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Rising Problems

Posted on Jun 24, 2018 @ 3:59am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Jun 24, 2018 @ 4:00am

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

“Rising Problems”
(Continued from “Needle in a Haystack”)

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Location: SHERMAN’S PLANET, Port Emily
SD: [2.18]0507.2154
Scene: Hotel Room

The officers were discussing the current state of the investigation into who sabotaged the float at the Jim Kirk Day parade (and furthermore, why). They had an impressive amount of information, but it wasn’t leading them anywhere, except deeper in.

Two witnesses had confirmed sightings of a tall, pale, bald man in dark clothing who appeared to be some sort of projection rather than a live humanoid. One of those witnesses, Rusa, was now in a coma. Another, Lenny Ngo, stated his family’s lives had been threatened by the image unless he came forth to claim that Lumpek and Q’pac had been the ones to sabotage the parade float. Edna Miller, the baker who had claimed suspicious behavior from Q’Pac the morning of the festival, still needed to be questioned to confirm her account of things had not been tainted by coercion.

In the latest turn of events, a young man named Jimmy Rao had confessed to drugging Rusa and surrendered to the authorities.

Michael Turlogh Kane, the CO of the PHOENIX, had joined their discussion long distance, having been relegated to the ship in light of their unexpected guests. The viewscreen had seen better days, and the image wasn’t sharp, but it was workable.

“Do we have any leads on the artificial looking man or projection’s origin?” Jasmine asked him.

Kane made a noise almost like a sigh, but with more authority. {{The ship is performing a complete sweep of the planet, but there have been no results at this time.}}

“I still haven’t heard from Cade or Aerdan yet about Rusa’s medical records,” Eve admitted. The comatose woman was still being cared for planetside, but Sheriff Edwards had grudgingly allowed all the information regarding the Klingon woman’s case to be sent to the ship for further review.

“How likely is it that the appearance of this ‘mystery man’ is related to the arrival of the Klingon Empire?” the Security Chief continued her open train of thought. She would have liked Kass’ take on that, but she had excused herself a short while ago to ‘patrol the area’.

{{Encouraging Klingons to be arrested doesn’t appear to play directly to the favors of either faction,}} Kane commented. {{I suppose it weakly suggests the Klingons might be better off to go with their own kind?}}

Jasmine seemed to agree that the current premise didn’t make sense. Either that, or they had underestimated the transplanted inhabitants of Sherman’s Planet. “The Klingons I’ve spoken to have no intention of leaving their homes. They may be of the Empire by bloodline, but their livelihoods, families and culture no longer resemble that of their brothers.”

“And would anyone have the technology to communicate covertly with the Klingons without being detected?” Eve asked, looking toward the android Ops officer.

{{I am unable to extrapolate a response based on the information currently available.}} Byte said neutrally. {{If the origin of the figure is found to be based on antiquated holoprojector equipment, there is a possibility that someone capable of using that could also engineer some form of contact with the Klingons.}}

“It’s not a likely conclusion, but we do need to consider all options until some of them can be eliminated,” the Sec/Tac added, hopeful they were close to doing that.

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Outside Hotel, maybe 10 feet away

“Harry, get the squad ready t’ go at the drop of a hat,” Kassandra said into her comm badge as she stared out over the abandoned streets of Port Emily. She took a last drag on her cigarette before dropping it on the ground and grinding it to oblivion under her heel. Port Emily hadn’t changed much since she’d left, in fact, if anything, it had only gotten more rundown, more grimy. She spat into the dirt sourly.

[[Expecting trouble?]] Horatio’s deep boom was made tinny through the speakers.

“Expect nothin’, prepare fer everythin’, ain’t that what they say?” Kass said, her voice coming out with forced casualness. The truth was that she could tell that things were getting tense on Sherman’s planet, though she wasn’t sure her companions even realized that it was there. It was small things, Humans not calling their Klingon neighbors according to their preference, instead calling them ‘Mister and Miss’ instead of ‘Sutai and Vestai,’ and Klingons passing Humans struggling with heavy loads by without offers of help- little things that wouldn’t even register to off worlders but spoke volumes to someone who knew the nuances of life here. Those things just weren’t *done* by polite society.

[[I see. That message have that much effect on people?]] That was the hell of having someone who knew you well- they always managed to suss out the things you didn’t say.

“Yes n’ no, I mean, I don’t think there’s gonna be any violence unless someone does somethin’ stupid. But if they do then it’s not gonna be pretty-”

Her communicator suddenly chirped with an interrupting call.

