SIM:Nicholotti Echoes of History
((The Hub, Starbase 118))
::Kali had parted with David at the umbilical and she practically floated all the way to her office. Granted, a large part of the trip had been kind of actually floating, within the confines of a turbolift, but the kind of floating she was doing was something entirely different. Unable to wipe the smile from her face as she stepped into the Hub, she got the strangest looks from the officers that were there. Her First Officer of Shipping Ops, the guy in charge while she was away, walked up to her with, perhaps, the strangest look of them all.::
Greene: ::Nodding.:: Captain.
::The Captain only grinned back and held out her hand for the padd he had in his.::
Greene: We heard that you -
::But she cut him off before he could make his way painfully through the rest of what he was saying.::
Nicholotti: Died? Hmm, I did.
::With a wink, she made her way up towards her office.::
Nicholotti: Thanks Johnston. You always take such good care of her while I’m gone.
::And with that, she moved through the doors of the office and left the busy nature of the Hub behind.::
((Captain’s Office, Starbase 118))
::Eyeing the replicator again and nearly going for coffee, she hesitantly made her way over and ordered some fruit juice instead. No caffeine yet; her heart would need time before she got herself back into that habit. Taking the glass from the replicator, she moved behind the desk and nearly fell into the chair with an overly contented sigh. No matter what she did, she couldn’t keep the thoughts of David and his blue eyes from her mind, though she eventually did manage to limit them while she ran through some reports.::
::Finally, she came upon one report that singled itself out and grabbed her attention. It was one that had been sent before the chaos, or after it depending how you looked at it, regarding Katy’s recommendations on the assassin and his cohort. Agreeing with both, she signed off and forwarded the message to Kaedyn Zehn, who would take care of M within the confines of the Black tower, and to the JAG office, regarding the officer who had allowed her in the office.::
::With that taken care of, though, she found herself faced with one last aspect of the situation that deserved her attention. And that one aspect had a name; Colt Daniels.::
::Kali sighed. There had been a time when she thought he would be what David had become. Yet, before what they had started was given a chance to grow, or to flourish, he had left. And inside her head, all she could see was her home in Tokyo, and the near constant fights between her parents when her father had to leave again.::
((Flashback, Tokyo, 19 Years Ago))
::Huddled in her room, under a pile of blankets, a very young Kalianna tried hard not to listen to the voices filtering in from the main living area. Yet, no matter how enclosed she felt under the blankets, the voices made themselves heard. One higher pitched voice met head on with the deep tones of the Russian accent that she heard rarely, but had picked up herself from her grandfather. In her head though, his were much calmer, and more melodic.::
::Her mind was suddenly ripped from the thoughts of her grandfather as the fight outside her door came to a crescendo.::
Mikhail: I have to go, it’s my *job*!
Keito: Your job always was more important than your family. Go! Get out!
::And, with the slam of a door, her father was gone again. They would not see him for another eight months, or more.::
::Shaking her head to clear it, she had to wonder what kept him away from home and family now. He was retired, but recent correspondence with her mother told her that he still never came home. Was it habit? Was it something that he had picked up...? A frown developed on her face and she thought, for a brief moment, to ask David to look into it. The moment came, and passed, however, as she refocused on the issue at hand.::
Nicholotti: ::Tapping her badge.:: =/\= Nicholotti to Daniels. =/\=
::Colt had just walked out of sickbay after a brief visit with Doctor MacLaren when he heard the unexpected voice of Captain Nicholotti coming from his comm. badge. Glancing down at it curiously for a moment, he tapped it quickly. It was the first time he had spoken to her when they weren’t in the midst of a briefing or a crisis of some kind since he had thwarted the attempt on her life.::
oO Well, not exactly on HER life, as it turned out...Oo
Daniels: =/\=Daniels here, I’m glad to hear you are doing better Captain. What can I do for you?
::As soon as she opened her mouth to speak, the words left her as she pondered the voice on the other end of the line. Finally, she just asked him to meet her there.::
Nicholotti: =/\= Can you come by my office in the Hub? I want to talk to you. =/\=
::Raising an eyebrow at the request and wondering what it was in regards to, he responded.::
Daniels: =/\=I, Uh...yes M’am. I’ll be there in 20.
