Rotaren

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

“Rotaren” by Jehan Jaleel

Rating: R

Historian’s Note: This story takes place during the time between the episodes “Shadows and
Symbols” and “Afterimage”

Part I

Ezri Dax stared out into space through one of the giant windows on the Promenade. The
stars shown brightly tonight. She always loved looking at them, even as a young girl on Trill she
would gaze up at the heavens from her family’s land. Only there she would get an unobstructed
view, here some of the stars were blocked by one of the station’s giant arches. She was sure Trill
was one of the stars the arch blocked.
She sighed. She could not fall asleep so she had come up here in the middle of station’s
night cycle. Hoping to find some peace in the stars. But it was not to be. That arch reminded her
of where she really was. She was not a young girl on Trill anymore, she was Ezri DAX now.
She was on the Federation space station Deep Space Nine. And she was miserable.
It had been several days now since she arrived on this station. At first it was exciting. To
see her old friends again, to be on the legendary DS9, and to have the chance to share grand
adventures with this fabled crew. She had almost forgotten about the symbioant.
Then the reality of her situation set in. These were not old her friends, they were friends
of the symbioant inside her. That creature is what belonged here, she didn’t. It was a burden and
responsibility she never wanted. Now she was stuck with it. For the rest of her life.
Ezri gave out a whimper of a cry. She hoped no one noticed. She looked around from
where she stood and saw that the upper level of the Promenade was quiet deserted. Only a lost-
looking Ferengi, an old Orion woman and a Bajoran security guard were with her on this part of
the Promenade tonight.
She returned to her gaze of the stars. They might still give her some comfort. But then
suddenly she saw the stars disappear.  Then they re-appeared again. She blinked her eyes
quickly. An image was forming. Am I going insane? she asked herself. What am I saying? I of
all people should know that. The image outside became fluidic.
Then Ezri was thrown back with shock and fear as a large green metallic object appeared
in the space just outside her window. It did no take her long to figure out it was a Klingon Bird
of Prey. The ship came to stop directly above the Promenade.
It’s engine and left wing were still in Ezri’s view. A green plasma-like gas leaked forth
from a hole in the hull. Ezri was no engineer, but she was sure that this ship had seen better days.

Part II

General Martok placed his fingers in the small opening of the large Engineering doors
and pushed with all his might. With only his bare hands he tried to force the closed doors open.
They did not open. He grimaced and tried again.
He knew the doors would not open to just his command because the engine room beyond
was flooded with harmful plasma gas. Because of the dangers of that gas, the computer had
sealed off the section. Martok had no desire to enter the engine room at the moment either, but
two members of his crew were trapped beyond that door and it was up to him to get them out. So
he braced himself, bit his teeth and tried again. He pressed so hard that his hands almost seemed
to seep into the metal of the door.
Finally the doors spread apart and allowed Martok to enter. The gas inside the chamber
flew on Martok’s face. Luckily it was mixed with the oxygen of the cabin, and so were not that
toxic. He would live. But the gas was a visual obstacle as well, the thick mist shrouded his one
good eye and he could not see.
Martok waved at the gas with both his hands. Soon he found himself coughing, he looked
past the gas and saw fire.  Not one fire but several of them. He had to get those men out now. He
called their names, but there was no reply. They had to be unconscious or dead. He just hoped it
wasn’t the latter.
Martok slowly searched the engine room. The only light seemed to be the glow coming
from the plasma fires. The gas grew thicker as he we further on into the chamber, it was harder
to see and harder to breathe. There was now much more plasma than oxygen in the air around
him.
He coughed and coughed. He soon vomited the traces of gagh he had eaten last night. But
it was not enough, his lungs still could not breathe. Soon General Martok felt  consciousness
begin to leave him. But he would not have it. He was a Klingon warrior, and he was not going to
die of oxygen depravation.
Besides he still had to find his two crew members. So he bit his tongue and drew blood.
At first the pain was unpleasant, but then it became an ally. It helped him stay awake.  He
resumed his search for the fallen engineers, never letting go of his tongue. Soon the blood
dripped from the sides of his mouth.
Finally he found them. They were both next to the warp core. They had held their ground
and tried to contain plasma leak. Even when the fumes started to venture out, they had
maintained their post. They never left. By standing their ground until their bodies gave up, those
brave warriors saved this ship and their comrades within.
Martok knelt down beside the fallen bodies and checked both their pulses. They were
still alive. He tapped his communicator, then he put each of his hands on one of the engineers.
He let go of his tongue and said “Martok to DS9, three to beam straight to the infirmary.”

Part III

When General Martok awoke it was to the dull lights of Deep Space Nine’s infirmary.
He didn’t feel any pain, he didn’t feel anything at all. He found himself laying down on a bio-
bed, the chamber of the infirmary in which he was in seemed deserted. He tried to get up, but
soon found he couldn’t.
The drugs in his system made him feel as if he were in a dream. I can’t move, I can’t
feel. This is not the way a Klingon warrior should be treated. Martok cursed in anger. Soon he
saw a figure approach out of the corner of his eye. He had to turn his head to see that it was
Doctor Julian Bashir.
“Doctor what have you done to me?” Martok asked as he returned his gaze of the lights.
“I saved your life General,” Bashir replied calmly. He ran a tricorder over the general.
“You had severe plasma poisoning in your lungs.”
“But these pills you filled my blood with,” Martok explained, trying to make the human
understand. “How can I celebrate a great victory like a Klingon should when I have been left
immobile and feel no pain whatsoever.”
“It is a standard Starfleet medical procedure,” Bashir offered. “I didn’t think you would
welcome the pain. But then I suppose it is my fault. Perhaps I should not have given you quiet so
much sedative. What is this great victory you were planning on celebrating?”
Martok knew the doctor’s trick. His question was a change of subject. But Martok
decided to amuse him nonetheless. He still owed Bashir a lot from their days together on that
Dominion prison.
“It was a great victory indeed Doctor,” Martok began. ” There we were, cloaked and
patrolling the outskirts of the Bajoran system near the Cardassian border. When we came upon
three Jem’Hadar fighters. Three!  They must have been on a recon patrol.”
“You didn’t attack them did you?” Bashir asked. Shocked. He had put down his tricorder.
Hands folded, he looked relaxed  and seemed to be enjoying the story. “An aging bird-of-prey is
hardly a match for three Jem’Hadar fighters I would think. Why didn’t you call for help?”
“With Worf and the Defiant away on the front lines, the only ships docked at DS9 at
Federation battle cruisers, who are not equipped with cloaking devices,” Martok explained.
“When the Jem’Hadar would have seen these ships approach, they would have turn and fled.
No, the time to attack was then. To catch the patak before they escaped into Dominion territory.”
“It must have been a glorious battle,” Bashir declared. For a second, he sounded almost
Klingon.
Martok was about to congratulate the human on this when suddenly the intercom screen
flashed open. Captain Sisko’s stern and thoughtful face appeared on it. “General Martok, please
report to my ready room immediately.”
“Captain,” Bashir chimed in. “The General is not full recovered yet, he still needs a few
more days bed rest.”
“Let it go Doctor. I will be fine,” Martok said as he got up from his bed. Suddenly a
dizziness spell passed over him when he sat up straight. It almost made him fall back on the bed,
but he fought it. He brought himself to stand up on his feet despite his spinning head.
Martok left the infirmary and Bashir behind. Slowly and carefully, he made his way up to
Ops. A hospital bed was no place for a Klingon warrior.

Part IV

The turbolift ride ascending to Ops  made Martok’s head feel worse. He was glad when it
finally came to a stop. The control center for the space station was populated during the night
shift with faces he did not recognize. In fact none of the senior staff members were present.
Martok looked from left to right with his one good eye. All he saw were young ensigns who
would glance up at him, trying their best not to stare at the one-eyed Klingon General (but they
did), then going back to their work
Martok dismissed them and headed for the station commander’s office. The doors
swooshed open and let the Klingon in. He found Captain Sisko pacing the room, he seemed
particularly distressed.
“Ah General, glad you make it,” Sisko said.
Martok had known the human captain for only two years but he still had a deep respect
for the man. That respect exceeded what he had for all other humans and most other Klingons.
Sisko was courageous, strong and honorable. The embodiment of everything Klingon. Besides
that he had also single-handed saved the entire Alpha Quadrant from invasion only a year ago.
“What is the problem Captain?”
There was definitely something troubling the human. He was about to open his mouth to
tell, but then he hesitated. Instead he said “I am truly sorry for pulling you out of the infirmary
prematurely. How are you feeling?”
“I have seen better days,” Martok admitted. “But then again I have seen worse days. I
will make it.”
“How about your engineers?”
“They are going to make it as well. They will have to remain in the infirmary for at least
another week, but Dr.Bashir is confident, they will pull through.”
“And your ship?” Sisko asked, seeming particularly interested.
“The Rotaren is another story. She is a tough ship, but she took quiet a beating. We will
do what we can here, but I am afraid she will have to be sent to the Klingon ship yards for major
repairs before she can return to active duty.”
“That’s a shame,” Sisko said. He was obviously disappointed and saddened. Almost as if
the bird-of-prey was his ship. He slowly walked towards his desk with his head low.
“What is it Captain? What is the problem?”
Sisko returned from his desk with a padd. He handed it to Martok, on it was a picture of
an older human female. “Dr. Eliza Carpenter.”
“Who is she?”
“Thirteen years ago,” Sisko began. ” Jennifer was alive, Jake was only a boy and I was  a
second officer on the Saratoga.  We were vacationing on the Federation colony on Ferala 6.
Beautiful planet but only recently colonized. On only the second day of our trip, Jake came down
with an illness. The doctors said it was a virus native to this planet, but since humans were there
for a relatively short time they had no cure. We beamed to every corner of that continent and
visited all the doctors. Then we took transports to the neighboring continents. No one could help.
Jake almost died. Finally we met an archeologist named Eliza Carpenter, she knew of herbal
medicines that local tribesman used. Needless to say, her unorthodox methods ultimately saved
Jake.”
“I see now why she is important to you,” Martok commented. It was not typical for a
Klingon to show such compassion, but Sisko was a good friend and Martok knew how important
the lives of offspring were to parents. No matter what race.
“I owe that woman my son’s life General, and now she is in trouble. She had been
working now for over ten years on Ghodran Prime.”
“The Ghodran system belongs to the Empire,” Martok observed. Though vast, he knew
every inch of the  Klingon Empire like the back of his hand.
“Yes, the Ghodrans maybe extinct  now, but they once had a very advanced civilization.
Eliza was  fascinated by them. Even when I knew her she talked about Ghodran civilization and
one day getting the chance to study it. Finally she got that chance, after years of pleading  she
received permission from both the Federation and  Klingon High Councils to settle on Ghodran
Prime and study their past.”
“The Ghodrans did indeed have a very advanced civilization,” Martok commented. “I
remember reading about them even when I was a child.”
” It seems all has been well until yesterday,” Sisko continued. ” That was when I received
an urgent call from Avoz Carpenter, her brother. The subspace message was distorted and we
could not decipher the nature of the emergency. All we could make out was that they needed
rescue immediately. The first thing I did was contact the Klingon government, asking them to
send a ship to Ghodran Prime. They refused, citing the obvious fact of the Dominion war. I then
asked permission to come to cross the border and to rescue Eliza myself. Even with the Defiant
away, I have everything from runabouts to the Galaxy-Class starship Jeddah docked at DS9. But
they denied me permission to cross the border as well. They said any armed Starfleet vessel
which violates Klingon space would be destroyed.”
“Those dishonorable topah,” Martok cursed. “At times like this, they are all tense. Even
if Gowron reinstated the Khitomer accords, they have not forgotten that two years ago, the
Federation was our enemy and we were at war with each other. And I think some Klingons still
have a personal hatred towards you Captain. Remember that your battle station alone destroyed
ten Klingon vessels during the siege at the beginning of the war.”
“Their stubbornness leaves me out of options General,” Sisko said. He suddenly sounded
very depressed. “Now the only starship at DS9 that has a cloak and can make it in time to save
Eliza is the..”
“Rotaren,” Martok said finishing the human’s sentence. “Don’t worry Captain. I will
rescue your friend. It is the least I can do.”
“Thank you General, you have no idea how much this means to me,” Sisko said.
“Think nothing of it,” Martok replied. Trying his best to sound human at that moment.
“But I do have a problem with engineers though. The Rotaren is in terrible condition and my two
best engineers are in the infirmary.”
“Take Chief O’Brien with you. He is the best,” Sisko said. “And I have one more favor to
ask. Take Ensign Ezri Dax with you.”
“Jadzia’s symbioant’s new host?” Martok asked, he was very puzzled at this request.
“Yes, she personally requested to join this mission. It seems she knows Avoz Carpenter,
and she…” Sisko’s voice trailed off. He seemed to understand Martok’s concerns.  He looked
down at the floor, stroked his beard and finally said “This is a difficult time for her, General.
There is nothing much for her to do here, she says she needs to feel useful.”
“Very well,” Martok said, but he had already realized the mistake he  made.

