The second part of chapter 2:
A young man walked out of the docking ring doors; he had come to DS9 on a Federation transport ship. He had also caught a brief glimpse of the new commander of DS9; he had done some checking in the Starfleet database. However, he was not a man, he was a hologram; but just like a man he was sentient.
The only reason he existed outside a holosuite was because of the inbuilt mobile holographic emitter. This gave him freedom of mobility, and it gave him a life. He was a Starfleet officer and he called himself Holo; for that was what he was; a hologram. Moreover, being a hologram had its advantages; his holo matrix could store a huge quantity of data, and he could live in virtually any environment.
He then headed to Ops, after locating where Ezri was on board the station, as he had to be debriefed by Ezri first before he could start his new assignment as chief of starship maintenance. As part of Holo’s new job, he had to report to Nog who was chief of operations.
Arriving at Ops, nobody turned to look at him, and he walked over to the captain's office.
“What are you doing?” asked a human officer.
“I'm the new head of starship maintenance,” replied Holo.
The officer checked his console. “You're called Holo aren't you? You are a hologram right?” The officer inquired.
The officer held out his hand. “Pleased to meet you.” he said. “I'm Max Weatherby, chief of science.”
Holo was surprised at the officer's friendliness but he shook the officer's hand none the less.
“You look surprised how come?” asked Max.
“It's just few people treat me like a sentient being, well not at first anyway,” Holo explained.
“I've worked with holograms similar to you before,” said Max. “I know you are sentient beings, and not just a collection of photons and EM fields. By the way, the captain is waiting for you.”
Max returned to his console, and Holo entered the captain's office.
Ezri looked up from her laptop. “At ease commander,” she said. “I've been looking through your Starfleet record. It certainly is impressive... for a hologram.”
Holo noticed the subtle change in her expression when she said 'hologram'. It was as if she doubted the records, and he knew that this captain did not consider him a sentient being.
Instead, she probably thought that he was just a clever bit of AI programming and that he somehow mimicked sentience. “Is their any problem with me being a hologram?” he asked Ezri.
She looked slightly taken aback. “No,” she answered. “Your cleared for your post as chief of starship maintenance. Dismissed.”
Holo left the office; these next three months for him were going to be very awkward. As he expected adjusting to life on this station, and working with a new crew was going to be difficult. Not that he made it difficult, because he knew some of the crew would make it difficult for him.
Kira finished her shift and headed back to her quarters. She checked her chronometer, it was 1755 hours, and she was just in time for the usual family tea. Despite her so-so job, everyday she had a family to return to which usually cheered up considerably.
She had been married to Odo for 16 years, and the happiest memory of her life was the day when Odo returned from the Great Link. A year later they married and at the time she did not expect to have children. But having children of her own wasn't a precondition to marrying Odo.
However thanks to Bashir's medical talent, she and Odo managed to conceive, and that was how Mia and Deru were brought into this world. Because of this she was deeply grateful to Bashir.
She gave birth to healthy Bajoran babies, albeit they had a few shapeshifting abilities. Yet they could link with Odo whereas she could not. No solid could link with a shapeshifter, and she regretted this one small thing...
Mia was Kira's daughter; she was fourteen years old and looked very much like her mother. However, she had long red hair instead of her mother's shorter hair. Deru, Kira's son who was eleven years old and resembled Odo somewhat, though Deru's face looked fully Bajoran.
Like his mother Deru had her brown eyes and red hair, but there the similarities ended. From the outside, both Deru and Mia looked Bajoran, but both had limited shapeshifting abilities. They could link with Odo, stretch their limbs and outer extremities, but that was the limit of their shapeshifting abilities. Kira was not disturbed by the notion of half-shapeshifter children whatsoever, but some of her fellow Bajorans were...
Kira came out of her reverie when she arrived at the door to her quarters. I'm back
she thought. She opened the door and into the living room.
“Hi kids,” she called out.
She saw Deru enter the room, he walked towards her and gave her a hug. “Yeah hi,” he said.
Nothing pleased Kira more than seeing the smile on his face. Deru stopped hugging her, and Kira looked around for Mia. “Mia?” she called.
Then Kira saw Mia, and as expected her daughter's face looked subdued. “Hi,” said Mia rather half-heartedly.
Kira frowned slightly at her daughter. “Are you okay? You look a little bit... down.”
