STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE - "The Wind of the Prophets", by Carolyn R. Fulton

FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA's CAVE ON BAJOR

(KIRA and ODO are staring at BASHIR, who just told KIRA that she might be pregnant -- sort of. KIRA's Bajoran friends, LUPAZA and FUREL, wait anxiously in the doorway.)

KIRA
Pregnant?!

FUREL
(yelping gleefully)
What did I tell you? The wind of the Prophets!

(LUPAZA jabs FUREL in the side with her elbow, shushing him. KIRA and ODO are too stunned to hear what he said.)

ODO
(finding his voice with difficulty)
I thought that was impossible.

BASHIR
The problem is that I have no idea how the Founders reproduce -- we've always assumed that it was asexual, but they do seem to have gender identification --

KIRA
Tell me about it.

(BASHIR glances at ODO and smothers a smile.)

BASHIR
You would certainly know more about that than I do, Major. (studies the readings again) At the rate those cells are dividing ... if a comparison can be made, from the rate of cell division, I would guess that you're looking at a fairly minimal gestation period -- provided that you are pregnant. . I just wish I had something to compare it to...

KIRA
Julian, I don't understand. Two life forms as -- radically different as Odo and I -- there's no way we could naturally reproduce --

BASHIR
Although from what we know so far, you're supposedly right, Major, I've seen all sorts of strange things happen "naturally" that scientists are still having a hard time accounting for... Besides, I was using the term pregnant rather loosely -- if I didn't know about yours and Odo's relationship, I would just assume that you have some sort of a -- an opportunistic internal parasite, and I'd remove it.

ODO
So why do you think otherwise?

BASHIR
Because ... (BASHIR takes another peek at his readings) The cell structure of the growth in question is fundamentally similar to yours, although it's not identical. For example, if you had human DNA and I were attempting to establish paternity, with readings like these I wouldn't have any doubts. The only discernible differences are all things that could be accounted for by a certain level of -- some kind of, for want of a better term, genetic imprinting from Kira.

KIRA
(Lies back, looking stunned.)
I don't believe it. It just doesn't seem possible...

BASHIR
I'm afraid that the "possible" is still subject to question. ..(pause) You have to understand that any fetus has a relationship with its gestating parent that is basically ... parasitic.

ODO
(dryly)
Charming.

BASHIR
Unfortunately, Nerys, your body isn't prepared for this. There's no placenta, no umbilical cord ... Nerys, it's more like the -- organism has simply attached itself to your uterus and is leeching the fluid and certain chemicals -- potassium, magnesium, alitrium -- it needs to survive from your body. Apparently with some success, since it is growing. Does it still hurt?

(KIRA starts to shake her head negatively, then gasps and grabs ODO's hand as she feels another jab.)

BASHIR (cont.)
I think I should give you something for the pain...

(BASHIR injects KIRA with a hypospray, causing her to visibly relax. ODO, however, is visibly anxious, and LUPAZA is looking a little green. BASHIR notices their taut expressions and tries to be reassuring.)

BASHIR (cont.)
As I said, in some ways it's not all that different from what a nor -- what a purely Bajoran fetus would do. Until a baby is born, it really is a parasite --

KIRA
(testily)
Will you please stop calling it a parasite?

BASHIR
But the way it's acting on your body is radically different -- you can't possibly continue to carry it. The tissue of your uterus is already breaking down. And there's nothing to indicate that it won't just attach itself to some other organ and continue the process. (hastens to add in response to KIRA's stricken look) I can fabricate an artificial environment to support the organism, whatever it is, until we figure it out. I just have to remove it from you, and remove it as quickly as possible. I need to get you back to the station.

ODO
Where Kai Winn is waiting to have her arrested and executed for heresy?

BASHIR
(shocked)

Executed...

LUPAZA
(nodding, coming to BASHIR's side)
Heresy is one of the few laws that still carries death as a penalty. Winn can't get her hands on Nerys.

(BASHIR pauses to think, ideas flitting like furies across his face. Finally his face sets resolutely.)

BASHIR
I can't fabricate the necessary artificial environment here, but I do have what I need to perform an emergency operation. Nerys...

KIRA
You're talking about an abortion.

BASHIR
I don't know, it depends upon the nature of the organism. (concedes) Very probably.

KIRA
I won't let you do it.

BASHIR
Nerys, this isn't a question of you or the -- of you or your baby. Your condition will kill you, and then the -- the embryo will die because it's deprived of its host. Without that artificial environment, there's no way it can live.

ODO
Doctor, what does the artificial environment entail?

BASHIR
Here you go. (hands his scanner to ODO) The notes are right there.

(ODO studies the notes.)

ODO
Doctor -- these are almost identical to my readings when I'm in a liquid state.

BASHIR
Almost. (looks at ODO closely) Constable ...

ODO
Is there any reason I can't provide an environment for the organism?

BASHIR
No... but you'd have to remain in your liquid state for as long as you did so. Furthermore, I'm not sure that there's any way I could isolate it to remove it to an artificial environment later.

ODO
I understand that.

(ODO looks up at BASHIR and LUPAZA, glances aside at FUREL.)

ODO (cont.)
Doctor, if you could begin your preparations outside -- I'd like to speak to Nerys alone.

(BASHIR nods, looks at LUPAZA.)

BASHIR
I'll need your help. Ever assisted at any field surgery?

(LUPAZA looks aghast at the thought. FUREL steps up.)

FUREL
She hasn't, but I have. I think I can manage to hand you whatever you need when you point to it.

BASHIR
Excellent. (Looks back at KIRA and ODO.) Well, if you'll excuse us...

(BASHIR, LUPAZA and FUREL exit, FUREL shutting the door behind them. ODO sits down on the side of the bed, taking KIRA's hand in his.)

ODO
Needless to say, this was not a complication we anticipated.

KIRA
(softly)
I never dared to hope for children during the occupation ... it seemed like it would be wrong, somehow, to bring a child into an environment like that. Ever since there's just been so much going on, so many other things to worry about ... (puts her hands on her abdomen) Odo, do you think that this "organism" Julian keeps talking about is something that exists because you and I -- because we've been lovers?

ODO
(strokes the hair back from KIRA's forehead. Dead-pan)
Either that or else you're allergic to me.

KIRA
(laughing in spite of herself)
I can't believe you're joking.

ODO
It seems better than shivering in terror.

KIRA
(quietly)
Are you unhappy about it?

ODO
The timing is ... inconvenient, to say the least.

KIRA
You can say that again. (pause) You haven't answered my question.

ODO
That's because I don't yet know the answer. There are so many unknown variables ... what about you? Are you happy?

KIRA
There's this little, rational voice in my mind saying that this is the last thing we need ... but deep down, deep in my pagh, I think that if it is true, then it's wonderful ... in spite of the rotten timing. (looks up at ODO) Are you sure you'll be all right?

ODO
(manages a smile)
I'll manage. I imagine Dr. Bashir would have told me if he anticipated any problems. I'm afraid that I will be depriving Lupaza of a large tub for several months.

KIRA
(gently teasing)
Do you wish you still had your own?

ODO
(smiles)
I think I like my new "sleeping arrangements" better. (pause, seriously) I just don't like the idea of not being able to protect you.

KIRA
Excuse me? In case you've forgotten, I'm pretty good at protecting myself. You just protect yourself and ... (smiles) This is something that Bajoran women have dreamed of for centuries -- their husbands being the ones who get pregnant.

ODO
From what I understand, that sentiment wouldn't be limited to the women on Bajor. (seriously) You keep clear of Winn, do you understand me? Leave Bajor AND Deep Space Nine if you have to.

KIRA
I'll be all right.

ODO
Nerys, listen to me. If need be, I want you to contact Gul Dukat and seek asylum with the Cardassians.

KIRA
Dukat? Why, he's the last person ...

ODO
He's the last person you'd want to ask for a favor. But the situation between Bajor and Cardassia is still -- tense enough that they would be delighted to cause Kai Winn such a major embarrassment. The Federation might just choose to steer clear, and Sisko could have no choice but to let them. On Cardassia, under Dukat's protection, you should be safe long enough for me to -- finish with this, and come to get you out.

KIRA
I'm not just leaving you here!

ODO
You can hardly go on the run from the Bajoran authorities carrying a bucket, now can you? I suspect that Dr. Bashir will have me back on DS9 before nightfall (shudders) monitoring my condition for his next paper.

KIRA
(grins)
I imagine you're right about that. Not to mention the pool they'll be putting together at Quark's.

ODO
(groans)
Oh, don't remind me.

(There is a soft knock on the door.)

ODO
(calls out)
Just one more moment. (Leans over KIRA, takes her other hand.) Please, Nerys -- just take care of yourself.

KIRA
That request is mutual. (chuckles) Lupaza was right -- I will never forget my joining day.

(ODO leans over, kissing KIRA gently as another soft tap sounds on the door. ODO looks up, still holding KIRA's hands in his.)

ODO
Come!

(BASHIR comes through the door.)

BASHIR
We're ready now... Nerys, I'm afraid we're going to have to move you to the kitchen table.

KIRA
I understand.

