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In Improbable Central
Midshipman calliaphone shuffles through town, looking . . . not quite right. aside from the coating of day-old dried mud. there's a feverish sort of light in her eyes, and her cheeks have an unhealthy flush about them.
Midshipman calliaphone mutters to herself, as she trips over her dress-sword. "gottabe deaky'n'snevious. goin'fishin' that's the trickofit. fishingfishing gottalookthepart."
Midshipman calliaphone looks round shiftily, and edges towards Sheila's peering through the glass. "ahh- fishing-aaah-fishingrods-ahhhtiSHOOOO" she sits down rather suddenly, from the force of the sneeze.
Midshipman calliaphone stares dazedly at the window of Sheila's. It stares back at her , from behind its coating of callia-sneeze. If a window could look affronted, this window surely would.
Stanlygirl has been released from the stocks. She looks around and sees calli, and hears the force of her explosion. There for a moment she expected green sparkles and thought she was in AceHigh.
Stanlygirl walks over to calli and offers a large, clean handkerchief. "You, young lady, belong in bed."
Midshipman calliaphone blinks. and attempts to wipe her nose on her cuff, but is foiled by buttons. she starts to swear, then registers Stan's presence and puts a sock in it, merely rubbing her sore nose.
Midshipman calliaphone accepts the handkerchief from Stan, looking thoroughly pathetic and sorry-for-herself. she blows her nose. at least there's no buttons on this thing. "can't go to bed" she says. "fishing"
Stanlygirl asks, reasonably enough, "Can't the fishing wait. You're sick. I could drop off some fish at the Bingo Hall if you need some." Stan's first dwelling was her fishing shack, now completed.
Midshipman calliaphone shakes her head. "it's dhot," she snrrts, swallows, tries again, "it's not for the fish." she lowers her voice, theatrically. "it's to fool the frogs and dhe sdake." snorrrrt.
Midshipman calliaphone 's accordion wheezes miserably. He, it appears, has had enough of all this frog, snake, fish business. Callia, however, seems quite determined to drown herself in snot, if that's what it takes.
Stanlygirl nods, completely not understanding. If this wasn't calli, she'd wonder about a terribly high fever. As it is she asks, "Can I help fool the frogs and snakes so you can go to bed?"
Stanlygirl cajoles, "I'll give you toys to play with in bed. And cough medicine made with honey."
Stanlygirl would offer books, but she doesn't think this would work with calli.
Midshipman calliaphone says, "youhelp?" this idea had simply never occurred to her. for a moment, she's overcome with longing, just to let go, let Stan handle it. and lie down. anywhere. then she frowns.
Midshipman calliaphone says, "but i dunno if the Battenberg would like it. it was his plan y'see, he's the brains behind th'operation. we'd have t'ask him if it'd work."
Stanlygirl nods again. "Of course I'll help. You really should be in bed for a few days, snoozing and playing quietly, drinking lots of tea and delicious chicken soup."
Midshipman calliaphone is struggling to stay on mission here. Stan said honey. and toys. and bed. it sounds so goood. but"can't jus' bail on th'mission'nlesshesaysit'sok."
Stanlygirl: I don't know Battenberg, but let's ask him. You don't sound very well and he really shouldn't have you out working if you're ill.
Midshipman calliaphone wants to do what Stan says. it sounds like she might have superior knowledge to the Battenberg. but the man's a cake . . . he's not to be trifled with.
Stanlygirl moans. She doesn't know how or why, but something has just bruised her, deep inside.
Stanlygirl offers the idea, "If Battenberg thinks you have to do this, can't he at least postpone the job until you're feeling better? Maybe we should go talk to him."
Midshipman calliaphone tugs at Stan's sleeve. "don'cry! we can go ask him now, anything y'like, i'll take you. he's nice you'll see."
Stanlygirl follows as calli tugs her away.
Back at the Bingo Hall (Reception)
Stanlygirl is being tug-tug-tugged into the Bingo Hall, pausing every onec and a while for calli to stop and sneeze or cough. Poor girl needs to go to bed.
Midshipman calliaphone is shuffling with decreasing amounts of energy at each step. as she enters reception, she looks round at the hall, somewhat dazed. "Bingo Hall. . .?" she says.
Stanlygirl says "Now where's this Battenberg fellow?"
