1 INT. DS9 Ė QUARKíS BAR
A table on the main floor, at which several civilians of various races sit. Perched on a chair with them is PIF, spines erect and tail wagging with happiness at the fact that he is the centre of attention.
One of the civilians has one of Pifís tiny green puppies in her lap, snuggling and offering belly rubs. Everyone coos and baby-babbles at the almost unbearable cuteness.
QUARK is behind his bar, watching this with a grimace of revulsion. He turns away to return a bottle to its shelf, and when he turns back, he JUMPS in shock...
...because another puppy is sitting on the bar right in front of him, tail thumping, waiting to be cuddled. Quark steadies himself from the shock, muttering to himself.
Filthy little vermin...
RO is nearby, with a coffee but standing, ready to run if needed. She reaches out to scratch the puppyís neck.
What are you talking about?
I think theyíre adorable.
Theyíre unsanitary, is what
But theyíre so soft and furry!
I know. And furry things are
unnatural. Animals donít have
fur on Ferenginar.
Because of the damp?
Exactly! Who wants to be all
matted and water-logged?
Quark proudly strokes his own large bald head to emphasise the point. Ro pouts at him.
Well, Iíd keep your voice down
if I were you. People tend to
not like it when someone calls
their baby ďunnatural.Ē
Oh, donít worry. If I can avoid
calling my own niece a hairy
half-breed, I can manage this.
As long as they stay off the bar.
With a roll of the eyes, Ro lovingly lowers the puppy down to the deck and lets it scamper off back to its parents.
How are you doing?
What do you mean?
Oh, nothing. Just that... Iíve
been living on this station for
a long time now. Iíve spent the
last ten years watching my
friends go off to war, risking
their lives... and they donít
always come back in one piece.
Ro doesnít really respond, just looks down into her coffee. Quark is being deliberately casual but obviously fishing...
I know I make it look easy, but
itís no fun always being the
one left behind. Always the one
who has to keep morale up, the
rock everyone leans on...
Ro smiles quietly to herself. She knows Quark is only trying to be helpful.
Thatís the second officerís job,
Quark. Hold down the fort while
everyone else has all the fun.
Clearly theyíre both worried about the others. Neither wants to say it out loud, but they both know.
Ops to Lieutenant Ro.
Go ahead, Shar.
Itís nearly time, sir. You
wanted to be informed?
Iíll be right there. Ro out.
She taps the combadge to close, takes a last swig of coffee and steps back from the bar. Ro and Quark share a moment, then she turns and leaves. Quark watches her go, feeling sympathetic. Then he turns back to the bar...
...And the puppy is back on the bar, tail thumping away, waiting to be cuddled. Quark grits his teeth...
2 INT. DS9 Ė MAIN OPS CENTRE
The turbolift rises into Ops, carrying Ro. She steps off and down to the centre table, where CENN runs the boards. SHAR is at sciences, LEISHMAN at engineering, SEVAK at tactical and extras elsewhere. Shar works his panels, and the viewscreen reveals the star field, a fleet of Bajoran Militia ships holding position.
Anything from Lenaris?
Ro nods anxiously. Then Cennís panel beeps Ė an incoming message. Cenn reads it, looks up at Ro, surprised.
Itís not General Lenaris.
Itís a personal message,
for Lieutenant chíThane.
Take it in the Captainís office,
if you want some privacy.
Thank you, Lieutenant.
He clearly wasnít expecting anything. A little confused, Shar gets up from his station and heads into Kiraís office (an extra takes his place). Then Ro turns back to Cenn. Sheís just waiting for something to happen. And desperately hoping it wonít.
Thereís another alert on Cennís panels...
General Lenaris reports rising
They both know what that means.
Tell him to back off another
five-hundred kilometres. I
donít want them to get caught
up in the backwash.
Cenn relays the message...
3 EXT. SPACE
The ships of the Bajoran fleet back away, spreading out further from the wormholeís event horizon.
Then it happens Ė the wormhole BURSTS open, surging with power and energy and colour. Only itís different. Itís much more powerful, erratic, violent. And the colour is not the usual serene and peaceful blue. The wormhole is BURNING, orange and yellow and red flames churning amongst the blue and white petals. Our POV shakes with the force of it.
4 INT. DS9 Ė MAIN OPS CENTRE
Ro and Cenn grip the edge of the table, holding on as the station shudders. Cenn gapes in horror at the sight...
Prophets... I donít see how
anything could survive that.
Letís hope the Prophets them-
The door from Kiraís office opens and Shar emerges. Heís looking a bit shell-shocked, barely notices the station shaking. Heís had big news. Ro doesnít have time to ask.
Shar, are the gravimetric
distortions affecting Bajor?
Pulling himself together, Shar excuses the extra from the science station and takes over the panels. He reads...
Yes. Starfleet stations on the
surface are reporting tectonic
disturbances all over the planet.
A particularly violent shudder shakes the station. On the screen, the wormhole churns and spits fire into space.
This has got to end soon.
Ro grits her teeth, grips on tight, watching the screen...
5 EXT. SPACE
Just then, it does. The wormhole closes back up, but leaves wisps of coiling energy and distortions in the space around it, taking longer to dissipate than normal.
6 INT. DS9 Ė MAIN OPS CENTRE
Ro and Cenn remain on edge, watching the screen...
Stay alert, everyone. Itís
not ever yet.
Everyone continues to wait, just the humming of the power core and the silent flashing lights of YELLOW ALERT. They wait. And they wait. Ro looks to Shar...
Shar shakes his head. Ro looks to Cenn. He shakes his head too. They all go back to waiting.
7 INT. DS9 Ė WARD ROOM
And that was all we knew. We had
no idea how things were going...
how things had gone on the other
side. There was no way to tell.
So we just had to wait, and hope
that if something came through
the wormhole, it was the right
kind of something.
Admiral AKAAR sits across the table, looking into camera.
Then you did not know of Captain
Siskoís plans in advance?
ANGLE to reveal Ro sits opposite him. The pair have their usual spiky repartee, but this is an official debriefing.
I knew the plans he told us,
Admiral. I didnít know what
else he hadnít told us.
And had you known... would you
have attempted to stop him?
How am I supposed to know? I
donít believe in the Prophets
like he did. Does. Besides, it
doesnít matter now, does it?
The threat may be over. That is
yet to be determined for certain.
As is the cost of success.
The cost... Well, thatís some-
thing weíre just all going to
have to live with.
As much as he hates to agree with Ro, Akaar can only nod sadly. Ending on Roís reined in but clearly damaged emotions...
END OF TEASER