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What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail?

Posted on Jun 22, 2017 @ 4:23am by Marie-Claire Martine & Xana Bonviva
Edited on on Jun 22, 2017 @ 4:24am

Mission: Aftermath

"What Would You Do If You Knew You Couldn't Fail?"
(Continued from Shawn's "Barton's Bourbon")

=/\=

"Holding on is believing that there’s a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future."
-Daphne Rose Kingma

=/\=
Location: VULCAN
Scene: MIMERA’S PUB

So what if it was early in the morning? An early morning drink never killed anyone. Okay it probably *had* killed someone somewhere but if two women had cause to go drinking at 1036 on VULCAN in a seedy pub then it was Xana Bonviva and Marie-Claire Martine.

Where else would you go if you saw your career go down the metaphorical drain due to an ineffectual, egotistical SOB who had delusions of grandeur but wouldn’t listen to advice?

“Look I feel ya, I do,” the female Ferengi proprietor of the establishment nodded. “Why do you think I had to leave FERENGINAR?”

“Hit me again, Mimera,” Xana muttered into the palm of her hand. As the milky liquid slurped into the tall glass the azure woman sighed. Who knows what was in these drinks? Did she care? No she did not, she just wanted more to make her forget her life.

“We’re so screwed,” Marie-Claire announced in her no-nonsense way.

Xana glanced at her friend as she sipped the Starduster. “I have it worse. You have Gideon, at least when this is over there’s some fun at the end of the day.”

“You have your children,” M-C pointed out, knowing that the recent divorce, while not unexpected, was a sore topic for the Chief of Staff. Looking around she asked, “Where is Ben? Not that I don’t like him but this isn’t uh-appropriate for him.”

“Even halfway to drunk I knew that,” Xana sighed. “I had a sitter pick him up.” Setting down the glass she muttered, “So where do unemployed yet overqualified women go, M-C?”

The Canadian woman looked over. “You think Karimi is going to give us the boot?”

Xana made a face at that. “No. But I think honestly our careers are done. I mean am I wrong?”

“No, where else can we go,” Martine sighed as she tapped her own glass for a refill. Watching Mimera fill up her own glass she asked. “Will you stay on VULCAN?”

“I don’t know,” Xana sighed. Hearing a glass crash behind them, the two women swiveled around on their bar stools to see a long lean Human/Bajoran teenager standing there in a short white tank-top, red mini-skirt and black go-go boots, her long blonde hair swinging down her back. She looked like a carbon copy of her biological mother except for the Bajoran nose. “Erika,” Xana whispered.

Mimera came over as the glass crashed. “Jezka! You need to clean this up. And this glass is coming out of your paycheck!”

“Of course,” Erika/Jezka nodded as she scurried off.

Xana picked up her glass, slid off the chair with as much grace as possible in a dimly lit bar that hadn’t had a floor cleaned in a decade and when a sick woman who had already downed two or three or five Ferengi Stardusters and with all the dignity she could muster gesture to a nearby booth. “I’m going to sit down over there,” she announced to the bar overall. A few moments later M-C followed, and by virtue of tolerance and less drinks, made it over quicker and steadier.

The Senior Advisor leaned in and asked, “Wasn’t that your--”

“Yes,” Xana said cutting her off quietly.

“But Mimera called her a different name,” M-C pointed out.

“And I thought she worked at a different place,” the azure woman replied. “We both may be wrong.” As the teenager came over, Xana asked, “I apologize but if you wouldn’t mind giving me a moment…?”

M-C nodded as she slid out of the booth. “I feel the need to...go to the restroom.”

Erika shook her head at that. “I wouldn’t,” she whispered, “unless you really have to.”

“Oh,” M-C sighed as she wrinkled her nose. “Ok, I’ll find a place to make a call. Or paint my nails...or something.”

Xana mouthed the words “Thank you” as M-C left then turned to Erika. “So,” she said. When Erika just sat there she asked, “Do we really need to have this conversation?”

“You knew I had a job,” Erika pointed out.

“I thought it was in the city center at a reputable restaurant. Under your own name. Then again Mimera thinks your name is Jezka. Did I hear that right?” When Erika nodded, Xana sighed and waved her arms, “Am I doing all the talking?”

“You’re good at it,” Erika smiled sweetly.

Xana waggled a finger at it. “Don’t.”

The teenager gave a glare. “It used to work.” Sighing she muttered, “It still works for Ben.”

“Ben is 7. You’re 17.”

A veil seemed to drop from Erika’s face, and seemingly was *older*. “What do you want from me? I’m not a kid anymore,” she gripped.

