Characters: Katia Santiago, Dana Gentry
“Katia, I have been waiting for you to return,” the Chief Engineer heard from behind her. She stopped, sensing Dana coming up from behind her as she unlocked the door to her office.
Dana walked up quickly, holding a portable PADD in her hand. The engineer returned Katia’s smile and continued, “I tried to catch you before you left for Minbar, but was too late.”
“I was visiting with a friend,” Katia replied as she motioned for Dana to enter her office.
“Oh,” the young woman replied, wondering if she should voice her concerns. The pause was evident in her demeanor as she continued by asking quietly, “Kordieh, right?”
Katia stopped as she moved to take her seat behind her desk and glanced up sharply at Dana, making the other woman almost regret asking. The Chief Engineer shook her head with a slight smile and sat as she asked, “Is there anyone on this ship who doesn’t know I go to see him?”
“Uhm, actually, I don’t think it is common knowledge. I just happened to have discussed my concerns with someone else who is worried for you,” Dana answered a bit abashedly, not wanting to upset her commanding officer. “It isn’t that we were poking around… just worried for what may happen.”
Shaking her head slowly, Katia answered softly, “There truly is nothing to be concerned with. Dunstan is not exactly the same person who committed the crimes not so long ago. I don’t expect anyone to understand that… but, I have been inside his mind. I know what has been going on with him. You needn’t worry about me, or what could happen to me around him.”
Katia’s mind drifted back to her encounters with Dunstan and again found it hard to believe that he had been the one to commit the crimes that he had. He truly wasn’t the same man he had been, his thought process actually coherent instead of massively chaotic like they had been before. It was still a transformation that amazed her even now.
“Ah, well, that is good to hear,” Dana said in understanding, not sure she truly did understand, but trusting Katia’s judgment enough not to question her anymore on the subject.
The Chief Engineer could sense the younger woman’s bewilderment and decided it best to move on to safer topics. The woman’s innocence alone was something Katia didn’t want to tamper with, and if she truly understood the situation with Dunstan, she was sure Dana would lose some of that. Or so Katia felt. The young engineer probably was stronger then that, but Katia refused to be the one to ever break the naivete she saw before her.
“So, what is it you needed to see me about?” Katia asked, getting back to business.
Dana sensed the change and immediately produced her PADD. “I just wanted to go over the diagnostics from the initiation of my programs. They seem to be doing the trick. The AI has been placed into the subroutine and is fair rather well, with only a .01 degree variance that can be compensated for once we return the system back online.”
Katia took the PADD and glanced down at the report and nodded. “Great, this is exactly what I was hoping for. I am glad you came up with that. How is the infrastructure for decks 1-5 coming?”
“I expect they should be on schedule. They hit a minor problem placing the power enhanced relays and restarting the bio circuits, but now the construction has returned to normal,” she answered swiftly, knowing Katia was anxious to be able to return to her own quarters once again. Sharing a small space like Yoshino’s quarters was great for temporary housing, but everyone enjoyed having their own space once in a while.
“Good, it will be nice to see how the integration goes. I have worked on the bio-electronic organisms before, but never actually brought one online. This should be interesting.”
“Yes, I am looking forward to working on that as well….” Dana stopped mid-thought as the console in front of Katia chimed with an incoming message. The Chief Engineer opened up the Comm and glanced at the screen.
Katia’s face lit up with a look over recognition, and she glanced up at Dana apologetically, “Dana, I hate to do this, but this is a communique I have been waiting for. Can you excuse me and we finish this discussion in about an hour?”
“Not a problem, I was just about done anyway. I will wait for you call,” Dana replied and stood up, exiting quickly to give Katia some privacy.
The Chief Engineer opened up the file, and smiled widely in satisfaction. Major Ryan was alive and well. Still working with EarthForce in fact. It was a relief to know her worst fears had not been realized. And, somehow, be it luck, or stupidity, her use of her uncle’s access codes had not been detected. So far, all was well in the world that day.
(c) 1999 Tamara Freise and Brenda Jumper. All rights reserved.