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Old January 4 2013, 08:47 PM   #138
jespah
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Re: Writing Challenge- The winning entries.

December challenge entry:

The Further Adventures of Porthos - The Stilton Fulfillment

challenge topic: Ironic Wish Fulfillment
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Good smell good smell good smell good smell Alpha pet me pet me pet me. Thank you {tail wag}. First Hoshi then other humans make noise on magic box with no smell. Alpha speaks back. “Blah blah visitors blah blah DINNER blah blah.” Alpha answers again, “Blah blah beagle blah blah.” Door opens, T’Pol is here! {wag tail} Pet me pet me pet me I know you’ll pet me when you think no one else is looking. T’Pol says, “Blah blah DINNER,” and then leaves.

Captain Jonathan Archer sat in his Ready Room on the NX-01, occasionally petting his pet beagle, Porthos, who often wagged his tail in what seemed, at times, to be genuine gratitude.

There was a Communications chime. “Sir,” said Ensign Hoshi Sato, “I have the Caitian Ambassador for you. His name is, er,” she checked a display, “Gopalahr.”

“Put him through. Ah,” the captain said as the image on his computer screen switched from the Communications Officer to the Caitian Ambassador, a rather felinoid person with light brown fur and whiskers. “Good to hear from you.”

“Likewise,” replied the Ambassador. “We will be docking soon.”

“We’ll have dinner ready.”

“Might I bring my family aboard? They have never seen humans before.”

“Of course. My, uh, my beagle will probably be very interested. I hope you don’t mind him attending; he’s my pet.”

“I have a few fairly young children,” replied the alien, “I’m sure they would be delighted – particularly my youngest, Parenelsa. She is a shy child, and has some difficulty in speaking.”

“He’s a gentle dog. Looking forward to it. Archer out.” There was a door chime. “Come in.”

It was First Officer T’Pol. “I have the duty roster for tomorrow. And Chef Slocum reports that the Food Service staff is ready with tonight’s dinner.” A display on the captain’s computer showed the date – March the twelfth of 2155. She continued, “Lieutenant Reed is anxious to meet with Ambassador Gopalahr as there are some questions about security, given the fact that there seems to be some increased Romulan activity in this sector.”

“Right. Uh, and thanks,” replied the captain as T’Pol departed.

I wait and then Alpha says it’s time to go! Everywhere with Alpha is good! It must be good! I know it will be!

Good smells are all over the hallways. Crewman Nyqvist had a hot dog at lunch four days ago. Doctor Phlox let the Derellian bat out by mistake yesterday. Crewman Porter and Private Ryan kissed in this very spot the day before yesterday. And I can smell it all!

Good smell good smell Alpha sees Hoshi. Oh Hoshi, I love Hoshi! Hoshi! Hoshi! {wag tail} I get my ears scratched oh that’s the spot don’t stop don’t stop don’t ever stop. Nobody scratches my ears like Hoshi.

Hoshi says, “Blah blah Caitians blah blah children blah blah DINNER.”

Alpha says, “Porthos blah blah children.”

We go into the Observation Lounge. DINNER!!!!! The smells are so good!!!!


Jonathan and Porthos walked together in the starship’s hallways. The dog was sniffing almost constantly, his nose practically glued to the deck plating. It could, at times, be slow going, but the captain was indulgent – perhaps overly so.

Ensign Sato met them at the entrance to the Observation Lounge. She bent down to briefly scratch the dog behind an ear, and then straightened up. “The Caitians are settling in. The Ambassador and his wife have six children – it looks like the oldest two are teenagers. The youngest one stutters a bit, and seems to be painfully shy. She’s a little bit difficult to engage in conversation and is very timid. They’re already waiting at dinner.”

“Good,” replied the captain. “Porthos here is great with children. Maybe she’ll come out of her shell, and at least talk to him. Shall we?” He hit the controls and the door slid open.

=/\=

Inside the Observation Lounge, the Ambassador got up quickly, and he and the captain exchanged pleasantries. The alien then introduced his family, ending with Parenelsa being presented last. She was very young, with fur in a kind of tortoiseshell pattern. She hid behind Gopalahr. “I’ve brought a friend with me,” Jonathan said kindly. He knelt down so that he could get to Parenelsa’s level. “This is Porthos. He is a dog. He’s very friendly and would love to meet you.”

