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Lt. JG Trovek & Amb. Zorkal - Two Plus One Is Three

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By now all of you know I am a Lurys fan. I am however putting forward this, for very personal reasons.

The topic touches my heart deeply and it was beautifully written by @Arys and @Alora DeVeau. Thank you both for this.

I joined all the four parts so it is a long read, but certainly worth it.



((Children’s Home - Cardassian Prime))

The situation at the orphanage was just as bad the second time as it had been the first.  The building was just as cold and foreboding, the woman just as callous and uncaring, the child just as confused and fearful.  For the moment, nothing could be done about the first two, though Lukin would certainly start making calls and looking toward a better future in that regard, but the last was easily fixed.  After speaking to Ferri, the woman had come through.  In truth, Lukin knew she was the reason they hadn’t been able to take Geleth the first time, and he was glad to know that his reassurances were acceptable - he wouldn’t have liked to take extra measures to secure custody of the child.

So there they were again, the chilly, pale walled halls looming before them, stale, as uncaring as the woman who had led them through the facility.  And it truly was a facility. There was nothing there that indicated it was a place for children save for the occupants themselves, their thin bodies scurrying around from place to place under the stern eye and sharp tongue of their guardians.  There were no attempts to provide simple effects of comfort.  They were fed, clothed and had a bed.  That was all that was needed, was it not?

No.  Lukin knew that.  Children without parents had been considered a burden, a status that even from a young age bothered Lukin.  After the war, it was obvious they were the hope of Cardassia’s future.  Now?  While their people still reeled in the aftermath of a war that had ended decades before, they seemed to have forgotten that - or at least thought that the bare minimum was all that was required.  But to flourish, to do well, to be productive members of a society went beyond existing - it required children who thrived.  Nothing thrived in that place.
But one child would.  Lukin would make sure of it.  And he would use every ounce of influence he had to try and enact changes.  Changes that would start with her. 

She was taken then, her meagre belongings in a single bag, Lukin afforded the woman one last glare before he took the tiny hand in his own, the other in one of Arys’, and the three of them walked out of that building together.  Free. Lukin didn’t even look back at the veritable prison that squatted on the horizon, perhaps sullen that it had lost one of its prisoners.  

But he and Arys had gained something.  So had Geleth.  The plan was not to return immediately to the house.  No, there was too much to do before that.  Several shops in Coranum that day were surprised by the motley trio that entered through their doors.  The first was the toy store, a place of delight for one as small as Geleth.  Filled with colour and characters that made Lukin and Arys cringe, but they nonetheless endured it for her sake.  

The clothes shoppe wasn’t much more interesting to Lukin - and the only reason he held his attention at all was that he wanted to make sure the child had proper clothing. Arys however revealed another side to her and purchased a dress or two for herself, as well as clothing for Geleth. Rather than the sacks that hung off her thin, frail frame, she was put into dresses, tunics, and other outfits that were tailored to fit well - and with measurements in hand, they could replicate anything further that they needed.  

It was only after that they headed back to the house, far more welcoming than that metallic monstrosity they had left behind.  Once inside, the scents of savoury dishes greeted them, though Madra called it would be a few more minutes left.  That allowed them a little time to get settled, and Lukin led the way to a bedroom.  

It was not decorated, not yet, but even so, the warmer tones of the walls indicated this was a residence, not solitary confinement.  Lukin motioned toward the entirety of said room, then turned to the child. 

Zorkal: While we are on Cardassia, this is your room.

Geleth still clutched her pillow, and had barely let go of it through the duration of their trip. She had watched Lukin carefully, though it seemed she gained trust a lot easier than she did to Arys, who she still eyed with a mixture of suspicion and wonder. The girl looked around the room, hugged her newly gotten toys to herself, but didn't let go of his hand. 

Trovek: I will help with dinner. 

She smiled, which caused the girl to hide behind Lukin, which in turn caused her to sigh and turn around, leaving towards the kitchen. She didn’t blame the girl at all, but for the first time in her life she desperately wished to be Cardassian.  Lukin watched her go, eyeridges coming together in a frown, but he elected not to push it.  Turning back to the child, he motioned  again to the room. 

Zorkal: Why don’t we put your things away?

