Season 2: Mission 2: Just Breath
Location: Eclipse, temporary berthing
Timeline: after the battle
Anya Neeze had come back from reclaiming the Elysium mostly in one piece, though her brand-new Romulan panties were singed beyond recognition. The doctor had taken off the outer layer of her skin and now there was a tender, slightly reddish spot that looked like she'd just been spanked, but only on her left side. She looked at herself in the mirror. The nickname Fernando had suggested was nice enough, Toasty Buns, and funny. But this did not look good.
"Waiting for it to do a trick?" Liorga laughed as she observed her new roommate, a Petty Officer Neeze, seemingly admiring her own posterior in the mirror, not that she blamed her much for that. She plopped down on her bunk and looked at the pretty brunette, "So, got hurt, huh?"
"Shot in the butt", Anya replied. "Those bastards were shooting to kill. No sense of fair play. Fighting is much more fun when everyone's using the stun setting." She smirked. "Only a glancing blow, so I got lucky. Otherwise I'd be missing half my rear end now, and would have to sleep on my right side for weeks."
"That would be a shame." Liorga half joked, half complimented, "Anyway, glad you're okay and able to sit. Our new Ensign in engineering tried to catch fire today, so it's been crazy. Anyway, you're new to the ship, right?"
Anya nodded. “Yes, I arrived about an hour before the Eclipse set out. Thankfully, I travel light. It was nuts. I didn’t think we could capture a ship many times larger, more modern and more powerful than this glorified scout ship. We should all be given medals for this, or something.”
“Medals.” Liorga laughed, “Yeah, I’ve won a few of those over the years. Not sure about one for this though, I figure this is going to end up classified so highly that Section 31 won’t be able to read the reports.” She laughed again, not believing she’d just heard herself reference the urban legend of Section 31, the boogeymen of Starfleet, “Kind of embarrassing for Starfleet, you know? Losing one of our biggest and baddest to some smugglers.”
“Especially intentionally, though I still don’t know why”, Anya agreed. “Worst thing is, I won’t even be able to tell the story of how I acquired my new nickname. And it’s awesome!”
“New nickname?” Liorga sat up, intrigued, “Well, tell me quick before the record is sealed.”
“Toasty Buns”, Anya said with a giggle. “I was taunting the enemy, working through the discomfort of getting shot. One of the others asked me to stop the jokes. I asked him if he wouldn’t try to joke with an arse as hot as mine. You know, it was still smoking a little. He gave me one side glance and coined the new name. I love it.” True, she had embellished a tiny little bit, but the general facts were all correct.
“The name is nice.” Liorga agreed, “Though I’m not sure I’d want to earn a name that way myself.”
“What’s yours, and how did you come by it?” Anya asked. “If it’s not at least as funny, I’m okay with my version.”
She was tempted to say they used to call her ‘Chief’, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to go into the details of her now decade old demotion with this woman yet. She thought for a minute back to her earliest times in Starfleet, “Well, during the war my CPO called me Rapunzel.” She began, indicating her naked scalp, “For obvious reasons.”
“Takes some acrobatic talent climbing up that rope”, Anya giggled. She stepped away from the mirror and covered her bum up again with the dress she was wearing.
“Probably be easier just to beam there.” Liorga shrugged, “Or suction cups. You could always use suction cups.”
“Kinky”, Anya joked. She stepped over to the replicator and came back with a banana. “Don’t worry, this one’s harmless”, she said as she started eating it. Nobody had to fear the banana here.
“Bananas, sure, they’re harmless.” Liorga quipped, “But look at out for flying pineapples.”
“Don’t I know that one”, Anya agreed. “The bane of any modern era conflict re-enactment holodeck programme. The devs really should nerf them, too loud.”
“You like those programs, huh?” Liorga asked, she’d never done one herself but Justice talked about them non-stop, “One of the engineers in my section is nuts about them, I think she’s fought in every war since the American Revolution.”
“Fighting is fun, if it’s not real”, Anya agreed. “I mean, I’m no Klingon and I don’t live for conflict. But I’m usually smiling when I’m fighting. It scares people, which is part of why I do it.”
“I understand.” Liorga nodded, though she didn’t necessarily agree. She’d had to fight most of her life, it hadn’t been a whole lot of fun. She’d had to fight every day since she was kidnapped at the age of nine, then had to fight harder still once the lunatic who took her lost her to that disgusting Ferengi pedo at thirteen, she didn’t see anything resembling peace until she was rescued by the crew of the USS Grotton at fifteen. No, fighting had been a long and constant part of her life and it was definitely not fun, at least not the fights she’d had to live through. “Maybe I’ll try one of those programs one day, see what it’s all about for myself.”
“I can see you’re not as enamoured by the idea as I am”, Anya said. “I guess that’s why you’re an engineer and I’m in security. I like to tinker a little every now and then but I certainly wouldn’t know how to stop a warp core breach with a tribble and some chewing gum like I’ve seen some of you guys doing it.”
“Somebody’s still using Tribbles?” Liorga said, pretending to be as serious as death itself, “Don’t they know targ dung is a hundred times more effective. Plus it’s sticky enough where the gum isn’t even needed. Damn dark ages or something…”
Anya laughed. “Tells you what I know about engineering. I took a few classes on the Arecibo, when I was about this tall.” She indicated her shoulder height. “Must have still been using up old Dominion War supplies.”