::And that was where she left it. The line closed and she sat back in the chair wondering just what she was going to say to him after all that had happened and all that he’d done....::
::His mind ran away with itself wondering what she would say, was she going to talk about the assassination attempt? Or maybe she’d heard that he skipped out on sickbay without being released? Perhaps even something... more personal? At this point in time he was so shaken and unsure of where he stood with her that he had no idea what to expect.::
::He straightened his collar and rubbed his stubbly face, frowning at the fact that he’d been in too much of a hurry to shave and make himself presentable this morning and made his way to the HUB..::
((Timeskip, A Few Minutes Later))
::For the first time since the attack, Colt stepped into the HUB. The familiarity of it gave him some comfort, despite his preoccupied mind still working feverishly to predict what he was going to be walking into. As he approached the door to the Captain’s Office, he paused briefly, a small shiver running through his body as he remembered the dull thud of the knife entering his body up to the hilt just on the other side of that door.::
::Gathering his composure, Colt pressed the button on the side of the entrance.::
::Kali had been decisively lost in thought when the chime rang. Glancing up, she sighed again and stood as she called out for him to enter.::
::Taking a deep breath before entering what felt like the former scene of a crime, he entered. He was surprised by his reaction, he hadn’t felt as though the attack had affected him this much, but it apparently had.::
::As he approached her desk, his eyes fell to the ground momentarily, imagining that he could still see the blood stains that he’d left there. Of course they were long gone.::
oO Get yourself together man. You’re acting like a damn shell-shocked Dominion war vet. Oo
::Finally, fixing her with a not quite forced, but nervous smile, he addressed his Captain.::
Daniels: Good morning Captain Nicholotti, you look well.
::Though it had been this way for quite a while, he was still getting used to not calling her “Kali” when they were alone.::
::Smiling, she gestured towards the chair on the other side of the desk, watching him as he moved. There were plenty of feelings and thoughts rushing through her mind; relief that he was alright, some kind of resentment he’d left in the first place - though far less deep that it might have been, concern over the wound itself, and, perhaps, curiosity as to the reasoning behind his return and what he expected from here.::
::As requested, he sat in the chair, still unsure of why he was here, but finally starting to relax a little.::
Nicholotti: How are you...feeling?
::Unintentionally, glancing towards the healing wound that she was referencing, he responded truthfully.::
Daniels: Not too bad now. :He cocked his head to the side slightly:: Just a little soreness left. Doctor MacLaren fixed me up right...
::Kali nodded slowly as he said her name. The woman seemed to have worked more than one miracle lately, and the crew was lucky to have her around.::
Nicholotti: She’s something else, isn’t she?
::Nodding in mutual praise of the doctor’s handiwork, he wondered if maybe she was just checking on him, but that seemed somewhat...unlikely.::
Daniels: You’ll hear no complaints from me. ::He trailed off as silence descended on the room for a few moments.:: If you don’t mind me asking Captain, did you take time out of your busy day just to check on me or...
::But before he finished the sentence, he had his answer.::
::The question was rhetorical, and perhaps, meant to take her own focus off of what she was getting at. After a moment of silence, she looked back up at him.::
Nicholotti: I’m sorry...
::She paused. Sorry for what? For not explaining things as well as she could have when they parted last? Perhaps. It had to have been abrupt. For allowing Anya to do what she did, or even allowing Anya to masquerade around as her? Both things she found herself guilty of. And not getting to this point, where things could be confronted, sooner. Yea, that too. Still looking at him, she frowned slightly.::
Nicholotti: For a lot of things.
::Colt saw the frown play across the same pretty face that had visited him in his deathbed visions, the one that had given him the strength to fight despite the fact that his motivation was built on false pretenses.::
::For a second he considered pretending that he didn’t know what she was talking about, making her come out and say what they were both thinking. But he wasn’t innocent either. He had done his fair share of hurting her and had no desire to do it again unnecessarily.::
::He wasn’t sure what to say, his cognitive mind was scrambling for something, reaching for some deep meaningful response, but nothing came. Five words fell from his lips without passing through the filter of his consciousness. He just stared blankly at her, not allowing his face to portray the emotions boiling beneath the surface.::
Daniels: Why didn’t you trust me?
