Author: Alan Decker
Captain’s Personal Log,
Stardate 51405.3. It’s now been five days since I unintentionally caused the premature demise of Counselor Kelly Peterman’s cat, Prince, and Kelly is still holding a grudge about the whole thing. It wasn’t my fault that Prince ate the poisonous Klingon flowers that I had with me. The flowers were supposed to be for Kelly…not that I was trying to kill her. I was trying to start a relationship with her. I thought the flowers were pretty.
Anyway, Prince’s appetite for rare plants cost him his life and almost cost me any chance for a relationship with Kelly. Fortunately, cooler heads have prevailed. Kelly has decided to take one of the kittens that Nurse Bailey’s cat gave birth to recently. However, before Kelly will consider having dinner with me again, she said that I need to develop more compassion for and comradery with the members of the animal kingdom. To that end, she has arranged for me to spend a little quality time with her new feline companion.
Captain Andy Baxter looked at the chronometer on the wall of his quarters, then took another look around to make sure that everything was in order. Counselor Peterman would be arriving any minute, and Baxter wanted to make sure that his quarters were clean and cat proof. The place looked fine. Nothing was out that kitty claws could destroy. A few seconds later, Baxter’s door chime sounded.
“Come in,” Baxter said, straightening his uniform and trying to look calm and nonchalant. Counselor Peterman entered the quarters carrying a small, beige kitten in her arms. “Hello, Kelly.”
“Here we are, Fritz,” Peterman said to the cat without even acknowledging Baxter’s greeting. “This is going to be your home for the next day or so.” She put Fritz down on the carpet. The cat immediately ran over to Baxter’s sofa and began sharpening his claws on the armrest.
“Adorable,” Baxter muttered.
“Yes, he is,” Peterman said. “And I expect you to treat him with the love and respect he deserves, Captain Cat-killer. If anything happens to my sweet little Fritz, you’re going to have a lot more to worry about than just me refusing to have dinner with you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Baxter said.
“Good.” Peterman turned to leave. “Oh, Andy.”
“Try to enjoy yourself. Animals really can add a lot to your life,” she said smiling. “I think that you’re going to thank me for this.”
“I can feel Fritz and I bonding already,” Baxter said.
“That wouldn’t just be because he’s attached himself to your trouser leg, would it?”
“What?” Baxter looked down and saw Fritz busily shredding the leg of his uniform. He laughed weakly. “Adorable.”
“Have fun, you two,” Peterman said walking out of Baxter’s quarters.
As soon as Peterman was gone, Fritz dislodged himself from Baxter’s trouser leg and made a mad dash for the door. Upon discovering that the door would not open for him, Fritz sat down and began meowing a loud, pitiful wail that pressed against Baxter’s ear drums like someone trying to trying to clean his ears with an ice pick.
“Oh, don’t be like that, Fritz,” Baxter said, trying to sound calming. “Kelly will be back for you in a couple of days. Until then, you and I are going to have a great time.” Fritz didn’t even look at him. Baxter took a step toward the feline. Suddenly, Fritz turned his head toward Baxter and hissed, baring a set of small, yet sharp teeth.
“I don’t think that Kelly would approve of that,” Baxter said.
Fritz hissed again.
“Fine. I’ve tried to be friendly, but if you want to spend the next several hours by yourself, so be it.” Baxter sat down on his sofa and picked a padd up from the coffee table to do some paperwork.
“Meeeooooow!” Fritz wailed.
Baxter crossed his legs and started reading Commander Richards’ report on the latest engine efficiency readings.
Baxter crossed his legs the other way and kept reading.
“That’s it!” Baxter shouted, slamming the padd back down on the table. “I am a Starfleet officer and you are a pet! You will be nice and do what I say.” Baxter got up off the sofa and charged toward Fritz. Fritz hissed violently and backed up against the door.
“Come here, Kitty!” Baxter said angrily. Fritz hissed again. Baxter reached down to grab the cat. Unfortunately, his proximity to the door triggered the door’s opening mechanism.
Seeing that the barrier trapping him in Baxter’s quarters had been removed, Fritz made a break for it, running off down the corridor.
Baxter stood frozen for a moment, overwhelmed by the depths of his own stupidity.
“That cat planned this,” Baxter mumbled. Picturing several new and painful ways to skin a cat, Baxter ran down the hall after the escaped feline.
Very quickly, Baxter realized that Fritz was moving way too quickly for him to catch up. He needed some help before Fritz managed to lose him altogether.
“Baxter to bridge.”
“What?” Commander David Conway’s voice snarled in reply. He sounded tired and surly. Obviously, he hadn’t had his morning ten cups of coffee yet.
“I’ve got a bit of a situation down here,” Baxter said.
