FROM: Sara Desimone TO: Nymas Tr'Neral


I began today, as ever, with you foremost in my thoughts. If I didn't know any better I'd think you'd implanted some sort of insidious hobgoblin brain-scrambler, as every time I enter my quarters I'm disappointed anew at your absence, and in the knowledge that a surreptitious site-to-site can't bring us together like it could back on Magellan.

The Axiom is splendid. New where Magellan was old, grand where Thunderchild was lean. You can still smell the paint, and my throne is in dire need of breaking in. One or two hostile engagements are usually enough to loosen the screws to the point that everything is comfortable, but (just my luck) we're entering a period of peace and exploration, and this ship is so large that it would need to be T-boned by a Borg cube before we'd ever feel it on the bridge.

We've charted various anomalies, and even had first contact...kind of...with sentient germs that suppress a being's personality and imprint their own.

No, we can't keep them.

I've made some new friends, which I'm still getting used to doing so quickly. In fairness a few of them are my subordinates so they probably feel like they're obliged.

Ha, bet you just sucked air through your teeth.

It's bizarre to fraternize with my crew, I know. There's no way I would've done this during my last command. Klaarna (you remember her, head of security on Thunderchild?) will probably notice and give me guff for it soon. Unless she feels like I was just snubbing her before.

Frax, I should probably clear that up. As soon as I figure out what I'd say! "I know this is unprofessional, but to Hell with it!"? "Other captains have done it and they seem to be okay so I thought I'd give it a try!"?

Ugh, gross.

Of course you and I both know the sad fact of the matter is that we have a very pronounced addiction. Christ, I even miss feeling angry at you, the rare times it would happen. Whenever I'd try to leave in so much as 1/10th of a huff, you'd go "Sara?" in this tone that was half sorrow and half panic. In those moments I felt an emotion we Terrans haven't quite figured out a word for. Maybe you can help?

It starts with a tiny spark of vexation, then giddy adoration quickly overwhelms it, which results in a little more vexation, and then I felt elated, slightly more in love than before, and even a little silly for letting anything, anywhere, ever, make me angry with you in the first place.

You'll be happy to know that Thue has been keeping an eye on me whenever duty allows, and vice versa. You wouldn't believe what a hot item she is these days. Word got out that she and her old beau were done, and suddenly every trip to the replimat became like she was walking into a room full of starving pit bulls with a pork chop glued to her face. Obviously, your efforts toward teaching her poise and charisma have paid off in spades.

Our old mutual friend, Tabitha Caine, also sometimes passes through DS13. I've been subjecting the poor woman to my library of treasures, and she will soon learn to appreciate the genius of Plan 9 From Outer Space, The Room, and all the rest. We get along really well - shared interests, experiences, things like that. Funny how the three of us never all managed to hang out together at the same time.

Tau has found his way out here as well. The ZEF command chain left a great big question mark over his record, so he's being given a period of observation and appraisal directly beneath our squadron head, Captain Coby Morton. No doubt in my mind he'll make captain in no time.

Oh, also! Made friends with Captain Neema Perim, CO of DS13. We bonded over similar philosophies, and swapped horror stories about the things we've had to put up with as starbase CO's.

I "won".

Benjamin misses you, naturally. He's enjoyed all the new ship to explore, though.

This is all a grand adventure, and a new lease on the career I've always wanted, been groomed for. You know I wouldn't have gone if you hadn't encouraged me, and we both recognize that if I hadn't, we'd both have come to regret it. I can do good out here, and there's no question I'll grow into the job.

But then I wake up in the morning and you aren't there, and those traitorous little doubting voices start to grumbling.
Lucky for me that someone was there for me when those voices were all I heard, and taught me to silence them.

Love to mom and Alphie - they'll be getting their own messages, but it felt appropriate to say anyway.

Where would I be if I were truly without you?


PS - This mushy diatribe is brought to you courtesy of Thue's latest suitor, who, from behind, at about ten paces, in favorable lighting, to a lovesick fiance, looks a bit like you do. Almost a fraction as handsome, if you can believe that.

