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Old February 5 2012, 03:47 AM   #5
Saito S
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Re: "A Running Start"

She exited the lift, walking purposefully down the hall to the double doors at the end. Originally, she had planned to have a look at the primary security station before coming here, but given the incident on the bridge, and what it had done to her mood, she decided that relaxation was in order… and a drink. “I hope this place isn’t closed during the repairs,” she said aloud to no one in particular as she walked up to the doors.

Ever since the lounge on the Galaxy-class had become known as “Ten-Forward”, other ships had begun to follow suit. These days, any similar shipboard facility usually ended up with a similar name, thus, Yuri found herself in “Port Seven.” Of greater importance to her at the moment was the fact that a few of the tables and barstools were occupied, and a quick glance to her right as she entered confirmed that the bar was indeed staffed.

She strode up to it, taking a stool amidst several empty ones, thinking it best to avoid striking up any other conversations with the crew for the time being. She sat with her arms folded on the countertop, staring at nothing, her expression both contemplative and frustrated.

“Well, you look a little stormy.”

Yuri looked up at the sound of the voice in front of her, and saw that the bartender had walked over to attend to her. Before she could reply, the tall, dark-haired Bajoran woman spoke again.

“I know just the thing for a mood like that. You’re not on duty, are you?”

Yuri frowned – or, more accurately, turned her frown of distress into one of confusion. “Well, no, not at the moment, but-“

“Excellent, just a second.” With that, she walked a few paces away and began pulling out a bottle from under the counter.

Yuri raised an eyebrow, giving her an odd look, though her sour expression remained. “I haven’t even told you what I want. How do you know I’ll like whatever it is you’re getting there?”

“Oh, you will. Call it a hunch,” she replied, pouring the pale green liquid into a medium sized glass. She replaced the stopper in the bottle, placing it back under the counter before walking back over to stand in front of Yuri. “Here you are,” she said pleasantly, placing the drink in front of her.

Yuri turned a skeptical eye toward the drink, and then the bartender. “What is it?”

“Just try it. Trust me.” She flashed a radiant smile, beginning to move off as she saw someone else sit down at the other end of the bar. “If you need anything else, just give me a shout.”

Yuri watched her walk away for a moment, then looked down at the drink again. Shaking her head, she picked the glass up, staring into the semi-opaque liquid. With a slight shrug, she brought it to her lips, taking a small sip.

The flavor was unfamiliar, but very pleasant. She swallowed, enjoying the distinctive bite that this particular drink seemed to have. Somehow, that crazy bartender’s hunch really was right, she thought, unable to keep a small smile from her lips. “Thanks,” she whispered, making a mental note to thank the woman properly when she came by again. She took a slightly larger sip, as she pondered just what she was going to do. She knew that technically, she could write Lieutenant Farren up for insubordination and improper conduct, but she didn’t really want to do that. It wasn’t her style, in a situation like this; she would only take that kind of action if she felt it was truly warranted. I’d much rather figure out what got her so upset. Obviously, I’m not going to be her favorite person right off the starting line, but there was more to it than that… She sighed into her drink, keeping her arm huddled around herself as she let her head lean forward, looking straight down at the countertop. What have I gotten myself into? I’m no counselor, I don’t know how to read the kind of grief I’ve encountered today… how to get past it. Maybe this was a mistake after all.

She wasn’t sure how long she’d been lost in thought when she realized that someone was speaking to her. Blinking rapidly, she turned on the stool, angling herself to look at whoever was standing behind her. “I’m sorry, what?” she asked, having registered a voice, but not what it said.

Another member of the Dauntless crew – she presumed, anyway – stood before her. She looked to be of a similar age to Samantha and Sil, and her gold collar was adorned with the pips of a junior grade Lieutenant. She was somewhat shorter than Yuri, with a trim, feminine figure. Long, turquoise-colored hair framed a cheerful face and dark blue eyes. Just below her left eye were two dark brown markings, running in a vertical line about halfway down her cheek. “I asked if you were Commander Rienne,” the young woman said.

