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JDL | COM Ravnsson, CDR J. Stacker | "Proclivities"

Posted on Thu Jan 28th, 2021 @ 5:57am by Commodore Aksel Ravnsson & Commander James Stacker

Mission: A Distant Thunder
Location: XO's Office | Deck 1 | Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 242101.27

News had hit the station far faster than Aksel had anticipated. Like embers from ashes, the word of Rochelle Ivanova's death had flown on unseen updrafts and circulated through the chilly air. Unbidden, they'd settled on desks of Admirals and such things had not gone unnoticed by the arsonist. The news had come as it always did; from the mouths of his men that were ever watchful. They'd known things, seen things, brought things back to the nest and never once did they falter or lie. They knew better. To be wrong was to lose his faith and to lose his faith was to become obsolete. Only the dead were obsolete. The math was irrefutable from there.

It hadn't pleased him. Few things did, but he now knew that a new problem had emerged. Or rather that an old problem simply couldn't keep her nose where it belonged as a pet and incubator of half-breed whelps sired by a traitor.

The lights flickered briefly as the turbolift came to a halt, but the man of ash failed to flinch. His death wouldn't come by archaic engineering, and that was something he was most certain of. One didn't live to be nearly nine-hundred years old by being frightened by paltry electrical failures or the sense of doom some felt when lifts stopped a bit roughly and once he left, unceremoniously stepping onto the platformed floors of Cold Station Theta's central operation's hub, he never thought of it again. He had a much bigger target, something far better to concentrate on.

"Commander Stacker." This time he smiled almost a little too warmly, "Just the man I was hoping to see. Do you have time for an old friend?"

The station's XO glanced up at the visitor, attention taken away from the console and the young Bolian sitting at it, before he went back to the operator. He gave the alien a pat on the shoulder. It didn't escape his notice that other nearby officers, in the meantime, were suddenly finding reason to become busy at their consoles or to move away to other areas on the central platform - or, in one case, to descend the steps to the pit that encompassed the raised locale on three sides.

"I'll be back in a bit. What can I do for you sir?" he inquired, turning his attention to the newcomer. A moment later his head cocked to the side and his eyes glanced over the man's shoulders, to the office at the far end of the catwalk, nodding in that direction. Professionalism kicking in? Realization that the visitor was the head of Starfleet Intelligence? "We can speak in private if you'd prefer."

"Such formality," The older gentleman chuckled, accepting the offer to head to the XO's private sanctuary. The things they would discuss, the thoughts that ran through the Commodore's grim mind, were hardly the sort of things meant for the sensitive ears of the imps that scurried around like roaches. They were weak, pawns being moved into position at the behest of kings and queens not unlike Stacker. It was Ravnsson that had long ago traded in the ideals of kingship for the ideals of being a God and he rested comfortably with that status whether they recognized it or not. The panic that had washed over their bodies and faces told him, with delight no less, that they did see and did accept his position.

It was a start, a step in the right direction when it came to the future he was building for them all. Lucky as they were.

Only when the door hissed shut behind them, stealing them away from prying eyes and adrenaline filled figures, did Ravnsson begin to speak with any sort of earnest, "I've been negligent in my duties it seems, you'll have to forgive me." The rich emerald irises shone with intelligence and reasoning as their owner spoke, "But it seems that I am what... A year? Late in congratulating on the birth of your daughter. Rune is it? Different." He smiled, clasping his hands before him, "Fitting, really." Was added as the man of ash helped himself to a seat, Stacker's seat no less. From there he rested easily, looking up as he steepled his fingers.

"I hadn't realized you were so enamored with Commander Valeese, I'd heard whispers and rumors about the two of you but next I know you're married and she's birthed your heir." The smile grew as the fingers came apart, "Fascinating. Someday you'll have to tell me all about the courtship and what lead one of my most promising agents to bed and wed one of the Federation's worst enemies, but I digress." The hands flicked at their wrist, as much chasing away the thought as they motioned for Stacker to take a seat across the desk from him, "I'd much rather hear how you received word about Commodore Ivanova's death. You were in motion to see Admiral Hark a full ten minutes before the news officially hit, were you not?"

"Thank you," the Commander said, taking the indicated chair. The tone in his voice was so dry it could have been used to recreate the Sahara, had one been of the mind to do so. A far cry from the man out in Central Operations. "I was, yes. After notifying Commander Merlin, of course." He leaned back in the chair, back pressing to the upraised seat, arms atop the arm rests with hands off the end. There was a slight pause, before his head cocked slightly to one side.

"I also wasn't aware I was under surveillance, sir. May I ask the nature of the investigation?"

Ravnsson was silent for a second, no doubt processing the sudden turn of affairs, but the smile never waned. "I don't think I said you were, Commander Stacker." The hands steepled once again and the chair tipped back in testimony to the Commodore's deep set comfort. "Your wife graduated top five of her class when she went through the academy, didn't she? Real bright girl. Outstanding considering her circumstances." He drawled on. Had he the forethought to bring a cigar, he'd likely have lit it and taken to nursing it as the conversation unfolded. Old habits died hard, or so it would seem. "You'd think she'd be a lot more careful about the company she chooses to keep outside of your marriage and her marriage to Starfleet and the Federation." A long finger left the steeple and pointed towards the younger Commander, "Anyway, we have one Commodore dead and some folks don't believe it was just an accident that took her from us. They want answers and I intend to give them answers."

