANDERrr D'SEFET!" Then it turns and runs, yelling as it does, "Gurrr Ma! He REALLY HERE!" Presently we see a young female approaching, "Please forgive my Kit Commanderrr, enter, my Grandmother isss in kitchen."

As she leads us through the house toward the back I observe the inside. It is as plain as the outside except the walls are festooned with a lifetime of memories. Everywhere there are holograms of M'Ress with famous people like President Kirk and Ambassador Spock. as well as citations, awards and medals. M'Ress is sitting at a simple wooden table, working on preparing some vegetables I assume she is planning on having for Mid-Meal. I recognize them as a pod bean that has to be snapped into sections before cooking. A chore I remember all to well from my years on my Father's farm! "Mmerrrv (welcome) Sef!", M'Ress says, "Please, you and Sarrah sssit!" I sit and as I do, a grab a paw full of unsnapped beans and begin working on them. I can feel the shock in the room until M'Ress, her tail displaying amusement purrs, "Just like old timesss, on Enterprise! On KP togetherrr again!"

"I not think there will be enough of these to feed us all! I rrremember you always had your plate piled high with them on Enterprise." M'Ress says looking at me, "M'Tress go out and pick anotherrr bowl and show Sarrah our garden, I am very proud of it!" "We had not planned to ssstay for Mid Meal M'Ress.", I begin, "We do not want you to go to any trouble!" "NONSENSE SEF!", M'Ress growls, "Besides what would we do with the Zianya Steaksss in the cooler!" " Zianya Steaks?", Sarrah questions, "I thought Zianya meat was unavailable in the Federation M'Ress- Lady." "Sef ssshould have told you Sarrah, Rank Has Its Privilegesss and Connectionsss!", M'Ress answers, "Besidesss I am sure my Grandkit hasss invited few of hisss friends over to meet you by now." Her Grandkit does not answer but his ears, tail and eyes confirm her suspicions. As M'Ress's Grandaughter, her kit and Sarrah exit she adds, "And ssstart grill ssso it will be ready for the sssteaks!", then to Sarrah, "Caitians, especially old onesss like me like ourrr meat sssoftened and warmed little by fire but you do not have to have yoursss cooked." "Thank you M'Ress-Lady but Kzinti DO like cooked meat! I think the fire brings out the flavor but I do like my meat as the Humans say Blood Rare!"

After the group leaves, "I want to ssspeak to you about something very important Sef.", M'Ress begins, "I hope I not out of place but I want to encourage you to considerrr leaving Starfleet at some point and rrrepresenting Feresa on Federation Council." "I warriorrr not diplomat.", I answer, a bit stunned by her request. "That ISss what I thought at one time too!", she says, adding, "I not asking you rrresign your commission today Sef but keep idea in mind. Feresa and Federation need ones with experience like yoursss." " What about President Kirksss view that, once on bridge of ssship, one should not let anything rrremove you from it?", I question. "If you do yourrr job well, there will be sssomeone qualified to take your place therrre.", M'Ress wisely answers.

Mid Meal was leisurely and pleasant. AND YES, I did have a LARGE helping of beans! After, M'Ress's Grandkit's friends stopped by and request a story. I told them about the time M'Ress and I beamed down to a planet with Captain Kirk and found it populated only by males! M'Ress was a bit panicky that I would add the part where she ended up in bed with Captain Kirk so he could "protect" her from the other male's advances but I left that out. They also had a LOT of questions about FI-9 which I did my best to answer.

We spent much of the morning and afternoon at M'Ress's but, "It hasss been wonderful ssseeing you again M'Ress but we ssshould be getting back to farm.", I say, "I have to get rrready to lead ssservice tomorrow." "Of course Sef, I am glad I got chance to sssee you again." "I wish to thank you for your hospitality M'Ress-Lady. The Zianya was delicious!", Sarrah adds, " Will you be attending the service?" "I plan to.", M'Ress says, "But at my age you learn plansss can change from hourrr to hourrr." We finish our goodbys and the last thing M'Ress says is, "Please considerrr our talk Sef." I promise I will.

