Gaya's Astronomy V3Ch6 ~ "Down Below"

Previously ~ "Y"

Isi never imagined she would even think this, but she really missed Rindy right now.

She paced their living room in her mauve satin nightgown, unable to sit down for dinner, while Cillia casually sipped a glass of Andorian blue and browsed survey reports, lounging in a royal blue teddy.

"Worried about Mylanti?" the Trill calmly inquired.

"Aren't you?" Isi exclaimed.

"She's been training for this," Cillia shrugged.  "What did you think would happen?  That she was going to be a neglected Ensign forever?  With your being gagged at diplomatic missions, my testing ore samples on random planets, and Alejandro being all but barred from the Defiant, I think it's about time one of us stepped up and got a real mission for a change."

"She is not ready for this," Isi shook her head.  "She is not ready for this."

"How do you know?" Cillia laughed aloud.  "You don't even know the mission!"

"Goddamn it, Cillia, I don't need to know the friggin' mission!" Isi exploded.  "She's going down below, okay?  She's going down below which means anything could happen to her on this mission!"

Cillia looked up from her padd, blinking in confusion.

"What's...going 'down below'?"

Ensign authorization Gaya Zeta 3 Omega. Begin encryption....

I'm aboard the Argolian freighter
Shinna, posing as a Bajoran Dabo girl.  My name is Haleen and I'm supposed to be looking for work on Tallas V.

I can do this.

It's not even recon.  I'm just a living message.  Kinora can either accept what the Federation is offering, or she can deny it.  No skin off my nose.

I can do this.

I've got a .66 phase pistol and a Starfleet issue KA-BAR.

I can do this

When she woke up in the middle of her first night aboard the Shinna, Mylanti's first thought was, I sooooo can't do this.

It wasn't the mission that bugged her so much as the ship.  Mylanti hated freighters.  They were always dingy, always dark, always dank, and they always had some weird smell.  The Shinna was no exception.

Her quarters were the size of her closet back on Deep Space Nine.  The floor was cold, metal, and not cleaned to her satisfaction.  The metal frame of her bed rattled loudly every time the ship went in and out of warp.

She was getting space-sick again, which meant heading down the hall to public bathroom to puke her guts out for the third or fourth time.

She'd borrowed Isi's pink bikini pajama bottoms for the trip.  As a Dabo girl, she had to look the part, and Dabo girls weren't known for being demure.  Slipping on some furry house shoes, she began what felt like an eternal trek to the bathroom...which also wasn't cleaned to her satisfaction.

After vomiting for several moments, Mylanti finally rose, went to a sink, thoroughly cleaned out her mouth, and then began the long trek back to her quarters.

She didn't make it past the bathroom door before she froze.

Nia Long* as
"I'm sorry," a woman smiled at her, just as she entered.  "Didn't mean to startle you.  Say, is the hot water working yet?  I've been trying shower for that past two hours."

The woman's words and demeanor would've been quite innocuous had she not been a Romulan.

"What are you doing aboard this ship?" Mylanti demanded coldly.

The Romulan blinked innocently enough, taken aback.  "I beg your pardon?"

"Can it," Mylanti snapped.  "I already know you're an operative."

"Why?" the Romulan feigned offense.  "Because I'm Romulan?"

"Because you are T'Sanne of the Tal Shiar and I've read your file a dozen times over.  You were on Risa when that Romulan dissident - Senator Pelek? - was assassinated a year ago."

T'Sanne raised both hands daintily, as if in surrender.  "I was on vacation.  Pelek's untimely demise had nothing to do with me."

Mylanti snorted.  "If you say so."

"So," the Romulan lounged in the doorway, giving Mylanti the once-over.  "What should I call you?  Haleen, is it?  Or Gaya Mylanti?"

"Why?" Mylanti scowled.  "What's your cover?"  She looked over the Romulan woman, noting her plum-colored nightdress was of a very fine silk, and she smelled of some exotic breed of jasmine.

"Stripper," T'Sanne yawned.  "Rumor has it the Tallasians have this inexplicable fetish for people with pointed ears.  Don't ask."  She cocked her head to the side.  "Quite frankly, I'm offended an unschooled Ensign was sent to be my rival, but I suppose that sort of incompetence is to be expected from Starfleet these days.  How's the phaser wound, by the way?" T'Sanne smiled broadly.  "Did it leave a scar upon your tender flesh?"

"My flesh is not so tender," Mylanti assured her.

"Please," the Romulan chortled.  "Talk to me after you've been shot a few more times.  In fact, let's revisit this conversation when you've taken a Klingon disrupter blast to the chest...assuming you survive, of course."

"So what happens now?"  Mylanti asked, muscles tightening.  "We duke it out in the bathroom like a couple of kids in high school?"

"Honey," T'Sanne mused, "you wouldn't last a round with me.  Besides, I'm on orders to play nice.  We both want the same thing, you know.  Neither of us needs the Dominion and its creepy Vorta slaves slipping their insidious fingers into a weak, vulnerable Cardassia."  Her eyes darkened, as did her tone.  "It would not go well for anyone in this quadrant should that happen."

"Then you go back to your quarters, and I to mine," Mylanti said resolutely, folding her arms across her chest.

"We could do that," T'Sanne nodded.  "But I'm bored, it's late, and I brought a bottle of Begosian wine to keep me company on the long flight."  She tilted her head to the side.  "Have you ever tasted the 2304?"


"Seriously, Commander, I am so jealous of you right now."  Alejandro flagged down a weary waiter for another round of drinks.

It was growing late at Quark's; even Morn was yawning in his seat and the Ferengi bartender himself was tallying up the day's profit.

"You'll be assigned to the Defiant as soon as Sisko thinks you're ready," Damian assured him.

"At least tell me if it's everything I ever imagined."

