WOLVES OF ARCANUS

(Arc Two: New Beginnings)

Chapter 1: Mission Debrief

A/N: Here is the second arc I promised of my epic story Wolves of Arcanus. In this arc we'll explore how Feral, Jake, and Chance adjust to living on a spacecraft and follow their trials and tribulations as they learn to become full members of the starship Wotan's crew. This is also my NANOWRIMO entry for 2012.

Sailing majestically out of the solar system, the Galactic Alliance Starship Wotan, headed back out into the universe to continue their mission of eradicating the species known as the Tibican wherever they encroached on other inhabitant's worlds.

They'd stopped at the only inhabited planet in this system because their enemy had visited there but were pleased to discover the planet's inhabitants had met the Tibican with significant and catastrophic resistance ... catastrophic for the enemy, that is. The scouts had found to their instant demise that the feline species was well able to defend themselves from being slaughtered and their planet raped. They kicked the Tibican's asses, destroying them before they could summon reinforcements.

As was protocol, the Captain of the Wotan was holding a debriefing on the successful mission a day after they'd said farewell to the Kats on Aristal and left orbit. Ing was an imposing wolf who stood over six feet tall with powerful shoulders tapering to a narrow waist. His brown hair was buzz cut short, much as Feral wore his. His gray/brown fur peeked out from his impressive silver and blue uniform that gave him a distinctive air of authority. He was well respected by his crew as a fair but firm leader and had been captain of the Wotan for more than twenty years.

He took his seat at the head of the table in his private conference room and waited patiently for the rest of his command crew and the insertion team involved in the mission to seat themselves.

To his right was the Insertion Team Commander, Major Wieland. A mixed gray/brown/black furred specimen, he was shorter than the captain and with a leaner build. His hair was white which caused him endless teasing. Most claimed his job of riding herd over the various strong willed personalities of the insertion teams had prematurely aged him.

To Captain Ing's left sat his first officer, Commander Shegar, leaning indolently back in his seat. He nodded at everyone in an absentminded sort of way but no one was fooled. The wolf was always alert and observant but had perfected the art of appearing lazy and inattentive to better catch a person in a lie. A cunning and smart leader in his own right, Shegar was an excellent second in command. No one just meeting him, however, would realize that at first glance. He presented a laid back appearance and his handsome good looks made others not look past the package to the sharp mind behind the amber eyes. Not as tall as the captain nor as broad through the shoulders, he nonetheless managed to catch many a female's eyes with his thick black fur streaked with silver and rakish good looks.

Down the table sat the rest of the command staff: Tennar, Chief Medical Officer, sat next to the Chief Engineer, Commander Taglar and ranged together at the end of the table was the insertion team: Kam, Donler, Genus, and Tara; with Star, their Chief Wizard, sitting next to Tara and leaning against the window that looked out into space behind him.

Clearing his throat lightly, Ing brought the meeting to order. "Kam, let's hear your report."

"Yes sir. Mission task was to investigate the inhabitants of Aristal and uncover how they had managed to destroy the Tibican and if any of the enemy were still present. In the course of the mission, we discovered the largest city, called Megakat by its inhabitants, was maintaining a constant alert status against an unknown enemy. We thought it was from the Tibican attack but only a small portion of their attention was monitoring space, the rest of their rather formidable security force was firmly centered on major facilities of important significance all around the city, such as: refineries, the nuclear power plant, biochemical and weapons laboratories.

I decided we would investigate further to see what the danger could be. I know we had all hoped to be able to take some much needed shore leave but I was forced to put that consideration on hold until the threat level to our people could be better assessed. I'm sorry it took nearly another five months before it could finally be granted."

"True it was a bit of a hardship for most aboard, but the waiting paid off with the best shore leave I can remember in many years," Taglar inserted, grinning from ear to ear. Everyone else nodded in agreement with broad smiles on every face.

"Yes, well that was certainly true," Kam chuckled before continuing his report. "Anyway, my team quickly learned the city was plagued by repeated attacks from some high powered and deadly criminals who, for one reason or another, wanted to take over the city or simply rape it of all it's valuables. This they attempted over and over only to be halted by the legitimate defenders and a pair of vigilantes. Despite the defenders efforts, however, their enemies still managed to do ruinous amounts of damage to the city's economy and caused untold numbers of casualties over a period of ten of their planet's years. And the reason for so many years of this, is these same criminals manage to escape again and again to wreak havoc repeatedly, demoralizing the population.

