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Old October 12 2011, 05:54 AM   #31
Rush Limborg
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Interesting storyline, interesting characterization. I'm pretty disturbed by how hostile--in an extremely childish manner--Ezri and Julian are to each other.

I'm guessing they won't stay like this...?
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Old October 12 2011, 09:39 AM   #32
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

There's a lot of bad feeling between them, but they do resolve their differences in the eight story Medical Pariah.
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Old October 12 2011, 07:30 PM   #33
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

The third story is Vacation and can be summarized as follows:

To ease the stress and pressure Megan has been feeling, she decides to take a vacation on Ferenginar. Accompanied by Bashir and Nog, Megan for the first time in years actually has some fun for a change...
While Quark helps his brother with top secret currency union talks between the Cardassians and the Ferengi...

Here is the first chapter:

Chapter 1, part 1

Stardate: </b>70571.3

Day 1: 1300 hours

It was near the end of lunch break and Max and Megan were walking along the Promenade. The two seemed a bit tense, and in the Replimat the two had barely spoken to each other. Megan wasn't going to admit it to Max, but she just wanted to be left alone, for some reason everything she was doing just seemed wrong.

Max seemed to sense Megan's hidden moods. “Are you alright? You’ve barely spoken to me and you look so tired.”

Right now Megan didn’t want Max asking questions like that. “It's nothing,” she said with a hint of impatience.

However Max wasn’t buying that answer. “What you need is a break, I mean why not take some time off work.”

Almost instantly a voice inside Megan’s head was telling her to reject Max’s idea. “I haven't done that in ten years, besides working shifts helps me forget about the past two years.”

“How much shore leave have you got accumulated?”

Megan paused as she thought about it. “About a year maybe more...”

“One year's worth?” said Max disbelievingly. “That must be a record...”
He came to a stop and lightly grabbed Megan’s shoulder, Megan was surprised by such a friendly gesture.

“Listen, Bashir and Nog are taking a two week vacation to Ferenginar, I think you should go with them, and have some fun for a change.”

“Have fun?” repeated Megan ominously. “Try being tortured for two years by the Cardassians, that will quash you sense of 'fun'.”

Max though was smart enough to see past Megan’s defensive nature and to see the real issues bothering her. “You need a break Megan, you've simply pushed yourself to hard. That’s why you’ve been so moody over these past three days, it is your bodies way of saying take a break and stop overexerting yourself!”

Even though Megan knew that Max was absolutely right, she was reluctant to take a break. The only thing that kept her sane, and gave her a sense of normality was her job, but on the other hand she couldn’t keep forever pushing herself… “I guess your right about that… I suppose Ezri would allow me to take some shore leave.” Megan paused as she was somewhat annoyed by Max’s triumphant grin. “Alright then you win; I'll take a vacation...” she said in an exasperated tone.

Max walked away, before turning around to face Megan. “And make sure you have a good time, I don’t want to hear from Bashir and Nog that you’ve been sulking and morose!”

Max was being infuriating again to Megan, but she knew his heart was in the right place. So she resigned herself to the inevitable, it was time to stop using her job as a means to quench her anguish and pain. With this vacation she could use it as an excuse to indulge herself, she hadn’t indulged herself for more than six years.

Suddenly she felt lighter, the very thought of the vacation seemed to ease her burdens, and unwind some of the tension that accumulated ever since she became an Starfleet Intelligence agent.


***


Day 2: 0900 hours

Bashir and Nog were doing a last minute check of their respective luggage outside of docking bay one. For Bashir he had many things to check: clothing, tuxedo, pads, walking boots, thermals, tricorder, laptop, various bling, his copy of the Ferengi rules of acquisition, data rods containing various holosuite programs, and of course the tongo game. It was a lot of luggage to carry, and as he was checking, he didn’t notice Megan approaching.

“Need a hand carrying all of that luggage?” she asked.

Bashir looked up. “No we're fine.”

He did a double take, as Megan wasn’t in her Starfleet uniform, and she was her civilian clothes. Bashir thought Megan looked rather nice with her light brown trousers and white long sleeve shirt. Another thing Bashir noticed was that Megan’s hair wasn’t tied back in a bun, it fanned down the top part of her back. It made Megan look a lot more prettier than usual, and Bashir almost expected Nog to be eyeing Megan up.

However Nog looked rather stand-offish. “What are you doing here?” he said, a bit to aggressively.

Megan seemed impervious to Nog’s rather unpleasant manner. “I'm on vacation, I thought I'd go to Ferenginar with you two...”

“Your welcome to stay in the resort we've booked,” offered Bashir, he wasn’t going to hold it against Megan for a crime she may or may not have committed. Besides Max had told him that Megan was coming with him for a vacation and he mightily approved of Megan's decision to take a vacation. For she needed to relax and enjoy herself, after everything she went through in the Tau Primia prison.

Nog didn’t look to pleased. “Julian... no,” he hissed.

Bashir though ignored Nog’s protest, Megan was coming whether Nog liked it or not. One vital possession that was needed popped up in Bashir’s mind. “Nog you've got the gold-pressed latinum haven't you?”

“All I could get was ten strips...” said Nog, he seemed somewhat forlorn by his low amount of money.

“Ten strips?” said Bashir disbelievingly; how were they going to buy anything on Ferenginar with that amount of latinum? Unless of course they gambled their way into acquiring an bigger amount...

Nog seemed very defensive. “Well that's all I've got left, the rest went to the resort, besides I don’t want to eat into my personal savings…”

Megan however came to Nog’s rescue. “I've got a hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum. I figured you would need a lot of latinum on Ferenginar.”

From one of the bags she was carrying, Megan took out a sealed container. She opened it, and Nog’s mouth fell open in shock, the shining gleam of the gold pressed latinum reflected in his eyes.

It seemed Megan was full of surprises, for one thing Bashir was surprised that she was going on vacation, and now this? “How in the name of the Prophets did you get your hands on all that latinum?”

Megan shrugged, she seemed amused by Bashir’s and Nog’s reaction. “One of my former contacts in SI was a Ferengi, suffice to say I got him out of a sticky situation and he paid me five hundred bars of gold-pressed latinum to er... gloss over the situation.”

Whatever reservations Nog had about Megan coming along had vanished, he was suddenly all smarmy and warm. “Say you wouldn't mind staying with us in the resort?”

“Why not?” said Megan, with a small smile.

Bashir knew that the way to any Ferengi’s heart, even a Ferengi Starfleet officer, was through gold-pressed latinum. The three then entered the airlock, and boarded the transport ship. Inside the ship they deposited their luggage in their quarters. When Bashir was inside his quarters, he then realised there was a small problem with having Megan bunk up with him and Nog. “Erm Megan are you sure you want to stay in these quarters?”

“Is there something wrong with me staying here?” inquired Megan, there was something rather ominous in her voice.

Bashir looked around; the quarters only had two rooms, the accommodation room and the bathroom. There was no where for Megan to sleep in private. “Well it’s just there is no where for you to sleep in private.”

Megan didn’t seem to like Bashir’s concern for her sensibilities. “We’ll bunk up together, I’ll sleep with my clothes on, I trust you two don’t sleep stark naked?”

Bashir was surprised by Megan’s forthrightness, well that settled that matter, given the cramped nature of the quarters, there was barely room for two beds let alone three. Though Bashir felt somewhat awkward as he would be sleeping very close to Megan, Nog seemed to be thinking the same thing, and Bashir knew Nog was inwardly wincing.

Usually Nog only had a women sleeping next to him if she was one of his numerous girlfriends. However Bashir knew that Nog was respectful around ladies, it was just a little embarrassing that was all.

After sorting out their luggage, and replicating two extra bunk beds, the three headed to the mess hall to sample the food selection of the ship’s replicator. As they sat down on a table, for a quick cup of coffee, Bashir noticed Odo entering the mess hall.

Nog welcomed Odo over. “Odo! Come to see us off?”

Odo took a chair and brought up to the table. “No I'm travelling to Ferenginar, I have a... investigation which I'm carrying out.”

“What kind of investigation?” Megan asked.

“It's just a small matter, there's nothing to worry about... By the way-” Odo lowered his voice and looked around to make sure nobody was listening in. “The Ferengi authorities have been detaining various tourists on trumped up charges. I've heard from a source that a Starfleet officer could be the next target. So be on your guard when you arrive at Ferenginar.”

Nog didn’t quite seem to believe Odo. “Why would the Ferengi authorities arrest innocent people?”

“I don't know, but these arrests have started ever since the Cardassian/Ferengi currency union negotiations started. If you see anything suspicious contact me.” Odo passed to Bashir a sub-space relay device. “Hopefully I'll be seeing you when you return from Ferenginar...”

Odo stood up and walked out of the mess hall.

Megan watched Odo go with an expression of disbelieve. “Is it just me or is Odo a bit paranoid?”

“Paranoid?” said Nog. “I'm not sure... but vigilant? Definitely. Odo has an odd style of maintaining law and order, yet it works...”

Bashir wasn’t really surprised by Odo’s presence on the transport ship. “He’s probably monitoring Quark, since Quark has travelled to Ferenginar.”

Megan though didn’t seem to appreciate the hidden meaning to what Bashir had said. “If you don’t mind me asking why is Odo so obsessed with Quark?”

Nog briefly flicked his eyes to Bashir, and winked. “They’re friends you see.”

Megan gave a disbelieving stare at Nog. “Right…”

Given some time, Bashir knew that Megan would come to fully understand the connection that Odo and Quark had. One was the law officer forever trying to catch the crook, the other was the crook always one step ahead of the law officer.
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Old October 12 2011, 07:31 PM   #34
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 1, part 2

***


Day 5: 1600 hours

One of the most boring features of a vacation, was the time spent travelling to the destination. It was a five day journey travelling from DS9 to Ferenginar. Megan past the time by reading books from a pad in the privacy of her quarters, or writing into her personal log. This was something she had recently started doing, she wrote everything that she was feeling and thinking into her log. It was a means of easing the emotional pain, by directly confronting the memories of Tau Primia and Bordak.

Sometimes though she was with only Bashir or occasionally Nog in the quarters. When it was just her and Nog in the quarters there was a painful silence, however when she alone with Bashir the two talked nearly non-stop. At first they exchanged stories about their lives, though Megan was careful to avoid telling Bashir anything about Tau Primia, Bordak or Jack. She thought that Bashir was a friendly person, though sometimes he was infuriatingly clever.

She also found some amazing facts about Bashir: that he was genetically engineered at the age of six to become smarter and physically stronger, and of course some of his medical achievements. Like finding a cure for the quickening virus, and discovering a method to allow for a humanoid and a shapeshifter to have children.

Currently Megan was in her quarters, with Bashir and Nog, she looked up from the pad when she noticed Bashir and Nog dealing with some very unusual looking cards. The two were sitting on a hard-back sofa, on the table in front of them was a few strips of gold pressed latinum.

Megan’s curiosity was sufficiently piqued that she disregarded the pad. “What are you doing?” she asked them.

“Tongo,” said Nog, he was concentrating immensely on the cards held in his hands.

“Never heard of it...” said Megan.

Nog seemed too focused to explain to Megan what tongo was. Whereas Bashir looked totally relaxed and in control of the game, and he gave Megan an explanation. “Basically tongo is sort of like a combination of cards and roulette and can be played with two to eight players. The object of the game is to win by acquiring as much wealth, usually gold pressed latinum, as possible. On any given turn, a player may "confront", "evade", "acquire", or "retreat". Each venture has a "risk" amount, a "buy" amount, and a "sell" amount, where the risk amount is equal to the sell amount minus the buy amount.”

Bashir laid down his cards. “Total monopoly,” he said.

Nog looked beside himself with frustration and exasperation, he stood up and threw his cards onto to the floor. “Damn you Julian! How do you do it? Every time whether we’re playing by ourselves or with Quark, you nearly always win!”
Nog calmed down somewhat, and sat down on the sofa in a huffy manner. “Julian here wins six games out of every seven when he plays with me.”

Megan though had no interest in gambling, she thought it was a huge waste of time. “So your basically going to Ferenginar to gamble?” She threw in a huge amount of disapproval to her voice, to make it implicitly clear what she thought of it.

“Not exactly,” said Nog. “We'll be walking around as well. You see ever since the Ferengi built a weather-control station on their homeworld, they've tamed the planet's climate. It was a rain-soaked place, but now the climate is quite... temperate. Anyway the point is with no more rain the true beauty of Ferenginar's geography was revealed: forests, mountains and other special geological features. As such it is an excellent place to walk around.”

Bashir elaborated on his and Nog’s vacation plans. “Nog and I decided to spend the day walking, well actually it's more like hiking, around, and in the night we hit the tongo wheels and gamble.”

“And it's best if you were to get familiar with the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition,” added Nog, “that's probably your best safeguard against the Ferengi short-changing you.”

“I'll keep that in mind,” said Megan.

Bashir got up and walked over to the bag containing his personal possessions, he bent down and extracted from the bag a book. He then walked back to Megan. “Here take my copy of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, it’s divided into two sections: the old Rules of Acquisition and the new Rules of Acquisition. It’s an interesting read if you ignore the advice it gives about woman.”

Megan took the book from Bashir’s hands. “Let me guess, it’s absolutely sexist and tells women to stay in the kitchen and make babies, correct?”

Nog grimaced in an embarrassed way. “Something like that, the old version of the Rules of Acquisition tramples upon many Federation sensibilities.”


***


Day 6: 1700 hours

Quark was an old-fashioned Ferengi: greedy, manipulative, devious and sexist to the core. As he walked into the Ferengi tower of commerce, he still found it somewhat difficult to see clothed female Ferengi and worse still female Ferengi who were working and making profit.

After eighteen years that taboo didn’t feel so strong to Quark, but what really bothered Quark was that his people were less greedy. Twenty years ago if he had entered the Ferengi tower of commerce to see the Grand Nagus, he would have to pay just to arrange the meeting with the secretary at the desk, use the lift (or for free climb the most steepest sets of stairs ever known on Ferenginar), and so forth.

Everything that he did inside the building would have once cost him latinum, now however all of that was abolished. He blamed Rom for all of this, Rom was turning the Ferengi race into a bunch of sentimental, law-abiding and moral hew-mons! Though Quark had to admit the human way of doing things became quite infectious after a while.

He had come to Ferenginar on the request of his brother. Rom had been quite vague when in his transmission to Quark, he said that he had found the ‘opportunity of a lifetime.’ On the other hand, Quark had to leave his bar to pursue this opportunity. He trusted Jake, his business partner, to keep things ticking over. Jake had set up a restaurant right next to Quark’s bar, and the two had agreed to combine the two business’s together to increase profits.

