Jake found the entire dinner to be very trying. Weyoun was his typical overly pleasant, slightly condescending self. Not wishing to get the Vorta off side Jake had to be equally polite back to him. Weyoun had greeted Jake warmly as if they had always been good friends, so the entire event had been tiresome from the very first second.
For their meal Weyoun had produced replicated gumbo, “Just like your grandfather made” had been his exact words. Jake had just smiled back, but knew from the smell that it was nothing like his grandfather’s gumbo. In tasting it he confirmed that belief. His grandfather’s personal recipe for gumbo was legendary in New Orleans and this poor copy lacked the heart of that fantastic dish. Not that he said that to Weyoun, he had simply pronounced it was “quite good”, which seemed to please Weyoun to no end.
Throughout their meal Weyoun had engaged him in conversation regaling Jake with tales of his adventures in the last two decades. Not that Jake was only allowed to just listen. Weyoun threw him many questions about his life and family, all of which Jake answered as politely as he could despite wanting to do anything but answer the Vorta’s prying questions.
As they had a post-dinner drink Jake finally decided to broach the topic he had come to speak about.
“About the tablet –” he started less than subtly.
“You wish for me to return it to Bajor,” finished off Weyoun.
Jake could not hide his surprise at Weyoun knowing what he was after. “Yes,” he slowly confirmed.
Weyoun gave him a look of slight disapproval. “Jake, I’m not a fool. I know that you don’t have as warm feeling for me as I do you. You wouldn’t be here for any other reason than to get something from me. I’m sure that Kai Winn has managed to meet with you and plead her case. As soon as she arrived on the station I knew to expect your acceptance of my invitation.”
Jake rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. He was embarrassed that he had thought Weyoun would not be able to figure out his true intentions. Weyoun’s friendly and approachable manner made it easy to believe he was not as astute as he truly was. Jake was sure that many people in positions of power had come to truly regret their underestimation of the wily Vorta.
The only good thing to come from Weyoun’s revelation was the lack of Kira’s name been mentioned. Jake hoped that meant Weyoun was unaware of her presence on the station. If he was the situation could get far more complicated than it already was.
“Are you going to make your case?” asked Weyoun.
Jake was again caught by surprise. He expected Weyoun to give him a flat out refusal on the spot. “It seems too coincidental that the problems on Bajor began after the tablet was brought here,” he began.
“The fluctuations in the wormhole are most likely the cause of the issues on Bajor,” said Weyoun.
“Again, which started after the tablet was brought to the gateway to the wormhole.” As if to emphasis Jake’s point the station rumbled, though the crew had gone some way to minimising the impact of the fluctuations of the wormhole on the station.
“The tablet is nothing but stone. There are no power signatures or signals coming from it for it to influence the wormhole. The Kai’s assertion about the connection has no basis in anything other than superstition,” dismissed Weyoun.
Jake bit back a reply about the Vorta’s belief in the Founders. Antagonising Weyoun would not help him right now.
“You told me that Dominion is here to bring order and peace to the galaxy, what you’re doing is the opposite. Whether the tablet is actually causing the problems doesn’t matter. The Bajorans believe that it is and if you return the tablet it will ease their concerns.”
“And what happens when the tablet returns to Bajor and the situation doesn’t change?”
“Weyoun, you’re not getting it. If you just –”
Weyoun held up a finger, signalling for Jake to stop. Without a word Weyoun stood up and left the room leaving Jake gobsmacked. Jake thought the Vorta had just stormed off but he returned a few moments later carrying the very tablet they were discussing. Weyoun placed it on the table.
Weyoun rapped his knuckles on it and said, “This is just stone, simple, ordinary stone. All this tablet would do if it returns to Bajor would fuel further unrest. When the geological and weather anomalies continue they will look to what is carved on this tablet. As I stated before, they will interpret it in a way that will lead to conflict with Dominion forces.”
“Why is this here?” asked Jake incredulously. “You’re meant to be testing it to prove its authenticity.”
“And the testing is ongoing,” replied Weyoun calmly, despite Jake’s tone. “However, given the recent events I did not feel that a science lab was a safe place to store it. The only place I can be sure of its security is wherever I am.”
“The Bajorans run this station. If they want it back they could just beam out of your hands.”
“I have made sure that is not possible. Transporter locks are disrupted within this area.”
