STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE

Compromising Position


INT. -- QUARK'S

(KIRA and DAX sit together at a table having drinks. DAX wears an excited, interested look; KIRA looks mostly embarrassed.)

DAX
And... ??

KIRA
What "and"?? There is no "and"!

DAX
Neither of you said anything??

KIRA
Not right then. (conceding the point) We've been talking things over for the past few months, trying to spend some extra time together...

DAX
How has that been?

KIRA
Good... different... a little strange...

DAX
Strange?

KIRA
I don't know -- it's like getting to know a stranger, only it's someone you thought you knew pretty well in the first place. (warming to the topic) Did you know that Odo will read anything? Something new -- he'll read all of the directions before he even tries it!

(To KIRA this is clearly inexplicable behavior. DAX decides to avoid conflict.)

DAX
So, what happens now?

KIRA
Now we've decided that we need to -- "re-define our relationship". We're going to have dinner together tonight and try to work some things out.

DAX
(pauses, considers the facts.) Kira, Odo doesn't eat.

KIRA
No, but I do! "Having dinner" -- it's just something that -- (beat; the word has to pushed out) -- couples (beat) -- do together.

DAX
(pouncing on her prey) Where?

KIRA
What do you mean, where?

DAX
Where are you eating?

KIRA
Does that matter?

DAX
(delighted)
Your quarters, right?

KIRA
(rolling her eyes and throwing up her hands)
Yes! (beat) So? We have to eat somewhere!

DAX
Yes, but --

KIRA and DAX
(in unison)
Odo doesn't eat --

KIRA
I know!

(KIRA slumps over the table, conceding defeat. DAX dredges up a certain level of compassion.)

DAX
(gently) I'm sorry if you don't want to talk about it. It's just so -- exciting!

(KIRA looks up from her study of the tabletop; elbows planted on table; fingertips laced behind the back of her neck)

KIRA
Try terrifying.

DAX
(puzzled) Terrifying? Nerys, if there's one thing I know from the time that Odo provided a host for Curzon, it's that Odo loves you.

KIRA
And I love him!

DAX
So? What's the problem?

KIRA
I've loved Odo for years! Only -- I've loved him as a friend. But I don't know if I'm in love, or -- or if I'm just tired of being alone. (beat) I never even thought of it before now, of its being a possibility. Our -- species are so different... There are things I just -- expect to be part of being in love, and I don't know if they -- I don't know if we --

DAX
This is about sex, isn't it?

KIRA
(wincing) Thank you, Dax. Why don't you say it a little louder? I think that Morn at the bar missed hearing you.

(Not a soul in the bar has indicated hearing a word -- certainly not MORN, slurping down the drinks in his usual single-minded fashion. DAX ignores KIRA's reluctance to continue the conversation and continues to stare at her questioningly.)

KIRA (cont.)
Besides, technically speaking, I don't think that Odo's people have "sex".

DAX
Oh, I don't know -- it's pretty obvious that he has a strong gender identification. What could possibly go wrong?

KIRA
What could go wrong? It could be that I can only love Odo as a friend, and he's going to be hurt. Then I'll be hurt, because it will hurt me to hurt Odo, and the whole thing will be just one awful mess.

DAX
All right -- besides that. (DAX smiles apologetically at KIRA's look of total disbelief.) At least you're willing to try, aren't you? I think it would be ... interesting.

(There is a world of meaning in her use of the word "interesting".)

KIRA
(Shakes her head.) Yeah, but you were the one who got all keyed up about seeing your first Cardassian vole.

DAX
If you feel that ambivalent about it, maybe you shouldn't let it go any further, at least for a while.

KIRA
I can't. It'll just get worse. Besides, it'll make it look like the leader of the Founders is right. (stares moodily into her drink)

DAX
Right about what?

KIRA
That I can't see beyond the fact that Odo's a changeling, that the whole idea is repugnant to me.

DAX
Well, is it?

KIRA
Of course it isn't! Not the idea itself, it's just that -- I'm used to knowing my territory before I rush in leading an assault.

(DAX smothers a grin at the military analogy.)

KIRA
(cont.)
There aren't any maps for this! I can't prepare!

DAX
Other than working yourself into an emotional frenzy over it, I guess not. (Ignores KIRA's indignant glare.) Nerys, remember back when you first started in the resistance?

KIRA
(surprised) Of course.

DAX
Did you always know the territory then?

KIRA
No, of course not, but I wasn't leading the -- (beat) What are you getting at?

DAX
Nerys, who is the most thorough, persistent, tenacious investigator you know?

KIRA
That's easy. Odo. (suspicion dawning) So ...?

DAX
You did say that he likes to read all of the directions before he tries something new. We may not know a lot about changelings, but we know volumes about Bajorans. Major, I don't think you'll be the one leading this assault.

(KIRA's mouth opens, but nothing manages to come out. She stares fearfully into her drink for a moment. DAX gives her a few seconds before saying:)

DAX
You know what could happen, don't you?

KIRA
You mean I missed something?

DAX
Yes. You could have the time of your life, realize that you're madly in love, and live happily ever after!

(DAX gives a bright, hopeful, encouraging smile, and shrugs off KIRA's disbelieving stare.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- KIRA'S QUARTERS.

(KIRA enters her quarters and heads straight for her bedroom. She peers warily in the mirror.)

KIRA
Computer -- lights. (winces at her anxious reflection.) No. Forget the lights.

(The room is plunged into blackness).

KIRA
Computer! (pause) Simulate twilight, please.

(The lights come up to a pleasantly low level.)

KIRA
Great. Odo will probably want to know why it's so dark in here.

(KIRA goes and pokes around aimlessly in her closet. She can't bring herself to change into "something more comfortable", as her uniform is as comfortable and familiar as a second skin to her. She stares at her wardrobe, defeated, until the door buzzer sounds.)

KIRA
Come.

(ODO enters cautiously.)

ODO
Good evening, Nerys ... Why is it so dark in here?

(ODO stands rooted a few feet from the door. He is noticeably tense.)

KIRA
I knew you'd ask me that. (relaxing a little to see ODO is as nervous as she is) I guess I didn't want you to see that I'm white with fright.

ODO
Oh. (pause) Nerys, we agreed that we would meet here for dinner ... as you know, I --

KIRA
-- don't eat, yes, I know. (hollow laugh. Shakes her head.)

How can I be so uncomfortable with someone I'm usually so comfortable with?

ODO
I was wondering the same thing about myself. (looks around and sees that nothing has been done towards anything resembling dinner) Do you want something to eat? I could go out and --

KIRA
No! No, if I tried to eat something right now -- let's just say you'd be face to face with one of the less appealing aspects of being a "solid".

ODO
I see. (forcing it out) I suppose you're -- we're -- so nervous because... I think that it's because our real intention here is to -- (beat) -- try to -- redefine our relationship into something more -- intimate.

KIRA
(faintly) Right.

ODO
(stiff-lipped; resigned) I can understand if the idea is repugnant to you.

KIRA
Why? I wouldn't understand that, even if it were true ... and anyway, it's not. (starts to take him by the elbows, then drops her hands like it burns her) It's just that -- what if it doesn't work? How can we ever go back to the way we were? It's so ... risky.

ODO
Nerys ... if you decide that you want to -- to go back to the way we were -- then we will somehow. (He raises his hand until it almost touches her face, then lets it fall away, dejected.) You will always be my friend. Nothing can change that.

KIRA
I don't think that I want to be just your friend, not anymore. (ruefully) It would help if I knew what to do! If it were -- if circumstances were different, a lot of this would just be instinctive, but now -- I'll be honest with you, Odo, I'd feel a lot more comfortable leading a charge at Dar Kopel!

ODO
(pause; dead-pan) So would I.

(KIRA manages a laugh and steps a little closer to ODO, daring to bring her hands down on his arms, but not quite managing to let them come to rest.)

KIRA
I'm not like Dax, I don't have much -- background in things like this. And I don't have a Curzon or some other past incarnation to help me get it right. I just wish I knew where to start!

(KIRA manages a half-hearted smile, throwing up her hands as if acknowledging defeat).

ODO
I think we're supposed to start like this.

(ODO gently takes KIRA's face in his hands and starts to kiss her. After a startled pause, she kisses him back, stepping into his arms.)

KIRA
(breathless; but more confident; the territory feels much more familiar now)

That's ... very good. (Smiling) Who have you been practicing on?

ODO
(embarrassed) I actually spent some time in a -- a holosuite --

(hastens to answer the look that crosses KIRA's face) Not at Quark's! On Bajor -- I was only observing -- there were some programs that -- (words fail)

KIRA
(nods; comprehension dawns)

I see. (Reassuringly) That was a good idea. Very ... resourceful. (suddenly overwhelmed; she backs out of his embrace.) Odo, I'm not worried that you can't ... that you won't be able to ... well, actually I am worried about it, but ... (pauses, collects herself) Odo, I don't know what kind of satisfaction doing something so -- physical -- can possibly give you.

(KIRA looks away in confusion -- confusion exacerbated by the fact that she liked his kissing her. A lot.)

ODO
(gently) Nerys, look at me.

(ODO catches KIRA's chin in his fingertips and turns her face towards his.)

