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Ambassador Della Vetri - Extreme Babysitting


Toni

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Ambassador Della Vetri - Extreme Babysitting

((ZSC Supreme Vigilance, Turbolift))

:: Having left the bridge, Della was using the ride in the turbolift to indulge in what were by this point probably at least fourth thoughts about what she was about to do. Her comment about her mental shielding hadn't been an idle one, and now here she was about to shove herself head-first into what promised to be the emotional equivalent of a fusion reactor.::

:: Not, all in all, one of the things she would have put on her list of "things I'd love to do today".::

:: On the other hand, she wasn't doing it for her *own* sake, and if there was one thing she was reasonably sure of, it was that a horde of children, fresh from whatever nightmare experience they'd just been living, were going to need someone around that quite plainly *wasn't* involved in the business of hurting people.::

:: She had no doubt that at least some of the marines they had around would be utterly brilliant when dealing with kids - it was just not the time to start experimenting along those lines.::

:: The lift doors opened, and she took a deep breath to try and steady herself, shoving every ounce of mental effort she could summon into shoring up the barriers between her psionic senses and the outside world as she started heading down the corridor the short distance needed to reach the lounge.::

:: It didn't help as much as she might have liked.::

:: Even before she'd reached the door, she could feel the emotional blaze on the other side, and it took a concerted effort of will to force herself through. What greeted her on the other side of the door was about what she'd expected, though in far more luxurious surroundings than she might have counted on. It seemed senior Suzerainty officers got to enjoy quite a bit of the high life when off duty...::

:: Far more important than that, though, was the fact that there were quite plainly two groups of people here. Near the door, trying to look as unthreatening as possible, were a pair of Starfleet marines who gave the impression that they'd much rather be a lot of other places. Occupying a large portion of the rest of the room was a, well, horde of Zalkonian children of various ages, giving off an almost living aura of fear, distrust, and perhaps more tellingly, almost totally hopeless resignation.::

:: Another thing that struck her was the fact that apart from the sounds of breathing and the occasional rustle of movement, the room was utterly silent.::

:: Time to bite the bullet...::

Vetri: Okay, first thing I need to ask - is anyone hurt?

:: She kept her tone brisk and businesslike, with none of the exaggerated cheer or cuteness that people often put on when talking to children. The merest glance was enough to tell anyone with half a brain cell that these kids had seen too much of the dren life could throw out to be impressed by such a tack.::

:: There was no answer from anyone, but it was impossible to miss the way attention shifted to focus on her even more than it already had. being on the receiving end of that much scrutiny was... uncomfortable, but she pressed on.::

Vetri: No? Good. In that case, we can try and skip forward to the nicer bits.

:: She made a deliberate show of shooing the two marines into a corner, away from the kids and hopefully making the point that the guys with guns were not the ones in charge around here. Somehow, and she had *no* idea how it happened, what resulted was an odd little pantomime that had both of the marines sloping off into the corner looking sheepish and for all the world like they were being sent to sit on the naughty step. For that matter, the Caitian one of the pair managed to make his eras and tail droop in a truly spectacular display of fake dejection. ::

:: Given the flare of amusement - grim as it was - she sensed from a couple of the kids, the fact the pair of them were playing along without any sort of hesitation at all was definitely helping.::

Vetri: Right, you two sit there, be quiet, and behave yourselves. ::turning back to the children:: Just so you all know, my name is Della, and I'm here to make sure that you are all as comfortable and looked after as we can get. I'll apologise straight away for the fact that things are a little... unsettled, right now, but we're working on fixing that.

:: No response at all, which she pretty much expected. At least they seemed to be *listening* to her, though.::

Vetri: Somewhere in this room, I know we have one of these... ::pointing at the commbadge pinned to her jacket:: ...that one of you was given. Now, I'm not wanting it back, I'd just like to know where it is - my friend Hella would probably like it back eventually.

:: A subtle shift in the group drew her eye, and she was a little disappointed to see that it was a few of the kids pulling away slightly from one of their number. The reason for it was easy enough to spot, though, glinting in the child's hand. Just as easy to see was the rather disturbing fact that apart from the commbadge the only thing the little girl had was a Starfleet uniform jacket wrapped tightly around her - one she strongly suspected had been donated by one of the Marines, given the colouring.::

:: Any thought at all as to *why* such a donation might have been necessary ws ruthlessly shoved aside, and Della made her tone stay casual as she addressed the little female.::

Vetri: You have it? Great. Keep hold of it for me, would you? You've kept it safe so far, so I think we can trust you to keep doing it. ::looking around:: Also, I think I should say thank you for taking such good care of it. After all, if you hadn't kept hold of it, I wouldn't have been able to scoop you all up and get you here.

:: This time, when she looked around the room, she made a bit of a show of just how tacky she thought the overblown decoration really was.::

Vetri: And just as soon as I can, I think I'll see about getting the bits together for you to redecorate in here. I know *my* girls love doing it... especially the littlest. ::smiling at the smallest of the children she could see:: She's about your age, actually.

Child: What are you going to do with us.

:: Outwardly, Della just glanced at the boy, one of the eldest in the group, as she listened to his question. Inside, however, she practically jumped for joy at the fact that his challenging demand for answers was coming her way at all.::

Vetri: You got a name, kid? Doesn't matter much if you don't want to give it to me, just thought I'd ask.

