JDL | CDR J. Stacker, CDR V. Stacker | "We Can't Forget The Crackers"

Posted on Tue Feb 23rd, 2021 @ 5:35am by Commander James Stacker & Commander Valeese Stacker

Mission: A Distant Thunder
Location: CMO's Office | Deck 115 | Medical Section | Cold Station Theta
Timeline: SD 242102.22

Even after years aboard the station, the XO's visits to the station's Medical Section remained a rare occurrence. Given that it encompassed a full fifty decks of the facility it was something of an oddity. Maybe it was because it was run by his wife. Maybe it was that the section was so capably-run as to avoid warranting repeated visits, unless otherwise required. Or maybe it was just that he had other things to be doing than actively calling on Medical each and every day.

No matter how much the man might wish otherwise.

Had the section been on the off-hours his visit might have sent a stir through half-a-deck of Medical. And the gossip would spread from there, no doubt. To be discussed in canteens and between medical staff with nothing better to talk about in the course of their shift. But after the 'lunch rush'? He was seen, of course, but there were other things to do than gossip about Commander James Stacker disembarking from a turbolift car and making his own, efficient, way to the door emblazoned with the standard-issue Starfleet lettering pronouncing it to be the office of the Chief Medical Officer.

He leaned around the open door and glanced into the office.

"... In conclusion, though not my first hypothesis, it would seem that diabetes is possible within Klingons. A rarity, but a possibility as identified within the patient. My belief is that their standard diet being augmented by the availability of Terran sugar and other high glycemic index foods has presented a challenge to the patient's endocrine system which is undeniably not use to the barrage of sweets." The Doctor's voice trailed off as the flurry of motion was captured by her peripheral sight. A glance in its direction revealed the source and the source won an immediate smile out of both recognition and approval. A visit from him was always better than anything she count encounter in her work. Klingon diabetics included. "Computer, end log."

The PADD she'd been studying was turned off even before the computer could chirp its compliance, "Commander Stacker," Valeese greeted warmly, "To what do I owe the honor of your presence? Bar fight? Kelpian bite?" Her relative good humor was a solid change from the insanity of the night before.

"No and no, Commander Stacker," he gently teased back in his own way, as he pushed off the doorframe, coming up from the lean he'd taken while quietly watching her working on that log, and stepped fully into the office. "Operations is quiet for the time being. And I thought I owed you a visit in your office." The chair facing her desk creaked, albeit slightly, as he settled into it, the corner of his mouth skewed up and showing his own good humor at just merely seeing her happy and in her element.

"I suppose turn about is fair play." The Vorta nodded. Of course the last time she'd wandered into his office it had been anything but a chaste little meeting. His body language now was the very antithesis of what she'd encountered that day just scant weeks ago. There was no denying it as much as there was no denying that she herself was far more relaxed and far more happy than she had been. The devil, she noted, was also mostly absent from the workings of their lives - though she had no doubt that he'd creep up and return about the same time the Vindicator did.

"Speaking of Operations, I've heard word that 78213 is returning." She knew the hull number would resonate and click quickly within the man's pragmatic and analytical brain. The need for quick code was a steady reminder that the door was still open and she found her feet in pursuit of tending and remedying that little problem. "MacLeod has made some interesting discoveries..." The door closed, and it was just as well. For the most part it sounded like she was discussing colleagues with her husband. No shame, conspiracy, or crime in that. The return trip still left her equipped with a smile - even as she deviated off course and deposited herself sideways in the Ghost's lap instead of back in her chair, "Rather, the crew found interesting discoveries and he has made them even more interesting. I'll have to run the samples again just to be completely sure, but it's looking interesting none-the-less."

He had known it would happen. Or at least strongly suspected. It was why he had avoided crossing his legs. Within seconds of her settling into his lap his hand had run up her side and held her like that. The first matter to attend to was obligatory, yet he took pleasure in being able to kiss her - without anyone wandering by and seeing the two together. "That's definitely interesting news," he finally said, when they had separated, hand flexing on her opposite side and lightly brushing up-and-down. "Dare I ask what these discoveries are?"

