The Parthenon (tag: Stark)

Posted May 2, 2021, 3:02 a.m. by Commander Stark Nightstalker (Chief Intelligence Officer) (Ian Kerby)


Marishka stood slowly and started pacing the room.

“This big beautiful glorious ship is like armor to me and I have come to respect and care for many people here. Lieutenant Commander Hammor is like an annoying piece of grit under my armor. I doubt he will turn into a pearl like in an oyster’s shell.”

Stark nodded, he knew the truth of that all too well.

Marishka walked to Stark and knelt in front of him. Removing the opal from her neck, she turned it over and held it out to him.

“I don’t suppose you read ancient Orion dialects do you?”

  • Marishka

“I do not”, he said simply “and I ask that you only share that which you feel comfortable sharing but I can see that this is a large part of who you are past, present and future. Selfishly I want to have this knowledge of you but as your friend I will not wrest it from you unless you feel safe enough to share it. This ship may feel like armor but it is the camaraderie of those who would die to save you that truly protects you. I would not become another piece of grit by prying in places I have no right to be”.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

The truth of Stark’s words hit Marishka hard. The last time she had shared herself this way, the person she had opened herself up to probably meant well, but they had disappeared. Luckily, she was over that situation.

“I don’t think I could ever see you as a piece of grit but I can’t quite compare you to a pearl. It seems a little silly. Pearls don’t have sharp edges and you definitely have sharp edges my friend.”

“Thank you for the compliment” Stark’s eyes glowed mischievously.

She looked back down at the opal and traced the nearly invisible characters with one long fingernail, they bordered the silver frame the opal was set in.

“This is my clan name which never translates well. It doesn’t matter how specific you set the universal translator, it never works.” Marishka made a face and shrugged, “And these characters here mean ‘Sovreign’ and ‘Legitimate’.”

She looked back up at stark.

Stark’s eyes held many questions but his mouth framed none of them. He trusted that when the time was right they would fight together to make the past a present reality.

“Yes, of course there’s a story behind that. My grandmother has been the sovereign of our clan for quite some time but I had to take that right from her. She was beginning to ask me to do things I was not willing to do and my Mother certainly wasn’t going to be a good leader. Hammor thinks I’m a self indulgent snake, he should meet Milla. So, before I left my brother’s wedding on Qo’noS, I went to say goodbye to her. I excused all of her servants and made her tea. One final act of devotion from grand daughter to grand mother. No, of course I didn’t kill her but I doubt she’s ever slept better.”

Marishka rose and slipped the necklace back on.

“When I emerged, I announced that there had been a change. Gave my first set of instructions which was basically that things would run as normal. Olenna was to remain in charge of everything for all intents and purposes but, nobody was to come after me. Stay away was the ultimate order. She had a brand new Hupyrian guard who is supposedly loyal to me but, we all know how that goes don’t we. So that’s why I want to know if Lieutenant Commander Hammor is here for me.” she said calmly.

  • Marishka

“He is not,” Stark said simply. “Both of you are anomalies in your culture, both of you have ethics that defy Orion genetics, both of you have been hurt by those who should have been your greatest allies, both of you trust little and keep secrets that weigh heavily. I have had reason in the past to not trust those of Orion heritage, a story for another time, but in a stroke of absolute lunacy I find myself trusting the first and then the second person with Orion heritage to grace this vessel. I would never ask you to trust him because I do but I would ask you to believe me when I say that he couldn’t care less about your position and power or bringing it to an end” Stark took a deep breath unaccustomed as he was to giving speeches, he was taking a risk in siding with both, he knew that, but he had to speak truth, he was sick of lies, sick of seeing others pain. He would speak what he knew and damn the consequences.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Marishka had been watching Stark as he spoke. She was surprised that he had spoken so much but knew him to be speaking the truth.

“I don’t think I would be able to let my guard down but your words give me a measure of comfort and I certainly wouldn’t ask you to reveal another person’s secrets… At least not now. I do with the Lieutenant Commander and I could find a way to get along or ignore each other but, it seems all he wants to do is fight which is, actually, par for the course with Orion males. I should probably be more patient but, perhaps, my hot Klingon blood makes that impossible.”

Marishka poured herself some more tea and put the small bottle of whiskey back in the drawer.

