Captain Picard was a bit amused to be called away from his supper with Doctor Beverly Crusher to meet the strange dog in Data’s quarters. The doctor tagged along with him. “How very odd,” Picard remarked. “He seems a friendly enough chap. I suspect this is the most congenial instance we’ve ever had of being boarded.” He bent down to pet the dog, which wagged a friendly greeting.
“He is definitely a dog,” Beverly concluded, checking her tricorder. “How strange. I wonder how he got here.”
“It would appear that the anomaly that I experienced earlier may have been temporal as well as spatial in nature,” opined Data.
“That’s our theory,” Geordi confirmed.
“I bet he’s missed, wherever and whenever he’s from,” Wesley said. “They’ve got to want him back. I know if he were my dog, I’d want him back if he were lost.”
On the NX-01, things were dicier. On the Bridge, Hoshi heard a message in her earpiece. “There’s a hull breach on B deck!”
“Emergency bulkheads!” yelled the captain.
T’Pol looked up. “We appear to be missing a bio sign.”
“Can you pinpoint it?” asked Archer.
“I am uncertain. It may even be one of the doctor’s experimental animals.”
“All right; let’s do a head count,” he decided, “Malcolm, help T’Pol; see if you can get a more granular reading. I’ll take the intercom.” The Armory Officer got up.
After a moment, Hoshi responded, “Go ahead, sir.”
“All hands, this is the captain. We’ve had a hull breach. Report to your department heads immediately; I want a head count.”
Lili was already on E deck and on her way back to the galley. She flipped open her communicator. “O’Day to Slocum; Chef, I’m okay.”
“Got it,” Will replied. He cut the connection and then opened a new one. “Slocum to Sato.”
“Food Service reports in; the department is complete; Slocum out.”
After less than fifteen minutes, Hoshi reported, “I’ve heard from everyone but the doctor. All are accounted for.”
“Get me Sick Bay,” Archer commanded.
“Doctor, are you there?” asked the captain.
“Yes, and I apologize for the delay. I was getting a count on my animals. And it seems we’re all here, safe and secure.”
“Got it; Archer out.”
“Sir?” Malcolm asked, looking a little sick.
“Yes, Lieutenant?” replied the captain.
“Commander T’Pol and I can confirm that all of the human, Vulcan and Denobulan bio signs are accounted for. Sir,” Malcolm steeled himself for the news he was about to be forced to deliver, “I am forced to conclude that the missing bio sign must belong to Porthos.”
Hoshi looked up, eyes shining. “Oh, no,” she moaned softly.
“I’ll, uh,” Jonathan Archer sighed, “I suppose I’ll need the intercom again.”
“Yes, sir.” After a moment, she nodded.
“All hands,” he sighed again, “the missing individual appears to be Porthos. I, I’ll need to know who last saw him; Archer out.” He turned to Malcolm and T’Pol, who were still standing together. “You’ll, uh; you’ll need to start scanning for, oh God, debris.” He got up, looking queasy and more than a little bit shaky. “I, I’ll be in my Ready Room. T’Pol, you have command.”
Hoshi adjusted her earpiece. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m positive,” Lili said over her handheld communicator. She was back at the galley.
“Come up here; I’m sure the captain will want to speak with you.”
“Uh, all right; O’Day out.”
There was a gentle knock on the door of Captain Archer’s Ready Room. “Not now,” he replied, a little defeated-sounding.
“Sir?” It was Lili. “I, I think I was the last person to see Porthos.”
“Oh, then come in.”
She entered the Ready Room, a place she rarely ever visited. “I, uh, I can come back,” she said as the door slid open. The captain looked terrible.
“No, no, it’s all right,” he tried to assure her. “Just, tell me what you know, all right?”
“Yes, sir. Well, I was, uh, I had Porthos in the galley. We’re not supposed to, but the truth is, I’m not friends with a lot of people yet.” She had her hair tie in her hands and was twisting it, nervous.
“And so it’s a Health Code violation to have him in the galley. But I, I wanted some company, sir.” She looked as if she were about to cry as she handled the hair tie and pulled on it a little.
“It’s, it’s all right that you borrowed him for a while, Ensign. I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on and,” the captain sighed, “if it comes to that, what his last moments were, were like.”
“Will told me to get him out and so I walked him back to your quarters, sir. I closed the door and left him in there. Was, uh, did I do something wrong? Can he trip the sensor and open the door?” Her shaking hands threatened to shred the hair tie.
“Huh, I don’t know,” he admitted. “Maybe if he gets up on his hind legs? I don’t honestly know.” There was a communications chime, and he answered it with his desktop unit. “Yes, uh, go ahead.”
“Sir,” it was Hoshi, “Josh Rosen and Craig Willets report they found the hull breach on B deck.”
“Can you give me some specifics?” asked Archer.
“Let me have them tell you directly, sir.” There was a pause. “Go ahead, Josh.”
“Yes, uh, sir,” mumbled Josh, who seemed to be nearly as nervous as Lili was. “We found a three-centimeter sized hole near the Aft Dorsal Phase Cannon. We patched it up and it seems to be fine. No loss of materials or functionality that we could tell and only a minimal loss of atmosphere.”
“Are you sure about the size?”
“Did you find any other hull breaches?” Archer asked.
“No, sir, not a one. We can continue looking,” Josh said, “but there are no more alarms going off, and we’ve checked behind all of the emergency bulkheads already. I, uh, Commander Tucker should be able to confirm it, but I think we’re in the clear.”
“Huh, uh, well, nice going; Archer out.” He turned to Lili.
“Porthos is way too big for a three-centimeter hole,” she stated. “I mean, right?”
“Right,” Archer replied absently. “So how the hell is he gone?”