Geleth nodded carefully, though not at all convinced by that suggestion. She had been very shy when they had picked out clothes and toys for her, but had insisted on carrying as many of them herself as she could fit between her small arms - perhaps she was worried someone would take them away again. 

She still clung tightly to him, and Lukin elected not to disengage, but drew her over to a set of drawers.  Tapping lightly upon the front, it slid open at the barest touch.  

Zorkal: Let’s start with your clothes.  

Reluctantly, the girl parted with a few of her things, placing them neatly into the bottom shelf. But there was something else on her mind, something she seemed more comfortable asking now that Arys had left. 

Geleth: Why does the woman look different?

Zorkal: The woman?

Lukin’s left eye ridge arched just so at the description. 

Zorkal: You mean Arys? That is because she is different.

Geleth: A different kind of Cardassian? 

Lukin chuckled at that, then coughed as if to hide his amusement.  

Zorkal: Some might say yes.

There were a couple of reasons for that.  First was her attitude.  In many ways, Arys *acted* like a Cardassian, to the point that sometimes Lukin forgot that she wasn’t - only to be reminded when she actually did display the rather non Cardassian aspects of herself.  He didn’t mind those.  They were part of who they were, but it had gotten him into trouble on occasion.

Then there was the fact that she was half Bajoran, and the controversy that surrounded the idea of a common ancestry.  Many of his kind *hated* the idea.  Many others wanted to embrace it.  Lukin could see the evidence, but there was still doubt despite it.  Regardless, it was moot when it came to their relationship. 

Geleth: She is scary. 

Zorkal: Ah.  Yes, I can see that.  She can be a little scary.  

Lukin shifted and got down upon one knee so that he was closer to her level rather than towering above her.  His grey eyes met her warmer ones and he offered a smile.  Much like what he gave to Arys, this one did not sting with sarcasm, nor was it tight with cynicism.  In it was a warmth that, thus far, very few people received - and now she was one of them. 

Zorkal: But while she can seem scary, she is a very wonderful person.  I hope you will take the opportunity to get to know her better.  She cares about you very much.

The little girl looked at Lukin, her face scrunched up in thought. She was trying so very hard to wrap her head around what was happening, and to seem brave when she, in truth, didn't feel brave at all. Eventually she nodded carefully.

Geleth: She has the wrinklies. 

Zorkal: The…wrinklies?

Geleth pointed at the ridges on her nose, which she and Arys indeed had in common. 

Geleth: Am I the same kind of Cardassian she is? 

Geleth’s parents had raised her knowing that she was different from the other children, but that being different wasn’t a bad thing. They had told her she simply was a different *kind* of Cardassian, and Geleth had understood that. And now she was, perhaps, a little worried that her Cardassian ridges would fall off. She didn’t like that idea.

Lukin didn’t know that, but once she indicated the very Bajoran feature, he understood what she meant.  Wrinklies.  Cute.

Zorkal: You both share a similar ancestry on one side, but she has a different ancestry on the other.  She is part human. 

Not that he held that against her.

Geleth: Is she your wife? 

So many questions. She was a curious little thing, like most Cardassian children were. Under the old government those character traits were being discouraged, but nowadays it was something parents took pride in. And Lukin?  He’d been similar, too curious for his own good, and there had certainly been attempts to work it out of him.  They had all failed, and perhaps it was because of that trait, and others, that the old government didn’t particularly care for that had helped him survive everything.  

The last question made him smirk.  It was a fair question, easily answered, and he could understand why she asked it.

Zorkal:  No, she is not. Come now, let’s put the rest of your things away.  We can put your toys on top of the dresser for now.

Geleth nodded and helped, but never quite let go of either Lukin or her pillow. He was nice to her and not very scary, and more than anything, she desired to feel protected right now. 

((Lukin’s home, Cardassia Prime))

Eventually they made their way to the dining area, where Arys was waiting for them. The food served were the kind of things children liked, with an emphasis on sweet meals rather than elaborate ones. 

Geleth veeeeery shyly greeted Arys while Lukin led her to the table, and then climbed up on the chair next to him while Arys took a seat on the opposite side. 

Perhaps she was hurt by the girls behaviour, perhaps even offended, but none of it showed on her features. She controlled her expression carefully as she served dinner, and no one would have known that she had been, for the lack of better words, freaking out just a few minutes prior. 

