RoF #67 - 68 "Nope, no pingpongballs needed for that"


A white as a ghost Evans was typing at his console with trembling hands. He was trying to trace that e-mail message that was the source of his nightmares... If it was any other woman, he might have turned red, but this was Petrova... White was the appropriate color here... He was reading the message in unicode representation now, quad for quad, skimming the header to see if the sender-value was tampered with... Unfortunately, the sender was smart, and quite handy with computers. The header was edited beyond identification. However, something that couldn't be deleted, was the computer it was sent from...

<Zombie... Got to be a zombie...> Evans thought, as he opened one of the other messages. He was quite right. This one came from another terminal. <I'm just going to assume that the logs of these terminals have conveniently been deleted around the time these messages are sent> he thought, as he wasn't even going to try and look them up.

Kitty hadn't been far from the command center when Evans had left his quick, odd little message to her, so she decided to go straight to him instead of replying back through comms. She stepped through the doors, bright and cheerful as ever, amused. "Ping pong balls? Who do you think I am, Mr. Moose?" With him at his station, all she could see was his back, but somehow she picked up on a subtle difference in his demeanor. "...something wrong?" she asked casually.

"NJG! IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK! Someone sent me those nude pictures of Petrova! I had nothing to do with that!" Evans blurted out. Right away, he felt like curling up in a fetus position under his desk and cry...

"Uh..." That threw her. "Someone what...!?" She hurried over to his station, resting her hand on his shoulder casually as she peered at his console.

Luckily for Evans, all she saw were the unicode representations of two email messages. Evans may have liked the images, before he realised who he was oogling, but now he wanted to have as little to do with them as possible. It felt just... Wrong...

"Yes, I said that out loud. I'll be throwing myself out of an airlock now, thank you..." he said. He just remaind where he was, though, holding his head in his hand.

Kitty tilted her head slightly at the console, recognizing the code. "Message headers," she said. Then she turned and looked up at Evans' face, and had pity on him. "C'mon," she said, taking hold of his hand and pulling. She led him right out the door and into a small, empty room nearby, then wrapped her arms tightly around him and smiled.

Evans wrapped his arms around his girlfriend and started to cry. This initially made things worse, because now he felt confirmed that all he was, was just a big crybaby. "Some idiot thought he was funny, and he sent me a set of nudy pictures of Petrova, when she was about your age... And she found out..."

"Of Petrova?" Kitty just had to confirm that. It just seemed too weird for her. Then she paused for a moment, thinking. "Well..... ok, I could see that. But... why would someone send them to You?" She shifted in the hug and started rubbing his back, letting him have a moment of weakness.

"Something about not having to be afraid of her, because she is just a pathetic, attention hogging... eh... female dog... Signed, a friend... Some friend. If I ever get my hands on that guy, I'm just going to..." he said, his body tensing at that last part.

"Going to what?" Kitty asked, humor in her voice. She was beginning to see the silly side of this whole disaster.

"Make Petrova make him wear his nuts as a necktie?" he half sniffled, half chuckled. "That's what Petrova threatened me with if I didn't hear her out..."

"What?" Kitty couldn't help but laugh at that. "For revenge, you'll set Petrova on him? Well, that works." Upon hearing that this was Petrova's threat to Evans, poor Kitty laughed even harder. "Oh man. Well... she's creative."

"Yup, she is, isn't she?. It's a lot more original than just spacing him. She also said she wouldn't be using any surgical tools." Evans went silent, although he didn't start to cry again.

"Oh you didn't believe her, did you?" Kitty asked in mild dismay, sensing the sudden silence. She released the hug enough to look up at him, and by the look on her face it was clear she didn't take the threat seriously in the slightest. She smiled, reaching up and stroking his hair a couple of times.

"Oh, it's not that, I think she's absolutely capable of carrying out her threats, just not for cutting a conversation short..." Evans said, looking Kitty in the eyes now, "It's just that... What if our guy... is a girl?"

"It's not me!" Kitty instantly exclaimed, shaking her head. "I had nothing to do with it!"

Evans looked at her a bit oddly, looked at her oddly in another way, lifting one eyebrow, and yet in another odd way, and just exclaimed "... You?! Good heavens no! What would YOU have against her?!"

