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Cyroa

Back in the Saddle (IC)

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Derrick stretched with a yawn. He didn't really need sleep, either did his wife. And thank goodness for that! Their little bundle of joy was up at all hours demanding to be held or fed or what-have-you. Not that he minded! Far from it! But he had to wonder how a set of normal parents handled such an exhausting task as caring for an infant. It was a bit exhausting even without the need to sleep.

Still, he could honestly say (and when wasn't he really?) that this was one of the happier times in his life. He had spent the majority of the last several weeks here on Sanctuary with his wife and newborn child. Taking only a few hours here and there, most of it had been spent in peaceful if somewhat exhausting bliss. But it was time to get back to their routine. The universe needed them almost as much as their daughter did. And now that she was settling, somewhat, it was time to get to it.

He looked around idly in the crazy baby gear cacophony that their home had become, looking for the communicator that would let them check in with the League, as well as their friends and others who needed them, back on Prime. Of course...he'd had no luck searching for the darn thing in the last 10 minutes or so.

"Honey? Where did we put the communicator?" It might have been a bit surreal to some how 'normal' the pair of powerhouses could sound, but it was just natural to them. Sure, he could have changed and looked for it in a flash...but he was enjoying being husband and daddy a bit too much to just revert to being Dark Star easily.

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"Umm," Stesha began uncertainly, looking around the living room. "I think I had it yesterday, I used it to call my mom and ask her how to get spit-up out of upholstery. Or maybe that was day before yesterday?" she mused, rocking her chair idly with one foot while she fed the baby. She'd sort of lost track of the passage of time in the haze of parenting, but that was all right. It wasn't easy, and sometimes it was downright scary, like when Ammy was projectile vomiting milk all over her parents and the room, but Stesha could cope with that. The important thing was that they had a healthy baby, and that Derrick had been home for almost three straight weeks, a luxury she could hardly believe. Everything seemed easier when she wasn't trying to do it all on her own. But he was right, they did need to come back from the babymoon eventually. "Did you look under the swing, behind the burp cloths?"

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Derrick lifted a pile of clean clothes, pushed aside a stack of diapers, looking for the little device. "I still say you should have just let me alter the couch's molecular structure and then reform it. The stain would have been gone and you wouldn't have noticed a thing. The couch would have been perfectly fine. Aha," he said pulling something out of the debris of their living room. Unfortunately this item squeaked and rattled as he pulled it up. "Ur...nope. Not it." Putting the baby toy aside, he metaphorically dove back in, searching for their comm. "I really need to do some cleaning apparently," he said half to himself.

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"Maybe you could alter the squeaky rattle's molecular structure and reform it into the communicator?" Stesha suggested, not terribly helpfully. She shifted to one side and put her hand down in between the cushion and side of the recliner. "Oh, here it is. Must have fallen down." She passed it over to him, then shifted Ammy to her lap and began patting her back. The baby sprawled over Stesha's supporting arm like a wide-eyed beanbag, but eventually essayed a loud belch. "You're not going to take on any more intergalactic missions for awhile still, right?" Stesha asked.

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Derrick smiled at her and walked over to take the communicator, leaning down for a quick kiss. "If I knew a darn thing about building one of them, I'd probably make a dozen of the things just so we would have plenty of them and not risk loosing them somewhere." He gave his wife a wain smile. "Well, it really will not take me long to pop over to another galaxy and I can always be home for dinner," he said with a small smile. "But, no, I do not intend to take any long trips though we both know I cannot promise that," he said. "Honestly, I am amazed we have gone as long as we have without one crisis or another requiring someone to contact us," he said ruefully as he lifted the communicator and 'dialed' Prime.

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Derrick had barely finished powering up the communicator when it began cheeping urgently at him. "Dark Star, this is ASTRO Labs, ASTRO Labs calling Dark Star, can you read? Sorry to interrupt your time off, but we've got a major experiment on the line and our gantry crane is down for the count. We need you to come move a few hundred tons of metal before it falls into the Atlantic Ocean. Dark Star, do you read?"

From her chair, Stesha rolled her eyes in amusement. "I don't know how those people get by even one day without you," she commented. "I guess it's nice to be needed."

