Pandora's Box #88-89 "Am I in trouble yet?"

-={On}=- [Captain's Ready Room, Deck 1, USS Pegasus]

Caelen closed the channel with engineering, the Chief was not on her post instead the computer put her in her room. He was in a foul mood already and his senior officers not going to their shifts =/\= Commander LaBrie to Lieutenant Black =/\= he said after hitting his combadge.

Kitty was lying on her bed staring at the ceiling. She'd been told to go to her quarters and she was going to stay there... and not talk to anybody until this was fixed! Except.. of course.. that her captain just signaled her, and that's important. She tapped her combage. =/\= Black here, what is it? =/\= She sounded bored.

=/\= Correct me if I'm wrong but it's Alpha shift right? =/\= Caelen asked sarcasticly, =/\= you better have a good excuse not to be at your post... =/\= he added in an afterthought, nearly impossible to hear over the comm, for anyone with normal hearing.

=/\= Uhm, the doctor told me to go to my quarters and stay there, sir. I contacted Engineering, they have their orders. Barring any emergencies, which I should have been told about... did I do the right thing? I thought I should stay here, if the doctor said so. =/\= She sighed slightly, not having quite meant to ask that question out loud... but that wasn't all that bad, as unintended speeches went.

Caelen sighed and rubbed his eyes =/\= and I reckon the good Doctor ordered all the other officers who contracted the condition to stay in their quarters as well ...=/\= he was spinning the silver ring around his finger =/\= ...that would explain why Nothing gets Done around here =/\= he sounded bitter and almost angry =/\= Lieutenant, report to my ready room, asap =/\= he then ordered, he didn't like the com-system, especially not when it came to longer talks.

=/\= Yessir, just give me a moment to straighten my hair, become very nervous, and I'll be right down... sorry, sir, I didn't mean to say that last bit...=/\= She spoke quietly to herself, but possibly just loud enough for the comm system to catch. "He sounds upset. I hope it isn't something I did. For all my luck, it probably is..." and then tapped her combadge quick, ending the call.

Caelen leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes looking at the ceiling wondering how the hell they ended up in a situation like this, not just them or the ship. But entire mankind, "how in God's name did we come to the be needing a virus to speak our thoughts to others freely..." he asked himself "...somehow you would think that after all that evolution we would've been able to come to the point where we didn't need to lie to each other any more..." he sighed again, it was a lot less wearing when he didn't speak everything he thought about.

Lt. j.g. Black arrived promptly at the Ready Room door, her hair pulled back into a simple ponytail, her uniform straight and proper. She took a deep breath, said "here goes" softly, and activated the 'doorbell'. "Enter" Caelen didn't sound motivated or relieved or whatever you could be when a doorchime rang, he just called a monotone enter. Kitty entered... and stepped forward, trying to look and feel as businesslike as she knew how. It almost looked a little silly. "Reporting in, sir," she said quite formally, tense as a piano string.

"Sit..." Caelen said starting to lean forward and a small sigh "... and tell me how I am supposed to run a ship with halve of my people sitting in their quarters staring at ceilings or reading books or playing cellos" "I thought it was wiser to avoid infecting the rest of Engineering, sir. The doctor seems to believe that the infection is spread by touch. " Kitty took a seat, doubly nervous by her captain's sarcastic tone. "As I said, I have given out my orders there and told them to let me know if something goes wrong. I haven't been able to play the cello properly since I broke a string, sir, and you left out the bit about the nightmares." Then she blushed and frowned, glancing down. "I.. didn't mean to say that last bit, sir. I'm sorry. There I go again..."

"We all have our problems Lieutenant, some of which would rather be put in a dark corner in your mind never to return again and I can understand how your condition can bring up said thoughts..." Caelen sounded serious and even a bit compassionate for the Engineer, somehow it seemed as if he knew exactly how she felt. "...but I repeat my question, how can I run a ship when half my officers are staring at their ceilings rather then doing their jobs?"

