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JL | RADM Sha'mer, Cmdr Valeese | "Kindred" pt II

Posted on Mon Feb 12th, 2018 @ 5:18pm by Commander Valeese Stacker

Mission: The Round Table

"Even the Elves have their short comings." The Vorta's head shook, "It was a wizard written by a mortal man that gave us such insight." She paused briefly, her head canting off to one side with impish curiosity "Do you think that art may transcend life? That we can escape to higher planes of awareness through it?"

"Absolutely," Sha'mer replied without any hesitation at all. "So many artists speak of their craft as containing something intangible, something they have to reach out for and try catch, or which eludes them. They speak of something that flows into them from outside, or something that wells up inside them. This happens across species, across cultures. Races can connect to each other via art, even without words the other understands."

"Music and art... The universal languages." How appropriate, thought Valeese, that the arts would be the thread that sewed them all together, bound them whether or not they chose to accept it. She had to wonder, though, whether or not that key was something to be exploited. Hadn't the shared amelioration of Lord of the Rings brought her and Stacker closed together? That, above all, remained to be seen - but the connection over the work of literary genius was there... And undeniable. "I could never live in a world where they didn't exist in some way." and meanwhile her people had done just that - been altered and forced to ignore aesthetic beauty in spite of being so very naturally inclined to appreciate finery and elegance. It had been a trait they'd suppressed and concealed from the Founders - but now free, it was as alive and well as their inherent curiosity.

"That's one of the things which made the Borg, for one, so abhorrent," Sha'mer said, nodding slightly. "They only assimilated what they deemed useful, and they had no use for music or art. There wasn't anything functional about it, so they discarded it and never created anything similar of their own." She looked around. "And this is the opposite end: a clash of cultures, a brilliant mingling, a celebration of music and art and creativity… a celebration of life." For that was what this was, of course, when all was said and done. We live here on a space station, a thin shell separating us from the deadly cold and vacuum of space, we're standing here in the greatest arboretum ever built in Federation space, and we're celebrating that despite everything the universe throws at us, we're here, we're alive, and thriving despite this all…

Had she been able to read the Admiral's thoughts, Valeese would have chosen to agree wholeheartedly. It likely would have warmed the very cockles of her heart to know that she wasn't alone in her core beliefs - that someone else echoed them so resonantly and without a hint of shame. Alas, all she could go by was what was spoken - and what was spoken was fine enough to curry forth a smile, "It's a good thing that we weren't assimilated and were able to chase them back into the shadows, isn't it then?"

"Most definitely," Sha'mer agreed with a nod. "Where they will hopefully remain forever." The Borg were one menace she had never encountered in person, something she was grateful for. There were enough nasty things in the universe still without them adding to their troubles.

From her vantage point on the cloud she looked at the people around her: the dancers, the revelers, the people talking or nibbling food. Almost unnoticed, the question slipped out: "What about this ball do you enjoy most?"

"With some luck." Valeese added, her voice lacking emotion as the sentiment passed her lips. It wouldn't be long until all thoughts of the Borg were banished and her mind was gently tugged in a different direction. It wasn't a question she'd been expecting or an answer she was ready to give. "The anonymity." the reply came to her as a surprise, rising unbidden Had she been a lesser being, she'd likely have back pedaled away from it and topped it with some syrupy sweet joke or another - but it chose to stand on itself and she beside it as she looked back over at the vesper.

Sha'mer nodded. "Understandable," she said softly. Soft enough so that nobody else would be able to overhear. Nobody but someone with the preternatural hearing of an elf - or a Vorta. "Finally a chance to be here and to interact with people without the immediate reflex of 'Oh, yeah, you're *her*." She moved over to the table, glanced briefly at a man in a fancy costume and white-blue hair talking to a girl in some kind of Superman costume, also floating around. "Would you care for a drink?"