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Staring suspiciously at the device a moment, he turned it on. "Yes, I hear you. I understand the dilemma and will be there shortly." Turning the device off, he placed the communicator on a shelf so it wouldn't be so easily lost this time. He quickly moved over to Stesha and gave her a quick kiss before resting his hand lightly on Ammy's head with a smile. "Oh, they mean well. There are just trying to improve humanity's knowledge base. Can't fault them for trying to do the best they can with what is available," he said. "But I'd rather be needed here," he confirmed. "This shouldn't take too long." Stepping back, he release the energy inside and the human guise of Derek was quickly overtaken by Dark Star. "About a half hour I should think," he commented as he summoned the power to open a portal back to Prime. "I shall see you soon, love."

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"See you soon," Stesha responded with a smile, shifting the baby into one arm as she rose from her seat. Feeding Ammy would soon result in a diaper change and hopefully a nap in her little flower-bedecked wooden cradle. Stesha was grateful that so far the infant hadn't manifested any visible powers, including resistance to sleep. They had a checkup scheduled soon with Dr. Archeville, who would surely be able to tell them more about what they might expect in the future, but for now she was entirely in love with her green-haired and otherwise perfectly normal little girl. Even when, like today, a meal was followed not by a sedate nap, but by a spitup and soaked-through diaper. Stesha wondered again as she put the baby in a third outfit for the morning how hard it would be to get a washer and dryer on Sanctuary.

After changing, fussing, singing, and swaddling, the baby went down into her cradle, and Stesha headed for the living room again. She finally collected the breakfast plates and washed them, then looked at the communicator on the shelf. Derrick hadn't actually had time to see if there were any messages. She ought to check. Taking the device of the shelf, she turned the ring volume down and turned it on.

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The communicator beeped as it connected to Prime and began to play. "You have 83 unheard messages. *beep* Message 1. Hello, I'm trying to reach Fleur de Joie. This is Doctor Mihambrath. We have something of a crisis here. We were preparing to harvest a massive crop of grain for starvation relief. The entire crop has been all contaminated with some kind of virulent fungus. We doubt its natural and are working on it but...if we don't get some help within a couple weeks, the crop will be lost. There's some time of course but please don't take too long, we really need your help.*beep*" The message was dated two weeks ago. " Message 2. Hi, John here, trying to reach Stesha. I know you're still on your maternity leave but we've got something of a crisis and you always had some great solutions. We've got a wedding in a couple weeks..and we lost the entire batch of flowers and the new ones won't be ready in time. I don't know what we're going to do! If you have any ideas, we could sure use them! *beep*" The message was dated about two weeks ago. *beep* Message 3: Hello? We're trying to reach Dark Star. We have a significant problem here..."

"

It seems there were quite a few people who needed the power couple.

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Stesha blanched at the influx of messages, then grabbed a notepad and began making a list. Within ten minutes, she had a whole spreadsheet of messages that were stale, urgent messages to return, people who needed to be talked to, and things that weren't quite as bad. Both Fleur de Joie and Dark Star had a lot on their plates, it seemed. She began making phone calls, keeping one anxious ear out for baby cries.

By the time Derrick arrived home, Stesha was in costume and waiting. Her usual costume still didn't fit, but she was making do with an unfastened cowl over green clothing, which was close enough. "I have to go out," she told him, "got a couple of emergencies to handle myself. Here are your messages." She handed him the notepad. "Ammy's sleeping, but she'll probably wake up soon. There's some milk in the fridge for her, and new diapers on the third shelf. I'll be back in a couple hours, hopefully less. Love you!" She gave him a quick kiss and was gone, swallowed up by one of her own flowers.

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Dark Star barely had time to step through the portal before he registered that Stesha was in costume and waiting. He quickly assumed his human guise, just in time to take the messages and accept the kiss with a smile before she was gone. He blinked as the large flower resettled it self. He gave a little shrug and started to look at the small sheaf of messages in his hand when Ammy decided that it was a good time to let the entire countryside know that she was alone, hungry and unhappy about the situation.

Putting the messages down quickly, he practically ran to her room with all the apprehension of any new parent. It took a little time to get her up, get her settled, change her and the clothes she was in, then change his own clothes after not moving out of the way quickly enough and get a bottle ready to go. Finally, he settled down in a chair with the green haired beauty (the smaller one) in one arm. Once she was settled sucking down the bottle, he used his free hand to start going through the messages. "Oh my goodness. These are rather...extensive. It is going to take quite a while to address all of this...time to prioritize I suppose."

