Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) in Meeting with the XO…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by Commander Garinder’Jen th’Jir (Executive Officer) in Meeting with the XO…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by Civilian Jessa Novar (Child) in Meeting with the XO…when the past doesn’t match the future or the present
Posted by… suppressed (3) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Jen thought for perhaps too long, mulling that over. “My quarters,” he said. “If she is a good soldier she may find it to be comfortable and perhaps familiar. I have a great number of martial symbols present that may make her feel at ease.” He smiled. “Many Andorians have had such complexes. Their dynasties often did not last long; we tend to not suffer the attitude easily.” He did, however, take it into mind to not allow himself to be triggered by this little grand ego of hers.
- Jen, XO
Six hours later
“I don’t see why I need to be here. We both know what your 2ic did. There is no point in me going to see him unless it is to identify him for you,” Jessa stated rounding a corner to the corridor where Jen lived.
“Oh we know who he is but we are pretty sure you don’t,” Jack stated not wanting to fight but not willing to let the XO continue to be cast in a shadow of doubt about his involvement with Jessa. Stopping in front of Jen’s door, Jack reached forward to palm the controls before Jessa stopped him.
“Wait,” she said wrapping her hand around his wrist. “You keep saying this is the 2ic but so did the last guy.
Tell me something about the man so I will know it is him?”
He could see why Jessa was hesitant to accept the XO on word value. The last time she did, it did not work so well for her. “Commander Garinder’Jen th’Jir the XO of the ship,” Jack continued to reiterate who was behind the door, “has a scar on his right calf, right arm, and two on his left side.”
“How,” she said firmly. There was no reason to trust Jack’s answer. He was one of them and yet Jessa had started to trust him, Rinker and to a slightly lesser extent Ian. It was mainly because these three people dominated her waking hours. They also seemed to want nothing from her. With no one else to trust she had decided these were her best options.
“How?” O’Neill’s slightly southern drawl was far more pronounced as he drew out the word. “I don’t know. It’s not like we sit around and point out scars debating about how tough we are. ” Jack got a contemplative look realizing how many times they actually did that when the security staff got drunk enough. Snapping out of his momentary daze he looked down at Jessa. “In some battle where he was not fast enough zagging to the right instead of left but if you go in and behave I am sure he will tell you. I will contact medical and find out exactly when and where and we can compare notes. Agree?”
Nodding, she released Jack’s wrist and palmed the door controls herself. Squaring her shoulders, Jessa waited for the door to open.
The chime rang earlier than Jen had anticipated. Not much mind you but enough that he was not fully prepared. Or was it that he had lost track of time while mentally preparing for this meeting? The Andorian had taken out his pair of chaka and had been using the rhythmic ceremonial training exercise as a way to clear his mind. As it was he had not donned his regulation tunic but was only in a rather non regulation olive ‘army’ tee, short sleeved and fitting. “Come,” he said, more to the door and computer than to anyone who might hear it and heard the instant pneumatic hiss of the door slicing open.
Jessa’s first sight of Jen would be his standing at a table before an open, polished case of dark wood with a deep blue felt like material inside. He was placing a knife like object in it with a second one still on the table. Taking a moment to place the first in a slot in the case Jen turned to face the door. “Guardian Novar, I presume. You may address me as Commander, or, if you prefer, Colonel. Enter.”
- Jen, XO
Jessa stood almost mesmerized in the doorway watching Jen. She was not prepared for this meeting in the least. Instead of the color-coded uniforms all the ship’s crew wore, Jen was in what looked like casual wear. His shirt was comfy looking. His shoes did not have the mirror-like finish everyone seemed to wear. There were weapons in the room. The displaying of ceremonial weapons was not as odd as the fact one knife was lying openly on the table. There was also his greeting. Every person on the ship called her Jessa but this man referred to her by her rank and title. The time between when she entered and how she was processing the situation was a very noticeable pause. Jack’s hand on her back nudged her hard enough forward that Jessa stumbled a step into the room and out of the door.
