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DL | CIO | LCDR Stacker | "Take Me Home ..."

Posted on Thu Jul 26th, 2018 @ 5:20pm by Lieutenant Commander James Stacker

Mission: Lacuna
Location: CIO's Quarters | Decks 681 | Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 241807.26

The music came on as the shaver was about to touch his skin. All one needed to do, to confirm how unwelcome the interruption was, was merely look at his eyes. First came the flare that indicated being startled. Then they slid to the reflection of the doorway, then back to themselves as the lines in the corners tightened. Fucking seriously? they seemed to demand of their opposite number.

A hoarse growl echoed in his throat, underscoring the exasperation as the music kept sliding towards the Blue Ridge mountains and Shenandoah river. "Oh for the love of - computer, silence music! Authorization Stacker, word-of-the-day is 'Virginia'!" he barked at the reflection.

Silence forcefully reasserted itself as the computer obliged the commanding tone. Until tomorrow, he reminded himself as he exhaled, shaver lifting back into position. The mental thought was followed by another grunt, this one flat and unenthusiastic. The program was not his favorite: it was set to activate if he overslept his alarm and didn't input the proper verbal command. This had resulted in several early-morning abrupt, and jarring, wake-ups in the last few days.

But if you didn't spend all that time... he thought as the shaver swept up, neatly trimming off several whiskers as the thought faded out. Burning the candle at both ends did have its problems. The corners of his mouth flicked up in a hint of amusement as the mental black cloud began to dissipate. The humming began not soon after.

New Virginia. Now that was a place he hadn't thought about in a long time. How long had it been? The computer would be able to access his travel records and tell him, but he dismissed the notion almost as fast as it had come. Ten years, at least, he concluded as his head turned to one side, eyes critically appraising the work on that side. The largest city on Barolia had been his point-of-embarkation for a greater adventure beyond security patrols to keep the local carnivores away from livestock.

Bet you never thought you'd wind up here, did you? he silently asked himself as his head retreated from its closer-to-the-mirror position. Eyebrows lifted and dropped almost as soon, trace evidence of amusement before he looked down, clearing the shaver's field. Part of it didn't want to cooperate, as usual. A couple smacks caused it to sputter and chirp, belatedly. He shook his head and went back to his self-grooming, muttering about how it was getting worn out.

After a few seconds he found the thread and picked it up again. Where exactly was 'here' these days? Brows furrowed in thought as he considered the question, leaning on the sink with one hand while he kept at his self-designated task. The question was an interesting one that merited further scrutiny. On loan from the MACOs to Starfleet? Willing to hazard his career? Keeping watch on the frontier?

The shaver clicked off and was set down into its charging cradle as his head turned to the other side, performing the same inspection. Eyes raked his jaw in the process, looking for small aberrations that failed to meet his own personal standards. But there were no discrepancies that he noted. It left him free to ponder the question as he stepped back out into his quarters.

=/\=

By the time he finished his breakfast the self-consideration had turned from more introspective ones to a matter of the day at hand. He was not a man prone to excessive doubt, and to repeatedly weigh and turn the thoughts and decisions that had led to this point in time sat poorly with him. You made your choices: you lived with your choices. Simple and blunt. Rather like him, in some ways.

His eyes were on a rather fat-hulled ship when the door chimed, noting the pronounced curvature and blisters that liberally dotted the hull with a critical eye. He was not so deep into his inspection, however, that he failed to note the two-tone sound that was universal throughout the fleet. "Enter!"

"Good morning sir."

"Warrant," he replied, noting the tall, lanky, alien striding in through the door. Their breakfast meetings were rare and far between; at one time they had been more common, to the point that jokes had circulated at a past command about 'the lieutenant who wants to reverse to mustang.' Now he was lucky if a meeting happened once a month. His knife bit into the sausage, allowing juices to swell out around the intruder as a savory smell filled his nostrils and made his mouth water.

The only 'mustang' present joined him at the table, bowl of blueberries and yogurt sliding onto the tabletop with a muffled thumping. "The mission seems to have wrapped up well. We received a message during the night: Starfleet Security will take charge of the prisoners tomorrow. A transport will be here by the end of the week."

James grunted around the part of the link in his mouth, chewing thoughtfully, nodding by way of acknowledgement when his old friend glanced his way. The response waited until after he had washed it down with some of the orange juice sitting in the tall glass. "And the Campbeltown?" It was a thought that had recurred more than once since the end of the mission. The ship was quite handy to have - at least in the sector, if not necessarily at his fingertips.

"Indefinite reassignment. It would seem somebody at Starfleet Operations agrees with your assessment." The chief intelligence officer raised an eyebrow and cocked his head in a way that demanded further clarification. "I believe you called it 'the frontier pushing back'."

Ahh the slight head-nod seemed to say. Someone, somewhere, had no doubt finally clued in that things were not as they always appeared to be in the gilded ivory towers on Earth and Alpha Centauri. Who that was he had no idea. He had even less desire to find out; his thoughts quickly moved on, acknowledging that it was finally time they realized the Cheydinhall Sector was a dangerous place to be.

James felt a scowl pulling at the corners of his face, a brooding storm cloud as his thoughts turned back to the subject of danger and his eyes went back to the window. The blistered ship was still out there, hanging motionless in space as tugs and worker bees flitted around her, but his vision was unfocused and lingering on the starscape beyond. Space here was dangerous, and Cold Station Theta was his own bastion to keep safe. That ... and her.

It seemed like only a moment had passed when he blinked and shook himself from his reverie, cognizant that he'd missed something. "What was that?"

Parsuv's head was cocked to the side, his turn now to study the department head. "I said that we should be able to learn more about our opposition here. Perhaps even the Stenellis. We might even avert a war. You may even be able to visit Virginia again. You did mention it recently," he cautiously added in response to the flat look, even as both of them got to their feet. Chairs were pushed back in and plates and bowl put into the replicator for disassembly.

It was only when they were outside and walking back down the corridor that the words started to return to mind. Briefly, he wondered if Copilot Music and Sound would have ever imagined their song surviving to the twenty-fifth century. Probably not, he concluded as he stepped into the turbolift car, ignorant of the look Parsuv gave him as he returned to humming the last few bars of that song.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170

Warrant Officer Parsuv (NPC)
Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170

 

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