Tiger by the Tail Pull
by Poula Anderson
Copyright 2010 Poula Anderson
A Dominique Flyndry story
A Gender Switch Adventure
Captain Flyndry opened her eyes and saw a metal ceiling. Simultaneously, she grew aware of the thrum and quiver which meant she was aboard a spaceship running on ultradrive.
She sat up with a violence that sent the dregs of alcohol swirling through her head. She'd gone to sleep in a room somewhere in the stews of Catawrayannis, with no prospect or intention of leaving the city for an indefinite time—let alone the planet! Now—
The chilling realization came that she was not aboard a human ship. Humanoid, yes, from the size and design of things, but no vessel ever built within the borders of the Empire, and no foreign make that she knew of.
Even from looking at this one small cabin, she could tell. There were bunks, into one of which she had fitted pretty well, but the sheets and blankets weren't of plastic weave. They seemed—he looked more closely—the sheets seemed to be of some vegetable fiber, the blankets of long bluish-gray hair. There were a couple of chairs and a table in the middle of the room, wooden, and they must have seen better days for they were elaborately handcarved in an intricate interwoven design new to Flyndry—and planetary art-forms were a hobby of hers. The way and manner in which the metal plating had been laid was another indication, and—
She sat down again, buried her whirling head in her hands, and tried to think. There was a thumping in her head and a vile taste in her mouth which liquor didn't ordinarily leave—at least not the stuff she'd been drinking—and now that she remembered, she'd gotten sleepy much earlier than one would have expected when the boy was so good-looking—Drugged—oh, no! Tell me I'm not as stupid as a stereofilm hero! Anything but that!