Chapter 2, part 1
The journey to Bajor was an uneventful one for Kira, only when the transport ship docked in Dahkur provincial city, Van’tana, at the spaceport did the journey become interesting for Kira.
The spaceport was a bustling transport hub of Van’tana, and one of the many new buildings that had sprung up in the city centre since the end of the occupation. Kira felt glad to leave the crowded spaceport as she and her family were standing outside on one of the major roads, next to a bus booth. They had to wait for some time as Kira waited for the bus that went past the village of Filleq on its route.
Kira knew Dahkur province like the back of her hand, and it was to her relief that a bus destined for Filleq arrived. The bus was moderately crowded, and Kira, her husband and children sat at the back. There were a few stares from the Bajoran commuters primary directed at Odo, which failed to surprise Kira for her husband always stood out because of his face…
Taking a seat to the right of the bus, Kira stared out of the window to the reasonably busy four-lane avenue they travelled upon. Cars and other buses past by, and such vehicles were far more common place after the occupation. These were automobiles of the Terran sort, and they ran on electric engines.
Many Bajorans though did not have cars, mainly because they were a urban luxury for those who travelled a lot in and around provinces. The bus started moving again after a traffic jam eased up, Kira spent the next half an hour staring out of the window or occasionally talking to her children.
When the bus was outside of the city centre, Kira found the sight much more pleasant. With the smaller buildings and green spaces, it just felt more… Bajoran. She did not have anything against cities but she was born and raised in the countryside, well sort of she had to remind herself. The refuge camp she grew up in was located out in the countryside. But even that knowledge did not dampen her spirits when the bus finally left Van'tana.
It went past fields, villages, woodland and a few rivers. This was the Dahkur province Kira remembered, the countryside had barely changed from all those years ago when Kira lived there. One thing that had changed were the roads. They had been renovated, instead of dirt tracks the roads were paved with hitant; a substance that closely resembled tarmac. There were also cat eyes on the sides and centre of the roads. This was a necessary safety feature as more and more people began to use cars, and other automobiles, and drove out in the night.
Kira was brought out of her thoughts when the bus came to a stop outside of a bungalow to the left of the road. This was not a designated bus stop, however Kira quickly realised that Odo must have tipped the driver with litas to stop here. As Kira walked along the bus, at the back of her family, she noticed there were only a couple of passengers remaining.
Once she was outside of the bus, the doors to it closed and the bus then drove off. Kira and her family were staring at the bungalow some distance in front of them. They moved forwards with Kira in the lead, she opened up a mid-height wooden gate which lead to small dirt track lined by trees on both sides which winded its way slightly to the bungalow. As they walked, Kira noticed the overgrown fields surrounding the bungalow.
She doubted anybody in this district knew this, but this was Shakaar’s holiday home, and for a man who was once a farmer, Kira took great amusement by the fact that the fields were so wild and overrun with weeds.
The row of trees ended bringing the bungalow more clearly into sight. It was rectangular in shape, with a two-sided sloped roof, and thin red coloured wooden panels lined the walls. The front door resided at the centre with two windows on either end.
Coming to a stop outside the door, Kira tapped in some commands on the panel to the right of the door. This was a locking mechanism, which could only be overridden with Shakaar’s personal code to open it. With a little click, Kira heard the door’s locking mechanism open, so she pulled down on the handle and opened the door.
She found herself inside an entrance hall, with a wall to her right, and a wall of half height to her left running partially into the living room. Upon seeing that the floor was carpeted she took off her boots and told her children to do so.
Staring around the living room, she noticed the comfy looking chairs, sofas, and the fireplace. This place felt like home already…
Day 4, 1100 hours
Kira rested against the sofa putting her feet up on a small glass stand as she read from a padd. She had not felt this relaxed in a long time, there wasn’t anything to worry about plus an absence of anything to think about.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mia and Deru carrying a rucksack each which piqued her curiosity. “Where are you two scampering off to?”
Mia came to a stop. “We're going out walking... We just want to explore this area.”