ODO
I suppose that I have an advantage here in that I've had a much longer time than you to consider this and the -- any compromises we would have to make.

KIRA
(wistful) I knew you should have told me about it sooner. (pause) Odo, how long? How long have you been in love with me?

ODO
I don't know -- it certainly wasn't something I acknowledged easily. I think since the days when the occupation ended, and I watched you coming into your own -- you had such a passion about you, such an intense single-mindedness. You seemed so clear about what you wanted for your planet and your people, and you were willing to do anything to make it happen. All I know is that one day I had started to love you. (pause) I was appalled.

KIRA
(chuckles; shaking her head)

I know what you mean.

ODO
But, to answer your original question... Certainly part of my -- satisfaction -- will be in any satisfaction that I might be able to give to you. (strokes a wisp of hair back from KIRA's forehead) But, I'm a changeling, a shape-shifter. I don't eat, I don't have a sense of smell -- being able to hear and see are merely -- adaptations I've made to be better able to fit into this environment. All of my -- pleasure centers, if you care to call them that, are attuned to feeling -- shapes, textures, variations of hot and cold, size and density. I can't think of anything more physical than that. (beat) Just now, when I -- kissed you, your mouth changed so much ... your whole body went through such a -- complex series of subtle variations ... it was -- extremely stimulating.

KIRA
(startled; incredulous)

Was it really? You wouldn't just say that?

ODO
I think that you know me well enough to know that I "wouldn't just say" anything. May I -- may I show you?

(KIRA nods assent. ODO runs his hands lightly over KIRA's hair, then her face and her neck; like a blind person endeavoring to "see", only the touch is far more sensual. One can almost see him drinking in the feel of her through the delicate contact. His hands continue slowly down the length of her back.)

KIRA
(stepping closer in his arms.)

Mmm ...that feels nice.

ODO
(abruptly; a little embarrassed)

I did something today that I've never done before.

KIRA
(trying to sound like every nerve ending in her body isn't in overdrive)
Besides kissing me?

ODO
(slight smile) Yes, besides that.

KIRA
What did you do?

ODO
I ... (beat) ... wore clothes.

KIRA
(startled; glances down at what looks like ODO's usual uniform)
You mean that these --

ODO
They --

KIRA and ODO
(in unison)
-- come off.

(KIRA forces a laugh. ODO remains solemn.)

ODO
Yes. (beat) I thought that might be best -- under the circumstances, it might seem more natural to you -- if we were to decide to --

KIRA
Oh -- definitely. (pause) I mean, if we've decided to ...

ODO
Right.

(They both stand awkwardly for moment. KIRA decides that it must be her turn and takes the vole by the snout.* )

KIRA
Here -- these come off, too -- I was thinking about changing about the time you got here...

(Looking anywhere but at ODO's face, KIRA starts fumbling at her collar. ODO is absolutely dumbstruck for a moment; then realizes that participation on his part may be called for.)

ODO
May I -- may I help you with that?

KIRA
(intensely relieved) I wish you would.

(ODO carefully unfastens the uniform tunic, his face -- as viewed over Kira's shoulder -- taut with concentration and anxiety. She shrugs it off and then pulls off her white undertunic so that the camera sees her bare back. ODO's eyes move over her body, studying it intently, and then up to her face.)

ODO
I -- you're -- (lamely) You look very nice.

KIRA
(blushing but amused at the restrained, very Odo-ish compliment.)
Thank you. (beat, trying to make light) Now, show me how well you did your homework.

ODO
What?

KIRA
(tugs at his sleeve) You said these come off.

ODO
Oh -- yes -- I'm sorry, I'm still not quite used to it...

(ODO nervously starts wrestling out of his clothes. He is even more fumble-fingered than KIRA, who reaches out to help him with some of the clasps. Throughout the sequence that follows, the camera focuses on KIRA's face, which is a study as she watches ODO, her eyes getting wider and wider as she dares to let her gaze travel downwards. She involuntarily takes a step back.)

KIRA
That's certainly ... impressive.

ODO
(catching the nuance) There's something wrong.

KIRA
No! (beat; her gaze rushing back to lock on ODO's face.) Not really. (floundering) I'm sure that -- I mean, I can certainly see where you might think that -- especially if you -- studied it in a holosuite program ... It's really -- remarkable. (beat) It's just a bit ... it's ...

ODO
(concerned; slightly flustered)
It's ? ... (words fail)

KIRA
(Forces back a smile.)
It's --

ODO
Never mind. I think I understand.

(When KIRA finally dares to once again lower her gaze, certain adjustments have been made. Her look, while still dumbfounded, becomes cautiously appreciative.)

KIRA
Oh! That's bet-- (beat; her gaze rushes back to his face) You look nice, too. (beat; another quick glance) Very nice.

CUT TO: 2-SHOT, EXTREME CLOSE-UP.

(ODO finally relaxes enough to glimpse the underlying humor of the situation. He gathers KIRA against him, holding her until she also begins to relax.)

ODO
Nerys --

KIRA
Yes, Odo?

ODO
It's fully adjustable.

(After a shocked pause from KIRA, they both start to laugh, ODO in little short chuckles; KIRA uproariously.)

CUT TO:

(KIRA and ODO in bed, under cover of blankets, where things have just proceeded to the usual humanoid-style conclusion. From all outward appearances, both parties found the experience exceptional. KIRA looks like she would be perfectly happy never moving from her place in ODO's arms again as he lies with his head against her shoulder.)

ODO
That was ... most remarkable. (pause; then musingly) I was so afraid this would turn out like eating.

KIRA
(Coming out of a blissful daze)
What?!

ODO
Humanoids seem to enjoy eating so, but the results were -- unfortunate, when I tried it.

KIRA
How was this in comparison? (suddenly shy, but determined to own her feelings) It was -- remarkable for me, too.

ODO
It was -- extraordinary. (He shifts his weight onto one elbow and looks down at her; strokes the hair back from her face.) Did you know you're a shape-shifter?

KIRA
(curious; delighted) What do you mean?

ODO
Your body -- it changes so much. Parts of it become softer -- and warmer -- parts of it firmer and tighter ... (There is movement under the blankets as ODO slides his hand, presumably to one of the points under discussion.) It's the most astonishing thing. (Musing) I'd like to just -- envelop you -- feel every pore of your skin, every variation of temperature and texture...

KIRA
(it takes her a moment to realize that what he's saying is a physical possibility. Then, softly:) I think I'd like that too.

(There is a pause while ODO judges the sincerity of KIRA's words. KIRA stiffens in rapt concentration as ODO shifts into a golden gel that surrounds her.)

CUT TO: Extreme close-up, KIRA's face, astounded and ecstatic.

CUT TO: Shot of KIRA, by now covered with Odo's liquid form rather than blanket, her hands slowly trailing through the substance that covers her.

CUT TO: Some time has obviously passed before ODO's form once again coalesces into his usual humanoid appearance in the bed beside KIRA. Both are taut in the aftermath of what was clearly a deeply ecstatic experience felt on a variety of levels.

For a moment it is all they can do to lie there, individually evaluating what they've shared. They move simultaneously to face each other, their foreheads almost touching on the pillow.)

KIRA
Odo, I -- Odo! Your face!

(Odo's features, while still uniquely Odo's, are decidedly clearer cut, more Bajoran in nature. There is still a hint of no-not-quite-a-Bajoran, but the mouth is more clearly defined and --)

KIRA
(Touching it gently; tracing the bridge with her fingertips) Your nose! You have a Bajoran nose!

ODO
(trying to peer at it cross-eyed) Is it better than before?

KIRA
It has ridges now -- it's wonderful -- (impulsively kisses the tip of the feature in question, before laughing at her own silliness.)

ODO
I'm glad you like it.

KIRA
Very much.

ODO
I always can take on the shape of something far better once I've really touched it ... (reaches out and traces the bridge of KIRA's nose in turn)

KIRA
Why didn't you ask to touch my nose before? I wouldn't have minded.

ODO
I was -- apprehensive.

KIRA
Afraid I'd say no?

ODO
Afraid you'd say yes. (smiles gently into her questioning eyes) I wouldn't have wanted to stop with your nose.

KIRA
Who knows... maybe I wouldn't have wanted you to stop, either.

ODO
(thoughtfully)
You know, I think that I may understand now why you humanoids wear clothes. It never made sense to me before.

KIRA
(smiling) Oh? Why do you think we wear clothes? (runs a fingertip along his bare chest)

ODO
(groping for the concept as well as the words as he steps beyond his usual pragmatism) This -- skin of yours, it's like a -- a doorway.

KIRA
A doorway?

ODO
(runs his hand gently from KIRA's face down the side of her neck to where it curves into the hollow of her throat.) A doorway to a -- a sacred space. I used to think that, if I were to find a sacred space, it would be on my home world, but -- (beat) -- my sacred space is you, Nerys.

KIRA
(deeply moved) That's the ... the single nicest thing that anyone ever said to me, Odo. (Raises her hand to his face. These are not words she says lightly.) I love you, too.

(They kiss -- a kiss that is finally spontaneous, as well as meaningful. They are consequently both embarrassed by the breakdown of their tough-guy approach to life into -- gasp! -- verbalized expressions of sentiment.)

