And...here we go:
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Ezri had successfully gathered herself together by the time Sarina Douglass approached the cell. She’d had to forcibly remind herself to feel no bitterness or resentment to the other woman. She was innocent of any wrongdoing—honestly, what right did Ezri have to be jealous? She had no one to blame but herself—had she honestly
thought Julian would somehow be one to wait for years
for a second chance that might never come?
Besides, she’s here on business, not to settle any “score”. Stop being so childish.
She snapped back to reality as she nodded to Sarina Douglass. The other woman returned the nod, as she de-activated the force field, and stepped in.
Ezri couldn’t help but notice how Sarina seemed all too aware of the tension between them—and the reasons behind it. The agent paused, and seemed to struggle a bit in meeting her gaze.
Ezri cleared her throat. “You…said you wanted to talk to me about something?”
Sarina nodded. “That’s right. If it’s not too awkward to say so…my superiors are actually very interested in this hearing.”
Ezri raised an amused eyebrow at this—a habit she was becoming increasingly convinced she’d picked up from Spock. “Really! Am I that important?”
Sarina shrugged, with a smirk. “I’d say so. They’re currently wondering whether your courage is a threat to the peace, as the Breen claim…or a necessity for our border security.”
“Well—I’d imagine that’s keeping them
Sarina nodded. “You have no
Ezri gave a slight chuckle at the idea, and asked. “So…which way are they leaning?”
Sarina’s smile grew as she slowly shook her head. “No, I can’t tell you that, Captain. It might affect how you act on the witness stand.”
Ezri nodded. “Good point….” She tilted her head. “So, what are
you authorized to tell me?”
“Oh…hang in there, we’re looking into the whole thing, we’ll find out the truth—the usual.”
Ezri nodded again, accepting the support. She found the resentment fading away from her—and for that, she was grateful.
Finally, she asked, “So, what did you want to…?”
“Oh, I guess I’m doing it right now,” Sarina shrugged, with a chuckle. “I guess you’ve heard how people like me can read others like books….”
Ezri smiled. “I’ve heard that. I take it you’re doing that to me, right now?”
Sarina spread out her hands sheepishly. “Guilty as charged.”
They shared a laugh. Ezri shook her head. “Well, it’s all right. I’ve done it a lot, in my career….”
Sarina nodded slowly. “Yeah…I’ve heard.”
Ezri sighed. “Of course, unlike you, I had to learn
“How to read people?”
Ezri nodded. “Right…” She looked off with a smile. “Of course…not to sound immodest, but—I did
learn it earlier than most.”
“Mm-hmm. I actually taught myself, come to think of it….”
Ezri sat down on her cot, as a warm, pleasant memory entered her mind. “I remember…one day, my father found me outside, writing something. He asked to see what it was…”
Her voice trailed off, as she turned to the other woman. Sarina was standing there, watching her intently, a look of…sadness in her eyes.
And then it hit Ezri—Sarina had been in a clinic for most of her life. She…probably didn’t even know her real father, let alone know him as
“I-I’m sorry,” Ezri said in a near whisper. “I—”
Sarina shook her head. “It’s all right, Captain. I know what you’re thinking, but—I’m fine. I’ve…sort of had a father figure or two, since…everything, so I guess…I guess I can imagine what it’s like.”
Ezri nodded slowly. “I’m sure…. But I couldn’t think it’s the same thing.”
“No…I guess not.” Sarina hesitated for a moment, but asked, “So what was it?”
Ezri blinked. “What was…?”
“What did you show him?”
“Oh, well…” Ezri chuckled nervously. “It was…a psychological evaluation—of him.”
Sarina’s eyes widened a bit in admiration. “And…how
old were you?”
“Eight or nine, I guess. It wasn’t exactly professional—just my thoughts about his personality, how he thinks, and all that.”
Ezri shrugged. “Well, I suppose I’d always wanted to understand people—why they do things, why they act the way they do…. I guess you could say it’s what led me into my first career.”
