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Topic: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust (Read 394 times) previous topic - next topic

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CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Chapter 03: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0945 hrs. ] A Matter of Trust

[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus

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Vanya had been on Theurgy for a bit now and lots of information had been for lack of a better word, assimilated. The 'truth' of the ship and crew and what had been going on in the Federation was a lot to take in, to fully internalize. She'd gotten the briefing. She'd seen the holos. The event, in her observation, was not, and couldn't be fabricated. Not to that extent that she'd witnessed. Still there was a difference between acceptance and belief, of knowledge and belief.

When she'd sent a message up the chain before the meeting she'd noted whom the acting XO was. A familiar name but not one hundred percent unique with in the fleet. So when Vanya had a few moments she double checked. It turned out that the woman was whom she had thought it was. Hoped it was. A familiar name from the past indeed.

A person she could trust, whom wouldn't obfuscate this or make it into something it wasn't. Vanya knew a lot about mistrust. She had been subject to a great deal of it in Starfleet, but not from this source. Not from this vector. No. This person was someone she could trust. Someone who had always helped and steered her true in the past.

After her projects were going with the proper divisions, and the alterations were underway there was an aspect of time where the main computer had to crunch the numbers, and security and ops had to do things on their side. During that lull, she asked for the location of the officer in question and then headed for the nearest turbolift. Thankfully these were still functional or it'd have been a hell of a climb to get up to the proper deck. During transit she pulled up the route on the wall monitor so she wouldn't be groping once the doors opened. Glancing at it Vanya nodded and dismissed the image and faced forward.

The doors opened and the android stepped off, pausing she turned and headed for the proper doorway to the proper office. She was in the crisp and clean uniform jacket, tailored to her measurements. The teal collar of Science Division now held two gold pips. Hip length hair up in a high pony tail and trailing down her back in an obsidian fall. The gentle brow ridges on her forehead were accented by the overhead lighting, that also reflected off her dark green Romulan eyes. Reaching up she touched the door chime. Beep-bleep!

"Lieutenant Vanya, to see the XO?"
  • Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 01:15:19 PM by Auctor Lucan
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #1
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn:
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Time seemed to flow fast, and Nat had been surprised when she'd been released to go collect her thoughts and review status reports in the privacy of the XO ready room. A luxury not afforded to smaller vessels (at least not on the same deck as the bridge), Natalie struggled to view this place as hers. Not that there were a ton of personal touches present from the prior resident of the office. Carrigan Trent, it seemed, hadn't bothered with it.

And Natalie, running her hand over the table, wouldn't try to set up shop here either. On the ships third vector, she'd practically lived in the tiny Ready Room that had been provided for the Vectors Commanding Officer. But right now she was too on edge to even assume that, going forward, she would be the Executive Officer of the re-united Theurgy.

Maybe if we live through the Borg, then I'll think about what I might have to do. By rights, Trent should have been the Captain and this should have been Wenn or Dewitts.
She shook her head at that mess. She couldn't accept it, not yet. Then again, she had a (very) brief summary of what had been said in the Captains Ready Room, by Dewitt, Eloi-Danvers, and the...El-Aurian they'd picked up along the way from the KDF?

This is just too much she thought mournfully. Too much loss, too much change. And all with the Borg to sort out - once we get out of this crazy warp corridor we've launched ourselves into. With an audible sigh, she placed the PADD in her hand down on the desk and walked over to the replicator. "Coffee, hot, cream, two sugars," she ordered, and when the drink materialized, she picked it up and sipped. Nodding, she set it on the table and continued. "One scone, cinnamon. Hot, with butter."

This too, was taken to the desk, placed next to the coffee. "Second breakfasts, as the Hobbits would say," she murmured softly, remembering the old, old children's tale from her youth. "More accurately, something to offset the acid of the coffee. Oh, and you're talking to yourself Natalie," she chided. "Again."

Tucking herself into Trent's seat -she didn't even think of it as Dewitts, still so used to Trent being the XO and not the Captain - Natalie pulled the PADD back toward her with her left hand, and fished a forkful of scone with her right. She was swallowing when the door comm went off.

"Lieutenant Vanya, to see the XO?" the voice called out through the speakers, freezing Natalie in place. The fork hung from her mouth as she slow blinked. She vaugly remembered a message from a Lt. Vanya earlier, but it had been text based, she'd been busy, and it hadn't really occured to her...But that voice.... it had been years, many, but that voice....

Swallowing  and setting the fork aside, Natalie coughed a bit, and then ordered a simple, "Enter." She watched the doors slid apart, and took in the vision of a Romulan in Science's Teal standing there in the doorway, back lit by the lights of the Deck 01 Access Corridor. She didn't stand, not at first, she just sat there and stared, trying to decide if she'd finally gone insane, or if that really was who she thought it was.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #2
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | USS Theurgy ]

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The door slid open and Vanya stepped in. Her dark eyes flickering around the XO office and a slender dark brow raising as it was appraised. It didn't feel like "Natalie" to her. It seemed. Off in some fashion. Actually rather a number of fashions. It just didn't seem to have the touch of the Martian. At least to Vanya anyway, but sometimes people change.

Vanya advanced into the room, and Natalie would see that she, at least, had not changed. She hadn't aged a day since the Academy and looked the same as the first day that Natalie had met her. Understandable, considering her nature but perhaps a bid disconcerting to witness in the flesh.

The Romulan paused two steps in front of Natalie's desk and snapped to attention! Back straight, dark green eyes forward, chin up a bit. Natalie would see that the young woman still tailored her uniform to the specifics they'd discovered in the Academy, but looked better in the black and dark gray of the standard Starfleet Duty colors. The teal collar now held two full gold pips. If Natalie's eyes were very sharp she'd notice a slender hypospray in Vanya's right cargo pocket. Still there, after these years. Natalie knew exactly what that hypospray held and whom it was carried for. She'd even take in the dark metallic-green nail polish on the officer's neatly trimmed fingernails.

Vanya held the attention in front of the ships XO and her superior officer. The dark green Romulan eyes did slip down just a touch to behold Stark. The Martian looked to have lost a kilo or two. More toned? Or just thinner due to stress? Command could bring plenty of that. The human's hair was longer and still held it's rich warm color. All in all the changes were minimal. They had not been apart for decades or anything, but the small changes were noted by Vanya. The most significant one, in Vanya's view, was the addition of a third pip, black rimmed in gold denoting her rank.

The corners of Vanya's lips quirked up just a bit. Just a tiny bit, but Natalie would see it. Would know that was her old friend's attempt to hide a bigger smile. That little quirk of lip, that told Natalie that this was no apparition, no hallucination. No, it really was the woman standing before her. Holding the attention until, she, Natalie released her. 
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #3
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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Oh, yes. It was her. She hasn't aged a day, the Ops Chief and acting first officer thought to herself. But then, why would she have? Androids only age if they want to. It was like looking back in time, to a simpler point in her life. A window to the past where the most she had to worry about was prejudice directed at her roommate and the splash damage she took by being in proximity to The Romulan.

