A Mirror Shattered #37 - "Shuttlecraft Confessions"


(OOC: This post takes place sometime before [USS_Pegasus] A Mirror Shattered #24,25&26 - "Into the Wild blue yonder"}

[USS Pegasus]

Kitty Black had just returned to Engineering to find it in mild chaos. They had finished the rest of the repairs, and nobody had thought to schedule a shuttle to take the rest of the broken parts away. They couldn't have a bunch of wrecked parts littering up Engineering, could they? So she told them she'd take care of it and made her way down to the shuttlebay. Surely she could find a shuttle there that wasn't in use, just enough to take a quick trip down.

Just at that time, Ronald Evans returned from Stoke England with Alexandra, showing her ponies and even riding them. In the back of his cargoshuttle was his Smart, several old manuals (dead-tree editions, not exactly mint condition) a bunch of parts, and one of those rolling closets with a complete set of garage tools, as used in the early 21st century, and a few other things as used in the early 23d century, and not to mention a big box of spare parts, bolts, nuts, cogs, springs and other thingemajigs that still needed to be added to the car. =/\=Cargoshuttle U-Haul to USS Pegasus present, permission to dock in shuttlebay one and unload in cargobay one, berth 1=/\= =/\=USS Pegasus present to U-Haul, permission granted=/\= <Kewl...> Evans thought as he manouvered the shuttle to where it was supposed to go...

Kitty checked the shuttle schedules. "Good luck for me," she murmured. "There's one coming in right now, into the cargo bay. I'll just head down and borrow it." She changed her course, heading for Cargo Bay One, stepping just inside the doorway and looking around.

As Evans carried out the post-flight checks, he happened to look out of the window, and saw Kitty standing there in that typical cute "Ok... What next?" way. He waved out of the cockpit window to attrackt her attention, as he tapped his combadge =/\=Evans to Kitty, guess what I got in the back here...=/\=

Kitty blinked as she noticed someone waving at her.. and smiled as she recognized the pilot. She took a couple of quick steps towards the shuttle, tapping her own combadge to reply. =/\= What luck! I was just looking to borrow a shuttle. What have you got in there? =/\= She knew she was far enough away that she couldn't be seen that easily, and she'd probably have to wait until he emerged to show him her own little surprise.

=/\=It's about 300 years old, and hasn't run since the beginning of the third world war, because of dodgy programming!=/\= Evans replied, sure that that would be more than enough to tip her off. =/\=...But ahm, what do you need a shuttle for? Just a second while I open the doors, so we can talk properly=/\= And with that, the seals of the shuttle doors hissed, and the door hinged open.

Kitty blinked as Alexandra headed out... and then she chuckled. She did another couple of quick steps towards the door, and then her walk became a bit more self-conscious. She'd done what women throughout the world have done for ages when a man finds them attractive... changed in an attempt to look Even More Attractive. Instead of simply keeping all of her hair trimmed and back in a ponytail, she had gotten bangs cut.. layered, feathered, and framing her face in a way that the hairdresser had told her was beautiful. She watched Evans as she continued to approach, looking for a sign that he'd noticed.

"Hello ma'am, you look pretty..." Alexandra said, as she b-lined straight for Kitty, and took her hand. Evans couldn't help but chuckle at that, and then noticed himself... "Wow, you do look pretty... I like the hair... What's the occasion?" he said, as he admired the woman in front of him, holding hands with Alexandra.

Kitty's smile brightened as she continued to walk, eyes following him, hand reaching for Alexandra's, brain paying no attention to where her legs were going. "I thought it was time for a cha-" and then her lack of attention to her direction backfired as she walked half into a nearby cargo container, the impact on her shoulder swinging her half around, and she stumbled several steps in an attempt to regain her balance... then blinked, slowly straightening up. "Well..." she said wryly, taking hold of Alexandra's hand once the girl caught up to her. "That didn't go quite like I'd expected."

"Whoa!" Evans exclaimed as he rushed toward a stumbling Kitty. When he came up to her, he took her hand. "Are you ok? he asked. He just had spent a very tiring weekend with the CO's daughter, making sure she was alright, only to return to the ship and have his date stumble down... Luckily his date had a very keen sense of balance...

"I'm ok, I'm ok..." Kitty gave a slight, sheepish chuckle, rotating her shoulder for a moment. "Nothing hurt but my pride," she added wryly, then smiled, shrugging off the moment and turning markedly more excited. "I'd love to see what you've got back there!"

