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Deep Space Nine: Bajoran Space

Stardate: 54525.4

The IKS nentay was docked at Upper Pylon 3. Down in the habitat ring, a team of Klingon technicians disassembled the headquarters of Klingon Defense Forces: Bajor and packed the maps, computers, and control consoles in crates for transport. A pair of armed Bajoran security deputies flanked the doors. Tigranian and Laria stood next to them observing with silent disdain. They had left Starfleet under pressure almost three months before. Now, the Federation was extending the same treatment to all Klingon military personnel in UFP facilities in reprisal for Martok's sanctions, DS9 included.

The doors behind them parted and a figure wearing a red uniform walked in. Tigranian briefly looked over and nodded respectfully. Laria drew in a sharp breath. She was still in awe of this particular officer.

"The Klingon Empire wishes to convey to the Government of Bajor its gratitude for allowing us to relocate this facility to Ashalla City, Colonel Kira," Tigranian said.

"And First Minister Shakaar and the Council of Ministers wish to convey to you our strong commitment to neutrality during this tense situation. Since the Federation retains control of Deep Space Nine, it is only fair to ensure that the Klingon Defense Forces have equal access to our country," she replied very formally.

"However, I'm not sure the security personnel are necessary, Colonel," Tigranian said indicating the deputies with a tilt of his head. "We're just here to move some equipment, not start a fight."

"Forgive me, General," Kira said with a grin, "but after dealing with Klingons on this station for six years, I know that when your people are present it's always better to air on the side of caution."

Tigranian stifled a laugh.

"Not an inaccurate statement, Colonel," he said crossing his arms in front of him.

"Excuse me Captain," Kira said turning to Laria. "May I speak to you privately?"

"Me?" Laria said surprised. She turned to her commander. "Lord Daniel?" Tigranian knew fully well that Kira was one of Laria's personal heroes and didn't want to stand in her way.

"Go ahead," he said with a smirk. "I think I can handle this."

The colonel gestured for Laria to follow her out into the corridor.

****

A few minutes later, the two women were walking side by side along the upper gallery of the promenade. Both were quite happy to converse in their native language.

"I was quite saddened to learn you resigned your commission in Starfleet," Kira said. "Not enough people in that uniform know how to speak Bajoran."

"Universal translators have spoiled them," Laria replied. "Still, you'd think they'd learn to speak a few phrases. They are stationed on our planet after all." Kira grinned when she heard Laria refer to Bajor as "our planet."

"The pressure was always on Bajorans to learn their tongue," Kira said. "It was considered another prerequisite for Federation membership. That's why I never did. Luckily, when Captain Sisko was here, he never gave me a hard time for having to use the UT with him or his officers. Now, that I'm officially in command of the station though…" the colonel said shrugging her shoulders.

"You're the boss," Laria said smiling.

"I'm the boss," Kira said smiling back. The colonel paused in front of the large oval windows and turned out towards space.

"Why are you stopping?" Laria asked curiously.

"Because it's almost 1500 hours. The afternoon transport is due any moment," she said staying focused on the blackness outside. Laria looked just in time to see the brilliant blue flash of the worm hole opening. She gasped as she ran up to window and pressed her nose against the transparent duranium glass. Kira smiled again as she saw Laria respectfully drop her gaze and shield her face from the glow of the wormhole with her hands. Then, as quickly as the wormhole appeared, it vanished.

"It's alright," Kira said softly. "It's gone."

Laria continued to keep her gaze on the floor. She quickly dropped to one knee, raised her palms towards the ceiling, and uttered a quiet prayer:

"Che ne Vorhagnymas, Das Vorhagnymas, Chav Vorhagnymas. Ra'Tren vos mev. Varo ay tem y Makora." Then, she rose back to her feet. "You are so blessed to live here right next to the home of the Prophets," Laria said with genuine awe in her voice. "You see the Celestial Temple every day!" Kira smiled and put her hand on the shoulder pad of Laria's armor.

"It's good to see that living among Klingons hasn't taken your faith in the Holy Ones from you."

"Of course not!" Laria said genuinely incensed.

"Forgive me," Kira said. "No insult intended. I just wanted to be sure." She turned and continued to walk down the promenade. Laria followed. "I can always tell when someone was raised in an Orthodox family by how they react when the wormhole opens," Kira added.

"What do you mean?" Laria asked.

"When they catch a glimpse of Celestial Temple, they dash forward and gaze upon its beauty for a brief moment of pure joy. Then terror fills their face as they remember that actually seeing it before death is a sin. They immediately look away, but they still feel guilt. Don't punish yourself, Child. The Celestial Temple belongs to all of us. Even the Kais of Bajor love to take in the view."

Laria laughed.

"I don't think there's been a kai in the last two hundred years that my parents thought was devout enough."

"I was raised Reformed and could barely handle the rules," Kira replied. "You have my deep respect."

"It's not that different," Laria said. "Once you just accept that it's immoral to say certain things, look at certain things, or show your hair in the presence of the Prophets as a woman, the rest is easy as mapa bread."

