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Nicholotti & Cody: Recovery


Alexander Matthews
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((Recovery Room, Sickbay, USS Victory))

:: David sat, not entirely comfortable in the sterile whites, that always made him look like a blasted wraith. But there were practical and extremely important reasons not to introduce any kind of contaminents. So instead, he did the only thing he could do, which was read the reports coming in from all over the station on a padd he liberated from one of the technicians in Sickbay. He made a decision that he was going to build another slimpadd again. There were some distinct advantages to that handy little device. ::

:: In bed, Kalianna shifted, rolling her head straight. David lowered the padd and watched, feeling his own heart beating, and hoped she was waking up. ::

::For the first time, that she could remember, since she fell into that deep, dark sleep, Kali’s eyes fluttered open. Before she could look around, they immediately closed again. The light in the room was far too bright for her at that moment, so she settled for taking in her surroundings with her other senses until she had a better idea of where she was and what was going on. The last thing she could remember was David’s blue eyes, the steady sound of his voice, and an intense pain in her chest. The struggle suddenly came back to her and her mind involuntarily snapped to focusing on breathing. Somewhere, though distant, she could still hear the sound of his voice.::

::The result was an immediate gasp, a moment of panic, which quickly subsided when she found herself able to breathe much easier than before. His voice faded into the distance and she struggled to hear it over the deep hum of the ship. Though there was a dull pain in her chest, made apparent by the sudden movement and gasp for air, it was far different than the suffocating feeling of before, allowing her mind to search for him. Where had he gone? He’d promised her he’d never let go...::

oO David... Oo

::David picked himself up and brought both himself and the chair next to the bed, breathing out a silent relief and a strange flutter to his heart. He didn’t want to alarm, or frighten her. He set the chair down and sat in it, watching as she came out from the anesthesia, carefully taking her hand into his and just letting her hand rest on his. Water grazed the corner of his eyes as gazed down at this extraordinary woman he had known only for a short time, but quickly settled into his mind and heart. ::

::Then, with her eyes still closed against the lights of the room, which weren’t as bright as they could have been but were still there nonetheless, she could feel the warmth of a body close by. So much still didn’t make sense in her mind, but she assumed that she was in sickbay now and that something needed her attention. The welfare of her ship and her crew came flooding into her mind, piling on top of her overwhelming need to know where David was, and she finally forced her eyes to open again. It took a moment, but as she got her bearings, she looked over and caught the same deep blue eyes she had last remembered before slipping into the darkness of a deathly sleep.::

::A sudden feeling pulsed through her, one that she was quite certain she was imagining. Holding his gaze, she felt as if her heart beat faster, as if excited by his very presence. At first, the feeling surprised her; though she’d felt the fast beating of her heart long ago, such experiences had gone away when she’d given her heart to save Jaxx. There was no way her mind was interpreting things correctly. Ignoring it and blaming medication, or just her imagination putting more into seeing the eyes she somehow thought she’d never see again than was really there, she reached for him.::

Nicholotti: David...

::The last word that had been spoken before was the first to be said now as she forced her way out of the sleepiness that had been induced by death and perpetuated by medication. With far more control now than she remembered having before, she found his hand and gripped it, almost afraid if she let go he would be gone. Though her voice was dry and raspy, she still found herself able to project it far better than her fearful near silence of before.::

::Breaking his stone-expression, David smiled, feeling some more wrinkles as he leaned over and gently kissed her forehead, conveying as much as he could into that kiss. That wouldn’t cause an unnecessary contamination. Planting a kiss where it belonged could. ::

Cody: I’m here, Kalianna. Don’t you worry.

