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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Koh'Pahti, Part 3

Posted on Wed Dec 1, 2021 @ 1:06am by Staff Warrant Officer Rayland Pierce

Mission: What Came Before: Season One Flashbacks
Location: USS John Brown's Body, Klingon Space
Timeline: Mission Day 2386 at 0140

"What is this sehlat shit?"

Ray looked over at the lieutenant, who had an incredibly grumpy frown on his face. He was standing in the center of the shuttle bay, arms crossed and looking like he wanted to go back to his nerd hole to find a heavy book to smack someone with.

"Sehlat shit?" Ray repeated.

"It's a common Romulan pet. Like a small bear, fluffy, big fangs."

"I know what a sehlat is, sir. I'm not one hundred percent ignorant of the universe, although I'm pretty sure it's a Vulcan pet."

The lieutenant huffed. "A common pet in Vulcan-originated cultures, is that better? My family has one. Senator Prelak gave her to us as a gift when I was little. There was only one implanted listening device, which is basically just pro forma."

"Sometimes, el-tee, I think you had a more screwed up childhood than I did."

"My childhood was fine. I was raised in the center of one of the great interstellar civilizations, surrounded by art, high cuisine, and fine culture. They were very welcoming. No one even tried to assassinate me." The lieutenant paused. "Well, only once, but that was because I was dining with the ambassador when her wine was poisoned."

"I think I'll settle for some bluegrass and whiskey without any neurotoxins."

Faulkner turned to the hangar chief. "Chief Tomek, what's going on with this pod?"

Their insertion pod was sitting in the middle of the shuttlebay. It was sleak, like an oversized quantum torpedo, and so deeply black it hurt to look at except for where the entry hatch was popped open. Said hatch and interior were also much smaller than expected.

Tomek, a Tellarite woman, shrugged. "What about it?"

"It's not the one we trained on."

"The starbase's industrial replicator was having trouble with the stealth coating," she replied. "Luckily, Tomek has a cousin who could get one from the Tellar Sky Assault Corps, surplus from the war. It's just as good for handling these old Klingon scanners."

"Far be it from me to complain," Faulkner said, "but have you noticed that we are both significantly taller than the average Tellarite?"

She shrugged. "It's not my fault that you people grow the wrong direction. It's also a you problem, not a me problem. Get in, our launch window is coming up."

Faulkner sighed and squeezed into the pod. Ray followed, shimmying his legs in first and then laying down to fit the rest of the way. He shifted around some more as he tried to find a positon where he could fit in next to Faulkner without the other man's bulk squishing him into the cabin wall.

"So is that your phaser," Ray asked, "or are you just happy to see me?"

"It's my phaser," the lieutenant confirmed. "You're pressing it into my balls, which is ten kinds of problematic."

"Hold up, let me try to move it." He wiggled back a little and squeezed his hand between them. "Hmm."

"Yeah, that's not my phaser."

"How about now?"

"Much better."

The hatch clanged shut, leaving them sealed in darkness lit only by a tiny holographic display in front of where their faces should have been if they could have laid down properly. There was a slight jostle as a tractor beam picked the pod up and lobbed it into space. All they had to do now was wait for five or six hours and hope they didn't burn up on reentry.

"So is this a bad time to mention I had beans for lunch?" Ray asked.

"There are no words in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men to describe how much I despise you."

There was another pause as Ray processed that. "Did you just misquote Tolkien at me?"


"You did!" Maybe this lieutenant wasn't as bad as he seemed. "So which theatrical adaptation is your favorite? I'm a big fan of the 2130 Broadway version of the Fall of Gondolin."


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