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Glutton For Punishment

Posted on Nov 09, 2017 @ 2:33am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Nov 09, 2017 @ 2:34am

Mission: Fear Itself

"Glutton for Punishment"
(cont "Phobophage Nightmare Continues")
SD: 2.17.1108.2222
Scene: Turbolift

Kane was cheerfully- well, as cheerfully as one could be given that some sort of fear eating monster was stalking his crew- returning from a lunchtime, uh, assignation with Ellie. He rationalized it that he was not… fraternizing… on the clock, since his lunch hour was his to do with as he pleased, and he was off duty. Besides which, he *had* to take a break once in a while, for his own mental health. So nothing to feel guilty about. Nothing at all.

The turbo lift hissed open, to reveal a very grumpy looking Kassandra Thytos. Kane blinked rapidly, taking in the woman. In addition to her scowl, the woman was dressed in Marine body armor which wasn’t the reason Kane was horribly confused. The confusing part was that it was pink, decorated with a cheerful motif of cherry blossoms, and her standard issue headset was decorated with ribbons and fresh flowers.

He took an involuntary step away from her, his good mood dropping away into uneasiness. This didn’t seem like one of his fears, but maybe-

“Not. A. Single. Word.” Kassandra huffed, narrowing her eyes at him. “Or so help me, I will end you. Bad enough I’m sittin’ here as useless as tits on a nun, but some idiots in the counseling department have decided that it would make everyone feel much more secure if the Marines made ‘emselves more visible, somethin’ about people bein’ sure we can handle most situations, only our armor was potentially too scary, so we had to make it more palatable and friendly. Woulda expected that Eve an’ my idiot nephew woulda put a kibosh on it, but from the glee with which I was informed, I’m guessin’ it tickled their funny bones. Leastways it gives us somethin’ to do. I’ve got everyone partnered up, I know Yu says that the hallucinations are catchin’, but if they’re in twos, it ups the chance one a’ them’ll keep their head metaphorically.”

“You don’t have a partner?” Kane knew the answer before she said anything. Playing well with others wasn’t the woman’s strong suite, something he could appreciate. She shrugged.

“Naw. I’m already livin’ my own personal nightmare in this pink getup,” she snorted. “Speakin’ of things that could kill me… I mighta accidentally let slip to Iphie that yer seein’ that lady from Starbase. Better you hear it from me than anyone else.”

“I see,” Kane stared hard at her, trying to figure out how she knew.

“I wasn’t pryin’, honest,” Kassandra looked embarassed. “It’s the problem with havin’ eyes all around, you can’t *not* notice. Plus she wears a pretty distinctive perfume, and I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been smellin’ of it an awful lot, and my sensors were sayin’ the same thing.”

“I thought we were being discreet,” Kane frowned. He didn’t like the idea of the crew knowing about his personal life. Kassandra snorted.

“You’re bein’ very sneaky sir, I’m just very observant. But, as your elder, an’ someone who’s probably torpedoed more relationships that you’ve had total, I gotta give some unsolicited advice: If you actually like her, an’ you want it to be more n’ just playin Engineers n’ Jeffries Tubes you’re actually gonna have to make it public knowledge sooner, rather than later. Chicks- well, people in general don’t really like bein’ treated as dirty little secrets an’ sneakin’ around. Well, except for a certain segment that get off on that, usually when they know their parents wouldn’t approve of you. But other than that, havin’ to sneak around is a surefire way to ruin things. Or, you know, get rid of someone if they won’t go away. Oh, don’t give me that look. I know you appreciate the advice. I’m like a fuckin’ font of sage wisdom, you should listen to me more often.”

The doors swished open to reveal the bridge. Kane exited the lift, closely followed by the Marine.

“Are you starting your rounds here?” Kane asked briskly, quickly deflecting the topic from his whatever-it-was with Ellie.

“No, actually I had an idea about the Phobophage. It’s kinda a dumb one, an’ I’m a little embarassed to suggest it, since you brainiacs prolly already thought of it,” Kassandra waited politely to the side of his ready room door as he entered then followed him in.