::Kali made no attempt to hide the flood of emotions that hit her then. Though she often found herself doing just that, she suddenly realized just how afraid she was. At first she tried to hide it all, but knowing she was safe near him, she let go of the fight. The remnants of the anesthesia prevented her from putting up the solid blocks that she normally held in place anyways, and so, thoughts of the loss of her crew, and of those she had been entrusted to protect hit her like a brick wall, but it was the thought of never seeing his face again that really pushed her over the edge. Her head swam and she gripped him tighter as she closed her eyes in an attempt to gain control.::

::Her heart was definitely racing, but her mind was in so many other places that she couldn’t focus on it just then. All she could do was take a deep breath and try to regain control. It was after a moment of this, a moment filled with memories and visions of the moments before she fell into the darkness, that she finally was able to speak in a somewhat shaky voice.::

Nicholotti: I’m sorry...

:: Sorry. David had to choke off a laugh. She was the last person who needed to feel sorry, and he returned her hand squeeze as he settled back into the chair. He wasn’t going to give ‘em a reason to toss him out of the room, but he leaned in enough so she didn’t have to strain herself and brushed a few strands of her hair out of the way, a faint trace of his crooked smile greeting her. ::

Cody: ::softly, gently:: You don’t have anything to be sorry about.

::But she felt, in many ways, she did. The fact that she was here and not on the bridge following the crisis was a good place to start, but on a more personal level, she was only now coming to terms with the events that had transpired earlier. While she had slept through the aftermath, he’d had to deal with it, and for that, putting him through it, there was a distinct need for her to say it.::

Nicholotti: But I am. ::Pausing a moment, she pushed it away for a moment, wondering what had gone on after the blackness had taken her.:: Were you...alright?

::David found himself stroking her hair and gazing into her dark eyes as his heart soared. ::

Cody: I’ll tell you another day. But don’t worry. It’s a good story. Meltdowns, melodrama and a good verbal smack in the noodle to wake my sense back up.

::A smile appeared on her face as she looked over at him. Again, her heart seemed to race, fluttering in the strangest way, which made her pause, but like before, she brushed it off. There had to be an explanation for it, and one that didn’t involve striking fear into anyone all over.::

Nicholotti: As long as you’re alright.

::He fell quiet a moment, letting her just rest and watched her. And then he winked at her, wondering. ::

::He watched her, and she simply looked back, unwilling to let her eyes close again. She’d been in dark places, and fought through rivers of blood to find her way back. Now she’d found something different, and she didn’t want to let go. Her mind wandered that path for a time, until she noticed that he winked at her and asked something she didn’t quite understand.::

Cody: So... how does it feel?

::Raising an eyebrow, she shook her head slightly.::

Nicholotti: How does what feel?

::If he meant how did she feel, she felt infinitely better than she remembered feeling before, though she still felt as if she’d been run over by a fleet of starships. Waking up to his presence there had somehow made her feel better though. Her medical experience was telling her it had something to do with endorphins or something, which was also why her heart fluttered, among things, but she was too focused on the abstract just then to realize where her head had taken her.::

::And as he said it, something clicked.::

Cody: ::smile deepening:: The thump thump.

::Her eyes narrowed and she picked her head up off the head of the bed and looked at him. The medication was wearing off and her mind cleared more and more, so this time she was able to really look at him and listen to the sound of her heart.::

Nicholotti: It feels...off.

::For a mechanical heart, it was far off. Her feelings were surfacing, as they had since her eyes first opened and found him there, but as her senses cleared and she focused on him and the warmth he brought to her very being, she realized that the flutters and the quick beats of her heart were far from a delusion of medication. In some kind of wonder, and mild disbelief, she blinked a few times before putting it all into words.::

Nicholotti: It feels real.

::It was a statement, and not the question that her eyes now asked.::

::David knew that really, it was Johanna that should be here to tell Kalianna what she had done. It was Dr. MacLaren’s work, and he had watched her work from behind the glass (admittedly, at first, because of the clash between them earlier. What he held back, and what he surmised during the procedure, was what Johanna MacLaren did and what he did were not too much different. He had it wrong. The problem wasn’t they didn’t know each other... and it took David watching what she did to realize it. They weren’t worlds apart. In some ways, they were mirror images. And truth be told, David privately admitted to himself that Johanna did magic he could never do. ::

::He created some kind of sentient holomatrix in the birth of Anya... but Johanna had the real gift, as far as he was concerned. She took an idea, the idea of being able to replicate organs through the patient’s DNA, and give something back. In his book, Doctor MacLaren was the medical officer of the year. ::

Cody: You can thank Doctor MacLaren. She gave you your heart back.

