“I wanna do laser. I WANNA do LASER!”
You’d think being a 22nd century babysitter would be an easy job. What with all the advances in technology, medicine, etc. Well you’d be wrong. In the old days they never had to deal with babies who’d had intelligence enhancing nanos applied in vitro. Or the fact you could train them to be war mongering little heathens to guide your missiles and other costly war making equipment faster than computers. But there you go.
Not that it hadn’t cropped up its own plethora of issues, and therefore a greater need for us. Who knew maturity, and not just intelligence, helped ingrain good behavior patterns and judgment? And tantrums? You’ve never truly experience one till you’ve seen one of these ‘special’ kids go at it, spewing higher mathematical logic as to why they should have one extra cookie or two despite orders to the contrary.
“Laser! Laser! LASER!”
I dodged right as a half empty bottle of formula followed the screamed demand. I don’t think my drill sergeant ever expected my combat training to come in handy in just quite this way.
The two year old rattled his US Army Issue Crib and opened his mouth to prepare to screech at the top of his lungs. The sound buffer fields on the rest of the ten cribs in Unit 38 wouldn’t be able to handle the strain. The little bastard had used his enhanced smarts to figure out the modulation frequency of the fields and knew just what pitches to use to get past it.
And I’d just gotten the rest of the little ‘darlings’ to go to sleep.
Last time Mortimer did this it took hours to calm the rest of them down, the little shit! Combat pay wasn’t worth that – ever! I grabbed a green stuffed toy and sprinted the few feet to his crib.
“Now, Morty, who’s a good boy? Who’s about to get a good boy present and be allowed to sleep with Mr. Tentacles?” I tried to smile, but I was pretty sure it came out more like a grimace. I’d rather been in a locked room with lit stick of dynamite than here.
The half drawn breath stuttered and sputtered out. “Misseh Tencles?” Mortimer’s eyes grew wide as he spotted the toy. You’d think since he could modulate his voice to override the sound buffer fields he could talk normally, but no. None of the military scientists had an explanation for this either. Personally, I believed they all did it on purpose. Worked great when trying to sway female personnel to their side, something about ingrained mothering instincts. It meant shit duty for the rest of us.
“Yeah, that’s right, Mr. Tentacles. Just for you. I know how you love, Mr. Tentacles.” This was the tenth one I’d had to requisition this month. The kids were tough on the buggers. Sweat gathered at my brow. Just a few more weeks and I’d be out of the rotation. I just had to survive till then and then I’d be out. I shook the green stuffed octopus trying to make him look more enticing.
Mortimer’s lower lip quivered. “No laser?”
Crap. “Now, Morty, you got to fry the insurgents yesterday. It was someone else’s turn today. There’ll still be plenty there to fry up when your shift comes again. You’re very well aware of the mandates on the child labor laws.”
His little face screwed up into a pout but he didn’t say anything. He knew I had him. I slipped the toy through the bars knowing better than to gloat. The little buggers liked to hold grudges. Private Dexter had found all his bank accounts frozen after blowing his top at one the little ‘dears’. No one ever figured out how they got away with it, and the rest of us just didn’t want to go there.
His small, brown, calculating eyes rested on me as he grabbed the toy and hugged it with his little chubby arms. Every survival instinct inside me screamed. He was up to something and I probably wasn’t going to like it.
“Wanna beard.” He said it real low, staring at me intently.
Total sore loser. “I gave you a toy, Morty. It’s going to have to be enough, okay?”
Damn the General and his Christmas party idea. The Old Man had put on a red suit and beard and freaked the kids. They’d thought him an insurgent. Facial hair was still frowned on by the brass, so they’d never seen anyone on our side with a beard before. Once we explained and they calmed down, they’d laughed and laughed until their little faces turned red. Especially after the startled General took it off to show them it was fake. I should have known it’d come back to haunt me. “You don’t need a fake beard. You really don’t.”
His face closed up tighter than a bunker. He wasn’t going to let this one go. Why the hell not though?
He opened his mouth and took in a deep lungful of air. Suddenly the fact he didn’t need it didn’t mean a thing to me anymore.
“Okay! Okay! You win. Just let me go see if I can find the blasted thing.” This was going to go on a report somewhere, I just knew it. Some jerk in security was laughing his ass off at my expense right now.
Luckily the party had only been a few days ago so the bins hadn’t yet been sent to permanent storage. I grabbed the thing and brought it back. “Happy now?”
Mortimer shoved the beard on his face and grinned at me through the white bristles. He jammed the octopus’ head through the beard as well so it hung from it. “My beard come so Fat!” The little guy grinned from ear to ear then yawned sleepily.
I might just get through this. I hoped.
(P.S. Wasn't gonna do the challenge. Busy. Behind. Thinking how the heck do I do a story on "I wanna do laser"? Walked to the girl's room and the cretive muscle flashed me a picture. So there I went... Creativity is a mysterious thing.