“Congratulations,” Conway said. “Bridge out.”
“Wait!” Baxter said seeing that Fritz had completely disappeared from view. “I need help.”
“Fine, but stop being so damn vague. I hate it when you people are vague. ‘Commander, I think you should come over here.’ Oh, really? Why? Why the hell should I come over there? Why can’t you just give me a straight answer?”
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Baxter said.
“This decade has kind of sucked, but I’m sure things will improve in the next eon or so. Now, what is your problem?”
“There’s a cat on the loose somewhere near my location. I need you to track it for me.”
“You lost Counselor Peterman’s cat already?” Conway said, a hint of laughter seeping into his voice.
“Would you just track the damn cat?” Baxter demanded.
“Hold on….We’ve got him. There is a feline life form two decks below you. It’s headed toward the science labs.”
“How did he get down there?”
“I don’t know. He probably did it while you were wasting time talking to me instead of chasing him.”
“Not now, Conway,” Baxter said. “Keep me informed. Baxter out.” Baxter ran to the nearest turbolift and descended two decks. He spotted Fritz almost as soon as he stepped out of the turbolift. The cat was walking behind a male crewmember who was carrying an armload of equipment. The man entered one of the labs followed by Fritz. Baxter raced forward and entered the lab.
Inside, Baxter saw Lieutenant Kristen Larkin and the other crewmember working at a lab table. Fritz was nowhere in sight.
“Hello, Captain,” Larkin said, greeting Baxter. “I was not aware that you were going to visit our project today.”
“Project?” Baxter said, confused. He still couldn’t see Fritz.
“Yes,” Larkin said. “Doctor Kerridan and I have been working on a way to alert Starfleet to our predicament.”
“Really?” Baxter said, pulling his attention away from the search for Fritz for a few moments. If Larkin had figured out a way to contact Starfleet, the cat was going to have to wait. “So, what’s your idea?”
Larkin opened a storage cabinet at the side of the room and pulled out a four foot cube. The inside of the cube was a mesh of wires and cables.
“This is the prototype for a quantum subharmonic neurological transmitter,” Larkin said.
“Neurological?” Baxter asked.
“Yes,” Doctor Kerridan said. “We’re hoping to use brain waves to create a message signal more powerful than standard subspace messages. That’s why I’m here.”
“Doctor Kerridan’s theory is that the humanoid mind is capable of producing more coherent energy transmissions than just about any technology. So far, his theory has held up in the laboratory,” Larkin said.
“So, how soon until you can do a field test?” Baxter asked.
“We’re ready,” Kerridan said. “The only problem is that we need a target for the message.”
“I don’t understand,” Baxter said.
“Since we are sending brain waves, the message that we send will be received as thoughts and images. But in order for these thoughts and images to be received, they have to be sent by way of the same type of brain waves as the person who is to receive them. In other words, if we were to try to send you a message, we would have to send the message in a pattern similar to that of your brain waves so that you would receive it. Understand?”
“No, but who cares. Who are you planning on sending the message to?”
“I believe that one of my former crewmates on the Secondprize would be our best chance for success,” Larkin said. “They were the closest ship to our position when we were transported to the Delta Quadrant, so they were most likely sent to investigate. This would make them the best candidates for believing that they had received a message from us.”
“Ok. So, who are you going to send it to? Jaroch?”
“Lieutenant Commander Jaroch was my first choice, but I believe that there is a chance that he will simply think that one of his past lives is acting up again. Therefore, I have decided to attempt to send the message to Commander Dillon.”
“Dillon! Why not Captain Rydell?” Baxter said.
“Two years ago, Captain Rydell swapped minds with one of his twentieth century ancestors. This experience left his brain waves patterns altered in such a way that they sometimes fluctuate. I do not feel that our transmitter can compensate for these fluctuations.”
“Got it,” Baxter said. “Well, if you have to…”
“Meow!” The sound of a cat suddenly interrupted the conversation. It was coming from directly behind them, on the lab table. The three officers looked at the table and what was left of the quantum subharmonic neurological transmitter. Fritz was inside the cube climbing around the mesh of wires and ripping them with his claws.
“This could be a slight setback to our experiment,” Larkin said.
“Fritz!” Baxter screamed.
“You knew that cat was in here?” Kerridan said angrily. “Its destroyed weeks of work!”
“Sorry,” Baxter said.
“Captain, it would have been wise for you to keep the cat in your quarters if you were going to visit our lab,” Larkin said.
“I chased it down here,” Baxter said, reaching into the cube to retrieve Fritz. Fritz hissed and slashed Baxter’s hands with his claws.
“Get it out of here!” Kerridan shouted, walking over to the door, which whooshed open quietly.