::Her head fell back to the bed as she tried to wrap her head around it. The truth was a difficult thing to comprehend when you never thought that it could be true.::

Nicholotti: How...how did she do it?

::Modern medicine was amazing, but she never considered just how amazing until this very moment. She had long ago resigned herself to the fact that her heart would forever be a machine that beat constantly until it didn’t anymore. Little had she known, or realized rather, that something so simple as EM waves could push it to that point. It was something she should have thought about earlier, but didn’t, though now it seemed like fate had brought her to this point. Strange...::

:: The how. David thought about it for a minute, then shook his head. That was for Johanna to tell her. Her work, her moment, and her best hour. ::

Cody: You’ll have to ask her. I was just here to watch something amazing... ::giving her hand a squeeze:: and not lose the woman that’s stealing my heart.

::For the first time since she woke, her eyes moved away from him, looking to the ceiling above her, but not really seeing anything beyond her thoughts. Her look of amazement turned to a smile and she finally looked back at him. Hints of the impish grin she often wore played in her features. The medication was wearing further and she was finally feeling less like a sluggish version of herself, and more like who she was before her heart decided to fail.::

Nicholotti: It’s been so long since I’ve felt this it’s all brand new again. ::Then she caught his eyes.:: And if my new heart says anything, I’d say you have quite the effect.

::The look in her eyes was playful despite the lingering dull pain in her chest. It was something that, for now, the endorphins racing through her bloodstream was keeping at bay.::

::David glanced toward where the monitoring equipment kept a close eye on the room, par for the course. He completely understood, although it was a bit of a hindrance at the moment. oO Johanna, I’m sorry I ever doubted you. Oo With a smile, a nod, a wink, and a grin, David pulled out a small U-shaped device with a single button and aimed it up at the walls and ceiling before pressing it. ::

((USS Victory Computer Core))

::The camera and monitoring surveillance within the Recovery Room squelched, then blacked out. ::

((Recovery Room, Sickbay - USS Victory))

::And with that, and screwing protocol, David leaned down to take Kalianna’s head into one hand, gently caressing her hair as he locked eyes with her. He saw it in so many people in so many places time and again, but never really understood how the eyes could convey things that couldn’t be said, or some didn’t know how to say. ::

Cody: Let’s see what your returned heart says about this.

::And without waiting for any more words, David promptly kissed her, the way it should be, letting his lips meet hers and losing himself to this precious moment they had together (or at least until the computer core recovered from the involuntary loss of recording). ::

::The feeling behind her racing heart, coupled with the kiss itself and how close he was to her brought her places where pain was a distant memory. It was a moment that she could have lived in forever, and would have chosen to live in forever with him if she could have. It was in that moment that she forgot about what had happened and realized just how deep this had gone.::

::And it was in that moment she realized she couldn’t be without him.::

::As the moment drew to a close, she gripped his hand and looked up at him. Something about it had made her open up. This was a place where she could just be her and not have to hide behind everything that conveyed the strong command image to the crew. Free from that, she could ask in what amounted to a somewhat small voice that seemed far from her commanding tone on the bridge.::

Nicholotti: Stay with me...

::David held Kalianna’s hand, staying close although he was reluctant to cause any more stimulation, not knowing if over-stimulating her would cause some kind of backlash. He did not want to inadvertently undo MacLaren’s work. He studied her a moment, searching her eyes as his mind considered the words. There were several meanings attached to what she just said, and he didn’t want to misread here (as he often did, and perhaps this was the primary reason why he failed in the relationship department). ::

Cody: I think you’re going to need to spell it out for me here. ::smiling slightly:: And a head’s up, I was never very good at this stuff.

