Pandora's Box #39&40 - "Mind Games"


Lt. j.g. Black was working away in Engineering. Actually.. there wasn't as much to do as she would have liked, as they were finally nearly finishing their overhaul of the plasma injector system, so she was supervising and looking for something she could do. This job had been irking her simply because the engines had sounded entirely 'off' for the entire duration. She'd feel much better when she could accurately tune by ear again.

Finally, she told her group that she was stepping out for a moment and, well, stepped out for a moment. She yawned slightly as she wandered down the corridor. Kitty hadn't slept well the previous night. The lounge was closer than her quarters, and she figured she deserved some chocolate coffee.

She was considering heading straight back to Engineering with her cup, but the lounge looked comfortable, and her crew had everything covered. Besides, they could always contact her if they ran into trouble. She could spare a few minutes to sit down and look at the stars, always a pretty sight, especially at warp speed. So she sat herself down at a corner table to sip her chocolate coffee and watch the stars rainbow past.

"Computer locate Lieutenant Kathleen Black" Caelen stated when he was in the turbo lift. It was a busy day, just the way he liked them. "Lieutenant Black is in the Lounge" the computer replied with her, almost frightening, emotionless voice. "Deck Six" the turbolift shot into motion, down he went to deck six, to Bellerphon's Den.

He stepped out of the turbolift and started pacing towards the Lounge. <Let's hope the Lieutenant hasn't changed her mind on Evans yet> he thought to himself as he was trying to figure out how to get her to co-operate. Evan's his opportunity presented itself but Black could be a bit more difficult.

Kitty continued to watch the stars as she sipped her coffee and wonder about what her captain had told her, about crushes and speaking up. <Well, if a guy likes a girl, he does something about it, doesn't he? How are you supposed to know of he Does like you? What if you're looking for signs of it, and you misinterpret casual actions because you want to believe he likes you? It's so much easier, just to deal with engines.>

She sighed, taking another sip of her chocolate coffee. <Maybe I should just offer him a cup sometime. This stuff is Good. And it's not like there's a rank difference between us anymore. I don't have to worry about him thinking I'm giving orders or something. Eh.. I'd never be brave enough to try that.. I'd stumble over my own words and make a complete fool of myself.> She stared at the stars again.

Pretending to be there on his own and not with premeditated reasons Caelen walked to the replicator and ordered a lemon tea with lots of sugar. Then he looked around trying to spot Kathleen, when he finally found her he walked to her without hesitation and came to a stop next to her table "Good day Lieutenant... is this seat taken?"

Lt. Black blinked and looked up, startled out of her reverie. "Oh! I'm sorry, I should be in Engineerin-..." Then she paused for a moment. If it came to that, maybe he should have been on the bridge... but here he was. So apparently, it wasn't such a terrible thing to be caught drinking chocolate coffee on shift. She smiled, blushing just a little, and nodded, then shook her head. "Yes.. I mean no... The seat's fine, it's not taken."

"Good" he smiled and sat down "so how are you doing today?" he placed his tea on the table and stirred around the spoon a bit awaiting a reply.

"I'm doing alright, sir, everything considered," Kitty said. She smiled and took another sip of her coffee. "Just a little sleepy. How has your day been?"

He slowly picked up his tea and took a seat "my day has been quite productive..." he kept the mystery alive a bit "...So what were you thinking of?" there was mostly only one reason why one would stare out of the window at warp speed, they always needed time to think.

She blushed a little at his question and glanced down at her coffee. "Oh... well, things... some things I need to do... things that maybe I should have done already... some things I think.. I can't do... Just... stuff." Possibly one of the most useless answers ever, probably trumped only by a first officer's answer of 'trouble' to his captain's question of 'what do you see down there?'

"Very helpful Lieutenant..." Caelen smiled and looked out the window "...and are the answers out there?" seeing the stars shoot by was soothing, annoying and puzzling at the same time.

"Of course not," she answered quietly. "But it's an awfully pretty sight when we're in warp. I like rainbows."

"Who doesn't..." Caelen's mind wandered a bit, hours he had spend looking at the stars shooting by in the rainbow colors Kathleen had mentioned. Looking for answers but never finding them " cannot touch rainbows..." he whispered to himself. Then he snapped back to reality and looked at his Chief Engineer "so what's going on in Engineering?"

Kitty blinked a little and frowned at her captain's odd sentence, and then smiled. "Things are going well, sir. We're on the last conduit. We should be back up to full by the end of the day... but I'd like to run a thorough diagnostic when we're in orbit."