“Close the door!” Baxter said.
“The cat is going to escape!”
“Good!” Kerridan shouted. Fritz chose that moment to leap out of the cube and off of the table. A moment later, he was out of the lab. “Run, kitty. Run like the wind!” Kerridan said. Baxter stormed over to the door and stared into Kerridan’s eyes. Kerridan stared right back.
“I don’t like you,” Baxter said slowly.
“Why don’t you take it up with Starfleet Medical?” Kerridan replied. “You could have had a chance if you hadn’t let that ball of fur and claws in here.”
“I don’t like you.”
“Did you miss the witty repartee lecture at the Academy?”
“I don’t like you,” Baxter repeated. He turned and walked out of the lab.
“Come back anytime, friend. Perhaps next time, you can bring a bull and I’ll pull out my china collection.”
“I don’t like you!” Baxter shouted back. Some people just had no respect for authority. This was serious. If he didn’t find that cat before Peterman found out that it had escaped, Peterman would never speak to him again.
“Conway to Baxter,” the first officer’s voice said over Baxter’s commbadge.
“Baxter here. What’s up?”
“Your cat is in a turbolift headed toward deck…five…no, four…could be three…two maybe…oh God. He’s here! The cat’s on the bridge!”
“Stay put! I’m on my way! Baxter out.” Baxter ran to the nearest turbolift. “Bridge.” The turbolift began its ascent, then stopped on deck eight. The doors opened and Counselor Peterman stepped inside.
“Andy!” Peterman said surprised. “What are you doing here? Where’s Fritz?”
“Uh…I just needed to head up to the bridge for a second. I left Fritz in my quarters.”
“Alone? Now, Andy, the deal was that you were going to spend time with Fritz, not leave him alone in a strange place while you go gallivanting around the ship.”
“I am not gallivanting,” Baxter replied, not really sure what the hell gallivanting meant.
“Maybe I should go check on him,” Peterman said.
“No!” Baxter said quickly. “I’ll be back down there in just a minute. He’s fine…really.”
“All right. I’ll take your word for it,” Peterman said. “Deck three.” The turbolift began moving again, quickly arriving at its destination. Peterman stepped out of the turbolift and turned back to say something to Baxter.
“I’ll be right back down there. Don’t worry,” Baxter said, before Peterman could speak. “Trust me.” The turbolift doors closed, separating him from the counselor. A few moments later, the turbolift opened onto the bridge.
Baxter stepped out and saw a furry projectile heading toward him as crewpeople cowered by their stations. On the other side of the bridge, Commander Conway and Lieutenant J’hana, the Aerostar’s Andorian security chief, were aiming phasers at him.
Before Baxter could even register surprise, four sets of claws dug into his chest and stomach as Fritz grabbed him.
“We’ve got the hell-fiend now!” Conway screamed.
“You will hit the Captain, you fool!” J’hana said.
“Well, I don’t see you doing anything, tube- head.”
“Is that an antenna joke?” J’hana demanded, lowering her phaser and turning on Conway.
“What if it was?” Conway said, turning toward J’hana.
Sensing that the immediate danger had passed, Fritz dislodged himself from Baxter and dashed toward the helm console.
“Ford, grab that cat!” Baxter ordered.
“Not a chance,” Ensign Zachary Ford replied from his hiding place underneath the helm console. “Look what happened last time.” He held up his hand revealing three bloody gashes. “That thing’s a monster.”
Fritz leapt up onto the helm console and started hissing and stalking back and forth across the console. The Aerostar suddenly pitched forward and to port as Fritz hit control after control with his paws. Before the inertial dampeners could activate, the entire bridge crew was thrown forward into a heap of bodies to the left of the viewscreen. Fritz, however, kept his position on the helm.
“Oh yeah. This is comfy,” Conway muttered, trapped underneath Baxter.
“If I could free my arm, I would stun you,” J’hana said from underneath two ensigns.
“Stuff it, blue chick.”
“Would you two please shut up and help me get the cat?” Baxter said.
“And get off of my ribs!” Ford gasped.
Baxter pulled himself up and rushed toward the helm. Startled, Fritz leapt onto the command chair, hitting the red alert control. The bridge lights darkened as the red alert klaxon started blaring and the red light bars around the bridge flashed to life.
“Would you stop that?” Baxter shouted, leaping at Fritz. Fritz leapt at the same time, and, using Baxter’s head as a stepping stone, flew toward the viewscreen, digging into it with his claws as soon as he hit.
“This furball is about to be a kitty-burger,” Conway said standing up and aiming his phaser at Fritz.