::Kali couldn’t help but smile now. He didn’t have to be good to do what he’d done. It’d been what she needed, and had been searching for. And now that she’d found it, she didn’t ever want to lose it.::

Nicholotti: Stay with me now, stay with me forever. ::She paused a moment, a somewhat serious and searching look coming over her.:: Don’t let go.

::It was funny how words came back, and actions came full circle. Somehow, she thought she knew that night that she’d fall, and here she was finally admitting it in her own way. It was, perhaps, a risky thing, opening up the vulnerable part of her, but there was something about him, and the blue eyes she found herself lost in, that made it all just the way it should be.::

::Oddly, David flashed to the dance floor during her promotion to Captain, remembering the cadence and pacing of what was a slow waltz, and feeling the slow, warming burn that touched his heart thinking about how he dipped Kalianna in the middle of the floor, remembering her words that echoed here and now. Don’t let go... he nodded, and reflected a moment on the bizarreness of the brig incident, dwelling for a moment on B’Sara, and feeling a sudden panic. ::

::Did she come with them? Or had she remained behind at the Starbase? Several conflicting emotions ravaged him there, hoping it was the later, but suspecting it was the former. He knew B’Sara well enough that she was not unlike him in some aspects, and that trouble gravitated toward the pair of them. He darted his eyes away for a moment, considering factors. oO Don’t let go... Oo He had no plans to, but would she? ::

::In the moment of silence, she watched him, searching his eyes to see what he was thinking. Sure, they were big words, but words that couldn’t be kept inside.::

Cody: ::after a moment:: There’s something you need to know. It’s kind of a packaged deal... although I’m not sure what’s going on at the moment.

::For the briefest moment, she was nervous, but never once thought of backing down.::

Nicholotti: What is it?

::David met her gaze, and he hoped that she understood. ::

Cody: I don’t have any kids of my own. Life didn’t work that way, I guess. But several years ago, on a prior assignment, there was... a young girl, a young Betazoid girl who’s mother had been murdered following the Gorn Wars and the attack on DS17. And... along the way, she’s about the closest thing I’ve had to a daughter of my own.

::Kali listened to what he said and her mind immediately returned to a time long before she was ever in command. The sparkle of the sun glinting off of the snow that surrounded the child that had been Rowena was vividly burned in her mind. So many times since that day, and the day she had to leave her on Til’ahn, Kali had wondered what had become of her. So many times she kicked herself for not trying to give her a better life. He had done it though, what she hadn’t been able to.::

::The nervousness faded instantly and she smiled.::

Nicholotti: What I said stands. ::The smile turned to a grin.:: When do I meet her?

::Kids. That was something she’d not thought about on purpose since Tressa and Jaxx left. Her godchildren had been the closest thing she supposed she’d ever have to kids, seeing as how she seemed, at the time, perpetually alone. It was in that moment that she realized how much she missed them, but it was something she quickly pushed away. Dwelling on it only made her mind spiral down, and now, in the warmth of this moment, and lost with him...she would worry about it later.::

::That was the nature of time. If nothing else, she’d learned that moments come and go so quickly. She felt as if she’d been given another chance, and in that, she would waste no moments.::

::He flashed her a wolfish smile, although the memory of her yelling what she did still haunted him. ::

Cody: Apparently, she made it back to the starbase. Last time I saw B’Sara, she was an eager-eyed bright girl anxious to prove her way through the Academy when she left. :: his smile faded :: Although she can be a bit stubborn. A little [...]y... maybe.

Nicholotti: ::Raising an eyebrow.:: Wonder where she got that....

::The medication had completely worn away now and her mind was clear. Things were connecting the way she thought they should, and though it was a lot of news at one time, she didn’t view any of it as particularly a bad thing. On the contrary, while she had faded into darkness, it seemed like she had woken to the light.::

::David snorted a laugh. ::

Cody: Three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

::He needed to find out. If she was on ship... his own heart skipped a beat at the thought something might have happened to her. That was the [...]able thing about Starfleet, and why, David suddenly realized, he didn’t particularly like the fact the one person who was, in all but name, everything, was under his watch and he knew... despite what he had said in a prior life, he could not order to the frontlines. He took a long breath, suddenly wondering how the hell this was going to work. ::

::What do you do when you’re both a father and a superior officer? ::

Nicholotti: If she’s anything like you, I know I’ll love her.