The combination of the Human/Bajoran teenager looking and sounding older, or perhaps Xana acknowledging silently, was a startling, sobering effect. Erika at 17, had outlived 2 siblings, 2 parents and 3 grandparents; lived in multiple dimensions and quadrants; she had seen outside her bedroom the kind of horrors that Counselors spent decades helping people learn to live with, not grow up with. Perhaps it was a blessing that Erika wasn’t a kid anymore -- no one should have to live with that kind of childhood.

Xana had been a co-parent, or as Daisy once put it, “the back-up plan for when I go in jail again”. And yet here she was trying to shepherd the final leg of adolescence into adulthood; transition from being Erika’s advisor to cheerleader. It sounded lovely but it was hard as all 99 hells in reality.

“No you’re not a kid anymore,” Xana agreed. Ignoring the shock on Erika’s face she asked, “And is this what you really want? And don’t tell me go-go dancer cause we both know that’s a lie. You can be anything you want. You don’t want Starfleet, fine. But this isn’t it and neither is that asinine plan you gave me. I’m not leaving here until we have it sorted.”

Erika looked down at the table, her long blonde hair framing her apple cheeks. “I don’t want to stay here but I like the paychecks.”

“You like that you’re ¾ of the way to a sandcruiser,” Xana sighed, trying not to wince at her poor pilot of a daughter not getting into accident on the first day she got a sand cruiser. “Keep going.”

Erika frowned as she thought through what she wanted. “I just like making up names...and being other people.” Looking up she said, “That’s why I’m Jezka here.”

“It’s not just a name for you, is it?” Xana asked softly.

Erika’s lovely face lit up. “No I have a whole background for her,” she explained, going into depth about who she thought “Jezka” really was. After sometime Erika finally said, “I like acting...that’s what I’m doing here.”

“Yeah I figured,” Xana sighed. Rubbing her face she said, “So finish up school and then we’ll figure out some drama school--”

“There’s one on RISA!” Erika said excitedly.

“There are lots,” the azure woman said with her eyes raised to the ceiling praying silently for patience.

Erika was quiet for a moment. “Most actors don’t make it. I won’t make any credits. No one will ever see me perform.”

Xana ran a finger along the rim of her glass. “Yes, you’re right most likely. But Erika? Isn’t it better to take the chance and fail? Than staying here?”

The Human/Bajoran teenager twisted her lips in thought at that. “I think so.” Looking over she asked, “But what if I really fail? Where will I go?”

The azure woman leaned in with a soft smile, “You may not know this but I was your mother’s back up plan for you and Gavi. She was sure she’d be fine but I was the “just in case” plan things didn’t work out with her retirement.” There was a brief moment where both their minds drifted to the vivacious Human woman who was gone from their lives. “I would be honored if you considered me your “just in case” plan if someday it doesn’t work out. You’re always welcome home.”

Erika rolled her eyes at that as she smiled, “Prophets, let’s hope I don’t get that desperate to come home!”

“Gods forbid!” Xana grinned.

As Xana picked up her Starduster to finally take a drink, Erika gave her a piercing look. “I overheard you and your friend. So...what would you do?” When the azure woman lowered her glass the teenager continued on, “Ya know like you asked me. What would do you if you couldn’t fail? You might as well consider that now.”

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Sofia Andersson, MD - aCMO - USS PHOENIX
SUBJECT: Upcoming Questions/Next Visit
ATTACHMENT: TRACKING
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Hello Dr. Andersson!

Hope this finds you well. Apologies that this message has been delayed. I wanted to reach out to you since I last saw you. I have been keeping a diary, per your instructions, and it’s been beneficial in tracking. However, that’s not my only reason for reaching out. I am about to broaden my already public profile to be even more public. I wanted to know if you had any success with the inquiries you were making last time I visited.

Cheers,

XB

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Amanda Lane/FedComm
SUBJECT: Upcoming Meditation
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Amanda -

I will be on the road over the next few weeks but we should discuss meditation next time we’re both in town. Our last session was beneficial but we still have far to go.

Please let me know what works for you.

Xana Bonviva

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Greetings and Salutations Yalar -

I’m sure you’ve been tracking the Federation Council, and since Councilman Drass’ unfortunate and too sudden death, BOLARUS IX has not been represented on the Federation Council. It’s clear that the Federation Council is lacking BOLARUS IX’s leadership.

By the Nine,

Xana Bonviva

=/\=
FROM: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
TO: Xana Bonviva
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Greetings and Salutations Xana,

Of course this office has been tracking the Federation Council and we always note when one of ours has an interest in how BOLARUS IX is being represented. I take it from your outreach that you have a suggestion?

By the Nine,

Yalar

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
ATTACHMENT: XANA BONVIVA CV
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Yalar -

I do; please see attached.

