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Old February 5 2012, 02:45 AM   #4
Saito S
Fleet Captain
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Location: Redeithia
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Re: "A Running Start"

She was surprised, in a way, that it had taken her this long to end up on the bridge. She had simply let her feet take her wherever they wanted after leaving engineering, and they had meandered around various other sections of the ship before coming here, to the place where she would be spending the majority of her on-duty time. She’d spoken with several other members of the crew during her exploring, and came away from those encounters with mixed feelings. Some reacted like Lieutenant Sainar had, others were more cold, seeming slightly uncomfortable around her. Most were, in fact, grateful for her presence, but even so, there was a lingering melancholy, a layer of grief that had yet to be completely tapped, permeating the ship. She felt for them, and though it was difficult, she remained committed to her decision to accept this assignment. She could handle it.

The bridge was clean and elegant, like most Starfleet bridges, and dominated by medium grays and blues. Overall, it was roughly the same size as the bridge on the Leviathan, perhaps just a little bit larger, and where the Akira-class ship’s bridge had generally resembled a variant of Galaxy-era bridge designs, this one harkened more to the Sovereign in terms of the layout, size, and configuration of various stations. She walked slowly forward, past the tactical console situated just behind the command area, until she was standing near the captain’s chair… and roughly a meter to the right of it, hers. She felt a chill run down her spine. She was REALLY here, and that was REALLY her chair. The first officer’s chair. She shook her head, grinning stupidly. By the red star’s fall, I think I’m finally figuring out that this isn’t a dream.

The other set of doors opened, and another officer strode in from across the bridge, PADD in hand. Yuri looked up, straightening her posture, startled out of her thought process.

The Lieutenant looked up as she approached Yuri’s position, slowing her pace. Immediately, Yuri could see that she was Casserian, and was thus fairly certain she knew who she had just encountered. Still, she didn’t like to make assumptions, and decided to allow the woman to introduce herself. “At ease, Lieutenant…” she said, trailing off as she walked across the command area, approaching the Lieutenant.

“Farren, sir,” the other woman replied, her tone measured and formal. “Sil Farren.”

She had never really given it much thought before, but now that she did, she could see why Parrin had been curious about Casserian physiology. Growing up with her own people, she had always associated the various distinctions as normal, but it wouldn’t surprise her if someone who had never met a Casserian were to wonder if she and Sil were even the same species. Where Yuri’s skin was a light, royal blue, Sil’s was a pale, whitish tan, and her hearing units were long, slender, black rectangles, pointing up away from her head. Even aside from the idiosyncrasies of Casserian physiology, their physical features were markedly different from one another. Sil’s hair was quite straight, falling to her mid-back in a ponytail tied high on the back of her head, and its jet-black hue caused the icy blue of her eyes to stand out. She was nearly as tall as Captain Parrin, and while both women possessed an athletic physique, Sil had a slim, lithe build, in contrast to Yuri’s shorter stature and curvy, busty figure.

That she was strikingly beautiful didn’t escape Yuri’s notice, and under just about any other circumstances, her instinct would have been to begin flirting with her, and see where it led. Yuri had no problem whatsoever with the reputation she’d earned over the years as someone prone to shamelessly hitting on anyone she found remotely attractive. Today, though, she had found those instincts tempered. It would still be some time before this crew was used to her, and she to them, to say nothing of the lingering sadness she was acutely aware of. She had every intention of tabling some of her more outgoing traits until she felt it was appropriate to do otherwise.

“Can I help you, Commander?” the Lieutenant asked calmly.

Yuri paused, unsure of how to respond. There was something about this woman, something in her tone that just seemed off. The weary sadness she had observed in Samantha Sainar’s eyes earlier didn’t seem so disturbing when compared to the utterly flat, emotionless expression Sil wore. “No, I was just familiarizing myself with various parts of the ship, now that I’m stationed here. I’m Yuri Ri-“

“I know who you are,” she cut in abruptly, her tone still level, almost uninterested. “You’re… the replacement.”

Yuri said nothing. She was completely taken aback by the sudden interruption, and the wording. No one had used that term, and for good reason; she herself had been avoiding it, as it seemed disrespectful, even if it was technically correct. “I… suppose I am,” she replied slowly. “It looks like you did your homework on me, Lieutenant.”

“Yes sir, I looked up your file as soon as I heard that Starfleet had chosen a replacement.”

Another pause. The captain said she’d taken Myra’s death hard, but… seems like there’s more to it than that, somehow. “Well,” she said finally, choosing her words carefully. “As I said, I just wanted to get a feel for my new posting. Didn’t mean to interrupt whatever it is you were doing. Just, one thing, since you’re here. Never was too fond of being called ‘sir’. So you might as well start getting used to calling me something else.” She smiled, hoping that a bit of easygoing friendliness might diffuse this… whatever it was.

“Since you’ll probably be interacting with my CO much more than with me personally, I doubt it really matters much. Sir.”

Yuri stared at the other woman, her green eyes narrowing slightly. She didn’t miss the infusion of actual malice into Sil’s last word. She met her gaze, trying to read what she could from the Lieutenant’s expression, from her eyes, and found only the malice. Some officers might have simply excused themselves and tried to get a fresh start with this woman later, but that was far too indirect for Yuri Rienne. “Have I done something to offend you, Lieutenant?” Her tone was level, but one could hardly call it pleasant.

Sil appeared to ponder the question for a moment. “No,” she said finally. “Not since meeting me in person, at any rate.”

What the hell is THAT supposed to mean? Two years ago, she would have said exactly that, without question. Some small part of her bio-mechanical brain realized that such a change in temperament no doubt contributed to Starfleet’s decision to promote her. “Something from before we met, then?”

Lieutenant Farren sighed, and to Yuri’s surprise, she began to walk past her, toward the tactical console. “Commander Myra is dead. You’re here to replace her. So you do your job, I’ll do mine, which at the moment requires me to access this tactical station, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to get started.”

Yuri watched her carefully as she walked by. The tension in the young woman’s voice had been obvious, and Yuri suspected she was barely holding herself back from hurling far harsher words at her, and at much higher volume. As Sil began entering data on the console, Yuri took a step toward her, not ready to drop it just yet. “I’m not responsible for what happened,” she said quietly. “I’m not going to tell you not to feel however you feel toward me, because you have the right to deal with her death however you need to. But I am the executive officer on this ship now, and if there’s going to be a problem with-“

“NO, sir!” Sil’s voice rang out across the empty bridge as she swiftly brought her eyes back up to meet Yuri’s. The blue orbs were full of fury. “No problem at all! I will continue to serve as the assistant chief of my department to the best of my ability, sir. And I will carry out any orders you give me, sir. That is all anyone can reasonably expect, and no amount of bloviating is going to get me to LIKE you, because that is simply not required of me. Now, I really must get back to work. Sir.”

Yuri’s expression was at once stunned and angry. Several retorts came to mind, but she ignored them all, surprising herself in the process, and opted not to burn this particular bridge just yet, though it was clearly already beginning to smolder. “Fine,” she said icily, and turned, walking toward the turbolift. Sil made no attempt to stop her.

“Deck… deck, uh…shit, where am I even going,” Yuri muttered once the turbolift doors had closed. She shut her eyes, placing her face against her palm momentarily, rubbing her fingers over her forehead as she tried to clear her mind. “Deck seven,” she said emphatically, as soon as she settled on a destination.

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