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JL | RAdm's. Indi Hawk & Cintia Sha'mer | "Small Talk"

Posted on 241709.14 @ 9:31pm by Rear Admiral Indi Hawk & Rear Admiral Cintia Sha'mer

Mission: Reconciliation & Reconstruction [Fleet Plot]

Very glad that the working part of the day would finally come to a close, Indi shut down her console and headed back to the transporter room. There were only stars here in space, but she realised it would be dark by the time she got home. She'd have to do something about this. She couldn't be stuck in space during all the light of day their home had to offer, and get home when the moon had taken over. She was too much of a planet person for that. After all those years, she still didn't understand the people who prefered to serve on a starship. To each their own.

The transport complete, she had rematerialised outside the steps of their house. It only took her a few strides to enter. Kicking off her shoes as soon as the door closed, she hunched her shoulders and padded to the kitchen. Her uniform jacket was discarded somewhere along the way. First stop, the replicator. A nice big glass of coke materialised and she sipped it eagerly.

Sha'mer sat in the garden again, looking out over the sea and the cityscape beyond. The sunset had been spectacular, and she had remained here as the sky dimmed to a deep, dark blue, revealing the stars one by one. She looked up at the sound of familiar footsteps, the brush of a familiar mind, and smiled. "Hey," she said softly. "Good to have you back."

Indi sat down in the chair next to Sha'mer and let out a deep sigh. The cityscape and the sea could be damned, but she was glad to be in familiar company. "I hate it up there," she spoke, voicing the thoughts that had been haunting her for a while now. It had only been a few days of going to her office like the good officer she was, and it was already driving her crazy. She'd have to talk to Sabine to see if she could be assigned a planet side office. Her glass was mostly empty before she set it down on the small table in front of them.

"I know you do." Unlike Sha'mer, Indi had never settled well in space. For Sha'mer, it was the other way around. She had lived long enough on planets to have learned to love the fresh air and unique blend of smells, the sunrises and sunsets, the different land- and cityscapes, but part of her always thought of planets like gravity wells, traps which held her as she struggled for the freedom of space. Maybe it was because it had been the original fracture which had grounded her, that she always felt sympathy for birds with broken wings.

To be out there, amongst the beckoning stars, where one could see and touch infinity… But she would never trade the stars for what she had, right here. Sha'mer glanced at Indi and smiled again. Meeting her again, reconnecting, had filled a hole in her – not in her mind, but in her heart. "I'm sure they can find you a broomcloset groundside if you ask. Or convert one of the rooms here into an office and do the administration from home. It's not as if they need you up there to answer mails and fill in padds."

The smile turned into a scowl and Sha'mer tried to scratch her leg, under the shiny new brace which now encased it. "What would you like to do for dinner?" she asked. "Go out or just order or replicat something here?"

Convert one of the rooms into an office. Now there was an idea. It was so simple that Indi was stunned she hadn't thought of it herself. She even wouldn't need much of Sabine's approval for that. Her official office would still be up there, but instead of being closeted up there with her padds, she could be closeted down here. The simplicity marveled her. Her spirits lifted by the very idea, Indi smiled as she looked over to Cin. "Finally went to the hospital? It looks good," she commented, while pointing her finger needlessly at the brace.

"Feels lousy, though," Sha'mer said, pulling a face. "I'm not used to it any more. It itches and hurts. I'm gonna toss it in a corner and pretend I never got it if it keeps up."

Food. Yes, they had to figure out food. There was a kind of humor to the situation that could only come from familiarity. Cooking had never been a strongsuit or even an interest of either of them. It was always juggling health, ease and putting the kitchen to good use. She wondered why they even still had a kitchen. They'd manage just as well with just a replicator. Perhaps the kitchen was the room she could turn into an office? "As for food, I don't feel like going out. Let's just go for the usual," she added as her train of thoughts came to an end.

"Sure," Sha'mer said, though for the life of her she wasn't able to recall what constituted as 'the usual'. She was fine with any foodstuff, as long as it wasn't raw feed replicator mush. She closed her eyes and leaned back in the chair. The garden was still warm, the tiles giving off stored heat from the day. Without opening her eyes, she said: "I met an old acquaintance of you earlier."

"Oh?" Indi asked, her interest sparked. She was thinking spaghetti. It was easy, it was comfort food, she could do with some comfort tonight. She had no idea what acquaintance Cintia could be talking about though. Many of their friends and family weren't anywhere close to Earth. If anything, she was glad they would have a semblance of a normal conversation again.

Sha'mer shrugged. "Funny thing is, we were talking for quite some time when she seemed to recognise me. I don't think I've ever met her, but she told me you two had met earlier today. She had the worst headache…" Even the memory made her wince. "Apparently the two of you served together, a long time ago." She shrugged and tried to reach that itch again.

