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JDL | COM Ravnsson, CDR J. Stacker, CDR V. Stacker | "Nightmare and Aftermath"

Posted on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 @ 11:20pm by Commander James Stacker & Commander Valeese Stacker

Mission: A Distant Thunder
Location: Stacker Quarters | Intelligence Section | Deck 805 | Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 242102.20

Beating the Ghost home wasn’t extraordinarily difficult. Most evenings he put in an extra hour here, stayed a half hour there, but was always front and center by dinner and always with Rune in tow having picked her up from daycare. She, on the other hand, was extraordinarily punctual, usually sending him a note or a quick contact to inform him when she was going to run behind schedule - even if she knew he wasn’t going to be there when she arrived. It was a measure of trust and also a measure of self preservation in the strained political environment they’d been embroiled in.

One couldn’t be too careful.

He’d pressed that point home any number of times. She didn’t need to hear it again. At this point there was no need for further counseling on the subject - it wasn’t paranoia driving their need for safety. It was a cold, hard, unadulterated fact that they were being watched and, as he so eloquently put it, she was being hunted.

It was a slow hunt. A game of cat and mouse that left her looking over her shoulder as she went on her way even through the most secure parts of the station. The Promenade had long since been discarded as a primary avenue of travel or commerce, she’d learned her lesson about it years ago. It was too easy to be lost in the crowd and become a victim to some faceless demon bent on fulfilling some sort of racially inspired fantasy crime. Her eyes closed as she discarded the thought, remembering all too well the times she’d managed to find herself at the wrong end of just such an equation.

Running water was quick to steal her attention, the cold of it a shock against her hands as she directed them and the lettuce she was working with under the faucet. It was a silly, mundane habit that she’d never been able to shake. Vegetables didn’t need a quick rinse, salads could be easily conjured and ordered. But there was something wonderful about cool, crisp, still wet lettuce in a hand made salad - and she was starving.

That was how she missed the sound of a loose floorboard creaking in announcement of his arrival. To him, the sound positively echoed through the relatively still, unnaturally dark living space. Each step he took towards her felt like a journey in and of itself. It was as though time itself had slowed, that moment, so heavy with its importance, seemed to weight the very elements down. Briefly, he wondered if she could feel it too - the pummeling thick, humidity of poignancy that wafted around them and threatened to suffocate them both.

She didn’t.

She was too swept up in making dinner and daydreaming, maybe tired out from her long shift and the sudden shift of hormones creating chaos in her veins. It made him sick to think about. Sicker yet to believe that she had managed to be his undoing. Her. A Vorta. Working with the Empress of the Stenellian Ascendency. A spy. Had managed to undo everything he’d worked so very hard to achieve. The way she’d run to her beloved pet, a man she’d managed to dug into the dark recesses of hell right alongside her, with news of Ivanova’s death… It had set off a chain of events that systematically ruined him.

Except for one thing.

There was still no sign of Ivanova. She was dead.

It was a small consolation prize knowing that people were steadily becoming more suspicious and steadily working to connect the dots. Her husband, the fool, had stupidly trusted men that he believed worked for him. Aksel could have laughed out loud at that one, and likely would have if it wouldn’t have spooked his prey. The point remained that Stacker had violated his oath and chose to willfully disobey direct orders. There were punishments for those who disobeyed the man of ash. They paid bitterly, usually with their own lives. But there were worse pains in life than death, and Stacker had already given away his hand when it came to what would hurt him most.


The little, elegant, beautiful little Vorta. She was his achilles heel, the trump card that, if injured or missing, brought the whole house down.

He didn’t know if simply chloroform worked on her species, he didn’t rightly care either. Truth of the matter was that he didn’t need it, it would just make it easier if he took the edge off of her just in case she chose to do to him what she’d done to one of his Naussicans. She was still going over vegetables and washing them when he brought the soaked rag up and over her shoulder, effectively covering her nose and mouth with one massive, gloved hand. His free hand reached to grab one of her arms, effectively twisting it behind her back and jerking her tight to his chest and closed the distance between them, pinning her body between his and the biting edge of the counter top.

Valeese bucked against him, struggling and screaming into the rag. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, and the panic she felt was real and tangible, cold and undeniable. Her free hand reached to claw at his hand only to find it gloved and his shirt tucked down into the wrist of the offending garment. Her last resort was to reach for his face, trying to find it, trying to dig her nails into it as she felt her movements becoming more and more sluggish and her heart began to pound louder and louder in her delicate ears.

Aksel, being a smart man with hundreds of years of experience, dodged her nails with ease. His face tucked under her hair and pressed into her fragrant neck while she feebly and lamely fought against both him and her fate. “Shhh,” He whispered, pressing a kiss against the feeling of her racing pulse, “It’s better this way.”

