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JL | Com Ivanova, LtCmdr Baul | "Movement"

Posted on 241901.25 @ 00:19 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Rochelle Ivanova
Edited on on 241901.25 @ 15:03

Mission: Ebbtide

It was hard for Rochelle to believe that she'd managed to be sat in one of Ethel Baul's fancy chairs, in a fancy office, on a fancy ship. The coffee on the fancy desk in front of her was getting cold, left untouched since the time the counselor had brought it over and sat it before her. In many ways, though the counselor that sat before her was still speaking, no doubt rehashing her life with Landon or her service record or both… Probably both, Rochelle remained motionless, staring at nothing - the only sound she could hear was the clock - a throwback to Tristan - ticking by the seconds and minutes, effectively throwing those fractions of her life away, from where it sat on the corner of that fancy desk. Nothing else. Especially not since the woman had started to bring up her marriage. She simply didn't dare allow her eyes to flit off in the direction of the metronomical sound. Instead she noticed a wrinkle in her uniform tunic and worked to fix it, allowing her mind to go numb... Or so she thought until the metronome turned into a voice, decidedly female, whining through what sounded like a bathtub full of water until it snapped into focus and refused to allow her to ignore it any longer. Clearing her throat, Rochelle tried to sink back beneath the surface, trying to focus on the clock.

“The only thing you haven’t accomplished is the loving yourself part.” This, too, ‘Ethel’ knew from experience. How the hell was she supposed to kill this woman now? It was too close to committing suicide and that was another thing that neither of them were capable of. There was no such thing as admitting defeat, there was just another path and contingency plan waiting in the wings - but this was becoming the ultimate stalemate.

“Anyway…” Clearing her throat, the dishwater blonde fiddled with a leaf from one of her many desk plants.

Fuck. Something had managed to get through and Rochelle’s eyelids fluttered and her shoulders tensed - the metronome monotone of the clock had been lost in the background hum of the ship’s life force. There was no ignoring the other woman anymore and that meant engaging with her on topics no one had any business trying to dig through no matter how much she didn’t want to.

“Anyway…” Rochelle echoed, drumming her own fingers along the arm of her chair. Each time a fingertip or pad hit its mark the resulting thud did little more than lend itself further to her irritation. The woman sitting across from her wasn’t Tristan and she certainly didn’t trust her given the fact she simply didn’t know her - but there was some form of liberty and freedom in the belief that the woman was removed from the situation and therefore couldn’t be biased to either party. She had no stake in whatever outcome may rise. Had Rochelle known the truth or been enlightened to how very wrong her false sense of ‘security’ was, there’d have been a rather violent reaction - but for the moment she was more or less content with brooding and the pensive nature of their conversation. “I’m not the one who needs to learn self love and frankly,” she sniffed with a small smirk, the drumming pausing for a flippant and errant motion of her hand through the air, “I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

“You need to start. Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear, pain, doubt, hands shaking, voice trembling, but start. Start with what you have and don't just don't stop.” ‘Ethel’ leveled with the redhead, unsure of how or where the dialogue or advice had come from, but it had surfaced about the same time the other woman’s eyes snapped back into a focus and stopped tuning her out. That was progress, there was hope, “Anger is not better than a lot of other emotions in this particular instance, but it’s one more step towards acceptance and closure. No doubt you’ve already gone through grief and tears and guilt and everything else you can imagine or I can describe, but you’ve got to pick something and use it as a launching pad back towards reality.”

A single sanguine brow rose in irritation and curiosity, but Rochelle couldn’t help but disguise her own surprise with a soft, huffy snort of a breath, “I don’t think you quite comprehend what you’re asking me to do here and I’m not going to explain it to you. Plausible deniability is still a thing, and you’re going to want to remember that.” Joke or not, the point that the counselor was poking and prodding a volatile source of contempt that had grown and festered over the span of years simply refused to sit well or easily with the firebird. Even now, when she had been perfectly certain that she’d been on the right path, the water seemed tragically muddied and a far cry from settled and the counselor that was supposed to filter it and set it right only served to stir the pot all the more.

“You know what anger is?” She finally asked, choosing to look back over at the counselor. Her face was void of the cocky surety it may once have held while she was getting ready to complicate Tristan’s charge towards her so-called issues, but her eyes narrowed and her head tilted ever so slightly with the question, “Anger is a punishment we give ourselves for someone else’s mistakes. That’s what anger is… I know this. I own this. Still can’t shake it and frankly no one, especially not you, is going to wave a magic wand or wiggle their nose or click their ruby slippers together and make it any better. This doesn’t get better, so please… Save the validation and pretty therapeutic prose for someone who doesn’t know any better.”

