Log Entry 121029.33

I thought I'd finally managed to catch up with Commander Jarrod this afternoon, but I was only half-right. Having missed her at least four times during the day, I suddenly saw her come out of the turbolift outside Engineering. It wasn't quite the same Jarrod that I know though.
My Commander Jarrod is a steely faced woman in her mid-fifties, and by that, I'm not just referring to her appearance. Her nature is as firm and resolute as steel to match her silver hair and grey eyes. She is a professional woman who takes her work so seriously it wouldn't surprise me if she was born inside a Starfleet uniform. So you can imagine my surprise when she came out of the turbolift laughing and smiling, really smiling!
Beside her was a tall man of about the same age, maybe a tad older. He had his arm around Jarrod's waist and was... well, there's no other word for it. He was cuddling her, and she was loving it.
As soon as she saw me though, the old Commander Jarrod returned and the façade of a senior officer with it, affixing itself firmly in place. The man seemed to understand. He immediately withdrew his arm from her and crossed his hands behind his back. It had a military bearing about it, and I wondered if he was or had been Starfleet too.
Jarrod could see I was heading for her. She snapped her back rigid as I approached.
"Yes Crewman?" she enquired.
"Sorry to bother you sir, but would you be able to spare me a moment later please?" I asked. My eyes couldn't help wandering over to the man who was secreting a smile.
"Er..." she faltered. "Tomorrow. Yes... tomorrow. In my office... tomorrow morning."
"Thank you Commander," I said and was about to leave when the most odd thing happened.
"Aren't you going to introduce me, Catherine?" asked the man.
Catherine? Who the bloody hell was Catherine? was the first thought that went through my head and then I realised he meant Jarrod! Up until that moment, it had never occurred to me that Jarrod would have a first name. She was just Jarrod, Commander Jarrod, but now she was Catherine!
Jarrod had the look about her that said she didn't want to introduce me, but the man had a slightly mischievous look about him.
"No Richard," she said quite firmly. "Not really."
"Well that's just plain rude," he grinned and held out his hand to me.
"Richard Jarrod. Professor of Cybernetic Engineering at the Daystrom Institute."
"Oh!" I exclaimed. Another Jarrod.
"Yes, also husband and junior officer to—" but a sharp jab in the ribs from Jarrod silenced him. He laughed. I, on the other hand, was reeling in shock. Not only did Jarrod have a first name, she had a husband! Did she have children too, I wondered.
"Thank you Richard!" she glared at him.
He grinned lovingly at her.
"Crewman Jenny Terran, third class," I said, taking his hand and shaking it.
"Aaaah!" he exclaimed as if the meaning of life had been revealed to him.
It seemed to be more than enough for Jarrod who hastily bundled him back into the turbolift. He was laughing and she was trying to look angry at him but it was obvious that she adored him.
Well I never. Steely Commander Jarrod, Head of Maintenance is a fully-fledged woman complete with a proper name and a husband to boot.
Naturally, it piqued my curiosity, so the first chance I got, I checked out Richard Jarrod. Lo and behold, he is actually the Head of the Cybernetic Engineering department at the Daystrom Institute. Before that, he was a Starfleet marine and having nosed a little further, I found out he was a very good marine who retired from service after suffering serious injuries in a battle with the Borg.
I must go and tell Luke!

Log Entry 121025.32

Games Night was in my quarters tonight, but that was because everybody wanted to meet Beastie. She's a bit of a novelty and she adored all the fuss. Luke also joined us making our number nine. An odd number but that doesn't matter, he fitted into the group well and was soon chatting away with everybody. He's a very perceptive person though and he could tell that something was bothering me. He took me onto one side and quietly asked.
"I just can't get it out of my head!" I said. "Anybody else... what does that mean? It makes it sound as though I'm different or something."
"Are you?"
"No! Don't be daft. I'm just plain old Jenny Terran. Abandoned baby that never amounted to much," and as I said it, I remembered my conversation with Commander Jarrod and the datapad that she had given me. Immediately, I fetched it and switched it on.
"What's that?" asked Luke.
"Commander Jarrod gave it to me. It's just the logs of Captain Kirk's first five year mission."
"But why would Jarrod do that?"
"I don't know," I said as the pad fired up. "Oh!"
"What is it?"
"There are more files here. She's sent me more stuff."
Luke took the pad from me and studied the directory.
"Jenny. These are academy files."
"What do you mean?"
"Well... this one is compulsory reading material at Starfleet Academy, as is this one... and this one. This isn't compulsory, but it is an Academy file. Jenny, what's going on?"
So I told Luke about my meeting with Commander Jarrod.
"Why's Jarrod so interested in you?" he asked.
I shrugged. I had no idea.
"I'll ask her."
"You can't do that!" exclaimed Luke.
"Yes, I can. What's the worst that can happen?"
Luke grinned broadly at me.
"What?" I asked.
"You really are wonderful, Jenny. I can see why Jarrod would have plans for you... if she does of course."
"Hey, what are you two up to?" shouted Al and we laughed and joined in with the games again. Jarrod and the datapad were soon forgotten and the conversation turned to other things like the USS Earhart. Apparently, she is being put back into service under her existing name. What a legacy that ship has to carry!