Activity at the farm has really ramped up since Sarrah and I left. Caitian funerals, by tradition, begin at sun down. Fires are lit on the alters to light the departed's way through the underworld. Now, late afternoon there is only a little more than 24 hours to put the finishing details on the service!

One of the large warehouses had been converted into a auditorium and as I arrive I am told D'Fellah is there waiting for me. "Prrre (greetings/hello) Uncle Sef.", D'Fellah begins, "Did you enjoy visit with M'Ress?" "Yes." , I answer, "It good to sssee old ship matesss again. You wanted to sssee me?" "Yes, I gathered from your rrreaction to my informing you that as oldest memberrr of family you will be leading memorial ceremoniesss that you were unprepared forrr honor." "Well it was just that I have not attended many Caitian funeralsss I am not sssure what expected of me.", I explain. "I thought asss much. I prepared an outline of ssservice and what you need to be aware of.", D'Fellah says, handing me the civilian equivalent of a Starfleet Padd. "Good. ", I answer, glancing at the Padd, "I will rrreview it and get back with you if any questionsss or problemsss arise." "I am at your ssservice uncle.", He says adding, "Just rrremember, none of thisss is about show! All thisss IS about family saying rrr'me (goodbye) to someone they loved. Although I am sure if sssomething goes wrong, mother will hisss about it for rrrest of her life! Ssso no pressure uncle!" The curling of his tail in amusement indicates he is, at least half joking.

I go back to the room to study the information. There I find Sarrah stretched out on the bed taking a nap. Basically I will be the "Master of the Ceremony" I will begin it by greeting the family and visitors then there will be a video tribute to H'Mest, who's body has been kept in stasis since she died and will be displayed in front of the dias. After the tribute anyone that wishes to can address the assembled with memories and stories about H'Mest. Finally it will be my turn to address the assembly. Then the family will escort the body to the family mausoleum and inter it. So my only problem is what I am going to say.

It proves to be a BIG problem. As Commanding Officer I have had the task to write to the relatives of a crew member killed in the line of duty, thankfully ONLY a few times. I do try and get to know the people I command but other than the Command Crew, most do not remain long enough to get to know well so the letters are mostly written to give the relatives comfort from the impression that their family member was more than a part in a machine.

I think back to when H'Mest was born. I was four years old and conflicted. I was the "Baby" of the family and by default got most of the attention BUT I also was the living "BABY" my seven and nine year old sisters played house with! By the age of four and a male, I had grown tired of being dressed up and wheeled around to give my sisters "practice" for when they became mothers. I was all to happy to give up that role to someone else! H'Mest was a sweet, quiet kit, the translation of her name, House-baby girl, reflecting the sentiment. Always purring even if she had a reason to hiss. She idolized her older brother and because we were closer in age to each other than our older sisters, tended to do "things", re getting into trouble, together. When I became the first of our family to be accepted to Star Fleet Academy none was prouder than H'Mest. She also was more sadder that I was leaving Ferasa than the rest of the family as well. She dreamed of following her big brother into Starfleet when it was her time but, "things" did not work out. Things? I wonder if I should go into the thing that destroyed my little sister's dream of going into space? Officially the reason was that she had almost no sight in her left eye. And in the days BEFORE artificial eyes that was a problem! It is HOW she lost the sight that has been and still IS secret only whispered about by the family!

It was in the spring, I was preparing to leave for the Academy after harvest. The year, 2264 to be exact and even though the Organia Incident with Captain Kirk, the Enterprise and the Klingons was three years away (2267), there were things that happened.