Evans grinned:"Good... Well, first I have to make sure Alexandra is returned to her parents, and then I'll show you... "

=/\=Evans to commander LaBrie, I have returned with Alexandra...=/\= =/\=Labrie to Evans, how many weeks?=/\= Evans looked up and stared forward a bit... =/\=Sorry sir? Whaddya mean how many weeks?=/\= =/\=Is my daughter alright, mister Evans, or have you earned yourself a lifetime of waste disposal duty?=/\=

"Oh, that..." Evans thought out loud, and sighed in relief =/\=None sir, Alexandra is alright, and as cheerfull as she's ever been...=/\= =/\=You amaze me again, lieutenant... I'll send Jennifer down to get her...=/\= a clearly relieved CO responded...

Then Evans turned to Kitty again... "Well, let's take a look at what's in the trunk, shall we?" "Yes please!" Kitty said, excited. "Is it an engine? An old one?" "And the rest..." Ronald replied with a smile on his face... "Front tire is flat, the onboard ECM unit was built up from the ground and still has a miriad of bugs to work out, and let's not even begin mentioning the upholstery, but it is slowly becoming what it used to be..." he answered her question still being a bit cryptical but not too...

"An entire automobile?" Her eyes widened. "Are you going to teach me how it works?" she asked eagerly, her carefully laid-out notions of flirting collected by various advisors having been completely driven out of her head, probably for the better. "Yup, the most useless one ever built, but it's mine!" he grinned. "Well, I think it looks a bit old..." Alexandra responded, feeling a bit left out. "The ones in the pictures look much better than this one..." she added to make her point.

"Yes dear, but those pictures were made hundreds of years ago, when this car was new... But don't worry, it'll look just like the pictures when I'm done restoring it..." Evans explained to the little girl.

At that moment the cargobay doors opened, and Jennifer Labrie walked inside. "Mommy!" Alexandra cried out, as she saw her mother, and let go of Kitty to greet her mother the 'proper' way. "Hello dear..." Jennifer replied, hugging her little girl tightly, and then turned to Evans...."Thank you for watching her... She wasn't too much trouble, was she?"

"No ma'am, we had a great time..." Evans responded "They had ponies!!!" Alexandra told her mother. Kitty paused, watching the happy reunion. She chuckled a bit quietly. "Now that sounds like it was fun," she said quietly, and she was being entirely honest.

"Fun but exhausting... I'm glad I can return her to her parents..." he responded... "Thank you for watching her." Jennifer said to Evans."However, I am needed at the bridge now, so I have to go... Say thank you, dear" The last was directed to Alexandra.

"Thank you mister Evans..." Alexandra responded, and she and her mother walked out again.

"You're welcome, Alex..." Ronald responded... "You mentioned you needed a shuttlecraft, by the way?" Evans said, as he turned to Kitty again.

"What?" That had also been entirely driven out of her head. "Oh! Just some broken parts we need to get out of the ship before we take off. Mind if I borrow your shuttle?" Kitty smiled winningly. "What's in it for me, cuty?" Evans grinned evilly, "Sorry, I've always wanted to say that, sure, it's supposed to go back to Earth anyway..."

They entered the shuttle cargo bay, and stared into nothingness... "What the..." Evans let slip "Where's my car?!" Kitty blinked at his response, then started laughing so hard she had to lean against the shuttle for a moment. She laughed even harder at the look on his face when his car had disappeared. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry.. I.. think..." She took a moment to breathe. "Where did you ask Cargo Operations to put it? It probably got moved while we were talking."

Evans slapped his head:"D'oh! Oh stop laughing..." he said as he tried hard not to snicker himself... "Off to cargobay one, berth one then... Unless you want to get rid of those broken parts first..." Kitty quieted down, eyes still shining from the laughter. "Oh man... I think... it'd better be business before pleasure. We're leaving soon, and the car is staying with us. I'll have time to look at it once the parts are taken down." And then she made what, for her, was rather a bold move. "Do you.. have.. anything pressing to do? Do you want to... come along?"

Evans suddenly felt very nervous, but differently. In a good way. His belly was tingling a bit, like there were butterflies in it. He always thought they were nonsense made up by poets, but it was true... "Eh... Sure... I made sure all of the reprovisioning was done before I left to visit my mom and take the car with me, so that's all taken care of. I guess I could come with you, if you want me to..."

