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Story Notes: Rewritten and expanded. Please see Tales From The Dosadi Imperium Book 1: Fugue.

NOTE: While the story takes place in TOS, the Dosadi and Hydrans were creations/modifications of races present in the game Star Fleet Battles as these stories exist within the context of several huge games we played back in the 1980's. TOS Canon Characters make only a brief appearance.

The Star Sailors' Story
Chapter 1
Few things are brought to a successful issue by impetuous desire, but most by calm and prudent forethought “ Thucydides, Greece, Earth (Human)

Commodore Selek was watching the shifting patterns of individuals mixing at the annual Ambassador's Ball here at the Toulagai Starbase. He found the bits of order that appeared in the semi-random patterns fascinating. The fact that this year there also happened to be a major medical conference meant that there was a lot of Star Fleet blue mixed in with the more usual diplomatic tan or command gold. The conference had attracted a number of other races to this rather exposed outpost. Even non-aligned smaller powers such as the Gorns, Hydrans, Dosadi, Tholian, and Lyran's were present.

Although there was a cold peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire at the moment, the presence of a sizable Klingon delegation was definitely cause for care. As a Vulcan, he felt he was rather uniquely qualified to see this complex mix of races, interests, and activities through to a successful conclusion. Had he been a member of a more emotional race, he'd likely be seen as smug. After all, there were fleets from six different space-faring races in orbit around his starbase and all were co-existing quite peacefully. Truly an example of what logical pacifism could accomplish.

Scanning across the currents and eddies of people in the large ballroom, he raised his left eyebrow upon noticing a group made up of several different military factions. As he was calculating whether that should be broken up or not, his First Officer, Commander Jackson, interrupted his thoughts. A tall black man with close-cropped hair and a narrow mustache, he had a commanding presence, a trait that the Commodore had often made use of.

“Hey boss, you see that little knot over there in the corner?” he gestured with his cigar, an affectation that Selek found both curious and disgusting.

“Of course, Commander. They are in full view, after all.”

“I think we might wanna go over there and break that up before trouble starts. I don't like the mix.”

“I'm curious as to your reasons, Commander Jackson.” Although he was following the same chain of thought, he wanted to know the Commander's rationale. His human intuition often reached the correct conclusion before logic would dictate the same course of action. And after years of successful teamwork, Selek had learned to trust that intuition like he trusted the starbase's library computer.

Jackson took a long puff on his cigar. “Well, the big Gorn there, Admiral T'Skay, he's been drinking a bit more than is smart. And you know the Dosadi, Ambassador Solyn, he's not exactly the calm and content type of pussycat. They've been sparring verbally all night and Solyn's been coming out on the short end of it. Admiral Kremble there, she's commanding that big new Hydran carrier, the Kingdom, she seems to be backing the lizard. Drake, the Klingon who brought that battleship here, he just seems to want to see a fight. He's been playing the 'let's you and him fight' game for a while. He'd LOVE to see these alliances go out the window.

“Then it may indeed be prudent to gently separate the group, Commander. How do you suggest we go about it?”

Near the cluster of military men that was troubling Selek and Jackson, Lieutenant Christine Chapel was chatting with Gorlon, the Toulagai ambassador. The Toulagai were near earth-normal humanoids with a very slight empathic ability leading to comparisons to the Betazoids and endless theorizing about the spread of humanoid races throughout the galaxy. An utterly pacifist race, they welcomed the Federation's offer of a starbase as it meant protection and stability for their precariously placed planet.

“Lieutenant, now that the conference is complete, will you be returning to your duties aboard the fabled Enterprise?” the ambassador asked in Standard. By universal custom, the language spoken was that of the hosts, in this case, the Federation.

Chapel allowed herself a slight chuckle, “Fabled? I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, and I'm very sure Dr. McCoy wouldn't. He'd probably make some complaint about the 'infernal gadgetry' and 'gallivanting across the cosmos'. But yes, I'm looking forward to it. I learned quite a lot here that I'll be presenting to the medical staff aboard.”

The ambassador smiled, “Your presentation was also quite interesting. I don't believe anyone expected that a fleet-duty Star Fleet nurse would be sharing such advanced research on multi-phasic neural re-growth therapies for disrupted tissues. Perhaps a doctor from a research station, yes, but from a Starship? This is only one reason among many as to why I say 'fabled', Lt. Chapel.”

The volume of conversation from the group near them was starting to attract attention. Chapel noticed the Starbase Commander and his First Officer heading across the ballroom towards the group. Gesturing towards a Dosadi in the uniform of a ship's captain, she commented “I know it's unprofessional and likely racist, but I always want to pet the Dosadi. They just look so cuddly!”

The ambassador's eyes widened. He looked at the Dosadi officer she had indicated. He was slightly over 5' tall, and looked like nothing so much as a Terran cougar that had decided to walk upright and upgrade his paws for fur-covered hands. The uniform consisted of a beaded necklace with a jeweled pendant strung snugly about the throat, a black cloak with the four broad silver stripes of a Fleet Captain across the shoulders, calf-high black boots and dark blue trousers with a bronze stripe down each leg. The Captain wore a long sword and had a silver hoop earring in his left ear and a complex tattoo around his left eye. He turned back to Nurse Chapel, “The Dosadi? Cuddly? Do you see the Warrior's Pendant around their necks? They earn that in a ceremony that involves going into the wild, naked and unarmed. Each competes to bring back the greatest trophy of their courage possible, and only those who are judged worthy by elder Warriors are allowed to wear the pendant. Many make several attempts before success. Many never achieve it. Many never return. They are a strict honor/shame society that reveres courage and valor in battle above all. They get along well with the Klingons and often engage in personal combat with them as a test of courage and honor “ a practice the Klingons encourage and participate in with great gusto. Raids between the two races are not seen as an act of war, but more of a sport. They recently nearly exterminated the entire planet of Romulus. They are allied with the Federation because it was a Star Fleet cruiser, the Defiant, that made first contact with them over a century ago and the Federation has provided much assistance to them in the years since. There is nothing about them that is 'cuddly'.”