[[Ma’am, we have a call from a Sandy Thytos. I know it’s highly irregular, but should we put her through to you? It sounded urgent.]] The slightly accented English of Rr’llek, the Kaferian head of Gamma shift in OPs said with his perma-cheeriness. Her mother probably loved him.

“Yeah, give me a couple seconds, then go ahead and put her through.” Kassandra tapped her badge. “Hey, Harry, gonna have to finish this talk later. Ma’s calling, sounds urgent.”

[[Huh. Here you said Sherman’s Planet was boring-]] Horatio sounded amused.

“It is, trust. This is the most interesting thing that’s happened in 47 years,” Kassandra said with a snort.

[[What happened 47 years ago?]] Horatio said setting her up perfectly for her punchline.

“I was born, a course! Talk later.” Kassandra tapped her badge to end the communication with him. “Talk ta me Ma, what’s wrong?”

[[There’s some kids graffiting the combine barn and silo-]] Her mom said matter-of-factly.

“Ma, you called my ship t’ tell me that? Da can deal with it, he’s more n’ capable. I’m workin’ y’ can’t just use me as your personal-”

[[Well, of course your Da can HANDLE it. But that ain’t the issue. Remember Mrs. Kraton, she coulda handled you kids too, but she got Mr Morrison t’ come out instead, an’ why?]] Her mother paused, poignantly. Kassandra could remember Mr. Morrison. A gentle man, he was nonetheless built heavily enough to make a group of Klingons think twice. Seeing him charging straight at the group of kids scrumping apples out of Ms Kraton’s orchard had been enough to make the most rebellious of them reform their ways.

“Ah, I see. So Ah’m the ‘scare ‘em straight’ option, I take it? Make sure they don’t make more trouble no more? I suppose I’ll do it, flattered as I am that you think I’m good role-” Kassandra’s spirits soared slighty, and she puffed her chest a little.

[[Role model? I would have said cautionary tale.]] Her mother said with a snort, bringing Kassandra crashing back to Sherman’s Planet with a rather painful thump.

“Dammit, ma! Fine. I’m comin’ over, but I ain’t happy bout it now. I’m only comin’ cos if I don’t I’m sure you’re gonna be callin’ Valdyr, an’ damned if I’m gonna let a second stringer teach ‘em kids a lesson,” Kassandra glowered in the direction of her family’s farmstead, which really meant glaring off into the blackness of the night. She huffed into the room where Eve, Jasmine, and Byte were still at the table, though Captain Kane had joined them via a very old viewscreen. “Hey, problem at my folks’ farmstead, gonna pop in there for a few, if it don’t put y’all out none.”

{{Trouble?}} Kane asked, one eyebrow raised, the tone of his voice making it clear that trouble was something he should be concerned about, whereas a problem was something he didn’t really want to know about. Kassandra shrugged.

“Problem. Just some teenagers up to hijinks, Ma wants me t’ go and put the fear a god inta them, keep em off the streets and all.” Kane’s brow wrinkled slightly as she spoke, the usual indicator that he hadn’t quite understood everything she’d just said, but got the gist from the context. It was an expression that seemed to have gotten worse since they arrived at Sherman’s Planet. Maybe she was talking with a thicker accent than she usually did, after all, it must have faded a little bit over the twenty something years since she’d left, but being around so many people speaking her language must have brought it out something fierce. “Last part was figurative, sir. We want them on the streets, otherwise they’d be trampling the triticale, but-”

{{I understand, Captain. Go ahead deal with the situation. I doubt we’ll have progressed much further by the time you get back. You can use the transporter to get there.}} Kane held up a hand to forestall the rest of her explanation.

“Thanks kindly, Sir. I’ll report back. Probably with a load of vittles, knowin’ my mah. But we can jus’ give em t’ the Sherrif and his deputies. I know y’all probably aren’t used to eatin’ so much fried, sugary shit.” She tapped her badge. “Hey, Rr’llek, can you get me a transport to the Hector and Alessandra Thytos Farmstead?”

[[Certainly. One moment, Ma’am.]] There was a pause as he relayed the request to the transporter chief, and she was whisked away into that bizarre moment of oblivion between existing and not existing.

As Kassandra transported, Eve looked to Jasmine. “I don’t think we have anything to lose by paying Edna Miller a visit. No reason why Kass can’t be the only one galavanting around at this time of night.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Kahless’ goblet, a Klingon Bar, Port Emily

“So, wait, if Rusa swears she saw a human planting the bomb, then why are our boys still in the lock up?” K’lag said smacking his hand down onto the table in front of Sompek. The other Klingon looked up at him.

