- Too hot? - A little.
Why don't you specify a lower temperature?
No, no. Coffee should be too hot to drink right away.
lt slows down the experience, gives you time to savour the taste.
Ah, yes, taste.
Odo, l know you don't need to eat, but did you ever try it anyway?
Once, not long after l was first able to assume the humanoid form.
And since l don't have taste buds, it was very unsatisfying...
not to mention messy.
- Messy? - l'd rather not talk about it.
- Major Kira, how nice to see you again. - Tiron.
You left Quark's last night when l was about to buy another round.
l was devastated that you didn't say goodbye.
We had such a pleasant conversation.
As l recall, you were the one doing all the talking.
Then you have me at a disadvantage.
You know all about me, and l know nothing about you.
- perhaps l should be going. - Oh, no. Stay.
This is Tiron, a business associate of Quark's.
This is Odo...
my lover.'re a very lucky man.
l'm a lucky woman.
Yes, we're both very lucky.
And you make a most interesting couple.
So, Mr Odo, what is it that you do?
l'm Chief of Security on this station.
A station this size, it must be a very challenging job.
- l hope you're well compensated. - Oh, money doesn't matter.
All we need is each other. lsn't that right, sweetheart?
Yes, sweetheart.
You see, money isn't everything.
Oh, no. But it can buy everything.
l'm afraid l must be going.
Ah, good riddance.
Thank you, Odo. l wish you'd been around last night.
l better get back to ops. See you later, sweetheart.
Commander's log, stardate 48423.2.
Despite the threat posed by the Dominion,
we continue our exploration of the Gamma Quadrant.
l've run an analysis of our sensor sweeps.
The second planet in the Kylata system is M-Class.
l wish we'd had time to beam down for a closer look.
l'd hate to have run into a Jem'Hadar while picking flowers.
There's no sign of Dominion activity in this sector.
Let's hope it stays that way.
l'm picking up gravimetric distortions in the Trialus system.
- What's causing them? - lt's hard to tell.
Let's take a closer look.
- The system's almost in visual range. - On screen.
The distortions are intensifying, but they're not coming from the star.
Where else could they come from? There aren't any planets in this system.
There are now.
The planet has settled into a stable orbit.
- Where did it come from? - Was the planet cloaked?
l'm not reading any residual ionisation traces.
We're being scanned.
The beam is coming from a settlement
on the southern hemisphere.
l'm reading 30 humanoid inhabitants.
- They're the only humanoids there. - They're hailing us.
Open a channel.
l'm Commander Benjamin Sisko
of Starbase Deep Space 9.
l am Seltin Rakal of Meridian.
We were studying this star system when your planet appeared.
lt must have come as a surprise.
You could say that. lt seemed to come out of nowhere.
Not nowhere, Commander,
but from a dimension that intersects with this one.
l could explain more in detail.
We were about to celebrate First Meal.
Why don't you join us?
We'd like that.
l just need to know your planet won't disappear in the middle of dessert.
Don't worry. We'll be here for a while.
lt's good to be together around this table again after so long.
What's more, we're fortunate to have visitors to share First Meal with us.
l was admiring your markings.
- Are they decorative? - No, are yours?
lf you don't mind my asking, how far down do they go?
All the way.
You're not eating, Commander.
My curiosity is bigger than my appetite.
l hope we can satisfy both.
You said Meridian emerged from a dimension that intersects with this one.
Yes, you see, our planet has a dual existence.
lt shifts between this dimension and another.
- What causes these shifts? - We're not entirely sure.
- Deral is studying the phenomenon. - With only limited success, l'm afraid.
My theory is that the shifts are caused
by fluctuations in Meridian's quantum matrix that are triggered by our sun.
What's it like, this dimension of yours?
lt's hard to explain. lt's without form.
- We exist as pure consciousness. - And Meridian?
lt becomes non-corporeal as well,
but when we return to this dimension, everything is just as we left it -
the buildings, the trees, even our bodies.
