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JL| Com Ivanova, Mr PontBrillant | "Penny Serenade"

Posted on 241803.13 @ 11:46 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Vlimar PontBrillant

Mission: Lacuna

Holodeck 7 – Public simulation – Grand Study Hall, New York Public Library, 1940’s

Vlimar had been sitting in one of the reclusive leather couches in a corner of the Grand Study Hall of the NYC Public Library. Not just any time, not just any place - 1940s New York. The simulation was for public access, had been running for a few days - more or less since the Vindicator had been docked. He believed, with accuracy, that humans would find this place resourceful and interesting, a throwback in a much simpler era.

More importantly, he'd deactivated holocharacters if only to keep the noise to a minimum. It left him sitting relatively, enjoying “Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage”, with its old, period correct, leathery cover. His body was sitting slightly at an angle, a replicated cigar table resting next to him. Naturally, on the table was smoking a Romeo y Julieta Vintage #7, offering the distinctive smell of quality tobacco burning in the surrounding area.

When Rochelle had located him at long last, she hadn't dared to dream that she'd be walking into some retro time machine. She'd more or less expected to find him scouting a vineyard, basking on a beach in San Tropez... Anything but smoking a cigar and drowning himself in a good book. Nor had she expected to step foot into a program that would suck her, and anyone else that entered, into more period correct garb in order to support full assimilation with the program. "God Da--" she yelped as she nearly went over on unexpected stiletto heels that had replaced the comfortable boots that had previously adorned her feet. Seeing eyes falling on her, recognizing the era, she was quick to catch her tongue, and her balance, and sigh a "Bless it." rather than the swear that poked at her tongue like hot pepper. Gone were the jeans, the delicate blouse. Instead she found herself in the distinctive silks and furs wrapped about her body in a way that both hid and accentuated her femininity. The skirt, a full circle, rested of the swish and ruffle of a proper crinoline and her hands, delicate as they were, found themselves covered in black gloves that matched the rest of the ensemble.

"Damn the man." She swore under her breath as she caught sight of herself in the library's lobby mirror and she reached to tuck her pinned hair back under the fedora that had been carefully set upon the painstakingly curled and lifted locks of copper. It was a look that would have taken her hours to accomplish, but in the blink of an eye she'd become a red haired version of Cary Grant's best wet dream. A quick sigh and shake of her head, and she was once more off to find Vlimar - this time her steps were accentuated by the colorful click of heels against polished marble instead of the stomp of boots against carpeted corridors. Of course when she found him, dragging on that fine cigar, she wasn't quite prepared for the dapper tweed shrouded gentleman she encountered. "We need to talk about your pet." She managed to utter, resting her hands on her hips as she came to a stop.

While recognized the distinctive, loud, regular steps of a pair of stilettos hitting the polished marble, Vlimar's eyes never bothered to look up. The sounds emitted by the era appropriate shoes were definitely coming from one who had some training both in wearing such apparel and had developed the distinctive metronome like cadence of military-trained personnel. As the steps became louder, he only assumed that someone was coming to subtract his attention from his book and sighed, tasting the cigar, slowly expelling the thick, blueish smoke out of his mouth before deposing the cigar back on its table and languidly finishing the last sentence of page 49. Then he heard Rochelle's melodic voice, garnished with a hint of annoyance.

“Yes, I need to spend some time to teach her new tricks," he sighed, his eyes still glued to his book. “Unless you are not talking about…” he began to speak again, and his eyes brushed from the book onto Rochelle fixing, originally, to do nothing more that merely acknowledge her presence. “… good God.” whispered the Frenchman, surprised by the woman standing in front of him. The black dress clashing with the copper hair, in such elegance, such poise.

Whether her ambivalence to his attention, the way he looked at her, was intentional or simply feigned for the sake of finishing the business she'd intended to conduct, remained a mystery. With her arms folded in front of her chest, it was all too easy to her to stand there tapping one patent leather covered toe, the bow gracing the appropriate ankle bouncing in time with each reporting click of shoe against stone. "She touched me, Vlimar. Reached out and put her damn hand on my shoulder. Haven't you taught her manners or house broken her at all?" Of course her speech was demeaning where the young Lieutenant was concerned, but Rochelle was blissfully uncaring. Her personal bubble had been invaded by a complete stranger. An unwelcomed one at that.

"You of all people should know that I don't enjoy having random people get all touchy feely," Her skin shivered at the thought, any second and she'd begin to pace in order to try and escape the memory of that particularly unwelcome sensation. "You're her teacher, her... Master, whatever you call yourself or find fun to have her call you but I am no--" The Commodore paused in her sudden flourish, the wind up to a full blown dressing down, when she finally allowed her head to cant gently to one side, "What, Vlimar? What is it? Hmm?"

