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Old October 2 2011, 08:33 AM   #16
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2, part 2

In her office, Ezri was by her desk when both Bashir and Odo came in at the same time. By the looks on Bashir's and Odo's faces, whatever it was they were about to tell her wouldn't be to her liking. “Well what have you found out from the Liberty's survivors?” she demanded.

Odo reported first. “We have two different accounts from the three key Starfleet witnesses: Megan Felpes, Jack Smith and Captain Haydra. Megan's account is that Cardassian guards ambushed her because she had unwittingly been to close to a secret Cardassian base. This snowballed into a chain of events that lead to the attack on the starship Liberty. Jack's account is likewise the same albeit he was captured by the Cardassians.

“Now Captain Haydra has a different account. She says that Megan and Jack were Starfleet Intelligence agents who were spying on Bordak's prison. Apparently SI wanted Megan and Jack to covertly monitor the Tau Primia prison. It seems that Megan and Jack had different ideas though as they tried to assassinate Bordak, why I don't know. After the botched assassination attempt, Megan and Jack were detected, and Cardassian guards attacked Megan and Jack. This caused the chain of events that cumulated into the attack on the Liberty.”

“How does Haydra know that Megan and Jack tried to assassinate Bordak?” asked Ezri.

It was Bashir who answered that question. “According to captain Haydra it was Bordak who made the accusation that Megan and Jack had tried to assassinate him in his prison.”

“Hmm...” said Ezri while frowning. “It could be that Bordak was lying and trying to make up an excuse to attack the Liberty. We do know for certain that Megan and Jack were definitely monitoring that prison...”

“Captain Haydra was very traumatized,” said Odo, “under those conditions, witnesses aren't too reliable...”

“Come on Constable!” said Ezri impatiently. “What have we got here? We have a pair of SI agents who have apparently gone rogue. Both seem too calm and composed, after the ordeal they went through, and more than that Megan and Jack have been lying to us all along! Plus with the discovery of that neural depolarizor in Megan's brain, there seems to be a possibility that the two are Section 31 agents.”

Ezri could see Bashir scrutinizing every part of her reasoning. “If they were Section 31 agents, then being a consummate liar is all part of their job!” added Bashir.

Ezri brushed that aside. “We need to question them again, Odo and I will do so. I'll let you get back to the Infirmary doctor.”

Bashir nodded and left the room.

Ezri turned to face Odo, who looked rather thoughtful. “This time Odo I want answers from those two!” she demanded.

Odo looked at Ezri somewhat disbelievingly. “Captain if they are consummate liars then they won't crack or deviate from their story. It doesn't matter what evidence you throw at them; even if we resorted to torture, they still may not crack...”

“Then let's hope they have a conscience then,” said Ezri and she walked out of the office.

Odo followed her into Ops. “Don't be so naive captain,” he said quietly.

Ezri ignored Odo's jibe and headed to the turbo lift, she was going to get to the bottom of this mystery.


***


Ezri and Odo came to a stop outside of the door leading to Jack's quarters. Ezri tapped the door chime.

“Come in!” came Jack's voice.

They went through the door, and found Jack who was sitting on a chair.

Ezri pulled up another chair and sat down directly facing Jack, while Odo stood to her left, his arms folded.

Jack seemed quite calm, even relaxed, despite the gravity of Ezri and Odo's appearance.

Like every residence in DS9, the living quarters were dimly lit and the lighting was somewhat uneven. The Cardassian architecture added to the shadows and the darkness. Jack's quarters were surrounded by other residences; as such there were no windows. Since Jack had no possessions his quarters looked empty and very dull, while the grey walls added to the dullness.

There was silence between the three, and it was Ezri who spoke first. “We have some more questions for you; concerning what transpired when you were monitoring the Tau Primia prison.” She briefly nodded to Odo.

Odo started questioning Jack. “According to captain Haydra, Bordak told her that there had been an assassination attempt on his life. You and Megan were the only Starfleet officers in close proximity to the prison. Why didn't you disclose the fact that you are a Starfleet Intelligence agent?”

Jack looked uncomfortable. “I didn’t think such information was relevant.”

Odo glared at Jack. “Is that so? I think it is highly relevant. Perhaps you could explain to me why there was an assassination attempt on Gul Bordak’s life?”

Jack's expression became more serious. “I cannot disclose to you what happened on Tau Primia. ”

“For what reason?” inquired Odo.

“I need to speak to a high ranking member of SI.”

Ezri leaned forwards slightly. “SI has told me that I can question both you and Megan, so you can relay your information to me.”

Jack glanced at Odo. “All right, but not with the shapeshifter.”

Odo scowled briefly at Jack's comment.

“Odo is my chief of security,” said Ezri, “he can be trusted with any information you disclose.”

Jack seemed reassured by that, he breathed in deeply as if bracing himself for the worst. “Both myself and Megan were on a reconnaissance mission surveying the Tau Primia prison. This mission was four days long, and it had been authorized by SI. Everything proceeded according to plan until on the third day the unbelievable happened.” Jack paused, and his eyes seemed a million miles away from were he was. “Megan tried to assassinate Gul Bordak.”

“How?” asked Odo.

“It was a specially designed phaser rifle,” answered Jack who frowned as he concentrated on the details. “Silenced and with a powerful scope. We were less than a a kilometre away from the perimeter of the prison, and both of us knew Bordak's general routine. So on the third day when Bordak came into our line of sight. Right behind my back Megan took out the phaser rifle and fired at Bordak.

“I was watching Bordak at the time and he was stationary talking to some Tren commander. The phaser round would have directly hit Bordak's chest, vaporizing him. But by some miracle Bordak resumed walking and the phaser round missed Bordak by inches. I couldn't believe what had happened, I turned around and saw Megan, holding the rifle, preparing to fire again.”

Jack looked slightly dazed, as if he still could not believe what Megan did. “I stopped her, removing the rifle from her hands. Now I've worked with Megan for years in SI, and what she did completely shocked me. I asked her why she did it but she gave me no explanation for her actions. By then I knew that the Cardassians had detected us and within a minute about ten Cardassian guards beamed over to our position. I was captured but Megan managed to escape, and for the next two years, I rotted in that hell-hole of a prison.”

“An interesting account,” said Ezri, her voice tinged with skepticism. “But you lied to me once, how do I know that your account is true?”

“You could ask Megan,” suggested Jack, “but she will deny everything I told you, and claim that I tried to assassinate Bordak. I'm sorry I wasn't open with you from the very beginning, but I didn't know who to trust. I'm a Starfleet officer and if you can't trust the word of a Starfleet officer who can you trust?”

It was a concise and damning account, though Ezri knew there was no concrete evidence to substantiate Jack's claims. She rose from the chair, the expression on her face didn't give away anything. “I have no more questions to ask of you, for now...”

“Do you Constable?” she asked.

Odo shook his head.

With the questioning over, both Ezri and Odo walked out of the room.

“Captain!” Jack exclaimed.

Ezri turned around to face him.

Jack continued. “When you do find Megan guilty; I hope that she spends the rest of her life in a penal colony so that she can reflect on what she did to me and the fifty other crew members of the Liberty. Because of her actions she condemned us to two years of suffering and anguish.”

Ezri made no comment. When the door to Jack's quarters closed, she looked at Odo. “Do you think he was telling the truth Constable?”

“It was an elaborate account,” said Odo but he didn't sound to convinced. “However there are no means to substantiate it. For we all know, he could have tried to assassinate Bordak.”

She didn't have anything to say to that, and they remained silent as they proceeded to Megan's quarters.
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 2 2011, 08:35 AM   #17
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 6, part 3

Outside of Megan's quarters, Ezri and Odo stopped.

“This will be interesting,” said Odo, as he tapped the door chime.

“Enter!” said Megan quietly in a subdued way.

Ezri and Odo walked in, and Ezri saw Megan lying on a sofa.

The sofa was next to a window that looked out towards the outer layers of the station. Megan had been clearly crying, and her face looked blotchy.

Ezri sat down on a sofa; her expression slightly more gentle, whereas she noticed Odo maintained his rigid stance. She decided that she would be less forceful in the way she asked Megan questions. “I'd like to ask some more questions concerning what happened when you were surveying the Tau Primia prison.”

“I'd told you what happened,” replied Megan angrily, she wasn't looking at Ezri or Odo. “Jack and I were detected by the Cardassians!”

Odo looked angrily at Megan. “You forgot to mention that either you or Jack tried to assassinate Bordak!”

Something seemed to change in Megan's face, she looked almost wretched. She stood up and placed a shaking hand to her forehead, as if trying to steady herself, her hand lowered. “I couldn't believe what Jack did,” she whispered.

“Why didn't you tell us that Jack tried to assassinate Bordak?” said Ezri, an edge to her voice.

Tears welled in Megan's eyes. “Because...” Megan paused and she sat back down upon the sofa and bowed her head slightly. “Because I was trying to convince myself that Jack didn't assassinate Bordak. You don't know how much despair and pain I've suffered from in that prison. It was so bad I forgot who I was. The past seemed meaningless...”

There was anger and self-disgust in Megan's voice, and she continued to stare at the floor. “The truth is I can barely recall the moment Jack tried to assassinate Bordak. In a way, I was trying to protect Jack, it was so stupid!” Megan lifted her head to look at Ezri, despair was all over Megan's face. “Jack and I were more than friends, we were... lovers. I should have told you the truth immediately, but I couldn't...”

Megan hung her head in shame.

Odo's expression though didn't soften. “Then you were an accessory to attempted murder,” he said harshly.

Tears were now pouring from Megan's eyes, and she nodded in a miserable way.

Ezri continued to question Megan. “I want to ask you again why a neural depolarizor was found in your brain.”

“I told you; I don't know why!” said Megan loudly, she looked trapped.

“Section 31 agents have neural depolarizors implanted inside their brains,” explained Odo. “Why else would a neural depolarizor be planted inside your brain?”

“I'm not an agent of this Section 31!” exclaimed Megan, she sounded desperate. “I told you; I don't even know what Section 31 is!”

Ezri decided to risk it and explain to Megan about Section 31 as Megan had to know. “Section 31 is a secret spy organization,” explained Ezri, “and it is part of the Federation, it carries out all sorts of missions designed to safeguard the Federation. Personally I think all the evidence shows that you are a Section 31 agent.”

Megan though shook her head but Ezri continued regardless. “Jack has claimed that you tried to assassinate Bordak, is this true?”

However hurt Megan looked, this question seemed to totally shock her “He's framed me!” she whispered in tortured tones.

Ezri kept up the pressure upon Megan. “How do we know you are telling the truth?”

“Please!” pleaded Megan. “I have never disobeyed orders or killed in cold-blood! Jack tried to assassinate Bordak not me!” She then completely broke down in front of Ezri and Odo.

