River of Forgetfulness #133, 134 - "Swimming Lessons #1 - Throw Into


Kathleen Black was on the prowl again. She simply preferred going out on engineering jobs to just sitting in her office all day. Besides, Williams could always contact her if necessary. She was just wandering down a corridor and realizing that she wasn't far from Sickbay. That thought had just crossed her mind with an impossibly loud sound coincided with a sudden change in artificial gravity... the floor appeared to drop under her feet and then rise up and smack into her, throwing her off her balance!

"What in the world!" she exclaimed as soon as she could think properly again, and then she ducked as the terminal screen above her head shorted out in a shower of sparks. Emergency lighting flickered and replaced main lighting. "Uh oh," Kitty said slowly, sitting up, looking around. She tapped her combadge.

=/\= Black to Williams.. we just had something happen near Sickbay, sounded like an explosion. I need a couple extra engineers up here as soon as they can get here, but tell them to be careful. I'll be on fire suppression.=/\=

Williams, a kindly middle-aged man who relayed the Chief Engineer's orders to her people, glanced around the engine room before his gaze settled on the 'new girl'. Better just let her know at once what kind of things she'll have to deal with. "Kane, isn't it? Go to Sickbay and help Lieut- Commander Black. She says there's been an explosion. I'll divert other engineers as soon as I can. Watch your step and keep an eye out for fires."

Glancing up from the routine diagnostics she was skimming over, Emmeline noticed Williams was looking at her. Had she done something wrong already? She couldn't have, she hadn't even been in engineering that long, it wasn't as if-

A slight smile of relief crossed her face as she realized what he had actually wanted her for. She was alright. For now.

'Yes sir,' she answered, sounding a little too cheerful for one embarking on such a situation. 'I'll be on my way at once.' She put the work she had been dealing with to one side and started to make her way to sickbay.

It was only after Emmeline was nearing sickbay itself that she realized what she had in fact been asked to do. Explosion? Fires? That couldn't be right - Emmeline quickened her step, knowing time would be of the essence here.

Kitty had already taken down an extinguisher and was working on a couple of flames that hadn't been found by the regular system yet. She hadn't been in the office much that morning, so it made an interesting first impression, a slender figure with Asian features and her black hair back in a simple bun, bangs slightly damp from the heat and pushed back out of her face, an intent look on her face as she battled with the flames. Over the various roars, alarms, and shooooosh of the extinguisher, she couldn't even hear her helpful engineer arrive.

Upon arriving at the scene, Emmeline barely noticed that the other woman was present. Her skittish nerves seemed to have resolved themselves as soon as she had noticed the blackened consoles, the flames still flickering in places. Not to mention that accursed klaxon, which really did seem to be more of a distraction than anything else.

Grabbing an extinguisher, Emmeline swiftly joined the effort to get the fires under control. It was then that she first saw the woman she assumed was Lt Black, the Chief Engineer. 'Ma'am!' she shouted over the din. 'I'm Ensign Kane - Williams sent me, from main engineering?' It wasn't exactly much of an introduction, but then this was hardly the appropriate time.

"Excellent!" Kitty responded with a friendly smile, as if dousing these flames wasn't all that terrifying or troubling. "Glad you're here! We've almost got this one... almost... and..." At that, the flames were quenched, and she turned off her extinguisher, turning on a heel and offering a handshake to her new engineer. "Welcome to insanity," she said brightly.

'Thank you. It's an honor to be here,' Emmeline shook the proffered hand firmly, after turning off her own extinguisher. 'By here I meant this station,' she corrected herself, aware of the absurdity of her statement. 'Not - here,' a gesture towards the damaged sickbay. 'Tell me this isn't routine,' she joked, surveying the chaos. 'Although it can't be as bad as it looks, a lot of this is probably superficial, cosmetic, I don't think most of the major systems are routed-' she trailed off, realizing who she was talking to. Of course the Chief Engineer knew where the power for major systems came from. Minor ones too, she didn't need Emmeline to tell her. She cleared her throat, trying to cover her mistake.

Kitty listened patiently to the long explanation, and then chuckled. "You sound like me at my first posting," she said. "Yeah, this part is cosmetic, but a little further down the hall a terminal shorted out completely. That's going to be a bit of a pain. You know what, though, we probably shouldn't just start fixing stuff right away. We need to document this first, for forensic purposes." Her own mind was already going a mile a minute. "An explosion in Sickbay, with a suspicious visitor being tended there? Coincidence? I doubt it."

