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Keeping Out of Mischief

Posted on Thu Jul 14th, 2022 @ 2:45pm by Leiddem Kea (*) & Delaney O'Callaghan

Mission: Adrift
Location: Temporary galley
Timeline: MD 05 08:00
2400 words - 4.8 OF Standard Post Measure

The morning had gradually disintegrated.

It was perhaps an overly dramatic way to explain the situation but Delaney really wasn't sure how else to phrase it without doing disservice to those already suffering the worst of it. The Hawaiian punch had done a number on a few of them, though that was self-inflicted and harder to be sympathetic about. A couple more had been ferried off to the makeshift Sickbay as a precaution against being actually infectious, though the general consensus was leaning more towards lack of tolerance for the adjustments to the life support output to account for the time remaining in their projected journey. The cold was only part of it. Now, because minimal levels were better than eventual suffocation, the air seemed too thin in places and preservation of warmth and oxygen levels had seen the crew slow down considerably over the past few hours. Anything that wasn't deemed essential had been scrubbed off the duty list and, where possible, people had been asked to just find a space and occupy it quietly.

It was close to Delaney's worst nightmare.

Thankfully, accounting for remaining supplies still held some priority and so she'd spent the morning in her little depot, head poked through the gap where someone had wisely sewn two blankets together to form a sort of draped poncho. Every possible item that might generate warmth had been allocated, along with more dispersed rationing of the water supply to negate the need for people to move about to hydrate. Any snack that could be feasibly eaten in gloved hands had been handed out and Delaney had spent the last half hour filling crates with water bottles, flashlight batteries and whatever else she could find to fashion emergency caches from. One would go to the Sickbay, another would go to the Command post. There were several others to leave at the security points around the main space, and then there was one for the Galley. She'd worked alone, in silence that wasn't normal, and had pushed through the worst of her own discomfort to get the job done.

The crate for the Messhall was the last on her delivery route. Fingerless gloves, her own from back home, had been useful at first but even the constant activity hadn't been enough to keep her fingertips from turning numb. Gritting her teeth, Delaney hauled the heavy box up from the floor, took several steadying breaths to avoid going light-headed from the exertion, and lugged her load over to settle on the floor just in front of the main serving counter. Several previous trips had already allowed her to note that a certain Betazoid had reallocated himself to duties that didn't render him obsolete, and the lithe, slightly frozen, woman mustered a reserve of energy to smile fondly at him before she explained to the current kitchen rotation what she was doing.

"This is just for if we really have to bunker down. I've put a few of these supply crates over the place, attached some of the self-luminating sticks to them in case we lose lights." The faint glow would at least serve to help them locate the extra water until their potency ran out. Doing her level best not to seem out of breath, Delaney peered over what each station was doing. "Do we need anything else from the storage?"

Leiddem smiled at her preparedness. And shrugged he was like a fish out of water in the kitchen rotation. It was the only way that he could stay active and not have to bunk down and he had made it happen without permission. He was not the type of person to do that in the slightest, it went against everything he stood for. “Might be good to leave some more of the self-luminating sticks around here.” He said as the lights flickered just once before coming back on. “Storm cannot be long away.”

"I'll go grab some more," Delaney agreed, though she made no immediate move to leave. That was partially a desire to check in but also, and probably predominantly, because it was warmer in the kitchen than it was in the depot. Tucking her arms back under her blanket-poncho, Laney shoved her frozen hands under her armpits and tried to suppress a shiver. "You okay?" It wasn't really a necessary question; Leiddem was upright and functional and doing exactly what Leiddem would do under the circumstances, but Delaney also had to trust that he'd communicate with her if something was wrong. Like, for instance, the waves of dizziness that occasionally forced her to sit down...

"Sure am... I am helping make porridge." The man said holding up the oats and the milk he had to make a delicious warming meal for everyone to eat least keep some of the chills off them if he could. It was not like it was something that could be avoided, they were cold, scared and about to hit a storm but he could cheer them up with something filling. At least fed them were less grumpy.

"You know how to make porridge?" She'd gone on and on often enough about her grandmother's for it to be common knowledge that porridge was one breakfast from back home that Delaney missed. It wasn't that it was never offered, more that she was overly critical of other people's recipes. Struggling out of her blankets, and immediately regretting it, Delaney draped them over a chair and slid her way into the small kitchen to press against him. "Is there brown sugar?"

"I am a former Marine. Of course, I know how to make porridge." The man said back with a grin as he watched her get out of her blankets and slide over to him. He put down the milk and grinned at the other woman as she came in who was acting as a chef with him. She was always in the galley so he had not gotten to know her much but she was wicked.

"You look colder than anyone else I have seen so far." She offered turning up the stove just a little to help her. "And we have a little brown sugar." She added indicating a canister.

"Cassie is way colder. She tried to help me load the emergency crates but I convinced her to stay rugged up." The slight furrow of her brow was an indication of Delaney's concern for her friend but it was hard to deny that the other woman also had a point. Growing up, Laney had always combatted the cold by staying on the move. Now that she had to conserve energy, her metabolism wasn't being much help in that regard. It gave a forgivable excuse for burrowing into Leiddem's side, though that relegated Delaney to the role of supervisor by pinning her frozen hands between herself and her boyfriend's larger frame. "Add a cup of it to the batch," she suggested. "Do we have any dried fruit left?"

“Laney meet Marie. Marie meet Delaney.” Leiddem introduced the two women properly as Marie started to look around for something like dried fruit. “Not much.” She said wondering what the slip of a girl was thinking. “And that Vulcan could do with the porridge then.”