Part V

She already regretted it. She was on board the Rotaren now and Ezri Dax was still
miserable. It didn’t change anything.
What was it now?
First off it was the loneliness. On this ship, she felt even more alone than she did on DS9.
The only two people on board she knew were General Martok and Chief Miles O’Brien. Even
them she didn’t know well. She already missed the few friends she had made on the station.
Jake. Quark. Julian. And Ben.
Ezri looked around at her quarters. They had been provided for her and the Chief. But
they now the only added to her despair.
How exactly did it do that?
Well first of all it was the heat. It must have been at least three hundred twenty Kelvins
here. O’Brien had said the ship’s life support systems were not functionally properly. She would
have to put up with this heat for the rest of the voyage. It might even get worse. The temperature
was already far too hot for the ordinary Trill, or  most any humanoid. Including Klingons. But
they didn’t seem to mind it much. Not that she had seen many Klingons so far. Come to think of
it I haven’t seen any.
Ezri had locked herself in her quarters for the last three hours, ever since the raptor left
DS9. She just didn’t want to associate with this Klingon crew. A crew that was already
unpleasant enough with the circumstances of this mission. She knew Curzon or Jadzia might
have done much better with Klingons, why couldn’t she be more like them. Then she suddenly
dismissed that thought. The last thing she wanted to do was start comparing herself to her former
hosts again. Every time she sees how she hasn’t lived up to expectations, that only makes her
more depressed.
What else besides the heat?
Of course then there was the noise. It was a sharp clanking noise. Like the sound made
when metal strikes metal. Ezri had always loathed that particular sound. And now it was all
around her. She had no idea what the cause was. It could be the warp engines, the plasma coils,
the manifest inductors. What the hell, she wasn’t an engineer. At times it would quiet down a
bit, but usually it was loud. It echoed through the walls of her quarters.
These quarters annoyed her as well. They were so drab and plain. The walls were a
spartan red in color. They had no mood to them whatsoever. The beds, if you can call them beds
were just metallic obstructions cropping out from the wall. They were hard and cold. So far, she
had not even been able to bring herself to sit down on them, let alone sleep.
She kept telling herself that this was a ship of war, and it was not built for the comfort of
it’s crew like most Federation starships. As a Starfleet officer, it was one of her tasks to adapt to
new environments.
What else besides the noise and the quarters?
“What the hell does it matter?” she screamed out loud. This was not working anyway.
She was trying a form of self-psychosis, a counseling technique she had learned. It was usually
not very effective. It was where in cases of emergency it helped a person to counsel themself. It
was definitely not working now. There is just no fucking way for an insane counselor to help
herself.
Ezri banged her hand against the bulkhead hard. She did it again, this time harder. The
shooting pain  brought her comfort because it was far less than the emotional pain she was
experiencing. Ever since she had gotten this damn worm in her belly, it was like her whole life
was literally turned upside down.
She finally gave up and decided to go to bed. She doubted she could find sleep, but she
had to try. She was all out of options.
Ezri was about to lay down on the bed, when she heard a loud  beep. She looked up at
from where it had come. It was the intercom. Soon she heard a Klingon male’s voice.
“Ensign Dax?” he asked in a low yet powerful roar.
“Yes?” she called back.
“Are you THE Dax? Curzon Dax?”
“I have the Dax symbioant yes,” she said.
“This is Commander Vorn. First officer of this ship,” came the thunderous voice. He
seemed so proud of his position. “My men and I were gathering for supper in the mess hall. I
was wondering if you would join us? We would love to hear war stories from the great  Dax
himself.”
“Herself now,” Ezri called back.
“Yes of course. So what is your answer. Will you join us?”
Almost every fiber in her body told her to refuse the Klingon’s offer, but that was not
what came out of her mouth. “Sure, I will be there right away.,” she said as she made her way
out of her quarters.

Part VI

Miles O’Brien’s face was searing. Burning. The sensation was almost unbearable. It was
like putting your face right in front of a burning fire. The rest of his body was relatively cool
because of the heat-suit he wore. But the head piece of that suit was made for a Klingon and did
not fit his head. He soon felt as if he was in hell itself, yet there was not a single flame anywhere
around him.
O’Brien was in the Engineering section of the Klingon vessel Rotaren. Though he was an
engineer, this ship was not his usual post nor would he have wanted it. Especially in this
condition. Klingon ships were difficult to work with as it is, this one was literally falling apart.
It also didn’t help that he had no assistants whatsoever.
The Irishman has had a long and interesting career in Starfleet so far. From serving on
board the Phoenix in the Cardassian war to being on the legendary starship Enterprise to the
station DS9 where he has had his greatest adventures yet. All the while maintaining somewhat of
a family life with his wife and children. One would think after being through all that, his
assignment here would have been no problem, but it was not to be.
As his face burned even more, he knew for sure this was not going to be an easy mission.
The skin on his face now was almost red in color. Only a few trickles of sweat were left. His
body produced no more, it couldn’t. He recalibrated the matter/anti-matter in the ship’s core for
the third time. His first two tries had been unsuccessful.
Unless he completed his task in time, the ship would be forced to drop out of warp.
O’Brien did not know much about this mission, he had agreed to it only on Captain Sisko’s
personal request. But he did know the Rotaren had to reach it’s destination as soon as possible.
Lives were at stake.
So despite the heat he remained in the engineering room and worked on the core. He
tried the recalibration sequence a third time and then a fourth. His eyes became watery and the
image of the monitor in front of him became fuzzy. He tried his best to maintain his
concentration as he entered the calculations. His fingertips seemed to slip off the transparent
keypad. All hope seemed lost.
O’Brien was about to give up in anger and frustration. He was about the smash the
bloody computer in front of him and then maybe this whole bloody ship as well. That was when
he heard an unemotional  male voice. “Warp core stable,” the computer said.
Finally it had worked. O’Brien did not bother to re-check his work. He literally ran out
of the Engineering section.
The two metal doors closed behind him as he exited that virtual inferno. The rest of the
ship was still warm. Too warm. But it was nothing compared to where he had just been in. To
O’Brien at that moment the ship’s temperature felt cool.
The human leaned back against the doors and breathed deeply. He closed his eyes and
relaxed. It felt as if he had just run a marathon through the desert. With his eyes closed it seemed
as if he had entered a trance, so  he almost didn’t notice the Klingon standing in front of him.
“Chief Miles O’Brien?” he asked. In a very respectful tone. More respectful than most
Klingons the human had met. Including Worf.
“Yes, that’s me.”
“I am Kevor, helmsman second-class. General Martok said you were the only engineer
aboard. That must be a difficult task indeed. I thought  I might be of some assistance.”
“Assistance?” the chief repeated, almost asking to make sure. That was the last thing he
expected a Klingon on this vessel to do. With the exception perhaps of Worf, a friendly, polite
and understanding Klingon O’Brien had never met. Yet here he was, in the flesh and in front of
him.
“Yes well, you could help,” O’Brien said. “I just recalibrated the core but it still could
become unstable. You can monitor the anti-matter/matter reactions from here, there is no need
to go inside engineering. It is like an oven in there. If the core acts up again, try these secondary
systems to compensate.”
” Like so,” the Chief said and showed the young Klingon the controls. “If that doesn’t
work, call me immediately. Or else the Rotaren will drop out of warp, and that would not make
Martok happy. If there is one thing captains don’t like is when their ships don’t do what they
want.”
“I understand Chief,” Kevor said. “Don’t worry, you can count on me. You look tiered,
why don’t you go to your quarters and rest? I will try to hold up the fort till you get back..”
“Thank you,” O’Brien said and made his way through the halls of the Klingon starship.
A friendly Klingon. This trip was getting more
interesting every minute.
When the Chief reached his assigned quarters, he was so tired that he went straight for
the bed. Even Klingon beds seemed welcoming at that moment. He was so eager to rest and
quell the pain in his body, he almost did not notice that Ezri was not here. That was surprising
indeed. Where the hell could she have gone off to?

