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Ferri Emlott - Happy Place (Pt.6)

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Another piece in this series. The subtleties are so well written. I'm not sure where @Arys got her info, but boy oh boy does she write an interrogation well!

((Somewhere on Cardassia Prime))
((Time Index: four years ago))
Dread washed over Ferri as she was returned to the room with the concrete walls and cold light that never even flickered to allow her eyes some rest. It was the room in which she had been left starved, dehydrated, sleep deprived, and alone. But although the room itself was still the same, something had changed. She had hope. 
A desperate hope, yes, but hope nonetheless, and Ferri clung to it like she did to the PADD Garo had given her, holding onto it as if worried it was going to simply disappear should she loosen her grip. Now once more sitting on her bed, curiosity as to what the PADD contained won over. 
A Theory on Freedom” 
Odd. Ferri hadn’t heard of it before, even though she had always been interested in different works of literature, and even though she, as an arts student in particular, was grateful for having the freedom to pursue her dreams unrestricted.   
Before she could begin reading, however, something in the room changed, and for a moment, she wasn’t quite sure what it was. Then she realised that, gradually, the lights changed to a warmer hue, and eventually dimmed down to a more comfortable setting. 
Finally. After days, weeks, perhaps longer? Ferri had lost any perception of how much time had passed, and it was only now that she realised how tired she was. She barely managed to move into a more comfortable position before she fell asleep. 
Ferri dreamed of better times. 
She dreamed of her mother, Selen, preparing them breakfast. Them. That were Ferri, her sister Kara, and her father Arla. A happy little family, struggling, but surviving in the ruins of what Cardassia had once been. They didn’t have much, but her mother always managed to put food on the table, and both girls had been too young to notice that only they were the ones eating. Arla worked most evenings, and Selen usually gave them a reason why she wasn’t hungry. 
One of the staple foods had been Ikri buns. Easy to prepare and versatile, they had usually been filled with whatever leftovers were available at the time. Ferri could almost smell them now. She was so hungry….
Ferri opened her eyes. She wasn’t back home, she was still locked up, but the smell was real. She sat up, not sure how long she had slept, but didn’t have the capacity to worry about that. Her thoughts circled around a singular thing - the scent of food. She frantically looked around the room, before her gaze eventually fell upon the table, expecting her usual limited amount of water, and the nutritional supplement. 
There was indeed water, a whole glass carafe full of it, but next to it sat the source of the smell - a small plate with several warm Ikri-buns, next to a bowl with pieces of fresh fruit. 
Tears began to well up in her eyes, and her chest felt like her heart was going to break through her ribcage. Ferri barely dared to touch the meal, afraid it was all just a dream, afraid it would disappear. 
For minutes she simply stood there, committing every little detail to her memory. The way red juice dripped from pieces kiloran ball fruit, and the exact amount of raja berries. The way the brown crust of the ikri buns had intricate little details on them, artistic additions in the form of dough-formed leafs and ornaments.   
Eventually she reached, her hand shaking as she touched the still-warm buns. She carefully broke it apart, letting the woody scent of lok cloves and kulek spice fill her nostrils. It was filled with a mixture of Rekel meat and herbs, the richness of the filling complimenting the fluffy dough and crispy crust. Never had anything tasted better.
Food and drink disappeared far too quickly, and while delicious, they left Ferri feeling slightly nauseous. Perhaps it would have been wise to eat more slowly, but she didn’t know when next she would receive anything. She was scared that someone would come and take it away again. 
Sated for the first time in weeks, she looked at the PADD she had been given. Ferri wasn’t sure if she would be in agreement with what was stated therein, but she was fairly certain that Garo had been the one she had to thank for the food, and the least she could do to thank him, was to obey his request. 
In summary, freedom is a moral concept. Thus, some believe that freedom must be presupposed in order for morality to be possible. In fact, only a free being can choose between good and evil, for only one who is capable of doing so can also assume moral responsibility. Conversely, only a moral being can be free: Freedom is then synonymous with autonomy. 
In the past few days, Ferri had read the book cover to cover more than once, and had spent the times in between thinking about whether she believed the author to be correct, and what it meant. 
Ferri had always liked being free. The Cardassian Union before the war had always been portrayed as harsh and horrible, and as what had caused their downfall in the first place. The horrible crimes they had committed on Bajor were attributed to an uncaring government, and not to the Cardassian people. 
But was that really so true?