"Sure I do. I just asked." Kitty chuckled a little, a chuckle mixed with relief and nervousness, blushing just a little. "Uh... do you want pilot or copilot?" She contacted Cargo Operations meanwhile, asking them to load up the shuttle with the broken parts from Engineering. <I was thinking of Autopilot... BAD EVANS!> he thought. On the other hand, it just felt right to do one thing right now. He took Kitty's hands and pulled her slightly towards him. He then gently wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her into a hug. "Would you be my girlfriend?" he whispered in her ear.

Kitty kerblinked, startled by his own sudden bold move... she didn't resist the hug at all, but her heart was pounding. It occurred to her that this was an awfully romatic moment. Somehow, it occurred to her logically, and her answer was similarly the true answer of a hopeless geekette. "I'd.. like to try." That was immediately followed up by a thought that, if she were still under the influence of that 'blabbermouth bug', would have come right out. <Why can't I 'answer romantically' like other girls? Why do I have to be so weird?>

Evans released the hug and looked at her:"Try? I'm sure you'll do great... Let's get those broken parts down, shall we?" "Parts? Oh, those..." She was noticeably blushing now. "Yeah.. yeah, let's take care of those parts." Kitty actually shook her head a little to gather her thoughts, and realized her question hadn't been answered yet. She gestured towards the shuttle. "Uhm.. well, pilot or copilot?"

"Autopilot for sure..." Evans responded this time... "I mean!.. Ah man! Ok, I'll be pilot..." "Well, we can put it on auto once we're out of the cargobay. I just wanted to know what seat you wanted." Kitty climbed into the shuttle, settling down in the copilot's seat. She knew how to pilot a shuttle well enough that she could help with the checks... and she knew enough to be quiet until they had lifted off and were gliding through space. Then the time seemed right for her to address the other thing that had been on her mind. "Uhm, Evans....?" She turned to look at him earnestly, so earnestly that he probably would not expect her actual question. "Do you know how to sail a boat?"

"Eh, you want me to what now?" Evans mumbled, completely caught unprepared for this question... "Sail a boat? Eh, yeah, I think so... I was once the first mate on a sloop with a crew of three on summer camp... It was fun, and we finished fifth in the race... There were only seven contenders, but still.." "Really?" Her voice squeaked slightly. She hadn't expected to be that lucky. "Do you think you could help handle a sunfish?" "A sunfish? aren't those single crewed?" Evans looked puzzled. "Yeah..." Kitty admitted, looking back out the front of the shuttle. "But I couldn't handle Grandpa's sunfish on my own. I think he's the only one who ever could. I always needed someone at the rudder. It was... specially built." She felt rather silly now, trying to explain.

Evans looked at the slightly guilty look on Kitty's face, and felt bad already:" Well, of course, I would love to help you. Specially buit, huh? Is it fast?" That grin appeared on Evans' face again. It usually appeared on very seldom occasions, but those occasions seemed to pop out like flies today... Kitty blinked and smiled, turning back to face him. "Oh yeah, it's fast. It's a couple centuries old. It's been refinished several times.. adjusted.. all the quirks worked through. It's the family racing boat. But.. my grandfather won't be racing it this year." She frowned, remembering her grandfather's words about 'all good things'.. and her own determination. "It would be the first time in... generations... that a Black wasn't registered in the race. I know it can't always happen... but this one year, just this once more..." She lapsed into confused silence. This meant a great deal to her.

Evans saw a problem right there... "Eh, when is this race? We are scheduled to move out again, this night..." "Yeah, it's a good two and a half months away." Kitty settled back a little in her chair. "I hope we might be back in the area by then. I know it's not a certainty... but I'd like to try, anyways." She looked back out the front of the shuttle. "That race.. several years ago, it was the first time I'd gone back to the sea.. after the Accident."

"What accident?" Ronald asked. He turned his chair toward Kitty and held her hand to comfort her. "Or do you want me to let it rest?" he added, to allow her an escape. "N-no, that's okay.. I think it's time I should be able to talk about it." Kitty took a deep breath and closed her eyes, glad for the extra bit of comfort. "It was an exploration vessel, seafaring, just my grandparents and me. My grandparents are marine biologists... did I ever tell you? Well, even though it's illegal to hunt the humpback whale.. we don't want it to become extinct again.. it's been known to happen. A hurt whale can get very angry... and a whale is awfully strong... "It attacked our boat. Cracked the hull open." She opened her eyes again, looking at him. "I was below decks, sleeping in my little room, when the power went out and the water started rushing in. My grandparents were up on deck."

