((Starbase 118 Ops - Little Risa))
The party had been lovely, a fitting tribute to a man who cared for those under him with such compassion and caring. The sun cast its colours over the sky, purples and deep oranges reflected in the water beneath. As time ticked by, people began to trickle out, and Alora assisted in cleaning up and putting things away. The last rays of the sun eventually disappeared beneath the horizon, and the light blue gave way to a darker hue, speckled with silver starlight. More time passed, the night growing late, soon no longer night but the wee hours of the morn and those who lingered the longest had also begun to disperse. Alora leaned against the corner of Cabo Breeze, watching the last remnants of guests say their goodbyes and well wishes to Sal and finally turn to make their way to their quarters. It was then Alora finally approached the newly minted Commodore.
DeVeau: Have fun?
She knew what the answer was, for it had been displayed upon his face the entire evening. Seeing his happiness made Alora happy.
Taybrim: I did. ::He smiled broadly, enjoying the stillness after the fervent joy.:: It was wonderful. ::he looked towards her.:: It was a lovely time.
DeVeau: Yes, it was. I had hoped to be able to see Saveron and Saavok in person again. I appreciate you getting promoted so I could do so.
Taybrim: I’m glad they came ::He was truly happy that people could be brought back together.::
Alora laughed softly and shook her head.
DeVeau: There’s a little more left yet.
Turning, Alora drew back over to Cabo Breeze and hopped up the couple of steps to the porch. From the corner, she drew a couple of decorative bags, both blue with silver spots and cinched closed at the top with silver ribbon, like pieces of the sky that had been carefully wrapped around what was contained within.
DeVeau: Let’s see::Checking the small, silver label, she passed it over to the captain.:: This one is from Cadfael Peters.
Taybrim: Cadfael? ::He grinned, clearly remembering the name:: Oh, I miss him.
Sal was touched that they had reached out to Cadfael and even more touched that Cadfael had reached back. Someday he hoped he would see the Engineer again.
Within the first bag was a bottle of Bombay sapphire gin along with a note that read - "Congrats on your promotion, skipper. I miss you and the guys on Ops, hope to see you as vice admiral someday. As per my usual gifts to recently promoted captains, enjoy this touch of Earth. -- Cadfael”
Taybrim: That is wonderful. Oh, I hope to see him again, soon!
Reading the card Sal certainly felt that he had joined an elite group, those who had gathered old friends and persisted on.
DeVeau: But wait, there’s more!
The second bag was passed over.
DeVeau: That one is from someone we have in common. Chythar.
Contained within was a bag of Harrington's Raktajino from Earth's Raktajino franchise along with a BC (Akira-branded) bag of Nip of Winter. According to the label on the bag, it declared the contents to be a delicious latte mix blended with peppermint. Along with it, a note read: "Way to go, brother. I'll have to come by sometime and congratulate you in person. - CD”
Taybrim: Chythar ::he murmured:: A very old friend indeed. ::he turned the card over in his hands, as if feeling the person who wrote it.:: Oh, CD. I need to call him.
DeVeau: I do too. I contacted him right after I was reposted to Ops, caught up with what’s been going on the last year, but haven’t since. I should remedy that.
Taybrim: Perhaps we can give him a call together?
There was that excitement to connect and reconnect people. Not just for him, but for others.
Alora canted her head at the offer, surprised, but then smiled.
DeVeau: Sure. I didn’t realise you knew each other until he sent that gift and asked me to pass it along to you.
Taybrim: I’m thrilled to hear from him. ::Now he was curious, turning towards Alora:: You knew him well, I take it?
Ah yes, they had a long history. Maybe not as long as his and Sal’s, but Alora wasn’t sure as she hadn’t even known they were friends.
DeVeau: Chy and I, we’ve been through a lot together. Served on several ships together. The Garuda, the Invicta, the Za, and the Veritas, went through those ships, even through time together.
So much history in so little time. If one really sat and thought about it, truly it boggled the mind. At least her mind.
DeVeau: How did you two meet?
Taybrim: We were Ensigns together. The USS Excalibur had just launched from StarBase 118 Ops. Chythar transferred from Ops to the Excalibur and that ship was my first posting shortly afterwards. We served on the Excalibur and Columbia together.
Kalianna Nicholotti, his first Captain, had been Commanding Officer of Ops for a time. The Columbia had served as its support vessel. There seemed to be a strong connection between certain people, ships and installations.
DeVeau: Ah, I should have known. It all comes back to Ops, doesn’t it? And now he’s gone away and I’ve come here. How strange to think about it.
