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Captain Pierce
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Post by Captain Pierce » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:42 pm

This was an attempt to branch out a bit as a writer. Each chapter was written in the space of one day, with minimal polishing and rewriting (and, unfortunately, proofreading in the original post on another forum ;) ). Since my only other "published" works (the two chapters of the Raiders Ascendant mod story that I've mentioned here before) have been through extended periods of rewriting, I decided to mostly forego it on this just to see how it worked. So far I personally think it holds up pretty well, but I'm interested in other opinions.

* * * * *

[One pronunciation note: "Sile" is pronounced "See-Lay."]

Chapter One (originally written 01/14/03)

In a small junior officer's cabin on the USS Destiny, Ensign Ezri Tigan woke up for the third time that night. Looking out her window, she realized why--the Destiny had come out of warp.

"Make up your mind," she muttered to the ceiling, hoping the remark would make its way up to the Bridge and whoever kept ordering the ship in and out of warp. While Ezri had only been on the ship a few months, and had yet to develop the sense that starship crewmen often display of knowing the ship's exact warp factor just from feeling the vibration of the deck plates, she was familiar enough with the Destiny by now to feel transitions in and out of warp, and large changes in warp factor, and the night had been full of them.

The Destiny had been on routine patrol along the Cardassian border (or, at least, as routine as patrol along an enemy border can be) when Ezri went to sleep. Less than an hour later, she'd been woken up the first time as the ship went to warp; and two hours after that, woken up agin as the ship went from cruise speed to something a lot closer to its maximum. Now we're stopped, and then we'll go back into warp, and then we'll speed up, and then we'll have to slow down at some point to rest the engines... It's all a conspiracy to rob me of a good night's sleep, the young ensign told herself.

She looked out the window again, and a flash of movement caught her eye. Ezri got out of bed and crossed to the window for a closer look. A Starfleet runabout was rapidly approaching the Destiny, passing out of her view as it slowed and swung around on approach to the main shuttlebay.

Ezri waited for the jump back into warp, which happened only minutes later, before going to back to bed. As she finally managed to fall asleep again, she was wondering what this all was about.

Which was a question that was even more on her mind when she was woken up again an hour later by yet another change in speed. This time, she didn't need much experience with the ship to help her gauge its speed--the vibration she felt in the deck was the same on almost every warp-capable ship, the vibration of a ship at or beyond its rated maximum warp factor. Knowing she wasn't going back to sleep under these circumstances, she decided to get dressed and head to Sickbay. Maybe someone down there knows what's going on, she thought.

Sickbay was in a general uproar as Ezri entered, the sort of uproar that meant a medical emergency in progress. Yet, as she looked around, all the beds were empty. She was jst about to ask one of the nurses what was going on when the Destiny's Chief Medical Officer came out of the ICU and spotted her.

"Ezri, thank God you're here," said Doctor Jamia Pyne. "I could use your help."

Ezri headed for the Intensive Care Unit. "You have a patient who needs counseling?" she asked.

"Not exactly," Pyne replied. "Maybe 'help' is the wrong word--I'm glad you're here, but it's more for my sake than the patient's."

Ezri was just about to ask the doctor what she was talking about when she saw the patient, and understood all too well. Resting on one of the ICU beds in what looked like a clear plastic specimen container filled with goo was a Trill symbiont. "Great Maker," Ezri whispered. "Who is it?"

"Dax," Pyne told her. "Did you know it?"

"Not personally, no. By reputation--but then, most Trills know of the Dax symbiont."

Pyne sat down on the empty bed. "The current host--or, should I say, the former host--was Jadzia Dax, who was stationed on Deep Space Nine. I don't know all the details, but apparently she was shot. Their doctor tried to stabilize her, at least long enough to get the symbiont back to Trill, but the injury was too severe."

Ezri jumped as an alarm went off. Pyne hurried to the symbiont, and studied the readings. "And, as you can probably imagine, none of this has done the symbiont any good." The doctor tapped her comm badge. "Pyne to Raymer."

"Go ahead, Doctor."

"Captain, you'd better get down here. The symbiont just took another turn for the worse."

"On my way." Ezri and Pyne spent the two minutes preceding the Captain's arrival in silence. Ezri considered going over and looking at the symbiont's readouts, but decided against it--she'd only by in Pyne's way, and the readouts probably wouldn't mean anything to her anyway.

"How bad is it, Doctor?" Captain Raymer asked as he entered the ICU.

"Bad," Pyne replied. "How much longer until we can reach Trill?"

