Chapter 2

Bajor; Musilla Province

A Transporter beam shimmered into view, and instantly Major Kira Nerys appeared. Kira, glad to be back on her home world of Bajor, closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She opened her eyes and was greeted with a beautiful view of the mountains in the near distance, crouched beneath a bright blue sky, with the sounds of birds nearby.

"What am I doing," Kira said to herself; almost as if she were embarrassed to be taking in the aesthetics of the world around her. "I'm starting to lose my edge, hanging around all those Star Fleet types, "she added.

She turned around and saw the complex she had come to visit. It was the Shajat Orphanage. With the Cardassian occupation of Bajor still a recent memory, so were its effects. Many children had been left orphaned, and the need for places like Shajat was an uncomfortable reminder of Bajor's recent past. And while Major Kira didn't really care for the Federation, yet, she did have to admit that they were trying to help as best they could.

Recently a Bajoran Choir, comprised of children, had performed on DS9. It was a return visit due to the unfortunate events that surrounded their first visit (DS9:"Blood Island"). The second performance garnered a very nice sum of contributions from those who had come to see the performers at the space station situated near the Wormhole. The flood of donations was used to buy clothes and other needed items for the various orphanages; Shajat being one of them. Kira had come to Shajat to see first had the good that was being done. Another reason she came to Shajat was to visit and old friend, a Bajoran woman named Jantha Myran.

Jantha was five years older than Kira. They had met at one of refugee camps whey then were younger, and they became good friends. Kira looked up to Jantha as if she was an older sister, and there was good read. For as it was, there were many times when the boys at the camp would harass Kira with their taunting, but Jantha would make them regret by bloodying their noses with her first. Jantha showed Kira that, in the world of refugee camps, young girls had to toughen up to survive. Much of Kira's gruff nature came from those early years, and Kira owed her aggressive nature, good or bad, to people like Jantha who helped shape her into the woman she now was.

As Kira headed for the building, the door opened, and out stepped Jantha; and Kira smiled. The two women came together and hugged. Jantha stepped back and took a long look at Kira.

"Kira," Jantha said, "look how you turned out. I bet you have to beat the men back with a stick!"

They both laughed.

"Actually," Kira replied, "I'm too busy at my job for anything else." Kira paused, and then she continued. "I'm so glad to see you. I'm sorry it has taken this long to come and visit."

Jantha shook her head.

"I don't want to hear it," Jantha said with a warm smile, "I can only imagine how busy you are and I am so happy you were even able to visit us. Please," Jantha said motioning toward the humble structure, "please come. I know I've been begging for you to visit for nearly the past few months, but look; now here you are, and here we are, catching up on the past; it is so good to see you Nerys."

The two old friends made their way inside of the Jantha Orphanage. As they spoke about old times, Kira could see that the young women, and girls, who lived at the orphanage, were all well mannered and seemed to be happy. Jantha did her best to explain to Kira how the orphanage operated, on a general front, taking Kira to the mess hall and the laundry facilities. There was even a mechanical maintenance center where the young girls were trained how to work on computers and/or other devices so they could hopefully apply their knowledge into a profession of some sort.

Eventually the two old friends were walking along a path in the park area inside the orphanage. There were trees and paths, and benches to sit on so as to take it all in. Kira saw several of the girls reading, or just being together; a much better place to grow up than the places Kira had to endure. As they came around a bend in the path, Jantha motioned for Kira to sit on one of the benches with her.

"I hope the donations from the choir performance can help," Kira said to Jantha.

Jantha nodded her head.

"Oh, they will," Jantha assured Kira. "For the most part, these young girls will become productive and that's really all we can ask for."

"For the most part," Kira repeated back to Jantha, "what does that mean?"

Jantha shifted her glance, which Kira followed, to a girl who was all by herself. The young girl, no more than 15 years old, and who had a defiant look to her.

"What happened to her?" Kira asked.

Jantha took on a somber tone.

"Her name is Devina," Jantha explained, "and I would be lying to you Nerys if I said our sitting here at this moment was coincidence."

"What does that mean?" Kira came back with.

Jantha looked at the girl, and then back to Kira.

"To answer your first question, as to what happened to her," Jantha began to say, "When she was just ten years old, her parents were executed and the Cardassians that killed them took Devina to a sex camp where she was beaten and violated, everyday, for five years. When we found her, she acted more like a caged animal than person. Now, over the past year or so, she has been adopted three times. Each time she was brought back due to her in ability to conform to a family life. She…"

Kira raised her hand slightly to cut in.

"Jantha," Kira said, "I know where this leading; and I'm sorry, I just can't," Kira said, as she looked over at the girl, Devina, who was sitting beneath a tree playing with a spring-ball racket, looking distant. "I don't have the time to spend with her, and even if I did, I'm not sure how good I could be. You know that my child life wasn't much better than hers. If I were her age, and was at one of the orphanages, I would probably be the same way she is."

Jantha reached out and put a hand on Kira's shoulder.

"She already has a new set of parents," Jantha said, with a calming tone. "They are due to arrive in two weeks. But if she lasts with them as long as she did with the last family, she will be turned away in three months. But by that time, she will be overage and we will have no choice but to deny her entry back into Shajat. After that, she will no doubt end up back on the street and," Jantha said with a softer voice, "who knows what she will be forced to do to survive."

Kira frowned.

"It's not that I don't care," Kira said, "I just…" she looked at the girl.

"I'm just asking for a week, maybe two," Jantha said to Kira. "Let her see that someone like her, someone like you, can have a future if they apply themselves. Nerys, I've read your letters to me and how you can't stand working with the Federation but that you will have to learn to adapt because that is the future. Learning to live with a family, for moral and material support, is her future."

A tear came down from Kira's eyes. She reached up with her finger to dry them, but Jantha's finger arrived first. Kira chuckled.

"I've lost a lot of my edge, thanks to working around Star Fleet officers," Kira said, "you must be embarrassed of me."

"No; not at all. You're like the little sister I never had," Jantha said to her friend, "I'm proud of you. You and I survived through some very hard times," she looked over at Devina, "but she did too. We had each other, back in those days, she has no one."

Kira looked at Devina, and then back at Jantha.

"I don't even know if I can help her," Kira said, softly.

Jantha smiled at Kira.

"She's not looking for help," Jantha said, "what she needs is a friend. After that, anything is possible."

Kira nodded her head.