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JL | Lt. Evan Merlin & Rochelle Ivanova (MU) | "Quacks Like A Duck"

Posted on 242004.11 @ 14:04 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Ebbtide

A rumble in the stomach region of Cold Station Theta's weirdo Lieutenant reminded him that it was probably a wise thing to sit down and eat. He crammed as many reports on the PADD in his hand as he could and set off for the Promenade. It was good a place as any to read up, and certainly a lot better than spending all his time in Ops. People there needed some time to work without a Command officer looking over their shoulder all the time.

The station's Promenade. Three stacked rings filled with shops, bars and restaurants. He picked a place at random. It turned out to be a new bar called 'The Interstellar Cookbook', which advertised with 'A Fusion Blend of Many Cultures And Foods.' This could be either very bad or very promising. The Lieutenant, choosing to see the positive side of everything, fervently hoped it would be the latter.

He settled down at one of the bistro tables and had just received a menu from a Risian waiter when someone caught his eye. A familiar appearance. Wasn't that the fiery-haired Vindicator CO?

'Home' was on her mind, and the only way to get 'home' was to head ffto an obscure part of the station where she could be lifted by any number of sneaky ways by the Romulans laying in way just off the port side. It wasn't a giddy time, but at least she had news to share and a way to keep Tr'Bak pleased - not that he wasn't always pleased as punch with her. Sometimes it seemed as if all she needed to do to keep him entertained was sit and simply smile, show him kindness, some sort of interest. The point that he was hopelessly obsessed with the bitch perched in Command of the USS Vindicator was almost able to be forgotten in lieu of everything else that transpired. Her chance encounter with the Diplomat, however, stood things on end.

Time and time again, it became overly apparent that Rochelle's crew genuinely loved her. Not her power, not what she represented, they loved her. Even the new diplomat felt safe enough to take a moment to vent his woes when he thought he was comfortably sat beside her. It had taken her aback, left her feeling spun out and it had taken her a few seconds to figure out an adequate response. 'What would the Commodore do?' became a bit of a mantra driving her as she continued to work for answers to questions raised and unbidden. To have a life like that, to be loved like that, was that not a dream? There wasn't a sane person alive that wouldn't want that for themselves - and now that hate had begun to mold into jealousy and the desire for freedom intensified.

New eyes landed on her though, and she could feel them. They were intense, scrutinizing, eyes that beheld her every move and simply didn't belong to anyone she knew or thought she wanted to know. Finding the watcher wasn't difficult, she simply followed the line of sight back until they rested on a dark haired gentleman sat at one of the cafes. Her gait slowed as she tried to identify him - he wasn't a Vindicator.

The moment the Lieutenant saw he had been spotted, he didn't look away with the guilty 'who me? Was i staring? I wasn't staring' look that was the usual reaction in these circumstances. Instead he gave the woman a friendly wave and smiled. The man pointed at ore of the free seats, an open invitation.

'Escape' thwarted, the redhead dropped from her purpose driven momentum and offered him a nod. Quickly she sorted through the memories of names and faces of the crew of the damnable station and was two strikes out when his finally clicked on, like a light bulb, in her brain, "What brings you out on the promenade, Lieutenant Merlin?" She asked, pouring herself into one of the offered seats and folding her legs, "Find some sort of enchantment or is it just run of the mill lunchtime demands for sustenance?" Smooth.

Now what was that saying? If it walks like a duck... She walked like a duck, quacked like a duck... yet she wasn't one. Noor was she the Commodore he had encountered before. She looked like her, sounded like her, but there were subtle differences. The way she moved, for instance. The Commodore walked with a calm, confident grace. This woman moved like a panther, ever ready to jump into action. A different kind of alertness too, a continuous assessment of the situation around her, as if the station was a lace rice with potential dangers instead of a home away from home.

More than half of this analysis played in the Lieutenants subconscious, but it added up to the realization that this woman was not who she seemed to be. Which begged the interesting question: who was she? "Hi!" He said cheerfully. "First time in this station? I'm sure we haven't met before." He had to admit she'd done her homework, though.