Still slightly embarrassed, Emmeline ran a hand through her short hair and managed a smile. 'You're right,' she agreed readily. It did look a little suspicious, and Emmeline was sure there were those who would want that Reman out of the way by any means possible. 'If the repairs aren't critical I can start the documentation at once?' Although not quite aware of everything that occurred before her arrival, Emmeline knew there was more to this starbase that met the eye, and detailed records might prove useful if this had been some sort of enemy action.

"Absolutely," Kitty said. She took a moment to stand still and relax. "The station is still spinning, we still have atmosphere, so it can't be anything critical. Start the documenting just down the hall, where the first char spots appear. I'll start at the other end. Full scan, and you'll have to use a tricorder, since the computer node forward of here is probably friend. I wouldn't trust it, anyways." Kitty smiled, ventured further down the hall, further into the wreckage, peeked around the corner, and suddenly became quite still and quiet.

Emmeline nodded. 'Yes ma'am, I'll start just down the hall there,' she repeated, and quickly turned and headed down the hall. Fortunately she had brought a tricorder in her tool kit, thatwould have perhaps been the last straw, to need to fetch one. Lt Black was probably already convinced Emmeline was a lost cause, and she couldn't work out while she was quite so nervous. It hadn't been like this in training, nor when she had first arrived here. And she had no reason to feel uncomfortable, indeed Lt Black was looking to be by far one of the more pleasant superior officers she had worked with...

She stood still abruptly, near the end of the hall, aware that something wasn't quite right. It was too quiet, she realized. Lt Black shouldn't have reached the other end of the corridor yet - she glanced back.

'Is everything alright, Lieutenant?' Emmeline couldn't help herself, she knew how faintly ridiculous the words sounded even as she called across the hall.

"No," Kitty answered back, her voice a little strange. "I'm alright, but... we've had casualties. Uhm, if that bothers you... you probably really really don't want to turn this corner."

'Casualties?' Emmeline frowned, then strode up the corridor, curious. She peered round the indicated corner.

It was definitely a gruesome sight. Jagged breaks in the bulkheads, blackened floor, and a couple of bodies, twisted unnaturally, blood splashed everywhere. Limbs broken, blackened in places. Further ahead, less easily seen, a group of medical personnel were ringed around more corpses, green mixed in with the red splashes of blood. Kitty had stopped looking. She was leaning slightly against the nearby bulkhead, face gone pale, eyes closed, making her breathing deep and even.

'Oh!' Emmeline's hand flew to her mouth in shock. She really shouldn't have turned that corner, she thought to herself. Really. She found herself unable to stop staring at the bodies, the carnage. So much for her earlier verdict of 'cosmetic damage.' Emmeline felt her stomach turn, looked overat Kitty, not knowing what to say, what to do, the images imprinted upon her mind now even as she looked away.

"Just close your eyes," Kitty said, not opening hers, "And think of something pleasant and calming. And then turn off your brain and focus on the machinery. The medical personnel will be along soon to take them away, and then try to pretend that the red is something else, juice or jello or something."

'It isn't-' she stopped, suddenly aware this was not at all something she wanted to talk about any more than was absolutely necessary. Closing her eyes, she mentally counted to six, then turned her attention immediately to her tricorder. That was her job now, to take stock of all this, not to react to it. She could react later.

Kitty took a deep breath, nodded, and opened her eyes. "Better now?" she asked. Despite her own discomfort, she was instantly focused on making sure that her engineer was alright.

'Better. Thank you.' Emmeline didn't look up, her focus entirely on her data. 'I can deal with this end if you'd rather go back...' In truth that was perhaps the last thing she wanted to do, but if Lt Black was taking this worse than she was, it was only right to ask.

Kitty shook her head, pulling out her own tricorder. "I'm alright. Let's do this." She certainly wasn't one to hide behind her people. "But I'll send a warning to the other engineers before they show up. Let me know when you've collated all your data, before you start to fix anything, ok?"

Emmeline nodded. 'Right. Will do, ma'am.' She stepped carefully over the debris, a little further down, and resumed scanning. The other engineers, to her mind, couldn't get here too quickly. The faster this was over and done with, the better.


Ensign Emmeline Kane Engineering Officer Starbase Ronin

Lt. Cmdr. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer Starbase Ronin