A well-placed kick into Kanti’s stomach dropped him back to the deck, grasping his gut and gasping for
“If you ever utter the phrase ‘skeleton crew’ again, I promise that I will find out,” Captain Ateri said calmly.
“And when I do, I will rip chunks of you out with my bare paws ... and toss them into the recycler one by one ... until all that remains of you ... is your blood in my fur ... and your screams in my ears.”
Now Kanti is living in terror - a slave raised believing himself free, a criminal even before his birth.
... and perhaps even an excuse to recycle every last officer, crewman, and cub on board.