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Puppies And Kittens

Posted on Mar 24, 2018 @ 7:23am by Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Edited on on Mar 24, 2018 @ 7:24am

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

“Puppies and Kittens”
(contd from ‘Bad Food, Good Company’)

Location: Hawaii, EARTH
SD: [2.18] 0324.0036
Scene: Yu’s family residence

Jasmine inhaled in a deep breath, taking in the familiar scent that filled her nose – the salty and sulfuric smell of the ocean. Cool winds blew in her direction, gently moving strands of her hair. Until she stepped outside on the patio of her family home, Yu didn’t realize how much she had missed home. A tiny smile gracing her lips, she gazed at the waves of the Pacific Ocean, dashing against the beach. She spotted a group of small human children, running towards the waters and screaming, bringing her back to her teenage years, when after school, she’d head straight for the beach and just either sit or walk around, enjoying the sunset till her parents called her to dinner. During her time at the Academy, she often spent a lot of time at this beach, when on leave.

Jasmine raised an eyebrow, feeling something brushing against her leg and smiled, her eyes moving downwards until they met the gaze of an adult corgi – the small dog’s brown eyes giving her a longing look and her mouth hung open. “Mai Li, came to watch the sunset with me.” Her response was a bark and tail wagging. “I’ll take that as a yes.” The dog snuggled beside her.

“Jasmine,” a woman called out, popping her head through the doorway – the similarities between her and Jasmine were striking – like she was an older version of the Phoenix’s security chief. “Have you seen your dad?”

“He’s out at the back, still teaching the puppies to swim.”

Puppies. Yu smiled, remembering the welcoming and cute surprise upon her arrival. When she set foot inside her family home, the young woman was greeted by a bunch of corgi puppies. Her parents told her that they were babysitting the puppies for the neighbours, who were off-world for a week long vacation. Speaking of which, she spotted one of the puppies, struggling to climb up the step, its tiny legs unable to reach the top. Qui bent down, chuckling as she picked up the little pup and gently placed it down beside her. “You’re quite the wanderer.” The puppy responded with a yelp as it trotted along inside.

Qui remarked, smiling, “They are so cute but a handful. No wonder Liza and Yuki didn’t want them coming along.” The same puppy returned, carrying a flip flop in its mouth. “Oh my, what do you have in there?” She took the object from the dog and put it aside. The puppy ran towards Mai Li, who barked and nudged it with her nose.

“Well,” Jasmine said, grinning. “I can only imagine the challenge those puppies would pose if they are on the Phoenix. A single pug, wandering around, takes up our time.”

Her mother burst out in laughter. “Yes, I remember you telling us about this pug…Smooshy and how you and more than half the ship had to chase him around the ship or something before your Captain returned.”

“Well, that time, he was very sick.” Jasmine shuddered at the thought, yet grinned, imagining how chaotic it would be on the Phoenix if Smooshy was joined by Mai Li and the puppies. If Smooshy was challenging to locate, the corgi pups, being so tiny, were on a whole different level.

“Come on, let’s go get your dad.” Qui waved at her. “The Kwans should be arriving soon.” The two women, along with Mai Li and the puppy, walked across the patio, around the side of the house, entering a spacious garden. On the wooden deck at the side, lay a small swimming pool. A tall, broad shouldered man with Asian features hunched over the pool, his hands clutching a puppy as it splashed at the water with its legs.

Jasmine waved with Mai Li and the first pup stopping beside her. “Hey dad, how’s the swimming lesson coming along?”

“Fine,” Victor replied. “If they can manage to stay in one place and not run around.”

“Well,” his wife said. “One of the puppies did wander.”

The older man laughed, turning his attention to the puppy snuggling beside Mai Li. “Oh there you are, little one. Thanks Mai Li.” The adult Corgi responded with a bark, nudging the puppy towards the pool, where a bunch of other puppies were running around yapping. Three of them were having a race around the pool and another two were chasing each other.

Qui inquired, “How long do you have left with the lessons?”

“Oh I’m done.” Victor exhaled a huge sigh, dropping the puppy on the ground. “Swimming lessons for active puppies gives this guy here a large appetite.” As the three humans and the dogs made their way towards the house, a soft female voice stopped them in their tracks. The puppies began yapping and turned around, running in the direction of the voice.

