The Smarter Half

Chapter One

"I want to go!" Senardo, her youngest son, proclaimed loudly and angrily for the umpteenth time.

His mother, whose name was Kathara, looked down at him. His bushy eyebrows were just coming in on his forehead and he was looking more and more like his father Reginaud with each passing day. Like most Pakledian women, Kathara possessed a thick unibrow over her eyes and it was now furrowed with disapproval. She had learned to be patient with her male offspring and was aware of the fact that the males of her species had much to learn about life, the universe and the dangers of space travel, especially one as young as her nine year old son.

"I know you do, Senardo, but you are not ready. You are not old enough yet."

"What does my age have to do with it?" He asked in an exasperated tone, glaring up at her.

"Your mind has not developed enough yet, my son. Space travel is not safe. You still have learning to do."

"My mind is fine, female! I'm going and you can't stop me!"

Kathara glowered at him a bit angrily.

"I most certainly can, young man. The only place you are going at this time is your room. Try and think about why you can't go yet. You would be putting yourself in possible danger. You would be safer working in the amzite mines, but even that is risky. You will have to wait until you are fifteen for that and twenty to join your father."

"There are grown ups who are not as smart as I am!" He exclaimed defiantly.

"Perhaps, but I am not concerned about them. I love you and am concerned about you and your safety. I am telling you that you are not ready."

"You females are all alike! Too bossy!"

She grabbed him by his shirt collar.

"Listen up, little knob head! I am your mother and you will use a respectful tone with me. I am your boss." She let go of his collar and prodded him towards his room. "As per custom, until you reach your twentieth birthday, you are my responsibility. I must keep you safe from harm. Now go to your room."

Senardo glared at her for a moment, then turned and stomped into his room, slamming the door in her face. Sighing, she went back into her living room and picked up her knitting, unaware that he had just climbed out his bedroom window. He quickly ran all the way to a nearby space port that was about three blocks from their house. He planned to stow away on an amzite freighter that was bound for a neighboring star system.

Soon, Kathara realized that it was too quiet in the house. Setting her knitting aside, she went to her son's room and opened the door. The first thing she saw when she entered the room was the flapping curtains on the open window. Her son was nowhere to be seen.

"Oh, great..."

"Captain," Worf announced from his station on the bridge. "I have picked up a distress call from a small Pakled scout ship."

"Let's ignore it, Worf." Riker replied instead. "In view of what happened to Geordi the first time we encountered them, they don't deserve our help."

"Will, I sense no danger from the lone occupant." Deanna added softly. "I believe she has a real need for some assistance."

"She?" Riker asked, a little surprised.

"Yes, Commander." Worf said. "The craft's lone occupant is female."

"Well," Picard said with a little smile. "Maybe we will have better luck with her. As I recall, Geordi reported that everyone on board the first Pakled ship we encountered were men."

"Yes, sir. That's true." Deanna said. "I sense mainly worry from the woman."

"Sensors also indicate that she is running out of fuel and her life support is failing." Data added from the helm. "I believe that this time, the need for assistance is genuine."

"Answer the distress call, Mr. Worf."

"Aye, Captain." He pressed a few buttons and an image of a very worried looking humanoid woman appeared on the main view screen.

"Ah, greetings to you, kind sir. Thank you for answering my call for help." The woman said, relief in her voice.

"Greetings to you, madam. What can we help you with?"

"As your sensors probably picked up, I have reached the point of no safe return to my home world. However, my main worry is that I am searching for my lost son. He ran away and stowed away on one of our ships. I have been searching for him for a few days and cannot find him. Can you help me?"

"You are running out of fuel. We can tractor your craft into our shuttle bay and our Mr. LaForge can help you with your fuel and life support problem. I think we can also help you search for your son."

"Thank you, Captain…?"

"Picard, madam. What is your name?"

"I am called Kathara."

"Very well, Kathara. Stand by while we tractor you in."

"Thank you, Captain Picard. Standing by."

They closed the hailing frequency and Riker looked surprised.

"She seemed much more intelligent than those morons who kidnapped Geordi while you were on Star Base five one five, sir. This could be interesting."

"Indeed, Number One. This could explain how those male Pakleds managed to get into space in the first place."