“They don’t trust her, they say that she’s covering for them-” Sompek said reasonably.

“Even after a HUMAN admitted to trying to kill her? Even with Edna backing up her story? No, Sompek, they want to blame us for it, and no ‘mounta evidence is gonna make ‘em change their mind. Especially not with those birds of prey up there. They’re probably plotting to forcibly deport us an take what little land we have back for the pureblood humans! I say we go an’ show em we aren’t going anywhere. I say we go and let them know that they can’t use us as their scapegoats, an’ I say we suggest that maybe if they aren’t gonna treat us fair that we intimate that the Klingons might help us enforce our rights!”

“It is not my way.”

“D’ya hear yourself? What are you?”

“I am a man, and a citizen of Sherman's Planet.”

“Then why are you not defendin’ yourself or your brothers and sisters?”

“Against what?”

K’lag fumed. “Yer not seein’ the point. Two of your brothers are in jail and one of your sisters is near death. Are you that stubborn?”

“They are looking to us to react like the animals they think we are. We rise high when they sink low.”

“Th’ only thing that happens when we rise is the nooses they have tied ‘round our necks grow tighter.”

“We can't forget our honor.”

“There ain't nothin’ honorable about bein’ treated as second class citizens in our own home.” What had started as a discussion had grown to include the entire bar, other less important matters being hushed as K’lag and Sompek hashed out honest concerns that they were all thinking about anyway. “Besides, think of the ships,” K’lag said, pointing to the sky. “I imagine their definition of honor is a lot different than yours.”

“If that's how you see it, why do you not just volunteer to go with them?”

He slammed his fist on the table, then stood up, pacing. “I have earned the right to be here- I won’t slink off with my tail between mah legs. And I don't care what in tarnation brought them here- but maybe we should pull ourselves a page from their ledger and rise up against this injustice. I may not wanna live on Quonos, but we’re every bit equals on this world, an’ it's about time we stood up like it.” K’lag surveyed the room with narrowed eyes, knowing that he was being watched . “Who’s with me?” This was met with a rousing series of yells and a few chanting in badly accented Klingonese. “tlhIngan maH!... tlhIngan maH!”

“What say we make our voices heard in the community?” About three-quarters of the patrons either got up or yelled and followed him out, cheering.

“Nothing good can come of this,” Sompek argued, but it fell on deaf ears.

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Sidestreet, nearing downtown
Time Index: About 20 minutes later

“I’m not certain this is the best idea,” Jasmine said as the two women walked down the dark, secluded street.

“I think we passed good ideas the minute that the Kirk float burned up faster than a Bajoran prayer candle,” Eve quipped, the warm evening air suiting her Cardassian physiology. “But the only way we’ll find out more is by visiting Mrs. Miller ourselves and checking in with her.”

Even though she had not outwardly disagreed with Eve’s suggestion, Lieutenant Yu steeled herself for any potential run-ins with Sheriff Edwards. She had been careful to give him and his team a wide berth as far as the events on the planet had been concerned, and did not want to give the impression that anything had changed. “Do you have any theories about the motivation for the incident?”

Eve paused. “There are several. I’m not sure if any of them make sense, because on the surface we’re looking at an act of sabotage and terrorism. Sometimes the purpose of those kinds of activities is merely to disrupt, not to make any lasting change.”

“Then there may be no reason for any of this?”

“That’s just the thing- I’m convinced there *is* a reason. I don’t know what it is, though.”

“To divert all our attention from another agenda?” Jasmine asked.

“It wouldn’t surprise me,” the Counsellor agreed. “But, regardless of the current tension between the Humans and the Klingons, they work well together to support the agriculture and the purpose of Sherman’s Planet. I doubt our perpetrator has taken that into account, or the decline of the society here is a part of the master plan. Honestly, I don’t see any outsiders jumping at the chance to move here or take up farming. Sandy and Hector’s kids moved away, and they aren’t the only ones.”

“Forcing the Klingons out won’t benefit anyone here that I can see.”

“It will benefit the Empire, although there’s no obvious connection. Their ranks are depleted, especially if they wish to become a great power once more. But I’m still speculating.”

“Port Emily doesn’t seem to be a place filled with bigotry or bias.”

