SIM:Nicholotti To Dream In The City Of Sorrows
((The Captain's Office - Starbase 118))
::For the moment, Vincent was fuming. He didn’t like the idea that the tactical officer had somehow made it back into the good graces of Kali so quickly, but aside from fuming there was little he could do. Perhaps it was that line of thought that prevented him from really stopping the arrival at the office door, though something was tapping him in the corner of his mind telling him that it wasn’t right. He looked at Maddox, whom he’d dealt with before once or twice, and as the doors to the office opened, tried to process things. As soon as the doors slid closed, he found himself in motion; like everything else, the world and even his own reactions seemed to slow down and the doors just couldn’t open fast enough.::
::Still reeling from the roller coaster ride of emotions, Colt watched as the bad feeling in the pit of stomach seemed to try and prove itself to be valid. Time seemed to slow down, as his mind processed what he saw. Maddox’s dumbfounded look had transformed into fear for no readily apparent reason and the woman he’d been escorting seemed...wrong. All of these thoughts occurred in rapid succession in no less than a moment, as he placed himself between his self-appointed charge and the unexpected visitors. He didn’t want to take any chances, he distantly wondered if the overly protective demeanor he now harbored was a result of the feelings that had just been forced out of hiding just moments earlier.::
::It took a moment for the matrix version of Kalianna Nicholotti to realize just what was going on. Colt took up a position between her and whoever the people were that came into the office, and something told her that she shouldn’t try to get around him. Still, she tried to look around his larger figure, catching a glimpse of the ‘Civy’ as he had called her just as she began to move. That was when things started moving far faster than even her artificial mind could handle.::
::Of the many emotions that she might have been capable of just then, the clone or duplicate, or whatever people wanted to call her when they found out what she was, suddenly felt quite afraid. In the back of her mind, she knew that come the next day, there was a very real possibility that she would be ‘turned off’, but it was still some time away. In the meantime, she planned on living this ‘life’ and taking in as much as she could. Now, this woman was here with a blade that threatened even her short existence, and fear rose to the forefront of her mind. Though not entirely human in the most biological sense, a sort of adrenaline spiked and her entire body found itself on what she could only attribute to as a high alert state.::
::Suddenly without warning, the body language of Maddox’s guest changed. Desperation burned in her eyes and a hand shot into her purse. Colt’s eyes couldn't miss the silvery glint of a blade as she withdrew it. He saw her shove past the stunned form of Allan Maddox, who had once again proven himself useless. Colt’s worst fears were rapidly becoming reality. As she advanced at a full charge, Colt suddenly felt so very sluggish in comparison to the nimble figure dashing towards him from only a few feet away. His training rose to the forefront of his mind as he scrambled to respond. One thought rang out above all others.::
oO You will NOT hurt her.Oo
::With one foot through the door, Vincent saw the horrific scene play out in front of him. Maddox simply stood there, seemingly unsure of what to do, as the woman with him pushed past. Vince shoved him out of the way as well, grasping at air as he tried to grab her. In tandem, the tactical officer he had felt such animosity for just moments before moved as well, keeping the Captain behind a wall that his body formed. In that instant, as Vince went after the woman and watched the chaos as it happened, his entire outlook on the man changed forever.::
::With Colt’s “reactionary gap” thoroughly blown and no time to go for his phaser, he used the one weapon he had available; his own body. In a flash, the assassin charged as he stepped up to meet her, aiming for a head on collision. He hoped to grab her arm with his left hand and wrest control of the blade, but as they collided and he felt it close on nothing, her advance completely stopped by sheer physics. He was acutely aware of a sharp impact to his abdomen as his right hand closed around the attacker’s throat. His adrenaline was pounding as his left hand finally gained purchase on the attacker’s wrist, his right hand tightened around her neck, knuckles white. His emotions seemed to fire at random, anger, disgust, panic and somewhere, off in the distance, pain.::