::And that was where she left it, her eyes gazing into his and hoping that he would stay. It had been a long time since she’d felt so strongly about anything, and this time she wasn’t going to hide it behind command, or the ship, or her crew. This time she would follow her heart that beat on it’s own rhythm for the first time in years.::

::David snapped his train of thought and gazed down on her, taking her hand back to hold it. ::

Cody: ::a small chuckle:: Even if I’m becoming an old man?

::Kali couldn’t help but laugh, and the sound of it seemed so far from the somber nature of what had her in her current state. Despite that, it felt downright good.::

Nicholotti: I think if you can handle me, I can deal with just about anything you throw at me.

::The playful grin returned and she watched him for a moment before he kissed her again. If she never had to live without that feeling, and the moments lost in his kisses, then life would be well worth everything it had been and would be.::

::David loved her for it. He leaned down and kissed her again. Family... it seemed like a dream at one time, something that happened to everyone else. Never him. He couldn’t imagine a better life than this moment. A daughter... and maybe... just maybe... ::

Cody: If she hasn’t caused trouble already. She came with Walker to the brig. One of my more stupid moments, I’ll admit.

::Kali shrugged somewhat dismissively. It was in the past, in what seemed like a whole other world. And while she suddenly remembered Anya, and the need to deal with that on top of the chaos they were in after Krax, something about having a new heart gave her a bit of a different outlook on things.::

Nicholotti: I expect trouble, and mistakes. ::Wandering thoughts drifted through her head, but one idea stood out.:: It’s what we do after that matters. Grow, learn. That stuff. We can do it together...

::Flashbangs, sentient clones, and probably many more things she didn’t quite know about or understand; they were all part of what made him different. Trouble? Perhaps. Double trouble if his daughter was anything like he was. But what was life without a little, or as it may have been, a lot of trouble?::

::David stared at her and blinked, then suddenly laughed in spite of it all. Here he was trying to make sure that Kalianna was, well... getting better, although he didn’t feel like he accomplished that. But whatever happened, the outlook was worth it. He wished suddenly, so hard, that his parents were alive. He wished they could see what their son made of himself, that they could meet Kalianna and B’Sara. ::

::And suddenly he wanted to take both of them... both Kalianna and B’Sara, back home. For the first time since he left after turning eighteen, David wanted to go home, and introduce them to Deborra. He didn’t have a whole lot. Well... Deborra might beg to differ... but this wasn’t the time to tell Kalianna everything. He wondered what they would think about a trip to Mars. ::

Cody: Together...

::And he held that thought, holding her hand (at least), although the hairs of his back stood up as a sweep of chills coursed his spine. Everything felt so good... so right. So why did he suddenly feel something was wrong... something he had forgotten... a pressure at the back of his mind that crept in where whispers happened and strange things like white cloaked figures and weird white shapes in the air existed? ::

::For the first time, David wondered if they were omens that he might be dying. ::

::The thoughts and emotions behind his eyes seemed to swirl and she wondered just what was going through his mind. It wasn’t until she saw something familiar there that she thought maybe it had something to do with those dreams he had told her about. For a moment, she thought of asking, but ultimately didn’t. Instead, she squeezed his hand and nodded definitively.::

Nicholotti: Together, whatever time may bring.

::Whatever was running around in his head, this was her word, her promise that it wouldn’t scare her away. This was something she’d put her mind to now, and as much as he was her safe place and somewhere she could be herself, she would fiercely fight whatever this was with whatever resources or abilities she needed to bring to bear. It was so much to say, but the words encompassed it all.::

Nicholotti: ::smiling slightly, reassuringly.:: Just don’t let go.

::Smiling back, and casting aside the strange feelings, David brought up her hand he was holding and kissed it. ::

Cody: Never. Don’t let go, either.

