"Alright Digs Iím here." Doug said, getting out of the PTV looking annoyed. The cat grinned inside; he had always intended to visit this area of Earth but the opportunity had never presented itself. It made Digsís note doubly welcome. In reality, Doug hadnít been looking forward to the long weekend with nothing planned.
"Great to see you again!" shi exclaimed, hugging him tightly. "I thought youíd be busy teaching or whatever it is that you do."
"Very funny. Iíd thought youíd be tired of my company by now. So whatís this about anyways? I haven't heard a peep out of you in almost three months, then a silly note asking me to meet you here."
"Peep!" shi responded softly. "Iíve been busy with classes and at the dig. As far as the Admiral and Dean Markov are concerned, Iím enjoying a long weekend relaxing, a long overdue weekend in their opinion. I got an offer I couldnít refuse, with a nice bribe to sweeten the deal."
"So what is really going on? You know if I didnít know better, Iíd swear certain people corrupted you."
"I take it this is the rest of the team you were expecting?" a vixentaur said, startling Doug. "Professor I canít thank you enough for taking time out of your busy schedule so quickly. Iím Purteshka. Welcome to Mountain Glade foxtaur Community. One of the hunters found what we wrote you about. She fell into a storage tank that collapsed, or at least thatís our guess. She wasnít hurt, but upon closer examination we found a garage door built into the side of the hill. It well could be a personal home or an old government base of some sort. We wanted a professional to examine it before determining what to do next. Will you have enough time to do the examination?"
"And still attend the Harvest Festival? Of course! After all that is the primary reason for my visit. Yep, he is the rest of my team as it were." Digs grinned. "Well, unless itís much larger than we are assuming. Excuse me Ė a private home? How is that possible? I thought all the foxtaur lands were national parks originally."
"Iíve heard about the obstacle race the cubs put together, and I for one want to try it, even if Iím not a taur." Doug stated.
"Most of our lands were national parks originally," Purteshka snapped before calming down, "In some places, the government expanded the borders after the Gene Wars, especially where the land wasnít developed or unclaimed. Many times the original borders were lost, forcing the establishment of new ones. The site is well within our territory now. Again thank you for coming Professor Digs in Dirt and friendÖ Iím afraid I donít know your name. Iím sorry for snapping at you, but recent events have made it very plain that not everyone respects those boundaries, and as long as no one catches them, we might never know. Well everyone is welcome to take part, though in some places you will be at a disadvantage."
"Doug Foster, maíam. Never mind Digs Ė shi is firm in leaving the titles at home," he replied softly. "Thatís fine Ė Iím always up for a challenge."
"I meant no offence, Purteshka. I was curious, thatís all. Iíll be the first to admit my knowledge of history has gaps, in some cases purely because I wasnít taught about it, others because we just donít know. You not only protect the lands you live on, you keep old skills alive that probably wouldíve been lost by now."
"I see. Well, no one should disturb you. Most larger animals tend to avoid that area for some unknown reason." She advised them, "We only ask beyond keeping us informed, you try to let us know when you plan to be back in case something goes wrong. Well then, make sure you take the time to look at all the crafts we have for sale Shir Digs.
"We accept those conditions. This is only a preliminary investigation after all. All I ask is if the site is worth further study, that I be considered to lead it."
"That shouldnít be a problem, but without knowing what is there, we canít make that decision."
"Thatís logical. Can we see the site yet today?" Doug asked.
"Of course. Iíll guide you myself."
"What happened?!" Purteshka exclaimed entering the infirmary. "I was told the rescue team pulled them out of the ravine. Also the council wants to know what you found. That is a little hard when except for this morning the pair of you are gone at the crack of dawn and donít return till supper."
"Mr. Foster is fine, Shir Digs needs to rest," the medic said looking at the scanner before tapping it on the table and trying it again. "I don't think this scanner is working properly. I examined hir the old fashioned way. At least the scanner agreed on hir injuries. Shir Digs has cracked several ribs, and pulled several muscles."
"Well if I'm fine, I wanted to get into the obstacle race," Doug said excusing himself
"Go on. I'll tell Purteshka about what we found."