Kitty burst into giggles again. She couldn't help herself. His faces were just too funny! She took a moment to calm down. "Sorry 'bout that. Anyways... hey. Need any help catching the guy?"

"Yes, please!" Evans said, his spirit lifting considerably at the prospect. "This guy... Girl... Whatever... knows what he's doing. He created his own little botnet all over this starbase. That makes me think that he's a permanent resident here... I've just hit a bit of a dead end. I know that this guy is smart. I haven't looked in the logfiles of the zombie terminals yet, but I just know that they will be conveniently empty at the right timeframes. I need a network sniffer, catch him in the act." Evans mused, spilling what he had found out already.

"Is this what you wanted ping pong balls for?" Kitty queried, tilting her head.

"Eh, no..." Evans said, and just stared at her with another weird look.

"Well what was I supposed to think you wanted them for?" Kitty asked, befuddled. "It had better have nothing to do with 'capsizing'," she added wryly.

"Capsizing? What are you going on a... eh... Aha... Capsizing... No, not either. Where did you get that idea? Isn't it obvious?" Evans asked, as if his idea was simplicity itself.

"Nothing about this conversation has been obvious from the beginning," Kitty returned.

Evans groaned, as the stress was fading, and his head was clearing. "I'm sorry... It's just been an... Intense couple of minutes just now... I was just going to use the pingpongballs to detect cloaked ships."

"To detect cloaked ships?" Kitty looked back at her boyfriend, perplexed, then her own expression cleared. "Of course! I get it! Yeah! Sure, they can't be that hard to find." Something had started bothering her, though. "Uh... you got these... pictures... uhm... did you.... Look?"

"Well, yeah! I looked, why do you think I was so upset?... Eh... I mean... I didn't know they were nude pictures of Petrova when I opened them... Well, I mean... I could have known, but I didn't realise at first... Eh... Right away... They're very beautiful pictures... I should have kept that information to myself, hadn't I?..." Evans rambled on, working himself more and more into trouble with every cyllable.

Kitty suddenly turned very quiet. She didn't say anything in response... anything at all. Instead she just looked at him, no definite, clear expression on her face.

"... But you're waaayyy cuter? ..." Evans tried.

"...cuter?" Well, it was a response, at least. She glanced down. "Eh..."

"Yes, cuter... A lot cuter. You're the goddess of cute. And innocence! And the only one I love..." Evans added, trying to save what could be saved.

"But not..... sexy," Kitty concluded quietly.

Evans had to think about that for a while. <Of course, you're sexy. If It was up to me, I would rip all your clothes of your body, and ravish you right here and now!> he thought. He just didn't think it wise to say that to her face right now, even though it was exactly what she wanted to hear... In a more civil way, perhaps...

"No, I thought not," Kitty said, keeping her gaze lowered. "I'm... uh... gonna go back and find something to repair. Forward me those headers and I'll let you know if I find anything."

"Yes, you are! Very..." Evans tried.

That made her pause. She looked back up at him, blushing a little. "Honest? You're... not just 'saying' that?"

"Nononono! When we were trapped in that cave together? Cuddling close, skin against skin? I would do anything to repeat that... With exception of the cold, that is..."

"Oh..." This 'oh' was much more promising. She reached out to take hold of his hand, then to get a big hug. "That's ok then," she murmured. Then she looked up at him. "Ack, seriously, I've got to get back to work. I'll check those headers. And, when this alert is over... let's go on a date, ok?"

"Oooohhh..." Evans sighed, as he hugged her back tightly. "You don't know how relieved I feel right now." He added, as he planted a kiss on the corner of her mouth. "Yeah, let's get out of here. People might start to think things... " he said with a wink. "And a date it is... Sailing? Tinkering with the car? Dinner?"

Kitty chuckled. "Yeah, what can a boyfriend and girlfriend get up to in an isolated room together?" She patted him on the shoulder. "Dinner. I've already got a dress ready." At that, she looked up at him slyly through lowered eyelids for a moment, then the door opened at her approach and she disappeared down the hallway.

<I want her...> Evans just thought, watching her go.


Lieutenant Kathleen Black Chief Engineer Starbase Ronin


Lieutenant JG Ronaled Evans Chief Operations Officer Starbase Ronin