written for the 2015 Brenda/Sharon Month of Love on tumblr! prompt was: Star Trek Alternate Universe as requested by ubiquitousmixie and I definitely had fun writing this and coming up with the backstory for these two.
bit of background info real quick for y'all, Brenda is human in this AU, Sharon is Bajoran and her name is Orinn Shae.
"Shae?" she looked up when she heard B'Elanna call her name. "Got a minute?"
"I was just going to check on some gel packs and other electronics up by Sickbay, Chief, but I guess I have a minute to spare," Shae smiled when the half-Klingon rolled her eyes.
"And they say Bajorans don't have a sense of humor," B'Elanna shook her head as she led the way out of Engineering. "I just got out of the Senior Staff meeting with the Captain and I wanted to talk to you about possibly going on an away mission."
"I would have thought that you would be going, don't you usually go?" Shae asked the shorter woman.
"I would, but I need to oversee repairs to our dilithium array after that last Kazon encounter."
Shae tugged on her right earlobe, slender fingers clasping where her earring usually was out of habit, "Not to sound ungrateful or like I don't want to go on this mission, but why me? Why not Carey or Seska?"
"Carey's in the middle of repairing the replicators on Deck 8, and Seska's… is Seska." Shae nodded, understanding B'Elanna's hesitence, the other former Maquis crew member was restless and toeing the line when it came to acceptable behavior lately. "I trust you, Shae. I know you'll see it done properly."
The Bajoran nodded again as she took the plating away from the wall to check on the bio-neural circuitry behind it. "When do I have to be ready by?"
"The Captain wants to brief you before you leave, so that'll be at 1400 hours, you'll leave at 0800 tomorrow."
"Plenty of time to get my hands dirty in the mean time," Shae smiled over her shoulder at the chief engineer.
B'Elanna shook her head with a fond smile at the older woman, "Be sure to get plenty of rest, okay?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'll follow that order, no problem."
"Wiseass," B'Elanna mumbled under her breath as she left Shae to her work, "1400 hours is your meeting with the Captain, don't forget!"
"I won't, Mom." Shae laughed as the engineer grumbled all the way to the turbolift down the corridor. B'Elanna was so easy to tease and it had taken them awhile to get where they are in their friendship. Where B'Elanna's easy to tease, she was slow to trust others and Shae shared the same sentiments after living under Cardassian rule most of her life prior to the Maquis.
Adjusting to life on Voyager wasn't extremely hard for Shae, there were the never-ending rules and protocols, but she enjoyed following them, unlike other former Maquis crew members. The rules helped with the adjustment, they gave her purpose when the future was uncertain. Life in the Delta Quadrant was anything but quaint and easy.
Shae wiped her hands on a rag, trying to get the smudges and smears off before meeting with the Captain. Putting the rag in her pocket, Shae pressed the panel next to Janeway's office to trigger the door chime. Right when she heard the beckoning call from within, Shae realized her sleeves were pushed up above her elbows. Shrugging, Shae entered, figuring that the Captain would forgive her less than Starfleet regulated appearance with the electronics and holo-emitters around and in the Sickbay working again.
"Lieutenant Orinn Shae, was it?" The shorter captain asked with a small smile as she stood from behind her desk, padd in hand.
"Yes, Captain," Shae replied respectfully, her hands tucked behind her back. "I understand that you wanted to see me."
Janeway nodded, "I did. Here is the information on your away mission," she handed Shae the padd without further ado and rounded the desk to stand next to the Bajoran. "You'll be scanning the next system of planets we're about to come across, see if there's anything useful, maybe an area where we can have shore leave while repairing Voyager, or a place to replenish supplies."
Shae nodded as she scanned the information, "I see, Captain. Will I be doing this alone?"
"No," Janeway shook her head. "Provided he doesn't get caught up in something, Lieutenant Tuvok should be able to go. If not, he'll delegate the task to someone under his command. I chose you for your engineering knowledge and your perception."