"Just be careful Ė I donít want to see you again, at least in a professional capacity," the tod said, shooing Doug out of the room.
"I believe we told you about finding a gate behind the outer door, and the secondary door behind that," Digs commented
"Yes, you told me about that the first night. Digs, did you ever order the materials to dispose of those chemicals you found in the tank?"
"Iíll order them today along with a few others to deal with a few other potential issues we found. The tank itself beyond the hole in the ground isnít an issue."
"Once we have verified the diesel as you called it is disposed of, the foresters will fill it in or figure out some other way of rendering it not so much of a hazard; maybe a new water hole."
"The tank underground poses no risk, but as a water hole there is a slight risk of the wildlife ingesting bits of loose fiberglass. You might want to check with your sources Ė I canít say what if any effect that would have on them."
"So filling it in would be the simplest option. Would it be possible to cut the tank up, removing it in sections, and dispose of those pieces?" Purteshka asked.
"Sure you could. Iím not qualified to advise you on the safety issues and the hole caving in once the tank is removed. The tank itself youíd want to wear protective clothing Ė fiberglass particles on bare skin makes people itch. That one I found out personally."
"So noted. Tell me what you found," she requested, noticing the medic sticking an IV into Digs while shi was distracted. "Is there something wrong? Should I do this at another time?"
"Not at all," the medic responded. "Doctorís orders shi is to stay here and rest. Iím also to make sure shi attends the feast later."
"Great! Another one that wonít be happy unless Iím fat!" Digs exclaimed
"As I said, doctorís orders. He feels you are underweight and that he needs to do something about it. You can take it up with him if you want, but you are still his patient. Personally in my opinion the doctor is right Ė youíre nothing but skin and bones," the tod stated firmly, not brooking any backtalk.
"Iíll agree with that," a tall form said, entering the room. "Iíd sit on hir but then Iíd be in trouble myself. So continue your tale, Digs. The Admiral was sure you werenít being completely honest about what you were doing this weekend."
"What are you doing here Alicia?" Digs stammered.
"I was asked to round Doug and you up, thatís all I know. So out with it, Digs. We have ways of making you talk."
"Madam, I must protestÖ" the medic started to say as Purteshka cut him off.
"I want to hear what they found as well, and she is only kidding. I talked with Miss Polar earlier and as this is foxtaur territory, she knows Star Fleet has very limited authority here. Shir Digs is our guest at our request, nor is shi a fugitive that I am aware of so, Iíll start this story," Purteshka stated. "One of the trainee hunters fell into a hole that turned out to be a fuel storage tank that we never knew was there. Investigating around the spot, we located a large garage door hidden behind a pile of dead fall. No one had noticed the door before, so it had to be hidden since before the Gene Wars."
"Logical on both fronts. Was there anything left in the hole?"
"All right, Iíll confess. I didnít come just for the Harvest Festival which is more than enough reason. I was asked to do a preliminary survey of a potential site they found. There were a few traces of diesel fuel in the tank. Iím going to order the necessary chemicals to safely break it down." Digs sighed deeply. "There was a folding gate and another garage door behind the one they found."
"A secret government base on foxtaur land Ė is that even possible? I mean that arrangement sounds like a security stockade," Alicia stated as a canister materialized at her feet. "Here you are, the necessary solvents to deal with any leftover petrochemicals."
"Except for the main road into the village, none of the roads are paved, and they certainly arenít intended for heavy traffic. There isnít a trace of a road ever going near that site on any of our maps," Purteshka added. "Possible or not, itís there and people know about it. We could bury it, sealing it off, but it is absolutely vital we make sure there is nothing hazardous in there before any decisions are reached."
"Great, Iím busted. All right, I might as well tell you what we found. Nothing we found indicates it was ever a government base. There are three levels. We found clues that the first level was intended as a show room for selling shelters, but Iíll explain that in time."
"The dean was sure you were up to something the day you left. He found out about the real reason for this trip the day you left." Alicia stated firmly, "According to what he told me, it was easier to let you go than try and stop you without getting more people involved, and explaining why he knew about what was supposed to be a private invitation."