“He's betrayed me,” sobbed Megan, “and now I'm going to be blamed for his crimes and for the consequences of his actions! I always dreamed of leaving that prison...” Megan's face then contorted in anger. “But I didn't expect the person I trusted most to frame me!” she added fiercely.

She leapt off the sofa and Odo moved over to block her. “I'm going to kill that bastard!” shouted Megan.

Odo though restrained Megan and she struggled hard. “You'll do no such thing,” warned Odo. “Calm down.”

All the fight drained from Megan. She went limp against Odo and Odo backed away; though he still blocked the exit.

“It's hopeless,” said Megan in a quiet and shell-shocked voice. “Jack is going to walk away a free man.”

Ezri decided that Megan had been put through enough. “That will be enough questions for the day,” she told Megan, though she did not seem to hear Ezri.

Megan walked away from both Ezri and Odo completely oblivious to them.

With the questioning over, Ezri thought it was best to leave Megan's quarters and she gestured to Odo to do the same.

When they had left Megan's quarters, Ezri didn't feel at all happy about what she had discovered. “Both our two suspects have each implicated the other for the attempted killing of Gul Bordak!” she said disbelievingly.

Odo however didn't seem all that surprised. “It's what I expected, and there's no way to prove which suspect is guilty. They could both be guilty, for all we know.”

Ezri didn't buy this argument. “But Megan seemed genuinely convinced that Jack betrayed her.”

Odo looked at her as if she had said something really stupid. “She could have been acting up, or she was being sincere, but I just don't know. I’ve afraid captain that I've seen too many sob stories of hardship from criminals to believe in such tales.”

And that's the problem, she thought, do we punish both of them or let them go free? Where is the justice in that?
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 3 2011, 11:51 AM   #18
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Here is chapter 7, part 1.

Inside the security office, Ezri and Odo were summarizing what they had found out from questioning Jack and Megan. Ezri was sitting down, looking thoughtful, while Odo was at his desk reading security reports.

“We have two suspects,” said Ezri, her voice musing. “They both accuse each other, and without concrete evidence, there's no way to tell who is telling the truth.”

Ezri felt stumped; she was a captain not a detective.

“Maybe,” commented Odo, and he then looked up from the reports. “But what are our suspect's motives for attempting to assassinate Bordak? We know that Starfleet Intelligence ordered Megan and Jack to survey the prison. Now why would Megan, or Jack, completely compromise the mission and attempt to assassinate Bordak?”

“They could be working for another intelligence agency,” said Ezri, “an agency who wanted Bordak killed... perhaps the Cardassians wanted to bump off Bordak?”

“Or maybe the Federation?” suggested Odo.

“I know what you are thinking,” said Ezri, “you think that one of our suspects was working with Section 31.”

Odo nodded in agreement. “It would be the sort of operation that Section 31 carries out. It is a simple assassination, and Bordak is a direct threat to Garak's hold on power.”

Ezri teased out Odo's reasoning. “Given Section 31's known activities they could be supporting Garak, for their own twisted reasons... Assuming that Megan and Jack are Section 31 agents. But we still haven't found any evidence to prove this assumption.”

Inspiration lit up in Odo's eyes. “Section 31 may try to contact their agent; they have probably already done so.”

For the first time, Ezri felt this investigation was going somewhere; they had made a small breakthrough. “So all we need to find is evidence of a secret transmission. But tracking down who received this transmission is going to be very difficult.”

Odo's eyes gleamed. “But not impossible.”


***


Odo waited in the ascending turbo lift, and was busy thinking about his strategy to prove which of his suspect's were guilty. He had a hunch, and like in so many of his investigations, his hunches often proved correct. When the turbo lift came to a halt, he walked out and onto to Ops. He then headed over to Max who was working on the science consoles.

When Odo was nearby did Max look up. “Constable do you need anything?”

“I need a record for the last seven day's worth of transmissions received and transmitted from this station, for all frequencies and band-widths.”

Max stood up and went over to the master control console for DS9's computer. “The transmissions records will be stored in the primary memory banks of this station's computer,” he said, while his fingers punched in the relevant commands. “Nog have you got a memory decompiler?”

“What for?” came Nog's voice from below Max, who was rummaging in his toolbox. Nog closed the toolbox and he climbed up the ladder, carrying with him the toolbox, and walked over to Max.

“I need to download the last seven day's worth of transmissions sent from this station,” Max told Nog.

“Give me a second,” said Nog, as he opened the toolbox to find the necessary tool.
“Here you go.” Nog passed to Max a memory decompiler.

“What type of transmission are you searching for?” asked Nog.

Max was concentrating on the screen above the console. “Ask Odo.”

Odo explained to Nog what he was searching for. “I'm looking for transmissions which were sent to Megan's and Jack's quarters. Plus any transmissions sent from Megan and Jack.”

When Max had finished on the console he was using and returned to his station, Nog followed him. As he worked the science consoles, Max then explained to Odo what he was doing. “I'm running a fractal algorithm to correlate all known transmissions that feature Megan and Jack's names, plus surnames. This shouldn't take to long.”

Max stared at the information flashing before his eyes. “Nothing,” he said disappointedly.

“Try a message-to-destination algorithm,” suggested Nog.

“Okay,” replied Max, inputting the new commands. “Megan and Jack's quarters have only one console to receive transmissions; again nothing.”

Max looked stumped, but Odo was not about to give up this easily. “Have there been any communications outside of the usual subspace bandwidths?” he asked.

“About fourteen,” said Max, “all of which are Ferengi subspace bandwidths.”

“Quark...” growled Odo. “But are there any anomalous communications?”

Before Max could reply, Nog answered Odo's question. “We're going about this the wrong way; let us assume these transmissions are disguised as fluctuations of natural background radiation. The first way of disguising a sub-space transmission is to set it's frequency just out of phase to the background radiation in the universe.”

“That can't have happened,” said Max confidently, “I have this computer program where the station's sensors are monitoring the background radiation. The station's sensors would have detected the signal, since it would be slightly out of phase to the background radiation.”

It was Nog's turn to look stumped. “Beats me,” he said, “how many other ways can you disguise a sub-space message?”

“Particle harmonics...” said Max, his gaze losing focus.

“Which are?” asked Odo, and he didn't have a clue what Max had said as he was not a scientist.

Max jerked out of his trance. “Every atom has electrons which conform to standard orbits,” he explained, “though you can't exactly fix their position, you can generally determine it. So you get an energy field, which fluctuates at a constant oscillatory rate; this is electron orbit harmonization.”

This did not make much sense to Odo. “How does that help us to find a disguised transmission?” he said, slightly impatiently.

“If the harmonics were altered then the transmission would mimic the electron orbit harmonization. This would briefly excite the electrons and cause energy fluctuations.”

Max's hands flew over the console, which he was using. “Now going over the records there has only been one source of these energy fluctuations, due to the resonance of harmonics, and that is in Jack's quarters. This has happened twice over the last two days, so he has received two transmissions.”

Max looked rather smug about his discovery. “Interestingly, the harmonics have periodically reversed; which means Jack or whoever it was sent a transmission to someone.”

Max's smug look faded. “Unfortunately, I can't analyze the transmission's contents, since the transmission was a live feed. Each change in the harmonics produces each consecutive part of the transmission. So the transmission cannot be recorded and stored.”

Max removed a padd from a compartment, below his workstation, and compiled all the relevant data concerning the transmissions. He then handed the padd to Odo. “Here is all the data concerning the transmissions.”

“Thank you,” said Odo.

He returned to the turbo lift, with the padd clutched firmly in his right hand. “Promenade,” he told the computer the moment he stepped foot into the lift.

The doors closed and with a little jolt the turbo lift descended. Once more Odo was deep in thought and he realised Jack was the Section 31 agent. While the evidence was not enough to charge Jack with the attempted assassination of Gul Bordak, it was good enough in Odo's eyes to show that Jack was guilty.

It was thanks to Max that Odo had made this breakthrough. Though Odo had no real opinion of Max, but he did think perhaps Max was somewhat naive and a little green. Still he seemed like a decent person, though that could not be said of Jack however...
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Old October 3 2011, 11:53 AM   #19
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7, part 2

Ezri was sat at her desk completing reports, and she looked up when Odo entered her office. “What do you have Constable?”

“With some help from Nog and Max, I've managed to detect secret transmissions being received from inside the station; and even transmissions being sent out from the station. Jack received them in his quarters and sent one transmission to someone... More than likely Section 31. Unfortunately Nog and Max couldn't access the contents of these transmissions, so there is no valid evidence that the transmissions were from Section 31.”

Ezri looked mildly disappointed. “Even so,” she said, “Julian didn't find any evidence of a neural depolarizor in Jack's brain, as far as I know no one in Starfleet or any Federation organization, except Section 31, uses neural depolarizors.”

At that moment, Bashir entered the office, his left hand was holding a vial. Bashir's eyes were bright with excitement, and his face looked flushed. It seemed that Bashir had run all the way from the Infirmary.

“Sorry to disturb you captain,” said Bashir slightly out of breath. “But after re-examining the scans of Jack's brain, I discovered that he does have a neural depolarizor.”

“How could you overlook a neural depolarizor which was lodged inside Jack's brain?” asked Ezri a little harshly.

Bashir looked slightly embarrassed. “Initially I looked for an electrical device, but Jack has something remarkably different. He has an organic neural depolarizor; it's a very tiny gland inside his brain, which contains a neural agent. This gland can only open with small amounts of sodium methanocide.”

Bashir opened the vial, placed two small organic components upon the desk, and he then picked up one of them. “Just inside his neck, embedded in his left common carotid artery there was a tiny container of organic material. I couldn't explain it at first, and it seemed like a small thing as sodium methanocide is an inert chemical. When I found the hidden gland all of these mysteries made sense.”

“How does Jack trigger the release of the sodium methanocide?” Odo asked.

“The triggering mechanism is a DNA key,” explained Bashir, “I didn't find one on Jack. Though all he would have to do is to insert the one centimetre long needle to his lower neck, next to the left common carotid artery. That would release the sodium methanocide and activate the organic neural depolarizor. He would lose consciousness in less than a minute, death would follow after twenty minutes.”

The excitement faded from Bashir's eyes when he realised who he was standing next to.

The tension levels in the room shot up, and while Ezri looked awkward, and Odo rolled his eyes out of exasperation.

“I see,” said Ezri, after a while. “You're dismissed doctor.”

Even after Bashir left Ezri was still staring at the door which he had walked out of. She felt not only embarrassed but very uncomfortable next to Bashir's presence, worse still she found it distracting and her mind tended to wonder to other things. Like it is doing right now she sternly told herself.

Odo broke the silence. “Jack has received secret transmissions, and he has a neural depolarizor. The evidence is mounting that he is a Section 31 agent.”

