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Old July 11 2012, 01:15 AM   #85
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: Our Sacred Honor--A Tale Of Captain Ezri Dax

Okay...now, back to Sarina and Julian.

To the question of why L'Haan is so willing to "open up" to Sarina regarding her lines of reasoning...well, the final scene of Zero Sum Game, I think, gives precedent to it.


Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Chapter 20



“She has to be cleared!”

On the computer screen in the hotel room, L’Haan’s face was completely unreadable. “Agent,” she said, “That is not your assignment.”

Sarina Douglass was alone in the suite. Julian was out—checking up on his parents, he’d said. She swallowed, and said, “I know, but…”

“Nor is it your place to presume to question your director.”

“I’m not. But ma’am—if I could speak freely, Director?”

L’Haan paused for a moment, and nodded, “Yes?”

“I…you read my report.”

“I have.”

“You read my conclusions, my profile of her—”

“Agent Douglass, I have read it, and I agree with your conclusions.”

Sarina blinked. “Then…you’re agreeing with me now, too?”

“Agent, again I feel the need to remind you to not presume a thing.”

“But, Director—”

“I also read your concerns regarding Dr. Bashir. With that, I also agree.”

“What…” Sarina’s blood ran cold. “You—you’re not—”

“Mind your tone, Agent.”

“Sorry, Director…. But—am I to gather that…you’re considering withholding the evidence?”

L’Haan seemed to stiffen. “You presume, once again.”

Oh, right. L’Haan had never told her—Sarina had just deduced it, from “reading” her director during their last communique. “Director,” she said evenly, “If we are able to clear Dax…”

If we are—which I will not confirm or deny—whether we would or not would be at my discretion, not yours.”

“But…by why wouldn’t we?”

Judging by the look in the director’s eyes…had L’Haan come from an emotional race, she’d have given a tired sigh. “Agent…surely you remember the extent of your assignment?”

“Well, yes, but—”

“And surely you recall the need to remove potential obstacles. And as you yourself pointed out…the captain has become a potential obstacle.”

“I-I know, but…”

Sarina’s voice trailed off…as suddenly, a thought occurred to her.

“Director—won’t this just make things worse?”

L’Haan frowned. “Agent?”

“If—well, we know Julian is…upset by this. A conviction would make it worse. He—it might cause him to reflect on…on the past, and—”

“Surely, Agent, you are stretching in your reasoning.”

“Am I? Director, I’ve been watching him, the past few days—I know how much all this is affecting him. Believe me, Director…I don’t think we can afford to make it worse.”

“Perhaps. However, it must be obvious to you, Agent Douglass, that acquittal—leaving her free—would allow for an increase in visitations, from either side. The doctor’s interaction with her, unfortunately, makes it illogical for us not to anticipate such things.”

“But if he’ll see her there—just thrown to the wolves…Director, I’m afraid this whole thing has caused him to…well, it’s conjuring up a lot of regret, from him. Her conviction could well cause him to have second thoughts, and…and we can’t have that—”

“Naturally. Were I emotional…I would feel relief, Agent Douglass, that you concluded your line of reasoning in that manner. Otherwise, I would be of the impression that you were allowing your…emotions to compromise your dedication to your assignment.”

Sarina stiffened at this. “I assure you, Director, my dedication’s as strong as ever.”

“I know. Nonetheless—whether or not he has ‘second thoughts’, I am certain you will take care to remedy that.”

“Yes, Director…if I can.”

“You doubt that you can?”

“I…I’ll try. But—with all respect, Director, I think it’d be easier for me to…” she smiled bitterly at herself, “…to keep him on a leash, if I didn’t have to compete with that kind of—inner turmoil, on his part.”

“I see. And yet, were she convicted…you will not need to contend with the—direct competition.”

“Director,” Sarina replied, “I’m afraid she’d be worse of a threat for me, indirectly.”

“Agent…it is fortunate that that is not for you to determine. Frankly, you are too…close to the situation, to make that sort of judgment.”

“Director, I don’t think—”

Sarina cut herself off, as she heard something: the sound of steps coming towards the door. His steps.

“I have to go,” she said.

L’Haan nodded. “Understood. You will await further instructions. Out.”

The screen darkened—just barely in time for her to turn to the door, as Julian Bashir entered.

Sarina rose to her feet, putting on a warm smile. “How’d it go?”

Julian shrugged. “All right, I suppose. Father’s working on the Atlantis project. He—I don’t suppose you know about that…?”

Sarina quickly nodded. “I’ve heard of it—they’re making a new continent, or something?”

“Something like that. Anyway, Father’s got a nice assignment—he recently won the bid for the landscaping design contract….” He smiled, looking off at nothing in particular, “He tells me it’s making him feel quite…”

Sarina’s smile grew. “Godlike?”

Julian nodded, with a chuckle. “He’s come quite a long way…that’s for certain.”

Sarina nodded, thoughtfully. “And…you mother?”

“Well enough, I suppose.” He turned to her, and added, “She says she’s looking forward to meeting you.”

Sarina chuckled nervously. “Well! Talk about fast….”

“Well, they want a good look at you—see what you’re like.”

“Am…am I supposed to be tested for approval, or something?”

“Oh, no—nothing like that. Just…well, they’ve heard from me about you, and—”

Sarina grinned. “All good, I hope?”
Julian returned the smile. “All good. Call it a ‘meet the parents’, if you will.”

“Oh! Have you done this before?”

“Only once. I mean…well, I was never really too close to them. We only started reconciling shortly before the War broke out—and…” his gaze fell, “And that was only because he…”

Sarina nodded. “I know,” she whispered.

Julian shrugged. “Anyway—the only girl I ever ‘brought home’, as it were, was—”

He froze…and gave a sad, pained sigh.

Sarina lowered her gaze for a moment, and walked up to him. She then met his eyes, and said, “Julian…thank you.”

He blinked. “For—for what?”

“For…bringing your mother’s…invitation to me.” Her warm smile returned. “It—it means a lot to me.”

Julian tried to return the smile—and managed it, somewhat. “Well, um…I doubt now’s the best time for that.”

Sarina nodded. “I understand. But still…thank you.”

Julian looked off for a moment, and sighed. “Well…I suppose we should get ready. The final statements begin within the hour.”

Sarina nodded again. “That’s…probably a good idea.”

And as they stepped away from one another, Sarina’s fears continued to simmer—and she was now more uncertain then ever of how she would be able to handle whatever was to happen between the two of them…“competition” or no.


* * *
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