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Lt. (J.G) Kaedyn Zehn - Joined And Torn Apart


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((Chief Nursing Officer's Office - Deck 500))

::Kaedyn sat behind his desk, catching up with paperwork and all the other

trivia that appeared on his desk when Eliaan left the station. He

found this work no longer held his full attention and he had drifted to

reading he intel reports that his low-level clearance permitted. The

difference in clearance between a nursing officer and a marine intel

captain was startling but at least what he could get his hands on was

interesting. As he read a report on the infant Thracian Alliance, the door

chimed.::

Zehn: Come in

::The doors opened and the small, increasingly frail figure of Jilenna's

mother Mezan stood in the doorway. She carried a sleeping Janel in a baby

carrier in both hands.::

Mezan: I hope I'm not bothering you...

::He waved her in, dropping the PADD on the desk and getting up to join

her.::

Zehn: Of course not, come in. How's my little man?

::He caught himself speaking with Jilenna's voice and recoiled slightly,

worried that it would upset her. She winced slightly at the sound but

tried to put a brave face on it. After an uncomfortable pause, he changed

the subject and directed her to the comfortable sitting area. She placed

the carrier on the small coffee table and Kaedyn cooed over the sleeping

infant.::

Mezan: Kaedyn. Listen.

Zehn: Uh-oh, I know what that means. ::he grinned:: am I in trouble?

::She stared down at the ground and even if he hadn't known her as well as

Jilenna did, he knew something was wrong with her. Her tone was that of

someone about to deliver bad news and trying to break it gently.::

Zehn: You're leaving, aren't you?

Mezan: I think it might be time for us to go home, yes.

::While not suprised at the decision, knowing as he did how Mezan had

disliked life on the Starbase while Jilenna was alive, he still felt

himself reel at the idea of losing Janel. He remained silent for a long

time, struggling to find an appropriate response.::

Zehn: I see

Mezan: Of course, you are welcome to visit us whenever you want and I know

this will be difficult for you but I don't think-

::He remained silent, unable to trust his voice not to crack when he spoke

and show the overwhelming emotion that he was feeling at that moment.::

Mezan: I'm old, Kaedyn. I could never tell Jilenna this because she had

been through so much and was trying so hard to keep her life together but I

am too old to live on a starbase and raise my grandson.

::He looked down at his hands, Jilenna's guilt over the burden she had

placed onto her mother became his own.::

Zehn: She knew but couldn't find a way out of it.

Mezan: My baby is gone and I owe it to her to make sure her baby is looked

after. I can do that better on Trill than here alone.

Zehn: You aren't alone. Eliaan and I will help whenever we can.

::She smiled weakly and placed her hand on the side of his face. It was a

gesture that whatever part of him was still Jilenna Zehn remembered warmly

and brought tears to his eyes.::

Mezan: You and Eliaan have your own lives.

Zehn: You and Janel are a part of our lives now.

Mezan: Kaedyn, you are newly Joined. I remember how that feels, believe me

I do. But you know that your life has to be different from Jilenna's. You

have no idea how happy it makes me that part of her lives on and that you

are such a wonderful boy but we are part of Jilenna's life and as you get

to know yourself againw ith the Symbiont, you will realise it.

Zehn: Janel is my son. I know that with every fibre of my being. I just

can't believe that those feelings will fade. Maybe I was supposed to be

trained to deal with this, maybe I should be able to look at it

dispassionately but I can't.

::She smiled softly and nodded.::

Mezan: It isn't easy being Joined, is it?

Zehn: No, I never truly realised how difficult it could be until I-

::He shook his head, knowing that despite the fact he was only host to not

have been through the Initiate program, he was not the only one to struggle

with being Joined and how it had unexpected impacts on his life.::

~~Flashback: 264 Years before~~

::Zhima Zehn could feel his cheeks ache from forcing himself to continue

to smile despite the barrage of criticism his opponent was throwing in his

direction. This election, and his bid to retain the governorship of the

State of Zerala, was proving be the most difficult of his entire career.

His opponent, an unjoined woman named Alyxa Rolan, had been hammering him

on any number of issues that his first troubled administration had failed

to address. She was part of a new anti-government movement that had sprung

up across Trill, which favoured lower taxation and social conservatism,

such as a ban on inter-species marriages that had become an issue as more

Trill left their planet. They had built their growing popularity,

primarily on the idea that elitist Joined Trills were aiming to create a

government where the Joined ruled and the Unjoined served.::

Rolan: ... the Governor's record is shameful. Shameful and un-Zeralian.

This could be the best state on the planet. I believe one day it will

because I truly love this state.

::The debate audience applauded and Zhima could feel himself getting angry.

Why were people falling for this nonsese, he thought to himself.::

(Zhima) Zehn: I would remind Representative Rolan that I have lived here

not only all my life but my previous host lived here all her life and I

reject the notion that anyone loves this state more than I do.

::As the words had left his mouth, he knew that he had walked into the trap

that she had laid for him. His advisors had specifically told him not to

mention his past lives or being Joined. According the most recent polls,

she was gaining ground with the idea that he only represented the interests

of the Joined.::

Rolan: I am shocked Ladies and Gentleman, that the Governor would so

brazenly demonstrate his belief that the Joined are better than the rest of

us.

(Zhima) Zehn: Oh come on...