Despite the constant strife, however, our preliminary study of the inhabitants or Kats, as they call themselves, clearly demonstrate they aren't pushovers. Far from it, the Kats are a strong, hardy and feisty species that won't hesitate to defend itself when threatened. But they much prefer a more peaceful existence. But then, what thinking society doesn't. That didn't mean they weren't more warlike in their past but they seem to have overcome that and now seek only to raise families, work, and improve their lives.

But out enemies certainly learned, Kats are not to be taken lightly. Which they certainly proved when they destroyed the Tibican utterly and even defeated a space pirate, a couple of years earlier, who tried to steal the planet's water. They clearly are a species to be respected and feared. The Tibican learned that harsh lesson with their lives as there is no trace of them left on the planet and the space pirate also paid with his life for trying to rob them.

All facts that left us confused. If they could handle an invasion from space not once but twice, why were they having so much difficulty getting rid of their own pests? This led us to investigate deeper and soon uncovered a serious problem. No one was following up on each incident and insuring it was truly over and solved so as to prevent a repeat. This cycle of poor monitoring was repeated over and over for years.

It wasn't until we'd been advising them for a few months and they'd hired a very sharp and thorough archivist based on our advice, that they finally uncovered a serious case of graft in their city government that had been the reason for the problem all along.

However, until that was uncovered, my team and I did our best, while still remaining incognito, to help the defenders solve their omega problems. Which we succeeded when we helped the defenders take out one the top two offenders, Dr. Viper. Not long after, the second offender, the most dangerous of them, decided to attack the Wotan.

How he had discovered the Wotan's existence through its shielding is still unknown but however he'd done it, the creature was determined to steal our technology and use it to take over the city. I happened to be with the Chief Enforcer, one Commander Ulysses Feral, that day when the city's observatory discovered a battle going on in space.

Making a command decision, I deliberately revealed our existence to Commander Feral, who had recently become my lover, and convinced him to help me collect my team and enlist the aid of his least favorite people, the SWAT Kats. As you already know, they were the vigilante team that actually defeated and captured the omegas with their better weaponry. Feral's own forces were severely undermanned and technologically behind due to that same graft that was later discovered which was the direct cause of the Commander's chronic budget shortfalls and the source of the constant friction between the city's defenders. Keeping them at odds and continuing the cycle of failure to end their problems with the omegas effectively.

With Commander Feral aboard my shuttle and the SWAT Kats flying their space-capable Turbokat beside us, we beat off and defeated the omega, destroying him in the process.

Now that our existence was known, my team were allowed to interact more fully with our contacts and were more effective in our efforts to advise the Kats in how to rid themselves of their other super criminals while still obeying our prime directive.

It was at this time, the opinion we held that the Kats would make a good addition to the Galactic Alliance was put forward to their United Nations. They were receptive and deliberations began immediately.

Meanwhile, Megakat City began a thorough eradication of the omegas and took legal action (based on the data they'd uncovered during their investigation) to arrest the former mayor of the city and twelve members of their city council to end the graft that had gone on unnoticed for more than ten years. The coup, conducted by then Deputy Mayor Briggs, caused a significant uproar among the citizenry when they learned how long the rape of their city coffers had gone on. But once Ms. Briggs assured them this had solved their on-going difficulties, they began to rally around her.

Former Mayor Manx is now in jail serving a life sentence and Ms. Briggs is the new temporary Mayor until the elections later this year. She should have no problem getting elected as long as she succeeds in removing her only roadblock that of the suspected shadow agency which is thought to have been behind Manx's regime, funding it and insuring none could replace their puppet. Having observed her closely, I'm confident she will ferret the criminals out and have them incarcerated very soon. She's a strong willed female and is well equipped to handle this new challenge.

With most of the danger to their most populated city on the planet, managed, the United Nations were able to focus more on how our offer to join would benefit them as a whole. As you all know, they quickly voted yes and submitted their request which was quickly accepted. I have to say, that is without a doubt the fastest approval of a planet I've ever heard of and the fastest decision making I've ever witnessed from a planetary government that had never gone into space yet. Both amazing feats," Kam observed.

"The end result of their regaining control of their city and making it safe again, was the Wotan gaining three new crew members. That's because, with their mission in life completed, the SWAT Kats (call signs T-Bone and Razor) known as Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson without their masks, decided to give a new career a try and chose to join our crew which will make them the first of their kind to leave their home world for space.

