Fort Weyr - Forgotten Storage Room
A stone archway, high above any person's head, is the first indication that this room is not your usual room. Behind the door, the cavern stretches out, and the floor is covered in small boxes, endless stacks of them. Inside the boxes are a multitude of small glass containers of various shapes and sizes, and apparently different uses, as well. Each one is carefully wrapped in soft wherhide and cushioned with dried leaves, and the boxes themselves are stacked in a way that it would take considerable effort to knock them over. A large coating of dust is evident on every surface, showing that this place hasn't seen a visitor in some time.


It's early evening, a little before suppertime, and those candidates who were in rounding-up range for one of the Headwoman's assistants have been summarily marched… here. To the creepy old storage room, with its gloomy corners and unpleasant vermin and piles and piles of STUFF. Four large boxes have been pulled from the general trove, and the assistant leads her gaggle straight to them. "All right, you lot. I need the linens in these boxes sorted. Usable as is, mendable, scraps," the woman says, ticking the categories off on her fingers. "I'll be back in forty five minutes, so please work *quickly*." With this, the woman sweeps back out, leaving the candidates in the glows-lit cavern.

Polsie sighs and flexes her shoulders wearily. "You'd think they'd let us relax a little," the girl complains, before reaching down to pry the lid off one of the crates. "I know we're candidates and all, but I need a break, I've been in the kitchen half the day."

Aamanz doesn't look so happy EITHER, complaining, "Yeah. I'd just got out of the BATHS! I had stable duty AGAIN!" Hey, did someone rig the chore assigning process or something? Well..at least he's CLEAN, even if he's wearing a battered looking sweater, with a very small brown firelizard hatchling tangled up in the baggy back of the sweater's saggy knit neck.

Miki grins and stifles a small yawn. "It's supposedly my day off today, but I've been running around with the littles since morning, and now this?" The young woman shakes her head before stooping down and picking up a sheet. Though it's probably not a good idea, she goes ahead and sniffs it, making a face. "These smell terrible, who'd want them anyhow?" As she's putting it aside, Miki catches sight of the lizard, "Who's your friend?"

"The Headwoman, apparently," says Polsie, with a wry smile. She pulls a vermin-eaten pillowcase from the box and sticks out a tongue in revulsion. "Uuugh. This isn't even fit for *rags*. Think we'd better make a fourth pile - 'Burn Immediately'." She glances over at Aamanz as Miki mentions the firelizard. "Oh! One from Weyrwoman Galina's clutch?"

Aamanz comes over to inspect the linens…and then, like any curious young boy confronted with something gross, he picks one up to sniff…then mocks gagging and staggering around from the FUNK of it. EWWW! But he recovers at the question, and grins, "That's Happ…and yeah, his egg was in that basket." Happ clings for dear life, but doesn't seem distressed. If anything, he might be sleepy. Or narcoleptic.

Miki bursts into a fit of laughter at the boy's antics before picking up another sheet. This one looks alright…but it still smells nasty! That one's going into the laundry pile, and with Miki's luck, she'd be the one doing laundry. "Happ? Cute name. Doesn't seem to active yet…then again, he's just a hatchling."

Polsie withdraws a gaudily pink sheet from the box and holds it up to the glow light to inspect. "Happ? Yeah, that is a cute name." She peers over at the little brown. "Could be. Could be something with the whole clutch, though. I got a brown out of it, and, well…" the Bitran girl's lips quirk, "what does it tell you that I named him 'Torpor'?"

Aamanz tosses his stinky but intact sheet into the 'laundry' pile, and digs for another. This one is not so lucky; looks like something tried to make a nest of it…or worse. Rags, for certain! "What's Torpor mean?" He's got no clue! He does reach back, to check…but no, Happ's just quietly riding along.

Miki laughs and plops onto the floor, beginning to dig through the pile. Finally she pulls out something that seems a little…good! The sheets nice and soft, light blue with a few white tufts, like clouds. "Ohh look here, not everything's bad." Without further ado, the cloth gets tossed into the good pile. "You got a brown too? Maybe I'll send my Baru to play with ya'lls later. Though maybe after Torpor and Happ are older….." And then as an afterthought, "Torpor. It kinda means…sleepy? Not very active and such."

Polsie nods at Miki's words. "Yeah, means slooooow. 'Cause he's lazy even when he's hungry, which is… pretty different." The gaudy pink sheet is tossed into 'laundry' - who knows, maybe someone will want it! - and Polsie reaches for a pillowcase… that appears to have something inside it. She fails to notice. "Widget's keeping an eye on him, but I dunno that he'll ever be much good to play with. Cute, though, I guess."