That put a dampener on Kira’s backup plan to tag the tablet for transport. While he would have an easy time placing the device on the tablet given it was within reach, there was no guarantee that even with it tagged that a transporter would be able to whisk it away. They were likely to make sure that even when the tablet left Weyoun’s quarters it would be protected against a transporter snatch.
Suddenly anger started to build with Jake. He could not just leave the tablet with Weyoun to use however he saw fit. As he thought more about this situation the more his anger grew. He cursed at Kira for putting him in it, at Weyoun for being a manipulative bastard, and most of all at the wormhole aliens for inserting themselves into his life and tearing it to shreds. Soon Jake’s blood was boiling and rage burned bright within him.
He growled and leapt to his feet and rushed towards the tablet. He grabbed it, but found that Weyoun also had a grip on it.
“What are you doing, Jake?” asked a confused Weyoun.
“Let go of this damn thing now!” he bellowed at the Vorta.
Weyoun had no intention of letting the tablet go and Jake jerked it towards him pulling the much smaller Weyoun with it. He swung it around, trying to twist Weyoun’s surprisingly strong grip from the stone. The two men were soon entangled in a strange dance around control of the tablet.
“Jake! Stop this foolish–”
Weyoun was stopped mid-sentence as Jake’s violent motions sent him tumbling to the ground. Jake stumbled backwards without Weyoun’s weight to counteract him and he tripped. As he fell the tablet slipped free from his fingers and went sailing over his head. Jake watched it as he fell. He hit the ground at almost the exact moment the tablet smashed into the wall. It exploded into dozens of pieces as it shattered.
Jake could not believe what he had done. His anger was quickly subsiding, replaced with a dazed confusion as to his behaviour and its results. From the remains he saw two wisps of light rise up like fireflies. They drifted upwards as if caught in an updraft and disappeared through the wall.
“What have you done, Jake?” asked Weyoun, picking himself up off the floor.
There was the sound of doors opening and Jake turned to see two deadly serious and fierce Jem’Hadar charge into the room, weapons drawn and at the ready. They looked at the scene with Weyoun getting to his feet and Jake still lying on the floor. One of the Jem’Hadar went to Weyoun’s aid while the other advanced threateningly on Jake. Fear filled Jake as he stared up at the hard, scaly warrior approaching him. Malice burned in its eyes.
“Wait!” called out Weyoun. The Jem’Hadar froze in his tracks, but his eyes never left Jake. “Everything is fine.”
“We heard a disturbance,” said the Jem’Hadar who had helped up Weyoun.
“Simply a disagreement that got out of hand that resulted in the regrettable destruction of an object. I’m sure Jake has calmed himself down.” Weyoun looked pointedly at Jake, who nodded. “Help him up,” ordered Weyoun.
The Jem’Hadar looked like he would rather be hurting Jake than helping him, but he followed the Vorta’s command and assisted Jake back to his feet.
“Thanks,” said Jake meekly. He was taller than the Jem’Hadar but the pure violence radiating from the genetically engineered warrior was enough to cow anyone.
“You may return to your posts outside,” commanded Weyoun. Both Jem’Hadar immediately, but reluctantly, exited the room.
Jake turned back to look at the wall where he saw the wisps disappear. “Did you see that?” Jake asked.
“Of course I did. You broke what might have been a priceless artefact. The Kai will not be pleased.”
“No,” he interrupted. “The lights. Did you see the lights?”
Weyoun looked at him perplexed. “I’m sorry, Jake. I’m not following what you mean.”
“From the rubble there were these two...lights or balls of energy. They rose up and went through the wall.”
“You must have struck your head in the fall. I can summon a medical officer if you wish.”
“I didn’t hit my head,” he said angrily. “I saw what I saw! Do you have a tricorder or scanner?”
Weyoun shook his head and Jake realised it was unlikely a person like Weyoun would bother with scientific equipment.
“Jake, we scanned the tablet thoroughly. It is nothing but stone. The main issue is what to do about this. Of course I’ll wave any issue regarding assaulting a high level Dominion official, but the Bajorans are another matter. If they wish to punish you for this the Dominion can’t prevent it. I of course will do everything in my power see they are as lenient as possible due to our long friendship.”
“So you aren’t going to take what I saw seriously?”
“Jake, we need to discuss what to do about –”
“JUST,” shouted Jake. “Get someone in here to run a scan. That’s all I ask.”
