The Moment I First Saw You
"Excuse me, ma'am?" Teletha Testarossa stiffened slightly and turned at the sound of a voice. By the sound of it, she guessed that it was one of the many lieutenants under her command, and she was not proven wrong.
When the young man received permission to speak he finished the formal salute and stood at attention. "Begging your pardon, Ma'am, but the new recruits have just arrived at dock two and you wished to be informed of their arrival."
"Indeed," Teletha responded, then nodded slightly towards the man in a polite fashion. "Thank you for informing me, Lieutenant. You are dismissed."
"Aye Ma'am!" This time, she returned the salute in an off-handed manner before the man turned smartly and walked in the opposite direction she had been going. Once he turned around the nearest corner, she immediately relaxed her posture. Naturally, she recognized the need for the protocol of the military, but sometimes, she felt it was all a little much to remember; all salutes, postures and blank faces. Even the length of time she had spent at Mithril since being recruited had not given her a good command of all protocols, and she feared she never would gain a mastery of them.
I guess I'd better meet with Lt. Commander Kalinin and Commander Mardukas so we can see which ones might be best for my crew. Her crew…if military protocol was still uncomfortable for her, she wondered how long it would take to get used to being a captain of her own submarine. Of course, this wasn't just any submarine, but one specially designed by her. She knew every in and out, what it could and could not do - not to mention was an integral part of its Artificial Intelligence designing - and for that she was to be given command of it. Though she certainly knew that there had been many outspoken complaints about a woman of sixteen years commanding what will be the most complex and technologically advanced submarine in the world, no one could deny that the special abilities of her pride and joy would only work with her or someone like her.
The small base on Melida Island wasn't one of the larger bases that Mithril had, though it was one of the most remote. It also happened to feature one of the largest dry docks in operation-which just happened to fit her submarine, dubbed the "Tuatha de Denaan," rather snugly. Despite that one distinction, the living section was relatively small, at it only took a moment for the young woman to locate her office and living suite. Though she had just arrived, her rooms were already showing just what kind of person occupied this particular suite. Her office, the first thing one came to when they entered, was a paragon of order. Everything had its place, and nothing was left out and about. Her furniture was stiff and formal, presenting a comfortable, if sparse, meeting space. Her personal quarters, however, which one could enter through a discreet side door leading off from the right wall of her office, was a different matter entirely. Everything about her room spoke of comfort, though the general living area wasn't much different from her main office simply because she had much time to get situated yet.
Included in her suite was a rather small bedroom and it was to this room she turned into once she walked into her door. Teletha took a moment to look around her room with a small bit of pride, it was her own private space, somewhere to go when she felt too crowded or out of place, and for that she was grateful. Everything was in grey blue tones, her favorite colors. There was a bookcase on the left hand side, within easy reach of her bed that contained no small amount of her favorite books, a few textbooks and periodicals as well. A small desk was to her right that housed her personal computer, a computer that, unlike her office computer, happened to be decorated with small stickers of cute animals and flowers. On her bed, was the one thing she still had left from her childhood, and as she sat down briefly for a moment, she leaned over to reverently pick it up. It wasn't much, she supposed, as teddy bears went. It was about medium sized and had brown fur that had worn slightly with age, but was no less soft than the day she had received it as a gift. The expression was what she had always found most adorable about the thing, and what convinced her that she would not leave it behind with its comical smile and cute button eyes. In tough times, it had always served to comfort her, and always fit perfectly within her arms, though strangely enough she had never named it, and had just taken to calling it 'bear' whenever she wanted it as a little girl.
After a few more moments basking in the comfort of the stuffed toy, she finally sighed and stood up once again. She then went over to her wardrobe and opened the double doors. Inside, there was a small collection of dresses, things she had received as presents mostly, though there was the occasional dress she had personally bought. But it was to the plastic wrapped garments in tan that she turned to instead, taking a moment to regard the pressed fabric and pristine condition of her new uniforms.
They had just been delivered to her this morning, and looked impressive. An air that she hoped to live up to once she had put it on. She efficiently began to strip immediately, taking great care to put each component on lest she introduce any wrinkles. When she was finally finished, Teletha looked at herself in the mirror and frowned at the result. It seemed the new uniform added yet another factor of maturity to her appearance. With every promotion she felt she was slowly loosing her childhood, though she knew that, somehow, it had actually disappeared ages ago. She heaved a small sigh for such depressing thoughts before finally retying her braid and giving herself a final once over.
