((Ready Room, USS Apollo))
::Jaxx waited for the relays to connect as he sat in front of his console. He wanted to see how Kali was doing before they went to deep into the Typhon Expanse. He had not had a chance to speak to her since leaving Starbase 118. He did keep up with current events as they came in. Even though he was far from the Trinity Sector, his thoughts were still partly there. He still had moments when he expected her to walk through his Ready Room door and park her rear on the corner of his desk. It took some getting used to that it would not happen. It made him smile to think of the Ready Room on the Victory, and desk in the office on Starbase 118. Both desks that he once sat behind, and both desks she found herself perched on. Now those desks were hers, and he wondered who was parking their behind on them now. He was unable to be around while she began to put together her senior staff. He was underway within 12 hours of getting his new orders, and many times his thoughts were of his protege. As he took a sip of vreeca, the logo on the screen was replaced with a face he had not seen in awhile.::
::The call had been announced as she stepped into the Hub, giving her not even a moment to take in the latest status reports or even get a cup of coffee. She laughed to herself and noted that even during the downtimes, chaos seemed to find her. Glancing down at the communications officer, she held up two fingers to signify the amount of time it would take her to take the stairs two at a time and get into her office, where she could replicate that cup of warm caffeine goodness, and sit in her chair as if she’d been there all the while. Not having stopped to do so, by the time the officer nodded her understanding, Kali was already in the doorway and making her way to the replicator. Seconds after she sat down, the call was transferred and she tapped the controls that would open the line.::
Jaxx: Good morning, Captain...I catch you at a bad time?
::As his face shimmered into view on the screen a whole cacophony of emotions seemed to explode within her mind. In that moment, she was ever thankful that he was far away and could not feel them himself. There was only so much he would be able to read from the look on her face, which she was trying quite hard to keep somewhat stable.::
Nicholotti: Good morning and no. Probably the best time really.
::So much that she couldn’t say ran through her head, but she kept the smile on her face as he kept the upbeat mood across the lightyears of space between them.::
Jaxx: ::smiling:: It is good to see you! How are things going in the Trinity Sector? Still holding it together with wire and sealant?
Nicholotti: ::nodding slightly.:: That, and the blood, sweat, and tears of ten thousand officers. ::She sighed.:: The station’s still in one piece.
::He would know what they had been though, there was no sense in confirming what he had already no doubt seen in the reports.::
Nicholotti: How’s the Apollo? Treating you well I hope?
Jaxx: So far we have been without the new ship "failures." I am going to chalk that up to my engineering team. They keep so busy that I hardly see them, which is good considering our mission and current destination.
::More than anything, she missed having him there to talk to. She missed the experiences they faced together. Even in the most dire moments, they always had found a silver lining. Now they were living out two separate stories.::
Nicholotti: Sounds, exciting, to say the least. ::There was a noted pause.:: How are my kids?
::He laughed. Kali had been the one to deliver his bundles of joy and got to see them at their most innocent stage. It was downhill from there.::
Jaxx: Getting big, and beefing up their vocabulary. We knew the Gideon blood would make them grow fast, but I feel like I missed so much. Tressa just got back from Gideon, and in the blink of an eye they use sentences. You should have a couple, it would do you some good. ::smirking::
::Jaxx knew how Kali felt about her job. Now that she had a different set of responsibilities it was likely worse. She never really had a chance to slow down and enjoy anything. He did his best to keep her on her toes over the years, and he could see it payed off. He was hoping that she was keeping her crew on their toes as well. With his children with him, he realized how much more there was to life. Looking back, he should have started a family long ago. It was as if they were the completion to the most complicated puzzle in the universe.::
::Kali raised an eyebrow at that one and quickly hid any possible sign that it was even something that would be considered. Up until quite recently, her only partner was Starfleet, but in the time between Jaxx’s departure and this moment, that view had decidedly shifted. But that was something to save for another time. Instead, she laughed and playfully narrowed her eyes.::
Nicholotti: I do believe that one of me is plenty for this universe.
::She smiled at him and he returned it as a moment of silence settled between them. The moment passed and he continued.::
Jaxx: So...I thought I should let you know, Liam does not sit on my desk.
Nicholotti: ::Grinning.:: I’d expect not. I think he might look pretty silly in many of my trademarked poses. ::She stopped and thought about him and all he had done for the crew when he was a part of it.:: He ever find a way to fit into my shoes? I expect they’d look pretty silly on his big arse feet too.
Jaxx: ::laughing:: He is doing well. He was born for this...just as you were. Tressa is doing well, she is jumping back in feet first. When we deployed I insisted she take the kids and visit Gideon, I knew how far we would be from her home world, and I wanted her family to meet the kids.