Commander Ulysses Feral, now ex-Chief Enforcer, made the same decision though his was partly due to being newly mated and bonded to me. The other reason was the incorporation of robot officers among his Enforcers which will make them well able to handle most anything that comes their way. He even found an excellent replacement who has no qualms working with a partial robot force.

That bit of innovation was helped along by Donar's hard work in convincing Professor Hackle, a brilliant scientist and inventor, that his robot program could be useful toward Kat kind's defense against the criminal elements and any more incursions from space but still meet his need for more pacifist ways of utilizing robots...the Kat is absolutely adamant that his robots not be used for fighting or war. Donar worked hard to persuade the professor that, if done right, robots in the defense department would not be used in that manner. Hackle finally relented and began mass producing them a few months ago.

The new robots have been paired with Kat partners and are learning to work together as a team. It's slow going because mistrust of the things has to be overcome first. That behavior was caused by an honest mistake by Professor Hackle in trying to save two escaped criminals by placing their consciousness into the bodies of robots."

"Wait This is the first I heard of such a thing being possible. It's a dangerous thing to do yet he succeeded?" Tennar interjected, urgently.

"Yes, but he told me it was a once in a life time experiment that happened to work but was something he wasn't certain he could or would repeat, especially after what happened," Donar was quick to point out.

Frowning, Tennar turned to his captain with a troubled expression on his face. "Captain, I strongly recommend this bit of information be expunged from our records. If this were to be released to the alliance, the results could be catastrophic. There would be no stopping some well meaning or unscrupulous persons from deciding this would be an incredible way to cheat death. Whole worlds could end up warring over the process, wiping out whole species. Then there's the have and have nots struggling to afford such a thing themselves bringing strife to our peaceful alliance."

Mouths gaped as the magnitude of Tennar's scenario sank in.

Captain Ing looked stricken. "I agree. Kam, Donar strike that entry from your records immediately and insure there is no trace of it in any file aboard ship."

"Yes sir," both wolves said, tightly.

"Thank you for spotting it, Tennar. I would not want us to be responsible for such a holocaust," Ing said gravely.

"I'm just very glad we do these debriefings so quickly, captain," Tennar said, very glad a possible disaster had been averted.

Though still a little shaken by what had just been said, Kam gathered himself and continued his report. "As I was saying, I have no doubt the highly adaptive Kats won't take long to accept robots and, in less time than most species, they'll begin to see robots as just an everyday thing. In the near future, robots will be functioning smoothly side by side with Kats."

"Excuse me for interrupting, Kam, Donar spoke up, glancing at the captain for permission. Everyone eyed him warily, afraid something else had been found that was dangerous in the report.

Fortunately, that wasn't the case as Donar continued after receiving the captain's nod, "For the record, I wanted to add, part of what I had to do to make this more palatable to the professor, was telling him to forge ahead with his original plans to build robots that provided helpful services to ordinary Kats; such as nanny bots, cleaning crews, and those that could handle dangerous jobs, etc. With the elimination of the central matrix system he first was thinking of utilizing, he accepted very readily the method used in the alliance of the Three Laws of Robotics. He was actually relieved to have a different system as the SWAT Kats had informed him they'd seen how his original system could be corrupted and turn their world into a nightmare."

"How the heck did they know that?" Taglar demanded.

Kam answered. "It seems the SWAT Kats have had three unwanted lessons in dimensional travel. Two of which were caused by the Pastmaster and one by Razor's experimental dimensional radar which he immediately dismantled after their trip into an alternate dimension where they were evil."

Taglar's eyebrows rose in shocked surprise. "He built a dimensional radar? That's just amazing for a pre-space species." He shook his head. "My apologies for interrupting."

"That's quite alright Taglar. I find that news a bit unsettling myself. Glad the youngster is under our wing now. I don't want to think what he could have gotten himself into that might have had a detrimental effect on the rest of the universe," the captain observed, gravely.

Everyone shuddered at the thought, except for Genus who knew just how bright his mate was but had already promised himself to keep a close watch over Jake.

"Oh, I'd like to add, before allowing Kam to continue, that these robots of Hackles would be a boon in his planet's, soon to be built, space station. Come to that, other space ports would love to have these things if they prove successful. Hackle could make a huge profit for his world by selling or leasing them to other worlds when word gets out how efficient, effective and safe his style of robots are, especially the way he's made them effectively tamper-proof."

The captain eyed Taglar with interest and asked, "...and how did you learn that? I thought you'd not had any contact with the professor."