"I..I... I don't know, sir." Lt. Black seemed taken aback by the sudden softening. "I didn't know what to do, except to obey the doctor's orders. But I really do think Engineering is doing alright for now." "everybody is doing alright... For now..." Caelen sighed heavily "... I'm sorry, we all just have a lot on our minds, it gets to my mood..." he rubbed his forehead "...not to mention your date that I won't be setting up now... poor Evans..." his eyes widened and he looked at Lt. Black "...ok you didn't hear that"

"I heard it." Kitty's eyes widened as she processed that bit of information. "You were setting up a date?" she asked incredulously. "For _me_? and _Evans_!?" And whatever she meant to say, by the look on her face she didn't mean to continue this outburst. "I'm not desperate or hopeless! Oh, this makes me feel.. so... stupid!" She rose to her feet involuntarily as her voice rose.

Caelen sighed "Excellent!" he shouted out "just marvelous..." he added in a softer tone "...I..." he then shook his head not continueing " wouldn't understand it anyway" another sigh "women..." "What wouldn't I understand?" Kitty frowned, looking back at him. "What is it?" She didn't know what to make of him, sarcastic one moment and softer the next... she looked confused.

Caelen looked up "That some men need a little help... that some people are a bit unsure of themselves... that sometimes it takes a Commanding Officer to put something in motion that is clearly meant to be... foretold in prophesies... written in the stars..." he shook his head again "...not only don't I make sense right now I am doing it to a junior officer" he 'thought' to himself

Kitty blinked and slowly sat back down in her chair. "I'm often unsure of myself," she replied quietly. "I never thought anyone else was. What do you mean, written in the stars?"

"Didn't I tell you to get back to work?" Caelen wanted her to leave, to stop prying in his head, it was not for no reason that everytime he talked with the Counselor it would be Outside his office "everybody on this damned ship can tell you two have feelings for each other except for you two... not to mention that you would make a great couple..."

"N-no, I told you that the doctor ordered me to quarters, and you didn't tell me exactly what to do next. And.. well... the cat's out of the bag now. He was in Sickbay when I got infected and we started... talking." That pause wasn't because she was stopping herself from speaking. Kitty simply didn't know how else to put everything that had happened. "He being Evans I suppose?" Caelen wanted to confirm for himself, not waiting an answer "what did you talk about?"

"Uhm, well, that's private," was Kitty's first response. But then everything that had happened came to the forefront of her mind. "I told him I thought he was really cute, and he told me that I'm the kind of girl he likes to date. I think I yelled at the doctor, too. It wasn't long after that when the doctor threw us both out of Sickbay and told us both to stay in our quarters. I haven't talked to Evans since... I've just stayed in my quarters, so that I could keep my big mouth shut and not go around talking about it like I just did." She sighed ruefully.

"Well that's a relief..." Caelen sighed a bit "... now the Engines are not one hundred percent yet... and I want them to be one hundred and ten..." he shook his head slightly "...and to be frank there is only one person on this vessel, if not in this sector, who will be able to pull that off"

Kitty chuckled a little at that and took a deep breath.. then nodded. "You sure you want me down there saying what's on my mind and risking infecting the rest of my crew? I think the rest of the engineers are still clean." He shook his head a bit and raised his shoulders slightly "Wear gloves and order your people to stay out of your way..." he simply said "...I need you down there Lieutenant and I needed you there ten minutes ago" "Yessir." Kitty rose and started for the door, then paused and turned back to her captain. "Am I in trouble?" Caelen shook his head "but you will be if you don't step into a turbolift headed for Main Engineering within the next minute..."

"Yessir.. thank you sir." She paused again at the door.. just for a moment. "This whole virus thing, saying what you're thinking before you realize what you've said, getting into all sorts of trouble for it... boy, now everyone gets to deal with what I put up with from myself every day." And with that statement she stepped out of the Ready Room, heading straight for the nearest turbolift. "You and me both Lieutenant... you and me both" Caelen added to Kitty's statement after the doors had closed.


Getting into trouble:

Cmdr. Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer "I think Therefore I speak..."

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