women

A couple WNW drabbles

I've been hanging onto these for awhile in hopes that they would mysteriously take on lives of their own and reshape themselves into full-length stories, but they have remained stubbornly in ficlet form. Normally, I would pretend they are all fancy and put them in separate posts with titles and headers and all, but today I feel more like facing the truth that they are still a bit rough around the edges.


One is not having a good day. She holds a skimpy red blouse by her thumb and forefinger as if it's something repulsive and dead that she has to keep far away from her. Actually, she wishes it were something dead; that would be far less repulsive than the way Kirk is smirking at her right now. And the worst part is that there is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- she can say that will not make the situation worse. She wants to say, "you only want me to wear this because it is the only way you will ever see me in a state remotely approaching undress," but even in her best case scenario, that obnoxious smirk will become an outright leer. She could say, "I think you should be the one wearing semi-transparent clothing that's barely bigger than a napkin," which is true, but he only would call her a flirt. And he would probably be waiting for her after the mission, half-nude in servant regalia, sprawled indecently on her bed...and still wearing that godawful smirk.

She breathes out through her nose as slowly and calmly as possible, and then asks, "what exactly is a samovar?" by which she really means, "you are an idiot who should never have been put in charge of this mission."

"A samovar," he says, pulling an ornately carved urn from a corner of the room, "is a heavy metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other Central, South-Eastern, Eastern European countries, and in the Middle-East."

"Thank you, Captain," she answers crisply and hopes he can hear what she really wants to say: "stop looking so damn self-satisfied because it's not like you knew any of this before the mission either." She is confident her eyes adequately communicate her disdain.

Regrettably, this does not stop him from handing her a gold bra. She closes her eyes very briefly, refusing to be humiliated by the faint blush she feels creeping across her cheeks.

"The bug's in the left cup," Kirk volunteers.

She pauses for a beat, wondering if diamond-encrusted spy panties will materialize next. They do not, which is a blessing.

"You know, you look a little dangerous," Kirk observes. To his credit, he has the sense to step back before he says it.

"You might want to soften up a little before this mission," he adds. "You know, look the part. I could help you relax if you want."

She judges it prudent not to speak and shoots him a look hard enough to wither his testicles instead. With one arm, she hefts the samovar and drops the servant clothing inside it, mentally drafting a scathing message to Admiral Pike. She knows he'll find the whole thing hilarious and tease her about it over a glass of wine the next time she sees him. She freezes the smile a second before it reaches her face and gives Kirk one last scowl on her way out the door.

Really, she thinks, it's not fair how the intergalactic terrorists always keep their weapons caches on colonial backwaters with a penchant for modeling their societies after past Terran civilizations. The next time, she had really better get to wear leather.





***



The Enterprise is more impressive at a distance. Up close, you can see the bare bones -- the shipyard's thick gray support girders, empty, half-finished corridors, decks that stop suddenly and jaggedly at pale blue sky. It's easy to look at all of that and shudder, to imagine the hull blown open by torpedoes or to remember that there's nothing but metal and plastic sheeting protecting human bodies from the black of space.

From far away, though, the Enterprise looks ready to soar into the stars, and that makes people imagine. There's a reason Riverside, Iowa has the highest recruitment rate in the galaxy. Little boys and girls stare up at her from flat, green fields, dreaming of epic battles with Klingons and gritty hand-to-hand when their phasers are dead and all hopes are lost. But the grown-ups dream too. Chris Pike certainly does; that's why he finds an excuse to spend every weekend here that he can, and that's why he takes every shuttle full of new recruits to see his girl.

When Uhura sees her, she pictures shiny, polished newness: sleek white computer stations, chrome handrails, bright lights just a touch whiter than the warm glow of Sol. The Enterprise symbolizes everything she wants to be: strong, graceful, smooth, and just a little untouchable. She tightens her pony tail behind her, sliding her fingers through each of the perfectly straightened strands. One look, and she is already molding herself to the woman the ship wants her to be.

Gaila sees the Enterprise's perfection and longs to mark it the same way she longs to smear Nyota's perfect bronze lip gloss. She imagines the ship just a little old, just a little battle-weary, with mysterious stains on the carpets and scorch marks on the walls to tell tiny stories to anyone who's been around long enough to remember. She flips through engineering schematics in her head, picturing the hundreds of cramped maintenance hatches and tube junctions hidden beneath the decks. No one but her would ever know them, but she'd treasure them, make each one a small and secret home. That's what she's always done -- taken a small bit of something, a piece that no one would ever want or miss, and made it her own.

Chapel looks at the Enterprise and swallows a lump of fear that sits heavy in her stomach the rest of the morning. While Captain Pike talks about the promise of outer space, she stares at her newly empty ring finger and feels homesick for the first time for the utterly pedestrian apartment she'd left behind in Atlanta. The ship carries the promise of the woman she wants to become, someone safe and solid and able -- which she is now -- but also someone unafraid and unattached and capable of adventure. Someone who, when she is honest with herself, she isn't certain she can ever be. But when Pike meets her eyes, she finds the strength to look back and nod her head more firmly than she feels. Fake it till you make it, she thinks, and keeps looking ahead.

Winona is the only one who looks at the ship and does not dream of adventure. She sees it from her office every morning, frowns at half-completed corridors, and thinks of the work teams she'll need to assemble for the day ahead. She strides through it like she owns it, pointing out flaws and seeing problems and demanding everything of everyone, all in a voice so authoritative that most people assume she's the captain. When people ask her if she sees the magic in it, she tells the truth -- that it's a job, nothing more and nothing less. But some days, when she's driving away and sees the elegant hull silhouetted against the setting sun, she sees hope and purpose for her littlest boy.

"You should go see her, Jim," she says every night, or all the nights he's home anyway. She doubts he'll ever listen, but it's the only hope she has left and the only thing she knows to say.
I still have to catch up on the most recent drabblefest, but there's a reason I pulled yours out and read them.
Aw, thank you! I hope they were worth the special attention! I hope you do get an opportunity to explore the whole fest soon - there are some beautiful pieces there, much more lovely than the ones I managed this time around.
These are excellent! I really like the Gaila/Nyota/Winona ones. Especially Winona's part. :)
The first is funny, but the second is brilliant, perhaps you could extend it to other people's first impressions? The boys I guess.

I really like Chapel, and she's a character I haven't really thought about before. Winona's is really touching, Gaila's is really sweet, and Uhura's is awesome...I've realised I have a ponytail kink :)
Thank you! I have thought about expanding it to include some of the boys because it feels awfully artificial to leave them out. I'm not allowing myself to start another wip, but maybe sometime soon...
Found this over at where_no_woman and wow. Really. This is stupendous. Having Winona in charge of building the Enterprise? Bril-li-ant. I particularly loved the way you related each woman to the shape and feel of the ship (especially Uhura), kind-of made the Enterprise the fith woman of the piece.
Thank you! It was totally unintentional, but it's really cool it came across that way to you. I like the idea of the Enterprise being the fifth lady.