"If we can hold warp nine-point-nine-eight, and if Barzan doesn't start a mutiny over it, twelve hours."

Pyne shook her head. "Not soon enough, I'm afraid. The symbiont has two hours, three at the most."

"Damn." Raymer looked at the symbiont, and Ezri followed his gaze. They were both thinking much the same thing--it was such an unassuming life form, yet it had accomplished so much. "I just got off the horn with Starfleet Command, Doctor--Admiral Nechayev hinted that President Jaresh-Inyo himself would transfer me to command of a garbage scow if I didn't get the Dax symbiont back to Trill alive. What options do we have?"

"At this point, Captain, I only see one option. The only way to save the life of the symbiont is to find it a host."

Suddenly, Ezri was the center of attention in the room. "Don't look at me," she said. "I've never had any interest in being joined--never took any of the classes. The Symbiosis Commission would have a fit if any symbiont, let alone one as famous as Dax, was put into me."

"Admiral Nechayev told me to keep Dax alive by any means necessary. The Symbiosis Commission is supposed to be calling any minute now to confirm that. I have a feeling that, given the choice between Dax's life, and standard protocol, they're going to choose the former."

The intercom beeped. "Captain, I have a transmission for you from Trill--a Doctor Renhol from the Symbiosis Commission."

"Pipe it through to the ICU," Raymer ordered, and a viewscreen came on with the image of Doctor Renhol, wearing what looked to Ezri suspisciously like pajamas. "Doctor, thank you for contacting us so quickly."

"Under the circumstances, it seemed any delay could be disastrous. What is the condition of the Dax symbiont?"

Pyne stepped forward. "Deteriorating rapidly, Doctor. I don't believe I can keep it alive outside a host for more than three hours."

"Is there a suitable host on your ship?"

"Well, there's a potential host, but whether she's suitable is more your department than ours." Raymer motioned for Ezri to step into the video pickup's field. "Doctor Renhol, this is Ensign Ezri Tigan, our assistant ship's counselor."

"Captain, Doctor, with no disrespect intended to Ensign Tigan, is there another option? There have been instances where symbionts have been placed into human hosts temporarily. Based on the Odan case in particular, it would almost seem that a human host may be preferable for a temporary joining."

"I've studied Bev Crusher's notes on the joining of Odan and Commander Riker extensively in the last six hours," Pyne said. "It's something I was considering up until a few minutes ago, when the symbiont's condition deteoriated again. I don't believe it could survive a joining with a non-Trill host."

Renhol turned her attention to Ezri. "Very well, then. Ensign Tigan, do you understand what this entails?"

"No, ma'am, I don't think I do."

Renhol smiled. "Well, you're honest, at least. Ensign--Ezri--there have been instances where a symbiont and a host have been joined temporarily, and then separated. If Doctor Pyne is correct in her assesment of the Dax symbiont's condition, though--and I have no reason to believe that she is not--then that will not be possible in this case." Pyne nodded. "This will have to be a full joining, and a difficult one at that. I presume that, since I don't recall your name, you've never been an Initiate?"

"No, ma'am. To be honest, I never had any interest in being joined."

"Then it will definitely be difficult for you. None of us can tell you what to do, Ezri, we can only tell you this: if you do not consent to the joining, then the Dax symbiont will die."

Ezri was silent for a moment. "Can I have some time to think about it?"

"Certainly. But no more than... Doctor?"

"One hour," Pyne said. "That will still give me plenty of time to perform the joining with time to spare."

"One hour, then. I will be keeping this channel open to confer with Doctor Pyne, Ezri--feel free to break in and ask any questions you might have."

As Ezri left Sickbay, Raymer followed her as Pyne and Renhol began discussion the symbiont's condition in more detail. Together, they entered a turbolift. "Deck five," Raymer told it.

"Do you think I should do this, sir?" Ezri asked her captain.

"Like Doctor Renhol said, no one can tell you whether to do it or not, Ensign. Even if I just say that I think you should do it, coming from me, it sounds something like an order." The lift stopped, the doors opened, and Raymer stood in the doorway for a moment. "You haven't been on board long, Ensign, but what I've seen from you in the last few months tells me that you're capable of making the right decision all on your own."

As the doors closed behind him, Ezri sank against the back wall of the lift. "Why me?" she asked.

"Please restate destination," the computer replied.

Ezri sighed. "Deck eight."

