Notes: Phlox meets a member of Doctor Lucas’s family...and a member of Porthos’s. Feezal makes a guest appearance in this one, as well as Zoesia, their granddaughter (a link with my earlier fic, “Four Weddings and a Funeral for my Sanity”. Zoesia is the daughter of Treesal (Phlox’s and Feezal’s daughter) and Lieutenant Commander Johannes Birkenwald, one of Malcolm’s Armory team).
I rewrote this chapter after I had my children...and this is dedicated to the staff at Sanger Clinic at Carolinas Medical Center Main, in Uptown Charlotte, NC, for their awesome work in pediatric cardiology, esp. Doctor B., my daughter’s doctor.
(Phlox, Feezal and Jeremy Lucas)
“Phlox! Feezal! So glad you were able to come! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to greet you earlier, but it’s been a madhouse here with all the guests.”
Phlox gave his old friend a wide Denobulan grin. “Hello, Doctor Lucas. It is good to see you. Don’t worry about us; we’ve been taking in the sights and sounds of Luna as we wait for the conference to start.”
Doctor Jeremy Lucas’s round face was wreathed in smiles and his eyes sparkled in humor. Phlox marveled at the change in Lucas’s demeanor, for the Human doctor appeared so much healthier than the last time Phlox had seen him. Lucas’s trademark moustache was peppered with gray, but he’d lost some weight and gained some muscle on his stocky frame.
“Unca Jeremy!” Zoesia Phlox-Birkenwald launched herself into her adopted uncle’s arms, much to Lucas’s genuine delight. Lucas swung the three-year old around a few times, then set her back down on the ground.
“And how are you, Zoesia?” Lucas asked her.
The girl’s grin was as wide as his grandfather’s. “I’m doing good, Unca Jeremy.”
“Doing well, Zoesia,” Feezal corrected her. She reached down and patted her granddaughter on the shoulder. For a three-year-old, Zoesia seemed older than her actual age. She was a perfect blend of her parents, Phlox’s daughter Treesal and her husband, Johannes Birkenwald; her reddish-brown hair curled around her shoulders and her wide eyes was the same shade of green as her father’s.
“I’m doing well, Unca Jeremy,” Zoesia repeated, but her enthusiasm was still unbridled as she tugged on Lucas’s hand. “Guess what? We saw the Lunar Aquarium this morning and I saw a Risian dolphin! It talked to me!”
“Indeed?” Lucas gave her a curious expression. “Are you sure?”
“It said, ‘Pleased to meet you’. It talked a lot, Unca Jeremy.”
Lucas shot Phlox another humorous look. “Let me get his straight, Zoesia. It actually talked to you?”
“Yes, it was very polite, but its voice hurt my ears. I wish it could talk more quiet.”
Lucas glanced up at Feezal and said, “She’s quite verbal for a three-year old.”
Phlox chuckled and shook his head. “Denobulan females tend to walk and talk earlier than their male counterparts, and Zoesia’s ahead of the norm in some areas. Treesalfinds it exasperating at times.”
“Yes, when our children become parents themselves, it’s funny how history can repeat itself, isn’t it?” Lucas said with a laugh. He refocused his attention on Zoesia. “Now, would you like to meet your new playmate for today?”
“Yes, Unca Jeremy.” Zoesia’s face dimpled as she laughed. “Is she my age? Is she nice? Does she know how to play ghator? Sorry, my mama says I ask too many questions—“
“Curiosity is a good trait to have, little girl,” Lucas told her. “Don’t ever lose that. Come, I’ll introduce her to you.”
Hand in hand, he and Zoesia walked through the halls of the Luna Convention Center, with Phlox and Feezal close behind. Zoesia took in all the decorations with eager eyes. Flags hung from the ceiling, each one representing a planet who was an ally of Earth. Andoria, Tellar, Vulcan, Risa, Denobula. Zoesia pointed out the flag of her mother’s people with pride, then her father’s flag next to it. Denobula and Earth.
