Trojan Horse 135 & 136 "Conversation."

-=On=- Kitty wandered down the hallway, a bit tired and starting to feel rather put out. She'd changed from her uniform back into the tank top and shorts that Hannah had loaned her a couple days ago, Evans' overlarge bathrobe draped over it as a bit of extra coverage. The Chief Engineer wandered into the corridor and paused in front of a hastily-reinforced door.. her quarters. The door was partly blackened and a warning sign proclaimed that there was no atmosphere on the other side... She sighed, slumped a little, then aimed a ferocious and entirely fruitless kick at the door. "Gah!" <tag>

Sulan checked the reading on her tricorder, and paused as she heard the thud of Kitty's foot against the door. "Such at action will only result on broken toes if you continue. I understand your frustration, but it is better for you if you would refrain from injuring yourself."

"You understand my frustration? How!?" Kitty sighed, then backed up, leaning against the wall opposite her quarters. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have snapped at you."

Sulan nods once. "I understand your frustration in the fact that I, too, know loss. Yet, such things are beyond your control. There is no point in suffering emotionally for a circumstance beyond your control."

"Eh.. it's just stuff," Kitty said. "It's the cello I really wish I could get to. I could really use a good cello session. It.. well.. I guess it'll sound weird, but it's like a form of emotional control, for me. I'm always a bit more 'in charge' after practice."

Sulan nodded again. "Meditation has many forms." Sulan studied the woman closely. "I assume that you have heard the recent rumors concerning me, yet, I sense no more than the normal hesitance from you. Why?" Sulan asked curiously.

"I don't know if you'd call it rumor, really," said Kitty. "I think they were pretty accurate. But you've never hurt me. Actually... I should thank you, for helping me out over on the Lantree. For getting me to face my fear."

"Of course. I said I would protect you, and the engineering crews, and I did so."

"Yeah, well... Thanks." Kitty smiled a little, then tilted her head slightly. "So, are you as dangerous as all the tales suggest?"

Yes." She said seriously. "But only under the right circumstances."

"What makes for the right circumstances?"

"A clear and present danger to to the crew or myself from a foreign or domestic enemy."

Kitty leaned in the corridor and looked at Sulan for a moment, going through the mental back-and-forth.. do I or don't I? She gave a slight nod, as if to assure herself of her own inherent insanity, and spoke calmly. "Hannah asked if she could room with me for a little while. I told her she could." Kitty paused to choose her words. "She seemed a little nervous."

Sulan blinked, confused slightly. "You do not need to ask my permission for her to stay with you. I am not this vessel's quartermaster." She considered for a moment. "Ah, you feel as though I may become jealous and slay you, thinking that Hannah is my property? Or perhaps you've heard of the 'confrontation' I had with Mr. Ryylar, and have misinterpreted it?"

Kitty shook her head. "I didn't think either of those things. I don't know why you were baiting Ryylar. I just wanted you to know how you were coming across."

"I wasn't baiting him in the way you believe. Though I underestimated his emotional reaction."

"I wouldn't mind hearing the other side of it." Kitty said honestly.

"Of course. My Ryylar was apparently in poor spirits because of the recent events surrounding the Pegasus and his relationship with Petrova. I called him a coward, meaning that he should not allow his spirits to drop, but instead use his Catian fighting spirit to combat his problems with zest. but I underestimated his emotional reaction to the perceived insult, and he nearly attacked me. I had to draw my weapon to stop him."

Kitty blinked and then closed her mouth tight for a moment, fighting a wry smile. "Oh... that sounds like a culture problem to me. So what made you think that I'd think you were jealous if Hannah roomed with me?" she asked curiously.

"I'd assumed that you'd misunderstood me as everyone else has seemed to. The crew seems to think I'm a mindless killer. Though I am a taker of lives, I do not do so without forethought." She pauses, considering her words. "All that I ask of you is that you attempt to see me through your own perceptions, not those of others, Hannah included."

Kitty smiled wryly. "I'm a geekette, I've never been able to see through other people's perceptions in my entire life. How'd you get the reputation?"

"On this vessel, or in general?"

"Mmmm...." Kitty tilted her head to the other side. "Both?"

"Concerning my reputation on this vessel, I believe it came about, from my seemingly stern demeanor, and my past history with Starfleet Intelligence. As to my reputation before joining this vessel, if I told you about that, I'd be forced to kill you." She said dryly, before raising an eyebrow. "Ah, humor, it is eternally fascinating..."

"I guess it wouldn't do much good to ask why," Kitty said wryly. "But you left out part of your reputation on this ship. I don't know all the details, but I know you attacked Commander Petrova, and I know the reason was pegged as some sort of problem that was being addressed and, hopefully, solved." "Correct. Do you wish to hear of it?"

"I don't like to have to dig," Kitty said slowly. "But since Petrova's on leave, I've got more responsibility and I like to head things off before they become problems. Sure, tell me what you're comfortable telling me. Do you want to find somewhere that we can sit down?"

"Certainly. I have put off eating for some time. Perhaps in the lounge?"

