Hmm...I see your point, Nerys
I wouldn't worry, though, because considering the rest of the two doctors' conversations, I'd feel confident that Simon won't get the wrong impression. After all, Ezri had just explained that Simon doesn't want charity--and that he needs to know that Julian respects his abilities, regardless of the problems of his life....
Come to think of it, I guess you could say Ezri had Julian take charge here for a bit because putting Simon on the right track needed some "tough love" in this sense, which she knew she was a bit
too "kind" to provide. A..."man's touch", as it were. (After all, Ezri might be a little uncomfortable with the possible implications, as you were.
Still, she can get tough when she has to be....
Okay, folks. I'd put off continuing the tale for a couple days--but don't worry. Here's the climax of the tale, as Ezri goes to Simon's quarters once again....
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Cleanest Food To Find
Ezri rang the door chime to the quarters of Simon Tarses. When the door opened, Ezri stared at the man, to study him. She could see that Simon was a bit more stable than when she had first met him.
She could honestly say that progress was being made. She had planted the seed, Julian had watered it down…and all it needed was a little something
…to make it sprout.
She just…didn’t know what it was.
Simon frowned. “Counselor?”
Ezri snapped back to reality. “Hmm?”
“Shall…we begin the session?”
Ezri burst out laughing. “Oh, I’m sorry. Just…deep in thought, I guess.” After another chuckle, she asked, “Can I come in?”
Simon nodded, stepping aside.
The first thing Ezri noticed as she entered the room was that there was an open piece of luggage by one of the chairs—and that on the table was a Vulcan lyrette.
She smiled. “Do you play that?”
Simon nodded. “Yes, ma’am—but…I wouldn’t exactly call it orchestra quality….”
Ezri nodded. “Well…I know the feeling.”
“You play music too?”
She shrugged. “A little—one of my past hosts was a pianist.”
Ezri frowned. “All right…let’s sit down.”
Ezri took the seat she had taken before. As he sat on the couch, Simon’s gaze focused on the instrument on the table, which Ezri was now sitting very close to.
“You know,” he said, “For most of my childhood…I’d actually thought my grandfather was
Vulcan. So…I discovered a fascination for Vulcan culture—logic…science…music…. I admired it—and frankly, I was very proud…to know that it was a part of me.”
Ezri nodded. “And when…you found out he was Romulan
Tarses smiled. “I’m already over that, Miss Dax. Counselor Troi helped see to that.”
Ezri smiled. “Well—looks like we can say…you were in good hands.”
“You know her?”
“Oh, I met her once—or at least…Jadzia
met her once.”
“Well…yeah. I have to say…for a while, she was the only
counselor I liked. She was nice—she could understand
me, if you know what I mean….”
Ezri shrugged. “Well…I’d think Betazoid counselors would have a knack for that.”
“Oh, it was more than that—she knew
me, not just in a ‘mind-reading’ sort of way…she knew
how to talk to me…how to relate
to me. I could…open up
“And…you are telling me this…?”
Simon stopped short. But then, he sighed and said, “Because…I had thought she was one of a kind…that no other counselor I would ever meet would be like that….”
Ezri nodded slowly. “But
“But…then you came along.”
Ezri chuckled. “Well…thanks…but I hope this isn’t just another attempt to direct this away from you
“Oh, it’s not. I’m just saying….”
“Well—” Ezri leaned back in the chair, “Why don’t
we talk about you for a bit?”
“Uh…all right. What would you like to know?”
“Well…for starters…how’s the Infirmary?”
“Oh, it’s fine.”
“How is Dr. Bashir handling you?”
Simon smiled. “Just fine.”
“Nothing to talk about?”
“Nothing. No…wait. That’s not true. There is
Returning the smile, Ezri raised an eyebrow. “Well?”
Simon leaned back, and seemed to relax a bit. “Well…you know…there are very few people that I think I would follow to death—and do it with pride. Captain Picard was one…. And, well, a few days ago, I would never have thought I’d say this, but…if I were to pick a role model…and I couldn’t pick Picard…I think…it would be Dr. Bashir.”
Ezri smiled, and shook her head. “And you’re feeling this way…when you haven’t known him for that long?”
“Yeah…. I guess…there’s something about him…that makes me respect him right away. I don’t know what it is…but…I do
respect him…very much.”
Ezri smiled. “Well…I think you’ve found a good role model, at any rate—if I’m any judge. But…Simon…” as her smile disappeared, “I have
to ask you this—and this time, I want a straight
…are you here?”
He frowned in confusion. “‘Here’…?”
He sighed. “I don’t know.”
“No…” Simon looked down, at his shoes. “I don’t know. There’s that little voice I told you about, but…I don’t even know
why I listen to it…or why it says what it says….”
“I’ll tell you why.”
Simon looked up. “You will
“Sure. It’s not too hard to figure out, kid. Basically, that voice…it’s you
, as it were.”
“Your self-esteem…your sense of pride in what you’ve accomplished, in the obstacles you’ve overcome…but most importantly—in who you are
. It’s telling you not to give in…because you know, in the deepest part of your soul, that this
is the life you want—the life of a doctor, who will make a difference in this life, and who won’t let anyone
tell him that he can’t.”
“But…I’m not exactly…”
“I know.” Ezri leaned forward, and spoke in a low, gentle tone. “You’ve been hit pretty hard in this life…haven’t you? You’ve been smeared…spit on…slammed into the ground, over and over…and now, you’re struggling
for a reason to move on.”
Simon was staring at the floor, saying nothing.
