A Mirror Shattered #258-259 "The Return of the Boss"

[USS Pegasus, Main Engineering]
No rest for the weary... no sooner had Kathleen Black made it back on board, that she realized the entire ship was on alert. She left her boyfriend with a quick but heartfelt kiss and whispered thank-you and hurried straight for Engineering. The Chief was quite the sight when she limped quickly through the doors, still wearing the red, gold-trimmed, knee-length dress, her knee bruised. Her hair was back in a plain but tidy ponytail, which was usual for her but not quite fitting with the fancy clothing. She glanced around quickly, looking for someone to report to her.
River turned at the sound of the opening doors of Engineering and raised an eyebrow.  Hurrying over, she turned her head back and called to the small group of Engineers working nearby.  "Cleary!  Keep an eye on those readings, if that sensor so much as hiccups I want to know about it," she said, and turned back to Black.  "Boss," she said with a smile.  "Welcome back."
"Thanks, it's good to be back," Lt. Black smiled, spotting just the person she'd hoped to speak to. "What's going on?" She strode further into the room and paused, listening to the hum of the engines. "Why are we making modifications?"
River followed the Chief's gaze to the knot of Engineers.  "The Captain asked us to try to get as much speed out of the engines as possible.  I'm not sure of the details, but I've been using some of the theoretical designs I worked on while at the SCE.  Here's a brief summary," she said, handing the Chief a PADD with the general overview. 
Kitty took the PADD and glanced over it, then blinked and looked over it again. "That's... wow." She looked up at the engines. "Well, we're not going to get that out of these guys.. unless..." Forgetting everything else, the Chief Engineer hitched her leg up on the nearest available surface and started tapping in a few modifications. "We're going to burn out a couple of sensors, we can't help that... and we'll have to keep a close eye Here and Here to figure out what's actually going on... and we can't hold it for long, did you tell him we can't hold it for long?" Her gaze was intense, her mind completely on her engines now.
River watched her boss with something close to admiration.  She had served under Engineers in the past who would have had her head on a platter for these kinds of modifcations.  "I haven't told him anything yet," the Engineer answered honestly.  "I was about to submit a report about our progress in fact."
"Go ahead and send the report," Kitty said, offering the PADD back. "Just tell him we'll have the speed, but we can't hold it for long." She took another step and stumbled, the combination of heeled shoes and bruised knee not helping her balance much. "Drat! Can you keep everyone happy for, oh, about ten minutes?"
"Absolutely Chief," River said with a smile, already formulating her report to the Captain in her head.  "We can hold down the fort here for a few."
"A few will be enough," Kitty said in relief, retreating out of Engineering. And indeed a few was all that it took for her to return, in uniform and looking much refreshed.
River watched her superior go with a tiny smile and a raised eyebrow.  There's a story there," she murmured, and then turned to the young Ensign staring at her with a curious expression.  "Turst me kid," she said with a grin.  "Sometimes it's better not to know.  Carry on," she said and walked to the office.  A few minutes later Black returned looking more... appropriately dressed.  Kyle keyed the report into the computer, flagged to the attention of the Commanding Officer:
"Captain, the modifications you requested have been mostly completed, but we will not be able to hold these speeds for long without risking extensive damage.  Impulse egines will be unaffected, but once we get where we're going, if we need to go somewhere ELSE in a hurry, I'd recommend hitching a ride.  Sir.  - Lieutenant JG River Kyle, Assistant Chief Engineer."
Kitty smiled as she re-entered to find Engineering where she left it. "This is much better," she said, then instantly started giving commands, though with her they always sounded more like suggestions. "You'd better crank that one up a few degrees... let's see if we can get this part up to 90%... we'll need someone ready over here, why don't you do that..." and then she looked back at River cheerfully. "Some fun, isn't it? Any idea what we need the speed for, specifically?"
Kyle smiled at her boss, but at her question, the young woman's face clouded.  "I think we're going into battle," she said in a low voice.  Her feelings on that were well known.  "I haven't been given much in the way of information," she said, keeping her voice quiet.  The rumours are flying but little has been confirmed yet."
"Again?" Kitty had seen more combat on this ship than on any other posting. "Well, if that's what we're going to do, that's what we're going to do. Remember fighting rarely makes its way to Engineering." Her little reassurance was becoming almost a joke by now. The very first battle they'd engaged in, the ship had been boarded and Engineering had nearly been taken. "I'll know soon enough what's going on... but I'm sure things are going to work out fine." She smiled reassuringly. "I've got a good group here."
The young woman looked around at the assembled Engineers and smiled.  "Yes you do," she said.  It was a good team to be sure, but River knew just how quickly things could turn ugly, even down in Engineering.  She shuddered ever so slightly.
Kitty frowned at that and reached out to rest her hand gently on the other woman's shoulder. "Hey.." she said with a game smile. "The chances of getting flooded with radiation twice in a row are pretty slim. We'll be ok."
As she had a thousand times before, River buried her pain and smiled at Kitty, nodding.  She was afraid to speak lest her voice betray the worry she felt.  The young woman knew that this was something she would have to work through if she was going to make it as a Starship Engineer.
Kitty smiled back and headed for her office. "I'll take care of the equation modifications," she said brightly. "We're just about ready to fly."
Kyle nodded and looked back to the small group gathered around a console.  "Alright people it doesn't take five of you to watch a sensor reading," she grumbled affectionately.  "Shoo!  Go make yourselves useful for once!"  The assembled group broke up with a chuckle and went about their work.
Lt. Kathleen Black
Chief Engineer
USS Pegasus
Lieutenant JG River Kyle
Assistant Chief Engineer
USS Pegasus