Characters: Dr. Hellecat Brannon, John Carter
This takes place shortly after Mira and Carlacci leave the ship for Abbai.
Carter waved cheerfully to the departing CMO and grinned at the Security Chief. Then, he glanced down at “the list” that Mira had handed him.
Carter, Don't let the mold samples in Research Storage Unit Zeta die. Continue to produce the Blisshoss Vaccine. Step up production and administration of counter agents to Banta Flu and Zordor Fever. Encourage Dr Brannon to return to her duties. Continue overseeing the normal functioning of MedLab. Develop a cure for death by Old Age. I'll expect a report when I return. Trassano
Carter stared at the last item on the list and decided that Trass had to be joking. Although, sometimes, you never can tell. “Well,” he said to himself, “I better go get the Doctor out of her bed. The rest of it is pretty much already in hand.” Leaving Lynne in charge, Carter trotted off to torture Hellecat.
She wasn’t in her bed though … she wasn’t even on board the Phoenix. Helle was currently wearing a floating concoction of silvery chiffon and white silk and was being spun around the floor in dizzying circles by a man who fitted the “tall, dark and handsome” criteria … and then some. “My sweet,” he purred in her ear, “let me take you away from all of this.” She laughed with the lazy ease of a practiced flirt and pulled herself closer to his warm body.
“Take me away from this?! What, have you lost your mind? Darling I’m not going anywhere ever again.”
He snorted – rather inelegantly she thought, but hey, if that was his only fault, then baby, consider this one sold! Snuggling closer into his expansive shirtfront, Helle sighed at the bliss of it all. Moments later a tiny droplet of water splashed onto her cheek, snapping her eyes open. He’s crying?! she thought incredulously. I must be a better dancer than I thought. More of the shockingly cold drops hit her face and she realized that it was somehow raining … inside the ballroom! Turning a bewildered face to her lover she was shocked into silence at his words, her own question dying on her lips.
“Doctor, if you don’t let that pillow go I’ll have to consider filing harassment charges on it’s behalf.”
As the man of her dreams, quite literally, melted into the smirking and altogether too pleased face of Mr Carter, a terrific howl rent the air. “Nnnnoooooooooooooooooo.”
“Well now ‘darling’,” with cruel emphasis Carter set down his now half-empty glass of water on her night stand and turned to survey his handiwork. “Is that any way to greet your own personal alarm clock?” With a chuckled that bordered on evil, Carter wrestled the pillow away from Helle’s face and tossed it into a corner. “Sorry sport, but I’ll take her from here.”
The sight of Helle’s pink, enraged face, damp hair plastered to her cheeks, glaring at him turned his chuckle into the full belly laugh that had been threatening. “Carter,” she hissed in ominously quiet tones, “unless you have a burning desire to feel what death by disembowelment feels like, then I suggest you get the hell out of here … yesterday!”
Carter’s impersonation of an asthmatic warthog did nothing to soothe her temper, but even he could tell there was at least some form of violence in the offing if he stayed. It was like some form of sickness, he readily acknowledged, as he found himself pausing in the open doorway anyway for one last cage rattle. Affecting an outrageous lisp he blew her a noisy air kiss. “Bye bye then ‘sweetie’. Love the moo-cow pajamas. See you in 20!”
As the door slid closed behind him he was only a tiny bit startled to hear something heavy, and potentially painful-sounding, thud into the flimsy door. “Temper, temper,” he laughed admonishingly. Thrusting his hands into his pockets, Carter did nothing less than saunter down the hallway, whistling happily and totally tunelessly. Early morning and already one item on the list completed. Perhaps he’d work on the pesky old age thing next….
Carter was waiting for her in MedLab with a timer in his hand. It pinged just as the doors slid shut behind Hellecat. Carter grinned at her. “Good morning, doctor! Glad you’re feeling better. You’re right on time, twenty minutes exactly. Dr. Trassano has gone traipsing off to Abbai and you are in charge until she returns. Would you like a cup of coffee? I’ve just made a fresh pot.”
With only the merest hint of pink in her cheeks, Helle faced Carter. “And just what precisely is so ‘good’ about it?”
“Now, now, Dr Brannon. No need to get your panties in a wad.” Carter handed her a cup of coffee. “I think it’s high time for you to get back to work. This ain’t no pleasure boat, ya know.”
“Really?! Damn, and here I thought I’d signed up for spacecamp! Remind me to write a strongly worded letter to the authorities.” Glancing around Medlab, she physically felt all the bravado ooze away at the site of what she still felt was her disgrace. What she intended as an internal monologue somehow made its way out as a muttered undertone…. “What the hell am I doing here?”
“Getting back into the swing of things, of course. Trass has the utmost faith in you. You’re an excellent doctor. We all know that. Here’s the list of what needs to be done while she’s gone. Also, the reports and things that you’ve missed.” Carter picked up a stack of files and reports with a generous handful of data crystals balanced on top and a hastily scrawled note on top of that. He turned the over-laden doctor towards the office and gave her a gentle nudge to get her moving. “You just come on back out when you’ve caught up.”
The note said:
Dr. Brannon, Don't let the mold samples in Research Storage Unit Zeta die. Continue to produce the Blisshoss Vaccine. Step up production and administration of counter agents to Banta Flu and Zordor Fever. Oversee the normal functioning of MedLab. Develop a cure for death by Old Age. I'll expect a report when I return. Trassano
Scanning the note in the doorway of the office, something bothered her about the delegation of duties.
“Mold samples…? Hang on a second, Mr. Carter aren’t those your responsibility?” Turning for his reply she was rewarded merely with the sight of a smirking Carter and a rapidly closing door.
Helle growled something rude and probably illegal under her breath and turned to her desk. It was exactly as she had left it. Dumping the stack of files and reports and data crystals into the middle of it, she accessed her messages for the first time in what felt like ages.
“One Hundred Twenty Seven Messages,” the computer intoned as Helle groaned. “One Priority Message Playing Priority Message Now.” The date stamp showed that the message was recorded only a few hours ago.
Mira’s concerned face appeared on the screen. “Dr. Brannon, I’m glad to see that you are back on the office. Carter must have given you some wonderful encouragement. I thought that you might feel better if you came back to work without me hovering over your shoulder. I have begun to fear that I hover too much.” The Centauri doctor frowned. “I’ll be back in a day or two at the most. I know you’ll take good care of things while I’m gone.” She turned as if to disactivate the recording, then paused. “Oh yes, please don’t kill, maim, or otherwise damage Mr. Carter. He means well, and we have a shortage of Medical personnel at the moment.” Mira smiled brilliantly and the recording cut off.
“One Hundred Twenty Seven Messages Remaining,” the computer intoned.
Copyright (c) 2000 Denise Cox and Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.