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JDL | Adm Sean Archer, Com Rochelle Ivanova | "Finite"

Posted on 241712.29 @ 01:38 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Admiral Sean Archer

Mission: Ballynamony

Sitting in front of Sean Archer had never been her idea of fun, but Rochelle knew better than to whine… Even mentally. The regal, aging Admiral was a force to be reckoned with – one of Starfleet’s finest with a pedigree and record for greatness that had easily seen him through to the big chair even when he refused to play the game of politician. Looking at him, his blue eyes glistening, there was little doubt in her mind that the man’s salt had passed on to his son – and little doubt why. Those eyes shone with intelligence and scrutiny as much as they shone with life and his personal brand of mirth.

She’d never ask or second guess him, but she could have sworn she felt him learning her – studying the way she held herself in front of him. Being weighed and measured was something that she’d long gotten used to as a Skipper, especially one as unconventional as she was. Her own father had often gazed at her in much the same way over the years she’d served beneath him. Unlike Xander Hark, however, the eyes boring down on her from across the poshness of that mahogany desk betrayed nothing insofar as what it was the Admiral was thinking. For a moment, she was amused – left to believe that the thirty-some-odd years he’d spent as a father to dear Jimmy had prepared him well for the role he now filled. It was an amusement that refused to settle for long, touching briefly and disappearing back into the ether by which it came. There would be no place for it here. “I’m sorry I had to trouble you like this, Admiral.” The ice broke, her voice rising softly to pave the way for discussion, “As I’m sure Commodore Jorgun and Fleet Admiral Red have informed you, I take full responsibility for what happened on that planet and after our return.”

One of Sean’s hands came up, stilling her before she could continue. “Before we get to that point, I have a gift for you.” He started, letting the hand come down to tease open a drawer and withdraw an oak box, “Something long overdue that you’ve earned.” The box met the desktop with a gentle thunk and hiss as it slid, open faced and allowing the pips of a Rear Admiral to gleam in the light, towards her. “Now… Rochelle… What exactly happened?” He asked, settling back into the depths of his chair – those big hands coming to fold behind his head as he awaited the tale.

A quick glance towards the pips, and Rochelle felt her blood begin to curdle in her veins. A promotion would be punishment, banning her from the stars and wrenching the Vindicator from her grasp as she’d be forced to jockey a desk instead of a starship. Her tongue briefly worried her lower lip before she straightened herself out, cleared her throat, and wrung her hands, hidden in the seat of her lap, “Sir, it’s like I said in my reports to you. The Vindicator entered the expanse and the decision was made to release a shuttle piloted by Captain Neyes. We chose to have the ship follow the shuttle in the event that it met with trouble, only we weren’t anticipating the brand of trouble we received. We figured Ferengi pirates, some sort of radical group, but not a rift in time. The shuttle and the ship were pulled through which resulted in the shuttle’s loss of control and crashing onto an unknown planet inhabited by a very human race.” She paused then, her brow furrowing, “If I didn’t know better I’d say they were human… References to several Earth locations were made, the topography of the planet was eerily similar. Anyway…” Her head shook as if it didn’t matter, “Captain Neyes and his crew were badly injured and taken captive as spies. The decision was made to more or less have an away team masquerade as members of society in order to retrieve our team and get out before the system’s star went supernova. Commander Archer was instrumental in this process, but we were unfortunate enough to lose Ensign Irma Harvey to a pathogen encountered planetside before we were successful in retrieving the crew. In that process, however, a local doctor was all that stood between death and Lieutenant Anaxar Shran and Lieutenant Si’a Dai’xun. His actions are the sole reason those two are still alive and he was rescued by Lieutenant Ch’Valenvok when the locals turned on him for his kindness and actions towards our crew. This resulted in him being stowed away and brought back to the Vindicator. It was revealed to me only after Vice Admiral Archer, Commodore Levine, and Ms. Atarah had assisted the Vindicator back through the void. Lieutenant Ra’lin Sha’mer confessed and received a bust in rank for her actions. Mr. MacLeod has been under arrest and in the care of Lieutenant Ch’Valenvok ever since.” She should have shut her mouth there, let it rest as is… But that had never been Rochelle’s modus operendi, “If I may, Sir… Mr. MacLeod has well proven his merit and has been an asset to our crew. He’s shown an exemplary skill for understanding our culture – one that speaks volumes and suggests that he may not be a native member of that society. Lieutenant Evan Merlin was another mystery that sort of floated out of the expanse and was accepted into not only the Federation, but Starfleet as an officer without so much as an inkling to where he came from, who he was or what he is. I can only hope that is taken into consideration when his fate is decided.”

There was silence between them as Sean digested her story with an upswept brow and the shake of his head. “Well Admiral,” He finally sighed, unlocking his hands and leaning forward to rub his fingers across the open lid of the oak box, “Your actions and the actions of your crew, were not only stupid but extremely reckless. And I can’t have Admirals running around doing reckless and stupid things. As such,” The box snapped shut beneath the weight of his hand, concealing the pips and dragging them away back into the bowels of his desk drawer, “I hereby reduce your rank back to Commodore and worse…” He sighed, rubbing his face, “Return you to the command of the USS Vindicator with my son on board.”