Weyoun hesitated, but relented when it became evident that Jake would not move on from this issue. He called in one of the Jem’Hadar guarding his quarters who ran a scan of the room. After several minutes the Jem’Hadar returned his findings: there was nothing out of the ordinary. Weyoun dismissed the Jem’Hadar.
“Now, we need to discuss what to do about the Bajorans –” started Weyoun.
Jake sat back down at the table. Something had just happened here and he wasn’t sure what. Losing his temper in such a way was out of character for him and then the strange lights that he had seen despite what Weyoun thought. Jake couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more going on.
Colonel Antara Eri stifled a yawn as she read the report. She was meant to go off duty hours ago, but it seemed a station commander’s job was never done. The Festival of Tears was one of the major annual events on Bajor and as such it saw a significant increase in traffic not only to the planet, but through Gateway Station as well. There was already a great deal of paperwork in running the station and this seemed to more than double it. That meant longer hours for her just to keep reasonably on top of everything.
The next yawn she couldn’t contain. Antara leant back in her chair as she covered her mouth letting out a large yawn. When it was over she ran a hand through her shoulder length auburn hair. She usually kept her hair tied back while on duty, but if she was forced to toil through the endless reports she could at least feel a bit more comfortable. She stretched out her other arm to loosen the grip of tiredness on her body.
Antara let her chair aimlessly swivel. It turned towards the left and the window to the office next to hers. The station commander’s office in the Ops centre had been expanded and split into two office spaces during the Dominion’s control of the station. One for the station commander; the other for the Dominion’s representative. She was sure that the window between the offices was to remind the station commander about where the real power lay.
Antara saw that the Vorta Gelnon was still in his office. She wasn’t surprised. The Vorta only seemed content when he was doing administrative work. While she was in command of the station, a lot of the happenings on the station were also filtered through Gelnon. One of the most important areas he oversaw was any requests to use the wormhole. Travel through it was monitored and before any non-Dominion ship went through they had to submit a request to the station, which was passed on to Gelnon. He in turn assessed it before final approval by the Dominion station on the other end of the wormhole, Gamma 1. It was the true gatekeeper to the Gamma Quadrant, not Gateway Station.
This arrangement was why command of Gateway Station was a double edged sword. Gateway was one of the most prominent postings in Bajoran Security, but it was also one where the politics were amongst the most complicated. Luckily for Antara she had spent years under the current regime before she took command. It made things a bit easier for her, but not necessarily more enjoyable.
Antara had been assigned to the station prior to the Unification War. However, back then she was part of the Bajoran Militia. After the end of the war and with Bajor joining the Dominion the Militia was disbanded and some of its roles were absorbed by Bajoran Security, including the running of the station. Given Bajoran Security was a police and customs force rather than a defence force it needed fewer personnel than the Militia did. Save the crew of the station and the few starships that Bajoran Security were permitted to transfer over, most of those in the Militia had to find a new line of work. Antara considered herself lucky that she had survived that transition. From where she sat now it was hard for her to imagine doing anything else with her life.
Antara got back to her administrative work. Her next task concerned the patrol patterns for the three Shakaar-class patrol ships assigned to the station. Named after the former First Minister of Bajor, Shakaar Edon, the vessels were another example of the special relationship between Bajor and the Dominion. The Dominion had assisted the Bajorans in the design of the ships, as well as shared some of their technology allowing the Bajorans to build starships that were far superior to the old vessels of the Militia. They weren’t much of a threat to Dominion warships, but they were more than a match for a typical raider that might try to prey on shipping in Bajoran space.
Bajor was expected to maintain good order in its space as part of its agreement with the Dominion. The only Dominion forces in the system were Gelnon and a platoon of Jem’Hadar assigned as his personal protection. The only vessel they had was a small shuttle. Even the vessel that brought Weyoun to the station hadn’t stuck around. It had dropped him off and travelled through the wormhole. Very few Jem’Hadar vessels docked at the station at all. They preferred to dock with the Dominion station, which made sense in terms of security and the facilities the other station had. It also had a more insidious nature as it helped to give the impression of the system being free of the Jem’Hadar.
This impression however was an illusion due to the Dominion presence on the far side of the wormhole. Antara had visited Gamma 1 on a few occasions and she knew how significant the Jem’Hadar presence there was. The massive station could hold thousands of Jem’Hadar and every time she visited there had been dozens of ships docked and around the station. All this might be tens of thousands of light-years from Bajor, but thanks to the wormhole it was just as if they were based in the system. No matter how deceptive it was Antara knew that it was preferable to having the Jem’Hadar in the system in numbers.