The dog tilted his head and wagged his tail. The child tentatively put her furry hand out and petted his shoulder once. “Oh!” she whispered. “W-why does his t-tail move so m-much?”

“He does that because he likes you,” the captain replied.

New smells good smells cats cats cats lots of cats, cats wearing clothes? Odd cats. One is very small, very afraid. {wag tail} Come closer. Will not hurt little scared one. Will never hurt little scared one. Little scared one Parenelsa. Pet me pet me. Little scared one not so scared now. {wag tail}

The captain straightened up, knees cracking a little bit. He nodded to Hoshi and she went to sit with Lieutenant Reed, who had been engaging the Ambassador’s wife in some conversation.

The Ambassador and the captain talked and talked, with Reed chiming in as he felt he could. Hoshi sat there, a bit afflicted with ennui and engaging the older children in conversation. She was a bit taken aback when Gopalahr’s wife asked her how long she and the captain had been married.

The meal was served. Chef Slocum had decided to feature anything he could think of that a feline might like. There were tuna steaks, and there was only milk to drink. But there were also salads, and there was a grain dish on the side, with snow peas. Malcolm leaned over to speak with the server, Lili O’Day. “Where does this grain come from?”

“Hmm? Oh, uh, it’s bulgur. I figured you’d want a counterpoint on your plate. Otherwise there’s an awful lot of protein flying around. Want some Stilton? We’ve got at least a good eight different kinds of cheese. Confidentially,” she said quietly, and he had to strain to really hear her, “I’m glad we don’t have cat grass on board. Otherwise, Chef would have insisted, and we’d’ve made a salad out of it.” Reed shuddered. “Not to worry,” she said, serving him a huge slab of tuna steak.

Malcolm blanched at the huge selection of dairy products on display, and put his hand over his plate to prevent her from giving him a serving of the Stilton. “Is there anything to drink but milk?”

“I, oh, I can’t grab anything else; too busy here, sorry,” Lili said. “You okay?”

“It’s nothing, Ensign,” he replied, and she went back to serving the others and making sure the tumblers were filled with milk. He stared at his tumbler and frowned.

“Well, this is kind of an unconventional dinner,” Hoshi said.

“Perhaps there’s a spot of catnip in the salad,” he quipped under his breath. He peered over. “I do believe the little one’s made a friend.”

“Long as she keeps feeding Porthos cheese, she’s got a friend for life,” Hoshi agreed.

Good smell good smell fish good milk good oh and there’s CHEESE! Cheese! CHEESE!

Parenelsa gives me cheese! Oh cheese! Oh Parenelsa! More please! {wag tail} More! Yes! Cheese! Can’t have too much cheese! This is what I’ve always wanted! UNLIMITED CHEESE!!! {rapid tail wag}

Humans say, “Blah blah dinner blah cheese blah territory blah treaty blah security.”

Who cares? Parenelsa is giving me CHEESE! {wag tail wag tail wag tail}


By the time the captain knew what was happening, Parenelsa had twice filled her plate with cheese and had set it down on the floor for Porthos to eat. The dog was inhaling it.

And then they all knew the consequences, as the dog’s digestive tract really wasn’t equipped to handle all that dairy.

The expulsion of methane nearly cleared the room.

Uh, oh. BAD SMELL.

“I’d like to apologize,” the captain said, “Uh, Ensign Sato, could you please take Porthos to Sick Bay?”

Parenelsa looked on in horror, a furry hand put up to her face.

“Uh, I’ll do it, sir,” Malcolm volunteered and got up quickly, a Jack in the Box on springs. Hoshi glared at him – she had wanted to get out of the remainder of the dull dinner.

“Don’t you want to speak with our guests?” the captain inquired.

Malcolm cast about, trying to figure out how to put things. “Sir, I have, well, I have some minor food allergies of my own,” he said quietly.

“Oh, yes, of course,” said Archer.

“Come along now, little chap,” Malcolm said to Porthos. With the plate taken away, the dog had nothing to do but follow him.

Once the door had closed, Parenelsa tugged on the captain’s sleeve. He bent down so that he could hear her. “Is, is P-Porthos very s-sick?” she asked, her eyes welling up.

“No, he’ll be fine,” said the captain. “But that was too much for him. He’s going to have a bit of a bellyache.”

“I’m, I’m s-sorry,” she whispered, scared again.

“Do you want to visit him later? Your whole family can come. Would you like that, Parenelsa?”