The topmost floor of the Convention Center held apartments for guests and VIPs. A dark-haired woman sat on one of the couches next to the turbolift with a baby in her lap. Nearby, a six-year-old girl tossed a biscuit to a dog. The dog snapped it up, then began to whine for more.
“No more, Marianna,” warned the woman. She glanced up to see Lucas and the Phlox’s. “Over here, Uncle!” Marianna smiled as she saw Zoesia and ran to greet them. The dog followed at her heels.
“Hi, I’m Marianna,” the girl said artlessly. Her black hair moved with her movement as she reached for Zoesia’s hand. “You must be Zoesia.”
“Yes,” Zoesia said, suddenly shy. “I’m pleased to meet you, Marianna.”
“C’mon, I want you to meet my dog. This is Atti.” It actually sounded more like “Athi”, but Marianna spoke so quickly that Phlox nearly missed the name. Marianna proceeded to make more introductions. Athi sat on his haunches and looked up at Zoesia with bright eyes. He nudged Zoesia’s free hand with his nose; she patted him with a delighted laugh.
“Athi, is it?” Phlox asked. “Unusual name for a dog...he’s a beagle, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” said Marianna’s mother. She extended her free hand to Phlox and added, “My name is Patricia Lucas-Miglioni.”
“My niece is in her last year of medical school,” Lucas said with a smile. “She starts her internship this autumn.”
Feezal squeezed Patricia’s hand. “Congratulations on such achievement. What are you planning to specialize in?”
“Pediatric cardiology,” she replied, “specifically Human and Denobulan children. Both of my children were born with heart problems—corrected with surgery, thank goodness—but it got me interested in the subject.” Patricia chuckled ruefully and stroked her younger girl’s hair. “I think we need more interspecies cooperation in the medical field...Uncle Jeremy’s been a great role model.”
Lucas chuckled and blushed. “Well, I try to set a good example to the younger generation.”
“Come, come, let’s give credit where credit is due,” Phlox admonished him good-naturedly. He watched as Zoesia held a bone-shaped doggie biscuit in front of Athi’s nose. Phlox’s nose caught a whiff of—cheddar cheese? “Is that wise, to feed the dog cheese?”
Patricia shook her head. “It’s specially formulated for him, Doctor Phlox. Athi has a sensitive stomach, but like a lot of kids, his favorite food is the one thing that’s supposed to be bad for him. From what I understand, Athi’s litter mates were just as rambunctious and curious.”
As Phlox watched the beagle interact with the girls, a niggling thought occurred to him. Athi was tan and brown with black on his muzzle, as if someone had penciled in a thin mustache on his face. Of course, dogs of the same species all looked similar, thanks to genetics, but still...
“Athi looks about, what, eight years old?”
Lucas nodded and agreed, “Just turned eight. Not quite a tiny puppy anymore, but he acts like a dog half his age. You know, Patty got him when he was about seven weeks old from a friend of my brother’s...second to the last left in the litter, if I remember right. Patty wanted to get both of them, but their old house didn’t have the room.”
“Otherwise, I would’ve taken him and his brother,” Patricia said ruefully. “The last one looked so sad when we left...I hope he found a good home.”
Feezal’s brow wrinkled in thought, then she gave her husband an odd look. “Didn’t your Captain—Admiral--Archer have a beagle as well, Phlox?”
“Yes, he did, but the beagle is a rather common breed—“ Phlox tried to convince himself this was all just a crazy coincidence, but after hearing Patricia’s story, his inner instincts didn’t believe that. “Were Athi and his brothers born in San Francisco?”
Patricia nodded. “That’s right. He was in a litter of four. When Marianna was younger, she shortened his name to “Athi” because that was what she could say at the time, and the name stuck. His real name is—“
She blinked. “Yes, from ‘The Three Muskeeters’.”
Lucas’s face dawned in comprehension as he said, “Wait a minute. Admiral Archer’s dog is named Porthos, isn’t he? The Musketeer who was rather vain and quite the dandy?”
“And the one who lived life with enthusiasm. It fits him. You don’t suppose—?”
