The Unexpected Teilhaber – Book One

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Book One

Chapter One

Thomas entered into his warp physics 204 class, taking his usual seat, he powered on his terminal, and read over his notes from the week before. He hated Mondays but they have covered some pretty exciting things, such as the effects gravity have on warp fields, and what is done to compensate for it. One of his favorite subjects. He hears the door slide open and he looks up to see their instructor enter, Doctor Tyson using his remote activates the front screen for the class to view.

The instructor turned back to the class, looking over the cadets, “I see most of you are here, then I’ll start, and the late comers can catch up. I have your first group project for this quarter, I will be assigning teams of two. You will work as a team, and complete a thesis on the theory of the effects of singularities on warp fields. As a bonus paper, you may write up the effect of an event horizon of a singularity on gravitons. I want a full analysis, and I want a write up of how you would deal with them. Sent to your personal files is who are you teamed up with throughout the project. This exercise is to prepare you for the real world, so this is going to be fifty percent of your grade, and seventy present of that will be based on your team work. The project is due at the start of our next class Friday. No lecture today, I will stick around for questions, you can find me at my desk. Today is a lab day. Thank you.”

Thomas quickly opened up his personal files on his terminal. He found the project folder, and in it along with a copy of the assignment requirements was a file for his lab partner. He opened it and he saw the public profile for M’Sara. He started to frown, from what he remembered of her she was that short Caitian, smallest one he had ever seen at almost one point two meters. Something about her personality just grinded against him like sand paper. She was very unusual for a Caitian, known for being the best cooperative species known, and as honor bound as any Klingon. She seemed to be very uncooperative as any being he has ever met. He did not know much else about her though. They avoided each other as much as the room allowed during class. There was no other information for public view other than her contact information.

Startled from his thoughts a small furry hand slammed down on his desk, then he heard a female voice state, “You!”

He jumped and started, “What?!” It was M’Sara, her ears were partly lowered, she did not look happy.

With her hands on her hips, she said quickly, “I had hopped I was just mistaken, I often have a hard time telling humans apart by photo or names. Once I got close enough to get your scent, I knew it was you.”

He rolled his eyes, he did not think this was going to go well, and it’s going down hell before it even starts. “Do all Caitians hold grudges so long? So we had a disagreement, can’t we work past that?”

Her muzzle made a small snarl, and her ears went even flatter. “I have to ask for another lab partner. I can’t work with you.”

Shrugging his shoulders he sat back down, “Suit yourself. I would be happy with someone else as well.” He said to her back, as she had already walked off to the instructor’s desk. He wondered who he would be traded with. He looked around the room to see the other cadets chatting, some working their terminal.

Again he was started by her slamming her hand on his desk. “He said that was not possible. He said this is part of the exercise. Grrr. Fine let’s get this over with. I will not let you get in my way of my future.”

Frowning he rolled his eyes again, “Yeah, because you could not get in my way, of my future. You think you are alone here? You can just shape the world as you see fit?”

Her finger poked his mid-section, “I am alone here, I’m the smartest person in this class, and you are on the bottom, you feed the bottom feeders you are so low! You think you are so smart, you big hairless ape! Hah, don’t make me laugh.”

His fingers typed on his terminal as he started closing out his session ignoring her jibes as he got ready to go to the lab, he could not figure out what it was that set her off about him. He was going to maintain his cool if it killed him. This is his most important class. “I’m going to go to the lab, and we can start working on this project on one of the group terminals.”

He got up and walked to the lab, she trailed behind him, her tail was swaying back and forth so hard it was causing wind currents she seemed to be even more upset, fuming even. He chose an empty one, and powered it on, logging himself in, she went to the other side of the oval shaped terminal and logged in to, he could hear her poking the touch screen so hard, he wondered if she was going to break it. He loaded up the assignment detailed instructions, and took a deep breath.

He thought for a moment, then started gathering the needed data. “I’m going to setup a test singularity, you are going to setup the warp field test parameters.”

She growled and slapped the top of the terminal, “Who put your in charge? This is not how a team works. I doubt you could handle setting that up. You do the warp field.”

He looked around the lab and many other of the cadets were watching them. “Fine, whatever, let’s get started.”

As she started typing into the screen, and touching, and dragging her fingers around, he heard her muttering, “Like I would trust you in setting this up..” Her voice lowered and he could not hear what else she said.

With his head shaking he started to setup a warp test, after about thirty minutes he was almost done when he felt a shove, and he started in surprise.

She had pushed him out of the way, “What are you doing, you can’t even handle this simple task? How did you even get into Star Fleet?”

With his hands on his hips he explained, “I’m in the top ten of this class over all, I’ll have you know! I’m currently ranked sixth.” He looked at what she was doing, “What are you doing, that won’t work! You’re going to invalidate the test!”

She pointed at the screen, at the data for the deflector frequency, “What are you talking about, this has to be within twenty megahertz of the warp field frequency!”

Blinking at her in confusing he pointed at the shield frequency, “Are you mad?! That would cause it to collapse in seconds!”

Her lips exposed her sharp teeth, ears back against her head, her hair bristled on her tail, as it somehow whipped around even faster as it slapping the console as she quietly, “Are you saying I’m wrong? This is simple stuff, a child could do it. How dare you. I will not take this treatment from you! I hear by challenge you to an honor dual!”

Stepping back in shock, “What are you talking about?”

She turned to face him as she explained, “You will spar in physical none lethal combat with me as a witness determines the victor. The victor receives the honor, and the loser admits he was wrong as well as gives the victor a full public apology.”

Sighing he put his head in his hand thinking for a minute, “On one condition, I chose the venue.”

Grabbing his uniform shirt by his chest with her fist, “Such as?”

Ignoring her hand, he said, “We use taekwondo uniforms, sparing gear, on a sixteen square meter open matt.” If this would settle it, than he was willing to do it. He was sure she did not know he had been trained in it when he was a kid. He wanted some advantage, he was not fooled by her size, he knew they were strong, and inhumanly fast. He knew it was normal for them to train in there martial arts too. He had no intention of going easy on her, because she was female. He is a full supporter of equal rights for every being and sex.

She considered for a moment, “Your terms are acceptable.” She tighten her grip, “You will not go easy on me because I’m female. I have seen human videos, and there stupid display of shivery.”

Scuffing he answered quickly, “Of course not. I would treat you no different than anyone else.”

Letting go she backed up a step. “You better. It would be dishonorable not to. I’m leaving, we meet at the gym after breakfast to prepare, then spar. You will supply the outfits and gear.”

Sighing as his hands fell to his sides, “Fine. I’ll be there.”

Without another word, she stormed out of the lab, and out of the class room, then he lost sight of her. He shut down the terminal then left too, heading for the park in front of the academy.

 

Chapter Two

As he stared out at the bay lost in thought he heard his friend greet him, “Thomas, good to see you.” When he got turned around to face Matt he continued, “I was just on my way to lunch from my battle tactics class. Join me?”

Nodding he answered, “I would like that, I could use some company I can vent at.”

Matt was his half Vulcan friend with short cut straight black hair and just a little shorter than him by about a tenth of a meter. His face was wide at the cheeks, not as long as some, with a pronounced chin, and brown eyes. They met each other years ago when he had first joined the Starfleet academy.

They found an empty table and took opposite seats at the cafeteria, as Matt started eating he told him about what happened earlier that day, everything he could remember. Once or twice he paused to take a bite of his turkey sandwich. When he was done explaining it, his friend was done eating.

As he ate his sandwich, his friend was able to give him his thoughts on it, “I see, I have read their honor system is similar to Klingon’s in some ways. It would seem you have somehow insulted her. Though she could have said it was a cultural misunderstanding, so I think there is something more behind it. I remember you complaining about her before, so maybe she wants to settle things with you.”

Taking the last bite of his sandwich before replying in a serious tone, “I’m sure you could be right. I don’t even know where she is from or anything about her. That is why I agreed to it. I need to work with her, or I’ll fail. I will do what I can to get this done. I’m going to spend the rest of the day at the 602 club cooling my heels.”

Matt got up, and took his tray telling him before leaving, “I have a paper to write it is boring tactics stuff. Enjoy yourself, and live long and prosper.” He lifted his free hand, forming the sign with his hand.

He smiled and nodded at his half Vulcan friend. “Of course. I’ll find a girlfriend one of these days.” He said the same thing every time, it was like a ritual, a twist on the formal Vulcan greeting.

The next day, after he finished lunch, he picked up two gees, and two sets of sparing gear in his bag and headed for the gym to get it over with.

Thomas was fitting the gear in silence for her feet, he had to cut a new hole in the back of the leg piece, so her much longer digitigrade foot would fit in it. He trimmed the tow area as well, as it was way too long for the toes of her foot paw. He also cut holes for her ears in the headgear. He put them on, and bent her feet and toes back and forth to make sure she had plenty of freedom of movement. They had already got there gees and changed into them before getting the gear ready. The practice gear was white cloth covered padding on the length of the outer forearms, back of the hands, tops of the feet, front of the legs and front and sides of the torso as well as the upper and sides of the head, leaving the face bare. It was held on by Velcro and elastic bindings. Her friend M’Lar was sitting on a bench by the wall, with her arms crossed. He had never met her Caitian friend before today, she was of a more normal size, and going for a science carrier path in medical. She had yellow eyes and tan fur with her brown hair in a ponytail down to her neck. She had brought a medical tricorder and beside the first aid kit were a few bottles of water. They had been waiting for him when he arrived at the gym.

As M’Sara waited on the mat for him M’Lar padded over to him, placing her hand on his shoulder she explained, “The rules for Ma’ahrurl’La are as follows, one on one hand to hand combat, without claws. The use of practice gear is allowed but not required. The first to win three rounds is the victor. Once one acquires three points the round is won. The only way to gain a point is by contact at four points on the body. Upper legs and sides of the chest. Anyone who makes contact from waist to leg, the head, below upper legs or the use of claws if found to be a fault by the judge is an automatic victory for other person. If someone leaves the mat, the other gets a point, and the match is paused and restarted. There is a one minute break every two minutes. I will be the official judge, as well as keeping score and time.”

She took a breath, backed up to stand beside the mat, and told them loud and clear, “Stand in the middle, and bow to each other.” She waited for them to comply, then continued. “Bow to me.” Again she waited, “Face each other again and take three paces back.” A minute after they completed her last instructions and remained quiet, she shouted, “Start!”

Though she was much quicker, and light of foot she also had to move more to make an impact on him then he needed to move to do the same, and even though he was only human, his reflexes were high for a human, well above average. She was also built for speed, and a quickness but not stamina. His reach was much longer then hers, and most of the time he was blocking and dodging her more than attempting to hit her. He waited until she started to tire, and slow to go on the offensive. He was also out of practice because it had been a few years sense he trained.

M’Lar called out loudly, “Break! Off the mat opposite sides.”

Each of them stopped, and relaxed, turning away from the other, and padded off the mat. M’Lar left each one of them a water bottle at edge of the mat. She was just leaving M’Sara’s as she arrived to take it. She kept her mouth shut, as judge she was not allowed to interfere unless there was a fault or the match was over.

Thomas was getting tired too, she was hard to hit, either one of them had yet to make a point. She made for a small, and very quick target, even tired. He had to win and do it soon, it is not like he had not been trying, but he needed to stop trying and hit her. He poured some of the water over his head, and drank the rest. He was already covered in sweat, a little water would help.

He watched her after he dropped his water bottle, hers had some kind of attachment that allowed her to lick at it to drink it. She did not use any of the water on dousing herself, when she was done she put it back on the floor.

M’Lar walked back, and called out loudly, “Break over! Continue the fight!”

Each of them got up, and padded back onto the mat, stopped and took ready stances, watching each other for a few seconds. She stood about three meters from him, her ears twitched just before she dived to the floor onto her hands she pressed off, then using her feet she flipped in the air and landed on him straddling him just above the waist. He was so surprised at her move he just watched frozen except his left leg going back to take the force of her landing on him. Before he knew what was happening both her open palms slammed into the sides of his chest as she dropped off of him, to bounce away on all fours, turning to face him once more she slowly stood again on her feet.

He had been forced back a step too from the blow pain radiated from his chest, as he renewed his defensive stance he was still a bit in shock from that move.

M’Lar called out, “Two points for M’Sara!” She moved around outer area of the mat to make sure she had a good view as best she could.

As she moved slowly from side to side as she paced him, she looked tired again. That last move must have really cost her, he would make her pay with interest. He watched her eyes very carefully, and when she was close enough he made his move, he fainted a kick to her lower leg, she reacted to it as he pulled away at the last instant, keeping his upper leg up he brought his leg in fast to let his lower leg bounce off it and up to her now open chest, knocking her onto the floor. She rolled, and got right back up, taking it in stride. Her tail doing mad dashes back and forth, and puffed out.

M’Lar called out, “Point Thomas.” She sounded almost disappointed.

She dropped to all fours again before bouncing up onto her feet, she was not moving as fast as last time, and he could keep track of her movements. He was able to twist his chest just enough so her open palm just missed, and left her chest open, he took it, hitting her chest with his fist. It was not hard, but that did not matter. She pulled back, leaped about a two meters backwards watching him, holding her chest. It was the same place he had kicked her, but he could not help that.

M’Lar called out again, “Point Thomas. Two, two.” She hid any disappointment from her voice this time.

They were circling each other when M’Lar called, “Break!”

They turned and walked away from each other, to find new water bottles there. He poured about half of it over his head this time, he was exhausted and drank the rest down quickly between breaths.

This time she poured some of the water over her muzzle before putting the attachment on to drink some as M’Lar scanned her chest before returning to sit on her chair. He did not think he had kicked her that hard, and when it hit, it felt like he was kicking a slightly padded tree.

Getting up M’Lar walked back, and called out loudly, “Break over! Continue the fight!”

Both of them returned to the mat, slower than before. She made three consecutive open palm hits at his chest, the first two were blocked, and the third missed. He in turn did two side kicks in a row at her chest, both blocked. When he went to stand ready he waved a little. She made another hit to his chest and he went to block it, and as he did his arm connected with the side of her head. His timing was off, and she had moved too close.

M’Lar said, “No fault, continue.”

The made a few more swings, but they were both moving so slow and they ended up exhausting each other out, and after they each attempted to land one final blow on the other, they hugged each other for support instead, because it seemed neither one could stand without the help of the other.

M’Lar padded over closer to them and told them, “I judge it a draw. The Ma’ahrurl’La is now at an end.” Having taken the medical tricorder off her belt she did a quick scan over the two as she said that then declares, “I detect no injuries that need immediate attention. I do suggest you stop by medical on your way back to the dorms however.” She turned around and left, on her way out she commented, “I need to go now, come see me later M’Sara, I’m sure you will want to talk more of what this was all about.”

After the door closed behind her they slid to their knees, she was holding onto his midsection and both were breathing hard. He looked down at her, and she was looking up at him her ears laid back, the tip of her tail twitching and still puffed out some. He felt a kind of static shock from every part his body. It had not hurt so much as felt odd, but it also did not really feel like a static shock either, it was just the closest thing he could think of. A snarl was suddenly on her face, but as he watched it changed to a closed mouth smile. He smiled back in return, having enjoyed himself, so much so, he could not remember when he had before had so much fun. He felt an itch at the back of his head, only it was not on his head, but inside. Her smile changed to a frown, her ears going back, and eyes dilating at the same time as his head started to feel strange just before everything went dark.

