Canopus Station
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Cats and dogs

Posted on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 @ 10:21pm by Lieutenant Commander Mara Ricci & Petty Officer 1st Class Keth Soban

Mission: S0E0: What Came Before
Location: The Medina
Timeline: 3-4 days after the team returns to Canopus

Since Mara was still getting used to her permanent prosthetic, she wasn’t really allowed on duty quite yet. There was the matter of nothing felt right with this arm yet and also the fact that she hadn’t quite gotten her grip right. She’d broken two coffee mugs by gripping them too tightly and one by not gripping tightly enough before she finally got the settings right.

So with nothing else to really do, she headed out with Ravioli on her leash to wander the station and adjust the settings as she went. She paused as her hand passed over what felt like chewing gum and looked to see nothing there at all. With a frown, she felt the spot with her other hand and merely found that the wall had a slight imperfection there. She made a note to have maintenance check it out and turned down the sensitivity on her prosthetic a bit more before feeling the spot again.

A sudden tug on the leash nearly made her drop the PADD and she looked up to see Ravioli eagerly attempting to run towards someone. “Ravioli! Cut it out!” she ordered, but the dog was far too excited.

The Medina was mostly empty, if only because the mercantile shop's and business that were meant t fill it had yet to arrive from the Milky Way. Very few private business interests fancied taking a potentially one way trip to an uncertain future. But there were a few of the unit's open and operational, and the one that seemed to have gotten Ravioli's attention was Phil's Authentic Old Town Chicago Klingon Eatery.

That or the seven feet of fur in a Starfleet uniform, now being backed up against the menu display at Ravioli's barking.

"I, er...I don't think my universal translator is working!" Keth stammered as Ravilo's barking continued. "I mean I think it's working but then I speak Huanniese and understand humani pretty good, but could you tell your small companion I don't know what it's saying? I mean I would but as I said, the UT isn't working and I think its mad at me for something."

Mara gave the large feline a friendly grin. “Universal translators can’t do dog,” she told him, pulling Rav back to her side and keeping her on a short leash. “Fortunately, I know generally what she’s saying. She’s saying ‘a new friend! I must jump on you and lick you and you must scritch my ears and love me and we shall be friends forever!’ I’m Mara, by the way and this is Ravioli. I promise she won’t bite.”

"But she has teeth..." Keth said perplexed. Now that the dynamic had been arranged that small barking mammal was not dangerous, Keth's innate curiosity took over. This was the same curiosity that had lead to both the unfortunate incident in the Anomalous Materials Labs and the High Energy Particle Labs, resulting in Keth's long-time ban from any room with the word 'Lab' in it.

He leaned down, and with the same expenditure of effort taken to smell a flower, picked Ravioli up in one hand and lift her up to look in the eye.

"Not as many as me," Keth said thoughtfully. "Would you mind greatly relaying to Ravilio that it is a pleasure to meet her? As the UT is not working for dog yet, I would be thankful if you could smooth over any diplomatic misunderstandings."

“You can tell her yourself,” replied Mara with a grin. “Just give her a gentle scratch behind the ears.”

Having or showing a mild, kind, or tender temperament or character.
Moderate in action, effect, or degree; not strong or violent.

Keth was not new to the word 'gentle', but a reminder of its key points was always helpful. He was a very gentle giant, but as had been demonstrated in the past Federation design and material science could only withstand so much of Keth being 'gentle'. Though there was that one group of doctors at Starfleet Medical heralding Keth as the bow wave in a new field of reconstructive surgery. So Keth performed the action as one might move an antimatter pod...very slowly...and very gently.

A minute into the manoeuvre and Keth's extended digit, claw retracted into the pad, touched down with the minimum of force behind Ravioli's ear.

"Like so?" Keth asked face screwed up in concentration.

“Perfect,” replied Mara as Ravioli wagged her tail and attempted to lick the claw. “Rav! Don’t lick the claw! Silly doggo! Here I’ll take her,” she added, reaching up to retrieve the dog from the large feline. “What’s your name?” she asked, already suspecting the answer. Surely this was the giant furball that had kept Spires from chatting to Ingram.

"OH! Thats right, human's have to ask that because of your terrible noses," Keth said, as though remembering a common and oft misplaced factoid about the human race. "I'm Keth. Keth Soban. I'm Captain Ingram's personal assistant."

"Ah, yes," said Mara, setting Ravioli on the floor again. "I've heard about you. You kept Spires away from Ingram," she added with a grin that said she approved in a very tongue-in-cheek way, almost as if she felt it was the best prank anybody had ever pulled.

"Yup!" Keth said, nodding happily. "Dr Ingram was very pleased that I was able to keep Mr Spires both out of his appointment book and out of his hair. Though Dr Ingram's hair is hardly a suitable medium for hiding in. Have you met Dr Ingram? Because I have to be honest, I'm really happy to be working for him. He does really important work, he says so all of the time and I think that's a great thing. And if I can help him do that work, by assisting him, then in a way I'm doing great work to. Which is great, because I like doing good work."

"Yes, I have met him," she replied with a grin. "He's nice. And intelligent. I like him. Good job keeping Spires out of there. Don't ever let him in." And then she giggled. "Oh, he'd kill me if he heard me say that," she added.

