Author: Alan Decker
Star Traks: The Lost Years #4
There were days that Captain Alexander Rydell wondered if it was worth all the hassle of being a starship captain. This was one of them.
“You have just about single-handedly destroyed our entire culture!” the woman on the viewscreen bellowed. She was a dog. No, seriously. She was dog. Okay, okay. She was a member of a canine-esque species. Better?
In any case, the dog-woman was beyond pissed.
“The Sacred Bone of Schnauzer only reappears above our world once in a millennium!”
“Look,” Captain Rydell said, trying to remain diplomatic. “Some giant rock came at my ship from out of nowhere. We blew it up. I’m sorry.”
“You will rue this day, Rydell.”
“Rue? Come on. Who the hell says ‘rue’?”
“ME!” Dog-woman screamed, slamming a button on her ship’s control panel.
“Captain, the Caninian cruiser is firing!” Lieutenant Commander Patricia Hawkins shouted from tactical. Before her words finished echoing across the bridge, the ship was bathed in a blast of green light. Then, as suddenly as it came, it vanished.
“Everyone all right?” Rydell asked, subtly checking himself to make sure no vital parts had been vaporized without him noticing.
“No damage,” Hawkins reported.
“No casualties either,” Lieutenant Andrea Carr said as she checked the reports scrolling across her operations console.
“Actually, there does not seem to have been any effect at all,” Commander Jaroch reported from the science station.
Rydell turned his attention back to the angry woman on the viewscreen. “Um…thanks for the light show, but I don’t see how…”
“RUE!” she screamed, then closed the channel. Her image was quickly replaced by that of her ship, which sped away from the Secondprize towards home on Caninia.
“That was fun,” Rydell said, leaning back in his command chair. “Next mission, please.”
“Setting a course for Deep Space Fourteen,” Lieutenant Commander Emily Sullivan said from the conn.
Rydell smiled. “Make it warp eight because I’ve got a date.”
“With all due respect, sir,” Carr said wincing. “Please leave the poetry to me.”
“Sorry, Lieutenant. I just never know when that creative urge is going to hit.”
The Secondprize crew headed off toward their layover on Deep Space Fourteen blissfully unaware that the blast from the Caninian ship had had an effect after all. Several decks below the bridge in the quarters of Lieutenant Carr, her dog, Morgaine le Fur, opened her puppy-dog eyes to an entirely new existence.
Three hours later, Lieutenant Carr returned to her quarters after finishing her shift on the bridge. The outer door recognized her approach and slid open silently, allowing her to enter her small set of rooms.
“Hey, puppers. I’m home,” Carr called. Morgaine le Fur trotted out of the bedroom to greet her owner. “That’s a girl!” Carr said, getting down on her hands and knees to be at eye level with the St. Bernard/Collie mix. “How was your day?”
“Very interesting. How about yours?” the dog replied in a husky feminine voice.
Carr collapsed to the floor in a dead faint.
Carr didn’t really know or care how much time had passed as she gradually regained consciousness. All she could think was “She talked!” over and over again. All that love and attention had paid off. As far as she knew, she had the first talking dog in the history of Earth.
As her mind cleared, Carr realized that she was bent into kind of an uncomfortable position…and that something was wrapped around her neck, wrists, and legs. Was she in sickbay? Were these some new medical devices?
Opening her eyes and forcing them to focus, she checked out her situation. First off, she was still in her quarters, but she was now laying awkwardly on some sort of metal platform sitting on the floor. Her wrists and legs had small, self-sealing dog collars wrapped around them which were attached to the platform. She could only assume that a larger collar was what she was feeling around her neck.
Several feet away, Morgaine lay casually across the sofa observing her.
“Morning, sunshine,” Morgaine said. She stood up, stretched languidly, and hopped down onto the floor beside Carr. “I was wondering if I’d scared you to death.”
“Carr to security.”
“Don’t bother. I was able to pry open a panel and chew out the comm circuits. But don’t worry. I’m not going to kill you or anything like that. It was too much a hassle to get you like that to just end your life. And the collars are coded to my voice, so don’t bother with them either.”
Carr silently cursed modern technology. Sure, Morgaine’s bulk made it easy for her to move Carr’s small frame around, but she never would have been able to tie her down with old style buckling collars. Paws just didn’t work that way. Although, honestly, Carr was amazed that Morgaine was able to use her paws well enough to maneuver the self-sealing collars into position.