When you return here, it's as if no time has passed?
We only age when we're in corporeal form.
Sounds like this other dimension has its advantages.
Yes, but we always look forward to this existence and its many pleasures.
Here, let me help you with that.
The trick is to scoop out the pulp and eat the thin layer inside the rind.
Here, try some.
lt's delicious.
Especially if you've looked forward to it for 60 years.
60 years?
That's a long time between meals.
A glass of Andorian ale.
Done so soon? You were barely in the holosuite ten minutes.
There was no reason to stay the full hour.
l understand. lt's a very effective programme.
On the contrary. l found it to be quite dull. Boring, boring, boring.
l'm sorry but you won't get a refund.
The contract specifically says that satisfaction is not guaranteed.
But for a valued customer such as yourself,
l'll make an exception and allow you try a different programme.
No extra charge.
Let's see.
Something a little bit more...unique?
l have just the thing. ''A Picnic With The Pleasure Goddess Of Rixx.''
- l can even provide real food for a fee. - l don't like picnics, Quark.
- The food here is abominable. - Forget the food.
You've never had a picnic like this one.
What l want is not in your catalogue.
Tell me what it is and l'll order it for you. lf it exists l'll get it.
That's just the point, Quark.
The programme l want doesn't exist. Not yet, anyway.
A custom programme? lt'll be expensive.
For that kind of money you can move into a holosuite.
Now what is it you want?
- l want Major Kira. - Kira?
What are you going to do with Kira in a holosuite?
No, don't tell me. l don't want to know.
- Can you do it? - lt isn't going to be easy.
l'd have to get her into a holosuite, and she hates them.
Spare me the details.
Do we have a deal, or do l take my business elsewhere?
Consider it done.
- l'll keep this... - Payment on delivery.
Not a moment sooner.
Don't disappoint me, Quark.
When l walk into that holosuite and l see Kira standing there...
l'd better believe it's really her.
Leave it to me.
The things l do for money.
Beyond that forest there's a garden with a small pond.
- lt sounds lovely. - lt is.
Our scans showed that there are only about 30 of you on this planet.
There were never many of us.
We're the descendants of an expedition that was stranded here.
- Your population hasn't increased? - lt did, for a time.
Over the last few centuries our numbers have dwindled.
You see, we only reproduce when we're in humanoid form,
and our time here keeps growing shorter.
ln 1 2 days, Meridian will shift back to its non-corporeal state.
And remain there for the next 60 years.
Eventually we'll only be here for a matter of minutes.
When that happens
Meridian will be too unstable to shift back to the other dimension.
And then what happens?
The planet and all its inhabitants will cease to exist in either dimension.
We appreciate your offer of help, Commander.
We'll do what we can to stabilise the dimensional shifts.
That's all we can ask.
- Here you go. - Do you want to play "vajhaq" with us?
Maybe later.
Deral and l are beaming up to the Defiant
to run a series of helio-seismic scans on the Meridian's sun.
l'll join you.
Good luck.
Quark, l got a message that Morn wanted to see me.
l'm afraid you just missed him.
Really? So soon?
Would you come with me, please?
Listen up, everyone. l have wonderful news.
My one millionth customer has just walked through the door.
And here she is, ladies and gentlemen, Major Kira Nerys!
Quark, l don't have time for this. Make him your one millionth customer.
- That would be dishonest. - That's never stopped you.
This is a special occasion. lt only happens once in a bar owner's lifetime.
- Let me tell you about your prizes. - l won something?
Of course, it's part of the celebration.
- l've never won anything before. - Now you have. Congratulations.
- Are you serious? - My customers are my livelihood.
This is a chance for me to give something back.
Let's see what we have for you.
A bottle of Kandora champagne, vintage 2368, that's a very good year.
These are good for five free spins at the dabo wheel,
and one free hour in a holosuite with the programme of your choice.