Part VII

Ezri had quietly taken a seat when she arrived at the mess hall. There were only four
other Klingons present in the dining room, and they all sat close together on  table. They laughed
and talked amongst themselves and did not even seem to notice her. The table was long and Ezri
had found a seat on the far end, away from the others.
She sat quietly on her chair, not bothering the others. She was already nervous. She
herself had little dealings with Klingons, although two of her previous hosts did. Jadzia married
a Klingon and Curzon was practically a honorary Klingon himself. Ezri fidgeted in her seat, she
tried several different postures. She was not comfortable with any of them.
Finally a Klingon looked up from the crowd and noticed her. He was the largest one of
the group. He was probably one of the tallest Klingons Ezri had ever seen. Even taller than Worf.
Unlike the others he wore a commanding officer’s uniform. His hair was long, his skin was dark
and the ridges on his forehead were numerous and elevated. His face was decorated with two
noticeable scars, probably from some great battle. He was really  unlike any Klingon Ezri had
ever seen, yet somehow he seemed strangely familiar to her.
“Ensign Ezri Dax,” he said. Even his voice sounded familiar. Of course that was the
same voice she had heard over the intercom but it was more than that. “I am Commander Vorn
the one whom you speak with before. I am so glad you could join us.”
“Thank you Commander,” she replied and tried to force a smile. “I am glad I could be
here.”
The Klingon smiled. A wicked smile. The others saw this and grunted. For a while no
one said a word and an uneasy silence fell upon on the once loud messhall. All Ezri could hear
now was that clanking metal noise from the engines. She knew she should say something to
break this awkward moment but she did not know what. They all stared at her. Vorn did not
release his smile.
“Commander?” he finally said. “Commander? Come now Dax, don’t you recognize me.”
“I don’t know,” she said nervously. “Should I?”
“Twenty years ago,” Vorn said. His voice was loud and piercing. No longer kind. “The
battle on Antaras 4. Against the Nausican raiding party. I saved your life. Dax’s life Curzon
Dax.”
“Yes, I remember now,” Ezri said. It was slowly coming back to her. Like visions from a
forgotten dream. Soon the visions came clearer. “Yes I do remember. You are right, you did save
Curzon’s life in that battle.”
“And he promised me a debt of honor in return for that!” the Klingon shouted.
Ezri was silent for a moment. She thought about it. This seemed to have been one of the
symbioant’s suppressed memories. One that it did not want to share with it’s host. Finally she
remembered He was right! Curzon did promise Vorn a debt of honor.
“I always thought of Curzon as an honorable man,” Vorn continued. The sound of his
voice not getting any lower. “But that patak ran for Risa without ever paying me. He died before
I had the chance to collect.”
“But You died,” Ezri said, remembering more. Soon she remembered all of it. “Curzon
was going to repay you. He was saving money but then heard you died, that was why he never
sought you out .”
“I almost died in the civil war. It’s true,” Vorn confessed and pointed to the scars on his
face. “But now I am here, and so are you Dax. It is time to repay your debts.”
“But I am no longer Curzon, what do I have that you could possibly want?”
“You are right, you are not Curzon,” the Klingon said, his tone changed to disgust. “You
are a worthless Starfleet patak. Not even a warrior. A counselor. A child. Well then I suppose
latinum will have to do.”
“Latinum?”
“Yes,” Vorn growled. “About a hundred gold pressed bars.”
“I don’t have that kind of money,” Ezri said. “My family on Trill is not wealthy at all,
and I myself have joined Starfleet only recently. I haven’t had time to save any kind of real
money yet. The symbioant alone..”
“Be quiet!” Vorn barked. “I have had enough of your whining. I don’t want to hear any
excuses. You owe me a legitimate debt, and I expect it to be paid before this mission ends. Or
else I will collect.”
Ezri did not know what to say. As if she did not have enough problems already, this was
a whole new and difficult weight for her shoulders to bare. She knew Klingons’ temper could
ignite like wildfire, so she decided not to provoke Vorn anymore. She decided to just sit quietly.
She looked down at her table and saw a plate full of gagh . The worms were still moving.
Slithering and sliming on each other.  Other that their appearance, they also gave off a highly
unpleasant odor. Even the sound they made upset Ezri, she always hated gagh.
“What is the matter?” Vorn asked. His tone has once again become friendly, almost
sarcastic. “You are not going to eat?”
Ezri looked at him, then at the three other Klingon next to him. They were all staring at
her. Smiling. She looked back down at the gagh, it seemed like she had no choice. She looked
around next to her plate for a spoon or fork but then remembered that gagh was meant to be
eaten with your hands.
She reached down and grabbed as many as she could. Then she put them in her mouth,
she shuddered in disgust when she did. A few slid down the sides of her lips and fell back on the
table, they seemed to crawl away. The Klingons all laughed. She would not let them beat her.
When she had forced this helping down, she grabbed another batch and scarfed them down as
well.
“It comes as a surprise to me that such a small body could even hold a Trill symbioant,”
one of the Klingons on the left of Vorn said. “I mean look at her, she looks so tiny and frail.”
“There must have been no one else who wanted Curzon’s symbioant,” another said.
“They must have had to go to the very bottom of the selection pool if they chose this pathetic
little one.”
“It seems even Starfleet wants nothing to do with her,” Vorn chimed in. “They have sent
her off to DS9 but she doesn’t do a damn thing on that station. She just takes up space.”
They continued this barrage of insults at Ezri for the next ten minutes. She knew Vorn
had something against her personally, he had staged this whole charade from the moment he had
called her over the intercom. It could have been the honor debt that Curzon did not pay, but deep
down Ezri knew there was more to it than that.
Finally Vorn and his companions grunted at her, then made their way out of the dining
hall. Ezri was alone for several moments. Once again her only companion was that annoying
clanking noise. Compared to the Klingons’ insults, it almost seemed pleasant. Then Ezri herself
got up. She put her away her empty plate in the replicator and then slowly made her way to her
quarters. In this ship of loud noises, her footsteps made soft ones as tears slowly rolled out of her
eyes.

Part VIII

By the time Kevor arrived in their quarters, O’Brien had Ezri somewhat composed. She
had come to him in tears. It had taken some time for him to calm her down and make her explain
exactly what had happened. Then O’Brien had told her how everything would be all right and
how he, Captain Sisko and everyone else on DS9 would help her out of her current situation. It
was a quiet a change, an engineer counseling a counselor. That was the last thing O’Brien ever
pictured himself doing.
Despite everything a temporary situation still had to be found for Ezri’s predicament.
Vorn had swore a deadline for this mission’s end as the latest that she could repay Curzon’s
debt. O’Brien still remembered Captain Sisko’s saying of how the best people to deal with
Klingons are Klingons. So he had immediately called for Kevor, the new friend he had made at
engineering.
When Kevor arrived, he seemed most concerned when he saw Ezri. He immediately
asked  what was troubling her. O’Brien took the trouble of explaining about Vorn and the debt
of honor. Finally he asked Kevor the same question Ezri was asking herself time and time again.
Why? Why was Vorn doing this to her? Kevor’s reply was only one word. A name.
“Worf.”
“Worf?” O’Brien asked, completely surprised.
“Vorn and Worf have a rivalry that goes back for over ten years,” Kevor explained.
“Worf had known Vorn ever since he first visited the home world. They had never gotten along.
The first insult came when Worf defeated Vorn in the batleth tournament, and took away the
championship. A title Vorn had held for the last five years before. Their rivalry really heated up
during the Klingon civil war. Vorn was a close friend of the House of Duras.”
“I remember that,” O’Brien said. He could still picture that sad day when Worf left the
Enterprise to go fight in the war.
“Vorn held the rank of Cornel in the Klingon Defense Force,” Kevor continued. “He was
in command of twelve birds of prey and four Vorcha Class attack cruisers. He pledged them all
to the House of Duras. Suffice to say, Gowron was not too happy about this when the war ended.
He demoted Vorn severely. Vorn was also suffered great injuries during the war. He blamed the
Duras defeat solely on Worf.”
“That’s a little presumptuous,” O’Brien remarked.
“The final insult came recently when Martok made Vorn stand down on the mission to
destroy the Dominion ship yards. The General instead made Worf his first officer in Vorn’s
place. Because of Worf and his need to get his parmachi into Stovakohr, Vorn missed out on the
greatest Klingon victory of this war.”
“But why me,” Ezri said. A whimper of a cry still left in her voice. “Worf barely even
speaks to me.”
This time Kevor looked straight into Ezri’s eyes. He spoke in a certain yet comforting
tone. “You, Ezri Dax are Starfleet. Vorn despises Starfleet. You are also Worf’s crewmate, more
than that your former host was Worf’s parmachi. He knows Worf and Martok are too powerful,
so like the cowardly patak that he is he is taking out his troubles and hatred on you.”
“What am I going to do?” Ezri cried.
“You don’t worry about a thing,” O’Brien told her. He knew what she needed now was
comfort. “Kevor and I are not going to let him near you. We will talk to General Martok about
this, and when I get back to the station we will get Worf and Captain Sisko to help out also. You
don’t worry about it.”
“I have enough problems fitting into the station already,” Ezri said. “I don’t want to bring
this new problem on everyone’s shoulders.”
“What are you talking about,” O’Brien replied. “We would all be glad to hel…”
“If I may Chief,” said Kevor cutting him off. The Klingon motioned towards Ezri and
asked O’Brien  permission  to  offer her advice himself. O’Brien nodded, so far the Klingon had
been very helpful. He was curious as to what Kevor  had to say to her.
“Ensign,” Kevor said in a respectful tone. He kneeled down next to where Ezri sat on the
bed. “You already know how to deal with Vorn. Inside you is Curzon Dax who knew Vorn better
than anyone. Better than Martok, better than Worf and better than me. In you is the solution to
your problem. The symbioant. All this time you have been hiding from it, suppressing it. But
now you need it, bring it out. Bring Curzon out.”
“I don’t know about that,” O’Brien said. “No offense Kevor, but I am not sure you
understand how the symbioant works. You may not be the best perso..”
Once again, O’Brien found his words cut off. This time not from Kevor but a low rumble
in the ship’s hull. He knew exactly what that meant, and he cursed in anger. Soon he heard a
voice come over the intercom, it was General Martok.
“Chief, my ship has just dropped out of warp next to the Cardassian border.”
“I am sorry General, I will get right on it,” O’Brien said.
The Chief knew Martok had been most lenient, this was all his fault. Not only did he not
monitor engineering, but he had called Kevor away from that post too.
“Try to get us moving as soon as possible Chief,” came Martok’s voice. “In the
meantime, I am forced to activate the cloaking device. We are dangerously close to the area
where the Rotaren destroyed those Jem’Hadar ships and she is in no shape for a rematch.”
“I don’t think that is a good idea, we are already low and power and the cloak would
just..”
“I am sorry,” came Martok’s voice. Then the bright red lights in the cabin turned dark
and were replaced by a soft blue light. Telling the crew that the raptor was now on stealth mode
with the cloak active.
“Oh great,” said O’Brien sarcastically. Then he turned to his new friend. “Kevor I am
going to need you.”
The Klingon nodded and followed the Chief as he made his way out of the cabin and into
engineering. Once again he had all but forgotten about Ezri. That was how it always was with
O’Brien, when ships and systems needed repair, friends and family would have to wait. As he
left he turned back at Ezri and said. “You can do whatever you want, but know that I and
everyone on DS9 will always be there to help and support you no matter what.”
As the doors of their cabin closed, Ezri nodded and then gave him a smile. O’Brien was
not sure, but it almost seemed as if the girl already had a plan.

