Packages best left alone
By: CS Fox

“You wish to say something Lieutenant?” Christine Stark asked.

Haley Vilhena nodded. “Are you sure this is a good idea captain?”

“The scans aren’t turning up anything corrosive or explosive. No biological readings inside either. I believe it’s safe to bring aboard.”

“I don’t like it Captain,” Haley frowned, “why would someone leave a cargo container floating in space?”

Christine smiled, “Most likely we’ll find out after we search it… My guess is a gun runner jettisoned it after running into a patrol. It’s not uncommon.”

One of the pilots spoke up. “Container safely in cargo Captain, pressure is being restored to the bay.”

“Good,” Christine said sitting back in her command chair. “The Lt. will be going down momentarily to search it.”

Haley dropped her mouth open. “But… but Christine…”

“You will address me as your Captain, not Christine, just because we’re friends doesn’t mean you can breach protocol and second guess your Captain in front of the crew; report to the cargo hold.”

Haley nearly lost her composure, “but, but… I can’t search it alone. I’ll at least need a scanning crew to help me go through it.”

“You’re certainly pushing your limits with questioning your Captain’s decisions today, aren’t you Lt. Vilhena?”

Haley blushed a little bit, “Yes Captain… sorry Captain.”

The captain thought for a moment. A smile played across her lips before she turned to a nearby com-officer. “Order 2nd Engineer Caitlyn Mint to report to the Cargo hold as well.”

Haley looked like she was about to protest but the Captain raised a disapproving eyebrow, in way of a challenge. Gathering what pride she had left, Haley straightened and presented a smart salute before exiting the bridge.

In the port side access way; salutes from the crew and nods of respect from fellow officers were given as Haley stomped her way toward the lift. It was obvious to her peers that the 20-year-old officer wasn’t in the mood to chat. With in the privacy of the lift, Haley’s hands reached for her brown pony-tail, and nervously began to play with it. It was something of a nervous habit that she’d had ever since being a kid. She wondered idly if her best friend had really needed to reprimand her like that in front of everyone.

Five minutes later and she was waiting outside the big double blast doors of the cargo hold. She turned as she heard the noise of scurrying feet coming from down the hallway.

“2nd Engineer Caitlyn Mint reporting as ordered ma’am!!” came the cheerful reply as Caitlyn skidded to a halt in front of Haley. The younger engineer was part cat, with furry ears and a tail that offset her otherwise human form. She was small for her age, and the way she wore her uniform, it almost looked like she was a little girl playing dress up, but that could also be because she had a stuffed animal fox in her right arm and had to shift it to her left so she could make a proper salute to her senior officer.

Haley didn’t return the salute, so Caitlyn had to hold it. Her frown increased. “How old are you 2nd Engineer Mint?”

Caitlyn held the salute and did her best to look professional. “18-years-old this last month Lieutenant.”

“And 2nd Engineer Mint… why do you have a stuffed animal with you?”

The cat girl completely forgot about the salute and held up the stuffed animal with both hands. “I improved my scanner!” She said proudly. “I wired it into my favorite stuffed animal fox! Now I have a good excuse to bring him around on my duties with me!”

Haley slapped her forehead and cursed silently to herself. Where did they find these people for service in the outer navy? She tried her best not to sound cross. “2nd Engineer Mint, you will return your scanner to regulation standard after we conduct our survey of the container. Is that understood?”

Caitlyn suddenly looked sad. “But… but why?”

“Because the outer navy does not make salutes with stuffed animals under its arms!”

Caitlyn yelped a little and just nodded, she slowly dropped the stuffed animal fox behind her and made a proper salute. Haley half-heartedly returned it and ordered the doors open to the cargo bay.

The object in question had been placed in the center of the bay. It was a container made of blue plasti-steel and was exactly like one of thousands any cargo ship or freighter would have. It was about 10’ tall and six times as wide. Haley walked up to its keypad and looked through the menu. Most registered cargo would display its contents on the pad, but this one, despite having legitimate markings on its long sides, it did not have a cargo manifest.