:: With a stubborn set to his jaw, he stayed silent, and Della just shrugged amiably once again.::

Vetri: Probably wouldn't answer that myself, if I were you. No worries, was just being curious. To answer your question, though... ::she pointed at the replicator on the wall:: I'm declaring open season on that thing, just don't make yourselves sick. I'm also going to see about getting some stuff in here to make it a little more homey, so if there's anything you want then let me know and I'll see what I can do. We're not planning to be on this ship for long, though, so I apologise in advance if I can get everything done for you.

:: There was some quiet muttering among the group, and Della waited for a minute or so before speaking up again.::

Vetri: I *am* going to need to start getting names soon, I'm afraid. *But*, that's so I can arrange something else for you. You know how grown-ups always seem to be the ones in charge? Well, *this* time, it's the other way around - we have a cargo bay full of adults, and I would *very* much like to be able to find some kids they belong to. That way, I can put them in the care of people who have a decent grip on what the next little while is supposed to be about for you guys.

Child: Which is what?

:: Somewhere along the line, either she'd gotten used to it or the emotional pressure around her had actually eased. Either way, Della felt a lot less buffeted than she had been when she walked in, and that in turn let the laugh that came out of her mouth sound smooth and easy as she wandered over to the replicator.::

Vetri: You tell me, kiddo. I'm just here to make sure you stay safe.

:: Calling up the menu listing on the replicator, she browsed it for a moment, then looked over her shoulder at the children.::

Vetri: Could someone tell me what the heck Vethaberry caramel pie is, and whether it's as tooth-rottingly cakey as it sounds?

Girl: It's really nice... but we never get anything more than boring plastic dinners.

:: With a sly grin, Della pointed at the young girl and beckoned her over. With obvious reluctance, she obeyed, looking more than a little nervous about what opening her mouth had let her in for. As a matter of fact, that turned out to be far less daunting than she might have feared.::

Vetri: You just volunteered to be in charge of cakes. Go nuts. ::to the rest:: Okay, ladies and gentlemen, we need to at least *pretend* to be organised around here, or this is going to get horribly messy. ::pausing, and pretending to think about it:: Actually, who cares about the mess.

Turner: =/\= Turner to Vetri, is everything alright?=/\=

:: At the sound of the voice over the comm, everything went still again, apart from Della, who tapped her commbadge to respond.::

Vetri: =/\= That depends. We seem to be trying to decide whether we should work the replicator into a meltdown. =/\=

Turner: =/\= We will be leaving soon to rendezvous with the Thunder. =/\=

Vetri: =/\= Good. The sooner we're not here, the happier I'll be. I didn't go to all the time and trouble of arranging a planet for these guys to take over just because I was bored. The sooner we get them on their way there, the sooner they can get to the serious business of being *kids*. =/\=

:: And the mention of the planet had been quite deliberate. A whole other kind of stillness settled over the children as the import of what she'd said started to sink in, and she could only imagine what the response of the *adults* was going to be.::

Turner: =/\= Do you think you can go organize the adults soon? =/\=

Vetri: =/\= Hell no, I'm staying here. Get someone else to organise the grown-ups. I'm staying with the important people. ::pausing for a beat as she gave the children a thoroughly cheeky grin:: They have cake. =/\=

:: Or at least they would do if she could get them to actually start raiding the replicator. She'd given them enough hints that it was fine to do so, but so far there had been little sign they really trusted her enough to follow through.::

:: Hardly surprising, really.::

Vetri: =/\= Oh, speaking of cake. If you could arrange for a medic to show their face at some point, that'd be nice. *Someone* is going to make themselves sick, probably me, so having a little help on hand when that happens would be appreciated. =/\=

:: And, whilst they were at it, maybe that medic could take a few moments to discretely check the kids for any problems that would need attention...::

:: Actually, that thought triggered another one - one that made use of some very large blunt instruments to get her attention. Given just how raggedy and malnourished these kids looked, what she'd been trying to get them to do was probably a truly idiotic idea. Possibly the very *worst* thing she could do to a bunch of kids so drastically underfed was put rich food into them.::

Vetri: ::muttering:: Crap...

Turner: =/\= I'll send the Marine medic. He should be able to take care of them until we can get them to the Thunder's sickbay. =/\=

Vetri: =/\= Something just occurred to me. Look, I need to try and figure out what needs doing around here. If you'll excuse the method, I'll just give you a peek at why... =/\=

:: Closing her eyes, she concentrated, filtering her way past the various auras the clouded her sense of the ship around her until she locked in on the one she was after. Carefully, she reached out to it in a particular special way, and slipped an image of the children as she'd first seen them into Toni's awareness.::

::Toni soon envisioned the images of hollow-eyed terror, gastric distension, lethargy, and malnourished and bruised bodies. Tears blurred her eyes, and her medical training kicked in.::

Turner:=/\= Yes, stay with them, but take cake off the menu. Start them on a nourishing broth. It will be easier for them to tolerate food better. I'll be down to check them as soon as the teams are beamed aboard. =/\=

Tag

Ambassador Della Vetri
Diplomatic Officer
Embassy of Duronis II

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