Starfleet Sugar Momma
Location: Risa, Space Las Vegas: the Attraction, the Strip
Inside the Lily Bar & Lounge, inside the Bellagio hotel, against the par leaned a giant space pig, while beside her on a stool sat what looked suspiciously like her ventriloquist's dummy. Both were clad in identical narrow-lapelled black suit jackets and slacks, with white shirts and thin black ties. A pair of black sunglasses was attempting to hold back the tide of bright red curls of the dummy on the stool, who reached for a bottle of beer to take a tiny sip, then belch. Next to her, the stellar swine emptied her beer, then slammed it on the bar.
"Dead soldier over here, buddy. Gimme two this time and save yerself the trip, slow learner."
All about them in the lounge, a number of similarly-dressed patrons of varying subtle differences on humanity lounged about, although a few of them seemed to be getting nervous about something, communicating with others of their similarly-garbed brethren in hurried hushed whispers.
Despite her onsetting inebriation, the tiny test pilot on the stool had a finely tuned sense of danger, as a small mammal who dwelled amongst those much larger than herself. Looking around, she frowned. "Fook's goin on?"
Knitting her brows, Gavarus looked around at the odd assemblage of increasingly anxious grouping. Putting the black sunglasses on that had been in the pocket of her slick, black jacket, the porcine engineer tapped the side, activating the hidden tricorder scanning functions to confirm that every other patron in a matching suit was, indeed, packing high powered weapons. "Uh... riiiight."
Leaning over to whisper to her pint-sized partner, the portly porcine muttered under her breath. "Yeah, they're all the other assassins that were called in by that weird-ass Orion chick to go after that Andorian Heiress."
As they were talking, they both noticed the Risan security teams were beginning to make their way through the group, casually approaching and trying to subtly detain the hired guns on the furthest edge of the lounge and lobby. "The assassins dressed like us." Gavarus gulped as she realized the potential problem.
“Ah shite,” O’Dell replied, putting two and two together. “Alreet… so we’ve got Starfleet ID, we did work with the security forces on this, and we’ll be cleared, but I’ll be knackered if we’re g’win ta spend the rest of our bloody night off explainin’ alla that to some resort security that’s nae all that innerested in the truth. Alreeet chum, time fuir us to get thee to a gift shop If we kin make it oot the hotel, we should be able to find a tourist trap to get somethin’ to let us blend in wi’ the locals, aye? The ones that are NOT bein’ arrested…”
"Yeah, good idea. And, in the meantime..." Gavarus took off her black jacket and tucked her shades into the Brest pocket of her white shirt, tossing the suddenly too noticeable garment in the trash receptacle behind the bar when the bartender was occupied on the other end. "We can always replicate another set of these back on the ship. C'mon, let's get the hell out of here."
"Aye, good plan, good plan." Taking the cue, O’Dell wriggled out of her suit jacket, tie and white button-down shirt on one smooth motion, shucking them all to be left standing there in a ‘wifebeater’ t-shirt and her slacks. Placing the sunglasses back atop her head to keep her mop of curls in check, the lithe little lass handed her beer up to her much taller porcine partner, as they began ambling casually toward an exit, whistling innocuously.
Making there way out of the bar and past security successfully, the rotund Tellarite let out a sigh of mild relief as she spotted the resort giftshop across the lobby. As they started towards the entrance, the sensitive ears picked up a familiar sound from the bank of lifts against the far wall of the hotel lobby. An angry, guttural muttering growl.
Glancing over her shoulder, the portly engineer's eyes just about pooped out of her head as, through the crowd, she saw the thick white-furred from of the maffia Mugato, Pancriato. The same Mugato the unlikely duo tricked into helping them uncover and thwart the kidnapping plot not a half-hour ago.
As he hadn't yet caught sight of them, Gavarus ducked down as far as she could, grabbed Fiona by the arm and ducked quickly into the gift shop to avoid being seen. "Shit, shit, shit, shit! It's whitey. The Mugato asshat. Pan... Pancakeio, or something. What the effin' f***."
“Ah, shite! The monkey mob Mugatu? I woulda thought he’da been arrested, but I guess he dinna actually commit a crime. Although if he catches up with us, he’s liable to commit a few… fook! Alreet, alreet…. I got it!” Grabbing items seemingly at random, O’Dell began shoving them into Gavarus’ arms- a big sun hat, large tourist sunglasses, some yoga pants, and a few souvenir t-shirts. “Go, change, I’ll be in with ye in a tic, I joost gotta get the rest of our disguise together, and he’s a lot less likely to spot me than thee. Go, go!”