Janeway smiled again, "I've noticed, and have been told by both Chakotay and B'Elanna, that you notice things others might not pick up in the first go. I need someone who could possibly sort out any discrepancies or nuances in the data scanned on these planets, we don't need a repeat of the nebula experience."
Shae nodded, "Of course, Captain."
"Good, I'll let you know if anything changes between now and when you leave tomorrow at 0800."
Shae nodded before leaving the ready room, preparing to finish as much of her work on her list as she could before turning in for the night and before her away mission tomorrow.
To say that Lieutenant Brenda Leigh Johnson's day was going according to plan would be the wrongest statement in the entire universe.
A situation had arisen during the last part of her shift and had bled over into her free time, Neelix ran out of coffee again and tried to give her a Delta Quadrant equivalent that looked suspiciously like leola root, and to top it all off, she was stuck in a tiny shuttle doing a boring away mission with Lieutenant Rulebook of all people.
Brenda thought it was ironic that she, the Starfleet brat and security officer, was more averse to following the rules whereas a woman who had never been a part of the Federation, much less Starfleet, practically worshipped the regulations and protocols with her every breath.
She eyed the Bajoran out of the corner of her eye. Lieutenant Orinn Shae's auburn hair, a shade more brown than red, had been pulled back into a slightly messy bun, the thick, wavy strands seemed to fight against her pins. Brenda noticed that she tucked the rebellious strands behind her ears multiple times within the past hour. Brenda's own hair was mutinous on a good day, so she simply pulled it back into a curly ponytail, no muss, no fuss, and it was a hairstyle that had served her well throughout life, why change now?
The other lieutenant's green eyes were fixed upon the control panel, scanning the lines of code and data to find anything interesting, as had been instructed to her yesterday. Brenda, figuring that she should probably actually partake in her duties as well, huffed a silent sigh and turned her attention back to the pilot controls in front of her, making a few adjustments before going back to her thoughts.
She couldn't get it, she couldn't get her aversion and downright annoyance when it came to the former Maquis beside her. Brenda could say that she disliked the Bajoran because of her participation in the Maquis, but that wouldn't be true. If that was, then she'd dislike the rest of the former Maquis crew. Barring Seska, Brenda got along fine with the rest of them.
No, there was something about this former Maquis that made Brenda's blood race, that shortened her temper, and brought out the combative side of her. The two of them were becoming famous on Voyager for their spats and Brenda was sure that her CO and Tuvok had conspired together to force her and the other woman on this away mission to hopefully better improve their relationship.
"Lieutenant, would you do me a favor and quit daydreaming and tell me what your console is saying so we can continue on this mission on schedule?" Lieutenant Orinn Shae's low, throaty voice cut through Brenda's musings with the precision of a chef's knife, startling the other woman.
"Right away, Lieutenant," Brenda ground out as she hit the buttons in front of her with more force than necessary, catching the Bajoran's disapproving look in her peripherals.
The two of them improve their relationship? Not in a million years.
The silence was deafening in the shuttle, but Shae didn't mind it. She was used to awkward and stifling silences wherever she went, she wasn't about to start caring about filling them now. Shae had gotten up from her seat at the front to do a minor check on the shuttle's engine and propulsion systems in the back. She could hear Brenda muttering under her breath in the front as the shuttle descended over the last planet they had been assigned to scout out.
They didn't get along, this wasn't news to anyone in their ragtag crew of Voyager. Shae preferred following the rules and wasn't shy about confronting someone who didn't in her presence and certainly not one who thought that a higher rank (so Brenda's a full lieutenant instead of a junior grade like Shae, who cares?) equalled a higher level of respect from those lower in rank than them.
Shae disliked people like that, it reminded her too much of the Cardassians in her youth. Her conflicts with Brenda made her blood practically boil, made her lose the control and self-restraint that she prided herself on having, and gave her the worst headaches she had had in years. Still, Shae liked the challenge. It broke the periods of monotony that happened to them sometimes between altercations with the Kazon or a deadlier enemy.