“There was definitely plenty of it to be had.” Liorga remarked, wondering if that offhand comment would give her age away to her new roommate.
But Anya thought nothing of it. Plenty of people still learnt about the past by reading about it, as old-fashioned as that sounded, so she never assumed someone was actually old enough to have seen everything they were talking about. “Well, it was only ten years after, then.”
“Right.” Liorga agreed, “I read somewhere that they were still shooting World War II bullets well into the Viet Nam conflict, some thirty years after, so it’s not unheard of.”
Anya shrugged. “If it gets the job done… on that boarding party, some of the officers were carrying swords, like they’re fighting age of sail pirates or something. Wasn’t my place to tell them it looked silly, but it did.”
“To some people, more traditional people, the sword is a badge of honor.” Liorga began, “And I admire anybody who can use one with any degree of skill. Especially the Klingons with that bat’leth…”
“I like being admired, so please do”, Anya grinned. “I just keep it in the holodeck.”
“I kind of figured you did after I walked in on you admiring yourself.” Liorga kidded.
“I wasn’t admiring myself, I was checking out how bad the red, tender spot looked”, Anya offered in her defence.
“I’m only teasing.” Liorga laughed, “No worries. Hell, if I had a butt like that I’d admire it in the mirror myself.”
“It would also look weird, like a single-side spanking”, Anya said. “But it’ll be back to normal in a few days, and I can wear bikinis again.” She noticed the compliment, but was unsure how to reply. Was she going to just say thank you, or should she check out Liorga’s behind and tell her how she was wrong and her rear end was actually fairly spectacular? Anya figured, the less said the better.
“That’s the great thing about injuries.” Liorga said, speaking from experience, “They heal if you live.” She’d heard about debilitating, permanent injuries, though they were, for the most part, a thing of the distant past. In fact, she’d not actually known anyone with an actually debilitating injury in her career.
“I’m not complaining. It’s the risk that comes with the fun”, Anya shrugged. “I’m still functional, except in the head sometimes.”
“We’re hurtling through space at many times the speed of light in oddly shaped, multi-trillion credit, metal boxes, hoping against hope that a two credit part in the inertial dampeners doesn’t fail and turn us all into chunky salsa when we stop.” Liorga shrugged, “We’re all a little nuts.”
“Several nuts short of a full pouch, definitely”, Anya laughed. She took a seat on the sofa and stretched her legs. She tossed the banana peel back into the replicator from three metres away, where it promptly dissolved. “You know what was really barmy, though? Those people who used to do this before there were shields, deflectors, artificial gravity… I’d have preferred to stay home.”
“Somewhere out there there are still societies at that technological level.” Liorga said, “We observed one on a prior assignment, watched them from a distance inside a nebula with probes for three months. We really learned a lot. About these people and probes.”
“I’m still amazed they’ve managed to remain uncontacted”, Anya remarked. “They seem a perfect target for someone like the Romulans and Cardassians, who still like to operate using slave labour.”
“We had to break away when the Breen arrived.” Liorga recalled sadly, “Prime Directive and what not. Kind of crazy to me, I would think once the Breen started beaming down soldiers all of that would be out the window, but Capt. Craine said it still applied, so we had to leave those poor people to their fate. I wonder sometimes if any survived.”
Anya made a face. “We can’t be the galactic police force, or we’d be at war with almost all of our neighbours. Besides, I think the older generation, those who lived through the war, are still a bit shellshocked where it comes to the Breen.”
“I agree we can’t be the galaxy’s police force.” Liorga replied, “But there’s a difference between being the Galaxy’s police force and allowing a genocide like that coward Craine did, more worried about his career than saving a species from extinction.” She paused for a second, not wanting Anya to think her lingering anger towards Craine was actually directed at her, “But, yes, I think we’re all still a bit…. put off by the Breen. Still bothers me that we left them standing after the war. Look, I’m an engineer, not a soldier, but an infant could’ve told you that was bad for business. We didn’t finish the job, left another war to fight. That’s okay, I’ll be out by then.”
“Who knows, some soft power might work by then”, Anya offered, always the optimist. “It worked with the Klingons… mostly.”
“Mostly?” Liorga asked, raising her perfectly manicured eyebrows; she took hair care seriously. Such as it was, anyway.
“Well, there was that little war the year I was born”, Anya said. “My mother took me off the Aberdeen where she worked as a damage control technician, dad had to go to the front lines without her. Then there was the Dominion war… I was four when I saw my first starship.”
“I didn’t see one I liked until I was fifteen.” Liorga said flatly, remembering her rescuers, “Soon as I was able to sign up, I did. Tried to stay flying ever since.”
“The Formidable was a fun ship to grow up on. Excelsior class, a really fine old lady”, Anya smiled, remembering her fondly. “But as a teenager, getting to a Galaxy class was something else. I felt like on a cruise ship... with phasers and labs.”
“I definitely understand that feeling.” Liorga smiled, “The Galaxy class is my favorite ship in the fleet. They’re just…. Elegant.”
Anya agreed and stifled a yawn. “You know what’d be really elegant now? A warm bed. When do you have to be up for more repairs?”
“Not for twelve hours.” Liorga replied, yawning along with Anya; it truly was contagious, “And I know what I’m doing with at least eight of them.”
“How about we’ll do that now?” It was easier to sleep in shared quarters if schedules were aligned, after all. She walked over to the bed and did an exaggerated falling forward onto her face, dropping unconscious motion.