uh, ground control? we've got a problem. minor flesh wound to cadet no. 1 on upper deck. stranded cadet no. 2 in lavatory, one level below. captain is in the middle, engaged in mortal combat with invading force that is slipping in through a crack in hold, threatening to destroy critical systems. (die, alien arachnid! you stand no chance against my paper towel roll of DOOM!) repeated requests for backup by cadet no. 1 are gaining in intensity. cadet no. 2 is falling out of contact; radio silence could indicate secondary mop-up mission. status briefing made clear to cadet no. 1 that captain is otherwise engaged. space dementia may be settling in...
you can't blame the children. they lack a fundamental awareness of the space-time continuum (namely, that there is one). when no one is bleeding (much) and there is no (real) crisis, the best tactic to reeling in young emotions that threaten to hurtle off into outer orbit is the diversionary tactic.
this works with 2-year-olds, of course. for instance, asking "where did you go? all i see is peas... oh! oh! i think i see a cheek!" while cleaning the face of a toddler who, a moment ago, thought she was being tortured.
and it gets more fun as they get older. i'm surprised how easy it still is to distract my 5-year-old who feels i can instantly morph into her general sphere of existence at any moment. she's distressed and unhappy. and i sympathize as her Momma. but i also recognize that there is, in fact, nothing wrong and we need a reality check. so i ask her a random question. it throws her off, and more times than not gets her giggling if not outright answering or coming up with her own imaginative response. hence, the question about teleportation. because, really, if i missed that one, i need to know. i could really use that technology. does she know something i don't? and, say, if we really can teleport, where should we teleport to now? the children's museum? the grocery store? nana's? to the shuttle craft!
it sure beats mutiny.