Jasmine glanced behind her shoulder and spotted a tall human female with a light complexion and long, auburn hair, tied in a loose ponytail, standing by the gate, holding a puppy in her hands. Yu sighed, one of the puppies wandered off again. The woman looked to be in her late thirties, her features soft and kind and her lips curling into a warm smile. But something about her struck the security chief as odd. The new arrival’s eyes just suddenly changed from hazel to a midnight blue. A genetic mutation or she was a hybrid. Then the young woman raised an eyebrow – something was familiar about this woman.

When the woman spoke, Yu noticed a light Scottish accent in her voice. “Hello, I was walking along the beach with my family and this adorable wee one was seen wandering about. I figured since your home was the closest one, the puppy might be yours?”

Qui smiled, stepping forward, her hands extended. “You came to the right place.”

Jasmine watched her mother take the puppy from the woman and was still racking her brains about how familiar she was.

Her father said, taking the puppy from his wife and setting it down beside Mai Li and the rest of the litter, “Thank you for bringing him back to us. Our neighbours would be happy to know we haven’t lost any of their puppies.”

“It’s no trouble at all.” The Scottish woman chuckled. “In fact, my daughter wanted to keep him because he was so cute.”

Qui suggested, “Well, if you could give us your contact information, my neighbours could get in touch. They’ve been wanting to give away some of the pups.”

“Sure but I’ll have to think about it first. Though a puppy would be a welcoming addition to my already large family, which includes not just my two children but our pets as well,” the woman said. “Anyway, I’m Kate MacNeil. Your friends can reach me at my residence in Edinburgh or at Starfleet Medical HQ.”

Kate MacNeil. Jasmine now remembered why the woman was familiar. During the Dominion war, Yu, while still a cadet at the Academy, remembered seeing MacNeil on Fedcom quite often, the latter a part of the Gateway station senior staff and at one time, as its ExO. From what she remembered from many of the segments, Kate, like some of the senior staff, weren’t always portrayed in a positive light by certain members of the press. Now Jasmine recalled Fedcom continuously running a story for several cycles, where Kate, upon undue pressure by an overzealous reporter, blurted out confidential medical information about her CO, which led to the temporary suspension of her medical license. The Asian had memories of debates amongst her classmates, where some sympathized with MacNeil and others were highly critical of her actions. Jasmine had stayed out of those discussions and had felt a little sorry for the woman.

“Great.” Qui noted the information on a PADD. “I’ll pass the info to them.”

Kate glanced behind her shoulder. “Anyway, I have to get going otherwise my babies would end up getting into trouble if I don’t return to them.”

Jasmine said, smiling. “It was nice meeting you, Kate.”

“You too.” The tall woman turned around and sped down towards the beach, where she was joined by a beagle, a cat and a golden retriever puppy – the last animal covered in mud.

Qui clasped her hands as two of the puppies were nuzzling her legs. “Let’s go inside. Our guests should be here any moment.”

----------------
Location: Rochester, NY, EARTH
Scene: University Lab
TI: A day later

“So Jasmine, you’re only here for a week?” Tien, Yu’s grandmother, inquired as the pair walked across rows of consoles in the older woman’s laboratory.

Jasmine nodded. “Yes. My shore leave lasts for a week before we are sent on another assignment.” They were approaching a work station, where an Ocampan male, one of Tien’s grad students, mouthed some curse words as his hands touched a ginger coloured tabby cat, sitting comfortably on the console and in no mood to move. As he pushed, the feline hissed, followed by a glare and a meow.

“Hue,” Tien called out to her feline companion. “Get off the console and let Gus do his work.” She clapped. “Come on, sweetie.” But the cat wouldn’t budge and meowed again. The elderly woman let out an exasperated sigh. “She’s so stubborn…like me.”

Jasmine eyed the ginger tabby with a warm smile. Hue was a stubborn old kitty, having been her grandmother’s companion for many years. Yu had known the cat for a long time, right from the animal’s birth. When Hue was still a kitten, Jasmine often played with her during visits to her grandmother’s home and lab at the university. She watched the old woman pull out a pen-like device from her pocket and activate it. A holographic projection of a tiny, brown mouse appeared on the floor.