"I never understood that rule," Kira mused. "I mean the Prophets made Bajoran women in their image. Why would our hair offend them?"

"I always chalked it up to some ancient vedek that had a strange fetish," Laria said with a grin. "However, after your mother yells at you about six thousand times when you go to shrine, covering it just becomes a habit."

Kira laughed out loud.

"Is this why you wanted to speak to me?" Laria finally asked. "To show me the Celestial Temple and see if I had lost my faith? If so, I already have a Bajoran mother. I'm not sure if I could handle a second one."

Kira abruptly stopped again.

"The Cardassians took my mother from me when I was barely old enough to stand. I would give anything to have one, more or less two," she said staring at Laria.

"My apologies," Laria said. "However, with the ability to guilt like that you certainly have everything in takes to be a Bajoran mother."

It actually brought a smile back to Kira's face. The pair continued walking.

"Prophets willing I will be one day," Kira answered, "but no, that's not why I wanted to speak to you."

"Nerys!" a middle-aged Bajoran woman in civilian dress came running up to them from across the promenade. "Your order arrived on the morning transport." She handed Kira a large package wrapped in brown paper. It obviously had some weight to it.

"Thank you, Zasha," Kira said smiling. "May I introduce Tigranian Laria? She's the first Bajoran to serve in the Klingon Defense Force."

"Congratulations," Zasha said a bit uncomfortably. Laria awkwardly smiled and nodded.

"Her family is originally from Rakantha," Kira continued. "Zasha is from Musilla."

"Just on the other side of Mount Yanalit," Laria said happily.

"That's right!" Zasha said grinning back. "I should have known you were a Rakantha girl. You have the nose ridges of a kava farmer but the strong arms of a fighter. I bet your father killed many Cardassian animals."

Laria went back to smiling uncomfortably.

"Not exactly," she said. "My father was the one farming kava. My mother was the one killing Cardassians…"

"Ayan vos chev gas!" Zasha said smiling even wider. "Good for her! However, Tigranian? That doesn't sound like a Bajoran name…"

"Her husband is human," Kira said rubbing the side of her neck.

"Child!" Zasha said shaking her head. "The Prophets be with your blessed mother. She spends all those years killing Cardassian filth just for her to daughter to run off and marry an 'odara'!"

"Thank you again, Zasha," Kira interjected hoping the woman would get the hint. "Ok, ok," Zasha said shrugging. "Nerys come by the store the later. I just got the best Bastirmaha sausage from Tazhar. It tastes like it was just slaughtered yesterday."

"Ok Zasha!" Kira said loudly while waving goodbye.

"Very nice to meet you," Zasha said to Laria while walking away. "Tell your mother she is a good woman."

Zasha disappeared back towards her store.

"I guess I have three Bajoran mothers now…" Laria muttered.

"Basrat mes B'hava'ela chas chan mamyran," Kira replied cocking her head to one side.

"Eta basrat mes B'hava'ela chas chan dayustra," Laria said acquiescing to Kira's point. "All Bajoran women are your mothers and all Bajoran women are your daughters. The Sacred Texts: Book 3: Chapter 5. This is the word of the Prophets…"

"Exactly," Kira smirked. "And don't be too hard on Zasha. She commanded a resistance cell and was one of the only Bajoran women to receive a bounty on her head…twice. Now, she just runs a store on DS9 to pay the bills."

"Colonel," Laria said turning a bit serious. "Women like you and her are my heroes. That hasn't changed because I'm wearing this armor. But in all seriousness, I hope you're not speaking with me to make me ashamed of my choices because I'm not."

Kira suddenly looked a bit embarrassed. She reached up and softly grabbed Laria's ear.

"Child no," she said shaking her head. "You have a bravery that I truly admire. However, it is because of that armor I wanted to speak to you. You have a gift that no other Bajoran has."

"And that is?" Laria asked. Kira released her grip on Laria's ear.

"Bajorans are a very proud people," Kira continued while turning back towards the promenade's windows. "For over 10,000 years, we have been leaders in science, art, and literature. But we are also a very small nation surrounded by giants who keep trying to crush us. For almost a century, we've been on the brink of destruction: Cardassia, Federation, Klingon, Dominion, the Romulan occupation of Derna…but somehow we have survived. I don't know how much longer it will be until our luck finally runs out. Another war in the Alpha Quadrant could finally mean the end of us."

"Colonel?" Laria said still confused. "What power do I have to change that?"

"I should have led with this, but call me 'Nerys'," Kira said with a kind face. "And you have a lot of power to change that. You have the ear of some very powerful people in the Klingon Empire. Help them remember that the galaxy is better off for everyone if it stands together, not apart."

"I think you overestimate my abilities," Laria said, "but I promise you, I'll try Nerys…"

"This is for you, by the way," Kira said handing her the package. "It's hand-woven from Rakantha mofar wool. May it always remind you of where you come from."

Suddenly, Laria's mind flashed back to the Prophets' words to her on Cardassia:

"Though it is cleaved from its mother rock, no matter how far it travels it will always be of that mother rock."

"Thank you," Laria said with gratitude.

"No," Kira replied. "Thank you."


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