Pandora's Box #26&27 - "Game, Set and Match" V2

(OOC: You should all stop me from posting... I seem to miss a paragraph every time I do... anyways... I deleted the old version, while it's still in your inboxes it's no longer on the group... READ THIS VERSION PEOPLE!!! :D:P)

-={On}=- [Main Engineering]

Lt. j.g. Black was in the midst of controlled chaos. The hum of the warp drive was at a markedly different pitch than usual as the huge engines ran at a lower operating level. She was directing work, doing work, calling instructions to one group while lifting a component into place, and she couldn't be happier.

Caelen was thinking over everything he still had to do when he made the decision that it was a good time for a break. Since they left Starbase 343 he was on the bridge, in the ready room or any place other then his quarters. While other officers took the time to unwind a bit and let Beta and Gamma shift do some work for a change he knew that there was one other person who never left the place she was working until she would be dragged out.

The doors to main Engineering hissed open and a crewman spotted him "Attention on Deck!" he shouted as he sprung into a salute.

That brought an interesting chain reaction across the room. Half of the engineers, becoming accustomed to Kitty's relaxed 'governing' methods, continued on with their work, intending to do so until they were approached, ordered, or something a lot more interesting happened than the captain walking into the engine room.

The other half attempted to straighten up and salute, generally with a myriad of interesting responses: mostly complaints from the other people trying to carry the same heavy component, and one muffled curse from a technician who was testing power conduits as "cold" or "HOT!"

"As you were!" Caelen shouted across the deck before turning to Lt. Black "Good evening Lieutenant" he smiled a bit as he took a better look around Engineering.

It looked as if she had a double shift on deck, engineers and technicians everywhere and working as busy as bees. One enormous conduit had been detached from the warp core and was being tended to, while other groups were repairing consoles. "Good evening, Captain," Kitty responded, smiling cheerfully. "The work is proceeding slightly ahead of schedule. We'll be shipshape soon enough."

Caelen nodded "Good..." he thought a bit before looking Kathleen straight in the eyes "...then I am sure it will go splendid without you here" waiting to see if she would get the hint.

Kitty was completely oblivious. "Oh, it does, everyone knows what to do. I get to provide an extra hand, do some of the repairs myself, make sure I'm more aware of the quality of the work being done." She smiled. "It's a productive way to pass the time until my shift is over."

"Your shift was over two hours ago, Lieutenant" Caelen raised an eyebrow as he looked around engineering for some kind of clock, but he couldn't spot one. "And there is a new Holodeck that needs excessive testing..."

"It was?" She blinked, looking around, then up at a small indicator on her console. "It _was_! Oh. Well, that's alright, a chief engineer is always 'on call'. What's this about a problem with the holodeck? It was fine this morning." Cheerful, friendly, and still utterly oblivious.

Ok that was it, she really needed some time off, Caelen decided to play along a bit with the thing she had set up "well you better come take a look..." he smirked "...something is really wrong but I think you can handle it"

"I hope so. I haven't done a lot of work on holodecks." Lt. Black took a moment to put someone else in charge, and then picked up a small repair kit. "Okay, I'm ready."

"Good" Caelen turned around and led the way to the turbo lift, at least she didn't try to send someone else with him cause then it would miss the whole point. He stepped into the turbolift and waited for Kathleen to get in as well. The doors closed "Deck five" he then turned to Kathleen "So how has life been treating you Lieutenant?"

"It's been alright," she answered thoughtfully. "I'm looking forward to the visit at Earth. I'll get a chance to go home for a day or two. I've been running some of the old Academy combat training programs on the new holodeck so that I'll do better if we get boarded again. I broke a cello string last night playing an Apocalyptica arrangement, and I haven't got a spare.. but I can get that on Earth, easily." She paused and smiled sheepishly. "Did you mean to ask about that much of my life?"

The doors of the turbo lift hissed open again and Caelen motioned Kathleen to step out first "Ladies first" the corner of his mouth curling up. When Kathleen had stepped out and they started making way for the Holodeck he answered her question with "did you mean to tell me that much about your life?"

"I talk too much," she said sheepishly, stepping out first and then walking on down the corridor. "And I'm too blunt. I've had several people tell me that. I didn't exactly tell you anything I make any attempt to hide, though."