A low growl interrupted them and Phlox looked over his shoulder. Athos stood at the top of the stairs, blocking the girls’ path, growling in warning. “Marianna!” Patricia called sharply.
“Zoesia, keep away from the stairs!” Feezal added. “Stay on this floor where we can see you!”
Both girls reluctantly turned away from the landing and back towards the elders. Athos nudged Marianna with his nose with a rather impatient gesture. He wasn’t satisfied until the girls were a good distance away from the stairs; it was only then that he smoothed his fur and his hackles subsided.
“He’s fiercely protective of Marianna and the baby,” Patricia said. “It’s as if he’s a older soul in the body of a dog. Always thinks of the girls first and himself last.”
“Just like his namesake. Athos was the elder statesman of the Musketeers and protected his charges, almost to the point where he didn’t take enough care of himself.” Lucas’s voice was dry. “If that isn’t proof, I don’t know what is.”
“This is extraordinary, meeting Porthos’s brother,” Feezal said. “We must tell Admiral Archer of this. I think he would be pleasantly surprised.”
“I agree, my love,” Phlox heard a distinct chime from the lower floor, “but the first session is about to begin and we don’t want to be late. I suppose we can call the admiral on the lunch break and tell him this wonderful news.”
Patricia chuckled and added, “Go on, I’ll watch over Athos and the girls. I still have some connections in San Francisco; maybe I’ll call around and see if I can locate the other puppies.”
“Splendid.” Phlox nodded and said, “Well, you be a good girl, Zoesia, and try to stay out of mischief, hmm?”
“Yes, Grandfather,” Zoesia said happily. “I have Athi to watch over me!”
As Phlox, Feezal and Lucas headed towards the stairs, Phlox mused, “She seems to have an affinity for animals, first the dolphin and now the beagle—“
“Maybe she’ll become a veterinarian,” Lucas said. “Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thought?”
“Indeed, it would.”
Notes: The plan comes together. In this chapter, you meet the “mother of the ex-girlfriend” who gave Porthos to Archer...as well as the ex-girlfriend herself. And Hoshi marvels at how the Universe seems to align everything just right for the reunion...
And you will see Archer in the last chapter. I promise, and he’s in for a surprise.
BTW, the sequel to Dumas’s original Musketeer novel had been titled, “Twenty Years After.”
The Reunion Gets Planned
(all the senior staff, except Archer, with a few surprises)
Isabella de los Reyes had to sit down after the third call in a row. Three different calls from three different parts of the galaxy regarding a litter of beagles from years past. A silly grin stretched her mouth and she started to laugh. Dios, all in one hour. Sandra will find this hysterical as well, in a good way.
She tapped her daughter’s comcode and waited a few moments. Her daughter’s face appeared on the screen. “Mama! This is a surprise! Is something wrong?”
“No, chica, nothing is wrong, but I’ve just had a blast from the past.” Isabella chuckled and added, “Do you remember the time when our little Conchita had four puppies?”
Sandra nodded, but she still looked confused. “I remember. Javier was reading ‘The Three Musketers’ and named the puppies after them. We gave them away to good homes...one of them went to Jonathan and became the first dog on a starship.” She chuckled. “Is this about Jonathan?”
“Indirectly.” Isabella sighed, thankful that Sandra still had fond memories of Jonathan Archer. Her daughter and Archer had dated in the years before he accepted captaincy of the Enterprise, but Sandra wasn’t willing to wait five years for him to return. So they’d broken off the relationship, but at least Isabella was able to give Jonathan a fond memory of their family: Porthos.
“Porthos’s siblings are alive and well. Jonathan’s crew located them and now they’re thinking about surprising Jonathan with a beagle reunion.”
Sandra blinked, blinked again, then clapped her hands together in glee. “That would be a surprise! I want to be there to see the look on his face!”
“I thought you would,” Isabella said, “but now we have to figure out how to get everyone to San Francisco and how to keep this a secret from Jonathan.”
Sandra inclined her head and then the smile turned wicked. “I have an idea, Mama. Leave it all to me.”