At last Quark, was standing outside the door to the Grand Nagus's office. The two Ferengi security guards checked him over, and then nodded to him once to give him the all clear.

Quark knocked once on the door.

“Enter,” said Rom.

Quark walked in, he glanced around to see what had changed to the office. It had been over a year since he stepped inside this office, but by the looks of it nothing had really changed. For a Ferengi, Rom had become surprisingly spartan in his tastes for worldly goods. Three of the walls were shrouded by various plants, Rom had over the years developed an obsession with botany.

Various types of vines arced over the door, while from the door there was of course the window, divided symmetrically by brown support columns. To the left of the room was Rom’s desk, it was shaped in a 120 degrees cross-section of a circular torus. Propped against one side of the desk was the Grand Nagus's sceptre.

Quark closed the door and walked over to the desk. Rom looked up from a console and gave Quark a toothy smile. “Brother, I knew you would come!”

Even though Quark loved his brother, profit nearly always came first. “Make it quick Rom, leaving my bar for over a week is not very profitable.”

Rom looked slightly nervous, he still sometimes mumbled and stuttered in front of his brother. “Err... I know, but I need your help to compose a currency deal with the Ferengi Alliance and the Cardassian States.”

Quark laughed out loud. “Your pulling my lobes, a currency deal?”

Despite Quark’s derision, Rom wasn’t put off, he chucked to Quark a Ferengi padd. “I'm serious brother, if the deal works the Cardassians will be using our currency!”

As he looked at the pad, Quark laughter steadily diminished until he became silent. “Your right, you DO need help composing this deal. Look at these concessions: splitting the Badlands between the Ferengi and Cardassians, exchange of technology, a free 'gift' of medical supplies.”

He looked up from the padd and gave a scathing look at his brother. “Rom your an idiot, if the Cardassians use our currency then our exports to them will be worth considerably less. There's a reason why interplanetary states, well the civilized ones, use their own currency because they have control over it. The Cardassian States and the Ferengi Alliance are two very different economies.”

“I know that brother. But look at the benefits of this deal: Cardassian nanotechnology, for instance, is the most superior in the entire Alpha Quadrant! By acquiring it industrial costs could be potentially cut by up to 95%, and using just energy we could replicate any substance you could think off!”

The implications were absolutely profound to Quark, perhaps his brother did have the lobes. He was so shocked he rose from the chair and walked a few steps in apparent bewilderment. “Which would give us a total monopoly on the supply of just about everything we export and import,” said Quark slowly, he then turned around to look at Rom excitedly. “We could fix prices, provide virtually risk-free commodity trading! The Cardassians could do the same, but it would be even as they would be our only competitor! So this currency union is just a pretext for acquiring Cardassian nanotechnology?”

“No it's a gesture of friendship and goodwill.”

“I'll pretend I didn't hear that,” said Quark in a dismissive tone, he paused as he thought about the deal. “But even you have to admit that there is serious money-making potential to this currency deal...”
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Old October 13 2011, 09:38 PM   #35
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2, part 1

Day 7, 0730 hours

Megan, Bashir and Nog materialized on a transporter pad, which was only 300 metres away, or so, from the Ferengi hotel they would be staying in. It was a sunny day on Ferenginar, with a few small clouds high up in the sky, however the temperature was surprisingly temperate. The three walked off the open-air transporter pad, and onto the street running parallel to the hotel. “This way,” said Bashir, and he lead the way to the hotel.

All sorts of people were walking around on the street. Most of them were Ferengi going about their daily business, but there were many other alien races intermingled with the Ferengi. Humans, Bajorans, Vulcans, Bolians, a couple of Klingons and even one Breen. The Breen stood out from the rest of crowd, because of his helmet, though Megan noticed that people were giving the Breen a wide berth.

The street was lined with crazy paving; some sort of dull yellow coloured ceramic material, the cracks were covered with a tan coloured aggregate. On the right side of the street were multi-story shops, there fronts were gleaming with glass and various mixes of red, brown and grey panels framing the glass. In the distance Megan noticed the tall and imposing Ferengi Tower of Commerce.

As she looked to her left, she saw the hotel. It was a tall, elongated, oval shaped building. The floors looked segmented, with plain glass windows and futuristic grey/chrome panels between the windows. The outer girders were coloured red, and blended in with the panels. They steadily twisted up the building, giving the hotel the appearance that it was spiraling to the sky. While the ground floor was unusually high, there were thick red columns on the outside, and the big windows seemed to be framed with stone-red coloured ceramic tiling.

The hotel towered above the surrounding buildings, and it covered a huge tract of land. Most of that land was filled with lush gardens, trees and fountains. Megan, Bashir and Nog walked for a bit up the street before turning left to a smaller alleyway that lead directly to the entrance of the hotel. The entrance to the alleyway had a small metal structure running over it. It was a simple arch, and the ends embedded themselves into the ground.

As they walked closer to the hotel, Megan noticed various patrons walking around the gardens. She thought that the various flower beds were very pretty, mind you it was the first time she had seen flowers in over two years, any flower would have been pretty to her. As the group came closer to the hotel's entrance, outside of the low and black box-like part of the building, they saw various Ferengi staff catering to the patrons.

All of these sights was a lot to take in for Megan, she stayed silent as she savored the amazing sights, until finally she couldn't hold her tongue in any longer. “It’s incredible, ten years ago this planet was so humid and wet!”

Nog grinned at Megan’s awestruck nature. “You can thank my father, the grand Nagus, for turning Ferenginar into the Alpha Quadrant's biggest tourist trap! He realised after the emancipation of all female Ferengis, that they would need jobs! Anyway with a little help from his mother Ishka, they realized that the geography of Ferenginar was perfect for tourism: big beaches, spectacular mountains, and forests.

“All that was needed was better weather to reveal the beautiful countryside of Ferenginar. Of course he had to remove the strip mines and quarries, and look for new locations for mining... thank God for the Badlands! At the time many Ferengi executives thought that my father was crazy! Though they quickly changed their minds when they saw the profits margins rapidly increase from all the tourism!”

Megan listened to Nog intently, as she knew very little about the Ferengi’s history. “It’s a remarkable turnaround for a race that so badly discriminated it's women!”

Bashir nodded in agreement. “It sure is.”

Just as they were outside of the hotel’s entrance, Nog came to a stop, he looked at Megan in an embarrassed manner. “Oh yes one more thing, on Ferenginar some of the males are still very sexist; change can be hard to digest for some people.”

“I’ll break the legs of the first male who harasses me,” said Megan.

Bashir and Nog looked at each, they seemed worried by Megan’s bravado.

“I’m just kidding you know!”

Both Bashir and Nog looked relieved, they all walked on, going past people who were sunbathing and relaxing on holidays chairs with covers. Bashir, Megan and Nog came to a stop when a member of the hotel staff approached them. He was a Ferengi, and he was wearing a smart blue jacket, white shirt and black trousers, which was of course the hotel staff uniform. He looked at the group somewhat inquisitively. “My name is Twerk, I will be your personal host. Which of you two are Bashir and Nog?”

Bashir answered Twerk’s question. “I'm Bashir, that's Nog, and that's Megan.”

Twerk addressed Megan. “I'm sorry but you can't come into this hotel, you haven't paid for accommodation.”

Megan thought something like this would happen, however she knew how to remedy the situation. From the bag which she was carrying, she took out 20 bars of gold-pressed latinum and wrapped it up in a leather clothe. She then offered it to Twerk. “Would this be enough?”

Twerk took the latinum and inspected it, he seemed satisfied and then he gave Megan a grin. “Most certainly, if you would follow me. I'll give you a brief tour of the hotel, before showing you to your rooms.”

“That won't be necessary,” said Bashir. “Nog and I have been to this hotel before, just show us to our rooms please.”

“As you wish,” said Twerk with a bow.

The group walked into the entrance, through the automatically opening doors. They were walking down a long corridor, and in the distance another exit could be seen. On both sides there were various shops, selling items that looked very expensive, it was clear that this hotel was for the rich and wealthy. Megan felt somewhat out of place, though Bashir and Nog were gazing fondly at the interior seemingly oblivious to the riches of far wealthier patrons.

About a third of the way through the building, it opened up to reveal a massive atrium. It was an impressive sight, while at the ground level there were various swimming pools and all sorts of chairs and tables lying around. From the view point of the atrium the hotel was rectangular and symmetrical, while the outer girders rose directly upwards.

On two sides the sunlight shone on the building’s walls, but at around the 40th floor and below, shadow consumed the entire building. Clinging to the outside layers where over a dozen cylindrical turbolift shafts. Megan watched the turbolifts go up and down, it was a rather mesmerizing sight.

Walking on the outer perimeter of the atrium, Megan looked and counted at least 100 floors. “How tall is this hotel?” she asked Twerk.

“400 metres high, and it has a 102 floors, it can house up to 17000 people. Of course this is more than a hotel, we have about 4000 permanent residents here, which includes most of the 3000 staff members. With all the shops on the first ten floors, and the other facilities, including the casino on the next twenty floors, this is more like a self-contained town. In the height of the tourism season the hotel approaches near full capacity, however right now business is a bit flat, at this time in the year the number of tourists is at its lowest.”

Bashir leaned his head to one side and whispered to Megan as they walked. “That’s why I decided to have the vacation now, when it was quiet on Ferenginar. That way I could pick the quarters of my choice, and so Nog and you would have individual quarters right next to my own. Besides when it’s quiet, this hotel drops it’s price on accommodation, so it’s an absolute bargain.”

“A clever idea,” said Megan blandly.

Twerk proceeded to the nearest turbo lift shaft, it was a clear glass shaft on the outside, with the track placed onto the building's wall. Twerk tapped a panel to summon a lift to the ground floor.

After waiting for about a minute, a turbo lift finally came to a halt at the ground level. The group walked in, the actual turbo lift had black metallic girders supporting the structure. While the part of the turbo lift attached to the track was simply a black wall with a door in the middle, this was where the lift controls were housed. The remainder of the lift was made of a fully transparent material, including the roof, which gave the occupants a spectacular view of the hotel.

“99th floor,” said Twerk.

The lift jolted slightly as it accelerated, but then it settled down and the ride became totally smooth as the lift maintained constant velocity. As the lift gained height, the ground floor begin to shrink, as they past the 40th floor, the sunlight shone through the lift. Megan had never such an amazing building in her life, back on Earth the skyscrapers tended to be smaller and more modest in size.

After about half a minute, the turbo lift slowed down and came to a halt. The doors open and Twerk lead the way straight into a corridor with a T-junction. One side had the glass and walls, and on the other side was one constant wall, dotted with doors to the quarters.

Twerk proceeded forwards, and he walked past two pairs of quarters. As every two quarters were joined together, the corridors formed a rectangular pattern. However since the building was oval shaped, and as Megan came past a corridor intersection, she could see the windows of the building in the distance. There were a few people in the corridors, mainly staff members.

The walls looked like they were made of plaster board, and they were painted in a dull brown colour. While the doors to the quarters, were made of actual hardback wood, coated with an transparent insulated material. The actual floor was covered with an elaborately painted carpet, it was like a tapestry of images, full of criss-crossing symmetric geometrical patterns.

Twerk finally took a left turn when he reached the other end of the building, to his right were the quarters which had the view to the outside. After a moment’s walking he came to halt, and turned to face Bashir, Megan and Nog. “Your individual quarters are right here, three in a row facing the windowed end. If you need room service, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Briefly Twerk bowed his head, and left the three alone.

Bashir addressed the group. “Alright once we’ve all sorted out our individual luggage and settled in, come into my quarters and we’ll discuss our vacation plans.”

Megan proceeded to her quarters, she opened the door and at first glance saw a room that must have been the living room. It had various chairs, tables, stands, drawers and other furniture. While the walls were coloured the same as the corridor walls, the carpet was a very bland beige colour. There were a few paintings hung on various places on the walls, the paintings looked rather abstract.

She dumped her luggage onto a sofa, and proceeded to investigate her quarters. They were surprisingly roomy and large, and as she moved from the living room, she noticed a thin and long corridor proceeding to another room. Along the way she noticed one door to the left in the centre of the corridor, she decided to investigate that room later. When she walked through the corridor and past a very opaque red vale, the next room had windows at the end, revealing a spectacular view of the Ferengi capital.

The room she was standing in appeared to be the bedroom, on one side was a big bed designed to accommodate two people. The bedroom was a smaller room than the living room, but it was still very big in relation to the size of her quarters on DS9.

Close to the bed was a replicator, the presence of the replicator confused Megan. Twerk had just said something about room service, did this mean that the hotel served non-replicated food? She checked the replicators database and found that everything had a price, this was typical of the Ferengi. Megan made a mental note to have real food as it was cheaper. It seemed as if the high prices were designed to force customers to use the hotel's cafes and restaurants.

Megan returned back to the corridor to investigate the room behind the door, she was certain it was a bathroom. When she opened the door, and looked inside, her mouth opened in shock. This was more than a bathroom, most of the space was for the small swimming pool built inside. Overhead lightening was on the ceiling, while the water reflected some of that light casting a bluish tinge on the walls. Ceramic tiling lined the perimeter of the room and the floor of the swimming pool.

To her left was a smaller walled room, with another door. Upon investigating this room, this was where the actual bathroom was. She then walked around the perimeter of the pool, she hadn’t gone swimming in more then ten years, not since her academy days. Though she fondly remembered when she was younger swimming with her mum in lakes high up in the Appalachian mountains of Earth.

Suddenly Megan remembered that she hadn’t brought any swim ware, she didn’t expect to go swimming for some reason. Of course it didn’t really matter if she had to swim in her clothes, thank God she had brought her thermal drier device. She wasn't going to use the replicator either to make some swim ware, the replicator's prices were a rip-off and she intended to be very frugal with her gold-pressed latinum. She only had five bars left, the rest was used to pay for accommodation in the hotel.

Besides the time when she had swum with her mum, they were both fully clothed. With a thermal drier device it was so quick to dry off after swimming, that changing into a swimming costume became time-consuming and impractical.

She was already tempted just to dive into the pool, and to feel the water moving against her skin… Briefly she considered go into the pool naked, no would see her, however there was a possibility someone might just walk into her quarters and into the bathroom. This would of course be very embarrassing, only two people had seen her naked and that was Jack and Bordak, and she was very determined to keep it that way.