Log Entry 121019.31

As I carried Beastie down to the cargo bay, it was awful. By the time I arrived, my eyes were wet and red-rimmed with fresh tears.
Besides the rodents there were four other cages containing a variety of insects, a lizard and a snake. Dr Franks was there too, overseeing the operation and checking the health of the animals before they leave. As I walked in, he could see I'd been crying. I held out the cage to him and he took it. He looked in at Beastie and then studied his datapad. I turned and started to leave.
"Crewman!" he called.
"Yes sir?"
"It really would be worthwhile studying the rules and regulations with regard to animals on board a Starfleet vessel."
"I realise that Doctor, but with all due respect and as you well know, I didn't bring her aboard. I found her."
"I know exactly the circumstances surrounding your acquisition of Beastie. That's why I am suggesting that you make yourself familiar with the regulations in regard to the matter."
That made me angry. I knew the rules all too well.
"The regulations are quite clear. This is a military vessel so pets are not permitted unless authorised by the Captain. Authorisation should be sought prior to the animal's arrival and absolutely no later than 24 hours after its acquisition and introduction on board the ship. It must also be subjected to and pass medical examination by the Chief Medical Officer."
"Very good Crewman, but the magic word here is acquired."
"Yes, and when did you acquire Beastie?"
I was dumbfounded. Bugger! I thought and began kicking myself. It was a subtle loophole that meant that if I'd sought the Captain's permission when I presented Beastie to the Commander, she could have stayed aboard. I buried my head in my hands.
"Why look so crestfallen?" but he knew full well why. "Well, fortunately for you I'm not in the habit of vaccinating animals unnecessarily. If you were anybody else—" and he stopped dead. His face tensed, realising his slip.
"Anybody else?" I repeated and stepped up to him. Even though he stood the best part of a foot above me, I looked him square in the eye. He avoided eye contact looking at the ceiling instead.
"Anybody else," I repeated.
"I thought we were talking about the cat."
"Yes. Let's talk about the cat. You were saying that you were not in the habit of vaccinating animals unnecessarily, but you did so with Beastie."
He remained silent for a while. Finally, he picked up the cage and thrust it at me. Beastie meowed in annoyance at the rough handling, but I took the cage from him.
"When you brought your cat to me, she was automatically registered and reported to the Captain. He approved her presence. Be happy with that."
Delight filled me.
"You mean she's kosher!" I exclaimed.
"Yes, now I suggest you wend your way. I'm sure you have duties to perform."
His voice was stern making it clear that there was nothing more to be said on the matter and to be frank, I had what I wanted... my cat.
"Thank you sir," I said and scuttled off quickly with Beastie.
Needless to say, the elation and happiness I am feeling is quite overwhelming; feelings to which Beastie is completely oblivious. She is totally unfazed by her little expedition through the ship and has returned to our cabin ready for her mid-morning nap. She really is a very lazy cat.
There is something else though. "If you were anybody else... If you were anybody else... If you were anybody else." The words keep reverberating around my head.

Log Entry 121019.30

From the moment I awoke this morning, I have felt sick. We docked at Space Station 326 during the night and now I have to take Beastie to the cargo bay where she will join the cages of rodents and all the other animals that have not been authorised.
My heart is so heavy as I give her one last cuddle and pop her into a cage. I've given her a nice soft blanket to keep her warm. I know it smells of me and I hope that will comfort her too.
I can't help crying.