Sarina nodded slowly. Ezri couldn’t help but notice how still she was—how straight she stood, in the sense that she was trying to suppress an anxiety—trying to remain collected.
Ezri didn’t blame her. Camaraderie or not, the tension between the two of them still filled the room.
After a moment’s pause, Sarina asked, “Can I sit down, Captain?”
“Oh—of course you can! I forgot to ask—”
“It’s all right…” Sarina replied, as she sat down on the bench.
After a moment’s pause, apparently to gather herself, Sarina began, “Captain…you understand the charges being made against you?”
Ezri nodded. “Absolutely.”
“You know why
they’re being made?”
“I’d say so.”
“And why are they?”
“Because my actions angered the Breen Confederacy, and possibly threaten what passes for peace between the Khitomer Alliance and the Typhon Pact.”
“But your first officer claimed that the ship in question was on a suicide mission to attack a colony.”
“Do you agree with his sentiment?”
“If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have given the order to fire.”
“So you think they’re
the ones threatening the peace.”
Ezri sighed. “As a matter of fact, I do—whatever good that’s
going to do me….”
Sarina paused, and leaned forward. “Captain…do you think you’re innocent of all the charges against you?”
Ezri blinked, momentarily startled. “Sarina…does my
opinion really matter that much to your superiors?”
Sarina nodded slowly. “Absolutely, it does.”
Ezri returned the nod, gathered herself, and answered with all the sincerity in the universe: “I do.”
Sarina stared at her for a moment…and a smile of perception came to her face. “All right. Thank you, Captain.”
Ezri frowned. “That’s all?” she asked…wondering despite herself if the other girl were simply rushing things so as to get out as soon as possible.
Sarina chuckled. “Hey, I’ve got all I needed, after all. You’ve been more helpful than you’d think.”
Ezri felt a smile of her own. “My pleasure.”
Sarina rose to her feet. Ezri did the same, extending her hand. “So, I take it you’ll report to S.I. on this?”
For some reason, Sarina seemed to stiffen a bit—just a bit, it was barely noticeable—at this, but she clasped Ezri’s hand, shaking it. “Oh—of course.”
Sarina looked off for a moment. “Um…tonight.”
Ezri nodded. “That’s good.”
As they lowered hands, Sarina paused for a moment, and said, “We’ll get this all worked out, Captain—I promise.”
Ezri nodded again. “Thank you, Sarina.”
They met each other’s gaze in silence for a moment…and despite herself, Ezri couldn’t help but marvel at something that’d been in the back of her mind for a while.
It’s amazing. We’re so very much alike, aren’t we? I mean—not as far as our life stories are concerned but…in who we are. We’ve both been “enhanced”, for lack of a better word—and in some sense, both against our will.
And…they were both filled with a kind of wonder at the possibilities of life, an enthusiasm, a spirit eager to learn about such wonderful things.
I wonder…is that what Julian saw in both of us?
She mentally stiffened. Now, why did that
have to enter her mind?
Sarina looked off. “Well, I’d better get going.”
Ezri nodded. “See you later.”
Sarina returned the nod. “Captain.”
She left, reactivating the force field.
As Ezri watched the woman go, another thought occurred to her—another thing Sarina apparently had in common with her.
The tension she saw in Sarina…it was more than just the triangle that enveloped the two of them—and the man they both loved. It was…guilt? No—but there was something just a little
rehearsed—something that conveyed some hidden truth, something so important that…
We’re both hiding something…aren’t we? I don’t know what it is, but…there’s something not right here.
She remembered, some months ago, when Simon had spoken with her after the Breen mission. He’d said there was something
about Sarina, something that he found unnerving—he wasn’t sure what it was, but—
Ezri…be careful. That might be jealousy talking.
Still…she couldn’t help but wonder if Sarina was being completely honest about herself—to her, or to Julian.
* * *