Aamanz wrinkles his nose a little, and notes, "Happ is pretty quick. When he's hungry. The rest of the time, he just naps." And Aamanz, tossing sheets a little more haphazardly than before, seems content with that! "S'not so bad, but mum told me to lay off and not to try for another. Just in case. She says a firelizard's a big responsibility."

Another sheet. Shards, how many boxes of these things /were/ there? And it looks like this box is entirely rotten…were those tunnelsnake markings? Miki just shakes her head and starts rummaging through the box. What starts out as normal eventually becomes comical as she falls headfirst into the large storage space. It's a few seconds before her head pops back out, "She's right. They're a pretty big responsibility, though much easier to take care of than kids….but they're fun! I guess if your mom says to wait then you better listen though." Ohhh, what's that in Polsie's hands? the sheet's moving, oh no!

Let it be known to the Weyr: Polsie shrieks like a girl. The pillowcase goes arching overhead, hitting the stacks of boxes with a thump, then sliding sloooowly down to the ground. There's a long beat, as Polsie stares at it, aghast, and then, a rustle. A tunnelsnake pokes his head out the case, and stares blearily at the candidates. "Killitkillitkillitkillit," chants the Bitran girl.

"Oh NEAT!" chirps Aamanz, "it's a tunnelsnake!" Uh, DUH. Hopefully, someone HEARD the girl shriek, because he's no use at all! "I don't have anything to kill it with! No knife!" He's not old enough to be trusted with a knife! Nevermind, the thing's going to get defensive REAL quick, if a firelizard doesn't get after it quickly!

"Kyaaaa!" The scream erupting from Miki is one of fright, but she's gonna pretend it's a battle cry. Cause all of a sudden there's a knife being pulled out of her boot and a brown firelizard pops into the air above her. Miki scrambles out of her box, making a beeling for the tunnelsnake, her lizard zooming quickly ahead. "I /knew/ you were hiding here somewhere! This is what you get for ruining good sheets you sharding tunnelsnake!" Well at least her voice is loud, cause her 4'10 frame? Not menacing at all. And despite her agility, it's the brown that gets to it first.

It's not much of a fight. The tunnelsnake *tries* to lash out at the firelizard, and were it in good shape, it's large enough to be a threat. But, recall: the poor guy did just kind of go WHUMP against the boxes. The 'snake pauses in arching into a strike, staring blearily at firelizard and incoming Miki for long enough to be easy pickings for Baru. "Uggggh," moans Polsie, raising a hand to shield herself from the sight. "Why did it have to be a *tunnelsnake*?"

Aamanz goes bounding into the battlefield himself, ONCE it's obvious the tunnelsnake's dead. He chirps hopefully, "Can I have it, Miki?" Hey, can I? Can I?

Success! There's a loud shrill as Baru knocks out his prey. Seems like he's a natural at the stuff. Dragging the rather carcass along with him, the brown struts up to Miki, all proud and huffy about it. And then Baru drops the carcass and begins to scold her! Making pointed eye contact at the knife. Sharp thing, dangerous. Why do /you/ have it! Get rid of it now. "For get the knife, just take the body betw—you /want/ the carcass?" Miki looks a bit skeptically at the boy. Wait…aren't tunnelsnakes poisonous?

Aamanz grins brightly, "Yeah, I want to get its claws!" Um. Does anyone /really/ want to know why a tweleve turn old wants to have tunnelsnake claws, anyway?

Yes, tunnelsnakes are indeed poisonous. Polsie finally rises from where she's been kneeling near the linens box and paces over, staring at the corpse with great distaste. "You are *not* keeping it," she tells Aamanz, firmly. "That thing isn't going back into the barracks, do you hear me?" There's just a little note of shrillness in her voice, still, and the little kick she gives the corpse confirms it: POLSIE HATES TUNNELSNAKES. "We'll… give it to Sitayni -" that would be the Headwoman's assistant "- so just leave it be for now."

Aamanz deflates a little. Hey, he just wanted its CLAWS…it's not like the claws are poisonous, just the teeth! "Awwwwww." Not even big blue eyes gonna work? Darn.

Miki grins over at the girl, "Don't worry, Baru's a tunnelsnake killing demon. He'll keep them out of the barracks for you." Well he would, if only he'd stop that ridiculous scolding! Unlike Aamanz, Miki /is/ old enough to carry a knife, though the brown seems to think otherwise. Eyes whirling a mix of red and yellow, he lets out a final shrill at the woman. Miki shrills back, mentally at least. And the brown pops out, rushing off to somewhere. "Now don't try those pity eyes on us Aam. But I've sent Baru off to my friend. He'll declaw it, /and/ blunt them. See? Compromise, you get claws, she gets a tunnelsnake free barracks. 'Sides, I'm afraid what else you'd look for if you didn't get the claws."

