SIM:Nicholotti A Night Interrupted
((Cody's Quarters, Starbase 118))
::David sank to the ground, holding his head while chasing images away that didn’t make sense. There was something wrong... horribly wrong. And it wasn’t the creation of the Matrix Nicholotti... it was the sinking sensation he had just set in motion something he had done before, but yet, hadn’t. He didn’t understand! And his mind was swimming with half doubts, half memories, and for a brief second, the sense that he wasn’t really here at all, that it was some sort of dream, and a cruel one, that let him be himself, and love, and think he had a chance to give Kalianna a home, a place to cherish, where they could just be themselves. ::
::It was when he sunk to the ground that she suddenly realized something was wrong. Turning, she called out to him.::
Nicholotti: ::Softly.:: David?
Cody: ::haunted:: Kali... I think I’ve done this before... and I can’t remember.
::She really didn’t care for the look in his eyes, and it worried her that it seemed to have been brought on by his attempt to help her. Frowning, she looked down at him.::
Nicholotti: But, where?
::Little did she know that such questions held more significance than she ever realized.::
:: Hugging himself, David rocked, struck by images of robed figures and a sudden burst of clashing curved knives, and a bald, black-skinned tattooed giant flashing a nightmarish glean that matched a planet skyline horizon of descending ships he thought he recognized, but couldn’t place.... ::
((Skrizvpai, 150 Years Ago))
::David raised his head to the heavens as watched, struck dumb, gaping, as the hordes of ships descended opening fire on the ground below. Insectoid ships, blasting away at the camps, hearing the roar of childrens’ screams, and the the fire that blazed over the land and swept across the continent, devouring everything in its path. ::
:: They came... they came because of their combined hatred for the Warlords, and yet relied on them when they wished to make war. David screamed, raising his scythemii daggers and stood against the raging flames that swept across the training planet and destroyed everything and anything that they had fought to preserve, despite their warring nature, and cursed the Ithassa for damning them and killing their race with impunity because of their fear.... because they hated relying on them to defend the region... for the millennia they had thrived, and had built their warships... ::
:: Screaming, David met the flames and held the scythemii high, one in each hand, defying the Great Hunt all Ixvapyans lived by. They were the masters! He would not succumb! No matter what the cost... Hadrian would find a way to make sure they were not forgotten. The fire blazed forward and became a blazing inferno of red-orange-yellow-white heat that consumed his vision, knowing that the Seven Systems was invaded and being destroyed. ::
Hadrian: ::screaming into the heavens:: Never die!
:: Blackout... an intense darkness and a struggle with a sense he no longer had his own, and shared with someone else... and the burning fury that something had squashed him, buried him, and made him forget. He WAS NOT DEAD! Screaming into the blackness, Hadiran cursed and promised retribution to that which tried to bury him. He was not gone! No... the Blade Master did not destroy him... he did not perish... the memories of his time, of his race... were passed on. ::
Oo Remember... oO
::David heaved, gasping for breath as a sudden surge of memories swarmed him... and died, leaving him on the floor sitting against his workstation. He squeezed his eyes shut and winced, feeling a pain unlike anything he felt before as a hammering memory of the Ixvapyan’s last words to him on.... ::
:: Why couldn’t he remember?! ::
:: Clutching the sides of his head, David found himself bending forward and heaving, struggling to hold onto his stomach as it threatened to unleash. He rocked himself, hearing the oily, slicky, and guttural voice of the Ixvapyan Warlord in his head. ::
:: What did Hadrian do to him? ::
:: David snapped his eyes open, short of breath, struggling to contain himself at the onrush of memories that sprang out, as Medical warmed him they would... when he least expected it. He stared up at Kalianna, for the first time in his entire life, feeling helpless. ::
::No sooner than he looked up at her, she was on the floor by his side. Wrapping her arms around him, she held him close in the best way she knew how to convey to him that she was there and this would pass. As he spoke, though, she realized that, perhaps, things went deeper than she even understood.::
Cody: ::aware, realization setting in :: He knew... he knew and found a way. He found a way to preserve his race... the sonofabitch...
::That didn’t keep her from holding him though. Understanding would come in time, but for now, all she could do was be there, and hold him, and help him sort through it all. Bits and pieces of their conversation earlier filtered through her mind and she wondered if this had something to do with that. Softly, she ran her fingertips through his hair in an attempt to soothe, her voice taking on the same characteristics of quiet softness.::
Nicholotti: Who did, David?
