A Mirror Shattered #106&107 "My first date"


[USS Pegasus, half an hour after shift rotation]

Lt. Black startled unpleasantly as her alarm went off. She took a while to blink and sit up and figure out what that noise was before she remembered. "Computer.. turn that thing off. Any new messages?" She had one. She sat down to read it through and smiled softly. "I think I have a date," she said to herself. "I'd better get ready."

She changed out of her wrinkled uniform and stood there angsting over all her new clothing before picking out the one thing she had thought was most daring when she bought it.. a red wraparound dress with Oriental-style gold embroidery on it... phoenix birds and various leafies. She brushed her hair out and decided to leave it long and loose, rather than trying to put it up. Then she blinked as she realized the time.. and hurried towards the lounge. At least, she tried to hurry. She was still a bit slow and tired, but she felt certain of her balance now and didn't need the cane anymore.

Evans was in the lounge, waiting for his date. He remembered that he forgot to mention a time of the date, so he'd hurried to his quarters to freshen up and change into civvies, as his CO advised some time ago, and then hurried to the lounge, only to be waiting there from 17:30 to 18:30. He was already fearing he got stood up, but decided to wait a little longer. Then he noticed the doors opening, and a lady in red entering. Nobody had the common decency to tell him to stop staring and pick his jaw off the floor.

Kitty entered, looking around, a bit hesitant and quite shy in a brighter color than she was quite used to wearing. She spotted her date and smiled, but blushed slightly. She approached his table. "I'm sorry.. you didn't have to wait long, did you?" She wasn't 'silly enough' to try to pair the dress with heels, not while she was still feeling weak. Instead, she'd used a couple of replicator credits on a pair of red silk shoes, embroidered in gold to match the dress.

"... ... You look... gorgeous..." was all that Ronald was able to mutter at the sight of his girlfriend standing at his table. He shook his head and blushed. "Sorry, where are my manners..." he said, as he stood up, and pulled out a chair for Kitty. "Please, have a seat."

Kitty smiled and blushed at the compliment. "Thank you..." And she smiled again as she sat herself down in the chair he pulled out. "Oh thank you..." she repeated, then watched him, enjoying the chance to study the expressions on his face. "You're... well, still as cute as when I first told you in that odd roundabout way," Kitty admitted shyly.

"Eh, thank you... I guess..." Evans mumbled, still unable to grasp how incredibly lucky he just got."You look gorgeous..." he repeated. Then his mind started to work again, slowly... "Eh, what would you like to eat?" was the first thing it could compile.

Kitty started to speak automatically, to say what she wanted, and then she hesitated again. <Don't want to seem too strange> she thought. Instead she tried a different tactic. "What were you thinking of ordering?"

"A hamburger with french fries..." he automatically responded. "...Eh, no wait..."

Kitty blinked and giggled. "I was thinking about steak," she admitted. "A good ribeye cut, with mashed potatoes. I'm pretty hungry." Then she laughed outright. "Though there isn't much difference except preparation, is there?"

"Oeh, that's actually a good idea..." Evans responded. "And I think it goes better with a nice glass of wine, methinks..."

Evans winked at a waiter, and placed the order. "Two steaks please... Ribeye cut, one served with mashed potatoes, and another with fried chips. And a bottle of halfsweet wine?" the last part he ordered while looking at his date, to see if she agreed.

Kitty smiled and nodded. "That sounds excellent. But... add a half-glass of white grape juice, please." She turned to Evans. "I know it's silly. But.. uhm, I can't drink a whole glass of wine in one sitting. It's too much for me."

Evans looked a bit odd at Kitty. He never heard of anything like that... "That's a new one for me... I don't mind personally, but I know for a fact that some traditional winers would turn in their graves if they heard about that..." He gave her a wink to indicate that he was just playing.

"Does your family drink wine often?" Kitty was a little embarrassed, but heartened by the wink. "Where... Is your family from, anyways?"

"I'm from Great Britain, as is my family. We're from a long line of veterenarians, farmers, car restorers, TV presenters and in-general-around-goofers." Evans responded to her question. "And you?"

Kitty smiled brightly. "I like that answer. I'm from just the other side of the ocean. New England. My father's family have been mariners for.. generations. My grandparents are marine biologists. They raised me." Her smile faded slightly. "I don't really know anything about my mother's side at all, for all that I got most of my looks from her." She tacked on a quieter statement, almost as an afterthought. "I think it's the only thing I got from her side."

"Ah, yes, so you told me on the shuttletrip..." he remembered. "I'm sorry to hear that your relationship with your parents is so... " he searched for a better word for poor... "...limited... I have a good relationship with my mother, and never had problems associating with dad. I really loved working on that car together with him. Ah, looks like our drinks..."

"One bottle of wine, one empty glass, and one recepy for blasphemy..." the waiter joked. "Your food will be coming right up..."

"Is it a problem..?" This was the second comment in a row she'd gotten on her 'odd drinking habit', and Kitty was starting to look worried. "I just don't want to get sick like I did at the Academy."

