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It's a Spaceship, Not a Zoo

Posted on Tue Apr 15th, 2014 @ 6:44pm by Commander Mercia Kavi

Mission: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship!
Location: The Durrighash Ship

"This is the nursery," Danielle was explaining, indicating a room containing two eggs. "The temperature is kept very warm so the mothers may attend to their duties without neglecting the eggs. We would never neglect eggs," she added seriously, making it sound as if neglecting an egg was the worst possible offense anyone could commit.

Mercia let out a breath, it was very warm in this room. She looked around the room, "How long do your eggs incubate?" she asked, "Forgive my ignorance, but... do you sit on them when they're not in these hot beds?" she asked. Mercia had felt bad that she reacted so frightened of the dinosaurs, and was taking some time to accept an invitation of a tour of their ship before the Durrighash left Kaslau.

"The eggs incubate for about 19 turns, which I believe is about 7 of your months," answered Danielle. "We do not sit on the eggs anyway. For many millennia, our species has constructed nests that hold the sun's heat. Now that we have these rooms, our eggs stay warm. This egg is mine," she said, indicating the smaller of the two. "It will probably be a son."

Mercia approached the egg, wanting to touch it but restrained herself as she bent down and looked closely at it. "How would you know that? Can you do scans like we can to see the DNA or physical attributes?"

"No," answered Danielle. "But, it is a small egg. Our males are smaller, I'm sure you noticed. Females are bigger because before we were civilized, we had to protect the young. In fact, we used to be even larger- almost half again as big as the men. Smaller eggs are usually male," she added, gazing fondly at her egg.

"Interesting." Mercia said. "Will you be here when it hatches?" she asked fascinated. "Where is your mate by the way, Do you keep the same mates?" she asked.

"Of course I will," said Danielle. "How else will he know his mother? And my mate is Jack. We mate for life. In fact, we do not take second mates should our first mate die, unlike so many other species."

"Really?" Mercia made a face and looked at the DinoLady. "So if your mate dies you're alone for life? That horrible." Her mind automatically thought of David. He'd lost a woman and child before, she hated the idea he would be alone for the rest of his life. Then again, Mercia had interest in the man. She took a deep breath and shook the thought from her mind and looked at the egg again. "Do the babies move around? Can you have more than one?" she asked.

"Alone for life isn't so sad to us," answered Danielle. "We would rather be alone than betray our mates, though I understand that is not the way your species and many others look at the problem. It is just the way we are. And, yes, the babies move frequently. The eggs regularly rock as the young attempts to find a comfortable position in the ever more crowded egg. We usually only have one at a time. Rarely will a female lay two eggs. Never more than that. This egg is my second. Samuel's was my first," she added, referring to the youngest Durrighash who had visited the Gladiator.

Mercia brightened, "He was my Spit Partner." she said. "He was a funny little bugger, way too excited about getting to spit on every thing." she chuckled. "Boys will be boys hmm?" she said. "I don't normally get along with kids, I haven't been around them much, but I actually liked him." she said.

Danielle cocked her head to one side. "I have heard many of other races say they do not get along with children," she said. "I'm afraid we do not understand this concept. Were you not once a child?"

Mercia looked at Danielle before her eyes flickered to the floor. "I was, but my childhood was very difficult." she said. "It has left me with out knowledge of how children should act, and when they test me, I tend to have very little patience with them. I feel its a shame, but I guess I don't know how to act or respond to a child." she said.

Danielle's head swiveled around so she could stare at Mercia with her other eye. "Perhaps, then, you should try just playing with them," she said. "Since you had no childhood to speak of, perhaps you should have one now. Better late than never, as your species is fond of saying."

Mercia smiled as she looked at the egg again, "Oh I've been accused of being a child many times." she took a deep breath, "Maybe I'll keep it in mind, playing with a child, I mean. It's not a bad idea on principle." Weather she could make herself do it was another story all together. Children often made her nervous, then again, when she was a child, other children often beat her to toughen her up, with the full support and direction of the older people.

"It is a very good idea," said Danielle, "especially if you plan on being a mother. I know some of you do not. My species would not dream of denying motherhood. Children are sacred and to be blessed with them is the greatest honor known to my kind."

Mercia felt herself flush and struggled not to lower a mask of irritation. She was striving to live openly and honestly. "I. uh... I don't think I'd make any sort of mother." she said. "Beyond the fact I highly doubt there is a man out there who would WANT me to mother their child, I don't trust I wouldn't ruin the kid horribly. No kids deserves someone like me for a mum." her mind thought of her own mother, picturing her. She had been a wonderful mother, and Mercia could never hope to be like her.

"Perhaps you need some healing first," said Danielle. "Or perhaps you will have no children. I understand that is not a shame for you. Come, the heat is strong even for me," she added, turning to head out of the room.

