585: Reduced to This

by Commander Lair
Awhile after A Promise Fulfilled

-=The Quarters of the Executive Officer=-

Lair Kellyn surveyed her surroundings.

It looked like a war had gone on here.

Somehow the Blakeslee twins had managed to get Cheeze Curls under every cushion of furniture in the place, leaving little orange, smudgy 'cheeze' residue handprints on the bright red upholstery that Salvek loved so well.

*How can this stuff be oily and powdered at the same time? Isn't this what clogs the ports down in Deuterium Control?*

She glanced over at her husband, and sighed. "We indeed."

Salvek, who had been on duty so many hours he could barely see straight by the time their evening began, had fallen fast asleep in the chair in the corner half an hour ago. Kellyn could not begin to fathom how a man with such acute hearing could possibly sleep through what was going on in Arie's bedroom.

Having quickly tired of the video games, the children were acting out an epic battle with some of Arie's toys. Fortunately the girl had the sense to hide her favorite, and most fragile, "Raffe" from Dabin Reece, before the boys had arrived. So right now a model of a pink Pegasus horse, a stuffed Bajoran tac and a small snap-block robot were engaged in warfare.

"We are the Bowg! Weesistence is...fut....futiw....not gonna work!" Thomas yelled.

"I will nevoh become Bowg!" Johannes shouted back.

Kellyn looked in from the doorway as Arie slowly set down her stuffed animal and simply sat on the bed, watching.

She knew that her father had once been assimilated by the Borg, years before she was born, and pretending anything about them was not a game she wanted to play. Still she knew that the twins were young and oblivious to the seriousness of dealing with a hostile force like the Borg, and so she simply began to brush the hair on one of her dolls instead.

Kellyn observed this a long moment, then entered the room.

"Bedtime!" She called. "Boys, I will inflate the air mattress for you. There will be time to save the universe from assimilation another day, Commander Salvek is sleeping and you must be quiet."

"I AM BEING QUIET!" Johannes shouted, clearly cranky as it was past their bedtime.

"Good. Glad to hear it." Kellyn replied flatly, wondering how long it would take her to get used to being deaf in her left ear.

She kicked over from Mommy mode into Chief Engineer mode and began to channel the same energy she had needed to whip slackers in her department, when she ran it, into shape in dealing with these two.

She began by giving direct commands in short, clear sentences.

"Pajamas please."

The boys began to try to fight over who got to wear the dinosaur pajamas and who had to wear the 'stupid jungle animal ones'.

Kellyn solved the problem by giving one the shirt of the dinosaur pair, and the bottoms to the other.

They frowned. This was not a woman they could easily fool.

"Brush teeth." She instructed, once they were dressed.

After spending more time brushing each individual tooth than anyone Kellyn had ever seen, she finally instructed them to use the bathroom and returned to Arie while they did so.

Arie was still sitting on the bed, quiet and thoughtful.

"What are you thinking about?" Kellyn asked.

"It was very scary, wasn't it Oko-mekh?"

Kellyn didn't have to ask what she meant.

"Yes, it was Arie."

"Could they ever...take him back?"

Kellyn was stunned by the question, but spared at the moment from having to answer it as she heard the sound of something going very wrong in the bathroom.

"Oh, man." She groaned, as she burst through the door and looked at both boys. They were standing there with faces of pure innocence... before the rapidly backing up commode.

She hurried to hit the shut off just before it overflowed, and then put her hands on her hips. "What did you flush?"

They stared at her, eyes wide watching the water swirling in the bowl.

"What. Did. You. Flush?"

"He flushed the little towel from by the sink!" Thomas ratted his brother out. "He wanted to see what it would do!"

"Well." Kellyn replied, marching them both back to the sink, "Now you know. Don't do it again."

She supervised as they washed their hands and then she tucked them , and Arie, into bed.

"We'll talk more about it later, all right?" Kellyn whispered, giving Arie a kiss and each of the boys a pat on the head.

"All right." Arie said, even as she started wondering why whenever people said that to her, 'later' never seemed to come.

"Missus Cowmandoh?" Thomas asked after the lights were out for a split second.

"Yes, Thomas?"

"I thirsty."

"All right." Kellyn replicated him a drink of water, and one for his brother too so there wouldn't be another mess to clean up when they fought over it and spilled it.

They drank them down, and then climbed back into bed.

"Thanks!" They said in stereo.

"Goodnight everyone." Kellyn closed the door, and then set about putting the plumbing back into working order.

"All these years as a fleet engineer..." she grumbled, as she snapped on a pair of rubberized gloves and prepared to free the towel. "And I'm reduced to this."

No sooner had she finished cleaning up and restoring the fixture to functionality than she heard the patter of small feet.

She took off her gloves, washed her hands, and tried to ignore Johannes; hoping he'd give up whatever he wanted and just go back to bed.

"Missus Salvek?"

That was better than "Missus Cowmandoh", so Kellyn figured she'd take it.

"Yes, Johannes?"

"I has to go."

"Okay, but no towels this time, got it?"

"Yes ma'am." he answered contritely.

A moment later he emerged from the bathroom. Kellyn checked and found his hands smelled of soap. "Good boy. Back to bed."

"But I thirsty again."

Kellyn rolled her eyes. "I'm picking up on a pattern here."

Commander Lair Kellyn
Engineering Research,
and Plumbing Repair
The Alchemy Project