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Ensign Nella Noxwyn -- The Uplifting and Diffusing Commodore

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OOC: I love the enthusiasm!




((Academy Grounds – Starbase 118))

oO So...tell me: please, Nella. Enlighten me. Tell me what we're doing, exactly. Tell it to me straight so's I can understand it better . . . Oo

“ . . . so much to see” a young Iotian woman in a mint-condition dress uniform surveyed her faint reflection in a huge panel of glass creating an expansive portal into the open universe. This could also be described as a big window. The purest vacuum of space held all the beauty of the Trinity Sector in perfect stillness before her. Her dark-haired reflected figure carried a PADD as it matched her brisk stride in mirror-image, and the text: “ AWAITING ORDERS” bobbed in reverse on the device's bright display. Nella was attempting to practice reading backwards while moving, to pass the time.

oO Am I actually doing it? Or am I just cheatin' because I know what it says . . . Oo

Her heart was thumping like an obsolete warp core. The worst thing Nella could do for her current state of mind was remain idle and still, yet she paused a moment. Her faint mirror image stared with dark-blue eyes and placed an olive-skinned finger on the single yellow metal pip that now adorned her collar. It felt at once foreign and familiar.

Graduation day.

Ensign” Nella Noxwyn. The new title was itself as pristine as the formal uniform Nella was issued this morning; exciting, tidy, rather uncomfortable, commanding more respect than a typical crewman or cadet. Ultimately, all Ensign Noxwyn could expect to feel as she broke into her role as a newly-minted security officer—the rigid, fresh-scented, unbroken baseball glove of her Starfleet career would eventually become a like second skin, her profession an extension of her life purpose. The pressures put on her yellow-banded shoulders would be as the mattresses sandwiching a new mitt, softening the leather, making it into something supple, flexible and familiar. Starfleet protocol was a bone-white baseball stuffed inside this glove, giving it shape and form and depth and meaning. A properly broken-in security officer was like an old baseball mitt; with proper care and attention, it could reliably catch anything a mind and body could.

oO This picture of you in uniform fits like a glove... Well, a glove that fits well. Plenty of gloves that are too big or too small, fit on, but they don't fit. A glove that fits good, or well.. well.. I dunno... I haven't played baseball in a long time, and Feds all run the bases in the wrong direction... Oh! What am I talkin' about?! Oo

Nella kept occupied as she paced along a narrow observation concourse roughly ten metres' distance from the noisy grouping of excited former cadets and entourage. In the vast window directly ahead of her, she paused again to observe the boundless expanse of space and light-emitting objects. Nella also noticed flashes from professional photography equipment interrupting the expansive pane of glass, lights from the Federation News Network team that milled about as they covered the ongoing celebrations behind her. A photographer over there ordered the computer to momentarily alter the ambient lighting. In the new mode, Nella now saw a near-perfect mirror image of the luminous scene of graduates in the reflecting glass.

oO Never turn your back on a room—unless you can see behind you and you know where you're going Oo

Echoes of one of few clear memories of 'something her father said' repeated in her mind as she waited. Then she thought more about him and swallowed down the memory like bile.

oO Let's think of something else—anything else . . . uh, how was your morning, Nella? Oo

Earlier, she had been on her way to a star ship—her first assignment. There had been an unexpected development:

Academy Grounds – Starbase 118. Wait for contact from leadership,” the new orders had come to her PADD over an hour ago. Nella wondered which cheery 'El-Tee-Jay-Gee' from the crowd behind her would emerge to feign a long-time familiarity with her, as humans often did in new and uncomfortable situations.

Now she heard shouts and cheers and shrieks of glee from the crowd—perhaps the Academy's Parises Squares team had made a collective appearance at the graduation after their recent setback at the conference semi-finals; to massage their morale.

oO I want nothin' to do with that drummering... Not my monkeys, not my circus... bunch of space cadets... Oo

::Ensign Noxwyn reflected a moment, facing a window::

The ambient lighting flickered back to its previous settings.

“Thanks everyone!” someone shouted. There was a general cry of “Woo!”.

Her head swung over to the sound of multiple approaching footsteps on deck-plating. A group of fresh young graduates approached Nella, one of whom broke forward at a rapid pace, and extended an arm toward her. She didn't recognize any of them.

oO Finally! I was beginning to think these “new orders” were somebody's idea of a joke! Oo

In the foreman-graduate's hand, he held a small device. It was for taking photos. He flashed a set of white teeth.