Log Entry 121018.29

We dock at Space Station 326 tomorrow. It'll be nice to get rid of the rodents but I'd rather have to clean out rats for the next ten years than lose Beastie. Being confined to quarters when I'm not on duty hasn't helped. It's just meant that I've had even more time to spend with her, which has made me love her even more.
Sometimes I wish she was a horrible mean, mangy old cat and not the loveable little sweetie that she is. Then my heart wouldn't be breaking; but then I would never have known the love that a cat can give. Shakespeare once said that "it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all". At the moment, I think I'd rather have never known.

Log Entry 121016.28

Commander Jarrod was right. The Captain is furious and has ordered a high-level scan of all decks to search for unauthorised life forms. He has a point though. In retrospect, even the Belinian spider moth is unlikely to be a coincidence and now, with Beastie and the rodents, questions are being asked as to how many people have smuggled animals aboard.
It's stupid really (smuggling pets aboard). It's not that difficult to put an animal through its medical, fill in a few forms and apply for the Captain's approval although I suppose you are a little at the Captain's whim. If he doesn't like cats for instance, he might not say yes to a cat. I wonder if that's why Beastie was smuggled aboard, not that anybody couldn't love her.
At the moment, she's entertaining herself... correction—Al is entertaining her, with a robotic mouse. Al is hooting with laughter and Beastie is chasing the thing around my quarters like a whirling dervish. I can see why she's fattened up on Wainwright's mice! She's weaving in and out of the furniture with amazing agility and stealth, attacking this poor mechanical creature. Whenever Al stops, she stops too, looks up very disappointingly and miaows, and if that doesn't work, she runs up to Al and reaches up with her paw to pat the controls! This cat is not stupid. She knows what's making all the fun for her. I think, if she could operate the joystick control herself, she would.
But I'm finding it very difficult to laugh. Once the scan has been completed and the 'illegals' identified, they are going to be shipped off with the rodents onto the space station. Of course, that's going to mean Beastie as well. It's made me feel quite miserable. I've grown really attached to her. I can only hope that someone else will become as attached to her as I have and take good care of her.

Log Entry 121013.27

In my time I have lived with humans, Klingons, even Dirrians and a Romulan, but never a cat; never any sort of animal in fact. Being raised in care, you simply don't have pets, but you know something? I like having a cat. With a cat, you are never alone and I can tell Beastie (yes, it's a stupid name for a cat but it's all I've got) anything, and she won't tell a soul!
She's a very loving creature too and attentive. She slept at my side all night and watched me contentedly as I dressed this morning. Even when I picked her up and carried her to see Commander Jarrod, she did not complain but purred loudly.
"Good grief!" exclaimed Jarrod. "It's a cat!"
"And not just any cat. This is the Beast that's been haunting me."
"And it explains so much."
"It does?" I asked, puzzled by the remark.
"Yes. We were trying to figure out why more of Wainwright's rodents hadn't made their escape into the Jeffries Tubes and I think we know why now. I think someone's been feasting on the little pests," she said getting up and tickling Beastie under the chin.
"I don't know who she belongs to though."
"Mmm," said Jarrod and returned to her desk. "Computer, do we have any cats registered on board the Drakonia?" she asked.
"There are no cats registered on board the ship," replied the computer in its mundane tones.
"Well that answers your question. She's a stowaway."
I obviously looked startled.
"Yes. It's hard to believe isn't it? The Captain's going to be furious. Wainwright and his rodents are one thing, he was just plain crazy, but a smuggled cat?" She shook her head.
"What will happen to her?"
Jarrod shrugged.
"Well, I'd take her down to Sick Bay and get her checked out medically speaking and then..." Jarrod scratched her head and puffed out a breath of air. "I don't know. Let's see how her medical pans out," and so I took Beastie to Sick Bay.
Dr Franks was also surprised to see a cat on board but greeted her warmly, making a right fuss of her and, happily, the doctor declared her pest and disease free too. He did say, however, that she's a bit overweight "probably from too much mouse!"
As to her future, I'll have to wait and see but in the meantime, I have a cat.

