Part of SS Vondem Rose: Jailhouse Rock and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Jailhouse Rock – 2

SS Vondem Rose
November 2400
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The ready room, her office, was a far, far cry from the original Klingon design. It was no longer a harsh, spartan retreat for a command to brood in, to plot their next battle alone or with a select few. It was now a tastefully appointed space with clear design choices of two separate individuals.

Sidda had opted first of all to remove the original battle plate desk, letting her engineers recycle it for hull repairs at some point. Instead, she’d opted for a much lower desk and large pillows on the floor, ones with slight backs built into them. You could take the girl out of Orion, but not the Orion out of the girl and that opulence was now within her ability to reach out and grasp.

Of course, she’d wanted to go with a nice rich-coloured wooden desk but Revin had stepped in, opting for a dark verging on black wood chosen purely for its smooth texture. If she closed her eyes she could feel Revin’s point, but amongst the colour she’d assembled, it stood out, drawing attention to it.

A window had even been cut into the hull recently, giving a view of the outside universe. Lighting had been turned up, but instead of bringing light on harsh bare metal walls, they’d been hidden by tasteful silk drapings or sound-absorbing panels to make the space more colourful, warmer and less echoey.

A few concessions had been left if changed. The original Klingon display monitor on the wall had been replaced when it had been damaged during the operation to install her window. It had been replaced by a larger display they had procured in a Federation shipyard. A screen was a screen after all and she’d changed the UI to what was her brand-shade of purple. A computer terminal, the best civilian grade she could source, sat on her desk, but it had a convenient little hideaway under the desk when she wanted to put it out of sight. 

And a replicator, brand new top of the line, sat where the old Klingon one would have been and vastly, vastly more capable than its predecessor. She had to admit the Klingon preference for real, fresh food was much appreciated and continued with the galley, but occasionally you wanted a nice drink or a quick snack.

And so it was in this space that Sidda sat her cup of tea down on the desk, careful to use one of the coasters that Revin had informed her on pain of death to use, then circled the desk to her side of it and sat herself down cross-legged on her customer floor pillow.

“Computer, call the Wicked Witch,” she said after drawing in a breath, her words with an element of resignation to them.

“Working,” came the response, once more in that gruff male Klingon tone. No matter how much they tried, no matter if they did it themselves or had an expert sort it out for them, the ship’s computer occasionally reverted back to that voice set. She’d resigned herself to accepting it as just another quirk of the ship. R’tin she knew took it as a personal insult from the hardware he was determined to solve, while his sister had apparently settled for deciding the ship clearly hadn’t decided what it was just yet and was still working through a few things.

“After all, it was made one way, we’re trying to make it into something else,” T’Ael had said once in a meeting discussing the issue. “We’re the ones at fault here.”

“It’s a ship!” R’tin had argued back. “It does as we tell it.”

She had pointedly not taken a position, opting to let her engineers solve the matter and just be thankful her ship was dependable, save for changing its voice from time to time and that one door on deck four that had seemingly developed a taste for sentient flesh.

“Working,” the computer repeated as a series of logos popped up on the screen in a short series. Connecting to the Federation subspace network, being routed around from one area to another, then interfacing with Starfleet’s systems closer to its destination, bridging the gap between civil and Starfleet networks, before finally displaying in nice bold lettering across the middle of the screen ‘USS Sunshine Coast – Connecting…’

And there it sat for nearly two minutes, which wasn’t surprising at all. She’d called her mother with no attempt at subterfuge this time, so the call was most certainly being screened. Conversations finished, privacy sought, likely a fortifying moment taken before the call was finally accepted.

Compared to the opulence of her own ready room, her mother’s was downright austere. Draconian. The epitome of a professional officer. Save she noted for a single piece of artwork in a small frame on the table behind her mother and then a series of trinkets, likely gifts and mementoes from across her career. The artwork was the product of a child, a few figures in green, one with a splash of red, with what could charitably be called a starship hanging overhead.

“You kept it,” Sidda said with a slight point of her chin to get her mother to look over her shoulder in the right direction.

“Of course,” Tisa Sadovu said as she turned back to the screen. “You were so determined to follow me back then.”

“People change,” Sidda said.

“Not as much as you think,” Tisa said. “I read an interesting report recently about the breakup of a pirate network near the Paulson Nebula. Your name showed up in it. And again as a footnote on a report out of the Romulan Republic.”

“So? Just taking out the competition.”

“You aren’t a pirate Sidda.” Tisa’s tone was matter-of-fact.

“Am too.”