“Hi! Can we take a picture?” his arm alternated between pointing at himself and a cluster of three other cadets of mixed species and gender, some of whom made eye-contact and waved at Nella. She realized immediately these were not the people she was waiting for.

“Sure pal, you just have to believe in yourselves and you'll figure it out”, Nella squeezed his extended arm reassuringly before turning and escaping with a strong walk.

oO I'd rather be outside in a space suit than in the middle of this racket. Scratch that—I just wanna get outta here. This waitin's for somebody with time to feed the birds! Oo

Nella was about to split and head all the way over to administration to clarify her “new orders” with a superior but paused after having made it across the room from the window she had been beside. Nella raised her PADD and re-read the document containing her new orders. She didn't want to miss her first assignment because somebody behind a desk got wise and sent her to the wrong ship, even worse if somehow the mistake was of her own making!

Taybrim: Ensign Noxwyn?

A red-haired man a few inches shorter than she was had gotten the jump on her. The Commodore! He spoke in a warm, welcoming tone and smiled in a calm, reassuring manner. Very personable, very warm, as if he was just some lieutenant here to catch her up on things.

oO . . . and the worst part about it is, he got the jump on me! Oo

Taybrim: I wanted to welcome you to StarBase 118.

His near-black irises twinkled like sunglasses at a card table.

Noxwyn: You? . . . wanted to welcome me? . . . Sir? . . . Commodore?

The quick-moving man waved her forward with an arm that seemed to be plotting their course and heading with an intangible sense of authority. They broke into a walking pace that was just a quarter-step faster than Nella's tried and true rhythm, on the edge of behind a light jog. They were heading somewhere fast.

Well, you see, I requested a special placement for security and we are launching for our mission in the next seventy minutes. So I hope you’re ready for an adventure, Ensign?

oO Seventy minutes?! Oo

Noxwyn: ::her hand went to her hip and felt a noticeable lack of phaser:: I can't say that I'm packed, Commodore.

Taybrim: I assure you, one of the most delightful things about immediately going on a mission is that some of the lovely housing officers will have everything moved to your new quarters, ready and waiting for you when you return.  No fuss, no hassle, just walk in, unpack and enjoy.

Noxwyn: ::with a hint of confusion:: Yes, sir.

The pace he had set was brisk, but Nella was beginning to hit stride with the Commodore. It was manageable, but her gams would feel this tomorrow.

::looking at the Commodore's legs in stride:: oO And how much walking have those legs done?! Oo

Taybrim: By your academy performance, Starfleet felt you were a perfect candidate for this position and this mission. ::His eyes were near-black enough to catch the glint of an overhead light as they passed beneath, causing them to appear to twinkle ::Which we’ll go over in more detail once we get underway.

Noxwyn: Thank you, sir. Understood. ::appearing not to fully understand::

They had reached the main turbolift, and the same hand which commanded the entire Starbase ushered her inside the rapid conveyor that could take days, if not weeks, off a top-to-bottom journey through the immese spacedock.

((Main Turbolift, Ascending))

Commodore Taybrim worked the control panel for longer than was typically necessary to input a course for the lift. The computer made an atypical chirp, but it was an acknowledgement of whatever instructions the Commodore had given it.

Taybrim: Don’t be alarmed. The mission we’re going on is classified and unfortunately our good deeds from the last few missions have made us a prime target of interest from many unsavory factions. And the Federation News Service.

Noxwyn: Sir, I believe you said “don't be alarmed” and “prime target” in the same sentence.

Nella almost felt like throwing up as she realized she had taken a more familiar tone with the Commodore than she probably should at this stage in her career. Worse, the turbolift activated and took them upward, faster than she ever knew turbolifts could go! She thought felt her heart hit her knees. There was a pain in her midsection, like a bubble that needed to be burst.

Taybrim: We’re off to diffuse a bomb, Ensign. A cult faction has levelled a threat against the Federation and had a stolen tri-cobalt device in their possession.

Noxwyn was about to speak, but was intruded upon by the sudden unsubtle sound of her own  flatulence. Yes, it was a normal and natural response to sudden stress, but it was also in an elevator with the Commodore. This incident wouldn't likely be forgotten, but hopefully would remain just between them.

Noxwyn: Well . . . shoot! :: looking to the Commodore in horror, her mind absent of anything else to say ::

On the plus side, her stomach started to feel better. She felt worse about everything else. Especially the word “bomb”. A bomb had torn her childhood apart and probably killed her mother.


Taybrim: Response


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