This month's award goes to Lieutenant Kirok for his brilliantly constructed post that describes in great emotional detail the search for his pet cat following a red alert situation. Commanding Officer Lance Krol commented, "I've never had my heart broken so hard on this site before. The mother of all kudos to Kirok."
"Aye, Sir" Kirok replied. He tapped away at his duty station. The Red Alert Klaxon stopped sounding and the monitors returned to their normal state. "Red Alert status has been disabled" he called out.
As he spoke, another chime sounded at his duty station. It was a reminder that he was overdue in checking in on Bubba. Kirok looked up from his station, determined that the ship was no longer in danger, and asked a Crewman to take over his station after gaining permission to leave the Bridge.
Kirok quickly crossed the Bridge and called the turbo lift. It only took seconds to arrive, but it seemed like the longest seconds of his life. Once it arrived, he stepped into the lift and took to directly to Deck 3.
When the turbo lift doors swished open, Kirok walked quickly and purposefully to the door of his crew quarters. He stopped momentarily outside the door, just long enough to give the command to unlock the door. The moment told his sensitive Vulcan ears that there was on sound coming from inside. No "meow" or scratching at the door.
Kirok's heart rate increased as the door to his crew quarters swished open. His eyes quickly scanned the room for his sick cat, but his feline friend was no where to be found. Bubba's food dish had not been touched, the water lever in his bowl was unchanged, the blankets on the bed were free of wrinkles, and nothing seemed to be out of place, with the exception of his sick cat.
"Bubba" Kirok called out as his heart rate accelerated a bit more, a physical sign of anxiety and near panic. =/\= Computer increase lights by 25% =/\= he called out, probably more loudly than necessary, as he ran to the bathroom. The computer complied with the order, but the additional light failed to reveal the Betazoid cat.
Kirok looked behind every corner of the bathroom, inside the shower, and then checked the corners again. "Bubba, where are you?" he called out again as a trickle of sweat formed on his forehead and then ran down his face. He ran back into the main room and pulled back the curtain that covered his closet, an old hiding place of Bubba's.
Kirok looked high and low inside the closet, quickly searching the area with his eyes. He grimaced and audibly blew air out of his nose on frustration. Thinking that the cat may have possibly crawled under some of the clothing, Kirok started pulling shirts and pants out of the closet and trowing them on the floor. He didn't stop until the closet was empty.
Kirok swallowed hard when he finished the task of emptying the closet. Disappointment was starting to set in, despite his advanced training it the ritual of Kolinahr. ~Where are you, Bubba~ Kirok called out with his mind and his mental senses, but feeling nothing inside the room.
Kirok turned back to the main room of his quarters and saw the chaos it had become. His respiration increased rapidly and he felt like his world was spinning out of control. ~Think, Kirok, think~ he though to himself as he did not trust his voice to speak the words between his erratic breathing.
Then Kirok's eyes landed on his bed. He rushed over to it and threw the unruffled blankets and pillow onto the floor. Still no Bubba!!!
Kirok dropped to his knees and looked at the last possible place his cat could have been, under the bed. The space under the bad was too dark even for his Vulcan eyes. =/\= Computer...increase...light...by...50% =/\= he called out been raspy breaths.
As the light became brighter, Kirok could see Bubba crumpled up in a corner. The cat's body looked un-natural, like it was squeezed together like an accordion. "Bubba?!?" Kirok uttered quietly as he reached out a hand and placed it on the cold, lifeless body of his feline friend.
Kirok dipped his head and swallowed hard. Deep, deep down in his very being, his heart broke into a million pieces as the realization set upon him that Bubba had passed away. "I was too late" he admitted regretfully, his voice cracking in the process.
Kirok pulled Bubba's body from the corner and cradled it in his lap. He leaned his head down toward the lifeless body of his pet, touching his head to Bubba's head. "I should have been here for you" Kirok whispered "I'm so, so sorry."