Plush Jokerbot g_rock pokes his head out from the cellar door "Deliveries go round bac-Oh, nevermind! Hiya Stan!"
Stanlygirl says "H'llo, G. You need me to go to the back entrance? I didn't even know you had a back entrance. Secret entrance? Wow!"
Midshipman calliaphone struggles with snot-clogged memory. "ummm. . ." she looks hopefully at the corridors, and points. apparently at random. "thatway." the cellar? who keeps cake in a cellar?
Plush Jokerbot g_rock shakes his head "No, we'll let you in the front." he, for one, has no clue how many entrances/exits there are. . . "Need a hand navigatin'?"
Midshipman calliaphone sees G, looking out of the cellar. she says, "hiGatttissshoooooo!"
Stanlygirl has managed not to say 'awww' or hug the plushie or any such thing. But she wants to!
Midshipman calliaphone totters, and grabs hold of Stan for support. where'd that hankie go. oh well, sleeves it is. "gahhh, bhuddods, oww." she rubs her sore nose.
Stanlygirl says "Calli's taking me to see somebody named Battenberg. But she really should be in bed. She's ill, as anybody can plainly see. She's spreading germs, oh, wait, you guys prolly don't mind that."
Plush Jokerbot g_rock feels that Stan should do what she needs to do, everyone else does. "Ladies' dorms are up the stairs over there, if your looking for Guttenberg, cloakroom in the lounge."
Stanlygirl finds another clean handkerchief and passes it to calli. "Here. Keep it, and the other. You sound as if you'll need it."
Plush Jokerbot g_rock rolls his eyes at the GERM crack, but lets it slide. He whispers "Password today is 'Fluffernutters' "
The Dark Overlord Madman walks out of the celler and parks his arse on the sofa.
Midshipman calliaphone takes the hankie and whooooots into it quite impressively. she looks dolefully out at G. she would so be tackle-hugging him right now, if she was weller.
Stanlygirl ummms. Fluffernutters!
Midshipman calliaphone sneezes a greeting at Madman, and waves her snotty hankie.
The Dark Overlord Madman pulls his lunch (dont ask) out of his bag and starts to eat.
The Dark Overlord Madman waves to calli
Stanlygirl asks calli, "Are you sure you don't just want to go to bed? I can be back here in minutes with hot chicken soup and and toys and really good tasting cough medicine."
Just at this moment, Steve Guttenberg walks out into reception, ready for his evening jog. Wearing nothing but trainers, a t-shirt and a barman's apron.
The Dark Overlord Madman asks calli, with a mouth full of sandwich, "Do you want some vodka? Makes me feel better."
Midshipman calliaphone tugtugtugs at Stan's sleeve, most urgently. "that'shim!" she hisses, "that's the cake we were lookin'for!"
Midshipman calliaphone perks up at the prospect of vodka. she looks hopefully at Stan. vodka with chickensoup?
The Dark Overlord Madman throws calli a bottle of vodka. "Knock yourself out."
Stanlygirl calls, "Ah, Mr. Battenberg, could we have a moment of your time?"
The Dark Overlord Madman puts his now empty spiderman lunchbox back in his bag.
Stanlygirl did not see a cake, but assumes calli was speaking of the man. He needs to visit Soup and Pants and go through the clothing donation box. Surely the'd have something to fit him.
Plush Jokerbot g_rock is, thankfully, immune to most diseases, being that he has no circulatory, nervous, or mucosal systems at the moment. He runningTAckleGLOMPhugs Callia "Fell better, y'hear me?"
Stanlygirl picks calli up, glad that she didn't fall worse.
Midshipman calliaphone is saved by G, from being knocked-out (as instructed) by a flying vodka bottle. Steve Guttenberg halts, and looks at Stan. "yes ma'am? what can i do for you?"
Midshipman calliaphone is subsequently saved by Stan, from a runningTAckleGLOMPhug. there appears to be no damage.
Stanlygirl says "Calli tells me she needs to 'go fishing' for you. Couldn't you postpone the 'fishing' expedition? She's really unwell. She should be in bed. Or if it must be done today, could I do it?"
Midshipman calliaphone says, "yeah, what she said, attishooooo!" and points to Stan.
The Dark Overlord Madman goes back down to the celler. Not because of the secret brewery, no.
