AN: Just a little forewarning...any biological techno-babble that comes out of the good doctor's mouth was made up on the spot. I have some experience in cell biology so I tried to make it sound as realistic as possible, however.


"Fascinating," the young doctor exclaimed enthusiastically, waving his tricorder wand once more over the unconscious Bajoran woman's form. "Absolutely fascinating."

"Yes, you've said that already," gripped Kira, momentarily pausing her impatient pacing behind him. "Do you know what's wrong with her yet?"

Rather than answer, however, Bashir instead moved to his desk and quickly inputted several commands into the computer. Immediately, the monitor brought up a complex model whose structure vaguely reminded the major of DNA but was surrounded by far too many clumped projections to be anything she recognized. The growing string of information running beside the image offered her equally meaningless explanation.

"Doctor!"

"No, Major." He turned towards her, his tone infuriatingly patient. "I haven't located any cause for her condition yet. However, it might have something to do with the fact she's not Bajoran."

"Not Bajoran?" Kira took a step towards him before casting a quick glance at the occupied bed. The patient in question remained silent except for the faint expulsion of air accompanying the rise and fall of her chest. Each deep, even breath almost gave the illusion she was peacefully asleep in her own bed. Her short, dirty blond hair stuck out wildly against her softly angled features giving the woman a strangely childish appearance. Under the infirmary lighting, however, Kira would now put the woman's age at no less then twenty-four.

Perhaps the perceived youth on the Promenade was the reason the major had chosen to stay with the girl once they moved her to the infirmary. The moment Bashir declared she was stable, Odo had immediately gone to locate her traveling companions (if any) and the vessel she might have arrived on. Remembering what it felt like to wake up in an unfamiliar place, Kira had sensed it might be easier on the young woman to at least see someone of the same race looking back at her if she awoke before he found something. Now she questioned the wisdom of that decision.

"At least not completely," Bashir clarified, returning his attention to the screen. "Her basic DNA sequence is, for the most part; but there are several anomalies here I can't explain. Not to mention the protein complexes surrounding it are like nothing I've ever seen before."

Kira felt an inexplicable, cold pit settle along the bottom of her stomach.

"Could they be what caused her to pass out?" she asked, remembering the aphasic virus outbreak a few years ago. Automatically, she found herself already preparing to order quarantine procedures. The station had been in a precarious position back then with just the Cardassians, the politics of the Bajoran government, and Starfleet to deal with. She hated to think what would happen if a similar station-wide attack on the crew occurred with the Dominion at their doorstep.

"No," the doctor's reply assured her as he returned to his patient's side. "They appear to be a natural part of her cellular make-up. In fact, with the exception of her current state, and given her attire, I would say she has a remarkably clean bill of health."

"What do you mean, 'given her attire'?" Kira demanded, eyes narrowing dangerously. Bashir jerked in her direction; his mouth opening in slight surprise. Almost instantly he seemed to recognize he'd put his foot in his mouth once again. At least, that was how Kira thought she remembered the Terran phrase being said

"I just meant she appears to have been...traveling a long time," he stammered quickly, trying to make up for the inconsiderate comment. "Unfortunately not all transports are as..."

She held up a hand to interrupt him.

"Could you just take a guess at what else she could be?" she order, quickly directing the doctor's talkative nature back to topic. While she still on occasion felt the desire to deck him for it, the major had at least learned over the past few years it was possible to manipulate the quirk into something somewhat useful. Besides, Bajoran refuges had been spread to all corners of the quadrant during the occupation. It was logical to assume the young woman was simply half-Bajoran, half- something else. Kira just couldn't shake the feeling of wanting to know what that something else might be.

"I try not to make a habit of guessing, Major." Bashir responded dryly, offering her a small smirk. "But I'll run a full diagnostic and comparison to the sequences of all known species in the database. With any luck, I should be able to identify her heritage."

"Good." she replied, tapping her combadge, "Kira to Odo."

"Odo here," the security chief's gruff voice sounded around her, "What is it, Major?"

"Have you located the ship that transported our guest?" she asked, her mouth tightening into a rigid frown.

"Not yet," the Changeling responded, "And there have been no reports of a missing person, Bajoran or otherwise. I take it the girl has not woken up yet?"

"No, but...," she and the doctor exchanged a brief look, "Doctor Bashir seems hopeful. Please keep him informed when you find something."

"Understood."

Kira nodded as the signal broke before addressing Bashir, "I need to head to Ops right now but I'll be sending one of the Bajoran security officers down here to stay with her.'

"If you think that's necessary, Major," Bashir said, somewhat surprised by the major's suspicion. In her current state, the young woman could hardly be considered a danger to the station; and, should she awaken, he was certain he and the nurses could momentarily handle whatever risks she posed. However, given the current state of affairs with the Dominion, it was probably prudent to be careful. Kira's next words, though, stunned him even more.

"It's not for you, Doctor," she said as the infirmary doors whisked open, "It's for her."


Bashir was making a few annotations to his PADD when he heard a faint groan sound behind him. Turning, he spotted the indicative twitch signaling the beginnings of his mysterious patient slow journey back to the land of conciousness. Casting a quick glance at her life signs, he was pleased to see them increasing within normal parameters. With her origins and body chemistry still uncertain he ignored the hypospray as he stood up; walked towards the bed; and waited for her to come to in her own time. Within moments she let out a sharp intake of breath, her body instinctively trying to sit up.

"Easy," he exclaimed as he pressed a hand gently against her shoulder to stop her. "It's probably best if you don't move. Are you in any pain?"

The woman's eyes flickered open; and she winced in response. Blinking until her eyes adjusted to the light, she took a long glance around the room until her eyes found his. When her gaze finally focused, she squinted slightly; then frowned; and finally smiled.

"I take it you're the doctor?" she groaned; her features relaxing slightly.

''Dr. Julian Bashir, at your service," he replied kindly, "Miss?"

The girl opened her mouth to respond when a sudden cough sounded to the right of her. Glancing over out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the security officer Kira had sent adjust his uniform self-consciously before stiffening to attention again. Immediately, an odd gleam settled in her eyes as she closed her mouth and turned to face the doctor again.

"You looked at my DNA, didn't you?" she asked as if she were disappointed by a lack of trust on his part. Bashir froze, not having expected such an unusual question.

"Yes," he finally responded after a beat, "We were-"

"Nevermind." She waved off his explanation, suddenly pushing herself up into a sitting position with her other hand. Before he could stop her, she had smoothly swung her legs over the side so they hung loosely from the bio bed. Surprised by the sudden movement, the security guard took a tense step towards the pair; his hand moving instinctively to his phaser. Bashir, for his part, automatically moved to stop her.

"Miss, I don't think you should-" he started to chastise her while raising a hand to stop the guard.

"I'm fine, Doc," she interrupted him casually, shooting him a look he'd seen Major Kira give almost everyone when they landed on her bad side. A kind of subtle dare suggesting silence was the better part of valor. "It's not like it's the first time I've woken up in this bio-bed before."

Unsure how to respond to that, Bashir paused, his hand just inches above her shoulder. The woman's angry glare vanished immediately, melting into a bemused smile that seemed almost as equally familiar. The doctor frowned at her and took a step back.

"Then do you at least mind telling me your name?" he asked, switching tactics.

"Lieutenant," the woman chirped cheerfully, "Lieutenant Kira Meru."