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Commander Kalianna Nicholotti - Into The Wild Blue


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((Captain's Quarters Aboard the USS Victory))

::There were no stars outside her window that afternoon. Instead, Kali

watched the few ships that were arriving come in to dock, a few others

leaving, and smaller workerbees moving about the empty space between.

Everything was gliding in the total weightlessness of space, lost in the

silence of the vacuum, and all that was left to be heard in that moment was

her own breathing.::

::Somewhat lost in thoughts of the distant past, the woman who was the

Captain of the ship on which she stood, as well as the massive Starbase that

contained it, slowly and absentmindedly wrapped the long tendrils of her

pitch black hair up and around itself, taming it as if it were an otherwise

wild beast. It was a motion that she had come to know well and one that she

had done many times before. The difference now was that she wasn't the same

carefree girl she had been back then. No; now she was a Starfleet command

officer responsible for far more than cleaning her bedroom, setting the

table, the family dogs, or even a small contingent of Marines.::

::Yet, perhaps it was that responsibility that made such trips into the wild

blue necessary.::

::Once, chasing the demon that had at one time lived in the air had been her

obsession. After her own death, a moment that forever changed her both

physically as well as mentally, it had become a means to an end. Now it was

almost an escape from a time that was far more safe than the days of old,

while being far more dangerous at the same time. She almost felt bad for

running off for a few hours, thinking that something else would need her

attention. It was a feeling that loomed over her mind causing her to feel as

if she were forever at the beck and call of her position.::

::But in the end, the thought was one she had to consciously fight off.

Before Kalianna Arashi Nicholotti was, or could be Captain, she had to be

many other things first; woman, friend, lover, confidant, leader, follower,

guardian, and as her father had always called her, doch'ka. That was,

perhaps, her favorite of them all. Her favorite, that was, after the

nickname her grandfather had bestowed upon her.::

::In the stillness of the room, Kali had no trouble hearing the words

reverberate through her mind.::

((Flashback, Earth, 24 Years Ago))

Hawk: Come now, my malien'kaia gadyuka. You have much to learn.

::A much shorter Kalianna, one who had barely turned five, ran to keep up

with the taller man as he walked out of the small building towards the rows

of metallic rectangles that sprawled across the seemingly barren desert

landscape as far as the eye could see. There weren't too many places left in

the world like this, so it was no wonder that it was big. The fact that her

perspective made everything that much bigger only solidified the awe with

which she looked into the distance with.::

Nicholotti: Where are we going, Dedushka?

::The man stopped and smiled down at her then. Even though his face, worn

with the wrinkles of age, was partially obscured by the sun, she would never

forget that smile. Reaching to pick her up, his somewhat gruff voice alluded

to what would be the most pivotal moment in her life.::

Hawk: Up there.

::His eyes looked up and the little girl now in his arms tilted her head

back to look up at the stark blue sky. It hadn't made sense to her then, but

she had learned not to question her grandfather. If he said that was where

they were going, then that was exactly where they were going.::

((End Flashback))

::A warm smile had appeared on her lips as she remembered the day when she

had taken her first trip into the skies. It had sparked a love that she had

carried with her throughout her entire life and one that she would soon

share with a man who was fast finding his way into her heart as well. The

way things seemed to fall together just how they should never ceased to

amaze her, and as she considered her long path from the day of her first

flight to the day in which she now stood, she wondered if Hawk didn't know

more about the universe and how it all worked than he let on.::

::A contented sigh slipped through her lips as she secured the last pieces

of her hair and put her arms through their sleeves, pulling the suit up

around her body where it could be zipped up. Ready, and excited, she grabbed

the helmet that her dedushka had left behind for her years ago and stepped

out into the hall. Destination? Holodeck 2. Mission? Scare the seemingly

unshakable Chief Tactical officer with an antique method of transportation

and war that was an exact replica of the one that sat at home on Earth

awaiting her return.::

::The mischievously impish grin appeared on her face as she moved through

the empty corridors towards her impending freedom. It would not last

forever, but the time she had would be plenty to re-energize her. Like the

younger child who had often begged her grandfather every single weekend

years ago, Kali felt the excitement building as she moved faster and faster

through the halls.::

((Holodeck 2, USS Victory))

::The blue sky inside the room was a stark reminder of her home. A quick

glance around told her that all was as it should be; the weather was

perfect, the sky empty, and the sprawling hangars stretching into the

distance like fingers reaching for some unknown goal. Kali took as deep a

breath as she could, enjoying the air that smelled decisively of Earth

before she set off across the tarmac to the rectangular building where she

knew she would find her most prized possession.::

::Without hesitation, she approached the heavy door and, after a few seconds

of pulling, moved it open just enough for her to slip into the large room. A

thin beam of sunlight spilled into the musty smelling space, illuminating

the outline of a sleek jet. She approached it, stepping around to one side

and reaching out to touch the metallic hologram as if she almost didn't

believe it was there. Her fingertips quickly made contact, though, and she

felt the reassuring cold metal right where it should have been.::

::Moving on, Kali drifted further to the side and moved up to where the

canopy sat propped open. Her eyes were automatically drawn to a point just

below it. Had anyone else been around to read it, black letters were barely

visible just below the glass canopy.::

"Mikhail 'Hawk' Nicholotti"

::Below the faded black lettering, shinier new letters stood out in the dim

light.::

"Kalianna 'Viper' Nicholotti"

::Kali ran her hand across the letters, letting herself get lost momentarily

in the past.::

((Flashback - Edwards Air Museum, California, Earth))

::She looked good in her new flight suit. Well, it wasn't really new, it was

actually an antique, but it was new to her. The hot sun cast a glare over

the high desert of California that day, reflecting off the metal of the

ancient fighter. Some people might call it an old hunk of metal, but for

Kali, it was escape from the reality of daily life. It lived and breathed as

the fuel hose pumped gallon after gallon of oil based petroleum into its

tanks.::

Hawk: Saddle up girl. You aren't gonna fly 'er from down there.

