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Lt. Tahna Meru - We’ll All Be Here Forever (Part I)

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This is a two-parter sim from our amazing @Tahna Meru! Making the most out of a rare opportunity in which her Bajoran character gets to visit Deep Space Nine, this sim threads together Meru and her mother Yavarel, with beautifully written narration and tension filled dialogue. I know this has been a labour of love for @Tahna Meru, so a huge well done for getting it out and giving us more of Meru!

Lt. Tahna Meru - We’ll All Be Here Forever (Part I) (google.com)

And part ll Lt. Tahna Meru - We'll All Be Here Forever (Part II) (google.com)


((Upper Level Promenade, Deep Space Nine))


Meru was right: the station was even more touristy than she remembered. Glowing signs and advertisements begged for attention, trying to lure folks into bars, gambling dens, clothiers, traps to spend all their credits and latinum. Somewhere below, a tour guide droned on about the history of the station to a gaggle of folks who thought…what, that touring a site that held so much pain was as cool as a Human amusement park?


Okay, maybe she was being a little harsh. It was important to remember history, that whole bit about not repeating it, etcetera etcetera. And in all the kitschy souvenirs, she had been tempted by a shirt that boasted, “Bajoran Spirit, Starfleet Swagger.”


But that didn’t mean the whole thing wasn’t weird and vaguely uncomfortable. 


Meru turned her back to the promenade, the crowds, the noise, and leaned on the edge of the viewport instead, staring out into the starry expanse of space. The wormhole (or celestial temple, whatever you wanted to call it) was just out there, and if she was right, there should be a ship heading through in the next few minutes. 


Honestly, she wasn’t sure why she’d come. Mostly to see the wormhole, partly just to say she’d visited, and maybe just to satisfy the tiny voice in the back of her mind that reminded her that this station was her first home and she should honor it as such. But DS9 didn’t hold the same allure for her that it seemed to hold for other members of the crew, and she struggled to think of it as ever being her home. Like she’d told Bryce, it was decidedly weird


A little Starfleet shuttle zipped past, on a mission. A flash of light, and a nebulous blue and purple whirlpool opened up in the heavens, swallowing up the ship before the swirling portal disappeared. The famous wormhole—Meru smiled. A group of people gathered at the next viewport over gasped, and clapped.


Okay, yeah, it really was a sight to behold. She couldn’t begrudge the tourists that. 


Tahna Y.: I used to take you to this viewport every time a ship passed through the wormhole. The skies would open up, and you would laugh, and clap. The happiest kid on the station. 


The gruff voice behind her startled her, even though she recognized it, and Meru’s smile faded. Time to face the inevitable? Deep breath, then turn. 


Tahna: Marnah.


Tahna Y.: Hanyu, Meru.


This was not how her day was supposed to go. She was supposed to see the wormhole, buy a terrible souvenir or two, maybe grab a bite to eat, and leave. Check “visit the infamous the space station/birthplace” off her to-do list, and head back to the Gorkon for the day, where she’d work on one of her assigned research projects or her Academy extension course or her neverending PADDwork. 


Instead, she was staring down an imposing, dark-eyed woman in an old, tan militia uniform. Yavarel wore a frown so severe and permanent, she’d be the envy of any Vulcan, and had the stern temperament to accompany it. 


Tahna Y.: You’re in uniform, Lieutenant. Are you working?


Tahna: Uh, no, no. I was going to head back to the science labs later, but…


Lieutenant? What…


Tahna: You're in uniform. 


Tahna Y.: There's an event at the Military Academy later, I'm only here on an errand. 


Tahna: Oh. 


Silence descended like a thick fog, and the two women stared at each other. Six years since Meru had seen the woman in person, over a year since they’d even spoken. Yavarel had stormed out of their last call after hurling a few soul-shattering insults questioning whether Meru even cared about her family (and of course she did) since she had worked so hard to leave them behind. Meru had broken down sobbing in the wake of that call, and thrown herself wholeheartedly into her work. She'd done everything possible to distance herself, and then she'd tried to work through it on her own, and now… 


Honestly, she still wasn’t sure she was ready for this conversation, even with the guidance of her therapist and the support of her friends. Not even with her family’s assurances that things were improving. But…


Tahna: Um, can I- can I buy you a drink?


Yavarel’s face remained steady and sour (it always was useless, trying to gauge her reaction). 


She wanted to walk away— run back to the ship, leave it all behind. Pretend this never happened. But…no. She stood her ground. 


After a long, agonizing moment, her mother finally answered. 


Tahna Y.: I will allow that. 



((Bajoran Bar, Promenade, Deep Space Nine))


Neither woman had spoken on the short walk down to the bar, not when they picked out a relatively quiet table in a back corner, not when they perused the menu. Meru’s gaze lingered on the alcohol selection; normally she’d go for wine, especially tempting given their proximity to Bajor, though maybe this called for something stronger… But, no, she keyed in a spiced deka tea on the holographic menu interface instead. Tea was supposed to be relaxing. If it wasn’t enough, if things went as poorly as she expected, she could drown her sorrows in a bottle of Springwine later.  


Not a sound from either Bajoran. 


When the waiter arrived, to her surprise, he brought Meru’s tea and a hot coffee for her mother. She’d expected the older woman to order something alcoholic. Her father said Yavarel was drinking less and she hadn't quite believed him, but maybe…


Tahna Y.: I hear you’ve become rather decorated. 


Meru shrugged. She didn't join Starfleet to win awards.  


Tahna: Just doing my job. 


Her mother hummed softly and sipped at her coffee. 


Conversations carried on all around them. People with lives, problems, dreams of their own, but the noise faded to the background, overshadowed by the loud drumming of her heart. 


She'd practiced this conversation countless times, but practice failed to capture the unique terror of the moment itself. Meru stared at her mug of tea, its silvery wisps of steam as thin as her courage. The scent of ginger, clove, and Bajoran kitan caught in her nostrils, the spices stoking embers of bravery. 


She didn't have to look up. She could just…


Tahna: Marnah, I… I was never going to be the daughter you wanted, and I can't be sorry for that. But I didn't leave to spite you, or abandon you, o-or anything like that. 


…start talking, even as her voice shook. 


The words tumbled out, not exactly like she'd practiced, but she'd said it. It was out there now, hanging in the air between them like smoke. Breathe too deeply and you might choke. 


Tahna Y.: Your father is the best person I've ever known.  


Meru frowned, slowly looking up to meet her mother's dark eyes.  Serious, unreadable as ever. And…changing subject? Avoiding the problem? The Tahna women were fantastic at sidestepping difficult conversations, and maybe she should be grateful to avoid this one, but that wasn't what Meru was here to do.  


Tahna: He is–


Tahna Y.: I always hoped you'd turn out just like him. Kind, hopeful, resilient. He always was too good for me. 


And he stayed. The words lingered on the edge, understood, never said. He stayed. He stayed on Bajor. He used his art to uplift Bajor, her people, her history. He didn't run away, wasn't so selfish that he'd put his wants over the needs of his people. Meru was never going to be like her father, not in those ways. 


Tahna Y.: I only wanted to protect you both.







Science Officer
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)


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