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JL | Com Ivanova & RAdm Hawk | "Clash of the Titans"

Posted on 241712.29 @ 19:13 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Rear Admiral Indi Hawk

Mission: Ballynamony

The brief meet with Michael had set Indi's mind on fire. A protective side of her, long asleep, had been awoken by the cold shoulder she'd received from her son. That either meant that he really didn't care anymore - something she couldn't readily believe - or something had happened, someone had screwed him up, somewhere had gone wrong. There was only person who could answer those assumptions when it came to the recent past. And so, she found herself typing out another 'request'. Only this time, she very much made it an order, and one worded in such a way that it left little room for interpretation.

It came down to: "Commodore. My quarters. Now."

Briefings. Debriefings. Meetings. There had been a swirl of them between her and the bigger fish of the pond. All of them asking questions, wanting information - and even the Empress of the Stenellian Ascendancy and Vokar had made their presence more than known. Her father was there. Aunt was alive. Things were good on that front, but Rochelle found herself worn down and tired faster than ever before. Even in its spark like infancy, her pregnancy was setting itself up to be a tad more rigorous than her first. This baby wanted to control the show, to demand its mother's energy and time as much as possible - and fighting it for the sake of duty, Rochelle was beginning to see the allure of running up the white flag and finding the sanctuary of a couch. Of course, that also meant announcing the pregnancy and dealing with more meetings, and celebrations, that would bring her to the forefront of the society loops once again.

She wasn't ready.

Landon would be the first to know, then Almar. Kaleb and Ra'lin already had it figured out... There was no denying that or choosing to keep them in the dark. There was an element of excitement there, and she'd allow it to be curried, especially as the safety of the second trimester was looming and once she reached it, she'd allow for the happiness of hopes and dreams to come around.

With the day's last gathering over, Rochelle had chosen to dress down for the evening. LA well worn pair of jeans and oversized cowl necked and hooded knit sweater became the security blanket she needed in order to begin to decompress. The sweater smelled of Landon, borrowed from his stash, and she found herself burrowing her nose into the cowl as she drifted back from the bedroom to the living room - the quiet of their spacious suite a testimony to the time he was spending bonding and playing with his son. Something that had been of paramount importance since they'd returned from Poquott, and who was she to even try and argue when the sight and sound of them rough housing brought nothing but pure joy to her? With that thought in mind, she was mid-flop onto the couch when her combadge chirped and the message came in, leaving her to bounce right back up, with a heavy sigh, and begin a search for easy shoes and begin the journey to the Admiral's quarters aboard the station. Formality be damned, this meeting wasn't on her official dossier for the day.

Sandals found, the trip across the station was one that would have made any personal trainer proud. Cold Station Theta was a massive place, and the ship was docked clear across the damn thing from where she needed to be. By the time she reached the door, Rochelle's energy levels were at an all time low and yet she still found it within herself to hold her shoulders square and exude the aura of command that she knew was expected of her. The chime depressed beneath her finger, and that was it. She'd done as required. The rest... Was still in the wind.

"Enter!" Indi called from inside the quarters. She'd been wondering for the past five minutes just in how many ways 'now' could be interpreted. Granted, the Vindicator wasn't exactly next door, but still. As the other woman finally entered her quarters, Indi couldn't help but be surprised. She was young, she didn't stand tall, and she wasn't in uniform. Three things that didn't plead in favor of the Commodore. She couldn't do much about one and two, but three was definitely not doing her any favors.

"Have a seat, Commodore," she motioned to the seat which Michael had vacated not too long before.

With a polite nod and small, neutral smile, Rochelle took up the offered seat and crossed her delicate ankles. Her hands, shrouded mostly by warm sleeves, folded neatly in her lap, "I apologize for not being more formal. You caught me as I was settling down for the evening and it sounded urgent." She explained whimsically. Andrea would be proud, no doubt, of her attempt to diffuse the informal nature of her attire when combined with the elegance demanded of her position and rank in front of another member of the Admiralty.

