That's my Q - #79-80 "Cheating, whatever she chooses"


The gas gauge was all that kept her from remaining in the air a good while longer. She lined up her small craft, bringing it in, coasting, then descending... she brought up the nose a little, opening the flaps, slowing down until it no longer had enough buoyancy, and that little airplane touched down on the runway nice and gentle. Amelia started taxiing her way back to the hangar.

Noonan stepped up to her, as the engine cut off. "Are you out of your mind?! We're not immortal, y'know?!" the Evans part yelled out. "Nice stunts, by the way!" the Noonan part added, "I especially liked that textbook barrelroll at the end." But then the Evans part took over again. "I mean... Don't ever do that again! These kites can snap in two without warning!"

She didn't seem to even register his shock or his warnings. She climbed agiley out of the cockpit, her eyes shining, and reached out to take hold of his hands. "We're gonna do this! I know how! We're going to make this work, Fred! All the way around the world!"

"I know we are... We thought of everything that could go wrong, even alien interference. But we're not going anywhere if you crash your Avro into a shrubbery before we even take off together!" Noovans said, as he accepted her hands. Then he looked down at her hands, starting to feel warm and fuzzy, but also a bit confused, guilty even. Evans had no doubt about Kitty, but Noonan knew that Amelia was not his... "Eh..."

"No, that's not it, don't you see?" There was something intent in her gaze, something hungry, that looked entirely alien to Evans and entirely familiar to Noonan. "We'll offload some of those weather instruments and shed some weight. We'll be able to maneuver, to avoid them. We'll get all the way around this time, I just know it. We've GOT to." Then she blinked, blushed just slightly, and quickly let go of his hands as if she had only realized now that she'd taken hold of them.

Noonan pulled back his hands too, and subcounciously whiped them off his clothes, slightly blushing. Sometimes he thought he liked this woman just a little bit too much... And then there was this link between Evans and Kitty... "Yeah... Eh... Well, back to the planning then... Do you think it's wise to remove flight instruments just to save weight?" he looked around a bit skittish, to see if they were outside of hearing distance of any random passerby "Eh... couldn't we just... eh... upgrade them towards... eh... federation spec?..."

"I was thinking of the environmental stuff, the science stuff. I mean, I know we say this is supposed to give extra purpose for the flight, but I don't like us being loaded down. If we can upgrade, sure, we should do that," she answered back, not seeming to mind his decision to wipe off his hands.

"Ooohh, THOSE instruments..." Noonan said. "Yeah, I think we might be able to save half a tonne like that... But what about our financers? They want something out of this. They want at least some data..." he pondered.

"I know..." She frowned. "But we can at least scale it back, right? If we focus a little further on the path we are going to take, the longest flight around the world, make it out as a new thing... that might help pacify them.

Evans couldn't help but snicker at the image of one of those overweight bankers with a big pacifier in his mouth. "Heh... I guess so. But how do we cut down on the weight of those big chunks of iron? They're pretty much integral..."

"I should be able to figure something out," Amelia said thoughtfully. "I think I know how... somehow... for some reason. Ideas just coming into my head from nowhere."

"That's my kitty... Hawk! Kittyhawk..." Evans said, correcting himself.  <My kingdom for a tricorder...> he thought to himself.

"What're you talking about?" She looked at him strangely. "Are you okay?"

"Eh, I'm fine, I'm fine..." Noonan answered. "...What is a tricorder?..." he added with a puzzled look.

"Multi-purpose measuring device," she replied absently. "Small, very light, and a very good idea, but I doubt we could rig one with our equipment here. We could probably put some of its core concepts to work for us, though."

"Why couldn't I just remember that?" Evans looked even more puzzled, remembering again. "Must be Q's doing... We better get started, then. I'll rip out the weather instruments, and you go start on that trithingy device..."

"Yeah, I'll go... what...?" She blinked and closed her eyes for a moment, shaking her head, then looked back at him, Kitty's expressions on her face again. "I.. almost lost myself for a moment there," she said quietly.

"...Me too..." Evans replied. He looked around again, seeing nobody, and gave Kitty a small hug. "We better get started, methinks..."

Kitty answered the hug back, holding on as tight as she could all of a sudden and not wanting to let go.

"Ooff!... You might want to let me breathe a bit..." Evans whispered, turning his small hug into a big one too. They could have stood there for half an hour, if it wasn't for a noise coming from the personel door to the side of the hangar.