“As you want.”

There was a moment of silence as both women stared at each other, then a false start as both tried to talk before Sidda surrendered the start to her mother. Whose eyebrows furrowed for a moment, before she spoke. “There’s barely any delay on this call. Where are you?”

“Starbase 38,” Sidda supplied. “About to head to the Delta Quadrant, which is why I called actually. Over your side of the Federation, about to head off on a dangerous adventure, figured I’d call you.”

“More so than knocking over pirates and petty Romulan tyrants?” Tisa asked.

“Don’t forget D’Ghor murderers and small-time pirate queens.”

“Oh, how could I,” Tisa said dismissively.

“My friend is missing, and could be in serious trouble, so I’m going to rescue his ass from whatever fire he’s got himself into.”

“I’m hearing some interesting developments out of the DQ Sidda. I…I want you to take care of yourself.” And for once Tisa did sound worried while talking to her daughter.

“I’m sorry for the last call,” Sidda said. “I was angry at the D’Ghor butchers and took it out on you.”

“You’ve always been rather…passionate.” Tisa sighed, then rubbed at the bridge of her nose briefly. “You would have made an excellent captain you know. Determined to do the right thing, protect those that need protecting.”

“I wouldn’t have made it past lieutenant,” Sidda said. She hadn’t told her mother, or anyone outside of her own ship about the encounter with that Other Sidda, the one who had made it to captain, who had entered Starfleet and done all the things her mother had wanted of her. “Too many dumb and stupid rules.”

“I blame your father,” Tisa remarked. “I should have been there for you instead of focusing on my career. And then when I met Gavin I really should have taken you in.”

“How is Gavin by the way?” Sidda asked.

“You have never, ever asked about your stepfather. Who are you and what have you done with my rebenok?”

“I’m her evil twin from a parallel reality trying to lull you into a false sense of security and into revealing Starfleet’s grandest secrets. Is it working?” She stroked a non-existent beard and tried to give her best overly dramatic villain look at her mother.

“Not funny,” Tisa said in a way that got Sidda’s attention. A way that said such things weren’t to be joked about. “Gavin’s good. He’s currently on a book signing tour actually but we’re due to have a holiday together in a few months together.” There was an awkward pause before the older Sadovu continued. “Maybe you could come and visit?”

“Last time we met Gavin and I had a screaming match.” Sidda shrugged. “But I’ll think about it. Even try to be nice. Heck, I promise I won’t even bring a weapon this time.”

There was silence again, the conversation running low as two people unused to talking to each other tried their best, before Tisa squinted, then leaned forward to look at a specific detail on her screen, so Sidda stayed still to let her mother do so. “Necklace,” she stated. “Let me see it.”

Sidda smiled, truly, happily smiled like a giddy child, then did as her mother commanded, reaching up to pull the chain out from under her shirt where she kept it most of the time. A Klingon ship had a lot more things for chains to catch on and she didn’t want to risk it. It wasn’t a terribly fancy chain, but the gold, silver and rose gold braided ring she kept on it was. A single purple gemstone and a corresponding emerald were the only stones on the ring, set into the silver band and cut to fit into each other on a tiny scale that hinted at either true mastery or machined practice.

“That Romulan woman of yours?” Tisa asked. “Revi or something?”

“Revin,” Sidda corrected. “And yes. We’ve been engaged for a while now actually. She only bought me this recently since I went about getting her a nice ring she insists I hold for a wedding.” She held the necklace to the camera, then changed to holding the ring specifically to let her mother see it properly. “It pales in comparison to the Ring of Chula, but I like it.”

Tisa had sat forward to get a better look, then sat back after a few moments, both women relaxing into their seats. “Did you say the Ring of Chula? Isn’t that a ring from one of those stories your father told you growing  up?”

“Maybe? But it’s real and I’ve got it.” She went about producing the ring box from a wall safe and showing the piece off to her mother before putting it away. “But don’t worry, we’re not in some fool rush. We’re happy as is.”

“Your father is going to insist on some over-the-top affair when you do get married.”

“He’s a wealthy Orion merchant, of course he will. He’ll want to show off, show how his progeny is doing, how well he’s doing by being able to afford such a gala event,” Sidda rolled her eyes and leaned back into her pillow. “You know he still keeps your name by the way.”

“And he still swears by Orion law that we’re still together,” Tisa muttered. “I was a young idiot.”

