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Tahna Yavarel - Thirty-Four

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The next sim shows, that what happens to our characters, also has an impact on those at the homefront. Excellent piece of work @Tahna Meru and I love the insight on Bajoran culture and Meru's family history.


((OOC: The "present" sections are intended to take place concurrently with the mission that just concluded, specifically, they're meant to directly follow the publishing of this news report IC))

((Vazal Shrine, Kendra Province, Bajor – 2389))

Tahna Meru tugged at the tassels of her uranak’ei1. It was a lovely golden shawl, crocheted in the traditional pattern by her Yania2 years ago. It matched the one her Yania made for her own daughter, though Meru’s bore her and her mothers’ names embroidered on the hem, while her cousin, Tara’s, bore the names of all the mothers in their family going back long before the Occupation. The Valis women had only lost the object during the Occupation, while Tahna Yavarel had lost her whole family history. Uranak’ei were meant to be passed from mother to daughter for generations, but Meru was the first in the Tahna family to wear it, and should not be the last if her mother’s plans bore fruit. The girl's opinion on the matter was yet uncertain. So far she seemed determined to oppose her mother’s plans, aiming for a future among the stars instead of remaining grounded, forgoing instruction on running a farm in favor of teaching herself exobotany. Bajor’s decision to join the Federation the year before hadn’t helped, but Yavarel hoped her daughter’s mind might change yet—after all, she was only fourteen.

Tahna Y.: ::Whispering to her daughter:: You’re slouching. And fidgeting.

Meru made a face, but straightened her shoulders and dropped the tassel at her mother’s request. 

Tahna M.: ::Her voice was soft and hesitant, unsure of herself despite hours of preparation.:: What if I forget the prayer?

Tahna Y.: You won’t. 

She had no doubt that her daughter’s Ih’tanu would go well. Yavarel hadn’t experienced the ceremony herself when she came of age, but she ensured everything was in order for her daughter, and she knew the blessing she was to offer welcoming her daughter into a long line of Bajoran women, though their names had been lost. She’d made sure Meru knew the prayer, where to sit and stand, how to behave during her blessing, wouldn’t flinch when she received her d’ja pagh. She could not forget a name when reciting her matriline, as it began with Yavarel and paused with Tahna. 

Still, an element of discomfort remained, and that element’s name was Yavarel. 

It wasn’t that she felt unwelcome at the shrine. While she’d never been, her husband had been attending services there since they settled in Kendra Province, and they were presenting Meru together. Besides, it was antithetical to feel unwelcome at a shrine. She straightened out the uranak’ei, which had become crooked with all Meru’s anxious fidgeting, and tucked stray pieces of hair back into her daughter’s dark braid. 

It wasn’t even the fact that she had no faith in the Prophets. She did not require her daughter, now nearly an adult and yet still her baby, to take on her own agnosticism. The ceremony was as much cultural as it was religious, and whether the Prophets existed and cared about them or not, Yavarel would be damned if her child missed out on the slightest bit of Bajoran culture. She did not spend her youth fighting in the resistance just to kill their culture herself.

Still, Yavarel doubted she would ever seek comfort in a shrine. 

She offered her daughter a rare, approving smile, ensuring not a single thread nor hair was out of place. Then, she and her husband took their seats on the crimson mats at the front of the shrine, heads held high and spirits proud as Meru approached the Prylar.


((Vazal Shrine, Kendra Province, Bajor – Present))

Vedek Kare looked up from the prayer candles she was lighting to the woman stalking down the aisle like a feral dakthara on the hunt. She recognized her, though she hadn’t seen her in…well, nearly a decade. Not since she was just a Prylar. 

Kare: Welcome. 

Yavarel huffed, stopping short of the Vedek. 

The two women stared at each other for a painfully long moment, as if neither was quite sure what to do next. Kare was there to provide spiritual support and advice, and she was patient, and had plenty of time. So, she sat cross-legged on the crimson mat, and waited. 

Tahna Y.: ::Tersely:: Vedek. 

Somehow, the word sounded about as reverent as a curse in Yavarel’s mouth. Kare did not take offense, Tahna Rej regularly attended services and she’d heard his wife’s thoughts on religion. The priestess simply offered Yavarel a smile and remained silent, waiting. 

Silence stretched between the two for several minutes, until finally, Yavarel shifted her weight from one foot to the other and, slowly, sat opposite the Vedek. The stiff corners of her mouth dropped slightly, a minor tremble in the corner of her eye, all signs of a facade about to crack. 

Kare: This is your second visit to this shrine, ever. oOProbably your second visit to any shrine, ever, so you must be deeply troubled.Oo

Her observation was met with silence, and finally Yavarel looked away, her eyes wandering through the room till they focused on a more distant candle behind the Vedek’s shoulder, its wavering light slightly more steady than the dam stopping her flood of emotions. 

Tahna Y.: I do not believe. 

Kare: That is not a requirement. 

The candle flickered, and Yavarel broke down. 


((Resistance Cell Hideout, Lonar Province, Bajor – 2368))

Tahna Y.: What’ve you heard?

It had taken Tahna Yavarel three years to track down the location of her husband after he was caught on suspicion of terrorism and whisked away to some inhumane labor camp. Three years of running across Bajoran continents with her small cell, hiding from the enemy, eating whatever they could scavenge and sleeping as little as possible, as much for safety as to avoid the nightmares. After they located him it took another few months to find a contact who could feed her information from the camp. 

