Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Character Creation and Discussion
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Join Date: Mar 2004
(Original post edited to serve as an archive for the full chapter.)
Lyrical Melancholy Chapter 1
In the beginning was the Word. This was unprintable.
Several more Words were spake in the darkness, each filled with vast emotions and concentrated desire, most notably the desire to be somewhere else at the moment. These Words grew ever more intense, until, finally, they culminated in the sound of something expensive breaking.
And then there was light. And if the light was not precisely good, then it was, at least, good enough.
"Does that help?" Rancer asked, holding the emergency chemical lamp aloft. It was not, strictly speaking, standard issue, or at least not standard issue to anyone other than the more cautious and paranoid mages of the Time-Space Administration Bureau, who occasionally had to administer in areas where the local climate and wildlife was only too happy to administer right back. This variety was the more portable and severely underpowered version of the real thing, which could possibly illuminate suns.
Ivey squinted. "Well, instead of a big black blur, now I see a big white blur. Is that an improvement?"
"There's nothing to see." Rancer felt his way around the confined space, which was not precisely hot, but the temperature was definitely rising. "We're stuck who knows how many meters underground in an abandoned facility which just decided to squish us under fifty tons of rock. I'm just about running on empty keeping us mostly alive, and I don't think I can Barrier Blast my way out of one ton, to say nothing of the other forty-nine tons poised to crash down on our unfortunate heads."
"You always had the nicest way of stating the obvious, Rancer." Ivey's voice was fainter now.
Rancer looked down at her in alarm. "Ivey? Dammit, Ivey, don't fall asleep now. Talk to me, Ivey, we're almost through this! Ivey!"
"You don't have to shout," Ivey said, nettled. "I can hear you just fine... I think... oh." She blinked. "Did the light just go out?"
"Huh?" The emergency chemical lamp was shining as brightly as ever. "It's still here- hang on." Rancer cocked his head, and then grabbed Ivey's hands. "They're here! We're saved!"
"Oh, yay. Does that mean I can go take a nap now?"
"What? No! Stay awake, Ivey, stay awake!" Rancer looked up and hollered: "Hurry! We're over here!"
A hole appeared above them, and another voice answered, "What's your status? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, but Ivey's hurt! Get a medical team!"
"We're shoring up the debris from the collapse, so you should be able to lower your barrier in, um, four... three... two... okay, mark. Someone get a rope down here, we've got injured!"
Rancer released his iron grip on the barrier, and then staggered as a wave of dizziness and nausea swept over him. "Uh... Ivey first. I'll just sit down here and-"
Firm hands grabbed him, and he felt himself get winched up into the open air. Through his wavering vision, he could see several mages, four or five of them, holding a huge wall of concrete chunks at bay. He blinked; if he had tried to Barrier Blast his way out, he wouldn't have stood a chance.
A medical mage hurried next to him, flashed something bright in his eyes, and prodded various professional places, before turning to another: "He's physically fine, a bit dehydrated, but his Linker Core's drained. Get him on electrolytes as soon as you can."
"Ivey... Ivey. What happened to Ivey?"
"She's fine, sir," the medic said to him reassuringly, as Rancer caught a glimpse of a white pressure blanket whoosh by. "She'll make it, thanks to your first aid. If you hadn't- oh, ma'am!"
"Rancer?" A familiar face leaned over him. "Rancer, are you all right?"
Oh, yes, there was something else he had to do. Rancer maneuvered his hand into his pocket, and extracted a data crystal, which he held up to his commanding officer.
"Mission accomplished, ma'am," he managed, just before he blacked out.
Once, there was a girl.
One day, the girl asked her teacher about the meaning of strength.
"Strength has nothing to do with how hard you can hit or how much you can stand," her teacher had said. "Strength is about using what you have to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Strength is about knowing what you can do, and helping as many as you can with that knowledge."
But that was a long time ago, and now the girl is...
It was a week later. Rest and relaxation had happened.
