Kashyk’s Lunch Date

A few years after transwarp drive came into common use by most spacefaring species, the Devore and the Federation established formal diplomatic relations. Each side was convinced that it had much to learn from the other, despite the usual cultural quirks.

Upon his arrival in San Francisco on a pleasant summer’s day, Ambassador Kashyk was delighted to discover just how close he’d be to an old friend, Admiral Kathryn Janeway. At least, that was how he thought of her. Alien or not, Kathryn was by far the sexiest female he’d ever encountered. And if she turned out to be a bit cool to him at first, well, that was only to be expected, given his treatment of her Voyager crew; but he knew she’d been powerfully attracted to him since their first meeting, and he expected that he’d warm her up soon enough. After all, how could any woman resist his many charms?

Kashyk assiduously pursued the admiral with compliments, romantic gifts, and ornate floral arrangements. Although he couldn’t stand the smell of roses, he presented Kathryn with them regularly. He knew it wouldn’t take long to wear away her resolve, an expectation that was fulfilled one cool September morning when a smiling Kathryn casually invited him to share a picnic lunch with her on a remote, uninhabited Pacific island.

She gave him the transporter coordinates and told him she’d meet him there at precisely twelve hundred hours. Kashyk spent the rest of the morning daydreaming about what it would be like to have her in the wet sand at the ocean’s edge, or in a crisp and crackling pile of newly fallen leaves, or on the dark, rough warmth of a volcanic ledge. Or all three, preferably.

Despite his barely controlled lust, he forced himself to resist the temptation to arrive early. After all, it wouldn’t do to appear too eager. After what seemed an interminable wait, the island took shape around him, looking as natural and untouched as if no one had ever set foot on its pristine beaches. A warm breeze carried the tang of the salt air, and a gull perched on a nearby outcropping of rock.

He heard a footstep behind him and turned to find Kathryn standing there with a large picnic basket. Her face seemed unusually flushed, and she licked her lips as if in anticipation of something much more delicious than the basket’s contents. She had a strong floral scent, he noticed, resembling the roses that he so much disliked. A new perfume, apparently. But that was all right; he didn’t expect that it would bother him once she smelled of sweat and sex . . .

Kashyk took a deep breath as he looked into her bright eyes, fixed steadily upon him. He tried to discipline his thoughts enough to begin a reasonable conversation. “This is a beautiful island. I hadn’t realized Earth still had such isolated, picturesque spots.”

“No one has visited this island in almost four hundred years,” Kathryn replied, as she spread a blanket invitingly on the sand and began to take out the food. “There’s a legend that carnivorous dinosaurs, created by overzealous scientists in the early days of animal cloning experiments, roam its jungles. But I’m sure you don’t believe that, do you?”

Kashyk noticed that the basket contained a large variety of meat dishes; he could smell the spicy odor even from where he stood. Although he knew that all meat on Earth was now replicated, it was nevertheless unusual to see so much of it eaten in one meal. Perhaps this was a human female’s way of demonstrating that she had other cravings of a fleshly nature?

“And it’s also said that they attacked and ate several humans,” Kathryn informed him, deliberately licking her lips once more. “That’s why, to this day, no one dares to have a picnic here. If there really were dinosaurs lurking in the jungle, the smell of meat would bring them down to the beach within minutes.”

Kashyk heard a sudden rustling in the underbrush where the beach met the trees. He glanced past Kathryn to see several branches moving as if they’d just been shaken by something far too large for his liking. Just the wind, he tried to convince himself. He certainly wasn’t about to let himself be frightened by this absurd story.

“But I don’t believe it,” Kathryn continued, quite cheerfully indeed. “After all, it’s well known that reptiles can effectively be discouraged from attacks on humans by the application of a simple repellant, made in part from that familiar flower that we both love, the rose.”

Twigs snapped loudly as several large, scaly heads peered out of the bushes. Kashyk stared at them in total incredulity. Was this Kathryn’s idea of a joke? Those beasts couldn’t possibly exist anywhere on Earth. No one had ever cloned a dinosaur.

“Unfortunately, the repellant isn’t at all effective in discouraging an attack on a Devore.”

He could now see many more of the oversized lizard heads behind the first few, as impossible as it was. Then, almost as if at some concerted signal, the entire pack of them lunged toward him. At the sight of their huge claws and gleaming fangs, Kashyk reached for his weapon by reflex, only to realize that, of course, he didn’t have it. A moment later, the pack was on him, and it was all over quickly.

As the dinosaurs bolted the last scraps of meat, Admiral Kathryn Janeway reached out to pat the nearest one affectionately on the smooth scales of its head before touching her combadge to activate the transporter for her return trip.