Hoshi still felt like someone had hit her in the back of the head with a board. She cradled her communicator in her ear and repeated, “You found Aramis?”
“Yeah, T’Pol and I were visiting Xiao Leung and turns out she’s his owner,” Trip said, his voice cheerful. “Didn’t make the connection, though, because she gave him a Chinese name, and it was only when Admiral Forrest came up in the conversation that we found out his English name.”
Hoshi felt a pang at he mention of Forrest. “So the admiral knew about Aramis.”
“Yeah. We were thinking about surprising Jon with a little party, but we gotta find the other Musketeers, too.”
“I think we’ve already done that.”
“Are you sitting down for this?”
There was a long pause, then he said, “Yeah, I’m sittin’ down now. Spill it, Hoshi.”
And she told him about meeting D’Artagnan (also known as Artie), then about Phlox’s excited call from the medical conference on Luna about Athos. Trip was silent on the other end for so long that Hoshi thought she’d lost the connection, but then he laughed.
“I’ll be—what are the odds that would’ve happened? Never mind, I can see the wheels turnin’ in T’Pol’s head from here and I’m gonna get the answer soon enough. So...now we can skip the searchin’ stage and deal with the logistics of gettin’ everyone in one place.”
“The dedication ceremony of the fleet carrier Enterprise will be this afternoon at the Norfolk Naval Pier. Artie’s owner—Captain Waterston of the Royal Australian Navy—will be one of the dignitaries. Malcolm’s talking with him right now...Captain Waterston’s heading to Sydney after the ceremony, but maybe he can make a stop in San Francisco on the way.”
“Perfect. Xiao Leung’s been thinking about dropping by Soval at the Vulcan Consulate anyway. Now what about Athos?”
“Doctor Lucas’s niece has never been to Starfleet Medical in San Francisco. This might be a good time for her to do a sightseeing tour and take Athos with her.”
“Think Phlox can convince ‘em?”
“I think it won’t be too much of stretch, once Phlox explains the reason.”
“Yeah, he can be pretty convincing. All right, I’ll let T’Pol and Xiao Leung know and I’ll get back to ya.”
Hoshi’s smile widened at hearing one of Trip’s most favorite expressions. This time, she knew he would “get back to her”. “Thanks, Trip. I’ll talk to you later.”
She snapped her communicator closed and went out to the deck. Lynette and her father owned a home overlooking Lynnhaven Bay in Virginia Beach. Malcolm and Captain Waterston—or John, as he insisted on being called—were on the deck, arguing over the superiority of the Royal Navy versus the Royal Australian Navy. Hoshi was tempted to point out that Great Britain and Australia were still connected in many ways. Lynette and Travis were down in the sandy beaches along the Lynnhaven River with Artie and Porthos.
Malcolm noticed her and asked, “So, how are Trip and T’Pol enjoying Hong Kong?”
“Sounds like they’ve been having a good time,” she replied, “but it seems that we’ve found the last member of Musketeers.”
John Waterston’s eyes widened. “Already? Seems like you weren’t kiddin’ when you said your intel net was top-notch, mate.”
“This is a surprise to me as well, sir,” Malcolm responded with a shake of his head. “Let me guess: Trip and T’Pol found him in Hong Kong.”
“Aramis belongs to Xiao Leung, the former ambassador to Vulcan.”
Waterson blinked. “The dog’s been out in the galaxy too, it looks like, just like Porthos. Figured they’d be star travelers too.” He chuckled and shook his head. “So now we know where they are, so how’re we gonna get ‘em all together?”
Hoshi was about to tell them about what she and Trip had discuss, but then her communicator went off again. She glared at it, then gave both men a look of apology. She flipped it open and said, “Sato-Reed.”
“Lieutenant?” came the voice of Ensign Richardson, her back-up comm officer on Enterprise. “Ma’am, we have an incoming call from a Sandra De Los Reyes in San Francisco. She’s trying to contact you or Commander T’Pol.”
De Los Reyes? Why does that name sound familiar? Oh...She remembered where she’d heard the name before...she’d been an ex-girlfriend of Jonathan Archer, and it had been Sandra’s mother who had given him Porthos. Hoshi was speechless at the Universe’s twists and turns at yet another coincidence.
