Chapter One

Previously: Prologue

Ensign Gaya's personal log, stardate...whatever.

When you're in Starfleet, you're constantly invited to conferences, lectures, and yes, mixers. Starfleet hosts a 
lot of mixers. The intention is to foster interstellar understanding and cooperation amongst planetary delegates, and camaraderie amongst the fleet.

Now, the delegates may show up to further the interests of their respective planets, but the fleet?  We just show up to party.

Not during the actual event, of course; decorum must be observed at all times when your commanding officers are present. But once they retire to their studies and quarters which are least three times the size of ours, we lower-ranking officers go all out.


"The time is now 0700. Please acknowledge."

As though from a distance, Shondrelle Marlowe heard herself mumble. It must not have been very intelligible, because the computer's metallic voice repeated, "The time is now 0700. Please acknowledge."

As she stirred from a deep, dreamless slumber, Shondrelle suddenly realize everything hurt. Her lower back hurt. Her neck hurt. Her inner thighs burned and the pounding in her skull was almost crippling. It took a full minute just to open her eyes.

"The time is now 0701. Please acknowledge."

She was too busy with basic things like sight and movement. She finally got her eyes open and thankfully, it was still dark.  Then she remembered she was on a space station.  On a space station, it was always dark.

This is my life now, she thought fleetingly, slowly rolling onto her back and staring at the gray ceiling.  No matter what time of day it is, when I look out the window, all I'll see is night.

It was appropriate, seeing as Deep Space Nine was designed by Cardassian architects, and those people didn't like bright. The station was a sea of dark materials, inside and out. Even with all the lights the Bajorans had installed, the rooms looked and felt like night all the time.

Deep Space Nine crew quarters

Her bed was in disarray; there were no pillows and the gray satin sheets were half off her very naked body.  She blinked slowly, noting that even blinking was excruciating.

I need to sit up now.

"The time is now 0702. Please acknowledge."

"Oh, for fuck's sake - Computer, acknowledged!"

At the sound of the unfamiliar male voice, Shondrelle bolted into a sitting position, glancing around the room for the source.  Next to her bed, a pale, dark-haired humanoid body lay.  Naked, he was comfortably hoarding all the pillows, which was no doubt the compromise for having neither blankets nor sheets.

"Acknowledged," the computer replied, and its tone seemed to admonish her for not speaking up sooner.

"Um...who are you?" she asked.  She winced when she realized that sitting and talking were an agonizing combination.

"Reyas," came the muffled reply.

"Okay," she said lowly, stiffly moving off the bed.  "It's 07-0-something now and I have somewhere to be in a couple of hours, so do you mind getting dressed?"

"Sure," he replied sleepily, rolling over and yawning loudly.  "Do you know where my clothes are?"

"No clue." Draping the bed sheet around herself, Shondrelle daintily stepped around him, trying to piece the night together.  After the mixer, which she barely remembered, she had decided to stick around Quark's bar, where the devious Ferengi himself talked her into trying something she couldn't remember.

His clothes were at the foot of her bed. They were neither civilian clothes nor a uniform. They were robes, and they smelled faintly of incense. That's when she realized her "friend" was a Bajoran.

"Okay, Reyas?  I really need you to get a move on," she called, wincing at the volume of her own voice.  She stumbled across the gray carpet to her replicator where she rasped, "Raktajino, double hot, double sweet."

"That bad, huh?" he chuckled, slowly rising to his feet, unabashed by his own naked glory. "I warned about you Begosian wine last night.  Told you that stuff was lethal."

So that's what what shit was called it. It ought to be illegal.

"I'll mark that down," Shondrelle stiffly nodded, blowing on her Klingon coffee and taking a tentative sip while still clutching the sheet with her other hand.  She remembered absolutely nothing about last night, but at least she didn't entirely regret her choice in bedmates.  Reyas was absolutely stunning, with pretty dark eyes and creamy skin. Even the ridges on his nose seemed perfectly formed.

"You're...Drelle Marlowe, right?"

"Right. Look, Reyas," she said growing impatient, "I really need to get moving so if you don't mind -"

"All right, I'm going, I'm going," he yawned again, finding his clothes and leisurely pulling them on.  "When do I see you again?"

"You don't," she blinked, her tone clipped.

"It's the robes, huh?" he scrunched his face slightly. "You know Bajoran monks aren't actually celibate, right?"

"Please get out," Morana pointed towards the door, her shame slowly growing as she sobered.

"At least come to services," he shrugged, checking to make sure his earring was still on. "The vedek on this station doesn't drone on and on."



Ensign Gaya's personal log, supplemental.

