A Proper Welcome Part 2

By Dora Furlong, Mary Alyace Rensa, and Rob Smith

Darana regarded the form on the floor briefly. The woman hadn't
lasted as long as Darana thought she would. Darana sighed, scooped
the unconscious form up, and placed her in a nearby chair. "Come on
wake up." Darana waved the awful chemical concoction meant for these
occasions under her nose.

Anastayza stirred, "I'm....I am sorry." She mumbled.

Darana scowled at the apology. "Don't apologize." She growled,
turning the chair towards the monitor in the wall, "Now watch!" Ana
looked up at the wall and groaned internally, 'Go figure, another
fine mess I've gotten myself into. How did Garrek avoid these messes.
He's so arrogant.'

"YOU" Darana snapped, "are not a prince of the realm! YOU..."

"Shit!" The pilot thought, interrupting Darana, "She's still

"I am *always* listening. Never forget that."

The pilot froze, quieting her thoughts. It didn't last long. She
began thinking about not thinking and then wandered onto whatever the
reason she could be here was.

Darana returned her attention to the screen. Shade asked if she owed
any money. An incredulous look crossed Ana's face on the screen.
Darana paused the recording and looked expectantly at the pilot.

"Why would I owe anyone money? What do I spend money on when I am on
a ship or at a remote outpost?" She replied, then realized she could
have stated that a little nicer. 'Shit,' She thinks to herself, 'I
did it again.'

"You just can't seem to see what is in front of you can you Lt.?"

Ana began to reflect back on the warm welcome and congratulations she
got about the shuttle battle and compared it to now. She left it
behind, knowing it would only cause her anxiety and focused on the
here and now, nothing more. "What am I supposed to see? I don't
understand." She asked sincerely.

"Look at at yourself." Darana indicated the screen, "It is a valid
question and you are *daring* to challenge him."

Rowan recalled how she lost patience with his 'game' and since he did
not have a uniform on...... yea, she challenged him.

"Only now do you understand." Darana pressed a button and the scene
continued on, "Let us continue forward."

Once more the pilot thought of Discipline 101, only this time without
the laughing. Ana tried to hide her embarrassment and regain her
focus on just 'watching' the recording.

Darana smiled to herself and paused the image just as Ana began
giggling in response to Shade's question of her working with

The thought of working with mercenaries was ridiculous! She a trained
Imperial pilot..where...oh, Maybe she WANTED me to work with
mercenaries. Anastayza groaned inwardly once again.

"You seem to think this whole thing is a Game. You have no respect."
Darana observed in an annoyed tone.

"Sorry, Ma'am."

"Sorry?" Darana questioned, "Sorry?" She repeated, her voice a little

Ana breathed in slowly, 'OK, I gotta remember she doesn't like me
apologizing. Fine. Let my actions do the talking.'

"You are a sorry excuse for an Imperial Officer!"

Trying to compare her actions as a pilot, to what she has said and
done here, she began to retort, "Yes, ma'am, but I am a good

"Did *I* ask you to *interpret* anything?" Darana interrupted.

The other woman was quiet. No response.

"Do you find security checks funny?"

Ana caught her breath and remained very still both physically and
mentally, with an ominous feeling. "No Ma'am." She replied simply.

"Then WHY are you giggling?" Darana pointed to the screen and the
frozen image of Ana in mid-giggle.

"He was repeating questions and ignoring my responses.  I became
arrogant," she replied and attempted to focus on maintaining an even
tone and not feel any anger or bias.

"hmmpph." Darana forwarded the video again.

"...loyalty lies with those whom I serve." The recorded Ana stated.

Darana glanced between the monitor and Anastayza.

"Yes, Ma'am", she replied, thinking that when she served on the
outpost, she was more loyal to the outpost than the other Imperials
who infrequently visited the station. She was now emotionally

Darana gritted her teeth as Ana focused on trying to say "the right
thing", or at least saying things "the right way." With slow and
controlled movement, Darana moved in front of her and leaned over

Ana held her breath as the fear started creeping in again. Darana's
hot breath tickled her shoulder as Darana bared her fangs and
whispered into her ear.