::The voice he responded with was far from one she was used to and she soon realized that he had uncovered something in all of this that, perhaps, he wasn’t meant to.::
Cody: ::hissing :: Hadrian... he slapped me. I remember.. he slapped me, and I saw what the Ithassa races did to his race... I saw! He found a way! He found a way... even though I killed him! Oh GOD... I killed him... and I didn’t want to... I remember... I remember... gods... what I have done?!
::So much of what he was saying made little sense, but she did her best to piece it together with what she’d learned earlier so that she had some kind of forward flowing story. In the end, she got the basics of it and her heart dropped somewhat. Though not telepathic, she could see by the look in his eyes the state of his mind.::
::Pulling him closer, she kissed his forehead and wrapped him in her presence. Still speaking softly, soothingly, and ignoring the ache in her hands, she tried to point out the obvious silver lining.::
Nicholotti: It sounds to me like you saved a race. Or, at least an important part of it.
::Not by choice. David chased away visions of places he knew he had never been, wondering just what the dead Warlord had done to him in those final moments. Closing his eyes, he found himself using Vulcan methods of meditation to calm himself down, yet still feeling disjointed, as if somehow he was, and wasn’t connected. ::
Cody: I didn’t ask for them. Why me?
::Kali was so lost. She wanted to do something to chase the bad away; the images of nightmares were often overwhelming, but when those nightmares, you suddenly discovered, were real, electrical phenomenon within the mind that somehow had merged two minds into one, well, she could only imagine. Still, she wasn’t quite sure what to do to help him, aside from not letting go.::
::After another moment, she pressed on. Perhaps working through things would get them both somewhere.::
Nicholotti: What do you do with...with Hadrian? Do you know?
::David shook his head. It was bad enough to think there was a seperate conscience or memory of someone else now lodged within his cerebral cortex. Do with Hadrian? Hell, he didn’t even know the Ixvapyan had somehow managed to transfer things into him. He squeezed Kalianna tighter, feeling more of a burden now than a blessing. ::
Cody: Tell the truth, I didn’t even know until this moment.
::That didn’t exactly sound promising, but, she wouldn’t allow it to distance her. Releasing him, but not taking her arms from around him, she looked into his eyes and conveyed the calming, most reassuring look she could muster despite the nagging feelings in the back of her head that told her of yet another loss.::
Nicholotti: We’ll walk the path together. ::She caressed his cheek with one hand.:: I’m staying right here.
::Right there; on the floor, in the middle of a mess, out in space, off to distant shores. It didn’t matter. With an almost renewed sense of purpose, beyond the need to protect her crew, she found herself pooling everything that made her strong, and loyal, to vow to stand fast and face the tempest with this man. Never before had the pull seemed to incredibly great, to want to remain and fight against everything and anything, bringing to bear everything in her power. The pieces had come together, forming a seemingly interesting bond that she all at once understood inside her mind.::
::Already too far gone, she was, when she looked in his eyes and saw the fire that burned in them. She wasn’t sure how it had happened, but she suddenly realized that she needed him. Whatever that meant in terms of fighting, she’d never been quite so willing to stand up and face the blade, or, as she’d seen briefly in her vision earlier that day, the dual scythemii blades of the creature that plagued him now. Never had any direction felt so incredibly seamless, so perfectly right. It was only after she’d let it all run through her mind that she wondered if he could see through her; if he could read it all in her worried eyes, and if he did, did he feel the same?::
::Feeling drained, David cupped her hand against his cheek, struck by the strangeness of it all. Images of clouds on fire over a scorched earth remained imprinted over his vision before it slowly faded and revealed his own quarters. He took in a long, deep breath and refocused on the extraordinary woman in front of him, finally coughing up a weak, but warm smile that he tried to convey some of the more intense feelings going on behind it. And yet... he couldn’t help but feel that he was becoming more sickly, or fragile. ::
Cody: Even if I’m falling apart?
Nicholotti: ::Nodding.:: I’ll hold you together.
