Plague, part I

By Seema

Characters & places belong to the powers that be at Paramount. Jenna Rei, Dev Taya, Ensign Ilya Markova and Lora Riata belong to me. The story, which I’m sure Paramount wouldn’t want anyway, is mine.

The past mission Keiko O’Brien and Dax served together on is detailed in the Pocket Books paperback “The Tempest,” (DS9 #19) written by Susan Wright.

Special thanks to Liz for taking on the chore of being the beta reader for this story. I appreciate it!

Note: Written 1998/1999. Reformatted 12/29/00

It was a typical morning in the O’Brien household, with Molly fighting her brother for control of some little toy, O’Brien running around looking for some tool and in the middle of it all, Keiko O’Brien was serving up breakfast of eggs and toast.

“Molly, you stop that right now! Sit down and eat,” Keiko told her daughter sternly. Molly pouted for a moment and was about to argue when a sharp look from her father told her that she wasn’t getting away with anything today.

“That’s enough, Molly. You give your brother that toy and you listen to your mother,” O’Brien said firmly.

The noise subsided long enough for Keiko to kiss her husband good-bye.

“Don’t be too late tonight,” Keiko said. “The natives are restless.”

Miles O’Brien eyed his children with some misgivings and nodded, “I’ll try to come home early.”

“Good,” Keiko said, kissing him once again. “Believe me, I’ll make it worth your while.”

“An offer like that, how can I refuse?”

After Miles was gone, Keiko dressed the children and packed them off to daycare.
“Whew,” she thought as she made her way down the Promenade to the replimat. “What a morning.”

Of course Keiko felt that slight tinge of guilt whenever she had those feelings about her children, but when she thought about how rowdy Molly and Yoshi had been this morning, she dismissed the guilt easily. She entered the replimat and saw Major Kira eating breakfast with Odo.

“Major, Constable,” Keiko greeted them.

“Good morning,” Kira said brightly. Even though Kira and Odo had been involved for sometime now, it still took Keiko a minute or two to get over the whole idea of Kira with Odo. For reasons she couldn’t explain, Keiko still found the relationship a bit odd. Of course, that could have a lot to do with the fact that Kira had carried Yoshi when it was discovered Keiko could not continue with the pregnancy and that there was a strange sort of bond between Kira and the O’Briens as a result. Perhaps, Keiko thought, I would feel that strangeness no matter who Kira was involved with.

“Good morning to you too,” Keiko said.
“Mrs. O’Brien,” Odo answered.

The two were obviously involved in an intimate conversation, so Keiko took a quick look around. When she did not see the person she was looking for, she headed over to Quark’s. Immediately, she spotted the young woman she was seeking and made a beeline for the table.

“Commander, just the person I wanted to see,” Keiko positioned herself directly in front of Jadzia Dax. The Trill smiled a greeting.

“Something to eat?” Dax asked. “Quark has this great special on hasperaat souffle.”

“No, not hungry. I just finished eating Yoshi’s breakfast in addition to mine,” Keiko smiled.

“It looks like you’re wearing some of his breakfast too,” Dax answered. “I hope you don’t mind that I’m eating. These days, I’m lucky if I get a minute to myself and food, it seems, is a luxury.”

“I know the feeling. Don’t worry. Go right ahead. Enjoy your breakfast.”

“How have you been? I haven’t seen you around lately.”

“You know how it is, with the children and all. There’s a lot that needs to be done. Too much, sometimes.”

“Something on your mind?”

“Yes, you could say that.”

“Something important?” Dax asked in concern. “With the children? Chief?”

“Oh no, not like that at all. Believe me.”

“Then what is it that has you all aflutter first thing in the morning?”

“When I was down on Bajor last week, my partner, Jenna Rei - maybe you know her?”

“She’s a lieutenant here, right? I see her occasionally in my science lab, but I think she’s a geneticist. New to the station, I think. Red hair.”

“That’s right. It’s amazing how you remember all that.”

“Not really,” Dax said wryly. “I do have the advantages of another brain, remember that.”

The host-symbiont relationship was another thing that was a little odd to Keiko. Most of the time, when she spoke to Jadzia Dax, she was unaware that this thirty-six year old woman played host to a three-hundred year old worm. It was only when Dax referred to the symbiont or to herself in the third person did Keiko become aware of the complicated morphology of a joined Trill.

“Well, Jenna said something about stopping on a planet in the Gamma Quadrant, Epsilon Three, and finding some really great plant specimens.”

“And you want to check them out?” Dax asked.