"We've chatted before," Delaney confirmed, smiling at the other woman. Because of course they had. Rising on tiptoe to peek into the brown sugar for herself, she extracted herself from Leiddem and moved to consider the size of the pot they were using. Proportions were going to be interesting. "If there's not enough to make it worth it, just leave them as a garnish. We used to put dried fruit through the mix back home," she explained. "During the winter months, at least. The more we add to it ourselves," Delaney continued, "the more likely people are to get a balanced meal out of it. It's pretty cold out there," she added, since the kitchen wasn't quite indicative of the actual situation. "If we can wheel this around somehow to feed people where they are, we'll have a lot better luck getting everyone to eat."

“You guys are in charge of making things move. Gregnol brought me on to cook for y’all.” The woman reminded as she poked Lieddem away from the pot that he was meant to be stirring but was stirring badly. “Not the best stirrer are you, Marine.” She teased, knowing the man was distracted.

"Oh, he stirs well enough when he wants to be a nuisance," Delaney retorted, pressing her index finger to the Betazoid's forehead playfully. "Or when he thinks he's being funny."

“I am funny.” Leiddem protested but handed over the spoon either way to Marie before she beat him with it and watched as she beat the porridge into submission easily.

"Sometimes," Delaney conceded, despite the fact that she was definitely grinning. With a slight squish, she slipped behind him and peered behind several of the empty crates currently being used to shuttle back and forth supplies. "Anyway, Chuckles, we need to figure out a way to get a vat of porridge that big," Delaney pointed to Marie's tureen, "on wheels and mobile. If we make people come here to eat, half of them are going to just stay put."

“Mmm anti grave trolley should be around somewhere. It will be easy enough to manoeuvre through the compartments.” He said thinking there was very little with wheels but there were other ways. “You prepare it and I will sort the transport.” He said turning around to press against her properly instead of having her against his back.

Proximity for warmth purposes was tempting enough at the moment; finding excuses to sneak into his embrace was going to wind up downright distracting at this rate. Delaney lingered a moment, because she was cold and the moments where Leiddem sought her out like this were reassuring, but she eventually rose up to steal a kiss and then slid her way free. "On it."

Loading the trolley, once she located it, with clean bowls and spoons, Delaney was part-way through rummaging for syrup and cinnamon when the first wave of dizziness hit. Seating herself immediately on an upturned crate, she squeezed her eyes shut just as she had been doing all morning so far every time light-headedness reminded her that she couldn't keep up her usual pace. It was different to the vertigo she'd experienced climbing back through the darkened ship to find help for Curtis. This disorientation, along with how cold it was, left her battling fatigue that Delaney just wasn't used to experiencing. She hadn't complained, hadn't really told anyone because it seemed a pointless issue to raise when it was obvious that there'd be some push-back from the decrease in air quality. After a few seconds, she tried to stand again and immediately gave up. She tried counting to 60 instead.

Leiddem came back and stopped as he saw Marie leaning over looking concerned at Delaney. The porridge was all ready to be dishes out luckily off the stove. “What’s going in?” He asked as he crouched by the woman looking at her.

"I'm fine," Delaney repeated, having just asserted the same thing to the worried chef. "I just moved too fast." And because that didn't explain everything, and because she knew that she wasn't going to budge Leiddem until he knew the full story, Laney huffed a sigh and lifted her head to look him in the eye. "It's just light-headedness. If I do too much, too fast, I get dizzy."

“You are run down.” Leiddem said simply and moved to grab her a bowl of the porridge. “Dried fruit?” He offered the woman not really leaving much room for argument on the porridge but he would add what she needed.

Run down, decreased body temperature, the decreased oxygen saturation to maintain life support at satisfactory levels, the fact that she had done the unthinkable for Delaney and actually skipped breakfast; she could have taken her pick really. Knowing herself as she did, Laney honestly expected that her blood sugar levels were probably suffering, which made Leiddem's insistence on eating actually sensible but no less frustrating because it meant admitting defeat. "Everyone's run down," she protested, drawing on the oldest argument in the book as her only defense. "I can eat after we've served the others."

"She frozen solid too," clucked Marie, shooting the Betazoid a look that suggested he was somewhat responsible, or at the very least ought to have taken it upon himself to be.

"I'm not frozen solid," Delaney grumbled. "I'm cold because everyone's cold."

“Yes but they are not running around.” Marie commented on still glaring at the man as he pressed a bowl into her hands.

“Eat.” He instructed as he looked around for her blankets and put them around her. “Stay here and I will come back once I have delivered this to everyone.” He said firmly. He was not going to have her walking around when she could barely function. “Can you look after her?” He asked Marie hopeful that though she was glaring at him she would keep an eye on his girl.

"Not me who should be doing that," the cook chastised but didn't intervene as Leiddem took off with the porridge, leaving behind a huddled agitation of blankets and annoyance. The older woman's empathy was kindly meant but built on the supposition that Delaney was angry at her boyfriend for 'abandoning her' to deal with others. Far from the truth, it was more Laney's apparent inability to follow suit that gave each mouthful of porridge a slightly bitter edge. She ate quickly, because the act interfered with being able to shroud herself in her blankets, and smiled wanly at Marie as the woman bustled over to take the dirty bowl and spoon.

"I'm just going to go get those lumination strips," Delaney explained, gathering up her bundle and moving off in the direction of the depot before the cook could utter a word of protest. She didn't rush because proving a point was going to be drastically undermined by fainting but she did move with purpose, heading straight to where she'd stored the last of the strips and pulling down the box of them.


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