KIRA (cont.)
(in a lighter tone) How long do you have before you have to turn back into a liquid? I know you usually do that about this time of day.

ODO
Actually, today I did something... I believe you call it "taking a nap".

(KIRA laughs in sudden delight, her physical satisfaction secondary to her sense of overall relief that everything has gone a thousand times better than she ever dared hope. Her expression grows softly seductive.)

KIRA
Well, then -- show me what else you learned in that holosuite program.

(KIRA smiles invitingly, gathering ODO into her arms.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- PROMENADE.

(The lighting indicates that it is once again "daytime" aboard the station. KIRA strolls into view, a little bemused, obviously happy, humming to herself.)

DAX, coming up behind KIRA, catches sight of her. She hurries to catch up, taking KIRA's arm and steering her into the Replimat before KIRA can protest.)

KIRA
Dax! I'm almost on duty!

DAX
So am I. We have twenty minutes. (Crosses over to a Replicator while Kira stands undecided.) Would you rather I ask you about it in Ops?

(This argument is inescapable; KIRA sits down at the nearest table.)

DAX
One coffee, one -- raktajino, Nerys? (KIRA nods, Dax places her order, and carries two steaming mugs to the table. ) How did it go?

KIRA
(blushing to her hairline, fighting back a smile) It went -- fine.

DAX
And?

(DAX stares at KIRA interestedly, obviously awaiting a more detailed response.)

KIRA
What else can I tell you? It was ... nice.

DAX
(refusing to settle)
Details! I want details!

KIRA
(embarrassed but laughing)
Dax! You're incorrigible! What do you expect me to tell you!

DAX
(Why does she need to ask?)
Everything!

KIRA
Not very likely! (softening) I don't know when I was last this happy -- maybe the day the Cardassians pulled out of Bajor.

DAX
(Delighted) My, that did go well.

KIRA
You could say that -- (beat; incredulous delight) -- for about five hours. (She HAD to tell SOMEONE.)

(DAX's eyes widen; then she leans over the table and squeezes KIRA's hands in a sort of "hug". They both laugh.)

DAX
(mischievously) So you're saying that Constable Odo can be trusted to plan and carry out a successful assault.

KIRA
Why don't you just say it?

DAX
What? You mean I told you so?

BASHIR (v.o.)
(innocently cheerful) Told you what?

(KIRA freezes as BASHIR comes up behind her. She gives DAX one appalled, pleading stare.)

BASHIR
Ladies, may I join you?

DAX
Why, certainly, Julian. (smiles apologetically) We were just talking about a -- a series of scientific studies that ... that Nerys and -- um -- Odo were working on ...

(KIRA sits mute, a rabbit caught in headlights. BASHIR smiles as understanding dawns; DS9 really is nothing more than a small village in the way that news travels.)

BASHIR
Really? To think I never knew that either of you was particularly interested in the sciences.

DAX
Oh, absolutely.

BASHIR
So, Major, this wouldn't be the same "series of studies" that had Odo visiting you in your quarters very late last night?

KIRA
(eyes closed; she has no secrets left) I don't believe this. Why don't I just put up a sign at Quark's and be done with it? Hell, if I'd told him about it beforehand, I might even have gotten some interesting odds!

BASHIR
(blandly) It certainly would have made for some fascinating wagers. (pause; smiles) Let's just say that Constable Odo accessed certain medical reference files that peaked my curiosity -- (beat) -- I thought they might have pertained to the -- (beat) -- experiments you were conducting. (Smiles -- a warm, professional, "I'm-a-doctor-you-can-tell-me" smile) I take it that your experiments were successful.

DAX
(Soothing, encouraging) We're just so happy for you, Nerys.

ODO (v.o.)
I believe the human term for it is "nosy".

(ODO comes up behind KIRA and rests protective hands on her shoulders while she sags back against him, relieved. DAX and BASHIR sit slightly abashed, like guilty children.)

BASHIR
Good morning, Constable. (beat) Why, Odo, what happened to your nose?

ODO
"Happened" to it? Nothing "happened" to it.

DAX
What Julian's trying to say is that you've -- you've really come a long way in your ability to duplicate a Bajoran nose. Very impressive.

(BASHIR nods an enthusiastic affirmation. ODO looks carefully from one to the other.)

ODO
(a monotone) Thank you. (beat) Major, I believe you're on duty in just few minutes -- may I walk with you to Ops?

(KIRA stands up to join him, and ODO stops the others from attempting to follow with a single look.) Alone.

(KIRA stands; hesitating only a second before reaching up to give ODO a brief but pointed kiss on the mouth, to numerous stares. She then tucks her hand into the crook of his arm, and they leave the coffee shop, heading back into the mainstream of the Promenade. DAX and BASHIR settle down for a cozy "dish" about their friends.)

BASHIR
That's an interesting development.

DAX
The nose?

BASHIR
The whole lot of it!

DAX
(happily) I think I've been holding my breath for the pair of them ever since Kira told me -- no, before that! Ever since Odo was host to Curzon.

BASHIR
I have to admit that I had my reservations -- but apparently the Constable made quite a thorough study...

(BASHIR holds up a PADD. DAX is up behind him and reading over his shoulder faster than a vole can eat through a conduit.)

DAX
My... he even looked up that ...

BASHIR
I'm just glad they were able to find some -- mutual ground. They're both very nice people -- I hope that they'll be very happy together.

DAX
Julian, you really are sweet. (She kisses him lightly on the cheek, then gives a warning smile to the gleam of hope in his eyes.) I think there's enough of that going on, don't you?

BASHIR
(smiles) Never! (Lifts his coffee cup.) To Kira and the constable!

DAX
(also raising her cup) To Kira and Odo!

(The camera angle shifts to an unfamiliar BAJORAN sitting two tables away, listening unobtrusively -- an older man, of medium build and with a generally innocuous appearance. His eyes narrow thoughtfully.)

BAJORAN
(softly to himself) I think that certain people on Bajor will find this interesting -- very interesting indeed.

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- KIRA'S QUARTERS

(KIRA sits trying to meditate, although not with quite her usual level of concentration. The doorcom beeps.)

KIRA
Come! Odo, I --

(SISKO enters, carrying a PADD.)

KIRA
Captain! I'm sorry, I -- (flustered, she stands to attention.)

SISKO
As you were, Major. (pause) I asked Constable Odo if he could do something for me -- nothing important, but I needed a few minutes to speak with you alone.

KIRA
(halfway to herself) And it's been less than a week -- I guess I didn't need to put up that sign at Quark's after all. (beat) Is there a problem, Captain?

SISKO
For me personally -- none. I'm delighted to hear of your happiness, and I wish you only the best.

KIRA
But ...

SISKO
I just received a communication from Kai Winn. She's asked for your immediate presence on Bajor... for a stay of indefinite length.

KIRA
What? I don't understand -- what does this have to do with... (beat) This is because of Odo -- Odo and me?

SISKO
Nerys, she says that she would rather deal with you privately than ask the government to issue a warrant for your arrest.

FADE OUT on KIRA's shocked, disbelieving face.


FADE IN.

INT. -- KIRA'S QUARTERS

(KIRA stands there staring at SISKO, her face a study in total disbelief.)

KIRA
My arrest?! For what?

SISKO
Nerys, do Bajorans frequently -- um, pair-bond with non-Bajorans?

KIRA
No, but it's not unheard of, at least not since the end of the occupation. Before that we didn't have any real opportunity. We only knew the Cardassians -- and they raped, they didn't "pair-bond". (Her voice is tight, angry at past wrongs. Forces herself back to considering the matter at hand.) Since then there have been a number of Terran-Bajoran weddings, as well as some others with offworlders -- Ben, what does Winn think she can arrest me for?

SISKO
Apparently it's a matter of religious law.

KIRA
What?!

SISKO
(Looks at the PADD.) Here's the relevant text. "And she who lies down with the demon outworlder will be held without honor, and she who lets the demon outworlder take possession of her pagh shall be a thing unclean, for such acts are without fruit, and are thus an abomination." I can only assume that she's interpreting "demon outworlder" to mean changeling.

(KIRA looks like she'd like to break something -- WINN's neck coming to mind. Finally:)

KIRA
It's such an old, obscure passage -- it's been interpreted to mean a dozen different things. (Stiffens) Winn is just using it to get at me -- to get at you, and to get at this station!

SISKO
Major, you're hardly telling me anything that I don't already know. (smiles) My reply to Kai Winn has been to assure her that there is no evidence of any such -- activity taking place, and to gently remind her that it is hardly fitting that she should pay attention to idle gossip. (serious) However, Nerys, it seems that more discretion might be called for, at least for the time being.

KIRA
Discretion -- I'm not sure that's something I'm very good at.

SISKO
(smiles) Imagine that. Perhaps it would be simpler to say -- no more kissing in the middle of the Promenade?

(Door com beeps.)

KIRA
(automatically) Come!

(ODO enters. He eyes SISKO curiously.)

ODO
Captain. I checked with Chief O'Brien about that pylon you were interested in -- he wasn't aware that there was any problem.

SISKO
Well, that's good news, Constable. Nerys, Odo, good night, and have a pleasant evening.