Ezri came out of her reverie and nodded slightly in agreement. “Which is a strong enough motive for the attempted assassination of Gul Bordak,” she said carefully. “That was Jack's mission and the reason why he was on Tau Primia. So Jack is our suspect, and not Megan.”

“I'm certain of it,” said Odo.

Ezri stood up and walked over to Odo. “I think it's time we questioned Jack again,” she said, very seriously.

Odo nodded his agreement, and the two walked out of the office. This time they were armed with the information to really put Jack under some pressure.


***


Ezri and Odo didn't even bother to wait for Jack to invite them to his quarters. They walked through the door and there was Jack standing on the other side looking mildly surprised. “Have you arrested Megan yet?” he asked.

Ezri's eyes flashed with anger. “You are the one who is under arrest,” she said.

“For what reason?” demanded Jack, looking bewildered by this.

“You received two sub-space transmissions,” explained Odo, “and you sent out a disguised sub-space transmission.”

Odo paused. “Why the need for such secrecy?” he added, his voice deceptively calm.

Ezri piled the pressure upon Jack. “Further more doctor Bashir found evidence that you do have a neural depolarizor, albeit an organic one. Only Section 31 agents have neural depolarizers, but you should know that.”

Jack's face was blank, devoid of emotion. “I have no idea what Section 31 is,” he said.

Ezri momentarily scowled, she had had it with Jack's lies, and she then proceeded to remove her comm badge. “What I'm about to say is off the record,” she said coldly.

Her voice then became warmer and more persuasive. “Jack, there's no point lying to us, we both know there's no way to prove who tried to assassinate Bordak. It was either you or Megan. However, actions speak louder than words, only you have received secret transmissions. You've framed Megan to maintain your subterfuge.”

“You have no proof of that,” said Jack, he stood there rigidly.

Ezri dropped the warmth from her voice. “Megan told me that she and you were in a relationship, is this true?”

Jack's eyes narrowed as if he didn't approve of that question. “Yes, what has that got to do with anything?”

“You loved her right?” asked Ezri.

“I once did,” said Jack coldly.

Ezri looked seriously into Jack's eyes, not breaking contact. “Well Megan is in her quarters, she’s probably sobbing and reeling in shock from what has happened. It seems she is convinced that you have framed her, and she must be thinking that she will be punished for your supposed crimes.”

Jack's eyes momentarily looked guilty, while Ezri continued on in a heartless voice. “Of course what does it matter to you if she gets charged with the attempted assassination of Gul Bordak? She will lose everything, spend a lifetime in-”

“Enough!” said Jack. He was breathing out deeply as if to calm himself and for the first time, Jack looked troubled.

Now that Jack had dropped his lies, Ezri pressed forward her advantage, and she dropped her heartless voice. “If you still care for Megan, if you actually love her, then you will proclaim your guilt. Don't make her suffer because of your mistakes and crimes...”

These words deeply impacted Jack, his face saddened and his eyes were fill of guilt. “I love Megan,” he told Ezri, “but it's been an unusual relationship, until now we've both kept it a secret. I never told my commanders in Section 31 that I was in love with her. I was thinking of leaving Section 31 just to be with her but now that's impossible. I betrayed her trust in me from the moment I fired that phaser rifle at Bordak.”

There was self-disgust in Jack’s voice, and his mouth contorted with self-anger. “Section 31 gave me orders to frame her for the assassination of Bordak. I had no choice...” Jack looked at Ezri imploringly, as if asking for forgiveness.

“You had a choice,” said Ezri coldly, “and you chose to betray Megan instead.”

She paused and looked grimly at Jack. “I'm placing you under arrest for breaking orders, attempted murder and conspiracy against the Federation. Take him away constable,” she ordered.

“This way, please,” said Odo.

Jack complied without resistance and the look of sorrow still lingered in his eyes.

When Odo and Jack had left the room, Ezri stood there contemplating what Jack had done. It was unthinkable for her to betray her friends, the people she cared about, just to save her own skin. She could not imagine what Megan was going through, but Ezri could do one thing to lighten Megan's burden...
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 3 2011, 11:54 AM   #20
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7, part 3

Ezri stood outside Megan's quarters and she pressed the door chime. There was no answer, and she pressed it again, but there was still no response from Megan. “Computer,” said Ezri, “open the door; authorization Ezri alpha zero five omega nine.”

The door opened and Ezri entered, the first thing her eyes focused on was Megan, who slumped on a chair. Ezri had never seen such a despondent person in her life.

Megan turned to look at Ezri, and anger built up on Megan's face. “Have I been charged yet for a crime I didn't commit?” she asked bitterly.

“Jack confessed; he's being charged for the attempted assassination of Gul Bordak. All charges against you have been dropped.”

Relief broke across Megan's face, and her mouth opened in surprise. “Thank you captain,” she said quietly.

“I'm truly sorry for your ordeal,” said Ezri gently, “if there's anything I can do, just ask.”

Megan remained silent as she considered the offer; her head was bowed down and her hands were resting upon her knees. “I suppose there is one thing you could do for me, and that is to send Starfleet Intelligence a message.” Megan lifted her head to look at Ezri. “Tell my superiors at SI that I'm resigning from my post; I'm through with being a spy.”

“I will,” promised Ezri, “on a different note, what do you plan to do with your Starfleet career?”

“I'm thinking of resigning,” replied Megan, “and travelling back to Earth, to contact my mother.”

Megan went silent, her hands were slightly knocking together, and seemed she was holding back from something. “Captain can I talk to Jack?” asked Megan, it was more than a request, it was more like a plea.

Ezri looked into Megan's eyes while she considered Megan's request. “Of course,” agreed Ezri, “if you feel that's the right thing to do... Jack is in detainment next to the chief of security's office.”

Megan closed her eyes and breathed out deeply. “Thank you,” she said.

With nothing more to say, Ezri decided to give Megan some privacy, and she left the room. She would never forget the pain in Megan's eyes. Ezri sincerely hoped that she would never suffer from the kind of ordeal that Megan went through.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 4 2011, 02:14 PM   #21
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Re: DS9: A continuation

This is the last chapter of Secrets and Lies. Feel free to comment on this story.

Chapter 8, part 1

Megan walked down the narrow passageway leading to the detention cells with a heart full of apprehension. After Jack's betrayal, she didn't think she could bear to even look at Jack, but she needed an explanation from him. Jack's betrayal was the greatest agony for her. It was just as terrible as the two years she spent in the Tau Primia prison. She entered the spacious room; directly in front of her was Jack, sitting down inside the detainment cell.

Jack looked bored; though he lifted his head and then stood up as Megan approached his cell. “I didn't think you would come.”

Megan's face was contorted with pain and anger. “For years I turned to you for help,” she mused, “I trusted you. You reassured me that staying in SI was the right thing to do. Was everything you said to me just a lie? Do you even love me?”

Jack looked very wounded at hearing this. “I couldn't tell you that I was a Section 31 agent,” he explained, “I seriously considered leaving Section 31; and you and me leaving SI, so that we could pursue our relationship without all the secrecy. I love you Megan and I sincerely mean it.”

“Then why did you try to frame me?” asked Megan despairingly.

“I was under orders from Section 31, they wanted me to frame you. I'm sorry for what I did,” said Jack imploringly.

Megan refused to accept Jack's answer. “Because of you I was tortured for two years by Gul Bordak,” she hissed, “I suppose you didn't really care what happened to me in that prison.”

Jack's face became very pale; he seemed afraid of Megan's wrath. “That's not true!” he said passionately. “It was terribly painful for me as I watched you suffer on a daily basis!”

“Oh you say that,” said Megan viciously. “It's your way of easing your guilt.”

Jack looked away from Megan and he seemed to have no answer to Megan's remark. He then turned to face Megan again. “I want you to have something.”

“What is it?” asked Megan.

“In my quarters you will find a small subspace communicator, it's hidden inside the replicator. I want you to use it, that's if you want to contact me when I'm back in Section 31.”

There was something rather disturbing in what Jack had said. Megan realised that Jack expected to be free from custody sometime soon. “You seem awfully sure of yourself that you won't be put on trial,” she said coldly.

Jack laughed. “I won't be even going to a trial,” he said jokingly.

Fury flared up inside Megan, the very thought of Jack walking free made her blood boil, and she walked away in disgust.

“Megan don't leave!” implored Jack. “I'm sorry!”

Megan felt the tears well in her eyes, and she turned around to confront Jack. “I never want to see you again!” she said fiercely. “And I want you to ask yourself why you betrayed me, and why you broke my heart!”

She walked out of the room; her face was wet with tears.

“Wait don't go!” said Jack. “Megan!” he called out, but Megan had already left the room.

Megan felt so angry and upset that her vision became blurred. She wasn't aware of other people, and she was oblivious to their staring at her. Megan returned to her quarters, how she arrived there she did not know. Her legs moved automatically and she felt truly detached from her body. Because of Jack, Megan realised that she could never trust people again. Once inside her quarters, Megan flung herself onto the bed and lay there looking up at the ceiling.

For some reason, the face of the person who rescued her from Bordak popped up in her mind. What's he called? she thought. Max, that's it. Max had come by two days ago to visit her, he seemed like a pleasant sort of man. One thing she could not understand was the fact that she felt comfortable talking to Max. But after Jack's attempt to frame her and the rumours that must be circulating around about her, she wondered if Max would ever talk to her again...


***


Ezri was sleeping in her quarters, when the computer told her that admiral Ross was waiting to talk to her. She stirred, rubbed her eyes, walked over to her desk and activated her laptop mounted on the top. Admiral's Ross's face appeared on the screen. “Admiral Ross,” she acknowledged.

Ross seemed to look just as tired as Ezri. “I'm sorry I had to call you so late in the night. However I need you to transfer Jack Smith immediately off this station and to the star ship Pandora. It will be arriving at this station in thirty minutes time.”

This seemed like a very unusual arrangement to Ezri. “And Jack will be sent to Earth to await a court martial?” she inquired.

“Affirmative,” said Ross.

Ezri though was not happy with Ross's answer, she decided to take a risk and speak her mind. “Despite Jack being a Section 31 agent?” she said almost blandly.

Ross didn't look surprised. “I've checked the personal files, Jack Smith is a Starfleet officer and a member of SI. You must be-”

Ezri wasn't buying this explanation, and she could believe Ross was being so blatantly deceitful. “I'm sorry for interrupting admiral but Jack confessed to being a Section 31 agent. As such this changes everything, I need your reassurance that Jack will be tried for his crimes.”

Again Ross didn't look bothered at Ezri's impertinence. “I can assure you,” said Ross, “that Jack will go to trial. Now I want this conversation classified, and your investigation of Jack Smith to be classified. It would be very bad for Federation/Cardassian relations, if the Cardassians discovered about an attempted assassination of Gul Bordak by a rogue Starfleet officer.”

