Trojan Horse #56, 57 - Use...


With the Lantree on final approach, Kitty took a break. She found herself nearly falling asleep at her terminal, so she rose and started walking. Part of her wanted to take a nap, but she thought she wouldn't have enough time before she had to give the influx of new engineers their orders. So she wandered to Sickbay instead. She decided it was time to go see a friend. The tired look on her face changed to a tired smile as she headed in through the Sickbay doors, looking around.

Ryylar sat on the bed as one of the several nurses staffing sickbay ran him through a rather vigorous amount of tests on the strength and agility of his newly regenerated and healed right arm and shoulder.

"Good now push against me as hard as you can, push against my shoulder." She instructed.

"I don't think that'sssss verrrrrry wisssssse." He said with a frown to the nurse.

"Officer Ryylar, just do as I say, now push!" She said stubbornly and so he sighed and followed the directive as she ordered, sending the woman sprawling back on her rump. Ryylar slid down off of the bio bed and leaned down to help her back up after having bruised not only her rear, but her pride as well.

"All right. You're free to go. Nothing wrong with your arm now." She said, hurriedly trying to shoo the large Caitian away.

Kitty smirked, then snickered as she spotted her friend and made a beeline, waving. She was too tired to notice people turning to look. "Hiiii!" There she was, Chief Engineer, full Lieutenant, walking through sickbay barefoot, in a tank top and pair of shorts that were both just a little big on her. She looked like she'd been up all night. She had been.

"Well hello Kitty. You'rrrrre a ssssssight forrrrrrr ssssssorrrrrrre eyessssss. How arrrrrrre you?" He asked her with a grin as he saw his friend approach.

"Tired!" Kitty chuckled and reached out for a hug as she drew near. "I've been trying to work miracles, but the ship is smarter than me now," she said ruefully.

He hugged her gently and smiled at her.

"I doubt that. Therrrrrrre issssssn't a sssssship that'ssssss ssssssmarrrrrterrrrrr than you Kitty." He said with a smile, reaching up to brush a strand of hair out of her face.

"This one is." She smiled a bit, but she didn't sound very happy. "It's wierd. It's like miracle cures coming out every which way. And it.. feels weird. I mean, it IS weird, but it feels like it, too. And I've been tired, and I feel as if I'm just not up to snuff." Kitty blinked. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for all that to come out like that. I hadn't even said it to myself like that... yet."

"You'rrrrrre jusssssst fine Kitty. Rrrrrrrrememberrrrrrr. Therrrrrrre arrrrrrrrr thoussssssandssssss upon millionssssss upon billionssssss of computerrrrrrrssssss in the galaxy, but only one Kitty Black." He said, giving her a squeeze.

Kitty chuckled and then smiled, closing her eyes for a moment and swaying slightly in the squeeze. Then she drew back, sitting on the biobed he'd just left empty. "Thanks, Ryylar. But honestly, aside from my own ego issues, this whole thing has me kind of spooked."

"I'm sssssurrrrrre it doesssss. You feel almosssst obssssselete at timesssss becaussssse the computerrrrrr can outthink you." He told her with a nod.

"Well, yes," Kitty said softly. "And I've felt my own thinking slowing down. I try to have ideas and they won't come. And usually they come without me even asking for them."

"I think that'sssss morrrrre prrrrroduct of yourrrrr own feelingsssss." He told her honestly with a nod.

"Sssssorrrrrrt of a pssssssychosssssomatic thing." He said with a nod.

"Yeah, well.. maybe it's just the chocolate." Kitty chuckled a little, then gave a sound sort of like a slight sniffle.

"Awwww Kitty don't be ssssso harrrrrrd on yourrrrrrssssself." He told her and moved to hug her gently.

"Why not?" She sniffled again, slightly. "I can if I want to be."

Ryylar pulled her close and snuggled with her a bit.

"Becausssssse you'rrrrrre prrrrrrettierrrrrrr when you sssssmile." Ryylar said, cuddling her as he tried to cheer his friend up.

Kitty couldn't help a soft smile at that, though she blinked back her tears. "Thanks, Ryylar. You know what... in a few minutes all those engineers from the Lantree will be here, and I can go rest. I bet I'll feel better with a good sleep behind me."