Like most starships, the Destiny had a main observation lounge flanked by several smaller ones, and it was to one of these smaller ones that Ezri went. For most of the hour she had for her decision, she sat there in darkness, the room lit only by the Doppler-shifted stars in front of the ship. Destiny, she thought to herself. How ironic is that? I'm on a ship named Destiny, , and now I have to make a decision that will affect my destiny for the rest of my life. And affect another living being for who knows how long after that.

Fifty-four minutes after leaving the ICU, Ezri Tigan returned. "Doctor Pyne, Doctor Renhol, I've made my decision," she said...

Chapter Two (originally written 01/15/03)

When Ezri Tigan woke up, she wasn't alone. And not just because of the two doctors in the room with her--she wasn't alone in her head.

"I guess the operation was a success," she said.

Both doctors, Jamia Pyne of the USS Destiny and Sile Renhol of the Trill Symbiosis Commission, nodded. "Both you and the Dax symbiont are perfectly healthy," Pyne told her.

"Good," Ezri said, and promptly went back to sleep.

The next time she woke up, only Pyne was in the room with her. "I guess it's time to get my Starfleet ID card reprinted," Ezri told her.

Pyne smiled. "How does it feel to be a joined Trill?"

"About the same as it did the last time," Ezri said. A perplexed look came over her face. "What did that mean?"

"It means that you seem to have at least of the memories of the previous hosts," Dr. Renhol said as she entered the room. "You're likely to find yourself saying things you don't understand completely for a few weeks."

"Have you ever walked into a dark room and known there were other people in there with you?" Ezri asked Pyne. The doctor nodded. "It's kind of like that. I can sense that there are other... people... in my head, but I can't make out anything about them."

"Memory integration is spotty even in a more conventional joining," Renhol told Ezri. "There's no way to predict when you'll be able to consciously access the memories of former hosts."


"Don't try too hard, Ezri. It will happen in its own time."

"Well, maybe it's not such a bad thing. There are a few of those memories I'm not sure I want anytime soon."

"Like Jadzia's last moments?"

"Yes, or Tobias's shuttle crash-" Ezri broke off suddenly. "Wait a minute. How did I know about that?"

"It's a memory of another host, one after Tobias. You remembered that there was a host named Tobias, and how he died, without actually getting Tobias's memory of the crash."

"Is that normal?"

"'Normal' is a term with no meaning here, Ezri. It happens differently every time--there's no baseline to compare it against."

"So, in other words, all I can do is sit here and wait for it to happen?"



Chapter Three (originally written 01/16/03)

After three weeks of "waiting for it to happen," both Ezri and Dr. Renhol were getting increasingly frustrated. And, while there was nothing Ezri could do about it, as one of the senior members of the Symbiosis Commission, Sile Renhol had certain resources to fall back upon.

And so it was that, on her twenty-third daily visit to Doctor Renhol's office, Ezri met Doctor Pauma Staron, junior member of the Symbiosis Commision. "Doctor Staron has an idea to jog your memories," Renhol explained.

Ezri turned to Staron, who didn't seem that much older than her. "So help me, if you tell me to go take another swim with the Guardians, you're going to regret it," she told him.

He laughed. "I assure you, there's no swimming involved."

"Good," Ezri said.

"What I had in mind was the zhian'tara."

"The Rite of Closure? I thought that usually wasn't done until memory integration seemed mostly complete."

Renhol sighed. "Usually, it isn't."

"There have," Staron broke in, "been instances where it was been done with patients who have incomplete memory integration. In most of those cases, it seemed to accelerate the process."

"And you're hoping that, in my case, it will start the process."


"Is there any danger of side effects?"

Again, Renhol sighed. "It's never been done, so how can we tell?" The comment seemd directed more at Staron than Ezri, so she didn't reply. "Still, it seems unlikely that it could do any harm to you or the symbiont."

Ezri didn't take long to make her decision. "Then there's really no reason not to try it, is there?"

"None that I can see," Staron agreed. "Tomorrow, then?"

Ezri and Renhol agreed, and Staron left to see another patient.

"I've just received word from the Destiny that they'll be returning to Trill tomorrow," Renhol told Ezri. "Their refit and is complete, and they'll be spending two days here for resupply. You might want to ask some of your friends from the ship to participate in the zhian'tara."

"There won't be a problem with having non-Trill involved?"

"None. In fact, Jadzia's zhian'tara was done without a single Trill. Humans, Bajorans, Ferengi--even a changeling, if you can believe that."

"Well, I don't know if I can find quite that many people with nothing to do during the resupply, but I'll ask."

"Ezri, can I ask a favor?"

"Of course."

