[IAS L. Ericson] East and West

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Mike
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[IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Mike » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:00 pm

Commander Yuan arrived at the IAS Leif Ericson early, ahead of the porters that she had hired to carry her baggage. She kept a precise sort of politeness as she moved across the quarterdeck, returning the salute of the Watch Officer, and she chose not to notice at the stares of the less enlightened enlisted, who gawked at her just short of openly. She asked directions to the XO’s quarters, and when she had them, she set them easy and moved on. She was a Lau xíngtài, a Tiger, wearing an Alliance Naval uniform, and Xiaofan had never expected, or asked, for understanding from her new peers. The Alliance required less formality than Xiaofan was used to, and she was glad to avoid the several hours of ceremony that would have been required in the Empire for something as important as changing the command staff of a ship. The stares made her shoulders itch, and she was glad that she didn't have to stop anyone in the passageways. They flattened for her, once they saw her rank pin, and made a hole. Many of the contractors were still going hither and tither around the ship, finishing up jobs, or painting, or maintenance, and they at least did not pay too much attention.

Commander Powell, the ship’s former Executive officer during its extended drydock period, had already packed most of his things away. Xiaofan came on him during the last of his packing and was thankful that he had the presence of mind for a proper turnover. They spent a half an hour going over some of the ship’s more notable quirks, some of the preparations that had been made prior to getting her underway, along with the major ship’s maintenance, while Xiaofan offered to help him pack. She helped him move the heavy sea chests, until they could hand them off to some of the automations that moved between the hallways, and she let Powell thank her and excused his awkwardness. She accomplished with little effort something that had made the older officer take off his uniform jacket, and sweat, but Xiaofan did not mention it, only remained polite and helpful until he had left.

Then she was left alone in an office that, despite its comfort, felt entirely too alien. Once her belongings could be conveyed, it would feel a little more populated. Warm colors, reds and golds and russets, and oranges, instead of the pale white and blue that seemed, now that she looked at it, just a little dingy and a little too utilitarian for an officer. Perhaps the Alliance lost something with the lack of ceremony, the lack of guest politeness and hospitality.

Before she could convince herself into a mood, some of Xiaofan’s belongings arrived, not with the porters that she had paid for the service but with the same little automations that had carried away the previous XO’s belongings. Xiaofan sorted these uniform suitcases away along with the lacquered boxes that contained more personal items, until she came to a smaller one.

She opened it and sat back in the desk chair while the ship’s smooth little automations took up the task of sorting the rest of her things away pondering it. She didn't have to sniff it to know what it was: Black tea. Her sister, Shoen, had sent it with her, knowing that she liked it, in the beginning, and every once in a while it came by post along with a letter in her delicate characters. Xaofan put the little bag back into its small, black, lacquered case and pocketed it, rising to fix her cap in the acerbic lighting and moving past the ship drones into the hallway.

Perhaps the Captain would be aboard by now, she thought, and anyway, she may as well meet the person she would spend the next few years serving beneath.
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Jabonicus » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:03 pm

Captain Amari.

The title felt hollow, as if it was illegitimate or forged. A lifetime of seeing ship Captains and other leadership positions as something above her, something unreachable and unobtainable. That said nothing of the people themselves, who, by grace of title alone, held some otherly feel to them, as if they had turned into some deity beyond reasonable grasp. Yet, despite the veneration she had been forcibly taught, the title was hers, and anyone on board would look to her with the same respect that they held for any other freshly anointed Captain. It would take her time to get used to it, and to take the name in the same stride as others. But until then? She could pretend.

Her quarters were ready by all means, but she avoided the room as if doing so would avoid the responsibility of the title. As such she simply idled about the hallways and other such rooms, pretending to not be idle by keeping a steady stride. Music, she wanted to listen to music, to get her head off of the subject but the thought of her crew seeing the Captain with headphones on as a first impression weighed too heavily on her mind for such escapism to be viable. And so she paced about the ship, avoiding the very large elephant-in-the-ship.

Her pacing was stopped as a patterned series of beeps went off on her headpiece, and upon checking her wrist-mounted screen, the face of Mister Amari glared back at her. It was an old photo, a nice one, from when she was a kid, cropped to make him look as nice as possible for any onlookers. She stared at it for a second, before her fingers deftly and firmly tapped the red button of 'Reject Call.' She'd make an excuse later, but he was one of the last people she wanted to hear right now. With a deep breath, she scratched at the folds where her flesh met the metal of her jaw.

She had kept an eye out for the people who also wandered the ship, many were simple technicians and others simply trying to get the ship ready, though a few she already recognized as permanent crewmembers. One of them caught her eye as she stood in one of the splitting corridors, the Taianese defector, Commander Yuan. Captain Amari kept her composure, a stern look and cold eyes as she briefly scanned the woman. The look was easy to hold, especially given that all she had to focus on was her brow and eyes, as her jaw was far less expressive, and its weight and lack of feeling often dragged her upper lip down to its solemn tone. "Ah, you must be Commander Yuan." Almost by pure instinct, she shifted into a more formal posture. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you."
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Mike » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:35 pm

Xiaofan saluted. It was the thing to do when one met the captain, though Xiaofan hadn’t quite been prepared to meet someone with a metal jawbone. Still, she thought that she must at least be fair; finding yourself in the company of a former enemy officer might have been equally perplexing.