When she felt that everything was satisfactorily in place, she ran a quick hand through her bangs before she walked quietly out her door and towards dock two. Halfway there, she met with Kalinin and Mardukas, on their way to the same duty she was.
"Commander, Lieutenant Commander," she greeted quietly, when they both stopped to politely wait for her. "How is the Danaan coming along?"
"It should be ready for its maiden voyage on schedule, Madame Captain." Kalinin replied, and then smiled a trifle at the young woman. "The uniform of captain suits you, Ms. Testarossa."
Teletha merely smiled her thanks. Though she had only known Lieutenant Commander Kalinin for a few short months, the elder gentleman had already become almost a father figure to her. He was a stern man of an indeterminate age, though his hair was already completely silver and there were many wrinkles lining his face. His hair was tied in a single ponytail, an allowance from standard protocol that told anyone who looked at him that in the past he wasn't career military. He positively towered over her, though she never felt uncomfortable with that fact and his uniform fit smartly on his athletic frame. Despite his age, Andrei Kalinin was no slouch when it came to exercise and it showed. In fact, she had even heard that no one had still been able to best him at hand-to-hand combat practice yet.
On her right, Commander Mardukas couldn't have been any more different. Though he was every bit as stern as his comrade, the slightly wrinkled face and glasses told more of an educated upbringing. His raven black hair was close cropped -which bellied the fact that he had been career US military once, though probably more Pentagon than field soldier. Both men were to be her advisers on matters aboard the Danaan, and if she were to admit the truth, she couldn't have asked for better men.
"What do you think of the new recruits?" Mardukas put in, speaking to Kalinin. Both men had already read over the initial reports that were given to them and had some initial opinions about all the men and women they were about to see. "There should be a few interesting ones among the bunch. Especially if we were to take Sergeant Major Mao's opinions in truth."
Teletha perked up at the mention of her best friend. She had several recommendations from this group? This would be interesting indeed. She knew how hard it was to gain the respect of the hard drinking former marine. She had been gone for several months now due to this training trip to their recruitment base in South America, and in that time, she had missed the older woman's company terribly.
"Indeed," Kalinin replied, face back to the unreadable mask he usually wore. "Though I think this batch will be the best yet." That appeared to get Mardukas's attention, though he barely showed it through a raised eyebrow, and nothing more. After that, though, there was no more time to talk as the trio entered the large hanger by the dock and got their first look at some of the potential new crew for the new submarine.
"Attention on deck!" The yell went out as soon as the trio was spotted entering the room, and the entire group scrambled to form a single line, all at attention.
Teletha's first impression was that it was a rat tag lot. A lot of the people Mithril tended to hire were ex-military types or freedom fighters who had lost a cause to fight for. It seemed that this bunch was more of the latter, rather than the former. Her next thought was that she was going to have to do something about this group as well. All of them were giving her rather curious looks, some even bordered on lustful. Chances were, they thought she was just one of the Captain's secretaries or something. It happened with every new group they received. She was just glad that she was competent enough to earn their respect later on, and if she couldn't…then there were plenty of other places to go besides the Danaan.
As they walked the line, glancing every once in a while at one of the young men, one man's expression reminded Teletha once again of just what she had to go through. Though in an instant all was forgotten as a familiar figure stepped out of the line and purposefully walked towards their group. Teletha smiled somewhat when she noticed that no few of the men followed the woman with their eyes as she passed, it was a mark on Melissa that she never showed she knew they were staring at her.
"Sergeant Major Melissa Mao reporting for duty as ordered, ma'am!" Melissa snapped a perfect solute, and Teletha was more than a little gleeful at the many surprised looks and even a little whispering when Mao addressed her first, rather than Mardukas or Kalinin.
"At ease, Sergeant Major," she returned the salute just as crisply, showing the new kids just who their commander was. Inside, though, she was smiling right along with Mao. They did this little act every time new recruits came before them and it never failed to draw a few gasps. When Melissa relaxed enough to give Teletha a small hug for her friend they shared conspirational giggles, making sure no one could hear them, of course. "I hear you have a couple of recommendations?" She added, once their fun was had.
Melissa's eyes lit up strangely and she smiled in a way that Teletha had never seen before. "Oh, boy, do I." She said a moment later. "You're going to love these guys."
Curious, she followed Melissa with the commanders following behind her, taking a little more time to look over the rest of the group. Melissa led them down the line, all the way to the end where a pair of young men was standing, both at attention, though their eyes were watching the two women approach.