"If you can't find anyone else, could I host Jadzia for you?"

"Why Jadzia specifically?"

"Well, you won't be able to fully understand until you have her memories, but... well, let's just say it's my way of apologizing to her."

"I'll certainly keep that in mind, Doctor. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I have some calls to make."

Chapter 4 (originally written 1/20/03)

Ezri Dax closed her eyes, and felt the warm touch of the Guardian's hand on her shoulder. She felt a slight tingle--or was she just imagining it?--as the Guardian murmured a ritual chant. Idly, she wondered what language it was--it didn't sound like Trill, or at least modern Trill. Maybe an old form, or an old tribal language that died except among the Guardians--

And then, the tingling was gone, and the vague sense she'd had for almost four weeks, the sense of there being more people than just her in her head, was lessened. She opened her eyes, and looked past the Guardian standing next to her at the Destiny's counselor, Lieutenant Lise Romenesko. Lise opened her eyes slowly and blinked a few times at the suddenly unfamiliar setting of Ezri's old quarters. Then, she saw Ezri, and broke into a huge smile. "Ezri," she said warmly, and held out her hand. "How wonderful to meet you."

"Hello, Lela," Ezri said to the first host of the Dax symbiont.

"I only wish it could have been under better circumstances--but then, I suppose, under any other circumstances, we wouldn't have met at all. At least not in this way, not as fellow hosts--fellow Daxes."

Ezri sank into a chair. "I don't feel much like a fellow Dax," she sighed.

"Because you haven't got all our memories yet?"

"Maybe. Or maybe it's just because I don't feel any different. Everything I've read since I was joined talks about how conscious or unconscious hobbies and habits of former hosts can be transferred, and I'm not getting any of that." She pointed at Lise/Lela. "Look at you--you're standing there with your hands behind your back, which is something that Jadzia said she got from you, but it hasn't rubbed off on me yet! All I have from having all you people in my head is half a headache all the time."

Lela/Lise smiled again. "It will all work out, Ezri."

"How do you know that?"

"Because it always does." Lise's voice took on some of the oratorical quality that Ezri had heard in recordings of Lela's speeches to the Council. "Back when I was joined, there wasn't a Symbiosis Commission--the whole concept of joining was new, and nobody really knew what to expect."

"Nobody knows what to expect now," Ezri muttered.

"All we could do was trust that there was a purpose for it all, that the Great Maker had designed these two vastly different life forms to be compatible for some reason. And there were very few problems in joinings, even without the Symbiosis Commision, or the Initiate Program, or all the data and technology that they have." Lela knelt down beside Ezri. "In a way, what you're feeling is very much what like I felt. There were no memories of previous hosts when I was joined--just vague memories of the symbiont's life in the caves. Which, as you can imagine, weren't all that interesting."

"I've already got enough memories of swimming in the caves, thanks."

"What really matters is that Dax is still alive. Maybe you'll eventually remember all of what we did, maybe not. But the next host will remember you, Ezri Dax, and what you did."

"I hadn't really thought of it that way," Ezri admitted. "But you're right."

Ezri and Lela continued talking about what it had been like to be Dax's first host, and about Lela's political career; and, when Dr. Renhol and the Guardian returned, Ezri was quite surprised to find that three hours had already gone by. Another ritual chant, and Lise was herself again.

"How do you feel, Ezri?" Dr. Renhol asked.

"I feel... I feel..." Ezri stopped and considered things for a moment. "I feel a lot like I did after my first election to the council." Ezri was surprised when she realized what she'd said, and even more surprised to find her hands clasped behind her back. "I remember Lela's first election to the council! And the second, and the third..."
"And the fourth?" the Guardian asked.

"There wasn't a fourth," Ezri replied. "She pledged on her first campaign to only serve three terms, to keep from becoming a career politician like Montri Sakeld, who she was running against."

"Do you remember anything about any of the other hosts?" Dr. Renhol asked.

Ezri thought for a moment. "No."

The Guardian smiled. "That's all right. You'll get to meet them soon."

* * * * *

"I had always heard that prospective hosts came from all walks of life," Ezri told Jamia Pyne over dinner that night in the doctor's quarters, "but I never knew what a range that was until today."

"I guess I was a little surprised by Audrid," Pyne said.

"The point of joining is to give the symbionts new experiences. And certainly motherhood is something new to them..."

"True. But just to dedicate your life to taking care of your husband and children--it's so nineteenth century."

"There aren't still women who do it on Earth?"

"Well, yes, but not many."

