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Old February 5 2012, 03:40 AM   #2
Saito S
Fleet Captain
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Location: The Lonely Switch
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Re: "A Running Start"

She turned left after the short hallway. This room had no doors, so she simply stepped past the wall, entering the large, roughly rectangular room. A lone figure stood at the opposite end, staring out of the large windows in front of him. These windows faced outward on the ship’s port side, and currently overlooked the station’s docking levels, giving Yuri an excellent view of the area she had been walking through not ten minutes prior. She walked up slowly. She was reasonably certain that she had the right person, given that the computer had told her she would find the captain here, and the Bolian man standing before her fit the description – from the back, anyway. “Captain Parrin?”

He turned to his right, glancing back to see who had spoken, exposing a view of his collar, which confirmed for Yuri that she had indeed found the captain. “Yes?” he asked in response, and then his eyes lit up in recognition. “Oh, yes! Commander Rienne, it’s good to meet you in person,” he said, stepping forward and extending his hand to her.

“Likewise,” she replied, nodding slightly and shaking his hand firmly, before dropping it to her side. She stood in a relaxed state, attentive, but not at attention. It was her nature, when such formalities weren’t expressly called for, to ignore them, and in this case, it was also a good way to gauge how her new CO felt about such things. If he had a problem with her semi-casual stance, he wasn’t showing it, so far at least.

“Just arrived?” At her nod, he smiled a bit. “So you haven’t yet taken the time to explore the ship, then?”

“The thought crossed my mind, but I figured it would make me look better if I checked in with you first. Sir.” She grinned slightly.

He laughed in response. “I would have understood fully if you had, in all honesty. She’s something special, this one,” he said, looking to his right, back toward the windows for just a moment. “Still, it’s never too early to start trying to impress the boss, eh?”

She laughed then, nodding slightly. “That’s my philosophy.” She felt relief at finding out that he had no trouble with her rather off-beat sense of humor, and in fact, seemed to appreciate it.

“No wonder you’ve made Commander already, then,” he said with a chuckle.

Of course, this isn’t exactly an official meeting… this is basically off-time for both of us anyway. Still, it’s a good sign. She studied her new commanding officer a bit as she mulled things over. She had seen him once before – or his face, at any rate – during their subspace communications, but that was different than actually meeting someone in person. He was of roughly average height for a Bolian male at about 175 centimeters, which made him about 10 centimeters taller than she was. He had a slightly stocky, somewhat rounded build, which was typical of many members of his species, and a quiet, relaxed presence. He struck Yuri as being a bit less reserved, on the whole, than Captain MacFionn had been.

“So, anything interesting to report from your trip here?” he asked, as he took a step toward one of several couches placed irregularly throughout the room, gesturing for her to sit down.

“Not really, which I should probably be thankful for,” Yuri replied as she took a seat. Captain Parrin sat down on a smaller couch situated opposite hers, allowing the two of them to converse face-to-face. “As strange as it is to hear myself saying this, I think I’ve had my fill of ‘interesting’ for a while.”

“I know how you feel. I keep thinking I’m hearing a comm line opening, bringing me more bad news, or another crisis to attend to. I have to stop and listen every now and then to make sure it really is just my imagination.”

Yuri nodded absently, knowing precisely what he meant. “It has been one crisis after another, hasn’t it? Still, we’ve achieved a lot. Just the fact that the Tarnath Corridor is secure again, that we’ve managed to mostly hold things together...”

“Just that much is a huge victory right now,” he finished for her, echoing her thoughts. “And certainly, the Leviathan has distinguished herself a number of times during recent events.”

She smiled in response. “That’s thanks to an outstanding crew. And, the same could be said of the Dauntless.” A slight sigh escaped her lips, and she looked away momentarily, an action that didn’t go unnoticed by Captain Parrin.

“Something wrong?”

Looking at him again, she opened her mouth to speak, then closed it, reconsidering her words. Finally, she shrugged. “I do worry, I have to admit. I wonder how they will get on without me.” She laughed then, realizing something. “That must make me sound incredibly full of myself.”

The Bolian man smiled, leaning back slightly. “Not at all. I know the sentiment well, in fact. It’s not about you believing your abilities to be superior, it’s about you not being there anymore, not able to stand with the friends you’ve made on that ship.”