"He would?" Keth said, ears flattening a little as he reached up to his comm badge. "=/\=Keth Soban to Station Security, I'd like to report a case of domestic violence and a possible threat to the life of one of the stations command staff.=/\="

“No!” exclaimed Mara, eyes wide as she tapped her own combadge. “Security, belay that; misunderstanding.” She tapped her badge to close the connection. “No, no!” She repeated. “He wouldn’t actually kill me. It’s a figure of speech. It means he’d be very cross and probably yell a lot. Maybe refuse to sleep in the same bed with me for a few nights. That sort of thing. Which would make me sad, thus figuratively killing me. Does that make sense?”

"Not in the least," Keth said. "And I hardly see how he'd choose to rationalise not sleeping with you over a misunderstanding. After all my research on humans has pointed out that you are communal mammals, with a leaning towards pack bonding with any number of unlikely consorts. I've often heard some of the Operations Staff discussing their romantic attachment to certain tools or coffee mugs, and a number of the flight crew manning the station's fighter wing refer to their craft in the female present pronoun."

Keth mused on this line of thinking for a moment.

"If Spires is unlikely to sleep with you, does that make him some sort of mule or eunuch in your species? Is he a pet of some sort?" Keth reached into a pocket and pulled out a data slate. "I have other questions also."

In all honesty, Mara could explain all this, but it would take several weeks to get through the difference between romantic and platonic love alone. So, she settled on his last question, which was much easier. “No,” she replied. “It’s more of a punishment. Humans believe that removing themselves from a person’s life and not speaking to them will hurt them emotionally. To be honest, it does a bit, especially if its someone you care for deeply and often forces them to talk about the problem and resolve it. Granted, it’s better to start out talking, but humans aren’t always logical when it comes to relationships. As for the rest...” she trailed off. “Humans are... complicated.”

"Yeah you really confuse the Vulcan's on Canopus Station, they hold meetings," Keth said as his head twisted nearly 90's degrees to one side. "On Huan removing yourself from someone's life isn't an easy goal. On the homeworld, we have a population of 15 billion, all sharing a single continent and several orbiting archologies. But then again we also have a functioning sense of smell, and our pheromone and hormonal signalling is far superior to most species. If a pairing doesn't work out, chemical signals will literally make them unattractive as mates to one another."

He held up a paw.

"Speaking of which, when are you expecting your litter?" Keth asked.

Again, Mara grinned. She couldn’t help it. There was just something so extraordinarily innocent about this giant cat. “I’m not expecting a litter,” she said, barely containing a giggle. “Not yet, anyway. Maybe someday. Then again, maybe not. Humans don’t always have children.”

Somewhere between Keth's ears, a brave little fuse lost its battle and Keth's brain threw a gear. But this was okay, he had spares.

"Then why copulate?" Keth asked. "If it is because he lacks for experience, the holodeck is an excellent choice in remedial education in that regard."

Another grin- could you call it another grin if she hasn’t stopped grinning?- touched Mara’s lips. “Humans do it for fun,” she explained. “As do many other species.”

"For fun?" Keth said, teasing the phrase out as though he were examining it. "OH! Do you mean like Scrabble? Is there a point-based system? How do you score? Is there a referee present to ensure ethical code following during your coupling? What happens if there is a tie-breaker? Are their junior and professional leagues? Can you go pro?"

“Not that kind of fun!” Mara laughed. “No, it’s nothing like that. There are no points, no referee, no leagues, nothing. The only code of ethics is to communicate; if your partner does something you don’t like, tell them so and if they tell you they don’t like something you did, stop doing it. And I guess maybe mutual respect is important, too.” The absurdity of the situation suddenly hit her. She was standing in a corridor near a Klingon run Chicago style eatery, telling a giant cat how humanoid sex worked while her dog sniffed at said cat’s feet. She suddenly broke into giggles. “I’m sorry!” she apologized, still giggling. “This is just an incredibly weird situation!”

"Oh not at all! Dr Ingram is very keen to remind me often than an enquiring mind is never to be stopped asking questions, though he often asks that I seek answers from other sources not his own," Keth said enthusiastically. He said a lot of things enthusiastically. Then his ears drooped, and his eyes went wide. "Oh no....OH NO! Dr Ingram! He told me to fetch him the surface scan reports from the geophysics lab and the hurry back to him!"

He reached down, picked up Ravilllio, and brought him up to eye level.

"its a pleasure to meet you Mr Ravillo, regardless of the linguistic barrier that holds you back from fully conversing with the greater world around you," he then turned the dog around to point at Mara. "Listen to her and ask good questions, she is very informative."

He then pressed the dog into her arms, turned about...and ran. Or just blurred, it resulted in the same dopplering red-shifted smear of a junior officer realising he is very late to be elsewhere.

This time Mara didn’t bother containing her giggles. After all, the giant cat was gone, wasn’t he? “It’s okay, Ravioli,” she told her dog as she set her down carefully. “I think maybe he can’t pronounce your name correctly. Come on; let’s see if Authentic Chicago style Klingon Eateries allow dogs.”


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