It was strange. Sometimes Sal Taybrim thought back to what had all happened since he was a sassy little Ensign and wondered how he found the path he traveled. Most days he simply accepted that he had found his home and flourished here.
Taybrim: Maybe it was all meant to be.
Alora nodded slightly, turning her gaze to the water and watching it push in, pull out. The moon dipped further below the horizon, leaving it’s top edge peeking out, it’s broken silver dancing over the surface.
DeVeau: So, did you ever think you’d be here? Commodore of Ops?
Taybrim: ::he smiled at that question:: That would depend when you asked past-me. Sal Taybrim the Ensign was a wide-eyed dreamer who thought he’d be a stalwart counselor all his days. Sal Taybrim the Lieutenant, moved to an understaffed Science Department would have wondered if Starfleet was going to just keep moving him to wherever needed an extra set of hands. Sal Taybrim the Lieutenant Commander and Diplomat was starting to think he might go places. Sal Taybrim, the Commander and First Officer of Ops knew he had found home. And from there… ::he smiled, gently, easily:: There was no turning back.
DeVeau: No turning back. No going elsewhere either?
Taybrim: Even if I hadn’t ended up in Command I would have stayed here. Ambassador, diplomat, who knows?
Would Starfleet have allowed that? For Alora, the only time she’d had an option was when she’d been asked to be a part of the research team where she’d met Kalin. At the thought of him, she winced, then shook her head before forcing her smile back on her face.
DeVeau: It’s nice to be able to stay put somewhere instead of going from place to place.
Taybrim: What about Past Alora? Where did she think she’d be?
DeVeau: Oh past Alora knew exactly where she was going to be. Well...sort of.
Taybrim: Oh? And where was that?
Ah, how much had changed in seven years? Alora had been a bright, eager Ensign, thrust into the middle of a mission that she had to run just to catch up, and that had been followed by a whole slew of interesting questions which she had been tasked to find answers for. Once she’d been posted, it seemed as if she hadn’t really stopped. She’d just kept going. Yet, she’d always known what she’d wanted, no matter what happened.
DeVeau: Past Alora was going to be a Chief Science Officer. Yep. That was the only really big goal she had when it came to Starfleet.
Taybrim: And she was there, that did happen. ::he smiled gently:: but what about present Alora?
DeVeau: Present Alora still isn’t so sure she’s supposed to be wearing a red collar, and kind of wonders if her Commodore is a little insane for sticking her in it.
Taybrim: Of course I’m a little insane ::He chuckled:: No Starfleet officer is fully sane ::Dark eyes twinkled.::
Was he wrong? Probably not. Alora had participated in her share of insanity, surely some of that had rubbed off on her. Hopefully it was the good kind of insanity.
DeVeau: I suppose that’s true.
Taybrim: Sometimes I see potential and see if given a push it blossoms. ::he took in a long slow breath:: sometimes I’m wrong. Everyone makes mistakes. But wrong never means a person is a bad officer; only that a certain role may not be perfect for them. But I will support you in this and give you time to see if this fits you.
Sal smiled gently, with all the confidence in the galaxy behind his expression.
And she couldn’t help but smile in return. If nothing else, his confidence in others, even in herself, was a boost to one’s self esteem. She still doubted, but in the presence of his assurance, perhaps Alora doubted a little less than before.
Taybrim: I believe that you have your team and crew's best interests at heart, and that is the most critical core component of being a leader. Whether as a department head or as a first officer.
There was truth in that. Alora wanted what was best for the base, for the crew, for all she worked with. That included the captain. If that were not the case, she shouldn't even be an officer in Starfleet. Turning back to the horizon, she nodded slowly, watching the last line of moon disappear, and the hint of light that heralded the coming of the sun take its place.
DeVeau: I’ll try not to let you down.
Or anyone else, for that matter.
Taybrim: I know you won’t. ::he reassured.:: even if you find this isn’t your preferred path, I know you will still be brilliant.
DeVeau: I really should, however, reprimand you.
He perked a ginger brow, curious
Taybrim: Oh? Why?
Alora gave the man a sidelong glance coupled with an amused smirk before shaking her head.
DeVeau: I should have known you would have done what you did.
Sal was both amused and slightly concerned, searching his mind for what he may have done.
Taybrim: And what did I do?
DeVeau: Take a party that was supposed to only be about you and turn that focus on to others.
Not that they hadn’t deserved the awards and promotions, but Alora had hoped that, for once, Sal would simply enjoy something that was for him.
DeVeau: It’s okay to let people celebrate you and only you, you know.
Sal had the good graces to blush.
Taybrim: But part of my joy is celebrating others!
Commodore Sal Taybrim
StarBase 118 Ops
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Starbase 118 Ops