::He hugged her close, afraid if he let go, what they had right now in the moment wouldn’t be there tomorrow. David had to remind himself that every day was a new day, and a work in progress. And then there was Cain... he pursed his lips in thought, then banished the matrix double. Better to see what happened before pulling the switch. ::
::A part of him spoke up then. oO What about Ben? Oo In his rush to get things in motion, David realized he didn’t take a moment to meet with Walker on the side and give him a head’s up. oO He’s going to kill me, Oo he reflected, and shook his head. And David didn’t have any real good excuses. He’d have to deal with it in the morning. ::
Cody: Help me up?
Nicholotti: Of course.
::Kali stood and helped him to his feet, holding tight and reaffirming what she had told him moments ago. She’d hold him together if she had to. It was a promise made on many levels, and one she intended on keeping.::
::He wasn’t sure if he needed the support, but right now he didn’t trust himself. He climbed unsteadily to his feet, blinking fast, and chasing away spots of a rust-colored wall instead of his own, feeling a wave of disorientation pass over him. A growing sense something was wrong with him caused creases in his forehead, but he was going to be damned if there were any more problems tonight. ::
Cody: Alright, enough of the outside world.
::The new wave of what seemed like confidence brought a smile to her face. She nodded in agreement. In hiding anyways, she might as well get lost in the moment, and in the present company. It had been the one thing she’d looked forward to all day and now that it was here, well, she wanted to enjoy the time before it slipped away as time so often did.::
Nicholotti: I can get on board with that idea.
::More confident, he broke away from Kalianna and stepped into the kitchen area, heading for a nearby section of wall and punched in a code where there was only seemingly wall space (even if there wasn’t a prohibition, David didn’t leave his alcohol supply out in plain sight... it was a starbase, after all). A door panel slid open to let a rack glide out. He looked through the supply before settling on a dusty red Petit Syrah from the Napa Region of California, Earth, and pulled it. ::
::The rack slid back into the wall as David collected two wine glasses from a cabinet and returned to the living room. He held up the bottle and the glasses. ::
Cody: Shall we?
::Unable to keep the smile from spreading across her face, Kali met him in the living room, nodding. The ghost of a thought of her shadows, and her ‘clone’ ran through her mind, but it quickly went as she watched the liquid pour into the glasses. Taking one as he offered it, she nodded, committing herself to whatever was to come.::
Nicholotti: I’ve been waiting for this day to be over. For this.
::For this moment, for this feeling, for everything that could be, and might be, and would, perhaps, be given time. The world beyond the doors was scary, but in here it felt calm, safe, inviting even. And all of that, even the unknowns of the future, suited her fine. There would be good with the bad, but as he had said, enough of the outside world. Let it worry about itself, for at least a short while, and let her get lost in the intoxicating feelings she’d discovered here.::
::He definitely had been looking forward to this part of it. Not the matrix construct, although interesting in its own right (and managed to make himself shiver a moment between strides), but rather this, the chance to just be themselves and forget what happened outside the door. Especially any kind of rank. A part of him suspected despite the long time held over and debriefed (or deprogrammed, or whatever they called it), rehabilitated, the truth of it was he was still adjusting. Yes, the docs told him to go slow... yes, take it easy, don’t go headstrong. ::
::Of course, he just dived right in. Coming over, David set the glasses down and picked up a corkscrew over the coffeetable. He cut the foil and twisted it into the cork, pulling to pop it and splash a little bit into his glass. A few fast swirls of the glass, he brought it to his nose and sniffed. A wave of strong blackberry and pepper. He swooned a moment, savoring the armona, then took a taste. ::
::Fruit parchment, smooth and gliding, leaving a strong leathery black peper in the aftertaste. He could have just ate a full meal right there. He took the bottle and poured Kalianna a third of a glass, then himself. Handing the glass to her, he raised his and sat next to her. ::
::Still holding his gaze, completely lost in his eyes, she slowly lifted the glass. The first thing she noticed as she brought it close to her nose was the scent. Not one who drank much wine, or anything for that matter, it shocked her for a moment as she let it wash over her senses, accosting them with a kind of berry goodness that she’d not experienced before. Glancing up at him, with a surprised smile, she brought the glass to her lips and sipped it lightly.::
::The flavor danced on her tongue for a moment as she watched him. Another surprised smile appeared as the fruit flavor spread, lingering in the most unique ways. Giving it time, she savored it as she did his very presence, allowing herself to take in every aspect in turn.::
Nicholotti: Almost as good as being here is.
