From the USS Meridian... "Just Another Day at the Office" by Rear Admiral Kyle Pierce & Lt. Commander Vivica Christian The laughter flowed as freely as ever. Things were so easy between Kyle and Vivica. It was almost enough to make them forget what was going on in the rest of the universe. "Are you serious?" she asked as they made their way to the shuttle transport center. "I would've never expected him to react that way." Kyle chuckled softly, "I kid you not, he activated the plasma fire suppression system. There was that nasty-smelling goo on everything. You should've seen him when security and engineering finally pulled him out. It was like a pregnant tribble and her babies had exploded." It was such a fantastic feeling to be sitting next to her again where there were no problems or trouble. It was just them and the moment and that was all that Kyle could ask for. He slid his hand elegantly into her left hand and brought it up to his mouth, kissing it gently before looking into her eyes. He wanted to say something, but decided that silence and a smile conveyed his happiness the best. It was a perfect moment. Vivica's eyes danced as she stared into Kyle's. Their transport was ready, the announcement interrupted, causing them to shoulder their packs and beam aboard the ship in orbit scheduled to return them to the Meridian. "I can't believe I'm doing this," she admitted as they re-materialized. "I thought when I left, it would be for good. I've missed the uniform." "And I am sure that it's missed you. However, I've got a gift for you that will go quite well when you get it back on." He pulled a small velvet black box out of his pocket and handed it to her, smiling as he did so. "You've earned this." Vivica breathed as she eyed the black pip lying there so solemnly. "I don't know what to say." She stared at the pip, daring to caress it with a partially numb finger. She looked up at Kyle. "You seem to be doing that to me a lot lately." "Well, Commander, we should take our seats." They moved down the crowded aisle and pushed past those people that were still stowing their gear and slid into their assigned seats. Transports were always the worst, at least in Kyle's opinion, but at least the company was good. "Six hours back to Clarion IV." "It's nice to be back in space." The next two hours passed quickly as the two continued their easy going banter. Conversation tapered off as they settled in for the rest of the ride. "You hear that?" Vivica asked suddenly. Kyle blinked slightly, coming out of a light nap that he had drifted off into. "Huh? What? Hear what?" "The change in the hum of the warp engines." Vivica was on the edge of her seat, looking around for any sign of trouble. "Something's not right." As if her words had caused it to come true, the ship shuddered then listed heavily. People gasped, screamed, and braced themselves against their seats as if explosion were imminent. Sirens began blaring. Kyle's eyes widened, met with Vivica's, and then he forced himself to stand. "The warp pylon in the starboard nacelle fused," he said, remembering the situation from an academy simulation. "That means that they can't drop from warp." "No. We wouldn't list so heavily if that were the case," she said, standing and fighting the natural turn of the ship as she made her way to the back of the passenger area. "Please remain in your seats," someone in uniform snapped, while blocking the door. "Commander Vivica Christian of the flagship Meridian. Engineering," she added, brushing past him, then gaining speed as she headed toward the transport's engineering department. She reached the comm panel outside of Engineering, the doors of which were sealed. Kyle began to brush past her. "No, wait." She tapped in a command with her left hand, calling the bridge. "Status in engineering." "What? Who is this?" Kyle stepped in, realizing that this was going to take some experienced hands. "Rear Admiral Kyle Pierce, commanding officer of the third fleet, I've got one of Starfleet's best engineers here and I know you're staff isn't equipped or knowledgeable to handle this problem." There was a pause on the other end; no doubt the captain of the transport was going through non-verbal communications with his first officer. He took a breath, "The warp pylon in the starboard nacelle fused and started a chain reaction within the plasma converters. We're trying to fix it so we can drop from warp for extensive repairs." "Why don't you let us into your engine room and we'll lend a hand." "Extra hands in the engine room would complicate matters for my engineers. It would be better if you and your other officer returned - " "You're well aware, Captain, that even though you are not listed as being a member of my fleet or any fleet serving the front lines, you are still under the jurisdiction of Starfleet. Don't make me make this an order that would result in forcing me to take command of this transport." His hands were shaking and his voice was trembling, but it wasn't because of the indecision in his words, but the shaking of the ship as it balanced delicately on the edge of oblivion. "We don't have time for this," Vivica piped in. "If it were just a fusion issue, we'd have time to work through it. But if you don't head off the overloading of the plasma converters, it's going to back up and cause a warp core breach. Then you're in real barney. Open the damned door." Again, her words foreshadowed the action. The doors slid open and the chaos beyond struck Kyle hard. If he had ever seen his engineering in such disarray, someone was getting demoted. "Damn." On the floor several meters to his right lay an ensign seared by an explosion. He was cradling his neck and groaning in pain. Kyle knelt down and pulled the man's hand away, the artery was visible all the way down to the spinal cord beneath. "Help me!" "We're going to do just that. Vivica!" He shouted as she had already moved over to a nearby console, "Time to work your magic!" She was already at a console. "We need to reroute power to the starboard arrays so I can shut down the fourth sector of plasma relays without jerking the ship out of warp so damn fast that it kills us all!" Adrenaline was pumping and her mind was spinning. "They need to evacuate in case it blows." A few more attempts at keying in main commands were made, but her right hand just wasn't moving as quickly as her brain. "Kyle, I need your help. Now!" "You two!" Kyle pointed to two upper-level engineers with lower-level thinking and dedication, "take this one and take him out! somewhere." As they dragged away the hurt ensign, Kyle moved over to his Chief Engineer, asking what she needed with a worried look rather than words. Pointing with her left hand, she tried to explain. "We're rerouting here and patching there. I can't do it fast enough." Kyle's hands went to work as she spoke. "No, not that one - this one," she coaxed, walking him through every step of the way. "Good, good. The chief must be manually decoding the inverters. He just couldn't be in two places at once. Right there. Final code." Once the last orders were input, the ship shuddered and hiccupped, lights dimming as the hum changed and the heavy listing began to correct itself. Vivica breathed. "Okay, now we have time to get this doll out of warp." But she spoke too soon. A power conduit over them exploded, showering them in glowing sparks. Kyle moved over to another console and tapped a few commands into the directory. The ship shook violently and then the warp engines powered down. Smiling, Kyle moved back to her, "Once we stopped the warp core breach, a simple release of the magnetic constrictors caused a degradation in the warp field and now we're in normal space. Thank you, Mr. Suisei." Vivica chuckled with tears in her eyes. "I could definitely use you as my assistant." A bit of blood trickled down from the top of her head and she reached up to feel it. "You could definitely use a doctor." "Shrapnel." She daubed at the tiny bit of blood before it could make its way to her eye. "It doesn't hurt. Yet." Taking a deep breath, Vivica blew it out slowly. "I swear, I think trouble follows you." Kyle laughed, "No, no, no. Things were going just fine until I came looking for you. You're the bringer of the apocalypse, not me." "Then maybe you should send me home, Admiral," she flirted. He took her by the arm, moving her away from the flaming conduit above them, "You know, I think that I can handle the trouble." --------------------------------- We won't tell. Get more on shows you hate to love (and love to hate): Yahoo! TV's Guilty Pleasures list.