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in from the cold

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There was a persistent, blaring sound at the edge of Jadzia's consciousness, and she wished the alarm would just let her sleep a little more.

Then the 'blaring' part connected to the red flashes that kept intruding behind her eyelids and Jadzia jerked up, eyes open. A bad move: the sudden movement only made her aware of the pain from her left shoulder and knee. Gritting her teeth she rose, slowly, until she was sitting up leaning on her right arm on the floor of a small spacecraft.

Jadzia frowned, disoriented by her surroundings. It was a small Starfleet ship, but not the danube-class runabout she was used to: the vessel was cramped, only two seats in front of the console. Regardless, she'd have to do something about the staggering amount of alerts that filled the displays. Then she noticed the other person lying down on the floor, in all likelihood unconscious as Jadzia had been only moments before. All that had happened in the last months rushed back to her like a blow to the stomach.

Jadzia crawled towards Lieutenant Torres slowly and awkwardly, gritting her teeth at the pain coming from her limbs at every movement. Once beside her, Jadzia checked the lieutenant's breathing and pulse, both steady. But she had no time to be relieved yet.

The medical kit, if the shuttle had been stocked correctly, was in a container in the back, a short distance away from where Jadzia was now. Jadzia leaned on the cool bulkhead of the shuttle, not relishing the thought of more crawling and more pain and more flashing red lights. But she had to do something for Torres, and herself too, if she wanted for them both to survive.

Even if sometimes surviving seemed to be all they could do in the Delta Quadrant.

Torres grimaced soon after Jadzia administered the hypospray that the medical tricorder had suggested. Jadzia exhaled in relief.

"Where am I?" Torres croaked.

"Do you remember what happened?" Jadzia asked gently.

Torres opened her eyes, blinked a couple of times towards Jadzia and groaned.

"We were surveying a moon for trilithium deposits. For Voyager."

"Yes," Jadzia confirmed.

"And we found some samples to bring back to the ship."


"But we're not on Voyager. Did something happen to the shuttle?"

Torres struggled to sit up and Jadzia helped her, one-handed, to lean against the bulkhead.

"I don’t know yet what exactly happened to the shuttle, but take it easy, you've taken a beating,” Jadzia chided. “Though there should be no risk of permanent damage."

"That doesn't stop the headache," Torres complained. "Computer, status report," she barked, closing her eyes.

"Voice commands are disabled," Jadzia replied in place of the computer.

"Then we are in worse trouble than I thought. Can you check the consoles? And stop the flashing lights?"

"I was planning to as soon as I finished checking on you."

"Then I suggest you do it. Now, Dax," she added, possibly in response to Jadzia's hesitation. "I'm not going anywhere, not when opening my eyes makes my head swim like I'm having the worst hangover."

Jadzia slowly stood up, careful to not put too much weight on her injured knee, and stumbled a few paces that separated her from the pilot seat. The flashing warnings overwhelmed the console, looking more like bajoran pictograms than Starfleet standard. Jadzia frowned, trying to make sense of them.

"Shields and phasers are out, as is all propulsion except thrusters. Core shut down four minutes and thirty-two seconds ago, the shuttle is functioning on energy reserve. Life support is at minimum, and computer functions are reduced."

"In other words, we're dead in the water," Torres commented from the back.

"We have thrusters, and sensors indicate no immediate danger," Jadzia replied, all the while acknowledging the alerts and clearing up the console, "but yes. We can't do much on our own. We should send a distress call to Voyager."

"And wait the three months it would take them to get here while they’re stuck on impulse power?"

"They'll send another shuttle."

"If they're back from doing the surveying. Which they probably aren't."

Jadzia exhaled. "Well, I don't see many other options here, besides trying to magically repair this shuttle with a semblance of propulsion. The transmitter is one of the few things that still works."

"I'm surprised the transmission modules are still working with the core out. What the hell happened to the shuttle?"

Jadzia frowned. "I don't know. Last thing I can remember is us reaching the edge of the star system. Now we are— well, not very far from the edge of the same star system."