Log Entry 121010.26

I thought I'd sleep like a log after the day I'd had, but I was wrong. I got to sleep soon enough but woke up after a couple of hours and then couldn't get back to sleep. There was nothing wrong in particular. I just couldn't seem to settle and drifted in and out of sleep restlessly and then, at about 03.30 standard time, I heard something moving!
To begin with, I thought it was my imagination but as I peered into the darkness I realised I was wrong. It was real!
On the far wall of my room is a mirror. Reflected in it, looking out from the vent, two bright green eyes shone!
I felt myself heave in a breath and cursed myself for not having re-secured the grill. I saw the eyes blink, stare a moment longer into my room and then go out.
For a moment, I thought it had gone, but then I heard the dull thud as it dropped from the vent onto the table beneath. I was frozen with fear. The Beast was here... in MY room!
I felt a movement on the end of my bed. It had leapt from the table, and then there was another thud as it hit the floor.
Where was it going? Had it seen me?
And then I saw something sticking up into the air, moving towards me. It was snakelike and swept through the air gracefully as it approached. My heart was pounding in my chest. My eyes were wide with fear. It was level with my knees now, and I couldn't breathe.
Nearer it came and then it stopped.
I stared at it, a long thin creature, flicking the air as though tasting it.
Suddenly, it dropped from sight. Where was it now?
Then I heard it. It... pirruped.
The noise was so soft and it sounded so sad and lost, I felt myself relax a little and slowly, I let my breath go.
It chirruped again.
Curiosity driving me on, I decided to investigate. I eased myself very slowly forward to the edge of the bed and peered over the side.
There in the darkness, a shadow sat. It was about the size of a small dog and its huge, brilliant green eyes gazed up at me. Then it said... miaow.
Miaow? I thought and sat up in bed, staring at the Beast before me.
"Computer... lights," I said softly and the room illuminated.
There, sat on the floor before me, blinking against the light, was the biggest tabby cat I'd ever seen: a common or garden cat.
I stared at it and it stared at me.
"Hello," I said and the cat miaowed again but encouraged by my response, it stood up. Its bottom quivered and then it leapt up onto the bed. There it stopped in front of my face and stared into my eyes. Then it stretched its head out towards me and sniffed my nose.
The Beast... this was the Beast that had haunted me for so long. I reached out my hand to touch it and the Beast... the cat... pushed its head hard into my palm and dropped onto its side in a fit of purrs. I happily gave it the attention it yearned for; I was just so pleased to have finally found the truth. I knew I should report the cat straight away, but I was too tired, so I got up, reaffixed the grill to the vent so the cat couldn't get away again and went back to sleep.
With the relief of knowing the Beast was just a cat, sleep came easily to me now and it wasn't long before I, and the Beast, were slumbering peacefully.

Log Entry 121007.25

Commander Jarrod watched us with her steely grey eyes as we recalled the events over the last few days. I could tell that our roasting would follow soon enough, but for the time being the priority was Wainwright's quarters. We could see that Wainwright, or at least a humanoid, was still in his quarters, lying on the bed, but was it Wainwright or some other unfortunate victim? What were the unknown life forms and were they a threat to the Drakonia? Were they parasitic? Were they an intelligent alien race trying to take over the ship?
We went to an unannounced yellow alert, eager not to tip off Wainwright that we were onto him. A security team was assembled to which Luke and I were assigned. Eight of us left Engineering led by Commander Jarrod and with phasers and phaser rifles set to stun we arrived outside Wainwright's quarters, took up our positions and waited.
Commander Jarrod rang the door-chime. There was no answer. She studied the tricorder readings to confirm that the humanoid was still there. He hadn't moved. Jarrod glanced at me and Luke.
"He won't answer the door," said Luke. "He's renown for it."
It was like lighting the touchpaper! Jarrod's face twisted with rage as she hammered on the door furiously.
"Wainwright!" she bellowed. "Open this bloody door now!"
Still no answer.
She stepped back from the door and sneered a nod at the Chief of Security. Within seconds, the door was open and we leapt through with phasers and rifles poised. A waft of artificially sweetened air hit us and then we saw. The sight before us was jaw dropping.
The walls were lined with cages; a quick count revealed thirty on the far wall alone—and each cage was filled with rodents: rats, mice, Cardassian voles and vermin from across the galaxy. Nothing cute and cuddly like a hamster, just vermin.
Stood in the middle of the room was Wainwright. He had a look of panic on his face as he leapt in front of the cages.
"Don't hurt them!" he screamed. "They're harmless!"
A sharp pain shot up my leg. I looked and saw an enormous rat sinking its teeth into my shin and it wasn't letting go! I screamed. A phaser shot rang out. It squealed and I felt the flesh being ripped from my shin as the rat was torn from my leg and thrown across the room, dead. Blood began to pour from the open wound and suddenly even more rodents began to appear from everywhere. They ran, squealing and squeaking frantically, and phasers fired wildly at them. They climbed the walls, the bed, the furniture. They tried to get out of the open door but they couldn't. As they reached the threshold, an invisible field barred their way. They hit it and squealed and somersaulted back into the room. The place was veritably alive with them. Masses and masses of rats and mice of all shapes and sizes stampeding around the room... and phasers firing blindly at them. Wainwright was screaming hysterically and dived towards a desk in the corner. I saw what he was after, he had a forcefield generator there. It was why the rats couldn't get out of the door. He was going to save his pets by letting the field down... then they'd be all over the ship. I aimed my phaser and fired. The beam of light hit him squarely in the back and he fell unconscious to the floor. With his silence, the hubbub began to die.
As order returned to the room, the rodents still ran around, but an eerie calmness began to settle.
"Holy mackerel!" said Jarrod as she stared at the infestation.
"There must be hundreds here!" exclaimed Luke.
Jarrod looked at me as I sat on the floor clutching my shin, blood running freely through my fingers.
"Terran, get to Sick Bay and get that seen to."
"Yes sir," I said stumbling to my feet.
"As for this lot," she said. "Luke, get some crates up here. I want this lot boxed up and ready to..." she didn't finish her sentence. Jarrod wasn't sure what she was going to do with them.