“Not overrun with, no, but it’s there. The Mayor appears to be a little out of touch, somewhat ignorant at the offenses the Klingons feel during the celebration of the festival. As in they ‘should be seen and not heard’. Maybe he is some kind of mastermind under all the ‘aw shucks’ hospitality and wants to intimidate them into ‘getting along’ instead of being open in embracing their differences and their story.”

Jasmine shook her head. “Mayor Chisum - a mastermind?”

Dalziel was still tossing the idea around in her head. Psychology had its limitations. “I know it’s far fetched.”

“I think the most far-fetched idea here is that anyone could think Klingons in any universe or setting could be intimidated.” Jasmine’s face perked up as she stopped walking and held her arm up in front of Eve. “Did you hear that?” It sounded like distant strident voices and breaking glass.

The Cns shook her head no, her auditory senses just below Human standard. “There are no activities planned tonight, correct?”

“Nothing is planned,” Jasmine responded, gratefully realizing that they were still in their civilian clothes. “But something is happening. Let’s go.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Location: Two and a half blocks ahead

It was clear to both women what was happening as they stood on the fringe of the activity. A crowd had mobilized, some carrying torches and sticks or farm tools, damaging storefronts and shouting in a mix of backwater Federation Standard and broken Klingon.

Eve leaned forward, bracing her arms against her knees. She had a little stitch in her side from sprinting behind Jasmine to reach their destination near the heart of the shop district.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Yu was investigating the ensuing scene. Some businesses were untouched, while others had been clearly vandalized. For what appeared to be a disorganized group, they were precise in their destruction. “They’re targeting only the Human-owned establishments,” Eve said reluctantly in realization.

Jasmine was carefully weighing the actions and outcomes in her head. The two of them alone could not stop what was happening, nor could they condone it. It wouldn’t be long until the law arrived to deal with the mess, and with tensions already strained the possibilities looked bleak. She was about to suggest they contact Kane for further guidance when the Counselor began to move from the shadowy edges of the street corner.

“Please stop!” Eve shouted, walking into the middle of the street, her arms in a posture to show she was unarmed. Only the closest protesters noticed her at first, then in waves the remaining people stood still. Finally there was a rustle in the background as a burly Klingon male stepped out in front of the others.

“You’re outsiders,” he said.

“And you’re in charge,” Eve asserted, answering his assumption without answering it.

“My name is K’lag and we fight against the injustice against the Klingon people,” he said. “This is none ah’ your concern, so I suggest you leave the area.”

“There is no point in doing any of this,” Eve coaxed. “This is criminal activity,” she said, gesturing to the destruction of a nearby mercantile.

“That is big talk comin’ from an offworlder,” K’lag said with a sneer, raising his voice. “Until the shackled, Q’Pac and Lumpek, are released and the real perp is found, we will continue!” This elicited a series of cheers and makeshift battle cries from the group, and they went to the next row of businesses, cherry-picking the ones they would vandalize.

“What good can getting arrested yourselves do for your cause?” Eve continued to plead.

K’lag raised his hand, as if to prevent her from advancing. “In yer foreigner’s ignorance, you have failed to realize something.”

“What is that?”

“They can’t catch *all* of us, can they? No! They *will not* catch all of us! Ha' Qaw'!” he thundered, urging the group forward. They piled past the two Starfleet officers like they were not there.

Eve sat on the curb as Jasmine walked over to her. “I thought I could reason with them,” she tried to explain. “But this isn’t good.”

Jasmine’s expression was grim. “There’s no reasoning at this point. We need backup.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Scene: Thytos Farmstead

Kassandra materialized into the middle of a mess. She *almost* materialized in the middle of a bottle, which whizzed through the place she was coalescing moments before she became solid. It made her already sour mood slightly more sour. Her nets quickly picked up the situation. Two groups of teens, one mostly pure blood Humans, the other a group of teens with varying degrees of Klingon ancestry, we having a showdown in the middle of the cluster of barns that held the packaged triticale, farm combines, and bales of hay for the sheep and livestock her parents kept for wool and milk.

The human teens had been in the middle of painting rude epithets accusing the Thytos’ of selling the Human future on Sherman’s Planet, presumably because of their decision to give the farm to Valdyr, while the Klingon teens had interrupted them, and were similarly scrawling phrases on the buildings, apparently aimed at Valdyr, accusing him of being Klingon in name only, or ‘Klingon on the outside, Human on the inside.’

“Good grief,” Kassandra muttered. “Opposite sides a’ the spectrum, but both decide to do the same damn thing.” She tapped her badge. “Rr’llk, will ya please put me through t’ mah Ma? I mean t’ Sandy Thytos again?”

