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Tweetle Beetles

Posted on Mon Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:13am by Civilian Haqtaj Matlh & Lieutenant Commander Soraya Delrisa

Mission: Purgatory's Shadow. Season 2 Episode 7
Location: Science Lab
Timeline: Current

The children were unusually quiet as the learning guide ushered them past the main biology lab. There were plenty of "Ohhs" and "Ahhs" at the terrariums of exotic insects they had just seen, but the four-year olds were calmer now as they made their way back to the classroom near the habitat ring.

//"I didn't see the tweedle beetles,"// Annabella asked of Kyle, a telepath who was walking ahead of her.

//"The teedie beetles?"// he responded.

//"TWEETLE,"// she repeated, exasperated. She turned as a door slid open and white-coated woman walked out and strode briskly down the hallway, away from the children. Annabella stopped, and before the door closed she slipped inside.

She wandered past several tall tables, and nearly bumped into one. The girl was rarely shy, much to the surprise of the Klingons who lived in the Embassy she would often introduce herself and ask questions of complete strangers. She was tolerated partly because she was likeable and sincere, and partly because of her relationship with the Ambassador.

She saw a man seated, with his back to her.

"Hello!" she said cheerfully.

Looking up, Harrison noticed a young girl standing in front of him. “Hello, miss...?” he replied. “I think the excursion has already departed. Shouldn’t you be with it.”

"I'm Annabella Delrisa!" she said, moving closer. "Are the tweetle beetles in here?"

The question was so earnestly put he found his usual gruff persona melting. “Did you say tweetle beetles, Miss Annabella? I am not sure I’ve heard of them. What planet are they native to?”

"From the storybook," she replied, putting her hands on her hips. "Uncle Vartog showed me the story and I want to draw it."

“Ahem,” Harrison heard from a corner of the lab. “Uncle Vartog would be CPO Vartog. He’s a Klingon, sir. Officially, he’s a Master-at-Arms but he’s also the aide to the Klingon Ambassador, Haqtaj Matlh. Madame Ambassador has...how to put it...taken a shine to Annabella. Perhaps Vartog has been enlisted to read to her.”

"Are they with the Fox in Socks?" she asked hopefully, moving closer.

Harrison could feel this conversation slipping away from him. He had little experience in dealing with young children. He looked to the other man for help. He was a Trill and a petty officer. Harrison guessed him to be the man who had been temporary Head of Science Department. “Chief,” he said. “Fox in Socks?”

Jrez turned to face Annabella. “Petty Officer Vartog would know better but I think the Tweedle Beetles are more likely to be found with the Cat in the Hat.”

Cat in the Hat? Now Harrison was really confused. Then a memory stole over him. A beloved aunt used to read to him. His father never did so and his mother rarely but Aunt Agatha had read stories full of the most outrageous rhymes.

“I believe the favoured food of tweedle beetles is green eggs and ham,” he ventured.

"Green eggs and ham, that's silly!" Annabella giggled. "Is there really green eggs and ham?"

“You haven’t heard of green eggs and ham?” Harrison asked incredulously. “On some worlds it’s considered a delicacy. In fact....” he leant closer to Annabella, “....I have heard that on Orion, the market for green eggs is so large that the tweedle beetles are in danger of extinction.”

The girl watched him, wide-eyed.

"They eat green eggs?" she asked carefully.

“You did know,” Harrison asked seriously, “that it is green eggs which gives the people of Orion their distinctive skin colour?”

"Green eggs make you green?"

“Oh, yes,” Harrison replied. “Did you know that on Earth, hens are fed marigolds to make the yolks of their eggs really yellow? On Orion, they’re fed spinach to make the yolks really green. Eat enough green eggs and your skin will turn green. I believe it's quite a fashion statement and there's an ongoing quest to be just the right shade of green.”

"Do you have green eggs here?" she asked hopefully, moving closer. "I could be green?"

“I don't think your mother would like you being green,” Harrison replied. “Anyway, it wouldn't work for you. Orions' skin has a chemical which...it's complicated but it reacts with the spinach to turn their skins green. It's a bit like...there's a famous old cartoon character called Popeye. He ate whole cans of spinach to instantaneously build his muscles. It doesn't work like that; not in real life. I'm sorry, but you'll have to keep on being the skin colour you are.”

Annabella looked at her hands, imagining them a vibrant shade of green. She wiggled her fingers.

"Can you be green?" she asked.

Harrison laughed, something he hadn't done in...he couldn't remember how long. “No, child, I don't have the right chemicals either. Now, shouldn't you be with your class?”




Haqtaj leaned over the teacher, "LOST her?"

None of the teacher's training had prepared him for irate Klingon Ambassadors. He rallied as best he could, "Well, we know she is in the Science wing, and Security has been notified..."

"Pah!" Haqtaj voiced her contempt for the state of the Station security forces since Mason had left.

"She does have something of a reputation for esca... er... run... exploring," the teacher tried.

Haqtaj folded her arms, "I am going looking for her int he Science department. If I find her before your people do I will need to consider personally attending every one of Annabella's lessons to make sure she does not explore any more. I am sure you do not want that, Mr Pritchard?"

The teacher swallowed hard. Haqtaj turned and strode from the classroom. In truth she was angry at herself. Annabella was her responsibility while her mother was off station. And she was angry at the lack of security in place in this station. By the Blade of Kahless, if she was running security things would be different. She only hoped who ever they appointed would be at least as competent as Mason had been.




Annabella laughed with the man, then she felt Auntie Haqtaj nearby.

"Auntie!" she said happily, "Can we eat green eggs for dinner?"

"With ham," Harrison reminded the Annabella. "It's not the same without ham."

A flustered security officer rushed into the room only seconds before the Ambassador. He span as she entered and almost squealed, "We found her! Here she is!"

Haqtaj ground her teeth at the man but didn't respond. Instead she jabbed an angry finger at Annabella, "YOU should be in class! Your mother will not be pleased."

Annabella wasn't distressed; she could tell Haqtaj had been worried and a little scared and her anger was just a cover. She bounced over to the tall Klingon.

"I was looking for the tweetle beetles and they told me about the green eggs that make you green!" she said in a rush. "Can we go to Orion for dinner?"

"Green eggs? Orion?" She frowned at Jrez and Harrison. "Does ANYONE feel like explaining this to me, or is this part of your... 'Sciencing'?"

“Madame,” Jrez said, placatingly, “in most cultures we like to indulge our children and have fun with them, especially when they might be stressed. Commander Harrison was keeping Annabella amused until someone came to fetch her.”

Harrison was thankful for the assist from the Trill. “Madame Ambassador, I give our captive into your protective custody,” he said with mock formality.

Haqtaj glowered at Harrison, then Jrez, and lastly the hapless security officer, but she accepted their explanation. She gripped Annabella tightly by the hand, "Come."

Somehow she knew this would not be the end of this incident.

 

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