The next thing Natalie noticed was the two pips. Vanya was a brilliant young woman. Natalie thought that, of the two of them, it would be hear that would have advanced faster, and farther, in rank, and not Natalie herself. Then again, the brunette ops officer had ended up in her current rank by way of attrition - promoted to fill a gap left by a death. Not at all my preferred method of advancement. Let alone my path to an all too brief captaincy and now a position as First Officer. God, what a mess.

It was the little twitch of the lips, just a hint. So very much like the Vanya she knew, from before. Nat knew that the Android could have repressed that easily enough of course. Well, so be it, Natalie thought.

"Computer," she called quietly. "Seal the doors." There was the affirmative beep, and then Nat was up, walking across the room. It was bigger than her Ready Room on the Stallion ironically enough, for all that this room felt like someone else's. None the less, Vanya was close enough to her desk that it was only a few short strides, Nat's skirt swishing as she closed the distance.

"Oh, quit that already," she ordered, before throwing her arms around Vanya in a hug. Propriety be damned.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #4
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 (Combined) | USS Theurgy ] Attn @Brutus

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Vanya looked back to Natalie as she, herself, was observed. A bit of a brow raise at the order of the XO to lock the doors. For some that might be an intimidating thing, but not so much in this instance. Then Natalie was up and rounding the desk. The android noted that the XO had gone for the skirted look, and that it looked good on her as well.

As she approached Vanya's dark green eyes moved down and the smile widened. It'd been too long since she'd shared company with the Martian. Vanya for her part was not at all surprised that Natalie had excelled and risen through the ranks. Their time together at the Academy and Natalie's taking care of her systems had shown her just how good she was at what she did. Finding her, second in command of a multivector ship of this size was a bit of a surprise. And at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In the short time she'd been aboard she'd been given a briefing and fast forward update as to what was going on. That explained a bit. There had been heavy losses, and it's not like the Theurgy could return to a starbase to pick up replacement officers.

So seeing Natalie at a higher rank actually pleased the Romulan. If anyone deserved it, Natalie did. There was no jealousy from the Romulan, just happiness for her friend.

When they were close enough and Natalie told her to quit it already the Romulan stepped forward to meet her. Embracing the shorter woman as well and hugging her back. It hadn't really hit her, till she saw her friend again, how much she'd missed her. Her first friend. Vanya hugged Stark gently(For her) and laughed softly. "Should have known I'd find you here."
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #5
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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It was a tight hug, and reminded Natalie, after a fashion, of the last hug she had received from Vanya, when they'd last parted ways. It had been too long indeed, the Lt. Commander decided, though in her defense, her missions of late had kept her far away and out of contact. The failed trip to Romulus....she had sent messages, of course, letting her friend know. The mission wasn't a secret effort. The Federation had made a great deal of fuss about sending Titan and Theurgy to deal with the Romulan Empire in the wake of the fall of Shinzon.

In truth, Natalie had been surprised that Vanya had not been assigned to one of those two vessels, given her background. All the same, that was the last they had spoken. She was never able to send a note, a warning, to her friend. The mad dash to Jupiter Station, the ambush....and then flight. Long and deadly.

Stepping back from the embrace, Natalie smiled, brightly at first, though the luminescence faded after a moment of contemplation. "I can't pretend I'm not happy to see you, because you are a sight for sore eyes," she took another step back, let her arms trail down Vanya's, until she could take the Romulan's hands in her own and squeeze gently. "First good bit of news I've had since....well. Since before I got my third pip, I'd wager."

There had been good moments, of course. Her position of as Chief of Operations was rewarding. As was her time commanding the ships third vector. Mostly. The cause of those promotions, and her current duties however, weighed heavily on her conscious. She liked the authority she'd been granted but hated the cost.

Gesturing to a small set of chairs, tucked into the corner, Natalie continued. "Please, sit. I can hardly believe its you," she said softly. "I'm not even going to ask what you mean about of course i'd be in this mess. I'm rather sorry you've been dragged into it. Selfish as I am to see a friend again." A pause, "to see you again," she said, with are more meaning than perhaps she had intended.

But here was someone that knew her, from before. Really knew Natalie.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #6
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus

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It had been too long. Vanya would agree with that unvoiced observation. She'd missed her friend very much, yet was proud to see her thriving. At last check they were of equal rank and standing. Both departmental heads on their respective ships, though Natalie's ship was much, much larger than her own, so she could be seen to have advanced more. Still, the ship that Vanya had been on was a science vessel, so she was where she needed to be. There was zero jealousy to see her friend with the extra pip. None what so ever. Just pride in Natalie for having it. Of course Vanya knew she would get there.

As for the Mission to Romulus, Vanya had pondered it herself. Pulling her off the Cayuga to put on the mission may have made sense from one side. She was one of if not the only acting Romulan officers in the fleet, but on the other hand she was far from a Diplomat and the Romulans may have seen her inclusion as a slight. Not a boon. They may have been insulted to see one of their own sitting on the bridge in such a situation. Hell, due to her history she was thought destroyed. Seeing her may have started an interstellar incident as they demanded her return to the Romulan embrace, which would put a captain in a bad place. Giving up an officer to a foreign power. So her lack of inclusion had made pragmatic, if disappointing sense.

Vanya returned the squeeze to Nat's hands, careful of her strength. She nodded in agreement. It was very good to see her. The circumstances could be better though. The Cayuga had the run in with the Borg and had sprinted back to que up for another. Vanya personally didn't like the Cayuga's chances, though she respected the captain. She had some apprehension as to what might be going on as she spoke to Natalie here in the XO's office.

When Natalie gestured to the chairs, Vanya nodded, reluctantly letting Nat's hands go. It had been so nice to have the presence of her warm and reassuring touch. Moving over she sat and smoothed down her uniform pants.

She smiled gently at Natalie and nodded."So good to see you again too."

A long pause and Vanya looked to her friend."I've seen the holos.... Been briefed... I believe what I was shown. But.. You were here. You've seen and been privy to it all. Natalie... this all it's for real? Really real?"

There was believing one's own senses. In what you were shown, but it was clear that the Romulan trusted her friend's viewpoint more than other officers. Even more than what she'd seen on the holo. After all those 'could' be faked. It'd be difficult to pull off in a short amount of time, but if it was done before hand it might be possible. Natalie though. She wouldn't lie to Vanya. She'd tell the truth and then the Android would know exactly how deep they were together.