[[Absolutely! My pleasure!]] Rr’llk said chirpily.

[[What is it Kassie?]] Her mother’s voice was anxious.

“I’m here. Whose kids are these?” Kassandra asked. Her Mother began chattering away as Kassandra stepped into the fray. “Hey, chuckleheads, just what in tarnation do you idiots think yer doin’ here? Did yer ma’s not teach y’ manners?”

The biggest of the Humans, a greasy haired boy with the scraggly half fuzz mustache of someone just past puberty stepped forward with a swagger. He had about a foot on her, and at least thirty pounds, and a smirk which she had more than half a mind to smack off his face.

“Get outta here, lady. This is between us an’ them. I wouldn’t want ya ta get hurt. Anyway, you look full blood Human, surely given there’s an invadin’ force of these traitors around you wouldn’t be against givin’ these scum their dues… Unless… Wait, red hair, you one of these Klingon lovin’-”

“Alright, that’s it shit-fer-brains. Do you know what I am?” Kassandra snapped, stepping right up to him, and glaring into his face.

“A shortass old lady, who’s probably gonna break a bone from osteoperosis if she keeps interferin’ in this fight that’s about ta go down?” The smirk suddenly vanished from his face as Kassandra’s hand whipped out to grasp his hand firmly, twisting his hand into an improbable position. Simultaneously her foot whipped up to give him a less than gentle tap behind his knee, bringing him to an awkward, off balance crouch on the ground.

“An’ you’re a moron,” Kassandra said tersely, twisting him around so the light from the porch fell on her uniform. “See that? That’s a Federation Marine Corps uniform there, y’ halfwit. Gonna give you a real valuable lesson right here, be observant, an’ don’t pick fights with someone unless you got all the relevant information. Also, don’t underestimate people. Whup!”

The other Human teens had decided to assist their companion and charged at Kassandra, fists swinging. She ducked and weaved, yanking the large boy around like a rag doll as she twisted this way and that avoiding their blows. They were getting frustrated, and Kassandra was thinking they were just about to give up when the Klingon teens suddenly came to the decision to join the fray.

**Great, what a time for a show of unity,** Kassandra thought sourly. It was the age old uniting teenage force- sticking it to The Man, or, in this case, her. She wasn’t worried. It was ten on one, but she had the upper hand. None of the kids had ever actually fought properly before, and her sensor nets gave her the advantage of 360 vision. She stepped neatly to the side as the Klingon ringleader charged her, sticking her arm out and clotheslining him across the chest. He fell backwards, and Kassandra spun the Human ringleader around to take out one of the other Klingon teens. The two fell into a haystack cursing.

What they lacked for in skills, they made up for in youthful enthusiasm, and before long, Kassandra was starting to tire. Fighting was, it turned out, much harder when you were doing your best *not* to harm your opponents. For one thing, it meant she couldn’t take people out of the fight. She dropped the ringleader to the floor and shot her foot out into a sweep that took the legs out of three of the kids.

She cast about the yard, looking for something that would give her the upper hand, and found it in the long tarp covering a stack of hay bales.

**Age and trickery will always beat youth and exuberance,** Kassandra thought with a smirk. She backed up to the edge of the tarp, one hand behind her trying to loosen the cords which were keeping it in place. There was the sudden noise of a hoverbike approaching. **Great, that better not be trouble.** Kassandra thought to herself as she loosed the rope and began tugging it loose. She ducked, and one of the teens cursed as their hand met hay bale. She grabbed the end of the rope and ran around the group of kids to the other side of the pile of hay, trailing the rope behind her as she ran. The kids followed, jeering, and she allowed them to get closer, pretending that she was tired to disguise the fact that she was pulling the rope tight and beginning to drag the tarp off. As she saw the sagging tarp pull round the bales she began pulling faster. Suddenly Valdyr was at her elbow, helping her pull the tarp tight, trapping all the teens between the bales of hay and the tarp like lunch meat between two slices of bread.

“Right,” Kassandra left Valdyr holding the ropes, and marched over to the teens, grabbing the nearest two by the ears and dragging them from behind the tarp. The fight seemed to have gone out of them, and she half dragged, half pulled them to the farmhouse. Her mother opened the door, and Kassandra firmly but gently dragged the two to the large farmhouse table, where her mother had laid out a large pitcher of iced juice, and several batches of jelly filled tribble cakes. “Sit. An’ see that there? That’s mah Ma’s best china, been handed down for generations. You know what that means. Any fightin’, any trouble makin’, any fine china broken, an’ yer asses are in a sling. So sit tight while I get the rest a’ you reprobates in here.”