“I am just gonna hang outside the door,” Jack announced addressing the XO as he hooked a thumb over his shoulder. Jack’s orders were clear and explicit. Do not leave Jessa alone or out of his sight; however, the orders came from the CO and this man so they were the only ones who could refute them. The XO was also a highly decorated combat Marine who could handle anything someone threw at him, especially a twelve-year-old child. The fact Jessa was still able to actively use her armor was a moot point for Jack. Only a commanding presence could convince her not to use it and Commander Garinder’Jen th’Jir was the epitome of a commanding presence.
“Wait what,” Jessa spun around no longer caring about Jen and far more about Jack leaving.
A soldier yes, but still childlike in dependence, Jen thought. That much was similar across most of the races. Pausing in what he was doing, Jen watched. Whatever Jack was doing it was not by accident. But making a child vulnerable was something that could go both ways; it was a forked tunnel in the ice now. Which way would she go, Jen wondered.
This was exactly the reaction Jack had been hoping for. Making Jessa off-balanced was never a good game plan but the fact she was now wanting him at her side gave him leverage. While Jack often played the dumb security officer, he was quite intelligent and paid close attention to what was important. Rinker had stated Jessa was responding nicely to a token-reward system. The psyche department might call it token reward but Jack called it leverage and benefit. “Trust me you are going to be fine. You are used to all this pomp and circumstance so have fun and we will get a cheeseburger after. Be good,” he replied walking backward and closing the door making eye contact with the XO before closing the door.
A cheeseburger. A marine favorite, but then anything a soldier had was typically readily made into a sandwich of some sort when in the field.
Jessa took a second to gather herself before spinning crisply on her heel. So many of the elements from Jessa’s first meeting with the XO and Aimee were the same. The man before he looked and sounded like the one she had been secretly meeting before her escape to the promenade. To be fair, the XO she had been meeting stayed more in the shadows so aside from the complexion and the distinct characteristics of his race, Jessa could only be sure it was him by the facts he could confirm or deny. “Are we alone,” she asked taking a step forward, “Commander Jen th’Jir because I have a question only you can answer.” The man had a huge name so different than everyone else she had met. Jessa had no idea where his first name stopped or his last name began. As it rolled off the tongue it sounded almost like a song. Jessa hoped she broke it up correctly.
Jen took the opportunity to take up the second chaka and place it in its slot in the box then carefully cover it with the felt material. “We are alone,” he said. Should he tell her about Andorian names? Perhaps after. While very clear to Andorians many non Andorians eyes glaze over when one tries to explain it. He tipped his head to one side as he turned toward her. “The Jen th’Jir is a more formal name, spoken more in ceremony or when one’s parent was unhappy with you. Simply Jen suffices.” He said that with a small smile before her question came.
“When Pellan uses my middle name Kari I know there is trouble brewing.” Her comment came out easily enough before a stiffness washed over her body. “Since we are both too old to be reprimanded by our parents and since this is a formal meeting between our two governments Commander will suffice.” Jessa’s voice lacked the confidence and implied authority that came so easily to the senior and command staff. Part of it was her age. Jessa was only about twelve standard years old. The majority of it was that Jessa was given a rank and role which she did not earn making any command she gave sound haughty and arrogant.
Inwardly Jen had hoped perhaps she would have used the Colonel rank. It may have been more familiar to her, but it was what it was. She held her bearing as one trying to take a position beyond her and trying dearly to fill those shoes. He was genuinely surprised at her calling this a formal diplomatic meeting; it seemed another thing that she was trying to do that was beyond her years. He smiled, thinking of his own mothers. “I don’t think we ever outgrow being able to be reprimanded by one’s parents,” he said quietly.
As she walked towards the table and asked her next question. “Where are my people?”
What a curious question. And unexpected. Taking a moment to close the case and snapping it shut he turned to face her. “I don’t know, Guardian Novar,” he said simply. It was a reply such as an officer would make, an admission, but his follow up question was one that had an invitational informality to it. “Tell me about your people.”