The memories of what Bordak did to her came flooding back to Megan. She had been so caught up and amazed by the hotel, that those memories seemed to have vanished. Megan marveled at this, that was the first time she had never noticed those memories. Perhaps Max was right, this vacation was going to do her some good. Megan decided to take a dip in the pool some time late in the night, fully clothed, with her mind made up she returned to the living room to sort out her luggage and possessions.

When she was finished, she left her quarters and entered into Bashir’s quarters. Bashir was in the living room, and Nog was already there.

After Megan had sat down, Bashir addressed everyone. “Alright, do you two have any ideas of what to do for today?”

“Why not explore the countryside?” suggested Megan. “I would like to hike around a few forests and mountains, besides I've missed walking around. You see my mother used to take me out hiking in the Appalachian mountains on Earth, so I think it would be do something similar here.”

Bashir looked at Nog. “Nog are you alright with walking?”

Nog though seemed somewhat reluctant. “Alright we'll walk, though on one condition.”

“What?” demanded Bashir.

Grinning deviously Nog explained the condition. “Tonight when we go to the casino, we get Megan to gamble!”

“Agreed!” said Bashir automatically, he and Nog instantly turned to look at Megan.

“I am not gambling!” said Megan indignantly. “Gambling is for fools and the desperate!” There was no way Bashir and Nog would get her to gamble…

“It's fun Megan, come on treat yourself!” said Bashir, he was pandering to the one side of Megan that was tempted to gamble.

“It's profitable!” said Nog, who was still grinning, he seemed to be enjoying poking fun at Megan.

Megan held up her hands in defeat. “Alright, but I'm only gambling once!”

“One more thing Megan,” said Bashir. “Before we walk, I just want to show you around this hotel first, it will only take about an hour.”

“Good idea, the truth is I want to see more of this hotel as it is so amazing!” said Megan excitedly.

Standing up, Bashir looked equally excited. “Then let’s go, what about you Nog?”

Nog looked rather shiftily at Bashir. “I’m going to the casino, to check those tongo wheels and the other gambling games…”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 13 2011, 09:39 PM   #36
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2, part 2

Day 7: 1000 hours

Megan, Bashir and Nog were out walking in the Kendra mountain range, today they were walking up one of the highest peaks in the range. Surprisingly though it didn't have a name, it seemed that the Ferengi had no interest in walking around and admiring there countryside, hence they didn't name individual mountains and peaks. Though Megan knew that wasn't really profitable and it would have been no fun walking around these mountains if it was raining 24/7.

It was deeply refreshing to be removed from the rush and push of the Ferenginar capital, Megan had only seen about a dozen other people walking around. Once she and her companions had left the maglev network, ten miles outside of the Ferengi capital, and walked through the small town which was clearly a tourist trap, it became eerily quiet.

For some reason the Kendra mountain range looked somewhat like the Appalachian mountains, they both had coniferous forests. Though Megan noticed that the pine trees in these forests looked very different to Earth pine trees. These Ferengi pine trees had an unusual shaped bark, elaborately shaped leaves and the main trunk split into many offshoots.

The very earth underneath Megan's feet was an unusual orange/dull purple colour, while the grass was of a dark green colour. Megan checked the tricorder and collaborated her readings with the map of the local area displayed on a padd, by the looks of it she was on the right direction heading to the mountain. The paths were simply tiny earth tracks, and overgrown in numerous places.

She was crouching down on top of a tall boulder, that was next to a small waterfall, and she looked around when she heard Bashir and Nog approaching her from behind. They were taking it slowly up the steep and winding track through the forest, however the forest came to a stop where the waterfall was. Looking upwards Megan saw the reminder of the mountain range, it was a considerable climb. But at least there was no more undergrowth to cut through, the rest of the walk would be going up grassy slopes and finally some scree slopes and rock faces.

Megan was considerably sweaty, but she wasn’t that surprised, she had been far sweatier walking up the Appalachian mountains and there it was far warmer. Looking upwards, Megan realised that there was no cover from the sun for the next part of the walk, she removed her rucksack she was carrying, and rummaged around inside for a bottle of water and a sun hat. With the sunlight beating down upon her head, without shelter she would get muzzy headed in about half an hour.

Whenever walking out in the summer on Earth or any planet, Megan knew that the most important item was a sun hat. She had learnt the hard way about that, when she was about twelve she went out on a walk with her mother and had forgotten her sun hat. When the sun came out, Megan was totally frazzled and she got a nasty sun stroke, for the rest of the day she had felt very tired and queasy.

Finally Bashir and Nog caught up with Megan, the two were sweating and looked flushed, clearly they weren't used to this sort of walking. Admittedly Megan felt that her legs weren't used to all the walking either, despite her rigorous exercise regime back on DS9 to spruce up her fitness, walking like this was completely different.

“Come on you two, I thought you were fit Starfleet officers?” Megan decided to make fun of Bashir and Nog, because they had forced her to go out gambling in the night.

Nog was so out of breathe all he could manage were a few words. “Not… fair… I do… exercise… but not… like this!”

Bashir though seemed more comfortable than Nog was. “The last time I went out walking like this was in my time at Starfleet Academy, it’s so hard going walking through all this terrain. Anyway how close are we to the top?”

Megan raised her arm and briefly pointed behind her. “We have to walk up that slope to get to the top, it’s only about 2500 feet, I’d say no more than two hours climb.”

Nog looked like he was about to give up, he was bent over and his hands rested on his knees. “We’ve already climbed up 2000 feet, and through this forest, I don’t think my legs can take much more of this.”

This disappointed Megan, and she wasn’t about to turn back just because Nog wasn’t up for the walk. She needed to somehow persuade him to continue… “Are really going to give up Nog? For the first Ferengi to have joined Starfleet, I thought you would show more mettle and resilience.”

The jibe really irritated Nog. “Alright, I’ll keep going, and you should know that I don’t give up! Just give me a five minute break and then I’ll be ready.”

While Nog sat down on the grassy slope next to the waterfall, Bashir walked over to Megan. “Nice one,” he whispered.

Megan looked seriously at Bashir. “I want to get to the top of this mountain, I think of it as like a challenge, there’s nothing like physically exerting yourself and getting a bit sweaty.”

Bashir smiled at her, he seemed to admire Megan’s tenacity.
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 14 2011, 09:01 PM   #37
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3, part 1

Day 7: 1950 hours

As Megan waited in her quarters for Bashir and Nog to arrive, she thought about the walk she had in the Ferengi countryside. It was such an amazing walk, she hadn’t walked like that in years, and somehow it seemed to set her free. While walking she didn’t have to worry about anything. Unlike now where she was somewhat apprehensive about the prospective of playing tongo against players who actually had some real skill at the game.

The door opened, and Megan saw Nog and Bashir enter the room, they were wearing tuxedos.

“Why are you wearing tuxedos?” she asked, trying to keep the amusement out of her voice.

“Don't you know?” said Bashir, he looked amused. “When the casino opens it has a strict dress code; tuxedos for the men and dresses for the ladies.”

“I am not wearing a dress!” said Megan loudly, having fun was one thing, dressing up was another.

Nog exchanged a gleeful glance with Bashir. “We figured you wouldn't approve, but don't worry we know just the dress for you.”

Bashir and Nog went into Megan’s bedroom, and reluctantly Megan followed. It seemed Bashir and Nog were determined to embarrass her.

Bashir stood next to the replicator, and removed some latinum from one of his jacket’s pockets. “Computer purchase item 253107, complete with the preordered specifications, put the bill on my account, Julian Bashir alpha omicron five six sigma delta tau two.”

Item 253107 costs 28 strips of latinum, please pay,” said the computer’s bland voice.

Bashir rolled his eyes in exasperation, and placed his money into a slot in the replicator. With the item paid for, the replicator produced the item, initially it was just a glow of yellow energy, then the energy solidified into what looked like a folded up red dress.

Bashir grabbed the dress and passed it to Megan. “Here, this dress is made of Andorian silk, it's not too revealing or tight, so try it on.”

Reluctantly Megan took the dress, and unfurled it. Pink lacy gloves fell out of the dress, she scooped them and chucked them onto the bed. She then held the dress against her body, it seemed to be of the right length. She sighed, it wouldn’t hurt to try it on… “All right I'll try it on, now if you don't mind I'd like some privacy.”

While Bashir and Nog left, Megan went over to the window and closed the curtains. She then stripped off and put on the dress. When she was done, she was surprised by how comfortable the dress felt. She looked down, and was pleased to see that the dress barely revealed any of her cleavage, just her upper chest and collar bone, while her arms weren't covered.

Also the dress was not to revealing, it wasn’t super tight and didn’t cling to her body, even the shoulder straps didn’t dig in. The dress ended just around her knees, suddenly wearing this dress didn’t seem so bad, but she had serious reservations about wearing the pink lacy gloves.

Megan walked to the living room, she was bracing herself for Bashir and Nog’s reaction.

“Wow,” said Nog, his eyes were wide with amazement. “You look great!”

“I feel so stupid,” said Megan in an embarrassed way.

Bashir nodded in approval. “Good, it's about having some fun, and as your physician I’m ordering you to have some fun.”

Megan showed the two the gloves. “Do I really have to put on these gloves?” she said imploringly.

“Absolutely,” said Nog mock seriously. “Come on it's 1955 hours, the casino will be opening in five minutes time.”

Against her better judgement Megan put on the gloves, and she followed Bashir and Nog out of the room and they headed for the casino.

After five minutes walk, the three had arrived outside of the casino. The entrance reminded Megan of the old and archaic casinos of Las Vegas, these casinos were now museums. To think four hundred years ago they were a place where humanity could commit every vice known to man still astounded her. But it seemed the Ferengi wanted to give this casino the same feel. The entrance was lit with bright neon signs and flashing lights, dominating it all was the big flashing sign titled ‘The Crystal Palace’.

“Out much money do you have?” Megan asked.

“Nog and I have pooled together all of our latinum it comes to 120 slips.”

Megan thought gambling was reckless, but this was ultra reckless. “Your going to gamble with all of your money?” she said in a disbelieving tone of voice. “What if you lose, you won't have anything left to buy basic essentials!”

Nog didn’t look put off at all. “Relax you worry to much, when we've finished we'll have a cart full of gold pressed latinum!”

“But first we'll give you a little taste of gambling,” said Bashir in a somewhat bossy manner.

Since she was carrying no latinum, Megan thought she had found the opportunity to bottle out of this whole gambling idea. “I haven't got any latinum on me at the moment, and this dress is so impractical; it has no pockets!”

Bashir ignored her complaint. “Here,” he said, passing to Megan ten strips of latinum.

With that Megan had no choice but to comply, she didn’t want to fight the two, and a part of her was mildly excited by the prospect of gambling.

While the entrance to the casino was elaborate, the inside was a huge flashing blur of bright lights, lit up tongo wheels, slot machines and various other gambling games. Megan had never seen a room with so much colour and vibe in her life, it put Las Vegas to shame. Most of the place was devoted to the tongo wheels, there were hundreds of patrons gambling away as if there life depended upon it.

A Ferengi staff member, who was the casino’s manager, walked over to the three. “Oh no not you two again,” he moaned, he looked suddenly nervous, but he regained his composure when he saw Megan. “Who is your lady friend?”

“Hello Fruk,” said Bashir jovially. “This is Megan a friend of mine.”

Fruk approached Megan. “Pleased to meet you,” he said graciously. Fruk then bowed down slightly, and Megan was somewhat confused by his behaviour.

Bashir looked suddenly awkward. “Megan...” he said out of the corner of his mouth.

For a moment Megan didn’t understand. “What?” Then she cottoned on. “Oh.”

Reluctantly she held out her hand, and Fruk gave her hand a quick kiss. Megan rolled her eyes in exasperation, she thought it was such an archaic gesture in front of a woman. Though she was quite amused to see Fruk use it.

Bashir seemed glad that this sticky moment was over, as he became more business-like with Fruk. “Before we get started, would it be possible to let Megan have one game on the tongo wheels?”

Fruk briefly looked at Megan, as if determining whether she was worthy of using the tongo wheels. “Why not? Do you have any latinum?”

“I have ten strips,” said Megan.

“Follow me,” said Fruk.

As she walked, Megan noticed some of the males who passed by where looking at her. She never really thought about how pretty she looked, though she must have looked good as some of the males were simply staring at her with there mouths open in a gormless manner. Megan wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed or amused, but at least the males simply let her walk by, or perhaps they were too embarrassed and stunned to even talk to her.

After a moment’s walking, the group arrived at one particular tongo wheel. Fruk turned around as if to confront Megan. “Not being nasty but you are a beginner at tongo?”

“Yes,” replied Megan.

“This group here are amateurs,” said Fruk gesturing with his hand at the people around at the tongo table. “But they are regular players, so have fun.”

“That's it, no advice, and I'm simply thrown into the bear pit?” said Megan sounding surprised.

Fruk grinned nastily. “Playing tongo is just like running a business, you either sink or you swim.” He then addressed Bashir and Nog. “Whenever you two gentlemen are ready just ask one of the staff members and they'll get you started.”

Feeling somewhat nervous Megan sat down, there were six other players at the tongo wheel. A female Ferengi who looked very wealthy, she was wearing a somewhat revealing dress made of what looked like a glassy material. There was another Ferengi, he was wearing the Ferengi equivalent of tuxedo, though there was no bow-tie. Next to him was a female Vulcan, she was dressed very formally and seemed positively nonplussed by the whole situation.

The next player was a male Trill, he gave Megan a small smile, though it seemed he was just as nervous as Megan but for different reasons. Next to him was a male Bajoran, he had a rough face and looked out a place wearing a tuxedo. He was constantly glaring at the male Cardassian. The Cardassian was wearing standard military uniform, it seemed the hotel staff were to afraid to challenge him, or perhaps he had bribed them so that they could bend the rules just for him.

Bashir leaned over to Megan and whispered quietly into her ear. “I trust you've remembered what I've told about you tongo.”

Megan kept her voice low. “More or less, at least I know what all the cards are and such.”

“And relax, don't look so nervous,” said Nog quietly.

With the encouragement Megan felt a bit better. “I'm not nervous, it's just that I have never gambled in my life.”

“Are you done talking, I’ve got a game to play!” said the Cardassian aggressively, he looked super cocky.

Megan briefly glared at the Cardassian, before taking her cards and waiting for the game to begin.
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 14 2011, 09:03 PM   #38
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3, part 2

At first nothing happened, it seemed no one trusted the person to spin the wheel. The female Vulcan sorted out this impasse.

