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JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Sha'mer, Lt Shran | "Doubly Blessed"

Posted on 241812.07 @ 01:15 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Ra'lin Sha'mer & Lieutenant Anaxar Shran

Mission: Lacuna

The journey to Justifall had been intricate and different. Rochelle had always been accustomed to relying on technology as a primary source of travel, but when in Rome - or rather Apsha - the traditional way of commuting came by way of sitting warmly on the velvet cushions of an enclosed carriage drawn by a team of four equine type creatures. The rocking of their trip through the snow had almost set her to sleep, and Si'a had seemed more than at ease to travel in such a fashion.

... Even if it turned a 5 minute jaunt into a four hour excursion from the royal city to their cliff top port.

Hours later, well settled into the inn Xue had insisted upon booking them, Rochelle found herself taking up residence in a large lion foot chair nestled into a darker corner near an open marble hearth and open fire. From her vantage she was free to both read the PADD she'd carried down from her room and watch the comings and goings of other patrons as they entered and exited.

Much to his own surprise, Anaxar found he rather enjoyed Apsha. At least these particular parts of it, at this time of year. Everything he had heard of the planet thus far – mostly from crew who had been here before, but also, from time to time, from Si'a – had lead him to believe that Apsha was much like Risa. An eternally gentle, warm climate, with some cooler bits and some tropical ones. Greatly enjoyable for most species, but much too warm and humid for an Andorian. He'd been on Risa once, when the ship he'd served on came there for shore leave, and he'd hated it. Everyone talked about laying on the beach or taking long hikes in Risa's woods or rolling plains. He'd tried the mountains when he heard both terrain and climate was more challenging there, but quickly found that his standards for 'challenging' were apparently different. Together with the other Andorian who served on that ship, they'd returned and spent the rest of their shore leave in the holodeck, where they ran a simulation of Andor's mountains.

But this place had snow! And ice! Not nearly the subzero temperatures which got an Andorian's blood running, but certainly not the tropical temperatures he'd been expecting. He'd spent the afternoon skating, for the first time in years. First with Si'a, then, when it became too cold for her, he'd seen her off and returned for a nice long distance work-out. And now he entered, a few errant snowflakes still adorning his white hair, the web of scars standing out pale across his face. He stomped the snow from his boots and quickly scanned the room to see if Si'a was there.

She wasn't, which didn't really surprise him. She had duties to attend to – not Starfleet related, directly, but duties nonetheless. Still, she'd be back. Maybe this evening, maybe tomorrow, but she'd be back. The thought made him smile.

"Enjoy yourself?" Rochelle felt the good natured rumble of a greeting leave her lips a few seconds before it registered that she'd even been considering doing such - a sure sign pointing towards the fact she was, undoubtedly, lonely. With Almar handling a wide variety of tasks and meetings designed around learning the over all infrastructure of the Ascendancy it was rare as anything to be given more than a moment, maybe two, to sit down and genuinely enjoy another's company. Justifall, though she'd brought companions for the sake of enjoying time together and to allow Si'a to tie up a bunch of loose ends, had become another extension of that. Peering up at the Andorian, the redhead set her PADD in her lap and motioned to the seat across from her, "The fire will help wick away the rest of the snow."

Anaxar ran a hand through his hair, shaking loose the few snowflakes. They landed, half-melted, on the floor. "Yes, it was nice," he said. "Do you skate, Commodore?" He walked over to the indicated chair as he talked and lowered his tall, lanky frame into it, turning the chair a fraction away from the fire.

"Used to," She replied, "Like close to twenty years ago used to." The last time she'd put on a pair of skates and tested her sense of balance on the ice, Rochelle had been twelve or thirteen years old. Just a kid, carefree as anything, and certainly not saddled with the responsibility of a crew and ship, "Something tells me you're a bit of an expert, though." A wry smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. She couldn't help it, he'd given her a bit of an edge in and when it came to bolstering the talented Lieutenant's ego - even just a tiny bit - she'd take the shot every time. So far he hadn't done a damn thing to encourage a lack of faith or trust. If anything, Anaxar had grown in leaps and bounds since he'd been assigned to the Vindicator. "I'll be real with you," The PADD was turned completely off and stowed between her thigh and the arm of her chair as she spoke, giving him her full attention, "The snow and I aren't exactly friends. It's beautiful, majestic even, but there's some bad blood between us." Of course there was... Notura had been a frozen spectacle of wintertide beauty, but it had been the catalyst for so much pain and strife. Snow was the logical point to blame, at least in her mind's eye, and it seemed to represent so much of the struggle that had come.

In Anaxar's case, it had probably been nearly as long since he'd skated, but there were some skills which, once learned, were almost impossible to unlearn. Rediscovering that knowledge had been one of his great joys this afternoon. Spending time with Si'a and teaching her how to skate had been the other.

Rochelle's words, however, brought him back to the present. He regarded her solemnly with his mechanical vision. "Not too surprising, considering your previous experience." The last time she had experienced real snow and ice must've been when Si'a and he and the rest of that away team had been taken prisoner. "And," he added with a slight smile, "it is not the element people tend to associate you with."

The redhead's jaw tightened and her lips pulled into more of a chagrin than anything else - though amusement flashed in her eyes, giving her relatively decent mood away, "I think I've heard something about fire once or twice." She sniffed, walking two fingers along the arm of the chair in a manner that was almost flippant before her hand fell back into her lap and she puffed a small sigh, "It is what it is. To some it brings life and to some it brings death... I suppose that goes for both fire and ice, really, at least you can skate and ski on one."

"Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice…" Anaxar muttered. His antennae twitched, giving the impression that he was staring into the distance even though he had no eyes. Then his face rose, facing hers, and the antennae turned towards Rochelle again. "One would be your nightmare, the other would be mine."

"I would have to say that both would be a relative nightmare to deal with. Good news is that we have discover that there are an infinite number of worlds so we don't have to worry about that, now do we?" MacLeod did. That bit of information tugged gently on the sleeve of her mind as a reminder that MacLeod's planet had been consumed by fire. He'd escaped, of course, because technology and infinite worlds and infinite chances to find a new home yadda yadda - but he'd been lucky, plucked from time itself, to be given another chance at life. It was a reminder of hope - albeit in a strange manner - and it didn't stop her from studying Anaxar's face and reading the meaning of his words. Brushing a strand of hair back behind one of her ears, she offered him a small smile, "Besides..." She began, "You should be concerned more with new life than life ending."

There was that smile of Anaxar again, not the grim and bitter one which had occasionally twisted his features when he just joined the Vincidator crew, but the increasingly less rare, radiant one which lit up his face and transformed it into something almost comely. "That just keeps on hitting me," he confessed. "I hear Si'a and then that second heartbeat, or I'm working and suddenly there's the thought: 'You're going to be a father'. I can't get my mind around it. It's like…" he spread his hands, "…so far beyond anything I've ever thought or imagined, ever thought was possible..." his hands opened like two delicate flowers. "It just keeps on hitting me."

His smile was infectious. Far from being a true empath, Rochelle wasn't exactly immune to the waves of strong emotion rolling off the Andorian across from her. "Life is an outright miracle no matter how you look at it. There will be times, and I mean years from now, when you'll look over at your child and it'll hit you all over again and you'll be totally in awe of what you helped create and bring into the universe." Javaan, for her, was that miracle. Tucked safely away on the Vindicator, he was all of her hopes and dreams tightly bound into one wonderful little person.

A small pang of guilt riled in the pit of her gut as she realized that the boy was stuck away from her because of her own insecurities. While the crew went skiing and skating, he could only listen to the stories they brought back with them and, no doubt, sit wondering about everything he was missing because his mother was trying to protect him. Danger was life, but tucked away on Apsha, with the Empress being more than amiable, sending for him was the best thing she could do. Let him live. Let him explore. She'd always be there to catch him if he needed her to. "Sometimes it's strange how things work. You don't think it's possible, never consider the timing, but it's like a higher power knows better and tada... Gifts you something so marvelous." She offered back to Anaxar, watching the way he continued to illuminate from within, "You, my friend, are blessed."

"Doubly blessed," Anaxar said softly, thinking about Si'a again. It still seemed like a miracle. A miracle that somone as lovely and delicate, as fierce and intelligent and beautiful as Si'a could ever love him. Not fire and ice, but a creature of water and light and stars. It still seemed like a dream at times. He often dreaded that one day he would wake up to find that everything here was a dream, that he was still stuck on the rehab habitat, his mind seeking this dream as an escape so that he wouldn't have to deal with the changed realities of his life. But no, he knew that wasn't so. If this were a dream, he'd have dreamed he would still be whole, unscarred, would have real eyes to see with.

For one moment, he was shocked to realise that if someone (say, a being like Q) were to offer him to choose between having his sight back but a life without Si'a, and how things currently were, he would choose the latter. In a heartbeat. "Doubly blessed," he repeated, more to himself.

"Doubly blessed." The third reprisal came from Rochelle in soft, warm agreement with the turn of phrase. To say she wasn't at least a bit envious of their relationship, as carefree and wholesome as it was, would have been a lie. Envy, however, took a healthy backseat to a sense of pride that had developed while watching her crew, her friends, blossom and grow beyond the shortcomings in their lives. What Anaxar and Si'a had was tender and beautiful, but it was also unequivocal proof that good and righteous things still had a rather large and fundamental place regardless of how dark and foreboding the universe could be.

"Speaking of blessings, Javaan will be joining us on the surface for a bit. He's never encountered snow in person." She grinned, reaching to tug her PADD back out of hiding, "I imagine he'd enjoy a decent snow skirmish." The invitation was thinly veiled by a wink and a chuckle, but it was there for the taking as if held as evidence of her confidence in and affinity for the Andorian.

"Ah." The prospect of suddenly having to spend time with a young child, without any previous preparation (such as seeing said child grow up from the very beginning) was still daunting. To say the least. "I'll… see what I can do." He unfolded himself from the chair and stretched. His antennae almost touched the ceiling. He idly rubbed his forehead. "I'll catch you later, Commodore," he said with a polite nod.

"Enjoy the rest of your evening, Lieutenant." Rochelle's eyes followed him as he rose to beat a retreat, glittering with a healthy amount of amusement at his sudden flight. It was proof positive that children, while a blessing, could be downright terrifying if only because communicating with them could be difficult to say the least. Javaan, at least, had long since departed the first round of the 'why?' phase and was much more intrigued by the 'how's this work?' portion of life. Anaxar was lucky there too.

No sooner did he leave did Rochelle turn her PADD back on and settle into its depths, shifting a bit closer to the fire as she steadily began to relax once again.

---

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

Lieutenant Anaxar Shran
Chief Science Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-F

 

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