The doors to holosuite number 2 slid open, and Dukat and Ensign Danielle Janeway strode out. Julian Bashir, seated beside Miles O’Brien at the bar a few feet away, couldn’t help but notice the odd couple as they made their way through the establishment.
Bashir turned to O’Brien. “Who is that with Dukat?” he asked O’Brien.
Miles turned just in time to see Dukat and Dani walk past the bar. “That’s Ensign Dani Janeway, the newbie in Ops. She helps out in Engineering sometimes.”
“You mean Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay’s daughter?” Bashir asked.
“Yeah. That’s her,” Miles confirmed.
“What’s she doing with Dukat?” Julian took a sip of his root beer.
“Nothing’s for certain, but the word going around is that they’re a couple.”
At that last statement, Julian began to cough. Miles turned to his friend to see what was wrong with the good doctor. “Julian,” he said, concerned, “what’s the matter?”
Finally Julian regained enough control to talk. “They’re a couple?” he repeated. “Since when?”
“A few weeks ago, from what I heard,” the chief said.
“How did that happen?” Julian asked.
Miles wasn’t sure if it was directed at anyone or was simply rhetorical, but he provided an answer anyway. “I have no idea.”
Julian drank some more of his root beer. “Well, Dukat certainly has found himself a catch.”
“Yeah,” O’Brien said. “So has Janeway. Her parents are going to go through the roof when they get word of this.”
Dax and Kira entered Quark’s. They spotted the doctor and the engineer at the bar and decided to join them.
“Hey, Julian, Chief,” Dax greeted. “What’s going on?” She and Kira took seats on either side of Bashir and O’Brien.
“We were just talking about the station’s newest couple,” O’Brien said distastefully.
Dax grimmaced mentally. “Janeway and Dukat,” she said.
“Yeah,” Julian began. “Dukat? She couldn’t find anyone to date but Dukat?”
“Who else did you have in mind, Julian?” Dax asked suggestively, causing the doctor to blush slightly.
“I had a talk with Dukat the other week,” Kira said, jumping into the
“What did he say?” Julian asked.
“He swore to me that he wouldn’t hurt Dani,” Kira replied.
“Typical,” O’Brien put in.
“He swore it on Ziyal’s life,” Kira added.
Bashir, Dax, and O’Brien all looked at each other and then back at Kira. They all realized the significance of a declaration such as that, just as Kira had recognized it that day when Dukat had said it to her.
“So…he’s serious?” Julian asked.
“Apparently so,” Kira said. “Cardassians may be a lot of things and they may be capable of a lot, but one thing they do not do is go back on their word like that. When they bring children into the mix, it’s for real.”
The four of them let that bit of information sink in for moment. Then O’brien spoke up. “I don’t understand it,” he said. “You got plenty of lads around here that would be more than happy to go out with the girl, and she picks Dukat over the lot of ’em.” It was no secret that Miles O’brien had more than a few misgivings about Cardassians. He’d had a few brushes with them in the past during his Starfleet career and was extremely unenthusiastic in matters
concerning members of the race.
“It’s a bloody shame ‘sall I can say.” The Irishman rose from his seat at the bar. “Well, I’ve got to get back to Engineering.”
“I’ll walk back with you a ways, Chief,” Julian said, standing. “I’ve got to get back to the infirmary, myself.” He turned to Kira and Dax. “See you later.” He walked out of Quark’s with O’brien.
Dax turned to Kira, who seemed to be lost in her thoughts. Kira felt Dax’s eyes on her and was prompted to say something. “I just…I don’t know what do think,” she said. “This is Dukat we’re talking about. I’m with Miles on this one; I don’t understand it. I didn’t understand it with my mother, and I don’t understand it now.”
Kira’s mind wandered back to her experience with the Bajoran Orb of Time, during which she’d discovered that her mother had been Dukat’s mistress during Bajor’s occupation. The revelation had come as a shock to Kira, and she wouldn’t have believed it herself if she hadn’t witnessed it with her own eyes. She could never understand how her mother could have fallen for Dukat. Sure he was a charmer, but how could she, knowing what had done, the suffering he had caused. The same went for Tora Naprem, Ziyal’s mother, and now, for Danielle Janeway.
“There must be something I’m missing,” Kira said. “Something about him that I’m not seeing.”
“Well, whatever it is, I’m not seeing it, either,” Dax commented.
Kira looked at her Trill friend. “I guess I should take comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in my sentiment, then.”
Dax gave Kira an encouraging smile. “Come on; let’s get to Ops.”