The Work of Beginning

Characters: Klevetati Yoshino

The sentiment of justice is so natural, and so universally acquired by all mankind,
that it seems to be independent of all law, all party, all religion.
– Voltaire

Yoshino awoke to the sensation of something cool and wet across her nose. Blinking, she lifted Kuri up and clear of her face. The cat purred as Yoshino sat up, then bounded up her mistress’ chest, rubbing her nose and face into Yoshino’s again.

“All right, Kuri-chan, enough,” she murmured, settling the cat into her lap and scratching behind her ears. “I know I haven’t paid you enough attention the past few days, but it’s not my fault.”

Mollified, Kuri purred louder, moving her front paws against Yoshino’s leg in a rhythmic kneading motion. “I know what your problem is. You’re spoiled. While we were in dock, you had me all to yourself,” Yoshino said, smiling. She waited several minutes before scooping the cat up and depositing her back on the futon, and heading off to dress and check for her messages.

She found a report from Darion, covering additional calls for help from the Abbai, updates from several of the ongoing relief operations, but nothing as yet from either Kim or the Abbai authorities on Sephrin’s Tributes, as she’d come to call them. Disappointing, but she had to remind herself it hadn’t really been all that long.

Kuri’s steady bumping against her knees was becoming increasingly insistent, so Yoshino grabbed the harness, put the cat into it, and headed for the mess hall with her porta-comp under one arm and a delighted Kuri in tow.

A little later, she settled at a table with two bowls of steamed rice and a pot of green tea. She set one bowl on the floor for Kuri. As the cat contentedly munched away, Yoshino began composing her report.

 To: Anla'shok Captain Terry Hale
 Subject: Current status of Abbai operations
 
 Captain:
 
 We had anticipated a difficult situation in the Abbai system, and were 
 hopeful, though uncertain, of the Abbai peoples' willingness to accept 
 our help.  I must now inform you that our welcome has not only been most 
 warm and friendly, but that we have received more requests for 
 investigation and assistance than we can simultaneously answer.
 
 We have done our best to assign priority to incoming requests, and the 
 most urgent needs -- for food, water purification systems, medical 
 supplies, and the like -- are being seen to.  Science, Medical, and 
 Quartermaster divisions are taking the lead on this, calling in 
 assistance as needed.
 
 Medical is also investigating reports of outbreaks of banta flu, zorder 
 fever, and Blisshoss virus.
 
 Security has been establishing contacts planetside, which should provide 
 us with much useful information as we begin to deal with what appears to 
 be an out-of-control criminal expansion, touching on most areas of 
 Abbai's daily life.
 
 Anla'shok Matsumoto and myself are investigating the theft of a set of 
 cultural artifacts from one Abbai village.  If we are fortunate, we will 
 be able to recover them before the set is broken up and sold off-planet.
 
 Anla'shok Ayeshalan is following up on our initial encounter with 
 raiders, in hopes of discovering how they came to be much better 
 equipped than we would have expected them to be.
 
 Following are several reports and requests for assistance which we have 
 received but which still need to have personnel assigned.
 
 Five children from an upland village have disappeared while shepherding 
 their village's flocks of hissoshee.  Their families suspect they have 
 been kidnapped by slavers.
   
 There have been a rash of drug overdose deaths in Qbru'kiwis City, one 
 of the larger urban centers on the planet.  Local officials suspect 
 some new "designer drugs" or possibly a particularly bad batch of dust, 
 but they have no leads on where the drugs may be coming from.
 
 A mining outpost in the southern polar region reports they are 
 practically being held hostage by a small but particularly aggressive 
 group of raiders.  The miners are for the moment holding off their 
 attackers, but their supplies of food, water and ammunition are all 
 running low.
 
 I believe any of our crew, regardless of nominal department, would be 
 quite capable of investigating these situations.  There are further 
 reports coming in, almost hourly.  Our work here is just beginning; yet 
 we have the potential to make the difference between contentment and 
 great suffering for everyone on this planet.
 
 Respectfully submitted, 
 Anla'shok Klevetati Yoshino
 Operations Manager, ISA Phoenix

Copyright © 2000 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.