Antara had just about completed the ships’ patrol schedule when she was interrupted by someone entering her office.
“Colonel, there’s a situation on the promenade you need to see,” reported the station’s watch officer.
Antara rose from her chair. Her previous fatigue gone as the tone of her officer suggested a serious incident. She followed him out and looked up at the main viewscreen. It was showing a security feed from the promenade. She saw several people running in panic and at least two bodies lying prone on the ground.
“This is live from the promenade,” stated the watch officer. “We have reports of at least seven casualties.”
One of the fleeing civilians, a Bajoran man, was suddenly lifted off the ground. His feet kicked uselessly under him as he was rotated around to face the other way. A grey haired man walked into view, his back to the security camera. He held a hand outstretched before him and directed at the hovering Bajoran. A field of red energy engulfed the Bajoran man’s torso. As it pulsed it almost looked like flames were coming off it, though he didn’t appear to be on fire. The man shook violently for a few seconds before the field disappeared and he fell to floor, motionless.
“By the Prophets!” Antara exclaimed. “Where’s security?”
“We’re scrambling more to the area now. Three of the casualties are security personnel.”
The assailant’s head swung around, no doubt looking for targets. Antara was unsure what type of weapon he had as she had still to see any nor was she familiar with any weapon that could cause what she had witnessed. As he hunted she finally saw the face of the person behind the carnage. It felt like an icy grip had wrapped itself around her heart as she recognised him.
“Get Gelnon in here,” she ordered. “We may need the Jem’Hadar for this.”
Kira Nerys was many things. According to the Dominion she was an anarchist, a terrorist, an assassin and a murderer, and these labels were not completely unfair. She was out to tear down the established order through the use of violence and she had long ago shed any qualms about innocents getting caught in the crossfire. She was in many ways a monster, but she considered herself the monster the quadrant needed if it was to throw off Dominion oppression.
She was also often painted as a zealot, but she did not consider herself one. She was pious, but she was not fighting for the Prophets or to spread their enlightenment far and wide. Rather she was fighting for the rest of the quadrant. Despite that ideal in the dark years since the Dominion conquered the region she had turned more and more to the Prophets. Gods who were as absent now as during the Cardassian occupation. More than a few of her non-Bajoran cohorts had questioned her devotion to a group that seemed so indifferent to the suffering of not only the Bajorans, but the rest of the galaxy. Her answer was just because she did not understand the Prophets actions or inactions did not mean there was nothing behind them. The Cardassian occupation had led to the discovery of the Celestial Temple and the coming of the Emissary after all. She believed that the Prophets were steering Bajor towards something, she just did not know what.
She entered the Bajoran temple on the station; a comforting smile crossed her lips. She had not been inside its hallow walls for nearly two decades. She found it comforting that little about it had changed in that time. It was the closest thing to her temple as she had in her life. Much like in her youth she now spent most of her time on the run, however unlike then she spent a great deal of time away from Bajor. That meant she had to make do with very few visits to a truly spiritual location, but she made due the best she could. However, there was something about being within a place of worship that could not be replicated elsewhere and it made her pagh soar.
Kira walked to the front of the temple to the hollowed space in the wall where orb arks where placed when they visited the temple. All the orbs had long ago returned to Bajor due to going dark, so instead that space was filled with new objects that all had a single connection: the Emissary. Kira walled up to the display and gazed at the objects. She immediately spotted a familiar item, Sisko’s baseball. She wondered how it had ended up here as Dukat had been the last person she had seen handling it. She wanted to reach down and touch it, roll it in her hand and feel the connection it had with its owner. Kira stopped herself, these objects were now part of the temple and pawing them without permission would be wrong.
Kira stepped back from the display to a more respectable distance and knelt down and started to pray for strength and guidance from the Prophets.
“Repenting for your sins, Nerys?”
Kira blood ran cold. The voice was unmistakeable. “Dukat,” she said as calmly as she could. “What an unpleasant surprise.”
Kira stood and turned to face her hunter for so many years. He wore a long hooded robe, much like she did. He pulled down the hood and she saw his hard smile on his taut face. He looked much older than she recalled. Time had not been kind to him.
“Not as young as you were,” he commented as if reading her mind.
“Aren’t we all,” she replied with a humourless smile. “So you finally caught up with me.”
“I have been close many times, Nerys.”