XB

=/\=
FROM: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
TO: Xana Bonviva
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Xana -

There is an old saying, “One cannot serve two gods at once.” Bad saying -- you’re one of the Avatars. But I think you get the point.

Yalar

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Yalar -

I get the point. That conflict will be resolved soon.

Additionally, I’d like to remind you that when it came to resolving conflicts, I was a true Bolian when the time came.

XB

=/\=
FROM: Yalar Traras/Office of the President - BOLARUS IX - Chief of Staff
TO: Xana Bonviva
SUBJECT: Upcoming Appointment for Federation Council
MESSAGE TYPE: ENCRYPTED/SECURE

Xana -

Noted, and while that goes a long way with this administration, I can’t say how far that will go with the *people* of the planet. So I would be prepared between any questions.

Yalar

=/\=
FROM: Xana Bonviva
TO: Marie-Claire Martine
CC: Leitas Sh’zhilil; Gideon Bosley
SUBJECT: Change in Staff

Team -

I will keep this brief. Effective immediately, Marie-Claire Martine will be acting Chief of Staff for the foreseeable future until a permanent replacement can be made. Knowing you all as I do, I expect you will give her nothing but your best. I realize the stress this will put upon all of you as you struggle to do 2 jobs but I have every faith in your abilities as you serve the people of EARTH.

Know that while I may not be in this office, wherever I go, my heart will be cheering for your every success because you all work for the Federation’s continued prosperity and growth.

All the best,

Xana Bonviva

=/\=

Scene: Xana’s Office
TI: Early evening

Despite the twinges of neuropathy had had become her reality, Xana was handling packing her belongings with relative ease. It could have waited until morning, but *she* couldn’t. Her body was still on Vulcan, but her mind was already light years away. It was the first time in months that she felt truly like herself, that her decision had tied into the most important and real parts of her being. The fears that had controlled her were ebbing away, replaced with anticipation.

A PADD clattered on the round table in the far corner, where they did in-service meetings and brainstorming. Xana looked up and into the haggard face of Marie-Claire Martine. “This is bullshit,” the older woman said harshly.

Xana Bonviva chose to overlook the outburst. “How did you know I’d be here?”

The Canadienne shook her head. “I didn’t. I went to your place first and Erika let me know where you were. I don’t know what happened today, but she looked much happier than when I saw her this morning.” Martine cast a side eye at the letter Xana had issued. “I don’t suppose I can change your mind.”

“No, I’m sorry.” She set the pictures of Ben’s “cooties” in the top of one of the boxes and smiled in spite of the circumstances.

M-C took an angry breath. “Can I ask que se passe-t-il, as in what the *hell* happened since I last spoke to you? Or is it 99 hells?”

Xana smirked at the hackneyed Bolian reference, then walked around the desk and sat at the table. Martine mirrored her movements and sat beside her. “Someone asked me a question, and after careful thought and consideration, this was the answer.”

“Quitting was the answer? If there is anything I know about you, it’s that you don’t quit. Although I’m earnestly questioning that I ever knew you at all.”

Xana sighed. “Your instincts are fine and intact, Marie-Claire. This was... different.”

“I know the failure yesterday was a hard and bitter one. But you shouldn’t be using that as an excuse to run away.” The pain was clear in her voice.

“To pursue a new opportunity, it was necessary to let this one go. It wasn’t personal, I assure you. And I’m not running away.”

“Were you even going to say good-bye in a proper way, or merely go out the back door, leaving us only with a typed message?” M-C looked at the PADD she had tried to abuse against the tabletop.

“That’s why I’m here now,” The soon-to-be former Chief of Staff tried to explain. “I didn’t want anything to get in the way of spending time together tomorrow morning before I left.”

“Does he know?” Martine asked.

Xana shook her head. “I don’t think so, at least not until I tell him tomorrow. I doubt he’s checking in with Federation business at this hour. He’s probably watching the vid or in bed. Or doing whatever it is that men who don’t care about equal rights do on a Wednesday night.”

Martine winced, not because she was surprised at what the azure woman said, but the fact that it was probably true. “What are we supposed to do about him?”

“The usual and customary. Keep suggesting moral goals and unifying bills.”

“But do you think he will ever listen or agree with that?”

“Maybe he can be worn down with persistence. I just don’t have any left to give him.”

“And you think we do? With one person gone?”

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other elected official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”

“That’s an old one- who said that?”

“Theodore Roosevelt, a President of long ago America.”

“Wish he was around now. He’d probably punch Karimi right in the face.”

“No, he wouldn’t. He’d focus on the country, the constituents, all the others that speak for the world when it’s obvious to many that Hussein Karimi does not. You do not work for the Councilman, yes you have to work *with* him as difficult as that is, but really-”

Marie-Claire crossed her arms, still pissed off. “I get it. We work for EARTH, not Karimi. But really, if I were to be honest, I worked for you.”