Jessa clenched her jaw slightly and her eyes narrowed slightly as she spoke. “This is not a game Jen th’Jir.” She purposely used his full name hoping it would come off as a reprimand as he stated it would. “I am not triffing here to mince words or …or… or talk in circles.” Jessa’s posture showed a trained rigidness that was learned much like a first-year cadet at the academy. Her stuttered speech betrayed her youth letting her emotions run ramshod over intelligent conversation. “I asked you first,” she wrinkled her nose up in a very teen-like expression of irritation as she crossed her arms over her chest.
She reminded him of his own son at that age trying so hard to be older yet the awkwardness of youth that was not yet smoothed over with experience betraying him. He lowered himself to a knee to come more to her level. “No, Guardian, this is not a game, but we both are caught up in events that require us each to work to get through.”
As he knelt in front of her Jessa wore a shocked expression as if he had just pulled a rabbit out of a hat. It was not uncommon for people to bend their knee in praise of Elders however, their heads were much lower and they never spoke. It was apparent this Jen was not capitulating or swearing fealty and yet that is all Jessa had ranted about for a week as in what she wanted from the crew. Looking into Jen’s eyes, which were now level with hers, they had a softer, gentler feel much like when Pellan or even Ian came down to her level to comfort her. Immediately she wanted to thank him. Not because he was kneeling but for the gesture of trying to make her feel safe in his presence. The more she thought about Jen’s kneeling the more Jessa felt an irrational reaction to it. The man she met in the shadows before the attack on the promenade was cold and distant. This man was the polar opposite. Was it another trick by the crew, the Federation, or both?
Not wanting to make another connection with someone on this crew she would ultimately have to protect, Jessa dropped to her knees before Jen. The effect did not achieve what she wanted. Inside Jessa suddenly felt stupid. Now they were both on their knees and she now staring at the man’s chest. The effect did not make her feel more powerful or in control. How diplomats knew when to bend, shake, or bow in a greeting was far beyond her experience. Without someone to follow Jessa was going with her gut and failing miserably. Two seconds after kneeling before Jen, Jessa stood up again letting out an annoyed grunt and eye roll. “Ugh,” she snapped, angry at herself for looking like an idiot instead of someone exuding authority. There was no way Jessa was going to tell Jen to stand because if he didn’t there was no way she could haul him to his feet to make him comply.
Moving away from him, she put the table between them so that Jen would have to stand up to see her. The distance between her and Jen helped Jessa not see him as a person but as an equal or more accurately her equal.
Wordlessly Jen watched her in her ceremonial awkwardness, stunned by his action then not knowing what to do with it so reverting to formality. As a shield? Or out of not knowing how to react? Perhaps the latter as she moved off after her ‘moment’ of childlike awkwardness. So it was with every young one trying to find their way and what was right and what wasn’t. Slowly he rose to meet her across the table.
“What do you want me to tell you …that Rogan is six foot two with eyes of blue or Zala Tsu is moody but gorgeous. You know that,” her voice went up a few octaves that could only be hit by a teen girl. “We both know you took her and I just need to know where and when you plan to reunite us. I have held your secret and your gift to me. I held up my end of our agreement so I don’t need to tell you about my people. You can ask them anything you want. Just get me off this ship and back to them.”
The soldier facade was cracking and his mind worked to retain all that she had said. There was a great deal in that simple statement of hers. She had been played and the young girl in her was coming out through the cracks, not just in leaks but in spouts. He listened to her closely. Whoever this alter ego of himself was he hoped to present enough of a different picture of himself to show himself different.
Jessa leaned forward resting her palms on the table between them however the gesture was more pathetic than aggressive. Her eyes darted back and forth between his desperate to know why he was not beaming her off the ship now like he had promised in Aimee’s quarters. If she was more mature or seasoned in the role she purported she had, Jessa would have seen his question might not be a ploy to taunt her but a genuine question to get to know her. “Please…help me…Jen.”
“I want to help you, Jessa, and will do everything I can to solve this. Andorians are creatures of honor.” He touched the case that held the chakas.