Ezri could not believe what admiral Ross had ordered her to do. “Why all this secrecy?” she asked angrily, before continuing on. “If Jack was simply a renegade officer, then it would not be Starfleet's fault for the incident on Tau Primia. Classifying this information seems like a... ” She paused, daring to utter the words that summed up the admiral's orders. “Cover-up to me.”

This time Ross looked angry. “You have your orders captain,” said Ross, his voice was full of warning. “Classify this transmission and the investigation; failure to do so and you'll be demoted to the rank of an ensign. Do I make myself clear?”

Ezri backed down, ultimately she could not go against Ross's orders. “Yes admiral,” she said reluctantly. The screen became blank, and Ezri sat there fuming, she knew what was going to happen. When Jack was on board the Pandora, another ship would arrive to collect him. Eventually at some point, Section 31 agents would escort Jack off the ship. Jack would have escaped from justice despite him ultimately being the cause of the Tau Primia incident. Damn Section 31! thought Ezri. They’re starting to really compromise the integrity of Starfleet and the Federation, as well as messing around with my job...
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Old October 4 2011, 02:15 PM   #22
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 2

Part 2

In her quarters Megan laid down upon the sofa, it was her favourite place to rest and to think. All she wanted right now was to be left alone. The door chimed and Megan closed her eyes, maybe the person would go away... The door chimed again, she ignored it.

She didn't want to talk to anyone, not even Max. The door chimed a third time and she became seriously annoyed. The door opened and at this point Megan had had enough. “Whoever you are-”

She paused when she looked at the person standing in front of the door. “Mum?” she asked, while she tried to comprehend the person standing before her. She hadn't talked to or contacted Sarah in years, and she had been of sorts estranged with her mother.

“You never come to visit me,” said Sarah, with a small smile. “So I thought I would visit you. I can come in can't I?”

Megan nodded, she was afraid of what her mother might say if she refused to let her in.

Sarah hugged Megan briefly. “I'm so glad to see you, these last two years have been... tough.” Sarah paused and an awkward silence sprung up between the two, the silence that represented the estrangement, so Sarah continued. “Captain Dax told me what happened to you, in that Cardassian prison camp. I don't know what to say...” Sarah looked sadly at Megan, a great amount of pity and sympathy resided in those eyes.

“You have no idea what it was like,” said Megan tensely. “And you don't want to know either.”

Sarah looked mildly agitated by this rebuff. “Why did you ignore my letters?” she finally asked. “Ever since you joined Starfleet Intelligence, you didn't contact me once for over five years.”

“It was my job to keep a low profile,” explained Megan. “You didn't approve of it, and I figured if I had to contact you then you would ask what I was doing. At the time, I was... troubled. I'm sorry I ignored you and it was something I deeply regretted during the time I spent in that Cardassian prison.”

Though Megan looked angrily at Sarah, really she was disgusted with herself.

Sarah was now looking at her daughter carefully. “You've changed; that sweet and innocent girl I once knew is gone.”

Megan could not tolerate such emotive sentiment. “She grew up and learnt never to be so trusting and naive ever again!” she said harshly.

At this Sarah looked taken aback. “You trust nobody, not even me?” she asked.

“When the man you love betrays you, it's hard to trust anyone.”

Sarah looked at Megan with pity. “And why didn't you tell me about this relationship?” she asked sadly. “I'm your mother, why were you hiding things from me?”

Megan then realised just how much she had hurt her mother, and because of this her mother deserved an explanation... “Jack, the man I once loved, was the only person I really trusted,” she explained while her eyes became wet with tears. “For a while I couldn't even trust you.”

Slowly Sarah moved over towards Megan and then hugged her. “I wouldn't do anything to harm you,” whispered Sarah, she then placed her hands around Megan's head. “Do you understand that?”

Grief came surging through Megan and she started sobbing. Being with her mother seemed to bring all the bad feelings out of Megan, like extracting poison from a wound. “I know,” she said in a choked voice. “But I feel so alone. I don't have any friends, and I have this terrible gnawing feeling inside me.”

After a while Sarah released Megan. “You stupid girl,” reprimanded Sarah. “I'm your mother, and I'll always be your friend.”

Sarah sat down on the sofa, and Megan did the same, and she cuddled up to her mother. In a way Megan was a like small child as she lay against her mother, holding on and trying to find some comfort. She felt Sarah's fingers running down her hair back and forth. It felt very relaxing, and Megan started to recall the good times she once had with her mother all those years ago.

“What are you going to do next?” asked Sarah. “Are you staying in Starfleet?”

“I don't know,” said Megan miserably. “It's hard to think about the future right now.”

“Your not one to lie idle,” said Sarah wisely. “You've always been hard working, doing nothing makes you restless.”

Megan knew this to be true, still a lot of things had changed inside her, and had her hard-working qualities been changed as well? She wasn't sure about that. “I'd only stay in Starfleet if I had a posting that was dull and permanent,” she said after a while.

“You don't mean that,” said Sarah dismissively. “Why not work on this station? I've noticed quite a few vacancies for Starfleet officers; this place doesn't seem popular with Starfleet officers.”

Megan scowled briefly, not this place surely. “This station is of Cardassian design, it reminds me of that awful prison. I couldn't work here.”

“It may look Cardassian, but the crew working here are not,” explained Sarah. “I've seen some of the senior staff, they seem like decent folk especially that Trill captain, Dax. You need to learn how to trust people again. It was the Starfleet crew of DS9 who rescued you.”

“I know,” said Megan miserably, though to trust was the thing she feared the most. “I suppose right now I don't want to remain idle, moping about what happened in the past. I need to do some form of work to distract myself from the emotional pain.”

“So you are going to stay on board this station?” said Sarah shrewdly.

Megan detached herself from her mother and looked at the floor. “I'll see how it goes,” she said with a shrug. “If it doesn't work, I can always come back to Earth.”
Megan turned to face her mother. “Oh yes... I promise to you that I will keep in touch on a daily basis.”

“That's much appreciated,” said Sarah smiling. “I might visit you from time to time.”

Silence fell between the two and Megan savoured the moment. For a few seconds, she felt content and safe by having her mother so close, it was as if nothing could harm her.


***


Bashir, Kira, Nog and Max were sat at their usual table in Quark's bar. The mood between them had been gloomy for the past three days. The loss of life on board the Defiant, the Liberty survivors and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Megan's involvement in the whole affair all weighed on their minds.

Nog was the first to break the silence. “I'm telling you Megan doesn't deserve to wear that uniform. She completely broke the Prime Directive and who knows how many Starfleet regulations she broke in the process.”

“I know,” said Bashir, though he didn't seem to convinced by this. “But she's been through a terrible ordeal.”

“What do you expect if you are working with Section 31?” said Nog.

“Ssh!” warned Kira and she looked around, to make sure nobody was listening in on the conversation. “We shouldn't be talking about this, we don't know the exact details of the investigation. If Ezri and Odo have allowed Megan to stay onboard this station, then it's more than likely that Megan was never a Section 31 agent.”

“Are you saying that Megan was not responsible for the attack on the Liberty?” inquired Nog.

“We don't know if she's guilty or not,” said Max quietly. “Jack has left this station but Megan hasn't. It seems to me that Jack is the guilty one.”

“Max you're a good guy, but you're somewhat naive,” said Nog, in a friendly sort of way. “It seems to me that Ezri and Odo were forced to classify the investigation, in other words it's some sort of cover-up.”

Max felt embarrassed by Nog's comment, and he changed the topic. “On a different note what was all the fuss about the Arrettia massacre? I hear you three mentioning it occasionally.”

The mood on the table dropped further and Nog looked very tense. “Listen if there's one topic you should never talk about with the captain, any Starfleet captain for that matter, it's the Arrettia massacre!” he warned.

“Why?” asked Max still frowning, he had heard of the name but didn't know the entire details about this event.

Kira let out a brief snort of derision before she answered Max's question. “Because it was a terrible humiliation for the Federation!” she paused and laughed bitterly. “Let's just say that the Federation was a bit too good intentioned when they were given the stricken Cardassian Union aid fifteen years ago. There's that human saying: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

“Well some hard liner Cardassians took grave offence at the Federation aid being provided to Cardassia. So they managed to whip up popular support calling for the Federation to be ousted! Well it reached fever pitch when Gul Bordak ordered his troops to ransack the Federation embassy building on Cardassia and butcher everyone who was working with and for the Federation. 450 Federation and Starfleet personal were killed, along with dozens of other Cardassians working in that building. It wasn't pretty.”

She looked around, making sure nobody else was listening in on their conversation. “Not many people know this, but the Starfleet captain, who ran the embassy, was killed by a mob of angry Cardassians crowding outside of the building. He was ripped apart, literally, by their bare hands.” She grimaced and looked a little disgusted, before continuing. “That's why captain's are so edgy about the Arrettia massacre; because one of their own was brutally killed. So Bordak caused a revolution and the democratic government of Cardassia fell. What's embarrassing is not that the Federation got kicked out of the Cardassian Union. It's that the Federation's top person to bring about the democratization of the Cardassian Union was the instigator of the uprising! Guess who it was?”

“Who?” asked Max.

“It was Garak,” answered Kira.

“Never!” said Max disbelievingly. He may have known Bashir, Kira and Nog for over a year, but he had little knowledge of the secrets that the three had. Secrets which had accumulated after 25 years of working on and living on board DS9, as well as being privy to much sensitive information disclosed in senior staff meetings...

“Oh yes,” said Kira. “One of the Federation's most highly praised Cardassians, winner of five peace prizes, created one of the most unprecedented revolts of the century!”

Max let out a low whistle. “That's embarrassing!”

Kira looked around to make sure nobody was eavesdropping upon the conversation. “Of course don't repeat what I said to anyone else, have you got that?”

“I won't,” promised Max.

Bashir somehow looked even more gloomier than usual. “It sure is embarrassing,” he explained to Max. “Even worse Garak became in effect dictator of the Cardassian Union. So all of the Federation's hard work at democratizing Cardassia was in ashes, and a new stand-off began.”

Max thought hard about what Bashir had said. “But Garak must have been protecting his position! He realised the danger to his leadership and took a gamble!”

Bashir looked very smug, clearly impressed that Max was keeping up. “That's precisely what happened, and so for fifteen years DS9 has been at the forefront of a cold war. Nothing serious has happened, but there's been a lot of posturing... On both sides.”

Kira was grimly smiling. “There's only one good thing that has come out of this situation, and that is the Bajoran government decided the stand-off was a major reason to build a Bajoran military fleet, to protect Bajor from any such threats. Because of the Cardassian troubles, Bajor has become much stronger for it.”

Bashir's look of smugness was replaced by a crestfallen look. “I thought I knew Garak, I thought he had changed for the better, but I guess I was wrong...”