“Go ahead and put her on, Richardson. I’ll talk to her.” She raised a hand at Malcolm’s and Waterston’s looks of curiosity. “Hello?”
“Hola. Soy Senora Licano-de los Reyes. Tenente Hoshi Sato-Reed, por favor.”
“Lieutenant Sato-Reed, my name is Sandra Licano-de los Reyes. My mother’s the original owner of the Musketeer beagles.” Sandra’s voice sounded warm, with a touch of laughter. “She told me that she received a call from you and two others about the Musketeers. I think surprising Jonathan with a little reunion would be wonderful.”
“I think he’d appreciate it. And seeing the look on his face when he’s inundated with beagles—“
“I understand you have a bit of logistical problem getting the dogs to San Francisco and finding a place to hold the reunion. I happen to be a travel agent by profession...I’d like to contribute my services in this matter. After all, I think it’s about time the Musketeers were reunited...and it shouldn’t take twenty years to do it.”
“You’re right, it shouldn’t.” At the men’s confused looks, Hoshi flashed them a grin and a thumbs up. “All right, Senora, I’m willing to hear your ideas.”
Disclaimer: Don’t own ‘em, don’t make money off ‘em.
Notes: Here it is, the reunion! Everyone comes together...and Soval makes a guest appearance...
Five“And at four-thirty, you have a meeting with the Committee of the Daughters of Cochrane’s Commons—“
“Is this about the anniversary of Zephram Cochrane’s warp flight? That isn’t for another four months, Hena.”
Lieutenant Hena Zahriyal winced and consulted her PADD. Admiral Jonathan Archer sighed and stifled another wave of sympathy for the most junior of his aides. Her relative youth was usually hidden by her calm aplomb, but it were times like these that it was so obvious.
“Um, no, sir. That meeting’s next week, with the Sons of Cochrane Commons, Beta Centauri Order. This is about flowers for Mister Cochrane’s mother’s grave. Tomorrow’s her birthday and they don’t want anyone to forget it...sir.”
Archer sighed, rolled his eyes and prayed for patience. “All right, put in an order from Stacy’s in downtown San Fran...purple lilies and white irises, just like she’d wanted.”
“Very good, sir.” Zahriyal made a note next to the appropriate date; it joined a long list of similar notes for the upcoming meeting with Starfleet Engineering R&D, the dinner with the Alcadian representative and a chess game with Ambassador Soval. Then she began to outline the rest of the admiral’s evening with her normal attention to detail.
Archer listened with the requisite nods, but his mind was far away. He should never have let Gardner and the others talk him into a desk job. He missed the thrill of space exploration and the reassuring presence of his old NX-01 crew. Granted, Enterprise was under the steady command of Captain Charles Tucker the Third, with Commander T’Pol as his XO, Commander Reed as his Tactical Officer, and Lieutenants Sato-Reed and Mayweather as part of his staff. Archer missed them all; even Porthos hadn’t hesitated to go with Malcolm, Hoshi and Travis to Norfolk for the fleet carrier commissioning.
He resisted a sigh. Maybe I can hop a transport and see Phlox on Denobula or Shran on Andoria. Ouch. It’s bad when I’m wishing Shran would walk through my door just for the theatrical aspect.
Zahriyal put a hand to the earpiece in her ear and frowned intently at the message. “Sir, change of plans. It seems that Ambassador Soval wishes to speak with you as soon as possible.”
“Former ambassador Xiao Leung, sir.”
Archer flinched, though his sudden dread had nothing to do with the former ambassador. She’d been injured in the same attack that had killed Admiral Maxwell Forrest. The memory of his dying brought up memories he’d thought long buried. Nevertheless, he set his own personal discomfort aside.
“Relay to Ambassador Soval that I’ll see him at the Vulcan Consulate—“
“He’s not at the Consulate, sir. He’s in the Western Courtyard.”