For once in her life she felt no urge to argue with a member of the Admiralty over their verdict. In fact, she found herself nodding in complete agreement. “Yes, Sir, Extremely stupid.” The disappearance of the pips only served to help her relax, allowed her to focus better on the here and now. The mention of serving the Vindicator and, essentially, being stuck with James only made her sense of security grow. Sean Archer was being merciful for reasons that remained unseen and were best left unquestioned – never would she dare look that particular gift horse in the mouth. “I can’t apologize enough for wasting your time and risking Starfleet assets. I’ll do my best to see to it that it doesn’t happen again.” She nodded.

“There’s still the concern of this… What’s his name again?” Sean’s brow furrowed as he scrambled for a PADD, “The weirdo… I don’t know what the fuck his name is. The stow away,”

“MacLeod. Craig MacLeod. Lieutenant in the Continental Army, a doctor.” Rochelle once again cleared her throat and shifted her weight in her seat as she watched him dig through the information on his desk.
“Something’s got to be done about him.” The Admiral snorted, “What do you propose? He can’t very well become a Starfleet officer.”

Blinking, Rochelle shook her head and drew a breath, “If I may be so bold, Admiral, I have to say that I disagree and defer, respectfully, to Cold Station Theta’s own Chief of Special Operations. He’s another unknown from the expanse and yet he handles some of the most delicate work available in one of the most delicate outposts available.” Again her weight shifted and she pushed a rogue bit of hair back behind her ear, “What if Starfleet were to give him a provisional commission under the proviso that he continue to work alongside Lieutenant Ch’Valenvok? There’s a lot we could learn from him about unknown pathogens in this part of space. We’ve already seen conditions resistant to modern medicine. Maybe he holds the key to helping us retrace our steps and come up with new treatments? And where better to do that than on a deep space explorer like Vindicator?” For a man she truly didn’t like, she was sticking her neck out once again. She owed him a debt of gratitude, but if this worked… That debt was done and cast aside. Life for life, it would be fulfilled.

“So… He’s going to work in Starfleet medical? He doesn’t hold a medical degree with Starfleet or any of our allies.” Sean sighed, “But, but, and hear me out, since he does hold a commission in a military organization of sorts… I’ll honor it here with Starfleet.” His jaw crooked to the side as he continued to think, and that hand came up again to still what he knew was about to be some form of protest from the excitable and often argumentative young redhead sat opposite him, “However, he cannot operate as a doctor until he goes through the proper avenues and channels. He can act as a medic or a nurse, but not as a doctor since he can’t legally practice medicine. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal.” Rochelle quipped quickly, “He can study while aboard the Vindicator. We have state of the art everything aboard that ship and it would be considered applied learning.”

“Good. Because the last thing we need is a Colonial doctor practicing medicine and cutting off a finger because of a papercut out of fear of infection.” The Admiral grumbled, muttering something along the lines of ‘because he would, too as he worked on the PADD that would seal the Scot’s fate. It wasn’t long before he was finished and cast that information aside for his aide to file and see off. A brief glance back up at the young woman saw his demeanor shift and soften… The appropriate PADD was removed from a locked desk drawer and set in front of him, “Now… Onto personal matters.” He started, his voice far more somber, “Are you absolutely one-hundred-percent positive that this is what you want? Because once it’s done, there’s no going back.”

For a second silence once more hung between them. Cold, shivering, graceless, it left her feeling empty and hollow – though she knew what she was about to say happened to be the right thing. For all of them. No matter how much it hurt, no matter how big of a defeat it stood to signify, Rochelle knew that prolonging it, slowly tugging the bandage off, would only cause more harm than good. “Yes, sir.” She all but whispered, nodding as she fought to meet his eyes. Loving Landon meant cutting him free and allowing him to seek and receive the help he so desperately needed. After that day, that moment, he’d be nothing more than a distant ghost and a memory. He was already gone, already on a transport back to Sol where help awaited – and with him had gone Tristan and Zed and the only family she’d ever really known outside of Blyx and Andrea. “It’s for the best.”

“Very well,” Sean nodded, choosing not to pry or offer further counsel as he slid the PADD before her, “I’ll need your signature here, here, here…” and looking back up at her he said; “and here.”

She signed as he instructed, choosing not to read much more as her signature scrawled across the digital device. When she was done, she set the stylus down and leaned back in her chair, wordless.

Dotting I’s, crossing T’s, and adding his official seal, Sean did the rest as was mandated by law and his discretion, “Just like that,” He said, turning the PADD off and offering her the briefest of smiles, “You’re a free woman again, Commodore. Use that power wisely.”

“Or not at all.” She replied, fastening a polite smile of her own on for his benefit and his alone, “Thank you, Admiral… For everything.”

“Any time.” He nodded, beginning to shoo her off and away from his desk, “Now go enjoy the party.”

“Yes, sir.” Getting to her feet, Rochelle snapped a hasty salute and beat it from the office as quickly as could still be considered polite. The idea of having fun at a party wasn’t exactly her cup of tea – especially now in the aftermath of everything that had come to pass.

---

Admiral Sean Archer
Commander in Chief
Starfleet

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

 

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