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A Sticky Situation?

This is why I shouldn't be allowed to write/think while I'm tidying the kitchen.

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A Sticky Situation

     Footloose was bored. Jas was busy, and so was Atchet and Ausep, and Septor was doing something delicate that clumsy sparklings couldn’t help out with, so she’d been told to go with Spike, and he’d look after her until her relatives weren’t busy any more.
     Spike was still a source of mixed curiosity and anxiety to her. Curiosity, because he was warm and squashy and so delicate he had to cover his exterior plating with layers of fabric, and he had a funny looking head, covered in a fuzz of soft tendrils. Anxiety because, well… he was a hooming, and hoomings were tricky creatures not to be trusted! She knew Jas said he was a friend, and she was trying to think of him as a friend so Jas would be happy, but it was tricky.
     …and now she was bored, because he’d had to refuel himself, and was now engaged in a very important discussion with another hooming, pressing buttons on a crude telecommunications device called a ‘lap top’. (Which didn’t make much sense because it was on a table top, not a lap. But these hoomings didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the best of times, so she let it slide.)
     She settled on finding her own amusement. Spike hadn’t said she couldn’t go investigating, and this ‘kitchen’ they were in was a small, hooming-sized room in a building just around the corner from the main Ark… and it was full of cupboards full of strange hooming stuff. He’d laughed and amusedly corrected her when she’d put a pan for sauces on her head and informed him “it hat!”, but he was otherwise kind of uninterested. Which meant – unfortunately – she’d been left entirely to her own devices…
     The afternoon wore on and she rapidly ran out of low cupboards to be curious about and pull all the stuff out of. The higher cupboards were an irresistible draw… Compared to a human sparkling of an equivalent emotional development, Footloose was big. Compared to Spike, however, she was still too small to easily reach the cupboards above the worktop. And she knew they contained fuels, because Spike had opened it up and taken out jars of energon to make his ‘lunch’ out of.
     Ordinarily, she wasn’t the sort to go around sampling alien fuels, regardless how depleted she was. If there wasn’t any energon, she’d go and tuck herself into a corner where she wouldn’t get tripped over (she’d tripped Spotweld a few times and he was heavy), preferably snuggling with her twin, and pull off the grid for a while. Buut… she was getting low, and she’d seen Spike refuelling on things in the cupboards, though, so she figured it would be all right.
     First of all, how to get on the worktop. It was too high to climb up, but… she didn’t need to scramble around like some useless groundling! She wrinkled her nose and performed a very quick, almost automatic triangulation, then teleported.
     She inspected the worktop first of all. At one end was that strange spongey block that Spike had used to carry the fuel – was it like an energon cube? Didn’t really look much like the familiar crystal lattice, it looked more like an opaque foam. She gave it a poke, and her dark finger smushed easily into the soft brown surface. Of course, he’d not put the energon into the stuff, but had used the serrated tool to slice a bit off the end and then put the fuel onto it. She pinched her finger and thumb together and brought a small lump away, and examined it carefully with the internal diagnostic plates in her mouth… nope, didn’t like it. Insoluble and inedible. Not a fuel. She peh!ed and egested the mauled lump of carrier wafer back onto the sideboard.
     She opened the cupboard, and was greeted by a dazzling array of alien fuels that left her momentarily awed. Energon didn’t come in all these colours! There was red, and yellow, and pale brown, and speckly and mottled and… There was surely something good for sparklings, in here!
     In the front on the bottom shelf was the jar Spike had used. She lifted it out, carefully, her soft finger-pads easily grasping the shiny glass; it was wrapped most of the way with a matt label, covered in illegible Suishy writing. (Slipstream would probably have been able to interpret this, but he wasn’t here.) The lid took a little more work to remove, until she worked out it twisted off.
     She dabbed a finger into the jar and scooped the strange brownish fuel up on her fingertip. Very odd stuff. It looked almost non-Newtonian! It was full of lumps, had a strange oily/granular texture, but it was stiff, and paste-like, and stuck to her fingers when she rubbed it between them. Stuck to her analytical plates, too, when she examined it a little more closely with her mouth. Huh. She made blagh-faces and tried to wipe her tongue against her forearm, and just spread the paste a little further. This wasn’t much good as a fuel! How could Spike utilise it?
     What else was there…? Maybe this bottle of reddish gelatinous substance was energon? It was the right colour, nearly. Just… thicker, and full of little black speckles. Concentrated energon went opalescent, not red. But then this was Suishie fuel, maybe it worked differently. She unscrewed the lid, and sampled it…