"It's not," Damian shook his head.  "It's more," he added, eyes gleaming mischievously.

"Damn," Alejandro sighed, shaking his head.

"How's Lt. Barton?" Gabriel asked suddenly.  "Did Picard really kick her off the Enterprise?"

Damian waved dismissively.  "Funny thing about Melinda; she tends to overreact whenever things don't go her way career-wise.  When we got the news about the Maquis being aboard Deep Space Nine, Captain Picard was concerned and simply felt it was best if she came to be with you.  And I stand by that decision; you guys have been through a lot together," he added meaningfully.  "For the sake of mental and emotional being, you all need to be together.

"When we first got the news, Melinda...she got this look I hadn't seen on her face since we rescued you guys from that moon and Alejandro had to be beamed directly to sickbay."

He took a swig and shrugged.  "You ask me, Picard simply gave her what she really wanted."

"It was good to see her again," Gabriel confessed.  "I mean, I know we crack jokes, call her the Borg Queen, Heinous Royal Majesty - all that - but truth is, when I hugged her the other day, I meant it."

"Yeah," Damian uncomfortably scratched his head, "um, about's the arm?"

"All better!" Gabriel cheered, touching his left shoulder.  "Dr. Bashir said she didn't dislocate it all the way."

"Really sorry about that, man."

"It's all good," the Ensign assured him.

"So what about you, Commander?" Alejandro asked.  "We know why Barton's out here on the fringe, what's your excuse?"

"'Cause, son!" Damian exclaimed heartily.  "Sisko had an opening on the Defiant!"  He and Alejandro clinked glasses, laughing.

"Well, that and everyone seemed to be leaving me," Damian admitted.  "Pranay is back on Vulcan working as a scientist.  He and Calandra divide their time between Vulcan and Betazed.  They claim it's platonic, but they're living together and their parents are not happy."  He shrugged.  "I guess as long as they're happy, it's all that matters."

"It's good to have you back with us, Commander," Alejandro said warmly.  "You still cooking?"


"What do you mean I'd have to get a roommate?" Melinda railed.  "You don't have a roommate, Eora!"

"No," Eora Haere stated, "but long before Deep Space Nine became the cool new place for ambitious Starfleet officers, I was shipped here despite adamant protest.  Neither my shower nor my replicator were working when I first arrived and I had to sleep under five blankets at night for the first couple of weeks.  I earned my quarters, Melinda."

Melinda shuddered, pouring herself another glass of Andorian blue.  "I feel like a friggin' Ensign all over again.  Who the hell could I possibly get to live with me on the station?"

"Not me," Eora said quickly.  "I didn't like being your roommate back at the Academy, and not all the Bajoran springwine in the sector could get through being your roommate now."

"Come on, Eora!"

"No.  Ask Damian to live with you."

"Dear God no," Melinda shivered.  "Ever since Pranay moved off the ship, Damian's sense of tidiness has reverted to its former ways.  There were times when he'd invite me to dinner and there'd be three-week old laundry strewn across the living room.  Sooooooo not appetizing."

"Mm," Eora shook her head.  "He really ought to talk to Calandra about that."

"She's back on Betazed," Melinda sighed.  "Or Vulcan, depending on when you call her.  She's Pranay's roommate.  They're going through...stuff and apparently they're helping each other through it."

"What kind of stuff?"

"Our dear Ensign Cillia Yrydi - after she was joined, of course - came back a brand new woman/set of people, and shattered Pranay's ego."  At Eora's shocked looked Melinda nodded, "Oh, yes...that was going on. you remember Calandra's ex-fiance?"

"Adrian something or other?"

"Andro," Melinda corrected her.  "Andro Diyas.  Dude attempted suicide and wound up in a coma.  Caused huge family drama."

"Damn," Eora gasped.  "Days gone by, huh?"

"You have no idea."

There was that pause Eora'd been expecting all day, but before Melinda could ask the question she knew was coming, Eora cut her to the quick.

"I can't tell you how she's doing," she shut her old friend down.  "I can't tell you anything, not when she's down below."

"You can't do this to me," the Borg Queen protested.  "You can't tell me about Kinora and Tallas V, and then go all radio silent on me - that's not fair."

"Mylanti is my responsibility now, Mel."

"She will always be my responsibility," Melinda rasped.  "I almost lost her on Ketara and I need to know she's all right."

"She's fine for now," Eora gave in.  "That I know of.  She hasn't met our contact on Tallas V yet; her freighter's still en route."

"And the Romulans?"

"They've no doubt sent their own messenger," Eora nodded, keeping voice and face neutral.

"Dear God."

"She's going to have to deal with the Tal Shiar sooner or later, Mel.  Better on a neutral mission like this than another with definite hostile intentions."

Next ~ "Olive Branch"

*While I'm aware Darwyn Carson portrayed the Romulan Tal Shiar operative, for many years people thought it was Nia Long.  And since there are more pictures of Long available than Carson, I've decided both can portray her at once.  They look similarly enough.


  1. Mylanti done rolled up on a grown-ass woman now. She ain't no match for T'sanne.

  2. "Our dear Ensign Cillia Yrydi - after she was joined, of course - came back a brand new woman/set of people, and shattered Pranay's ego."
    This part made me laugh for some reason. Great chapter. Yay to Pranay and Calandra they would be hot together. Damian is too cool.

  3. LOVED Melinda snitching on everybody! Very lol-worthy...still missing Pranay's sexy self though. Did NOT see him and Calandra hooking up.
    I wanna go back to our AMBW group and ask Edward if he knows that he's all kinds of sexy on the net...but I'm too lazy lol
    And Isi...please keep missing Rindy...yearn for her. Need her. Hehehehehe ;)
    Poor Gaya though...laughing like that lol


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