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JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Sha'mer | "That Bitterness, That Ridicule"

Posted on 241810.08 @ 10:41 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer

Mission: Lacuna

Another shift burned down the wick, another day nearly extinguished by the remnants of memories and tireless affairs of work and the heart that carelessly co-mingled. Rochelle, stalwart and steadfast, spearheaded the motions to bring the Vindicator back out into open space through a quick demand to be made in secret, and promised to be fulfilled in public. Admiral Red would undoubtedly open the gates and freed the horses, so to speak, and Rochelle was quick to take the cue to be free and far away from anywhere that anyone unwanted could dare to reach her.

Landon Neyes especially.

Her eyes closed at such a thought, his name a hot brand against her soul. No matter what, there was little she could do to shake the man's spirit. He was stubborn and wild, showing every sign of being restored to the puckish young Captain she'd first met all those years ago. The one with amused defiance burning in his eyes. The one that she'd followed to hell and back. The one that, eventually, had condemned her to hell.

Ok. Maybe it wasn't that far. Maybe it wasn't that malicious. He hadn't intentionally done what he'd done for the sole purpose of hurting her - but he had. And now this... A work of legal witchcraft she couldn't have avoided, but she could avoid him, slinking out into the black like a shadow reaching for the night. It would have felt glorious if it wasn't admitting to defeat and choosing to retreat. That alone was the key thought playing heavy on her mind.

"How much longer until the ship is ready for departure?" She asked, finally looking up from the undulating swirls of cobalt and copper stone. Her palms lay pressed against the cool surface of her desk - and though her head hung and her shoulders slumped, there was still that ever present hint of control and power lurking and looming within the resonance of her voice.

"If we ignore all the hemming and hawing of all the departments, who are complaining that they need a little more time for this and for that… We're basically good to go," Ra'lin said. "All systems are up and running, Engineering has done all the required checks and more…" she smiled, knowing that Engineering always wanted to do that one extra test. Their instruments and reports said the ship was ready, but the Engineer's mind always came up with one more test, one extra diagnostic to see if the latest tweak improved efficiency and output by what always seemed to amount to 0.017 percent.

"We're fully stocked on fresh food and drinks and medical supplies…" She knew for a fact that Ops and Logistics had raided some special bars in order to fully stock the ship's bar with exotic drinks – one of the perks of being a yeoman was that there were few things she *didn't* know on the ship. Sometimes she wondered what it would be like if she and Archer actually would sit down and compare notes. She smiled to herself, knowing how unlikely that scenario was.

"Everyone on the ship is present and accounted for or can be recalled at the tap of two buttons, Comm and Transport. You give the word, we can cut moorings and leave." Ra'lin grinned briefly at that, remembering how she had entered the Vindicator for the first time – at the very moment the ship was about to depart, the actual airlock was beginning to cycle, the docking clamps had been released as she ran through the ship to report in on the bridge. She had entered this ship running and it sometimes felt as if she'd never stopped.

The Commodore nodded, deep in thought. Cutting short their little holiday would be such a shame - but this was Starfleet and they'd been on holiday for the better part of several months while the ship was put back together and investigations made into both Lieutenant MacLeod and Landon Neyes. Landon was 'gone', Craig had quickly become a beloved member of the crew - even if she herself still hadn't warmed up to him. Almar was never far, neither was Archer for that matter. The two of them were in near constant orbit of her, checking and watching - Ra'lin had become a third object in her proverbial sky doing much the same, but privy to perhaps even more than Archer himself given the nature of conversations and friendship.

Her lips pressed together briefly, parting to allow her to draw in a deeper breath and release it in a long, slow process. Andrea had taught her several meditation techniques. Sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't, but they were always worth a shot. "Make it so. Alert Commander Dahe'el that we're departing within the next three hours and not a minute later. I expect his presence on the bridge when we pull this bird out of orbit. The space around Apsha is treacherous, to say the least."

Ra'lin nodded, efficient as always. "Anything the Commander should be aware of that he isn't already?" she asked, running the sequence of events already through her mind. Inform XO and department heads for a crew recall, give everyone a warning to round off whatever they were doing in a hurry, make sure that Station Ops was aware of their intended departure time and clear it with them for okay – she didn't foresee any problems, but then again, she wasn't Station Ops and not aware of their situation or time table.