She was nearly limp when he turned and shoved her roughly back out into the dining room. Her body hit one of the elegant high back chairs, slamming it against the table as it tipped forward and she clung to it for dear life. Her hair obscured most of her vision having flown into her face during her rough and sudden stop, but she could still hear him as he came towards her. The lack of oxygen, chloroform, and sudden surge of adrenaline clashed together in her system and her faithful balance and grace eluded her once more as she tried to make a break for the door only to tumble onto the carpeted floor over the living room in a heap. Fear barely had time to make itself known to her before he was on top of her, flipping her onto her back and ripping at her clothes with what felt like mechanical force. "Why?!" She managed to choke out, struggling beneath him, punching at his chest and anything else she could reach.

All the while, she mentally screamed at herself for her own stupidity. There was a reason she shouldn't be alone, and that reason was becoming painfully clear. That reason was now pinning her to the beautiful oriental rug she just had to have and tearing her duty slacks and panties off her hips.

Forcing her thighs apart with one of his knees, Aksel closed a hand around her silken throat in a vice grip. It effectively pinned the little hellcat and further starved her of much needed air. He was in control now, not her. "I want him to know he was beaten." The man of ash hissed, feeling her arch away from him as he claimed her body for his, "I want him to know that there is no world, no universe that he will ever beat me." The El-Aurian nearly growled as he grabbed hold of her slender waist with his free hand and drug her hips up and tighter to him. There was no finesse, no gentle romance, no care for her in any way. It wasn’t meant for pleasure, it was meant as a sign of dominance and a destruction of territorial bounds. A lesson to be taught and well heeded.

One Commander James Stacker would understand full and well.

There was a moment of clarity that came with the acceptance of absolute powerlessness, and Valeese had found that paralytic state. The power of his grip crushing her windpipe rendered her voiceless. She couldn't breathe. She couldn't fight. She knew she was helpless to stop the way he used her body. All she could hear was her own heart as it roared in his ears. The sound was deafening, like thunder, and each savage movement of the rutting bastard atop her only served to shove her psyche deeper into the bleak shell within her.

From there her pretty amaranthine eyes began to glaze over as he took her, and she swiftly became near catanotic while the searing hot pain of her deepest and most intimate of wounds worsened. And then, mercifully, it was over. He broke free from her and slid his hands to her shoulders while she lay shuddering, broken and whimpering against the scratchy fibers of the rug. She was only vaguely aware of his fingers tightening more firmly against her flesh until he lifted her limp body up towards his and stroked the rich raven of her hair for a moment.

"You will pass him that message." Aksel whispered into her ear. Valeese had no time to think or react before he slammed her body down onto the floor hard enough that it both knocked the wind from her and sent her head bouncing off the carpet. A whole new sensation of pain enveloped her, but still... The blessed darkness would not come. He lifted her again, effortlessly into his arms, and navigated the darkened quarters as though he knew every room by heart. What felt like hours passed in the reality of just a few seconds before she was tossed indifferently onto the bed and he worked quickly, efficiently, stripping the sheets from beneath her as though they were sheets of paper instead of soft fabric.

As he worked, something inside Valeese still sparked her urge for survival. Momentarily distracted by ripping the Stackers' 120-thread count percale sheets to shreds, Aksel did not take notice as she rolled onto her side and inched towards the edge of the bed. Her teeth found her lip, stifling the whimpering that threatened to rise from the searing pain spreading from her core through her abdomen.

Her leaden limbs failed to take her far before he had finished the task at hand and once again focused his steely eyes on her.

"Oh no, sweetheart, you won't have to go anywhere to pass this bit of intel along," Aksel said calmly, as if he were tutting a reprimand to a child that had tried to duck out on a lesson. His hands were on her a fraction of an instant later, wrapping their fingers around her ankles and jerking her toward him while she clawed weakly at the bed in vain, looking for any crevice or edge for which to anchor herself.

Annoyed and dismayed as her cries suddenly began a new, increasing in volume in a constant plea for Stacker and for help, Aksel lunged and flipped her once more onto her back, pinning her down against the mattress with his hand over her mouth. “He won’t be here for another half hour.” He smiled down at her, “I’m going to let you go now and you’re not going to scream. It’s hopeless, soundproofing, remember?” He vaguely gestured to the dusk-lit room around them, “but when I let you go… I’ll give you one chance to plead your case, Vorta. Ready?”

She nodded quickly.

No sooner did the hand release her face than she panted two words that she prayed were both still true and relevant enough to stop what she was certain would be her death; “I’m pregnant.”

"Congratulations. Does he know?”

Her head shook, “Not yet. I was going to tell him tonight.”

