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101&000: “Transitions”

Mason G

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CONTENT WARNING: This story depicts the Cardassian occupation of Bajor and contains distressing content, including reference to the death of children. Please read with caution and take care. ❤️


Eshia lifted the sculpture up above her head, clutching it tightly with both hands, and hurled it down to the floor with a yell between gritted teeth. It shattered into a hundred pieces on the studio floor with a deafening crash.

When she stepped back, breathing heavily, two clean footprints where she’d been standing were visible in the layer of dusty clay spread across the tile. Something about the sight reminded her of a ghost— she supposed that, in a way, she was one. There were no records of anyone named Eshia Kilak prior to 2365, 35 years ago, and yet her 80th birthday had come and gone.

It was just like any other day of the year. She woke up alone, created a new piece of art, went to work, came home, destroyed the artwork, and went to bed alone. She didn’t always destroy the pieces she finished— many of them were sold to keep her bills paid or auctioned for Bajoran charity events— but part of her relished in it. Few things were quite as cathartic as constructing physical expressions of the horrible things she’d done and seen, then destroying them with fervor.

Eshia Kilak considered art therapy to be her calling in life. It was one of few pleasures that she hadn’t thrown away.


Shokam Kurat was a fine example of the ideal Cardassian citizen. Educated, disciplined, artistic, and married with children.

He loved a woman from a proud family of musicians. Her name was Eajal, and Shokam truly had eyes only for her. They courted in the usual catty Cardassian manner, but after settling down together as a married couple, the courtship displays melted away into a secure and genuine love. Together with his wife, he sired five healthy children— Renmok, Tiaja, Rivak, and twins Seja and Koja. Two handsome boys and three beautiful girls.

Shokam was many things— obedient was one of them.

As soon as he came of age he became a soldier, and all that meant was that he took orders and carried them out. If a Gul told him to jump, he asked ‘how high,’ and that was that. No questions, no protests. All they needed from him was a nod and a ‘yes sir’ and a positive report, and that’s what they got.

Shokam was no good at leading, but made for an extremely skilled follower. It was simpler that way.

It would also be what destroyed his life.


“How is your mood chart lately?”


The therapist gave Eshia a concerned smile. He was a beautiful Denobulan man with fluffy ginger hair and soft eyes, but he clicked his fingernails against his PADD far too frequently for her liking. There was a chip in his front tooth, and so for all his wisdom, he was also imperfect in some pitiable way. “Are you certain? It usually dips for a few weeks around this time each year.”

There was no use in trying to deny it— he didn’t need to look at a chart to know that she was suffering. In an effort to distract her nervous mind, she started counting the squares in the pattern of the office carpet. It didn’t matter that she’d counted them before and already knew that there were 480.

“I miss my wife.”


With one sleeping twin on his right hip and the other on his left, Shokam quite literally had his hands full.

Seja and Koja’s third birthday had gone well. They’d laughed and played and eaten their fair share of sweets, delighting in their special day while their father fawned over them. It would make for a lovely memory.

Carefully, he set each little girl down in her bed, straightened their pajamas, pulled their blankets over their little bodies, and pressed kisses to the tops of their heads. Seja burrowed underneath the blankets at once, and Koja’s arms sprawled out at her sides as if she were skydiving. It was adorable.

When Shokam turned to leave and saw Eajal in the doorway, softly backlit by the hall light, he committed the sight to memory. She teased him sometimes about never leaving the ‘honeymoon phase,’ forever infatuated with her.

“Do I get a goodnight kiss?”

“Of course.”

She reached out to take his hand, drew him in to her arms, and stood on tiptoe to press her lips to his. All at once, he melted under her touch.

“I’ll miss you in the morning,” she whispered, and he pulled the bedroom door closed. “The first shift is so early…”

“I know… but the prefect needs soldiers for the new facilities.” Shokam tucked Eajal’s hair behind her ear, and the skin of her face was soft against his fingertips. “This camp will be a good opportunity for me.”


The latinum rattled softly as she gathered it in her hand, then pressed it into the Vedek’s. He smiled at her, but his jaw was tense. She knew that no matter how much she donated, he’d never be at ease with any Cardassian like her, and she knew that it was her own fault. He was old enough to remember everything firsthand.


Shokam tossed his rifle aside, fell to his trembling hands and knees, and vomited into the dirt. He had no idea how far he’d run— only that his body refused to go any further.

He had signed up for this, he reminded himself. Somehow that only made the guilt more intense.

Malnutrition made the ages of the Bajoran children in the labor camp difficult to judge, but the bodies he’d been asked to dump couldn’t be older than his own sons and daughters. He couldn’t stop thinking about the way their mother screamed into the earth, about how she looked at him as if he’d wrung the life out of them with his own two hands.


“I don’t know that I would have felt that guilt without children of my own,” Eshia admitted.

The Denobulan’s nails clicked noisily against the screen of his PADD, but for some reason, it didn’t annoy her. “…Have you told anyone else this story before?” His voice was tight with discomfort, but he persisted in performing his job. It was… admirable.

“Yes.” He waited for elaboration, and she started counting the carpet squares again. “…I told Eajal. My wife.”


Shokam and Eshia were two sides of the same coin. Shokam had always been aware in some way of her existence, and she always carried him in the back of her mind.

Carefully, delicately, she rubbed at the bit of blue makeup in the dip of her forehead, then looked at the smudge it left on her fingertip. That blue powder was a small part of her daily routine, but it brought her some level of comfort. When Eshia deserted the Cardassian military and shed Shokam’s identity, it was not only to affirm her gender or to avoid the watchful gaze of her home planet’s legal system— it was a commitment to change.

Eshia hated the person that she had once been, that was no secret. She hated the blind willingness to follow a corrupt leader into evil, and hated knowing that she had participated in an occupation riddled with unspeakable atrocities. After decades of denying the blood on her hands, all she could do now was try to cope with it— to better the things that she could control.

When she closed her eyes, she could still see the children. She could still see the Bajoran mother’s face, tears cutting clean lines through the dirt on her cheeks.

That much would never change.

With a deep breath in and a deep breath out, she swept up the broken shards of clay at her feet. It was time to get back to work.

Edited by Mason G
small word choice change from “drummed” to “clicked”
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