Chapter 1, part 2
Mia returned to the cargo bay and when she crashed out on the mattress, she noticed Deru staring at her in a dour way.
“You're back late...” he said in a voice that matched his dourness.
“I've got a lot of work in the astronomy lab,” explained Mia, “plus I was taking some engineering lessons.”
“I wish I could do what you're doing,” said Deru rather longingly
“You will eventually...” said Mia, giving her brother an encouraging look. “Oh yes, I met mum at lunch, she told me we're having a vacation starting from tomorrow down on Bajor! Two weeks! Can you believe it?”
“Yay...” said Deru with zero conviction.
Mia ignored this because she was still abuzz by the prospect of the forthcoming break. “I thought we were going to have a vacation, I mean after our parents were released by the Breen, I just thought-”
Deru who had resumed reading his padd then tossed it to the floor in disgust. “Do you ever shut up?”
“When you talk it's always me, me, me!” said Deru bitterly. “It's like you like the sound of your voice!”
“Deru, spit it out, you're riled up by something.”
“I'm not telling you anything,” said Deru silkily.
“I'm not telling you anything,” mocked Mia in a passable imitation of her brother's voice.
She dropped the act for she really worried about her brother. “Honestly, what is up with you?”
“It's being couped up in this cargo bay!” hissed Deru. “I have to stay in it a lot longer than you do!”
“Which is why you should be looking forward to this two-week break!” explained Mia sounding disbelieving. “No more cargo bay, going to Bajor... It will be fun!”
“Bajor...” intoned Deru, and he considered this for a while.
“Why can't we go somewhere interesting?” he asked, looking sulky once more. “Like Earth, Rigel five or even Risa?”
Mia let out a snort of laughter. “The day our mother lets us go to Risa is the day she stops believing in the Prophets!”
“So what's wrong with Risa?” said Deru a little heatedly. “It's a really nice planet!”
Now Mia grinned deviously at Deru for she knew exactly why Deru fancied Risa. “Oh come on Deru, you mean to say really nice, cute-looking women.”
“So?” said Deru sounding defiant though an embarrassed flush came to his cheeks. “They are cute...”
“Wait until I tell our parents you've got a crush on the Risian women!”
“You wouldn't...” breathed Deru, looking mortified by the prospect.
Laughing out loud, Mia grinned cheekily at Deru. “Just kidding!”
It was late in the evening and some hours after Megan had tea. The shift she formerly worked had been unusually hard and challenging, resting in her quarters helped her let off a lot of steam. She was out of her uniform and instead wearing some casual clothes; red trousers, a white tank-top and a pinkish violet turtleneck jumper. For the last hour she had been cycling through the Federation datebase searching for relaxing and ambient music.
By some good fortune she had found the music of a late 20th century artist called Brian Eno. She was listening to this one piece of music called ‘An Ending’, over and over again as it managed to really calm her down. Maybe it was the simple atmospheric nature of the music or it how seemed to be more like a background sound, at the very least it felt very soothing for her nerves and fatigued body…
When the door chimed, Megan was brought back to her senses with a bump. She told the computer to end the music and slowly walked over to the front door. She pressed a command on a panel to the right side of the doorway causing the door to part open, revealing…
Max who was still in his uniform, stared at Megan hopefully. “Can I come in?”
Such politeness won Megan over, she stepped back a bit to let Max inside. “Yes yes...” she muttered distractedly.
“Can I get you anything?” she asked to Max when he was inside. “Tea or water?”
“Nothing for me please.”
Megan moved back to the chair she had vacated, though from the corner of her eye she noticed Max standing still rather awkwardly. “Sit down!” she told him.
Picking up the metal-framed chair, Megan walked back to Max and she placed the chair so she faced Max to his right. “Is there a reason for this visit?”
Flicking his eyes to Megan and then back to the carpet, Max leaned over forwards, resting his forearms on his thighs, with his head bowed down slightly. “I just want to... want to talk to you...”
Megan remained silent and she waited for Max to continue. As she waited she folded one leg over the other to make herself more comfortable.
“I feel like such an idiot,” moaned Max, sounding angry with himself, “arguing with Holo in the Replimat.”
In a restless motion, Max sat up straight and leaned back into his chair. “I don't know what we were initially talking about, but somehow the topic strayed to Tanya. I lost my cool, and in the process hurt my best friend.”
“You didn't hit Holo?” said Megan suddenly, sounding alarmed.
“No nothing like that,” responded Max, shaking his head vehemently. “But I was very rude to him.”
“All because of an angry outburst?”
“Yeah,” said Max sheepishly. “Looking back it's so embarrassing.”
“Are you going to apologise to Holo?”
“I'll do so tomorrow,” replied Max.
He shifted back in his chair leaning further backwards in an attempt to relax. Something internal to Max was really agitating him. “I can't stop thinking about Tanya! I can't seem to get over the loss!”
Megan just stared somberly at Max and his outburst. “It's been nearly two weeks since her death, you can't expect the pain to vanish over night.”
“I wish it would,” said Max softly, with those very words his right hand clutched against his chest. “In my heart I have this horrible aching sensation, this numbness... Have you ever had that sensation?”
“Too many times,” murmured Megan, “but it does go away eventually...”
For the first time since arriving in Megan’s quarters, Max seemed marginally more upbeat. “Thanks for saying that, I needed to hear that.”
Megan briefly smiled, before looking at Max with intent. “You will feel a bit better when you apologise to Holo, and try -- if you can -- not to jump down our throats. Holo and I are here to help you.”
“I know...” said Max guiltily.
“Well thanks for that,” he added when he got to his feet. “I don't know why but I feel better after I talk to you.”
“I'll see you tomorrow,” said Megan and she watched Max leave her quarters.
When Max had left, the whole conversation brought back to her memories of Jack; she knew what it meant to lose someone. Megan did not know what was worse: to lose the one you had loved through death, or through insurmountable differences or betrayal…
Day 3, 1400 hours
The quarters on the transport ship were small for a family of four, but Mia did not mind. She really looked forward to arriving on Bajor and leaving DS9 behind. It almost felt to Mia that her personal demons solely existed on that station…
She had spent a good portion of her time reading, occasionally she looked up from her padd to see how the various chess matches between Kira and Deru were coming on. As expected Deru beat Kira every time, but it was fun for Mia to see her mother try her best at what was really a hopeless battle…
“You look cheerful,” said Kira, coming over to Mia after finishing another chess game.
Mia once more lowered her padd and smiled at her mother. “I'm just glad we're going to Bajor...”
“And glad you left the station?” said Kira a little shrewdly.
“I am I suppose...” considered Mia.
She then changed the topic to make sure her mother did not pry into a matter Mia constantly thought about. “Which house are we staying in?”
“It's a bungalow a kilometre away from Felliq village in Dahkur province. The fields surrounding it aren't cultivated, but it just adds to the scenic beauty.”
Kira pulled out a thin padd from her trouser pocket and entered a few commands upon it. “Here's a picture of where we are going to.”
Taking the padd Kira was offering to her, Mia studied the picture of the home on the screen. Perhaps the screen was to small to give the house some justice, however the house appeared rather small when set against the trees that lined the dirt track which petered off by the residence
“Looks nice,” Mia finally said, “a bit pokey...”
Kira’s eyes twinkled at Mia’s observation. “You've been living in DS9's quarters for too long, the bungalow is just a bit bigger than our own quarters.”
Returning the padd to Kira, Mia decided to give her mother the benefit of the doubt...