Kira raised her cup. “To better times then?” she suggested, while toasting

“Better times,” said Bashir, Max and Nog in unison as they raised their cups.
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Old October 4 2011, 02:17 PM   #23
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 3

Inside her office, Ezri was busy completing reports. Her concentration was broken when Megan entered the room, Megan was in her Starfleet uniform and she was standing rigidly, waiting for her orders.

Ezri looked up from the laptop she was using. “Sit down please,” she said, briefly gesturing with her hand for Megan to do so.

When Megan had sat down, Ezri continued. “Well Ms Felpes have you decided on what to do with your career?”

“I want to stay onboard DS9; but I'm not sure if there is a relevant posting for me.”

Ezri had a talent for assigning crew members to their posts. “I hear you are skilled at astronomy and physics?” she inquired.

“Yes captain,” replied Megan, nodding a little. “I have four degrees in maths, astronomy, physics and chemistry.”

Ezri frowned slightly. “Hmm... There's a vacant position for head of astronomy; it seems no one wants this job because it is so dull. But there is-”

“I'll take it,” said Megan, she seemed a lot more upbeat. “I've checked up the requirements, and it isn't as dull as you point out. Under that job and given my rank, I would be the chief science officer for this station.”

“Actually lieutenant commander Max is the station's chief science officer and the chief science officer for the Defiant,” said Ezri, correcting Megan. “You'll be reporting to him.”

Megan didn't seem put off at all. “Understood,” she said nodding.

“Dismissed commander,” said Ezri.

Megan walked out of the office and she looked briefly at Kira who had briskly jogged up the steps to the office.

Kira strode into the office, everything about her looked angry and tense. She was seemed almost ready to berate Ezri, when Ezri cut in. “I know what your going to say; you don't trust Megan.”

“No I don't,” said Kira heatedly. “Because I'm not sure whether Megan is guilty or not; but you do and that concerns me.”

Ezri struggled to find the words to reassure Kira. “Despite the investigation being classified and the rumours circulating amongst the crew, I can assure you absolutely that we can trust Megan.”

“But is Megan fit for duty?” asked Kira. “Having spent two years being tortured inside a Cardassian prison, Megan is a very tortured soul and more than likely emotionally troubled, is she even stable enough to be working?”

That observation was way off the mark; Ezri thought Megan seemed quite normal. “I remember quite vividly 24 years ago the young Bajoran major who was second in command of DS9, who was uncomfortable with her post,” she said reminiscently. “I remember her anger, discontent and bitterness and I see the same women standing right in front of me. You want to know what I see?” Kira remained silent, waiting for Ezri's answer. “A wiser, calmer and more contented women; time can be a great healer.”

“It can change nothing sometimes,” pointed out Kira.

“Perhaps,” said Ezri, cocking her head a little to the side as she considered this. “But I see potential in Megan, and ultimately we will see who is right about Megan.”

Ezri then thought about her own life; she knew that she could run DS9 and handle the many responsibilities that came with such a job. But could she rekindle the friendships she once had onboard DS9 eighteen years ago? A sudden idea struck her.

“Nerys,” she said before pausing, as she formulated her apology. “I'm sorry I didn't stay in contact with you, it was my fault. Seventeen years ago I was trying to forget about DS9, and all the people I knew in this place. That was a mistake. DS9 reminded me of Bashir, and I can't forget or act as if he and other people I know of don't exist.” She looked Kira directly in the eyes. “I want to be your friend again.”

Kira continued to look at Ezri without breaking eye contact, there seemed to be understanding, even forgiveness, in Kira's eyes. “It's all right,” she said gently, “you don't have to apologize.”

“Thank you,” said Ezri softly.

“Listen Ezri you wouldn't mind having lunch with me at the Replimat?”

Ezri suddenly felt a lot happier. “I'd love to,” she said.

The two women briefly smiled and Kira then left the office to return to Ops.

At long last Ezri felt that she was finally starting to get to grips with her tattered personal life. More importantly she was beginning to dispel some of her own personal demons.

Note: This is the end of Secrets and Lies. If you want to read this story in a more easier format go to Ad Astra (http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=990)
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Old October 5 2011, 07:53 PM   #24
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Re: DS9: A continuation

The second story is called Shallow Rights, this is a smaller story and focuses primarily on Holo. In short this is about the rights of a sentient hologram. If you want to read the remaining chapters, then go to this link http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=1006

Chapter 1

Inside docking bay 5 Holo was busy repairing the EPS manifold. On DS9 equipment and station components broke down all the time and this kept Holo very busy. There were two other Starfleet officers working with Holo, and these two officers were the reason why Holo wasn't very happy at that moment. He spotted the officers, out of the corner of his eye, repairing the magnetic coil. He realized they were not following his orders. “You’re not following my orders,” he said sharply. “I told you to repair the optic fibres first, and then reconfigure the magnetic coil.”

“I'm reconfiguring the magnetic coil first, it's easier,” said the first Starfleet officer.

“But it's more unreliable, so I'm ordering you to stop reconfiguring the magnetic coil and repair the optic fibres.”

The officer looked almost insulted by Holo’s order. “I don't take orders from holograms.”

“The nerve of him,” said the second Starfleet officer. “He thinks that just because he wears our uniform he can give us orders.”

The officers were acting like Holo was not present, and this really irritated Holo. However he had to bring this situation under control. “As your commanding officer I'll be placing reprimands on your service records for insubordination. If you persist I'll relieve you of duty.”

“You wouldn't,” snarled the second officer.

The first Starfleet officer though had more sense than his colleague to argue with a superior officer. “Take it easy Lombax, he may be a hologram but he does have the power to relieve us of duty.”

Lombax calmed down, he sighed. “Fine... I'll repair the optic fibres first.”

Inwardly Holo was relieved that Lombax had backed down, it was very unpleasant for Holo having these confrontations. Ultimately he knew that the reason for the unpleasantness was because he was a hologram. Most crew members on DS9 did not seem to mind the fact that they were working with a hologram. Yet some crew members seemed to despise working with Holo, and it was these particular crew members who were giving him some grief.

Outside of his job Holo talked to virtually no one, this stemmed from the fact that nearly everyone on board DS9 believed him to be some sort of machine, devoid of a personality and of sentience.


***


Day 1, 1200 hours

After repairing the EPS conduit in docking bay 5, it was about 1200 hours and Holo headed to the Replimat. Once there he sat down at a empty table, took out some padds and started finishing reports. Holo didn’t eat or drink so there was no real reason for going to the Replimat. The only reason for going there was to meet up with his only friend; Max. In a matter of minutes Max had arrived, he got his lunch from the replicator and came over to Holo.

“Bad morning?” asked Max, while he sat down at the table Holo was working on.

Holo looked weary. “I had to file reprimands for two crew members I was commanding.”

“The usual thing was it?” said Max, while he bolted down lunch, pausing only when he talked to Holo.

Holo nodded. “Insubordination, I've worked on this station for a month now and most of the crew are fine. But some... I think they don't like sentient holograms.”

“Understandable, it can be quite disconcerting at first to realize that sentience can reside in photons and EM fields.”

While Max consumed his lunch with inappropriate speed, Holo noticed Megan entering the Replimat. “Talk about disconcerting, there she is again.”

Max didn’t bother to look at Megan. “Let her be, she doesn't talk with anyone. The least people can do is not to stare at her.”

“She's an ex-Starfleet Intelligence agent, and she always eats on her own, she stands out so much.”

Max disregarded his lunch and looked quite bemused by Holo’s comment. “Look who's talking now about standing out, as I recall you are the only sentient hologram onboard DS9.”

“Very funny,” said Holo.

While Holo and Max were talking they didn’t notice Megan approaching their table. “May I sit here?” asked Megan, she was a holding a small plate which contained her lunch.

“Take a seat,” said Max, gesturing slightly with his left hand.

Holo wasn’t looking at Megan, and he was pretending to read his reports in a haughty manner. He presumed Megan would ignore him like everybody else onboard DS9.

Megan looked slightly annoyed by Holo’s behaviour towards her. “Why are you pretending to read that padd?”

Holo was surprised by such a question, and he glanced up from the padd. “I thought you were going to ignore me.”

“Don't be stupid,” said Megan. “It's not like you don't exist.”

“So you know that Holo is a living being?” inquired Max.

“Of course,” said Megan, she was looking at Max as if he had said something stupid. “I've encountered others of his kind before.”

Something like relief permeated through Holo, here was another person who he could talk to.

The three struck up a conversation and talked for some time...
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Old October 6 2011, 10:18 PM   #25
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2

Day 1, 1215 hours

Being the commander of DS9 meant that Ezri had to be fully aware of the region's politics and events. One such event on Ezri's mind was the Ferengi/Cardassian currency union talks, though that wasn't the only thing on the agenda. Should they succeed the Ferengi and Cardassians would jointly divide up the Badlands between themselves. The Badlands had vast amounts of mineral and energy wealth, which the Federation had only a small claim to.

Inside Ezri’s office her desk was littered with various padds. Both Ezri and Kira were on the same side of the desk, as they had been finishing off reports. Ezri was explaining to Kira the full implications of these trade talks. “-and so the Federation maybe at a disadvantage here, should the Ferengi/Cardassian currency union talks succeed.”

Kira looked mightily bored after Ezri’s lengthy explanation of the trade talks. “We still have the wormhole; that is the Federation's most lucrative asset.”

Ezri nodded once in agreement. “True, but the Badlands hold inestimable wealth.”
Ezri momentarily paused she looked surprised at what she had said. “I sound like a Ferengi.”

Kira briefly smiled, and Ezri knew that her friend thought that she was too sociable with Ferengi's.

After discussing the trade talks to death, Ezri got onto her feet. She walked over to a replicator for a glass of water. After taking a sip, Ezri walked back to her desk. She picked up Sisko’s baseball. “On a different matter; how is Megan coping with her duties?” She tried to pass over the question in casual way, while examining the baseball.

Kira though looked stony faced. “Do we really have to keep such a close eye upon Megan?”

“Yes we do,” said Ezri and she disregarded the baseball planting it back upon it’s stand. “This is my own personal project to help Megan rebuild her life. Megan has had it very tough for the last two years, and it will take time for her to adjust to normality.”

“Alright so you care for Megan, for some reason I can't understand,” Kira hesitated, she seemed to have no pleasure in covertly watching Megan from time to time. “You asked me how Megan is coping with her duties... She's punctual, reliable, hard-working and works with her fellow crew mates reasonably well.”

Ezri sensed that Kira wasn’t telling her everything about Megan. “But something about Megan's behaviour concerns you?”

