USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Group 1A

Posted on Sat Apr 3rd, 2021 @ 9:09pm by Isabella Cerin & Commander Martin Sorenson

Mission: When the Bough Bounces
Location: Vesta Childcare Facilities
Timeline: MD08
2294 words - 4.6 OF Standard Post Measure

It had been a late night, but Martin was moving with a spring in his step. After hours of computer simulation trials, the first volunteers in medbay had been inoculated. Careful monitoring over several hours had shown consistent reversal with only one adverse reaction, which had been easily countered with an injection of cortisine. He and Allison had also both taken it and managed at least some sleep while each monitored the other to ensure effectiveness, and while they waited for medical replicator to produce doses.

Enough for the whole crew plus a distribution schedule would take a day or two, but there was enough to start the process for those who most needed it - those who had de-aged to point of early childhood. Hence Martin headed to the childcare center Izzy had set up for just such crew. "Good news!" he announced as he opened the door to the bedlam of Izzy and a small contingent of teens trying to supervise a horde of formerly adult pre-schoolers.

"GET! DOWN!" Izzy appeared to be screeching at a pair of small children balancing on top of one another, trying to pry the access cover off a ventilation shaft near the ceiling in one corner. The free hand that wasn't pointing at them was holding another "child" by the back of their shirt, pulling them away from where they'd seemingly pried the paneling off to access the wiring and internal mechanisms of the ship in an attempt to make a break for freedom. "And you!" She whirled on R'ssa, who was supposed to be supervising the group but appeared to be carefully filing each of her claws. "I said don't let them do anything dangerous. Accessing ships systems is dangerous."

R'ssa shrugged with a flick of her tail. "I mean, I used to run around in Jeffries tubes and air vent shafts all the time as a little kit."

"You did not possess the skills to gain access to or change critical ships systems or the access codes to vent the air out. Some of them them do. Watch. CLOSER. He nearly vented the atmosphere from cargo bay 6 just now--" She indicated the kid she held by the shirt, depositing him by R'ssa. "--and I need to be on the bridge, not doing your job. Remember: Mice. I will order an entire case for you. But only if it goes better than this from now on." She whirled as if to start stalking out of the area towards whatever her next problem was, and almost ran into Martin before stopping short.

"Good news?" He offered again, holding the hypo up with a little wave. "We found a cure. They won't turn back into adults instantly, but they will age back at roughly the same rate they de-aged so this," he gestured vaguely to the absolute chaos of romper-room-gone-mad before him, "should be all over in a day or two. Can you help line them up for inoculations?"

"Sure." Izzy's eyes darted around the scene for a moment before she grabbed several kids, including the one she'd had scruffed by the shirt earlier, and dragged them over to him. "Start with these, I'm pretty sure they have some of the most...potentially destructive...skillsets or clearance levels."

"Excellent," Martin said, grabbing the one Izzy had by the shirt as he seemed the one most likely to bolt. That instinct was confirmed a moment later when the boy wailed, "Nooo! No hypo! No Hypo!" while pulling for all he was worth to get away.

Martin planted his feet, bracing - jeez, this kid was either strong or good at making the most of his lower center of gravity ...which probably meant security... "Stop that!" he scolded sharply. "Do you want to look like a big wuss in front of everybody?"

The yelling and pulling halted, nearly causing Martin to fall backward from the abrupt lack of resistance as the kid looked around suddenly aware of eyes on him. A few of the owners of those eyes snickered. "Fine," Billy spat, squinching up his face and scowling at the doctor who'd played that extremely unfair card, but he took the hypo with some semblance of fortitude. "Very good," Martin said, reloading a hypo. He held out a candy. "Since you're taken care of, how about helping me get the others lined up for theirs?"

Billy snatched the candy and looked around with a gleefully evil smile. "You!" he pointed at one of the snickerers. "You're next!"

"Make me!" the kid yelled, and took off, Matty hot behind him. The whole room seemed to erupt into a chaos of yells and cheers as the ones of similar apparent age cheered one or the other like the audience in some underground martial sport. A couple kids in the corner even seemed to be betting hard candy on the outcome.

Martin looked around, stunned. He didn't have a lot of experience with kids, especially this many kids, and was beginning to feel rather grateful for that fact. He looked at Izzy. "Um... maybe I should start with the toddlers?"

"No." She said flatly, while one of the toddlers in question, the adorable hyper ball of fluff that had been M'rrina, climbed up her back, leaving claw marks in her jack and finally perching on her shoulder, whiskers twitching. "I need to be able to leave this room without anyone dying or permanently damaging the ship as a result; and these ones are the ones still old enough to cause trouble and with the particular skills and access to do so. You can do the toddlers after that; they're actually less dangerous; because they've become too small to access much." Izzy didn't have much experience with children, either; but suddenly her parents early paranoia with herself and Sophia near certain places or critical life support systems on Luna was making more sense by the hour; and her patience was running thin quickly; especially since half the preteens she'd recruited to watch the various rooms weren't exactly doing their jobs when she checked in on them.

"Well, I have bad news for you then," Martin said, reaching around to apply a hypo to M'rrina and then backing away very quickly at the outraged hiss and swipe of kitten claws. "This will cure the condition, but they're only going to re-age at roughly the rate they de-aged, so no matter what order I get them in, don't count on going anywhere for the next day at least."