It was the last day of the work week. Mother and my older sisters had gone into town for supplies and Father was in the fields. Normally H'Mest, 14 would have gone along with Mother and I, 18 would have been in the fields with Father but H'Mest was not feeling well so she was left home and I was assigned to keep an eye on her. The how and why of what happened was never explained, to me anyway. I was in the barn working when it began. I heard a sound, turned around, thinking it was H'Mest and was flattened by a unseen blow. When I regained consciousness I was on the ground looking up at a Klingon Soldier with a Disruptor. I had been lucky, I was relatively unhurt, the left side of my body was kind of numb and my left arm hurt BUT I WAS alive! I looked around for a weapon but the only item within reach was the Pitch Fork I had been using. The Klingon's Communicator beeped and he began speaking to another Soldier. I knew enough Klingon to gather the other Soldier was also somewhere on the farm, H'Mest I thought, my panic beginning to grow! Finishing his communication, he raises his weapon, points it at me and I am sure I am dead. All of a sudden I hear a loud hiss, the Klingon starts to turn in the direction of the sound and is immediately propelled forward by the impact of the body of the owner of that hiss H'Mest! The Klingon's Disruptor and Communicator go flying as my little sister attaches herself to the Klingon's head and body with VERY sharp derrrinas (claws). He strikes at her with his hands and finally manages to loosen her grip on him. He flings her off, her derrrinas (claws) leaving eight long, deep, pink bloody, marks on his head and giving her the name I would, from then on call her, Pink Derrrina (Claw) and she crashes onto the ground. By now I have struggled to my feet, grabbed the Pitch Fork and before the Klingon can do anything else, I run him through with all my strength. He drops to his knees and I finish him, by puncturing his heart with his own knife. I find his Disruptor and check on H'Mest. She is hurt but alive. I tell her to stay put and that there is another Klingon somewhere near by. She tells me he was in the kitchen. I ask if she saw other Klingons too but she says she had seen only the two. I know I have to get her to safety and warn the authorities about the invasion so with the Disruptor in hand, I go looking for the other Klingon. He is just coming out the back door probably heading to the barn to find his comrade. Not being familiar with alien weapon and by now not caring, I aim the weapon at the him and pull the trigger. He melts as the beam hits him and disappears into nothingness. In the field next to the house is a small vessel with Klingon markings on it. I assume it is how they got here. After checking it and the house for other Klingons, I return to the barn for H'Mest.

Before moving her I needed to see how bad she was hurt. The Klingon had hit her with his fists a number of times. The sharp parts of his gloves tore her clothes and scratched her but not as deeply as her derrrinas (claws) had the Klingon's head. She had hit the rock hard earth of the barn's floor hard on her left side. It appeared her left arm was broken and the left side of her head was beginning to swell. When I tried to move her she grabbed at the left side of the chest leading me to think some of her ribs were also broken. As I am trying to think of what to do next, go get Father, go get medical help, notify the authorities, or get ready to kill more Klingons, I hear a number of small vessels fly over the barn and a few of them land! I get ready to kill more Klingons until I hear the mmerrrv (welcome) sound of Caitian voices. In seconds Caitian warriors are with us. One tends to H'Mest and one examines me. Two others are checking the dead Klingon. The warrior helping me sees I am in pain and administers a hypospray of pain med so the rest of the events are a bit confused. The Caitian Commander tells me Father saw the Klingon vessel land and went to the neighboring farm to raise the alarm. Father knew H'Mest and I were home and wanted to try and help us but the neighbor would not let him, convincing Father that even Caitian Kits were smarter than Klingons and would be ok. I also tell him that I disintegrated one of the Klingons.

After what seemed like forever, a Ground Transport arrives and H'Mest and I are taken to the Med Center in town. There the entire family is reunited. My injuries consist of a LOT of bumps and bruises as well as a dislocated left shoulder. Pink Derrrina (Claw), H'Mest was not as lucky. A broken left arm and three broken ribs on the left side as well as numerous scratches and bruises are her minor injuries. But it is her head that the Healers are most concerned with. At first they thought her skull might have been fractured but scans do not show that. They DO however show she has a severe concussion and that the orbit of her left eye socket had been shattered. There is also damage to her left eye.