"What does the log say?"

Jadzia called up the sensor log and quickly scanned it. "Nothing helpful, I'm afraid," she said, "all parameters nominal until the core and shields gave out with no warning. This is very unusual."

"For you, maybe," Torres said, and when Jadzia turned to look at her, she was already on her way to get to the other pilot seat. "And spare me your concern, Spots, I'm fine. You said so yourself."

Jadzia watched as Torres slumped on the seat beside hers. She knew better than contradict the Chief Engineer after being warned not to. "Enlighten me then," Jadzia offered.

"This looks like sabotage." Torres paused. "At least, that's how I would've done it, if I wanted to capture a shuttle and all its contents."

Jadzia stared at the woman beside her. The uniform they shared made her forget, sometimes, that she was working alongside the Maquis.

"On second thought," Jadzia said slowly, "sending a distress call may not be the best approach here."

Torres looked at her with heavy-lidded eyes, the shadow of a smirk on her face.

"I'm glad you see my point."

Under Torres' direction, Jadzia removed several panels from the back of the shuttle. Torres had grudgingly admitted she was still feeling too nauseous to perform precision work, and she was sitting on the floor nearby.

"Now find the matter/antimatter regulator," Torres instructed.

Jadzia found the cylindrical device on the bottom left of the panel. She squatted and promptly activated her tricorder.

"The flow stops before the regulator," Jadzia declared.

"Uh," Torres replied, "I guess whoever did this didn't care about the shuttle not exploding after all."

Still squatting, Jadzia turned towards the engineer. "So we could blow us up at any time. But if we don't repair the core, life support will fail in the near future. Exciting," she added, unable to rein in the sarcasm.

Torres glowered at her. "I have no intention to die here, Dax, and I really hope you don't either."

"I've already died once in a shuttle accident, and I don't care to repeat the experience," Jadzia retorted.

Torres huffed. "Of course you did. If you are so motivated, then, help me up. We've got some more investigating to do."

"Are you sure you're feeling up to it?"

"I don't have much choice if we want to survive, do I?" Torres replied acidly. "We can't exactly rely on your centuries-old engineering skills."

Jadzia rolled her eyes, but offered Torres a hand nonetheless. They rose up slowly, and Torres seemed now able to stand on her feet without swaying. At least some good news, Jadzia thought with relief.

Torres stood in the middle of the shuttle, which was now a mess of hanging cables and beeping lights that made little sense to Jadzia.

"This has to be the work of someone who had access to the shuttles on Voyager." Torres crossed her arms on her chest, and continued: "My money is on Seska. This is just the kind of thing she'd do, hiding the modifications so deep that no one would be the wiser."

"But why now? What would she gain from a shuttle exploding so long after leaving the ship?" Jadzia countered, making a wide gesture with her arm as if to encompass the situation they were in.

Torres sighed. "I don't know."

Jadzia stood up from the pilot's seat and linked her hands behind her back. "Maybe we should think about closer motives. People who might be interested in acquiring Starfleet technology with any means necessary."

"The only people who knew about us surveying this star system was that cargo ship who sold us the information in the first place. You think it might have been them?"

"It's hard to say for sure, but it seems to me they'd be main suspects."

"But how did they manage to sabotage the shuttle? They never even boarded Voyager, or showed on our sensor after they left."

"They might have means of concealing themselves," Jadzia observed. "And they might have had the time, while we were on the surface of the moon and left the shuttle in orbit."

“But they still couldn’t have boarded the shuttle, because otherwise they’d have just stolen it. What could’ve been their objective?”

Jadzia thought about it. “There must have been a way for them to disable propulsion and shields from a relatively safe distance, so whoever did this could come to pick up the shuttle later.”

Torres looked at her, eyes wide. "Of course. The nacelles. They must have targeted them with some kind of dampening device. I don't know why I haven't thought of it."

The eureka moment made Jadzia smile. "Then it's just a matter of finding this device."

