+ Vitor S. Silveira Posted August 30, 2021 Share Posted August 30, 2021 I am sure most of you are aware of the wonderful story line that these talented writers have developed. Again, if you manage the time, please, read it all. It is still in progress, but it is so worthy of praise. I want to thank the three of you. Not only for this one, but for being in the same crew. I am honored to team up with you. A word of caution, this isn't an easy reading. It made a knot on my throat since I read it and as I am posting it now it still does. But I am grateful that you wrote it. Thank you again and wonderful job. IC: ((Etan Family Homestead)) ((Time Index: Three Days Later)) Rehr had not slept since that fateful night. Everytime he tried to close his eyes, the image he saw through the viewer of the binoculars haunted him, seared onto his mind like the charred flesh on the child’s dead mother. Everytime he looked at his reflection in the mirror, a stranger stared back at him. A stranger with bloodshot eyes and a guilty conscience. It was a man who knew that his days were numbered. A man who would soon know the cold embrace of death at the hand’s of a Cardassian firing squad- or at Moparu’s. A man who would never know the serenity afforded those who reached the Celestial Temple. A man who had taken innocent lives. He didn’t know who had been in that warehouse on that awful night, but he knew that it was not members of the Obsidian Order. The Cardassian secret police did not put children in harm’s way- one of the few decencies they abided by. His gut also told him that it had not been Central Command either. They had been civilians- a family, perhaps. Each time he came to that realisation he vomited, disgusted with himself. He had kept his distance from Oona, afraid of what she might think of him. He had busied himself in the fields, trying to use his farmer’s duties as a way to distract his tortured thoughts and to keep his wife from seeing the truth of how he felt. They saw each other at mealtimes but rarely spoke to one another. They shared their bed but the gulf between them felt wide and insurmountable. Passion had died. As he splashed cold water upon his face, he heard creaking on the stairs behind him and the tell tale footsteps of his wife. He did not look up as the frigid sting of the winter water hit his face. He just stood in front of the sink, limp from exhaustion willing her to leave him be. Oona: We need to talk. Rehr: No. ::came his simple response, as evenly as he could muster.:: He had perhaps managed an hour of tortured sleep: filled with horrific nightmares, too disturbing to describe. He had woken in tears and had wept silently into his pillow, wondering just who that child and mother were. Who he had orphaned. Oona: You aren’t sleeping, you aren’t speaking. You aren’t living. We need to talk. He went to respond when a knock at the door of their home rooted him to the spot, icy fear paralysing him. This was it. This was the day he died. The Cardassians had found them. Or Moparu. His breaths came quickly and shallow as panic set in. His eyes grew wide, fixated on the wooden, windowless door. His hands began to shake and a single tear escaped from the corner of his right eye. Oona: ::calmly:: We should answer that. He willed himself to move. Unsteady on his feet, he crossed the cobblestoned kitchen and reached for the doorknob. He twisted it with hands that would not cease to shake and prepared himself as best as he could for the end. It took him several seconds that felt like an eternity to realise that on the other side of the open door was a Vedek, not a Cardassian or Moparu. A Vedek in brilliant robes of purple and red with an orange sash draped across their right shoulder and trailing down to the floor behind them. Their earring was hidden by a hat bisected into five pointed segments, the tallest of which hung over their forehead in a sharp point of royal purple fabric. He heard Oona’s footsteps behind him. Vedek Ishi Aba inclined her head towards them both, before giving them a warm smile. Too warm, possibly. She was nervous about what she had been sent here to do. If their sources were correct, these two had killed. Opinions differed on whether they were accidental murderers or cold-blooded executioners. Rehr: Y-Yes? ::he stammered.:: Oona: Who are you? Vedek Ishi: Ishi Aba of the Vedek Assembly. May I come in? Never the best actor on Bajor, Rehr could not help but allow his paranoid fear from trickling into his voice. Rehr: H-How c-can we help y-you? Oona: Just tell us what you have come to say. Vedek Ishi: If my intelligence is correct, I am afraid you may need to leave Bajor immediately. But I do hope I am wrong. Rehr moved to one side to allow the Vedek to enter their humble abode. Once she had done so, Rehr stepped outside for a moment and looked around for signs of anyone else. It was still early in the morning, the sun barely having come up over the Holana Ridge and the fields were still empty of labourers. Even his mother, away visiting family in Ashalla, was absent. There was apparently nobody but he, Oona and Vedek Ishi for miles. He stepped back into the house and closed the door. The chill morning air did little to fortify his fraying nerves. Oona: You are wrong. Tell her, Rehr. Rehr: We d-don’t know what you’re talking about. Not only was he a terrible actor, he was an even worse liar. Vedek Ishi: I don’t believe that for a second, Rehr, is it? I think the deaths of an entire warehouse of refugees, accidental or not, would stick in the memory. Rehr swallowed, looking at the Vedek who was staring at him intently. It was as if she could see into his pagh, as though she knew everything there was to know about him. About what he and Oona had been part of three nights before. Then, as if somebody had turned on a light, something fell into place. He looked at Ishi, his voice deathly quiet. Rehr: D-did you say… refugees? It didn't make sense. Refugees… but the woman whose broken and charred body he had seen through the binoculars had been Cardassian. Unmistakably, so. He had seen them on every street corner, on every drinking tavern, at every checkpoint out of Talmulna, on every propaganda video. The look of a Cardassian was imprinted upon his brain just as the dead Cardassian woman and the groping hand of the child in the rubble was now. Rehr: oO Cardassian refugees? Oo ::it seemed like an oxymoron.:: oO How could Cardassians be refugees? On a planet they have invaded? Oo ::he stared again at the Vedek.:: oO Who is this woman? Oo Oona: Why would Cardassians hide on Bajor? During a war that they caused? Vedek Ishi’s lips turned into a thin line; were these master murderers actually what they appeared to be? A couple in way over their heads. Unless they were acting at being terrible at acting, she could read them like a book. Vedek Ishi: They were civilians. Civilian dissidents. They were refugees to our planet, from before the occupation, seeking a freer Cardassia. They sought religious freedom, to practice whatever they wanted. They were peaceful. And… well, you butchered them like they were livestock. Bile burned at the back of Rehr’s throat and he fought to contain the rising tide of nausea that threatened to spill forth like the waters of the Ratosha [...]