Reflections #35-37 - "Hitchhiker"

ON: <<Starbase, Promenade level>>

Ryylar sighed as yet another captain refused on some grounds or another. It was all a damn conspiracy to him. Fourteen shuttles all heading towards the general direction of Earth wouldn't take him there for one reason or another.

Kitty had headed to the shops to pick up a few things... now she got to cross the busy Promenade in her attempt to get back to her quarters. The crowd was intimidating, but after a moment she spotted a familiar furry friend. She waved her hand high in the air, still barely seen above the crowd. "Ryylar! Hi!" Meanwhile, she thought to herself that if he turned around and turned out to be someone else, she'd feel horribly silly...

Ryylar turned, hearing his name and smiled a half smile as he saw Lieutenant Black jumping up and waving at him to catch his attention. He moved through the crowd towards her, nearly swimming through the people.

"Hello therrrrrrrre." He said with a quiet rumbling purr.

Kitty smiled as her friend reached her and gave him a big hug. "Wow, how you move through crowds like that, I'll never quite understand," she said. "I end up getting pushed to the side and nearly bowled over all the time. How are you? What're you up to?" There was an infectious cheerfulness in her face and her voice. Things were apparently going well for her.

"I'm trrrrrrrying to charrrrrrterrrrrr a shuttle frrrrrrom herrrrre to Earrrrrrrrth, but no luck." Ryylar sighed heavily as his shoulders slumped.

"To see Petrova?" Kitty asked softly. Then she reached for his shoulder to direct the two of them out of the flow of traffic.

"Krrrrrrrissssssss needssssss me." He said with a nod as they moved out of the flow of the crowd.

"Ryylar.." Kitty said brightly. "There's some kind of convention coming up soon, all the regular transports are booked nearly solid. But my father chartered a priority shuttle for Evans and me, to Earth. It's a four-seater with a pilot already coming... so there's a seat free. You could come with us."

"Rrrrrrrreally? That would be grrrrrrreat! Oncccccce I'm on Earrrrrrrth I'm ssssssurrrrrre I can find trrrrrrranssssssporrrrrrrt to Krrrrrrissssss!" He said with a grin.

"It might mean you'd have to say hi to my grandparents, if they meet us at the shuttlebay," Kitty warned in amusement.

"I'll take that rrrrrrrissssssk." Ryylar grinned.

"Oh good," Kitty said brightly. "They'll get to meet my 'coffee friend'. I'll give you the schedule.. if I can find it..." She started hunting through her various bags and packages with an amusingly bewildered air.

He smiled and waited patiently for her to find the schedule.

Kitty finally pulled out a small sheet and offered it to him. "There you go. How have you been... the past few days?" She stepped further to the side and hitched her leg up on the edge of a large plant display, half sitting.

"Well I've been betterrrrrr. Yourrrrrrssssssself?" He asked her.

"I'm doing wonderfully," Kitty said. "My father met me at the station and we talked a long time. He wants to get to know me better." Her good mood wilted slightly. "But I still don't know if my cello is ok, and I'm still having some.. problems.. about the last couple of missions. Hopefully I'm getting them resolved."

Evans was walking around, pretty much aimlessly. He was looking around the shops, but the only thing that he might buy, would be two rear tires, a rear windshield and a roof for a 2001 Smart. He was pretty sure he wasn't going to find those. And he was right. However, his interest was piqued by what looked from a distance like an oversised animated teddybear, and a walking stack of packages. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Kitty and Ryylar, looking like they were actually having fun.. With nothing better to do, Ronald decided to join them... "Hello, how's things?"

"Thingssssss arrrrrre getting betterrrrrrr." Ryylar nodded to Evans with a smile.

"Ryylar's coming with us to Earth," Kitty informed her boyfriend brightly. "He hasn't been able to find a shuttle. There's some convention thing coming up and everything's booked."

"I hope you don't mind." Ryylar said.

"Good... Good... Convention? Oh no, not that Elvis tour, right?" Evans said, with a repulsed look on his face. "Some of those idiots still claim that he's alive... I don't blame you for hitching a ride with us and understand completely... By the way, I could do with a bit of morale-boosting right now."

"Morale boosting?" Kitty blinked. "What's wrong?" She shifted her weight and put her packages down on the floor right next to her feet.

"Oh? Well I don't have a barrrrrr to mixxxxx thingsssss up in orrrrrrr thrrrrrrow a parrrrrty in." Ryylar grimaced.

"Oh, darn... Well, we'll just have to whip something up from the onboard replicator then, I guess..." Evans said, before turning to Kitty to give her a hug and answer her question. "Oh, it's nothing, sweet... It's just... Well, just when I finish restoring my car, the universe decides to pop an anomaly at us and whack a boom at the roof. I'm beginning to wonder if some entity is toying with it. Just imagine. Some Q or something just not wanting me to fix my car, for whatever reason." he added sarcastically.

"I think, considering what we've been through, it's a marvel that the beam didn't come down right across something more important than just the roof," Kitty said slowly, thinking about it. "Maybe there's someone or something up there that likes you."