Still, listening to the redhead's complaints, he looked between her and his book an paused. With the book in his left hand, held open by his left thumb, his right hand remained opened and gestured along the length of Rochelle's appearance from her head to her feet. “The roaring 40’s suits you well.” He replied, before offering a gentle smile. His eyes then locked back on the book, which he moved to his right hand.

“I am her mentor. She still have right to some free will, Rochelle.” he answered, resuming his reading.

"Your book is upside down." She quipped, gesturing to the leather-bound novel he cradled so dearly. The changing of hands had somehow managed to rotate the book, leaving it inexcusably upside down and, from that vantage, backwards. It didn't matter, he could have been searching for secret messages for all she knew. With the swish of her skirts, she was in motion again, this time depositing herself in a seat across from him and crossing her legs at the ankles, "Listen... I understand free will, but you are her mentor and you are responsible for her. Have you not informed her that it's in poor taste to randomly touch people, let alone flag officers?" Rochelle's head tilted as her mouth formed around the question, an elbow leaning on the arm of her chair. This was better than pacing.

Vlimar, slowly, turned the book in his hands with a sigh while being sure to avoid eye contact with the Commodore. Even without saying anything, he'd shared too much with her.

“It is, after all, part of operating procedures, isn’t it ? Touching the flag officer would be…”, his accent drawled off as he finally turned his eyes to catch Rochelle’s gaze, his shy smile beginning to blossom further, “… unacceptable”, he added, deeply referring to events in their past. Events where he'd touched her, lip to lip.

"Completely." Rochelle nodded, a single red brow raising as his quiet demeanor and blossoming smile continued to win out over her firecracker irritation. She wanted to explode, he found away to keep that burning fuse from going off. The twinkle in his topaz eyes, however, did more than just whisper his thoughts and the memories ghosting behind them. It didn't take long for her to catch on, her wind bird walking back to times he hadn't followed her rules, and she hadn't exactly enforced them. Clearing her throat, Rochelle's head shook. "It's inappropriate for her to randomly touch people, especially flag officers. That's all I'm saying."

Vlimar nodded slightly. He offered a broader smile by way of comfort, then returned his eyes to the upright, dusty old book. “I will ensure that such is highlighted for her.” he rumbled and cleared his throat, adding to his sentence with a long sigh, “a good thing I am now a civilian…”

His eyes then returned to Rochelle for a brief moment, gauging her reaction.

The redhead nodded, seemingly sated by his offer to calm the waters and help avoid further tension... If it could be avoided. Townsend seemed relatively clueless at first glance, but Rochelle knee all too well that appearances weren't all they were chalked up to be. Hence her level of suspicion remained on high. As did her level of curiosity regarding the man across from her, "In what regard?" She couldn't help but ask, gloved fingers idly toying with the pleats of her top skirt.

The redhead nodded, seemingly sated by his offer to calm the waters and help avoid further tension... If it could be avoided. Townsend seemed relatively clueless at first glance, but Rochelle knee all too well that appearances weren't all they were chalked up to be. Hence her level of suspicion remained on high. As did her level of curiosity regarding the man across from her, "In what regard?" She couldn't help but ask, gloved fingers idly toying with the pleats of her top skirt.

Vlimar nodded at the first request. He would speak to Elli and would probably provide her with a stern warning to avoid such situations. But, somehow, he found it entertaining. Not at the expense of his relationship with the redhead, but enough to look forward to the conversation building around it.

As Rochelle uttered her question, the Frenchman's eyebrows shot up for a moment as he set his book on the arm of the chair, slowly grabbing the smoking cigar next to him. Only when he withdrew the cigar from his mouth, did he speak, “Well, I would argue that Starfleet protocol would be, somewhat, lacking for me…” he replied and then extended the cigar to the Commodore, “Romeo y Julieta #7, you got to try this.”, he concluded.

"You think you're exempt, do you?" Her hand waved away the offered cigar, "I don't smoke, but thank you. I do, however, remember telling you that you wouldn't do something again unless I asked you to."

Vlimar took a slow drag of his cigar. He put it out of his mouth and observed it, admiring it, turning it sideways, holding the smoke in his mouth. He nodded.

"Exempt? Not entirely. But I do believe that the expectations might be different...", he responded, letting the smoke leave his mouth slowly. "And I stand by my word, I will not do something unless it is requested.", he added, as he deposited the cigar back onto its tray and placed his chin on his closed fist, leaning on the armrest of the chair.

The eyebrow rose again, this time her chin rose and tipped imperceptibly as if to meet the quiet challenge he seemed to be putting forth. "So far, yes... Yes you have stood by your word." Rochelle nodded, conceding the point to him as her weight shifted in her seat, allowing her to recross her ankles and change the angle in which she perched within the leather end chair.

