And now--at long last...the conclusion.
Star Trek: Aventine
Our Sacred Honor
Sorak sat in his office, watching the press conference on screen. The president’s features and posture were filled with what humans called “righteous anger”…as she described—and condemned—the actions of the Confederacy, their false “civilians”…their set-up of Captain Dax—everything. The captain stood beside her, a look of shock—and barely-concealed contempt, clearly aimed at the Breen—on her own face.
Sorak permitted himself a small smile. He had been confident, if only slightly, that the Council would vote in the captain’s favor—particularly following that…most satisfactory speech. However…in such a business as Section 31’s…one could not take such things for granted. There had to have been a guarantee…and further, something to turn this entire affair into an event to work to the advantage of the Federation. It had been necessary.
And further—L’Haan did not disappoint.
“Well, I’d say we can…consider this a victory, on our part,” said the colleague, sitting off to the side in a dark corner of the office…where he was nonetheless able to watch, as Sorak was.
Sorak turned to him, his smile fading. “Perhaps. However…I am a little concerned as to the penalties L’Haan may be required to undergo.”
“Oh? What do you mean?”
“Simply…she herself was clearly reluctant to take action as we had…suggested—for the simple reason that it would jeopardize the assignment of her Agent, Miss Douglass.”
“Ah, I see.” The man spread out his hands. “Well—in the end, what had to be done, was done.”
“I suppose. As for Miss Douglass…”
The colleague shrugged. “Well—as you reported, Sorak…she was in a dilemma, either way. We’ll see how she fares, as it stands.”
Sorak’s eyebrow rose. “You presume to suggest that we watch an agent of another division?”
The man chuckled. “Sorak…as you said yourself, L’Haan has no idea what she’s getting into. I mean—deceiving him like that, for so long…does she really
think that’ll work?”
Sorak looked off, and tilted his head. “L’Haan is not known for her incompetence.”
“No…but arrogance is another thing. After all—we
know the doctor a lot better than she ever could.”
“Perhaps….” Sorak nodded…his gaze focusing on the two women on the screen—one old, one young…one human, one Trill. He stared thoughtfully at the latter…and nodded once again.
“Perhaps,” he said, in a near whisper.
* * *
Sarina Douglass walked with Julian Bashir, side by side. From what she could tell—and she could tell a lot—he was happy. Well…satisfied, anyway—content, for this moment.
She leaned towards him, as they walked out of the Palais. “Penny for your thoughts.”
“Hmm?” He looked to her…and his smile grew.
Sarina chuckled. “What? What are you smiling at?”
He shrugged. “You know, I was wondering…according to the president—that report came in from…Starfleet Intelligence.”
Sarina kept her own smile mysterious. “Well?”
“I didn’t know your superiors had such a flair for the dramatic—waiting until the last moment to spring that on us…?”
Sarina shrugged. “Is that a question, Julian?” she asked innocently.
Julian’s smile remained…but his eyes turned very perceptive. “I don’t suppose…”
Sarina threw her head back, with a laugh. “I—you’re asking me that
Julian shrugged again. “I don’t know. Just a little convenient. That’s all.”
Sarina nodded thoughtfully, looking off for a moment.
Play it cool. You’ve got this, Sarina—don’t botch it up.
She grinned mischievously, as she turned back to him. “I don’t suppose it’d be tacky to say, ‘I’d tell you…but then
Julian chuckled. “Fine—I’ll keep it shut, if you want. Still…if you did
His voice turned serious, as it trailed off…and he looked off, in silence.
Sarina frowned. “Julian…?”
He turned to her, and his smile returned…warm, and almost sad.
“Thank you,” he said.
Sarina returned the smile, and nodded. The two took their place in the front row of the crowd…as Sarina reflected on this—his gratitude, and all that it implied.
It’s better this way—you told L’Haan yourself that, didn’t you? The damage’s done, either way—but here, you can repair it. After all—you go where he goes. She doesn’t. You’ll be
Sarina silently hoped that that
wouldn’t prove to be a delusion—and that she and L’Haan hadn’t just made one of the greatest mistakes of their respective careers.
* * *
Ezri was quiet, for most of the walk from the press room.
A set-up. All of this…just to one-up the Federation, and embarrass it! These people don’t have any shame, do they? And—and we all fell for it!
I fell for it.
With that, her mind chided, Don’t
worry about that. It all worked out for the best.
Still…at the last night before the vote? All that time—and it wasn’t until
then? Somehow, “I got lucky” doesn’t seem that satisfying
“Lucky,” she muttered under her breath.
Bacco turned to her. “Something the matter, kiddo?”
Ezri shook her head. “They
certainly took their time.”
Bacco shrugged. “For what it’s worth—I’d think you had it clinched, last-minute report or no last-minute report.”
Ezri turned to her with a shudder. “How can you be sure of that?”
Bacco scoffed. “Ezri—you were dead right. Dead
right—and everyone knew it. They’d have been stupid not to—”
“I don’t know…” Ezri looked off, shaking her head.
Bacco clasped a hand on her shoulder. “Come on, kiddo. I like you innocent, you hear? Leave the cynical crap to the politicians—to me
. And I’m
not feeling cynical, today, so don’t you
!” Bacco grinned.
Ezri chuckled. “Nan
…I’m just…well, a little—”
“Ezri…maybe you should just sit back, and trust people more, okay? I doubt it’d be hard for you, if you try.”
Ezri sighed. “It wasn’t
—once. But…after everything that’s happened—not just now, but, over the years…”
“Oh, come on, kiddo—there’s a time and place for everything, right? A time to cry, and a time to laugh
. And you’ve just got cleared—you’re name’s back where it’s supposed to be—I’d
say…it’s time to laugh.”
Ezri paused for a moment, to think this over. Finally…she nodded, and smiled. “All right,” she said.
“All right,” Bacco nodded—as they exited the Palais.
They were met with a cheer—a loud, resounding cheer, as hundreds of citizens of the United Federation stood across the street, behind a line imposed by law enforcement. They cheered…they rejoiced…they cried out their elation, for two leaders who had struggled—and triumphed.
Ezri stood still, watching the crowd…listening to the applause. She was reminded, briefly, of Bolius…the cheers, the applause, the crying out of thanks to her
. And yet…here, it was different. They were cheering for
her, this time.
Bacco patted her on the shoulder once again, grinning and beaming with the same delight. “Look at them, Ezri!” she called above the noise. “And you were afraid to trust the people, again.”
Ezri nodded…as her own smile grew. Her eyes moistened, and she nodded.
In the end…in the end, for all the evil we see, in the universe—all the corruption, all the schemes—in the end…there
is good. And if it stands firm to the end…it
will triumph—one way, or another.
She looked—and she saw Julian, standing there, Sarina standing beside him.
Ezri laughed in delight, like the little girl she knew she was at heart, as she waved to them.
The cheers rose in volume—as far as the crowd was concerned, it was meant for them.
Ezri Dax laughed again, waving to them all—no, not just to them, to Spock, and Benjamin, and Nerys…and all the rest, whom she knew in her heart was watching, right now.
President Bacco stood beside her, content to smile—at her, and at the people.
Captain Ezri Dax lived in that moment, taking it in. She didn’t know what the future would hold, for her or for the Federation. But for this moment
, at least…the future was bright indeed.
Ezri Dax stood there, at peace with herself…no longer alone.
* * *
And the adventure continues….