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CDR J. Stacker & CDR V. Stacker | "Vexation"

Posted on Thu Jan 28th, 2021 @ 7:29pm by Commander Valeese Stacker

Mission: A Distant Thunder

To put it simply, Commander Stacker was pissed. So pissed, in fact, that he did something he hadn't done in years. The door was closed and his guest ten minutes gone when his hand reached out and tapped the control that turned the window - the sole one in the room; the one that looked out into Central Operations - opaque. Then he grabbed a PADD and hurled it across the room, lips curled back into a feral snarl that was so very unlike him.

The offending device hurtled end-over-end like a blurred fastball that any baseball pitcher would be proud of, only stopping when it abruptly and violently encountered the solid and unforgiving surface of the bulkhead. In a cruel cracking sound it shattered on impact, bits and pieces raining down onto the carpeting as he collapsed back into his chair. Trying to forget who had just been sitting in it not long ago. His hands intertwined and he rolled them, popping the knuckles as a thunderstorm rolled across his face.

It wouldn't be more than thirty seconds later that the chime to his door chirped and heralded yet another visitor.

Oblivious to the carnage that lay within, or the dark, cyclonic mood of the man she'd come to see, Valeese couldn't help but wonder why the majority of Central Ops was relatively quiet. In many ways the mood felt not unlike the aftermath of a fox scouting a henhouse. The birds were quiet, many refusing to make eye contact as they buried into and busied themselves with their work in an elaborate scheme not to draw too much attention to themselves. It left her with the distinct impression that she quite likely had chosen the wrong time to pay a social call.

I swear if that goddamned sanctimonious son-of-a-bitch is- He angrily cut himself off before he could work up a full head of steam, although that was precisely just what he wanted to do at that particular point in time. But no. The job of the station's Executive Officer could not wait on his personal feelings and grudges. So he did what he did. He leaned on an arm in his chair, cupping his face between thumb and middle finger at the corners of his eyes. The digits ran across his eyelids to the bridge of his nose. He exhaled, released the grip, put his arm down, and stared at the door - oblivious to the stormy expression still on his face. The one that would have done his MACO drill instructors proud.


The sound of his voice was anything but comforting as it rang through the door, and ushered her within. The smile she'd worn, pleasant and darling as it was, quickly dissipated and quailed in the presence of the expression the Ghost wore. Even her stride, usually so sure of itself, faltered by a half step as she reconsidered her choice to see him for the second time in as many minutes, "I can come back later or see you at dinner..." She offered, peering over her shoulder and gesturing towards the exit as she came to a halt in the middle of the office.

The storm on his face relented, but the clouds failed to dissipate. A testament to his particular state of mind, where normally her mere presence would have been enough to lighten and brighten his day. His lips compressed, released, and he made a thoughtful sound. "No." The man in the chair got up and walked around it, to her. "No, I'm just having an exceptionally bad day right now. You missed everyone's favorite Commodore by about ten minutes." Sarcasm was not a trait commonly associated with him. But the telltale lift of eyebrows when he said certain choice words left no doubt that he was indeed not pleased about his prior visitor. The look on his face darkened in the aftermath, although not specifically thrown at her.

At first the path he was taking and what he was saying was lost on her, but his words and the nature of his mood rather quickly shored up any holes in her thought process and left her feeling relatively chilled as he approached. The Vorta's entire body stiffened, even her ears flattened and disappeared into the soft onyx of her hair. "I don't suppose it was a friendly sort of visit, was it?" She manged, though her mouth could have doubled as a desert and the acrid pang of anxiety dug at the base of her tongue. Aksel Ravnsson was a man of nightmares. She could still feel his hand on her body and the thinly veiled threat that came along with it.

"About as friendly as he can muster, I suspect. Hidden threats and innuendos. Did you know I'm under surveillance?" The distaste was evident even as he said the words. "He claimed, afterwards, that I'm not actually the target being observed. Apparently I'm just peripheral. The man actually had the gall to say I was one of his 'most promising agents.' Me!" He had been moving away from her, apparently fit to start wearing a hole in the carpet, but now he spun back around to face her and gave her something of a nod. "Oh, and he said you're one of the Federation's worst enemies. Congratulations."

"I'm Vorta, of course I'm one of the Federation's worst enemies..." She exhaled as she spoke, the words taking the breath from her as the news more or less left her feeling winded and sick. She watched him pace, almost flinching every time he turned abruptly on his heel in a return trip, and it took her a few seconds to pull herself together, convincing herself she wasn't in any danger. Still, her fingers tangled in the fabric of her tunic as she used the textile's roughness to ground herself, "We knew he was going to be problematic, James, we knew." It felt contrary to bring up the past and the obvious, "It was a big reason why you took this position and got out from under him. You're not one of his agents anymore. You don't belong to him and there's nothing he can do." It would become her mantra, even if she knew better than to truly believe it. While Ravnsson was no longer in either one of their chains of command, he was still a shark that would appear the moment he smelled blood in the water... Even if he had to put it there himself.

