A Mirror Shattered #96 - "Every high peak is followed by a long drop


[Main Bridge, USS Pegasus]

Kitty felt a definite sense of relief as the exhausted XO limped off to rest and the captain took over command of the ship. She got her orders, to go back and get the engines running, and watched as the captain handed Evans the bridge again and walked off to beam down to the closest thing they apparently had here to Earth. She looked at the planet on-screen and sighed, then shuddered a little. No New England rocky coast, no grandparents... it was as dreary a thought as she could imagine.

She had her orders, though. Get those engines properly repaired. As long as she knew what she had to do, she could be alright. So she tapped in some commands, checking the status of Engineering, and removed the quarantine fields. She shut down everything except the minimum engine power needed to keep them in orbit, and then rose from her bridge seat. Time to go back down.

Kitty rose, stretched a little, and picked up the cane. It was easier walking now. She was feeling better and better as time went on. She was just terribly tired. The better she felt, the tireder she was. She smiled and offered a little wave as she passed Evans' station and continued on to the turbolift. She'd been aching to speak to him more, but they both had to be very much in charge and on duty. It was best that she be as professional as possible, considering the crisis situation they were in.

[Main Engineering]

Kitty settled down at her station and started giving orders. Most of her engineers were back at work, except Williams, who was still resting, and Rogers, who would never come to work again. She sighed and started working on equations as the others began replacing the regulator that she'd jury-rigged half-open. Her mind kept wandering, from the desperate repairs to the dream to her awakening in Sickbay and finding out about Rogers.

Finally, she brought up a new-message screen and addressed it to Evans. She hesitated, then typed. ::It's been a heck of a day. Would you like to catch dinner at the lounge with me, when we go off-duty?:: Kitty stared at the words for a while, then added a line. ::If you haven't got something else you need to do, of course...:: Another long pause produced another addition. ::Or something you already had planned...:: Kitty looked at the message again.. shrugged helplessly.. positioned her hand over the send button... shut her eyes... and hit the button.

With that out of the way, Kitty felt better. Reaching out like that, doing anything 'forward' like that, had always been stressful for her. First, she'd want desperately to reach out while constantly fearing rejection. Then she'd worry about bothering the person as she'd composed the message, angst over whether any part of her message could be taken wrongly, and always shut her eyes before hitting Send. But once it was sent and couldn't be taken back, she felt better, and thought that maybe she didn't sound so stupid after all.

Now on to those equations...

...the wall began to creak, any moment now it would crack, and the dark water would come pouring in...

"Lieutenant... hey..." Kitty startled and realized that someone was gently shaking her shoulder. She blinked and lifted her head from the control panel. Williams was standing next to her station, looking a bit pale but basically okay.

"What in the world...?" She looked around in confusion. Engineering hadn't changed, the lighting being the same, the noise level the same, with the crew walking about, lifting components, replacing them. She checked the time and was surprised to see that an entire half hour had just gone past.

"You're not supposed to fall asleep at your post," Williams replied with a wry smile. "I'm up, I'm alright, feeling much better. I can take over for you. There are only a couple of hours left in your shift, anyways."

"Are you sure?" Kitty asked, looking around and trying to make sense of the general busyness in the room.

"I can walk without a cane, that's for sure. Hey, off you go. I mean it. I'll report our progress." Williams was old enough to be her father. He had risen to the rank he desired and simply never gone further. He'd never wanted to. As an engineer, he'd been invaluable... accepting her authority from the beginning and keeping an eye out for her. "Go and and rest, ok?"

"Alright, I'm going." Kitty smiled, rising and picking up the cane. "Just make sure there wasn't any damage from when the regulator was stuck half-open, and let me know before you're going to bring anything back online. We're probably going to run into a lot of combat this time, and we want to make sure we're in top shape. Oh... and look over the scans from what we went through to get here. I'd like to keep this from happening on our way back home."

Williams nodded, looking over the reports. "We've got everything covered. Go rest now."

Kitty made her slow way to her room. She checked on her cello and was pleased to see that it was still safe in its case. "I'll just practice before I... go to bed... or... maybe not." Now that she was off-duty, a wave of exhaustion overwhelmed her and she dropped down on the bed, curling up slightly, still in her uniform. She told the computer to wake her up in a couple of hours, in time for her to check and see if Evans had left a response to her offer of dinner, and then lapsed into a sleep so deep she didn't even dream.


Finally getting some much-needed rest:

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer, USS Pegasus