"I'm okay," he whispered and although not well by any means, he did seem a little better. He had stopped coughing and heaving and lay limp in my arms. Rosie continued to wave the tricorder over him and cast me a reassuring smile.
"He'll be fine. Nothing long term, but I certainly wouldn't recommend using the transporters again."
He smoothed Arunga's face and, forgetting that this cat was a sentient being, tipped his head back to look into his eyes before peeling his ears back to look inside them.
"Oo!" said Arunga in surprise.
"Oops! Sorry," said Rosie. "I was thinking you were … well, I always check … I mean …"
"He means he looks after Beastie," I explained. "She has regular checkups to make sure she's fit and healthy."
"Does she have problems with her ears then?"
"Actually, yes. She had a bit of an infection in one recently and then kept scratching at it, so we do pay particular attention to them."
"Well, as long as it's in my best interests."
"It is, and I'll be staying to monitor your health just to be sure," assured Rosie.
Arunga scoffed and said, "That won't be necessary."
I smoothed his fur and replied, "I promised Celia I would look after you so if the doctor needs to stay, he shall."
Arunga baulked and glared at me.
"And when did you speak to Celia?" he demanded.
I tapped the side of my nose knowledgably and winked.
"Never you mind. Just remember that us women talk."
He sighed in resignation, but it was an affectionate one. I think he liked the thought that people were looking out for him.
"Either way, with or without Celia's consent, I'll be staying. That was a very nasty turn. Have you ever experienced anything like that before?"
"Then I suspect it was a reaction to the transporters, but I don't want to take any chances."
Arunga was fast recovering from his turn, but we sat on the grass waiting for him to recover fully. I glanced up at T'Roc and found her eyes were directed towards the palace. Her face was stony.
"So where is everyone?" she asked.
Traeth sighed heavily and dropped onto his knees beside us.
"It's as I feared," he said. "I'm so sorry. It's insulting—"
"Don't apologise for your people," said Arunga.
"But I feel I should."
Arunga put a paw on Traeth's knee.
"If your people are sorry, they will apologise. If not, you are in no position to apologise on their behalf."
Arunga was so wise.