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Shore Leave Babysitters
Posted By: Harbringer352<nank4@digitalpath.net>
Date: 18 January 2010, 12:40 am

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      "I hate small children."
      Her partner laughed, his voice distorted through the COMM link. The two technicians wore bulky zero gee suits, drifting in space outside the UNSC frigate Sunrise Over The Sahara, repairing a wicked gash along the belly. The gash had been acquired when passing through the Kuiper asteroid belt past Pluto, or KBO-001, as it had become known over the last few decades. A minor problem, truth be told, but a good excuse to talk to Michael again.
      "I'm serious. They have no hygiene, no common sense, and they scream when they shouldn't."
      "Is there a time when they should?"
      "Yes. When they are older, or when they are out of earshot."
      "You were a kid once too, George."
      "I doubt it. According to my father I was spawned."
      "That is nasty to consider."
      "Most births are."
      "Oh, shut up, Georgia. Why do you bring up kids?"
      Georgia sighed and activated the welding tool in her glove. She smoothed the sharpened edges, then flicked the flame away. "Because. Commander Wotsits-"
      "His name is Fieldings, Georgia. Fieldings."
      "-has decided to have a shore leave at Earth before we set off for the Eridanus system. After a day of 'freedom' on Earth, we rendezvous at the Sahara for a jolly olde feast. That means small children stuffing themselves with mess hall grub, and lots of screaming."
      "Yes, well, those are other people's children, and you don't have to worry about them."
      "Michael, I swear, that was one helluva weak argument."
      "Fine. But how will you deal with it?"
      "I plan to take a bowl of cereal to the bar and play pool till my fingers fall off."
      "Mind if I join you?"
      "Don't you have a family to go bother?"
      Michael was silent. There was the sound of a slight cough.
      "Let's not get into specifics, okay?"
      "Deal. But you're buying the drinks."

      17:35 UNSC frigate Sunrise Over The Sahara

      The technician turned around and fixed Michael with blurry eyes. "Aye, captain?" she slurred.
      "How many have you had to drink?"
      "I'm ready for deployment, sir. Sign me up."
      Michael crossed his arms and shook his head. "I'd say about four shots, maybe. What did you have?"
      "Captain's special, sir."
      "You actually drank that?"
      "Sir yes sir. Best of the best."
      "One more question, George."
      "I'm ready."
      "Where did you learn to play drunk so well?"
      Georgia huffed. Her eyes became sharp and she stood up straight, wiping the dribble of saliva from her chin. "You," she grumbled.
      "That's right. Anyway, came to stop you before you went to have fun."
      "Hardy har har, you're a walking comedian."
      "But wait- you haven't heard the punchline yet."
      "And I'm not waiting. I'm going to go have fun."
      "Not with the Captain's daughter missing."
      Georgia stopped mid-turn. "What?"
      "Little wotsit's gone and disappeared. No idea where she's gone."
      "The rest of the crew has gone on shore leave. Captain extended it for the weekend. Currently, we're the only ones on this ship, besides the Captain's daughter."
      "What?!" cried Georgia. "Are you saying the BARMAN'S GONE TOO?"
      "I hear you, I hear you… let's go find the little die gans."

      "She's dead, she died and went in a little corner somewhere like the little boy's locker room and we will never get a drink and my fingers will remain hopelessly attached to my hands…"
      "Georgia, shut it."
      "Aye aye, capitan."
      "Don't sass me. She's probably in the Kitchens. Yes, that's it."
      "Are you kidding me? We checked that place a zillion times."
      "Zillion is not a word, my dear Watson."
      "That's right, feed that monster ego of yours. Why the flying das schwein am I Watson?"
      "Quiet. I think I found her."
      The two technicians snuck in the mess hall doors and quickly searched all the corners. "I got nothing," conceded Georgia, standing up and sitting on a bench.
      "You looked for like, ten seconds."
      "Long enough."
      "Here, we'll check the little boy's room."
      "You can check the little boy's room."
      "No one will be in there. Besides, I already checked the little ladies room."
      "You're point?"
      "Be quiet."

      When they went into the 'little boy's room' the first thing Georgia noticed was the smell. "Ach mein gott, wer hat gefurzt?" she choked out.
      "Shut up. Girl's room is worse."
      "How do you figure that?"
      "Your kind seem to have a sort of fascination with perfumes."
      "…my kind?"
      "Ladies, women, girls, gals-"
      "I get the idea, smart-ass."
      "I found her, anyway."
      "Good. That means you won, and winners pay for their lady friend's drinks."
      "Nice try."
      The little girl had tucked herself into one of the showers, fast asleep. Her mouth was caked with unidentified foodstuffs, her long blonde hair crisp from the soapy water on the shower floor.
      "Guess who's carrying her?"
      "Oh, let's see… losers carry the little girl all the way home?"
      "Didn't I say winners did that?"
      "Winners pay for their lady friend's drinks, remember?"

      Two hours later, the girl safely in her father's arms, Michael and Georgia were playing pool in the bar.
      Georgia slammed the cue into a red ball, which careened off the edge and hit one of the crewmen in the head. When he had turned around, Georgia had tossed the cue to Michael. The unfortunate technician smiled sheepishly and saluted the crewman.
      "Sorry, I… I mean, I didn't do-" stuttered Michael, blushing furiously as the large man rose from his chair, lumbered to Michael, snatched the cue, and broke it on the pool table.
      He grunted something unintelligible then sat down with a beer.
      Michael glared at Georgia, who laughed in turn and took a sip of scotch.
      She choked on the acidic liquid, spewing it all over Michael.
      "What? It burned my lungs. I am now permanently disfigured. Weep for the poor beautiful girl."
      "At most I'll laugh at you."
      Georgia sighed, ordered a beer instead and sat on her stool in despair. "This day sucked."
      "My sister had a kid, and wants me at her baby shower."
      "I hate small children."