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The Snow Maiden and the Cowboy

Posted on Fri Jul 8th, 2016 @ 9:23am by Lieutenant Elijah "Eli" Dreznik & Ensign Anastasia Bogolyubov

Mission: S1E1 - Booby Trap
Location: Ensign Bogolyubov's personal quarters/Planetary Sciences Lab
Timeline: Prelaunch

Anastasia stood just inside her new quarters, her belongings at her feet, as she scanned her surroundings, the fingers of her right hand unconsciously tapping out a Kolakoski sequence on her thigh. Her gaze focused on the end of one of the shelves near her bed, and the right corner of her lips tugged upward as she imagined Rytsar perched there.

The first thing she did was to check her image in the mirror. The young woman looking back at her was wearing her uniform meticulously, her long hair in a loose but neat braid behind her. Anastasia made a minute adjustment to her rank insignia before being satisfied.

She took her PADD from her belongings, remembering her protocol instructions from OCS: "On capital ships and starbases, junior officers report to their department heads upon arriving at their new post. Senior Command Staff will contact you at their convenience, not yours. And only if they want to." With that in mind, she sent a text to the Chief Science Officer, advising him of her arrival, and requesting the opportunity to formally present herself at his earliest convenience.

Satisfied that requirement had been taken care off, Anastasia began unpacking and deciding the precise place everything needed to be.

Having received official verification that Ensign Bogolyubov was on board excited the Chief Science Officer. His staff roster was finally complete, and this particular young scientist had exemplary credentials that dwarfed even his own. Eli tapped his comm badge lightly. "Ensign Bogolyubov, this is Lieutenant Dreznik. I will be in the Planetary Sciences Lab until 1700 today. i would like to see you there at your first opportunity."

Anastasia had just placed a family picture on the shelf, adjusting it to the precise angle she wanted, when Lieutenant Dreznik called her. Tapping her badge, she responded, "I will be there shortly, Lieutenant." She looked up at the picture and again a slight smile crossed her face. The picture had been taken three years ago. It was the last time all her family had been together. The family was all lined up outside their house on New Year's Day, with fresh snow on the ground. She was on one end of the line, dressed as Snegurochka, wearing a blue robe with white fur trim, her long hair in twin braids down her front. Her much larger father stood next to her, dressed as Ded Moroz, his arm around her shoulders and a big grin showing through the false beard he was wearing. Her mother stood on the other side of her father, her hair the same color as Anastasia's, though age had added a few strands of gray in with the bluish-black. On the other side of her mother were her brothers, all in their Marine dress uniforms.

Unlike Anastasia, all her brothers had inherited their mother's Haliian forehead features. Anastasia's slight smile might have increased as her gaze shifted to her brother Roman, the sibling closest to her in age and the one who helped her the most in interfacing with the world.

Anastasia's smile disappeared when she got to her brother Dmitri. Anastasia felt as if Dmitri begrudged her presence in the family. Roman assured her that was not true, that she was misconstruing social signals. Anastasia allowed that was possibility, but had not overcome all her suspicions.

Anastasia checked her chronometer. Forty-nine seconds had expired from the time she had replied to Lieutenant Dreznik's call. She looked into the mirror once more, made nearly imperceptible changes to her appearance, and proceeded to the Planetary Sciences Lab.

On entering the lab, she immediately spotted a dark haired male humanoid at one of the work stations wearing a lieutenant's rank. "Lieutenant Dreznik?"

"Kadziki maz'a'io," Eli cursed out loud as he pulled a cluster of smoking, charred isolinear chips from the console access port. "No wonder. They're the wrong chips." He turned toward the direction of the voice he had heard. "You must be Ms. Bogolyubov. Eli Dreznik. Nice to meet you." He wiped his right hand on his uniform and extended it toward the younger woman.

Anastasia tilted her head slightly at the proffered hand, studying it for two seconds before accepting it. The Lieutenant was radiating friendliness, so she suspected that he was expecting her to forgo her announcing her rank as part of the mutual introduction. "Anastasia Shiannayich Bogolyubov," she replied, shaking his hand for approximately four seconds before releasing it. "I am pleased to be reporting to you, Lieutenant." She maintained eye contact with the Lieutenant for seven seconds before shifting the focus of her gaze to a spot just above the bridge of the Lieutenant's nose.

"And I am pleased to have you aboard, Ensign," said Eli in as cheerful of a tone as he could muster. He gestured at the circuit board with the burned out chips. "Just trying to iron out a few technical issues. I was quite impressed by your credentials. I have not quite reached Doctorate level yet. Working on it though."

