(( Ayiana’s Quarters, USS Gorkon ))
:: Ayiana stared into the mirror and saw a stranger looking back. ::
:: It was the collar. It felt so alien. Funny how a simple change in pigment could add the weight of the world, or in this case, the ship, on one’s shoulders. The red didn’t just signify a change in department; Ayiana was taking on the most important job on the ship, next to the Commanding Officer, of course. ::
:: Ayiana was leaning forward against her bathroom counter, her arms propping her up. Her hair was immaculate, save for a few wispy strands hanging forward. Her nails had been freshly trimmed and painted; instead of the usual red she wore, she had a “nebula” effect on them. Swirls of yellow, blue, violet, orange, and red covered each nail. The pattern shifted depending on one’s point of view and the light hitting it. No wonder it was called “nebula.” It was ironic how much her everyday look reflected her new uniform - red hair, red nails, red blush, red lipstick, and now a red collar to top it off. Red had always been Ayiana’s favorite color. Perhaps she was destined for this? ::
:: The award ceremony was in a few minutes, and it would signify the official start of her new job. Why was she feeling so anxious, then? She had been in command of an entire *department* for years. ::
Sevo: oO Why, oh why did I say ‘Yes’? I was perfectly happy down in the labs. Oo
:: The image of her in the mirror suddenly spoke. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: You could have said ‘No’, you know.
:: Ayiana stood straight up, and blinked. Her mirror image stood up too, but took a different stance, placing her fists on her hips, as if scolding a child. Ayiana rubbed her eyes, then looked back at the mirror again. The other her was still there. ::
Sevo: But it felt wrong to turn down Admiral Reynolds.
:: Her mirror image crossed her arms in front of her chest. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: So? Reynolds wouldn’t have been offended, and you know it. It was a huge honor to ask you, especially after what you went through recently.
Sevo: You mean the reprimand and the bunking…1, 2
Mirror Image Ayiana: Duh.
Sevo: Well you don’t have to be so rude!
Mirror Image Ayiana: Think how far you’ve come.
:: Her mirror image changed. Its collar shifted to the familiar teal of science; the color Ayiana wore since her first day on the Victory. Further, a single gold pip adorned her collar, and Mirror Ayiana appeared younger; no lines or wrinkles criss crossed her face; and no blemishes or scars were apparent. Her hair was a bit more unkempt, and she had a large blue bow where her ponytail was tied instead of a more modest and standard-issue hair tie. Even her posture changed, hunching over more, and looking more reserved and shy. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Remember your first day on the Victory? Commander Eerie was the first person you talked to.
:: An image of Eerie appeared in one corner of the mirror; slightly translucent, as if it was a ghost. He looked like he did four years ago; which looked just about the same as today, to be honest. ::
Sevo: :: Smiling. :: No, there was a Caitian in the shuttlebay.3
:: Immediately, an image of a slightly younger L’rann similarly appeared in a separate corner from Eerie. Ayiana had forgotten that she was on the Victory back then, too! The Caitian was the first person Ayiana spoke to after coming aboard. She was kind, despite Ayiana nearly vomiting on the woman’s boots after spending a week in a confined runabout. ::
:: Mirror Ensign Ayiana hunched over, and stared down at the floor as she spoke. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: E-excuse me, sir! My mistake!
Sevo: oO Did I really look and act like that? Oo
:: Mirror Ensign Ayiana, sensing her thoughts, straightened her posture and looked back at Lt. Commander Ayiana. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Yes, you did. You were quite the wallflower.
:: Ayiana smiled, remembering Eerie calling her that on her first day. Or was it then-Commander Nugra? ::
:: An image of Nugra appeared in another corner of the mirror. He still had both eyes back then, and only had the three pips of a Commander on his red collar. Ayiana remembered first seeing her Gorn commanding officer. It was extremely frightening, as if he would eat her alive if she messed up. And she knew she would have. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: But you didn’t mess up. On that mission, you helped defeat the Hunger.
:: The Hunger. An ancient, extra-galactic species from the dawn of time, bent on conquering the galaxy. That was Ayiana’s first mission - to defeat the Hunger. And they did, with Ayiana’s help. She remembered hunching behind Eerie as small mechanical spiders assaulted the team. She had been tapping at her tricorder, and managed to interfere with the network that coordinated them and gave them a rudimentary hive intelligence. Without it, they were disoriented, and her team was able to stop them.4 ::
Sevo: That was harrowing.
