Kira Nerys, Kai to the Bajoran people, rubbed her temples. The migraine was coming. Right now, the pain was a low rumbling in the back of her mind. It reminded her of the sound of Cardassian shuttles, sweeping low over the Dahkur Hills as they hunted for her and her friends. By tonight, it would have raged into a full explosion in her brain. It was always this way when she had to preside over a meeting with politicians.
Tea, she decided suddenly. Tea would help. Her steps led her out of the meeting room and into the halls of Terok Nor. She would make a nice, big pot of tea, and sit in her private quarters in the temple, and meditate until the distant rumbling passed. Maybe this time she could escape it.
The recent attack on Bajor had rattled them all. Even now, decades after their independence, Bajor’s government still felt new and fragile to her. The meeting had quickly descended into factions and shouting. Ave Yett, the young senator from Lonar Province, was pushing the council hard to seek out peace talks with the Tzenkethi, to try and negotiate with them. “We’ve been peaceful neighbors for generations,” he said, “There must be an explanation!”
Kira scoffed at the memory as she casually waved to Rom, who was repairing one of the Dabo tables in Quark’s. The old Kira Nerys would have fought that idea, tooth and nail. Seeking peace with an enemy that had attacked them – it felt like weakness. But that wasn’t who she was anymore. She needed to take a deep breath, and think about the Kai that her people nee – wait.
Rom hadn’t been at Terok Nor for decades now. The council never met on this space station, not unless there were foreign dignitaries in play. And…why was she referring to the station as Terok Nor?
She turned, slowly, realizing for the first time that she wasn’t dressed in her Kai robes. She looked down and saw the form fitting Bajoran uniform that she’d given up long ago. The station was decked out in Cardassian decor, Terok Nor reborn once again. It looked as it had right before the Federation first arrived, torn to shreds, covered in battle scars.
Outside, a light burst forth, and the Celestial Temple opened wide. Kira looked up, into the light that gave her people their faith, hoping for an answer. Instead, the wormhole spat out thousands of the buzzing, insectoid ships that had ravaged her homeland. In her mind, she heard Martok calling out over the radio again and again. “The Hur’q!” he screamed, his voice growing in intensity and terror.
Kira rushed towards a lift. She had to get to Ops. She was in command, she had to defend the station!
As she reached the door, a horrific roar greeted her. The shadow of an alien monstrosity fell across her, and she turned to see a creature she couldn’t even begin to describe swiping its claws towards her face.
This was Kira Nerys. She didn’t scream.
A gentle beep sounded through her quarters. Kira sat up in bed, breathing heavily. It took her a moment to find herself again. She was in the temple on Hathon. Terok Nor was a long, long lost memory. The creature, whatever it was, hadn’t been real. A deep, steadying breath, and then another.
Another vision, then. They’d been more frequent now, and more intense since the attack by the Tzenkethi and the Hur’q. A deep breath. She could endure this. In the name of her people, she would endure this and discover what these visions meant. The Prophets were speaking to her, they had to be.
Maybe…maybe even Benjamin was speaking to her.
The communicator beeped again. Kira slapped the button and almost grunted, “Report.”
There was a long, awkward pause. “I apologize, Eminence. Did I disturb you? You asked me to contact you the moment we had an answer.”
Another deep breath. “No, no, the fault is mine, Doctor Likra,” Kira said. Likra was one of the brightest minds to come out of Bajor in generations, and one of the few people Kira had to talk to these days that she liked hearing from. That she trusted. In a lot of ways, Likra reminded her of Julian. “Please, tell me what you’ve found.”
“Our initial reports were correct, Eminence.” Likra continued. “There was no germanium anywhere on Bajor at the time of the initial Tzenkethi attack. Despite the supposed reasoning for their attempted…purification of our world, we can find no traces of these Hur’q eggs, or buried ships, anywhere on the planet.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Kira said, “Please send the report to my private channel.”
“I’ll also copy the Science Council, so that we can look into this further.”
“Belay that,” Kira said. Anything presented to the Science Council became a matter of public record. “Let’s keep this one between you and me for now.”
Another uncomfortable silence. “As you wish, Eminence.”
“Walk with the Prophets, Dr. Likra.” Kira ended the call.
Kira leaned back on her headboard and sighed. There were enough in the council already calling for Bajor to push the Federation into greater action. Into vengeful action. If word got out that the Tzenkethi had attacked for seemingly no reason at all, those voices would only get louder.
She stood up out of bed, and crossed to the small, humble vanity and sink in the corner of her room. The old sink gave out only cold water, but she didn’t even cringe as she splashed it on her face. Living as the Kai was almost the same as living as a freedom fighter. No creature comforts at all.
Well, that wasn’t always true. Kai Winn had demanded all the creature comforts she could find. But Kira was determined not to be Kai Winn. She was going to do this thing right. She had been Kai for more than a decade, but she still felt she was living to fix the damage some of her predecessors had done.
Her face looked…different now, in the old mirror. Older, certainly, with new lines of both care and laughter. More than that, though, she saw a very different woman than the Kira who’d first become Kai. That Kira Nerys was fresh off commanding Deep Space Nine. She was a woman of action, and she would have been right there, demanding retribution against the Tzenkethi.
But she had to be different now. She had to try. For Opaka. For Bareil. For Benjamin, wherever he was. And most importantly, for Bajor.
Kira Nerys was going to be the kind of Kai her people could be proud of. Because there was no one else she trusted to take the job.
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