In a foul mood, Kate McFerren exited the craft which she and Jon thought of as a shuttle with all the other critters. Why did that cat creature have to stick so close to she and Jon? Was it another client as were they?
“Hey Space Invader, must you be purring up my back?” Kate, past her tether, snapped.
She was rewarded with the hot breath of a carnivore in her ear. The softness of the muzzle was offset by sharp fangs resting on her shoulder and a wet nose in her ear canal.
The blue-furred Ferasan mumbled through the muzzle, trying to speak, then gave up. A split second later, though, Kate McFerren heard the cat-like alien's voice in her head.
“You smell good,” the Ferasan told Kate. Some Ferasans were known to be telepathic. “For a human. Are you wearing perfume? I bought some like that once, for my clanmate, before I... uh...” He flexed his claws, handcuffed together. The two sharp ears rising from the sides of his head twitched. His green-gold eyes narrowed at her. “Oh my. You are making me hot, lady. Stop that!”
“What is that SMELL?” demanded Jon McFerren, ignoring his wife's ear trouble.
The thin Cardassian grunted in agreement. “It's pretty bad.”
“Risa had better accommodation than this!”
“The fornication compound?” The Cardassian took offense in style.
“I was there on business,” scoffed Jon McFerren. “Lia's jewelry pretty much was in demand on every planet in the known solar system...”
“Back off, there, Lu'au,” Sweetie told the Ferasan. 'Lu'au' dutifully bowed and obeyed, taking a step back.
Sweetie, still wearing a uniform that marked her as a legal deputy of the Dantari, moved ahead of the group. As soon as she did, Lu'au was back at Kate McFerren's neck, sniffing and pushing against her. “Ya don't need that loser.” He growled at Jon McFerren. The Cardassian laughed. The others couldn't hear Lu'au's thoughts; he communicated directly to Kate. “Ever made love to a Ferasan? Wait til you see what we can do with our tails!"
“GET OUT OF MY MIND YOU BASTARD!” Kate lunged backward to step on the offender's foot only to loose her footing. Ferasan reflexes were faster than even athletic humans. She would have fallen hard were it not for Lu'au's tail.
“Get your hands off my wife!” Jon snapped, charging the felinoid. He earned a sharp smack across the groin with the furry tail and a low hiss. The human bent over, gagging. He could dish it out, not take it. Plus, a tail did not look dangerous...
That whole fracas earned guffaws from the Ferengi and even the dour Cardassian. The latter muttered “Idiot.”
Kate used the distraction to move behind the Cardassian; maybe that would keep the muzzle out of her hair. Sadly, refuge lasted only a moment; Sweetie dragged Kate back next to Lu'au.
“That cat's sexually harassing me! I'm a married woman!” Kate squealed entreaty at the deputy.
“Oh dear,” Sweetie said with a tired sigh. “Is he? Really now.”
“He's telepathic, in my mind. And purring all over my neck!” Kate snapped. “No decent woman should have to put up with this! This is outrageous.”
By now the other 'clients' of the rehab colony became visible. Orions, Klingons, Romulans, Kosk, Gorn, and numerous other sorts of scum were watching the scuffle Jon and Kate were causing.
“He won’t do it again, dearie,” Sweetie promised, with a glance at Lu’au.
True enough, the felinoid’s telepathic intrusion ceased to register in Kate McFerren’s mind. Whatever Sweetie did, it worked. The procession continued without incident, as the rehab center's ‘clients' filed off and disappeared.
At the McFerrens' puzzlement, Sweetie said, “This detention center is virtual. It's all in your minds.”
“You mean... we aren't really here?” Jon said.
“Your bodies are in Dantari space. Since they don't practice rehab, this is a virtual interface on Elba II, under Federation jurisdiction. Now, off you go.”
Sweetie, neither a counselor nor rehab specialist, left the McFerrens as a door appeared, marked for them.
TBC (JP - Sandy [McFerrens], Todd [Lu'au, Sweetie])