"Oh, I know that one. The dean is doing everything he can to make sure Iím not overworking, and he isnít beyond bending the rules. I know there is another party working with him on that goal, not that heíd ever admit to it," Digs said.
"I refuse to comment on that one way or another, though it appears people are getting sloppy."
"Indeed, that was a private invitation. Anyway, I want to hear what you found without waiting for a detailed report," Purteshka stated. "Miss Polar are you sure you have to leave right after the feast? Iím sure we can find a place for you to spend the night."
"Hopefully not in our room, itís barely big enough for Doug and me."
"No, but the pair of you looked very happy cuddled together when I woke you this morning."
"All three of us will have to leave around ten tonight," Alicia replied. "Anyway, on with the story. Iím betting Digs would like a chance to look at the items for sale, and you probably have family youíd rather be spending time with."
"I should be running my booth, but for the moment my grand-daughter is watching it while I deal with clan business."
"All right I think we're in the main area!" Doug exclaimed, shining his flashlight into the large area beyond. "I think that explains the lack of roads. I recognize the bulldozer; what is that other vehicle?"
"I haven't seen one so well preserved or in such an odd color before. It's a military vehicle called a Humvee. It replaced the Jeep as a general transport sometime between Vietnam and the first Gulf war," Digs reported calmly, looking at the readings on hir tricorder. "Doug put on your breathing mask. I don't like the air quality readings I'm getting, although they are better than expected."
"So there must be a few air shafts open," Doug replied, putting on his mask. "Candy apple red Ė not exactly a good color for staying low-key. Well most of the rubber parts have rotted away. It looks like most furs could ride in it easily enough."
"I doubt that those seats were only designed with humans in mind from the looks of it. Several times my classes have experimented with using replication of historical furniture. Except for pieces with a hole allowing for a tail, even those with very short tails were uncomfortable. I agree that color is horrible for remaining low-key. All the Humvees we've found were painted in military colors."
"So whoever built this place had money and connections. I could've already told you that since they built this without tearing up everything."
"We are talking over 300 years; the land would've recovered," Digs retorted.
"Sorry, my tricorder says otherwise. Several of the trees nearby are over three hundred years old and they are close enough that traditional construction would've removed them."
"Rats, well that fits in with a site someone wanted to keep quiet. Letís see what else is down here."
"Okay, this is an interesting room," Doug commented. "Before I forget, dad said thanks for the tea kettle."
"Well go inside or get out of the way so I can see what you are looking at," Digs said, shoving Doug into the room. "All right, whatís the catch to that statement; I can sense a catch."
"Red carpet, stadium seats, glass case, curtain covering the wall Ė none of it makes sense."
"You need more studies of Earth's past as well, I can see. They built their own movie theatre complete with concession stand," Digs commented, looking into the case before pulling a box out. "2011 Ė I think these are a little out of date. Come on, Doug, out with it. You arenít nearly as accomplished as Neal at keeping secrets."
"Just a little. It dates this site for us though," he commented, trying one of the seats. "What makes you say movie theatre?"
"Remote control on the counter, projector mounted to the ceiling," shi retorted, pointing up. "Couldn't just take my word for it, could you."
"Just because the experts say something can't be done, doesn't mean they are right, though in this case I will concede defeat." Doug sighed, jumping out of the seat. " Of course these seats have seen better days, so maybe Iíll have to try it again. Alright I think he wants more to give as gifts. I gather it startled a few people the first time, where in the world did you find a tea kettle that sounds like a fog horn? "
"I almost should be worried. I hear your father talking there. I'm hoping we haven't bitten off more than we can chew. A personal movie theatre wasn't on my list of items I expected to find today by any stretch of the imagination." Shi grinned maliciously at him. "Well I was going to keep it a secret, but I think I can afford to send a message chasing after a certain ship with the information they want."
"I'd say we found the kitchen pretty small considering all the space devoted to bedrooms. I can't believe how big this place is."
"I know Ė six bedrooms already, or at least what we assume are bedrooms. According to the readings I've been taking, we are at least fifty feet underground; the tunnel into the garage put us forty feet down and the hallway slopes down even further."