“It seems logical that I should start first, given that no one trusts each other, and as a Vulcan I see no logical reason to cheat or to postpone this game any longer.”

Her comment was met with no objections, and she spun the wheel around. “Evade,” said the Vulcan.

Everyone said ‘evade’ accept for the Cardassian. “Confront,” he said.

As the game started, Megan felt her nerves disappear, she was going to follow a strategy of evading for as long as possible. The playing styles of each player became apparent after the first ten moves. The female Ferengi, Bajoran and Trill were following Megan’s style, while the Vulcan was predictably logical and calculating in her moves. The male Ferengi was erratic in game style, and becoming increasingly frustrated with his cards, the Cardassian though was aggressive always confronting or acquiring and it seemed at the male Ferengi’s expense.

Very soon the male Ferengi had no choice but to quit, he had ran out of money. Still Megan continued on with her strategy, the cards seemed decent and she was keeping her powder dry while adding a tiny amount to her initial sum of money. The Trill became more aggressive with his playing style, but the Cardassian once again drained his opponent’s latinum to zero. It was apparent that the Cardassian was on a roll of good luck, the female Ferengi didn’t seem bothered, though the Bajoran looked increasingly agitated by the Cardassian's run of luck.

Predictably the Vulcan was the next player to be eliminated, for all her logic, she didn’t have the gambling gene, and so didn’t have the skill of risk-taking and bluffing. Megan had decided to be a bit more aggressive, since she had to be to have enough latinum to match the Cardassian’s aggressive playing.

The specter of bad luck came to rest upon the Bajoran, with bad cards and little latinum he was easy pickings for the Cardassian. Having being eliminated, it looked like the Bajoran was going to punch the Cardassian in the face, but he had the good manners to restrain himself.

Megan was suddenly surprised that she had come so far, and was even more surprised by the latinum she and the Ferengi had gathered up. Now the female Ferengi was staring in a maddening manner at the Cardassian, she was psyching him out, and the Cardassian's gaming style was becoming more erratic. Megan saw the opportunity, and began to confront, now the Cardassian’s luck was beginning to run out along with his latinum. In a matter of minutes he was stripped clean of his latinum, and was forced to admit defeat.

It was just Megan and the female Ferengi. Now Megan was convinced her run of luck had come to a halt, there was no way she could beat that Ferengi. However a good string of cards, made Megan decide to confront, and confront hard. It was a good move, the Ferengi’s position became steadily more untenable, as Megan confronted whenever she had the good cards. Despite the pressure, the Ferengi looked calmly into Megan’s eyes and smiled. Suddenly Megan realized it was a hint, and the two words that she had been holding back from spilled from her mouth. “Total monopoly.”

The Ferengi grinned and laid down her cards, Megan did the same. After looking at Megan’s clearly superior cards, the Ferengi in a decent move shoved the latinum to Megan’s side of the table.

“I won!” said Megan sounding surprised; in the distance Bashir and Nog were looking at Megan with something like pride.

The Ferengi walked over to Megan and shook her hand. “Good game,” she said in a kind voice.

“That's the first time I've ever won!”

“It's because you've got the lobes, all females have, that's why we keep beating the men at Tongo! The men are too aggressive with their playing style, it's about evading for as long possible and then power your way to victory!”

Megan was somewhat surprised by the Ferengi’s impassioned speech. “Okay.”

With a last smile at Megan the Ferengi left the table.

Bashir walked over, he gave Megan a big friendly smile. “Nice one, you played really well.”

“Thanks,” said Megan, she paused and looked at the latinum, she realized she didn’t need it. “Listen take my winnings, it was never really my money in the first place.”

“Don't you want to play another game?” Bashir asked somewhat surprised by Megan’s attitude.

Megan shrugged her shoulders. “I got lucky. Go on just take the latinum, besides gambling just isn't my thing,” she said in a dismissive way as to belittle her achievement.

Nog collected the latinum, and the three proceeded to another tongo wheel. Megan found herself a chair and watched from a slight distance as Bashir and Nog joined with the six other players on the tongo table. However with this game, there was a Ferengi staff member present, he seemed to be watching the game to spot any sign of cheating.

The first game lasted for only five minutes, by the looks of it Bashir and Nog worked together to eliminate the six other players, and when it came to each other they were surprisingly evenly matched. It seemed Nog had really upped his game when it came to a real match between himself and Bashir.

Megan watched mesmerized as Bashir and Nog won game after game of tongo, she wasn’t the only one to watch. Soon a big crowd of people were gathering around to watch the whole spectacle. Soon Bashir and Nog were dealing in bricks of latinum. Megan couldn’t work out how they were so successful, there sense of anticipation was remarkable, and there style was totally erratic. They seemed to use confusing and illogical moves to rattle their opponents.

These opponents were some of the best tongo players on Ferenginar. But then Megan realized that Bashir and Nog actually worked together far more closely than she realized, however by the rules of Tongo that wasn’t illegal. The whole point of the game was to work, to a certain degree, with other players to eliminate weak players and then back stab your opponents.

After about two hours of this, there was a brief pause as Bashir and Nog got up just to have a quick refreshment. The crowd gave them a standing ovation, and when things died down, Bashir addressed the whole crowd telling them he was barely warmed up.

Sitting down utterly mesmerized had taken it out of Megan, she walked over to a food and drinks counter. She was unbelievably thirsty, as she followed the line to the counter a male Ferengi approached her.

“I like the dress.”

“Thanks,” said Megan cautiously, she wondered what this Ferengi wanted.

“My name is Tron by the way, and I've never seen such a beautiful female in my life.”

It was a blatant chat-up line, and it was apparent that Tron had no shame when it came to addressing women. “The answer is no by the way,” said Megan wearily.

Tron though didn’t seem to take no for an answer. “I know you want to.”

Now Megan was starting to get really annoyed, Nog had warned her about this. “No, now leave me alone!” she said heatedly.

However Tron utterly ignored Megan’s rejections. “I have this amazing holosuite program you know, we'll-”

Megan turned around and looked down menacingly at Tron. “If you don't stop talking you're going to regret it!” she hissed.

Tron though was full of bravado, he had fatally underestimated Megan. “Or else what?” he said in a leering and lewd manner. “You are a female you wouldn't dare hit me!”

He made an advance upon Megan and placed his hand around her hip. Totally enraged by his atrocious manners, Megan lashed out, and punched Tron straight in the nose with all the force she could muster.

Tron was knocked to the ground and blood was already pouring out of his nose, he lay on the ground whimpering. Megan walked over to him, and gave him a serious glare, at that point she felt ready to kill him. “Get it into your ugly, fat, stupid head, this female is not interested in you!”

Tron stood and wiped the blood spilling from his nose, he then left the scene at top speed, looking deeply embarrassed and furious.

Everyone was staring at Megan, and she decided to make it plain to everyone not to mess with her. “Is there anyone else stupid enough to bother me?”

Suddenly the whole crowd looked away and everyone acted normally, they seemed too afraid to look into her eyes.

When Megan had some refreshments, she noticed that Bashir and Nog both had a women each. Both women seemed to be throwing themselves at Bashir and Nog, and Megan was aghast at the smutty and indecent behaviour. It should be the women making the men beg and pamper to them, not the other way around, though Bashir and Nog seemed totally oblivious, and were smiling in a stupid manner as if they amazed at their ‘luck’.

Looking around, Megan saw many other women eyeing up Bashir and Nog. But it was to late, a middle aged human woman had her arm wrapped around Bashir’s waist, it looked like she wasn’t going to let go at all as if Bashir was all hers. While accompanying Nog was a stunning Haliian women, she made every women in the immediate scene look absolutely plain. The Haliian seemed to emanate beauty like waves of light coming from a star, Nog looked stunned by the women he was with.

The only good thing was that all the males were staring at the Haliian, and not one of them was staring at Megan which was nice.

Bashir and Nog, along with their respective women ‘friends’ returned to the tongo wheel. Megan had the not so good fortune, of being able to sit almost right next to Bashir and Nog at the tongo table. She overheard the conversations Bashir and Nog were having with their respective girlfriends, and the conversations were embarrassing to say the least. Mela, the human women, was practically cuddling Bashir constantly, one her of arms was around his back while her other hand was resting on Bashir’s lap and it steadily came closer to Bashir’s mid-rift…

Ackterial, the Haliian, was even worse, she constantly batted her eyelashes and was running her hands all over Nog’s body. It looked absolutely perverse to Megan, but all Nog was doing was grinning in a sheepish way.

Indeed Megan wondered whether Bashir and Nog were focusing more on the tongo wheel or their respective girlfriends. Both Mela and Ackterial were whispering such suggestive comments into Bashir’s and Nog’s ear that it made the hairs on the back of Megan’s neck stand up. Even the appeal of watching Bashir and Nog play tongo lost it lustre, as she was constantly cringing at Mela's and Ackterial’s behaviour.

Bashir and Nog had won so much latinum that the whole situation was getting out of hand, if no one stopped them they would the clean the WHOLE casino of it’s latinum. Indeed the crowd was getting so frenzied by Bashir and Nog’s success, Megan thought there would be riot breaking out anytime soon, the crowd’s mood was infectious even she felt riotously happy.

Bashir and Nog looked unrecognizable, their faces were gleeful and totally greedy. Finally Fruk walked over to the tongo wheel to end the madness, and put on the best stern face he could muster. “That's it you two are barred from this casino! You've reached the maximum level of winnings!”

There was outbreak out of mass booing from the huge crowd gathered around, followed by much huffing and puffing from the crowd. Though Bashir stood up and held up his hands to appeal for calm, Megan looked on, she thought Bashir’s head was so swollen with triumph, cockiness and attention it was going to explode. But on the other hand at least he was having fun.

Fruk addressed Bashir. “Your winnings sir will be sent up to you in your quarters.”

The crowd started dispersing, Megan walked over to Bashir and tried to say a few words before Mela started kissing Bashir. “That was amazing!” she said excitedly. “It was mesmerizing seeing you win again and again.”

“Thanks,” said Bashir grinning, while he fended off Mela’s advances.

Nog though seemed to have less restraint, he couldn’t keep his eyes off Ackterial. “If you don't mind, I'm turning in early, Ackterial is dying to know how I win every time at tongo!”

As Nog left, he quickly turned around, and gave a winning smile towards Bashir, he raised his hands with his thumbs up. Megan couldn’t believe Nog’s attitude, it was like Ackterial was simply the icing on the cake to Nog’s victory.

“That's one way to have fun,” Megan commented. “Win outright at tongo, and then get the pretty girl.”

She looked at Bashir, but he seemed a bit busy as he was kissing Mela.

“Anyway I've seen enough gambling for one night,” said Megan, though she doubted Bashir had heard her, since he and Mela were standing up, arm in arm and walking away back to one of their quarters.

Megan left the casino, for the initial two hours she did have some genuine fun winning that tongo game and watching Bashir and Nog win. Though Mela and Ackterial spoiled the last hour Megan spent in the casino. In Megan’s opinion their behaviour was unbefitting of a women, but she wasn’t go to lose to much sleep about it. She wished Bashir and Nog a good time even if it was so blatantly obvious that they were simply having a one-night stand.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 15 2011, 08:14 PM   #39
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 1

Day 7, 2330 hours

Returning to her quarters, Megan immediately took off her dress. She felt so energetic she didn’t feel like sleeping, so she put on her day clothes instead. When she was done changing, she thought she heard a faint splash which had come from Nog’s quarters. It seemed Nog and Ackterial were making out in the pool, very very passionately.

Megan smiled to herself and she hoped Nog was having fun. She then suddenly remembered about her desire to swim, so she picked up her thermal drier device, and her chronometer out of a draw next to the bed, and proceeded to the bathroom. Day or night the bathroom looked the same, she checked the swimming pool and noticed that one end was shallow, stepped and came to about two feet, it then sloped downwards to about six feet at the other end. For a swimming pool inside one’s quarters this was generously sized, it was about ten metres long and six metres wide.

She walked over to the shallow end of the pool, she carefully placed her thermal drier device and chronometre onto the floor, and she then checked what she was wearing. Her blue short sleeved shirt and white trousers were somewhat baggy and very opaque, the last thing Megan wanted was to come out of the pool and the shirt she was wearing became partially see-through. Even in private, she had a strict sense of decency and restraint. With everything sorted out, Megan took off her shoes and socks, and then slowly entered the pool.

The water was pleasantly warm, unlike in the lakes in the Appalachian mountains. Megan walked in until she was waist high, it was a nice sensation feeling her trousers billow around somewhat in the water. Finally the urge to swim became so great, that she dived in and swam close to the floor and right over to the deep end. It felt so liberating speeding through the water, as it brushed against her skin. She rose sharply upwards and her head broke the surface of the water, she breathed in deeply, feeling immensely rejuvenated. She trod some water, before doing some laps at top speed.

After a few dozen laps Megan was sitting on the steps at the lower end of the pool. Her arms and legs were somewhat achy, though she wasn’t surprised, as she hadn’t used those muscles in such a way for years. She remembered that at Starfleet Academy she was something of a swimming champion and she held the academy record for holding one’s breath underwater.

Megan then glanced at her chronometre, she realized she could time herself and see for just how long she could hold her breathe. She did this purely out of vain curiosity, besides she was on vacation and doings mindless things like this was all part of the idea.

Taking hold of the chronometre, Megan decided to see just how water-proof it was. She walked halfway along the pool, where the depth was about four feet. This was important since when holding one’s breathe for so long, she knew it was that vital that the person could simply stand up to resurface. With all the lactic acid in the muscles from low oxygen the person could only do one major physical movement before the muscles seized up from oxygen deprivation.

After readjusting the settings on her chronometre, Megan remembered the techniques she had learnt at the academy to hold one’s breath underwater. Breathing deeply, she then submerged, while her hand loosely clenched the chronometre. She kept her eyes open and became as still as possible, gazing aimlessly at the blurry vision under the water…


***


Bashir had just left his quarters to visit Megan, dressed in his night clothes. He and Mela had got passionate and made love for a very long time, and physically Bashir felt very content. Though mentally a voice in the back of his head was telling him that this was simply a transitory pleasure, and in a few days time he would not be seeing Mela again…

He brushed that thought aside, right now he was going to Megan’s quarters because Max had told him to keep on eye on Megan and to make sure she was having fun. Bashir thought this was a bit excessive, but as a doctor he valued everyone's physical and mental well-being, and as such was partial to Max's suggestion.

