1st Lt. Svetlana Ivanova

From Station

From Batcaves on Luna to Starfleet Fighter Pilot on Kepler

By Caroline Post


It was a very great pleasure this afternoon to visit the quarters of Flight Leader and 1st Lt. Svetlana Ivanova. I met with her after her busy morning of investigative flying in the vicinity of Kepler. Her quarters are the same as other Marine officers on Kepler, yet she has put a very personal stamp on them. On her desk is an ancient fighter pilot's helmet, one from the time when fighter pilots were confined to the atmosphere above the Earth, but the job was equally dangerous.


Hanging from a wall in the living room area is an impressive poster of another pilot, this time a rocketship pilot from Lunagrad, where Ivanova grew up. In the background of the poster, rocket planes roar over the head of the saluting pilot. One can almost feel the wind of their passage. Across the bottom of the poster is Cyrillic print which reads, she told me, "Glory to Lunagrad Rocket Corps." This poster is a print, but she has the original at home in Lunagrad.


It seems that the lieutenant had many influences in her life pushing her toward flying. She was born in Lunagrad, a Russian city on Earth's moon. She's the only child of professor of classic literature at a college in the city. From him, I learned during the interview, she has a legacy of wisdom and sayings.


As a very young child, Svetlana learned to fly in the Batcaves of Lunagrad. As you may know, Luna is a light gravity moon, and even the elderly can experience self-powered flight there. Apparently, it was as natural as walking for the lieutenant, and led her to a career as a Marine fighter pilot for Starfleet.


Our conversation turned to her visit on Starbase 50. It turned out that we had a mutual acquaintance, Sam Clement, an old newspaper man who influenced my choice of career. Sam published a paper copy of a newspaper on an antique printing press, and sold it for a penny on the starbase. Her comment on that concept was, "Press is very noisy, but very romantic. Could be run by people, not company. . . When news come from people, news is news. When come from copany . . . how do you know what is news and what is . . . deception? My father say, publicity bad news for Jews, but also say, publicity good news for Jews."


Ivanova has a lovely accent that makes these words truly telling. There was a time when her ancestors, both because of being Russian and being Jewish, had cause to be concerned about what kind of news they received. I hope that time is long gone for all of us, but talking with this fighter pilot caused me to examine once again whether the Federation truly has freedom of the press.


That ancestry, and the influence of her father, mentioned several times, has made a philosopher out of Ivanova. I asked her if she lived to fly, knowing that many pilots do. Her answer was, in part, ". . . fly fighters is game for young. Require split-second timing and fast decisions. . . Officers . . . we get moved out of cockpit. Become training oficer. Become squadron officer. Is cycle o life. Today, I fly fighter . . . next year, who knows? Maybe Jerusalem."


That comment brought us to a discussion of her Jewish roots. Svetlana avers that God has a sense of humor. I asked her to explain that. "Lord God has twisted sense of humor. Say to Jews, 'you are chosen people.' Note, does not say chosen for what. Thousands of years of persecution, wandering in the wildernesses, eating bugs. But we . . . we are Jews . . . also have twisted sense of humor. Keep following instructions, keep hanging on. Endure to end. This is Jewish way. Also, Russian. Very, very Russian."


I believe it's safe to say that Flight Leader Ivanova has a sense of humor, as well. And it's also very Jewish, and very Russian.