At least they would be awkward together. Xiaofan removed her cap, because it didn’t feel right to wear it while speaking to Amari, who was also shorter than Xiaofan was used to in captains or commanders. Most humans were shorter than she was, and it had taken some getting used to, but the polite awkwardness of overshadowing men and women alike as the most imposing person in the room, uniform and rank or no, took some getting used to.

“Captain,” Xiaofan acknowledged, careful in her Alliance standard so as not to let her accent rest too heavy on her tongue, “Good afternoon. Yes, I am she. Thank you for approving my assignment to your ship. It is very comfortable, and nice. I was just coming to visit you.”
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Jabonicus » Fri Feb 01, 2019 3:53 pm

Amari saw the flick of the eyes, a brief stare at her jaw, but otherwise no reaction from Xiaofan, it was standard, it was the reaction that was most common since she joined the military. The synthetic flesh that stretched from the metal juts of her jawbone went all the way up to her lower lip, and even then, some synthetic lines went up to her organic flesh, connecting nerves. "At ease, formalities can wait." Amari acknowledged the salute. She at least knew of Xiaofan, but not much, she was originally Taianese, but had left and instead joined with the Alliance military. She had made it this far, and after all the Alliance had accepted her, so she felt compelled to trust her.

But... Something still felt off. She had lost count of the number of rants her father had gone off in her presence about how awful or deceptive the Taianese were. Her mother had always held more... Reserved opinions about them, but her father was quite vocal about his viewpoints. "I do hope you'll let me know if you run into any issues with other members of the crew." It felt wrong to say as she actively tried to think of the woman in front of her as anything other than Taianese. "That said Commander, seeing as you wanted to seek me out, is there something that you wanted to discuss, or is this simply an introduction?"
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Mike » Mon Feb 04, 2019 10:20 pm

"Of course," Yuan said, "I have not been having any trouble, Captain."

To the next question she produced a small, onxy-colored wooden box, small enough to fit in her palm, and offered it to Amari, politely, though holding it with only the one hand. It seemed too small a parcel to hold with both, and the Alliance didn't require that sort of formality anyway.

"My sister sends me these, because she knows I am fond of tea. I thought perhaps you might wish to try them."
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Jabonicus » Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:03 pm

No trouble yet, the ship hadn't even taken off yet, she'd be surprised if there was already a quarrel. There was still plenty of time for it, and already Amari wasn't sure how she could solve such an issue. If issues surrounding bias did arise, she could always nip the outbursts and problems at the bud, but that wouldn't resolve the issues that cause them. It was a difficult problem, one that she hoped that she wouldn't have to deal with.

As Yuan produced the small box, Amari eyed it for a brief moment before reaching out and accepting it, briefly opening it to peer at its leafy contents. She drunk tea quite commonly, and even if she didn't it would be rude to not at least use it. "Thank you, Commander." She didn't quite have the heart to admit to Yuan that she'd likely be unable to taste anything other than a faint bitterness hidden in the heat of the drink once brewed. "Is it a special occasion, or does your family commonly send you gifts?" Amari asked as innocently as she could. She wasn't sure of the Taianese womans relationship with her family.
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Mike » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:54 pm

"Sometimes," she answered. "Mostly, we write letters."

The great cat folded her hands behind her back, and looked quite professional when she continued, "Because she knows I can not come back, she tries to send me things from home, and often she sends small things like that. It is common enough, but as I have not bought any small gifts in port, I thought perhaps you might accept it. I should like to think we will work well together. I believe that there is something in the Mess, which can brew the tea for us."
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Jabonicus » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:25 pm

It was a sad situation, Amari had to admit. To be estranged from a family that still held affection for you, unable to return. There was an immediate feeling in her chest, the pain of knowing that it must be tough, but also the alien feeling of being unable to truly understand what it felt like. Throughout her life, she had faced the opposite problem, and in a way the conflict it brought to her mind felt all the more frustrating for it. "Of course, the mess has a kettle that's almost solely used for tea." Over the years Amari had lost count of how many fancy devices had been invented for the use of making hot cocoa, tea, and coffee, and yet despite the rapid advancement of technology over the last kiloyear, making tea, coffee, and other such drinks had changed very little.

People saw very little reason to change what wasn't broken, especially when many claimed that the alternatives changed the taste in a negative way. Moving with a nod towards the Mess, she tried to keep the conversation going to avoid distilling any uncomfortable silence that would force her to consider words she'd already spoken. "Does the rest of your family keep in contact with you as well as your sister?"
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Re: [IAS L. Ericson] East and West

Post by Mike » Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:21 am

Yuan paused, and considered how to answer that question. Of course, she had a long story - a longer story than most military officers might. Yet, when she answered, she answered it short; "No."

And then she felt a little awkward, so she added on, "I have been transported, which means I am disowned. My sister thought that it was unfair, and so she has kept contact with me, which I have always found to be a comfort. It will not interfere with my duties, here."
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