(SISKO exits. ODO eyes KIRA sardonically.)

ODO
So, what was the Captain's little diversionary tactic really about?

KIRA
Oh, nothing -- except that Winn wants to have me arrested for heresy.

ODO
(incredulous) Heresy? (tight-lipped with anger) I suppose that our being -- together is heresy.

(KIRA stands; fists thrust out at her sides, obviously fighting to keep her rage at manageable levels.)

KIRA
Not to me it isn't. This is just another trick of Winn's to bring me down, so she can put one of her puppets in my place, if not discredit this station and the Federation presence altogether.

ODO
With the Klingons massing on the border, I would think that the last thing she would want to do is discredit the Federation presence on this station.

KIRA
Winn's problem is that she can't think beyond Bajor -- she can't see how it fits into a larger picture. (pause) Anyway, the Captain came by to ask us to be a little more "discreet".

ODO
I suppose that we shouldn't have staged that little -- demonstration on the Promenade.

KIRA
No ... it was a breakdown of military discipline, I suppose. But, dammit, I want to be seen with you! (beat -- her voice softens) I happen to be in love you. (defiantly, her chin thrust forward) And if that's heresy, then I'll be damned.

(KIRA takes a step toward ODO, and there is a long pause while he takes her into his arms, holding her tightly against him.)

ODO
Those are hardly ideas that lend themselves to discretion.

KIRA
(faint chuckle) No, I suppose not.

ODO
However, thinking in human terms, I believe this means that I need to ask you a question.

KIRA
Oh?

ODO
Nerys, will you marry me?

(KIRA leans back to stare at him, her face a study in utter amazement.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN:

INT. -- DAX'S QUARTERS.

(KIRA and DAX sit on large cushions on the floor, exchanging confidences. A more-than-usual amount of synthale has been consumed, having no impact on DAX, but causing KIRA to be just a little bit more relaxed than is her norm.)

KIRA
-- and then he asked me to marry him.

DAX
That's wonderful! (beat) Isn't it? What did you tell him?

KIRA
It hasn't been very long ...

DAX
Nerys! You didn't tell him "no"!

KIRA
Would you have said "yes" so soon?

DAX
You've known each other for years! You really only had one unanswered question... and from the look on your face that first morning, it's obvious that you got the right answer. Nerys, I saw you. When you just heard the sound of his voice behind you, your face ...

KIRA
(half-smiling) What about my face?

DAX
(pauses to consider her words. Finally:)
It's like you were on fire inside, and it glowed through.

KIRA
Then you think it's a good thing that I said "yes".

DAX
What?! -- You -- that's wonderful, Nerys!

(DAX leans over and gives KIRA a hug. KIRA's teasing smile fades as she considers her current dilemma.)

KIRA
The only problem is that we've got to keep the whole thing a big secret until we can come up with a way to counter this attack of Winn's.

DAX
That's hard. (beat) Do you have any idea when and where you'll be married?

KIRA
Here, probably, if Ben's willing to perform the ceremony. It's all happened so fast ... It feels right, but -- but I'm still afraid.

DAX
You? Nerys, you're not afraid of anything.

KIRA
That would be stupid of me. I've lost so many of the people who were closest to me, the people I've loved -- my family, so many of my friends in the resistance ... Bareil ... part of me wants to hold on to Odo as hard as I can, and part of me wants to shove him away before he gets hurt.

DAX
Which would be a big enough hurt right there.

(KIRA nods and silently starts to cry. DAX, knowing that tears do not come easily to KIRA, moves closer so she can put an arm around her shoulders.)

DAX
It's going to be all right, you'll see. Come on, now...

(KIRA dashes the tears from her eyes.)

KIRA
(unnecessarily) I hate it when I cry. (pause) Maybe I'm just scared because it's so --

DAX
So -- ?

KIRA
(slightly incredulous) -- so much more than I expected.

DAX
In what way?

KIRA
I don't know -- I guess I thought that if we could achieve a -- a physical relationship, that it would be -- I don't know -- a nice addition to our friendship. I didn't expect it to be so -- passionate.

DAX
I think that's what falling in love is supposed to be about.

KIRA
I know, I know. I just didn't expect it to be -- (beat; guiltily) better.

DAX
(sympathetically) Than Bareil?

(KIRA nods, ashamed. DAX squeezes her shoulders comfortingly.)

DAX (cont.)
You have to move on sometime. Besides, look at it this way ... you've known Odo much longer than you did Bareil. You've had that much longer to -- to get ready to love him this much.

(KIRA manages a smile.)

KIRA
I guess you're right. I just never pictured it turning out this way.

DAX
Yes, but that's what makes life interesting. (smiles) So it's really that special.

KIRA
(thoughtfully) Imagine someone who -- someone thinks that the little depression on the inside of your wrist is just as -- as exciting and erotic as your bare breasts. So much so that you feel it, too.

DAX
(eyes widening; this sounds like a pretty good idea to her) That sounds wonderful!

KIRA
It is. Absolutely. (She smiles, picks up a drink from the floor beside her and sips at it.) I haven't had all that many, but before when I've been with a new -- (shyly; tasting the word) -- lover, it's always taken awhile before I -- before our bodies could work out the differences between us and I could forget about the -- logistics -- long enough to completely enjoy myself. I'm from Bajor, for heaven's sake -- we're about as inhibited as they come, at least when it comes to -- to sex, and how we make love. But with Odo ... Dax, it's like he has no inhibitions. None at all.

(KIRA leans forward intently; she is so fascinated by this paradox that she forgets that she's talking about sex and how it directly relates to her.)

KIRA (cont.)
It's funny ... before we -- before we started that first night, I told Odo that I was worried about how he would be able to enjoy anything so -- so physical.

DAX
Oh... my. (DAX shakes her head and smiles, amused.)

KIRA
Why doesn't that surprise you?

DAX
You forget ... Odo once hosted Curzon, so I got to know a good bit about him -- Odo, I mean. (shrugs) Both of them, actually. Odo takes such -- joy in the physical aspect of his nature.

KIRA
Well, he certainly seems to! He doesn't have any of the notions that we -- well, some of us, anyway -- are taught in childhood about how some things are "nicer" to do than other things, that some things are especially immodest, and others aren't. He has a sense of how private it is, but once the door closes, it's no holds barred. (Realizes who the no holds are barred with; blushes.) So to speak.

DAX
(grins) Sounds like he did his homework.

KIRA
(laughs) How do the human children put it -- I think he made an "A"! (leans back, stretches) I don't mean that we've done anything particularly unusual -- maybe it's just that I don't get any sense of him preferring some things, and tolerating others because he thinks I like them. The more I like something, the more he seems to. And there's this other thing ... (pause) It's like he -- his body somehow senses what is -- most pleasurable for mine, and makes these -- tiny adjustments, that smooth everything out until I can't think anymore, I can just feel how ... (a little smile) how positively delicious it all is.

(DAX gives an astonished grin at KIRA's unexpected choice of words. KIRA leans back against her cushion, smiling, eyes closed. Her face, and particularly her body language, radiate a new, gentle and unself-conscious sensuality.)

DAX
Well, he is a shape-shifter.

KIRA
(wicked chuckle) You should have seen the first version -- he'd gone to some Bajoran holosuite to do "research" and -- (stops, blushing, but still chuckling)

DAX
Visions of Catherine the Great?

KIRA
Who?

DAX
A eighteenth century Russian empress -- on Earth. Legend has it that she met her end being crushed to death by a horse.

KIRA
A riding accident?

DAX
Sort of, except she was riding it the wrong way.

(DAX's expression speaks volumes. KIRA looks appalled.)

KIRA
Jadzia! Where do you hear things like that?

DAX
Curzon. What a sense of the ridiculous --!

KIRA
I guess so! (She sits back, chuckling.) He would have loved seeing Odo and me that first night -- Jadzia, I have never been so scared in my entire life, and I don't think Odo was any better.

DAX
Curzon would have loved it?! I would have loved it! (Gives an innocent shrug to KIRA's outraged stare.) The important thing is that you got over being scared, at least so I gather, and that you're happy...

KIRA
(with a blush and a grin)
... ecstatic, yes, thank you. (she laughs) At one point Odo was ready to call Dr. Bashir. He had already grabbed my combadge by the time I stopped him.

DAX
Julian?! Whatever for?

KIRA
(conversationally)
Apparently all that research of Odo's didn't mention the possibility of screaming.

DAX
(amazed; positively delighted)
I can't believe you're telling me all this.

KIRA
I know. I'll probably not be able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning. (picks up her drink, sips some more, smiles) But it was wonderful. It is wonderful.

(They both laugh.)

DAX
Well, I should hope so, after five hours. (pause; interested) By the way, when did the nose change?

(KIRA looks startled at the question, before her eyes flare with remembered passion. She forces herself to keep her tone casual.)

KIRA
Oh, after he'd been able to touch my nose -- gotten a feel for the way the ridges are really constructed.

(It's obvious that KIRA hasn't told the whole story as she hugs hers knees to her chest; but DAX opts to grant her friend her privacy. DAX reaches for a PADD on the floor beside her and starts scribbling industriously.)

DAX
So, you need to figure out what you're going to wear.

KIRA
(snapping out of it) Wear? For what?

