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Game Face

Posted on Jun 19, 2017 @ 6:16am by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Edited on on Jun 19, 2017 @ 6:32am

Mission: The Romulan Way

“Game Face”
(Continued from “Speak Softly”)

=/\=

“You don’t command wind in the direction it blows, but you command a ship in the direction it sails.”
- Matshona Dhliwayo

=/\=

Location: USS PHOENIX
SD: [2.17]0617.2224
Scene: The Vulgar Tribble

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel walked purposefully into the transformed lounge, scanning the room to gather her bearings and see if anything was amiss. Her long, nearly black hair had been fashioned in a braid that ran over the top of her head like a headband before entwining itself around a small bun that sat precisely above the neckline of her dress uniform, which had been cut to fit like a second skin. Her shoulders were still broader than the average humanoid, but the heeled platform boots she’d deliberately worn and her rigid stance gave her a lithe, and she hoped imposing, form.

She’d timed her arrival so that while she wasn’t the first one there, she was far from being late to the event. While the kitchen staff had finished setting up, bringing things to a level of polish only hinted at a few hours before, the band had assembled but hadn’t started playing, and neither had the dinner proper.

Eve fought the urge to lean against the bar in her good clothes, and instead stood stiffly in front of it, surveying the activity around her. Suddenly, the ship was no longer home turf, it was the possible scene of an incident that could rock the already shaky relations between the Federation and the Empire. She hadn’t felt like this since her first and only field assignment, which had been about eight years prior.

“It wouldn’t kill you to crack a smile, Woo Woo,” Iphie said quietly, offering her a flute of Romulan Ale. “Even Cap’n Homie’s trying it.” The chef gestured near the center of the room, where Jake was formally re-introducing the CO to the members of the Romulan welcoming party.

Dalziel sipped the heady liquid, wondering if the different shades of blue in the ales were somehow indicating their alcohol content. “I guarantee he’s as uncomfortable as I am. Smile or not.”

Lynette, who had been sitting at the bar, her back turned to the Cardassian born woman, just kept quiet and listened while she nursed her champagne. Maybe the blonde had been a more fortuitous change than she realized.

Miss Bonviva brought a small plate of hors d'oeuvres over. “Have you ever asked?”

Eve considered the woman’s question. “No, I haven’t.”

“Why not?”

“Professional courtesy.” Eve took a samosa.

“On whose part?”

“A Captain is responsible for the smooth operation of the ship, calling upon different areas and departments to execute orders with efficiency and proper procedure. A Counsellor is responsible for the mental wellness of the members of the crew, which allows them to work to the Captain’s commands.”

Iphie put her elbows on the bar as she listened. “Stop reading from the handbook and answer my question. Isn’t the Captain’s well-being important too?”

“Naturally it is. But my main responsibility is to bring situations to his attention regarding the crew.”

“What happens when a CO needs help? Do you just leave them hanging?”

Eve’s perfectly arched brows furrowed. “Absolutely not. But I don’t poke. I don’t prod. Unless their behavior warrants it. And Commanding Officers are made of a different kind of stuff than the rest of us.”

“It sounds to me like you’re putting him on a pedestal he doesn’t want to be on.”

Eve shook her head. “I respect the position he’s in. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the same place.”

“How?”

“He’s the *Captain*. You don’t want to make a mistake, give him information that’s no longer important. You sure as hell don’t want to waste his time. So you’re careful. Or at least you try to be.”

Lynette kept eavesdropping, interested but all too easily remembering the awkward encounter from days earlier.

“What about you? Do you feel like your staff is wasting your time?”

Eve grinned for the first time since she entered the room, but it was fleeting. “No, no, I couldn’t ask for a better set of people to work with. Smooshy too. But I feel like i’m in a bubble sometimes. You don’t think I notice the pained looks and the attitude changes when I approach someone? For most of the staff of this ship, they’d rather take a walk on the hull without grav boots than talk to someone else about their *feelings*. Or their problems, God forbid. Or the fact that they aren’t perfect specimens of what an officer is supposed to be. Guess what, none of us are. And they certainly don’t want to get all chummy with the shrink. But you know, I don’t deserve that reputation. I can be professional *and* be a friend. And dammit, It would be nice to have a few more friends.” She downed the rest of the ale. “To top it all off, Lysander, in addition to helping with the entertainment, has a *date* this evening. I’m proud, and little jealous.”

Ensign Ryan looked over her left shoulder at the Counsellor in profile as she spoke to Chef Bonviva, shocked to realize Lysander Elgin was a Counsellor too. It was all the more reason to stay unattached from the affable ginger-haired man.

“But?” Iphie offered another ale or champagne, but Eve took the sparkling water instead. She plopped a slice of lime in it to make it more festive.

“But, I’m here to do a job. And so is Captain Kane. I wouldn’t want him to ever need to hesitate in giving a difficult order to me because we were friends. And I wouldn’t want a critical decision about the mental state of anyone here to be compromised because I was too close to the situation.”

“Have you thought about getting out more?” Iphie cracked.

“Sure, your corner of the galaxy or mine?” Eve said breathlessly like a mindless ingenue.

Iphie playfully hit Eve with a napkin. “I don’t mean that, and I don’t mean fancy dress parties or diplomatic accords. Just meeting people, before you have to ‘examine’ them? You can’t just tell others you’re fun, you have to show them.”

“Any suggestions?”

“Let’s start with the next person that walks through that door that you don’t know. You’re going to introduce yourself and see if you can get a couple of lines of small talk in- nothing about work if you can help it.”

Eve looked skeptical.

“Relax, Woo Woo. You can always excuse yourself to mingle if it goes that badly.”

“Maybe I should have had that second ale. But okay, let’s do this.” Eve looked at the entrance and waited. It seemed like the room was mostly full so she began to wonder if opportunity had passed her by-

“There,” Iphie said triumphantly. He was bald with piercing light eyes and an expression that most of his surroundings were new to him. “Go.”

Eve strode over to him. With her footwear she was nearly the same height as him, which allowed her to look him straight in the eye. “If nobody’s said it yet, welcome to the Phoenix. I’m Lieutenant Eve Dalziel.”

“Lieutenant Tomas Vukovic,” the man with the Slavic appearance said.


=/\=
NRPG: That was not expected. So, Ken, not much to start with but a hearty handshake :-)


Susan Ledbetter
Writing for

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Cns
USS PHOENIX

 

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