Gaya's Astronomy V5Ch1 ~ Eressos

Previously ~ Contemplating Sin, a Prologue

Cmdr. Xochitl Dominguez
Sitting behind her cramped desk aboard the USS Eressos, Commander Xochitl ("so-chee") Dominguez briefly wondered why the hell someone would put a ready room aboard a warship.

She soon deduced the purpose of the closet-sized room; it was where a Captain or Commander or whoever was in command could go to read over casualty reports in private and ponder sheer amount of waste of this war.

Fifty ships destroyed this week alone.  Twenty-thousand Federation, Klingon, and Romulan lives lost.

Xochitl bitterly threw down the padd and snapped on her desk computer to check on the repair schedule for her ship.  The door beeped, interrupting her stormy thoughts.  "Come," she ordered.

Ratana Dao
The doors slid open and a new crewmember entered.  "Ratana Dao reporting, sir.  Request permission to come aboard."

Xochitl looked over the former Maquis Commander, taking in her lean looks and flawless brown skin.  She wore her hair in a simple bun and was dressed in civilian clothes.

"You're the consultant?" Xochitl asked mildly, though already knowing the answer.

"Aye, sir."  Ratana had more discipline that most Maquis; her time among Starfleet officers was obvious.  She knew protocol and didn't hesitate to follow it.  She stared ahead, standing at attention, and didn't make eye contact.

"Have you familiarized yourself with the Eressos?"

"Defiant-class Federation warship," the former rebel nodded briskly.  "Class 7-warp drive spanning three decks.  Four phase cannons, six torpedo launchers, full complement of quantum torpedoes.  Deflector shields and ablative armor."

Xochitl was admittedly impressed.  "Well, done."

"Thank you, sir."

"At ease, Ratana," the Commander waved wearily.  "You'll be assigned crew quarters shortly; my first officer is expecting you to report to the bridge at 1330 hours.  Any questions?"

"Just an observation," Ratana raised an eyebrow.  "Your crew roster is all-female.  Do men not serve aboard the Eressos?"

"We did have male officers serve aboard this ship," Xochitl assured her with a slight nod.  She then tilted her head slightly to the side. "They died."

***


***

Lt. Cmdr Melinda Barton
"Not to bring up unpleasant memories," Lt. Commander Melinda Barton began, pacing before her assembled bridge crew, "but during our last row with the Dominion we lost nine crewmen and had seventeen wounded.  For those of you who were carried out half-dead on hover-beds, at the time of our retreat, shields were down to 10% and we were venting plasma.  Main life support was offline.  When we finally reached Deep Space Nine and docked at Upper Pylon 3, we had to manually pry open the door to enter the airlock.

"Despite our success at destroying the shipyards at Kitu VII, the top brass is not happy with how we had to limp home.  They believe we could've sustained less damage and suffered fewer casualties.  So the bigwigs are sending in a Maquis consultant and while I know of some us feel about the Maquis - myself included - we have to remember they were used to fighting outnumbered and outgunned.  'Course...it didn't help them against the Jem'Hadar," she added wryly, generating a ripple of chuckles from the crew.

"True," a new voice silkly interrupted, "but we didn't have Defiant-class warships."  All heads to turned to see Ratana Dao stepping through the bridge doors.  "If we had, the Jem'Hadar wouldn't have stood a chance."

Melinda raised an eyebrow.  "Is that so?"

"Indeed," Ratana assured her.  "I reviewed the ships tactical logs.  The Eressos's maneuverability was underused, the torpedo launchers were inefficiently aimed, and the Ensign at the helm wasn't even remotely prepared for combat.  So at risk of evoking everyone's ire, I tend to concur with the top brass."

Melinda snorted.  "What a surprise."

"You don't have to like me," Ratana shrugged.  "But you will like the fact that I can keep more of you alive."

"A lovely sentiment," Melinda quipped.  She shot her crew a look.  "You all have things to do."

They could sense her irritation and dispersed quickly while she whirled back towards Ratana.

"What the hell are you doing aboard my ship?" she snapped.  "Out of the all Maquis jailbirds  still alive, why were you sent here?"

"We both know why," Ratana mused.  "Xochitl --"

"I know you meant to say Commander Dominguez."

"Well, therein lies the problem, right?" Ratana snickered.  "She's not a Captain.  Oh, she's been trying for years, so much that she won't let Starflee Command pry this ship from her cold dead fingers.  Meanwhile, other people are paying for her ambition.  For heaven's sake, Melinda --"

"Commander Barton," Melinda growled.

"--you just buried nine crewmen," Ratana went on.  "Of the seventeen wounded, three lost limbs, six suffered third degree burns - the Eressos has taken some heavy losses, heavier than other ships."

"We fight harder than other ships, Ratana!" Melinda barked.  "We stay on the front line longer, we engage the enemy more fiercely, and we don't leave the mission unfinished."

"As a former Maquis Commander, I can respect that," Ratana acknowledged.  "But let's face it.  The Jem'Hadar are bred in chambers and only need one chemical to survive.  Take out a fleet and another one simply replaces it.  You don't win wars at a piecemeal rate...Commander."

Melinda loathed to admit the woman was right.  "What did you have in mind?" she bit out.

"A new mission," Ratana smirked.  "Don't you think it's time the Dominion feels loss the way we feel loss?"

Next ~ Clandestine

Comments

  1. I guess I am going to have to go way back to the beginning!

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  2. The back and forth between then was pure wit. Melinda and her shade lol gotta like it.

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  3. *straps in* I'm completely here for this.

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  4. POCs not getting promoted, maybe the Dominion needs to kick Starfleets ass.

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