Dukat was right, probably more so than he knew. Over the years he had come very close to confronting her, but she had managed to keep ahead of him. Dealing with a deranged Cardassian was not high on her list, plus Kira had to admit she wanted him to live with his suffering as a penance for what he had done in his life.
“I know,” Kira replied.
“You know you have to pay.”
“For?” she asked, though she knew the answer.
“For? You have the gall to fane ignorance!” spat Dukat. “For Ziyal, Nerys! You have to pay for her death!”
“You could have saved her.”
“NO I COULDN’T!” He raged, spittle flying from his lips, his eyes burning with hatred. “I was the only one who couldn’t. She had to be made an example of to show no one was above Dominion law. My hands were tied...but you...she was only in that position because you poisoned her against me.”
Kira shook her head. “You did that yourself.”
“She loved me,” Dukat’s response was almost a plea.
Kira almost felt a stab of pity for Dukat. In his own, twisted way he had loved his illegitimate daughter. He had wanted to kill her when he found out she was still alive to cover his infidelity. Kira and actually meeting an adult Ziyal had changed his mind. That decision was not without its price and he had lost everything that was important to him: his stasis and his family. The only one who stayed by him through that was Ziyal, but she had no one else. She had also come to view him through rose coloured glasses as the father who rescued her from slavery. She saw him as the father she had longed for, not for the man he was.
“Ziyal was a kind spirit but also naive. She thought she could make you a better man, but you were always a selfish egotistical maniac. Even though you sold out the quadrant she still loved you. Even she came to see you for who you really are. A snake hidden under a false veneer of charm. Now you’ve wasted you’re life chasing a lie to appease your conscience. Let it go Dukat. Leave and if you care for Ziyal as much as you claim to do something to better the galaxy.”
Kira could see that her words were lost on Dukat. He had spent so long on this path he could not move off it. There was only one way that this was ever going to end. One of them would have to die.
“It’s time,” hissed Dukat as he reached into his robe and pulled out a wicked looking knife, which Kira thought might be Klingon in design. He held it up to his face and a no less iniquitous smile crossed his face.
Dukat advanced on her gleefully and with little caution. This was his fantasy come true and Kira wondered how often he envisaged this moment where he would strike her down in righteous vengeance. However, Kira had no intentions of fulfilling his deluded imaginings.
Dukat swiped at Kira, but she easily dodged to the side to avoid it. He quickly followed it with another swipe and then a stab, but Kira manoeuvred her body out of danger each time. As she did Kira felt a jolt of pain up her right leg. Years ago a Jem’Hadar had blown out her knee and her limited medical supplies at the time had left her with a slight limp and frequent pain, even during mundane activity. She doubted her ability to simply tire out Dukat, even in his emaciated state. She would need to take the fight to him.
Kira waited for Dukat to jab at her abdomen. When he launched his attack instead of moving away she deflected his strike and grabbed his wrist. In a move that was so practiced that it was almost instinctual she took hold of his arm and twisted it forcefully, loosening the knife from his grip causing it to drop to the floor. She swept with her feet and sent the blade skidding away. She pulled Dukat forward, unbalancing him and hammered a knee into his stomach. However, she had to support all her weight on her bad leg and even that brief second was too much. Kira staggered off balance, but managed to get a good shove on Dukat to send him stumbling backwards. Kira dropped to her good knee and gripped her bad knee tightly. Her nails dug into her leg as she tried to distract her brain from the shooting pain emanating from her old injury.
Dukat roared and charged her like a crazed animal. Kira was caught by surprise by the speed of Dukat’s recovery and had thought the knee would buy her a few more seconds. She tried to force herself to her feet, but was barely standing when he reached her. His shoulder smashed into her chest and she was carried backwards by his momentum and slammed into the wall. Dukat stepped back and rammed his shoulder back into her. Kira’s ribs exploded with pain and she was sure he had fractured at least one.
Dukat wrapped his fingers tightly around one of her arms and pinned it to the wall. Kira barely had time to focus on that when he smashed his forearm into her face, causing her head to painful rebound off the wall, stunning her momentarily. Through the haze she felt pain in her nose and lip and could taste the metallic tang of blood in her mouth. Dukat’s forearm pressed under her chin, forcing her jaw shut and catching her tender bottom lip. A throaty whine of pain was all she could manage through her clenched teeth and swollen lips. Dukat pushed upwards, pinning her to the wall and forcing her almost onto the tips of her toes.
