The view screen snapped into focus on an impossible sight and a voice from Lorian’s past speaks to him and him alone…
He looked in awe as, in front of his very eyes, his cat was sitting on the bridge of another vessel. In the captain’s chair no less! The aptly named Captain Patches had gone missing a year ago, presumably to join the cat uprising. Lorian spoke up, a hint of confusion in his voice. “Captain Patches? This is Captain Lorian Lovar of the USS Doolittle. I-” he was cut off by a loud meowing from his former cat. The universal translator took a few seconds, but was able to interpret his meaning. “Yes, I know who you are, Captain.” The computer had, for whatever reason, given the feline an extremely deep voice, verging on demonic.
The cat captain began another series of meows, which the computer translated quicker than before as if adapting to the language.“I am in need of your assistance, one captain to another. My warp core has been damaged. My best engineers have tried and failed to repair it, as they do not have hands. Please, captain, we need your help.” He seemed genuinely concerned about his ship’s safety, and Lorian wasn’t about to leave his former pet in peril.
“I’ll… I’ll send an away team over right away. Hang in there, sir.” The Vulcan smiled at the viewscreen and gave a small salute, just like the old days. “End communications.”
“Aye, sir” said Lieutenant Commander Digo, his chief of operations. His first officer, Commander Gan, finally chimed in,”So… That was your cat?”.
“Yup… Good ol’ Captain Patches.”
“I assume you’ll want to lead the away team.”
“Of course, you have the bridge, Commander.”
The Captain walked towards the turbolift as his first officer took her place on the command chair. His tactical officer, Lieutenant Yuri, and Digo followed behind him. He could tell that this would be an interesting mission if nothing else. It was a surprise when the United Feline Federation declared its independence from the United Federation of Planets. It was an even greater surprise when they won that independence through a brutal and bloody war that lasted only six months. Since then the two federations had continued to have close ties with one another, one providing knowledge and engineering and the other providing a vital resource: cute cat videos.
The cats had a monopoly on interstellar entertainment. Ever since the early 21st century, watching their crazy antics and cute quirks had been a favourite activity of humans. When the first contact was made, the Vulcans reportedly asked for a copy of the latest viral hits for their own entertainment. Over hundreds of years, this blatant cyberbullying of the cats race had gone on too long, causing a mass uprising of cat kind in an effort to claim the rights to their own images. Quickly the federation, used to a constant stream of new videos, became completely demoralized, putting up little resistance to the massacres orchestrated by the cat council. They had to surrender, they simply couldn’t fight.
As the turbolift reached its destination, Lorian looked at the two officers beside him, nodded, and walked out. They followed, staying on both sides of him like a security detail. When they entered the transporter room, his chief engineer, Lieutenant Gareth, was passing the time by making conversation with his transporter chief, Lieutenant Li. They saluted almost instantly as he entered. He smiled and nodded as a returned gesture. Over the years that Vulcan smile had become less odd and more natural to him. A familiarity he could only hope was shared by his crew.
“So, who’s ready to fix the cat ship?” Lorian exclaimed
“Sir! Is it true that your old cat is captaining the vessel?” asked Li. He was a very curious young lad, Lorian saw himself in the young human. They had become quick friends because of this, and of course drinking buddies.
The captain chuckled at the remark,”Yes, Lieutenant, me and Captain Patches had some good times together. I got him when I was still in the academy actually.”
“It must be exciting to see him again, sir, I know I speak for the rest of us former cat owners that we certainly miss our old pets.”
“It’s definitely a pleasure, Lieutenant. Now, onto business.” He walked onto the transporter pad, his company following. He gave Li a brief two fingered salute and spoke,”Beam us aboard, Li.”
“Aye, sir, I’ll see you when you get back.”
Lorian and the rest dematerialized and were sent onto the feline vessel. When they rematerialized they found themselves in a transporter room not too dissimilar to their own. The only difference being that there was a cat manning the transporter. And another cat waiting to greet them. And a security detail, with weapons trained onto them.
Captain Patches was standing with fine posture for a four legged being, and began a series of meows. His comms universal translator was taking its time in translating what the cat had said, but it was already too late. The phasers had been fired before it even began to speak. Lorian expected to be stunned or disintegrate or have a hole in his chest, but none of that had happened. “I’m sorry” his comm blurted out in the same deep voice as before,”The council only allowed me one pet. Fire!”
The captain looked beside him only to see no one. Not a single thing. Not a single thing except specs of dust floating down to the floor of the transporter room. Shock set in. He froze up. He was about to reach for his phaser when he remembered that he arrived unarmed. He was trapped. Before he was able to recover from the shock and betrayal of what had just happened, he was put in handcuffs and led into the hall.
“Meow meow meow, meow, meow meow meow meow.” exclaimed the cat captain. His comm interpreted the message a moment later as “I am truly sorry, I would have kept all of your men if the council allowed it, but I’m afraid they’re very picky on who lives and who doesn’t.”
“Patches… It didn’t need to go this way. The war is over, what reason do you have to-”
“Meow! Meow meow meow meow meow. Meow, meow meow.”
That last sentence seemed directed at the communicator in the cat’s ear. He wasn’t sure where they were headed, he had never been on this model of ship before, but he assumed a brig or interrogation room of some sort.
“Silence, humanoid!” yelled the comm,”I thought you were smarter than that. You lost the war, you surrendered, but you never met our demands. Now we must take the Federation by force! Patches to bridge, fire all photon torpedoes at the Doolittle...”
Lorian’s heart sunk to the bottom of his stomach like a brick off a building. His pride and joy, his ship, his crew, his friends. He was about to cry out but he already knew it was too late. In his heart of hearts and his soul of souls he knew his ship… his family was gone. Now, all the Vulcan had left to look forward to was being the pet of pets.