Part IX

Ezri Dax pressed the buzzer on Commander Vorn’s quarters door. He asked who it was
in a most unpleasant tone. She announced herself and he gave her permission to enter. There was
no more fear, apprehension or despair in her. As she walked into Vorn’s quarters, she had her
hands behind her back. Her eyes were low, and she was completely calm.
Vorn’s quarters were much larger than the one she and O’Brien had to share. It was well
decorated with trophies and Klingon weapons of all sorts. Without a doubt, Vorn was a man who
was very proud of himself. Most of it was ego. But Ezri could also tell he was not a real Klingon.
For one thing, his bed was not like the metal planks the rest of the crew had to sleep on. It had a
mattress and looked soft, like Starfleet beds.
Vorn himself seemed cautious, almost nervous. Ezri was not sure, she could not read his
expression clearly in the dim stealth mode lights. But she could read it enough to see that he was
definitely worried. He had not expected her to come see him, in his quarters of all places. This
was a move on her part he had not been able to predict. He stared at her as she casually looked at
his quarters, finally out of frustration he said “What do you want?”
Ezri did not answer immediately. After a few more glances around his room, she finally
walked up to him. Slowly. She did not stop until she was right next to him. Only a few inches
separated their bodies. He was at least two feet taller than her so she had to look up when she
talked. “I have come to repay Curzon’s debt to you.”
“You found the latinum?”
“No, not latinum,” she said slowly. Then she lifted her right hand and brought it to his
face. She touched the scar on his cheek. He grimaced in pain, then she slowly ran her fingers
down the side of his face. “This is all about Worf, isn’t it?”
“Who told….”
“Never mind that,” she said with a smile. “You want to get back at him, then I know the
perfect way.”
“How?” the Klingon asked. He sounded so different now. So vulnerable, so weak. He did
not have the upper hand anymore. He did not have control of the situation anymore. Ezri Dax
did.
Ezri stepped a foot away from him and turned around. She slowly pulled down the zip of
her uniform jacket. All the way to the end. She wore nothing underneath, she had removed the
vest before coming to Vorn’s quarters. Then she turned back to face Vorn. He just stared at her.
Her perfectly flat stomach, the center of her chest and the sides of either of her breasts were
visible to the Klingon.
Once again she stepped closer to him, this time she was even closer than before. “You
know I was once Worf’s parmachi,” she breathed. A barely audible whisper that  spoke volumes
in his soul. She was sure it did. But he fought it, he did nothing.
Ezri smiled again, she knew this was a battle the Klingon could not win. She slowly
pulled back the side of her jacket with her left hand, giving him a clear view of her left breast.
She reached for it with her right hand, and ran her index finger along the side of it. Then she
finally came on her nipple. A pink, bright piece of flesh that seemed to shine even in the low
lights of a cloaked Klingon warship.
She ran her fingers around it, squeezing it.  It felt wonderful. She could not remember the
last time she had done it. She closed her eyes and moaned in pleasure. She released her hand and
moved it away, but she kept her eyes closed. Waiting Ezri knew it would not be long now. It
wasn’t.
Suddenly she felt a sharp shooting, when she opened her eyes she saw Vorn had bit that
nipple. Trickles of blood oozed out and he graciously started to lick it. After he had tasted her
blood, Vorn began to suck her nipple. Like a starved infant.
Ezri just looked down at him. She ran her fingers through his hair. “I will stay and be
yours for the rest of the voyage,” she said. “But the debt is paid.” Vorn did not budge away from
her breast, her merely nodded frantically.

Part X

There was nothing there. The computer showed only the emptiness of space. The monitor
only showed darkness and a lot of white dots representing stars. Not a single ship was to be seen,
there was no one coming to the rescue. But Avoz Carpenter did not give up, that was something
he had never done. He was never a quitter.  He continued to stare at the screen.
“Will you leave that alone,” a voice came from the other room. The volume of the voice
was low, but it’s tone was insistent. “They are not coming.”
“They are coming!” Avoz screamed back. “I called them, I called all of them. Somebody
will come.”
He recalibrated the scanners to do a wide spectrum scan of a particular area. He told the
computer to scan for tachion particles. Hopefully if there were any ships in the vicinity that were
cloaked he could find them with this scan. Then call them, beg them to come rescue him and his
sister. Psychotic sister.
A few second later the computer returned the results of the scan, there were tachion
particles all right. But not nearly enough to represent an actual starship, these were just the
traces of a starship that passed by. Maybe a week ago, maybe a day ago. Maybe an hour ago,
damn why didn’t I do this scan an hour ago? He cursed at himself.
Avoz then moved on to the next region of space. Perhaps he would have more luck in the
southwest region of space. But the computer did not do the scan, the map showing the field of
stars disappeared and were replaced by a flashing error message indicating there was no more
power. He bashed the monitor in anger with his fist, this can’t be happening. He had hoped there
would be power for three more hours at least. This can’t be happening! He bashed the monitor
again, this time the glass cracked and sparks began to fly.
“Who is going to come Avoz?” a voice came from his side. He turned around and saw his
sister standing there. Despite all chaos around them and the grizzly reality of their fate she
seemed so calm and peaceful. Ready to accept it. She knew she was going to die, she knew now
it was inevitable. She still wore her night gown, her hair was a mess.
“The Klingons, Starfleet, somebody,” Avoz replied.
“The fucking ridge heads aren’t coming to our rescue, they are the enemy remember? His
enemy. Our enemy,” She talked about them so calmly. Yet there was an icy hatred in her voice.
She hated them now more than anyone else in the galaxy. “And I will bet anything they will
destroy the first Federation ship that even tries to enter their space.”
“It doesn’t have to be them Eliza,” Avoz said, he didn’t know who he was trying to
convince. “An Orion trading vessel maybe, even the Ferengi. I will give up my last bit of latinum
to whoever can get me of this damn rock.”
“It’s too late,” Eliza said calmly. There was great sympathy in her voice now. Even pity.
” There is nothing anyone can do. Even if you get off the planet, you can not escape him. No one
can stop him.”
“Just shut up, I have had enough of your lunatic rantings.”
“Not the Klingons, not the Federation. Tumash is too powerful. They have made a grave
mistake. They have awakened him.”
“Be quiet!”
“Now they will pay the price, he will conquer all in his sight. The Cardassians, the
Romulans, the Dominion. All will fall to Tumash.”
“Tumash does not exist, you psychotic bitch,” Avoz yelled. “He is an old Ghodran
bogeyman used to frighten small children.”
“You poor ignorant child, if only you knew.”
Avoz reached for a tricorder on the table next to him. When he had it, he flung it at his
sister with all his might. It hit Eliza on the side of her face. It must have hurt, but she made no
gesture of the pain. She stood there staring at him for a second or two. For Avoz, it felt much
longer. Then she slowly walked away and went back to her part of the small research station.

Part XI

Avoz stared out through the giant glass windows of the research station. This was a small
building. It consisted of only two rooms, the observation deck where he now stood . It was where
all the  work was done. There was also a small bedroom which he shared with Eliza. The
structure itself was built on the side of a tall plateau overlooking a giant chasm.
Through the windows Avoz could see a deep canyon. Beyond that were several more
gigantic plateaus, which also often gave way to giant canyons. Tall plateaus and flat land side by
side, this planet most reminded him of the area surrounding the Grand Canyon back on Earth.
Like that region, the weather on Ghodran was always warm, dry and peaceful. The sky
was always red and Ghodran’s sun and three moons shone brightly almost everyday.  That was
how it was until two days ago, that was when Eliza claimed Tumash awakened.
Now only the Ghodran sun shone, it shone with all it’s rage. The beautiful moons were
nowhere to be seen. It was no longer warm, it was hot. The blazing  temperature outside their
station could now kill the average humanoid in only ten minutes. The station’s life support
system was all that kept them alive, but even that would give way to power shortages soon.
Still Avoz and Eliza’s worries did not end with the heat, there was also the volcanic
activity. The canyon below them was empty two days ago, now Avoz could see clearly a giant
river of lava running throughout it. There were similar rivers in all the canyons that surrounded
the station. It would be a good guess that this was occurring througout the planet.
Avoz stared at the giant river of lava underneath him. It seems to have grown in height
significantly since he last saw it. The openings in Ghodran’s crust seems to be pouring out more
and more magma. What was once one of the most quiet and peaceful of M-Class worlds in the
galaxy was now something that looked similar to the burning gates of hell themselves.
There was no scientific explanation he could come up with for geological activity such as
this. Everything he learned tells him that this is impossible. Yet here it was, in the window just
beyond. Proof of the impossible. Avoz touched the glass of the window, it was burning hot, he
pulled his hand away. If proof from his eyes was not enough, the burning in his hand was there.
It made him finally consider the possibility.
What if Eliza is right? He asked himself.
Before he had time to ponder his question further, his thoughts were interrupted by his
eyes catching sight of something in the river. Something was moving in the lava. But there was
no animal life on Ghodran whatsoever, besides how could any creatures survive that heat?
Soon Avoz saw that there was not one but three occurrences of movement. In three
separate parts of the river of lava, something was moving. Some creature was stirring. Creatures.
What’s going on here? Am I seeing this? Or am I just going mad like my sister?
The three creatures soon levitated themselves above the lava. They had wings and they
seemed to be flying. They all looked up and saw Avoz, then they began to fly towards him.
Higher and higher they rose, above the river and towards his station. “This can’t be happening,”
Avoz screamed to himself.
He backed away from the glass as far as he could. He was now some five feet away from
the windows, he could no longer see the lava or the creatures. “They are not real, they are just
figments of my imagination,” he kept saying to himself. “It must be stress and the heat. Yes this
blasted heat, my eyes are playing tricks. Yes that is what Ezri would say. They are not real, they
are, are, are….”
There they were. Just beyond the glass and only a few feet away from him. They were
about four feet tall, and they seemed to be made entirely of fire. They had a thin humanoid body
with two long bat-like wings on their shoulders. They had a terrible demon-like face which they
rotated in a circular motion as they stared at Avoz.
“Fire Imps,” he breathed. “Tumash’s fire imps. You are not real. Go away, go away.”
But they didn’t. They were here to convince the skeptic human that they were real. The
center imp lifted his hand to his head. A ball of fire appeared around it, the next thing Avoz saw
was a giant explosion as the fire ball struck the glass of the window. Avoz was thrown to the
floor from the aftershock.
Fumes and burning hot air began to enter the room from outside. Avoz coughed in pain
as he struggled to get up. He had to save his sister, no matter how angry he may have been with
her only a few minutes ago, now all he could think about was saving her. All his fears suddenly
vanished and were replaced by an urgent sense of courage. He reached into his belt and pulled
out his phaser. He set the power setting to maximum.
Since the fumes began to engulf the floor first, Avoz was hidden from the imps’ view.
They however were not hidden from his. Despite the smoke he could still see their bright yellow
figures above him, searching for him. He lifted his phaser to the closest one to him and fired.
The orange beam lanced out and struck the creature. It vaporized with a deafening screech of
pain.
He may have gotten one of them, but now he had given away his position to the other
two. They flew towards him, they moved even faster than he had anticipated. He leaped forward
and ran towards Eliza’s room, the demons chased after him.
Avoz was fast, he made inside the bedroom and shut the metal doors before the imps
could enter. But he was not fast enough to avoid them completely. Just before he had jumped
into the room, an imp had reached his back with it’s claw.
As the doors closed behind him, Avoz yelled out in pain. His eyes were flooded with
tears, the pain was unbearable. He sat on the floor for a few seconds with his eyes closed, just
trying to fight it. At that moment he did not care about Eliza or the demons outside. He could
not. The hurt was too much.
Finally he gained the courage to open his eyes and return to the real world. He risked a
glance at his back and saw a deep burn wound that stretched all the way from his right shoulder
to his abdomen.
Despite the pain, Avoz knew he had no time to worry about his injury now. He looked at
the door in front of him and saw the metal was melting. The imps were burning their way inside.
They would be here in seconds. He shot a glance at his sister. She sat calmly on her bed with
hands folded. She seemed completely oblivious to the chaos around her.
“Eliza,” Avoz cried.
There was no response. She did not even look at him.
“Eliza, what’s wrong? Why won’t you answer me?”
She still made no sound, but Avoz did hear a screech come from his left. He turned to
face forward and saw the doors of the bedroom completely eroded. The demons now flew in the
doorway. Again they merely stared at Avoz as he pointed his weapon at them. Waiting for him to
make the first move, waiting for him to lower his defenses.
They were intelligent and cunning. He knew he had to hold his ground, but he could not
help himself. He fired his phaser at the first demon, it vaporized. But that was all the opportunity
the second one needed to move in and make the kill. It flew towards him with it’s claw drawn.
Avoz closed his eyes and waited for death.
Strangely he felt no pain. When he opened his eyes he saw the demon standing in the
background, but in front of the imp and all around Avoz were several yellow particles. Like a
shower of yellow dust all around. He wondered if this was the afterlife, but soon realized it was
only a transporter beam.

