A Mirror Shattered #37 - "Shuttlecraft Confessions"

That's supposed to be #37 and #38, sorry! Next one would be #39. :)


Joy wrote:

> -=On=- > > (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=/\= > > -=Off=- > > 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. 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