When Brenda strode onto the shuttle earlier that morning, Shae willed herself patience as well as catching onto the scheme of Voyager's senior staff. So they were sent on this mission to improve working relations, Shae scoffed to herself, as if Miss Starfleet would be flexible enough to listen to anyone else let alone improve relations with a person she despised. Brenda was certainly stubborn, of that Shae was definitely sure.
The shuttle shuddered, drawing Shae out of her thoughts, "What was that?" she called up to the front.
"Just a bit of turbulence, nothin' to worry about," Brenda answered her.
"A bit of turbulence?"
"That's what I said, didn't I?" Brenda snapped, "Sensors are showing a bit of a storm ahead, so prepare for a rocky ride, lieutenant."
"You're only seeing a storm on the sensors now?" Shae glared at the back of Brenda's head as she steadied herself against the increasingly violent tremors of the shuttle.
"You want to come up here and do a better job at pilotin', be my guest!" Brenda turned around, her ponytail sliced through the air like a whip and her brown eyes were burning with frustration.
Shae's glare deepened and she opened her mouth to retort when they hit a particular violent patch and both women were thrown to the floor before the shuttle's power shut off. Shae could feel the shuttle plummet and the bottom dropped out of her stomach at the sensation. They were going to crash into this unknown planet and didn't know if they would survive the experience.
Brenda opened her eyes with a slight groan. She blinked to clear her vision and could barely make out the panels of the shuttle's ceiling, painted a very bland Starfleet grey, "Oh great."
She heard something rustle beside her and turned her head to see Lieutenant Orinn Shae readying a hypospray from the emergency medical kit on board. Her eyes slid over and she faced Brenda, "Don't move, you'll make your injuries worse."
"Oh great," Brenda drawled, her Southern accent thick on her tongue, "this is what I've always wanted, more injuries." She jumped at the cold sensation of the hypospray being pressed to her neck followed by the slight prick of the injection. "Ow…"
"You're such a child," Shae shook her head, thick chunks of hair flowed around her shoulders and face. Brenda could barely make out a bleeding gash the length of the Bajoran's face. "How are you feeling?" she asked in a softer tone when Brenda grimaced.
"Been better, been worse," Brenda sighed. "Am I allowed to sit up? This floor is killing my back."
"Only if I help you and you do exactly what I say."
Brenda rolled her eyes, of course Lieutenant Rulebook would insist on conditions, "If I must…"
"If you want to not hurt as much, you must, yes."
"You and your rules," Brenda grumbled even as she held out a hand for Shae to help her sit up. Pain flared up the left side of her torso, making Brenda gasp out in pain. At a pointed look from the other woman, she relented, "Alright, I suppose sometimes your rules have a point."
"Y'know," Shae began as she pulled out the medical tricorder and scanned Brenda quickly, "for someone who's been in Starfleet most of their lives, you have a peculiar proclivity to breaking rules."
"I don't break them, I bend them."
"Like that's a lot of difference."
"Where are we?" Brenda changed the subject abruptly, too tired to go head to head with the lieutenant again.
"On an M-Class planet."
"And we're not outside because?"
"There's a blizzard going on, that's why," Shae retorted flatly. "The storm we hit was an ion storm, that's in the atmosphere of this planet."
"Hoth?" Brenda joked, a grin spreading across her face when Shae looked confused. So the Bajoran hadn't seen Star Wars yet, good.
"I don't know what that means."
Brenda flapped a hand, "Later, maybe, if we get off this place."
"The shuttle needs repairs, I'm doing the best I can from in here," Shae motioned around to the dimly lit cabin, "but this storm needs to go before I can make a dent in most of them."
"What's the damage?"
"We still have power, limited, but we've got it. Our distress beacon is damaged, I'm going to tackle that when the environmental controls have stabilized."
Shae shrugged, "They're damaged, that's all I know without further probing. They may waver, they may shut off completely, I don't know yet."
"Can we send a message to Voyager?"
"Not until that beacon is fixed."
"Okay," Brenda nodded. She shifted and sucked in a quick breath. "What about me?"
