Pandora's Box #81 - "This isn't fun anymore."

-=On=- [USS Pegasus, Chief Engineer's quarters]

Lt. Black breathed a sigh of relief as she reached her quarters without embarrassing herself horribly. She stepped inside and closed her eyes as the door closed. Then she pulled herself together. She was still Chief Engineer and had to make sure Engineering could run smoothly. She set her jaw and contacted Engineering. "Yes, this is the Chief... look, I've been sent to quarters by the CMO, there's this infectious disease going about. Keep up with your instructions, and try to avoid touching anybody else. It's spread by touch." She shut her mouth tight, doing what she always had done just before giving a speech.. ran her words through her head over and over again until Engineering responded. "Roger that, rest up, Chief. Isn't the same without you." "Thanks, guys," she responded with a smile, then quickly shut off the comms before she could finish. "I appreciate that. I still don't feel competant at anything I've done on this ship," she continued, speaking only to the wall.

She took down her cello, only to be reminded by the sight of it that she had a broken string and no spares. She put it back. She wandered into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror, then smiled at her own reflection. "He likes me. He does like me, after all." She'd rarely thought she looked so pretty. Kitty played with hairstyles for a little while before wandering back into the main room. She yawned. "Maybe I'd better get some coffee. On the other hand, why bother? I've got nowhere to go." Instead, she lay down on her bed, looking up at the ceiling. "Wow, what a day. I never thought I'd be brave enough... but maybe... if I'd been braver, sooner... Eh, you never really know." Her eyes slowly closed and she sighed.

Lt. j.g. Black strode into Main Engineering, looking around. "How's it going? Is that diagnostic done? Good." She started scanning the results. "Wait a minute... something's not right. Something doesn't sound right." The engine hum suddenly died away, and the lights dimmed to nearly nothing. She could barely see anything else. Then the awful creaking sound happened. She tried to type up a command on her console, to check the structural integrity of the ship, but the panel abruptly went dead when she touched it. She rose, backing up, listening to the creaking... and then the crack, like a gunshot. Kitty saw the wall crack, hull buckling, and suddenly black, icy water started spraying into her face. She tried to take a breath... water was now pouring in... and she shrieked...

Kitty was sitting upright before she fully realized that she was sitting on her bed. She looked around in alarm, then let out her breath slowly. She felt a wave of panic rise in her throat. "Alright, c'mon... c'mon, it's ok.. it's ok, it's just an anxiety attack.. it'll go away on its own... just relax. Breathe. Breathe." She obeyed her own instructions and the panic slowly faded. She raised her hand and realized that she was shaking a little.

"Oh, not again," she sighed with a shiver. "And now what do I do? I was told to stay in my quarters. There's nothing much the doctor can do for me, and he's got his own problems to deal with. Besides, I don't think he'd be terribly sympathetic." Her first impression of him had not been favorable; he'd been infected, and his bedside manner had suffered as a result. "I don't even know if the counselor has been affected. If he has, I don't think I want to go talk to him." She rose and started pacing her quarters. "In fact, I don't think I want to go talk to Anybody. I don't think I want to know what anybody thinks of me and my problems... This whole thing, it isn't fun anymore."

There was something she could still do. She took down her instrument again, tuning the remaining strings. Then she took down one of her favorite songs, setting it up on the stand. "I can just try to work around the missing string. It'll be good practice for me."

A moment later, all that could be heard from inside her quarters was the mellow sound of her cello, occasionally playing a note an octave high or skipping one that she couldn't fake at all..


Lt. j.g. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer, USS Pegasus