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Commander Valeese | "Promissum"

Posted on Thu Sep 20th, 2018 @ 7:59pm by Commander Valeese Stacker

Mission: Lacuna

Little things. There were little things. Small hints, little sparks of thought, vespers and whispers that all curled and played and cavorted around begging to be noticed. They may as well have been fireflies tugging at her senses, flashing with delicate urgency that she pay attention – but Valeese had shooed them away just as easily. Denial may have had something to do with it. Her busy schedule may have had another helping hand… Science even supported her reason for not simply jumping straight to that conclusion – and the fireflies flickered on and grew in numbers.

That morning she’d been vain enough to use a dermal regenerator to heal a blemish on her chin. A blemish. An actual angry little red spot on her normally flawless skin and it was enough that she didn’t just hit it with concealer and powder and move on with life. No. She erased it with a regenerator and grumbled – chasing that little niggling reminder away with minor medical magic. It was simple enough, no harm no foul, and well within her rights and powers to do. Healing it was no different than healing an annoying papercut or minor scratch. Regardless, it had been its origin that troubled her most and she, like usual, was quick to dismiss the motion made by her psyche to inspect the evidence presented to the court by common sense.

By lunch she hadn’t felt her mood lift much. It stayed steady enough to allow her to motor through her tasks. A few physicals. A couple routine examinations of conditions that were healing. A conference between experts on bio-genetic weaponry and how the Romulans were allegedly trying to play with Terran flu viruses thought to be extinct – and how to protect the growing populous from that potential threat without going off the handle – all took up time and place and effort. Sitting there, toying with her cup of soup, Valeese couldn’t help but admit that she was tired. Worse… That there was something certainly up whether she wanted to turn and face it or not.

Routine examination, the last one prior to her break, had required a new nebulizing treatment tube be opened. The moment the pack’s wrap had come apart, the smell of plastic had been overwhelming – sealed in while still warm from manufacture. She’d smelled it a hundred-thousand times before if she’d smelled it once, but it had been her undoing. She’d vomited into the nearest sink much to the alarm of her asthmatic young patient. In between panting breaths and squeezing her eyes shut, begging for the wave of nausea to abate, she had done what she could to ease them. She’d tried a new breakfast biscuit on the promenade that morning, after all – must not have agreed with her. A small lie. She knew better. The fireflies had gone absolutely nuts, flashing all their little signs and they’d continued doing so right up to when she sat there staring at her soup. Cream of chicken and rice, she’d normally have enjoyed it right along with her still unpeeled orange and never thought any different – but today she couldn’t bring herself to even take a taste. Finally… Weeks of activity had paid off, she was beginning to listen – if only enough to recycle her meal and draw blood for analysis. A quick run, it would be ready in minutes.

It would be hours until she pulled her head out of her ass long enough to go analyze it. Hours upon hours that had her rise from bed in the wee hours of the morning, carefully extracting herself from the arms of her ever watchful ghost, and excusing herself down to her labs and office. “Shhhh… Go back to sleep,” She’d shushed, pressing her fingers to his chest when he’d tried to rise, “I got a call down to sickbay. I’ll be back before you know it.” A murmur, a sigh, a quick kiss – it killed her to lie to him… But it was half-truth. Something really was calling her down to that lab. Something that hadn’t let her fall asleep, but left her laying there in the dark crossing t’s and dotting I’s until there was no denying those damned fireflies any longer.

It still didn’t prepare her for the results of her analysis.

Sure… She was healthy. Extremely healthy. Everything was as it was supposed to be aside from the fact her estrogen and progesterone levels were off the chart, but perfectly normal for a woman who was entering her second trimester of pregnancy with a healthy singleton. Those results, glowing on the screen, were the only light in her office as she allowed herself to take a seat behind her desk. It wasn’t long before her head rested in her hands, her fingers coming through her hair as she blew a heavy sigh.

How? Easy. She’d been sleeping with the station’s chief Spook since before she’d been taken.

But how?! Hello… Earth of Valeese… Your body has gone through a rollercoaster ride of treatments and stresses, it’s been exposed to things that would have compromised birth control and it’s not exactly like you stopped him and said ‘hey bruh, no glove, no love’.

But HOW?! Just going to have to deal with it. It’s here. You can’t ignore it.

No… She couldn’t.

Pursing her lips, she closed her eyes and sat back, allowing her hands to fold on the desk in front of her as she gathered her thoughts. Pregnancy was a miracle, the spark of life, the promise of genetic immortality. Babies made her heart giddy and oh how she loved looking at them – but they weren’t hers and they certainly weren’t half-Vorta being born into an environment where being affiliated with that species automatically painted a brilliant target on their back. They were born into a relationship where there was two loving, doting, doe-eyed parents that were bonded in some way. Not born into a ‘relationship’ where they skirted around and jumped back and forth between beds and quarters to try and keep the brass guessing and people uncertain of the nature of their acquaintance. Stacker’s career would take a hit. Hard. She already knew that she was enough of a compromise, given that she was who and what she was. If it ever got out, ever made it past him, he’d be through… As would she.

Didn’t matter that she was protecting the fucking Federation from a maelstrom as they stumbled and bumbled around in an awkward waltz with the Ascendancy. They wouldn’t see it that way.

She could end it. She had the medical knowledge, the drugs… She could end it. She’d be sick for awhile, have to come up with some excuse or another, fob some records, but she could end it. It was the only way that things could go back to normal, that life could work out where no one got hurt. She’d already replicated the first hypo in what would be a series of three when she’d had that thought. where no one got hurt.