::The holomatrix form that the man was protecting was supposed to have been nothing more than an empty shell with an imprinted personality and mannerisms taken from the real Captain. What they hadn’t expected was what she had really become. Feelings, emotions, and thoughts no respectable hologram should have had tumbled around in her mind as she saw the man rise up to protect her, and the other man, from outside, rush in after the attacker. Though she realized, somewhere, that some of the feelings were residuals from the personality that her ‘twin’ had given her, as she watched, she felt something both new and entirely her own; a cocktail of regret, the sudden need to protect *him*, and a sort of helplessness in that no matter how fast she moved, she couldn’t do anything to prevent the scene from happening.::
::Colt tried to throw the attacker to the ground but couldn’t. It wasn’t logical, she was smaller, it should have been easy. Suddenly his grip released and he fell back against the desk, arms flailing to catch himself on it. He saw Vincent Jones move on the assassin as he caught the edge of the desk, Colt had no explanation for what was happening to him. He glanced down briefly, intending to draw his phaser, when he saw the problem jutting out from his left side ugly and horrible like a metallic tumor.::
::Momentum was on his side now as Vince rammed the would-be assassin with his own hulking form as soon as Colt had released her. Somewhere to the side, he caught sight of the tactical officer falling somewhat backwards, and in that instant he felt both bad and relieved. The knife the woman had brandished would pose no more threat to the Captain, but in taking it out of commission, someone else had been hurt. With his priority on the woman just then, he allowed the momentum to bring her, and himself, quite heavily against the wall. There, he held her, immobilized, as he called out.::
Jones: Security to the Captain’s Office! Now!
::And as a testament to Katy Orman’s planning and training, it only took seconds for them to arrive.::
::Colt tried to right himself but was unable, slowly slumping the rest of the way to the ground in front of the desk. Still unwilling to process the information he’d just received, He watched as the marine slammed the woman up against the wall with enough force to incapacitate a Klingon. It was done, Kali was safe. Suddenly, his whole world collapsed in on him. The pain and fear that had been completely nullified by his drive to protect her, hit him with full force now.::
::Knowing Jones had the woman, and suddenly trying to cope with a nearly crippling feeling of dread, the duplicate form of Kali raced towards the man who had fallen against the desk and kneeled next to him. Her eyes flared in horror as she assessed the situation and saw the blade embedded deep. Around it, blood seemed to ooze, creating an ever widening ring of darkness on the already black uniform. Her eyes caught his for a moment and she whispered feebly as one hand went to the wound to check what she already knew to be true, quickly staining it with his blood.::
::Colt extended a shaky hand down to the site of the wound, trying to assess the damage, but he was no doctor. He only knew that it was bad. A shadow passed over him and he saw Kali kneeling beside him. He tried to smile, but couldn’t manage more than the slightest pain-hardened grin. He reached out to her, gripping her uniform sleeve and spoke. Every word shot pain down his body like he was on fire inside.::
Daniels: It’s ok...
::He didn’t know what else to say. This wasn’t her fault. She hadn’t asked for this and he didn’t have any regrets.::
Nicholotti: Not for me....
::He coughed a little, it hurt to breathe, even worse to talk. He ran the back of his hand across his mouth, coming back with small amount of blood staining his knuckles. That was bad. His thoughts took that idea and ran with it.::
oO Am I going to die? Oo
::Though she had memories of pain, and perhaps, horror, this was the first time she’d experienced it for herself. And like the kiss they had shared what seemed like an eternity before, this feeling was both intense and almost intoxicating. Though it was an intoxication she could have done without, and with anger that made her seethe and some kind of adrenaline that made whatever kind of heart she had flutter in the strangest way, the duplicate of Kali suddenly knew a whole other side of herself. Memories, alone, were just memories, but with these experiences, they began to take real forms and she began to understand things more.::
::And in that instant, she felt an aching in her heart for the man before her as she scrambled to slap her badge.::
Nicholotti: Emergency transport, two to the Victory’s sickbay! Now!