"Not many do it on Trill, either. After all, Lela, the first host, was one of the first women elected to the Council all those years ago."

"It does remind me, though--I need to call my mom sometime. What about the other hosts you met today? Tobin and Emony, right?"

"Right." Ezri smiled. "Tobin was--what was the Earth expression you used once--a total math nerd." She and Pyne both laughed. "I'm serious--he's the perfect, stereotypical example of a genius who likes numbers a whole lot more than other people. So brilliant that he could work out all the mathematical theory behind warp drive, subspace, and everything else that we needed to leave Trill and meet the rest of the Galaxy--but too shy to actually to go out and show it to anybody. If he hadn't been Joined, and gotten that extra facet to his personality, we still might not have left the planet."

"And what about Emony?"

"Actually, I've been meaning to ask you--have you heard of a Doctor Leonard McCoy?"

"Heard of him? I took his advanced seminar on starship medicine my senior year at the Academy."

Ezri shook her head. "No, the one I'm talking about is much older--Emony Dax met him on Earth back in the 2240's."

"Oh, it's the same guy--Admiral McCoy is pushing a hundred and fifty." Pyne looked at Ezri. "How did you actually get through the counseling course at the Academy without reading some of his works on the psychology of starship command? Quarterdeck Breed was required reading, the last I heard."

"You're telling me that these are all the same people? I didn't think humans lived that long."

Pyne smiled. "Most of us don't. I asked him about it once, and he told me he was trying to outlive a Vulcan."

Ezri hadn't really heard the last comment. "You mean I-- I mean, Emony slept with--I mean... oh, hell, I don't know what I mean, but whatever I mean, she did it with that Leonard McCoy?"


"Wonderful. I wonder what surprises tomorrow has in store for me?"

* * * * *

Yes, I realize I've gone nearly six months without doing any further work on this. :/ Needed to do some research, never got around to it... Soon (hopefully)...

[edit--almost a year later [img]graemlins/eekus.gif[/img] Yeah, I said I wasn't going to rewrite this, but I just realized today as I was finishing the damn thing that I forgot an entire freaking host!!! [img]redface.gif[/img] ]

[size="1"][ 06. July 2004, 12:51 AM: Message edited by: Captain Pierce ][/size]
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Post by InocPrime » Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:10 am

Very good Pierce! It good use a bit more description as to surroundings, but other then that, very nice [img]smile.gif[/img]

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Post by Captain Pierce » Fri Jul 11, 2003 12:30 am

Detail is something that often gets added in rewrites for me... ;) Also, when I get involved in character stuff, the surroundings tend not to matter. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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Post by InocPrime » Fri Jul 11, 2003 2:07 am

Understandable, and still exceptionally good none the less.

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Post by G-nome » Sun Jul 13, 2003 3:15 am

Nicely written, but keep in mind that not everyone has seen all episodes of ST. When writing with the background of a series or movie, it is easy to forget to introduce and develop the character of... characters. Keep an eye on that.

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Post by InocPrime » Sun Jul 13, 2003 3:18 am

Probably wouldn't have much interest for people who haven't seen Trek [img]smile.gif[/img]

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Post by G-nome » Mon Jul 14, 2003 11:14 am

Originally posted by G-nome:
Nicely written, but keep in mind that not everyone has seen **ALL EPISODES** of ST. When writing with the background of a series or movie, it is easy to forget to introduce and develop the character of... characters. Keep an eye on that.
I have seen a fair number of episodes, but far from all. Still I find it hard to remember the mentioned characters and their personalities...

[size="1"][ 14. July 2003, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: G-nome ][/size]

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Post by InocPrime » Mon Jul 14, 2003 11:39 pm

Then I would say it wasn't for you [img]smile.gif[/img]

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Post by Pos_21 » Tue Jul 15, 2003 12:55 am

i havn't seen all episodes of trek either...

just the vast majority, and i wuv the story cap'n [img]tongue.gif[/img]

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Post by Captain Pierce » Tue Jul 15, 2003 4:29 am

Yeah, the target audience is mostly people who actually recall DS9 with some clarity. [img]smile.gif[/img] The former Dax hosts are all "real" Trek characters, as seen in a DS9 episode where Jadzia Dax underwent the zhian'tara ritual. Other than that, the only other characters seen on DS9 are Dr. Renhol (who hasn't had her most important scene yet) and of course Ezri. Captain Raymer of the starship Destiny may have been mentioned on the show; I actually found the name on the website and ran with it. ;) The other characters (not that there are many) are my invention.

I still have delusions of finishing this thing... :D

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