     A few minutes inattention was all it took. One minute and Spike was engrossed in busily discussing something inane over the Instant Messenger with Carly, the next minute and there was a horrible, wet, broken-sounding clok from behind that made him all but leap out of his skin.
     He turned fully expecting to find a broken robobaby, to instead find a puddle of honey and glass spreading slowly across the floor, leaving saucepans and teacups standing in it like islands, and a curious sparkling up on the countertop, busily going through the cupboard and sampling everything she could get the lid off.
     “Aw, crap!” Spike leaped to his feet so fast that the chair went flying.
     Footloose looked up, startled, one tiny black hand still in her mouth.
     “What are you doing? You shouldn’t even be up there!” Spike staggered over a chairleg and clutched for the sticky infant.
     Footloose made an urp sound and turned very slightly, and-
     -vanished completely. There was a low slap as air molecules collapsed back into the sparkling-sized gap left in spacetime.
     Spike didn’t have long to ponder the sparkling’s abrupt disappearing act. Just about every single jar along the bottom shelf had been opened and investigated, there were sticky fingermarks all over the shelves, the tiles, the jars, the packets, the cooking utensils, and there were little pools of liquid slowly running into each other where bottles had tipped over, and were slowly oozing their contents across the sideboard.
     “Aw, man,” he ran his fingers up into his hair and stared at the sticky cupboards. “What a mess. Someone’s gonna have my hide for this…”

     There was a muffled little slup of sound in the background, and Forceps was already turning towards the source when it announced its presence in the infirmary as noisily as ever. Footloose – still wearing her saucepan hat – looked like she’d been dunked in a vat of glucose syrup, then rolled in a pillow factory, covered as she was in smears and fluff and stickiness. “Ausep!” she greeted, arms up for a hug.
     Forceps looked down, and frowned, startled, unconsciously recoiling from the little bundle of unidentifiable goop. “What have you been up to, Button?” she wondered, out loud, backing away from the sticky dervish that chased her ankles.
     “Dam!” Footloose waved sticky fingers.
     “Damn? Where did you hear language like that, young lady?”
     “Dzam,” Footloose tried again, and planted the sticky palm against Forceps’ thigh as if by way of explanation. “Saw Spike make refuel, and had Suishie en’gon!”
     “ Jam?” Forceps realised, and wasn’t sure if she should laugh or groan at realising what must have been happening. “Oh, Button, it doesn’t work like that,” she scolded, affectionately, picking the little femme up off the floor and setting her onto an examination bench. “You go ingesting Squishy energon, and you’ll glue all your pumps up.”
     “But-… en’gon!” Footloose was already making bleh faces, however, and wiping her tongue against her hands, apparently having discovered for herself why jam didn’t make good eating for sparklings. “…aeulh. Sticky!”
     “And you’ll be all sticky inside as well, now…” The surgeon turned briefly to her host’s medic, and asked, quietly; “got any very mild sedatives that’d be suitable for the little one without putting her right into stasis?”
     “You think sedating her is the way to go?” Ratchet gave her a look.
     “Take it from me, she’s not going to sit still for us to get a scope down,” Forceps glared affectionately down at her charge, holding her at arms length in a vain attempt to avoid spreading the stickiness any further. “Even Auntie Sepp can’t get you to sit still if it’s to do with nasty medicine, can she?”
     Footloose made more blaugh noises and wiggled, trying hard to wipe her face against Forceps but just too far away. “Nasty, nasty,” she complained, squirming. “No more sticky, Ausep! Make clean.”
     “Well, we’re going to let you have a little sleep so we can get you clean, all right?”
     Footloose looked between the two pairs of optics watching her, and sucked on her sticky fingers, but nodded, and was soon nicely floppy and sedated.
     …It was quite an eye-opener to see exactly what some sparklings were willing to attempt to refuel on, as they cleaned jam, ketchup, cooking oil, peanut butter, dry rice, mustard, rosemary, curry paste, and raisins (and those were just the identifiable condiments) out of the sedated infant’s main intakes.
     “I think I shall be having words with her babysitter,” Ratchet commented, thoughtfully, once the tubes were finally clean and de-stickied, and they closed the plating carefully back up. “Namely, explaining exactly what ‘watch she doesn’t get into trouble’ means.”
     “So, no more jam, eh, Button?” Forceps suggested, gently, gathering Footloose up off the berth.
     “No more,” Footloose agreed, still drowsy from the sedation, curled against her aunt’s chest and clicked quietly.

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Muah. 800-ish words of stupids. Just had to get it written before my brain kersploded. Yeah, it looks mostly like a chunk that should go into a story, rather than self-standing, but eh, whatever. S'funny, Sepp never struck me as particularly maternal, so I'm not sure where this rapport with "Lucy" came from. Maybe it's the fact she's not Sepp's little spark, and so the surgeon can give her back when she gets tired of her. ;)

Footloose (Lucy) is one of my two little self-indulgences. ;) Kinda bouncing ideas for a sequel to the story I'm working on at the moment, but as it stands so far I figure I'd get complaints, given that the little sprogs (Footloose and Slipstream) are in it. And little sprogs have to come from SOMEwhere. *does sneaky eyes*

I doubt this'll ever get into anything "official" (i.e. fan-canon or whatever I ought to call my little storyline), but eh, c'mon, what's not to like about robobabies?

Edit: 21/11/2008 - Edited it a little. Toyed with putting it into "Warped", then changed my mind, but it still amused me, so here it is. :)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
robyn_tree
Jan. 12th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Loving 'warped' and this was cute. Sparklings are fun. And you've probably been told this by now but a drabble is a hundred word ficlet :) So bigger than a drabble.
keaalu
Jan. 12th, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)

And actually, no, I hadn't been told that, I was just thinking it was "short". :) I'll remember for future.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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