"I guess this is all of it. I donít see any further openings. The only thing we found is a half bath and no place to really wash up."
"So we missed something and all the bedrooms were the same size, almost like guest rooms. I don't know if they've ever been used. Doug hold up a moment Ė thereís a door here," Digs commented, shining hir light into the small opening hidden behind a bookcase. "I see a set of metal stairs in a secret passage. I wonder if there isn't another way down that is easier to find? If you really wanted to, you could wash up in the kitchen. I certainly couldn't use that bathroom."
"Not if they were paranoid in the extreme. I know the other thing we haven't found is any sort of storage, or machine rooms. Letís take another look at the garage Ė that's the logical place to bring in large amounts of supplies."
"Agreed, but if we can't find an entrance there, we'll have to try this way."
"Iím not happy about it. We donít know how solid those stairs are, especially after all this time."
"Understood, but itís a risk we might have to take."
"So is archeology always this exciting?" Doug asked, grinning as they searched the garage.
"You've gotten lucky and been on some of the more exciting ones. I know why you wanted to look here Ė you wanted to get a closer look at the humvee. Boys and their toys Ė you just can't separate them. I think I found our door covered by these shelves."
"I'm not sure I trust you on that matter, but I'll take a look. Darn, I was hoping to be the one to find the second entrance. Well, we going to try it today yet or wait till tomorrow?"
"First we are breaking for lunch, then we'll go for it. Maybe we'll still finish the basic overview today, or at least I'm hoping so."
"So this site has potential."
"Maybe not historically, but I'm certainly interested in learning its story. I guess that is what excites me the most about archeology."
"I want to know the story of this place as well," Doug commented as they hunted for a way to open the door that Digs had found. "As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Look at this Ė those shelves were designed to be moved without unloading and shifting them by paw."
"Rats! I wish we had seen that sooner, before I destroyed the placement. Now letís see if we can figure out how to open this door without cutting through it."
"How about the latch? That acceptable? I found a keypad but needless to say itís dead."
"Go for it. Hopefully the door doesn't have any hidden latches or needs power to move," Digs responded softly. "I've been recording everything we've done for personal notes and the record. I don't think the foxtaurs care beyond knowing what is down here and whether or not it poses a threat to the environment."
"I think they care more than it appears on the surface. Overall this isn't that important right now," he commented, easily sliding the door open once the latch was cut. "Well balanced Ė they were prepared if they lost power it appears. I'm assuming the freight elevator is out of the question, so shall we take the stairs and see what there is to see?"
"Of course, once we verify our masks are working properly and how much air we have left."
"Right no need to take any risks, especially needless ones."
"That was one of the times having four legs was a distinct disadvantage," Digs snorted. "There must be another way in. It was easy to open the door into the garage from this side. I'm guessing they really didn't want anyone finding this lower level. I'd say we found the storage and machine rooms. Doug, why are you wearing a phaser?"
"Orders from higher up even though I'm off duty. Digs, everyone is sure there is going to be more fighting between the human supremacist group and furs before things are settled."
"Sad we haven't learned anything from history, have we?"
"Some people haven't learned anything, but letís see what we can learn about this place," Doug said hugging hir. "You have infected me with that curiosity. I still think there were many questions that we left unanswered on the last dig."
"We have to live with that many times. We also have try and keep from applying any preconceptions to what we find. We still do that and others have done that many times in the past. Right, letís see what else is down here." Digs commented.
"I think we found the bathroom, Digs," Doug said shining his light around the room they had just entered. "I think the bathtub is big enough even for you to use. I could probably swim in it."
"The first bath tub designed for a quange, before they even existed except for in fantasy," Digs chuckled. "Someone certainly enjoyed their comfort Ė carpeted hallway and marble floors in here."
"Not very practical though."
"I've already got the impression they weren't overly worried about being practical. That tub appears to be made from solid block of marble; the sink is marble as well," Digs added, looking at the readings on hir tricorder, "These settings are too rich for a government base, especially a military base. I'd expect the rooms upstairs to be more of a dormitory style with multiple beds."
"Well then, what is this place? It doesn't even make a sense as a private shelter."
