Here's chapter two:
Day 1, 0900 hours
Kira was waiting inside the turbolift as it proceeded to Ops, though she felt a little uneasy. She had one last meeting with captain Stoner; the commander of DS9, someone whom she deeply disliked. At least
, she thought, he is leaving
Though she had no idea who would replace Stoner. She wished fifteen years ago she hadn't stepped down as commanding officer and returned to her former post as second in command. Yet that was not to be; raising a family took precedence, and being the commanding officer meant an increased workload.
Over a period of 15 years, she had tolerated and worked with a string of Starfleet captains and commanders. They had come and gone and they were never really interested in running DS9 as there heart was never in it. At least with Sisko he actually cared about the job at hand.
The turbo lift stopped, interrupting her reverie, she stepped out onto Ops and crossed over to the other side and up the steps to the commander's office. She did not bother to chime the door; Stoner did not deserve that sort of respect.
She stepped inside the office and only stopped when she was a metre away from Stoner's desk. Stoner did not look up and instead, he was sitting on the chair concentrating on the data-pad in his left hand.
, Kira thought, pretending to concentrate
“I must say that I am very glad to leave this place,” said Stoner, though he was not looking at Kira.
“And why is that sir?” she replied.
Stoner turned around to look at Kira. “I'll be frank, it is you colonel who I don't like.”
Stoner's voice was bitter. “Your arrogance and presumption are more than I can bear.”
Kira's expression barely changed; but she was inwardly raging. “Arrogance?” she mused. “That's a pretty bold thing to say for a man who for two years has deliberately made sure that the Federation still runs DS9, and for a man who thinks my people are worshipping false gods.”
Kira may have exaggerated slightly, but Stoner looked briefly uncomfortable. “I never said it like that,” he said irritably.
However, Kira looked visibly angry. “You have, don't deny it,” she said fiercely. “You claim tolerance of a race's religious views, yet privately you disapprove of them. I am not annoyed at what the Federation is doing, I am annoyed at your hypocrisy and duplicity-”
Stoner lost his temper. “For God's sake!” he shouted interrupting Kira. “Why...” he lowered his voice. “Why do you take personal affront at every Federation captain and commander who have managed DS9? Is it because they are not Sisko; not your beloved Emissary?” he added nastily.
Stoner is so predictable
, thought Kira. He always churns out this same argument!
“It's because,” she retorted, “every one of those captains and commanders have simply come and gone. There heart was never in it, with Sisko he was determined to make a difference; to help Bajor. All you and your predecessors have done is pretty much nothing!”
Her voice sounded heated, but at least she had not shouted.
“Fine we will leave it like that,” replied Stoner, he was almost sulking. “I sure hope the next captain can tolerate your hot-headedness.”
“Who is the next captain?” Kira asked, in what she hoped was a polite voice.
Stoner stood up and ignored Kira's question, he had almost left the office when he stopped and responded to her question. “You'll find out soon enough...”
He left the room and Kira watched him leave Ops. Part of her was deeply grateful that he was gone, another part was furious at his disrespectful manner towards her. She vented out her feelings and slammed her fist on the captain's desk out of sheer frustration.
When she had let her resentment of Stoner subside she picked up one of the padds Stoner had left behind, it was chock full of administration work and data. Great
, she thought, Stoner didn't bother to do the administrative work...
The door chimed. “Come in,” she said.
A voice spoke behind her. “Kira?”
She turned around and there was Ezri standing by the doorway; she was stunned. “Ezri? Why are you on this station?” she asked.
“I'm here to take command of this station,” Ezri explained. “I just got promoted to a captain, and I specially requested a posting here.”
Kira mulled this over. “To tell you the truth my opinion of the Federation, and of there captains, is pretty low at the moment.”
Ezri looked understanding. “I could tell,” she said with a knowing look in her eye. “I quickly chatted with captain Stoner,” she explained. “Now I'm not Sisko, and I have my own command style. But I promise you I will not be like the commanders and captains you've worked for previously.”
Kira interrupted Ezri. “Well I'll see how this works out first but...”
She sighed; Ezri used to be a close friend but that was seventeen years ago. Since then, she had not heard from or seen Ezri since. “How come you never stayed in contact with me over the last seventeen years?” she inquired. “I thought we were friends. I thought you cared. Why didn't you stay in touch?” Kira had to say these things to Ezri.
“I...” Ezri hesitated. “Don't want to talk about that; not about something so personal...”
That was a rebuff and both Kira and Ezri knew it. “Fair enough...” said Kira. “Is there anything else captain...?”
There was a brief pause before Ezri responded. “No colonel, dismissed.”
Kira walked out of Ezri's office. She did not know what to feel; there was something different about Ezri, she seemed more mature, more serious. Instinctively Kira knew that Ezri would be far easier to work with than Stoner, but there was emotional baggage, and Kira knew one person who would not at all be pleased to see Ezri again...
Ezri looked out of the window, sitting in the captain's chair, and staring out into the vast and open frontier. She had been recently promoted to a captain; she could have chosen any position to command; and she had to pick DS9. What was I thinking?
she thought angrily.
Ever since her break-up with Bashir, seventeen years ago, she had left DS9 and ignored her personal problems. She used her career as an excuse to forget about them. Now here she was as a Starfleet captain and still the regrets of the past lingered...
The biggest one was leaving Bashir, and she remembered the terrible row they had; and her running out of Bashir's quarters crying her eyes out. She left DS9 the following day, just like that.
But I have to return here, she reminded herself, I have to correct the mistakes I made with Bashir and towards my friends. She could see the disappointment in Kira's eyes when she evaded Kira's question. 'I thought we were friends' Kira had said.
Ezri thought; friends whom I lost contact with
. She brushed aside those thoughts.
Somehow she would make amends, and she was determined to do so. She looked at the padd on the desk, and started looking at the administrative arrangements on board DS9. The first thing she needed to do was call a senior staff meeting; and set out a new organizational structure. But not just yet, tomorrow she would set to work on that task.