“Yes,” Keiko nodded. “I was thinking maybe we could go, you and I.”

“Why me?”

“You know we make a great team. We worked really well when that plasma storm blew through here a few years back.”

“I won’t disagree with you, no. Though that mission nearly killed us, didn’t it?”

“I don’t think this trip would be quite so deadly,” Keiko said quietly. “I just want to collect some plants and maybe some of the wildlife. Very relaxing.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Then would you like to go?”

“How long do you think we would be gone?”

Keiko considered, “Three days at the most. Jenna said it took less than a day to get there.”

Dax nodded, “Let me talk to Benjamin. I do have some leave coming to me and we’ll need a runabout.”


Dax rose from her seat as a Ferengi waiter came to remove her empty glass and plate.

“Besides,” Keiko called after Dax. “We could really use the vacation from husband and children, don’t you think?”

Dax grinned back her reply and fluttered a hand in response.


“Let me get this straight,” Sisko said. “You and Mrs. O’Brien want to go check out a planet for some plants in the Gamma Quadrant.”

“That’s the general plan.”

“Are you crazy?”

“Look, we’ll be in and out, just like that,” Dax said, leaning forward.

“I’m not doubting you, Jadzia. I’m concerned about the Dominion.”

“We’ve been concerned about the Dominion for five years now, Benjamin. Believe me, one more sortie into the Gamma Quadrant isn’t going to make much of a difference.”

“You will be careful?”

“I promise. We’re just going there to pick some flowers or something. Very innocent.”

Sisko eyed his old friend, “I’m never sure with you, Dax. Even after all this time, I still can’t tell what you’re up to.”

“What inner motives could I possibly have?"

"None that I can discern," Sisko admitted.

"Then I can go?" Dax asked.

“Three days. That’s all.”

“Believe me. Three days alone with Daria is all Worf is going to be able to take,” Dax laughed.

“Be careful, Old Man.”

“We will be.”

Dax left, but as Sisko stared after her retreating figure, he could not shake the feeling of foreboding. He considered calling Dax back and canceling the trip and then decided against it. After all, how much trouble could Jadzia Dax and Keiko O’Brien get into picking flowers?

“You’re going where?” O’Brien asked, trying to sound reasonable.

“The Gamma Quadrant. Just to check something out that Jenna told me about,” Keiko answered.

O’Brien shook his head as he replaced his tools. He should have known Keiko had something to tell him that he did not want to hear; she rarely tracked him down while he was working on the station.

“How long will you be gone?”

“Three days,” Keiko answered. “Don’t worry, it’ll be fine.”

“You’re going alone?”

“Commander Dax has agreed to go with me.”

O’Brien considered. Three days, a quick trip into the Gamma Quadrant and who knows? Keiko might turn up something worthwhile. All great discoveries involved a certain element of risk, he decided. And besides, Dax was going with her.

“When do you leave?” he asked.

“Tomorrow morning, first thing.”

“You should start packing then. Don’t worry about us. We’ll be fine.”

Keiko dropped a kiss on her husband’s forehead, “I know you will be.”


As usual, any visit from the Kai left Kira Nerys in a state of agitation. At the very least, Kira felt the need to smash something. So she stalked down the Promenade, thinking about a game of springball in the holosuites. The thought of her paddle making contact with the ball was suddenly very relaxing.


Kira turned at the familiar voice, “Captain.”

Sisko caught up to Kira and then matched his stride to hers.

“The meeting go well?” he asked in a tone that told Kira that he already knew what she would tell him.

“I can’t believe she is so stubborn!” Kira exclaimed. “I tried everything, Captain, to convince her that she should go before the Vedek Assembly and publicly endorse Bajor’s membership in the Federation.”


“But she won’t. She doesn’t think the Prophets will like that.”

“Those are her words?”

“Not exactly, but that was the gist of it.”

“Without popular support of the people, Bajor will never achieve its goal of Federation membership,” Sisko said idly.

“You don’t think I know that?” Kira nearly screeched. “You know, when the Federation first arrived here eight years ago, I didn’t want you here. I thought that Bajor could become independent on her own without any interference from Starfleet. Now, I firmly believe the Federation is the best possible thing for Bajor. I just don’t know how to get Kai Winn to see that. I could talk until I’m blue in the face and I still get nowhere.”

“Well,” Sisko said. “Maybe you should pay a visit to Bajor.”

They paused for a moment.

“And do what?” Kira asked softly.

“You’ve already talked to the Kai. You might want to exercise some other options now.”

“You think I should go in front of the Vedek Assembly?” Kira asked.

