Chapter 7, part 1
The Romulan ships were gone, the danger had passed, but Megan felt obliged to leave Ops to check on Tanya. What happened to Tanya had occurred on Megan’s watch, and she needed to know if Tanya was alright, if she was recovering… Megan didn’t want Tanya to die, because she knew what that would to do Max, it would utterly devastate him. She didn’t want to see her best friend suffer from such a loss.
When Megan walked into the Infirmary, she was approached by several doctors in turn. No doubt they wanted to heal her facial injuries, though to Megan they were trivial, inconsequential little wounds.
In the patient’s ward, Megan found Bashir and she called out to him. “Doctor Bashir!”
Bashir turned around, when Megan was next to him she continued. “Doctor is Tanya Dawson recovering?”
Bashir though shook his head in a grim manner. “I’m afraid not…”
The thing that Megan feared most had come to pass, and she felt so horrible for it. “Isn't there anything you can do?” she asked a little desperately.
“I'm afraid not, most of her wounds are more or less superficial, but the damage to her brain where the metal shard penetrated through Dawson's skull can't be repaired. There's too much internal bleeding. I tried to repair the blood vessels, however the tissue trauma was so great that other blood vessels ruptured. Perhaps if she came to me sooner I could have done something. I'm really sorry but the only thing I can do is ease Tanya's pain.”
With a small sorry smile, Bashir then left Megan. Clearly he didn’t understand why she was so concerned, but now that didn’t matter to Megan. She had to talk to Tanya, she had to apologise to her, and to somehow make things right…
Megan then spotted Tanya, some metres in front of her, resting on a biobed. Hurrying over, Megan happened to glance at the other patients, they were sporting far worse injuries than what Tanya appeared to have. Reaching Tanya’s bed, Megan looked down and was surprised to the calmness on Tanya’s face.
Tanya moved her head slightly to the right, in doing so revealing the bloody wound on the left side of her head to Megan. “You look like hell,” commented Tanya, as her eyes registered Megan's visage.
Megan took a few steps closer to Tanya, until she was directly above the woman. Raising her fist against her mouth, Megan was momentarily lost for words as she fought against so many conflicting emotions. “This is my fault,” she finally said, while lowering her hand.
“What are you talking about?” asked Tanya in a weak voice.
“I should have done more to protect you!” burst out Megan, closing her eyes in pain as her guilt grew.
However Tanya gazed back at Megan in an understanding way, somehow she seemed to know a little of what Megan was feeling. “We were fighting for our lives, you can't blame yourself!”
Megan though shook her head, as the guilt grew too strong. “You can't die,” she moaned, “you can't...”
“You heard doctor Bashir, he can't stop the bleeding in my brain, I've only got a few hours left.”
In a somewhat sad way, Tanya gave Megan a small smile. “Besides I'm going to hold out until Max arrives, then it will be my time to die.”
“That's not funny,” said Megan sharply. “Max doesn't know about your condition, he'll be devastated.”
“I know,” said Tanya wearily, and the smile vanished. “But at least I get to see him for one last time.”
“You can't die...” said Megan, saying it as if the words would do something to help Tanya.
A confused look appeared on Tanya’s face, and her eyes were searching Megan in a rather peculiar way. “You keep saying that, listen why are you so concerned about me dying?”
“Because...” said Megan, then she stopped as she wondered how much she could reveal to Tanya. “Because it would hurt Max horribly, and me to.”
“What do you mean by that?” Tanya asked, the confused expression deepening on her face. “I know you consider Max to be your best friend, but I still don't get why you are fretting over me.”
Closing her eyes, Megan dreaded telling Tanya the truth. “Don't make me spell it out to you...”
It took a moment, finally Tanya’s eyes widened in both understanding and surprise. “I don't believe it...” she said, before letting out a brief breathe of laughter. “I knew it, all this time I thought so!”
“You did?” said Megan in a hollow voice, and her eyes flew open.
Tanya nodded. “All those months ago when you accidentally walked in on me kissing Max, I looked at your face and I suspected something was amiss... Now what you've just said confirms it. I just have one question, why didn't you tell me the truth?”