A visit to a holosuite? That's perfect.
lt's Ensign Quintana's birthday. He'd love a free visit to the holosuite.
But, Major, what about you?
You know how l feel about the holosuites, Quark.
But thanks for the champagne.
These were our sensor readings when we entered the system.
Look at the spectral scan.
Your sun gave off modulated gamma bursts before Meridian appeared.
My people have no record of that phenomenon.
Meridian was in a non-corporeal state when it occurred.
Gamma activity seems to indicate an anomaly in your sun's fusion cycle.
Let's find out for sure.
Send a probe into the sun's corona to scan the core.
lt'll take a minute to modify its shield configuration.
How do modulated gamma bursts cause a dimensional shift?
Do you always do that when you're concentrating?
- Do what? - Bite your lower lip.
- l guess l do. - The probe is ready, Commander.
Target it to these coordinates and launch.
Shields are holding.
lt's going to be a while before the probe sends back any telemetry.
l'm sure you have things you need to do.
Not really.
What a coincidence...
neither do l.
This isn't turning out the way l'd planned.
- What do you mean? - You've barely spoken since we left.
Seltin didn't seem too happy to see us leave together.
She'd probably prefer if l was walking with Keshara or Renar.
Ever since my wife died,
everyone's been wondering when l'd find myself another companion.
Why haven't you?
l was waiting for the right woman to fall out of the sky.
That doesn't happen too often.
lt only had to happen once.
Don't worry about Seltin.
After all, we both know this is just a harmless little walk.
With a brief stop to climb a tree. Come on.
Don't tell me in eight lifetimes you've never climbed a tree.
That's how l know l'm afraid of heights.
Don't worry, l won't let you fall.
This is one of my favourite views.
lt's hard to believe it all might be gone in two weeks.
- l hope not. - So do l.
We'd better climb down.
- lt's as beautiful as you described. - l knew you'd like it.
Try one.
- That's wonderful. - l knew you'd like that too.
You know me well for someone who just met me.
l'm glad you noticed.
l can't remember the last time l did this -
stroll through a garden, climb a tree, eat fresh berries by a pond...
What comes next?
l think l'm starting to remember.
- How are the calculations coming? - l'm checking them now.
They're the same as before.
Nothing indicates the gamma bursts are causing the quantum fluctuations.
Something else must be triggering the dimensional shifts.
Whatever it is, we'll find it.
- Sisko to Dax. - Go ahead, Commander.
Good news. We've been able to get the probe further into the sun's corona.
l'll download some new telemetry to you.
Thank you.
lf all that fresh air and sunshine start getting to you,
you're welcome to come back to the Defiant.
- We're managing just fine. - l'm sure you are.
Sisko out.
Don't you want to take a look at the new telemetry?
l'd rather sit here and look at you.
How about this - we work for a few more hours,
and then we go to your room and count each other's spots.
- Can l go first? - We'll see.
Take a look at the fusion reactants in the core.
- They're out of balance. - That's right.
The imbalance is building toward a cascade reaction on the quantum level.
That's what's triggering the dimensional shifts.
- lf we can stabilise the reaction... - We can keep Meridian here longer.
Oh, Jadzia.
l've got to get this to Commander Sisko and Chief O'Brien.
And then we can count each other's spots.
Odo, move out of there. You're ruining my shot.
Oh, Major.
Why is Quark trying to take a holopicture of you?
Looks like he's pointing it at both of us.
True, but every time l stand in front of you he seems to get very upset.
Where are you going?
- What do you think you're doing? - Nothing.
- Then what's this? - You mean this holo-imager?
l was recording an image of the Promenade for my mother.
You're taking a holoscan of me, and l want to know why.
Of you? Not at all, you just happened to get in the frame.
- Will you stop doing that? - Not until you tell the truth.
You want the truth? l'll tell you the truth.
l was trying to get an image of you
for a special holosuite programme l'm designing.
l can imagine what kind of programme that would be.
l'm sure you can, but you'd be mistaken.
l'm working on a simulation of the station's Operations Centre.