Running to the changing room in the back, Gavarus was fumbling with the assortment of clothing that was threatening to topple out of her arms and all over the place. "Shit, shit, shit..." she muttered as she snuck behind the changing curtain and began going about changing as quickly as she could. As she did, she took off the white shirt she was wearing and winced as she realized that she had thrown out the small phaser she had in her jacket pocket along with the coat, as well as the Nausicaan's disruptor, which had been kind of a hunk of junk anyway. A phaser registered to the Hera that she hoped had already been replicated into it's particulate matter with the rest of the trash. However, that meant she was that much less able to defend herself OR Fiona if the fuming Mugato noticed them.
A feat which would be admittedly difficult in the ensemble Fiona had haphazardly grabbed. Quickly yanking her long, platinum blonde hair out of the braids that Fiona has so lovingly put them in before they left, she let her massive mane of frizzy hair poof out wide as she struggled to tug on the yoga pants, which were a garish blend of neon green and neon pink which clashed terribly with the undersized novelty T-Shirt that was a baby blue with the logo of the hotel emblazoned on it that stretched across her plump chest making the letters warp to be near unreadability.
A mop of curls peeked beneath the stall of the changing room, then Fiona burst in. "Ach! Here, the layered look is in," she said tossing a large white t-shirt that could fit their entire family into, which hung off her shoulder and made the weirdly tiny undershirt work for her. Meanwhile, O'Dell was shoving a stroller inside with them. Pulling on a bonnet to shove her hair into, O'Dell began folding herself into the stroller. "Desperate times call fuir desperate measures, aye? Pull alla the price tags off so we're nae shopliftin. We kin put it on Starfleet sugar momma's tab, y'ken?"
Grabbing the tags and collecting them, Gavarus peaked out to see if the Mugato was out there. She couldn't see him from where she was, but then she looked down and finally process what her diminutive partner was doing. "Wait? Are you serious?! What am I supposed to do? Push you around in that thing like you're Minnie or something? Oh my gods, this is nuts."
"Ye've got a better plan fuir sneakin oot past him I'm all ears! But a great big Tellarite gal and a wee leprechaun are fairly easy ta spot in a crowd, particularly if yuir motivated. And I saw the way that big gorilla plowed into that room. He looked downreet motivated!" Shoving clothes and flip flops in underneath her, O'Dell pulled a blanket up over herself as she hunched up in the fetal position in which she usually slept. "Alreet, pay fuir everything and let's get doown the road, aye?"
"Okay... if we're gonna do this. Let's do this so we can get outta here." Gavarus said, pressing her sinuses and taking a deep breath.
With the blanket pulled up to cover her and half her face, O'Dell did look somewhat like a baby, if one ignored the size of her disproportionately large noggin, even with the hair under restraint. However, in scale to Gavarus, it kinda worked. Rooting around beneath her, O'Dell poked a bony arm upward, delicate hand holding a one-piece visor that bore the LPGA logo. "Eh?"
Under normal circumstances, Gavarus would have let out a snort of a laugh at the bizarre sight. Instead, she just let out an awkward chuckle as she pushed the pram out into the store to the cashier. Out of the corner of her eye, the twitchy Tellarite noticed the mammoth Mugato still mulling about the lobby, looking over every person a black suit, clearly searching for the two of them.
Slapping the removed tags onto the counter, the perplexed cashier looked at them then up to the two-meter tall space pig. "Uh... Will... Will this be all... Ma'am?"
"Yes, Ma'am. Just... Just put it on our room tab. We're in the party with... Whatsherface... Swine Van... Ascott? Alcott. The Von Alcott party. It's an open tab, just hurry it up, lady. We got vacationing to vacation."
After a few moments, the cashier finalized their order and the portly Porcine pushed the precocious pretended in the pram into the lobby, with an eye on the open exit. "Okay... Think... think BABY thoughts, Fee."
"Fookin' wah," the curled up passenger muttered, then considered for a second. Alla them years'a voice coachin...
A reasonable imitation of a delighted sound followed by a raspberry that Minnie Moo, the couple's improbable daughter came from under the blanket in the stroller. Close enough to make Gavarus do a double-take as she hustled along, scooting her tiny hooves in short but rapid steps across the lobby toward the exit.
The big gorilla swung his horns her way, but was put off by the very different profile of the Rubenesque rump roast disguised as a tourist mom. With her fro free to the wind after having been in complex braids all day, guided by the visor it was now spiral permed, at least for the next few hours. Scooting along with the baby stroller, nothing about Briaar Gavarus gave Procasio(?) the Mugatu enough recognition to place her as one of the Reservoir Dogs protocol assassins whose hostage had beaten him senseless while dressed like an escort.
Their ploy successful, Gavarus exited out into the night, even as O'Dell fidgeted and squirmed underneath the blanket.
"Holy frickin' shit. We made it, Fee. F***, I thought we were fricking' screwed in there." Gavarus exclaimed loudly with a heavy sigh. And as she did, a family of prissy looking humans walking past let out an audible gasp.
"I can't believe you talk like that to your BABY! the mother or the most brood exclaimed with exaggerated indignation while the Tellarite tourist knitted her brows in irritation.