"That sounds like a horrible experience... But you made it out, right? And your grandparents too?" "Yeah." She nodded, remembering it very clearly, by the look in her eyes. "I didn't know it at the time. I held my breath and managed to find my way out of the broken ship before it sunk, and then I let out an air bubble and followed it to the surface. You can't tell which way is up in a situation like that, you get turned all around. I surfaced amid a group of sharks... they were going after the whale, I think. I had to slap a couple of them, keep them away from me.. and then I had no clue where the shore was. "My grandfather's leg was badly hurt, nearly torn off. My grandmother got him up on a bit of debris and fought off the sharks with a pole.. another bit of debris. They were rescued from there, but the people who rescued them couldn't find me. That's because I called up a couple of dolphins and asked them to bring me to shore... And I thought my grandparents had been killed." Now there were tears in her eyes, and she glanced away. "I had nightmares for... a long time.. and so did my grandmother."

Evans looked at her. "Dolphins? You're joking right?" But then he saw her eyes about to burst in tears. "You're not joking... I... I'm sorry... Come 'ere..." he said, as he pulled her into his arms again, resting her head on his shoulder and vice versa... He felt her sobbing onto his uniform, and he patted and stroked her back, as he comforted her.

Kitty had tears to spend, even after all of this time... she cried a little while, helplessly, then started trying as hard as she could to contain her tears. She gave a slight laugh that was still more of a sob, and her voice wavered. "Yeah.. yeah, I know it sounds weird.. but yeah, I can speak elementary dolphin. My... my grandparents taught me... My grandfather.. he's going back for surgery on his leg... he says... he says he's getting old." Having blurted out that fear as well, Kitty couldn't restrain a couple more sobs from escaping. "I'm sorry, I... didn't mean to.. go and cry at you."

Evans continued hugging his new girlfriend. Here they were, and she already needed him. He couldn't help but feel a bit proud, immediately punishing himself mentally for feeling that way... "Shhh, it's alright... I believe you... It does sound incredible though, and extremely interesting... The part about the dolphins, that is... I'm sure your gramps has a long time ahead of him, together with granny and you..." he added...

"I hope so, I really, really, Really hope so." Kitty smiled a little, taking strength from his reassurance and shifting in his embrace to look up at him. "He won't recover in time for the sailing competition.. but.. he's tough, and he'll be up and around again." She also answered his other statement, about what he thought was interesting. "Oh, my grandparents' life work is deciphering the language of the humpback whale... of course they picked up a bit of dolphin meanwhile. I'm just glad I learned it. I bet my punctuation was really bad... and I know I speak it with a human accent... but dolphins are playful, and they don't mind."

Evans snickered at that last remark... "Well, they did bring you home... I still think it's amazing, and I really would like to see that for myself some time." He looked back at Kitty and kissed her on her forehead. "Are you okay?" he said, as he slowly released her. Kitty smiled softly, but a bit sheepishly, as she drew back, sitting back in her own seat. She brought her hand up and touched her forehead gently where he'd kissed it, then blushed a little. "Yeah... Yeah, I'm alright," she said quietly. "I still have nightmares now and then, especially after Engineering was boarded," she admitted. "But months after the accident, the only thing that could get me back into the water was the promise of that race. I'm hoping.. it can 'work it's magic' for me one more time."

Evans returned to his own seat too. "Hmm, magic... I might need to study up on that category, if we're going to use that..." he joked badly... "I really hope we can be back home by the time the race is on. I'm really looking forward to it. Talking about racing, how long until we reach our destination?" Kitty beamed through the tearstains still on her face, and she checked the console. "We're almost there. ...Thanks, Evans. For agreeing to help.. and for listening. I feel a lot better now."

"You're welcome..." he said, as he took her hand again, and squeezed it gently. He let go again to contact San Fransisco Approach...

=/\=San Fransisco, this is Cargo shuttle 'U-Haul' with you, 600 miles out.=/\= =/\='U-Haul', San Fransisco Approach, please contact SFHQ tower for final approach=/\= =/\=San Fransisco, 'U-Haul' is contacting SFHQ tower for final approach=/\=


Quite the endearing post by:

Lieutenant Jg. Ronald Evans Chief Operations Officer USS Pegasus "What's that funny feeling in my tummy?"

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