A Mirror Shattered #153,154 - "License and registration please..."

-=On=-

[USS Pegasus, Corridor near cargobay one]

Evans was walking towards the dockingbay, as he heard the distinctive 'Njp!' from a typical Eurasian compact car from the late 20st or early 21st century through the cargo-bay doors. <What the hell?!> he thought... <Who's playing around with my car?!> He was quite angry that someone was touching his property without his permission, and walked through the door of cargo-bay one.

His car was parked in such a way, that the rear of the car was facing the doors, and for ventilation, Evans had turned the windows half down. He couldn't see who was behind the wheels, but he could hear a very familiar voice saying something like "Vrooooom! Eeeek!" as he saw the wheels of his smart turning in mid air. He took the precaution of putting his car on blocks, so the tires wouldn't deform...

He realised that the one playing with his car was actually his very own girlfriend, and his anger turned to amusement right away... He snuck up to the driver's door, and tapped on the window: "License and registration, please!" he said, with the voice of a profesional police officer....

Kitty was living a private fantasy life of high speed chases and wild escapes at the moment, so engrossed in her bit of fun that she'd nearly forgotten the world around her. She zoomed down a hill, turned a corner, heard an authoritative voice, and panicked. Kitty shrieked and turned, looking startled. "I didn't do it, it wasn't me!" she squeaked, and then slowly recognized Evans at her window as the fantasy faded. She blushed and then started to giggle.

"What are you doing in my car?" Evans asked. His smile warm, betraying that he really couldn't be angry at her, no matter what. "I'm sorry.. " She apologized anyways. "I didn't mean any harm. I just came to look at it on my lunch break, and, well.. it's been a long day.. and... uhm.. well..." Kitty smiled sheepishly and opened the car door wide. "I didn't hurt it, did I?"

"You might have worn the tires and the alignment a bit, if I hadn't put it on blocks, but it needs new ones anyway... You do have high expectations for this car, don't you? You were acting like it was going 200 miles per hour..."

"Well..." Kitty blushed again, looking at the wheel and then back at him. "I was in a high-speed chase, and..." She shook her head slightly. <He's going to think I'm SO weird...> "I like going fast," she admitted. "I'm cautious, but every now and then I just.. well.. like going fast."

Evans grinned. "I have to disappoint you... Originally, this car is limited to 135 km/h... And every attempt to let the tires squeal is snuffed by the onboard Electronic Stability Program... It's really boring to drive. I might need to tweak that a bit..."

Kitty stepped neatly out of the car, smiling shyly. "That's ok. I shouldn't have been in there anyways. I.. forget, sometimes, that this place isn't like my grandparents' house. Almost nowhere is, really." She explained this further. "At my grandparents' house, everything was.. well.. as if it were mine. I never got scolded for playing with anything. They just taught me how to use it when I showed interest. But you know, anywhere else, people don't like it when you, well, act like you're allowed to use anything that looks interesting." She was obviously thinking of a certain incident in particular. From the way she was glancing down at the deck now, it must've been an interesting one.

Evans looked at a very guilty looking Kitty, and just asked "yes?..."

"Well, it was a public terminal at the Academy, you know, the one in the front part of the library? And I was using it pretty regularly. You know that stupid error sound the public terminals made? I thought anything was better than that. So I.. well.. I found the settings... it took a bit of work, but I found them, and I put my favorite error sound into it instead." She looked back up at him sheepishly, but her eyes were sparkling with amusement at the memory.

Evans looked at her with very curious eyes... "And?..." he said, "What *is* your favorite error sound?" He would probably regret he asked...

"Uh, well.." Kitty was starting to snicker helplessly. "Have you ever seen this old movie, oh, ancient latter 20th century thing.. it was called "Terminator 2", and it was the middle of a trilogy... and in the movie, the people go into this big building, because they have to destroy a bunch of research, and the detonator goes off and.. well... It's probably my favorite movie explosion." She snickered helplessly again. "And, well, I keep it quiet, but the next person to use the terminal, he pegged the volume, because he was a bit hard of hearing, and then he made a mistake, and, well..." She lifted her hands helplessly.