When you're in Starfleet, people tend to hype a lot of things.  As a freshman, I was told Starfleet Academy would be the best experience of my life.  It was okay. I was told Earth was like paradise. Sure...whatever. When I graduated, I was told that being assigned to Deep Space Nine would be good for me
. Yeah fucking right.

This place is triggering as fuck.

Don't get me wrong, it's good to be back in the majority again; the station's security staff, half the station teams, and most of the business owners are Bajoran. My homeworld is a three-hour shuttle ride from the station. For once, any Starfleet officer full of idiot questions will have a bunch of other Bajorans to ask. 

Anyway, let's talk about Sillia Rix. She's really pretty; I've always admired the spotted markings of the Trill. I felt they were more attractive than the ridges on Bajoran noses.

She's also punctual. We met at the turbolift outside crew quarters and headed down to the wardroom together.

She's not yet joined, so she doesn't have the memories of, like, nine or ten people.  But she wants to be someday. Her mother is, and serves as Chief Medical Officer aboard the Destiny.  Her father is Chief Science Officer on that ship.  Her older brother is a helmsman aboard the Aries.  But Sillia plans to do better than all of them. She plans to be an Admiral, and wears her black and red uniform like she already is one.


"Can you believe Drelle Marlowe got this assignment?" the Trill asked lowly, even though no one was listening to their conversation.

"Yes," Morana nodded warily. "Lt. Tria says she scored really high on the final exam.  Apparently, Drelle plans to be some sort of mediator; diplomacy is, like, her specialty or something."

"I'm sure her Risian upbringing will more than help with that," Sillia snorted.  "I can just see her now at a conference wearing a pastel pink bikini telling the attendees to 'make love, not war.'"

Morana burst out laughing, and Sillia joined in. She was a lighter shade of brown than Morana, and wore her platinum blond hair up in a proper chignon, while Morana wore hers long, straight and black, with bangs. 

"Did you meet the Borg Queen last night?"

Morana flashed her an alarmed look.  "The Borg Queen?"

"Our Lieutenant," the Trill snorted.  "All new Ensigns are assigned to a Lieutenant for observation, training, and assessment."

"Which basically means," Morana raised an eyebrow, "she'll take us on away missions, push us through combat drills, call us maggots, and then turn in reports to Major Kira stating we're not worth her time."

"Her real name's Sohini Ghoshal," Sillia said. "She graduated from the Academy a year early and at the top of her class.  Aside for the Borg Queen nickname, she's also referred to as 'Her Heinous Royal Majesty.'"

Deep Space Nine wardroom

They laughed again as they approached the wardroom, where the senior officers did their briefings.  A dark, curvy woman with long dark brown hair stood at the window in a black and red uniform, holding a padd behind her back.

The Ensigns tentatively approached her, instinctively knowing who she was even before formal introductions. Tense and unwilling, Sillia spoke first.

"Lieutenant...."  Her voice trailed off miserably, forcing her to clear throat.  "I'm Ensign--"

"Don't bother giving me your names," came the frigid reply.  "You're Ensigns.  Your names are irrelevant as you, by nature, are also irrelevant."

Morana blinked as she and Sillia exchanged looks.

"I have a few simple rules," the lieutenant coldly intoned still staring out the window.  "Live by them or die without them. One, get it into your heads now that we are not friends. We will not be hanging out; I am not interested in any of your personal problems. Two, don't let your personal problems affect your professional life. Three, I call, you run--end of story.  I don't care if you're in the middle of a shower or sitting on the toilet.  I call, you run--end of story.

"Four, take your work seriously.  Take it very seriously, as though your life depended upon it because in reality, it does. I'm going to work you very hard and you are going to hate me. However, if you ever go over my head, I'll have yours on a platter."

"Sorry, I'm late!" a breezy voice cut in.  Shondrelle Marlowe hurried into the wardroom to join her fellow Ensigns. She smiled brightly to everyone and her brown face, framed by big bouncy curls, was utterly flawless.

Morana was slightly taken aback. I forgot how pretty this bitch is.

The lieutenant slowly turned away from the window and frostily gazed upon the new Ensign. The poor girl looked like a space-dwelling critter caught in shuttle lights.

"Rule number five," Lt. Ghoshal growled, drilling her dark, unforgiving eyes into Shondrelle, "interrupt me with your tardiness again, and I will see to it that Starfleet promptly ships your ass back to whatever planet you came from."

She walked off before any of her Ensigns could respond. Shondrelle stood stricken like a beaten stepchild. She turned to her fellow Ensigns finally and meekly asked, "What were rules one through four?"

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