She looked up at him. “Yes, exactly.” She was impressed at how easily he articulated what she had been thinking. “I suppose it’s not an uncommon sentiment for an officer in my situation. Of course, it is partly just me. It’s in my nature to fret about those around me a little bit, to always want to jump in and take care of something myself.”

"That’s not exactly a bad thing,” Parrin replied, sounding slightly amused. “Having both the desire and the ability to get things done yourself is an asset for a command officer. As long as you can balance that with knowing when to step back and allow those under your command to do their jobs. And since you’re here, now, in that red uniform…”

“I must be doing something right,” Yuri put in, chuckling a bit. She paused, and her face took on a more somber expression when she continued. “Although… I won’t lie, I know that I have been doing a good job, and I’m not much for false modesty,” she explained. “But I have no illusions that my performance is the only factor here. Things have been rough, and I’m sure Starfleet is being a bit more… lenient, than usual, when it comes to promotions, especially in cases where…” She paused again, and her face fell. She realized that what she had been about to say was rather insensitive, at least in tone, if not in concept, and struggled to reword it before continuing. “Where, um… there is…”

“A void that must be filled.” Parrin’s voice surprised her, finishing the thought that she had been unable to.

She regarded him for a moment, then nodded. She smiled slightly, not her usual, playful grin, but a softer smile, one that conveyed her sympathy. “I was trying to figure out a less harsh way of saying it, but… yes.”

Parrin nodded. “It may be harsh, but it is the truth." His face was set with a sort of grim determination as he spoke, yet he did not try to completely hide the sadness in his eyes. "Alison Myra was a damn fine officer, and… an exceptionally kind person. Her loss has been difficult, for all of us."

Yuri said nothing, feeling like there weren't any words she could provide that would be adequate as a response. She knew what it was like to lose someone, of course, but...

“In any case, what you say about Starfleet wanting to promote qualified officers to important positions due to our present circumstances may be true to some extent, but I’ve seen your record, Commander. You fully deserve this, as far as I have been able to tell.”

Yuri shrugged. “Captain MacFionn said the same thing.”

“There, you see?” Parrin said, stabbing a finger toward her as if to underscore his point. "MacFionn seems like she would be a good judge of character. I met her once at a conference several years ago, though she was a Commander herself then.”

“It’s hard to imagine the woman I knew as captain for over three years being the same rank that I am now.” Her face scrunched up as she tried to picture it. “Then again, Commander Xerin said the same thing about me, when I told her about the promotion. Told me it was weird trying to imagine me being the same rank as her.”

Parrin laughed. “When you know someone long enough, those adjustments can be hard to make sometimes. Xerin… I’ve not met her personally, but I’ve certainly heard the name. She has, ah, quite the reputation among several of the Admirals in this sector.”

Yuri’s grin widened. “Would that be the reputation for getting things done and being able to think outside the box, or the reputation for mouthing off to Admirals when she thinks they are being unreasonable?”

“Well, both, really,” Parrin responded, shrugging slightly. “I must admit, I’m not sure what to make of her, though I suspect that might be because I’ve never met her. One certainly can’t deny that she’s an extremely capable officer.”

Yuri nodded. “And in her defense, I’ve never seen her say anything out of line when she didn’t have reason to be absolutely certain that her position was the correct one. Still,” she added quickly. “Though I probably won’t be the most formal officer you’ve ever served with, even I wouldn’t call an Admiral a dumbass to his face without a REALLY good reason.”

“I find myself trying to figure out what a ‘really good reason’ to do so would be, now that you say it. But that’s good to hear. Honestly, the impression I’ve gotten is that the Admirals who are truly unhappy with her are a rather vocal minority. The others don’t seem to care. They value her skills too much to push for any kind of real disciplinary action, much to the chagrin of… certain flag officers. One in particular.”

“Fleet Admiral Montaldo?” Yuri asked almost immediately, not missing a beat.

Parrin couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s the one. It seems that Admirals Daikara and Leavins simply don’t see the huge problem with her continuing to remain an XO, no matter how many times he tries to convince them otherwise.”