Still. They were in it together now. That gave the Romulan woman faith. They'd get through it together. No matter how bad it was.
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #7
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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Once Vanya was seated, Natalie folded herself into the other chair tucked in to the corner of the office. For the moment, she wasn't a superior officer. She wasn't the (Acting) First Officer, or the Chief of Operations. She was simply Natalie. It was what she needed at the moment, and in truth, there were very few people on this ship, or in general, that she would feel comfortable doing this with. Simon Tovarek was one, she'd found. Rory had been another.

He wasn't around any more.  She decided to stop thinking about all the others she had felt close to, that either had not survived or...I will not dignify that man with the memory she decided.

It was good she'd sat down. The smile froze on her face as Vanya asked the question. So much or not thinking about that man Nat mused, ruefully. Unavoidable now. She should have known this would be the question. If she had been in Vanya's shoes - if the Cayuga had been the one to discover the truth. The one that was called a 'traitor' ship. And Natalie had found herself face to fave with Vanya after months and months of the latter being on the run....Yes, she would ask the question. And she would trust Vanya's answer.

Good to know she still trusts me. The thought could have been sarcastic, but it wasn't. In this case it was pure honesty. She'd been wondering, a day or two prior, just what her father thought. What the people that had known her, had thought. Now, here in this room, was tangible evidence of the answer.

"Yes," she said quietly, looking down at her hands. She lay them, over her knee, her legs crossed. "It's real. All of it," she let out a long sigh. "From the moment we cracked the transmission.  Niga...." she closed her eyes and shudders. He'd been there too. Strapped down beside it. Was it an act? Had he been betrayed by his fellows? Or did he really have some kind of resistance to them.

We're you resisting when you took me in that Jefferies tube?


Some of the horror probably showed in Natalie's eyes, as she forced herself to look out the small window, to the swirling clouds of the Nebula and the coreless moon below.  "I've seen it first hand, as you said. I was there for the interrogation, watching along with the rest of the crew. We were hunted by a ship from the future. I watched it bombard the camp we'd set up." Before that bitch tried to re-write my brain to be happy carrying the baby of her super-psycho Captain Augment

Her fingers were digging into the arm rest now. Textbook knuckle white grip. She hated herself for it, even if she was in the presence of someone she could actually talk about this with. "I've been betrayed first hand by these snakes. They go so deep. And its so....so hard to trust anyone. Anya asked why - Captain Ziegler that is - why the facade when we came to your aid. Because I didn't know if I could trust her. If she were another of the infected. Its so....so invasive. The bastards."

The bastards that sent plants to rape me, a ship from the future to kill me, and a trusted colleague to manipulate and use me.

"For what it's worth...I wish I could tell you it wasn't all true. But odds are we gloss over some of the really nasty bits in the orientation video. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it. Not terribly Executive of me." she quipped.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #8
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Ofice | Deck 01 | Vector Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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With in seconds of asking the questions, Vanya knew the truth. She saw it in the way Natalie's face froze with the smile on it. She saw it in the night on imperceptible shift in her eyes. Saw it in the way her body reacted just to the memories that her own question had conjured in her friend. Then Natalie had verbally confirmed it as well and Vanya let out a held but unneeded breath. "Yes. It's real. All of it."

The words hung in the air like a death knell. Like a horrible terrifying chorus of them.

Then Natalie was closing her eyes in pain, and the android felt a clench inside. Physically it was impossible, her duranium endoskeleton didn't do such things. Her hyper-complex inner components didn't clench or seize up. Such things were not designed and simply didn't happen to her.

Never the less. Vanya -felt- a clench when she saw her friends pain and horror of the events that had lead them both here. When Natalie shuddered Vanya's inner clench became almost painful. To see Natalie in such a state physically hurt her. Which should be impossible but it happened.

Then Natalie was explaining more. Speaking of other events that had not been in the briefing. Horrible things she'd witnessed or been party to, or prey of. This ended in self recrimination and that was too much for Vanya.

She was up out of her chair and moving to Natalie's side. Squatting by her chair and wrapping arms around her.

"No! None of that. Shuddup. Shuddup! You did your best to protect the ship and crew. I _Know_ you did!"

Vanya hugged the smaller human tight to her. Well 'human' tight. Not Romulan or Android tight, but firm enough that Natalie could draw on her strength. To know that she had some one here in her corner. Someone to trust that would do her level best to prevent further horror from befalling. She may fail, but Natalie wouldn't face it alone.
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #9
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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That her words would cause Vanya a physical sensation of pain would have surprised and impressed the academic part of Natalie's mind. After all, Vanya was an artificial Life form. An android. By all expectations such a manifestation should be beyond her. That it had happened showed amazing progress in the girls ability to move beyond her baseline programming. Even Lt. Commander Data had not quite managed such a thing, from what Natalie knew of the late officer. She had spent her first semester reading everything she could about him, and other androids that Starfleet had encountered, and kept up a running interest in the man's career - right to the end.

Not that it mattered, in the moment. Data was the furthest thing from Natalie's mind as she relieved - even briefly, barely touching on the details - the ordeal she'd undergone for the oldest friend she had. She should not have been surprised by what came next. Years of knowing Vanya should have informed her of the girls actions - the way her ridged furrowed slightly as she listened; the slight, subtle motions of her fingers. Her nostrils, flaring. All of it, little queues of what was to be her reaction.

For all of this, the First Officer (acting) was caught of guard by Vanya's admonishment. No other person could have done something like that (save peraps Sten Covington), and it was so very typically Vanya. And yet there she was, squeezing Natalie about the waist, and propriety be damned.

It was simply too much. Natalie hated herself for it, but she choked up.

"Oh, hell, she whispered as she gave a shudder and bent, wrapping her arms tight around the Romulan. As she could have with no one else Natalie allowed herself to cry. To feel so very much of what she had crammed away for months. She had never made it to that consoling session that Hayden had suggested, off hand. She had ever unburdened herself quite like this. After a fashion, she had done so with Nicander, and look how that had turned out, in retrospect.

Instead, she just buried her head in Vanya's hair and made a mess of things.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #10
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector Combined | USS Theurgy ]   Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya felt the shutter and felt the emotional dam break. The tears came then and Vanya's hand came up to stroke Natalie's long dark hair. Letting her cry. Letting the tears flow. The emotion washing over her like a wave. Her own eyes teared up a bit and for a moment the Romulan wondered if her emotion chip was malfunctioning. Then after a time of contemplation she decided that it likely wasn't. She too was caught up in the emotion of the situation. This was... a proper function of emotion? Just.. one she'd not felt before. No in this way.

Vanya held her gently and let Natalie cry. Let those emotions vent, as they needed to. Wind too tight and any spring can break. What was true for machines was also true for biologicals, in Vanya's some what limited experience. She'd seen a few people flip right the frak out, in her time as an officer. First on the remote observatory and then later on a deep space science vessel. It's why Starfleet sent counselors along. To prevent or forestall such freak outs. 