"Fookin bitch!" squealed the redheaded infant in delight. "Dipshit! Rutabega! Pbbbblt!"
As the prissy family was left behind them with mouths agape in shock, O'Dell finished squirming, then her bare feet projected out of the stroller, followed by her bony legs. "Alreety, stop, aye." she asked, and when Gavarus obliged, O'Dell stood, dressed in some cargo shorts, a bright blue t-shirt bearing the legend WHAT HAPPENS IN SPACE VEGAS STAYS IN SPACE VEGAS. Pulling the bonnet off her head she replaced it with her sunglasses to hold back her hair, and stepped into her flip flops.
"Alreet, ditch the stroller and let's go be tourists, aye?" O'Dell grinned up at her bestie, offering her hand to the thick Tellarite.
With her other hand, Gavarus let out a sigh of relief and pushed the abandoned pram into a nearby trash receptacle and the two made their way off into the brightly lit strip, in search of more alcohol and festivities free of Mugato's, mobsters or chaos. "Okay, so we got a little while before dinner to kill and we lost the asshat back there. What the hell else is there to do around here? I mean, I'm sure every place here has beer, so that's a given. But we can drink in style on Captain Pirate Booty's massive ass tab. Soooo, beer with cheesy magicians? Beer with... what's that, a circus? Beer with... is that a museum? Ugh, f*** learning. I don't want to have to think. What'cha think, Fee?"
"Let's go take some pills, get on a rollercoaster and ride til we hurl," O'Dell decided, watching a rollercoaster roll around thirty meters above the street. "Then we'll get cleaned up and drink our way up the strip, aye?"
"Holy..." Gavarus gasped looking up, then began chuckling at the sight. " Oh, hell yeah. That sounds like a plan a half to me. But, won't that be kinda tame for you. I mean, your a test pilot."
"Sure, but I'll nae be piloting it, I'm joost a passenger. And tis something I get to do with you, aye?" O'Dell took the large, three-fingered hand covered on the palm with callouses from the hard work she did in both of her own small, delicate hands and held it to her cheek. "We dinna get to take a lot of exciting rides together, y'ken?"
Blushing a deep pink, the round cheeks of the porcine engineer curled up as she smiled broadly at the sentiment. As she did, she looked down at her pint-sized partner and squeezed her hands snugly in her own. "Yeah. Yea, I get that. Heck, I don't think I even fit in the Banshee or any of the mechs you fly. So yeah, this will be fun. Let's do this."
Hand in hand, flip-flops living up to their name as they pair slapped across the busy recreation of the Las Vegas strip of old Earth towards the tower resort with the swirling green coaster track at the top. Entering the lobby, they looked around the tourist-jammed room for where to go to enjoy the attraction at the tower's top, which was easy enough for the two-meter tall Tellarite who was the better part of a full head taller than anyone else in the space. "Ahh, there we are. It's at the end here. C'mon."
Leading her much shorter partner through the throng of sentients, they were getting ever so slightly re-directed to the left side where it was easier to walk across the open rotunda of gift shops, restaurants, and specialty stores. But as they did, they found themselves momentarily stuck behind a black chalk sandwich board sign on the ground in front of a small storefront inside the expansive lobby that read 'Madame Fortuna: Psychic, Palm Reader, Tarot, and Fortune Teller.'
From the open door, covered by a gaudily colored beaded curtain, an old Klingon woman with her head wrapped in a colorful, but worn, scarf stepped through to look at the unlikely couple. "Laaaadies. Welcome. Come in? See your future? Learn what the cards have in store for your fate?"
"Might be fun, aye? After all, who could bloody predict OUR future, y'ken?" the minuscule O'Dell smirked up at her porky partner. "Might give her brain freeze joost tryin', aye?
"Why the hell not? It's not like this woo woo shit is real, anyway. And who knows, maybe she'll be able to predict who we're gonna throw up on when we get on that coaster. Heh!" Gavarus snorted out a laugh as they stepped in, the old Klingon woman seeming to either not hear the little jokes or not care about it as she stepped slowly around her small, round table.
It was decked out very much like the kinds of stereotypical parlors of this sort from the 20th Century on Earth, with hanging silks and a crystal in the center of the table. But rather than a smooth, round ball. This crystal was a jagged, green collection of three large points that seemed to have an otherworldly glow to it. But behind the old woman's chair, both women's eyes locked for a moment on the unusual items hanging behind her.
"Those... are a frickin' lot of skulls. What are those? Those are, like, plastic, right?" Gavarus gulped with an awkward grin.
"Sacrifices are often needed to unveil the future, large one. A Targ. A Romulan Shaill. A... chicken, a cow and a pig." The old woman had a creepy grin on her face as she slowly sat down, letting out a grunt as she did. "But please, sit. No such requirements will be made today. From you ladies, all I shall need are open minds... and I also take credits, latinum chips or I can charge this to your room."
