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For canciona: Wandering In Starflight

For: canciona
Title: Wandering In Starflight
Author: vensre
Pairing: Dom/Billy (UST to the point of being gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: Ensign Monaghan's first days aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Notes: Star Trek: The Original Series AU. Part one of at least two.

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction, which means that while the characters depicted are based on public personas of real celebrities, the events described in the story never happened. This story in no way claims to represent the truth about the people mentioned within or the way they would behave.



Stardate 3854.3 - Day 1


It was just as well the call to board came early; of course Dom had been too excited to sleep. He had given up around 0300 to spend his last hours baseside repacking his regulation rucksack a few more times. Chemicals to help him sleep were out of the question, but black tea suited perfectly. Dom saved his last packet to feed into the ship's food synthesizer, just in case. Not that he doubted the Enterprise computers, but of all the honors his new home could claim, he had never heard her praised for her cafeteria.

By 0500 he had quit his rented room and was making his way towards the docking bay on foot, bypassing the bank of turbolifts in the main corridor. This morning was all about the process. A handful of new crewmembers coming aboard might not interrupt the Captain's breakfast, but that they were set to walk through an airlock rather than beam in felt like a kind of ceremony. Dom was determined to enjoy it.

The rendezvous point was in an unenclosed lounge, more utilitarian than the public areas of the spaceport. As Monaghan approached, the handful of people already waiting there looked up alertly.

"Good morning," said Dom quietly as he joined the cluster of crewmen and officers. There was a murmur of response, except for the man standing nearest, who turned his way at once and began to talk excitedly.

"Good for us all. Then again, the Enterprise always needs more crew, considering the rate they're being killed off. You're just lucky you're science track. This red tunic is like a flag in front of a bull."

"Why're you wearing it, then? Sir," he added as smoothly as he could when he realized the man he was chatting to wore Lieutenant's stripes. Dom kicked himself internally; three years at Starfleet Academy should have made awareness of rank second-nature.

"Same reason we're all standing here waiting on the Federation's flagship: I love adventure, and I'm bloody good at what I do." He stuck out a hand. "Andy Serkis. AI and computerized translation."

"Dom Monaghan, xenobiology."

"Phew! Good stuff. Thought I had you pegged for a medical tech."

"That's pretty close, in a way. My mum's in medical."

"She Starfleet too?"

Dom nodded, and would have said more, but a tiny, dark woman with Commander's stripes approached, bringing everyone to attention.

"Transfers for the Enterprise?" She consulted her datapadd quickly as they murmured agreement. "I am Chief of Personnel Fon. I see all are here who are to be here. Excellent. Follow me, please. The Enterprise has docked and is ready to receive you."

Dom shouldered his bag and fell in, following Commander Fon up the bay, which divided into narrower corridors and curved gradually to the left. The monotonous metal-grey of the docking area was broken when the corridor's slanted ceiling gave way to massive, angled windows towards the vast bay. Even at an awkward angle and partly hidden from view, the U.S.S. Enterprise loomed, captivating. This was the posting he had always hoped for - the one anyone in Starfleet would envy, no matter that he might not see the bridge or beam down with a landing party in his entire tour.

Lost in a high-energy daydream, he nearly missed the moment they crossed over from Starbase One to the Enterprise deck. The lighting was subtly different past the ridge in the floor that indicated the airlock, and the air had a tang of ozone. Chief Fon led them through a maze of corridors (just complex enough to make Dom hope it was a ruse to intimidate the newcomers, and resolve to study his ship maps again), then stood to one side as they filed into a meeting room. Inside waited another dozen or so people, all standing at parade rest and were eyeing Dom's group curiously.

"Welcome aboard," spoke up one of them, the highest ranking among them that Dom could see. "I am Lieutenant Commander Kukuk, ship's Quartermaster. The Enterprise is hosting a large number of ambassadors from all parts of Federation space en route to Coridan, with yet more to board at Vulcan. Because we are housing so many, incoming crew will be doubling up temporarily with other crewmembers. I will reassign you to more permanent individual quarters as vacancies open up. This situation will most likely last no longer than one Terran month, although I'm sure it will be no hardship as they can assist you in acclimatizing to our routines." Kukuk adjusting his tinted old-style spectacles on his nose and held up his padd to squint at it. "Duty rosters will be posted by 1100 hours, and can be accessed from any computer station. Before I send you off with your roommates to get settled in, are there any questions?" He paused, but no one spoke. "If you have a problem, contact me or the head of your department."

