Posted on Sat Jun 12th, 2021 @ 8:33pm by Captain Arianna Warren & Lieutenant Sayori Summers

Mission: M5 - A Life for a Life
Location: Captain's Quarters

It was not an unusual sight, or an unusual sound, but even after months of it happening people still turned their heads when they saw the Astraea’s purple-haired Japanese Chief Engineer skipping down the corridor, singing or humming a jaunty tune.

Today, she had two small boxes, wrapped in sparkly purple paper, in her hands, which she brought with her to the Captain’s quarters.

She stopped outside the door and almost began tapping the door chime excitedly. But she stopped herself first and took a deep breath. Babies sleep a lot but at weird hours. The Captain might have been awake late and is asleep now. Better check. She tucked the boxes under her left arm and got her tricorder out of her pocket. A quick scan of the room’s interior showed two lifeforms, a sleeping infant and a sleepy-but-awake adult.

She took a moment to reprogram the Captain’s door chime so its volume was audible but quieter before finally tapping it.

Barely registering the chime going off, Ari looked up and blinked. At first she was confused as to how the chime would be so quiet; and then she remembered she had a very crafty Chief Engineer and smiled. Carefully, so as not to make too much noise and wake the baby, Ari stood and made her way to the door.

She pressed the button and the doors slid open, revealing said purple-haired crafty engineer. "Sayori!" She said softly. "Come in," she added, taking a step back and eyeing the boxes under the smaller woman's arm.

“Captain!” Sayori squealed softly as she stepped inside. “I hope I’m not bothering you, but I needed to come by, give you these, and visit this little pickle!” She set her two boxes down on the coffee table. “May I hold him? Pleeeeeeeease?”

"Yes, on the caveat that if you wake him and make him cry, you have to deal with it," Ari said grinning. "What's this?" She gestured to the boxes on the coffee table.

“Caveat accepted!” She gently took the baby in her arms, cradling his head under her left elbow and bouncing him gently. Her bright purple eyes were wide, taking this little life in. Thankfully he didn’t begin to fuss. “Hello little one!” she said softly. “Welcome to the Astraea. It’s your okaasan’s ship, but I keep it running for her.” She smirked at the Captain and gave her a wink. “Open the boxes, Captain! One is for you, the other is for this little rabbit.”

Smirking, Ari lifted one of the boxes. "We would be dead in the water, so to speak, without you," she said to Sayori. "I mean, I could pull double duty, but then surely something would get missed." She carefully slid a nail under the tape holding the paper closed around the box and cut it. She loved saving the paper from presents to use in projects later.

Once the paper was neatly folded and set aside, Ari opened the box and chuckled. "Oh, this will be fun to put together!" She exclaimed as she removed a few pieces of the mobile from the box and examined them, her technical brain working out how they went together. With a nod, she placed them back in the box and set it down on the coffee table. "Thank you, I'm sure he'll love it!"

“And you will, too!” Sayori said, grinning and bouncing the baby. “You need to keep yourself sane as sleep deprivation takes its toll. When we first met, you told me about your workshop holo program and I figured you would appreciate working on something like this for yourself.” She regretted that her usual solution for sleep deprivation, copious amounts of caffeine, were not suitable for new mothers.

Now, looking at the other box, Ari wondered what could be inside for the baby. She carefully unwrapped this one, placing the wrapping with the paper from the first box. Peering into the box, she gasped and pulled one of the toy ships out. "Oh my god, Sayorrrriiiiii!!" Her voice was barely above a whisper and there were tears in her eyes as she pulled each ship out. "My ships... oh, you outdid yourself!" Ari lined each one up on the coffee table in the order she'd served on them and giggled. "Thank you! I'll have to find an appropriate shelf to display them on until he's old enough to play with them!"

“The first of many toys that will slowly take over your quarters,” Sayori joked. “I’m glad this ship will be full of so many babies soon. I don’t exactly want any of my own. Fun Aunt Sayori is the ideal job for me, but I have no siblings or close cousins.”

"Well, you have them now," Ari said with a smile. "We're family now. You're most definitely this little one's Auntie." She stretched and smiled. "And yes, my quarters are going to be full of toys for years to come, but that's ok, I'd planned on having little ones eventually. Maybe not like this, but hey, I can't complain now that I have him."

She sighed. "Man, it's going to be tough as he gets older. Explaining to him that he has four biological parents and one is dead and most definitely not the same race as the other three parents...."

“It just means when his kindergarten teacher asks ‘who is your daddy and what does he do?’, his answer will be unique and exciting!” Sayori grinned and kept gently bouncing the sleeping baby.

Her expression changed slightly when she felt something against her chest. She pulled the baby away and noticed a wet patch on her uniform jacket. She lifted the baby up and saw a similar patch, yellowish-brown, on the bottom of his sleeper. The smell was unmistakable.

“Captain, I’m afraid we have a containment breach.”

"Oh boy... I'm sorry Sayori!" Ari said as she took the baby from Sayori and laid him down on the changing table she'd placed in the living room. You can replicate a new jacket if you need to," she added as she carefully removed the sleeper from the now awake and giggly baby. "Well, at least you find this amusing," she said softly to him, though she had a big smile on her face as she cleaned him up.

"As for the who is your daddy and what does he do question, he definitely does have an interesting answer," she agreed. "Daddy 1 is an alien called a Plasarium, he's dead. Daddy 2 is a doctor, his name is Charlie!" She giggled. "Same for who is your mommy and what does she do? Mommy 1 is a Captain, her name is Ari. Mommy 2 is a security officer, her name is Jeananne. And if they ask if Mommy and Daddy split and remarried, he can say 'No, I have four biological parents!' and confuse everyone even more!"

Sayori giggled as she recycled her uniform jacket in the replicator and produced a new one. “Well, Captain, I’ll leave you and your little one to hopefully get some more much needed rest. My own baby is calling to me, and if I don’t tend to the Astraea on time she gets very grumpy.” She grinned and finished doing up her jacket. “The ship will be there for you when you’re ready to come back.”

Ari laughed and shook her head. "I know she will be," she said with a huge grin. "I've got the best damned engineer, aside from myself, in the Federation in charge of her." She gave Sayori a wink as she picked up the baby and walked closer to the door. "One day, when he's old enough, you can give him a tour of Engineering. I do wonder what he'll want to be when he's older. An engineer like Mommy Ari and Auntie Sayori, a doctor like Daddy, a security officer like Mommy Jeannie, or even a scientist like Auntie Alyse? The possibilities for this little one are endless."

“And growing up on a starship, he’ll have quick access to all of those possibilities,” Sayori agreed. “And the best teachers.” She bent at the waist to look at the little baby’s face up close and gave him a big, warm smile. “Until next time, little one. īko ni shinasai.” She looked up to her Captain. “Baibai, Captain!”

"Bye Sayori," Ari called after the retreating form of her Chief Engineer. As the doors slid closed behind her, silence descended upon the room once again. "Life shall never be dull again, Little One," she said softly, kissing her son on the top of his head and moving to sit down on the couch again. "And I do not regret a thing," she whispered.