“Here’s some water and some soup with crackers,” Lucy said. “Take your time eating. I’ll be on the bridge if you need me.”
“Want some company?” Ophelia asked.
“You can’t,” Lucy stated, wagging her finger. “You still have to take it easy and rest. Yuri and I will handle the Cerberus, for now.”
“I feel fine,” Ophelia protested. “Just rotten for leaving all the work to you.”
“You’re entitled,” Lucy said. “Regulation 35. If you almost die of an illness, you can take a week or two off until you’ve fully recovered.”
“That regulation doesn’t exist,” Ophelia muttered.
“Sure it does,” Lucy said. “It’s in the system.”
Leon stumbled out of his room to the smell of muffins baking. He wanted to sit down and eat like usual, but his plan was foiled by the presence of a small child in his chair.
Paul looked back at him. “Go back to bed, Fuzzy. I’ll bring your brekkie to you.”
Maia looked back at him and smiled.
“Whatever,” Leon muttered. He went back to his room.
“Here we are,” Paul said. “Fresh blueberry muffins. I’ll take one to Leon. When I get back, they should be cool enough for you to have one, okay?”
Maia nodded and sipped her juice, staring at the tray of muffins.
After what felt like forever, Paul returned. “Here you are,” he said, handing her one. She hurriedly began eating it. Stopping occasionally to drink more of her juice. They ate in silence for a while.
“We have to do something about your wardrobe,” Paul mused. “But we can’t leave the ship until we’ve confirmed that the virus is destroyed. Still, won’t do to have you here with just the one outfit.”
Maia stared intently at him.
“I suppose I’ve got no choice,” Paul said. “Maia, what colours do you like?”
“I like green!” she declared.
“Green, huh?” Paul said. “All right. I’ll see what I can do.”
Farah was laying in bed, doing some quick sketches, when her door buzzed.
“This is the doctor,” Pauls voice said. “Here to do a quick check-up.”
“Heck-up!” a tiny voice echoed.
“Come in,” Farah said, putting her sketchbook down.
Paul walked in followed closely by Maia. The young girl was carrying a basket. A fruity smell was coming from it.
“How are you feeling?” Paul asked.
“Better,” Farah answered. “Maybe a little feverish still and my head hurts a bit.”
“That’s a normal reaction,” Paul reassured her. “Your body is still fighting off the virus, after all.” He ran his scan. “It looks like there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll give you some medication to help with the pain.”
“When can I go back on duty?” Farah asked.
“Give it another five, maybe six days and you’ll be good as new,” Paul answered. “Just take it easy for a little while.”
“Okay,” Farah agreed. She glanced at Maia. “Doc, what are you going to do about, you know…”
“For the time being, I’ll look after her,” Paul said. “Once we can officially unquarantine the ship, we’ll figure something more permanent out.”
“Muffin,” Maia said, holding a muffin out for Farah.
“Thank you,” Farah said, taking it.
“Make sure you take this with water,” Paul said. “If you start to feel sicker at all, call me right away.”
“I will,” Farah said. “Thank you, Doctor.”
Paul nodded. “Come along, Maia, we’re visiting Allison next.”
“Lison next,” Maia stated.
Ophelia sank into her chair. “Feels so good to be back in action,” she said. She looked round the bridge. Speaking of, Leon.”
“What?” Leon asked.
“Why are you watching Maia?” Ophelia asked. The young girl was clinging to Leon’s back. She was wearing what looked like a handmade forest green dress.
“Paul asked me to,” Leon answered. “Said he had a surprise he needed to finish. It’s not like I could turn him down when he’s one of the only people who’s been working this past week.”
“Bounce!” Maia said.
Leon began hopping lightly in place while Maia laughed.
“It’s not like she’ll be in the way,” Leon added. “We can’t really land anywhere right now, anyway.”
“True,” Ophelia conceded. “I’ve got Grace working on a more sensitive detector. Once she’s finished, we should be able to verify whether or not we’re at risk of infecting anyone.”
“Seems like an easy solution would be to just infect people and charge em for the cure,” Allison said. “Hello credits.”
“Defiantly can’t do that,” Leon stated.
“Fiantly not,” Maia added.
“You mean ‘definitely,'” Ophelia corrected. “But you’re right. We’re stuck here for the time being. So, let’s not joke about getting other people sick.”
“Yes ma’am,” Allison said. “Whatever you say. I’ll take this pointless bridge duty completely seriously.”
Paul put down his book when he heard the door to his quarters open and tiny footsteps running towards him. Maia rushed over to his chair and jumped on him.
“Hello, Maia,” Paul said. “How was working with Leon?”
“It was fun!” Maia declared.
“That’s good,” Paul said. “I have a little surprise for you.” He picked up a small parcel from beside the chair. Maia eagerly opened it. Inside was a small plush version of the Baron.
Maia squealed, hugged Paul and ran to show Leon.
“Very nice,” Leon said. “How long did it take you to make that?”
“Not as long as the dress,” Paul said.”But I figured that she should have at least one toy.”
Leon moved over to Paul and hugged him. “Don’t get too attached,” he whispered.
“Don’t worry about me,” Paul said.