The cluster of people on the Quartermaster's other side peered curiously over at the new arrivals, and Dom stared back with the same interest. One of them would be spending the next month or so in close proximity to Dom, if he knew galactic negotiations. He was trying not to notice that no less than three of them were very much his type - if he could even claim to have a type, considering he could see something attractive in almost anyone.

Kukuk called four out of Dom's group and their respective guides before Dom's name came up. "Monaghan? Mr. Boyd will take you to your quarters."

Dom did not do any form of victory dance. At least, not so anyone could see.




Stardate 3857.4 - Day 1


Ensign Boyd, who had insisted on being called Billy as long as they were off-duty, was not only helpful and clever, but hilarious. He already seemed familiar somehow to Dom, who wasn't inclined to analyze his good fortune. They had stopped by their shared cabin briefly to put his personal effects on his cot, and set off directly on a tour of the ship.

"I should say, though," Billy was saying as they finished their lap of the rec room, "be prepared to go down with a landing party with no notice. Captain Kirk is known for his snap decisions."

"I don't really expect to be called on," Dom said, "but I know about Captain Kirk. Even some of the stuff that hasn't made it into legend yet."

Billy nodded. "I expect you do. You'd love that, too, wouldn't you."

"Getting picked out for a landing party? Yeah!"

"Some people dread it. There's no telling what they expect from you, for one thing. But it's good. I've been down. Didn't get snuffed, as you can see. I'll tell you as much as I can, so you can be prepared."

"Sounds good."

"I think it's time we made a tour of the officer's mess," Billy grinned, leading the way again.




Stardate 3865.2 - Day 2


Dom stepped out of the shower in his shared quarters to the whistle of the intership communicator, followed by his roommate's cheerful voice. "Boyd to Monaghan."

He scrambled over to hit the switch, hoping he hadn't missed previous hails from the noise of the shower. "Monaghan here."

To his utter shock, the secondary viewscreen lit as the channel opened. On the screen, Billy's eyebrows shot upwards, and he couldn't contain a guffaw - shattering Dom's hope that the video wasn't two-way.

"So this one's not an audio link. I'll remember that," he said, trying for deadpan as Billy roared with laughter. First priority: making sure the edge of the desk hid everything he didn't want the entire science department seeing. "I just got out of the shower. New-crew physicals were today."

"Aw," Billy said, mirth behind mock-disappointment. "You actually have a good excuse. I thought you were just demonstrating Kirk-like tendencies."

"How do you mean?" Relaxing since Billy hadn't called their coworkers over for a show, Dom began drying off.

"From what I understand, the Captain answers his comlink shirtless two times in five."

"Huh. So do you suppose I'm showing my command potential?"

"I rather supposed you were a naturist, actually. Anyway, my shift's just over. If you're hungry, I thought we could meet in the mess hall."

"Sounds good," he said affably, more than happy to make fun of himself if it meant seeing more of Billy's impish grin. "Being in public and all, I imagine I'll be expected to put some clothes on."

"Up to you. Boyd out."




Stardate 3883.7 - Day 4


Billy rose from his workstation and stretched loudly, then came to grin over Dom's shoulder. "You coming to lunch, mate?"

"Not yet. I want to follow up on the rest of this orientation material. I'd hate to lose my place."

"If ye're sure." Billy touched his shoulder, something between an affectionate pat and a manly clap. "Don't spend too long in here. More'n one 've started hearing the computer's voice in their dreams." He waved as the door swooshed open to let him by.

Dom faced his workstation again, intent on familiarizing himself with everything he would need to know here. He scarcely noticed as beta shift came trickling in, although he looked up when one of them wandered over to speak to him.

"You're lucky so many of the department are with the ambassadors today if you're going to keep working there. What is it, something urgent?"

Dom nodded a bit blankly and tried to keep studying without seeming too rude.