Standing outside of the door to Megan’s quarters, Bashir knocked once. There was no answer, though it was midnight and Megan was probably sleeping. “Megan, can you here me?”

He waited for a moment, there was no response and this worried Bashir, if Megan were sleeping then she would have woken up and eventually responded to the knock on the front door. Against his better judgement Bashir took out a master key (a key that could open all the doors to the hotel's rooms, which he had received from Mela) and opened the door. He knew how Megan valued her privacy, and if this was a false alarm then he was about to get a right mouthful from Megan.

Walking into the living room he looked around and saw Megan wasn’t there, so Bashir proceeded to the bedroom, Megan wasn’t in that room either. Clearly she was in the bathroom.

Cautiously, Bashir knocked on the bathroom door. “Megan, are you in there?”

There was no response, and Bashir started to get apprehensive, unless Megan had left her quarters for some reason she could only be in the bathroom. He knocked again more loudly. “Megan, can you hear me?”

Still there was no response, fearing the worst Bashir decided to enter the bathroom; now he was definitely intruding into Megan’s privacy. He opened the door and looked around, he noticed some rod like device on the left side of the pool. Suddenly Bashir did a double take, there was Megan submerged in the pool and she was simply sitting there. The water was so still, and he could see her figure quite clearly.

Bashir felt himself panicking, there was no sign that Megan was going to surface, and it seemed she had been underwater for a long time. Small air bubbles were coming to the water's surface, so Megan was still alive. There could only be one explanation; Megan was trying to drown herself. But Bashir could not allow Megan to do that, he was supposed to protect a patient’s life, sometimes even against their own wishes. Without hesitation he dived into the pool…


***


As Megan remained submerged, she suddenly noticed the disturbance in the water, and looking to her right she saw somebody coming towards her. This person then grabbed firmly onto her shoulders and lifted her upwards. Megan struggled with all her might and she was absolutely livid, why had this person just invaded her privacy?

When the two surfaced, Megan turned around and saw it was Bashir. Right now she was so furious at him. “What the hell are you doing in here?” she shouted.

Bashir was sopping wet, but his face looked very nervous. “You were in the water so long, I thought you were drowning-”

“You idiot I was holding my breathe underwater, I was practicing the techniques I had learnt in the Starfleet Academy survival course!”

Realizing his mistake, Bashir looked very embarrassed. “I'm sorry...” he said in a quiet voice.

Some of Megan’s anger ebbed. “You think I was trying to kill myself didn't you?”

Bashir looked mightily awkward. “Well at the time I thought you were.”

Megan bristled with indignation. “However emotionally hurt I may be doctor-”

“Please just call me Julian,” said Bashir.

“Julian, whatever, I am not suicidal! Anyway why did you come to my quarters in the first place? And how did you get inside without a key?”

With every moment that passed, Bashir looked more and more embarrassed. “Well about the key, I've got a master key-it can open up any room I like, just a little something Mela gave me. Now erm... about why I came here... Max asked me to check up on you, that's why I came here just to make sure you won't erm... upset.”

The anger that burned inside Megan faded, Bashir was simply looking out for her, but their timing and actions had been most unfortunate. “That's kind of him, I'm sorry I got so angry, it's just I value my privacy you know.”

There was a long pause between the two, and Bashir was simply staring into Megan’s eyes. Now it was Megan’s turn to feel embarrassed, she realized that Bashir was attracted to her, it was that look of love in his eyes.

Megan hadn’t realized just how close she was to Julian, she was less than two feet away from him. One part of Megan wanted to move closer and kiss his lips, this was the first time she had ever felt intimate with a man since leaving Jack.

Almost as soon as she had those intimate feelings, she quickly quashed them. This was lust not love, and she had to make this clear to Bashir before he kissed her first. Otherwise it would next to impossible for her to resist against him.

“Listen erm... Julian, don't you have Mela waiting for you in your quarters?”

Bashir looked disappointed. “Of course...”

He promptly moved away from Megan, and left the pool. Megan did the same, and kept a certain distance from Bashir.

Bashir looked really awkward, as the water dripped down off his body onto the floor. “I’m totally soaked.”

Megan stooped down, took the thermal drier and passed it Bashir. “Here, use this to dry down.”

As Bashir dried himself, the thermal drier simply evaporated the water as he passed it over his body.

After about a minute, Bashir was bone dry and it looked like the whole pool incident had never happened, he then passed to Megan the thermal drier.

There was an awkward silence between the two, and when Megan was completely dry, Bashir finally broke the silence. “Thanks a lot, Mela would have asked some awkward questions if I had arrived back soaked to the skin.”

“She would probably think that you and I had made love in the pool,” said Megan jokingly.

Bashir didn’t laugh, and he looked seriously into Megan’s eyes. “Erm... back there, in the pool-”

“Nothing happened okay? Whatever you felt, for me romance or an intimate relationship is out of the question, I could be your friend but that is all.”

Bashir recognized the rejection, he looked somewhat forlorn. “Of course, anyway I must get back to my quarters.”

Once Bashir was gone, Megan returned to her bedroom and slumped onto the bed. For a moment back there in the pool she was very tempted to simply kiss Bashir, and to be intimate. All she felt was confusion, after the ordeal of Tau Primia and Jack’s betrayal, she never expected to be intimate with another man so soon.

One part of her was afraid of being intimate, she wasn’t sure that she was ready for an intimate relationship with another man, not after what Jack and Bordak did to her... They had destroyed her ability to trust a man whom she was romantically involved with, it didn’t matter how well-intentioned, honest or truthful that man would be, there would always be that part of her too afraid to trust.

Though another more powerful reason for rejecting Bashir was her strong sense of decency and honour. If she made love to Bashir, then she would be hurting Mela's feelings, and that would be very wrong.

A strange thought entered Megan’s mind, she suddenly wished that it was Max who had entered the pool and not Bashir. She didn’t understand why that thought popped up, and she began to wonder if she had feelings for Max. After a moment’s thinking, she convinced herself that all of this was in her head. She had been tempted by a brief infatuation, which was simply an urge to have sex with Bashir, and she had the decency to restrain herself.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 15 2011, 08:14 PM   #40
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 2

Day 8, 0700 hours

After the excitement of last night, the next morning was something of a let down for Bashir. Sure he had won all that latinum, and he had Mela, but all he could do was think about Megan. He had woke up early for some reason, and after carefully getting out of bed so as to not disturb Mela, he want to his favorite cafe on the ground floor. He was surprised to see Nog already there in the cafe. There was silence between the two as they steadily consumed more alcoholic beverages.

At first it was a lot of synthohol, then Bashir had a black hole, but as he drank he didn’t really taste anything as his mind was somewhere else.

“Do you want another black hole?” said Nog.

Bashir looked down in surprise to find that his glass was empty. “No... I don't feel like drinking.”

All he felt like doing was thinking, or wishing, and his gaze drifted into space.

“Uh oh, I've seen that look before,” said Nog.

“What look?” said Bashir in a somewhat distant voice.

“The look of I'm in love with the women of my dreams.”

Bashir was suddenly brought to his senses. “Ridiculous!” he exclaimed, though he said the word with more loudness than was necessary.

“First it was Jadzia, then Ezri, I didn't realize you took a shine to Mela so quickly.”

“It’s not Mela...”

“Who is it then?” asked Nog, he sounded super interested.

Bashir paused, he wasn’t sure how to say this without getting embarrassed by Nog. “Don't laugh but it's... it's Megan.”

Nog laughed out loud and the contents of the black hole drink came spilling out of his mouth. Hastily Nog wiped his mouth. “Sorry about that…”

Taking out a tissue Nog mopped up some of the mess on the table. “Megan, are you serious?” he said in jovial manner.

Despite Nog’s jibe, Bashir completely ignored it, he didn’t really care what Nog thought about this. “It's just that these last few days with Megan have been... wonderful. She's a brilliant women, intelligent, nice and so beautiful...”

Something in Nog’s face seemed to suggest he was cringing from embarrassment. “I thought you didn't really like her?”

“I know there's all those questions about what really happened to the Liberty, and what exactly was Megan's involvement in all of that. But whatever you might think of her, I cannot believe for an instant that she was responsible for the Liberty's destruction or for the attempted assassination of Gul Bordak.”

The hilarity was removed from Nog’s face, replaced with a look of concern for his friend's love for Megan. “Okay I admit, there is the possibility that Megan is innocent, but forget all of that, have you told her about your feelings?”

Here came the snag, the thing that popped the happy bubble that Bashir was experiencing. “That's it I can't tell her, I don't think Megan would reciprocate those feelings.”

Nog shook his head in disapproval. “Oh boy, you've definitely got a crush on her, you've fallen head over heels in love, and you haven't thought all of this through.”

“What is there to think about?” said Bashir angrily.

Nog looked in a patronizing way towards Bashir, it was like a teacher explaining to a small child why two plus two equalled four. “Did it ever occur to you, that Megan doesn't love you because she has been put off by romance and other males?”

“What do you mean?” said Bashir, he sounded nervous, as cold reality shattered his romantic fantasies.

“Well first there's Jack, she may have had a relationship with him, but Jack was taken away and arrested. If Megan really did love Jack, then she will be feeling terribly hurt and betrayed, she will probably be afraid of having another intimate relationship with a man. Of course she was tortured in the Tau Primia prison, probably by Gul Bordak himself. I've checked the Liberty survivors accounts, nearly all of the survivors were raped, and what happened to the women doesn't bare thinking of. So Megan feels deeply violated, add all these factors together and you've got a women who will want to avoid intimacy and romance for a very long time.”

Bashir marveled at what Nog had deduced, suddenly he felt very stupid about his crush on Megan. “I know... but I haven't had these feelings for a women in a very long time, not since well... the time Ezri and I were in a relationship.”

Nog looked sadly at Bashir, as he looked in a pitiful way at his friends dilemma. “I don't see what you can do, I mean for all the women you could fall for it had to be Megan. You could be waiting for a very long time you know.”

This was the truth of the matter and Bashir had no choice but to accept it. “Your right, I mean I got over Jadzia and I can do the same with Megan.”

It had taken two years for Bashir to fully get over Jadzia, and even afterwards he sometimes still wished Jadzia loved him. All of those feelings were shattered after Jadzia’s death, and then came Ezri, it was so ironic that he eventually had a relationship with Dax. Despite the break-up with Ezri, the only women Bashir felt he could really love and have true happiness with was Ezri. But the rift that sprung between the two was too big to seal... At least he had Mela upstairs in his quarters…

Bashir stood up. “I’m going back to my quarters, and spend some time with Mela.”

Nog nodded. “You know what, I think I’ll go back to my quarters, Ackterial is so amazing…”

Bashir walked out of the cafe, he hoped he would get over Megan soon, but he felt so miserable. He was 52 and still a bachelor, and he feared he was going to grow old without a wife or a women he really loved at his side. Mela was simply a distraction, she would be gone the moment he left Ferenginar. For all his charm, intelligence and good looks it had given him zero success in finding a stable relationship. Even Odo who was devoid of good looks and charm, was happily married to the love of his life which was Kira. So why couldn’t Bashir find happiness?


***


Day 8, 1100 hours

It was late in the morning, and Megan was on the top of the building, sitting down on a sunbed next to the open air swimming pool. She was a reading a book from a pad, and doing her best to ignore Bashir and Mela, for Mela was snuggled up right next to Bashir. The pink dress Mela was wearing was unbelievably tight, and it clung to her voluptuous body and showed amble amounts of her cleavage.

Megan wondered how Mela could even breathe in such a dress. Right now it was so embarrassing for Megan just being in Bashir’s and Nog’s presence. Occasionally Bashir and Mela would kiss, and Mela would rest right on top of Bashir’s body. Such public displays of affection became almost excruciatingly embarrassing for Megan. At least with Ackterial giving Nog oo-mox it wasn’t so obvious.

Out of the corner of her eye, Megan show Tron approaching her. After last night, she couldn’t believe it, she threw the padd against a stand and stood up to confront Tron. “You again! You have some nerve showing up after I smashed your nose in!”

“I do love a woman who resists my charm,” said Tron eagerly.

Bashir stood up, and he looked rather menacingly towards Tron. “Is this the Ferengi who was bothering you last night Megan?”

“She's mine!” said Tron, in an aggressive manner.

Tron had annoyed Megan for the last time, and she had a cunning plan to get rid of him. “Let me deal with this,” she told Bashir. “Have you got a brick of gold-pressed latinum on you?”

“I have,” said Bashir, he took out the brick of latinum from the front of his shirt and passed it to Megan.

“Thanks,” said Megan, she then turned around to face Tron, it was time to play his perverse game. She made her voice suitably warm and seductive. “Say Tron, do you want this?”

As much as Tron wanted Megan, he wanted the brick of latinum a lot more. Pure greed shone from his eyes, he seemed to be almost slobbering over both the latinum and Megan. “Yes I do!” he said in a hushed voice.

Megan walked over next to the pool, and predictably Tron followed her. She was standing right at the edge of the pool, and Tron was very close to her. “Do you really want it?” she said, tempting Tron further as she swung the brick in front of his face.

Tron nodded eagerly, he was like a puppy waiting to suckle from the mother’s teat.

“Then come and get it!” She chucked the brick into the pool. Almost immediately Tron dived into the pool to retrieve the brick.

Megan felt supremely triumphant. “Ha!” she said nastily.

Tron resurfaced and he looked furious, as he looked like an complete idiot diving into the pool fully clothed just to retrieve some latinum. In fact he was so furious he could barely string two words together. “You... you... are... are...”

“What?” said Megan innocently.

Tron regained some of his composure. “It's over between us, you are a manipulative female who is unworthy of me!”

After that outburst he stormed off in fury, Megan watched him go with a deep sense of satisfaction. “Funny, I didn't think there was anything between 'us'.”

Nog was intrigued just enough by the whole scene with Megan, that he seemed to be ignoring the oo-mox Ackterial was giving him. “Way to show him up, what a prat!”

With Nog’s attention diverted, Ackterial became more vigorous in how she gave oo-mox. The result was instant, Nog became suddenly aroused. “Ahh! That's... that's really good!”

“Anything for my tongo king!” said Ackterial with sickening sweetness.

Megan could not help it, she sniggered at just how mushy and submissive Ackterial was towards Nog.

Despite the oo-mox, Nog had heard Megan’s sniggering. “There's nothing to laugh at, Bashir and I are the best players at tongo!”

Megan was about to continue reading but thought better of it. “I can't stand sitting around any more, do you two want to walk?”

“Good idea,” said Bashir. “Do you want to come Mela?”

Mela pouted slightly to express her disapproval. “I think I'll stay here, besides I hardly ever walk...”

“I'm staying here with Ackterial,” said Nog. It was a wonder he could still coherently speak through the intense oo-mox Ackterial was giving him. “In fact Ackterial why don't we return to my quarters and you can give me some more oo-mox in private.”

“Anything for you dear,” said Ackterial softly, she batted her eyelids rapidly.

Megan inwardly cringed, it was so obvious that Ackterial was only sticking with Nog for the money and the sex, and Nog was stupid enough to go along with it. Mind you he was a Ferengi, though at least Bashir seemed to have more sense. However Megan suspected that Mela was starting to lose interest in Bashir, though Megan wasn’t at all surprised by this.

As she and Bashir walked back to their respective quarters, Megan felt sincerely sorry for Bashir and Nog, they had so obviously confused love with lust. Megan knew that because she had once acted the role of a woman just like Mela and Ackterial. In her Starfleet Intelligence years, sometimes she had to infiltrate a criminal organization.

She usually either posed as a prostitute, or a mistress or a concubine, and used her body to get close to the person wanted dead or captured in an SI mission. She knew how to be submissive and seductive to make weak minded men fall for her charm. Though she took no pleasure in having that skill, and the times when she had used it, it felt like she was shredding her humanity to pieces…


***


Day 8, 1900 hours

The second day of her vacation had been a good one, the main highlight was another big walk around one area of the Ferengi countryside. Bashir and Nog were going to check if they could still gamble in the casino, and Megan suspected that they would ask her to come along. Sure enough there was a knock on the door, Bashir was dressed in a tuxedo though Nog wasn’t.

Strangely Mela and Ackterial weren’t with Bashir and Nog.

“Where's Mela?” Megan asked Bashir.

The look of disappointment on Bashir’s face told it all for Megan, Bashir looked seriously forlorn. “She's left Ferenginar, apparently she had urgent business elsewhere, but I did some checking and it turns out she was on vacation with her husband. She used me just to give herself some pleasure...”

Megan expected to hear another sob story of loss from Nog. “What about you Nog?”

“Oh Ackterial is just waiting for me in her quarters, she is something special I can tell you. Anyway we're just about to go to this beautician's parlour, next to the main swimming pool complex, it's a shop that provides amazing massages, for a price of course. I was just wondering if you wanted to come along?”

Gambling was bad enough, but Megan wasn’t sure if she accommodate a massage. “I don't know...”

“You won't regret it, afterwards you will feel amazing,” said Bashir.

“Go on,” said Nog enthusiastically. “Treat yourself, you're on vacation!”

The two were absolutely right, and Megan decided to throw caution to the wind. “Oh what the hell...”

It was a decision she didn’t regret. Inside the beautician parlour, Megan had one handsome and very hunky man who gave her the most amazing message of her life. For the first time she didn’t feel embarrassed, as she let the man press his fingers against her bare back. Of course this man was absolutely professional about it, the moment Megan requested privacy to put her shirt back on, he disappeared from the room in an instant.

Being on Ferenginar gave Megan a freedom she had never felt in years, she was becoming used to pampering herself, and she was looking forward to the next twelve days of her stay on Ferenginar, where she could further indulge and treat herself…
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 16 2011, 08:21 PM   #41
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 5, part 1

Day 9: 0800 hours

Megan had got up early in the morning, she seemed to be sleeping less and yet felt less tired. She had already got dressed and was lying down on the bed reading from a padd, when suddenly there was a loud knock on her door.

“CFT! Open the door!” said a Ferengi voice.

Wondering what ‘CFT’ was, Megan got off the bed, and walked over to the front door. She hoped this wasn’t some sort of prank, she opened the door. Two Ferengi policemen suddenly burst in and they restrained Megan and tried to handcuff her. “Hey! Get off!” she yelled.

She twisted and squirmed against the two policemen, and she didn’t notice a third Ferengi enter the room.

“I'd advise you to stop struggling if I were you,” said the third Ferengi. “Unless you want attempted assault added to your charges.”

Megan looked at the unusually tall Ferengi. “What charges?” she snarled. “Who are you?”

The Ferengi stepped forward, leering at Megan. “I'm Brunt head of the Commission of Fair Trading, or CFT.”

At that moment a Ferengi policemen slapped handcuffs onto Megan.

“Search the rooms for a data rod,” said Brunt.

The second Ferengi policemen searched everywhere, finally in the bedroom he had found what he was looking for, he came back to Brunt. “I've found it!”

He passed to Brunt the data rod, and Brunt looked like an eagle ready to swoop in to catch it’s pray. “Tut tut tut,” he said as he analyzed the data rod. “This just so happens to be the data rod containing a highly secret meeting.” He then sounded far more nastier. “You are under arrest Ms Felpes for harbouring an illicit data rod, which was stolen from the Grand Nagus himself!”

Megan could not believe what was happening, this was so unfair and unjust. “What data rod? I've never even seen it until now! Someone has framed me!”

Brunt glowered at Megan. “Don't lie to me hew-mon!”

“Take her away!” he ordered to the policemen.

When the four were just outside the main hotel’s entrance, Bashir and Nog came running out of the doors to confront Brunt.

“What's going on here?” demanded Bashir. “Why are you arresting Megan, she's a Federation citizen, you have no jurisdiction.”

Brunt advanced menacingly towards Bashir. “I have every jurisdiction, Megan was caught red-handed with a illicit data rod, a data rod which belongs to the grand Nagus!”

“It seems to me that someone has planted it there to frame Megan!”

He tried to dive around Brunt in an attempt to free Megan.

Brunt though stood his ground. “Stay away from the suspect! Or you and your Ferengi friend here will be arrested as well.”

Nog grabbed Bashir by the shoulder, to restrain him. “Come on, let's get out of here.”

“We'll clear your name Megan, I promise!” said Bashir.

After Megan had been taking away, Bashir had to convince Nog that Megan had indeed been framed. “You believe that Megan is innocent don't you?”

Nog looked undecided. “Well... I'm not to sure about that.”

“Dammit Nog,” said Bashir angrily. “She's been so obviously framed!”

Finally Nog came around to Bashir’s conviction that Megan was innocent. “It looks like it, well I suppose the obvious thing to do is to contact Odo.”

The two walked back into the hotel, Bashir hoped Odo could do something to help Megan. “It's funny because it seems Odo was almost expecting something like this to happen...”


***


Day 9: 0900 hours

Bashir walked back into his quarters, he proceeded to his bedroom where he took out his laptop from a chest of draws. Sitting down on a chair next to a small table, Bashir placed his laptop on the table, he glanced to his left at his luggage bag. There were still a few things inside there and he suddenly remembered about the sub-space relay device which Odo had given to him.

After retrieving the device, Bashir settled back into the chair, and configured the device to send transmissions via the laptop. With everything sorted out, Bashir sent a signal and presumed the signal would be going to another sub-space relay device which Odo possessed. As Bashir waited he thought about going to Megan’s quarters, and using his tricorder to scan for any signs of the person who planted the data rod.

Even though Megan’s quarters were no longer being investigated by the police, however he decided it was a bad idea. He knew it would look suspicious on his part if he were to snoop around the room and someone noticed.

Indeed Nog was asking various staff members whether it would be possible if he could move Megan’s possessions into his own quarters. Bashir thought it was a generous act on Nog’s part, and he wondered if Nog was overcoming his reservations about Megan.

Finally after waiting for ten minutes, Bashir got a reply and on the laptop’s screen was Odo. Before Odo could say anything, Bashir started talking. “Odo, it's about Megan she's-”

“Been arrested I know,” said Odo, for some reason he sounded strained and tired. “At the time of Megan’s arrest, were there any Ferengi officials aside from the police?”

“There was Brunt, he’s now the head of the CFT.”

“Watch out for Brunt, all I can say is that there is a connection between Brunt and CFT's unofficial change in policy regarding security for tourists.”

Bashir wasn’t interested in CFT’s political agendas, he was desperate to know how Megan could be freed. “But what can we do for Megan? I mean how do we prove she is innocent?”

Odo paused, he seemed to be considering his words carefully. “Don't do anything, I will handle this matter and determine whether Megan has been framed or not.”

“You make it sound as if Megan could be guilty, isn’t it obvious that she has been framed?”

Odo rolled his eyes in exasperation. “I know that, but I am keeping this investigation as impartial as possible. If Megan is innocent then I will do everything I can to free her, but if she is guilty I will do my utmost to bring Megan to justice.

Bashir felt relieved, he knew that Odo always firmly believed in justice, and he deeply respected Odo’s sense of honesty and justness. “Thank you Odo for doing this.”

Odo returned Bashir’s gratitude with a brief nod. “I think it would be for the best if you and Nog left Ferenginar, and returned to DS9.” Briefly Odo looked around, it seemed he was transmitting from somewhere that wasn’t private. “Listen I'm certain the CFT is monitoring this transmission, so I'll be brief; when you return to DS9 contact Ezri and inform her of what has happened to Megan.”

Suddenly the transmission ended, it also spelt the end of Bashir’s vacation, but he was in no mood to continue on with his vacation, not when Megan was being held against her will. Bashir was sure Nog would have no objections to cutting short the vacation and returning to DS9. Having said that Nog would do anything for Bashir, short of breaking the law. This was one reason why Bashir considered Nog such a great friend, likewise he would do the same if Nog needed help.
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Old October 16 2011, 08:22 PM   #42
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 5, part 2

Day 9: 1300 hours

Infiltrating the Ferengi Tower of Commerce was so easy for Odo. He didn’t have to sneak around, instead he posed as one of the staff members. In his time in the Great Link, Odo finally learnt the art behind shapeshifting. As such Odo could shapeshift into any person and look exactly like that person, of course one thing that Odo didn’t change was his face. That was he wanted to display to people, and of course Kira liked Odo keeping his face as it was.

For the last bit of the journey to Rom’s office, Odo realized that the security around Rom’s office was too tight and that he couldn’t slip in undetected. However that didn’t matter, Odo was certain that he could get to Rom’s office via the ventilation system. A minute later Odo had shapeshifted and was drifting through the pipes as a clump of water vapour. If someone saw him all they would see was fog inside a pipe, it was the perfect form.

When Odo encountered some sensors and alarms inside the pipe leading to the ventilation vent in Rom’s office, he was impressed. Clearly Rom had thought of every contingency, but knowing Rom that wasn’t surprising, for Rom was highly gifted with electronics and machinery. Odo figured that Rom would be absolutely paranoid about security, however there wasn’t a sensor known to exist that could properly detect a disguised shapeshifter.

Odo simply drifted through the pipework, before billowing out silently behind Rom who was working at his desk, he then shapeshifted to the left of Rom. “Well hello Rom,” he said with a hint of humour.

Rom flinched badly in surprise, the padd fell from his hands and landed on the desk. “Security!” said Rom, in a terrified voice.

Odo leaned forwards and glared at Rom. “Don't worry I'm not an assassin.”

Rom turned around on his chair to face Odo, when he saw Odo the terror disappeared from his face. “Odo? How did you get in here and slip past security?”

“I have a better question; why has the CFT arrested Megan?”

There was a hint of awkwardness displayed by Rom. “I’m sorry but that's classified, I can't answer your question.”

Almost immediately Odo inwardly groaned, he once tried to ask Rom questions regarding the sabotage of DS9’s deflector array 21 years ago. Suffice to say he had got nothing out of Rom, and before Odo could think about a means of loosening Rom’s lips, Quark entered the room.

“What's going on Rom, I heard you-”

Quark noticed Odo, and for a moment Quark looked very gormless as he came to terms with what he saw. But very quickly Quark’s bravado and cheeky manner returned, and he grinned gleefully at Odo. “And to think I thought you were smart Odo; your in serious trouble trespassing-”

Odo advanced menacingly towards Quark, he was having none of Quark’s quick witted remarks. “Spare me your whining,” he snarled. “I want answers to the following questions; why has the CFT arrested Megan? Was Megan actually involved in taking that data rod? And finally why is the CFT arresting at random tourists who haven’t committed any crimes?

Before answering the questions, Quark took a chair from the desk and sat down, he put a finger to his the tip of the left ear and cocked his head slightly to the left.

Odo patiently waited for Quark’s answer, for it seemed Quark was doing a great deal of thinking.

Rom simply sat there, his gaze flitted between Odo and Quark, for some reason when Rom wasn’t doing anything he looked very gormless.

Finally Quark answered Odo’s questions. “It's all part of a bigger problem... You see there are many Ferengi companies and business people deeply opposed to a currency union between the Ferengi and the Cardassians. The CFT arresting all these people is simply an attempt to blackmail my brother, they think by jeopardizing Ferengi’s tourism sector, Rom will be forced to back down from the currency union. This currency union is all my brother's idea. In the short-term it would be a disaster for the Ferengi economy as it would devalue gold-pressed latinum by up to 20%. But in the long-term there are major benefits.”

“Such as?” inquired Odo and he gave Quark a rather fixed stare to let Quark know that he wasn’t to be messed with.

“Cardassian nanotechnology,” answered Quark, “the Cardassians used it to rebuild their economy. Likewise when the Ferengi get there hands on it, via a technology trade, it will totally revolutionize the Ferengi economy.”

“But Ferengi companies are too concerned about the present, so they're protesting like mad,” added Rom.

“And guess who is personally involved in trying to stop the currency union?” said Quark.

There was only one Ferengi that came to Odo’s mind. “Brunt?”

At the very mention of Brunt’s name, Rom hissed angrily. “He's using this currency union as an opportunity to discredit me, so that he can become Grand Nagus.”

Quark sighed and shook his head slightly. “I told you brother not to give him a second chance.”

Odo wasn’t interested in Brunt at the moment, his main priority was Megan. “So what was in the data rod which Megan was arrested for?”

Quark and Rom both looked at each other, they seemed to be considering whether Odo could be trusted with the answer. After a moment the two nodded and Quark answered Odo’s question. “It contained a top-secret meeting between the Grand Nagus and President Garak, it's simply a recording. But ah... it was stolen, probably by Brunt, and now unofficially he's using it to blackmail my brother. If the contents of that data rod get out into the public domain; well it could really spook Ferengi investors, so much so that it may snuff out any prospect of reaching a currency union agreement.”

Now Odo was convinced of Megan’s innocence, and the injustice really riled him. “And so Megan is simply a pawn in the game which Brunt is playing?”

“Yeah, you could say that,” said Quark lightly.

“Maybe Odo could help us to dig up some dirt on Brunt!” said Rom suddenly.

For a moment, Quark looked at Odo in an opportunistic manner, it seemed Quark really liked Rom’s idea.

However Odo was determined to squash the idea flat. “I'm not getting involved in your petty politics. I have a better idea; why not help me free Megan and I'll keep my mouth shut about this currency union?”

This wasn’t the terms that Quark and Rom wanted, but they both seemed to realize there could be no negotiating with Odo.

“Agreed,” said Quark.


***


Day 10, 0800 hours

Megan stirred, she suddenly realized how lumpy and uncomfortable the bed she was sleeping on was. This came as no surprise, this was a cell in the biggest prison on Ferenginar. The room was coloured a dull brown, and a force field fizzled from the wide doorway. On the other side of the force field, Megan could see the Ferengi prison warden at his station, tapping controls on various consoles. The Ferengi looked bored out of his mind as he worked.

Prisoner comforts were irrelevant, and it showed with the food. Sitting up on the bed, Megan noticed that at the hatch to slip food into, there was a bowl of tube grubs on the little platform.

The tube grubs were absolutely revolting, they were alive and it was the most unpleasant sensation for Megan eating something that wriggled in her mouth and tasted like rotten food. But even the unpleasantness of eating live tube grubs paled with how horrible she was feeling. Yet again she had been framed, and if she was found guilty she could be facing many years in a Ferengi prison. The injustice of it all angered Megan immensely, although sometimes it made her feel like crying.

On those occasions, Megan felt her eyes burn, and she fought not to let any tears spill from her eyes. She wasn't going to give the Ferengi guard the pleasure of allowing herself to fall into pieces. This whole situation reminded Megan of two months ago when Jack had framed her, she could not understand why the last two and a half years of her life were filled with such rotten luck and horrible events.

What had she done to deserve being tortured senseless for two years, or being framed by her ex-lover, or having been framed now? She may have done some dubious things as an SI agent, but that was part of her job. Outside of her job, she was an honest person, who eschewed all forms of criminal activity and wrongdoing, and more importantly she wasn't a fighter.

Megan had known quite a few people who took pleasure in confronting verbally or physically other people. However she took no pleasure in using force against other person, unless absolutely necessary and whenever possible she always avoided a fight. All she wanted to do was to rebuild her life and try to reclaim the humanity that Bordak removed from her. Now she couldn't any of those things because she was stuck in a Ferengi prison, and this depressed her so badly that she considered giving up. She could not keeping on living if calamity after calamity struck her constantly.
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 17 2011, 07:15 PM   #43
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 6

Day 10: 1600 hours

Bashir and Nog walked together up the steps to the commander's office, they were still wearing there civilian clothes, and when at the door, Bashir pressed the door chime.

“Come in!” said Ezri.

Bashir walked in first, followed by Nog.

“I’m sorry to intrude you captain,” said Bashir, “but Megan has been arrested on Ferenginar!”

Ezri seemed to take the news with very little reaction. “On what charges?”

“The charge is one of illegally possessing state property; in this case it is a data rod.”

Ezri’s eyebrows rose slightly. “A data rod?”

It appeared that Ezri thought that the two were pulling her leg. Feeling that Bashir hadn’t conveyed the magnitude of the problem Nog spoke up. “We think Megan has been framed by the CFT, that’s the commission of fair trading. Though for what purpose I'm not sure.”

Putting her hands together, Ezri was clearly doing some furious and fast thinking, she then lowered her hands as if coming to a decision. “To be honest it was only a matter of time before a Starfleet officer was arrested by the Ferengi authorities. You see Odo has informed me of the unusual practices CFT has been carrying out for the last month now. It seems to suggest that the Ferengi government could be possibly unstable... Before I do anything I need to find out if Megan is innocent. I do have a question for you two; how did you manage to contact Odo?”

Nog removed the subspace relay device from his trouser pocket, and showed it to Ezri. “With this.”

Carefully Ezri removed the device from Nog’s hands and she briefly examined it. “Thank you for telling me this. ” She looked up from the device. “Is there anything else I should know?”

“No,” said Bashir.

Bashir turned to leave, and Nog quickly followed, whenever possible Bashir always tired to have as little conversation with Ezri as possible and it was always uncomfortable being in Ezri’s presence. Right now though he was relying on Ezri to find a way to free Megan…


***


When Ezri had set up the sub-space relay device and had it configured with the laptop, she sent a comm link to Odo. As she waited, she hoped that Megan was innocent. Ezri's gut instinct told her that Megan could not have committed that crime, but if Megan was guilty then it would mean the end of Megan’s Starfleet career.

After a few minutes of waiting, she received a comm link from Odo. Here was the opportunity for Ezri to get to the bottom of this matter concerning Megan. “Constable, I have been told by Bashir and Nog that Megan has been arrested, are the charges against her actually valid?”

“Before I go on, I must warn you captain that this communication is being monitored by the CFT. So I will be as brief and as short as possible; all I can say is that I'm certain Megan is innocent.”

Ezri realized that if Odo thought Megan was innocent, then Megan was almost certainly innocent and she had been framed. However if Megan had been framed, and there had been a miscarriage of justice against her, then Ezri wondered how she could prove Megan’s innocence to the Ferengi authorities. Ezri chose her next words for Odo very carefully. “If Megan is innocent then how do we free her?”

“I'm not certain, but I will find a way, Odo out.”

The comm link ended and Ezri turned the laptop off. She sat in her chair thinking about ways to free Megan. Of course there was the possibility that the Ferengi authorities couldn’t be reasoned with, and in the interests of avoiding an diplomatic incident between the Federation and the Ferengi Alliance, Megan would have to be freed.

On the other hand a diplomatic incident was unavoidable if the Ferengi government refused to release a Starfleet officer who was innocent of a crime she never committed. One thing Ezri knew that the Federation were good at was applying diplomatic pressure. If the Federation threatened to sever trade links with the Ferengi Alliance, then maybe the Ferengi government would release Megan.

After coming to that conclusion, Ezri decided it was time she contacted a few admirals to bring Megan’s case into the Federation’s attention…


***


Day 11: 0900 hours

Odo stood next to Rom’s desk as he waited for Garak to arrive. Rom had called for an emergency meeting with Garak, regarding the stolen data rod containing a recording of one of the meetings that had taken place concerning the currency union.

It wouldn’t take long for Garak to arrive, as Garak was on board a Cardassian warship orbiting Ferenginar. Odo had not seen Garak in over eighteen years, indeed he had many questions for Garak, though it was more than likely that he would never get the chance to have a one-to-one conversation with Garak.

Garak entered Rom’s office, he was dressed smartly in Cardassian government attire. What surprised Odo was that Garak seemed to have hardly changed in appearance; there were a few more wrinkles on Garak’s face and some of his hair was turning gray. Though Odo had not seen Garak look so serious, of course ruling the Cardassian Union must be hard work.

As Garak walked into the office, his eyes flicked to where Quark and Odo were standing. “I thought this was to be a private meeting?”

Rom seemed to wince slightly at the icy tone in Garak’s voice. “I regret to inform you president but a recording of one of our private meetings has been stolen. It is only a matter of time before the Ferengi Alliance knows about it.”

“Stolen?” said Garak ominously. “If the word gets out... with the full details of this currency union, and of course the concessions on both sides, the Cardassian currency will be severely punished!”

Garak’s voice was rife with anger, and it also seemed that he was losing patience with Rom.

Rom tried his best at glossing over the situation. “Unfortunate perhaps, but-”

Garak took a menacing step forwards and he stared coldly into Rom’s eyes. “May I remind you Nagus that twenty percent of the Ferengi Alliance's exports goes to the Cardassian Union. Cardassia is a self-sufficient economy, if the currency union isn't agreed upon, then the Cardassian currency will be abolished for it will have no purpose.”

Smiling deviously, it seemed Garak was running rings around Rom, for Rom looked aghast.

“You can't do that!” protested Rom. “Ferengi investors who hold Cardassian currency reserves would incur massive losses!”

The anger disappeared from Garak’s face, and it was replaced with a smug look.
“Perhaps if you rectified this situation, that possibility might not occur. Good day Nagus.”

Garak looked briefly at Odo and gave him a smile. “Constable.”

After looking at Odo, Garak turned around and left the office.

With Garak gone, Rom took the bad news with good grace. However Quark’s neutral face slackened and changed into a look of horror. “It's a disaster, no nanotechnology, a worthless currency...”

For all of Quark’s sense of doom and gloom, Odo didn’t really care what Quark was feeling at the moment. “Yes yes that's very terrible, so Brunt has won, but what I want to know is when are you going to release Megan?”

Quark shook his head as if to get over the lost opportunity, and he seemed to come to his senses. “If Megan were to receive an amnesty from the Nagus, then she would be free. But the Nagus would have to pass the motion through the Ferengi government. It should take at least a day... And when the government realizes it is holding an innocent Federation citizen custody, which will be very embarrassing to them, they will have no choice but to release Megan.”


***


Day 11: 1100 hours

Having spent nearly two days in prison, Megan was starting to get very bored and restless. She had got over the shook of being arrested, and now all she thought about was returning to DS9 and curling up on a comfortable bed. A day ago Odo had visited her and told her that he believed her story of being framed. This gave Megan some hope that Odo would somehow free her.

Megan got off the bed she was lying upon, when she saw Odo arrive along with Quark. “Any luck constable?”

“You should be freed sometime in the next two days.”

Suddenly Megan felt giddy with relief, she was going to be getting out of this prison. “It’s about time, I'm getting sick of eating tube grubs...”

Quark seemed to look very apologetic. “I’m so sorry about this fiasco with the CFT, they used you to try and sabotage the currency union negotiations.”

Megan’s upbeat mood didn’t last very long, she started to dwell on that the fact that her vacation had been ruined by CFT.

Odo was gazing at Megan in a sympathetic manner. “I'm sorry for what happened to you but it was simply very bad luck. There were a few dozen Starfleet officers on vacation and the CFT had to pick you...”

Her face must have looked really gloomy if Odo was trying to lift her spirits. “Tell me about it,” she said moodily. “I haven't had much luck in the last two years...”
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Old October 18 2011, 06:55 PM   #44
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7

Day 13: 1000 hours

Megan was becoming increasingly impatient as she waited for some Ferengi prison warden or official to free her. She simply sat on the bed, constantly fidgeting or doing stretches to keep her body supple. When Brunt arrived, Megan’s hopes were suddenly raised, was this the moment?

Brunt walked over to Megan’s cell and he lowered the force field. He then put on the best apologetic face that he could muster. “Ms Felpes, I want to express my condolences about this ah... unfortunate mishap.”

Megan stepped over the doorway and came very close to Brunt. “Mishap?” she said in a musing tone.

The look of sympathy on Brunt’s face was so unbelievably insincere. “The CFT can offer you substantial compensation for your troubles.” He moved closer to Megan, and there was obvious lust in his eyes. “I myself could help-”

Megan slapped Brunt’s face with all the force she could muster, her hands then flew to the collar on Brunt’s shirt. She pulled him close, choking Brunt, he was going to pay dearly for that sexual advance. “The next time you try to sweet talk towards me, I'll break every bone in you miserable little body.”

She let go of Brunt, and she was pleased to see that he looked shaken. Walking around Brunt, she then hissed right into his ear. “I've seen others of your kind before and I don't like deceivers or liars.”

With her right hand she tugged as hard as she could on Brunt's right ear, and she heard it break. Brunt screamed in pain, and his hands were on his right ear trying to soothe it.

In the background there were Ferengi guards laughing at Brunt, as he whimpered in pain, lying on the floor.

Feeling immense satisfaction from punishing Brunt, Megan walked out of the prison accompanied by two prison guards. Outside of the prison she met Odo, who had been waiting for her, and the two then beamed over into a runabout.


***


Day 19: 1800 hours

Megan and Max sat down around a table in the Replimat, initially there was silence between the two as Megan struggled to find the strength to tell Max how she felt. She and Max simply sipped on their mugs of tea, while Max occasionally glanced at her, she was careful to avoid eye contact.

Finally after a few minutes, Megan began to talk. “I came to Ferenginar for a vacation, not to be framed for a crime I didn't commit!”
She was looking at her mug, and as she spoke she grasped the mug so hard her knuckles turned white.

Max moved a hand over a table and gently grabbed Megan’s free hand. “I'm sorry for what has happened.”

Such an intimate gesture surprised Megan, and she realized that Max really did care for her. “It doesn't matter because I've been used and lied to before. I can’t explain it but I just feel weak...”

“You can't keep on punishing yourself like this, you've got to accept that your more sensitive to things that hurt you... You are still recovering and I think you ask to much of yourself sometimes, normality will return... eventually.”

Megan quickly stared into Max’s eyes before looking away, she felt as if she was going to cry. “I know,” she said quietly.

Letting go of Megan’s hand, Max got to his feet. “Listen I've got to go and see Holo, we have a holosuite booked for 1830 hours. I'll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye,” said Megan, while still staring into her mug of tea.

She then disregarded the tea, and left the Replimat and headed to her quarters. Max was right; she was more sensitive than she cared to admit, the experience of being framed seemed to bring out all the horrific memories of the Tau Primia prison and Bordak into full force. Once she had returned to her quarters, she started crying. One thing she couldn’t understand was why she had more will to endure when she in the Tau Primia prison than she did now.

But she could never give up, for giving up was like taking poison to her. She would endure, for giving up would mean that Bordak had won. It was an absolutely bloody minded attitude, but it was the only way for her to keep going on and to live.


***


Day 19: 1830 hours

Ezri had been waiting inside her office, for Odo and Quark to arrive. The two were going to report to her about the state of the Ferengi government. As the office door opened, Odo and Quark walked in and they seemed to be having quite an argument.

“Why should I explain to Ezri about the political state of the Ferengi Alliance? It's a complete waste of time,” said Quark.

Odo looked at Quark menacingly. “Because Quark you know what is going on and part of Ezri's job is to monitor the political situation of interplanetary states close to DS9.”

“Is that actually-”

Ezri decided to end this petty argument. “That is enough, you Quark are going to tell me everything you know about the Ferengi government.”

Despite Ezri’s order, Quark still looked reluctant. “Captain this isn't really necessary.”

Realizing a different approach was needed, Ezri walked around her desk and came to a stop next to Quark. “Maybe your right Quark.”

Looking triumphant, Quark looked at Odo in a superior manner. “You see Odo? I was absolutely right.”

Ezri came behind Quark, and gave him an oo-mox, this was a technique she had picked up from Jadzia. Get it right, complete with the warm and seductive voice, and Ferengi males would be begging to you. She spoke softly into Quark’s ear. “However if you do tell me what you know... well suffice to say there could be some value to it...”

Quark laughed mildly, his eyes were half open and he looked very aroused. “What sort of value?”

At once Ezri removed her hands from Quark's lobes, as she now had Quark’s full attention. “Depends on the information your about to give to me...” She sat down on the top of her table, and her arms were folded waiting for Quark to oblige to her request.

“Well let's see...” said Quark. “Have you heard of Brunt?”


***


Day 19: 2100 hours

Inside her quarters, Ezri was reading a book, it was a Vulcan novel, although it was so direct and logical this book could hardly be classed as a novel. Ezri wondered what her obsession was with Vulcan literature, perhaps because it was so direct and devoid of emotion. There were no doubts, just logic and clarity, and above all there were no broken hearts, just a cold exterior to suppress all emotions.

In some ways Ezri wished she could suppress all her emotions, then she wouldn’t feel so bad about her break-up with Bashir.

When the door chimed Ezri placed the book on a small stand, and sat up more straightly. “Come in!”

It was Megan and she looked distinctly agitated and nervous, her hands were clasped together and they seemed to shake slightly. “I'm sorry to bother you captain, I was just wondering whether Starfleet would be filing charges against me...”

Ezri could not believe that Megan had worked herself up into such a nervous state over this. “Megan the Grand Nagus himself has pardoned you!”

Megan’s face crumpled with self-doubt and worry. “But there's a difference! The charges weren't dropped, instead they were simply looked over,” she said in an agonized voice.

Standing up, Ezri decided to be more reassuring with Megan, she placed her hands on the sides of Megan’s shoulders. “Listen to me, you don't have to worry about anything, I've cleared it up with Starfleet and there won't be any charges brought against you. I know you care deeply about what other people think of you, and you should know that despite what has happened, I don’t think any less of you.”

She removed her hands from Megan’s shoulders. It was a somewhat motherly gesture on Ezri’s part, but she was dealing with a crew member who had tremendous amounts of emotional baggage. However Ezri’s words, didn’t seem to ease the strained and tense look on Megan’s face. “Is there something else bothering you?”

Megan mouth was lined with an almighty frown. “You don't want to know...” She then turned around to leave. “Goodnight captain.”

Ezri wasn’t about to let Megan walk away in such a moody manner, without first confronting her. “Megan I know you carry a terrible personal burden, what with everything that happened on Tau Primia. But if it's affecting you this badly I think you should see a counselor.”

Turning around, Megan looked beside herself with barely contained anger. “I don't need some counselor poking and prying into my personal affairs!” she said loudly.

She dropped the heated nature out of her voice. “I'm sorry captain for that outburst, it's just there are some things that I'd rather remain secret. Besides you should also know that I don’t bottle up my emotions.” Megan paused, and looked at some point just above Ezri’s head. “I come to terms with everything that has happened to me in the privacy of my quarters. I don’t want a counselor because I want to recover at my own accord, and not have someone hold my hand like a baby.”

Ezri decided to let Megan off the hook for that outburst. “It is simply a suggestion, whatever your emotions are if they do start to affect your job, then I will have no choice but to order you to see a counselor. Right now though, I will let this matter rest.”

“Thank you captain.”

After Megan had gone, Ezri started to regret not ordering Megan to see a counselor. On a professional level, Ezri believed she was making a mistake. A crew member with an unstable emotional state like Megan's, was potentially a danger to himself and others. However Ezri sensed a certain mettle and determination coming from Megan, and Ezri was certain that Megan would be more careful to control her emotions. Ezri had to admire the tenacity and toughness of Megan, because despite all of the suffering and pain, this woman refused to show any of her anguish or grief to others.

That is the end of Vacation. 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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Caption contest: DS9
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Old October 19 2011, 10:00 PM   #45
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Re: DS9: A continuation

So we're onto the fourth story Bad Blood and here is a brief summary:

When First Minister Shakaar orders Kira to discreetly investigate the Bajoran military, after the abduction of three Bajoran vedeks. Kira discovers a web of corruption and graft inside the Bajoran military. Soon Kira discovers the real perpetrators of the corruption, and her life and the lives of her family members become gravely endangered. Worse still the corruption in the Bajoran military threatens to destroy the very fabric of Bajor's society.

So that's the summary, here's the story:

Bad Blood, chapter 1

Stardate: 70636.8
Day 1, 1000 hours

Ezri looked outside the window of her office, she had just made a major decision. Only ten minutes ago, she had sent to the Federation a partition calling for Bajor's removal from the Federation. In some ways, this was both a good and bad thing. When the Federation first arrived on Bajor 25 years ago, Bajor was in shambles.

It had no organized government, millions of Bajorans were starving, and most of the planet's resources were gone. Since then Bajor had recovered remarkably, it had a stable government, most of Bajor's farmland had been revitalized, and Bajor had its own fleet of ships to protect itself.

Ezri had always thought allowing the Bajorans to build their own fleet of ships was a generous move on the Federation's part. Yet, it showed that the Bajorans wanted to do things their own way. Being the commander of DS9 also meant that Ezri was a Starfleet liaison to the Bajoran government.

This gave her unprecedented access to the Bajoran government records on trade, farming, defence and so forth. For the last two months, Ezri had in her spare time written up her professional view on the suitability of Bajor leaving the Federation. For over five years, the Bajoran government had asked independence from the Federation.

The problem was the Federation refused that request, primarily because the former commanders of DS9 did not believe that Bajor should leave the Federation. It was a bureaucratic/legal issue, but Ezri decided that it was time for the Federation to let Bajor independently determine its future...

Ezri continued to look out of the window until Kira arrived.

Kira stood rigidly in front of Ezri’s desk, and it seemed Kira somewhat surprised at what she was doing here. “You wanted to see me captain?”

Tearing her glance from the window, Ezri turned to face Kira. “Sit down please,” she said gesturing to Kira. Sitting down in her own chair, Ezri paused as she carefully considered what she was going to tell Kira. “Over the last two months I've been secretly carrying out an assessment of Bajor. Having gone through the Bajoran and Federation records concerning Bajor's current culture, economy, military and government, I believe it warrants a change in Federation policy.”

Kira looked dubiously at Ezri. “What sort of Federation policy change?” she asked suspiciously.

A brief smile crossed Ezri’s face. “I'm talking about the Bajoran government's request for sovereignty. It's been a long time, but I believe that after 25 years, Bajor is no longer dependent upon the Federation.”

Kira looked deeply surprised. “Meaning?” she said in a hushed voice.

“Meaning that if the Bajoran government wants to leave the Federation let it do so. As a people, you have made remarkable progress over 25 years. I believe it is the right time for you to take your own destiny fully into your own hands. I've sent a partition calling for the Federation to remove Bajor as a member, relinquish control over the wormhole and to hand over DS9 to the Bajorans. Congratulations colonel, in a week's time you will be running the show and managing the wormhole.”

Something like triumph lit up Kira’s eyes. “Thank you Dax.”

The joyful look on Kira’s face soon vanished. “But what about you? What will you do after commanding DS9?”

Ezri appreciated her friend’s concern for her own well-being. “I may still be on this station,” she said while smiling. “Bajor will have full political sovereignty, but there will still be a defensive pact. The Defiant will be stationed here primarily because of the Cardassians, and for the defence of the wormhole. Nevertheless, the Federation presence on DS9 will be greatly reduced. Nog, Bashir, Max, Holo and Megan they will all be reassigned.”

Kira looked downcast since many of the senior staff were her friends. “A pity, they've done so much for this station, for Bajor and even for me.”

“I know...” said Ezri gently. If the partition went through, she would probably never see Bashir again. What really depressed Ezri was that her last chance to make amends with Bashir would soon be gone.


***


Day 1; 2300 hours

Late in the night Kira was fast asleep in her quarters. She rested on one side of the bed tucked up inside the duvet, while Odo was in a liquid state. He oozed all over the bed sheets, his liquid form was piled up one side of Kira's naked body. Kira did not mind Odo oozing all over the bed as his liquid form was quite pleasant against her skin.

The computer's voice rang out in her bedroom. “Communication from minister Shakaar, code 1.”

Kira stirred, slowly she got out of bed, walked over to the wardrobe, and put on a dressing gown. She left the bedroom and headed to the living room, where she had her own personal command console. At this time in the night, she felt super drowsy, and she slumped herself onto the chair by the console. “Computer replay message.”

“Communication from minister Shakaar, code 1.”

“Code 1?” she said drowsily and she activated the console. “Computer, relay the transmission through to this console.”

“Code 1 password please,” came the computer’s soulless voice.

Kira typed in the password.

“Password confirmed.”

A blank screen on the console changed to show First Minister Shakaar inside his office by his desk. Shakaar had a rather lived in face, and the stress of being First Minister had prematurely aged Shakaar. His hair was turning gray, and there were deep wrinkles around his eyes, and forehead. For some reason, Shakaar looked particularly grim.

Upon seeing Shakaar, Kira snapped out of her drowsy state. “First Minister how can I help you?”

“There's been a kidnapping of three vedeks in the Koma temple and-”

Kira could not believe what she had just heard. “What?” she exclaimed, interrupting Shakaar. “How is that possible?”

Shakaar did not look too pleased at being interrupted. “If you would allow me to finish. This was a coordinated operation and the evidence points to Bajoran political hardliners.”

Kira found this hard to believe. “We haven't had that sort of problem for more than twenty years, so why this sudden change?”

Unease crept into Shakaar’s face. “There has been a quiet dispute between the Bajoran vedeks and the military. The vedeks are uneasy by how powerful our military has become, and being spiritual folk, they're worried that it could threaten Bajor's culture.

This did not make much sense to Kira. “But I thought everything was working fine on Bajor!”

Somehow, Shakaar looked even grimmer; clearly he was under some serious pressure. “The political picture is not as rosy as you make it out to be.” Shakaar then sighed. “There's corruption in the military Kira. It appears that bribes and sleaze are rife amongst certain colonels and majors these days. These individuals have power and they like it, they will do anything to keep their newfound positions. If that means silencing a few monks or even vedeks then... Well they've already taken that step.”

Suddenly Kira felt queasy and lightheaded, the very notion that the military was possibly killing a few Bajoran monks shocked her immensely. “You mean to say that our own military is trying to kill the vedeks and silence our religious organizations?”

“I don't think the military wants to kill the vedeks, but silencing them definitely. Which is why I want you Kira to investigate the military, I believe they are plotting something... I’ll send you the personnel records and logs for the entire upper echelons of the Bajoran military. I want you to go over these records and logs, to look for any illegal activity.

“However, make this investigation is a quiet affair, I trust you will do that, well you are one of the few people I can trust. What I'm not sure is what kind of threat the military pose to the government. I am convinced that certain high-ups in the Bajoran military have got together and are coordinating a discreet operation to discredit the vedeks.”

“And who takes the blame for the kidnappings?” asked Kira and she wondered if Shakaar was actually going to blame the Bajoran military.

Shakaar looked shiftily at Kira. “Don't tell anyone what I'm about to say here. What I will do is put out the story that members of an old terrorist cell got together, and decided to pull off one last operation in some desperate attempt to further their political goals.”

“And you think people will fall for that?” said Kira disbelievingly. “That the Federation will fall for that?”

Shakaar looked annoyed by Kira’s question. “Bajor has come remarkably close to achieving full political sovereignty I will not let anyone prevent it!” There was a passion in Shakaar’s voice, and he looked implacable on the matter. “If I have to sack half of the senior military staff then so be it. Bajor must become a fully sovereign state, and you more than anyone can appreciate that Kira. Shakaar out.”

The transmission ended, and the console screen reverted to the Bajoran government insignia. Kira was deeply troubled by what she heard. “And what kind of sovereign state will we become minister?”

It was inconceivable to her that the Bajoran military would dare to intimidate the Bajoran religious order. She realized that living on this station had clouded her perception of what life was like on Bajor. Her thinking was interrupted when the console lit up. Lists of names, personnel records and logs flashed before her very eyes. Kira sincerely hoped the Bajoran military was not as corrupt as Shakaar had portrayed it to be. Wearily she turned off the console, stood up and returned to bed.


***


Day 2, 1300 hours

Kira was taking her lunch break in the Replimat and sitting right next to her was Odo. Although Odo could not eat or drink, he usually came to the Replimat at lunch break to talk with Kira. Today though the two were silent, Kira was eating, and her head was bowed down.

While Odo sat there looking awkward and maintaining an uncomfortable silence. The news of the abduction of the three Bajoran vedeks had rapidly spread around the station. Everyone was talking about it, and this served only to further depress Kira. Finally, Odo broke the silence. “Are you alright Kira?”

Kira barely heard Odo. “Hmm?” She jerked out of her trance. “No Odo, I'm not.”

She accidently made eye contact with Odo before quickly looking away. Right now she found it hard to look at Odo, without succumbing to her anxiety.

“And something is really worrying you?” inquired Odo.

Trust Odo to notice every little feature on her face, she must have been looking glum for Odo to notice. She wasn't sure how to answer Odo's questions, but if there was anyone she could talk to about her task it was Odo. So she finally looked at Odo and decided to open up. “I've been assigned to investigate the Bajoran military, but don't tell anyone else about this.”

Odo looked surprised. “So the military were involved in the abduction of the vedeks?”

“I never said that Odo,” said Kira irritably.

“It's what you implied,” said Odo shrewdly. “Listen you don't have to do this alone, I can help you. You know what I'm good at.”

“Finding the truth and dispensing justice,” said Kira finishing Odo’s sentence. “I know Odo, I know.”

She grimaced in frustration. “What really upsets me is that Bajor could be slipping back to the bad old days of infighting! I've never understood it Odo, never!” Her voice became very heated. “We should have been bonded closer together because of the Cardassian occupation and its aftermath! So what did the Bajorans do instead? Pursue their own political agendas, and for what? Land and power?”

Kira disregarded the remains of her lunch and sat back against her chair. She was barely containing her anger and frustration.

“Do you want my help or not?” asked Odo, as always he was smart enough to look through Kira’s anger and to see what his wife desperately wanted.

It was a relief to Kira that her husband had made such an offer, now she wasn't alone in this investigation. She looked directly into Odo’s eyes. “Yes I do Odo, now more than ever.”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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