For some reason Kira looked slightly perplexed. “She doesn't socialize with anyone. Nobody talks to her, except when necessary and in the Replimat she eats on her own.” There was a hint of pity in Kira’s voice. “Occasionally someone tries to start a conversation with Megan, but the conversation finishes very quickly. I reckon Megan doesn't want any friends or acquaintances. So much for her adjusting to normality.”

“I’m not expecting a miracle overnight, but at least she's working and contributing to this station.”

“Why do you care about this women so much?” asked Kira.

Ezri took another sip of water before answering. “Because I pity her and more than that, as a captain it's important to look at the well being of the crew under your command. Megan is a unique challenge and once Megan overcomes her fear of trusting others, her potential will manifest itself.”

Kira’s eyebrows rose in what was possibly her disbelieve at Ezri’s optimism. “That's quite an assumption to make, is there anything else captain?”

The meeting had already dragged on long enough and Ezri decided to call it a day. “No colonel, dismissed.”

Kira collected two of her padds and then left Ezri’s office. Ezri turned her attention to the baseball, and picked it up. She turned the ball around in her fingers, as she did so she thought of Benjamin Sisko. Ezri wondered if Sisko would show such an interest to Megan and be so determined to help Megan. Sisko had a certain distance between himself and his subordinates when on duty, this made Ezri wonder if her style of command was to sentimental.


***


Day 1, 1245 hours

Bashir and Nog were walking down the Promenade, and Nog was of course Bashir’s best friend. Ever since O’Brien left DS9 and since Bashir’s breakup with Ezri, Bashir found himself increasingly talking to Nog. The two played darts and used the holosuites quite a bit.

“You want to go to Quark's or the Replimat for lunch?” asked Nog.

“Quark's...” Bashir paused as he noticed Ezri go past him. “We could squeeze in a few games of darts...”

Nog looked briefly at Bashir. “I'd wish you stopped ignoring her like that, it's getting embarrassing.”

Bashir though was not really listening to Nog, despite his friends exasperation at the whole matter. Whenever possible Bashir tried to avoid Ezri and he still had not forgiven Ezri for her deciding to break-up their relationship. The break-up was like a constant splinter in Bashir’s mind, constantly tormenting him. “I don't want to talk to her,” he said after a while. “I mean why she had to come to this station in the first place I don't know. Probably to annoy me.”

“In my opinion you've just got to forget what happened between her and you,” advised Nog. “Always holding a grudge against Ezri is only going to hurt her further, and hurt yourself as well.”

Right now Bashir did not need Nog’s advice on dealing with Ezri. “I can't forget what happened,” he said gritting his teeth. “Anyway can we just drop this matter?”

Nog shrugged. “It's your life after all...”

Recently Bashir knew that his attitude towards Ezri had become a sore point with his friendship towards Nog, but it was more a minor annoyance that simply wouldn't go away. When the two entered Quark’s bar, they didn’t speak to each other for some time...


***


Day 1, 1700 hours

After a busy and somewhat stressful day Holo entered the station's wardroom to hand Nog a report concerning the repair list for the next day. Inside the room Nog was sat at one end completing reports.

“Here's the repair list for tomorrow,” said Holo handing to Nog the padd.

Nog looked at the padd. “Not to bad, seems like a quieter day tomorrow,” he paused and looked up at Holo. “Is something bothering you?”

That question was an understatement for Holo. “Just some particular crewmen... That Lombax fellow really irritates me, I swear he does it deliberately.”

“It's only because your…”

“A hologram, I know,” said Holo interrupting Nog. “But it get's quite tiresome sometimes, putting up with all the impoliteness and disrespect.”

“They'll adjust to having a hologram as a commanding officer,” said Nog confidently. “I guess it must feel quite strange for them to be given orders by a hologram.”

Holo had a great respect for Nog, not only was Nog a very easy person to get along with but Nog had no issues talking to a hologram. Holo supposed Nog was his second friend. “Funny you are only one of three people who treat me properly.”

“Who is the third person?” asked Nog while he returned to completing the reports.

“Believe it or not Megan. Max and I were at the Replimat, then she came over to our table, asked if she could join. It was pretty odd since for the past month she always sits on her own at the Replimat.”

“Be careful around her,” said Nog warningly. “We don't know if she's a Section 31 agent and for this reason she isn't trustworthy.

Holo could not understand why so many people distrusted Megan, and he felt he had to defend Megan. “In the past month Megan hasn't broken one rule, and there hasn't been one complaint about her. We shouldn't be openly questioning her loyalties like this.”

Nog laughed slightly. “Holo sometimes you're as naive as Max. I don't mean that in a bad way, it's good that you try to see the best in people, but some people can't change and Megan is one of those people.”

“We'll see whose right about Megan,” said Holo. He proceeded to leave the room. “Anyway see you tomorrow chief.”

“Bye,” said Holo.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 7 2011, 09:12 PM   #26
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3

After her shift Megan returned to her quarters. She was not sure whether her heart was into her job. Always in the back of her mind was the lingering emotional pain and the memories of the Tau Primia prison. Every day was a struggle just to get on with her life and try, to the best of her ability, to ignore the pain.

Even so she didn’t want to talk to anybody for fear that person would ask her about Tau Primia. There was one person Megan felt confident talking to and that was Max, why she felt comfortable around Max she wasn’t sure. Perhaps it was because Max had rescued her from Gul Bordak and that Max was the first friendly face she had seen for two years.

Inside her quarters Megan felt like crashing out and resting upon her bed, but there was one task she had to do. She entered her bedroom and walked over to her desk, sat down upon a chair and activated a laptop. Every day after the end of a shift Megan contacted her mother Sarah. For Megan talking to Sarah nearly always lightened up her day.

The laptop screen lit up and Megan saw Sarah, for Megan seeing the love in her mother’s eyes was still amazing to her. The two years spent in Tau Primia had removed all such sentimental feelings from Megan, now she was rediscovering such feelings. “Hi mum,” she said quietly.

“How was your day?” asked Sarah.

“I suppose it was alright, my job is...” Megan paused trying to find a word that summed up her job. “Satisfying, but I don't like my colleagues.”

“What don't you like about your colleagues?” asked Sarah.

Sometimes for Megan it was hard to talk to her mother, because Sarah asked questions about issues and problems Megan would like to forget. “Because they don't trust me, it's awful walking into a room and seeing them end a whispered conversation. They think I was indirectly responsible for the attack on the Liberty!”
Megan felt the tears build in her eyes. “I don't know how much more of this I can take!” she exclaimed in a pained voice.

Sarah looked concerned. “I know it's tough for you but hang in there and don't give up!”

“I sometimes wish I could give up,” replied Megan miserably.

Realizing how miserable Megan was, Sarah changed the topic. “Have you spoken with anyone today?”

“At lunch I talked with Max. He's terribly naive and trusting, but I like his friendly nature.” Megan laughed briefly; she found it amusing how naive Max was, but talking to Max seemed to uplift her. “He's the only crew member, aside from Ezri and Odo, who doesn't scowl or frown at me. Max’s friend Holo is a decent person, I chatted with him briefly.”

“At least your starting to talk with people again,” said Sarah approvingly.


***


Day 2, 0900 hours

On a DS9 corridor, Holo and one of his technicians were repairing an optronic relay panel. Holo liked his job, but it was the rudeness and the nastiness which Holo encountered from some crew members which ruined certain days. He hoped this day could pass by without an incident...
“Pass me the EM flux regulator,” he ordered.

The technician handed to Holo the EM flux regulator. Holo briefly looked at the tool and then looked again, the EM flux regulator was still active! It was to late because he had already grabbed it and he felt the EM pulses surging through his body. Briefly his projection distorted, and time for Holo seemed to slow down from seconds into nanoseconds. Finally Holo’s holographic matrix shields activated sending the EM waves out of his holographic matrix and into the technician.

“Ouch!” said the technician as his left arm went momentarily rigid from the electrical shock.

“Watch it!” shouted Holo. “You nearly fried my holographic matrix!”

The technician messaged his arm. “But it's just an EM flux regulator...”

Some of Holo’s initial anger subsided. “In case you haven't noticed I'm made up OF EM fields. Unlike the humanoid crew you work with, any instruments that generate close range EM fields, must be turned off.”

“Doesn't your matrix have force fields to protect it from EM fields?” asked the technician.

Holo could not believe the ignorance and carelessness of this man. “Of course it does, but every being has a weakness. In my case, powerful levels of EM radiation can cause serious damage to me.”

“EM radiation is only dangerous when it is ionizing,” replied the technician. He looked slightly bemused, wondering why Holo was so angry.

Holo realised he had to spell out the problem to his colleague. “Your organic; EM radiation just passes through you... So pass EM flux regulators and other such instruments correctly to me, with the handle outwards and not covered by your hand. Understood?”

Surprisingly the technician looked a bit shocked; he finally realised just how close he came to destroying Holo. “Yes sir.”

Though Holo didn’t look it, he was deeply shaken. Sometimes working with his crew mates could be very dangerous...


***


Day 2, 1300 hours

It had been a strange day for Holo, after a near brush with death he felt surprisingly vulnerable. He could have nearly died because of someone’s incompetence. To take his mind off matters, he decided to go to Quark’s bar. He sat down at the bar and waited to be served, in a matter of seconds Quark had come over to Holo.

“The usual holosuite program?” asked Quark.

“Yes please,” said Holo wearily.

“Looks like you could need some entertainment,” observed Quark, as he passed to Holo the data rod containing the program. “Mind you, maybe you just want to talk about your problems to someone.”

“I'm not talking to you about my problems!” said Holo indignantly.

“Why not?” asked Quark; he was looking slightly hurt by Holo's remark.

“Because you wouldn’t understand.”

Quark however seemed to relish the challenge of getting Holo to talk. “Try me,” he said.

Holo considered Quark’s proposition. “Alright, have you ever been in a situation when nobody cares about you? And they treat you like you don’t exist?”

Quark momentarily frowned. “To be honest no, but I know exactly what your problem is. You are different from everyone else, because you are a hologram. There’s a big spotlight being shone on you all the time, and you are attracting all the wrong sort of attention because of it.”

These words carried some meaning for Holo. “I have no problems with being a hologram, but other people do. Why does everyone have to act like jerks around me?”

“Sounds like discrimination to me,” said Quark, he seemed sympathetic towards Holo. “It seems that you are in a similar position to Odo; you are not popular and people can barely tolerate you. With Odo it was even worse because it was virtually impossible to like his cold manner; but at least you are a sociable type. Give it some time, people will eventually adjust to having a hologram in their midst.”

Holo looked skeptically at Quark. “Do you really mean that?”

“Of course I do,” said Quark simply.

Holo stood up. “Don’t lie to me, you are simply following the 209th Ferengi rule of acquisition: tell them what they want to hear.”

Quark looked somewhat impressed. “So you know the rules of acquisition?”