Polsie wrinkles her nose. "I don't understand why you'd even *want* the claws. Those things are *repulsive*." With that, Polsie pivots on her heel and prowls back to the linens boxes, clearly ruffled. She dumps the box they've been working on, muttering, "If there are any more of you little ba-" a glance at Aamanz, and she corrects midstream to "-badduns in there, I swear I'll…" Actually, there are only a few sheets left, and other than tunnelsnake poop and the remains of some insect shells, they're free of signs of wildlife.

Aamanz watches with some interest, and then goes back to his investigation of HIS box…but alas, he has no more evidence of wildlife either, be it tunnelsnake, rodent, or crawlie. Alas, he likes crawlies!

Unfortunately for Miki, her box is ripped and in ruins. Sideffect of the hasty scrambling from either. She sighs and sets to works, wasn't there /ever/ a peaceful day? And now she had tunnelsnake blood on her tunic…EW! "Hey, you two almosw done? I think the headwoman assistant or some other person's gonna be coming down soon…." Which might be a good thing, cause this storage cavern was definitely giving Miki the creeps.

Polsie gingerly picks up a soiled sheet and drops it in the 'laundry' pile. "Yeah, pretty much. Doesn't look like there are any more surprises in here, thank Faranth's Shell." A few more pillowcases that she carefully shakes out, and… "Done."

Aamanz pipes up as he dumps several sheets into the 'rags' pile, "I'm done too!" He notes, after a moment, "You know, I think this was the room I found the flamethrowers in. I think they were down there." You know…down, in the shadows, where the dust and detritus is thickest. "Only I don't see the crates, anymore."

Miki's head swerves around, just as she drops her last sheet, "Flamethrowers?!" Her voice as upped a few nothces and she sounds a bit like a firelizard. But then she hears the rest of the boy's sentence and relaxes a bit. "I think you should steer clear of flamethrowers. I'm scared they'll go haywire if you even /look. at them."

"They'd be dismantled if they were down here," Polsie says, confidently. "Our ancestors weren't foolish. Wouldn't have any fuel in 'em, anyway." She stands and pushes the box her linens were in towards the larger pile of boxes, steering clear of the tunnelsnake corpse. "But…" Polsie looks up at the dusky ceiling, frowning. "Yeah, I hope we can get out of here, soon."

Aamanz awwws a bit, but agrees, "Yeah. This is boring. Maybe we could send one of us out to see if she's ready to come look at what we did?" Hey, he's full of great ideas! Just ask him!

For some reason, Polsie, staring ceilingward, has this moment where a look of raw excitement flashes across her face, though it's there and gone in a flash. When she looks at the other two candidates, she's smiling her usual amiable smile. "I'll go! I think I know where Sitayni is, anyway. You two just wait here, alright?" Without waiting for assent, the Bitran hurries for the door.

Miki stares at the hastily retreating girl. "What in the world was all /that/ about? Guess she thought of something interesting?" The woman shrugs and sends a mental flick at Baru and with one last admonishment to her knife-wielding, he poofs away. There, creepy dead body gone. Nooow…Miki looks at the piles dubiously. "We should probably put these in a box huh? Help me out." Ewww, why in the world does she have to touch these sheets /again/?

Aamanz makes a little bit of a face, and then rather helpfully, concends to help. "Sure. Is there a better crate or do we just use the old ones?" Hey, she's in charge. She's older. Just don't tell Polsie that.

Miki looks about the room a bit, and when a better option fails to reveal itself she simply motions to the older crates. "Just use those. I'm sure they'll want them back anyhow." And then she heads over to the rag's pile and starts the dirty transfer work. Well, it's nice to at least pretend to be in charge. Her height usually leaves her without much authority….she could probably mix in with the other weyrbrats.

He's good for one thing; he'll take direction as long as it's pretty obvious help's needed! That's better than a lot of weyrbrats. And Miki's probably familiar with his two younger siblings too, a girl and a boy a couple of years apart from him! Maybe even his father, Aa'on, who plays the ladies' man despite his balding pate and slight beer belly. What's scary is how often he seems to succeed, because he's got SEVERAL half-siblings to Aamanz among the 'brats! "So…how do you like being a Candidate?" Hey, he's only go so much skill at social niceities.