"Voilà." he stated, smiling. "Care for a drink?" he asked, as he snapped his finger, a holoserver appeared.

The waiter stated, with a thick French accent. "Oui, Madame?", he asked Rochelle.

"Ce que le monsieur recommande." Rochelle replied, flicking the briefest of evanescent glances towards the waiter.

Vlimar nodded. "In the spirit of the era. A gimlet for the lady. Je prendrais bien un rye sur glaces.", he ordered.

The man then looked back at Rochelle, a slight shrug of satisfaction was shown. "Tell me more about what you think of... my pet." he asked.

No sooner did the waiter leave, did the redhead's eyes close and her breath pause as she centered herself and her thoughts around the questioned asked, "You want my honest answer or do you want the sugar coated political one?" She asked. In short, she wanted to know who he wanted to hear from; the woman or the Commodore.

Vlimar gave her a look, while tilting his head. "Which one do you think?" he asked, obviously being more interested into the woman than the officer at that point.

"She's too young, Vlimar." Rochelle's lips parted with the tartness of her answer, "Too young and naive to handle the situations dictated by her position and job description... And perhaps too young for your appetite as well." The bright arctic blue of her eyes leveled on the smoky topaz of his, and the conveyance of her words need not be defined any further. Vlimar was a smart man. He'd understand. Of that she was absolutely certain. "I don't see her faring well out in the black."

Smiling, he repeated “Too young…” and paused for a moment before adding“… for my appetite." He was still smiling when the holowaiter walked back with ther two drinks on the tray and carefully set the drinks on the table between the two chairs. The transparent, frosty drink in an open martini glass was set in front of Rochelle, then the amber colored liquid, with a giant ice cube in front of the Vlimar. He reached into his jacket his pocket and handed a US Dollar Bill, circa 1930’s to the waiter, “Keep the change.” He said, then looked back at Rochelle, “My appetite would be, indeed, for a much more mature subject.” His words were calm and casual as he reached for his glass.

Rochelle, nodded, "As well they should be," She replied, gathering up the odd beverage. Alcohol had never quite been her thing, vintage drinks were a mystery altogether - but he'd ordered it and, for sake of propriety and pleasantry, she tried it. Gin. Lime. Not horrible. "You need a woman, Vlimar, not a little girl. You'd get bored rather quickly, or so I'd assume." She shrugged, "You may like that sort of thing. I don't know." Taking another sip, she settled once more.

Vlimar laughed as politely as he could and took a sip of his drink. It did little to hide the wide smile left after that short burst of chuckles, "You think I would have interest in Elli?" he asked, softly.

"Do you?" The redhead returned the question with one of her own, "Far be your love life any of my concern, Vlimar," She added, stealing another sip of the gimlet, "but the question remains all the same... Morbid curiosity, that's what we'll call it."

Vlimar kept smiling. Seeing the woman worry about his love life, his relationship with his protégé felt premature, but there was a history - and it was that history that guided such comments. "I do not, perhaps to the exception of being interested in her capacities in her current role.", he stated, before adding: "Don't get me wrong, she is a fine young woman, but she isn't Rochelle Ivanova."

The redhead's eyes closed at the sound of her own name and the way the intonation behind it resonated and reverberated round and round within her head and being. For now, she chose to dust it off. History refused to stay dead and that history was coming back to poke and prod at her more and more with every passing day, "No," She admitted, reopening her eyes and studying the lead glass transoms over the windows, "That she's not. There's only one of those in the universe, thank the Gods." A soft tilt of her head and tipping of her jaw and her eyes were back upon the tweed clad Frenchman, "I do care about your emotional well being and I'd like to stop a trainwreck before it happens." She paused, those bright blue eyes redirecting her gaze towards her gloved hands, "Picking up the pieces while being so highly visible isn't exactly fun."

Leaning forward, the Frenchman chose to get closer to the Commodore while keeping her personal space in mind. Resting his hand over one of hers seemed like taking an unnecessary risk given the nature of the woman and her contempt for having her space invaded. It rested there calmly, allowing his fingers to quietly stroke along hers until they cam to a rest, "And I thank you for your concern." He murmured low and deep, his signature baritone.

She watched his approach, allowed his hand to ensconce hers, and listened to the way his voice rolled from somewhere deep - the warning of some far away storm brewing from across a summer field. That was the best way to describe him. Rochelle's head shook gently, "I figured you may. Do with it what you will." Her voice was punctuated by a sort of shrug, flippant as it was.


Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer


Vlimar PontBrillant
Civilian Contractor


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