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Changing of the Guards

Posted on Fri Feb 26th, 2021 @ 3:36pm by Vice Admiral Veristi Nuecylle & Captain Indrala Xerix & Staff Warrant Officer Maven Standiford

Mission: Swarm
Location: Arboretum, Deep Space Twelve

The USS Icarus bolted through space at a pace so many times beyond light that the stars were no longer visible. Quantum slipstream travel was still relatively novel within Starfleet, with only a handful of ships able to hurl themselves through space at such a ludicrous speed.

Admiral Veristi Nuecylle sat in the captain’s seat of the Dauntless-class vessel, an alien design meant to doom the crew of the USS Voyager to a life of hell among the collective consciousness of the Borg. Now with some slight modifications, the corvette served as the admiral’s flagship and the fastest ship currently in Starfleet.

“Mister Vogel, when will we arrive?” The Kerelian asked his helm officer.

Wilhelmina rechecked the Icarus’ course and speed quickly before responding. “Less than twenty eight minutes, Admiral. We will appear on Deep Space Twelve’s sensors in...eleven minutes.” She answered.

“Transmit nothing but our authorization code. I don’t want anyone spoiling the surprise.” He told the comms officer.

A short while later, the Admiral was walking through the massive arboretum. The comms officer had informed him that a reception was being held but hadn’t said exactly where.

Still, after spending too much time aboard ship, the long walk in the cool, simulated evening air was decidedly pleasant.

Finding a large glass structure with the telltale din of a decently-sized crowd, Nuecylle straightened his uniform and entered.

The room was too loud, of course. But to Kerelian ears, most rooms were too loud. The party-goers seemed to be so engrossed in their conversations that they failed to realize that a flag officer had entered the room.

The Admiral found his quary, standing next to a rather tall Yeoman at some distance from the rest of the room. She was wearing a blue ballgown and her hair was set with delicate blue gemstones.

He approached the two women, surprised neither of them had noticed him yet. “Hello Indrala, nice to see you again.” He said. His voice was warm and rich, and smooth as velvet.

The Betazoid’s eyes flared in surprise “Veristi!...I mean, Admiral Nuecylle. You’ve caught me off guard.” Indrala said. She looked better than he remembered.

“Admiral, I’m Yeoman Standiford, sir. I must have missed a communication about your arrival. My apologies.” Maven offered.

“There’s no need to save face for your Captain, Standiford. No one knew I was coming. By design.” Nuecylle replied.

He reached for a champagne coup, savoring the effect his unexpected presence was having on the two women. To his delight, the sounds of an Andorian percussion band tickled his ears.

“This is a lovely event, Captain Xerix. I see your skills as a hostess are still firmly intact. Though nothing will quite match those yacht parties” Nuecylle said, a grin possessing his face when he caught Indrala’s blush.

The tall Yeoman cleared her throat. “I’ll just go...sort out some accommodations for the Admiral. Excuse me.” Said Standiford.

The pair watched her leave, Indrala seizing the moment to compose herself.

***Flashback to 2385, Yacht ‘Opulence’ in orbit around Planet Balancar***

Indrala entered the yacht’s sky lounge, so named for its panoramic views. Currently a large, silver-green hued planet took up much of the view.

“Hurry up with those drinks, Vee. And don’t forget Grenk’s beetlesnuff.” Said the Kerelian.

He looked her in the eyes, despite most of the others in the room gazing at her nearly naked form. She set the drinks down near each of the players and lit the Kerelian’s pipe.

“I’m afraid I’ve taken some losses tonight, Vee. You don’t mind doing some side work, do you?” He said, causing the others to burst out laughing.

The realization of what he implied made her cheeks flush crimson. She was going to kill him if they made it through this evening safely.

“Don’t worry about your losses, Genthos. I have some cargo I need brought to me…from Remus. You pick it up and bring it to me safely and we’ll speak no more of it.” Said the woman in blue.

“Oh and I suppose the Romulans are just going to notice me traipsing across their border and shrug their shoulder-pads? And let’s pretend a moment that I acquired this cargo safely. Where would I be delivering it to?” Asked the Kerelian, taking a long drag off of his pipe.

An image of a base built into the side of a large meteor flashed into Indrala’s mind. The reason no one ever found the base is because it sat in a moving object.

“You don’t need a delivery point until you have something to deliver. Unless you’d care to cut your losses. I’ll take the yacht...and the girl.” The woman said flatly.

The Kerelian cast a lopsided grin at Indrala and winked, his eye contact making her feel more naked than any lack of clothing could. She merely gave a small nod.

“I don’t think so, madam. I’ll make your delivery.” Said the Kerelian. He took a data rod from the woman and stood to dismiss his guests.

After the last one had transported off the yacht, the Kerelian’s face changed completely. Gone was the devil-may-care playboy and back came the calculating Intelligence officer.

“I’m activating shields, let’s not have any returning guests. You’re sure you know where it is? I thought we would need a bit more than that.” He said.

Indrala was too transfixed on her screen to reply. Nuecylle waited with an expectant look on his spotted brow.

“She only thought of it just once all evening. The base is built into a meteor. It’s literally a moving target.” Indrala said slowly.

“A...meteor, Lieutenant? Do you know how many meteors are in this sector of space alone?” Veristi asked, frustration coloring his melodic voice.

“Yes, a meteor. One that happens to be venting sulphurous methane...I’ve narrowed it down to four, sir.” The Betazoid said confidently.

Veristi slid up behind her and put his hands on her bare shoulders. “Four? I’m a bit disappointed. I thought surely a Daughter of Betazed could get better intel than that.” He teased.

Indrala spun around and shoved Nuecylle, knocking him into the couch behind him. “And I thought the suave Kerelian with the big brain could contrive a better backstory than a naked slave girl and a tacky yacht. Looks like we are both disappointed” she snapped.

She watched his handsome face change expressions, trying to gauge how she should feel. Having no idea how his emotions worked had been making her crazy. Finally she decided to throw caution to the wind.

She sat on the couch beside him and pressed her lips to his. For a terrifying moment he didn’t kiss back. What if she had misread the situation. Then his arms were around her, pulling her into him.

***End flashback***

Something about the Kerelian always managed to make Indrala feel off-balance. Add to that his penchant for disappearing for weeks or months at a time for his intelligence work, and the young betazoid eventually just moved back into her own quarters on Starbase Delta, leaving Veristi a note.

“Can I ask what you’re doing here, Admiral? Or perhaps you can’t tell me…” Xerix said in her characteristic low tones.

Nuecylle allowed a cat-ate-the-canary smile to possess his features. He leaned in and whispered into her ear. “Oh not at all, Captain. I’m replacing Dazad as Sector Commander.”


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