Kira lashed out with her free hand at both Dukat’s head and body, but with her body pinned to the wall she struggled to get any power into her swings. It also did not help that any movement of her arm radiated into pain in her ribs. At best she was meekly swatting at her tormentor.
Dukat leaned in close and his rasping, hot breath blanketed Kira’s face. Dukat was excruciatingly close to Kira. She tried not to look at him as his eyes traced over her face in a terrifying parody of a lover.
A hungry smirk came to his face when he looked into her eyes as he particularly whispered into her ear, “I’m going to enjoy watching you die, Nerys.”
Dukat’s forearm pressed harder into her throat and continued to push her upwards. Her ribs burned in pain as she was forced to stretch to try and relieve the pressure on her throat. Kira’s struggled and sharp gasping filled her ears and knew that if she did not do something soon Dukat would get his wish.
With her free hand she frantically grasped around the wall, looking for something, anything that she could use against Dukat. Her hand suddenly found a hole in the wall and it flailed around in the open space in panic as she searched blindly for salvation.
Prophets, please! she pleaded as her eyes welled up.
Suddenly her fingers found something round and she picked it up. It was not as heavy as she would have liked, but she swung it with all her might into the side of Dukat’s head. The blow stunned him briefly as his head jerked violently with the impact. He turned to look at what had struck him so Kira smashed the object into his nose. Dukat cried as he lurched with the impact, easing his pressure that was pinning Kira in place. With more freedom of movement Kira struck with her knee with as much force as she could into his groin. Dukat yelped in pain and staggered away hunched over fully releasing Kira.
Kira dropped to the floor retching. She sucked in large gulps of air to refill her burning lungs and spluttering as she coughed blood out of her mouth. Even without Dukat hindering her breathing her damaged ribs made breathing a chore. She looked to the bloodied object still in her grip. It was Sisko’s baseball and a pained grin came to her swollen lips. She had to wonder how often Sisko would have fantasised doing just this to Dukat. Kira thanked the Prophets for their assistance, but knew that she had to be quick to take the advantage they had gifted her.
Dukat was doubled over just a few metres away. Kira hobbled over to him and with all her might she kicked his knee in. A sickening crack, quickly followed by a scream of pain reverberated in the temple. Kira felt a sympathetic twinge of pain at what she had done, but that lasted only the briefest of moments. Kira swung her arm in a huge arc and delivered the baseball into Dukat’s cheek with enough force that he almost spun in a complete circle as he fell to the floor. He gripped his shattered knee in one hand and his face with the other, which was already going a deep purple with heavy bruising.
Kira stood over the old Cardassian, breathing heavily and doing her best to ignore her pain. Her chest, face and back of her head were throbbing. Even with these injuries it was still her leg that screamed the most. She wanted nothing more than to fall to the floor, but she kept on her feet, putting as little weight on her injured leg as possible.
“I...I will destroy you,” howled Dukat, his physical pain laced through his voice equally with his emotional pain.
Kira looked down at her old foe and shook her head. He was a pathetic, insane old man who had nothing but an ancient hatred. She hated him for all the terrible things he had done to her people and to the quadrant. Yet she felt no joy in what she was doing or what she would be forced to finally do. He deserved to die, but that did not mean she had to revel in being the one to deliver the final blow.
“You are a petty, evil man, Dukat. I hoped for years that you’d move on and several times I thought you had. But, you keep coming back and I’m tired of the chase.”
He turned his bloodied face, crunched up in pain and loathing. “I will not stop until you are dead, Nerys!” he hissed.
“I really believe that,” Kira replied with a hint of sorrow. “I’m sorry, but if it’s a choice between you or me, I know that which one the galaxy won’t miss.”
A horrible wheezing rattle resounded from Dukat that Kira realised was laughter. “You think the Galaxy would miss you? And you call me an egomaniac! You’re a monster Kira! Your own people tell their children stories of you to scare them into behaving. The galaxy will be better without you.”
“I don’t disagree, Dukat,” she answered truthfully. Her mind drifted back to what she had done in her life. “I have done terrible, unforgiveable things and I will continue to do more because I have a cause that is greater than me.”
“So do I! I have justice.”
Kira shook her head mournfully. “No you don’t. You have nothing.”
Dukat roared and his hand shot out to grab Kira’s leg. Kira had no option but to strike with her injured leg, which cracked Dukat in the head and left him laying limp on the floor. She stifled a cry as more pain shot up her leg and she stumbled, nearly losing her balance again. When she regained it she looked down at Dukat and thought she might have killed him, but his chest kept rising and falling.