But she did notice the way Geleth looked at all the food in front of her, and couldn’t help but wonder what the past months had been like. She hadn’t been starved, surely, but Arys doubted that the meals had been prepared with the same love and care as the ones presented here.

Geleth waited patiently for her plate to be filled, but once she noticed Lukin pick up his utensils and indicated that it was okay to eat, she seemed to try to consume as much food as possible in as little time as possible. 

Arys glanced at her, slightly worried, then then at Lukin. He should say something. He was the Cardassian. Lukin caught her look, but his focus was on the child, his frown deep upon his jowls.  Setting down his fork, he reached over and gently placed a single finger upon her wrist.  

Zorkal: Geleth.  

Geleth looked up at him, unsure what she had done wrong, but quickly gathering that she *had* done something wrong. 

Zorkal: There is no need to rush.  It will not be taken away.  You may have as much as you like. 

He retrieved his hand and let it rest beside his plate.  He had seen grown Cardassians eat that way, but only when their hunger reached desperation.  Starvation could drive them to simply consume rather than enjoy.  Yet, Geleth was not starving - and there was no indication she had been denied food - but he wondered if they had been forced to keep to a strict time schedule.  

Geleth: ::quietly:: I’m sorry. 

She lowered her gaze and dropped her utensils, tears welling up in her eyes, but it was unclear if that was because of what Lukin had said, the withdrawal of his hand, or simply a combination of everything that had occurred today. She had been so brave all this time, but now, all she wanted to do was hide somewhere. 

Trovek: Sweetling, Lukin is just worried about your tummy. He is not angry at you.

Arys tried. She really did, and Geleth seemed to notice - or perhaps she was just glad that no one was upset at her. She wiped her tears on the pillow she had sat in her lap, and nodded. 

Trovek: [Standard, to Lukin] I think you should take her hand again. You make her feel safe. 

Lukin hadn’t expected her to cry and when met with the tears was uncertain what to do.  Arys’ comment in Standard called his attention to her.  

Zorkal: [Standard, to Lukin] I find that rather hard to believe. 

She was a tiny thing, and he towered above her.  He was a Dominion War veteran, a Cardassian born under the old government, lived through the destruction of half of his people, and was striving to help his people continue to move toward a more positive future, with more amenable relations between Cardassians and other species.  He dealt with those who were hostile even decades after the end of their alliance with the Dominion.  He was not the sort of person that he would think made others feel safe.

Trovek:  [Standard] Well she seems to have taken a liking to you. 

Zorkal: Hm. 

Obviously the child knew nothing but Cardassian.  She was young, had only lived on the planet, why should he expect her to be exposed to anything else?  

Geleth: ::quietly:: Why do you have a secret language?

His attention returned to the child at his side.  She was still meek, cowed under the admonishment from him, even though he had not been harsh.  

Zorkal: It is not a secret language, but sometimes it is easier for us to converse in it.  You shall learn it in time.

Arys found that it very much was a secret language. She spoke Cardassian fluently, by now, but had chosen standard for the very reason that Geleth could not understand it. But she wouldn’t tell that to her.

Trovek: You will. 

He stretched out his hand again, but that time, he placed a gentle finger beneath her chin so she would look up at him.

Zorkal: You have no need to be sorry.  You have done nothing wrong.  I want you to simply know that you can take the time for pleasure in your food, because it will be given and you will not be taken away until you are satisfied. 

Geleth: ::nodding carefully: Okay…

Arys exhaled and set down her utensils, the dinner untouched. This was a *lot* more difficult than other people made it seem, and she wasn’t sure how to make things better. And if she *could* make them better. She still felt so terribly guilty for what had happened to the girl’s family. 

Trovek: I think it is best if I start catching up on… things. ::she sighed:: Maybe you can read her a story when you bring her to bed? 

Zorkal: A story?

Lukin might start getting a crick in his neck with the back and forth between the two he was doing.  He couldn’t hide the shocked expression from the woman, though thankfully the child was too engrossed with her food to notice it.

Trovek: [Standard] She’s scared of me. She likes you. It’s just a story, I am sure you can manage. 

Once more, he switched to Standard, wishing for the comfort of his own language, but acknowledging that, perhaps, it was best for the current situation.