::Definitely as rich, and, perhaps, complex in its own way.::
Cody: So aside from staff meetings and aquariums, how was the rest of your day?
::The rest of her day; that encompassed a lot, and a lot of thoughts that she could do nothing about. Creena was lost, and Vreeya hadn’t been heard from, there was still little known about her assassination plot, and even less about the entirety of the Thracian Alliance. Add on to that the fact that she’d had to be shadowed for most of the day and you got a nice dose of stress, topped with even more. She shook her head.::
Nicholotti: Don’t ask. That stays outside the doors.
::David paused to take a glance at the door, wondering what the two that were originally standing outside before taking off with the matrix (or twin) Nicholotti had thought when arriving here. A twitch and a smile graced his features as the wine relaxed him. ::
Cody: I never understood bodyguard detail... but I’ve never done it, either.
Nicholotti: ::Raising an eyebrow.:: Well, you don’t need to. ::Grinning.:: Cause I’m not really here.
::With a laugh, David nodded and took another sip, letting the wine rest in his mouth and soak up the mixture of pepper, blackberry, smoke, leather and a touch of tobacco. For him at least. Wine was a personal thing. He opened an arm to the back of the sofa and offered a snuggly shoulder if Kalianna was the snuggling kind. He suddenly realized there was a lot about her he didn’t know. And a few things he did. He nodded at the wine. ::
Cody: So, what do you think?
::Welcoming the invitation, Kali settled next to him and pulled her boots off before pulling her feet up next to her. The warmth quickly surrounded her as she found her way back to the wine wrapped up next to him. It was the first time in a long time she’d felt so at ease.::
Nicholotti: Interestingly complex.
::Laughing at herself she shook her head slightly.::
Nicholotti: It’s good, I guess I just don’t get to try many wines. ::Her gaze got distant for a moment as she thought about things before looking back towards him.:: In fact, I don’t know that I get much time away to do much of anything, at least lately.
::He nodded, thinking of the time not long after taking command of the Independence. For some reason, once after, he found himself more removed, and perhaps more at a loss, as others rose to take action while finding the mountains of paperwork only taller than when he was a simple Chief of Security, or Tactical Chief back in the humble days. He missed those days. David suspected he liked being more active, rather than sitting in the chair and watching the crew have all the fun. And truthfully, he felt that was his own blasted fault. He smiled, a bit wan, and curled up with Kalianna. ::
Cody: I seem to remember I didn’t get away from the chair, or the office, all that much.
::And so it had been, one crisis after another, with no time to find humanity in between. Being able to remind yourself what you were fighting for, at least once in awhile, was important, and yet for her, as a new Captain, it had gotten lost. Somewhat subconsciously, she drew closer to him, as if chilled by the thoughts of loneliness and the whispers of the office in the wake of Jaxx’s departure. It had all been such a mess, but now...she wondered if this was really the calm, or just the calm before the storm.::
::In momentary silence she thought about it all, considering just how it all was coming together, and how much brighter things seemed just by having him there. The parts of her mind that she locked off, and kept at bay as she went through her day were set free here. And in the light of not having to be anyone in particular, along with the wine that she continued to sip, her entire body and mind found itself in an entirely new state of relaxation.::
Nicholotti: As it turns out, something tells me I really needed this.
::Because the longer you kept things locked up, the more strained they all became. And these parts of her mind had been that way for far longer than she could have thought possible.::
::David took another sip and looked at her. His cuddle arm draped around Kalianna’s shoulder and snuggled her closer as he breathed in and let a relaxing breath loose, feeling knots in his chest lessen. ::
Cody: A glass of wine and someone to curl up with?
Nicholotti: ::Shrugging and looking away slightly.:: You know, you hide stuff long enough, it eats at you. I just feel...different here.
