Trojan Horse #92,93 - Demons and Vulcans


[Somewhere between Bridge and Engineering]

Getting to Main Engineering was tougher than anticipated. Kathleen Black made her way around bits of debris, circumventing the corridors being used as impromptu conduits. She soon found she had to make a fair bit of detour, seeing parts of the ship she hadn't even looked for before this whole disaster.

Sulan moved past her, without a second glance, as she was busy talking to Miller, as thy made one last sweep of the ship for throughness. "I must say I disagree with Petrova's decision to allow the remaining crew of the Lantree to assist us. We do not yet know of thier intentions, and I want them watched closely." Miller nodded his agreement.

Kitty blinked, recognizing one of the people she was supposed to coordinate with. She turned, paused for half a breath, and spoke, wishing her voice was less nervous. "Lieutenant?"

Sulan stopped and turned toward the sound of the voice. "Ah, Lieutenant Black. Greetings, sir. How can I assist you?" She slung the phaser rifle over her shoulder, and studied the younger Lieutenant. <Small and possibly unsuited for combat, slightly favoring right side.>

Kitty, unlike Petrova, never minded the "sir". "Commander Petrova asked me to coordinate with you and O'Driscoll, to take some engineers on the away team and salvage from the Lantree." Simple and straight to the point.

"Will you be accompanying us, sir?" Sulan asked tonelessly.

"I was planning on it," Kitty said, tilting her head very slightly to the side. "I'll need to know what we have to work with, to give the engineers instructions."

"Of course." She dug around in her pack for a moment. "Ah yes, here is the object I seek." She pulled the pin from the thermite grenade and tossed it to kitty as it's primer made a quite high-pitched whine.

Kitty blinked, part of her mind prompting her to catch the grenade even as another part of her realized that a pin had been pulled. She rose up slightly as she caught it, spun around gracefully on one foot, on her toes, and hurled it as quickly as she could further down the corridor. As she finished her spin, her expression was already changing to a look of shocked surprise and she opened her mouth, likely to protest. Good reflexes for an engineer, but a real fighter probably would have tossed it back...

Sulan quickly held up a had in a 'stop' gesture. "Hold. It was simply a practice grenade. Forgive me, but I had to test your mettle as it were. Surely you see the logic in my wanting to test you? If you show weakness under fire, you put yourself and my security teams in danger." Down the hall the grenade ceases it's whining and goes quiet. Miller looked at Sulan with wide eyes. "S-sir... That's a superior officer! You-" Sulan silences him with a glance. "I know. And apparently, she is an officer who is more brave than she seems at first glance. Well met, Lieutenant."

"I play cello, and I like parasailing." Kitty answered, letting her initial ire die down. "I think quickly, and I'm a decent shot if I have to be. But I'm not a fighter." Her mouth twitched slightly in something almost like amusement.. she couldn't quite help her question. "Is your security team capable of protecting me and the other engineers, or should I only select team members with combat experience?" Her tone was entirely honest, though, not snide or sarcastic.

"If your crews can fight, all the better. Reality has a way of making us all masters of improvisation. Though, for your future reference, the blast radius of a thermite grenade is fifteen meters. Logic dictates that a thrower cannot be within that range when tossing said grenade. I am less than two meters from you. If the grenade had been live, and you would have reacted badly, I would have been slain as well. You should have perceived this." She studied the younger woman, still somewhat surprised that she had not urinated on herself when she's caught the grenade.

"I'm not a fighter," Kitty repeated. "I don't think like one. I'm an engineer. And I admit, some of the things I've heard..." She blushed a little. "Well, to be blunt, I'd have to be absolutely sure that a fellow crewmember who suddenly tossed me a live grenade was, well, sane enough to care if she survived it."

Sulan raised an eyebrow. "A healthy sense of paranoia. Excellent. If you have doubts about my competency, feel free to express them. I have no feelings to hurt. Given my recent actions toward Commander Petrova, your concern is warranted."