Zorkal:  [Standard] I can.  That does not mean I should.  

Perhaps she was being a little harsh. Perhaps she was just stressed, and tired. Perhaps she needed to speak to someone about things. Arys vanished out of the dining room and into the sleeping room she occupied, part of her, for a split second, wondering if she was now permitted to join Lukin in *his* room that night… and then decided that she had other problems. 

Lukin’s frown turned even more severe as she just left. He couldn’t fathom what the problem was.  Why was she being so petulant?  Glancing back at the child, his expression softened once more before she could see the hardness that had been there previously.  He didn’t interrupt her, but let her eat, only speaking to encourage her and quietly pass along some advice on manners.

Madra had made a veritable feast complete with dessert.  Lukin watched the enthusiasm with which she indulged in the sweet and elected not to mention the speed with which she consumed it. Once was enough for now, and they would have more time to teach her later.  

He did as Arys suggested and selected a story from his child that he had particularly enjoyed about a wild hound and his adventures in the mountains of Cardassia.  He read only one, but promised to read another the next night.  After making sure she had her pillow and her softest plushie, he patted her hand and exited.  

The evening drew on, and eventually Geleth had been tucked into bed. The door to Arys’ room remained open, and the light in the hallway remained on, making sure that she wasn’t scared, and that they would know if she got out of bed in the middle of the night. Once Arys was sure that the girl was asleep, she crossed the hallway and quietly knocked on Lukin’s door.

He had returned to his bedroom after finishing with Geleth, leaving Arys to…well, whatever she was doing.  He figured she would emerge when he was ready, and when he heard the knock, he called for her to enter. He was already changed, dressed in comfortable sleeping clothes, ready for a night’s rest, and yet he elected to remain awake longer.  He was reading, but the book was something for himself rather than a child’s story.  Setting his tablet aside, he turned his full focus to her.  

Trovek: Can I come in or are we doing the whole separated bedroom thing again? I just need to know. 

It still made no sense.  But she was a woman, and women in general just didn’t make sense.  

Zorkal: That is entirely up to you.

Arys didn’t answer but entered, closed the door behind her, and faceplanted on the bed next to him. That wasn’t exactly what Lukin had expected, but rather than speak, he simply sat in his chair and watched her. She remained like this until she ran out of air, then looked at him. 

Trovek: How did the story go? 

Zorkal: It was fine.  I read her a story about Chrika the Hound.  It is a character featured in a series of stories often told to Cardassian children.  

Trovek: I am sure she loved it. 

Did she?  Geleth seemed to enjoy it.  Did it sooth her?  She went to bed without argument.  She was a child.  She was a child not used to such kindness.  Did it help her at all?  He hoped so.  Only time would tell.  

Zorkal: Perhaps. 

She sighed and turned onto her back, staring up at the ceiling. She was…. done. For today, anyway. 

Trovek: I love seeing you with her. It’s appealing. And she seems to like you. Trust you more easily.

Zorkal: It might be simply because I baar more of the markings of her parents than you.

Arys was half Bajoran, just as her brother had been, but unlike him she was not Cardassian.  Their ridges were far more prominent, and the child had also been a resident of Cardassian.  Lukin looked more like the people she was used to.  

Trovek: I know. It’s why I left. She needs time, and I understand that. I want to… ::she sighed:: hug her and love her and tell her everything will be fine. But right now that’s not possible yet. She trusts you. She does not trust me. She deserves to feel safe.

Zorkal: She does.

He agreed readily, still watching the woman upon his bed.  Finally, he rose, then eased himself onto it beside her, back resting against the wall.  

Zorkal: But how will she come to learn to love and trust you if you flee whenever it gets difficult?

Trovek: I doubt she needs me, Lukin. She got you.

Zorkal: She needs stability.  Her parents have already left.  Yes, it was because of their death, it was unwanted.  They didn’t want to leave her.  But they have.  She both understands it and doesn’t understand it.  But right now, what she's seeing is two strangers who have come and brought her into a better place - but one of them keeps leaving.

Trovek: What can I possibly offer her? I don’t even know if I will be able to adopt her, and if I do, it’s only because of you. And then? It’s my fault her mother and father are not with her any more. 

Lukin grit his teeth.  She had mentioned that. She had also said she didn’t feel guilty over it either.  He had known then she was lying, and now it crept out.  