He opened his eyes, waking with a start and looked at the ceiling and rolled over onto his back, resting to catch his breath, not sure how long he had been out, it must have just been an instant. His head started to spin then the next thing he knew, he felt a weight on his belly, he looked down to find she had laid down and was using it for a pillow. The last thing he remembered was they were on their knees holding each other for support. He got dizzy again and things were looking white.

He woke with a start again, something furry was patting the side of his face, he looked it was the back of her hand, and her head was turned facing him, still using him as a pillow. “Ready for a shower?” She purred.

“Yeah, good idea, I think we have rested long enough. I know I’m going to be hurting all over later if not more so tomorrow.”

She sat up slowly, “Yeah, you and me both. You got me good in the head, though I think you were trying to block a punch of mine and missed.”

He got up slowly as well, his hands on his knees bent over, as he waited for his head to stop spinning. “Yeah, you surprised me, I did not know anything could move so fast, got me good in return. You were moving faster than I could perceive at times. I of course never fought with a Caitian before either.”

She sat watching him, rubbing her head. “Yeah that is what I had guessed. I do feel a bit off though.”

He stood upright, and started for the shower room, “Yeah, me too. Not wrong, just out of sorts. Maybe you hit me harder than I thought. We should stop by medical on our way back as your friend suggested.”

She got up and followed him, “Agreed. First things first, we clean up now.”

He grabbed his bag next to the shower room entry door and pushed it open, walked down a short hall to a single door. He heard her enter in after him. Going through he saw it was just one large room with shower stalls, shrugging his shoulders he went off to the left side, dropped his bag and started to remove his gear. “They have a unisex shower room, are you alright with that?”

“Of course, why do you ask?” She said, sounding puzzled.

He looked to see what she was doing, and she had her gear off, and was pulling off her shirt. He quickly looked away, and shrugged again, doing the same. “Oh well I don’t really know much about your culture, in fact this would be the first time I’ve been alone with a Caitian.” They were different species, what does modesty matter, he thought, just think of it as bathing a pet cat, and he should be fine.

“Ah, I have read about the modesty of humans, do not worry about it. We have fought together, that in itself has bonded us.”

Without another look her way, he walked into a shower stall, closing the opaque glass door, he washed off all the sweat from there fierce battle.

After a few minutes from the shower stall next door he heard her ask, “Would you do me a favor?”

He blinked, not a clue what she may want, “Sure, what do you want?”

“I need you to help me, my arm has stiffened up, and I’m having trouble. It takes some work to clean fur, I could use a hand.”

He turned off his shower after rinsing off, he thought about how he felt about that, and realized he had allot more respect for her now, but he did not know what would be appropriate for her, so he had to ask, “You want me to enter your shower, naked and help you?”

She snickered, “Yes of course, if I am not asking too much of you. I cannot finish to my satisfaction alone it seems. I’m going to have them look at my arm too. It is not anything I would not ask any friend for help with.”

He shrugged again, and went over to her shower stall outside the door, “Alright, so we are friends now?”

She took a second before answering, “Yes, we have fought fairly, with honor. It ended in a draw so we both got our honor from each other. I feel like we are of like mind now, so we are now friends, no?”

“Fair enough.” He answered, then entered her shower, closing the door behind him. She was holding a brush in her hand, and watching him her body facing away from him her tail limp, her ears up on her head still facing him as she watched him.

She held out her brush for him to take, “Use this, I cannot bend my left arm enough to reach myself on half of my back side. I also did not brush my legs. It is full of soap, so you only need to brush me a few times, go with the flow of my fur.”

He took the brush and examined it, seeing that it had a hollow see through handle and holes in the brush for the soap. It smelled vaguely of cinnamon. He did his best to put in his mind that he was just cleaning a large cat, a cat that can talk, a very smart cat. He kept repeating that in his head as he got down on his knees and brushed all of her back side, and did her legs for her, as he kneeled on the ground. She only came up to his mid chest when standing so it was easier for him that way. He could hear her purring softly, he smiled to himself, yeah just a cat. He did what he thought was thorough cleaning.

She pat him on the shoulder, “That is good, better than I could have done normally in fact, put the brush in its holder there on the shelf.” She pointed at it, waited for him to stand and put it away then took his hand, he felt her small paw pads in his palm, but instead of feeling strange, it felt natural. “Thank you for your help. Out now.” She let go of his hand then turned back towards the water pouring out of the shower head. Her fur was pressed close to her body from the water, he could make out her smooth lines of her muscles under her fur, and noticed her breasts more now that they were not covered in thick fur.

He nodded, and left her shower going back into his where he rinsed off again. Her sleek petite body kept popping into his head before he shook it to dispel that image. They dried off and at times helped her when he saw her having issues because of her arm without her saying a word. He took his uniform out of his bag, and she did the same, he helped her into her shirt and they got dressed together. They put their gear into an empty gym locker, and entered a combination to lock it. They may use them again, though next time would be purely for fun he was sure. They need to have their gees cleaned soon too. They left with their bags in hand, his was lighter now, heading for the nearby medical room. They had thoughtfully placed one next to the gym. On the way there, as they walked side by side, he was thinking that it was not so strange to be with this person after all. It felt natural, even though just hours ago he thought of her as so alien, so different than he was that there was no way he could understand her. He thought it was amazing how sparing could create such a bond between them in such a short time.

 

Chapter Three

 

They arrived at the nearby medical building, walking in together, dropping their bags on the floor. They looked pretty nervous, and embarrassed. Her tail was doing a slow bounce-wave, and her ears were pointed to the sides. The medical duty officer greeted them. “Is there something I can do for you two?”

He gestured to M’Sara and answered, “Her left arm needs looking at, it has stiffened up, she can barely bend it at the elbow and her head feels odd to her, kind of fuzzy inside.”

Next she answered right after he got done, gesturing at him as she spoke, “His head needs looking at, he has been feeling dizzy and out of sorts after he briefly fainted. We had just been sparing together in the gym.”

The medical duty officer answered, “Do you often talk for each other?” They looked at each other, a little surprised and she noticed there reaction then smiled just a little as she suggested, “Never mind that, follow me into the examination room, both of you take a bed and I’ll examine each of you now. There are no other patients currently.”

M’Sara got her turn first, she closed the curtain around her bed that was just beside his, so he just laid down and waited. After he lay there thinking about the past hour, and how he was having trouble grasping it all. His dizziness was gone now, but he felt a kind of buzz in the back of his head.

After some few minutes, he heard the doctor approach, “I’m Dr. McDaniel, just lay there, and let me have a look at you. Your friend is just fine, she just had an aggravated cartilage in her elbow, and it will heal just fine now. I also helped out her bruises, I was unable to see anything wrong with her head. No indication of any head trauma.” She used her medical probe, moving it over his body. After that she placed it back into the tricorder, placing it on the shelf beside the bed. She rolled up his sleeve then took out a hypo, loading it then placing it against his shoulder, and with a hiss injecting it into him. “That was a supplement to help your bruises heal, I gave her the same. I’m going to do a more extensive scan on both of your heads though before I release you.”

He nodded, “I don’t feel dizzy anymore, but my head does not feel right still, it’s buzzing.”

She nodded “I see, if you feel any other changes, alert me right away.” She pulled out from the wall the scanner she needed, over his head it went.

He could not see anything but the inside of the scanner, very dark, and boring. He did hear a curtain he assumed was M’Sara’s being pulled open, he stopped paying attention and went back to thinking about the last hour. He replayed the fight in his head, and knew she never landed a solid blow on his head. On his other parts, yes, but not his head. He recalled hitting her in the head once, and that was unintentional. He was pretty sure he had hit the padding of the head gear, and was pulling back while he connected. That however did not explain his head feeling like it did.

The Dr. interrupted his thoughts, and slid the scanner back into the wall. “I did a complete scan on you both, and I found something interesting, though inconclusive.” She paused for effect and we were both looking at her intently. “I will do some more research on Caitian brains before I make any guesses, but I am going to want you both to visit me again, at the same time in a few days. I did not find anything that would warrant you staying so you can both return to your quarters. Make sure you let me know of anything changes, I don’t care what time it is. Understood?”

They both nodded and rose, almost in sync, they looked at each other, then back at the doctor, this time in sync. In unison we thanked her, “Thank you doctor McDaniel, we will be in touch.” They turned and looked at each other again, confused.

As they left, she stood there watching them leave, shaking her head slightly in the strangeness of the situation, than looked back at the scans on the screen. She copied it to her PADD, then walked off to her desk to get to work. This could lead to a new paper, she needed to do lots of research and peer reviews. She had lots of work ahead of her. Good thing too, she had been getting bored.

They left the building hand in hand, they were not even aware of it until they entered their dorm cafeteria, and one of Thomas’s friends stopped them, his Vulcan eye brow was raised as he asked, “Is there something I should know?”

They both tilted their heads at him, but Tomas replied, “What do you mean?” Then he blinked, oh he is asking about their assignment. “Oh we were unable to determine who won the argument, so we are going to revisit it I assume we have not talked about it yet.”

He tracked Matt’s eyes and looked between them, they were holding hands, when did that happen. Her hand felt good in his, but he quickly let go, and felt self-couscous, he stuttered, “Oh.. When did that happen…” Just as he let go a very slight buzz returned in his head.

She looked at me, her ears forward and up, meaning she did not know either. “I don’t know.” She replied as she gave the back of her head a slow rub.

He cleared his throat in an attempt to regain his attention. “Matt, I don’t believe you met my physics lab partner, and new friend M’Sara. This is the Caitian I told you about.”

Matt nodded once, “Ah, this is her. So I assume by how you entered here holding hands you worked it out your personal issues after all. It is extremely unusual for a Caitian to show any affection in public. Though from what I hear, she is a very unusual Caitian.” He turned to face her, and tipped his head at her as he softly said, “It is a pleasure to meet you, and I hope you were able to set him straight. I do hope you knocked some sense into him. He is pretty stubborn even for a human, and pretty full of himself as well.”

She nodded, her tail waiving back and forth in long strokes as she answered, “I could not agree with you more about your assessment of him. To answer your question, yes I think I got some good hits in. We are just returning from medical. We still have some hours left of our day, so I am going to make him eat with me. Then I will find my friend M’Lar.”

Matt looked puzzled again, “Well very good, maybe you can make a decent human out of him after all. I think a Caitian would be more than able, if anyone is.” He turned back to Thomas and nodded before turning back to where he came from and returned to his seat in the cafeteria.

They started for the food replicators, he looked at her again as they walked side by side and noticed they were again holding hands, he shrugged the buzzing in his head stopped again and kept on walking, looking around him he did notice a few people had stopped to gawk at them, now he felt protective, and he glared back at them. How dare they judge us, he thought to himself.

They arrived, and she felt her arm left up as he pulled it up with his, then she said nervously, “We seem to be holding hands again. After we eat, I think it would be a good idea to call it a night, I also need to find M’Lar.”

He let go of her hand, turned to face her and looked her in the eyes, “Indeed. I’m feeling tired, and not just from sparing with you. Something strange is going on with me, and I need time to think. Things are changing too fast for me to handle.”

She nodded then turned back to the food replicator, “Feline supplement 74”. She took her tray after it materialized, turned and walked to a table.

It was his turn to order, and so he did, “Pizza, one tenth meter, traditional thin crust, turkey peperoni, four cheese, and shiitake mushrooms.” After a moment his materialized, and he took it, following her to a free table. He should make that into a favorite, he thought to himself.

He sat down beside her, her muzzle in the bowl on the table and they both ate quietly, he stared out the window on the opposite side from them lost in his own thoughts, just as she soon was. He was thinking of how he used to enjoy making pizza from scratch at home before he left for the academy. After he took his last bite of the second to last piece of pizza, he looked up at a clock, and saw it was about 4pm. He moved to grab his last piece but it was missing, he looked and she was eating it.

Between bites she said, “You know, this is actually good, I’ll have to order that next time. Though I should not eat it often, it may not agree with my digestion system. Maybe I can create one for Caitians.” She tore at it, from the side of her short muzzle, he watched her eat the last of it.

He smiled at her and told her, “You will have to try my home made pizza from raw ingredients someday, when I can get my hands on the raw ingredients and an oven, makes that taste like cardboard. I’ll make something without any vegetables in it for you. The tomato sauce is not much, but I don’t know how it will affect you.”

She nodded slowly, her tail waving back and forth slowly, her ears perked up, “I will hold you to that, there is not much human food I enjoy other than some meat dishes. I have never tried this pizza before, but it smelled good so I helped myself. We are friends now, so we share what we like. I’ve never had a human friend before though so let me know if I do something you do not agree with.”

He smiled to put her at ease, he must have made a face at her, he was surprised, but he was not upset in the least. “It is cool, all cool. I will get used to you soon enough. I like how you keep me on my toes, no need to worry about it. Is it true that Caitians don’t show affection in public?”

Licking her muzzle with her long, thin tongue she nodded before answering, “Yes, most of us want to keep that a very private matter. I think it is living among humans that has corrupted me.” She looked over and grinned at him.

He grunted and got up, and he took her tray with his to the recycler, then he turned to face her behind him as she had followed before saying, “I’ll see you first thing in the morning after breakfast in the lab. Rest well.”

She nodded, “Thank you, and you rest well too.” Then she turned and walked into the dorm room section.

He would be following her soon, but first he wanted to talk to Matt again. He looked to where he had went and he was sitting alone, drinking something. Not surprised he walked to where he was at and sat across from him.

Matt looked up at him both eyebrows raised this time. “Did you have a good meal with your new friend?”

He looked to where she had gone, and nodded the buzzing in his head was getting worse, “I learned she liked pizza, and so did she.”

One of his eyebrows lowered, “Is that so. Tell me, what exactly is going on between you two. Human and Caitian couples have gotten more common over the past hundred years. They are not that new to the federation, but it has not become so common that I should see it happen myself. Even though one served on the famous Enterprise starship that was filled with mostly humans as a bridge officer, I have yet to see it.”

He sighed and looked down at his clasped hands, “You would be right, I never seen that either. I don’t think we are one, but something is different. She told me after two spar, and if it is an honorable fight, then they are as friends. She seems as surprised as I am about our current situation. She went to go find her friend. I’m going to go rest in my room, but I wanted to talk with you for a moment. It has been a short, but tiring day. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest.”

His eyebrows went back to their normal position, “Just how hard did she hit you?”

He looked back up and smiled, “Oh it is not that, we were checked at medical, we were both feeling out of sorts. The Doctor wants us both to return, she said she found something interesting, but needs to do more research. Besides, we mostly just exhausted each other out, neither one of us got the upper hand, you can ask her friend M’Lar, she was there as a witness.”

He took another drink before asking, “What made you decide to go spar with her in the first place, is it a new kind of first date now for humans?”

