As a novice interpreter aboard the space ship Orion, Calla Fellura is in uncharted territory. Especially when it comes to figuring out how to approach the ship's sexy navigator, who seems to have no shortage of willing women vying for his attention. Tryon Jag is an alpha male tyger, one of the few who possess the instincts to guide a ship safely through the deadly Cattarus system. Handsome, wealthy, and of royal blood, Jag controls his universe-and most of the females in it-as easily as he navigates the Orion.
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July 14, 2008
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Excerpt from Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright by Cathryn Cade
The crew leaders of the spaceship Orion, bound for planet Bryght by way of the Cattarus system, winced as the unearthly scream of a big cat echoed through the ship's command center. The scream swelled into a roar, and then subsided in a series of deep, coughing growls before fading. They shuddered in instinctive fear, and glanced uneasily at the seal-locks on the entrance.
Captain Steve Craig, Earth Con II, looked around the holo-table at his Crew Commanders. From the far reaches of the galaxy, all some of his team had in common were their sleek grey flight suits. Each bore the insignia of their craft, from tactician to interpreter. He himself wore the bars and stars of ship's captain, as well as several commendations.
"I believe that explains why I've called you in for a meeting," he said dryly. "As you know, our navigator on this run must be a Tygean native from planet Bryght. Only they can navigate safely through the Cattarus system. We have one of the best on board--Commander Tryon Jag. Unfortunately, under the influence of their home moons, the Tygeans undergo a yearly mating shape shift. Jag has shifted into full Tyger mating mode. Something's got to be done."
His second-in-command, Commander Navos, a tall, spare Indigon, raised one arching brow. "Sedation seems the logical course. A Tyger in shape shift is a dangerous creature, with uncertain temper, and the claws and fangs of a predator."
"Yes, I could get some type of palliative into his food," the ship's physician, Dr. Tentaclar, offered. His several eyes lit with interest, the upper set waving about on their stalks.
"We can't drug him," the captain snapped. "We need him awake and alert. Without a Tygean navigator, we will never make it safely through the Cattarus asteroid belt. The gravitation of all the moons will pull the Orion into a crash. Every ship lost in the Cattarus has had a non-native at the helm."
"It is unfortunate that our departure from Earth was delayed," said the Indigon. "The moons of the Cattarus system have risen to their male phase, inciting the predictable hormonal reaction in Commander Jag."
"Yes, we were supposed to be through here days ago. It's these damned terrorists. The Earthland Security regulations have become so tight; it sometimes takes days to get through customs instead of hours."
"Is it the ecoterrorists this time?" asked someone. "Or one of those religious fundamentalist groups? I can't keep them straight."
"They are all equally dangerous," cut in Navos, his deep blue eyes cold as an Indigon glacier. "Creatures who are willing to destroy others and themselves to make a religious or political point."
"Yes, and speaking of going through customs--was it really necessary to body search the entire crew?" growled Ogg, the systems mechanic. "Most of my guys and gals have been with the company for years."
"Oh, it's necessary. The terrorists have gotten very tricky with their little bombs." Dr. Tentaclar leaned forward, all his eyes focused on Ogg. "They've discovered how to create organic explosives. Hide the devices right in their body cavities, so they can't be detected by a holographic search. Then, when the ship is out in space--squersshhh!"
A few of them winced, and Craig held up one hand.
"Thank you, Doctor. I think we all know the results of a bio-bomb on a ship's systems. Now, back to our immediate problem, if you will."
"If we cannot proceed without our navigator, we must persuade him to resume his duties," the Indigon said. "By my reckoning, we will enter the hazardous portion of the Cattarus system in four days. We have until then to deal with the problem."
"But how will we reason with him?" asked the interpreter, a small Pangaean woman who shimmered with a faint green aura, the result of lifelong exposure to the rich vegetation of her home planet. "Everyone is afraid to go near him. He nearly frightened to death the young couple who chanced to be in the ship's arboretum when he shifted."
"We don't reason with him," the captain said. Then his eyes sharpened, as he looked at the Indigon. "Unless Commander Navos can assist us."
"I cannot help you." Navos shook his head. "It is his feline-enhanced faculties that enable him to do his job. Any attempt at thought control would result in disaster."
They all looked at Craig, who sighed.
"In that case we get him what he wants--a mate."
"Yes, he'll have to have one in order to function," Tentaclar agreed. "Just now he is in the thrall of his powerful mating urges. If he is not provided with a suitable mate, and soon, he will hurt himself or others."
"But--how do we procure him one? We can't just order one of the female crew members to submit."
"There are licensed sexual companions on board," Navos put in. "Hire one or more of them to service him."