“Hue, look who’s here!” Dr. Chung called out, smiling. At the sound of her voice, Hue’s gaze moved around until they fixed on the mouse hologram. Letting out a loud meow, the cat jumped off the console, much to the relief of the Ocampan. The holographic mouse ran at blinding speed, chased by a rather chubby tabby, leading the feline away from the workstations. “My students adore her even though she can be troublesome at times.” They began walking again. “I suggested once in our weekly meeting that Hue wouldn’t come to the lab anymore because she didn’t let them do their work. But my students wouldn’t have it. Despite her being a nuisance, they just love having her around…like she’s a comfort to them.” They made their way to Tien’s office.

Sitting down on the couch, Jasmine brought up as her grandmother headed to the replicator. “Mom tells me you’re coming to Hawaii for dinner on Friday.”

“Yes and I look forward to it.” Tien returned to the couch, carrying two mugs of steaming, hot green tea. She handed one mug to Jasmine and held the other with both her hands. “And who knows how long it will be before you get a chance to return to Earth.”

Jasmine shrugged, taking a sip of the tea. She didn’t really how long it would be before the Phoenix next came back to Earth. “So how are things with you?”

“Pretty good,” her grandmother replied, lifting her mug up to her mouth and sipping from it. “Research has been going very well. One of my students has successfully defended his thesis and will be graduating soon. Another, you remember, Misha, right?” The younger woman nodded. “Well, her latest paper has been accepted for publication at one of the Federation’s most prestigious journals. She’s also invited to Vulcan to speak at the conference later this month.”

Jasmine smiled. “That’s great to hear. You must be proud of them.”

“I am. It’s more a testament to their ingenuity and hard work.”

Yu placed a gentle hand over her grandmother’s forearm. “I’m sure it’s your guidance as well and I see how your students and research associates look up to you.”

Tien blushed, placing her mug down on the table. “That’s always nice to hear.” Before she could open her mouth, the door parted and the Ocampan student, Gus stood at the doorway – his expression a mix of irritation and concern. “What is it, Gus?” She narrowed her eyes. “Is Hue on your workstation again?” She sat up and muttered under her breath. “Sometimes that kitty…”

“Worse.” The Ocampan’s tone was crisp. “The kittens are back.”

Jasmine raised an eyebrow. “Kittens?”

“Come on, Jasmine. I’ll show you.” Tien made her way out of the office and the Phoenix security chief followed suit.

When Jasmine set foot in the lab again, she was met with a rather humorous site. Kittens of various breeds, were found all over the place. Some leapt onto tables and consoles. Others just took strolls, approaching people, probably to see if they could get their attention. The Asian woman felt a little brushing against her legs and looked down to find three kittens surrounding her, likely clamouring for her attention. Jasmine knelt down and rubbed the ears of a light grey tabby with black curved stripes. She did the same for a brown and white Scottish fold and a white munchkin. A fourth kitten, a jet black one tugged at her pant leg, its yellow eyes giving her a longing stare. Jasmine smiled, petting the little kitten, until she heard the stern voice of her grandmother and looked up.

“Hue! That’s not nice.”

Jasmine grinned, watching the scene unfold before her. Hue had settled herself on the console of an empty workstation, leaving some room. A Siamese kitten, its golden fur simmering in the bright light, hopped onto the console, next to the ginger coloured tabby. Well, apparently, the old cat didn’t like it, judging from how the hairs on her body sprung up. Hue sat up, turned around and hissed at this intruder into her space. The kitten hissed back. Hue lashed at it with one of her fore legs in an attempt to shove the other feline off the console. Not when to take it in stride, the kitten struck back, its paw smacking the tabby’s face. Hue let out a loud meow. So a cat fight ensued, comprised of lashings, hissing and angry meows.

Gus whispered in Yu’s ear, “That’s Hue’s favorite console and she doesn’t like sharing.”