Zorkal: It is not your fault.

Trovek: I am not stupid. The timeline fits. I don’t believe in accidents, not if they are so conveniently timed. 

Oh yes, he had certain things he wanted to do to certain people.  At that very moment, he could have left Cardassian, found the party responsible, and squeezed every ounce of life out of them.  Yes, it was too convenient.  He understood that.  Unfortunately, so did she.  

Zorkal: You know that’s not true.

Trovek: No. The truth is that I came to Earth despite my father not wanting me there, took my grandfather out if the stasis-unit and killed him, took the documents despite my father asking to see them first… and then threatened my mother to disclose Taril’s existence to her sect. Tell me again how this isn’t my fault. 

He wanted to throttle her too, not to injure her, but to shake those thoughts and feelings out of ehr head, to make her realise that she was not the one who had done the wrong thing.

Zorkal: You were the one who took the suffering of a respected elder away, claimed documents that had been left to you, not your father, and called your mother out on her hypocrisy.  

And then there was the other half of him that wanted to do the opposite.  The one that wanted to draw her into his embrace, to hold her and tell her everything would be all right. To convince her that he was correct, that she was guiltless, and reassure her that he would make the truly guilty pay. It was the latter desire that was the strongest, and the one that won.  His arms encircled around her so he could pull her close to him. 

For a moment she froze, perhaps not having expected the sudden display of affection that was still so new to their relationship. If there was initial apprehension, it didn’t last long - only moments later she relaxed into his embrace. 

Trovek: That doesn’t change anything. I still… well. 

Zorkal: It is not you who is in the wrong.  It is them.  And at some point, something will be done about it.  That does not change the fact that you are Arys.  That you have the capacity to care for and love that child - and that is what she needs.

He sighed, fingers running through the rivulets of hair that cascaded down her back.  

Zorkal: And know this - you are not alone in it.

She knew that. She hadn’t expected that he would leave her alone with a half Cardassian child, but she did know what issues it could cause. And those worried her. 

Trovek: You already have enemies. They might think she’s ours, and even if not, they might very well disagree with whatever arrangement we find.

Zorkal: This is true.

Every Cardassian had enemies - and if they said they didn’t, they were lying.  He was simply more visible than many because of his current political status.  Even if he retired, there would likely still be those out there who wished to ill him.  Then there were those who might have certain memories of the Dominion war…

Trovek: Or perhaps it is another reason to try and poison you. ::she paused, then admitted:: Ferri told me. 

Lukin chose to ignore that comment. He had suspected that Ferri had told Arys, and he was not quite sure yet how to feel about the fact that his aide was more loyal to her than him. 

Zorkal: But not you?

Trovek: I don’t think those people like you enough to poison *me* instead. And it would be a waste of effort. I for one would take out the illness, not the symptom. 

She managed a smile, knowing full well that the statement bordered between dark humor and cynicism. Lukin snorted. 

Zorkal: We can’t know for certain.  It is possible.  But it is also possible that she would spend the rest of her childhood in that place.  Neither of us wish for that to happen.  This is not going to be easy, Arys, and I think you knew that when you made that internal decision to adopt her.

A decision he had known would happen, and that was why he had tried to make sure every contingency was covered.  Ferri had been a wall, but he’d managed to break it down.  Now they just needed to get past the government authority that oversaw the adoption of Cardassia’s children.  Theirs was a unique case, but he hoped they would see reason.

Trovek: I would never *not* want to take her. Especially not after seeing the orphanage. ::she shook her head and withdrew from his embrace, only to pull him down onto the pillows with her:: It’s odd that there is still such an… oversight. And I want her to like me. 

They landed in an odd position and Lukin shifted so that one arm furled beneath her and then both drew her closer to him.  

Zorkal: How can she come to like you if you keep running away?

Trovek: I am still working on that. And I know its not ideal. 

Oh, she knew. It was why she was doing her best not to freak out, and if she did, not let Geleth see that she was. She desperately wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t Lukin, but who was there? Dal had enough on his plate, Alora did not have children, she was still upset with Ferri, Aine was with her, and she was *Yael’s* assigned friend, not the other way around. 