The brightness of the Vorta's eyes followed the cloud's every move and her ears, hidden beneath the lovely veil of technology that changed and shrouded them, pricked intently in her direction. "You're very perceptive," Valeese chuffed in praise, drifting over towards the table and finding a seat. "A drink would be nice, conversation even better." Yes... Choosing to come out that night and mingle with the people had proven to be a benefit to the little Vorta's psyche - it had given her a chance to be a dream and live as if she were one of them without the common happenstance of dismissal and rejection that rode high and heavy alongside. The cloud, psychic as she seemed, was just proof enough of all of it and more, and Valeese would never be able to find the words necessary to explain the sense of unity that had been curried between them. The cloud knew things, not unlike the Ghost, but like him chose to slide that knowledge away and interact as if it were the most normal thing in the universe to hold court with a Vorta.

In short... It was a happenstance of hope.

Sha'mer gave a slight shrug. "I have somewhat of an advantage," she said, looking at the woman first, then at the drinks. She raised an eyebrow, it just peeped over the edge of her mask. "Warp Core Special," she muttered, eyeing one drink which practically glowed. "I'll bet if they ever make that one with real alcohol, your department would have to work overtime."

"An advantage you say?" Valeese felt an eyebrow quirk and her inherent curiosity pique. The mention of the drink, her eyes hesitantly leaving the cloud in favor of the glowing libation, "Yes... I suppose it would." She agreed, altogether pleased with the fact that toxins, like alcohol, had little to no effect on Vorta physiology. Everyone else, though... Her head shook. "If ever a Stenellis wanted to commit suicide, that would be the way to do it... But... Just how did you know who I was?" The doctor's eyes worked their way back to the cloud, inquisitive and intrigued.

"My species is telepathic," Sha'mer said, picking out a drink more or less at random. She took a sip, briefly regretting that it did contain synthale instead of alcohol. She didn't often have the urge to drink, but with the sudden turn this conversation was taking, it would have been nice to indulge. She owed the other woman the truth, more than she generally showed to relative strangers. "Originally, I'm not from around here. And in my neck of the woods, my species is probably more hated than yours." She shook her head. Truth. "No. Nothing 'probably' about it."

"But here you have some sort of refuge thanks to the anonymity that I can only find through holoemitters and masks." The Vorta's own fingers closed around a random glass of blue liquid. Didn't matter what it was, only that it was something to help keep her relatively anchored to reality rather than swept up in the fairy tale produced by their general surroundings. "My species is more empathic than telepathic, but I tend to be more blind to it than I'd like to admit." She added, taking a sip. It was sweet. Cotton candy and raspberry all wound into one diabetic coma inducing assault against her palate, "A good buffer against a constant barrage of hate, I guess." She shrugged, "But at least here, in this neck of the woods, you have found sanctuary of some sort, no?"

Sha'mer nodded ."Yes. Yes, I did." Right up until the moment that the Vo'Sh'un decided to bring a visit to Trilista. Thank the stars they didn't come alone, and thank the stars even more they didn't come to conqur. "I left everything behind and basically travelled as far away as I could without crossing into intergalactic space. And even then I was afraid enough to hide what I was, what I am, under a false identity." *That* had since been cleared up, fortunately. A lot of things had changed since the days she left the place she once called home. "So, in many regards, you're a braver woman than I am."

"Or far less fortunate when it comes to being able to hide who and what I am." Valeese replied demurely, her fingers traveling the stem of her glass, "Whatever the circumstance, it's more or less brought us together for a reason, I'm sure." She offered with a smile that was soon eclipsed by the sickly sweet drink, "Some form of kismet that's yet to reveal itself."

"I've got a fast ship you can borrow," Sha'mer said drily, "But if you do want to take me up on that offer at any point, don't go to the back end of the Delta Quadrant." She smiled again, faintly this time. "Other than that, yeah... If nothing else, because each of us can at least somewhat understand what the other is experiencing."

Once again Sha'mer wished there was a nice bottle of Romulan Ale stashed amidst the drinks on this table. And when the ball was over, she wondered, what then? Would they both stay here long enough for the unmasking? And what would happen then? A strange friendship, potentially, between a Vorta Commander and a Vo'Sh'un Admiral. Maybe.


Rear Admiral Cintia Sha'mer
Director of Starfleet Operations


Commander Valeese
Chief Medical Officer


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