People want to know what goes on there.
They want to imagine themselves fending off a Cardassian attack,
or facing a fleet of Jem'Hadar ships.
- Naked, l assume. - lsn't there some thief you can harass?
Just you.
What do you say, Major? The public just want to work with you.
lf they want to work with me, let them apply to the Bajoran Military Academy.
That way l can be sure everyone in ops is wearing their uniform.
- ls that a no? - Let me put it another way.
lf you ever point a holo-imager at me again, you will end up eating it.
Definitely a no.
- Jadzia. - l've been looking for you.
- You've found me. - l have.
Good news.
lt will work. We can equalise the time between dimensional shifts.
Jadzia, that's wonderful.
Do you know what l'm going to do?
l'm going to build a house, right here.
Nothing extravagant, just big enough for two.
- Deral, l... - l know what you're thinking.
''This man who just met me is talking about building a home for us.''
l realise you have a life on Deep Space 9,
but now you'll have a place here as well, for when you visit.
l can't visit for a while.
lt will take a long time to stabilise the sun's cascade reaction.
How long? Meridian is going to shift in five days.
- We'll see each other again. - ln 60 years.
l want you with me now.
That's what l want too, but there's nothing we can do.
Yes, there is.
l can leave Meridian and go back to the Alpha Quadrant with you.
- lf you'll have me. - What do you think?
Deral, we've been looking for you.
Commander Sisko told us the great news. Thank you for everything.
l'm glad we could help.
The next time Meridian returns here,
our people will have 30 years to get to know each other better.
- We need to discuss something. - Of course. l've called a meeting.
Now that we have a future again, we need to start planning for it.
- You need to make decisions. - That's why l want to talk to you.
You need to talk to Keshara. She's not going to wait for you forever.
- l was going to speak to her. - l'm glad.
Think of it, Deral. People can start having families again.
Eventually we may have to expand the settlement.
Jadzia, we have a great deal of planning to do.
l've kept the others waiting long enough.
- You'd better go inside. - l'll meet you back at the ship.
You know, the person l feel sorry for is Quark.
He thought that you and he were made for each other.
l don't suppose he'll let you win at tongo anymore.
He doesn't let me win!
Come in.
lt's done. l told Seltin and the others that l'm leaving Meridian.
- What did they say? - They asked me not to go.
Seltin feels the settlement can't afford to lose anyone.
What did you tell her?
That l understood her concern, but that l've made up my mind.
What were you two talking about? Not me, l hope?
l was telling Jadzia she's not as good a tongo player as she thinks she is.
- Tongo? - lt's a game.
- And l'm very good at it. - We'll find out on Tuesday night.
l want you there to see for yourself. l'll clean you and Quark out.
- Jadzia, l have to go. - But you just got here.
There are things l need to do before we leave Meridian.
Do you need any help?
No. l just have to say goodbye to some people.
l'll see you later tonight.
Tiron, l was just thinking about you.
And l was thinking about your reputation as a man
- who can get anything for a price. - You're embarrassing me.
l'll embarrass you even more if you don't get me my programme.
- Not to worry. - ls that it?
No. lt's a high-level decryption protocol.
l'm using it to get the final information for your programme. lt cost me dearly.
lf it works, it's worth whatever you paid.
l was hoping you'd say that. l'll put it on your bill.
Fine, just get me my programme. l am leaving in two days.
You'll have it, and it'll be worth the wait.
- l'll stake my reputation on it. - You already have.
Now, where to begin?
- You wanted to see me? - Yes.
Someone's been illegally accessing the station's personnel files.
- Your file, to be exact. - Mine?
They've downloaded your voiceprint, your retinal scan,
even your psychiatric profile.
l've managed to trace the data-path back to its source.
- Let me guess, Quark. - Was there any doubt?
With all this information he'd have no problem generating a holo-image of me.