Holo gave Quark an appraising look. “I know enough to be on my guard with Ferengi, you would sell your own mother for profit.”

He had had enough talking to Quark; and he walked off to the holosuite. One thing that really annoyed Holo were people who lied to him; above all else Holo valued honesty and truthfulness. Admittedly Holo realized Quark was right about one thing; being a hologram Holo stood out almost painfully so.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 8 2011, 07:15 PM   #27
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4

Day 3, 0800 hours

Bashir was alone inside the turbolift and he was doing his best not to think about Ezri. Whenever he wasn’t working or if he was alone, his mind always strayed to Ezri. Bashir thought about what she looked like, her voice... The way she broke his heart seventeen years ago.

The turbolift doors opened interrupting Bashir’s reverie, Ezri walked inside, and he suddenly stood rigidly.

Ezri though seemed thoughtful and only when the turbolift doors had closed, did she seem to realize that she was standing right next to Bashir. She looked briefly at Bashir, then looked away; she seemed almost embarrassed. “Promenade,” she said.

Bashir looked stony-faced and remained very still, the tension in the room was almost palpable.

It was Ezri who broke the silence, and she sighed. “This is ridiculous Julian! We can't keep avoiding each other!”

“I don't want to talk you, and I especially don't want to know you.” Bashir was not looking at Ezri as he spoke,

Ezri though looked taken back by Bashir’s harsh words.

“Fine!” she said angrily. “Play your stupid little game of ignoring me!

“You ignored me for seventeen years; so don't lecture me about avoiding each other,” replied Bashir harshly.

The turbolift came to a halt, and Ezri walked out of the turbolift.

Out of sheer curiosity, Bashir looked at Ezri and caught a brief glimpse of her face. Ezri looked as if she was about to cry, and her face was very rigid and tense. After Ezri had left the turbolift, Bashir breathed out deeply and he felt the slight pangs of guilt creeping up upon him.

What he had just said to Ezri was not only very nasty but deeply hurtful. However his vindictive side was hoping that Ezri would feel great pain because of his words. Perhaps she would be so upset that she might cry herself to sleep tonight...


***


Day 3, 1000 hours

Holo and six Bajoran technicians were repairing DS9’s industrial replicator, which was located next to the fusion generators. The industrial replicator was a vital piece of equipment on board the station. For it could replicate any known Federation substance, component or part, needed for repairs or construction.

A replicator of that size was a very bulky device, because of this the room housing it was considerably large. At the very centre of the room there was the industrial replicator. It was as high as three decks, rectangular, and seemed to fill the entire room. Most of the size was due to the storage compartment inside the replicator; this was for containing a finished component.

There were duranium platforms and ladders, which allowed access for the technicians to maintain the replicator. Thin strips of blue lighting were adjacent to the platforms, giving amble lighting to Holo and his team. At the bottom level, there were many consoles close to the replicator, and numerous pipes that ran into the replicator.

Most of these pipes started from the ceiling, while the ceiling was enveloped in darkness. The pipes carried cooling equipment and highly conductive plasma relays which ran power into the industrial replicator.

The six Bajorans and Holo were working on the lower level, close to the only entrance into the room. Numerous security mechanisms were built into the door, this made sure only authorized personnel entered the room. So far the repairs were going forward without incident, and Holo hoped things would stay that way.

Holo was blessed with superb sensory abilities, as such he could see a small microchip, which was less than a centimetre wide, up to a kilometer away. His hearing was incredibly sharp, and what he heard from a whispered conversation between two of the Bajoran technicians was not to his liking.

“Let's bypass the optronic relays and-”

Holo interrupted the Bajoran technician. “No! I told you not to bypass the optronic relays.”

The Bajoran completely ignored Holo and continued to talk to his colleague. “And deactivate the EPS manifold.”

Holo walked over to the Bajoran technician. “Give that here!” said Holo angrily while forcibly removing the repair tool from the Bajoran's hand.

“What are you doing?” asked the Bajoran angrily.

“He must be malfunctioning,” said his Bajoran colleague.

All of Holo's pent up anger finally discharged, that was one insult to far. “I've just about had enough of this, you Daka are absolutely incompetent and contemptuous.”

Daka looked at Holo in an infuriated manner. “And you are just a hologram who interferes constantly with my job!”

“I'm your commanding officer,” shouted Holo. “You obey my orders, and don't think you know better! Because you don't.”

The other four Bajorans were staring at Holo. There was an embarrassed silence amongst them, and it was clear that they wanted no part in this dispute.

“Did you hear that Taron?” said Daka looking at his colleague. “This hologram thinks he's superior to us.”

Daka turned to look at Holo, giving Holo an almighty glare. “Well your not, you're just made of photons and programming.”

Holo lowered his voice and decided to really infuriate Daka. “You know of all the organics I've met, you Daka and Taron are the most arrogant and insensitive Bajorans that I have ever met. I've seen nicer Cardassians than you two.”

The mood in the room seemed to lower. While the four other Bajorans merely glanced at each other in surprise, Taron and Daka looked beside themselves with rage.

“You'll pay for that remark hologram!” said Taron angrily.

“Come on Taron, we're not standing for this, we'll file a complaint to the colonel.”

“Good idea,” added Taron.

Daka and Taron left the room in a huff but Holo watched them go with a vindictive satisfaction. The remaining Bajorans continued to stare at Holo. “Aren’t you supposed to be working?” asked Holo angrily.

At once the Bajorans commenced the repair work, while Holo stood rooted to the spot. He was too angry to focus upon his job, if he had upset two Bajorans then so be it. He was not going to tolerate that kind of indecent behaviour from anybody...
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 9 2011, 07:40 PM   #28
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 5

Day 4, 0900 hours

One of Kira’s responsibilities as second in command of DS9 was dealing with personnel problems, usually there were few issues amongst the crew. However, over the last two weeks, she had received a steady stream of complaints concerning lieutenant commander Holo.

Kira had only noticed Holo a couple of times; she didn’t really care if he was a hologram or not. Her main concern were the numerous complaints against Holo, at first she chose to ignore the complaints. She figured that since Holo was a hologram some crew members would have difficulty working with him.

Yesterday however she had received a more serious complaint from two Bajoran crewmen. They claimed Holo had been verbally ‘abusive’ towards them. This was a serious allegation, so she decided to have a small talk with Holo. She had tracked Holo down to the Promenade, and on the top level of the Promenade, she spotted Holo from behind. Holo’s smooth black hair and his perfectly symmetrical hair style was very distinctive. Indeed no one had such perfect hair, except for Odo.

Kira walked up towards Holo and he seemed to sense he was being followed because he turned around to face Kira. “What is it colonel?”

Kira was somewhat surprised by his direct manner. “I've received complaints from various members of the crew about your supposed rude behaviour towards them. I just want to get to the bottom of this matter.”

“They are the ones being rude to me,” replied Holo, he seemed to be trying to annoy Kira.

“What's going on here?” inquired Kira. “I hear from Nog and Max that you are an exemplary officer, and then I hear contrasting reports from the general crew.”

“You want to know the truth?” said Holo angrily. “It's because I'm a hologram, and people think that because I'm a hologram I'm not sentient. Which gives them the excuse to treat me like some malfunctioning machine. The only people who are polite to me are Nog, Max and Megan.”

Holo’s explanation cut no muster with Kira and she was starting to get annoyed at Holo’s attitude.

“I don't care if you are sentient or not. However, it doesn't look to good when crew members file complaints against their commanding officer repeatedly.”

“And you believe the things they say against me?” asked Holo angrily. “You are just like them: blind, arrogant and discourteous.”

Despite Holo’s provocation, Kira remained calm. “With an attitude like that it's no surprise crew members are complaining about you.”

Kira's remark seemed to further aggrieve Holo. “Colonel, if you had properly analyzed these 'complaints', you would find that they are nothing more than lies and fabrications. Listen if you want me off the station just say so, and stop pretending that you don't. ”

Holo walked away from Kira and she could have called Holo to order, but she didn't. She could not believe how contemptuous Holo had been towards her. It was as if Holo expected people to defer to him. Anger surged through Kira, Holo's behaviour towards her was completely unacceptable. She seriously considered relieving Holo immediately of his duties. Unfortunately only the commanding officer of DS9 had the power to impose more serious punishments upon crew members.


***


Day 4, 0930 hours

Inside the commander's office Ezri was busy working; half of her time was spent completing reports and sorting out various bureaucratic niceties. Ezri considered this work somewhat boring; but work was work and she could not complete a task half-assed. In the afternoons, Ezri was at her most busy sifting through paper work. Though sometimes an emergency or a meeting, provided Ezri with a brief distraction from report writing.

The door to the office chimed and Ezri looked up, while still holding a wide padd. Behind the doors was Kira and for some reason she looked very angry.

“Come in,” said Ezri.

Kira stormed into the room and the anger was flaring in her eyes.

“Is something bothering you colonel?” inquired Ezri politely.

Kira raised herself to full height, and Ezri braced herself for the incoming explosion. “It's Holo,” said Kira heatedly. “I want him relieved of duty, for impolite and indecent behaviour towards the crew.”

“And towards you?” asked Ezri slyly, while she disregarded the padd.

Now Kira was starting to calm down. “I had a conversation with Holo half an hour ago and I was trying to find out what was bothering him. Holo believes that the crew are being impolite towards him though personally I think the opposite is true.”

Ezri was nonplussed about the matter, she knew it was only a matter of time before someone complained about Holo. “I was expecting something like this to occur. I checked the report from Holo's former commanding officer. He was deeply impressed with Holo, citing his good nature, talent, command skill and bravery in the line of action. But he also indicated that Holo's first three months aboard the Dakota were difficult, simply because other crew members had a hard time working with a hologram. It seems to me that we have the same problem.”

Ezri’s explanation did not appear to satisfy Kira, she still looked as if Holo had greatly offended her. “Perhaps,” replied Kira in a dismissive tone. “But there have been no less than fifty separate complaints concerning Holo and that is a problem.”

Now Ezri realised her assumptions about Holo were wrong, it was clear that Holo was not fitting in and Ezri had to do something to remedy the situation. “Giving the number of complaints it would be wise to temporarily relieve Holo of duty. That would let matters between him and the crew simmer down, I will relieve him of duty immediately.”

“Thank you,” said Kira, who bowed her head slightly before leaving the office.

When Kira had left, Ezri tapped her comm badge. “This is captain Dax to Holo, I want you to report to my office immediately.

“I’m on my way captain.”

While Ezri waited for Holo to arrive, she left her desk and walked over to the replicator. “Water five degrees temperature,” she ordered.

A glass of water materialised, Ezri took the glass from the replicator, and sat down on a sofa which was adjacent to the replicator. Ezri wasn’t picky over beverages, after eight lifetimes, and some bad experiences in her own life, such things became rather trivial. She preferred to focus on higher things; like managing the station, or what she was going to say to Holo.