::Kali had to shield her eyes from the sun to look up at her grandfather.

Hawk was what he was designated long ago when he first joined the Corps, and

ever since he had kept the nickname. Kali had yet to earn her call sign, a

name already granted to her by the man climbing into the plane, but she was

hoping to solidify all that today. Though she had logged many a happy hour

in the incredible machine before her, today would be the first time that she

would take the front seat. It had been a day that she looked forward to

since her first flight, when she was 5 years old. Today would be a day to

remember and she wanted to remember everything. Taking one last look over

the monster in front of her, she strode up to the ladder and climbed

aboard.::

::Listening as her grandfather went through the navigator checklist, and two

of his Marine friends secured the fuel hose and other gear outside the

plane, Kali settled into the form fitted seat. The five point restraint took

some time to adjust, but Kali relished the fact that it would never have to

be adjusted again. After today, this baby was all hers. She patted the side

panel as she started in on her own pre-launch checklist. It was all second

nature and soon she looked up ready to go.::

Nicholotti: Here we go.

Hawk: Good, let's see what you got.

::Her hands went to work, flipping switches and bringing the beast to life.

Gauges sprung to life, and the sounds of air traffic control filtered up to

her ears from the helmet in front of her. Grasping it, she pulled it down

over her long hair and adjusted the mask so that it was comfortable.::

::After signaling her intentions to the tower, Kali sat back and waited. She

listened to the sounds around her until her clearance came through her

headset.::

::She lined up the centuries old jet with the equally old taxiways. The dust

swirled around them as she throttled up the engines just enough to get them

moving. Though they were old, they had been restored back to pristine

condition, giving the impression of a brand new plane. In its time, the

Super Hornet, as it was called, played a huge role in both military as well

as space related missions. It had been one of the first to avoid the radar

of the time, and it could fill a variety of roles. Everything from high

g-force experimentation to the air combat superiority needed back then,

could be completed by this so called 'hunk of metal'. Now, in a time when

such machines were obsolete, she still found it thrilling to take it up. No

failsafe systems to balance them, and no inertial dampeners; in this

machine, speed could truly be felt.::

Tower: Hornet one three five, Edwards Tower. Runway zero four left. Taxi into

position and hold.

::It was a process that she had been through so many times before when her

grandfather had been in the front seat, and one that was nearly useless, but

anyone who flew these antique planes still followed the old ways. It was

tradition.::

Nicholotti: Position and hold, Hornet one three five. ::She spoke into her

headset.::

::She felt the engines rev up behind her, the power reverberating through

the [...]pit. Carefully, she moved the aircraft into position.::

Tower: Hornet one three five, wind three one zero at niner runway zero four

left, cleared for takeoff.

Nicholotti: Hornet one three five, cleared for takeoff zero four left.

::As soon as she had gotten the clearance, she slammed the jet into

overdrive. Reacting to her controls, the plane shot forward, leaving the

ground behind as she maneuvered it into a steep climb. Perpendicular to the

ground below her, she pushed it nearly to the point of a stall, spiraling

off into the sky. The G-forces pushed her back into the seat, and her

breaths came faster as she shot the plane through the air..::

::Old test pilots used to say that there was a demon that lived in the

skies, and anyone who tried to break the sound barrier would surely die of

his wrath. Kali looked at the gauges in front of her and triggered the

afterburners. The jet shuddered slightly beneath her, gathering even more

speed. Seconds later, the airspeed indicator passed the mach one mark. The

demon had been defeated yet again.::

::Kali grinned as the feeling of the G forces pushed her back into her seat.

The ground rushed by faster and faster until she finally pulled the nose up

and shot off into the sky. It was as if the whole world belonged to her now,

and no one could catch her. Flying at mach 1.8, she pushed the Hornet

faster. The roar of the engines masked a distant beeping, which was

threatening to intrude on her daydreams. Looking around, Kali felt the

plane, her grandfather, and the slick exhilaration suddenly drift out of

focus.::

((End Flashback))

::A padd, which she had put into her pocket before leaving her quarters, was

beeping steadily alerting her to the time. Shutting off the alarm, she

halfway tossed the padd on a nearby table, the only other thing in the room

aside from the plane. Colt would be there soon and she wanted it all to be

ready.::

::Letting her fingers fall from the engineering marvel before her, she

turned to push the door the rest of the way open and get the jet towed out

onto the tarmac before he arrived. In the back of her mind, the excitement

was building; not only was she going to fly, but she was going to share the

moment with him. And that was when she realized that despite the pain of the

past week, some things made the pain worth it.::

TBC

--

Commander Kalianna Nicholotti

Commanding Officer

Starbase 118 / USS Victory

Edited by Necessity
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