<Oh... my... god...> Evans thought... "Oh... my... god..." he said after that. He was trying hard not to burst out laughing, but he was failing miserably... "Kitty, I believe you have a problem" he said snickering. "I'm sorry..." he added. He was genuine about that, but it didn't show...

"Uh.." Kitty wasn't going to make it easy for him to keep from laughing hysterically. "It's ok, I didn't get into any real trouble over it.. Well.. I mean, several people dropped to the ground, when it happened, and there was almost a groundcar accident nearby, but they missed each other at the last moment, and nothing was actually Harmed... Security talked to me for a while and I just told them I honestly didn't mean it as a prank. "They finally called up my grandparents, and my grandfather went to access my terminal, the one in my room, to bring up some files I was storing there, and he said 'darn' and the next thing you know there's the explosion heard over the comm channel. Uh, the security guy just started laughing.. I think he figured out I'm mostly harmless. I was told to never alter the settings on a public terminal again, and they let me go."

Evans looked at his smart. "You didn't reprogram my little car in any such way did you? I mean, I wouldn't hear an explosion everytime I would start the car before I would have buckled myself up?" he said in mock worry...

Kitty blinked and looked horrified. "Oh goodness, no! I've learned my lesson!" She realized after a moment that he wasn't being quite serious. "It's ok, all I did was sit in the front and turn the wheel. And.. uhm, I set off the horn once, but I didn't mean to, I didn't think it would do anything when the car was turned off. And I tried to look in the front and identify the engine, but I didn't see anything that made any sense to me."

Evans laughed at that... "Perhaps that's because the engine is in the back... The front only houses the battery and the master brake cylinder." The engine is right below the floor of the booth, like a real sportscar..."

"Oh.." Kitty tilted her head to the side, then chuckled. "That would be why, wouldn't it... Can we see it? The engine? Could you show me?" Her eyes lit up with interest.

"Sure... Just a sec..." Evans opened the driver's door, and pulled a little lever to the side of the chair. He then walked back and lifted the back door. He then pulled another lever, and folded down another cover, and folded the bottom of the booth upward. "Look, there it is... 600CC's of raw 21st century internal combustion power..."

Kitty watched intently and then walked over to examine the engine. "Wow.." she said, reaching towards it. She paused, her hand hovering a couple of inches away. "Is... it ok.. if I touch it?" she asked shyly."

"Eh... If you don't mind getting your hands dirty... It might be covered in a thin film of mineral oil. It hasn't run in a couple of months, so it's as cold as a ... lump of iron..." Evans explained, not completely understanding her fascination.

"I'd better not yet," Kitty said reluctantly. "I don't want to get my uniform dirty.. well.. dirtier than it's going to be before the day is out." She straightened up. "It's been a heck of a morning, and it's going to be a long day. Little things have been going wrong all over the ship, there's this terminal that exploded, the replicators are all off-line, there's an alien fightercraft... Well, you know all these things, don't you? I bet they passed through Ops before anything got to Engineering. I'll be working late today." She stretched a little and then winced and sighed.

Evans patted Kitty's back. "I know all about it... I still need to inventory the wreckage to see if it's salvageable. From what Wulfie told me, it's a piece of junk even less worth than the little fourwheeler we're looking at now. I would like to see it myself though... It can't be that bad."

"Wulfie?" She smiled at the physical contact and stepped closer to her boyfriend. "That's an interesting callsign. Yeah, I signed up for the alien fightercraft, myself. I want to be one of the main people working on it."

"Would you believe it's his real name?" Evans mused, "It's just spelled differently..." He reacted to Kitty getting closer by wrapping her into his arms again. <Oh, this feels so lovely...> He broke the hug again, and came up with another idea... "Would you like me to start her up?" he asked her.

Kitty smiled and leaned into the hug, putting her arms around him and leaning for a moment, letting her stress drain away. She seemed more relaxed as she straightened up again. "Oh, I needed that... a lot!" she admitted. Then she nodded. "Oh, does she run? Yes, please do!"

"It does, it just doesn't shift..." he said, as he stepped into the driver's seat. He pulled open the glove compartment and got the key out. He put it into the ignition, and several lights started to burn on the dash. Some continually, some intermittently. He turned the key another notch and the churning noise of a starting engine was heard. A few churns later, the engine fired and started to run on it's own... Evans pushed the pedal lightly for a few times to let the little 0.6 liter engine purr away...