(KIRA starts to rise; winces. ODO helps her up, BASHIR stepping in to support her other side.)

BASHIR
Here you go, Major ...

CUT TO:

INT. -- LUPAZA's MAIN LIVING AREA.

(KIRA is lying on the table, covered with a clean sheet.)

FUREL
(teasing) You know, Nerys, I've lived for this day.

KIRA
What?

FUREL
I'm going to finally get to see you naked.

KIRA
(making a face) Well, as long as it makes you happy...

BASHIR
I'm sorry it isn't more comfortable, but you'll be asleep for most of it ... are you ready?

(KIRA glances at ODO, who nods reassuringly.)

KIRA
I guess I'm ready.

ODO
Nerys! Remember what I told you!

KIRA
(grimaces)
Gul Dukat ... but only as a last resort! (pause) I'll remember.

BASHIR
Then away you go...

(BASHIR injects KIRA with a hypospray. She promptly goes to sleep.)

BASHIR (cont.)
All right, Constable Odo, it's time you got into that bucket of yours. This won't take long.

(ODO moves toward the tub that stands ready; pauses)

ODO
Julian ... ?

BASHIR
Don't worry, Odo. I'll take good care of her. (smiles) Of all three of you.

ODO
Thank you, Doctor. (Looks at LUPAZA & FUREL) Thank you, too.

(LUPAZA surprises ODO tremendously by coming to him and kissing him soundly on the cheek. FUREL solemnly shakes his hand.)

LUPAZA
You're a good man, Constable. Nerys is very lucky to have you. (solemn) This is Nerys' home province, Odo, where she's very much loved. Winn will have to go through every last one of us to get at her -- or you.

(ODO, embarrassed, mumbles an inaudible reply, before shifting into his natural gel- like form and depositing himself in the bucket. LUPAZA and FUREL watch, eyebrows raised.)

LUPAZA
And to think that the most exciting thing I had planned for the rest of today was to finish rocking out part of my north field.

(Shaking his head, FUREL moves to BASHIR's side, where they both bend their heads over KIRA.)

BASHIR
All right, Major, let's see exactly what you and the constable have been up to ...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA's "GUEST ROOM"

(KIRA stirs against the bed and wakes, to see Julian's face come into focus where he sits at her side. He is smiling.)

BASHIR
So far it's the image of its father.

KIRA
(warily -- this is a woman who's had to handle a lot of bad news in her life)
Is everything all right?

BASHIR
Well, I don't have much to judge it against, but it seems that the move was a good thing. The rate of cell generation has increased substantially -- interestingly enough, when I scan them I can tell exactly where Odo leaves off and your offspring begins.

KIRA
I thought you weren't sure of that being what it is.

BASHIR
While it was in you, I wasn't. The readings that I'm getting now that it's been transferred to Odo -- I can't see where it could be anything else. And Odo seems to be adjusting to his "pregnancy" very nicely. You're going to need a good bit of regenerative therapy to restore your uterus, but you should be fine, too.

KIRA
You said that you can tell the two of them apart -- does that mean you'll be able to separate the -- that you'll be able to provide that artificial environment after all?

BASHIR
Only with the gravest of misgivings. Being able to tell the two apart is a far cry from actually separating them. I think it would be far safer to let nature take its course ... unexpected as that course might be.

(KIRA reaches out and takes BASHIR's hand)

KIRA
Thank you, Julian ... for everything.

BASHIR
No... thank you! The paper that I'm going to write about this will put even the Vulcan Science Academy on its collective ear -- an interesting position to imagine them in, actually.

KIRA
(laughs at the joke. Then, quietly)
Where is he?

BASHIR
Right over there.

(BASHIR nods towards a corner, where ODO's bucket is ensconced on a table, under a heat lamp.)

BASHIR (cont.)
Your internal body temperature was a bit higher than what Odo's is normally, so I thought I would act on the side of caution and make sure that he stayed a bit warmer than usual... fortunately Lupaza has all sorts of plant propagation lights for her seedlings.

KIRA
Thank you, Julian. (starts to sit up) When can I get up and get moving?

BASHIR
I'd like you to give it a few days -- I'd really prefer it if you could wait until I could go over you properly on the station, but I realize that's not possible. I want you to stay here and spend most of your time in bed for at least three days.

(LUPAZA enters, carrying a pitcher and a glass)

KIRA
Three days?! (shakes her head) Julian, Winn could have people here looking for me before three days are up.

LUPAZA
No, she won't. Winn thinks you're on Dasimia IV. (pours a glassful of water) Here, your doctor friend wants you to have a lot of this. (Hands KIRA the glass)

BASHIR
That's right -- you're still very dehydrated, Major.

(KIRA sips at the water absently, staring over at the tub on the table. LUPAZA gives her shoulder a comforting pat before leaving the room.)

KIRA
Why would Winn think that?

BASHIR
Because that's where a great many people have worked very hard to make it appear that you are. Garak and Quark have both been very helpful.

KIRA
(this is hard for her to believe)
Are you sure they aren't selling the real information to Kai Winn right now?

BASHIR
Well, not entirely -- however, after some of the rather unkind things that the Kai said regarding Ferengis and Cardassians at what for want of a better term we'll call your wedding reception, I think that they're taking far too much delight in outwitting her.

KIRA
That I can imagine. (She glances over at the tub again.) Will you be taking Odo back to the station?

BASHIR
Well, I do have to go back, and I can certainly do a better job there monitoring his condition.

(BASHIR makes a point of studying the backs of his hands. Obviously there is a subject on his mind that he can't imagine how to broach. KIRA looks at him closely, and decides to put him out of his misery.)

KIRA
What's on your mind, Julian?

BASHIR
Major ... Nerys ... have you ever had to tell someone something that you didn't want to say, and that you knew they didn't want to hear?

KIRA
I joined the Bajoran resistance when I was twelve. It kind of guaranteed that I'd be in that situation more than a few times. What is it, Julian? Is it Odo?

BASHIR
No, not exactly. Odo's health, as near as I can tell with what I know -- or rather what I don't know -- is fine. (Answering her look.) So is the -- so is your child.

KIRA
Then what is it? Julian, is there something wrong with me?

BASHIR
Not yet.

KIRA
Julian, just give it to me straight.

BASHIR
Nerys, I don't know how you got to be pregnant, but I do know that you can't keep doing it.

KIRA
Julian, what are you talking about?

BASHIR
As far as I can tell, your body did nothing other than provide a -- a passive host that afterwards did some imprinting on the -- on your offspring. Sort of like -- soil and light in a garden. It can influence the color and shape, the way the plant grows -- but it can't tell the plant not to grow.

KIRA
So?

BASHIR
So unless we can figure out exactly what -- specific act between you and Odo caused your condition, there's no way you can prevent its happening again.

KIRA
Julian, I hate to sound repetitive, but -- so?

BASHIR
Nerys, you could become pregnant every time you make love. You could become pregnant with multiple offspring in various stages of development. You could be having surgery twice a week for all I know. And you could eventually die from it.

(KIRA's face goes taut as she finally realizes what he's saying, although she gives no other sign.)

KIRA
Julian, are you saying that -- that Odo and I can't make love anymore?

BASHIR
I'm telling you that you need to take certain -- precautions, at least for the time being, until we can figure out what the real nature of the problem is.

KIRA
What kind of precautions?

BASHIR
It depends on how you want to handle it. I could -- I could perform something called a hysterectomy -- it's practically unheard of now, but it was fairly common on Earth several centuries ago.

KIRA
I've never heard of that. What is it?

BASHIR
It's an operation in which I remove your uterus. I'd also surgically seal the opening to your cervix. That might do the trick. The drawback there is that you could never have any other children -- and if for some reason some cells from Odo were still able to invade your body cavity, we would have a lot harder time getting them out. Quite frankly, it's not an option I feel comfortable with.

KIRA
What else?

BASHIR
Back when there were still sexually transmitted diseases, there were certain -- devices available, but I have no idea if something like that would be effective in this case. Maybe something could be developed using special silicon- resistant plastics, but, in the meantime ...

KIRA
What happens in the meantime?

BASHIR
You can limit your sexual activities to ones that are -- non- invasive.

KIRA
Non-invasive -- ?

BASHIR
(bluntly)
No intercourse. No vaginal penetration of any kind.

KIRA
That's pretty limited.

BASHIR
(rueful smile)
Oh, I don't know -- that rather depends.

KIRA
I'm a nice girl from Bajor, Julian. I'm not very original when I'm on my back.

BASHIR
Well, right there you're limiting your options...

KIRA
So people have told me.

(They both laugh --BASHIR lightly, KIRA with an edge that warns of possible tears. KIRA lets out one little gulp before taking herself sternly in check. BASHIR reaches out and pats her gently on the arm, obviously at a loss for what else to do.)

BASHIR
Nerys, that's what we know now. I think that we can figure this thing out, in time -- it may take very little time at all. I do need to get a -- a detailed sexual history from you, and you're going to have to answer a lot of questions that are more personal than you might care for. It may be that Odo can provide a -- a simple explanation once he's able to talk to us again. I just need you to be prepared -- we have some work ahead of us, that's all.