Kira knew she was wasting time. Their fight would not have gone unnoticed and Security would be on their way. She had to end this now. Kira hobbled over to Dukat’s knife and with a great effort managed to bend over and pick it up.
Kira returned to the prone Dukat and looked the knife over as the reality of what she was about to do hit her. This was a terrible crime to commit in the sanctuary of the temple, but she had no choice. She prayed to the Prophets to forgive her this latest trespass.
Suddenly a ball of light came through the wall. It was golden like fire. It paused as it seemed to observe the scene it found. It drifted towards her and Kira gasped as she was bombarded with a frightening sensation. She was not sure what it was but her pagh seemed to recoil from the proximity of the thing. She could not understand it, but it was as if it was radiating pure malevolence and she struggled not to fall to the floor and curl herself up into a ball.
She thought it was going to attack her and she held up the knife before her, though she did not think it would do much against whatever the light was. It seemed to lose interest in her and floated over to Dukat. It hovered over him for a moment and then zipped down, striking Dukat. Dukat’s body convulsed and Kira gasped as she saw his leg snap back into place and that gashes she had opened up on his face suddenly knit back together. Dukat’s eyes shot open and they burned red with fire as he inhaled loudly.
“By the Prophets!” gasped Kira.
Dukat got to his feet. “I am Kosst Amojan,” he spoke his voice eerily different.
Kira took a step back as she heard the name. It was the thing of nightmares. What parents told their children was lurking in the dark depths, ready and waiting to claim their pagh. She had thought the Pah-wraiths were just tall tales until her long dead friend’s wife was possessed by one of the dark entities years ago. She had hoped never to have to face the demons of her people.
“I have found the instrument. It is strong, powerful, unsullied by misplaced faith...fuelled with rage and hatred. It gives itself to me and asks for only one thing.” It looked directly at Kira.
“Prophets protect me.”
“Your Prophets are false.”
Kira knew that if she did not do something she was going to die. Kira let out a cry of defiance and drove the knife for Dukat’s chest, but Dukat caught her wrist and the tip of the blade hovered millimetres from his chest. Kira pushed with all her might but could not close that miniscule distance. With disturbing ease Dukat squeezed and shattered her wrist. She screamed in pain as the knife fell from her limp fingers. The demon inhabiting Dukat flicked its wrist and sent her flying across the room. She hit the ground and skidded to a stop when she impacted a wall. She looked up to see the demon pick up the blade from the floor. It examined the weapon in its hand as if was a mere curiosity.
The demon reached out with its other hand and Kira felt an invisible force pick her up and levitate her off the ground. She tried to move, but was unable, wrapped within the invisible force that suspended her off the ground.
“If I only knew,” said Dukat, his voice no longer ethereal. Kira was sure that he was speaking now, not the demon. “You cannot imagine the power I feel!”
“You don’t know what you’re doing!” she said panicked. “You’ve struck a deal with the devil, Dukat! It will destroy you once it gets what it wants.”
Dukat strode up to her. “Possibly, but not before I get what I want.”
Dukat held the knife up in front of her face, posturing to drive fear into her and it was working. The light of the temple’s flickering candles sparkled across the knife’s shiny edges. Kira knew of several ways to kill someone with a blade and not all of them were quick. She had little doubt that Dukat would know a few and they would be slow and torturous. However, to her surprise he tossed it away.
“And I don’t need this knife to get it,” he explained.
Dukat’s hand reached up and Kira tried to recoil, but was still held firmly in place. He lustfully gazed as her as his warm fingers wrapped around her throat and he started to squeeze.
Dukat tilted his head and with great melancholy said, “My only regret is that you’ll miss the destruction of your miserable planet. The Pah-wraiths will be free and they will burn Bajor and your Prophets.”
Kira saw pure joy and happiness in Dukat’s eyes as he talked about the genocide of her people. He was revelling in this moment. Worst of all she believed that he now had the means to make his threat a reality.
Dukat’s fingers started to tighten and soon her mouth was flapping futilely as she tried to draw in oxygen. Her lungs were burning, her brain screamed for air and her heart thundered in her chest. Tears rolled down her cheeks as blackness nibbled at the edges of her vision, though they were less to do with her inevitable demise, but for the future of Bajor. The last thought that went through Kira’s mind as darkness claimed her was that she had failed her people.
