A Mirror Shattered #44 - "At what price?"


[Main Engineering]

Kathleen Black would probably look back to this as the most difficult repair she had ever done. Not because of the complexity of the repair.. all she had to do was to climb up and replace a relatively simple part of the impulse drive.. but because of the conditions accompanying the repair. She was already feeling light-headed and achy when she and the few engineers who had not fled the radiation-flooded room emerged from her office. They knew what to do, and quickly dispersed across the room, shutting down some components and activating others. She started climbing the nearest ladder as the ship shuddered from the first impact of weapons fire.

Propulsion was important, especially during a fight. She knew that. They were a sitting duck until she repaired this damage. They couldn't wait for proper decontamination procedures. But something else drove her to work even harder... she knew she needed to make the repair before she became too sick to think. The hypo she'd taken was only a stop-gap measure.. a way to keep a crew from getting seriously hurt in the time it took to get out of the room and to Sickbay. It wasn't really meant to keep people going if they persisted in working in a hot spot like this. But anyone working in here right now would face the same danger as she did... and she knew she could likely make a faster and better repair than anyone else on this ship. Her mind became fuzzy for a moment, but her will seared through white-hot and forced her powers of concentration to cooperate. Just one more tab... just one more connection. There.

Kitty glanced down at the nearest crewmember just in time to see him collapse. She muttered and called down from her perch. "Williams.. get Rogers out of the area and transported to Sickbay." The doors opened to Engineering and a faint flicker could be seen across the doorway, a forcefield keeping the radiation in as it allowed the two men to pass through... one dragging the other. The corridor area just outside of Engineering had been closed off to make an impromptu detox area. Williams contacted the transporter room for a site-to-site transport to Sickbay and duly notified Sickbay that Rogers, like the other engineers who had reported in, had come from a radiation hot spot and needed to be dealt with accordingly. Then he headed back into the flooded engine room.

Kitty had finished her repair by then, so she made her way shakily back down the ladder, clinging to it during a sudden dizzy spell in which she wasn't sure which way was up and which way was down. By now she felt as if she had a bad case of influenza... her body aching badly and her mind fuzzy. She checked the nearest working console. The equations weren't in yet. Kitty closed her eyes for just a moment, thinking of her grandparents, then thinking of her grandfather and his grim determination to stay on his feet even when his leg hurt. "I'm a Black, too," she said softly to herself. "And we don't quit." She went to the area Rogers had left, to see if he'd finished his repair.

"That regulator is shot," Williams said, coming up behind her. "That's a half-hour repair." "We don't have that long," Kitty gasped, hearing her voice start to weaken. She looked back at Williams and he looked just as awful as she felt. "Go on, get out of here. I'll finish. I'm just going to fuse it half-open." Her hands were beginning to tremble a little, and she began to seriously consider the possibility that she wouldn't make it out of this alive. Another shudder from the ship bolstered her resolve. If she didn't finish this, perhaps nobody on board would survive. "That's not going to work," he said, alarmed. "It'll hold," she replied, much calmer than she thought she would be, considering the circumstances. "The other regulators will compensate. Trust me. And get out." "Negative, Lieutenant," Williams replied stubbornly. "I'm not leaving without you." The older man grinned. "Besides, that ops guy you like, who thinks you're cute... he wouldn't want me to leave you in here without help." Kitty concentrated hard on finishing her fusing job, and then sat back. "Is it that obvious?" She managed a half-smile, even through the haze of pain and dizziness, thinking of Evans and his quirky smile.

"Yeah... almost ever since you got on board. C'mon." He offered her a hand up. Kitty declined the offer. "Go see if the plasma equations are done. Start inputting them in. I'll be right there." She forced herself to her feet. She felt a sudden wave of nausea wash over her, and stumbled to the nearest waste disposal just in time. <This figures...> a detached part of her thought. <I'm an adult in charge of an engine room, and I still want to cry whenever I throw up. No time for that now, Kitty. Legs. WORK.> "We don't have a lot of time left." Williams was beginning to look as if he had a mild sunburn. "Either of us... before permanent damage is done, if it hasn't been done already. The equations are in."

"Al-RIGHT. I knew he'd come through." Kitty lurched to the main console, steadying herself against it for a moment. "Let's bring 'er back up." The two engineers typed in the startup sequence codes together and watched in exhausted satisfaction as the engines began to hum again. Kitty decided to send the good news in a text message... she could type the abbreviations more easily than she could say the words and the computer could auto-expand the technical terms for her.

"Impulse engines operational," she typed, spending the last of her strength trying to read the screen. "Jury rig, rough ride. Main Engineering.." She glanced at the readings. "Dangerously high radiation levels. Recommend reroute Engineering control to Bridge. Remaining personnel evacuating to Sic" Her hand slipped, one finger tapping SEND without her even realizing it, as the room spun around her and then everything went dark.

Williams used the last of his strength to pull the Chief Engineer's unconscious body out of Engineering into the closed-off corridor, and he dropped to his knees as he tapped his combadge, ordering an immediate site-to-site transport to Sickbay, intensive care.


Posting like there's no tomorrow... because there might not be!

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer, USS Pegasus

All NPC's played by the same