::He tried to pass it off lightly, but he felt a seriousness behind the words. In life, David hated people worrying about him. It took time, but eventually he got the collar off. He fought the induced insomnia for the bulk of his Starfleet career, and finally won (although the how of that escaped him at the moment). Commanding the Independence... even the short term Intel assignments commading the Daedalus. The strange triquara he found at the wiped out last outpost of the Breen remanents... the strange world they found from the miners who left Wheeler. A lot of strange and wonderful, if not thought-provoking things. ::

::And... as it suddenly occured to him, that he would think in terms of career, when the reality was this had nothing to do with career events. This was events of the heart, and that was something most of the guys he knew (including himself), weren’t very good at, so they used the career events to cover. He shook his head. oO No... Oo Some changes were good changes. He looked down at Kalianna, still holding her hand, and finally heaved a sigh of relief. ::

Cody: I feel a little overly protective when you start putting yourself in the line of fire, okay? And I don’t say that as your Ops Chief or SO... that’s me. ::with a grin:: So don’t make a practice of dying in my arms, okay?

::Being the one that generally found herself overly protective of others, it seemed strange to have things reversed. Being Captain made that worse; she’d never be able to be completely out of that line of fire unless she hid, and she wasn’t about to do that.::

Nicholotti: I don’t intend on making that my hobby ::She grinned momentarily.:: But you know I can’t stay in the shadows.

::And that was when the words spilled into the air between them.::

Cody: I didn’t say that. I’ve been there, as Walker has, where you stand now. We still have to be able to send our crew into battle, knowing some aren’t going to come back. I know that. Perhaps a little too well. And when you give those orders, yes, I will follow them. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to hate it. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to worry. I can’t change the way I feel about you, Kalianna. Just remember someone who very much doesn’t intend to let go loves you, and wants to make sure you remember to get home safe. ::wry grin::

::It was right there. She’d searched and found it. The words spoken sent her new, real heart into another flutter and the woman who was Kalianna let her own feelings shine in her eyes. Life, despite all of its drawbacks, valleys, and downright dark holes, seemed to have a way of coming out alright.::

::She smiled. No. Better than alright. Much better.::

Nicholotti: I won’t forget. ::Then she narrowed her eyes slightly in a jestful manner.:: As long as you don’t forget either.

::Nothing, not even her own death, could bring her down from the clouds at that moment. There would be plenty to deal with tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, but it all seemed so much easier knowing she wasn’t alone...knowing she’d found what her heart had been searching for, and now she had the heart to go with it.::

Nicholotti: I’ll always do what I have to, to come home to you. To come home to what we build. I can’t possibly leave when you are so much a part of me. And I know I can’t stop you from worrying, and you know you can’t stop me from doing what I need to, but know I will fight with everything I am to come home. Always, because I will never let go either.

::David had a sudden thought then, which brought a short laugh, and shook his head. ::

Cody: I think you’ve got the better quarters than I do, if you’re thinking about trying out a living situation... and a fish tank. :: still chuckling:: All I’ve got is a bunch of misplaced boxes of my belongings, the wine collection, and a distillery I might as well give to Silveira.

Nicholotti: ::Raising a questioning eyebrow.:: It might be good I’m not in any official capacity at the moment. ::grinning.:: but I may be willing to forget certain things for a certain...aquarium.

::And just when she thought she’d heard it all, he went on.::

Cody: ::after a thoughtful moment:: I’d really hate to give up that portable distillery... but I guess I could build another one.

::Both eyebrows shot up this time and she laughed.::

Nicholotti: Or not. Besides, I have my own ways of getting what I want. You should know it comes with the position.

::At this David grinned back, eyes twinkling. ::

Cody: Speaking of positions, you might want to know I told Walker to take command of the Victory. Well, since I had to carry you down to Sickbay. Transporters were offline.

::There was no possible way she could express how she felt about that, so taking a page from Jaxx, she found the humor in the situation and mocked a concerned expression.::

Nicholotti: Great. I pass out for a moment and my Second officer is ordering my First officer to command.