“I’ve spoken with Admiral Daikara several times,” Yuri replied. “He always seemed a bit more… reasonable.” She chose her words delicately, as she didn’t want to come off like she was badmouthing Admiral Montaldo… at least, not too much. “In fact, he was my contact during my promotion and transfer here.”

“Yes, he was the one who initially brought you to my attention, as well,” Parrin said, nodding. “I appreciate that he has a sense of humor, and little trouble using it. Some of the other admirals could take pointers from him,” he added with a chuckle. His face took on an odd expression then; he looked almost perplexed. “In fact, he poked fun at me a bit when we were discussing your assignment here, at least I assume he was poking fun. He wondered if I had decided to take you on simply because you and I both happen to have blue skin,” he told her, raising an eyebrow.

Yuri couldn’t tell whether or not Parrin was at all upset about the remark, or was simply amused and playing up his reaction. To be on the safe side, she attempted to stifle the fit of laughter that the comment had brought about, and had minimal success. She covered her mouth, laughing into her palm. “That’s, um… I don’t even know what to say to that, in all honesty.”

“Neither did I. I just gaped at him for a moment, then finally shook my head and told him he was crazier than a screen door on a starship.” He grinned at her.

“Well, I believe that was probably the most appropriate response, under the circumstances. Sir.”

“I thought so. Speaking of that, I have to admit to being curious… We do have another Casserian on board, actually. But her appearance is… different,” he explained, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. “Her skin tone is quite far removed from yours, for example.”

“Pale off-white, I’d imagine?”

“Precisely,” he replied. “Her eyes have a different structure than yours, as well, and her ears… They are almost like Vulcan ears, only longer and straighter. And mechanical, of course.”

Yuri nodded. “It’s just how our physiology works.” She absently brushed several strands of hair back across her own ears – or “hearing units”, as they would be called among Casserians – which appeared as two black, flat rectangles, about three centimeters thick, running horizontally along the sides of her head in the same position as the ears of most fully organic humanoids. “For the eyes, ears, and skin color, it’s essentially a binary differentiation. One type or the other. According to our historical records, there used to be two distinct races, one fully organic and one made up of sentient androids. The bio-mechanical Casserian species that exists today takes traits from both.”

“Interesting,” he replied with a smile, rubbing his hand along his chin. “I never really took the time to learn more about the Casserians, or to ask Sil about her people.”

“Well, if it’s any consolation, I can’t say I know very much about Bolians either,” she said with a smirk. “And if you want more details than that, you’ll have to consult someone else, or the computer,” she added, holding up her hands in front of her, as if in defeat. “My understanding of the technical side of how our physiology works… is rather limited.”

“Fair enough,” he replied, chuckling.

“Sil is the Casserian you mentioned?”

He nodded. “Lieutenant Sil Farren. She’s in Security, and took Commander Myra’s death… very hard. Perhaps your presence will help her, actually. She’s been through counseling, of course, but I think she’s still hurting.”

“It just might help,” Yuri mused. “I hope so, anyway.”

“Well, I should probably attend to some things,” he said then, standing up. She followed suit, and he smiled to her, nodding. “I look forward to working with you, Commander. I think we’ll be getting on well together.”

“So do I,” Yuri said, nodding. “Think I’ll explore the ship a bit, like we discussed… wouldn’t be a bad idea to begin meeting other members of the crew, too.”

“Absolutely. Just… give them time,” he cautioned gently. “They’ve been through a lot, and you’re… well, you’re fully aware of what’s being asked of them in regard to your presence.”

She nodded. “I know. And thanks. I’m sure it’s no surprise that I had my doubts about coming here, even though I’m the one that accepted the promotion. But after speaking with you, I feel like this might just work out.” She grinned at him.

He returned the smile. “Good. I’m glad I could help. I’ll be attending a meeting this evening, but would you care to join me and some of my senior officers for dinner tomorrow night?”

“I’ll be there.”

“Excellent. Well, I’ll leave you to your exploring, then. Enjoy it; she really is a fine ship.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Yuri replied, and turned, beginning to walk toward the door. She flashed him another grin then, this one decidedly more crooked than before, throwing off a mock salute with two fingers. “Here’s to Team Blue, then.”

Parrin laughed heartily as she walked out.

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