"Well, like I said, I don't really care, but you just got me curious..." Evans teased. "Just kidding... We Evans' like a sip of wine with dinner once in a while. However, it's not like we slam them down like mineralwater..." <or tequila> he added in his mind.

Kitty smiled. "My grandfather used to give me sips from his beer at the dinner table. But I never had a lot of it at once. I think it's because I'm lightweight.. though my pediatrician said it had something to do with the way I could distinguish pitch so well, in music." She smiled wryly. "And at the Academy... Well, nobody told me what a "jello shot" was. I thought it was just a basic low-fat dessert! But it tasted really strong, and I hated it. And then I felt really dizzy and left the party early. I slept late the next morning, but then I was alright."

"Ah, yes... Here's a tip. If some beverage has the word 'shot' in the name, it usually involves a high concentration of alcohol..." Evans said semi-seriously... "And whaddya know... There's our steaks..."

"Who has the steaks with the mashed potatoes?" the waiter asked friendly but to the point.

"Me, that's me!" Kitty smiles, waving slightly, then feeling silly for waving. "Thank you." She looked back at Evans. "You.. don't work on cars with your father anymore?" she asked, remembering his wording earlier and having the sinking feeling that she was saying something really stupid.

Now it was Evans' turn to turn gloomy: "I'd love to, but my father died a few months ago. The local medicineman, doctor is too big a word, completely missed all the symptoms of an ordinary heart attack. I think they're all just a bunch of quacks." As he said that, he immediately regretted it: "Except maybe Russell. He seems to be knowing what he's doing. He helped us get rid of that thinking out loud problem..."

"Yeah..." Kitty's voice quieted significantly. "And he saved my life earlier today." Then she regretted that, the way it could sound like she was disapproving of Evans' attitude. "I'm sorry to hear about your father... it sounds like you really miss him." She reached across the table impulsively, in case he wanted to hold her hand.

"Yeah, I do. Working on the car I miss the most." Instinctively, Ronald gratefully took Kitty's hand, and then his heart missed one, as the words registered. "...Eh, excuse me?... Saved your life? That serious?"

He knew of the problems, of course, as he was the one calculating a solution for it.

"Uh.. yeah.. I..." Kitty had thought for some reason that he'd already known exactly what happened... but, then again, reports during battle tended to be pretty terse. "Engineering flooded with radiation, and I stayed behind with two other engineers to make the repair. That's.. that's why I sent you those equations. My head was getting fuzzy and I couldn't concentrate well enough to finish them. Uh... Rogers and I both collapsed... I don't remember all of what happened around then.. and I woke up in Sickbay. Rogers.. didn't.. didn't survive." To her annoyance, she found she was blinking back tears again. She was on a date. She should be having fun. Right? "Dr. Russell did a cellular regeneration on me and on Williams. He said I'd feel better over time, and he's right.. I'm steadier than I was a few hours ago."

<Oh no, I did it again...> Evans thought, feeling guilty for making her cry yet again. "I'm sorry, sweet... I should be more gratefull towards my collegues. I guess I owe ol' doc Floyd bigtime... Let's try and talk about something fun instead... What about your family's boat? Sundolphin? Sunfish? What was it again?"

Kitty successfully choked back the tears and nodded, taking a deep breath. "Yeah.. it's a sunfish, but I can't handle it by myself. We always needed two, one at the rudder, one at the sail. I can handle the sail. The rudder is easy." She relaxed a little, successfully sidetracked. "It's not our only boat, but.. it's The Family Boat, you know. It's pretty old."

"Tell me, how fanatical are you about winning? Of course I would like to win, but I usually agree with that old proverb..." Evans said. "You know, paticipating is more important than winning."

"I don't care about winning," Kitty said readily. "We didn't win half the time anyways. But... I'd just like to.. participate. There has always been a Black registered in that race." With her other hand, she started hungrily eating her steak. "Of course, I'd _try_..."

"Oh, there's nothing wrong with that..." Evans confirmed. "Would you like to join me in the holodeck for some practice some time?" he asked, not realising how his question could be interpreted.

Any such re-interpretation went entirely and completely over Kitty's head. This could be considered endearing by the 'right person.' "I'd really like that," she replied. "It sounds like fun. I picked up the program already for the coastline, because I wanted to get back into wind-surfing."

"Uh.." Kitty completely missed the whole 'sleight of hand' and had no idea why her date was suddenly blushing at the thought of a wetsuit. "If you'd like. I'm not really Planning on capsizing us, but I suppose it could happen." She smiled. "Especially as we're learning how to work together.

"Yup... Working together... And don't forget the spray and the wind. It could become deceptively cold..." Evans was already recomposing himself, and shot an annoyed look at the waiter. The waiter in his turn lifted his hands in apology, and got on with his business.