Jasmine said in a dry tone, “Not surprised. She can get territorial after all.” By the time she finished speaking, Hue managed to push the kitten off her console. She watched her grandmother begin scolding the tabby, who just sat back down and ignored her. Yu shook her head. “So where did the kittens come from?”

The Ocampan sighed. “From the lab next door. The owner of those kittens is away on holiday so the research group in that lab are taking care of them for a week. And they tend to like wandering over here and cause trouble, especially with Hue.”

“Oh I see.” Jasmine grinned, spotting Tien turn around in frustration and walk back to them.

Tien smiled. “So Jasmine, lunch at our usual café on Mt. Hope Street?”

“That sounds great.”

----------------------------------------
Location: San Francisco, EARTH
Scene: The Presidio

Jasmine settled herself down on the bench in front of the park and gazed at the golden gate bridge looming over the strait connecting the San Francisco bay and the Pacific Ocean in the distance. A beautiful sight, returning the young woman to her Academy days, where she often came to this spot, whenever she needed to think. Occasionally, she had brought some close friends along. Now she was here again with Mai Li and Hue as her companions. The two animals were moving about, exploring their surroundings though neither veered too far from the bench. Both the corgi and the tabby were left under her care for the entire day. Her parents were on their duty shifts, while her grandmother was in a day long faculty meeting.

The young woman tilted her head sideways at the sound of footsteps and smiled, when a young human woman, looking to be of South Asian descent approached her. “Hey Jasmine.” The new arrival waved at her.

“Hey Meera,” Jasmine greeted, standing up and pulling the other woman into a quick hug. “Long time no see.” Both women sat down on the bench. Mai Li rushed to greet the other woman, barking and bouncing up and down. Meera bent forward and petted the small dog. Hue, on the other hand, was pre-occupied with chasing a butterfly. Adorned in a Starfleet uniform, the gold collar indicating, Meera was either a member of Engineering or Operations. The pips on her collar indicated she held the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Meera Song spoke in an apologetic tone, “Sorry, this couldn’t be longer. I was very much looking forward to spending time with you but I have to join the Captain in a meeting at Starfleet Command.”

“It’s fine,” said Jasmine in a reassuring voice. “I understand and just glad we could spend a few minutes together.”

Meera sighed, placing her hands on her lap. “I still got twenty minutes before the meeting, enough time for us to catch up.”

Jasmine suggested, “We can go through the park to Starfleet Command so that you won’t be late for the meeting, considering we all know how your Captain feels about punctuality.”

“Good idea.” Meera nodded and both women got up. “I’m sure you know she won’t be pleased if we arrived even a second late.” That was a mild exaggeration. When they stood next to each other, Song seemed to be about three inches shorter than Yu.

Jasmine clapped, waving at the animals to let them know they were moving on and sighed with relief when Mai Li and Hue fell in line beside them without any fuss. The corgi kept jumping around Song, hoping for more petting from her. They moved along the path that cut through the park, on route to Starfleet Command. “So how is everyone on the Camelot?” The USS CAMELOT was Yu’s previous posting, where she was aSec/Tac for close to five years.

“Great, not much has changed since you left,” Meera replied. Lt. Commander Meera Song currently served on the Excalibur class vessel for nearly a decade as its Chief Engineer. In fact, Jasmine befriended Meera on her third day at the ship. Considering Song was a quiet and introverted person, it was Yu who made the first step towards friendship. The engineer was in her early thirties, about five years older than the Phoenix officer.

“Good to know, things are going well there.” The Asian felt Hue brush her leg as the feline attempted to chase yet another butterfly.

“How are you finding the Phoenix?” Song inquired, while at the same time petting Mai Li. “I heard your ship was involved in some important events from the news.”

Jasmine sighed, knowing what the engineer meant by important events, which she guessed to be related to the dreadnaught’s expedition to Romulus and the most recent one at Acamar that exposed a vast conspiracy involving Starfleet officers, politicians. The press was having a field day with that. “Honestly, I’m doing fine, still adjusting to my new role as department head but I’m getting there and without going into much detail, let’s just say, the last year at the Phoenix has been very eventful for me.”