"Pretty sure we've sat at a briefing or two together, Lieutenant." Rochelle replied with a swift upward slide of her brow, "In fact I'm quite positive of it. More than likely at the masquerade as well." A summer's breeze couldn't have been as collected as she, even when faced with the adversity of the station's resident nut job. Thirteen or so years ago he'd been found floating in an unidentifiable pod, that much had been highlighted in his records and she could see, and read it, clear as day if she bothered to truly recollect it. Push come to shove, she knew very few would believe his story if he chose to push the point. If brought to the Commodore even she was likely to dismiss it as a complete fantasy - those were all aces and trump cards well tucked into her hand.

"Pretty sure we haven't," the Lieutenant said with a grin. Interesting that she mentioned the ball, especially interesting considering the way it ended. One of the many PADDs he'd read during the past few days had informed him of the origin of one of the Vokars. It didn't take a genius to figure out who this woman had to be, then. "Though it must be hard to walk around beating another's face..." he added, softer. "Would you care to join me for lunch? Or dinner, whatever the time is? I don't know, do you feel more like lunch or dinner?"

Her head canted off to the right, her eyes narrowing as she took him in - looking at him as if he'd suddenly sprouted ten more heads, "Are you... Feeling alright... Lieutenant?" She asked, flagging down a server and ordering a tall glass of ice water. "I'd heard things were tense aboard the station since the explosion, but have you had yourself checked out for head trauma?"

The Lieutenant sighed and shook his head. "Alright," he said. "Now it's like this. I know who you're not, and with that ball you mentioned I have at least one solid option as to who you are. Now, if that guess is correct, it might be hard to wrap your had around this concept, but please do try. I don't care. You're fascinating. There is..." he looked at her, in her eyes, and almost of its own volition one of the glass balls appeared and began to weave a dance. "...a darkness in you, and pain. Same face, yes, different set of scars. Now, of course you usually get away with it. Most people don't look, they glance and assume. But I'm interested in you, not in who you pretend to be. So, the important question is now," her landed forward, intently, "dinner or lunch? "

"Commander Rush is the station's Counselor, right?" Rochelle posed the question, knowing the answer extremely well. The water arrived about the same time she set her jaw, defiant as ever, and met the strange one's eyes with her own. Thanking the server, she slid the glass towards him, "You need this more than I do, Lieutenant," She nearly hissed, her lips and tongue coiling around the pronunciation of his rank with rancor and venom dripping, "Were I you, I'd sip it slowly on your way to the good Commander's office. Be sure to tell him that you insulted a flag officer because I'll be sure to mention it when I submit my report chit demanding your formal reprimand." Unfolding those coltish legs, she found her feet and immediately tugged at the hem of her shirt. Dealing with him would prove to be interesting. It was only a pity she'd been out in civilian clothing, "Enjoy the rest of your evening."

"Oh, miss Ivanova, please do!" the Lieutenant breathed. He grinned as if she'd just presented her with the most amazing gift. "Please do log a formal reprimand!" His eyes twinkled. "Betcha you won't, though. Anyway…" he rose smoothly and gave her a bow. "It really has been a pleasure to meet you. Hopefully, if there is a next time, you will allow me to show you the real you."

He waited until she had left, picked up the drink she had ordered and took a small sip in the meantime. "Synthale. Figures," he muttered. "I'm sorry, dear, but my dinner will have to wait. Duty calls and all that," he said to the waiter once the faux Commodore had left.

One of the interesting things the other Ivanova hadn't known was that, just before he'd left Central Ops, he had received a report from the Vindicator. Command Level only, and only because of the close cooperation between the two crews. The report mentioned that the Commodore had collapsed in her office and was now recuperating. She was expected to make a full recovery, but it would take time.

And there was no way she could have recovered in that short a time.

---

Lieutenant Evan Merlin
Acting Executive Officer
COLD STATION THETA, SB-1170

Rochelle Ivanova (MU)
Privateer
Romulan Star Empire

 

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