"Captain Testarossa, meet Sergeants Kurz Weber and Sousuke Sagara." Melissa first pointed at the young blonde man, whose blue eyes were staring intently at her and a smile planted across his face. Then she pointed to the sober young man standing next to her with shaggy brown hair and a pair of gray eyes that, strangely, didn't seem out of place with him. She also noted the cross shaped scar on his right cheek, but did not stare too directly to be rude. When Melissa said his name, Sagara straightened immediately.
"Ma'am!" He yelled in response. Teletha looked at him in surprise. He couldn't have been much older than she was! That scar just had to be a birthmark; she could not fathom a boy her age with enough combat experience to gather something like that. Curiosity getting the better of her, she walked over to Sousuke and noted with some pleasure that his eyes never strayed from whatever spot he was currently staring at, something few men could do in her presence.
"Sergeant, how old are you?" She asked him directly, folding her hands behind her back and attempting to look stern.
"I am sixteen ma'am." He replied with equal aplomb, apparently not at all unused to that question.
Sixteen? He was her age, then. No wonder Melissa was looking at her with that strange smile. It wasn't everyday she ran into someone the same age as her in this organization.
"What is your specialty, Sergeant Sagara?" She asked, at this point her curiosity at what someone his age could be good at enough to be hired by Mithril overtaking her.
"I have many specialties, including hand to hand combat, tactical weapons training, and guerilla war fare. Though my main specialty and love is Arm Slaves, ma'am." Sousuke answered obediently, not even registering Teletha's open surprise at such specialties. She silently pulled Melissa out of hearing range.
"Is he serious?" She whispered into the older woman's ear once they were out of earshot, not bothering to hide her surprise.
"Deadly," Melissa admitted soberly. You should have seen what he did with a one legged RK-92, and what he could probably do with one of our newer RX-9's will be nothing short of amazing. What that guy can do with an arm slave is almost impossible, and while I have seen better hand to hand fighters or guerilla combatants, I would be willing to bet that those that could beat that boy are few and far between."
"And what about the other guy, the pretty blonde?" Teletha nodded her head towards the other young man and noted with some surprise that Melissa's face took on a sour twist. "That letch? Unbelievable playboy that one is. Though at nineteen he's one of the best damn marksman I've ever encountered. When we ran into some trouble during the last half of a mission those two teamed up and we took on an entire group of terrorists with nothing but Kurz running sharpshooter, Sousuke in a damaged RK-92, and myself and we beat them easily.
Teletha took all of this in with a perplexed expression on her face. When she glanced around Melissa's body to look at the two again, she got a friendly wave from Kurz, but Sousuke was still staring at the same spot he had when she first arrived, still rigidly at attention, apparently waiting, with all due patience, for her to return.
"Umm, Melissa? What's with Sousuke? He seems so…rigid."
Melissa turned and glanced at the boy in question, then turned back to her friend. "That's just the way he is." She shrugged. "No one in the training camp got close enough to him to get to know him or his story. But whatever it is, I bet it's not a nice one." She looked at her friends face and noticed an expression on Teletha's face that she hadn't seen quite often. It seemed as if her best friend was interested in their newest Lieutenant. A devious smile spread across her face. "See something you like?" She asked, in her most sultry voice.
A furious blush on Teletha's face immediately rewarded Melissa. "Melissa! Not I front of the new recruits, please. Besides, I don't even know him, how could I possibly like him?" Teletha whispered back furiously, trying to hide their conversation from the curious eyes of the soldiers in front of her. Fortunately, Kalinin finally reaching the end of the line saved her.
"Well, there's a sight for sore eyes. I haven't seen you in many years, Sagara." Kalinin stood in front of Sousuke and looked down at the boy with a surprisingly soft expression. Equally vexing to the two women was Sousuke's complete shock on his face.
"Andrei? What are you doing here, and how do you know my name?" he asked, dazedly.
"Research," Kalinin responded, then schooled his face back into the impassive mask he had shown at all other times. "I suppose we'll talk a little bit later, I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to do so."
Sousuke remained stunned for a moment linger, before Kurz elbowed him in the side. Then, with a slight blush, he straightened, schooled his face and saluted smartly. "Yes, Sir!"
On the outside, Teletha watched all of this with an uninterested façade, but inside, she was nearly jumping for joy. Sousuke would be on her ship, she would have plenty of time to get to know him after all!