“Then you have to realize that it’s a mistake and that we all make them.”

“Too many mistakes, too many people have made them.” Rochelle’s lips pursed, “I can often forgive most things, not always, but I can never forget them.”

Ever since her little chat with the Trill’s little freedom fighter, ‘Ethel’ had angled her way into getting closer to Rochelle with the sole intention of earning favor and trust and getting close enough to finally strike. It hadn’t been easy. The redhead was illusive, busy, well guarded, and not exactly the most trusting of counselors. It wasn’t that the woman was spooky or shy, it was more to the point that she hadn’t much use for witchdoctors - at least she didn’t think so. Never in a million years, or a billion tactical calculations, had ‘Ethel’ ever suspected that she’d have found what she’d stumbled upon.

It was hard, amazing even, to sit there across from that perfect image of herself. She’d been bent on hating this figment of Rochelle Ivanova, the one that had been born with a silver spoon in her mouth and grown up the daughter of revered military officers. The one who had such a perfect life with perfect storybook endings to every situation as it unfolded.

That was… Until she looked into the woman’s eyes and saw the violently shifting seastorm held within. The picture painted was a romanticized version of a life filled with heartbreak and strife. Rochelle Ivanova, the flame forged Commodore, was just that. Galvanized by the fires of trial and tribulation, struggle, misery, and a life hard won during battles glazed over by naysayers that chalked it up to her pedigree and luck… Maybe even who she allegedly slept with. Tr’Bak had made Rochelle Ivanova out to be a wiley minx… His equal… His paramor...

None of it was real.

What was real, and what ‘Ethel’ recognized most, were those eyes that told the whole story to any who were brave enough to take the time to read them. She had seen fire. She had seen war. She had seen life lived to its fullest and death and its worst, but now there was nothing left. Nothing but dust. Endless, endless dust... And a very broken girl once again clawing her way back to the top.

Different situations.

Different timeline.

Two halves of the same whole.

After a moment of silence spent in retrospect, ‘Ethel’ finally found her voice, “Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a whole person.” There should have been a shrug there to punctuate, but she couldn’t be entirely sure it ever made the journey to life, “It would appear that you’ve gone down that route more than a couple times and this isn’t your first rodeo, so to speak. I’m not saying that it’ll ever get any easier, the process that this, but you instinctively know how to navigate this you just choose to ignore the self-love portion.”


Rochelle could barely control the urge to roll her eyes, but somehow managed to simply nod and lift a hand to rub at the inner edge of an eyebrow, “Yes… I know the Phoenix lore very well. Maybe a little too well, but I am what I am. There’s no changing what I’ve done or who I am whether I give myself a hug and a pat on the back on the daily or not.” There was no denying it, and hearing it again from a new crew member only made the call sign that much more of an annoyance. A comforting annoyance. The question, really, was just how many times could she continue to resurrect herself? And how many more before she ultimately snapped and committed the most heinous of sins? Or had she already snapped… Over a beer, not all that long ago, she’d made a pledge to Landon by way of Ra’lin. She’d swore that she’d more or less avenge Landon - or at least the memory of the man he had been prior to Tr’Bak’s icy fingers coiling around and entwining with his life force on Notura. The more she thought of it, the more she knew that bid for vengeance wasn’t just for Landon.

It was for Javaan. For Almar. For the Vindicator as a whole… And for herself.

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” She hummed, musing the meaning behind the ancient words,

“Aren’t your lambs lions?” ‘Ethel’ bit her tongue the moment the question left her mouth, but did her damnedest to shut up and remain calm and collected as if the question was as ordinary as day, “I mean…” She shrugged, setting the leaf down, “The Vindicator has a reputation of being quite fierce.”

“It’s deeper than that.” With a cant of her head, Rochelle gave the counselor a short-lived sidelong look, “My son is still very much a lamb. The universe itself is still very much a lamb. There will always be something the protect and guard. Something precious.”

“Like love?”

