Star Trek: Hippopheralcus 02 – Meeting the natives

Star Trek: Hippopharalcus

Meeting the Natives

The peculiar double circular airlock doors slid open.  The Hippopheralcus was docked at upper pylon 3 and Capatain Ilbrux, Commander Slitherin and Lieutenant Dorfl had been invited on board station.  Well, Colonel Kira had invited Alana, but Rhemus had insisted on sending Salazar and Dorfl along.  Though Alana was the captain of this motley crew of black-ops members, she had met her match in Rhemus where stubbornness was concerned.  And he was extremely stubborn about keeping her safe.

As the doors slid open, a slight woman in a red uniform awaited them.  Next to her stood one of the smallest Ferengi Alana had ever seen: dressed in a uniform.  Alana felt both Dorfl and Salazar tense next to her.  Though Betazoids only communicate telepathically among themselves, Alana was strong enough to read most other species minds – at least the topmost layers of their thoughts.  She also had the ability to augment her speech with a mental push.  Now, as she beheld the Ferengi, she knew she needed to soothe her two officers before they shed blood: Ferengi blood.

“Okay, you two, just calm down,” she told them even as her mental push was soothing and calm.  Then she smiled at the woman.  “Forgive them, in our dimension we have been at war with the Ferengi for over a century,” she explained.

“I see,” Kira replied.  “This is Lieutenant Nog of Starfleet,” she grinned.  “If you will join me in my office, we can discuss your situation in more detail,” she added.

“Wow, you have a Veruvian dragon snake as a pet!  Neat!” the small humanoid burst out.  Alana looked to her left and lifted an eyebrow.  When Salazar sailed he usually keept his body close to the ground; his arms close to his body.  At the sound of the whiny Nog’s remark the big serpent raised his torso and flared his magnificent hood.  Now he towered over the Ferengi like a snake over a petrified little mouse.  Nog actually trembled at the sight.

I am not a pet, he said with great dignity.  I am the thecurity offither and I’m poithonoith, you little brat!  Both Kira and Nog looked surprised at the dry mental voice.  I altho thpit, the affronted Salazar added.

Alana looked at the two people from DS9.  “The Klingon is my chief of operations, Lieutenant Dorfl of the house of Martoof.  The Nagha is Commander Salazar Slitherin, my head of security,” she explained.

“Welcome on board DS9, Commander,” Kira nodded towards Salazar.  “Lieutenant,” she added with a nod at Dorfl.  She seemed to be much more comfortable with the big Klingon than the big serpent.  With a slight hop she turned on her heel and preceded them down the corridor.  Alana fell into step beside the other woman, leaving the Klingon and the Nagha to follow behind them.

The corridors they traversed were slightly gloomy and of a design that was obviously not Federation: by any standards.  But then, Rhemus had told her Terok Nor was of Cardassian design.

They proceeded towards the peculiar turbo lift and the five of them stepped in.  Kira gave the command and it rapidly started to descend.  Just as the lift started to move, Salazar whipped the end of his tail into the lift and gave them a withering look: they must have started before he was completely inside.  Now the big Nagha coiled himself deliberately to take up the minimum of space.  Alana ignored him: getting his tail in was his responsibility; not hers.

The lift took them to what appeared to be the control deck and they crossed over to Kira’s office.  Once inside the commander of the base indicated they should take a seat and sat down behind her desk.  Spreading her hands on it, she looked at them.  Alana noticed that Nog had stayed outside.

“So, you say you are from another universe?” the Colonel asked.  Alana nodded.  She felt the faint pressure against her feet of Salzar’s tail.  As security officer he took his job seriously and though he was standing to her left, he had curled the tip of his tail around her feet.  Dorfl merely glowered.

“It appears so,” she agreed.  “Our Chief of Science assures me this is the only explanation for our conflicting ideas about what should be in this part of space.  Where we come from there certainly isn’t a wormhole in this region of space,” she explained briefly.  “Also it seems our histories are quite different,” Alana added.

Kira glanced at Salazar and this confirmed Alana’s suspicion that this was the first time she has seen a Nagha.

“The Nagha planet is on the other side of Romulan space,” Alana explained slightly.  “Only the neuter-born are allowed to leave the planet, though.”  Then she leaned back in her seat and folded her hands on her lap.  “Please, would you mind telling me some of this universe’s history and political alliances,” she said with a very slight mental push.

 

#####

Meanwhile, back on the Hippopheralcus Phonixia was running around and making life slightly miserable for everyone.  Two of the engineers had been sent into the nacelles and another’s legs and rear were sticking out the coolant tank.  The rest of them were running diagnostics, explaining errors or hiding from Xenedra – who had joined the melee a few hours ago.  Phonixia seemed to be everywhere, though and the poor ensign who had been hiding in the Jeffreys tubes ended up having to run a micro diagnostic of the main deflector dish.  It will probably take him two weeks to finish.

Finally all diagnostics had been run and many of the problems were being attended to.  Phonixia and Xenedra had retreated to the mess hall and were going through the absurdly large pile of Padds.