He was awarded with a return kiss and a quiet hum of appreciation. Kisses and warm touches had been a good measure of the reason why Valeese had chosen to steal his lap as a seat, the ability to use hushed tones while speaking had been the other. All was fair in the game they'd engaged in and she'd have been lying if she'd claimed she didn't enjoy the chance to be near him. "Potential Romulan involvement, but it's too early to say whether Ravnsson is working with them or not." She shrugged gently, "Especially with the news that Emperor Tr'Verelan has returned to the Ascendancy and their over all mistrust of the entire situation."

James made a thoughtful sound, mind flicking back to that morning's briefing. A very dry affair as always, although this morning it'd been a fair bit livelier. "I'd heard about the return of the Emperor. Can't say I was thrilled to hear about the Romulan fleet at his back, either. Normally that'd never be a good sign, but with Ravnsson in the mix ..." A vaguely-disgusted look crossed his face: there and gone again in a second flat. He opted not to continue down that rabbit hole. The man had held sway over their lives for long enough. He would not give him more 'airtime' in her office.

His mind turned back to other things. "I trust you'll let me know if you find out more details?" he said, before pressing another light kiss, of his own appreciation, home.

"The Ascendancy is not involved and has no ties to Ravnsson. Seeing how the Emperor wasted the entire Senate for threatening the Empress... Ravnsson wouldn't be a welcome thought." Offering the guarantee as a whisper against his lips, Valeese gently stroked a finger along the Ghost's jaw. Allowing his mood to shift wasn't something she was willing to do. Ravnsson had already stolen away a heavy portion of their time and she wasn't willing to part with more than she absolutely had to. "But you don't officially know any of that. Not a word."

"Know anything of what?" he said, a tad gravely, before the lighter humor permeated his voice again. He spoke quietly against her lips, unwilling - unwanting - to move away. Not a foot, not an inch, not a millimeter. It faintly occurred to him that he'd been in the office for only a few minutes and already they were rooted this close to one another. He dismissed the thought and continued to quietly revel in the comfort. "Not a word will be said to anyone, my dear."

"That's what I thought." She nearly chirped, reluctantly moving her mouth from his and depositing a more cheeky kiss to the tip of his nose. It was entirely way too easy to allow herself to be consumed by him, to get lost in him. It would always be a mystery to her, the way he'd become so utterly intoxicating - part of the measure was undoubtedly the way he was a constant reminder of enduring faith and trust. She could rely on him to keep her secrets safe no matter what the occasion may have risen to be. That realization in and of itself was a rather violent change to how she'd felt closer to the beginning of their relationship.

It was strange how the mind worked - one memory jogging another before skirting back and wrapping around the present with surprising parallels. It wasn't often she kept anything from him any longer. Hours seemed too long when it came down to it - but the morning had called for a small element of careful consideration more for her own sake than his. The finger on his jaw settled against the gruff beard at his chin, "What else do you know?" She challenged, coyly. It was a perfect segue into the rest of her news, giving her a solid base to anchor herself to rather than resorting to tactlessly blurting things out.

He was, all-in-all, taken a tad aback by the question and the challenge. "What do I know?" he echoed back at her. The fingers on her waist stilled their movement and settled for merely holding her, now, while his eyes narrowed a tad at her before relaxing. He made a thoughtful sound. "I think someone," he said, punctuating it with a finger tap-tapping her waist, "has a secret to share with me. Definitely a good kind of secret, given how positively bubbly you are right now. Bubbly, almost flirtatious, clearly enjoying your seat." For a half-moment he fought instinct that would have taken him down a more distracting road. It was tempting. But something else was afoot, so for now he foreswore that other option to remain there in the moment.

"I think someone needs to spill the secret."

"A secret to share with you?," She couldn't help but grin, "You already knew all about the Romulan tech that Tr'Verelan brought back to the Ascendency and then you accused me of being bubbly and flirtatious. Apparently you already have a finger on absolutely everything there is know, Commander Stacker." It felt damn good to continue the tease, to revel in the outright bliss of being able to put things like Ravnsson out of their minds and concentrate on enjoying life and all that came with it. Even as the finger left its seat under his chin and dropped to trace the gray edge of his collar in absolute agreement with his observation of her flirtatious nature, Valeese couldn't help but positively revel in the interaction.