“What’s he doing there?” Archer sounded as mystified as Zahriyal looked. The Western Courtyard of Starfleet Command was hardly what Archer called “private”. It was a popular spot for lunch, assorted gatherings, and the daily morning tai-chi group’s practice.
“I don’t know, sir, but he was very adamant on meeting you there.”
“Thanks, Hena.” He grabbed his uniform jacket and nodded at her. “Hold down the fort till I get back.”
“Will do, sir.”
As soon as he disappeared, Zahriyal smiled and tapped her earpiece. “He’s on his way, sir. Yes, I canceled all his evening appointments, save yours. His schedule’s clear. And yes, that shipment of special doggie biscuits arrived an hour ago.”
The Western Courtyard faced the Bay, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Archer heard the loud thrum of the engines of a landing shuttlepod and involuntarily ducked his head as it came in close overhead for a landing—too close, in his estimation. If he could redesign the landing strips adjacent to Starfleet Command, he’d put them where they’d have enough room without shaking the duraglass windows.
There’s a reason why they made the Nevada desert an alternate landing site for the old space shuttle. Archer shook his head and winced. That pilot’s a rookie; Travis needs to give him or her some pointers before that ‘pod takes out the comm tower.
It took him ten minutes to cross the Command grounds and he had to return all the salutes that were aimed at him on the way. Archer sighed with relief when he turned onto the path that led to the Western Courtyard. Again, he wondered what the hell Soval was up to—wait a minute? What was that noise? A dog barking? Soval had a dog? That couldn’t be right. A sehlat, maybe, but a dog—?
Four whirlwinds of brown fur charged through the Western Courtyard’s gates. In the lead was Porthos; Archer saw the silver tag on the collar around the beagle’s neck. Two beagles paced slightly behind him on either side and the last one took rearguard, like a perfect diamond formation in flight. The other beagles looked eerily familiar...Archer automatically went down on one knee to greet his loyal companion, but he didn’t count on the two wingmen (wingdogs?) literally running him over and the rearguard parking itself square in the middle of his chest. Then not one, but four rough tongues licked his face with enthusiastic dog slobber.
“Okay, okay! That’s enough, guys!” Archer managed to sit up with Porthos on his lap, the second dog clinging to his uniform by his paws, and the other two squatting down around him with tails wagging faster than wiper blades. “Where’d you guys come from?”
“All over the galaxy, Jon,” came a familiar voice. “You’d be surprised to find out where Porthos’s brothers have been.”
He craned his neck upward and grinned. “Sandra! It’s good to see you again! How’d you—“
Sandra de los Reyes matched the wide grin. “Actually, I just helped out at the end. Your old crew found them and got them together.” She knelt and rubbed Athos’s shiny coat. “This is Athos, Aramis is on your far side, and that’s D’Artagnan clinging to your chest like a vine.”
“Artie f’short,” said a brassy Australian-accented voice, “and he’s a cute little devil.”
“He sure is,” Archer agreed. He inclined his head at the uniformed man who was leaning against the gate in a casual manner. “Royal Australian?”
“Cap’n John Waterston, at your service, sir.” He smiled and beckoned to Artie, who jumped off Archer and padded back to him like an obedient soldier. “D’Artagnan’s mine. He stole your Armory officer’s cheese sandwich and his wife ran into my daughter and...well, that started to whole thing.”
Xiao Leung laughed and Aramis’s head shot up at the sound. “And my Gou--Aramis-- was with me on Vulcan and was a favorite of Maxwell and Soval. He used to follow Max everywhere, just like he was his protector.”
Archer’s smile became sad. “Except—“
“That one time, he was not present at the Embassy, or it would have been likely Aramis wouldn’t have survived.” She sighed, her eyes shiny with tears. “I thought it would be wonderful to bring you a piece of the joyful memory, of him who had meant so much to both of us.”
Archer got to his feet and walked over to her, with Porthos, Aramis and Athos nipping at his heels. He embraced her and whispered softly, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Xiao Leung’s smile returned and she gestured for Jeremy Lucas to step forward with his niece. “And I would like to introduce Athos’s relatives.”
