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Old April 14 2013, 07:41 PM   #60
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

Hey guys,

Glad Vorot has made such an impression on you both .

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USS Rushmore

Lt. Commander Nandel blushed at the low, appreciative whistle. “How can you lift your hand with that rock on your finger?” Lt. Laxle smirked. There was a devilish gleam in the copper-hued Ithenite helmsman’s eye. Even though she had heard the good-natured teasing countless times, Nandel still found it hard to look the diminutive man in the eye.

And she had long ago stopped holding up the ring for him and the rest of the bridge crew to marvel at. The band now did feel like a weight if not on her finger then on her soul. However the program proceeded apace.

“Congratulations Commander Nandel,” On the main viewer, Captain Glover’s handsome face was split with a wide grin. “Who’s the lucky being?”

Nandel looked up at the beaming human, with a stricken expression on her face, playing her part. The operations officer had just come on shift, while Captain Liyange was talking with her counterpart on the Cuffe. The taskforce was in route to the Cuellar system and the two captains were going over last minute details before the fighting begun. She gulped, “I’m sorry sir,” she said, looking abashedly from Glover to her own commanding officer, “Sirs, I mean.”

Both Glover and Liyange laughed. Many among the Delagrange bridge crew snickered while others did little to hide their grins. The only one who remained immune to the much needed humor was Executive Officer Nivek, who retained his dispassionate Vulcan countenance. Captain Liyange held up a hand, silencing the chortling. The woman gave her a small, sympathetic smile. “It’s okay Commander Nandel,” the woman said, “Our conversation was winding down anyway, and I think this news is a good reminder to us all of what we are fighting for, and that we must never lose sight of what matters most while we do so.”

“Hear, hear,” Glover agreed, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.” The Cuffe captain paused for a few seconds, “Oh wait,” he chuckled.

“Beat it Terrence,” Liyange shot back. The Cuffe captain held up his hands in mock surrender.

“Fine, fine, I’ll let you win…this time,” Glover replied. “See you on the other side of this thing Arjuna, Glover out.” Before Liyange could get another word in, Glover’s face was replaced with an image of his Nebula-class vessel, a sister ship to the Delagrange. The Cuffe was gone seconds later, only the aftereffect of its warp trail remaining.

“Always have to get the last word don’t you?” Liyange muttered to empty space. She laughed to herself.

Nivek, unable to restrain his curiosity, leaned toward her and asked the question that Nandel and certainly most of the senior staff had to be wondering, “Captain,” the Vulcan began with uncustomary hesitation, “I was not aware that you…served with Captain Glover.”

“Fishing?” Liyange asked, arching her eyebrow in a good Vulcan approximation.

“Merely inquiring as to the nature of your relationship,” The man said, far too bluntly. The Vulcan was oblivious to the hush that fell over the command center. From what little Nandel knew of his service record the man had served aboard the all-Vulcan starship Sonak for nearly a decade before taking the first officer’s position aboard Delagrange.

She didn’t know what had prompted the change and Nivek wasn’t forthcoming. In that regard the man had been very similar to the captain, until her meeting with Glover had seemed to remove whatever had been inserted into her rectum. And now Nivek was asking the captain a personal question on the bridge. Had there been a Psi 2000 outbreak that she was unaware of?

She replayed all of those crazy questions that had spun around in her mind at the oft-kilter behavior of her superior officers.

Liyange’s expression was impassive, but Nandel thought she caught just a playful twinkle in the woman’s gaze. It was doubtful that Nivek noticed it at all. “If I have…crossed personal boundaries, my apologies,” the man said, finally catching on. The captain just nodded and smiled again.

“It’s alright,” Liyange shrugged, and Nandel sensed that the woman was unshackling a great weight. The Halanan could never imagine that a person could actually come alive in a time of war, but that’s what she felt was occurring with her commanding officer. Perhaps the idea that they were flying to their likely doom freed her some from the distance she had erected as part of her station. “You probably didn’t pay much attention to my Academy record, but Glover and I were both cadets on the Shuttlesworth. Saw some action there against both Osaarians and Nausicaans. We both saved each other. He’s a valued friend and it is horrible that it took this war for us to see reconnect, but there are few sapients besides Terrence that I would rather have at my side in a fight, even if he does like to have the last word.”

“I comprehend,” Nivek said after a few moments. The entire bridge seemed to exhale collectively.

Nandel remembered that her stomach had started clenching as soon as the small smile vanished from the captain’s face and a steely glaze came over her eyes. The captain locked on the main viewer, at the vast starfield it visualized. The time for levity had ended. “Helm, best speed to Cuellar Nor,” Liyange commanded.
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