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“What,” Kira says, throwing the PADD onto the desk in front of her, “is the meaning of this.” 

Both Minister Akko and Kimara flinch at the clattering of the plastic onto the wooden surface, and Kira makes a mental note to apologize to Kimara once they're alone. 

“Now, General, there's no need—” 

“I think there is. Why have you denied permission to land to the Romulan ships? They’re clearly all refugees in distress and needing assistance. My station can only do so much. They need answers from the Bajoran Council of Ministers.” 

Akko stands straighter behind her desk, and Kira knows she's asked the wrong questions. Too easy for her interlocutor to fall back on a rehearsed answer. Kira doesn't need to turn to the Romulan at her side to know that Kimara agrees. Incarceration has hardly made her less perceptive. 

“Bajor can't afford to deal with a wave of refugees from former Romulan space,” the Minister says gravely. 

“Deep Space 9 could and did,” Kira counters. “So I'm starting to suspect this is just a convenient excuse.” She pauses, shuffling through the arguments she's rehearsed on the way to Bajor. “Minister, you surely remember the Skrreean crisis. Bajor has flourished since then; now more than ever we should make sure that that mistake won’t be repeated.”

Akko glowers at her from behind her glasses. “And you of all people, General, should remember what happened last time Romulans were allowed to set foot onto Bajoran soil.” 

The Minister doesn’t even spare a look for Kimara.

Kira matches Kimara’s pace as they descend the old stone staircase outside the Council building. She frowns at her own memories filled with pride; the structure was one of the very few pre-Occupation architectural marvels that had survived undamaged, and now represented all Bajorans. Today, it’s clear to Kira that it hadn’t been designed to grant access to everyone. 

“You’re commiserating again.”

Kimara’s voice snaps Kira out of her thoughts. “Sorry. I wish the meeting had left me in a better mood.”

“You’ve put the Romulan ships back on the Minister’s agenda. That’s what we came here for.”

Kimara stops on the landing, leaning on her cane. Kira takes her in; her hair has gone completely gray in the last decade, one of many scars she bears from her time in the bowels of the Tal Shiar. 

That Kira can look at her under B’hava’el’s morning light feels like the Prophets’ grace. Kimara would laugh at her sentimentality. 

“I wish we could get back to the station with more concrete results,” Kira says instead.

Kimara shakes her head. “We’re laying foundations. We can’t build anything lasting without them.” She turns to look at the sprawling city below them. “If anything, I am surprised my presence didn’t elicit more hostility.”

Kira rolls her eyes. “Will anyone ever forget about Derna?”

“I’m not likely to forget about it, either,” Kimara replies, glancing at Kira with the hint of a smirk on her lips. “Nor would I want to.”