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Post 20 - Methane Should Suffice

Posted on Tue Feb 2nd, 2021 @ 2:07am by Fleet Admiral Sturnack & Commander Marlena Glenn

Mission: Episode 1: Acta Non Verba
Location: CinC's Private Residence
Timeline: Day 16, 0430 Hours

[CinC's Private Residence]
[Day 16, 0430 Hours]

Sturnack raised his hood, the rough, tan fabric bunching in his hands until released, the material falling to wreath his face in the semi-darkness of the room. Beyond the expansive window of his high-tower apartment, the twinkling lights of San Francisco's cityscape sparkled across the water, dimly lighting the contours of his living space. Allowing his loose, flowing sleeves to rest at his sides -- hands poised in a steepled configuration -- the Vulcan then sat back on his legs, staring into the depths of the glowing fireplace before him.

As he watched, fingers of fire reached upward from the burning logs, dancing ephemerally as they cast his shadow in several directions at once. The fire's warmth reached his face, dispelling the chill that pervaded the room and embracing him like a mother would. Sturnack sunk into the sensation, reaching into the fire with his mind, seeking the calm he usually found there.

It was...harder to reach this time: elusive. The white-hot center of the flames called to him, promising to burn away the emotional detritus that picked at the corners of Sturnack's control. But the more the Vulcan tried to touch the calm eye of the firestorm, the further away it seemed to move. It was a confirmation that, as he'd expected, certain things had begun. As a result, calm, collected control would be more difficult from here on out, it seemed, though not impossible.

Sturnack reached out once more -- stronger this time and more grounded -- and, with the added impetus of his reach, his metaphoric fingers finally grasped around their prey. Holding himself within the center of those flames, the Vulcan let them lick away the impurities: the howling sadness of just learning that Chalvana I's inhabitants would all die, his fears for specific members of his administration, irritations at those under his command but not in his control -- the fires wiped them out, all. And when it was said and done, all that remained were the cooling embers of logic and dispassion.

Finally, he was at a place he could impassively operate from. Rising, Sturnack noted that the fireplace -- much like his mind -- had gone cold. And checking the time, he noticed that he'd spent nearly an hour kneeled at the hearth, having long overshot the twenty minutes he'd planned on. The situation would now only become more dire over time, making it clear to the Vulcan that it was imperative to begin making certain plans. They would, however, have to wait until the current crises had been dealt with.

[SFC Complex]
[Day 16 - 0630 Hours]

Sturnack and Marlena had spent the last hour watching snippets of various press briefings from the last few days. This, in response to the DCinC storming into the Vulcan's office and all but demanding that Captain Blake be asked to resign. Sturnack had promised to personally review the Press Secretary's performance, mollifying Admiral Whitford into heading back to his own office. On his way out, though, Whitford had reached for a cookie from the jar on Marlena's desk. The woman had held down the lid to prevent him from taking one.

"Petty, perhaps, but he's being an ass..." Marlena had offered to Sturnack passing him a cookie of his own.

That confectionary creation now sat half-eaten on a napkin, accompanied by the Vulcan's thermos, which was unfortunately filled with replicated coffee this morning. No longer partaking of either, the Vulcan was watching the press briefing clips with an impassive mask, sitting in silence as Marlena rolled her eyes and sighed so hard it sounded like a hiss.

"What is wrong with these people, Sturn?" the woman asked, reaching forward to break off a piece of the CinC's forgotten cookie. "She's just..." munch munch "trying to do her job. What bearing does Leyton possibly have on any of this? And whose business is it why the hell you hired Joce?"

"None and no one's," Sturnack replied neutrally. "But it would seem certain members of the press have made it their mission to abuse our Press Secretary at every turn. I am actually surprised no one is lauding Captain Blake as a hero for reporting the truth about Leyton."

"'re not going to fire her, then?" Marlena asked hopefully, taking a sip from her own thermos. The smell of gingerbread wafted from its opening.

"Such a move would be quite illogical at this juncture," the Vulcan replied, turning off the recordings. "However, the situation is getting quite...extreme. With the press and Rear Admiral Whitford both clamoring for her head," Sturnack used a human aphorism, "the situation may require external action to resolve."

"Put them all in a room and release a dangerous gas?" Marlena smirked around another nibble of Sturnack's cookie.

"Highly concentrated methane should suffice," he replied, eyeing the darkened screen that -- only moments ago -- had been showing T'lon Tressa taking Blake "out for a walk."

The doors to the office swished open then, admitting a young messenger laden with a PADD. He quickly closed the distance to the CinC, handing the device over before making his exit. He was about to slip through the doors when he stopped mid-frame, poking his head back in. "Marlena, can I have--"

"Yes, Dave. Get your cookie on. Now shush, he's reading," the hawkish woman replied, her too-red locks swaying under her chin.

The doors hissed shut and the room was filled with quiet for several long moments. When Sturnack finally spoke, his face was somber -- even for him.

"Summon the Division Heads. Have them in the Pike Conference Room in 30 minutes, please," the Vulcan said, his eyes hard.

"Everything ok?" Marlena asked, concern gouging gorges across her face.

"No, it is not," Sturnack shook his head. "The USS-Martin Luther has officially confirmed what they suspected: the Chalvanan crisis is entirely artificial in its creation."

"You mean someone made that sun do that? Does the Prime Dir--"

"Marlena...30 minutes. Go," Sturnack coolly ordered.

"Yes sir," she said, using the honorific for perhaps the first time in many weeks. Marlena quickly hustled out of the room, now completely on mission.

Sturnack, meanwhile, picked up the tumbler full of coffee and carefully studied the Starfleet Command logo emblazoned on its surface. Moments later, however, the thermos flew across the room, hitting the wall quite hard. So hard its lid cracked and popped off, splashing its cream-and-tan contents across the viewscreen embedded in the wall.

With the hitch in his chest now passing, the Vulcan looked down at his empty hand, breathing heavily until -- after a few deep breaths -- he was staring at it with his normal impassivity. Looking up, Sturnack eyed what he'd done and moved to his desk, retrieving some cleaning cloths from a drawer before moving to clean up the mess he'd made. The Vulcan just hoped he wasn't making an even bigger one by what he was about to propose...

=/\= A joint post by... =/\=

Fleet Admiral Sturnack
Starfleet Command


Commander Marlena Glenn
CinC's Aide-de-Camp
Starfleet Command


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