Rancer stepped smartly through the hallways towards his destination, and paused with his hand on the door panel. He could hear faint voices from inside the small office that the 37th Criminal Investigation And Apprehension department had inhabited since the beginning of time or thereabouts. Individual members came and went, but the
remained, often despite its best efforts.
And the voices... one of them sounded like Major Alto, but the other was unfamiliar. Unfamiliar voices in the 37th CIAA office usually meant that some other unit was berating the CO, asking a favour, or both. Rancer didn't really want to walk into what was sure to become the sort of awkward silence that occured whenever two people in a happily heated argument realized that Someone Was Watching.
like an argument, though. Rancer couldn't really make out the words, but it sounded like the Major was using her friendly Life Is Great tone of voice to... what? Some sort of reassurance, perhaps. And the other person was nearly inaudible anyway...
"It's not nice to eavesdrop, Rancer," a voice came from behind him. "Not that we can really hear anything from here anyway."
"I am not eavesdropping," Rancer said irritably. He pushed the panel, and the door slid open. "Eavesdropping implies the intent to discern the content of a message, rather than the mere existence of the message in the first place. Weren't you supposed to have at least two more weeks of bed rest?"
Ivey grinned at him. Her face was still half-hidden by a swathe of bandage, giving her a distinctly piratical look. "Now, now, don't sweat the little details like that. Just because I broke or significantly damaged a third of the bones and internal organs in my body doesn't mean that I should be- oh, hello!"
The stranger flushed with nervousness. "Um, hello," she ventured. Half a second later, she remembered to salute. "Uh, sir, ma'am."
Major Nova Alto, commanding officer of the 37th CIAA and the sole occupant of the office for the past week, stood from her desk. "Let me introduce you," she said cheerfully. "Reiz, this is Captain Rancer LaSalle, second in command of the 37th CIAA and squad leader for Team A. The rather bandaged woman is First Lieutenant Ivey de Lorien, also in Team A. Rancer, Ivey, this is Corporal Reiz Astra, just transferred in."
"It's, um, it's very nice to meet you," Reiz said, bowing. There was something about her which brought out a sort of odd feeling of
, so to speak. She would perhaps be rather attractive, Rancer conceded, if she didn't look so... so...
"Hm, how old are you, Reiz?" Ivey asked, circling the new recruit in a disconcertingly predatory manner.
"Uh. Sixteen, ma'am."
"Or maybe I'm just getting old," Rancer muttered. At only twenty-four, no less. Still, after the famous Aces, there had been more and more teenage enlistments to the TSAB military branches, each hoping that they would have what it took to be just like them. The results of good publicity, perhaps.
"It would appear so," Nova said placidly.
Rancer blinked. "Oh, um, I didn't mean it like that, ma'am."
"Ivey!" Rancer rushed towards her. "Ivey, dammit! Ivey, stop groping the newbie!"
"Aw, come on!" Ivey protested, still not letting go. "She's so small, but her boobs are bigger than mine! Seriously! She's the cutest thing I've ever seen!"
"Look, Ivey, you can't just feel up every- just quit it! You'll get smacked with a sexual harrassment complaint this way!"
"H-help!" Reiz wailed.
"As you can see," Nova said calmly, "our unit has always been a rather informal one."
"With all due respect, ma'am," Rancer grunted, "that's not really the sort of thing that you should- Ivey, let
! Ye gods, your other arm is still in a cast! This cannot be beneficial for anyone concerned!"
Ivey finally disengaged, and Reiz sank to her knees in exhaustion, hugging her chest. "I want to take her home with me," Ivey mumbled happily. "She's just so adorable!"
"Ivey, Corporal Astra is now our subordinate and fellow squadmate, and should be treated with equivalent respect!" Rancer considered this. "Actually, scratch that. I just remembered how you treat the rest of us." He turned to Reiz. "Are you all right, Corporal?"
"I'm, um, I'm fine," Reiz gasped. "Th-thank you, sir."