Caelen nodded slightly "well you're the Chief Engineer..." he sipped his tea again "...speaking of which, how are things coming along in your life Lieutenant?"

"Oh, just as fine as it was the last time you asked." She looked up from her coffee. "The cello string is just as broken as it was before.. but if I limit my selections, it's still alright. I'll be glad to get my order in. Then I'll have plenty of strings. How have you been doing?"

Caelen raised his shoulders slightly "I've been spending some time in the holodeck..." he then looked at Kathleen "...I ran into Lieutenant Evans last time I did" he remarked hoping to be able to tell how she felt about Evans.

Lt. Black's reaction was.. subtle. She glanced up at him again, hearing the familiar name, then glanced back down at her coffee and took a sip. Her voice was measured. "I haven't seen him since the meeting. How's he doing?"

Caelen grinned "He's doing fine... considering he almost murdered the computer in the Holodeck..." he took another sip from his tea "...did you know he played Keyboard?" he immediatly asked, as the Engineer played the Cello she was interested in music, perhaps this 'common ground could bring them closer together.

That did catch her attention further. She glanced up from her coffee again. "No, I didn't know. What kind of music?" Part of her brain was searching through her music scores. Did she have anything that used a cello and a keyboard? Not an awful lot. But she did have a couple of old pieces... She smiled as the internal search finished and displayed a few results in her memory.

Caelen shook his head slightly "We played something by Dream Theater but I doubt that's normally on his repetoire..." he leaned forward a bit " what kind of music do you play?"

"Mostly much older music... medieval, baroque, classical, rennaisance... And then there are my Apocalyptica scores." Kitty smiled brightly. "For when I really want a challenge."

Nodding a bit Caelen finished his tea "perhaps you and Evans could practice together sometime" he grinned his evil grin when he was sure she couldn't see it.

Kitty looked back down at her coffee, giving him the opportunity to grin unseen. "Uhm.. Maybe! If... well, depending.. on the kind of music..." She thought back to the Evans she'd talked to a couple of times... car repairs and such... "I don't even know if he likes the kind of music I play," she said timidly.

"I am pretty sure he'll like it..." a broad smile now formed "...especially if you play it..."

"Oh, come now," Kitty said casually, once again falling prey to her tendency to speak her mind without thinking, "he wouldn't like something just because I played it unless he Liked me." Then she tried to cover her sudden embarrassment by picking up her coffee cup and taking such a large sip at once that she choked on it and started coughing.

The corners of Caelen's mouth couldn't be stopped from curling up "I was just suggesting, that knowing how well you are doing in Engineering I can only assume how dedicated you are to playing your Cello..." he shook his head in amusement "...But now you mention it..." he sounded genuinely in thought tryiing to figure out if Evans had feelings for her " you think he likes you?"

She shook her head. "Well, no, I don't think he's even noticed me much. Except for me being, you know, Chief Engineer." <tag>

Caelen tilted his head slightly "do you like him?" pehaps a bit blunt but then again it would avoid a lot of cryptical questions and responses.

"Well..." Kitty glanced back down at her coffee. "I.. don't know. I mean... I only got a chance to really talk to him once." She looked back up at Caelen, her head tipping in the same direction. "Why are you asking me all of this, anyways?"

Straightening his head suddenly his face turned more professional "just interested in what's on my Crew's mind" he said officially "...shouldn't you be in Engineering?" he then immediatly added furrowing his brows.

"Uhm.. yessir." Kitty frowned, now entirely confused. She rose from her seat. "Sorry, sir..." Now she did feel as if she'd done something wrong, by going to have a cup of coffee when she was on duty. She turned to go, leaving her cup, about a quarter full, on the table.

"Lieutenant..." Caelen got her attention "...don't worry... you're doing a great job" he said with a big smile.

That brought a shy, but still embarrassed smile to her face. She felt a little better, but she was still sure she'd made some sort of mistake. "...Thank you, sir..." Kitty said, then turned and did the 50-meter-nonchalant-walk out the door and back to Engineering.

<Ohw they fit so perfectly together... this can't be a coincidence> Caelen thought to himself letting his eyes trail off the the stars again. "If only the rainbows would lead to the past..." another whisper from his mouth in his absent mindedness.


Commander Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer


Lieutenant (jg) Kathleen Black Chief Engineering Officer

USS Pegasus