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Cmdr. Valeese Stacker & Cmdr. Evan Merlin | "The Daily News"

Posted on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 @ 10:25pm by Commander Valeese Stacker & Commander Evan Merlin

Mission: A Distant Thunder
Location: Cold Station Theta

It was late at night, the kid was safely tucked in and fast asleep - the CO could always tell, whether he was right next to his son or on the other side of the station - whether his boy was awake or asleep. Right now, he wasn't quite on the other end of the station, but he was taking one of his midnight walks. He had a lot to think about.

The alleged death and strange disappearance of Commodore Ivanova. The far from complete information about the spook of spooks, Ravnsson, master manipulator. His own XO under investigation. And Xue.

Maybe strange that he worried about her most of all. Maybe not, given that everything else happened either in Federation Space or on this very station, so at least potentially within his sphere of influence. Regarding the situation in the Stenellian Senate, there was nothing he could do about that whatsoever but wait. And wait.

Until waiting no longer served purpose.

Valeese was raw and fresh after her nightmare the night before, but her mistress had given orders and orders were meant to be followed. It didn't mean that the young Vorta moved with any less purpose or kept from occasionally sneaking a quick peek over her own shoulder to see if she were being followed. Her ears were on high alert, testing the airwaves for even the slightest hint of trouble - and that had also served to help her find him.

Evan Merlin had two hearts. They feat in a rhythm of four, not unlike the gallop of a horse but not quite as fast. In fact it was quite slow, serene... At least usually. She could hear the tension within him as she followed that sound down another dark corridor, promising that the normally calm man was suffering from stress - and she knew the reason, felt it, understood it. By the time she reached him, she almost felt sorry for him and when she held his attention, she offered a feeble wave and a small smile. He'd been kind to her, allowed her to exist and hadn't burned her for her role in what could be considered treason. For that she was eternally thankful.

"The Empress sends word that she is well and the Senate is no longer a threat." She began, reaching to tuck a lock of hair away, "They have been neutralized and she is safe and well." While that may have quelled his stress and fears, the rest of the information she carried likely wouldn't.

He smiled. Trust Valeese to find him in a quiet place in the middle of the night! And a quiet conversation was much more personal than a PADD passed to him with a message which blinked twice and then was gone forever. The smile faded soon enough, however, at her serious demeanor and the - it was hard to describe. If anyone else had seen the good Commander, it was unlikely they would've noticed anything different. But there was something about her that hinted at some kind of disturbance. Bad news? Or something deeper? Maybe the whole Ravnsson situation was getting to her, too. The El-Aurian didn't have much love for her, that was certain.

"Thank you," he said sincerely. It was good to know that he didn't have to execute the contingency plans he had begun to prepare in case the news had been different. To have to send his son away- He thrust that thought aside with an irritated wave of his hand. "I have the feeling there is more?" It was just that, a feeling, and he hoped for both their sakes that he was wrong, that she would just shake her head and smile a fleeting smile and tell him he was mistaken.

With regret, she nodded and folded her hands behind her back, "Emperor Maec i'Ahaefvthe t'Verelan has returned." As complicated as the Romulan's name was, it rolled from her tongue and lips with practiced ease. His was a name she'd long grown accustomed to, even if its utterance had been greatly diminished since the Stenellian Senate body had declared him dead and Xue had crossed into a period of mourning for her husband. "I just thought you should be aware, though in all senses he appears to lack a desire for conflict with you." And why should he? He randomly disappeared for several years without word or trace. went without saying, though it sure as hell rung like a bell within her tired head.

"He has?" He sounded excited rather than anxious or sad. "I know how much Xue missed him… And their daughter, poor girl! I'll bet she'll be so happy!" The smile which appeared on his face was radiant and sincere. "And it's good to hear he doesn't want conflict. I like people who don't have a desire for conflict. I wish there were more of them." The smile faded slightly as his thoughts once again returned to a person aboard this very station who definitely didn't lack that desire. Conflict, manipulation, whatever he needed to do to achieve his goals… whatever they were.

