Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 13: Breaking Buddy
A majority of the U.S.S. Hunter’s crew were gathered around the stockade. The anaixes looked like a rather nightmarish cross between a moose and a grizzly bear (if a bit on the large side for either) – only with downy brown and purple feathers instead of fur. And short, very businesslike tusks. It was clearly an intelligent animal and had no desire to be yoked for field service. But Lt. Napoleon Boles did not intend to yoke the beast. A large saddle, clearly designed for the anaixes, was displayed prominently on the fence. The animal regarded the saddle with what could only be described as contempt.
“He had to choose the biggest one,” Dr. Tali Shae groused, not without some grudging admiration for the half-bolian, half-human biologist. “Not that any of them are really approachable. But I think that one’s got the nastiest temper, too.”
“Okay, Buddy,” Boles said. He entered one gate of the stockade, then went through the second gate. 2nd Lt. Sun Ho Hui quickly closed the gate behind him – letting the lock drop into place.
“We talked about this,” Boles continued. He was of average height, but solidly built. In addition to his Star Fleet uniform, he was wearing a pair of heavy gloves and carrying a large rope coiled in his left hand, the knot of a lasso in his right. “You and me, we’re going to be the best…”
Apparently the word “best” was exactly the sort of word that would cause a feral anaixes to lunge – which the beast did, thrusting its tusks in an attempt to gore its blue interlocutor’s midsection. What it got instead was a lasso neatly looped around its neck as Boles danced expertly away.
For the next several minutes the anaixes made a variety of enraged, ear-piercing shrieking noises and altered between charging at the blue cowboy and trying to remove the lasso. Boles expertly evaded each attack and gave the beast plenty of rope to allow it to move freely about the stockade while allowing only minimal slack between the coil of rope in his left hand and the lasso around the animal’s neck.
“Best friends,” Boles continued, managing a soothing sound even though he was breathing hard. Which did not have a soothing effect on the anaixes – it charged him again. This time Boles stood his ground and with a quick twist of the rope, caused the anaixes to turn to its right and circle around him. Boles gradually reeled the beast in as it charged, was forced to circle and charged again until the powerful animal was next to Boles, its head close to the ground, forced to stay in position because Boles had one foot on the rope.
“We just have to sort a few things out first,” Boles said, then leapt cleanly over the anaixes’ neck and landed on its other side just as the beast lunged sideways at him.
It took another forty minutes before the animal finally calmed enough to allow Boles to remove the lasso from its neck. The anaixes backed away and crouched, prepared to lunge. It glared intelligently at Boles.
“Now you have a decision to make, Buddy. You can decide to trust me, or we can do this all over again. I can do this all day long and all day tomorrow. Or you can come over here quietly and we can have a little talk about that saddle…” It had been nearly an hour of very hard work for the anaixes. Boles appeared to hardly have any dust on his uniform. “Now give me some credit – we went through all of that and I never hurt you. We just had to come to an understanding about a few things…”
Gradually, the anaixes relaxed, its breathing slowed. “That’s good, Buddy,” said Boles, “but you have to come over here to me. That’s the way this works. Slow and friendly now…”
- * -
Commander Hundeeth touched the door chime for Sela’s office. He was carrying a portable viewer. The door opened. “Come in Commander,” Sela said.
“Supreme Commander, you wanted to be notified of the progress of the prisoners in 179,792 with the anaixes…”
“They have already started to try harnessing them?” Sela asked. Her eyes and attention were on a report on her desk viewer.
“I’m not certain you will believe this until you see it.” Hundeeth tapped his viewer. “That odd looking bolian is riding one of them…”
“Half bolian, half human,” Sela corrected, almost murmuring, still staring into the monitor on her desk, still absorbed in her report.
She looked up suddenly, shocked. “He’s doing what???”