Sacred, merciful, fucking, stars, if I ever agree to be stationed in Sol again I will lose what little remains of my mind. I'm going to issue standing orders to my assistant (oh yes! I have a personal assistant now, because apparently a Tribunus can't so much as plot a coup without someone to sharpen his knife for him) to have myself shot. However, since I'm a clearer thinker than that I've already had the miserable careerist worm-shit who did land me this attache' nonsense sent out here to join me. I've even made him my assistant (for such is my magnanimity).

You may imagine how utterly delighted I am to hear about all the bottom feeding lesser species your dealing with. If I could rise for air among all the various multitudes that infest your species homeworld I would, definitely, play you some kind of lament. I find myself actually <translation failure: Lit. expressing feelings of longing for comfortable patterns of disgust> just thinking back to being in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of second-stringer incompetents. At least it was occasionally quiet.

Do try not to make too many friends among your subordinates, at the end of the day you need them to respect you, not like you, people get funny ideas about how much latitude they have if you don't maintain proper distance. Oh, wait, a lecutre on leadership, how novel. I'm actually going to waste precious words on that am I? Anyway, I am glad your not feeling isolated. Even if it does irritate me slightly that I can't take all the credit for solving it personally. Speaking of my competitive side, I am thrashing the local Powerboarding circuit here as well. Their definition of a 'season' and 'league' is, slightly, rage-inducingly complex (why I can't just challenge the reigning champion directly is apparently something they find nonsensical) but I have finally made it to the 'Final' where I am assured competition will be genuinely challenging (I live in hope).

Oh, Alfie "sends hugs", whatever that means. I've tried coaching him in rhetoric but he does that huffy human thing and cries "Dad your sooo boooring". He does this to annoy me. I know because I've had reports from his Academy professors praising his essay writing, vocabulary and general standard of cultural education. I even managed to restrain myself from replying 'well of course he does he's not some cretinous alien you hack', so you see, I am also making progress. Between girlfriends I suspect he is going to be streamlining his studies with a view to entering whatever passes for higher military leadership training (command track? I don't know the jargon it all sounds Klingon to me). Naturally I explained that his heritage will make him inherently superior in this regard; I thought it was rather a clever little word game because halfway through the conversation he stopped me to roll his eyes and launch into a lecture on diversity and the validity to species-wide value judgments, whereupon I sprung my ambush and remarked (almost off-handedly) that since his mother was Starfleet he had it in his genes.

One of our locals is keeping a distant eye out just to make sure. I have met a few of his friends but he passed me off as his 'brother' to avoid awkward questions about age (human infants are totally unable to accurately determine Romulanoid species ages, as I am finding out), on the whole I generally disapprove of them. They are selfish, backwards, ignorant, insufferably rude and inexcusably stupid, but Alfie claims they make him laugh so I have postponed having them quietly 'taken care of' (Ha! I wish).

Speaking of having people shot, I am mildly surprised to hear Thue is with the (38th? I can't even remember all the formations). I had assumed with me safely out of the way she'd have put her foot in the door during the rebuilding and made a go of getting herself promoted. Then again, she was a bit 'colonial' in her lack of ambition. But what do I know anyway? Not like I'm the poster-child for traditional Romulan values (Yes self pitty, roll your eyes all you like it's -my letter- and I will gripe as much as I like). Just tell her to stop putting on so much makeup and ensure that she's obeying correct uniform regulations more often (because we both know she takes more liberties with personal attire than I've killed aliens). I'm less surprised to hear about Caine, I'd got it into my head a while ago to send her a comm but, well it never happened. Tau did most of the questioning himself, which is his problem. If he can learn to treat his work as work, and not as a personal challenge to his morality he'll do a lot better (if you want to take everything personally be born Romulan, we're better trained for it).

