This event concludes the Ebola Browndell crisis storyline, picking up where Less Than Texas left off:
An unfamiliar voice broadcasts through the loudspeaker – a female. She says: “Attention, occupants of Canaveral Spaceport. I am Dr. Erin Lundquist from Bethesda. One of your clinicians asked for me to visit with a potential antidote for the contagion that was introduced to your bodies. We’ll be pumping the inhalant smoke into the ventilation system for distribution throughout the facility. Be aware, it was produced using cannabis plants and some other narcotic materials. You may experience hallucinations.”
Kinako opens one eye, from her bed in the medical bay. There is a data tablet propped up on the table beside her, along with a number of very neatly lettered notes, such as “Kindly do not administer antipyretics unless temperature exceeds 40.6 C (105 F).” As she struggles to sit up, whoever happens to be on the other end of the video chat prattles for a moment in Chinese. “…Qing jinru shuimian zhuangtai, yi-she-ng feng (Please go to sleep, Doctor Feng),” she murmurs in response, before looking around to see if any one in the vicinity is awake, and if so, if they appeared to have heard that someone odd message.
Maxwell comes wandering into the med bay, and offers a friendly wave to Kinako. An eyebrow is raised at the contents of the announcement.
The crooning tunes of the Oak Ridge Boys start warbling out of the loudspeakers just before a greenish-white mist roils from the spaceport’s ventilation duct.
Kinako pokes the data tablet to switch to calling Maxwell, so he doesn’t have to enter the quarantine area. “Konban wa, good evening, Mister Cooke-sir,” she murmurs. “I hope you have not also become unwell. What… what is going on? There is music, and strange talk. Is it another attack?”
The Oak Ridge Boys are singing on the loudspeakers now, while a greenish-white mist (marijuana laced with some sort of antidote and other narcotics) pours in from the ventilation ducts. Everyone has been warned to expect hallucinations.
Maxwell shakes his head “Just popped by, really. Never fun being stuck in a medical place with no visitors… Erm, well, it *sounds* official. Although, as efficient as it no doubt is to flood the area with a potential cure… is it really the best idea to make us all potentially hallucinate?” Kinako’s in a bed in the medbay, Max is visiting at a safe distance, and the announcement just explained the rest.
Maurice stirs from the bench he has been napping on. The Texan sniffs the air a few time and blinks. “Hot damn…” He murmurs. Soon he is singing “Elvira” to all those that care to hear.
Kinako blinks foggily. “It, ah… does not seem prudent, no. But I am prepared to allow them to, test treatments on me… I would have preferred that they perform a limited, ah, test, but it seems I have been relegated to ‘patient’ status. My sincerest apologies, Mister Cooke-sir.” She crinkles her nose, murmuring drowsily. “It does not smell pleasant.”
The song shifts from “Elvira” to something else by the Oak Ridge Boys. The tune lilts through the smoke-wisped corridors as guards, doctors, civilian scientists, and others inhale the airborne concoction. Through the speakers, the lyrics flow: “And all the fallen angels and pinball playing rounders/stopped the games that they’d been playing for the loser’s evening prayer.”
Maxwell finds himself a chair to sit down upon, and sniffs the air with an odd smile on his face “…Think they’ve decided *everyone* in the general area is a patient.”
Maurice takes a Texas size wiff of the hazy air and smiles. “Gonna make ole Willie Nelson proud if they keep this up.” He grins. “Now aint none of us gonna pass our drug tests now…. Breath deep there Miss Kinako. That there is Murican Higher Ed-ucation Aids in the air.”
“Kumo ga naku, watashi wa oyogu, sore ga itai? (The clouds weep. I swim. Does it hurt?)” Kinako replies, eyes still closed.
A silver hammer looms about thirty feet high next to Maxwell, rumbling up through the floor and smashing through the domed ceiling overhead. Chunks of plaster and debris spill down on him. Bob Busby floats cross-legged about a foot above Kinako, wearing rose-tinted round glasses and smoking a hookah. Maurice comes face-to-face with a fanged creature that appears to be a cross between a rabbit and a shar pei: the notorious chupacabra.
Maxwell leans back in his chair, and just breathes deeply for a moment, before looking around. “…Construction’s started already?”
Maurice blinks his eyes slowly. “Hola Senor! Como are ya my Mex-i-can amigo… Aint got no goats… Well…. shiiiit. Ya aint fixin ta git yerself a big ole cowboy smoothie are ya?” He grins for a time but slowly it fades and slowly the Texan starts to back away.
“Gomen’nasai, Busby-sama, that was… terrible. I did not even include a cut word, and my seasonal reference was weak. I must apologize,” Kinako says to the Bob-er-pillar. “Perhaps a classic would be better. Ah, Hatsu shigure, saru mo komino wo, hoshige nari. (The first cold shower, even the monkey seems to want, a little coat of straw). Is it raining? There are so many clouds. Naze kore hodo o-ku no kumo ga aru nodesu ka? (Why are there so many clouds?)”
The hammer swings down toward Maxwell, whistling through the air as it plunges. The chupacabra roars and lunges at Maurice. Busby, meanwhile, pulls the hookah hose from his mouth and says, “So, yeah, wow, man. Trippy. You feelin’ good, Nak-Nak?”