Steve Guttenberg scratches his head, and looks from Callia to Stan. "Fishing, for me? Uhh . . . that's not quite. . . hrmm. Perhaps that last benylin was one too many, after all."
Midshipman calliaphone says, "benylin?" and tries to look all innocent. "don't know what y'mean." Steve Guttenberg looks guilty and says, "You're quite right ma'am. She should rest up a bit, first."
Midshipman calliaphone looks, quite suddenly, immensely relieved. "it'sok i can do it t'morrer all the sneakystuff an'everything?" Guttenberg nods. "Well, of course." and callia's knees give way.
Midshipman calliaphone says, "whoops." and takes an impromptu seat on the floor.
Stanlygirl helps her to her feet. "Okay, calli, let's go find your bed. I'll bring some goodies along to help you keep occupied for a bit, and you can rest and recuperate."
Midshipman calliaphone looks confused. "my bed?" she has a cart, out by the stables. normally, that's just the job. but tonight, it just seems a bit . . . she shivers.
Midshipman calliaphone remembers something! "Beds! there's beds . . . upstairs. for bouncing on." she leads Stan towards the stairs.
Stanlygirl follows, both to make sure calli gets there and also so she knows where to drop off her be-a-good-girl-and-stay-in-bed presents.
Bingo Hall, Girls Dorms
Midshipman calliaphone straggles into the dorm-room and trips over her dress-sword, landing with a flump on the bed nearest the door.
Midshipman calliaphone struggles a bit to get her face out of the duvet, and looks round at Stan. "see? beds." a whole lot of beds in fact. which one to choose?
Midshipman calliaphone sneezes so hard her top-hat falls off and rolls across the floor. she watches it, rheumy-eyed. and decides to stay right where she is. she's made this one all muddy, after all.
Stanlygirl sighs. She knew this place was big, but, really, she had no idea. . .. "Okay, let's get you in bed, and I'll be right back."
Stanlygirl tucks calli into bed, gives her a kiss on the forehead, and uses a one-shot to get back down to Clan Halls.
Midshipman calliaphone is not up to staging any kind of protest. and besides, these beds are so comfy. she tugs at her boots. the left one first. then the other left. it flies out of her grip and lands in a washstand.
Midshipman calliaphone eyes the boot-washstand combo. and summons her remaining energy to see if she can get the same target with the first left boot. she takes careful aim. . .
Midshipman calliaphone 's left boot flies backwards out of her hand, and knocks over a vase of flowers on the far side of the room.
Midshipman calliaphone jumps guiltily at the resultant CRASH. she looks round for witnesses, but Stan's hopped it. she might get away with it, if she just snuggles down and pretends she was asleep.
Midshipman calliaphone 's attempts at snuggling down and feigning sleep are hampered by her general state of awkwardness and discomfort. she wriggles. twists. falls out of bed. gets back in. fidgets. siiiiiighs.
Midshipman calliaphone strips off her accordion and props him next to the bed. she removes her mud-caked coat, and sword belt. she lies down. sits up. sneezes, blows her nose. fidgets. Sulks.
Midshipman calliaphone is hot. she throws off the duvet. no, wait. she's cold. she tugs it back over her. she gets into a wrestling match with her pillows, and loses. they claim the bed and throw her out. she glares.
Midshipman calliaphone thinks she might like a glass of water. she gets up from the floor, and trots towards the washstand. she removes her boot from the jug, and forgoes the glass, necking the water d'rect from the jug.
Stanlygirl puffs up the stairs and enters the dorm room. "See, I told you I wouldn't be long." Thinks those stairs make an excellent workout.
Midshipman calliaphone spills more water than she takes in. the result is something of an improvement. a little more mud washes away, and a couple of freckles show through.
Midshipman calliaphone looks up, drippily. and scampers quick, trying to leap into bed before she's caught. she leaps too far, and goes straight across and out the other side.
Stanlygirl starts removing things from her backpack.
Stanlygirl smiles. "Enough playing. Back to bed, my girl."
Stanlygirl returned bringing calli a bed tray with eight colorful little plastic dinosaurs and six plastic cups in which are sealed red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple homemade play doh.
Stanlygirl also has a box of tinkertoys, several very large rolls of stickers and a dozen or so sheets of Paper Tiger.
Midshipman calliaphone gets back into bed. abashed - but not for long. "whatchoogotthere?" she cranes, trying to see what's in the backpack, and nigh on falling out of bed again.
