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JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Merlin | "Riddikulus"

Posted on 242004.11 @ 23:44 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Lacuna

Less than ten minutes later, the Lieutenant entered Ops again, humming 'Mirror, Mirror On The Wall' under his breath. This time, though, he only gave a passing nod to the people in the room before crossing to the XO's office. His office, for now. "Computer, open a channel to the USS Vindicator, maximum security, directly to both Commodore Ivanova and Commander Dahe'el." He wasn't sure whether or not the Commodore would be awake yet, if not, the computer would record the message. He was absolutely sure, on the other hand, that the Commander would receive it. "This is Lieutenant Evan Merlin from Cold Station Theta. I want to appraise you of the fact that your stunt double is walking around on this station, Commodore. I'm sure you'll know what this means. If not, please let me know when it'll be convenient for me to give you an explanation. In person."

That had been the better part of two hours ago and Rochelle now sat propped up in bed with an eyebrow raised as she waited for an explanation to come from a man she'd only seen a handful of times and knew virtually nothing about... Beyond the fact that most everyone had branded him as being batshit insane. Everyone, that was, aside from the Empress of the Stenellian Ascendancy - and that was a dubious relationship at best as far as the normally fiery redhead was concerned. "Lieutenant Merlin..." She began, nodding to him and gesturing to one of the more comfortable chairs placed in a parlor ensemble near the large window framing the bedroom, "I have to admit, your message has me a bit confused, but it seems that you're interested in explaining yourself, so go ahead."

Oh, the difference between the two women was remarkable, now that he'd seen the mirror first, and the original now. The similiaries were remarkable, too, but seen one after the other the differences were clear. Even if the Commodore was at her best, which she clearly wasn't.

He lowered himself into the indicated chairs and handed her a PADD. "It might be easier to show you the footage first. Taken from the second Promenade level, time-stamped and all. That was not long after the report about your health status was sent, and while the USS Vindicator was still at yellow alert. There's no sound, just video imaging from the security camera's – and they have been closely monitored ever since two people disappeared from the station." He shut up and waited until she had finished watching the PADD.

It took a few moments to finish the footage, but at the end Rochelle would admit a piqued interest in just what was going on. "Everyone has twin out there somewhere, I'm sure you've heard that turn of phrase." She replied, calm as could be, " I see no uniform, just a woman in a hurry. Probably trying to catch a flight." The hustle in her doppelganger's stride spoke of purpose and a desire to get somewhere quick. She couldn't fault someone for that, not even for a second.

The Lieutenant nodded. "Of course. Only, in most cases, that twin doesn't claim to be someone else." He settled back in the chair. "She strongly suggested she was you. Claimed that I have met her in several meetings and at the ball. Now, at the end of the ball, a curious incident happened. I only caught half of it at the time, but I read up on the incident later. Two men wearing the same face, one from this universe, one from another. Apparently, at some point in the past, they switched places, whereupon the imposter lived the life of the original here. And this is far from the first time this has occurred. I did some more reading and found that the first encounter with the Mirror Universe dates back to the time of the original NX Enterprise, even before the original Federation was founded. It's not even the first time two Captains changed places, with the Mirror Universe version successfully replacing the original for a considerable amount of time.

"So, here is my dilemma, Commodore. I have seen two people in the last two hours, wearing the same face. One of them says she has met me on several occasions, during official meetings where the Commodore was present. The other one wears the uniform and sits in the ready room of this ship. Which one is the real Commodore Ivanova? Of course, you are going to say that you are. She would say that she is." He smiled. "Pretty puzzle, isn't it?"

There was silence for a moment as Rochelle considered his words and smoothed her hands across the comforter draped over her lap, "Somehow I don't think this is a case of a mirror clone, Lieutenant. Just a cheap parlor trick by a woman who shares an uncanny likeness with me." She began, meeting his eyes, "So far no harm has been done, no sign of her near the ship. Your station is full of pick pockets and people looking for handouts. Is she worth keeping an eye on? Of course. Am I worried? No." She shrugged gently, "Is she aware of your... Theories? Feelings? Knowledge that she, in fact, isn't me?"