Kitty released him reluctantly at the noise and then stepped back. "Yeah... we'd... better get to work," she said quietly, but she looked a bit more like herself, like Kitty with unfamiliar features, as she started scavenging for tools and equipment.

Evans too started to look for a spanner, to pop open the panel of their aircraft, that hid the heavy bulky measuring device. "...Ayup... Time's a'wastin'..." he said with a sigh.

 "Oh..." she said in realization. "I'll have to go.. home.. in a couple of hours." She frowned, both personality halves shrinking back from her responsibilities there.    "... Eh..." Evans mumbled, as he suddenly realised the implication as a stab through his heart. "Oh no... You gotta be kidding... You can't do that to me!" he suddenly cried out. The person that was scurrying around in the other corner of the hangar glanced at them shortly, quickly got what he needed and scurried off hastily, wanting nothing to do with this...   She looked up at him, her own expression pained. "What choice do I have?" she asked, paying no heed to the fleeing would-be observer.

Evans thought fast. Perhaps the oldest trick in the book... "Tell him you have to work late, something's come up, that we need more time to prepare for our flight... Anything!" Evans said desparately.

Kitty shook her head a little. "It wouldn't be at all fair to him, really. The poor guy... he genuinely loves me... uh... her..."

"Yeah!... And I genuinely love you, remember?" Evans said, not feeling at ease at all at the moment. The Noonan part of him understood him all to clearly, but he was used to be on the other side. Amelia was a maried woman, not destined for him. This whole situation was just one big bowl of spaghetti... A complicated mess.

"Hey..." Kitty frowned, reaching over to rest her hand on his arm. She was momentarily shocked to find that both sides of her liked doing it. "It'll be ok. Okay? We don't even share a bed anymore. I've got my own room."

This calmed Evans down considerably, and Noonan was ashamed to actually feel a little bit of hope, following that statement. "Oh..." Not more came out of him, as he really didn't know what to say. He really never would have thought he would ever feel like this, that he would be able to let Kitty go, and not want to have her only for himself like that. He just discovered that he was jealous, and he didn't like it...

Kitty sat herself down next to him, speaking quietly, removing her hand from his arm. "But I don't know what to do. He loves me.. eh... her... and she... I... uh.. She won't open up. She doesn't trust him. Not enough to open up, to be vulnerable. I feel terrible about it. He's sad... I wish I could make him feel better, but I don't want to.. uhm... well... Her memories say they haven't in a while, you know, haven't.. uhm..." She blinked and her eyes widened, then she shook her head. "I'm going to start thinking about plasma equations now," she said wryly "Really hard."

"...I'm sorry, I just freaked out like that... It's just... I dunno... I feel glad that you don't have to... Eh... Plasma equation... Right..." Evans answered. He couldn't wait to be in the air with her, then these problems would be over, for at least as long as the trip around the world would take.

She looked around for a moment to make sure nobody was watching, then leaned close, looking at this man in the body of the navigator. She smiled softly. "I, being Kitty... I love you, Ronald," Kitty said quietly... then she straightened up again and winked. She couldn't help it. "And Amelia thinks you're cute," she added, then blushed and hastily returned to her work.

Evans was comforted considerably with that, and Noonan had the day of his life... If it was up to him, he would grin from ear to ear. The two of them managed a little smile, anyway.  "I, that is, Ronald, love you too, Kitty. And Fred really likes Amelia too... And thinks Kitty's just too adorable..."

Kitty blushed again, smiling brightly now. "...Ever since you walked into my engine room," she said very softly, then chuckled. "You helped me find myself again. I lost... something... up there, flying. It was... incredible."

Evans just couldn't help himself. He put his arms around Kitty, and cuddled her close, cheek to cheek. As before, Kitty just held on tight, drawing comfort from her boyfriend's presence, heartily glad that she wasn't alone.

It was only that they heard an artificial cough several meters behind them, that they broke their hug. It was the same geezer again, probably forgot something, and he wanted every excuse to not interpret the two sitting down cuddling like he was interpreting it just then. He whistled innocently looking at nothing, never seen nothing...


Lt. Kathleen Black Chief Engineer Starbase Ronin

Lt. Jg. Ronald Evans Fredrick Noonan Chief Operations Officer Starbase Ronin