“Thank you,” Xana murmured.

“What are you going to be doing?” The older woman asked as innocently as a lion hunched over its prey.

“Nothing too far from the beaten path, but none of it’s secure at the moment. When it is, the whole Federation’s going to know about it.”

“No place for a faithful assistant who drinks with you in the morning and enjoys your cursing in Italian?”

Xana clasped her hand over Martine’s. “Your place is here, trust me. You’ve followed me farther than most people dared to, and I appreciate that more than I can say. But this is a risk I don’t want to expose the people I care about to. Not right now.”

“I understand,” Marie-Claire responded, her tone suggesting that she most certainly did not, and carefully rose from the table. “Breakfast tomorrow then?” she asked softly.

Xana nodded, a lump in her throat. “Coffee and mimosas. My treat.”


=/\=

Scene: Karimi’s Office
TI: Next day

Hussein Karimi wasn’t due down at the Council to gavel it in for approximately an hour. That gave him just enough time to enjoy his coffee in silence, perhaps catch up on some light news before the inevitable drain of having to work caught up to him.

Suddenly the side doors opened up with a *woosh* and Xana Bonviva walked in, dressed smartly in a white pantsuit, her white hair swept up in a chignon. Walking over to the desk she stood before it and handed over the first of two PADDs in her hand. “I wanted to make you aware of a personnel change I made this morning,” she said without preamble.

Karimi never looked up from his newsreport. Most of the morning analysis was divided on the “Ensuring Inalienable Rights are Extended to All” Bill failing in the Council but quite a few had taken note with EARTH not voting for its own bill. Frowning at the obvious incompetence of the biased media, the Terran Councilman said without looking up, “You know you can make whatever changes you need to for staff.”

“I made Marie-Claire Martine acting Chief of Staff until you have the time to find a permanent replacement,” Xana continued on.


*That* got Karimi’s attention. Looking up he said, “*You* are my Chief of Staff.”

Passing over the second PADD Xana said, “Here is my resignation effective as of last night. I wanted to deliver in person but I made sure it was filed with the Federation Council last night in accordance with the Council directives.”

The dark-eyed Terran man paused for a moment, realizing that there was something he was unaware of but it was great significance he said, “Why would you have to notify them and on such a schedule? There are very few reasons why you’d have to do that.”

Xana Bonviva smiled at that. “In a few hours the Bolian government will be announcing their new appointment to the Federation Council; they could not allow the appointment go unfulfilled any more and moved to have an emergency appointment.”

Karimi, caught unaware by the shift, leaned in. “You’re going to assist the new appointment?”

The azure woman leaned in at that. “Oh no. *I* am the new appointment.”

When Karimi said nothing else, Xana spun on her toe and began to walk across the office.

“They’ll never accept you.”

Xana paused at the door when the words hit her.

“You have hair. Your bifurcated ridge is gone. You lived on EARTH for too long. You aren’t even elected.” The ugly words were flung out at her, a combination of old Bolian slurs and a preview of what to expect once news came out that she was appointed to the Council. There was a long pause before he continued on, “This is a quixotic quest because you’re angry about yesterday. It’s doomed to fail like everything else you’ve done.”

The azure woman turned around and looked at the Terran man standing there, using a desk as protection. “Some of that is true. But I’m also the woman who rebuilt the Gamma Quadrant after a war and who as a Federation Diplomat negotiated peace with the Dominion. I was a Federation Ambassador who negotiated more deals than *you* in shorter amount of time. I was the Secretary of Starfleet where I helped modernize the fleet and held back radicals. When my people needed me, I fought during an Incursion. My only failure was helping elect a man who was more popular and useful when he was in a *coma* than when he was chairing the Federation Council.” Looking at Karimi she gave a sotto vocce whisper, “That would be *you*.” Giving him a look she announced, “You’re not going to stop me as when I go take my place in the Federation Council. And Hussein...when you go to run for President, because let’s not pretend you don’t dream of that, you better hope I don’t run against you because I’ll beat you at that too.”

=/\=
NRPG: What do you do when you see everything you've worked for blow up? If you are Xana you ask for an appointment to the Federation Council. But Karimi is right (gasp, I know!) -- it won't be easy for Xana and we’ll explore that in the next posts.

Jerome: How does that work with laying out what we discussed?
Tiffany: I know Sofia is busy so an answer now isn't expected now but...a political appointment has to be so not *great* for someone with a degenerative disease :p
Su: As always thank you :)

=/\=

Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva

AND

Susan Ledbetter
~writing for~
Marie-Claire Martine

 

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