“GAH!” The flying hammer startles Max enough that he tips his chair backwards with him in it, banging his head slightly on the ground.
“Ah shit.” Maurice murmurs as he tries to turn away. The Texan tries to beat feet away from the beast. “Why couldn’t ya have been a nice fluffy jackalope?!”
“I apologize for what may be a lack of gratitude, but I must admit that I am feeling… Atama ga konran shite iru, disoriented,” Kinako blinks a few times, as though trying to will her vision to clear. “…you are the -strangest- kami I have ever seen, Busby-sama. Ah, why are people shouting? Are we out of tea? I am very sorry for becoming symptomatic. I can no longer make the tea.”
The hammer, at the last possible moment, turns into an icy cold wave that splashes Maxwell’s face. The chupacabra becomes a sloppy Labrador that pounces on Maurice and tries to lick him to death. Busby transforms into a teapot, which burbles through its ceramic spout: “I can make the tea.”
Maxwell groans slightly from his current not particularly vertical position. “Why was that giant hammer refreshing? …and why is everyone else sideways?”
Maurice blinks a few times and flops onto his back. The Texan attempts to pet the nice fangless doggie. “Government has the best weed.” Is all he can manage at the moment.
Kinako groans quietly and flops her forearm across her eyes, “…why? Why would any one want to do this on purpose? It is, distressing, and… terrible… and… ah, well, I do not wish to be rude. I will have perhaps just one cup, but then you should get back to bed, Busby-sama.”
The Oak Ridge Boys continue: “When I feel a lonesome night coming on/Every thing I did all day went wrong/There’s a black cloud following me around/And I just cant get away.”
That wave splashing Maxwell shifts form, becoming a face-hugging tarantula. The Labrador licking Maurice? It’s now a fat white guy in a French maid dress, fishnet hose, and a ten-gallon hat. The Busby teapot turns into a glowing golden chalice that spins and sparkles in a column of light above Kinako.
“AACK! Big thing on my face! Too many legs! Stop lookin at me with all those eyes!” Naturally, there’s a fair bit of flailing in the direction of the face spider.
“Well….. shit…” Maurice murmurs at the shift. One hand goes to cup fatty’s rump. “Hey there Honky Tonk Queen.” The Texan is having a good ole time, the guy’s hat is tipped back and a smooch is given. “Flattered but I like em a bit thinner feller.”
“Ah, you should certainly… go back to bed, Busby-sama, you are…” Kinako starts, and then squints one eye open to root around for her tablet and painstakingly look some things up. “…trans-mi-gra-ted?” She laughs cautiously. “That is a very lonng word. Ronguwa-do. Rongu… wa-do.” She laughs a little bit more. “That is… silly.”
The smoke thins. The spider clinging to Maxwell’s face turns into a glowing blue dodecahedron. Maurice soon finds himself gripping a bright yellow bean bag painted like Pikachu. Kinako’s chalice turns into a wraith-like child with skinny arms, jet black eyes, and dark hair that floats upward as if underwater.
Maxwell gasps a bunch as he realizes the spider is gone, and pulls himself back to a sitting position. Seeing the glowing blue geometry right in front of his face, his eyes go wide. “Ohhh, pretty. What’s your name, glowy blue dodecahedron? Are you a hoolovoo?”
“I would like to get off this trip through inner space now..” Maurice murmurs as he stares at the bean bag chair. A faint shrug and attempt to sit and get comfy on it.
After a brief moment of muddle-headed staring at the sudden shift in subject matter, Kinako channels what must be her inner J-horror movie star and lets loose with a shrill “Iiiiii-eeeeeeeeee!” that trails off into hoarseness before she tumbles gracelessly out of her bed, yanking out her IV, which starts shrieking its own alarm.
The Oak Ridge Boys sing another song through the speakers: “As I skip across the waves my sails are high and full/My mind is on the one I wait to see/And I dream about an island somewhere in my mind/Where someday I will take her off with me.”
The last tendrils of smoke are fading to inconsequence. Those affected by the narcotic smoke no longer face hallucinatory images. Everything is, more or less, back to normal.
Maxwell sighs as the potential hooloovoo vanishes. “So much I could’ve learned from that guy… um… is whatever that was over?” The disappointed expression is rapidly changing into vague confusion.
Maurice sits on the floor and lets out a small sigh. “……That there was a good time.” He finally states with a vauge nod of his head. “Yes sir.”
Kinako shakily reaches up to pull the blanket off of her bed and curls up in it, becoming a ball of pastel-print blanket that sniffles occasionally.
The voice of Dr. Lundquist returns to the public address system: “This concludes our preliminary dispersal of the experimental treatment for the contagion known as Ebola Browndell. Clinicians should hold all patients for observation for the next 24 hours. After that, if patients do not appear symptomatic, it should be safe to lift the quarantine. Thanks for your cooperation.”
Maxwell looks over at the sniffling ball of pastel with some concern “Hey… are you alright?”
“Thanks.. partner?” Maurice replies to the PA. His moustache twitches slightly.
“I am ashamed to admit,” says the blanket-ball on the floor that may contain a Kinako, “I am rather displeased with Doctor Lundquist at this moment.” The blanket shuffles slightly. “I will do my best to become more gracious.”