Rolan: I'm sorry but I don't think its fair to suggest that because he is

Joined that he loves this state more than I do....

(Zhima) Zehn: I didn't say that, Representative and you know it.

::She continued, ignoring his attempt to interrupt her flow. He could tell

that she was coming to the cresendo of her argument.::

Rolan: I want to clean up this state and make it a better place quickly and

not through the small, incremental steps that the Governor suggests. ::she

paused, the slightest hit of a smile on her lips:: Some of us only have

one life, Governor, and I want to make sure it's worth living for everyone.

::The audience exploded into thunderous applause and there was little that

Zhima could do other than shake his head in dismay.::

Moderator: Well, unfortunately that's all we have time for this evening.

::Despite his protests that he should be allowed to refute her claim, the

moderator concluded the debate and the audience applauded. As Rolan

plunged into the crowd, Zhima remained frozen at his podium. He had been

in politics for the last twenty years and had never allowed himself to be

blindsided in such a manner before.::

::Eventually, his Chief of Staff Soran Yirel managed to get his attention

from the wings and left the stage. He remained silent as they marched into

the small staff room that they had been given to use for prepare for the

debate. When the door was closed behind them, he shook his head and formed

fists with both of his hands.::

(Zhima) Zehn: Dammit! How could I... I mean, why did I... DAMMIT!!

::He stood with his hands on his hips, shaking his head in frustration.

After a while, his press advisor, spoke up.::

Hira: I can try and work the issue back in the press. I will speak to some

friendly reporters and deal with it.

::Zhima nodded slowly, starting to calm down.::

Yirel: Most people aren't Joined, Governor. Most people don't like the

people who made it through symbiosis and are Joined.

(Zhima) Zehn: Well I'm not ashamed of it and I can't deny it even if I

could.

Hira: Governor, no-one is asking you to deny that you are Joined but you

can't deny that there are Joined Trill who do believe that we would be

better going back to the old days when all leaders were Joined.

(Zhima) Zehn: That was centuries ago. Even I wasn't around back then.

Hira: But there are people who were and still hold those attitudes.

Symbionts who are three or four hundred years old still carry memories of

those times and want to return to them

Yirel: You know... ::he paused and stood up, the way he did when he was

processing an idea:: This might be it!

Hira: Might be what?

Yirel: Governor, why do you think Rolan is getting so much attention with

this campaign of Unjoined Rights? ::he paused, allowing no time for a

response before answering his own question:: Because no major issues have

captivated the voters. People think you've done an okay job at being

Governor and don't really want to vote for someone else but we haven't been

able to excite them enough about the election

(Zhima) Zehn: People think I've done an "okay" job? Now tell me, why didn't

we put that on our campaign literature?

::Hira laughed and the Governor softened enough to manage a smile for the

first time in a long while. It had been a tough campaign and as he felt

like he was dealing with so much of this knucklehead stuff, he hadn't been

able to enjoy it as he usually did. He was a natural campaigner, enjoying

spending hours attending local meetings and listening to the endless

stories of voters. Somehow, by making the campaign all about him being

Joined, his opponents had taken all the fun out of it and set him apart

from the voters. It was ironic since he was so different from his previous

host.::

Yirel: I'm serious. The old system of the Joined minority ruling the

Unjoined majority is gone but it isn't forgotten by any means. It is an

underlying issue in today's society because we never addressed it at the

time.

(Zhima) Zehn: I agree but I don't know how that helps me. I can't lecture

Unjoined people about accepting me being Joined, I can't complain about

being in a priviliged minority.

Hira: Why can't you?

(Zhima) Zehn: It would play into Rolan's hands. Every time I mention being

Joined, she gets a bump in the polls.

Yirel: Imagine if you started bringer her being Unjoined into the campaign

and saying she couldn't govern because of it, you'd be destroyed in the

press for your old fashioned views...

Hira: ... and be accused of blatant discrimination...

Yirel: Exactly. Now, why is she allowed to do so with you. This election

shouldn't be about who is Joined or not. There are so many more important

things to deal with than that...

Hira: We need to change the whole conversation.

(Zhima) Zehn: I don't want to get killed.

Yirel: Then make this election about smart, and not... Make it about

engaged, and not. Qualified, and not. Make it about a heavyweight. You're a

heavyweight. And you've been holding up this lightweight for too long.

::Zhima smiled and nodded. Win or lose, this election was about to become

fun again.::

(Zhima) Zehn: Okay, let's do it.

~~End Flashback~~

::Mezan placed her hand on Kaedyn's arm, waking him from his quiet

reflection.::

Mezan: Kaedyn...

Zehn: Sorry, I was lightyears away.

Mezan: I better let you get back to work. I haven't made any plans to

leave yet but I wanted to let you know.

::She stood and he followed her lead. She looked old, much older than

Jilenna remembered her to be and he thought about everything she was going

through and quietly in the back of his mind worried about a time when she

wouldn't be around for Janel.::

Zehn: I appreciate that and I don't want you to feel I'm pressuring you to

stay. I just want what's best for Janel.

::She placed her hand on his cheek again.::

Mezan: I know that. Don't worry, I know that. We'll work something out.

TBC

Lieutenant (junior grade) Kaedyn Zehn

Chief Nursing Officer

SB118 / USS Victory

((Simmed by Lt. Dr. Eliaan Deron))

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