"You've fractured a few ribs, nothing's broken though. Unfortunately the kit has nothing that can help besides pain relievers. I did manage to find old medical tape and we can tape your ribs if you'd like."
"Why didn't you do it before?"
To Brenda's surprise, Shae's cheeks flushed slightly, "I… I didn't want to undress you without your permission."
She was touched and her accusing look softened, "Thank you…"
"Not a problem."
"We can tape them now, though, will it help with the pain?"
"It can, it'll ease it some, but you have to be careful to not aggravate it further," Shae turned and picked up the off-white tape, visibly happy to do something other than sit blushing and avoiding Brenda's eyes.
"Okay, what's first?" Brenda asked, wincing at the violent sound of Shae pulling the tape.
"First, you strip," Shae smirked and held up a strip of tape.
"I can't wait to explain this one to Tuvok later."
Hours passed, Shae occasionally checked up on Brenda while she moved around the shuttle, patching systems and pulling out wires and hardware to fix something while the blizzard raged on outside their little shelter.
"Why do people call you Shae?" Brenda asked suddenly, startling Shae so much she shocked herself by accident.
"Ouch!" Shae stuck her thumb in her mouth and pulled it out to survey the damage before turning to her companion, "What?"
"Why do people call you Shae?"
An eyebrow rose disbelievingly, "...Because it's my name?"
"But why your last name?"
"Lieutenant, you did attend lectures on other cultures at Starfleet Academy, didn't you?" At Brenda's nod, Shae continued, "Then you were bound to have learned that my people put their family name first, given name second. People call me Shae because that is my given name, Orinn is my family name. To call me Shae Orinn would be equivalent to me calling you Johnson Brenda Leigh."
"Oh… You're name's pretty."
Shae's cheeks flushed again and she busied herself with the panel in front of her, "Thank you," she finally responded quietly. "Yours is too."
"When's the last time you've slept?" Brenda's voice broke the eerie silence that had settled over their shuttle as day turned into evening and evening turned into night. They had been on this planet for more than 24 hours, Shae could see Brenda starting to be affected by the cold that was creeping into the cabin. Shae herself had been working practically non-stop between caring for Brenda and trying to repair the shuttle from the inside.
"Hmm?" She vaguely registered that Brenda had asked something.
"When's the last time you slept, Shae?"
She put down her tools and checked the clock, frowning when the screen flickered. Shae slammed her fist down onto the display, smiling to herself when it steadied, "It's been awhile."
"Shouldn't you get rest?"
"These repairs need to happen and they're not going to fix themselves, Brenda Leigh," Shae looked over her shoulder to see a tired smile on Brenda's face and she returned it. "Let me get this beacon up and I'll rest, okay?"
"How long until then?"
"Not too long, why don't you tell me how you got into Starfleet?"
"Another question? You having fun interrogating me in the name of medical care?" Brenda sighed even as Shae pulled the emergency blanket further up around the blonde's shoulders. "Can I ask you something first?"
"What's it like to have the things?"
"Things?" Shae leaned over, confused and concerned that Brenda was losing it.
Brenda reached up and lightly touched the ridges on Shae's nose, her defining physical feature as a Bajoran, "What's it like having the things?"
Shae's eyes widened and she froze, her brain unable to process beyond the fact that Brenda Leigh Johnson was touching her ridges, her fingertips warm and soft, and that she was letting the other woman do so without reprimand. "I-I… uh… I guess it's not that different from having a human nose."
"Huh, interesting." Brenda drew her hand back and shifted under the blanket, wincing when her ribs ached. "So you want to know why I joined Starfleet?"
"Yeah," Shae cleared her throat and turned back to her work.
Brenda could see the Bajoran woman's ears turn pink and she smiled, Shae was so easily flustered. "Well you know I was born on Earth."
"Yes, in the state Georgia, which is a part of America, on a farm outside Atlanta."
