"Making an Acquaintance" by Lieutenant Joshua Asper and Ensign Cyanah Kaelyre Josh had changed out of his normal uniform and into more casual attire. It consisted of nylon wind pants and a t-shirt; he felt a lot more comfortable than he had when he'd been strolling along the bowels of the USS Hindenberg just an hour before. He had met up with Cyanah Kaelyre, who was an interesting person and someone he wanted to know more about. She had almost invited him to have drinks in Three-Forward when they returned, and he had sealed the deal. Now, after his shift and hers, he walked slowly to her quarters. He approached the door, hesitated a bit and then brought himself to press the button. He shifted uneasily on his heels as he stared at the door, wondering if she was even inside. He swayed nervously as people walked by. He was afraid they might get the wrong idea, but he waited for her anyway. Cyanah was in her quarters, dressed in casual Delosian attire, a knee-length dark green garment that resembled a Terran sundress. She had entirely forgotten about the appointment with Lieutenant Asper, and was watching a holovid documentary on the evolution of Caitians. Startled when the doorchime rang, she almost spilled the glass of grapefruit juice that she was drinking. She placed the juice on her coffee table and rose from the couch to walk to the door. It opened, revealing Asper, and she blushed as she realized that she'd forgotten about agreeing to meet him. "Lieutenant!" she said, trying to conceal her surprise. "Yes, sir, I was just ready to go," she said as she walked on out into the hallway, leaving the holovid on in her quarters. He stared at her in a confused manner, and then continued to walk down the hallway, heading to god-knows-where. "First, please call me Josh when we aren't on duty. The sir thing is overrated. Act casually; we are just going for drinks." They arrived at the turbolift and he motioned inside. "Ladies first." "All right, Josh," Cyanah replied as she entered the turbolift. "And, of course, you may call me Cyanah." He directed the turbolift to deck three and she shifted her weight to her other foot. After four years away from Delos, she was still unused to the height that human males could achieve. Josh must have stood at least thirty centimeters taller than she, and she had to tilt her head at a rakish angle just to converse with him. The turbolift arrived and they stepped out into Three-Forward. This was the first time she had managed to make it to the lounge, and she was looking forward to it. After having so little time for a social life at the Academy, she was hoping to be able to integrate seamlessly into the ship's crew and actually make some friends. She had dated a bit at SFA, and the relationships were rewarding, but she really longed for a community of her own. Cyanah staked out a table and headed straight for it, but grew annoyed with herself when she saw that Josh had already started toward an empty one. She followed him and sat when he pulled her chair out for her, smiling her thanks. When he had also taken his seat, a waiter approached and asked for their drink orders. "Ladies first, again," Josh said. Cyanah looked up and to the left as she always did when she was thinking, and then replied, "I'll have...what's it called...a mai-tai? I was fond of those at the Academy." The waiter smiled and nodded, then turned to Josh expectantly. "Pepsi, please," Josh said to the waiter. The waiter paced quickly to the bar and began fixing the drinks. He gazed at Cyanah; she was very pretty and he felt it. He didn't know much about her species, but he found her slender redheaded form compelling. Her blinding beauty riveted his gaze. He smoothed his napkin and gazed out the big windows that emptied into the abyss of space. The waiter placed Cyanah's tropical concoction in front of her, then slid the pepsi toward Josh's waiting fingers. Josh drank it quickly and watched Cyanah as she slowly sipped at the straw of her own beverage. "Can I ask you a question?" He glanced at her. Josh saw a nervous expression cross her ageless features, but Cyanah smoothed the external concern away and smiled. "Of course." "Why did you join the Academy? I did for obvious reasons - my father was in Starfleet - but what made you join?" He looked at her with an inquiring expression of interest and concern. "My brother," Cyanah began, "wrote to me after he left for the Academy. The experiences he chronicled fascinated me, so I figured that I could find more interesting science in the field, awayfrom Delos." She said the line with practiced ease; she had it memorized since that question had become a tired small talk refrain. Sipping at her mai-tai, she relished its fruity taste and the warmth of the alcohol. With her small frame, one mixed drink was usually enough to make her feel quite pleasant. Realizing that it was upon her to continue the conversation, she asked, "So, tell me about yourself. Who is Josh Asper?" Josh smiled and looked to his drink, "Josh Asper is a young and brash individual. I do my best to make friends. I was born to my mother and father, as most people are." Cyanah flashed a small smile at his attempt at humor. "My father died about six years ago from the Poxian Measles. It devastated my mother, and to make matters worse, the week before I had been sent to a Detention Center on Earth after paralyzing a kid from the waist down. It wasn't my fault; he insulted my mother. I am very defensive." Josh gazed at her again. "Anything else? Home planet? Favorite Color? ID Number?" Cyanah feigned a smile; she hadn't really been expecting to get his life story. She frankly wanted to tell him it was his fault for paralyzing the kid and his childish attempt to pass the buck made him look a fool. She held her tongue. This wasn't Delos, and he wasn't a Delosian male. She had to keep her lash to herself, hidden behind a politic smile. She downed the last of her drink in a gulp, masking her discomfort with the glass. Tact, and any hope of a professional working relationship, demanded a graceful exit. She glanced up at the chronometer and opened her lips in an "o" of surprise. "Oh! I'm sorry, Josh, I promised my sister, Dheerah, that I'd call her tonight! I should go do that before it gets too late there for a call." She wrenched herself awkwardly to her feet, staggering slightly from the after-effects of the too-quickly-finished drink, and sketched a hasty wave. Smiling again, she said, "Have a good night, Josh!" She was gone in a blur. Josh stared at her retreating form. Something had gone wrong. Figuring it was his tendency to come on too strong, he mentally slammed himself. He stalked to a window and stared out at the stars. "Well, at least I made an acquaintance," he said to himself.