::He immediately regretted what he’d said, but that was the trouble with words. Once they were said, you couldn’t un-say them. He knew why she had done what she’d done, and in the end it had kept her safer than his protection would have alone, but his pride was wounded and the idea that she hadn’t had faith in his ability to keep her safe left him feeling woefully inadequate.::
::And there it was, the biggest of the cards on the table. Taking somewhat of a deep breath, she leaned back in her chair and began.::
Nicholotti: There was a number of reasons I couldn’t tell you, but none of them because of trust.
::As he processed her words, which were approximately what he had expected, he felt the teaming storm front of emotion building inside of him. He knew that she would have her reasons, and they were probably good ones, but it just didn’t matter right now.::
Daniels: What then? Lack of faith in my abilities? What was it Kalianna? Because I’ve been thinking about it every minute since I found out the truth and I would love to know why you didn’t tell me about her.
- He had just broken the seal on his emotions and was now doing what he could to restrain them, but he was buckling under the weight of it all. A little weak voice in his mind told him it wasn’t her fault, and that she had done what she had to, but it all felt so personal.::
::Forcing herself not to look away, and knowing he was one of the few that really knew her twin, she continued. He at least deserved this much.::
Nicholotti: What was done went far beyond regulations and could mean a lot of trouble for those involved. There was that. ::She shook her head remembering Ben’s words.:: I just didn’t want to take anyone else down with me.
::Regaining some control and reigning himself in a bit, he ran his through his hair, brushing it back unnecessarily like he often did and let out a small sigh. It was absolutely something she would do, and it had been something he hadn’t even considered as he’d played out every possible permutation of every possible scenario as he’d laid in the biobed wondering.::
Daniels: You think I wouldn’t been willing to risk everything to keep you safe? ::He shook his head slowly and leaned back into his chair.:: Have you forgotten who I am?
::Thinking back to that night, in this very room, in this very chair, for a brief moment of complete ignorance, all had seemed right in the world. What a difference a few days could make.::
::Feeling that she totally deserved all he was throwing at her, she said nothing but only shook her head. No, she’d not forgotten. Watching him brought back memories. Lots of memories. They were good, and bad, and lost somewhere in between. Things had been promising, but then he’d left. Anya had used that against her not all that long ago, but Anya just didn’t understand. Perhaps she had the memories, but she didn’t have the feelings. The connections made in the past were more than just visions of things that had happened. They became built into a person; they became who they were.::
::Kali has sat there on the floor and cried with her twin, seeking, perhaps, the same answers that she sought. Why hadn’t she tried....? Because...because it was a built in response. Because she wasn’t going to feel numb. For Kali, her emotions ran on the higher side of intense on a near constant basis. That was how she knew she really truly lived. Without those feelings, there was nothing, and nothing was a deep abyss of which she never, ever wanted to return.::
((Flashback, Tokyo, 17 Years Ago))
::The yelling in the other room grew louder as her mother slammed something, probably dinner, on the counter. It was, after all, their anniversary, but it suddenly didn't look like it was one they were going to celebrate together. A twelve year old Kali visibly shuddered when the bang reverberated through the house, unable to hide from the louder nature of the fight.::
Keito: ANOTHER year? I've given everything to your precious Corps! And I can't even have one day?!
::Peeking around the corner, she caught her father's eyes as they glanced down the hallway and saw her. Drawing back quickly, she pressed herself against the wall out of his sight. After a moment, she once again heard the melodic tones of his accent.::
Mikhail: They need some recon done. There's been some, problems.
::The voice was flat and cold, almost as if he didn't care to convince her, he was just doing what he thought he needed to. The world descended into silence then. Kali wished he'd just forget it and stay, but ultimately he'd gone without saying another word. The time he spent away was growing longer and longer now and she suddenly wondered if they would see him again that year, or if it would be far longer than that. Her mother, acting as if nothing had happened, walked by the hall just then.::
Keito: Come now, Kali. Set the table and call your brother.
