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JL | Com Ivanova, LtCmdr Sha'qab - "Chance Encounters with Magic"

Posted on 241909.07 @ 21:16 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Commander Qi Sha'qab

Mission: Lacuna
Location: CST Arboretum

Cold Station Theta's arboretum was a magnificent place, no doubt, but it seemed a pithy sort of consolation prize while the Promenade was strictly off limits. Of course, standing with a flag rank she could have demanded to be let in on the whole shebang, but what would that have awarded her? Not a greater God damn. A fight between Nausicaans and Klingons held no place for members of Starfleet's Command and Rochelle wouldn't have her crew slung into a needlessly dangerous situation just for the sake of bragging rights. The very thought made her scoff and shake her head, flicking away a blade of grass as she kept her gaze leveled on the station's artificial sea.

Qi Sha'qab swam with the various specimen of fish contained in the artificial sea aboard the Starfleet Station. He had been among a select few Stenellis that had been volun-told by the highest level of the Ascendancy to take part in an officer exchange program with Starfleet. Now having spent a few days among the various species contained within the formal organization he could see, if not yet appreciate, the value of such a conglomeration.

Turning toward the shore, Qi kicked toward the beach with an almost reckless abandon. As he reached shallow waters he abandoned the surf for the shore, rising up in a cascade of turquoise and white. His hair raced down his shoulders in rivulets of saltwater and he took a breath of the station air. It was clean and odorless but cold and lifeless without the sun-kissed humid feel of Apsha's air. Qi shook his head and mumbled, "Three years, Qi and then back to the Ascendancy." The Stenellis had come a long way in the past few years in managing their xenophobic tendencies. Qi himself had been among the first of a new generation of scientist and doctors to study xeno-medicine and sciences in hopes of learning new techniques and developing new technologies for the Ascendancy. Qi was lost in thought as he toweled dry and pulled a loose fitting tunic down over his torso.

With the sudden emergence of another life, one she immediately recognized to be the second Stenellis her ship had been saddled with, Rochelle's shoulders drooped ever so slightly. It was a quick reminder that in the confines of space travel, and living, she was never truly alone. There would almost always be someone within earshot without technology coming into play and there, tucked within the arboretum, no such technology existed. The facade of being alone on a stretch of dunes somewhere back on Earth was quickly shattered by the appearance of aliens prancing through the surf - one that she was responsible for, no less.

"Have a good swim?" The redhead finally called to him, choosing to be friendly rather than standoffish and leave for another part of the arboretum or station as a whole.

Qi looked up startled, his skin tone changing in hue with the rush of adrenaline. He had been unaware anyone else was on the beach when he came up from the salty waves. "Commodore, I had not noticed you. Ah... yes the water was very refreshing. There are a number of aquatic species I have never seen out there." Qi motioned toward the crashing surf and then somewhat awkwardly, toweled dry his hair in a few quick motions draping the terrycloth over his shoulders as he finished.

"I did not expect to see you here... With all that is going on, I mean." Qi studied the petite creature before him. She stood with an air of dignity, yet at the same time seemed also as one who shouldered a crushing burden. Her fire red hair danced in the artificial breeze which acted to stir the waters and create the rolling surf at his back. Qi had become adept at the body language of many species occupying the Federation. Humans were masters of subtle nuance which made their reactions harder than most to discern. Keeping the second observation to himself seemed prudent given the lack of knowledge he currently held about his new Captain.

The woman shrugged, hooking her thumbs in the belt loops of her jeans, "I've been told to give the promenade a wide berth until they have things under control and frankly didn't have the urge to throw my weight around. This seemed like a fine alternative." She answered, gesturing to the illusion of paradise all around them, the surf especially. Somewhere above them a gull-like bird barked in laughter, reminding her again that there was no such thing as truly being alone. Someone, or thing, was always watching every move she made and had she known the Stenellis was studying her in any form, she'd likely have thrown her hands up in defeat and marched a hasty retreat. "Besides, it's been a minute since I had a chance to just sit and watch the ocean. Apsha's winters don't exactly allow for it."

Qi nodded. It still seemed odd to hear an alien speak of his home, especially one that did so with longing tones as if she missed the place as much as he did. "The Arboretum is a fine alternative for most things aboard this station." There was a distant bothered look in her eyes that seemed to urge him to ask if the woman was alright. He took a deep breath of the lifeless station air and braced himself. The large Stenellis was not afraid of the woman before him, but rather cautious not to misstep socially with a species outside of the Ascendancy's control. "Commodore, If I may, you look as if something is bothering you? Would you like an ear to...chew off?" Qi was not sure of the human idiom's full meaning but did not think she would actually chew his ear off. "I hold many degrees and while I am here to act as your Chief Medical Officer, it is key to note, many physical ailments begin with mental turmoil." Qi had given her the opportunity to air her feelings if she so desired, if not he would return to his quarters and finish packing.

Being put on the spot, however, had never been one of Rochelle's strongest affections. In many ways she played her cards close to her chest and rarely deviated off the course of keeping things strongly contained and bottled up. A new doctor, one soaking wet from a swim, was an unlikely choice for her to unload to. Ch'Valenvok, the Andorian he replaced, was an entirely different being and different question - he'd become a personal friend... Mainly because it was entirely way too hard to ignore the fact that the blue-skinned alien had helped bring her son into the universe and being cold and sterile with someone that intimately aware of her moods and anatomy wasn't exactly easy. She tugged at her belt loops with a shrug, "There's never a moment where something isn't bothering me, Mr. Sha'qab, that's the genuine curse of command. To be honest with you, I'm not a fan of visiting planets or stations, too confined and too vulnerable." She nodded, stuffing memories back into their respective boxes, "I'm more at ease back in the black."

