Month 4, Day 10
Drake paused in following Jane, Smitty and Takor to stare across the mess hall at Bugalu and Mac. What’s going on? Did they have another fight? They’re just sitting there. Bugalu is finishing his dessert, but it doesn’t look like Mac has touched her food; she’s just staring at it. And neither one has said a word, which isn’t like them. Jane told me last week to figure out what Mac’s sleep problem. But Mac won’t talk to anybody except to study. Maybe this is my opportunity.
He changed direction, saw Yellow Dog join the two-some; she just sat down without saying a word, glanced at the redhead - who didn’t greet her - and handed a coffee to Bugalu, who smiled.
Drake set his tray on the table and sat down at the only seat available, opposite the AmerInd. “You 2 fight again?” I get lost in YD’s brown eyes whenever she looks at me.
“Are you talking to me or YD?” Bugalu asked.
Drake tossed a glance his way. “You, of course. Why?”
“Because you were looking at YD,” Bugalu returned.
“Yeah, I do that a lot.”
“No,” Bugalu contradicted.
“How would you know?” Drake demanded.
“I’d remember fighting with Mac,” the negro stated.
Drake swallowed his pique. “Oh, you’ve gone back to my original question. In that case, what’s going on? You two sure haven’t been talking.”
Bugalu sipped his coffee. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to get her into bed.”
Drake gave the helmsman a sharp look, then swiveled his head to look at the still-silent redhead. She ‘sat’ motionless, her head leaning slightly to one side, her eyes closed. “Is she asleep?” he blurted out.
“Yes,” YD answered between bites of her quiche.
In this noise? Wouldn’t have thought it possible. “How long has-“
“Since she sat down,” Bugalu interrupted. “And don’t blame me for waking her, because I didn’t. She was awake when I checked on her. Stumbling around looking for her shoes, which were where they belonged. Looked half asleep - or more - but when I told her to go back to bed, she shuddered and said she’d had enough of that for the day. But as soon as she sat down here, she was asleep.”
“I don’t care what she said, she obviously did not get enough sleep.” If Jane sees this, she’ll have my hide for not getting this problem under control by now. Won’t matter that I hardly ever see the girl for a private conversation.
“Not today, this week, this month,” Bugalu agreed. “She won’t talk about it, so I haven’t got a clue what’s going on.”
“What did her brother do to send her to bed at the Academy?” Drake asked.
“He never had to, that I remember. She always claimed she wasn’t good at math, but she never crammed for a test. This not sleeping, this is brand new territory for me.”
“You know her better than anybody else on board,” Drake stated, and wondered at the slight rise in one of Yellow Dog’s eyebrows. “Don’t you have any ideas what might be causing it?” YD turned her bland expression to regard the younger man.
The helmsman scowled at the remnants of his meal for a long heartbeat. “Two,” he allowed, and sighed. “The most likely is that she’s failed probation.” Yellow Dog blinked at the statement and resumed eating.
“She hasn’t completely failed yet,” Drake pointed out.
“Doesn’t look good, and she knows it,” Bugalu said softly. “Trouble is, studying won’t do any good if she doesn’t get some sleep.”
Drake frowned his agreement and reluctantly suggested, “Maybe I should slap her into Sick Bay at the end of her shift and give her 8 hours of sleeping potion for the next week.”
It was Yellow Dog’s turn to frown, although Bugalu considered the radical treatment idea. “Maybe.” He obviously didn’t like the idea any more than Yellow Dog.
How do I put that in her record? ‘Patient isn’t sleeping, so I tied her to a sick bay bed and drugged her’? Yeah, that would look good. “Can we talk her into it?”
“No,” the negro sighed. “That would take a direct order from a superior. Like a doctor.”
“That’s what I figured.” Her body chemistry is just different enough that I can’t be sure how big a dose it would take to make her sleep for 8 hours.
“Every single day,” Bugalu emphasized. “Which won’t give her time to calm down before you have to do it again.”
“That makes me the bad guy,” Drake acknowledged, and sent a half-glare at the younger man. “While you get off scott-free.”
“If it helps any, I’ll be right there, telling her it’s for her own good.”
“Will that help?”
Bugalu hesitated, then moved his head a bit. “Inside, she’ll already know it, so she’ll probably get stubborn and more angry.”
“And how long do you think that will last?”
“No clue. New territory.” His mood was somber. “It might ruin the relationship.”
“Space!” Drake swore. Sometimes, you have to do what’s best for a person, even if they don’t understand it. It’s part of being an adult. But I don’t have to like it. “Space,” he muttered.
“Noooo.” Mac’s quiet moan surprised them. As both men stared, she started to lean. Yellow Dog’s hand flashed as she grabbed the redhead’s arm. Mac jerked, and her green eyes popped open in terror. After a moment of mindless staring, the girl looked around, took in her surroundings and relaxed. “Hello, Bugs, Mac.”
“Thought you had enough sleep,” Bugalu stated.
“I thought so, too,” Mac agreed slowly, and stared at her tray of food. “This looks... cold.”
“We’ve been here for... going on an hour.”
“Have we?” She rubbed a hand over her face. “Look, I’ve got to... I’ve got to... I can’t remember.”
“You need sleep,” Drake told her bluntly.
“Yeah,” she agreed, another surprise. “About half an hour seems to be my limit.” She turned bleary eyes to the AmerInd. “YD?” The yeoman stood, pulled the redhead to her feet, and led her out of the messhall by the hand.
Drake watched them leave, Mac hardly able to put one foot before the other without stumbling. “Where are they going?”
“I hope YD puts Mac to bed,” Bugalu responded. “But they’ve probably gone to the gym.”
“In the condition Mac’s in?”
Bugalu shrugged. “Mac doesn’t want to give up that little touch of home she gets with the variable gravity station. Says it’s the only time she feels comfortable.”
Drake considered the rest of his meal glumly. “I’ll start the enforced sleeping tomorrow morning.”
“Not tomorrow,” Bugalu contradicted. “I’m off. I’ll spend the day reading in her quarters, keep sending her back to bed. Should have done that today, but she promised she would sleep. Try to sleep.” He sighed. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”