PHD #211: From Aerilon, With Love
From Aerilon, With Love
Summary: Back from the Emporium, Leyla comes to sickbay to deliver her care packages to the Koios brood.
Date: 26 Sep 2041 AE
Related Logs: Kirsch...and Corpses
Astra Leyla NPC 
Recovery Room - Sickbay
A much more quiet area of Medical, this elongated room is also lined with beds. Each is similarly outfitted with privacy curtains as necessary and even the paint on the walls has been lightened in an attempt to help lift spirits. Chairs are readily available all over the place so that visitors can pull one up to talk to the patients during their recovery. Near the entrance, visiting hours are posted with a very conspicuous 'No Smoking' sign.
Post-Holocaust Day: #211

It's the evening, after the advance guard, as it were, traveled down to the planet to visit the Emporium, and the place is still being cleared out and shipped back up, lock, stock and barrel, per Bootstrap's orders. The essential supplies are well on their way to being distributed to all, civilians in particular, by the quartermaster's staff, but those who went down and are still going down have managed to collect a few things for themselves, as well as collect the necessary supplies to be handed out 'officially'.

That said, Leyla is back in Sickbay, just a few minutes after making her trip to see the Master-at-Arms. She's got her duffel slung over her shoulder, though it's not nearly as full as it was the last time she brought it back to the ship, but the slight noises coming from it are a sure sign that there's indeed enough inside it to matter. A pause, outside of the small 'room' where Astra and her kids are settled, as she calls in, "Astra, are you awake in there?"

There is a moment of silence, then Astra's voice calls out softly. "Y-yes, I am. Please come in." Astra is standing, leaning against one of the beds, and tucking in some of the children. She moves slowly, as if in a bit of pain, shuffling from one bed to the other. She looks up, smiling a bit. "Hi, Leyla. Just getting the kids tucked in. Come on in." She gestures to one of the chairs.

Leyla comes in quietly, setting down her duffel with the minimum of klunking and banging, which is to say, fairly quietly. "You shouldn't be out of bed. You're never going to get out of this place, if you keep pushing yourself. Let me finish up for you." So with her bag out of the way, she'll step in, to help with putting the kids to bed, and then, unless Astra protests, helping the woman into bed herself. "Salima was just as stubborn as you. Tore all her stitches out after her second daughter."

"I know…. I know." Astra sighs, accepting the help, then allowing Leyla to assist her. She winces as she lies down, closing her eyes a moment. "They just sleep better, have fewer nightmares, when I tuck them in." She shakes her head. "I have fewer nightmares when I tuck them in. I'm trying not to push myself. Thank you, Leyla. Most everyone… has been so good to me here. And good to the children."

"You want to take care of them now, and I understand that, but taking better care of yourself now, means you'll be better able to take care of them in the future. The longer you take to recover, the longer they will too. Children feed off of the energy of their parents." They're like little psychic vampires, yo. Ahem. "Come, I have a few things for you all that I brought back from the surface."

Eyes that ought to be closed peep open, and the children look from one to the other, then to Astra, who nods. So they sit up, peering, excited. Astra herself sits forward a little, and she smiles. "It's like a festival-day," she murmurs. "Like when I was a little girl. I'd wake up and my clothes would be missing that I set out the night before. I'd have to go hunt them through the house, and in each one there was some little treat, or sometimes they were wrapped around bigger presents. Thank you for being so good to us, Leyla."

Leyla returns to the seat where she put down her duffel, and she unties the string closure on top, pulling out plastic bags, one for each child, including the two little ones, "I think there are some sleepy heads who are not so sleepy anymore." A shake of her head, in answer to Astra, "What good is anything that we're doing out here, if we can't take care of each other?" Finally, she has all nine bags out. "Alright, so, in order to do this fairly, I'm going to do this by age." That said, she starts with Petra, carrying the bag over to the small girl. Hers also seems to be the biggest. But once its open, it's clear why. There's a small personal sized throw blanket, you know the sort that is like warm, but super-thin, with a nice big map of Aerilon on it. Additionally, there are four shirts in her size (hence why Leyla was asking about the children's sizes before she went down), a jumper and two pairs of pants. Aside from the clothes, there's a neat little zippered storage bag full of little travel sized toiletries (hello sample sized racks!), and some little snacks and such from the emporium. The upside to shopping for children, is that at the moment, there simply aren't that many children on the ship. So finding things for them and actually being able to give them out is much easier. It also helps that Leyla managed to get in while the shopping was good. Raptor Pilot dibs FTW!

At first Petra shrinks away, studying Leyla carefully, then nodding. Leyla has passed The First Test. She takes the bag and opens it awkwardly, then looks up again, making sure it's okay. She pulls out the blanket first, touches it, looks at it, then looks at the tattered excuse she has for a blanket right now. She bites her lip, then folds the old blanket carefully before wrapping herself with the new one. She smiles at the clothes and the snacks, and even at the toiletries. She pets the blanket like it's a puppy, rocking back and forth a few times. "Th-thank….you…" she breathes. Astra beams, wiping at her eyes, a bit teary.