Archer blinked at the coincidence; was the Universe playing a trick on him? “Doctor Lucas? You’re Athos’s owner?”
“My niece is,” Jeremy Lucas replied, as he ushered a smiling, dark-haired woman forward. “Patty, this Admiral Jonathan Archer. Sir, my niece, Patricia.”
“Pleased to meet you, ma’am,” Archer said, automatically extending a hand, then realized it was damp with dog drool. Patty didn’t seem to mind; she grasped it and shook it firmly.
“Don’t worry, I’m used to it,” she said in a cheerful voice, and Archer immediately knew where she’d gotten the sunny, optimistic expression from. “Doctor Phlox and his wife brought their granddaughter along and Zoesia got to meet Athos.”
Then a Southern drawl interrupted, “You look like you’ve been smacked upside the head by a horde of doggy paws, Jon.”
“If you keep surprising me like this, I’ll have a concussion,” Archer retorted. Then he grinned at Captain Trip Tucker and added, “but I’ll let it go this time.”
Trip laughed again and made beckoning motions with his hand. “C’mon, Jon, there’s a reunion goin’ on, and you and the Musketeers are the honorees. Get in here and join the party. You realize that dog hair on your uniform is pretty becoming?”
“Don’t push it, Captain Tucker,” Archer growled playfully, but he did as ordered. To his surprise, a long table had been set up along one side of the courtyard, filled with treats for both humans and canines. The smell of Tex-Mex food, courtesy of Sandra’s mother Isabella; Vulcan delicacies from Soval and the Vulcan Consulate, and other goodies made his mouth water. Plus, the distinct aroma of cheddar cheese came from the biscuits in the basket at one side of the table.
“Ghericks,” Hoshi said, referring to a pet supply store in downtown San Francisco. “Porthos can eat as many as he wants without getting sick. Patty told me about it.”
“Hoshi.” Archer said and gave her a warm hug. “Thanks for organizing this surprise. I’m floored...the Musketeers are all reunited and I’m glad for it.”
“Your welcome, Jon,” Hoshi replied. “Now, let’s enjoy the party, shall we?”
It lasted until sunset; the Humans swapped tales while the Musketeers frolicked to and fro among the partygoers, and gorged shamelessly on the doggie biscuits. Archer noticed that Soval spent most of his time talking with Xiao Leung and avoided the beagles whenever possible. The Vulcan ambassador glanced down in distaste as Aramis put his paws on Soval’s pristine Vulcan robes.
“Give him a biscuit, silly,” Xiao Leung told him.
Soval gave her a long-suffering look, but padded obediently to the basket and gingerly picked up a biscuit with two fingers. He bent and carefully put it in the waiting dog’s jaws. Before Soval could escape, the other Musketeers surrounded him and began clamoring for treats as well.
Soval’s expression was priceless.
“Gotcha!” Trip said, as he snapped a picture with his camera. “You’re on Candid Camera, Ambassador.”
Soval gathered up the tattered remains of his dignity and asked, “Was that necessary, Captain Tucker?”
“Hey, we needed a keepsake of the event,” Trip replied, with no trace of remorse. “Best a time as any.”
Soival sighed and looked over at T’Pol and Xiao Leung with an aggrieved look, but he didn’t find any sympathy there. Xiao Leung was doubled over with laughter and while T’Pol didn’t smile, mirth shone in her eyes.
Finally, Archer raised a glass of wine and called for silence. “I want to thank everyone for arranging this surprise for me...and Porthos. I’m glad his family’s reunited once more, as well as ours.” He smiled at Hoshi, firm in Malcolm’s embrace, then at Trip, T’Pol, Travis, Phlox, Captain Waterston, Jeremy and Patty Lucas, Xiao Leung, Soval...and finally at the four exhausted beagles at his feet. “For family and friendship.”
“For family and friendship,” they all echoed. Then Travis, Trip and Malcolm grinned at each other and all three chorused:
“All for one...”
The reply rang over the courtyard. “...and one for all!”
I couldn’t resist ending with that iconic quote. Can your really blame me?? :)