"Charge it to the room," O'Dell muttered, already feeling a bit defensive about the chicken, cow and pig joke, While her life was spent literally surrounded by walking talking lifestock, O'Dell was very protective of her partner the pig, even moreso of her child the cow, and she would literally fight for her section chief the chicken. After all, the avian Mona Gonadie was the one who had taken a chance on both of them, and gotten them to where they were today, career-wise as well as personally. Taking a seat at the small round table, underneath the table she held fast to the large and reassuring hand of her mate, while in the pocket of her cargo shorts, her other hand fingered the type 1 phaser she'd been carrying all night. If this crazy old lady tried to harm her family, O'Dell would make her see some visions, all right. "Come on you raver, you seer of visions, and shine."
"All of those things, I may be. But none of those gifts enable me to see your room number. I'm not that psychic, ladies." As the ancient Klingon woman spoke, she presented a small padd with a raised brow and an impatient expression.
"Oh, shit. Yeah... uh... right." Gavarus said, entering their room number into the device, which elicited a more pleasant smile from the old crone.
"Many thanks. And now, I shall reveal to you, a glimpse into your future. What it is, none may say. The vision is yours alone to see and understand." She said, taking on a more theatrically ominous tone and waving her hands over the glowing green crystal. "Since you're already holding hands, you... large one... place a hand upon the crystal before you and both of you, close your eyes."
Glancing with a dismissive shrug to Fiona, Gavarus brought up one of her hands and casually placed it on the crystal, scoffing. "Like..."
"This!?!" The instant she did, it was as if the room she was in dissolved around her and her own hand in front of her looked even more calloused than before. And instead of the tacky t-shirts she had been wearing, the long blue sleeve of grease-stained coveralls were on her. The old woman and the crystal were gone, replaced with the viewport of the cockpit of an unknown ship. Glancing over to where Fiona was, she saw her pint-sized partner with an equally shocked expression on her face for an instant. But the brightness of her hair seemed faded to a duller red, and a few wrinkles had settled around her eyes and cheeks. She was wearing a slightly scruffy flight suit covered in pockets, with her hand of the flight control console of the customized freighter cockpit in which they seemed to be seated.
With a startled yell, Briaar drew her hand back and immediately, she was back in the fortune teller's chamber and everything was back to normal. "WHAT THE EFFIN' F*** WAS THAT!?!?"
"Your future... as promised," The old Klingon hag explained with a satisfied expression as she held her arms out proudly. "Klingon time crystals tell the future... but at a price. You just bought the grand tour, so take a good lengthy look at your future. Just touch the crystal..."
"Cockpit looked like the dog's bollocks. Like you'd had all the time and a lot of the spare parts to build one to yuir likin' that I could fly like she was noothin, hm?" Fiona, oddly unfazed by this, instead focused on what she'd seen.
"Uh... I guess..." Briaar said, nervously, as she hesitantly put her hand forward to touch the crystal again. Hesitating for a moment, she looked back at Fiona, who gave her a reassuring nod. And biting her bottom lip and squeezing her partner's hand just a little tighter, she slapped her hand hard on the crystal.
In an instant, there was that same rush from a moment ago as she opened her eyes back up to be back in the cockpit of the unusual ship they had just been in. For a few seconds, as she looked around, it was disorienting and alien to her as the environment was completely unfamiliar, but after a moment the sensation waned and suddenly, she felt more comfortable. The consoles all became as familiar as if she had made them herself. And a second or two later, she remembered that she had made them herself, just as Fiona had surmised back on Risa all those years ago.
And after a few more seconds, her grip on Fiona's hand loosened and they were simply there, in their future which now felt very much like their normal present. As she gave her partner's hand a light pump, the slightly MORE portly porcine knitted her brows as she spoke, fully a part of the vision now, "I know, Fee. I know it's what she's wanted for, like, ever. But it still frickin' sucks! I mean, it's FOUR YEARS. She's still in her room back there and I miss the F*** out of her already."
“Ah know, Ah know, darlin. But we filled her head wi’ alla our stories and adventures from when was Fleeters, and she wants to make us proud of her. She feels like she’s got this big ideal to live up to, plus at least some of the Godox girls will be going next year. She has to leave home sooner or later, briar… better she goes off to do something important with her life than to just settle down with some space coy and throw her life away haulin freight or smuggling or some other desperate shite,” Fiona opined, flipppng a couple of toggle switches to shift some atmospheric pressure in the cargo bays.