“We'll have to find a new way to tell the proud papa, won't we?" With that Aksel thrust a small section of the sheet into her mouth and secured it forcefully behind her throbbing head, wrestling as she fought him every step of the way. She was screaming again, this time muffled, but out of sheer irritation with the sound he rapped his fist against her temple hard enough that she fell limp and stunned. Within minutes, her wrists and ankles were bound and she lay sprawled and vulnerable on the bed. The one place she used to seek solace and comfort had become the very definition of Hell's Cradle.

The misery simply refused to end there. Over the galloping rush of her own heart, Valeese could hear the sound of metal being extracted from a sheath of some sort, and for the first time in the dark room she could see her murder weapon glinting in Aksel’s hand. Even stunned, she squirmed desperately, futilely, while he brought it against her skin.

The little Vorta froze as the blade was benignly drug from the hollow of her throat, between her breasts, and down across the still taught plain of her belly. Aksel’s smile, sadistic and cold, was all she needed to see to know his plan and it didn't take long for him to follow through and prove her worst horrible fears, right. A scream that was anything but human in origin tore at her throat as he sent the serrated blade down into her lower belly, gouging through her creamy smooth skin.

Crimson blood, hot and rich, bubbled forth from the wound as the El-Aurian twisted his knife and finally extracted it, tossing it onto the bed beside her. It was a calling card with no attempt made to hide the fact he’d just left a man’s entire world shattered and laying in a quickly forming pool of blood. What had once been Stacker’s now belonged to Aksel in the most intimate and cruel of ways. Forcefully taken, ruined, and snatched away just as his success had been by the meddling agent turned station XO.

“I think my congratulations may have been a bit premature, Commander.” The man of ash held no emotion in his voice as he pushed himself back off the bed and admired his handiwork. She was bleeding profusely from the gaping wound smack dab in the middle of the saddle of her pelvis, shaking, and presumably sobbing or gasping from behind her gag. “I really wish I could stay for tea, but I am a rather busy man. I’m sure you understand.”

And then he was gone, leaving her to suffer her slow death as shock steadily began to take hold and life began to drain. She could hear her heart stuttering as he fought valiantly to keep her body circulating with a depleted supply of blood.

By the time Stacker returned home, she was nearly gone. She could hear the sound of the door, his footsteps, and his initial panicked call for her. No doubt the living room and kitchen told a tale of horrors. His footsteps became a run as he bolted for the bedroom and she could hear the sound of his breathing quicken and become raspy as he first lay eyes on her.

He was screaming her name, untying her, pressing a hand against her belly in an attempt to staunch the flow of blood. He was begging her to stay with him, praying to a god she didn’t know he believed in, stroking her face and trying to get her to look at him through her unfocused eyes - and all she wanted to do was disappear and spare him from the message Aksel Ravnsson had forced her to deliver.

Sweet darkness finally became her salvation.


Valeese was screaming at the top of her lungs as she threw herself from her nest of covers. Her hip hit the night stand on her side of the bed as she fought her way free of sheets and pillows and what may have been an arm trying to hold her as sank to safety of the floor, clutching her stomach as the nightmare slowly loosened its grip on her subconscious. A shaking hand swiped slowly at an errant strand of hair stuck to her sweat slicked forehead, her purple eyes wide as they searched the dark for any sign of blood or tethers or Aksel Ravnsson. None were to be found, but it didn’t stop her from grasping at her belly and searching for the ghastly wound that had ended her life in her dream as she panted and sucked great heaving breaths of air into her panicked lungs.

The screaming, accompanied as it was by the sudden telegraphing of motion through the mattress, and the sudden ejection of her body from his until-now comforting and wrapped-around arm, triggered a predictable reaction from her husband. His eyes were the first thing to open. Judging by how quickly they shot open it was apparent that her vocal distress had registered within a second. The sheets were flung aside by one arm as his stocky frame simultaneously rolled the other way, letting him slam a fist into the drawer of his nightstand. This caused the spring-loaded reaction to engage and send the drawer shooting out, leaving a phaser within comfortable grasping range.

"Computer, lights!" he roared in a voice that would've done his drill instructors proud, even as his fingers closed around the comforting grip of the phaser and it started to lift up out of the drawer, safety off and the whine of the weapon starting to reach his ears. Every light in the room blazed to life in a harsh white glare as the squat, stubby, barrel of the weapon whipped around to train on the door, the man lying on his back with two firm hands on the grip, thumb on the firing stud, and his heart pounding a mile a minute.

It felt like it took forever for her sensitive eyes to try and adjust from the dark to the garish bright light. She didn't bother shielding herself from it, instead she took full advantage to study herself and - only when she was completely certain she wasn't mortally wounded - the rest of the bedroom. No Ravnsson. No blood. No panic stricken Ghost begging her to stay alive. She heaved a trembling breathy moan of exasperation and a new found and growing sense of embarrassment that left her ears feeling hot even with her hands were still ice cold with adrenaline all of her own.

