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JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Sha'mer | "Dos Cervezas"

Posted on 242008.13 @ 21:17 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Lacuna

Dusty jeans, dusty boots, dusty hair... And irritation. It had been about half an hour after she'd spoken to Tristan Neyes when she'd come around enough out of her foul brooding to hit her combadge and call Ra'lin. Out of all the people on this ship, her friend was undoubtedly the second most miserable person on it - if Smith and her behavior were any indication of things. Either way, Rochelle eyed the woman sitting on her couch with an element of knowing and suspicion, her fingers curled about the long necks of two ice cold bottles of beer labeled in Spanish.

It wasn't her normal way of tending shop or extinguishing fires... Then again... Divorce had never been on her mind, or drug addiction, or hooking up with her Executive Officer.

That last one was a blatant lie, but it hadn't been something she thought would come to fruition, let alone at the rate and intensity that it had.

Landon was still a sore subject.

Seeing and hearing him babble his apologies, a near profession of love. "Fuck him." she muttered under her breath with a heavy sigh and shake of her head, offering one of the bottles to Ra'lin, "Uno Cerveza," she explained, stepping over to take up residence in a padded seat, "Apparently they help cure what ills you. I wouldn't know. I've always buried my head in various blends of tea."

Ra'lin eyed the bottles with some wariness. She had no idea what was bothering the Commodore (bless telepathic blockers, even if they did make everyone feel like holodeck characters to her – the alternative was still more unpleasant at the moment) and wasn't sure she wanted to. Earlier she had seemed more relaxed. Now relaxed was one of the last words she would use to describe Rochelle. "That doesn't look like synthahol," she said softly.

"That's because its not." The redhead responded, holding up the green bottle in a mock toast before bringing the cold mouth of it to her lips. Beer wasn't her most favorite beverage in the universe, but there was something to be said about the cold, crisp taste that managed to be relatively refreshing... Even if the flavor was less than desirable over all.

"Hm." Another wary look at the bottles. Aside from a few glasses of real wine (spread out over the years, not even enough to empty one bottle), Ra'lin had never indulged in actual alcohol, not even during her Academy years. She knew her mom had no such inhibitions, Ra'lin had seen her drink the blue stuff known as Romulan Ale once, so it probably wasn't detrimental to Vo'Sh'un physiology. But would it lower her inhibitions?

Ra'lin suddenly found she didn't care whether it did or not. "Let's give it a try," she said and gave the bottles a defiant shrug.

A small grin caught the corners of Rochelle's mouth as she studied the bottle in her hand, "I figure it's worth a shot." She began, casting a wary glance of her own towards her comrade, "What with ex-husbands and whatever it is that had you holing up in a lounge... I figured we could use a chance to forget the bullshit." She shrugged, "Or at least loosen us up enough to lay it all out on the table and hopefully move on from it."

"I'd settle for forgetting," Ra'lin muttered. She curled her legs up under her and took the other bottle. Her thoughts briefly flashed back to the first time she met the Commodore. Ra'lin never would've thought they'd end up like this. She almost smiled. "I take it you just had a blast from the past? Or should I wait until the bottle's empty to raise that subject?"

"No one's forgetting tonight. Not you. Not me. No one." The redhead sighed, watching her friend settle on in for the long marathon run ahead of them. "As far as blasts from the past... Sure. You could say that. We can talk about it before the bottle's empty... Drain it in the process... Go for seconds." Rochelle shrugged.

"Draining the bottle sounds good." Ra'lin looked over the rim of the bottle to Rochelle. "So, I believe it's traditional to open with a toast."

The redhead considered this for a second, weighing it with a soft cant of her head to either side before ultimately deciding to capitulate. "What the hell," she smiled with a shrug, "can't hurt anything, right?" The frosty bottle in her hand was raised in Ra'lin's direction, catching the ambient light and glowing green as emeralds as it hung there for a second, "To bullshit. May it decide to leave us the hell alone."

"Sounds good to me," Ra'lin conceded. "To bullshit, then." With a small smile, she lifted her own bottle and lightly touched it against the other one. Then she took her first swig. The taste filled her mouth, it was avid and bitter and made her mouth pucker. Once she'd swallowed, it left an aftertaste in her mouth which was odd, but not unpleasant. She decided, upon reflection, that she could get used to it, with practice.

So in order to practice, she bravely took a second swig.

If the cause for such 'celebration' hadn't been so irreversibly fucked up, Rochelle may have laughed at Ra'lins reaction to the bitter liquid, "It sucks, doesn't it?" She asked after finishing her own sip, "I don't understand how people could revere this crap as some sort of great elixir and cure all." Her lips pursed with a shake of her head, trying to wrap it around the mind altering crap people did to try and find temporary relief from their emotional bumps and bruises. While it wasn't the drugs Landon had gotten into, it was something similar.