Miki shrugs and finishes transferring a rather nasty pile of clothes. Looks like those were the ones the tunnelsnake came out of. "It's kind of alright. Though I'm missing the littles, don't get to see 'em as much." Hmmm, Aamanz…she /knew/ he looked familiar, lots of his siblings in the nursery. And despite his father's flirting ways Miki wasn't about to add to their brood. There's a shudder at that thought. "But shards, I hate being in the infirmary. They have NEEDLES!" Lots of shuddering going on at that word. "How're you faring?"

Aamanz is all brightness and light, "I'm doing good!" Except, "Except somehow I keep winding up in the stables. I mean. Runners are alright and all, and they have pretty eyes…but honestly. I'm tired of looking at the back ends of runners and what comes out that side of em too."

Miki snickers. Hey, she has a sense of humor too! "Might be 'cause that's the place you'll get into least trouble…actually, that might be a bad idea. Cause if you get horse dropping and dry them, they become flammable explosives." Uh oh. She did /not/ just say that. Stern glare, that'll fix it. "Erase that from your memory!"

Aamanz looks up, but considers this bit of information very carefully, "Are you sure? I never heard of that before."

"No, I'm not sure, not sure at all. In fact, that was a blatant lie. Just something to make your work seem interesting" Yes she is sure…she's tried it before. But oh look, more sheets need to be crated, and Miki promptly busies herself with that.

Aamanz follows after, "A lie?" Hey…he's intrigued, "Why'd you lie? I mean…that doesn't make any sense. At worst, I might've tried to light some runner dung on fire, and then it'd probably just smell bad. Probably really bad, like bad enough to make you not want to eat. I mean, when I come in fron the stables everyone thinks that I stink worse than old socks."

Miki shakes her head. "Well of course it smells bad. But there's a way to make it explodable. My brothers have experimented with it a /lot/. I'm not sure of the process myself, but you have to dry multiple times. And then you mix in a bit of ga—" SHUT MOUTH NOW! Apparently this nanny is a very bad influence. "That was also a lie. I lie because I am not a good person. Do not follow my example 'kay?" Change of topic…"So how're you liking the barracks?"

Aamanz shrugs a little, matter of factly, "It's just like the nursery and the juniors barracks." Okay, he has a point. "Except there's less people and it's quieter…except when everyone SNORES at night!"

Miki grins and finally finishes packing up the sheets. She plops down and promptly closes her eyes, a bit thoughtful. "Uh…Do /I/ snore?" Shards, that'd be embarassing. But sleep, mmm sleep sounded good. But wait, she's in a creepy storage room. Her eyes pop back open, this is not the place for such things.

Aamanz asks, soliciously, "Are you tired already?" It's sharding late, and he's still bouncing around like a vtol in a sunny window!

"Have you ever dealth with a nursery filled with toddlers? It'd tire anyone out." Well that explains where she's been all day. Not that she's complaining. It's better than being in the Infirmary or something. Needles…why is her mind just thinking about needles right now?

Aamanz frowns a little more, "Um. Not since I was a toddler?" Oh, that's helpful! "I think I'll reccommend you for nanny duty then…." He's /so/ in trouble, gonna have a handful to deal with.

Well, hello, there, Polsie. Where have you been? Apparently halfway across the Weyr, with the way she's late *and* pantingly out of breath. She's leading the Headwoman's assistant. "See, we're - huff - done! Tunnelsnake's over by the boxes."

Aamanz rises up a bit, straightening himself. The Headwoman's assistant gets more respect than usual from the weyrbrat, as he points. See?

Miki sits up quickly and motions to the boxes. "We're done. But the tunnelsnake's gone. Got my lizard to do away with it. Shells, it was giving us the creeps."

The older woman inspects their work with pursed lips, but abruptly nods, gesturing towards the doorway out. "This will do. Thank you, you three. I may have some more work for you tomorrow evening." Polsie, standing behind her, makes a face at that, but smiles brightly when Sitayni glances at her. "Sounds good, ma'am. You two ready to leave?"

Aamanz nods a little, though he objects softly, "I wasn't creeped out by it. It was dead already." Hrmph!

Miki grins, "Then you should've attacked it first! But yeah, seriously, let's get /out/ of here." Before the cavern tempts her to speak of flaming runner dung again.


'The World of Pern(tm)' and 'The Dragonriders of Pern(r)' are copyright to Anne McCaffrey (c) l967, 2000. This is a recorded online session, by permission of the author but generated on PernWorld MUSH for the benefit of people unable to attend.