The Vorta nodded gently, sorting through her mild confusion at the genuine appearance of happiness and relief that seemed to flood over the strange man. She should have known better than to accept a 'normal' response from him. Evan Merlin simply didn't do 'normal'. Ever. "Yes, that I can agree with." A hand reached up and ran through her hair, "But he's returned with a Romulan armada. The Ascendancy has gained Romulan technology, possibly things we have never even seen before. We should be glad that it is Xue'Daio sitting as Empress and that she has positive feelings towards the Federation even with Ivanova's death." Valeese almost winced as she spoke, realizing the depth of the news and the meaning it could have for both worlds. "I mean, I don't see conflict on the horizon, at least not yet. Especially with the Senate threat having been taken care of, but there's still a wary eye always watching us."

"Interesting," the Commander murmured, his mind shifting to another gear. "Under normal circumstances I would think that detail would make its way to Starfleet Intel." Under the current circumstances, he was sure it would make its way to maybe one specific branch of Intel, but certainly wouldn't spread to a certain Commodore, at least not via Valeese. That Commodore would have other means of finding this out, no doubt, and he would be sure to make use of that fact if and when it suited him. "Just make sure to keep any communication lines open, just in case some less peace loving individuals think this is a perfect time to start stirring the pot." It was probably a superfluous recommendation, but he'd rather make one too many than leave something unsaid which might bite them later. "And please, whenever you see a chance to send a reply, send them both my warmest regards." He hoped he would one day have the honour to meet the Emperor himself, the man who held Xue's highest regard and love had to be an admirable person.

"On all fronts, I will." Valeese could practically hear his mind turning as he absorbed and processed information. In that regard, it was almost a comfort. She knew he could be trusted, that his brain worked in mysterious ways. "All I ask is that you stay safe. There are things afoot that could easily spell disaster for all of us." Did he really need to be told? She already knew that the Ghost had gone to him, spoken to him, explained each and every concern to him - but her words served perhaps as a reminder that they were on the same team as much as they were a reminder not to become complacent. A gentle hand reached out to rest on one of his forearm's, a symbol of friendship, trust, and unity and she offered him a small smile.

"I'll do what I can to keep us safe," the CO said. 'Us' was an ambiguous statement here, it could mean both himself and his son, as well as everyone on the station. He meant both. Of course, there was only so much he could do – but whatever he could, he would.

Just before he started to move, he noticed something else. It was a very faint sensation, but it was one he'd sensed before and recognised now. Once again, that radiant smile lit up his face. "Oh! Congratulations!"

The little Vorta's head canted to one side at the way the Commander lit up. It seemed most peculiar at that juncture, but... It was Merlin. There was no telling what the man could be on about, "For?" She asked gently, finding the radiance to be almost infection even if her own smile was more incredulous and questioning that truly beaming.

His face fell, ever so slightly. "Oh," he said again. "You didn't know yet? Well, I'm sure a quick scan will tell you soon enough." The grin returned full force, with an added twinkle in the sea-coloured eyes. "And please convey my congratulations to Cmdr. Stacker, too!" And with those words, he was gone.

His words immediately made her eyes fall in the direction of her abdomen, and her hands followed suit, covering the span of that portion of her body as if searching for some sort of confirmation of the words that had taken her so succinctly by a surprise, "Bu--" Her voice cut off as her eyes flicked back up to find that the man she was attempting to question had vanished without a trace. No foot steps. No four-count heartbeat. Nothing. All she could do was give a slow nod and clap her hands together as if to say 'this is fine. All good' and with the slow snap of her fingers she took her leave of the suddenly very empty area.

Sure... She had every reason to believe him. There was a sense of giddiness that tried to become unbridled at such a ray of light daring to peek through the roughness of the storm they'd found themselves in - but her pragmatism refused to let her celebrate just yet. With the morning wound come the scan he mentioned. Now all she wanted to do was concentrate on following her feet and returning home safe and sound.


Commander Evan Merlin
Commanding Officer
Cold Station Theta

Commander Valeese Stacker
Chief Medical Officer
Cold Station Theta


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