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Cdr Miranda Hawthorne

Letting Go...

"He seems nice enough."

"He is nice.  He's a good captain," she insisted.

"Then why leave?  Why didn't you wait to be reassigned to a new ship?"

Miranda sighed and swirled her drink in her glass.  "It's complicated.  He... he's made several mistakes lately.  I've had a very difficult time forgiving him."

"What sort of mistakes?  What's so unforgivable?"

"Nothing horrible.  He didn't murder anyone, or anything like that.  He's just been selfish.  He put his own agenda before the ship's, before his crew's.  He abandoned us and was damned lucky he didn't get thrown out of Starfleet because of it.  We had to pull him out of the fire more than once.  Every time I looked at his stupid face, I just wanted to punch it.   That, and I got tired of babysitting."

"Isn't that the job of an Executive Officer?"  He laughed.

She grinned despite her sour mood.  "Most of it, yes.  Babysitting the captain and all the rest of the crew, as well.  It never ends."

"Sounds like you made a good move for yourself.  Get a bit of a break.  Stop babysitting crew and start babysitting ships instead."

"Yeah, I guess."  She finished off her drink and set it on the table.  "It's more the crew I'm missing right now.  That and the chance to put the new ship through her paces.  The Luna is such an amazing upgrade.  I've already been all over her systems."

"Always the engineer."

She nodded.  "Can't help it.  Just like you can't stop being thick-headed phaser fodder."

"Hey!  Someone has to protect you delicate types.  I'm looking forward to drilling the hell out of the crew.  Security is always so lax on these exploratory missions."

"Swain is going to hate that."  She paused and grinned wickedly.  "Do it as often as possible."

He laughed again.  "Done."  Throwing a glance at the wall chrono, he sighed.  "Time for me to get to the ship.  Thought I'd get settled in early and see what mayhem I could cause."

"Be careful out there, Jalen.  I know it's been eight years since the accident, and you've gotten your feet wet again on the Cherokee, but deep space is another animal entirely.  Nothing ever goes according to plan."

"I know.  I read through the Excalibur's records.  She's... ah... got quite a history.  Part of the reason why I requested the assignment after you'd declined."

"I know, and I put in a good word for you.  I was hoping they'd give you a shot."

"Thanks.  It means a lot to me."  He took her hand and pulled her close, brushing the hair from her face as he captured her gaze.  Their lips brushed in the softest whisper of a kiss.  "It was good seeing you again," he murmured softly.

As he drew away, she scoffed.   "I hope it was a fair sight better than just 'good', Jalen."

The blonde commander grinned.  "Well, I didn't want to sound too cheesy.  I'm supposed to be one of those strong, emotionless meat-head types, remember?  Wouldn't want the girls hearing me spout poetry.  Bad for my reputation."

"Good luck with that.  Another word of warning, if you catch Swain staring at you with a dreamy look in his eyes, he's probably debating the morality of seducing his first officer and cheating on his husband.  Maybe use that to your advantage." 

"Always have and always will.  No one can withstand the raw animal magnetism of Jalen Isaac Stanton."  He smacked himself on the butt.

She chucked a pillow at his head, which he ducked effortlessly.  "Get out.  I draw the line at people who refer to themselves in the third person."

"Jalen takes offense to that and says you will miss him terribly."

"Jalen has an overinflated ego and an overly high opinion of himself.  He's also going to get his butt kicked if he doesn't get going."

"See you when I get back?"

"I'll be here," she promised.  Send me some updates in the meantime.  "I want to hear how you're getting on.  And take care of my engineers, will you?  Every once in a while they need their XO down in the pits making sure they don't blow up the ship."

"I'll see what I can do."



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