The family stayed in town for a few days while Caitian Warriors checked the planet for other Klingon invaders and found none. Then Father and my two older sisters returned to the farm. H'Mest had to stay for treatment and Mother stayed with her. I wanted to return to the farm as well but Father took me aside and said proudly that he wanted his son, the Caitian, Starfleet Warrior to stay and protect his Kit and Mate.

I wrote the entire story on the Padd. As far as I know it IS the first time what happened that day has been recorded. To keep panic to a minimum, at the time most of the event was classified and my family and I were cautioned not to talk about it. When I became a Star Fleet Officer I tried to have a look at the official records and found them missing. Even H'Mest's injuries were reported as a "Farm Accident".

As I finish the story, Sarrah wakes up, "My Lord! I am sorry! I did not hear you enter!" "Not problem Kitten, if I had not needed to prepare forrr ceremony I would have joined you forrr nap.", I answer showing her the Padd. "May I see what you are working on My Lord?", Sarrah asks. "Of course!", I say handing her the Padd, "In fact I would like to hearrr any of yourrr ideasss."

I watch Sarrah's body language as she reads the story. When she finishes, she looks up from the Padd at me and I say, "I am lucky to have had two female T'kzintarrr (warrior) in my life protect me when I needed it the most."

All of a sudden Sarrah drops the Padd on the bed and begins to quiver. I go to her and gather her in my arms. She buries her nose in the fur of my neck and begins to breath heavy and softly mew, the Kzinti equivalent of human crying. "I am sorrry Kitten! I did not mean to upset you!", I comfort as I stroke the fur on the back of her head with my hand. "No My Lord, it is I that should beg forgiveness!", She begins, as she lifts her head up and looks at me with tear filled eyes, "From you, Jacobs-Lieutenant Commander and Selar-Doctor! Ever since that night I almost let that Trill kill you I have been terrible to my friends!" "No you have not!", I say as I sit both of us down on the bed, "You did NOT let that Trill do ANYTHING! In fact you did great deal to prevent Galactic Warrr that night!" "I know you have been told of my actions after the Trill shot you! I know Jacobs-Lieutenant Commander told you how I attacked her when she was trying to help! I know. . . " "I Know Sarrah!", I begin, interrupting her, "I know that unarmed, you killed armed intruderrr you though had just killed me! I know you followed protocol by putting out medical emergency and sssecurity breach call! I know you protected helpless me at time when no one could be completely trusted! AND yourrr friendsss KNOW IT TOO! When I questioned Jacobsss about you attacking herrr she said, ""I LOVE HERrr! She ISss STILL the sssister AND the kitten I never had! I know she loves me! That's what makesss this all so frustrating, how you damn CATSss hide yourrr pain, bearing it alone!""Their ONLY concern ISss what bothering you now. Even Security-Chief, while proud of yourrr actions ISss concerned!" I nuzzle Sarrah's soft, warm neck fur and say, "Jacobsss is correct, it IS frustrating, how Felinesss hide ourrr pain and I understand why but YOU DO NOT have to bearing it alone! Not any more! Not asss long asss I am here!"

Felines do not as a rule touch mouths. About the closest we have ever come is smelling each other's mouth to see what the other has been eating BUT I HAVE been around Humans a LONG time so, gently cradling her head in my paws, I move my head closer until our lips touch. It is NOT an unpleasant sensation and I can see why Humans seem to enjoy the experience.