“I can only imagine.” The two women strolled through the park, catching up on old times, which included Jasmine’s former ship and crewmates. Yu was glad to hear everyone was doing well. They had now exited the park, entering the open area outside Starfleet Command, though Jasmine had to drag Hue out, the latter not willing to leave – she wanted to chase the butterflies. The cat meowed, glaring at the Phoenix officer. “The Captain is waiting at the entrance and I still have a minute left.”

Jasmine gazed forward, spotting a Trill woman, standing by the doors. The presence of her former CO made her a little nervous. Anaqueen Spankryz intimidated her, yet she commanded a lot of respect from not just the Asian woman but others as well. There might have been officers who didn’t appreciate her strict and formal demeanor, including being able to meet her expectations – but that’d be expected from any CO. Yu, however, believed, serving under a strict CO like the Trill, enabled her to work hard and progress as an officer, making her transition to the Phoenix a lot easier than it would have been, had she served under a more easy going and laid back CO. Of course Anaqueen had quite the temper, which had cooled down in recent years.

They made their way towards the entrance to the building, the dog and cat trotting beside them. “I should pay my respects,” Yu said.

“Good idea.” Song nodded. “I never got a chance to speak to my former COs.”

The Trill Captain glanced up from her PADD and spotted the two women. “Commander …” She paused, noticing Jasmine for the first time. “Lieutenant Yu.”

“Captain.” Jasmine stood in partial attention stance, though she winced at the sight of Mai Li sniffing around the Trill’s leg and the dog giving her a pleading look as in ‘please play with me’. Anaqueen seemed unperturbed at the presence of the corgi. “Sorry, Captain.” Yu flustered a little, giving the Trill an apologetic look as she waved at the dog. “Mai Li, come here.” The little dog, whined and trotted back to the Asian woman. To her relief, Anaqueen didn’t show any signs of irritation.

Anaqueen inquired in a calm voice, “So, Lieutenant, how are you finding the Phoenix?”

“Things are going very well, Captain,” Jasmine replied, maintaining her composure, noticing at the corner of her eye, Hue settling down on the grass and yawning.

“I’m glad to hear things are working out for you and that my recommendation to have you promoted to department head was justified.” Jasmine knew about Spankryz submitting a report to Starfleet Command, where she made a recommendation to find the Asian a chief position on another starship, since there was no vacancy on the Camelot. The Trill turned to her chief engineer. “Commander, let’s go inside.”

“Yes ma’am.” Meera nodded, before glancing at Jasmine, giving her a tiny smile. “It was nice to catch up with you, Jasmine.”
“You too, Meera.” Jasmine returned the smile and sporting a serious expression, she turned to the Trill. “Captain.”

“Lieutenant.” Anaqueen acknowledged before both women entered the building.

Jasmine exhaled a huge sigh of relief. “Well, that went well as expected.” With the animals, the young woman left the building, walking across the courtyard until she entered another park. Well, time to head back home – her parents were hosting a big dinner for the whole family that same evening. Then on the next day, Yu would return to the Phoenix.

Her peaceful, leisurely stroll through the park, was interrupted by loud meows, followed by barking. Jasmine groaned, her expression filled with frustration as the ginger tabby, suddenly, sped off, chasing after something and then the sight of something small and brown drew a chuckle out of her mouth. A mouse – a real one at that. Jasmine then jogged after the tabby, wondering how such an old cat could still run so fast. Mai Li ran alongside her, probably thinking they were playing a game. Yu didn’t notice some people, halting and pulling out their handheld holocams.

She wasn’t sure how much distance was covered, sprinting after the kitty and slowed down to a full stop, upon noticing the feline, being pulled off the trunk of a tree by a human woman with long, blonde hair. The cat meowed and hissed, wiggling under the woman’s arms. Jasmine moved quickly towards them, extending her hands out, taking the cat from the blonde. Hue continued hissing and meowing until Jasmine put her down, hoping she would not take off again. But she didn’t as the mouse had apparently disappeared and thank goodness for that.

Jasmine said, meeting the gaze of the blonde’s blue grey eyes, “Thanks for stopping the cat and bringing her to me.”