The allure just couldn't be found.

"Anyway... Am I supposed to go first or should we start with why you're holed up in one of the lounges?"

"I suppose it's an acquired taste," Ra'lin said, though the expression on her face showed clearly that she was far from acquiring it, as of yet. She carefully considered Rochelle's question. It seemed she hadn't felt anything of Ra'lins mental outburst at all, which most likely meant nobody else on the ship had noticed it either. Well. That was a good thing, she supposed. It also meant that Commander Dahe'el hadn't briefed the Commodore either.

"Something happened which made me blow up most of my shields," she said with an uncomfortable shrug. Along with another person's mind, almost. "You?"

"Yours is a lot more interesting." Rochelle admitted without rancor, her eyebrows raising as she tried to settle in and ignore the nagging feeling that she genuinely had missed something rather massive. "Tristan talked me into watching a quick video of Landon apologizing... Pretty sure we all know how I feel about that." Another long sip was taken of the dishwater type beverage. Gods it was awful stuff, but it had survived for centuries for some reason or another, "Back to you."

Ra'lin took another sip and grimaced. "I think I'll need more of this stuff for that." Just maybe not right away. Would there be any way of getting a bottle of Romulan Ale on this station? Probably, if she looked hard enough. A station this size, one could find anything, given the right contacts and enough latinum. Maybe something to try – later. "So he apologised. Did he do that including puppy eyes 'will you take me back now? I've apologised, so all should be right now, yes' look?"

"I've got a bottle of Saurian Brandy and a couple of Don Julio," The redhead offered with a shrug, anything was better than the damned beer they were trying to kill... Even if at all came from Landon's stash. Largely untouched. I made her wonder why he'd chosen drugs instead of alcohol has his poison of choice. That burned worse than the alcohol. "No. Just... An apology. Half caught 'love you' and more or less just looking... Lost." Another shrug, another sip, another heavy sigh. Landon was one of those topics that hurt, the closure wasn't there and likely never would be - and that troubled Rochelle more than anything else in the universe.

Her weight shifted, the bottle set down for a second but never truly left her fingertips and she pursed her lips in thought, "I've made a decision no one needs to know about," not even Ra'lin, really, but the alcohol had already lowered inhibitions as it coursed through relatively virgin territory. She'd never been a drinker, a glass of wine made her flush, and here she was downing a rough brewed Mexican beer on an empty stomach in a quick period of time, "I'm coming for every monster that every touched him. The ones that twisted his stars into shadows."

Christ... He'd been such a beautiful being when she'd first met him. So much fire and class bound into a perfectly charming package. He was a wild thing that had tamed himself down to become the consummate Captain, and she'd fallen hook, line, and sinker for everything he was and everything he could ever be.

"They turned him into a nightmare, Ra'lin..." She cast her frosty gaze back towards her friend, "So... I'm going to be theirs." Of course... It meant hunting the Romulan responsible for the destruction of that magnificent man and the life she'd loved so much... Enough to overlook the pain and the horror, enough to believe she could save him through the power of sheer will alone.

It wasn't so. She wasn't enough. Neither was anything else but the fall that lead to the revelation of the truth - and that would never be her fault. The beer washed her mouth out with another sip. She cringed.

Ra'lin frowned. It didn't strike her as a good idea, though she wasn't sure she could actually voice why. "Will that help you?" she asked. "Will it help him?" If it did, for either of them, then maybe. But could a Commodore afford to go off on a personal mission of vengeance? Or would she want to bring the Vindicator in for it? There were many people on board who would want to help her, out of respect for her, for the loss of a promising Captain, or both. But Starfleet wouldn't approve, even if they might understand.

And part of her – a small part, but still – was glad that the subject had shifted away from her. At some point it would shift back, no doubt, but maybe the alcohol had some time to work its magic (whatever that magic was) by then.

"That's just it," Rochelle sighed with a small, sardonic smile, "I don't know the answer to those questions. I just know that it sounds, and feels, right." So many lives had been destroyed by the green blooded son of a bitch, more than she could count on fingers and toes combined - but the ones that stood effected the most were readily apparent. Almar, Landon, Tristan, Zed, Javaan, Archer... So man faces, so many names - her own included - that had been spent into the night, pissed into the chilled wind for sake of a game played by a truly demented soul. "I know when an animal has gone mad and is dangerous and unpredictable beyond hope of redemption, the kindest thing to do is put it down." The words even tasted callous, "Vrith Tr'bak needs to be put down before he drives Landon, or anyone else, to that point."