"Actually it makes sense as a getaway for the very rich. We know from history books that were recovered that quite a few of the grand mansions and rustics camps that survived weren't necessarily created as primary residences but as vacation homes for the very rich."
"There are many ships out there with facilities just as luxurious."
"True, but they are accessible to many more people. In some cases they aren't luxuries but necessities. You might be able to use an average bathtub from the twentieth century, but I certainly couldn't. It would be a baby bath for the Quange or a sponge bath for others," Digs retorted.
"I also know someone that can't live without milk in their tea regardless of the after-effects."
"Right. I think I was quickly broken of that habit. So was this a getaway or a shelter, or maybe both?"
"Not practical as shelter, but why build a getaway underground?"
"Some of this stuff isn't practical, sure, but it still would work as a shelter. We are talking the early twentieth century. Remember getting away wasn't that easy Ė cell phones, security cameras, security in general. Of course it also it depends on how far out of the public eye you wanted to get. A setup like this would let you have luxury and still get away."
"That would also explain the lack of roads Ė nothing for spying eyes to see unless they looked at the right time," Doug stated. "That doesn't explain the rooms upstairs though. It's almost like they were intended to be two separate shelters."
"That really doesn't make sense, but it does seem that way, doesn't it? Maybe the upper one was too public, so the lower one was built with hidden access," Digs offered.
"Maybe the upper area was built to entertain guests without letting them into the lower area?"
"Could be, and without more information, that is a valid theory."
"I think we found the kitchen Ė a little too industrial for my tastes," Digs stated, looking around the stark stainless steel kitchen that would easily been taken the place of the kitchen in many of the restaurants shi visited at home.
"I don't know, Digs. It's functional, and I bet a good chef could make almost anything they wanted in here. Itís large enough to feed an army."
"I think you might be stretching things. Iím not sure about an army. I do think itís bigger than we used for my last dig on Raksha, and there were a hundred people working that one."
"Moving on! After all, this is only a preliminary investigation. Dining roomÖ not stopping hereÖ wooden furnitureÖ china cabinet on the wall. The table is fully set for dinner. I havenít seen any signs of wild life getting in here," Doug commented, slipping out of the kitchen.
"You missed the dining table in the kitchen," Digs retorted, following him.
"Great for informal dining. I've eaten many, many meals at the table in the kitchen."
"So the mean old monster relented when you got into trouble, did he? You missed the glassware, Doug. It appears to be cut crystal."
"Sorry about that. Library next. It looks to be more in line with the pictures I've seen of formal English homes. Moving on."
"Be careful, Doug, and you're avoiding my questions."
"As they used to say, I'll take the fifth."
"I don't think it's fifth anymore. It hasn't been the fifth for centuries," Digs retorted. "Doug, Doug are you all right?"
"Sorry about that. I think itís a medical bay, or rather infirmary," he responded a moment later. "I found a body, or rather a skeleton."
"Human male, estimated age fifty, no signs of violent death so letís move along. Well, no unexpected holes. You all right?" shi asked hugging him close. "It doesn't get easier. I'm just grateful it's normally only skeletons we find most of the time. You didn't come on the tour with Professor Smithson. I forgot about that."
"I was tied up teaching a class. I gather all the remains you found were skeletons?"
"Yes, and most of them we have determined were put down shot with guns."
"Oh, letís move on. I wonder who he was and what killed him."
"We'll figure that out if possible. Most of my colleagues won't be happy without answers even in the case of violent death, even if justice can't be served," Digs assured him as they left the room.
"For what? Doing my job? No thanks needed, as they used to say," shi replied as shi opened the next door. "Master bedroom with attached master bath. I'm certainly not fond of the layout of this place."
"Living room, I guess. That is really thick for a picture frame. Odd there isn't a picture in it."
"Flat panel TV, stereo and other entertainment equipment underneath including a gaming console, it appears."
"I wouldn't call that a flat panel TV. It must be at least three inches thick," Doug stated firmly. "I'm guessing here various types of media other than books."
"DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes from the looks of it. Not sure what's on any of it or if any of it is readable still. That will wait for a later expedition which I am going to press for," Digs assured him. "CDs for music..."