“If you want to be hokey and corny, sure. We’ll go with love.” She shrugged and shifted uncomfortably in her seat, averting her gaze and smoothing whatever feathers had been ruffled by such an off-base inquiry, “I think we’ve had enough chit chat for today, Commander.” Rochelle’s eyes leveled back on the counselor’s, “It would seem that you, like everyone else, has fallen into the notion that this entire fucking debacle is the new version of the old Arthurian texts and have romanticized what transpired between Captain Neyes and I, up to and including the so called end.”

The sudden sharpness in the Commodore’s voice left ‘Ethel’ taken abruptly by surprise. Had she fallen into that trope where the star crossed story of Landon Neyes and Rochelle Ivanova had become a romantic notion written across the stars? It was something she’d have to consider, long and hard, on her own time. With Rochelle sitting here, pensive and anxiously stewing in her own particularly intriguing brand of abhorrence, she hadn’t the time to mull it over right then and there. Not when she risked losing an audience with the woman. “There’s a lot to be said for the bond you two must share.”

“There’s a lot to be said for a lot of things, and frankly I haven’t the time or the desire to go over them all with you.” Rochelle retorted sharply, uncrossing her legs in preparation to stand and take her leave.

‘Ethel’ rose as well, instinctively refusing to grant the woman the ‘higher ground’, “There is no wrong or right here, Commodore, unless you choose the path of inaction.” With a hand raised half-way to halt her other side’s forward motion, she took the chance to speak knowing full well what could be set into motion by doing so, “If you choose the path of inaction, you’ll never be whole. You can choose to move in a direction opposite of your original path, move on, finalize your divorce and do whatever it is that comes with that action, or…” She paused, briefly and punctuated it with a shrug, “Or you finalize and settle what you obviously seem to feel is unfinished business. Both paths have conflict on the horizon and neither is going to be particularly easy, but you have to decide which it is that will allow you to meet your end feeling whole and real and which will leave you feeling incomplete and hollow.”

“So you’re trying to tell me that I need to figure out the meaning of life?” Rochelle’s smirk was anything but filled with good humor. It was filled with ire and evidence that she’d grown particularly tired of that particular game with this particular player. She’d have taken Tristan’s drivel over any of this any time, any place and at any length… This was more akin to torture than she’d ever care to admit and it forced her to kick back into gears she would have much rather chosen to avoid.

But something had to give.

Something had to break and allow her to live at least half a life - and whatever this was, this portion of her existence, simply wasn’t it. It was an excuse. She was hiding. The counselor had called her out and left her bare and now it was up to her whether she’d slink back into the shadows or fight to remain in the light. Her eyes closed briefly and her jaw flexed with tension. She could hear her pulse throbbing somewhere near her temples in what was sure to become another brilliant migraine until her nose tipped low and she raised her hand to rub her eyebrow again, “I still love him. Is that what you needed to hear in order to let me go? That I love my husband and that his shit doesn’t change how I feel about him because I know in my heart he was trying to escape what a narcissistic sociopathic asshole did to him because I became bait?”

“No.” Ethel’s head shook and she dropped her hand, deeply disturbed by the turn of tides and the way she now fought to implement a new form of right. She could kill Rochelle, the prime version, right then and there. She had the instruments necessary and the element of surprise was high on her side, but instead she… What? Took pity on the creature? Hardly. “What I will say is that you need to figure out what it is you want and be selfish about it.” Pitying such a creature was a lost cause. They weren’t meant to be pitied, only studied for the strengths and admired for their flaws. What ‘Ethel’ had realized was that every truth she’d been fed was nothing more than a candy coated lie designed by a madman who was, for lack of better terms, obsessed with the sun and determined to capture it. He’d been broken, bested, all but defeated - but he’d somehow convinced Rochelle that she was the one suffering such a fate while he hid and used subterfuge to try and force ends to meet in the direction he desired.

Holding such a creature captive was not to become reality. Rochelle wasn’t meant for such things - to be part of a collection of pretty things - Rochelle was meant to endure and to survive no matter the odds.

The tide of revolution was changing, surging, and the Commodore was refusing to seize the opportunity begging to be taken… Instead she was but a piper bird skirting just out of the grasp of the waves.

“Yeah… I’ll get right on that.” The redhead softly scoffed, moving around the woman before she could protest further and steal further precious seconds of her life, “Thank you for your time, Counselor.”



---

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

Rochelle Ivanova (MU)
Tal Shiar Agent
ROMULAN STAR EMPIRE
- aka -
Lt Commander Ethel Baul
Counselor
USS VINDICATOR, NX-78213-E

 

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