Saturday, February 6, 2010

Commander Caro

Vanessa "Van" Caro tugged at the bodice of her blue dress uniform as she strode down the hall in the company of an ensign. She might have made a face, too, but she was fairly certain that the ensign looming over her (it was tough being 1.5-plus meters in an often 1.8-plus meters world) was part of her new crew and wouldn’t understand. It also wasn’t a good way to inspire confidence. He’d been glancing at her from the moment she first stepped out of a small gathering of officers, all waiting for their assignments.

“Commander Caro?”

She’d dimmed the smile she was flashing at Lieutenant Commander Felix and turned politely inquiring eyes on the blond young man in red. “That’s me. You my escort?”

The poor young man had tried to hide his surprise with mixed results. “Um, yes ma’am. I’m to take you to meet Captain Benjamin Adams.”

“Aw, Van, leaving us so soon?” Felix had crooned. A chorus of laughter had followed

She’d joined in, turning briefly toward the group. “As if you won’t be sorry to see me go, Jorge. You still owe me from that last game of poker,” she’d said, eyes flashing.

“I was hoping you’d forget.”

“Ha! I’m expecting my winnings plus interest when I see you next. In five years.”

That had inspired another round of laughter, as Van got her things together. Lt. Cmdr. Felix had sighed, catching her hand as she turned away. “You wouldn’t be so mean, would you, Van?”

“If I give you a break, Jorge, everyone will want one.”

Van had left to the sound of laughter and promises to make sure Felix paid up, matching the strides of the (to her) very tall ensign who now had pink ears.

No, making faces as the strode down the hall would not engender confidence. She was glad, then, that she had gone for a more severe hairstyle than she might have chosen otherwise. Her black hair was pulled away from her face, braided and coiled close to the back of her head in overlapping figure eights. It was pretty enough from the back, but fairly austere and reserved from the front. She wore the bare minimum of makeup on her permanently sun-kissed skin—partly out of respect to Starfleet regs, and partly so that she wouldn’t have to worry about it later. Trying to remember that she couldn’t wipe her sweaty forehead with her sleeve or rub her eyes because of her heavy foundation was more trouble than it was worth.

They took another corner and Van found herself tugging at the dress uniform again. It wasn’t that she disliked dresses or dress uniforms, she had her fair share of booth in her wardrobe, however she preferred dress uniforms for less…mobile occasion. They had a truly annoying tendency to ride.

“Here we are, Commander.”

Van inclined her head and gave the ensign a reserved, professional smile, quite unlike what he had seen before. “Thank you Ensign…”

“Curtis, ma’am.”

“Thank you, Ensign Curtis. You are dismissed.”

He nodded. “Ma’am.” She watched him march off until he turned a corner, then entered the waiting room.

Standing at the far end of the bright room, staring out at the view was a tall (relatively speaking) man. Her new captain. Van felt a small, small amused smile pull her lips and lift the corners of her eyes.

“Commander Vanessa Caro of the Starship Lexington, reporting for duty, sir,” she said calmly and clearly, enjoying the cadence of the words though her small smile neither grew nor faltered. It wasn’t the most musical thing she’d ever said, but saying the words ‘of the Starship Lexington’ pleased her immensely. It was going to be her home for the near foreseeable future, after all.

Van stood attention, waiting to be recognized.

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