“Yes ma’am,” the two said sullenly. An outsider would have raised an eyebrow at the spread, not understanding the significance of the appearance of a family’s best dinnerware at the table. On Sherman’s planet however, it was immediately understood. As one of the few luxuries on the planet, fine china plates were the pride of every household, and were usually the pride and joy of the matriarchs of the family. They came out at special events, dinner parties, and when trouble was expected, because every child of Sherman’s planet, even most of those with stronger Klingon descent knew from a young age the fear of breaking the good china, so laying it out was a tacit message to be on one’s best behavior, and that no sort of rough housing or carousing would be acceptable.

Play it right, and the group of teens would get off with a lecture and repainting the barn, and everyone would pretend the incident hadn’t happened. Woe betide them though if a dish got broken. Sandy Thytos would promptly call their parents, who would ground them, and every adult they met would remark on their bad behavior, and be well within their rights to give them a lecture of their own, as Kassandra had once found out in her younger days.

Satisfied that the teens knew the score, she went back out to the yard, followed by her father, and they brought the remainder of the teens in.

“Now, you wanna tell me exactly what ‘sides tumbleweeds was goin’ through your heads when y’all came here tonight?” She glared at them, crossing her arms across her chest as they embarrassedly looked down at their plates and became engrossed with eating their pastries and drinking their juice. “Cos I’m pretty sure you guys weren’t meanin’ to make yer friends an’ neigbors feel unwelcome, an’ imply that people who have been here longer than you ain’t proper citizens of our planet, an’ that Valdyr here don’t deserve this farm, cos he does. An’ you-” she pointed at the leader of the Klingon teens, “I’m sure you weren’t implyin’ that the world an’ people, Klingon an’ non that raised you up from whelps, an’ these kids who you go to school with ain’t as important to ya as those strangers up there in the ship. Nazik, ain’t it? You’re Lukash and Akutha’s son, right? Who helped y’all raise a barn after yers got burned in that brush fire, huh? All a’ these Human’s families. An’ Parag, is it? James’ ma helped nurse yer mother for three straight months last year when she was ill, an’ his Da helped yers get the harvest done. An as fer you, James, Patrick, your family fell upon hard times afore you were born, lost their crop, an nothin’ would grow. You wanna know why yer family still can farm? Look across the table. All their families chipped in, tried everything they had, researched the problem, an’ helped y’all get the triticale growin’ again. Now, I don’t care much about Klingon or Human, an’ I don’t blame anyone fer wonderin’ about their roots, an’ wanting to see what life coulda been, an’ thinkin’ on takin’ the Klingons on the ship up on their offer, but y’all better think long an’ hard about yer shared history, an’ how much y’all value the connections you’ve made, an’ the way all a us here are intertwined. Now, my Ma’s got more to say on the subject, but I’m just gonna say that in addition to thinkin’ about things, y’all are going to be here bright an’ shiny your first day off a school, an you’re gonna repaint that barn, or else I’m bringin’ down all my Marine-”

[[Captain Thytos?]] Rr’llk’s preturnaturally chirpy voice interjected with a beep. [[I hope I’m not interrupting anything, but you’re needed back in Port Emily.]]

“Why?” Kassandra frowned. The words said that something bad had happened, but Rr’llk’s tone of voice said something more along the lines of ‘sorry to interrupt, but there’s someone giving out free adorable puppies, you should go check it out’.

“Oh, something about pitchforks and a mob, is what the Captain said,” Rr’llk said breezily.

“A *WHAT*?” Kassandra said incredulously, certain that he couldn’t have said what she thought she’d heard.

[[Pitchforks… and a mob? Are you having interference in the communications or-]]

“Naw, I *heard* ya, I jus’ didnt believe what I heard.”

[[I… Can’t help you with that, ma’am.]] Kassandra almost swore he was making fun of her. [[Would you like a transport back to Lieutenants Yu and Dalziel?]]

“No, I’d like you to transport me into the middle of a triticale field,” Kassandra said wearily. There was a long pause. “That was sarcasm, Lieutenant.”

[[Right. I knew that.]] There was an even longer pause and Kassandra found herself whipped through the void again.

* * *=(/\)=* * *
NRPG: Finally! Thank you Alix for your effort and inspiration.

A Joint Post By

Alix Fowler
Captain Kassandra Thytos
USS Phoenix


Susan Ledbetter
Writing For
Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


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