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Part of USS Eagle: Mission 8 – Underspace and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Books and Kittens

USS Eagle
September 2401
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Sickbay

Captain Kirby entered sickbay, curious about why he was asked to come.  He saw someone on a biobed, but Doc Weaver and Nurse Parker were blocking his view while they gave medical aid.  He looked at Iziraa, who seemed to be in an excited state; she was bobbing back and forth on her feet and her antennae were rapidly moving.  He mused at how well he was learning to interpret her body language.  “Report.”

“Leb Minol is asking for political asylum,” said Iziraa.  “He claims to be fleeing an oppressive and tyrannical government.”

Kirby almost rolled his eyes.  They already went through that with Princess Yari on Lenal III.  At least they had experience now.  “Is he all right?”

“Just bumps and bruises, as far as I could see, but Doctor Weaver wanted to examine him to be sure,” said Iziraa.

“I’ll talk to him,” said Kirby.

“Sir, there’s something else.”

“Bridge to Captain.”

“Go ahead, Roger.”

“Sensors are detecting an increase in gravimetric distortions,” said Allen.  “Lieutenant Ohtani believes another ship is coming out of the corridor.”

Kirby frowned.  “I’ll be right there.”

“Captain, there’s one more thing,” said Iziraa.

“It will need to wait,” said Kirby.

“But, sir.”

“Get a replacement here to keep an eye on our guest.  I need you on the bridge.”

“Aye.”  Iziraa’s antennae drooped.

Bridge

“The ship is coming out now,” said Hok.

The crew watched in awe.  The vessel was round in front, like a Klingon D7, with the rest being sleek and angular.

“It’s got to be twice our size!” said Lieutenant Commander Allen.

“Two-point-three times, to be exact,” said Hok.  “Twenty phaser arrays and multiple torpedo tubes.  It’s a match for anything we have.  They’re scanning us.”

“It’s only fair, Mister Hok,” said Kirby.  “We scanned them.”

“We’re being hailed,” said Hok.

“Open the channel.”  When an image of a person appeared on the screen, Kirby could feel the shocked reaction of everyone on the bridge.

“USS Eagle NCC-82715, I’m Senior Commander Drixa Pem of the Shiya Warcruiser, Impexa.  To whom am I speaking?”

Kirby glanced at Allen before standing.  The woman on the screen had a striking presence.  Her uniform was blue and obviously military, with insignias on the shoulders and what looked to be medals or awards on the left front.  What was so surprising to the crew was her physical appearance.  Her skin was a light green, her hair black and long, falling upon her shoulders, and she had two antennae extending from the top of her head.  She looked just like an Andorian.  That’s probably what Iziraa wanted to tell him.

“I’m Captain Matt Kirby of the United Federation of Planets.  How may we assist you?”

“Did you destroy our shuttle?” said Pem.

“I’m thinking you’re the ones that did that.”

Pem smirked.

“We were able to rescue its occupant.  Our doctor is examining him now.”

“When he’s well, you’ll turn him over to us,” said Pem.

“I’m afraid it’s more complicated than that.”  Kirby heard the turbolift open.  Seeing Iziraa, he motioned for her to stop so she wouldn’t be visible on screen to Pem.

“I don’t see how, Captain Matt Kirby.  He’s our citizen.  Return him to us and we’ll be on our way.”

“Leb Minol asked for our protection.  He asked for political asylum.”

Pem frowned.  “That’s unfortunate.”

“It isn’t our intention to interfere in your affairs, but we have laws and traditions,” said Kirby.  “We’re obligated to help.”

“I don’t mean to interfere in yours and I’m not being rude, but if we chose to do so, we could take him.”

“Senior Commander, my people have an old saying that goes back several hundred years,” said Kirby.  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

Pem tilted her head in thought.  “I understand.  My people also have an old saying.  A meeta kitten is still just a kitten.”

Kirby paused for a moment.  “I’m afraid I don’t understand the reference.”

“When a meeta kitten gets its voice, it tries to imitate the adults in the pack.  It lets out barely a squeak, but it prances as though it were a mighty roar.”

“I see,” said Kirby.  It seemed the Eagle was just insulted.  “I’d like to invite you to transport here so we can discuss this.”

“I agree to that,” said Pem.  “It would be interesting to read your book.”

Kirby sensed there was more to that than just humor.

“My escort and I will prepare a shuttle.”

“That won’t be necessary.  We have transporter technology.  We can beam you directly here.”

“Ah,” said Pem.  “Due to certain anomalies in the atmosphere of our home world, we were never able to develop that,” said Pem.  “I look forward to the experience.”

“Give us a few minutes to prepare,” said Kirby.  “We’ll contact you when we’re ready.”

Pem nodded and the channel closed.

“Iziraa, Hok, you’re with me.  Dress uniforms for our guests.  Roger, you have the bridge.  Iziraa, have a security team posted in the corridor outside the transporter room.  Let’s do this right.”

Transporter Room

Kirby tugged at the collar of his dress uniform.  Why were they always so uncomfortable?  “Energize.”

The operator started the process.  “No energy weapons or pathogens, sir, but the escort is wearing a short sword similar to what an ancient Roman soldier carried.  Should I remove it?”

“No, let him keep it.  I’m sure it’s more ceremonial than anything and I don’t want them to think we’re being insulting.”

“Aye, sir.”

When Senior Commander Pem and her escort, a large male, materialized, Kirby stepped forward.  “Welcome to the Eagle.