SIM:Nicholotti A Moment to Breathe
((Ready Room - USS Victory))
::Shortly after the briefing concluded and the shocked Senior Staff dispersed, Colt Daniels entered his newly appointed CO's ready room. As the doors opened he saw Cmdr. Nicholotti standing with her back to the door. It reminded him of their previous conversation that had taken place on the bridge of the Victory. He wondered what he had done to warrant a personal meeting, he figured he was in for reprimand of some kind. Perhaps for over-stepping his bounds in the Science department, he couldn't be sure. It was strange, on Eschevar he had felt so confident in the way things were and they way they would become, only to have himself brought back down to reality on the bridge, for all to see. It wasn't that he expected or felt that he deserved special treatment of any kind, he just hadn't been prepared for it. It had been foolish anyway. He resigned himself to whatever his fate was, and summoned false confidence to instill in his voice.::
((Captain's Ready Room, 10 Minutes Earlier))
::The briefing went as well as could have been expected. News of the Captain's sudden departure had a shock, but it had been taken well. Kali was lucky enough to have built a repertoire with the officers before he had left; she had no doubt that they would give her just as much of themselves as they would have given Jaxx. Now, she had to live up to the same standards; to give to and serve her crew as they deserved. And that was no small feat. They were an outstanding crew worthy of a commander that could keep up with them.::
::But they were more than that too. They were the people she lived and worked with every day. They were or would become her friends and confidants. They embodied her life, as it was now; a Commanding Officer was no longer able to hide behind the name and rank of their superiors. No, it was her name out there on the front lines for all to see. And like it or not, her actions carried with them more than they used to, even as First Officer. The simple fact that she now commanded something as large as a Starbase changed the way that some looked at her, though she hoped some would see through it all.::
::She hoped to some there would only be the blue of the ocean and the sounds of the water lapping against the sides of a boat.::
::Her back was to the door when the chime rang. Without turning, she watched outside as the path was cleared for the Victory to head back out into space. Smaller ships were finding a place to be, while the many workbees that had once zipped around just outside began to disappear. Amid the controlled chaos, she heard his voice behind her.::
Daniels: Reporting as requested, Commander.
::Turning around, she tried to smile, but at the same time she felt incredibly vulnerable. It was a strange feeling too. The normally tough ex-Marine had been thrust into a position of command and now felt more exposed to everything than ever before. It was difficult to balance the feelings and the position, especially now; especially when her intentions were to put it all out on the table. Was it possible to maintain command, demand respect, and delve into an assuredly more personal side of things? Jaxx had done it, with success, but could she?::
::Kali didn't know the answers to those questions though. She only knew that she had to do what she had come to do.::
::As she turned around to greet him she wore a look that he didn't recognize. She didn't look distant and unreachable like she had the past few days, she looked somber and a little on edge. No one could blame her, unbeknownst to the rest of the staff, her entire world had been turned upside down and she had to act like nothing was wrong. He understood then that she didn't need Lieutenant Daniels, she needed Colt, her friend.
Nicholotti: Relax, Colt.
::Taking a few steps forward, Kali entertained the thought, for a moment, of sitting in the chair behind the desk. It still felt wrong though, and she really didn't want the desk between them anyways, so she moved around to the side where he was standing and leaned back on the desk instead. It was about that time that the words decided to leave her too.::
::He let his rigid posture relax a little and tried his best to give her a comforting smile::
::There was so much to say; salvaging this friendship - one that existed beyond the uniform - had been near the top of her list of things to do when she found a moment. The job of command hadn't been simple to tackle, but she had found the moment. Now that she had it though, the words faded from her mind. In an instant, everything was just.gone. Kali struggled in the silence for a moment before looking up and into his eyes and saying the only two words that she could put together coherently that moment.::
::He locked eyes with the most important woman on the entire starbase, surprised that she would even waste the time apologizing to him. He just grinned and shook his head, taking a step closer to her.::
Daniels: Really, Commander, it's alright. I understand- or actually, I can't EVEN understand the amount of stress you must be under right now. Besides, you are my CO, I think you are entitled to giving me a flogging every now and then.
::Kali could only smile at him and the comment. She hadn't meant to do what had been done; it hadn't been his fault or the fault of anyone else on that ship, but he had been the one to poke her with that stick when she had hit rock bottom. So much was going through her mind in that moment, but there was something about his presence that made her think that somewhere, at some time in the near future, everything was going to be okay.::
::He was surprised at how much he cared for her already, seeing her in this vulnerable state. Suddenly aware of how self-absorbed his response had been, he spoke again.::
Daniels: I, uh... I'm here for you. If you need someone to talk to ::He paused and rubbed the back of his head:: or anything.
::He knew his words were not poetic by any means, but he was trying and he hoped the meaning of them would come through louder than the delivery::
::He seemed to stumble over the thoughts, or at least in getting them out in the right way. Kali actually grinned at him now. He hadn't been mad - a relief to her - and he hadn't gotten distant. Instead, he had simply forgiven her and let the moment fade into history that wasn't even remembered. His offer of support made her realize that Command changed very little about her other than the responsibilities that she carried. She was still human, and as tough as she could be, she still wanted.no, she needed something beyond the uniform.::
::It had been something she tried to talk herself out of, but life outside Starfleet refused to leave her be. She wasn't her grandfather, and she wasn't her father. Having nothing outside of her military career just wasn't her. At the same time, as she sat on the edge of what was right as a Commander, and what was right as an individual who felt a gaping hole inside where the pain simply wouldn't go away, Kali just wasn't sure what her next move was. She was so unsure, that she just started speaking.::
Nicholotti: You know, I keep thinking about that day and I keep wishing we could go back.