Jadzia closed the airlock above her with some difficulty, encumbered by the EV suit and the sudden but welcome presence of the gravity plating inside the shuttle. Torres stood nearby, face pale under the low lights, and Jadzia handed her the object she'd found on the shuttle's port nacelle.

Torres' tricorder beeped softly, and she shook her head with a huff. "It really is just an electromagnet. Crude, but effective."

"Easy to attach to a shuttle undetected, too, if you can get close enough," Jadzia supplied.

"While you were out I went over the automated sensor logs, and I think there were some fluctuations in the chroniton levels during the time we were on the surface of the moon."

Jadzia nodded. "That’s consistent with a cloaking device of some sort."

Torres shook her head. "I don't like any of this," she said, frowning. “It'll take several hours for the nacelles to polarize again, and we’ll be defenseless in the meantime. We're not out of the woods yet."

Jadzia watched silently as Torres put the device in a box on the floor and sat down in front of the console. It wasn't difficult to see that she was shaking, even if she was trying to hide it.

"What's life support’s status?"

"We'll live, though we probably won't be comfortable while we wait. I had to prioritize air recycling over the thermostat."

Well, that would explain the shaking. Jadzia went over to the emergency supplies, and with a little rummaging she found what she was looking for.

"What are you doing?" Torres said, turning towards her.

"Wrap yourself in this," Jadzia said, holding out a still folded emergency foil blanket. "I can see you shiver from here."

"I'm not—"

"Please? Call me annoying and overbearing, I don't care. But if temperatures are falling fast you're going to feel it way more than I will."

"What, because you're a Trill and I'm a half Klingon?"

"Yes, that's exactly why," Jadzia said, holding Torres' gaze steadily.

Torres returned the stare, and finally took the blanket.

Putting all the cables and panels back in place was unsurprisingly way more difficult than prying them out, but it kept Jadzia for worrying endlessly.

"Is Trill a very cold place?"

Jadzia turned to Torres, surprised to hear such a question from her. She kept the foil blanket wrapped tightly around her shoulders, and had crossed her legs on her seat so that she was completely covered. If anything, the blanket appeared to have worked, and Torres wasn't shaking anymore.

"The average temperature on Trill is lower than Earth's or Qo'onos', but not as cold as Andoria," Jadzia replied. "It depends on where you are and what season it is, of course."

"That sounds nice. Qo'onos is an oven anyway,"

Jadzia had to concur. "It took some time to get used to it."

"Wait, when did you live on Qo'onos?"

Jadzia shook her head. "It was Curzon, not me," she said, "but he lived there on and off for almost twenty years."

"He was the ambassador one, right?"

Jadzia nodded, unsure how to react to Torres’ unusual curiosity .

"Well, no wonder you can speak Klingon," Torres commented, diverting her eyes towards a flashing message on the console.

Jadzia sighed. There it was, finally, a reference to the incident that had set the glacial tone of all their interactions from that moment on. Jadzia had hoped to clear the air with the chief engineer for months, though the life-or-death situation in which they were stuck in wasn’t exactly the opportunity she’d envisioned.

"About that,” Jadzia began, “I've been meaning to say something for a while. I'm sorry about the way I spoke to you back when Voyager just got stranded in the Delta Quadrant. I shouldn't have made assumptions about you."

Torres didn't reply, opting instead to check again the console display. Jadzia knew that Torres had every right to still be angry about it, but that didn’t mean that Jadzia hadn't hoped for a better outcome. With their misunderstanding still hanging between them, Jadzia had gotten to know all the other senior officers on Voyager, but not Torres.

"You're still hung up on that, uh," Torres murmured eventually, snapping Jadzia out of her train of thoughts.

"Well, you haven't forgotten either," Jadzia retorted.

Torres turned towards her again. "Hardly. You made an impression, even if a very irritating one. But yes, you shouldn't have made assumptions about the way I feel about my Klingon heritage, and you shouldn't make them now. I don't care about your ideas on Klingon culture, no matter what memories your previous ambassador life left you. I won’t be your Klingon friend in the Delta Quadrant, not now and not ever, clear?"