Vanya was in no way a counselor, but she was Natalie's friend. Natalie was her own oldest friend, and she felt a swell of emotion for her. Vanya had thought facing the Borg and those strange horned creatures was bad. Nat had been through so much more and now had the weight and burden of command on her shoulders.

Her voice came out soft and gentle.   "Shhh it's ok. We'll get through this. Just like all the tests and trials we've faced before. We'll get through this." 
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #11
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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They cried. They shed tears together, as for a brief moment, Natalie let it all out. True, Vanya's tears were far less, far quieter. Even Natalie's sobs were not all that loud. They wouldn't be heard past the doors of the First Officers office. They were just loud enough to for it to be clear that she was overwhelmed - as much from the mission and burdens, as from the fact that here she had someone telling her that everything was okay.

Or more that she'd done her best and that was okay. It was a silly thing, but unlike the 'tougher love' from Cpt. Ziegler, this gentle touch was just another reassurance, from out side, that the girl needed and didn't know she'd been craving.

So she let herself cry, let herself be held and comforted. She choked out a bit of a laugh, between the sobs, at Vanya's words. Sniffling, she quietly spoke into the girls hair. With ears like hers - and the added benefit of being an android - there was little doubt to her that Vanya could hear anything she said. Even through her sniffles.

"Yeah, none of our tests were like this, you know," she pointed out. She licked at her own lips, and tasted the salt of her tears. A raspy breath escaped, and then Nat sucked in through her stuffed nose, drawing in air, forcing herself to calm back down. "I think I could deal with an infection, or the Borg. Yano? But an infestation that wants to be assimilated? That's what they're supposedly planning, yeah?"

There was that bitter laugh, and a shake of her head. "One or the other, yano?" She added with a bit of a shudder. And then she squeezed tight on Vanya, sniffling, letting the tears stop. "They should pick and get in order. It's all quite rude of them, really." This was said with another chuckle, and she allowed herself to lean back a bit. Staring down, she ran her hand through a bit of Vanya's hair.

"God but I missed you," she confessed.
  • Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 03:52:46 AM by Brutus
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #12
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector Combined | USS Theurgy ] @Brutus
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They had cried together and the emotions swirled inside of Vanya. Some that were quite new to her. Such a relief at seeing Natalie again. The longing she hadn't been fully aware of, manifesting strongly in those moments. To be near and with her again. It had been present in her time stationed aboard the Morska Array, then stronger when she was aboard the Cayuga. Wishing that her oldest friend had been there to help guide her through the complex and difficult labyrinth of command.

It was more than that though. Stronger than ''just" that. As evidenced in this embrace. In the tears. Vanya had not cried for another in this fashion ever. Yet it didn't feel 'wrong'. Just.. new. A bit confusing. The Android had no way of knowing that such confusion was quite common in biologicals. They rarely understood the depth of their own emotions either and often those same emotions hit them just as strange and powerfully.

Right now the majority of Vanya's concentration was on her friend though. Not deep introspection into the self. When Natalie started to calm, Vanya stroked her hair and back. Then the Martians words came softly to her hair. She had to agree with the first statement.

"I'll draft a strongly worded letter to the Academy once this is all over. We should have been better prepared for the insanity of this situation. Old Chavez' Survival Course just doesn't cut it in today's Starfleet"  A soft chuckle escaped her and she hugged Natalie softly.

A nod was offered, the summary of the plan of the parasites, to be assimilated did seem apt, from her Science briefings and what was going on for those in Teal. She also had to agree that it didn't seem to be quite fair. "Those aren't Koshir Rules!" Ensign Fieldstien, one of her junior officers on the Cayuga, had once said. she'd inquired about the term. Having to explain "Koshir Rules" to a Romulan Android had been some what challenging but entertaining to Fieldstien. Still the phrase filtered through Vanya's mind as she reflected on the difficulty of facing both Parasite and Borg at the same time. Apprehension at what the Cayuga was going through flickered through her mind.

When Nat leaned back, Vanya looked up to her through shining wet dark green eyes. As the Human woman ran her fingers though Vanya's hair she leaned into it. The touch, the caress. Her eyes closing for a long moment as she reveled in the tactile sensation. Re-opening at Natalie's words, meeting her eyes and holding them.

"The Twin Goddesses know, that I have missed you as well."  Vanya's head turned and the corner of her lips brushed Natalie's palm. A feather light kiss.
  • Last Edit: January 28, 2019, 05:17:27 AM by Cosmos
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #13
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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She was surprised by how deeply she felt the words. It had been too long. For the better part of four years, Vanya had been a constant in Natalie's life. Her roommate had been there when no one else had. And as was the way of the service, upon graduation, there had been hugs, tears, and promises. They'd stay in touch. They'd schedule leave together. But they hadn't really been able to. And slowly, they had drifted.

It was a tale told time and again. But now, with her fingers twined into Vanya's hair, Natalie realized that another old saying was quite true: absence made the heart fonder. She had missed the Romulan woman. In the Academy, Vanya had been someone that only saw the best in Natalie, only saw the potential. And Natalie had seen a woman trying to find her place in the world, and admired that aspect of her friend. Yes, there had been plenty to admire, and over four years Vanya had taught Natalie to question many things.

Most of which she doubted the girl ever knew. None of which she;d ever acted on, perhaps because she was too young. That wasn't the case any more, of course. Even if not the years, the experiences had aged Nat and taught her not to question certain things. If someone made her feel good, don't question why, or if they should. Just enjoy it. Because tomorrow...

Tomorrow they might be assimilated. Or turn out to be infested with a parasite that only wanted to use you for their own goals?

The thoughts all ran through her head before Vanya had replied, and acknowledged that she too missed Nat. And then, much to the senior officers surprise, the Romulan Android turned her face and placed a soft kiss to the palm of Natalie's hand. The latter would swear she felt heat rising up from that spot, searing along her wrist and up her arm. Incredulously, she wondered who the Twin Goddesses were and just what they were about, making her flush like that.

Did Romulans just kiss anything and anyone? Natalie asked herself, searching back on cultural studies and the various question and answer sessions she'd had with the girl some 7 or so years prior. It had been a while and she couldn't quite remember. She did know that Vanya had zero sense of what most humans would call propriety, and that she wasn't exactly the norm as far as Romulan Cultural References went. Maybe she'd corner that pilot whom had come aboard after the Romulus mission. She was a Romulan and might have insight.

Remembering another moment from the Academy, and deciding that Vanya was simply trying to be comforting, Natalie smiled. "Its nice to be missed, and to have someone to miss, isn't it?" she asked, not really sure where she was going. Gently though, she let her fingers glide over one of the tapered ears, tucking a few stray hairs behind it, before pulling her touch away, but smiling.