"When Jacobs - Lieutenant Commander arrived I thought you WERE dead My Lord! The smell of burnt fur was heavy in the air!", Sarrah continues to explains, "I do not think I would have injured her but I could NOT control myself!" "I understand Kitten! It IS always ssstruggle forrr anyone to control oneself in sssuch situationsss!", I say. "I think it IS harder for me after what happened to my Brother.", she counters. "What happened to Security-Chief?", I ask. "Not him My Lord, our older Brother.", she answers, continuing, "He was Annah's first kit, strong and brave yet kind, caring, gentle and smart! He was destine for greatness! Mother thought he would earn his name faster than any Kzinti ever had! We all were with Father on a remote Kzinti outpost he was commanding. Brother had just finished Training as a Flyer (Starship Helmsman) and was going to leave aboard the next ship that came to the outpost. He disdained dueling and both Mother and I am sure that if he had accidentally insulted another's honor he would have immediately begged for forgiveness. So what happened still puzzles me." Sarrah continues telling me the story of the dark day when some of her Brother's friends carried him to their quarters. He had been in a fight! With whom she was never told. But whoever it was, he had won! "His soft, beautiful fur was torn out and bloodied, he was missing his right ear, taken, I guess by the victor. He was having trouble breathing and coughing up blood. I heard one of his friends ask if a Healer had been sent for and another one answer that he was away and would not arrive for hours! Even then I was interested in healing and had secretly studied it. I think I could have saved him! BUT if I had tried, my intelligence would have been exposed and so would have been Mother's as well and you know what the Kzintosh do to smart Kzinrrets!", she asks. I nod and Sarrah continues,"Hs friends just stood around watching my Brother die, as did Mother and I! Brother was still alive when the Healer DID FINALLY arrive but by then Brother was so weak there was little he could do. If I had done something sooner Brother might have had a chance for life! So when that Trill attacked you My Lord and I could not stop him, all that feeling of uselessness came back! I thought that for a second time I had let someone I loved die!" "Humans have sssaying, If Wantsss Werrre Horses, Beggarrrs Would Be Kingsss.", I tell her. Looking at me, her eyes saying he does not understand, I explain, "It meansss sometimes one can not get what one desirrres, sssometimes Great Fanged One hasss otherrr plansss! You are correct, if you had helped yourrr Brotherrr you WOULD have been found out and killed, then Trill would have been sssuccessful and The Bugsss would now be in control of Galaxy! More importantly and ssselfishly, I would not be able to hold you in my arms now!"

Early the next morning I send a message to an old friend requesting help with an old report. A few hours later I get the reply I expected. I spend some time getting Sarrah, who will be seated on the dias with me, and my clothes ready for the Ceremony. I will wear my Dress Uniform and Sarrah has chosen a modest, floor length, grey dress that looks good in contrast to her orange, tiger stripped fur.

At sun down. M'Mut and D'Fellah light the fires on the alters and I begin the service. First I greet the family and the LONG list of visitors, both distinguished and humble. Then the video tribute to H'Mest, begins. After it ends I invite anyone to share their memories and stories about H'Mest with everyone. Finally is my turn to address the assembly. "Pink Derrrina (Claw) wasss my baby sisterrr.", I begin as I hear an audible gasp from the audience, "Many knew she had been called that forrr yearsss and many of you wondered why she would let only one, me addresss herrr so." I look over at M'Mut remembering what D'Fellah had said about something going wrong, she is sitting calmly in her seat. "She wasss beautiful, Caitian female, loving motherrr and mate BUT the heart of ourrr Kzinti ancestorsss beat in herrr chest! The ssstory I am about to tell you was declassified few hours ago by President Kirk himself!", I continue to more gasps, "It began long time ago, on warm, ssspring day. A day not unlike thisss one in 2264."

I finish the story to dead silence from the audience! Then the Klingon Ambassador to Ferasa stands, yells, in Klingon, "I honor the Caitian Warror as she takes her rightful place in Sto'Vo'Kor!" and begins to clap loudly! The rest of the audience joins him and the standing ovation lasts for over five minutes! I again have a look at M'Mut, she is crying but her tail indicates inside she is happy! The ovation would have lasted longer but I, holding up a paw interrupt, "My family and I thank you all forrr attending! Now please enjoy rrreception we have prepared forrr you! The family and I will join you asss soon asss we sssee H'Mest to herrr final rrrest."