"Noted," Jadzia replied as neutrally as she could, knowing that the scolding was deserved.

"Glad we're on the same page, Spots."

Jadzia couldn't help but smirk at the nickname.

The shuttle now mostly tidied up, there was little left to do for Jadzia besides staring at the slow progress of the nacelle's polarization on the console. The temperature was still falling rapidly, and every breath Jadzia took consistently produced a small puff of vapor.

"You're sure these are the only emergency blankets," Torres asked for the third time.

Jadzia glanced at her before returning her attention to the display. "You can check for yourself if you want."

Torres grunted noncommittally. She looked more like a bundle of heavy cloth than a Klingon engineer: she’d taken the cloth blanket in addition to the foil one and wrapped it around herself like a cocoon. Jadzia had taken the second emergency blanket from the rations, but even with the added insulation the environment was becoming decidedly uncomfortable. There was only one further step they could take to resist while they waited for the nacelles to polarize. Jadzia inwardly prepared herself for the inevitable refusal.

"Is this a bad moment to suggest sharing all our blankets? Our combined warmth should help fend off the cold for a while longer."

Torres turned towards her, blinking a couple of times as if she was processing what Jadzia had just said. "Tell me this is not some sort of ploy to make fun of me. Didn’t you say you can handle low temperatures better than I do?"

"I’m not trying to make fun of you," Jadzia said. "And it's true that I have a good resistance to colder temperatures, but I'm also carrying a symbiont. Which means that once my body temperature drops under a certain threshold, I'm pretty much toast."

"That sounds rather dramatic." Torres paused, possibly mulling the proposal over. "Alright, but these seats aren't big enough for the two of us."

Jadzia grinned. "We'll put a foil blanket on the floor, and wrap the other two around the both of us."

After a fair bit of complaining and negotiations disguised as discussion of the physics of heat distribution, they settled down on a corner of the shuttle not too far from the console, so they could keep an eye on the progress of the polarization. The lively discussion kept at bay most of the inevitable awkwardness, and Jadzia found herself side by side with Torres and with a blanket holding them close without almost having noticed.

"With all that talk about body temperatures, I was almost convinced being near you would be like touching a snail," Torres joked.

"I'm not slimy," Jadzia retorted, appalled.

"Doesn't your worm come from a mud pool or something?"

Jadzia lifted an eyebrow. "Oh? Were you so interested in me to read about Trills?"

Torres shoved her with her shoulder, and Jadzia laughed. "I was not," she said. "But you told Paris, so obviously now the entire ship knows about it."

"I was hoping that telling him about the symbiont might— discourage him a little."

Torres snorted. "Did it work?"

"Not much."

Torres laughed, but soon her expression turned somber, her eyes downcast.

"You know, about that time— I didn't snap at you just because you informed me that you could speak Klingon perfectly. I mean, you could've chosen a less annoying way to say it, but that wasn't the whole picture."

Jadzia quelled her curiosity, and waited for Torres to continue.

"It just was— the whole package, you know? Even back then, half of the crew was already mooning over you, and you have all these years of experience in so many different fields. I thought you were posturing, trying to intimidate me."

"That was never my intention."

"Maybe not, but how would it look if you'd just went from being a Maquis to the Chief Engineer on a Starfleet ship, with no real guarantee that it would last? I didn't know you and you used to be stationed on DS9 too, which meant I trusted you even less. And then you started telling me, in Klingon, about the fact that you're fluent in a language I know well. It looked like Janeway sent you to breathe on my neck."

"I— had not thought of that."

"Clearly," Torres retorted dryly.

"I'm sorry," Jadzia said. "I just heard you speak to yourself in Klingon, and that felt like the first familiar thing I'd found after boarding Voyager and being flung into a distant quadrant. I honestly just wanted to talk, but I realize I didn’t think it through."

"Hmm." Torres paused. "Well, I may also have overreacted. I was under a lot of pressure. But I meant what I said about not making assumptions about me."

