So This Happened
Mission: Et Tu, Brute?
Doctor Emmylou Figg wasn't exactly what most people called a particularly caring woman. She was terse and snarky and more often referred to as a battleaxe by those who completely missed the maternal moments where her frown softened- her persona softened- as every person on her ship was ultimately her child. Even the commander who was somehow managing to be surly through the pain killers and was frowning as best as she could. Figg turned her back on O'Touvelli and tapped and fussed at the wall communicator until she had a connection with the Kingdom's XO.
"So this happened," she began as she leaned against a table's edge. "I have your CO in here with a busted jaw, nose and a disc out in her neck. According to the girl who brought her in, one of the kasheeta delegates walloped her a good one 'cause she didn't believe her. You might want to take care of that. That diplomat's about as useful as a wet paper bag and your boss lady's not going to be on her feet for a bit to handle it. She wrote out on a padd for me to tell you that 'they're all dicks', mind you I started her on pain meds, so I expect a few messages like that."
On the other end of the comm line, Brenan made a face, "'They're all dicks'?" He repeated back, trying to parse that from the relative calm and level-headed woman he'd met previously.
"Wait... never mind that, how bad are they?" He asked, trying to get back to business. "I'm in the middle of something here," He said, frustrated, motioning for his men to keep working on the next door panel with Anubis.
"You need to specify what you mean by they? O'Touvelli and Crispin? The Kasheeta? I wasn't there for it, bud. I only got the short story from the diplomat while Rohana was trying to hold her face together and cuss. If I were you, I wouldn't leave Crispin alone with the delegates or the delegates loose for that matter. Crispin's a featherweight in need of some prozac. She'll be lunch meat," the old woman groused. She paused for a moment to squint at the newest bit of scribbling from the captain to relay to Brenan. "Yep: the pain meds have kicked in. The boss said to tell you to stop flirting and kick ass."
"Wait..." Brenan said, pinching the bridge of his nose, "Who's ass am I kicking?" He said, then quickly added, "And I'm NOT flirting!"
"Sure," Figg crooned, her eyes almost audibly rolling. "I'm just passing this on, kid. Don't get your briefs in a knot. She's not exactly coherent at the moment with a dislocated jaw and all the rest. I'll patch her up, but she'll be damn tender for a bit. Depending on how well she takes to getting her neck jammed back into alignment, she might be on light duty only for a few days once I release her. Make it work. You're the XO for a reason."
"Yeah, okay but--" There was a chirp that indicated the line between he and Dr. Figg had closed. Brenan scowled at the communicator. "Great," He muttered.
"Kendricks, Jones, keep moving forward toward Engineering. Stay in touch with Wyse and Hel via the secured channel. I'll catch up when I can. Apparently I have dinosaurs on a rampage upstairs," Brenan explained, running back down the hallway.
Three ladders and two Jefferies tubes later, he found himself in the diplomatic area of the Kingdom and standing outside the Kasheeta's quarter's door. He reached out and tapped the chime, steeling himself for whatever he'd encounter inside.
A wizened old kasheeta with a loopy gilt head shawl answered the door with a withered grin. "Your captain's not here," she answered haltingly. "Did you need Miss Crispin? I believe she's in her room across the way having a respite." Something crashed further back in the room beyond the elder's bulk. "Now is not a good time to visit."
"I'm not visiting," Brenan replied, pushing past the older Kasheeta. "Who the hell punched my captain?" He barked, marching into the VIP quarters like he owned the place. He sort of did, after all. At least more than the Kasheeta currently trashing the place.
The trashing seemed to be a little less intentional and a little more kasheeta rodeo as four of the delegates were sitting on/kicking at/grappling with another who was on the floor amidst the mostly broken contents of the room. "Oh that'd be Fraast," the elder cooed as she hung to Brennan's side, her chin hovering just over his shoulder. "She's being tired out to prevent any further raging. Her actions are most regrettable and will certainly stain her house's reputation. Is your captain okay? There was quite a lot of blood. I hadn't figured her to be so fragile."
"Nothing personal, lady, but being punched by an eight foot reptilian creature with a first the size of your face and enough strength to buck off four of his own kind would be enough to mash anyone's face up," Brenan replied. "Let her up." He said, pointing to Fraast. "We're going to have words."
"Oh, hshlita, there'll be more blood to clean up," sighed the elder. "Eagra, Gatara: let Fraast up. This one wants to speak to her. But stay close this time. There'll be no more incidents today."
With various reptilian looks of concern, the two younger kasheeta dismounted and stepped back, followed by the other two after another kick or two for good measure. Fraast took a moment to simply breathe before torquing herself into a position where she could sit up. For all the abuse that she was seemingly taking, there was little blood and bruising. "You.. come to finish your master's.. lies.." she hissed as she got to her feet. "Deceivers!"
"What do you want from me?" Brenan asked, frustrated. "What do you want me to say? I should have you tossed in the brig and locked up for what you did to the captain. Do you understand you committed a crime? A very serious one in our culture? One that could have killed a less sturdy woman?" Brenan barked at the reptilian creature before him.