"I see." The words seemed rather thin. Evidently, though, it was as much as the man to whom the office belonged was prepared to extend as he thought. Eventually his eyebrow twitched. "So Starfleet Command suspects foreign involvement, then? Were it to be confirmed, it would certainly fuel hardline elements." The governments. The politicians. The Starfleet captains and admirals. An assassination of a decorated Starfleet Commodore - the captain of the flagship of the fleet, no less? Anyone who eschewed the infamous words of Vyacheslav von Plehve might readily fall into line should such a thing come to pass. He made a thoughtful sound.

"At the moment it looks like what it will likely turn out to be, an unfortunate event and nothing more." Ravnsson shrugged it off like water from a duck's oiled feathers, "But there are always conspiracy theorists and those who refuse to believe that anything can transpire without nefarious intentions. Conspiracy theorists. People trapped in a perpetual cycle of denial and searching for signs and wonders where there aren't any to be found." He nearly rolled his eyes as he explained and embellished upon his thoughts and allowed his chair to rock forward and his hands to softly land upon Stacker's polished desk.

"It's imperative that the fuel to those delusions be extinguished. We must allow the Commodore to rest in peace."

"Which the investigation will no doubt do, I'm sure." Another dry and bland remark. Professionally neutral, to be sure. The commander quirked an eyebrow at his visitor. "If this is, after all, sir, an unfortunate event the formal accident report should put an end to any speculation. Anything beyond that is just that - idle speculation by the conspiracy-minded, with no basis in fact. It would be their word against Starfleet Intelligence." The latter was accompanied by a nod in one direction. Unnecessary but still given.

"Under normal circumstances I may actually agree with you, Commander." Aksel's wry smile returned with gusto. It was disingenuous, perhaps even cold, but it served its purpose well enough, "It would seem that Fleet Admiral Red and Admiral Hark may have fallen into bed with the thrill of conspiracy. It could just be denial and a shock to their pride that their own flesh and blood met the creator in such a benign fashion. It was tragic, yes, but hardly malignant." He added with a heavier shrug and false pout that quickly disappeared, "Red has now ordered that I stand down and turn the wreck over to Commander Dahe'el and the crew of the Vindicator. It's a mistake to be sure and means they wish to find something that simply isn't there." The man of ash paused, his bright verdant eyes narrowing as he measured thoughts and words and something that refused to surface until he brought his gaze back to the Commander's face, "How well do you know James Archer? I know you worked with him to retrieve your wife and that Lieutenant on the Vindicator. Her name escapes me now."

The man leaned back slightly in his chair, eyes closing for a moment as his brow furrowed briefly before relenting. "Si'a. Lieutenant Si'a ... and not well. I know the name in passing, saw some if his work in the field, of course, but haven't dealt with him since that point. My new job," he added with a slight head-tilt, with little else said. Running and overseeing the intelligence department had become a far distant second priority since the heady days of the rescue mission; supplanted, as it were, by overseeing a starbase whose crew complement number in the tens of thousands.

"Mm." The Commodore grunted, allowing the pieces to fall together as they would. Of course it meant he'd be there to reshuffle them and build into something more. "Then I encourage you to get to know him extremely well, Commander. He's Admiral Archer's boy..." His thought trailed off as his pupils seemed to constrict in response to some unseen stimuli, "A good connection to have given that your reputation has become... Well... Marked given your relations with your pretty little wife and her proclivities." A jackal's smile distorted the man's features, thick and marked well with a new light to be shed on old wounds.

"I've assured many that your exotic taste is just an added benefit to your work at keeping the enemy close at hand, I'm sure Archer will agree given the notches he's added to his own bedpost during his time. Anyway... Convince Merlin to have the Vindicator return to her home port and allow the station's resources to assist them in their investigation. This isn't something we can leave to chance. Understand?"

"Understood." A single word sufficed along with the accompanying, albeit brief, head-nod. It was all that needed to be said, really.

"Marvelous! I truly appreciate your desire to indulge an old man." At nearly nine-hundred years of age, the El-Aurian was still surprisingly spry. Graying, his age had long since begun to show itself on his face in fine lines and a handful of wrinkles that left him with the dignified appearance of an old sea-captain. Rising from the Commander's chair, he showed no sign of stiffness or infirmity which could be considered a small wonder given the mileage on the man, "I'll leave you to your duties, son, and show myself out."

"Of course sir." He stayed in the chair for a long time after the Commodore was gone.


Commodore Aksel Ravnsson
Commander, Starfleet Intelligence
Commander, Section 31


Commander James Stacker
Executive Officer
Cold Station Theta (Starbase 1170)


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