But at long last, three-odd years later, he was within reach. With her contact’s information, she would finally be able to mount a rescue, and she could finally be reunited with her husband. 

It didn’t hurt that she’d get to take out a bunch of Spoonheads along the way. Denai3, she’d admit, she would relish killing the cowards who ran that labor camp. 

Kevir, her contact, had just come back from the labor camp a kellipate away, and it was taking every ounce of self control she had to allow him catch his breath before begging for news of Rej. She offered the man water instead. He was panting, sticky with sweat and dust from the run back to her cell’s current hideout from the labor camp, his auburn hair the same shade as her missing husband’s damp and falling in his eyes. 

Kevir: I–

He began to answer her question, but his parched throat made the words come out rough as sandpaper. He took a grateful sip of the water instead, the drink giving him a moment to steady himself, though it was inadequate preparation for the news he had to deliver.

Kevir: Tahna, I’m sorry.

Tahna Y.: What do you mean you’re sorry?

She spat the words at him. Sorry wasn’t a word you used to prepare for killing Spoonheads, it was a word you used for dead Bajorans. There it was again, the same sick feeling in her stomach, the same cold fury she’d had when Rej was first taken. She had cried back then, hot, angry, desperate tears, but she would not cry today. She ran out of tears a long time ago. 

Kevir: Something happened, at the camp. I don’t know what. This morning, they woke up, thirty-four Bajorans were gone. Not escaped. Relocated, maybe. 

Or they were dead, but it seemed he was too diplomatic to suggest that. 

Tahna Y.: Rej. 

Her husband’s name wasn’t a question, rather a demand. She knew the answer before he gave it, just from Kevir’s long pause, and every muscle in her body clenched with a thousand restrained emotions as she braced for impact. 

Kevir: Gone. 


((Vazal Shrine, Kendra Province, Bajor – Present))

Vedek Kare offered tissues, a cup of cela tea, a hand to hold, and patience as Yavarel gradually composed herself. By the time Yavarel took a deep, steadying breath, her eyes were still bloodshot and the tea nearly gone. Finally, she made eye contact with the Vedek and began speaking, her voice so steady that it hardly seemed possible she’d been weeping one moment earlier. That was a skill she’d learned in the Resistance, no doubt, when she had to deliver heartbreaking news in one breath and move on with the plan the next. Kare had watched far too many former freedom fighters shut down their emotions in moments of distress. 

Tahna Y.: Have you heard news of the USS Gorkon lately?

She hoped that would be enough prompting, and she wouldn’t need to explain any further, but the Vedek simply shook her head. Yavarel dropped her gaze to the cup of tea in her hands, shifting her weight from side to side as she steeled her nerves and continued. 

Tahna Y.: My daughter’s ship. They’re investigating two missing ships in a subspace rift. I don’t know much else, there’s hardly any communication, but– ::She paused, long enough to finish her tea, as if a final sip would make the next words any easier to say. It didn’t, the tea as bitter in her mouth as the scarce news of her daughter was in her soul.:: Thirty-four crew were reported missing. Meru may be among them, I don’t know. 

There wasn’t a single tremor in her voice. She set the empty cup to the side, gaze shifting to one of the shrine’s flickering candles. The Vedek placed a hand on Yavarel’s in a comforting gesture.

Kare: But you don’t know that she is missing.

Yavarel nodded, jaw clenched, posture stiff and unchanged. 

Kare: Does the rest of your family know?

Tahna Y.: Maybe Renas, I don’t know. He’s left for the Academy. The rest…they don’t read news of her missions until they’re over. They don’t want to worry needlessly.

Her family’s commitment to not reading news of the Gorkon was admirable. Yavarel checked every day for news of her daughter. She’d spent years not knowing where her husband was or if he was safe. She didn’t want to go through that again with her daughter, not even for a short while. Plus, Meru was posted to a ship that had gone missing for nearly a year, so she thought that her fear that her only daughter might just disappear on it was not unfounded. 

Now, the fear that haunted her dreams, that clenched an icy fist around her heart every time she opened a report from the Gorkon, that terrible fear might have come true. Thirty-four souls missing from the Gorkon, and Meru could be one of them. Yavarel had no way of knowing until the ship returned, if it did at all. She wasn’t Starfleet, she couldn’t track Meru down across quadrants and rifts in space-time like she had tracked Rej across Bajor. 

She was helpless, and there was nothing she hated more. 

Tahna Y.: I didn’t know who else to talk to.

Vedek Kare couldn’t track down missing Starfleet officers either. She was the head of a small shrine in Kendra Province, and while her connections extended far beyond that, they were insufficient for tracking down a lost soul in another quadrant. 

Meru was a smart woman, her pagh was strong. The priestess doubted that she would be lost so easily, or that she would give up on rescuing the thirty-four missing unless she had no other choice. But the Vedek knew these words would be of little comfort to the scientist’s mother.

Kare: Do you know the Jia’kaja4?

Yavarel nodded, her face still set in the same stoic expression she’d fallen back on earlier. 

Tahna Y.: Yes. But I do not believe, Vedek. 

Vedek Kare gently patted Yavarel’s hand and offered her a kind smile. 

Kare: That is not a requirement. 




1 Bajoran: prayer shawl, traditionally worn by the daughter during her Ih’tanu ceremony.

2 Bajoran: aunt.

3 Bajoran: crude swear.

4 Traditional Bajoran prayer for protection.



Tahna Yavarel

Bajoran Milita (ret.)


simmed by 

Science Officer
USS Gorkon (NCC-82293)
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