Kitty blinked at the momentary annoyed look, glanced behind her at the retreating waiter, and then looked back at Evans curiously. "Well, I suppose it could.. uh, in July... Sure. Whatever works for you." She smiled, continuing to eat.

"My, you seem very hungry today... Guess it has to do with you recovering and all." Evans said more to himself, as he also ate his meal. "By the way, since when have you been a full lieutenant, ma'am?" he teased again.

"Oh!" Kitty blushed a little and absently reached up to where the new pip would be if she were in uniform. "Just from when I got back from shore leave on Earth. I wrote to my grandparents about it right away. They were so proud! I can't believe I made it this far." She paused and glanced up and around at the lounge. "I really can't believe I made Chief Engineer, even now."

"Well, you seem to be doing a great job at keeping our ship running, even when crossing over into a different dimension." Ronald said. "Albeit with a little bit of help..." he winked.

"Thank you so much for running those equations for me," Kitty said gratefully. "I... don't know if I could describe the relief I felt when I saw they'd been done." She was nearly done with her steak now. "What do you think about this... another dimension?"

Ronald had to think about that one for a while, as he chewed on some chips... "Well, about the situation here, well, I think it's safe to say it's far from ideal... Just one man fails to accomplish his mission and the whole galaxy is turned upside down. That's a pretty scary thought... On the other hand, if this mirror universe is what it's cracked up to be, there should be another Ronald Evans here, swimming in latinum, and surrounded by scores of beautiful women... I guess..." He thought some more... "You know, one of those annoyingly superficial guys..."

Kitty couldn't resist. She grinned, eyes sparkling with humor. "What do you think Kathleen Black is like, then, in this universe?"

Evans looked at her with desirous eyes. "Well, she would be obnoxiously confident of herself, bordering on arrogant... She would flaunt her female forms shamelessly in a formfitting leather and lace catsuit, while punishing her subjects mercilessly." It was a mix between Ronalds wildest dreams and worst nightmares, actually describing the complete opposite charactertraits of what he thought of his girlfriend.

"Oh, and she would absolutely suck at engineering..." he added as an afterthought.

"...Goodness." That was about all Kitty could think to say, looking at his face and considering what he'd just described. Then she came up with something that she would spend the next several hours silently blaming on the diluted wine she'd had. She leaned forward slightly, resting her chin on her free hand. "So you're saying that I don't flaunt my female form?" Kitty teased, making her voice silkier.

"Not shamelessly..." Ronald winked. "However, it's hard to keep my eyes off of you, the way you are in front of me right now... You look absolutely stunning in that dress... Or did I already say that?..."

Kitty blinked and blushed deeply, caught off guard in her little attempt at flirting and embarrassed at his frank response. "I think the word you used the last few times was 'gorgeous'," she found herself responding. Then she snickered and suddenly got a bad case of the giggles.

"Yeah, I don't know why, it just seemed funny, I mean, I'm..." The kiss ended both gigglefit and explanation and she blushed again. "I, uhm..." She withdrew her hand slowly, looking embarrassed. "I'm sorry... I... " The blushing was worse now as she admitted quietly... "I don't know how to act properly.. on a real date."

Ronald thought for quite a while, and came up with one answer. "Neither do I..." He thought some more. "I'm just doing what they do in the movies..." he said grinning. "I guess I'm just doing what feels right." he added more seriously.

"I didn't watch the right movies, then." Kitty smiled a little, still blushing. "I never really dated. All this is.. a mystery to me. I feel like I don't know the right things to say and the right ways to say it. Just like... I don't know how to play politics, and I don't know how to... hah... keep from saying what I really mean." She sighed and took a sip of her diluted wine. "It's a good thing I never got into diplomatic endeavors."

Evans was puzzled. In the movies, the girl always knew how to respond. This was a new situation for him to. "Well, I can just simply ask... Would you like me to do something? Give you a hug? Take a step back and talk about silly things some more?"

"I don't know." Kitty started to look frustrated. "I wish I did! I don't want you to.. well.. be weird, to be not like yourself, or to distort everything just how I might want it, especially because I don't know how to do all this. Just... uh... I don't know! Just be patient... if.. you don't mind.. because I'll probably continue to not know what to do." Kitty smiled sheepishly, reaching for his hand again.

Evans took her hand again. "I care too much for you to push you away from me by doing something stupid. It's just a bit harder to figure out what is stupid... Harder than I thought."

"I.. I care about you too," Kitty said, smiling again, "and so it's not that easy to do something stupid enough to push me away... especially when I know you don't mean to." She looked down at her empty plate, then back up at him. "Uhm, want dessert?"

"...Yeah, I'd like some... I hear they have one hell of a bananaboat here..." Evans said, relieved to hear he was still at her good side.

"Sounds excellent." Kitty smiled brightly, the embarrassed blush gone. "Like a well-deserved end to the day."

Evans ordered the two person dessert-dish, and they both digged in.


Lieutenant Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus

Lieutenant Jg. Ronald Evans Chief Operations Officer USS Pegasus