Chuckling he shook his head, “Ha ha, you really need to work on your humor. I’m sure I’ll find out more tomorrow when we meet in the lab.”

He took a long drink before he said, “She has her work cut out for her. I do hope we get assigned on the same ship come the end of this year, it would be enjoyable to see how this works out. Humans can be fascinating, watching them fight themselves more so.” He sat his glass on the table before continuing, “One thing to keep in mind, Caitians give off a pheromone that another Caitian would find irresistible. It goes two ways as well, they than mate and often start a family. This can happen with other species as well.”

With a troubled look he said, “Says the half human. Well I can’t say you are so bad, you are my friend too, and you would not be so bad, or you would not be. Yeah, Vulcans found the Caitians, must have been fun. Well I’m going back to my room, have a good night.” He got up to leave the buzz in his head was making it difficult to hear or think.

Nodding once Matt said, “Rest well.”

 

Chapter Four

 

Going down the hall to his room, he spotted M’Sara waiting outside his door, she waved to him and at once he felt relieved she was there, and at the same time confused. That must be why the buzzing in his head had lessoned the closer he got to his dorm room.

She followed him inside his room and explained, “I’m glad you are here. That buzzing in my head was getting so bad, I cut my visit short. It is mostly gone now that you are here.” He turned his chair to face her and sat in it. It was a normal dorm room, about one hundred square feet, enough room for a bed, and desk with a chair with a little side table. A small food replicator was right next to the table in the wall for snacks and drinks.

She sat down on his legs and he instantly felt better because the buzz was gone. She started clasping her hands as she said, “I could not think, before I even made it to M’Lar’s room, I could not get my mind off of you either, I was feeling lonely, as I’ve never felt before. I then decided to find your room. So I followed your scent, and here I am. This is troubling me, though I felt relieved as soon as you got close. I am conflicted, I have no idea why I feel like this, but at the same time it does not feel wrong.” Her voice had no purr either, it had a more normal tone to it. Her tail was limp and hung beside his leg though the tip was twitching.

He wondered if their situation was upsetting her more than he had realized, more then it bothered him. They have very different backgrounds, he really has no clue what she must be thinking. He also had no idea where she was raised. He slowly reached over and placed his hand on hers, the fur on them felt so fine, and silky soft. It reminded him of a house cat’s fur. Her left hand opened and took his in it as she relaxed and lowered it into her lap. He thought of her injuries, and asked, “How are you feeling, your injuries, are they healing up well?”

She clasped his hand tighter for a second before replying, “I feel fine, thank you. The doctor did a great job, she used a cell growth stimulator on my elbow. Though I’m sure I’ll be hurting tomorrow as usually happens after a hard workout. Our lab work will be great fun, I’m sure.”

He smiled and gave a short, sharp laugh, “Oh I hear you, I’m sure I’ll be feeling the same. I am more concerned about how the past few hours will affect our lives though, however. I have this feeling we have become somehow connected, and I mean more then on a level of relationship. It is like our lives have become intertwined so that we are unable to separate for very long, but no one asked if that is what either of us wanted.” After a short pause he asked, “Would you like something to drink? I’m thirsty.”

Her facing ear tipped forward briefly as she replied, “Yes I would, a par’ctal chilled, small size, please.”

He relayed her order to the replicator, took hers out after the bowl with a handle materialized, giving it to her with his free hand than ordered his own, “Computer, one Iced mocha espresso, large quad shot.” Next he took his getting a sip right off the top. He just knew he was going to need his favorite drink to help him cope.

She took a drink of hers using her tongue, lapping at it, she licked of her lips before telling him, “You make a good observation, when you think back on how our personalities clashed like two opposing out of sync warp drives just hours ago, ready to tear themselves apart. I had to keep calming myself to keep from attacking you in the lab, it was like you somehow knew every button to push, and you were jamming them all down hard. Then a few hours later after our match I notice that either all my buttons are gone, or you lost them. When I said, we would now be friends, I only met as a matter of respect I would have for you and of sharing that respect. Not like what it is now, I feel a yearning to be near you, to touch you even. I could never even imagine such a thing happening. I..” Her voice trailed off and she stopped talking, taking a longer drink this time.

After he took a long drink himself, he quickly said. “Hey, I have an idea, maybe it would help us if we did something to keep our minds off of this for a while, let our short term recover some from the day. We could go to a holosuite and do something. The day is barely half over. What do you say?”

She looked around the room slowly as she thought about it, then nodded as she said, “That does sound like a good idea maybe it will help. Sure can’t hurt.”

They both drank down the last of their drinks, he put his glass into the recycle unit, followed by her now empty bowl. “Computer, what is the closest free holosuite?”

The computer chirped then answered, “Suite four is currently not being used.”

He smiled then said, “Computer, schedule us for suite four, for two hours, we will give you a program when we get there.”

The computer chirped again, “Suite four is now set for use of M’Sara and Thomas for the next two hours.”

He helped her stand with him, and led the way out of his dorm room, with a sharp right they headed for the holosuite in the next building over with her quietly in tow. Her tail was swaying slowly from side to side as they walked hand in hand through the exit door.

As they stepped outside he turned his head towards her, “Is there something that would help you relax you would like to do?”

She perked up, her ears forward and her tail rose a little higher in its waving, “Yes, I have been studying Terrain twentieth century history as an elective course, and I found something from the late twentieth century that is quite fun, and nothing like anything on Cait or any of our colony worlds. They were called video games, and they had them in places called video game arcades. I have a program that I made using copies of emulations of them, would you like to see it?”

He chuckled softly, “Imagine that, a Caitian is going to show me some early Terrain history. Oh the irony, I love it. I’m sure I would enjoy it, I know little about it myself.”

She then took the lead, and said, “I could not get M’Lar interested in it at all.” Then she sounded amused as she said, “I would be happy to have someone to share my interest with.”

They went through the door to the building that housed holosuites one through four, as well as other rooms. When they got to the door for suite four, she told it, “Computer load program M’Sara’s arcade and run.”

The computer chirped and opened the door churning motor noise as it said, “Program loaded, and running. Enter when ready.”

She led him inside as she guided him towards the back side and the door closed behind them, taking the arch with it. All around it was noises like nothing he heard before, not that loud, but so many at once. Beeps and chirps, static and booms. Once in a while a badly synthesized voice would say something he could not quite make out over the din of other sounds. She pulled him to one of the black colored machines, it stood upright, and had a screen facing towards him about chest height. On the side on the lower half of it was mostly blue with artwork of what must be a space ship of some kind. On its display he saw glowing lines, the lines made shapes. He thinks the shapes may be rocks. The display was also surrounded by artwork of rocks, then he noticed a word above the screen with some artwork of the same space ship. It read “Asteroids” in yellow text next to it.

She pushed a button on its lower front a few times, and it made a sound each time. “This is my favorite one of this type that uses glowing lines to represent objects. I think you may like it as well, maybe even more so than I do. It used what they called vector graphics at the time that use lines between two points to draw shapes. I find the math it used fascinating. It simulates a ship in space, in a middle of an asteroids field, and you must shot them, or you will be destroyed by them. You get three ships, when they are destroyed it is game over. I will play a game, you watch.” She moved to the center of its front, he moved to the side, having to let go of her hand as she reached for the buttons, she put her other hand with her fingers on a pair of buttons. She pushed the button on the left that was red and blinking, then put her hand back on the pair. The game made a deep rhythmic sound, with lots of pings and what must be explosion sounds. Her fingers pushed the buttons, using four of them primarily, two on her left, and two on her right is where her fingers rested. She had to look up to see the display, where he had to look down to see it, but he could see the display screen was tilted up just a little inside. He watched her blow up rocks made of glowing lines for a few minutes, finally her ship fell apart and the sound turned off. “I got a high score, awesome.” It asked her to enter her initials for a high score. She entered in SLP. She turned to him, “I also picked up some lingo from that era. Your turn, push the red blinking button on the right that says, player one start.” She moved off to the side so he had room.

He moved into the center of the machine, and looked the buttons over, hyperspace the button in the center said, it is offset so that must mean something. On the right is thrust and fire, and on the left is rotate left and right. He read the instructions under the display, sounds simple enough, he thought. He pushed the red flashing button, and the game started. He rotated the ship and pressed the fire at the right time, he noticed he only got four shots at one time. So he timed his shots better. Before he knew it, he was blowing up glowing lines that kind of looked like rocks. After his last ship got hit by that nasty little UFO ship the game says is worth a thousand points, he smiled and looked up at her. “That was pretty fun, mindless reflex coordination. So that is what they did for fun back in the dark ages. I see the appeal.”

She hopped on her feet a few times before giving him a quick hug, “Oh that makes me so happy, and I don’t care why.”

He chuckled as she hopped and thought it would be cool if he could run around barefoot too, but his feet need protection unlike hers. He gave her a hug back and heard her purr while he held her.

He turned around, looking at all the games, “Show me more.”

She took his hand again, and led him to another one that stood up, one thing he noticed is this one was white with a green monster on its side, the front was black and had a white ball on the center of its shelf in front of the display. “This one is my favorite of them all. You move a gun around the bottom area using that white ball there, and shot the centipede monster. As you hit its parts, it divides into more, if you hit it right, you get it to dive, and you shot the front over and over, keeping it from dividing. That is the best way to get to the next round. If you hit too many of those mushrooms, a diver will place more, and try to hit your gun at the same time. You also have to watch out for a bouncing spider that comes out from the left, or the right of the game area at random times. Watch me play”

As he watched the screen the first thing he noticed is it was on color, with colored dots as artwork that made the parts of the game display. She really knows her stuff, and at once that made him feel embarrassed, and proud. He had to tell her, so he said, “You really know your stuff. There must be hundreds of games in here how long have you been studying this?”

She started the game before answering, moving the ball with her palm paw pad. “Oh I took it last quarter, then I studied about video arcades on my own afterwards. It took me a few off days to setup this program. I found a specialized museum and was able to copy these from it. They were ecstatic that I was even interested in such a thing. I promised them I would visit there at some point in the future and that I would share it with others including other species other than Caitian. Now I can bring them someone new to join them. They have a branch here in San Francisco.”

He chuckled and watched her play, “Yeah, alright, that sounds like fun.”

She showed him more games, some racing games, most of them where the player shots things. A few they played at the same time. One you even sat on a replica of a motorcycle, and it moved with the one displayed. Some they sat side by side in, racing and shooting each other. On one of those each time he was hit by her shot from behind, he felt something hit the back of the seat and that made him laugh.

Before they knew it, the computer let them know there time was up in about ten minutes. So they decided to call it a night. She told the computer, “Computer, save and end program.” The suite returned to its unused state of black walls with lines on them, and they exited through the door.

As they walked back to their dorm building, they were holding hands again, and he felt good about it. She asked him as they entered the dorm building, “I want to stay at your room tonight we need to stop by my room to pick up some of my things.”

He blinked in surprise and stumbled before answering, “Alright, I don’t have an issue with that, besides we may not really have much of a choice in the mater.” He had not even thought that far ahead, his head was still spinning from all the simulation of playing all those ancient video games.

She led him to her room, her tail had lowered and it looked like she was sulking, “Indeed.” She went inside, and he waited by the door way as she grabbed a bag and put some of her things she needed with her, so she could get ready to start the next day. Along with some bottles from her freshener room went that same brush he had used earlier that day, then she grabbed a new uniform, and some undergarments along with a few PADDs. She did not seem to mind him watching, she did not even look to see if he was, she seemed to be in a hurry. Closing her bag, she returned to him and pulled him out and back towards his room.

When they got to his door, he needed to give the computer some instructions. “Computer, allow M’Sara full access to my room.”

The computer chirped and said, “Acknowledged.”

He smiled at her, “Now you can come and go as you please.”

After they entered his room, she dropped the bag on the floor and, he sat down in the chair and stretched out his feet under the desk pushing against it, “It has been one long day, and one that has been life changing for me.”

She padded over to the bed, taking off her shirt on the way there she dropped it on the floor. She looked at him with a grin, her tail raising up behind her and with her best imitation computer voice she said, “Your life, as you knew it, is over.”

They both laughed at that and when he turned the chair around and looked at her again she was sitting on the bed, topless. He looked away, sounding confused, “What are you doing?”

She replied quickly, “Getting ready for bed, of course.” She patted the bed beside her, “You will join me, I know we are both tired.”

He remembered what he told her earlier in the day, and sighed, he wondered if he would be able to get used to her, and how long that would take. Did he just assume she would sleep on the floor like a house cat, he cleared his throat and said, “Right, of course. I’ll just change into some boxers, and we can squeeze onto my bed, and hope we can sleep.” He turned around and pushed open his drawer, taking out a pair, he went into the refresher room and quickly changed into them before returning and wondering he quietly muttered to himself, “Well with your size we may be able to pull this off without too much of a hassle.”

Before he could turn back around, the door chimed. Startled he used a colorful metaphor. He quickly grabbed a robe out of the refresher room, walked to the door and said, “Computer, open door.”

M’Lar was standing in the door way, “Oh, did I catch you at a bad time?”

He chuckled before answering, “Oh, it could have been worse.”

“Do you know where M’Sara is? She is not in her room.” she asked as she walked inside.

He turned to look at her laying in his bed with the cover over part of her and her skirt on the floor by the bed. “Uh yeah, sure.” He saw M’Lar walk past him as he answered her tail was waving back and forth, “Come on in..” he muttered. How did she know where I was, did she follow his scent, she must have knew M’Sara was already here he thought to himself.

She stopped in front of the bed, “What is going on here? Did I miss something? Are you going to sleep with this human? I thought you hated him. You told me you would hate to be paired up with him because of that. Then you were, and you were so upset about it all day yesterday. Today when you stopped by you really did not make much sense, then you left in a rush. I got done with my studies, so I decided to hunt you down.” Her tail was going about a hundred beats per minute and her ears were flat.

As he looked at the back of her neck, and the blue stripe around it that signified her as a science major, he thought maybe he should give them some time alone. He looked at M’Sara, and they both nodded to each other, then he turned and walked out the door and it closed behind him. He stood there in the hall way for what he estimated was about fifteen minutes.

The door opened and M’Lar walked out, her tail dragging her hears down and to the sides. She stopped and stared at him as she told him, “She means the world to me and we have been friends since we were kittens. Do not invoke my wrath.” Then she turned and walked down the hall to his left. She was not much smaller than he was, taller than M’Sara by a good quarter meter.

He walked back inside and found M’Sara sitting on the bed, holding her head in her hands, staring at the floor. He turned his gaze away from her right away embarrassed. Not seeing her bag that he then tripped over and landed with an oomph on the bed beside her, face in the pillow. He slid off to the floor and sat there looking up at her. She was smaller than M’Lar but he knew how strong she was. He admired her strength, and even more so because of her size.

She finally broke the awkward silence, “I am sorry about that, she worries about me. I had not spent time with her as I wanted tonight. We were to celebrate my win, I told her before the match. Things often do not go as planned. I explained to her about how I felt, and what you have told me about yourself. I also explained that everything between us has turned around, and completely different. I even told her about how we feel when separated. I hope the doctor can tell us something of use when we see her again.”