She was tired. And there was so much to do - too much, honestly - to allow herself to become too distracted. And yet...she hadn't felt this at ease since....Rory. At the hot-springs on Theta Eridani IV. That was a bit of a shock.  Needing a moment to process that, she asked softly, "How did you get stuck aboard? And have you been assigned quarters yet?" ever practical, she'd already started to worry about her friend. There was no guarantee that there would be a Cayuga for Vanya to return to. A sobering thought to be sure.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #14
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya was likewise surprised by the depths of emotions that she was experiencing during the reunion of the two old dorm-mates. She looked up into Natalie's eyes and saw the fear and anguish and pain that the human had endured just in the previous short span of time and her own emotions flared.

Vanya leaned into Natalie's hand as she slipped her fingers through the dark tresses. The caress felt very nice, but the emotional connection that it signified was even nicer. Only upon witnessing the Commander in person again did the old programs surface to full force. The intricacies and depths of the emotions written in those formative years shocked the android as they blossomed forth. She had not experienced such things previously and now they were clear and present in the forefront.

Vanya saw Natalie's reaction to the soft brush of her lips over the palm. Saw the dilation of the Martians eyes. Saw, felt and... knew that she liked the sensation.

When Natalie spoke Vanya nodded. Her dark hair tugging on Natalie's fingers as she did so. "It very much is. I didn't realize.. before I saw you again how... much I had come to rely on you being there."
Then Natalie caressed her pointed ear and Vanya leaned into it and her dark green eyes fluttered shut. A moment was savored. As moments could be. Then the moment was ended and Natalie pulled her hand away.

Vanya's eyes opened and she looked up to her human friend. She pondered the question. "I was on the Cayuga when we ran into the Borg as Chief Science Officer." A touch of sad pride, in the Romulans voice. She had made it that far. CSO on a long range Science Vessel. That was an accomplishment. Not quite what Stark had done herself. COO on a ship the size of Theurgy, then XO, but still. It was something. "We survived the encounter. Some of us." A pause as the android thought of all the crew and officers lost. "Then later you found us and then the run in with those.. 'things'." She shook her head. "I was damaged in an encounter, and I helped some injured here to your sickbay. The Cayuga warped off and I was here still. Briefed on the situation... I threw in as best I could. Helping with the Science division."

A bit of a pause and she shook her head. "Not yet, if memory serves the XO is over crew assignments." A bit of a grin crossed her face, looking impish with those ears and brows.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #15
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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Natalie allowed herself to listen with an intensity and focus that circumstances had not yet allowed her to indulge in for one subject at a time. It turned out that being a ships Captain, or even its First Officer, lent itself more toward a sense of multitasking, than the true kind of task based focus she liked. Such was the life, she'd realized. But she made an exception here. Drove all other thoughts away, rubbing her fingers into her palm as she watched and listened to her long time friend. 

Chief Science Officer, on a long range science vessel. And under Anya's command. What a small, small universe, she thought to herself, feeling a well of pride for her friend. Vanya was a scientist and that was the kind of posting to be longed for. Pushing the boundaries of what was and wasn't known, long voyages, putting her skills to use. Oh, to be an explorer again, she thought with a burst of longing for something that she hadn't really ever had.  Her tours of duty had been the tail end of the Dominion war in a science vessel patrolling the old Delphic Expanse, in case the Dominion tried to sneak in, a stalwart Nebula-class vessel assigned for relief efforts, and the swiftly retired USS t'Zahn, a belabored Miranda-class that should have been scrapped at the end of the Dominion war, seconded to patrol the Tzenkethi boarder during the brief dust up with the xenophobic Coalition.

She had never really been an explorer.

But she pushed that aside as she listened. It was a passing sadness, and she saw that reflected in Vanya, as the girl thought of fellow crew that had been loss, and were even now warping into danger on the Cayuga, while she herself was stuck here on the Theurgy. It was a rather selfish thing to be glad for her friends presence, trapped as she was on a vessel other than her own. ;

And despite all of that she'd just dove right in, joining in the fray and doing everything she could to help. Typical Vanya. The very best of what Starfleet looked for in its officers. Even if we still struggled with the outside packaging, despite all of our efforts and claims to the contrary. That thought accompanied a small shake of the head and an amused little smile.

"I'm going to have to have a word with my Quartermaster. I know they've had a lot of work lately, with integrating multiple crews, but still," she said, shaking her head all the more. She laced her fingers together on her lap and looked at her friend for a long moment. "I've got a couch in my room that you're welcome to borrow until we can get you assigned actual quarters. We don't know how long you'll be here so if this lasts more than a day or two, I want you have a billet you can call your own. I have a few ideas about that." She grinned a bit wider. "Do you prefer port or starboard? Or a view right down the back nacelles?"
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #16
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya listened to Natalie and the corners of her lips turned up in a gentle smile. A nod was offered and her long obsdian hair seemed to shimmer with the movement. "Yes. It has been rather hectic since I cross-shipped aboard." When Nat crossed her fingers in her lap, Vanya's eyes dropped to the woman's hands.

Those hands and fingers. So clever. So adept at fixing things. The knowledge of the woman in front of her was vast. Different from her own and always intriguing. The things that Natalie could do, even from the first day of their meeting those years ago had always interested the Romulan. She'd always had a way with machines, in combination with being so nice, it seemed that she was perfectly paired and almost constructed to be Vanya's friend.

There'd even been a semester at the Academy where Vanya was taking supplemental Science courses to fill out her hours and had taken an intro to psychology class. It 'was' in the Science/Medical division and she had thought it might help her to understand crew and other officers assigned with or around her in the future. Like so many psychology students Vanya had started 'seeing' disorders and conditions in those around her.  She reigned it in as best she could, but for a while there she had wondered if Natalie might have been a plant. So perfect of mind and mentality to be her friend, the only Romulan at the Academy at that time and an Android to boot. Had she been placed there to keep an eye on Vanya? She didn't want to believe her friend capable and in the end had overrode that predilection for paranoia that was absolutely the result of her programming and construction by Romulan hands.

Natalie was her friend and one of the few people Vanya trusted unreservedly. Even now she was offering a couch in her own quarters. Vanya nodded.

"That's be great Nat. I mean.. 'Commander'" The grin growing on Vanya's face with the formal designation.  When the offers of port, starboard or looking down the rear were offered, Vanya shrugged gently. "One in proximity to.... Someone friendly might be good. Failing that I actually like Fore views. I like to look at where we're going. Not where we've been." Oh yes... Science Division through and through. Ever forward. Always exploring. Questing. Asking the next question. Looking under the next rock, or to the next star. 
  • Last Edit: February 22, 2019, 10:20:40 PM by Cosmos
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #17
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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Blue eyes darted about, glancing once more over Vanya's form, then back to the other woman - he friends - face. It was a lot to take in, the return of this person into her life at a time like this. Hard to believe. But the proof, as they said, was in the pudding, sitting across from her in the cramped ready room that had formerly belonged to Carrigan Trent, and a few others before him.