Slowly, she curled her legs beneath her. They weren't yet trustworthy enough to attempt to stand on, but they elevated her enough to where she could look over the top of the badly disheveled bed. On the other side, she could see him, tense and alert, scanning their surroundings with a critical eye and tight jaw. "It's ok..." She practically whimpered, still all too aware of the sound of her own heart galloping wildly along in her chest, "Just an awful, horrible dream." The lucidity of it, the memories and realness of the sensations, made her want to vomit as she perched there and slowly drug the comforter off the bed and around her shaking body.

Wide-open eyes had already reached a similar conclusion, but the information was still processing. Her words aided that. After a few more thundering heartbeats he took a breath and pried his fingers apart. Carefully the thumb came off the trigger and tapped the safety stud behind it. The weapon itself made a snicking sound when he tucked it back into the holder in the drawer. Before he moved across the bed towards her on hands and knees, legs sweeping around when he reached the edge and slid off it to the floor.

One look was all it took to convince him that she was badly rattled. The comforter was a rather bulky affair but even so he could see the trembling through it. Could see the trembling in her face and how her hands were shaking. Only a few seconds later he was wrapping his arms around her, comforter and all. "Please don't scare me like that again," he found himself saying purely on instinct. It was something which, on immediate contemplation, he agreed with wholeheartedly, body, mind, and all. His jaw pressed in close to her hair and the side of her head. "I'm sorry you had the dream."

"Not something I could control." She whispered back from somewhere within the cottony cocoon she'd created for herself, allowing another deep breath when he enveloped her into his embrace. It was another protective shell - the best kind. It was just another layer of safety that tugged her back into the here and now and further away from the hell of her wild dream state imagination. It was still so shocking, so vivid. "You can't let him win, James. You can't let him figure out what you're doing because he'll come for you and he'll..." She choked on the dryness of her own mouth, swallowing the knot in her throat before continuing, "he'll come for us and he'll hurt you the worst way he knows how and I don't want him to use me to send that message or, or cut..." Babbling at about a mile a minute, the insidious dream spilled from her lips and found her feeling constricted by the comforter enough to where she peeled it away and more or less clung to her husband.

Something at his mind pricked at him in the way she stumbled and choked over those words. Also the way they ended, and the way the comforter was discarded for closer access. This isn't quite her, the warning light seemed to whisper to him. He wanted to ponder it and explore that feeling niggling at the edges of his mind. But the cautionary tone, and what it brought with it, was swiftly put aside: replaced by a chill that ran down his spine as he realized who had evidently featured front-and-center in her nightmare.

It took self-control to keep the grimace off his face and to keep from holding her even more tightly. That bastard. Now he's in her nightmares?! "He won't win," he said, wishing he felt the confidence deep inside in the words he was saying. He took a breath and shifted his hands, letting the fingers spread wide across her back as she continued to cling to him. "I'll stop him, however I can." What can I do? he asked himself. Instinctual answer told him to keep doing what he was doing. Don't let her go. Grab the comforter and pull it up around them to protect her. A hand detached from her back to follow this sage advice.

There was a small, almost imperceptible nod of her head as she sucked in a deeper breath and slowly released it in a bid to regain her composure and poise. Panic didn't suit her. She made mistakes when she panicked and in situations like the one she found herself in, mistakes could easily prove deadly. If anything, the night had highlighted every single one of her vulnerabilities, likely the Ghost's as well, and as he tugged the shroud of the comforter back up and around them she struggled to find words of encouragement. They simply wouldn't come. "I want you to, but not at the risk of your life." of our lives, She whispered into his neck, "You can't do this alone."

He paused to digest this, even as his hands ran up her back. In the end he was forced to, again, concede that she was right. "I don't like it, but you're right again. Hopefully, though, I won't be alone for too much longer." Hope. He didn't like that word, let alone the fact that he had to use it under these circumstances and in this context. The idea of relying on chance coincidence to work in his favor didn't sit well with him. Had never sat well, in fact. But what else could he do? At the time it occurred he had simply been out of ideas and options. So he had seized on the moment with both hands and prayed it would work out.

Prayer. Something else he wasn't good at. This latter thought was brushed aside as he came back to the moment and feeling of her attempting to inhabit the same physical space as him. It was comforting, really. Or would be under other circumstances, he thought as he pressed a kiss into her hair.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Commodore Aksel Ravnsson
Commander, Starfleet Intelligence
Commander, Section 31


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


Commander Valeese Stacker
Chief Medical Officer
Cold Station Theta (Starbase 1170)


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