Stanlygirl brought a thermal cup full of Sessine's wonderful chicken soup and some animal crackers. And her own cold remedy, which includes honey, lemon, and brandy as well as several herbs.
Midshipman calliaphone 's eyes pop. "waitwhat what'sthis? MONSTERS? weeny monsters? and. . . huhh. . .?" she picks up the play-doh and bites into it, wrinkling her nose. then she sees the stickers.
Stanlygirl instructs, "Take a shot glass full every hour that you're awake, please. It's best if you take it warm, but if you can't, it'll still work, it just won't be as comforting to your throat."
Midshipman calliaphone says, "is there vodka in it?" it's not clear if she means the play-doh, the soup or the cold remedy.
Stanlygirl grins and adminishes, "That's play-doh. You don't eat it. You can mould it into different shapes. If you let it set out in the air, it gets hard. I used to make mine into monster sculptures."
Midshipman calliaphone is overwhelmed. she has tinkertoys. she has stickers. and putty-stuff in bright colours. and there is soup and some other funny herbally stuff that smells like Buckfast without the bad wine.
Stanlygirl answers, "There is no vodka in any of this. There is, however, brandy in the cold syrup. Only one shot glass an hour, mind. Else you'll find out how strong it really is."
Midshipman calliaphone thinks it will be a while before she's ready to go exploring anywhere else. there's enough entertainment value here to . . . possibly, even . . .. stop her from destroying the dorm for a few minutes.
Stanlygirl continues, "I don't think you'll enjoy the hangover on top of your cold if you take too much or too often."
Midshipman calliaphone nods obediently "just one shot glass an hour, gottit." (crossing her fingers behind her back, bad wicked Callia that she is).
Stanlygirl has given calli a nice, big bottle of the syrup. Enough for two days, if she takes it as Stan says and sleeps for eight hours each day.
Midshipman calliaphone eyes the bottle, doing some calculations of her own. but her brain is somewhat befugged, and she gives up the effort, settling for a series of violent sneezes instead.
Stanlygirl says, "I've got to go now. Take care of yourself. I hope you get well soon." She gives the younger woman a hug.
Midshipman calliaphone hugs back, fiercely. "thankyouthankyou" she whispers. "i promise no fishing till i've drunk all the syrup."
Stanlygirl chuckles at the promise, waves, and decides to slide down those long, long stairs. She then remembers her age and dignity, gives a moue and staildy walks out.
Midshipman calliaphone watches Stan go, and bites back a sudden pang of something . . . from long ago. worlds away. on the far side of a camera, somewhere.
Midshipman calliaphone looks round at the things scattered on the bedcovers, and on the tray across her knees. she sniffs the play-doh again, and licks it. just to be sure it's not food.
Midshipman calliaphone , having satisfied herself on this score, turns her attention to what most definitely is food. She glugs back a good portion of chicken soup, and most of the crackers.
Midshipman calliaphone enjoys the novelty of a meal that is not made of sugar and artificial colouring. it really is very good soup. she pauses for breath, then finishes the whole lot off.
Midshipman calliaphone takes a coupla doses of the cough syrup for pudding. bahh, it's not that strong. she has a third dose, just to prove it. and then trots off to the loos for a pee.
Midshipman calliaphone staggers back, leaving a zig-zag pattern of drippy footprints across the floor. she just about makes it to the bed before she collapses.
Midshipman calliaphone , in bed, makes a valliant effort to prove she can hold her drink, err, cough syrup. she tries to pick up the dinosaurs, but they're elusive little buggers.
Midshipman calliaphone watches the last of the dinosaurs evade her grasp and slip to the floor beside the bed. she sighs, and turns her attention to the tinker toys. hrmmm. this is . . . int'resting. . .bits . . .of. . .
Midshipman calliaphone jolts awake, still clutching bits of tinkertoy in each hand. she stares at them, blankly. then at the tray on her lap. she sneezes. just once. and her eyelids droop again.
Midshipman calliaphone tries to connect the two pieces she is holding. she misses. tries again, eyes fully closed now. her hands drop onto the duvet, open-palmed. tinkertoy parts join the dinosaur-partly on the floor.
Midshipman calliaphone sleeps noisily, breathing through her mouth. And beside her bed, Cordy wheezes softly in sympathy.
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