Leyla's movements, around the small girl are slow and careful, making certain never to get too close, or to make the girl feel as though her space is being invaded. For good or ill, it seems Leyla has a bit of experience working with or at least interacting with people who've been damaged, for lack of a better term. "You're very welcome, Petra." And then, she goes on to each of the children in turn. Each of them has the basics, the clothes and toiletries (which do include a small brush and/or comb and some little hair accessories for the girls), with different treats and snacks thrown in. Each has a little personalized gift as well. A toy or perhaps a book, or whatever might have seemed to Leyla most appropriate for each child. Of course, nearly all of it is either in tartan, or has catchy little Aerilonian touristy slogans on it, but, well, they're still clean and new. "There are other things, in my storage," she offers softly, as she passes Astra, on her way to Nestor. "But I felt it would be better to keep a few things back." She doesn't elaborate on why, but she's certain Astra can figure it out. With supplies so low and people in such bad tempers, better not to tempt thieves.

Astra nods her head, her eyes flickering a little. "For the best," she agrees. "Thank you." She watches the children, wiping at her eyes frequently as they accept these supplies as magical gifts. Missy sniffs the new smell of the shirts, squeals softly, and then cries, rubbing her face with the stuffed lambkin she's been given. "Thank you, thank you," she whispers. This is pretty much the sentiment of all the children, overwhelmed with joy and wonder at what would have been, not too many months ago, mundane gifts. And they seem to like the plaid. Must be an Aerilonese thing.

It doesn't take terribly long, for Leyla to hand out the first seven bags. "There's also a new pair of shoes for each of you, but I didn't want to put them in your bags." Brand new the shoes might be, but you don't put shoes on top of clean clothes and around food, "You're welcome, Missy." Her demeanor, the entire time is as quiet as ever. As though this were the most normal thing in the world, which, perhaps while it isn't anymore, it should be. Finally, there's only Astra and the twins, and so, Astra gets three bags. One bag for the twins, who's clothing is so small, and, well, being still, mostly, Astra-fed, so to speak, require very little. But there is some baby formula in there, and two of those little hooded blankets, these with cute little anime-esque sheep on them. Astra being the only adult, well, her clothes need a separate bag to the rest of her things. But she's much the same. A few changes of clothes, basic toiletries, though there's also some more, sort of, froo-froo girly stuff in there, all nicely scented of rose and lavender, but her treats seem, to be less cookies and such, though there are a few as well, but more along the lines of a few colouring books and letters and numbers and objects sort of activities books. "We can make copies of these for you." Hell, if the Cerberus can make half a gazillion flyers for her to distribute on Sag, they can photocopy some pages for Astra to use for her students and soon to be students.

Luckily the children are engrossed in their own happiness when Astra opens her bags, first for the twins and then for herself. "Oh Leyla. This is wonderful." She rubs at her eyes again and again, but the tears just won't stop falling. She finally just lets them, laughing gently at herself as she sniffles over a container of lotion. "Toothbrushes, new ones. Oh! Deodorant! Thank the gods…" Her hands shake a little as she re-folds the clothes, and she gives a soft hiccup, trying to settle herself. "Thank you so much. New clothes. Clean clothes. It's been months. Underwear. Actual clean underwear… Thank you."

There is a decided frown, as Leyla listens to Astra's comment, "Supply should have made certain you had that, at least," to the comment about underwear, "For you, if not for the children," sizes which Supply just would not have had in stock, stocking, well, adult sized things. Of all of the children, only perhaps Zander would fit into something approaching adult sizes. "I will check in with them. I know they're working overtime to try to make sure everyone has at least two of everything. Hopefully this will make it easier for them." The haul from the Emporium at large, she means, "But you're very welcome. I figured I might as well do what I could while I could. With any luck, we'll hit a few more places on Aerilon, or on some of the other colonies, and supply everyone that way." There's a slight pause, "I've one more thing, but you have to close your eyes." That's directed at Astra.

"Well… I suppose they assumed medical's been handling it. I'm not complaining. It's been clean just… worn out and now some large on me…" Astra's voice trails off, and she tilts her head. "One more thing? But there's already so much…" She looks about her, bewildered by having things again. Dazed, but not displeased. After a moment, she nods, closing her eyes obediently, childlike. The children, though, being real children, peek, whispering curiously, wondering what is in store for Mama Astra. "Maybe it's a puppy," murmurs Thera, half-hopeful.

"Well, between Bunny and I, I'm sure we'll make certain you have everything you need." Which might or might not require some good old-fashioned Taurian 'communications' to keep straight, but hey(!), Leyla didn't grow up in Derry for nothing. "I'm afraid there weren't any puppies where we went to, Thera. And I don't know that they'd be too happy living here on the ship with us just yet." But whatever it is, as Leyla gently moves the bags off of Astra's lap, is slightly heavy, and sort of lumpy. Or rather, just oddly shaped. A black leather case, the sort most any band camp kid would recognize, mostly.

