Literary Challenges : The Library Computer
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Join Date: Dec 2007
05-11-2011, 02:21 AM
"Even Klingons sing love songs," Jack said, then paused. She smiled at the prospect. Drunk Klingons with their fiddles, marching around so proudly in her mind.
The lieutenant didn't interrupt. He looked over the officer's mess. Empty glasses stacked near the bar, waiting for reclamation. The ship's Mess NCO stepped out of the way as a pot of boiled dumplings in bloodwine reduction rushed by. The junior crewmen looked at the dumplings like hens watching eggs hatch.
"That one's moving!" the lieutenant said.
Jack took a dumpling in her hand and turned it over like a playing card. Bits of fatty juices ran down her thumb. The dumpling writhed. It tossed like a targ with its leg in a trap.
Jack took her hegh'bat out, the blade ringing a bit, despite the rusted hilt. "Kilroth sings those songs well." A pause. "Sang." Jack sliced the dumpling in four portions, the yellow blood oozing out into the broth. The blade's edge nicked her finger and she licked it. Bitter.
The lieutenant's pallor deepened. He looked down at his datapad, closing his eyes like a child hearing a siren. His companion, a Denobulan from the ship's armory, leaned over, whispering in his ear. The lieutenant's eyes opened. Each stared like rough stones on a beach. "What was it like, ma'am? Do you remember being assimilated?"
The blade froze on Jack's lips as a cut of the dumpling touched her lips. She looked at the lieutenant, young with a fresh junior grade pip on his collar - a transfer from Earth Spacedock. the Denobulan next to him still had the backings on his rank. Jack went back to eating.
"I wonder if it'd be like it back on Denobula: groups of people sharing thoughts? I'm not used to privacy either," he said. His crests furrowed along his temples.
Jack's stomach quavered a bit - each dumpling's contents still in their last throes. The lieutenant grimaced.
"Tell me - how did you come by such a dagger? It's Klingon, yes?" The Denobulan smiled, cheek bones retracting backward. His face looked like a Picasso painting, smile asymmetrically wide, even for his species.
Again, Jack stopped. She looked over the last dumpling and set it down. "You saw earlier?"
"You mean the Klingon we picked up on Andoria?"
The Denobulan broke his smile. "But... wasn't he infected? Why would a borg give you his dagger?"
"Kilroth, Ensign. Robots don't take away his ridges overnight."
The Lieutenant looked over, almost through his brow at the Ensign. He set the datapad down next to the Denobulan, who continued despite it all: "Yes, yes. I suppose you're right. I mean, I can only imagine what it's like... losing your will to a hive like that."
Jack stopped eating altogether now. She stood up by the forward window, overlooking the exterior of deck ten. Stars ran past the view like strung twine. She took the dagger and wiped the blade on the scabbard's flap. Flipping it over in her palm, she turned to the Denobulan. "Can this ever be good as new, Ensign?"
He stood up and took the dagger over in his hands, turning it on its side, examining the edges. "It'll take some work, Captain."