Caitlyn came up hugging her stuffed animal with her ears flat and tail tucked between her legs. “Is it safe to open it?” she asked hesitantly.

“Why don’t you scan it?” Haley asked a little less then politely.

Caitlyn pulled down one of the fox’s ears and it made a slight click noise. A swath of green light shot out of its eyes and crossed left to right and then top to bottom over the container.

“Safe!” Caitlyn said after reading a digital display on the fox’s collar. Haley tapped the keypad to open the cargo door and with a pressurizing hiss, it popped open. The container had no light inside, so Caitlyn had her stuffed animal’s eyes light up to illuminate the interior… which contained more containers. Only these were labeled.

“Cases of various size diapers, a crib, another crib, high chair, nanny-unit, more diapers, youth food supplements, clothing…” Haley read them off as she went down a row of containers looking at each. “This is a damn mobile nursery or something.” She said with a frown as she went back to the door of the container.

“Where are you going?” Caitlyn asked as she shined her stuffed animal around.

“Please address me as Lt. Vilhena, 2nd Engineer,” she said harshly, remembering her own reprimand not more then 10 minutes ago. “And I’m going to the com to report,” she said as she left, not wishing to explain further. She walked across the cargo bay to a com station by the door and paged the captain.

“Anything worthwhile Lt.?” she asked. The screen showed her seated in her command chair on the bridge.

“It’s a nursery. Or at least everything you’d need to have one.”

The captain chuckled a little, “So much for contraband… Still, give it a good scan and make sure every box and crate contains what it says it does. Then inventory it. We’ll bring it back for impound at HQ.”

Haley forced a salute and left the com. She came back to the container to find it lit internally.

“It had lighting and I figured we might as well turn it on,” Caitlyn explained with a smile. She was busy opening one of the large containers, her tail excitedly bobbing about. Haley walked behind her and peered over her shoulder.

“What are you opening Engineer?”

“Oh, just one of the crates. Might have contraband hidden in it,” she smiled holding up her stuffed animal and scanning the interior with her fox. Another green swath of light played across its interior.

Despite wanting to comment about the casual tone her least favorite engineer was having with her, Haley went around a row of containers and started to inventory things as well. She worked her way towards the back of the container and everything seemed to be in order, just neatly stored supplies with no delivery address. Each crate and box seemed to indeed only contain nursery supplies.

After an hour or two of confirming the designations on each of the smaller containers and finding no illegal surprises within, Haley went back to the front and found Caitlyn was no longer there. She also noted that one of the larger crates was now empty.

“2nd Engineer?” She called out.

“Out here!” Caitlyn called back.

Haley went back out into the cargo bay and found Caitlyn standing with a big smile on her face as a girl she hadn’t seen on ship before held up Caitlyn’s stuffed animal fox for inspection. The girl had some type of antenna array pieces instead of ears. In a way, they looked similar to Caitlyn’s cat ears poking through long blonde hair.

“And you made this all by yourself little kitten?” it asked Caitlyn.

Caitlyn blushed and nodded. “His name’s CS Fox. It’s short for Computer Stuffed Fox.”

It didn’t take long for Haley to realize the girl was some type of nanny robot from the big empty crate in the container. She stalked over. “2nd Engineer Mint! What is the meaning of this?” She barked, sounding very much like a mother scolding her child.

Caitlyn’s ears flattened out a little. “I opened her crate and she turned on …”

“Shut her down and put her back. Now!!” She gave another cursery glance at the robot. It really must have been a top of the line model. Besides the metallic ears, she looked perfectly human. “We are here to inventory everything, not play with it… and you are to call me Lt. Vilhena! Respect the rank!”

Caitlyn was shaking a little bit after the yelling and nearly wet herself when she heard the Captain’s voice from the com. Haley was being summoned to the screen and as she walked over, the robot handed Caitlyn back her stuffed animal and raised an eyebrow at her Lt.

“Is she always that mean to you?”

Caitlyn shrugged. “She’s sort of mean to everyone, except the Captain,” she said lowering her voice. The robot leaned down so that Caitlyn could whisper in her ‘ear.’ “Everyone aboard thinks she’s just really anal retentive, that’s all.”