Doctor Franks patched up my wound quite quickly.
"It'll scar," he said, but I knew it would. The rat had taken a surprisingly large chunk out of my leg, but I didn't care. I've never been one for the catwalk and I was just grateful that the pain had stopped. It was sore though.
He was just about to release me when Jarrod came in. I started to stand.
"No Terran. You don't need to get up."
"Thank you sir," I said.
"Don't thank me yet, Crewman. I haven't finished with you yet. You know you should have reported your suspicions earlier, much earlier."
"Permission to speak freely, sir?" I asked.
She looked at me sceptically.
"Okay, but I advise you not to be too free with your words."
I smiled.
"With all due respect sir, but crewmen have been complaining about noises in those shafts for the best part of a year and every time someone has said something, we've been fobbed off."
"I don't think that's true Crewman."
"But it is. Luke had said something a while ago and was made to feel stupid. He was told it was just the deck plates moving and that he was making a fuss. I had, more or less, the same response."
Jarrod looked at me coldly.
"I admit, sir, that we perhaps could have handled it better, but we didn't feel we could say anymore without being ridiculed."
Jarrod's response was minimal.
"I'll take that into consideration," she finally said. "In the meantime, you are confined to your quarters for the next twenty-four hours."
Yes sir," I said humbly. "What about Wainwright?"
"Yes sir. Is he going to be okay?"
"Physically, yes. Mentally... who knows?" Jarrod perched on the bio-bed opposite. "He's always been a little bit solitary but now... well, he's certainly in need of medical care. We think he probably started with just one rodent, then another and then another. Soon it got out of control. He didn't have enough cages to contain them so they were running wild about his quarters. He's covered in bites you know.
"He installed the forcefield to stop them escaping through the door, but not the vents. They've only just started to invade those and that's what was causing the problems we've been experiencing. We just have to make sure we've got them all rounded up."
"And then what will happen to them?"
Jarrod shrugged.
"Not my problem. We've arranged to rendezvous with a team of zoologists at the nearest space station and then it's up to them. Luke thinks he's seen a number of Tigiean rats in there."
"Tigiean rats? Never heard of them."
"No, neither have I but they are extinct on Tigiea and, if that's what they are, it might be an opportunity to reintroduce them."
Jarrod laughed.
"Yes, it does sound odd, but apparently they play a very significant part in the pollination of cereal crops. Don't ask me how. It's not my field and I don't aim to make it mine. Either way, the zoologists want to take a closer look so we're keeping the whole lot alive and handing them over." Jarrod smiled. "As for Wainwright, he's under surveillance and will be handed over to a medical team when we dock. And as for you, you're restricted to quarters for twenty-four hours and then you and Brightman are on rodent patrol."
"Rodent patrol?" I repeated.
"Yes. Someone's got to clean up the mess in Wainwright's quarters and someone's got to feed and clean the little varmints until we hand them over."
"Enjoy," said Jarrod and smiled smugly at me before leaving the room.
As I made my way back to my quarters, I bumped into Luke. He looked drawn.
"You okay?" I asked.
"For someone who's been shovelling rat shit for the last hour. Trust me, Jenny, I think you got off lightly with the rat bite."
I laughed at that and then I had a thought. It obviously showed on my face and Luke asked me, "What's up, Jen?"
"Well... I know we've secured the rodents but..."
"But what?"
"I don't think that's my Beast."
Luke stopped and looked at me.
"What makes you say that?"
"I know I didn't get a very good look at it, but from what I did see, it wasn't a rodent. I think that maybe it was feeding off the rodents, but it wasn't a rodent."
Luke's face fell in despair.
"Oh Jenny," he sighed. "Are you sure? I mean, are you really, really sure?"
I sighed.
"I'm pretty sure."
"So what are you going to do? Are you going to talk to Jarrod?"
I thought.
"Tomorrow, maybe, but not tonight. I want to sleep on it; think it through. You could be right and it could just be my imagination so I'd like to be sure. After all, I think I've caused enough fuss already."
Luke patted me on the shoulder.
"I think that's wise," and then we said goodnight.

