And now...let's close the week, with a heart-to-heart.
I'm pretty sure everything will be concluded by the end of next week. In the meantime...
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Nan Bacco stepped into the hall where lay the cell of Ezri Dax. The girl was sitting there, in silence, looking deep in thought…looking not at all confident of a victory. She didn’t look like she expected a failure, but…she sat on the edge of her cot, her posture tense, staring intently at the wall across from her in the cell.
, Bacco mused. Not deserving any of this…and yet, here we are.
Ezri turned to see the president—and once again shot to her feet. “Madam—”
“At ease and as you were, kiddo. We’re going to sit right back down anyway,” Bacco smirked.
Ezri nodded, no more at ease than before, as she looked off, pursing her lips. She didn’t sit down—still clearly in “respect mode”.
Bacco turned to her guards, with a quick nod. “Beat it.”
The two muscle men snapped to attention, nodded, and walked out of the hall.
Bacco walked up to the panel, and deactivated the force field. She entered the cell, and sat down on the cot. With a smile, she patted beside her. Ezri nodded slowly, and sat down.
“How are you faring, now?” Bacco asked.
Ezri sighed. “It…took a lot out of me.”
“I can imagine. Ezri—I’ve seen quite a bit in my lifetime, but…” Bacco grinned, “It was one
heck of a speech.”
Ezri chuckled. “I’m not—well, I don’t want to get my hopes up that it’ll make much difference.”
—you had me
convinced the Federation was on trial!” Bacco snorted. “What in the Bird’s name made you pull that
out of a hat?”
Ezri shrugged. “I don’t know. It…well, just all that I’ve experienced, these past few days…everything…”
Bacco shrugged. “Well, speaking for me
—after that little thing? If they take you down, I’m certainly doing some soul-searching. You know how many dang times I’ve been saying, ‘Sometimes…I wish I never had this job’?”
Bacco put a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Ezri…word of advice: if you’re ever convinced to run
for this office…?”
Ezri blinked. “Ma’am?”
“And you actually win
Ezri chuckled. “I—I don’t have any plans for that. Any
Bacco gave a firm nod. “Good.”
“Besides…” A mischievous glint appeared in Ezri’s eyes, “You’re not going anywhere, from what I hear.”
Bacco lowered her hand. “Now, listen, kiddo—you’d better not be insolent.”
Ezri’s gaze lowered. “Sorry, Madam—”
“Ah, forget about it. I’m just throwing a barb out.”
Ezri nodded. “Noted.”
“In all seriousness…” Bacco leaned to her, putting an arm around her, “It’ll work out, Ezri. If there’s any justice in the universe, you’re walking, tomorrow.”
Ezri sighed…and to Bacco, she seemed every bit as small as she felt, in the president’s arm. “I…I hope so, Madam President,” she whispered.
Bacco nodded, her eyes closed. “Me too,” she quietly said.
After a moment of silence…a moment of connection far deeper than words—Ezri turned to her. “Madam President?”
“I…well, I was just wondering…”
Bacco chuckled, “Oh, spit it out, kiddo—I don’t have all night.”
“Well—why do you…I mean, you’re here, and you’ve been
here, over and over…”
“Why do I care so much?”
Bacco looked off, staring at nothing in particular. Finally, she turned to the girl, staring deep into her eyes, and said, “You know…you’re so young…”
Ezri blinked. “Ma’am?”
“Late twenties, or something?”
Ezri chuckled. “Well, depends on how you look at it, I suppose….”
“Uh-huh….” Bacco hesitated for a moment, and added, “You know…I have a few grandchildren, myself.”
Ezri smiled warmly. “Really?”
“Mm-hmm. Come to think of it…they’re not much older than you, I reckon.”
Ezri’s smile grew. She understood.
Bacco tightened her hold a little…and Ezri leaned against her, like a child…a child, with the protection of a loving parent…or grandparent….
She’s so young…but, for whatever reasons, she’s had to grow up, so early. And—and to face all this, now…the weight of the universe on her shoulders, like this—it should be
me! I’m the one with all the years, all the trials under my belt. Politics is
I play the game. She shouldn’t have to. And yet…
And yet, today…there was so much that I needed to learn from
Bacco sighed once again, and whispered, “So help me, Dax…if they don’t let you go, I’ll…”
Ezri straightened up. “Ma’am?”
Bacco released her, and shrugged. “Oh, I don’t know—but I’ll do something
. Dang the consequences—I won’t stand for it. Can’t I issue a pardon? I’ll do it—and a statement, along with it!”
Ezri calmly raised her hand, smiling sadly. “Madam President…you don’t have to worry about me. If I have to go down…I’ll go.”
“Madam President—I can’t order you; you’re my
commander. So I’ll beg
you—” her eyes moistened, “Please—let me accept it. Whatever it is—I’ll have to accept it.”
Bacco’s lip tightened. “You don’t
—have—to face it.”
Ezri took the president’s hand. “Please
Bacco stared at the girl, saying nothing.
Ezri blinked back the tears, and whispered, “I don’t want a pardon, Madam President. That wouldn’t change what has
to be changed.”
Bacco shook her head. “So you’d rather be a martyr
Ezri snorted. “I’d rather
be acquitted. But one way or another, something has to change. And it won’t
if we cause more headaches with the Pact without gaining anything.”
“We’d be ‘gaining’ your freedom
“And where will I go? I can’t just go back on the Aventine
, like nothing happened. That’ll just make things worse, on your end. And to be honest, Madam President—anything less would be a punishment, anyway. I’d rather have it honestly.”
Bacco sighed, spreading out her hands. “Fine, fine…it’s your neck.”
She rose to her feet, looking down at the captain for a moment. “Still…don’t think I’d just let it lie. If you’re thrown to the wolves, I won’t let them hear the end of it.”
Ezri nodded, with a smile. “Thank you, Madam President.”
Bacco returned the nod. “Get some rest, Captain. Big day tomorrow.”
Ezri nodded again. “See you there.”
Bacco turned, and left, closing the field behind her.
I’ll find some way—somehow or another, I won’t let her go down, without a fight!
But for now…all she could do was wait…and pray that Justice still had meaning, in the government of the Federation.