Kitty watched this whole procedure, eyes wide, taking everything in. She startled slightly at the sound of the engine firing, and then listened to the purr. "It sounds... like the movies," she said, smiling. "Can I try?"

Evans double checked that the handbrake was on, that the gear (which didn't work yet anyway) was in neutral, and that there were no abnormal lights on the dashboard. He then got out... "It's the pedal to the right... Please be gentle, the engine isn't at operating temperature yet...Try and get that needle up to 2000..." he said, as he pointed to the RPM meter."

"Okay," Kitty said seriously. She settled behind the wheel and rested her foot on the pedal, then pressed it just a little, very, very, very gently. For all that she liked explosion sounds and going fast, she had a gentle touch with the antique. She watched the RPM meter intently as she brought the needle slowly up to 2000.

Evans smiled, as Kitty was operating her first automobile. Even if it was one on wooden blocks. "Very good... At least you're not one of those people who just slam the throttle and completely wreck the engine..." he grinned. "Well, I think that's enough for now. I haven't finished tuning it, so it's running a little rough. You can turn it off by just turning the key counterclockwise..." he said, pointing at the key in the dashboard. "By the way, it's starting to smell a bit funny in here..." he said, talking about the exhaust fumes...

"Oh, I'm sorry..." She was staring at the dashboard, fascinated. She released the pedal, examined the key for a moment, and then turned it correctly. She didn't turn it quite far enough, though. The Chief Engineer looked at the lights still on the dashboard and then glanced up at Evans, perplexed.

Evans looked at the baffled look on his girlfriend's face, then looked at the dashboard. It took him a while before he realised what was going on. "Well, whaddya know... It has a standby modus..." he joked. "Turn it another notch..." he instructed Kitty in a soft and soothing voice.

Kitty relaxed at the soft tone in his voice, signaling to her that she hadn't just inadvertantly destroyed his car. She turned the key another notch and relaxed further as the lights went out and the ancient machine sat as silent as it had been when she had first entered the cargo bay. "Ok, I think it's off now," she said sheepishly, climbing out from behind the wheel.

Evans ruffled her hair, as he told her a well deserved "Well done...". Then he slightly leaned into the car to retrieve the key from the ignition, and put it back into the glovecompartment. Another thing occured to him though, and he turned to Kitty again. "Dear, I beg of you, please don't touch that key, without my prescence, ok? It can be pretty dangerous, if you don't know what you're doing..."

Kitty blinked and blinked again, and then nodded. "I won't try anything with it unless you're right there. But..." She paused, looking at him shyly again. "It won't hurt anything.. will it.. or be dangerous.. if.. I just sit in the seat.. and turn the wheel... and..." Kitty fell silent, mildly embarrassed.

Evans thought for a while, and came up with a few scenarios that were so improbable that they weren't worth mentioning. He finally decided:"There's nothing wrong with that, just don't touch that key..."

"I won't," Kitty said seriously. "I promise." Then her combadge chirped and she tapped it. "I'm here, go ahead..." It was one of her engineers. "I just wanted to let you know, Lieutenant, I finished replacing that terminal in O'Driscoll's quarters. Looks like a feedback loop caused the explosion. It started when we went through that anomoly and just.. took this long to heat it up." Kitty smiled a little. "We've been getting those all over the ship, though not quite that drastic usually. Thanks. Carry on..." and she tapped her combadge again, ending the conversation. She looked back at Evans. "I'd better get back to work," she said with a wry smile.

"Yeah, me to..." Evans said. A short uncomfortable silence fell. Evans broke it by kissing Kitty on the cheek. "See ya..." Kitty smiled shyly and then leaned up to kiss his cheek in return. "I'm really glad I got to see you on my break," she said. "It makes the whole day better." And with that she strode across the bay towards the doors, turning back to raise her hand slightly in farewell and smile before heading through the doors on her way to her next task.

Evans just lifted his hand in return.

Vroom.....:

Lieutenant Jg. Ronald Evans Chief Operations Officer USS Pegasus "Nothing beats a real vroom"

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus The One That Lived