(KIRA lies back against the pillow, completing the job of steeling herself to the worst. BASHIR, on the other hand, looks on the verge of tears himself.)

KIRA
I'm sorry, Julian. I know you're only doing your job.

BASHIR
Sometimes it's a rotten job to have to do.

KIRA
I know you must think that I -- I don't know how to explain. It's not the sex, it's the ... All those years of never letting my guard down -- being afraid to really love anyone because I would only end up watching them die -- then to finally find someone who -- who could get past my defenses and make me feel so -- so incredibly alive in every pore of my skin, every breath that I take --

(KIRA closes her eyes to steady herself. BASHIR reaches out and takes her tightly clenched fist in a gentle, two-handed clasp.)

BASHIR
Nerys, this is only temporary. I swear to you, we will figure this thing out.

KIRA
I know you'll do your best, Julian.

(There is enough of a lack of conviction in KIRA's tone to make BASHIR add:)

BASHIR
Nerys, you mustn't lose hope.

KIRA
So far life hasn't given me a lot to be hopeful about.

(BASHIR reaches down and takes KIRA by the shoulders, forcing her to give him her complete startled attention.)

BASHIR
Right now life has given you a planet that's finally free from sixty years of occupation -- it's given you a career that you enjoy -- and it's given you a husband who loves you so much that he's willing to spend the next five months in a bucket in order to help give you a child that's nothing short of a miracle. I would say that luck's working in your favor, Major -- there's no reason to think that it's going to run out now.

(KIRA stares at BASHIR for a long moment, while he wonders if she's finally going to start crying. Instead she manages a half-hearted smile.)

KIRA
Julian?

BASHIR
Yes, Nerys?

KIRA
Can you remember why I didn't like you when we first met?

BASHIR
Hmm... I believe you found me over-enthusiastic, patronizing, and naive.

KIRA
(nodding)
That's right ... and don't forget arrogant, conceited, and in love with the sound of your own voice.

BASHIR
Oh... right. I forgot about those.

KIRA
But you know what? ... I was wrong.

BASHIR
(genuinely touched, but making light)
Even the part about being in love with the sound of my own voice?

KIRA
Well, maybe I was right about that part. (pause) Now, let me get up.

(KIRA swings her legs over the side of the bed, getting to her feet.)

BASHIR
I hope being nice to me wasn't just a ruse to get me to override my medical judgment.

KIRA
No, there are just things that I have to take care of, and I don't think they should wait for three days.

(KIRA is wearing a nightshirt of LUPAZA's, which she -- back to the camera -- pulls over her head before reaching for her clothes. BASHIR busies himself looking in the opposite direction.)

KIRA
Once a person's seen you naked, it seems pretty silly to ask him to leave the room while you change.

BASHIR
I'll tell Furel. He'll be delighted to hear it. (pause) Just where do you think you're going?

KIRA
I'm going to get to Shakaar, one way or another. And don't tell me I need to stay in bed -- I've fought my way through enemy lines when I was a lot worse off than this. (shortly, allowing no argument.) I feel fine. And I'll feel a lot better once I get this thing with Winn settled.

(When BASHIR turns back around to face her, KIRA is neatly dressed, her face set in a no-nonsense expression. She strides purposefully toward the door.)

KIRA
Lupaza! Could you come here, please?

BASHIR
Major, you've just had surgery -- emergency surgery, I might add, which means that it wasn't as thorough a job as I would have liked for it to be! You can't just go stomping out through the hills of Bajor within hours of having a major operation!

KIRA
I most certainly can, I've done it before.

BASHIR
Yes, but I wasn't your doctor!

KIRA
Are you saying you aren't as good as the person who was? That's hardly your style, Julian.

BASHIR
Nerys, that's not what I meant and you know it!

KIRA
Fine. Prove it to me later.

(LUPAZA and FUREL enter the bedroom. Both are wearing packs, and are generally outfitted for traveling.)

FUREL
So -- we're off the beard the vermokk in her lair.

(KIRA smiles a slow smile, amazed but delighted. BASHIR looks appalled.)

BASHIR
Don't tell me you're planning to encourage her!

(LUPAZA comes to BASHIR's side, lays a soothing hand on his arm.)

LUPAZA
Doctor, we just got word that someone -- we suspect under direct orders from Winn -- has been inciting people to riot - - "spontaneous demonstrations", they're calling them, against the "demon outworlders". Only now it's spread to what they're calling "the abominations".

KIRA
"Abominations?"

FUREL
Do you remember Lallet Payl, Nerys?

KIRA
Of course I do -- it's the school for Bajoran-Cardassian war orphans. Why?

FUREL
Because one of those little "spontaneous demonstrations" was to set fire to it.

LUPAZA
Twenty-seven children were burned to death, Nerys. The others -- who knows? They've fled into hiding, but how long can that last? Some of them -- some of them were barely six years old.

(KIRA's face goes taut, while BASHIR looks like he's trying very hard not to be sick.)

BASHIR
You have no idea where they are? If they need a physician ...

FUREL
Thank you, Doctor, but we have reason to believe that's already being taken care of. Besides, I suspect you're needed here.

(They all turn and look at ODO's bucket, sitting in the corner under the heat lamp.)

KIRA
He's right, Julian. Please, don't let anything happen to Odo.

BASHIR
I'd rather not let anything happen to either of you. Major, I don't think you're up to this.

KIRA
I'm not sure that anyone is up to this, Julian. But somebody has got to stop Winn, and stop her now.

(KIRA walks slowly over to stand by the table holding ODO's tub. She looks down at it for a long moment, bringing her fingertips down to barely touch his resting substance. Then she removes her combadge and lays it on the table.)

BASHIR
Major...

KIRA
Trust me, Julian. It's best that this be unofficial.

(KIRA turns to FUREL and LUPAZA.)

KIRA
All right, you two, let's go.

(LUPAZA and FUREL shoulder their packs, and FUREL takes KIRA's smaller one.)

FUREL
I'll take that for a while. (looks at BASHIR) We'll take care of her. After all, we can't let anything happen to her now that she has a pregnant husband to think about.

(KIRA lets out a snort of laughter and leads the way out of the room. LUPAZA hangs back for a brief moment.)

LUPAZA
You can stay here as long as you like, Doctor. But I would strongly advise you to get Odo safely off Bajor as soon as possible.

BASHIR
Don't worry, Lupaza, that's exactly what I mean to do.

(BASHIR glances over at the bucket, looking anxious but forcing a smile. LUPAZA surprises him with a kiss on the cheek.)

LUPAZA
You are such a sweet boy. I can't imagine why Nerys used to say such nasty things about you.

(LUPAZA grins. BASHIR grins back at her. To his great surprise, she kisses him again, this time on the mouth.)

LUPAZA
Yes... a very sweet boy ...

(She heads out of the room, smiling a promise of an amusing time to come if things go well. BASHIR looks after her, slightly bemused, before picking up his tricorder.)

BASHIR
"Medical log, Star Date ________, Dr. Julian Bashir. I --" (pauses, suddenly stymied. Finally:) "I have a pregnant changeling, my most recent surgical patient is out hiking in the hills of Bajor, and I haven't the slightest idea what happens next." (lowers the tricorder) And I have a feeling that I will be re-recording this log entry, just for the sake of posterity.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA's CAVE

(BASHIR sits at the table in the outer living area, alternating between writing vigorously on a PADD, and sucking nervously on the end of his stylus. He finally sighs and taps his combadge.)

BASHIR
Bashir to Dax.

DAX
Dax here. Julian, where are you? Your coordinates indicate that you're -- inside solid rock.

BASHIR
(to himself) Hmm... good shielding. (to DAX) No, I'm in a cave that's been shielded. Dax, can you beam down to these coordinates? I need your -- scientific expertise.

DAX
I'll be right there. Dax out.

(Good as her word, DAX materializes in a twinkling.)

DAX
Julian, where have you been? We've been going insane trying to contact you!

BASHIR
(looks at his combadge, surprised)
I'm sorry -- I must have set it to "transmit only" before I started surgery -- I usually do that -- and then forgotten to set it back.

DAX
Surgery? What surgery?

BASHIR
Oh -- on Major Kira.

DAX
Kira had surgery? We've been trying her combadge, too, but with no answer.

BASHIR
That's because she left it here when she set out after Winn.

DAX
Set out after ... All right, then, where's Odo? With Kira?

BASHIR
No, he's in there. (nods towards the other room) He's pregnant.

(DAX can only stare at him, totally at a loss. It gives BASHIR an odd sense of satisfaction, like for once the shoe is on the other foot. Finally DAX manages to speak.)

DAX
Julian, I think you had better start at the beginning and tell me exactly what happened ...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA's LIVING ROOM

(DAX sits across the table from BASHIR, looking amazed at the story he's just told her. She glances back toward the guest bedroom.)

DAX
It's so hard to believe -- it barely makes sense the way you've explained it -- but it still doesn't make sense.

BASHIR
Occasionally things happen to remind us that there's still some room for miracles in the universe. Maybe it's to offset the things that are -- less pretty.

DAX
There is that. (pause) I can't believe that Winn would be inciting people to murder children.