Dukat stared at Kira’s lifeless body held aloft by the power of the being that had joined with him. His fingers were still tight around her throat and he savoured the feeling, the stillness of her body. The being within him had revealed its power, power that meant he could have easily killed Kira without laying a finger on her. However, he would not be denied that simple satisfaction.
This was what he had wanted for two decades. To finally make Kira pay for her corruption of his daughter. She had denied her responsibility to the last, as he expected her to. She was a terrorist, a murderer, a zealot and people like her never admitted what their evil deeds. In their minds they were pure and they did not care for the fate of innocents. All that mattered was how they could use people to further their desires.
Suddenly he reached out with his other hand and grabbed her ear. It was in the way that Bajorans did to each other to read their paghs. He felt something stir within him and Kira’s body spasmed as if she was been electrocuted. After a few seconds his hand left her ear and he released his grip on her ruined throat. At the same time the power that levitated her dissipated and Kira’s corpse collapsed into an undignified heap on the floor. Dukat stared confused at his wayward hand. He was not sure what just happened, his body had acted without his knowledge or direct command. It was the being that was within him that had acted.
“What did you do?” he asked aloud. However, it didn’t seem to want to answer his questions.
“Don’t move! Raise your hands where I can see them and slowly turn around!”
Dukat did as he was ordered, turning to find two armed Bajoran security officers.
“Is that...Gul Dukat?” asked one of the officers.
“I don’t know but we’ll figure it out when he’s locked up. Go check the woman.”
Dukat was ordered to move away from Kira and obeyed. The second officer cautiously passed him to check the body.
“Prophets! It’s Kira Nerys!” said the office in shock. He felt her pulse. “She’s dead.”
“As in the notorious terrorist?” asked the security officer still covering Dukat.
“I’m sure.” He looked up at Dukat. “What on Bajor happened here?”
“Let’s lock this place down until a team can go over the scene. First we secure him.”
The other guard stood and pointed his weapon back at Dukat.
“Okay, place your hands behind your back.”
Dukat sensed it more than he heard it. From within there was a sensation that took him a moment to decipher. He was submitting to these men just because they had weapons. They thought themselves to have the power when the situation was completely the opposite. They were treating him as a mere Cardassian, now he was so much more. Now, even his deepest, darkest desires were within his reach. All he had to do was take advantage of this gift that was bestowed on him.
The security officer stepped closer and went to repeat his command, “I said –”
With speed Dukat did not realise he had he took the Bajoran weapon and snapped his neck like a twig. Without even turning to look at the second Bajoran Dukat’s hand raised the dead Bajoran’s weapon and fired it. It was all so quick that Dukat’s brain was a step behind.
He turned his head to look at the second Bajoran. The Bajoran was staring mouth agape at the blackened stump of his of wrist and struggled not to vomit all over it. The Bajoran managed to pull his eyes from his wound and stared disbelievingly at Dukat.
“Prophets protect –”
“Too late,” interrupted Dukat.
The weapon fell from his hand as he raised it, fingers outstretched, pointing towards the Bajoran. A sense of unimaginable power coursed through him. The Bajoran’s screams was like music to him and a few moments later he was stepping over his third victim.
Dukat exited the temple into the promenade. There was a crowd, attracted by the commotion in the temple. Dukat smiled as he saw the terrified looks on several of the Bajorans as they recognised him. It was time to make them all pay.
Weyoun paused as there was a tone from the door. As the Vorta went to answer it Jake let out a quiet sigh. Weyoun had talked nonstop since he had the room scanned about how to deal with the destruction of the tablet. Jake had just sat there listening. The only thing he did was grow more and more embarrassed about his inexplicable behaviour.
As Weyoun opened the door Jake just hoped that it would not be the Kai. Thankfully it was not, instead it was another Vorta.
“What is it, Gelnon?” Weyoun asked.
“We have a disturbance on the promenade.”
“This is a Bajoran station, let them deal with it,” Weyoun stated simply.
“Unfortunately they seem unable to contain it.”
“Then send the Jem’Hadar. You’re the Founders’ representative to the station; you do not require my permission to maintain order,” said Weyoun with annoyance.
“Of course, Weyoun,” replied Gelnon his outward demeanour not betraying the fact he had been dressed down by his fellow Vorta. “However, it is who is causing this disturbance that I thought would interest you.”
Deep in the pit of Jake’s stomach he knew whom Gelnon would name.