"What Sharp Teeth You Have"
[previous post was "Pieces of the Puzzle" by the amazing Hanali]

Setting: Moon of PI ALPHA III, Underground cave system
Stardate: 30148.1700

They had been walking for what felt like weeks, at least that had been the way the ILO's feet felt like.  The uneven and rocky corridors that snaked through the underground of the moon had not been easily traveled.  At times the crew had to walk sideways or nearly crawl on their hands and knees to follow the lead Akitashiinu.  For the canine-like race traveling on all fours had had been second nature, but for the humanoids following them, some of the more narrow passages had proven to be rather challenging obstacles.

Being underground, there had been no way to accurately gauge the distance they had traveled or the passage of time without referring to a tricorder.  A quick scan at those who had such a tool at their disposal revealed that no one had been in a hurry to find out exactly how far or long they had been walking.  That knowledge would have likely only added to the torture they were already being submitted to.

The occasional grunts from many of the officers pointed to everyone having been tired but no one dared to openly voice their discomfort.  As long as Captain Morningstar would follow the two Akitashiinu, the rest of the crew would follow him. Maybe this had been because the Captain had not wanted to show any sign of weakness to their hosts, or maybe he had wanted to make sure the crew stayed ahead of the Yxidii should they be following them.  For all they knew, maybe this had been the CO's method to find a way to locate the three officers that had gone missing.
Whatever the reason had been, Shar'El and the others followed without questions or complaints.

"Almost there," Maro said from the front of the line, instantly rejuvenating those that had been following.  No one knew where *there* was, but all had been more than happy to having finally reached some sort of destination.

The room they stepped into had been very similar to the one they had left behind, although much larger.  When one of the Akitashiinu invited those that had followed to sit all had been happy to oblige, save their CO who chose to remain standing.

As the crew rested their tired feet, they noted two more members of the canine-humanoid race standing at the far end of the room.  Although far, their piercing feral eyes easily reached the sitting officers, scrutinizing every single one with an intensity that could not be ignored.

"There is something about that pair which is not sitting well with me," Sonja noted in a whispered voice to the ILO.

"You would think that one of them having reddish fur would leave you being more receptive," Shar'El snickered back.

"The one with the reddish fur is very likely a female," Seska added, matching the CEO's whisper.  "The smaller and more delicate frame is a common trait in many humanoid species and her facial features seem to point to her being closer to a fox than a wolf like the others. The Akitashiinu may be different from us in a lot of ways, but in others they follow the same general evolutionary patterns.  That they are a silicon-based life form or not, they possess a lot of similarities with species from our own dimension."

"Alright, if she's a fox, what is the other one standing next to her?  It's only a little bit larger but looks three times as mean." Eve asked, joining the ongoing whispered speculations.

"My guess, he's a Jackal," Sonja sighed. "The look in his eyes is that of a killer, one that has a few hundred ways to get the job done. The hard part for him is to figure out which one to use."

"Well, that's an uplifting imagery," the Bajoran Doctor said as she swallowed hard.

Silence returned to the group as the two new Akitashiinu approached, the reddish fur one only a single step in front of the other.  The two were met by Maro who appeared to explain something to the fox-like being, an explanation that did not seem to soften either of the two new Akitashiinu's disposition.

After a few minutes of talking between themselves, Maro stepped aside with a bow of respect allowing the other two to approached the fur-less aliens.  The gesture, as simple as it might have been, indicated that there had been some sort of hierarchy at play, and that the reddish furred being had ranked well above the other.

"My name is Eeru," the Akitashiinu said, her words not being as strained as the others as she spoke the foreign language.  "This is Ruhek, we are happy to see you not harmed. I have questions for you as I know you have questions for me."

Not wanting his Captain to be left in a position of obvious disadvantage, Wydran casually stood up to stand next to Morningstar.  Before the Zaldan could reach a fully upright stance, Ruhek had leaped forward to knock the imposing officer back down onto the stone-made chair and return next to Eeru as if he had never actually moved.  The impact from the jackal-humanoid creature had been powerful enough to wind the towering Starfleet officer insuring that he would not try to stand for quite some time.

Wanting to avoid what would have likely been an all out battle, the Captain quickly turned to face his crew, instructing them to remain seated with a single gesture of his hands.

"My apologies for my crew's reaction," the Captain said using his best diplomatic tone.  "No disrespect was meant."

Eeru nodded her acceptance of the apology and invited the only standing man to follow her. With a single glare Ruhek insured that no one else would get the idea to follow or even attempt to intervene in any way. With the Captain gone, the attention of the officers turned onto the winded FCO.

"Is he alright?" Eve asked of the Bajoran Doctor who had already pulled her tricorder out.

"No broken bones, although I would guess that this is due more to Wydran's strength than the holding back of our host's attack," Doctor Mizore said, her voice betraying her current feelings towards the Akitashiinu.

"I knew there was something that I didn't like about those two," Sonja said as she shot a nasty glare in the direction of the departing aliens and their Captain.

Tiffany Reeve 

Ensign Shar'El
Intel Liaison Officer