SIM:Nicholotti Not Done Yet
((Officers’ Mess, Deck 6, USS Excalibur-A))
The crew of the former USS Resolution had been put through the ringer. The inquiry conducted by Admiral Reynolds during their shore leave on Risa had been as extensive and thorough as one would expect, given the total destruction of a starship and the deaths of fourteen of its crew. Fortunately, the crew had emerged from the inquiry relatively unscathed, and they found themselves reassigned to the USS Excalibur.
With the mess behind them, there remained one final task at hand before the crew of the Excalibur could depart Deep Space 224.
Addison sat in a line with two of her command staff colleagues, flanked on her left by Commander Adea and her right by Lieutenant Commander Yalu. The lighting in the Mess had been reduced significantly, adding an air of allure to the setting.
MacKenzie: ::flatly:: You think she has any idea?
Genkos pursed his lips in a wry smile. He knew for a fact she didn’t, unless she’d been lying through her teeth about it. Which then, wasn’t necessarily beyond the pail.
Adea: ::tapping his temple:: I know she doesn’t.
Yogan chuckled, pleased that they had succeeded in pulling off a genuine surprise. There weren't many things that Addison, Genkos, and Yogan all had in common, but one of them was that they could all keep a secret.
Yalu: Everyone is in position. Nothing left but to get started.
When the doors to the Mess swished open, the Excalibur’s CO entered the room with the same commanding presence they’d all come to expect. As she made her way to where they were seated, the three officers stood. Genkos flashed her a tight lipped smile with his warmest eyes, and Yogan offered a nod with all the mock-seriousness he could muster.
MacKenzie: Thank you for coming, Captain.
Kali wasn’t sure what all of this was about, but when her first officer had called, she made time. The walk through the Vesta class was far longer than it would have been aboard the Resolution, but that was yet another price that was paid for the changes, and the upgrades. It was a bittersweet trade, but one that she was proud of and one that the crew was making with as much ease as could be expected. As she entered, her crystalline eyes immediately narrowed on the three officers who stood as she approached, varying degrees of fond and welcome looks in their eyes.
Nicholotti: Of course. What is this about?
The room was not as brightly lit as she would have expected, nor close to as busy as she would have either given the size of the Excalibur and its crew. Yet it was clear, save the three officers in front of her.
MacKenzie: You have led this crew through some of the most dire missions and situations with a steadfast unflappability that I have witnessed in very few officers. More importantly, you have served as a mentor and example for the three of us in what it means to be an effective leader - so I can say with incredible certainty that you’ve earned our gratitude.
Adea: And our thanks.
Yalu: And our loyalty.
Addison offered a skeptical glance.
As for the raven-haired command officer, she couldn’t help but smile at the praise, despite not quite understanding - yet - its reason.
MacKenzie: And it appears we’re not the only ones who think so. You’ve caused some pretty significant waves among those at Command as well…
Eyebrows above crystalline eyes rose in unison.
Nicholotti: Is that so?
Addison nodded to Genkos, who then passed her a velvet covered box.
MacKenzie: While a duty like this would normally be reserved for someone with a significantly higher pay grade, I’m particularly grateful that this honor has been bestowed upon me.
She opened the box, revealing a singular gold pip in the center of a gold square.
MacKenzie: Fleet Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, by the power vested in me by Starfleet Command, I hereby promote you to the rank of Commodore.
Addison resisted the urge to smile prematurely as she approached Nicholotti, removed the pips worn by a Fleet Captain, and affixed the Commodore pip to her collar. When the pip was attached, she took a step back, assessing their commanding officer’s appearance before finally breaking a smile and offering her hand.
MacKenzie: Congratulations, Commodore!
There was a certain magic that the act of being promoted held. Kali had experienced it more than once, but never quite in this manner. This was close. Heartfelt. Full of everything that touched her at her core. There were some who lived for pomp and ceremony, but for Kali, this intimate ceremony, and being promoted at the hand of her first officer - a woman she not only trusted explicitly, but one whom had saved her life - was more than she could ever have hoped for or wanted.
The fact that it came with the promotion itself, well, that was definitely an added benefit.
Nicholotti: Thank you!
There was genuine surprise reflected in the statement and in the way her crystalline eyes sparkled in the still dim room.
Genkos stepped in for a brief hug, but as they broke, he whispered in her ear.
Adea: I’m so proud of you.
Warmth spread through her as she looked up at him with adoration.
A round of applause could have followed the announcement, but Yogan held off. There was more to come. Instead, he shook the commodore’s hand and smiled warmly.
Yalu: It is a privilege to serve with you, Commodore.
Addison raised a finger.
MacKenzie: But I’m not quite done yet.
She walked over to a console and raised the lighting in the room, revealing two more figures - Commodore Jalana Rajel of the USS Constitution, and Captain Randal Shayne of the USS Arrow.
MacKenzie: Commodore Nicholotti, I believe you know Commodore Rajel and Captain Shayne?
Kali’s eyes lit up at the sight. If there were two command officers in the fleet she found herself closest to, they were the ones who had just appeared. She couldn’t help but smile warmly.
Nicholotti: Well, now it is a party.