“Calm down, Conway,” Baxter said. Conway and J’hana kept their phasers trained on Fritz as they walked over to Baxter’s position by the command chair. “Get us back on course, Ford.” Ensign Ford crawled over to the helm and fixed the mess that Fritz had made with the Aerostar’s course. “Now, everybody just stay calm,” Baxter said.
“I’ll be calm when that beast is a fur hat,” Conway said.
Fritz began to growl and hiss angrily, but he remained firmly attached to the viewscreen.
“He is preparing to pounce,” J’hana said.
“Nobody move!” Baxter said.
“I can’t believe this,” Conway said. “A whole bridge full of Starfleet officers is being held at bay by a pissed pussy. This is ridiculous.”
“Meeeeooow!” Fritz wailed. Suddenly, he began sliding down the viewscreen, shredding it with his claws as he went.
“Die, kitty!” Conway screamed, firing his phaser. The beam passed right over Fritz’s head and burned into the circuitry behind the viewscreen. The circuitry sparked in a bright flash, then the entire bridge went dark.
“Good job, Conway,” Baxter said.
“Yes, excellent work,” J’hana said.
“Shut up,” Conway snapped.
Baxter suddenly felt something rubbing against his leg. The emergency lights clicked on, bathing the bridge in a hazy white glow. Baxter looked down and saw Fritz rubbing his head against his trouser leg and purring contentedly. Conway and J’hana looked at Fritz, then glared at Baxter angrily.
“He must be hungry,” Baxter said weakly. He picked the cat up and quickly entered a turbolift. As soon as the turbolift doors closed, shutting Baxter off from the bridge, the turbolift on the other side of the bridge opened and Counselor Peterman stepped out.
“What happened up here?” Peterman asked in shock as she looked at the devastation around her.
“Battle drills,” Conway said.
“Against a very powerful and cunning adversary,” J’hana added.
“Pretty realistic drill,” Peterman commented.
“Very,” Conway and J’hana said.
Twenty-four hours later, Baxter’s door chime sounded. Fritz was sitting on the coffee table finishing off the last bit of his third after- breakfast snack. After the events of the previous day, Baxter had realized that the way to control Fritz was to keep him well-fed. Fritz may have put on a couple of pounds, but at least Peterman would find him happy and safe.
“Come in,” Baxter said, walking toward the door. Peterman walked into the quarters. As soon as Fritz saw her, he abandoned his food and leapt into her arms.
“Oh, thank you, Fritz. I missed you too, darling,” Peterman said, rubbing her nose against Fritz’s side. She looked up at Baxter. “Did you two get along all right?”
“Things were a little shaky at first, but we came to an understanding,” Baxter said.
“I’m glad to hear it.”
“So how about dinner?” Baxter asked hopefully.
“Andy, the point of this was to increase your appreciation for members of other species, not to win you points with me,” Peterman said. Baxter winced inside. He went through all of that with Fritz and it did nothing to help with Kelly. Great.
“I will keep you in mind for a kitty-sitter next time I take an extended leave.”
“Wonderful,” Baxter said, trying to sound enthusiastic.
“See you later, Andy,” Peterman said. She walked out into the hallway with Fritz in her arms. Ensign Ford happened to be walking by at that moment. Spotting Fritz, Ford threw himself against the wall and pressed himself flat against it, cowering in fear. Peterman looked at Ford confused, shrugged, then headed back to her quarters.
Feeling tired and defeated, Captain Baxter plopped down on his sofa to take a nap. Lying down and staring at the ceiling, his mind filled with thoughts of Counselor Peterman. Suddenly, he noticed a bit of dampness on his back. He got up and put his hand on the sofa cushion he had been laying on. It was wet. Cat pee!
“Damn you, Fritz!” Baxter shouted, shaking his fist in the air.
Captain’s Personal Log.
Stardate 51406.8. Well, the beast has returned to its den, but I am no closer to the fair maiden. The bond-with-the-cat-so-that-Kelly-will-fall-in-love-with-me plan seems to have failed miserably. In fact, I may now be stuck cat sitting the little demon sometime in the future. This is not fair.
Otherwise, repairs to the bridge are almost complete. Under threat of extreme pain and suffering, the bridge crew on duty when Fritz attacked have been sworn to secrecy concerning what actually happened to the bridge. Besides, our reputations as officers could be severely hurt if it were to get out that we almost destroyed the bridge trying to catch Fritz. I mean, he’s only a cat.
Feline Officer’s Log.
Operative Codename Fritz recording. Stage One is complete. I have trained the leader of this group of creatures to provide me with food and rest whenever I desire. With the leader under my control, his followers should quickly fall into line. If not, I am sure that I could arrange to visit some other sensitive areas of this vessel. Besides, my claws could use some sharpening. Fritz out.