New Quarters, New Orders

Characters: Katia Santiago, Miina Awenata

The box still sat on Katia’s table where she had left it on her last trip to her quarters. She still didn’t have time to listen to it, and was a little afraid to, knowing it would cause a lot of old feelings to surface that maybe she wasn’t ready to deal with after all. The Chief Engineer looked at the time after taking a shower and getting into a fresh uniform and realized her hour was over. So, Katia stepped out of her quarters, walked the few feet or so to Miina’s quarters, and rang the bell to notify her she is there.

“Yes? Come in please,” Miina said, answering the door chime.

At that, Katia stepped in when the door opened and smiled, “So, are you getting settled in?”

Miina bows in greeting. “Chief Engineer Santiago. You are very prompt.”

Katia chuckles, “The truth is, I can’t stay away from Engineering that long.”

“And yes,” Miina offered a weak smile, waving her hand to the noticeably bare quarters, “I am afraid there is very little to settle.”

Katia nodded in understanding. “I can understand that..I haven’t had anything since I joined the Rangers, so it seems we are in the same boat.”

Miina smiled. “…or the same ship…”

Grinning with barely controlled laughter at the dry humor, Katia answered “True….” As she got control of herself she asked, “So, are you ready to see Engineering?”

“Yes. I am most anxious,” the other woman answered.

“Well, then let’s go see her.” Katia says with a soft smile. “She is a wonder to behold, I have never seen another like her.” Santiago leads the way out of the door and turns toward the nearest lift with Miina close behind.

“Then there was only one made?” Miina asked, her curiousity aroused. “For what purpose?”

“I am fairly new to the ship myself, so I am not entirely sure. I know the Rangers were considering making more, but decided to opt for the smaller vessels,” Katia answered.

“Ah. Our ideals and ideas are ever changing.” Miina nodded in agreement to her own comment, and thought back to the time her ideals and ideas were *very* different from now. A time when she had been saddled with the name “Gina Winters” because her own was too foreign-sounding, and to the position that Winters had risen to in Earth Force. Looking back, Earth Force Lieutenant Commander Gina Winters’ only apparent goal in life was following orders. That is until…

“Besides,” the Chief Engineer added, ending Miina’s personal reverie, “the smaller WS were quicker to construct and with the war coming on so fast, I think they decided on those. I never did ask. And, yes, I do believe they are. Especially in these trying times.”

Miina decided to change the subject because she wanted to get a feel for what she was looking at once she walked into Engineering, but also because she wanted to leave LtCmdr. Winters in the past–where she belonged. “Is there anything pressing on which we are to work?”

Katia entered the lift and turned, waiting for Miina to enter and the door to close before ordering, “Engineering.” Then she answered Miina’s question. “Actually, yes. We are in preparations for the mission into Vorlon space to try and find our….er..Captain Narsh’s ship.”

“Ah. A thorough check of all systems, then?” Miina asked.

Katia nodded. “And preparing the ship in case we get hit with whatever it is that hit the other White Star.”

Miina remembered the chaos and the frustration and shook head. “It was most puzzling.” Then she remembered trying to double up on job duties as the number of wounded grew exponentially. “Have we a full crew in engineering?”

The Chief Engineer shook her head. “I agree, most puzzling. And so far, no one seems to know what it was, or how to combat it, which doesn’t make me very happy. And as for a full crew complement in Engineering, we have been running at 54% personnel since I came on board, but now we are at 86%, so I won’t complain too much. Our situation is much better now, thanks to Captain Hale.”

Miina nodded solemnly. “One who commands a great deal of respect…”

The lift reached Deck 12 and Katia exited and turned right towards the engineering section. Miina followed, trying to take in everything and commit it to memory.

“I was impressed with what I saw of her, but Captain Narsh commanded a great deal of respect as well, so she may have a rough time to start with. I hope the crew isn’t too hard on her,” she explained as they entered Engineering and stopped. Katia looked at Miina for her reaction.

“I should hope they are kind. Anything other than that would be …” she paused, looking for the right word, “… counterproductive… to our reason for existence.”

Katia nodded in agreement. “I agree completely. And, we do have a good group here, so I don’t think there will be too much of a problem….”

“That is good,” Awenata said as she began to look around. Engineering just didn’t seem to stop. “It is much…bigger…than I had imagined.”

The chief engineer looked around Engineering, “Well, this is our humble home.” Then she smiled, “isn’t she?” And Miina nodded, her eyes wide as she took it all in.

Then she looked back to her new Chief Engineer, who for the moment was still gazing around the department. Though Miina had spent her life continually confirming she had none of her parents’ P12 abilities, she could not help but sense a feeling of…friendship…or at least of the burning need of companionship–as if someone was desperately looking for a friend, and covering up the need with light quips and measured laughter. But as Grandfather used to tell her, “Those signs are there for the observant. You do not need any special abilities. You just need to know how to read them.” And that was a talent he had taught her well, and use it she would in this, her new home, and with her new friends.

Chief Engineer Santiago looked up to see Maenier walk up to them, “Ah, Maenier, I would like to introduce you to Anla’shok Miina Awenata. She will be joining us here in Engineering.”

Maenier bowed. “Welcome. It will be good that you join us.”

Returning the bow, Miina answered, “As I have already told Chief Engineer Santiago, I will endeavor to be of service.”

“Katia, you have a message waiting in your office. I believe it is from the Captain,” he informed the Chief. Miina winced as Maenier addressed the Chief Engineer simply as “Katia,” and then decided that she couldn’t fit in all at once. Some things were going to take time.

“Ah, I see. Will you two please join me?” Katia asked as she turned and walked toward her office. The two engineers turned and followed Santiago into her office.

Katia entered and took a seat, saying to the two, “Please, take a seat, both of you.” Then to the computer she ordered, “Computer, play message…”

Miina looked at Santiago questioningly, then sat in the offered seat. Maenier sat as well, waiting to hear what the Captain had to say.

“Santiago, I take it you got your team in?” Captain Hale asked in the message. “Once you’ve got things settled in, I need reports on ship’s efficiency, and see that you’ve got full teams on during every shift.”

Katia nodded at the message, and turned to the two Engineers in front of her. “All right, I want to get you settled in as quickly as possible, Miina. Things are going to get hot here pretty quickly it looks like.”

Miina nodded. “I will do so.”

Katia then turned her attention to Maenier. “Maenier, I am going to leave Miina in your capable hands because I want to check out a few things on the bridge and then get back here to help work out scheduling.”

Maenier nodded. “That is acceptable. I will show her around.”

Smiling at Miina, Katia apologized. “I am sorry to be abandoning you like this, but I think Maenier can get you settled in. I want to get up the the bridge and brief the Captain on our status.”

“I will be…” Miina paused as she searched for the appropriate word, “…fine, Chief Engineer Santiago.”

With that, Katia nodded and stood. “Well, then. I will leave you then with Maenier and I get to go up to my least favorite place on the ship,” the Chief Engineer says with a grin as she hides a grimace, knowing that if she goes up the bridge she may likely run into Shaver while she is there.

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