"No need to thank me; I did what I had to do." Rancer glared at Ivey. "Ivey, what did I tell you about inappropriate behaviour?"
"That it was inappropriate?"
"Ivey," Nova interrupted, "I'm still not sure that you should be up and about with your injuries, so why don't you get some more rest?" She nodded at Rancer. "You too, Rancer."
"I'm fine, ma'am," Rancer insisted.
"I'm fine too!" Ivey chirped.
Rancer sighed. "Ivey, you're covered in bandages, and your arm is in a cast and sling. How can you be fine?"
"The power of positive thinking?"
"Out, out," Nova fussed, shooing Ivey out of the room. "Two more weeks of rest, remember? I'll see you when I'm off shift. Reiz, why don't you go talk to Commander Kerkal about your new security clearance, Epsilon Blue at the least. It'll be hard to join in the investigations if you're not authorized to know about them, right? Oh, and Rancer, I need to talk to you first. It won't take long, I promise."
Ivey was bustled off with a lazy gesture of surrender, while Reiz seemed overwhelmed with the sudden upwards shift in efficiency after the day's events. Rancer closed the door after they left, and looked quizzically at his commanding officer. "What is it, ma'am?"
"Please, take a seat," Nova said, returning to her desk. "It's about Reiz's files; I'd like you to have a look at them when you're free. She'll be working with us from now on, so I'll leave it to you to take care of her training."
"I appreciate the vote of confidence, ma'am, but aren't you more able to teach Corporal Astra the basics of investigation?"
"I'm talking about her physical and magical training, Rancer," Nova corrected. She waved a hand over her desk, bringing up the console. "Corporal Reiz Astra, enlisted four months ago, tested mage rank A+, Neo Belka type, placed on the advanced promotion track due to that. Her combat scores are exceptional, and her analytical skills and battlefield tactics are well above average."
Rancer leaned back in his chair. "A question forms in my mind: why hasn't Reiz Astra been chosen for Officer Training yet?"
"Because Reiz, despite her excellent performance in matters of skill, just barely completed basic training." Nova highlighted a few lines on the report, swivelling the screen around to show Rancer. "Her self-esteem problems would have caused her to wash out early, but the TSAB can ill afford to let go of a talented mage such as her."
"And so she was assigned to us." Rancer brooded on this. "Ma'am, I have to state for the record that I am not qualified to train or instruct anyone, since I have not gone through the Tactical Instructor course, or even remember much about my own training outside of the weeks of intense pain and bodily aches. In fact, I don't have a clue where to begin."
"So noted." Nova gave him a bright smile. "Even so, let's do our best, shall we?"
"... that doesn't help much."
A long time ago, some long-forgotten city planner had stood on a spot very near to this one, and pronounced it to be a fit place for another TSAB base, as the first one was getting more than a little crowded. It was, to be very fair to him, a good spot, relatively close to several major transportation facilities, and even a pad capable of ferrying personnel and equipment to the main TSAB facility in interdimensional space. And so construction on the TSAB Midchilda East Base began.
Budgeting restrictions being what they were, the final result was a bit more humble than the sweeping plans the architects had come up with, possibly directly after an inebriating night on the town. The elite units of the TSAB were more than capable of constructing their own bases, whether on Midchilda or otherwise, and so this compound had been populated by the units which were not
as elite, but did merit the sort of travel considerations inherent in the base's location. In effect, it was a place to house those units which spent as little time as possible actually in their offices by their natures, but would certainly be tired and cranky and hungry when they returned, and the cafeteria had been renovated and expanded to deal with that very thing.
At the moment, it was mostly empty, except for the occasional student cadet and off-duty couple, as well as a tired young girl with a table all to herself.
Reiz Astra, newly minted Corporal currently of the 37th Criminal Investigation And Apprehension unit, sighed softly into her glass of orange juice, before setting it aside, and placing her head on the table.
A shadow loomed behind her. "Mind if I take a seat here?"