BASHIR
Ah, but she started with half-Cardassian children -- the ones that Bajorans would find it easiest to hate. And now that they've been blooded ...

DAX
Blooded?

BASHIR
(looks at her)
Is blooding something you actually don't know about? Because if you're just being polite, I have no desire to explain it.

DAX
(gently)
I'm not familiar with the term in an Earth context. I'd really like to know.

BASHIR
There was an ancient sport on Earth called fox-hunting. It's still practiced, though only in holographic reenactments. In it, riders on horses and their foxhounds follow after a little creature called a fox -- a rather dog-like creature itself, actually. If it happens to be your very first hunt, then after the dogs kill the fox, its tail is cut off and they -- they dab some of the blood on your face.

(BASHIR tightens his jaw as he steels himself against what is obviously a very unpleasant memory. DAX reaches out and gently pats his hand.)

DAX
I'm sorry, Julian. How old were you when it happened?

BASHIR
About eight. (pause) It certainly destroyed any enthusiasm that I had for horseback riding.

DAX
So, what happens now?

BASHIR
Now, I have to figure out the best way to take care of Odo. I'm not too keen on taking him back to DS9 via transporter, but I'm not sure about the stir it would cause to bring a runabout here, either. I'm just completely in the dark about -- well, caring for a pregnant changeling.

(A certain growl-ly, sandpapery voice causes both BASHIR and DAX to jump and swivel in their seats.)

ODO
Perhaps I can help you with that, Doctor.

(ODO enters the room slowly from the guest room, looking very much himself, only -- paunchy.)

DAX
Odo--!

BASHIR
Constable! (grabs his medical tricorder, starts taking readings)

DAX
(bewildered -- the rules are already being changed
and she only just had them explained to her)
Odo, what about --?

ODO
It's fine.

BASHIR
He's right. There doesn't seem to be any disturbance to the cell structure of the organism, it's still growing at a steady rate. (slowly) A rather accelerated rate, actually.

ODO
(Looks down at his "stomach".)
The secret is to maintain a buffer of liquid surrounding it -- and I suspect that I'll have to spend more hours of the day in a liquid state. I tried adjusting my overall mass so that it wouldn't be so obvious, but it just isn't as manageable that way ... I can't very well go tramping through the hills of Bajor like this, but I can do my job on the station and "maintain a presence" to kill any arguments Winn might try to use about the "fruitfulness" of Nerys' and my union.

(ODO lets out a little harumph! and settles himself in a chair, looking disgruntled.)

DAX
Are you all right?

ODO
It's just so -- damned uncomfortable. (He looks around the room.) Where is Nerys?

(BASHIR and DAX exchange looks. ODO's eyes narrow suspiciously.)

ODO (cont.)
I said, where is Nerys?

(More nervous looks are exchanged between DAX and BASHIR. Finally BASHIR bites the bullet.)

BASHIR
Well, Constable, it's like this ...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

EXT. -- A CAMPSITE SOMEWHERE IN THE HILLS OF BAJOR.

(KIRA, LUPAZA, and FUREL have just collapsed after setting up camp, camp consisting of a light stick, bedrolls, and combat rations.)

FUREL
(groaning)
I don't remember the ground being this hard.

LUPAZA
The ground isn't harder. We're just softer.

(They both look over at KIRA, who is lying white-faced and silent against her bedroll. LUPAZA crawls over to her side.)

LUPAZA
You don't look well, Nerys. If you can't eat, at least drink some more water.

(KIRA raises herself on one elbow and gulps down some of the water that LUPAZA gives to her. She then falls back, exhausted.)

KIRA
I'm just tired, that's all.

FUREL
Well, you should be. (pause) You know, Nerys, we could do this without you.

(KIRA forces herself to sit up, hugging her knees to her chest.)

KIRA
Don't be ridiculous. This is my fight more than it is either of yours.

LUPAZA
Good work, Furel. Now she has to sit up and stay awake just to prove to us how tough she is.

(KIRA, chagrined, lies back down on her bedroll. She looks out into the night sky above her.)

KIRA
It's like you said -- I have a pregnant husband to worry about. (grins wryly)

LUPAZA
Well, it could be worse. (to KIRA's questioning stare) It could be you.

(KIRA laughs in spite of herself.)

FUREL
Ut-oh. Now it starts.

LUPAZA
I just think it's high time that the men start really sharing the work load.

KIRA
It's true -- they expect us to do everything that they do, plus have the babies.

LUPAZA
Your Odo -- he's a rare gem.

KIRA
He is that. (turns on her side, resolutely willing herself to go to sleep) And I'm not going to let anyone steal him away from me...

(There is a sudden faint sound of discord in the distance. KIRA sits up, handing FUREL her tricorder and crawling with LUPAZA up the slope of the ridge they have backed their camp against. FUREL checks some readings and follows them.)

FUREL
There's a small farm down there. I get life form readings for -- six Bajorans and -- (pause) -- two Bajoran-Cardassian children.

(The group peers cautiously over the ridge. At the foot of the hill a small cabin is clearly visible, a young woman standing in front of it. One child of about eight is pressed to her side -- another, perhaps six, has her arms wrapped around the woman's legs, face hidden against her thighs. The woman stands confronting three men and two women -- all threatening, all armed.)

1ST MAN
Come on, Myrin. We have no quarrel with you.

1ST WOMAN
You've heard the word of the Prophets. You know what we have to do.

MYRIN
You're not touching my children!

2ND MAN
We won't cause them any pain, Myrin. It will be over before they know it.

(The 2ND MAN nods to his cronies, causing the 1ST and 3RD MEN to move forward and start pulling the CHILDREN away from their mother. The 1ST WOMAN moves to start pulling the MYRIN in the opposite direction. The 2ND MAN raises his phaser, changing a setting. KIRA takes her phaser from her belt.)

KIRA
Phasers on stun. We're going in.

(LUPAZA unhooks her own phaser and FUREL unslings his phaser rifle from his back. With the ease of trained soldiers, KIRA, FUREL, and LUPAZA move rapidly down the hill, weapons poised.)

FUREL
Take your hands off those children!

(Instead, the 1ST and 3RD MEN take pot shots at their unexpected assailants, who feint and dodge easily. KIRA, LUPAZA, and FUREL take out the 1ST, 3RD, and 2ND MAN, who go down, stunned, their weapons falling from their hands, but LUPAZA also goes down, stunned as well. The 2ND WOMAN takes the smaller of the two children and holds her tightly against her, arm around her throat.

2ND WOMAN
Don't try to stop us! It's the will of the Prophets!

KIRA
Murdering innocent children the will of the Prophets? You're out of your mind! Now LET HER GO!

(KIRA barely manages to duck out of the way as the 1ST WOMAN takes a shot at her. KIRA overbalances and falls, her phaser knocked from her hand. FUREL grabs the 1ST WOMAN and disarms her, while the 2ND WOMAN's arm tightens on the little girl's throat. With her free hand she takes a shot at KIRA. KIRA rolls out of harm's way, grabbing the first weapon that comes to hand. She fires off a head shot --

FUREL
Nerys!

-- and watches the 2ND WOMAN dissolve into nothingness. The little girl crumples to her knees, sobbing.

KIRA staggers to her feet, walks over to the child. She picks up the phaser that the 2ND WOMAN was holding and checks it, before gathering the child in her arms and carrying her back to her mother, who receives her daughter gratefully. KIRA looks as though she's been stunned herself. She is clearly operating on auto-pilot.)

KIRA
They won't be out for long. We need to get you out of here.

(She starts to reach for her combadge, realizes that it's gone.)

KIRA
Do you have a comlink in your cabin?

(MYRIN nods.)

KIRA
Good. Let's get you out of here. (raises her voice to call) Furel!

FUREL
(coming up beside her)

Yes, Nerys?

KIRA
Go inside with this woman -- call Deep Space Nine. Ask to speak to Captain Sisko -- see if he can't find room for these people to stay until this thing is over. (in answer to his unspoken question) I'd do it myself, but Sisko might try to give me some orders that I just can't follow right now.

(FUREL nods, before holding out his hands to MYRIN and her children.)

FUREL
Come along, it's all right. We'll make sure you're taken care of.

(MYRIN, followed closely by her son, follows FUREL into the cabin. As they walk away, FUREL takes the little girl from her arms, raising her to ride on his shoulders, teasing gently until both children manage to stop crying and laugh a little as they disappear into the cabin.)

KIRA walks over to check on LUPAZA, who is starting to moan and come to. So are the MEN and the 1ST WOMAN, a fact that KIRA takes care of with a phaser that she carefully checks to make sure it's on stun.

LUPAZA, as soon as she's able to do so, rolls into a more defensive stance. She then realizes that the fight is over as KIRA crouches at her side, balancing lightly on the balls of her feet, her arms resting across her thighs.)

LUPAZA
What happened? Are those kids all right?

KIRA
They're fine. Furel's getting them beamed to Deep Space Nine.

(LUPAZA gets groggily to her feet, looks around.)

LUPAZA
(alert, alarmed)
Nerys! Where's the other one?

KIRA
(shortly)
She's dead. (pause) I killed her.

