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Reckoned

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Long after Kira had tearfully called everyone back to the station, Sisko was still kneeling at his son's side, numb with grief. Between herself and Jadzia, they managed to pull him away from the body while Julian did what little he could.

"This... is my penance," Sisko finally said, sitting in Quark's, surrounded by his senior staff and clutching a raktajino for who knew what reason. "For demanding that they slaughter that Dominion fleet, this - this is the price I paid for that."

No one had anything to say to that.

On Bajor, Kira was memorialized as a hero, a holy warrior. The Prophets' vessel through which the reckoning was wrought. The Emissary was honored as a martyr. Lost his son to the Pah-wraiths, but still held fast to his faith even as others would have given up and used Federation science to end the reckoning before it could begin. Kai Winn did her best to minimize the attention given to them, and though her reasons were not their own, they were both grateful for her efforts.

Sisko and Kasidy Yates had often had trouble communicating what they wanted out of their relationship, and that only worsened after Jake died. The relationship eventually fell apart, and he never sought out another one.

Anslem was published postmortem, to endless praise. It became known as the best novel of the 24th century, and the death of its author at so young an age was widely considered a tragic loss to the literary world.

Although Dukat attempted to join forces with a Pah-wraith to take back the station and strike a blow against the Bajoran people, when he cracked open the artifact nothing came out. Weyoun and Damar were not impressed.

No Dominion reinforcements ever came through the wormhole. Whether that was because the Prophets were destroying every ship that made the attempt, or because the Dominion feared such an attack and thus never tried, no one could say.

The Dominion War was still a long, slow, painfully drawn-out fight, but it did end eventually. Cardassia was never quite the same, of course. Neither was Sisko, who grew closed-off, cold and distant. He was no longer the captain, Emissary, or friend people on Deep Space Nine and Bajor had come to know. He was allowed to keep command of the station until he retired mostly out of respect by the Admiralty for what he'd done for the war effort, and in sympathy of all he'd lost.

Jadzia named her first son Jacob. Worf agreed it was a fine name for a warrior. Sisko refused the offer of the Trill equivalent to godfather. He said it was just too soon.

Jacob, son of Worf, grew up among a whole cadre of Jakes and Jacquelines and variations thereof, humans, Bajorans, Ferengis, Ferengi/Bajorans, Cardassians, even a Lurian. On a trip to Bajor when he was only a few years old, he asked his Uncle Ben why so many of his friends shared his name. His uncle, who was normally so much fun, stopped playing explorers and walked away without a word. Curious, Jacob followed him back to his little brown house and found him crying silently over a picture of a dark-skinned man who looked a little like Uncle Ben.

Shocked by what he'd seen - adults had never cried in Jacob's world before - he ran away, and never spoke of it again.

The wormhole stopped being a gateway of exploration and travel. People feared to go through it, with the Dominion as powerful in the Gamma Quadrant as it had ever been. Cardassia, weakened by war and inner conflict in the postbellum period, eventually required more aid than the Federation could give to non-members. They reluctantly accepted. Deep Space Nine, and Bajor, gradually lost its political significance. Once it didn't matter, it was left alone.

Bajor had its Golden Age, its thousand years of peace, as prophecized.