Indi blinked in surprise. "You talked to Dani? What the hell were you doing talking to Dani?" she reacted before she thought things through. However and whenever this conversation had taken place, it hadn't been Sha'mers doing. At least not in such a way that she had *wanted* to confront the number one crime lord of Earth. She wondered Cintia even knew that much. "Did she tell you anything I should know?" she asked, considerably less forceful than a moment before.

"Eh? No." Sha'mer frowned. "I told you, she had a hell of a headache. Oh, and she was thinking about you. I take it the meeting didn't quite went the way she liked it." Scowling, she undid one of the straps on the brace and reached under it to scratch. "Damn this thing. Anyway. She was projecting quite strongly. Didn't listen in, but advised her to see someone for that headache. She recognised me. We didn't really say much."

"I understand," Indi nodded, though she really didn't. "Spaghetti?" she asked, propelling herself to her feet just a tad too quickly. She didn't want to have this conversation. Not again. She knew she'd have to revisit it with Dani very soon, but not tonight. She didn't even want to think about it tonight.

"That's good," Sha'mer muttered, half-loud and well within Indi's hearing range, "'cause I don't." She fastened the strap again with a new scowl. "Spaghetti sounds fine," she added. "Something to drink with it?"
Indi glanced over her shoulder as she headed inside. "I'll bring some wine," she agreed. It didn't take her long to fill a tray with everything she'd just promised. Balancing it carefully, she finally made her way back outside and sat it down on the small table. "Dunno about you, but I feel just fine eating here instead of at the dinner table."

"Out here is good," Sha'mer agreed. A nearly full moon cast its light over the water of the bay, dimming out all but the brightest stars. Warned away from the subject of Indi's old acquaintance by the strong 'let's not go there' vibe, she cast around for something else to say. Small talk had never been one of Sha'mers strong suits, and nowadays even less so. "How was your day?" was always safe to fall back on, so she settled for that.

Fishing spaghetti to her mouth, Indi shrugged. She recognized the attempt at conversation for what it was, and appreciated it. They hadn't been able to do this for far too long, and both had to relearn how to be good at this. Talking about her day wasn't really what she wanted to do though. It made her feel uncomfortable, and yet comfortable at the same time. A weird feeling for sure. "It was alright, I'm glad it's over though," she answered eventually. "How did your meeting with Scholtz go?"

"She made me an offer. I told her I'd think about it." Sha'mer deftly wound the spaghetti around her fork and ate it. Definitely lots better than replicator mush. She washed it down with some wine and sighed, staring off in the distance. "I'm still not sure what to do. On the one hand, I'm terrified to do it. On the other hand…" she shrugged. "What else is there?"

Indi made sure she swallowed down her mouthful before replying. "Why are you terrified to return to duty?" she asked. She figured she knew the answer, but she didn't want to make wrong assumptions. As for the other question, she chose to ignore that for now. Sha'mer would wake up one day and realise that she couldn't do without Starfleet just like she couldn't. Perhaps that day hadn't come yet though.

"Still too afraid for what's buried in here," Sha'mer said, tapping the side of her head. "In a position such as this, with our rank, people must be able to trust us, trust me, implicitly. Hell, Indi, even I don't trust myself." She looked at the wineglass, which was nearly empty. "I don't even dare to use painkillers out of fear of losing control. And believe me, today I wish I did. But…" she sighed again. "I don't think there is an alternative. Other than leaving here again, leaving you, and I just can't." Not again.

Indi understood the fear, and yet she didn't. This was a strange conversation, filled with contradictions. She'd felt the same way a while ago. If she didn't trust herself, how could she trust others to? In Sha'mers case, the fear probably ran a lot deeper? And still, she was convinced that it was a fear without foundation. She'd never hurt anyone else, not on purpose. And if it was by accident or by provocation, that could happen both in and out of Starfleet. "Of course, you have to make the choice for yourself. It sounds to me though like you should at least try. As for the painkillers, I wouldn't hold out on those either."

"I think I will try," Sha'mer nodded and finished the last of her wine. "But I'll let her know it'll have to be a mutual probationary position for the first months or so. Painkillers, not yet. But I can't guarantee I can let you sleep if I decide to chuck this damned thing through the window in the middle of the night."

"That's fine," Indi smiled as a summary to all those statements. She didn't mind being awoken by Cin in the middle of the night. Perhaps she'd mind a bit more if something was chucked through the window. Finishing the last of her plate, she pushed it away and relaxed back in her chair. Almost normal. Almost.


by Cin Sha'mer & Indi Hawk


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