"He's aware of most everything up to and including the fact that Landon has gone and fucked things up once again." The redhead's tone was clipped and terse, but her eyes were quick to avoid Ra'lin and settle for the flicker of a starscape that appeared with nothing more than the touch of a finger. It marked their plotted course through space, up to and including the badlands that blocked Apsha from their side of space. The Vindicator-E had made it through with no problem, and had the maneuverability of a brick - their slightly smaller, faster, more agile Vindicator-F would make the journey without worry. "That's our destination. Diplomatic mission to make sure the Ascendancy knows we're more than happy with them and not afraid to go back after what happened last time. No hard feelings across the board." She didn't feel the need to explain the formal dinners or beach-side explorations or the fact the Federation wanted to explore the interior of the planet and learn more about the wormhole that had been eluded to on many an occasion. All of that could wait until they were underway. All of that could wait until she was in a much better mood.

One of Ra'lins eyebrows twitched at the Commodore's seemingly casual mention of the name of her ex-husband, but she didn't comment. This was neither the time nor the place. Maybe later, during a late tea-time session, or something stronger, but not now. She studied the starscape and resolved to go down to Stellar Cartography and look at that section of space more closely later. She wanted to go there anyway and see how her friend was doing after her recent ordeal. "I'm sure with Si'a back safe and sound, they'll be more than happy to receive us," Ra'lin replied.

Rochelle nodded, "That's what I'm hearing." The Ascendancy had more or less opened its arms wide to embrace the return of the Federation to Apsha. The Empress, having only just returned home herself, had come across as overjoyed to be given the option to sit, talk, and mend fences with a group of people that had just gone to hell and back to salvage the life of not one, but two, of their citizens. Vorta, apparently, were under the safeguard of the Stenellis strong hold - an interesting tid bit if there ever was one. "We'll be finding out what their sentiments are rather shortly, though, so no sense worrying over it."

Ra'lin grinned briefly. "I don't think the general mood is worry. Scuttlebutt already has it that Apsha is our next destination. And I'm not sure if poor Si'a and Anaxar are aware of it, but half the rumour mill has to do with them." Another advantage of a yeoman: since Ra'lin had contacts with all departments and all layers of the crew, she caught more than her share of rumours, though she herself barely partook and neither confirmed nor denied them. People just naturally seemed to talk around her, and she was always more than willing to listen.

"I'm not surprised," finally looking up, she caught Ra'lin's gaze and evanescent grin - it was fleeting, but it spoke volumes and Rochelle couldn't help but shake her head in a more good natured fashion, "Si'a went away, Anaxar flipped his lid, and she returns looking either extremely well fed or pregnant with Anaxar super glued to her hip... Rumor mill has to be going completely ape with that game of connect the dots." At least, for once, the rumors weren't circulating about her... Or rather, her love life. "Now we're headed to Apsha... Yep. It's like grapevine Christmas."

"Oh yes, isn't it just. There are bets hinging on whether Anaxar has, ah, 'popped the question' or not. And bets whether Si'a has asked *him*." Another flash of a grin and Ra'lin stood up. "Anyway, if that's all, I'd better be going and prod some people into action. I can already hear Science and Engineering complain when they hear 'three hours'."

"They'd lose their minds if they knew the two of them are technically married. Apsha would be a good place to make that official..." Even with her own life coming apart at the seams, the part of Rochelle Ivanova that remained a hopeless romantic couldn't help but bubble to the surface. Her eyes narrowed in thought, the gears in her head spinning quicker and quicker as the tactical edge began to creep in and marry itself to the diplomatic edge and together they became swingers with the romanticism that continued to lurk around as a third wheel, "What better way to show that we hold no ill will than by making their union official on Apsha? He's a citizen of the Federation, she's a citizen of the Ascendancy and they love one another." There was a shrug as if the entire situation was simple as pie, "Of course they would have to genuinely want it. I wouldn't push. While you're down in Science, maybe see how Mr. Shran feels about it?"

Ra'lin smiled. "I'm not one of his most popular crewmates, on account of me being a telepath and all. Then again, I don't think there are many people he socialises with," Well, barring Si'a, but she could hardly ask her to ask him, now could she? He definitely was one of the more enigmatic crewmembers of the Vindicator lot, "so I'll give it a try."

The Commodore shrugged, "A little conversation never hurt..." She paused, realized the error of that sentence, and sighed with a wry smile, "I'm not even going to finish that thought. Good luck. let me know how it goes and I'll see you at launch."

"Ma'am, yes, ma'am," Ra'lin said with a grin and a small wave, and disappeared quickly before Rochelle could reply.

---

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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