Relief washed through Mercia as she followed the Dino out of the room. Once the doors snapped shut she felt the cooler air washing over her. "Yeah.. No shame." she commented rubbing her palms on her hips uncomfortably. She needed to change the subject. "I think I'd like to visit your home world some day." she commented. "What is the neatest thing about your home? What is the one thing I just can not miss?"

"The red seas," answered Danielle without hesitation. "There is an algae that turns them red. They do not reflect the green skies. Many humans remark that Drrgassa reminds them of Christmas. I do not know where Christmas is; I never asked. Where is it?" she asked curiously.

Mercia laughed lightly, "I asked the same question when I was a teenager. Its actually a human holiday, near the end of our calender year. There is normally an exchange of gifts, and a load of legends surrounding it. I've never really been a part of it. I never had it growing up, my first exposure to it wasn't until I was 14." When she was in jail, but she left that part out. "But, traditionally the color combination is red and green." she said.

"I see," said Danielle. "That sounds like a lot of fun. I'm sure the children would love it. I may have to research that. Here is the eggling nursery," she added as they approached the next room. She placed her hand against the wall and it shimmered and became clear. Inside, Samuel and Jacob played with two smaller children while an adult looked on. "We can see them, but they cannot see us," she explained. "It allows us to look in on our Egglings without them knowing."

"Our ship has something similar." she said. "I think we only have two families at this point any way, but we have a secured child care center." Not a month ago she had personally checked and tested the security systems for that area. She looked through the window and took a deep breath, "I'm sorry, but I am having a hard time seeing this as a child care center and not a zoo exhibit." she said looking over at Danielle, "I mean no insult by it, its just a difficult switch to see you as people and not animals... scary ones, although I don't fear you any more." she said.

Danielle gave a chittering laugh. "It's quite all right," she said. "To be honest, we find it difficult not seeing you as a zoo exhibit. It is only because we are so different from one another. In time, we would probably get used to one another."

"Of course, It just... viewing through a glass, in this sort of environment. It puts such thoughts in my head." Mercia laughed. She backed away and nodded to the woman, indicating her readiness to move along.

Danielle touched the wall again and it became opaque. "The medical bay is not far," she commented. "Most other species are fascinated by it. We are told that we are exceptional physicians."

"I'm no doctor, so its likely to be over my head, but I'd love to see it." Mercia said accommodatingly. "Have you done a lot of research on the medicine of other races?" she asked curiously.

"A bit," said Danielle. "But, we've found it's much easier to adapt our own medicines to different biologies than to attempt to understand everyone else's medicine. I suppose it is easier to show you," she added, walking through a doorway into the medical bay.

There was very little equipment. The walls were lined with cupboards which bore labels in the Durrighash written language. A nurse was busy adding Federation Standard Labels to everything. About half of the cupboards bore labels, including Human, Klingon, Ferengi and about 14 were labeled Durrighash.

"One of our ships was found drifting near Vulcan," explained Danielle. "The Vulcans attempted to hail, but got no response, so they boarded to find all the crew very ill. One eggling was still well, but he was unable to read much and they had a hard time figuring out our labels. They attempted to use their own medicine, but it did not work very well. Most of the crew was eventually saved, but it would have been much easier with Federation labels on everything, so we have ordered all ships to label everything in Federation Standard as well."

She opened a cupboard to show Mercia the medicines inside. They were labeled, "Cool," "clean-inside," "clean-outside," "heal," "seal," and "smooth." "First aide is very easy," she explained, taking Heal and Smooth out of the cupboard. "Spray Heal first, then smooth. The wound will close itself within a few moments. If the wound has been open for more than a few minutes, use Clean-outside first. If it has been open for more than a day, follow up with one square of Clean-inside to combat any possible bacterial infections. Simple," she finished.

Mercia blinked, "Thats amazing." she said. "I wish all races would think far ahead. I mean with UT's it isn't always really needed." she said. "But if the UT system fails then we're all messed up." she laughed.

"Universal Translators don't work on printed words," said Danielle. "I suppose there are ways around that, but it's easier this way, should someone else stumble upon such a situation."

"Good plan." Mercia said putting her hands behind her back. "I'll keep it in mind, and perhaps suggest such a thing to our own medical offices." she said. "I must say Danielle, you have an impressive ship, I really do think that."

"Thank you," said Danielle. "I think we are just about ready to leave. You should probably be on your way back to your own ship. Come," she added, replacing the canisters in the cupboard, shutting it, and turning to head towards the door.

"Thank you for the tour, Like I said I really do think that I will take a visit to your planet." Mercia said. She felt proud of herself, she managed to make it through something like this with out David watching over her shoulder and with out starting a war. It was a good day!


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