"Hackle graciously gave me a copy of the schematics for the police bots through Donar, sir, and I have to say, they are by far much better looking and more flexible than any I've seen in the Alliance, Chief Engineer Tagler said, his admiration for the Kat's genius patently obvious. He wasn't easy to impress but Hackle had definitely succeeded. "Professor Hackle is an exceptional inventor, especially considering how he's done all this work at such an advanced age. His passing will be deeply felt both on his world and in the alliance, I'm certain."

"And that had me worried," Donar managed to interject again. "I brought my concerns about the professor's frailness to Ms. Briggs and asked what could be done to see he didn't over work himself and that his ideas and inventions wouldn't be lost. She was unhappy that no one had thought about the tom's welfare and immediately came up with a plan to search engineering schools for students who held the same pacifistic views and thought along the same lines as he does. Then recruit them to be apprentices for him thus secretly monitoring his health while learning all he knows and insuring his work is carefully archived for future generations."

"A wise precaution and excellent solution. Thank you for following through and ensuring this will happen, Donar. His work will help increase their ties with the alliance and earn them respect. I'm pleased they will already have such things to use as barter when their space station is up and running." Ing nodded, pleased.

"To finish my report, sir..." Kam reminded everyone that he wasn't quite done. The captain nodded. "The inclusion of robots within his Enforcers has left my mate feeling the city was now in good paws so it was safe enough for him to now step down and do something else with his life. Not wanting to make me decide between space and being planet-bound, he chose to come aboard the Wotan as a new crew member. I'm amazed and in awe of him for taking such a drastic step." The group smirked at the young wolf's obvious pride and joy in his mate.

"It merely proves what everyone knows already about your mate, Kam...that he is a very brave Kat and it's equally obvious that you and he are madly in love with each other for which we are extremely happy for you both. Congratulations!" Shegar smiled, amused and pleased to see the young wolf so content and over joyed at being mated.

"He is that definitely, sir, and thank you," Kam said sunnily then became more formal to complete his report. "The last task we accomplished before considering our mission complete was to convince the new Mayor of Megakat City, Calico Briggs that she should take her place as a modern day version of her ancestor, Queen Callista an ancient and powerful sorcerer, to become one herself.

We all know the decision was an excellent one as she has turned out to be very powerful. The reason for asking her to take on this task was so she could handle any magical enemy that might show up and couldn't be handled by the beefed up Enforcers, and, specifically, to take out the criminal known as the Pastmaster.

This creature, it was learned, is the one responsible for the havoc and destruction of numerous worlds within the alliance. All of it caused by his indiscriminate use of time portals. Her mission is to permanently dispose of him and she has willingly accepted this responsibility. I'm certain the Galactic Council will be greatly relieved to see that threat ended. And that, sir, concludes my report, at last," Kam said with a flourish, leaning back in his seat and folding his paws together as he waited for others to give their reports.

"Excellent summation, Kam. And I'm very pleased with the completion of this mission. It's always a wonderful moral booster for the crew and our world when we succeed in signing on a new planet for the alliance and all of you were responsible for that. Congratulations."

Everyone grinned and looked pleased with themselves.

"Now, Tennar, let's have your medical report on the regular crew and our new recruits, please," Captain Ing requested as he signed off on Kam's report on his computer pad.

"All crew members did get shore leave, with only minor injuries occurring, as usual, and all are feeling more fresh and alert. Star has reported that all the wizards have availed themselves of the magical enclave's sanctuary and received the same relief he had from the encounter. I have made record of them for our files but did not submit it through to Medical Headquarters."

"Why not?"

"Because they are very insular and though they accepted us readily enough and found our presence as beneficial as we did theirs, they made it clear that only the Wotan's wizards would be welcome. However, Star got them to allow me to visit so I might speak with them directly. I felt it important to inform them that their skills at healing the spirit of their kind would become of greater importance in the future when Kats spread out into the universe. For their continued well being, Kats must return home to rejuvenate whenever possible though how frequent that will be necessary will have to be based on what is learned from those first ones leaving.

Which means watching and observing Ulysses, Jake, and Chance to see how they fare and how long it takes before they develop any problems being away from their home. With my records to start things rolling and adding to it what the enclave discovers from the threes behavior when they return home, we should have a base line for those future Kats that leave.

This was the gist of what I discussed with them. Surprisingly, they willingly agreed to the task saying they felt they'd been on the cusp of great events and our arrival had solidified that belief. Star agreed with them. I have recorded their agreement about monitoring their spacefaring brethren but because it concerns only Kats, and only three in specific, I have not felt the Alliance Medical needed to be made aware of it as yet."