"Huh?" Reiz scrambled to her feet, almost tipping her juice over in the process. "Um, yes, sir! Be my guest, sir!"
"You don't have to be so formal with me," Rancer said, smiling in what he hoped was a non-threatening manner. "Please, just call me Rancer. Everyone does."
"Then, um, then you can call me Reiz. Um, sir."
Well, it was a start, at least. "I don't know if I've said this yet, but in case nobody has, welcome to the 37th CIAA. I know that we might not have made the best impression back there, but I hope you won't hold it against us."
"Thank you for the rescue back there, sir," Reiz said. It
"Ivey is a good person, really," Rancer said, feeling the odd need to defend his partner. "She's just a little
when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I'll scold her properly later so she
won't do anything like that again, but I can't promise anything. I have to apologize once again for her behaviour."
"Oh, no, it was my fault for being, um." Reiz hung her head. "I'm sorry."
"You don't have anything to apologize for." Was it just her nature, or a psychological condition? "Just relax, although not too much around Ivey, and you'll do fine."
"Um. May I ask a, a personal question, sir?" At Rancer's affirmative nod, Reiz waved her hands in the air vaguely. "Are you and Lieutenant de Lorien... um..."
"We used to be," Rancer said as kindly as possible. "But we're not anymore; it didn't work out. We're still good friends, though. In a manner of speaking." Seeing the look on Reiz's face, Rancer quickly changed the subject: "You shouldn't have anything to do for the next week or so, and I think Major Alto's trying to arrange for you to be on paid leave until then. The unit's too, um,
to be of much use, and they're definitely not going to send a newbie out alone. Technically you don't have to turn up for work until Ivey recovers, but I'd take it as a
," he held up a finger to emphasize the point, "
an order, veiled or otherwise, if you could drop into the office now and again, just to keep Major Alto company. But don't tell her I told you to."
Reiz nodded, the first happy expression on her face since Rancer had met her. "Yes, sir!"
And hopefully Nova would be able to find out why Reiz's self-image problems were so serious, if only through the magic of girl talk. "Did you get your security clearance upgraded yet?"
"Yes, sir. To Lambda Blue." Reiz hesitated. "Is this... is this about the injuries you and Lieutenant de Lorien sustained, sir?"
That should be just enough to stay in the loop for the kind of operations the 37th engaged in, if nothing else. "We were sent to an uninhabited world... well, I suppose I should amend that to a
uninhabited world. Based on a tip from Intelligence, and who knows where they got it from, deep scanning revealed a structure, mostly underground, which seemed to be a sort of abandoned research facility. The structure, which we had codenamed E-203, matched modern building techniques, rather than something from an older civilization, so we figured that it was a Time-Space fugitive hiding out in there. We get quite a few of those; there seems to be a surprising number of genius-level intellects without any accompanying ethics. Anyway, Ivey and I were sent there to get any information we could, and apprehend anyone still there, unlikely as it was. We managed to record quite a bit of footage before we must have tripped a security system or something, because the entire thing just collapsed on us."
Reiz's eyes were wide. "That's... how did you get out?"
Rancer shrugged. "We were in contact with HQ backup all the way, so when it happened, they sent help as soon as they could. Took them several hours, though, and Ivey was hurt quite badly in the fall. I had to maintain a barrier for about four or five hours, and it drained my Linker Core. Ivey's injuries are more physical, but we should both be making full recoveries."
"What did you, um, find?" Reiz asked, but was interrupted by a beeping noise.
"Oh, sorry, that would be mine. Excuse me." Rancer dug in his pockets for the personal communicator, and thumbed a few buttons. "It's from the Major," he said, switching the display to public. "She was about to head to Ivey's quarters, and was wondering if we wanted to join her for the informal unit debriefing. Seems that the guys at Intelligence finally released the data from E-203 back to us, and for a change it's within our security clearance."
"This does not happen often?"