DAX
For your wedding, silly.

KIRA
I don't know -- it's going to be a secret. My uniform, I guess.

DAX
(exasperated) Kira Nerys! There are secrets and there are secrets! There is no reason why you can't include a few of your closest friends here on the station and have a very nice ceremony.

KIRA
I suppose... all right, I'll wear a dress. (a huge concession)

DAX
You're hopeless! What kind of dress?

KIRA
A -- a -- a wedding dress! A Bajoran joining dress. There, are you happy?

DAX
What color would it be?

(She picks up a PADD from the floor beside her, starts making notes.)

KIRA
Green. Green and brown.

DAX
Ooh -- good colors for you. (Scribbles furiously.) Now, about the cake...

KIRA
What cake?

DAX
Don't Bajorans have wedding cakes?

KIRA
No, Bajorans have joining bread. The couple gives a loaf to each of the guests, as a symbol of -- fertility, and their hope that any -- hunger of the guests will always be satisfied. But I don't think we should have bread.

DAX
Why not?

KIRA
Because somehow the fact that I'm carbon-based and Odo's silicon-based makes sharing a fertility symbol seem kind of inappropriate. Besides, the couple is also supposed to share some of the bread, in front of the guests. Odo doesn't eat.

DAX
Right. (Amends her notes.) All right, then, just a nice party -- maybe in Benjamin's ward room -- no! A holosuite!

KIRA
Are you joking? I'm not getting married in a holosuite!

DAX
But it'll be perfect -- you can have a garden, and birds, and --

KIRA
Dax! I am NOT getting married in a holosuite!

DAX
(tongue-in-cheek) It would be symbolic! An entirely changeable environment for changeling!

KIRA
(unchangeable) NO!!

DAX
(pause) Well, then, maybe Ben's ward room --

KIRA
Convenient if we get attacked by Klingons or the Dominion during the ceremony.

DAX
(shakes her head. KIRA is hopeless.) Do you exchange any tokens with your betrothed?

KIRA
There's something called a Bajoran pledge bracelet ... (sarcastic) If I'm going to start wearing a pledge bracelet, I might as well just invite Winn to the wedding!

DAX
Hmm ... no, I don't suppose you'll be able to wear it for a while, but you'd still want to have it, wouldn't you?

KIRA
Maybe, if Odo thinks to get me one, which he probably won't. (pause) I don't really care one way or the other. I've got bigger things to worry about.

DAX
I'm sorry... It's just that these are little things you can actually do something about.

KIRA
All I want to "do something about" is Kai Winn ...

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- REPLIMAT.

(Odo is sitting quietly at a table in the Replimat feigning interest in a cup of coffee that is actually just an extension of his hand, and observing activities on the Promenade. GARAK enters and pulls up a chair to the table.)

GARAK
Constable Odo! I understand that congratulations are in order.

ODO
I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.

GARAK
Perhaps I misheard, but word has it that you're betrothed to the lovely Major Kira.

(ODO turns and gives GARAK his full attention.)

ODO
Where did you hear that?

GARAK
Oh ... it's such an old station -- sometimes I think the very walls whisper. (Leans in so he can speak more softly.) If you listen to these old walls closely enough, you might even hear that there are plans to remove the Major from Deep Space Nine in such a way as to embarrass the Federation and particularly Commander Sisko. (Leans back, looks out musingly) Yes, it's truly amazing what you can hear.

ODO
And do you hear who might be planning to do something like that, Garak?

GARAK
(sighing) We live in such difficult times -- even religious leaders are driven to behavior that seems -- less than scrupulous. Well, good day, Constable, I must be getting along to my shop -- do come in before the wedding, and bring your lovely fiancee -- I'm sure I can work out a special price, just for you. (reaches out and fingers ODO's sleeve) Ah, yes -- I thought you had changed your tailor... Don't forget, now! Oh, and by the way -- lovely job on the nose...

(GARAK rises and departs, leaving ODO with a look of consternation on his face.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- SISKO'S OFFICE

(SISKO sits at his desk, looking across it at KIRA and ODO who are seated facing him. They both look rather anxious at the news they've just imparted. SISKO has his elbows on the desk, his fingers making a steeple in his "thinking" position.)

SISKO
It may not be the most "discreet" choice right now (smiles at KIRA), but I would be absolutely delighted to officiate at your wedding. How soon did you have in mind?

(KIRA and ODO exchange glances.)

KIRA
What would you say if I said -- next week?

SISKO
(keenly interested) Why so soon?

ODO
There are already rumors around the station that Kai Winn may be planning some kind of move against Nerys and myself -- and you as our commanding officer. We think that it would be advisable to legalize our relationship, at least under Federation law.

SISKO
Yes, but you realize that local authorities generally take precedence. If Winn were to catch you on Bajor, or if she were to try to initiate extradition procedures... (picks up a cup of coffee from his desk, sips thoughtfully.)

ODO
... we would still have a little more to fall back on than if we were -- what is that odd term Chief O'Brien uses about the days before he married Keiko? Oh, yes -- "just shacking up".

(SISKO does a spit-take, struggles not to laugh. KIRA and ODO are looking at him earnestly.)

KIRA
Please, Ben. I know that First Minister Shakaar and I didn't part on the best of terms, but he's still an old friend of mine - all of those years in the Resistance together have to count for something. Once I can get word to him without Winn's interference ...

SISKO
You know what it sounds like to me? (To their questioning looks:) It sounds like you just really want to be married. So ... next week it is!

FADE OUT.


FADE IN:

INT. -- KIRA'S QUARTERS

KIRA sits in front of her prayer light, meditating. She wears a simple light gown, and has a dress, subtly patterned in green and rust, draped across her lap.

ODO enters quietly, and slips into a seated position at KIRA's side. KIRA looks up, startled.

KIRA
Odo! Are you already off duty?

ODO
Half an hour ago. I could go away and come back later ...

KIRA
Don't be silly. I was just -- praying about tomorrow.

ODO
Nervous?

KIRA
Only because of the threat from Winn. I feel -- very right about marrying you.

ODO
I'm glad to hear it.

KIRA
I was just saying the prayer that a Bajoran woman is supposed to say on the night before her joining.

ODO
Ah.

KIRA
Odo ... does it bother you?

ODO
Does what bother me?

KIRA
I know you don't really hold with -- well, religion.

ODO
It's part of what made you what you are. I hold with that.

KIRA leans over and gives ODO an impulsive kiss.

KIRA
I love you, Constable.

ODO
Ditto, Major.

They both sit quietly, looking at the flame. ODO reaches out and takes KIRA's hand in his.

ODO
So, what is the prayer?

KIRA
(blushing) It goes like this: (softly, in Bajoran) "Prophets, guide us -- may our lives be full of joy, even when seasoned with sorrow -- may we give freely of ourselves, from the love in the depths of our hearts -- and may our feet always follow the path you have set for us."

ODO
That's a good prayer. Say it again.

KIRA
All right. "Prophets, guide us --"

ODO
"Prophets, guide us --"

(KIRA repeats the prayer, ODO carefully repeating the lines after her.)

KIRA
"... And may our feet always follow the path you have set for us."

ODO
"And may our feet always follow the path you have set for us."

KIRA looks over at ODO. Her eyes are bright with unshed tears, but she is smiling. ODO reaches out and touches the dress in her lap.

ODO
What is this?

KIRA
(spreading it out) This is my joining dress.

ODO
It's very nice. (realizing that he really needs to pump up his compliments somewhat) It's a -- a pretty color.

KIRA
Do you know how long it's been since I wore a dress?

ODO
Years?

KIRA
At least.

(KIRA smiles and lays the dress aside.)

KIRA
Odo ...?

ODO
Yes?

KIRA
Thank you for praying with me.

ODO
(with a rare, sweet smile)
You're welcome. (pause) Nerys?

KIRA
Yes, Odo?

ODO
Thank you for marrying me.

KIRA
Any time, Constable.

(She moves into his arms.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN:

INT. -- SISKO'S OFFICE

(With it's convenient location next to the ward room, this is where KIRA has changed into her joining dress, and where she, ODO, and SISKO now wait . ODO sits quietly in a chair in the corner, studying a PADD. SISKO sits at his desk, eyeing the bride warily. KIRA, pacing, is clearly having a case of last-minute pre-wedding jitters.)

KIRA
... what am I doing, anyway, getting married after only two weeks? With the Kai down there screaming that I'm a heretic! I can't believe -- Odo, how can you just sit there?!

ODO
(quietly) Nerys, do you want to postpone the wedding?

KIRA
No! -- no. I just want to ... (pause, softly) ... I want to know that I'm not really going against the will of the Prophets.

SISKO
Would you be interested in my -- in the opinion of the Emissary?

KIRA
(becomes absolutely still; listening)
Very much, sir.

SISKO
It seems to me that the two of you belong together. And that it may just bring an added good to your people.

(KIRA looks at him and smiles slowly, a soft glow lighting her eyes.)

KIRA
You really mean that? You wouldn't just say it?

SISKO
(smiles) I wouldn't just say it.

KIRA
Thank you, Emi -- thank you, Benjamin.

SISKO
No problem.

