Porthos and Artie
(Malcolm, Hoshi and Travis)
Hoshi sighed as she lay on the picnic blanket under the shade. She gazed at the towering green mass of Mount Trashmore high above her. The huge hill had been a fixture in Virginia Beach for nearly two hundred years, a monument to Earth's first attempts at environmental awareness. The entire park had been built on the site of a former landfill; Hoshi thought it looked so much better now, even if the name was a bit corny.
Laughter rang out to her right and she smiled. Travis and Malcolm took turns tossing a ball to Porthos, who dashed to and fro from one end of the picnic site to the other. Hoshi flipped over onto her stomach to watch as Malcolm picked up the soggy ball, ignoring the dog slobber that soaked it, and threw it towards the man-made lake. The beagle woofed and took off after it, followed quickly by Travis.
Malcolm's grin widened as he glanced over his shoulder at her, then he followed the two. Hoshi couldn't remember the last time the Armory officer had enjoyed his vacation like this. She was glad she'd insisted on visiting the piers at Norfolk Naval Base; the new fleet carrier USS Enterprise had asked for a representative from the NX-01 at the ceremony. Since Admiral Archer wasn't able to get away from Starfleet Command, Hoshi volunteered herself and Malcolm.
You can take the sailor out of the ocean, but not the ocean out of the sailor, she mused. Despite Malcolm's on-again, off-again relationship with his father, the naval tradition still held strong within him. At first Malcolm had protested, but then Hoshi mentioned the Aviation Museum at Langley, and Travis leaped at the opportunity. Malcolm had made some comment about being outvoted and given in with good grace.
Hoshi chuckled; it was amazing how Commanders Reed and Mayweather could act like a pair of young boys around Porthos. The beagle was eight years old now, not a spring pup anymore, but to see Porthos now, you couldn't tell the difference.
A snuffling sound broke into her thoughts. She blinked, then realized she was nose to—snout?—with a furry quadruped. A pair of brown eyes gazed back at her, accompanied by the white flash of a—sandwich?—in its quivering jowls. They stared at each other in shock for a full minute, then the dog reversed itself and took off. Hoshi yelled as a white tail smacked her across the cheek.
"Hey! That's my husband's cheese sandwich! Get back here!"
The dog flew like a tan, black and white torpedo. From her vantage point, Hoshi realized it was an English Beagle, the same kind as Porthos, but its coloring was slightly different. It was more of a tri-color, with a black band around the beagle's middle, with ears of a deeper chocolate hue. Its snout was pure white, as well as its stomach and four paws. Those paws propelled its forward with the speed and accuracy of a rocket, leaving Hoshi scrambling in its wake.
She found herself in front of the Skate Park, where the hoverboard skaters practiced their routines. The beagle skidded to a stop in front of a group of skaters, sat down, and dropped the stolen cheese sandwich at one of the skater's feet.
"Oh, Artie! What have you done now?" cried the skater. Hoshi heard a definite Australian accent. Sydneysider, she thought. The young woman knelt in front of the beagle and picked up the now-chewed sandwich with a gloved hand. "Where did you nick this from? Oh, your Papa is gonna be furious with you, mate!"
The beagle lowered his head as if in shame, brown eyes suddenly contrite. Hoshi couldn't help but giggle at the sight. "Sorry, I shouldn't have left the sandwiches out. I guess he decided to help himself to one of them."
"Cheese isn't good for him; it gives him indigestion," the skater said, with a shake of her head. "Doesn't stop him from trying to gorge himself on it, though." She patted the dog, then straightened to her full height. "I'm Lynette Waterston and this is Artie."
"Hoshi Sato-Reed. I'm pleased to meet you." She shook Lynette's hand. "From Sydney?"
Lynette chuckled and her blue-gray eyes sparkled in response. "I reckon you can gather that from my accent? We've heard of you, even in the Land Down Under. You were on Enterprise during the Xindi thing, weren't you?"
Hoshi suppressed a shudder. "Yes, I was."
"Yeah, well," Lynette said with a shrug, then she changed the subject. "Artie's pretty mischievous, just like his namesake, though he isn't quite as young anymore. He's still an adorable rugrat though." She gave the beagle a fond look. "He actually belongs to my dad; Dad's a liaison from the Royal Australian Navy."
"Ah. My father-in-law was with Her Majesty's Royal Navy," Hoshi said.
"Then we've got something in common." She laughed again and adjusted the anti-grav hoverboard under her arm. Hoshi noticed that Lynette must be quite the athlete; she was about a inch or so taller that Hoshi, but her frame was much more lean and muscular.
"Artie? Short for Arthur?"
"Nah." Lynette rolled her eyes and added, "Dad got him from a friend of his in San Francisco who was a big fan of 'The Three Musketeers'. It's short for D'Artagnan. Can you imagine such a long name for such a tiny anklebiter like him? That's why we shortened it to Artie."
Hoshi blinked, blinked again. "D'Artagnan? And you got him from someone in San Francisco?"
"Yeah. Why?" Lynette gave her a strange look, but before Hoshi could answer, a new chorus of barking interrupted her. She whirled around to see Porthos, soggy ball in his mouth, followed by a breathless Malcolm, then a staggering Travis. Artie (D'Artagnan, Hoshi repeated in her mind), looked up from his mostly-eaten cheese sandwich, saw the game in progress, and was off again.
Porthos saw him coming and veered off at the last minute, but Artie kept on him like a heat-seeking missile, barking and howling like only a happy dog could. Hoshi couldn't help it; she laughed so hard that she had to clutch her sides. Lynette watched the chase in progress with a wide smirk. Malcolm stopped next to his wife and tried to catch his breath.
"Bloody—hell," he gasped. "That dog should be an Olympic distance runner."
"Funny how they surprise you, eh," Lynette said. She gazed at him. "You must be Commander Malcolm Reed."
"Pardon? Have we met?"
"I was chatting with your wife, here. It seems that Artie stole your cheese sandwich and she took off after him and we bumped into each other." She inclined her head. "Artie's the other beagle."
Hoshi trembled with excitement. "Lynette said that Artie belongs to her dad, who got him in San Francisco, Malcolm. Artie's short for D'Artagnan."
Malcolm's mouth dropped a little, then his gaze snapped toward the cavorting beagles, who were now double-teaming an exasperated Travis. "Dumas? The Three Musketeers? What a coincidence." He turned his attention back to Lynette. "Admiral Archer's beagle is named Porthos."
Lynette blinked, stunned, then started to laugh. "Oh. My. God. Why didn't I make the connection before? I mean, I knew that, but—" She grinned and added, "I suppose that makes the admiral and I kinda related in a way, since Artie and Porthos are brothers. This is too weird. I take it Porthos is a cheese hog like his brother?"
"The admiral still feeds him cheese, even though it gives him gas."
"Figures. Dad does the same. What is it with indulging these guys?" Lynette rolled her eyes. "Oh, you've got to meet my father. He's gonna really be surprised at this."
"Maybe we can find the other two Musketeers and have a reunion," Malcolm commented.