They stepped into the recreational facilities, "That's good then" Caelen responded before coming to a halt in front of the holodeck "here we are" he turned shortly to Kathleen before taking another step forward, into the holodeck.

"Isn't the problem usually in the control panel?" she asked, eyeing the panel just outside of the holodeck and then blinking as the captain simply stepped right in.

"Not this time Lieutenant" Caelen walked to the center of the holodeck "Computer start program Caelen 205 Alpha" the room would change into a tennis court, a simple version though. It looked like on of the Grand Slams they used to have on earth only without the hundreds of people cheering anyone on. One of the biggest tournaments played in the high times of tennis was played here, on the grass of Wimbledon. "You know how to tennis Lieutenant?"

Lt. Black blinked, putting down the repair kit, and eyed the tennis court like a deer in headlights. "Uh, no sir. I mean, I've done it before, but..." She gave a light chuckle. "Badly. Very badly."

"Ah good... we're about the same level then" Caelen smiled, he never started up this program because he never found anyone to play a game of tennis with. Some would be too impatient or to arrogant to teach him anything and those who didn't know tennis generally didn't feel like playing either. Caelen walked to the other side of the court and picked up a racket. "You serve, ok?"

"Uhm, ok!" She smiled gamely and picked up a racket and the ball. Just as she'd been taught in gym class at the Academy... she held up the ball and extended the racket.. looked at both for a moment... then she dropped the ball about five inches down towards her racket, swung, and missed. "Uhm, oops. It's ok, it's ok..." She picked up the ball and tried again. This time she managed to serve the ball and send it haphazardly in his general direction.

Caelen smiled a bit, this would be a great opportunity to get to know his Chief Engineer a bit better. He ran to where the ball was headed and swung his racket. To his great surprise he hit and it shot right back at where it came from "So... how was life before the Pegasus?" he had read her profile and service record. It was probably accurate but so darn impersonal.

"I liked it fine." She smiled. "It was a large engine room, large enough that I always had some room to do my own thing. The Chief seemed to like me well enough. He got a little annoyed at me sometimes, but we always managed to work things out. He said I was a little too protective of HIS engines. Ack!" She suppressed her initial instinct to duck as the ball came flying back towards her. Instead she swung with her racket, and to her own surprise she hit it. It was less of a surprise that she hit it at the wrong angle and drove it right into the field about two feet away from her. "Eh, oops!" She picked the ball up and missed it twice more before managing to serve it in his direction again.

"Well from what I've been hearing you're doing a great job here on the Pegi" Caelen chuckled a bit at the ball was plugged into the ground. He waited patiently as she tried to hit the ball over the net again "But what about your personal life?" he could read the records on her work in Engineering. He sprinted to the ball and swung hard, unfortunately it didn't come out as he meant it to. With rather high speed the pall rocketed straight up into the sky to the point that it hit the ceiling of the holodeck and it came back with equal speed and force.

"Woah!" Kitty watched appreciatively as the ball shot up into the air. "Do you mean before my posting? At the Academy? Or before?" She wasn't sure quite what Caelen was asking.

"Whatever you feel like sharing, Kathleen" Caelen said as he threw the ball in the air to serve. He had practice his serve a lot so he didn't miss and with high speed it shot towards the Chief Engineer.

She couldn't help it.. she ducked the high-speed shot, then looked quite sheepish as she watched it bounce off the far end of the court. She walked over to retrieve it and started trying to serve it again. "Well.. what's to tell? I had my engineering duties... it was a big ship, so I had enough room for my cello. Well, of course, I always make room for my cello, even if it means I have to pack pretty sparingly otherwise." She finally got her serve to connect and sent the ball lofting back towards Caelen.

Caelen got into the game a bit more, he pitched back the ball with considerable speed, not to fast to scare anyone off and not to soft to thumb into the grass and not move an inch after. "Had many friends back there?"

Kitty watched the ball carefully and managed to hit it back towards Caelen for the first time! She smiled, pleased at her success. "Well.. I've always had a few people that I could talk to. The other engineers were pretty friendly."

Caelen nodded, "So what made you join the Pegasus?" he always wondered what moved people to apply for his ship. While Starfleet command appointed the people together with him they would have to apply before they could consider them for the position. At least that was true for the Senior Staff. He hit the ball back over the net, with the same speed as last time.

