Battle of the Planets universe. It's time for Anderson to have that talk with Mark and Jason.
Anderson looked at the duo currently being patched up in the infirmary. Fortunately, the injuries were minor - bruises and abrasions (he did admit, though, that Mark's black eye was somewhat spectacular) for the most part.
He sighed, dreading the task before him. It was time for them to get that talk. The one he had been putting off - hoping he would never have to give it. The ultimate downside of raising boys to manhood.
"When you've finished here, report to my office," he said.
Mark and Jason looked at each other, for once there was no hostility in that look; only confusion. The attack on them had been completely unprovoked - as well as unexpected. It was also rather embarrassing to admit the source of the attack, and that they had, despite the advantage of both size and numbers, definitely come out second best.
It wasn't supposed to work that way.
Painfully, they made their way to Anderson's office, rather dreading what was to come.
"Sit down, gentlemen. I know what happened, and why, and I feel that there are some things that I should have told you some time ago. I was hoping that it wouldn't be necessary and was putting it off until now."
"More revelations?" asked Jason sarcastically. "What vital bit of information have we not had this time?"
Anderson shifted uncomfortably in his chair, to the bemusement of the two in front of him.
"I've made a full investigation into the circumstances, and it's not your fault."
At this point, even Mark's usual stoicsm decided to take a vacation. "Not our fault! Why would you have thought it was, Chief? All we did was answer a question!"
"Easy, Commander. Unfortunately, the question you were asked, and your answer, were not compatible."
"It was the truth, though," pointed out Jason. "How were we to know she'd react that way?"
"I know, I know. I must admit, though, that she was unnecessarily violent, and Princess has been spoken to about her reaction." He sighed again and rested his arms on the desk, hands lightly clasped. "Men and women are different, " he began, and was immediately interrupted by Jason.
"We've had that talk. When we were 14. Remember?"
"This is different. Men and women are different. Some questions that women ask are not safe to answer in any way - and to be quite frank, there are some that if they're asked, you should try and get out of there as fast as you can.
"The question you were asked - well, some men say you get out of there as fast as possible. Some say that the answer is "You look good to me".
"All, however, agree that you should never, ever answer with "Yes". Usually, it just results in tears. Married men say that it can also result in, well, loss of well.."
Jason looked astonished. "What, no sex just for telling the truth?"
Anderson looked grave. "Women are very insecure about their looks, and the thought that people they love - who they think love them - don't like their looks can cause them great trauma. It's my fault - I had not realised that Princess would feel that insecurity. Half the time we all forget she is a girl - and that's the problem.
"We're her family. She looks to us for unconditional acceptance. Your answer made her feel that acceptance wasn't there. So she reacted - albeit more violently than we had expected. I'm sorry that you bore the brunt of her reaction. So is she, and she's willing to apologise.
"Just please - in the future, don't assume that when she asks a question like that, she's looking for the truth."
Mark shook his head. "But Chief, her bum DID look big in that dress!"