Ezri felt the intensity increase in her voice as she continued, “Simon, I know
. That’s how I
felt, once. Did you know…when I was first joined…I wasn’t even prepared for it? It was…a big shock for me, to say the least. I was confused…scared…alone. And…while what I was going through…doesn’t really compare to your own life, still, I felt despair
…because I wasn’t really sure that I could possibly
move on. In fact, at one point…I was about to resign my commission.”
Simon looked up. “Resign
“Well…what caused you to change your mind?”
She smiled. “I had a friend…who wasn’t afraid to rattle my cage for my own good. It stung—but it helped me realize something.”
Ezri smiled. “That…I was a lot stronger than I gave myself credit for. And Simon…honestly…I could say the same for you.”
He stared at her, unmoving, unreadable. Finally…he sighed, and his gaze fell again. “I don’t know…I just don’t know….”
Ezri frowned. She could see the struggle…and she could see his pain. She knew it was probably time to go…to let him reflect on all that she had told him. Still…she wished there was something else she could do….
“I’ll let you think about it,” she said, as she got up. Her elbow brushed against the table—
And it hit a padd which had been resting there, without her knowledge, until now. It clattered to the ground. She turned to get it—and saw Simon’s head shoot up. He looked like he was about to lunge forward, but Ezri held up her hand. She picked it up…and turned to him.
Simon was staring at the padd—and his expression was a mixture of unease…and disgust.
“Simon…what is this?”
He leaned back, and sighed. “Read it,” he replied—in a tone that smacked of bitterness.
Ezri looked at the information of the padd—and froze. A small, silent gasp escaaped her lips.
It was a report on Simon Tarses—dated a few days after his “cover-up” had been revealed—a few days after the witch hunt of Admiral Satie.
It was a long document, but Ezri skimmed through it, reading a summary of his deeds. The words at the end filled her with a sense of disgust, such as she had rarely felt before:
“It is this admiral’s judgment that Crewman Tarses has willfully and knowingly violated his oath as a Starfleet Officer, having falsified elements of his personal history for the sake of personal benefit. This crewman is, then, unfit and unable to be entrusted with the responsibilities entitled to members of this organization, and thus this admiral recommends that Crewman Tarses be relieved of his post and dismissed from Starfleet.
“Signed: Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev, Starfleet Command, Earth.”
Ezri closed her eyes. It was firm, to the point—but how could this admiral dare to think that this was justice
? Even if disciplinary action was warranted, still—to threaten to discharge him, to treat him like a pariah, for one
mistake—which had had no
negative effect on anyone
…other than himself. To—
No. This was not the issue at hand. With the greatest of effort, she opened her eyes, and looked at Simon. He was watching her, with the intensity of a phaser beam…waiting….
Ezri’s voice was barely above a whisper. “You…kept a copy
of this…after all these years?”
Simon’s gaze turned to the padd. “It’s my reminder…of what I’ve done…and what I’ve been told I deserve.”
Simon swallowed hard. “For a long time now…I did
Ezri looked at the padd again. Fury filled her heart—not at Admiral Nechayev, exactly…not even at Admiral Satie, who had caused all of this in the first place—but at the general establishment, and the mindset behind it—the mindset which had led so many to leap so eagerly to conclusions about this man…without considering the whole story, or the simple facts of his career
. And now…Simon was, in some horrible, horrible way, connected
to this prejudice, bound
He had accepted
it…and thus, had not been able to conceive of an alternative.
And so, Ezri looked up, looked Simon Tarses in the eye, and said, “Stand up.”
He frowned, but did so.
Ezri extended the padd to him. She kept her voice completely calm…and steady. “Simon…I want you to take this thing…and break it.”
He blinked. “Break
“Break it. Take it in your hands—and snap it in half.”
“Because I’m telling you to. Because you need to move on with your life—and you can’t
do that as long as you’re holding on to the past. You have suffered, Simon, because you made a mistake
. And any true, objective standard of justice out there says that you have paid for that mistake already—a thousand times over. You didn’t deserve any of that garbage—and you have to accept that. You have
Simon stared at the padd. He did not move. His eyes were fixed on the text.
“Simon…what are you waiting for?”
Simon’s voice was weak. “Why…why don’t you
Ezri narrowed her eyes. “You know the reason. You tried to brush aside our efforts to help you…because you didn’t want a crutch. You want to face this on your own. Well…here’s your chance. If you ever wanted a chance to bring yourself out of the gutter, here’s your chance
. You have
to do this yourself. Do you understand me?”
“Then…take this chance. Simon...you've come so far in the past few days--don't
turn back now. Your spirit—your dignity—your life
…depends on it.”
Simon took the padd, turning it to a horizontal position. He clutched it with both hands, looked down at the device, and paused for one last time. And then…his featured hardened. His lips parted to reveal tightly clenched teeth. His breathing quickened….
And then…he bent down both hands with all his might. The padd snapped
And Simon Tarses stared at the two fragments, in shock. The broken padd clattered to the floor.
And then…he turned, to face the couch—and fell to his knees. He buried his face in the cushion…and wept. And Ezri knew…it was with tears of an enormous relief—as if, at long last, the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.
Ezri stared at him. She stood there, watching him finally release all the pain, all the anguish he had felt for so many years. She knew she would ruin the moment by putting a hand on his shoulder, or speaking, or moving at all. So…she just stood there, in silent respect—for this man, who had gone through so much, who had suffered every obstacle thrown in his direction—and, at long last…had triumphed.
* * *