"Maybe I do, Commander Stacker," he said as he felt the minute shift of fabric around his neck. A feeling that told him exactly where her finger was and what she was doing. There was something affirming about being able to share this moment in time with her, free of all responsibility for the next few minutes. Stealing time to be with his wife, in the middle of the workday. Another shift of fabric tugged him back to the moment. Two can play this game he thought, as he nudged her head to one side and slowly kissed the side of her jaw. A move which threatened to go lower, and onto a fabric-covered neck he knew to be all-too-sensitive.

"I'd like to know more, however," he whispered, knowing full well the sound would carry to that delicate fan-like ear. "Or should I tease this secret out of you?"

There was a soft, surprised and appreciative little hiss as she surrendered to his mouth against her skin. An unfair move that was banned from the game - or should have been and so deliciously treacherously hadn't been. Her ear twitched in response to the soft stimuli of his voice and the threat it carried, reminding her that she most certainly was not the only expert on the subject of teasing out information. "Careful now, Commander." She husked in playful warning, tugging at the insignia of his rank where it rested over his pulse.

He made a sound that was equal parts skeptical and amused, right as his index finger hooked over the collar of her uniform and pulled it down. The action exposed her skin to the air. More importantly it also exposed her skin to the lips that promptly found it and pressed home. Clearly that playful warning was being disregarded. This was reinforced a moment later when his lips detached from her and he could speak again. "What happens if I'm not careful?"

Leave it to him to turn her own game against her.

The thick veil of Valeese's coal-colored lashes fell halfway over her eyes, concealing the way he bright purple of them had darkened considerably with thanks to the stimuli he'd presented. She knew the Ghost knew exactly what he was doing, what buttons to push to obtain his desired results, and the lack of remorse he held for doing such things. She also knew that, if allowed to go unbridled, it would result in an admittedly delightful situation where there was no loser to be found - even if he'd be a bit more smug for it.

Shifting her weight and position with a heavy measure of care, the Vorta soon came to straddle his lap, her knees taking up residence on the seat of his chair on either side of his hips and thighs. It was easier to see him this way, and she took note of the mirthful glitter in his eyes; the look of a man who was thoroughly enjoying his play towards victory even as his wife rested her finger tips against his chest and brought her mouth closer to his, "Secrets are created." she finally responded in a fashion most nonchalant and stole from him the briefest of kisses.

It took a moment for him to work through that response and process it fully. First came the confusion at the apparent segue. The fact that his lips were still tingling from that stolen kiss did not help. Next came the words being linked together: her comment just now, and what had been going on before the temperature in the room had jumped tens of degrees, headed towards a boil. The mirthful look in his eyes slowly dissipated as he focused more attention to thought and the puzzle handed to him just now.

When it clicked together it was obvious in the way his eyes widened and snapped around to lock on hers. Seeing the way they were still half-shrouded. Unexpected as this was - although he should have expected a development like this, given his behavior of weeks before - it was obvious that his world had been rocked. Again. But the genuine smile that spread across his face showed just how he viewed this piece of information. As did the kiss that followed. One that was far, far, longer than any thus far to date, with every ounce of feeling he had for her - for them, both her and the 'new stowaway' - poured into it.

And just like that, the bubble popped.

In truth she'd half expected her telling comment to sail succinctly over his head. When it didn't, when she saw him grab hold of it and mentally examine it, it was hard not to smile and admire how that analytical mind worked. The smile he ultimately melted away into was worth the wait, and perhaps one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen. It was infectious, wonderful, and thoroughly consuming in as many ways as the kiss that followed it was. Both were things Valeese happily surrendered to, draping her arms across his shoulders and returning it for all she was worth until oxygen deprivation threatened to become a thing. "So, Commander," She barely recognized her own voice as she rested her forehead against his, "What have we learned?"

His eyes looked into hers at that oh-so-close range, hands and arms going around her lower back. Holding her close. "That tossing away that package was the best move I've ever done, Commander. That we're going to have to think of a new name." He thought for a moment, then quirked an eyebrow at her. "Also crackers will be returning to a certain someone's nightstand."

"You're very astute." She half-laughed, allowing herself to stroke the back of his neck, "Very astute indeed." If course he was. It was one of many things that had drawn her to him like a moth to a flame - but never once had he burned her. Incinerated, maybe, but in only the most lovely of ways that left her completely and utterly addicted to the man.

He made a sound of agreement and murmured some words before kissing her yet again. "Crackers. We can't forget the crackers."

=/\= End Log =/\=

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

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