"And one of Rrrrryylarrrrrr'sssss sssssignaturrrrrre chocolate coffees." He grinned, knowing his engineer loved those.

"Ohhh...." Kitty smiled, closing her eyes for a moment. "I've missed those. Chocolate ice cream is pretty excellent, but chocolate coffee... You know, I hope the Lantree brought a heck of a lot of extra conduits."

"Well in the meantime. Let'sssss go get you ssssssome of that coffee you love ssssso much." He said with a smile, patting her back as he led her out of sickbay.

Kitty let him lead her along. "We got a couple of replicators working... and the first test was that white rose. I did it." In her increasingly sleepy state, it was important for her to tell him that.

"Rrrrreally? That... that meansssss a lot to me. Thank you Kitty." He said with a soft smile, blushing a bit beneath his fur as he led her along to one of the replicators that worked.

Kitty looked tiredly pleased. "And she liked it, too. I just wish... I'd gotten us combat ready like our captain wanted."

"It wasssssn't yourrrrrr fault. How werrrrrre you sssssssupposssssed to know anything about Dominion Technology in the mirrrrrrrorrrrrr univerrrrrrssssse?" He asked her with a frown.

"Well, I should'a. I mean, look, I burnt out all those conduits, and I caused all that trouble down at the casino." Kitty managed another small smile. "I didn't realize I had it in me."

"It wasssssn't yourrrrrr fault. Bessssssidesssss, at leassssst you werrrrrre allowed to go down to the ssssssurrrrrfacccce. I wasssss deemed a sssssssecurrrrrrity rrrrrrrisssssk when Krrrrrrrisssss went to ssssssave you and Evansssss." He said with a frown.

"I would've liked to see your furry face," Kitty said with a light chuckle. Then she turned more serious. "But really, when she showed up, I didn't think there was anyone I'd rather have seen. I was pretty scared."

"I bet. I wanted to come down, but it wasssss orrrrrrderrrrred that I wasssss not allowed down therrrrrre becausssssse I could interrrrrferrrrre with Krrrrrrissssstiana'sssss judgement and ability to worrrrrrk." He said with a frown.

"Hmmmm. I can kind of understand that. I'm glad that hasn't been an issue with me and Evans. Maybe it's just because it's combat, and she'd be ordering you around. I mean, would she order you into danger? Me and Evans... well, he's a rank below me, but his position is technically one above mine, so I guess we balance out." Then Kitty frowned. "But think about this... If you were going to get badly hurt in combat, do you think you'd want it to be when she's the one directly in charge of you? Would you want to put that kind of burden on her?"

"She did orrrrrderrrrr me into dangerrrrr and I wassssss injurrrrrred in combat." Ryylar pointed out, tapping his shoulder with a nod.

"I don't get to quessssstion the rrrrrranksssss orrrrr the orrrrrderrrrrrs, but I think asssss a sssssecurrrrrrity officcccerrrrrr and assssss herrrrrrr boyfrrrrrriend, I have a bit more vessssted interrrrrressst in herrrrrr sssssafety than jussssst sssssssome rrrrrrandom crrrrrrrewman." He said with a nod.

"Yeah, well..." Kitty spread her hands in defeat and chuckled. "This is why I'm not security personnel.. or in command. I think they get some kind of special manual that tells them how to make these decisions."

"Yup. Rrrrrrrule numberrrrrr one, if it makessssss ssssssensssse... DON'T DO IT." Ryylar joked as they found a working replicator and Ryylar began punching in the ingredients.

Kitty gave a wry chuckle at that. "Well, what about when the engineering room was flooded and I was ordering everyone else out?" She watched him tapping in commands.

"That makesssss ssssssenssssse. Prrrrrressssserrrrving otherrrrrr peoples' livesssss." He said, finishing as he stacked the ingredients neatly on a nearby table in the mess hall.

"Rogers and Williams defied the order and stayed." Kitty leaned against the nearby wall. "Rogers died for it."

"Theirrrrrr choice." He said with a nod as he started mixing the ingredients to make her chocolate coffee.

"My responsibility." Kitty glanced down again. "You know what, after all this, I think I could use a vacation."