"It's not Commander when we're alone, you know," she pointed out with a bit of a wry grin. That would drive her nuts, having her friend use her rank like that in private. In public, yes, chain of command mattered, quite a bit in fact, as Natalie was the First Officer of the ship for the foreseeable future, baring the miraculous return of Jien Ives, or the death of Wenn Cinn. She wished she could be sure the former would happen and despite their differences, she wasn't exactly keen on advancing back to the center seat because of the latter.

Christ your thought's took a dark turn, Natalie chided herself, and instead let her eyes go unfocused as she thought about the deck lay out of the USS Theurgy. "That might be easily enough arranged. There are plenty of quarters near the fore portions of the ship's hulls. Not sure how many are open near to a familiar face," she would have to talk to her Quartermaster about that, she supposed.  "I imagine we'll be re-homing a lot of the stranded Cayuga personnel." A moment of professional insight followed,

"You've served on the ship for some time, do you think it would be beneficial to group the others that are in the same boat as you in close proximity to each other?" It was pertinent information, things she would need to know and frankly, part of her duties, she realized. But at the moment she had to admit that a larger part of her thought process was going toward what it would be like to have a roommate again for a while.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #18
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya watched Natalie's eyes move around before coming back to rest on her and the corners of the Romulan's lips quirked up just a touch more. Oh yes, that was still the Natalie she knew, in there. Even through the maturity and extra pip. Grinning in return she nodded at the soft admonishment. She knew. It'd been a bit of a prod to acquire the grin that Natalie was now wearing. So, mission accomplished there.

Vanya observed her friend. Saw the depths of her pretty eyes and the many thoughts being rolled around even as they spoke. The Martian must be under some impressive stress but she was still holding it together. At least on the out side. Vanya reached over and brushed long fingers over Natalie's hand. A silent gesture of support.

Then it was back to business as the XO and Vanya's pointed brow rose just a bit. Noticing how swiftly Natalie had dropped back into that roll as necessity demanded. She admired that. A trait not all humans shared. Command seemed to suit her friend well.

A tilt of her head and the long obsidian hair swished softly as Natalie spoke of there being quarters near the Fore. Then Vanya's own smile deepened a bit when Natalie said she wasn't sure if they would be near familiar faces. "Near yours, Nat.... I'd meant quarters, near yours." Her tone soft.

A nod of agreement was offered. "It seems that may be so, the re-homing of some Cayuga members. I'll be curious as to how the Captain will work any members of the Cay, into the current command structure. I know and have seen there's been some, dramatic losses on the Theurgy. You've had a rough time of it."

When asked about grouping members of the Cayuga together, Vanya thought about it for a moment. "You may be better off asking a counselor about that, but as best I can tell there's two trains of thought. First, grouping them together may foster a sense of familiarity that helps them get over not being on the Cayuga any more... but.. that will also foster a sense of 'us' and 'them', between the former Cayuga crew and the Theurgy crew. Either a clique nature or even elitist nature from one or the other. The Theurgy is a bigger ship, by far. If the Cayuga members are grouped together they may be looked down upon as inferior or 'different'. 'Offset' in some fashion.

Mixing them in with the Theurgy crew, not grouping them together, may aid in their, please pardon the phrasing, assimilation into the crew. They can mix in, better that way. Be accepted in singular vs en mass. That said, some may find it a bit distressing to be taken from the Cayuga and plopped down into a crew of over a thousand. Set adrift.

I personally won't mind."
She smiled to Natalie. "I have my anchor point..."  A pause. "But not every crewmember may have that ability or inclination.

So there's pros and cons on both sides. Where it me, I'd mix them in. The momentary feeling of missing one's old ship, would be more rapidly passed if one sees the Theurgy as their new ship. Keep them all bunched together and it'll be 'Cayuga crew on the Theurgy' not 'New Theurgy Crew'."
  • Last Edit: March 10, 2019, 04:11:12 PM by Cosmos
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #19
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos @FollowTomorrow 
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Although the hand had already left hers, Natalie could still trace the path her friends fingers had taken. The skin there felt just a bit warmer, from the gentle caress. A gesture that she might not have focused on so hard, had Vanya not been absent from her life these six long years. That, of course, she told herself, was the only reason the touch stood out, drew such attention and focus. Only that, of course. Of course.

She would have been flustered to know that her weary retreat to matters of duty had been seen as something admirable by her friend, but such was the way of the world. Command might actually suite the woman, and she certainly had newfound desire to continue to pursue it, even if the man that first set her on that path was....indisposed was just not the right word, but it was the word that came to her. Regardless, that focus on duty that Vanya admired compelled Natalie to listen and take in all the words that the Romulan spoke, before she gave an answer of her own.

This also caused her to pause and reflect. Half way through she had almost interrupted her friend, but no, this was important and she valued the input of Vanya here, not as her oldest friend in Starfleet, but as Lt. Vanya, Chief Science officer of the USS Cayuga, a member of that vessel's senior staff.  To blurt out her personal feelings on some of what Vanya was saying in the moment would be doing her friend a disservice. Just as Nat had achieved much in the last six years, so too had Vanya, as far as she was concerned, and this deserved respect.

"I suppose part of all this really does depend on how things go, once we are dealing with the Borg," Natalie said after a long, but to her comfortable, silence. She laced her fingers together and let out a bit of a sigh.  "No way to tell how that will go. But working on the assumption that you will be here for the foreseeable future, I think you are right

"We need a counselor's  input on all of this. Thats a bit of insight that I hadn't considered yet, but will be quite valuable. During my brief command of the Stallion vector, Counselor Ejek was my First Officer."
There was every chance that Vanya already knew this, all things considered. Still, Natalie pressed on as if it were new information.

"I found her to be quite insightful, and she was one of those crew we...picked up along the way. Late of the Resolve. So, she has experience being a ...I don't like the term refugee but it is fitting I suppose," she paused, allowing herself a fleeting look of sadness before pressing on.  "A refugee having to integrate into a new crew, and frankly, more psychological training than either of us have sweated through."

Natalie remembered, after all, that semester that Vanya had taken the intro psyche course at the Academy as a Sciences Elective. As an Ops/Eng Track Cadet,  most of Natalie's electives had been along those lines. Though the Academy did encourage some cross discipline study, and also required at least one elective completely unrelated to the normal duties, to provide the 'Fleet with well rounded junior officers.