Mirror Image Ayiana: But you persevered, and moved on. Then…
:: Her mirror image’s appearance shifted again, this time with a black pip signifying her promotion to Junior Grade. Mirror Ayiana’s posture straightened. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Commander Nugra promoted you to jay-gee and made you Chief Science Officer of the Victory.
:: The image of Nugra nodded appreciatively, and the corners of his tooth-filled mouth bent upwards in a Gorn smile. ::
Sevo: Yes. After Lt. Commander Rossh departed suddenly.
:: She smiled, remembering the black-furred Caitian. She had only served under him for a couple of missions. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Yes. Remember your first day as Chief Science Officer? You stood outside the door to the main science lab, trying to summon the courage to appear authoritative to your new subordinates.5
Sevo: And a lot of them were higher-ranked than me. I was terrified they wouldn’t listen to a lowly jay-gee.
Mirror Image Ayiana: But they did. And you ran the department splendidly.
:: It wasn’t as hard as Ayiana thought at the time. She had shortly found her groove and settled into it. ::
:: L’rann’s image was replaced by Commander Vess. Both him and Eerie were the only two individuals on the Gorkon whom Ayiana had served with since her first day. She looked at Vess; thinking of him as something more than a colleague. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Of course he’s more than a colleague. Vess has seen you naked…
:: Ayiana mentally facepalmed. How could she forget? ::
Sevo: He’s a doctor! He’s seen lots of people naked!
:: During a mission, she had been electrocuted and slipped into a coma. She spent a number of days in sickbay after Vess had performed an operation on her. That event triggered a change in the link between Ayiana and the Sevo symbiont. With Talia Kaji’s help, Ayiana was able to reintegrate herself, but things hadn’t been the same.6 ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: And despite everything you had just gone through, Commander Nugra saw fit to promote you to Lieutenant.
:: The mirror image of Ayiana shifted again, replacing the black pip with a second gold, denoting her promotion to Lieutenant. The large blue bow in her hair was replaced by a more subdued standard-issue hair tie. ::
Sevo: And when the Victory was decommissioned…
Mirror Image Ayiana: Captain Reynolds kept you in the role under her new command.
:: As before, an image appeared of Captain Reynolds, with only four pips no less, in the last corner of the mirror. Like Nugra before, she nodded acceptingly. Ayiana stared at the mirror for a moment, looking at the faces of some of the people who had been instrumental in Ayiana’s career. ::
Sevo: Yes. I was grateful; I had grown to like being CSO.
Mirror Image Ayiana: Just as you will grow into the role of First Officer.
:: The image of her shifted yet again, taking on Ayiana’s current appearance. All four of the ghostly images of Nugra, Eerie, Vess, and Reynolds smiled at her mirror image and nodded approvingly. ::
Sevo: But this is so much different! It's not just a single department anymore; it's a whole ship I’m responsible for!
Mirror Image Ayiana: So? The principle is still the same. And you’ve been in command before.
:: True. She had done numerous stints in The Chair during duty shifts; even while Over There. But it wasn’t quite the same. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Sure, you’ll probably trip a few times. You’ll mess up. But Reynolds will be there for you; Vess will, too.
:: The ghostly Vess smirked and shrugged. Well, maybe he would be. ::
Sevo: But my anger issues…
Mirror Image Ayiana: Yes. You’ll have to watch that. But you’ve been doing better. You've seen counselors, and tried calming techniques. And you know what will probably happen if you have another slip-up.
Sevo: I won’t just be demoted; I’ll probably be court-martialed.
:: Mirror Reynolds nodded. Her stare was icy. She would be watching Ayiana closely. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: So don’t screw up.
Sevo: Thanks. I’ll try not to.
:: There was a pause as Ayiana stared back at herself. ::
Mirror Image Ayiana: Well?! What are you waiting for, Commander? Get out there!
:: Ayiana straightened her stance and nodded at the mirror. She turned and headed out of the bathroom. As she was crossing her bedroom, she turned and took one last glance at the mirror. All the images were gone and it was blank once more. Ayiana grabbed a PADD from her desk as she headed out of her quarters to the dinner. ::
Sevo: oO I got this. Oo
Lt. Commander Ayiana Sevo
Image Collective Co-Facilitator
(( 1 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=SIM:The_Court_of_Inquiry ))
(( 2 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=SIM:The_Verdict ))
(( 3 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=SIM:Ayiana_Sevo,_Arrival ))
(( 4 http://sims.starbase118.net/sim.php?simnum=2366853 ))
(( 5 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=SIM:Ayiana_Sevo:_I_Have_Minions! ))
(( 6 https://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=SIM:Ayiana_Sevo_Disjoined_Arc ))