Part of USS Shepard: New Ship, New Beginnings

Chapter 3: Ship’s Cat

USS Shepard
May 9, 2400
0 likes 989 views

Dreval stacked his clothes into the dresser of the USS Shepard’s Junior Officer Room 5B9, taking care not to wrinkle any of the uniforms. As the first members on board the Shepard, the former Achana crew had all been allowed to select their rooms out of those available for their rank and department. Since the Damage Control and Medical departments were located quite close to each other, he and Rysana were able to select adjacent rooms, and were also able to nab the only two junior officer quarters with their own private bathrooms on the whole of Deck Five. 

Living next to Rysana would be agreeable. While Dreval had not grown to know her quite as well as he had Tallera during his time on the Achana, he nonetheless enjoyed the Andorian’s company. Rysana was a logical companion to assist a Vulcan in social situations, after all; she was straightforward enough to be easy for a Vulcan to understand, yet laid back and sardonic enough to be approachable by other members of the crew. Perhaps in this way she was a more strictly socially useful friend than Tallera, who’s well-known introversion and aloofness could combine with his own to create an insular environment that others would be reluctant or unable to permeate. Of course, social utility mattered little when one truly enjoyed another’s company. Dreval hoped that Tallera would venture down from her Deck Four room to interact with them.

Thinking back to Rysana, he wondered if the Andorian considered him a valuable companion in the same way. After all, her closest friend on the Achana had been Victor, who was nearly as far from a Vulcan as you could be, temperamentally speaking. Rysana had been the one to suggest the pair acquire adjacent rooms, but it was always possible that said suggestion had been fueled by social convention as opposed to a genuine desire to continue interaction. Other species could be so complicated at times.

“Holy crap, Dreval, get out here!” he heard Rysana call from the hallway, so he set down his things and exited his room.

“Is everything al- what is that?” he said with a raised eyebrow and cocked head.

In front of seated Rysana, Victor Travers was laying sideways on the floor with a wide smile on his face. Both officers’ eyes were locked on a tiny, black-furred and quadrupedal animal pawing at the carpet.

“It’s a cat!” Vic responded, eyes still fixed on the creature. “Well, a kitten. He’s only twelve weeks old.”

Wow, I didn’t know they made stuff this adorable on Earth,” Rysana chuckled. “Look how big its eyes are! How’s there any room for his brain in that noggin?

“Why is there a baby cat on the floor?” Dreval asked.

“Because I adopted him at the Starbase pet shop,” Vic replied, finally looking up at the Vulcan. “Ship’s Cats are a longstanding tradition on Earth vessels, so I figured that our brand-new ship needed a brand-new cat.” As he spoke, he reached over and poked the animal on the nose, prompting it to let out a tiny squeak “Dreval, meet Redstone.”

“It is not red.”

“No, he isn’t,” Vic laughed. “Redstones were the family of rockets that took Alan Shepard into space. Thought it was a fitting name.”

“It is. However, would it not have better fit a red cat?”

“Cats don’t come in red, buddy,” Vic replied, sitting up and running his hand down Redstone’s back. “And I got a black cat because they’re usually the last ones to get adopted, so I wanted to make sure this fella found a good home.”

“That is an admirable rationale,” Dreval nodded, leaning in closer to look at the cat. “It reminds me a bit of a Sehlat, only much smaller. How big will it become?”

“About a foot and a half long,” Vic said as Rysana took a turn interacting with the diminutive creature. “Minus the tail, of course. So the perfect size to keep on a ship.”

“Fascinating.”

“Damn right it is,” Rysana chuckled, gingerly picking up Redstone and holding him in her lap. 

 

For a few minutes, the trio simply sat on the floor, watching as the kitten inspected its surroundings, before footsteps could be heard approaching them down the hall.

“Officers, why are you sitting on the floor?” S’Geras stated, the mustachioed Caitian’s tone hovering somewhere between agitation and boredom as always.

“Hey, Commander,” Vic replied, holding up Redstone and proudly displaying him to S’Geras. “Check it out, we got a new pet!”

The response from S’Geras was like nothing Dreval had ever seen before from the man. The XO let out a visceral hiss and sprung two feet straight up into the air, landing in an almost feral posture with dilated pupils and fur standing on end. After a moment, he seemed to compose himself again, standing upright and trying to relax.

“Uhhhhh… are you okay, Sir?” Rysana asked with wide eyes, her companions too flabbergasted for words.

Why… do you have that… thing… on board?” he hissed.

“Um, it’s a pet?” Vic said in an uncharacteristically squeaky voice. “Do you, er, not like cats? I kinda figured you would, give, your… uh…”

“My species despises cats,” S’Geras said as he clenched and unclenched his hands. “We find them… horrifically uncomfortable to look at.”

“But… this thing is adorable, Sir,” Rysana asked, still as confused as ever. “Why would it make you uncomfortable?”

“Vahl, if a nonsapient animal resembled a newborn Andorian, but with legs instead of its arms, would you find it appealing?”

Rysana scrunched up her face in disgust, with Victor quickly following suit.

“Just… keep that thing off the bridge,” S’Geras growled, then turned and walked away.

“Well… can’t say I’ve ever thought about cats like that before,” Rysana muttered after the XO was far away.

“Yeah,” Vic nodded. “Y’know, I guess we didn’t need to get Redstone.” He motioned in the direction S’Geras had gone. “I forgot that we already have a ship’s cat.”