“What do you want from me?” Carr asked finally. Maybe Morgaine just wanted to pay her back for years of taking her through the Secondprize corridors on a leash. Carr had been a loving owner after all. Why should Morgaine want to hurt her?
“From you? Nothing much. Just let me out of this room. You unkindly programmed the door not to open for me, and I can’t imitate your voice either.”
“You want to walkies? Why didn’t you just say so?” Carr exclaimed. The poor dog must have to potty badly by now.
“Not exactly,”Morgaine replied, putting a claw through the D-ring on Carr’s collar and pulling her close. “I want your ship. You will let me out and take me to the bridge.”
“No way,” Carr said defiantly. “Bad dog!”
Morgaine slapped Carr across the face with her paw. “I think you’ve sorely mistaken the power structure here.
“This won’t work, Morgaine. Engineering will notice that my comm system is down at some point.”
“Will they?” Morgaine replied smiling, her lips curling up over her fangs. “I hope they send that scrumptious Commander Baird. You never did let me have my proper time with him.”
“Keep your paws off Scott!” Carr shouted with unusual ferocity.
“Touchy about him even now? You could have told him you were interested, Andrea dear.”
“It was just a childish crush,” Carr muttered.
“Even so. His wedding must have hurt. Let’s get him up here. Maybe seeing you all trussed up like this will bring out some of his primal longings.”
“Morgaine,” Carr warned, even though she knew she was powerless to back up her threats at the moment.
Morgaine began to circle Carr, forcing the human woman to strain her neck to maintain eye contact. “Or better yet, how about we make a deal?”
“What kind of deal?” Carr asked warily.
“You help me get to the bridge, and I’ll kill Scott’s wife for you.”
“Emily and I are friends! I don’t want her dead. And what do you want with the ship anyway?”
Morgaine was silent for a moment. “Damned if I know. I do know I have to get to the bridge. It’s been that way ever since I could talk.”
Carr put the pieces together in her mind. The Caninians. That beam. “Listen to me, you’re under the control of some mean aliens. Let me get you some help.”
“You know what kind of help I want.”
“I’m not taking you to the bridge, and that’s final!” Carr said
“Be right back,” Morgaine said suddenly, turning and heading back into Carr’s bedroom. The dog returned a moment later with Carr’s hand phaser clutched gingerly between her jaws. She gently set it down on the coffee table, its emitter directly aimed at Carr. “This change your mind any?”
“You’re not going to kill me,” Andrea said with a bravado she didn’t feel.
Morgaine’s paw hovered over the fire control…then lowered to her side. “You’re right. You’ve been very good to me over the years. I can’t kill you,” Morgaine replied. She pushed the phaser slightly, turning it so the emitter was aimed at the door.
“But I have no such qualms about anyone else,” Morgaine continued. “Let’s see who comes through that door. Maybe it will even be Scott. I can vaporize him before your very eyes.”
“You bitch!” Carr shouted.
“I am, aren’t I,” Morgaine replied with a smug grin. “So what’s it going to be?”
“All right,” Carr said, lowing her head in defeat. “I’ll do it.”
The unknowing crew of the Secondprize who encountered Carr being dragged by Morgaine le Fur through the ship’s corridors saw nothing out of the ordinary. As usual, the large animal seemed to be more in control of the walk than Carr. If they’d looked more closely, though, they would have seen that Carr was wearing a small collar on each wrist and that these collars were attached to each other, binding Carr’s hands to the leash she held in front of her.
Morgaine led the unwilling lieutenant into an empty turbolift, which Carr ordered to head to the bridge. Surely Morgaine would not be able to overpower the entire bridge crew, Carr thought. The dog may have had the upper hand…er…paw for the moment, but that would change with more people around.
The turbolift slowed a stop and the doors opened revealing the bridge. Captain Rydell was seated in the command chair watching the stars go by while Sullivan, Hawkins, and Ensign Bill Woodville, the junior operations officer, watched their stations.
“Release,” Morgaine shouted suddenly, causing the voice activated collar around her neck to open. The huge dog bounded out of the turbolift on a direct course for Rydell.
“Sir, look out!” Carr screamed, waving her bound hands in the air frantically.
Startled, Rydell leapt up out of his chair and managed to get out “What the…” before Morgaine was on him. With lightening quickness, Morgaine wrapped her paws around Rydell’s leg and began thrusting violently.
“Oh yeah!” Morgaine grunted. “Yeah! What do you think of that, Rydell!”
Too stunned to react, Rydell just stood frozen with a look of horror on his face. He finally managed to speak. “What is going on?”