::Things began to slowly go out of focus. He saw Kali’s lips move, but couldn’t make out the words, there was so much activity in the Captain’s office, so many people speaking loudly, in panicked tones. It all faded to blackness.::
::And as the blue lights took them, she held onto him and tried desperately to convey with her eyes that it was going to be okay. She wasn’t going to let anything happen to him.::
((Sickbay, USS Victory))
::No sooner had they materialized than the staff who had been preparing the ship for departure converged on their location. The duplicate of Kali helped him back as softly as she could while activating any number of systems on the bed at the same time. Glancing over at one of the nurses, she found that what came out of her mouth was far calmer and more collected than she thought possible. The real Kali’s training was kicking in.::
::In the darkness Colt found peace. He saw her face, heard the waves crashing on Eschevar, rocking the boat they had commandeered. The long hours they had spent working and socializing in her office, all of it passed by like a high-speed slideshow. He fought to hold on. He clung to the memories, struggling to pull himself out of the blackness.::
Nicholotti: Get Doctor MacLaren up here.
::The nurse nodded and moved off as she called after her with another thought.::
Nicholotti: And don’t tell her why! ::The nurse paused as the ‘Captain’ looked at everyone.:: This has been reclassified as need to know. It doesn’t leave this room.
::Colt’s eyes shot open momentarily as he tried to sit up, pain and several nurses held him down on the bed. He was disoriented, unable to recognize his surroundings.::
::The sudden movement startled her, but with help from the others, she held him as still as she could manage. Leaving her hands on his shoulders, she leaned down to whisper in his ear.::
Nicholotti: Easy, Colt. I’m here.
::He wasn’t dead yet. That much was clear and hearing the familiar voice did wonders to calm him. He relaxed his body as much as the waves of searing pain would allow, managing to ask a question through gritted teeth.::
Daniels: How does it look?
::Doing all she could to keep the concern from her eyes, she tried to put forth a confident smile even though she felt anything but.::
Nicholotti: You’re going to be fine. Just stay with me, alright?
::He reached up and took her hand in his, feeling the warmth in comparison to the coldness he felt, and faded out again.::
::The others swarmed around the bed, working to stabilize him. Short of a major procedure, though, the ‘being’ that stood there now knew there was little she could do. And just as Kali would have done, she stepped back to let the others do their job and found herself a pocket of relative stillness near the head of the bed. She looked down at him, wanting to tell him everything, and wanting to hide it all at the same time. It was already tearing her apart in the strangest ways, but she was thinking of her ‘sister’ now and realized it had to be unknown. At least for now.::
::Colt’s mind wandered in the darkness again, grasping at the memories that helped hold him together.::
((FLASHBACK - A FEW MONTHS EARLIER))
((SB118 - HUB - Captain’s Office))
::The doors whooshed open and he entered her office. He hadn’t quite figured out what he was going to say, hoping that the words would come to him. He approached Kali as she sat at her desk, smiling an apparently transparent smile, judging by the change in her expression.::
::She didn’t look up immediately, but smiled when she caught who entered out of the corner of her eye.::
Nicholotti: Good morning, Colt.
::And then she looked up and caught his smile. There was something definitively off with it, and it caused her to pause. Narrowing her eyes slightly, she set the padd she had been reading down and leaned back in the chair.::
Nicholotti: Or not. What’s up?
::He let out a sigh, and launched into his unprepared explanation.::
Daniels: I’ve done something that I’ll probably regret. ::He let his gaze shift to the wall behind her, unable to look her in the eyes.:: I am being reassigned.
::The news was a shock, but aside from the initial flare of her eyes, she kept her feelings locked down. Inside was a different story, but, seeing as this was the path things were taking, those feelings were going to remain quite hidden. A voice in the back of her mind taunted her, telling her it had only been a matter of time, despite her never wanting to believe it. It didn’t seem to matter what, or who, this was what always happened.::
Nicholotti: To where?
Daniels: I don’t know yet. ::He realized how ridiculous it sounded and quickly tried to clarify:: It’s black op, one of the first of it’s kind. But there’s something else. ::He paused for a moment trying several different ways of phrasing the words in his mind.:: I volunteered for the assignment.
::He wasn’t really looking at her, and she could tell, but that didn’t stop her from staring at him. The shock was well hidden, as was the hurt, but taking on the guise of his commanding officer, she simply nodded.::
Nicholotti: I see. ::Her own gaze finally shifted.:: When do you leave?