"I'll forward her a quick message when we get out of here, something for her to bat around and report back to me on. We can table it until then I think," she concluded, the implication being that she would be leveraging Vanya on any decisions made in these regards, assuming that she would be in a position to make them going forward. If she were not dead, then by all means she assumed she would be continuing on as First Officer for the foreseeable future. Though in truth, even if she was not, for whatever reason, this would be something she would follow up on. She had a somewhat personal stake in it, and there was nothing wrong with showing the imitative, as there?

Speaking of personal matters, Natalie thought to herself, allowing a small smile to form on her lips, an almost shy one. The less than professional points that Vanya brought up had not gone unnoticed. Natalie simply compartmentalized for a little bit, getting her mind wrapped around the 'duty' side of the equation. With that settled, she reached out again and took one of Vanya's hands in both of hers, giving it a squeeze, leaning forward with elbows resting on her own knees. It let her look up a bit at her friend.

"I did get what you meant earlier, about being berthed near me. I'm not quite the oblivious first year cadet that ended up rooming with you, you know." The smile was teasing and light, one she had not favored anyone with in quite some time. Or in truth, what seemed like some time. In all fairness, Rory Callahan had managed to get a smile or two like that out of her, before his untimely death, while rescuing herself and Lt. Simon Tovarek from a rather deranged Vulcan. For that matter, Simon had teased a smile or two out of her as well in the past month or so, as had, what seemed like forever again, Dr. Nicander and Lt. Commander Wenn, in the Spearhead Lounge, shortly before the events of Starbase 84.

Running her thumbs over the Romulan's knuckles and again marveling at the engineering that lay underneath her friends skin, Natalie also had to admit that this sort of comfort was different than those other memories. Perhaps because of the depth of their past, something from long before Natalie knew of the parasites. Or perhaps because of something knew building up on an old territory that Natalie was too tired to sort out. Either way, she added,  "And I'm happy to have an anchor again. Something beyond duty and loyalty to just my people. My crew.". Sometimes that was all she needed. Sometimes, she needed more, she just hadn't realized it until it had shown up in 'her' office.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #20
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya watched her friend as she digested the words and suggestion, her dark green eyes resting comfortably on Natalie's face. A nod of agreement to the first statement.

"The Borg are a formidable foe, to be sure, but we have to carry on as if we will be victorious. Planning for failure will only ensure that it occurs. We plan for success and see it through."

She nodded and listened as Natalie discussed Counselor Ejek. Vanya didn't know the woman but if she worked well with Natalie that spoke highly of her. At least in the Romulan's perceptions.

The term refugee stuck the Science Officer when it was used and a blink crossed her face. Deep dark green Romulan eyes seeming to ponder that for a tick. Was she, herself a refugee? She didn't really see herself that way. Her ship was damaged and she had been damaged in the confrontation with those rather aggressive satyr like beings. She'd cross shipped here for repairs, considering the state of the Cayuga and then due to command decisions above Vanya's pay grade the Cayuga had warped off with out her back on board. Being Starfleet and having gotten the briefing on what they were up against, Vanya had throw in with the Theurgy crew. Helping out in the Science department. The crew had suffered heavy losses and every hand was expected to help. It wasn't like she was going to get a drink and an oil change or something and sit in the lounge. Not that she needed an oil change but she'd heard some irreverent officer describe her down time as such once.

Now that Natalie brought it up though she thought about it for a bit. The Cayuga had warped to engage the Borg, and would be doing so 'alone' for a time before the Theurgy got there. She was already heavily damaged before the encounter and had no sickbay on board. The chances were high that she may be utterly destroyed by the time Theurgy got on station. Which meant that Natalie's perceptions were possibly correct. Perhaps even probably correct. She may be on Theurgy for some time, as there may not 'be' a Cayuga to go back to. Or perhaps not a chance in the heat of battle.

Vanya pondered the implications of that. On her ship she was CSO, over the Science department and a member of senior staff. Here on the much larger ship, they had their own CSO, and then a second officer of Lieutenant Commander rank. Vanya was uncertain as to her place in the chain of command here.

Something to be determined after the battle she supposed. One or all of them may not survive so the point might be moot. Bringing it up now would just produce added hassle. Still it was a bit distressing to be summarily demoted. The concern showed on her face for a moment.

Natalie spoke of forwarding the message to the counselor and Vanya nodded. "Sounds like a plan." agreeing to table it till the counselor got back to Natalie.

The small smile returned to Natalie's lips and Vanya looked from it to the woman's pretty eyes. Then Nat was taking her long fingered hand between both of hers. The metallic green fingernail polish shimmering between the Martian's fingers. Nat mentioned not being quite as oblivious as she had once been and Vanya's pointed brow quirked up as if to say "Are you though? Are you really?" The playful look softened into a warm smile to match Natalie's own.

Nat gently caressed the skin over her knuckles and Vanya smiled, reveling in the sensation. Not just the tactile feel of it, which was delicious, but the touch. What it meant, how it made her feel inside. Not 'just' the sensory feed back but the emotion it evoked. A gentle nod of her head and she looked to Stark almost shyly. "I'm very happy to have my Martian again" She replied softly. The Romulan tonals in her voice curling the words just a touch."It's been far too long. It's nice to have people.. to have a crew under you... but sometimes.. a Friend, matters so much more. Someone you can trust. Can confide in. Can be with. That seems to matter quite a lot, right now."  Her dark green eyes found Natalie's and held.
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #21
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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At times, Vanya could wield logic as deftly as her Vulcan cousins, but with the ability to account for the emotional side of the equation. She was right, of course. The Borg were - if not an insurmountable force - than arguably the toughest fight any Starfleet Officer could expect to face in their careers. But to go into the fight expecting to lose....they would, most assuredly so. And the crew would pick up on that thread of worry, and it would build and build. So they had to act like there would be an after.

Which meant Natalie had to schedule a meeting with her Quartermaster soon.

This was a thought that Natalie quickly set aside as she was, selfishly, taking a few moments to enjoy something more personal, less professional now. So I'm your Martian now, eh Vanya? I think I can live with that. Whatever that entailed Natalie wasn't sure. She simply thought it was a term of endearment between two old friends who'd missed each other dearly.

For a moment Natalie didn't speak. She just looked back into Vanya's eyes. Alien. Artificial. And yet, so human. It was such a humanist thing to think, of course. Very species oriented but well, it was how she thought. And it was meant in kindness. Nat swallowed a bit, and smiled again, shoulders slumped forward, relaxed in a way she hadn't been since this whole mess started.

"You still have quite the way with words, Vanya," she murmured, remembering a younger girl (one who had not seemed to age a day) that would constantly babble on while Natalie sat in silence. Awkward at first, then comfortable, when she wasn't being teased out of her shell into some debate on proper mechanics or the like. It had always been easy to talk to Vanya, even when she would be silent in a larger group, or with most anyone else. A habit that had taken years to shake.