. They had been party to the massacre of innocent Cardassian lives. ‘The only good Cardassian is a dead Cardassian’ was a theory he had never been able to subscribe to- and it was one of the reasons he and Moparu had clashed on a number of occasions. Yes, the Central Command were oppressive and cruel- if not downright sadistic- and yes, the Obsidian Order were extremists with a warped view of the galaxy, but those that worked for them were a mere fraction of the total number of Cardassians. He had heard whispered through the Resistance of a dissident movement, opposed to the fascistic tendencies of the Union and who fought for a free, democratic Cardassia. Much was also made about the art and literature from a Cardassia before Central Command, before the Obsidian Order. He didn’t like to admit it, but Rehr knew that there were good and just Cardassians- who were very much alive. He had just never met one. Now he had helped kill dozens of them. Rehr: W-we don’t know anything about it. ::he responded, trying to sound defiant. But there was no mistaking the tone in his voice. It was feeble. Defeated.:: Y-you have the wrong people. He knew that Ishi would be able to see straight through him and know that his pagh was in turmoil. And she did. Her brown eyes bore holes through Rehr’s pagh and saw that he was all of a flutter, and in complete tumult. Oona: You have incorrect information. Vedek Ishi: Please, stop lying to me. ::she smiled briefly in an attempt at humour:: It’s bad for your pagh. The shame that now overwhelmed made him unable to look at the Vedek or Oona. Instead he looked down at the cobblestones without really paying attention to them. His eyes registered them but he did not see them. All that he could take in was the dead Cardassian woman and the child groping through the rubble. Rehr: Why have you come to tell us this? Vedek Ishi: Because the Assembly has agreed to get you out. Off Bajor for a time. The Obsidian Order are looking for your cell, and it won’t be long before they find you. The thought turned Rehr’s stomach again and he heaved. Having to leave his mother alone on the farm, turning his back on his life as he knew it, fleeing for their lives from the ever reaching hand of the Order and becoming fugitives of the dreaded ‘state’. In a split second, his life had been turned upside down for the second time in three days. He imagined a life where he and Oona would never know a moment’s peace again. His guilty eyes found Oona’s for a brief moment and the realisation that he had led them both down the path before them was too much. He turned from her and vomited into the sink, hot tears trickling from both eyes. The retching was painful as he convulsed. Without thinking, Rehr wiped his mouth with the sleeve of shirt and then turned to face the Vedek and his beloved wife again. Another wave of nausea threatened, but he willed it back. Oona glared at the intruder, was this another plot from Moparu to torment them? She wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this visit was part of his twisted game. Vedek Ishi: ::clearly deeply uncomfortable:: Believe me, it is not a task I relish, but your lives are in danger. They already have Jahanna. Or at least, that’s what the chatter is saying. Rehr: How long do we have? ::he heard Oona begin to protest but he cut across her.:: There’s no point in arguing, Oona. The Obsidian Order are after us. The longer we remain here, the more risk we are at! You know that! ::beat:: And if by some miracle we escape their clutches- you know Moparu will find us!! He didn’t like overruling his wife. They were a team, they did everything in agreement. It was the secret of their happy union. But this time he had to stand his ground, to make the decision. Their lives were on the line. Jahanna was probably dead already, Altin too. Rehr: How long do we have? ::he repeated, looking to the Vedek with a surprising level of decisiveness that he had not felt moments before.:: The Vedek looked from Rehr to Oona and back to Rehr. She was deeply worried about this Moparu character; initial intelligence had suggested he was behind the whole thing. And she was starting to suspect that although these two had believed that they were killing vicious Cardassian agents, this Moparu had known the truth, and either didn’t care or wanted civilians dead. Vedek Ishi: You have six hours. That’s all; I cannot give you any more time. I will meet you here. Bring only what you can carry. ::she bowed her head:: Good luck. Six hours was not nearly enough time to put the affairs of his life in order. If the Order was closing in on the cell then they’d be monitoring the local communications channels. He wouldn’t be able to call his mother to say goodbye, no time to cancel the labourers due to report for the katterpod harvest, no time to bid farewell to the few friends he and Oona had outside of the cell. They would simply cease to be. Rehr: Very well. ::he drew in a breath and offered a silent prayer to the Prophets for courage.:: Oona, we need t-. He stopped when he realised that his wife was no longer in the kitchen. It took him a second to process the loud bang as their front door slammed open, hitting the wooden slats of the wall outside. Oona had swept from the kitchen and was marching down the steps and towards the fields. He thought to call out to his wife, but he stopped. There had never been any reasoning with her when had grown angry. She was headstrong and vibrant and he loved that about her. He watched her retreating form for a moment and then pulled himself together. Rehr: I suppose I had better pack lightly. ::he said, simply.:: --- Etan Rehr Resistance Cell Member & Etan Oona Resistance Cell Member & Ishi Aba Vedek as simmed by: Lieutenant JG Etan Iljor Science Officer USS Resolution C239203TW0 & Lt Meidra Sirin Counseling Officer USS Resolution R239707MS0 & Lieutenant Commander Genkos Adea MD Second Officer & Chief Medical Officer USS Resolution G239502GS0 4 Quote Link to comment
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