“Commander, there seems to be a problem”
This blunt statement interrupted my pleasant reverie of last night's entertainment. “Joe? We've been on this crate together for your entire adult life, can't you relax the formality just a little? My name is Sam.”
“Yes comm..., sorry, Sam.” came the reply from inside the headset of my science officer.
Don't get me wrong, Joe is a good enough cat, but he tends towards the formal slant, and it does get on one's nerves after a while. Oh, there he goes, shifting around again, the poor guy needs to learn how to use his periphial vision, it would save him sore necks.
“Joe? There was a problem?” I thought that it would be prudent to remind him of his original statement.
“Problem? Oh, right. We're running out of fuel. There's no way we will ever make that dual star configeration we were headed for without resupplying somewhere.”
I sighed as I heard this; Joe was always so dramatic. Despite our mandate to explore the dual star system, we always needed to stop, refuel and resupply somewhere before we can continue. There must be some species somewhere that we can use.
As I looked over the sensors at the planetary system we were approaching, I had to flick my ears in frustration. What a horrid little system. There were only one or two major bodies, a dull yellowed little sun, and lots of hardened cold little rock systems farther out from the two bigger gaseous ones.
Muttering to myself, I considered the idea that the whole crew was going to be upset about this stopover. Well, best get the formalities over with.
"This is First Commander, Delta Pride, your leader. We are running low on fuel and must stop in the star system we're approaching, we will be dropping from trans-leap at the end of this cycle, at that point every able body is summoned to the Agridome for a briefing."
The muttering starts as I switch the announcement system off. I can hear the worried grumbling rumbling through the massive ship as the crew members start fidgeting. The steel frames of the spaceborn vessel shift and start to vibrate as the preparations for a transition back to normal space begin. It's as though the ship herself is purring to calm us all down.
* * *
“Run the scans Joe, is everybody headed to the AgriDome?”
“Yes Commander” I heard Joe's reply, his clipped tone indicating a level of distraction I could not define.
“Joe, enough with the commander crap” I followed this with a growl low in my throat to make my point.
“Huh? What?” Joe seemed flustered for a moment. “Oh, sorry Sam, distracted; there seems to be nothing on any of these planets. I'm worried that we might have to revert to the standby of generating our own fuel.”
“That's a chance we'll have to take,” I paused while I stared at the displays showing the local star system, “but it's not like we have a choice, we have to refuel or we'll be stuck between stars where we can't downshift to take on more fuel. Remember what happened to Beta Pride? They never came back to normal space when this happened to them.”
“Right, it's now or never. Guess I'll start scanning for sentience, or at least somewhere warm that we can recoup and recover while we refuel.” Joe turned away, effectively ending the conversation as he donned the headset and reconnected with the scanning systems.
* * *
Standing on the mount before the assembled crew, I slowly stretched out from nose to tail, in full view of all assembled, then I began.
“I am pleased that you consented to this gathering, I assume everyone received their personal collectors as they arrived?” A gentle jingling of metal tags on collars was the reply as I paused to assess the mass of furry crew members.
“I have some good news for you all. There is a single planet in this system that has sentient life on it, they are bipedal and have no significant personal defences.” I paused as the positive emotional response rolled across the collective mental link.
“The second part of this good news is that we can trigger the positive energy needed to fill our collectors and get these aliens to give us all the fuel we need to completely refill the ships holds.” The wave of positive response across the communal line was almost euphoric.
I continued, “All we have to do is make physical contact with these aliens, snuggle up close to them, and start our own healing cycle, purring for all we're worth. This will result in a reciprocal action from thealiens, thus filling your collectors. Now, go and make these aliens happy.”
I left the speech where it lay and moved off the mount, heading back to the command deck.
* * *
“One of your better landings Joe.”
“Thanks Sam,” Joe looked pleased at my compliment, “I better go get my collectors and head out. The ghost crew take care of our ship until we get back.”
I watched Joe as he bounded out the hatch, off to explore this warm blue and green planet, I envied him his freedom as I was only going to be able to head out for a cycle or so before I was needed back here to direct the flow of energy back to the holding tanks.
* * * One week later * * *
"Well, Joe? Did you enjoy your shore leave?" Naturally I was addressing the other feline's back, as his head was immersed in the sensor readout array.
His answer, muffled as usual, basically sounded affirmative. I turned back to the macro-screens, watching as the little blue green marble of a planet receeded into the distance. Noticing the impending trans-leap line approacting just past that big ringed red planet, I sighed. The details of being Commander were getting tiring, maybe it was time to revert to my previous post of Medical Tech and let somebody else try to run things for a while.
"This is First Commander, Delta Pride. We will be engaging trans-leap in seven minutes, we're full up and on the way out. Brace yourselves until trans-leap's engaged and then it's a couple hundred cycles until we get to the twin stars that were our destination. It's good to have you all back. Alpha Delta out.” I snapped off the communication system and slumped back onto the command couch.
“Joe, can you keep an eye on things for a bit, I am going to catch a quick cat nap.”
Not waiting for a reply I closed my eyes, tucked my nose under my tail and let the exhaustion claim me.
* * *
“Aya Fisk reporting live from the scene of the recent upheaval. Some are calling this a divine intervention, others an extra-terrestrial preliminary assessment, and still others are claiming this is the beginning of the end predicted in so many religions. Being objective I will not endorse any of those views. What I can say is that the spherical ship touched down just outside the historical city of Jerusalem, and millions of what appeared to be housecats flooded out of the ship. They commenced climbing up on anyone they could find and simply purring for hours at a time.
The unexpected side effect of this is that for the first time in decades there is absolutely no conflict in this recently war torn middle-eastern region. Even the Gaza Strip is silent as people wander around with grins on their faces. Then, after about a week of this behaviour by the alien cats, they all simply swarmed back into their ship and it floated back up into the starry night and they were gone. I guess if we could all just relax and chill out then there really would be no more reason to fight so much.
Aya Fisk, signing off, it's time for my cat-nap.”
* * *
This entire story was written based on the question, “Why does this cat climb up on my chest and purr, not letting me so much as clean up the house. I have to sit here while he purrs and naps.”
I know it doesn't work scientifically, or on so many other levels, but there you have it. Peace and God Bless.