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JDL | Com Ivanova, Lt Sha'mer | "Good Morrow"

Posted on 241801.13 @ 13:36 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Ballynamony

Divorce. Noun. The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body. In this case, the competent body was Starfleet, seeing as both members were officers - or at least had been officers. Landon's future with Starfleet remained an abstract mystery, and one that Rochelle told herself she simply wouldn't be involved in. The cut he'd left had been the deepest she'd ever encountered, leaving her bare and raw with a bleeding soul. Her heart, however, had begun to scab over and rebuild the walls necessary to allow for compatibility with life. That didn't mean that she felt any better, or would begin to feel any better, about her personal life... She likely wouldn't for a long while to come. The chime of her ready room door tugged at the corner of her mind, telling her it was time to get back to work. The PADD she was staring at, the one that confirmed that years of work and commitment was at an end, was pushed into a drawer. "Enter."

Ra'lin entered quietly. Back in their own time or not, the recent situation meant that tons of reports had been written, sent on up the chain, and they all landed on Ra'lins desk first. There she structured the reports, edited them in several cases into a more readable format, made summaries, structured the summaries per department and cross-referenced it with reports from other departments or previously submitted ones – in short, there was enough work to do, more than enough. Which was good, because she could really use the distraction.

She took one look at her CO's face and sighed inwardly. Even without sensing her mindtone, Ra'lin could see that here was another person for which work was a refuge more than a distraction. "Morning," she said neutrally. Not 'good morning' or anything. It certainly didn't look like it was a good one.

"Morning." The redhead responded, leaning back in her chair with the smallest of sighs, "Have you taken time to check out the station yet? Show Mr. MacLeod around?" It wasn't about being nosy, it was about being curious and wondering exactly how far the Scot's reach had gotten and whether or not he'd been allowed the chance to see the stars from a much different vantage point. She herself had left the Vindicator only in limited circumstance. The idea of prancing the promenade hadn't quite settled well with her - it had been cast aside in lieu of quick trips to deal with the brass and other legal matters.

"Not yet." Ra'lin was taken aback at the question, but shifted mental gears quickly. "He wants to get used to the Vindicator first. There's so much to take in from here already. Different technologies, the whole culture shock, all the aliens… Scaling up from this to the whole station might be a bit much. Besides-" she shrugged, "I've been busy. Maybe he has done some exploring on his own. I don't know." She placed the stack of padds on the desk and cautiously asked the return question. "How are you doing?"

"I can appreciate that," Rochelle nodded, and she could. Space was vast, the change between his archaic world and theirs filled with technological advancement after technological advancement was quite stark, dangerously so. "Probably best that he takes acclimation slow." It was enough to overwhelm at the least and overtake at the worst. It had the potential to really challenge someone's convictions, perhaps even steal their soul. It was a worry to say the least. "As for me, I'm doing." She nodded, drumming her fingers as she watched her yeoman work, "It's finished, if that's what you're asking."

"I'm, ahh…" Ra'lin stared at the desk and the padds, at basically anything but at Rochelle's face. "I don't know. I'm not even sure what happened." She hadn't pried. She hadn't even really picked up anything beyond a general sense of unhappiness from the other woman. To be sure, Ra'lin had kept her distance, too. There was a difference between knowing and feeling, she had found to her surprise. That her action of bringing Craig up to the Vindi would have personal consequences for herself was something she had known from the beginning. She had factored it in, it hadn't influenced her decision and she would still do the same thing if she had to make the same choice again. Still, it had stung. And it was illogical, Ra'lin knew that. Rochelle was far more bound by Starfleet regulations than she was, the difference in standards to uphold between a Commodore and a junior officer, and as such there was nothing else she could have done. Ra'lin knew her feelings, her emotions were irrational and hated herself for it. But still, it didn't chance the fact that those feelings were there, and in order to prevent herself from taking it out on the person who had been the immediate cause of it instead of keeping it to herself where it belonged, Ra'lin had kept as much a professional distance as she could over the last few days.