It's unutterably dull around here, a million different kinds of horrifyingly stupid and irrelevant alien, literally billions of humans (each one with literally billions of opinions which they feel compelled to share as soon as they see you), everyone so ebullient, so sickeningly, cloyingly Federation. I do (refreshingly) come in for my share of complaints, and prejudice. It helps me salve my superiority complex to know that even at the heart of the shining edifice there are still the kind of ugly morons I've come to look down on. I am particularly enjoying frustrating the efforts of the joint-universities pan-species cultural mission, which wants to send a few tenured relics into Alpha Centauri to 'catalogue historical neutral zone bases'. I wish I was making it up. So I'm using it as an excuse to go traveling.

Your mother is well, I've taken to having a meal with her once a fortnight to ease the insufferable boredom of this posting. We do not, watch films.

Where you are, without me, is deep space, and if you must know I find it increasingly irritating that I wasn't a selfish bastard and told you to quit so you could pamper me all day while I climb the ladder to Subadmiral. But in all seriousness, I am so very proud to think of all the things your doing (and killing). Just, come home soon.
To The Champ

I'm sure you're reading this message from atop the hunched shoulders of the lesser powerboarders who have been blessed to find employment as your litter-bearer. Given my absence, there won't be any real competition.

It may comfort you to know that, while things never quite stay the same, there are some similarities to the patterns of the past.

It didn't take all that long, but I've had a falling out with Perim. She gave me a complete brush-off during an attempt to discuss concerns about a civilian Romulan who made a habit of being an agitator to the point of damaging JSI/Federation morale. You know how that goes over.

Ah well. She hated all my movies anyway.

(I'm actually quite sad about it, but we're both too similar to reconcile.)

Of course you're correct about being so casual among my subordinates, and it's something I think about daily. It never used to be a problem. To be honest, I sometimes struggle with the fear I'll find myself the way things were directly before and after my demotion - isolated among my peers, people among my own crew siding against me in the face of gossip. I've kept this to myself, but I can't deny the impact it's had on my actions and command style.

Immature and unacceptable. I won't bore you with the same maudlin whining you've already heard ad nauseum.

Thue's retinue grows and grows, and it's begun to mortify her. I confess I begin to feel jealous when I'm standing next to her and the tide of suitors move in. Without you here to remind me I'm the most beautiful woman in the galaxy from time to time, I've begun to feel a bit like chopped liver.

Poor dear, so unhappy on Sol! Of course you realize that with your credentials and experience, a high-ranking job could be yours for the taking out here. And while were discussing it, there's a cadet program...

Not sure whether that proposal was a moment of weakness or of clarity.

Love to the family.

Post Script,

Oh, as an aside I've got some kind of; well I'd ordinarily call it a dinner but apparently humans find it objectionable to poison each other or attempt covert assassinations so it's not a -real- dinner, but 'formal meal' of some sort with a bunch of knuckle-dragging blow hards from the embassy and their 'guests'. There will, I am sure be heaps of bland food, boring conversation and meaningless attempts at social jockeying: which ordinarily I would leap at, but since none of these cretins have anything I want to undermine... No, wait I just realised undermining their self-confidence is enough to keep me interested. Right, okay this might be worth the effort after all.

Anyway, before I went off on a tangent, I know how you like to argue with people over things, but more important than the argument is your objectives. Is it more important to haggle over the life of one peon who will probably trip down a flight of stairs onto a knife one day, or is it more important to maintain positive social relationships with your peers? Think of it like a... command task, from the academy. Just, pick your battles. Morale is what it is, most of the time it's in flux, in either case, not worth martyring yourself over (you let other people do that, then make sure they take the blame, and then take their job too, or have their back and pretend to be loyal so they slavishly devote themselves to your own cause). Anyway, the point is that having a harmonious social circle tends to make Sara a less frowny Martian, so don't be stubborn and take my advice. Or I'll remind you about the one time I was going to suggest you lie through your teeth and you came over all Starfleet on me (incidentally, I told you so).