::Finally gaining the courage to look directly at her, he saw her gaze shift just like his had. She’d done well to hide the feelings she had to be feeling, that he felt too. But he could see them, somewhere beneath the surface.::
Daniels: Tomorrow. ::Another pause that gnawed at his heart. He had try to make her understand.:: This is big Kali, it has the potential to affect the entire Federation.
::Raising an eyebrow she shot him a look. Was he lecturing her on duty? Of all things. She shook her head. It was one thing that she understood and understood well, and she was the last person in the galaxy that would presume to hold up a career, or the betterment of the Federation simply because she was tired of losing the people she loved. She sighed and shrugged.::
Nicholotti: Tomorrow eh?
::He nodded grimly. He hadn’t intended to leave on such short notice but he hadn’t realized the orders would come through the day after he applied for the assignment.::
Daniels: Yes M’am. The orders came through this morning. ::He tried to convey how sorry with his eyes:: I thought I had more time, I wanted to give you more notice...
::Kali held up that finger when she was dismissing something.::
Nicholotti: If this is what you want, then you need to do it.
::But that didn’t make the feeling inside ease at all. On the contrary, it only got more intense the longer he stood there and she soon found herself fighting for composure. It didn’t matter though; she didn’t send him away.::
Nicholotti: You have tonight?
::He had been struggling to keep the exchange as professional as possible, but that wasn’t the problem. It wasn’t his professional relationship that was trying to tear him apart inside.::
Daniels: Yes. A ship is passing through to pick me up at 0900 tomorrow. ::His voice finally softened:: I’m sorry. I just ::He paused again:: I need to do this. I can make a difference there.
::And all she could think of was how he could possibly think he didn’t make a difference where he was. But she kept that to herself. After a long pause, she finally nodded.::
Nicholotti: I understand.
::She debated the next part for a while longer, finally gathering her thoughts enough to stand and make her way to the other side of the desk.::
Nicholotti: Dinner? For old times sake?
::Colt tried to smile, but it just didn’t come this time. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was making a mistake.::
oO This had sounded so good on paper... Oo
Daniels: I’d like that.
::Finally letting the sadness to filter into her eyes, or, unable to keep it out rather, she found her way back into his embrace one last time.::
Nicholotti: You know I’ll miss you....
::And hiding her face, burying it in his arms, she finally let the emotions out where he couldn’t see them.::
::As he held her, Colt closed his eyes tightly, willing himself not to feel as bad as he felt. He couldn’t go back now, he’d volunteered for the assignment but the transfer order was finalized, he’d be gone tomorrow. After a few long moments he spoke.::
Daniels: This doesn’t have to be the end. ::He looked down at her while still holding her close:: You know, of us.
::Smiling sadly, she admitted to herself that she had considered it, but the galaxy was such a hugely vast place. Slowly, she shook her head.::
Nicholotti: We have no idea what will happen, out there. I can’t justify trying to do that....
::And despite her diplomatic ‘training’ and experience, the words simply escaped her. She would take this moment, this night, but then she would set him free and find her solace in the office where the whispers seemed to reside.::
::Colt’s heart ached as the words left her. He had foolishly thought that they’d make it work. He’d assumed that she’d be willing to try. He’d been stupid. Doing everything he could not slam his fist into a wall in frustration, he simply nodded in reply.::
::But ‘at least for now’ might have meant forever, if they truly intended on derezing her in the morning. The thought of him never knowing tore her apart further, but she stood strong and held him the only way she could with all of the machinery and medical personnel around. At the sound of the doors parting, her head shot up to see the doctor running in. Before she ever reached the biobed, Kali’s stand in was already speaking.::
Nicholotti: He’s got a nasty stab wound.
::Of course that was fairly self evident.::
::There was a dire look in her eyes as she looked at the woman she’d met, but never met.::
Nicholotti: You have to save him.
Kalianna’s Sentient Holomatrix Clone
Stand-In Commanding Officer
Starbase 118 / USS Victory
As simmed by Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
Lt.JG Colt Daniels
With special guest appearances by:
CWO Vincent Jones
Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
LtJG Allan Maddox
Return to Kalianna Nicholotti