She was thinking of her sister Kara, who had been a mere fourteen years of age when three strangers had lured her away from the well-lit street, never to be seen again. If freedom allowed them the choice between good and evil, what did it say about her species that it seemed that evil was chosen so lightly? 
It were those thoughts that occupied her mind. A mind that was now was getting clearer and clearer as it wrapped itself around the concept that, perhaps, freedom wasn’t something they deserved. Meals were provided twice a day, and Ferri could feel her body recovering from the ordeal of the past weeks, and naturally she wanted to thank Garo. Before meeting him, she had been sure they would let her starve. But she wouldn’t push the issue - no, she would be good and waited patiently, day after day, for the door to open. 
And Eventually it was time - the man opening the door was the same who had brought her to Garo before, and Ferri got up before he could even bark and order. Despite being weak on her feet from a lack of exercise and movement, she followed quickly and willingly, and eventually found herself in front of the door to Garo’s door, which opened upon her arrival.
Garo: Ah, Ferri. How are you feeling today?
Garo smiled as he settled his gaze upon Ferri. He, however, did not motion for her to sit, and simply regarded her. 
Emlott: I…. I’m good.. ::she paused, then hastily added:: thank you… for the food. 
It felt good to talk to someone, to be spoken to, and it felt good how he nodded at her in approval. 
Garo: You are welcome, Ferri. Did you read the books? 
Ferri nodded quickly, not wanting to disappoint, which elicited another smile from the man. 
Garo: You did good. But let’s talk about that later - I have something I think you will like. 
He moved to the sofa, picked up a bag. He handed it to Ferri, opening it for her so she could look inside to find a set of fresh clothes and soft towels, kept inviting pastel colors, and all of them wonderfully scented and soft. There were some personal hygiene products too. She looked up at Garo who had observed her reaction carefully, and now explained:
Garo: There is a hygiene chamber down the hallway, let me show you. Take as much time as you need. 
Ferri hugged the bag to her excitedly, once more very aware of how disgusting she looked and smelled. She followed him out of the office and a few doors down the hallway to a hygiene chamber - a simple room with a steam bath, a mirror and a basin. It wasn’t much, but it was more than Ferri had been allowed in the past weeks.  
Garo: I trust you. I know you’ll come back afterwards. 
Emlott: ::nodding:: I will, I promise. 
The door closed, allowing Ferri privacy as she stepped into the bath, letting the water wash off the grime that had accumulated, and the steam caress her sore skin. She brushed her greasy and matted hair and put it into a tidy braid, and out on the new clothes that were smaller than the ones she currently owned, but fit her perfectly. 
The girl looking at her from the other side of the mirror was thin, tired, but she looked like a person again. 
Ferri hurried to step out of the hygiene chamber and into the hallway. She was about to turn to return to Garo’s office, when something caught her eye - there was a door on the opposite end of the corridor, and it open. She could catch only a glimpse, but itt seemed to lead into a garden of sorts, perhaps the area she had seen from the window of Garo’s office. 
To freedom. 
She could smell the grass from here, and almost feel the warming light of the sun that beckoned her to step outside, if only for a moment. 
She took a step towards it, then another one…. And then she hesitated. She had promised Garo that she would return. He had done so much for her - she couldn’t disappoint him now. She wouldn’t be ungrateful. 
And so, she turned around, away from the green and the sunlight, returning to Garo’s office instead. 
Ferri Emlott 
Cardassian Visitor
Starbase 118 Ops
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