"Ah...I see. I bow to your judgement on this, however, I don't think I need to remind you to insure this is inserted in our three Kat crew members medical files, eh?" Tennar shook his head. "Good. By the way..." Ing turned to Star now, "...how will rejuvenation be managed? Will it require the star-faring Kats to see the enclave or will just being on home ground be enough?"

"Being in contact with the planet's surface for a time should be sufficient, sir...and no..." Star forestalled his leader from the question he could plainly see in the wolf's eyes. "...I have no idea how much time will be required. However, I did discuss this requirement with Callie before I left from my last trip down and we came up with a workable solution.

After I took her to meet with the enclave leader, she, myself, and the leader, decided she would be the only contact between them and their world. Then we came up with a contract that will work for both sides. In it she stipulated the enclave would be considered a valuable planetary asset, not just Megakat City's, toward the space program. They would be paid from a central fund set aside by the United Nations for their efforts in keeping their world calm and at peace and for treatment of traveling Kats in space. They spelled out the responsibilities they were willing to undertake: keeping records on intervals tolerated and length of time required for recovery on every Kat traveling in space. Said records would be maintained in their enclave with a copies being sent regularly to the Mayor's office, the United Nations Medical Section, and their budget offices. Based on their findings, a guideline for travelers will be developed and handed out. I think we covered everything and everyone was satisfied. I too have a copy of that contract in my files and a copy is in your inbox for your review," Star finished, a satisfied smile on his face.

Ing had raised his eyebrows during Star's report in pleased surprise. "An amazing amount of work you've done there, my friend. And I'm pleased Callie was willing to accept this additional responsibility despite the already heavy workload she labors under. She is indeed an incredible female."

"That she is sir. But I am very glad she is mated, as I'm extremely worried about her over extending herself to the point of mental and physical exhaustion."

The captain snorted, a twinkle in his eye. "Oh sure, a curator of a museum as well as anthropologist, who also is a work-a-holic just like her mate. One hopes they care enough about each other they will keep one another in check."

Star shrugged. "Type A personalities are their own worst enemies, sir."

"So true." Ing said. Everyone chuckled over that truism.

"Excellent work, Star. Anything further, Tennar?" Ing asked, turning back to the medical officer.

"Yes sir, I wish to report that I did manage to get the minerals and trace elements the Kats will require for maintaining their good health, as well as uploading their medical files and any other medical data necessary for their care. And don't worry, Kam...I did get all the information I could find on how to manage your mate's rather unique physiology," Tennar said, before Kam could interject on that very subject. The young wolf subsided, looking relieved. "However, during my exams of our new recruits I came across something very interesting in two of the Kat's scans." He had everyone's attention at that statement.

"And?" Ing asked when Tennar didn't continue immediately.

"It seems Ulysses and Jake have untapped magical potential."

"What?" Kam blurted, bolting upright and gaping at the medical officer.

Genus' reaction was just as stunned. "You're kidding Isn't being brilliant enough?"

Tennar gave them both a tight smile. "Jake's abilities tend toward techno magic while Ulysses is more the fire version."

"That figures..." Kam muttered, dazed by this new piece of information about his mate.

"And how does that affect their position with us?" Ing asked, a frown of concern on his face.

Tennar sighed. "I'm afraid this is in Star's area of expertise. I'll let him answer that."

The captain turned his head toward his head wizard. "Well?"

Star actually looked a little uncomfortable. "I would normally caution a wait and see action on them so they have time to get their space legs, however..." He sighed. "Jake tests very high on the scale and is apparently already doing unconscious magic during those many times when he had to come up with a specific weapon for an attack that hadn't occurred which was why he always seemed to have just what was needed. As for Ulysses...his unique physiology has a lot to do with his treading into the magical realm. His survival rate or luck as some called it, to cheat death when he clearly should have been killed many times over, has a lot to do with a nascent precognition gift that is directly linked with his ability to bear young and his more than usual tendency toward temper flareups."

"Hence the fire part of his magic...fun," Kam groaned. "My mate hates magic with a passion after having to endure so many bad contacts with it in his former job. Telling him he's got a magical core will flat freak him out and set that fiery temper off. Can't we ignore it?
Star shook his head. That's what I would have preferred to do as I just said. However, the energies wielded by the Sept could very easily accidentally force Ulysses and Jake's nascent skills to the forefront. Without training that could spell disaster for us and them. So, as you can see, waiting is not possible," he said, unhappily.