Also, stop spending so much time second-guessing yourself. That's my job. Observe facts, orient them to your hierarchy of needs (do I want to murder my best friend -more- than I want to avoid a court marshal, do I want to get promoted more than I want to marry some trollop from the colonies, do I want to.. you get the idea) then decide upon a course of action, then undertake it. Repeat. When your shortcut the loop you end up becoming your own worst enemy. I have it on a plaque now on my desk (yes, I'm sloganising, because I'm rear echelon now, it's what we do, we sloganise and pretend to still be relevant). -Anyway- mend your bridge with this alien, remember I hate -most- of your films too. I particularly hate all the actors in them, with a few exceptions. I particularly hate all the thinly veiled references to Romulans and how they're automatically both villains and incompetents who lose. Especially given how utterly stupid the protagonists are.

I can't quite remember what I was... Oh! Yes, I'm not joining Starfleet. Ever (Caveat: unless Starfleet becomes a branch of the Star Navy following the inevitable conquest and annexation of the Federation by Romulus. It's going to happen, you wait. Inevitable victory. Inevitable. Means it's -definately going to happen. Manifest destiny).

I do have some new pins to go on my dress uniform, which, I should take care of. I'll tell Alfie you wrote (I will naturally tell him you expressed dissapointment he hasn't assassinated anyone yet).

Sara's smile is bright and green eyes peek out over the rim of stylish turquoise shades. Her hair is cut in a drastically different style from the norm, one half of her head trimmed close with blonde locks arranged just so.

Late afternoon sunlight illuminates the cafe she's recording in, the amount of conversational background noise revealing that it's a somewhat popular spot, but classy enough to not be all that rowdy.

She clears her throat and begins to speak.

"Hey e'lev, I'-"

As she speaks, a male voice from near behind rumbles out "Hasta la Vista, Desimone."

A spray of water hits her in the back, visible for a moment before she leans over holds the PADD first over her head, then wedges it between her torso and the table to try and protect it instead of her hair.

Her shriek of surprise is muffled somewhat, though it ends after only a couple of moments.


"Just.. stay there."

Several long, awkward moments pass.

"I'll just.."

Light returns as Sara rises, revealing the extent of the damage to her hair and top, her glasses sitting at an angle over her nose. Her drink seems to have also spilled across her face, and likely the entire table. She turns and moves off in pursuit of the voice. The background noise of the diner has gotten a little quieter - likely quite a few eyes on what just happened.

"Lemme see that."

The voice of her attacker recedes at a fairy brisk pace.

"No." , he says with a nervous chuckle

"Dmitri. C'mere. "C'mon. C'mere. Let me see it real quick."

Though her words suggest an intent to help, her tone suggests otherwise.

"I can fix it."

The rest of their conversation fades beyond the microphone's ability to clearly pick up, though it hones in as best it can. The tones remain much the same, though a sudden flurry of movement ends with a wet squeak and a loud thud. Everything gets -reeeeal- quiet, and a few moments later, there's more speaking, and a loud clatter - almost as though someone landed on her shades and threw them away furiously even as she speaks in conversational tones.

A member of the wait staff has moved briefly into frame, looking a bit cross as she begins to clean up the spill. Sara moves to assist despite a meager protest[/i

"I am -super- sorry."
"Your friend doesn't seem very nice..."
"No no he's...he got hit in the head by a klingon a -lot- two nights ago."

Sara sits down once the spot is cleaned off and quietly orders another drink, then begins fussing with her utterly ruined appearance in the PADD, having switched to mirror mode without halting the recording. Her curled, styled hair hangs in wet strands across her face, makeup smeared after a wet hand rubbed across her face.

As she's fussing a male voice with a Rihannsu accent asks from her left -
"Are you alright?"

Sara glances up, then back at the device. She grumbles
"...shit this thing is still on."
then accidentally must have hit "send" as she deactivated the recorder - either that or the water and/or booze got into something.

Recipient: Cpt. Sara Desimone
Originating: Cdr. Nymas
Re: No subject


Sara, what have you done with your hair...