"I know you did, and I promise I’m taking that to heart." Jadzia replied. As soon as she finished speaking, though, an idea jumped at the forefront of her mind. "But since I shouldn’t assume, would you answer some questions?"

"Whatever for?"

"Just to pass the time while we wait for the nacelles to be back online. Plus, I still want to get to know the most brilliant engineer on the ship," Jadzia retorted.

Torres gave her another shove, and Jadzia laughed.

"I already know I'm going to regret this, but fine, as long as we both get to ask questions," Torres said.

"You get one question for each one you answer."

"Who said you could be the one to ask questions first?" Torres retorted, yanking the blanket.

"Alright, you can start."

Torres smiled. "Good. So, hmm— how many of you there have been?"

Jadzia snorted at the phrasing. "I am the eighth host of the Dax symbiont."

"Eight? That's a lot of people. How do you keep your thoughts straight?"

"That is a second question, but I'll let it slide this time," Jadzia pointed out, to which Torres huffed. "Anyway, I had to go through years of training before the joining, to learn how to cope with the memories of a symbiont. I suppose our security officer would say it's a similar concept to Vulcan meditation techniques."

"At least you never suggested I try any Trill meditation to deal with my temper."

Jadzia laughed. "I like to think that I'm less patronizing than the average Vulcan. My turn now," she said, changing the topic. "You're not Starfleet, but you went to the Academy right?"

Torres frowned, wrapping the blanket tighter around her shoulders. "I did. I was kicked out though." She eyed Jadzia before continuing: "It's not my favorite topic of conversation, so please don’t ask."

"That’s ok, I understand," Jadzia nodded.

"What, you've been a dropout in one of your past lives?"

"In this one actually," Jadzia replied, diverting her eyes. "I was told to leave the program that selects the candidates for joining. I was the first Trill to ever attempt reapplying."

Torres rolled her eyes. "Of course you're a success story. I'm not sure why I expected any different."

"I wouldn't call being the Chief Engineer on a Starfleet ship a failure, either."

"I am in this position only because of the circumstances."

"You're the chief engineer because you're the best person for the job, and the fact that we're all still alive and Voyager is still going is proof of that," Jadzia countered.

Torres gaped at Jadzia. "You’re being awfully nice. Why are you telling all this now?"

"I suppose because we're in a small shuttlecraft, alone, fending off the cold by staying close under the same blanket. What better time to speak your mind than now?" Jadzia concluded with a grin.

"You're a weird one, Dax."

"I prefer to think that I have a good sense of dramatic timing."

Torres didn't reply to that, and the silence stretched on. It was still cold, but not unbearably so. Jadzia’s right side, the one closer to Torres, was actually pretty warm. Even the silence, while not entirely relaxed, was an improvement given their usual interactions.

"I don't remember whose turn it was to ask a question," Torres said, interrupting Jadzia's thoughts.

"You can ask another if you like," Jadzia said with a smirk. "I don't mind answering personal questions."

"Are you always this humble?" Torres retorted immediately, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

"Absolutely. And now it's my turn again," Jadzia said, making Torres groan. "So— Who are the people you miss the most from the Alpha Quadrant?"

Torres was wide-eyed again. "You sure know how to keep things interesting," she observed. "But I might as well answer it. I miss the other Maquis the most. We had so many plans, so many people to help—" she shook her head and closed her eyes. "I feel like I abandoned them. That we abandoned them. I'm sure Chakotay agrees with me." She paused. "I don’t know if you expected something about family, but the truth is, the Maquis were my family."

Jadzia just nodded, recognizing that this was no small admission for Torres.

"What about you, Spots? Who are the people you miss the most?"

Jadzia looked away, towards the faraway stars on the shuttle viewscreen. "I miss DS9 and the people I met there, more than anything. If the Maquis were family for you, I think that the station had become the same for me." She wrapped the blanket tighter around herself. “There isn’t a day I don’t wonder what would I be doing on DS9, if I hadn’t accepted that temporary assignment on Voyager. Or how are the people there doing. If they need me and I’m not there to help them.”

