Okay...and now, for Ezri Dax.
This chapter refers heavily to "Rendezvous". Here we go:
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Ezri Dax sat in her holding cell, not far from the Palais, where the hearing was to be held.
Where did it all go wrong?
she mused. Was there anything else I could have done? Why did it have to turn out like this?
She had no answer.
A memory came to her—a voice, an old voice, and the wisest and kindest voice she had ever heard:
“Ezri…you had noted how the many survivors of the Borg assault…treat you with nothing less than the greatest respect. They cheer you…they cry out their thanks to you…because you represent, to them…a beacon of hope, whose light will help them face the darkness.”
Now…now those words haunted her. She couldn’t help it. Did I let them down, Spock? Did I…did I destroy all the hope you said I inspired?
She found herself blinking back a tear. I wish you were here, Spock. You’d know what to say…you’d know how to help me face this
A tear escaped her efforts, running down her cheek. She slowly reached up, wiping it away.
What could I have done? What would have—?
No…no, I can’t think that way. That’s the past, Ezri. You can’t change it
And now…she was sitting here, facing the entire Federation, to answer for what she’d done.
She felt herself sliding off the seat, sitting on the floor, her knees close to her chest, her folded arms resting on them. She closed her eyes, resting them on her sleeve, remembering…
It was after Spock had said…had said that he was…honored to have met her. She remembered, in the runabout, sitting there, staring at the ground. “Ambassador…I don’t take this kind of thing very well.”
“You do not consider yourself worthy of my respect?”
“Oh, no, it isn’t that. It’s just…”
As her voice trailed off, Spock had waited, watching her. Finally, Ezri continued.
“Spock…I didn’t set out to be a heroine. I just did the best I could…and took charge, whenever I had to. And…all this,” as she spread out her hands, “…it’s just…another opportunity…to do the best I can.”
She looked up, to see Spock nod in encouragement, telling her to go on.
“Well…it used to be, whenever someone praised me for something I did, or…told me what a bright future I had ahead of me…I would just accept it, thank them—and move on with my life…continuing to do the best I can. But suddenly I find myself in the captain’s chair, and—now, thanks to the Borg, and all—I’m pretty much a household name…aren’t I?”
Her gaze fell once again. “Everyone tells me that I deserve it all—that I proved myself…and saved all those people who look up to me now. But, that doesn’t make it any easier to handle….”
She heard her voice beginning to break. “All that…respect from people I don’t even know…all those cheers that come my way, every time I—go down to a world that I’d helped to save…all those—all those cries of…‘Thank you, Ezri, we owe you our lives’…”
She paused again…as all the pressures of this newfound fame came back to overwhelm her. As the tears welled up in her eyes, she managed to whisper, “I just…I just wish I could…”
It had been too much, she remembered. But then…Spock had finally spoken up, and finished her thoughts, “You wish…there was more you could have done.”
She remembered looking at him, through her tears, and nodding, unable to say a word. And then…what Spock said next had affected her in more ways than he could have imagined.
Now…the tears came again. I…I failed them, Spock. I don’t know what else I could have done, but…it’s over. It’s all done…and…
And then…she heard his voice, as clear as if he were standing in the room: Ezri…I am here.
She didn’t just hear him. It was as if…she felt
him, somehow. She remembered reading that when two people share a mind-meld…it can form a bond between them, almost telepathic, depending on how strong, how deep the meld had gone.
Spock…is…is that you?
Do not be afraid.
What…do you know what’s happening? Do you know what happened…?
I know—and understand. You did what you believed and knew to be right. I would have expected nothing less. You did the best you could.
But—but it’s so hard. I…I don’t think I can do this. I-I’m not—
Ezri…you are facing a difficult trial. I understand this. But you must not give in. If it requires all the discipline you possess…
do not give in.
Ezri looked up, and swallowed, nodding, as if he were in the room with her, right there. All right, Spock. I’ll…I’ll do my best.
Be strong, Ezri Dax.
And he was gone.
Ezri let out a sigh, and looked around her, at the cell. There was a small room, a refresher, for her to wash and do other necessary things. Other than that, there was just the bench, and her cot, and the force field separating her cell from the hall.
It looked no less bleak than before…but she felt a bit less scared…a bit less confused. Spock, wherever he was, had helped her…had given her what she needed—the strength to carry on.
She heard the sound of footsteps. She rose to her feet, brushing her tears away, ready to face whoever it might be.
* * *