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Prioritizing emergencies was nothing new to a hero of Dark Star's caliber, it was something he was forced to do all the time. There simply were too many emergencies, and he was only one man, powerful though he was. Prioritizing was more difficult, however, when the top spot was thoroughly claimed by a creature the size of a sack of potatoes with a voice like a wailing banshee. Midway through his listmaking, Ammy decided that she was done eating and had a tummyache, an entirely unbearable situation. While Derrick was rocking and burping her, another message came in on the communicator! A Lor vessel a mere few light years from Earth was in trouble, its engines offline, its life support failing! Without quick intervention, the outlook was grim!

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Derrick muttered softly to himself, putting aside his almost sorted list. He could not simple ignore the cry for help, such a thought would never even occur to him. However, he certainly did not want to take little Ammy only with him into space; not just yet anyway. Besides being a bit young for such a possibly risky endeavor, he was fairly certain Stesha would not approve. Time for a quick field trips.

He quickly began grabbing necessary items and putting them in a bag. They had been planning on putting together a travel bag together of course; he just didn't think they'd need it quite so soon. Plenty of extra diapers and wipes, more than a few onesies, some blankets. A cold pack with some milk. Pacifiers. He was amazed at home much stuff he needed to pack up.

As soon as she was packed up, a quick transformation and he'd opened up a portal to Prime. Scooping up Ammy gently and the bag, he zipped through. He took a moment to create a safe bubble for his daughter before heading out at maximum speed with his senses searching for Stesha. He had no idea where she was but he'd recognize her signature anywhere. It only took a couple minutes zipping around the Earth before he found her...in Africa.

Streaking up to her, he wasted little time. "Love, a ship is in danger. Here's Ammy and her bag," he said telekinetically handing them over. "Only a couple light years out, I should be back soon," he said. And with that, he rocketed upwards and away!

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Stesha blinked with surprise as she took the baby, barely getting a chance to open her mouth before Dark Star was gone again, off to save the galaxy. Next to her, Doctor Mihambrath gaped a little, first at Dark Star, then at her and the baby. "Was that..."

"Yes," she told him with a slightly rueful smile. "Looks like we're going to have to accommodate my daughter for a little while as well. But that's all right, she likes sun and plants." Indeed, Ammy's green hair was visibly darkening in the sun, just like her mother's was wont to do."Now let's look at those fields..." Working with a newborn in tow wasn't easy, but she would rather have the baby with her than gallivanting around in space, or wherever Derrick had gone off to! Just as she was finishing up in Africa, though, a call came over the Freedom League line. A crowd of animated recycling bins were running amok in Liberty Park!

Stesha hastily called Derrick. "Are you home yet?" she asked anxiously.

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Dark Star gave the damaged vessel a little push away from the star to make extra sure they wouldn't drift into anything else. Their rescue ship was on the way and would be here soon enough. He turned around and headed back to Sol at a somewhat leisurely pace for him. Leisurely until Stesha called him of course. He flashed and was by her side moments later; it was just faster to get there than to call.

He flashed down from the sky to stop before her. "Sorry, I'm here. I've got her; you get going!" He scooped the little bundle up and grabbed the bag. "Be safe love!" He lifted her made a leisurely flight towards Freedom City. There were a few safe things he could catch up on with the little one in tow.

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The sunshine seemed to have given Amaryllis a burst of energy, even if all she did with it was squirm and kick her legs. Her repertoire was a bit limited at this point, after all. She then went one better and filled her diaper noisily, leaving Dark Star with the problem of where and how an all-powerful energy being changed his infant daughter while out on the town. Fortunately, there was a diaper-changing setup at Stesha's Midtown apartment, which did the job just fine. He was just wielding the wipes when a call came through on the radio that was effectively embedded in his head. "Dark Star, this is ASTRO again. If you're still in the area, we could use your expertise. It's about the gantry crane again..."

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Dark Star quickly wrapped up his little bundle of joy. He cocked his head to one side...yes, Stesha was still rather busy. It had taken quite an effort of will to not simply rush to her side when she was in danger; she was more than capable of taking care of her self after all. And since she was still busy... He sent/thought a quick message to Stesha's comm/phone number saying where he was headed. Then he contact ASTRO quickly. "Very well. I'm on my way."

"Well, little one, time to go to work with daddy. There will be all sort of interesting sights. Fascinating stuff. But remember, never ever push the buttons unless asked to, ok?," he said despite the fact that she couldn't even crawl yet. He hoped Stesha would finish quickly. If not, well, luckily Ammy wasn't old enough to get out of his telekinetic 'basket' just yet.