“Dinna ye worry, snuggle snout. We raised her up fine, and she’s g’win ta do amazing at the Academy,” O’Dell squeezed partner’s index finger in her hand, then pulled it over to give it a light peck of a kiss. “Hell, there’ll be people to look after her even, and we taught her everything we know. She’s more prepared than most graduates, aye? And ye know she follows orders better’n we ever did…”
Pouting in the seat next to Fiona, Briaar pulled her unruly mane of graying, platinum kinks into a massive poof of a ponytail. "Yeah, yeah. I know. It still sucks is all." the space swine said with a light sniff as she took a swig from a large, metallic coffee cup in the cupholder to her side. As she did, a green light began flashing on the overhead display.
"Ugh... there they are, now." Briaar said, flipping the switch and speaking up into the microphone, "Starbase dockmaster, this is the freighter Brigadoon on Earth approach. We're scheduled for a personnel dropoff to Starfleet Academy San Francisco, requesting permission to land."
Waiting for the reply, Briaar took her thick finger off the button and muttered. "Seriously, the whole galaxy knows where Starfleet operates. Do they have to put 'STAR' in front of everything?"
“It sounded better than ‘Earthbase, Earthfleet and the Earthfleet Academy’,” O’Dell wisecracked. “Otherwise it joost makes it all sound like a Human club, which they wanted to avoid. So ‘Star’ in front of everything sounds more inclusive?” O’Dell hypothesized, accepting the incoming telemetry for their orbital approach and plugging it into the autopilot.
“MooooOOOOOMMM, I can’t find my touchscreen gloves!” came the low, deep call from behind them, a voice they had never heard before, but somehow they knew to be their mutant mooing offspring. Of course Briaar had made her specific gloves to operate a touchscreen, since her hooved fingers did not register on touch screens, and her large knuckles were not always the answer to that problem.
"I swear to the gods, that girl would lose her horns if they unscrewed," Briaar muttered to herself as she rolled her moistening eyes. As they long ago accepted the variation of her being 'Mom' and Fiona being 'Mum', it was easy to know who the young woman in the rear of the ship was calling for. Thinking about it for a second, the touchy Tellarite called back loudly, "I think they're in my toolbox in... Crap, where'd I put that damn thing. HOLD ON!"
Fussing about, Briaar bit her bottom lip, clearly getting a little emotional as she gave her pint-sized partner an overly large, toothy smile. "Fee, hon... I... I think they're in my toolbox under the bed. Look, could... could you maybe grab them. I... I need a minute so I don't just lose it with her, okay? Please?"
“Aye,” Fiona replied, getting to her feet and wrapping her short, spindly arms about her tubby Telklarite, as far as they would reach, at least. “I’ll handle it, ye joost make sure the autopilot doesn’t decide to set us down at a truckstop, aye?”
Kissing her partner on top of her frizzy head, O'Dell thumped back through the cockpit of the freighter and into the living quarters. One foot made considerably more noise than the other, and that was when she noticed it appeared to have been replaced by a cybernetic limb, clearly highly customized and personalized for Fiona. Glossing over that oddity, she spotted the toolbag by the door, where Briaar left it last when fixing the water reclamation system. Fiona dug out the three-fingered gloves then called down the corridor. “Got your gloves here, Minnie Moo…”
Down the corridor, in the rear of the worn and lived in ship, lovingly restored and customized by the unlikely pair, in a large chamber along the starboard side, stood the subject of the two parents fussing: Minerva Mary Margret Mona O’Dell.
Standing at just shy of 246 centimeters, the young woman was wearing the Starfleet cadet's uniform she had been assigned, which fit perfectly on her thickly built frame. The first Minotaur to ever be accepted into Starfleet academy was nervously poking at the computer touch screen display on the wall near the door to her room. Her shoulder-length, black hair that crested around her brown-fur lined face. "Dang it... just work, fer Heaven's sake."
Finally, the screen gave out a chirp and appearing in the center of the room, was the flickering hologram of a much shorter young woman with decidedly pointed ears and raven black feathers in a mess about her head with two, strikingly bright red streaks along the sides. "MIN! Tlhei... you look great! I can't believe it! It's finally your first day!"
Standing across, the room was a collection of old books, assorted artifacts in cases, and star charts along the walls. It was a room clearly lived in and lived in well as the short, slightly rotund young woman in the center of the room wearing a pair of green cargo pants, hiking boots, a black turtleneck and a brown jacket with some kind of metallic headband, smiled broadly through chubby cheeks.
"Tha's easy fer yoou t' say, Hlai'vana. You won' have'ta do this fer a whole year still." Minerva said, fussing with her collar.
"Min, you're freaking out over nothing. Your admittance scores were fantastic, and you're going to kick ass, just like you always do." The holographic young woman replied, rolling her eyes.
"Oh, c'mon Vana, ye dinna know that..." the fidgety young woman in the gray and crimson uniform with just the hint of Fiona's Irish brogue said as she adjusted the collar again. "I mean, I wish you and the others were gonna be there. I dinna know innyone there."