Unexpectedly, Torres leaned against Jadzia’s shoulder. “I suppose most of the crew have similar concerns. Being stuck here— most days it feels like it’s pointless to hope we’ll be back to the Alpha Quadrant one day.”

It did, but agreeing with Torres would’ve only made things gloomier than they already were. “I could mention several things that are more hopeless than that. Like Neelix’s cooking, Ensign Kim’s crush of the month, Paris’ bad boy façade. Oh, the Doctor’s bedside manners. The Alpha Quadrant doesn’t so distant in comparison, if you ask me.”

Torres laughed out loud at that, and Jadzia felt warmer than she’d had in days.

Then the proximity alert went off.

The cold forgotten, they both scrambled to take their seats in front of the console.

“Unidentified vessel approaching. Fast,” Jadzia said.

“They didn’t bother cloaking this time, uh,” Torres pointed out.

“They probably believe we’re defenseless.”

“And they wouldn’t be wrong. Nacelle polarization is only at 87%, and without shields or phasers we stand no chance.”

Jadzia gritted her teeth, considering. Her hands were shaking slightly above the screen, and she wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or the tension.

“I’ll send a distress call,” Jadzia declared eventually. “There’s no way the unidentified ship isn’t aware of our position, and there’s a chance Voyager will pick it up.”

Torres shook her head, her eyes firmly on the display. “They’re still not going to be able to come to rescue us. We have to figure this one out on our own.”

“I’m open to suggestions,” Jadzia said dryly.

“I— may be able to start the core with only partial nacelle polarization,” Torres said, closing her eyes for a moment. “But I can’t guarantee that the core will behave, or that weapons and shields will be restored. We’ll have to try to get to warp as soon as I start it up, and hope we won’t be blown up to bits if we do.” She looked over to Jadzia, her expression tense. “It’ll require some quick piloting.”

“That is something I can do.”

“There’s more. We’ll have to wait until the nacelles are at least 90% polarized, and by then—”

“— the ship who’s probably after us will be well within weapons range,” Jadzia finished for her.

“Can you give me some time?” Torres asked, her voice betraying an uncertainty that Jadzia had rarely heard from her.

Jadzia gathered all her confidence and spoke. “I’ll do my best.”

A muscle jumped on Torres’ jaw. “I’m counting on you, Spots.”

Torres rose from her seat without further comment, picked up her tricorder from the floor and got to work on the isolinear chip panel just below the console.

Jadzia willed herself to get her attention back on the quickly approaching vessel. Sensors gave no clear indication if the ship was equipped with a tractor beam, but if her earlier hypothesis about the cargo ship was correct then she’d be surprised if it wasn’t. However, in order to use the tractor beam, the ship would probably have to slow down considerably: that could warn Jadzia of their intentions. She looked grimly at the still empty viewscreen in front of her, ready to fight tooth and nail despite their nonexistent resources.

A beep from a nearby display caught Jadzia’s attention. “They’re hailing us,” she blurted out in surprise.

Torres was sitting on the shuttle floor surrounded by carefully arranged isolinear chips, although Jadzia couldn’t even begin to guess what she was attempting to do. The engineer glanced back at Jadzia, but didn’t interrupt her work.

“I can’t help you, Spots. I can’t get distracted or this won’t work.”

“Got it.”

Jadzia frantically looked at the display. The vessel didn’t appear to be slowing down. On one hand, responding would give her a better chance to stall for time if the ship’s commander wanted to talk. But if they didn’t, responding would only alert the ship that there were people alive and conscious on the shuttle, which could mean being boarded instead of just towed.

“How’s the nacelle polarization?” Torres asked.

“Eighty-nine percent,” Jadzia replied, barely able to tear her eyes from the tactical display.

“Tell me when it gets to ninety, and be ready to jump at low warp when I say so,” Torres instructed.

