It was just a typical day at Deep Dish Nine. The Dax sisters were in the back, whipping up their latest creation, Worf was out with the Defiant on a delivery, and Kira was manning the counter. Julian was leaning his elbows on the counter, talking with Kira and attempting to look like he was being useful by absentmindedly wiping down the counter with the same rag ten times over. And as usual, Ben Sisko was overseeing the whole thing, keeping an eye on his employees and ready to warmly greet whoever happened to walk through the door.
"Ah! Julian!" Kira shrieked. "I AM NOT THE COUNTER, YOU DO NOT CLEAN ME!" She elbowed him in the ribs as he dropped the rag and stammered an apology.
"Hey! No fighting, playful or otherwise!" Sisko roared. "Do I have to add it to the rule board?" A sheepish murmur of "No, Mr. Sisko" ran around the room. Just then, the door opened, letting in a blast of frigid cold air. In came two harried looking people, a man and a woman, tugging four others behind them. Immediately, the staff of Deep Dish Nine snapped to attention as the woman approached the counter.
"Welcome to Deep Dish Nine." Kira said formally. "How can I help you today?" The woman flashed her a brief, shy smile.
"I'm Karen Loews. My husband Brian and I are staff at the new residential facility across town. We heard you're a welcoming place and decided to bring our residents here for a community outing. I hope that's okay. We're not exactly your normal customers." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "They have some special needs."
"We can hear you, you know!" A shout came from the back of the group, and one of the four residents wormed his way to the front. "We're not deaf!" He was a brooding young man, probably in his late thirties, with a mustache that seemed to bristle at everyone around him. There was an uneasy glint in his eyes.
"Indoor voice, Jack." The woman – Karen – admonished. Jack glared at her, but said nothing.
"We welcome all kinds of people here." Sisko stepped forward and acknowledged the motley crew kindly. Karen looked relieved.
"I'm so glad. We tried Dominion Pizza last week, but they told us we were disrupting the other customers and asked us to leave."
"That's disgusting!" A frazzled Jadzia stuck her head out of the kitchen, dark hair spilling out of her hairnet and flour streaked across her cheek. "What gives them the right to do that?"
"Unfortunately, it's their establishment and they can do what they wish." Karen said grimly. Jadzia opened her mouth to say something further, but a shriek from her sister pulled her back into the kitchen.
"So, what can I get for you today?" Kira asked, trying in vain to bring the conversation back to actual pizza. Brian prodded Jack forward.
"I, um, I'll have the, um, the meat lover's special with extra pepperoni!" Jack ordered triumphantly. A happy squeal came from the other man in the group, a short, balding man with cherubic cheeks and a look of wonder.
"I like this place!" he exclaimed. "It smells nice!" He paused to inhale the scent. "Dominion's Pizza smelled icky." He informed them. Sisko laughed and clapped the man on the back.
"I'm sure it did! Now, what can we get for you today?" The man considered seriously.
"Chocolate!" he decided, his face lighting up. Karen and Brian scurried to express their disapproval.
"Patrick, this is a pizza place. There's no chocolate here." Brian scolded. Sisko grinned.
"We don't serve chocolate here, but maybe we should!"
"Yeah, like a chocolate pizza!" Ezri stuck her head out of the kitchen, with Jadzia right behind her.
"With Nutella sauce!" Jadzia added.
"And sprinkles for the cheese!" Ezri finished. The sisters high-fived over their creativity and then headed back to the pizza ovens. Meanwhile, one of the two women in the group, a slim dark haired beauty, had sauntered over the counter, where Julian was still standing.
"Why hellooo there." She purred. "I have a hunger for a man like you." Julian, bless his heart, could only gape at her in surprise.
"Lauren!" Karen hissed, seizing her by the arm. "That is not appropriate!" Lauren barely managed to waggle her fingers seductively in Julian's direction before being dragged off by Karen.
"I'm so sorry, don't mind her." Karen apologized profusely, her face turning red. "She does that to everyone. She and Patrick will both have a plain slice, by the way." Lauren seemed to be about to protest, but was quickly shushed.
"And Sarina will have –" she continued, but was cut off by a shout from Jack.
"She can order for herself, you know! She can make her own decisions!" He led the last member of the group forward. She was a docile young woman who seemed fixated only on her fluttering fingers. For some reason, Julian was captivated, and leaned forward to get a better look at her. She was truly beautiful, with blonde hair cascading down her back and a keen intelligence shining in her eyes. Kira jabbed the staring Julian sharply in the ribs.
"Ow!" he complained. "What was that for?"
"Payback for before." She informed him in a low voice. "And also, you're drooling."
"Huh? Oh." Embarrassed, Julian grabbed a stack of napkins from the counter and began furiously wiping his chin. Kira snickered.
"Sarina?" Jack asked, nudging his friend gently. "What do you want to eat?" For a brief moment, Sarina's eyes flickered up and scanned across the row of pizzas in the gleaming display case. Slowly, she raised her hand and pointed at the chicken Caesar pizza.
"Excellent choice!" Sisko boomed happily. Kira rang up the order and Karen paid for all their food. The Daxes got busy in the back, heating up the orders, and Julian busied himself by wiping down a table especially for them. And just like that, it became again just another day at Deep Dish Nine, with the exception of some very interesting customers.