Standing up, Kira briefly glanced at Mia before lowering her padd and walking over to a bookshelf. “Fine explore away,” she said, removing a combadge and a padd from one of the shelves as she did so. “But take by combadge and this padd.”
Once Mia pocketed both items in her rucksack, Kira looked with admiration at both Mia and Deru, to see these two become so independent made her feel so proud. “The padd has a map of this area, and if you run into any difficulties or somehow get lost, contact me and Odo.”
Odo arrived, he first looked at Kira and then to his children. “Where are they going?” he asked of Kira.
Kira turned a bit on the spot to address her husband. “Going out walking by themselves.”
“Shouldn't we accompany-”
“Odo, Mia is sixteen, a mature adult by Bajor tradition. She is old enough to be responsible for not only herself but for Deru as well. I've given Mia a map and a combadge, but I'll doubt they will run into any trouble.”
Mia nodded to all of this. “Don't worry father I know how to read a map!”
Taking one quick apprising look at Mia, Odo then relented. “Okay, okay, but it's just last time we were on Bajor we did family walks together.”
“And we will have some family walks out...” pointed out Kira.
She then addressed Mia. “What time are you coming back?”
“1400 hours,” answered Mia, “I've made lunch for both myself and Deru.”
“Well see you then, and have a good walk...”
Kira remained stationary as she watched her children walk out of the front door, when it closed she slowly turned to face Odo, smiling at him.
“It's amazing...” murmured Odo.
The smile on Kira’s face faded. “What is?”
“Remember when we took Mia to Bajor when she was little?” asked Odo, his eyes glazing over a little as he recalled the memory. “Now here she is walking with her brother without us... It’s just different if you know what I mean.”
Kira knew exactly what Odo meant. “Mia's turned out alright,” she said quietly, “even if she worried us for so many years...”
Something came to Kira’s mind, upon remembering this she stared a little expectantly at Odo. “And talking about remembering things, I seem to recall you making a promise in that Breen residence about the vacation, something about just you and me alone in the house.”
Odo’s mouth made a silent ‘o’, but there was an interest in his eyes of a romantic sort. “I had nearly forgotten about that.”
Disregarding what Odo said, Kira moved closer to Odo while she savoured the pretence. “Well I think it is time I reminded you of our promise.”
The two kissed and Kira remembered it had been a while since she had last kissed Odo. Wrapping her arms around Odo’s back, she pulled her husband closer…
Walking along the dirt track, Mia took the lead slightly ahead of Deru as they explored Fenrone forest. Well Mia was more like taking the initiative as her eyes could not get enough of the tall trees, the rather green forest canopy whilst the undergrowth was rather sparse with a mixture of stubby green grass and various ferns. Looking above, Mia loved how the light made the thin leaves glow.
A rather strong wooden and grassy smell entered Mia’s nostrils, she inhaled more deeply, enamoured by the experience. “Smell that...”
Deru sniffed for a bit, but seemed nonplussed. “A very woody smell.”
Mia clucked her tongue in impatience, Deru was missing the point of this walk. “You just don't get that back on DS9...”
Her brother's silence did not dampen Mia’s enthusiasm. “Isn't great we're out here?”
“Why are you so enthusiastic?” said Deru a little sourly. “I mean last time we came here, you only showed a fraction of the interest you are showing now.”
“I just appreciate nature more,” said Mia, while she looked around at her surroundings. “I think it's something you acquire as you mature.”
“It's just trees, leaves and dirt...” responded Deru disparagingly.
“There's more to it, there's-”
Mia stopped talking when she heard rustling coming from the leaves of some thick bushes to her left. “Did you hear that?” she whispered.
“I did,” said Deru looking mildly curious. “Could be some sort of animal.”
“Or a person...” said Mia, noticing the pair of feet behind the bushes.
Sure enough a teenage Bajoran popped out from where the bushes were ending, he seemed to be walking on a far smaller track. When he came to the wider track he looked around to see Mia and Deru.
Mia thought he looked rather handsome with his short black crew cut hair, blue eyes, broad face and thin nose.
“Hi there...” he called out in a friendly way.
“Yeah hi,” said Mia, smiling back a little.