Fraast hissed irritably as she started to pace, growling and sputtering and eyeing the others wildly. "I had NO intention of seriously wounding your leader. Only marking her to show how serious this is to us. It was DIFFICULT to get audience on Earth when this began. I figured it would require just as much fervor here to be taken seriously that our lives are in danger."
"No one on this ship is going to die on my watch you big scaly idiot," Brenan barked back, "But I swear to god, you lay a finger on my Captain again, and I'll dump you out an airlock myself. Am I clear? I have bigger things to worry about right now than gross paranoia." He barked, moving into the Kasheeta's face.
Fraast drew herself up higher than Brennan, her jaw trembling with the need to snap at his face. She jutted her snout into his face until there was less than a hand's bredth between the two of them. "Threaten me again, twig. I made my apologies. I'll NOT be antagonized further."
Brenan bucked up as well, no where near as tall as the Kasheeta before him, but he didn't falter at all under the a giant creatures bravado, "You're assuming that was a threat. Do not. Harm. Another member. Of. My. Crew. Am I very clear?" He hissed, dangerously quiet.
Answering the bravado more than the words- or perhaps not comprehending the words at all- Fraast kicked off the floor- only to be snapped back by the same two kasheeta that were holding her back before.
"We will ensure that your crew is safe. Trust us." Beremi, the elder, said as she carefully maneuvered herself between Brenan and Fraast's flailing tail. "She understands. When her blood isn't singing, she'll feel poorly for this. Allow us to handle this and our apologies."
Brenan glared at the angry Kasheeta thrashing in the background, then looked to Beremi and pointed a finger at her, "Keep your people in line. We'll keep you safe, but if we're having to fight you and yours as well as whatever the hell is going on on the ship, then we can't guarantee your safety. No more of this. None." He said, firmly.
The oldest kasheeta bobbed her head in response. "Yes, of course. Thank you and again regrets for your captain. I hope that her face heals quickly. We will deal with Fraast. Allow me to walk you out, yes? A few closing words?"
"Of course," Brenan said, starting to regain some of his composure and heading for the door.
Beremi led the way to the door and waited until it closed before turning back to the XO. She lowered her head to the point that they were eye to eye, her claws clasped together beneath the folds of her head shawl. "Fraast is in deep mourning over the loss of sisters on Earth. She is the remaining member of her house still alive within this representation. Two other house delegations were completely wiped out. Only one other here has suffered losses. She is fearful and grieving and therefore dangerous. We will medicate her."
Brenan sighed and placed his hands on his hips, "What?" He asked, confused. "We didn't have any reports of loss of life," He said, trying to process back through all of the briefings he'd read through thus far.
The skin on the kasheeta's face shifted into what had to be the equivalent of a brow furrow. "Our ship experienced a catastrophic series of events mid voyage which claimed the lives of five of our sisters. That was believed to be an accident. When another five died in separate incidents in San Jose during the defense symposium, it was no longer believed to be an accident. Between the panic and pride within our remaining nine, it was very difficult to find trustworthy aid. All of us are nervous to be truthful. Much of our brazenness and volume is here only to cover our own fears."
"Fuck," Brenan muttered, covering his face with his hand for a moment. "Okay," He said, looking back up. "We haven't had a clear picture of this issue. This should have been communicated to us ASAP when you were brought on board. Did Gail know this?" He asked.
"I'm beginning to think no." Beremi sighed out her frustration. "She is a very frail thing. An aide. Her supervisor was supposed to be with us, not her, but there was a last minute change in plans. She is very much unprepared to deal with any kasheeta on more than paper. Very versed, but not experienced. Gail means well, but.. She is delicate."
"Last minute change," Brenan repeated, his security officer roots catching on to that statement like a hawk, "Why? Did they tell you why?" He asked.
Shaking her massive head, nictating eyelids membranes blinking briefly, Beremi sighed again. "No. Only that we would be escorted to the Kingdom by Miss Crispin and then handed over to a Lieutenant Kheylen. He ended up being transferred at the last moment the day that we arrived. Do you see a pattern, my friend?"
"I might," Brenan admitted. "Somethings off, that's for sure. Get back in with your people. Stay safe, and stay in your quarters for now. I need to dig more and try and figure out what's going on. You'll be safe here, and I'll post extra security outside if that will make you feel better," He replied. "If you'll excuse me, though, I need to get back to my team and helping them get this lock down sorted," He explained.
"Thank you.. person of authority.. May I know your chosen name or should I assign you a davashee?" the old kasheeta asked with a respectful half bow.
"Oh dammit," Brenan replied, sapping himself in the forehead as he realized he'd never actually introduced himself. "I'm sorry, I'm commander Brenan Stowe, First Officer aboard ship," He explained, offering the dinosaur a hand to shake, "Sorry for not introducing myself. Trying to keep a handle on things," He said.
The kasheeta bobbed her head in response. "It is a pleasure, commander. See to your ship and I will see to my brethren. May this all work out soon."