"I am familiar with them. CD and cassette tapes for music, DVDs and VHS tapes for video. The books in the library are probably brittle with age," Doug commented.
"I'm not sure the atmosphere is my idea of long term storage, but all the things considered, the temperature and humidity is level enough to help preserve them."
"Well I'm still not trying to open them. I bumped the paper hanging over the table and it crumbled."
"Tore actually," Digs said, carefully picked up the paper. "Darn, the date is smudged out and I can't determine the date from the headlines."
"Does it matter right now?"
"No. I'd like to be able to fix the date down a little firmer. Beyond the expiration dates, upstairs candy was notorious for lasting forever. "
"No such luck, though we might be able to determine something from the media in the library."
"That will wait for another time. Besides, the owner might have hated the most recent offerings and refused to buy them."
"Office of some sort," Digs stated, looking around the room, catching Doug as he tripped over a box lying on the floor.
"Did you even notice the box sitting on the floor?"
"No. It appears it filled with some sort of flyers," Digs commented, looking at the papers spilling out of the broken box.
"Happiness Getaways Ė this isn't paper but rather plastic."
"Happiness Getaways?" Digs queried, picking up one of the flyers. "Get away from prying eyes or protect yourself for the future. Doesn't say from what though."
"I found a year Ė 2010. Looking at these prices, undoubtedly they were after the rich. We already assume they were paranoid considering how they hid this lower level."
"Possible war, the government security are just two of the possibilities for the extremely paranoid of that era," shi commented after thinking for a few minutes.
"I didn't think security was that much of a pain back then. I think you should've been stung a few more times."
"I don't know. After all the terrorist attacks during the first part of the twenty first century, security was very tight. Most of the searches were done by hand or using dogs to smell out explosives. All the histories I've read said you had to arrive hours before your flight," Digs commented. "Almost any building you entered was covered by closed circuit cameras. In many cities, they could track you from the time you left you home till you returned almost non-stop. As to getting stung again, no thank you. My students were calling me Professor Brushtail. My tail took almost two months to return to normal."
"It wasnít that bad by any means," Doug retorted.
"Shows what you know. Any time I heard a sound similar to the tail stingers, my tail fluffed up, and one of the students figured that outÖ" Digs replied, leaving Doug to figure out the rest of it.
"What did you find there, Doug?" Digs asked, looking concerned.
"I believe we have found the other end of the passage hidden behind the bookcase upstairs. There is another door here as well. Someone left it open thankfully. This door appears to be a duplicate of the one in the garage."
"I see. Darn, I wonder is there another story to this place? That will have to wait till tomorrow morning."
"Why, Digs? It isn't that late," Doug stated firmly, looking at his watch.
"We skipped lunch for one thing. If that is the entrance to another floor, we don't have time to properly explore it tonight before they come looking for us," shi commented softly. "Your watch is running a little slow. Did you forget to wind it?"
"No. Maybe it needs to be cleaned. What time is it then? My watch is older than me. Not sure if itís older than you though," he retorted.
"I'll have you know I'm younger than you, and we both know it. We have three hours before supper and I don't feel like rushing tonight."
"You are going to get fat the way they are feeding us," Doug commented hugging hir.
"Like anyone would notice. My doctor says I'm too thin anyways. Doctor Volkenstin said the same thing, though she didn't try to do anything about it."
"Maybe I should report you to the dean or maybe the Admiral. I know you're too honest to use your position to get even," he retorted.
"Trust me, there are good and bad jobs with any field. If you are going after a degree in history, you will have to go on several digs. You want to guess who leads most of the digs from the University of California?"
"I already talked to the dean on several occasions, and there are other digs I can get involved with. Actually, beyond auditing a few classes, I need the field experience. Thatís something you canít get by correspondence."
"True, but weíll have to make sure your experience in the field already is considered, as much as we can with security restrictions that is."
"Thatís all of it." Digs said.
"All right, the rest of it. The pair of you were out there this morning and you havenít said anything about the third level," Purteshka commented. "I could talk about our conversation last night and how I found you this morning, but those are private matters."