“I'm fine,” said Mia in an irritated voice.
“Okay then,” replied Kira.
Obviously, Mia had another appalling day at school and had been bullied. Kira sniffed the air; something smelled good. “Mmm... Something smells good, is Odo back early?” she asked Mia.
“He made a breakthrough with one of his investigations.”
Mia's voice was bordering on uncaring, and it seemed she didn't care what her father had done for the day.
Kira gave a small smile in a feeble attempt to comfort Mia. “I bet he did,” she answered.
“Odo?” she called.
“In here,” came a gruff voice from the kitchen.
Kira went into the kitchen, while at the same moment Deru challenged Mia to a game of chess.
Odo was grinding up Bajoran herbs against a metal breadboard and he stopped when Kira came in.
She gave Odo a brief kiss to his lips. “How are the children?”
“Deru is fine, he's so popular at school. Mind you, he was always popular with his peers for some odd reason. But Mia...” Odo paused; he looked briefly pained and weary.
Kira was looking just as weary as Odo. “What about her?” she demanded.
“I think she has been bullied again; she will never admit it, but I can tell,” observed Odo. He moodily ground up the herbs, putting more force than necessary into the process.
“I get sick of seeing her like this,” said Kira miserably, though she kept her voice down so her children wouldn't here her. “She's timid, and she rarely lashes out, but when she did...”
Kira trailed off, she was remembering that horrible day, and it still sent shivers down her spine.
“She nearly killed a seven year old classmate,” finished Odo.
Kira grimaced in frustration; she had this conversation so many times and she was becoming so weary of it. “Do you think we should pull her out of school?” she suggested.
“What choice do we have?” Odo replied. “She's intelligent, but when it comes to social contact...”
“We cannot protect her forever Odo! She needs to toughen up!”
Odo looked thoughtful and spoke his mind. “It's the shapeshifting; that is why she is bullied. If she was normal-”
Kira's eyes flashed with anger, and Odo knew that he had crossed the line. He went deathly quiet, and gave Kira a nervous stare as if bracing for her wrath.
“If she was normal I would not be married to you Odo!” hissed Kira, she then lowered her voice. “It was the price we paid for having half-shapeshifter children, don't you dare say you made a mistake! Besides Deru shows off his shapeshifting abilities and he is the most popular person in his peer group! It has got to be Mia's personality...”
Odo backed down. “I never said I made a mistake Kira,” he replied meekly. “How... how was your day?”
Kira glowered at Odo. “Stoner's finally gone he left the station early this morning. I could not tolerate that man and his attitude. But at least the replacement won't be the same as the rest of the previous captains and commanders.”
“Who is he?” asked Odo.
“You mean she,” Kira corrected. “It's Ezri Dax.”
“Dax!” Odo exclaimed. “What is she doing here?”
“I'm not sure... last time she was on board she was in floods of tears after breaking up with Julian! Well that was what Nog told me.”
“Gossip!” Odo snorted. “That's one of Dax's bad habits that you've picked up... Anyway get the children to set up the table, tea's nearly ready.”
Kira went back to the living room, and gave instructions to her children, while she then rested herself on a wooden rocking chair. Something that Odo had designed himself as a wedding anniversary gift.
She watched Mia set up the dining table. Mia was her first child and she lost many Bajoran friends simply because she had a child with a shapeshifter. Or were they friends?
she thought miserably. Though she deeply cared for her people they could be at times very xenophobic, and when that happened they cited the Prophet's teachings as a reason for their xenophobia.
The greatest humiliation for Kira was when three vedeks publicly denounced her and her newborn child as infidels of the Prophets. She did not sleep for days after that announcement fearful that some crazed fundamentalist Bajoran may try to attack her and Mia.
She consulted the Prophets, but they did not give her any clear messages. Another humiliation for Kira was when Mia, who was seven at the time, nearly strangled to death one of her classmates for constantly tormenting her. It happened on board DS9, and she was confronted by dozens of angry Bajoran parents on the Promenade.
Kira closed her eyes; after the Cardassian occupation, that was doubt the worst moment of her life. She did not speak to Odo for two weeks, and in that time, she kept to herself. Crying herself to sleep each night... And now
, thought Kira, seven years later Mia is still being bullied!
Over the years, it was becoming a deep burden watching Mia suffer, but what could she do to ease Mia's pain? She continued to look preoccupied when the family was at the table eating tea.