The robot looked to be in thought for a moment, but then snapped her fingers together and smiled “I’ve got just the cure for that!” she said happily. She rushed back into the container, leaving behind a confused Caitlyn.

“Yes Captain, we haven’t found anything mislabeled yet. Although, the 2nd Engineer you assigned me has activated one of the nanny robots. I’ve instructed her to shut it down immediately.”

Christine nodded. “Fair enough, just make sure 2nd Engineer Mint logs all the contents into her scanner.”

“Yes captain, and actually about that scanner.”

“Is it functioning Lt.?”

“Well, yes but…”

“Well then it doesn’t matter. Report back to the bridge when you’re finished.”

Haley thought better of arguing, especially after the way things had been going for her today, so she saluted once more and turned around.

“Found them!” the robot replied happily. She was walking out of the container with a small jar of pills in her hands. Haley looked at Caitlyn, but the cat girl was scratching her ears with her tail looking just as perplexed.

“Um.. found what?” Haley asked. The robot just kept walking towards her with a smile. She took a step back and opened her mouth to ask again, but no sooner did she part her lips then the robot quickly flicked a little red pill down her throat. She coughed and quickly brought her hands up to her neck, gagging a little with surprise.

“There we go! That should help clean you out,” the robot said with a smile. She took Haley’s wrist. “We better get out a changing mat and put you in a diaper though.”

“WHAT THE HELL DID YOU GIVE ME?!?” Haley screamed wrenching her wrist away. She dropped to her knees and tried to jam a finger into her throat to start the gag reflex, but the robot put down the jar and picked her up as she was hunched over.

“I gave you a temporary incontinence pill. It’ll last about three days.”

“A WHAT?!?!” She screamed again.

“I don’t know if you should pick up the Lt. like that… um… miss Robot,” Caitlyn said holding her stuffed animal a little closer, suddenly feeling a little afraid of all the commotion and yelling. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but she knew that the robot probably shouldn’t be picking up the only nearby authority figure.

“You can call me Rose little kitten, and I really do need to get a diaper on her, otherwise she’s going to make a mess in her uniform. You were the one who told me she was anal retentive.”

Haley shot a look of icy daggers at Caitlyn as she was taken inside the container. Rose quickly began to remove her one piece uniform and laid her down on one of the long crates. Despite her trying to resist, the robot was very strong and gave her a few slaps on the thighs and rear to earn her cooperation. And as good as her word, Rose had Haley into a thick diaper in no time. She also got out a big footed sleeper (because her uniform wouldn’t fit over her ‘padding’).

Haley was helped up, feeling a little humiliated and worried about the odd feeling taking over her stomach. Her hands nervously reached for her long brown pony-tail once more. As she played with her hair, she heard a soft giggling at the door of the container. Her eyes turned to fire. “This isn’t funny!” she yelled at Caitlyn. Caitlyn immediately straightened and tried to hide a big huge grin. “STOP IT!” Haley said nearly crying. She wasn’t sure what else to say, but she couldn’t stand the thought of looking even more childish then the youngest member of the crew.

Caitlyn’s ears flattened out once more, but remembering her orders earlier, she raised her hand in a proper salute to her diapered officer. It was all Haley could stand, she ran for the door of the container and Caitlyn yelped and turned to run away, but didn’t make it very far.

Haley tackled her to the ground just outside the container. She looked around quickly and grabbed at the jar Rose had left. “We’ll see who’s anal retentive!” she said quickly grabbing a pill and clapping it and her hand over Caitlyn’s mouth. Caitlyn made the noise a frustrated cat makes before letting out a small whimper with her Lt.’s hand covering her mouth.

“Oh good heavens… Now I’ll need to diaper her too,” Rose said coming out of the container and pulling Haley off Caitlyn. She tugged the jar free of Haley’s hands, giving her a stern frown. Pulling Haley by the ear, she picked up the whimpering Caitlyn in her other arm.