“No argument here.” Sidda answered her mother’s glare with a smirk. “Look, I…I called because, well…”

“You don’t know if you’ll be coming back,” Tisa finished for her daughter. “But you’ve always come back. So, just do whatever you’ve done all those other times again. I don’t agree with all of your life choices rebenok, but they seem to work out for you.”

“You just want me to come back so you can yell at me for being an idiot and nearly getting myself killed properly don’t you?”

“And you can then yell at me, call me an old woman and kill the line before I make my point.”

Both mother and daughter had a short laugh at that, then silence lingered for a moment. “When I get back, I want you to meet Revin properly.”

“Not as some piece of eye candy draped across my daughter’s lap?” Tisa asked. “Just because I’m married and just because you think I’m an old woman, which I’m not thank you, doesn’t mean I don’t recognise a beautiful woman.”

“Mother!”

“Oh shut up,” Tisa snapped. “But yes, I’d like that.” Again silence settled over the line for a brief moment. “Captain Sidda,” she said, addressing her daughter as she knew she preferred, “I wish you fair skies, safe travels and bountiful loot.”

“Thank you, mother. Love you.”

“Love you too.”

They both lingered a moment more before Sidda closed the channel down. She stared at the blank screen for a moment, wanting to call her mother back, talk for hours, maybe rebuild some bridges she’d burnt while standing on them, but then stopped herself. Slow and careful reproachment was probably best. Her cup of tea was reclaimed and sipped at, and then she tapped one of the controls on the computer and waited for the ready room door to fully open before she spoke.

“I didn’t start a fight this time,” she said to the hallway outside.

Revin slinked around the door frame, tapping the key to close the door behind her as she stepped in, then settled herself down on one of the pillows opposite Sidda. “Holiday with your mother after we return?” she asked.

“I swear your hearing is far, far too good,” Sidda said, hiding her face behind her cup for a moment. “Big step, meeting the mother.”

“Especially since she is the matriarch of your family,” Revin supplied. “Orelia told me. An absent matriarch, but one nonetheless.” She smiled, lifting her chin and playing at a regal bearing. “I shall deign to meet the mother of the woman who so brazenly proposed her hand to me.”

“Careful princess,” Sidda chided, “you might just find what us commoners do to the nobility when we get our filthy hands on them.”

“Promises, promises,” Revin said back with a brief waggle of her eyebrows, then slowly stood and circled around, holding her hand out to Sidda. “Come along. I want your opinion on some cakes I made since Kevak isn’t a fan of fluffy and sweet things.”

“Cream icing?” Sidda asked, letting herself be pulled to her feet and standing still for a quick peck on the cheek from her love.

“Later,” Revin answered.

“Oh the trials you put me through,” Sidda said, then finished her tea in a large gulp and placed the cup for recycling. “I also need to see where’s good for holidaying over these parts for when we get back.”

“Risa? Casperia? What about…”

Comments

  • Oh no. This one sat in the pit of my stomach. Not what I expected from a campaign about dastardly dilithium. I could feddddel every little pregnant pause between Sidda and her mother. I could feel the sting as they overtalked each other or scratched at each other without meaning to. This one felt like a really real complicated relationship, and I loved the moments where the love shone through with conviction, like the line "You've always come back." I was all aflutter at Tisa's desire to meet Revin properly, and Sidda's desire to call her mother back, even though she chose not too. And wow, I think I missed the origin story, but you got me with the Ring of Chula Schrödinger's catting between being real and possibly only from a story her father told her growing up.

    November 4, 2022
  • Loving Sidda's office. Cosy and fitting for her, and an excellent setup for the contrast with her mother's ready room. I enjoy the Freeman/Mariner vibes off Sidda and Tisa, though of course these have a far more serious edge and their differences are much more difficult to overcome (though the hints at their similarities are also great and compelling). It's a great conversation where they're both right: Sidda is better than she pretends to be, but Starfleet isn't the only way to make a difference in the universe, and Sidda's way isn't Starfleet's way. Good stuff!

    November 8, 2022
  • Okay, I am loving this side of Sidda. This really brought a nice change of pace and tone for her as a character, daughter and fiancée. Though it was lovely, on some level, I felt in places; it was a bit dark as Sidda shared her worries and concerns for the mission ahead of her. It's almost like she's preparing that this could be her last chance to speak to her mother, and she must get her house in order. I truly hope she does get the opportunity to mend the fence further between her and her mother (as well as her stepfather) so that Revin can meet her 'in-laws' before the big day! Furthermore, I love how much Revin was involved in decorating Sidda's ready room. Making a Klingon ship feel cosy is one hell of a test!

    November 13, 2022