  • Marishka

Stark watched as she poured the tea and took a deep breath only just now realising that he’d been expecting to be on the receiving end of that very same hot Klingon blood. He had used to be immune to such things and wasn’t at all happy with the turn his life had taken to bring him to the point where he gave a damn about people but the horse had bolted on that one and it was too late to turn back. An assassin with a conscience, now that was going to be annoyingly inconvenient.

“Don’t change Marishka, I would be… upset”. He smiled, “Not that you should care about that, but you might care about the reason I’d be upset. I’ve lived my life in the truth of who and what I am and it’s refreshing to find someone who is the same. I’d be upset because often what people tout as “change” is simply people drawing a cloak of civility around themselves to make “nice” to people. Such duplicity. True change can only and should only come from discovering a truth that demands the change.” Sighing a little he stopped realising that he was dangerously close to revealing a heart he had tried to freeze and failed.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

If Marishka didn’t know any better, she could swear he was about to reveal something about himself.

“You know, I have long admired the balance of Caitians, mentally and physically. The last one I knew enjoyed every meal, to a fault I would say. He would be the first to tell you he was a rather rotund little fellow but, he was lithe of mind and body. I wouldn’t change him or you. So how about neither of us change unless it is a natural thing? Now would you like to know the rest of what happened at that Klingon wedding? I ask because it may be important later and it is very very uncivilized.”

  • Marishka

Stark settled back with a contented sigh at the thought of a raucous story. “I’m all ears” he deadpanned, flicking a large feline ear for effect.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Marishka remembered the only other time she had told the story on the ship and could think of only one other person she may ever tell it to. Perhaps that would be in the near future.

“I’m quite certain those ears don’t miss a thing which has, no doubt, helped make you who and what you are. I was on Qo’noS for my brother’s wedding. It was a family obligation. I have a feeling it will be the last one I am asked to fulfill though. There were three days of downright debauchery cloaked in words like honor and festivities. It was good to see ascertain people, not so good to see others, as one would expect with such a large family.”

Marishka paused and set her empty cup down and thought over the complications in the story she was unfolding.

“At the time, my brother, half Orion like myself, served aboard a prestigious Klingon ship and he was about to marry a very fine upstanding Klingon woman who’s brother I had almost married several years ago. Until that very man’s father opposed the wedding.”

As Marishka had been speaking her hands had been busy. A long slender dagger appeared in her right hand, her finger through the spinning ring making it spin glittery arcs in the soft lighting of her office.

“And now, here he was, shoulder to shoulder with my father nearly bathing in blood wine at the thought of this union. His son was there too of course. I had hoped he had found himself something to distract him because I had quite moved on from that situation. Seems I didn’t like Klingon men as much as I thought I did.”

Smiling, she deftly switched the dagger to her left, the spinning blade never faltering.

“The night after the wedding though, drunken Kai showed up at my balcony. He simply wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m sure you’ve heard stories about how Klingon women like it rough and yes, it’s true that we can be quite voracious, but what he had in mind was out and out violence and assault.”

Marishka’s eyes had never been on the blade but now they looked straight into Stark’s, molten silver turning to icy cold.

“That has never been my way and it never will be, so I had to dispatch him.”

Marishka, her eyes never leaving Stark’s, flicked her wrist and the dagger stuck the arm of the chair Stark was lounging in perfectly between Stark’s thumb and forefinger.

One ear twitch gave away the slight concern for his health, but his paw never moved.

“They found him dead and broken on the flagstones four stories below. Perhaps if his pregnant wife had been carrying a male child, she would have pressed harder for an investigation. As it was, I took my Opal and left quietly. Someday this may become a matter of consequence. I hope not.”

  • Marishka

Stark slipped out claws from the thumb and forefinger and with a little bit of concentrated effort prised the knife out of its resting place and started to spin it around the claws on his paw and then back again appreciating its balance.

“When the day comes we will dispatch them together” he said simply, “Does the family know he died attempting a dishonourable deed?”

He flicked the knife up into the air in a high arc fully aware it wasn’t his and that he should return it.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

Marishka reached up with her right hand catching the spinning look on the long gold nail of her index finger.

“I’m not exactly certain but I don’t think it would make a difference to his father. I wasn’t good enough all those years ago so, I’m certain whatever he had in mind for me that night would have been of no consequence. But Kai was the first born son of this proud family so, one of these days, it might matter.”

  • Marishka

“Hopefully sooner rather than later,” Stark harrumphed, “I hate tardiness, if you’re going to try to end someone at least have the decency to do it in good order and with some decorum”.

Stark Nightstalker CIO

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