"Well, MY application is ready for next year and so is Tala's, even though she's also applying to the Vulcan Science Academy. And you know Ami, she wants to go to the Aldebaran Music Academy and sing." The young woman who suddenly flickered slightly in mid-sentence said, rolling her eyes. "But we'll be there before you know it. So you make sure to soften those teachers up for us, Min."
Tilting her head slightly, Minnie looked at her friend quizzically, "What are you wearing, Vana? Is... is that one of Tala's neural signal blockers? Where ARE you?"
"Wellll, Mother had to take the Ghost to Romulus for a conference with the senate, sooooo... we totally aren't about to take the shuttle over to search for the lost Chalice of S'task in the closed down section of the mines on Remus." Vana said, her cheeks blushing green, smiling awkwardly.
"Ugh! I hate you all and I hope the telepathic guards catch you!" Minnie said, shrugging she broad shoulders. "We were gonna do that over the summer break!"
"Yeah, well the window opened up, and with Mom on Miradona for the season teaching, it was too good to pass up." Then, the young daughter of Romulan and Miradonian pilots' tone got more serious. "But... I'm sorry. Really. I wish you were here with us. And we miss you. But we'll see you soon, Min. Promise."
As she talked, the door wooshed open as Fiona looked into the room. The projection of the young woman turned and smiled conspiratorially as she yanked off the headband and tossed it out of range of the holographic sensors. "Hey, Aunt Fiona! Tell Aunt Briaar that the holomatrix is twitching again. I keep flickering. She probably needs to change the polarity actuator again."
“Aye, I’ll put it on the list,” O’Dell replied good-naturedly. “I’ll nae rat ye out to yuir mum if ye give me a minute here, eh? I’m sure she’d be pleased as punch to have to interrupt a Senate proposal to bail your arses oot of where yuir nae supposed ta be on Remus. But she’d know yuir runnin errands for us pickin up Dilithium dust if ye kin spare herself here for a minute, aye?”
Leave it to the professional mischief-maker to be ready to manipulate the up and comers.
Even through a hologram, Fiona and Minnie could see the color bleach out of Hlai'vana Godox's cheeks as her eyes darted around for a moment. But it was an expression Fiona had seen you young woman show thousands of times growing up and there was no pulling the wool over the daughter of Maraposia. "Uh... Sure thing, Aunt Fiona." Touching a button just outside of the range of the holographics, the image of the young, befeathered adventurer flickered and vanished.
“Alreet Minnie, we need to talk a moment, aye? Coome sit down so your old mum can look ye in the eye, aye?” Gesturing to the bed, Fiona waited patiently. They had been through the difficult teen years, when her small stature had been a genuine liability with her considerably larger adopted daughter. But cleverness and guile and actual parenting had won out, and now their relationship, while not perfect, was at least better, and safer for O’Dell’s 145 cm frame.
"Aw, Mum... not a speech. I'm..." Minerva drooped her shoulders and rolled her own eyes a moment before catching the bright emerald orbs of her tiny ginger mother, and sighed slightly. Hoofing over to her large, reinforced bed, she sat gently down and smiled.
“Now, your mum… you know how sentimental she is. She’s seein her one and only child off to the Academy, and she’s tryin her best to put on a brave face fuir ye, because she dinna want for the last memory ye have of her being a bawlin wreck. But ye’ve been the center of our lives fuir so long, she’s g’win ta be a bit lost wi’oot ye, y’ken?” O’Dell paused at that, seeking the big brown eyes of the bovine cadet. “Aye, aye, I know she’s still got me, but that’s different. Her and me made our pact long ago, and along come ye. But so much of who she is today is defined by you- takin care of ye, teachin ye, preparing ye. Now that day has come, and you’re ready… you are so, SO ready. But yuir mum… she needs ye to be strong today, aye? Take it easy on her, and no matter what she says or does, ye remember this- and ye keep it tight to ye from today on, y’ken?”
“Your momma could nae be more proud of ye than she is today. Getting accepted and goin to the Academy, well, she’s so proud of ye she’s fit to bust, and so am I. But no matter what, ye keep this close- we’re always proud of ye, and we allays will be. Ye’ve been a good daughter to us, and learned and grown and done everything we’ve ivvir asked of ye… save maybe clean yuir room, but that’s a tad hypocritical of us to ask, aye?” At the mild chuckle that received, the little lady of the spaceways took the large, furry brown three-fingered hand into her own pale, hairless five-fingered hand.
“You go make us proud out there today, aye? Because you will- every day. Dinna ye worry about yuir old mums out here clunking aboot haulin freight and runnin the pub, because we’ll be joost fine. We’ll miss ye, and we’ll allays want to hear from ye, y’ken? But this is the beginning of yuir greatest adventure. Now tis time fuir ye to stand on your own, and learn the Starfleet way. Which means nivvir havin to be alone, aye?"