"Sef, may I ssspeak with you?", M'Mut asks as we stand before the family mausoleum waiting for it to be opened. "Of courssse!", I answer. "H'Mest had one last, life long rrrequest we could not grant.", she explains, "And we werrre not sssure you could attend ssservice, but . . ." My sister NEVER gave up the idea of serving Ferasa in Starfleet and traveling through the stars. For one of their anniversaries her mate had taken her on an inter-planetary cruise but a big passenger ship with lots of people was NOT the same as a STAR SHIP! Just before her death she had expressed a hope that in her next incarnation the Masters would grant her that wish. M'Mut continues, "But with no assurance of that, family jerked a few lines (pulled a few strings, Sef is NOT the only Caitian that has problems with human euphemisms!) and because of importance surrounding incident that rrresulted in herrr injury, we were able to arrange. . . " "I got herrr an appointment to Academy, posthumously, Sef!", M'Ress says as she steps into the light. I am stunned, my ears and tail display my disbelief. "There isss one otherrr thing Sef.", M'Mut adds, "Could you, Would you take motherrr for last rrride on your ssship? Asss cadet?" I am almost speechless! BUT, I begin, "I am not sssure . . ." "It not problem Sef.", M'Ress assures, "In fact you will log it asss orderrr from sssuperior officerrr! Remember what I told Sarrah about rrrank! I will come along as observerrr." "Well I neverrr have yet rrrefused to follow orderrr of sssuperior!", I say, "What is plan?"

The plan is simple, all arraigned by Space Port Administrator L'Set, unofficially of course! I will be transported to the Space Port on a private air transport owned by one of the high government officials that attended the memorial and return in the Tigris. While I am doing that they will get H'Mest dressed in her uniform and to make things official M'Ress will also change into her uniform. I will remain in orbit and beam M'Ress and H'Mest's body aboard and go for a leisurely trip through the star system of 15 Lyncis, a hour or so trip on Impulse Drive. Then we will return, I will beam M'Ress and H'Mest's body back to the farm. I will return the Tigris to the Space Port and I will get ride from a high ranking member of the Caitian Star Fleet back to the farm. Once I return, H'Mest will be interred with full military honors.

The plan goes off without a hitch! Offically the flight was explained as me making sure the Tigris was ready for the trip back to FI-9. After beaming M'Ress and H'Mest's body aboard I strapped the body in the front co-pilot's seat. M'Ress asked if she could pilot the ship and since she was a Superior Officer I let her! I sit down in one of the other seats. I asked Sarrah if she wanted to come but she declined which was just as well, D'Fellah promised he would be her escort to the reception until I returned.

"It comforting to know piloting ssskills do not diminish with yearsss.", I comment to M'Ress as she flies the Tigris through the solar system. "To be truthful Sef, I have been practicing on flight sssimulator my Grandkit got for me. These Runabouts sssure handle differently compared to old Class F Shuttlecraft!", M'Ress confesses, her tail indicating amusement. I sit back and enjoy the ride.

As we once again enter Ferasa orbit I become aware of another presence on the ship. I turn and see Mother standing behind H'Mest's seat looking at me serenely. As I watch, I see H'Mest rise out of her seat and stand beside mother. She is young again! She looks like she did when she was 18 and traveled to Earth by herself to attend my graduation from Star Fleet Academy. I remember the day and how proudly I showed her off and around. Even though a happy time, there was sadness that she would not get her time there. As she stands beside Mother she indicates her Cadet Uniform to me, her ears and tail showing her happiness. M'Ress seems busy establishing orbit so not to distract her I mouth the words rrr'me (goodbye) Pink Derrrina (Claw). For a moment in response, she bears her fangs and claws as her tail laughs. Then Mother takes her by the hand and they disappear. "Sef? Are you alright?", M'Ress questions bringing me back to reality. "What? Oh yesss M'Ress I am sorry. I wasss lost in the view.", I explain. "I forgot just how beautiful it wasss!", M'Ress comments, then, "We are almost overrr farm, are you rrready to beam H'Mest and me down?"