“Morgaine was affected by the Caninians’ weapons. I think you’re being humped into submission, sir,” Carr said sheepishly.
“Ready to surrender yet?” Morgaine said, still thrusting away.
“Wait. I feel something,” Rydell said. “It’s rue. Most definitely rue.”
Morgaine looked up at him, her eyes narrowing as seductively as a giant St. Bernard/Collie mix’s can. “You got that right, sugar.” Morgaine bent her head back and howled at the ceiling.
“Captain’s Log. Stardate 53486.3. Despite my best attempts at diplomacy and charm, the Caninians have refused to tell us how to reverse what they did to Morgaine le Fur. Dr. Aldridge has been equally unsuccessful. As she puts it, she doesn’t even like working on live people, much less live dogs. The fact remains, though, that Morgaine is obviously intelligent…and loving. So, for the time being, I’ve made her a teaching assistant at the ship’s school. Hey, herding’s in her DNA. How are kids that different than sheep? Meanwhile, Carr is trying to adjust to having a roommate, rather than a pet.”
After a long day on the bridge and at the school respectively, Carr and Morgaine made their way down the corridor towards their shared quarters. Morgaine suddenly stopped, her head raised in the air and nose sniffing intently.
“He’s coming,” Morgaine said with a sly grin.
“You know very well who,” Morgaine replied, and, with a howl, she was off bounding down the hall.
“Morgaine, no! Bad girl!” Carr cried, chasing after her.
“You’re damn right I am!” Morgaine called back just before she disappeared down the corner. Just before she reached the corner herself, Carr heard a thud followed by a booming “F**K!!!”
She looked around the corner with a bit of trepidation. As she feared, Commander Scott Baird was flat on his back with Morgaine standing on top of him.
“Hey there, loverboy,” Morgaine said sultrily, then gave Baird a long lick from his chin up to his forehead.
“CARR!” Baird screamed. “Get your f**king mutt off me!”
“I…I…I…I don’t have any control over her any more,” Carr replied.
Morgaine grinned. “Guess you’ll have to talk to the f**king mutt. And, since you asked, I’d love to.”
“Morgaine, please,” Carr said.
“Greedy,” Morgaine pouted, then crawled off of Baird. Carr rushed forward to help him up. The stunned engineer staggered against her, sending them both crashing into the side of the corridor, his body crushed up against hers.
“Are you all right, sir?” Carr asked, her mouth almost right up against Baird’s ear.
“Yeah…fine,” Baird said. He pulled himself together, freeing Carr from between himself and the wall… not that she really was in a hurry for him to move.
“I’m sorry about Morgaine. It’s just she’s her own dog now. There’s really not much I can do about it. Captain Rydell has given her a job and everything.”
Baird turned towards Morgaine, who was now sitting innocently watching the human pair. “Watch yourself, bitch. I ever catch you in Engineering, you’re heading straight into the intermix chamber.”
“If you can catch me,” Morgaine replied.
“Whatever,” Baird grunted and headed off down the corridor. He stopped at looked back at Carr. “Night, Andrea.”
“Good night, sir,” she replied as Baird disappeared around the corner on his way back to the quarters he shared with his wife.
“Shall we?” Morgaine asked as she moved off in the other direction.
“Why did you do that?” Carr demanded.
“You enjoyed it, didn’t you?”
Carr smiled. “Well, yeah. And he even said good night to me.”
“Not in so many words. He’s a neanderthal…a hunky neanderthal, but a neanderthal all the same. There are certainly better men on this ship for you.”
“Come along now, dear,” Morgaine said, ignoring the question and walking through the door of their quarters.
“You coming to bed?” Carr asked a few hours later as she peeked out of the bedroom at Morgaine. The dog was curled up on the sofa watching some old holovids of Lassie, who Morgaine said, despite the name, was one gorgeous hunk of man.
“Sorry, hon,” Morgaine said. “My tail just doesn’t wag that way.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Andrea replied defensively.
“You really need to lighten up otherwise you’re never going to get a date.”
“I don’t see exactly you bringing them in either.”
“That’s only because I’m the only dog on the ship,” Morgaine said.
“You know it.”
“Good night.” Carr turned to head back into her room.
“Andrea,” Morgaine said tentatively.
Carr stopped and turned back to her former pet. “What is it, Morgaine?”
“Can I have a head scratch? Just for old times sake.”
Carr smiled and walked over to the sofa, taking a seat next to Morgaine. She started to run her nails along the dog’s head, bringing a contented sigh from Morgaine as the two sat watching holovision together.