Part XII

Ezri Dax looked down at her former lover as he slept. Avoz Carpenter.It seemed like
forever since she last thought of that name. It had been only a  year since  she saw him but now
he seemed so distant to her. It seemed like she knew him only from another lifetime, like the
symbioant’s friends. But this was not the same. Avoz was Ezri’s friend, not the symbioant’s. Her
lover for over three years, the man who came closer than any other.
Avoz was an adopted child in the Carpenter family. Even he never knew where he truly
came from. To Ezri, his skin seemed to be the most perfect shade of brown right in between
white and black. His dark hair was neither straight nor curly, but somewhere in between. He
almost seemed to have a heavy eye-lid, but didn’t. He was the absolute combination of all the
races native to Earth. Avoz has a little bit of each of them in him.
He looked so peaceful now as he slept on the Klingon bio-bed,  far different than how he
had been when he first beamed on board. He had a phaser on his hand and he was yelling wildly
about fire imps and an ancient Ghodran deity. He was particularly distressed about the Klingons
and blamed them for the disaster that happened on his research station. He calmed down only
when he saw her and even then Ezri still had to sedate him.
Avoz had a nasty burn on his back, he had lost a lot of blood from it and the pain  must
have been unbearable. Ezri had done what she could to treat it, given the limited facilities in a
Klingon sickbay. It was no longer life-threatening but he still would be scared for life.
She was concerned enough for Avoz’s injury but she was even more worried about his
sister. Eliza had been in some sort of trance when she was beamed about, while Avoz was
brandishing his phaser and screaming wildly at the Klingons in the transporter room, Eliza had
just collapsed. Even her fall on the hard Klingon floor was not enough to rouse her.
Now the woman who once saved Jake Sisko’s life was nothing more than a turnip. A
body of flesh with no soul. Ezri went up to her bed and performed the brain scan again, for the
fourth time it showed the same disappointing results. There was no higher brain functions
whatsoever, it was like she was in a coma but with no signs of disease or injury.
Ezri just threw back her hands in frustration. What good could she do anyway? She was
not a real doctor. She had took the job of looking after the patients until the Rotaren reached
DS9 because she had some medical training and there was no one on the ship more qualified.
But now she realized she was not the person for the job. They would all just have to wait until
Julian could examine Eliza to finally see what was wrong with her. Would she last that long
though?
“Ezri..” a voice suddenly called from the other bed. Avoz was awake. She walked
towards him,  it was time for her to  find out exactly what happened on that research station on
Ghodran Prime.

General Martok stared at the star chart in front of him. It showed the stretch of space
from the Rotaren’s current position to DS9. His problem was that a huge portion of the stretch
was uncomfortably  close to Dominion territory. He wanted to avoid another battle with the
Jem’Hadar as much as possible
So Martok tried plotting different courses on his star map. Courses that steered the
farthest from Dominion ship patrol routes and  listening posts. As he pressed a key on the padd,
he suddenly became  worried. There was a time not too long ago when he was like this, always
worried about being safe and not taking chances.
It was an unfortunate result of his days incas ration. He thought he was over it…. but
could this be that cowardice, that terrible mental illness returning again? No! Thought Martok to
himself. I am no longer that coward, I am a Klingon again. This time there was a valid reason for
his precautions, the Rotaren was in no condition for combat. To encounter the enemy now would
be suicide, and today Martok decided would not be a good day to die.
“Set course bearing 1997, Mark 832,” the General ordered to his helmsman. “Reduce
speed to warp factor 1.5.”
The helmsman did not obey, he immediately looked up from his controls. He turned
towards Martok and said with no fear “General that would increase the duration of our journey
by almost six hours. Are you sure that is wise?”
“The slower we go,” Martok said obliviously. “The harder it will be for them to detect
us.”
“But sir..”
Now he had gotten the General’s attention. Martok put down the star chart and stared at
him. Finally the one-eyed Klingon said in a strong and commanding voice. “Last time I checked
Leskit, I was in command of this vessel. Until that changes you will follow my orders,
understood?”
“Yes sir,” he muttered under his breath. He turned back to his post and entered the
commands.
Martok knew him well. Leskit was always a troublesome one, just like Vorn. Their kind
are undisciplined and quick to judge, they are sometimes even mischievous. But they both came
from powerful houses in the Empire, Martok knew better than to start trouble with them. Besides
he knew despite their problems, they both will serve the Empire in the end. Their minds may
have problems, but their hearts were Klingon.
Martok was about to go back to the map when he saw the bridge doors opened. In
stepped Kevor and Sisko’s engineer. “Ahh, Chief. How is Ms.Carpenter?”
“She is in sickbay,” O’Brien said. “Ensign Dax is taking care of her and her brother.”
“So the Trill did find some use after all. That is good.”
Martok soon saw the human was in no mood for small talk. His face was solemn and he
said in a monotone voice,”General, I came here to request that you take the cloak off-line.”
“That would leave us in a very precarious situation.”
“I realize that,” O’Brien said. “But if we don’t take it off, we will be dead in the water
before we ever reach DS9.”
“Very well,” Martok said, after some thought. He gave the order and soon the blue
stealth lights disappeared and were replaced with the bright red ones of normal operation. He
could never in the past picture himself listening to a human on how to run his ship. But things
were changing these days. The galaxy was becoming a different place. “Now Chief, tell Ensign
Dax to prepare a full report for me on what happened on Ghodran. That planet is still the
Empire’s property and I must submit a report myself to the High Council.”
“Very well, General”
“Ask her to let Commander Vorn help her,” Martok said with a faint smile. “I understand
the two of them have grown quiet close since this mission began.”

Part XIII

Avoz now sat up straight on his bed, and Ezri sat close next to him. He was definitely
much better. Physically his face still looked pale, probably from the loss of blood and a lot of
fear and anxiety mixed in. But mentally he was much better. He was calm now and he gave his
re-count of the events on Ghodran very well.
She listened carefully as he told her everything. She also tried to counsel him the best
she could, he still needed that. Besides it was her job. When he was done, Ezri told him about
his sister and the terrible condition she was in. She assured him that Julian Bashir was one of the
best doctors in the Alpha Quadrant, and he would help his sister. But she was also honest with
Avoz, she told there is a possibility that his sister might not make it back to DS9 and Bashir.
“It’s all my fault Ezri,” he cried as he put his head on her shoulders. “I grew angry with
her. I don’t know what is wrong with her now, but I know it’s my fault.”
“There, there,” she said as she held him and comforted him. “You didn’t do anything to
her. I know you love your sister. During difficult times, people often fight. They take out their
anxiety on each other, even when they don’t mean to. But you didn’t do anything to her Avoz.”
Ezri held his face in her hands and brought it up to her face. She looked into his eyes. “You
saved her.”
He looked back into her eyes. “I missed you,” he breathed. “I missed you terribly.” He
leaned forward to kiss her.
Ezri drew her face back, away from his. He was very handsome and she was still
attracted to him, but she rejected him. “I am sorry, Avoz. But it’s over between us. It has been
for some time, you know that. With the symbioant and all, I have just too many issues to deal
with right now.”
Just then, Ezri heard the doors open. The one person who she did not want to see at that
moment entered. Vorn looked at her and smiled. He walked straight for her. Ezri got off the bed,
she stood next to Avoz. She almost felt as if she should protect him from the Klingon.
Ezri was about to open her mouth to greet Vorn, but instead he filled it with his. The kiss
was long and passionate, Vorn wrapped his arms around her and she did the same to him. He
moved his hands down the fabric of her uniform, pulling and tugging at it. His hands finally
settled on her buttocks, he squeezed the cheeks hard. Ezri grimaced in pain, she had to admit she
was enjoying this.
Then she remembered Avoz, the poor fellow. She tried to push the Klingon away with all
her might, it was a test of both physical and mental strength. Part of her still did not want to let
him go. “Please Vorn. Later,” she breathed as she finally got him away. She shot a glance at
Avoz, he sat there with his mouth wide open.
“Tivasha,” Vorn addressed her in the Klingon title he had given her. It could not be
explained clearly to non-Klingons because like so many other things it was unique to their
culture. It was somewhere between lover and willing sex slave. Even Ezri was not sure about it,
but she knew it repaid honor debts. “The General wants a report on the situation on Ghodran.”
“Ok Vorn, could you give me a second?” Ezri asked. She had to try and explain all this to
Avoz. She put on her innocent and pleading face for the Klingon. It did not work.
“The General said now,” Vorn replied and ran his hands through her short dark hair.
Then he took her hand forcefully and pulled her with him. She followed.
“I am sorry, Avoz” Ezri yelled as she left sickbay. “I will try and explain this later.” The
doors closed for her on the image of his face. It was no longer shock, just disappointment. And
sorrow.