“How could I?” said Megan miserably, before she crouched down and then whispered into Tanya’s face. “I was in love with Max, but you were in a relationship with him. I had to hide my true feelings because that was the only honourable thing to do. I couldn't tell Max or you because it would totally ruin my friendship with Max!”
Megan expected Tanya to be angry or disgusted at the confession, but instead there was understanding and a great empathy on Tanya’s face.
“It must have been really difficult being in my presence,” observed Tanya, “because you also loved Max but couldn't say or do anything.”
In a sad way Megan nodded. “Now I just feel so guilty, because when you're dead, the only person Max will really care about is me!”
“Don't feel guilty,” whispered Tanya softly. “I didn't realise how hard all of this was for you. I just want Max to be happy and he's going to turn to you for support, I know that.”
Despite Tanya accepting Megan’s true feelings for Max, Megan remained as guilty, and as conflicted, as ever. “Even so, to do that would be using him, or stealing him from you.”
“I disagree,” said Tanya firmly, she locked onto Megan's gaze with a great seriousness. “Whatever happens between you and Max after I'm gone doesn't perturb me, because that will be between him and you.”
The expression then softened on Tanya’s face. “But if you do find true love and happiness, then hold onto it, because nine years ago I did the exact opposite and I still regret that decision.”
“Listen,” said Megan, “promise me you won't tell Max any of this, it would only make him more confused and hurt!”
“Are you sure?” asked Tanya.
“He can't know,” said Megan, and she looked very tortured. “So please promise you won't tell him!”
“I promise,” said Tanya solemnly.
Megan stood up, and the two women looked at each other. In that moment they both seemed to silently accept what they now knew.
“One more thing commander...”
“Yes?” asked Megan.
“I don't blame you for what has happened to me, and I personally think you did an exemplary job defending this station against the Romulans.”
Hearing Tanya’s vote of confidence finally eased some of Megan’s guilt. “Thank you,” she said very quietly.
With one last look at Tanya, Megan walked out of the patient’s ward. But close to the entrance, a doctor finally cornered her, and this time with nothing really urgent to do, Megan consented and allowed the doctor to fix her face.
What Tanya said had given Megan a huge amount to think about. In effect Tanya had given her blessing to Megan having a relationship with Max, but it also caused Megan to think more carefully about how exactly she felt for Max. She was still going to be his friend, and she decided that if any romance, or relationship, were to happen, then it would be Max who initiated it and not her.
Day 14, 0020 hours
With the Defiant now docked, Kira had nearly finished powering down the phaser banks and torpedo bays. After completing this, she then locked down her station. “We did it...” she said out aloud.
“It was close...” responded Ezri.
Intrigued by Ezri's weary tones, Kira turned around to see her captain stand up. Kira left her station and followed Ezri out of the bridge. She became very conscious of her pounding heart and the anxiety built up inside of her. Somewhere in that station were her two children, they were either alive or dead, it was that simple.
“Who knows what has happened on DS9...” she murmured, as she felt the need to voice her worries.
“It's not going to be pretty...” said Ezri grimly.
“This could only be the beginning...” said Kira ominously. “The Romulans have just carried out an act of war against the Federation. Do the Breen now attack us?”
“I don't know,” replied Ezri in a strangely quiet voice. “In these next 24 hours anything is possible...”
Ezri went suddenly silent when Odo appeared on the corridor, he walked towards Ezri at a quick pace. “Captain, I'm ready to take Talor Voran off this ship, and into the station's holding cells.”
“Do it,” said Ezri simply, as a powerful anger appeared on her face at the mention of Talor Voran.
“Just one moment!” cut in Kira. “I would like to speak to the constable, alone...”
Odo looked from Kira and then to Ezri. “This shouldn't take long,” he told Ezri.
Kira let Ezri get some distance in front of them before she gestured to Odo to walk with her. When they entered the transporter room, Kira found it deserted and immediately she burst into speech. “Odo our children-”
“I know...” said Odo, looking just as distressed as Kira. “They could be... dead. However I will search for them.”
“No, let me!” replied Kira, she had to say this, to tell her husband what she so badly wanted to do. “You've got a prisoner to tend to.”
“And you've got a station to repair!” retorted Odo, his mouth contorting in an incensed fashion.
