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Part of USS Sarek (Archive): Can’t Pakled a Horse to Water

Can’t Pakled A Horse To Water – 1

USS Sarek, Mission Pod Observation Lab
Late February 2401
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“Captain’s Log, Stardate 78170.9,

 

“In light of every stellar phenomenon across the Typhon Expanse radiating energy at record-breaking levels, the USS Sarek has been enlisted to aid the Zakdorn’s Altaremma Refuge in the protection of non-atmospheric organisms.  To aid us in this mission, the Sarek has been equipped with a mission pod designed for the study of cosmozoans.  Not only do super-charged spatial anomalies pose a navigational hazard for starships, but they also pose a health hazard to space-dwelling organisms, such as gormaganders.

 

“Science Officer T’Kaal has been studying the radical changes in solar wind patterns across the Typhon Expanse and her research has led our crew to the Corycus System, where we have located two gormaganders, feasting on an abundance of alpha particles.  Strike that; I just said there were two gormaganders, but we suspect there may be three.  One of them appears to be pregnant.”

 


 

Flavia ir-Llantrisant softened her gaze.  She ignored the sensor readings on her holographic LCARS pane to look through the translucent hologram in search of her colleague, Ketris.  Another five minutes had passed and Ketris still had not returned to her assigned duty station.  Rather, Ketris was gazing through the observation widow as if she were a wide-eyed vas’kalabam, foolishly drawn towards the peril of an oncoming storm rather than running away like any other sensible creature.

Intellectually, Flavia could appreciate the grandeur of the viewport and the illusion of starlight beyond.  The layout of the observation laboratory was far wider than most others compartments aboard the USS Sarek.  The observation window itself spanned the entire width of the cosmozoan mission pod.  As the lab was one of the only spaces within the pod with a breathable atmosphere, the observation window allowed a look into the rest of the mission pod’s cavernous space.  It was designed for the comfort of non-atmospheric beings.  Despite all those caveats, Flavia still required Ketris’ report ten minutes ago.

Although Flavia served as the USS Sarek’s Chief Science Officer –and as the mission commander of the Romulan Free State’s civilian scientists working aboard the Starfleet starship– Flavia recognised the optics of Ketris being her superior in age, wisdom and perhaps even scientific expertise.  On the Starfleet crew manifest, Ketris was listed as a simple botanist.  The scientists among her own crew knew better than that and they expected a certain level of reverence from Flavia.  Further, Flavia could trust they were observing her conduct very closely.

On the darkest of nights, in rooms that Flavia had personally examined for listening equipment, Flavia had heard whispers of Ketris contributing a psychological evaluation into the very words “Free State” and how they would be perceived by Romulans and the galaxy at large.  Others say Ketris had designed the flag of the Free State.  

Because there were half a dozen Starfleet science officers roaming the observation lab among her own people, Flavia tapped a distinctive pattern on the surface of her combadge.  The equipment within the Romulan Free State emblem on her jumpsuit temporarily protected Flavia from the nosy Federation’s universal translator.

“Ketris, dear, you promised me that report ten minutes ago,” Flavia said in the Romulan language that was most common in certain echelons of the Free State.  Her inflection rode a thin line of respectful formality, while teasingly chiding Ketris, the way one might do to a doddering grandmother.

When Ketris looked halfway back, over her shoulder, Flavia could see she was chuckling to herself.  Ketris raised a hand to her chest to tap a similar pattern on her own combadge.

“Have you ever seen anything so laughable?” Ketris asked Flavia in the same Romulan language.  “I was only a child when the Praetor ordered those first birds-of-prey to test the Federation outposts after the humiliating Battle of Cheron.  Humans sounded like such terrifying warriors then, conquering the Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites.” –She laughed again– “I wish I had known that Humans had a penchant for turning their warships into stables for lower lifeforms.  Stables for creatures.”

Flavia offered a thin laugh in return.  “Why anybody thought they were capable of evacuating Romulus escapes me…”

Adopting her formal timbre, Flavia quickly returned to speaking in the Federation Standard language: “Is the stable prepared, Ketris?”

Upon reviewing her PADD, Ketris replied, “The holographic environment is engaged.  Between the holograms, tractor beams and forcefield emissions, the gormaganders will be fooled into believing the mission pod’s interior is a safe patch of space.  The bussard ramscoops have collected sufficient alpha particles to attract the gormaganders and sustain their nutritional needs.”  –Ketris tapped a command onto her PADD– “Opening the exterior bay doors now.”

“Attract,” Flavia sarcastically said, switching to her first Romulan language again.  “Do you know what else attracts gormaganders?  Transporter beams.  Much more swiftly too.  How long would Captain Taes have us wait here until we lure the creatures inside?”

Turning to face Flavia, Ketris replied, “I do sometimes wonder what form of alpha particles the United Earth used to lure the Vulcans, Andorians and Tellarites into being consumed by the Federation?”