Well, Jadzia was apparently not going to answer that hail. She quickly entered coordinates for the last known location of Voyager. When she glanced again to tactical she discovered with horror that the approaching vessel, now clearly identifiable as the cargo ship Voyager had traded information with, was decelerating. The polarization was still stuck at eighty-nine.

“Torres, I’m going to play hard to get with our guests. Hold onto something,” Jadzia said.

“You’re going to do what— ow!” Torres yelped just as Jadzia fired all starboard thrusters and narrowly avoided being hit by an energy beam. “What are you doing!”

“I’m trying to avoid getting caught in a tractor beam!”

“With thrusters?” Torres asked incredulously.

“It’s all we have, isn’t it?”

There had been a spike in the sensor readings right before the tractor beam had been activated, and Jadzia looked for it again before activating thrusters at full force again.

This time Torres didn’t yelp, but there was a crashing sound of colliding equipment as another beam missed the shuttle.

“Please tell me that the polarization is at ninety,” Torres pleaded.

Jadzia glanced over to the relevant display and grinned. “I’m pleased to inform you that it’s indeed at ninety.”

“Finally! Get ready, on my mark.”

“Hurry up, I’m not going to fool them for much longer!”

Jadzia gritted her teeth, her shaking fingers hovering the console display, eyes not daring to leave sensor readings. The levels began to shoot up and—


Jadzia hit warp.

She blinked. The seconds seemed to stretch on as the stars passed by the viewscreen. Jadzia allowed herself to exhale.

“We didn’t blow up,” Jadzia said, turning towards Torres. “And we didn’t get caught.”

The engineer slumped with her back against the isolinear panel. “That was close.”

“And that was amazing work back there,” Jadzia said, with honest admiration.

“Keep your eyes on the console, Spots, I wouldn’t want to squander all this work on a random subspace anomaly,” Torres replied, waving a hand noncommittally.

“Aye aye,” Jadzia replied, unable to stop smiling.

“And by the way, you’re a crazy pilot. Remind me to never accept another away mission with you.”

Jadzia found Torres in the mess hall, reading a PADD with a steaming mug on the table in front of her. Jadzia approached her table purposefully, and stopped at a short distance from it.

“Lieutenant,” Jadzia said, and Torres looked up from her reading. “May I sit here?”

Torres rolled her eyes. “Only Vulcans would be so formal after almost dying on that shuttle together. I have a name. And yes, you can sit there.”

Jadzia complied, barely concealing a grin. “I was trying not to assume. And I have a name too, if you ever get tired of that nickname of yours.”

“Not very likely, Spots,” B’Elanna replied with a smirk.

“Well, B’Elanna, the captain seems to think that we make a good team.”

“She does, apparently,” B’Elanna replied. She laid her PADD on the table and crossed her arms on her chest. “I suppose we weren’t a complete disaster together.”

“Coming from you, that’s the highest of praise,” Jadzia said, leaning with her forearms on the table.

“Don’t get the wrong impression, I still think you’re a crazy pilot.”

“And I think you’re the craziest engineer that I’ve ever met. But I’m not here to discuss your merits,” Jadzia said. “I have some holosuite time saved up, and I wondered if you wanted to come along.”

“Spend more time together? With you?” B’Elanna deadpanned.

Jadzia raised her palms. “Just a thought. I’m going to try to relax a bit after that away mission, and maybe you’d find it a change of pace as well.”

“So it’s not one of Paris’ programs?”

Jadzia shook her head. “Nope. One of mine.”

“Not a Klingon one, I hope?”

“Not at all.” Jadzia shrugged. “It’s just anti-grav sailing. It’s admittedly a little boring to do alone but—”

“Alright, I’m in.”

Jadzia blinked. “Oh. Well then, I booked Holodeck 2 tomorrow at 1800,” she said, unable to contain a smile.

B’Elanna smiled back, then picked up her PADD from the table. “That works for me. See you tomorrow then. Jadzia.”

Perhaps, Jadzia thought while leaving the mess hall, there could be something more in the Delta Quadrant than just surviving after all.