"Generation of hyperdimensional bessel spherical functions by the inclusion of bio-neural circuitry," Anastasia said absentmindedly, leaning over the open circuit board and taking a delicate sniff. She stood back up, looking directly in Eli's eyes. "That was the subject of my first doctoral thesis. My brother Roman gave me snowflake earrings, for when I dress as Snegurochka on New Year's Day. We always give Rytsar his own little plate of duck then." Anastasia leaned down and again took a delicate sniff at the open panel, her hands pressed tightly against her thighs as the fingers of her left hand tapped out the different digits of a sequence of Catalan numbers. "Lieutenant, I believe the erroneous placement of the chips you just removed has caused additional damage." Standing straight up, she again looked him straight in the eyes. "If I might assist? You would possibly consider repair of computer systems to be outside of my..." Anastasia frowned, her eyebrows furrowed as her eyes darted left to right and back again for a few seconds "...bailiwick, but it is a tradition where I grew up that students were expected to physically maintain our learning institutions. In addition to sweeping classrooms and mopping restrooms, I also became adept at providing maintenance for various systems at the University, including its computers."

"Well rest assured that you will not be asked to do chores here," said Eli with a lopsided smile. Anastasia seemed a bit quirky, but she was starting to grow on him. "If you'd like to take a look, please feel free." He took a step back, to give the woman more room. "I only have a Class B rating in computer sciences; my specializations are paleoclimatology and extinction studies. Once the Federation came along and brought my people an accurate historical database, I was hooked on dinosaurs. My world never had such creatures."

Anastasia quickly moved in to fill the space that Eli had vacated. Her hands, now with an assigned task, moved quickly and nimbly, selecting from the microtools on hand as they worked on the exposed circuitry. "Official designations of knowledge are misleading, Lieutenant" Anastasia declared, not looking up as she removed another component from the station. She held the piece close to her nose, taking a sniff of it before reaching for a replacement part. "My repair skills are superior to yours, though I have not been officially tested. You hold no doctorates, but your skills and general knowledge are superior to mine in your position, both managerial and advisory." Anastasia's head popped up as she again made eye contact with Eli. "You aren't sexually attracted to me." There was a small look of contentment on her face when she said that. "My recognition of social cues is learned. I can supplement this with my empathetic abilities, but it is still inexact, and my responses could be deemed mildly inappropriate." Anastasia leaned back down, replacing the burned out chips with the correct ones. "Are you familiar with the Children of Tamar, Lieutenant?" she asked Eli, cleaning the newly repaired area of minute debris before covering it back up. "My own history makes me identify with them closely," she added as she stood straight.

Eli nodded slowly. "I have experienced several instances of Kadir beneath Mo Moteh in my lifetime, for sure. But I understand the parallel you are drawing, Ensign." He put his right hand on his hip. "So I guess my next question for you is...are you working on any projects currently? Resources that you need, etc.?"

"I have to put my quarters in order," Anastasia began, her right index finger poking an invisible point in the air in front of her. "Acclimation to duty assignments. I have thoughts on adjusting algorithms used in the astrometrics lab," Anastasia continued tapping her slowly descending finger against the air. "Starfleet's mapping method is heavily linear. It should take a more binary and heuristic approach. The topic of my second thesis was application of number theory to gravitational search algorithms. I would like to work up a proposal for an incremental change of our current mapping methods, with testing at each stage." Anastasia paused, then said simply, "I appreciate you not taking exception to my incongruous mannerisms, Lieutenant."

"Now that is a proposal that I look forward to reading," said Eli with a broad smile. "I find lofty goals admirable, especially when they have practical applications. And don't worry...we all have our quirks. Myself, I have quite the potty mouth. Thankfully, I curse in a language that only a few thousand are known to speak." He scratched his chin for a moment. "Perhaps we could test some of your algorithms in my project to locate my race's home region."

A small amount of tension disappeared from Anastasia's shoulders. "With your permission, I will coordinate with the ship's cartographer on both efforts." Anastasia's gaze shifted over each of the red protrusions on Eli's face and throat. "Skagaran. My family's tradition holds that one of my ancestors was a member of the MACO complement on the original Enterprise that discovered your planet. But my father assures me that a Bogolyubov has been present as a non-commissioned officer on every vessel of significance since the beginning of the Federation. Family tall tales," she explained

Eli chuckled slightly, his posture relaxing visibly. "I think every clan has them. The legend in my family is that my seventeen times great grandfather was a leader of the revolt that crashed the Skagaran transport on North Star. Since there is no data available either way, I tend to just let it go in one ear and out the other. The stories are an amusing diversion, though."

Anastasia nodded her head somberly, then cocked it to one side. "Anything else then, Lieutenant?"

"I don't think so," said Eli. "Carry on, Ensign."

Anastasia gave Eli a small nod before leaving the lab to return to her new quarters, her mind already reviewing her plans to put her belongings into their new proper place.


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