He nodded and got up off the floor and sat beside her, slowly petting her back as she sat there hunched over, noticing how soft her black fur was there too. “You and me both.”

She looked up at him and pulled his head to her, nuzzling his cheek with a rub of the side of her muzzle, just like a house cat would, then whispered in his ear, “That is our way of expressing heart felt feelings. Thank you.” Then she let go and turned to lay back down and pulled the covers up and got under them, scooting against the wall. “Get in, we go to sleep now.”

He got up, took off his robe, then got under the covers too, reminding himself, it is just like sleeping with your pet, just like that, except she is smart, and talks. He laid on his back, lots of room. He looked at her, and she was on her side against the wall watching him. “Computer, terminate lighting.” The lighting went dark. As he relaxed he felt her roll against him, and place her arm over his chest, her chest warm and soft against his arm. He did not mind, her arm was light enough that he soon forgot about it. Before he went to sleep the last thing he felt was her leg stretching over his. He realized one thing too before losing to sleep, that he felt complete for the first time in his life.

 

Chapter Five

 

He woke to find himself sleeping next to a large cat, the light entered through the shuttered window with just enough light to allow him to see her laying right in front of his face. It was her head sharing his pillow. She had laid partly on him while he slept, and her leg had somehow got between his and her foot was hooked under it. She had also pushed off her cover, so her fur was lit like a dark wheat field in the morning sun. Now he knew why he was so warm when he woke up, it was going to be a nice sunny spring day by the looks of it. He was trapped there, so he took the opportunity to study her fur up close and he noticed it was not really black, but such a dark brown color that it looked black, and it was also not solid, it had barely visible rosettes that reminded him of a Terrain lynx or bobcat in her fur, they ran along her back, shoulders and arms, and would go with the tufts on the tips of her ears. That would be hard to see when normally all you see are her lower legs to feet, and neck to head. Her head had short cropped cut hair that was normally brushed back. It was not like they had spent any time together before yesterday either. In fact they had avoided each other sense they were in the same class together that started last quarter. She looked exquisite with the light in her fur, her chest raising slowly up, then down, laying there so peaceful. He could almost fool himself into thinking sense she was so small at a little over one and a quarter meters and her thin build, that she was anything but a powerful predator with enough brains to make her very dangerous, if she wanted to be. Hidden in her muzzle were sharp canines and she had retractable claws in both her feet and hands, just like any large Terrain feline. She was also the smallest Caitian he had ever seen, even for a female. Not that he had seen that many, but the ones stationed as Starfleet security that he had seen were much larger. The males were the same size as normal male humans, and most the females the same as female humans. The male Caitian lieutenant Ferra the duty officer for requisitions in the academy was the same size as he was. As he was thinking about that to himself, his hand had started to gently stroke her cheek, and she stirred, bringing his attention back.

Her eyes opened slowly and she smiled at him showing a few of her front small pointed teeth as she reached her hand over and stroked his cheek before saying, “I hoped you got a good rest. Is this a human morning ritual?”

He blinked and pulled his hand way, but did not move, he was still trapped. “Uh sorry..” He said, his voice failing him.

She took his hand in hers and put it back on her, just below and behind her ear, “Here is a better place, I find it most enjoyable.”

He smiled and gently rubbed her for a minute before taking his hand back slowly this time, “You have me at a disadvantage and we should get up and get ready for the day. We still need have lots of work to do.”

She nodded, and put her hand against his chest, unhooking her foot from his leg and pulling it out as she pushed against me, bumping his crouch in the process with her knee, “Opps, did not mean to hit your tenders. I miss judged there location.”

He twisted away as soon as he was free, and fell out of the bed taking the covers with him, he did not realize he was right on the edge of the bed. After he recovered he asked, “No worries, it did not hurt. Who gets to shower first?”

She made a strange noise, a kind of woofing cough for a few seconds before saying, “Are you always so graceful in the morning?” Then she answered after making that same noise again, “We shower together of course, I’m not going to pass up a chance for you to brush my back again. If I must suffer your presence, you will at least brush my fur for me.”

He stared at her as she gave a great yawn as she rolled onto her back and stretched out, her hind paws spreading out pointing at the air. When she was done she rolled back onto her side and laid there facing him propped up on her arm her uncovered top easily visible, and he was still in his boxers at least with the covers over him in a pile. As he removed the covers he asked, “What was that noise, I never heard it before.”

One of her ears rotated to the side as she answered, “That was how I laugh, and you never heard it before? I guess that makes sense, we often don’t have much to laugh about in public. Not all of us leave the world we grew up on because we want to.”

His gaze looked her over again while she just laid there watching him, “You really don’t have any modesty, do you?”

She grinned and sat up on the bed, her legs hanging off the edge so her feet rested on his chest, “That is a foreign concept to us. We are covered in fur, we never needed much protection from the elements, so I guess as a society we never developed a need to hide ourselves from others. I actually don’t enjoy wearing clothing, and it is either warm or hot here most of the time in this place known as San Francisco. I wear a uniform because I must. If I am alone with you, I will take it off as soon as I can. There is a short period of about a hundred days that it is almost nice here when the nights are long. The other reason is that your reaction to it amuses me.”

Ignoring her barb he looked at her feet, so much like a felines, if he did not know they were hers, he would mistake them for a big cats. He could feel her warm paw pads touching the side of his bare chest. The fur on her foot was short, but long enough to make it look like her toes were rounded bumps on her foot. He followed it up to her ankle with his eyes. It looked almost like a backwards knee, but he knew anatomy better than that. Besides, he was what some would call a cat person. Growing up he always had cats at home. Was that why he did not feel so strange around her, after our personalities stopped clashing like two head to head trains, he wondered. Was he anthropomorphizing her, he could not help to think.

She interrupted his thoughts by pushing on him with her foot, “Are you done studying my feet? Let’s get into the shower, I want to get this day over. You can examine them all you want later, when we get back tonight. After lunch, we should request a double room too. A single room will drive us both insane if we have to be here more than a few days.”

He nodded and she lifted up her feet, and he got up entering the refresher room, “Indeed, it is too cramped for two.” He took off his shorts and opened the shower looking at it he remembered what they did in gym’s showers just yesterday.

She pushed passed him carrying her brush inside, then held out the brush for him to take telling him firmly, “You brush me first, than you can clean yourself.”

He nodded and took the brush wordlessly, closing the shower behind him. She had him brush most of her this time, he felt like he was doing this for her, he sympathized with her, thinking how it was not either of their choices to be here. Even when she was getting her stuff out of the bag near the door before she entered the shower, he felt a slight itch on the back of his head, on the inside not on the surface reminding him of their issue. It was the strangest feeling he ever had, that.

He had got her soup all over his front, not having enough room in the shower to not have her push against him as she turned around. She told him, “I hope a double room has a larger shower. That should be good, let me rinse off now, then you clean up.”

He stood up and placed her brush in its box thinking again how her soap smelled a little of cinnamon. She slid out beside him through the door when she was done, grabbed a towel and started to dry off when he closed the door and used his soup and scrubber to clean himself.

When he got out of the refresher, toweling himself off, she was sitting in the chair dressed in her uniform, that was allot like his, on the couch. He hurried and got dressed himself as she watched, PADDs sitting in her lap with her hands holding them.

They did not even say another word until they got to the lab. They walked quality through the halls hand in hand, and ignored the few stares they got from other cadets. Mostly it was just human students that stared, he felt uncomfortable but he just ignored it just the same. They used the labs multi user terminal and together they worked out something like they had before, but it was like they mixed it together each other’s ideas with a few tweaks, and it came out even better. They both ignored the other students in the lab, for one they were very into their work, and two they did not care what they thought. They should be worried about their own work, and not us. Too many of them it was the opposite of what they witnessed the day before. They were all in the same class, and all of them had noticed the change, it being so drastic.

One of the male human students walked over to them and asked, “What happened, some of us had bets on who would win, and that you would both fail. None of us bet on you two co-operating with each other. I had allot riding on you Thomas…” We both ignored him, and acted like he did not exist, and after a minute of watching them work on the project he went back to his lab partner shaking his head in disbelieve, mumbling “If I had not seen it with my own eyes, they are actually completing each other’s formulas…”, another human male who waited for him to return blinked and stared at them after he heard him say that. Their instructor was watching them intently, taking more notes he was sure.

It was like a work of art, he thought after they ran a few tests on the simulator that they watched complete together. He noticed the time and suggested to her, “Well, we can finish this after lunch, and be way ahead of schedule! We got allot more work done way faster than I had expected.”

She nodded and hit the button that would save it to their personal file space. “Indeed, I am pleasantly surprised at both of our performance today. Don’t forget about the double room request, we will have a short lunch, then go to the office building.”

He watched to make sure all their work was saved before nodding and leaving the lab with her hand in his. They had a quick lunch, he had a turkey sandwich, and she had some kind of Caitian meat soup. On the way out of the cafeteria he looked around, and it was not his imagination, there were others watching them leave. He shrugged his shoulders, and thought, was it so odd for them to be holding hands, and did not give it another thought even though he did not like all the attention they was getting.

They walked into the office building together and went to the desk for resident requisitions. There was male human at the desk he did not recognize.

The ensign noticed them come up to the desk and frowned when he asked with a very routine, “Can I help you?”

He nodded and asked, “Ensign, we would like to request a double dorm room.”

The ensign looked at them, again down at her then up him then down between them, where they were still holding hands, “The two of you, want to share a room?”

This time she replied, “That is affirmative ensign, I’m Cadet M’Sara, and this is Cadet Thomas. We need to live together now, and a single room is too small for the both of us.”

With a deeper frown the ensign asked again, like something was stuck in his head, “A Caitian and a Human want to live together, in the same room, in the dorm, the two of you, a male and a female?”

He could not help but sigh, “Please ensign, there is no regulation against it. There are mixed sex people sharing rooms, some of mixed species. I don’t understand what the issue is.”

After some typing on his terminal the ensign who looked to be in his thirties looked up at them again and said, “That may be, however we place them randomly they don’t request it. I’ve never had a couple of mixed species request it. You should stick to your own kind son. That is just not natural mixing it up like that. I’m going to have to deny your request. I suggest you see a therapist and get this sorted out. Find yourself a human girl, or at least a species more humanoid. Caitians are one step away from being an animal, I don’t understand why they are even in the Federation. So they make a few decent star ships, and fighter craft, I could live without the cats running around.”

He could feel the hackles rise on her neck even without looking, and out of the peripheral vision he did see her silently snarling, she must be barely holding that in, don’t do it he thought, it would just show him right, to himself. No matter how much he deserves it. Her fur was puffed out and her tail was rigid. He tightened his grip on her hand and felt her relax beside him after a minute, as he just stared at the guy behind the counter in shock. He never met a spiciest before, a new kind of bigot. I guess some people need something to hate for no reason. He wondered if that is why he is still an ensign at his age.

With a sharp laugh the ensign said, “Well you may have her under control now, but some day she will act how she looks, like a big cat!”

She about jumped out of her skin, and he quickly turned around to leave pulling her with him, “We don’t have to take this, we are out of here.” Out of the building he went, quickly too, dragging her behind him, before she too went along with him.

On the way out the ensign got his last words in, “It is not natural boy!”

Soon as they left the building, she started snarling, “Let me bite his head off, just one bite, I could rip his neck open in under a second. Please, just one bite…”

He interrupted her, “As fun as that would be to watch, no. I also know you really don’t mean it, sadly. This is one of those things that we may have to deal with again in the future. There will be those with power over us, that don’t or won’t even want to understand. I have a hunch he is in the does not want to category.”

She relaxed some and his grip on her also relaxed until they were gently holding hands again before she said, “I don’t understand, how can someone not want to understand something?”

He sighed before answering, “There are a few people that can’t deal with reality, so they replace it with one that is in there head, and live like that. They become so comfortable with that, they won’t change. If anything threatens that, they become threatened. I am going to guess, that is why he is still an ensign at his age. That he is unable to do anything more than a desk jockey. One side effect of finding a place for everyone who joins Starfleet. I am unable to guess why he joined Starfleet though.”

They walked together in silence as he guided them to the gardens. He stopped them where they had a good view of the bay. They stood there gazing out at the water for a few minutes before he interrupted, “Beautiful is it not?”

She nodded in answer, but did not say anything. It looked like she was deep in thought. He could not blame her, he had no idea what it was like to be treated in such a way as she just had been. He had always seen her as a person first, sure he had to take into account cultural differences, but that is allot different than thinking because she was different, she was unworthy of any respect anyone would treat another person. Even a week ago, when they were not getting along at all, he still saw her as a person and treated her with respect. Never once did he attribute any argument to her species. Doing that would have been unthinkable for him.

As he was deep in thought again, he noticed she was pulling his hand up to her face, and she nuzzled it, then let it back down again before telling him, “Thank you.”

He smiled and took her hand up to his face, and did an imitation of her nuzzle with her hand. The fur felt weird against his cheek, but not bad, then he added a kiss. He looked at her blue eyes, watching him and said, “That is how I’ll thank you. I have been wondering, do Caitians normally hold hands with each other?”

She looked back out at the water, “No, not at all. It is just the easiest way of touching you. If I’m not touching you I start to feel odd, like the inside of my head itches. I don’t like that feeling one bit, so I hold your hand when I can.”

He looked out at the water too, then asked, “Ah, it is normal for humans that are a couple to hold hands though. While you are answering my curiosity, can you run on all fours as well? I thought about that sense we sparred, I saw you leap at me from all four limbs.”

She chuckled and nodded as she answered, “Yes, I can run much faster than any human, even at my size, if I run using all four of my limbs and back, and yeah I get much more power when my mass is propelled even faster from all four limbs. I use everything at my disposal when I fight. Don’t worry, I do not think you are comparing me to a wild animal, it is just something that is. Our necks are have one more joint and the back of our skull curves more than humans, so it is easy for me to look ahead while my body is prone, and my hip joints are different than a human’s as well so that my upper leg bone moves easily while it moves beside my body. I said you can examine me later, and I meant it, and as much as you want to suit your curiosity. I don’t mind, in fact I welcome it. I can understand when someone wants to learn something. That is why I came to Starfleet in the first place, to learn things I could never even imagine. I hope you will give me the same courtesy as well. I am just as curious about humans now. I know that looking at pictures is one thing, but being able to feel how things work together is another. I only have a small interest in anatomy, so don’t let my friend get word of letting me examine you, she will want to put you under a microscope.”

He chuckled softly when she mentioned her friend, “Just as you better not tell her about that boob in the office, she may just do what you mentioned to him. She seems very protective of you. I understand your curiosity however I have social issues to suppress, such as modesty. I’m sure given enough time I will get used to you, and won’t have a problem with that.”

She stood away from the railing, and took her hand away long enough to clap it once, then took ahold of his once more, pulling him after her heading back to the lab as she talked, “Right, fair enough, time to get back to work. I’m putting that other experience behind me for now.”