“Oh.” Yuri felt very disconcerted by what had just transpired. She was used to being more aware of her surroundings than most people, not less. That she was flustered to such a degree did nothing to help her mood. “Yes, I am,” she said simply. “And you are?”

“Lieutenant Rana Tsinasha, systems engineer. I just thought I’d introduce myself to our new XO.”

Yuri opened her mouth to reply, but nothing came out. With a slight sigh, she turned back to face the rear of the bar again. “Let me guess: you understand that I’m here to do my job, but you’re still depressed about it. Or, you basically don’t want me here at all, and will do your best to follow my orders so that the ship continues to function, but no one said you have to like me. Or perhaps you want to remind me that I just need to give everyone time.”

She regretted the outburst immediately. This woman had said nothing, done nothing, except walk up to her and say hello. It wasn’t fair to assume her reaction would be similar to what she’d encountered so far. And she couldn’t bring herself to really question any of the reactions she’d gotten today – even Sil’s. On some level, she understood it. Slowly, she turned to face Lieutenant Tsinasha again. “I’m… I’m sorry. That was uncalled for.” She paused, a bit surprised to see that the utterly pleasant expression had still not left the other woman’s face.

“Is this seat taken?” she asked suddenly, gesturing toward the stool to Yuri’s left.

Yuri shifted her gaze toward the stool for a brief moment, the surprise evident on her face. “No, but-“

“Good!” she exclaimed, bounding across the short distance between herself and the stool, sitting down on it before Yuri could utter another word. She folded her hands on the counter, turning to Yuri, a cheerful smile covering her face.

Yuri simply stared at her for a moment. “Suit yourself,” she said after a moment. “What I was going to say was that, as you just saw, I’m not exactly the most pleasant person to be around at the moment.”

“That’s ok. We all have our off days.” She looked toward the bar, to the drink Yuri held with both hands. “What are you having?”

“Oh, this? It’s, um…” She held the drink aloft, peering into the glass as she had before. She realized that she never did ask the bartender what it was. So, she shared the only information she had. “It’s green. If you want more details than that, you’ll have to ask her.” With her right index finger, she pointed past the glass, in the direction of the bartender. “It’s tasty, though.”

“Oh, that looks like Aldeberan Whiskey,” Rana replied, nodding.

Yuri looked at her, and then back at the glass. “I’ll take your word for it.”

“It almost matches your eyes and hair,” she commented brightly.

Yuri couldn’t help but chuckle at that, despite her mood. “Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”

Rana smiled. “Before I answer that, can you tell me if it would be against any kind of regulation to tell a superior officer that she’s cute?”

Yuri actually laughed. “I doubt it. If it was, I surely would have run into it by now.” She turned to her. “Thanks. I don’t know if it was your intention or not, but you’ve helped lighten my mood a bit.” She shook her head. “I knew coming in that things would be difficult, given the situation, but…”

“It was worse than you expected,” Rana supplied, her tone gentle, sympathetic.

Yuri pondered her response for a moment. “No… not worse, exactly. I think it was more a matter of me not being as prepared for it as I thought I was.” She looked forward again. “If you don’t mind discussing the topic… you seem to be handling it quite well.”

“Well, I went through my share of grief, of course. It’s been a difficult time, for all of us,” she said quietly, looking down for a moment. “But, somehow, I’ve found a way to manage it, I guess. A large part of that was… was Sil.”

Yuri’s eyes tightened momentarily. She said nothing, waiting for Rana to continue.

“On more than one occasion, she helped me through some… rough spots, in my life. Things that I had to do, or see, as part of this crew, that I didn’t handle well. She was always there for me. Without her, I’d…” She paused for a moment, thinking over her next words. Yuri looked over and saw her sigh before continuing. “I’d still be a broken mess, weeping in a corner somewhere. She’s possibly the kindest, most gentle person I’ve ever met. When she wants to be, anyway… she has this uncanny ability to just fit in, no matter what the social dynamics around her are like.”