"Vulcans do have feelings," Kitty replied thoughtfully. "They just don't... express them. But I think you're a competent fighter, and I think that you wouldn't have put me on my guard like that if you were planning something against me. I don't have any problems with you." She took a moment to think, trying to anticipate any problems they might have, working as a team. She thought about the lounge incident, the hull breach, and glanced down a little. "I'll have my team carry phasers," she said. "But... don't count on me."

"Understood." Sulan said, watching her expressions. "Now, on to the matter of the Lantree itself. What shape is it in? Does it have gravity, power and life support? What kind of environment will I be leading my people into?" She said, ignoring the earlier statement about Vulcan emotions.

The logical questions brought Kitty from worry back to calm. "It's in bad shape, weapons and engines disabled or destroyed. No life support. I don't know about gravity. ...Oh, and the.. virus.. might still be active, we don't know for sure." She hadn't even thought about that. "Oh, drat." Kitty wasn't one to swear.

"What virus do you speak of?" Sulan asked in a flat tone.

Kitty quirked a half-smile, just from the absurdity of it all. "A damaged form of a tactical emergency hologram, which killed the Lantree crew.. that of them who weren't here... and attacked the Pegasus. It might still be operational. If it is, it might have control of the computer."

"Then why not simply destroy the Lantree? Why risk the exposure of this vessel?"

"Our warp drive is dead. There's no way we can fix it.. unless the right parts from the Lantree haven't been damaged. We're so short of spare conduits that we're using the gravity plating on ship corridors to send power to the shields. We're in bad shape.. I don't know how much you've been told.. and we've had.." Kitty took a deep breath. "A few hull breaches. I think Petrova isn't convinced that there won't be a problem with the next starship who comes to help..."

Sulan saw the look that was in her eyes. She knew it well, and had seen it on many a face. "How difficult was it for you, Lieutenant?"

"Uh.. pretty difficult," Kitty admitted, meeting Sulan's eyes now, an old pain in her own. "I've seen hull breaches before. On a water vessel once, when I was a child. I was below decks, and... well, I barely got out." She closed her eyes for a moment. "I froze, and Evans got me out of the way. In the lounge. And he got hurt." Her eyes opened again, angry now instead of afraid. "And I think I might have just killed someone."

"You ordered someone to their death?"

"No. No, I did it. The hologram program on this ship, the tactical program who came over with us. The one that there might be a crippled version of gone mad in the Lantree. The mysterious 'computer glitches' that have done nothing to help us over here. I deleted... destroyed the program. I was under orders, but _I_ did it." Kitty shook her head a little.

Sulan nodded. "The needs of the many, Lieutenant. You did what you had to to ensure the safety of this vessel." She paused slightly, "I am concerned that you will be unprepared for what we encounter on board the Lantree." She hesitated. "Vacuum and flash freezing are quite hard on the unprotected humanoid body. The casualties we encounter there may be somewhat.... disturbing to view. Are you prepared for it?"

"No," Kitty said. "How would I be?" The anger hadn't faded from her expression, but it wasn't directed at Sulan. It was starting to focus something inside herself instead. "But that program.. it killed the Lantree crew. Attacked us. And Evans was hurt. Because of its actions, the other one, the one here, had to be killed. If making sure it's gone means going over there and seeing that sight, I'll handle it. Just like I handled it back when the water came pouring in, and the sharks were circling."

Sulan nodded. "Very well. I shall assemble a small squad and lead them personally. We shall be ready at your convenience. Do you require anything else, sir?"

"I'll be taking some of the Lantree engineers with me, in my team," Kitty said, strangely calm now, matter-of-fact. "I trust them. They've worked just as hard as my own team on repairs, even during battle, and they know their own ship best."

Sulan didn't comment on that statement, simply answering "Aye, sir."


Telek Sulan Chief of security USS pegasus "Fire in the hole."

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus