DS9: A continuation

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Ln X, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    This is the last chapter of Secrets and Lies. Feel free to comment on this story.

    Chapter 8, part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “What is it?” asked Megan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


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

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

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

    “Affirmative,” said Ross.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 8, part 2

    Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Who?” asked Max.

    “It was Garak,” answered Kira.

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

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

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

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

    “I won't,” promised Max.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Better times,” said Bashir, Max and Nog in unison as they raised their cups.
     
  3. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 8, part 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Dismissed commander,” said Ezri.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Thank you,” said Ezri softly.

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

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

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

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

    Note: This is the end of Secrets and Lies. If you want to read this story in a more easier format go to Ad Astra (http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=990)
     
  4. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    The second story is called Shallow Rights, this is a smaller story and focuses primarily on Holo. In short this is about the rights of a sentient hologram. If you want to read the remaining chapters, then go to this link http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=1006

    Chapter 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 1, 1200 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Very funny,” said Holo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The three struck up a conversation and talked for some time...
     
  5. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 2

    Day 1, 1215 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 1, 1245 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 1, 1700 hours

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

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

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

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

    “It's only because your…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Bye,” said Holo.
     
  6. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 3

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

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

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

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

    “How was your day?” asked Sarah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 2, 0900 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 2, 1300 hours

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

    “The usual holosuite program?” asked Quark.

    “Yes please,” said Holo wearily.

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

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

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

    “Because you wouldn’t understand.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Of course I do,” said Quark simply.

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

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

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

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

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 4

    Day 3, 0800 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 3, 1000 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Let's bypass the optronic relays and-”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Good idea,” added Taron.

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

    At once the Bajorans commenced the repair work, while Holo stood rooted to the spot. He was too angry to focus upon his job, if he had upset two Bajorans then so be it. He was not going to tolerate that kind of indecent behaviour from anybody...
     
  8. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 5

    Day 4, 0900 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 4, 0930 hours

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

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

    “Come in,” said Ezri.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “I’m on my way captain.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Before Ezri could reply, Holo stormed out of her office. For some reason Ezri did not feel embarrassed by what had happened, all she had done was to talk to a hologram. So really it did not matter what she said to Holo. Still Ezri wondered why she felt slightly guilty about relieving Holo of duty.
     
  9. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 6

    Day 4, 2100 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 4, 2115 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Precisely the same applies with Holo.”

    “But how can you justify that statement?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Of course I will!” she replied vehemently.

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

    Ezri had never seen a human who possessed such impeccable logic and reasoning skills. Not even Bashir had Max’s elegance when it came to arguing over a philosophical issue. What Max had said gave Ezri a lot to think about, suddenly she felt guilty for what she did to Holo. However, she could rectify that mistake...
     
  10. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 7

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

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

    “Enter,” he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    ***


    Day 5, 0930 hours

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

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

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

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

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

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

    For some reason Taron still looked sheepish.

    “Is something else bothering you?” Holo asked.

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Season 1:

    Secrets and Lies

    Shallow Rights


    Vacation

    Bad Blood

    Outlier

    Devolution

    Gold Rush

    Medical Pariah

    Commitment

    Ménage à Trois

    Tip of the Iceberg


    Season 2:

    Survival

    High Stakes

    Running the Gauntlet
     
  11. Rush Limborg

    Rush Limborg Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    The EIB Network
    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...?
     
  12. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    There's a lot of bad feeling between them, but they do resolve their differences in the eight story Medical Pariah.
     
  13. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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.
     
  14. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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...”
     
  15. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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…”
     
  16. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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.
     
  17. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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.
     
  18. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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.
     
  19. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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.
     
  20. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    The great gig in the sky
    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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