::He would know the day; they had met fairly recently, but that day had been one of the most enjoyable she had participated in for a long time. She had cut herself off from a personal life after Makal had left not once, but twice. She had stopped going places, save for those with Tressa or Jaxx, and she generally kept to herself. The day he had taken her out on the boat though; it rekindled something within her that she couldn't quite put her finger on.::
::Even with the limited information she gave, he knew the day. The day she let her guard down a little and their friendship really developed. The day he was sure that he wanted more::
Daniels: Yeah, things have been changing so fast I think we are all just struggling to catch up. It was all so simple out there, but I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere.
::Her gaze fell and a defeated look returned. He had proven himself a friend and something about him just screamed at her to let someone in. Kali wasn't one to do that often, but she also had a hard time not trusting her instincts. An internal battle waged in her mind on what to do, how to react.being in her new position brought with it so many new questions. What was appropriate? What was right? What would she need to stay sane? That was a big one, and at that moment, she felt as far away from sanity as could be possible. Yet his presence conveyed the very essence of calm.::
::As he watched her expression turn to sadness again, He edged closer to her, vaguely aware that he was likely invading her personal space. He wanted to reach out to her. He wanted to hold her close to him and tell her everything was alright, but he was confused. She was his boss, his Commander and up until this point she had shown no weakness, and he was certain that after this she would continue to be strong. But in that moment she needed someone. There was a line here, he was feeling as though he needed to cross it.::
::Perhaps it was the long silence that was drawn out as the battle of what to say or what to do waged in her mind, or perhaps he was just able to see something in her eyes. Whatever it was, she didn't fight it when he moved closer. Pausing long enough for her to only say one thing.::
Nicholotti: I don't know what I'm going to do without them.
::And then he hugged her. His arms wrapped her up and for that moment, the feelings of vulnerability faded into nothingness.::
::Though he was unsure at first, as he took her in his arms and held her there, he knew it was right. She fell into him and there they stood holding each other, standing on the edge of friendship and something else. Moments passed before Colt finally spoke::
::It was the first time that she had spoken about the true feelings of loss, and it was the first time since everything had started that she had been able to take a break and truly let the walls down. Her body refused to hold itself up, but instead found a moment of solace in the arms that now held her.::
Daniels: You are going to do what you've always done. ::He said quietly, looking down at the strongest woman he had ever known, who now seemed quite fragile in his arms:: You are going to be the very best at what you do, and you are going to succeed.
::There was something to be said about the faith that he conveyed in that one phrase. Something that meant a lot to her. She suddenly realized that, maybe, she never would be alone. Jaxx may have moved on, but now there were empty spaces in which to make new connections. She wouldn't be working day to day with them anymore - now she would build new bridges. Frowning at the thought, she quickly found the downside; it sure hurt.::
::He meant it too, though he was shocked by the announcement of Jaxx's departure, he (and he was certain the rest of the staff felt the same) had never doubted her abilities for a second::
Nicholotti: I.Thank you.
::There wasn't anything more she could say. It had all lasted no more than a moment, but that moment had pulled her back together. She shifted slightly and moved back just so that she could look up at him.::
::He felt her shift slightly and released her. She slowly pulled away , not far away, just out of the embrace. They looked at each other wondering where to go from here, decidedly the Academy didn't cover situations like these::
Daniels: If I've over stepped my bounds here, let me know. ::He glanced down at the floor and then back up at her:: Sometimes I think we lose sight of the fact that we are people behind these uniforms, not just officers.
::Kali had known it was coming; the thought had crossed her mind too, but the only conclusion she could come up with was that she needed it. In that way, she needed him. A sideways smirk appeared on her face.::
Nicholotti: The line was way back there. ::She leaned slightly and pointed behind him.:: You busted right through that.
::He instinctively started to back away, face reddening::
::Before he could move back, she took his hands and held him there; allowing herself one more moment within the calming strength he emanated. ::
Daniels: I guess there is no sense in going back now anyway. ::He smiled, nervously::
::After a moment, she let go and stood tall once more. The moment of weakness had allowed her to take a deep breath and reinforce her own strength. Now, while she was still immensely sad, she felt as if she had caught her second wind and could keep going.::
Nicholotti: ::Grinning.:: Seeing as this is going to be one of those easy missions.::The grin grew into an impish sort of thing.:: You. Dinner. 1800. I could use a good trip to the Retreat.
::Her mention of the mission snapped him back into his right mind, he really needed to get to the bridge and check things over, though by 1800h things should have settled down nicely::
Daniels: I Wouldn't miss it.
::He lingered for a second, deciding whether or not more needed to be said, before deciding against it and turning to leave::
::She nodded. Life had just gotten so much more confusing, but she had the distinct impression that figuring it all out was going to be half the fun. As he left the room, and silence returned, she turned to look back at the chair on the other side of the desk and shook her head.::
oO Almost, but not yet. Oo
::With her back turned back towards it, she picked up a padd and for a
moment, everything seemed to be just as it should have been.::
Commander Kalianna Nicholotti
Starbase 118 / USS Victory
Lt.JG Colt Daniels
Chief Tactical Officer
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