Rocking back in her chair, Rochelle folded her hands in her lap and tipped her head back to where she could study the ceiling panels above her. It was rare that she didn't seek to meet people head on or follow through, rarer that she shared bits of her personal life - but that degree of personal was about to become very public and the rumors would fan far and wide like flames across a drought parched prairie. "Captain Neyes and I are no longer married." She began with the easiest part, "There wasn't an affair, per say, but there were definitely irreconcilable differences." An eyebrow flicked high at the thought and her thumbs came together to fidget, "He was caught using both controlled and illegal substances while on duty... They may or may not have attributed to the crash." The sentence was punctuated with a heavy shrug.

Ra'lin absorbed this in silence. She knew how much this had to pain the other woman, she knew how much she loved Landon, how hard it had been on her when the shuttle had crashed, how much Rochelle had sacrificed to get him and the rest of the crashed crew safely back. But of all the sacrifices, the decision she had just finalized must have been the hardest of all. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. She had no idea how to put all her other thoughts and feelings into words. "I really am."

"I think we all are." The redhead nodded. The feeling of betrayal still knotted in her throat, and she wouldn't deny it if asked how she felt or if it were a thing, but until then... It remained an unspoken truth. "You deserved the truth before the stupidity theorists took it, mangled it, caught it on fire, and then spoon fed it back to everyone in their own series of renditions."

"I generally tend to miss out on all the gossip," Ra'lin said with a shrug. "But I can understand…" It would be one thing if this happened amongst civilians, crewmen, junior officers. High profile figures such as a Commodore and a Captain were far more in the spotlight. Especially with the suspicion that illegal substances might have been one of the causes of the crash. Falling through the cracks of time had been one thing, but if the shuttle had managed to return to the Vindicator, things would have been very different. (And Craig would have been turned into space dust thousands of years ago. Let's not forget that. Then again, she'd never have known that either…) "A lot of time it sucks to be brass," was the final summary of her thoughts.

The assumption was met with a rather heavy nod, "Most of the time," Rochelle agreed, still nodding and still unwilling to do much more than finally look at the other woman. It was rougher than she expected it to be, to have to go through this part of life when she never thought it would come to that point. In many ways, Rochelle had expected to lose Landon in battle or something else far far out of her control - preferably when they were very old and he warm in bed with dreams dancing in his head during the moments before he passed - not a divorce... Not him being sent away from the ship to have to handle the details in court or wherever it was they took him. She'd suggested rehab or some sort, outlining the fact his entire life had been altered by Tr'Bak's hand when he'd been kidnapped all those years ago. He couldn't be blamed. Not for this... Not entirely - but neither could she when she'd afforded him the best of everything, including treatment. "That's life, though... Nothing more, nothing less. I think there's a quote that says that the road to Hell is paved by good intentions."

Ra'lins eyes narrowed as another thought occurred to her. "You're not blaming yourself, I hope? Thinking that you might've prevented it or helped or-" She shrugged again. "I really hope you don't. It's, there's, ah, a limit to what people can do or see or, or…" she gestured with one hand. "Some things you can't change, no matter how hard you wish you can," she ended lamely.

There was a sigh and Rochelle's morose face fell dark and grim, "I think I ignored a lot of signs out of just being selfish and thinking that if I pretended not to see things then they weren't really there." She sighed, pressing her lips together and reaching to free her face of a wayward lock of hair. "I failed him as a wife and as a Captain. That's something I'll live with for the rest of my life, but there's also the knowledge that I wasn't the one who gave him the drugs or sat there with the hypo or swallowing the pills or whatever what it was that he ingested the shit." Anger was a low, rumbling undertone in her voice, threatening like the brontide of a distant storm.

"I've heard people with addictions are very good at hiding those signs until it's too late…" Ra'lin said softly. "So I don't know if you failed him or not. All I do know is that you went through hell to get him back. You would've gone through a deeper hell still if you had any hope you could help him. But you can't. That's not failing him in any way. If anything, he's failing you." She sighed. "I'm sure there are all kind of reasons as to why he did it. All kind of justifications. But it's his responsibility in the end. He can either take it and then, maybe…" Another shrug. She seemed to do an awful lot of talking through shrugs today. "Or not. And either way, that is not your fault, or responsibility, or fight."