"So that is how you know there is more to this. I shouldíve realized Digs wouldnít leave any part shi can find uninvestigated. Let me guess Ė Doug and you spent the night snuggling," Alicia said grinning. "SO, what did the pair of you find?"
"Two more skeletons under the stairs. They both were shot, as indicated by the hole in the center of their skulls. This is only an educated guess, and Iím not sure what survived in there. We entered the room right next to the stairs. By the way, where did they find us? The tricorder reported the tunnel off that room was blocked by a cave in."
"In the ravine down by the river. The hunters reported there was lot of fog in that area," Purtska stated.
"Not fog Ė steam. That confirms what we thought. They were using geothermal power. I spotted some equipment in the room that looked like smaller versions of the equipment we found in several old power plants. Several of the panels came on as we entered the room. Doug found a message carved into the wall, ĎI killed them and many others. I canít live with what Iíve done any longer. May God have more mercy on my babies than he is going to have on meí. Thatís when the pipes started to break and the alarms sounded."
"Let me guess Ė both of you logically got out of there as quickly as possible," Alicia added.
"Based on their injuries, they fell between six and ten feet before hitting the bottom of the ravine," the doctor said, entering the room, chasing Doug.
"What IN THE WORLD HAPPENED TO YOU!" Alicia exclaimed.
"Iíd say he fell in at some point." Digs stated.
"And succeeded in actually breaking something this time," the tod snarled. "I wasnít finished with him."
"You heard him, Doug. How bad is it, Doctor. You are a doctor, I assume?"
"Iím not in Star Fleet, Lt Commander currently," Doug snarled in reply.
"You are still in the reserves. Lt. Foster. My orders were to meet up with Shir Digs and yourself to be picked up tonight at twenty two hundred hours local time. Youíre right Ė currently you havenít been recalled, neither have I, but I still got my orders," she stated, preventing him trying to hide.
"A cracked rib and a bunch of bruises Ė he should rest for a few days," the doctor said, looking at him carefully. "Iíd prefer he stay in bed, but I doubt that is going to happen. Personally Iím more concerned with Shir Digs. I found shi is lacking a few trace elements necessary for hir continued health. I will let hir go shortly provided someone assures me shi will take it easy and eat properly. That does mean shi should put on some weight."
"I can assure both of them will follow orders to the letter."
"Good. Now I need to talk with Shir digs alone for a moment," the tod said firmly, holding the door open. "If you would as well, Elder."
"Of course, provided this isnít a matter we caused."
"Doubtful in the extreme."
"All right doctor."
"Youíre pregnant with twins about three months along, according to the tests I ran," he stated firmly. "Shir Digs in Dirt, you are undoubtedly the skinniest chakat I have ever seen and that isnít counting your condition. The development of your cubs is pulling vitamins and minerals out of your body, so I gave you a booster shot, but you must eat better and put on some weight. I will be watching you tonight. Right now itís a personal matter, but endangering yourself or your cubs makes it a community matter in most villages."
"All right, doctor," Digs sighed. "It wasnít planned, and I never realized, honestly, probably due to in no small part to my earlier stupidity. I have learned there is a price for everything."
"Indeed, there generally is," he agreed, opening the door. "Now all of you shoo, get out of here. Mr. Foster, no more games with the cubs, at least this year. Digs, Iíll be keeping my eye on you and make sure you drink plenty of milk. Ms Polar, if you can make sure these two follow my orders, that would be much appreciated."
"Guess what, Digs?" Doug exclaimed as they went outside. "Alicia is expecting."
"I heard stories some of the land that the government added to the park before turning them over to the foxtaur clans were confiscated from drug sellers."
"Which means the business was probably a cover to help launder his illegal income."
"Basically his legal income helped cover his illegal one, masking it."
"I see. I donít doubt we will want a full investigation of the installation. I know you want to lead it. That should be more than acceptable. Some of the council might well insist upon it. We have checked your background and find it very honorable. Personally I expect nothing less of a chakat. Now go enjoy the festival. After all, it is why you came."
Continued in Part Four.
Chakats and the Chakat Universe created by Bernard Doove.
Story © 2009 Daniel Davis
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