Indi once again occupied the same seat. She leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest. "I had expected you to be in uniform, Commodore," she spoke after studying the other woman for a few more moments. "It's late. I haven't settled in for the evening yet. I'm still in uniform. I don't see why you couldn't have done the same. Moving on though. What're your thoughts on the last mission?" she ploughed ahead. Alright, so perhaps she shouldn't be on the other woman's case for not being in uniform. It wasn't like her to be. She felt off though. And besides, her rank allowed her some indulgence.

"According to my dossier for the day I was done with all meetings and had been on my own time for the last hour and a half. I do apologize." Rochelle replied, careful, neutral, poised, collected. This woman was outside of her chain of command and as such had no control over who she was or what she did - but she was a member of the Admiralty and that demanded respect no matter how close in rank or far apart in assignment that they were. "The mission itself was a bend in what was asked of us, but we made due and came out little worse for wear." She answered honestly, "The loss of Ensign Harvey wasn't something we could have controlled, but it's a loss we feel none the less."

"It was a tragic loss. I'm sorry it happened," Indi replied sincerely. Losing somebody under your command was never easy. You learned to live with it, expected it to some degree, but it never became easy. Nor should it be. "You reached the rank of Commodore at an impressive young age," she continued, speaking a thought that had been on her mind for a while. In the midst of her obversation, she'd gotten up and over to the replicator. "Want something as well?"

"As are we all," Rochelle nodded, doing what she could to keep the depression associated with loss from tainting the conversation or altering its trajectory. There was still confusion as to the why the conversation was happening, and how it would progress - Admiral Hawk's mood didn't seem to be positive, but it wasn't exactly negative either... Still... Rochelle couldn't help but feel as though she were being fished along towards some greater, deeper vector. "Water would be lovely, thank you," She chose to reply to the Admiral's offering of a beverage first before choosing her answer to the... Was it an admonishment of her age? It certainly didn't feel much like praise, "The war left a pretty heavy gap in admiralty. I think that had a lot to do with why I went from Captain to Commodore as quickly as I have." and why I was given the exploration command to pick Cheydinhall apart, she thought. It didn't need to be said, and her job was being done as finely as could be. They were in the unknown. The black. Things could and would go wrong.

Indi returned to her seat with a glass of water and a coke. She couldn't help but smile as she remembered that just an hour ago, Michael had been drinking a coke with her. It had just seemed like the most natural thing. Perhaps she should have tried harder, but he had seemed so out of place. So not wanting to be there, in her company. She wasn't about to keep someone there who didn't want to be. 'Then why are you keeping Ivanova?' that nagging voice inside her head asked. Well, that was different. "Apparently the brass didn't seem to mind that you weren't there to protect Dani. To save her eyes. They thought it more important to expand their Admiralty, apparently," she continued as she had her arms crossed over her chest once more.

No sooner did Rochelle take her glass of water did she feel the blood in her veins go as cold as the liquid in the glass; positively icy. So there it was... The real reason for their meeting and the baiting and the vetting that had been done. While the redhead's jaw tightened, she managed to dip her head with a small shrug. There was a great part of her that wanted to unleash the licking flames that singed the back of her throat in wait of whatever draconic, singing response the Phoenix was apt to fire back with - but it would be stilled by the greater nature of temperance that time and Andrea had carefully instilled, "Is that what Dani has to say on the matter?" She asked, drawing a sip from her glass. Could she have saved Dani from that cruel fate? No more than she could have saved Andrea that day on the Whydah's promenade and Andrea had been physically closer than Dani had been. Not once, never, had Dani said anything that showed she blamed Rochelle, not even when Rochelle herself had been miserable after the length of that misson - but it had been Dani that did what she felt she had to do in order to save the day. A disposition, not unlike Rochelle's own, that was both blessing and curse.