“No ideas are dumb ones, but before you start, it doesn’t involve a lot of high grade explosives, does it?” He allowed a trace of a smile at the corner of his lips to let her know he was joking.

“No, sir. That’s my suggestion if it becomes apparent we can’t get rid of the damn thing. No, my idea came to me when I was takin’ Buttercup to Crewman Prieto down in science, cos her goldfish Groucho and Karl were sick, an’ she wouldn’t shut up until we took them to the vet- by the way, do you know we don’t have a vet? Anyways, Crewman Prieto is a zoologist, so I figured that was the next best thing. Anyway, Prieto told us that the goldfish were sick because Buttercup had been overfeedin’ them, and they just don’t know when to stop. Said that if you kept feeding them, they’d keep eatin’ until their bellies exploded. So…” Kassandra trailed off and raised her eyebrows insinuatingly. Kane sat down at his desk and gestured for her to do the same.

“You want to feed people to the entity, in the hopes that it will eat itself to death? Exactly how many people would you be willing to sacrifice for-”

“Naw, not one at a time. What if you induced massive fear in everyone on the ship at the same time? I don’t think the creature would be able to absorb all that, or whatever it does, and the sheer number of people should ensure that no one gets focused on, so no one dies? And then we could just shut it off by givin’ people sedatives or somethin’.”

“Everyone on the ship?” Kane pondered that. “Even me?”

“Depends, whatchya scared of Captain? I’m bettin’ you’re an arachnophobe. Or whatever it is when you’re scared of havin’ fun.” She was skirting the line of acceptable cheekiness now, but Kane was inclined to let it pass with her. She, out of all his officers, would always take his orders without much fuss, even when she disagreed.

“Very funny, Major,” Kane deliberately used her rank to remind her of the chain of command. “I’ll keep it in mind, but I don’t think we’ll find that the majority of people on this ship are willing to have us induce terror, and it would likely not be a good idea to have an entire ship of terrified people at one time. There could be stampedes, people could get hurt. Especially when we aren’t even sure that would work. We have very little data-”

“In that case- I think I might be able to help: I’d like to offer to act as bait.” Kassandra straightened, and her unfocused blue eyes stared earnestly through him. “I don’t think what I’m scared of can kill me, an’ I think I’m prepared to deal with it if it comes up anyway.”

“What are you scared of?” Kane felt a rare twinge of curiosity. He was trying to picture what on earth could make Kassandra scared, but couldn’t kill her, and was drawing a complete blank.

“The dark sir. Ever been blind? It’s pretty damn horrible, especially when you’re sick and got no idea where you are. But it ain’t deadly.”

“No, but things that come after you in the dark could be, and I’m assuming that you’re more scared of being helpless and unable to defend yourself and other people. I’m also guessing that that’s why Rawyvin Seth’s sadistic coup d’ grace on Limbo was to destroy your sensor nets rather than kill you. So it’s entirely possible that you might be killed. No, Major, I don’t think that-”

“Then team me up with Byte, he’d be better at taking and analyzing data about the thing than me anyway, and if I got too scared, he’s strong and fast enough to tranq me before I got myself injured or worse. Come on, Cap’n, I’m willin’, an’ quite frankly I’d rather put myself in danger than just sit on my hands hopin’ that y’all will come up with a brilliant plan. At least I’d be doin’ somethin’ useful- and please don’t tell me that poncin’ around the ship in this nonsense is doin’ somethin’ useful. I know when I’m bein’ given busy work!”

“I’ll think about it Major. I’ll talk to Byte and the Commander.”

“Let me know sooner n’ later, Sir. I think I’m allergic to pink.” She stood up and snapped off a crisp salute. “Thank you fer hearin’ me out, Sir.”

She spun on her heel and strode out the door, the doors swishing shut as she left. Kane sighed and rubbed his head, glad to finally have some quiet to think.

* * *=/\=* * *

NRPG: Urgh. Writing ability rusty. But a post!

Alix Fowler


Captain Kassandra Thytos.

Pretty in Pink



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