Three minutes later and Holo arrived, he looked expectantly at Ezri who was now standing behind her desk. Ezri decided to inform Holo of her decision as diplomatically as possible. “A few minutes ago colonel Kira told me about various incidents that had happened between you and the crew-”

“You’re here to relieve me... aren’t you?” Suddenly Holo looked very angry and he was glaring at Ezri.

“It is only a temporary measure, there have been fifty complaints from various crew members. I think if you were relieved of duty, it would diffuse some of the tensions between you and particular crew members.”

Ezri tried to sound reassuring, but her words had cut no muster with Holo. His anger was receding and it was being replaced with a rather hurt look. “You’re relieving me of duty because I’m a hologram!”

“Your being a hologram had nothing to do with my decision!” said Ezri vehemently.

Holo laughed briefly, in a contemptuous manner. “Do not lie to me captain, once I’m relieved of duty I will be reassigned somewhere else. It is your way of removing me from this station!”

Before Ezri could reply, Holo stormed out of her office. For some reason Ezri did not feel embarrassed by what had happened, all she had done was to talk to a hologram. So really it did not matter what she said to Holo. Still Ezri wondered why she felt slightly guilty about relieving Holo of duty.
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Old October 10 2011, 07:16 PM   #29
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 6

Day 4, 2100 hours

After hearing that Holo had been relieved of duty, Max decided to visit Holo after his shift had finished. Max thought that Holo had been treated very poorly by the crew, and the poor decision on Ezri's part merely served to confirm Max's view. However, Max was determined to change Ezri's mind and persuade her to reinstate Holo back to his duties. Outside of Holo's quarters, Max tapped the panel to chime the door.

“Come in,” came Holo’s weary voice from inside the quarters.

Max entered the room and saw Holo sitting down. Holo’s back was lowered and his elbows were upon the chair’s armrests while his hands were over the back of his neck. Max had not seen Holo look so depressed. “I came by to see you,” he said as he rested himself on a chair next to Holo. “Listen I'm going to talk to Dax, and try to revoke the decision to relieve you of duty.”

“Good luck...” said Holo moodily; not once was he looking at Max, instead his eyes were fixed upon some spot on the floor.

Max sought to reassure Holo. “I know it looks bad, but you have some friends. Nog has already spoken to Dax, unfortunately it amounted to nothing.”

At last Holo sat up and raised his head to look at Max. “Max, it's good you're doing this. But until you persuade the captain and the rest of the crew that I'm a sentient being, nothing will change.”

“Trust me, I know what to do to persuade her,” said Max and he stood up. “With any luck, you'll be back on duty in a few hours time.”

Max walked out the room, he stopped at the door to Holo’s quarters. “I'll see you later,” he added.

Holo did not say anything as Max left the room. Outside in the corridor, Max walked at a brisk pace heading for Ezri's quarters. He was absolutely determined to help Holo; it was awful for him to see how sad and hopeless Holo looked. Max realised that he wanted to help Holo, because Holo was his friend. This initially surprised him as he wasn't really aware of the friendship forming between himself and Holo.


***


Day 4, 2115 hours

Ezri was relaxing in her quarters after the end of a long day and she was resting on a soft-padded chair. One of her favorite activities was to read books, but not from a padd. She preferred an actual book; what she did was to order the replicator to construct a real book. The book of course had a proper cover, binding, paper and text. It was like a hobby for her, she had at least 150 books, they were mainly novels and philosophical books.

Right now Ezri was starting to get really into the book she was reading. It was a Vulcan book about logic and rationality. The sound of the door chime brought Ezri to her senses. “Enter,” she said.

Max entered Ezri’s quarters, and she straightened up. “What is it commander?”

Max came to a stop, a metre away from Ezri, and he was standing very rigidly. “It's about Holo; I think you've made a mistake in relieving him from duty.”

Inwardly Ezri groaned, reading about logic was hard enough. Explaining the logic of her decision concerning Holo was going to be a lot harder. “Nog said the same thing to me, but I'm sorry, my decision is final.”

Her words did not discourage Max, they seemed to embolden him instead. “Captain the main issue here is whether Holo is sentient or not. Do you think he is sentient?”

“To be honest I'm not sure,” replied Ezri and she wondered where Max was going with this.

“Come on now captain, Holo shows all the signs of sentience: he learns, he is self-aware, he has emotions and more importantly, he has a personality.”

Ezri though had found a flaw to Max’s argument. “What you think is a personality, which is merely generated by advanced programming.”

“That argument is flawed and you know it,” responded Max, and he sounded dismissive towards Ezri. “Who would have thought that electro-chemical reactions in a complex cell structure would create sentience?”

Such a question really taxed Ezri’s brain, though she was impressed by Max’s reasoning. “But's that different, our brains are made of a physical structure. Whereas with Holo his programming is in essence in cyberspace.”

“But what gives us that spark; a spark that generates self-awareness in us?”

“There is no answer to that question,” said Ezri. “Not yet anyway.”

“Precisely the same applies with Holo.”

“But how can you justify that statement?”

Max looked considerably angry; it was as if he could not believe why Ezri doubted his arguments. “You want evidence captain? Go to Holo's quarters and you will see him sitting there looking frustrated, despondent and hurt. It's as if someone has carried out a grave injustice against him. Imagine captain if you had unfairly dismissed a member of your crew, now how do you think that person would feel?”

Those words reverberated around Ezri's mind and she started to understand what Max was getting at. She was only now beginning to understand Holo. “That person would feel what Holo is feeling right now. I must admit that when I have spoken to Holo, it is like talking to another humanoid. If you didn't realize that he was a hologram, you would be convinced that he was human.”

Max nodded in agreement. “You have just said it yourself captain, there is no difference between talking to Holo and to talking to another person. Listen captain... Dax, given there is very good chance that Holo is sentient, can you really risk treating him like a machine?”

Max's question finally made Ezri realize that Holo was sentient. She could not violate Holo’s rights because Holo was a living, and self-aware, being just like her. “When you put that way I would not take such a chance. A part of me would know that I might just be talking to a sentient being... And knowing that would mean to respect his rights and freedoms as a sentient being, and not to trample unjustly upon them.”

Relief shone on Max’s face, it was clear that this was what Max had wanted to hear. “Now do you understand why I consider Holo to be sentient?”

Ezri nodded once in acknowledgement. “I'll talk to Holo myself, thank you for relying your concerns to me.”

Max rose from the chair though he looked troubled again. “Erm... captain, you will reinstate Holo back to duty?”

“Of course I will!” she replied vehemently.

Max nodded in appreciation, and he left Ezri’s quarters.

Ezri had never seen a human who possessed such impeccable logic and reasoning skills. Not even Bashir had Max’s elegance when it came to arguing over a philosophical issue. What Max had said gave Ezri a lot to think about, suddenly she felt guilty for what she did to Holo. However, she could rectify that mistake...
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 11 2011, 09:53 PM   #30
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7

Day 4, 2000 hours
Holo was so miserable he had remained sitting on the same chair for hours. Never in all his time as a Starfleet officer had he been relieved of duty. It was a terrible humiliation to him since his career as a Starfleet officer was the only thing he had. The only accomplishment he could show to the whole universe was his job. Now though dark thoughts constantly spawned in Holo's mind, would he be removed from Starfleet just because he was a hologram?

The door to his quarters chimed, bringing him out of his dark spell.

“Enter,” he said.

He looked up to see Ezri walking towards him. Holo tried to add as much bitterness and contempt into his voice as possible when he addressed Ezri. “Captain, have you come here to remove me from Starfleet?”

Ezri sat down on another chair, and she looked directly into Holo’s face, surprisingly she looked a little guilty. “I want to apologize for relieving you of duty, in hindsight that was a rash decision.”

Holo could not be sure whether he had heard that correctly. “What made you change your mind?”

“It was Max who made me carefully think about whom you are, and I realised I had poorly treated a fellow officer; a sentient being.” In a guilty way, Ezri shifted uncomfortably in the chair. “So as of this moment you're back on duty and the reprimand I placed on your Starfleet record will be removed.”

Overwhelming relief filled Holo's through mind. “Thank you captain. However, what about the other crew members onboard this station? They cannot continue to treat me like some sort of machine.”

“And they won't; I have spoken to Kira to about this matter. Both she and I have agreed upon telling the officers under our command to treat you as they would treat any other officer. Failure on their part to do so, and they will be relieved of duty. I want you to remain on this station Holo because you are a very talented officer and it would be a shame to lose you.”

Ezri stood up, and Holo did the same. They walked towards each before stopping, and they shook hands. Holo held onto to Ezri’s hand, in a way to express his gratitude for Ezri’s decision. “I won't let you down captain.”

The two broke off their hand shake; Ezri gave Holo a brief and small smile. She then left Holo's quarters.

Holo felt euphoric; he had been given a second chance. For the first time, Holo was hopeful about an improved relationship with his crew members, and where all of the nastiness, contempt and hostilities, would finally come to an end.


***


Day 5, 0930 hours

The last three days for Holo had been some of his best on board DS9. Now people were more polite towards him, and they stopped pretending that he did not exist. A sign of how well things were going was that he was working with Taron without incident. Indeed Holo thought Taron looked slightly embarrassed and seemed almost afraid of starting an argument with him.

As Holo repaired an EPS manifold embedded into the wall of a DS9 corridor, he noticed Taron approaching him.

“Erm commander?” inquired Taron who looked very sheepish.

Holo turned around and stood up to face Taron. “What is it?”

Taron looked nervously at him. “It's about two days ago, you know concerning that argument we had, well-”

“Forget about it,” said Holo. “You haven't annoyed me once today, and you're more courteous towards me.”

For some reason Taron still looked sheepish.

“Is something else bothering you?” Holo asked.

“Oh it's just that the colonel had a few things to say to me...”

This did not surprise Holo and he was glad he was not in Taron’s shoes. “She has quite a temper doesn't she?”

Taron laughed out aloud, and the tension and awkwardness between the two vanished. Holo smiled at Taron; he could not forgive Taron, but he could forget what happened between the two.

“Come on let's get this finished,” said Holo, “before the colonel reprimands us for shoddy maintenance.”

Both Holo and Taron returned to work and as Holo repaired the EPS manifold he could not help smiling to himself. Maybe it was good choice working on this station, now that he had overcome the major hurdle of crew prejudice towards him...


That is the end of Shallow Rights. Here are links to the rest of my stories (which are listed in chronological order in terms of my series plot):

Season 1:

Secrets and Lies

Shallow Rights


Vacation

Bad Blood

Outlier

Devolution

Gold Rush

Medical Pariah

Commitment

Ménage à Trois

Tip of the Iceberg


Season 2:

Survival

High Stakes

Running the Gauntlet
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