"So dinna ye worry aboot us. Besides, ye might just find a few familiar faces at the Academy, or at least people whose names ye’ve heard in stories, eh?” O’Dell offered her daughter an encouraging smile, wishing she’d had the gift of inspiration like Commander Thunderjugs. But what she had were honest words from the heart, so she led with what she knew.
"Okay. I'll nae muck wit' her... or you, Mum. I promise. I'm jus..." The mammoth Minotaur maiden shuffled her large hooves on the deck while, in her hands, she was fiddling with the end of her own tail nervously, "I'm... I'm scared, Mum. I mean. I know I've been livin' a spacers life alla' my life, n' with Starfleeters most a' that time. You and Mom. Aunt Mona, Aunt Dox, and all the rest. But this is different. I... I jus' don' wanna screw it up. N' I know what you all always say. That Starfleet is a family. That yer shipmates become like yer brothers and sisters. But... it's not you n' mom."
“Nae… nae, tis not, m’wee one. But we’ll allays be here, and ye know that we’re ne’er more than a comm away. And for the record? Yuir mums were far and away the biggest screw-ups in the Fleet. Yet we did great things, and we served honorably. WE made it through the Academy. We screwed up a lot, aye, but that’s part of growin oop and findin yuir own way. But you, you’re far better prepared than we ivvir were. You wilnae screw oop, because yuir smart, and capable, and brave an’ bold, ye lead wi’ yuir heart, and steer wi’ yuir head. There’s naught ye could do to make us innything BUT proud of ye, aye?” Taking the soft-furred cheek and stroking it with the palm of her hand, Fiona O’Dell smiled tenderly.
“Yuir the first Minotaur in Starfleet, and the second generation of O’Dells amongst the stars. Ye carry all of our gifts, our teachings and our alcohol tolerance wi’ ye! Which means ye canna help but make us proud, aye?” Eyes misting up a bit, as she had reached her own emotional limit, O’Dell patted her buxom bovine babe on the head. “Now go finish yuir conversation and come to the bridge- we’re settin down soon, and the view from above is one not to be missed, aye?”
Sniffling slightly, Minerva wiped her own teary eyes and smiled, giving her minuscule mum a tight hug. "I will, Mum. *SNIFF* Ah'll be right oop. I promise."
Meanwhile, back in the cockpit, Briaar was rummaging through a series of bins to the rear port of the chamber, muttering to herself as she did. She was wearing slightly dingy coveralls with an embroidered logo on the back that read 'The Boar's Nest pub and truckstop', "Where is it? Where the f*** IS it? Dammit, I can't have lost it."
Her sensitive ear twitched as she heard the distinctive clank of Fiona's customized cybernetic leg that she and Mona Gonadie had built years ago, heading back up the stairs to the slightly cramped bridge. Looking up from the bin she had been buried in, the portly porcine smiled awkwardly. "We'll be hitting atmo in about five minutes after we round Luna. How... how's she doin'?"
“Ohhh, she is her mother’s daughter, ye know,” Fiona said as way of explanation. Briar was a fretful one, which Minnie had inherited. But at the same time, she was smart, analytical and technologically savvy. She could fly just about anything, bench press a warp drive yet her heart was the biggest thing about her. “She’ll be fine, she’s just worried she’ll screw oop. Sound familiar?”
"Oh, hush your tiny... we stupid... perfect face." Briaar chuckled, mimicking Fiona's accent with a grin as she worked her way down to the next storage bin. "So, what, I... Okay... maybe I worry a little. It's just... I had to, ya' know. You know my mom and..."
Distracted as she talked about her own domineering, judgmental mother, Briaar stopped mid-sentence as her face lit up. "Here it is! I knew it was up here in the bins. Look, Fee. I've... I thought I lost it, but look."
Holding a small, plush miniature starship in her hand, she showed it to Fiona with moist eyes. It was the magnetic Starship Hera from the mobile that Mona Gonadie had made for Minerva when she was still newborn, given to her on the first night that Fiona and Briaar had stepped in to babysit. The last night of their old life and the first night of the life they had lived ever since. "I think... do you think we should... do you think she would want to bring it with her?"
"She is her mother's daughter, an' that means she's terribly sentimental," Fiona admitted, for she was sentimental to a fault, and her eyes misted over at the sight. "Aye... s'a good call, luv. Do we stash it in her luggage or give 'er a choice, y'ken?"
"Give her a choice about what, Mum?" came the voice from behind her. The inertial belt Minnie wore to minimize her strength's impact on the surroundings had the additional effect of rendering her footfalls silent as well, which meant that she was forever sneaking up on her parents.
"Shit! Uh..." Briaar said, straightening up and putting the small, plush toy behind her back and grinning obviously. "We made those belts too damn good. Heh. Well... okay... well, now you'll know we're putting something in your bag, so... well."