A few minutes later, Lt. Haley Vilhena and 2nd Engineer Caitlyn Mint were brought out of the container dressed in their new footed sleeper uniforms with Rose smiling behind them. She patted both their diapered behinds. “It won’t be so bad, just three days,” she said pleasantly.

Haley turned to say a few choice cusswords, but froze as the door to the cargo bay opened and the captain stepped in. She saw the three of them, but for a moment didn’t know what to make of what she was looking at.

“Umm… Inventory not going well Lt?” she asked a little confused.

The effects of the pill choose that moment to take hold of Haley. “Captain… I… I…” Her expression wavered a moment and a warm mess suddenly rushed beneath her rear. She began to cry softly and buried her face in her hands.

“Aww poor thing. See I told you it was a good thing that we got you in diapers as quick as we did,” chided Rose. She scooped Haley up into her arms and carried her back into the container. Caitlyn hugged her stuffed animal a little closer as the captain approached her.

“Engineer, what’s going on here?” she asked looking the cat-girl up and down. “Are you… diapered under that?”

Caitlyn brought her arm up for a shaky salute, still hugging her fox in the other arm. She tried to form words but couldn’t find any way to adequately explain what had just happened, she managed to nod a bit. The captain looked at her more for words and the only thing that came to her mind she blurted out a little too quickly. “The Lt. has a messy diaper!” she gasped, not even sure she’d said it.

Christine was taken aback. “Wow…” She almost couldn’t believe it. She poked her head through the container door and saw her 1st officer laid out on her back… getting her diaper changed. She ducked back out and stifled a giggle, only realizing the sad face Caitlyn had. She straightened up and took on her captain’s posture. “What happened to you both Engineer?”

Caitlyn looked for words once more. Before she could speak, Rose was back out with a teary eyed Haley. “All clean,” she said happily.

Christine gave a kurt nod, “Feeling better Haley?” she asked trying to remain as professional as possible.

“I… I can explain Captain.”

“I hope so. 2nd Engineer Mint hasn’t been able to help much.”

Caitlyn meeped and brought her fox up to her chin. Christine gave her a reassuring pat on the shoulder.

“My name’s Rose!”

“You must be the robot who is responsible for diapering two members of my crew.”

The perky robot smiled and nodded enthusiastically. “They both swallowed incontinence pills. Well, Haley here forced this sweet kitten to ingest one of the pills, but that was only because I had made Haley swallow one of the pills after being informed she was anal retentive.”

Christine blinked. “Um... well, I guess that explains everything. Thanks for being honest.”

The robot smiled and nodded. “And your name is?”

“Oh I’m Christine Stark, Captain of this ship.”

“Would you like an incontinence pill?”

The eyes of Haley and Caitlyn shot straight to their captain at the sudden question. Christine smiled “Thanks, but no. I think two incontinent crew members is enough. I need to set the example. Anyways, how long will they be like this?”

“Three days.”

“Okay, then for three days, I guess we’ll need to keep you around,” Christine turned to her two crew members. “Maybe we can check with doc in the infirmary, but for now I’m going to relieve you both of duty for three days until this clears up.”

Haley gasped. “But but you can’t Christine! I’m the 1st officer. I can’t abandon my post.”

“Lt. Vilhena, please, address as me as your captain. I know that you’re not happy about this and I’m sorry about all that’s…” Christine looked Haley up and down again. “Sorry about all that’s happened, but I can’t have you on the bridge dressed like this.” Christine turned to Caitlyn who stood just hugging her stuffed animal. In this outfit she almost looked more at place then she did in her regular uniform. “No objections from you Engineer?” she asked kindly.

Caitlyn bit her lower lip and seemed not to be paying attention to her captain. Rose spoke up in her stead. “I think our little kitten here has a wet diaper… let me go change her.”

“Well that answers my question,” said Christine. She brought a hand up to her forehead. “I guess we can put the robot and 2nd Engineer Mint in your quarters Lt.”

Haley wanted to stamp her foot and complain again, but realized how childish it’d seem. She did her best to present a salute. Christine saluted back, and left the cargo hold. In the hallway, she hugged her sides because of how hard she was laughing.

-The end… for now-