Kira didn’t know what it would take to convince Odo, so she bound her forearms and hands together, while mustering her most beseeching expression. “Please Odo, the thought of being in Ops wondering whether you have found our children or not... It's too much. I have to find out for myself, with my own eyes! The moment I find them... in whatever condition, I'll contact you immediately...”
Odo remained silent, he looked moved by his wife’s impassioned plea, yet still there was something in his eyes that seemed to say ‘no’ to Kira.
“Please!” said Kira tenderly. “I'm begging you; let me do this!”
It was a simple answer, and before Kira realised it, Odo was gone, presumably to escort Voran to a holding cell. Kira forced herself to stay sharp and emotionally together. She left the transporter room, walking as quickly as possible through the various corridors heading for the ship’s airlock.
Kira followed Ezri from behind in airlock five. In front of both them was Odo who singlehandedly pushed Talor Voran forwards, the two men's destination DS9's detainment area.
“Captain!” said Kira, the moment she came outside of the docking bay doors.
“Before I go to Ops, I need to find my children,” said Kira, she then held her breathe, would Ezri consent to such a request?
For a few nail-biting moments, Ezri remained silent as she considered Kira’s request, until-
“I understand,” said Ezri, and she nodded a little to Kira, in effect giving Kira permission.
Without further ado, Kira strode down the corridor in the opposite direction to Ezri. “Computer, locate Kira Mia and Kira Deru.”
“Unable to process, damage to internal sensors.
Kira came to a stop and she panicked a little. How was she going to find her children? Think!
she told herself, surely all the civilians were evacuated to safer locations on the station when the Romulans attacked… So where would the children whose parents were on duty go to?
“Computer, was there a designated evacuation point for the children of this station?”
“Where is that evacuation point?” she asked, getting annoyed by having to spell it out to the computer.
“Promenade, Quark’s bar.
So that was a place to start. At once Kira walked as quickly as she could to the Promenade. Her fear mounted, until her stomach was rife with queasiness. She kept telling herself that Mia and Deru were alive and that she would find them…
Upon coming to the Promenade, Kira saw a flurry of activity from various people: security guards, technicians, civilians and people supporting wounded. It was so busy, and when Kira came closer to Quark’s bar, she stopped at the sight of rows of mattresses, full of injured people. This brought home to Kira the sheer scale of the Romulan attack, and she became more aware of the lingering scars of it.
Scars, for instance, such as the scorch marks on the walls, on the carpeted floor, broken chairs and benches. Some of the lighting strips which had been damaged, and the infrequent flickering of damaged light diodes. One smell that came to Kira’s attention was that of death. It was an accumulation of smells, but Kira could tell a few of the wounded had died, simply from the occasional sound of sobbing from the dead person’s colleague, friend or family member.
She pulled herself together and entered Quark’s bar. If she couldn’t find her children here, her next place would be to check their quarters, if that failed then she would search the whole station until she found Mia and Deru, dead or alive. Inside the bar, she looked around amongst the grim faces of security guards and medics, to the nervous and frightened faces of some of the children.
And then Kira’s eyes found the two faces which she longed for. She hurried forwards, and as she came closer, she noticed Mia hugging Deru plus the lack of injuries upon the two.
“Mia, Deru!” she called out to them.
At once Mia and Deru glanced up in a shocked manner, but a smile then came to Mia’s face, and the teenager girl rushed over to greet Kira.
The two embraced in a tight hug. Upon feeling the life in her daughter, Kira closed her eyes shut as she felt her worry drift away. “Oh thank the Prophets, you're alive!”
Mia was the one to break off the hug, she started staring at Kira as if she hadn’t seen her mother for ages. “Mum? How did you make it here in one piece? I thought you and father were captured on Breen?”
“I'm fine, as is your father.”
“Where is father?” asked Mia, glancing behind Kira seemingly expecting her father to be there.
“He's in his office, but he's busy,” explained Kira, giving to Mia the subtle hint that Odo was not to be disturbed.
“What happened to your uniform?” Mia said, her eyes widening at the sight. “Is that blood?”
Kira looked down, her tunic and trousers were covered with patches of black muck, to such an extent that the red in her uniform was barely showing in places. Elsewhere a few tears occurred around the tunic sleeves and the trousers, while some parts of the uniform were a bit shiny; stained with a little of Kira's blood. She looked an absolute mess, plus she only then realised how strongly she smelled.