Part XIV

Ezri stood nervously in General Martok’s ready room. She always hated being
summoned to captains’ rooms, you always had to be your best because here is where the boss
took time to judge you. The cramped cabin of the bird-of-prey did not help either. This was not
like a Starfleet Captain’s ready room. There was no cushions or carpeting or view of the stars
outside.
Oh, how I needed to see the stars.
There was just the cold metal hull of the warship. The bright lights, that unpleasant heat
and that damn noise. They all seemed to have gotten worse. There was not a single window to be
seen, just giant pipes and energy relays which loomed above her.
She stood facing Martok and Vorn. The General sat comfortably in his chair and Vorn
loomed above him. It was not these two Klingons that made her so nervous. It was the tiny
device next to them. The inch wide camera levitated on Martok’s desk and a red light flashed at
Ezri.
“Are you sure the whole High Council is going to see this?” she asked.
“In it’s entirety or part of it,” Martok said. “I hope you realize that I took you aboard as a
member of this crew, when I give my report on Ghodran to the council, I will not deny you your
credit. Your invaluable service on this mission.”
Ezri smiled. It was refreshing to finally feel useful. The young Trill looked straight into
the camera, put her shoulders up and began. “Tumash is a Ghodran demon. He is mentioned
time and time again in the ancient Ghodran people’s scriptures. As technologically advanced as
they were, they feared him more than anything.”
“You are not actually suggesting that a creature from some ancient legend could be
responsible for chaos on that planet are you?” Vorn asked.
“I am,” Ezri replied. “Tumash could very well exist. Starfleet  has already encountered
aliens that powerful, either through technology or themselves. Legend indicates Tumash uses no
technology, all his power comes from within. Legend also says that if Tumash is able to fully
awaken his power could be on a scale that rivals the Q.”
“You should listen to your Tivasha Vorn,” Martok said. “I too remember reading about
the demon Tumash when I studied Ghodran history, all she says is the truth.”
“Unlike the Q who are merely an annoyance,” Ezri continued. “Tumash is pure evil. He
is said to defend the planet of Ghodran, any who disturb the planet disturb his slumber. When he
is  awakened he is said to punish all that disturbed his planet. And all their brothers as well.”
“What exactly does this mean?”
“This means destruction for all humanoid races of the Alpha Quadrant,” Ezri said, her
tone of voice was calm like that of someone much older than her. “Klingons awakened Tumash
and since we are all related, he will punish everyone.”
“How exactly did we awaken Tumash?” Martok asked. “We don’t even have colonies on
Ghodran Prime.”
“No but you do dump your wastes there,” Ezri said. “At least you started to, a couple of
years ago. In the Khitomer Accords of the 23rd Century the Klingon Empire promised to stop
dumping toxic waste on unihabitated worlds. When war broke out with the Federation two years
ago, Gowron nullified the accords and Klingon merchants started dumping again. When the
chancellor re-instated the accords, the illegal dumps continued. No one in the Federation pressed
the Empire to stop it’s polluting ways. They were just so glad to have Klingons as allies again.”
“So our toxic wastes on Ghodran have awakened this demon,” said Vorn, still skeptical.
“And he plans to destroy the galaxy in vengeance?”
“That’s what it seems like,” Ezri replied with a smile. “I have lifetimes of experience and
let me tell you that such a thing is possible.”
She did not know weather or not they believed her. She was not sure she believed
Tumash was real herself. But Avoz did, and Ezri knew he was always the skeptical type. If he
believed in this demon, that means there was a good chance it existed. That meant trouble for
the  Alpha Quadrant.
The Trill then returned her focus on the Klingon General, hoping to hear his opinion. She
saw Martok’s mouth open as if he was about to say something. But then the intercom suddenly
sounded. Leskit’s voice came over the speakers. “General Martok, come to the bridge
immediately, we are picking up a distress call.”

Martok stormed straight out of his ready room and onto the bridge. He ran towards his
command chair, which Leskit quickly surrendered.  He  settled in and barked. “Report.”
“Priority One Starfleet distress call,” a young female from tactical said. “Audio only.”
“On speakers.”
“To any Alliance battle ship, this is the Federation Medical vessel Isvaren,” came the
voice of a human over the speakers. There was a lot of static mixed in, the sign of a failing
communications system. There was also chaos in the background noise, the human himself
sounded very tense.”We are under fire from an unknown attacker. Our main power is down, our
shields are failing, we have taken heavy casualties. Please assist. Please..”
Martok raised his hand to cut the transmission. He had heard enough. His ship was in no
condition to fight, this would in almost all circumstances be a suicide run. He knew that well.
But he also knew there was no avoiding this fight, innocent lives were at stake and death
rescuing innocents would be an honorable one. Not a foolish one. He only hoped one day Grilka
would forgive him. “Lay in an intercept course and engage at maximum warp.”
“What?” Leskit said. Turning around from his post once again. “General with all due
respect…”
“Now who is being a coward?” Martok asked. Then the one eyed Klingon warrior said in
a powerful and commanding voice. “Carry out my orders this instant you worthless targ, or I will
have you removed from my bridge.”
“Yes sir,” Leskit replied. Obviously not prepared for Martok being this rigid.
“It turns out today may be a good day to die after all.”

Part XV

When Ezri heard the distress call from the Isvaren, she did not want to leave the bridge.
She suddenly felt remorse for all those people who were dying on that ship, at this very moment.
During the upcoming battle, she wanted to be here and know what was going on. Not locked
away in her quarters, wondering and worrying.
Under normal circumstances a non-bridge personnel would not be permitted to remain in
the command center of a Klingon warship during battle. But thanks to her good standing with
both the captain and first officer, Ezri was allowed to remain and witness all. And to think only a
few  day ago, she was a stranger on this ship. Now  they have invited her into their innermost
circles.  It was all thanks to Kevor’s advice of inviting the symbioant in and not chasing it away,
maybe this could work after all.
Ezri stood in a corner of the bridge so she would not disturb anyone. The last thing she
wanted to be was a nuisance. Everyone on the bridge seemed focused on their task, working
swiftly and efficiently. Even Vorn barely gave her a glance anymore, he instead practiced with
the firing lever on the weapons control.
Ezri had always seen Klingons as eccentric and honorable, but still chaotic and unruly.
Though they  meant well, she felt the lacked the mental discipline to sit down and perform a task
well. But witnessing what she did before her at that moment, she knew that stereo-type she had
was now broken. All the bridge officers were calm and composed, they performed their duties
well. Ezri had to admit it, now they almost looked like Vulcans.
Birds of Prey were built for speed, and O’Brien had somehow managed to give Martok
Warp factor 8 even with the failing systems.  Because of this, they were able to arrive at the
Isvaren’s location in a matter of minutes. But Ezri soon found out that even that was too late.
Vorn activated the viewscreen, soon the picture of the Klingon three dagger insignia
disappread and was replaced with a view of the space outside. There was a sun. It shone bright
and fiery, at first it was all Ezri could see. Then the image zoomed in, and the Isvaren became
visible. Whatever was left of her.
The large medical vessel was now in three parts. One of the warp nacelles drifted on the
far right of the screen, plasma still leaking out of it. The second nacelle was still connected to
the center of the ship and it too was drifting but only towards the sun.
The final part, the large circular head of the vessel held it’s ground. That was where all
hands on board resided. Even before it was announced, Ezri knew there would be no survivors.
There were multiple hull breaches clearly visible throughout the ship, she knew there was no
way anyone could have survived that. The damage was unlike any Ezri had ever seen before. She
now had only one question, and General Martok asked it for her.
“What in the name of Kahless could have done this?”
There was no answer. Ezri saw Martok become frustrated. “Give me a close up of the
head section,” the Klingon barked.
The image on the viewscreen magnified before Ezri’s eyes. Now she could see the
damage clearly, it did not look like phasers or any conventional space weapon. The hull seemed
to have been ripped apart, there was also several charcoal marks like the metal of the ship was
actually burned in fire.
“This is not the work of a Jem’Hadar or Cardassian warship,” Vorn said.
“I don’t think any Dominion ship we have encountered could have caused this kind of
damage,” said Martok. “No this is not their work, they would not bother attacking an unarmed
medical vessel, if they did they would not leave this evidence for all to see.”
“Could it be the Borg?” asked Leskit.
“No this is not their style either,” Martok replied while looking at the display on his
chair. “There are still bodies left on board, the crew has not be touched after the ship was
destroyed. The Borg would have taken the crew with them, to be assimilated.”
Ezri had her take on the attack also, she wondered if she should share it. Part of her did
not want to, that was part that was still afraid. The part that wished it was not here, the part that
wanted her to remain hidden and not in the spotlight. Then there was the part that felt the exact
opposite. Ezri knew that was the part which was coming from the symbioant, so to her on shock
and dismay she said “Remember what the officer who sent the distress call said.”
The whole bridge crew turned to look at her. She suddenly found herself with a loss of
words, she was afraid. But she fought it, she found the courage to continue. “He said the attacker
was unknown, so we should consider the possibility that this is an enemy we have never
encountered before. It might even be somehow related to Tumash.”
“Are you saying that Ghodran demon’s powers supposedly extend beyond his planet?”
asked Vorn in complete shock and disbelief.
Despite his charade, Ezri would not be intimidated by him. He should have learned that
he was not in control anymore. She looked him straight in the eye and replied. “I am saying
according to legend, Tumash’s powers can extend to all corners of the galaxy.”
She would have continued this game until she won again. Just like that night in his
quarters. Only this time she would defeat Vorn in front of all his shipmates. She was prepared to,
but an anomaly the science officer picked up ended their battle. The officer announced her
findings to Martok and the crew quickly turned their attention towards it, away from Ezri and
Vorn’s squabble.
“Where is it coming from?” Martok asked.
“From the sun,” she replied. “The star behind the Isvaren.”
“On screen,” the General barked. “Focus the image on the anomaly and magnify.”
At first all Ezri saw was the yellow of the sun. It’s burning flares rising up and falling
down, like waves in the ocean. Then some of the flares seemed to rise higher than the others.
They rose much higher and much faster. The rising flares were like serpents jumping out of their
domain to sting their prey.
Ezri soon saw these rising flares did not fall back down to the sun’s surface, like the
others did. They continued on into space. They came together, intertwined with one and other.
Now they were no longer random solar flares from a star, they had begun to take shape. The
beast was once again born.
At best Ezri could tell, it was a bird. An eagle. A hawk. A raptor of some sort. Made from
the very fires of the sun. It was gigantic. Far larger than any avian she had seen, Ezri guessed this
bird of fire which flew in space was at least three times larger than the metal raptor which she
was in now.
“The Ghodran Phoenix, a servant of Tumash,” said a voice from behind Ezri. “Now do
you believe her Klingon?”