I was, then I returned the Tigris to the Space Port and in less than a half hour I was back at the Farm. After a intimate, military interment ceremony attended by the family, M'Ress and a representative of the Federation and Caitian Star Fleets, we all join the other guests at the reception.

Sarrah did not attend the interment, that Kzinti graveyard superstition thing. So she is waiting for me at the reception. She asks, "Did H'Mest and your mother enjoy the ride?" "Yes." I answer, before I realize WHAT she just asked! Before I can question her more, D'Fellah walks up. "Hey Uncle Sef!", he begins, slipping his arm around Sarrah's middle, "If any Kzintosh everrr offerrr you anotherrr Kzinrret, keep me in mind!" Sarrah gently swats at him and releasing her he continues on his way, his tail curling with amusement. "A changed Kzinrret would kill him in the first five minutes of their first night of ch'rowling (having sex/mate)!", Sarrah comments with all sincerity, "We will have to find him one like me My Lord!" Before I can question her on THAT subject M'Ress walks over, "You plan to ssstay while do you not Sef?" This is first leave I have had since taking command of FI-9 so I answer, "I do not think I will be missed on FI-9 for few extra daysss anyway. If M'Mut can ssstand us that is!" Hearing her name, M'Mut joins us, "What this? I heard my name!" "I was just telling M'Ress, Sarrah and I might ssstay on Ferasa few more days if you can ssstand us around M'Mut.", I joke. "Well, Sarrah IS always mmerrrv (welcome)! One can never have enough strong females in family but . . . You . . .", M'Mut answers, her tail curling, "A lazy old male . . ." "My Lord D'Sefet HAS other uses!", Sarrah defends with lidded eyelids (Slyness). We all share the joke and then M'Ress says, "Good, I have sssome friends otherrr than my Grandkit's that want to meet you Sef and one friend that I think Sarrah should meet. I will arrange a get togetherrr at my house in a few daysss." "Soundsss good.", I answer, "I want to show Sarrah some the sssights on Ferasa too."

Besides some of the kerrosat (traveler/tourist) attractions I want to show her one special place. The day after the Funeral I again borrow a Transport. This time our destination is a sprawling housing subdivision. After I was"Lost" and Father died there was no male interested in taking over the Farm so it was sold. At the time it was fashionable to live in a unattached dwelling of one's own so farm land was being converted into land for housing and that was the fate our Farm suffered. Using PLS (Planetary Location System) and some old maps, I have found the land our Farm once stood on and I want to show Sarrah.

"There isss where house stood and over there barn.", I say as, using the PLS, I point out the locations. Sarrah and I walk a little distance and I continue, "Just down hill is ssstream where farm's livestock drank and . . ." I can not believe my eyes! On the bank of the stream! A Wacher tree! My Wacher tree and held in its branches, MY tree house! Sarrah and I walk up to the door of the house the tree is on and knock. The owner answers, and although I introduce Sarrah and myself he seems to know us. I explain why we are there and ask if I might be permitted to have a look at the tree and tree house, the stunned owner is very happy to allow that. He tells us that the tree house had been there ever since his parents bought the house but he has a hard time believing it is mine. I tell him there is one way to find out, I marked the tree house with a special series of scratches in a certain spot, sort of a signature proving I built it. With difficulty I climb the tree and look into the tree house, there on one of the support boards are the marks I made more than 100 years before!

The next day M'Ress informs me of the arraignments she has made for the get together. I tell her NOT to over tax herself and she replies that it is mostly her daughter making the preparation as she says, "I give ordersss and my crew carry them out, as it should be!"

M'Ress invited the family to the get together but M'Mut was recovering from organizing the Memorial Ceremony and D'Fellah had put off farm chores he had to catch up on so besides me only L'Set the administrator attended, he came to as he said, "make connections".

