Medi was feeling much better. The cool drink of water and a comfort-coated Tylenol dispensed from Bigbug worked wonders for her headache. Why the gold-plated crow-bot had the medication was a question she didn’t ask.
As for the crew, Blackbird still wasn’t happy about being duped by Starlight, but his sore attitude could also be because of his own day-after-drinking discomfort. Starlight was also moping, having been deprived of his alcohol for the duration of the shakedown cruise of the Equestrian Space Force vessel Staff-Sergeant Reckless. And finally, Captain Joe was back in regulation blues and taking care to put SSgt Reckless through her paces in a very non-reckless manner.
Exposition was thorough with her briefing of the specifications and workings of the E.S.F SSgt Reckless: a modern, space-exploration vessel. She covered every detail of every station and all of the crew were soon running the simulations with increasing confidence and synergy.
Though the ship’s name of ‘Reckless’ did trouble Medi a bit. Why couldn’t it be named the Perceptive, or Prudence, or perhaps even the E.S.F. Playing-It-Safe? She liked the sound of that one best of all. Any of those names sounded better to her than SSgt Reckless… and why just a Staff Sergeant anyway? Nopony had thought to ask.
But a space ship’s name should be the least of her concerns, Medi reminded herself; perched on Joe’s shoulder like a pirate’s parrot, her main concern as the Medical Officer was the physical well-being of the captain and crew. She flew down to Joe’s left hand and bit it, drawing the necessary drop of blood. A swirl in her mouth, a smack of her tongue and lips, and the health data just appeared in her mind.
“It’s time for lunch, Joe,” Medi announced, “Shut down the simulation. Also, the crew could use a break.”
“I’m the Captain, Medi,” Joe reminded her, “you ‘suggest’ that we take a break; you do not order it. Return to your post.”
Medi bristled slightly at the rebuke, but said nothing.
“It’s just proper courtesy, Medi, and following chain-of-command.” Joe explained. “No reason to be upset.”
Medi flew up and out of sight. Without saying a word. He heard the door to the bridge slide open and closed.
“Medi?” Joe couldn’t look. The displays were screaming for his attention. The Tac screen was lit up with simulated yellow ‘unknown’ contacts that all needed to be queried by BigBug to determine their dispositions. Blackbird was itching for a target. Any Target. After firing the main guns once he was hooked. Starlight was interrogating their last contact about their political preferences to “verify friendly status and loyalty to the ‘Party’”. Why all simulated space traffic had to be loyal Communists was a subject for a later time. And Exposition needed a course update at the helm so she could maneuver most efficiently. All of this was on his mind when a realization struck that he was certain that there had to be a reason why the bridge was getting darker, but there were more important things…
His world went black.
He awoke to flashing red ceiling lamps of the bridge. His head was on a pillow, and Medi on his chest and Exposition at his side were staring down at him.
"You fainted, Sir," Exposition exposited, briefly, to his gratitude, "the modern and efficient ceiling lights of the E.S.N. Exploration Vessel SSgt Reckless will keep flashing until your vitals stabilize."
“I beg your pardon, Captain,” Medi said, rather sternly, “I disobeyed a direct order and left the bridge to fetch this pillow. But if I had obeyed your direct order, I’d be admitting you into sickbay for a concussion, rather than just treating your case of hypo-glycemic induced stupidity.”
Without waiting for a response, she flew over and placed a straw in his hand. “Now stick that in your juice-box and suck it.” Medi hovered over to look him in the eye again, "Medical Doctor's orders, Captain."
Joe woozily gripped the straw, "Aye, Ma'am," he slurred, "and thank you for the lesson and your dedication to my health."
Exposition watched Medi fly off with a suppressed grin. "Here's your juice-box, Sir- she held a green and red box up over his chest so he could see it -I hope you like fruit-punch, she's commandeered all the mango. She said you wouldn't mind."
Joe popped the seal on the box and slurped down every last drop.
"Oh! You must really like the fruit punch… eh, sir?" Exposition took the empty and handed him another.
"I hate fruit punch," Joe said, popping his straw in the next box, "I'm just following the orders given by the Chain-of-Command."