As they strolled slowly through the park he thought about the again ensign and was feeling even more protective of her, and it gave him a warm feeling she was a part of his life now. He would protect her, and do what he could to keep her happy. He glanced over at her walking beside him, looking straight ahead looking thoughtful still. He wondered briefly what it was like to fall in love with someone, and wondered how that would happen now.

They made it into the building with the labs on campus without further incident, then went into their lab, nonstop to a free terminal. Even as they worked, he could feel how much easier it was to work beside her than it ever had been alone. In just a few more hours not only did they finish there assignment, but they decided to add another paper after the bonus paper, this one on an idea they have on making a warp field even more efficient than they are currently in the ones they are testing for the next generation warp drives. During the last hour they went over there project again together, looking for any mistakes they may have made before they sent it to their instructor.

After she pressed the send button to turn in all their work, he smiled at her saying, “I had no idea working with someone would be so easy. Not just that, your perspective brings a fresh view on everything you share with me. As we worked it was like the missing parts to a puzzle were inserted, that I did not even know where missing.”

She turned to him just as the intercom chirped indicating a message followed. “M’Sara, Thomas, you are to report to Dr. McDaniel in medical at once.”

They looked at each other and at once said, “Acknowledged.”

The other cadets who was still in the lab watched them leave in silence, holding hands once again. He did not like being the center of attention, and he was sure she did not either.

As they walked down the sidewalk to the other side of the academy, he voiced his thoughts to her, “I hope she has some good news that is something I want to hear. I would like to know what is going on with us. Maybe we can live our own separate lives again, no offence. I like you well enough, but I would like some privacy again.”

She kept looking straight ahead while she answered, “I concur, and none taken.”

They said nothing more, and continued to go see the doctor. In arriving they noticed that the Commandant of Starfleet Academy was there with the doctor watching them enter. They stopped in their tracks and stood at attention and in unison loudly said, “Sir!”

The Commandant waved to them and said softly, “At ease cadets. I’m glad I waited for you, now I will not need to call you to my office.” He was an older male human, he guessed in his sixties, his hair was completely grey and cut short but combed back, he also sported a mustache.

They visibly relaxed, and stood at ease.

He continued, “The Doctor has found something that I think you both need to know. When she finished her research and a higher level of analyses of the data she gathered from your scans, I was contacted and we decided to bring more people in on it, so we sent the data to Starfleet headquarters, and we just heard back from them with a preliminary report. That added with a report from your physics instructor, I felt it important you hear what they have to say, and the doctor agrees. It has just been entered into your record that you M’Sara have bonded with an unknown kind of latent telepath.” He paused and they both looked surprised at that news, but they took each other’s hands and let him continue. “We don’t know why yet, but we do know this much. That bond is unique, in that it is your subconscious of each of you have somehow made a connection to the other. According to records, this has never happened before. We will need to study this more, and do more tests in the future so we can know exactly what we are dealing with.” He paused again, and they remained silent. He turned and walked to the other side of the entry room, then back before he continued. “There is a note on both your records, like it or not we have classified you both as a bonded couple. You are from this point on to live together the same as any married couple would. I have reassigned you both to a couple’s room already. There is also a special note to never separate the two of you in both your records.”

This time they did react after he paused again. Neither one seemed to be believing what they were hearing, they both as one shortly said, “What?”

The Commandant nodded, and said very seriously, “That is what, sir.” He grinned slightly, then continued again before they could say anything, “The doctor has concluded that if you two are separated completely, there could be physical harm. That is one reason we need to do more tests. There is also evidence that the connection between you will help you both in some ways as the report suggests from your instructor. You are scheduled for a more thorough examination next week, it has been all uploaded into your personal communications files.” He paused again, took a few breaths before continuing, “That ensign you encountered today, he has been dealt with. He had been hiding his feelings for years, it seems you set him off, and that ended his career in Starfleet. He panicked after you left, he must have just realized that the confrontation had all been recorded, so he made an amusing attempt to erase it, and that alerted security. I won’t put up with any kind of miss treatment of my cadets by any staff. Don’t go thinking it is just because you two are special. Everyone in Starfleet is a person, it does not matter what species and is treated with equal strictness, is that understood?”

They looked at each other, and Thomas said, “Yes.”

Then right away M’Sara said, “Sir.”

The Commandant chuckled then turned to the doctor, “I’m done here, good night doctor.” Then he turned to leave, walking towards the door.

Waving the doctor said off handily, “Good night.” Just as he went through the doorway. The doctor turned to them and waved them off, “Well I have work to do, off with you.”

They looked at each other, and shrugged, turned and left the office, when they got to the sidewalk, he asked her, “I’m hungry, want to get something to eat.”

She answered him with a big grin, “Oh hell yeah, would love to chase me down some human.”

They both laughed at that, then continued onto the cafeteria.

 

Chapter Six

 

After dinner they went to the dorm front office, and used its terminal to find what room they were now assigned to. It was on the third floor, now they had to take the stairs or elevator when they left or returned to or from their dorm room.

He had to complain, “Oh great that is going to add to our travel time.”

She poked him with her elbow before telling him, “Stop your complaining. How do you say, beggars can’t be choosers? I’ve never even seen a couple’s room, I hope it is nice.”

He huffed and when she poked him, he then said, “Yeah, maybe. I have never seen one either. I don’t even know any other couples. I don’t think I’ve even been up to the third floor.”

She grabbed his hand, and pulled him along, “We go to your old room first, grab our bags, then we go to my old room and pack.”

They went to his old room, he grabbed his empty bag, then grabbed hers, than they went over to her room two halls down from his. They packed all her stuff into both bags, she did not have that much and she had no shoes. What she did have was also of a small size. They found the nearby elevator and took it to the third floor. As they looked for their room they saw in the middle of the floor by the elevator that they had a café. Across from that was a small restaurant.

He stopped in front of the restaurant, and looked inside, “We get our own place to eat, and it looks like a real place to eat, not like a school cafeteria.” They could have went to the 602 club, but that is a bar and not a very peaceful place to eat. That is more a place to socialize or celebrate something. In fact, “Hey, we don’t have class tomorrow, and we got our project done, let’s go to the 602 club tomorrow night for dinner. We do have something to celebrate now.”

She grinned and pulled him along with her as she answered, “Now that sounds like a plan.”

They got to their doors and they opened. Inside their new dorm room was about five times the size as both of their old rooms combined. They walked in, and dropped their bags, looking around. A real couch, a home entertainment center beside that two personal terminal desks with chairs, off to the other side, a dining room with four seats, and off to the other side was a queen size bed, beside that was the refresher room door.

He smiled, and turned around as he looked, “Now this is more like it. They have finally recognized my talent.” As he walked by the bed the next thing he knew he was being knocked over.

He landed with his backside on the bed with a very surprised expression on his face and with her hands against his shoulders, straddling his mid-section. She said with a purr, “Oh yeah, your talent, yeah, it is all about you. I’m on fire, put me out, always about you.”

They burst out laughing together, and she rolled off of him, her feet kicking into the air as she laughed, it did not sound as strange as it did the first time he heard it.

He sat up, gulping air, “Oh dear, I think this just may be enjoyable, living with you, that is. Let’s go get my stuff now.” They needed the uniforms and PADDs that they had each requisitioned and any personal items they had for their daily lives.

They grabbed their bags, dumping them out on the couch and left their room, a giggle escaping out of each of them one at a time all the way to the elevator. Just as they entered they heard out from the hall, “Hold the door! Hold the door please!” They placed their arms between the doors and they reopened. In together walked a male Human, and female Klingon.

The Klingon smiled at them, and greeted, “You two must be our new neighbors that were listed in the general terminal. Would be hard to miss a couple such as you two.” The elevator door closed behind them as she continued, “It is good to meet you, I’m Lursa, and this is my husband Sam.”

We smiled back at them then M’Sara her ears forward and tail waving slowly introduced us, “It is great to meet you as well, I’m M’Sara, and this is my mate Thomas.”

He looked at her and blinked at his sudden status change, then he remembered what the Commandant told them. Thomas cleared his throat, “Yes, we are a new couple, and just moving in.”

The elevator opened at the main floor, and they all walked out still in conversation. “Oh, you two do make such a cute couple, don’t you think dear?”

He laughed at his wife, then coughed when she elbowed him. “Sorry, so hard to get used to you talking like a human. Then having you say cute, I just could not hold it in.” He turned back to them, “We should get together, hang out at the bar.”

Taking his now mate’s hand in his as they walked beside them, her tail was up in the air like a string was pulling on it, pulling the flaps of her skirt with it as she said, “That is a great idea, we were just talking about doing that tomorrow night for dinner to celebrate.”

They turned down the hall towards his old dorm as the other couple waved and headed for the exit while telling them, “That sounds great, we will meet you there.” Then they were through the doors.

When they got to his old room, they dropped their bags, and packed up his stuff.

He stuffed a shirt into his bag and said happily, “They seem like a nice couple, my mind is still working its way to coping with our situation, but if they become friends of ours, I bet it would help us too.”

She stuffed some of his pants into his bag as she replied, “I think you are onto something. We could use their experience to help us get used to how our lives have changed so quickly. If I feel I can trust them, I’ll even explain our situation to them.”

He zipped up his full bag, and nodded, “Too right.”

His stuff took a bit more space, so they had to make two trips. Mostly because his clothes were larger and he has shoes. They dumped their bags on the couch beside the other piles then started to sort there stuff. She took off the top of her uniform so that she was topless before they put the shirt with the gees into the laundry closet they found beside the door. When they got the rest of their stuff put away in drawers in the wall beside the couch, one row for him and one row for her. He went to sit on the couch and she joined him, sitting close to him. The bottom part of her uniform was a short skirt, so that her tail could come out from its back side that was split and over lapping.

She lifted her feet up and rolled onto her back then pulled off her skirt too, so that just her under pants were left on. Then she told him, “Now I’m comfortable. Now I feel like I’m in my own home.” She dropped it onto the floor beside her.

He looked at her and had to ask, “Are you going to do that if we have guest over, like our neighbors we just met?”

She grinned back at him, “Maybe.”

He rolled his eyes at her, “I give up.”

She patted his leg before laying her head down on it, turning sideways in the couch so her feet laid on the arm rest. “I’ll explain my culture to them some, and make sure they are fine with it first, if I feel comfortable enough with someone to get comfortable with them.”

He gave her arm a stroke, “This would be nice, a few days ago, if you asked me if this were possible, I would have said a giant resounding no. Now we have a place of our own, until we graduate, and I have someone I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, even though it was not something either of us wanted.”

She took his hand and put it on her belly, “Pet me here, I would enjoy that allot.”

He looked at her tummy and said, “So that is why you took your shirt off.” Then he started to stroke it gently petting her tummy from top to bottom.

She started purring and her legs stretched out, he looked at her feet and her toes were splayed out. Then she started to nuzzle his waist and leg. Her hands looked like they were kneading the air as he mentioned. “I see, I think enjoy may be an understatement.” Then he smiled wide and kept at it for a few minutes until she rolled over onto her side facing out.

She purred for a few minutes before saying with a purr, “Yeah. That is enough. I can only take so much pleasure at a time. Everything in moderation.”

He pat her head softly, “I enjoyed it too it was fun watching you squirm around. Is that something others do for you too?”

She turned back around so she could look up at me, “No, never. Only a mate would do that for me. We have time did you want to examine me now?”

He blinked at her before answering, “Oh your feet, sure, alright.” He had been taken by surprise by her answer and question.

She sat up then laid down the other way, so her head was next to the arm rest, she rested her legs in his lap. “Have at it, if you do something that hurts, I’ll just scratch you. Hah kidding.” In a dead pan voice she said, “No really, I’ll bite you.” She lifted her facing foot and waited for him to take ahold of it.

He took it in his hands, and examined it closely, he pressed against the top of her middle toe and her claw came out, it was very sharp and pretty large. She does have claws in her feet, he never seen them before, she must have good control of them. He was not going to test it, he let go and it went back inside. Next he gently poked at her center paw pad, it was soft, yet firm. After playing with it, and her leg he could see it really was just like a cat’s leg. Even the paw pads were identical to a cat’s. He felt the tendon that connected her leg muscle to her angle, and it was hard as steel. He bent her ankle a few times and worked her toes. All her tendons he could feel were like steel. “Fascinating.” She seemed to be enjoyed it well enough, her ears were forward and her tail drifting back and forth beside her. She was watching him with her mouth open a little.

She smiled over at him when he let her foot rest in his lap, before saying, “Next time you can give me a massage, my legs get tired from standing all day. Your touch is gentle yet firm. I will make you useful even if it kills me. I could use a good brushing at the end of the day too.”

He took her foot in his hand below her toes, and wanted to see if he could tickle her, so he tickled between her paw pads. She gasped, and her toes spread apart and she pulled on her foot, making a weird “murarr” sound.

He finally let got after a few seconds then told her, “That is what you get for calling me useful.”

She pulled her foot up to her and bent over, licking her foot between her toes, letting them go before she told him, “Oh this means war mister. I’m going to get you, when you least expect it.”

He watched her, amazed at her flexibility, but he said, “That kind of grosses me out, we have been walking all over the place, and you are putting that in your mouth?”

She blinked for a minute then ran to the fresher, he heard her gargling, and after a minute she returned licking her muzzle with her long, flat tongue then told him, “Yeah, and that was your fault too, I did not even think about being at the doctor’s office. That place is full of germs!”

She returned and stood in front of him with her hands on her hips, like she was waiting for something. After a few seconds he said, “I’m sorry about that, I was trying to tickle you, a type of mischievous play humans do. I did not mean to hurt you.”

She relaxed only a little, he noticed her tail slow done its side to side waving as she said, “It is something left over from our assisters, when we used to clean ourselves with our tongues, we licked between our toes, and our feet spread by reflex. It does not hurt, it makes me want to lick my feet.”

He clasped his hands, “Oh, I’m sorry. How about to make up for it, I give you a brushing, you have brushes?”

With a smile, she relaxed, her ears rose, and her tail stopped waving back and forth, “Excellent idea, I’ll get my brushes.” She went to the refresher room, and he heard her open a drawer, then close it. She returned with a pair of brushes with straps on their back sides. “Get off the couch, I’ll lay on it while you brush me.” Then she dropped the brushes into my lap.

Grabbing the brushes he stood up and waited, turning to face the couch, after a few seconds she laid down on it, face down, now naked, her under pants missing, on the floor next to her skirt. She had no problem stretching out on the couch, even though it was made for only two people. He put his hands through the straps and wearing the brushes he slowly brushed her fur. As he did, she purred loudly, and it was a very southing sound to hear.

After about ten minutes of that, she turned over onto her side, and he stopped as she told him, “That was wonderful, thank you. That will do, I want to talk to you for now would you get me some oolong tea please?”

He smiled and nodded, laying the brushes on the table, he walked to the food replicator, and it was a full sized one he noticed. “Computer, oolong tea mildly hot in a Caitian cup.”

After a moment it materialized and he took the cup that looked like a bowl with a handle and saucer and placed it on the small table beside the couch. She nodded and smiled, “Thank you. I wanted to tell you about some of my past.”

Walking over to sit down beside her he nodded before saying, “I would enjoy that.”