“Why not?” Sisko shrugged. “If Winn won’t listen...?”

Kira considered for a moment, “But will they listen to me?”

“You won’t know unless you try.”

With those words, Sisko turned on his heel to return to Ops. Kira considered the Captain’s words seriously. Maybe it was worth going to Bajor, she thought grimly. It certainly couldn’t hurt to try.


“Now,” Dax said as they walked to the runabout pad. “You won’t forget to pick her up from daycare?”

“I will not forget our child,” Worf assured her.

“I know,” Dax smiled anxiously. “But if there is any problem, any problem at all, you contact me by subspace and I will come right home. Okay?”

“Daria and I will be fine,” Worf said again.

Worf and Dax were met by O’Brien and Keiko.

“Just in and out, right?” O’Brien said for what had to be the millionth time. Keiko nodded.

“Cross my heart,” she told him.

“We should go,” Dax said. “Kira has already cleared us to leave, so let’s get on with it.”

Keiko kissed her husband and headed into the runabout. Dax smiled at Worf and blew him a kiss as she turned to follow Keiko.

O’Brien and Worf turned to face each other.

“Maybe we should go with them,” O’Brien considered.

“I do not think that would be wise,” Worf answered. “From what Jadzia was telling me, I believe she and Keiko are taking a vacation from us.”

From us? Whatever for?”

Worf shrugged, a small smile crossing his lips. O’Brien shook his head and followed the Klingon out of the airlock.

“I never thought Miles would let me leave,” Keiko said as she settled into her seat. Dax grinned at her friend.

“Worf couldn’t wait to get rid of me,” Dax answered.

“That’s not true and you know it.”

“I know,” Dax laughed. “I think he is anxious about being left alone with Daria though. I keep trying to tell him that he will be fine, but he has this thing about babies. Don’t get me wrong. He loves her but I think his past with Alexander keeps creeping up on him. But I think this time alone with Daria is exactly what he needs.”

“He seemed okay about letting you go though,” Keiko observed. “Miles always has a conniption every time I even mention going somewhere, even if it is only Bajor. Why is he so particular that way and your husband lets you traipse all over the galaxy for whatever reasons without much fuss?”<.\p>

“I think the difference is that I’m a Starfleet officer and Worf and I know and understand that. Separation, I suppose, could come at anytime. Of course, now that we have Daria, we have so much more at stake and we won’t take as many risks as might have in the past because of Daria. For you, as a civilian, I don’t think the Chief sees you as a scientist as much as he sees you as his wife and the mother of his children. It’s natural for him to want to protect you.”

“I suppose,” Keiko sighed as the runabout lifted off the pad. “Setting course for the wormhole now.”

“Full impulse,” Dax countered. “So you just have to understand that he’s concerned that something might happen to you. It’s only natural.”

“I understand that there is a war going on and he has every right to be anxious,” Keiko said. “I just wish he would trust me a little bit.”

“I don’t think this has anything to do with trust,” Dax said softly. “But it does have everything to do with the war.”

“Does it scare you?”

“The war?”

“Silly question?”

“No, not at all. I used to be afraid. Not anymore. It’s more like an itch that won’t go away.”

“I never quite heard it put that way before.”

Dax shrugged, “There are good skirmishes and there are bad ones. In the end, it all equals out and no one gets anywhere. I guess in a way, that’s why I’m glad you asked me to come along on this trip with you, because I’d like to do something that isn’t war-related in the least bit. At least for a little bit.”

“I just hope by the time our kids are grown up, this will be all over.”

“As Kira would say, from your lips to the Prophets’ ears.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in the Prophets.”

“No more than you do, I suppose,” Dax said. “It must be the scientist in us. But Kira does believe in them and I think she does have something there. Unfortunately, I’m afraid Bajorans rely too much on the Prophets and not enough on their own free will.”

“Is that why you think Kai Winn is holding back on endorsing membership in the Federation for Bajor?”

“It could be one of the reasons. But one thing I’ve learned is that Kai Winn always has her own agenda and it’s completely at loggerheads with everything practical and reasonable.”

“I won’t argue with that,” Keiko said, recalling her own encounters with Bajor’s capricious and cunning spiritual leader.

“Approaching wormhole now,” Dax said. “Shenandoah to Deep Space Nine.”

“Go ahead, Shenandoah,” Kira replied, her voice crackling with static.

“We’re heading into the Gamma Quadrant now. We’ll see you in three days.”

“Have a good trip, Shenandoah.”

“Thanks. And Major?”

“Yes, Dax?”

“Good luck with the Kai.”