Trovek: And I will try my best. ::she paused, looked at Lukin, and added with a somewhat gamely smirk:: And if we can manage her, we can manage all the others too. 

Hat caught him off guard.  Those Cardassian ridges arched upward stiffly in surprise. 

Zorkal: All the others?

Trovek: The other children we’ll adopt, of course. 

Zorkal: Ah.  Of course. 

She cuddled up to him, and once the Ambassador himself had been turned into the comfiest of Cardassian pillows, she closed her eyes to drift off to sleep. 


((Time skip, a few hours later))

Arys was dreaming, but as it was so often commonplace for dreams, she couldn’t identify it as such. Instead, she found herself standing in a blindingly bright room with white walls, and a single bed in front of her. A bed? No, not quite. It was one of the conversion containers in which they had laid her grandfather to rest, in which his body would be broken down until there was no person left, but only organic matter. She found herself staring at the body, only to realize that he was, in fact, alive and breathing. 

Not breathing. Wheezing. And coughing. 

Arys felt panic rising as she tried to find medication, tried to find anything to ease his pain, to help… 

Back in Lukin’s bed, she woke with a start, sitting up to take a few deep breaths. What an odd nightmare to have… and yet, despite being awake, the wheezing didn’t stop, but it didn’t come from her grandfather. 

It came from Geleth’s room. 

He must have heard it too, the croupy sound that was indicative of laboured breathing, of something that had settled into the lungs and clung voraciously, without thought to the misery it brought.  Without a word to the woman, Lukin rose from the bed, then made his way out of the room to cross to the one that the child occupied.  

Arys followed, still trying to calm down from the dream, and from the reality she was now faced with. They entered, and though the coughing had subsided, it only lasted a moment.  Upon their entry, it returned, and the sound rattled within the child’s chest.  Lukin allowed Arys to take up position on one side of the bed while he crossed around to the other. Geleth’s hand seemed to find his and he took it.

Trovek: I have a med-kit in my room, could you get it for me? And a glass of warm water. 

Lukin nodded and released the child, though he did offer a gentle pat before he stepped away to retrieve the requested kit.  

Arys sat down by the side of Geleth’s bed, and even though the child was reluctant to even look at her, she managed to help her sit up, rubbing the girl's back. She looked at Lukin as he returned, and reached out for the medical kit which he promptly gave to her.  That secured, he circled back around to sit on the other side once more, adults flanking the child.

Zorkal: Sitting up will help.

The child seemed to breathe more easily now, but, after a quick scan, Arys still decided on a medication that would help clear the lungs. For a Cardassian her temperature would have been high, for a Bajoran it would have been a little elevated - and for a hybrid like her, it was probably somewhere in the middle. 

Geleth: ::sniff:: I… I am sorry… 

Trovek: There is nothing to feel sorry about, Sweetling. ::she stroked over the girl’s hair, helping her hold the glass of water steady:: 

Lukin might have assisted in that as well, but rather he simply remained a presence. Arys was the doctor, but it also allowed her a chance to show Geleth that the woman could be trusted.  Still, it had hit her so suddenly.  The only time he’d had that sort of experience was when he’d been struck with that strange disease back on Deep Space 10 several years prior.  

Zorkal: Is this something you’ve experienced before?  

Geleth: S-.. sometimes.. 

Sometimes. So the girl had experienced this before, and yet, no one had told them. No one had treated her either, as far as Arys could tell. Respiratory diseases were common, and mostly an easy fix, or at the very least medicated. 

Lukin nodded.  If she’d had it before, then it was likely a recurring infection, or perhaps she was simply prone to such infections and not a pathogen that had been somehow given to her.  

Trovek: Since when do you have the cough, hm? 

Geleth: Since… since the house went foggy.

Zorkal: Foggy?

Lukin glanced over at Arys, then back to Geleth. 

Zorkal: Can you tell me more?

Geleth quickly shook her head, a clear indication that she did *not* want to talk about, and whatworried her more, right now, was any kind of punishment for the cough. Or perhaps they would send her back, now that they knew she was sick? 

He smiled, once again something far more gentle than he would normally give and he patted her hand again.

Zorkal: It’s all right Geleth.  Don’t worry about it now.  Arys is a doctor and she will help you.

And he had all the confidence in that woman.  Trusted her.  Actually trusted her.  Perhaps one day he might even tell her that.  His eyes shifted back to the doctor in question. 