::But the twelve year old only glared back at her before storming, with all the possible might of a twelve year old, out of the house and into the growing rainstorm outside. In moments she was soaked and shivering, having gone out in only socks and pajamas, but she didn't care. Tears streamed down her face as she ran along, the sharper rocks along the way cutting into her feet.::
::It was then she learned what it had meant to be numb.::
::No, Kalianna wanted to feel, and if that meant shutting down, then perhaps...::
Nicholotti: There are no words for the sacrifice you were willing to give. Though it wasn’t me...I want you to know that. I wanted to thank you.... ::She shifted slightly, somewhat overwhelmed by the connection she felt to her twin already.:: For being willing to do what you did....
::There was more. Why couldn’t she say it? Why was this so difficult? Catching his eyes, she finally made the words form and sent them into the space that lay between them.::
Nicholotti: For being willing to die. And for saving my sister...
::Her voice faded at the end and she sat, quite uncomfortable, for a moment before shaking her head again.::
::It wasn’t really something he had consciously thought about when he’d volunteered to protect her, the idea that he might have to lay his life down in her defense was always there but it was something he might have done for any of the people he served with. The fact that he still had feelings for her and their complicated history had served only to make that choice easier.::
Daniels: Thank you, but it wasn’t some valiant act of bravery... I wish it was, but I was just doing what had to be done to keep you- well, her safe. And I’m glad I did, Anya deserves the chance to live.
::Another moment of silence passed before either of them spoke again. Colt had wrested control of his randomly firing emotions by this point and had allowed himself to calm down.::
Nicholotti: I’m actually somewhat jealous you’ve spent more time with her.
::A sarcastic laugh escaped her as she made a somewhat lackluster attempt at that humor thing Jaxx did in stressful situations.::
::Thinking back to the kiss he had shared with Anya when he’s still thought she was Kali that had sent him into this emotional tail-spin, he cracked a small pessimistic grin.::
oO You don’t even know the half of it. Oo
Daniels: Yeah, she’s hardly left my side since this whole thing happened, it’s been nice to have someone to talk to.. She’s a good person, but I suppose that’s something she got from you.
::Silence seemed to fall around her in an almost suffocating manner. She frowned again and then snapped to the side and looked into the drawer to her right. Finally she turned her attention back up towards him.::
Nicholotti: Mister Daniels....::Shaking her head. It sounded so unnatural.:: Colt. You more than deserve this.
::Removing a solid pip from a box that had made it into her hands, she slid it across the desk towards him.::
::Colt watched in surprise as she produced the pip that would signify his promotion to full Lieutenant and slid it across the desk. Momentarily speechless, he slowly reached out and took it. After the tirade he’d just made her sit through he couldn’t have felt less deserving of it.::
Daniels: I...I don’t know what to say. ::He paused and replaced the half pip on his collar.:: Thank you...
::His happiness was tempered by irony, he had left her and transferred away in order to advance his career. Not only had his transfer not advanced his career, but it had come at great cost to his personal life. But he couldn’t allow it to sour the moment. It didn’t change how grateful he was.::
Nicholotti: I know the past...::for once she stumbled over her words. It was difficult to figure out what to say.:: It’s hard for me to explain, but I just couldn’t...
::For a moment he was unsure of exactly what she meant, there were many things in their pasts that were “difficult to explain”.::
Daniels: You can call me by name if you want, we don’t have to pretend like the past never happened. People never learn when they do that.
::Forget the past? Often times, that was exactly what she wanted to do. Perhaps not the more recent past, and certainly not the past day, but some things...they were far better off left in the years gone by.::
((Flashback, Tokyo, 14 Years Ago))
Nicholotti: But DAD! You've been back a whole ten minutes!
::Ten minutes. Well, perhaps he'd been back a day or two since his last tour, but she was a teenager, and she was really good at over exaggerating.::
Mikhail: There is war...::he shook his head.:: I have to go take care of things to protect you.
::A fifteen year old Kali rolled her eyes and slammed her hand on the nearest table, the emotion already pouring from her eyes.::
Nicholotti: No! We need you HERE!