“Y-yes. I d-don’t want him t-to be in p-pain.”

“I know you didn’t mean it,” Jonathan said.

“Th-thank you.”

Good taste good taste CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE CHEESE Parenelsa I LOVE YOU!!! Ohhhh. Pain in belly. Not so good.

Reed takes me to Doctor Phlox. Reed has different aftershave than Alpha and smells differently. Good smell.

Halls smell good but belly HURTS. Travis and Shelby stood here three nights ago but did not kiss. She wanted to. He wasn’t sure. Private Hodgkins was angry right at this spot four hours ago; I can smell his sweat, a little sour in the air. He was with Crewman Parsons and Crewman Tanner and they were nervous.

Reed says, “Blah blah dairy blah blah Phlox.” We get to Sick Bay. Phlox Phlox I love Phlox!


It was a quick walk to Sick Bay, but the dog, even in his condition, was not moving that quickly. Malcolm considered just picking up the dog and carrying him, but he was mindful of the odors that the dog was, still, occasionally emitting. Fortunately, no one else was in the hallway. He took advantage of the quiet and softly said, “Not to worry, little chap. I, too, have an aversion to dairy. It’s called lactose intolerance. Only the doctor knows and, I suppose you do, too, now. And if I was a bit, well, earthier, I suppose I’d allow myself to openly have the same physical reaction as yourself. Of course I don’t. I’ll allow there’s a difference between you and I, eh? Ah, here we are.” He pushed the panel and the doors to Sick Bay opened.

Doctor Phlox looked at them and shook his head. “Ensign Sato contacted me. She said there was an overabundance of cheese digested. Was that by you or Porthos? Or both?”

“Both, I think. But he’s far worse off than I. We, uh, we had a bit of an incident.”

As if to punctuate the Lieutenant’s words, the dog let loose again. In its nearby cage the Derellian bat shrieked. “Oh my,” said the doctor, his eyes tearing a bit, “that is, uh, it’s unique, let’s just say. Perhaps Commander Tucker can harness these emissions if we run low on dilithium, or if the matrix has any, er, issues.”

“Doctor, if you please.” The Lieutenant’s urgency was justified, as the dog let loose again. “My God, it’s like Stilton, the MACO unit’s laundry and Klaang, all combined.”

The doctor prepared two injections. He gave the larger one to Reed, who injected himself, as the doctor took care of the dog. “There,” said the Denobulan, straightening up. “a bit of lactase for both of you, in a neutral suspension. We shouldn’t have too many more, er, gaseous anomalies.”

“I hope you’re right, Doctor.”

Bad smell oooh bad smell. The Derellian bat doesn’t like that. Reed says, “Blah blah.” Then Phlox says, “Blah blah dilithium blah blah.” Bad smell. Oooh. Shot don’t like shot don’t like shot don’t like shot. Aaah. Belly feeling better.

=/\=

“Right, sir. And my apologies, Ambassador. The little chap is all right. I shall return soon. Reed out.” Malcolm flipped his communicator closed. “I really should return to that supper. It’s just so damnably dull.” The ship was suddenly rocked. “Bloody hell!” yelled Malcolm. He ran out.

Phlox turned to Porthos. “Let’s get you secured.” He brought out a larger crate and the dog obediently entered it. The door was shut as the Enterprise was rocked again. Phlox went to the wall communicator, which was chirping. He banged it. “Sick Bay; Phlox here.”

“Doctor!” It was Ensign O’Day. “I have the Ambassador and his family. We’re coming to Sick Bay, under the captain’s orders. O’Day out.”

Sour smell danger coming, ship is pushed HARD. I almost fall. Reed runs out. I smell fear I smell warning I smell wrong things. The Derellian bat is scared.

Phlox says, “Blah blah secured.” I go into secondary den, but it is not safe. Big bang, big push. I smell the Derellian bat’s fear. The Edosian slugs and the tribbles are panicking, and I am terrified.

I hear Lili in the magic wall box for a second. I lie down and make myself small. I fear for Alpha more than I fear for myself.


=/\=

Lili arrived with the Caitian guests as quickly as possible. “Do you know who’s attacking us?” she asked the doctor.

“I have no idea. We, I need to be prepared and have this area cleared in the event of any casualties.”

“Right. Those kids, they really shouldn’t see that,” Lili replied. “Huh. Could they go into decon?”