"Gimmie your hands, Minnie Moo." Briaar said, glancing up at the taller young woman, then back down to Fiona. As she did, she cupped the small, old toy and placed it in Minerva's hands. "This is something you used to play with when you were real little. It was part of the mobile your Aunt Mona made you back on the Hera, right after you were born... and... well... I've been holding on to it for a while now, and I... thought you should have it."
Pulling her own hands away, Briaar left it in Minerva's hooved hands and put an arm around Fiona's shoulders, squeezing nervously. As she did, Minnie looked for a long moment at the small, soft miniature toy of the old U.S.S. Hera. The Starship she had been born on and lived for the earliest days of her still-young life. After a few seconds, those big brown eyes began to tear up as much as her mother's eyes were and she tossed her arms tight around both of them, dropping to her knees to make it easier to grab them both. "Oh, moms! I can't believe you kept this all this time! I... I loove it. Oh, thank ye' so much. I remember this. It's... it's wonderful!"
Immediately, the damn burst and Briaar began bawling as their bovine daughter hugged them both. "Waaaaaah!!!! My... my... my baby!"
"Ach, fer fooksakes!" Fiona sniveled as she got lost in the hug of very much larger mammals, then an alarm went off on the bridge. "Nae! Got to land the ship, dinna let the autopilot do it!" Fiona began to scramble for the cockpit and the pilot's chair, then stopped, and turned back. "Nae... this'n is your adventure, mah bonnie babe. C'mon, why donchye bring 'er down for a landin' this time, aye?"
Biting her bottom lip in almost the exact same way Briaar did, Minerva's ears twitched and her tail flailed just a little. Unfortunately, the bovine cadet-to-be had no poker face as her unique anatomy tended to give away whenever she was excited. "Really?"
With a nod from Fiona, Minerva tugged lightly on her gloves and took the pilot's seat, which like all of the seats on the Brigadoon, were open on the left to make room for Minerva's tail. Once she was in the seat, the larger-than-life young woman was all business. Having been raised on Starships by an engineer and a test pilot, Minerva O'Dell was a natural at the controls of a ship and brought the craft to bear over the glowing blue orb that as the Earth.
Beaming with pride, Briaar and Fiona held each other tight as they watched Minerva deftly and expertly bring the Brigadoon smoothly into the planet's atmosphere and towards their destination: Starfleet Academy.
It only took a few minutes for the customized freighter that was a second home to the small family to glide through the clouds and towards the spires and shores of San Francisco that grew larger on the horizon as they approached. All the while, Minerva kept up with the changing approach vectors and landing instructions as, after a moment, the larger-than-not ship gently set down on the designated landing pad on the outskirts of the sprawling campus, dwarfing the nearby shuttlecrafts and pods parked there.
As she powered down the ship, Minerva turned in the seat and smiled at Fiona, her eyes wide and her ears up in anticipation, hoping for the seal of approval from the natural pilot.
“Aye… joost like I toldya, you’ll allays make us proud, Minerva,” Fiona declared as she held the three-fingered hand of her alien mate, and both beamed her proud smiles to their pride and joy- their magnificent daughter, who would go further, fly higher and do greater things than her mothers before her.
It was then that the crystal released them, seconds after they had made contact with it, and the fortune teller’s booth on Risa solidified about them once more. The only holdover was that Fiona was still holding fast to Briaar’s hand beneath the table.
As reality came flooding back and both women's minds caught up with where and when they were, Briaar's eyes teared up at the memory of what she had just seen and most assuredly FELT as if it were as real as the hand she was squeezing in her own. "H... holy s... s... shit! Was... was that real?! Was that really... her?"
As the teary-eyed space swine wiped her eyes with her free hand and smilled, the fortune teller grinned at them both. "What you saw was a vision for you both alone. I know not what the crystal showed you. But from the looks on your faces, it showed you something desirable, to be sure."
“Nobody kin predict the future, aye?” O’Dell opined. “Events are allays in motion and variables come into play all the time. But… it did seem to be pretty likely. I’d name a starship ‘Brigadoon’. We’d be that sentimental droppin’ off our baby for her first year at the Academy. I kin certainly see ye holding onto that mobile Mona made for her all that time. We’d name a place ‘The Boar’s nest’ pub and truckstop. So… maybe, aye?” Squeezing her partner’s oversized mitt, O’Dell patted Gavarus on the shoulder.
"It's... it's too small for her already. The little ship. I was worried she'd try eating it, and." Briaar muttered, an almost gentle whisper as she spoke, staring at the Klingon woman. "I... I already took the little ship and put it in my toolbox."
“C’mon. That was a lot heavier than I’d expected, and I need a drink,” O’Dell declared as she rose from the table, keeping calm on the surface but more than a little freaked out by what she’d seen. “C’mon, snuggle snout…”
"A drink... Yeah," Gavarus agreed, shaking her head to clear it. "Right behind ya, hopalong..."