::As it turned out, he didn’t have to be in the same room to read the looks on her face. The information just seemed to flow, despite her own hesitation in asking it.::
Nicholotti: I’m glad she’s okay. ::Oh how her heart ached to be there with the family she had come to love.:: What about your side? ::It was something she covered as best she could.::
::He thought of how easy it was to get along with his father. He would be happy with ten fingers and ten toes just as Jaxx was. His mother was a bit different, always worrying about the future of the 8th House. As they developed, he could already sense McKenzie trying to sort things out in her mind. There was no way to tell if the accelerated growth rate would speed up the birth of either child's telepathic abilities. It was something he was preparing for, and had the right Chief Medical Officer in place to deal with. Everything in his life and command was a calculated move. He left very little to chance.::
Jaxx: My family can see them after we complete our first deployment. So, what is new with you? I assume you still fly that antiquated thing in the holodeck....but other than that, how are you keeping busy?
::It had been awhile since he spoke to her and he was genuinely concerned how she was doing. He wished he was close enough to sense her emotions, but even some things were out of reach for the great Andrus Jaxx. He was left to read facial expressions and judge from her body language. He missed just chatting with her, and while Liam did a great job keeping him grounded...he really missed having Kali around.::
::The somewhat superficial smile faded slightly now as the focus of things turned towards her.::
Nicholotti: Ah, you know, one crisis after another. ::She shrugged.:: Saving the galaxy keeps me from thinking too much though.
::A sad grin replaced the less genuine look.::
Nicholotti: It’s different now, but we’re getting along alright. Kevin’s returned to Engineering, and the officer they transferred in to take his place lasted about an hour.
::She sighed and shook her head. It had been a tumultuous time in the wake of his leaving. There had been the rush to fill the shoes of giants; Jaxx, Tressa, Frost, and even the newer officers like Lanius. Then, they were slammed immediately with yet another attack from the broken and fractured Romulan Empire. This time it was a group known as Reikara, and though they went by a different name, they were really no different than the Brotherhood who had orchestrated the terror just months prior. She had gone through multiple First Officers in the midst of all of it, though it was no one’s fault, but it certainly make things more difficult. Now things were on the mend and it seemed as if the crew would have time to recover, but Kali certainly didn’t hold her breath for the calm to ever prevail.::
Jaxx: Burning through them, huh? ::smirking::
::Kali snorted a kind of laugh at that.::
Nicholotti: I never was one to hold on to First Officers. Eh, you’ll be happy to know Commander Walker doesn’t sit on the desk either.
::That brought a real grin to her face. Though the dynamic had changed, she could only hope for great things in the future.::
Jaxx: Give him time...that is as long as you keep him longer than one hour. ::snickering::
Nicholotti: I think this one might stick around a bit. ::She nodded as much to herself as to the man on the screen.:: I know he will. He seems to have a head as hard as mine.
Jaxx: I did not think that was possible. Ah, well...what can you do?
::Jaxx glanced down at some of the sensor readings that came in recently. As he did, he noticed the time and the fact that Alpha shift was coming on duty. He smirked at the data as he looked at the woman.::
Jaxx: Well...I have to get going. We have some exploring to do. I may be out of contact for awhile, we have no way of knowing how our communications will be affected while we are in the Expanse. But do not be a stranger.
::Their rare moment was coming to a close, and while it saddened her, she was thankful he had thought to contact her before delving into the total unknown.::
Nicholotti: I won’t. Even if I have to send a probe.
::She looked towards the screen with a look that told him she really would, too.::
Jaxx: Send everyone my best.
::So many things filled her mind that she wanted to tell him; so many things that were always left unsaid, though not unknown. That had always been their dynamic, and it would continue, even now. Instead of saying too much, she just nodded.::
Nicholotti: You do the same.
Jaxx: ::smiling:: See you when I see you.
::Kali took just one extra minute in responding so that she could burn his face and his smile into her mind. It would go well with the phantom whispers of his voice that still filled the office and the ready room on the Victory. And then, with a smile of her own, she let him go.::
Nicholotti: You know where I’ll be.
::Pressing a few commands, Jaxx closed the channel. It was good to talk to Kali, and it made him feel a bit closer to home. She had been a big part of his career in command. Now that they were separated, he had to strive to form new bonds with his new command staff. Liam was a rare find, and while he was not exactly like Kali...he was filling in his own shoes just fine. There was always hope that Commander Tel-ar would lighten up, but the deities only knew when that would happen. Stretching with his arms up in the air, he then finished his vreeca and turned his attention to the rest of the day..::
::Seconds later, Kali found herself plunged back into the silence of the Captain’s office on Starbase 118. It was a far different place than it had been when she sat perched on the other side of the desk, but it was getting easier to deal with that now. At least her friends and family were okay. It was with that knowledge, and the happiness of having been given the chance to speak with him again, that she stood and stepped out of the office looking down into the control center of Starbase 118. Now the day could officially begin.::
Captain Andrus Jaxx
Commander Kalianna Nicholotti
Starbase 118/USS Victory