Characters: Roland DeVries, Klevetati Yoshino
In the Phoenix’s fighter bay, DeVries and T’rar were finally getting the chance to repair the damage to Storm One. Underneath the fighter, DeVries could hear the footsteps of his Narn companion as he entered the cockpit.
A moment later, hunched over in the cockpit, T’rar let out a startled cry.
DeVries slid out from under the fighter. “What?!” He was answered by a loud yowling.
“What in the name of Valen? T’rar?” He went up the ladder. “Look, we need to get this done and –” T’rar turned, cradling something in his arms. “What is that?”
The look on T’rar’s face said clearly, What do you think it is? The cat, white with russet patches throughout its fur, meowed at him. It was clearly frightened, had several cuts and a badly broken foreleg.
“Yes…I know it’s a cat. Question is…where’d it come from?” T’rar stroked the cat, who managed a weak, rusty-sounding purr. “No, you can’t take it home. You know I’m allergic to those things.”
T’rar managed a hand gesture. “I don’t think they included stray cats in the ‘care for all life’ stuff at the Ranger school. And how do you know that? You never went?”
Klevetati Yoshino entered the fighter bay, carrying a porta-comp to record the status of repairs on the Phoenix’s fighter squadrons. She could have done it from the Bridge, but staying there hurt too much. She’d tried to adjust the internal sensors in hopes of locating Kuri, but it was no good. Either the sensors were too badly damaged to function at that level, or her friend was gone. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to stop the tears from coming again.
She checked in with Shan, who had nearly finished repairs on Desell One. From across the bay, she could hear the agitated voice of Roland DeVries, and moved in that direction to see what the problem might be.
T’rar and DeVries’ discussion was rising in volume — DeVries’ part of it, anyway. The cat lifted her head and nuzzled his hand. “Why do these things always go to the one that doesn’t like animals?” he moaned.
“Anla’shok DeVries? Is something the matter?” Yoshino asked as she approached.
“Anla’shok Yoshino. Well … just T’rar here being the Narn equivalent of St. Francis,” DeVries replied, jerking his thumb over a shoulder.
Yoshino looked. She stopped short, the porta-comp falling from her hand with a loud bang on the deckplates. “Kuri? Kuri-chan?”
“Kuri? You know this … well…” DeVries barely dodged out of the way as Yoshino went by at full speed, skidding to a stop in front of T’rar.
“Where did you find her?” she asked, her features suddenly twisted by worry as she saw the cat’s injuries. T’rar gently handed her over, his hands weaving signs once they were free. Yoshino carefully made a sling of her sleeves for her, and looked first to T’rar then to DeVries.
“In the cockpit, he says,” DeVries translated, turning toward Yoshino. “He seems to think she found her way in here after the attack and all.”
Yoshino nodded, blinking away tears. “She must have gotten out of my quarters before the hull breach. It looks like …. something must have fallen on her. I’ve got to take her to Medlab.”
T’rar wove another gesture. “He wants to know if he can come along,” DeVries said.
“Of course, of course,” she said, turning to the Narn and thanking him in his own language — a passable effort at it, at the least. “Thank you both,” she added to DeVries. “You have no idea what she means to me.”
He moved aside to let T’rar down the boarding ladder, murmuring, “You old softie.”
T’rar answered him with a half concealed gesture that needed no translation.
“Yeah, Pal … you’re still Number One with me too. Get going, you two.”
Yoshino had already started across the deck. “Anla’shok DeVries? Could I ask just one more favor of you?”
He looked confused. “Yeah..sure. Anything.”
She nudged her dropped porta-comp with a toe. “Could you please call up to Darion on the bridge and ask him to finish up for me? Tell him I found Kuri and he’ll understand.”
He picked it up. “Sure.” He looked back at Storm One. “I need a break from this thing anyway.”
Yoshino bowed her head as best she could. “Domo arigato,” she said, then hurried away, trying to her burden steady.
DeVries bowed also, rising to see T’rar grinning. “Will you get off that already?” he said to the Narn.
Copyright (C) 1998 Jamie Lawson and Smith Self. All rights reserved.