"My chief suggested that I try for it. I thought he was kidding, but he persuaded me to put my application in. He was awfully pleased when it was accepted. He said I'd make a better chief than a subordinate engineer. I'm not sure why." She wasn't thinking about what she was doing, so she managed to hit the ball quite neatly back at him.

Caelen raised his shoulders slightly before putting his racket to the ball again "Well like I said, you seem to be doing great... even after a shakedown mission like we had" he lowered the racket a bit waiting for the ball to arrive at Kathleen and then be hit back to him "Anyone special in your life?" as if at random, it sounded rather blunt but he kinda did ask the one thing every other man on this ship wanted to know.

"Nope," she said easily. "Oh I had a crush on this guy once, at the academy, but nothing ever came of it. And I dated someone else a couple of times, also at the Academy... but nothing ever came of that, either. I'm not all that surprised.. I'm not like most girls that guys like to date." She missed the ball this time and had to go serve it again. "Besides, some of the guys who've seemed interested in me, they're not the kind of guys I would date. I'm not desperate or anything." She didn't seem to mind his bluntness.

"I never said you were" Caelen replied with a smile "you should pull your head out of those engines every once in a while" he sounded a bit more serious. He had seen certain things develop on his ship "the perfect guy might be out there but like this you are bound to miss him" the ball arrived on his court and he slung his racket, not holding back this time. The ball shot back straight at Kathleen, "Duck!"

Kitty responded to his words and promptly ducked! The ball whizzed over her head again. She gave him a wry smile as she wandered over to pick it up. "Time to serve again." Again, she missed the first time, but she managed to launch the ball the second time. "If there's someone out there for me who's Perfect, won't he show up regardless of the engine room? I'm here to work. Any kind of socialization I do afterwards... that's just a bonus." She frowned, not quite voicing her internal thoughts. Engines were so much easier than dating, anyways.

"As long as you do the socializing there is no problem..." Caelen focused on the ball and held back while hitting it again "...but how many people have you met outside of the Engine room?"

"I've met a few," she said defensively, and managed to hit the ball back towards him. "You, right now... I've talked to Petrova a few times, I've met the guy who runs the bar, he makes a good chocolate coffee... I've even met the ship's counselor once. And then there's Evans..." She blushed, but just slightly, and stopped talking.

Caelen smirked before hitting the ball back "Evans huh... what about him?"

Someday Kitty was going to have to break herself of the habit of speaking her mind without thinking. Someday, but not today! "Well, he's cute," she said, and then completely missed the ball and had to go hunting for it again. It was a good excuse to look down and away and around and not back at Caelen.

Caelen laughed a bit "You know how he feels about you?" he was getting more curious by the second. He had put them on an assignment together a few times but he didn't realize what he had put into motion.

"Of course not," she said, picking up the ball and serving it, getting it to work the first time. "He probably hardly remembers me, or thinks I'm some kind of nut."

Caelen smiled broadly, she obviously didn't hang out with Evans enough to know that he was just as nuts as she was "Maybe... but if you don't try..." he knew that girls liked the more traditional 'guy has to come to me' approach but if Kathleen wanted to wait for that to happen with Evans then she would grow really old before knowing how he felt about her. Caelen catched the ball in his free hand, "that's enough tennis for me" he ginned a bit, almost evilly <I have more important things to do now> he added in thought.

"Oh, I couldn't do that," she responded instantly. "No way. I'd make a total fool of myself. There's no way he has any sort of interest in me." She'd convinced herself of that very easily.

"Was this the same reason why that guy in the academy never found out you had a crush on him?" Caelen asked, he felt for her he once was very insecure as well. Working in the red uniform had helped him greatly with that though.

Kitty blushed badly.. and didn't answer him. Which in it's own way was answer enough.

"Computer end program" Caelen stated, a confirming bleep as the court, rackets and ball disappeared and the dull grey interior of the holodeck returned. He walked to the exit "We'll have to do it again some day" he gave her a friendly shoulder pat before stepping out of the holodeck, Duty called.


Game, Set and Match by:

Cmdr. Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer USS Pegasus


Lt. (jg) Kathleen Black Chief Engineering Officer USS Pegasus