Part XVI

That voice had indeed come from Avoz, Ezri turned to see the human standing in the
turbolift doors. He must have been there for a while, but everyone including herself was so
distracted that they did not notice him. Even now with the phoenix outside and coming towards
them, no one on the bridge gave Avoz much heed. Even Vorn only gave him a glance and did
not bother to answer his question.
“I still don’t believe it myself,” Avoz said, this time in a low voice so only Ezri could
hear. “After all this, Eliza was right all along.”
“I am glad you decided to come,” Ezri said with a smile.
“I didn’t want to die alone,” he replied.
Ezri wanted to say something to convince him otherwise, but she knew he was probably
right. There was only a small chance the Rotaren could survive this battle. At that moment, she
could not believe herself. Here she was facing certain death, and she was so calm. Like all of this
had happened before, and it was something routine. Then Ezri realized for part of her it was. The
Trill accepted that, and returned her attention to the bridge.
“Shields up. Disruptions to maximum, ” Martok said to his crew in a proud voice. He
placed his shoulders back on his command chair and eased his hands on the arm rests. He was
enjoying this, he showed no fear whatsoever. At first Ezri was puzzled by this, then she
wondered how she ever could be. After all, he was Klingon. They all were, the battle had begun.
On the viewscreen the phoenix dived towards them with both of it’s claws extended. Like
an eagle diving to catch a fish. The claws did not strike the Rotaren’s hull but her shields
instead. They were weakened as a result.
“Is that the best you can do?” Vorn asked from his station. He then punched the console
next to him. “Here is mine.”
Ezri saw multiple blasts of green energy ripple forth from both of the guns on either side
of the warship. The phoenix saw them coming. It turned from side to side and moved it’s wings
around, hoping to avoid the onslaught of disruptor fire coming from the warship. Most of the
blasts it was able to dodge, but some struck it. The fire on it’s skin seemed to tremble as a result.
It squawked in pain.
“I think you just made it madder,” Avoz said quietly to his Klingon rival.
“Shut up,” Vorn snapped back.
Vorn and the rest of the crew were about to find out that the human was right. For a
second the phoenix just seemed to stand there. It just hovered in space and looked directly at
them. Then it parted it’s beak and out came fire.
The entire bridge shook as the river of flame passed over the ship. Ezri was thrown to the
floor, in only a fraction of a second was she able to fold her hands in front of her and avoid her
face hitting the metal beneath her. She turned and saw Avoz next to her on the floor. The bridge
lights gave out, everything around her became red in color.
Finally the chaos subsided, the river of flame had passed.  “That is not the end,” she
heard Avoz say as he struggled to his feet. When he was up, he gave Ezri his hand to help
her.”He is just regrouping.”
“Engineering,” Martok barked. “Damage report.”
“It looks really bad down here General,” came O’Brien’s voice over the speakers. Ezri
could hear more static than his voice. “Our main power is completely gone. Most of the
Auxiliary systems are gone too. We have no cloak or warp power. I think I can keep life support
on at minimum power and give us maybe twenty percent shields.”
“What about disruptions?” Vorn asked.
“Disruptions?” came O’Brien’s voice. He sounded very frustrated. “We shouldn’t be
worrying about how to take that canary down, we should be worrying about how in bloody hell
we are going to get out of here in one piece.”
“Chief,” said Martok, trying to calm the human down. “We can not escape the phoenix
until we at least disable it.”
“I think I can give one, maybe two more blasts from the left turret, but that is all the
power I can spare.”
“That is all I need,” said Vorn confidently. Ezri did not share his optimism, she doubted
anyone else did either. But no one mentioned it. Vorn was still the best gunner on this ship, and
the crew did not want to shake his confidence. Ezri was surprised when it was finally Avoz who
said something.
“Go for the eyes.”
“What,” Vorn said to Avoz in a cruel voice. A statement more than a question. He was a
Klingon warrior and he did not want to be told by a human scientist how best to fight.
“He knows what he is talking about Vorn,” Ezri pleaded. “Listen to him.”
“Fire a wide spread beam, instead of a concentrated one,” Avoz said. “Your ship does not
have nearly enough power to defeat this monster. The best you can hope for is to confuse him
and buy yourself enough time to get away.”
Ezri looked into Vorn’s eyes. He nodded. Then she turned her attention to the
viewscreen. As Avoz had predicted the phoenix still hovered there, gathering up strength for
another attack. The two disruptor blasts lanced out from the gun, they exploded near the beasts
eyes. It created a blinding display of light, Ezri herself had to look away. The bird was
distracted, now was the time to escape.
“Helm set course in any direction away from that thing and engage at full impulse,”
Martok said. And his raptor sped away, while Tumash’s was distracted. This battle had ended in
a tie, but there was more to come.

Part XVII

Almost a half hour after the battle, O’Brien found himself still thanking his lucky stars.
The Rotaren had somehow escaped, something he never believed was possible when he first saw
that beast. Now that they had survived the first battle, O’Brien knew there was a chance, just a
slim chance that he still might see his family again. Oh how I long to see Kieko, Molly and
Kyrioshi again. “Oh how I long,” he said this time out loud.
“What was that Chief?” Kevor asked, looking up from the conduit he was repairing.
“Nothing, I was just missing my family. With all that is happening around us, part of me
thinks that I will never see them again.”
“Don’t worry Chief, you will,” Kevor said with a smile. “You are on board the Rotaren,
she will get you home in one piece.”
“Even the most treasured of starships sometimes don’t make it home,” O’Brien said,
remembering his old post on the Enterprise.
“This ship will. She always has. Always.”
“What do you mean?” O’Brien asked. “I heard before Martok took command and turned
things around, this was one of the worst ships in the Klingon fleet.”
“That was the fault of her crew and not the Rotaren itself,” Kevor explained. “Even
during that dark time, it was the Rotaren that got this crew out of one troubled spot after another.
She is an old ship Miles, over twenty years of old. She fought in the Romulan wars, the civil war
and now the battles with the Dominion. Always she has come back in one piece, always she has
allowed her crew to go home. From her first battle when she stood down a Romulan warbird to
most recently when she fought an entire fleet of Jem’Hadar fighters while the Defiant laid that
mine field, she has always been victorious.”
“I must admit,” O’Brien said, almost like a confession. “I have always admired Klingon
Birds of Prey. Ever since I read about Kirk and the Bounty as a child, I have always admired
them.”
“How could anyone not!” Kevor declared. ” They may not be as large and powerful as
battle cruisers, but even the bravest of space faring souls have cringed with terror when they first
look upon a Klingon bird of prey. It’s design was matched to resemble true birds of prey that
originally inhabited Kronos. The dark green hull with the feathers painted on at the end, the
powerful engine underneath capable of high warp speeds. The two powerful guns….”
“Kevor, Kevor,” said O’Brien cutting the Klingon off. “I am sure all that you say is true,
and I am impressed the Rotaren has gotten us this far. Personally when I first stepped into
engineering on DS9, I didn’t even think she would make it out of Bajoran space considering all
the damage she took.”
“She surprised you huh, Chief?”
“That she did my friend,” O’Brien said. “But now we have to help her too, let’s see what
can be done about getting main power back on-line. Then maybe you, me and this wonderful
lady can make it home.”

Page after page of scrolling text whizzed by Ezri’s eyes. She had been staring at them for
the last half hour, now they had given her a headache and made her eyes bleed water. Despite
her discomfort she did not give up, she pressed on. She slowed the scroll rate of the text a little
bit so she could read easier, but she didn’t slow it down too much. She still had a lot to read and
very little time to do it in.
Avoz sat next to her, he too stared at a computer and struggled to read as much as
possible as soon as possible. Martok had given he and Ezri full access to all information the
Klingon Empire had on the Ghodrans, even the classified material. He had asked them to find
any information that could be useful to stop Tumash somehow, before his power was allowed to
grow. He had also asked them to hurry, long range scans had already picked up the phoenix. It
was following them, and it was gaining.
In the brief time they had alone together here, Ezri explained to Avoz, the nature of her
relationship with Vorn. She told about Curzon’s debt, the station, her not fitting in there,
everything. For the most part, he listened well and did not question her decision to be with Vorn.
He knew better.
But she knew Avoz was fighting it. Even if her did not tell her he disapproved of her
being with the Klingon, she knew he did. At first he spoke very little of it, concentrating mostly
on his reading of Ghodran history. But slowly questions came out of him, questions that revealed
how he really felt.
“Does it hurt when you make love to him?” Avoz asked obliviously while reading his
padd. Trying to seem as if his interest was purely professional, when Ezri knew it was not.
“Yes it does,” she admitted. “He has drawn my blood often, and I his also. A little. At
first it was somewhat unpleasant, but then I got used to it. I even enjoyed it. It is how it is with
Klingons. Vorn brings back several nostalgic memories for my symbioant.”
“Looks like you gotta pretty sweet deal then,” Avoz said with a fake smile.
“I suppose,” Ezri replied. “I guess my only worry with Vorn now is getting pregnant. It is
that time.”
“Ezri you won’t actually consider…..” Avoz said, his voice trailing off from complete
shock. “At this stage in your career, you can’t be burdened with….”
“I already know all to well that Klingon/Trill matings don’t often work in producing
offspring, but the answer to your question Avoz is yes. Yes, I will have Vorn’s child if I get it,”
she declared and went back to reading her padd. The boy had to realize what she had realized
since this voyage began, she was a different person now.
“But, but, but….” the human said. His voice again trailed off from a loss of words.
“Oh my God,” Ezri suddenly gasped as she read a line in her database.
“What is it?”
“Listen to this,” Ezri said. “Klingon scholars who  studied Ghodran lore said when
Tumash first awakes, he does not have enough power to sustain himself. Only by first inhabiting
a corporial being can he gain his strength. When Tumash occupies  this being, it will be as if it
were in a state of eternal sleep.”
They both looked each other in the eye, then said simultaneously “Eliza”.

Part XVIII

The tension on the bridge was so thick you could cut through with a knife, she could feel
it as she stood on the command center of the Rotaren next to it’s captain. Ezri Dax knew this
was not the best time to reveal to General Martok the startling information she and Avoz had
found. She questioned even revealing it at all. But she decided she must. It was the only right
thing to do. That old Vulcan phrase came into mind.
The needs of the many out-weigh the needs of the few or the one.
The phoenix was close now and everyone was tense. Martok sat in his chair, barely
noticing Ezri and Avoz, even though they were right next to him. The Klingon’s attention were
at the multitude of transparent holographic images that hovered above him. One was an
engineering damage report, the second two were  communications screen. He seemed to be
sending distress calls to both Starfleet and the Klingon Defense Forces.
“Um, uh General Martok,” Ezri finally said. The Klingon looked up for a second. “If we
may have a moment of your time.”
“What is it?” he replied and went back to the computer screens. Ezri did not want to tell
him the information while he was distracted, but this could not wait. Part of her also did not
want the rest of bridge crew to hear it, but they must. It was the right thing to tell them
So the Trill began. When she was done, Martok had turned off his computers. She had
his complete attention, as did everyone else on the bridge.  “So if we kill her, it might kill him
too?” Martok asked.
“There is a good chance it might,” Ezri noted. “And save this crew and the galaxy in the
process.”
“This is your ship sir,” Avoz said. His voice now full of respect for the Klingon, nothing
like the man who had first beamed on board. “So it is your decision. I won’t ask you to sacrifice
your ship and your crew for my sister.”
Martok did not reply. For a while all Ezri heard on the bridge was silence, a strange
silence. She finally found peace on this ship. She could hear her thoughts clearly now, even the
image of the phoenix on the viewscreen did not distract her.
“No,” the Klingon General said finally. “No one is killing anyone on this ship. Certainly
not an innocent. We are all Klingon warriors here, and we are prepared to die. We will stay and
fight. If we die, we die together. Are you with us; Avoz Carpenter, son of Earth and Ezri Dax,
daughter of Trill?”
“We are.”
“So am I,” came a voice from the corner of the bridge. It was Miles O’Brien, he and
Kevor were stepping out of the turbolift. “I have re-routed all available power to the disruptor,
General.”
“Excellent,” the Klingon replied. “Helm, lay in an intercept course to Tumash’s little
parrot, the Rotaren is not running away anymore. May Kahless welcome us all at the gates of
Stovakohr.”