"You're right. It's just - the gall of the man. I was good at my job with the MACOs. Hell, it was why they seconded me to Starfleet Intelligence." He turned to her, stopping both verbally and physically when his eyes drifted lower and observed her hands. The stormclouds on his face relented further. It took less than thirty seconds for him to cross to her and wrap his arms around her, enfolding her as best he could in a grip that was perhaps a little tighter than customary for him as he growled. "We're going to get through this, Val. I don't know how -"

He stopped, brow furrowing in thought. "Actually I do know. I'm going to call in a few markers. A couple debts that're owed, and some old friends that might be able to help." The look on his face was almost primal in delight, now. Clearly the Ghost was most pleased at whatever possibilities he was toying with in his mind.

"No," her head shook and her voice was muffled by the warm bulk of him as she spoke and allowed her rigid little body to mold closer to him, accepting him and the comfort he offered, "You're not. You'll look guilty as hell and you haven't done a damn thing wrong." Somehow, she managed to wriggle a little loose, at least loose enough where she could frame his face with her hands and stare him in the eye, "Aksel Ravnsson is a xenophobic asshole." Vulgarity tasted awful as it left her mouth with all the rancor she could muster, but it was the only adjective that seemed to fit the mood and the noun being discussed, "You cannot let him get to you like this and I can't let him get under my skin either. We have nothing to worry about because we haven't done anything illegal or wrong."

Something clicked in his mind as he stared into her eyes, feeling the pressure of her hands on his face. The grip was tight, he noted somewhat distantly. "I refuse to entertain the possibility of him taking you away from me, Val," he growled back at her, one hand dropping to her back and making sure she was pulled damn close to him. "A xenophobic asshole he may be, but he's also bound and determined to threaten what we have. You are my wife. I will not lose you to him. Not now, not ever." The growl had by now grown into a snarl that could have cut a tin roof. Where the hell had this side of him come from? that distant part of him asked. Iron-willed determination surged in response.

"I'm not going anywhere." Valeese managed to reply, her mind and body acutely aware of how close his actions and grip demanded her to be. She didn't fight him. "I'm not going anywhere. Not without you or Rune and certainly not anywhere with him." She continued, carefully stroking his face with her thumbs.

The Ghost was decidedly terrifying when he was like this; bristling and posturing with anger lit in his voice like fire, but she didn't fear him the way she may have had he not been hers and had the anger been directed at her, "We're shaken, not stirred. We're ok."

"Damned right we are," he shot back, hot fire lacing and entwining itself around every word. Had his mind been clearer he might have recognized the joke for what it was, but as matters currently stood he was considerably less than clear-headed. For reasons no doubt understandable. But here and now he simply stared at her with those storm clouds and anger playing out all across his face. Thankfully none directed her way.

He stood like that for a minute or two, letting her stroke his face with her thumbs, before leaning in and pressing a kiss home against her forehead. Then his aim dropped lower and found her lips. Tentative at first. Growing stronger as each second passed.

By the time they parted for the of oxygen, Valeese was more than aware of a new shift in his dynamic. It was hardly contained and not even close to being veiled - not even by the thinnest gossamer. The Ghost was possessive, he was territorial, and be was shamelessly addicted. It was the same feeling that had risen from him in waves when he'd brought her back from the Naussicans and now, fed by time and the fact she wore his surname as her own and had made him a father, the sensation and emotion was deeper rooted. Stronger. More undeniable.

"There's an entire crew out there," she whispered against his lips before stealing another kiss. "It'll get back to him." Had he asked, she'd have come clean about her less than chaste intentions for appearing in Central Ops that day - but it was her greater sense of self that prompted her to remind him of the people on the otherwise of his doors. It was a test of his resolve, his mood, and just how deeply his foundation had been rocked by Ravnsson's posturing and thinly veiled threats of taking her away from him. It was playing with fire.

"To hell with him," he growled before stealing a kiss of his own. He only broke away long enough to say words further indicative of his intent. "Computer, secure doors."

The beep of acknowledgment was lost in empty air as he moved her towards the desk, half-pulling and half-pushing her that way. It was a good thing that he kept the surface clear and clean almost always, some part of him acknowledged as he pinned her between himself and the stately piece of furniture. Operating on raw instinct, his head descended to find her neck, lips pushing the collar of her undershirt down and allowing him to nip at skin in an area that could be covered up later. Propriety be damned. She was his wife.


To hell with Ravnsson.


Commander James Stacker
Executive Officer

Commander Valeese Stacker
Chief Medical Officer


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