Pet Sitting

"Isn't he cute?" Jadzia Dax asked Kira Nerys. Kira peered skeptically at the object resting on her friend's end table.

"I guess if you like the orange, nautical type." The goldfish in the small spherical fish tank stared blankly at Kira as it swam in a circle.

"Julian gave it to me for my birthday," Jadzia informed Kira with a smile.

"But your birthday isn't until next week," Kira said, slightly confused.

"You know Julian. He does everything ahead of time." Kira nodded. "I named him Tobin," Jadzia added.

"That was Dax's...second host, right?"

"Right." Kira smiled. Sometimes she had trouble keeping all the hosts straight. She wondered how Jadzia did it. She shook her head, realizing she would never totally understand all the Trill complexities.

"What is it, anyway?" Kira asked, referring to Jadzia's new pet.

"Julian said it was from Earth. They call it a goldfish." Kira nodded, then said,

"I'm starved. Are you ready to do?"

"Yep. See you later Tobin," she said to the fish, blowing it a kiss. Kira rolled her eyes and followed Dax out of her quarters.

"Dax to Kira." Kira tapped her commbadge, putting down the PADD she'd been reading.

"Kira here."

"Can I ask you for a favor?"

"Sure. What is it?" Kira asked over her commbadge.

"I'm going to be off the station for a few days. Benjamin and I are going down to Bajor to set up a computer program for them. Remember the program I wrote to translate Ancient Bajoran?"

"Yeah, I remember."

"Well, scientists down there are interested in it. They think I'm some kind of genius or something. Anyway..." Dax paused, then continued, "can you watch Tobin for me?"

"Jadzia, I don't know the first thing about caring for a pet. I know even less about one from Earth."

"Don't worry, Nerys," the Trill assured her. "It's really easy. I left the container of food on my kitchen table. Just sprinkle some of it in his tank at night. I'm leaving tomorrow morning. Don't worry, you'll be fine."

"Okay. Have fun."

"Goodnight Nerys."

"Goodnight Jadzia." Kira tapped her commbadge to end the communication.

The following night, Kira entered Dax's quarters to feed Tobin. She passed him, still swimming in circles in his tank, to get his food off Dax's kitchen table. She found a container labeled Goldfish Flakes in Jadzia's beautifully curved handwriting. Kira took a moment to examine her friend's handwriting, appreciating its elegance. Her own handwriting was cramped and messy- she had never really taken the time to learn it correctly. She wasn't very artistic to begin with.

She walked over to Tobin's tank on Jadzia's end table and opened the container. Multi-colored flakes were inside. Kira wrinkled her nose at their smell.

"How could you eat this stuff?" she asked the fish. She paused, realizing what she had just done. "I can't believe it. I'm talking to a goldfish." She shook her head and then pondered how much to feed it. She tipped the container over and let some of it fall into the tank. However, more fell out that she had first wanted. It was all stuck together in clumps, dispersing as it hit the water. The entire surface of the water was covered with the flakes. She bent down to see into the tank from the side.

She shrugged to herself. The fish seemed happy enough, quickly eating the food off the top of the water. She put the food back on Jadzia's table and walked to her quarters without a second thought.

"I just have to stop in and feed Jadzia's goldfish," Kira explained to Odo the next night as they entered Jadzia's quarters.

"Goldfish?" Odo asked.

"It's an Earth pet she got from Julian for her birthday. I have to feed it while she's on Bajor," she continued as she retrieved the food from the other room. Odo quickly spotted the fish tank and walked over to it. He bent over to look inside.

"Does it always do that?" he inquired as she walked towards him, fish food in hand.

"Do what?" She approached the tank and looked in. Tobin was floating on his side at the top of the water.

"That," he replied bluntly.

"Uh-oh." She tapped the glass but Tobin didn't move. "Maybe he's sleeping," she reasoned. Odo gave her an I highly doubt it look and she let out a sigh. "I watch it for two days and I kill it. Now what am I going to do? She loved that thing."

"You could replace it," Odo suggested.

"Where am I going to get a goldfish?"

Kira walked into Quark's, the barkeep spotting her immediately. He gave her a pointy-toothed smile.

"Major Kira!" Quark exclaimed. "What a lovely surprise! What can I do for you today?"

"Cut the pleasantries Quark. I need you to get something for me." Quark paused, possibilities of what the Major could possibly want running through his mind.

"Anything. What do you need?"

"Have you ever heard of a goldfish?" He searched his brain (which didn't take that long) and answered,

"Nope, never heard of it," he admitted.

"It's an animal from Earth. Do you know where I can get one?" Quark paused again, thinking through his various "connections."

"I know some people I could ask. I'll let you know if I find anything." Kira nodded and started to leave. She suddenly stopped and yelled,

"Quark!" He turned to face her again.

"Yes?"

"Thanks."

"Anytime, Major." He smiled and Kira continued out of his establishment, thinking that the little toad was worth something every so often.

Kira peered at Quark through the clear bag that held the "goldfish."

"This isn't a goldfish," she stated.

"Reliable sources promised me that this was a goldfish," Quark answered hastily, a tinge of hurt in his tone.

"Well, it's a mutant. It doesn't look anything like Jadzia's. In fact, it's not even the same color!" The gray fish gazed at her almost mockingly. Kira let out a sigh.

"Thanks anyway, Quark." She paid him and left his bar.

Dax entered her quarters to find Kira bending over, peering into her fish tank. She smiled, walking over to stand beside her friend.

"Anything interesting?" she asked. Kira straightened suddenly.

"Hey Jadzia. Nice to see you back. Did you have a good time?" Jadzia eyed the Bajoran with a smile.

"Okay, what happened?" Kira sighed, giving up on her act.

"I tried, I really did," she explained. "I told you that I'm not good with pets. I killed it. I tried to get you another one but I got a mutant. It doesn't look like your old one and–"

"Nerys!" Dax interjected. "It's okay. It was only a fish."

"I know...but you loved the thing!" The Trill smiled broadly at Kira.

"I wouldn't trade a million fish for a friend like you," she admitted sincerely. "Besides, I have a new fish now." She bent down to look at the gray fish. "Hello, Torias." Kira rolled her eyes.

"Here we go again."