::She rolled her eyes and laughed as he turned things back towards this ‘living situation’ he’d brought up. In her mind, she welcomed it with open arms, and a happy spirit. It would mean always coming home to...family.::

Cody: Oh... you’ll get that tank. Don’t worry about that. As far as the distillery goes... you really don’t know, do you?

Nicholotti: ::Shaking her head.:: Nope.

Cody: ::deadpan:: You’ve never heard of Cody Distilleries, Isle of Skye?

::Again, she shook her head, thinking that perhaps she’d missed something along the way.::

Nicholotti: No, but I’m guessing I will be introduced at some point...soon.

::Like, when the doctor let her out of sickbay. Mentally she rolled her eyes at herself. Doctors made the worst patients. Doctors who were Captains were even worse. For a split second, she actually felt sorry for her CMO.::

::Suddenly, David realized there was quite a few things Kalianna needed to know, if they were going to forge this together, losing his smile for a more serious frown, not sure how much he should tell her now, or wait until after she had been released. No... she needed to know. Hell... he went out to forge his own life, he forgot what it was he ran from... or really, didn’t run from, since there was a huge chunk of his prior life he kept out of Starfleet for a reason, although they did know. ::

Cody: My father’s family. The Cody clan has been making Scotch for over two hundred years. My father’s sister and her husband run it now. Haven’t thought about them in years.

::She watched him, quiet for a moment, waiting to see if he would continue. Knowing there was more, she finally spoke, gently prodding for whatever it was he seemed hesitant to mention.::

Nicholotti: Interesting tradition, but not something I find as groundbreaking as your eyes tell me this is...

::He hesitated. He never told either Anassasi, or Walker... hell, he didn’t tell anyone how he tracked information down. He drew up a long breath. Hells bells... ::

Cody: But what you do need to know is the civilian company my parents’ built. That’s how we ended up on Mars instead of staying on Earth. Are you familiar with trade securities?

::Though she wasn’t quite following yet, she was sure he’d put all the pieces together shortly. In the meantime, she searched her mind and all of the information she thought she’d not need, and that which just kind of was left to the side in the wake of the day to day chaos, eventually coming up with something.::

Nicholotti: Vaguely.

Cody: They built what’s known as the JTSC... the Jennet Trade Securities Corporation. The Ferengi don’t like us very much. Primarily it’s trade securities, but Starfleet Intel knows it has an intelligence division.

::And where SFI was involved, things got to be less than crystal clear.::

Nicholotti: I’m sure they loved that.

Cody: ::thinly veiled smile:: My mother, Barbara Jennet, decided to take legal action. I was too young to know at the time. It’s a very long story, and a boring one at that. Suffice to say, the Federation sided with her at the end, and the company continues to the day. We inherited a Turowen’dial from Betazoid, who’s more of a sister to me, who runs it. But she doesn’t own it...

::Another questioning look appeared on her face even though she was beginning to paint the picture in her mind.::

Nicholotti: So, who does?

::It was a lot to drop, but if she was serious about this, Kalianna deserved to know it all, and David didn’t want her finding out from SFI, even though in the end, they ended up helping. The mystery surrounding his parents’ death was solved long ago, with finding the JTSC-X03 and the prototype space-fold engine his father built back among the sandstorms of Mars, before the Breen stole it... and then something else stole it from the Breen remnants and wiped them out. ::

Cody: ::making a face:: I never told anyone. My “sister” runs the company, but I inherited it. I just check in from time to time.

::Kali had the feeling she was probably missing the bigger implications of this, but from her relative position, regardless of if her mind had cleared or not, it was something she was willing to wait till later to look into. For now, she wanted to know why...::

Nicholotti: And why tell me all of this?

Cody: ::conveying through his eyes:: Because if we do this, you need to know. I don’t believe in covering things, and I don’t lie... not to my crew, and definitely not to my family.