Log Entry 121004.24

So now we know where the Beast went, the question is why? Was it living there or just feeding there?
With Luke's access level, we were able to ascertain that the quarters belong to Ensign Edward Wainwright: a young man of whom we could discover little else. He very much keeps himself to himself, never frequenting the Galley or anywhere else for that matter. So how do we find out what secrets lie in his quarters?
"We could just knock on his door," I said.
"And say what?" replied Luke.
"Invite him to join us in the Galley?"
Luke shook his head.
"From what I've heard, he won't even answer the door. Don't ask me how he ever graduated from the academy. He's a complete recluse."
"Have you ever met him?"
"I did a job with him once."
"I'd rather spend the night locked in a cell with a drunk xenophobic Klingon armed with a bat'leth."
"Oh, he can't be that bad," I chastised him.
"Maybe not," admitted Luke, "but he just doesn't like talking. He does a good job, but he says nothing! Everybody hates working with him; he makes you feel so uncomfortable."
"Okay then, so how are we going to get to have a look round his quarters? We can hardly go breaking in, can we?"
"No," he admitted.
"What about for some maintenance work?" I suggested. "Could we arrange a reason to get in there to fix something?"
Luke sighed despondently.
"He's an Engineer! Anything goes wrong in there and he can fix it himself. Come on, Jenny. Think about it. We don't even know if there is something in his quarters. It might just be that the Beast took refuge there in a moment of desperation."
"All the more reason to look."
"But we can't get in, can we?"
I had to admit that Luke was right, but then I had a thought.
"Can we scan his quarters for heat signatures? I mean, if he has a makeshift kitchen in there, that'd show up—"
"If he's cooking at the time."
"True, but if the Beast is taking refuge in there, that would show up too, wouldn't it?"
Luke thought for a moment.
"Yes, it would and from Engineering, yes, we could run a heat scan that would pick up anything warm-blooded, be it Wainwright or the Beast. That's not a bad idea," so we made our way to Engineering. We had some reports to complete anyway so it shouldn't be difficult to explain away our presence, but when we got there, we found Engineering was positively buzzing with activity. That's when we realised that we had completely forgotten about the power cut. Engineers were frantically working on why one section of the ship had lost power so suddenly.
As we walked in, Lieutenant Bryant called out to us.
"Ensign Brightman, glad you're here. Get on that terminal and run a continuity test on the circuits in section 469B. We're looking for an intermittent break somewhere. Terran, what are you doing here?"
"I was just going to complete the last of our test logs, sir."
"Okay. Get that done and then give Brightman a hand."
"Sir," and I set about completing the logs as quickly as I could. I was desperate to help Luke. It only took about five minutes but it seemed like an age.
"Well," I asked as I drew up alongside him.
He looked at me.
"Jenny!" he chastised. "This is important. I'm working!"
"Yeah, I know but think about it. Where is section 469B?"
Luke looked at me and shut his eyes in realisation.
"It's near our quarters."
"Which is where the Beast is. You're looking for an intermittent fault in that area. What if it's because of the Beast? What if the Beast has caused it?"
"Never mind that. What about the cage?"
"Oh bugger!"
Neither one of us had thought about removing the cage. An Engineer was bound to find it!
"Luke. Run the scan," I commanded firmly.
He sighed deeply, cast a furtive glance around Engineering and then began tapping away at the terminal, focusing the scan's attention on Wainwright's quarters.
The scan's results began to form, and the fuzzy red shape of a person illuminated on the schematic.
"Wainwright's at home," muttered Luke and then, to our amazement, another red blob lit up.
"The Beast," suggested Luke... and then another blob appeared.
"There's two of them!" I gasped and then another red spot appeared, and then another. Half a dozen spots of heat became a dozen, a dozen became two dozen, and then three. Wainwright's quarters lit up like a Christmas Tree. So many that we couldn't count them all. His entire quarters were speckled with little red dots of heat!
"Oh, my god!" I exclaimed and Luke quickly switched off the scan. He shook his head, concerned at what he had seen.
"What do we do?" he asked.
My eyes swept the room. Commander Jarrod was on the far side talking to Lieutenant Bryant.
"Now... we tell."
Luke looked pale. I could see he was worried about his career.
"This was all my idea. I'll talk to Jarrod and keep you out of it."
"No," said Luke resolutely. "We're in this together."