Izzy's response was to end up teaching the collection of "kids" a litany of Romulan and Klingon curses. "We had an official account at the embassy on Ferenginar, for bribes. Standard part of doing business there and all--it's not even an under the table thing anymore; Rom made it so Ferengi can deduct them on their taxes. So we were prohibited from taking bribes, but not from occasionally offering them. I do not have an official account for bribes here. But I have indeed had to be paying them out, and at a much higher incidence than I had to on Ferenginar..."

"Ms. Cerin, language," Martin reminded her sharply. Some of the kids in here were probably actually kids, and the young teens helping out certainly were. "As to bribes... You know what? That's a great idea. I can lift the restrictions on the replicators in here." He turned to face the main part of the room. "Hey! Who wants ice cream? Full sugar ice cream - with sprinkles! - for everyone who gets a hypo. Line up by the replicator!"

"Hopefully the quantity of sugar I already provided them with won't stop them from wanting that..." Izzy near-mumbled to him under her breath; waving a hand at a trio of buffet tables set up on one side of the room, covered with the mostly-devoured remnants of a veritable spread of sugar, junk food, and various other species equivalents of such, all the genuine articles dragged over to the layout from the diplomatic office replicators.

Martin stared wide-eyed at the table. Wow. No wonder the kids were all running around like little manic terrors.

"Negotiating with toddlers appears to be only marginally more successful than negotiating with terrorists." Izzy said in response to his gaze. "But distracting them is a hell of a lot easier."

"Ice cream!" Tulilah called, dragging her now roughly 4 year old father and one other charge toward the replicator. She might be a preteen but she wasn't stupid - she recognized a medical uniform and the guy wearing it looked close enough to the version of the CMO she knew to let her put two and two together. "Hey, Doc, do my dad first! We want ice cream. Don't we, Dad?"

As Martin arrived, hypo in hand, Dad shuffled behind Tulilah apprehensively. "You might have to hold him," the doctor advised.

"No, it's okay." Tulilah bent down and smiled reassuringly. "Just a hypo, right, Dad?"

His lower lip jutted out, eyes darting back and forth from Martin to her.

"Is it okay for me to have it?" she whispered to the doctor. "I think it might be easier if he sees it's okay."

"I need to give it everyone," he said and pressed the hypo to her neck. "There. All good. And," he tapped a code into the replicator, "ice cream with rainbow sprinkles."

At the sight of the bowl, her dad and the child with them jumped forward, chorusing. "Me! Me too!"

Martin didn't try to negotiate - he applied the hypo in quick succession and ordered two more bowls. At this point, more sugar wasn't likely to make the highs or crashes any worse than they were going to be anyway.

"I'll skip the sprinkles." R'ssa's tail flicked back and forth a few times. "And have mine with salmon bits on top of it."

Yuck. Of course it probably did seem good to a felinoid, Martin realized. Unless very recent deceived him however this felinoid was trying to freeload. "Whatever way you'd like to have it - as soon as you round up at least two of the little kids you're supposed to be watching and bring them over here for their shots first."

The tail flicked again, this time more forcefully, and R'ssa's ears went ever-so-slightly back in annoyance as she nevertheless grudgingly went off to do so. In her place, Izzy deposited a human she had by the arm to avoid an escape, and a small Vulcan, who followed willingly; plus who own now bare arm. "I'll skip the ice cream altogether." She said. "In favor of a shot of caffeine."

"I can arrange that." Martin said with a chuckle as he vaccinated each child in turn, ordering and handing out two bowls of ice cream. He then pressed the hypo to Izzy's shoulder and his fingers paused over the replicator controls. "Double espresso?"

"Whatever says it has the most caffeine; but below a level fatal to humans or Bajorans. Able to be drunk quickly is a plus." A pair of toddlers appeared to be having a wrestling match around and between Izzy's legs. "If we hadn't found a cure, this is about when I'd be considering breaking the seal on the small stock of stimulants we have in the safe." Heavy dark "raccoon" level under-eyes were an interesting look on a half-Bajoran; somehow accentuating yet looking odd with the ridged nose they straddled.

"Triple espresso with chocolate then," Martin said, tapping in the order before reaching down and hauling one of the two toddlers out. He applied the hypo, but realized he was starting to lose track of who had gotten the inoculation and who hadn't. "Can you find me something to mark the ones I've inoculated? Pen, marker, temporary tattoo?"

"I am by no means anywhere near stupid enough to have brought a marker near this disaster. But you can probably get the replicator to make one; I locked out all the non-food functions, but you can probably override that." Inside the diplomatic offices suite, Izzy's codes could access or seal things no one else on the entire ship would be able to override, if she chose to. In all other areas of the ship, though, her level of access to most things aboard was middling at best; without, generally, a demonstrated need to be granted higher level Vesta system rights outside of her domain.

"Right, right..." Yeah, with a second's more thought he could see how markers would be a minor disaster. "Okay, stamp pen," he said keying in the access to replicate two. "Everyone gets a star. Here, tag the ones we got already and I'll attach this to the hypo so I can hit two birds with one stone, as it were."

"I'll skip anyone with fur, that's memorable enough." Not to mention she didn't want to try her luck at the same kitten claws that had earlier destroyed her blazer getting a grip on her skin. "After we finish this set, I'll take you to the next rooms." Izzy's voice held both the hope that some of the other areas were under better control than this one was, and the pessimism that she very much doubted that.

"Deal. And then I'll call some of the orderlies currently in their teens to come help out," he said, snagging a girl trying to snatch another kid's ice cream to get a treat without submitting to a hypo. "I'm prescribing at least ten hours sleep for you once we've got Group 1A here inoculated."


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