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Chapter Two

 

Previously: Chapter One

When it was clear the lieutenant wasn't coming back right away, Morana turned to her fellow Ensigns.

"Anybody feel like breakfast?"

"I'd love an Idanian bran muffin," Sillia shrugged

"Scrambled regova eggs with yamok sauce would be super nice right about now," Morana nodded, speaking without thinking.  She suddenly noticed they were staring at her.

"What?" she asked.

"That's a Cardassian dish," Sillia blinked.  She and Drelle exchanged looks.

Morana inwardly stiffened. Outwardly, she played it off. "I tasted it once at a Lissepian restaurant, okay? It was really good.  Cardassians may be total assholes, but a lot of their food tastes great. I bet both you are fine, upstanding Federation citizens, but that's never stopped you from drinking Romulan ale."

It worked. The Human and the Trill shrugged it off, almost in unison, before heading out to the Promenade for breakfast at the replimat. Meanwhile, Morana mentally kicked herself for slipping like that.  She'd never screwed up like that before.

The Promenade



Even though it was early, the stations Promenade was alive and bustling. Shopkeepers opened their windows and doors, parents walked their children to school, and officers either patrolled or hurried to their stations.

The replimat was mostly empty at this hour though, most likely because everyone else had already had breakfast. The girls lined up at a replicator and began placing their orders.

"So," Sillia began, once they had their food and chose seats near the door.  "You like Cardassian food?"

Morana tried not to stiffen. "Yeah," she answered slowly, cautiously.  "Why?"

"Well, it's just that at the mixer you hardly talked to anyone.  If we're going to train together and get to know each other, you're gonna have to talk."

Morana immediately recalled a certain list she'd prepared moments like these.

"Like, what's your favorite color?" the Trill asked.

"Purple," Morana nodded comfortably.

The replimat

"Favorite drink?" Shondrelle asked.

Morana knew better than to say kanar. "Well, that Begosian wine we had at the mixer was pretty good."

Drelle rubbed her temples, eyes lowered in embarrassment. "That stuff is lethal."

"Why, yes it," Morana blinked. "Too much and you'll end up leaving a party on the arm of a prylar."

Sillia's head snapped towards Drelle, who was now blushing. "You did what?"

"His name is Reyas," Drelle replied lowly, practically mumbling. "And it will never happen again."

Morana snorted. And they say she's not a party girl.

Sillia paused, as though trying to remember something. "We are talking about the hot one, right? With the pretty eyes?"

Drelle flashed her a look. "It will never happen again."

The Trill shook her head and went back to her muffin. "Shame."

***

Ensign Gaya's log; supplemental.

When I was at the Academy, and would go for trips off-world, I noticed how civilians on various planets viewed Stafleet. They think we're a bunch of spoiled, interfering, sanctimonious know-it-alls who aren't good for anything until someone invades their homeworld or attacks their convoys.

Don't let the cushy starbases or fancy flagships fool you.  Being in Starfleet is tough and every single perk is hard-earned.


***

"But we literally just had breakfast!"

Drelle was looking queasy after her forty minutes on the tread climber.  She crossed the gray gym to where her fellow Ensigns were on their thirty-ninth push-up.  The gym was large, rectangular and most of its equipment was for cardio. The windows were large on both sides; one side showed the stars and the other showed the corridor. 

"If I had known Her Heinous Royal Majesty was going to make us work out this hard this early in the morning, I wouldn't haven't eaten anything!" she exclaimed, swaying as she walked.

"Take a breather," Sillia gasped.  "If you puke all over the gym mats, she's gonna make you clean it up."

"How long do we have to be here?" Drelle scowled, sitting and clutching her stomach.

"We have to clock in at least an hour every morning," Morana replied. "The computer monitors our heart rates and blood pressures, then reports back to the Queen."

Drelle scowled even more deeply.  "I'm all sweaty, and I showered already!!!"

"Who are you telling?" Sillia gasped, struggling through her forty-third push-up.

Morana surrendered at forty-seven push-ups.  She shoved a tendril of sweaty hair out of her face. "I knew we'd have to keep working out once we graduated, but I thought we'd be doing something else right now. Orientation, you know?  Briefings, rotating assignments to different departments, simulations--shit like that!"

"Don't worry," Sillia sighed falling back against her mat.  "That's still to come.  At 1145 hours, we're due back in the wardroom. The stars only know what fresh torment she'll have in store for us."

***

At 1145 hours sharp, the Ensigns showed up to the wardroom, showered and back in uniform. They took their seats while Lt. Ghoshal paced back and forth beside the giant monitor.

"A couple years ago," she began, "Commander Benjamin Sisko and Lieutenant Jadzia Dax discovered a wormhole in space.  They deduced it was about 10,000 years old.  Why is this relevant?"

"It's the first known stable wormhole," Sillia answered immediately.  "It was artificially created by inhabitants within the wormhole itself, a non-corporeal species which exists in non-linear time."

"Why else is the wormhole relevant?" Ghoshal demanded.

This time Morana beat Sillia to the punch. "This wormhole leads to the Gamma Quadrant, home to an empire known as the Dominion.  t's ruled by a shapeshifting species called the Founders, who relegate orders to another species called the Vorta, who in turn command the military force, comprised of an all-male species called the Jem'Hadar."

"And why else is the wormhole significant?"

Drelle quickly snatched that one up. "The Bajorans view the wormhole as the Celestial Temple and believe its inhabitants are gods, whom they refer to as the Prophets.  Over the last several thousand years, they've sent the Bajorans devices called Orbs which lent their religious writers tremendous insight. Entire volumes called 'Prophecies' have been written and  passed down through the generations." She turned to Morana and quickly flashed a tiny smile.

Morana blinked. What does she want, a cookie?

"Very good," Ghoshal nodded stiffly. "The Federation is concerned by the Dominion threat and has placed all ships and space stations on alert. They have shown the ability to penetrate our shields and to beam across incredible distances. In short, technologically speaking, the Federation has a lot of catching up to do."

The Lieutenant starting passing out padds.  "These are today's assignments.  You are to report to Lab 6 by 1215 hours where Lt. Commander Bhatnagar will assess your navigational abilities and overall familiarity with ship's functions.  After that, Lt. Cmdr. Silent River will conduct your simulation in Holodeck 2.

"Dismissed."

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