"Well, most of the time we're automatically cleared for anything we encounter on a mission, but sometimes the brass gets huffy about proper procedures. Which reminds me, you'll need to learn how to write reports."
"I, um, I picked up a bit of it when I was-"
"Not like this," Rancer said ominously. "Anyway, I'd recommend that you attend, if only so you don't have to catch up on everything later through reading the reports, but it's not mandatory. Assuming you're okay with being around Ivey...?"
Reiz nodded. "I'm ready to go, sir."
"Well, not right now; Major Alto wanted me to pick something up first. Since there's no sense in wasting food, you may as well finish your juice first."
Reiz squeaked in embarrassment, and clutched her glass tightly.
"I'll meet you back here when I'm done," Rancer told her. "It'll only take a minute. Oh, and to answer your question about what we found, I'll leave that to the actual footage. Besides, it's easier to show than to tell."
The "something" turned out to be in three large boxes which strained the bags they were placed in. A distinct aroma of baked goods emanated from them in a maddeningly mouth-watering way.
"Doughnuts," Rancer said.
"Doughnuts. Ivey and Major Alto love doughnuts. How they manage to keep their figures is beyond me. Well, they do forget to eat if someone doesn't remind them, sometimes."
The 37th CIAA had, thanks to ancient regulations which ceased being true more or less before the metaphorical ink dried, been allotted six rooms for the use of the actual unit members, not including the shared resources of East Base. Since the 37th had, in its not very long but still somewhat storied history, boasted a complement between three and seventeen members, this resulted in a fair amount of shuffling and loans to and from other units. At the moment, Nova and Rancer had officer's singles, while Ivey had claimed a double originally meant for enlisted personnel. From Rancer's carefully oblique questions, Reiz's own housing situation was distressingly fluid at the moment. He made a discreet note on his organizer to get her a single room if at all possible.
"Hold this for a moment, please," Rancer said, shifting one of his bags into Reiz's keeping.
"As I said, sir, I could have-"
"No, you couldn't. Well, you
couldn't." Rancer pressed the buzzer on the door panel. "It's a guy thing," he explained, to Reiz's puzzled look.
"Welcome," Ivey's voice drawled from the intercom. The door slid open.
Nova was sitting beside Ivey's bed, a datapad in her hands. Both women stared fixedly at the bags.
"I come bearing doughnuts," Rancer said, placing the bags onto the table. "Think of it as a bribe: take them, and leave the newbie alone."
Ivey pouted. "You're no fun." She opened a box, and the smell of pastries filled the room. "Dibs on the chocolate ones!"
"Rancer, did you buy any coffee?" Nova asked.
"Unfortunately not. I didn't think about it at the time; should I get some now?"
"No need, there's a coffee machine somewhere in there." Ivey waved a hand vaguely in the direction of the tiny kitchen.
"Oh, I'll make the coffee!" Reiz volunteered. "Please wait for a moment!"
"She's so cute," Ivey commented.
Rancer rolled his eyes. "As you've noted earlier today."
"And her boobs are huge. Seriously, want to feel them for yourself?"
There was a squeak from the kitchen.
"No," Rancer said firmly.
By the time Reiz returned with four cups of coffee, Nova had set up a large display plugged into her data crystal reader, and everyone settled down as Nova dimmed the lights.
"Now," she said, "I've read your reports, and Rancer told me that Reiz is familiar with the basics of the mission, but it might be a good idea to go through it all once again, just to make sure that we're all on the same page. Rancer?"
Rancer stood at attention, and cleared his throat. "At 0600h on the 29th November 0076, I, Captain Rancer LaSalle of the 37th Criminal Investigation And Apprehension unit, and Lieutenant Ivey de Lorien of the same, under the orders of Major Nova Alto, commanding officer of the same, proceeded to-"
"Informally, Rancer," Nova reminded him. "Just give us the general ideas, and we'll ask questions if we aren't sure about anything. The Intelligence departments have gone through the data fairly thoroughly, and your reports are available for anyone with the security clearances to read, so don't worry about being precise."