Log Entry 121001.23

Don't some people eat the weirdest things! And I'm talking Terrans as well as non-Terrans. Al, for instance, enjoys prawns sautéed in butter and dipped in chocolate sauce, while another Ensign was enjoying a pilchard and banana toastie, and I thought that old axiom was just a joke!
But I digress. Having lingered in the Galley for far too long, Luke and I had a list of suspects that needed further investigation (don't know how, but that is another matter). In the meantime, we have decided to set our trap without bait. The idea being that the Beast will be accustomed to the cage being there. We're just hoping that nobody finds it.
Having smuggled the trap through the corridors, Luke stood guard at the entrance to the Jeffries tube while I took it in. We had decided to position it near my quarters because we knew it was in the Beast's territory.
I had just set the cage down and was positioning it when suddenly, there was a deep rumbling noise and the ship shook so violently that even though I was already on my hands and knees, I was knocked to the ground... and then the lights went out. All of them! Not even the emergency lighting cut in. I was in complete darkness.
Bugger, I thought.
"Are you alright?" shouted Luke.
"Yes, but I can’t see a thing! What was that?"
"I don't know. Comms are down. Hang on a minute though... I've got a torch."
I could hear Luke rummaging in his toolbox and then he entered the tunnel to shine his light at me. It wasn't the most powerful torch I've ever come across, but it reduced the inky darkness into being just spookily dark.
"How's that?" he asked, but I couldn't speak.
Ahead of me shone out two bright green eyes that stared at me with an eerie luminescence.
The ship rumbled and shook again, and the Beast suddenly leapt forward towards me. I screamed and buried my head under my arms, sure it was going to kill me.
I heard its paws thundering down the gangway towards me, beating dully against the metal decking, and then I felt its clawed paws prick into my back... but it didn't stop. It literally ran over me! I felt its paws on my back, then my left buttock, then my shin... and then it was gone.
"Jenny! Jenny!" screamed Luke frantically. "Jenny! Talk to me, Jenny!"
"I'm okay!" I cried, my voice shaking.
"What the hell's up?"
"I just met the Beast."
"What?" Luke exclaimed.
"It fled, running over me, toward you. Didn't you see it?"
"How could you miss it?" I screamed.
"I don't know, but it didn't come this way."
The lights suddenly flickered back into life. Relieved, I sat on my buttocks, waiting for my heart to stop pounding and looked down the Jeffries tube in the direction it had gone. I could hear Luke approaching.
"Where did it go then?" I asked.
The answer was simple. If it didn't go past Luke, it must have turned off somewhere. It had made its escape... or was hiding... somewhere between us.
Cautiously we began crawling towards each other looking for possible exits.
"Found something," cried Luke.
"Okay. Stay there and I'll keep checking to see if there are any other possibilities," and I continued to crawl until I met Luke.
"Nothing?" he asked.
"Nothing," I confirmed and then we both stared at the air vent opening.
"Where does it go to?" I asked.
Luke pulled out his datapad again and studied it. A broad smile broke out on his face and he passed the pad to me.
I looked at it and smiled.
"Bingo!" we said in unison.