As Nige stepped through the doors, Ten Forward was oddly quiet. It was practically deserted. Tumock and Benson were sitting in one corner and there were three ensigns sitting in another. Nige walked over to the replicator.
"Coffee, extra hot, two sugars," he said. As the coffee materialized he looked back around the room. It was as if the people there had no will to live. He took his coffee and sat down.
"You had a long shift today," stated Bill.
"I know, MacLeod became ill and I had to do a double shift. At least now I've got some time to relax."
"Not too long however," said Tumock. "The Kelvans are only twenty-nine hours from earth."
"I'm afraid so."
"I hope we stop them," interrupted Bill. "My family is on Earth. It wouldn't surprise me if my sister and my mother have left by now, but my father is so stubborn. He's probably sitting in the cafe thinking, 'It will all be okay. My son is on the ship that is leading the attack, I'll be safe.' What if we can't stop them Nige? What if the shields fail?" Nige put down his coffee and looked at Tumock. Tumock returned the look after which they both looked at Bill again.
"Everything is going to be okay," said Nige in a comforting voice. "Do you think Starfleet would have sent us out if this shielding were going to fail? We'll live through this. Frankly, I'm looking forward to going back to Bajor after all this is over." This time it was Benson who looked at Tumock. "Have you ever been to Bajor?" continued Nige, unaware of the expressions on his friends' faces. "It's a beautiful planet, almost untouched by industry, rich in every mineral, vegetation and any other resources you need. I doubt you've ever seen the Jalanda Forum either..."
"Nige?" said Bill trying to get Nige's attention but to no avail.
"... It's an amazing structure," Nige continued. "And then there's the Fire Caves..."
"Nige?" said Benson again grabbing Nige by the arm. "Haven't you heard yet?"
"Nige... The Kelvans destroyed Bajor two days ago."
"No, that can't be. We evacuated Deep Space 9. The Bajoran fleet is too small to launch an attack. They wouldn't have launched an attack. Bajor was no threat to them!"
"Apparently the Kelvans thought otherwise. They have also destroyed the Bynars and the Pakleds," responded Tumock.
"My family.....? My home....? What will I do? Even Torasu will have been killed."
"Who is Torasu?" queried Tumock.
"My cat!" Nige began to uncomfortably shift around in his chair. He stood up and put his coffee down but spilled it all.
"Nige... I'm sure that your family probably got evacuated on one of the transports."
"What the hell are you talking about?! Do you have any idea how many people live on Bajor? - Millions! What are the chances of my family escaping in them. They live on the poorest continent! Excuse me, I've got something to do." Nige stood up and hurried out of the room.
"Nige wait!" cried Bill.
"Let him go Ensign. It is better that he does what needs to be done," said Tumock.
Nige stood watching the images as
his old friend came to his side.
"You know, it's not healthy to relieve this type of memory" he said.
"Is that your medical opinion, or an opinion of a friend?" Tyran asked
"Both" replied Kira. "You realise that Bajor will not be destroyed this time round. As you said, I'm here, and not only that, we know how to destroy them this time."
"Even so... I can't help worrying...."
As Nige went through the doors he passed Carter and her old friends from Banshee squadron.
"Hi Nige," said Carter in a care-free happy voice. However Nige continued walking without giving a response. "Go on in, I'll join you shortly," said Carter to the other four. She ran down the corridor and caught up with Nige. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"It's nothing to do with you."
"Have you found out about Bajor?"
"Look! Will you just leave me alone!!" Nige shouted. "Please?"
"Okay," said Carter as Nige stepped into a turbolift.
"Bridge," he said.
Carter ran back towards Nige. "Computer, hold turbolift. Nige, you're not going to do anything stupid are you?"
Nige just looked her straight in the eyes and ordered the turbolift to resume its course.
"You were pretty rude to Carter there." said Kira.
"Well, I wasn't feeling my best back then." replied Nige.
Nige arrived on the bridge to find it relatively empty. He looked around but Commodore Pike was not there. Nige stepped down to the lower level and found Captain Neil sitting in the Commodore's Chair.
"Where's Commodore Pike?" demanded Nige.
"He's in his ready room Lieutenant. Is something wrong?"
"Apart from the fact that my family and just about everyone else on Bajor have been killed, no!"
"There's no need to be sarcastic Nige," Neil replied. "It's a tragedy that Bajor has been destroyed.
"Nige, you'll live through this," said Harris, turning around from his console. "It's just going to take time."
"You have no idea do you Tom? Have you ever been through anything like this before? Has your home and every one living there been destroyed just like that? I don't think so."
"Nige, do you need to go back to your quarters?" asked Captain Neil as she stood up.
"No, I just need to speak to Commodore Pike."
"Nige?" said Churok turning around. "Cardassia was destroyed too. You're not the only person who has lost something. Bajor was a beautiful place. It would be a great loss to anyone."
At the sound of this Nige shuddered, turned around and glared at Churok. "Beautiful was it? Did your people not think about that before they started mining us to death? For sixty years you mined Bajor until there was nothing left! A spoon-head like you can never understand what I have lost. I fought for ten years against spoon-heads to free that world from you. Now it's destroyed and it was all for nothing! The only things that should have been on Bajor when the Kelvans arrived was you and your people."
Churok rose from his seat and crossed the bridge to where Nige was standing. Harris got up and turned around and Beckett stepped down from the tactical station.
"Okay, calm down," said Neil in a commanding voice.
"I am not proud of what my people have done," said Churok taking another step forward. "I myself wish that I was not half-Cardassian. I hate what they did to your world as much as anyone."
"Shut up!" shouted Nige as he took a swing at Churok. Churok ducked and charged at Nige. Beckett stepped in and held Churok back while Harris pulled Nige away.
"Lieutenant, Ensign, you are both relieved of duty as of now," said Neil.
"What's going on out here?" asked Pike as he stepped out of his ready room.
"Why didn't you tell me about Bajor?!" shouted Nige. "Why did you let me go on thinking they were all going to be all right."
"Nige if you'll just let me...."
"Did you think it would be better this way? Were you ever going to tell me about it? Or were you just going to let me go back to Bajor one day and find a barren world with no life!"
"Calm down Nige. Step into my ready room."
"No. I need to be alone. All I ask is that I be allowed to take the Mekong into battle against the Kelvans. After that I'll resign my commission and get the hell off this ship. Away from you, away from interfering shuttle pilots, away from energy absorbing doctors and most of all, away from Churok." Nige pushed off Harris and walked off the bridge. "Deck 5," he ordered.
"Energy absorbing doctors huh?"
"I was in a bad mood" retorted Tyran
"You know, to this day, I hadn't
known you'd done that." said Kira. "I was as upset as you were when
I had heard. Let's make a promise now... that Bajor, nor any other planet be
destroyed by the Kelvans"
"Promise" replied Tyran. "This time we know how to beat the bastards!"
"I'd still feel better if Tumock, Carter and Benson were here though" Kira said looking back at the scene playing out on the holodeck.
"Computer, end program" said Tyran.
"Why'd you turn it off?" asked Kira
"Because the next pat is for my eyes only."
"Fair enough." The two left the holodeck.