"What Rancer meant," Ivey said, "was that we were dropped into the middle of a forest on the 194th Non-Administered World, non-administered because there's nothing there to administer, under the assumption that there was someone living here who should not have been. First slide."
The photograph flickered into view.
"As you can see, the area around the cave entrance was completely clear of trees. Incidentally, the trees around this area are close relatives of the birch or oak, in a fine example of-"
"Ivey," Rancer interrupted, "you're digressing."
"Okay, fine, but what I was about to say was that the trees had obviously been cut down by an artificial agency, and the regularity of the cuts indicated either a well-trained squad of lumberjacks, or a bunch of robots."
"If our objective is a lone fugitive, the robot theory would be more likely," Nova said. "Supplies are not especially difficult to smuggle, and technology escalation is not difficult to achieve, given time, resources, and expertise."
Several more photographs were passed without comment. "There isn't much happening here," Rancer said, "and we encountered nothing of note. The area appeared to be a natural cave formation expanded and supported with concrete, at least until... ah, here we are. As you can see, we encountered a clearly artificial shaft, covering an area approximately twelve by ten meters, roughly three hundred meters deep. A few close-ups here of the groove where the railing was obviously embedded, suggesting a lift of some sort."
"The recording drone started flipping out here," Ivey added. "We got some pretty significant residual thaumic readings, but they were spotty, in random locations. It's consistent with the output of, say, a high-powered industrial machine, but we don't know anything other than that."
"We did not encounter any other floors to the structure other than the top and the bottom," Rancer continued, "and whatever it was that had been here had been mostly stripped out. No metal, no plastics, no wood. If you note the life signs readings, though, there wasn't anything organic in there other than us. No moss, no fungus, not even a single bug. Lots of rock dust and sediment, including piles of it in the corners, but we didn't know if those were swept there intentionally or-"
"Stop," Nova commanded. "Go back one."
The viewer program complied.
"Ivey, Rancer, tell me what I am looking at."
"Shelves," Ivey said. "Sturdy ones, which look as though they were supposed to hold something heavy and likely blocky as well. They're slightly tilted, due to geographical elevation, or maybe it's geological. Whatever. Anyway, anything without a flat base would roll down the slope, and without enough mass, whatever was put on it would slide gradually, if not quicker. It's in my report," she added reproachfully.
"That's not what I meant. Magnify... here." The viewer focused on a row of angular shapes carved into the rock.
"Oh, that. We didn't know what to make of it either."
"It looks like Ancient Belkan," Reiz said. It was the first thing she had said since the debriefing began.
"That's what we thought too," Rancer said, "but it looks
Reiz shook her head. "You're right, it's... it would have been gibberish, if it was Ancient Belkan runes. It's not what I thought it was. I'm sorry."
"There's no need to apologize," Rancer said automatically. He cleared his throat. "Anyway, we noted the presence of several other branching corridors, and we picked one at random. This led us to... here we are."
The last photograph was, in terms of visible light, not very impressive. The glow from Rancer's standard-issue Enforcer staff managed to cast shadows on the far wall, and the low ceiling made the chamber feel claustrophobic.
"Check out the thaumics, though," Ivey said, tapping out a few commands on the console with her good hand. Immediately the scene was awash in false colours, with a white-hot sphere scintillating in the center of the room. "Hot magic, maybe less than a day before we arrived. Lots of hot magic, too."
"And they left a farewell present for us," Rancer said grimly. "There was a surge of some sort of energy, not wholly magical, which caused the ceiling to collapse. I'm guessing that it was some kind of security system, which implies at least a backup power source still running until we triggered it."
"Rancer managed to get a barrier up in time," Ivey said proudly. "And I got the data crystal out of the recording drone."
"You nearly died thanks to that stunt," Rancer said sternly.
"I wasn't worried," Ivey protested. "I mean, yeah, the light going out was kind of scary, but it couldn't be helped, since you ditched your staff to save me."