They were rocked again. “Good thinking. Uh, maybe take Porthos with you. I don’t know what I might end up having to deal with.”

“Right.” She unlatched the dog’s crate, but he didn’t come out immediately. “C’mon, fella,” she coaxed, “let’s pretend I have a steak, or something.”

Phlox herded the Caitians into decon and Lili was finally able to get the dog to follow her. Phlox shut the door behind them.

Fear smell scared scared Lili’s here I love Lili. She always has food. Lili works with Chef. Comes to get me. I am afraid to go. I should stay and wait here for Alpha. But she says, “Blah blah steak,” and I know she doesn’t really mean it, because I can’t smell it. And she is afraid. But the ship is moving too hard and Parenelsa is there and she is very, very scared and so I follow.

Little room decon old smells. Old planet place smells. Places with trees or ice or deserts. I smell Risa very faintly, smell of Rhylo, smell of Tandaran prison, smell of Xindi spheres. I smell all who have been in here, even those who are no more. I smell Crewman Cutler, who used to give me belly rubs. I smell Private Hawkins, who gave me half of his ham sandwich once. And I smell Major Jay Hayes, who called me Spike sometimes but I think maybe he was thinking of another dog whenever he said that.

Human cats say, “Blah blah danger blah blah Parenelsa blah blah treaty blah blah security.”

I feel the ship turning, hard.

Lili says, “Blah blah dinner blah blah dessert.”

Parenelsa cries and hugs me. I am as scared as she is.


In decon, Ambassador Gopalahr said, “I had no idea there would be danger here. I never would have brought my family. I don’t want anything to happen to them. Parenelsa, do come and sit here with the rest of us.”

The little girl had a spot on the floor, near Porthos, and did not give it up. Her father shrugged. “We’ve been trying for a treaty with the Romulans for months. Lieutenant Reed and the others will have to work harder to ensure our security, I am sure.”

Lili said, “I dunno. It’s not my bailiwick. All I do is make the dinner and serve it. Seems kinda rude of them to interrupt it like that. They didn’t even wait for you to have dessert! It’s a carrot cake, by the way. I made it myself.” She paused. “Sorry. I know nobody’s up for levity.”

“That is all right,” Gopalahr said. “As you yourself stated, this is not your area of expertise.”

Parenelsa, scared, was not comforted by any talk of desserts. Quietly, she cried a little, reaching out to the dog, which was also shaking a little.

=/\=

On the Bridge, Captain Archer did his best to stay seated as the ship took smaller hits and dodged the worst of it. “T’Pol!” he yelled. “What are you seeing?”

She peered into a scope. “It would appear that the vessel or vessels that are attacking us are cloaked. My readings are similar to when we were in that cloaked Romulan minefield.”

“Quantum beacons, sir!” Malcolm yelled. “That’s what we used the last time!”

“Get me Tucker,” the captain said to Hoshi, who quickly complied.

“Tucker here,” the Chief Engineer’s voice was tinny through the Communications speaker. “What’re ya doin’ to me? I got small fires in here!”

“Can you get a quantum beacon up and running again?” Archer asked. “Mount it on the grappler like we did the last time.”

“Gimme ten minutes. Torres, Rosen, Crossman!” he yelled to the people working nearby. “This is a priority. Porter, you’re on the containment field. Uh, Tucker out!” The connection was closed.

“Hull plating is down to seventeen percent,” Malcolm reported. “That cannot come fast enough.”

“Keep trying evasive maneuvers, Travis,” the captain said to Ensign Mayweather. The ship turned, hard, again.

=/\=

In ten minutes, there was a Communications chime on the Bridge. “Cap’n,” Commander Tucker said, “have Malcolm try the quantum beacon now.”

The captain nodded at Lieutenant Reed. He flipped a few switches. “There.”

The fuzzy outline of two ships appeared on the main view screen. “Target their engines – on the one on the port side,” Archer commanded.

“Yes, sir.” A pause. “Firing torpedoes.”

The image on the left became sharper as, perhaps, the cloak was weakened. “Do you recognize the configuration?” the captain asked Commander T’Pol.

“I believe it may be Romulan. But I am uncertain.” The two ships warped out of there before she could check them more closely. She looked up from her scope. “I cannot get a more accurate reading than a guess.”