"That's right. Daddy was a part of Starfleet, he's the Captain of the Don Quixote now, but growing up, we were on the Antonia when Daddy was a Commander. I lived part-time on ships with him and part-time with Momma and I guess I fell in love with the stars. I wasn't interested in the science aspect, I was interested in the different cultures and languages out there in the Alpha Quadrant and whether or not new ones would be discovered. So, I followed in Daddy's footsteps and joined Starfleet."
"Why security and operations instead of cultural studies?"
"It suited my personality more I guess. I like solving puzzles and being in security deals with cases both on ship and off, so it's the closest to solving crimes that I could get off Earth. There were also more opportunities being a security officer than a science officer. Even if it wasn't an exploration vessel, I could still see more of the galaxy than if I had stayed with studying cultures."
"What about you? What made you join the Maquis?"
"A little thing known as the Cardassian Union." Shae smiled at Brenda's snort. "I joined the Maquis because I've known fighting for most of my life. Going from the Bajoran Resistance to the Maquis after a few years of rebuilding Bajor made sense in my mind. It made me feel like I was doing something after being lost when the Cardassians left."
"It gave you a sense of purpose."
"Exactly," Shae prodded the panel with her tool and grinned when it flickered before settling on a steady glow. She shouted something in Bajoran in glee and threw up her hands in celebration, "The beacon is on!"
"How long until Voyager finds us?" Brenda asked, trying to sit up.
Shae pushed her back down gently, "A few hours maybe, we were due for an update, so they were bound to have noticed we were overdue by now. We'll get out of here, Brenda Leigh."
"Good," Brenda smiled up at Shae and the Bajoran returned it. "Now will you get some sleep?"
Shae rolled her eyes, but it held none of the earlier contempt that Brenda had seen, instead it was almost fond, "If I must."
"If you don't want to keel over from exhaustion, then yes, you must," Brenda parroted Shae's words from a day ago at her.
"Let me give you another painkiller and I'll rest, okay?"
"Sure, sure, so long as you actually rest. You've been goin' nonstop for hours."
"You're worse than B'Elanna, I swear," Shae muttered as she pressed the hypospray to Brenda's neck, some of her anxiety lessening when the blonde visibly lost the tension in her body. "I should check on the environmental controls, make sure they're holding."
"No," Brenda reached out and grabbed Shae's hand before she could move, "no, you promised to rest. If the environmental controls putter out, we still have each other."
"What, like share body heat?" At Brenda's nod, Shae sighed, "I guess you're right. Wouldn't be the first time I've done this." Shae grabbed the other emergency blanket and draped it over top of Brenda before scooting under the blankets and laying next to the lieutenant.
"Rest, Shae, I'll still be here when you wake up."
"Wake me if anything interesting happens?"
"Definitely." Brenda smiled when Shae's eyes slid close and the other woman was asleep almost instantly. She brushed a bit of hair out of Shae's eyes and tucked it behind her ear before settling in for a long watch. No harm would come to the woman next to her, Brenda wouldn't let any happen.
It was cold when Shae woke up, too cold. She sat up abruptly and looked around to see the cabin dark except for their beacon and Brenda still beside her.
"Oh no…" Shae touched Brenda's face and found it freezing, Brenda's normally rosy skin ("Peaches and cream is what Momma called me growin' up.") was deathly pale. "Oh no."
She got up, wincing at her stiff muscles and checked the environmental controls. They were practically gone and Shae didn't need to glance outside to see that the blizzard had picked up again. The winds howled and whistled around their shuttle, leaving behind a chill that creeped down to the bone. Shivering, Shae rerouted some of the non-essential power back into the environmental controls as well as boosted the power of the beacon.
Why hadn't Voyager found them yet?
She tapped her combadge on her chest, "Orinn to Voyager, come in Voyager." Static and silence greeted her. "Voyager this is Lieutenant Orinn, do you read?" At the silence again, Shae sighed and rejoined Brenda on the floor, "Brenda… Brenda Leigh, wake up." She shook Brenda's shoulder and Brenda's eyelids fluttered briefly before ceasing to move and the blonde didn't wake up. "Brenda? Wake up!"