The friend M'Ress thought Sarrah should meet is a Healer that specializes in helping ones with emotional problems much like a Ship's Councilor. I am not sure how M'Ress knew about the problems Sarrah was having but I was happy for the help. He talked with Sarrah alone for an hour or so. I think this trip where she seemed to open up a little coupled with his words and my support let Sarrah feel better and begin to put the past behind her. I think everyone enjoyed the affair, I know I did.

We stayed on Ferasa another two days but as it must time came for us to leave. "I am sssorry Uncle.", L'Set says as we look at the number of people gathered, "I do not know how they found out you were leaving! I can have Security clearrr them away!" I do not understand why there is so much interest in my career but I remember feeling the same about others and remember their patients with me so I answer, "No, I will ssspeak with them but when Tigris takes off make sure Security keeps them safe distance away! Many were here to see Sarrah. I saw a number of them just reach out and gently touch her orange striped fur as if they were trying to confirm she was real. One cute, little, male kit yelled, "Hey Lady Tigerrr!" and as Sarrah turned to look, he swiped the air with his little claws as his tail curling with joy. His reaction was priceless when Sarrah, claws hidden, swiped the air back at him and twitched her ears.

A news gather was waiting for me at the hatch on the Tigris's side and ask me the standard questions about the trip, has Ferasa changed much since I was last here, when do you think you will return, and the like. Then he stunned me by asking, "What are yourrr thoughts on rrreports that Patriarchy hasss contacted Federation about opening up theirrr territory to more contact?" "I have not as yet heard anything about it but, I am happy Kzinti are thinking about that!", I stammer remembering a talk I once had with a T'kzintar (warrior) about the Federation's greatest weapon. "Will you be involved? After all asss Ambassadorrr Spock once said, ""Only Nixon could go to China!""." "Orrr Only Kirk could go to Kronos!", I add, "I have and will continue to ssserve Federation and people of Ferasa in ANY way I am permitted to!"

Finally getting Sarrah on board and following her, I secure the Tigris's hatch and after Security moves the crowd back to a safe distance, fire up her engines. As the Tigris rises into the air, the crowd begins to "Kneed" the air, the Caitian way of waving. As a fighter pilot I know one way you have of acknowledging someone you are not in communication with is to "Waggle"your wings, that is to rock the vessel from side to side. And although the Tigris is a Runabout and not a Fighter I do manage to get her to "Waggle" a little to the crowd before we head into space. I heard their cheering through the hull!

On our way back, " You know Sarrah, I think FI-9 could ssspare us forrr another day or two." "What do you have in mind My Lord?, Sarrah questions. "WELL . . . Wrigley's Pleasure Planet isss not too farrr off ourrr course.", I answer. "Could we go there?", she asks, hardly believing what I have just said. "It IS height of theirrr ssseason and we have no reservations but I do not mind camping in Runabout if you do not.", I say. She answers me by wrapping her arms around me as I sit in the pilot's seat and nipping at my right ear.

The day after we return, "Sef! Are you sure you brought back the right Kzinrret? You know Bobby thought they all look the same didn't you?", Jacobs asks as we encounter each other for the first time on the Bazar. "I believe so Jacobsss. Why do you ask?", I say. "WELL, you left here with one VERY stressed out, high strung tigress, AND you returned with one VERY cool, laid back kitty! Even Doctor Selar commented to me on the change!", she explains, "What's more, she use to call me Jacobs-Lieutenant Commander even when we were alone, we were working out on the Holodeck this morning and she called me Jacobs four times!" "I hope, with luck, we will not have to sssee that Tigresss again any time sssoon! Howeverrr, I am sssure you will agree that IF we need herrr, I hope she appearrrs! ", I reply, Jacobs nods and I continue, "But, ssshe still needs all of ourrr supporrrt and understanding!" "She HAS HAD that from the day she took that note out of her mouth and put it in my tool box!', Jacobs says as she goes about her work.