"I would agree... But this isn't his first rodeo." Rochelle's response was slow coming, "Maybe that's why it cuts as deep as it does. That he knows what kind of rabbit hole he's been down in the past, and yet he chose that path over the one that stands beside his family." Another shrug. Shrugs were the choice expression of the day, or so it seemed. She'd accept it.

Ra'lin didn't know enough about the mechanics of addiction and abuse, or of mental trauma, to understand the mechanism behind these choices. She felt out of her depth here. Oh yes, she could sense mental scars, stars knew the woman she was talking to had her share of those. The Captain also had an extensive collection. Yet one sought refuge in drugs, another did not. What determined these choices? She shook her head to herself. Maybe counsellors could answer those questions, but she certainly could not.

There were more questions in her mind (The Trill Symbiont Committee won't be happy either when they hear of this, was one) but none of those were relevant right now, or could tell her any better how to help her boss (and dare she think it, yes, of course: friend). "I can see your pain," she said at last, picking the words through her thoughts as if she was navigating through a mine field. Once again she felt the futility of her words, the emptiness. What good did it do the other to acknowledge her pain? What good was it if she couldn't help her? But there were no magic words to take away something this deep, no magic touch. No dermal regenerator for the mind.

A small smile tugged the corners of Rochelle's mouth, begging for a chance to shine - however sad it may have been. "I know." She replied with a gentle nod, "I believe it's easily written and read by most... Hence..." Her arms came open in a grandiose gesture towards her self chosen fortress of solitude... Well... Almost solitude. Ra'lin had carte blanche access and seemed to be well tolerated when all the Commodore wanted to do was hide and forget that life ever existed in the first place. That wasn't exactly an option, however, and she refused to embrace it when she could at least continue being useful while she waded through shit creek on the way to finding self love or whatever it was that awaited her on the other end of this lovely set of life experiences.

Ra'lin sighed and answered the hesitant smile with one of her own. "Tea?" she suggested. "I'm not sure of what some people say, that it's a cure for all ills, but it can't do any harm, either."

She'd remembered... And that was enough to warm the cockles of Rochelle's warm, weary, broken heart just enough to curry up that little smile that begged for release. It came with a nod, however small, "I'd like that. Your choice... Not like we don't still have a metric ton of it. By the way..." She looked up, "You've been reinstated as a full Lieutenant. MacLeod will remain aboard the Vindicator, he's been given a commission." There was a smile to be found somewhere. While her own heart was fighting fracture, she was certain that Ra'lin's was beating just a bit faster, "Admiral Sean Archer's own orders."

The first thing Ra'lin registered in the last few sentences was the last bit. "Craig will stay here, with a commission? That's great! He'll be so happy to hear it!" She grinned widely. Dancing in here was beyond all decorum, or she would've done it. The second part filtered in a bit more slowly. Reinstated, yes. Okay. That was not quite unexpected. That last addition, however, was. "…full Lieutenant?" It came out as a squeak.

"I was going to save it for the party, but I felt you deserved something more personal after everything that transpired." Rochelle nodded, watching Ra'lin's reactions with piqued brows. "So merry early Christmas to the both of you. I'll let you free him from Ch'Valenvok's quarters and show him to his own. He'll be studying Starfleet Medicine while serving with us and acting as a 'nurse'." The Commodore's fingers flickered around the invisible essence of the word nurse.

Impulsively, Ra'lin reached over and hugged the Commodore. She blushed, a deep red, immediately afterwards, but still managed to whisper a "Thank you," into the other woman's ear.

Hugs were in short supply. Very very few individuals felt comfortable enough to wrap their arms around the fiery young woman so few, in fact, that she could count them all on one hand and have spare fingers. Ra'lin, however, ticked off yet another spot it seemed. "You don't have to thank me." She nodded, hugging the newly minted Lieutenant back, "You more than earned it... Both of you."

Still blushing fiercely, still grinning from ear to ear, Ra'lin tried to look solemn but failed. She straightened her shirt and coughed slightly. "Um. I believe we were talking about, ah, tea?"

"Yes!" Rochelle exclaimed, clearing her own throat and nodding emphatically, "tea!"

---

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

Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer
Captain's Yeoman
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

 

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