“Hi,” said Deru, with a small nod.
The boy moved forwards and Mia reckoned he was at least sixteen years of age. “I haven't seen you two before...” he said, glancing at them quizzically. “You look new to this area.”
Mia was the first to explain herself. “Oh my family are on vacation in this province for two weeks, we live on Deep Space Nine.”
“Really?” said the boy, his eyes widening in interest. “Next to the Celestial Temple?”
“May the Prophets help you,” he said rather somberly. “I heard the Romulan attack was particularly brutal on that station and 241 people were killed.”
“It was terrible...” Mia agreed, it made her stomach churn just talking about it. “What is your name?”
“I'm Yanu Estel,” said the boy, “and you are?”
“Kira Mia,” said Mia, and with a hand she gestured to Deru. “And this is my brother Kira Deru.”
Estel seemed to regard Mia and Deru, though in particular Mia, with more interest. “You wouldn't be the children of Kira Nerys by any chance?”
“We are,” said Mia and she wondered where this conversation would go.
“Then you must know we're part Bajoran part shapeshifter?” said Deru, giving Estel a look of scant trust.
“So?” shrugged Estel.
“Some Bajorans seem to have a problem with that, especially when Mia was younger.”
“I couldn't care what race you are,” said Estel, matching Deru’s rough tones, “just as long as you are friendly, and preferably not Cardassian.”
Mia grinned at this. “Don't worry we don't have a drop of Cardassian blood in us.”
“Well that's good to know,” replied Estel, sounding warm again. “Where are you two heading?”
“To Nensteg hill,” answered Mia, and she showed to Estel the padd. “I've got a map, and I'm certain there are only five kilometres to go.”
Estel came over to Mia, standing by her side he stared at the padd taking in the map. “I assume you're following this path to Nensteg?”
“I am,” said Mia.
“The path winds around the hills too much,” replied Estel, giving the map another glance. “I know a quicker way to Nensteg from here...”
He looked at Mia as if he were giving her the offer of a lifetime. “If you are interested?”
“What do you think Deru?” said Mia, as she gauged her brother’s reaction.
Deru just shrugged. “I wouldn't mind cutting some minutes off this walk.”
Estel grinned, and held his hand out to Mia and Deru. “Follow me.”
Some moments later and they were already off the main track following a route of Estel’s taking. Mia sure hoped that Estel knew where he was going, but somehow she just instinctively trusted him.
Though the slope had become steeper, Mia jogged a few paces so that she was by Estel’s side, while Deru followed from behind.
“Are you local to this area?” Mia asked Estel.
“Born and raised in the Cinstati district of Dahkur province,” answered Estel with a hint of pride in his voice. “A few times I left the district, one such time I went to the Bajoran capital, but that was for a private matter.”
He glanced at Mia, and gave her an attentive look. “Where were you born Mia?”
“Oh, on Deep Space Nine. I've lived most of my life on that station.”
“Don't you wish you were living on Bajor?”
This question, though obvious, still made Mia think about it. She had never really considered living on Bajor. “Deep Space Nine is very interesting, it's what I grew up with so I guess I don't know any different.”
“I see both you and your brother wear the earrings,” said Estel, pointing to the earring on his right ear. “You believe in the Prophets?”
“I always have,” said Deru, trying to get in on the conversation. “Though my sister didn't for a long time.”
A mild look of surprise came across Estel’s face. “How come?”
“I didn't have the faith...” said Mia simply.
“It's not a crime to not believe in the Prophets,” said Estel calmly. “My mother always tells me that is for the Prophets to judge the faithless, not ourselves.”
“That's funny,” said Mia, suppressing a snort of laughter. “My mother says the same thing.”
She then put on her best imitation of Kira’s voice. “Never question other people's faith or lack of Mia, without questioning your own faith first and foremost.
Estel laughed out loud, and his eyes twinkled. “Your mother sounds like a wise woman.”
“She is in a way...” Mia said cocking her head a little to the side as she considered Estel’s statement.
The two continued talking with Deru all but forgotten as he walked from behind…