The command crew gathered in the teleporter room. They took their positions and managed to stand at complete attention, despite wearing their itchy dress uniforms. Captain Reed wasn't looking forward to another diplomatic mission. He felt he was pulled from a much more important...and interesting...mission to investigate reports of a giant living space entity harassing ships near the Videni border.
But such is the life of a Space Fleet Officer. So now he and his crew had to babysit a Lacoathan delegate on his way to negotiations over shipping rights in Nurean space. The Lacoathan's were a friendly race, but their amphibian-like biology and taste for anything raw from the ocean always filled the decks of the ship with unpleasant odors.
"Shall I bring a bottle of Videni wine to the dinner party tonight, Captain?" Lieutenant Trotter whispered in his typical mischievous manner. Everyone called him Trot; he was well known for his antics. And he knew full well that Videni wine wouldn't agree with their guest and the odor problem.
The Lacoathan ship signaled that they were ready for transport. Captain Reed ordered with a sigh, "Ensign Ivankov, initiate."
Ivankov locked onto the diplomat's position and activated the transport sequence. Two forms began to materialize on the teleporter pad. Reed was looking at an interesting painting on the wall--a rare psionic mood-enhancer from a primitive planet they had visited for shore leave. A shore leave, Reed thought, that was far too distant in the past.
His officers were shifting anxiously in their positions, drawing the Captain's attention back to the pad. Reed's eyes widened with confusion and sudden amusement.
Standing next to the squat, brownish amphibian diplomat was a tall, very beautiful woman.
"Please, let me welcome you both to the SFS Drake." the Captain announced, having found new enthusiasm for the mission.
The figures stepped from the teleporter pad, and the frog-like humanoid said, "Thank you, Captain," its voice a mixture of croak and wheeze, "Please forgive my unannounced guest, my daughter Arana."
"Not at all, Ambassador Reichluund." Reed pronounced with some difficulty, masking his confusion.
"Daughter?" Reed thought in amazement. "Of course!" Reed recollected that the Lacoathan moon was home to a native humanoid race, almost extinct. An all-female race that reproduced via parthenogenesis. Arana must be adopted.
"Ambassador Reichluund, you must be famished. We have arranged a buffet of many sea-dwelling delicacies. Lieutenant Trotter would be delighted to escort you to the dining hall and instruct you in the choices." Reed explained with great satisfaction, catching Trotter's downtrodden expression in the corner of his eye.
"Captain, my daughter has seen me eat for her entire life, but this is her first time on an SFS cruiser. Would you be so kind to provide her with a tour?" Reichluund asked. The last sentence was encapsulated in a burp.
"It would be an honor, Ambassador." Captain Reed smiled with delight as he took Arana's arm and led her from the teleporter room.
"The mood-altering painting seems to have worked," Reed thought, "This assignment might be interesting after all."
This has been another Forehead Friday! Please see previous installments here and here and here.
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