::And as quickly as the thoughts had formed in her mind, the words began to escape her. Internally, she rolled her eyes at herself. The powerful, articulate captain falls victim to the cacophony of emotions that she felt alright letting simply be here, cuddled up next to him.::
::He knew what was she was talking about. His thoughts turned introspective, at the things he kept to himself and didn’t let known. The business with Hadrian, memories that were still fractured, despite the breakthrough this event. His own deeper feelings that he was drowning, and felt more and more like the ghost that Mal and himself had discussed in this room the other night. David half wondered if perhaps he was dying. And yet, the energy was there. His mind was strong, and still sharp. Even if these blasted memories were wrecking havoc with him both physically, emotionally, and mentally. ::
::Instead, he leaned in and kissed her forehead, not in a brotherly, or fatherly way. This was a kiss he meant to convey, I’m here, I understand, and will always be. ::
Cody: And how do you feel now?
Nicholotti: Different. Safe. ::She smiled now, and looked at him.:: Happy.
::He leaned closer to meet her lips, and kissed her, letting their kiss linger and explore. He set down his glass and wrapped her into his arms on the sofa, letting their kiss do the talking. Kisses were good for that. He remembered hearing somewhere the most powerful kisses could move entire planets. ::
::She’d barely been able to take the last sip and set her own now-empty glass down before finding herself wrapped completely and totally up in his essence. No more words needed to be spoken, the actions said far more than her failing words ever could anyways. There was warmth, and the feeling of a million tiny explosions like fireworks that ran the length of her body, and in that moment, the entire universe, and the outside world as he’d called it, faded into nothing more than a passing thought, shelved away for a later time.::
::Shifting herself, she found a way to wrap herself up more fully, and to wrap him up in her arms, not willing to let this feeling go. With one leg on either side of his now, her hands met each other behind his neck and she held on, almost desperately seeking this release. And it didn’t fade, as so many would think of when they thought of the word, but only grew, like a symphony and a never-ending crescendo of the most beautiful music. Her mind swam, lost in a sea of emotions she couldn’t remember ever feeling as she got further lost to his touch.::
::And if only to breathe, they parted just slightly, but she didn’t dare pull back far. Unable to restrain her fingertips, she let them wander, moving through his hair, across his cheek, and down his face to his arms, where she could feel the muscles beneath the shirt. Her fingers trembled slightly as they explored him. All at once, the unshakable captain had melted away, and now there was only Kalianna. A certain vulnerability appeared, and for the shadow of a second, she was scared of what might happen if the arms that surrounded her now were no longer there, but the thought passed, and she said nothing, but leaned in, found his lips, and kissed him again.::
::Bringing her in, David let his hands rise from her arms up to her shoulders, caressing, touching, up her neck and over her ears to her cheek, lost in a raging tide of surging emotions where thoughts didn’t have a place, and instead moved with a symphony of movement and touch, lost to the essence pulsing through their veins as he slid his hands over her back and down toward her hips, resting at the dip in her back while letting their mouths explored each other. ::
::David gently laid her down on the sofa, still kissing, curling her into his arms behind her and rolling to one side so neither of them would feel discomfort. His upper hand roamed, simply touching, over her arm and down the length of her side, letting their kisses guide their mood and action. He found himself returning to brush back her hair and breaking only to lightly graze her cheek with a soft series of kisses over to her neck. ::
::She let him guide her, finding a place where there were no thoughts but of the feel of his fingertips along the side of her body, and the brush of his lips along her neck. With her eyes closed, the let the sensation completely fill her mind, sending it spiraling. Shockwaves moved through her as her own fingertips reached to feel for him, soaking in his warmth and ever gentle touch. Settling, she could think of no other place, and no other time she’d felt so content, yet so incredibly caught up in the simple flow of two bodies as they settled together into perfect relaxation.::
::And there, entangled in the most amazing way, Kali found rest unlike anything she’d experienced. Perhaps it was some combination of the wine and the intoxicating effects that the feeling of his fingertips brought to her as they moved gently along her skin, or maybe it was just the way he had wrapped her in warm contentment; whatever it was, she found herself just shy of delirium, wondering if it was all real, or a dream. Conscious or perhaps on the edge of something more akin to sleep, she didn’t know, nor did she understand. Regardless of what it all was, the world faded to black and the only thing that she was aware of was the soft touch, the strong arms, and the way his body lay against hers.::
((Sometime later, Cody’s Quarters))
::The sound of chirping from near the workbench had gotten their attention, and with a glance to David, she stood, blinking away the last tendrils of the never-long-enough sleep, and made her way over, waiting for him to find the origin of the alert.::
Nicholotti: What is it? What’s she doing? ::Pausing.:: And where is she?