“No problem,” the other woman replied in a nonchalant tone. “My family used to take care of cats and I saw you running after this one from a mile away.” Mai Li barked, excited at running into yet another person and trotted around her legs, sniffing. The blonde petted the dog, which bounced around barking happily and wagging her tail. Hue just sat down on the grass and yawned.

Yu blinked, upon recognition of the woman. “Wait a minute. I remember you.” The intelligence agent, who was undercover on the Camelot over four years ago, investigating the ship’s then first officer, who was suspected to be a traitor. Back then, the agent’s findings were dismissed by the top brass and all evidence were removed…at least that’s what everyone thought until about a year ago.

Her last memory of the blonde woman, was the latter’s CO taking her away, claiming she was disturbed and needed help. That was it, the whole matter was dropped as if it was nothing. Yu remembered Anaqueen’s own expression – the Trill didn’t look happy, which wasn’t surprising as it was public knowledge, Spankryz and Commander Dhillon didn’t get along. He was also not popular with the crew as well, including herself. It turned out Chloe Nielsen was right - the man committed treason and now served a life sentence at the penal colony. So in a way, justice was served, even though it came about a few years late.

Chloe said, “Yes, we last met about four years ago on the Camelot, when as I recall, you insisted on accompanying me to see the Captain, because you feared I might harm her. Right, Jasmine? If you don’t mind me calling you Jasmine or if you prefer Lieutenant Yu.”

“Yes.” Jasmine nodded. “And Jasmine is perfectly fine.” She bit her lip, eyeing Mai Li for a brief moment. “I can address you as Chloe or you prefer Lt. Commander.”

“Chloe. I don’t pay too much attention to rank, except maybe during formal situations or when addressing a superior.”

An awkward silence passed between them, except for the corgi’s panting before Yu spoke, arching her brow. “So, what are you doing now? I searched for you on the personnel database and apparently you’re no longer with Intelligence, despite you being right about Dhillon in the end.”

The Canadian shrugged. “A position in Starfleet Operations, involving a lot of travelling.” What Jasmine wasn’t aware was that Chloe was an agent of Section 31, so was still in the intelligence business. As far as Yu and the public were concerned, Nielsen was transferred out of Starfleet Intelligence to another department.

“Was it hard adjusting to a new environment? I mean you were with Intelligence for many years.”

Chloe said, giving her a weak smile, “I’ll survive.”

Yu furrowed her brow, wondering if she could figure out whether the blonde was lying or not. Chloe’s expression was cold as if wearing a mask, making it hard to read her emotions. But Jasmine was good at her job and she had a nagging suspicion that Chloe wasn’t exactly telling the whole truth. However, Yu wasn’t going to press the issue as it really wasn’t her business anyway. “Chloe, I’m guessing, you must have been relieved to hear about Dhillon’s arrest at Vulcan and that others now know you were right in proving him as a traitor.”

“Yes and I’m grateful to that security team who apprehended him on site before he unleashed that bioweapon.” Now while the security officers were the ones who arrested the former Starfleet Captain, it was actually Chloe who stopped Dhillon in the Federation Council building the previous year. However, her role in the operation was classified and credit was given to the team in the official Starfleet Security report. “You know, Jasmine. I have somewhere to go, so nice seeing you again.”

“It was good running into you, Chloe.” Jasmine smiled, watching the blonde woman pass her by and down the path. Yu sighed. Well, time to head to the transporter centre to go home. She glanced around and smiled – Mai Li was beside her. She then let out an exasperated sigh, when her brown eyes fell on Hue, who was still seated on the grass and sleeping. “Just great.” Now she had to go wake the cat.

*************************************************************************************

NRPG: Thus ends Jasmine’s time on Earth. I enjoy writing my characters meeting each other. In this post, she met Chloe Nielsen, my Section 31 character and three of my former characters from the game’s 1st ed., whom some of you may remember (Kate MacNeil, Anaqueen Spankryz and Meera Song).


~*~
Ranjani S.
Writing for

Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Chief of Security and Tactical
USS PHOENIX

With
Guest appearances by

Chloe Nielsen
Section 31 Agent

and

Doctor/Commander Kate MacNeil
Captain Anaqueen Spankryz
Lt. Cmdr. Meera Song

 

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