"Uh... Ok." Kitty turned a shade nervous, but she tried to not show it. She wasn't terribly good at cloaking it. "Lounge is fine." She turned and started walking, glancing to see if Sulan was following.

Sulan followed, slinging her rifle over her shoulder by it's strap. "Is something wrong, Lieutenant?" She asked sensing the girl's nervousness.

"No. Yeah." Sulan had been quite honest with Kitty... Kitty returned the favor. "The last time I was in the Lounge, there was a hull breach... and Evans got injured pretty badly."

"I see. There is nothing to fear. This vessel is secure, you have seen to that yourself." She entered the lounge and ordered a protein compliment from the replicator and sat. "as you see, you have made us quite safe, with your repair work to this vessel. I have every faith in your abilities, having seen them first hand."

Kitty smiled wryly again at that, and ordered some water. "Thanks. Being the one with the abilities, I'm a little more... cautious to believe. But it's holding together." She settled herself down, first so that her back would be to the forcefield over the hull breach.. then she turned so that she could see it as well as Sulan. "Ok, I'm settled."

"Very well. Now on to the matter of the incident with Petrova: My former employers installed a safety measure in my mental faculties that kept me from defecting from them, or betraying them. If I did not report to them, on a regular basis, my ability to control my emotions, and my higher brain functions would gradually deteriorate. I fought the symptoms for as long as I could, but, in the end I was overcome." Kitty listened and took a moment to think before asking, "How did it get fixed?"

"Initially, this vessel's medical staff tried to control it with a codical stimulator. But, it had only limited results. I also was very... hesitatant to accept their help. It wasn't till I learned the battle techniques of the the mirror-universe vulcans, that I was finally able to control it. Though, unfortunately, the ill gotten reputation remains."

"So you've got former employers, and since they didn't 'uninstall' the safety measure, I'm guessing you didn't leave with their blessing?" Kitty sipped at her water, brain working fast.

"Correct." Sulan said, stirring her protein paste.

Kitty took a moment longer to think. "Do you think they'll come after you?"

"Yes. I am certain of it." She said, as she began to eat in her slow and carefull manner.


"That, I am uncertain of. But, If I were the one coming after a rouge agent, I would strike when they were away from their safety zone. A starbase, shore leave, ec cetera."

"I believe that my former commander takes it as a personal insult that I did not complete the mission that I was sent to the Pegasus for." She said, as she sipped her tea.

Kitty took a deep breath. "Like when we get to the starbase." The sight of the hull breach caught her eye again as she thought. "What are you going to do?" She wasn't asking just out of curiosity or authoritatively... she was concerned.

"I do not know. I did not expect to survive this long." She said dismissively.

"Wow." Kitty sat back for a moment, thinking. "I'd offer to help. Problem is, I don't even know if there's anything I can DO." She thought a bit more and then got a slight, wry smile on her face. "Except to suggest that you might not want to try to motivate Ryylar by calling him a coward."

"Duly noted, Lieutenant." Sulan said wryly.

"Thought the more I consider it, I do not believe I was to return from this mission in the first place." She said, thinking carefully.

"Hoo boy." Kitty sipped at her water again for a moment to think. "Which means they've had all this time while we've been floundering in space to plan, right?" "Correct. My initial goal was to come aboard the Pegasus as Chief of Security, construct an explosive device, plant it in the warp core, and lure O'Driscoll to Engineering, and vaporise her, claiming that she was attempting to destroy the Pegasus. Barring that, I was to destroy the Pegasus with the device, and leave evidence that O'Driscoll had planted the device. But, as I consider it now, it would have been very difficult to neutralize you and your engineering crews. So, now, I believe they simply expected me to destroy this vessel, it's crew, and myself in the process. Thus, solving all their problems in one stroke. I believe now that they knew the control over me was beginning to slip, and wished to send me on a suicide mission."

Kitty blinked, double-blinked, and took a while to absorb all of this. What finally came out as her first response was: "You think it would've been very difficult to neutralize me and my crew? I didn't know I posed much of a challenge." Then she frowned. "So you were sent After Hannah?"

Sulan nodded. "You didn't. I could not have slain all of you and still kept up the ruse that Hanna acted alone. Yes, I could have slain you, but not before an alarm was raised, and the plan ruined."

"Oh." Kitty shook her head a little in mild amusement. "That's what I thought. Ok, I could see that. So they send you on a suicide mission? And now that you've survived it..." She gave a slight laugh. "And I thought _I_ was stressed."

"The situation may not be as dire as you or I believe. I know the identity of my replacement, and I know that she was flash written with the same programs as I was. Thus, I may be able to accurately predict her actions."

"Flash written?" Kitty frowned. "That sounds.... frightening, to me."

"It is not a matter of fear, it simply is what it is. Essentially, her and I share the same personality. Though I lack her ruthlessness."

Kitty sat there thinking about the Lantree for a while. "I.. think I'm glad."