"Cheap parlor trick or no, Commodore, I have seen both of you in action. If that woman dresses in your uniform, walks up to this bridge – or into our Ops centre, for that matter – and starts giving orders, people will obey. It's more than an uncanny likeness. She talks like you, she acts like you. And not knowing which Commodore is the real one worries me." The Lieutenant tilted his head. "And it should worry you. And as for my knowledge of who is who? My theories? Commodore, what makes you think that I think you are the real one?"

"Worry, sure. With this ship at yellow alert there's very few people coming on or going off. The fact you're here is because I allowed and insisted." Growing tired, weary even, Rochelle's head shook and she waved a hand in a dismissive manner, "There's nothing we can do about her at the moment, Lieutenant. You saw through the act, that means others will too. If she puts on a uniform then we can apprehend her for impersonating an officer and have her questioned. And as far as your last remark..." The full pout of her lips curved into the smallest of smiles, "That's just it... I don't think anything of the kind."

The Lieutenant frowned. "Commodore, I have just told you several times – and I am sure that with this ship on yellow alert, this conversation is recorded and logged – that I do not know which of you is which. I have no conclusive proof of either. So I have no choice but to present this dillemma to my superior, as well, now that I have appraised you of the situation." He rose and gave a polite nod. "Commodore, I wish you a speedy recovery."

"Lieutenant Merlin, were it of paramount importance or a true threat, I assure you that something would be done immediately. Seeing as no crime has been committed and that mirror clones have a completely different quantum signature than those of us born in this universe, I see absolutely no reason to panic." The smile widened as she spoke, her head tilting as she watched him, "Science is truly a beautiful thing, Lieutenant, even if it means having to study someone down to the molecular level. Now you know my reason for being more aloof and confident in my ability to prove who I am. In short... I haven't a single iota of a damn to give when it comes to this when I have missing officers to account for. I'd suggest putting your attention back on solving that problem before one, or both, turn up dead."

The smile began to fade as the woman's shoulder's squared back and her every bit of amusement drained from her cool blue eyes. Where his were perpetual liquid, hers were the frozen north sea, "Rule number one of Command; learn how to prioritize." One of her hands lifted from the comforter, palm up and prone, "Take a sample. Have it run. Then get back on task."

"Thank you, Commodore," the Lieutenant said. He took a sample, swiftly and with a minimum amount of fuzz. "I have no new information about the possible whereabouts of any of the missing officers, unfortunately. So though I wish I could devote my energy to that, if I have no information, there is nothing I can do. I can pull glass balls out of my sleeve, but no information, much to my regret. A situation where one Commodore can impersonate another, however, is an acute risk. Especially since we haven't determined yet whether the explosion was an accident or not. Commodore, I am glad you are not worried. However, I am. Unless you are prepared to have another sample taken and run every time you give an order.

"I am sorry for the necessity to have to disturb you for this, though. So, with your permission?" He gave a slight nod towards the door. Protocols mattered little to him, but he knew that the more pips people wore – especially when they were boxed in – the more they tended to set store by them.

"Then talk to your intelligence officers. The community as a whole are sneaky and underhanded. Sometimes they keep their cards to themselves." She groused, wincing at the sudden prick of her finger, "It is up to you to poke at them, see what they have. You seem to be a smart man, Lieutenant, you can extrapolate data." Pulling her hand back, she examined the bead of blood left behind and couldn't help but glower at the man. "Someday we'll have a conversation about necessities. You're dismissed." Which, in all reality, was a gossamer veiled demand for him to get off her ship.

"Thank you for your advice, Commodore. Be well." And with another slight nod, the Lieutenant disappeared. One sample to analyse. A glass containing finger prints and possible DNA to analyse as well. And he made a mental memo to have another talk with LtCmdr. Stacker. Maybe if he shook that tree hard enough, something useful would fall out.

---

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

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

 

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