"So you want to tell me what I 'want' to hear...or rather." She
paused, "What you 'think' I want to hear!" Darana pulled back,
catching and holding Ana's eyes with her own, "Well I have news for

'She's a colonel. She wouldn't bite me...would she?' Ana thought to
herself, very concerned. She tried to control her fear, knowing
Darana would feel it.

Darana held back a chuckle before continuing on, "You will *never* be
able to second guess me. I.....WILL.....HAVE.....THE.....TRUTH!!!
NOT, your pathetic ideas of what you think *I* want!"

Anastayza's mind reeled. She tried to figure out what to say, how she
meant it, and without making Darana angry or upset. She wasn't trying
to exaggerate or lie. Then she became angry that this woman didn't
believe her.. 'What the heck did I say wrong *this* time?' She really
wanted to reply. Really, realy wanted to retort, but thought better
of it. Silence had worked before. Should she or shouldn't she?

"Silence," Darana interrupted the pilot's thoughts, "Is not your best
option here...otherwise you will force me to find out myself the
answer to my quesitons." Darana's tone was low and quiet tone.

"Ma'am. I have been honest with you." Ana replied simply.


"Yes Ma'am." She replied. 'Well okay maybe my communication was off
before?  Why would she think I am not telling the truth when she can
just tell right away if I am lying?' Then she starts thinking about
how she words things, and how people might misunderstand her... and
how it is her fault if Darana suspected something amiss because she
couldn't get her words right.... her thoughts continued with that for
a moment, than she focused again on staying on subject. 'Just answer
the question.' she told herself. 'Keep it simple. You are telling the
truth so you have nothing to fear. Stick to the facts...'

Darana listened intently as Ana tried to calm herself. The woman's
insecurity had finally caught up to her.

Finally realizing that Darana had been quiet and was obvisouly
listening to her thoughts, Ana became embarrased again. She began to
recall past missions once more. Trying to feel good about herself

"What is your point Lieutenant? Do *not* try my patience. I have no
need to hear of your 'past glories'. Nor, do I care about them."

Ana, still lost in her thoughts remembered why she loved her job so
much. She took solace in that love and started to think hat no matter
what job this Colonel had for her, if it was piloting, she would
prove her worth. Suddenly realizing Darana has spoken to her, "What
are you asking me, Mam'm?" she asked, sincerely puzzled for what
Darana wanted to know.

"I had asked you, whom do you serve?"

She was even more confused now. Hadn't she already answered that
question. "The Imperial Service that gives me my orders, ma'am."

Darana sighed, then picked up the remote again.

Suddenly, Ana heard herself saying, "What part of being a hero for
the Imperial Service makes you think I would be interested in the

Darana looked sternly at her, "So you think of yourself as a hero?
You should be a hero for putting innocent lives in danger?"

In what now seemed like a normal state of confusion, Ana thought
about how so many more lives would have died if she hadn't engaged in
the battle.

"Yes, Ma'am. The lives of everyone on that post, plus all the
Imperial resources of that post would have been lost had I not
intervened. The lives of myself and the few in my shuttle, were minor
compared to losing the many Imperials on the base and the Imperial
resources," she responded flatly. but instead feeling good about her
decision, yet also aware of the risk and feeling sad for deciding to
take that risk...  but being aware that such risks may happen and
decisions have to be made and what is best for the service in the
larger picture is more important...  and she repeats the familiar
lesson learned in the Academy ..... She recalled a classroom
experience when the instructor set up a situation where someone had
to die to save others... and then the instructor asked the class, "Do
you still want to be a pilot?"  and she had enthusiastically replied,
"Yes, sir."

Darana studied her carefully. "And yet you are so full of pride in
yourself..you would tout yourself as a hero for doing a job that is
expected of you."

When Darana stopped speaking and simply looked at her, Ana became
very nervous.

"What, no response Lt?" Darana paused briefly, "How unlike you."
Perhaps this cocky young pilot was beginning to learn after all.

Ana knew, she just knew, that Darana would find something wrong with
her feelings. She was frustrated, no matter what she said, Darana
would find fault with it. Her emotions ranged from sadness to praying
for this to be over. Maybe she should have said something, maybe she
shouldn't.  No she must 'control' herself.

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