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Another Day, Another Deployment

Posted on Tuesday May 30th, 2017 @ 9:17am by Lieutenant Commander Jaca Lands-on-feet

Mission: Intermission 1: New Home
Location: Starbase 39-Sierra

The discreet muttering from the cargo crew was yet another ongoing reminder of how strange others were compared to her own people. While the crew was no stranger to transporting Starfleet officers heading to new postings, that she’d chosen to just stake out a spot in the cargo bay with duffel as a cushion while skimming over the personnel files of the staff at her new posting, rather than bunking down in the cushy crew quarters was just too “alien” for them. Her lugging her multi-purpose assault cannon probably contributed to the commentary. But to Jaca, until Starfleet, travelling the galaxy had been this way on the troop transports her people favored. Despite almost twenty years in Starfleet with ample exposure to the blandness and overcaution that passed for Federation culture, Jaca still missed the vibrancy and order of home. Her father and uncles had informed her before she shipped out to expect a steady stream of strangeness from the Federation. Their ways were timid, full of this thing called fear about so many things such as upsetting others with words or creating weapons then being too afraid to use them. They used these things called replicators to make food that regardless of how it looked, tasted worse than field meal kits. They preferred to talk anything through enough to make one want to stab their eardrums out.

Her kin’s words were on target but it still didn’t quite prepare one for actually being in it. She was allowed to bring her assault cannon under some cultural accommodation provision, but forbidden to use it unless ordered by a commanding officer that essentially translated to ‘never’. She was forbidden to drink the traditional beverages of her people because there was some rule against even having a buzz while on duty. That the decades in building cumulative hangover Jaca endured her first weeks at the Academy didn’t kill her or cause brain damage was proof the Architect’s Plan was sound and solid. Still didn’t change that this total sobriety thing sucked so hard it blew. But that had all been the start, her dorm mate Haylee and her friends were the bootcamp of experiencing Federation life as far as Jaca was concerned. They prattled about the most inane things to the point Jaca wondered if it was a contest between them with who could use the most words to do so. They ate replicated plant matter only and drank that abomination called ‘synthehol’. They constantly tried to get Jaca to be more Federationlike with things like insisting she grow her hair out of the shaved sides short buzz she’d always worn because she’d be ‘so much prettier’ if she had it long, don’t stand at attention or at ease all the time, or wear the completely impractical flowy garments they did on leave. Closest any of that came was letting her short buzz grow out some only to be tightly braided just so they’d shut up. Jaca was too much of a Djuundi soldier to let anything on her be long enough to be grabbed in a potential combat situation. Even when she encountered some things that weren’t so bad, there was always a reminder that Starfleet and the Federation could never be like home. That thing with Cadet Jensen was proof of that. While he did drunkenly insist she ‘ride him like a bronco’ during a very boozy weekend leave, and she happily obliged, Jaca hadn’t realized exactly how fragile humans were. Cadet Jensen was insistent about not pressing any charges about his fractured pelvis when the two of them realized later that part of the loud crack hadn’t been just the bed breaking, but the medical officer called for treatment had to report the incident for a disciplinary write up. It was enough to sour Jaca on a majority of fraternization and add to her growing homesickness.

Even after all these years, while she had made some adjustments, living in such a timid way still burrowed under the skin much like a Rigellian sand tick. Once while drinking with her XO on Starbase 213 and venting in full, he had asked why she didn’t file the paperwork to resign only to have her look at him with such puzzlement as if his head suddenly burst open and spilled out full grown deathclaws with sparkly bows on their horns singing the walatamba. She had written it off as the standard “humans will never understand” she’d come to know all too well. To Djuundi there was only tour of service, and while Starfleet didn’t have such a thing, the contract the Federation drafted with the Djuundi had to detail one for the diplomatic discussions between them to progress. While remaining at a rank for five standard Earth years seemed reasonable to Jaca, she really hadn’t been prepared for Starfleet to keep promoting her. That her brothers kept joking that she’d eventually end up a Starfleet Fleet Admiral certainly didn’t help matters as did not having been home in all this time. It made part of her want to rage and another part of her miss being able to just be Djuundi without having to deal with having to be in an approved Starfleet condition and going back to behaving like a Federation citizen when leave was over.
Granted that almost twenty years of service wasn’t that long for her kind since living to two hundred was not unheard of, it easily felt three times as long with how utterly bland and boring the Federation and Starfleet. They always insisted on talking everything out rather than just accepting some sorry ass b’khaa in the galaxy just needed killing and get to the killing part. It would’ve saved them time and effort with the Borg and the Dominion. Jaca smirked as she recalled when some human group called Maquis tried to contract out her warband to fight the Cardassians. The Maquis human had gone on at length about how the Federation and Starfleet betrayed their people with some border reorganization to her commanding leaders. To her parents’ credit, they did listen quietly in full before speaking and sending off the human sputtering in outrage to where he had to be sent off at assault cannon point. Her father had simply pointed out that it made no sense to be surprised that a not-Federation power wouldn’t act like the Federation and they should have moved elsewhere if they were going to have a problem with that. While the Djuundi enjoyed any reason for a good fight, they weren’t stupid, didn’t support stupid and everything this Maquis said seemed a special class of idiocy. Not to mention they couldn’t pay as well or as steadily as the Cardassians could and while ideals sounded nice, they don’t fill hungry bellies or keep one warm when it’s freezing.

In truth, all this ideals thing with the Federation wasn’t that far from that honor and glory thing the sorry ass targ fucking Klingons were too busy pleasuring themselves over. How either managed to be a major force in the galaxy was the topic of many a drunken Djuundi barracks discussion. Not that they ever had any notion for becoming such, running anything like an empire would cut too much into drinking, training and heavy ordinance firing time.

A polite cough from one of the crew pulled Jaca from her thoughts.

“Commander, we’re about to dock at the starbase.”, he said, cringing in his skin as if she’d blast him with a plasmoid round from her assault cannon for breathing in her direction.

“So ka.”, she said in her own speech before switching to Standard and picking something more Federationlike wordy, “Thank you. You do your captain and crewmates well.”

He nodded quickly and hurried off. Jaca sighed and shouldered the well weathered duffel she’d been given as soon as she could stand on her own. She mentally noted she needed to add another genitals sketch to the myriad of others that decorated the faded canvas, one for each deployment in her life. With her cannon on her other shoulder she ambled her way to the airlock. She would continue to fulfill her tour of service as the contract stated. While she had some curiosity about being assigned to what passed for a troop carrier for the Federation since that seemed so unlike them with the Jerusalem patrolling around the paranoid as fuck Romulans, part of her wondered if perhaps this time might be different. At best, it’d be lively, at worst, she’d get promoted again.

 

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