Jadzia was already in Klingon heaven, Ezri was not sure she wanted to go there too. She
was not sure the Klingons there would tolerate two Daxs spending eternity with them. But as
another fire broke out on the bridge, she was almost certain that was where she was going. Her
new life with the symbioant may have been a short one, but at least it was never dull.
Ezri saw Avoz take shelter in a corner of the bridge. The loud noises and fires were too
much for him, he put his hands above his head and curled into a ball. She smiled, he was a
coward. But that was good, sometimes it was good to be a coward. Ezri went to the corner where
he was in. “Need some company?” she asked.
He held out his hand which she took. They both huddled in that corner, they held each
other and watched the chaos around them. “At least when the phoenix destroys this ship, it will
kill it’s master too. The galaxy will be safe,” Avoz said.
“How ironic,” Ezri replied. She then said “I feel sorry for them, the Klingons. This is not
a fair fight. A really honorable death was to die in a fair fight, where the odds are even. That
would be a glorious battle.”
“Sir,” Vorn called from his post. “Sensors are indicating increased tachion particles all
around us. A ship is de-cloaking….. it is the Defiant.”
“Mind if we join you General?” came a familiar voice over the speakers.
“Worf!” Martok exclaimed. “I am ever glad to hear your voice. Yes of course you may
join the battle, we are having a little problem with the creature out there.”
“I don’t know what that is,” Worf replied. “But let’s see how it likes a serving of
quantum torpedoes.”
Ezri smiled, it was going to be a glorious battle after all.

Part XIX

The phoenix may have been defeated but the battle was not over. Now a second
confrontation with Tumash had to be made.  This clash however would not be fought in the
vastness of space but rather inside the mind of Eliza Carpenter. And once again Ezri Dax was
present to witness it.
This time it was not on the bridge of the Rotaren, but inside the Defiant’s sickbay. Eliza
lay on a bio-bed, and Dr.Bashir loomed over her. Six large medical computers placed next to the
bed surrounded them both. Ezri lay just beyond the machines, watching inertly, Avoz was of
course next to her.
Bashir made one final tricorder scan of Eliza and then looked up. “Shall we begin?” the
human doctor asked Avoz.
Ezri turned and saw the other human nod. She also saw him gulp from fear and
anticipation. They all knew his sister’s condition was grave. Even with advances in medicine,
the human brain still remained the most fragile and least understood of organs. There was also
the obvious fact, that even with 24th Century medicine semi-omnipotent demons were still not
easy to remove from people’s minds.
Bashir placed a small scanner on Eliza’ forehead. Then the human walked up to one of
the computers, he punched in some keys and waited for information from the scanner to come
in. When it did, he sighed and said “You were right, he is in here.”
“Are you sure?” Avoz asked. His voice gripped with sorrow, still not wanting to accept
the obvious.
“There are two distinct brain patterns coming from Dr.Carpenter,” Bashir explained.
“One is consistent with normal human brain patterns, that must be her. It seems to be in a state
of non-REM sleep at the moment. The other pattern is complex and erratic, unlike any I have
ever seen before. There are far more sine and cosine waves then there should be. That must be
Tumash’s… and if what these instruments are telling me is true that means his is getting stronger
and her’s is fading.”
Ezri looked at Avoz, he seemed stunned with fear. He did not reply. The poor lad she
thought he still blames himself. Then the Trill turned to Bashir and spoke for her former lover.
“Then perhaps it is best you begin the purge at once Julian.”
The Arab nodded, he moved to the next computer and began the procedure. “I am
isolating Tumash’s brain wave,” he said. “It’s powerful but it is unique.”
Suddenly a voice came over Ezri’s comm badge. “Worf to Ensign Dax.”
“Dax here, go ahead.”
“Ensign, tell Dr.Bashir to finish the operation as soon as possible.  Our long range scans
indicate three more of those creatures traveling at high warp, they are on an intercept course.
The Defiant herself took serious damage fighting the first one, I doubt she can defeat three.”
“I am going as fast as I can Worf,” came Bashir’s reply. He frantically pressed the keys
on the computer, his genetically enhanced fingers moving much faster than the average human.
“I have got Tumash’s wave,” he said finally. “Purging.”
No one said a word, even Worf who was still there via the intercom remained quiet. Ezri
knew all that was left was to wait and hope for the best. Bashir moved back to the computer
monitoring Eliza and said as he shook his head. “It’s not working, Tumash is still there.”
“Hurry doctor,” came Worf’s voice.
“Avoz, I could try increasing the dosage of the purification agent above recommended
limits,” Bashir said. “It will put her in more danger, even then I can’t say for sure wether it will
work or not.”
“She is as good as dead now anyway,” Avoz replied, speaking in monotone. “Do what
you feel is best doctor.”
Another tense silence fell upon the room. Ezri had gotten so used to it in this mission.
She suddenly realized that she herself had rarely been in precarious situations such as this one.
But the Dax symbioant had. Just another way it was helping her. This could work after all.
“Administering more powerful agent,” Bashir said. Ezri saw the lights on the scanner
device on Eliza’s forehead change colors as it gave her body even more chemicals. Once again
the human doctor said “Purging” and once again everyone in that room prayed for Eliza
Carpenter’s return to her body.
“I am getting a reaction,” Bashir exclaimed as he glanced at his monitor. That was right
before a sudden electric surge shot up from Eliza’s body. The spark struck the computer in front
of Bashir, and missed the doctor by only inches as he quickly jumped away. The machine went
up in flames.
Ezri soon saw similar discharges of electricity fly out all over the place. They did not
seem to have a pattern, they struck everything and anything in their path. Avoz took Ezri in his
arms and forced her to the floor, just before an electric wave flew by her. The chaos continued
for at least another minute. Sparks flew everywhere. Then it ended, the lights in sickbay went
out and all was quiet.
For a while all the young Trill girl heard was her heartbeat. She could not see anything.
She felt Avoz holding her tightly, he was afraid. So was she, so she held him back. The storm
had ended and now there was only calm.
The silence was finally broken by a voice Ezri Dax had never heard before, but she knew
in an instant who it was. She was relived beyond words to hear that voice.
“Avoz, Avoz is that you?” Eliza Carpenter called from her bed.
“I am here,” Avoz called to his sister.
“Computer, emergency lights,” came Bashir’s voice from the other end of the room.
Soon small individually powered lights came on all over sickbay. They did not illuminate the
room much, but it was enough for Ezri to see Eliza Carpenter. She was awake now, and she
smiled when she saw her brother.
“Is everything all right done there?”came Worf’s voice.  He was still listening through
Ezri’s comm badge.
“We are fine down here Commander,” Avoz replied. “We are all fine now.”
“You will be happy to know the three phoenixes pursuing us have disappeared of the
scanners,” the Klingon said.
“We know Worf,” said Ezri as Avoz helped her up. “Tumash is gone now. We have
won.”

Part XX

It was a small window, barely fifteen inches across. But to Ezri Dax, it was a treasure. It
allowed her to see the stars again, how she missed that on her days on board then Rotaren.
Having to go two days without being able to see the stars is the only thing Ezri Dax regretted
about this mission. Other than that, her time on the Rotaren had been both enjoyable and
informative.
That ship had given her a whole new perspective on the symbioant. She was no longer
afraid of it. She had even come to welcome it. Almost. At least that was how it felt right now.
She was not sure, it could just because the symbioant came in valuable when she was on the
Rotaren, and that was why she appreciated it so much. Maybe when she was back on the station,
it would make her miserable again. Maybe. She did not know. She was just glad to have the
opportunity to be on that ship, and share that adventure.
At that moment, there were only three things she was sure of. First was that the future
was never written in stone, second was that the stars always looked beautiful( even when you
looked at them through a small foot-long window.) ,finally Ezri Dax was sure at that moment
that  she would never, not in her life or the symbioant’s, forget the name: Rotaren.
“Ezri,” she heard a voice call from her side. She did not look away from her view of the
stars, she knew that it was Avoz. “What are you doing?” he asked.
“The Defiant is a warship, much like Rotaren,” she said.
“Yes, so?”
“Imagine that, a Federation warship. Many of my former hosts served in Starfleet, none
of them ever imagined the Federation building a warship. The symbioant itself did not believe it
until the day Jadzia first set foot on the Defiant’s bridge,” Ezri said, not bothering to look at
Avoz, instead continuing to look at the stars. She knew she was not making much sense to him,
but then she thought that it did not matter. Her life did not make sense, she might as well go with
the flow. “A Federation warship…. the galaxy is changing.”
“You can say that again,” Avoz replied.
“The thing about warships is that they have no windows to see the stars outside. I think
they need to have windows, I am going to write to Starfleet ship designers on that. The new
Defiant-Class warships must have larger windows. The stars help people stay calm and you need
that more than ever when you are in a ship of war. So how is your sister?”
“Bashir says Eliza is going to be just fine,” Avoz remarked. “She is going to need some
time off, some rest. I doubt the Klingons will allow us  near Ghodran for a while, anyway I know
she will be real glad to see Ben and Jake Sisko after all this time.”
“And they will be glad to see her,” the Trill said. Another uneasy silence fell upon them
both after that. It seemed their conversation had nowhere to go, even though they both had a lot
to say.
“So Ezri, what about Vorn?” Avoz finally asked. The burning question.
“Worf took care of it,” she replied calmly.
“He did?”
“Yes, it seems not only was Worf always ahead of Vorn, but that Klingon owed our
Klingon several debts of honor as well. Worf agreed to nullify them all if Vorn released me from
service as his Tivasha.”
“Vorn agreed to that?” Avoz asked. “It’s hard to believe any man letting you go, no
matter what the price.”
Now Ezri turned to face him. “Thanks for the compliment,” she said with a smile.
“Your welcome, and you know I meant it.”
“Yes Vorn agreed to it. The voyage was almost over anyway, besides he was too worked
out battling Tumash. He couldn’t have handled me.”
Avoz smiled in response, he brought his hand up and touched her face. “You have
changed Ezri Dax. You are a new person now.”
“I hope it’s for the better,” she replied.
“Ever since I have known you, I have felt there was something missing in you,” Avoz
explained. “I thought I could fill that missing part. But now I see you already have completed
yourself, with the Dax symbioant. You were meant for each other.”
“Avoz Carpenter, that is the…” Ezri began to say. But his glance shifted from her to
something he saw in the window behind her. Ezri turned around herself to see it. The Defiant
had dropped out of warp, and there it was. She stared at it and smiled. It was her home and it
was magnificent.
Deep Space Nine hung in the image of the small window through which Ezri looked. The
curved brown arches against the black of space. She never thought they could be so inviting.

Send comments to Falc2199@aol.com   Thanks

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.