Sulan sipped her tea again. "There is a logical reason for telling you all of this. One, it allows me to see things from a different perspective, and two, nothing I've said can be proven, so I cannot be put before a firing squad for it."

"A firing squad? Why?" Kitty frowned.

Lieutenant Black... Do you really believe that a Black Ops assassin follows the laws of the federation? If we did, there would be no need for a Section 31. I am guilty of several things that would merit a death sentence in a military court." "But you say none of it can be proven." Kitty pondered for a moment, then spoke with all the casual detachment of an engineer solving a problem, looking at possibilities. "Have you considered the possibility that you might be insane?"

"Yes. I have considered it, but if it were so, why am I so skilled at killing? Surely the training came from somewhere, even if I cannot remember it." She finished her tea.

"I'm kind of glad to hear you've considered it," Kitty said contemplatively. "That's a sign that it's not likely."

"Possibly..." Sulan said, considering her words.

Kitty let a silence settle for a moment as she sipped at her water, then she decided to ask another direct question. "What made Hannah nervous?"

"Possibly the fact that I became angry." Sulan said casually.

"How angry?" Kitty asked levelly, now looking at Sulan directly, meeting her gaze fully.

"I nearly slew her after she stuck me." she studys the girl's expression for a moment, planning her words. "Physically assaulting me triggers the flashed-in combat responses. Therefore, it is extremely difficult for me to be struck, and not react with violence. Sometimes even being touched is difficult."

Kitty frowned and let that bit of information settle. "Well..." she said slowly. "It sounds like you're telling me the truth, and I appreciate that." She took a slow sip of her water, her casual demeanor now a bit studied. "Do you have it under control?" she asked, and now she sounded more like a 'superior officer' than a 'concerned friend' or 'curious newcomer'.

"As far as I am able to ascertain, yes. The hollodeck is a fine outlet for it."

"Well, that's true," Kitty said. "Maybe I should've gone parasailing instead of wishing I could get to my cello." Then she turned more serious. "Do you have a plan in place for if you find you're not keeping under control?"

"Yes," She said simply, "Suicide."

That brought a 'dead' stop to the conversation for a long moment. "Well..." Kitty said slowly. "I hope it won't come to that." After another pause she lifted her hand as if to rest it on Sulan's shoulder, and then she paused.. and lowered it again, remembering what she'd just been told about touching.

"I am aware, as ever, that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Thus-" Her commbadge chirped, interrupting her. =/\="Sir, the squads are assembled in the hollodeck as you ordered."=/\= said Miller over the comm. "Very well." Sulan responded to him. To Kitty she said, "Forgive me, Lieutenant Black, but I must depart. It was agreeable to speak with you."

"It was.. enlightening." Kitty nodded and smiled. "Thanks. Have fun with your... is it a training exercise?"

"Yes." Sulan said as she stood, and cleared the table. "I will have my security forces engage holographic members of the crew and family members, in order to stop them from hesitating should a changeling take those forms."

"Uh, hold on." Kitty blinked and rose to follow her. "Crew and family members?"

"Correct." Sulan said, heading to the door.

"That's kind of.. extreme, isn't it?" Kitty asked, frowning, hurrying a little to keep pace.

"Not at all. If the time comes that they should face a changeling, they will need every advantage they can get."

Kitty came to a full stop for a moment, thinking this over. "Ok ok, while I can see the reasoning behind this... have you cleared it with the Captain?"

"No. I did not see the need. My training methods are my own."

"You.. might want to consider that..." Kitty said cautiously, pausing now and letting Sulan gain distance if she wished. "Just to keep out of trouble."

"I have violated no laws. you are free to attend the training if you so choose." She said looking back.

".................That's ok, I'll pass. To be honest, I don't think I could take it. I guess... you'd know what you're doing..." Kitty frowned, troubled. "Uh... you really might want to check it with the Captain, though. Judging from his reaction to our clearing corpses on the Lantree, he might have a real objection to it."

"All the more reason to remain silent. His emotional reactions would hinder their training." She said casually.

"Guh..." That threw her for a bit. "You know what, though, if you don't tell him, and he finds out, and then it turns out that I knew about it and had misgivings, but I didn't check it with him..." She let that thought trail off. "Do you need to check with him for every action your perform? No. Because you were appointed to your position with the freedom to administer to it with your own judgment. That, is why you are an officer. As to the rumors that he was harsh to you regarding the corpses on board the Lantree, please remember that as Chief of Security, it was my decision to clear them, it the responsibility lies with me, not you. Though you currently out rank me, in a combat situation, I have authority. Thus, you are freed from any responsibility regarding tactical decisions."

"I took the responsibility," Kitty said plainly. "And though he was.. a little upset.. at first, I think he agreed with my reasoning."

"I see." Sulan said without further comment. "If you will excuse me, I have to see to my security crews."

"...Alright, go ahead..." Kitty said, still a bit uneasy. "Thanks.. for being forthright."

"Of course, sir." Sulan said before dissapearing down the corridor.


A join post by:

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus


Lt (j.g.) Telek Sulan Chief of Security USS Pegasus