Asking For Referrals

Characters: Yoshino Marina, Miina Awenata

Yoshino Marina sighed contentedly as she sat back on one of her cushions. It had been a deeply satisfying day … especially once her shift was over. Her work in Operations was very routine as the Phoenix made its way through hyperspace toward Minbar. But the evening, with a very intense rehearsal of Sea Change, had left her with the beginning of a sore throat and delicious exhaustion.

She inhaled the fragrant steam from her cup of green tea. It was still a bit too hot to drink, so she looked up at her comm terminal. There were messages waiting. “Computer. Scan message headers.”

“Text only. Forward from Ghost Mirror script.”

“Skip, please.”

“Text only. Forward from Ghost Mirror script.”

“Archive all Ghost Mirror forwards, please.”

“Completed. One message remaining.”

“Play.” Yoshino took a sip of tea, as the StellarCom header appeared. Her eyes widened in surprise as she saw a woman appear on the screen. It took her a moment to recognize Miina Awenata, assistant engineer on the Phoenix’s journey into Vorlon space. In another moment she realized what was different. The young woman was smiling and relaxed. Her long black hair was allowed to fall in waves down her back, rather than tied in a tight bun atop her head.

And she had recovered from the injuries she’d suffered during the last voyage. Her eyes, the color of the morning sky in summer, reflected the smile on her lips, and could obviously see the world around her. Yoshino smiled.

Abruptly the relaxation evaporated as Miina began to speak. “Greetings, Anla’shok Yoshino,” she said formally, giving a solemn half-bow. Then she sighed slightly and glanced downward.

“Just tell her ‘hello,” a masculine voice prompted gently. “You know Yoshino…”

She turned back, took a breath, and raised her eyes to the commscreen again, and smiled slightly. “Hello, Yoshino, it’s Miina. Miina Awenata. But I guess you know that.” She smiled apologetically. “It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?” She paused a brief moment. “I hope you are well? And the little kitten? … Kuri was it? She was not doing too well when I left …” She smiled. “Of course, neither was I … But I’m better now … as you can tell … and …” She fidgeted a bit in the chair.

Yoshino smiled to herself. She remembered that some people aboard the Phoenix had called Miina “more Minbari than the Minbari,” and at the moment it seemed quite true. She was even wearing a Minbari robe, a beautiful creation of soft greens, deep blues, and rich embroidery.

“Go on…” the male voice prompted.

Miina gave an exasperated look away from the commscreen, but smiled slightly, and suddenly appeared to have a bit more confidence.

“I suppose you’re wondering the reason for the message,” she began again, “… and … I know this isn’t … well, using the ‘proper’ channels … but …” She sighed. “You are the closest friend that I had on the Phoenix. I know that may come as a surprise to you, and I know we should be content to go where we are needed, but …”

Yoshino smiled and sipped more tea, wondering when Miina might come to the point. Despite her recovery, it still looked like she needed to gain some more self confidence. The spirits knew Yoshino could understand that well enough.

” … what the data crystals say about a ship’s complement isn’t quite the same as actually talking to someone who’s … well …”

“Just ask her, Miina,” the masculine voice prompted again.

“Tass,” she protested, glancing over her shoulder. Then she looked back. “You remember Tass, don’t you?”

“Of course she remembers me. I’m a suave and debonair guy, not to mention 6 foot 8. I’m a little hard to miss. Hello, Yoshino!” Now the man came into view and she matched the voice with the face. He was bending over Miina and looking straight at the commscreen. It was Apoloniusz Tasszhar, an assistant engineer who had served on the Phoenix before. “Yoshino? Miina wants a job.”

“Tass!”

“Well, you do, don’t you?”

Yoshino laughed, habit making her clap a hand over her mouth even though she was alone.

Miina turned to Tass. “Well, yes, but …” Then she sighed at the distraction. “Would you hush for a moment?” she scolded. She turned again to the commscreen. “It’s just that … I’ve … we’ve been back on Minbar such a short time, that I … well, wondered if you could tell me about any openings on the ship?”

She looked down for a moment. “I’m…uh…looking for something in Science.” She paused a moment, as if waiting for the word to register with Yoshino, and smiled. “Yes. You heard me correctly … of course, I would be available to serve as an engineer if I was needed, but I would prefer Science. I’m not as accomplished a scientist, but it’s … well….”

“It’s a long story,” Tass teased. “We won’t go into it now.”

Miina’s eyes flashed. “Paolo!”

“Oops. Now I’m in trouble!” he grinned. “Let us know, ok, Yoshino? What you think about us coming back?”

Miina hit him playfully. “Well, you don’t have to apologize. I’m certainly not going to send that one to her.”

“Why not? It’s fine! It’s a stellarcom message. Not a work of art!”

“YOU,” she said with a grin, “are impossible!”

“You want impossible, why don’t you ask for a job in Medical? I’m sure Doctor Trassano would be thrilled to have us back.”

“Oh good grief …” The screen went black.

Yoshino grinned, taking a long pull at her cup of fast cooling tea. “Computer, open appointment book.”

“Add reminder: talk to Kim about Miina.”

“Done.”

“Thank you.” Yoshino smiled. It had indeed been a very satisfying evening.


Copyright (c) 2002 Judy Caswell and Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.