Reiz made a noise somewhere between a gasp and a giggle. Rancer scowled, a faint blush on his face.
"When contact was lost, we mobilized a rescue team," Nova said. "I called in a few favours. From the way Intelligence was eager to get their hands on that data, it seems I'm owed a few more now."
Rancer turned the lights back up. "They did come to us with that allegedly highly-classified tip," he admitted. "Did you manage to find out the source, ma'am?"
"Not yet," Nova said.
"It's a mystery," Ivey opined.
Rancer sighed. "I hate mysteries."
Reiz's temporary quarters were on the other side of the base, so Rancer offered to walk her there.
"It's not a big deal, really," he insisted. "I was thinking that I should be getting some fresh air anyway. Stretch a bit, take a walk."
"Um. Thank you, sir." Reiz bobbed her head in a quick bow.
"So, how are you finding life in the TSAB?" Rancer asked, for want of a better conversation topic.
"It's..." Reiz pursed her lips, trying to think of the words to say. "It's not... it's what I thought it would be."
Rancer caught the unspoken sentiment. "But is it what you hoped it would be?"
Reiz didn't look at him for a while. "Sir, would you mind if I asked a... a stupid question? I'm sorry if I, um. I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologize for anything, Reiz," Rancer said. "And no question is- okay, scratch that. I don't want to end up as a hypocrite when I yell at Ivey for her pointless questions. But I've known Ivey for a long time, and we've gotten, well,
with each other. Some of the things we say to each other, we kind of
it, but not really, at the same time." Rancer collected his thoughts. "I suppose I'm just trying to justify why I'll seem be treating you differently. But we're really an informal sort of unit, and none of us will pull rank on each other, not seriously. Just... don't worry about speaking your mind, on whatever you want to, no matter how trivial or unimportant it may be."
"Oh." Quietly. "I was... I think... sir, do you think I'm supposed to be here?"
"Here, as in in this location at this current point of time, or do you mean something more general?"
"Here. In the TSAB. In the 37th CIAA. I don't know if... I should be here."
Rancer took a deep breath, and looked up at the night sky. There should have been stars, thousands of them, a dramatic background to frame the moment, but the lights from the base and the nearby city obscured mere astronomical aesthetics. Still, at least one of the moons was out in full view.
"I can't answer that question, Reiz," he finally said. "And I have to tell you, in all honesty, that I'm not qualified for talks like this. If you'd like, you can see the base chaplain, and he should be able to answer your questions.
, and this is a very important but, I have a couple of things to say on the matter. The first one is speaking as your commanding officer, and the second in command of the 37th CIAA. I promise that I
see to it that we will try to integrate you to the best of our abilities, and if that doesn't work out, then I will personally search for the best alternative, and wish you luck on your future endeavours."
They stopped, just outside the entrance to the dormitory building. Rancer turned to Reiz, and extended a hand.
"The second one is speaking as a friend. Maybe a friend whom you've just met today, but a friend nonetheless, if you'd have me as one. And as a friend, I think that if you've ended up here, then there's a purpose in that, part of the road to meeting your goals, or chasing your dreams. Whatever it is, I, and I'm sure the rest of the 37th as well, will be happy to help you achieve that dream."
Slowly, hesitantly, Reiz accepted the handshake. She looked straight at Rancer, and her eyes were shining.
"Thank you, sir," she said with a smile, before disappearing inside the building. There was the faintest scent of something fresh and light.
It wasn't until Rancer returned to his own room that he realized he was blushing furiously. Must have been that incredibly cheesy speech he came up with on the spot; it sounded cool at the time, but now he was cringing at the mental replay.
Well, hopefully Reiz wouldn't remember any of it by tomorrow. Ivey would never let him live it down.
As he hit the light switch, Rancer tried to push all thoughts out of his mind, but that night he dreamed of angels.
Last edited by dkellis; 2008-02-14 at
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