(KIRA moves away, walking purposefully back towards the ridge, and starting to climb back towards the campsite. FUREL comes back out and stands by LUPAZA's side, where they both watch KIRA's retreat.)

CUT TO:

EXT. -- THE CAMPSITE

(KIRA sits alone, huddled on her blankets, staring bleakly into space with wide, unseeing eyes.)

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

EXT. -- THE CAMPSITE

(KIRA still sits huddled on her blankets. FUREL and LUPAZA sit together a little distance away, holding a whispered conference. They finally reach some sort of consensus and get up to come to where they can sit by KIRA, one on each side.)

LUPAZA
Nerys, talk to us.

FUREL
Nerys, there's no way you could have known. If you hadn't acted when you did, she would have killed that little girl.

KIRA
I just keep thinking -- I didn't join the resistance to kill Bajorans.

LUPAZA
None of us did. And all of us have.

KIRA
Collaborators never seemed like Bajorans to me, somehow.

LUPAZA
Of course they were. Driven by things we couldn't know about. We just -- did what we had to do.

FUREL
You helped save the lives of both of those children, and possibly their mother as well. Besides, that wasn't your phaser you picked up. They were the ones who had a phaser set to kill.

KIRA
Hers wasn't.

FUREL
What?

KIRA
I checked. Hers was set on stun. The only one set on kill belonged to the man who was planning to execute the children.

LUPAZA
You grabbed the first weapon that came to hand. You had to.

FUREL
You took a good, clean shot, too, or the little girl would be dead as well.

(This bit of information clearly rocks KIRA. She looks off into space for a long moment, and finally nods.)

KIRA
I just hate it, that's all. (pause) I wish Odo was here. He has such a clear sense of -- of justice.

FUREL
Then he would tell you that you were right.

KIRA
I know. I just want to hear him say it.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- LUPAZA's CAVE

(A heated debate is clearly underway between ODO and BASHIR, with DAX observing worriedly.)

BASHIR
Man, you're absolutely mad. There is no way you can go after Major Kira!

ODO
I thought I might try walking.

BASHIR
You yourself said it. You just aren't up to "tramping the hills of Bajor".

ODO
I admit that would not be my first choice.

BASHIR
Then why do you have to do it? Odo, Major Kira has taken care of herself for a long time now, I don't think that she honestly needs your help now.

ODO
It's a hunch that I have.

(BASHIR throws up his hands in disbelief. DAX moves to stand at ODO's side.)

DAX
What kind of hunch?

ODO
I think that Kira's going to try to assassinate Kai Winn. (The other two stare at him, appalled.) And I think that if she succeeds the guilt could destroy her.

(They all pause to consider with horror the long term effects it could have on a Bajoran as deeply religious as KIRA should she feel compelled to assassinate the supposed spiritual leader of her people. DAX lays a gentle hand on ODO's arm.)

DAX
Julian's right, Odo. You can't possibly go after her on foot. Besides, we can search for her much more effectively using the resources at the station.

(ODO pauses to think, and nods slowly.)

ODO
I don't care where I do it from just as long as I find her...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- THE PROMENADE

(There is the usual bustle of people in front of the coffee shop where ODO likes to sit and watch for any unusual activity, while feigning consumption of a cup of coffee. ODO sits there now, and it is obvious that his condition is progressing at an accelerated rate. He is the size of a walrus.)

(DAX catches sight of him in passing and detours to his table.)

DAX
Odo! Good morning! May I join you?

ODO
Certainly, Commander.

(DAX seats herself across the table from ODO, bright-eyed and smiling. She waves to a waiter, who automatically brings her a cup of coffee.)

DAX
(sympathetically)
Still no word from Nerys?

(ODO shakes his head.)

ODO
It's been three months ...

DAX
Three months isn't that long when you're trying to find a way to get at someone as shielded as the Kai. I'm sure Nerys will turn up.

ODO
I'm monitoring all of the spots she's likely to surface. I just hope that I can get to her before ...

(Neither one of them wants to voice the "what". Instead DAX changes the subject.)

DAX
I feel like I haven't seen as much of you lately as usual, Constable.

ODO
(dryly)
And yet there's so much more of me to see.

DAX
(grinning)
Well, a couple of my hosts have been where you're sitting now -- I know that it isn't much fun.

ODO
I'm managing.

DAX
Does Julian have any idea yet when the big event's likely to occur?

ODO
Not the remotest. It could be months, it could be minutes. None of us even know what it's going to entail, other than some educated guesses. We only know that things are proceeding at a (looks down at his stomach) vastly accelerated rate.

DAX
Well, if looks mean anything, it shouldn't be long now.

ODO
So I keep telling myself.

DAX
(her eternal scientific curiosity coming to the fore)
Is it very active? Can you tell that it's there, other than the -- the additional mass?

ODO
(sighing heavily)
Constantly. Whenever Dr. Bashir is -- (shudder) -- monitoring my condition, he makes little jokes about it becoming a body surfer, whatever that may be.

(DAX hesitates, then scoots her chair around so that she's sitting at ODO's side. She tentatively holds up a hand.)

DAX
May I?

(ODO looks completely startled but not offended at the request.)

ODO
I suppose, if you like.

(DAX unobtrusively but eagerly puts a hand on ODO's abdomen, her whole posture one of deeply attentive listening.)

DAX
(finally)
Yes, I can feel it -- it's different from a humanoid baby, but there's definitely something there that's quite separate from you. (pause) That's remarkable... Thank you, Odo.

(DAX finally straightens up and withdraws her hand, her eyes shining with excitement. ODO manages one of his rare smiles.)

ODO
(shifting a little in his seat)
Your interest seems to be reciprocated.

(BASHIR approaches the table from the main Promenade.)

BASHIR
Good morning, Jadzia! Good morning, Constable.

ODO
Prove it.

BASHIR
(sighing)
Well, pregnancy can make you grumpy ...

ODO
I am NOT grumpy. (grumpily) I just wish I had known beforehand that this was going to happen.

BASHIR
What was?

ODO
What do you think? (nodding down at his ballooning girth) This.

DAX
I imagine you would have avoided it for the time being if you'd known how it got started.

ODO
What is that human expression ... if I knew then what I knew now?

(BASHIR and DAX stare at him, eyes starting to widen in sudden comprehension.)

BASHIR
Odo ... does this mean you have some clear idea what caused it?

ODO
Actually ... (pause) Why do you ask?

BASHIR
Because I have practically been tearing my hair out trying to figure that out so I might have some good news for Major Kira when she gets back.

ODO
What sort of good news? Doctor, what exactly have you told her?

BASHIR
I'm sorry... I should have told you before now, but I didn't want to disturb you when you already have so much else weigh -- so much else on your mind.

ODO
I think that it's safe to say that you've already disturbed me. What did you tell Nerys?

(DAX, who is fascinated, nonetheless dredges up her manners.)

DAX
Is this something you would prefer to discuss in private? Because I can --

ODO
It's all right, Commander. (Looks at BASHIR, waiting for his answer.)

BASHIR
Odo, being pregnant by you, even for such a brief period, caused Nerys a good deal of physical damage -- all repairable, at least for once, but not the sort of thing that she could stand on a -- frequent basis. I told her that we needed to figure out exactly what was involved in the conception of your offspring, so that we would know how to prevent it from happening in the future. And I told her that it would be advisable for the two of you to abstain from any kind of -- sexual intercourse until we could come up with an answer. I told her that eventually we would figure it out, but --

ODO
There's no need.

BASHIR
What? I don't understand.

ODO
I mean that I know exactly what caused it, and unless we consciously choose for it to do so, it won't happen again.

(BASHIR looks stunned. DAX is just fascinated.)

BASHIR
How long have you known?

ODO
I had my suspicions from the very beginning -- when you transplanted the child from Nerys to me, I recognized it instantly.

DAX
You -- recognized it?

ODO
(nods) It was something -- very personal. Let's just say that I knew that -- a part of myself had left me, I knew when it left -- because I was the one who consciously let it go -- and I recognized it when you returned it to me.

(BASHIR and DAX are both clearly dying to know, but also knows better than to press the point, at least for the moment.)

BASHIR
You're absolutely sure.

ODO
Entirely.

BASHIR
There's no way it could happen accidentally, or casually?

ODO
None.

BASHIR
Well, thank God for that. (pause) I imagine you can't wait for the opportunity to tell your wife ...

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

EXT. -- THE WOODS OVERLOOKING A BAJORAN MONASTERY COURTYARD, THE MONASTERY THAT IS CURRENTLY HOSTING KAI WINN.

(KIRA, LUPAZA, and FUREL are skulking in the bushes, observing their objective. The courtyard contains five guards.)

KIRA
Looks like things are a little more casual when the Kai's "on retreat" ... There are only five of them...

FUREL
So, since when did the Kai need armed guards?

LUPAZA
(darkly) Since the Kai stopped acting like the Kai.

KIRA
So, what are we waiting for? We've got a job to do ... this is probably the best chance we'll have to do it. Phasers on stun ...

(They draw their phasers, double-checking the settings before fanning out and slipping through the shadows into the courtyard, where the guards are quickly and quietly overcome. They go through the side door into the monastery.)

