Chapter 2, part 2
Day 3, 1300 hours
Inside the Koma temple, Kira waited outside of the wooden doors to the inner sanctum. The Koma temple was very spacious, with it's high ceilings, and black basalt columns that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. Splendid tapestries resided all over the walls. Like most Bajoran temples the outer parts of the Koma temple were exposed to the elements. Golden sunlight streamed in from the outside of the temple through the outer columns supporting the walls. While Long shadows were etched on the stone floor.
Kira stood next to one of the columns waiting for Vedek Talrik to arrive. Many years ago when she had given birth to Mia, Talrik was the of the few people to speak out against the three vedeks who publicly condemned Kira for conceiving with a shapeshifter. Talrik managed to persuade the Kai at the time to issue a statement in support of Kira. In a generous move, Talrik offered Kira sanctuary in the Koma temple.
So she arrived with Mia and over two weeks she took residence in the temple. Without Talrik's support, things for Kira would have been far worse. She owed Talrik a debt of gratitude, and occasionally she would visit the temple and talk to Talrik, who regularly visited the Koma temple. Now, sixteen years later, Kira needed his help again to find out further information concerning the abducted vedeks. For this meeting she didn't need Odo, as she knew Talrik would be fully cooperative.
The doors to the inner sanctum opened, and Talrik walked through the wooden doors, for a Bajoran Talrik was very tall. When he saw Kira he smiled slightly. Talrik rarely smiled, and instead he showed his gratitude through the twinkling of his eyes. “Nerys! May the Prophets guide you as you help to find the missing vedeks.”
Kira approached Talrik and she then came to a stop. “Vedek, I need to talk to you about the kidnappings. Were there any witnesses inside the temple?”
Talrik did not seem bothered by Kira’s forthrightness. “Unfortunately no, all visitors need permission to visit the Koma temple. Only the vedeks can freely enter the inner sanctum.”
“And colonels, admirals and ministers?” inquired Kira.
A slight smile appeared on Talrik's face again, he appeared amused by Kira’s question. “Of course, but they must ask permission first.”
This information disappointed Kira greatly. “So there were no unauthorized visitors?”
The expression on Talrik's face became more serious. “The prophets preach peace, enlightenment and meditation, but they also preach practicality,” he said wisely. “If you would come with me colonel, I have something to show you.”
Kira followed Talrik as he entered the inner sanctum. She was by Talrik’s side and she had to walk quite briskly, because of Talrik’s long strides. “Which is?” she asked.
“The evidence you need,” replied Talrik vaguely.
They walked through numerous corridors. There were no windows or views to the outside, the ceilings were lower and the walls were of a plain stone colour. Overhead lanterns lit the dark corridors. After a while, Talrik came to a stop next to one point of the walled corridor.
“In here,” he said, as he opened up a concealed door.
Kira walked in first. “By the Prophets!” she said in surprise.
The room was small, no bigger than Kira’s quarters, but it was packed with equipment, consoles, computer screens, wiring and electrical lighting. What looked out of place were the siltstone walls. She was astounded at what she saw. “I thought vedeks had no need for such technology?”
Talrik looked slightly smug. “Sometimes we need an extra pair of eyes. This is our surveillance room. All over the temple there are hidden cameras, to make sure visitors don't stray into restricted areas.” He walked over to a console and began inputting commands. “And here is the recording of the kidnapping.”
On a screen closest to Kira and Talrik, the recording played. The view was isometric, and it showed three vedeks praying inside a different part of the inner sanctum. The vedeks were on their knees, and their heads were bowed in prayer and meditation. At first everything was peaceful and sedate, suddenly there was the sound of doors being kicked open.
Five armed Bajorans rushed in and surrounded the vedeks, utter shock seemed to route the vedeks to the spot. The armed Bajorans had hoods to hide their faces, and they were all carrying Bajoran phaser rifles. All the rifles were pointed at the vedeks. Carefully the three vedeks slowly stood up, and looked around at the armed Bajorans.
Another Bajoran entered, it appeared to be a man and he was unarmed. Strangely his whole body was blurred and occasional static disrupted the recording. When the man spoke, his voice seemed to be mechanically altered. “You are coming with us.
“What is the meaning of this?
” one of the vedeks asked angrily.
“Stun them all
,” ordered the blurred man.
The five armed Bajorans briefly fired at the vedeks. Kira recoiled in horror as she watched the vedeks fall to the ground unconscious. Transport beams enveloped everyone in the recording and in a matter of seconds the room was deserted. At that point the recording ended.
Talrik looked at Kira sombrely, and there was a clear sadness in his eyes, no doubt having to see his fellow vedeks being kidnapped was most distressing for him.
For Kira though all she was thinking about was why this recording was not in the hands of the Bajoran government. There were other issues as well which reverberated through her mind. “How come the image of one of the kidnappers is blurred?” she asked.
Talrik looked somewhat puzzled. “As for that I'm not sure, as for the five other kidnappers they've obviously hidden their faces.”
“You never gave this evidence to the government?” asked Kira disbelievingly.
Suddenly Talrik looked very serious, and he gave Kira an intense stare. “If I had attempted to do so, this recording would never have reached the government.”
“Because of the corruption in the military?”
For the first time Talrik looked worried. “Kira the military corruption is more widespread than you can imagine. One of my friends, who is a colonel, has witnessed the military corruption firsthand. What the military are doing will destroy everything that Bajor has accomplished over the last 25 years!”
Kira felt deeply confused, she could not believe that the military would threaten to destroy Bajor. “What do you mean when you say Bajor is threatened by the military?”
“As vedeks we are being silenced by the military. We are convinced that the military is planning a coup against this government! There is a circle of colonels, majors and possibly admirals, who are pursuing their own goals of power and wealth!” Talrik sounded somewhat disdainful of this, and his eyes were staring intensely into Kira's face. “Such people are lost to their transitory desires and lack faith in the Prophets. Why else did I call you Kira?”
He looked proudly towards Kira. “Your faith is strong, and he who has true faith knows himself and is just. You must find the instigators behind this corruption, because if you do not, Bajor's very culture will be threatened!”
Talrik’s last words seemed to ring in Kira’s ears for a very long time. They made her realize just how important her investigation was. Talking to Talrik made Kira fully aware of the dangers that the military posed to Bajor's stability. It also deepened the responsibility and burden resting upon her to do a thorough job in her investigation...