“You’d think there was only so much on the ship that can break at one time,” Phonixia groused.  Her usually neat hair was in total disarray and there were spots on her uniform.

Xenedra lay her head down on the table; hands hanging slack by her side.  “And this time we didn’t even do anything wrong!” she cried.  Then she sobbed.  “My poor infinity drive!”

Phonixia simply shoved a Padd underneath her friend’s head.  “Stop griping, we’ve got to get this bucket flying again,” she said heartlessly.  But then she knew the Ocampa woman: one needed to be firm at times.  She really liked drama.

Xenedra lifted her head slightly and glared at Phonixia.  “I hate you,” she snapped half-heartedly.  Phonixia smiled innocently and Xenedra pulled the Padd closer.  Then the two of them set to work sorting through the mess that was the only thing between them and cold space.  Sometimes the job really tested one’s sense of adventure – if one thought space-oblivion to be adventurous.

 

#####

 

Alana, Salazar and Dorfl were heading back to the ship when Alana’s com-badge beeped.  Looking over at Kira, who had taken the time to walk them back to their ship, she tapped it when the other woman turned her head slightly away.

“Ilbrux here,” she answered what sounded like Phonixia’s voice.

Captain, Phonixia, the Talaxian engineer confirmed her guess.  I can give you a very long list of everything we need to fix, she started.  The warp-coils are shot, the infinity drive need new gator-seals along with new belliohm crystals for the casing.  Our supply of dilithium had cracked,…

Alana decided she did not need to hear the entire list right now.  “Is there anything that works?” she interrupted the engineer.  For a moment the line was quiet.  Then the Talaxian carefully answered:

Well, we have hot water, she said.  Alana closed her eyes and took a deep breath.  Hot water, great.  At least the male crew would be able to shave, she mused.  When she opened her eyes she was composed and calm.  She looked over at Kira.

“If I were to send you a list of the parts we need, would you have your people look over it and advise us on where we can find them?” she asked the Bajoran Colonel.  Kira smiled.  In the two hours they had been talking the two women had taken to each other – Kira seemed to have been some kind of rebel in her youth and thus liked the idea of a group of unconventional, underdog Starfleet personnel.

“Sure, whatever you need,” she smiled.  “I’ll even make sure Quark stays out of any deals you make,” she added, but for now Alana could not see the joke.  Kira explained: “He’s Ferengi.”  Ah.

“We have little money, but we have picked up quite a bit of tradable goods on our journeys,” Alana assured her.  She suspected this slender woman that seemed to be wound up as tight as a Vulcan mind-spring would prove to be one of their best allies in this strange universe.

“I’m sure you’ll be fair,” she assured Alana.

Just then a huge light gray ship moved into view through the porthole.

“Captain, that seems to be a Sovereign-class ship,” Dorfl rumbled, impressed.  Their Starfleet only had two of them and they were highly thought of.

Ith it jutht me, of hath thomebody forgotten to paint it? Salazar mumbled.  Alana had to agree: though the ship looked airy and cool, the silverfish colour did make it look unpainted.  She looked over at Kira; who smiled.

“That is the USS Enterprise, Starfleet’s flagship,” she explained.  “And it’s supposed to be that colour,” she grinned.  Alana wondered about that.  Most ships in her universe were deep gunmetal gray, except the black-ops ships.  There were three of them, of which the Hippopheralcus was one.  The black-ops ships were actually painted deepest black and thus could enter most atmospheres at night without being spotted.  Though the ship was equipped with a Romulan cloak, there were times that the technology failed (like entering an atmosphere) and they had to rely on old-fashioned camouflage to get by.

“Who is the captain?” Alana asked curiously as they continued their trek towards the pylon where the Hippopheralcus was docked.

“Captain Jean-Luc Piccard,” Kira answered.

Alana’s lips tightened slightly.  “We’ve met.  Well, I’ve met our Piccard,” she amended.

Kira nodded.  “Tomorrow is the official two-year celebration of Voyager’s return.”  She frowned at Alana.  “That’s the same class ship as yours, isn’t it?” she asked.  “The Intrepid-class?”

Alana inclined her head at the Colonel.  “Yes.”  Then she thought for a few moments.  “Will Voyager be joining us, then?  In our universe the ship is still missing,” she added.

“Really?” Kira asked.  “Yes, they will be joining us, Admiral Janeway included.”

By now they’ve reached the airlock and Alana turned towards her hostess.  “Thank you for your hospitality,” she said with a smile.  “I will do my best to keep my crew from the festivities,” she promised.  Kira looked slightly baffled.

“You are welcome to join, you know,” she invited the Betazoid woman.  Alana smiled, but she could feel it was a crooked smile.

“Thank you, perhaps my first officer and I will join you.  But believe me,” she repeated, “you’ll thank me later for keeping the rest of them away.”

With those final words the Captain turned and entered the airlock.  Dorfl glared before following his captain and Salazar couldn’t resist a final parting shot:

I’ll be theeing you, he lisped.