Star Trek: Defiant

"The Season of Shadowlight" - Part Ten

Written by Catrin Kadiya

Six days later

"Thank you, Admiral. Bridges out."

Bridges cut the connection and leaned back in his chair with a sigh. Serrin's negotiations had proved worthwhile--Lencia would be providing the Federation with its pure dilithium, in exchange for continued support and protection. Maybe they would apply for membership in the Federation, maybe they wouldn't. Only time would tell, Bridges supposed. For the time being, both sides were happy with the arrangement.

His door chime sounded and he looked up. "Come in," he said.

The doors parted and Laine stepped inside, a mischievous smile on her mouth. Bridges couldn't help but smile when he saw her.

"You have something on your mind," Bridges said as the doors closed and she crossed to his desk.

"As your chief medical officer, I feel it's my duty to inform you that you, sir, need a break. You have been in here for days and--" Laine shrugged. "You need a break." She couldn't make it more simple than that.

"For once, I am not arguing with you," Bridges said, chuckling at her surprised expression. "What did you have in mind?"

Laine turned toward the doors as Bridges maneuvered his chair beside her. They moved from the ready room, toward the aft turbolift.

"A holodeck program I put together," Laine said.

Bridge's eyebrows lifted. The lift arrived and they slipped inside, Laine directing it to holodeck two.

"A holodeck program," he mused.

Laine smiled. "I have a sudden taste for Bajor rain," she said.

Bridge's eyebrows went even higher. Then, his eyes narrowed. "We haven't talked about it much--what do you think happened on Lencia? Do you really think that was Goyum like the minister said? That he was testing our faith?" Bridges had spoken with Counselor Danorium at length, but Bridges hadn't reached a firm decision on what had happened.

Laine's smile softened. "I know we haven't had a lot of faith lately," she said. "Vanishing like I did--I had to find faith again and believe that I would make my way back." She shrugged. "It felt like a test at times."

"We seem to have passed," he said as the lift stopped and the doors opened. He slid out, Laine falling in beside him.

"Have we?" she asked. "I know you've been frustrated being stuck in that chair. It must be hard to keep a smile on that face." She reached out and stroked his cheek as they paused outside the holodeck. She punched in the program and waited as the computer cued it up.

"It is," Bridges admitted. "But, as long as you're around, it shouldn't be too hard to keep the faith--even if I'm not smiling."

"Program ready," the computer said and Laine smiled down at Bridges.

"You'll be smiling when I'm done with you," she promised as they entered the holodeck and the doors sealed them in.

* * *

"Can you describe it?"

Kadiya looked up from her clasped hands, at Counselor Danorium. They sat in his office, enclosed in a silence that Kadiya needed. Kadiya rose from the pale blue couch, beginning to roam the room. She came to pause by the wall that was draped in blue and lavender fabric.

"It wasn't the home I remember," she said. "It was--desolate, abandoned." Kadiya shook her head.

"You said there was a man there--and a woman," Danorium prompted. "Do you know who they were?"

Kadiya nodded. "The man killed my parents--I've never known his name, but I would never forget his face. The woman--" She broke off, frowning.

Danorium leaned back in his chair, crossing his long legs. "What about her? You're reluctant."

Kadiya smiled softly, nodding again. "She was old, withered, but somehow, I recognized her. She was Shuriik's--his Laurana. I realize that she was--that she served a certain purpose in the vision and wasn't actually there, but... I wrote a prayer for the dead in the dust--I don't know if I was mourning her or the planet, or something else."

"Perhaps the four hundred years *you* lost," Danorium suggested. "What do you think Laurana's purpose was?"

Kadiya shook her head, reaching out to stroke the fabric. The action sent a wave through the cloth; it looked like a deep ocean. "She seemed determined to--"

"To?" Danorium asked when Kadiya fell into silence.

"Undermine my faith in myself," Kadiya eventually said, turning from the wall. "She said I had failed. She blamed me."

Danorium nodded. "You returned to Novachron, something you've been unable to do since Commander Shuriik found you. Once there, you encounter his lover. She blames you for not bringing him-- all the while he's lost on Lencia along with Doctor Laine. It would seem that Laurana was you."

Kadiya frowned.

Danorium couldn't help but smile. "She was your conscience," he amended. "You were looking for Shuriik and couldn't find him. You were blaming yourself for that and were looking ahead, realizing you wouldn't be able to bring him back to Novachron if you didn't find him."

"What of the man, then?" Kadiya asked, rounding the couch. "Was he some part of me? I know his face. I know he killed my parents." Kadiya sat down, looking away from the counselor. This entire conversation was a breakthrough for her; never in a million years had she thought to find herself in this office, talking with this man, about this experience. But she needed to speak with someone and the counselor was her best choice. She had been unable to tell Shuriik about her experience; the words always stuck in her throat.

Danorium leaned forward, reaching for the teapot. He poured more into Kadiya's cup as well as his own. "He is the part of you that worries about what has become of your homeworld. He took your parents; it is only logical that you would associate him with your planet and loss. You know that you need to get Commander Shuriik back to Novachron--you don't yet remember why. That gap must be annoying. Your mind is trying to fill it; eventually, it will come upon the proper answer."

Kadiya exhaled, frustrated.

Danorium smiled in understanding. "You've been here for eight months, which is such a short amount of time for your kind, and mine. Maybe you shouldn't be so anxious to find the answers, Catrin."

Kadiya looked away from the vase of tulips on the table, looking up at the counselor. "I think I found an answer," she said slowly. "Or at least I found...something."

Danorium's eyebrows went up a notch. "Oh?"

Kadiya nodded and smiled softly. "The faith to keep looking."

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