::Her mother had interjected now, taking up a place between her daughter and the husband who was never home. Incredulously, Kali looked over at her before looking back at the man she hardly knew in the chair in the family's living room.::
Nicholotti: You! You let him do this to us! What's wrong with you?!
::More tears fell, her vision becoming blurry and dark. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder.::
Mikhail Jr.: Imouto...
::Her brother...though he shared the name, he was nothing like their father. He had been there for her, as had their grandfather, but neither had replaced the need that a little girl had for her father. The next words spit like poison with a fury unmatched by anything she could ever remember. Even her hands shook with the pure anger and near madness that coursed through her. ::
Nicholotti: I hope you never come back! We would be better off without your two day a year visits, if we're lucky enough to get that! Go fight, go escape out there, but I sincerely hope you NEVER! COME! BACK!
::Spinning on her heel, she'd stormed out of the room and into her own, quickly followed by her brother, who barely missed the lamp she threw as she had entered her room. The shatter of glass was all that could be heard in the silence downstairs.::
::He smiled a little as he remembered some of the good times that the past had held, before he had managed to screw it all up.::
Nicholotti: ::Forcing a slight smile.:: Indeed they don’t. ::She sighed.:: I guess we all take our lessons from days gone by.
::Colt pulled at his uniform a little, he was feeling a little anxious. They hadn’t really talked about where things stood since he had returned. He would be lying if he didn’t have the smallest fleeting hope that somehow things could go back to the way the were.::
Daniels: To say that I’ve learned my lesson from the past would be an understatement, not a day goes by that I don’t kick myself for taking that assignment... Did you know that?
::Now she looked across the desk at him, catching his gaze, and shaking her head. She hadn’t known that, but then perhaps it was because, for a time, she had been caught up in her own form of grief. There had been a definite period of mourning, but it had been necessary. It had been the one thing that protected her from falling into the same future that her past clearly has set forth. Still, it almost seemed tragic, in its own ways.::
Nicholotti: What’s done is done. ::She carefully watched him and his reactions.:: You missed quite a bit.
::Raising an eyebrow slightly and wondering exactly what that meant, he almost completely missed the damning first part of that sentence. Not willing to let the idea go just yet, he pressed on.::
Daniels: I suppose I did. I’m sorry about that...I told you before that I didn’t know that me going away for a while meant losing you. I wouldn’t have done it, and I won’t ever do it again...
::Her eyes bore through him as she thought about what he was saying. Suddenly something clicked; the expectations, or the attempt to regain what was...well, here it had been set out before her. Something of a sad look crossed her eyes and she shook her head slightly.::
Nicholotti: For the future, I hope no one else has to go through that loss....::She paused a moment and sighed.:: It won’t be me though.
::It was a choice she’d made long, long ago. A decision that had put her family into focus and allowed her to see the possibilities when family was at the top of things. She knew he wasn’t thinking about that when he left. He’d gone off to chase his career. That she couldn’t and wouldn’t begrudge him, but she demanded of herself that she’d not fall into that trap.::
((Flashback, Tokyo, 12 Years Ago))
::Now seventeen, Kali sat on the table in the hanger, her legs swinging, looking at the jet in front of her and the man who had always been there when her father had not. Her emotions had been tempered over the past two years, especially in light of what she'd learned of the war, but she still could not bring herself to forgive her father.::
::Turning from the jet, the much older man looked back towards her.::
Mikhail Sr: Hmm?
::Though she had called him, once he had answered, she found herself lost in a bout of silence as her thoughts coalesced. Her father was once again home, for a few days, before leaving again. And she'd chosen to spend her time defying him, walking around with shock blue hair she'd just dyed the other day, and sitting with her grandfather at the ancient airport with the flying machine her father had, at one point, forbade her to fly. She snorted at the thought.::
Nicholotti: You were a Marine.
::The older man seemed to see where this was going, so he set the tool in his hand down and moved over towards her. She continued swinging her legs and looking off in front of her.::
Mikhail Sr: Yes, I was.
::His thick Russian accent was so far different than her father's that it made her smile.::
Nicholotti: ::After another long moment.:: But you didn't leave babushka like that.