CUT TO:

INT. -- A SMALL ANTEROOM IN THE MONASTERY

(KIRA, LUPAZA AND FUREL confer quietly in the semi-darkness.)

FUREL
Now where, Major?

KIRA
We split up and hunt for Winn.

LUPAZA
Yes, but what do we do when we find her?

(FUREL and LUPAZA both look to KIRA, awaiting orders. KIRA stands silently, undecided, for a long moment. Finally:)

KIRA
We take her out of here -- somewhere we can try to reason with her.

(FUREL and LUPAZA look at each other, nod in satisfaction.)

FUREL
That's good news, Major -- there's no way we could have let you kill her.

(KIRA looks at them, startled. LUPAZA lays a gentle hand on her arm.)

LUPAZA
Not because of Winn. Because of what it would do to you.

(KIRA manages a nod of agreement and thanks.)

KIRA
We'd better split up. We'll rendezvous three ridges back where we agreed upon in three hours, hopefully with Winn. If we aren't all back there in four hours, whoever is takes Winn back into Dahkur province. We should be able to hide her there longer than anywhere else -- hopefully long enough to get some positive results.

FUREL
Either positive results or a civil war.

(KIRA and LUPAZA both look stricken.)

FUREL
She's inciting people to murder. Some things are worth fighting for -- or else we might as well have stayed under the Cardassians.

(The three bring their hands together in a single clasp. KIRA straightens and nods decisively.)

KIRA
Lupaza, you take the right wing. Furel, you take the left. I'm heading straight down the middle...

(FUREL and LUPAZA nod their assent before heading out the door. KIRA hangs back for a brief moment, staring after them.)

KIRA
(softly)
You see, the Kai's private apartments are straight down the middle -- and I've got to stop her, once and for all.

(KIRA heads resolutely from the room.)

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- KAI WINN's PRIVATE MEDITATION CHAMBER

(WINN's meditation chamber also features a desk. This is where WINN is seated, frowning over a PADD containing various reports, when KIRA slips through the door. WINN lunges for her comlink.)

WINN
Guards!

KIRA
Go ahead and call them.

(KIRA takes out her phaser, changes the setting, and blasts the controls on the door. She does the same to the controls to the single window, after hitting a switch that causes metal shielding to slam down and cover it.)

WINN
(falling back on the "I am your spiritual leader" routine)
Child! Why are you doing this?

KIRA
You must be joking.

WINN
Major Kira, I know that you have been a loyal daughter of Bajor. To turn on it like this ...

KIRA
You call this "turning on Bajor"? I call it rising in Bajor's defense!

WINN
Child, this is the demon outworlder in you. You have let him take over you pagh.

KIRA
No, Winn, Odo hasn't taken over my pagh, or even my sense of justice. I can see all on my own that anyone who incites murder -- and the murder of children! -- in the name of the Prophets is evil! You're like some -- some disease that's worked its way into the heart of Bajor -- you have to be cut out.

WINN
What do you propose to do, child? Kill me?

KIRA
That's exactly what I propose to do. (KIRA trains her phaser directly at WINN.)

WINN
Major Kira -- my child --

KIRA
(she's waited a long time to say this)
I am NOT your child!

WINN
Then think of your family -- the people you care about. What can you truly hope to accomplish by killing me?

KIRA
My family? My Bajoran family -- I assume you mean my Bajoran family, since according to you, Odo and our child don't count -- is all dead. They've been for years.

WINN
Child, I --

KIRA
My father was killed in the fighting at Dar Koppel. My mother died of malnutrition when I was three. My sister --

(KIRA's voice breaks, but she holds her phaser aimed with absolute steadiness at WINN's head.)

KIRA (cont.)
-- my sister and one of my mother's sisters were both murdered by -- by a gang of Cardassian infantry. They cut my aunt's throat, but not before they raped her -- being raped by half a dozen of them was enough to kill my sister without them needing to do anything else. She just bled to death -- bled from every orifice of her body. She was only ten years old.

(WINN knows better than to say anything. She is absolutely still where she stands behind her desk.)

KIRA (cont.)
I found them when I came home that evening -- the curfew was already in effect, so I just had to -- to try to clean them up, and wait for the morning. (pause) I was twelve.

WINN
I had nothing to do with the death of your family, Major. It grieves me deeply to hear of it.

KIRA
Yet on our way here, we stumbled across a group of people willing to put a Bajoran woman through the same kind of hell -- they were getting ready to vaporize her children right before her eyes, just because she had either the ill luck or poor judgment to have her children with a Cardassian father. Do you think her pain would have been any less?

(There is the sound of lasers cutting into the metal of the door. KIRA looks at it, then looks at WINN.)

WINN
So what problem is it that my death will solve?

(KIRA just stares at WINN, as though searching for the answer in her face. Finally)

KIRA
That's just it -- you've already sown the hatred. All I can do now is make you a martyr.

(KIRA looks at the phaser she holds in her hand, before advancing on WINN. She reaches the front of the desk, raises the phaser slightly -- and then slams it down on the polished wood.)

KIRA
I assume that you either have or had a mother who would be grateful for this.

(She shoves the phaser across the desk to WINN. KIRA then turns and faces the door, as the guards finish blasting through. WINN raises her hand to restrain them from firing at KIRA.)

WINN
The major has already surrendered. Take her and put her under arrest -- for heresy and the attempted assassination of the Kai. (pause) Perhaps the outcome of your trial can prove a warning against further such acts of terrorism, Major.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- THE REPLIMAT

(ODO sits in his usual place. His resemblance to a walrus from the neck down is even more marked.

Benjamin SISKO approaches the table with resolute strides. He is obviously not there for coffee.)

SISKO
Constable, may I join you?

ODO
Certainly. (He nods at the chair opposite him, and SISKO sits.) I take it you've heard something.

SISKO
Word just came in. Major Kira has been arrested.

ODO
(pained, but not surprised)
What are the charges?

SISKO
Heresy ... and the attempted assassination of Kai Winn.

ODO
Only attempted? (He looks relieved.)

SISKO
Apparently Kai Winn is unharmed. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Kira just couldn't bring herself to do it.

ODO
I'm -- I'm very pleased to hear it.

(ODO relaxes a tiny bit, before a startled look crosses his face, unnoticed by SISKO.)

SISKO
She's being taken before the Bajoran high council three days from now. She -- Odo? Odo, what is it?

ODO
Captain, would you please call Dr. Bashir?

SISKO
What --? (taps his combadge) Sisko to Bashir. Dr. Bashir, please come to the Replimat, NOW. (to ODO) Constable, is it --

(ODO's answer is non-verbal, but very decisive. Right then and there, he dissolves into a huge, pulsating puddle at the foot of his chair.)

CUT TO:

BASHIR comes running down the length of the Promenade from Sickbay, DAX hot on his heels. A small crowd has already gathered around ODO; BASHIR has to gently but firmly nudge his way through. QUARK is in the front row, shaking his head.)

QUARK
Messy, isn't it?

BASHIR
Everyone, please stand BACK!

(The crowd withdraws by several feet. SISKO is kneeling near the edge of the puddle, where DAX joins him. BASHIR yanks out his tricorder, scanning for all he's worth.)

BASHIR
(half to himself)
All right, folks, it looks like it's show time.

(The puddle is clearly agitating -- something is definitely happening. Slowly it begins to separate, dividing into two distinct puddles -- a larger one of ODO's particular orange-yellow hue, and a much smaller one of a darker, redder shade.

ODO re-coalesces, with some effort, into his solid form, remaining slumped on the floor, as though he can't manage to stand and keep his shape too. DAX slides over and takes some readings, while never moving her eyes from the remaining puddle which BASHIR continues to monitor. ODO pulls himself into a seated position and reaches out a hand, which loses solidity as he touches the viscous gel.)

ODO
It's all right ...

(The gel begins to move, to shift, to solidify. ODO draws back his hand, once again solid, as the gel touching it forms itself into five small fingers.)

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

KIRA's CELL ON BAJOR.

(It is actually comfortable as cells go, with a bed, desk, and chair, along with some books and writing implements. There are obviously items that a determined prisoner could use to kill herself, but preventing a prisoner's suicide is not a Bajoran concern in this case.

KIRA, who has no intention of trying to kill herself, sits cross-legged on the bed, meditating, as there is a warning beep at the door. She looks up as SHAKAAR, the tall, handsome leader of the Shakaar Resistance Cell, enters.)

KIRA
Edon!

(KIRA starts to get up to go to him, then pauses uncertainly.)

SHAKAAR
Nerys.

(He spreads wide his arms in greeting, and KIRA hugs him thankfully. His face, however, is grave.)

SHAKAAR
You certainly know how to dig yourself into some deep holes, Nerys.

KIRA
So you always told me.

SHAKAAR
This may just be the deepest, though. (pause) I'm not sure I can pull you out of this one.

KIRA
I didn't really expect that you could. (She turns aside, goes to sit on the edge of the bed, nods to the chair beside it.) Have a seat. If nothing else, I'm just glad for the company. (pause, as though the question is unrelated) Have you heard anything from Furel and Lupaza?