Astra sits quietly, though she turns her head towards Thera, her eyes still shut. "Maybe someday, Thera. If we ever find a dog or puppies, and it's okay, and we're in a place where we can have one, I promise you I'll do everything I can to make sure you can have a dog or share one. Okay?" She sighs. "She had a lovely sheepdog. It saved her life on Warday, and a few times after. But he was an old dog, died comfortably in his sleep last month." She shakes her head, then puts out her hands to feel what is put into her lap. Her fingers move over it delicately, then begin to shake, and her mouth drops open. "Oh. Oh Leyla. Am I dreaming?"

"I'll keep an eye out, and my ear to the ground, if I hear anything about a little guy or girl who might need a home." It's unlikely, for a long while, or at least until the civilians have their own safe and private places to live, that anything like a dog or any sort of pet would be allowed, if any of them could even be found still well enough, but well, that's a thought for another day. No need to rain on a little girl's parade today. "If you were dreaming, I'd be smoking right now." Not that Leyla is too much of a chain smoker, but curse these Sickbay rules. "Bootstrap made sure to tell the Marines he wanted all the instruments that could be found brought back to the ship." So no need to worry about losing out that aspect of Aerilonese culture, "But I got to this one before they did." Indeed, it was one of the first things she picked up.

She has to clasp her hands together before she can open the case. Astra's breath catches, and she lifts the harp reverently. "C-can I o-open my eyes now?" she stammers. Her fingers brush over the instrument, not steady, then finally dare to pluck at a string. The note, clear and soft, drifts like smoke across the room. She bows her head, unable to keep from crying, though she still smiles. She brushes her hands across the strings again, then begins to pluck the notes of a lullaby, a bit off-key here and there.

Thankfully, Leyla doesn't know a thing about music, so if it is off-key, you know she won't know. "Of course." And she's content to return to her seat, now empty of her bag, which is back by her feet. "I don't know if it's all that good. Was in one of the display cases, so not sure if it was really supposed to be used, or just looked at. But it looked nice." And it was what Astra said she wanted, so…

Astra opens her eyes, and she gasps looking at the hap. "Oh… wow. Just… wow." She shakes her head, running her fingers over the harp, inspecting it. "I think whoever made it was in love with making harps. I doubt it was intended to sell… but it has a lovely little tone. Needs tuning, but that is no surprise. Oh gods, Leyla… this is wonderful. It… Is it all right? I mean, it's such a luxury." Her voice quavers a little. "But it's marvelous. It's beautiful." She falls silent, beyond words.

"Everyone on the crew has personal effects. Quite a few have instruments they brought with them. Why should you be any different? There are more being brought back to the ship. They'll be given out or rented out, I'm certain. And I have no doubt you would lend it to someone, if they wanted to use it, and they could take good care of it, so it's not a problem." And, a flicker, a brief little 'something', either in her tone or in her eyes, and for that brief moment, it's a very different Leyla looking out, than the one that just handed out gifts to children and mother alike. The Leyla that survived the industrial gangwar-zone that was Derry. "It's not going to be a problem." But soon enough it passes, "I know you don't have much room or privacy here. I've got a storage case down on deck 8 I cleared out," likely giving away what was in there in the process. "I can keep it and any extras from the kids and from you in there, give you a key to keep on you."

"Thanks." My, she's saying it a lot these days. Astra looks from child to child; they are watching her curiously, but beginning to drift off, arms still wrapped around their toys or new clothes. Then she looks back to the harp, and touches the strings again, just to make sure it is real. She looks dazed, almost shell-shocked, though not unhappy. She sinks back against the pillows, sighing softly. "I feel so… rich…" she murmurs.

Leyla rises from her seat, seeing the children starting to drift off. Her duffel she moves to rest under Astra's bed. There's nothing left in there but the shoes for the children, but there's more than enough room for Astra and the kids to pack away their extras for her to store away. "It's a wealth I'm certain won't go to waste." if one must give 'riches' to someone, best it be a teacher, so that they can pass it on to others. "Rest now, Astra, so you'll be awake when the children are. I'll come check on you in the morning." She does move to help place the harp back into its case though, "I can ask the staff to put this in a secure place for you." Maybe the dispensary. Nobody gets in there.

"Thank you. And no… it won't go to waste…" Astra smiles warmly, but she seems weary now, and still too dazed by all of this to do or say much. She hands over the harp, then sighs, closing her eyes. "You've gone… above and beyond for me, Leyla. I won't forget it. If I can ever repay you…" Her voice trails off, and she starts to settle herself. It is time to rest.

"Take care of yourself, and of the children, here and in the fleet. That's all you need to do. That's repayment enough." Some skills Leyla has in abundance. Others, she will never have. But if hers will help Astra do what she seems meant to do, well. "Sleep well, Astra, children." And softly, quietly, Leyla heads back out into the ship, and back to deck 8, before heading to her own rack.

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