Tears pricked at the corners of her eyes, but Shae willed them back, now was not the time. Brenda wasn't waking up and she was cold to the touch. The environmental controls were back up, but it would take awhile for the heat to permeate the chill in the air. Shae got back under the blankets and drew Brenda close, shivering when the other woman's nose got lodged up against her neck. Shae pulled the blankets over them, willing for Brenda to get warm. After everything that had happened on this away mission, Shae didn't want to lose someone she had come to respect and admire after months of opposition. She had glimpsed the woman beneath the blonde exterior, who had a sharp mind and big heart that brought her more trouble than good.
If anything happened to Brenda, Shae would honestly miss their fights and she vowed to prevent losing that one normal occurrence in her life if it was the last thing she did. As her eyes began to drift shut, Shae held Brenda tighter, hoping that Voyager found them in time. If the starship didn't, at least they'd go out together.
"It's freezing in here!" An unknown voice startled Shae awake and she peered into the dimness of the shuttle.
"The environmental control panel seems to have ceased working within the past two hours, Commander," this voice Shae recognized as Tuvok. Had Voyager found them?
"T-Tuvok?" She whispered, her voice cracking.
"Lieutenant Orinn," The dark-skinned Vulcan kneeled down beside her, his dark eyes scanning over her and Brenda in her arms. "Are you well?"
"Cold and tired, but Brenda won't wake up. She's injured."
"Chakotay to Voyager," the other voice spoke out of Shae's line of sight.
"Go ahead Chakotay," Janeway's disembodied voice echoed in the shuttle.
"We found them, Captain, can the ship lock on to our location and beam them directly to Sickbay?"
"The ion storm is causing a lot of interference, Commander, but we should be able to do that. Are Lieutenants Johnson and Orinn injured?"
"Johnson is, and both are cold to the touch."
"Commander, we have a lock on them, be prepared for them to be beamed into Sickbay."
"Acknowledged, Captain." Chakotay walked over and met Shae's eyes, "Voyager is beaming you two directly into Sickbay, Shae."
"Good," Shae whispered, her eyes closed and a few tears slipped out in relief. "Good."
"Rest now, Lieutenant Orinn," Tuvok's voice washed over her softly as she felt herself beginning to transport out of the shuttle, "you are safe and we will join you shortly on Voyager."
She ignored the questioning looks around her as she idly drew her spoon through the cooling bowl of soup in front of her. Two days after her rescue, Shae had been allowed to go back on duty, it was light duty, but duty nonetheless. After one day in Sickbay and one confined to her quarters, Shae was eager to have something to do again.
What had happened on the away mission and the bonding between her and Brenda was privy only to them and what was reported by Tuvok and Chakotay at their rescue, so naturally, the entire starship knew. Hence the questioning looks and wide berth around her table in the Mess Hall.
She worried after Brenda, they hadn't seen each other since that day in Sickbay and hadn't gotten a chance to talk about what happened down on Hoth. Shae smiled a bit at the name, when she had referred to the M-Class planet where they crashed as Hoth to the Senior Staff she had gotten a wide range of reactions. The name stuck though and Shae figured Brenda was enjoying the credit of the name.
"This seat taken?" Shae whipped her head up in surprise at the familiar honeyed Southern accent. Brenda stood before her, still a little pale, but looking much better than before.
"No, no, not at all," Shae sat up straight as Brenda sat down across from her, "They let you out finally?"
"Yeah, I'm restricted to my quarters for another half of a day to rest the ribs, but I can leave for meals and maybe some paperwork if Tuvok lets me have some."
"You doing paperwork? Now this I have to see to believe."
Brenda stuck out her tongue at Shae, who simply laughed and started eating her lunch. They weren't at each others throats and neither of them knew where this would lead, but for now they were simply glad that the other had survived and they would take each day at a time.
I may return to this universe, I like it (and even figured out a way to include Rusty, so that should be interesting.
Hope you liked the fic!