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JDL | Cmdr Valeese, LtCmdr Stacker | "All of That" Pt 1

Posted on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 @ 2:46am by Commander Valeese Stacker & Commander James Stacker

Mission: The Round Table

Lunch was often quiet time for Valeese, and she often spent it absorbed in one report or another and confined within the safe silence of her office. Today was different in so far that she'd chosen to immerse herself in the sounds of a symphony, letting strings and woodwinds alike drown out the ever constant electrical thrum that came with the station. She'd nearly been asleep when there'd come a tapping at her door, but snoozing was quickly replaced by something new and better. Stacker stood in the door way, and all she could do was turn her head - caught - and offer him a shy smile, "Hi." The informal greeting felt and sounded right. Fitting. It worked.

"Hello there." Unlike her, he wasn't - yet - completely at-ease with complete and utter informality. There had been a few days in this newfangled state-of-being where he had woken wondering if the concealment of being that man, the ghost, would be missed. Would he rebel and try to fight his way back to the shadows? It was a troubling thought - one that didn't plague him now, though. He leaned against the doorway and pointed up at the ceiling with his left index finger, the whisper of a smile flitting around the corners of his mouth. "Interesting music. Much better than what I have to contend with in my department."

The little Vorta grinned and puffed a little sigh as she straightened her seat back up and nodded gently, "I have an affinity for Mozart." She replied with the gentlest of shrugs, "It's soft," she added, gesturing vaguely towards her ears as if to highlight the fact that her hearing was so incredibly sensitive. That gesture opened wider, rolling on her wrist as an invite for him to come on in and have a seat, "I can only imagine what they listen to down there. Death metal comes to mind, but I doubt you came all the way up here to wax philosophic on the merits of having an eclectic taste in music."

"No, I didn't, but you weren't too far off-the-mark," he conceded, as he unconsciously took her up on the unspoken invitation. Eyes flicked between the chairs in front of her desk; he picked the left one after a quick half-second of thought. Something about it looked more comfortable. "One of my new Bolian technicians has an affinity for music that could be considered death metal. I fear the rest of my junior personnel might be co-opted." His speech paused, head tilting slightly in momentary thought as he settled back in the chair. When he did resume speaking, there was a hint of amusement underscoring his words. "I don't suppose you could find a medical reason to ban the music?"

Her smile was wry as she reached for a PADD, "Of course I can. It's common knowledge that music affects mood and can prompt things like migraines when listened to in high stress situations like what I'm sure your people endure on a daily basis." The logic was flawless, but she stopped short of making it an official decree, "Unless of course you'd rather live with it?" Valeese asked, tapping a finger against the flawless plastic casing that framed the digital interface.

He stifled an involuntary urge to shudder, a memory of the dirge-like eerie wail that had ripped its way down a hallway in crew quarters still too fresh in his mind. It had gone up through the deck plating and into his office. No, that was definitely not something he wanted to relive. "A Borg tactical cube might be more preferable to that music," he said, perhaps a little wearily. The coffee he'd been sipping at the tip had wound up splattered across his desk, the computer, PADDs, and his uniform. And it still felt like five years had been taken off his life. He shook himself, stirring from his delve into the past, eyes alighting on the PADD in her hands.

The PADD came to life with the softest of touches and held the same affect as if she'd clicked the spring loaded end of a ball point pen, "Then consider it done. Kiss it goodbye." A few flicks of her fingers, the press of her thumb and the addition of her signature set their discussion into effect, "Doctor's orders" she added with a wink, and offered him the device. "While you're here, though... I do have a matter I figure should be taken up with you first." The smile didn't waiver, after all the topic was more of a mild nuisance than a true drama. "Some of your crew have been doing any and everything to miss their physicals. I apologize if I'm scary, but they do need to be done."

A momentary spurt of intense dissatisfaction shot through his veins, followed by a bout of intense self-criticism. Not everyone on the station had the ... 'unusual association' ... that he did with Valeese, but he wished that it wasn't the case with his own department. Although the longer he sat there and thought about it, the more he realized that the people most likely skipping their physicals were those from Core planets or junior personnel who thought they could get away with it if they produced enough excuses. There'll be a few surprised people, he thought, a wry look of amusement crinkling the corners around his eyes. "I think it's safe to say that you'll be seeing them very soon. Thanks for telling me."

"That's what I was hoping you'd say." She chuckled, shifting her weight in her seat. It would have been sheer ignorance on her part to believe that the combination of the title 'Doctor' with the species name 'Vorta' associated with it would produce anything less than panic, horror, and even anger. Most of the crew had come to terms with the fact that she called sickbay her turf, many having come to even accept her as a colleague and choosing the share smiles and nods and waves in passing rather than averting their eyes or reacting negatively. The Andorian Engineer came to mind with that one. She had no doubt that he'd dispose of her if he had half a second or open invitation to do so - luckily, Vorta were permanently out of season. "I promise to send them all back in one piece." She made light of the situation, though she knew he'd read between the lines. James Stacker wasn't a stupid man, after all.