(ODO is still seemingly absorbed in his PADD -- there is only the faintest sheen on his face showing that he's been having a difficult time holding his shape from sheer tension. His tone remains studiedly casual.)

ODO
I take it we're still getting married?

(KIRA glances over at ODO, and notices the fast-fading telltale marks. She crosses to stand behind him, putting her arms around his neck.)

KIRA
You don't get off that easily.

(SISKO gets to his feet.)

SISKO
I think I could use a cup of coffee, and we still have about twenty minutes. I'll be back shortly.

(SISKO exits. ODO pats his lap. KIRA looks at him strangely.)

KIRA
You want me to sit in your lap?

ODO
I suppose I could turn into a chair for you, but this seemed easier.

(KIRA, with a little smile, does as suggested. ODO wraps his arms around her comfortably.)

KIRA
I can't believe how calm you are.

ODO
I suspect it's just different for me, that's all.

KIRA
How is it different?

ODO
I get the impression that you've wanted a lot of different things in your life, Nerys. Humanoids generally do.

KIRA
Yes, I suppose that's true. Why?

ODO
It's just that I haven't. I've only really wanted very few things.

KIRA
What are they?

ODO
I wanted to belong, to fit in somewhere. I suppose I've achieved that here, at least to some extent.

KIRA
I think that's true. What else?

ODO
I wanted to find my people -- and I did, although they weren't what I hoped for. (pause) And I wanted you.

KIRA
(leaning her head against his)
In other words, you're not doing too badly.

ODO
Not badly at all, Nerys -- not badly at all ...

FADE OUT.


FADE IN:

INT. -- SISKO'S WARD ROOM

(The big event is clearly underway. All the guests have arrived -- DAX, BASHIR, O'BRIEN, JAKE, WORF -- even, surprisingly enough, QUARK, ROM, NOG, and GARAK. Everyone is waiting for SISKO, KIRA, and ODO to make their appearance.)

BASHIR
(to DAX; whispering) How in the world did they happen to invite Quark and his family? Not to mention Garak!

DAX
(also whispering) They decided that Quark would be a lot more likely to keep a secret that he was in on from the start, than one that he chanced to find out about later. I suppose the same goes for Garak.

BASHIR
I suppose there's a certain logic to it, but -- Kira inviting a Ferengi -- and a *Cardassian* -- to her wedding? I'm so surprised, that's all --

DAX
Shh! They're here!

(SISKO enters from his office, followed by ODO and KIRA -- ODO looks very much his usual self, but KIRA is a stranger in her Bajoran wedding dress -- very simply cut with a form-fitting bodice and long sleeves, all in a rich emerald green touched with rust. She wears a simple diadem** of rust-colored ribbon, the ends trailing halfway down her back. There is absolutely nothing extraordinary about her outfit, but the look on her face makes her breathtaking. An expectant hush falls on the small "crowd")

SISKO
One of the true privileges of being a captain on a Starfleet vessel -- or, in this case, on this space station -- is that of being allowed to officiate when a couple decides that they wish to join in marriage. As you know, we have such a couple here with us today.

(He nods at ODO and KIRA, who move to stand in front of him.)

SISKO (cont.)
I'm afraid that I am unfamiliar with the traditional wedding ceremony of Bajor, other than the fact that it usually takes about four hours ...

(QUARK looks stricken. Keep the bar closed for four hours?)

SISKO (cont.)
Fortunately for me, Constable Odo and Major Kira have decided that in the interest of the privacy that they need to maintain regarding their relationship -- at least for the time being -- they will use a much simpler and briefer ceremony that should be familiar to all of us here from Earth, and to many of us who have had a prolonged exposure to Starfleet.

(QUARK relaxes. SISKO opens the book that he holds in his hands and begins reading the words of the ceremony. DAX, standing to BASHIR's right, and ROM, standing to his left, both sniff happily, dabbing their eyes with their handkerchiefs.)

(There is the sound of some sort of ruckus outside the door, causing WORF and, surprisingly, QUARK, both wearing "bouncer faces", to leave to investigate.)

QUARK (v.o.)
This is a private party! Come to Quark's in an hour, the bar will be open by then!

WORF (v.o.)
You may not come in here!

(DAX and ROM continue sniffling, happily oblivious, as the ceremony continues.)

ODO
I, Odo Ital, take you, Kira Nerys, to be my partner and helpmate, in health and in sickness, in prosperity and adversity, forsaking all others and cleaving only to you. Let nothing but death come between you and me.

(KIRA already knows her part.)

KIRA
I, Kira Nerys, take you, Odo l'meytahl ...

(ODO's eyes widen as he hears the variation on his name. DAX sniffles become more audible.)

BASHIR
(whispering, perplexed) Why did she change his name like that?

DAX
(whispering back, between sniffs)
In Cardassian, "odo'ital" means "nothing". "O! Do'l'meytahl" is the beginning of a line from a Bajoran poem -- it's an archaic term, but the closest translation is "Oh! Blood of my heart"... heart's blood.

(ROM, overhearing, sniffs louder, too.)

WORF (v.o.)
I tell you, no one passes through this door until I say so!

SISKO
(studiedly calm) Then by the power invested in me by Star Fleet and by the United Federation of Planets, I now pronounce you joined in marriage. (smiles) Constable Odo, this isn't part of the legalities, but it's something we always add on Earth... you may now kiss the bride.

(ODO takes KIRA's face in his hands and kisses her, gently but thoroughly.)

VOICE (v.o.)
This is an outrage! I demand to see the Emissary!

(Everyone exchanges looks. The VOICE belongs to Kai WINN.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- SISKO'S WARD ROOM

(The wedding party and guests stand momentarily frozen. SISKO takes charge, reaching out to tap both KIRA and ODO's combadges.)

SISKO
Transporter -- two to beam directly into Major Kira's quarters -- now!

(Shoves the book containing the wedding ceremony into ODO's arms just before he and KIRA dissolve in the transporter effect.)

CUT TO:

INT. -- KIRA'S QUARTERS

(ODO and KIRA materialize. KIRA reaches up and pulls off her diadem, shaking her head in disbelief.)

KIRA
So that was Winn's little plan -- to storm in on our wedding and turn Captain Sisko into our accomplice. But what does she hope to accomplish?

ODO
(putting the down the book on the desk)
I think that the answer to your question lies on Bajor -- you need to get to the First Minister.

KIRA
Yes. (Kira sighs, rolls her eyes) In the end I still get to spend my honeymoon with Shakaar ...

FADE OUT.

INT. -- SISKO'S WARD ROOM

(Kai WINN has just been allowed to storm through the door, and is looking around at the too-innocent faces of SISKO, O'BRIEN, BASHIR, DAX, etc. She focuses on SISKO.)

WINN
Emissary, what am I to think? I expressly advise you that this outrage is directly contrary to our law, and not only do you allow it to continue, you actively contribute to facilitating it!

SISKO
I beg you pardon, Kai, but what outrage are you referring to?

WINN
(How can he be so dense?) This -- ceremony!

SISKO
This party to honor Dr. Bashir for the wonderful reception given to his latest paper on cell regeneration in silicon-based life forms? How is that an outrage?

BASHIR
(smoothly) I'm terribly sorry not to have invited you, Kai -- I didn't realize that you'd have such an interest.

WINN
I think that we both know what's really going on here, today, Captain Sisko.

SISKO
Do we?

(WINN turns aside; moving towards where DAX stands in front of the reception table. DAX unobtrusively pulls ROM towards her so that he is also between WINN and whatever is on the table.)

WINN
Well, don't let me break up Dr. Bashir's reception -- I'm sure you won't mind if I fix myself something to drink... (gently but inexorably pushes past DAX.)

(There sitting on the table, is a large and fairly bizarre looking cake, iced in blue, black and bright orange. In addition, it is decorated with two -- small -- slips of gold-pressed latinum.)

WINN
(reading) "Kira and Odo -- may your profits be many, your losses be few, and may your dividends increase." An odd choice for your reception, Doctor, don't you think?

QUARK
(hissing; an aside to ROM)
I told you they didn't need a cake!

ROM
But, Brother -- it's a tradition.

QUARK
No Ferengi tradition includes giving away latinum!

WINN
(turning to SISKO)
Emissary -- how can you be a friend to the people of Bajor when you willingly aid one of our citizens to fly in the face of one of our sacred laws?

SISKO
(dropping the charade)
Apparently there are a number of different interpretations to this particular law.

WINN
As Kai, I am the final interpreter of all matters of religious law on Bajor.

SISKO
(softly; but with steel underneath)
And I am the Emissary -- can I not be expected to use my own judgment -- especially here, which is not on Bajor?

(WINN pauses, thinks, hones her tactics. Finally:)

WINN
Perhaps this matter can be quietly resolved -- I need to speak to Major Kira before this -- (waves her hand vaguely in a sweep of the room) this thing can go any further. Where is she, Captain?

SISKO
(smoothly) Oh, I'm sorry, Kai -- you just missed them. I imagine they've left on their honeymoon by now.

(WINN's eyes widen indignantly as...)

CUT TO:

EXT. -- A RIDGE LINE ON BAJOR.

