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The Mother

Ashalla, capital of Bajor
 
Previously: The Sisters

Komera Aiyar was in love with Bajor.

It was sunnier than Romulus; with a sweet, light breeze that seemed to constantly blow. The architecture was lighter, less angular than that of Ki Baratan, the Romulan capital. Komera could tell Bajorans really were descended from philosophers and artists, unlike her own warrior ancestors.

She had negotiated for a two-story house on a hill, with a spacious, colonnaded balcony overlooking the capital city of Ashalla. She closed her eyes as the sun set, and breathed in the clean, calm air once more, before taking a sip of Bajoran wine. It was far gentler and sweeter than any Romulan ale.

Behind her, her assistant Merik approached. He was a lithe, black-haired fellow in classy, gray silk robes. After the war, Vulcan fashions were making inroads into Romulan fashion.

"Madam, your daughter has just disembarked a Lissepian transport," Merik announced. "She's transferred to a Bajoran ship and estimates she will arrive within the hour."

Mike Moh as Merik

Komera opened her eyes. Like all her daughters, she was olive brown, and like her middle (and most agreeable) daughter, with long black hair. She wore it elaborately braided up and pinned with silver and blue stones. Like her assistant, she was adopting Vulcan fashions, opting for long robes and wearing large stones around her neck and on her fingers.

"Ziryn?" she blinked, turning away from the beautiful view. "I thought she was hitching a ride aboard a warbird."

"Not that daughter," Merik smiled slightly. "Your youngest is here."

Komera's eyes widened. "N'Tal? Headed for Bajor?"

"Something about shore leave."

That still made no sense to the Ambassador. "But she always takes leave in some dreadful valley that only looks in good in paintings." She raised an eyebrow. "Have the cook prepare some vegetable dishes. N'Tal's father was Vulcan; try as she might to be a Romulan, she mostly takes after him."

As always, Merik was carrying a large digital pad that was his life. It beeped just before her turned to go.

"I stand corrected," he blinked, tilting his head. "Dr. Aiyar has just entered Bajoran space aboard the warbird Ankor. She didn't mention coming to visit though."

"Ankor?" Komera snickered. "That's Zithi's latest ship. Tell Ziryn I am glad she's arrived safely--same as N'Tal--and that if she's interested in stopping, I'm sure we can replicate some braised mollusks for supper."

Merik kept his smirk to a minimum. The Aiyars were by far the most dysfunctional family he'd ever been attached to. In the last five years, he'd derived a substantial amount of entertainment watching Komera manipulate her daughters.

***

Zithi couldn't stop looking around herself. The floors of her mother's sitting room were a pale orangish stone, much like the rest of the house. Her furniture was simple, elegant; the table, couch, and chairs were carved from a very pale wood; the chairs and couch were decked with colorful velvet cushions. The wide windows were open as the sky darkened out; a light breeze tossed the sheer colorful curtains while incense burned in a dangling holder.

"It's like a Bajoran decorator threw up in here," the commander grumbled, earning her a look from Ziryn.

"I could have chosen Romulan furniture but then I asked myself why," her mother greeted, as always, making an entrance. Komera was wearing a long red silk gown, carrying a small, elegant glass of what was presumably wine. "What could I possibly need with all that gray?"

"Mother," Zithi greeted tersely.

Ziryn was warmer. "You look well, Mother. Vulcan finery suits you." She gifted her mother a light kiss on the cheek. Despite their mother's infamous flamboyance, the Aiyars were not a demonstrative family.

"N'Tal's idea?" Zithi snorted.

"Hardly," her mother replied. "Her hair is as short and her taste in clothes every bit as drab as yours. Join us on the balcony?"

The balcony was lit with candles. N'Tal was already seated at the four-person table; the youngest Aiyar was the most awkward. She was clad in the plainest civilian clothes, gray tunic over matching pants. Zithi was still wearing her commander's uniform, while Ziryn was a healthy medium in a sleek pale gray tunic over black pants. Unlike her sisters, her outfit hugged her form, showing off her figure. She wore her black hair down, flowing about her shoulders.

"Ziryn tells me already you had mollusks today," Komera said, taking her seat. "So tonight, I thought wed indulge some Bajoran delicacies. The cook made hasperat for anyone abstaining from meat, sauteed palukoo--the less questions you ask, the better--larish pie, and you all have got to try this springwine. Personally, I can't stop drinking it."

"Explains your good mood," Zithi mumbled.

"Oh, it's far too light for that," Komera assured her. "It's what the humans would call a 'dessert wine'. It's very light, and rather sweet."

"Got anything stronger?" Zithi blinked.

Komera met her eyes. "Oh, I don't believe you need anything stronger dear. I can smell the kali-fal all the way over here." She cocked her head to the side. "Will you not greet your own sister?"

Zithi turned her head. "Hello, N'Tal."

"Zithi," came the flat reply.

"Pray tell...what interest does the Tal Shiar have in our mother this time?" Zithi blinked.

N'Tal tried and failed not to tense up. "What? I'm on shore leave, Zithi."

"And since when do you leave Romulus for shore leave?" her older sister chortled. "Do you really think anyone here actually believes you just decided to up and visit Bajor right when our mother got assigned?"

"I believe it," Ziryn cut in. "It's been a long time since we were all on the same planet at the same time...much less at the same dinner table."

"Right," Zithi nodded. "So what's changed?" She flashed a sardonic grin. "Did you miss us?"

"Enough," Komera growled at her eldest. "As Ziryn has pointed out, this is a momentous occasion. Merik went to a lot effort to make sure everything was perfect."

"I hate Bajoran food, Mother," Zithi blinked. "See, I was out here long before any of you. I spent weeks aboard the space station eating hasperat, and mapa bread, and moba fruit, and chugging their weak-as-water synthale--never again."

"Then by all means, dear, beam back to that dreary little warbird you've got coming apart at the seams," Komera snapped. "Go on. Go drink yourself into a coma, and leave the rest of us eat in peace."

Zithi shot her mother a smoldering look, but didn't budge from the table.

"That's what I thought," Komera grumbled, her mood dour now. She gave each of them a look. "My daughters. My dearest, beloved daughters. I gave each of you the best of everything--best schools, best vacations, best social circles, and what sits before me now, after all that investment? A soldier, a scientist, and a spy." She bitterly looked into her wine glass. "I'd hoped at least one of you would've made senator by now."

That was enough to make Zithi rise from the table. It was a speech she'd heard countless times before and wasn't interested in ever hearing ever.

"Palukoo? It's a giant fucking spider, by the way," she snorted before leaving. In her absence, her horrified sisters turned to their mother.

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