"We all could." Ryylar agreed and finished the coffee, sliding it across the table to her as he sat down beside her.

Kitty took hold of the cup and closed her eyes, just breathing in the scent. "Ohh...." She took a quick sip of the steaming coffee and blinked. "Ow... hothothothot... my fault, my fault..."

He blinked at her and frowned.

"Guessssss I made it too warrrrrrm forrrrrr you. I'm sssssssorrrry." He apologized meekly.

"I usually wait," Kitty said, smiling ruefully. "You made it just right, Ryylar, and I've missed it." She blew across the surface of the coffee a couple of times and took a more cautious sip. "Perfect."

He smiled and patted her shoulder gently, giving a small squeeze.

"I'm glad to sssssee you ssssssmile again." He said with a nod.

"I'm just glad we're both here!" Kitty smiled. "And it's good to have you back up and around."

"It'ssssss good to be back up and arrrrround. I misss Krrrrrrissss. Herrrrrr worrrrrk hasssss been keeping herrrrrrr busssssy lately." Ryylar said with a somber smile, wishing she had been able to visit him more.

"Everyone's been busy. Once that extra crew and supplies get here, we can all get some rest." Kitty frowned and made a face. "And maybe I'll be able to get into my quarters, see if my cello is still there."

"It ssssssshould be. I hope it issssss ok." He told her, expressing his sincere wish that everything would be ok for her.

Kitty chuckled, taking another sip. "Oh, I designed that case myself. If it hasn't been blown out into space, the cello is probably fine."

"Then I'm ssssssurrrrrre it'sssss jussssst fine." He told her with a grin.

"So what are you going to do next?" Kitty smiled, feeling the coffee begin to do its work, both relaxing her and making her more awake.

"After essssscorrrrrting you back to yourrrrr quarrrrrterrrrrssss? Go to ssssssee Krrrrrrissss." Ryylar said with a bright grin.

"My quarters are behind a bulkhead, Ryylar, and I have to meet the incoming engineering personnel and give them directions." Kitty smiled. "Then I'll... find somewhere to sleep. There's a little bunk bed that I know won't mind me."

"Well I'll make surrrrrre you'rrrrre at leassssst sssssquarrrrred away prrrrroperrrrrly." He told her as he patted her back.

"I'll be ok," Kitty grinned, sipping at the coffee. "I can feel it working already. Feels good. Ah, caffeine, the friend of the Academy student with a long final ahead."

He smiled and chuckled, nodding to her joke.

"Ohhh... and they'll be coming soon. I'd better get ready." She started drinking the coffee at a faster rate. "I went to see you because you're my friend... but it was probably the best thing I could have done."

"Thankssss it meansssss a lot to hearrrrr that Kitty. I'm glad I could help you." He said with a nod.

"Always," Kitty said, smiling. "I just wish I was of more use."

"Kitty. You make me feel usssssseful everrrrrry time you come ssssssee me. That'ssss ssssssomething that meanssssss a lot to me." He told her, smiling a little.

Kitty chuckled quietly at that. "Well.. you're not the only one," she admitted shyly, glancing down at the remnants of her coffee. "Every time I go talk with Evans, he looks at me as if he's got a smile in his heart, whether he's actually smiling or not. It feels good."

He smiled at her.

"The sssssame with Krrrrrrisss. I know I make her happy jusssst by being me." Ryylar told her.

"It's a good feeling. Less... pressure.. in a way. More in another. But it feels good." Kitty drained the rest of the coffee in one long sip. "Ahhhhh...."

He nods and then smiles to his friend, taking her glass over to the reclamator.

Kitty closed her eyes for a moment, then straightened up, rising to her feet and stretching. She looked considerably more awake now, a little of that sparkle coming back into her eyes. "Well, genius computer or not,

I'm still Chief Engineer. And it still needs our hands to implement those fixes... And I'm the best person to set priorities." She smiled. "It's time to go back to work."

"Go get 'em Tiger." He grinned, giving Kitty a new nickname.

"Rawr." Kitty chuckled. "Thank you!" And she thumped him on the shoulder, then headed out the door.

He smiled and watched her leave, standing as he made his way off to find Kris.


Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus


Warrant Officer Ryylar Morale Officer Acting Security Officer USS Pegasus