She took the saucer with the cup on it in her hands, rotating in her seat so she could place her feet in his lap, using the arm rest for a back rest. She blew over the steaming hot tea before lapping at it, drinking some before she started telling him softly, “I was raised on one of our colony worlds known as Riviera. Like some of our others, it had a mix of species, at the time it was forty percent Caitian, thirty five percent human, and fifteen percent Vulcan and 10 percent other member species.” She lapped at her tea again, before continuing, “I spent allot of time with other humans growing up, a human neighbor of our family had a girl my age, and we spent allot of time together. This is when I was very young, about six cycles.”

She paused and put the cup to her forehead and her ears went back as her feet slid off his leg, then her toes pushed into the sides of his leg, not enough to move him, but just holding him back. After a few minutes she sighed, her feet relaxed and she lapped up some more tea, than continued again, “When I was ten, I was visiting with them, we were in her room playing a game. I think her dad was in trouble, he had gotten mixed up with the wrong people, or something. That day, he burst into the room, and started beating me, my friend the same age as I was, could do nothing. Her father shoved her away when she tried to help me. I woke up later in the hospital, my aunt and uncle would not tell me what happened. They would only say that the family was gone, they went off world.” She stopped there, her ears dropping, and tail limp. She let the now empty tea cup saucer drop to the floor, sliding out of her grasp, down her body and off the couch.

Not able to contain himself, he leaned over and took her limp body into his arms and lifted all some forty kilograms of her into a hug. She soon reached around his shoulders and hugged him back, imitating him. They remained like that for a few minutes, her ears and tail remained limp though as he slowly released her. She did hold onto his neck with her hands clasped behind it, sitting in his lap now as she looked up at him, her eyes sparked with wetness.

She licked her lips then very softly said, “I wanted to tell you a bad memory of my long past, it is part of me, just as my hand. Know that I have never told anyone that did not already know. No other human knows of it either. That is what we do to deepen a bond with someone who is very close. I feel better now for doing so as well.”

Looking at her very feline face, as she held onto his neck, sitting in his lap, he realized that now he understood her much more than he had just an hour ago. She did not seem so different, she was a wonderful person wrapped in fur. It did not matter that she looked like a cat that walked on two feet to him anymore. How resilient she must be to have recovered from that, to him it seemed so well. That was something else he admired about her now.

He could get lost in her blue eyes, in even a softer voice she slowly said, “I seem to be bonded with you, something like a Caitian bonding. That is when a male and female become bonded from pheromones. It has become something that is more common in the last hundred years, for a Caitian to become bonded with a non-Caitian. I never thought it would happen to me however. I needed to make sure to tell you at some point. I figured now was a good time as any.”

She sat there motionless in silence as what she just said sank in, after a minute he said, “Do you mean it is more then what we were told about?”

She laid the side of her head on his chest, and inhaled, “I have become addicted to your pheromones, as well as having the adverse effects of being separated from you. Normally Caitians are very much against public displays of affection. Though having been raised among humans and that can affect a person. I don’t know if this is a one sided thing or not. On one paw I want you to feel the same way, on the other I realize that you are so much different than I am, and that is why it won’t likely happen.”

He started to look nervous, and he softly said, “Does that mean you will want to copulate with me?”

She closed her eyes for a few seconds before answering, “I don’t know. Normally we go into heat twice a cycle, and I take drugs to suppress it. As long as I keep taking the drugs, I don’t think so. I would not stop taking those drugs unless you wanted me to. We are not like humans, we don’t always want to copulate. Showing affection is a completely different matter however. It used to bother me to even hold hands with you in public, but as I have suppressed that, I have also grown more used to it in the past day.”

His hand slowly stroked her fur on her shoulder and she started to purr softly, as they sat there, he was thinking about what she just told him, adding up the events of the last few days, and now things made more sense.

Pushing against his chest, she got up and walked to the bed. “I say we give this bed a try, it will be nice to have lots of room to sleep.” She pulled up the sheet and covering got on it, before looking back at him with a small smile.

Slapping his hands on his legs to push himself up he stood up, he looked at the wall chronometer then walked over to his bottom drawer got out another pair of boxers, and visited the refresher. Exiting he went to the bed, got into the opposite side as her, and pulled the covers up over himself. “Now this is a nice bed, I bet I sleep better, not having to share the same space on the bed with you.”

Patting him on the shoulder she reached over with her head and nuzzled below his chin, purring softly, “Computer, Terminate lights.” She laid back on her pillow as the room became dark and whispered, “Good night my human.”

Smiling to himself spreading out on the bed, he reached over and gave her a gentle pet on the chest while listening to her soft purring beside him he drifted off to sleep.

He felt a weight on him he started to become aware of, light was barely entering through their windows half closed blinds he saw as he opened his eyes. He felt around and his left hand felt like it was beside something furry and warm between him and his hand. He felt something soft and furry against his chest and part of his belly, and he think he felt one of her legs going over his left leg. He felt around with his right hand gently and tried to see, but something was blocking the light from the windows, that may be her back. He felt her shoulder and shoulder blade on his right side. Was she laying on him, he thought. I’m glad she is not that heavy, though she does remind him of one of his old cats who loved to sleep on his chest. That house cat he had however was not even close to being as big though. With a sigh he felt around with his left hand again, that must be her other leg. She is taking up as much bed as she can, just like a cat would, he thought. He must have become a heavier sleeper, or something. That also explains why he is so warm, well he felt rested and did not feel groggy at all. He took a deep breath, now he is really stuck, well it is not like he has anywhere to be so early in the morning.

He decided he would take some time to think about the past day, now that his short term memory had time to integrate into his long term memory. He thought about how he used to meet a women at the lounge and date a different one almost every week, and how if one did see him more than once, it would end in disaster. He was never able to open up to anyone of them, and they would look down on him for it. The only women he had something close to a long term relationship is one he had before he left for his home town to join Starfleet. Her name was Monika, and had she told him they should get married, and he had said no, ended that relationship just before leaving town.

His relationship he had now with M’Sara was like a roller-coaster ride, it had its up and downs in only a few days. It added excitement in its own way. There was also how they worked together, if yesterday was any sign. How they had completed the thesis in hours, when it should have taken days. He realized that Caitians were on the same level as Vulcans when it came to intelligence, but it affected him too. He had been able to construct algorithms and formulas he never had thought about before. It was like his imagination had been super charged with knowledge he had never had before.

With a smile he stroked her head, petting over her short hair. She stirred and stretched, her leg pushing against his other leg her claws scratching against it. He cried out in pain, “Ouch! Your foot is scratching my leg!”

She gasped and blinked awake, while she laid stopped moving. She lifted up her head and looked at him with concern and confusion, “What’s going on? Did I scratch you?” She asked groggy. She got up and out of the bed, pulling off the covers.

Frowning he looked down at his leg, sitting up, looking at his right leg by his knee. “Computer, illumination, fifty percent.” Unlike her, he could not see in the dark so well.

Leaning over his leg, she was looking at it, her ears flat and to the sides, her tail limp but twitching. “That is something that is considered the worst affront I could do to another being. I feel horrible about it, even though I know it was an accident. I have scared my honor.” She ran into the refresher room, “I’ll get the med kit.”

He looked it over, it was not as bad as he thought, but it was not the best way to get out of bed. So he waited for her return and softly said, “Thank you.”

Quickly returning to him, she opened the small box up and removed the epidermal spray. It was for small minor wounds. It also disinfected at the same time it sealed the wound closed. She also got the wound cleaner, unwrapped it, rubbing it over the scratches. She put the now red stained rag into the med kit hazard waist container. He sat and watched, letting her treat his wound. She then used the spray along his inner leg. “There, that should take care of it. I’m truly sorry, it is considered a very big stain on my honor to do such a thing to another. It is even worse when that person is someone I care deeply about.”

Petting her cheek with his palm, he calmly said, “Listen, it was an accident. I’m sure it could happen again, thank you for treating it for me. It is nothing, really.”

She pulled away from his hand and closed the med kit, then laid her head beside his leg, crouching on the floor she placed her hands in her lap as she said softly, “You can inflict the same on me, I will not stop you.”

He twisted out of the bed, his legs going over her head then got up out of the bed. “I will only do what I think is right. What I think you deserve.”

She braced herself, clasping her hands tight, and her tail hitting the floor with an even beat as she waited with her head, face down on the bed.

Getting on his knees behind her he put his hands around her chest and drew her to him. He ignored her gasp and rubbed his head beside hers as he imagined she would like as he whispered. “I could never, ever hurt you out of vengeance, or malice. I don’t know how you were raised but if you hurt me and it was an accident that is all it is. To hurt you, is to hurt myself.”

She relaxed as she pulled her hands out from behind his arms so she could hold his arms to her as she whispered, “As you wish.”

He gave her a gentle squeeze before explaining, “If this happens again, if you treat me right away, there is nothing to worry about. Even if something worse were to happen, if it was an accident, there is no way I would hold it against you, do you understand that?”

With a pat on his arm she nodded, “I need to get up, and use the refresher room to relieve myself. I will think on it, and let you know if I understand it later.”

He let go, and got up, taking a step back to let her up before he answered, “Fair enough.”

As soon as the refresher door closed, his terminal chimed. He walked over to it, it said there was an incoming call, he walked over to his drawer and grabbed out his robe before he took the call. He did not know why she was calling now of all times.

On the screen was Monika, the women he left behind, her face was on the screen, “Thomas, I wanted to call you. I have decided I want to visit you there. There is a public gathering there in a few weeks for your graduation.”

With a sigh he rolled his eyes. “Why would you want to do that?”

She smiled, and answered, “I want to talk to you about getting back together.”

He did not know how to explain his situation to her, so he tried another tact. “Why would you want to do that? I thought I was clear when I left there. I need to spend all my time and energy on getting into Starfleet. I intend to become an officer, and I won’t even let you hold me back.”

Her hand tapped her cheek before answering, “I want to support you, not get in your way. You don’t have a girlfriend do you?”

With a roll of his eyes he answered, “No, of course not. I don’t have time for that.”

Her smile grew wide and she looked like she heard what she wanted to hear. She then said, “Than there is no reas…” She suddenly stopped, and her eyes were wide and looking beside him.

He turned and saw M’Sara standing there behind him, still naked.

M’Sara looked surprised as she said, “Oh dear, you are communicating with someone. I just wanted to see if you were ready to shower yet. I’ll go wait for you on our bed.”

He just knew this was going to add another complication to his life, not that he blamed her for it. It was just how his life always went. He turned back to face the terminal and Monika was staring at him, her mouth was open and her eyes were even wider.

After almost a minute she started to stammer, “Wha.. wha.. a Caitian?! Wha.. you.. her.. she…” She could not even make a sentence.

He sighed, oh great, he thought, he broke her. “Listen, I’m sure you are jumping to the wrong conclusion as you are apt to do.” After a breath he was interrupted.

Her face turned red and she started screaming at him, “You are sleeping with a Caitian! You left me for a cat! This can’t be happening! Have you lost your mind? What could you see in an alien covered in fur! She does not even have breasts! Hell if she had been wearing pants I could have thought she was a guy! You still like humans don’t you? Did something happen to you? I have to save you!” She reached towards the screen then it went blank.

He sat back in his chair with a huge sigh of resignation. He did not know what she was talking about, she had breasts they were just not full of fat like most human females were. They were built like an athlete they did not store fat on their bodies like humans did. That was all he needed. Why had she called him now, it was almost like he jinxed himself by thinking of his ex. Well he had his Federation history class today, how was he going to work that. He just thought about it for the first time. They never went over there schedules. They need to work something out. Putting Monika out of his mind he got up and walked over to where she was waiting on the bed.

She looked up at him as he approached, “It sounds like your friend is unhappy. Who is she?”

He stopped about one step away from her before he answered, “Someone I used to know from my home town. Her name is Monika, but I want to forget about her. She is not important.” He pointed first at her, then at himself, “We are.”

Her head tilted to the side, and her ears pointed at him. He could see the tip of her tail twitching as she said, “It did not sound like she feels the same way. In fact I think she has a thing for you, and I don’t like her one bit.”

Bending over, he placed his hands on her shoulders, and looked her in the eyes, “Look, if we are lucky, we will never hear or see from that person again. We need to worry about the now, not the past. You follow me?”

She nodded but remained silent.

He stood back up and clapped his hands together, “Good, do you have class today?”

Shaking her head she answered, “No, I only have the one we are in together. I have completed the rest of my classes already.”

Nodding he smiled, then said, “Well something worked out in my favor. That solves that issue, you will just need to take my other class with me. I’ll tell the instructor you need to be with me in class, it should not be a problem. I have an afternoon class today, after that we can get ready for our date.”

She stood up and walked past him towards the refresher as she said, “Alright, I’ll bring a PADD I can keep myself busy with.”

 

Chapter Seven

 

The door swished opened as they walked into the class room. His Federation History class was full of various different species from around all of Federation space. It was a required class for everyone at some point. He took it last because he thought it would be boring, and he was right, it did bore him to tears. It was in a large auditorium. It consisted mostly of lectures and quizzes, all very boring.

Walking beside him, was M’Sara, she pulled him down by the arm to whisper into his ear, “You did not tell me what class it was, I enjoyed this class allot, it was very entertaining. I will not mind sitting through it again.” She let him go when she was done.

He nodded but said nothing, as they walked down to where the professor was preparing for the days lecture. He already had allot of things on his mind and he cleared his throat before asking Dr. Abraham, “Excuse me mam, I need to inform you of something.”

Turning around to face them, she looked at them from over the top of her glasses. She was just a little shorter than average height, her hair was tied into a bun and mostly grey. She looked to be in her forties and not altogether unattractive. She was aging pretty well otherwise. She asked him, “Yes Cadet Thomas. What do you want?”

Nervously he answered her, “Well mam, I need to uhm. Is it alright if M’Sara joins me for class?”

Turning back around to write on the electronic white board, she finally said, “I’m aware of your condition. Please take a seat. I’m very busy.”

If he could count on one thing, other than a boring class, it was the instructor being short and to the point. He briefly wondered what it would be like to not have everyone communicating electronically and instantly. Having experienced some technology from the late twentieth century briefly must have made him think that. He remembered not everyone was connected back in ancient times. It must have been like living in the Wild West, he thought to himself.

With about thirty minutes left of the class the instructor was talking about a battle with the Klingons and how that in part drove to the formation of the UFP when an Andorian girl who was sitting on his other side from M’Sara, leaned over and asked him, “Is that your girlfriend? She is cute.”

She was average height but a little skinny for an Andorian. Her antennas slightly curved to the inside as they went through her white hair that was short cut and strait. Her skin blue like ice stood out against her snow white hair.

He turned to look at M’Sara her ear flicked towards the Andorian on the other side of him and back, but gave no other indication of a response. She was busy reading something on her PADD. He turned back to the girl again, he was not sure how to answer her so he just said, “Uh.” For once they were not holding hands, but his hand was resting on her bare thigh just past her skirt. She had suggest he do that sense she needed her hands to work the PADD.

With a smile the Andorian interrupted him, “If not, do you think she would be free after class?”

