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  Lieutenant Rayna Elkhorn, Lieutenant Commander Marielle Deniaud, Ambassador Cersei Naal, SD
 
Breather. JDL by Amb C Naal, LtCdr M Deniaud, and Lt R Elkhorn
 
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It was eight hours into their hike.  The operatives and engineer had already checked out an area that was ‘dead’ on their sensors and found it to simply be a deposit of a mineral that prevented them from reading it.  Rayna led the way toward the next position.

Marielle sighed.  “Rayna,” she called out carefully, “we should take a break.”  The engineer hated to even mention it.  The operations officer seemed irritated with her for one reason or another.

The woman stopped in her tracks and glanced around as she muttered under her breath.  “There’s a reason I like to work alone.”  She sighed and turned toward a ravine just to the east of where they’d halted.  Rayna motioned toward it as she glanced back to Marielle and Cersei.  “Some good cover down that bank for a breather.”  Ice green eyes focused on the ambassador as she waited for approval.

The Trill woman took in a deep breath and nodded.  “A break is a good idea,” she agreed.  Her feet began moving after the operations officer and she shifted the pack on her back.  It had been a while since she’d been so deep in the field and the exertion was taking a toll on her.  It didn’t help that she was trying to keep from worrying for K’hevok.  The man had reached out to her before the left and Cersei knew she would much rather be at his side in case he woke up.

Her jaw clenched as she told herself Rayna’s deference to Cersei was not any reflection on her as a leader.  She quietly made her way along the path that the operations officer created.  The hike down to the ravine was made in silence.  Her eyes drifted to the sky at times as she wondered how the Aldrin was doing.  ‘I really hope Gideon forgives me for just leaving him in charge of the ship without telling him,’ she thought to herself.

The pack was slid off of her shoulders and dropped to the earth once she reached a spot that could accommodate the three of them.  “There’s some rations in Cersei’s bag if you’re interested.”  Rayna leaned down to pick up the canteen of water that was hooked to the side of her bag and she offered it to the engineer.

It was bad enough that she had to wear the cumbersome hazmat suit, but having to finagle a drink or a snack with it on was just not going to happen.  “I’m good,” Marielle grumbled softly as she sat on a large boulder.  She held back from staring at the operations officer as if she was an idiot for even asking.  ‘It’s just mean to remind us we can’t have any.’  She slid the pack off her shoulder and and took a deep breath as the weight was removed from her back.  While she wanted a bite to eat or drink, it was enough just to rest.  “How much farther?”

Cersei eased the bag off of her back and left it on the forest floor since the engineer said she wasn’t interested in a snack.  She stepped toward the operations officer and took the canteen.  “An hour’s hike to the edge of the blind spot.  It seemed pretty big, so another twenty minutes to find the source.”  She uncapped the large flask and lifted it toward her face before groaning in realization.  She shook her head at herself and screwed the lid back on before tossing the water back toward Rayna.  “That was mean,” she chided her.

The changeling giggled quietly as her brows raised in an ‘oops’ expression.  “Forgot,” she hummed as she set the canteen aside.  Rayna looked between the two and shrugged her shoulders.  “There’s nothing out here.”

“Doubtful,” Marielle mumbled under her breath.  The engineer straightened and leaned back slightly, pressing her hands onto the boulder and keeping herself propped.  “Rayna, do you know who this Levi Van Vranken is?”  She stared at the sky as she imagined a physical dampening field that kept the area  shielded from view.

She sat cross legged on the ground, her hands on the earth behind her with her elbows locked to remain upright.  Her gaze shifted toward Marielle and the operations officer smiled.  “Yeah, he likes to think we’re doing things for the betterment of Starfleet.  I think he’s finally caught on that Intelligence is just full of megalomaniacs with too much power.”  Rayna’s smirk faded as she shook her head.  “I’d be done with these people if they didn’t have B’Layna and Halyn.”

Cersei quietly cleared her throat.  “Commander Deniaud may have privilege for this mission, but if you reveal too much, it could cost you.”  The Trill shook her head when Rayna just shrugged at her.

The engineer frowned as she stared at Rayna.  “Who are B’Layna and Halyn?” she asked simply.

“My wife and kid.”

It took her several long seconds to comprehend what she was hearing.  “You-  You’ve got a wife and a kid.”  The words were stated simply.  “You-  Have a wife and a child.”  