“It's just a few cuts and bruises,” she told Mia, as she tried to gloss it all over. “The doctors on the Defiant patched them up in no time.”
“Thank the Prophets,” breathed Mia, “I was expecting something far worse.”
Mia then again hugged Kira. “Oh it's so good to see you again!”
Kira only halfheartedly returned the hug, and now she focused on Deru, who was still sitting on a step, looking down at his feet. “How's Deru?”
The joyousness on Mia’s face faded. “He's... quite upset by what happened...”
Moving away from Mia, Kira came over to Deru, and she crouched down so that her face was level with her son's. “Deru?” she gently asked. “I'm here now, everything is going to be alright.”
“Mum?” mumbled Deru.
In a slow tremulous way, Deru raised his head and he appeared totally shell-shocked.
The look in Deru’s eyes greatly disturbed Kira, it was a look she encountered so many times before during the Bajoran occupation; helplessness. Deru seemed ready to cry, and before Kira knew it Deru suddenly lurched forwards, hugging Kira as if his life depended upon it.
Kira was almost knocked over by her son's action. However she managed to stand up while Deru just clung on, now he began sobbing into her chest profusely.
“Sssh...” whispered Kira, and she carefully planted a kiss on Deru’s forehead. “It's alright... Everything is going to be okay, you're safe now...”
“No it's not!” said Deru in a weak tearful voice. “Those evil pointy eared people are going to come back and kill us!”
“Those 'evil pointy eared people' fled like rats when the Defiant and fifty other Starfleet vessels arrived.”
“But this station isn't safe!” wailed Deru.
Kira hugged her son more firmly, wondering how to reassure Deru and encourage him. “I can't say to you with absolute certainty that this station won't be threatened again. But I can tell you that it will be far more protected than it was previously after this attack.”
Deru then lifted his head off Kira’s chest, looking up to his mother with a hopeful expression. “Really?”
“Trust me...” said Kira, while she smiled down at her son.
Mia had silently walked over to the two, she acted with a little trepidation towards her mother and brother. “I'll erm... take Deru back to our quarters.”
“I'll accompany you,” said Kira, “but first I'll tell your father that you two are okay, just stay there...”
When she moved a few paces away from her children, Kira tapped her combadge. “Kira to Odo.”
“Odo here... Have you found them?
“I have,” said Kira, “Mia and Deru are alive and uninjured.”
At that moment, Kira could have sworn her husband had let out a sigh of relief. “They're really happy to see me, but Deru is a little shaken up.”
“I understand, Odo out.
Kira felt a little shocked by the abrupt end to the conversation, but she quickly understood that Odo was maintaining a remarkable level of professional detachment. Such discipline amazed her, and it was a quality she really liked about Odo.
Turning around, Kira returned to her children, and there she escorted them out of the bar. However she was then approached by one of the Bajoran security guards whom she recognised as Raris Gotal.
“Yes?” asked Kira a little impatiently.
“I just wanted to say that your daughter was exemplary, she helped me and the other guards to defend this bar from the Romulans without being asked. She just came and picked up a fallen guard's phaser pistol and defended this place.”
While Raris looked at Kira with some pride, Kira couldn't help but feel very shocked. “Is this true Mia?” she asked in somewhat hushed tones.
Mia didn't say anything, she simply nodded once.
Words failed Kira as she would never have believed it of Mia to perform such brave deeds.
“You should be proud of your daughter colonel, she did a very brave thing today.”
Pulling herself together, Kira forced a smile onto her face. “Yes she did, now if you don't mind I really need to take my children home.”
Raris nodded and left Kira.
Kira walked briskly out of the bar, still holding onto Mia's and Deru's hands. The corridors were remarkably empty, and the only time Kira did see anybody, was the occasional time when a pair of technicians or security guards dashed by. Right now Kira didn't know what to make of her daughter's deed, she would talk to Mia later about this when she found the time. For now Kira was glad to return home, however briefly.
Outside the front door to her quarters, Kira pressed a command on the panel by the door, to open it. There was no response, a somewhat ominous sign, so she manually overrode the door’s magnetic locks. Finally the door opened, and when both she and her children were inside, they all came to a dead stop.