"The time is 0600."
Ezri groaned and buried her face in her pillow. The voice sounded again. "The time is 0600."
"Okayokaygoaway." Ezri turned to Julian, who was still asleep beside her. "Julian," she shook him gently. "It's time to get up."
Julian shook his head, his eyes still closed. Ezri shook him harder. "You're on duty in an hour." No response. "Fine then." Ezri moved to get out of bed, but Julian grabbed her arm. "Julian, you're being ridic-!"
Julian stopped her scolding by kissing her gently on the mouth. When they broke apart, he moved down to her neck. "Why," he asked in between kisses, "Are you in such a hurry to get rid of me?"
Ezri readjusted herself so that she was facing Julian. She ran her fingers through his hair, and smiled. "You've already been late for duty twice this month."
Julian brushed the spots on Ezri's forehead with his lips. "I've been conducting research on Trills."
Ezri rolled her eyes. "Go!"
"Could you at least join me for breakfast?"
Ezri smiled despite herself. "I think I can manage that."
The Replimat was crowded, but Ezri and Julian managed to snag a table. Although Ezri participated in his conversation, Julian noticed that she seemed distracted. Finally, his curiosity got the better of him. "Am I really that uninteresting?"
Ezri stared at him, confused. "What?"
"Well, you keep looking around you. If you want to eat with someone else, just say so."
She smiled at him. "Someone's a little jealous."
"I most certainly am not."
Ezri gave his hand a reassuring squeeze. "I'm just looking for Lieutenant Mahoney."
"So you are trying to find someone else to eat breakfast with." Ezri rolled her eyes as Julian laughed at her. "You're doing a terrible job of searching. She's been sitting behind you for the past few minutes."
Ezri spun around in her chair. Sure enough, a young woman with black hair knotted at the back of her head was sitting two tables behind her, reading a padd as she ate. Ezri blushed as Julian continued to laugh. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't know you were looking for her." Julian drowned the last of his Tarkalean tea and stood up. "I got to run. You up for lunch later?"
"I don't think I can. Ensign Harvey wants me to talk to his daughter sometime today."
"Well, how does an evening at Vic's sound?"
"2000 work for you?"
"It's a date." Julian gave Ezri a kiss. "Love you."
"Love you, too." Julian left the Replimat, and Ezri stared into her coffee mug. Every time she was about to go talk to a new member of the station's crew, she felt like a Gorokian toad was jumping around in her stomach. It wasn't something she could blame on one of her past hosts; she felt this way since she first began her Counselor training. She was always worried that the crew wouldn't see her as someone they could confide in, but as an inexperienced girl trying to prove herself. Ezri took a deep breath. Sitting here worrying wasn't going to make this any easier. Ezri got up from her seat and made her way over to where Lieutenant Mahoney was sitting.
The Lieutenant didn't look up from her reading as Ezri approached her table. Ezri put on her most winning smile and asked, "Mind if I join you?"
Mahoney glanced up from her padd. "If you want to." She watched Ezri as she sat down across from her. Her eyes unnerved Ezri slightly; they were cold, gray, and calculating.
She pushed her discomfort aside. "I'm Ezri Dax."
Ezri shifted in her seat. "So, you're new to the station, right? What do you think of it so far?"
Aria set her padd down and stared at her. "Why do you care?"
Ezri was surprised by this sudden show of hostility. "I'm just trying to be friendly."
"Is that all, Counselor?" Aria smirked at Ezri's dumbfounded expression. "You didn't think I would come to this station without knowing the staff, did you?" She leaned in closer, lowering her voice. "I must be your dream patient. An ex-soldier that no one wants to have around. A girl who watched her father's ship blow up right in front of her; whose twin sister disappeared without a trace. Well, let me tell you something, Counselor. I am not interested in being analyzed by you. I just want to do my job. Understand?"
Ezri was numbed by Aria's declaration, but she managed to nod. "Of course. But if you ever change your mind-."
"I won't" Aria stood up. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work to do." She walked out of the Replimat, leaving Ezri sitting alone.
Ezri took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. She knew that it might be difficult to get Aria to open up to her, but she never expected such a harsh rejection of her help. The worst part of it was that Aria did need her help. It was clear that she was still suffering from the deaths of her father and sister from her cold attitude. But how could you help someone who didn't want to be helped?
Aria stormed through the Promenade, fuming. How dare that woman try to give her advice. She didn't need help, especially not from that Counselor. I'm here to do my job. I'm not here to make friends. She passed the Ferengi's bar on her way to Odo's office, and one of the workers ran out to greet her.
"Good morning, madame! It always pleases me to a beautiful new face appearing on the Promenade." Aria stared at him in horror as he continued. "It is my pleasure to welcome you to DS9. I'm Quark, and if there's anything you need," Aria noticed how his eyes were moving over body. "Anything at all, please don't hesitate to give me a call."
"Quark." The Ferengi started at the new voice. A blond man wearing a Bajoran security uniform was standing a short distance away. The abnormal smoothness of his facial features identified him as a Changeling; this had to be Odo. "I hope you're not bothering my new security officer."