::There was such seriousness behind it; the very words and the way he said them sent ripples through her mind, which then translated to her body. It was strange, but welcome all the same.::

Nicholotti: I’m afraid my history isn’t quite as colorful, but I can promise the same to you. No covers, no lies.

::For a moment she searched her thoughts and tried to think of something worth covering. Besides the lack of presence that her father had in her life, there wasn’t much that could be said.::

Cody: ::after a moment:: Trust me. You don’t need a colorful history. The thrust of all of this is... ::taking her hand again:: … understanding that we all have qualities. White, black, and gray. What we decide is when we wake up in the morning and look over at the person beside us, and know, without a shred of doubt, this is the person we want to wake up with every day for all the days we have. :: sharing a smile :: And I never thought I would ever have this conversation.

::To be completely honest, neither did she. Yet, here they both were. For a moment, she considered everything that had lead to this moment, and everything that would follow. They had put everything on the table, and here they both still were. To not let go, or be let go, and to, against the universe itself if it came to it, stand fast and face it together. And though she knew they both knew, one more thing had to be said.::

Nicholotti: You know this isn’t going to always be easy...

Cody: :: sharing understanding :: Who ever said relationships were easy?

::Kali looked up at him with knowing eyes. It was the difficulties in life that gave things character. It was only because she had struggled that she was able to find such joy. It was the darkness that gave light its most defining characteristics. And it was this moment, even in the wake of near tragedy, that turned everything around.::

::A new wave of peace moved through her as she focused on him and the feeling of her heart in its flutters and jumps that told her that it wasn’t all just a dream. Somehow, death had brought her life in more than one way, and while she found herself excited about what the future might bring, for now she only wanted one thing; to get lost in his embrace once more. Careful not to move, lest she risk the incursion of medical personnel, she simply looked at him and beckoned with her eyes and the impish grin that had once again made its appearance.::

::David didn’t need an interpretation for that beckoning, and leaned in to level a soft, but firm, kiss to encourage her to get well fast. Breaking the kiss, he kept their mouths near and made sure to keep his voice below decibel enough in case the voice recorders were back online. ::

Cody: So... if I do carry you again, is that going to be across the threshold of the house?

::They were too close for him to really see the full effect that had on her face, and the flip-fluttering of her heart, but she quickly recovered and grinned slightly.::

Nicholotti: I guess that would depend on the question you ask before that. ::letting her grin fade, she got serious for a brief moment.:: And don’t you tease me.

::Indeed, recovering from near death wasn’t exactly the time to wave such things in front of her, though somewhere in her mind she could feel the seriousness of it as well. Still, there had been something Anya had said that plagued her mind...would he be chased away like the others, or would this time be different...?::

Cody: Likewise. ::smiling:: So... do you think they’ll let me crash in here tonight?

Nicholotti: ::nodding slightly.:: Just tell them the Captain ordered it.

Cody: The Doc’s already threatened to pull rank. I say if she tries, we’ll get you released into my care and we’ll hole up in one of our quarters and lock the door.

::Kali couldn’t help but laugh. It probably would never happen, but it was an interesting thought. Oh the trouble they could get into....::

Nicholotti: I think, if you’re good, she’ll let you stay. Besides, I need you here...

Cody: ::kissing her:: Then let’s get someone to turn off the lights. ::eyeing the bed:: We’ll figure this out.

::Thankful he was there, and not scared that he would go, she finally let the fatigue start to catch up with her.::

Nicholotti: Yes, we will. Together.

::David assessed her a moment before glancing at the defunct cameras. What the hell... if anyone said anything, he was only trying to make sure she got a good night’s rest before resuming tomorrow. His hand somehow managed to slide from her hand, to her shoulder, and downwards as he said. ::

Cody: Computer. Kill the lights.

::Blackout. ::

--

LtCmdr David Cody

Ops Chief / Second Officer

StarBase 118 Ops / USS Victory

&

Captain Kalianna Nicholotti

CO

StarBase 118 Ops / USS Victory

Edited by Alexander Matthews
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