Midwife at a Rebirth

Characters: Klevetati Yoshino

Yoshino leaned back in her chair at the Ops console, and allowed herself a sigh. If she had to stay aboard the Phoenix one more day, she thought she might go mad.

She couldn’t even remember the last time she had felt real earth beneath her and a real sky above. And with the exception of an extremely ill-fated encounter with Doctor Brannon down in Medlab Two, she hadn’t had a single personal conversation with anyone for weeks — since Katia moved out of sharing quarters with her, in fact.

As the repairs to the Phoenix got closer to completion, Yoshino’s mood had gotten steadily worse. She was lonely, bored, and absolutely sick to death of work. Practically everyone else she knew was somewhere else — visiting home, settling old business, living life.

Dangerous business, a dangerous life, perhaps. But at least it was a life. Her place was no different here than it had been in the yakuza clan. Good old Yoshino, always there when you need something done, always reliable, hand the job over and forget about it. Maybe the work itself was different, in its purpose, but at the moment purpose just wasn’t enough.

She’d tried to work out the frustrations in the gym. But about two weeks ago, Quartermaster Arven’dra had gently suggested that if he had to patch and sew the practice dummies back together one more time, he’d make the next one out of Yoshino’s own futon.

So she’d been spending her time in the Zen’thas flight simulators instead. Yoshino, like most Ranger trainees, had passed her flight tests in the standard Minbari fighters. She had to admit, however, her experience was not very extensive — and the Zen’thas had a few significant differences from their predecessors.

She’d have to get a full certification from Morgan when she returned to the ship, but Yoshino was willing to bet she was at least good enough now to substitute for one of Desell Squadron in a pinch. Too bad she didn’t have a chance to prove it with a little actual seat time.

When the voice sounded in her headset link, she had to draw a deep breath before answering. “Operations online.”

“Second engineer Kendrick reporting in. We are ready to leave dock and make the flight to Minbar.”

“All outside inspections completed?” Yoshino’s expression slipped toward a frown. She’d really wanted to take part in that last EVA, but it was now too late, it seemed.

“Yes. All ready to go, on your orders.”

Yoshino paused, as an idea came to her. “All right, Kendrick. Proceed with notifying the rest of the sections and then stand by. I’m going to the fighter bay.”

“Beg pardon, Ops?”

“Kendrick, I am going … out.”


 

It wasn’t as difficult as she’d expected, getting one of the fighters — in fact, to her surprise, Shan gave her the use of Desell One. He hadn’t missed all the time she’d been spending in the simulators. “I believe your people say, take it and welcome,” he said. “I hope you have the chance for some more training soon.”

As the little ship exited the Phoenix’s docking bay, Yoshino pulled it up into a steep climb, threading through the broad spars of the dock and out. She hung there, a dark jewel against the black velvet, and activated her comm. “Desell One to Phoenix Operations.”

“Operations online,” came Darion’s voice. “How does she look?”

“Let’s see,” she answered. “Bring her out.”

Yoshino waited, watching as the last of the docking bolts were released, and with a barely visible flare the engines came on line. The tiniest fraction of their power was sufficient to send the Phoenix gliding out of her cave. There she was, a beautiful patterned blue-grey, almost glowing from within with vitality. Yoshino brought her fighter in for a closer look.

Suddenly, sunlight from Minbar’s distant primary flared around the top spar and the thick central hull, radiating down the tapering nose and the twin lower spars, creating a blazing corona around the entire ship. Like her namesake, rising from the flames to be born anew. It was a good sign.

“Operations reports we are clear of dock,” Darion said through her headset. Even he, as calm and unflappable as any Minbari Yoshino had ever met, sounded triumphant.

“Concur, Ops,” Yoshino said. “Well done. Set course for Minbar, best sublight speed. I’ll follow you.” To herself, she murmured, “Let’s see what she can do.”

It's alive! It's alive!
– Colin Clive as Dr. Victor Frankenstein

(c) 1999 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.