"Bothering? Quite the contrary; I was just trying to make her feel welcome."
"I'm sure you were." Odo glanced at Aria, who was glaring at Quark. "If you would come with me, Lieutenant, I'd like to discuss your duties on the station." He led her away, leaving Quark standing by himself.
Odo led Aria through his office doors, saying, "You'll have to keep an eye on Quark."
"I've dealt with Ferengi before; I can handle him." Aria watched as Odo sat down behind his desk, leaving her standing. She knew Odo didn't work with the Founders, but it was hard for her to be near him. The Founders had been responsible for so many deaths during the war, including her father, and standing so close to a Changeling made her feel slightly nauseous.
Odo's gruff voice interrupted her thoughts. "I'd like for you to join Sargent Kalum's team in patrolling the docking ring. He can work out your shifts." Odo glanced up at Aria, who was biting the inside of her cheek. "Is there are problem?"
"Permission to speak freely, sir?"
"I'm not Starfleet; you can say whatever you want."
"You're assigning me to patrol duty?"
"In the docking ring, yes."
Aria couldn't believe what she was hearing. "But I can do so much more than that! On the Shepard I didn't go looking for security threats, I responded to them."
"And your responses are what got you thrown off that ship." Odo stood so that he was at eye level with Aria. "Do you really expect me to place you in charge of civilian security after you nearly got two of your crew killed breaking up a gambling ring? Or after that incident with the Andorian miners? If you want me to trust you with the lives of the people on this station, you're going to have to earn it. Do I make myself clear?"
Aria glared at the constable. "Yes, sir."
"Then report to Sargent Kalum." Odo sat down and turned away from Aria, indicating that she was dismissed.
Aria stared at the back of Odo's head, furious. Then she turned and stormed out of his office. How dare he treat her like some ensign fresh out of the Academy. He should be grateful to have her around! I'll show them, she vowed. Sisko, Odo, all of them. I'm the best there is, and I'm not afraid to prove it.
Miles groaned as him and Julian walked down the halls of the Habitat Ring. "I'm getting too old for this."
Julian laughed at his friend. "Too much time in Academy classrooms, that's your problem. In a few weeks you'll be chasing Santa Anna out of the Alamo just like before."
"Actually, I thought we could try this new program."
Julian gave Miles and incredulous look. "You want to get rid of the Alamo?"
"Not get rid of it, just try something new."
"Alright, what is this new program?"
"It's a collection of adventures about this man called Indiana Jones from the 1980s."
Julian interrupted. "Was he a real person?"
"Nah, fictional. Anyway, there's some really good stories in the program, and you should see what Indiana Jones can do with a whip."
Julian raised his eyebrows. "I'll have to check it out." The pair had reached Julian's quarters. "See you tomorrow, Miles."
"'Night, Julian." Miles continued down the hall as Julian entered his quarters. It had been a long day, what with two surgeries and over an hour in the holosuites with Miles, and he was ready to call it a day. He had just settled down in his favorite armchair when the door chime sounded.
"Come in." Ezri walked through the door, and Julian smiled at her. "Well aren't you a sight for sore eyes. What's up?"
Ezri's voice was tight as she asked, "Do you know what time it is?"
For a moment, Julian was confused. Then he remembered. "Our date."
Ezri glared at him. "I've been waiting in my quarters for over an hour. Where were you?"
"Miles booked a holosuite." Ezri let out a snort of disbelief, and Julian angrily defended himself. "I haven't spent time with Miles in months!"
"So you just decided to run off to the holosuites without asking me first?"
"I don't need your permission to spend time with my friends!"
"That's not the point!"
"Well, what is?"
"All I want is to know when you decide to cancel a date; for a little consideration."
"You've canceled loads of dates before, and I never yelled at you!"
Ezri let out a groan of frustration. "Because I told you about it beforehand. You're acting like a child!"
"Oh, so now we're insulting each other?"
"You're the one who's trying to start a fight!"
"And what did you come here for?"
"I came to talk!"
"Well, go ahead, Counselor. See if you can talk without yelling at me!"
"Will you calm down? You're making this a bigger deal than it has to be."
But Julian wouldn't back down. Once his temper was stroked, he could keep going for a long time. "You're the one who came in here yelling at me for an honest mistake. You always do this, Jadzia. You start a fight then-!"
"What did you call me?" Ezri was staring at him, horrified.
Too late, Julian realized his mistake. All the anger immediately left him at the look on Ezri's face. He reached out to her. "I… I didn't mean… Ezri, it was an accident."
But she was backing away from him, her eyes filling with tears. "How could you?" She whispered.
"Ezri, please…" She ignored Julian's pleas, and ran out of the room. Julian was left alone, staring at the place where she had stood only a few seconds before, the place where he had broken her heart.
Introducing the evil cliffy! I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Please review; it would mean more to me than getting to command my own starship. If you could also like my Facebook page, that would be great as well. Until next time!