Mulling this over, Qi nodded again. "To some degree, Commodore, we all have similar feelings. I, for example, am far less comfortable adrift in space than I would be in the waters of Apsha. I do not mean to pry, nor would I expect that you should start spilling the deepest secrets of your heart to me at this point in our... relationship. What I mean to say is, I am a doctor, your doctor. I am here for you as I would be for any member of my species, or the crew, and if you need to talk my ear is yours to chew."

With that, Qi swiped at a few drops of water running down his face with the terrycloth towel. He hoped she would continue the conversation and let him glimpse what it was that the Empress had been so fascinated with. In many ways Qi felt privileged to be assigned to Vindicator. He knew and understood that this ship and at least two members of it's crew counting the captain were special to the Empress and in many ways vital to the Ascendancy's future. Part of him could not help feel apprehensive though. This ship and this woman had a long and occasionally volatile history, and that was just what was on the record.

"If we're going to go that route, I'd be much happier back on Earth. The deserts of the North American southwest to be specific." Ah yes... The desert. To the ignorant it was parched and lifeless, but to those who could see it for what it was it was more alive than even the most lush rain forest. While things may seem dry and brittle, they're alive and waiting for the chance to bask beneath the violent, life bearing hand of a passing monsoon. Everything was perfectly in tune, everything perfectly camouflaged, everything rugged and yet so delicate. To Rochelle, the red rocks and russet sunsets were soul soothingly beautiful and possessed a certain kind of magic she hadn't felt anywhere else, save one place, and that wasn't a topic open for discussion.

"I realize I contradict myself with the whole planet thing, but it just goes to show you that there are exceptions to every rule." She added, finally acknowledging the root of his gesture and conversation, it would have been so simple to ignore it and sweep it under the sand, so to speak, "At this point in our relationship, if you wish to describe it that way, there will be things you'll come to know in due course and time. If you have questions, I'll answer them to the best of my knowledge and I caution you about the gossip vines." Her grin was sardonic at best as she shook her head and raised her brows in a brief display of incredulous disgust for such things, "They're particularly thorny and will snag you at any chance they get."

Running his tongue over his his slightly sharp and hooked teeth, Qi digested the words and the warning. "I have never been much for the "intrigue of the court" so to speak. Should a concern arise from the actions of one observed, I would seek to address the issue at once rather than allowing the secondhand accounts of others to push me to action. Though as a doctor I will say I have heard my fair share of thorny observations." Qi smiled only with his lips.

"Do you often get back to Earth, Commodore?" Qi ventured still mining the conversation.

"You're a wise man." The firebird chuckled in good humor, "I don't doubt you. There are entirely way too many that would rather contribute to the endless tales about my love life and any number of other things. I think there was once a rumor I was a witch." How could she forget that one? That she'd conjured back the spirit of Landon Neyes and breathed him back into existence once upon a midnight dreary. Perhaps, in some small way, she had when she'd paid tribute to whatever God of War remained vigilant the day she'd ordered a certain Romulan D'Deridex blown from the stars somewhere deep in Klingon space some five years past. Maybe it had taken a certain element of magic to unknowingly save him from a the fate of eternal Romulan incarceration - just maybe she had sold her soul for him and this, whatever it was, was the punishment she paid for dabbling in that brand of dark magic.

Push come to shove, she'd do it again. Practical magic or not.

"I go when I can. Haven't been in awhile." And the last time wasn't for fun. The last time was to sit in front of then Admiral Sean Archer, be chewed out for certain activities, and sign divorce papers that would ultimately rise up to bite her in the ass. All of that, however, went without saying and the woman stood stalwart and defiant against the fake sea's gales just the same way she stood against the tide and turbulence that was life in general. "It's going to rain."

Looking up at the darkening sky, Qi nodded. "It would appear you are right, Commodore. I am suddenly reminded of a phrase coined on Earth many years ago. It went, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." To those without the knowledge of the photon, this very spot would be alive with magic, would it not? Would that not make us all witches?" Qi winked at the red head and let the question hang for only a second before pressing on. "Please keep me in mind should you need to give voice to any concern, professional or personal."

"It might just." Rochelle offered him a smile around the time the first droplet of rain splashed firmly on the tip of her nose, "I'll do just that, Mr. Sha'qab. You know where to find me if you need me." And with that the thumb of one hand unhooked from the belt loop it held hostage and she issued a brief wave goodbye, turning to follow the path of the dunes back to an exit that would steer her clear of the Promenade.

Qi waited for the Commodore to walk away, mulling over the conversation he had just had with the woman. She was like a qolba nut, layer after layer waiting to be pealed away before revealing the real meat. It was an evolutionary adaption which prevented the delicate life giving center of the plant from being eaten by pest insects or small mammalian creatures. He smiled as he thought of Commodore Ivanova, wondering how long it would take to get through the shell of that particularly tough nut. Qi took one last look at the angry surf as it rolled in and then darted for the lift.

---

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

&

Lieutenant Commander Qi Sha'qab
Chief Medical Officer
USS VINDICATOR, NCC-78213-F

 

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