"You matter quite a lot, right now. Always, of course,"[/color,] she squeezed the other girls hand tight as she spoke, knowing it was impossible for her to apply enough pressure to hurt her android friend, "But especially now"
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #22
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ]   Attn: @Brutus
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Vanya watched the thoughts race behind Natalie's eyes. Many things were being contemplated, mulled over and decisions were being made in the human's mind. The Android watched her lock them down one by one. Decisions being made and committed to and then, finally after long moments the slump of the shoulders which signaled a bit, if only a small bit of relaxation in her friend.  It was a relief to see. The human sure needed it. Wound up so tight like a spring, she could react swiftly to situations but being wound too long in that fashion and the spring could sheer. As could a human mind.

Vanya did not wish to see her friends mind sheer. She was grateful for the minor indication of at least partial relaxation. As much as either of them could afford here before the deciding battle. A gentle smile crossed her lips.

"You still have quite the way with words, Vanya," Natalie had said. Vanya smiled and her cheeks dusted with just a blush of green. The dark eyes dropping down to their joined hands. "I learned most of that from watching you. Listening as you interacted. Learning...the meaning of kindness and heart, from one whom had an overabundance of both." Her dark Romulan eyes came back up to Natalie's face. "I was so lucky to be housed with you. Someone whom personifies both human compassion and drive. I've interacted with many of your species, both in school and the years after. You are as always a shining example that many could strive to emulate."

Natalie then spoke of her mattering and squeezed her hand tightly. Vanya smiled broader at that and nodded, almost shyly, understanding the words and the distinction. "You can lean on me, if you need to. I'm here for you Natalie. In what ever capacity that you need. Friend, confidant, and, a pretty good Science Officer if I do say so." A gentle chuckle. "You've got a number of Science officers though. I think you may need the first two more. Now any way."

Vanya looked to Natalie's eyes and gently lifted her hands. Holding the eye contact she gently kissed the back of Nat's knuckles. Her lips so soft, warm, alive. The touch gentle and soothing. Loving even. An offering of compassion and support to her friend in these stressful times.
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Lieutenant Junior Grade Zark - Security Officer - Combat Medic
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Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #23
[Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Stark, Executive Officer | XO Office | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ]Attn: @Cosmos 
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Perhaps it was because, despite the relatively early hour, she was already tired. The stress of everything they were going through had been weighing her down - a mutiny while the vectors had been apart, the Continuance Protocol, the Borg threat, all of it was a lot to deal with each on it own. All together, well, a girl could be forgiven for being a bit slow in realizing that Vanya was paying some heavy compliments to Natalie. Despite all her earlier protests about not being the young, oblivious Academy plebe that Vanya had met years ago, Nat fell quiet swiftly as a blush crept up form under her Ops Gold collar, heat coloring her face.

In truth, she needed to hear this. I wasn't something she would admit, and perhaps wasn't something she could even really acknowledge to herself. But she needed to be reminded that she was, at heart, a good person. The struggles with the initial contact between her vector and the Cayuga, and the admonishment from Cpt. Ziegler - not to mention the hard mirror the woman held up - had been like a pair of irons clapped to her emotional legs, hobbling her. True, Anya had done much to bolster the Lieutenant Commander, but this unfiltered praise, with no criticism wrapped around it, was a much needed balm. Natalie was leaning forward again, her shoulders sagged, no longer bearing the full weight of the ship.

"Oh, Vanya,", she murmured softly, knowing the android's hearing would pick the words up all the same. She had bit her lip, her cheeks still showing the smile there, and she let her head dip forward a bit, hairs falling over her, unable to hide the smile or the blush. Questions of where to fit Vanya into the crew would need to be sorted, of course. She was a Chief of Sciences on a smaller vessel, but still a chief. On a ship that now had at least three officer that had held, or currently held that role. But right then Natalie was thinking about the feeling of two lips on her fingers, and the brief, fleeting thought about what they might feel like elsewhere, there and gone before she could realize it.

Soft, and so very, very different from the lips of Rory Callahan, Simon Tovarek or Lucan Nicander.  All three, had, at one point or another, been classically gallant in the sort of ancient, old fashioned way, and brought her hand up to their lips. Chivalry was far from dead in the 24th century, even if the gestures were a bit over the top. It had fit her impression of each man, in a different way. But Natalie didn't want to think about them at that moment either. One was dead, the other, infected. The middle - well, she'd not really had much time to catch up with her friend and colleague there. She would have to. The two of them had shared a few harrowing moments together since they joined the Theurgy.

I'll have to introduce him to Vanya. Hopefully he won't try to take her apart and see if he could learn something from her for his drone program
. She laughed, quietly, and looked back at Vanya, squeezing the hand that held hers tightly. It was such a sweet gesture that she welcomed the little flutters it stirred without really thinking about it. This was Vanya after all, and she was being a comfort. Such a very her thing to do. That it was the same kind of charming thing that men in her life had done didn't quite register in the same fashion.

"I'm going to hold you to that, you know," she warned with a conspiratorial smile.
Note: Limited availability for posting, 8/28- 9/4

  • Cosmos
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  • I Aim To Misbehave!
Re: CH03: S [D06|0945] A Matter of Trust
Reply #24
[ Lieutenant Vanya | XO Office | Deck: 01 | Vector: Combined | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Brutus
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"Oh Vanya" Stark had said so softly and Vanya had smiled up at her. That bite of her plush lip was endearing and the Romulan saw it as such. The head dip, a further indication of relaxation pleased Vanya to see on her friend. The smile and blush were cherries on top and Vanya's smile widened as she looked up into Strak's beautiful face.

The questions that swirled through Stark's mind about integration into the crew and what to do with the overabundance of science personnel could be addressed later. Vanya could see that her friend needed her here, and now. Not as a Chief Science Officer, but as a trusted friend and companion.

Watching the Martians face, Vanya saw her eyes as she qualified the sensations. Seeming to compare and contrast them to previous ones. Clearly Vanya was not psionic. She couldn't tell 'what' Stark was thinking, just that she was and making her way through some weeds of memory and thought.

The quiet laugh made Vanya smile and tilt her head a touch. One pointed brow raising as if to query what she had done to illicit a laugh but the smile remained. When Stark squeezed her hands, Vanya responded by gently stroking Natalie's flesh with her thumbs. Soft, gentle strokes. Soothing sensations. Supportive and kind.

A nod in return to the words spoken, of holding her to what she'd said. Vanya grinned just a touch. "Hopefully that won't be the only way you'll hold me."
  • Last Edit: March 21, 2019, 02:10:50 AM by Cosmos
Lieutenant Vanya - Science Officer - Zoology/XenoZoology
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Lieutenant Junior Grade Zark - Security Officer - Combat Medic
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