That got a reaction out of M’Sara, as she placed the PADD down onto the table, and leaned over in front of him with one hand on his leg right at the hip joint, the other on his thigh as he leaned back out of the way so she could to talk to her, “We are going on a date later, we will be at the 602 club tonight.” When she was done, she sat back up and taking her PADD off the table returned to where she left off.

The Andorian woman had left him alone after that, and the instructor went on about the disagreements between the scientist and the military of earth on how they should form what was to become the UFP. At the end, the instructor reminded everyone of the quiz for next week, and to make sure they studied up on everything she had covered the past two weeks. The instructor also wanted an essay about the formation of the UFP due next week.

Leaving the auditorium with the rest of the class they looked around and they were pretty much ignored by everyone else. They all looked to have their own things to worry about. He had only six more weeks of this before he graduated.

M’Sara with her ears up high, and her tail waving slowly from side to side pulled on his hand as she quickened her pace while she told him, “We are going to have lunch at the café on our floor.”

As he hurried up to catch up with her, he chuckled as he said, “I’m with you on that, we only have a few weeks to enjoy that.”

They entered the café, and looked around, it was mostly empty. They did not see anyone they knew. Walking over to the counter, they ordered from the barista who was waiting for them to order. She looked to be about their age, though she was a Bajoran, and that was unexpected. She was pretty with red hair that was cut short to the bottom of her ears.

He read the menu quickly then ordered, “I’ll have a triple large mocha espresso and one of your turkey sandwiches.”

She ordered next, “I’ll have small par’ctal please with a tuna on bread.”

With a smile and nod, she turned to create their drinks. With a mean sounding burst of steam she got started on his first. After a few minutes of standing by the counter he started looking around the place, sense it was the first time he was inside. It was a very quant place, with artwork on the walls of coffee beans and other things he did not recognize. They had what looked like stainless steel lamps that hung from the ceiling over each table, all the tables were the same and seated four. The tables were half black and half white, with matching seats with high backs that tapered at the top. The floor was a checkerboard of black and white as well. There were only a few other people in the place at this time.

Their attention was pulled away when she called out, “Your orders are ready, one mocha and sandwich, and one small par’ctal with a tuna sandwich.”

They took their drinks and plates from the counter, at once they both said, “Thank you.”

Sitting down on one side of one of the empty tables by the window with their meals they smiled at each other holding there drinks. All they could see was each other as they started to eat it would seem because they did not even notice the two that were standing next to them until one of them said something.

Lursa cleared her throat, “Mind if we join you two?”

Thomas smiled at her and Sam both, waving to the empty seats, “Please join us, won’t you?”

M’Sara just about bounced in her seat, her tail was slowly waving back and forth, and her ears pointed forward as she said with a slight purr, “Yes, you must sit with us, and enjoy our midday drinks with us.”

Sam laughed lightly as he sat down and put his food and drink on the table opposite of her as he said, “Gladly, I’m glad we ran into you two, it will be nice to get to know another couple here. I’m so very much looking forward to it.”

Beside him Lursa sat down too, putting her stuff down on the table in front of her, surprisingly it looked like human food and drink. She smiled at her leaning over towards M’Sara, they sat at opposite corners, and said, “Did you guys have fun last night, was he good to you on your newlywed night?”

M’Sara was just reaching for her Caitian cup, but her hand stopped, and she froze. Both Thomas and Sam were watching her. Her ears lowered as they turned slowly to the sides and out, but not down. Her tail started doing a twitchy wavy kind of thing, as it went to one side of her, then the other. Finally she answered, “I think you misunderstand. We do not intend on copulating any time soon, if you are referring to the ancient Human tradition after a marriage.”

Thomas cleared this throat, before saying, “Say Lursa, I would like to learn about you, you are as a puzzle to me, where are you from?”

Sitting back up and turning back to him she answered, “Oh, distracting me huh. I’ll allow it. Alright, I was raised on a human colony world Terra Nova. My adopted parents were Human, I was orphaned from Klingon and Human parents. They had died in battle against the Borg, they were members of Starfleet. That is where I met Sam when I was young, we grew up together there. We decided to join Starfleet together after we got married. I wanted to follow in my parents footsteps, and Sam wanted to follow his and me, and here we are in our last quarter. Now it is your turn.”

Looking over their uniforms, he noticed she was also in tactical, and he was a scientist. That answered some of his other questions, she was half Klingon raised by Humans on the first Human colony world. Now he understood why she did not act like other Klingons he had met here at the academy. She seems honest, and he decided to trust them. As he gave M’Sara a soft pat on the shoulder he said to Lursa, “She came from a Caitian colony world, I was raised here on Terra in a small town a few hundred miles north of here. We met in class but never got along at all. It was like two cargo vessels trying to go opposite directions while hauling the same cargo. So we avoided each other. That is until Tuesday. Something happened between us that linked us together. We are unable to remain separated for long, or we start to suffer for it. We were put together for medical reasons. We did not want to be together, it was forced on us. We are a couple now, even if we don’t’ want to be. Though I admit she is growing on me. I seem to be growing on her too, so it is not like we don’t like each other. We work together now better than I ever worked alone. We got our lab project done, that we had to do together, in hours, instead of days. In fact, that is what brought us together in the first place.”

They were all eating while he talked, so he thought he should eat too, after a few bites Sam asked him, “If you two didn’t get along, how come you two seem to get along so well now? Holding hands and such. You two don’t seem to be just tolerating each other.”

M’Sara having finished answered him, “True, I have grown fond of him, and he is of me, however it is as friends. We hold hands as much as we can out of necessity. We both feel an unpleasant buzzing in our heads if we are not touching. It gets inconvenient at times. It is not that I don’t mind holding his hand, I just don’t want to always hold it. Not to mention, as a Caitian, holding hands is not something we do in public. Any intimate interaction is done purely in private. To be honest I was not really raised like that, having been raised to live among Humans. I was raised knowing that however.”

Having finished he had to add his two cents, so Thomas grinned and said, “She does enjoy running around our room naked though, just the same.”

Lursa sat back in her chair and laughed while Sam sat there with his eyes widened some. They had also eaten there lunches by now.

M’Sara just looked confused, with her ears pointing to the sides of her head and said, “I don’t like wearing clothing because I’m covered in fur.” As soon as she was done saying that she kicked Thomas in the back of his calf with the pads of her feet under the table while she kept her confused expression.

He surprisingly said, “Ouch!” as he grabbed his leg under his chair, and started rubbing it then laughed lightly, his grin never leaving his face. She had not kicked him hard, it was more of nudge.

Lursa reached across the table and placed her hand over M’Sara’s that was resting on the table as she said, “You two really do make a good couple, and I know I’m going to enjoy being friends with you both.” Letting go of her hand she took her drink and consumed the rest of its contents as she sat back in her seat.

M’Sara with her ears half turned out and partly out to the sides, looking mischievous turned her head to look at him beside her, and he was watching her back. They sat like that for a few seconds, her eyes running up and down him before she said, “He is alright, for a Human.”

He grinned back at her, and told her, “She are alright, for a Caitian.”

They returned to their room to relax before there date later tonight. Leading her into their room he did not see her disrobe behind him. He was thinking about how nice the other odd couple was when he was surprised to see her sit in his lap naked except her underpants as she hugged him. He could feel her moist nose sniffing the side of his neck.

He chuckled, petting her behind her ears as he asked, “What are you doing?” He had to admit he was a little embarrassed.

Lifting her head back to look at him as she answered with a deep purr, “You said we were to relax, and I am relaxing with you.”

Just then, there terminal chimed, and the computer said, “Incoming subspace call for M’Sara from Captain R’Tar of the USS Darmstadt.”

She jumped up as she excitingly said, “Why would my father be calling me now?”

He just watched, remaining silent and staying in the couch, then blinked at her as the thought, did he hear her right?

She hurried to the terminal, sitting in front of it she said, “Computer, accept incoming call.”

On the display appeared an older male Caitian with black fur, he had no head hair, just fur but there was some grey in his fur around his chin. In the background there were visible stars striping the window from side to side of the captain’s ready room.

She waited for him to start, then he said, “It has been too long, my little one. How is life on Terra treating you?”

She looked embarrassed with her ears folding beside her head as she answered, “Father, please, I’m grown now. I’m fine, but my life has become complicated.” She had always been honest and upfront with her father. She was not going to change that now, however she was not going to dump it all at once either, she needed to build up her courage.

On the display he moved closer and his ears pointed forward in interest. “You will always be my little one, even if you were to have grandkids. I’m glad you are doing well. I called to inform you that I’ll be arriving in time for your graduation. In fact, I’ll be there early, giving my crew some leave time. Your mother misses you too, she would be here on the call too, but she has the con.” He tapped his chin as he often did when he was in thought, then continued, “Now what is this you said about a complicated life?”

She waved for Thomas to join her, then said, “Father, this is Thomas, we are bonded.” She changed her mind and decided to just dump it on him.

On the display her father raised an eyebrow, “That name sounds Human. Did you say bonded?”

When he got into view behind her he became silent, his ears remaining forward as he sat back and stroked his chin and for a few seconds before prompting them, “Explain.”

Licking her muzzle, her ears lowered as she typed some commands into the terminal, sending their medical records directly to him. When that was sent, she started to explain, “I have bonded to a human father and there is no changing that. I’ve sent you both our medical records so you can read the details.”

Even through the display her father radiated a commanding air about him. He knew nothing about him, but he was going to look up his public records as soon as he could after this call. She never mentioned anything about her father, that he captained a Federation starship is a big thing to just not tell someone. He put his arm around her shoulders, and he felt her relax, and even her father could see that over subspace.

With a soft sigh, he leaned in on the display and told her, “Don’t think your mother and I will not require a meeting with your new bond mate. We will be arriving in three weeks.” He reached up then the screen went blank.

He took a step back from her as she slumped in the chair. His knees got week, and he fell on his butt as the room began to spin. Moving his hand to his forehead he finally was able to say something in a voice that sounded a bit high to him, “You don’t think you could have mentioned your father was a captain of a starship in Starfleet the past few days? That is a big thing to just skip over.” He felt like his life was going down the drain hole, more like a singularity. Was he going to get him kicked out of Starfleet for bonding with his daughter? He did not look happy at all. He just knew he was going to get blamed for ruining his daughter’s life. His father was just an engineer at a civilian shuttle manufacturing plant. Even though he took after his father, he did not even want his son in Starfleet, but he did not fit with the rest of his family. Starfleet had become his way to get off this crazy planet, to get far away from his family, to do some good in and for the galaxy. He had made it his life goal, and now that was in jeopardy.

She had moved to the floor to kneel on her toes before him, she wrapped her arms around his back. Her ears were droopy, and her tail was limp as she leaned in sliding her muzzle beside his cheek, rubbing it. With her mouth right beside his ear she whispered, “Now you understand the pressure I’m under. What standards I have to live up to. The fear I felt for how my family would react to the news of my situation. It is not like it would have made any difference if I had told you all about it.”

After a moment of thought, he wrapped his arms around her too. He liked the feel of her soft fur over her back under his hands. They remained like that while he thought how she may feel, she would have to feel his wrath as well. He also thought about M’Lar, is that why she seemed so worried as well? He had no idea what it was like to live under such pressure.

Knocked out of their thoughts the door chimed, followed by the intercom, “It’s me M’Lar.”

She remained as she was, against him and with a twist of her head said, “Computer, open door.”

With a swish the door opened, and he watched her enter, and with another swish the door closed behind her. She stopped with her hands on her hips right beside them, and her ears forward, with her tail swishing back and forth she asked, “What is going on? I came to talk to my friend and I find you in his arms.”

She hugged him tighter, before telling her, “My father just called me, the call had just ended.” She said it as if that explained everything to her.

M’Lar took the chair from the desk and sat down, “Why would R’Tar call you now? Did something happen to F’elu? What did he want?”

He answered for her, “Her father is going to be here in three weeks. He knows about me and our situation, and he did not seem happy at all. I of course knew nothing about him being the Captain of a starship.”

M’Lar looked at him with her arms crossed, her ears still facing forward, but her tail barely moved now, as she gently whispered, “I see.” She uncrossed her arms then reached out and placed her hand on her shoulder, giving it a squeeze before she told her, “I’m here for you. You are like family to me, my only family. I have always been grateful of your aunt and uncle taking me in after my family was gone. We grew up like sisters, and that is not going to change, even if you did chose to take a human as a mate, it would not mater to me.”

She remained with her toes into the rug behind her, she let go of him with one arm and took her hand from her shoulder and pulled her down off the chair, when she landed on her knees, she took M’Sara in her arms from behind her. M’Lar nuzzled her then looked at him, before reaching  over too pat him on the shoulder then telling him, “I’ll accept you into the family too. You are likely going to need my support to make it through this, both of you will.”

It has been about an hour now sense M’Lar left, she had some things to do before getting ready to meet them at the 602 club. He had spent about the last hour brushing M’Sara’s fur, it has been helping her relax as well as making it shine almost like it was wet. Examining the brush he noticed not much fur was in it, not any more than one would have if he brushed his head. She was laying on her back and he had just got done brushing down her legs and feet. He grinned as he remembered brushing from her chest to her waist and it amused him, because it made her squirm.

She had picked out an outfit to wear, one of four that is not a uniform. The other three were tee shirts and skirts. This one was a loose fitting halter top that ended just above her belly with a miniskirt. The top was a midnight blue with just a little red in it, so that it was an extremely dark purple with black stripes going across the bottom back, then curving up the middle of each her breasts to the top of the low neck line that had a v cut to it. The skirt was black with matching purple stripes that went around the top of the back, then curved down at the front. Like all her skirts it had a double fold in the back for her tail.

She looked to have dozed off, as he had to shake her by the shoulder to rouse her, “It is time to get ready.”

She yawned with a huge wide open mouth, giving him a great view of her large pointy teeth before getting up. As she put on her outfit, he put on his, a black tee shirt with skulls on it that looked like they were painted, and a pair of dark blue loose leg jeans. Looking at her he thought she looked great in her outfit.

He smiled at her, “You look great, you ready? I am.”

Nodding she grabbed his hand, and headed for the door.

Walking into the club hand in hand he stopped, so his eyes could adjust to the darkness and she stopped too, waiting for him. Music was playing in the background, it was not too loud, they were considerate of species that had better hearing than humans, such as Vulcans and Caitians to name to name a few. The purple neon sign that was the 602 club, as purple was allot of the decor. It all went well with her outfit. Near the back was an area where people could dance to the music.

She waited a few seconds than took him with her as she walked further inside, looking around the club for them as her ears swiveled around as well searching with her eyes for a hint of their new friends. After just a few seconds she spotted Lursa and Sam, sitting at the corner booth, the club was about half full but it was still early. Pulling on his arm to get his attention, she pointed for him, then they headed to the table their friends were waiting at.

As they sat down, Sam half stood up in his seat, took each of one of their hands in one of his. “I’m glad to see you guys, we just got here ourselves!” Then he let go and sat back down as they did too.

Lursa watched them sit before telling M’Sara, “I love your outfit it goes so well with your blue eyes, sets them on fire.”

