Gaya's Astronomy V5Ch13 ~ Taking Sides

Previously ~ Only the Strong

Nana Visitor as
Colonel Kira Nerys
"Do you know why you're here?"

Sito Apraxa didn't let Colonel Kira Nerys's soft voice fool her.  The Colonel was in civilian clothes and they were meeting a non-official capacity.  The dusty cafe in Andor province was a long way from the capital, and there were no other government personnel in sight.

So...Apraxa would not be fooled today.

"I'm here to be your bitch," she quipped.  "Though Lt. Gaya didn't phrase it in so many words."

The Colonel ignored the jibe and continued on as though Apraxa hadn't spoken.  "Gul Dukat didn't negotiate the talks with Dominion alone.  He had help. The intel you provided three years ago revealed an entire pro-Dominion faction on Cardassia, one that benefited greatly from the Dominion presence and subsequent war."

"And you want my help hunting them down," Apraxa sneered.

"Technically, the Starfleet Intelligence is subcontracting," Nerys corrected her.

Sito Apraxa
The ex-terrorist blinked, mildly surprised.  "I didn't think the humans had it in them."

Nerys's face remained stoic.  "You'd be surprised."  After a short pause, she continued the briefing.  "You'll be boarding the Eressos in a few days; Captain Dominguez has been assigned to complete a topographical survey in the Belari Sector.  You'll have an associate waiting for you on board with the additional details of your mission."

Apraxa snorted, which turned to chuckling, then full-on laughter.

The Colonel blinked.  "What's so funny?"

"People," Apraxa mused.  "People, people, people. They can't wait to condemn a terrorist...until they need one to do their dirty work."

***


***

Calandra Tria
"So...back to business as usual, huh?"

Lt. Commander Calandra Tria looked up from her uneaten dinner at the Replimat.  Though startled, she wasn't surprised to see Ratana Dao standing above her, empty drinking glass in hand.

"You've heard," the Betazoid replied softly, looking back down at her food.  The former Maquis rebel took it as an invitation and sat down.

"I understand the assignment is permanent."

"Melinda's elated," Calandra sighed.  "She's been promoted to full Commander.  Dominguez specifically requested her as her First Officer."

"And you?" Ratana asked.  "You're not also...elated?"

The Betazoid lifted her head and stared at Ratana for a long time with those dark level eyes.

"You've lived a dangerous life," she said suddenly.  "Of course, you need a crutch every now and again.  It helps make life feel more stable, more predictable."

Ratana Dao
Ratana blinked, caught off guard.  Suddenly remembering that she was speaking to a telepath, she gasped.  "Hey --"

"You've also lost a lot of people," Calandra reminded her.  "It's natural that you would occasionally imagine their presence."

"Calandra!"

"Isn't that why you came to sit with me?" the Betazoid blinked.  "You wanted to talk to a counselor, and you're more comfortable with me than you are with Counselor Reyan.  You wanted to know what I think."

Ratana hesitated for a moment, before tentatively asking, "And?"

"Your Vulcan friend is right," Calandra replied, pushing her plate aside.  She sat back in her chair and sighed, rubbing her temples.  "It's time to let things go.  It's true the promise of vengeance is tempting, but it's also unwise."

"I need to have a purpose," Ratana insisted.  "I've been a leader, a fighter - I can't just go on some extended holiday."

"Have you considered Starfleet?"

Ratana visibly shuddered.

Calandra shrugged.  "A ship like the Eressos could use a woman of your talents."

***

Isi Soyinka
"Why is Mylanti even on this case?" Isi blinked.

"When the Section first considered the two of you, Sloan favored you as an addition while Admiral Upkins favored Mylanti," Rindy explained.  They were back aboard her shuttle and Isi was wearing pajamas now instead of the outfit which wouldn't let her breathe.  The change was doing wonders for the Lieutenant's mood.

Isi raised an eyebrow.  "And now, Sloan is gone."

Rindy nodded, "Which means not a whole lotta people are pulling for you right now.  This mission is a test to see which one of you can earn a spot."

"Bajor's not even a member of the Federation!"

Agent Rindy
"No, but technically, Mylanti is," Rindy reminded her, "especially after years of consistently serving with distinction.  Face it, sister...it's on."

Isi blinked.  You're damn right it is.

She liked Mylanti, admired her actually, and always had.  There was no question that the Bajoran was a superlative operative.  In fact, the only reason Sloan most likely favored Isi was that he was partial to Humans.

Isi didn't want to do what she was going to have to do get Mylanti out of the race, but she was going to do...whatever she had to.  She needed Upkins on her side; she needed to get into that woman's good graces one way or another.

"So," Isi nodded resolutely, "she's got a two-day headstart, you say?"

"Yep."

Isi paused.  "Where's she lodging on this planet?"

Next ~ Gaining the Upper Hand

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