SHAKAAR
(not fooled for a minute, but playing along)
Why, they're home minding their farms. Whatever makes you mention them?

KIRA
(wry smile)
Oh, just wondering ...

SHAKAAR
There are still a few wires I was able to pull. I won't let Winn touch them. (pause) Your hearing is set for the day after tomorrow. I have managed to see that you'll get it in front of the full Council, instead of just one of Winn's religious courts, on the grounds that an attempt to assassinate the Kai is a violation of planetary security. (pause) Would you really have done it, Nerys?

KIRA
(ruefully)
I thought so going in. I just -- couldn't.

SHAKAAR
Nerys ... I've been authorized to offer you ... a compromise.

KIRA
Why? What kind of compromise?

SHAKAAR
Captain Sisko has more or less promised to take this to the very head of the Federation Council should any attempt be made to -- to order your execution. Kai Winn is offering to let the whole matter rest if only ...

(SHAKAAR pauses, unwilling to go on.)

KIRA
If only ... ?

SHAKAAR
If only you'll renounce your "association" with the "demon outworlder" and spend the rest of your life here on Bajor in the monastery in R'bal province.

KIRA
Resign my commission, divorce my husband and retire to a monastery.

SHAKAAR
I told her not to expect an enthusiastic response.

KIRA
The answer is simple. It's "no".

SHAKAAR
I can't blame you, Nerys -- I just don't know how much I'll be able to help you.

KIRA
I understand, Edon. (pause) You want to hear something strange?

SHAKAAR
(looks around him)
Stranger than this?

KIRA
Back when we were fighting together in the Resistance -- I didn't worry much about dying.

SHAKAAR
None of us did -- we didn't have time.

KIRA
(smiling)
Maybe that's it. (her smile fades) Now ... I'm worried. Hell, I'm scared.

SHAKAAR
(he doesn't know what to say)
Nerys ...

KIRA
There's one thing I'd like to ask you to do for me if you can.

SHAKAAR
You know I'll do anything possible. (a wry smile) I owe you that much, considering.

KIRA
(shakes her head)
You don't owe me anything. Besides, I ended up with the person I was meant to be with. But ... if they decide to execute me, "demon offworlder" or not, I want to see Odo before I die. They can't argue with that, can they?

SHAKAAR
They can argue -- but I'll make sure that you get to see him.

KIRA
It's funny ... of all the ways I've imagined dying over the years, being executed for heresy was never one of them. I still don't believe that I am a heretic. (pause; musingly) Odo's such a -- a good person, Edon -- I wish you could get to know him better. (There is a slight catch in her voice.) Do you know what he did the night before we got married?

SHAKAAR
(with forced casualness)
What?

KIRA
He had me teach him the Bajoran joining prayer -- and he sat there and prayed it with me.

(SHAKAAR looks away, obviously near tears himself.)

KIRA (cont.)
The thing is, that over the years we've lost so many friends -- so many people we've loved over the years, and almost never with a chance to say good-bye. I don't want to do that to Odo -- I owe him that much. He loved me for so long before I ever knew -- I was too blind to see it.

(KIRA stirs herself from her reverie and turns to place her hand in SHAKAAR's.)

KIRA
Thank you for coming to see me -- and for your help.

SHAKAAR
I wish there was more I could do, Nerys.

KIRA
If you can do that one thing, I'll be grateful.

(SHAKAAR presses her hand and releases it gently as he stands to go.)

SHAKAAR
Good night, Nerys.

(KIRA manages to smile and nod. She watches him as he leaves.)

KIRA
(whispers)
Good-bye, Edon.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

(The Presiding Council chamber on Bajor, in open session. Word has spread and the place is packed -- Court TV comes to Bajor. On what is essentially a stage at the center of a large auditorium, KIRA stands facing SHAKAAR, as First Minister and head of the Council, his two most immediate subordinates, and WINN, as his spiritual counterpart as well as the "victim" in the case. There is a small table near WINN, holding a few odds and ends, including the phaser that KIRA presumably used in her "assassination attempt". The case is in mid-trial, with a variety of guards and Kai WINN having presented their testimony. An empty chair awaits SISKO, who is conspicuous by his absence.)

SHAKAAR
(obviously less than thrilled with his job)
Major Kira, these are serious charges that have been leveled against you. What do you have to say in your defense?

KIRA
In defense of trying to assassinate the Kai, I have nothing to say -- (buzz in the crowd) -- because I didn't do it. I thought about it -- but I couldn't. She herself just told you that. (glances coldly at WINN) In defense against the charge of heresy -- nothing again, except that I see no heresy in marrying the person I love.

SHAKAAR
(trying to help her along)
I understand that you and your husband are expecting a child.

(The buzz of the crowd intensifies sharply.)

KIRA
That's right.

WINN
If I might interpose a question, First Minister...

(SHAKAAR manages to pull together a semi-gracious nod.)

WINN (cont.)
Child, forgive me for saying so, but ... you hardly look like a mother-to-be.

KIRA
I've been married for less than four months. These things take time.

(There is a decided snickering from a certain faction in the crowd, one featuring FUREL, LUPAZA, and their friends and neighbors.)

KIRA (cont.)
However, you're right. While the child originated in my body, it's being carried in the body of my husband.

(There is further commotion in the crowd. Contrary to good judicial procedure, SHAKAAR just smiles and lets it pass.)

WINN
Child, do you not realize how unnatural that is? (she seems genuinely distressed)

KIRA
Unnatural if Odo and I were both Bajoran, I agree. But I did conceive without any outside intervention.

SHAKAAR
(smoothly)
Kai, if this is true -- wouldn't it negate the prohibition regarding the fruitfulness of the union?

WINN
So far I have no reason to believe that it is true, First Minister. I have received a few reports from -- interested parties on Deep Space Nine, but all I have heard tell of is -- an extremely fat changeling.

(KIRA looks up with pathetic eagerness -- this is the first word she's had of ODO since she left him in LUPAZA's cave. The questions practically tremble on her lips, but she resolutely forces them back.)

(There is a sudden disturbance in the back of the auditorium, and a rush of wings overhead. A large, white hawk flies over the heads of the crowd and lands on the floor near KIRA's feet. ODO materializes in front of her -- no longer fat. He gives KIRA the barest look of reassurance, before turning to face the judicial body.)

ODO
I apologize for the -- dramatic entrance. There seemed to be some question out front about whether I should be allowed in, and I have information that I believe is vital to the Major's case.

SHAKAAR
(he knows, but wants everyone else to know as well)
And your name is?

ODO
I am Constable Odo, the security chief on Deep Space Nine. Major Kira Nerys is my wife.

(Needless to say, excitement in the courtroom is reaching a fever pitch. Everyone is whispering, on the edge of their seats.)

SHAKAAR
What is the information that you have, Constable Odo?

WINN
And why have we been lied to about the nature of your condition?

(She looks pointedly at ODO's lean waistline.)

ODO
Your informants haven't lied to you so much as their reports are outdated. Nerys' and my child was born three days ago.

(Pandemonium reigns. KIRA stares at ODO, astonished and overjoyed. ODO, however, looks to the rear doors of the auditorium, with KIRA and much of the crowd following his gaze.

The tall figure of Captain SISKO comes through the doors. He is carrying a little girl who looks about two years old. Her hair is blatantly red, and the look on her perfectly Bajoran face promises a stubborn disposition. Her eyes are an uncanny shade of blue, reminiscent of a certain changeling. Other than that, she is remarkably like her mother, whose eyes lock on the little face in instant recognition.)

KIRA
Odo... (she reaches blindly for ODO's hand, which closes around hers in a steady grip)

(The members of the Council watch in wonder, and Kai WINN in genuine horror.)

WINN
(a whisper)
Abomination ...

(SISKO climbs the stairs to the stage, and carefully sets the CHILD on her feet. She looks at him questioningly for just a second, and then turns to run to her mother. Kai WINN, acting on pure instinct, grabs the phaser from the table and fires at the little one.

The phaser hit misses the CHILD, but takes a good chunk out of the stage. The CHILD is merely startled, pausing to stare at WINN through wide, innocent eyes. SHAKAAR, appalled, wrenches the phaser from WINN's hand.

A hush falls on the crowd, the loudest sound being one anguished intake of breath from KIRA.

ODO sinks slowly to one knee. KIRA drops to both knees beside him.)

ODO
Come here, Kirys ...

(KIRYS runs the remaining distance to be gathered into her mother's arms. SISKO moves to the center of the stage, looking around him, fixing his gaze on first this, then that, face in the crowd.

SISKO
Three days ago I was privileged to witness the birth of this child -- the daughter of a Bajoran mother and a offworlder father. There were no -- changeling tricks, no slight of hand involved in her birth. But there was magic.

(The crowd listens expectantly. After all, this is the Emissary.)

SISKO (cont.)
There was magic in the fact that these two people, from such radically different species and backgrounds, could come together to make this child. And I say to you today, THIS is the wind of the Prophets! (turns to look directly at WINN) It's blowing in your face right now! (turns to look out over the crowd) Can't you hear it? Can't you feel it?

(He turns to look at KIRA, who is still kneeling with her baby in her arms. Her eyes are fixed on his face, drinking in every word.)