M’Sara smiled back to her with her eyes, and her ears perked up she replied, “Thank you, I like your red shirt, it goes well with your skin color.”

Lursa was wearing a silky red shirt of Klingon fashion with a pair of very Terrain looking rock-washed tight fitting blue jeans. Sam was wearing a tan V-neck polo shirt with black slacks.

Not soon after they arrived at the table a waitress showed up to take their order. She was Human that looked to be in her twenties, and just over average height, with blond long hair, and a narrow face. She asked them in a silky voice, “What can I get you?”

M’Sara started with her order, “I’ll have a Tongue Tickler with a Tra’mart please.”

Lursa went next, “I’ll take a rum and cola with your beef curry dish please.”

Thomas next ordered, “I’m in the mood for a rum and cola as well with your chicken curry dish and some steamed rice please.”

Lastly Sam ordered, “I would like a Screwdriver with your beef stroganoff dish.”

With the waitress taking there order on her PADD, she looked up after she was done entering it in and informed them with her silky voice, “Your order will be up soon. Thank you.”

As soon as the waitress was gone Thomas leaned over and asked them, “I don’t even know what you two are taking as your profession.”

Sam answered first, “I’m studying geology as my major. My wife is going to be a security officer.”

Thomas sat back and put his hand up to his chin, he looked to be in thought. M’Sara placing her hand on his arm, using it to pull herself closer to them leaned in to tell him, “We are both majoring in warp physics. Other than that we don’t have much in common. Even so I enjoy learning more about him every day.”

Thomas gently pated her hand on his arm, and added, “Just as I enjoy learning more about her. Would you believe she knows more about some late twentieth century Terrain history than I do? She has made a holosuite program with a bit of history in it, she showed it to me. I found it fascinating as well what they did for entertainment in days long past. You have to see it for yourselves and experience it too really understand.”

Lursa nodded listening, with a small grin on her face she looked at her as he talked. Sam looked surprised and told him, “I would like to see that some time.”

He answered, “We would enjoy having you both we could make it a party even, enough room for more than a few people.” To himself he muttered under his breath, “I wonder what Matt would think of it.”

M’Sara answered quietly to him, “Your Vulcan friend may find it of interest, only one way to find out.”

He nodded and said quietly back, “Lets setup a date, the six of us for next week later. We just have to talk M’Lar into coming too.”

That was when the servers arrived at their table with their food and drinks carried on trays. One of them announced, “Your meals have arrived.”

They sat back in there chairs, and waited for them to fill there table with food and drink. After a minute, they left, leaving behind what they ordered placed before them. They ate in relative silence, as they all were pretty hungry. M’Sara’s meal was very rare strips of what looked a little like beef covered in some kind of spicy smelling sauce that had some kind of small seeds in it.

It smelled pretty good to him, he may have to try some he thought, so he paused drank some water, then asked her, “Hey, mind if I try a piece?”

She looked at him, her ears perked, and then she took the half a piece she had bit off, and held her fork out to him. He leaned over and took it into his mouth and the sauce was spicy and like syrup. The meat was tangy, very tender, and it was not beef. It tasted rather good all together. “You know, that is really good. I’ve never tasted anything quite like that. Thank you.”

Nodding she informed him, “My aunt used to make it for me all the time, it is my favorite Caitian dish. It is not bad, not as good as she made it, but not bad.” She then went back to eating, as he did.

After he got done eating, he took a sip of his drink. He did not indulge in alcoholic beverages very often, hardly ever in fact. He loved the taste of rum with cola though. He noticed the song that started playing was one he liked. He also noticed she was also done eating and watching him while she lapped at her drink.

He told them loud enough for all for all of them to hear, “We are going to hit the dance floor, I like this song.”

Getting up he walked over beside her chair taking her hand he asked her, “Join me for a dance?”

She hopped out of her chair and answered, “Of course, be careful not to be overwhelmed by my mad skill-zaz.” Then she followed him out to an open area where he turned to face her.

He bent down and asked, “Was that a word from your native tongue?”

She laughed but did not answer him, and started dancing instead. He had no choice but to join in, she took his hands in hers, and they danced to something that sounded like trance-dubstep. He really liked the old classic music. As they danced he hardly took his eyes off her, it was like they were there alone together, yet in a small crowed of people that mostly went unnoticed. She was extremely light on her feet, it was like she was floating and she had such a good sense of rhythm too, such that he wondered if she danced in her free time as well. He soon noticed there friends on the dance floor too, not far off from them. There were only a few other couples dancing at the same time as they were.

When the song ended, she threw decorum to the wind and leaped into his arms, he had no choice but to catch her as she had a hold of him around his neck and her feet pads were on his knees so he did not need to bend over. She nuzzled the side of his face as she told him, “Oh that was very fun, I enjoyed that very much. Thank you. I’m going to take a break. Should let the food settle.”

She slid down back to the ground, and led him back to their seats. After he sat down between breaths he took a sip of his drink, that was some really good rum, he thought. As he was setting his glass back on the table he felt a weight on his shoulder.

He turned to look and someone he did not know had placed his hand on it, so he asked, “Can I help you?” The stranger was a Human and looked to be in his thirties, and he smelled of strong alcohol. He was wearing lose jeans and a plaid green and red shirt that fit on an average build, average height. His face was not pleasant to look at though.

The stranger asked him, “You be awful friendly with that cat lady mister. Don’t you like your own kind or somet’n?”

All he could do was look confused at him, because he did not understand what he was asking. Though it did not help that the guy sounded like he had too much to drink.

The stranger prompted, “Are you one o’dem freaks that be sleep’n with farm animals?” He chuckled then added, “You got kids runn’n around asking for their da-aa-aad” He stretched out that last word, attempting to make it sound like a lamb.

He could not understand why this stranger was bothering them, so he asked, “Sir, please, me and my mate are here to enjoy ourselves. It would be in your best interest if you left us alone.”

The stranger chuckled, then turned to face another table of what could be his friends as he told him loud enough to carry across the room, “Hey I’ll be garsh darned if I wasn’t right, he does be sleep’n with farm animals!” His words were only slightly slurred as he spoke. His friends got up and soon joined him at the table as he turned back to face him, two other young men who likely have been out drinking with him staggered over.

Looking around he noticed others were taking interest in the spectacle. He could hear her growling beside him and he did not look, but by the look on the strangers face he bet she was showing her teeth in a snarl. In fact he would bet that they were civvies here looking to pick up some young cadets to impress with their wiles. Along with that he would make a side bet they have yet to succeed.

As he debated what to do the stranger told one of the new arrivals, “That cat is his wife or somet’n. Could you imagine their kids, freakish cat people or some god forsaken thing?”

His friend answered, “That is against nature Billy Jo and it be unnatural. He be ruin’n marriage I say! We’ll got to do something!”

Billy Jo looked surprised, and turned around and almost lost his balance then he heard Lursa behind them, “Excuse me, is there some reason you are bothering our friends here?”

Billy Jo tried to back up but ran into the table, he lost his balance again, but his friends helped him back on his feet, “We don’t want any trouble with no bump-head.”

Thomas saw her pleasant mask drop, and looking dead serious as she said in a low voice, “You fellas want to leave now. You won’t like me when I’m angry.”

His other friend who remained silent all this time pleaded, “Billy Jo, we should go. I heard that a bump-head could rip your head off without a second thought.”

Thomas added to that, “My Klingon friend is in security too, so I’m sure she knows more than one way to do that as well.”

Billy Jo nodded his head, and slid out from beside the table and led his friends away as he told them, “Let’s make like a tree… And get out of here.”

Thomas watched them go, finding M’Sara’s shoulder he put his arm around her and pulled her towards him. She let him, and leaned against his side putting her arms around his mid-section.

Lursa put a hand on his shoulder as she said, “Well that was unpleasant. What was that all about, I wonder? I’ve never seen them around before, and I hope I never see them again.”

He shrugged then patted her hand as he told her, “I have no idea. I feel a little sad that there are still people living as if they are still in ancient times. One would think people would not seek out ignorance because something exists they don’t like. From what I understand humanity has been that way for as long as there is recorded history.”

She patted his shoulder, then said, “Yeah, I’ve read some of your history, it is truly messed up. M’Sara you sure got your hands full. I know mine are full, over full even.” Taking her hand away she slid it around Sam who had appeared beside her, and pulled him close. “I have my own you know, but one thing I’ve learned is for all his faults, I would not change him for the world.” She smiled, turning and kissed him soundly, holding him close. Sam had shown up at some point after they left but had not noticed when.

Thomas looked away, and turned back to the table, picking up his drink he took a slow sip, and thought about M’Sara. He likes her just the way she is, fur and all. It is not like he can change it even if he wanted to. He likes having excitement in his life that is why he joined Starfleet in the first place. His interest in singularities is what led him to be an engineer, not Starfleet.

He put his drink down, turned to M’Sara and she was watching him, licking her lips, her hands just letting go of the bowl that looked like a large Japanese tea cup her drink was in. Placing his arm around her gently he hugged her again while he told her, “I like you just the way you are. When we get back to our room, I want to get even closer to you. I want to know what makes you tick.” He did not know if it was the alcohol that was loosening him up, or why he said that, but it was too late now to take back.

She blinked at him as he sat back up, letting her go she nodded slowly, just once but said nothing. Turning her head back to the table, she quickly took her drink in her hands and lapped at the rest of it in a manner that said she was not taking her time. When she was done, she placed it back on the table, reached to the center, and laid her hand on the call button.

Lursa and Sam were back out on the dance floor, out of sight for the moment. When the waitress arrived she asked, “What can”

M’Sara interrupted her, “Another Tongue Tickler please.”

The waitress looked surprised, but took it in stride, “I’ll be right back with your drink.” She took some of the unused plates and drink containers with her as she left the table.

M’Sara got up out of her chair, and padded over to his side, taking his hand in hers she told him, “We are going to dance some more.”

He got up and followed her out on the floor, they found some open space. It was getting more crowded in the club too, so it was not as easy as last time. The music that was playing now sounded like some kind of trance-dubstep it even sounded like it had a violin in it. He found it quite enjoyable, and she seemed to like it too. She looked happy with her ears up, her tail curved up and waiving slightly. They circled each other, taking each other’s hands as they lifted them up in the air, then let go, moved back, circled, moved closer, and repeating it with variations. Her body moved as if it were liquid, he was entranced by her beauty. It did not matter to him anymore that she was not human, she was a wonderful person and he was finding her attractive. Maybe, he thought, it will not be so bad after all being stuck with her for the rest of his life.

After the second song they danced to, they strolled back to their table, Lursa, and Sam where already there, enjoying themselves, they both had another drink. M’Sara and Thomas sat in their seats, and they looked over at Lursa and Sam, smiling wide, and they smiled back.

Lursa put her drink down, “You two looked to be enjoying yourselves. I was worried that jerk and his friends had ruined your night. I’m relieved to see it was not.”

Thomas took a drink before saying anything, and M’Sara watched him as he answered, “They are not worth giving a second thought about. Yeah, I think if anything I feel better about how my life has changed in the past few days. What I mean is, I feel even closer to M’Sara now and I want to get even closer to her.”

Sam put his arm around Lursa, and added, “Living with your wife, life partner, or whatever you want to call it is a big change from living your life just for yourself. Everything you do you have to consider how it will affect the one you love.” He paused and looked over at his wife, then back before continuing, “I think after we finish our drinks we are going to head back to our room for some alone time.”

He smiled back at him and answered, “We are going to do the same. It has been a busy day.”

The four of them exited the elevator now on the third floor of their dorm building, then turned to each other in the hall way.

Lursa stepped over to M’Sara bend over and gave her a hug. Her tail went out in surprise, but she did not try to stop her, or object to it. She looked over at Thomas and gave him a hug too, and he hugged her back.

Sam waiting his turn, did the same, but when he hugged Thomas they patted each other’s backs. M’Sara was not so surprised, and gave him a little hug back. She was either getting used to Human behavior or Thomas was rubbing off on her.

Walking down the hall way Thomas did not stop until after he heard the door he was walking by open, remembering that it was his room, he turned and back tracked.

M’Sara running into him as he did she muttered, “Omph.” Then she followed him in giggling, though her giggle sounded like a quick purr-cough.

He had to smile at her as he softly asked, “Are you a funny drunk?” He assumed she was giggling.

M’Sara went to the closet and hung up her outfit after she took it off. The only time she seemed to care about her clothing. As she did another short giggle escaped her, as she answered, “I don’t know, I’ve never drank any intoxicating drinks before.”

He just realized the buzzing in his head was gone and they were standing about a meter apart. He happily said, “Hey, the buzzing in my head is gone!”

She padded over to him, now naked, and nodded, “It is for me as well. However I still want to be near you.”

He leaned over, petting her cheek as he softly said, “I want that too.”

As he was bent over she reached to the bottom of his shirt and lifted up on it, he helped her take it off as she told him, “I will have you be comfortable with me.” Next she undid his pants fasteners and pulled them down, letting them fall to the ground, he stepped out of them as she pulled down on his shorts, and he did not stop her. “Now you should feel better, be free from your clothing!” After she said that she started to giggle and got down on all fours, and then started to bound around there suite.

He shrugged and picked up his shirt and pants, and hung them up as well in the closet as she enjoyed herself, whatever she was doing. He was somehow not bothered at being unclothed, maybe she was right. Sitting on the couch watching her run one more loop, before she skidded to a stop, then she turned and leaped a good two meters onto the couch. She landed right beside him, turned and laid down with her head on the arm rest, her feet in his lap.

She smiled up at him, and giggled again before asking him, “Now you tell me more about yourself. Open up to me, please, I want to know more about you.”

He smiled a little and reached over and gave her tummy a soft rub, and she laid her hand over his as he did so he left it there. He looked around the room before turning back to look at her, in the eyes before he started, “That is only fair. I’ll tell you something, and if it bores you, you have only yourself to blame.”

Her ears perked up as she patted his hand, her tail going out as she turned her hips to point outwards enough for her tail to give it freedom so it could wave in the air, almost hypnotically before she told him, “I’m ready.”

Watching her tail he started, “As I was growing up, as I was in my last years of school, about sixteen, I met Monika. We hung out, and went to do things together. That was all fine and good until after school was out, she wanted to get into a serious relationship. I got my own place, working at my father’s company, I was starting my own life. I did that while I worked on getting accepted into Starfleet. She wanted to move in with me, and I said she could. One day I got home, and I found a file on the terminal, it was a wedding planner. I had no idea, so I opened it and it was for her and me. I was like, wait, what? I never asked her, and she never asked me if I wanted to do that. She just started planning for it on her own. I confronted her with it later, and explained she was going too far, too fast. I was not ready for doing that with her, or anyone. I had my future Starfleet carrier to think about. I was not going to stay and work for my father for the rest of my life. So I told her it was not working out, and she should leave. I was going to be leaving soon anyway.”

Pausing there he looked at her to see if she was still listening, and surprisingly she was. “That pretty much catches you up with that ordeal. You will be better prepared if she happens to insert herself into my life again.”

As she gently touched his arm softly she said, “Thank you.”

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