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The telekinetic cradle got more than one person looking twice at Dark Star as he landed at ASTRO Labs, but the gentle rocking was just the thing for keeping a little one asleep while her father was working. The gantry crane in question was leaning at a rather alarming angle for some reason, but a little telekinetic persuasion got it pointed the right way again, and just in time. He heard Stesha's voice over his internal radio. "Where are you guys at?" she asked. "I'm done at the park and I really need to feed the baby." As though this were a cue, Ammy woke in her basket and began fussing, apparently in full agreement.

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Dark Star held the crane steady with barely a thought, more focusing on his daughter really. "I shall just continue to hold it until we are certain it is safe this time," he offered. No sense having to make multiple trips out here for the same thing; there was still so much to do after all. Hearing Stesha's voice brought a smile to his apparently faceless face as it always did, especially when he was a little worried. He thought back to her on the same wavelength, "Oh, we're over at ASTRO labs. They keep having a problem with the gantry crane and are worried about it falling and hurting a few folks. I take it the battle went well," he asked though the answer was pretty obvious. He brought the upset little one closer, bouncing her gently. "Mommy's one the way. Oh, yes she is!" Sure, he might be getting a few surprised looks, but all parents did multiple things at once when taking care of kids, right?

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It was just a few moments before Fleur de Joie appeared, stepping out of a suddenly jumped-up weed growing in the cracks of the tarmac. She hurried over to where Dark Star was working, giving him a quick smile before plucking the baby from the telekinetic basket. "Oh boy, mummy has been missing you!" she cooed to the infant. "You have no idea! Let's go home and we'll both feel much better. We'll wait for you," she told Dark Star, then, with a quick smile for the bemused congratulations from Derrick's coworkers, poofed away as quickly as she'd come, leaving only the scent of flowers... and the diaper bag.

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Dark Star calmly held the crane while they worked to fix it. Then he made sure they double checked it; he didn't really want to waste another trip out here for the same problem. He had far too many things to do as it was, not to mention spending time with his wife and child. At least everything was set. He scooped up the bag and bid them all farewell and good luck. He opened up a portal and slipped on through.

Once home, he put the bag down and sighed. It was a crazy start so far. Hopefully, once they worked out the backlog of issues, things would settle down a bit. He concentrated, transforming into his human guise to look at his wife and daughter with a happy smile. "So honey, how was your day so far," he asked with a happy chuckle.

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Stesha managed an exhausted chuckle at that, dropping her head back against the cushion of the recliner as the baby nursed. "I thought those first few days and nights with Ammy were crazy," she admitted wryly. "Heck, I thought I was busy when all I was doing was hero work and weddings. This... this is going to be pretty insane, I think." She cracked an eye open and looked his way. "Once we catch up on the backlog, hopefully it won't be so bad. But we need to seriously consider getting some help, I think. Even if it's just another person we can drop the baby with if there's a crisis."

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Dark Star, well Derrick now, moved over to sit on the end table near her. "I agree; it will surely get easier." He cracked a smile. "And you are right of course. Given our rather unpredictable schedules, we should look for some help. I'm certain your parents would be interested but I do not wish to burden them too much. Perhaps a baby sitter for various times would also be good." He paused a moment in thought. "Didn't Jack and Taylor use one of the students at Claremont for such an activity? Perhaps we could inquire there? I certainly need to get back there and resume my classes at some point," he idly mused.

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"Yes, I met their babysitter once, she was very... intense," Stesha replied with a laugh. "Very protective though, and that's good. I'm hoping Ammy won't have as many special needs as Jack Jr. has. So far she seems so normal, except for where she's absolutely brilliant," she cooed at the baby. "We'll know more after Doktor Archeville looks her over, of course, but that won't be for a few more weeks. Tarrant has offered to help out with babysitting, but he's busy himself," she added, referring to their friend and neighbor Gaian Knight. "I've been thinking of asking a few of the settlers, but I'm not sure," she admitted. "It seems half like I'm taking advantage of them because they're so dependent, and half like I'm not certain they'd take care of her properly. They're not exactly up on modern parenting."

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Derrick nodded, smiling at his ladies. "I think I had her as a student briefly," he mused. "I'm certain Dok's tests will be fine." He nodded thoughtfully. "Well, even if she had no special needs or concerns, whoever is going to look after her while we are 'busy' is going to need to be a capable individual themselves. Maybe not quite up our level perhaps but certainly someone beyond the norm." He felt safe her on Sanctuary of course. But this was his daughter he was talking about. And there were plenty of threats out there. "Just to be careful I guess."

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