“Sounds like someone I’d like,” Yuri commented quietly, taking another sip from her glass. “Doesn’t sound like the person I met, though…”

“Try… try not to think ill of her,” Rana said, and suddenly, her tone was more urgent, more serious. She turned to face Yuri fully, placing a hand on her arm. “You have to understand, she was very close to Alis- to Commander Myra. And she was with her when she died. It’s been especially hard for her.”

Yuri raised an eyebrow. What Rana was saying made sense, but she was wondering something. “Did you talk to her? About our, um… encounter, on the bridge? Is that why you came to find me?”

Rana paused, then nodded slowly. “Does that upset you?”

In response, Yuri smiled slightly, much to the shorter woman’s relief. “Nah. Was just wondering. It seems like the two of you are very good friends.”

“Definitely. Sil is… well-liked, in general. Everyone seems to find her endearing,” she said with a giggle. “At least, normally.”

“I’m not sure what to do,” Yuri blurted out. There was something about this woman, the quality of her voice, which made her feel as if she could speak freely about her troubles, despite having just met her. “I would rather find a way to patch this, rather than just tolerate one another. The captain even suggested that my presence might comfort her, since we’re both Casserians, and since I came up in security. Things kind of went the opposite way, though, and I’m not sure if I know how to make it better. And it’s not just Sil, really. Some other crewmembers I’ve met have been… distant, or just so depressed…” She ran a hand through her hair. “As I said, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought.”

Rana looked up, thinking. “Well, maybe there’s some kind of common ground you could find?” She shrugged slightly. “It’s really too bad that Commander Zakurin is away. That’s our Security Chief, Sil’s CO. I think she’d be able to act as a bridge between the two of you, and maybe help everyone adjust.”

“Oh yes, Rhea’s sister,” Yuri remarked absently. She saw Rana’s expression change out of the corner of her eye, and when she looked back over, she was met with a look of confusion. “Oh, sorry. I served with Rhea Zakurin on the Leviathan.”

“Oh!” Rana exclaimed, nodding. “She’s mentioned Rhea before, but I didn’t realize the Leviathan was your former posting.”

“Rhea’s a good friend,” Yuri commented. “For some reason, I’ve gotten along well with Lysians whenever I’ve served with them. Case in point,” she added, gesturing toward Rana.

“Was it the hair, the stripes on my face, or my demeanor that gave my species away?” Rana asked playfully.

“All of the above, really.”

She giggled in response. “Well, the Commander will be back in a few days, so hopefully your streak will continue. I think you’d like her, anyway. She’s really energetic, loves being around other people. Bit of a party girl.”

Yuri laughed. “Sounds like… me, honestly. At least, normally,” she added, echoing Rana’s earlier words. “And really, I’ll take all the help I can get,” she added glumly.

They continued to talk for several minutes, chatting easily. Yuri was pleased that she had made at least one solid friend this day, and she also took the opportunity to find out more about Lieutenant Farren, as she tried to figure out how she was going to approach a second meeting with her.

“Rhodes to Tsinasha.”

Rana blinked, looking up as she tapped her combadge. “Tsinasha here.”

“Sorry to bother you during your leave time, Lieutenant, but those fluctuations in the starboard power coupling are cropping up again.”

Rana’s face fell. “Again? If this keeps up, we’ll just have to replace the thing…”

“We just might, before too long. I’m afraid I need to ask you to come down to help figure out what’s wrong with the damn thing THIS time.”

“It’s no problem, Chief. I’ve had enough downtime for now, I can handle it. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Thanks, Rana, I appreciate it. Rhodes out.”

Rana tapped her badge a second time, closing the channel, before looking at Yuri. “Well, I’d better go. It was good to meet you, Commander.”

“Likewise. And… thanks. If nothing else, you’ve given me an opportunity to vent, and maybe get a little perspective.” She smiled at her.

Rana returned the smile, nodding as she slid off the stool. “I think you’ll figure something out,” she said confidently. “I’ll see you soon.”

Yuri nodded, watching her go for a moment. “Oh! One more thing, Rana.”

The Lysian woman stopped, looking back toward the bar. “Yes?”

“For future reference, when we’re not on duty, please just call me Yuri.’” She grinned.

Rana laughed lightly. “Duly noted.”

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