Carefully keeping an eye on the Commodore, Indi thought she recognized much of what was going on in the other woman's mind. It was expected, and yet it wasn't. It had been much easier to just be angry at somebody she didn't know. Now though, with Rochelle sitting in front of her, there was something more going on. It wasn't a bad officer who was sitting in front of her. Quite the contrary, if her inner turmoil was any indication. It's why she'd wanted to meet her. Sure, to chew her head off. But why? It's not like she had made Michael angry at her. Deep down, Indi couldn't help but starting to like this woman. She'd read her file, she'd gotten to know as much as one could from a paper trail. There was a lot of talent, a lot of expertise. Experience would come. "She never said anything," she finally spoke quietly. "I'm sorry I brought it up," she added, and added only in thought: but I wanted to see how you would react to it. I had to fast track getting a feel about you.

A Vulcan would have been proud of the way Rochelle held herself, rigidly supple with grace that preceded her short years but spoke of hardship and experiences none should ever have added to their resume. It spoke of a woman that was certain and sure, but not so naive that she believed she knew or had seen it all. Quite the contrary, Rochelle, as she sipped her water once again in a show of finite control and resolve, was painfully aware of her youth and the mileage accrued in such a short space of time. William, Dani, Andrea, Logan, Landon, Almar, Pond... The names began to pile up across her psyche as a list of those she'd loved and lost in some capacity or another. Why? Derision? Ineptitude? Bad luck? None of the above... It was life. Life that chose to play a cruel game of fate and give and take without warning. There were no finite lines, no givens, no set amounts of time that were there and readily available by which to formulate a dossier or calendar. For all Rochelle knew, tomorrow would be the day she 'woke up' room temperature. Coming unglued by a simple barb, no matter how painful, wouldn't suit her purpose or solve a damn thing, and she knew it.

Score one for Andrea.

"It is what it is." She replied, choosing to make light of the dig against her integrity, "We all have things that happen during our commands that we aren't proud of, I'm sure."

Indi watched carefully and silently as Rochelle worked through her emotions and thoughts. In a way, it comforted and calmed Indi in such a way words never could. She waited quietly, sipping her own coke, letting the other woman take over the momentum of the conversation. It was the kind of conversation only those burdened with command could ever hold. Burdened and blessed. Command was a rollercoaster that couldn't be described with words. You have to live it to know what it meant. The ghosts haunting you at night, couldn't match the satisfaction you felt by day. Or they shouldn't. Rochelle seemed to be coming close to losing that balance. It made Indi feel bad. "Thank you for bringing back my son," she finally spoke quietly, when thoughts and demons seemed to have quieted down just the tiniest bit.

"You're welcome." Was the only answer that fit. It wasn't that Rochelle had a choice, and even if she had she wouldn't have chosen to do anything else... Thus negating the choice entirely. While Michael was broody and moody and hard to handle or understand, she'd never wish him ill will or anything but the best in life. Now, reunited with his mother, there was a chance that he could work through his own issues without having to go through the same trials and tribulations she herself had been left with when her own mother had disappeared and never returned - an entire ship and it's crew along with her. The burden, at least that one, was lifted from Rochelle's shoulders knowing that at least one member of her crew had a chance to find his way back from the darkness. "He's a very talented young man, Admiral. He'll go far in his career." So long as he gets out of his own head, she left silent. "I find him to be an asset to the Vindicator and her crew."

Indi recognized a CO placating an officer's mother with the only answer she could really give. It was alright. She wasn't about to argue or ask more. This was Michael's life, and it was up to Michael to prove his worth and his abilities to Starfleet. She'd long ago accepted that she was a bystander to every career but her own. Instead, she pulled the conversation back to the topic at hand. "Thank you for taking the time to meet me, Commodore," she spoke, finishing her coke. Both the conversation and the woman had pleasantly surprised her, but she wasn't prepared to say that much out loud. Yet.

"It was my pleasure." Rochelle replied, nodding softly and toying with the edge of her water glass. While this particular meeting was more or less over, she was left to wonder what more would be in store within the near future.

---

Rear Admiral Indi Hawk
Director
Alpha Quadrant Security
Starfleet

Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

 

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