Bullshit. Someone definitely got hurt.

The hypo hit the desk with a crack and a skitter, her rolled up sleeve forgotten as she stood there in wide eyed disbelief of her own panic and stupidity. Someone would indeed get hurt. Two people, three, if Stacker were ever to find out. One would be gone, their life extinguished before they ever had a chance to live it simply because there was fear on behalf of party two who would live with that guilt for the rest of her damned existence. Party two who, by all means - both biological and philosophical - was supposed to be there to harbor and protect the life growing within her. And there she was… Poised to extinguish it. Why? Selfishness… Fear… Yes…. Fear.

She could feel her fingers shaking as she brought them to the rubber tourniquet she’d hastily tied about her bicep, plucking at the knot as her eyes fell to the screen, the chart, with her numbers on it. By the time it fell away, snapping undone at the first sign of slack and releasing the heavy flow of circulation meant to carry the drug like lightning into the rest of her blood stream, she could feel her lip beginning to tremble. Her knees were weak. Her stomach rolled in psychosomatic response to the mental stimuli and stress. Valeese barely made it to her chair before the first tears scorched their way from her ducts and slipped along her cheeks. In so many ways she hated herself at that moment for so many reasons, but the biggest one – the one that stayed at the forefront of her mind – had been lit by fireflies.

“I’m sorry…” She sniffled in a whisper, “It won’t happen again.” What wouldn’t? The fact she’d almost offed her offspring? The fact she’d denied their existence for that long when she, a doctor, should have known better? The fact she’d wholeheartedly screwed up? … Could life be a screw up? Licking her lower lip, she rested back into the deep confines of her chair. Illuminated by the glow of the chart, Valeese finally allowed a hand, shaking as it was, to lay at rest just below her belly button as if trying to conceal, and connect, with the flicker of life hiding somewhere beneath and blissfully unaware of just how close they’d come to death held by that same hand mere moments ago. There would be more questions. More panic. More fear. More of… More. The problems that would have been ‘solved’ remained, but at least they would all be alive in the end. There’d be pain, no doubt… This wasn’t a secret she could hide forever, though hiding it was paramount for the moment – but the how and the why would eventually work itself out and she simply couldn’t just disappear on a whim without panicking the station and Stacker. He’d come for her, no matter what, and then?

A deep breath tried to still a spinning mind and even faster pulse. She was pregnant. She, the first natural born Vorta after generations of genetic experiments and cloning, was pregnant with a child that owed half of its genetic makeup to a Human. The first was a miracle – life was a miracle – but the second was a marvel of science that begged for questions to be answered about genetics and common ancestors… Questions of the past begging to fulfill a future. Of course her brain would go there, as if trying to give her more reason to rest easy knowing she’d been given the gift of life and the title of ‘mother’. But, it gave rise to new fears that things were wrong. That there was some form of post-conception incompatibility that would leave the baby with a horrible quality of life.

Lucky you, you’re a doctor that can diagnose those problems, probably fix them too. she heard her inner monologue as it rose up to smack her upside the head once more. “Computer,” she barely trusted the sound of her own voice as she rested there, unable – and unwilling – to stand and move anywhere else, “Run obstetric diagnostic scan on patient Victor Alpha One Zulu, general anatomy and measurements.” It chirped compliance, but she almost thought she could hear the mechanism’s confusion as it did its job from where she sat, crumpled and boneless, in her seat. It wasn’t long at all before the screen in front of her desk shifted from that of her blood analysis to the realtime image of the stow away in question. An ear quirked towards it, her interest piqued as she watched the flicker of the baby’s heart ticking away at a breakneck pace. Growing was hard work, constant exercise. At 165 beats a minute, theirs was working perfectly. The sudden jerk of a very visible arm and squirm of an entire, curled up, little body was impossible to ignore. While she couldn’t feel the action physically, she ‘felt’ it emotionally and through her sniffles and her panic, she couldn’t help but smile and nod. Baby was indeed healthy.

“Single pregnancy measuring thirteen weeks 4 days exhibiting genetic and chromosomal markers from Human male and Vorta female lineage. Female fetus has well developed organs including a healthy four-chambered heart and three vessel umbilical cord. No genetic or physical anomalies detected. Amniotic fluid levels within normal parameters. Shall I print and document the scan for your report?”

The computer’s voice rose again, and Valeese shook her head before realizing she needed to verbalize an actual answer, “No, thank you. Please erase all records of this scan and any other medical records for patient Victor Alpha One Zulu obtained today.” A chirp later, the screen went dark and the image of her future disappeared, leaving her in the isolation of her office to contend with the myriad of thoughts and emotions running wild within her. That morning she had been content, though concerned with how to proceed with Stacker and whatever it was that they had between them – coming to grips with the fact she was so very much in love with him but such a relationship was costly and dangerous as far as she was concerned. Now? Now she was looking at a future in which she’d be bringing his daughter into the universe in a little under six months. A daughter, she was certain, he could never know about. She would need to leave Cold Station Theta before he figured out she was pregnant – transfer off… It would take some time, but she could buy it… Take it… Leaving him would be the hardest thing she’d ever have to do – but it was such a bold necessity.

The rest of the night would be spent like that. In the dark. Filled with thought and fighting through the tangled web of feelings and questions that continued, and would continue, to plague her. Come dawn she’d have a new excuse, take the day, sleep, and pretend as if it were business as usual even though she knew she was radically ticking down the clock towards heartbreak and ramping up the meter of betrayal. It was the kindest thing she could do, she kept telling herself, and that was simply the way things had to be.


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