Chapel rolled her eyes, “You don't understand. Anything that looks like a great big kitty looks cuddly. Give him a hat with a feather in it and he could have walked out of a fairy tale “ Puss in Boots.” She smiled and in a conspiratorial whisper said, “They'd probably enjoy being scratched behind the ears...”

The ambassador was almost sure she was teasing him.

Admiral T'Skay was enjoying himself. Baiting Ambassador Solyn was very amusing. The big cat had been getting more and more angry as the night had gone on, and was a little past civil by now. He and Admiral Kremble had made something of a game of tormenting the diplomat. He leaned over to the short, chocolate skinned humanoid female and stage-whispered, “How do you think he'd react if I pulled his tail?”

Kremble giggled and pushed her bright pink hair back behind her ears again. The big cat looked like he was going to spit. Whatever the Federation stewards had been serving as drinks, it wasn't Synthahol and it was making her feel a little fuzzy. “I dunno. Maybe he'd like some catnip.”

The ambassador pulled his lips back into a snarl and laid his ears back nearly flat on his head.

Admiral Drake, the Klingon, turned to his aide, Captain Gorek of the Imperial Klingon Corvette Assassin and said “Strange, I didn't think a warrior people would put up with this level of dishonor. Tsk.”

Snarling, Ambassador Solyn spat out, “There is no dishonor in being insulted by lesser creatures who are very likely mentally damaged besides. As an ambassador, it is my duty to maintain alliances, even with those who are despicable and beneath me.”

T'Skay said, “Well, of course! After all, we all know why dead cats are fatter than live cats, right?” Commodore Selek and Commander Jackson had just reached the group as T'Skay went on, “Because the live ones run faster!”

Solyn's eyes were slits and his ears were flat against his skull. Even Captain Nolin's ears were back. Commodore Selek moved to prevent an explosion, “Admiral, that was neither an accurate statement, nor an effective joke...”

T'Skay interrupted him “Joke? I wasn't making a joke. I'm sure all those Dosadi who fail their Warrior testing provide some very useful protein to a wide variety of species!”

Jackson was barely too slow to catch Solyn as he leapt onto the eight-foot tall T'Skay, all claws and teeth. Kremble, realizing that T'Skay had gone too far, made a grab for the massive tyrannosaur-looking Admiral, her 75 lbs having absolutely no effect upon the quarter ton alien. Selek quickly stepped in front of Nolin and managed to keep him from joining the fracas. Although T'Skay was considerably more massive than Solyn, Solyn was faster and was swarming all over the Gorn, leaving bloody claw marks in his wake.

There was a loud hissing sound not coming from the Dosadi and the Ambassador slid off of T'Skay's back onto the floor, unconscious. T'Skay spun around, enraged, and Nurse Chapel held the hypo-spray up and said “There's more than enough here for you too, Admiral. I suggest you cut it OUT...Sir.”

Selek released Captain Nolin and spoke calmly, “Excellent timing, Lieutenant. I think it is time for you gentlemen to find other “ separate “ amusements this evening. You are behaving in a most undignified manner and are disturbing our other guests.”

Nolin's fur was spiked out and as he was collecting Solyn he hissed at the now bloody Gorn, “This is NOT over. We'll blow you out of space you dishonorable coward.”

Drake could barely conceal his glee. Clapping his hand on T'Skay's huge shoulder he laughed, “Ha! We've got you outnumbered better than three to one, pussycat!”

Kremble was trying to decide if she wanted to play a part in this. Her ships were new, untried in battle. By allying with the Gorn and Klingons for a little scrap, she could give her ships a nice live-fire trial with little risk. She made her choice adding in, “Don't even try it, cat. My carrier is every bit the equal of yours and we've got a lot more firepower than you can even dream of.”

Jackson tried to calm everyone down, blowing a cloud of noxious smoke into the group in an attempt to distract them from their posturing. “Now, why don't we all settle down. This is a party “ let's head back to our tables and have something to...”

Nolin pulled out a small round communicator from his belt and hissed something in Dosadi. Indicating the three across from him he hissed “Defend yourselves, fools.” and seconds later, he and the unconscious Ambassador dissolved in a transporter beam.

Selek attempted to regain some control over the situation, “Now, there is no need for you to return to your ships. The Dosadi will not attack vessels in orbit over the Starbase. We must allow time for the situation to stab...”

No one was listening. In rapid succession the Gorn, Klingon and Hydran contingents beamed out, leaving the Federation officers staring. Commander Jackson took a long draw on his cigar and growled, “God DAMN those cats are more trouble than they're worth.”

Selek answered, “Indeed, Commander. I've often wondered how such a small empire can cause so much heartache for so many other governments. I've often questioned the Federation's wisdom in providing them with advanced technology and utilizing them as mercenaries.”

Jackson said, “No shit.” as red alert klaxons began sounding.

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