“That’s okay,” the captain sighed. “It’s an act of aggression, to be sure. But without a positive, clear and convincing ID, we can’t exact pin it on any particular species, can we?”

“It would not further the Coalition’s agenda if we were to accuse a species without being absolutely certain,” replied the Vulcan. “The evidence is inconclusive at this time.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” conceded Captain Archer.

=/\=

It seemed like forever before they were let out of decon. “What happened?” Gopalahr inquired.

“I’m unsure,” Phlox admitted. He had a patient on one of the bio beds. The man was sitting there, holding his left arm and cringing a bit as Phlox returned to him.

“You okay, Josh?” Lili asked, coming over.

“Doc says he thinks I broke my arm. I don’t disagree.”

“You know anything about what happened out there?” she asked.

“All I know is; Engineering is okay. We were getting a quantum beacon ready but then I got knocked over too hard. But the engine’s all right, and all of that, and I figure we got the quantum beacon out. But I dunno who hit us.”

“What is such a beacon used for?” the Ambassador inquired.

“To check for cloaked stuff, mostly.”

“Romulans,” concluded Gopalahr, pacing a little.

Lili said to Josh, “I’ll make you potato latkes, even though I know it’s the wrong time of year. Just a little something to help you feel better.”

“Well, thanks,” he said, as Phlox ran a scanner over the affected arm.

There was a communications chime. Lili hit the wall unit, and the intercom could be heard. “All hands, this is the captain. We think we were hit by Romulan fire. But we don’t really know. This was another one of those quick sorties that we’ve been observing for a few months now. Enough of these, and we may be going to war with these people. So I think today’s meeting with Ambassador Gopalahr was even more important. If the Romulans are going to be a threat, then we’ll need good allies. And I’m sure the Caitians are, and always will be. Thank you to everyone; you all performed above and beyond today. Archer out.”

Better smells recovery smells Josh is hurt I like Josh he threw a ball for me lots and lots and lots of times five days ago. He is hurt I don’t know how but I smell his pain. Parenelsa is a little less scared, we hear magic box. Alpha is on the magic box! Oh joy! Oh boy! Pure joy! ALPHA IS ALIVE!!!! {thump thump wag tail wag tail wag tail}

Alpha says, “Blah blah fire blah blah threat blah blah Caitians blah blah everyone.”


“We’d better go,” Gopalahr said. “If I am right, then, oh,” he sighed, “I fear we will be at war with them soon. We’ll make our good-byes and return to our ship.”

“Very well,” Phlox replied.

The captain entered Sick Bay. “Well, you heard it. You know what to do.”

“I agree with you,” Gopalahr said, “We may very well be at war soon. Our home world will stand with yours, and with Tellar and Vulcan and Andoria. I believe the Lafa System will also support whatever you do. As for the Xindi, I am certain that they are sick of war. So they may not be so eager to join in. But it could be of value for them to remain neutral in the conflict that, I am afraid, is sure to come.”

“I don’t know,” Jonathan said, kneeling down to pet Porthos. “I guess we’ll work out the details later, if we need them. I wish it wasn’t coming to that. You think of all of the little things of this day – a dinner, a chance to get acquainted. You made a new friend,” he said to Parenelsa.

“But he got s-sick.”

“It wasn’t bad. I bet you gave him everything he thought he ever really wanted. He just didn’t think through the consequences,” said the captain.

Parenelsa sits with me some more, and then bigger cat human says, “Blah blah war blah blah war.” And then Alpha comes and he stays with me, too! She is a little less afraid, and Alpha speaks with her. “Blah blah dinner blah blah friend.” They make their good-byes. I thought the greatest thing I ever wanted was unlimited cheese. And I got it today. But it hurt my belly.

And now Alpha is worried, and something else is going on. I know war. It is the worst of the bad smells. For Alpha to be all right is better than any cheese, but Alpha is so worried. For everyone to be all right, and stay all right, it is better than cheese.

I love Parenelsa even though she did not have any more cheese. And that is the best thing. I had enough Stilton today. I had enough cheddar. And brie. And camembert. But I can never have enough of making someone like Parenelsa happy, or at least a little less afraid. But it may take a while for Alpha to be happy. He is so worried.

I will never have enough of Alpha. It is more than I could ever wish for, even when times are troubled. It is the best of the good smells.

Good smell good smell good smell.
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Last edited by Count Zero; February 8 2013 at 10:26 PM.
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