"I'd have to agrrrrrrree with Kitty. You'rrrrrrre farrrrrr morrrrrrre imporrrrrrtant than ssssssome carrrrrrr. Whateverrrrrr that isssss." Ryylar said with a nod.

Evans just pondered about that for a while. "Yeah, I guess so... Meh, I can alwys just replicate those parts again. It's just going to cost me a month's worth of replicator rations..." Evans sighed.

"You can ussssssse mine." Ryylar offered.

"I can donate some to the cause, I don't use the replicator for anything much except strings," Kitty said with a soft smile. "And who knows? Maybe there will be a spare parts place somewhere around where I live."

Evans sighed again. "Nah... That's alright. Anyway, enough about that hunk-o-junk. I can't use it here anyway, and I can't take it with me to earth any time soon."

Kitty closed her eyes and got a deeply intent look on her face. Of course, she was trying to think of any way to make things better for her boyfriend. It looked like she was going to have steam coming out of her ears soon.

"Eh... Are you alright?" Evans asked, when he saw Kitty almost go into trance.

Ryylar blinked and looked at Kitty to see if she was ok.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Kitty said, opening her eyes. "I was just trying to think of something to really cheer you up. Both of you."

"Oh I'm cheerrrrrrred up now that I know I can get off of thissssss basssssse." Ryylar said with a smile.

Evans stealth-smiled at that. "I'm sorry for bringing you both down. It's just been so... Intense, followed by this period of ... Well, absolute boredom..." "And my car..."

"Oh I haven't been bored," Kitty said. "Anyways, the shuttle leaves in just a couple hours, so you won't be bored for long... except.. that the flight will probably be boring. But I've got a project. "I've got to make my worst nightmare into a holodeck simulation," she said casually.

Evans looked at her with that odd look again. "...Eh... Why would you want to do that?..."

"Sulan said it would make my nightmares go away, if I viewed them often enough," Kitty said bracingly. "I aim to give it a try."

"Confrrrrrrronting yourrrrr fearrrrrrssssss issssss one thing Kitty, but don't look too long. You can only look ssssssso long into the eyesssss of a monsssssterrrrrr beforrrrrre you become one yourrrrrrssssssself." Ryylar warned.

"I... eh... suppose that could work... Are we talking about the same Sulan, by the way? Iron Lady Sulan? Our resident Vulcan Warhorse? I heard some nasty stories about her..." Evans asked worriedly.

"Ourrrrrr rrrresssssident Vulcan psssssychopath..." Ryylar muttered.

"Uh, yeah, I know..." Kitty said to Evans, looking perplexed. "I'm not sure exactly how it happens, though. Every time I've spoken to her, she's been calm and considerate." She turned to answer Ryylar's comment. "It wasn't a monster that frightened me, though, at least not one I could see. I never did see the whale." Both comments had perplexed her.

"...Well, I wouldn't go that far..." Evans mused in response to Ryylar's comment. "Ok, maybe I would..."

"Oh, c'mon guys..." Kitty said, frowning. "Nothing else has worked, all these years. I'll try anything at this point."

"Have you trrrrrrried talking to the counssssselorrrrrr? Get hissssss opinion on it?" Ryylar suggested.

"Uh... no offense to him.. but he... well..." Kitty tried to sketch something vague in the air with her hands, wondering exactly how to convey her growing reluctance. She remembered what he'd been like the last time she'd seen him, in Sickbay with Evans and Dr. Russell.

"Yup, she did..." Evans said, remembering the episode in sickbay. "Let's just say that he needs to polish his diplomatic skills a bit..."

"I found him to be quite pleasssssant when I wasssss underrrrrr housssssse arrrrrressssst and he came to play chesssss with me." Ryylar frowned a bit.

Kitty couldn't help but chuckle at that. "He seemed... abrasive.. to me. I think I have a hard time relating to him." Then she thought about this for a moment. "As other people have had problems relating to Sulan, but I haven't so far. Maybe I'm just really weird."

"You play chess?" Evans asked. "I'll go and pack a board, then... We'll be leaving in a few hours. By the way, don't you have to pack?"

"Everrrrrrything I need issssss on Earrrrrrrth. In Rrrrrrrusssssssia rrrrrrright now." Ryylar said, shaking his head.

Kitty smiled and rested her hand on her furry friend's shoulder. "I'm sure she'll be happy to see you. I've got to run and finish packing though. See you at the shuttlebay!" And with that, she stepped back and started picking up all her various packages.

"I'll help..." Evans said, as he got up and took some packages from Kitty.. All he needed to add to his luggage was a chessboard. He'd take the old-fashioned 2D version with him, this time.


On our way:

Warrant Officer Ryylar Morale Officer Acting Security Officer USS Pegasus

Lieutenant Jg. Ronald Evans Chief Operations Officer USS Pegasus "What's the 24th century equivalent of E-bay?..."

Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer USS Pegasus