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Kit(ten) and Kaboodle

Posted on Fri Oct 14th, 2016 @ 3:03am by Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov
Edited on on Fri Oct 14th, 2016 @ 8:39pm

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Ensign Bogolyubov's Quarters

One of the many things that made the Vindex superior to the Cukela, Elsa thought wryly to herself, was that the purpose of interviewing members of her department didn't include trying to determine who would sell her out to the Consortium.

Still, it didn't mean that trying to meet every member of her department didn't have its downsides. For example, almost without exception, every person she met was more qualified in their individual discipline than Elsa was, but Elsa was going to be the one who would decide who got to pursue their pet projects, who got to directly investigate a brand new phenomena, rather than relying on someone else's collected data, who was...

Well, there were a lot of decisions that would be made in the days to come, and Elsa was almost certain that some would not be happy with those decisions. There was also the fact that the Vindex was going to be focused on battling the Consortium for the foreseeable future. Which meant that if there were any chances for pure scientific investigations, they would be few and far between. Science would be tasked in helping to battle the Consortium and giving answers and opinions about Consortium technology. Otherwise, the Vindex's Science Department would probably fall fairly low on the resource distribution list.

When Elsa was head of Engineering on the Cukela, this wouldn't have been a problem. Engineers understood the need to get things done with what they were handed, and that there was a common goal to work towards. The scientists on the Vindex understood this too. For the most part. Generally. Sort of. But in some of her interviews with the members of her department, she got the sneaking suspicion that more than one or two considered the Consortium some type of conspiracy dreamed up by their academic rivals to hinder their individual quest for knowledge. Elsa remembered one of her instructors remarking that running the Science division on a starship was like trying to ride herd on a group of cats.

And speaking of cats...

That last interview of the day had been a biologist who had dropped off a container with a biological specimen in it. A kitten, to be precise. Elsa didn't have very much experience with kittens...almost none, in fact...but she was sure that this was the biggest kitten she had ever seen. She suspected that someone in biology must have gotten the wrong specimen, that it had to be a wildcat of some sort. The kitten even had the little pointed tufts at the tip of its ears, along with a brownish gray coloration, that made Elsa think it was a wildcat. The biological technician, however, had assured Elsa that it was indeed a domesticated cat, and the breed was known for its gentleness and docility,

The biological technician also noted that, upon maturity, a healthy specimen could weight as much as eight to nine kilograms. Elsa eyed the kitten and hoped that the description of it being gentle and docile was accurate.

Then the biologist asked a favor. She was due to go on shift, and could her new boss take the kitten to its destination, one Ensign Bogolyubov?

Of course, Elsa knew the biologist was going on shift, and had scheduled the interview accordingly. But Elsa wasn't aware that she'd be expected to make deliveries. Elsa agreed, of course, and her next stop was taking the kitten to Ensign Bogolyubov's quarters.

The kitten wasn't a problem. The container it was in held it in stasis. The biologist said something about this ensuring that the kitten would bond with the first being it saw once it was released from stasis. Elsa took that explanation on faith.

Ensign Bogolyubov wasn't a problem either. From everything Elsa had read, Ensign Bogolyubov was probably one of the most brilliant mathematicians in the Federation, and Elsa had reports from other department heads on the ship that Ensign Bogolyubov was a proven asset to the Vindex. It was just that dealing with the Ensign was...

Ensign Bogolyubov was a good officer, considered an almost peerless luminary in her field, and Elsa couldn't fault the Ensign on anything. On the other hand, it was a bit disconcerting talking to the Ensign on anything except matters in her field. It was like talking to a member of a species the Federation had just made First Contact with, that you had no real idea what their cultural background was, and the Universal Translator was still playing catch up as far as vocabulary was concerned.

Elsa was contemplating all this when she reached Ensign Bogolyubov's door. Within a couple of seconds of Elsa signalling her presence, the Ensign was at the door, tugging her uniform into place.

There was a look of confusion on the Ensign's face at finding her superior at her door. She was about to ask what the problem was, when she spotted the box that Elsa was carrying. With a shout of "Prokhvost!", the Ensign grabbed Elsa by the wrist and pulled her into the quarters.

Elsa didn't resist, more than a little shocked by Ensign Bogolyubov's actions. Elsa herself didn't invite casual touching by those she wasn't familiar with, but she suspected the Ensign maintained a strict "no touch" zone around her person at all times. Instead, the Ensign was smiling and bubbly, talking excitedly in Russian as she took the box from Elsa's hand.

"Yes, well," Elsa finally managed, "That's what I came by to deliver, Ensign Bogoly --- oof!" The last syllable was produced when the Ensign wrapped her arms around Elsa, hugging her tightly and thanking Elsa profusely. Not sure what to do, Elsa awkwardly patted the other woman on the back until the Ensign broke the embrace.

"Yes, well," Elsa started again. "Now that you have your, um, kitten, Ensign Bogolyubov..."

"Anastasia, please," the Ensign asked, turning back from the stasis box to Elsa.

"Yes, Anastasia," Elsa tried to start again, "Since you have your kitten, perhaps..."

"Lieutenant, could you stay? I could serve tea."

Elsa was about to decline the offer, but there was an uncharacteristic eagerness and hopefulness in Anastasia's eyes.

"Perhaps a few minutes, Ensign," Elsa allowed, not quite sure how to react to abrupt change in Anastasia's demeanor. "Anastasia," Elsa corrected herself, which brought a smile to Anastasia's face.

Anastasia opened the stasis box, holding it up to her face. The kitten tentatively poked its head out, batting Anastasia's face with a paw. Anastasia reached into the box with one hand, talking to the kitten in Russian and calling it Prokhvost, telling it about her home, while the kitten crawled all over her. Elsa smiled at the sight of the Ensign and her new kitten, fairly sure this was an aspect of Anastasia's personality that very few people ever got to see.

Elsa couldn't help but giggle when Anastasia told the kitten the he would need to become more fluent in Russian to communicate with her cat back on Earth. Anastasia looked up at Elsa, an inquisitive look on her face, but still exuding a happy "little girl" spirit.

"I was remembering having a picnic one time, when I was a little girl," Elsa explained. "There was this Russian family sitting near us, trying to feed a squirrel, and they were trying to coax it closer. They were speaking Russian to it, of course, and my grandmother just shook her head. She then told us, 'That's just silly. That squirrel can't speak Russian.'"

Anastasia just gave Elsa a confused smile, not quite sure how to interpret Elsa's story, but fairly certain that their interaction was positive. "You speak Russian?" Anastasia asked.

Elsa nodded. "I spent a lot of summers in Murmansk. But it's been a few years, so I'm a bit rusty."

Anastasia nodded solemnly, then held the squirming kitten up to Elsa. "Would you like to talk to him, while I fix us some tea? In Russian please?"

Feeling more than a little foolish, Elsa took the kitten, which immediately started trying to bat her hair. Anastasia went to get some tea while Elsa began holding a one-sided conversation with the kitten in Russian, all the while hoping no one else would ever learn about this.

And so for the next two hours, Elsa found herself enjoying tea with Anastasia, while the kitten ran between the two, taking turns playing with each woman, before climbing into Anastasia's lap and promptly falling asleep. When Elsa stood up, Anastasia stood up with her, Prokkvost carefully cradled in her folded arms. "Thank you again, Lieutenant."

"We can forgo titles in a social setting, Anastasia," Elsa instructed. Anastasia smiled brightly. "Thank you, Elsa," Anastasia replied.

After Elsa left, Anastasia laid down on her bed, curling up with her sleeping kitten by her side. Soon both woman and kitten were fast asleep.


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