Kam and Genus both shuddered with fear and gave each other a commiserating look. There was no way around it...they had to convince their mates to accept magical training because there was no other choice despite both Kat's obvious hatred of magic. However, they knew when the two learned it was the only way to keep the ship and their crew mates safe they would accept it but they wouldn't be happy and that fallout would have to be endured by their wolf mates.

Their captain felt the same as he spoke aloud what they were thinking. "I see. Well, then there's no help for it. Schedule them for training immediately and if it will help convince them, tell them it's an order from me." He wasn't any happier than the pair were about this. It would make Jake and Ulysses' adjustments harder than they already were.

"How are they adapting, otherwise?" Ing asked, quietly.

"Too early to tell yet, though homesickness, certainly...I'll be closely monitoring them as well as interviewing their significant others to keep on top of any difficulties. Though I would appreciate each of you that are tied to them to tell me of anything 'off' about your partner before it becomes a real issue," Tennar warned, eyeing the three wolves in question. Kam, Genus, and Tara nodded gravely, that they understood. "With that, I've concluded my report, Captain."

"Anyone else have anything to report?"

"Just a comment, sir," Chief Taglar responded. When he got the go-ahead nod from his captain, he leaned forward and spoke earnestly, "I have to say that Jake is one incredible Kat. As young as he is, he's far ahead of us on many, from skills to thinking of things we've not begun to imagine and in areas he's never had prior knowledge of until he came aboard. He soaks up knowledge like a sponge and I'm seriously concerned he could burn himself out if he's not monitored closely. That being said, and with the addition of his magical abilities, I request he be assigned directly under me so I can keep a close eye on him."

"I know its usual for a newcomer to be assigned to all areas of the ship for familiarity training but I already know Jake is quite capable of learning those things in just under a few days and know it cold. I'm sure Tennar and Star will back me up on this..." he gave both wolves a questioning eye. They nodded.

Returning his attention to his captain, he said, "I'll quiz him when he's finished his tour of the ship to be sure he is totally familiar with the ship. After that, the only things that should pull him from engineering is the physical training requirements and magical training. The book learning he can do on his off time and I already know he'll have it thoroughly down long before his partner and be using it right away. That's how capable he is."

"What do you think Star?" Ing asked.

Star nodded without hesitation. "I agree. Jake will handle the load easily. He'll actually thrive on it. But, I also know he will work himself to exhaustion so both Taglar and I will have to keep a close watch on him. Beyond that, we've managed to pick up a most valuable crew member that will possibly grow past our ship eventually."

"Let's hope that won't be for a long time. I'd hate to lose what amounts to a national treasure," Ing chuckled. "Very well. I bow to your collective expertise and assign Jake to Taglar's section."

"Thank you, sir."

"However, that doesn't solve my problem with Ulysses. I have him splitting between engineering and security presently to see which suits him best. However, with magical training now added to his already heavy class work and newcomer orientation, unlike Jake, he will have difficulty keeping up and may become extremely frustrated. To prevent that, I feel it best to pull him out and have him focus exclusively on his newcomer and magical training. Anyone have a valid objection?" Ing asked.

"He definitely won't like it, sir, as he has a need to be a functioning part of the crew but I have to agree, he will become overwhelmed quickly despite being sharper than you think he is," Kam said staunchly.

Ing smiled gently at the bristling wolf. "Easy, Kam. I have not denigrated your mate. I know he's intelligent and bright as well as a brilliant strategist. He would have to be as Chief Enforcer. However, he hasn't cracked a book in years and being aboard a starship, as you well know, if far different than flying in atmosphere. There is much he must know to keep him safe so whatever you have to do to convince him this is not punishment but vitally necessary, you must do and if his famous temper gets in the way, only then send him to me and I'll deal with him at that time, understood?"

*sigh* "Yes, sir." Kam acquiesced, grimacing. There would be a lot of noise coming from their quarters tonight. Good thing they were well insulated.

"If there is nothing more to report..." Ing paused to look at each person in turn. Negative head shakes greeted him. " ...Then return to duty." He rose from his seat causing everyone else to rise as well and wait until he left the room first.

Once in his comfortable ready room off the bridge, Ing went to the nearby window and stared pensively at the passing starscape. Things are about to become interesting and difficult for my three new recruits...," he mused aloud, "...especially for poor Ulysses. Shaking his head, he turned and sat down at his desk and tackled the work waiting there for him.