Ra'lins eyes narrowed. "That's the Romulan, right?" She had heard the name mentioned before, most notably in relation to the destruction of the former USS Vindicator. "Don't they take care of their own?" A mad Romulan, an insane one with certain fixations, might be tolerated for a time, but not when the actions of such a man threatened the well-being of the Empire. So if they didn't act, Ra'lin thought, following the trail of thought to its own logical conclusion, that meant they either didn't know – unlikely given how scarily accurate their intelligence was, or were aware of his actions and silently condoning them. Or, and that was maybe the scariest of all, secretly supporting it. Which meant that going after him would only lead to more trouble.

An eyebrow raised and the Commodore's head turned, her lips abandoning the rim of the bottle to quirk into a smirk, "You didn't hear? He's in line to become Praetor." The words were sickly sweet at best, caustic really, and hardly veiled at all by any manner of chance or decorum. "Doesn't matter, Ra'lin... He'll come find us. He never stays away for long, and when he does..." The bottle, or maybe it was her head, moved and the rim found the swell of her lower lip again, "I'll be waiting."

Ra'lin slowly lowered the bottle. No, that was something she hadn't heard. She tried to stay away from the madhouse which were Romulan politics for as long as she could. She frowned, trying to think of all the implications. From her perspective, one big one stood out.

"So wouldn't it cause a major diplomatic incident if you take him out? A setup for a Romulan-Federation war?" Would that be what the Romulans were after? If Tr'Bak was allowed to go on the way he did, he'd be disrupting this sector, if he was taken out, war? What was their game?

"Hardly." Scoffed Rochelle, "They haven't squelched the last few times we've gotten into a dog fight and they've come up empty handed. Not a even a peep of discontent." It did beg to question just what it was the Romulans wanted if they weren't bent on backing up Tr'Bak's increasingly hostile measures. None of it made sense outside of the possibility that Tr'Bak was being given just enough rope to hopefully hang himself in order to keep the current Praetor's head attached to her neck. It was the only possibility she could see that made sense tactically and politically.

"Pretty sure they're of the mindset that you get what you ask for. Fuck with a bull, get the horns and all that." She sighed heavily, leaning back deep into the confines of her seat, "So... Fuck the Romulans for a second... What's the deal with you?"

So, either the Commander hadn't talked with Rochelle yet, or she hadn't had the chance to connect the dots. Ra'lin briefly considered another delaying tactic along the lines of 'Fuck the Romulans? Eww, no!' but decided against it. "There was this situation with Amelia and the replicator first," she began, staring at the nearly empty bottle. The stuff certainly seemed to vanish rather more quickly than she'd anticipated. She held on to that thought and left her mouth to do the talking. "We met in the turbolift later. She apologised. It began like one at any rate. Then she touched me... just my nose... but..." she shrugged, still staring at the bottle. "You know what can happen if someone touches me and I'm not prepared. There was a lot of spillage. She wanted... something... I couldn't give. And I... I was never so glad when the doors opened and I could run out. And she just followed me, she kept on following me, and I was so terrified I'd blast her mind out..." Another shrug. "Tore my shields to shreds so I just... ran to the quietest place on board I could think of." And stayed there until Craig found her, some unknown time later. 

"She... Touched your nose..." Rochelle's eyebrows were perched high, both of them, in incredulous and surprised unison, "And then kept following you..." There was a quick rush of air that escaped the Commodore's mouth and her head shook slowly as if in disbelief, "I'll need to sit down with Almar and Commander Archer, see what the fuck is going on. I knew about the replicator incident, the assault?" The shake was no longer slow, it was quick and ended sharply, "Has she approached you since?"

Ra'lin shook her head. "No. I never gave her the chance, I've been avoiding her." And nearly everyone else, insofar as possible. "She is weird," Ra'lin added slowly. "I don't know why and I don't think I want to know." She shrugged and finished the bottle. "Boring subject," she said. "Moving on."

"Not as boring as you'd think." The redhead snaked a look in her friend's direction, studying her. The fuzz of the alcohol made significant attention difficult to pay. It also deeply tampered with the fiery nature of her temper, choosing to mute it and leave her more subdued and sleepy even though the undercurrent of great aggravation and anger brewed like a tempest off the shore of some sleepy little fishing village. "I'll have it dealt with." She nodded finally, "Expect a formal apology and a permanent wide berth... To say the least." The bottle was brought back to Rochelle's lips for one final pull, draining what little was left.

Ra'lin made a throwaway gesture. The formal apology, though necessary for the record, could stuff itself as far as she was concerned. The wide berth was a good start. "She's a troubled person," she couldn't help but add, though. There were so many things she'd caught in that one single flash in the turbo lift, far more than she'd care to analyse. "Personally, I'd advise her to have some good long sessions with a counselor." She snorted. "Glad I never felt any urge to focus on that field," she added in a mutter. Then she held up the empty bottle. "Stuff seems to have evaporated. Poof! Gone. Just like that." 

"Well then... Here's to round two."


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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