Where the Children Are

Characters: Katia Santiago


Engineering now had a purpose to it as Katia moved from one group to the next, overseeing the rerouting of the main systems to give them some sort of defense and offense. The Chief Engineer didn’t even want to think about the Jump Engines at the moment. She had taken a look at them when the team she had assigned to it had started working on them and she had grimaced at the time. They were minus one engine, the upper. Unfortunately, that was also known as the “stabilizing” engine. Usually, most Jump systems could work if one engine or the other was out, but if the stabilizer went out, there was no telling how the engines would act if activated. So, using the Jump Engines to get out of their present situation was out of the question.

So far, she had avoided the Medical personnel in Engineering, letting her right arm lay at her side, useless. It wasn’t something she necessarily did on purpose, it was just she was on the move, constantly checking on the repairs, trying to stay one step ahead of the situation. Just as she began working on the fusion generator, she saw one of the Nurses come up to her.

The human looked harried and tired, as they all were at this point, but she placed a smile on her petite features and said, “You look like you could use some help, Chief.”

“Take care of the others first, I can’t leave here,” Katia replied as she twisted the wires with her left hand and winced as it jostled her right shoulder.

“Everyone else has been seen to,” the nurse said with some bemusement. “We need to get that shoulder seen to, or we may have to break it in order to fix it. You have avoided the situation long enough, Ms. Santiago. You have to let us fix it.”

Katia glanced over at the nurse and sighed as she saw the resolve painted on the young woman’s face. She nodded and moved away, someone immediately taking her place to finish what she had started. “Okay, let’s go into my office and hope I don’t need to go down to Medlab. We can’t afford that.”

“I will do everything I can to take care of the situation right here,” the nurse assured her as they moved quickly towards the Chief Engineering Office.

The pair moved through the doorway to her office and the nurse motioned Katia to have a seat in one of the chairs near her desk. Katia knew what was wrong, her shoulder had been thrown out of the socket. Unfortunately, she also knew what it would take to force it back into place, and she wasn’t looking forward to it. She had seen it done once before. It was a very painful procedure.

The nurse came over, pulling out a portable scanner and running it over Katia’s body, focusing on her shoulder area. Then she pulled out a vial of pain medicine and shot some into Katia’s shoulder with a long needle, making sure to hit the sensitive area around the socket itself. The Chief Engineer watched it all silently, wincing only once as the needle pricked her skin and then was pushed into the joint. The pain ebbed slightly, just enough to take the edge off the sharpness of the agony she had been doing her best to ignore.

“I am going to have to pop the shoulder back into place, with that medicine, it shouldn’t hurt all that bad,” the nurse said in quiet confidence.

Katia nodded, knowing the nurse was trying to make her feel better about the situation. At that, the nurse grabbed a hold of Katia’s arm, and pulled up and out, twisting the arm so the joint would align properly again. The engineer gasped out involuntarily as the wrenching pain reached her through the haze of the drug the nurse had given her. She felt a wave come over her and suddenly:


 

“Mother? Are you okay?” Katia heard coming from behind her.

The Chief Engineer turned quickly and saw two dark-haired women rushing towards her, one of them holding a small baby no older then 3-months of age. Katia blinked and stared at the trio who looked so much alike, so much like her. She stood there, dumbfounded, not sure what was going on.

“Who are you? What am I doing here? Where is the Phoenix?” she asked in total disbelief.

The two young women glanced at one another and then back at her. The one who had not spoken before said, “Mom, are you okay? You screamed out. It sounded like you were in pain.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about. Who are you?” Katia repeated slowly, trying to take it all in at once.

“It’s Kayla and Kira. Why are you acting this way?” the younger of the two women asked looking at her with a very worried expression on her face.

Upon hearing the names of the two daughters she had thought lost, her knees gave out from beneath her and she sat down in the chair that happened to be behind her. Her mind went into a whirl of confusion and she blinked yet again, not understanding what was happening to her. Her daughters? As adults? It was too much for her to handle. “Wh…what year is this?” she asked incredulously.

The two looked at each other with further concern and the older of the two answered, “2273, why are you asking?”

Katia just stared at the two young women dumbfounded as a tall, dark-haired gentleman walked out of the door and onto the veranda they were sitting on and walked over to Katia, caressing her cheek lightly as he bent down to kiss her softly on the lips. Just as she was leaned back away from him, confused as to who he was…..


 

…..she suddenly found herself back in her office on board the Phoenix, leaning back in the chair gasping as the pain in her shoulder finally found relief as it was back in place. The Chief Engineer glanced up at the nurse and saw her just “coming to” as if realizing where she was after a long sleep.

“I want every division head up here ASAP. You can all spare the time.”

As Katia heard those words over the comm, she realized that things were about to get a little more interesting down in engineering.


Copyright (C) 1998 Tamara Freise. All rights reserved.