The ambassador frowned and shook her head.  At this point, whatever Rayna revealed was on her own.  Cersei sighed softly as she watched the operations officer.

“Didn’t you also date Amber Monili?”  Her brow wrinkled in confusion.  “And-  Didn’t you sleep with Jessie and Rico?”  She paused.  “At the same time?” Her head leaned to one side as she recalled one of Gideon’s many letters.  

She laughed.  “Oh, that was fun.”  Rayna sighed with pleasure at the memory as she nodded.

Marielle blinked.  She couldn’t fathom dating anyone once in a committed relationship.  The image of Jessie Jessup and Rico Suave acting as the sides to a Rayna sandwich appeared clearly in her imagination and she wrinkled her nose.  “Oh ew!” she exclaimed softly  “I didn’t need that mental image in my head.  They’re like brothers.”

“Quietly, Commander, Lieutenant,” Cersei warned with a brief shake of her head.  She picked up a tricorder and watched the screen as she scanned the area.

Sighing, Marielle lowered her hands and nodded.  “Sorry.  I’m just-  I don’t know how to take to this news.”  The engineer looked at Cersei and Rayna.  “I mean-  You’re Intelligence-”

“Bee knows that I do what I do to get DNA.  She’s Dyjdean, so she’s having to roll with someone while I’m stuck out here.”  The operations officer shrugged again.  “We know where our hearts belong.  Well.  The mass of goo that I make into a heart.”  Rayna snickered quietly.

“Dyjdeans take an oath of celibacy.  Once they’ve found the man or woman they intend to mate with, their hormones are freed.”  Cersei glanced from the operations officer to the engineer as she explained.  “The body requires frequent nocturnal activity or they go into a coma.  Rayna was male when she served with B’Layna.”

“Charlie Sheridan.  He was Security, though.  I would say it’s the most boring position on a starship, but that definitely goes to Science.”  Her head tipped back and she fell to lay back on the earth.

The engineer couldn’t help but giggle quietly.  “Science definitely ranks up there on the boring scale,” she agreed.  “But, I don’t know.  Security looks a little fun.”  A small smile pulled at her lips as she considered the security chief and how well he’d done with the post.  Marielle pushed off to sit a little straighter.

Rayna shook her head as her hands sifted through her black hair.  “I guess it would be better if your chief wasn’t a frakking Vulcan.  Oh for the love of- that guy was was the epitome of stick in the mud.”

Cersei shook her head as she watched.  Her gaze moved back to the tricorder to be sure that there were no creatures approaching.  She was contented to listen, since it was her style.  The ambassador role really suited her, but she felt undervalued.

She chuckled quietly and gave the operations a big smile.  She glanced between the two women.  “So who’s this guy we’re saving?” she asked.  “Do you think he’ll be able to give us an idea for an antidote to help these people?”

“Mmm,” she hummed with a ‘cat-ate-the-canary’ smile.  “Yari Nazir.  He’d give your Salieri a run for his money.”  Rayna giggled when the engineer looked confused and shook her head.  “He’s going to be too busy trying to get you naked to help.”

The ambassador rolled her eyes and groaned softly at the reminder of Nazir’s character.  “He assisted me at the beginning of my undercover mission and I almost had to knock him out.  The man’s tongue needs clipped.”  Cersei took in a deep sigh before she glanced at Rayna.  “You’re going to have to focus him.”

The operations officer shook her head.  “I’m going to be after the virus.  Easier for me to handle it.”  Rayna pointed her finger between the two of them.  “You can fight over him.  I’m sure he’ll be sharing my quarters until we get back to Earth.”  She smirked at the thought.

“I guess I’ve got Nazir then,” the engineer grumbled.  “If this Van Vranken has him, then it’s a good bet he’s behind some force field.  That normally falls under my jurisdiction.  I’ll deal with the dampening field.”

The Trill woman nodded toward Marielle.  “I’ll be providing cover.  Commander Nazir’s team was himself and two operatives.  Admiral Schmitz didn’t mention Agent Akerio.”

Taking a breath, Marielle sat up and picked up her pack.  “Let’s get this done then,” the engineer began as she slipped the straps over her shoulder.  “I want to get back before they notice we’re actually gone.”  She glanced at the other women as she waited.  Once the operations officer began to lead the way once more, she followed in silence.

   
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