"I'm sure nobody would mind a few missing toes. Well, maybe Starfleet Medical would mind, but I certainly wouldn't," he replied, rather breezily for him, as his mind picked over a few personnel files and came up with some likely candidates. The death-metal-brigade might include a few who were skipping appointments. He put the thought aside - tempting as it was to indulge - and leaned back in the chair, sliding the PADD from her into a holster attached to his belt. "Alternatively, you could feel free to subject them to intense lecturing on the necessity of regular medical checkups. I could even mandate department-wide training for my personnel, if you felt the need." That humorous look persisted around his eyes, and he had to resist the urge to chuckle as he thought about the looks of horror that might come his way. Mandatory training was never - well, there were a few cases who did seem to like it - something people looked forward to. Hours of training on time otherwise spent off-duty might surely drive the point home.

"I'll let them keep their toes... For now." Valeese scoffed, "Besides... The idea of psychological warfare by way of mandatory 'training'," Her fingers came up as if to quote the word, "Would do quite nicely." Indeed it would, but it was also likely that it would incite questioning within his gaggle of minions as to just why he was so complacent when it came to the so-called frivolous whims of the doctor. She brushed aside that air of mild paranoia, lambasting it with the point that medical testing and physicals were important and the policies surrounding them were hardly benign. It would be a cruel fate to ground a ghost simply because the spook was spooked by a little purple eyed pixie of a creature that wore a blue collared tunic. "I like the way you think." Indeed she did. Beneath him they would learn and learn fast if they were going to succeed in their given gray tagged field.

Stacker was unconsciously drumming an index finger on the armrest of the chair, as the whisper of the smile deepened at the unexpected compliment. "Yes, well ... as a department head I have to drive the point home, about the seriousness of medical checkups." The smile faded a little, but not by much. "I also have personal reasons - an uncle who's almost fanatical about missing appointments. Considering how many near-brushes with death he had in the marines, it's probably a good thing that you can at least corral him into going. It just takes a little work." The last was said with a slight shrug and a half-gesture with his hand and fingers. The look on his face brightened back to its original state. "I won't subject my personnel to his war stories. There's only so far I'm prepared to go in the name of 'motivation to succeed'."

Valeese's eyebrows rose in amusement as she watched and listened to him and the story about his recalcitrant uncle. "Aren't you just blessed all the way around." She teased with no chance of hiding her gutsy mirth. He was safe, she could poke and putrid and expect the same in return. If there was one thing the spook was blessed with, it was a thick skin and a surprisingly warm heart... Whether he wanted to admit to the latter or not.

"I'm not sure if it was a blessing or a curse having him as an uncle. When Starfleet converted the marines back to MACOs, he pitched six kinds of fits and opted to retire as a Colonel." It was his turn to raise his eyebrows. "Judging by how he tells the stories, you'd think Starfleet Command committed high treason." He leaned slightly to his right, palm of his left hand coming slightly back on the armrest. The position allowed him to tap-tap his index and middle fingers. It was a more relaxed poise - at least to him. "On the other hand he's a virtual repository of deployment and war stories. I think if he came here, half my department would flee in mortal terror at what he can tell them."

"A bit of both, probably." She couldn't help buck chuckle and shake her head in response, "I'd venture to say that there's never a dull moment, but now you know what's coming the moment he opens his mouth... More or less the Marine version of 'I walked sixteen miles in the snow uphill both ways to go to school..." routine." Valeese recited, walking her own fingers along her desk before pausing and realizing the ultimate element missing from her adage, "Only with more explosives, I'm sure." Her weight shifted in her seat once again, allowing her to perch her elbows on her desk and utilize her palms as a chin rest, "Maybe it wouldn't be such a horrible thing, you know, to have them temper them down a fair bit. It seems that most everyone believes that they're infallible out here in the black, that they have this whole thing figured out. It's almost charming, really." In some ways it was even fascinating for the little Vorta to watch so many people miss the big picture and fall complacent behind the combadge they wore, almost as if it would shield them from the darkness that dwelt all around them. Or perhaps that was just her own rabbit-like spatial awareness coming through, the one that kept her head on a swivel as she traveled day in and day out through the public spaces of the station. Just who was right and who was wrong, in this instance, remained to be seen. Regardless, she figured that meeting the old, crusty Marine would indeed be an intriguing moment... If it ever came to pass. It wasn't as if she expected it.

To Be Continued...

Commander Valeese
Chief Medical Officer

Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170


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