Shall l arrest him, or would you prefer to do it yourself?
No. l have a better idea. Can you spare a few hours?
l'd like to prepare a little surprise for Quark.
The key to tongo is to confront
when you're sure you're in a better position than the others.
lf your cards match the roll of the dice, then you win.
Go on. l'm listening.
You haven't heard a word l've been saying, have you?
l'm sorry. l just have so much on my mind.
You don't want to leave Meridian, do you?
- l said l would and l will. - l know, but what do you want?
- To be with you. - But you're worried about your people.
There are so few of us, Jadzia.
And now that Meridian has a future again, they need me.
- Then you have to stay. - And lose you?
- No. - What if you didn't have to lose me?
- What if l stayed here with you? - l wish you could but it's not possible.
You wouldn't survive the dimensional shift.
We could use a transporter buffer to match my quantum matrix to yours.
- How do you know that's possible? - l discussed it with Julian.
Are you sure you're willing to do that?
lt's the only way we can be together, and l don't want to lose you either.
Come in.
Benjamin. l was finishing my request to Starfleet for my leave of absence.
l bet this is the first time anyone has requested a 60-year leave.
You'll be sure that it gets to them?
lf you're sure that this is what you really want.
What l really want is for you to say you're happy for me.
l just need to know that you've thought this through.
lf Curzon had told had me he wanted to go off with a woman he just met,
- l would have talked him out of it. - You should have.
He fell in love with someone new every other week. But l'm not Curzon.
And l've never seen Jadzia do anything without thinking it through first.
l am happy for you.
lt's just... l'm going to miss you, old man.
You've been my friend for two lifetimes.
l can't imagine what it's going to be like not having you around.
Leaving Deep Space 9 is the hardest thing l've ever done.
But l know it's right.
Besides, after eight lifetimes as a humanoid,
existing as pure consciousness might be interesting.
Next time we see each other, l'll probably be a great-grandfather.
Good, then l can call you old man.
l'll look forward to it.
l believe we agreed l'd be paid on delivery.
l haven't seen the merchandise yet.
You know, Quark, if this programme is as good as you claim,
l might just purchase it from you to use at home.
You have your own holosuite?
Just a little present l bought myself.
His very own holosuite.
lt's good to have money.
l've been waiting for you.
- l will ruin you for this. - You didn't like the programme?
l don't know how, l don't know when, but l will ruin you.
Wait, what about my money?
Another satisfied customer?
How do you feel?
Pretty good, considering l had my molecules scrambled for six hours.
l erm... l don't know what to say.
That's a first.
According to Deral's calculations,
the dimensional shift should occur within the next 4 7 minutes.
Think you'll be done overhauling the station by the next time l see you?
l doubt it.
Tell Quark l will collect the three strips of latinum he owes me,
with 60 years' interest.
l was beginning to think you were having second thoughts.
- No, just saying goodbye. - You missed Last Meal.
- l saved you some of these. - Thank you.
Jadzia, l want you to know how happy we are that you're joining us.
Thank you.
Everyone's beginning to gather. lt's almost time.
ls there anything l need to do to prepare?
Not that l can think of.
What if l just hold on to you?
We're not going to be together like this for a long time,
and l was just getting used to this.
We'll still be together, Jadzia, in a way you can't even imagine.
- There she goes. - Goodbye, Jadzia.
Something's wrong.
l'm reading intense seismic activity throughout the planet's crust.
lt'd better shift soon, or it's going to tear itself apart.
A singularity in the quantum matrix is interfering with the dimensional shift.
lt's functioning almost like an anchor.
lt's Dax. Her presence there is destabilising the matrix.
Sisko to Dax.
Get her out of there, Chief.
l thought you'd like to know
that Meridian shifted normally once we beamed you away.
- Jadzia, l'm sorry. - Benjamin, don't.
There's nothing you can do. l just need some time.
Just 60 years or so.

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