All the while, Melissa merely chuckled. This was going to be so much fun! After that, the rest of the process went fairly smoothly. The new crew was selected and the rest were picked for other jobs that would take them around the world and back again in the service of justice. Soon enough, the soldiers were excused to gather their things, and get to know the other people that they would be working with. Teletha and Melissa choose to go and catch up on old news as well as discuss a few other things, though at the time, the young captain had no idea what was in store for her.
"So, Lt. Commander Kalinin knows Sousuke?" Melissa muttered to herself, tapping her fingers on an empty beer can.
"I wonder how much he knows?" Teletha wondered out loud, as she sat next to Melissa in her living area, hands wrapped around a hot cup of tea.
"Why are you so interested? I almost never see you this interested in new guys."
"Most new guys aren't my age." Teletha muttered quietly, coloring prettily.
"Oh, is that it then, just his age?" Melissa asked shrewdly, and was rewarded by an immediate deepening of color on the girl's cheeks and a shake of the head. "I thought not."
"He's so…stony," the captain muttered, as she took a strand of her braid in her hand and fingered it nervously. "The way he is, I just can't imagine what he went through to be that way. I wonder how long he has been fighting?"
"I don't know." Melissa shrugged her shoulders and shook her head lightly. "All I know is he is damn good, and I get him and that flirt as team members. Fine by me, though, I think we work well together." She suddenly had a memory of the training camp and shuddered. Things had gone pretty wrong for a moment there. It wasn't something she liked to think about. Suddenly, she fought down a yawn and it was only then that she realized what time it was.
"Ah, damn. I've got to get up bright and early tomorrow. I need some sleep. Talk to you tomorrow, Tes?" Melissa looked over to the young woman and received a warm wave. "It was nice talking with you, I'm glad to be back." The ex-marine called as a parting shot as she stood and walked towards the door. In a moment, she was gone, leaving Teletha all alone.
I really wonder what he's like… she thought wistfully, bringing back an image of Sousuke in her mind. She recalled perfectly his shaggy brown hair, his sad gray eyes and that unforgettable scar. I wonder if I could ever have him open up to me? Though that thought seemed nearly impossible. She wasn't very good at dealing with people, and she could imagine that Sousuke was just as good, if not worse than her. People didn't end up where they were by being normal, happy children after all.
She slowly undressed herself, fighting yawns the whole way. Finding a spare shirt to sleep in, the young woman slipped into bed, still carrying the image of the new lieutenant in her head. Unconsciously, she reached for her bear, and in her sleepy dream christened it with the name Sousuke.
Author's Endnotes: Well, that was fun, wasn't it? Just a nice short little one shot from one of my favorite up and coming anime. There's far too few stories out here that feature these characters so it's kind of nice to be one of the few who have written something for it. I understand that some of it will probably not line up with the anime, as I've not yet seen the last six episodes, the ones where Sousuke's recruitment is discussed, if not shown. All I know was that it was in a training camp in South America, and during his time there, there was a mission that some of the recruits went on. That's where he met up with Kurz, became, sort of friends with him, and where he met Mao.
As far as Tessa and Sousuke, I'll admit, I love them as a couple. The reasons for this are far too long to list here in the author's notes, but just trust the fact that I think they are quite cute together. Other than that, I thought it might be kind of fun to see how they met. You know, it seemed in episode one that Tessa was familiar enough with Sousuke that she was worried about him going on that mission. Whether she worried about his personal safety, or more likely worried that he'd stick out like a sore thumb in a normal Japanese high school wasn't made clear. But it was clear she at least knew him enough to know his habits. That and I'm also going on the notion that in order for her to tease him as she did in episode 5, she had already formed a pretty heavy crush on him. So I thought that maybe that little crush might have extended back to when they first met. This is meant as a one shot, though I'm pretty sure that Sousuke was on the Danaan for at least 6-7 months before he was assigned his mission with Kaname. That leaves a lot of time for other things to happen, and I just might want to write about them as well. We'll see. Well, I suppose that should be enough babble from my end. I have a few more works planned from this anime so keep an eye out. Please leave a review!
Second Draft Notes: After a little look over this thing and a very unofficial pre-read by one of my friends, Frost, I changed a few things, fixed a few more up and toned some others down. By this point, I have seen the entire series, but I left a few of my original premises alone, simply because they fit into this story. After all, what is fiction if you can't play a little, eh? . Thanks to Frost for the pre-read, though she probably wasn't even aware that she was pre-reading it at the time.
The Moment I first Saw You - Begun December 29th, 2003 1712 Hrs, Finished December 30th 2003, 0235Hrs EST. Second Draft finished February 21, 2004 1556 Hrs EST.