“Believe me, I’m going to need it. DS Nine out.”


Kira stepped off the transport, her pack slung over one shoulder. She stood slightly to the side, waiting for the crowd of people to dissipate before she headed into the city. Odo had offered to accompany her down to Bajor, but she had dismissed his offer, knowing that she would have to face the Kai and the Vedek Assembly alone.

Kira Nerys had done many hard things before in her life and this was just one of them.
She sighed and stepped off the landing ramp, but not before colliding with a young woman.

“Lieutenant Rei,” Kira said in surprise.

“Major,” Jenna Rei said. “I am sorry. So sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

“It is all right,” Kira assured the young woman. “Are you heading back to the station now?”

“Yes, I only had a forty hour leave,” Rei answered. “This is my transport.”

“Have a safe trip back, Lieutenant.”

“Thank you, Major.”

Kira dismissed the young lieutenant and squared her shoulders, mentally steeling herself for the meeting with the Vedek Assembly.

“I have twenty-six hours to prepare,” she thought as she made her way to a friend’s house. “I hope it’s enough.”


The Shenandoah emerged from the wormhole in a bright flurry of color and light. Dax immediately set course for Epsilon Three.

“It’s only five hours from here,” Dax said, pleasantly surprised. “Keiko, scan for any sign of Dominion activity. I promised Benjamin we would turn around if we even picked up the warp signature of a Jem’Hadar ship.”

“I’m not picking up anything.”

“Keep scanning just to be sure though. And make sure the long range sensors are at optimal level. We don’t want any surprises.”

Keiko nodded.

“You wished Major Kira luck with the Kai,” Keiko said after a moment.

“Believe me, Kira is going to need all the luck she can get. Kai Winn and Kira have never gotten along but that’s common knowledge. And you know, neither of them are particularly the warm, friendly types.”

“I don’t like the Kai. I’ve had a funny feeling about her ever since she came and disrupted my school,” Keiko shivered. “Is she really so against Bajor joining the Federation?”

“I think it’s a source of power for her, and we all know that Winn has her own agenda for Bajor, whatever that might be,” Dax said thoughtfully. “And I think it irks the Kai that Nerys doesn’t see it her way. Oh to be a fly on that wall when Winn and Kira come face to face.”


Kira smoothed her hair anxiously and then approached the Kai’s rooms. She had wanted to meet Winn privately first before approaching the Vedek Assembly. The Kai, however grudgingly, had agreed to meet with Kira.

“My child,” the Kai rose as Kira entered the room. As usual, Kira tried to keep from cringing at the Kai’s sugar-sweet voice. No matter how much she wanted to, Kira still could not trust the Kai.

“Thank you for taking the time to see me. Again,” Kira said briskly.

“Sit, please. Would you like some refreshment?”

“No, thank you.”

“What did you want to talk to me about?”

“The Federation is seriously considering Bajor’s application -”

“This again?” the Kai stood up, her face flushing red.

“This is important for Bajor, Kai,” Kira said firmly. “If the Federation approves the application, then all we need is a referendum by the people in order for Bajor’s acceptance to be finalized. We’ve wanted this for a long time and I don’t think it’s right that you are blocking the referendum.”

“I’m not blocking anything, my child.”

“You have been telling everyone who will listen about the evils of the Federation-”

“We need a free and independent Bajor,” Winn answered. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted for Bajor. It’s all the Prophets ever wanted for Bajor.”

“With all due respect,” Kira said softly, “I don’t believe the Prophets can have an opinion on whether Bajor should join the Federation.”

“Are you questioning the Prophets?”

“No, not the Prophets.”

“Then what, me?”

“Not you, only your motives.”

The Kai stared at Kira angrily, “My motives? I told you that Bajor is my only motive.”

"Don’t you see that membership in the Federation will keep Bajor safe from Cardassia forever? that we can finally get the medical supplies we need? The technology to keep up with other worlds? There is so much the Federation can offer. I don’t know why you’re so stubborn.”

“Major,” Kai Winn spoke slowly and deliberately. “I would like you to leave now. Such disrespect, even from you

I’ve come to expect it, but this? No, no. I would like you to leave.”

“I plan to address the Vedek Assembly in a few hours,” Kira continued as if the Kai had never spoken. “I will ask them to support the referendum if it comes.”

The Kai had already turned her back on Kira and did not respond to the Major’s last comment. Kira shrugged her shoulders and walked out the door.

Go on to Part Two

Have something to say about this piece? Visit the Message Board!

Back to Alternate Universe Fanfic Page