"Master Chief Jackson's probably gonna want that station eventually, just so you know."

"Thanks..." He called up another set of data with a few keystrokes, hardly noticing when the crewman turned away to attend to her own duty.

Time slipped . It was nearly the end of beta shift by the time the others convinced him to leave, and then only by pointing out that he could continue his computer-based research from his own quarters. Dom was surprised how tired he felt when he finally stood. He decided against trying to brave the mess hall during gamma shift's breakfast and headed home.

Billy was out when Dom got in. Dom's cot was in disarray from his late start that morning, and the computer chair was clearly out of the question, so Dom sat briefly on Billy's tidy bunk to take off his boots. He was taken aback by how comfortable it was, and lingered a moment, telling himself Billy wouldn't mind. He settled back, trying not to muss the blankets, knowing that he'd have to move soon - or at least before Billy came back...

Dom woke to someone nudging him out of bed, and a familiar voice muttering, "Go on, you have yer own! I don' know you well enough t' let you in my bed. I will put you on the on the floor, Monaghan!"

Dom sat up as he realized what was going on, and sort of launched himself out of Billy's bunk, stumbling on nothing as his still-asleep limbs failed him.

"Easy, there." Billy was at his side, trying to keep Dom from ramming himself into the bulkhead. "I was gointa give you a count of three first."

"Huh," was all Dom could say. He flopped onto his cot and curled up at once, only to be tugged at again.

"At least get your uniform off. Christ, what have you been doing?"

Dom sat up again and pulled his uniform tunic off, then his trousers, letting Billy look after himself as far as things he might not want to see. "Work. All the orientation research."

"All of it? Did you even eat today?"

Dom made a noncommittal noise. He crawled under his blankets, more or less, and put one arm over his eyes.

"Tomorrow we're going t' have a talk about why God made eight-hour shifts," Billy was saying as he moved about the cabin, preparing himself for bed. Dom was asleep before the lights were out.




Stardate 3922.7 - Day 9


"I went over plenty of logs for the Enterprise's missions before I came aboard, but I never saw any mention of what happened to your last xenobiology specialist."

Everybody in the room was suddenly either shifting around uncomfortably, or trying to hide smiles. Dom let his puzzlement show on his face.

"Well," Billy said, after it had become plain from their silence that nobody else wanted to talk about it, "there was this tree."

"A tree?" One of Dom's eyebrows quirked up.

"You look just like Commander Spock when you do that," put in Lieutenant JG Wood unhelpfully.

"Yes, a tree," said Billy. "A particularly lively one. The report's classified. It's terrible, what happened, but it was both unbelievable and quite stupidly funny, hence our Mr. Astin trying not to laugh."

The accused, who had been snorting a little with the force of suppressed amusement, sat up straight and looked indignant.

"Anyway." Billy shrugged. "We miss her. It's been months, you know. I suppose the department was putting off replacing her - even Spock. But now 't you're here, it's nothing like you taking her place. You're in your own place."

"Glad to hear it." Dom looked around, still bemused. "I think you'd better fill me in on this, though. At least tell me which planet has carnivorous trees."

"So you can avoid it, or so you can go have a look?"

"I'm not sure yet."

"Fair enough." Billy offered Dom his own chair, then hung over his shoulder as he called up the data. "Ensign Dickson wasn't more than thirty. If she--"

The shrill of the intership cut him off, and they all quieted to hear. "Spock to Monaghan and Tyler."

"Yes, Commander," Liv said, being closest to the station before Dom scrambled out of his chair to join her.

"Ready yourselves for a landing party. Detailed information is being fed through the computer now."

"Yes sir," they responded, not quite simultaneously. Sounds of the computer working told them Billy was already calling up the information Spock had sent.

"Assemble by 1020 hours. Spock out."

As soon as the channel cut off, the room went frantic with people calling to each other about the away mission, pulling out packs and supplies, and ribbing Liv and Dom. Dom was too intent on reading the mission briefing to respond, but he looked up when Billy bumped against his shoulder.

"Go on, then," Billy said quietly, grinning Dom's favorite grin. "Just come back, too."


***
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