SISKO
Major Kira had no intention of hurting anyone, and she certainly committed no heresy. She fell in love, she got married, and then found herself called on to defend the life of her husband and her unborn child. How many of you, in all those years of occupation, were never called on to do the same?

(SISKO is obviously winning the crowd to his side, especially as they were all pretty appalled to see the Kai taking a pot shot at a toddler.)

SISKO (cont.)
On my home world, Earth, we also have many strong religious traditions and sayings that have been handed down generation to generation. Somehow, this is the one that keeps running through my head: "Set before you are two choices, life or death, prosperity or disaster... Choose life, that your people shall live, and may long dwell in the land that has been given to them." People of Bajor, it seems to me that such is the choice being offered you today.

(SISKO gives one last long look out at the quiet crowd, eyes roaming from one face to the next.)

SISKO (cont.)
All I ask today is that you choose life for this one woman, and set her free to go home with her family.

(There is a hush, and then a cheer, admittedly led by FUREL, but enthusiastically taken up by the majority of the crowd. SHAKAAR does not let his opportunity pass.)

SHAKAAR
(quietly, to the nearby guards)
Major Kira is free to go. (pause) Kai Winn, you are under arrest for the attempted murder of -- (he looks up at ODO) Constable Odo? I don't know your daughter's name.

ODO
(with an apologetic look at KIRA, for having to formalize the decision without her) Kirys. Her name is O'ira Kirys.

(KIRA, completely absorbed in memorizing every detail of her little one's face, seems perfectly happy with, if not oblivious to, the choice of names. Kai WINN is led away, respectfully but firmly, by the guards, and the crowd begins to break up. SISKO comes to stand next to KIRA.)

SISKO
How is she? Is she all right?

(KIRA's soft and fuzzy side is out there for the world to see. She rubs noses with her daughter, her entire face wreathed in smiles.)

KIRA
She's perfect. She's wonderful.

SISKO
(smiling)
Major, I believe you're free to go.

(KIRA finally manages to tear her gaze away from her daughter to give SISKO a grateful look.)

KIRA
Thank you, Captain.

(KIRA looks up, her daughter in her arms, across to where ODO is propped against the table, watching her. Her look speaks volumes, as does the slow, radiant smile that crosses her face. Never in the world can she find words adequate to all that she wants to say. Finally:)

KIRA
Good work, Constable.

(ODO smiles back.)

ODO
Thank you, Major.

SISKO
(tapping his combadge)
Sisko to Dax. Four to beam up.

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

INT. -- OPS.

(SISKO, ODO, and KIRA, still holding KIRYS in her arms, materialize in a glimmer of transporter effect. They are greeted by DAX and BASHIR.)

DAX
Welcome back, Major.

KIRA
It's good to be back.

BASHIR
(to KIRYS)
And how is my absolute favorite patient?

(KIRYS immediately disengages her arms from her mother's neck and holds them out to BASHIR, to KIRA's astonished chagrin. ODO shoots KIRA a look of wry apology.)

ODO
Her first love. (shakes his head in disbelief)

(BASHIR holds KIRYS comfortably in one arm while she explores the contours of his face with her fingertips. Finally, contentedly, with only a trace of an infant lisp:)

KIRYS
Doctor Julian ...

(She lays her head against BASHIR's shoulder and closes her eyes.)

BASHIR
I think that I'll take this young lady back to Sickbay for another checkup and a nice, long rest. (looks at KIRA and ODO) I prescribe the same for the two of you.

(KIRA just stares at him, obviously not wanting to let her baby out of her sight.)

DAX
She sleeps for twelve hours a day, Nerys, and she does it just like her father used to -- in her own little bucket. I think you can trust her to Julian for a while.

ODO
She's right -- you look tired.

KIRA
All right ... maybe for an hour or two ...

CUT TO:

INT. -- KIRA AND ODO's QUARTERS

(The quarters are new, and KIRA stands in the middle of them, looking surprised. ODO clears his throat as he embarks on an apology.)

ODO
I hope that this is all right, but I thought we might need more room ... according to Dax, my "nesting instinct kicked in".

(KIRA chuckles, beginning to roam around and look into corners. She stops as she reaches the door to the bedroom, and turns around, a taut, anxious look on her face.)

KIRA
Odo, did -- did Dr. Bashir talk to you?

ODO
(rolls his eyes)
Incessantly. (pause) About what?

KIRA
About ... us. (she can't quite bring herself to meet his gaze)

ODO
(recognizing the problem)
Yes, we discussed it. It's all right, Nerys.

KIRA
(startled and a little annoyed; this is not the answer she expected)
Well, I'm glad the idea doesn't bother you.

(ODO crosses the room and takes KIRA by the hands.)

ODO
No ... I mean it's all right. We figured it out. Nothing's going to hurt you.

(KIRA just closes her eyes, speechless in her relief. ODO pulls her slowly against him, wrapping his arms around her and running his hands gently over the curves of her back. KIRA finally opens her eyes to look at him.)

KIRA
So ... what did we do? Or should I say, what don't we do?

ODO
Nerys, let me show you something.

(While KIRA watches, wide-eyed, ODO steps away from her and extends his hand over the desk, a rather anxious look on his face, and one of concentration. Two drops of orange liquid fall from his forefinger, and quiver on the desktop uncertainly. After a brief pause, ODO lowers his hand and the drops scurry towards his hand, where they are reabsorbed. ODO sighs in relief.)

ODO (cont.)
I used to say that I was unwilling to make the -- the compromises that would be involved in taking a mate outside my own species. Of course, it was easy to say that before I fell in love. When I did fall in love with you, and when we finally came together -- I wanted to share with you some -- some part of me that was tangible.

KIRA
A tiny bit of yourself.

ODO
Yes. Something that I would forever know was missing -- but something that I would know was part of the person who holds what you humanoids would figuratively call my heart. (glances down, smiles wryly.) The way it chose to come back to me was surprising, to say the least.

(KIRA crosses the room to stand behind ODO, sliding her arms around him and resting her cheek against his back.)

KIRA
She's beautiful, Odo. I'm just having a hard time believing that she's real.

(KIRA wears the tired but contented look of having survived a great battle with all her nearest and dearest left in one piece. ODO turns around so that he's facing her, takes her face in his hands, and kisses her.)

ODO
Anyway ... I decided I should give you something tangible that was a little -- more predictable.

(ODO picks up a small box from the desk, from which he removes a silver bracelet. He fastens it carefully around KIRA's wrist.)

KIRA
(touched)
A betrothal bracelet.

ODO
I understand that it's supposed to have both of our family crests, but since I don't have one ...

(KIRA looks at the bracelet more closely.)

KIRA
My family crest ... the date of our wedding ... what's this second date?

ODO
Your daughter's birthday.

KIRA
(shaking her head) I'm sorry. I'll should be able to remember that from now on.

ODO
I, for one, will never forget it. (pause) I suppose you don't know yet that I had her in the middle of the Promenade.

KIRA
(tries to gulp back the laugh that springs to her lips)
Oh, you poor thing!

ODO
I still have this vague memory of the crowd gathering round, and Quark making a last call for bets.

(KIRA chuckles softly at the image. Then she steps back, taking ODO's hands and tugging on them gently.)

KIRA
Come on ... I think I'd like that nap now.

ODO
(eyeing her with amused suspicion)
Is that all you want?

KIRA
Not remotely. (pause) I want you to make love to me, and then I want you to tell me about every minute that's passed since our daughter was born.

ODO
(his voice a rumbling purr)
The first I will do with great pleasure. (pauses to kiss her) The second -- I regret to say that shortly after the great event, I retired to a large tub in sickbay and didn't wake up for 24 hours. By that time, Kirys was hopelessly in love with Dr. Bashir. (smiling) I think he reciprocates.

KIRA
Well, as long as he reciprocates. (her smile suddenly fades in a hint of alarm) There's just one thing -- the way she's developed so fast -- is she going to be a teenager by next week?

ODO
Dr. Bashir assures me that her accelerated growth rate slowed radically once she separated from me. (pause) So it should be a year or two at least.

(KIRA gives ODO a dismayed look, realizes he's joking. She gives a wry smile, and then wraps her arms tightly around his waist.)

KIRA
Then I guess we're stuck with my first suggestion.

(ODO gives one of his rare smiles, and strokes the hair back from KIRA's forehead.)

ODO
I think we can manage.

KIRA
So ... how do you feel about all of those compromises now? (the question is put lightly, but she really wants to know)

ODO
About the same as you do, I expect.

KIRA
(a little puzzled, smiling) Oh? Is it that obvious how I feel?

ODO
(sliding his hands all of the way down KIRA's back and out of camera range) You? You feel WONDERFUL ...

(KIRA laughs and shakes her head at the pun. She tilts back her head to look at ODO, her eyes twinkling, while ODO gazes back at her, seeming remarkably pleased with himself, and even more pleased with the woman in his arms. Both are smiling as ...)

FADE OUT.

THE END

Copyright 1995 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.


Questions? Comments? Critiques? Kudos? Send 'em to me at ds9kirys@me.com.

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