::The older man could only shake his head. He knew that Kali was well aware of his stance on the situation. Her mother hadn't been the only one to get into it with him over leaving his family. Seeing the motion out of the corner of her eye, she smiled to herself before turning her head towards him.::
Nicholotti: I won't do it, dedushka. Whoever I find won't be like him. I'd rather be alone.
::And with that, a young girl made a choice; a choice that would prove persistent and would follow her for the rest of her days.::
::The last sentence had the right mixture of sternness and finality to it that it was finally able to penetrate through Colt’s delusion. He’d made his choice, she had made hers. The same resolve and strength of character that had initially drawn him to her was now going to ensure that he would never be with her again.::
::He raised his head, and met eyes with her one more time and nodded slowly.::
Daniels: It won’t be you.
::Kali shook her head slightly again.::
Nicholotti: I’m sorry, Colt. I just can’t....couldn’t...
::And there it was. Still no in depth explanation, and nothing but a trail of memories in her mind that led her to her conclusions.::
::Colt closed his eyes for moment, letting it all sink in. When he spoke he was perfectly calm and collected despite the way he felt inside. There was no escaping the fact that he had brought this on himself.::
Daniels: Don’t be. It’s not your fault.
::The sad smile returned to her as her words did. Somehow, past the moment, she found her footing despite the troubling nature of it all.::
Nicholotti: It’s no one’s fault. It is what time and the universe dictated.
::The emotional side of his brain told him not to give up, to do something drastic, to try and win her back some amazing, romantic gesture, but the logical part and luckily for his heart, the dominant part, told him that he’d already lost the battle. Even the best tacticians knew when to accept defeat.::
::Summoning all of his fortitude, he welded a smile across his face.::
Daniels: I hope you find what you’re looking for someday, Kalianna.
::Looking over at him, as the friend she viewed him as, she wanted to tell him that she had, and that it was amazing, but the wounds were too fresh and the hurt too real. Instead, she simply nodded slightly again, feeling as if her responses were limited in the circumstance.::
::He stood from his chair but didn’t turn to leave yet, as he hadn’t been dismissed. She was after all, his Captain.::
Daniels: Thank you again for the promotion, It’s an honor.
::Blinking for a moment, she sat up and leaned forward slightly.::
Nicholotti: I hope you find what you’re looking for as well, which is why I’m also moving you to a new department.
::If it had been any other day, the news might have been shocking or exciting, possibly disappointing. But on this day he just took it in-stride.::
Daniels: Where am I going?
Nicholotti: Strategic Ops, you start now.
::Things between them might not have been what they could have, but he was a good officer, and a good person. If she’d not been molded by what had molded her, perhaps the past, and the future, could have been different. But here they were, and all they could do was move on from here.::
::Being the Strategic Operations Officer for an entire Starbase would be an amazing opportunity and a massive point of pride on his service record, and even through the numbness he still felt a twinge of excitement at the new posting.::
Daniels: I feel like you are purposely trying to see how many times you can render me speechless in one day, but Thank you for the opportunity, I am very grateful.
Nicholotti: The fact is, I do trust you Colt. And I still care, but our path was chosen when you made your decision. You’re back now, and I’m thankful you are. That’s why I need you there.
::Any officer who would step up and do what he did deserved to be going places, and if, at least, that aspect of things she could have an impact on, well, then she would.::
::With a final nod of acknowledgement and thanks Colt thanked the woman who had given him so much to think about today, before he had to step out of that door and face his new future.
Daniels: You’ve given me a great opportunity here, and I won’t let you down. Thank you very much.
::Kali nodded. Doors had been closed, but hopefully he would find those that inevitably opened on the other side.::
Nicholotti: I know you won’t. And Colt...::She shot him a small smile.:: Don’t be a stranger....
::With a smile that was slightly less forced than before Colt acknowledged her request then turned and walked out of the office. Closing one chapter of his life and opening an entirely new one.::
Lt. Colt Daniels
Strategic Operations Officer
Captain Kalianna Nicholotti
StarBase 118 Ops / USS Victory
Return to Kalianna Nicholotti