::Blinking awake, David watched her, for once in his life completely at rest, no real thoughts dancing around or worried about the crew. He rolled up and stretched. The times he truly was at peace were a rare treasure. Yawning, he propped himself up and looked for his wrist bracelet. ::
::Looking at the information on the screen, her eyes started scanning the message, growing wider and more concerned as they did. In a sort of shock, she finally finished the message and looked up, horror etched all over her face.::
::How had it happened? And why, now, when she was away? Though she considered that almost lucky, it hadn’t been for Colt and she immediately felt a wave of something horrible wash over her. She should have been there. It should have been her, and not Colt. She shook her head somewhat wildly.::
Nicholotti: No...no, it should have been me, not him.
::David stopped looking for his interface device as alertness replaced sleepiness. He went up on his first quickly and quietly, already moving across the room for his workstation. Coming up on her side, he waited, although stole a glance at the screen she was staring at. ::
::And then she backed up. This had been the point of the bodyguards. This was the point of the duplicate, as well, though she found herself immediately concerned for her ‘twins’ safety as well. Had she been hurt as well? It didn’t seem that way, at least from the contents of the message, but was the same to be for her mental state? How would the clone handle such a traumatic experience so suddenly?::
Cody: What’s happened?
::Almost on instinct, she reached out and grabbed his arm as the wave of vertigo moved through her, causing her to be, at least momentarily, unsteady. Her grip was strong, as if he were the only thing keeping her grounded and from being completely unstable at that moment.::
Nicholotti: I...I have to find out what happened.
::David bent to take a closer look, reading the report. He paled and closed his eyes. Guilt plunged him into a searing pain in his beating heart. oO Colt... Oo A slow trickling tear escaped his eye. Looking down and away, David closed his eyes. He did this... this was his fault. The actions that set all of this in motion were his, and his alone. ::
Cody: ::breaking :: We should have told him... Kalianna, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.
::She blinked back the feelings, the vertigo, and anything else that threatened her at that moment. With him to hold on to, and hearing his voice in her ears, she found herself able to regain composure.::
Nicholotti: ::Breathing deeply.:: We couldn’t have.
::The shock hit her hard as the real gravity of what they had done hit her. They could have told Colt, and the others, but that would have defied the purpose, and put them, and their entire careers, at risk. Ultimately, Kali realized that even if Colt had done what he did, he did it for her. That was what cut so deep.::
::David shook it off. The real fault of it all lay at the hand of the woman who threw the knife. He knew that, but he also knew that if they had let Daniels in, had told him, this could have been avoided. He knew... David knew! ::
Cody: You need to go. And so do I.
::Snapping out of her reverie, she shot a look towards him.::
Nicholotti: Yes, I know. ::She was already headed towards her door, and her boots.:: Wait. Where are you going?
::If she knew where he was going, she would stop him. David had already violated too many regulations, and this was the price. Colt, in the Victory sickbay, undergoing surgery. No matter who it was that carried the knife, or had thrown it, it was David, and him alone, who engineered all of this, and only MacLaren knew. He didn’t take a moment to tell Ben. He didn’t take a moment to let Colt know (despite his initial suspicions). He looked down at his hands. Colt’s blood was on his hands. ::
Cody: I’d rather not say. :: grim :: I’ll catch up with on the Victory, okay?
::She narrowed her eyes, but she’d trusted him this far with far more than she could even fathom. Her mind, her body, and perhaps her very soul had been opened to him. Revoking that trust now served no purpose; she could only hope that he would realize the depth of what she gave.::
::Boots on her feet now, she rushed towards him, catching his eyes with her eyes, and his hands in her hands. Quickly, she kissed him once more.::
Nicholotti: Be careful. Please. ::A long pause followed, as if time had slowed. Finally, she spoke just before turning again towards the door.:: I need you.
::David nodded. He wasn’t planning to go anywhere, but that decision was out of his hands now. He came up and kissed her, savoring the moment, her touch, her strength, her fairness. He let go and smiled. ::
Cody: I’m right here. Go. Make sure he’s okay.
::And then she ran, halfway in uniform, but enough to make her appearance where it was needed.::
LtCmdr. David Cody
Chief of Operations / Second Officer
Starbase 118 Ops
Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
Starbase 118 Ops
Return to Kalianna Nicholotti