When Jalana appeared on the view screen she was a rare view, at least for those who knew her. She actually donned her Gala uniform as she believed the situation called for. She had met Kali for the first time back on the Apollo when she had still been a Medical Officer and grown to respect the woman who had come back from the dead several times, without being a Trill at that. When she heard about the promotion she readily put aside some time to at least be here via Comm Connection. And she did, smiling brightly and like one would expect maybe from a child, she raised her hand and waved way too enthusiastically when MacKenzie turned on the screen.
Rajel: Kalia! Congratulations and welcome to the Commodore Club!
Shayne, for his part, was quite comfortable in the shadows. The discussion that led to this moment had been brief, and he’d been happy to make it happen, but nothing compared to seeing his old CO again. The lights flared, and he did his best to merge his grimace into a smile. It wasn’t hard, nor unbelievable; his experiences in the years intervening his cherubish existence under Nicholotti’s command and the present had brought great pain and joy. Presenting that as a token of survival felt like a small duty that only he could fulfill. Naturally, though, he was delighted to see his old commander rising beyond.
Shayne: Congratulations, Commodore. A long time coming.
Rajel: I can't be there in person but you are not getting away from at least a call.
He cast an eye toward Rajel- her enthusiasm countered his tempered vigilance beautifully.
Shayne: Well, you might get away from me- I have no idea if this new holosystem is going to hold. So I’m going to just keep it short and sweet for the moment. You’re an inspiration to me, Commodore- I’m proud to know you.
For a long moment, Kali just stood there smiling somewhat stupidly. It might not have looked that way, of course, but she just felt...content. Fulfilled. Like everything was somehow the way it should be. Her closest friends, the man she loved, the people she respected the most, all in one place, sharing a momentous time. It was almost too good.
Nicholotti: I am so glad that you both could be here to share this. It has been far too long.
Rajel: We can catch up on that another time, dear, today is about you and the pip. ::She had heard the news, and of course her own last mission was public as well, but now was not the time for those darker events. She looked to the others around Kali and then back to her.:: You have a marvelous crew putting together this surprise. It was one for you, right? I remember my own and I had no idea even when I was handed the pips I still thought it's a prank. ::chuckling::
Shayne: I’m still not convinced mine aren’t.
His tone was cynical and biting, but he tempered his discontent about a great many things. This was Nicholotti’s moment, one of many more, he hoped.
It was almost too good, but it wasn’t, because Kali knew her friends and her first officer and the things that they were capable of. If they only knew that they were a good bit of why she stood there that day.
Nicholotti: They aren’t. You earned them. We all did.
Through blood, sweat, and tears. Plenty of all three went into the making of these leaders. Now here they stood, congratulating her. It was a moment she would store away in her mind for all time.
Rajel: You deserve it Kali, you worked hard for it. Again my congratulations, _Commodore_.
Shayne drew himself to full height, and performed a salute, not too formal, but not too sloppy either.
Shayne: Well fought, Commodore. I know this might not mean much, but… I never doubted it.
Kali leaned her head slightly to the side. Their words were powerful, even if he didn’t see it. With a serious gaze leveled at the holographic representation, the raven-haired command officer let it be known that there was meaning behind all of it. Lots of meaning.
Nicholotti: It means everything.
And then she turned to them both.
Nicholotti: I could not have asked for more, other than for you to perhaps be here in person. Technology, however…::She shook her head.:: I am grateful you both made it.
Rajel: As if I would miss this!. ::She smiled widely, she meant it. Being here for Kali’s big day meant a lot to the Trill.::
Then she cast her gaze to those who made it happen. Her staff. The backbone of her operations. The reason she stood where she stood that day.
Nicholotti: And you three. ::Grinning.:: Being able to share this moment with those closest to me...well, there are no words capable of expressing my sincere gratitude.
MacKenzie: ::elbowing Genkos a little too hard:: We did it! She’s speechless!
Genkos grinned and elbowed Addison back, sardonically.
Adea: I never thought I’d live to see the day.
One of the things Yogan appreciated most about his crewmates was how well they balanced the celebratory and the solemn, the informal and the official. Each of the three senior officers had set an extraordinary example for him to follow in this regard, and made serving with them a meaningful professional and personal experience. He leaned into Addison and Genkos to offer a congratulatory nod.
Yalu: Well done, surprise committee.
Her collar felt a little bit lighter, perhaps, even as it came with a heavier connotation. Still, she was her normal self, just with a bit of a different choice in decor. She chuckled.
Nicholotti: It’s perfect.
Addison smirked and nodded the slightest of nods.
MacKenzie: Congratulations, Commodore.
Commodore Kalianna Nicholotti Commanding Officer USS Excalibur - A R238605KN0
Commodore Jalana Rajel Commanding Officer USS Constitution B A238906JL0
Captain Randal Shayne Commanding Officer USS Arrow NCC 69829 G239202RS0
Commander Addison MacKenzie, M.D., Ph.D., FASFS First Officer USS Excalibur-A V239601AM0
Commander Genkos Adea CMO & 2O USS Excalibur-A G239502GS0
Lt. Commander Yogan Yalu HCO Officer USS Excalibur NCC-41903-A Justin D238804DS0
Return to Kalianna Nicholotti.