Zorkal: She cares about you and wants you to be healthy and happy.

Arys nodded, taking the glass to set in down on the nightstand once Geleth wasn’t coughing any more. Geleth eyed Arys cautiously, wrestling with herself as to whether to trust the woman or not. Eventually, the child gave a careful nod. 

Trovek: Lukin is right. ::she paused, considering her next words carefully:: Can you t-… ::she stopped, then decided to try something else:: I have a Nazgûl pet, do you want to see him?

Geleth peered at her, not quite sure what a Nazgûll was. While the species was common on and native to Cardassia Prime, Geleth hadn’t grown up here. But she did know what pets were, and the question seemed to distract her enough from being scared. 

Geleth: Yes please. 

Arys nodded and got up, leaving the room, only to return a little later with the terrarium she had purchased for the small creature, waking it up in the process. 

Trovek: This is Gul Naz.

Geleth pressed her hand against the glass, then looked at Arys. 

Geleth: He can’t be a Gul. Guls are different. 

Lukin peered into the terrarium.  It was small, but temporary.  If Arys insisted on keeping it, then they would get something larger once back on Ops, though he would certainly recommend returning the creature back to where it came from.  After a moment, he leaned back and nodded. 

Zorkal: Very different.  That, my dear, is a nazgûl, a common lizard here on Cardassia.  She has managed to twist the name.  

Geleth: ::giggle:: She is odd. 

Lukin snorted in amusement.  Arys huffed, though in truth she didn’t mind. “Odd” was a good step up from “Scary”, and she’d take it any day. 

Trovek: People keep saying that. 

Zorkal: I wonder why.

He cast a sidelong glance, a flicker of a smile teasing over his lips for the briefest of moments. Geleth continued observing the lizard, and then, to the surprise of both Arys and Lukin, she proclaimed:

Geleth: We also have a pet. His name is Oksa. 

A pet.  So there was a child *and* an animal.  Frowning, Lukin inquired further. 

Zorkal: What kind of pet?

Geleth: He is a hound but… ::she lowered her hand and looked down at them:: he got sleepy. Everyone got sleepy. 

Sleepy.  He didn’t have to ask for clarification, he knew what it truly meant, even if the child herself didn’t.  She would have to learn soon enough.  But not right then.  Right then, they needed to get her better and deal with the government.  Large, hard to take lessons like that could wait for another day.  

Zorkal: I’m sorry Geleth.  It happens sometimes.  

Too many had gone to sleep and would never awaken again.  And there she was, left behind while the others had gone on before.  Sighing, Lukin turned and pulled the covers up further. 

Zorkal: Are you feeling better now?

Geleth nodded. She did - breathing came more easily, and now that she knew Lukin wasn’t mad at her, she was less scared. 

Zorkal: Arys has a way of doing that.

He began to tuck the covers around her and motioned for her to lie back.  

Zorkal: Rest will do wonders as well.  It is past your bedtime.  We’ll have breakfast in the morning and then decide what we shall do for the rest of the day.

Geleth: Can Naz stay in my room? Or does he sleep where Arys sleeps?

Arys gave a somewhat amused smile and placed the terrarium on the nightstand. 

Trovek: He can stay here tonight. I have another lizard. 

Lukin snorted, but offered no commentary on what lizard that was.  Geleth, of course, did not understand what that meant, and probably assumed there was another terrarium with a tiny creature in it. She lay down, eyes heavy, and reached for her pillow to hug it. Arys really needed to find a way to convince her to let her clean it. 

Trovek: Goodnight Sweetling. And if anything happens, we will be right here to help. 

Reaching out, Lukin placed a gentle hand atop her head.  Her hair was soft, her body warm, though not overly so now that she had been administered medication.  How different it was for her, taken from the people who had birthed her and cared for her, only to be thrust into a cage only to be passed back to another set of hands.  Hopefully they could provide her with some stability.  They had only one last hurdle.

Zorkal: Rest well, child.

He released her, then rose and made his way to the door so she could sleep.

[End Scene]


Lt. JG Trovek Arys

Medical Officer

Starbase 118 Ops



Dalin Lukin Zorkal 

Cardassian Ambassador 

Starbase 118 Ops 



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