(The terrain is rugged, rather desolate. The sun has just dipped below the ridge. KIRA and ODO appear in a shimmer of transporter effect, KIRA in civilian clothing suited to the rugged task ahead. They start moving quickly, KIRA leading the way through the rocky terrain.)

KIRA
We need to find my friend, Lupaza. She'll be able to help us get to Shakaar. I had the transporter set us down on what should be her property, only I haven't the faintest idea where she actually lives on it. (Pauses, pulls out her tricorder, takes some readings.) I'm not showing anything for at least five kilometers. That's funny... she must have her cabin shielded somehow.

ODO
(moving up to stand at KIRA's side)
Do you have an idea what direction it would be in?

KIRA
(nodding ahead of her)
Supposedly that way -- I wish we had more daylight.

ODO
(glancing around at the fast settling night)
We're near Bajor's equator here, aren't we?

KIRA
(nods) Yes ... Well, let's keep moving as long as we can.

(They start off again.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

EXT. -- A SMALL CLEARING

(KIRA, sitting back on her haunches, has just planted a lightstick to see by. ODO stands at the edge of the light, taking one last peer into the darkness before coming to sit at KIRA's side. KIRA sits down next to him, taking his hand briefly in hers before starting to rummage in her pack. She pulls out a packet of combat rations and tears into it, chewing unenthusiastically on the contents.)

KIRA
It's times like this I envy you not having to eat.

ODO
I admit it has its uses. (curiously) Aren't those the combat rations that Chief O'Brien likes so much?

KIRA
(between chewing)
All I can say is that the chief is a true mechanic.

ODO
How's that?

KIRA
This is what scrap metal must taste like.

(ODO smiles, gently resting his hand on KIRA's knee.)

ODO
Somehow this is not how I pictured the ending of this particular day.

KIRA
(swallowing her last bite of combat ration) You're right about that. (smiles, covers his hand with hers) I guess I'm getting used to the unexpected these days. (her smile deepens to a grin) It's certainly been a while since I've done any sleeping on the ground that involved more than sleep.

ODO
(also smiling)
Did you have something in mind?

KIRA
As a matter of fact, Constable, I did.

(KIRA leans back into ODO's arms and they start to kiss.)

VOICE
Kira Nerys! I thought an old resistance fighter like you knew better than to get caught with her pants down.

(KIRA whips around into a defensive posture. ODO equally tense and poised for action. A large figure of a man steps into the light of the light stick.)

KIRA
(recognition dawning) Furel? Furel, is that you?

(FUREL steps closer -- a bluff, hearty man with one arm.)

FUREL
(shaking his head in mock disappointment) Nerys, Nerys ... you'd think you'd know better.

KIRA
(laughing) You'd think that you would, sneaking up on us like that!

FUREL
I could have driven an entire heard of abkora past here and you would never have heard a sound. Don't they give you beds on that Cardassian space station of yours?

KIRA
(jokes) My bed is none of your business.

FUREL
A fact that I used to mourn every night. (his smile extends to ODO, who is watching cautiously) You'd better introduce me to your friend before he decides I'm up to no good.

KIRA
(startled, remembering herself)
My "friend" happens to be my husband. Furel, this is Odo. Odo, this is an old friend from my resistance days, Furel.

ODO
(nods) Furel.

FUREL
Pleased to meet you, I'm sure. To think of Major Kira Nerys, married ... So, when did all this happen?

KIRA
Oh, about three hours ago.

FUREL
(eyebrows raised)
Forgive me for saying so, Nerys, but love Bajor as much as I do, I'm not sure that I would choose a camping trip here for my honeymoon.

KIRA
Nor would I. It seems to depend on who you decide to marry.

FUREL
(looks at ODO)
I have it! You're the shape-shifter!

(Stares at ODO for a second before remembering his manners.)

FUREL
I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to stare. (shakes his head) Nerys, didn't anybody warn you what was happening here?

KIRA
I've had a few hints -- Furel, what is happening here?

FUREL
Let me get you back to Lupaza's -- I was just coming from there. She hammered at me for half an hour trying to get me to spend the night -- she'll be delighted to have some company.

CUT TO:

EXT. -- OUTSIDE LUPAZA'S CAVE

(An extremely rocky stretch of ridge line. FUREL and KIRA pick their way along as only a pair of natives could, ODO following a bit more cautiously.)

FUREL
This wretched cave is Lupaza's pride and joy ... actually, it's a pretty nice cave, except that you'd think she carved it out of the rock with her own two hands.

VOICE (v.o.)
Who's there?

(The voice is sharp and challenging, and sounds closer than it should be. KIRA and ODO turn toward it quickly. They can see almost nothing in the darkness.)

FUREL
I changed my mind! And I brought you some visitors!

LUPAZA (v.o.)
Who is it?

KIRA
Lupaza? Is that you? It's me, Nerys.

LUPAZA (v.o.)
(incredulous)
Nerys? Kira Nerys?

(A figure steps out into the light of their lightsticks. Lupaza is a tall, "home-grown", handsome woman, with strong features and long, curly hair. She takes a few steps closer, still cautious, until she sees that it is really KIRA.)

LUPAZA
(runs to KIRA; they hug)
Nerys! Kira Nerys, how have -- what --

KIRA
It's good to see you, Lupaza. It's been too long.

LUPAZA
That's certain! Furel, you rascal, did you know she was coming? (smiles, looks at ODO.) I don't think we've met.

KIRA
Lupaza, this is -- this is my husband, Odo. (ODO nods a greeting.)

LUPAZA
Nerys! I didn't know you -- how long have you been married?

KIRA
(dryly) Oh... about four hours.

LUPAZA
What?!!

(She looks at FUREL questioningly. He shrugs.)

FUREL
I know as much as you do. I ran across the pair of them misbehaving themselves a few miles back.

KIRA
We were not misbehaving ... yet.

LUPAZA
Whatever brings you here, it's wonderful to see you. Come on inside, all of you. I'll put on a pot of tea and some supper, and we'll have a good talk.

CUT TO:

INT. -- LUPAZA'S CAVE.

(While it has been made to be extremely homey and inviting, it is still clearly a cave. LUPAZA is explaining.)

LUPAZA
When I found this cave on the property, with a freshwater spring inside, I decided that I could forgo the expense and the labor of building a house for a while -- get my crops planted first.

FUREL
I told you -- nothing but the cave!

LUPAZA
Oh, don't pay any attention to him, Nerys, he's just jealous.

FUREL
It's true. I am.

KIRA
(Looking around.) This is wonderful. (pause) Would you mind sharing a drink from that freshwater spring? I think it must be that the air's so dry -- I'm just incredibly thirsty.

LUPAZA
Of course. Have a seat, I'll be right back.

(She goes to get some water. After they all sit down together at LUPAZA's table, KIRA reaches out and takes ODO's hand, squeezes it briefly.)

FUREL
You know that we'll help you, Nerys, no matter what.

KIRA
I know. You're both good friends.

LUPAZA
(coming back with a tray holding four glasses of water) Here you are. (Sits; sets a glass down in front of each of them.)

ODO
Thank you, but I don't drink.

LUPAZA
(taken aback)
But it's ... water.

KIRA
(absently; finishing her glass and reaching for ODO's)
That's all right, I'll drink it ... Lupaza, Odo is -- Odo is a changeling. He doesn't eat or drink.

LUPAZA
You're the Security Chief on Deep Space Nine.

ODO
That's right.

LUPAZA
I've heard of you. I didn't know you were marrying Nerys, though ... so, Nerys, would you mind telling me what you're doing dropping in to pay me a visit four hours after getting married? Forgive me for saying so -- I'm certainly flattered -- but aren't there better things you could be doing with your time?

KIRA
There certainly are, and that's what we'd be doing if Winn wasn't trying to have me arrested for heresy.

LUPAZA
Heresy? You? (looks at ODO) So, she's already trotted out that old fable.

KIRA
Ludicrous, isn't it?

LUPAZA
I remember when it was used exclusively to keep the young girls of Bajor from even thinking of getting involved with a Cardassian -- like any of us would have wanted to!

FUREL
Some did. (pause) Unfortunately, its uses have expanded under the current regime.

KIRA
Lupaza, Furel, we've got to contact Shakaar. He's the only one who might be able to get away with standing against Winn on this.

FUREL
Tricky. I know he'll be willing to help you, but Winn will do her level best to make sure that you never get to him. Besides, his power is slipping.

KIRA
(to the group)
Why do you think Winn is doing all this?

(ODO has been thinking intently. Now he looks up.)

ODO
She wants Bajor to withdraw its application to join the Federation.

KIRA
What?!

FUREL
Very good. (to KIRA) I think I like this shape-shifter of yours.

LUPAZA
(nodding) I think he's right. There have been some rumblings -- apparently there's a fairly powerful government faction that thinks Bajor would be better off neutral should the Klingons come to call.

KIRA
Neutral? The Klingons have never heard of neutral.

LUPAZA
I didn't say it was a particularly smart faction, did I? It's sort of a revival of the whole "Bajor for the Bajora" mess, only now it seems to be strictly an attempt by Winn to reestablish herself as top dog on both sides of the spectrum. That's why we're hearing a lot more about the particular heresy you're accused of.

KIRA
You mean it hasn't just been me?