Her eyes followed his gesture soaking in every word. Her hostility was bubbling under the surface but also was her desperate desire for answers. With all of Jen’s experience and wisdom, he would easily see she was teetering on the edge of her emotions.
“These were once simple tools and became a symbol of our honor. When that was crossed, duels ensued. Hear me. My honor has been trampled on by this other who says he is me. I will not stop until that is cleared.”
Confusion washed over Jessa’s face. Her brow wrinkled indicating her mind was processing what he was saying. She opened her mouth to refute his statement but hesitated. Evrilla was of his race. She might not have been around the past few days but Jessa trusted her so she held her tongue waiting for Jen to finish.
He paused. “You have been honorable, Guardian Novar, and your honor too has been impugned. That angers me. Not toward you but to that other.” He paused again. “What were you gifted with?” He could possibly have gone off track here. Jessa was emotional, under stress and he was appealing to his own honor when, in an emotional state, that could simply not have been received. Still, he was angry. What did that alter him even want from her and her people?
“My honor is just fine,” she snapped. “You speak of honor but you also command this ship and have only met me in secret. Why did you hide and not come to meet us? You allowed your men to kill DaMu because you were too afraid to even hear the knowledge he could impart but encouraged me to escape.” Jessa was smart enough not to include any of the other Elders. Trying to play that Rogan or Zala were innocent bystanders did not work with Rinker and Jessa was not going to make that mistake again.
Jen frowned, more to himself but some likely came out. As a soldier and officer who had come up the ranks he knew he could keep an impassive face when warranted. Here he was trying to take in what she was saying and what it meant. Again she was going back to thinking of him as the other when he thought he was getting it through to her that he was not that person. He had not been aware apart from the report of the deaths. They were flagrantly unnecessary to him in any universe.
“You met me in the shadows only until right now.” The slightly begging stance Jessa had radically changed. Her shoulders became more tense and her spine ramrod straight. “You talk about honor but what about learning?” Slipping into her mantra, Jessa felt a sense of control and peace as her voice took on the sing-song tone. “Learning begins the second you draw your first breath and continues until the flames consume your body. So don’t learn as if this is your last hour. Learn so that your last hour is filled with understanding. That is why I will not impart the truth to you. You will just forget without having struggled and sacrificed for that knowledge.”
Her language and tone was pleasant and as he listened he found it nice, but more rote learning repeated back to him. What she ‘learned’ there was fine to know but it was only a step. “Knowledge is just that. Wisdom, or understanding as you say, comes through the struggles of life. Truth slides through the found wisdom like oozing through cracks in the ice. To live is to learn. To understand is a gift. It is not given.” He said that not so much to ‘teach’ her but to say back that he understood and in a tone that he hoped she would grasp as paternal.
Reaching into her pocket, under the oversized sweatshirt, Jessa pulled out the phaser she had been given in Aimee’s suite by who she thought was the XO. It was obvious Jessa had no idea how the weapon worked by the way she was holding it and flopping it about in her hand. She wasn’t necessarily pointing it at him but waving it about as she talked. “You talk about honor so why have you made me lie about this?”
His tone changed to a serious note, even as his eyes flickered along the path of the phaser. “I was not here, Guardian Jessa. My old rank was Colonel. I was a marine in a Starfleet forward division commanding many men. I was taken from there and placed upon a Starship. Not this one. This one is my second. My rank was changed as was my profession, moving from bunkers and trenches to space bound ships. You spoke of learning. I had need to learn to do my job better. I was at a conference through all of this learning better to do my job. I am not a being of secrets. I do not move in the shadows of lies Through all of this I was not here.” His eyes tried gauging her motions with the phaser to find a pattern. When he felt he had it his hand moved to cover it just enough to halt her wild waving. “Jessa, I’m very sorry to hear of the loss of DaMu. Who was he to you?”
OCC: I will run with any reason you give if you give any about why Jessa sees Jen as an absent XO. I think I set it up that you were sequestered in a meeting to keep you out of the way like I did with Ian but we do not need to keep that if you have a better idea. ~ Kate
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