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Food can be a chore - Part 3

Posted on Wed May 3rd, 2017 @ 3:30am by Commander Dr. Farkas Vanth D.V.M., M.D.

Mission: Dangers Unseen
Location: Holodeck 1
Timeline: The Lull between missions and commanders. Day -7 or so?

Timeline: The Lull between missions and commanders.


Liam noticed that Vanth was coming back toward him now and asked, “What do you think lived down here?” He looked about for any signs of tools or belongings that might have been left.

Still in hir quadruped form, Vanth was unable to answer, and with both of them crammed in the small space of the birthing and nursing den, there certainly wasn’t enough room for hir to change. There would be no tools to find either, after all, this was a wild construction, it had served its purpose, and the pack had moved on. Keeping hir head low Vanth belly crawled hir way back out after W’Liam allowed hir to pass.

Once outside again, Vanth shook the dirt, leaves, and other debris from hir fur, and sat patiently in the snow, waiting for hir friend to emerge.

Liam crawled out of the earthen den. Seeing Vanth shake off the dirt, he also brushed off the loose dirt and leaves from his clothes. “That was rather interesting.” Liam looked back down the hole then back to the Doctor, “It looks like an animal’s den, but they left or something.” He looked across the snowy drifts, “What else do you think we will find out here?”

The doctor head-tilted that way that canids do when they are listening to humanoids. Had he forgotten s/he could not talk when in hir quadruped form? Did he want hir to make telepathic contact? S/he could, though it wasn’t usually acceptable to do so with non-telepaths. S/he needed permission from him first of course. S/he whined and tilted hir head the other way.

On the other paw, s/he could change back into hir bipedal form, but that would be about as socially awkward for hir as it was for others to change their cloths in front of another especially someone of another gender.

Vanth set about the task of searching for the scent of the pack again, but the recent snow made it difficult. However, s/he did have another trick at hir disposal. Taking a deep breath, Vanth arched hir back, pointed hir muzzle skyward and cried out to Mother Luna in a high-pitched, long howl. It almost seemed to say, “I’m loooooost!”, and in deed, if someone listened just right – even to a nearby Humanoid – all the right notes and syllables were there.

Liam tried to follow Vanth’s movements, and try to understand what s/he wanted to do. After Vanth howled, Liam realized that he should have known that s/he could not speak while in this 4 legged form. He needed to remember that. So, asking difficult questions should be left behind, and only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions be asked. Liam was pretty sure he could understand that type of response from Vanth.

But for this moment, it seemed to Liam that Vanth was not sure about hir situation either. So, Liam suggested, “How about we head off in the direction of that ridge.” He pointed forward and to the right. “Maybe we can pick up something of interest along that way?” He smiled hoping for a better response from hir.

Vanth was trying to listen for the return call, a rallying howl, otherwise known as a call to arms, or a call to the hunt. If not that, the excited yips and yaps as well as general commotion of a hunt. Amiri zeroed in on something, and when s/he opened hir eyes it was off in the direction Drake had indicated. S/he was surprised. What s/he had heard was so faint… s/he wondered for a brief moment if W’Liam had some sort of, yet undetected, precognition or something. S/he dismissed it just as fast.

Amiri trotted toward the ridge, but just before s/he reached it, s/he froze, rigid, tail erect and stiff as if like a 'halt' hand gesture. S/he peered over hir shoulder and made eye contact with Drake to get his attention. S/he exaggerated hir movements; s/he lowered to hir belly, and waited for the ensign to comply.

Vanth had moved at a pretty good pace. Liam struggled to keep pace. He slowed and stopped a few steps behind, his hands falling to his knees as he labored to catch his breath.

Still looking at him intently, Amiri tried to mime crossing off hir mouth with hir paw, and made an exaggerated gesture of touching hir eyes, then indicating the edge of the ridge.

Liam watched as the four legged officer before him was making gestures, but he thought he understood. He raised to look in the direction s/he had pointed.

Keeping low to hir belly, Amiri, crept closer and closer to the ridge. The cloud of snow blowing up the ridge indicated they were downwind. S/he closed hir eyes and allowed the wind to speak to hir. It carried the exact scents and from the exact locations s/he needed to know. Below were five buffalo and three calves. W’Liam would not be able to see them, but hir holo-pack was down there also. In hir mind's eye, s/he visualized their positions relative to the buffalo, and knew precisely where s/he fit in and what to do. It could even accommodate hir humanoid friend… if he wanted.

S/he then crept backwards away from the edge of the ridge until s/he could stand again. S/he had to try and communicate what s/he needed for him to do. S/he found a large open flat spot in the snow, and waited for hir companion to join hir as s/he tried to start drawing a crude map of the valley below.

Liam followed Vanth and tried to be stealthy, to follow suit. He stopped behind her as s/he began to draw something in the snow.

S/he started by pawing a ovular circle. Next s/he indicated the adults with full-size paw prints and the calves with just claw marks. At one of the edges of the circle s/he made two more distinctive marks and indicated which one was him, and which one was

The Engineer watched the impressions made in the snow, recognizing the buffalo and them as well. He gave a confirming nod to Vanth, that he understood.

The dog-tor continued to silently lay out the plan, using stick figure diagrams and focusing on communicating the engineer's part in it; where he should be, and when.

With the doctor not being able to speak while in hir current form communicating was difficult at best. Though Liam did try to follow the diagram laid out for them. He understood that once the pack had the buffalo on the run, his job was to keep the movement of the prey in a certain direction, and keep them from turning back, and to keep them out of the woods.

Once s/he was finished, Vanth crept back to the ridge, and waited for the signal. S/he looked for Drake to join hir side in the snow. There wasn't much time before the hunt would start.

Liam walked up cautiously to where he could just see over the ridge. The herd of large beasts were still where they had been. He might have been cold before, but with some nervousness and a little adrenaline from the impending hunt, he wasn't cold anymore. At that moment he wanted to strip off his coat, but knew as he began to move he would get cold again, and then hot again from the additional exertion. So many things were going through his mind.

Liam was sure that Vanth knew he was there, but still tapped his teeth together twice as an indicator that he was ready…


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