FUREL
It's all been kept very quiet, but ... (pauses) Nerys, do you remember my cousin, Ilann?

KIRA
Norit Ilann? Of course I do. No one could play a practical joke like Ilann. She married an Andorian trader, didn't she -- what was his name?

(KIRA's smile slowly fades as she sees the expression on FUREL'S and LUPAZA's faces.)

KIRA (cont.)
What about her?

FUREL
She's dead.

KIRA
(stunned; dreading the answer)
How?

LUPAZA
They found her guilty of heresy, for marrying a "demon outworlder". (pause) They executed her, Nerys.

(KIRA and ODO exchange looks of horror.)

FADE OUT.


FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA'S CAVE

(LUPAZA, KIRA and ODO are all still sitting at the table.)

ODO
(sardonically)
We forget how thin the veneer of civilization really is.

KIRA
What happened to Ilann's husband?

FUREL
Exiled from Bajor. I heard he was in the Orion system now.

KIRA
(hesitantly, lest more horrors be revealed)
Did they have any children?

FUREL
No. There's a lot of genetic engineering and outside intervention involved for a Bajoran to have a child with an Andorian -- they just never got around to it. Unfortunately.

ODO
Why unfortunately?

LUPAZA
That's at the heart of the prophecy -- "no fruit shall come of it". The reason that the Terrans married to Bajorans haven't had any trouble -- at least not yet -- is that it's relatively simple for a Terran and Bajoran couple to reproduce.

KIRA
Well, that certainly won't help us.

(LUPAZA and FUREL both look at her questioningly.)

KIRA
Odo -- his people -- are silicon based.

FUREL
Oh, I don't know -- never doubt that the wind of the Prophets can blow up your skirts if it wants to.

(KIRA makes a disparaging face while ODO looks puzzled at the reference.)

LUPAZA
(shrugs) Oh, well ... To me it seems a pretty narrow definition of the term "fruitful", anyway -- Nerys, are you all right?

KIRA
(white-faced; angry)
I just feel sick -- to think that my people -- that Bajor! -- could come to this! Is this why we fought the Cardassians all of those years? So we could turn around and tear each other apart in the name of the Prophets?

(She shudders and buries her face in her hands. ODO reaches out to lay a gentle hand on her arm.)

ODO
Nerys...

KIRA
(straightening, dashing the tears from her eyes; croaks)
I'm all right. (pause) I'm sorry, Lupaza, but may I have some more water? Maybe you should just point me to the spring. I just can't seem to get over being so thirsty...

LUPAZA
I'll show you the spring later. For now, I'll just bring a pitcher. You forget how dry this dusty province of ours can be, don't you? (smiles) They say that a woman never forgets her joining day, but I imagine that this wasn't what you had in mind.

KIRA
(manages a laugh)
No, you're right about that.

(Lupaza goes and fetches a large pitcher. The rest of the group watches, vaguely concerned, while KIRA gulps down a couple of glasses full.)

KIRA
(realizing she's being observed)
It's all right! Honestly.

LUPAZA
(smiles, relaxes)
Well, Odo, although you don't eat, I think that the rest of us could use some supper. Let me show me the two of you your room, and you can rest a little while I fix us something. Furel, you don't mind the couch tonight, do you?

FUREL
Truth be told, it's probably more comfortable than my bed at home. (sits on the couch) Yes, just as I thought.

(LUPAZA leads KIRA and ODO back through the cave, which has been divided into several walled compartments. She pushes open a door.)

LUPAZA (cont.)
I think you'll be comfortable in here. (pauses, grins) Besides, my room is way over on the other side -- I won't hear a thing.

KIRA
(grins) Just be sure that Furel stays on the couch -- Odo and I would hate to faced with any incriminating holographs at our first anniversary party. (pause, seriously) Lupaza, thank you for helping us.

LUPAZA
It's no great burden -- I have plenty of room, and it doesn't sound like your husband is going to eat me out of house and home.

ODO
Lupaza, might I ask one more favor of you?

LUPAZA
Name it.

ODO
Do you have a tub or a bucket I might borrow, about so big? (demonstrates with his hands. To her questioning look he adds:) I need it to sleep in. At the end of sixteen hours I have to return to a gelatinous state.

(LUPAZA looks like she would like to ask a million questions and possibly make a good five hundred joking remarks, but opts for being a good hostess.)

LUPAZA
Sure, I'll get you one. I'll just leave it outside the door here, and I'll call you in about an hour, when supper is ready.

CUT TO:

INT. -- LUPAZA'S "GUEST ROOM"

(KIRA sinks down onto the bed, lying back and closing her eyes. ODO comes and sits on the edge of the bed beside her.)

ODO
Are you all right, Nerys?

KIRA
(opens her eyes, smiles at him)
I'm just tired. I think I must have gotten a little dehydrated. I'm fine now.

ODO
(still concerned) You're very pale.

KIRA
No, it's just --

(KIRA lets out a sudden gasp, clutching her arms around herself as though she's in pain.)

ODO
What is it, Nerys? (gently pulls her arms away from where she has them wrapped around her middle.) Where does it hurt?

KIRA
Just this awful pain in my gut -- I don't know, it's gone now --

(This time the sudden sound that emerges from KIRA is more like a scream. ODO jumps to his feet and goes to throw open the door.)

ODO
Lupaza! Can you come here, please?

(ODO hits his combadge as Lupaza hurries through the door and goes straight to KIRA. FUREL, who has followed her, hovers anxiously in the doorway.)

ODO (cont.)
Odo to Dr. Bashir! Come in, please!

BASHIR COM VOICE
This is Bashir. Constable, is everything all right?

ODO
No. Nerys is ill.

BASHIR COM VOICE
(concerned) What are her symptoms?

ODO
She's been inordinately thirsty, and now she's having sharp abdominal pains.

LUPAZA
(Her hand on KIRA's forehead) I think she has a fever.

BASHIR COM VOICE
I see... Unfortunately, the continuing presence of our uninvited guest, Kai Winn, makes it difficult for me to have you beamed back here -- however, I think with a little help from our friend Quark, I can manage to get there without being traced. Give me half an hour -- and take care. Bashir out.

(ODO taps his combadge and turns back to KIRA. She is sitting on the bed drinking another glass of water while LUPAZA waits close at hand.)

ODO
Dr. Bashir is coming -- he's taking a round-about route so his transporter signature won't be traced, so it may take him a while.

KIRA
I don't need Julian. I just need to rest.

LUPAZA
Nerys, I don't have so much as a basic med scanner here. If your doctor friend can come, I say let him.

KIRA
Now that I've got something to drink I feel fine. (to LUPAZA and ODO's combined looks) Oh, all right. If he's already on his way...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

EXT. -- OUTSIDE LUPAZA'S CAVE

(Dr. BASHIR appears via transporter. LUPAZA, who is watching for him, comes out to lead him back into the cave.)

CUT TO:

INT. -- LUPAZA'S "GUEST ROOM"

(KIRA is dozing on the bed, ODO sitting patiently at her side, holding her hand. BASHIR hurries in. LUPAZA and FUREL follow, but stay quietly near the doorway.)

BASHIR
(softly to ODO)
Sorry, old man, I'm sure I'm not someone you particularly wanted to see on your honeymoon -- of course, I'm not sure this is quite the honeymoon you wanted to take.

KIRA
(opening eyes)
Hello, Julian.

BASHIR
So, what seems to be the trouble? Hmm ... I think a bride is supposed to look a bit more blooming on her wedding day.

(BASHIR sits down on the side of the bed opposite ODO's, takes out his medical scanner)

BASHIR (cont.)
Let's just see here --

(He takes a reading. Stops. Takes another. He stops, puzzled. Surprisingly, he turns and takes a quick reading from Odo.)

BASHIR (cont.)
What on earth ...

(BASHIR redoes his readings on KIRA -- slowly.)

BASHIR (cont.)
I wish I could put you on a bio-bed ...

(BASHIR makes a few adjustments on his medical tricorder, and does one last scan)

BASHIR (cont.)
Nerys, you have a fist-sized growth made up of silicon-based cells implanted on the lining of your uterus -- and the cells are dividing rapidly.

KIRA
What?!

(KIRA struggles into a sitting position, leaning back against ODO, who automatically puts his arms around her to support her. ODO is speechless, staring at BASHIR.)

BASHIR
I have no scientific explanation for it, I'm still not sure what it is, but -- Nerys, for all intents and purposes, you just may be -- (beat) -- pregnant.

(ODO and KIRA stare at BASHIR, shocked.)

FADE OUT.

TO BE CONTINUED...


* "Taking the vole by the snout" -- common Bajoran saying, popular among the Resistance fighters. You figure it out.

** "Diadem" conjures up images of lofty headgear, but actually all it is is a simple ribbon tied around the forehead.

Copyright 1996 by Carolyn R. Fulton

STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and all of the characters, places, etc therefrom are the property of Paramount Pictures, Inc. This story however, is mine. It was written purely for personal enjoyment and does not intend to infringe on Paramount's copyright in any way. It may not be changed or altered in any way. Do not duplicate. You may print one copy for your personal use.

Like all fan-fic authors, your comments are my only reward. Please drop me a line at odofiles@aol.com and let me know what you think!


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